Day 42: Friday, July 18, 2003
The hotel provided a complimentary breakfast, so we filled up before we got back on the road. Our morning consisted of another long drive, ending in Zionsville. It was certainly strange to see familiar landmarks and street signs after so long on the road!
When we pulled up at my house, I was both shocked and dismayed at how much of a jungle it looked. A storm a few weeks ago had knocked down tree branches, which were now lying in the yard, the grass desperately needed to be mowed, and weeds had taken over the driveway. Inside the house wasn't too much better, with burned out lightbulbs, hard water stains in the shower, and general disorder everywhere. I tried my hardest to ignore all of this while we unloaded all of the items we had decided we wouldn't need for the rest of the trip and dumped them in my room. We fixed a frozen pizza for lunch, and while that cooked, I sorted through the huge mounds of mail I had accumulated in the past month and a half. Once we were done eating, we got dressed in our "nice clothes," and then it was back off on our next errand, thoroughly discouraged at the idea of coming home permanently to this house less than a month from now.
We ran into ZCHS to get a look at my new classroom and print my class schedules from last year. As we got there, we saw all of my carefully labeled boxes lining the hall, so as we went into my new classroom, it was completely empty. I drew a quick sketch of where all the bulletin boards, cabinets, and windows were, and then we set off for the English office. I opened my lesson plans on the computer there with no problem, but the printer was seriously malfunctioning and refused to print for me. After trying to fix it to no avail and getting frustrated about the time, we managed to get into one of the labs and print. With that task finally completed, we were free to continue our journey.
We arrived in the Elkhart region around 5:30 and went straight to the open house for Ben's dad's business's new location. We met his parents there. We got caught up with them and shared stories with Tom's co-workers while eating from a Mexican potluck. It seemed that everyone in the office had already heard the story of our New Orleans fiasco, and everyone was very friendly. We watched a few games, including Musical Chairs for all of the July birthdays, and took a tour of the new facilities, which proved to be much larger than they looked from the outside.
When we returned to Ben's parents' house, he and I rushed right in and were immediately attacked by two loving puppies. I can't even describe how good it was to see our babies again! They jumped all over us as soon as we let them out of the cage, cutting up our arms and necks with their nails, but I don't think either of us really minded. We let them out in the yard for a bathroom break and were astounded at how strong they were.
Back inside, as they calmed down a bit, we got a good look at them. Instead of their typical green and yellow collars, Helen had replaced these with pink and purple, complete with new pink and purple ID tags featuring her phone number. She's trying to turn them into girls!!! Dagny had also received a haircut, and I think she has lost a bit of weight, and she looks much more sleek and beautiful--although it is definitely now harder to tell the two of them apart!
We spent the evening cuddling and playing with our puppies on the living room floor and talking with Ben's parents. Tom revealed that they had pretty much "forgotten to work on commands," explaining why they no longer even have the ability to sit on command. Looks like we'll have our work cut out for us in the fall! One of the best parts of the night was that Tom said it was okay for the puppies to sleep upstairs just this once, so as I crawled into Jill's bed for the night, Tela curled up by my side and Dagny lay on the floor, just like at home, and I drifted off to sleep perfectly happy.
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