Without much warning, the CEO of the health center where I work had to change her plans and I and another executive ended up attending a policy and issues conference in Washington, DC, in her place. Which meant that I spent a good amount of Sunday afternoon and evening learning how to speak with our congressional representatives about funding reauthorizations and appropriations and other policy issues involving community health centers. Learning advocacy was fun. Really.
The downside (other than the obvious one of being away from husband and donkeys) was that I did not pack a laptop. Oh, sure, the conference organizers had set up Internet stations for the attendees to use during breaks - complete with long lines of people and screens that were situated so as to offer absolutely no privacy to the user. Ick. That wasn't how I wanted to use the limited amount of time available between workshops. Therefore, I did not have Internet access for almost three days.
That worked out just fine for me. What I wanted to do at the end of that first day was to decompress with a low-tech pursuit and temporarily get the bureaucratic acronyms out of my head. Sunday evening was my chance to kick back in a comfy armchair in my hotel room, light a scented candle, listen to Glenn Gould on my iPod, drink a cup of tea and knit. Perfect!
The next day brought more workshops and little time for anything else. Keith and I had planned to have dinner together, and he almost got wet feet at the last minute because he had been running errands with his pickup truck and felt a little self-conscious about pulling up to the Washington Hilton in a vehicle we affectionately refer to as Ol' Paint. Heck, I rationalized to Keith, most community health centers are in rural areas, so a pickup will be like old home to most of the attendees and will give the rest of the folks at the Hilton something to talk about.
That settled that. We enjoyed a casual supper while chatting about the places in DC that we used to frequent when we began dating each other nearly twenty years ago. Twenty years! It doesn't feel nearly that long.
Because I would be visiting the offices of a congressional representative and two senators the next day, we agreed to make an early night of it. He had a loaded-down truck and some animals at home waiting for their supper, so there was, sadly, not much question of sharing the hospitality of my $300 a night hotel room with him. Instead, we had our dinner date, and then he drove me back to "my" place where he kissed me good night.
"Oh!" he said, as I started to open the truck door. He grinned as he reached into his jacket pocket, adding, "I didn't forget." Then he pressed a new ball of white merino wool into my hand.
It was for the project I had brought with me to work on in spare moments; I had finished up the first small ball of wool before supper. I started the new ball that night and brought the project with me to Capital Hill the next day. Now I'll be able to tell my sister-in-law that part of her baby blanket was knit in the halls of the Hart senate office building.