Friday, October 17, 2014

Kate and Crew 32: Country roads, take me home...

32: Country roads, take me home (June, 2014)

          The morning of the Millers' departure arrived far too early for Kate. She awoke Sunday morning with a queer feeling in her stomach. Being too sleepy to discern what was wrong, she decided to give the bathroom a try--thus demonstrating her possession of a quick and intuitive brain since she subsequently retched for the next ten minutes. Usually throwing up makes one feel better. Unfortunately, "usually" is a far cry from "always." Kate felt horrible. She was too tired to get up, and too uncomfortable to go to sleep. She felt hungry, but the thought of eating was disgusting. At least Teddy was sleeping! She eventually decided on a change of scenery and went to the kitchen to make herself comfortable sitting on a living room couch with a cup of tea and watch the outline of Pike's Peak slowly emerge from the darkness.
           Later in the morning, she and Mister watched The Philadelphia Story, and Kate even laughed at Tracy's outrageous impression of a high-handed and glib heiress. But they barely made it halfway through before Kate resigned and said she just wanted to lie down. Things were serious when not even Katherine Hepburn could keep Kate distracted from her physical ills. Mister scrapped their travel plans and heroically devoted himself to Kate's comfort and rest.
          Monday morning, Kate felt somewhat repaired--enough, she claimed, to make a go of the journey to St. Louis. With the lovely weather, and the windows rolled down, the fresh air boosted Kate's spirits and she felt better and better by the hour. It had been one week shy of two months since they left Virginia, and though she wasn't exactly looking forward to being back, she had missed their home and their bed! They spent a brief and uneventful night at the cousins' house in St. Louis (who weren't even there!) and left the next morning for the journey home. Kate prepped for the day of air-conditionless driving by fixing her hair in what she called, "French Piggies." She was feeling almost all better, and hopped into the driver's seat for the first leg.
          By sunset, Kate had returned once again to the wheel and zoomed through silhouetted hills of West Virginia. She irrationally loved West Virginia. All day, the noise of the open windows made conversation difficult, but now she didn't even mind. Kate was an idealist at heart, and had never been in a place more suited to its theme song (the one she assigned to it). She hummed as she drove, "Country roads / take me home / to the place / I belooooong / West Virginia / mountain Mama / take me home / country roads." Of course, if they ever stopped in West Virginia, she might not like it so much. But she loved driving in the evening, where there were hills and little traffic. And she had these beautiful open drives and pleasant times in the car with Mister has her sole West Virginian experience. She fondly remembered their first excursion through the state, getting lost on the lane-less back roads, alternately talking with Mister about philosophy and playing "Cow!"
          "Cow!" was a simple game, but none the less amusing for it. One rolls down one's window when passing a field inhabited with the appropriate ungulate, and calls their vernacular name (experienced contestants use a variety of methods from belligerent yells to charming calls). For each cow that looks toward the passing vehicle, the contestant receives 1 point. For each cow that responds (generally with a "moo") the contestant receives 2 points. The game's one limitation is that it generally only supports two contestants--one for each side of the vehicle. But it does support the possibility of team play, as long as the contestants are in an optimal seating arrangement. Kate was by no means a "Cow!" prodigy, recording a grand total of zero points that day (and for no lack of opportunity!). But it was fun, and her view of West Virginia was even boosted by this first experience of enjoyable failure. 
          Kate and Mister arrived home in the wee sma's of Wednesday morning. And when they walked in the house, Kate reaped the full benefit of the hard work she put in the week before they left. The tile was beautiful, carpets were spotless, granite countertops in the kitchen sparkled. Everything smelled good. There were no leaks or mold or bugs. It was beautiful, even at 2AM, which is one of the ugliest times to be awake. Kate and Mister relished their own, familiar bed and pillows until noon (with some minor interruptions from Teddy.) And then...what, but Mister had to turn around and pack again! 
          Only just arrived home, the following afternoon would take him away again for the rest of the weekend to a teaching conference in Baltimore! Kate hardly knew what to think--she had known it was in the schedule, but something being written down is very different from it actually happening. But the weekend itself went by in a flash. Kate had plenty to do to fill her time. She had another baby shower to prepare for on Saturday (and another baby blanket to finish!) She pulled out her scrapbooks and finally finished their wedding album and started on Teddy's first year album. And of course, there was lots to unpack! And this time, they were staying put. With no pending flights and holidays at home, the suitcases could be relegated to the basement! For Kate, this brought both relief and some confusion. What will it be like? she wondered. I'm not sure that I've spent even two months together without either traveling or having a big group of guests! What if I go crazy? This possibility made her consider. Could living at home for more than two months at a time without travel make one slip off their proverbial rocker? Hmmm..., she amended, What if I'm already crazy?! 

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