Going back to work on Tuesday morning, after my fantastic weekend was, to say the least, difficult! I could not use the excuse, 'I have jet lag', but the lack of sleep due to the late nights and early mornings had definitely taken their toll, and 'burning the candle at both ends' for five days does have a negative effect.
With early mornings and late nights, it took me until the next weekend to completely empty the two small suitcases that I had brought home. It is not the clothes that take the time to unpack, but the little things, like all the toiletries, sewing kits and shower caps, that Samantha insisted I collect! Admittedly, they are good for future trips, where the bathrooms are less adequately stocked, but finding a 'place' for them in the meantime is not so easy! I did spend a little bit of time 'reorganising' my vanity unit to accommodate all, which put me a little behind schedule, but fortunately, the following Monday was President's Day, so I would have an additional day to recover and clean! Oh how I was looking forward to another short week.
Sitting at my desk, Tuesday morning, (the one preceding the National Holiday) I waited for the news from Richard and Steph, as they were going for the official '12 week' scan, and if all went according to plan, I would finally be allowed to announce to the world that they were going to make me a grandma! They had found out a couple of days before Christmas. Steph's sister-in-law, who was herself, at the time, about to drop, insisted that she (Steph) take another test to confirm, and ran into a pharmacy shouting, 'I need a pregnancy test'. The chemist was rather reluctant to sell her one, as it appeared to be a waste of money! It was Christmas Eve when Richard told me that he was going to be a father. We were in the car on the way from the airport, to mum's house, when he broke the news. However, it was to remain a secret! Fortunately, for me, Steph has chosen not to eat certain foods, and as this would have caused a ripple of suspicion, she told some of the family on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I say, fortunately for me, as I was the victim of anxiety the first night back in Blighty. I dreamed that whilst I was preparing vegetables, I kept telling mum all about the way Richard broke the news to me. In my dream she was totally ignoring me. Each time I said something, and she failed to hear, I was relieved, but I kept repeating it! I woke several times in a cold sweat!
Once the call had been received that all was well, and I received an updated scan picture (they had an earlier scan and had sent me the photo of the tiny mite, which I refer to as my beanie baby, due to its shape) I waited for the announcement on social media to appear and then metaphorically screamed from the rooftops to anyone who would listen!
I managed to settle down to work during the afternoon, after displaying my copy of the bean on my wall. Although I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of New York City, the weirdness of Austin is a welcoming place to which to return. The cowboy riding his horse along the main road made me smile. Sub-freezing temperatures started to give way to warmer, longer days. I did wear my coat on Tuesday, but a jacket sufficed on Wednesday, and by Thursday additional outer wear was not necessary. Valentine's Day was even what the Central Texan would refer to as 'hot!', especially for this time of year. Dana disappeared just after lunchtime, to 'run an errand', and I waited for him to return with some flowers. He seemed somewhat disappointed that I was expecting something in the floral department, but I reminded him that there were a number of things that gave it away. Firstly, he does not just 'run errands'. Secondly, I explained that it was a double entendre! Dana always surprises me with flowers, without a specific occasion. Everyone (or the majority) receives flowers on the 14th of February, so I do not expect them from him. However, as he always surprises me with the unexpected, as I was not expecting them, it would actually be unexpected! I convinced him that he had not failed, and that it was a very romantic, and beautiful gesture. Samantha received a yellow rose with foliage too! As we had left the office very late, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice meal. 'Flowers and a French restaurant', was something that I do not really expect from my husband on this particular day. Without sounding too gushing, I get the 'special' treatment every other day! We play down the specific February celebrations!
Saturday was very busy. Samantha and I had an agenda, as we are now counting down to the 'big day'! It was rather amusing explaining to everyone that although she had been married for two years, we are preparing for a 'wedding'. Saturday and Sunday were quite routine. (Apart from the unpacking of the suitcase!) Monday morning was an early start. Dana decided to go into the office at around 6:30am, and I chose to get up and get some boxes unpacked, before Samantha came to collect me. We went to the mall and claimed our free popcorn before going into the cinema. I thoroughly enjoyed The Lego Movie! It was probably a good thing to sit down and do nothing for a couple of hours, as I was in a very rare, impulsive mood! Before we entered the theatre, we went to look at a few stores, as Samantha was looking for some specific items. The boots were not necessary, but they did up around my calves, and were incredibly reasonable! When the assistant told me the price, I raced to the cash desk before the sensible me could take over from the impetuous me! After the film, we went to look in 'Nordstroms' to see if they had a bridal section, and I tried on, and subsequently bought, a dress! I could not believe it was so simple, after the escapades of the last search for an evening gown!
Samantha came home with me to help clear out some more boxes, from her old room, and we managed to get all the photo collages back on the wall, although we were not entirely sure of the order. I had made a deal with Dana regarding our 'on-off' move from our condo. Once he took care of all the small repairs and renovations that needed to be done to put it on the market, I will repack. I don't see us moving for a long time! Perhaps I erred on the side of manipulation but I do not mind staying put!
The work week was absolutely manic! I took myself off the post office later than usual on Tuesday. The queue was very long, and the young man at the front was attempting to mail some wood. Each piece appeared to be the length of a cricket bat, and the width was about six to eight inches. They were not particularly thick but some were neatly bevelled, and others had rather rough edges. Upon each piece of wood was a label (presumably an address) and some stamps. The woman behind the counter did not bat an eyelid as she took out a tape measure, and then weighed the planks. She put another sticky label next to the stamps, and gently placed them in the box behind her. The queue was silent, watching intently, and by all accounts, everyone was just as surprised as me to see what was happening! The young man left unaware of the entertainment he had given, and we all went about our business! Weird!
The rest of the week was rather a blur. I developed a cough on Wednesday which caused me to feel rather feverish, and at first I thought it may be due to the high pollen count of tree allergens. However, it appeared it was just a commonal garden variety of cold, and on Saturday morning, despite having no voice (which my husband assures me is not advantage him) I was feeling slightly better, and after getting my housework done, I left with Samantha for what we had hoped would be a very full day. We got into her car and she pulled out of the carport. Her car is equipped with bluetooth. By pressing a button, she can give it a command, and make a phone call. Amazing. Unless you are in a hurry, or it is an emergency. We had travelled about a mile before we finally got the nice lady to call Dana. 'What would you like to do?', she asked, and then gave us a few options. Once we had told her that we wished to 'call', she came back with several more choices. I told her that I would like to choose my call by 'name', and then told her 'office'. Did I want her to call the office? I thought we had covered that option in the first round! However, it would appear that more than one number was under office, and our office was the second choice. We are quite unsure as to whom the first number belongs, and if I have a spare half an hour, one Saturday, perhaps I shall tell the nice lady to call! Goodness knows how long it would take to call an ambulance!
Costco was not at all busy when we arrived. Samantha needed petrol, and they were by far the most reasonable option. We were not going to venture beyond the cash desks, but we needed lettuce for our midday salads, and we can get 'two for the price of one'. Once inside we could not resist the tidbits that were on offer, and were delighted that the 'sausage' tent was in the middle of the warehouse. Tomato and kale sounded rather delicious! The chef found my expression to be rather amusing. Apparently I looked puzzled when he told me of the ingredients, and then asked me to repeat my order. Samantha and I both said, 'Too-mar-toh!' The English lady beside us was laughing and told the pleasant young man that he was outnumbered, and should learn the correct pronunciation of the fruit! He said he was quite happy to be in the 'minority', and wanted us all to sample the produce, providing we ask for each item in our very lovely accents! We obliged, and ate our fill of bangers!
After a small cup of 'too-mar-toh' and basil soup, we made our way to the check out and paid for the lettuce and gift card (with which we were to purchase the petrol) and then to the exit. The queue for gas was short and it was not long before we arrived at the mall. The farmers' market that took up a few lanes of the car park, was rather well attended. Another aspect of city life which I enjoy is the freedom with which everyone appears to enjoy themselves! A band was playing some 'country and western' tunes at one end, and a small area was cordoned off for those who wished to dance. The sun was shining, the temperature was just about 70 degrees, and the locals were kicking up their heels to the sounds of a couple of guitars. It was almost impossible not to at least sway to the music as we strolled down the aisle of stalls. Welcome to Texas, y'all! Although there was nothing to keep us in the market, it was with reluctance that we left to go inside and shop! I left the dress shop in disgrace, as I had managed to somehow cause a domino effect as I bent down to feel the material of a dress on one of the mannequins. Before the whole lot came crashing down, Samantha pulled me away and apologised to the very unperturbed staff, as I was, once again, put on the naughty step! I didn't touch another thing for the duration of the visit.
I was not disappointed when our proposed long day turned out to be much shorter than anticipated, as I was ready for my afternoon nap! Exhausted, I arrived home and fell onto the bed, then slept for about an hour. My daughter left to continue with her day, and Dana and I did our grocery shopping together, much later. Being a 'hunter-gatherer', he strolls the aisles of the supermarket like a lion looking for prey, and is then ready to leave, and I am quite sure there were several items that I will have to shop for later in the week.
With a full week of work ahead of me, I am reluctantly taking it easy today. My voice is returning, slowly, and plans for a future career of imitating Eartha Kit singing 'Santa Baby', have dwindled away! Although the last couple of weeks were somewhat 'mediocre' in comparison to others that have been more 'fast paced', I am hoping that the sun and forthcoming week will inspire me to write ..... another story.