Love Letters

What if…

The first hundred days ended in love letters instead of data?

Dear Potato,

We woke up on the twin bed, warm in the cold front room. The night before ended in last minute arrangements and exhaustion, but most importantly – it ended in family time.

Our slow morning was so much like the night before. You decided to join me on my “trip to Coventry”, and I love those moments because it’s so much like getting to take home with me. You insisted on driving despite my feeble offers. Let the debate rage on

Thank you for encouraging my professional life forward, even if you had to stimulate my competitive side.

Being home with Mom and Mitch comforted me. I feel, with hopes stacked tidy, that you and I have so much to look forward to in the years ahead.

Thinking of late night cuddles,

S

Bagels and Pita Chips

Bad dreams wiped away by husband cuddles. Another day to sleep in and enjoy family time. Breakfast was leftover bagels topped with everything, and coffee. David and I watched a video about the 1950s French involvement in Vietnam.

A morning excursion to Portland City Center featured a charming bakery, a well-balanced thrift shop with a little bit of everything, and novelty shop equipped with thank you cards and cute oven mits.

After that, we said goodbye to Sophie and packed up Tom’s car. The drive is a blur of conversation, music, media consumption, naps.

Lunch was also dinner? A rest stop was involved. Think: skimpy overpriced salad, pita chips (unexpectedly covered with cinnamon sugar), guacamole extras and large fries from McDonald’s.

We dropped Caroline and Kristin at their dad’s place, and had the opportunity to visit there for a little while.

Then we returned to Chapel. I retrieved my jacket from the basement, and the boys unloaded love on Rocky (the family companion).

The rest of the night was spent driving back to the city, hunting for parking in our neighborhood, hauling things back to the apartment, chugging seltzer and settling in…

We bickered over David’s recent line of complaint: I am oppositional and he doesn’t feel his opinions are valued. He presented the complaint in the form of comparing me to one of his relatives.

Please take a moment to imagine my data project, the “Husbometer“, making squeaky, break-down noises.

What other strategic objectives do we have for our coupledom in these last of the 100 days?

My thoughts return to a post-nup, and a yearning to mitigate some relationship stressors (my gainful employment).

 

L.L. Bean

Saturday began nice and slow: cuddles, coffee, radiant heat, improv breakfast.

The day picked up speed around 1pm with a brunch outing and a two-car excursion to Freeport, Maine.

We got lost in the L.L. Bean stores. L.L. Bean and other Freeport brands created a complex retail maze. Soft sweaters and sales galore. When it was time to leave, David grew frustrated in his failed effort to promptly reunite the group.

We returned to Portland and some bickering ensued. David performed poorly on the husbometer.

As a group, we grabbed pizza at Flatbread Company and attended a community theater performance of Mother Butterfly. Scenes that stuck out: Sophie’s mom singing opera, the family fighting, the cancer doctor.

Sleep-in

For me, Friday required sleeping in.

Hannah (a fellow Syracuse University grad student who took my room in the old apartment) shared an AirBnb bedroom with me Thursday-Friday during the conference. Kenneth took the other room.

Hannah left in the early morning, but Kenneth and I drove in later. I was due to volunteer at the Syracuse University iSchool booth from 10am-1230pm. This was my opportunity to reunite with Molly and to hang out with Jay, who both work where I used to — the iSchool’s enrollment and recruitment office.

Tom, my brother in-law, called me as I was leaving the AirBnb for the Riverside Convention Center. He proposed a weekend trip to Maine with David and I.

I spent the morning debating the proposed trip to Maine. David and I chatted over logistics and preferences via Google Hangouts.

Thanks to the conference’s New Members roundtable, I had a luncheon to attend at no-cost. I ate a sad meal of apple-squash soup and a “vegan selection” that had the likeness of hot spinach-cannellini bean salad. Fine as long as you like side dishes for main dishes and your lunch is free.

Meanwhile, David agreed to join the trip to Maine and let everyone know that it was “not because he wanted to go to Maine but because he wanted to spend time with the sibs”.  I, having also decided to attempt the family trip to Maine, embarked on a snow-sleet-rain plagued 6.5 hour drive home from Rochester. I rerouted to Chapel Lane mid-trip after consulting with Tom mid-trip.

That night, David, his siblings (Tom, Caroline, Kristin) and I all departed around 9pm for Maine from Chapel Lane. Our destination was the family home of Tom’s partner, Sophie in Portland, Maine.

It is a great honor to travel with all of you. – Me to the Dougherty Sibs

Scuttle

In the morning, I scuttled from my accommodations at the home of Ms. Lawley (in West Henrietta) to the grad student AirBnb (near downtown Rochester). The blue, two-bedroom AirBnb reminded me of the apartment I shared with Vicky and Sidney in Syracuse. I checked in, dropped my things and walked to the conference center.

From 1pm-2:15pm, I served as a monitor for an interactive session on “cultivating empathy in librarianship”.

From there, it’s all a happy blur: meeting with friends in the exhibit hall, session sampling, sweets, beer and tofu wrap at Drifters, pizza in the presidential suite, reuniting with Lane Lawley and company, reception at the Strong Museum of Play, late night talent show with Urban Librarians Unite.

David and I had light-touch communications. In his work world, he prepared to make a switch to “product side”. I’ve come to understand it’s like the research and development side of marketing.

Turn Around

Had a hard time leaving Mom. Tried to start my drive back to NYC too early in the day. Mom looked sad to see me leave. She watched me from the doorway. She withheld tears. I started driving and felt pulled to stay. So I pulled over, called a few people, and then turned around to be with her again.

Dad worked through his birthday (today). I called him on the phone and he told be about this Dilbert comic:

dilbert.png

I hung out with mom by the fireplace until around 6pm, when my restlessness became too much.

Returning to David was bliss. He met me on the sidewalk.

Frisbae

In the morning, David and I returned the master bedroom to a sleep-deprived Mad.

Then David and I couch-cuddled, readied coffee, nommed on leftovers and chocolate-banana bread. Tom brought us to see Sophie and her team play in the national ultimate frisbee tournament.

 

After the Brutes’ frisbee victory, we found a nearby Mexican restaurant and placed a big order. We satisfied our appetites then dropped things at the frisbee team’s Airbnb before heading to Moonlight Beach for a swim in the Pacific.

 

We left Sophie with her team and traveled to Newport Beach to meet up with Caroline, Kristin and the rest of the Dougherty clan.


My laptop stays put away. Husbometer data tracking again postponed.

Leave No Trace

The flight consisted of:

  • reading
  • writing thank you notes
  • watching Leave No Trace
Movie poster for Leave No Trace.
Leave No Trace tells the story of a father and daughter who live off the grid in a Oregon state park. They are discovered and displaced. The father is struggling with PTSD, though succeeding at raising a strong, capable kid.

There was an empty middle seat in my row. I appreciated that the flight was direct from Newark to San Diego. I spiked my seltzer with orange juice, and chased it with tea. Pretzels were complimentary.

Mad picked me up. Our reunions are seldom now, and its been years since I’ve seen Paul.

The drive from the airport gave me a calming sense of coming home. It was good to see the San Diego city skyline again. I admired the speedometer in the mini cooper. We talked about homelessness. We pursued frozen yogurt, but the store closed on our arrival. Instead we ordered late night Chinese food and brought it home to eat. I decided to try eggplant in plum sauce.  Excitement held off my jet lag exhaustion. We slipped into our easy way of talking and being together. When I was ready to sleep, they insisted on my taking their king size bed.

In the morning, Paul was gone to work and Mad was restless on the couch. We traded places and she retreated to the dark bedroom. I napped on and off. I read For Whom the Bell Tolls, wrote a thank you note, and nibbled leftovers while sitting on the sidewalk in the California sun.

The evening brought many good things:

  • outdoor mall shopping excursion with Mad
  • ramen noodle dinner with Mad and Paul
  • airport pick-up with Paul
  • David!
  • car tour of San Diego and the navy base with Paul and David
  • hanging out, talking, eating leftovers
  • sleep!

I postponed logging husbometer data and the blog. I had to estimate and backdate content. The benchmarking period has come to a close. We found that the true average is nearer to 0.6 —

Help from Dad

California

I’m surrounded by anxious travelers. The flight to San Diego is delayed. Time to squeak out a post.

In other news:

  • Mom is out of surgery. Everything seems to have gone as expected. Hopefully, the same will be said for recovery.
  • Grumpy morning for David, after a night of poor sleep. He has an important client meeting today. While I prepped for my departure to California, I cleaned up the apartment bedroom and took care of some stressors (laundry) – so hopefully David will have a restful night. I’m excited to meet him in California tomorrow.

The United Airlines terminal at Newark is fancy. There are many chic restaurants and well-equipped workstations. My flight gate moved 3 times, but it was cool seeing different parts of the terminal (C).

Pumped out some work. Excited to settle on my flight. I’m near chapter 31 of Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. I’m eager to finish it and start my next read. There’s a lot of build-up for the end of this novel. The main character is settling into bed before the day of the bridge-blowing.

Good night and good luck, blog readers. See you on the other coast.


PS. Tomorrow is the last day of the 100 days “benchmarking period”.