I had planned to leave by noon on Friday. As usual, didn't happen. Oh well.
The drive up was really nice. My best friend moved up there over 20 years ago. When she moved they were beginning work on Hwy 171. Uh, still not finished. We are talking over 20 years people!! There are just a few places that the roads are really bad. And it seems you are always slowing down and speeding up due to the many towns that dot the highway. Guess everyone is feeling the gas crunch because for long stretches at a time I was the only one on the highway. Which is good.. I guess. But my morbid fear kept saying if I went off the road NOBODY was gonna ever find me. I was able to sing along with the radio and get all into it.. hands in the air and clamping.. all that jazz! Really feeling it. LOL Brought back those feelings of being young and cruising around. Except,,, I'm older, have a better vehicle and well.. I can drink legally HAHAHA
Friday night I was able to meet up with my best friend. She's still just a crazy and fun as she was back in the day (as my kids call it). Its insane to see her as a mom. A single mom doing all the stuff it takes Rich and I to do.. and she does it and makes it look so effortless! She's an amazing mom and rightly so she has two amazing kids. She has done a wonderful job raising her kids. They are funny, respectful, smart, beautiful and handsome.. I could go on and on.
We caught up on things and I think I left around 11p.m.? I didn't bunk with her because she had been sick.. like really sick and I don't want to be that sick. No thanks! It was kinda nice having my own place to come and go like I wanted and not worry I was waking people up.
When I get to the hotel I noticed two cop cars along side each other talking. Hmm.. good thing or bad thing to have two cops in your hotel parking lot? At least they could see me and I felt safer. I drove round and round trying to find a blasted parking space. All the slots in front of my room were taken. All the slots behind the front office/bar/casino were taken. I'm sure the cops thought I was drunk for all the backing up and driving round and round the lot I did. Finally, I had to go inside and ask where was I allowed to park.
The clerk is one of those "honey, sweetie, love, baby" kinda people. And it would be fine if she was a motherly-looking woman. But she was not. She wasn't uglee.. but NOT the kind who needed to be saying those things. She insisted there were slots behind the bar. Oh? Show me. She had that look of distain on her face as she led me out the back door. That face quickly turned to dismay as she discovered I was correct. Then she mentioned the bar was having a few bday parties. Well.. HELLO, Hunny, suga, baby, cutie pie, ya think that could be the problem??? She suggested I make a new row on the end of the cars behind the bar. Hmm.. and when they all leave the bar my truck will then be sitting out in the lane?? Don't think so. Finally I opted to park further down from my room. It was pretty late and if anyone was rolling up at this time they were just gonna have to do like I did and drive around until they found something.
After checking email and yacking to a few people online - yes, gotta have my internet fix even away from home! - I crashed. Hard.
The next morning my eyes formed tiny slits to peek and see what time it was. 8:30. A quick text message to Rich and I was up and getting ready. I wasn't hungry and opted to ride around seeing how much had changed since we had evacuated there for the hurricane in 2005.
Now, you have to understand something about me. I'm really not sure why I'm gonna confess this. Oh yah, I know. So that you can understand why the next part of my story is such a big deal to me. Some will be rolling your eyes, but for me it's a major accomplishment.
I have a fear. A fear of the unknown. I am deathly afraid of going alone to places I have never been. Seriously. Funny? Not really. You know that nervousness you get when you are not sure what door to enter or where you are supposed to be going? Magnify that like a bazillion. Seriously. A wave of heat sweeps over me and I cannot hear anything but silence - deafening silence ringing in my ears. I'm looking around but my brain will not register what I am seeing. I don't see the details like the desk I need to be walking to or the door I need to be looking for.. I just see a wall and people. People who are looking at me as I stand there frozen with this deer in the headlights look on my face and unable to form coherent sentences. This is a far cry from how I was at say 18 through 20. Once I was married I stayed home and started a family. I had no reason to go out and .. no money to go places so I just stayed home. Once I had kids it was better. They were my excuse. I could walk in adjust the baby or the stroller or fiddle with a diaper bag as I desperately tried to look around quickly and see the surroundings. I know, I know. It's crazy! After years and years of doing this I just prefered my safe little web and rarely ventured out. I do my best not to have my children repeat this. I encourage them that they CAN do it and give that mommie nudge when needed. If only they knew their mother was so afraid herself. YIKES!
Showered and dressed, I have decided I will drive around and see what has all changed. I will venture out! And I did. I cruised around and saw all kinds of neat shops being built. Blah. None to shop at. I can see cars turning off onto a detour ahead. GULP. Where were they going? They may know, but I have no clue! Follow them! They lead the way and I followed through a subdivision and an apartment complex. I'd never find my way back now. It really didn't matter. I'm not nervous nelly when it comes to navigating. Granted, normally Rich does the driving and I tell him where to go. This is almost the same, right? Driving, looking... not many cars.. weather is beautiful... I see.. what's that?? A mall!
Just recently I have entered the world of shopping. I hated shopping before. Now? Step aside! Found some really cute shoes at Dillard's. Worked my way down the first corridor and ended up at Lane Bryant. Ohoo.. I dunno where my sense of fear went, but it wasn't there and I could have cared less. I'm sure it's because I felt the security of the mall and most malls are the same with the shops all lined up. You are supposed to look like you are taking it all in - and I was. In the dressing from for the 3rd time and my phone is ringing. Who could that be??
ahh.. best friend.
BF: Where ya at?
ME: Girl, I dunno where in the world I am, but I'm trying on some clothes in a mall I stumbled on! :::squeeling with delight::::
BF: Uhm... are you at BP Mall?
ME: Why. yes. I am!
BF: Well, ::chuckle:: That is across from your hotel. It's behind the Burger King.
WHAT??? Seems my little detour took me around the back side of the mall and it sure seemed like I was way down yonder and nowhere near my room with all the driving I had done. A good chuckle with a very red face indeed. Live and learn! Here I thought I had discovered some hidden mall that even my BF didn't know existed after living there for 20 years.
After plunking down 75 well-spent dollars I made bee-line for the hotel! It was time for the services and I needed to put on my dress clothes.
To be continued..... trust me when I say you don't wanna miss it!