Vacation Blues

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 29, 2014

It may be one of the signs of the apocalypse.
And friends tell me I may want to browse Nostradamus as well.
All I know is that, as I type, fingers quite nearly trembling, I am compelled to share what is possibly a sure sign of the end times: Paul and I are going away on vacation. Together. For the first time in 15 years. For three whole days!
Actually, that should read more like this: while Paul has hop-scotched through France, Italy, and England a half dozen times in the last few years, judging rose trials (or so he says- I, myself, am rather skeptical having seen the photographs of what appears to be a lot of empty wine glasses and bloodshot expressions in the middle of a garden, somewhere), it’s not that I have then gone on my own jaunts.
Fact is, I ain’t been nowhere.
But that is by choice, I tell myself, dutifully refilling water buckets in the barn and bending down to wipe up cat sick on the kitchen floor, because unless you want to refer to your critters as, ‘deadstock,’ one has to be responsible.
I’m excited as I have found an extremely competent farm-sitter (oh, yes, there is a big market for this and far more detailed than the average dog-sitter, as working knowledge of a manure spreader is required), which means Paul and I can toodle away without a care in the world to the outer banks for sun, surf, and a margarita so big it comes with a riptide warning.
Or so I say…because leaving the farm for more than a couple of hours is, for me, tantamount to a new mother leaving her infant with a babysitter for the first time, to go out for dinner. There will be a barrage of worried texts and late night, “Is everybody OK?” calls, as well as emails with the subject line reading, “Just in case…”
Before I’m written off as a complete loon, it needs to be pointed out that there is validation in my psychosis. One time, while still living in California and performing in Lake Tahoe, wild fires broke out down south, near where my horses were boarded, and everyone in the barn was evacuated, twice.
Paul is still smarting from making the decision not to tell me so as not to affect my performances and waiting, instead, until he picked me up at the airport.
“What?!” I shrieked as we pulled away from LAX.
“They’re all fine,” he tried to assure me, “They were all loaded up and moved to another location until the winds turned the fire towards that place, so we moved them…”
“How could you not tell me? What if they had died!”
“Because I knew you had three shows to do Saturday night!” he replied, voice rising, “And they didn’t die.”
“Well, they could have! In the future, I don’t care about the stupid shows- if my horses are in any kind of danger, you tell me because I will get home even if I have to walk!”
Oddly enough, a few years later and having just moved here to the farm, it was Lake Tahoe that required my leaving again, and after settling on one sitter, Paul phoned, meekly, to report that the young woman had arrived two hours late for the horses’ scheduled dinner time, and had left one very nervous hot house flower, a show horse that had never spent a night in the field before, out in the dark, resulting in this animal being so terrified that he galloped towards her headlights and leapt out of the field, directly in front of the her car as she came down the drive, pulling a section of fence down with him.
“But he’s OK. He’s not hurt.” Paul ended the tale.
“That is it!” I raged, over the phone. “He could have broken all four legs and been run over. I’m never going away again- and now I’ve got to somehow pull myself together and do stand-up in front of 500 people. Great, just great.”
It’s only taken me 14 years to recover from that episode in order to trust another sitter. But one has to have a life, as well, so we are all loaded up and will leave the cats and horses in her meticulous care and, with the terriers gnawing the upholstery in the back seat, off we go towards our dog-friendly hotel.
And if all goes well and everyone remains in one piece while I’m gone, I might just go away again 2030!

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