Almost Normal

Yesterday, Jeff arrived safe and sound from his US adventures. A whirlwind trip, to be sure.

The motorcycle is sold and residing in it’s new home in Oregon. The buyer wants to ride her up to Alaska. Luckily, the bike knows the way. Jeff was sad to see her go but he never gets to ride in the US, anymore. Time to pursue other interests. Then Jeff did a little shopping – a few suitcases full.

Jeff is very tall with size 13 shoes. That’s a 50 in Europe, depending on the shoe brand. Finding clothes and shoes in Spain is impossible for him. It’s been a long two and a half years. If he had known he would be stuck without shoes or jeans he would have stocked up in December of 2019. But crystal balls were in short supply back then. None of us knew. He is well stocked now. I’ve never seen so many pairs of socks, underwear, shirts. He shopped til he dropped.

Coming back to Spain they gave him no trouble, but flying to the US, the border patrol didn’t like the fact that he hadn’t been back to the US in two and a half years. When Jeff explained that a) He lives in Spain, and b) Well, pandemic, the guy was none too pleased. ‘Isn’t America good enough for you?’ Then promptly marked Jeff’s customs form for cavity search. Fun! Jeff was pulled out of every security line for swabbing and searching in every US airport. He has no idea why.

I picked Jeff up at the airport in Santiago last evening. I even got gussied up to perform this task. Putting on real clothes for the first time in more than a week. It turns out, living on popsicles for ten days means my clothes are significantly roomier. My jeans without lycra slid right on. I laughed, remembering that line from The Devil Wears Prada. ‘I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.’ Talk about doing it the hard way. I don’t recommend it.

Luckily, it was warm, so driving him home with masks and the windows rolled down was not unpleasant. He was tired, of course, but glad to be home in Spain. A Washington kid, born and bred, he wouldn’t live in the Northwest again.

‘Beef jerky is so expensive now! And the traffic…’

It seems beef jerky inflation will keep him from moving back to the US. And a $13 pint of beer. But he misses his Mom, a lot. Jeff is happy to come back to sun, warmth and tractor traffic after twelve days spent in gridlock and rain. But he got to hang out with his best friend since childhood. And to spend time with his Mom, after so much uncertainty. He will brave the cost of beef jerky for those two people, any day of the week.

We spent last night in the house, masked up. I didn’t want to risk infecting him. And slept in separate rooms with the doors closed. I woke up this morning, grabbed a Covid test and sat outside on the patio in the sun to perform it. I am no fan of these things. Drumroll, please! I’m negative, at last. Adios masks in the house!

Jeff is already out on the lawnmower in his new Carhartt overalls this morning, making the front yard look like we aren’t squatters. I’m almost back to normal. It’s just a bad head cold now. Things are definitely looking up.

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