This weekend was logistically complex. On some level it was “full,” though it also featured a lot of downtime, if not necessarily downtime at home. These things are not in opposition. I kept reminding myself of that when I’d think “hey, there are a lot of moving parts!” True — but still a lot of space for, say, reading.
On Friday night, I drove out to Vorhees, NJ, for the dress rehearsal of Mahler’s second symphony, which my choir was performing with a New Jersey-based orchestra. I was gone from my house from 6-10:30 p.m., but at least 90 minutes of that involved sitting on stage during what was not my part. So I started reading Susan Orlean’s The Library Book. (Thanks to readers’ recommendations! Also, thank goodness for Amazon and the Kindle app — I realized I had time and needed a book, and I could immediately fill that need.)
On Saturday morning I got up on time and ran outside (just 1.6 miles — I didn’t have time for much else.) I got my 9-year-old up and we loaded the few things that I hadn’t already packed into the car — I think packing for camping was a big chunk of my planning fatigue this past week. I wound up packing a lot (and tracking down a lot of stuff) for just one night. We drove north for 3 hours to World’s End State Park, listening to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me most of the way. The 9-year-old is a big fan.
There, in a rock-strewn section of the Poconos, we found the Cub Scout troop and pitched our tent. We ate lunch and went on a hike that featured a fairly serious rock scramble. After, my son played with another little boy by the river. I read in the tent for an hour, then helped cook dinner. It began raining at 7 p.m. and pretty much rained all night. Fortunately, I’d recognized that might happen, so we both had good rain coats and rain pants and while conditions weren’t great, they weren’t awful either. I got us both to bed a few minutes after 10 p.m. I went in and out of sleep a lot with the rain, and the fact that I was sleeping in a sleeping bag on the ground, and popped up at 6 a.m. with the light; my kid didn’t wake until I woke him up at 7. Youth! At least I got another 30-40 minutes of reading in there.
We got on the road earlier than the rest of the troop, given the logistics of the day. We stopped for McDonald’s breakfast and as soon as we had reception, continued with the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me fun. Another three hours back to the house (kind of downtime.…except for needing to watch the road).
I ran 1.4 miles on the treadmill (gotta keep the streak going!) then showered. I should mention here that G (nanny) was with the other kids for the morning, because my husband was signed up to run the Broad Street 10-miler, which was on Sunday. She was there on time in the morning, and if he’d taken Uber (as we had last year) he would have been fine, but for some reason he decided to drive his car, and then had such a horrible saga with parking that he got to the start as they were opening the streets. So he went to the YMCA and ran 5 miles instead. This was probably a nicer experience, as the rain was coming down in sheets for a while.
Anyway, I found this out when he came home shortly after I got there. I had lunch, and got the 9-year-old off to a playdate. My husband covered a playdate for the 7-year-old at home (he purchased a craft for the girls to do! I will have to get an update on whether this happened or not). The 4-year-old was supposed to have soccer but the township closed the fields because of the rain, so that eased up some of the time line. I hopped in the car around 1 p.m. to drive back out to Vorhees, where I sang in the performance. It’s been fun to get to know Mahler’s music, if it added an extra element of complexity to the week (and a LOT of driving) for only a few minutes of singing. I found myself watching the timpani, which was right in front of me, a lot (and listening to it… it’s kind of a loud instrument).
I was back in the car around 5 p.m. to drive to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. I parked, got dinner (downtime), and got on the 6:13 p.m. train to NYC. That was another 90 minutes of not doing much. Then it was downtown to check into my hotel for the American Society of Journalists and Authors conference. I met a bunch of people in the hotel bar for dinner and drinks; always my MO at conferences. To bed at 11, up at 6 to run with a fellow conference-goer along the Hudson River. It was a good way to end the logistically complex weekend and start Monday!