[Private journal entry written on Monday, September 3, 2012]
Well, I’m back home.
First thing this morning, we took Melodie’s car to the car wash and scrubbed it clean . . . so her husband wouldn’t have a fit about how dirty it was, and so we could check for damage from the mishap with the deer . . .
We couldn’t find any damage, even with a very close inspection on our hands and knees in bright sunlight . . . and so Melodie thought she might not mention the incident to her husband . . .
I told her that I didn’t see how he could be justifiably upset with us if she did tell him . . . it’s not like we were out tearing around at high speeds and being reckless . . . in fact, I told her that I had been going five under the speed limit . . . and I was watching closely for the deer . . . had that not been the case, it would have been much worse! I would think he would just be glad that we are okay and that I was able to avoid damage. But, she told me he might not see it that way.
I didn’t know what to tell her . . . I mean, stuff happens . . . it’s a waste of energy to get unnecessarily bent out of shape over it . . .
Anyway, while we were out and about, we put gas in both cars, then we returned to the cottage where we packed the cars and cleaned the cottage . . . then we walked up to the main house to say our good-byes to Ardis and her husband . . .
And we fired up the toaster oven to broil the steaks for our last meal together . . . it was only 9:00am, but we decided that big juicy steaks were fine for breakfast, LOL . . .
We didn’t have any seasonings for the steaks other than salt and pepper, but the steaks were so good that they didn’t need more than that . . .
As we were cleaning up from the meal and packing the last of the last supplies into our cars, the topic of our next trip came up . . .
Despite the misgivings I’ve been having, I decided I would go ahead and plan another trip with her. I want to believe that things will get better . . . that we will find a way to relate better to each other . . . I can’t imagine not having her in my life . . .
We debated about who would plan the next trip. She planned the first two trips and I planned this one . . . so, technically, I owe her one . . . but she said she didn’t care who planned it . . . she is happy to do it . . .
I wondered to myself if we would both be happier if she planned it . . .
We finally decided to settle the matter with a coin toss . . . and the coin decided that I shall be the one to plan the next trip . . .
Then, we hugged . . . and cried a little . . . and climbed into our cars . . .
We were on the road by 10:00am, so that was a good start . . . and we drove one behind the other for 45 miles until Hastings . . . and there we waved again at each other as we headed in opposite directions on the interstate highway . . . and I allowed a few tears to run down my face . . . and then I sighed a big sigh of relief . . . I finally had my blessed personal space again . . . I felt like I could breath . . .
The trip home was uneventful . . .
As I was driving home, I gave some thought to our next trip. I wondered if Melodie would be willing to go back to Red Cloud . . . we could go back to Franklin and try again to find the graves of my ancestors . . . and Melodie had mentioned that she would like to spend more time in her mother’s birthplace of Sylvan Grove . . . and my dad was born about 30 miles from Sylvan Grove, so maybe we could stop there . . . and maybe we could do more of the Willa Cather stuff . . . or at least maybe I could do more of the Willa Cather stuff while she does something else . . .
I think it would be neat to go back to Red Cloud . . . it almost feels like I have unfinished business there.
Anyway, when I got home, Erik and Susan were home . . . Erik was sitting in his recliner, watching TV . . . Susan was sitting close by him, working on her computer and watching TV . . . I brought the first two loads in from my car . . . I struggled to keep the screen door from hitting me in the back as I came through the front door, not 10 feet from where they were sitting . . . and I had to balance on one foot while, with the other foot, I held the dog back from escaping out the door . . . Erik and Susan didn’t make a move to help me . . .
I quickly realized they were not going to offer to help me unload . . . which ticked me off a bit . . . and I decided I wasn’t going to ask for help . . . if they didn’t want to offer, they probably really didn’t want to help . . . and I sure don’t want to ask them to do anything they don’t want to do . . . I don’t want anyone helping me when they don’t want to be helping me . . . (Or, for that matter, helping me when I don’t want to be helped . . . LOL.)
I brought the remaining eight or so loads up to the front porch (keeping the front door closed), then I stood in the open doorway and moved the stuff from just outside the door to just inside the door . . . by standing in the doorway, I was able to keep the dog in . . .
Then, I shut the door and carried each of the remaining eight loads down the stairs and stacked them in the common area just outside my bedroom suite . . .
And the entire time, Erik and Susan kept right on doing what they were doing. They never once even acknowledged that I was unloading my car or that I could use some help despite the fact I literally had to step around them as I walked past with each load . . .
I was going to write here in my journal that I would have helped them if our places were switched . . . but, to tell the truth, I’ve started not helping them just because they very rarely help me . . . and I’m feeling a bit stinky and mean-spirited about that.
I’m also realizing, as I’m journaling, that it is very possible that I’m short-tempered and that I have a bad attitude about interacting with people right now because I’ve been deprived of my personal space for the last four days . . . and I’m used to having lots and lots of personal space and lots of peace and quiet and solace . . . and I need lots and lots of personal space and alone time . . .
Chances are that I’ll have a better attitude in a day or two . . .
But, anyway . . . once I got everything from my car to the basement, I picked up my suitcase and carried it into my bedroom . . . as soon as I flipped on the light, I noticed a very strange mark on the far wall, underneath one of the windows . . . it was a wiggly gray line that extended from the corner of the window at an angle towards what used to be my desk (I now have a microwave sitting on that table).
As soon as I set down my suitcase on my bed, my cat leapt into my arms . . . I took a minute to love on him . . . then, still holding and loving on the cat, I walked over to get a closer look at the gray line . . .
It only took me a few seconds to figured out what it was . . .
It was ants! Hundreds and hundreds of them, all packed into a single-file line going up the wall and a single-file line going down the wall . . . a super highway of ant transportation . . . and they were transporting the crumbs that have gathered underneath my microwave . . .
Oh, my . . .
I took a deep breath . . . I decided they could wait until I got settled in and unpacked a bit . . .
So, I unpacked a bit . . . and loved on the cat some more . . . got a bite to eat . . . and then I turned my attention to the ant super highway . . .
I searched the internet for a more natural remedy . . . and many sites recommended cinnamon . . . fortunately, I had a bottle of cinnamon in my kitchenette . . .
I got the bottle of cinnamon . . . and stood in front of the wall with it . . .
Hmmm . . . how exactly does one go about sprinkling cinnamon on a wall? Maybe by flinging it in small, controlled flicks of the wrist . . . ??
Hmmmm . . .
I tried it . . . and despite the wall being heavily textured, the cinnamon quickly slid down the wall to the floor, leaving only a faint trace of spice on the wall. The ants paused a bit to sniff at it, and then they neatly stepped over it.
I formulated a Plan B . . .
I got a spray bottle . . . and I put a light mist of water on the wall . . . and I flung some more cinnamon at the ants . . .
It stuck on the wall! Eureka!
I sprayed some more water, and sprinkled some more cinnamon . . .
The ants started paying attention . . . they acted confused . . . and turned around and went back in the opposite direction . . . they started looking for a non-cinnamon-covered route . . .
Okay . . . this might just work! I guess we’ll see in the morning how many ants are still around . . .
So, anyway . . . after dealing with the ant situation, I looked up the cemetery in which my ancestors are buried . . . it turns out that Google Maps has two different cemeteries in the same vicinity labeled with the same name. Upon further investigation on other websites, I discovered that they are really two different cemeteries with two different names . . . and we went to the wrong one. Of course, we couldn’t know that when we were looking it up on Melodie’s phone.
I shot off an email to Melodie yet this evening proposing the idea of returning to Red Cloud. I’ll see if maybe she’d be interested in that now that she knows what is around there. I made a point of saying that I’d really like to stay close to Red Cloud and not drive all over the place . . . I really emphasized that point.
If I make a big deal about the not driving all over the place right from the start, maybe her thinking will be more in alignment with that on the next trip. If nothing else, I can be better prepared to set limits beforehand, which will put me in a better position to enforce those limits in the moment. I guess I feel like I didn’t make a big enough deal of it beforehand this time . . . like maybe she didn’t understand what a big deal it was for me. So, I’ll make sure she knows next time.
At any rate, I’m going to bed now . . . I’m exhausted and I have a full workday tomorrow. It’s time for me to relax and enjoy my alone-ness . . . well, I’m not totally alone since the cat is cuddled up with me . . . oh, and, not to mention we are sharing space with hundreds and hundreds of ants . . . but, other than that, I’m so very alone . . . and loving it.