So I didn't buy into (much) of the commercialism of Valentine's Day. I got Sam three cards that were silly. One was “from” the cats. He got me three cards, too, and that was it.
I saw something on the local news the week before about a place in Massachusetts where you could enjoy a nice day trip. I checked the map. It was only a two hour drive. Not bad.
They had a special dinner there over this past weekend, but Cara was sick so we had to miss it. I thought if we went on the actual day, Monday, we'd be around fewer people and have a quieter day. I didn't tell Sam about my plans. Oh God, it was another surprise! Haven't I learned from the past? Where is that Time Machine where the me of the future could have stopped the me of the present?! I figured it wasn't a big deal to take PART of a day off, then race back home in time to feed the cats.
To fully appreciate how desperate we are to get away from home. Last year, Sam and I went on ONE (business) trip to Ohio. We drove. It was 10+hours EACH way. If you subtracted the driving time and the business time, we had a vacation of about 12 hours.
The only other time either of us went anywhere was my trip for 36 hrs to visit my friends in PA and attend the Renaissance Festival.
THAT WAS IT. I did NOT go on a VACATION. I have not gone on a vacation for at least three years and even then it was a botched trip to the west, which ended in me spending $3,000.00 to get my car fixed and being broken down in Des Moines, IA for a week. Before that my last real vacation was...I can't remember. Probably a weekend away to Maine or Rhode Island.
Since finances are “that bad,” an overnight trip is not possible-also because of all the cats. We just can't go away.
I told Sam I had a plan for a partial day off. He liked the idea even if he didn't know where we were going. What trust! After I almost killed him so many years ago, he trusted me to plan something nice to do.
The problem was getting OUT of the house.
We were running late. I wanted to be on the road by 9am and it was already 10am. I wasn't angry. I decided to be mellow and just enjoy whatever happened. We put on our winter coats and hats. We loaded up our maps, a camera, Sam's beloved COFFEE. I was a few steps ahead of Sam, my hand about to touch the doorknob, which was connected to the front door, which was connected to FREEDOM, when I heard “OUCH!!!!!! SONOFABITCH!!!”
I dropped everything, turned around and saw Sam holding his foot. He had stepped on something and it had impaled him. He was not happy, to say the least, as he hopped on one foot over to the stairs to sit down. He was yelling about how whatever it was, went through TWO pairs of socks (I don't have the heat on very high, so Sam always bundles up).
I figured it was a tiny splinter, not a big deal. Sam took off one sock, then the other. I could see something in his foot. He tried to pick it out and cried in pain. I offered to get a tweezers and he nodded yes. I lumbered up the stairs around him, still wearing my winter coat, which made getting around very awkward.
I brought him the tweezers and also ended up kicking him in the back, since I was on the stair above him and to get around and down to hand him the tweezers, my foot hit his shoulder. He ignored the kick, took the tweezers and gave a pull. He cried out again and yelled at me to get the hemostat. The tweezers weren't strong enough!
Firstly, I know those are my best tweezers and they can pluck a rouge chin hair in style. Second, what is a hemostat? So I asked. Sam tersely replied; “you know, a “roach clip!”
I realized what he was talking about, as I ran back up the stairs. He had quite a few of those things in the bathroom. Then, as if i had woken a sleeping bear from hibernation, it dawned on me. After living together for so many years, how did I NOT realize what this was? Then I started to worry! Is my boyfriend a Pothead?
So I lumbered back down stairs and kicked Sam, again, in the back. (it was an accident, I swear!!).
I looked over his shoulder. He had a good grip on the splinter. I asked him if he wanted me to pull it out for him and he said, no. He took a deep breath and dramatically pulled hard. I thought he was overdoing it. Then I saw what came out of his foot. My stomach lurched and I nearly fainted!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The Splinter.
It was a HUGE sliver of wood. Later, Sam was able to determine that it was a piece of the oak FLOOR. Somehow his sock caught the piece, lifted it straight up, then when he put his foot down, WHAM!, right into his foot it went.
I made another trip up and down the stairs to get peroxide and some gauze and yes, another back kick! It was where he was sitting on the steps! Ugh.
I asked him if he could just come upstairs and sit on the bed and I'd bandage him up.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Sam holding the “hemostat”...ha ha ha...I mean splinter.
I am my Mother's daughter. After I got the bandage on, I had to take a photo. That piece of wood was enormous and it went well into Sam. Once the worst was over, I said to him; “Hey, we almost made it out the door. Do you want to just go to the movies today?”
He said he wanted to go on the trip. Even though he didn't know where we were going. I told him I was glad it happened to him because I would have been in a really bad mood and ruined the day if it happened to me. Sam had to agree, being a victim to my stormy mood swings. We both laughed and I told him we'd take it easy and could turn back early if needed.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. I have a new buddy on my sleeve.
We went to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. Which appeared to be an old Nursery that must have been converted into a place where butterflies fly around and creep you out because they fly in your face and there are signs everywhere saying not to touch them. Does that include not swatting them if they come after you?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. A butterfly, right?
It was about 100 degrees in the place, too. Finally, Sam was warm. I knew he would enjoy thawing out, the poor guy. The place is small and not very fancy, but with so many butterflies, you really don't pay attention to that. There were a handful of people walking around, all with a camera in hand and not enough kids to ruin the mood by screaming or otherwise being kidlike.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh look! Another one!
As we walked the grounds, careful not to squash anything, we enjoyed the dazzling colors of the butterflies. A few landed on us from time to time. The misery of the earlier part of the day wore away. We finally had some peace. No cats. No worries. No splinters. It was really quite pleasant.
Sam needed to rest his foot, so he sat on a bench while I took a few photos now that my camera had stopped fogging up from them temperature change. I noticed a butterfly on the floor, near Sam's bench. It was very still. Upon closer inspection, I noticed it's wings were tattered. Then, I realized it was dead. I really didn't want to see a dead butterfly, but I know they don't live that long. I wished the butterfly well and said “rest in peace” to it. Being mindful that we're not supposed to touch the butterflies, I left it where it lay.
A moment later I was standing near a flowery shrub, about to take a photo. A large blue butterfly, seemed to drop into the bush right in front of me. I could swear I heard a thud. I took a photo of it, but as I put my camera down, I realized what I had just witnessed. This butterfly, too, had just died.
This is when I knew it was TIME TO GO. ENOUGH FUN FOR ONE DAY. I was sweaty and my stomach was grumbling. I knew I was going to swat at a butterfly if one more buzzed too close to my face. Sam's foot hurt.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Somehow there is just ONE butterfly in this panoramic photo, but there were clouds of them flying around in other areas.
We left without further incident, other than me catching a couple with a new baby start to have a fight over the husband not listening to the wife about how to use the camera (yes, the Valetine's Day glow was everywhere). We found a cute mom & pop place to have lunch. It was nothing fancy, but the food was very good. We were the only ones dining, so it was like our own private dining room. The sun was out and the temps went over 50°F for the first time in many weeks.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Another lovely butterfly.
Sadly, as soon as we got there, it seemed it was time to head back. We'd only really had a few hours away from home. With the traffic waiting for us, we needed to get going.
It wasn't a romantic day, but aside from the blood spilled and the dead butterflies, I guess it was a nice day. It gave us a tiny glimmer of life outside our little home, but made us long for more, a longer trip, a longer break. Something that does not include pain, misery or death!
When one of my friends heard about what happened, she asked me; “Can't you guys ever catch a break?”
The answer is simple: NO!