If the first day of Charlie's Spring Break is any indication, it's going to be a break very much like the spring break I passed back in March when I traveled to Greece with 9 college students.
We went all over Greece in a Pepto-Bismol colored bus; saw lots of sites that I had seen before but you always see something different; got a fair amount of exercise from walking lots; ate plenty of really good Greek food; got minimal sleep (that is, I ended up keeping my students' hours as I wanted to make sure they all returned from their 'exploring' safely); had a genuine immersion in another country; encountered many feral dogs wandering the streets on their own.
On Monday, Charlie and I all drove all over a good-sized area of New Jersey in our less than shiny white car; saw many places we have seen many times before (his school, the town we used to live in, a certain 'scuzzy' (Jim's word) convenience store, a certain Mexican fast food place, the grocery store, numerous sites in our neighborhood when Charlie and I did another evening 5-miler) and a new one (our town's running track---Charlie only looked at it from the car; it is just day 1 of the break!); got a goodly amount of exercise (a bike ride after Jim came home plus that walk); ate some not quite so great chain store food (the place we call the 'St. Louis Bread Company' makes a very chewy brownie; Charlie just had some frosting); got minimal sleep (despite going to sleep around 1am Charlie was raring to go at 8am Monday---midnight seems to be his new average bedtime); had a geniuine immersion in above locales and each other's company.
While we encountered no feral dogs, I did espy our neighbor's dog trotting ownerless down our street as I stood on the porch watching Jim walk to the train.
Now that didn't seem right.
These neighbors live behind us and often go on walks with their two young children and Magic, the dog. And seeing Magic trotting along as happy as can be, on his own, I had a feeling that he hadn't exactly told his owners he was off for a trot downtown.
Magic responded immediately to my calling his name. I ushered him into our backyard and shut the gate; he immediately ran onto our deck and probably gave Charlie quite a startle, to see a four-legged creature staring at him through the glass door of his own kitchen.
Charlie assented to getting quickly into the car and we hurried round the corner. Fortunately, we caught our neighbor just as he was backing out his car: I don't think Charlie, or I, was quite prepared to host a guest-dog, in addition to our other Spring Break activities.
Though I do have to say, there was something positive about Charlie having a bit more of an interaction of the canine kind. Surprises can have their benefits.
Magic safely home, we got right back to our planned activities and took down two book shelves, raised a lot of (duly dusted up) dust, and stacked up towers of books in our dining room. And dragged (after Charlie opened the door, as requested) all the shelves out to the deck.
While Charlie was not happy at how many times I sneezed while dusting ('ex-cuse me!' he said, over and over, hands over ears), it was a good start to his break. Hoping the rest of it will be as memorable as my earlier spring break in Greece was!
(Though animal visitors being very rare in our house, I'm thinking our visit from Magic certainly made at least our Monday one for the record books.)
(And yes, the photo above was taken on Sunday at the beach. Amid everything, photo-taking didn't happen yesterday.)