Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Phew… We survived!

After eight weeks on the road this fall, it’s Keryn’s turn to talk about our adventures through all those places Jason has been failing to describe...

I survived eight weeks of travel.

This simple sentence does not even begin to explain all that my traveling has entailed. Imagine visiting 92 (!) high schools over two months, during the school day or as evening college fairs. These visits span six states and four months this fall. Thankfully, Normal Guy (Jason) was able to travel with me for half of my travel season, providing the always-needed foot rub, hug, or quiet time reading our own books in the hot tub in Buffalo. Admittedly, there were days when I felt like being alone and mute for hours after doing two one-hour student interviews, four high school visits and a college fair. Compound this with the fact that Jason often spent eight hours holed up in a small hotel room, writing or reading, both activities done alone. I’d get home and want to be quiet; I’d get home and he wanted to talk. It’s a good thing we are able to communicate with each other, oftentimes about how we don’t want to talk.

It was unbelievable when I learned (months ago) that Jason likes to talk (almost) as much as me!! How is that possible? Rewind nine years to a conversation I had with my college boyfriend:

Me: How’s life?
Him: Fine.
Me: How was your day?
Him: Good.
Me: What did you do?
Him: The usual.
Me: Do you have a lot of work to do?
Him: Enough. (with a hint of sarcasm and a slight narrowing of his eyes)
Me: What are you thinking about? (Apparently, questions that girls under 25 should under NO circumstances ask their significant others.)
Him: Nothing.

You get the picture. Fast forward nine years to listen to a conversation with Jason, and you would hear both of us sharing every detail about everything and anything that we observed in a 15 minute time frame, disregarding the many tangents we go off on while talking. While recently watching an episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” we faced a reflection of our details-sharing relationship in Marshall and Lily. [NOTE: Tried to find the clip on YouTube, but the closest I could get was this clip from the same episode]

Okay, back to the topic of travel.

To recap: I survived. He survived. Our relationship survived.

Being stranded at the Baltimore airport on our last trip of the travel season was infuriating, but as we lay on the floor at gate A8, we learned that we shape the opportunities in our lives. We could spend another night in Baltimore, anxious to get home, or we could rent a car and venture on an eight hour cruise home.

We bought munchies, several Cokes (to keep Jason caffeinated and awake to drive), and stopped at eight toll booths along the way. I have proof, receipts marking our journey through Maryland, New York, and New Jersey, and along the Mass Pike. We cheered the first time we saw Boston on a sign with mileage attached.

“Home Sweet Home” is a phrase I will never take for granted again after traveling to Buffalo, Syracuse, Baltimore, and Woodstock, CT, along with countless other small towns during the past two months.

Thank you, “Normal Guy,” for being my navigator, cheerleader, and stress-reducer while traveling. We survived.

- Keryn Lemieux (a.k.a. "Normal Girl")

Where Have We Been?

That’s an excellent question. This fall, Keryn and I ventured to many places selected by her employer for recruiting potential undergraduate students. Among our destinations (a partial listing):
  • Newark, Delaware
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Syracuse, NY
  • North Adams, MA
  • Wallingford, CT
  • Greenfield, MA
  • Rochester, NY
  • Timonium, MD
  • Dover, Delaware
  • Pittsfield, MA
Reads like a title scan of the travel section in your local independent bookseller, no? I especially recommend the Lonely Planet Guide to Northern Delaware. It doesn't help trying to get to the elusive Chili's on Stanton Road in Newark, though... Damn marginal roads...

This period proved quite a thorough test of our relationship. In fact, if you are seeking to analyze how you and your honey stand up against stress, confined quarters, and all that, I strongly suggest you spend four weeks in a series of generic cramped hotel rooms, that one of you spend the day on the road, working, while the other sits in the hotel room developing cabin fever and trying to write his Great American Novel, that you dine nightly at one of three chain restaurants, and that you spend lots of hours together in the car struggling to find obscure side roads, navigate bustling rotaries, and follow bewildering signage. If you make it through all that, as we did this fall, and you still enjoy each other’s company, then you should look forward to a happy future.

Normal Girl provides her take on the subject later today...

Although we made it through the trip intact, we fell behind in our blogging. I spent a few posts recounting our visits to Niagara Falls, the Boxing Hall of Fame, and Rochester. But many sights remain items on my task list. I’m hoping to make up for lost time in coming weeks, recounting such adventures as:
  • National Aquarium (Baltimore)
  • Our “Favorite” Airport (BWI)
  • Delaware, Land of Enchantment
  • A LONG Drive Home (Baltimore to Boston)
  • Bob Evans Across America
Stay tuned for these and other adventures in coming weeks!

Also, you should pay close attention for some other enhancements to the site:
- Migration from Blogspot to http:///
- Weekly PodCast posted to iTunes
- Complete sitemap with multiple cross-references (location, subject)

Glad to be back after a month’s hiatus!

- Jason Shaffner (a.k.a. “Normal Guy”