Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Reason, season, know...all that happy jazz

Before I left for my North Carolina trip I was having a hard time. With life. In general.

I have a lot of people fooled, apparently. They say things to me like, "Gosh, how do you do it all?"

And I respond with a very honest, "I don't. There's no way you can. Something always gets short changed. The trick is you have to constantly switch up what gets overlooked." (Though I won't lie - "half-assed" is typically used in there somewhere.)

But I was so over-stressed it was like I was operating in manic mode. I was over-the-top, brain filled to capacity, can't keep track of where my kids are or when my husband is working. You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? But its true. My hubby has this crazy, shifting, all-over-the-place-plus-court-dates-and-training-and-overtime schedule.

To be the wife of a cop, yo. It sucks.

So while *I* might not know where my children were when I was at work, he did. (I hope.) I'd pick them up from the sitter's and say things like, "Well...we'll see you...sometime...again...soon. I think." Cuz I didn't even know the next time they were due to be with her. We give her a schedule one month at a time and add/delete/modify as needed. She's pretty much a freakin' angel that way.

I'd leave things on the counter at home...such as my lunch.

I'd promise two friends we'd do two different things on the same the same time.

I don't think my child has brought a library book back to school on time once this entire school year.

And my response to all of this?

I'd laugh.

Cuz if I didn't? I'd probably cry.

There are some days when my life just seems so completely out of my control that I will yell and piss and moan and swear that come hell or high water I am going to pull my four-year-old out of his two-day-a-week two-hour-a-day 3K program and just send him to full-time day care because it would be easier. And then I'd get a sitter for every Friday night so that I have some sense of sanity, regardless as to whether my husband was working that night or not.

And then 10 minutes later I'd be like, "Self, don't go all off the deep end. Will loves his school and you KNOW you're not pulling him out. But the babysitter that."

So that is why, when I flew into the teensie tiny little Wilmington, North Carolina airport (the one with the rocking chairs) I had NO IDEA that it was actually 45 minutes away from the beachfront hotel where I was staying.

I typically plan my travel so as to think of all the responsible things (like how I'm getting to the airport, then from the other airport to the hotel) but leave room for all the spontaneous fun things (like trekking down to Myrtle Beach, SC for a night of karaoke with the girls).

Only on this trip? Yeah...brain overload. I thought, while packing the night before, that maybe I should look into airport shuttles or taxis or something, but then I thought, "Self? How many times have you traveled by yourself? YOU GOT THIS."

I so totally didn't.

I landed in this itsy bitsy airport and found that not only was my hotel 45 minutes away, but that a cab ride there was going to cost me between $65-85.

So I sent a text to Melissa. "What time do u get in? Ur flying into ILM, right?"

To which she didn't respond because she was in the air.

But I was *pretty* sure she was flying into the same airport, and *pretty* sure it was the flight from Philly. The one due to arrive TWO HOURS after the time at which I checked the flight board.

And I was *pretty* sure she'd mentioned previously about having a friend who could pick her up from the airport, but I figured that even if she didn't, we could split the cost of the cab ride, and if she did and there was no room for me, well, then I'd just suck it up and pay for the cab ride myself.

So...what to do for two hours?

Wilmington International Airport (I'm not exaggerating the "International" part - that's actually its name) has eight gates, one terminal, a gift shop and a bar and grill. I sat with a Miller Lite and a bag of potato chips and read a book until I got hurried text messages from Melissa that yes, her (wonderful, savior) friend Lisa was picking her up and yes, (wonderful, savior) Lisa had room for me, too.

Wonderful savior friend Lisa? IS AWESOME. Not only did she tell us about the city of Wilmington as we drove through it, but she took us to the most awesometastic place for lunch. Where we sat outside in 65 degree weather. A NEAR MIRACLE TO TWO GALS FROM THE COLD NORTH IN FEBRUARY.

Awesometastic view where we ate lunch
This was our view as we ate.

The food was really good. And none of us were shy about getting our geek on, either. We'd finish what we were saying about social media as we also tweeted about what we were eating. Ain't no shame.

Scallops rockafeller. YUM.
Scallops Rockefeller. YUM.

A WAAAAY better way to spend the afternoon than taking an expensive cab by myself and sitting in the hotel waiting for the one person I knew to arrive, if you ask me.

The ride back to the airport on Sunday with Lisa was even better, if you believe it. Again, I was fully prepared to cab my way back on my own, as I had a 6 p.m. flight and Melissa's was much earlier. Somehow I was persuaded that Lisa didn't mind, and I figured that I could at least get a ride to the airport and wait out the afternoon. I thought I'd probably finish my book, write a blog post and drink about four more Miller Lites.

'til she leaned over from the driver's seat and said, "Well, I promised my son a souvenir, so if you want to come along with me to the surf shop, you're more than welcome to." Um, see more of this (warm) city or sit in a rinky dink airport? YES PLEASE.

So off we went. As we were walking out of the store, she says, "Are you hungry? We could go grab some lunch." Again, with the yes please. {LOVE.}

We got back in the car, and by this point in the afternoon the day had gotten quite warm. The windows were open and my hair was blowing across my face as she rattled off a few places where she thought we should eat.

To which I replied, "Oh, either is fine by me!" and I meant it. I'm pretty flexible that way - I like just about anything. And also? We could've gone through the drive through at Taco Bell and I'd have ingested less grease than at that airport hole-in-the-wall.

Then she said something like, "Oh, there's this GREAT place for seafood, but its out in Kure Beach. Its a little bit of a drive, but I don't mind if you don't mind."

I had no idea where Kure Beach was, so I simply replied, "That sounds good, too. Whatever you want."

Oh dear Lord. Kure Beach was a little bit of heaven.

She had no idea how honest I was when, over my plate of garlic grilled shrimp I said, "You have no idea how happy this makes me."

I mean, it could have been the four days by myself - getting up when I wanted, showering when I wanted. Or it could have been the camaraderie or the laughing or the conference itself. Or maybe the sand or the sun or the ocean waves lulling me to sleep.

Whatever it was, my soul found peace in a tiny little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Kure Beach, North Carolina.

And I more than sorta owe it all to her.

Thanks, Lisa. You're a world-class lady.

chick in the sand

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