I have to finish journaling this so I can write about NEW stuff.
Monday, October 16: Not much happened this day. Max had to go to South Station to pick up the car. I made a lot of phone calls, trying to schedule seeing people. I ran errands, buying wedding presents and baby supplies. Jack had a lot of fun playing with the girls, who had tons of fun stacking blocks for him. It was cute to see them try to stop him from knocking down the blocks while they were building the towers, then trying to convince him that it was OK to knock them down when they were done building.
Tuesday, October 17: Knowing that I had to go to NEDC (New Hampshire’s branch of Oracle) I decided to take Jack over, unannounced, after his morning nap. In trying to take a short cut, I ended up taking an hour to get there, so I arrived when people were at lunch. I did see Ken, JJ, and company at their regular table. Jack started to get upset, but I pulled some keys out of the diaper bag and he calmed down. Someone asked, “Does that work with management?”
Security had to call 3 different people to find someone to escort us up. Susan was in her cube, eating. I felt so horrible for interrupting. She played tour guide as we went around the building looking for writers. They were dispersed, sitting among their engineering groups.
To me, the strangest feeling was that nothing was different. Although it had been over 2 years since I had stepped foot in the building, and everyone was sitting in different parts of the building, I could have just been gone a couple of days. The smells, the kitchens and copy rooms, the maze of cubicles, the name plates — all familiar, like nothing had happened. Jack became hungry, so I got to sit in Rhonda’s cube to feed him. The silence was deafening. The writers’ area had always been buzzing with people talking to one another, engineers coming over to ask and answer questions, people listening in on teleconferences. Now, nothing. It reminded me of a cemetery. All of that, combined with my own wavering about whether I’d actually like to work again, made me cry. I missed work – the environment, the people, the friendships, the contact. Fortunately, I was pretty good at getting myself back together.
Over the course of the next hour or so, I was able to spend time with Susan, Sue, Chuck (who’ll make a wonderful grandfather!), Margaret, Viv (with whom I wanted to talk more, but she had a meeting), Helen, Jackie, Deb, and finally George. Deb and Jack had lots of fun, flying, bicycling, roughhousing. Just as I was leaving, George showed up and walked us out. I was supposed to call him and get together on Friday, but I completely forgot! I owe him lunch, or at least, coffee.
I cried a little on the way home.
I was scheduled to go to Traci’s house at 5. The timing of my NEDC visit caused Jack to nap late, and he was still asleep at 4:30. I started to go without him, then he woke up. As Traci wanted to see Jack, I fed him fast, and then brought him over to Hudson. Our friend Melissa greeted me. Traci and Melissa are theatre friends. Traci and her husband Steve have a (then) 6 month old baby, Aidan. The first thing I saw when I walked in was Steve on the floor with Aidan, both facing me. I said, “Oh, he doesn’t look like you at all, Steve!” Yes, that was sarcasm. Aidan definitely favors his father.
Aidan and Jack had a really good time together, and I was so happy to catch up with Traci and Melissa. Steve also joined in the conversation, and I know that’s the first time we ever really talked about anything. I did feel like Traci and I were all MommyTalk, and were leaving Melissa out, but Melissa didn’t seem to mind. Then again, Melissa is the most gentle person I know, and wouldn’t seem to mind if you were robbing her.
Once again, the time to leave came too soon. Jack cried all the way from Hudson to Merrimack. I did too. If I were there, I thought, I would be raising Jack with Aidan, and they would be real friends. And I would have Traci and Melissa, and Max would have Steve and of course Ben. And we would have Joanne, Marc… the list went on and on. I never realized how much I missed our lives back there.
Wednesday, October 18: The highlights of the day were lunch with Joanne and Trisha and dinner with college friends. Jeremy & Sharona live in Boston, and were the first people to get back to us when we emailed asking, “Who wants to see us?” They were having dinner for their friends that night – friends who we also knew from college, but hadn’t heard from or about since before we left NH. Rachel & Josh and Saru & Justin were all present. Jeremy made some really awesome build your own taco salad, followed by an apple crisp made using a monastery’s recipe. Apparently, having children was in everyone’s minds. I did feel like we were boring people as we answered their questions about adoption, but they assured us that we weren’t; after all, they were asking. We caught up on each other’s lives, as well as on the lives of other mutual friends. John Biggs is married and they have a son named Caspar! Saru auditioned for American Idol, but never made it past the 20 seconds of her song.
Again, we probably only saw Jer & Sha once or twice a year when we were in NH, but the option of seeing them is so appealing. Jeremy was in SnS with us, and he was my housemate sophomore year. Sharona is a sister of Zeta Pst Sigma, the sorority to which I belonged for 2 semesters. Rachel is also a sister, and Josh was in KDR with Jeremy. Saru became a sister of Zeta Sig as well, but I knew her first from SnS and then as our housemate my senior year. Justin is another KDR alum.
All this time at dinner, Jack was a the Flower Girls’ B&B. He slept the whole time, and did not cause any problems. We didn’t get back to NH until after midnight. I was worried that Roy & Trisha would wait up. They didn’t. Good!
Thursday, October 19: After Jack’s morning nap, I packed him up in the car and drove to Lebanon, NH to the Land’s End outlet store. No, I didn’t really need outdoor clothing and equipment; it was a place that my aunt Lynn, uncle Joe, and cousin Kristen knew how to find. Joe & Lynn live in RI. Kristen and her family live in VT. So, we met in NH. I actually arrived first, making wonderful time! Jack barely slept, though. Kristen and her girls, Eden and Elli, arrived next, with Joe and Lynn arriving last, but NOT TOO LATE! (Joe & Lynn are perpetually late — sometimes by hours. I love them anyway, because it makes my tardiness look timely.)
We had a long lunch at Lui Lui’s, where Jack got a new toy, and spent time with his Great Aunt and Great Uncle. Talking was a little difficult, with so many kids, but we caught up well and had a nice time.
After lunch, we moved on to the outlet. Eden found footstools that look like bears, and they were movable. The Land’s End people didn’t know they had rides! Eden, Elli, and Jack all rode on the bears. Sadly, most of the pictures didn’t come out so well. I got to help Eden find a new winter coat. Girls’ clothes are so much more fun than boys’!
I had to leave before it got too late, as I wanted Jack to get to sleep at a near normal time. I wished I could have gone to VT to see Kristen’s new house. More people to miss…
Friday, October 20: Shopping Day. NH is tax free, and there is a wonderful second-hand store called Mother & Child. We left Jack with Max, and Trisha and I went shopping. Jack is now outfitted for his 9-12 months, easily, and has more than enough to get us through the 12+ time frame. We bought pants, jeans, sweaters, long sleeved onesies, a pair of Robeez for $8, and a Classic Pooh puzzle. We also bought a Christmas card photo outfit. So cute! Jack is going to be so incredibly embarassed when I show his fiancee the picture.
From M&C we headed to Babies R Us, where I had coupons… that I couldn’t find. The woman said I could bring the receipt and coupons back and they would refund the money. I hope that works in California. Oops! We made a quick trip into Christmas Tree Shops. I had forgotten how truly wonderful that store is! It’s decent-quality at insanely low prices, and especially great for seasonal decorations. On our way home, we stopped at Zyla’s, which sells stuff bought at auction from the larger stores when they don’t want the stuff anymore. You never really know what you’re going to find. In our case, we were able to find a big gift bag (for Greg & Sheri’s wedding present), a witch (to hang up for Halloween), 3-D blood (for my neighbors — it’s still up on their window!), and a Red Sox 2004 World Series Champions shirt for Max.
Friday night, our friend Chris drove up and we entertained him at the Flower Girls’ B&B. Trisha made up a cheese plate for us. I think I want Trisha to adopt me. I would never have to worry about dinner again. Chris stayed and talked for a couple of hours, then went back into the dark, windy night to drive home.
There’s one more event: Greg & Sheri’s Wedding. That will be my last NH trip post, and then I can focus on the present again. If you’re actually reading all this, I’m wondering why.