Take the mail, for instance, and the irrational thrill of a big pile of envelopes, ferreting out the half of them that instantly go into recycling to find a few lovely surprises (a note from a friend, a $5 gift card for a hardware store) among the bills.
Then all that was in the car that, when ferried into the house, expands exponentially to the point that it’s hard to imagine how it fit in the car, much like looking at any of my children few years after birth and wondering how s/he ever fit in me. I find it’s best to make a mad run for unloading and unpacking everything because if I don’t do it within a few hours of arrival, those lopsided suitcases will sit around various rooms for days.
Sometime in the first 30 minutes home, the animals emerge, first the dog, carrying a shoe to present us with in honor of our homecoming, and then the skin-gangster little kitty, usually meowing furiously before flinging herself in our arms, which makes it tricky to haul boxes and bags. Eventually, the anti-social cat comes out of the shadows and is uncharacteristically affectionate for five minutes before attacking us.
Within a few hours, there’s that glorious moment of sitting down in a good chair, computer on lap, new magazines to my right, animals to my left (the herd settling by my side after escorting me room to room), with a big glass of iced water. Dinner turns out to be rice krispies because anything else is too complex. The radio tells me I’m home through its familiar voice tones. The overgrown gardens wave at me through the windows.
There will be that stretchy kind of post-vacation fatigue to come, coffee to replenish, and a few trips to the grocery store in my future, but upon arrival, I lean back into one of the sweetest moments of the vacation: when it’s all over.