Friday, April 18, 2008

VACA- How little it takes

Although you'd never know it based on my job at church, I am an introvert. I used to think otherwise, for much of my life has been spent in front of crowds teaching workshops, or training other teachers, or in a classroom with a gaggle of children. I've done my fair share of speaking to City Council and have had many occasions to hold community events and dinners at home or in our back yard. For reasons I now understand, those times were just times when I was 'on'. In truth, I count on solitude to calm my spirit and to recharge my soul. We all need to find our individual balance between chaos and calm. I love to write and sew and read; crochet or knitting soothes and relaxes me; gardening heals. Cooking can be meditative. My comfort zone is tiny as well. I live in a circumference that I can walk to - work, the Y, church, grocery. It works for me. I don't travel much.

I love my job at work church because it gives me the best of both aforementioned siblings, Chaos and Calm. In the course of a day at work, I see many many people, but usually in drips and drabs. On busy days, a steady stream of people stop by the office or phone or email, and I enjoy that contact, but at the end of the day, I am ready for some quiet. I think that is one reason I like Yoga so much. Sometimes, when I'm in Yoga, I can hardly believe I used to teach disco dancing- the two are so completely at odds with each other.

My oldest daughter had a big occasion this week- her first conference event that she had planned and organized. She offered me an opp to go with her on a 'pretend' vaca. It was one overnight, and located close to two other daughters' schools so I agreed, then said, "Well, I dunno" then, " Sure, I'm going" then, " Well, maybe not". She was kind and patient, and I finally decided a change of scene was in order so I drove us up to Winston-Salem. She is good travel company. She told me she had planned a pedicure for me while she set up for the event so I'd feel more vacationy. It was a very nice treat.

We arrived without any unwelcomed travel hitches, and she headed into the conference area to set up shop.I left the hotel with directions in hand, and a few minutes later, I was parked and had my shoes off . I enjoyed the treatment. Mostly, I appreciated her letting me know ahead of time and the fact that she was so thoughtful as to treat me to such a luxury without coming along for the entertainment. I tend to sink into the massage chair and have been told I look somewhat like a cat or dog leaning and twisting into the bark of a good scratchy tree limb trying to "get" the tree to scratch just the right spot. In addition, my feet are extremely wary of strangers, and they tend to jerk and squirm in the hands of the pedicure artists. Twice a year, sometimes 3 times, I'll go through the torturous, in a good way, pedicure. I can't take it any more often than that.

We had a surprise dinner with my Wake Forest near graduate daughter, and were in bed in our nighties by 7. Yes, 7. I crocheted a hat for our newest youth director and his preggers wife, and lights were out at ten. I was up at 3 as per my usual wake up call, and emailed a bit - my daughter's anxiety kept her up so we visited in the dark for a few moments and back to sleep fell we.

She was up and out by 7; I took my time getting ready, then drove to Greensboro to see yet another daughter who is majoring in recreational therapy. We shopped, and had lunch and yarn shopped, I got a friend some needle sticker things, and used a coupon my daughter gave me to have my car washed. " since you can't do this in Raleigh, Mom", and then we just piddled around. I saw the "wall" and Outdoor Adventures where she works.

That afternoon, I drove back to Winston-Salem in time to watch my oldest succumb to a nasty stomach virus. I ended up sitting at the conference table handing out nursing certificates and packing up when it was all done while she spent time in the restroom- not resting. We drove home with the top down, hoping the fresh, albeit frenetic, blasts of air might keep her nausea at bay. It's hard to puke when you're in a convertible going 70 mph.

I dropped her off, helped her into her cozy apt, and I made it home in time for yoga. It was a good trip. Short and sweet and with most of my girls. I missed work, though. Yes, I did. No, really, I did.

While gone, on this extended trip, I called a buddy at work and reported in a few times, and emailed in between. I missed my work friends so much that I brought back special treats. A shoe shiner for one who loves shoes, a miniature bottle of lotion for one who appreciates those finer things, a makeup remover cloth, and a couple of cards- one said "Help" and the other had room for notes. I had looked high and low for these types of items while shopping in Greensboro, but alas, it was in the hotel room alone that the particular quality and perfect designs were found. Isn't that just the way? You look all over creation for just the perfect Do not disturb sign and there it sits hanging on your hotel door the whole time? I had fun giving them out when I returned today and I could tell they all appreciated tremendously, the thought that went into each and every specialized gift. I love my workmates.

My boss couldn't seem to find his special gift, and as I got up to go pull it out of his mail cubby i said, " Yes, you've been to Italy, and brought me a lovely mixture of beans for soup, but THIS present can't be found just anywhere." When he saw the trifold pamphlet titled, "NOTES" I could tell he was touched. That's just the kind of guy he is.

This morning when I came in, one of our building maintenance crew said she had missed my quirkiness. I guess she called it. Her gift was a day old flattened chocolate croissant, that had actually been the victim of passenger sittage. The delicacy was warm when I bought it, the day before. She seemed to feel special when I handed her the squashed paper bag. She knew my heart was full of good intentions. That's when she made the quirkiness comment. I can think of worse characteristics. I'll take quirky anyday. Doesn't hurt anyone, and isn't mean spirited. Sounds pretty good to me.

My next door office neighbor left me the sweetest note of what she did when I was gone.
"Missed you, made coffee, ate nuts, had gum, ( out of my desktop sustenance containers on my desk) missed you some more. " It was nice to come home to. You'd have thought I had been away a week.

The organist ( we are partners in desktop snackness choices) moaned that it was no fun sneaking the goodies if I wasn' t there to notice. He is an artist in so many ways, delivering moan-y missed-you comments being one. It was dramatic, loving, and delicious- made me feel glad to be back.

I think it says something special and good when you can be away a couple of days, and feel like you've been to Jupiter and back. I am grateful to have been missed.

Something awry happened, though. While I was gone, it snowed. It snowed paperwork on my desktop. A blizzard of work sat on my desk, sprawled and restless, listening to the mystery radio station, awaiting my return. How did that happen? Gnome and Watchbear( nicknamed Sparky) must have skipped out when I did because they are supposed to keep away extra work that tries to enter the office. Guess I'll have to talk to that duo next week.

1 comment:

Belle said...

I feel terrible - I totes emailed you whilst you were on vaca!!!! Never again - tho it sounds like you got in some fun and relaxation - a success!