It took me 20 minutes to drive 100 yards.
Today was a long, crazy day at the end of a long, crazy week. Our workplaces are both resembling oatmeal cookies of bureaucratic inertia occasionally studded with raisins of pure, hostile delusion. Following our pattern of alternating sanity, I listened last night while Nora described the tangles of her geographically and organizationally incoherent life. And, although it was nominally "her week" to drive to see me, I decided to drive to see her. And not entirely for altruistic reasons; my own week had been difficult enough that I was ready to be home.
So I worked half a day today (don't worry, I worked a day and a half on Wednesday and a day and a half on Thursday, so I feel okay about it), and took off on I-93 North at about 12:45. If I were to drive that on a normal weekday afternoon in nice weather and one stop, it would be about 4:30 when I arrived.
It was 6:00.
First there was the usual traffic on 93 where it merges with 495, and again where it crosses the New Hampshire state line and goes from four lanes to two, and again at the toll plaza. Then I stopped for gas in Bow, NH. Then I drove across NH on I-89, and stopped again for some significant grocery shopping at the Lebanon Co-op. Then I hit Vermont 4, which was the scene of some of the most significant flood damage of Hurricane Irene -- which, technically, by the time it arrived in Vermont was no longer a hurricane. So hell-of-a-rainstorm Irene. The road is now completely open again across the state, but narrower in several places than it had been, and still with construction crews in a few others. So Woodstock to Rutland, usually about 45 minutes, was an hour and a little bit.
But then Rutland to Middletown... occasionally you get behind a tractor for half a mile, but otherwise, it's clear sailing. Which it was today as well, until I actually crossed into the town limits of Middletown Springs, and discovered that today was paving day for the Four Corners. All four corners. Both lanes of all four corners.
So I was stopped behind a motorcycle, who was stopped behind a big asphalt truck, across from Vicky's Store. I can walk to Vicky's from the house in two minutes. But it took me twenty minutes to get through that intersection, with the construction crew begrudgingly giving a handful of cars the go-ahead for a blessed few seconds before the blacktop crew went back to work with shovels and skimmers and steamrollers.
Finally, into the driveway, where I did a quick walkaround to check for sticky hot tarballs on the fenders. Then in to home. To Nora, to Ed, to Simon, to the woodstove, to quiet. We sat. We talked. We held each other. And Nora said, "Let's open the box." She had received a giant box from Simon Pearce, the last of our wedding gifts.
We opened the box, unwrapped the plates. They had stopped making that pattern about the time of the wedding, but they made a set to fulfill our wedding registry. Despite losing much of their production capacity in the hurricane. There IS something about Vermont.
Nora set one white dinner plate with a celadon salad plate, and one celadon dinner plate with a white salad plate. And then she had a vision. So we got out the wedding silverware and the wedding champagne glasses and the wedding candles and the wedding cordial glasses and the wedding serving bowl and the wedding display board. I went downstairs to fetch a bottle of our wedding prosecco, brought it back, opened it. We lit candles, poured prosecco, and took some pictures, for us and for you.
A happy Friday to us all. And thanks once again to all of you; you help us smile. Remember when we wrote our letter to our friends about the things that we didn't really need, but loved? We said we'd have you at the table with us when we sat to our meal. It was lovely having dinner with all of you. Slainte!