The ebbing tides of nostalgia

The past few weeks have found themselves sprinkled with little reminders of home, and how much I’m missing it these days.  My favorite second grader Mason turned 8, the age-old familial tradition of camping on Labor Day Weekend saw hilarious Wyoming vs. Colorado pranks, and everyone won’t shut up about college football.  The combination of the first two examples struck me quite hard one day as I whittled away at my dissertation, and I found myself teary-eyed over a cup of Costa coffee.  Now, granted, I cry in public a lot (it’s quite hard not to when you are reading about the Holocaust on a daily basis), but there’s something about homesickness tears that really pull at the heartstrings…

Why is a camping trip such a nostalgic event?  Mainly because it’s redneck at its finest.  Every year on this 3-day weekend, the entire Nealon clan packs up the camping gear and drives to Green Mountain, Wyoming.  There are dogs running amuck, shotguns blasting, and campfires roaring.  Hikes up landmarks titled ‘The Ridge of Death’ and ‘Secret Saddle’ (actually, the Ridge of Death is more reserved for the 4-wheelers…).  Wild horses majestically exploring the fields.  Beaver ponds which have turned into excellent fishing spots.  And endless, make-your-cheeks-hurt laughter.  This laughter is steadily becoming the product of the on-going pranks that have slowly escalated over time; somewhere along the way, a ‘feud’ of sorts began between the family which still resides in Wyoming and the family which now lives in Colorado.  What started with an oddly placed Wyoming bumper sticker escalated to green glitter bombs and giant CO flags…and there was once talk of shaving state abbreviations into the fur of the opposite state’s canine.  This year, my parents decided to join into the fun, upping the artistic ante.  The Greenies apparently forgot a dog bowl during their last visit, and so my father (the world’s most organized prankster) intricately sandblasted the legendary Wyoming rodeo horse ‘Steamboat‘ into the bottom of the metal dog bowl…

Yes...those are his 'shooting moccasins'...and yes...I think he made them himself...

Yes…those are his ‘shooting moccasins’…and yes…I think he made them himself…

Honestly...only my father...

Honestly…only my father…

Apparently this year has also introduced the ‘flocking flamingos’ (I guess it’s a thing to contribute to fundraisers by paying people to cover others’ lawns with plastic pink flamingos with a sign that says ‘You’ve been flocked!’).  Why’d they bring flamingos, I ask my mother.  Her response??  ‘They were already up there, but don’t worry-your brother said he had more if we ran out.  One of them actually survived being shot with the potato gun!’  You know…because that’s the ‘normal’ response…

But in true rollercoaster emotional form, I got over the homesickness.  Why, you ask?  Because, halfway through the writing process, I packed up my stuff and moved to a new flat.  We ALL know how I feel about student housing here, but to add insult to injury they refuse to extend accommodation contracts past 14 September…which is 2 days before my dissertation is due (they are just the most helpful folks in the world).   Annnywaaaays, I’ve found a room in Camden and I’m pulling a Carrie Bradshaw in much cheaper shoes: I get to sleep in a trendy part of town (and in a bed larger than a twin…I almost forgot how good having space was!), and then walk back to the giant desk at International Hall and sprawl out with my library books while I churn out the pages.  Since I have both places until the 14th, I’m going to milk them for all they’re worth!  The desk and my own private bathroom are the only perks left at my ‘beloved’ student housing.  Ok…that’s a bold-face lie…24-hour vending machines are the biggest perk.  Man…I’m going to miss those things.  How am I going to fuel my late night Diet Coke and chocolate cravings now??

So how is the dissertation going, you ask?  Well, my word-count will tell you that I’m a little over 11,000 words…but the numbers are actually lying to you.  Mainly because my word-count tool has been acting up, but also because I have a lot of quotes floating around that I haven’t written contextual paragraphs for.  So it’s a combination of Microsoft Word being naughty and my being lazy that are the culprits of this deception.  Being so close to the finish line is also the reason that this post is so boring…I don’t have anything to report…because I’ve been writing all day, everyday.  I have 8 days left in grad school, and I am, of course, having panic attacks about finishing everything up.  Weird, right?

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One thought on “The ebbing tides of nostalgia

  1. Our reflections on the Green Mt. Extravaganza really are bizarrely funny. One note here, though: the knee length moccasins are worn (and made) by your Greenie Uncle Jack, not your Dad. Keep up the good work!

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