Friday, May 5, 2017

Finding my Way...Back to Arizona

Some of you are already aware of the life changes Left Brain and I have made recently, but most probably have not, so here it goes.

We returned to Minnesota and spent the better part of a week setting up the trailer and getting it ready to live in.  This was after a long three day drive and while living in a motel...with two cats.

The weather was cold but okay ...for a while.  Then came the night Left Brain was to stay over at Steph's house to assist Emily in getting to her volleyball competitions.

I relished the thought of a quiet night to myself in the new digs to breath and take it all in.  It ended up being a much deeper contemplation than I originally planned.

I woke very early Sunday morning to 39 degree temperatures and no furnace.  I learned later that we had already ran out of propane and I could have switched the tanks and had heat, but that's part of my be explained later.

While I sat and shivered by the electric fireplace and waiting for pickleball to start so I could go somewhere warm I started taking in the concept of once again living in a 400 square foot environment where you have to deal with propane tanks, slides, dumping septic in an RV again.  I wasn't liking the feeling, even though it is a brand new and beautiful trailer.

Last year my goal was to purchase this lot and trailer to have a summer place to return to.  Left Brain has been expressing a strong interest in doing fishing on the Mississippi River, so this would take care of everything.  

I knew that we'd be buying a place in Arizona and selling the motorhome while down there last winter as I was totally done with living in the motorhome and desperate for a house that didn't move and being part of a community again.

While in Carriage Manor I fell in love with the lifestyle and quickly made many friends while I enjoyed a host of fun filled activities.  I love Mesa and the surrounding area, the shopping is close by and easy, lots of medical facilities and the scenery of being surrounded by mountains is incredible.  

Living here was like coming out of a deep sleep...I became alive again and felt more vibrant and healthier than I had in a long time.  My desire to lose the weight and care more for myself became crucial to my being.  I even started to fix my hair and wear make up on occasion...I know, how shocking.

So it was this comparison I kept making as I sat in the trailer in Minnesota watching the wind and rain and shivering from the cold.  Left Brain came home Saturday night and by that time I had already curled up in my sweats under all the covers and was fast asleep.  I'd been up early that morning from the cold and was too exhausted to stay up much past 6:00 that night.  He remedied the problem with the propane and so I had comfort again in the morning.

As I sat on the couch Sunday morning I started doing some very introspective thinking on my situation and came to the conclusion that I just wasn't ready for this.  I didn't relish the cold weather, making yet another host of new friends, learning a new area, navigating my way around a tiny house and mostly not willing to go back to the confines of living together in such a small space.

So I sat and googled "starting life over in your sixties" and was surprised to learn that I had a lot of company out there.  There is a phenomena going on currently called the "Silver Separation" and scores of women in the sixties are wanting to separate from their spouses and just dedicating their time and effort into caring for themselves.

Women traditionally have been the peacekeepers of the family and have assisted in caring for other family members from early on.  Then we become the primary caregivers for our children and often the elderly parents (both ours and the spouses) in their end of life.  It gets tiring and somewhere along the way a woman loses sight of who she is and what she wants.

So, Sunday morning I requested a conversation with Left Brain about this situation and as difficult as it was for both of us to deal with, the outcome was that I would return to Arizona with the cats for the summer to have five months to live alone and see how it feels.  We both knew there would come a summer I'd stay here to experience it, but it happened sooner than anticipated.

Please let me explain here that he is a great guy and we remain best friends, it's just time to live apart for a while.  He helped me pack the car and I pulled away later that morning leaving him in a trailer with no transportation until he could get out to buy himself another vehicle.

My first day of driving I only made it to Des Moines due to my emotional state as well as the wind and rain.  The second night I got to the Oklahoma panhandle after a 10 hour drive.  I had planned to make the rest of the trip in two easier shifts, but ended up going for 12 hours to get all the way back home. 

I learned some valuable life lessons along the way:

1)  If you have two cats in a motel room with two beds, they will both go into hiding under separate beds when preparing to leave.  I had to physically lift the beds to extricate the furtive felines.  Note to self:  don't look too closely at anything you might spot under the bed.

2)  If you don't have any dishes for the cat's canned food, the tray for the ice bucket works nicely.  A spoon would have been nicer than having to use one's fingers, but the cats must be fed, so you do what you have to do.

3)  Coke that has frozen in the fridge WILL explode in the car as soon as you open it, creating a huge mess. 

4)  When you walk into a McDonalds in Missouri try not to laugh out loud when you spot large groups of men wearing big overalls, camouflage jackets and just makes you look deranged.

5)  Stay at better motels - the really cheap ones like the gem I found in Oklahoma for $48 often have interesting stains and fluids that resemble possible crime scenes.

6)  Grab food and bathrooms where you can...they can be far apart.

7)  Calming collars on the cats is the only way to go.  They basically are stoned from all the pheromones and have a glassy eyed look, but are oh so quiet and nice on the long drives.  Once when checking on them for what I thought might have been a pooping accident I think George actually said "Grooovy" to me.

8)  If you've stopped more than twice to check on that poop smell problem and find nothing to clean up, make note of where you are.  When going through the cattle lots of Texas there is a lot of manure.

9)  Paying for a deep cleaning of the car after such a trip is worth every penny.

I'm sure there's more nuggets of knowledge I picked up, but it's been a few days now and I've forgotten already. 

So, this is where we are at right now and you won't be confused when you get posts from me in sunny, warm (105 currently) Arizona.

Long Live the Queen of Self Imposed Exile


  1. I get it.. I love it.. good for you and I don't blame you!! Hope me and Steph can come down and visit you Thelma and Louise style!!👌😉👍

  2. I would love that, but let's do skip the driving off a cliff part...ok? I have lots of space and maybe we could arrange a river trip since they only do that in the summer.

  3. Hello. A very long time reader here. I've enjoyed your story and love your writing style, you've given me many chuckles at times I've needed them. Tonight's post prompts me to write because it hits so close to home. I've been there with the endless care giving and the wanting to discover who I am again. Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone in thinking that finally it must be my turn to live the life I want. Mary

  4. Life journeys are juat that. Journeys. Travel well.

  5. May your new journey be safe and enlightening. It must have been such an interesting trip with the two cats!! You are so brave to try that. Here's wishing you a fabulous summer!! You have a great day, hugs, Edna B.

  6. Having just lost my husband unexpectedly, I honestly cannot understand your feelings at this time. That doesn't mean that I think that you are wrong to feel the way you do. I hope that you will find the blessings of peace in your choices.
    ❤️ Lorraine