The laundry is all done, the fridge is almost empty, the minor details of life are all on auto-pay and I’m ready for our little mini vacation. Steven has been literally begging me for months to go on a vacation to the mountains. I’ve tried to talk him out of it a hundred times. He wanted to go to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for some unknown reason. I could give a rat’s ass about most of Tennessee. I used to work regularly at a few comedy clubs in Tennessee back in the day and I have bad memories of drunk women incoherently heckling and simultaneously projectile vomiting. It seems needless to say that I have no desire to visit Tennessee. My shoes cringe at the thought! So it’s been painful for me to be hammered for months about getting away for this idyllic holiday to a place I regard as a little slice of hell.
Quite a few weeks ago I was reading Yahoo News and a click lead to another click which put me on a page about the big Hemlock Festival this weekend in Dahlonega, Georgia. For whatever reason, it seemed like fun. A festival celebrating a tree could not be more innocuous. I could really get into a perfect low-key getaway. The location seemed perfect as well. It’s just the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains that had become Steven’s new fixation. It was quite a few hours shorter in drive time than Tennessee…and as far as I knew, no projectile vomiting. So I summoned Steven to Molly’s Porch for a quick family meeting and vacation plans were set in motion. I requested official time off from Nana duty, and Steven quickly went about making reservations in a pet-friendly hotel and began his due diligence in compiling the historical, meteorological and socio-economic background check on the area. He LOVES. LOVES, LOVES the planning part of the vacation experience.
Compliments of Steven, I’ve been getting local temperature and other oddball tidbits of Dahlonega, Georgia factoids sent to my phone about 4-5 times a week for the past month. I’ve also been getting snapshots of a live camera somewhere in the town showing me the state of the leaves on the trees, so I can keep up with the fall foliage color change…BTW- it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve also received text updates from Steven noting celebrities who hail from that area so I can keep my eyes peeled while walking around town lest I trip on a famous person. And I even got an email from him about the state of the ground cover where the festival is held because the out of town festival is in a grassy area that might be muddy if the weather is too wet prior to Hemlock weekend. We are prepared for weather dips into the 30s with layers of clothing to protect our delicate Florida anatomy (I use the singular “anatomy” because I’m always warm and Molly comes standard wearing a coat so really, we’re talking about Steven…THE ONLY ONE WHO WANTS TO GO TO THE FUCKING MOUNTAINS!!!)
Nevertheless, we are ready to Rock and Roll. Today is Wednesday. I have a little Nana duty later on today and then tomorrow I have the day to get our stuff together for a nice, leisurely trip to…NO WHERE. Because I always forget that Steven loves to plan vacations but has a hard time going on vacations. No. Steven loves to plan trips but has a hard time going on trips. No. Steven loves to plan leaving the house but has a hard time leaving the house. YES! That’s it! That’s exactly it. This morning he informed me he really, really, really doesn’t want to go.
Welcome back to one of the recurring themes in our life after cancer, lymphoma, a stem cell transplant, chemotherapy and all of those life changing things that Steven has had to endure. The aftermath of the physical and mental trauma that now haunt Steven cause and so much anxiety stress for him and in turn for me. It’s such a shame. We have time and a little spare change to do a few things, but a lot of times, I just can’t get him out the door. The world is a scary place and when one feels weak and vulnerable, it’s even scarier. And that’s the bottom line. Home is safe and secure. His needs are all met. His food and beverage are all readily available whenever he wants without any fuss or bother or wait. If he’s tired he has multiple areas to rest his weary bones. If he’s feeling anxious, he can take a pill and chill out in a cozy familiar place, or he can go socialize in the big bold world that is right outside our community where home is a blink away if his mood changes and he needs to get back. Therein lies the distinction between vacation and home. Vacation is just too far away.
So my job, for now, is to make every day at home like a vacation. Well, hell…for me it already is. I don’t have to go to work every day. I get to see Lil’ G A LOT! I”m finally spending quality time with Steven in person instead of texting and calling all day from an office or car. I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Steven’s life is a vacation, too. He just doesn’t know it. He no longer has chores to do in the garden or garage or attic or anywhere that involves tools or safety glasses or power tools. His daily responsibilities are so minimal that he actually puts in MORE effort when we stay in a hotel. But he doesn’t see that. So periodically he decides he needs a vacation and I guess all I have to do to make him happy is to just say, “Yes” to all his vacation plans. Let him enjoy the planning that he loves so much and just know that we’re not going to go. Reserve away big guy! From now on, I say, “Yes!” to going no where!