Self-discovery

meg profile
Mad props to Audrey for somehow managing to make my chin look less weak than it really is. Click her link in my Blogroll 'cause I can't embed it in this caption, dammit.

I think it’s fair to say that, amidst all the socializing and photographing and touring and swimming and eating and boozing that took place at last week’s VA Blogfest, each blogger who attended had a chance to learn new things about herself. Some have already  written about it.

I learned a couple of interesting things about myself through the course of the weekend. For one thing? Turns out I get homesick. Yes, just like during sleepaway camp thirty years ago. It was all giggles and grins during the festivities, but when I would finally hit the wall at night and excuse myself to go to bed, I would close the bedroom door and immediately get all choked up. I laid there and thought to myself, how ridiculous are you being, you almost-42-year-old woman? You’re always plotting and scheming about getting away; now here you are, you’re away from the kids, and the husband, and the pets and the chores and the work and the Reality, and you’re laughing and drinking red wine and socializing with some of the finest people to grace God’s green earth, and all you can think about is how you’re homesick???

FREAK!

Nevertheless, that’s what I was feeling, at least right up until the moment I passed out from drinking too much wine sheer exhaustion. Go figure.

Something else that fascinated me is the extent to which you can connect with The People Who Live In Your Computer (as we call them), through nothing more than blog posts and comments. I’ve read and commented on lots of blogs and have come to “know” some really wonderful people. But it’s not everyone I’m tempted to learn more about, tempted to meet “IRL.” And yet, with this group, who came together quite randomly, and, for the most part, hadn’t met IRL before, it was as if we just picked up right where we left off the last time we saw each other.  Someone likened it to a family reunion, only without all the drama! I have joked with Laurie and Janice about how we surely were separated at birth; it was so pleasant to confirm once we met that we do have something resembling sisterhood going on.

Lastly?

THE BRIDGE.

sm_cg-nice21
I'd tell you to wave "hi" to the Bridge, but I want you to keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel.

This is the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge, and if they had named this bridge after me, I would have told them please, don’t do me any favors. This bridge links Virginia with southern Maryland on U.S. Route 301, crossing a wide portion of the Potomac River.  It has two narrow lanes with no median and a steep, panic-inducing 3.75% grade.

This bridge? Is the one that keeps appearing in my recurring nightmare… only I didn’t know it was this bridge until I drove across it for the very first time on Sunday, on the way to take Foolery to the airport near Baltimore.

And what’s even funnier? She says she has the SAME DREAM! You see? We truly are separated at birth. We even share nightmares! She also has the one that I do about being washed away by some huge, cresting wave in the ocean. 

How weird is that, that we would have the same recurring nightmares?

Anyway. The Bridge. So there I was, driving my high-profile vehicle up that grade. Up, up, up, and if you look at that picture, you can see what the problem is – it is that you can’t see what’s on the other side! It’s like ascending the first hill of a roller coaster, which is all shits & grins when you’re at King’s Dominion, but significantly less awesome when you’re at the wheel of a very large SUV, transporting someone who’s travelled the whole way across the country to Experience Virginia through the eyes of complete strangers.  You can almost hear the ratchety clacketa-clacketa-clacketa– you know, the part where you’re sure the coaster train will just slip and go sliding backwards into the station? 

So we’re going up and all I could think of was, what will happen when we s-l-o-w-l-y crest the apex? Will we pause, teetering, at the top? Will the decline be just as steep?  Steeper, maybe? If so, will my brakes go out?  Will it be straight, or maybe a series of impossibly twisting S-curves?  Or maybe, the road will just DISAPPEAR like it does in my nightmare, leaving me to plunge, with my poor, helpless passenger, into the depths of the tidal Potomac?

Seriously. My pulse quickens as I write about it and view the photo.  My hands are shaking the tiniest bit. I really am a freak.

Chesapeake Bay BridgeI’ve never had an issue with bridges.  I love crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge; the view is breathtaking. Soup Husband Curt, however?  In his 20s, he would stop and make someone else drive his car across the bridge on the way to the beach. It was only in recent years that he decided, this is no way to live, and forced himself to drive across. He gets sweaty palms, but he can do it if he simply stares at the license plate of the car in front of him.

 But the Governor Nice bridge?  Not even a little bit Nice.

That’s about all of my soul that I care to (or even should) bare at this time.  Hope I haven’t scared you away, ha HA! Please, do check out my new blogroll, at the top of the right sidebar, to see what freakish fascinating realizations the other bloggers may have experienced during our time at summer camp Blogfest.

House guests

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” — Robert Burns.  I looked it up. This week, I am the poster child for this phenomenon.

Today is Soup Husband Curt’s birthday. (Everybody say “Happy Birthday, Curt!”)  I was able to surprise him with an unexpected visit from a friend from Milwaukee.  She handed him a beer when he returned home from work yesterday, and you know how weird it is when you see someone out of context? The disoriented look on his face when he saw her in our living room was worth the price of admission. We are excited to have her as a guest in our home for the next few days.

But what hasn’t worked out as planned? Oldest son is on day #3 of missing school because he’s been one sick pup.  Sick enough that I wanted to stay home and keep an eye on him.  Yesterday, the doctor said it’s some kind of run-of-the-mill virus, no cause for alarm, Mom, just wait it out.  That may be true, but all I can see is shades of February 2006, when our son had been sick for a week or so.  The doctors missed the pneumonia in his one lung on Friday, and on Sunday I was following an ambulance to the ER. So to say that I am a little guarded right now is like saying Curt was kinda happy that the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

Hi, PTSD – We’ve been expecting you. Can I take your coat? Pull up a chair, get comfortable, help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge.  Mi casa es su casa.

And if that’s not bad enough?  Joining Oldest Son today at home is The Peezer, who is sporting a fresh cough, nice and tight, and a runny nose. And of course, now The Boss – the middle child – is all PO’d because he has already had a rough week at school, and now he’s all  how come everyone else gets sick and gets to stay home from school but I hafta go???

Nurse Dixie McCall from Emergency!
Julie London as Nurse Dixie McCall on Emergency!

So, here I am, playing Nurse Dixie, and have I mentioned that when I don’t work, I don’t get paid? That’s the down side of working part-time. The upside is, of course, the flexibility and the extra time when I need it. Like this week. Welcome to my world.

Shopping list: Ramen noodles, boxed mac & cheese (generic), spaghetti, cans of chicken noodle soup, and whatever’s on sale buy-one get-one-free.

Back to those best-laid plans. I was scheming to surprise Curt with a little happy hour soiree tonight.  But, what with the viral germs raging about our home, it would of course be irresponsible to risk infecting the entire neighborhood.  So, party’s off. Sorry, gang.

The other part of the birthday-fest? We scored a pair of on-the-glass Capitals tickets for tomorrow night, and you know my husband loves him some ice hockey. Got a sitter all lined up and everything. Only now, with two sick kids, I’m no longer certain that we can make it happen.  They have about 32 hours to have a miraculous recovery. I say this not just because I’d really like to get Curt to the Caps game, but because it sucks to be sick when you’re a kid.

This, too, is reminiscent of three years ago.  Our son had been laying around, lacking energy, just waiting to feel better… just as he has been doing for most of this week. As a birthday present for Curt, I had purchased tickets to “Defending The Caveman.” My mom came to watch the boys, and we went out on an actual Date.  It had been a long time since we’d gone out; The Peezer was only one year old and we were still adjusting to life with three boys.  (It’s hard to find a babysitter for three boys!) My mom, bless her, made it possible for us to enjoy a big steak dinner and a show and each other’s company.  It was just what we needed that night.  Just what the doctor ordered.

As it happened, Mom’s presence was more than fortunate the next morning, when we went from urging Oldest Son to “get out of bed and get ready for church!” to watching in horror as he appeared to have a seizure and calling 911 in a matter of just a few minutes. Mom was able to stay behind with the other boys while we, alarmed and confused and ten different kinds of freaked out, went with our son to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia on Sunday afternoon and a stroke on Monday morning, and thus began 40 days of alternate reality for our family.  Bizarro Meg and Curt.

Where’s Nurse Dixie when you need her? Emergency!

As we rehashed these events later, we remarked at our good fortune to have had that fun night out before all hell broke loose and our lives were permanently altered.  But events like those tend to stick with you. There’s part of me that still hesitates to go anywhere if the kids are even remotely sick, because what if something like that were to happen while we’re away? What if we hadn’t been there when our son had his seizure? What if, what if, what if??

PTSD, it seems you’re going to be here for a while. We’ll get you a key.  Here’s a set of towels; sorry they don’t match. You can have either the futon or the trundle bed downstairs.  Just kick the dog off the bed if he tries to join you. Coffee’ll be ready in the morning, but please – sleep as late as you want.

Am I the only one?….

AM I THE ONLY ONE…

… who has wondered why, in ladies room that includes at least three stalls, the next person into the bathroom chooses the stall next to the one which she is already occupying? (Isn’t there a code that implies that you try, whenever possible, to leave at least one stall in between you and an occupied stall)

…. who has ever stared at a public toilet, waiting for it to flush itself, before realizing that it is necessary to manually activate the lever in order to make the contents of the soiled bowl disappear?

…. who has ever frantically moved her hands up and down within the confines of a sink bowl, waiting for enough soap and/or water to magically squirt out so that she can sufficiently moisten and cleanse her hands after waiting in vain for said toilet to flush?

… who has waived her hands in front of a nonexistent sensor, expecting paper towels to automatically dispense themselves in sufficient quantity to thoroughly dry her hands, so as to avoid chapping?

… who has – after all of that! – wondered why she must touch the restroom door handle to pull it in order to exit, and if so, who has noted the absence of a nearby trash can into which she can conveniently deposit the aforementioned paper towel, after using it to pull the door handle in a sanitary fashion?

No??? Well then, what in the hell is wrong with me???