It took me all day, Monday, to really get back into the saddle at work, although I think I remained half on for most of the day. The weather was quite pleasant, and the work was not over burdening, but I could not focus on the many tasks at hand.
Although Dana 'covers' for me while I am absent, there are some things to which he 'never gets' around. The piles were set neatly in order of priority.
By the end of the day, I did not feel as if I had accomplished very much, as the piles were still rather high, but was reminded that they had been 'added to' during the course of my first day back, and I refused to get overwhelmed.
Tuesday was a moderately different story. I felt somewhat more 'alive'. It was rather warmer than Monday, and after preparing dinner for that evening, I settled down to my weekly chores with a little more vigour. I was still feeling rather woozy at the end of the day, and fell asleep rather early in the evening, despite fighting the temptation. I remember watching a programme on the television and thinking, "I must stay awake", only to wake up after the crucial moment. After 'rewinding' for a third time, Dana decided it was probably not worth the effort, and when I woke to darkness and a blank screen, I realised I had, once again, drifted into oblivion.
I went to Joe on Wednesday morning. As Tuesday had been particularly busy, I had thought about foregoing my trip, but decided that it was probably best to stick with routine, as the 'jet lag' was lagging, and I did not want to feel quite so lethargic. Each day was better than the last, but I wondered if it was because my 'return' had been in winter, that the adjustment was more difficult. I arrived at the coffee shop at around seven thirty. I had prepared dessert for the evening, as Kelly and Paul, our Wednesday night guests (individuals, not a couple, just in case anyone reading actually know Kelly and Paul, and are wondering!) were due to arrive around six thirty, and I was planning to pick up where I had left off, and attempt to create a culinary masterpiece.
Gail was at the 'shop' when I arrived, and we spent an hour chatting about everything from politics to babies, and present day subjects to ancient history. The saddle was back on the horse, and I was about to transfer from sitting side-saddle. By the time I had negotiated the traffic back across the river, I knew I was home, and felt as if I could tackle the day ahead without hindrance from the lag that had, hitherto, refused to dissipate. The long lines of traffic, with drivers unsure of the 'new' layout of my (previously) perfect road, where the improvements have been 'anything but', reminded me that I was back in Austin, and I sat smiling at the normality of chaos.
"See you at nine, tomorrow", greeted me as I walked into the office at a little after nine. I did not ask to whom Dana was talking, but assumed that it was one 'Chief of staff' or another, as the legislative session has begun, and although I hope the battle will not be as arduous as in the early years of my being here, I am preparing myself for a few long hours of being in a different saddle, and captaining our ship from time to time. As I set coffee in front of Dana, with a couple of pieces of toast, which I suspected would be fed to the dog, despite the cries of denial, I was told of the meeting the following morning. "Was that not the office that was rather belligerent, last time?" I asked, remembering the way Tod and Dana were greeted two years previously, like they were something that had been discarded from the staffer's shoe, but refused to disappear. Dana did not remember, and said that he was unaware of any previous communication with this particular Senator, or her office. I was adamant. The rumours (which were not only outrageous lies, but also highly offensive and rather disgusting) that had been spread around twelve years ago, and which died an appropriate death in most areas, were still alive and well in others. I warned my husband to be 'on guard', and prepared to defend his honour. I am often reminded of a previous president in the sixties, who was purported to indicate that his opponent was active in obscene activities. He supposedly set the rumour mill in motion, just to see how the opponent would deny such activities. The jury had already heard the supposed evidence. Whether it was true or not, they had heard it! Taking part in the legislative session, in Texas politics is not a game for the fainthearted, and there are some who believe that 'whatever it takes' is an appropriate route. (Standing down from the soapbox)
The lunchtime walk was interesting. We marched to the supermarket, wearing shorts and t-shirts, caps and sun glasses, and as we walked through the 'Texas oncology unit', we spotted a 'plain clothes' police car parked along the back. Samantha suggested I get in and take it for a spin, but I thought it was best that I did not! Our interests were not peaked as to why the car was idling in the car park, as they are a reasonably common sight. Policemen often frequent restaurants, supermarkets or other places, and some become like the 'local bobbies' in England; part of the crowd.
As we returned, through the back of the unit, we saw a policeman emerging from the building. Again, not an usual sight. We neared the car, at the same time as another policeman, leading a man wearing black and white horizontally striped pyjamas. The addition of handcuffs, securing his arms behind his back, caused us to realise that his attire was not that of bedtime apparel, but of another form of confinement. I did not see a ball and chain, but as I am completely unaccustomed to seeing a sight such as this, other than in a comic book, or an old film, and it was rather bemusing. We were not told to 'stand back', nor were we paid attention to. It was just another person coming out of the unit. "Good thing I did not get into the car", I told Samantha! Just another day in Austin; welcome back y'all!
Dinner was a great success. Having my evening meal described as
typically English, was also rather interesting. I tried to explain that poached salmon and baked potato lyonnaise, was not quite what we would refer to as traditional 'fish and chips', but I could see where the thought came from! The 'special' meal was still considered 'special', in the eyes of my guests, so I was satisfied that the effort had been worth it!
When I took the helm on Thursday morning, there was no time to contemplate whether I was sitting side saddle or whether both feet were in their respective stirrups. I had the reins and that was the only thing upon which I was to focus. "No!", Dana was not in the office, and "Yes!" I did feel fully equipped to take care of the business, as was indicated by my veracity! I dealt with the incoming emails, dispatched my servers on expedites, found accurate alternative locations for absent recipients, and generally did the job for which I was employed! I did not expect any gratitude, which was just as well, as I did not receive any from those whom had provided me with the papers to be delivered, but my boss was most grateful for my ability to keep his clients happy, and in return, the clients were most grateful to my boss for getting their papers served. Whilst most welcomed me back with the proverbial open arms, I had dealt with the few whom insist on asking, "Did the English woman give you the message!" Welcome back y'all!
The meeting did start with belligerence. Dana was surprised that I was so accurate, but Tod vaguely remembered the situation, although could not remember definitively which office was the culprit However, as mentioned, most had buried the tinderbox and the reception in other offices was quite delightful.
By Friday evening, my desk was clear. The piles had been reduced to no more than empty paperclips, which were scooped up and put in the appropriate receptacle. I was ready for a long weekend, with Monday being a national holiday. The saddle had moulded itself to my person, and it was a case of 'Hi-Ho Silver', for the foreseeable future!
Dropping by the office was not on my agenda for Saturday, but someone had called requiring a notary service, and the attendance of two witnesses if possible. Dana called to see if my daughter and I were available, and we agreed, as Samantha had already indicated it would be helpful to drop by as she had left her new glasses on her desk. A lady, who was about to fly out with her 'church' (presumably the members, and not the building) to the Holy Land, decided that she needed to rewrite her last will and testament before leaving. Perhaps it is because I am a stranger in a foreign land, that I have made myself aware of the laws and constitution. However, I would have thought that the act of witnessing a signature would be the same in most countries. You are not signing to adhere to the accuracy of what the affiant is putting their name to, you are confirming that they signed the document. No more. The same goes for a notary. You are 'notarizing' that they signed. They are signing that whatever is above their name is true and correct. "What happens to you if I go home and swap out all the pages?", the woman asked. Dana said "Nothing. We did not swear that everything above your signature was true. You did. We swore that you signed" She seemed almost disappointed, not necessarily because she wanted to get us into trouble, (although I have become somewhat of a conspiracy theorist since living here, I do have limits,) but because she perhaps thought she had stumbled upon a loophole. She left to catch her plane, and we wished her bon voyage, with the added hope that the 'will' would not have to be read prior to her return!
I was now home! Well and truly! I shopped in Walmart rather than Sainsbury's, the Dollar Tree instead of Poundland, and Costco where we enter on the left rather than on the right! The jet lag is all but gone and this Lone Ranger is ready for her next adventure, or at least ..... another story!