American Vacation, Part One


Exit sign, KWVR Station
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne

So here I am in what Liz refers to as The Homeland. I don’t really know for sure how long I’ve been here or what day it is. What I do know, and this may also be the jet lag talking, is that I’m not sure how much I belong here any more.

Please don’t read that as “I miss my life in the UK.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It also shouldn’t be mistaken for “I am nothing when I am without Simon, and since he is in the UK I am therefore nothing.” That certainly isn’t it either.

The real “it” is that I don’t know where I belong. I don’t want to be in the UK or the US. I don’t want to be anywhere, not in an I Want To Off Myself sort of way but in an I Don’t Feel At Ease Anywhere Anymore way.

The first time we came back for a visit, it was marvelous. I was back in my comfort zone. I didn’t want to leave and go back to the scary and lonesome UK. The second time it was a little weird. I was starting to look for English food in the American grocery store and was frustrated at things that were “just so flipping different.” Yet still, it was then and is now where I want to be…the problem, if you will, is the where within the where.

My old job most likely will not be waiting for me when I return. We may not be able to afford our perfect house b/c I have to freelance and pay for my own insurance (as well as coverage for Simon). It won’t be easy, but I never thought I would look at it and think, “Do I really want to do this?”

Well, yes, of course I do. I’m just feeling a bit out of place this trip. Out of step with everyone else. Hours are flying past and my vacation will soon be over and I’m not sure that I will even know that it had started. I’ll be staring down that departure gate at Hartsfield again with tears in my eyes. But do I want to stay here? I don’t know, to be honest. I just don’t know.

For now, though, I’m helping out for a friend of mine that became unexpectedly ill right before I got here. I’m navigating the mine field of friendly surprises and unexpected challenges. And I’m missing Simon and Daisy and Mills.

Is this really a holiday? More on that later, when I’ve slept a bit.

Beachbound Hounds

Well, we made it.

We set out yesterday at 11:30ish with the intention of picking up my friend Janet at the Myrtle Beach Airport at about 4pm. Along the way we slept, fussed, slept and slept…well, H and J did, Mommy was driving.

Somewhere past Florence I found a gas station that was selling unleaded for under $4 per gallon…and it had a sign on each of of the pumps stating that customers needed to limit their transactions to 10 gallons per fill-up because of the severe gas shortage affecting the Southeastern US.

Huh?

After putting 10.01 gallons in my car, we headed on toward Myrtle Beach. Jimmy Buffett on the MP3, dogs blissfully sleeping in the back…and the traffic screeched to a halt. Dead halt. Stopped. Car in PARK.

Turns out there was an accident up ahead…so I rang up Leah and she headed over to get Janet at the airport. Finally, after a 20 minute wait, we headed on down to the beach.

So far I haven’t even made it to check in with BBH staff, only into the hotel. Jeany isn’t happy about the non carpeted floors in the room, but she’s managing.

Best part so far? I have my Daisy Mae Mae Psycho Puppy Girl back with me.

Vacation, Day Fourteen: Almost Back to the Grind

I’m leaving from Cleveland in about half an hour to head to Anderson and collect my Meee-uhls from the vet. I’m really looking forward to snuggling my wee orange man. It’s amazing how the heart forgets the constant ME-OOOOWING and the running across the face at midnight and the litter box cleanings when one hasn’t had a cat close by for over two weeks. After that, I’ll head over to get Hunky and Jeany. Daisy’s going to ride down to Beach Bound Hounds this weekend with Auntie Leah, so I’ll be getting her then.

While I’m decidedly NOT happy to be away from Simon and interestingly not so comfortable here in the US, I’m desperate to see my critters. Simon and I talked about it while I was visiting last week…I’m not all of me without them. Am I addicted? Sure. Is it a mental illness? Possibly. Do I care if people don’t understand or make fun of how well I treat my animals? Definitely not. They have saved my life more often than I care to count, and I’m a better person for having had them in my life.

Now to get the car loaded (UGH) and then hit the road for South Carolina. I drove Mom and Daddy up from where they collected me at the MARTA station last night, so at least I’m set on which side of the road I should use to drive home. Home to my dirty house. Home to my chair and my TV and hopefully a working refrigerator. Home to a house, really, because my home is four thousand miles away.

Vacation Days Twelve and Thirteen: Hello Steeton and Goodbye at Manchester Airport

On Friday Simon and I went to see an absolutely tiny house in Steeton. Uh, no thanks. If Simon doesn’t fit in the house I know he and three greyhounds and children won’t.

We also had lunch at a fantastic fish and chip restaurant with Simon’s parents. Yummy.

On Saturday…well, I once again learned how much I can take before I completely lose it, including some huge tears dripping onto my lap on the plane. Ta love, ta very much. 12 weeks.