The wind picked up considerably overnight. Monday morning was quite cool, compared to the temperatures we had endured the previous week. During my first few years in Austin, I would go to the pool as soon as it was warm enough to discard my cardigan, but over the past few years, I have not attended poolside, regularly, until the beginning of June. Whether the weather cycle has changed, or whether I have just acclimatized to the heat, is still under-determination! However, having gone for the second swim of the season on Saturday, I was looking forward to an early start!
We walked on Monday, as the wind was quite severe. Clouds, once again, threatened rain, but it did not appear. Tornadoes had ripped apart one particular city to the east of Dallas and there were, apparently, more to come. The walk was quite tough, as we were strolling into the wind on the way round. We thought that the walk back to the office would be easier, but the wind appeared to change direction at the same time as us!
It was quite late before Dana and I arrived home on Monday evening, and I was already feeling the tension rise, as I was going to have to take the helm on Tuesday. Dana was due to 'testify' at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon, in support of a bill that had been filed, written by him, and sponsored by a like-minded representative. The committee was due to 'sit' at 2pm, or when the 'House' adjourned; whichever was the later. Although Dana's bill was the third on the list, the Chairman did not have to stick to the agenda in the order it was published. It was more than likely that the 'hearing' would be towards the end of the meeting, due to dynamics that are more political than I care to post!
Apparently, the 'House' agenda on Tuesday was extremely full, and the likelihood of adjournment before two was slim. In fact, it was debatable whether they would be finished by three, or four. Our walk was early, just in case, and we did not venture into the supermarket. The wind had dropped slightly and the heat was quite debilitating without the respite of a breeze. I watched the clock tick, and at five, when the others were about to leave, Dana suggested I go too, as he had not yet left the office and was not sure what time he would be back to collect me. The 'House' was still in full swing!
I was alone by the pool on Tuesday evening, and sat for a while, after my swim, and read a chapter of my book. I felt quite relaxed considering the tension I had felt building over the past few days. Taking over the captaincy was not the problem. What was bothering me was the quantity of work that we had been experiencing and the troubleshooting Dana had been taking on for our clients. They trust him, and respect his opinion. I am, to use a colloquial expression, 'just a gurl'! Of course, each time I have been left in charge, I have coped admirably, but that does not stop the other saying from coming to mind, "There is always a first time"! I am not as experienced as my husband, and although I have learned a lot, I do not have his authoritative manner. The one that causes people to sit up and listen, and think that whatever he says is gospel. In his professional life, what he says is precise, but he also has the same authoritative manner when expressing an opinion. I have learned to differentiate where others have not!
Coming back to the condo, I turned on my computer and accessed the 'live stream' of our Legislature. The House was still in session and the debates were long and drawn out. It was going to be a very late night. Dana sent me a message to say he was leaving the office a little before seven. I ate my dinner, made a cup of tea, and returned to the computer just in time to see Dana being called to the stand! He was quite outstanding! My husband was quite eloquent, and with that air of authoritativeness about him, everything he said sounded right! Of course, I agreed with him wholeheartedly on the subject on which he was testifying and was confident that he would be successful. Obviously, time will tell!
A quarter to midnight was not the preferred time to heat dinner, but Dana was hungry and I was happy to feed the returning hero! After leaving the Capitol, he had returned to the office, cleared as much as he could from his desk, and brought the rest home. We finally turned out the light a little before two.
Rising at five thirty on Wednesday was a little bit of a challenge. However, we both refused to ignore the alarm, and set about our daily tasks. He went to the office; I went to Joe, after making a 'Mrs Sainsbury' pasta dish, and a Swiss roll with apricot cream! I was expecting visitors for dinner, and lack of sleep could not be deemed an excuse for not keeping up to my (self-imposed) standards! I removed the 'ends' from the Swiss roll, so that it would fit neatly on the dish, and Joe and Gail found them to be a delightful start to the morning!
Feeling somewhat invigorated by lunchtime, as my routine was back to normal, I was ready to march! Our walk included a visit inside the supermarket. "Yes thanks, mate", was heard as we approached the checkout. The young man behind the counter was responding to a customer, when asked if he was having a good day. The accent was definitely more northern than southern, and Samantha and I smiled at the prospect of being served by a fellow Brit. "Leicester" was the answer to my question as to where the accent hailed. "Her father's mother's family are from there", I said, awkwardly, wondering why I just did not use the word 'grandma'. However, the young man was impressed and asked where we were from. "Just outside Watford", I announced, for all to hear. He had apparently arrived in Texas about four months earlier, and had been told that he was in for a shock, once the summer hit! As soon as he found out that we had survived twelve of them, and were on to our thirteenth, he relaxed and remarked that if we could do it, there was hope for him! He said that it was already quite hot, to which I replied, "You ain't seen nothing yet!" As we packed away our wares, we both apologised to the lady behind us, as our conversation had been holding up production! "Oh no! You carry on. I love listening to you. Talk about something else!" She told us that she had all the time in the world, and was quite happy to stand there all day if we would only find some more things to talk about. She seemed almost disappointed when we bid each other farewell!
I did not swim Wednesday night as I had more to prepare than I anticipated, and my guests were going to arrive earlier than expected. Dinner was a success, but when my visitors left, so did Dana. He had to return to the office to finish up some work. He returned home at quarter past midnight, with another stack of work! I hoped this 'state of affairs' would be sort lived, as I am more of an early riser, than a late nighter, and do not do well accommodating both!
I decided to make the most of my early morning on Thursday, with Dana leaving before six once again. Having a quantity of puff pastry in the freezer, should it be needed in an emergency, is probably not every one's priority. I had made the dough on Wednesday evening, as advised by the recipe writer, and left it to rest overnight. It was suitable 'elastic' and took a long time to stretch. I spent about thirty minutes getting two pieces ready for stage two, and remembered why I wished I had made a double quantity last time! By the time it was time to leave, I had managed to complete the 'roll, fold, and return to the fridge' instructions three times, and had to leave the kitchen somewhat disheveled! It would not take long to clear away, but it was ten minutes or so longer than I had to spare!
We didn't see our fellow countryman at the check out when Samantha purchased her green (spring) onions at lunchtime. I was somewhat punchy. She took the onions to the scales, punched in the corresponding number and asked me to retrieve the sticker that had the code for the checkout. As she stood with the bag ready for me to place the sticker upon it, I promptly stuck it on her forehead. She stood looking at me with one of those looks, and I hoped that I would be able to control my laughter. I was very tired. However, the look was enough to whip me back into line, and I removed the sticker and placed it on the bag.
We had to serve a paper on Thursday night, as all our 'guys' were otherwise engaged. It was on the south side of town, and we were hoping for an earlier night. In the event, we did arrive home earlier than midnight! We left the office at around seven thirty and Dana had the paper delivered by eight! Fortunately, the subject was on site, and came to the door to accept the package. He asked my husband if he had to sign anything, and when he received the answer in the negative, he made a somewhat quipping remark as to what proof the court would have that it had been given to him. Dana responded by telling him that he, Dana, would submit an affidavit stating the facts of service. The authoritativeness within his (Dana's) voice caused the recipient to stand up straight, and accept the words being spoken to him. The smile which always follows such remarks, considered by Dana to somewhat hopefully soften the attitude, does the exact opposite in my experience!
Arriving home, I took one look at the mess that I had left earlier that morning, and rather than fall to my knees and cry, I took a deep breath, kicked off my shoes, dropped my bags on the chair, and set to in military fashion! Leftovers were sent to the oven to reheat, the pastry board was wiped down and returned to its corner, and my surfaces were cleaned in record time. As the oven timer dinged, I was ready to 'dish up'. Dinner was eaten, plates cleared away, and kitchen tidied by nine thirty. Although an early night was not on the cards, and earlier one was anticipated, and I think we both fell asleep to a rather gripping series we had been watching! The last couple of days had taken their toll.
It was another very busy day on Friday, with most of our work arriving in the afternoon. We have often thought of borrowing the quote posted on the window of a clerk at the courthouse, "Your lack of organisation does not constitute an emergency on our part", but unfortunately, we are at the bottom of the 'food chain', and there are plenty of hungry fishes ready to take a bite!
An email was received to tell me that I had not won the VIP prize for which I entered. I was amazed that anyone would tell me that I had not won, but read on. Instead, I was offered a runners up prize. Well, a prize is a prize! It was for a polo match! I could claim up to six tickets for general admission! How exciting. I printed them off and asked Jerry if he wanted four, but he said that the weekend had already been planned. I offered them to another one of our guys, who has three children, and is often wondering what to do that is 'different'! He was quite tickled!
As we left the office at eight, Dana commented that our plan for leaving earlier as the we progressed was not working. I commented that he was a week behind on that plan! He was rather exhausted and had forgotten that he had left the office after midnight on Wednesday, therefore making his plan of leaving earlier come to fruition! It was the previous week where we had left earlier as the week progressed!
I was so happy not to go to work on Saturday. It was a delight not to hear an alarm go off, and I was full of energy. Samantha and I went shopping and enjoyed our usual Saturday morning routine. We arrived home around two, and she left soon after. I took myself down to the pool, swam, read and promptly fell asleep. I then returned to the condo, and fell asleep again! We did not go to the polo match. Dana said that as he had been introduced to a new sport last week, and was now the Austin Hun's number one fan, he felt he needed to devote his energy to one base! However, George took his kids, and said that it was a blast! It was something of a novelty! As the sport does tend to attract the more 'well to do' society folks, it is not something that would be on a 'things to do' list, and the tickets are rather expensive. I was thrilled that my runners up prize had been put to good use! I was also thrilled to be able to sleep most of the afternoon; something to which I am normally averse!
Sunday was slow and relaxing. I could not think of a better end to the week! As we strolled to the top of the hill of our complex, we looked around at the beautiful scenery and felt the warmth of the sun on our backs. Although we were less than a mile from our office, and less than twenty four hours from returning, we felt as if we were a million miles away. Without the extra-curricular activity of the hearings, and us serving papers, next week should be a little calmer. Time will tell in ............... another story!