I’m out of sorts this week.
There are a number of reasons for this, the least significant of which is not the fact that Chris is back on the road. He’ll be visiting 8 states (7 1/2, actually, as he’s already done 1/2 of Texas), which will bring his total to 44 of the lower 48 by the end of this trip. They’re large states, so averaging 3-4 days per state, plus my weeklong vacation to California to meet him in May, plus the travel time to and from the western part of the country (let’s average up and say 5 days) = about 6 weeks, give or take. He’ll be home sometime around the middle of May.
It took me a while to admit both to myself and to others that these absences are hard on me. When he first started the project, he did New England (6 smallish states, 1.5 weeks) and the mid-Atlantic (6 states – 3 smallish, 3 of them much larger – just shy of 3 weeks). These were not done consecutively, so the absences weren’t as acutely felt. When he went down South (11 large states … or, rather, 10 1/2), he was gone for over 6 weeks. He left at the beginning of November and returned a couple of weeks before Christmas. The clocks had gone back. We had been married less than 2 months. It was cold. It was dark. I was working at an office where we were conducting layoffs.
Thank goodness for my dog and cat, though I’m sure they felt a bit neglected during this time as well.
The next long trip was the southern Midwest, Great Plains and Pacific Northwest. This was an ambitious 14 states (which, in hindsight, he thinks he should have chopped up so that his next trip to the upper Great Lakes states would be full Midwest and an 8 state trip instead of a 3 state trip … but a 3 state trip will only be a couple of weeks, so at least it is behind us; the last state, New York, will be the capstone and a separate trip). He was gone most of the summer. It was easier this time – I had changed jobs and was happier as a result, and summer days are long and bright and hot. While he was gone I took Finnegan on a trail where he chased a bear onto a golf course, and then was stung by a bee and required a trip to the emergency vet for a benadryl shot. (Turns out, my dog is allergic to bees, and they don’t make epi-pens for dogs.) However, there is no doubt that it was easier in part because I had let myself admit that it was hard.
So, anyway, now he’s gone again. And it’s hard. And this time, admitting it to myself is not making it easier. I keep thinking about Finnegan, home alone, something he’s not used to. We were unfortunate enough to have the doggie daycare vacation coincide with Chris’ first week on the road. Finnegan has been stressed and lonely and bored. On top of that, work has been a rollercoaster, which seems to finally be calming down … however, I’m feeling the after-effects of a crash from an adrenaline-filled March. On top of that, Chris’ father dying suddenly a couple of months ago, while on the opposite coast, has me irrationally nervous for Chris on this particular trip.
So, adrenaline crash + worry + sadness = a very preoccupied woman, having strange dreams and not sleeping well.
And it is only Thursday. At least tomorrow is Friday.