Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pretending I'm Retired

I must start with my deepest apologies for my disappearance from Blogsville. I'm sure most of you don't really care and didn't even notice, but I had promised to write everyday and alas, I have fallen through on said promise. I will try harder.

I have a thousand things to tell you from the last two weeks but first let me tell you about my current situation, and then I'm going to tell you about my not-so-secret love interest.

Firstly, I am sitting in my corner of the Golden Palace (the name I have so fondly given to my grandmother's house, which she shares with my Aunt Heidi and my Aunt Daphne - the Golden Girls). Before I arrived, this room doubled as my cousin Heather's bedroom when she's not at school and Aunt Daphne's studio and office for one of her three occupations. I try to keep the room as tidy as possible due to all the excitement and scurrying in and out to check e-mail and record commercials and things of this sort, but alas I have clothes still folded neatly in my hiking bag in one corner and boxes and bags of various items all compartmentalized and sealed away in tidy ziplock bags by my beloved mother in the other. My bathing suit (the one I'm willing to wear in front of the Golden Girls) and my once-sweaty-but-now-drying sports bra, tank top and bike shorts hang from knobs on a tall wicker chest against the wall. Aunt Daphne made space for my clothes in the closet and insists that I use it, but I can't get myself to concede that I may be here for long enough to do such a thing. I'm happy with wrinkled clothes and less anxiety. I like flying by the seat of my pants, as Julia Roberts says. Well, okay, her character said it in Pretty Woman, and seeing that her character was a prostitute, it might be time to consider getting a new motto. For now it'll do though.

Anyway, I don't even remember what I was talking about and re-reading what I've written will only throw me off track and so I'll keep going. My point is (it's all coming back to me now) that my room is a bit messy and I feel a little bad about this but they all seem happy that I'm here, and this is the most at home I've felt since . . . well . . . I truly am pausing here . . . I don't remember when. Not because of the company alone, because I've crashed with a thousand people I know and love in the last couple months, including my own beloved parents and lil' crit sister, and Kev and Brenna and so many other people I know and love, but because when I wake up in the morning, it's bright and sunny and gorgeous out (well, except for Tuesday . . I'll get into that later), and the temperature never dips below 70-something, and every single person I meet is friendly and smiling and greets me with a big fat hello and a smile (I happen to LOVE old people, by the way), and my rides take me along the beach for as many miles as I can go, and the Gulf of Mexico, which is as close to ocean as I need, is just across the street. I come and go as I please, I cook lunch and dinner whenever I want and the Golden Girls aren't just accepting of my kitchen craziness - they LOVE me for it. They told me tonight that they won't let me leave, that they'll buy food if I promise to stay and cook for them, that they haven't had a meal that good for as long as they remember. They made me feel so terrific . . . my grandmother told me I should get a job as a cook somewhere. ME. Katie Higley. Holy cow. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've thought about it a thousand times, and of course all grandmothers are quite terrific at dishing out compliments to their grandkids but it made me feel quite terrific. Kacey called me the other day and told me that I sounded the happiest and most at home as she'd heard me in a long time, and I laughed but rolled my eyes a little (Kacey, I'M SORRY - I'm a jerk) but the more time passes, the more I realize she's right. Of course I miss my buddies and I miss doing a thousand crazy things and staying up all hours of the night and drinking beer - for the love of God, I miss beer - but I am infinitely happy here. Who knew. Good grief. I like to play the One-Year-Ago Game. If you'd told me one year ago that I'd be camping out at the Golden Palace (which, let me add, I'd not been to before last Friday at 7:20 p.m.) and having quite a splendid time and doing as I pleased and riding a zillion miles, I absolutely would not believe you. Needless to say, I am happy. That is my conclusion.

Moving on, let me now discuss my new love interest. I'd like to start by telling you that I am going to make more of an effort to be a little less scatterbrained from here on out. Ahem . . .

So one day mid-summer I determined that, after riding a bazillion miles everyday between work and home, home and work, work and work, work and home, home and Kev's, et cetera, perhaps I should just GO for a bike ride. No destination, nothing to do at the far end of the ride - I'd just GO. Just RIDE my bike. And so I jumped on the bike path which, to my amazement, one could take from the end of my street all the way out to Bedford. Round trip it was a 22-mile ride, and that first day it was pouring rain like I've never seen before - honestly - that was the most violent rain storm I've ever seen in person. Maybe it was the rain, and maybe it was the sense of comradarie I felt with the two other insane cyclists I passed on the bike path, but I was hooked. I know I sound like a total sap, but keep in mind that I hadn't been able to run in months due to this stupid achilles injury that, NO, I still haven't had checked out due to my lack of insurance, and my workouts in the gym, while terrific and uber-hardcore, were getting old. I needed to be outside by myself alone in my crazy head. I felt at home. I laughed out loud every time I started a ride because it was so nice to be back at it. And so, fast-forwarding, I looked into bikes and bike gear and routes and chatted with my buddy Brian at work about ten thousand things from flipping over my handle bars to my two numb fingers (which, by the way, are still numb). I had a new sport, padded shorts, a camelbak that i used for something more than The Source in Baja, and a buddy to chat with. And soon I'd have a new bike. Brand new shiny bike that got a million miles and a lot of love until the day I moved out of 68 Middlesex Street. I moved my bike to the hallway in Kevin's apartment, where it saw absolutely no love for over a month. I bought Lyssa's car a week and a half into September and ceased riding my old bike. I'd thrown in the towel. I was a gas-guzzling commuter and, while it made me want to vommit just a little bit, it was pretty freaking convienient. I determined that it was not only next to impossible to be homeless without a vehicle but it was also really depressing. I spent my first official day of homelessness in a coffee shop on my laptop, where I bought nothing and used their free internet until I had to go to work. It was depressing. In fact, I'm pretty sure I cried that day. I'm sure, Kev, that you're not surprised.

I spent most of my days trying to determine what the hell I'm doing with my life and in what corner of the world I'd feel the most sane, because, at the time, I was not feeling terribly sane. The though of staying in Boston (or anywhere temperatures dipped below 70 degrees) for another winter was beyond depressing. It made my thoughts all jumbly, and I'm sure, after reading this monologue, you have an idea of what it must be like inside my brain when my thoughts are all jumbly. And so I decided that there was no rush - I had plenty of buddies to stay with, I had a terribly fun job where I made a lot of g's, my family was close by, I had a car that I could live out of if it became necessary, and I had a new best good buddy who, amazingly, seemed to be my other half. And all the while Kevin was patient and supportive and laughed with me when I cried/laughed (the two seemed to go together most of the time, thankfully, cause crying without laughing is NOT fun). And most importantly he let me stay as long and as often as I liked. And he told Justin to stop drinking my beer, in so many words. (Well, not really. He told him that I 'get weird' about people using my things. It's true. It is "weird" when people "use" my beer. I would rather if you would not "use" my beer if you speak less than ten words to me a week.)

And so during one of my many tirades to Kevin about feeling terribly out of shape, he reminded me that I had a bike in the hallway that was probably awfully lonely. He referred to my bike as a 'her,' which made my heart ache - I felt like I was letting a friend down - and the next day I went out for thirty miles. Let me restate that. I did not ride my bike, or do any other form of exercise that might be even mildly significant, for one full month (maybe longer - my timeline is somewhat jumbled), and then I rode thirty miles. I was nearly swearing out loud for the last five miles. My knees swelled up like an old lady (alas, I am an old lady afterall so what's the difference?) and I could barely climb or descend stairs for nearly a week. I thought I had an injury, but as it turned out my body was merely revolting - I pissed it off by doing nothing for so long and then trying to jump head-first into some big fat impressive ride. What an idiot. And then nothing again until Jacksonville. This time I learned though. I've had this mental list going for a week and a half so now I'll spit it out. Yikes, I need to make this list so badly . . .

Tuesday, 10/31 22.3 miles (Jacksonville)
Wednesday 11/1 30.6 miles (Jacksonville)
Thursday 11/2 off
Friday 11/3 21.5 miles (Jacksonville)
Saturday 11/4 24 miles (St. Pete Beach)
Sunday 11/5 10.2 miles (St. Pete Beach) (I got a flat tire, thanks to Pete)
Monday11/6 off
Tuesday 11/7 49.8 miles (St. Pete Beach)
Wednesday 11/8 off
Thursday 11/9 26.7 miles (St. Pete Beach)

Folks, I am in love with my bike. I laugh every time I get back out on the road. You think I'm lying but I'm not. You think I'm saying ridiculous things. I have a bright red Bianchi hybrid that I fear road cyclists laugh at but let me tell you something - we have a good time. I feel fairly confident that I put in twice the energy per mile as road cyclists but I don't care. I love my bike and I love the rides she takes me on. And on Tuesday I rode fifty miles in a typhoon and let me tell you - I feel fairly certain that I could have ridden to the keys and back and still had energy to spare. Tuesday was a good day. And the KICKER is that the Golden Girls have not ONCE told me that I hadn't ought to ride so far or that my rides aren't safe or made me feel bad in any way. I thought for certain that Angie had said something to them but alas she promised today that she never said a thing.

I am a jumbling box of rambleocity now and I'm going to stop and put the two of you that have read this entire bit of nonsense out of your misery but I promise that I'll make an effort to update this bit of craziness more often than never, which is about how often I'd been updating. Alas, I bid you adieu. We shall meet again, my friend. If you are reading this, I miss you immensely, and please keep in mind that I think of you with every cute beach-side bar I pass, and every bit of sand I walk across, and I wish you all were here with me so that, once in a while, I could be a kid with buddies rather than a kid in the Golden Palace. For now, though, it's quite terrific. : )

Friday, October 27, 2006

SLOW DOWN!

Holy cow, I am seriously about to have an anxiety attack. I was a little emotional last night - mostly just tired from lots of work and a thousand errands and not enough sleep, but today I was a basket case. I am seriously out of control. I almost had a meltdown in Target, for crying out loud. Tonight's my last night at work and my beloved Brenna will be downstairs and I'll be upstairs and Donald's not even working (I'm sad just thinking about it). In addition to that, I leave Boston tomorrow morning for Maine, pack up all my belongings, and then leave Maine on Sunday morning. I mean, I know this is MY plan and all but don't you think we could slow down JUST A LITTLE BIT?! I am far too emotional for all this nonsense. Good grief.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cold Hard Cash

Donald bathing himself in cold hard cash. "Just put a little on my lower back. I need to bathe in cash or I can't sleep!"



Okay, ow. Staying at the V til all hours of the night and then going to bed (on the floor with half a blanket) at 5 a.m. and then waking up at whatever time Brenna got up to go to work was not a good idea. I have regret. Okay, only a little. hehe As it turns out, I'm not quite as awful at pool as I formerly though. Don't get me wrong - I'm still pretty awful but not disgustingly bad. That's encouraging.

In other news I made a new friend last night. I have no idea what her name is but I put her in my phone under A1, like the sauce. Kevin got steak yesterday so maybe we can have it for lunch and I'll call her up to join us? I know, not funny. The friend-making incident was quite interesting though.

I'm working at 2:45 today which kinda makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out, but at least I'm working with Brenna. Today's project is school bingo. More on that later.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Roadblocks

ROADBLOCKS! AGH! That's all I've encountered the last two and heif days. (Critter dance.) I've been trying to sign up for AAA for the last week and so far I've had zero success. I thought I was an awfully clever girl when I attempted to buy a gift membership for myself but, not surprisingly, AAA saw right through that one. I stole Brenna's credit card and tried once again but alas, I got an error message that instructed me to call AAA, which I didn't really feel like doing at the time. Instead I went to Davis and cruised around trying to find a restaurant with wireless so I could get some stuff done while I had lunch before work. That was a good hour or so wasted. I finally just went to work an hour and a half early and hung out. This morning I tried again to join and, after giving them my credit card number, the AAA site informed me that I already had an application in their system. The 800 number that I tried to call EIGHT times led to an operator (the bad kind - God forbid I had a roadside emergency), and so I called the Newton branch, and then the Portland branch, and then the Newton branch again only to find out that I'm in neither the Northern NOR Southern New England system and that I should just wait til Monday. Good. That's excellent. I don't have a thousand other things to do on Monday, and road safety isn't important anyway, and I can just read the atlas all the way to Mississippi while I'm driving. The atlas I don't have yet because I'm an atlas snob. Brilliant. Stupid AAA. At least the peeps were nice on the phone.

So alas today is my last Saturday in Boston. Head of the Charles is also today, and it's a beautiful (though cold) day out. I'm such an old lady though - 68 is cold for me. I am impossible to please . (I'm pretty sure it's about 23 degrees out right now.) I have a thousand things to get done before work though, so no crew races for me today.

In other news, you're all invited to join me at Jillian's in Boston on Monday night for a little bowling and a lot of sweet sweet lovin. 7:30 p.m. I'm thinking about getting a unicorn pinata . . . you know how I love those unatainable mystical critters. tee hee hee

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I'm going to Biloxi!

Holy moly, I created a blog. I DO have some idea of what I'm doing! Brilliant! hehe

Alright, so here's the dilly. After a month and a half of homelessness I decided I'd ought to do something more interesting and less self-centered with my time, at least for a little while, and so I gave my notice at work and on October 29 I'll leave from my beloved Maine and start driving south. I'm migrating like the birds. hehe Hey, I joke that I'm an old lady and that any winter now I'd begin the old lady pilgrimage and sure enough, here I go. My ultimate destination is Biloxi, Mississippi where I'll be working with a nonprofit called Bridge to Biloxi on a house rebuilding project.

More to come later . . I have to meet Brenna for our super-secret rendez-vous.

Okay, I'm just kidding. We're just going to the mall.