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Archive for March, 2011

You would think I would have learned my lesson the day Hayden threw the front door open for the UPS guy to find me sprawled, literally, butt naked on the tile floor in front of him (oh, you didn’t read that post?! Click HERE).  Or maybe when the landscapers all stood outside my window gawking while I dressed (oh, I haven’t shared that one with you yet?  Just wait!).  But no.  Not me.  I am the sort of person who has to make the same mistake and suffer the same humiliation at least a dozen or more times before it occurs to me that maybe I should do things differently.  Like put some blinds on the windows.  Or take the clean laundry out of the mountainous piles in the laundry room and put it in the relative privacy of my closet so I needn’t run past the front door in my birthday suit every time I dress.  You would think.

Now similar to the UPS guy, the guy who delivers our heating oil doesn’t follow a very predictable schedule.  One month he’ll show up as the kids and I are sitting down to lunch, the next we’ll be his last stop of the day.  The trouble  is, I never know exactly when he will show up, and it does actually matter, but not for the reasons you may think.  It’s not that I am trying to coordinate trips to the grocery store or pick ups and drop offs for afternoon kindergarten.  It’s not that I’m going to run to the post office or trying to plan play dates.  Nope.  None of that.

It’s all about showering.  I’ve had a few close calls, a time or two that I’ve had to hit the shower floor and fast because someone has come into the yard while I am in the shower.  But this particular day, I even set the alarm so I would be up and showered long before anyone could show up at our house for deliveries.  Yep, rise and shine at just about the crack of dawn for me.  This time I wasn’t taking any chances!  You see, our master shower has full windows that look out over our side yard and the creek and the woods beyond.  It’s quite lovely and picturesque, and a wonderfully peaceful and scenic atmosphere for bathing.  Except, of course, when a rugged albeit friendly stranger happens to be walking past the windows looking intently at the side of the house for the access door to the oil tanks, which are, of course, located right below the shower windows.

And that, my friends, is exactly who I saw as I opened my eyes after rinsing the suds from my hair and face, elbows at right angles in the air, fully facing the windows.  An astonished red-faced man in work clothes, hauling a giant hose, and looking as though he wished the earth would swallow him whole.  For a moment, as time stood still, we both stood frozen in place as our minds tried desperately to tell our bodies what to do.  And then we both dashed into action, he racing around the corner of the house and I dropping to the floor.  I stayed pressed against the tile until the water ran cold, and I knew I could stall no longer.  I crawled from the shower and tugged my towel from the rack.  Pulling my robe closed, I headed toward the front door, checkbook in hand and pretended that nothing at all out of the ordinary had happened as I swung open the door and greeted the still red-faced and now stammering man.

You would think I would have put blinds up that very day.  You would think.

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I arrived in Kailua/Kona the afternoon after the tsunami did.  Thank God for that.  I should have been on Mauai the night it hit, but another flight attendant asked if I would trade trips with her.  Since her trip was shorter than my own I jumped at the chance to spend more time at home with my boys.  She ended up spending the night with dozens of other evacuated hotel guests crammed into a school bus in a parking lot while the tsunami sirens wailed menacingly throughout the night.  I can only imagine she was kicking herself all night long for the trade.

But what she doesn’t know is that she probably saved me from a full blown panic attack.  Those of you who know me well know that when my oldest son was born I developed a few irrational fears.  One was a fear of flying, or more accurately, of crashing.  Go figure, considering my choice of career.  Another was of being swallowed up by a tsunami.  Actually, it was more specific than that.  It was that I would be trying to outrun a tsunami while carrying my baby.  And then when my second son was born, it was the terror of not being able to run with both a toddler and a baby in my arms, and having one or both of them swept away from me.  Or maybe having to choose between the two of them.  You moms must know what I mean.

In any case, I took six years off from flying, and we very, very rarely went to the beach.  Countless times Patrick would suggest the quick 90 minute road trip to picturesque Cannon Beach, and I would immediately shoot the idea down.  Why play Russian Roulette?  Better to be safe than sorry.  Let’s just turn the sprinklers on and let the kids run through them.  Worst thing I could picture in that scenario was a bee sting, which I felt I could handle.

But then one day I woke up to discover that most of these fears had somehow either dissipated over time, or had just suddenly vanished.  So I recently started back to flying, which I am able to do without giving too much thought to crashing.  I just smother the boys in hugs and kisses before I leave and tell them about a million times that I love them, and I’m so proud of them, and that I am always with them and loving them, even when they can’t see me, and that they are the nicest, smartest, most beautiful and perfect people I have ever known, and on and on until Hayden stops listening and wanders off to find his toys and Addison gets that exasperated look on his face and tells me enough already, we know, we know.

Being back at work pretty much goes hand in hand with going back to the beach, as so many of the places that we fly now are coastal.  So it was a good thing my fear of tsunamis seemed to have diminished.  With the exception of good old Fairbanks, everywhere that I have had a layover has been very near, if not completely, ocean front.

Our van driver took us through Kona, and we were able to see first hand the chaos that a mere foot of water could cause.  Furniture had been pushed through the windows of buildings and out onto the street.  Sidewalks and roads were torn up as though a hundred jackhammers had simultaneously pounded the pavement.  Trees were uprooted.  Debris was in the most unlikely of places.  But it was all so little compared to the devastation that must be Japan.  I cannot even begin to imagine …..

So tomorrow and the next day I will be on Maui.  And now I feel a fear developing in the pit of my stomach, and making its way to the back of my throat.  This time it’s of exploding nuclear plants and the resulting radiation making its way from Japan to the islands.  Irrational, I know, but also a horrible reality for so many as I write this.  I’m keeping quiet about that, though.  Addison already has developed a fascination/fear with the earthquake in Japan and the resulting ‘salami’.

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Our relationship started out so steamy — all hearts aflutter and short of breath.  So hot and sweaty, with racing pulse and and soaring hopes.  In the beginning, I fully believed we would be together forever, that our relationship would only grow stronger with time.  And yet, anyone who knows me could see the writing on the wall.  Long before I ever did, anyway.

As time went on, that all-consuming excitement that comes with new relationships began to ebb.  Slowly, the allure, the anticipation of time spent together, the angst felt when apart, all began to fade.  Soon, nagging, nit-picking, and ultimate resentment all found their way into my heart.  Things were not all peachy keen, and I found myself looking for excuses to stay away.

Eventually, my guilt would get the better of me, and I would vow to do better, to re-commit.  And I would.  For a day, maybe two.  But my heart was never in it.  My head tried to reason, but even the best laid plans and the most convincing of arguments for staying together seemed no match for my indifference.  Many of you know the ongoing struggle I’ve had.  You’ve witnessed the roller coaster of emotions, and listened to me as I tried to talk myself into loving this relationship again.  But when it all comes down to it, should love really be so much work?

The other day, I found my mind wandering to dreams of other relationships.  I was imagining long walks along the lake, or even the river.  I saw me stopping to smell the roses, and feeling that electrifying high of something new.  And then, when I went so far as to consider joining a gym, I knew it was finally over, once and for all.

Today, as I watched my husband struggle to load the recumbent bike into the bed of a pick-up truck, I knew for sure I had made the right decision.  And it was reassuring to know that he also felt it to be best.  Saying goodbye to something so stationary and stagnant was the right thing to do.  He joined me on the porch, took my hand, and together, we watched that bike head off down the drive, and fade slowly from sight.  And I felt lighter than I have in a long, long time.  Except, of course, for that heavy wad of cash weighting my pocket.

So long, love!

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