I spent the last several days in the Washington D.C. area attending meetings for work. Like me, about half the team works remotely so it was good to get together, meet coworkers, and push through some planning for the year.
The meetings were productive, the meals were delicious, and a break from cooking was priceless. However, three days of PowerPoint presentations on the 18th floor would crush the soul out of anybody, let alone an introvert who’s gotten used to working from her kitchen. I was very happy to step off the plane yesterday evening, home to sunshine and a husband who’d folded the laundry and set the table for dinner.
What I didn’t expect for a welcome home was starting today with seven squad cars out front and my yard and street swarming with police (both human and canine). It turns out that our next door neighbor spotted someone breaking into her shed this morning. He then vaulted the fence and tried to hide from the police in our back yard before running for it. The police caught him shortly afterwards. It turns out he’d broken into another neighbor’s shed the day before. We live in a very quiet, low-crime area. Naturally, the local children were delighted at this rare excitement. Lights! Sirens! A police doggie willing to play fetch!
People say that women are a gossipy bunch. That may be true, but a gaggle of consultants has them beat every time. Nobody relishes telling stories about colleagues (or has more stories to tell) than a man with 25 years’ experience in the consulting business. Every so often you wonder: is this a business dinner? Or a junior high girls’ sleepover?
It’s surprisingly hard packing for a business trip when you haven’t needed business-wear in a year. Were the wool slacks already dry-cleaned? Enough shirts ironed and starched? Where did I hide all the dress socks? I have to wear heels? Black belt. Where’s the black belt? Do we even own an umbrella anymore? (Answer, no, we don’t, and it poured all three days).
Fresh salads. Crusty French bread. Buttery escargot. Mexican food. Deli sandwiches. Baked brie with honey and walnuts. Pastries and croissants for breakfast. Filet mignon with béarnaise sauce. Profiteroles. Chocolate Mousse. Did I already mention the company fed us well? Ridiculously
extravagant? Yes. Ridiculously unhealthy? Yes. Ridiculously nice as a three day treat? Yes.
At lunch one day, looking out over the dreary soaking Virginia landscape, someone brought up the September 11th anniversary. Despite its size, our nation sometimes reminds me of a small interrelated town. Everyone in the room had a close connection to the events – most know someone
who’d escaped the burning towers. Another lost twelve friends and colleagues in the World Trade Center collapse. Another had a newly engaged friend who called from the roof hoping to be plucked to safety by a helicopter but was never heard from again.
I’m not sure what to think of all the ten year anniversary hype, and I’d prefer not to re-hash the whole “where were you, where was I, who did you know, did they make it” conversation yet again. One thing I do know: the actual events changed the course of thousands upon thousands of lives. For starters, my husband and I would probably have never met, and we most likely wouldn’t live where we do.
I also wouldn’t have had to spend a full hour creeping through security at Dulles airport yesterday. Darn those terrorists.
No sooner am I back from one place than we’re packing for the next, a quick overnight camping trip to an as-yet untried national forest a couple hours away. No matter how carefully I plan, we will forget something important. It’s a law of nature. Nothing quite like those chilly camping days drying off after a swim with a damp dish towel because that’s all you remembered.
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