But, for the handful of us that do this type of work (AKA, my colleagues), our unusual schedule makes perfect sense to us...it rotates back to it's beginning every 7 weeks. And, every 7 weeks I get a six day furlough of time AWAY from the hectic pace of my job...sort of like a mini vacation. Except I usually have to spend the first day or so of my furlough RECOVERING from the demands of my job. Sometimes more days than that are needed, depending on how ugly my MS has been.
I started my current six-day stretch off on Wednesday of last week and I won't return to work until Tuesday afternoon THIS week...and, frankly, I think it's a good thing I AM returning to work in two days as I really could USE THE REST! Yes...my past six days off have been a whirlwind of activity...unlike how I would "normally" spend my time away from work (either drooling on the couch or sleeping/resting).
I DID take Wednesday "off" last week and completed some necessary maintenance activities around the hut, like laundry, washing dishes, etc. Then on Thursday, I managed to whack down the forest of grass growing on the hillside (which usually requires a combination of acrobatics, super-human strength, and prayer!) in the morning and make it out to a movie matinee in the afternoon with my neighbor. Yes...I really DID go to a movie! I know, I know...how absolutely off the charts is THAT?!? Thursday evening found me grilling steaks for Saint EB and I to feast upon while watching horrible reality TV (Saint EB doesn't HAVE a television, so she becomes corrupt at the hut, otherwise known as the "Den of Degradation").
I managed to make it between my sheets (I don't think that line came out quite right...yes, I was ALONE!) before the birds started singing in the wee hours before dawn and set my alarm for Friday morning festivities. Friday found me hopping the Metro bus (more like throwing myself up on the steps, but hopping sounds so limber) to downtown Seattle and meeting Saint EB AGAIN at the famous Pike Place Market...a Seattle landmark of outdoor produce shops, flowers, and artist wares. We spent several hours touring the Market because I have not taken the time to visit the place for many years...truly a travesty on my part. I found the flavored cooking oil I remembered buying there (sold ONLY at the Market) and Saint EB looked at (but did not touch or buy...she's on a restriction!) earrings and other doodads. We then purchased some fresh out of the oven bread, fruit, cheese, and drinks and walked down to the ferry terminal on the waterfront to board one of the ferries to an island. We took the Bainbridge ferry (because it is a short route) to the island and ate our lunch on the vessel (the poor man's idea of "boating"), disembarked (I secretly delight when the ferry officials use big words over the loudspeaker like "disembark" to tell all the tourists and locals basically to get their ARSE off the boat!), and re-boarded immediately for the trip back to Seattle. It was somewhat overcast, but a lovely ferry ride all the same.
Once we "disembarked" in Seattle, we then trudged UP the hill from the waterfront to the Bon Marche (I will NEVER call this store "Macy's" even though "Macy's" prefers I do...they bought out our local "Bon" a few years ago), where we went on a gruesome clothes shopping tour. Have I mentioned I HATE to shop for clothes??? But, I did it anyway as many of my tents I wear are beginning to fray. I did find a few needed replacement pieces in the bowels of the Fat Ladies Department (why do department stores always put the Fat Ladies section the furthest away from the entries and generally in the basements next to the janitor's closet? Just wondering...), which was a relief. After the shopping nightmare, we again boarded a Metro bus to our favorite pizza joint and dined on salads...rabbit food truly sux when traumatized by shopping, but I managed to eat healthfully AGAIN. Saint EB was kind enough to drive my dragging arse home from supper and I collapsed in the hut only to be dismayed, wondering why the maid had not cleaned anything while I was gone? Silly cat...
On Saturday morning, truly at Dawn's Crack (she's baaaack!), my eyes flew open in anticipation of my very first maiden voyage to the opening day of boating season on Lake Washington. If any of you are familiar with Seattle, we have a tradition here of "opening" boating season...why, you may ask? I don't know really...we just "do". LOL I'm not a sailor, so I just go along with it. I was invited to spend my Saturday morning and afternoon aboard the Merrinuts Yacht (which is really a sailboat, but anything over the size of my bathtub seems "yacht-ish" to me) and I had to be on the dock at the University of Washington by the fine hour of 9:00 AM (remember...I don't "do" AM well). From the dock, I was precariously "ferried" (in a dingy with a motor...I CAN swim, but the lake water is effing freezing!) to the Merrinuts Yacht, where we hung out in the cold and rain and watched the Parade of Boats for the next several hours. I didn't actually begin to FEEL cold until around the 3rd hour of the event...and then, it hit me...not only was the lake effing freezing, but the wind chill OFF the lake was, too! My cheeks are now wind-burned with a bit of a glow and looking like I've been on a drunken "toot" for a week.
However, in spite of the inclement weather, I had a FABULOUS time aboard the lovely sailboat, spending time with another two of my treasured friends...we laughed heartily, ate wonderful homemade ham sandwiches and hot chocolate, and mocked the pompous rituals of the "yacht-ers"...all dressed in their blue sports jackets, white pants, white shoes, and captain sailor's hats. I cannot FATHOM how cold THEY must have been in their thin, little outfits! I had LAYERS of clothing on...like the white trash I was bred and born to be.
Oh, but I am not FINISHED with my tales yet, my pretties. Today...TODAY, I once again set an alarm for this Sunday morning so that I would not miss driving to another friend's house to spend the day at one of the local tribal casinos! Yes, it is true...I WENT GAMBLING on a Sunday...reserve my room in the hellfire now.
Another sweet husband and wife couple/friends of mine invited me to tag along on an adventure to a casino...I was excited about this prospect and had high hopes of paying off my mortgage with a little extra "traveling" money left over (or perhaps enough to purchase one of the massive YACHTS I saw yesterday?!?). Sigh...let's just say, I don't think Baby Jesus was all that happy with me GAMBLING on a Sunday. My only saving grace (saving face) comment I can make regarding my "winnings" (or lack there of) is to try to put a positive spin on the adventure and hope my DONATION to the local tribe was enough to purchase a few vaccinations for some of the Muckleshoot children!
It's now time for me to crawl my weary body back in bed as I have yet ANOTHER appointment in the morning on my final day away from work. But before I go, I'm absolutely CERTAIN all y'all are wondering how my MS body is after all of this?
HEY! WAKE UP!!! I've got one last thing to say/type!!!! My body...my body? Well, other than the usual aches and pains (and a few extra that came on following my Tysabri infusion last month...sore joints, muscle stiffness, etc), I'm not doing half as bad as I expected I might! I was prepared to have to stay in bed all day tomorrow (or return there following my appointment)...the price tag on my 5 day adventures. But, at least for tonight, I'm still kicking and hoping I will wake up tomorrow STILL feeling somewhat refreshed...right after I bash my vile alarm clock against the wall anyway. And who knows? Maybe I'll even have some time to get caught up on my blog reading (and please don't use any big words in your blogs tomorrow...I don't think my brain can take it after what I've put it through the past few days!)...