This morning I left my parent's home as the sun was rising to head back to Charleston. About seven or eight miles down the road, at the intersection of Rio Mills and Earlysville Road, I passed one of Virginia's oldest white oaks (Quercus alba) - an oak tree that has been under threat due to expansion of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport. All of the homes that used to be around it are long gone, and a nearby church is scheduled for demolition - but efforts have been made to not disturb this tree, and it seems that a group of individuals in the area have accepted the responsibility of caring for the tree until it's (hopefully) natural end. It was quite majestic this morning - with the early morning sky all lit up behind it - so I didn't resist the urge to pull off the side of the road and capture an image.
I don't think that I'm ready to be home. A few days before I left town I met with my architherapist, and he gave me a long list of things to think about, decide upon, and actually do -- appliance dimensions, cabinet 'types', counter tops, where I want tile and where I want hardwood floors (I want to read up on engineered wood floors), lighting...the list is long, but first and foremost is the search for a good mortage. This I will start 'shopping' for tomorrow. Then I want to visit a person that a friend knows that salvages tiles - and interesting ones, or so my friend says - so I'd like to take a look and see if I can find something for the two small wall areas in the kitchen. While I was in Virginia I received the results of my geotechnical survey - and I need to get a copy of this to my architherapist, and there's also the email from the HVAC consultant on the project - who wants to talk with me (and requests an hour in order to do so) - I think he wants to convince me that geothermal is the way to go - and while I'm very interested, I'm concerned about the up-front costs. I also need to pack - really pack - most of the easy-to-pack stuff is done, but now I need to seriously think about what will make it into the Airstream and what will not - since my architherapist thinks that we'll be ready for demolition in a month or so (we gave a set of plans to one prospective builder about a week ago). Right now - after months of thinking all of this through - that seems soon - and I'd better start making the more challenging decisions regarding my new Airstream lifestyle: clothes, shoes, books. And paperwork. I need to decide what necessary papers should go with me, and which ones should be packed up and put into storage. This shouldn't be too difficult - but it's still something that just needs to be done - and it all takes time. It's nice to be home - but home is such an odd place right now, and a bit overwhelming - perhaps by the time the Airstream is 'home' I'll be relieved more than freaked out by this new adventure.
The New Wild Dog is happy to once again be with Stan and I: over Christmas I boarded her at a place I was quite lucky to find in Richmond (so on my way to Charlottesville) - at first I felt badly about it, but since I was already bringing Stanley to my parent's home, and since my brother was also showing up with an indoor Shetland Pony (aka Bernese Mountain Dog) - I just couldn't bear to bring another (new and wild) dog into the mix. Plus, my mother is just too happy that her daughter (as far as she knows) has only one dog, so I don't have the heart to burst her bubble: yes, her daughter just can't seem to live in a one dog house and, well, that is just all there is to say. Honestly? If it makes her happy to think that, then I'll let her - and the New Wild Dog will go to 'camp' at the Holiday Barn in Richmond. Now the humorous thing about this is that I was desperate to find her a kennel before I left for Virginia, and in desperation I called a friend in Richmond - who called the Holiday Barn, who had fortunately just had a cancellation. It ends up that this place is not just a kennel, but a pet resort - and little Dani got four hours of camp time a day with her campmates (I think that Stanley was actually a bit jealous of this). In fact, this resort was listed by the Travel Channel as being one of the top ten pet resorts in North America (I would find this hilarious if it wasn't so crazy-expensive as well). Tonight she is all clean and shiny, and miraculously still wears the green bandana she had on her when I picked her up. She's also quite sleepy (and falling asleep while sitting upright), so I'm guessing all of that camp time must have exhausted her. She is quite sweet, you know, but is an absolute terror outside - she sees a bird, and if she wasn't on a leash, I'd probably never seen her again. So there's just a little bit of training to be done...
As I was driving south today, I was listening to NPR when their regular program got interrupted, annoucing the news that Benazir Bhutto had been shot. I couldn't help but think that this was a day that I might need to remember, a day that the whole world will look back on as a deeply troubling one. From everything I have ever read about her, she was flawed and shrouded in controversy - but her courage and passion is deeply admirable. For a country with nuclear weapons, sitting in the middle of an already volatile region - I'll hold my breath while watching what the next few days and weeks and months bring to their country. But today I found myself sad, driving down the road, sad that she was gone from that troubled region.