Big Changes

A lot has happened during the last couple of weeks.  Really big changes – some bad, some good… all of them completely altering the landscape around here a little.

First, I had to have Satine put down.  I know I wrote about that previously, so I don’t need to go into the whys.. but it’s sufficient to say that having to do that was the worst thing that I have ever had to do.  Not that she didn’t go peacefully (she did), and not that I did it prematurely (I didn’t), but it doesn’t matter whether it’s the right thing to do or not… it still hurts.  And, afterward, there wasn’t a thing that I could do to make myself feel better.  The house felt so empty.  I felt so lost.  I kept thinking I would hear her talking.  Or walking.  Or that I’d see her when I walked by her window.  Thing is, I truly believe that that WAS her… maybe I sound crazy, but the connection I had with that cat was very unusual.  So I believe that she is still here to some extent.  And I doubt she will ever leave me completely.

Four days later, Ormsby and I flew to Tampa.  It was the first time I’ve been back since my move up here.  I stayed away, primarily, to try to make the transition a little easier on myself – it’s impossible to live when I have one foot in one place and one foot in the other.  But I finally got so homesick over this last winter that I caved and bought tickets.  We stayed at a hotel on Rocky Point and rented a pretty awesome car.  I got to see all of my friends.

But there was something else to this trip – it was an exploratory one.  Because I really, really, really want to go back.  Permanently.  I made more money there.  I had a better job (and more opportunities) there.  But most of all, well, it’s sunny there.  And I was happier there.  Was I happy all the time?  No.  I do wonder whether some of that unhappiness could have been rectified by, say, a job change.  Or an address change.  Or a phone number change (or all of them, maybe).  Something not as drastic as what I eventually decided to do, but something that would, at least, put some distance between myself and the factors that were making me unhappy.

I want to move back.  But I don’t want to leave Ormsby.  And that’s my rock and hard place.  I love Ormsby.  I do not love Louisville.  I am able to separate the two, thankfully.  And so this trip to Tampa was more for him than for me.  I wanted him to see the city, experience the city, figure out what is so damned seductive about that place.  And he was amazed.  And he fell in love.  Enough to move there?  I have no idea.  I guess we’ll see when the lease is up.

For me, though… the winter here is pretty dreadful.  I have Seasonal Affective Disorder… when it gets cold, when I can’t be out in the sunshine, it really gets me down.  And there’s just the fact that I do not like Louisville much.  I thought I’d be able to get back into the groove of things, but after Tampa, this city is, for me, a small town with big city ambitions that it will never quite reach.  When the biggest thing that happens all year is Derby (and all anyone thinks about after one race is over is when the next one is going to be), then it’s time to find something else to occupy the other weeks out of the year.  When a city must hold banquets honoring minorities just to prove that it’s not racist, then, I hate to break it to you, but the city is racist.  When pageant queens and Hooters competitions make the newspaper, it’s time to find better news coverage (maybe more than a blurb about all the black people that get shot on a daily basis, and what the police are doing to find the killers?).

Sure Tampa had its big events (Gasparilla, for example), but the point is, there is more than one.  And the entire city didn’t shut down just because of one thing… except the RNC.  But that was a special case that was pretty much out of anyone’s control. And then there’s the food.  OMG.  If you haven’t been to Tampa before, you should go… if for nothing else, than just to go to some of the restaurants there. But while you’re there, take in the rest of the city… I like to say that it’s one of the best-kept secrets in tourism.

So, anyway, the goal… at the end of the year… is to find a way to put myself back there.  And to bring Ormsby with me.  If he will go.  If he won’t, to be honest, I’ll likely go anyway – there is nothing worse than mentally suffering for six months just because the snow is on the ground.  It will be sad to leave him behind, but I can’t make myself suffer.  That’s just not fair.

When we got back, the biggest change of all happened.  After Satine passed, Ormsby and I were at Petsmart… just looking… and we found a kitty.  She was spoken for already, but the rescue society that had her had two others that needed homes.  I got first pick.  But, see, the downfall in that is that I can’t choose just one.  So I took them both.  One is female, about 10 months, orange.  I call her Cleo.  The other is a male, about 12 weeks, a gray tabby that looks like Satine a little bit.  I call him Milo.  They are a bonded pair… and it’s adorable to watch Milo follow Cleo around.

Yesterday we picked them up.  And I dropped about $400 on cat supplies.  Milo is at the vet today getting neutered.  Cleo is, at the moment, exploring the bedroom and sniffing my flip flops – which smell like Tampa, I’m sure.  They both purr a lot… and both are lap cats.  Of course I still miss Satine a lot.  But the house is definitely not empty anymore.  And I’m absolutely crazy about the new furballs that live here.



I have tried to write this five times since August and I’ve failed miserably every time.  But sooner or later I knew I wanted, needed, to post it.

My cat, Satine, is almost fourteen years old.  We met way back in 2002 when I was about to complete my freshman year of college and she was a two-week-old rescue that needed four hour feedings because her mother had abandoned her.  We didn’t have any room for her and her siblings at the vet clinic where I worked, but my parents had just gotten a condo for me to live in for the summer, and I was in need of a cat.  So I told them that if they could hang on to her for me for two more weeks, until finals were over, I’d take her.  They agreed.

They called a week later – when my condo was only half ready and when I was in the middle of finals – to tell me that if I wanted her I needed to come now.  Her siblings had all gotten sick and, while she wasn’t sick yet, she likely would be soon.  Two of them had already died.  The third was already sick.  When I picked her up that afternoon and they asked if I wanted them both, the rescuer in me wanted to take both of them and try to rehab the boy.  But I knew better – when they are that little, once they start getting diarrhea like that, there isn’t much you can do.

I took her back to my condo… she was so small – her ears weren’t even all the way up yet.  She weighed about two-tenths of a pound.  And she was covered in shit.  I put her in the bathroom sink and cleaned her again and again with Dawn until she was clean.  Then I wrapped her in a towel and held her until she dried.

Throughout the night I tried feeding her several times (by feeding her, I mean with a bottle) but she wouldn’t eat.  Finally, at about 2 a.m., I gave up, wrapped her in my old Dr. Seuss sweatshirt, and went to bed, figuring I’d wake up to a dead kitten.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I woke up the next morning with her nestled snugly in that crook of my neck between my chin and my chest, warm, sleeping, and purring away.  When she ate that morning, I realized that she was going to be okay.

She quickly became my shadow… following me everywhere, talking all the time (she is QUITE the talker), getting into messes she shouldn’t… she actually stole one of my beanie babies – a hamster that she was determined to have, no matter where I put it.  To this day, she carries it with her everywhere.

She’s not an easy cat to handle.  She has had serious urinary issues (even a bladder stone), she hates the vet – so much so, that one of her old medical charts is covered in his blood.  I even had to remove her stitches on my own, because the doctors were too afraid to do it.  She does not get along with anyone… not other cats, not dogs, not people… Well, except for me… And she’s finally, after a year and a half of living with him, started to let Ormsby pet her.  But I think we both know that the only person that will ever get the privilege of picking her up and snuggling her will be me…

Almost fourteen years after that day in 2002, Satine and I have moved around a lot.  She’s lived in four states – Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Florida.  In essence, through everything, she’s been my constant.  See, she’s the only living creature that has BEEN there for the entirety of my adult life.  She’s been there as I completed a degree and started working on another one.  She’s been there, right beside me, watching television or playing World of Warcraft.  She’s sat stubbornly in empty laundry baskets when I was trying to fold clothes, or stretched out in my clean bed after I’ve changed the sheets – or on my freshly vacuumed floor.  She’s the one thing that has met me, consistently, at the door when I got home from work, or came home from traveling, or even just the grocery store.  And though no one believes me when I say this, she talks to me.  Like, literally talks to me (in cat… or duck… when she feels like quacking).  We have conversations.  To us this is normal… to everyone else?  I guess I sound like a crazy cat lady.

But that’s my point… she’s been there for me when there was no one else – through an abusive marriage and a comparatively civil divorce, through countless relationships and breakups.  Her finest moment came at the end of one of those, when she scratched the hell out of Botboy’s hand when he was moving his shit out of my apartment (when I wasn’t home) – and afterward, when she sat on my feet in my bed that night as I lay there, trying to comprehend what had just happened.

About six months ago, though, after we moved, she started rapidly losing weight.  And that wasn’t normal for her.  She’s always been a big girl and to drop weight like that wasn’t good for her.  I took her to the vet, got a diagnosis… and at this point, I am just keeping her comfortable.  I could put her through surgeries, and medication, and multiple vet trips and tests but you know, she hates the doctor so much, and hates leaving the house so much, that I have a hard time justifying putting her through that torture when all it would do is prolong the inevitable.  She is not in pain.  She sleeps a lot, but is still eating very well and still has enough energy to play with me now and then, and to carry her stuffed hamster from room to room.   I do not know how long she has, but I have noticed a big change in her this winter – and I can’t decide whether it’s due to the cold, or whether it’s just due to the fact that she is getting older and slowing down.  I guess time will tell.

In the meantime, now that she really needs me, it’s my turn to be there for her.  Because that’s what best friends do.



Internet Dating Escapades Part XXXV


It is absolutely 100 percent evident on my Facebook profile that I am in a relationship.

And yet I am messaged almost weekly by people that “like my profile photo.”  They are not bots.  The one last week might have been a terrorist (he was from Pakistan and ridiculously excited when he found out I was American).

I can’t figure out if they choose to ignore the obvious or, like the ones on OKC, only capable of looking at photos and not actually reading (or caring to read) anything about me.

Still, as long as they keep messaging me, I’ll keep fucking with them…

(Click to enlarge photos.)




The Picture Frame

I got married to Mr. Ex nine years ago.  And on our first (and only) anniversary, in 2007, my parents gave us a 16×20 print of one of our wedding pictures.  It came in a very expensive frame that was, truth be told, worth more than the print itself.  I hung it on one of the walls in our house.

The same year, I won tickets to meet JK Rowling in New York City at Carnegie Hall.  We made a vacation out of it and stayed in New York for about a week.  I bought a lot of souvenirs over that week, one of which was a large print that I got from a street vendor.

The marriage itself was bad.  Mr. Ex was abusive, I was unhappy, and probably never should have married the guy to begin with.  The reasons why I did make for a very long story and I’m not going to go into that here (that’s a topic for another post).  But I bring it up only because when I moved out, I took the wedding print, and its frame, with me.  Not because I wanted to keep the print, mind you, but because the frame was worth a lot of money and I figured Mr. Ex would just destroy it.  I also took the New York print with me, but kept it in storage since I didn’t know for certain where or how I wanted to hang it.

Since the divorce in 2008, I have changed residences six times.  With each move, I have taken that frame (and both the wedding and the New York print) with me in to each home or storage unit I have rented.  I didn’t even think to separate the wedding print from the frame until just before my second to last relocation attempt.  Mostly because the print and frame stayed well out of sight, but also because I wasn’t sure that I knew how.  But, when I was preparing to move from Florida to Kentucky, I finally managed to separate the two so that they could be transported separately.  My original thought was to trash the print and keep the frame, but then thought that I might be better off to spray paint the print (so that I didn’t have to look at it) and use it as backing for something new that I’d purchase to put in the old frame.

Now, almost eight years since my divorce, I have moved into a house with someone else.  Last night, while Lord Ormsby went to our old apartment and prepared it for turnover to the former landlord, I stayed in the house and continued with the unpacking process.  As I was moving things around, I came across that New York print again and had a brainstorm… what if that print would go in the frame?  Surely I had tried that before… to no avail… right?

But I couldn’t remember, one way or another.  So I decided to try it again.

So, carefully, delicately, I added the print to the frame and secured it.  Then I flipped it over.  It was like the print was made for the frame… the scheme is nearly perfect.  In fact, the frame looks better with this print in there than it ever did with the wedding photo.

When Ormsby came home, I showed it to him and I told him I was either very stupid (for carrying both of those things around for seven years and never realizing that they went together) or brilliant for finally figuring it out.  Ormsby compared it, instead, to what happened between us: that after years of not realizing it, we finally got together, and we just… well… work.  Somehow that analogy is very appropriate… because he’s right.  The pieces were there ten years ago, and then seven years ago (after my divorce) and we didn’t see it…(okay maybe not quite “there” in the same sense of this frame and the print…it’s not like we talked for all of that time, and I certainly didn’t pack him up and move him to six different locations before I finally slept with him).  But for whatever it’s worth, we’re here, and together, now… and we work.  Just the way they we believe we were supposed to all along.

And in both situations, ultimately, the point of this isn’t whether I was stupid for not seeing it or brilliant for finally thinking of it… the point is that, regardless of how long it took, I eventually did get there.



At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, I have to say this:

I am really not a fan of Christmas.

For me, the holiday always equals a lot of stress… figuring out what to buy everyone, trying to figure out how to keep all of that in budget (and still pay bills), people trying to plan family get-togethers, having to be “on” all the time and coming away from my “time off” feeling that I really need a vacation from all of the celebration.

Let me explain what I mean by being “on” all the time.  First and foremost, I am an introvert.  I am an introvert that has borderline social anxiety disorder.  So it’s a double-edged sword.  Like all introverts, I NEED time away from social interaction to just be alone.  But unlike the classic introvert, even small social get-togethers that are with people that I’ve known all my life are enough push me over the edge.  I don’t get panic attacks so much anymore, but the stress of all of that is a constant battle I wage.

Last year wasn’t so bad.  I wasn’t working.  I had a limited amount of social interaction so I had the energy saved up to do all of the Christmases.  I could bargain with myself… telling myself that it’s only for a few days and then I could go back into my shell again.  But this year, I can’t do that. This year has been phenomenally worse… mostly because the days I have “off” from work are the holidays only.  So although I may not have to go into work where people are demanding something from me all the time, but I am still expected to be “on”… “on” as in not depressed, not stressed, not anxious.  Because no one can see that… no one can know that I am really NOT okay.  As soon as this holiday is over, I have to go back to work.  So there really will be no peace.

I think what is most exhausting about it all, though, is that, at least in my world, Christmas never really ends until the end of January.  We do the Christmas with my parents, like always, and that one is not so bad.  But the extended family Christmases go on and on and on.  There’ll be one the week after.  Then one three weeks after.  So I don’t get a reprieve until… well… whatever the next holiday is when everyone is off from work.  Labor Day?  July 4th?

This Christmas has been particularly difficult.  Due to the new work schedule, moving stress, and possibly a case of shingles (that might also be a pinched nerve), I opted not to go to Ormsby’s brother’s house for Christmas and decided to stay with my sister and brother-in-law instead.  Ormsby, of course, went to be with his family.  So we are apart.  I don’t like it.  But, as going with him would be more of said stress, more of a need to be “on” all the time, I realize it couldn’t have been any other way.

Still, it’s been hard.  Not just because all I heard out of Ormsby all day was a lot of photo texts (not even so much as a phone call… or even a Skype call like we’d discussed…), but because my mind is not on Christmas.  It’s on all of the absolute SHIT I have to do to make the new house livable before his father comes to visit on Friday.  It’s on the fact that I have just spent three days doing absolutely nothing, when I have a pile of dishes that have to be done before they can be used, furniture that has to be rearranged so that I can unpack MORE boxes, put MORE stuff away, and just the simple fact that, well, I need to be back in my own space.

I’ve thought a lot during the last three days or so.  Mostly back to all of the Christmases I’ve had since I’ve been an adult.  The ones in my twenties… from, at least, about 20 until 26, aren’t worth commenting on.  They are so far in the past, and pre-divorce, that I don’t even think about them (fondly or otherwise).  The first post-divorce Christmas involved a trip to Florida… my first trip to Florida since High School… and was followed swiftly by the resolution that, no matter what it took, I needed to live there.

Christmases later, after the relocation became a reality, I spent most of them on planes flying back to Kentucky.  But the visits were always so short lived that I’d be in and out and back in the sunshine before I knew it.

Except one Christmas in Florida… when I couldn’t afford to go home… I anticipated that that Christmas would suck.  And it was strange, to be sure, to be alone, with no family nearby.  But it was relaxing as well.  And it was when Botboy (who was deployed) and I kept each other company on Skype… before any of the “relationship” shit happened.  I got a lot done… I reorganized my apartment, cooked a lot, talked a lot, wrote, and watched a lot of television, and the time passed faster than I thought it would.  I look back on that one fondly… for reasons that have little (if anything) to do with Botboy.  Because the stress of having to be somewhere on time, of having to be “on,” of having to appease the demands and desires of every family member I have were not on me… at least, not after I finally, flatly, and sternly told my aunt that I was NOT going to ask my father for $500 to fly me to Kentucky.

I have, often, considered telling everyone that I am good for one Christmas and one Christmas only.  That they need to choose which is the most imperative for me to be at.  I feel that this would alleviate some of the personal stress and hell that I go through.  But of course that opens another can of worms because then I am told that I am “selfish.” And that everyone will miss me.  The missing me part, I’m sure, is very true.  But I don’t think it’s selfish to try to look out for myself.  And I am really NOT that selfish… selfish people don’t risk the certainty of a true panic attack to go to malls, Toys-R-Us, and Target to find toys and clothes to donate to underprivileged kids… I could easily save that energy and put it into a family Christmas… (and save the money and, simultaneously, save my credit score) but I get more satisfaction out of helping kids who don’t have anything get at least SOMETHING under their trees.  Funny… that’s the most fun I get out of Christmas, despite the fact that I don’t get to watch them open any of them, and despite the fact that, after I’ve made the drop off, I really just want to go to bed.

So my current situation is this:  I am sitting on my sister’s sofa, typing this blog.  The left side of my torso is completely numb, beginning at my spinal cord and wrapping all the way around to my rib cage (thankfully I still have feeling in my tits or that would be a BIG problem), due to either stress or shingles (I went to the doctor… this is what they told me).  I have a house full of boxes back in Louisville that are waiting to be unpacked and a shit ton of stuff that I haven’t seen in a year waiting to be put away.  I am worried that my cat (who has hyperthyroidism) is at home and getting sicker.  I am worried that I will not be able to get everything done before the end of the year at work.  And I can’t do anything, anything about any of it until I am home.

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to move so close to the holidays.  I have had the down time that I wanted.  I have played a ton of World of Warcraft, I have colored in the coloring book my parents gave me for Christmas, I have binge watched episode after episode of “Once Upon A Time” but to no avail.  With so much going on, and with my hands figuratively tied, I simply can’t relax enough to try to… well… relax.


I need a vacation.

A New Home

Well, after weeks of looking (and looking… and looking… and looking…) we finally found a house.  We put a deposit down on it and move in two weeks.

I am excited about this for several reasons, not least of which is the realization that I will be able to get all of my stuff (furniture, antiques, books, etc.) out of storage and have them accessible for me again.  But the place is also obscenely close to work and I’ll be able to get home every afternoon before it gets dark out, no matter what the season will be.

This whole moving into a new place together thing, though, is also really quite terrifying.

You see, I have only ever done this one other time in my life… and it ended in an abusive marriage followed by a rather surprisingly civil divorce. The other attempts at this have failed before they ever even got off the ground.  But this time, with the deposit paid, rooms selected, new furniture purchased, lease signed, there is absolutely no chance that it will fall through. I still cannot help but be terrified, paranoid, that this may not go as well as I hope that it will.

Of course, I also tell myself (when I feel this way) that I am being foolish, because the Ormsby situation is nothing like what any of the other situations have been.  I have what is, essentially, the healthiest relationship I have ever had.  We have been sharing a ridiculously small one bedroom apartment ever since I moved back up here, and aside from one or two spats here and there, we have done very well.  I tell myself, too, that the ability to spread out will make the situation improve beyond what it is already.  And it’s pretty good already.

Still, we are moving in two weeks, the holidays are almost here, and it feels like we have a million things to do.  On top of work and the move, there are finals to contend with.  I guess it feels like we have a million things to do because there ARE a million things to do.

Once finals are over, though, and once the move is finished, I’ll have a room to myself again – where I can read and write in perfect silence and solitude, where I can read my Tarot cards and burn my candles and incense again (a practice I have not done in over a year… and I miss it terribly).  I’m going to set up the guest bedroom so that it looks like the bedroom I had in Tampa… both to give my cat something familiar in her old age, and also to give myself something familiar to look at on the days when I get homesick.  But we’ll have so much more than that – a working fireplace.  A bigger kitchen (bigger than any other kitchen I’ve had since my divorce).  A deck for cookouts in the summer.  Possibly a porch swing on the front porch.  And plans… so many plans for the future that I cannot help but feel optimistic for the first time in a long time.

I can see nothing but hard work in my immediate future, but that’s expected when you move.  Once it is complete, though, life will get significantly easier.  And less frustrating.  And I can’t wait.

Surprisingly Homesick

So, almost a year after I moved back up to Kentucky, we’ve started house hunting.  It’s been an interesting endeavor… rental homes fall into three categories, the two biggest of which are either the ones that are too crappy to want to spend any time in, or the ones that are so nice that they are WAY over budget.  The third category, the one that, as Goldilocks says, is “juuuuuuuuuuust right,” in that they are not too expensive and not so run down that you wonder if there’s a meth lab hidden in the attic, are hard to find.

We finally found one that we both liked, that meets all of our requirements (three bedrooms, garage, kitchen with new appliances and, particularly, a dishwasher).  It’s also a closer commute for me, which was a very high value, as I am sick of driving an hour each way.  So I’m going to put an application down on it tomorrow.  Hopefully we get it… because that’s the other thing about looking for a rental house… everyone else is trying to get into those too, and they are few and far between.  So you lose more than you get.

I am looking forward to setting up a home again, to getting my things out of storage, to having a room where I can burn my incense and candles and oils and play with my tarot decks and do the things I used to do in Florida – I can’t do that in the apartment we live in now, because there’s not enough room to make a sacred space.  Ritual spaces would have to be taken down every time we needed to have a meal, people walk in and out a lot.

Beyond that, though, I am hoping that this place, this house, whatever we find, will help me with an even bigger problem that I have had for quite some time now… I am homesick.  So homesick, in fact, that I can’t even properly tell you how homesick I am.  It’s a new feeling for me because at no other time in my life have I ever felt this way.  Like, I grew up in Kentucky, I moved to Florida, and sure, here and there, I’d miss my family and my friends, but it was not an all-encompassing feeling the way that it is for Florida.  I always used to make a point never to put roots down anywhere… to stay flexible, malleable, able to do what I needed to do at a moment’s notice.  I fucked up and put some down accidentally, I guess.  Oops.

I miss my apartment and my things, of course, and it is my hope that this new house, when we get it, will alleviate that some.  Because then I will be able to see those things every day and feel more at home.  Or at least my cookware, appliances, books, etc. will be more accessible than they are now.

But it’s more than missing my shit.  I miss who I WAS there.  And I am afraid – not only that I may never live in Florida again, but also that I will never be THAT WOMAN again.  The woman who had her life together, who knew who she was, and what she wanted.  It’s not that I’ve changed THAT MUCH since I moved, but I’ve come to appreciate what I had there (the old adage of “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is true, folks).

Someone I knew at one point described Tampa as “terribly miserable (yet frustratingly seductive).”  I thought it was funny at the time, but now that I’ve been away from it, I’ve realized the truth in that statement.  It’s not that I was miserable there, per se, though the traffic was pretty terrible and Bucs games could pose a challenge to getting around.  And, of course, there was the work issues (though to be fair I might have been okay if I’d just grown a pair and found a completely different job).

But Tampa was, and is, unique.

I lived in a place that was pretty much a mixing bowl of every state, every culture, you could think of.  It was where everyone went for vacation, sure, but even the “locals” were from somewhere else most of the time.  I lived in a place where I could not only practice my “religion” (I use that term lightly as I do not put a name on it and I do not subscribe to any one faith) without fear of repercussion, and not only that, but I could spend my weekends with others LIKE ME.

My friends were from all over.  Many white, but just as many Hispanic or African American.  I was, in many places and in many situations, the minority there.  And I LIKED IT.  Here?  It’s funny.  I was talking about how much I missed the diversity to a woman I’d known all my life and her response was, “Well, you know, we’re getting a lot more Hispanics here now with the migrant workers.”  I was horrified… my friends there were not migrant workers.  They weren’t anywhere CLOSE to migrant workers.  They were smart, funny, intelligent people who were working in IT, or management, or the military.  They had families, they lived in nicer areas of town, they weren’t struggling.

I’m not saying that everyone in Kentucky thinks like that woman did, but her overall attitude that “this is what they are and this is why they’re here and this is how they’ll stay” is unacceptable to me.  It sickens me.  I wish that I’d never heard that statement, to be honest, because it’s something that will stay with me, more than likely, for the rest of my life.  And I’m not even saying that there’s no racism in Florida (we do have George Zimmerman, for example).  But it’s not as common there.  I’m sure there are undertones of it that I simply didn’t see.  But it’s not as bad as it is here, where cities need to have banquets to celebrate their diversity (if you need to draw attention to how diverse you are, people, in reality you probably aren’t).  Or where Kim Davis can refuse to sign marriage licenses and have people support her for doing it.  Florida may be a red state, but its attitudes are, largely, very blue.

Tampa made me shed a lot of the things I was once comfortable with… and in their place, it forced me to develop a lot of new attitudes, beliefs, hobbies, and tastes (in food, clothing, you name it).  I miss it every single fucking day.  I can’t even tell you how often my mind takes me back there so that I can visit.  Sometimes this is, literally, the only way that I can fall asleep.  Sometimes, my dreams of the place are so vivid that I don’t want to wake up.  In my world, we call that Astral Travel, and it was something I could never do there.  But here?  I have no problems.  And sometimes I go to the most ridiculous places… the Michael’s parking lot, the Publix where I used to get my groceries.  Sometimes I’ll go to more common places – Ballast Point, for example, or the lake behind my apartment that I used to do miles around every night.

But, of course, for all that I want to go home right now, I can’t.  The debt, from this move, is up to my eyeballs, and I need to pay it off before I can think about going anywhere.  I have school to finish.  I need to at least develop the training program where I am working now to the extent that it can run itself if and when I do decide to relocate.  And of course there is Ormsby.  Who I desperately want to take with me, but who, I concede, may not ever want to go at all.  That is, of course, the biggest thing that keeps me here, debt be damned.

I’ve planned a trip in February.  And Ormsby will come with me… and I’ll show him the places I loved most of all.  Maybe we’ll see a rainbow.  Or the elusive lighting/rainbow combination (though probably not, since that’s not the right season for that).  And, whether he goes with me or decides to spend more time on the beach, I’ll see my friends.  And I’ll smoke a hookah and have some rum runners. I may not want to come back once I’m there (I mean who would WANT to come back to the cold when you can wear flip flops in February), but at least, for a few days, I’ll be in the place where I put down more roots than I ever intended.

** And, of course, any of my Tampa contacts should email me at their earliest convenience so we can make plans. **