Perhaps this indicates that the trip gave me enough time to rest and relax that I "recharged" my mental and physical batteries? Despite being in plenty of different places over those four weeks, Michael and I did not keep up a break-neck, let's go-go-go, frantic and frenzied pace. There were some days when played the tourism card to the hilt, but other days were a smattering of lazy mornings coupled with a long walk.
I also cannot emphasize enough the relief that one feels when getting out of the car after a hellishly long drive. I don't mind road trips, in fact, I enjoy them, but I loath traffic. Ironic, isn't it, that I live in the Los Angeles area?! I am usually quite attune to traffic and don't mind changing a route to avoid long delays, and a thought did bounce around in the back of mind, wondering about Sunday night traffic coming back to LA from Vegas. "Nah" I told myself. It's summertime, too hot for people to 'weekend' in Vegas. In retrospect, I find such naiveté humorous, but while enduring the mainly stop and sometimes go frustration of traffic, humor was NOT on my mind. What should have been a 3.5 hour drive extended to 7 hours, which meant that a 13 or 14-hour drive in one day turned out to be 17 hours or so. The only thing that saved my sanity (and probably Michael's too because he did not have to listen to me rant and rave) was a trashy book that I could read while stuck in traffic. Thank you, Jeffrey Archer for writing the fictional equivalent of cotton candy! I totally left poor Michael to battle with switching lanes and inching forward while I lost myself in the captivating and inane narrative. That man is a total saint!
Once out of the car - Happiness! Relief! Delight! Exhaustion! We made it home! The best part was that these wonderful little beings greeted us:
I had missed Gus and Milo, aka "the Boys", SO MUCH over the past four weeks! And it was somewhat reassuring to know that they had missed us just a bit too. They sat close all night, and when we eventually went to bed, they slept right outside the room, snoring and yelping a bit as they dreamed (I love it when they dream - I always wonder if they actually get to CATCH squirrels in their dreams instead of merely chasing them). The only unfortunate part of the touching story of our reunion is that they gained some serious poundage in our absence. Gus, the lab-beagle mix, in particular. He can now be described as that three-letter word: F A T.
And finally, easing back into the swing of things has helped, going into the office to take care of some paperwork and helping out with a college essay-writing seminar. I consider myself to be fairly unqualified to advise students about the college process and writing the personal essay, but I must say that I enjoyed the experience of working with the students. It was a nice 're-introduction', being with colleagues and students and discussing the writing process, but not jumping back with the intensity that characterizes the official start to the year.
Now, if only that official start will be as forgiving as the return to my current reality! We shall see...