I have, no joke, three “dear everyone” drafts saved to my folder — I wouldn’t have any problem at all posting twice a week if I’d just hit “publish” and not overthink what I’m sharing. (It’s more a judgement of the words I’m using than the actual sharing part, now that I think about it, but whatever.)
Today’s goal: Just get the words out.
In which I take a trip
Right before Thanksgiving, and despite a looming holiday deadline, I took two and a half days off from work to accompany Eric on a business trip.
So of course, the day before we leave, all hell breaks loose. Which is generally the way it goes. That Monday deadline was awful — we have a new reporter who was still figuring things out and we were late to press. Then I got a phone call from Johanna saying she couldn’t participate in basketball practice because I forgotten to submit her physical release form with her registration. And Bean had some kind of accident and his paw was bloody — we thought maybe he’d lost a claw somehow.
So Tuesday was spent running Bean to the vet (he was such a good boy) and learning he had not lost a claw, just had flap lacerations, but stitches and a cone of shame were in order. I picked up Jo’s physical release from the doctor’s office (thank you Eric for calling in the request) and submitted that via the internet (thank you technology). I put in a couple hours at the office before picking Jo up for an appointment and Bean from the vet, then getting Bean home, Jo to practice and myself to first quarter conferences. Um, and then home again to finally pack.
All that was keeping me sane was the thought of that trip. My co-workers were like, Be free, Trisha Walker, which I appreciated because I was feeling guilty about leaving. It’s funny that I can be so burned out but also so hesitant to actually leave. Deep down, I must like my stupid job.
The day of the trip finally dawned. I took a nap on the way and then hung out in our hotel room that evening while Eric had meeting stuff. It felt weird to just … be … after the craziness that had been the week up until that point. I ate the quinoa and chicken I’d packed for dinner and started our Christmas letter. Eric came back eventually and was surprised that I’d used my time on that — I didn’t do anything as far as Christmas cards or letters last year, but this year I’m feeling up to the task. It felt good to write.
The next day was spent walking around town a bit and window shopping, meeting my dear friend Mara for coffee, reading and writing and napping and enjoying the quiet. I wasn’t bored. I was well-supplied with coffee, thanks to my darling husband, who searched it out on my behalf. I had zero responsibilities — no dishes, no laundry, none of my usual home chores — so my only option was to relax. And the lesson I learned was that I CAN relax, I just need to leave town to do it. 😉
Johanna, incidentally, was at my parents’ house, and Bean and company were under my mother-in-law’s care (here’s our sick cat, have fun!). So I didn’t have to worry about that, either. They were all in the best of hands.
In which we celebrate Thanksgiving
We thought Abby wouldn’t be home until the day before Thanksgiving because of her class schedule, but she was able to arrange to take all of her tests on Monday. So our party started a whole 48 hours early. And by “party,” I mean “snuggling on the couch together in a dogpile.”
Also, bonus, she made it home before the snow hit.
On Wednesday, Abby picked Johanna up from basketball practice — no school, but hoops never sleep — and they went to my parents’ house to help my mother with Thanksgiving prep. Later, they came to my office and we walked to the coffee shop together; both girls got a snack and coffee, and then worked on various homework projects. Thank you, free wifi and portable devices!
We were on deadline Wednesday for our Saturday edition. We thought it was end of day and it ended up being 2 p.m. We made it, although I’m still not sure how, and it was awesome because I walked back to the coffee shop around 3 p.m. to hang with the girls. Eric also walked down, so we had a nice family moment. He went back to work and the girls and I did some window shopping before heading back to the house. We had dinner, watched some “Office” reruns and then Abby put on “Mall Cop,” which was surprisingly entertaining. No one probably cares about these details, but it was just so lovely — all my kids under one roof, the fire blazing, just hanging out. That is my kind of evening.
Thanksgiving tends to stress me out, even when I’m not hosting — just crowds and noise, and yeah, it’s family but that’s how my brain is wired. We had a full house at my parents’, with all of my family in attendance, plus Grandma, and another full house at my brother-in-law’s. Now this is love: I couldn’t figure out at first why Mom made baked beans to go with the usual turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing et al., but it turns out Grandma has been in the mood. And she thoroughly enjoyed her serving.
Speaking of love: I STILL don’t have an oven, but Johanna requested a raspberry salad — you know, that 1950s monstrosity with the pretzel and sugar crust, cool whip and cream cheese middle and raspberry jello top — and even though it’s literally the most artificial, terrible creation ever (so much packaging! So few nutrients!), I was determined to make her one. I couldn’t bake the crust so I just packed it in really tight and put it in the freezer. And hey, it worked. She was thrilled, which was all I really cared about.
In which I retrench
The day after Thanksgiving saw me up at 7 a.m., with a goal of being to work around 9. I wanted a nice, easy morning. And I was feeling pretty good about life when I noticed that I couldn’t find my car keys anywhere in the house.
Hmm. I did have a faint memory of putting them in the center console while Eric drove us home after our various celebrations, so I went to the garage to check. A little voice reminded me that sometimes the car locks on its own accord, which would be sort of a disaster because Eric had gotten up early to get a noise checked out on his truck (and go to The Store that Must Not Be Named? Interesting turn of events).
So guess what happened? Yep. There were my keys, clearly visible. There were the doors, clearly locked. I called Eric in a panic, and he directed me to his desk, where he stores the extra keys. I found the one for my car, but it did not work. At all. I was on my knees trying to find the hide-a-key that was somewhere on the vehicle’s exterior, but never could locate it. My options: Wait for Eric to come home and unlock me, wait until Abby went into work for her 10:30 shift, or drive the Zippy Mobile, Abby’s high school ride that was my grandma’s ’88 Honda Civic. You know, the one out in the driveway buried in snow with the crappy tires.
Eh, what could happen?
It took a while to defrost that sucker, but I made it into work by 9:30. This is the kind of thing, honestly, that just throws me off my game. Not how I planned my morning, the need to retrench my expectations, the feeling that the whole day is now shot because this one negative thing happened.
BUT YOU GUYS that was my new year’s resolution in July when I turned 47 — embracing Plan Z! And I’ve had a lot of practice. I’d also figured out the whole “ridiculousness stops the negative mind spirals” trick. So I’m driving Zip, thankful that we have an extra vehicle to get me where I need to go and reminding myself that all I really need to do is be open to the gifts and lessons of the day.
And it was a good day.
In which I end this novel
Um, is anyone still with me?