I woke up at 4:30 in the morning in our hotel in New Castle and couldn’t fall back to sleep, because my brain just would not quit. Spin, spin, spin, with thoughts of the past and the future, destinations and days, betrayals and bizarre behavior. I was resigned to it, then annoyed with myself, then finally gave up and got my iPad out.
Sophie, that traitor, had spent the night snuggling with the BBE, but hopped back over to my bed when I sat up, so I stroked her with one hand while I played solitaire with the other and considered my future.
I kept telling myself that it was pointless to worry. Live in the moment you’re in, I reminded myself. I’m in the midst of an epic road trip, and there’s nothing I can do about all the things that I need to do, so why think about them?
My brain, however, was not onboard with the live-in-the-moment plan, so I just had to keep reminding myself, over and over, that that’s what I was doing. Being mindful, taking deep breaths, admiring beauty, living in the now. Appreciating my coffee and my dog and the BBE, being grateful. The worries or the ruminations would start and I would catch myself and remind myself to breathe. Just breathe, that’s all I needed to do. Especially because the BBE was doing all the driving.
New Castle is almost three hours outside Denver, and there was an expo in Denver that the BBE wanted to go to, since we were in the area. He’d hoped to get there when it opened at 10, but we were running late before we even began, so it was more like 11 when we arrived. He left me in the parking lot, saying he’d be back in fifteen minutes, maybe half an hour, and I promptly called Christina.
Sophie Sunshine, such a good dog, had had only the most basic of walks — a five minute stroll around a hotel parking lot — but she curled up in a patch of sun on the driver’s seat, while Christina and I chatted. For an hour and 21 minutes! The BBE found more at the expo to interest him than he’d expected to and Sophie was completely peaceful, so we just kept talking. I’m sure I was not particularly coherent through chunks of the call — it’s all happened so fast and Suzanne’s behavior is so profoundly weird to me — but it was a really great call. So good to hear Christina’s voice, to know of the welcome that is waiting for me, to have her say how happy she’s going to be to see me.
Our phone call was almost over when she mentioned, almost casually, that her friend J’s roommate had moved out and there might be a room available in his house and she thought his landlady would be okay with a dog. Did I want her to check whether it was still available?
“Yes, please,” I squeaked.
I’ll short story the rest: yes, there was a room available in his house, and yes, his landlady is okay with dogs, and yes, I’ve already sent her the security deposit, the pet deposit, and the rent for November. So I’m still on the road and it will be days before I get to Florida, but when I do, I have a home. In fact, I have a home with a fenced-in yard for Sophie, a park down the street, a housemate I like, really good friends living within walking distance, and my dad and stepmom less than an hour away.
Do I feel like the universe is rewarding me for my decision to take the higher road? Um, yeah, I do.
Obviously, the rent is real rent, not the discount rent for an “awesome” friend (hahahaha), so a job/improving my cash flow is next on the agenda, but… well, first I have to make it through Kansas. And Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and a bunch more states, actually. It’s still a long way to Florida. So I’m going to return to my mindful approach, as best I can.
But my officially homeless period is officially over. (Technically, I paid the rent on Serendipity through the month of October, and have started my new rent in Florida on November 1, so it didn’t actually exist at all, but it felt like it lasted a long… two and a half days. Ha.)
As for road trip stories: we ate lunch at a place called JustBE Kitchen in downtown Denver, sitting outside on their patio with Sophie Sunshine watching intently. I was highly distracted, texting with my new landlady, but I had a delicious paleo burger and some outstanding lavender lemonade. Afterwards we walked around a nearby park with some running water. The weather was perfect — 60 degrees and sunny — and Denver was filled with people walking their dogs. I’ve passed through Denver before, but never walked around, and it was surprisingly appealing. It felt like a very clean city, with a lot of accessible nature.
Mostly, though, we’re just driving. Well, the BBE is driving. I’m sitting next to him, writing. But we’re through the mountains, onto the plains, and getting close to Kansas.
I feel like Sophie deserves some major off-leash time for being such a terrific companion this morning, so I’m going to stop writing and start looking for dog friendly parks. So far we’ve had incredible luck in finding great places for her to run around — last night’s dog park in Grand Junction was huge and she had the small dog enclosure entirely to herself — so fingers crossed, Kansas will be just as good. I’ll keep you posted!