one adventure ends, & another begins …

Thursday, July 25: It’s 6:00 p.m. and my plane has landed at just the minute it was scheduled to land despite being delayed in Heathrow for a half hour.  My bag is one of the first on the baggage conveyor, so I grab it and head quickly through immigration (no queue!), then I’m waved on through customs.  I walk into Arrivals, looking for Mike’s face.  Both the boys have to work tonight, so he’s the one who has been designated to pick me up.

His face is conspicuously absent.

I keep looking around thinking maybe we have missed each other in the crowd.  But, no. There is no sign of him.  I don’t have a phone that works (my Oman phone has no money on it and it doesn’t work in any country other than Oman anyway except for texting) and I have a wallet full of 85 euros and not a single American cent.  No ATM is in the vicinity.  I wonder if he’s forgotten me or if he’s just delayed.  I do all I can do: I wait.  And wait.  And wait.

Finally, I hear his voice as he’s running to Arrivals: “Cathy!”  We do the European kiss-on-the-cheek thing and he tells me he had called the airline and they said they’d be delayed a half hour so he took his time getting here.

WELCOME HOME! 🙂

At home, there is no welcoming committee as both boys are driving helter-skelter through the streets & traffic of northern Virginia delivering pizzas for Paisano’s. It’s strange walking into the house where I have lived off and on for 20 years. Our Border Collie Bailey, who has gotten older and chubbier, still recognizes me and his back-end is wagging like it has a mind of its own.  I walk around the top two floors of the house, reacquainting myself, and check out my room to find it’s become the dumping ground for stuff the boys have decided to dispose of. Oh joy.  I will have to clean it out before I can even begin to unpack, or to sleep.

I have a room in the basement where I keep my excess clothes (of which I have a lot!) and Mike warns me not even to go down there tonight, otherwise I’ll ruin my first night home.  Oh dear.  I restrain myself and figure I’ll deal with it tomorrow.

Mike and I have a long chat, Alex comes home from work around 9:00 and he joins in the conversation after hugs and kisses.  Adam works till midnight so it’s unlikely I’ll be awake to greet him tonight.  I have Alex carry my suitcase upstairs and begin to move all the stuff from my room back from whence it came, into the boys’ rooms.

I go to bed nestled into piles and piles of stuff from my half-unpacked suitcase.  The new adventure begins. 🙂

Friday, July 26: My first order of business today is to get a phone.  I go to Verizon fully intending to get a Samsung Android, but then I drift over to the iPhone where I see the benefits of that phone. 🙂 Before I know it, I’ve laid out $323 to buy the phone ($199), a waterproof case ($89! ~ what a sucker I am!), and by golly, if I buy the car charger TODAY, I can get $5 off.  And don’t forget the sales tax, which I haven’t had to deal with anywhere in my travels in the last 3 years!  Ouch.

I play around with my phone a good long while, trying to get used to it.  I wonder if I’ll ever get used to the touch screen keypad.  I add a bunch of apps to the phone, and over the next couple of days I realize all those apps are draining the battery and I promptly remove them!

Later in the afternoon, I walk around the house and take pictures of some of what I see.  I don’t even bother taking pictures of all the clutter as it’s way too embarrassing. 😦

I clear off my old desk just enough to hook up my computer and begin to create a workspace.

a little space I've carved out for myself
a little space I’ve carved out for myself

In the last year, Mike has insisted that the boys start buying their own food.  As they are living at home while attending community college, he feels it’s time for them to start contributing to the expenses.  Since they eat a lot of fruit, especially bananas, they have taken over the dining room table.  Masking tape and labels serve as the dividing lines.

Food divided by purchaser
Food divided by purchaser

Mike spends most of his free time biking with a Reston biking club; he has two expensive bikes that he keeps inside the house as our garage door is often open and he doesn’t want someone snatching them.  I guess I will have to deal with their stuff cluttering the dining room as we rarely entertain anymore anyway.  A dining room is kind of a useless room anyway except several times a year.

The dining room filled with fruit and bikes
The dining room filled with fruit and bikes

Adam and Alex are always environmentally conscious, so they have now created a composting bin in the backyard and here is some of their most recent composting stuff: banana peels and eggshells.

composting
composting

Both the boys love doing gymnastics moves and they’ve created a kind of outdoor gym in our backyard.  I have always hated our yard as we have a huge side yard, a small somewhat sunken front yard, and a tiny strip of backyard that slopes downhill.  Because of the humid and wet nature of Virginia, it’s always overgrown with weeds and rapidly growing grass.  Adam has taken on a project this summer of clearing out weeds, laying out cardboard, and spreading mulch on top to make the backyard area a little nicer for working out. He’s been working on it diligently all summer, making numerous trips to Home Depot and the garden center.

the backyard gym
the backyard gym

I try to get Bailey to pose for a picture, but every time I snap, he looks away.  I keep saying “Bailey, Bailey!”  He gets irritated and starts barking and Alex says I’ve caught him in his normal state of being.

Here's Bailey barking because I'm harassing him to pose for a picture
Here’s Bailey barking because I’m harassing him to pose for a picture

Alex tries to do a fancy move on his gymnastic rings.

Alex the gymnast
Alex the gymnast

The front yard is pretty overgrown right now.  I find Mike has planted some rudbeckia near the road.

Our front yard
Our front yard
rudbeckia
rudbeckia
rudbeckia
rudbeckia
our house
our house
rudbeckia
rudbeckia
rudbeckia
rudbeckia

I sit on my couch and write a blog post about my trip to Spain.  I’m way behind as I intended to post as I went along, but found it way too time-consuming and now will have to continue with it once I settle in here.

our living room from my reclining position on the couch
our living room from my reclining position on the couch
what used to be my little meditation spot
what used to be my little meditation spot

Every time I return home to this house, I’m flabbergasted by how much we have accumulated over the years. I’ve decided I’m going to be ruthless in sorting out things and giving things to Goodwill, or Purple Heart, or anyone who will take it!  For example, we have tons of books.  Here is just one bookshelf that is filled with JUST books of short stories.  I have another shelf devoted to poetry, another to non-fiction, and the novels are spread all over the house.

these are just books of short stories
these are just books of short stories

Here’s the entryway.

the foyer
the foyer

And here’s my room, filled with collections from my travels.  Now I have a lot more stuff I’ve collected, but I have absolutely nowhere to put any of it.

my room with black and white photos of Egypt and papyrus pictures from Egypt
my room with black and white photos of Egypt and Egyptian papyrus prints

By now, I’ve ventured into that basement room that serves as my closet for excess clothes, and I’ve found the disaster Mike warned me about.  I spend the rest of my day trying to make some kind of order of the whole mess so I can start unpacking the 3 suitcases the boys brought home from Oman in January along with the 93 kilos of stuff I shipped by cargo from Oman.   Plus the stuff I accumulated on my trip through Spain and Portugal. Argh! 🙂

Once again, I can’t help but think of George Carlin’s spiff on “Stuff.”

That’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it?  Trying to find a place for your stuff.

That’s all your house is, a pile of stuff with a cover on it!

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10 thoughts on “one adventure ends, & another begins …

  1. Welcome home!
    Your house is beautiful Cathy. 😀 Oh my goodness that’s a lot of bananas! Where did you put your food?
    Did any of the computer guys suggest that you could get more space by moving your photos from the computer to the external hard drive?

    1. Thanks so much, Rosie! That is a lot of bananas! I don’t really need a special place to put my food, at least not yet. I think I’m fine with it just sitting in the kitchen in various places! I could have moved the photos to a external hard drive, but since I’ll be adding lots more, I just figured I’d go ahead and add the space. I hope you’re well. I’ve a lot of catching up to do! 🙂

  2. YOUR HOUSE IS GORGEOUS! I love the yard! SO GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!!! It is a beautiful home, and easily tidied compared to moving! Why discard the books? You could create a library with all the books in one room. shelf after shelf! I have thousands and like them all together because they are the only things that survived my many lives, relationships and homes. I am so glad you started this blog, love the divided dining room table! LOL! Beautiful dog, love her!

    1. Thanks so much, glad you like my house! I spent many years decorating it, etc. The yard is very green, as is all of Virginia really, because of the high humidity and rain. I’m not planning to discard most of the books, but some of them can be donated since we’ve already read them. I love my books, and they would be one of the last things I’d ever get rid of! And you’re right, Bailey is really sweet. 🙂

  3. Bananas by the kilo, rudbeckia, and lots and lots of “stuff”! I like your house, Cathy. It has character. I guess it just needs your TLC. (books are allowed 🙂 )

    1. Thanks so much, Jo! I like my house, I just need to have less clutter… so I can breathe! And I agree, books are always allowed, and encouraged!! It definitely needs my TLC. 🙂

  4. Books ARE allowed!! Haha and I LOVE The George Carlin video! Ugh, I have hoarding tendencies and if I don’t keep up on it it is SO easy for me to accumulate. I get it – I totally get it, Cathy.

  5. That IS a lot of bananas!! Love the house and the rudbeckia and especially your bedding! Is that from Egypt too? Too much clutter is the result of staying in one place for too long 🙂 I’m very ruthless when it comes to getting rid of ‘stuff’ though my OH is a hoarder. When I say “well we haven’t used it in the last ten years” he says “well, I’m not ready to get rid of it yet”
    I’d love a minimalist space – but I’m probably not tidy enough!
    Jude xx

    1. You’re right, Jude, that is a LOT of bananas. I’m glad you like my house. That bedding came long ago from my favorite store, anthropologie. I actually threw that bedding out when I got home because it had so many holes in it and it had already been repaired once before. I substituted my bedding from Oman that for this!

      I know about the clutter accumulating; I think moving helps you to be ruthless in throwing things out.

      In Oman, my flat was very minimalist, and I loved it. I’d like to get back to that here in Virginia. 🙂

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