I'm writing this from my mom's living room in Arlington, TX. I had planned to be heading back on the road for Charlotte this morning but Winter Storm Quattro will be dropping freezing rain, sleet, and snow on the area all day so it's not safe to be on the roads. I'm stuck here for at least an extra day. I'm not complaining other than it's just one of those little money wrenches that cause plans to change from time to time.
This is a bitttersweet trip. It serves several purposes other than provide an opportunity to spend time with my mom. She's 85 years old and I try to make sure I get to see her in some capacity every 3 or 4 months. She told me yesterday that she has resigned herself to the fact that she's happy and healthy enough to make it to 90 - that's a good sign. But in reality, none of us have that power so it's important to appreciate each day as though it were the last.
The last time I was here was for Thanksgiving. Yesterday was my birthday (56 years and counting) so it provided another reason to celebrate. We went out to Outback for dinner and headed back to the house for some cheesecake for dessert. I'm on a high protein/low carb diet at the moment but I allowed myself the luxury of having a small piece of cake to celebrate. It was a very pleasant day.
On the challenging side, the other reason for the trip is that my mom will be taking one of my pups. Her dog is getting very old and she's already dealing with some preparatory separation anxiety from the little guy. Her dog provides wonderful company for her. At the same time, my life is transient to the point that I feel tremendously guilty for putting my dogs through the craziness I do. They need stability - a yard, a fixed place to be, someone who can be with them more than simply on evenings. Cody is the more loving of the dogs so we agreed that it would be a good fit. So - I expect to be headed home with fewer dogs than made the trip out here.
I'm good at keeping my vision focused on the most pressing tasks and keeping things that will be happing in the future from creeping in to mess things up. I have been totally focused on the tasks that have consumed me over the past few weeks - moving out of my apartment in Charlotte and cleaning to meet the Feb. 19 deadline. It's a delicate balancing act of keeping enough "stuff" in the apartment to live there but not too much so that you can't finish it all up relatively quickly. By the time I checked into the hotel on Thursday night I was spent....physically, emotionally, just flat-out drained from trying to get everything done. And I did.
Moving sucks. And the older I get (a) the harder it is and (b) the more it sucks. I expect that I'll need to do it at least one more time in my life but I'm hoping it won't be for a little while. I need a break.
Well, now that that's done it's time to turn attention on this trip. I've been dealing with the emotional separation anxiety that comes from these kinds of things but try to focus on the positive. He's a loving guy and I'm convinced I'm doing something positive - both for Cody and for my mom. But that doesn't make it any easier.
I went to the gym yesterday and was thinking back to Birthdays past. I remember my birthday in 1997 where I made the decision that the life I was beginning to believe could be a reality needed some sort of tangible existence in the world and shaved my legs. It was a symbolic gesture that was the best I could offer at the time, but was an important step towards things that would happen later.
Two years later, when I turned 40, my life was in total upheaval. My ex and I have long planned to do something special for our 40th birthdays but by that time we were barely speaking, and when we did speak it was typically angry and hurtful. I expected I'd have to celebrate my birthday alone and went to see Shakespeare in Love at the movies the night before. I cried like a baby at the pain of it all, but got home to find a note wishing me a Happy Birthday. We met for dinner that night, but she got up and left in the middle saying that she just couldn't pretend to be happy anymore. My son was confused by it all - he wouldn't learn about what was happening for several more months.
There were some "big" birthdays - my 50th was very special thanks to a certain someone. One year my ex- and I spent it in Acapulco and I've got a picture somewhere drinking a fruity tropical adult beverage out of a pineapple. I can remember several that included driving for all or most of the day. But, for the most part, it's a pretty low-key day in my world. It's a good time to reflect on things in life - on things done and things not yet done, but the days of "celebrating" it in the typical sense have been gone for a while now.
Anyway - back to the present. I'm hoping to get back on the road tomorrow and be back on the east coast on Wednesday before the next storm finds its way across the south. It's these kinds of days that makes me really appreciate how much I enjoy winter in Scottsdale.
One of the things I had hoped to do on this trip was visit a burger joint featured on Diners, Drive In's and Dives. I enjoy the various places they feature (especially the burger places) and one of them is near my mom's house. I had hoped to go yesterday (they have free Birthday burgers) but they were closed. I don't know if the roads will allow me to get out today, but if things clear up at all I'm planning a visit before I leave. :)