Monday, May 14, 2012

The Irvine War Zone: Bed, Bath & Beyond

In nine and a half years of marriage I don't think that Walt and I have ever gone to Bed, Bath & Beyond without getting into a fight 3/4 of the way through the store.  We don't go there that often - but when their coupons for 20% off a single (overpriced but quality) item arrive we can't resist acting.  And, since we don't go there often we forget that we fight EVERY time we go there.

That is part of what went on today.

The other part is the situation around holidays that this nomadic lifestyle puts us in. I have adjusted to most of the challenges that living like this brings but I have not yet figured out how to do holidays and be okay without being with my family. And it is Mother's Day today. My own mother is no longer alive and the people that I am mother to are 3/4 of the way across the continent and none of us has the means to make visiting possible at this point.

I approach every holiday with grand plans of making it through it without sinking into a funk.  I have yet to make it through a holiday, besides maybe Halloween, without sinking into said funk.

So today....Mother's Day 2012....and my sister Sherone's birthday (Happy Birthday Seester :)....started out in the grand plan mode.  Here is your late Blogcard:

We slept in until 10:30 am and then went to breakfast at our favorite little, local, coffee shop - Cafe Perks.  They gave me flowers there.  And Walt gave me a beautiful singing card that plays "I Will Love You Forever and Ever" along with an Adele CD/DVD set.  This all made me happy at one
level but that undercurrent of forlorn sadness of missing my mom and my kids was still there, lazily floating underneath everything..

And then we innocently went together to Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Someone should have turned on the "Jaws" movie music when we walked through the doors.  Bed, Bath and Beyond should have facial recognition that alerts fellow shoppers that a serial marital drama is about to play out, even if the leading man and leading woman didn't realize it.

There are two movies that turn on when we walk through the BBB doors:  His movie and Her movie.

His movie goes like this:   He is in military mode as the superior officer  and I am the underling.  He has a mission outlined in his head, parts of which are top secret and not to be shared with a lowly underling.  Parts are so obvious that they don't deserve discussion.  Either way, very few of the mission details are discussed in any kind of succinct, battle plan way.

In his movie called "Walt's BBB Quick Strike" - we are to enter the store with the target clearly defined (today the 'target' was a queen size fitted sheet).  Sheets are always in the back, right corner, so after entering the store we take a quick right, then a quick left - rush forward, taking no prisoners and ignoring the indigent population and local authorities (ie: other shoppers and store personnel).

When we reach the back of the store we search quickly to acquire the target (with as little discussion as possible about color, thread count or how it fits with existing decor).  Then we retreat where we use the in-store 20% off bait coupon at the cash register, avoiding ALL impulse buys and interacting with the store staff at check out as little as possible.

After checkout we go out to the car and rush to the next target location where we quickly and systematically run through the list of things that HAVE to be done today by such and such an unknown time because it seems as though the world might end by then and we need to have this stuff done.  The End.

My movie, called "Char's Excuse to Finally Go To BBB" goes like this: Rules of the game:  I don't go to BBB unless I have a coupon.  When the coupon comes in the mail or email I have my chauffeur - whose name happens to be Walt, drive me to BBB.  He follows me into the store where I refuse to get a basket because I'm only getting one thing (this time, again, it is a queen size fitted sheet).

I know from my many previous battles - uh, visits - that the sheet section is in the back, right of the store.  So upon entering, I turn to my left to strategically wander through every aisle between the store on my way to the sheet  section, looking for items that will improve the quality of life for myself and my chauffeur - uh, I mean, husband.  This level of scrutiny is more imperative than ever since we live in the RV because space management ideas are of key importance and new things are always being developed to help with this. My intent is to scope but not purchase, but I usually find things that I see are a good deal or would not be available somewhere else and get those.

By the time I get to the sheet section my arms are full with these special finds (because I refused to get a basket) and by now my chauffeur is carrying my purse.  Because my arms are full he has to sort through the sheets himself to find the right one and he has to carry it to the rest of the way to check out.

After finding the sheet, we will then wander through each of the remaining aisles, continuing to look for "ideas" and "opportunities" to improve our quality of life.  At checkout I will present my official BBB certificate of appreciation coupon of 20% off any single item, ask that it be applied to the most expensive item in my arms, pay and leave for the next task.  The goal is to get as much done in the day as is comfortable (for me - the narcisisstic part), enjoyable (for me - another narcisissitic part) and useful (for us - yes this is the co-dependent part).  The End.

What happens in the reality TV show that is called "Walt and Char's Real Life", my movie starts to play out when we walk through the door and our reality show starts right then as Walt walks in front of me, usually walking backwards, facing me, to try to coax me through and draw my attention away from the items in the store.  I will somehow stop several times and have "discussions" (ha ha) with him (but really with myself) about this item or that item and by the time we make it around to the sheets he is tense and panicked and I am tense and frustrated.  We get the sheet and I will try one, last ditch, time to get him involved in the problem solving dilemmas that all these options provide and he, with fully 1/4 of the store left to "explore" or "conquer", depending on who you're talking to, will lose his temper.

This usually happens, not for any reason other than its unfortunate location in the store, in the mattress pad section.  I then lose my temper and call a halt to all joint shopping ventures for the rest of our lives with the familiar, (to him by now), "I'm Done"and I march to the front of the store, where he pays and then we go out to the car and I ask to be taken home.  The End.  Well, it isn't really quite "The End" because there's usually a kind of stinky fight that takes place after that on the ride home but I won't bore you with the details of how that plays out.  Here is proof that we survived the battle:

Today, Mother's Day 2012, it didn't play out well.  The underlying sadness and disappointment that I am feeling from being away from my family bubbled up and caused, as it usually does now on these nomadic holidays, a complete, eventual meltdown on my part.  I retreat to try to pull myself together, talking to people on the phone when they call, lightly discussing the days events for those who have the capacity or interest in hearing it.  And then the day comes to a close.

Tomorrow I will wake up and start re-absorbing the sadness and disappointment.  I will get ready for the next holiday that will be difficult in less than a month, June 8th, which happens to be my daughter Kaycee's 30th birthday.  June 8th was my mom's birthday as well.  The next week will be Father's Day - which will be difficult as well.

There are sacrifices that we make to live this lifestyle and this is the major one for me really.  I hope I get better at it but I doubt I will.  I have struggled with sadness during holidays since adulthood even when I lived closer to family.  This was always made worse though when I could not be with them.  Walt admitted tonight before bed that he struggles with it too so at least I know I'm not making the sacrifice alone.

This grand adventure, this Curious Journey, doesn't come without some struggle and pain.

The moms in my life that I am missing tonight:

My Mom:  Sylvia Anna Griffiths Dotson - passed September 4, 2010

This was taken in Bend, Oregon in the summer of 2009 when Mom & Dad came to visit us and explore the Oregon coast.  This was the last time I had a conversation in person with my mom. I was just getting over a severe case of shingles so don't remember much about it but I'm grateful someone snapped this picture.
My Mother in Law:  Carla Dalton - Katy, TX

Carla, Walt & Chad

My StepMom in Law:  Kye Irvine - Warner Robins, GA

Kye, Walter & Logan

My Daughter:  Kaycee Mackley - mom to Henry Johnson - age almost 4 - Northglenn, CO

Henry Johnson & Kaycee

My Stepdaughter:  Amanda Falso - mom to Logan Falso - age almost 2 - Junction City, KS

Brandon, Amanda & Logan

My Daughter In Law:  Kelsey Mackley (Matt's wife) - mom to Memphis - age almost 2 - Thornton, CO
Kelsey & Memphis
Shane Mackley's (age 10 1/2) mom Rachael - Wales, UT
Cadence Barney's (age 6 months) mom Adrian - Provo, UT

(Shane and Cadence are Adam's kids)

Happy Mother's Day ladies. Thank you for being in my life.

Copyright (c) 2012 - Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.  You may not publish or reprint this article without permission of Chardale Irvine.  Thank you.

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