Like probably all the other bloggers in the world, I intend to write a year round-up piece
tomorrow. It’s probably going to be my masterpiece because let’s face it — This year was packed full of drama for me. Luckily, I’m finally able to find some things to laugh about despite the upheaval my life experienced. It would have really blown if the year had ended in October, right?
One of the things that is helping me end the year on a better note is that I got to take a vacation this week to Colorado. In a move that is completely unlike me, I decided to take up a fellow blogger’s invitation to come visit her in her home. I have a lot of friends I’ve developed through blogging, and I am blessed by invitations to visit occasionally. Up until now, I’ve politely declined because in all honesty, I’ve been kind of a bummer the last few months. And when you meet someone face to face for the first time, you want to not be puffy-eyed, with snot rolling out of your nose down your face, and unable to talk about anything other than the cheater husband who broke your heart. Bursting into tears at random, weird moments tends to make even die-hard, long-term friends uncomfortable; new friends would probably never call you again. It just wasn’t the first impression I wanted to make.
But, one of my friends, Victoria, who writes at Victoriasvisits, has been following my blog almost from the beginning, and due to some stuff we both were going through, we became friends through our blogs, then, email, and thanks to my vodka periods, drunk dialing. Even after that embarrassing phone call, Vic continued to be my friend (proving to me that she isn’t that easy to scare off), and when she invited me to get out of Tulsa for a few days, I threw caution to the wind, and agreed. I was nervous, as I don’t usually take vacations, and I have never taken one to visit someone I hadn’t met in person, but that alone should tell you just how miserable the holidays have felt for me. After assuring my children repeatedly that I was positive this wasn’t going to be a re-enactment of “Misery”, I got in touch with my sister-in-law to see if I could stop in and see my brother and his family, and wouldn’t you know it! They lived three miles away from Vic on the same road! After getting promises from A (my sister-in-law) that should I need help escaping a hobbling situation, they would save me, I borrowed a suitcase, and headed to the mountains of Colorado.
I haven’t flown on a plane in a lot of years, and while I’ve heard the horror stories about the security hassles, I’ve never experienced them. Luckily, I had no issues at all. The one thing that happened on the way that was blog-worthy was that the airline I flew on, Southwest, was completely full with not one seat empty. The plane had two bathrooms…one at the front and one at the back. And the lines for the bathroom at the back was pretty overwhelming, thanks to the stewardesses enthusiastic delivery of beverages to the passengers. What was worse is that the stewardesses made people return to their seats because evidently it is against some policy to stand in line at the door of a plane restroom while in the air. Their suggestion was to wait in your seat until you see someone come out and then sprint back there for your turn. Does anyone else see a problem with this? First of all, any person sitting in a center seat or a window seat is going to have to squeeze past two other people and then run to beat any of the aisle seat people who have a much easier time actually seeing the person exit the bathroom, as well as racing unencumbered down the aisle to have their turn. Basically, the people sitting on the aisle had a very clear advantage, and there wasn’t much honor to be found when people need to urinate. No one really knew if anyone else had been eyeing the restroom, so there were numerous “meet-ups” at the bathroom door. Finally, some of them smartened up and sat in the stewardesses’ seats at the back to wait in line clandestinely. I was one of those … :-).
I was met at the airport by Vic, and she looked and acted just the way I had imagined, so it was like seeing an old friend, and any anxiety I might have had lingering was quickly extinguished. While I’m appreciative for every single thing Vic did for me, there are a few I
really want to say thank you for. First, Vic listened to me as I mourned my marriage. I happen to be there when Chef’s birthday came and went, and she counseled me, wiped my tears, shared some of her stories and tears with me, and was an all-around good friend. The second thing is that she introduced me to some stuff I never thought I’d ever try. First, right from the airport we went to a nail place so we could get pedicures. I declined. I don’t want people touching my feet, and I remained firm on this, but I did get my nails done, and my eyebrows waxed. So, after my long plane trip, I looked like death-warmed-over but my eyebrows were fantastic and my nails were shiny. :-) The second thing is that she took me to a dance lesson. Vic is a lovely, artistic person, and she dances like an angel. She obviously has faith that anyone can learn to dance like that, and though I insisted that I dance like Seinfeld’s Elaine-Dry-Heave, she made me go anyways. And guess what! I didn’t do as badly as I thought I would. The teacher taught me to fox-trot, and other than stepping on his feet (which I insisted were unusually large and were invading my private space) a few times, I wasn’t hopelessly bad. It gave me a tiny bit of hope that with some patience, maybe some dance teacher out there could teach me enough that one day I can go dancing! And last but definitely not least, I got my very first massage. Besides the obvious heaven that is a massage, I had a cool conversation with the woman giving it to me. Turns out her husband did the exact same thing to her that Chef did to me, leaving
her for a younger woman. This had all happened to her about 5 years prior to my massage date, and she talked to me about how she made it through the heartbreak, discovered herself, and now felt that it was the best thing that had ever happened to her. She said her wandering ex eventually tried to return to her a year after breaking her heart, but by that time, she’d created a happy life for herself, and there was no place in it for him. It was a hopeful story, and I was amazed at how many stories I heard like this from different people I met while in Colorado.
Saturday, I got to visit with my brother M and his wife A. A made a huge impact on me, too, because she is a no-nonsense, very practical, blunt woman…(much like I had thought I was before my life came crashing down)…and she was very straight-forward about how my situation looked from the outside. She brought up the phrase “deal-breakers” a lot, and she is right. There should be things that are just unacceptable to me, and some things just can’t be excused. She was appalled at what Chef and T did when I left my home, and the fact that I occasionally still cook for them, take them food, and give them money about made her head explode. I was given a good perspective on what the reality of all of this was, and my brother M advised me to take this time to just get to know who I am without any titles. He’s right that I’ve always been something to someone else, and I’ve never been alone. Plus, he did say that they had never really cared much for Chef, and them thinking I could do better was a nice little compliment to me. It was a good visit. I got to see my niece and nephews almost all grown up…(that happens when you consistently feed kids)…and then I headed back to Vic’s.
My last night there, I cooked some steaks for Vic and a friend she invited over named S, whose husband left her after 29 years of marriage for another woman. We got to commiserate for hours, sharing grieving stories, moments of strength in the Lord, moments of utter failure, and general snarky opinions of men who dump their families for other women. It was very therapeutic, and it reaffirmed my opinion that no matter how bad your story may be, someone else went through something worse.
Last night, because of A’s advice and Vic and S counseling, I took back some money I had sent to Chef, ensuring that he’d probably slit my tires before I returned. But I felt good telling him that the hand-outs were over. He’d made his choices, and he needed to make them work for himself, without manipulating me into helping him. Needless to say, he was pretty furious with me, but he did show up at the airport. Trust me. I wasn’t really sure he would.
My kids were ecstatic to see me, my apartment didn’t burn to the ground in my absence, and my cats were fed and alive. So, I’m going to have to say that this was one very successful, awesome vacation. Thank you, Victoria!! I love you!!