Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dodging a Bullet

It has been a few weeks.  Yes, I was busy, but more than that I just wasn't quite sure what to write.

The first half of March was abnormally heavy for me.  Nothing catastrophic for myself.  Nothing that really impacts my daily life.  Just a series of quite serious things developing for people around me.  It was the type of week that causes one to step back and take stock in where one is, where one is going, and from whence one came.  But above all, at the end of the day, it was the type of month where one just can't end up feel lucky.  My biggest realization, thus far at least, came last week.

When you move and travel frequently enough the world seems to become both bigger and smaller at the same time.  Bigger in the sense that you get to enjoy more of the world's variety.  Smaller in the sense that a broader spread network of friends and acquaintances makes the world a little more accessible and a little less intimidating.  The world felt particularly small when the earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan.  Within the past 6 months we had connections that had moved from Japan back to the states, we have connections in Guam, Hawaii and all up and down the West Coast.  Thankfully, no one we knew sustained any damage.  Although, amazingly enough, we found out a couple days later that a friend of ours had a layover in Tokyo a day before the disaster occurred.  Truly a lucky thing that he didn't delay his trip like he had initially planned.  It took me an extra few days to come to the realization that, had things gone my way, we would have been in Japan.

We had never wanted to move back to Charleston.  Our plan was always to go live abroad when Nick took his shore tour.  Japan was our first choice.  When Nick was assigned a position back South Carolina I was devastated.  Even though we have really settled back into the Charleston, made some great friends and love where we live, I still clung to some of the bitterness I had about moving back.  Until last week, when I saw the tsunami footage for what seemed like the 20 time (and somehow each time getting more devastating than the last) when it suddenly dawned on me that, for all intent and purpose, we were supposed to be living there.  I am not sure I could have dodged a bigger bullet.  I have rarely felt more fortunate.

SIDEBAR:  I will be away from posting for the next few weeks as I have a couple large projects that need some attention.  I hope to be back to posting shortly after Easter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I do not loose things.

I am a very busy person and I get distracted a lot.  Our house is clean, but never really tidy because my husband and I are in a constant state of being in the middle of 3 projects each.  As a result I have learned to combat all these things by being habitual to the point of crazy.  Everything has a place and that place always has some logic behind it.  This is the only way I know how to function.  Ask me what I ate for breakfast this morning and it will probably take me 5 minutes to mentally back track my day.  Ask me where my husband stashed a few cigars that he totally forgot he had, I know immediately.  Ask me if I locked the house when I left and I won't remember actually doing it, I merely have to rely on the habit.  That being said, I have misplaced 3 things in the past week and a half.

We have been extraordinarily busy.  Three weekends ago we were in Kansas City.  The following weekend was the local craft beer festival and this past weekend was the Charleston Wine & Food festival, so the past two weeks have been excessive in every sense of the word.  It really shouldn't be surprising that I lost a few things.

First, the remote for our bedroom TV went missing.  I found that a day later.  It somehow got tossed all the way under the bed.  Second, I realized that my fleece pullover (which I LOVE) was not in any of the places it should be.  We have decided that it must have somehow been left in the hotel we stayed at the night of the beer festival.  So a phone call needs to be placed tomorrow and see if they might still have it (fingers crossed).  Finally, I had lost a ring.

Not an important one.  Just a ring.  I had bought it to go with my outfit for the Wine and Food fest opening night party; which is this big, swank, cocktail dress sort of affair.  So I had gotten this funky cocktail ring which I, naturally, forgot to put on when leaving the house and left on the kitchen counter.  The next day, after the haze of wine and rich food wore off and I had spent a full day at work, I went to retrieve said ring and put it away.  It wasn't there.  My first reaction was to blame the cats.  Something small and sparkly, of course they found it and started batting it across the house.  I gave it an extra day to show up, it didn't.  Then I grabbed a flashlight and started looking under the washer, dryer, stove, fridge, china hutch, couch, everywhere.  Nothing.  After being the third item to up and disappear this stupid ring became my last stand.  I was going to find the damn thing just on principle.  I didn't appear.  I was dejected.  I was angry.  I gave up.

While I was getting ready for bed that night I found my ring.  In my jewelry case.  With all my other cocktail rings.  Apparently when I got home on Thursday after the party, even in my exhausted and inebriated state, I put that ring in it's designated place.  The habit is just that deep-seeded.

While I was happy to find it, I couldn't help but feel a little like an idiot.  I mean really, who does shit like that?  I can't help but feel like there is a life metaphor in there somewhere, but it hasn't revealed itself to me yet.

Needless to say I am very much looking forward to a couple fairly low key weekends before we leave town again at the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Airport Karma

A couple weeks ago we took a long weekend to visit my family back in the Kansas City area.  It was awesome.  I hadn't been home in a little over a year so it was a much needed visit.

Then, we showed up at the airport to make our way back to Charleston and our flight was delayed by 4 hours.  Now, this is the sort of thing that I don't get my panties in a wad about because:
1.  I would rather be late than dead.
2.  There is absolutely nothing I can do to change the situation.  
Regardless, it was annoying and I sort of have to take the grand, universal, karmic blame for it.

I like to think that on any given day I am a half way decent human being.  Generally speaking, I am content, have a sunny outlook and I play well with others, so to speak.  The one reigning exception to this disposition is the airport.

The airport is less about civility and more about survival.  I will push, I will shove, I will shamelessly throw dirty looks.  I am exceedingly polite to TSA (because you never bite the hand that feeds) but will unabashedly snake my around families, business folk and probably little old ladies to make it on the shuttle between terminals.  I am not proud of this.  But every time I swear under my breath at the family of five walking too slowly between gates or I shoot a dirty look at the old couple who doesn't understand the restrictions on liquids at security, because all of these people are standing in between me and the flight I am inevitably late for, I realize that they are probably thinking equally nasty things about me.  And I am okay with that.  In fact, I encourage it.

So when we flew out to Kansas City my husband and my seats were split up for the first leg of the trip.  I am a person that puts a high value on personal space.  So sitting next to a petite yoga instructor on a plane would make me slightly uneasy.  Sitting in one of those teeny, tiny airplane seats next to someone that is outside the realm of a healthy build makes me full on uncomfortable.  When I found my seat on this first leg it was between the window and an older woman who had one of those faces that just naturally looks cranky.  I sit down and thanks to my personal bubble neurosis proceed to plaster myself against the window and wall of the plane.  The woman I am next to, still looking cranky, proceeds to pull out some random Danielle Steel paperback.  Five minutes in and my back is already starting to hurt from the awkward way I am sitting.  I am super tired.  I am shooting my husband looks from across the aisle as he was fortunate enough to be in the row on the regional jet that has a single seat.  The whole nine yards.  So I do what "airport Erika" normally does.  I start projecting awful things on this poor woman sitting next to me.  Not wishing her ill will by any means but just imagining her life as awful, and meaningless. Why else would she look so cranky and read drug store fiction?  I brood, read my book, and try sleep for the next 2 hours or so.

Again, I am not proud.  In addition to just being the type of person that would totally unwittingly show up with a side of beef to a vegan picnic, I am at the airport.  Where I look out for number one.  Where self preservation is my priority.  This is far from a shining moment for me.

As the plane landed one of the women in the row in front of us turns around and addresses the woman next to me,
"Sister Agnes."
"Yes, Sister Catherine."
"I would like you to meet Danielle (indicates woman next to her), she works for the Diocese."
Well, of course.  I had just spent 2 hours being cranky about sitting next to a nun.  Of course our flight home was going to be delayed.  I totally deserved that.

PS - This week's photo is here.