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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vacation/Wedding Part 2 of 2

We are now just out of the mountain and the time might have changed … not sure …

It says 1257 miles and 20 hours and 43 minutes to go @ 1:18 pm. 

Anyway many pictures later – the rest of Jillian’s wedding was very nice.  We were there early with the cake and cupcakes.  I mostly stuck close to Rich’s mother, except when we were taking pictures.  After a while the ceremony part filled-up.  There was a little mix-up with the chairs because some younger person sat down in the family area in the 3rd row of Jillian's side, but we’d forgotten to think through Jillian’s aunt and uncle being there, so we offered the third row to them and they had the boy move to an inner seat between us and them so Jillian’s Aunt Mary could have her spot on the aisle.  I then sat in the 4th row until Rich’s Aunt and Uncle got there, and then after the ceremony started and Rich came back to his chair, I joined him in the second row.

We took a full set of pictures of the mothers, father, Jillian’s wedding party and then Jillian and her father coming down the aisle.  We had avoided coming down the aisle  and the chairs were only four across.  We took pictures throughout the wedding and we’d hoped they weren’t interruptive (sound), but that is what people do at weddings.  During the wedding when Chris was repeating his vows to Jillian, he was having a terrible time not crying and before that Jillian had to remind Rich to come back and giver her a kiss, but them walking down the aisle together was very nice.  Rich said though that Jillian was shaking like a leaf.

Small break here, we stopped for lunch at Subway 24198 odometer @ 12:05 pm. 

We are now about 45 miles to Santa Rosa.  Maybe that is when Rich is going to let me drive?  Oh 30 miles ahead.  He’s now talking to Bob and Bob said he did a “Prykop,” meaning getting no box fish.

Anyway after the wedding was over the families stayed for pictures - Jillian didn’t ask for a picture with Rich and me.  We’re trying to let it go.  She also didn’t ask for a hug like she was doing with most of the others.  I have to remember that we’re close to the family, but am not family.  That was a little hurting too.  But, later half way through the night, I got a quick hug from Jillian.  Jon was worse in that he only came close to me once when he asked Bud - who was sitting next to me, where his father was.  Bud didn’t know, so I told Jon he had went to check on his Grandmother, so then Jon was off.  It was the only encounter of being around him and when he wanted to be with his father, he chose times when Rich wasn’t around us.  Jon did let me take a picture of him reading out in the garden before the service and I was appreciative of that opportunity.  And we got our shoulder patted the last time we saw him at their breakfast.  That was actually a nice thing in saying goodbye.  He didn’t act generously cordial, but at least he’s not being directly mean either.

There was no doubt we were there only in our affiliation with Rich.  I don’t believe it should have been different, but it’s always a surprise when people only talk to one of us when they come over, or maintain distant relationships with us.  I had felt better in Jillian’s company at her house and things seemed more strained at the wedding, and we had to assume it was because her mother would have given her grief for spending time or taking a picture with us.  I didn’t want to start any problems so have been working to take care of our easily bruised feelings. 

I’m more vulnerable to these things because for so many years – about 15, I had known obviously all about the kids, but they didn’t know me, or grew on their side of the relationship between me and them.  We later argued with Rich on the way home, which we hadn’t on the way to Jillian’s.  Mostly it has to do with our familiar feelings of being invisible.  We complained that it was made worse when Rich talked on the phone to people who knew us both or that we were together in space, and that Rich only talked about what he was doing … such as he might say something like “I have a long way to drive home.”  In our way of thinking … we both are in the car and have a long ride home.  Or, when both Rich and I are in the care together and he is talking to Jillian, saying he had a good time, when we think he should say, Ann and I had a good time.  It is probably something very petty, but for thousands of conversations we’d be with him and we were not acknowledged, because I was supposed to be invisible to people.  No one knew of us.  15 years is a long time and to continue the practice just frustrates the dickens out of us.  Rich just doesn't see it as critical.  He's comfortable with the way he does things.

I was fine to sit with Bud and Rich’s mother for the most part, but it limited us from sitting with Bob and Diane, and they had explained sitting with Rich’s ex and her sister and BIL, because these had been family before although they were Rich’s aunt and uncle and not hers.  They couldn’t sit with us because of the disagreement between Rich’s mother and sister.  There was a good amount of time when Rich would sit with us and let me put my hand on his leg, which is more normal for our relating, and he did give us the one dance.  At these kinds of gatherings it’s normal for Rich and us to dance at least one slow dance.  So, that made me feel a little more special – like being his girlfriend wasn’t a bad thing.  Most of the time, we were much more generous in reminding him he WAS the father of the bride.  I wanted not to take those kinds of special feelings from him.  He had had one instant with his ex at the wedding where he and his wife hugged.  That seemed ok, but then when we asked Rich how it went, he said that he said a couple nice things to her like doing well in raising Jillian, but then she pushed away from him saying that “it” was his entire fault.  She didn't elaborate on all she'd blamed him for.  She really spoiled the one moment they had for each other toward Jillian, but it was tempest pot.  I don’t think she sees that she was half the problem in the division or divisiveness of their relationship.

Rich’s ex’ SIL was cooler to me as well, as can be expected, but it was perhaps more noticeable because her husband Tim was being very nice.  He was very giving in that when our paths crossed, he would give us small funny mementos to think of.  Like at one point, he hit Rich in the bottom as both couples passed, but then we made an over-extended dodge from him.  Obviously, he wasn’t going to swat us too, but we teased that we were going to stay out of his way just in case.  When we dodged, we said, “Not me!”  That struck us both as funny.  Don’t think Mary got it though when he tried to explain it to her.  Not sure, didn’t really turn around long enough to figure that all out.  I was happy with our slight interaction.  He caused me to laugh which was welcoming.  There were a few other people who were really nice to us.  Chris’ mother and father were nice, so were H and his wife, and Chris’ boss and his wife, and Judy, Jillian’s boss and her husband Harry.  A nice number of people came to talk to Rich’s mother and then maybe also to Bud, but mostly it was her personality that brought people to her.

The seating at the wedding was informal.  Jillian and Chris had a private table and then everyone else fended for themselves.  Because of the pictures, it took a while to get to the other side, so there wasn’t a table by itself for us as part of Jillian’s family.  Again, there was a table being held by Bob and Diane, but obviously we were going to need sitting by Rich’s Mom and Bud, so Jillian’s mother sat with Bob and Diane, plus Tim and Mary and Jon.  The four of us - Rich and me, and Rich’s mother and Bud sat at the only open table which was on the opposite side of Jillian’s other family half.  But, after a really quiet dinner with the two strangers at our table things took a positive swing.  It happened to be a VERY nice couple who turned out to be Jillian’s boss (Principal) and her husband who is a cowboy and definitely looked the part with a big black hat and handle-bar mustache.   It was the nicest arrangement that could have been made, because it gave us someone to talk to about education which obviously is a big love or ours.  The conversation was long and fulfilling and we listened to things her boss had been talking about with the school in particular and the three day audit her school was going through this week – Tuesday, today and tomorrow.  Jillian had told us about it, but we’d forgotten it.  Judy, Jillian’s principal was smart and interesting.  I was so grateful to have met her.  It really made the night.  I’ve always really loved two-way talking, especially with humor. 

I think Rich’s aunt was having trouble because of the problems with her sister.  Bud talked to them, but the sisters only got as far as being back to back, but not talking.  They both felt that the other should talk first if not apologize, but my only thought with the ex was to avoid any unpleasantness.  There was no illusion that we should talk to the other directly.  As much as I would have rather been talking to Diane and Bob, rather than being talked at by Rich’s Mom and Bud, the circumstances explained earlier dictated that we stay at a close protective distance with Rich’s mother so Bud and Rich could wander a bit.  Chris’ family wasn’t really around as much as had been the night before, but as stated previously people would stop by her to say hello and we listened in to some of it. 

A lot of the time other than eating was spent watching people – especially the lively dancers that were enjoying the night so much.  Chris and Jillian were on the floor a lot and had chosen the music so it was a matter of staying involved with that.  It seemed so fun to see Jillian so happy and having such a good time.  Chris paid close attention to her and they both danced a lot even if it was not with each other directly.  They seemed to know so much about dancing and music.  Jillian confessed she might be a little tipsy toward the end, but was still on her feet and Jillian and the dress were just drop-down gorgeous!  It was like watching a princess – she really flowed with the sparkly night!

I felt bad when her mother invited herself into several 3-way dances because Jillian and Chris were enjoying themselves so much, but I suppose there wasn’t much more to do there and Jillian always seems welcoming.  If the mother had wanted to dance, she’d have to be assertive.  There was one dance that had seemed planned between Jillian, her mother, and her aunt.  Someone had brought just three crowns for the three of them.  I’m thinking it was Jillian's mother who thought to bring the crowns - as a part of being special too – and we wouldn't try taking that away from her because she was the mother of the bride; but it reminded me of when she had wanted to be a princess at an event in her childhood.  Somewhere, we’d just seen another picture of her with this or last years’ “princess.”  Somehow I think it got very etched in her mind to wear an official crown.  To me though it felt exclusive, which unhinged me a second as if people with crowns were better or more special then people without crowns.  Everyone knows the bride is the specialist! I was feeling much better when the crowns were given to some of the little girls.  I think they were dancing to something called the “the Dancing Queens” or something like it?  The older girls did seem to have fun with it. 

I don’t think Jillian played any Beatles songs, but I may have missed something when we were with Rich and his mother in her room.  It was clearly Jillian’s day and one to celebrate!  She did seem to take care of her mother rather than the mother taking care of her, but I understand her mother was really helpful at the end with decorating and arranging flowers and I’m sure that meant a lot to her. I'm thinking that she probably had a great time with me being the only real thorn. Jillian is very intelligent and emotionally open and honest.  I loved her “invisible button saying, “not my problem.”  I think she got that from H.

There were a few really good dancers.  I loved what Jillian and Chris could do especially in enjoyment of each other and having a balance of moves.  I loved watching H and his wife.  He had a very nice set of more technical moves.  He was doing dances the right and formal way.  He was dancing more by the book and looked smooth doing it.  The most fun to watch though was Tim, Jillian’s Uncle.  He was very fluid and moved like warm butter.  He was so attuned to his self and his body, he was magnetizing on the dance floor.  It was also fun to see H’s wife and Mary with their husbands, but the talent ran deeper on the male side.  There was also a young woman with a colorful zigzag short dress, but she was more interesting to watch individually.  I think she had some dancing partners, but she was pretty high energy for them.  Jillian and Chris, H and his wife, and then Tim and Mary we’re definitely the three best couples.  This is what people do just sitting on the sidelines all night *sigh.*

And, the DJ had one section of dancing where he had married couples come out to dance and by years married - stepped off the dance floor going from shortest years to longest years married.  Each couple was dismissed until it was only Chris’ mother and father and Rich’s Aunt Diane and Uncle Bob, but Bob and Diane won at like 58 years of marriage.  I was so proud of them.  They had done really well.  They also had earlier talked seriously about Rich and me coming out to the Carolina’s for their 60th wedding anniversary in a year and a half.  We thought that was a great idea!

We had a lot of hand-holding/lap touching things going on with Rich and us and the conversations were soft and loving.  I kept checking in with Rich to assure he was doing ok.  He thought he might be short of giving Jillian up to the $4,000 mark he had planned, but this morning picking up his mother and Bud, Spencer the caretaker reminded him of wedding debt left to be paid, so Rich finished paying the bill and it seemed ok because he wanted to be good on the commitment made to his daughter.  Rich didn’t count the little extras during the week, but he said that was the plan - just him doing fatherly things :)  Rich is just a great and protective father, especially to his daughter and its very touching to witness.

I was a little disappointed that Rich didn’t give a speech he’d been working on, but apparently given the option, he chose not to.   Instead he’s going to put his words together in a special card to the happy couple.  He did read it to us and we cried knowing how affected he was in his relationship to his daughter and her husband.  He really spent good Dad time with it and we were really proud of his ability to put his heart on paper and love Jillian like no other.  I think Jillian has that same ability and that she got it from Rich.  It was very touching – love that guy to pieces! Jillian saw the pictures of him writing before the wedding and then reading it to me and now she’s asked her Dad about it.  I know Rich is still excited about the project and he asked if I had the original to type tomorrow – which we do.  He said that he will do all the editing though, because I think he wants to add to it.  No problem there … it is a special one that he cares deeply about. 

There was obviously drinking – only rum and coke for hard drinks and then there was beer, wine, water and pop.  I had one glass of wine, but mostly drank the small bottles of water.  We took our medicine pretty close to time, but by the time we got home, we were way too tired and lost time to younger parts.  Someone wanted sweets because we weren't getting the normal home bedtime ice cream sandwich, then Rich complained and then a couple known of our younger parts went into sugar-hell-shock-meltdown and never recovered.  They refused to get off the room’s couch and didn’t want to take off their special clothing.  They were very good about not being out during the wedding.  They were out a little after discovering that Rich’s mother had scooped-up all the table candy and bubbles.  Not happy with that at all, but Rich made the best of it and shared a flower from the centerpiece with them instead, and then helped them get undressed and into bed.  He teased one for pressing her eyes shut asking her if she could press them (feign sleeping) any tighter to which the answer was a triumphant “Yes!”  She could and did then press them tighter.  But, pretty sure we had fallen asleep before Rich got to bed.

That pretty much finished up the night.  Jillian was the most beautiful bride and the groom was very proud.  H. had given a nice speech that was and was intended to be funny and he added a part including Rich’s mother that made her very happy and proud to be there.  She and Bud and her sister and Bob were easily the oldest there and than perhaps Ray and Sugar.  Afterward Natty gave a couple of words.  Rich had coached him before as I’m sure others, but he became very emotional afterward and had trouble catching his breath.  He and his father are so much alike in honest sincerity.  It is such a pleasure to have met them.

The quilt was mentioned a few times, and Jillian and Chris seemed to appreciate it, but we’re sure that it was competing with many other wonderful gifts in their mind.  Probably the most touching was appreciation of the artistry by Sugar and even Ray.  Sugar, Chris and Natty were the most important newcomers to me.  I wanted to share respect with Sugar because of equally caring natures.  I’m sure Sugar is much more holistically "becoming" as a woman than me.  She has done a wonderful job with her family.  I still have a lot of rough edges and the mental illness with dissociation is sometimes wearing.  We also can still carry anger and be spiteful.  Sugar doesn’t seem able to do things like getting angry for too long.  She’s got a lot of love in her face.  When she said it was a good quilt, I felt it because she speaks so well with her eyes.

I think that pretty much covers the wedding without over stressing things.  I did want to add a few words on this morning.  Rich woke up before me and he showered so he could meet his uncle Bob for coffee, but the ball players staying at the hotel were already there.  They did talk and agree to say goodbyes around 8:15 am.  That gave Rich and us a chance to talk about general things over coffee and while he’d been gone, we’d taken our shower, steamed cloths, gotten dressed and packed most of the room.  After a while, Rich came back and helped finish the packing.  We packed things into just a corner of the room.  We then went to his aunt and uncles room and said our goodbyes.  Bob seemed effervescent as normal though the last couple of days, he’s had a bruise on his face, so we wondered to ourselves if he had fallen.  Diane seemed a lot more tired than her husband.  She was still getting packed and made-up for the day when we came in.  I didn’t mean to rush her.  We all talked for a few moments, but we started to nudge Rich when he started telling longer stories.  I think everyone had appreciated the time, but was willing to move on.  They’ve got some traveling coming up including a 15 day cruise out of California.  They are like major go-getters!

We drove with Rich then to the Hacienda we found Jill and Chris, Rich’s Mom and Bud, Tim and Mary, H and his wife, and Jon at an early breakfast.  Rich was in and out and baggage was packed from his Mom’s, and Hacienda bills were finalized.  I sat on the outside … again, feeling estranged and intimidated by Jon's no response response.  After a while, Rich’s mother realized that we were sitting outside the group and challenged us to pull up a chair closer to her.  Rich had been out, and then Mary and Jillian were a little flustered because of the awkwardness involved.  I felt comfortable where we had been more than pulled-up and then they might have had a little embarrassment for not having pulled me in earlier.  I was embarrassed because it all of a sudden became a big to-do while I had adjusted to being more outside the circle.

There is probably a story that could be written on Spencer the owner of the Hacienda.  Some of the boundaries are mixed, for example, they allowed a dog in the kitchen and he had made a todo about cleaning Bud’s chair and floor while guests were still at the table.  That was a little rude and seemed to cause the bride to worry – because she is always feeling responsibility for those around her.  She’s just such a wonderful kid.  I can see why Rich is so proud of her.  Spencer seemed a little dry like Harry the cowboy, but you can also see them smiling sometimes underneath.  He’s really got a great place and was a personality all to himself. 

We eventually got ready to go.  I held back on the hugs because people were gathering around Rich’s mother naturally and I didn’t want to take away from there exuberance over her having been there.  But, just before we headed out Jillian and a few others included me in hugs and we felt appreciative.  I wish my feelings weren’t so easily bruised or that I didn't feel lesser to these people, but we still feel vulnerable to being the “other woman” for 18 years and just living in the family through Rich’s stories of him being with or talking to the others.  We’ve been having bad feelings of being invisible.  I think Jillian more than anyone has put out the most time, energy, and inspiration for trying to make her larger family work and in equal respect; we have tried to give her many opportunities of being out of the way so she could spend time with her father – one-on-one.  It’s an awkward position.  I think in general Tim also went way out of his way to include me even though he is Rich’s ex’ BIL.  He’s got such a sense of humor and is attuned to his environment probably almost anywhere he is at.  He’s just got a quick sense of humor and he’s got a pleasant personality, and is magnetic and fun.  I felt him to be earnest.

Still Sunday, September 17th, 2012  Odometer 24337 Past Tucumcari 75 miles from Amarillo 1101 miles and 17 hours and 16 minutes to go.

Rich is planning to get into Elk City in about 210 miles or 7:30 pm.  That’s most likely where we will be staying for dinner and then would leave 900 miles to be driving Monday – a long day ahead, but we’ll leave early.  Rich is talking now about hotels, dining and sunset, so it is a good mental break.  We took scenery pictures of hills, horses, and a windmill and talked to Rich.  He said he’s now past his hard spell of 2-4 pm.  Time jumped us to 5:13 pm instead of 4:13 pm.  He’s thinking of stopping in Elk City just for dinner and going 100 miles further to Oklahoma City.

I’m trying to finish … whoops Rich says 2 ½ more hours at sunset (7:42 pm) will put us back in Elk city for the night.  He said we could stop in about 40 minutes (6:10 pm) for a washroom/gas break – YAY!  Hmm, horses and cows seem to get along in the same pasture. 

Ok, you!  Finish-up. 

Well … let’s see, Rich’s mother and Bud got in the car after saying goodbyes at the Hacienda.  We listened to cranky Bud all the way to the airport.  His mother seemed more impervious to it this time. 

27 miles officially to Amarillo with lots of windmills again – there are a lot of rubber tires on the road too.

We went back and forth a little in that we think he now has TWO grandsons.  Our point was if he is introducing Bud as his father instead of his stepfather, then Natty would be his grandson instead of his step-grandson, but Rich doesn’t want to insert himself into that position out of respect for Natty’s actual grandparents that have been around his entire life.  I just wanted him to include Natty in the closest family way possible - the connection is good for Rich.  Natty is really a great kid.  He is someone to be very proud of.  I feel that including Jade and Jasmine as my granddaughters instead of labeling them as step-grandchildren we are much more likely to treat all four girls equally, as well and as often including events for the with or without our actual grandchildren.  Plus, it is something to be proud of that our oldest son has now through marriage FOUR girls.  We love it!  It seems to be mostly a matter of positive perspective.

Well last leg of the story.  We dropped Rich with his mother and Bud at the airport on Sunday.  We parked for free due to the disability and he walked them through the airport so there wouldn’t be any complaining. 

We just mentally walked through their schedule and they should be landing in Chicago about now.  Rich says about 1 ½ - 2 hours they will be home from the airport.  He will call then or wait for Karen’s report.  I think Andrew is well enough now to help pick them up.  Enough of that - basically, after dropping Rich off, we parked and ate the quarter-sized bag of leftover not so good popcorn Rich’s mother had left.  Rich’s mother had not wanted to waste it by leaving it behind, but Bud didn’t want to bother with it on the airplane.  After those connections were all made, Rich and I drove to our Inn for the last time and picked up our bags that wouldn’t fit with the passenger seats down for his mother and Bud.

After we got everything to the car, we went to watch Natty play ball.  Rich said we could only watch for an inning, but I think we already stated this at the beginning of the story some 20 pages ago.  We were really proud of him and are aware of how much he has accomplished in his short life and with the strong family relationships he has.  We couldn’t be more pleased with how Jillian, Chris, and Natty have become an especially close family. 

I guess now just a summary of the trip so far.  There were many highlights on being in New Mexico.  Jillian and Chris had danced so happily at the wedding and that says it all.  We took about 625 pictures since emptying the camera last Monday after being on the mountain.  That would be Monday to Sunday – like 6 days later J 

Yikes McDonald’s at 5:47 pm odometer 24398 with 1041 miles or 16 hours and 22 minutes to go

Now we’re at odometer 24499 at 7:19 pm with 943 miles to go and 14 hours and 51 minutes. 

We are at Shamrock, TX at an economy Sleep Inn and Suite, but it is $124 and Rich is not going to go for that.  So we drove over to a Western Motel, not Best Western, but real western.  It has railings as in being in the real “out west."  It is on Historic Route 66.  Rich is taking longer here.  It has long parking slots for semi’s and a couple of kids are playing ball in the parking lot.  There’s another car in the drop-off port.  Maybe Rich is taking a turn.  We didn’t discourage Rich because it is in the West., so we figured we'd do as the Westerners might ... well at least the least wealthiest of us hehehe.

Monday, September 17, 2012 @ 6:55 am odometer 24498 944 miles to go or 14 hours and 48 minutes

We’re leaving the motel and we stopped and took a few pictures before leaving town

Now we have 923 miles to go or 14 hours and 26 minutes and we’ve just passed into Oklahoma.

It’s very foggy out.  We just got done with filling up gas at a Chevron.  We took a few pictures and Rich talked to a local who said the old Chevron gas station across from our motel was in the movie, “Cars.”  Rich thought they probably photographed it and then turned it into a cartoon.  Rich is telling me about fog.  He said it is 51 degrees out and fog happens when the air is cooler than the ground.  He’s got tail lights in front of him now. 

It is 7:36 am.  Sunrise was at 7:25 am, but it isn’t visible.  Rich said it is loosening up though the sky is still gray.  We’re at mile marker 17.  We had on our lower seatbelt, but Rich made us put on the upper part too.  L  There is like 140 miles to Oklahoma City. 

We can see the other side of the road now.  I plugged in Rich’s phone; because he started thinking he might receive work calls because it was a Monday morning.  We turned the car from colder to a warmer 70 degrees.  We’d still been at 60 where we’d placed it on Saturday from picking up the cake.

Aha!  Rich picked up speed again to 70 and is drinking coffee without his hands being clenched.  Last night when we'd gotten into the Shamrock Western Motel, I had thought it smelled like men’s after shave – over much – maybe it was cleaning stuff, but I didn’t like it.  Why am I thinking this?

Now we can see vehicle shapes and not just lights – good deal.  Anyway, the motel room didn’t make a good first impression although; it looked fairly modern given 20-30 years.  Now it says Elk City 12 miles – Oklahoma City 124 miles.  Sometimes we just are looking out and sometimes taking pictures of our progress.

It took a while to adjust to being in the room, but hunger won out.  Rich wanted to have a big Texas steak and we’d seen signs for a steakhouse called, “Big Vern’s.”  The restaurant was kind of dumpy, but it was a moderate size.  The exterior was the sheet metal and the window blinds were down.  It was an L-shaped building with a badly painted cement floor.  The tables were coated in plastic and the chairs were inexpensive.  It did have nice red cloth napkins.

The sun can be seen now and the temperature has risen to 58 degrees.  Rich is appreciative that the sun is up and we’re in Elk City so seeing most of the road.  It’s like waking up to the Poseidon when they got the outside of the ship and saw light.  Yay!  Now the fog is all the way gone and the sun is up.  It’s 8:06 am and Rich had a coffee fill and is eating his share of the chocolate Hostess Donettes.  Mine seemed to be eaten back at the gas station while waiting for Rich.  Maury called to tell us what had been happening to the cats and was asking how close we were to being home.  He seemed a little bogged down. 

I can’t say how appreciative we were for him helping us out.  We didn’t worry in the least.  Maury’s been very responsible and it was just the nicest relief not to be worried.  Chances are we will have cats on our lap tonight.  Looks like it will be about 8-9 pm before getting in.  We are back in the fog.  No more seeing cows and horses and burned-out barns – and we must have passed an oil refinery, because Rich said what we were smelling strongly was oil.   

Hmm, now skunk smells.  Must be the west!  Just passing now a couple of trucks that had been side-by-side for a couple of miles.  Hard to see with the sun now up again and the fog AGAIN has lifted.  Rich reminded us of putting down the visor and that seemed to take down some of the intensity.

Rich’s step-sister, Karen, and Andrew both called last night.  Rich thinks that they had troubles getting to Bud and his Mother.  Someone said something about starting from one end of the airport to the next looking for Bud and Mom.  I'm thinking Bud wandered off.  We’re not sure why they wouldn’t be waiting at the appropriate gate. 

It seemed to give Bud another reason to complain and then they ended up at Karen’s place in Romeoville to eat out, but it was then another delay in getting home.  It wasn’t until 9 pm before they got settled.  There was something about trading cars and Bud apparently had insisted that Karen drive his van to the airport, so then he had to drive Karen home and then drive himself back to the house.  Rich said he wouldn’t put up with that … and most likely he was covering things so Mom could smoke in the car and not here her complain about how hard it is to get in other peoples cars - especially Rich's.  Bud had gotten testy too with Rich about lighters or something.  It is hard to handle sometimes the problems they present, because they get confused, stubborn, and angry and attack aggressively each other or anyone else in their way.  They don’t want to acknowledge change or that they might see something in a different view than their own if they were more open.  Pretty much their world is small and everything revolves around them.  For example, they wouldn’t consider twice thanking Karen, Andrew, Rich or me for getting them back and forth to airports.  They just assume because they need assistance that others then owe it to them.  There's no gratitude involved and if you told that to Bud, he'd most likely say, "So what?  You had a car didn't you?"  

I really did appreciate at the wedding that although we sat with them the entire time, we could also sit a few feet distance enough to take a few pictures or hold hands with Rich.  Those times were ESPECIALLY appreciative.

Oklahoma City is now 60 miles away at 8:38 am.  Rich is starting to talk about fishing, so maybe he’s relaxing some.  Yes, I did see his $4,000 boat/fishing shopping list.  Hehehe.  His eyes are bigger than his wallet.

We forgot to complete the steak dinner part from last night.  I had an 8 oz. sirloin steak for $16 and Rich had a 16 oz. rib eye steak for $27.  He said it would have been $11 at the store, but it was an extremely good meat and we had had one of the best sides ever.  It had been a cheesy potato casserole and it was just fantastic!  Rich had fries – lots!  We ate almost everything, but a couple oz of steak and Rich finished that up too.  We also had a spicy Bloody Mary to his diet Pepsi.  Very good, but we were way out of it coming out of the restaurant.  Our stomach hurt and our head was dizzy and we were way past exhaustion.  We were just really uncomfortable.  We got to the room a couple of blocks away and first undressed and then lay on the bed as if the room was spinning.  We had only had one drink.  Rich came up and made sure we got tucked in.  It wasn’t late, but we were still disorientated.

Rich said, he got up after falling asleep for an hour and continued to read, but we had been down for the count.  We woke up 2 hours earlier than we had woke up Rich.  We were up at 4 am.  We made coffee and took our shower and then spent the next 1 ½ hours on the computer loading pictures onto Rich’s computer and then to Facebook.  We loaded successfully 597 pictures from the last time we had taken sunrise pictures about one week previously.  I hadn’t realized we’d stored them up.  This group of pictures has Jillian’s entire wedding.  There was a glitch in the camera the night before, so Rich recommended we stop taking pictures until we could get all the important ones saved proper.  Things worked out and we only lost one picture and the pictures included as well Natty’s ball game - YAY!!

We’re still coming in and out of the fog.  We’re coming into El Reno.  First real construction zone where there are real workers on the side of the road and we are down to one lane.  There was a couple little orange flag guys on Rich’s computer map and we are also coming up to a cattle stockyard.  We hare leaving the Cherokee – Arapaho nation and just out of Oklahoma City by about a half hour.  We’re now up to 3 lanes coming into another city.  There is not a lot of traffic for being 9:10 am on a Monday morning.  The speed is back to 70.  Two more wind propellers traveled past us on the other side of the road.  Rich says we passed a big city rush hour and it was no problem.  Now his goal is to get past St. Louis rush hour this evening without getting stuck.  St Louis to Brookfield is four hours.  Rich says maybe we’d stop at a BBQ outside of St. Louis.  Now we’re passing the crossing the Chisholm Trail and are looking at bumpy roads.  9:25 am exit 44 east to Tulsa.

Odometer is at 25219 @ 6:09 ppm with 231 miles to go or 3 hours and 42 minutes.   We stopped in Litchfield for gas and KFC. 

Ok, this is where the paper trail ends.  We’d been writing up to now in the travel journal – pen and paper, and we did record the trip had ended with an odometer reading of 25444 which meant that Rich put on his car 3234 miles round trip.  I think we got home just before 10 pm.  Pswhoo!  We had a problem after dinner and I’m not sure what the problem was.  It was in general based on a part's switch that was majorly depressed and tired - so thinking it was Annemarie.  She was very negative and although we were all considering the trip to be very happy and simply a joy.  She was coming at it from a different viewpoint of taking any of the really small negatives and blowing them up to really big negatives with a conclusion that she wasn’t loved or wanted by anyone including Rich.  I think what had happened is that Rich had taken a few phone calls and had not referred to any of us sharing the same experience.  So was making statements like he was driving home not that Ann and he were driving home. 

Probably, the most bothersome thing we go through is the feelings of being invisible.  So when we are more aware of not being “important” directly to anyone, we get very moody and depressed.  It’s not the other one’s fault and with any other part, we might tease ourselves out of the situation, but we were tired and hadn’t taken our medicine.  It’s a lousy excuse, but that’s basically what happened.  We had been really outside our norms and Annemarie rarely leaves the apartment.  Rich and us must have had words, because at about 3 hours left to go, both of us stopped talking to the other and we got suicidal for a few hours wishing that we’d be dead – though not Rich.  Rich hadn't been given any clues so did not know where we were, and we couldn't get back to Rich to check on him. I’m not going to chase down that rabbit hole, but it was extremely defeating.  I know better though that after a long trip – even a wonderful long trip there is transference of being on vacation to being suddenly at home where nothing seems as fun or interesting.  I think that was affecting us too.

We feel very guilty for not giving Rich support those last tiresome hours.  During many parts it was raining and dark so the driving would have been more difficult for him.  We could tell that the parts had switched major, but we couldn’t get ourselves out of it.  15 years being separate from the world as far as Rich was concerned has taken a heavy toll on us because it adds to the other feelings of being invisible growing up where it seemed the only time people talked with us was to yell at us or otherwise abuse.  Again, we had been overly tired and really had needed our medicine, but neither Rich or us had come up with that idea.  Our system tends to withdraw into ourselves and implode.  Rich most likely didn’t do anything real bad … just we got triggered and we couldn’t get ourselves out.  We’re much more likely to say a few things probably bad, and then withdraw into stony silence – this time for the rest of the night.

We got home and packed the few electronics that were around us and we took Rich’s computer briefcase and our hand-written journal and we went to the backdoor and stood until Rich opened it for us.  We had given our keys to Maury.  We went upstairs, put the things down and crawled into bed.  We don’t have any recall; though now know that Rich had unpacked the car.  We were sleeping before he finished what would have been like 3 or more trips.  It’s a lousy feeling to be us sometimes, because we are no help to ourselves or Rich. 

The next morning – Tuesday we had been up before Rich and were doing something at the computer.  I know when he got up, he just stood quietly about 1 ½ feet away from us.  We looked up and then started to cry placing our arms around his middle.  Why he stays with us through these kinds of upsets I’ll never know.  But, at that point it was over – whatever had happened from the long night before. 

I think Jillian has talked to her Dad a couple of times since then.  When she had called that night, we’d been too out of it to ask how she was doing or to ask later after Rich had been off the phone.  At the time it seemed to “prove” how nobody had cared because neither father nor daughter had made a comment of us being there.  We intellectually know better and we certainly aren’t family, so it would seem understandable not to be a part of the father/daughter conversation, but again … we’ve still got obvious problems with feeling invisible.  It’s much more our problem then Rich and certainly shouldn’t be a Jillian problem.  She was really ideal this last week with Rich and us.  It was truly a dream vacation.

Tuesday and half of yesterday (Wednesday) we didn’t do anything much other than to sleep.  Yesterday then sometime during the day we began to type this two-part blog entry.  Not much has been done beside that.  It’s at this point a 27 page document that we’ll split in parts one and two.  While we’ve been sleeping, Rich has been back to work and even went shopping and of course has cooked.  We are not very good at keeping up with him.  He’s in the kitchen now on the work phone and it’s about 11 am, Thursday, September 20, 2012.  He said he would start the laundry, and then we’ll finish it.  Not even that has gotten done in the past couple of days.

We really miss also seeing Dr. Marvin.  We will see him tomorrow at 4:30 pm and we’re going to be REALLY grateful.  There is a lot that has occurred some of which has been written about and some has not.  Of course, it is always a problem when we get the suicidal ideation even though it only lasted for a couple of hours.  It has not reoccurred since we’ve been home.  We have gotten a couple of chances to talk to Linda and we responded to a few IM’s.  We also got a chance to talk to Maury yesterday and we gave our special gifts to him to pass on to his girls.  Rich asked why we hadn’t saved them to do ourselves, but I know that Maury likes giving things to the girls too – so it would be extra special that he would do it.  He knows our thoughts behind the small gifts.  I hope they like them.  When we see Dr. Marvin, we’ll probably ask him to read through this long entry – hoping that he can read fairly fast.  We are going to want him to share as much of our trip with us as his time can afford. 

Other than that, we are going to next take on the challenge of going back to the Multiple bloggers.  We have a lot of reading to catch up on.  We’re torn on whether to just hit the last article people wrote (one week or less) or to look at each of the entries written since the last time we read on September 7th.  We’d rather do the latter, but not sure how much material is out there and how long it would take.  I have strong feelings of not wanting to miss so many things in being gone.  Hopefully, between today and tomorrow we can get a good jump on it and finish it no later than Monday or Tuesday next week.  It be ideal to do it in one long day, but that won’t happen if we read the longer parts. 

Saturday and Sunday we’ll be up in Wisconsin for a quilting weekend with the girls.  Everyone will be there and we’ve invited my sister Connie Sue to stay overnight with us on Saturday.  We’re figuring by then she’ll need a break.  She’s going through some pretty hard things with her house, family, and dog.  Curly was just diagnosed with cancer.  We’ll see.  She’s said yes, but we’ll play it by ear.  We just reserved the room so everything should be good there.  We reserved it with Rich’s credit card, but will pay for it with the extra money we didn’t spend on our trip.  Other than the girls’ gifts and quilt stuff, we didn't look for or get anything. 

I can hardly wait to see the girls.  We’ll talk some about the trip, of course, but too you get caught-up with their lives too.  We’ll bring the Chevron quilt and Linda is going to help us use either her Chevron ruler or perhaps learn from one of the girls how to use our log cabin ruler.  It be nice if our first pottery quilt got here.  It was supposed to have left Tuesday, but would need to be here today or tomorrow.  We’ll see.  Linda is back online now and we’re still waiting on clothes from the washer.  I think we’ll get this posted now because we are more excited about reading the blogs.  Part of me is fitting into our life as we’ve established.  Have we mentioned enough how glad we will be to see Dr. Marvin?

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