Now that my internet is up and running again here is the next installment...
18 hours is a long drive and even longer when you are towing a Bronco.
We were bringing to Ohio John's Bronco that we had to leave behind when we transferred from New Orleans to North Carolina in June 2005. He has been chomping at the bit to get it home so he could get it running for three years now, thus why we were in a truck, not the van to drive down. We borrowed Aunt Robin's very awesome truck (which I loved driving around MS, I was afraid of such a big truck after driving a Mustang for 4 years, but that quickly changed) and rented a tow-dolly to bring her home with us.
I has still super relaxed because of the awesome time we had in Mississippi. The trip opened my eyes and mind to the way I perceived life and the way it really was. It showed me that at the pace I was living, worrying, stress, etc, I was not really enjoying the little things in life like I should be. The perception of the South is that life is slower and laid back, and it is that and more. Being in the South opened my eyes to way of life that I didn't realize I missed until I was immersed in it. Not to bash living in the north because it is wonderful in its own way.
People were respectful of each other and they were friendly. I met so many of my brothers friends and neighbors and everyone of them treated me as if they had know me for years, not just a few minutes. When we were hanging out at Erik's house there was this great energy all around us. I wish I could have bottled it. Don't get me wrong they work their asses off when they have to, but life wasn't about all work and no play. It was a life of working hard deserves playing hard and you work to live not live to work. They soaked up every last drop of off time whether cooking and eating great food, watching a game, or simply sitting in the front yard listening to stories or listening to nature. Whatever they did they did it so that they and their families could relax and enjoy life. This was something that I needed to rediscover so desperately and it happened at the most perfect moment when I needed it most. It was like recharging my batteries and boy did they need recharging.
Another wonderful lesson that I needed to relearn is one that I observed in my brothers amazing fiancé Ashley. When we met I instantly loved her to death and admired her confidence and attitude. She told me she was who she was and didn't give a shit what anyone wanted her to be because take or leave she was herself and that wasn't going to change. To me this is a foreign concept. I try to be so many things for so many people. I dress like I think I should for work and other things, even though I am miserable and super self conscious. Now, Ash is no slob and she has effortless beauty, but above all she is comfortable in her skin. I was envious. I decided then and there I was going to learn or rather relearn how I thought of myself. Once these thoughts began to process, I was feeling the weight of all this self consciousness lift. I was regaining Me back.
So I send a great big thanks to Erik and Ash for everything and more.
Back to the drive home…
We took our time driving home because we planned to stop for the night in Kentucky so we could sleep and drive home the next day. We stopped in every state, both because we drank too much and needed breaks and because I was determined to get a shot glass from every state on the way home. Plus, I had to replace the Bama one I got because I gave it to Ash because she is a HUGE Alabama fan. I got some great ones from all over. My collection tripled in size on this trip. (pictures to follow)
I felt great up until we stopped for the night in Ky. That is when I started stressing out. I got sick to my stomach, couldn't sleep and was extremely anxious. I tried to hide it and said it was because of the driving. John was worried that I would lose my happiness I gained on the vacation, I was worried I was walking into a huge trap when I returned to work. Don't ask me how or why, but my intuition told me this was the calm before the storm.
The next day we continue on our journey. I slept a lot to make up for the non-sleeping in the hotel. The further we got into Ohio the more dread I felt. Mind you I loved my job, just not the abuse I was receiving. My last week there was a huge push to drive me over the edge and every time I thought of quitting, I reminded myself of the vacation coming up and how I'd feel better when I got back. I was just overstressed and needed the time off to refresh my spirit. But I began to feel like I had never left. I tried to sleep between the very boring parts of the drive (between Cincinnati & Columbus) but I kept having nightmares of returning to work. Because we stayed longer then expected we would have no recovery time when we got home. We got in around 4:30 Sunday night.
We unloaded and I felt so anxious that I decided to take a trip to Wal*Mart. I walked around trying to shake this feeling of dread. Usually shopping (even if I don't buy anything) had a calming effect on me, but not today. I picked up a couple of things and checked out. I ran into Aunt Daisy and Uncle John while there which was cool. I headed home.
When I got back I tried to busy myself by unpacking and getting everything ready for the next day at work. I tried to go to bed early but despite all my sleeping and anxiety meds (most of which I had to start taking due to my work environment) I tossed and turned all night. When I finally would doze off I would have nightmares. I gave up trying to sleep at 5. I knew I needed to get up soon anyway.
I got ready for work and drove in. I parked in my usual spot and headed in for my morning routine-pick up paper, unlock door, start computer, turn off answering service, start coffee. But something was amiss. The paper was not there, the door unlocked, the phones on, the coffee started. Hmm. That was odd. No biggie, maybe they were giving me time to catch up on my emails and get settled in, after all I was gone for 12 days (on a vacation that was approved in March). Boy was I in for a surprise…