bunt sign

Monday, July 23, 2001

What should you not do the first day back from vacation? You should not stay up almost all night, so that the next day feels like your tenth day in a row of double shifts, instead of your first day back at work after ten days off.

But I was so wired last night that I never did get unwound enough to sleep (until about an hour before my alarm went off this morning). It wasn't for lack of trying — I kept lying down in various places and positions, but it was like trying to lie on a bed of hot coals or live beetles. Not even restful enough to stay down.

Another thing that might have contributed to my restlessness was the order of onion rings I had at the restaurant in Red Bluff on the way home. That wasn't necessary, was it? But while I've been on vacation, I've been eating like it — three large meals almost every day. Sometimes four. I knew that routine would change once I got home, so my last meal included onion rings. Today it's back to raisin bran and peanut butter.

The saving grace is that with all this eating (plus a little beer in the afternoon and a little wine in the evening, for ten days in a row), I gained only one pound while I was gone.

In the cool light of morning, I checked out my yard today. Mom was kind enough to come by and water the garden a couple of times, and the weather was cool, so the property didn't seem to miss me much. The gophers have been busy, and the walkway is pitted with new excavations. I wouldn't be surprised to see the paving stones caving in, if I can't find away to put a stop to this unauthorized demolition.

One new weed has grown from nothing to about waist level, just off the back porch. The hollyhocks are dying off, but a new purple iris is taking their place.

I don't think the birds will forgive me right away, though. I haven't seen many of my former regular visitors today, but I spread out some seeds tonight to try to win them back. My feeling is that more of them come for insects and worms, so once the regular watering schedule resumes, they'll all be back.

gopher holes

The gopher was hard at work in my absence.

It wouldn't have been so bad, staying up all night, if I'd had the concentration to get anything accomplished. I didn't even have the strength to sit at the computer and answer email, though. And the week's worth of mail waiting for me at the post office would probably have gone unopened, even if it had been here.

I'm not sure what the hardest part of being home is, but wearing shoes again has to be right up there. I'm wearing a watch again, which puts some urgency back into the passing of the hours. And getting used to sleeping with a roof over my head is kind of a drag. I miss the satellites, constellations and shooting stars.

Even worse than that, and worse than the rocking and rolling of the walls as I try to recall the ins and outs of walking on solid ground again, is the shock of sudden solitude. I'm used to living alone, but having been surrounded by so many people for a week and a half, I miss having someone to talk to (or to ignore) any time I feel like it. Now I have to go back to talking to (and ignoring) myself.

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