Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Post Vacation Blues

I just returned from a week's vacation in Hawaii. I've never been to Hawaii, and it was a vacation long overdue. Things have been crazy and stressful at work, and I've discovered, as I move closer to forty, that I'm tired. Tired of doing the laundry, tired of going to the grocery store, tired of vacuuming.

Tired of stressing out at work.

And lately, cleaning up after my pets, particularly the litter boxes, has just been sticking in my craw like nobody's business. I don't know if it's that my animals are getting older and thus crankier and more high-maintenance, or if it's me getting older thus crankier and I just think they are more high-maintenance.

At any rate, I find myself scooping poop five times a day, and if the canned food appears a minute past five o'clock you'd better believe I don't hear the end of it for the rest of the evening.

Hawaii was amazing. California Guy and I spent six amazing days at a resort in Waikiki. Our hotel room overlooked the beach. I've never been to the beach or swam in the ocean, and the beach alone was worth the trip. Those post cards don't lie. The water really is that blue, and it's actually a combination of blue, green, and turquoise in layers depending how far out you look. The sand feels like velvet, except of course for the occasional large piece of coral one has a tendency to step on.

I stubbed my toe a lot. I didn't care.

I didn't get out of my flip-flops or shorts for six days, and for someone who lives in Wyoming (and it has been a ridiculously hard winter with below zero temperatures and enough snow to bury a wildebeest), that was one of the best parts. The weather stayed around 78-80 degrees, pleasantly humid, and a little breezy. I had no idea how dried-out Wyoming is until I went to Hawaii.  I drink a gallon of water a day in Wyoming and it's still not enough.  I drank half that in Hawaii and it was too much.

The food was one of the other best parts. In Wyoming we have chain restaurants, steakhouses, bars and grills, and Mexican. I can't eat at chain restaurants due to gluten-free unfriendliness (I had a very bad experience with the Olive Garden's “gluten-free” pasta), I'm not a huge beef eater, most bar food is bread-fried or too greasy, and I'm sick of Mexican. In Hawaii we ate sushi, Hawaiin poke bowls, pineapple, and more shrimp and ahi tuna than you can shake a (shish kabob) stick at. I also got to drink a mai tai on the beach, which was something I've always wanted to do. It was in a plastic cup rather than a hallowed out pineapple or coconut, but I probably wouldn't be able to drink an alcoholic drink of the volume of an empty coconut or pineapple shell anyway.

Needless to say I did not want to come home, and I am ashamed to admit that this is the very first trip I have ever gone on that I did not miss my pets. Not even a little bit. I worried a bit about Puckett who had the audacity to get a minor bladder infection right before I left, but the animals were all left in the good hands of the Cowboy, so I didn't worry that much. I was also secretly glad that he had to give Puckett her antibiotics and I didn't. I treated her for two days before my trip and she bit me both times. Puckett is nearly impossible to medicate. She's stronger and more stubborn than I am and I always walk away with wounds after forcing her to take medicine. The Cowboy is stronger than me and doesn't get as emotional about pissing off the pets. He just does what needs to be done, and he doesn't care if they pout or get mad at him.

The Cowboy sent me nightly updates on Puckett and that she was doing fine, so I spent my entire vacation not thinking about them and not missing them. I actually enjoyed not having litter boxes to clean up or puke to mop up. Even California Guy mentioned the first night how amazing it was not to have stinky poop to smell, or cats demanding food, or some dog sitting there staring at us every time we take a bite and whining every time she's expected to go outside to use the potty.

I feel like a terrible pet owner, but I think my pets have beaten me. They have won. They have become so codependent, clingy, and needy that I'm running away to Hawaii just to get away from them. Throw Surina into the mix and I want to run farther, because she is by far the worst when it comes to separation anxiety.

When I got home, I was happy to see them, but they wasted no time in increasing my anxiety levels back to what I consider normal for when I'm in Wyoming. I didn't have a single panic or anxiety attack in Hawaii. I got home to full litter boxes and one wooden railing whittled down to a toothpick courtesy of Willow's claws, and my heart palpitations returned with a vengeance.

Aren't animals supposed to help lower one's blood pressure?

Percy squalled and pounded through the house for two hours my first morning back, making sure that sleeping in to cure my jet lag was not a possibility, and Tess paced around restlessly, which she's taken to doing a lot lately. I'm not exactly sure why. People tell me that they are misbehaving because they missed me and I'd been gone a week. I disagree. They act like this all the time, and the last time I went on vacation they barely noticed I was gone because they like hanging out with the Cowboy.

Really, other than the bladder infection that cost me four hundred dollars right before my vacation, Puckett is the only one who has been chill about this whole thing. She seems happy that I'm home, but she's not devastated that I left. In the past she would have pooped in my shoe.

I wonder sometimes if my pets and I have gotten to that point in a relationship where we are just getting on each other's nerves and we needed some time apart. They got a fun babysitter and I got a fun vacation in Hawaii. I don't like feeling this way though. I don't like not missing my pets and feeling glad to be away from them for awhile. And the funny thing is, I miss them each individually, but as a whole, I was so glad to be away from them that I really didn't want to come back.

Not wanting to come back might just be a Hawaii thing though. Who wants to come back to Wyoming after spending a week on the beach? And as soon as I got home all the crap of real life came flooding back, like housecleaning and work. And I think cleaning up after the animals and dealing with their literal and figurative crap is part of that. I have a new job to learn at my work on top of going through applications and the interview process for two new hires. I'm not looking forward to any of that as well as the never-ending pile of laundry and vacuuming.

After settling in and reacquainting myself with my real life (and doing four loads of laundry), I crawled into bed to finish reading my book and looked at Puckett curled up on the duvet, snoring away. I looked at the floor where Tess lay stretched out, also snoring away. And Percy was curled in the corner of the bedroom. Willow was in her cage. Everyone sleeping contently, snoring away, without a care in the world, and suddenly all seemed right again. And later when I sat downstairs to work on my laptop and watch The Big Bang Theory, I looked up at the top of the stairs and Tess and Puckett peeked back at me from underneath the gate, cuddled together, but still watching me as if to make sure that I hadn't slipped out in the middle of the night again. They followed me from the bedroom to the kitchen and from the kitchen to the living room. They kept checking on me to make sure I was still around.

I guess they did miss me.

I missed them too.

Piggies in the water!

Is there any felicity in the world superior to this?

These rocks revealed tons of little tide pools.  Tide pools are the most amazing things.

What sort of a guy takes a job keeping a lighthouse?

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