The dog was pleased to see me for the time his attention span allowed him to be. Three seconds of tail wagging, and hopping in exciting, gave way to 'what else is new'. However, I was welcomed home very warmly, by my neighbours. I made my way to the swimming pool last weekend, and was greeted by a gentleman whom I see quite regularly. He asked me, 'how's the family?', and when I announced that I had been home to meet my new grandson, he replied, 'I know. How's the family doing?' It would appear that good news does indeed travel fast! I replied that all were doing very well, and we continued to chat about children, the difference in temperature between Texas and the general England area (being that it is so small to those who live on this side of the pond) and the imminent closure of our pool for repair, albeit with pauses in between the different topics! Suddenly, I heard a slight commotion from the condo next to the pool. Voices were raised, and I heard the comment, 'Yes, it is her!' Looking up at some more neighbours, I was greeted with waving arms, and in unison, mother and daughter shouted, 'Hey grandma!!!' After a rather loud exchange, we had established the weight, length, colouring and name of my off springs, offspring. I felt quite blessed at having such a joyous bunch of neighbours. Finally, my German neighbour appeared, and I found that it was he who had been spreading the good tidings around, as Samantha had spotted him cleaning his patio, and given him all the details.
Monday morning arrived all too soon, (when does it not?) and Dana left for the office much earlier than I had expected. He suggested that I took my time and I agreed that it would be for the best! We had received an email, on Friday, asking us to keep the dog 'at home', as the maintenance men were coming to do something rather sophisticated to the air-conditioning unit in our building. I pottered around the house for a couple of hours, and left with a heavy heart as the dog gave me one of his looks. He had been abandoned by his parents, and now I was going to leave him alone, too. I assured him that I would be back to check on him during the course of the day, but am sure all he really heard was 'blah, blah, blah'! The maintenance men did, indeed, come into our office. The sophisticated something that they were to carry out, was in fact a routine check, and each time one of their team entered the room, they asked, 'Where's the dog?' Upon hearing that he had been confined to barracks, they were rather disappointed. I kept my promise, and returned home at lunchtime, but left him again when I headed out for my midday aqua-exercise, and then had to return to work.
I found it rather difficult to get back into any sort of routine this week, and as Dana left the house early each morning (with dog in tow, thankfully) I did not feel the urgency to be ready to leave before 8am. My tardy behaviour was tolerated by my boss, who suggested that perhaps I needed a little longer to cope with the jet-lag that appeared to be refusing to dissipate. In the past, such comments would have been perceived as a direct challenge on my ability to perform, but with age comes wisdom, and I simply agreed that I should not rush back into my usual routine. However, there is something to be said for routine, and the longer I took to get back into the swing of things, the longer it took for the jet-lag to leave!
As the week came to an end, so did the jet-lag, and I was able to rise and shine on Friday, as if I had never been out of synchronisation! I did have to drive myself into work, but arrived promptly and full of the joys of spring, despite the day erring towards autumn. My midday swim was less laboured than it had been earlier, and I felt quite refreshed. I returned to work in the afternoon, just in time to miss being attacked by giant raindrops that fell indiscriminately from the skies. I was back in Texas, and the rain was big! The temperature dropped thirty degrees, and my strength appeared to be restored the cooler it got! It did occur to me that apart from getting used to the time difference, I had also got used to the cooler weather, and it was entirely possible that my lack of energy was exacerbated by the temperature hovering just below one hundred degrees! The rain fell all afternoon, and well into the evening. Instead of heading for the pool when I returned home, (with dog in tow,) I turned on my computer and had a few quality minutes, skyping with my friend Dawn, who was enjoying a spring afternoon in Australia! The storm had caused the skies to darken and the light in the bedroom, where my computer lives, was rather dim. I took the laptop out into the hallway, and sat myself on the floor under the light that is affixed to the wall. As I was explaining why I was sitting on the floor, in the narrow space that joins the bedrooms, Dana arrived home, and the dog greeted him with more enthusiasm than I could ever muster, for anything, let alone anyone, even when I am at my most enthusiastic! The abandonment issues had been set aside, and as I was on the same level, height-wise, as the animal, I received the full brunt of his joy. Turning the other cheek was not necessary, as when Dana reached the top of the stairs, the canine's tail slapped both sides of my face for several seconds.
The rain continued to pour all day Saturday. Samantha had called on 'face-time', and promised to make another call when she arrived at Richard's home, so that I could have some 'real-time' with the baby. I headed out after completing my housework, and received the promised call as I reached Costco. Unfortunately, little Oliver was not a very happy chappy and as I pushed the wayward trolley-cart around the warehouse, customers were looking anxiously around for the crying child. After ruining my appetite with sampling tidbits, I headed for the cashier, and paid for my produce, along with a gift card. I had to put petrol in the car, and the prices at the warehouse were far cheaper than those at surrounding stations. The rain was coming down heavier than previously, and I ran through several puddles before reaching the car. Dripping from hat to shoe, I turned on the engine, and shuddered as the air-conditioning slapped my face harder than the dog's tail! Rearming my common sense app, I turned all the controls to 'off-mode', and reset the heater to stop the cold blast of air. The petrol pumps were all occupied, and I waited patiently for my turn. Following the instructions, I first slid my membership card into the allotted slot, and then my gift card. The reader, naturally, was unable to register any credit on the card, and so I tried again. After the fourth attempt, the screen instructed me to find an attendant, and the cheaper price that was being paid for petrol, suddenly became irrelevant compared to the price I was about to pay, for being less than intelligent! Fortunately, the screen's memory was rather short, and within a few seconds, it was asking for me to insert my payment card. Repeating the previous performance, the illiterate machine was still unable to read my card, and once again insisted that I call an attendant. I signalled to the man who was wearing the bright orange jacket, which bore the letters that spelled the word, 'attendant'. In my years of schooling, I was led to believe that the word 'attendant' was derived from the root, 'attend', which means, as far as I am aware, 'to be present'. The man wearing the orange jacket did not, obviously, 'attend' the same school as me, as the words 'to be present' appeared to mean, 'run in the opposite direction'. Third time was not a charm, as the reader still refused to acknowledge credit on the card, and insisted most emphatically that I do not insult its intelligence again, and obtain the help of the illusive attendant. Eventually, the man in the orange jacket emerged from his hiding place, and before he could make another move in any direction but mine, I shouted across the courtyard in a most unladylike fashion. I do not think the sentence, 'coming to my rescue' would be completely apt, but he did finally, 'attend'. It took two attempts for the machine to read the card, but finally it gave in, and the man in the orange jacket, whose smile had been surgically removed, scoured as he told me that I could now start 'pumping gas'. I thanked him as enthusiastically as I could without having a tail!
With groceries shopping finally completed, I headed for home. Although the weather was not conducive for swimming, I entered the house far more wet than I would if I had returned from the pool. My hat was sagging, my jeans soaking, and my pride dripping! Dana and the puppy were quite content watching an old movie, and I felt no need to bring their spirits down with my tales of woe.
Abandoning the dog again, Dana and I went out for dinner, and returned home sometime later. During the course of our meal, the rain stopped, and the sun was visible for the first time in over 24 hours. The temperature started to rise, slowly, and the ground started to dry, despite the day being almost over.
Sunday was still slightly cooler than the 'seasonable' norm, but the rain had left the air, and all was well. Samantha and Edward were attending a wedding in England, and booked on a flight home in the morning. My four-legged friend would be spending one more night with the favoured grandparent and his wife, and then he would be returning to the parents whom abandoned him for the week. The enthusiasm on seeing them, I am sure, will outweigh any he has for the woman who makes sure he is fed and watered in their absence!
With sleep deprivation being so 'last week', I am now back up to full speed, and although not relishing another week at work, I am far more ready, both mentally and physically, to put in a full stretch. I have a 'personal' morning booked for Wednesday, when I shall be having my nails repainted, and my hair cut, although not at the same time! The red has slowly been disappearing from my scalp, and I have a rather thick stripe of gray emerging. It is time to 'let it go', and display the full glory of my platinum locks. I am not sure whether the trip to the hairdressers will leave me totally white, but I shall be sure to report in ............ another story.