Yesterday was tricky

July 7, 2008
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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yesterday was tricky

Trying to figure out what to do when people or places were not dictating my next move. I did get my wash done, went for a short walk, dropped off a birthday card for my niece and was happy to do my Friday routine of NewsHour, Washington Week, NOW and Bill Moyer’s Journal. It helps me set my information needs for the week ahead. My challenge for the week ahead is not to over think the week ahead – getting back into the work mode without making work my life focus.

Going back in reviewing my vacation, Part II – I made some notes on a sticky note in my car that said the following: new car smell, GW, Dovonte/Lions, Adam Gold/850, donuts, go S to go N. I also found a note about a book I need to read – The Bridge at the Edge of the World by Speth. Another note about $1.30 (it was really $1.35) for the bus, Metro card, #7 bus, Neal Conan, Fred Wertheimer, Ken Rudin. Another note about the Smithsonian Folklore Festival opening day – Texas, Bhutan, and NASA. Another one: bus, train, folk fest (incense making!), Newseum, NPR, walking – take a right at the Lincoln Memorial, 5 p.m.

Going back to this time last week – I was in the ocean taking a swim and enjoying my last day at the beach. And by 11:15 a.m. I was headed away from the beach and off for home. Then at 3:24 a.m. on Sunday I headed to North Carolina. I called a couple of people from the road who I wanted to stay with for my first two nights in NC – and luckily they welcomed me in. Not that I am known to be eccentric…, but one friend did not even balk when I stopped on my way to the going away party to brush my teeth. I don’t see people in year(s) and the first they hear from me is, “can I stop by on my way to the party and brush my teeth?”…and that was followed by an invite to spend the night with them on Monday night. People don’t try to make my life make sense in their minds and that is a good thing. My other call was to a friend who has a full life without me dropping in from the sky, but another quick invitation to stay with them for Sunday night. Luckily one of their 5 kids from their blended marriage was away at camp, so they had a free bed. It was perfect NC re-entry. So with my teeth brushed and my accommodations for Sunday and Monday covered, I headed to the party. Between 3 a.m. and what was now 4 p.m., I had had a PB&J sandwich and a ginger ale in the car but my first stop was the bar for a PBR (to stay with the initials’ approach) and the rest of my night – at the party and at another friend’s house – was more drinking than eating, but that was fine. So I had covered 700+ miles – Collinsville CT to Chapel Hill NC to Pittsboro NC back to Chapel Hill for the night.

Monday I was out in Fearrington Village by break time at the warehouse – again, I turned some heads by just popping in after being gone for awhile. But it was all good and for old times’ sake, I walked through the latest house the boys are working on – it was beautiful, but $800K+ for the house and counting and $100k+ for the dirt still makes my head spin as I think about how live needs to start making sense for everyone not just those who have the excess cash. But it was a beautiful house and that money keeps the warehouse working so that is good news for my ex-co workers. All day I popped between the RE office, the warehouse, a quick trip to The General Store to meet up with my ex-co worker’s husband and son, then to a home visit for people who recently moved to NC from MN. At some point in the day, I got the call from sister #1 and the timing for my move up I95 to DC was set – Tuesday morning. Monday night was spent at some friends who were some of the first people I met when I moved to NC in 1995. I worked with the wife and the husband was a huge sports fan, so it was a match made in heaven. They tried very hard to help my Yankee self fit in in the “Southern part of Heaven”. They were also the people who took my family in when Hurricane Fran hit the Chapel Hill area and staying in our trailer (that is another story) was not a good idea. Our mobile home had the potential to get very mobile! So they have been there for me for lots of years. It was a great relaxing night before the next leg of my trip. I missed seeing lots of people, but I saw the people I “needed” to and my trip was exactly what it was meant to be – and very productive based on the amount of planning (none) that was put into the trip.

Tuesday’s ride was perfect. From Chapel Hill to Arlington VA is a walk in the park after my marathon drive on Sunday. I have muscle memory on the NC to VA trip as I made that trip a lot when I lived in NC – I am glad sister #1 moved back to VA just in time for my visit. Don’t know if she is as enamored with the move from St Lucia to VA but it works for me! I even gave in to my old travel food item favorite of powdered donuts! I could not resist! I got to VA around 3 p.m. and went directly to her condo pool where niece #2 was life guarding. I sat there until 7 p.m. Sister #1 got home from work and we had a great late dinner. My plan for Tuesday was to get up and take the bus/METRO to downtown DC for the Smithsonian Folklore Festival, Newseum and get to my sister’s office by 5 p.m. to go to the game. The festival was a perfect storm for me – Bhutan (incense making demonstration), Texas (one of my former homelands), and NASA…no connection there except for the Houston connection. I spent the bulk of the day at the Newseum – you could fill a whole day there with all the exhibits and movies. I had to sit in the “old people” chairs in the 4-D movie so I only got the 3-D (no moving chair “D”) since I was a bit queasy from the glass elevator ride to the 6th floor and the 6th floor open balcony where I had to go to see the views of DC, but the height issue was a bit unsettling for me. The elevator operator was very supportive and showed me where all the stairs were to get from floor to floor – she knew by the look on my face that I was not going in that elevator again! I ended my Newseum day by sitting in on the broadcast of an NPR radio show – not exactly like being in the Conan audience, but it was fun. Mid way through the show, I hit the streets so I could move up Constitution Avenue to 20th St to get to my sister’s office. Our thought was that we would meet at 5 p.m. then grab something to eat then meet our host for the Nationals’ game. Good news, bad news – my sister got caught up in a meeting so we missed the get something to eat part, but the good news was I got to see where my going away to the PC party friend’s desk officer sits. He was out of the office, but I was glad to know where he sat in case I need to reach out to him if my friend has any issues. Also a good news thing was IF we had gotten something to eat, we would not have taken advantage of the free food and drink at the box we got to watch the game from…two doors down from the Nationals’ owner box…my sister saw the DC Mayor in the hallway! You know I was in heaven!!! And the Nationals won and that is not a regular event.

Thursday a.m. I started the final leg of the trip. I got my “cheap” gas in NJ and another memory lane food item – a carvel ice cream cone (it was always either carvel or TGBY). All was going swimmingly until the GW bridge AND I did not get on 87 so I spent a bit too long on 95 before getting on the “Hutch”. Once I got there things calmed down a bit. It was a mixed re-entry – in a way I was happy to get home to my little apt, but I miss the excitement of seeing all the people who I miss. But the good thing is they tolerate my drop ins from time to time.

I was reminded of my former life as a mother in NC by running into one of the fathers of one of my son’s former teammates as I went to lunch with friends (small world) and hearing one of my son’s other former teammates on the radio who is sponsoring a summer sports camp in Chapel Hill. He plays for the Detroit Lions. He just happened to be on the radio the morning I was leaving Chapel Hill – very small world.

Enough looking back, I am think I need to get myself to the town pool to buy my pool pass. Keep thinking that going to my brother’s pool or a family friend’s pool, but those pools are not walkable and the town pool is…think the pool pass will pay for itself if I want to swim and don’t have to drive somewhere. I also have a plan to go to church and have dinner with friends. I also looked at my budget this a.m. – in my live on what I make approach to life – it will be close now with the new car, but it still looks do-able. I will have to keep an eye on things and get out of vacation mode thinking.

July 1 is the beginning of our new school year and the second half of 2008 – good opportunity to shift whatever gears need shifting.

The good news for the week ahead is I am going back to work on a short week – school is closed on July 4. Good timing.

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