When I arrived at wee, dapper little Mobile airport from Atlanta, I breathed a sigh of “home” – my first time feeling this way about our new town. The Atlanta airport spun me from one concourse to another, riding on the jarring “plane train,” queuing for absolute years for the pleasure of the increasingly humiliating grope by the TSA, elbowing fellow passengers for a seat in the terminal. In stark contrast – the small, clean Mobile Regional airport, where walking from the first gate to the last (seven in all) would take three minutes. Upon arrival in Mobile, I accidentally exited the terminal out the wrong door, but as I could still see my car (located on the complete opposite corner of the airport grounds for me), all it took was a traipse across a few rows of parking spots, and not the fumbling procurement of a map of concourses and attempts to remember which of a zillion lots housed my car. (Note – short term parking and long term parking in the Mobile airport is the exact same lot. You just enter from different gates.)
Perhaps I am sounding “get-offa-my-lawn” old, but disembarking through my gate, collecting my bag from the baggage claim (they filled it with our bags and then stopped it, since all of the bags fit inside and there was no reason to carousel it around), and then stepping out into the quiet, overcast, drizzly warm Gulf air made me happy after my whirlwind trip. Since last I wrote I’ve been to both Birmingham and Atlanta, and both trips made me love my little home all the more. Birmingham is so industrial, Atlanta so crowded and jarring. Mobile is quieter. Stress melts away under the South Alabama sky.
All that said, Atlanta was exciting. I went for depositions – or rather, to observe depositions taken in the practice area that I have decided will be my niche. (They have it all set in Atlanta, and there are experts in the other cities where my firm has offices, but no one in the Mobile office can do this, so I’ve claimed it as mine, with the support of management, who just shelled out a load of cash to give me this non-billable, day-long training session. For which, I hope the tone of that run-on sentence conveys, I am exceedingly grateful.) I stayed at a hotel Atlantic Station, which is a huge shopping and dining area perched atop the most sprawling and bewildering parking garage I’ve ever encountered. My hotel was a full three room suite – two tvs, in-room desktop computer with internet, kitchen, soaker bath. I was there 24 hours, and tried to use every bit of the amenities. I ate room service BBQ chicken pizza and salad, justified by my billing at the same time, and then sat up, blinking at the ceiling and sick of my insomnia. At 3 am I fell asleep. At 5:30 the alarm went off. (I skipped yoga, snoozed it til 7.)
In Birmingham, the husband and I attended the firm’s Christmas party, held in January. Lobster tail and raw oyster bar, a full suckling pig, rare prime rib, cheese board, and an entire conference table covered with a white tablecloth and filled edge to edge with cupcakes. It was a very fancy party, and boy did I enjoy it (at this party was hatched the plan to send me to Atlanta a couple of days later). In the daytime before the party, we went to a movie (Silver Linings Playbook), had a leisurely brunch at a lovely place called Another Broken Egg, explored some sights. It was a much-needed little night away from the kids, and I’m so grateful to my parents and sister for coming to watch them so the husband and I could go. The boys very much enjoyed spending their weekend with Nana and Grandpa Doc and Aunt Caki, but they weren’t sad to see us return.
This coming weekend, Super Bowl weekend, brings the other set of grandparents, and some Mardi Gras parades. I have to admit that we have seen none of them so far. It’s so very different when you don’t live on the route, but have to pack up a car and brave the crowds to try to find parking. We’ll do it. But I’m grumpy about it. (Shhhhh – we are also going to New Orleans the weekend before Mardi Gras, at the risk of offending our new Mobile friends. But for real. Mardi Gras ain’t Mardi Gras if we don’t see the Sunday parades on Jefferson and Magazine, egg mcmuffins and mimosas in hand.)
Aside from a genuine melancholy that steals over me when I see friends post pictures of the parades that we traditionally attended (Mardi Gras is a holiday so suited to me, I can’t stand it), we are happy here. January has eaten me alive – work has kicked into high gear, make no mistake – but I’m enjoying it. February brings lots of work plus the bar exam, so I’m trying to lay low and study.
Right now, though, exhausted as I am from heavy travel and boisterous boys, I am going to catch up on Sunday’s Downton Abbey, which I missed – I already know what happens though, curse the internet and its cursed, cursed spoilers. Then I will go to bed, and tomorrow I will get up and go to work in my own office for once, and eat a home-packed lunch, and maybe research parade times so the boys and I can catch one before the season’s over. At which point Lent will begin. This year, I’m giving up alcohol. Hold me.