So I go “back to work,” right? Thinking it will be the same as if I hadn’t left, except that this time I’m working for myself.  Wrong!  I got home this afternoon, and here are a few things I forgot to remember.

1. Walking Shoes

The training location was “a short 10 minute walk” from the hotel.  I forgot that this is a subjective opinion. It certainly feels longer than 10 minutes when it’s slightly uphill, across busy streets, in the mist, carrying a briefcase, umbrella, and purse, and in the wrong shoes. I can’t believe I forgot my tennis shoes.  I did take a pair of dressy black flats to change into if the stupid high heels and other cute pink new shoes didn’t work out.  Which they didn’t. I had changed into the flats at the morning break.  By the end of Day 1, I put my feet up on pillows to relax. At the end of Day 2, I found a Payless Shoes and bought a cheap pair of walkers.  But I still forgot socks.

2.  The Make-up Kit Evaluation

I used to have a traveling make-up and personal toiletries kit for the camper, and one for work travel. Then we stopped camping, so I raided that to restock my work travel kit.  Then I quit work and bought a camper, so I raided back again.  This isn’t the same as my personal vacation kit, by the way, since work travel requires planning for a lot of possibilities, and personal travel means I can rely on my sisters or kids to have what I might need.  I forgot that mascara gets old and should be replaced every 6 months or so, and it is a little clumpy then.I forgot that the reason I didn’t like that blush anyway was because it’s not subtle enough. I forgot that short hair requires a different hairbrush.  And I forgot to pack bandaids, which I desperately needed.  I was able to get 3 from the hotel’s front desk, but by Night 2, I stopped at CVS Pharmacy on the way back from the shoe store. I also bought sinus pills and Tylenol.

3.  Bike shorts

It turns out that staying home in casual clothes and not caring overmuch about thigh gap has consequences when one goes out of town in the spring where it is humid and you are walking outside more than usual in a dress or skirt.  I had decided to not wear suits, and this also meant no pantyhose.  But it did not mean no chafing.  I learned today that deodorant would have been a good substitute (for both blisters on the feet and sore other parts). Now that I’m home, Monkey Butt powder and a pair of sweat pants are my salvation.

4. Coffee cup

I used to always take my own insulated coffee cup with me. I don’t especially like drinking out of hot paper cups (even if they have sleeves), and I don’t like refilling the tiny cups you usually get at conferences. When you are teaching, it’s not polite to keep running to the back of the room for more coffee or water. The throat gets very dry, so it’s not like it’s just pure indulgence. In this case, we were on the 18th floor, and the coffee was  in the café on the 2nd floor. Which you got to by a separate set of elevators, by the way. And which costs money every refill.  I ended up buying a bottle of water for a few dollars and refilling that at the water fountain in the hallway.  Maybe it’s good that I cut down on my coffee intake, but next time I will definitely take my own mug.

5.  The let-down when it’s over

Finally, I forgot what it was like to have a really good start and want to call home the first night and tell him about it, and hear him say, “I knew you would be great.”  And I ended on a high note, too. I need to find a way to give my self a high-five for my good work.  I have been coming and going for both work and travel over the past 1-1/2 years, and even during this 5 months on  sabbatical. Today I even had a house/pet sitter here with the dogs. But when I took my suitcase upstairs, I cried a little. I was reminded -again-that this is my life now, and equally important I wouldn’t even being doing THIS if he was still here.  Bittersweet feelings.  I looked at the dust on the dresser and headboard of the bed, which I didn’t get to before I left,  and for the first time, I wasn’t so excited about my house. I had the fleeting thought, “this house is too big for me.” Or else I need Merry Maids.

Despite all these forget-me-nots, it was a still a great comeback for me.  I was confident with the material, was fully engaged with the class, and felt a little important again. The post-course evaluations indicate the group’s reaction was also positive. Plus I now have a pair of shoes to leave in the car, a nearly-full box of bandaids and a new bottle of pain relievers.  I just hope the huge blisters.on my feet heal before I do Round Two in two weeks.