After spending nearly the entire month of August wandering, I am settling down again…briefly. I went first to California, then to Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey…back to California, then to Arizona…and again to California, before finally settling back down here in Utah…for the time being, anyway. It was…interesting, in many respects. I spent almost 11 of those days completely away from my children. My parents were kind…brave…enough to take them in so I could spend some more quality time with my MIA husband. I was able to catch up with a lot of old friends in these many places…people I haven’t seen in four to ten years…from law school, college, and all the way back to high school.
I have not been apart from all of my children for more than three days before. Actually, when I just had one, I spent a week away from him during a trip to New York City when he was 18 months old, but since then, this is the first time that I’ve been away from all three for more than a weekend. About half way into my trip back East I began to feel really strange. I’m just not used to having so much time on my hands, so few concerns, and not having to take care of anyone but me. It was almost too relaxing, for my taste. Relaxing indeed. Upon returning to California I realized that this was the first time in a very long time that I didn’t feel like I needed a vacation from my vacation. It was quite refreshing being reunited with my sweet little boys and back into “mommy mode” again.
In Virginia, my husband and I toured Mt. Vernon, which was very cool.
I didn’t realize untill we got there just how expansive the grounds are. I could have spent a lot more time just walking around and taking pictures…had my feet not been hurting me so. I have a really bad habit of wearing uncomfortable shoes for touristy excursions.
Mt. Vernon was particularly interesting because I was in the middle of a biography of George Washington at the time (ok, I’m still in the middle of it…it takes me a very long time to plod through history books, even though I really enjoy them). I’m in an early American history mood right now, and George Washington is the most definitive persona of that time and place. Beyond his very well preserved mansion and plantation grounds, there is also a really cool education center, and of course, museum. And much more that we didn’t see.
In Philadelphia I surprised the Hubs with a visit to Edgar Allan Poe’s only surviving residence there, which is now a national historical site. This would not normally make it to the top of my touristy hit list, but since Poe is one of my husband’s favorite authors, it became a top priority as soon as I learned of its existence in Philly. In the end, I was actually quite pleased with the visit, and not solely because of my hubby’s delight; it was really very interesting.
Poe’s residence was on the left. You enter through the right (formerly the neighbor’s house) to begin the tour.
Coincidentally, my husband had been reciting “The Raven” from memory the night before we visited the site, before he knew I would be taking him there. It made me giddy with anticipation of my surprise for him. Then I became annoyed the next morning when I judged his initial reaction a little duller than I had hoped for.
There is a generally creepy feel to the house, with its peeling walls and vast emptiness. It doesn’t feel staged, like most historical homes do, void of the typical original furnishings and/or period pieces. The room where Poe’s young wife suffered from and died of tuberculosis has a particularly grave aura, pun intended.
Especially creepy is the cellar, which conjures thoughts of dark tales of men being entombed alive behind brick walls or bound to tables covered in rats whilst swinging axes steadily lower toward them.
I must say, though, that my hubby…as well as the tour guide…would like everyone to know that despite the common misconception, Edgar Allan Poe was actually a well rounded author whose work includes much more than just the disturbing and dreadful.
This room in the adjoining residence has been modeled after the principles espoused in Poe’s essay, Philosophy of Furniture.
Philadelphia also has the Betsy Ross House, well worth the $3 admission fee; this is one of the coolest historic homes I’ve ever toured.
Due to rain, parking, and time constraints we only caught a glimpse of the outside of Independence Hall, the Constitution Center and the building that houses the Liberty Bell. I had also wanted to see Franklin Court. Oh well, that leaves a lot still to do the next time I make it out to Philly.
After my trip back East, I headed out to Phoenix with the boys to stay with my sister…and her three boys…for a week. With three boys of my own, I had come to the conclusion that once you have three boys, you may as well have four, or five…or whatever. But after combining my three and my sister’s three in one 2,000 square foot house for a week, I have humbly altered my opinion. Each additional boy ups the energy level significantly. The effect of SIX boys SIX and under is…
need I say more? My sister’s boys are adorable, and these half dozen cousins had a lot of fun together, and I had a great time with my sister. I am thankful, though, for the knowledge that if I am blessed with any more boys in the future, at least the span will be greater than six years.
In California, I attended my ten year high school reunion. I can sum it up best by saying that it was a vivid reminder of why I have spent so few precious moments thinking about high school over the last decade. I really haven’t looked back, haven’t mourned those “wonder years,” because as fine as those four years may have been, my life has only gotten better since. Only a few days after graduating from high school, I left California for college and quickly found that college was way better than high school. Little more than two years after embarking on college, I was married…and married life is so much better than college! And being married (to a husband who gets even more wonderful every year, BTW) with three darling boys is even better. So, the reunion was interesting…but not much more.
Now, I’m back in Utah…and am currently planning a move to…California. Yes, after a decade away, I am officially moving back to the Golden State. So, though things have settled down a little bit with Summer’s end, it is a loose and temporary settling, with my life about to be stirred up anew.