Stranger on the plane

As I wrote yesterday or the day before (damn the last week is a blur), I was pretty paranoid about leaving vegas after what happened last time I said goodbye to a friend.  All the bullshit I went through at the airport in Houston to get to vegas, had me dreading the trip even more.  (another story for another time)

As I walked through the door of the airport, a sudden calm washed over me.  Maybe it was the xanax kicking in, maybe it was that I was going to home to see girls, I honestly don’t know what it was.  Maybe it was exhaustion?  Either way I had not a care in the world.  I didn’t take more than 10 steps into the door before I found a porter ready and waiting with a wheelchair for me.  When I showed him the boarding pass on my phone I realized I was in seat 8F  ( yah window seat….maybe I could sleep?).

I barely remember that pat down, even though the foley catheter (who’s name is boppy, for bag of pee) set off the metal wand, I really don’t remember much about it.  We stopped for coffee and I was deposited at the gate.

I was the first to board the plane (after the pilot and flight attendants.)  The agent that took me to the plane even stashed my bag overhead for me.  I balled up my sweatshirt and laid my head on it closing my eyes to let the world drift away.  I couldn’t have slept more than a few minutes, before being awaken by this sight.flight home (9)

Meet Timmy

Timmy is the service dog for my new friend Bob…… Bob has Retinitis Pigmentosa, and is going blind, or as doctors have told him, he should have been completely blind years ago.  But I am getting ahead of myself, let me take a few steps back.

So I open my eyes, see this beautiful patient dog looking at me and let my eyes wonder up the harness to the man holding it.  He asks, “Are you ok with dogs?”…. I kind of shook my head and muttered, “um yeah, but where is he going to sit?”   thinking….Does he get a seat? are you putting a seat belt on him? is he going to sit on your lap?  The stranger responded, “oh he’s just going to sit down under our legs”   HUH?  (remember I have a German shepherd, who always TRIES to lay under my legs)…. Again, Ok.

Sure enough, Timmy laid under the seat in front of the stranger and between his legs.  As the other passengers finished boarding, the stranger allowed me to take several pictures, an introduce myself to Timmy.  At one point he said, I have RP and this is my service dog.  I actually knew what RP was…..well kind of, I knew how to say it, and that it meant he was going blind.  I think I surprised the hell out of him that I had heard of his condition.  You see, I follow and greatly admire the writer Susan Richardson, the author of Stories from the Edge of Blindness.  Susan has also been diagnosed and living with RP for 16 years.  If you don’t know Susan, please check out her blog, you won’t be sorry.

So back to the “stranger” on the plane, His name is Bob by the way, and by the end of the flight, he really was no stranger at all, but an incredible, smart, friendly guy.  We talked for the full four hours of our flight ( although it really felt much shorter than that)  We discussed politics.  yes I said discussed.  We disagreed about a few things, but I think we both LEARNED from each other.

When we were discussing how to find happiness while living with a health condition, he taught me a new term, “stamp collector” to describe a person that holds on to any and every misdeed that someone has done to  them.  We both agreed the secret to happiness is NOT collecting stamps, both literally and figuratively.

I could go on and on about the things we talked about, but I guess the whole point of this post, is that I am glad a “stranger” took a chance to open up about themselves and took the time to listen to another stranger’s stories and opinions.

I’m not a religious person by any means, but I do feel like I was “blessed” that day on my way home, and I am grateful for it.  I am also very grateful to have met so many wonderful new friends here on the interwebz.  Sincerely, I Thank you all from the bottom of my broken heart.

Soon, I’m going to have to tell you all about my Best Friend Gary, (the reason I went to Vegas), and about all the things he did to keep my mind occupied while I was there.  I really am a lucky girl.  For now though, I have the pleasure of Dutch’s company while Dan’s family finds a new home back in Illinois.

dutch

Is it a guy thing or a puppy thing that makes them take EVERY toy out of the bin?!?!?  lol

Not even a little graceful

I am totally losing my shit here. I am sitting in the parking lot at the funeral home reminding myself that prison orange is not my color.

Prison orange is not your color Grace!! Prison orange is not your color Grace !!! prison orange is not your color Grace!!!

Fucking idiot funeral director. Did you inherit the business from your family because you’re sure as f*** don’t have any compassion.

Kristina asked me to meet her at the funeral home this morning. I was supposed to bring the black shirt from Einstein that Dan will buried in. I was supposed to help her talk to the funeral director about making sure Dan receives a military funeral because he is a veteran and deserves that recognition.

When I got here this morning I introduced myself explaining that I was a friend of the family and that Christina was running late but would be here soon. I handed the jackass the shirt and asked what the status of the military benefits were. See the problem is Dan’s discharge papers are packed in one of a thousand boxes still loaded on the moving truck from the move back to Illinois. Without that information we were told a military funeral is impossible.

I call bullshit!!!! Give me a phone number give me an address…. if you’re too f****** lazy to do it yourself I’ll do it. I really was still calm at this point. Until he said, there is no way to get the information in time, you do realize it’s a weekend right?

What did you just say to me? !?!?!? So Dan should have picked a better day to die?!?!? No I think maybe we should have picked a better Funeral Home. Stupid son of a bitch.

I stormed out and as I said I am sitting in my car….. maybe prison orange isn’t so bad….but just in case…anyone mind taking up a collection for bail money?!?!

Irrational fears

As I was setting up the coffee maker this morning, (the ONE time Gary hadn’t beat me to it) I had this horrible feeling of Dejavu. The last time I said goodbye to a friend before boarding a plane, he died a few hours later…… I know that one thing has nothing to do with the other, but I literally started having a panic attack….smh. I don’t understand how my brain works in the least..logic and emotion certainly do not go well together…..over the last few days in vegas, I have jumped off a building, gone zip lining, secured a very nice sunburn for myself, and rode the rides on top of the stratosphere….im fearless in that department, but I am afraid to death of losing another person. I wasn’t able to “talk myself down” from this one…..yah for xanax…and wordpress…and facebook.

The LAST time

I had hoped to share 100’s of pictures, and stories about my last few days in Houston, and my subsequent arrival in Las Vegas.  I wanted to to share videos that we made while we were sharing that ceremonious first bottle of wine that you have when you are welcoming someone into a new home or new phase of their life.  I wanted to tell you about the christening of the grill at the new house, but instead I am here sharing my tears….and

I am asking for a moment of silence.

When I woke about in Las Vegas, (eight hours after saying goodbye )  it was to an explosion of missed phone calls and texts from Kristina (dan’s wife).  Honestly I thought maybe I had mistakenly taken the keys to the rental with me, or they couldn’t find something that I had unpacked…..  I read the last text that said…”CALL ME ASAP, Dan is in the hospital.

I curiously wondered if he did really ride the motorcycle off the truck like I wanted to do, and maybe broke a bone or something…. When Kristina answered, I did not expect to hear, “Grace Dan died”

I don’t have any answers, instead I have a hundred questions.

Dan just turned 46 in April.  Did I mention I just hugged him 8 hours ago?!?!?  He grabbed a cup of coffee that morning, went out to the garage to have a cigarette, and collapsed.

The hospital is performing an autopsy and the family that just packed up their whole lives to start a fresh one, lost their “ROCK”.  If you are a religious person, please say a prayer for them,  if you are not please take a moment of silence to help me honor my friend.  If you like Beer, maybe have a couple of those too?

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share this with you.

 

Things NOT to do when relocating out of state

Although pizza and beer are must have parts of the moving experience for me.. I learned that I should not over indulge on either when celebrating the last item being loaded on the truck. Especially if the last item loaded was the bed I planned on sleeping in.
Time flies when you go to sleep at 3 am and wake up at 5, but really really drags when you are driving flat land…smh

You CAN “beat” the governor that they put on rental trucks.

While driving with a Foley catheter lets you cover an incredible amount of distance before having to stop… you should still take frequent mental health breaks. After hitting the rumble strips on the road a couple of times…. I got this service message..whoops.

And if you do get a service message try to pull over in a “bigger” town. I have already learned (a future post) if you can avoid it, do NOT pull over on the side of the road. The town I pulled off into had a gas station half the size of this building.

Although the gentleman that greeted me was very friendly…. with his toothless grin, I realized that I have watched way too many episodes of criminal minds.

Meet Dutch

While dogs make great travel companions they suck at navigation and googling what the service light means…smh

I SHOULD have learned not to get too far ahead of the other vehicles traveling with me, especially since they were the ones unloading that bed I mentioned earlier. (I arrived almost two hours before the rest of the group.)

When I walked into the house it was 96 degrees INSIDE!

I spent about 20 minutes trying to turn the air conditioning on before I realized that it was broken beyond my scope of having a clue how to fix it.

Beer thirty

While trying to not let my cold beer go to waste (Did I mention I can’t move a fridge?) I was sitting outside which was much cooler than inside, kind of quickly drinking my beer, and got the opportunity to meet several of my friends new neighbors. One offered me use of their fridge while another couple invited me for dinner. I politely (I think) declined both but continued with chatting with “my new friends” while finishing the six pack.

When the rest of “the party” arrived, Dan was able to “fix” the air conditioning and I unloaded the bed I could carry

Of course there were a lot of other events that may be worth mentioning but the final thing I learned is MAYBE over-indulgance on any level can be a bad thing….. does anyone have an aspirin?