Another Christmas trip home to New England is done. As always, it went by too quickly. As usual, I ran out of time and didn't get to see everyone. In keeping with tradition, approximately 6 days into the trip and a couple days before the flight back to Tennessee, I was visited by the annual stuffed up sinuses, scratchy throat and general feeling of unwellness to enhance the regularly scheduled depression at having to leave the family. It wouldn't be a major holiday family visit if it didn't end in me feeling like I'd been run over by a bus.
It seems the best thing I ever did to fully appreciate my family was to move 1,200 miles away from them. Maybe when I am 1,200 miles away from Clarksville I can finally appreciate that place, but it will probably be a delayed gratification thing, as it may take a few years for the excitement of leaving to wear off first.
It stinks to fly with congested sinuses, and moreso since Southwest stopped flying direct between New England and Nashville. Once upon a time, there were multiple daily nonstops on the schedule, but ever since the addition of Baltimore-Washington Airport to their schedule, there are no more nonstops to Nashville from either Manchester, New Hampshire or Providence, Rhode Island. The once two hour trip is now a four to seven hour event involving foot tours of multiple airports. The first leg of the flight introduces a mild ear discomfort which is topped with a bonus round of excrutiating ear pain and the challenge of suppressing the urge to scream and wail like an infant by jamming gum into my mouth and chewing it like my life depends on it while applying pressure to the outer opening my ear canal. Then, I spend the next couple days feeling like my ears are stuffed with cotton or I've just left a very loud concert. It might be my favorite part of traveling by air, narrowly edging out the joy of playing fortune teller as required to pack for as-yet-unknown weather conditions and activities.
Being New Year's Eve and dancing on the brink of sickness, there was a huge compulsion to go to bed early and attempt to heal, but that's what I did one year ago and resented it any time I thought about it for the rest of the year. Twenty years ago there would be no consideration given to missing a New Year's Eve celebration -- come hell, high water, the forced muteness of laryngitis or a raging case of tonsillitis, I would be dressed to the nines and out in the fray. I have a quieter life now. In my delusional moments I call it maturity, but it's probably more accurate to call it laziness.
Sleep was poor much of the week in New England, thanks to the seemingly never-ending sinus issues that prevented breathing. And the unfamiliar bed with no dogs. And the weird dreams. Some of the best sleep of the week happened each morning between 8:00 and 9:00 when I had intended to already be up, and on the flight from Baltimore-Washington International to Nashville International when I dozed off three or four times in six or seven minute increments, and awoke when I whacked my head on the cabin wall each time my head began to drop. I think it was starting to freak out the kid in the center seat, who had her mother sleeping in the aisle seat to her right and me smashing my head on the window like a psychiatric patient in the seat to her left.
The rest of the week's prime sleep came when I hit the couch after arriving home. In spite of the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America, the fatigue and feeling of crappiness, coupled with the coziness of the exhausted fur babies curled up beside me overpowered my supreme crush on David Tennant and I was sleeping, this time in 15 minute slots -- just long enough to miss key moments of each episode all afternoon long.
On New Year's Day morning when I got up at the rosy hour of 8:15 (after a night of reasonably satisfying sleep) I saw the TV listing for the last episode of Downton Abbey Season 2 and immediately jumped to the potentially false assumption that the entire second season had aired overnight on PBS (and probably all day Monday). There was no way to verify this, as the TV listing only displays current and future time slots and shows. If only I had looked at ALL the listings yesterday instead of immediately shacking up with Doctor Who all day. And night. I mean, it's not like The Doctor even knows that he and I are dating.