We are about to head out of town for five days.
Five days are forever in our schedules. A lot of planning goes into being gone for five days. Right now I am watching my week run out faster than my "has to get done" list is getting done.
Friday morning we will get up very, very, very early, shower, get dressed, and get out the door. It will be cold as we will have the furnace turned down for the duration and I am already shivering slightly just thinking about it. We will drive four hours to Pittsburgh to catch Amtrak to New York.
I know, Cleveland is closer by two hours, but the arrival times on the return trip are so markedly different even with the four hour drive that we opted for Pittsburgh.
Warren has Symphony business in New York. The League of American Orchestras is holding its Midwinter Managers meeting Sunday and Monday. This is Warren's chance to meet and discuss orchestra issues with his colleagues from around the nation. The Central Ohio Symphony has been garnering League attention for its innovative community engagement work and that makes this meeting even more exciting.
For me, it's a chance to spend time with three close friends.
We are staying with one of them, my friend Katrina (and her husband), who I have now known for 35 years. She and I are a casebook study of someone in Admissions (a close friend of Katrina's mother, as it turned out) looking at two incoming freshman folders, saying "they will be perfect together," and getting it absolutely right. We are not similar in many surface ways, including politics, lifestyle, and looks (Katrina is beautiful), but we are so close beneath the surface that I often know what the next line in a letter from her will be before I read it. We are able to talk about anything and we have shared everything over the three and a half decades of our friendship. I can't wait to see her again.
The second friend is Bethany, who reappeared in my life shortly before Christmas after a decade long absence. Bethany was in 5th grade when I first met her; she is now 30. She lived next door when I moved back to Delaware; she showed up within 24 hours of our moving in. My boys loved her; I loved her. I still do. Bethany moved away just before she started high school, but we managed to stay in touch until she was about 20. I have since learned some of what happened during the missing years, and I am even more grateful that she is back in my life. She now lives in New Jersey. Bethany and I are meeting at Grand Central Station (what a great space!) Sunday afternoon. It is amazing to type those words, let along think about what they mean. Bethany! In New York City!
The third close friend? Warren, of course. Five days away, even interspersed with the Midwinter meeting, are a luxury. We both guard against being so busy that we are merely passing each other in a rush, but sometimes that happens. This year has started off at a gallop. The Symphony has some major events this spring that will take a lot of time and planning and management on Warren's part. I am about to disappear down the United Way allocations tunnel until the end of April.
We truly have to be vigilant not to lose sight of each other in 2010.
So I am looking forward to five days with Warren. The beauty of taking the train to and from New York is nine hours plus each way of "just us" time - to talk, to watch the landscape roll by, to dream, to pay some attention to our relationship and our life together. It is time away from the computers and the emails and the endless lists. It is time to polish and buff our marriage and our love for one another.
We'll get back home late Tuesday night. Both of us already have appointments scheduled for the rest of the week. Life goes on. But for five days, and two train trips, I get to be with my very best friend.