Day 68 and 69: Home to Wheaton, back to reality

This is the day I had not been looking forward to, return to Wheaton and ending summer at the cottage. I had been back for a two day trip and a three day trip, but this was final, it signified summer was over and a return to a normal schedule.

I did have a schedule: wake up, take Ivy out, make coffee, and write. This would be different though. It would mean I would have to accomplish more in a day than rest, relax, rejuvenate, water, boat, cook, and campfire. It is also a good thing as well because it means getting ready to go back to school and being alert and ready to go for a new school year.

My day did start the normal way – wakeup, take Ivy for a walk, and coffee: although, this morning started with coffee with Grandma and Grandpa Weaver. I did not get to start writing, but that was okay. It was just fun to talk with the two of them and share what we had been doing as well as to listen to them. There are so many memories at the cottage for me, especially for William and Olivia. The cottage is a special place.

The day began as many do, with a Michigan breakfast. I fried all of the bacon – we had nine mouths to feed and fried the eggs to order. This is the kind of breakfast that cannot be served all at once the eggs need to be cooked to order and the skillet can only handle four eggs at a time. But, it is what makes the breakfast what it is – time to talk, to sneak a nibble of bacon, and to start the day. Everyone gets what they want, one egg or four, toast or no, or a bacon sandwich. When we finish the bacon is gone and it is time to clean up. Grandpa and Beth pitch in and the kitchen returns to normal.

For me it is time to gather my stuff, organize boxes, and load the car. I am taking the car with the car carrier and I first need to put it on top of the car. Loading the car is an art it needs to be done in a certain way. I have learned over the years to be careful where to place items and where not to. Ivy’s crate is an issue it needs to be moved, once complete the packing goes smoothly and I get everything I need to return. Beth, Olivia and Ivy had arrived at the cottage while William and I were at scout camp and William and I came a few days later with all of our scout gear. Even with two trips home, the car is packed – we have a lot of stuff, every year I resolve to bring less. But, at least I can see out the rearview mirror!

I am on the road by four, which means I should arrive in Wheaton between nine and ten, if all goes well and the traffic cooperates. It is Wednesday evening and traffic is light. When I can, I try to avoid the weekend traffic. Leaving or returning to Chicago in heavy traffic or construction can make the drive a nightmare. I have spent many a Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend crawling along the road at five or ten miles per hour,  but not tonight. The only catch is Ivy is hungry or needs to go. I stopped the car three times before she did her business.

It had been over a month since Ivy had been home and she sniffed and looked around as I unloaded the car. I turned on the air conditioner, then checked the basement and started the dehumidifiers.  Ivy followed me everywhere, seemingly not wanting to miss anything. After a short walk around the neighborhood, she curled up on her pillow and fell asleep. I finished my post and followed her to sleep.

Thursday morning I awoke to a bark, the clock read 5:55; it was time to get up. Ivy and I went out and we came back inside. I made coffee and decided to lie down on the couch while the coffee brewed. Big mistake, I woke a when the phone rang at ten to nine. Evidently, I needed the sleep. The only downside to it was my coffee cold. I got moving and planned my day: haircut, post office, schools.

After my haircut and errands, Ivy played outside and I surveyed the yard. It has rained at least three and a half inches since my last visit a week ago and the garden showed it. Everything was green, the yard looked good and I had plans for the weekend – yard work. I sorted the mail and took another nap with Ivy lying on the floor beside me. It was quiet and I was gone. The phone rang and it was Beth and she was on her way. She had the kids, the bikes, and everything else I had left behind.

By the time, she had pulled in the driveway I had read and sorted though some of the mail, but I had not really accomplished much. The drive and being away had worn me out. As I swept the deck, I remembered someone saying ‘they needed a vacation from their vacation.’  Sometimes being away and returning wears me out and I was exhausted. The evening had cooled and the humidity had dropped, it was pleasant out and I opened the windows to cool the house.

It was dark when the Beth pulled into the driveway. I helped unload while Olivia walked Ivy and William explored the neighborhood on his bike. Everyone was tired and we got to bed as soon as the car was unloaded.

Coming home is always good. It is good to get back to a schedule and get back to normal, whatever that might be. School will start soon and a schedule is as important as ever then. The days have counted this summer and I still have a few remaining. Today was a great day, but the forecast for tomorrow is a million and six times better. Making the days count, one day at a time.

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