This summer, while seemingly everyone I know is getting away from it all and heading to beaches, European cities and across the country, I was thrilled yesterday with my vacation day. Having made it through July and my steroidal number of hours with Jessie, it was pure joy to have more than a morning all to myself. My hope was that it would heal all that ailed me. And it almost did.
The day started with a long overdue meeting for coffee (although neither one of us had coffee…or anything to eat or drink, actually) with my old friend Ellen. (Long time readers will know her as the gal with the kick ass boots:
.) Our “quick” coffee turned into a three-hour chat during which I laughed, I cried, I listened and I learned. Only a few short years older than me, she’s always held sage advice with a shoot from the hip style which I desperately needed. Years ago, when we first met at the gym we soon figured out (while playing Jewish geography) that she had gone to camp with my oldest brother which emotionally connected us ever since. We both possess strong personalities and a sarcastic, quick wit. I vividly recall her informing me years ago (and apropos to nothing) that she and I could never be married to one another. She is right. Love her, but we’d kill each other if there ever became a jockeying for position. That said, should that situation arise, I am one hundred percent confident that she would win. Let this serve as a public thank you to Ellen for being who she is and for being in my life.
With Ellen having readjusted my head and with no further plan in place, I wandered into the Sprint store (which one needs to be mentally prepared to do) in hopes of finally finding out why my phone battery is dead by early afternoon every day. The first customer service person I got had exactly no personality. Perhaps it was exacerbated having just come off a three-hour interaction with Ellen and her hugeness, but either way I had to do everything in my power to not climb over the counter and shake this woman to life. I have a history, when faced with situations such as this, of making it a game: I will jolly whatever sadsack is in my midst and somehow, some way, get them to smile. This time I failed. So, in an effort to maintain the sense of strength which Ellen beat into, um, instilled in me, I wisely wandered over to a different sales person and found my match. I was so swept up in his early-twenties-cutiepieness that I almost wound up buying a new phone, but I pulled myself together and stepped away with a promise to return to him should I choose to upgrade. (As a recovering sales person I am extremely sensitive to not screw people out of their commissions.) I am not sure he did anything much to my phone other than delete a year or so worth of text messages, but I felt better somehow. A little bit healed.
With my phone cleaned up enough to make it appear to be mended, I was on my way to my next, yet-to-be-determined destination. I hated to give up my prime parking spot (particularly since it was Sunday and, therefore, free) but eventually did. Letting karma take over, I decided that if there was a spot directly in front of a nail salon it was a message that it was time to move past my short, ugly stubs and get a manicure for the first time since the debacle of earlier this summer:
Indeed there was a spot and indeed, they had time to attend to my digits. As I slid the chair close to the manicure table I felt a rush of happiness akin to the familiarity of reuniting with an old friend. With an issue of “Cosmo” in hand (aside: every issue of “Cosmo” is exactly the same as the one before and the one after…have you noticed that?) and allowed “Vincent” to work his magic. As I was sitting there I sort of heard my phone repeatedly beeping at me; not signifying a text or call, but imploring me to charge it. As it was not an option to do so, I simply ignored it and went about enjoying my first foray into the world of Shellac, vaguely realizing that any repairs I thought had occurred as a result of clearing out my texts had been imagined.
As I was getting into my car and plugging the completely dead phone into the charger I got a text from my brother asking me if I wanted to meet him at the movies in half an hour. Yes! I love going to the movies and it was actually a film I’ve been dying to see, so I headed over to meet him. (Aside: we saw “The Intouchables”. If you see nothing else this summer, see that.) After the movie ended we headed to a local restaurant for a bite to eat. It was then that I realized that I had not corresponded with any member of my immediate family for many, many hours: in part because my phone was dead and, in part because I didn’t want to. (Yep. I said it.) I did, however, think it was only right to let them know what I was up to so had my brother text Harrison to let him know (he is more likely to check his texts than is his father) and, then, fifteen seconds after sending the text, my brother’s phone rang. You guessed it: Harrison. I’m getting an un-healed feeling here.
Knowing how deeply he appreciates my need for an occasional break from life, I quickly surmised that something must be up. (Remember, I had not been able to access either my texts or voicemails for hours at this point.) Andddd…I was right.
Earlier in the day, before I ran away, er went out, our cat was doing some unusual crying. And by crying I mean wailing. Having gone on record as we were purchasing said cat that I would take on zero responsibility for his care, I had inquired as to whether we should be concerned (I hate the cat, but I am not heartless…geez.) Rich, having far more experience with animals than I, assured me that he would take care of it which is precisely what he was doing, from the inside of the local animal hospital, when Harrison called. Aw, crap.
Please take a moment now and imagine my guilt. Here I am, enjoying my first, and likely only, vacation this summer (or for the foreseeable future) and the cat goes and gets sick…for the first time ever. The imagery of Rich, Harrison (who, by the way, is on crutches as a result of puncturing, no, impaling, his heel with an errant stick on the beach at his work as a lifeguard) and Jessie (who, when anxious, tends towards wild behavior) trolling the halls of an animal hospital with a screeching cat while I was enjoying a Margarita as well as ridiculously fresh and delicious guacamole and chips. It almost made me drop everything and rush there to somehow save everyone. Then, in a moment of clarity I acknowledged to myself that there was little I could do and that my showing up at the hospital would be of no help, so I stayed put. Truth be told, not only did I not leave, I also managed to thoroughly enjoy my post-movie meal.
With reality settling in and the hour getting late, I finally got back into the car to head home. The instant I plugged my phone into the charger, a call came in from Rich. The cat has an obstruction (which would explain the several feet of string hanging out his, um, ass) and we had a decision to make: exploratory surgery (don’t even ask how much that would cost) or ride it out and see how he does. Really?! Does every day need to have something catastrophic or traumatic or upsetting happen? Apparently, yes.
I did eventually go home only to be greeted by a pissed off Jessie (which is not someone I would encourage anyone to do) who proceeded to give me an earful about my having been gone for a few hours. I successfully resisted the urge to turn around, get back in the car and leave by telling myself that her upset is, somehow, a compliment to me. That may have been the Margarita talking, but whatever.
We opted to bring the cat home and to keep an eye on him to see how he does. So far, so good, but the jury is still out. Rich worked from home and actively triaged his (the cat’s) condition to determine whether we need to go back to the hospital. The trickier part now will be talking Jessie off the ledge when she absorbs the notion that the cat’s obstruction is from having eaten the string that she left on the floor that was then eaten by the cat. Dear G-d…
As I lay in bed later, trying to shut my mind down for the night I brought myself back to my no-coffee coffee with Ellen from earlier in the day and tried (like hell) to recapture the feeling I had when we parted ways…that understanding, calm and strength that she injected into my arm. It was a fail, but at least I felt healed for a little while. Until my next vacation day.