I got back from Hawaii last night, late. It was an absolutely perfect vacation. I took lots of pictures, Sam and I got along great, he treated me like a queen and our sex was very good too. However, ironically, we decided that we have a number of differences that probably make a permanent relationship unlikely. For one, he is 3000 miles away, is a neat-nick, and very frugal with his money. Generous, but frugal. I am much less of a neat-nick and not particularly frugal. Plus I will have my hands full with Michael for a while, so we agreed to be good friends, and lovers when we can, but as much as I enjoyed my visit, and I really did, this is better. From my point of view, I need a person who is more affectionate. He is very affectionate in bed, but when we are out, not so much. He got to the point where he would hold my hand, but only if I linked my arm with his. But that's all ok. We had a fantastic time together, and I will always be grateful for the wonderful time he showed me. I kept a journal of the trip with the thought of including it here, but I don't think it is really pertinent. Plus it has a number of intimate parts that are better kept just between us.
While I was gone I used the mobile app to keep in touch with the guild and with Michael. He was very terse the entire time I was gone, and to be honest, that made me feel a little bad. I got home at midnight last night and sent him a message, inviting him to skype me when he felt like it. He did almost immediately. Mary was in skype with us too, though that's no big deal. He is very comfortable with her, and so am I, so we were able to talk, and we did until 4 am. One of the first things he said was that he didn't respond to me much while I was gone because he wanted my mind on Sam, not on him. And he teased me about asking people to keep an eye on him, lol. Well, I think he did fine, but he also said there is some anxiety building, but he is keeping it at bay with the excitement. He was very proud of himself because he finally sorted through his closet, with Mary's help. She kept him company on line and that was the big job and now it's done. He also told me had had talked to Rolland and he is very positive. He is hoping the three of us can get together before we have to leave. He has another friend he says he is having a hard time telling about leaving, but he will get it done. And he said he was going to wait until the last minute to tell his older sister and his aunt, because both of them have big mouths, he says, and as soon as he does, the entire family will know. He feels that while it is possible they may be supportive, it is more likely they will try to change his mind and give him grief about the decision, and if he does it right before he leaves, there will be little or no time for them to react. It is totally his decision how he wants to handle it.
Now that Hawaii is over, this move is imminent. The Grand Adventure is really about to start. Today is Thursday, and I am home today, but tomorrow I have to go to Orange County to do some blood work and have lunch with my sister. Saturday I am having my nails done, and need to pack because I will be leaving about 4am on Sunday morning. There is a long, tedious drive in front of me, but after that, the fun begins. I'm keeping a “weather eye” on the weather as I drive across the plains because bad weather is forecast. So Michael was giving me tips for avoiding tornadoes, lol, like I wouldn't just go in the opposite direction if I saw one, and/or die of fright. At the moment, it isn't looking bad, so maybe it will be a boring trip after all. In a way, everything I have written since the start of this book is prologue, and once I get to MN, the real story begins.
Well, the best laid plans some how always have a way of going awry. My car broke down today. Looks like the alternator and it will cost $500 to fix it. They will get it fixed tomorrow so I can leave on Sunday as planned, but with considerably less money than I thought I would have. Especially since Jarrod wants $1500 from me for the roof. He will just have to take payments for that since my income is dipping in August by $750 because my retirement incentive is done. We will be ok, but it will be a bit tighter than I wanted, and I think food stamps from Michael will be a big help.
Jarrod picked me up from the repair shop and we talked as we drove home. He is thinking that they might move off the hill, and even thought about the idea of a house big enough for all of us, but unfortunately, the “all of us” didn't include Michael. I'm hoping that he and Michael will get along and that he doesn't want to do this right away. Maybe by the time it becomes a reality, if it does, Michael will be able to contribute and he and Jarrod will not be wanting to kill each other. I really have my doubts about whether that idea of all of us living together will work out. But I'm not going to borrow trouble at this time.
Michael was extremely drunk tonight in raid, same last night and more than usual. I think he is experiencing some anxiety and trying to keep it at bay with rum. And he knows he won't be able to drink like that after next week. Good thing too as he is killing himself this way. Self destruction clothed as alcohol to reduce inhibitions? I hope not. He told me he talked to his friend Chris today and I don't think it went really well. He says Chris needs more time to think about this. That his only comment was “You have friends in California?” He feels once Chris realizes he has made a firm commitment to starting a new life that Chris will accept the situation. Regardless, Michael remains committed, even if the anxiety is rising.
Well, the shit is well and truly hitting the fan right now. Michael's anxiety level is off the chart and I am hearing about it. I have also seen it first hand last night in raid. He was drunker than I have ever seen him, and it was a bit scary. Mary tells me they had a conversation that didn't end well, that he told her he is trying to push her away and accused her of ganging up on him with her friend Amber. Amy said he won't open up to her, but she noticed the heavier than normal drinking and the increase in swearing and sexual references in raid last night. I am going to try to have a talk with him and see if I can calm him down. I want to remind him of his reasons for wanting to make this move, and they haven't changed, but I suspect he isn't aware of what is happening to him right now, or maybe he is but is helpless to stop it. I don't know. In a way, it will be the first real test of this Grand Adventure, and I'm not even there yet. I hope that my being there will calm him, but that is still 3 days away. I wish he would just go hang with Rolland for a couple of days until I can get there. Rolland is a good influence on him I think. The unlimited access to alcohol he has right now is fueling his anxiety rather than keeping it at bay.
After a very frustrating day I finally connected with Michael. He had been beating himself up because of his meltdown, but in true Michael fashion, he talked to all the parties involved from last night and worked things out. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, and he admits it just got away from him. He didn't realize his anxiety was getting to critical mass. He thought he could keep it in check, but he “popped” as he put it. Better now than while we are in transit I guess. I didn't even have to remind him of his reasons, I don't think he ever considered not going through with it. But he was scared and it was all just too much.
I don't know if I can be the safety valve for growing anxiety for him, but if I can't I can at least help put him back together after the fact. I think it will be easier for both of us when we are back here. He says for the first time he can let go, and be himself totally. I asked him if he could do that with David and he said no, absolutely not. He says there is just too much baggage, he calls it Catholic Guilt, and he wants to just leave it behind and start fresh.
It's funny, at the beginning of this year I made a conscious decision to not be alone anymore. I started looking on dating websites, which is how I met Sam, but it's funny that my companion turns out to be Michael. I would never have believed that would happen. I told him that and he understood, and said we are in this together, this isn't about him or about me, it is about us, as a couple, a very odd couple indeed.
So, I'm packed and nearly ready to go. Just a last few things. I want to go to bed early tonight so I can get up early and get on the road. I need some rest anyway. I had a very disturbing thing happen on my way home from Anne Marie's house. I was driving down the road and suddenly I couldn't see straight. It was like my eyes were crossed and I couldn't uncross them. I stopped the car, closed my eyes several times, and each time I opened them it was still there, until finally it was gone. It went on for several minutes and I thought I was going to have to call for help. I'm glad I didn't. I don't know what it was, maybe a sudden drop in blood sugar. I haven't eaten much since I got home from Hawaii. There is hardly any food in the house. I'll go grocery shopping when I get back.
Back with Michael in tow.
It was a long trip, over 4 thousand miles, and not exactly what I expected.
I arrived in Minnesota and Michael and I met for the first time in person. I had been prepared, I thought, for him, but still he was different from what I expected. He has hair, lots and lots of hair, everywhere. His hair on his head is long, more than half way down his back, and somewhat wild and unkempt, and he likes to wear it long and free. His beard covers much of his face, and my opinion is that he uses his hair to hide behind. His hair is a brown mahogany, his beard is ginger, and his chest is covered with a mat of black hair. Nothing matches. He is not tall, about 5'10”, but he is a big man, very barrel chested, and a little bit overweight, but not too bad. He has full lips, a very straight nose, and chiseled features. His eyes are a beautiful blue. His skin is very pale, consistent with someone who seldom gets outside. I have no idea what he thought of me, but the initial meeting was awkward, very awkward. And only because he was having such anxiety over the whole thing that he could barely function. I kept expecting him to tell me he had changed his mind and I even asked him if he had or wanted to, but he was determined, just completely freaked out.
Shortly before I arrived, I had a call from my surgeon's office. John, the PA, told me I had failed my blood test, that I had a bacterial infection in my urine, and that if it isn't cured, surgery will have to be postponed. I think I brought home an unexpected souvenir form Hawaii. I told him I was in MN and he said to give him the number of a pharmacy and he would call in a prescription. I called Michael and asked him for the number of a local pharmacy which he got for me. After I arrived and had gotten my things in, I could see how uptight he was so I suggested he show me the pharmacy. He had trouble finding it, partly because he was nervous and partly because he doesn't drive. I picked up the prescription and a bottle of wine. After we got home I gave him a bottle of rum I had bought for David, but to help with his anxiety, I suggested he have a drink. That helped a lot and he settled down, but it was necessary to keep him fairly drunk for a couple of days to get much out of him. During those days I didn't get much sightseeing done. I made a couple of trips to the Mall of America, but felt I needed to be close to him when he was awake. On the final day, Friday, he still hadn't finished his packing. The drinking became extremely heavy for both of us. I was well and truly drunk too, and I was listening in to raid while Michael played. During break Michael and I got a little carried away. He and I were sitting on the floor beside each other, and for some reason, he was wearing only his skivvies. At one point I put my hand on his leg and he started yelling that I was trying to touch his penis. I honestly don't remember what I said, but I have heard about that incident since I got home. Apparently the guild loved hearing me be something other than the goodie-goodie they think I am. If they only knew....
After raid, and after he finished talking with Mary, he and I spent several hours talking and he was still drinking. He was very affectionate, just like he always was, and kept looking at his closet saying “One more drink and one more cigarette and I'll get started.” That went on for about 3 hours. I kept him company, listening and doing a little talking, until 4 am when he finally collapsed and we were able to get a little sleep. I slept in his bed and he was on the floor next to the bed. However, we only got about 3 hours because we had to leave the next day by noon and we still had the packing to do. It was so very sad to see him so hung over, I'm surprised he could function at all. And of course, with the hangover comes the depression. We were finally ready to go at noon and got started. Leaving David was probably one of the hardest things he has ever done. I almost cried. But he made it fast then proceeded to sleep or try to sleep for the next six hours until we got to Kansas City where we met Pol. That was a lovely evening, but he was still very quiet and depressed, so I bought him a couple of drinks, not enough to get him drunk, but enough to loosen him up. The next day he was very quiet again until afternoon, when the hangover finally seemed to wear off.
The hangover wore off, but the depression and anxiety were still there, in spades. We didn't speak much the entire trip back. I should have realized what would happen, but I forgot that the drunk Michael is not the real Michael – yet. He hates car trips, change in general, and any talk that is deals with things more than a day away. His quietness was his way of dealing with his freaking out, but it was still difficult for me. That is my problem, not his. He is not only freaking out over the move, but over the surgery that is next week. I kinda take it for granted, but I keep forgetting his irrational fears about it.
The final leg of the trip, today, was the best in some respects. It was fairly short, and he had the tablet I brought along to play with, to keep him occupied. The last 20 miles were harrowing for him. We had to go from the desert floor up to 4 thousand feet, and the only way to get up there was by a very windy road with long drops. He held it together, mostly. He is afraid of heights and being in cars in treacherous (as he put it) situations. If he hadn't been so pitiful, it would have been funny. Actually it was very funny anyway and he told me later he was hamming it up.
We finally made it home a couple of hours ago and he is in his room sorting things out. As soon as we got home, he gave me a big hug, the first I have received since we left. His mood was much lighter, and he was talking a blue streak. We still have a lot ahead of us, but this trip gave me an insight into what I am facing with him better than anything that had gone on before. He is still the Michael I love, but setting that other Michael free isn't going to be easy. He doesn't want to drink. Has made that abundantly clear, and I admire his strength of character to keep to that. He says drink is behind him and the new life will have to be mostly without it. So a lot of us are going to have to get used to a new Michael, one that is more quiet, more difficult to get along with, but still, very much worth the effort.
Later same day:
It is amazing what a little time can do. Michael got his computer up and running then spent a couple of hours with Mary and Amber, then decided he wanted to spend some time with me. We were talking like we haven't done in days, weeks. We were sitting outside, he was having a little wine, and I a bourbon, it was so relaxed. He really likes it here. He loves his room, and the property is quiet and beautiful. Anne Marie came over and spent a couple of hours. They ganged up on me about telling the doctor about the episode with my eyes.. I didn't tell either one of them that I have been having chest pains, because I think everything is related to stress.
Anyway Anne Marie and Michael got along very well, he and I spent a lot of time together, I am getting hugs all the time, he is smiling and talking. He called David and told him we had arrived and that he was really enjoying it here. He loves Hamish. I know it could revert in a heart beat, and no doubt will, but I will be better prepared for it when it happens, and in the meantime, the affection and conversation is just what I needed, so things are ok for now.