Interstellar Adventures

May 20, 2007

There and Back Again

Filed under: Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,Interstellar Travel,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 10:27 pm

Or, the 37-hour turn around…

Despite the dinner and bottle of wine I enjoyed on Friday night, I woke up at 4:30 am Saturday and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was probably paranoid about waking up late with my mom ringing the doorbell at 7 am. Instead I was making wake-up calls to them to confirm they weren’t running late.

Our plan was to leave at 7. We rolled out at 7:03. That absolutely has to be a record for my family as the closest to being on-time and on-plan.

The drive was mostly uneventful. Texas to Oklahoma to Arkansas to Missouri. The hardest part was from Fayettville, AR to Branson, MO. There’s no real highway to get there, and so we drove on the twisty one-lane-each-way country roads. Got stuck behind a 5th-wheel for about 15 minutes, but thankfully traffic wasn’t heavy. I was riding shotgun at this point, and tried to sleep for a bit. But instead I got rather car sick. Not used to that kind of driving. Laying down at the hotel for a few minutes restored my equilibrium.

I hadn’t seen my aunt since last fall, and hadn’t seen my cousin for at least 5 years. The last time I saw him he was a gangly, skinny teenager. This time he was a tall, well built and handsome Marine. I was so proud. He gave hugs all around to everyone and was really happy that we all made the trip.

We also got to see my cousin’s other grandparents and an uncle, people we hadn’t seen in 20 years. They live in eastern Pennsylvania. Despite my aunt and their son being divorced for 20 years, they are still very involved in my cousin’s life, and along with my aunt were the only family members able to make it out to California for my cousin’s graduation from bootcamp. They are such nice people, and I really enjoyed talking with his grandmother. She was a war-bride, originally from the UK. Her brothers and sister all live there still, with the eldest being 97.

My uncle grilled filets for us, accompanied by baked potatoes and salad. We ate outside in their backyard. The weather was perfect. My mom and all her siblings were there, for the first time in a long time. Besides my cousin, my sisters and I were the only other ‘cousins’ there.

We didn’t talk much about his deployment. Where are you going? Where they tell me to. What are you going to be doing? Fixing stuff. How long will you be deployed? About 7 months. Yep. He’s a Marine.

I could tell he was happy we were all there. Actually a bit overwhelmed or embarassed by the attention I think. My aunt didn’t tell him everyone was coming until he was already there. But I think it meant a  lot to him.

This morning we saw them again briefly for breakfast. Then, there were lots of hugs, a few quick tears, and we were off. It was a happy occasion, not a sad one.

On the way home, we stopped by the storefront of a family run orchard. I bought some fig preserves, blackberry preserves, green jalapeno preserves (for Nick) and some fresh, organic honey. I can’t wait to taste these! I managed the helm all the way home, and tried to keep everyone happy. But 8 hours in the car, followed by 8 hours in the car made for a few sour moments. I was so happy when we pulled home into the drive at 10 to 8 tonight.

It was tough to make this trip, but totally worth it. I had fun spending time with my mom and sisters. It was wonderful to see my aunt and uncles and my cousin.

But I am so very happy that this weekend we are flying to ELP and NOT driving. Oh yeah. Forgot to mention that little tidbit. After discussions with Nick’s sister and Pop, we’ve decided that Pop going back to ELP is not an option. Soooo, we’re going to sell Pop’s house. And then we’re going to sell our house. And then we’re buying a bigger house. And Pop is going to live with us. I have a list of things to do. It’s a long and fairly expensive list. I may have to send Nick to the store again to do his brand of ‘grocery shopping’. Living on mac n’ cheese for the next few months should be easy, right?

Things are settling and normalizing for now. When the real work starts around here and the move happens, it’ll get all crazy again. I’m enjoying this brief moment of sanity.

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