For one thing, I was subletting an apartment, which feels a little like living in someone else's dirt for three months. I doubt I'm actually a cleaner person than the regular tenants, but it can feel that way when someone hasn't prioritized cleaning the things you would never tolerate being dirty (and has probably left spotless some things you don't even notice because you don't care if they're clean.) Before long, I was desperate to get back to my painted countertops, shiny white bathtub, and easily swept and mopped wood floors in Cambridge.
Of course, living without Russell also made Austin feel like another planet. He's so fun and silly that I find it much easier to get bored living alone, or at least to feel unproductive and lazy for taking what he'd probably help me recognize as well-deserved breaks. Plus, it is so much harder to finish groceries before they spoil without him, and there's no way to divide labor so that I'm spared my least favorite household chores while doubling up on the ones he hates but I don't mind. We're such a good match in this sense that he's officially the best roommate I've ever had, and I've had some good ones. It's so great to be living with him again.
And Ramona! Smart kitty, she recognized me from the moment I walked through the door (which we weren't really sure she would) and ever since has been every bit the fun companion I remembered. Russell is right that she mellowed a little over the summer, which the vet did say would start happening on the other side of two years old. So she's been more affectionate and tolerant than when I left her, which is great, but she still has distinct bad moods when she wanders the apartment literally grumbling and whining. Hilarious, but it's best to stay a few feet away when it's happening.
So I'm settling in, and I've already checked off some important back-to-school duties like finding a weekly planner and a school bag for this year. Russell and I joined a classmate for brunch this morning, then helped him find a place in Harvard Square that sold water guns so he could stock up for a city-wide water fight this afternoon on Boston Common - I can't wait to ask him how it went. Russell and I were a little more practical and went grocery shopping, which was desperately necessary since he left the kitchen mostly empty (and yet surprisingly messy) before coming to get me in Austin. (I can't blame him, though. Just like my poor record with taking out my trash this summer, I think stocking the fridge was something he had grown accustomed to letting his roommate do.)
Now I have just over a week to enjoy Cambridge and Boston before classes start again, and I plan on milking it. The weather these days rarely tops 80 degrees and is mostly sunny, although we're in for rain tomorrow night. So I'm planning a lot of walks and meals outside, and I may even hit up the beach a time or two - with an Environmental Law or Federal Income Taxation textbook in tow, of course, because it won't be long before those first reading assignments are due. Wish me luck and enjoy the end of your summer!