Friday, July 4, 2008

Oh the places you'll go

With apologies to Dr. Seuss, but this entire experience has been an experience in frustration and humor. I've spent much time embarrassed and guilt ridden that my mistake has prevented us from leaving for the Peace Corps as we planned, and then there are times like this, when we found a giant inflatable eagle painted red, white, and blue in the parking lot of my high school, next to one of the local fireworks stands. Even after many years in Seattle, this's a novelty.

So, there's been several things to lighten my mood for this extended stay in my hometown. They say you can't go home again, but I think that only applies to when you want to go home. When you intended to visit for a week and you were kinda shoved into an extra month (and counting), damn right you're home.

But it's been fun as well. We've done a few classic summer things, like going to the zoo.

Not to sound like an ad for Nebraska but there is one world-class thing here, the zoo in Omaha is huge and very well done (I've been to the zoo in Seattle, but I'd been spoiled by the Henry-Doorly in Omaha). I've been going since I was five or so and there's been something new just about every time.

I've been kicking myself that I didn't get more pictures of animals, but I realized that pictures of animals are like pictures of mountains or sunsets, it doesn't really show the experience.

So I can show you animals like this massive Silverback gorilla, just as an example

but even with a sense of scale (look at the little girl he's staring at)

or a little anthropomorphism (it really felt like this guy watched the crowds like a human would watch a reality show), it just doesn't create the same impression. But we had a good time doing it.

We've done a lot of laying around watching TV or reading. It's made me a little anxious not having a job, but not having to pay Seattle-like rent makes the little money we've saved suddenly seem pretty good. And we've done a few house-sitting jobs for friends of my parents. It's given us a few weeks where we have our own space and things to keep track of and mow. And this time has made me realize that I don't particularly want a yard that I have to water and mow and fertilize, blah, blah, blah. I might suck it up and do it if we find the right house a few years from now, but my resistance to buying a condo is weakening.

This is Murphy. We kept him company for a week or so. Murphy is a 20 pound cat. He is on a diet. I am very glad Murphy slept locked in the laundry room, because I didn't want to wake up missing toes.

But it was fun to have a cat again. Marie really seemed to enjoy that. She didn't like mowing very much, but few people do.

But it's the Fourth of July now. The carnage is getting pretty serious.

This process certainly didn't turn out how I'd planned, but it's been a vacation of a sort, and Marie's been a good sport about being homeless and spending an extra month with her in-laws (what is a good gift for that sort of spousal tolerance?).

Myself, I've had to remember that the weather plays a major part of conversations here. Marie mentioned the yard work; I can't tell if the interest in the weather is influenced by the focus on yards (see nearly any King of the Hill episode), or if it's incidental, but it comes up a lot.

But our original ambitions are unchanged, we expect to have something definitive in the next week; either we get an approval from the Peace Corps and we get a definitive statement that we will leave in the next couple months, or we're going to Taiwan. Either way, the time here is just a part of the adventure, though a more known and predictable adventure.

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