I’m not going to pretend I’m happy to be away from home, but last night and today so far are making it a little easier to bear. I guess I can’t be unbearably depressed and crying all the time. John, can you forgive me? If I had my way, this plane would be heading towards home, not Boston. Since it’s not – damn. Ignore the no-crying statement. I’m not crying, exactly, but the song that just started (“(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am”) brought tears to my eyes. Because I’m a sap and I’m away from home. Today’s post is brought to you by The Living Sisters. If I could find that song on YouTube, I’d post it. Here’s the one that was playing right before it, when I was feeling a little happier:
Back to what’s made the last day and a half bearable (and, you know, good). Mom, Dad, and Gaby drove up from Corey and Candy’s place yesterday to spend the afternoon and evening with me on their way north. Mom and Dad have been all over the south over the last two weeks, and I’m ridiculously happy they realized that coming through Atlanta wouldn’t put them too far out of their way. I was done with work yesterday right about 1pm, and I wasn’t expecting Mom and Dad to arrive until about 4:30, so I went to the aquarium. It was cool and everything, but I think Baltimore and Boston have better ones. Not at all the peaceful afternoon I’d imagined when I thought about going to the aquarium. Yesterday was the last day of school for many of the districts in Atlanta, and it looked like most of them let out early and shipped the students to the aquarium. NOT quiet, pretty crowded, but while I didn’t get to experience the whole meditation-while-looking-at-fishies thing, I did have perfect timing to see all the animals get fed. I was checking out the otter exhibit (they were all napping in a big pile) when an aquarium employee appeared and tossed some food at them. They bolted out of that pile like they’d been faking the nap and scurried all over the habitat scooping up the food, doingcutelittlehumanthingswiththeirhands. Where was my camera? That’s right. Hotel room. But it was fun to watch. Oh, one thing that is totally cool about the Georgia Aquarium is how they’ve put half of the tanks and exhibits over the heads of the people walking around. So in the Georgia swamp area, you’re wandering around looking at frogs and snakes and things (this one little boy had camped out in front of the tree frog tank and made it his business to show me every single slimy, slithery thing in there), and then something catches your eye and you look UP. And above me, right there over my head, was a huge tank of water with a glass bottom, and a two-foot long catfish looking down at me. There were all kinds of fish swimming over my head. And that’s just the river exhibit. When we got to the ocean part (Ocean Voyager, maybe?), the track leads you into this tunnel that goes under and through what they say is the largest aquatic exhibit in the world. Lots of sharks, giant grouper, a manta ray, and four half-grown whale sharks. And lots of other fish. LOTS of other fish. After you get through the tunnel (which is just SO cool – seriously the fish and the sharks are swimming next to you and over you and it’s SO COOL – they had hammerhead sharks and the kind with noses that look like chainsaws. I can never remember what those are called.), you end up in a room with a window onto the exhibit that’s the size of a movie screen. I got there just in time to watch them feed these fish, which they do by pumping food in through a pipe. Everything in the tank zeroes in on this one pipe, right in front of the glass, I got to watch the feeding frenzy. Then, while I was in the tropical reef exhibit, they fed those fish, too. It was neat to watch, but I think I’ve had my fill of watching fish eat. After a couple of hours, I’d seen everything (minus the exhibits with an extra charge), so I went back to the hotel. About an hour later, I got a phone call from Gaby telling me they were checking in, so I met them in front. Where Gaby got shy for about five seconds. Then she got over it. I can’t blame her. I think it’s been a year since I saw her last. And at four and a half, I think she can be forgiven for not immediately recognizing an aunt she’s seen all of five times (now six) in her life. She’s the funniest little kid. We went to dinner at PF Chang’s (they have a reliably gluten-free menu for Dad, and besides, they’re good), and she started to fade a little. At first, she wanted to sit with the girls, so they three of us crowded into one side of the booth with Dad all by himself on the other side. After a while, she disappeared under the table after a crayon she’d dropped, and when she came back up, she’d moved to Dad’s side. Mom bagged up the leftovers and left them in the middle of the table. I started making faces at Gaby, who gave me a blank (tired) look and then slowly slid the bag over until it blocked her view of me. Cracked me up. And she insisted on sleeping with me instead of Grammy and Poppy last night. I guess Mom and Dad had suggested it to her earlier in the day, but we all expected her to back out once it came down to it. Not Gaby. I was about to drop and she was on her second wind (and an hour behind me, since she was coming from Central time), but even knowing that if she stayed with me we were going to bed right now didn’t deter her. So we headed across the hall to my room after Mom made her brush her teeth and she settled onto the right side (if you’re on it) of the giant bed. I got ready for bed and climbed in, and she scooted over to the middle so I could read her the two stories she’d been promised. After two stories, I was putting myself to sleep, so we turned off the light (leaving the bathroom light on and the light over by the door so it wouldn’t get too dark). She tossed and turned a bit (and was still in the middle of the bed, leaving me less than a third on the left), and then decided she didn’t want sleep at the head of the bed. She wanted to sleep at the foot of the bed, under the comforter that was folded up there. I didn’t care, so she moved and tossed and turned down there. And then demanded another story. And another. And another. So I made one up, which apparently didn’t go over well, because she asked for princess stories after that, particularly Ariel and Belle. So with my eyes closed and my words slurring (I think), I managed slightly butchered and completely condensed renditions of “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast” (the Disney versions, naturally). At some point, she moved back up to the head of the bed, in the middle, sprawled out at an angle, and fell asleep.
I didn’t sleep well.
But she’s so cute! I can forgive a lot for a cute face and a little girl who tells me she loves me without any prompting. So yesterday was fun, and this morning, too, and I’m always happy to hang out with Mom and Dad.
On top of THAT, when I checked in online for my flight to Boston today, Air Tran offered me an upgrade to business class for a very reasonable price, and I took it. So here I am, sitting in the very front row of the business class section, next to the window, with free wi-fi. I’ve just finished one of those cute little airline bottles of chardonnay and two milano cookies, I’m listening to The Living Sisters (although I’m on the second round of the album and I’m thinking about switching to something else), and I’ll have all day tomorrow in Boston to do whatever I want before I have to work on Monday. I think the aquarium is calling my name. The one in Boston has penguins!
So, even though I’d rather be home (or be going to Boston on vacation with John), I can make the best of it. It helps that I ran this morning. Makes me feel like I’m holding my own in my battle against getting fat.
Enough of this. I’m going back to my book. I just started a mystery by Tana French called In The Woods.