Sunday, April 17, 2011

On Spring and Road Trips and Other Things

I was able to sit outside on the patio early this morning to have my coffee and meditation in the sunshine accompanied by birdsong. I haven't been able to sit outside like this in the early morning since last fall. If there wasn't snow on the ground, it was too cold, windy and unpleasant. But this morning was perfect. A glorious Palm Sunday morning, and my spirit is ready for spring!

I've changed some since last spring. My hair is longer. In fact, it's longer than it has been in probably close to 30 years. When you're married, working, mothering, and running a household, short hair is just easier. I maintained a wash and wear haircut for most of that 30 years, if not most of my life. My profile picture is pretty much how I have looked forever. Not anymore! I'm enjoying caring for it, brushing it, styling it. Most of all I'm enjoying the way it feels when the breeze lifts it and brushes it against my shoulders. The last time my hair was this long, I was teaching Communicative Skills at the Electronic Security Command NCO Leadership School at Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Texas. I ended up cutting it all off because it created negative critique fodder. Critiques were the feedback forms filled out by students who had just been through the course. Between my long hair and my slipping bra straps, I got some scathing critiques -- not much of substance on my teaching skills, but plenty of criticism on my personal appearance. As a result, I still prefer racer back bras.

This time, last year, Bill and I were only three weeks away from leaving on what would become our last roadtrip together. Spring came late to Colorado last year. We had major heavy wet snows in April. I did a lot of shoveling...I did ALL of the shoveling. Josh was in Korea and Bill was in the wheelchair, so I was chief shoveler. This is when owning a corner lot is a pain in the kazitsa! I was looking forward to the trip, but worried that if we left town too early, we'd come home to find tickets from the HOA for not taking care of the shoveling. Bill, on the other hand, wanted to leave by early April. He was so fed up with the cold, and had even given up poker nights because it was too cold to go out. I think this is when I began to suspect that a little more was going on than discomfort and fatigue from a long winter.

This year, spring seems to have come early to the high plains. Even if it snows while I am on the road to Texas later this month, I will be leaving Josh in charge as chief shoveler. With that problem taken care of, I am still feeling my usual anxiety build as the departure date gets closer. I worry about everything from getting the camper hooked up without breaking anything, to whether or not I will be affected by the fires burning throughout western Kansas and West Texas, to how I am going to get those little dogs in and out of that damn big truck at every rest stop.

It will be our first long trip in the Big Bad Blue Bronco. It's a 1989 truck and the odometer has rolled over at least once -- it currently reads 859 miles. I know the gas bill is going to eat me alive on this trip. It cost $60 to fill my Highlander yesterday! My rough estimate is that the gas for the trip to the gulf coast and back is going to run about $600 (using $3.75 as an average cost and figuring 15 mpg). I'll be pulling my hotel and restaurant along with me, although I will have to pay for camping facilities (anywhere from $15-$40 a night) and groceries. From my current perspective, it doesn't sound like a bad way to live. Let's see how I feel after one or two weeks on the road!

For those of you following the Saga of the Chairs, we have sold eight of the 280; however, I hope to sell at least nine more before this day is over. Taking the house back, one chair at a time.

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