Happy With a New Toy

Reuben, AKA "Ruby Tuesday"

Well, we all get cabin fever, especially Reuben the Dog.  He is not fond at all of staying in the house all day.  He is used to his own large back yard and plenty of play time, not so used to the apartment living that he has been relocated to.  But after just a trip to the pet store, he was a happy boy with new chew toys and a nice new pillow.  

I wish it only took a new chewy to ease my cabin fever!  But the fever has definitely set in and I'm only half way into the two month hiatus that is this stay in Oklahoma.  (Only five more weeks!)

I've only lived in an apartment once before.  I was seventeen and living with a bunch of artsy college guys who listened to Joni Mitchell, read Proust, and had an undying crush on the (then young and single pre-Tom Hanks era) Katie Holmes.  I know I was seventeen then because I remember being in that apartment the night before I turned eighteen.  I stayed up all night sketching a drawing for my first tattoo...which of course, I still have today (thankfully unregrettably).  Anyhow, when you're that age, apartments aren't that irritating, though I do remember feeling hatred toward the massive quantities of cement framing the complex.  We had some good parties and the kitchen was always a mess, (especially after we tried to make tofu from scratch...soy beans everywhere)!

Now, just a bit over a decade later, I've found myself tolerating apartment living again, if only temporarily.  It's a brand new complex with (and all the signage outside reminds us daily in hot orange with bold lettering) stained cement floors, custom cabinets, vaulted ceilings...you get the idea.  But all the amenities can't hide the closeness of the neighbors or the concrete jungle just outside the door, or the whining of the husky upstairs at two in the morning.  (I know that dog is over sixty five pounds, because I know my dog is too, tsk tsk on us both.)  And, I will try not to mention the puke decorating the parking space outside after the neighbors partied like it was 1999 last weekend.

It only made sense to bring one car, which is at the Academy half the day with Matt.  I can't get out of the house during the day anyway since I am homeschooling the kids, but even so, I do get a bit stir crazy (thus all the blogging, thank god for that).  It's not that I don't have a million hobbies to occupy myself with.  I brought art supplies, my guitar, novels,...but when the kids are doing their homeschool, I can hardly take a pee break without the internet crashing or a word needing defined, or something.  Being a homeschool facilitator is not an endeavor for the weary, that's the truth.

As the days run together here in Okie-ville, I am reminded of a hike I took once.  At the time I had two big dogs and a chubby baby who enjoyed being in the backpack.  I packed us all up and drove to a trailhead on the Olympic Peninsula a friend had told me about.  The sign read that the trail was a loop with no fork in the path or other means for getting lost, and that it was less than 2 miles round trip.  This was nothing out of the ordinary for me at the time, only a new trail, nothing to worry about.

The day was beautiful, a bit muggy, and warm.  But the more I hiked the more silent the cedars became.  The giant ferns seemed to be holding reality at bay.  Only the hum of insects interrupted from time to time as the hike continued.  I had packed water in the car but left it all at the trailhead, knowing from experience that there is always water for the dogs on the peninsula.  Not that day.  The trail, though mild in elevation gain, was hot and dusty and the dogs panted louder and louder as each wooden bridge we came to crossed dauntingly over dry creek bed.  The insects hummed louder, the baby slept on my back, the dogs panted, I put one foot in front of the other and things went on like this for an immeasurably long time.

I feel just like that, some days here in Oklahoma.  I feel just like I am walking on that trail back on the Peninsula and there is no end and no beginning and no time...only the task at hand.

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