Well it’s Wednesday and I’m already saying what a week!
We’ve been back in school for six weeks or so now and I’m tired. I had six months off. I have no right to be tired. How can I dare even suggest it?! People worked all the way through this pandemic and I still don’t see them complaining like whiny old me. Maybe it’s because they don’t have time to blog!
We had a little storm roll thru this week. It was funny because I was going so well with my facebook abstinence when I missed a call…or eight calls rather from my step mom. Her birthday card she’d sent me had been inexplicably returned to sender so she panicked and as you do, concluded we’d either been caught up in a hurricane or were trapped in the wild fires. Neither were true but it reminded me to check the weather app. And goshdarnit…we were right in the center of a bright red cone. We’ve lived here long enough to know the storms are often hyped up by the media…the Weather Channel which is our go to is probably the worst for this. But there’s a couple of fellas I follow on Facebook who are pretty reliable and don’t do the hype so my Facebook hiatus was immediately ended as I sought out what the trouble brewing off shore meant…
Truth is, it was so long ago I can’t remember which storm it was. It’s actually a Sunday now, maybe five weeks later but I think it was Beta. Being in the line of two cones for Laura and Marco was unnerving but poor Louisiana has taken the brunt this year. Ever since Hurricane Harvey, I have healthy respect for storms. Being in the cone brings back that anxiety and although experience has taught me, it will likely come to nothing, I make sure we’re stocked up on the essentials (although it was Covid taught me to always have one extra packet of bog roll). As it turned out, we didn’t feel any affects from the storms at all. Most of the school districts closed around us but ours remained open and as much as a day at home would’ve been nice, I guess it was the right call as I don’t think we had more than a brief shower in our area. But the anxiety is always just a red cone away.
The thing is I started writing this post at the end of September and it was going in a whole different direction. I’d been driving to work and Mr Brightside came on my playlist. I had one of those moments where the sun was shining, the road was clear and a favourite tune made taking the right turn into the school’s road seem like an option. Did I have to make the turn? Maybe I should just keep driving? May be I could keep driving and see where I ended up? I live in America now. Road trips here are epic. The scenery is amazing. The feeling of freedom is joyous.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve only done three but that’s three more than I ever imagined I’d do. One was six long hours down the i10 and a little underwhelming but our whistlestop tour of California a couple of years ago and then our trip to Colorado last year were everything I hoped a road trip would be. Empty roads stretching for miles. Landscapes that look like alien planets, barren and desolate. Then hairpin turns with mountain cliff faces obscured by trees promising menacingly to catch the plummeting car in their voluminous branches should the hubster not pay proper attention to the road. Thankfully, he did!
If, on this sunny Friday morning I drove for a couple or so more miles, I’d reach the i10 and a left turn would take me to California and a right turn to Florida. The possibilities seemed endless. But the thing about road trips for me is it’s more special when you get to share them with someone. Now I’m fondly remembering my brief tour of New Zealand with my sister: drinking cheap wine on the beach lamenting we couldn’t see the sunset we’d planned because the damn sun set behind us on the land; getting lost and fearing we’d never be found alive after agreeing to rent a house for $20 each from a heavily tattooed fella but then watching The Secret of My Success in a lovely 3 bedroomed house whilst sipping more cheap wine and sleeping in a nice cosy bed when we should have been holed up in a falling to pieces camper van and her then ruing the decision to let me drive when I turned the wrong way up a street and made the fastest U-turn in the history of time and rickety camper vans. Bless her, she drove me miles to see Mount Doom but on the day it was miserable weather and obscured by cloud so all those miles for me to guess that the base of maybe that mountain or that one was the one! Who knows? But I still tell myself I saw it. Maybe I did! And then we spent a wonderful day at a volcanic spa rejuvenating in its steamy mineral waters and talking about the kids we were missing back home 12000 miles away (but not enough to get out and go back to them obviously)…it was bliss. I was a bit put out on the way back to the campsite after passing a particularly stinky puddle of bubbling volcanic mud when she admitted she thought the eggy smell had been me all day but it’s weird, I can’t smell sulphur now without smiling and being reminded of that so I’ve forgiven her…after I got her assurances that she believed me! But look at me with my tangents…I’ve gone off road again!
So what did I do? Did I make the right turn into school or carry on to adventure? Of course, I made the right turn. I went to work and went home to my peeps afterwards. Road trips are better with someone to share them. And if I don’t get my paycheck there’ll be little chance of affording a proper one!
What I didn’t know when I made that turn was there was a storm brewing just beyond the horizon that would make me want to take us all on a road trip to escape. This post was going to be about something entirely different. The boys returned to school in person the following week after six or so months off. We weren’t ready for the deluge of emotions that would bring. We had struggled with home school and figured in person learning would be the opportunity to draw a line under the experience and move on. We were wrong.
Anyway, that’s kind of why I’ve been absent. There was a huge storm or a road block in our path…you can see I can’t decide which metaphor to go with…I guess I should stick to the road trip metaphor as it’s the Mr Brightside tune that always makes me want to turn the radio up, and sing my heart out and forget everything, wishing I could drive for longer.
Things have settled somewhat and I’m beginning to see a bright side again, we’ve got the umbrella on standby (damn, there’s that weather metaphor creeping in again) and it looks like we’re nearly back to our original route (back to road trip metaphors!) Anyhow, I’m still trying to work out whether it’s my story to tell so I’ll not go into it today. I guess it was just a reminder for me that things often don’t pan out how we expect them to. We can’t always see a reason but we can learn from the experience, even if it’s just that sulphur smell is most definitely not your sister farting.