Sunday, August 26, 2012


Well my vacation went up with the spitting remains of Isaac which caused my flight into Ft Lauderdale to be canceled yesterday, even though it seems the storm is gunning for Tampa and the RNC. Now this vacation was going to be 5 days in Florida when it's hotter than hell, my Mom was asking ahead of time about DVDs to rent for the kids so we could keep cool during the middle of the day. It was going to be me and my children in my Mom's two bedroom condo a block away from the beach and even if the median age in Lauderdale by the Sea is well, up there, it was going to be a break for me. From my fucking back pain that caused me to bloat 6 pounds of steroid water weight, and the pain pills and other stuff (read benzodiazapines) that make me feel entirely unmotivated for anything other than crying. And crying is a lot of what I've done the past two days. That six months of working to earn my 29.7 hours of vacation time - poof! and it's gone while I schlep around my house and try to find something useful to do. And my 30.1 hours of sick time for my back - poof! that's gone too. My back is still sore but it is worlds better than before, like I might be able to consider rehab next week. But this weepy, pill haze, maybe it's protective, to keep me from screaming.

I have not had a vacation since 1997. How do I know? I arrived home early from a writing trip to Italy, it was beautiful in Spoleto but I had night fevers that wouldn't go away, with weird rashes that would cover my body at night but disappear by morning. And then I started limping. Fortunately one of the poets on the trip was also an ER doctor who told me I needed to get back home right away. So I switched my flight around to leave early, no chance to visit Rome or Venice, awkwardly slinging my backpack across me because by now the ache in my hip had traveled to my shoulder. I had Lyme disease. Something else too, on top of the Lyme, those tics are promiscuous. And that was my last vacation. What I remember most vividly one late night out, once my Doxycycline had kicked in, and I was taking a taxi home (what a splurge for me) and the cabbie said that Princess Di was dead. This was big news to me because that Monday I started work at a new photo archive and we were inundated with requests for any and all images of the peoples princess. From a vacation cut short by illness to a new job where I was up and running before I finished taking all my Doxycycline. And I haven't had a true vacation since.

Sure I've been to Iowa for a friend's wedding and I went to Kennet Square, PA for my fortieth birthday.  But that birthday celebration wound up making me feel bad; three friends and their spouses came and I learned from one of them that there was basically no way she was going to make the trip out to Pittsburgh for my fortieth being that it's in the middle of the Christmas season. It made me feel really shitty and I hated to feel not worth it due to where my birthday falls on the lunar calendar. I separated from my husband a few months later, and it's hard not to look back on times like that and wonder what I didn't see clearly or what I could have handled differently. In my heart I don't think anything could have been changed but it's hard to see so much anguish for naught.

I broke down when my Mom told me it didn't look good for us coming on Sunday, the gale force winds (60 mph) and that she already had all her patio furniture inside and did we really want to fly in weather like that. Well, hell no. But I want someone to take care of me. Just for a little bit. Occasionally. Like when I'm blitzed on steroids, vicodin and all the pain pills I'd like someone to do my laundry or just offer to carry the basket to the goddamn basement. For now, I'll settle on it being my Mom on annual trips to Florida if that's all I can muster.

There's so much I want to see Maine again, and Iceland, England, Scotland, France, Spain, more of Italy, and India too. So many places, too many to list, but I don't want to do it all alone. Or, if I have to do it all alone, I don't want to be at a point where I'm fucking worrying about eating into my vacation hours that don't amount to all that much in terms of my hourly rate. It can be very demoralizing.

But I can't end on a downer even if that's all I feel right now. So let me include this quote from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which I never saw but I love the quote and got it from my favorite feed that sybaritic need site


Andy Parker said...

What an awful series of days. I'm blurring everything since your triumph of the triathlon. The storm and everything surrounding it, just sucks.

I really like the way you refused to end on a down note, even if it's all you feel. That's you refusing to be defeated. You, showing a bit of that strength that the button quote speaks of. It's Kim, with hope.

Amelia Plum said...

andy please, the only reason i end on an up note is that i'm compelled to present well. given how long i've gone without a break, my middle-aged, single mother status whilst living on a nurse's salary in pittsburgh (which is pitiful from a financial standpoint by the way) i think my future is pretty clear.

sew nancy said...

It saddens me to read this. I remember meeting you right at this time and my god that was a whole other lifetime ago.