Page 106

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DAYS 367 and Beyond 

Getting home was a piece of cake. I flew to Seattle on the same flight as Lucia, Todd and their children and went to their home for the next couple of days. Maya, my dog, had lived with them for the last year and I couldnít wait to see her. But I had to wait because the woman with whom she had spent the week while Lucia and Todd were in California wasnít at home when we stopped there. I didnít get to see her the next day either because the woman had to work that day. But I did get to see my son, Eric, who surprised me by appearing on Luciaís doorstep. That was a treat! I hadnít expected to see him until the weekend.

My car was at Luciaís and I drove to Port Angeles to my motherís home. She looked great in spite of being a year older and having suffered a broken arm when Maya yanked her off her feet. She had planned a family party for January 6 to welcome me home. I thought I might make myself useful but nothing needed doing.

I have had trouble getting to this task. I had told Todd I would write one or two more pages but that was more than two weeks ago! So what is my problem anyway? I have many excuses. Mom had planned a welcome home dinner and celebration. My two children and my three grandchildren came and all my siblings as well. Aunts and cousins, nieces and nephews, and friends all came. That was wonderful! Then there were 2 apple boxes of unopened mail which had accumulated during the year, my prescriptions had run out, and I had to find and organize all the tax forms that were buried in the boxes of mail for my 1999 taxes, and send that to the accountant. That was boring.  There were bills and property taxes and insurance premiums to pay! That was shocking! The brakes on my car had to be replaced, my bike was delivered by UPS quite squished and unrideable, and my dog had been in a fight and had to take a pill twice a day. That was awful. As became the condition of my Ďroomí. I am staying in a spare bedroom at Momís temporarily. Suddenly I had all this space! Boy did I fill it! After a year in a tent or a portion of a hotel room, to suddenly have this whole room to myself was a great luxury.  Now if I can only make order of the chaos.

So you see I have plenty of excuses. I suppose though that the real problem is that I just donít have anything to say. Odyssey? What was that? I suddenly find myself plunked down in a completely different situation. I havenít even ridden a bike yet. I find that I am missing those Odyssey folks, the very same ones that at sometimes bored or irritated me, and I am surprised. I wish that we had planned a reunion for a date real soon but we didnít. Itís lonely out here!

But it is great to be home, to see how well Mom is, to go for long walks with my dog who remembered me and has all the same old endearing habits and the same naughty ones too. It is great to be anticipating actually living in the U.S. rather than just visiting here as I had done for the 15 years prior to the Odyssey. (I had lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for the 15 years prior to the Odyssey and came to the States for a few weeks once a year.) But best of all is to be actually realizing what being Ďretiredí means. My retirement date actually occurred  before the Odyssey, but the Odyssey was not the place to appreciate retirement. It was as much like work as anything I have ever done. Retirement is when putting off until tomorrow what I should have done on the weekend doesnít matter because all days are weekend days!

What is next? I will move into my cabin on Lake Sutherland where I will enjoy a variety of water activities, even fishing, and watch the wildlife, especially the birds. I will strive to become current with the new technology that has become commonplace in the states since Iíve been gone; even the newfangled phones and answering machines are a mystery to me. I will read and listen to music and reread the various Odyssey journals and daydream about the good old days of the Odyssey. I will find some new friends and try to get reacquainted with the community of Port Angeles, my old home town. And I will strive to do mostly only things that I actually want to do!

Goodbye, Alice


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