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Surprise Trip Home

Monday was fine. The weather was still weird, cloudy and a brisk 70ish degrees for most of the day. Made me wish for fall.

I was fairly productive, and we had a lot of customers throughout the day. Even if few bought anything, there were many scoping out horns to buy, and I hope to see some of those folks back in again.

We got a pretty awesome surprise: the owner of the company is giving us not only the 4th of July off, but also the 3rd!! This means that I'll have time to visit the people I love!!!

Of course I tried Jameson first, but he is not so lucky and has to work that whole weekend. And of course knowing that I had time off made him feel bad about not being free himself. Oh long distance! What a bummer! But I understand. I don't think I would like it if I had to work all weekend, and he came to see me, but I had to work for the majority of the time. I mean if after a year we still haven't seen each other, I'm willing to scrape together whatever time is available. But for now we are still trying to have Actual Time Together at some point. We'll get it :)

Next I poked my family, and it looks like I'll be able to go home for a short visit! Because it's a holiday weekend, flights are pretty ridiculous! So I will probably be driving. This will also allow me to pick up some things from home to bring back to KC. I'm really looking forward to seeing my family!!!

Tuesday was kind of a bummer, Kristy and my boss and I all agreed. Just one of those days where you can't get ahead, for every one thing you try to finish five more demand your attention until you're ending the day with more work than you started with. Sheesh. I skipped the gym and went home early to pack a bit.

Wednesday and Thursday were both good days, I felt productive more or less. Thursday started off with a thunderstorm first thing in the morning, I was surprised to wake up to total darkness, and then it started pouring.

There was a flash flood warning. I got to work fine but there was a pretty large puddle on the sidewalk right outside our door. Kristy made a boat and "sailed" it.

Our boss was out for the day with meetings and such, so Kristy and I were on our own. We listened to 90s music while she repaired flutes and I inventoried method books. We had very few customers, probably because of the holiday weekend coming up. After work I stayed to practice a bit, and left when my boss showed up to unload some instruments. From there I went to the gym, then home to finish packing and make sure I had everything in order for the drive to PA.

Friday was kind of a weird day. All three of us had to leave the store for one reason or another throughout the day. My boss, to spend time with some symphony players in town. Kristy, to renew her teaching certification paperwork. Me, to drive a Buffet clarinet across town for delivery before the holiday hit. Still, I was able to leave work early to start the long drive to PA. I hit holiday traffic and also lost an hour due to the time change, so did not make as much progress as I would have liked.

I arrived at my sister's house in Bloomsburg around 3pm on Saturday. SO tired. But a graduation party for my brother Jonah was in full swing, and I was so happy to see everyone! After a toast to celebrate Jonah's accomplishment, I spent time catching up with my sister and socializing with her/Jonah's friends. Everyone's doing well. My sister has a scar on her neck from her recent surgery, but it's healing well. She says she has to keep the scar out of the sun for a whole year, otherwise it will turn purple! Yikes!

My cousin David was there as well, it was awesome to see him. He's a little stressed lately with work and the living situation and, you know, living in New Jersey. But otherwise he's doing well! I was really happy to spend time with him. I didn't take many pictures, as I felt it would be rude. My sister lives in kind of a remote part of our town, with lots of wildlife and edible herbs/plants growing wild in her yard. Among those is a large blackberry bush. I helped myself to a snack :)

After a few hours I headed to my parent's hosue, while I still had energy to hold conversation with them. They're doing well too, which is great. My mom has been gardening and the yard looked wonderful! And I was amazed at how big Roux has grown since I last saw him!

Before going to bed, I read through a book sent to me by a dear friend, Ben DeCastro. It's a hilarious kid's book about CrossFit. I enjoyed it immensely and was very touched that Ben sent me a copy...with a note from the author handwritten inside even! If you are a fan of CrossFit, or even if you hate it, visit the book page and consider picking up a copy for yourself or that obnoxious CrossFit person in your life!

Sunday, I went to church with my parents. They're currently "church shopping" and visiting many local churches to find the one that's a good fit for them. A new church recently opened up just a few miles away, called LCBC (stands for Lives Changed By Christ). I'm from a small town, and I'd say this is the closest my town will ever get to a mega-church. It's in a large brand new facility...my parents said the church invested around $4 million in renovating it. This church is a chain, that is, it has many branches throughout PA, and all of them adhere to a theme and message decided at their central location in Lancaster. The theme currently is "At the Movies". We were greeted at the door by ushers with little bags of popcorn for each of us. Before the program started, there was some live contemporary Christian music with a live band. I was really impressed with the staging, equipment, and grid. And the band! They were very good.

Then the message started, featuring clips from the movie Arrival. The entire message was delivered via video. It was definitely entertaining and engaging, but I'm not sure I'd call it "church". It was more like a "Christian experience". I had fun, and my parents enjoyed it too, but we agreed that this might not be the most ideal church to join if for no other reason than my parents like to be useful within their church, and this one seems to have it all together.

We ended up relaxing for the rest of the day, and that was great. Much-needed. My mom and I actually fell asleep for a bit on the back deck, with the birds chirping and the breeze washing gently over us. It felt so nice. Later on my sister came over, and together we watched "1776". My Dad's pick. He kept apologizing for making us watch it, probably because it was pretty dated. But it was well done, a very down-to-earth look at how America as a nation came to be. Kind of made me wonder "what if"! You'll just have to check it out yourself ;)

On Monday, I had to pack my things and prepare to drive home. I gathered a lot of things that have been in storage in my parent's basement, including a bass trombone, some circus items, and a huge box of books. I loaded it all into the car, then Mom and I went to run some errands. Some of her friends have been hospitalized recently with one thing or another, and like the sweetheart she is she cooked food for them :) We delivered it, then enjoyed a nice lunch at a nearby Chinese buffet. Because Jameson can't eat most Chinese food thanks to the often high MSG content, I haven't eaten at a Chinese buffet in a long time. It was great! Mom and I stuffed ourselves and got a box to go for Dad.

Back at the house, I packed a few final things and said goodbye. This was such a short visit, but I don't care, it was worth it. I probably won't see any family again for several months.

Driving back was a little easier; traffic was lighter at least, and I'd be gaining an hour back rather than losing one. I started driving around 3pm and stopped around 11pm. Tomorrow, the 4th of July, I'll be driving almost the entire day. I hope to get home before dinnertime so I can unpack and get groceries. It was a nice weekend, and I'm grateful that I got to go home.