Noel's home, the kids are ecstatic, and I took advantage of the chaos to sneak away to the beautiful Winthrop Rockefeller Conference Center on Petitjean Mountain, where our annual fall retreat for incoming Honors students is happening. Can't get wireless access to work anywhere at the moment (although it's supposed to be everywhere), so I'm on a computer in a small lab. Maybe dailyblogging, maybe not, depending on how the weekend goes. Expect lots of knitting progress reports at Toxophily early next week, because if nothing else happens up here, I'm gonna knit.
Right now the overwhelming feeling is relief and giddy, giddy freedom. Hoople out!
Update! Through some weird combination of Network Diagnostics, the Network Preferences Pane, and the mojo of this bench I'm sitting on -- the same bench I sat on last year to get wireless leaking out of the conference -- I'm now on the wireless network. So a quick Archer story before I dive back into the freshman scrum.
I picked Archer and Cady Gray up from school this afternoon before Noel got home, and as we drove back to the house I asked them if they thought Dad would be there when we arrived. We made it into the Prediction Game, where Archer took the "Dad will be there" side and Cady Gray the "Dad won't be there" side. "And then we'll see what happens," I explained. "Yeah, and if Dad is there, I win," Archer insisted. "Yep, we'll see who made the right prediction," I answered brightly. (This is as close to gambling as we've gotten in our household. I really wanted to give Archer odds, but I'm afraid of creating a monster.)
When we pulled into the garage, Archer and Cady Gray ran to the door to see who was right. Noel poked his head around the hallway and they squealed in glee. Before he went in, though, Archer had to stick his face in mine and make sure I heard him say, "I win!"
The kids ran back and forth between me and Noel in unbridled mayhem for a few minutes. Archer kept draping himself over Noel and saying, "Dad, I am so great!" But what got us both was when he finally, after a couple of minutes of incoherent happiness, looked at Noel and said, "Dad, I missed you! I love you, Dad." There are still few enough of those spontaneous expressions of Archer's true inner states -- not echoed from somebody else's prompt -- that we keep every one of them locked away in our hearts.