Good Intentions

I had meant to blog everyday while I was on my trip to the Grand Canyon. Even while I was “off the grid” for four days I had meant to write and then just post it once I had access to the internet. Oh my gosh, I was exhausted every night. I was crawling into bed every night no later than 9:30pm and going straight to sleep. That is unusual for me. Not just the 9:30, but the going straight to sleep. Usually I like to play on my Kindle (Mah Jongg or Solitaire…) but my Kindle was pretty much left alone most of the week. So, I did not write. I had a blast. I made a great friend. We are already talking about our next trip. It may be another two years before we go, but I think we will go.

When I left, I was so anxious about going by myself. Was I going to have a roommate? Would I make any friends? Would I be left all by myself? I did not have a roommate. That was nice to be able to relax on my own and not worry about somebody that I did not know. I made friends. I think Carolyn will be a “life-long” friend. I already miss her. It was hard coming home and not talking with her and laughing (and we laughed so hard) but she lives on the East Coast. I’m back here in reality, worrying about some friendships that I thought I have built, grieving for some that I have lost. I did a lot of soul searching while I was away and have realized that I am stronger than I have given myself credit for.

Day One: I flew into Phoenix and took a shuttle straight to the Hilton. I was early, so was put on a waiting list for a room. I wasn’t hungry, so had a bowl of fruit in the dining room and then sat in the lobby. The longer I sat, the grumpier I got. I was ready for a nap. I was about 5th on the list, so I waited. Impatiently. A couple came over and started talking to me and they were also on the same trip as I was. I was so happy to meet somebody finally. While I was talking to them, my name was called for a room. Yea! I got upstairs and got to rest for awhile. At 4:30 we had registration. That is when we got to check everybody out. We met our leader, Mike (hysterical!) and we had to get in front of everybody and introduce ourselves. There was a girl sitting across the aisle from me who was travelling alone who worked with cats and I swore I was going to talk with her. I ended up not talking with her until about halfway through the trip. We had a very early morning the next day, so went to bed early on the 16th. Did not sleep well that night. I was off with the 2 hour time change, the being nervous, etc.

Day Two: We loaded up the bus after a good buffet breakfast and left the hotel by 8am. During breakfast a lady came up to me and said she was travelling alone also, maybe we could eat together? That was Carolyn and we became partners in crime for the rest of the trip. On the road to Sedona we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle and Red Rock State Park. Places I have heard about from my parents and on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS, my siblings travels. I could not believe that I was actually seeing them for myself. The Red Rocks were beautiful. Sedona was beautiful. We did not stay in “downtown” Sedona, so were not near the great little shops, unfortunately. The group ate at a little Mexican restaurant named Maria’s and both Carolyn and I had huge frozen Margaritas. Oh my. We got very silly, giggly, and ended up walking up to the nearby convenience store to get snacks, giggling all the way. And all the way back. By the time we got back, I had discovered that she had been given the handicapped room on the first floor (and had been given the same at the Hilton Phoenix Airport hotel) so she did not get a bathtub and evidently she likes to take baths. This became a standing joke the whole week (though she ended up with a bathtub once we got to the South Rim lodge in the Grand Canyon.) Then the hotel desk clerk thought she got her trail mix (or whatever she got at the convenience store) there and I had to tell him that, no, she had purchased it at the convenience store. I was waiting for the elevator by this point and Carolyn had walked to her room. The clerk had walked over to me all concerned, “Where did she get those?” Seriously? Do we look like we would steal trail mix from their $2 stash? I had bought some Milano cookies (yum!) Off to bed (again, early–tired–we had mentioned going into the hot tub…but we were exhausted.)

Day Three: Up early again for breakfast (hot continental) and then on the bus by 8am. This trip I sat with Carolyn, so everyone on the bus was doomed. We didn’t need Margaritas to put us into giggling fits anymore. We stopped in Flagstaff at Arizona State University for a brief rest period (and Starbucks on campus was open, so we got tea/coffee/etc.) Enough where we would need another bathroom break at some point! There was a bathroom on the bus, but we got a lot of rest stops. They (Mike and our wonderful bus driver, Dave) were very generous! So back on board and got a tour of Flagstaff (would be back on our last day in Arizona) before heading on to the Grand Canyon.

This is where I am going to stop for right now. Have to leave you in some suspense, right? Right…


Two hours behind, not one…

Well, I arrived in Phoenix thinking that my flight was very late. Not that I had any place to be in a hurry or anything. But I really thought we were late. We had a late start but I could not figure out why we still lost so much time. I asked the girl sitting next to me on the plane if we were late and she said no, but then she said that Phoenix was only one hour behind Austin. I was confused. But she was from Spain. If I didn’t know, why would she? Finally the guy sitting next to her (she was in the middle seat) told us that Phoenix was two hours behind Austin, not one. Oh. Duh. Okay, so we weren’t late. Maybe 10 minutes or so.

So I end up in the Phoenix airport. I get my luggage, which was very easy after finding the baggage claim. I find the restroom. Phew. I call the shuttle service to take me to the hotel. They tell me to go to Door One on the North Side, cross the street, then stand between Doors One and Three. What? I made her repeat it again, then I repeated it back to her, hung up then kept saying it over and over so I would not forget it. Evidently I didn’t as I seem to still remember. I got the shuttle. Got to the hotel. Had to wait for a room and started to become very grumpy because I was becoming really tired. But finally I got a room and got to take a nap before our program began.

Everyone is so friendly and I really think the whole week is going to be fun. I have my own room, which is really nice. I was a little nervous about that.

Tomorrow is an early day–breakfast at 6am and then we are off at 8am for Sedona (and the cliff dwellings). Can’t wait. Time for sleep. Excited for tomorrow!

Watch Out, Arizona…Here I Come!

I am just about all packed and ready to go. My apartment is cleaned. Normally, I would have waited until the last day to get everything done. I have been pretty organized and can now relax with only a couple of things left to do. Tomorrow morning I leave for a week in the Grand Canyon. Courtesy of a Caregiver Grant given by A much-needed vacation.

I went to the nursing home this morning to see my dad. I won’t be seeing him until I return. I will worry about him and about my mom while I am away. I know my sisters are going to keep in touch in my mom, but they are not close by. I just have to think positive. Things will be fine.

I am nervous and excited. I won’t know anybody when I get there. I worry that nobody will like me, of course. I know that this trip will only be as much fun as I make it. I have to get past my shyness and anxiety. Everything will be fine. Positive thinking again! 🙂

I have always wanted to see the Grand Canyon. Finally! I can’t believe it. Is it really as beautiful as the pictures I have seen? We will see!

More to come…stay tuned!

Ants in My Pants Cured!

Six more days until I am off to the Grand Canyon. I am so nervous about travelling by myself and joining this tour group. Will people like me? Will I have a roommate? Will she like me? Will I snore? ha ha  Will I hold up the entire security line at the airport trying to open up my laptop (yep, I am taking it…) and taking off my shoes? I can’t go through the “regular” security thing because of my hip replacement and my neck fusion. Sigh. If it is not one thing, it is another. I just found out that the cabins we are staying in the North Rim hold 3 people, so if I don’t have a roommate, am I going to be thrown into a room with two other people who already know each other? Surely not. Yep, I have a little bit of social anxiety.

Yesterday I could not sit still. I would sit down, then get back up and try to get something done. I was restless. Well, I went to Pain Management this morning and had my injections, so I am pretty numb from my waist down. So no more ants in my pants. At least for now. I hate to miss my Al-Anon meeting tonight; maybe somebody can pick me up and drive me–if I have any feeling by then. I am already missing it next week, so I would love to go this week. I had to have my injections before my trip and before I did a lot of walking. Unfortunately, the injections don’t last as long as they used to anymore. I did schedule another radiofrequency ablation for when I return.

Six more days. Six more days. I remember when I filled out the application for the Caregiver Grant I had to wait six months! And here it is.

Time Off In Sight

Twelve days to go and I will be off to the Grand Canyon. Courtesy of One week exploring the North and South Rims, meals included. I had to pay a $100 deposit (my older brother offered that!) and my younger sister paid my airfare to Phoenix from Austin with her airline points. Do I have a great family or what? They all live on the East Coast. I live here with our parents in Round Rock, TX (home of Dell Computers and the Round Rock Express–AAA team of the Texas Rangers.) Our local paper, the Round Rock Leader did a whole front page article on me and the grant that I was awarded for this trip. Round Rock Leader Article

I am so excited for this trip. I am so tired. I love my parents. But sometimes I want to just have my own life, like my brothers and sisters have. They do not understand the tiredness that I feel. My life is not my own. I could not even date if I wanted to at this point. I cannot do any social (Meetup) events anymore. It is just not possible.

But I love my parents. I choose to help them. And I am going to have a wonderful one week off in the Grand Canyon! The spirit of my best friend will be with me. Her death has created a huge void in my life. I miss her everyday and talk to her all of the time. I know she is with me but…I want her here. I know she is in a better place: out of pain. I just miss her.

Well, twelve days….can’t wait…nervous…excited…etc.