It was my sister's turn to visit me, but they have a new dachshund puppy in the family, so I offered to make the trek down there for the extended Holiday Christmas get-together. Secretly, I was exultant that I wouldn't have five kids, and two dogs, running through my very open floor planned home, with the duty of making dinner at the vortex of the tornado. My sister is so much better at it anyway. She is green blue placid to my red-orange bristly. While circling my house the other day, like a nurse shark, I paused for just a second, trying to remember what I was going to do next. I can't get the to-do list out of my head; I had temporarily forgotten something. I had a wild urge to find a place to hide. I was the kind of kid that was forever making forts and houses out of sheets. When my parents moved to Northeastern Ohio when I was twelve, I traveled with my long lanky limbs stuffed in the back compartment of my dad's orange VW bug. I liked it back there--watching the clouds go by. I longed for something like that now, but at 43, I think I'd be hauled off to the Looney Bin if I crawled in the closet and covered myself with a sheet.
For 2008 I need to Feng Shui my house or something; I feel rattled in my own home lately--never comfortable enough to settle down and just relax. There is too much noise. I'm not a T.V. watcher at all, but it is always on for my husband or the kids and it irritates my brain like noise pollution. Like my idiot neighbor that would fire up his mower at 8AM, when I worked night shift at the hospital...of course my neighbor was entitled to mow and my family entitled to watch what they please, but I feel in the way and can't find a good hiding place lately.
So, I was grateful to buckle myself in for the two hour drive to Delaware County. It forced me to sit in one place and put an appreciable dent in my book. My husband pulled out the perfect CD--a well worn copy of David Grey's "White Ladders". It's soothing stuff that I haven't gotten sick of. He mentioned that maybe we should plan a little vacation for spring break; one of those "active" cabin vacations where we can get up and cook what we want and go hiking with the kids on a trail--maybe Salt Fork, in the Lodge, where we could hit the pool. It meant alot to me that he initiated this conversation, cause I think he senses my irritability with family life lately, the noise, and the lists and the never enough time or money situation that we're in.
It's a marvel to watch my sister in action, how she can watch five kids, make a gourmet dinner (cleaning while she goes), make sure the puppy isn't pooping behind the Christmas tree, and take a few minutes to challenge me to a game of tennis or bowling on the new family Wii. I used to be insanely jealous of the blue-green placid efficiency with which she does everything, but now I'm grateful for it. I feel very comfortable in her home, shed my skin of temporary irritation, and become the happy person I know myself to truly be if it weren't for the lists and the noise. We exchanged gifts; my sister realizes the best gifts for me are ones that stimulate the my red-headed pleasure centers, so I was delighted with the Bailey's Irish Cream set and the chocolate covered espresso beans. The Bailey's will be for snowy evenings at home and the espresso beans to tuck into a ridge of the work cave, on call for catatonic cave moments.
Her large beautiful home absorbs the clamor of her tribe of blond little girls playing with my kids. The only thing I find totally unnerving about going to her house is her fat grumpy cat, laying like an amorphous blob in the middle of the hallway, waiting for the moment to attack my ankles as I pass. She's declawed and has broken teeth, but the attack is accompanied with such feline ferocity that it rattles me to my soul each time. I'm afraid of her cat. She thinks its hilarious and claims this hell-cat purrs like a kitten the minute we leave. My kids just ignore the cat, step over her as she hisses and pounces, without being bothered by the spectacle.
I was sad that I was missing my run with my running friends, but surely I could get my sister or my brother-in-law to run with me, but my sister will not institute her marathon training 2008 until January 1st. She has two more days of non-running freedom and won't budge a bit. Sheesh! Sensible runners! I sulked a bit out the door that I would be doing 8 miles alone, but I was getting over it just a mile down the road. They said the 3 mile out and back was flat and boring but I thought it was great. I like the road they live on--at present it's a nice mix of old Victorian farmhouses, rambling hillbilly shambles, mini-mansions, and some more modern homes interspersed with fallow fields of farmland. In the distance, though, a long line of suburban cookie cutter encroachment is slowly making its way, like lava, over the farming countryside. I was just 10 minutes into my run when I had to cross a set of double train tracks. I was halfway across when the red train lights started to blare..I turned to my left and saw the train barreling down the tracks. YIKES! What a wake-up call!
The water bottle was making my hands cold so I placed it under the watch of the green crossroads sign of Gregory St. and kept running without it. There were only a few cars out on the roads this morning and I didn't run into any free ranging country dogs, so I was grateful. My 6 six miles were over before I knew it! I took a bathroom break at the house and continued on for another 2 miles. It was great to be running on the roads again...a real treat to zone out and get into a comfortable rhythm. I ran negative splits today! I enjoyed running alone much more than I thought. I could have kept going, but I was starting to become aware of my right hip flexor so I called it a day. It was a nice run to end a great running year. And I was recharged...ready to go back home.