Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Eye Doctor

I realized something today: If I say that I’m going to the dentist, someone’s waiting to commiserate with me about how they’ll be asking me a bunch of questions about myself while I’m on my back with my mouth open, etc. Similarly, if I say that I’m going to the doctor, someone’s waiting to joke about how they’ll no doubt make me wait for a long time, scantily clad, in a cold room. But if I say that I’m going to the optometrist… crickets. And because of this hole in the collective knowledge of society, I’m going to demonstrate how I would have commiserated with myself this morning, for I -- that’s right -- had my yearly vision checkup today.

“Oh, you have to go get your eyes checked today? Don’t you just hate it how after they’ve had you cover each eye, etc., do whatever it is with that hot air balloon image, take the flutter peripheral vision test, and get that puff of air in each eye that makes you cry, they make you go wait for the doctor in that “other” room? And they don’t even give you anything to do in there! You don’t have your contacts in, so to you the posters are just blurry drawings of magnified cross-sections of infected eyes with tiny writing you’ve no hope of reading from that uncomfortable chair they instruct you to wait in. Oh, and they make you set your purse across the room so that you have nothing interesting to do where you are. And that blob in the opposite corner past your purse is, of course, the poorly-positioned magazine tray. And while you know that you could always get up and examine any of those things while you wait, you risk them popping in as soon as you do so, and then feeling like they caught you being naughty or something since you were supposed to stay in that darn chair… for twenty minutes. Heh. Yeah, have fun with that.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Determination, Thy Name is Linus

(Or, “Disobedience, Thy Name is Linus”)

I was gone for two hours this morning, but I posit that it doesn’t really matter how long we’re away. I think that our beagle Linus sets to work escaping the upstairs containment area as soon as he hears the front door close. Why? Good question. He doesn’t have to pee (yet), he has plenty of comfy spots upstairs, and we’re not home, meaning he couldn’t prefer being downstairs because he’s closer to us -- unless you count the fact that he greets us sooner by being at the door when we arrive. He often gets kind of panicky being alone, so I’m sure that fuels his determination and amazing successes.

“Amazing successes”? Well, yeah. The baby gate we bought to corral him upstairs (the result of investing in new carpet downstairs) has undergone several modifications since the day Linus first decided he needed to get past it. As Dad said in his post last August, the gate at first was merely a psychological barrier, and it had worked for a good long while. Then Dad was forced to extend it, then he extended it even more, barred the gap, and hung it on hooks so that Linus couldn’t push through, and finally he placed another two hooks at the bottom, so that the gate really wasn’t going anywhere. That model lasted for a long time. But this last Sunday, Linus learned how to beat it. (And people say dogs are dumb!) Linus has simply decided that he will not be contained.

When I left this morning, I halfheartedly pushed an overturned chair up against the gate with a huge dictionary on it for extra weight. Result: Linus had gotten down, of course.

...and once downstairs, he reposed upon the nice sofa with the soft blanket as his reward.


He’s so cute though.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Back to “Normal”

So, after spending almost ten months abroad, here I am back home in Lincoln, Nebraska. Wow and ahh.

Actually, being back is at once relaxing & familiar AND stressful & different. I’m having an excellent time just taking it easy (and indulging a bit much, to own the truth) and having fun rediscovering all the things I love and appreciate about life here in the States: “Oh -- you don’t have to say hello and goodbye when entering and exiting stores!” “Oh -- I’m not obliged to keep both hands in sight at meals anymore, am I?” “Oh -- I forgot about Bunny Tracks ice cream!” :o) But then, on the other hand, I returned to find myself in a serious state of limbo, as I need a job, a car, and to make decisions about lodging, etc. in pretty short order. Not to mention that throughout my day I encounter any number of little changes: “Oh -- we don’t have to drive Joe around anymore, do we?” “Huh -- there’s a curtain there instead of shutters!” “Wow -- the skyline over here is a little busier than it used to be, isn’t it?” Not that there’s anything wrong with change, but it's noted, you know?

Anyway, I’m back and very happy to be so. Anne’s and my travels were great. We made it home safely, without any real crises, and with some excellent memories. It’s a little early to say what all I miss about France, though I miss the people, of course. It’s been excellent to start seeing folks around here again, though somehow bizarre (a good bizarre, of course!). I get overwhelmed when I think about everything I’ve got on my list of things to do, both in terms of picking up after a hasty exit from France and in terms of etching out a new place for me here. Good stress, yes, but stress nonetheless. :o)

In summary: All is well. Praise the Lord!