Did I mention that my husband's job changed?
The little company he worked for was acquired by a much larger company. For the first time in 23 years, we have dental benefits.
Last Friday, the former president of the small, newly acquired company resigned from his new position within the new, large structure.
My husband has traveled approximately 7 out of the past 9 weeks. Or maybe 8.
Three weeks ago, I went along with him and visited our daughter who is in the Canton, Ohio area. Shawn had visits ranging from east of Pittsburgh to Cleveland, so Lulu was right in the middle of it all.
Two weeks ago, the kids came home for Thanksgiving, and Shawn was in town, too!
David's flight back to NC after Thanksgiving was scheduled to leave Chicago O'Hare at 8 a.m. Black Friday morning. He would have needed to be at the airport by 6:30 a.m., which means we'd have had to leave here by 4 a.m. and contend with Chicago's Black Friday traffic to boot. That was bad enough, but Shannon was leaving at 9 p.m. the same day, and we didn't really want to spend all day in Chicago, nor did we want to drive to Chicago and back twice in one day.
So we decided to keep DJ home for a couple extra days, and then he and I drove our van to NC on Sunday. It worked nicely, because Shawn had a trip to southern California all that week. The dogs and I went to David's, and I was spared what would have been yet another week of loneliness.
Sunday-after-Thanksgiving traffic home with David turned out to be not-what-we-were-hoping. Heavy traffic, accidents and unrelenting, pelting rain turned a 12 hour drive into about 15. But, you know, when you spent a long period of your earlier life needing to navigate the route from NY to Minnesota at the same time of year, it leaves you grateful that rain is not snow, and wet roads are not iced over.
It was a good week in North Carolina, even if it began with a rainy chill.
Perhaps I nearly drove David and his roommate crazy by tidying their space and organizing the refrigerator. It was astonishing how much space I was able to create by grouping similar items, taking things out of grocery bags and putting them where they could be seen and recognized, placing produce in produce drawers, and situating short containers on short shelves so that tall containers could go on tall shelves.
At one point, David's roommate opened the refrigerator and peered inside, slightly shuddering with shock at the altered sight. He froze for a moment, disoriented. "Can I help you?" I asked. "What are you looking for?"
Still staring straight ahead, he replied, "I just want to make a sandwich."
Easy! I said, "Sandwich meat and cheese are in the deli drawer." I put my finger on the deli drawer, in case he didn't know what it was, which I thought might be the case, as it had formerly contained onions and a chunk of partially unwrapped butter. "Condiments are in the door, where they were before, and so is your bread." He happily gathered an armload of ingredients and took them to the table.
It is a lot more fun to tidy someone else's home than to tidy your own home. I do not know why this is. Perhaps it is because you don't have to finish; you can just work on what you want to work on, and stop when you are happy with what you have accomplished. I did not try to organize the entire kitchen, but throughout the week I was there, the order increased a bit each day, as I found where things went, and then gathered up all the loose items that could be put away in a location. For instance, paper cups and plates. There were packages of paper cups and plates everywhere. One day, I opened a low cupboard and found a supply of paper products. Immediately, I gathered all the paper cups and plates from the entire kitchen and stashed them in this cupboard. I felt like I'd just caught a long pass to score a touchdown.
It was a nice stay. I went to two Bible studies, read two books, enjoyed two shakes from a place called Cook Out, met the mystery roommate who had been away at a conference every other time we'd been in town, and watched a documentary about the life of the man who played Big Bird on Sesame Street. On Friday night, Shawn flew in from Cali. On Saturday, we helped DJ put plastic over a drafty window, attended a Duke performance of The Messiah, and dined at a Peruvian restaurant with a group of DJ's best friends (nice selection of gluten-free menu choices). On Sunday, we drove home, light traffic and clear weather allowing us to make it in 12 hours, just as we would have hoped.
I have other things in my mind today that I would like to remember, but the stories are too long to tell. Remind me to discuss the concept of resilience sometime soon.
Meantime, we need to get a Christmas tree up around here!