I made it up to Cedar in good time on Friday afternoon and hung around the women's center with Ericka, as she volunteers there. I helped her fold anti-stalking flyers, which meant my years and years of origami skills finally came to good use. We went to eat at Café Rio together, which was pretty awesome, because it's been over a year since I've eaten there. And also? I ate an entire taco salad. By myself. Seriously. To those who don't know what Café Rio is, being able to eat a salad isn't that impressive, but anyone who has ever seen how big those salads are is probably thinking I'm a liar. I was pretty hungry is all.
Ericka and I wandered around WalMart getting random supplies and looking for snow boots for her, and then we went to Comedy University, Ericka's improv training group. I just watched, but she performed, and she was...amazing. Just...wow. I reckon I might have managed a couple of the exercises, but I'm a little too uptight to just let loose on a stage like that. Go figure.
Afterwards we caught up with the others and went to see DayBreakers, which I enjoyed. It seemed like an oddly-veiled eco-conservationist allegory (humans were the earth, and the vampires were the humans who were over-consuming their resources to their own destruction), but I enjoyed it anyway. Also, I like Ethan Hawke, for whatever reason. I blame it on movies like The Explorers and The Dead Poets Society from my youth. After the movie, Ericka and I went to Off the Cuff, which was awesome (and yes, I got my annual dose of Ian - no mocking!) and then, like the good old days, we went to Denny's. Ate. Were loud and rowdy. Talked novelizing and old anime and things we love.
And then Ericka and I went to sleep. We were both tired and I'd had a headache most of the night, so we were just zonked out. I was up early so I could get home in time to see my family and my sister's best friend, who's just back from the marines and getting ready to go to college. She was one of my friends in high school too, and it was good to see her, and this was probably our last chance to actually see each other, which was nice. I got to say goodbye to Audi the chihuahua. I don't like the bulldogs, though - they chewed on one of my boots.
On Friday morning I helped my mom change the sheets on my bed, and she said it was a bittersweet moment for her, because it meant my time at home was over. (She changes sheets once a week or, in the alternative, whenever a guest is leaving finally, whichever comes first.) Since we were changing sheets, I didn't think much of it, but when I was lying awake this morning, staring at Ericka's blurry ceiling, I realized that yes, this is the last time I'll have this much time at home with friends and family. Even when I finally become something in the way of my own boss, I won't have nearly this much time off.
But you know what? I had a good time at home with friends and family, one of the best trips home in a longtime. With my family we had an old-fashioned FHE with childhood songs, and my mom and I made buco pie. With my friends we did the old Pack routine - movie (instead of gaming), Off the Cuff, and the midnight Denny's. The simple things that made us who we are. In retrospect, I should have taken a picture of the gang at Denny's, if only to mirror the first time most of the Pack hung out. But now I'm in Vegas, on the way home. Because officially Omaha is home now. My true home will always be where my friends and family are, but I guess from now on, when anyone asks, I'm from Omaha.
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