All that's left is driving--18 hours of it from Las Cruces to the Bay Area, punctuated only by a stop-over near the desert at a nearly deserted Indian Wells resort. This time of year, it practically gives its rooms away and still can't fill them. For people that like to stay in their air conditioned rooms all day and look out the windows at palm trees and lush golf courses at the foot of mountains shimmering mirage-like in 110-degree heat, this is a great place for a vacation. It's also attractive to those whose feet do not burn when walking over 120-degree pavement to the pool, and those whose gift chocolates and candles do not melt when left in 150-degree cars for an hour or two. For us, it was a bit hot.
Home is appreciated more than ever when you've been away from it for a long time. Cameron begged us to get up at 5 am to get home as early as possible, and nobody objected. When we finally pulled up around 2 pm, the dogs were ecstatic. Only a dog long-separated from its family can demonstrate so well what "beside oneself" means. Completely unable to contain their joy, they would jump randomly from one of us to the next, simultaneously wagging, licking, barking and rolling over for a scratch of a long-neglected tummy.
Within ten minutes, Cameron was in his swim trunks and headed for the community pool, a ritual of the first day of summer that he was forced to defer for two long weeks--an eternity for an 11-year-old boy. Olivia was sitting at the piano and singing her latest song (beautifully, if you ask her dad). After unpacking, Vickie and I were regaling friends by the pool with tales of the trip. All seemed back to normal with an hour. And at the end of day, the best homecoming of all--a deeply restful sleep in our own beds.