No Place Like Home
Jenni and I treasure our time on the road, discovering places in America we never fully appreciated, but, as Dorothy Gale said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”
After being away for several weeks, very simple things can remind us that we are home again.
For example, toilet paper.
When we travel in our van Wanda, we travel with our own toilet and accoutrements. That means “home quality” toilet paper wherever we go. But now that the panic of the pandemic has subsided, we have taken to using other facilities as well. On the last trip I was reminded of the poor quality of toilet paper in state parks. A friend who once traveled to Russia described their toilet paper as “wax paper at best”. I would say that most state parks use a Russian supplier who leans more towards tissue paper quality. And even though they are separate entities, it didn’t matter if we were in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, or Minnesota—it was all the same with the exception of one Minnesota campground’s shower house. They must have run out of the government-issued paper and sent Bob-the-Ranger to Dollar General for an emergency restocking because I actually found their rolls to have a textured pattern to them! (But still only Dollar General quality).
Yes, toilet paper was a great reminder we were home. So was the height of the grass in the yard! I had scalped it a couple days before leaving, but some well-timed rains while we were gone had encouraged a surge in growth. The morning we returned, I donned the grungy jeans and attacked the crabgrass that had now gone to seed. The grass portion of our yard is small enough that we maintain it with a weed eater but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have baled hay.
Another simple reminder we were home came following the weed eating when I took a shower. If I drop the bar of soap in my own shower I don’t feel grossed out and compelled to unwrap another bar like when we travel. It was also nice not having to wear flip flops or balance myself on one leg like a flamingo as I dried off.
When I’m home, I generally don’t find it necessary to sniff my clothes before putting them on.
Sleeping in a king-size bed was a nice reminder. With the dog in her crate for the night, we did not have to worry about 2AM wake-ups as she moves around the bed looking for body heat or performs a 30-minute licking session on one foot.
I let the water run the entire time I washed my hands. I know, extravagant! I also used more than two ounces to brush my teeth.
Our meals at home contain more vegetables than most we eat on the road.
But, of course, the biggest reminder we were back home was that we got to snuggle with our granddaughter two days in a row upon our return. We had managed to do one FaceTime session with her and our daughter-in-love while we were in Marquette, MI. It satisfied our need to see and hear her as she played with her toys but it just wasn’t the same as touching her. This was our first extended trip since she came into our lives and it was tough being away from her that long.
And before you suggest a solution, Wanda is only a two-seater.