I’m back, and you probably didn’t even notice that I was gone.

We went to my 10-year college reunion this weekend… 1250 miles in the car with a toddler and an infant… Oy. But they did okay — not as much screaming as we expected, to be totally honest.

The weather was GREAT (a little chilly, but beautiful the entire time). Not a drop of rain at all, and it was spectacular yesterday afternoon when we went down and played in the Duke Gardens for a while to see my friend Eric from Sacramento.

We arrived Friday and were unloading the car onto a trolley to push into the hotel, and whom should we see? The very FIRST people we ran into were the guy I dated the last two years of school and his fiancee. So that stress (he had been cold to us 8 years ago at a mutual friend’s wedding, so I wasn’t sure what to expect this time around) was immediately dissolved, and Carrie was very nice. I didn’t talk to her much, but what short conversations I did have were good. And Matt’s doing very well — it was good to see him. He looks pretty much the same, but he’s a better dresser now, a little less hair, and some gray hair. Oh, and he has glasses — he didn’t have them in college.

The most entertaining part for me was to look around and see who’s changed the most, who hasn’t changed at all, and to whom Time has been very unkind. A guy I dated is bald, which seems very fair to me. BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA. We made eye contact but we did not speak.

Friday night was a lot of fun for me, and Jerry was a champ watching after the girls as they ran around Cameron Indoor Stadium (where our party was)… Jerry’s assessment of Cameron is that it’s old and tired and small and feels like a 1950s high school gym. I didn’t go to many basketball games because they were too crowded, but I think there’d be a huge uproar if Duke Basketball were ever to move out of that venue… LOL

In any case, I got to see everyone on my mental checklist, so that was good. Saturday morning we had two brunches scheduled simultaneously (one started at 9 and one started at 9:30), so we went to the 9:00 one pretty much AT 9… This one was for “The CC:” — the group of mostly-engineers and science majors that could always be found at computers so we just emailed to communicate. Before email was cool, really, because most students didn’t have email accounts yet — you had to go sign up and pay a fee to get one. Anyway. Got to see about 1/3 of that group (but I had seen them all on Friday) before we left at 10:15ish. So we left Chapel Hill with our MapQuest directions, and headed back towards Durham to find a city park on Fayetteville Street.

Now, when I was in school, I *had* a car, but Matt always drove everywhere. My car was a GrandAm (Grand Dammit), and he was a big guy and didn’t really fit in it very well. And I’m a nervous driver, especially when I’m unsure of the roads. So, I don’t know Durham very well at all. Add to that the issue that the city has changed a LOT in 10 years, so there are roads that I don’t remember at all, and landmarks are totally gone. So I was an idiot trying to drive around. And the MapQuest directions sucked. Fayetteville Street was sometimes a Road and sometimes a Drive and at HOME, that actually matters. So we kept getting confused as we tried to dicipher the instructions.

We drove around for an hour and 10 minutes and FINALLY found the park (after I *insisted* that we try going just a little bit further up the road and turning back to go to the hotel if I didn’t find it)… just as all my sorority sisters were packing their babies and toddlers back into their cars. I did get out my scrapbooks and share and we all had a quick laugh and a picture, but I was SO upset that I missed that brunch. These were the friends that have been there for me for every joy and tear in my life, and it was a very sad thing that I didn’t get to spend the morning playing with them yesterday. Of course, we email all the time and we have a physical letter that travels the circle of eight of us, and it’s entirely likely that we’ll get together separately sometime when we’re all done having babies, but it was still a major disappointment for me. Wah.

Back to the hotel (which was a freaking TEN MINUTES away from this stupid park) and I regrouped and fed Alice, and then we drove BACK to campus for lunch and some time to wander around and see things. I didn’t drag Jerry all over creation, since with the double stroller that was a bit cumbersome and Helen wanted to get out and run around. So we went into the Chapel (which is a misnomer — Duke Chapel is a cathedral — it’s HUGE), and Helen was in AWE. She gawked for a good 5 minutes until she whispered something and realized that there was an echo. Then we had to bust ass to get out of there before we pissed people off — LOL!

And then we went down to the Gardens and spent an hour or two letting Helen throw rocks into the duck pond, visiting with people as they walked by. That was wonderful. Lots of brides getting photos done, so Helen loved seeing all the “princesses.”

Then we went back to the hotel, had dinner, gave the girls baths and put them to bed, and I went down to the lobby and got two beers. Jerry and I had a nice visit in the living room part (woowoo, suite hotel!!) drinking a beer together. There was a huge bash last night on campus for all the reunion classes (5-year, 10-year, etc. through 55-year), but it was VERY expensive and not really family-friendly. So we opted not to go to that. Probably a good move.

We went to bed early and got up at 5am Eastern and were on the road by 6:15. We were home at 3:30pm Central time. Considering we had to stop more than we would have liked to so that the girls wouldn’t go completely crazy, that’s pretty good time… It’s about a 9- or 9.5-hour drive with 1-2 pee stops. Our stops were more substantial than that, so 10.25 hours really isn’t bad at all.

I would have liked to have more time to visit with friends and less time wrangling kidlets, but I needed to take them this time (else not go, because of Alice nursing, but I also wanted to show them off). Next time (in 5 or 10 years) I’ll be satisfied to just go equipped with photos. And Jerry didn’t have as abysmal a time as I think he was expecting; he has said that he’d be willing to go back — without kids — sometime in the future.

One WONDERFUL side effect of such a long drive is that we had a lot of time to visit and get to know each other again, something that we haven’t been able to do a lot of recently. And we laughed a lot more than we have in weeeeks. So. We’re going to go on a date this week. I think I might even call a babysitter so we’re not even depending on grandparents.

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