Jess and I spent the morning together, handling some pretty heavy emotions and navigating startling black skies, shattered by webs of lightning. The weather came out of nowhere, like so many storms in her young life, and her sister’s.
Does anyone remember that wild hailstorm through which Joc and I once drove, on our way to Colorado? It descended out of nowhere, was violent and scary for a few minutes, then it ended just as suddenly. We had to look in the rear view mirror to confirm that we had, in fact, just seen it. There it was, behind us, and we kept driving. I will never forget it. It still reminds me how suddenly a life storm can come and go. How succinctly our traumas can be put behind us. Chapters close, and we move forward.
Back to this morning with Jess.
As our time together was winding down, we drove east across south Oklahoma City toward her house. I exited the highway, turned into a parking lot, and said, “I’m taking you somewhere.” My idea was to find a delicious treat at a really cute health food grocery store we both like, in lieu of eating brunch at a restaurant. (#covid)
The parking lot also fed into a Hooters restaurant. Jess very calmly said, “Oh you’re taking me to Hooters?”
I said, “Yes obviously. Nobody’s sad at Hooters.”
“Sounds perfect, let’s go!” Peals of laughter. Much more lightning. Even blacker, lower skies.
Was everyone in Oklahoma as surprised by today’s storm as we were? It built steadily then absolutely raged. We were braced for the Heat Dome of the Apocalypse, but instead, all of daybreak’s sticky blue atmosphere collapsed beneath black, woolly shelf clouds. We felt chilled. Even the biggest trees fell subject to straight line winds. Torrential rain, flash flood warnings, even one rumor of tornado conditions.
I can’t stop eating dried mango! Or pecan praline crumbs!
And if you could have any of the following iconic cars, which would you choose? I want the A-Team van, obviously. Fools pitied, and all.
Handsome is currently in the city for a few hours, then once he returns home we will begin our anniversary staycation!! Next week we will mark 19 years of wedded bliss and adventure. While it’s customary every summer for us to spend at least part of our anniversary week at the farm, doing our favorite staycation things, this is the first year that ten or so days “alone” will follow 118 days “alone,” ha! So more than ever I am taking a good honest look at how to be deliberate about quality time and relaxing together. The biggest difference of course will be that he won’t be spending the weekdays on Commish business.
I’m excited! We are definitely staying home, but somehow it feels like we are packing for a trip?!
This reminds me that I have been wanting to tell you guys about our game, “This Hotel…” It’s a way we encourage each other to more fully enjoy our home bound life. Rather than focus on the sometimes annoying facts of a relative quarantine, we try to magnify some of the hard work we do to keep things comfortable and happy, luxurious and fun for each other. Examples:
“This hotel has great coffee service. I love that they have it ready so early! Most place you have to wait until 6.”
“This hotel is so pet friendly, like really pet friendly!”
“This hotel has a really cute pool boy. I wonder if he gives massages…” : )
“This hotel’s nature walks and gardens and animal refuge are so relaxing, and we are so remote, it’s more private than I expected…totally worth the extra money.”
“This hotel has so many great snacks! I love that we don’t have to drive to town to find something. And I heard that they grow their own produce, and those eggs from breakfast were fresh.”
“This hotel has all the best movies, for FREE! And have you seen their free library? Any book you could ask for!”
“Ahhh this hotel has the best pillows. And so many extra blankets for when you turn down the air at night!”
“Did you see that on Tuesdays they have outdoor painting? And on the weekends they make s’mores and have storytelling around the bonfire? I think they have bicycles you can rent, too.”
“Free laundry service? This hotel is amazing!”
“I love the room service here. This hotel has great food. And And I love the boutique atmosphere. We can really be ourselves.”
You get the idea. It’s fun and silly but wildly effective. Try it! Staying home for weeks and weeks and weeks might have its challenges, but if you are diligent and imaginative about how you create and maintain your home, then, outside of actually experiencing a new city, home can far surpass any hotel. It just takes a little perspective shift and some silliness.
It’s now almost 2:30 p.m. The weather is calm. Our only storm damage is a toppled hammock. (#wewillrebuild)
Sadly, I have now eaten so much dried mango and so many bits of pecan praline that I must brush my teeth again. Wishing you the best Friday evening friends! Thanks for checking in.
Please remember that grief and joy can coexist
that you are strong
and that every thing is survivable.