We've been home now for nearly a week, since Sunday night. The bags are unpacked, the laundry is washed (but not all folded and put away), children reunited with favorite toys and books, our own beds collapsed in, and old daily rhythms rewelcomed.
We had a wonderful time with my parents and had a chance to visit with old friends and make some new ones; Laura discovered the local Brownie troop and, wearing her Canadian uniform complete with badge sash, was invited to make Valentine's crafts with the girls one afternoon. We went to favorite old places -- the calm beach with perfect sand for building castles, the rocky beach with all the conch shells, the noisy beach with the coral reef just off shore, the Friday night chicken and ribs barbecue sponsored by the local Water Department (to raise money to support their cricket team). The kids became part fish again, and we all enjoyed a new style of living and eating. Some of us, including the very youngest (ahem), developed a fondness for pina coladas, even with the rum; we're doing our darndest to continue the cocktail hour tradition in the evenings, but for a disconcerting absence of Coco Lopez from local store shelves. We just may have to ask the supermarket to bring in a case, just for us.
And Laura, with her grandfather's help and genes inherited from her grandmother, was able to indulge her growing love of luxury and dining out. Our farewell dinner was enjoyed at the Four Seasons seafood buffet on the beach, where we all stuffed ourselves with lobsters, shrimp, mussels, oysters, and crab legs -- happily, the kids weren't at all interested in the hamburgers or hotdogs made available to keep resort kiddie guests happy -- and then moved on to the dessert table, where my youngest discovered "Mom, I think it's drunken pineapple" (it was marinated in rum) and Daniel had four helpings of the chocolate sponge cake rolled up with chocolate icing and a banana in the middle.
And Tom was his usual productive self.
He spent most of his days, from 7:30 in the morning until 6 in the evening, in the guesthouse, which later this year should become the home for my parents' gardener and his family, he built back in 2003 -- this time, Tom built large closets in all of the bedrooms, cut out the openings for the kitchen sink and taps, installed the guttering outside, made and installed several lattice windows (the largest one is visible on the far right, bottom/basement level), and built two gorgeous bookcases, one extra deep to serve as master bathroom linen storage, out of Caribbean cedar. My started taking measurements in the main house, thinking that in future Tom could build another one or even two, and a few friends were wishing they could have placed orders. Maybe next time...
And this morning I'm home alone, savoring our house -- well, maybe not the unusually loud noises coming from the basement deep freeze on its last legs -- and even the winter scene outdoors. Laura is at her Brownies sleepover, happily postponed from earlier in the month, and this morning Tom asked the boys if they wanted to come along on the current building project, a shop for their uncle on his new property. I'll pick Laura up in a few hours, throw in another load of laundry, and put the wooden skewers into soak (dinner will be grilled garlic shrimp, with rice and maybe some broccoli). It is good to be home.