Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chronicles of A Left Turn at Albuquerque, continued

With two short pit stops for fuel, decaf, and restroom, I got to the edge of San Antonio, found the exit Mapquest said to take, and found another way Texas is different than Louisiana. Sometimes, when you get off the interstate, what we would consider the exit lane, which is always a one way, is actually already the frontage road and is two way. I turned the way the directions said, and promptly got lost again.

I turned around and tried again. This time I got on a bit further, but still couldn't figure out the loop system. We just plain do not have loops, so this eluded me. I pulled into the parking lot of a small local coffee shop, and headed inside, forgetting as usual to grab my reusable travel mug. (Yes, I'm one of those annoying recycle everything you can and carry your own coffee cup and shopping bags with you wherever you go people. I also have to go back to the car for one or the other much of the time, having lost all the working brain cells after years of doing nothing but mommy-speak. If I ever had any, that is.)

I told the nice young man that I would want a cup of decaf as soon as I could go back out for my cup, but that first I was lost and second I needed to use the restroom again (smallest bladder in the west, I guess). When I emerged from the facilities and showed him my instructions, he told me, just like the manager at the WhatABurger, that I was not lost. In fact, he lived on one of the streets I would be turning onto, and to just get back out on this road, get up on that loop right over there -- he pointed it out through the front window, and on his handheld-does-everything-but-give-give-you-nine-cents-change-and-they-are-working-on-that-too phone/calendar/internet device that had maps and GPS -- drive past the mall, the exit is not far from that.

I went back out for my cup, came in and paid for some decaf and left almost as much in a tip as the coffee cost, because he was such a nice young man and I had needed the reassurance he gave me, and got back on the loop as per his instructions. I stayed put on the thing until the proper exit, followed the turn right here, turn left there instructions, and arrived at a very lovely house in a nice subdivision. A moment of truth.

So, just how does a person like me find herself at the home of a stranger, hundreds of miles from home, with the intent of going still further away to meet more people? It all begins with one of the most unique websites I know, which I am blessed to know about. And that website brings together people over one thing -- housekeeping.

A word to anyone who finds this most boring of blogs and/or actually reads it more than once. The website I'm discussing brings us together over the topic of housekeeping. Yes, that is correct. Some of us are better at it than others, but all of us have, what I shall politely term, difficulties. Some of us have severe difficulties. Some of us are just a bit overwhelmed, others have chronic health conditions or mental distresses that make it hard to keep up.

I don't wish to give out too much detail, but while my kitchen is clean and my bathrooms quite usable, parts of my house look like slob city. Others on our site live in nice homes where the mess is contained off into attics, basements, and closets. Some of us use the kitchen infrequently because it is partly unusable, some have paths through their homes. All are welcome, all are supported in a loving environment where they are encouraged, cheered in every effort to get better. No one is allowed, as on so many places on the web, to be mean, hateful, use foul language, be unsupportive, etc. All of us on the site have suffered much anguish at the hands of others over our problems, so on the website, only support and encouragement and positive suggestions are allowed.

So, I walked up to the door to meet Grace (not her real name, I will try to be careful not to use any real names). She was beautiful. We hugged, she allowed me to come in -- well, I'm only 5 feet tall and weigh under a hundred pounds, and with the gray hair and short stature I look pretty non-threatening, I guess -- and her home is lovely, and she is a gracious person.

From the front door you step into a very pretty sitting room which flows into a dining area and has the kitchen beyond it, separated by a kid gate to keep the dogs from flinging themselves at the door at every ring of the bell. Well, to keep Lola, the puppy, from doing that. Cosmo is shyer and must have had a harder life, he was adopted from a shelter as an adult, and is reserved and has some fears. Lola would have made a good show girl, first thing the not even fully grown but already well into medium/large mix breed wanted to do was show me her toys. I didn't learn all of this right away, but it didn't take long.

I went back out and got the insulated bag with its freezer pack and cold contents, and Grace very kindly allowed me to jam things into her fridge and freezer. Her husband, whose good looks matched hers, greeted me also and helped me carry things in. Their son took my bag up to the guest room/office where I would be staying. Looking back, I should have offered to let them search my bags, just for additional reassurance that I may be generally nuts but I'm not a violent clinical case, but I didn't think of it at that moment. When we sat to talk and visit for a few minutes, in the upstairs sitting room where they watch tv. I did think to show her my driver's licence, and tell her about my first name, and how it is spelled different because my mother wanted to curse me with having to explain it to everyone.

Grace's home was so pretty, with her bookshelves that she said she had finally purged so they no longer overflowed, that I figured most of her difficulties must have been in the past. I was correct, and we did talk, then and later, on the long drive, about what had brought us together, but the next order of business was that she told me Bonnie, the third person who was supposed originally to join us, couldn't make it due to having to suddenly watch her grandchildren. Then, we went to the kitchen so she could warm up her dinner and I could get something from what I had brought along.

Today is:

Blessing of the Fishing Fleet

Buttering-Up Final -- Fairy Calendar

Carrying in the Pudding, London

Full Harvest Moon

Independence Day, Lesotho

Intergeneration Day

National Golf Day

National Taco Day

See the Light Day

St. Francis of Assisi's Day (patron of animals, ecology, Italy, merchants, needle workers, tapestry makers; against fire)

St. Petronius' Day

10-4 Day (C.B. 'ers) -- fourth day of the tenth month, ten-four, good

buddy, etc.

Vodka Day

Widcombe Fair, UK

Woodland Indian Culture Day

World Communion Day

Birthdays Today:

Susan Sarandon, 1946
Anne Rice, 1941
Jackie Collins, 1937
Alvin Toffler, 1928
Charlton Heston, 1924
Buster Keaton, 1895
Damon Runyon, 1884
Rutherford B. Hayes, 1822

Today in History:

One of the largest naval battles in history, the Battle of Lake Poyang, ends when the Chinese rebel forces of Zhu Yuanzhang defeat Chen Youliang, 1363
The first full English translation of the Bible, sometimes called the Matthew Bible, which contained the work of translators William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, is printed in Switzerland, 1537
Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts drafts its first code of law, 1636
Peter Stuyvesant establishes America's first volunteer fire department, 1648
Christian Huygens patents the pocket watch, 1675
The state of Belgium is created after separation from the Netherlands, 1830
The New Orleans Tribune becomes the first black daily newspaper, 1864
The Orient Express, linking Turkey to Europe by rail, makes its first run, 1883
London's Earl's Court Metro Station opens the first public elevator, 1910

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