Tonight Samantha was at work preparing for one of her bigger events of the year. As she works for a manufacturer, most of her energy is very product centric and keys off of education sessions for distributors. As I work for a distributor (not one of her company's) our effort is more of the shipping and pricing variety. So called "nine to five" work. This might explain why I am yet to have to embark on a late night at work.

That was not the case right after fall commencement last year, when I worked for a daily newspaper in northwest Tennessee. There, our days started at 6 a.m., and had endings that ranged from shortly after noon all the way up to 10 p.m. The redeeming quality of that kind of work is the potential for overtime dollars and having free time in the middle of (some) days. I prefer the current state of affairs.

We have moved for the third time in a calendar year (or at least, we've signed our third lease). Both of our commutes are substantially shorter, and over time the area becomes more and more familiar. I have to admit that I only know my way to work, to the local stores, mall and how to get back on the Interstate to go anywhere else. I have never been much one for exploring, as my sense of direction leaves much to be desired.

Our first "home cooked" meal happened Sunday, and it was then that it actually felt real. This is more like what I had imagined when we first talked about getting back to Middle Tennessee. The only thing missing are the friends who simply insisted on going to grad school. While I fully support their ambitions, landing in the work-a-day world can feel isolating.

While sitting in my idle time, I unpacked our college textbooks and Samantha's unending supply of paperbacks. I thumbed through a few as I put them on the shelf, reminded of how ironic it seems that I as a former college newspaper editor never cared much for literature. Samantha jokes that if she ever were to write a book, she would never have the typical anxiety of wondering if I would try to cast myself as one of the characters. I like to think that I might force myself to actually read some of her work, but my brain struggles with the idea of sitting still that long.

I cannot really explain why I am not a "well read" individual. Even in childhood, the books I "read" were really a case for how fast I could skim from cover to cover and get the general idea of what was happening in the plot. But reading for pleasure just does not appeal to me. I tend to only want the facts and figures, and an example of how to apply some truth to my work. Even my technical books are only read for the sample code or explanation of why or how certain things are done. With a bit of work, I could probably replace every one of them with a few select postings on some code junky's Web site. You cannot do that with literature.

I keep looking for an outlet of some sort for what little energy I have at the end of the day. My job right now centers around "catalog season," the two three-month periods of the year spent preparing two wholesale catalogs weighing in at around 440 pages combined. Most of the process is automated to sync information between our databases, Web sites and printed material. It is a change of pace from the last five years, where most of my time was either spent trying to build a rapport with interview subjects (usually repairing damage) or trying to convince a handful of college students that the 8 p.m. deadline was not just a suggestion.

I have no reason to write, other than it is some of the few times that others may ever hear from me. A friend of mine from high school / college is getting married in June, and I feel sorely out of touch with that group of guys. Other friends are, as I mentioned before, are trudging through their first few years of grad school to become lawyers, doctors, communication professionals or whatever else their heart desires. I would not personally want to be cramming for a make-or-break test, but at least they have that drive.

Life moves at two speeds on two different levels. On one hand, it feels like the "here and now" has slowed down, making the days seem longer and leaving plenty of time to ponder such things as the speed of life. On the other hand, months are flying of the calendar and it becomes difficult to keep up with people if you do not talk to them on a regular basis. It actually takes effort to maintain friendships beyond Facebook or Myspace when you do not have that common social circle surrounding you. Nobody really reads their newsfeed or bulletins.

I have not quite yet cracked the puzzle to how to stay in touch and actually still connect.