Thursday, April 23, 2009

travelogue, part I

Oh my goodness me. This time last week I was in Virginia, visiting with my roommates and looking ahead to my very last shift at the hospital. (Actually, I think at this precise time I was on the phone with my boyfriend, making plans for my birthday which we'll be celebrating this time next week, but that's neither here nor there.) I wanted to post pretty regular travel updates, but of course I lacked either time, internet connection, or both, and I'm really just now sitting down to take a breath for the first time in that week. So. Breathe. Recap.

Friday: Last day at work. I'm really gonna miss those guys. I brought in two boxes of cookies from Trader Joe's, which were very well received. My co-workers surprised me by ordering pizza, and one of them bought me a slice of my favorite cake from the cafeteria. I felt very loved. It was a busy but not crazy day, and I got to work as tech for eight hours then secretary for four, which is just how I like it. All in all, a pretty perfect Last Day. Then I drove to Mom and Dad's to spend the night, because I was taking Dad's car out to Chicago.

I'd better explain my itinerary a bit, because it's hardly straightforward (one of my co-workers, after I explained that I was driving to Atlanta via Chicago, offered to buy me a map.) The setup: Ginny in Virginia with two cars, Vladimir and Robin. Robin belongs to me, Vladimir belongs to Dad but is being rented to Dan, who is in Chicago with no cars. Stage One: Ginny drives Vladimir to Chicago, with one teeny backpack containing just enough to last her a week. Dan and Ginny drive Vladimir to Atlanta, with as much of Dan's stuff as they can cram. Stage Two: About a week later, Dan and Ginny drive Vladimir to Virginia, load up Ginny's stuff into Vladimir and Robin, and drive both cars back to Atlanta. They then breathe a tremendous sigh of relief and swear off long road trips and moving forever.

Saturday: Mums cooked up a big grand breakfast. I had intended to leave at ten, and I actually left at 11:20, which is par for me. Dad and I had a wee conflict before I left, which was part of the delay; nothing big or dramatic or even surprising, just one of the natural struggles that come when you have a parent and child that love each other. It still made me cry, though, which is not the best way to start a day of driving. For one thing, crying always makes me sleepy. So my first couple hours of driving were with heavy eyes. Ah well.

Actually the whole first half of the trip felt very odd. I think it was partly that I wasn't driving a familiar route; after spending so much time going to and from Atlanta, it felt weird to be going a different direction. Also, I hadn't yet managed to get in touch with Gretchen's grandparents, with whom I was staying that night. Gretchen had, and everything was worked out, but I hadn't talked to them directly. It's rather unsettling to be driving 500 miles away from home and not be completely assured that you have a place to land. I finally talked to them somewhere in Ohio, and immediately felt five times better.

Gretchen's grandparents are the dearest, sweetest people in the world. I've only met them once before, when I came home with her one spring break, but we adopted each other immediately and Gretch says they've been asking continually when I was going to see them. Originally my plan was to drive straight to Chicago on Saturday, but I decided to break the journey and take the opportunity to see them, and I'm so glad I did. They welcomed me with hugs and a ham sandwich, and we chatted a while before an early bedtime.

Sunday: I slept in, oh glory, and even got time to work on my sock a bit before Grandma and Grandpa got back from Mass. Then Grandma made me a lovely breakfast (my second in a row! keep counting) that was definitely not creamed eggs on toast, because Gretchen reads this blog, and they both told me repeatedly that if Gretchen were to hear that they'd served me creamed eggs on toast their lives would be forfeit, so it was a delicious breakfast but it was certainly not that. Then I bundled myself back into Vladimir and headed up to Chicago.

(Off for drinks and a movie with my boys. More to come.)