We should have been out of Lewisville by now. But we’re not!
And that’s kind of a good thing.
Frank and I have been stranded. Granted, we’ve been stranded in a sort of paradise. What with the great weather, the beautiful lake view, the friends I’ve made here at the camp, AND the time spent with dear friends … some of whom I had not seen for almost 45 years … it’s certainly been like paradise. But we’re not “supposed” to be here!
I’ve been waiting for some paperwork to arrive. It concerns the Nutshell and it’s well overdue … for over a month and a half. There’s been one glitch after another, not really anyone’s fault per se. Just a series of miscues and screwups. I thought it was going to arrive back in Livingston three days ago. But that hasn’t happened.
Given the setting here at Lake Park Campground (and the benefit of an $8/night rate for seniors), I decided to stay until Sunday and then park near Livingston Sunday night … that way, we’ll be at Escapees when the paperwork arrives. It’ll be a quick stop at the County Tax Office to pick up tags and then we’ll be on our way to Colorado. Or not – if the paperwork arrives too late in the day to file at the Tax Office, we’ll be delayed another day.
So, the bad news:
- We’re behind “schedule” four days.
- We have to backtrack to Livingston, adding 4 hours, 500 miles and a tank of gas coming from a place we were just at two weeks ago.
- Our Pagosa Springs stay has to absorb the delay. That’ll be less time available to visit with Keith, an old NJ high school friend. Out of everything, this is my disappointment.
The good news … well that’s what the rest of this post is about.
First off, I handled the delay pretty well. Umm, I did okay. Alright … yesterday morning, my anxiety started to get the best of me while waiting for news. The paperwork had to go from Denver to Las Vegas for a signature before it could be sent to me. Are you ready? It was lost in transit between Denver and Vegas! It was supposed to in Vegas on Tuesday and here it was Friday morning and it wasn’t there yet! And don’t even get me going on the Post Office support. It was worthy of a Saturday Night Live skit.
So Friday morning I was very anxious. I posted something on Facebook about the anxiety, and the idea of having my first gin & tonic at 10 o’clock in the morning. It lead to the following exchange with my buddy in Houston:
Me: Yeah, I know. I don’t do well in helpless situations. Hits too close.
Mike: I meant chill the gin.
Mike’s second reply brought out a huge guffaw … loud enough to stir Frank from the sleeping bag. And deep enough to break up the anxiety. At that point, I wasn’t sure if the paperwork would make it to me by Monday. But then this thought: “So you have to stay an extra day. It is what it is.” And I was able to let it go. That’s pretty good, only a morning of anxiety over a four-day wait. The paperwork did arrive Friday afternoon, by the way. It’ll be in Livingston by noon on Monday and we’ll be back on our journey by 2 pm at the latest.
The second part of the good news to Chief Navigator’s benefit. Right after the exchange with Mike, Frank was chauffeured over to Railroad Park, home to five acres of fenced-in open field reserved especially for him and his canine pals. Frank didn’t play much – there were four pretty aggressive pit bulls running around, so he chose to spend about 45 minutes sitting on the bench next to me. They finally left and he was able to spend about 30 minutes galloping around with a border collie.
I think Frank’s had more fun here than at any of our other stops. We’ve had dog neighbors for a number of days and he’s had a blast making new friends. Dutch and Daisy are to our north – a 5 year old male and a 4 month old female. Both labs. Frank has taken to sparring with Daisy. Their leashes allow them about a half-body of overlap, so they get in just the right amount of play without either of them getting too feisty. Dutch just sits and watches … he is a very mellow dog.
Cowboy is to our south and arrived a couple days ago. he’s a 14 year old Chihuahua / Papillon mix (is that a “chillon” or a “paphuahua”?). He and Frank don’t really “play”. They spend all their time marking over the other one’s pee. Pretty funny to watch. He’s also had a couple of brief visits from Watson a basset-beagle mix that walks by with his owner every now and then. (That was his first encounter with a not-so-distant cousin.) Overall, he’s had more canine companionship than at any time since our dog park mornings in Charleston!
The third part of the good news is culinary in nature. I am now the proud owner of an old electric skillet, a gift from a fellow vagabond.
Art’s from Lake Worth. He’s about my age. His mother gave him her RV, the one she and her husband took only a few vacations in. It looks to be about 20 years old, but in pretty good shape. Then again, it was owned by a “little old lady who only took it camping after church on Sunday.”
He said that getting the RV was a sudden thing, and that he had made an equally-sudden decision to take some time off from “life”. He put his stuff in storage three months ago and hit the road, staying around home while waiting for the weather to get better. His was to head to California, which for some reason just …. I don’t know. First impression didn’t lend a “California” vibe.
Art wanted to see the Nutshell, of course. He said he’s been trying to downsize from his mother’s RV and hoped to get into something smaller (“but not THIS size,” he chuckled, looking at our setup).
I showed him the galley. Told my usual story about coffee before and after the Nutshell’s arrival and casually added, “the only other thing I’m going to pick up is an electric skillet. You know, for eggs in the morning. That would be nice. Then I’ll be set.”
He made a funny (odd) face – the “an idea has struck” face – and said, “Wait a minute … I’ll be right back.” And he was right back, carrying an old, ugly blue and white electric skillet. The kind I remembered my Aunt Pat having years and years ago.
“Do you want it? I’m telling, you … I’m trying to downsize. I need to get rid of a lot of stuff and remembered seeing this in a cupboard the other day. I know it works fine but I never use it, so if you want it, it’s yours. Do you want it?”
“You don’t need it?” I appreciated the offer, but it just seemed kind of funny to me. Here I just met this guy and he was offering to give me an electric skillet. “You have another one?”
“No. I’m okay without it. Like I said, I’ve not used it once,” he replied.
“Then, absolutely. But let me give you something for it, at least. How about $5? You can get you some gas.” Five dollars, I thought, was a generous garage sale price.
“No. You’re doing me a favor by helping me get rid of it. Merry Christmas. It’s yours!”
Actually, my birthday is next Saturday … and I told him that. Art laughed and changed his pronouncement to, “Happy Birthday”!
I was part dumbfounded and part giddy with glee. Over a freaking old skillet. I thought, “you’re happier over this thing than you were when you bought that $700 grill for the backyard in San Jose!” And I was! :o)
I told him, “You know, you’ve only been on the road for three months. Three months out for me? That’s about the time I started missing omelets. I want to make sure you’re not going hit August, want an omelet, and say, “Damn! Why’d I give that guy my electric skillet?”
Art laughed. “I’m a vegan. I don’t eat animal products.” California made sense now.
“God bless you,” was all I could think of saying. Partly for the skillet. Partly for that much more eggs and bacon that would be available for me!
We wished each other well, shook hands, and Art rode off on his electric powered skateboard with the handle bars. It had escaped my notice until that very moment. Yep, California made a helluva lot of sense.
So I will christen the skillet in the morning, before we pack up and head back to Livingston. And as an aside, I would’ve had to wait to do that if it weren’t for the Nutshell. We’ll be able to clean up from breakfast and have everything ready to travel in about 30 minutes. What a luxury that is!
There’s one more bit of possible good news, but I’ll wait to share that in the next post. Just want to make sure it happens first.
So that’s that. I don’t really believe in fate. I don’t believe we’re put on this earth for a specific purpose. (Danny’s mother does … when we visited last week, she told me, “You may not believe it, but God has a reason for you to still be here” We’ll see.) I think someone could be called upon to do something while they’re here, whether it’s an inner urging down a particular career path; being witness to a burning bush; or hearing a voice inside your head that says, “Chuck all this. Go live in a tent.” But I don’t believe we’re here because we’re supposed to pull some woman out of traffic at 4:12pm on October 17, 2019. Or that I was fated to stay an extra few days so I could meet Art and pick up an elecric skillet! That it was meant to be.
What do I believe in? I believe in serendipity. Little things happen out of circumstance. By chance. But you have to facilitate that. Good serendipity only happens in the right circumstance! If I was feeling angry and pissed about having to delay our journey, I might not have been as open to greet Art and strike up a conversation.
I believe in karma. Well, maybe I want to believe in karma. You sure as hell don’t always get justice in this lifetime. I hope there’s a next lifetime where things even out, as promised.
I’m getting to the point where I believe “letting go” is the best relief for anxiety. I’ve known it at a head level for quite some time, but knowing it and believing it – putting it into practice – are two different things. “Believing it” is becoming a reality.
Good things happen to good people. Bad things happen to good people. It doesn’t mean you’re bad. Or damaged. Or undeserving. Shit happens. It’s not about you. Let it go.
“It is what it is,” is my new mantra. I’ve been saying it a while, but it finally means something. If “it is what it is,” then there’s nothing you can do about it. Let it go.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Let it go.
There’s an element of peace in that.
Let it go.