Triumphal return

posted 5 2005

Written 4 July 2005

Yes, we're back in Tallahassee. We got back Monday evening (27 June), only an hour or two lateOceanography faculty member Jeff Chanton was on the same flight, and we ran into the Houle's (he's in Biological Science) at the airport—it's a small town. Jason picked us up at the airport before going out for the evening (he's of the generation that goes out for the evening about the time we think of going to bed), and I rummaged in the freezer for the ghosts of dinner past (beef-bean-sausage casserole and olive-oil-roasted onions and mushrooms) to microwave for supper.

In the morning, all the windows were heavily fogged on the outside—Jason kept the AC cranked up a little colder than we usually do. We left it there, though, so as to ease gradually back into north Florida weather. To our annoyance, the box containing our golf shoes, gloves, hats, etc. had not arrived (it still hasn't), so we set off Tuesday morning for the golf course in street shoes, baseball caps, and a light rain. Fortunately, the rain continued through most of our round, keeping the temperature well under 90 degrees—not bad at all. Neither of us played very well, but the main point was the exercise and the sunlight, which (even dimmed by the cloud cover) helps a lot with jet lag. In the afternoon, I shopped for groceries while David did the initial triage on the cubic yard of mail Jason had neatly stacked up to await our return. He didn't find too much in the way of bombshells. About the worst were (1) a postcard addressed to the neighbors, which was put in our mailbox by mistake, and which Jason didn't notice (it invited them to a birthday party back in March; I hope they found out about it some other way), and (2) a letter from a close childhood friend I hadn't heard from since our wedding, more than 30 years ago. In preparing to move, she had come across a couple of old middle-school publications she thought I might like and sent them along, with a note about what she's been doing for the last few decades. It too was dated back in March, so she probably thinks I wasn't thrilled with the idea of becoming reacquainted. I fired off an e-mail the next morning explaining the delay, so I hope to hear from her again soon.

Jason and me Wednesday, we played just nine holes while Jacon loaded his car. It didn't look as though everything would fit, but he's had a lot of experience with musical instruments and packs a mean drumset. In the end, he got it all in, without the cymbal stand even jutting into the passenger seat the way it did when he arrived. He had planned to meet a friend at the Tallahassee airport about 7 p.m., for an hour's chat before leaving for Atlanta (the first stop on his drive home to Maryland), but the friend called to say that his earlier flight was delayed, so Jason set off earlier in the day, hoping to make it to Atlanta in time to intercept his friend there. (Here he poses with me in the driveway before hitting the road.) I've talked to him since, and he made it safely back to Maryland, where he's staying with his family in Rockville for a few weeks before moving to a house he's renting with friends in College Park this fall. (I forgot to ask whether he connected with his traveling friend in Atlanta.) He pronounces Tallahassee "a cool town" and says he'll miss all the friends he made here this winter. He promises to come back for the FSU-Maryland football game in October . . . .

Thursday morning, I went back to work at FSU, to—as I had hoped—little fanfare. I got there early and was able to check my e-mail and make a good start on recombobulating my office and migrating back from my laptop to my desk computer before anybody noticed I was there. That's the sign of a successful telecommute, when nobody much notices you're back because they never much noticed you were gone. The people who seemed the gladdest to see me were the custodial staff, who assured me life on the third floor just wasn't the same without me; to them, I was really gone and not just always there at the other end of an e-mail message.

Spring has apparently been wet here for a change—maybe the long drought is finally over. The population of hawks is up (Mississippi kits over the golf course!), and one of my empty flower pots has sprouted a volunteer spleenwort. Our blueberry bushes are bearing heavily, and the fig tree is covered with green figs. Best of all, the lemon tree is once again laden with green lemons! Apparently my dream back in April that it had bloomed again this year was true!

So life is gradually settling back into the normal routine here. We're finding and unpacking all the stuff we put away to make room for Jason. I'm replacing all the cooking ingredients we're out of (for months before our departure, I tried not to replace anything we used up) and restocking the freezer with staples (chicken stew for Friday breakfasts, homemade bread, basic tomato sauce), and David is slogging through the mound of credit-card receipts and the pile of bank statements. I've been perpetually behind on the web diary, so much remains to be written up. I wrote several entries while we were at the ASLO meetings in Madrid, but I couldn't upload them from there, so they're all going up today. I'll keep at it at least until I use up all my notes on things I wanted to post.

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