We're home from getting Jess. It was an uneventful trip overall, but one also devoid of side trip shenanigans. But not devoid of some fun and special times.
On the way out, we were in Southwestern Connecticut and "Do They Know It's Christmas Time" came on the radio. Geoff asked about the song, who it was about, who the band was, and what was going on with the story. I filled him in on Band Aid, and Africa back in the early 80s (to whit he responded "So, not a lot has changed there over the decades since this recording was made.") We talked about Africa's politics, the history of Liberia, friends that I have who live in Kenya and South Africa. We talked about Warlords and Missionaries. We talked about Sun City and well meaning 80s pop stars who refused to play there until things changed in South Africa. We talked about Biko and Mandela.
Geoff moved on to North Korea, and we ended up talking about "Animal Farm" and Communism, and how authors use inanimate objects to tell human tales. We watched the sun setting in the southwest while talking about Gulag Archipelago and other tales of life inside Post WWII Russia. We talked about the Eastern Front and the Western Front. He was confused that Russia was an ally in WWII and then not so much after that.
"Woah, we're in New York? When did that happen?" He asked me. Actually, we were one exit away from Pennsylvania at that point.
It made that stretch of the trip go very quickly to have a one on one discussion partner by my side. We got gas and made it to our friends' Chris and Chrissy's house in the Scranton area and had a nice dinner.
The following morning they had to go to a pitchfork and torch meeting at their place of work, even though they were on vacation, so we hit the road and motored west. We stopped in Ebensburg, which is East of Pittsburgh by about 90 minutes or so and I realized I didn't know where my wallet was.
Long time readers and good friends know I misplace things often. Especially in the summer time. Many pants, many pockets, much confusion.
I tore the car apart looking for the little purse that I carry, which fits my cell phone, camera and wallet very nicely. The cell phone was up front with me, the camera was on the back seat, and the purse itself was not to be found.
Perhaps I left it at Chris and Chrissy's. I had paid for dinner at the restaurant the night before and had the purse with me there. I recalled seeing it in the living room while we were watching American Horror Story, because I got out my Carmex and used it.
They tore their house apart and it wasn't anywhere to be found. They tore their car apart, checked rooms I hadn't even entered, and looked into the driveway to see if I dropped it there. Nothing.
Well, I had cash in my front pocket so I got the tank filled up and knew I had enough to get BACK to Scranton but not enough to get all the way home. Geoff had about $30 in his wallet so that would get us home. We headed to Jess' without talking about it any more...
I was woefully disappointed in myself, because without my wallet I didn't have enough money to go to the Carnegie Museum and see the Christmas display that I love so very much. I fumed the whole way to her front door. We loaded up quickly, two trips and the back was full. She was unregistered, finished, done. We had to swing by so she could drop off some paperwork to the German professor's office, and then we were on our way.
My father in law had made hotel reservations for us, and pre-paid it (thank God) so we checked right in and met him and my MIL for dinner. I broke it to them that I'd lost my wallet, suffered a 20 minute lecture about how much work I'd have to do to replace everything (LIKE I DON'T KNOW THIS. How about a little sympathy or something please?)
They came back to the hotel with us for a little while. My father in law informed me that I am (in his opinion) the Christmas Police because I'm rather opinionated about things like the Baby Jesus doesn't go in the manger in your nativity set until Christmas Day, and there should never be a polar bear and a penguin in your front lawn display because they don't live on the same poles, and more than one Santa in your yard should get you shot. He was a step away from calling me a Christmas Nazi, which I suppose is true to some extent.
My father in law filled my gas tank for me and handed me sixty bucks. We now had enough money for gas to get home, and lunch, and maybe dinner. Crisis averted money-wise. Now I just had to make sure I didn't get pulled over on the highway...
When they left we all went to bed. I think it wasn't even 10pm. But we were all utterly exhausted at this point. Geoff initially tried to sleep on the couch, but it was a foot and a half too short for him. Jess was smack dab in the center of her bed sleeping diagonally, so I knew there was no way I could get in there if I wanted to be kind and offer Geoff the bed I was in... I told him he should come up and sleep on the bed with me, that it wasn't gross or perverted (which is what he said it was... kids. Jeesh).
He finally decided that I was right and he should.
Sleeping with Geoff in the bed was something I don't think I've done for over a decade. He's not the small person who used to end up with his feet in my ribcage. He was too long for the bed, so his feet were hanging off the end (how do I have such giant tall kids?) He is like a Mexican Jumping Bean and wouldn't be still. I think he woke me up eleven times in the night.
He slept well, he said. Glad for that.
We left at 9am and planned to stop for lunch only...I wanted to get as much travel done before we hit some city at rush hour.
Between State College and Scranton we had another great marathon discussion of early memories. Before Geoff was born my husband tried to get Jessica to do something and told her about the elves that would be watching her and reporting to Santa. She FLIPPED OUT screaming "why should I bother even trying to be good. I'll never be good enough!" and tried to throw her bed over, and all sorts of other things while I curled up on the couch crying about the disaster Doug had caused in the other room. Jess had no recollection of this event. Geoff found it horribly entertaining and Jess howled and said "well, this explains a lot about who I am even though I don't remember it." We talked about how Geoff tried to bungee jump out of a tree, how he had these Leap Pad books that he used to make up songs to, and Jess and I could only remember one of them. I wish I knew the others... He has vivid and joyful recollections of our vacations to Arizona and to North Carolina.
Before we knew it we were in New York State. Stuck in traffic all the way to Hartford and beyond. We got home at 8pm and I was exhausted.
I'm not as young as I used to be where this 12 hour trip never bothered me. But now... twice in a month and I'm done.
We need to unload the car, get our tree, and make it look like Christmas here. Seeing as I've lost my wallet, I have to replace my license, social security card, and my 2 credit cards, my Sam's Club card (I was going to do all my Christmas Shopping on that) and our insurance cards. Monday will be a busy day.
Until then though, I'm happy we're home safe, even though first thing this morning Geoff decided to play the drums as loudly as he could.
Welcome home Jess.