Sunday, to be my last partial day with bunny_hugger until our New Year's together (coming soon), started with a traditional post-Thanksgiving act of moving furniture. Maybe that isn't actually a tradition. I know it isn't and probably won't be. But it was a useful thing to do. There's a bookshelf in the corner which would need to be moved for a couple of reasons, one of them that it was in the place where her Christmas tree would best fit. Also she hoped to have painters in to fix up the plaster and repaint the living room soon, and that would require some moving around of the bookshelf particularly, which would be the bulkiest and hardest to move.
I'm pretty good with furniture. I'm not the strongest guy in the world (remembering here an Onion slug line, ``Big Man Mistaken For Strong Man''), but I can do pretty well and swinging it from the living room into the dining room was swift enough. It would probably disappoint bunny_hugger's pet rabbit, since it would put out of range the Nintendo DS game cartriges he likes to chew on when he can get away with it, but as I understand it he has to live with that fact every December. This just started a little earlier than usual.
Still, the drive back ... well, it's awfully nice spending time with her, and we did have the comforting thought that it would be only about a month until we got together again. And there were little discoveries: I found in my jacket pocket a granola bar which I must have picked up from the Con Suite a week earlier, of a particularly tasty and filling variety that would do nicely to filling the place of actual food on the plane. And bunny_hugger afterwards would discover several dollar bills tucked into the sun visor on the passenger's side, obviously money I'd stashed up there for convenient access for toll plazas when we drove from Chicago to Lansing. It turns out there are fewer toll plazas than we had expected.
Somehow I had thought to consider whether traffic into the airport would be heavier than average considering it was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and we checked traffic reports in figuring out when to leave so that we could have more time at home and less sitting at Detroit's airport. There wasn't heavy trafic going in. Yet I failed to also consider that there might be heavier than average passenger traffic inside the airport and the size of the security screening line horrified us.
I did think that it would be wise to phone my father and report that we'd got to the airport, though. On trying to call while watching the security screening line I found ... there was a voice mail on my phone. I could assume there were ways to get past that without losing voice mail, but I didn't know what they were, and since it might be from my father reporting who-knows-what conditions were like back in New Jersey I figured I should listen. This required setting up my voice mail account, since the phone --- you might dimly remember --- had been in my possession ten days and had been actually used for two of them. (This has so far been a high point in its use.) Getting the voice mail set up demanded navigating roughly every audio menu in existence, as well as selecting a password number. It also insisted on my recording my own name for the voice mail notice, since there's clearly no way they could just keep using whatever the notification my first voice-mail-leaver had heard.
At the end of all this phone manipulation outside the security screeners I found I had ... a Thanksgiving message from my other brother. He also had gotten a new Blackberry, courtesy work, and apparently had spent much of Thanksgiving comparing Blackberry workings with our remaining brother. Still, for the trouble and distraction caused by it I'm sorry I didn't check my messages before we set out, or maybe anytime between Thursday and Sunday.
Nevertheless we had several minutes left before I'd have to go through security, time enough to hold each other tight, as if we might make that feeling last until we would be able to hold each other again.
The flight wasn't anything remarkable, although it came in a remarkable half-hour ahead of schedule. I took a leisurely time stretching and getting a snack and whatnot at Newark airport before setting out and realizing that I should call bunny_hugger to let her know I was in and my father to let him know I was ready and no, he didn't get the time wrong, I was just early. I believe I got voice mail on both, which worked out all right because both called me back almost simultaneously. It proved more complicated than I thought arranging where my father should pick me up, since I realized I didn't actually know which terminal I was at --- there wasn't a nice, convenient large sign or predominant color --- and he wanted to pick me up at the lowermost level, when I turned out to be on the middle level, but I found where he wanted me to be almost whole seconds before he arrived. We could not have timed it any better.
Driving home my father took Route 9, rather than the Turnpike or Parkway, because given the choice between roads my father always takes the smaller one with more traffic signals or, ideally, four-way stop signs. In this case it was probably a good choices as the toll roads were jammed up with holiday traffic while 9 was driving normally. My father also said that the weekend had seen a lot of debate over exactly what I meant in an e-mail I'd sent my family. I'd said something maybe not perfectly coherent or well-thought-out about hoping they were having a good holiday with not-too-chilly weather and reporting that back my way things were looking positive. Apparently the word ``positive'' was regarded as a confusing, alien construction in this context and my brothers and father had debated heavily what I meant by it. That I meant the holiday was going well (there hadn't been any broken dishes at that point) and looked set to continue doing so was not considered a likely interpretation. I couldn't think of any other interpretation and none of the people involved were willing to state clearly what their interpretations were, in that case.
In many ways, I don't understand my family.
Trivia: From 1500 to 1800 every schoolchild in Iceland was given half a stockfish (fish tied in pairs by the tail and hug over poles to dry) every day. Source: Cod: A Biography Of The Fish That Changed The World, Mark Kurlansky.
Currently Reading: The New Hugo Winners, Editors Isaac Asimov, Martin H Greenberg. 1983-1985's winners in the non-novel-length categories.