Let me preface my blog post by saying that the ‘vacation’ I took the past couple of weeks was, really, research for an upcoming novel. The fact I didn’t know I was going to write the novel until after I took the trip is inconsequential, and I’m really only stating this now because the IRS, who audited my taxes last year, might be reading this now, seeing as how they asked me for my URLs to my ‘business’ sites, of which this is one, since I’m an author by trade, and I don’t want there to be any misunderstanding about the ‘research’ when I write off part of the trip, but none of that matters anyway, since the settings I experienced while on vacation are going to be the perfect thing for the novel I’ll be writing this year.
Whew. What a long sentence that was. Here, I’m trying to convince the IRS I make a living as a writer and I go and write a sentence like that. Man. I’m not sure I even believe me after that.
I have to say, I really enjoyed the trip–a lot, and for many reason, reasons some of you won’t even understand. It’s been over four years since I took a major trip anywhere for leisure. Prior to that, I used to travel all the time, even if it was just little day trips or overnighters. I used to love to get in my car and just drive, and then see where it took me. Often, it took me to a gas station with me scouring the floorboards of the car for loose change in hopes I’d have enough money to make it back home from what I found. Today, I don’t use ‘money’ anymore–seriously, my doctor told me with my immune system that money was more dangerous to me than eating after someone with the plague–so I only use credit cards and debit cards now. If I were to be stuck driving on a road trip now, finding loose change to get me home would probably require me standing on a corner with my skirt raised, and even then, LOOSE change is probably about all I’d be offered.
I’m digressing. Where was I?
THE MEANING OF HOME
Oh, yes, there’s no place like your place. I would say home, but I do believe that home is in your heart, not a location you can visit. Home for me is where the people I love are when they are with me, so that can be a mountainside, a hilltop, the ocean, a shanty in the woods, a shack, a tent… I don’t guess it really matters. Home is the heart, not the place. Which is good for me, since I don’t have a home of my own right now, exactly. I mean, I do. But I don’t.
When I was on my own, I floundered and moved around a lot. The most stability I’ve ever had was when I purchased my home in Odessa. That was about seven years ago. I have recently sold that home to my daughter–rather, she’s making payments on it–so it’s not ‘mine’ anymore. It’s a strange feeling to realize I, once again, don’t have a ‘home’. It’s made me sad a few times since she took over the house and it’s made me scared a few times too. After going on this trip and then coming ‘home’, though, I realize again that home is really where the heart is, where the laughter, the love, the friendship… it’s where the life is, and it doesn’t really matter whose name the house is in. In that respect, I will never be ‘homeless’, ever again.
The scary part for me is that this type of ‘home’ hasn’t always lasted in the past, and for seven years, I had a ‘house’ I could revert to and make my home, but now, I don’t. In one respect, that makes home a lot more special; in another respect, it makes life a bit scarier, riskier. Then again, maybe it also makes me appreciate what I have more and work harder to keep it and make it good.
The point is, in all this rambling, it sure did feel good to get ‘home’ after over two weeks of being gone!
The first thing I did was unpack about half of my stuff, then I got undressed and then I crawled into bed. That’s one thing that’s tough for me. I sleep naked. Going on trips and sleeping in other people’s homes, I do not sleep naked. This usually results in me waking several times per night, wrapped up in my own clothes, and I have to sit up and untwist and untangle myself from my clothes and then go back to sleep. Not to mention how much hotter it is with clothes on! Hrmph. So I stripped nekkid, crawled into bed, and proceeded to sleep from about four in the afternoon on Sunday until about 11 in the morning on Monday. I might have woken up a few times to go pee and get a drink, but if I did, I don’t have a clear recollection of having done so. Then, when I woke, I checked email, took a shower, peed, drank, ate, and went back to sleep!
The trip was a good one, overall. I learned a few things about my stamina and health that I was unsure about–namely, I can do more than I thought I could do, but I sure pay for doing it! The one thing I missed the most while on the trip? The shower here at home. The one thing I missed the least? Nothing… I really like home. I sure did miss the kitties, and from the looks of them, they missed us too, particularly their mama. One of the kitties won’t let her out of her sight, and when she started to unpack the suitcase, the kitty crawled inside and refused to budge, for fear mama was packing to leave again and wouldn’t take her!
THE TRIP ITSELF
The trip was hard on me. The trip down was worse than the trip back, but they were essentially the same: feet and hands swelling, kidney pain, stomach cramping and stomach aches, and overall widespread pain. I doubled up on pain pills, and took them every four hours, and still had pain, and I was quadrupled on steroids, and it barely touched the inflammation. On the way there, I did good the first few hours, but by New Mexico, I was a mess. I was in so much pain I was trembling and by the time we made it to Colorado, it seemed my kidney had stopped working. I puked, a few times, and then slept, and then woke to eat, which I later slept and then puked up, and then on the second day, I finally was able to pee again. It was hard. It hurt really bad, and even extra pain pills and extra steroids didn’t help it any. Or maybe they did help and it would have been even worse without them — which is a scary thought.
Whatever autoimmune this is, whether it’s lupus or Addison’s or both or something else doesn’t matter–they all make travel just fun, fun, fun! NOT!
WAS IT WORTH IT?
Heck, yeah. The mountains are amazing and nature is beautiful. I took over 1000 pictures of animals, plants, trees, mountains, birds, animals, trees, mountains, animals, and animals. I saw wild turkey, deer, moose, hummingbirds that dive-bombed me, wookpeckers and more. I had my first ever buffalo burger! I got to meet my best friend’s parents, her family, of which she insists I am a part. I got to watch my son fish for the second time, but actually manage to get the line into the water this time instead of hooking a tree and his ear. I got to watch my dog swim in a lake (you can see that video here if you want to watch- he had sooo much fun!)
I also managed to see a part of Colorado I had never seen in a way I had never seen it and there is nothing more beautiful and majestic than nature in the raw, on the side of a mountain. It’s awe inspiring, amazing and beautiful. To wake in the morning with a hawk staring at me through the bedroom window when I first open my eyes, to watching through a window while deer walk across the front yard while we’re eating dinner, to be so close to a hummingbird as to feel its wings fluttering and a puff of air when he flashes by my face… well, there’s nothing better than that! I could live like that all the time, easy. If you’re on FB, you can find me there, and the pictures of birds and animals are on my author page there.
It was tough not to be able to walk the paths and climb the dam (even though the signs say not to climb it!) or to stand for very long. It was hard to realize how much I’ve lost since just five or six years ago. I would have loved to have been chasing after my son and climbing the paths and dipping my toes in the lake too. Unfortunately, I’m still unable to stand for very long and walking a hiking trail just isn’t realistic for me. Yet, I take the image of it all in my head with me, and I will write about this, and somehow, I will make it real to you, my readers, and that will make it real to me.
I know that realistically speaking, I will gain back a lot of what I’ve lost if I keep working at it, but the reality of the fact that I will never regain it all back did hit me hard on this trip. It is possible that next year, I might be climbing up a mountain with my son, but the reality of it is that I won’t be, ever again. That’s hard. It makes me sad. In fact, I’ve cried over it a few times. It’s not fair. Buffy keeps telling me I’m getting stronger, and I am, but I keep telling her, I’ll never get it all back. I’m still sick. No matter what I do, I can’t change that I have an autoimmune disorder, I can’t change that my body has taken damage that nearly killed me and left me in the hospital for over a week, and I can’t ever get back everything I’ve lost.
But then… I read stories every day of miracles, unexpected things, remissions for autoimmunes, new drug treatments and more. I’m not one to ever say never, am I? So why do I let this hit me like that?
Is it because I don’t want to take a chance of getting my hopes up and being hurt? Am I trying to protect myself? I don’t know. I do know that things we never think will happen sometimes do–both good and bad–so I do try to keep myself open to that.
The trip has inspired a new book in my head, and I’ve already begun to work on it, though I’ve yet to put anything on paper. I have started the research on it, and I will begin the writing soon. It involved Colorado and it involves time travel–of all things–really. That makes the fourth book idea that has a sci-fi bent to it. Who knew I was going to end up writing sci-fi? Me? (shaking head) I guess I’m too fascinated in things not to write about the ‘what ifs’, and a lot of the what ifs become somewhat sciencey-fictiony, don’t they?
Anyway, I’m back and back to work though I’m so far behind I can’t see the top of the pile, so I guess I’d better get back to it, after I cook dinner, of course. Chicken. We’re having chicken.
I love you guys and I’ve missed you all! (HUGS)
Love and stuff,
PS: Don’t forget to check out the pictures of the animals, mountains and trees and such here on FB. Oh, and be sure to fan my author page while you’re there!