January 14, 2008, Cornwall On Hudson, New York

I was able to get home this weekend and see everyone. Zach was finally able to come over and he and I had some time together Saturday as Max had Zach Bisch and Anthony over for Yu-Gi-Oh battles. Zach is talking about cyberschool so we’ll have to see how that might play out. Alyssa went through it and seems to have done well, although she does at times seem to lack social skills.

The drive to Pittsburgh Friday was not bad and I found a new route to take which will likely become my default route. It takes me north a bit to I-84 to Scranton, Pa., then south on I-81 to Harrisburg/Carlisle and onto the PA turnpike and over to Pittsburgh. It still is a $10 charge for the turnpike, and I do cross over I-80, which I could jump onto and catch I-79 south to Pittsburgh to avoid the toll, but it would add some time and mileage. Might take it once just to clock it.

Friday at the office, Dr. Evans let me know they were closing down the CTE at about 3 p.m. and if I was all caught up then to take off as well. Very cool of him. I had packed the night before and was ready to head out as soon as I got off. At about 3:10 I started getting changed and in my haste I locked myself out of the office when going for a bathroom break. I could not believe it. My laptop(s) and other necessary items were locked away. I panicked a bit. I wondered the first floor of Thayer Hall looking for an open door and asked a faculty member if he knew who to contact. No luck.

Fortunately, down the hall is the office of MAJ Chike Williams. He was a CAPT when I met him in December and must have just been promoted. He was on the phone when I gingerly knocked on his door. He made several calls and walked down to the ATCL (the outer room for my office) and made sure he got a hold of who he needed to in order to get the room opened.

Mr. Scott showed up several minutes later, and at about 3:45 I was on the road. Got home at about 10:30.

I was starving and Lisa made me a hoagie while I enjoyed my first glass of wine in over a week. Connor was the first to grab me and I was playing Madden 06 with him within a half an hour of hitting the door. It was so good to see and be able to hug Lisa and Max. Zach looks good and it was especially great to see him after so long. I am glad he came over this weekend and hope he gets back into the visiting groove.

Saturday was a day just to kick back and relax. I called Mom and talked to her a bit. Generally it was a chance to unwind and veg a little in front of the TV.

Sunday I took Max down to the Waterfront for a Starbucks and some shopping. I bought him his own copy of “Snatch” since I brought mine with me. I know he misses the “dad” time like that and hope he adjusts OK to everything. I will need to make sure everyone gets their own time alone with me while I am there.

After getting back home from the Waterfront, Lisa said there was no reason to wait until later in the day to head out. She was right. I hit the road at about 1 p.m. and took the same route back here. Almost the same time in getting back. Traffic was light but the trip from I-84 back to Cornwall On Hudson goes through Newburgh, and I really do not like that town. Depressing and dark.

Lisa had mentioned snow we were supposed to get here. I looked at the weather.com site and they were calling for lots of snow. When I woke up, I was greeted with about 8 inches of the fluffy white stuff covering the car, driveway and everything else. It was actually very beautiful. You can see some photos of it by clicking here.

There was a Code Red on post due to the weather, and civilians were excused from work until 10 a.m. I called Lisa to tell her and logged on to work. I was really thinking about staying here at the cottage for the day, but after things warmed up and I could see the roads were plowed, I felt a little guilty and cleaned off the car and drove to post. It was about 11:30 or so when I finally got to the office. I think it would have been OK to work from here, but I think it was better to show I am responsible and can handle a little adverse weather. Also, I was afraid that if I stayed here, I would start getting into a habit of missing or opting to work remote more than I think Dr. Evans might be comfortable with.

When I got back to the cottage, the deer were rummaging for food. I tossed out a loaf of bread and some old hot dog buns. There were only about 5 as the photos above showed, but the nearly charged the cottage trying to get to the stale bread. I’ll be able to pet one soon, I’m sure.

What did I learn the last couple of days … that the nearly 7 hour drive, each way, even it means only a little more than a day and a half of actual visitation time, is worth every minute and mile to be with my family.

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