The Witching Hour

I work odd hours and sometimes that means I get home after midnight. In the case of last night, I got home well after one in the morning. It had already been a long day and I was ready to get home and get snuggled into bed.

I pulled into my apartment complex parking lot around 1:30am but it didn’t feel a typical night. For a reason, I couldn’t explain at the time, and a reason I am still trying to explain, everything felt wrong.

The kind of feeling you get deep down in your gut saying something here is off and not in a surprise your coworker brought you a doughnut. I put my keys between my fingers (the way you are supposed to in case someone attacks you in close range), pulled my backpack onto my shoulders, locked my car door and took a very cautious step towards my apartment complex.

Being the hour I got home none of the close spots where available so I had to park on the back wall. My building sits in between several others so no matter what it’s always a small walk. The complex is adorably laid out in the fact that it has lots of trees, bushes, steps to walk up and down to get around. But that also means you sometimes cannot see around stuff, normally this isn’t a problem.

But last night with a panic spreading from my stomach to my lungs, the air around feeling heavy yet the wind blowing with a slight rage, and my feet feeling the need to run with intent and simultaneously walk cautiously, I started towards my front door.

I could hear the wind above me picking up while it sat still around me. I could feel that I shouldn’t look back or second guess my gut but just keep going. I took the steps all the way up to my third floor two at a time, my legs had never felt lighter. I could feel myself gliding up the stairs, my legs pushing me to keep going. I was almost home.

Once I got to the third floor I half walked and half ran to my door. Past the apartment with the yappy dog, as the wind was picking up, past the apartment that was empty where I swore the other night I saw a figure of a man standing inside, the wind felt like it was roaring beside me wrapping itself around me, all the way to my locked front door all while never turning to look behind me. I stuck my key in, my hands felt week and heavy but somehow I managed to get the door open and lock it behind me.

And then the world felt okay again. At least for a few moments.

I could hear what sounded like my roommate’s dog whining in her room. I was afraid I had been very loud coming in through the door and had woken her up. I took extra care to be quite as I went about.

I made myself a little snack and watched a feel-good show on Netflix so I could come down from the crazy encounter with nature I had just experienced. And it worked. I got ready for bed and started to fall asleep.

It was around three in the morning when I heard what sounded like a dog briefly whining and then what sounded like the kitchen faucet running. I figured my roommate was getting her dog a quick drink. But the water kept running and running and running. So I poked my head up and couldn’t see any light coming from under my door. But then it just stopped.

I started to drift off to sleep when it all happened again. The brief sounds of a dog whining, the running of a kitchen sink faucet, and no lights.

The only logical explanation, my roommate is up. So I texted her. Feeling better I passed back out.

I woke up to a text from her saying she hadn’t gotten up in the middle of the night. Strange. She came home for lunch shortly after that and we talked. She said she was already asleep before I got home and doesn’t remember her dog whining.

But she told me she was also getting weird vibes that night.

We chalked it up to either it being the neighbors running water in the middle of the night, wind chimes sounding like a dog whining or just the wind, that I was actually asleep the whole time and dreamed it (didn’t feel like a dream), she was sleepwalking, or we need an exorcism of our place (the only thing out of the ordinary from when we moved in is that she hung up a crucifix above our front door a few days ago).

Or maybe it was just the Witching Hour.

Honda Girl

My first car was given to my by my parents at the age of seventeen. I waited a little longer to get my license’s then most kids. I didn’t have a need for that level of independence when my friends had their own cars and parents that would gladly take me places.

Nonetheless at some point I would have to grow up and pass my drivers course. Once I did my parents gave me a red mini SUV. It was a Suzuki Grand Vitara. While I sometimes hated driving the car, it got me from place to place finishing high school and throughout all of college. I didn’t realize I would be so sad the day I departed from my car.

I was however optimistic on getting to Florida and purchasing my new car. I had saved up for months, taken my graduation money and put it towards my new purchase, I was beyond excited to get to my new car.

I purchased the vehicle off my great-grandmother. A 2011 Honda Accord with less than 30,000 miles on it. It really was a car that a little grandma drove only to church and the grocery store.

Fast forward past the first time I drove the car. Fast forward past each time I drove it to work, Fast forward past all the times I drove it to Gainesville for an escape of small town life. Fast forward all the way to the day I decide to move half way across the country to escape a hurricane on a hours thought.

I was sitting in my car with all of my stuff loaded into it. I had no idea how far my car could actually go. I put all of my trust into that little vehicle. I turned off my air conditioning to conserve gas. I knew that my car could go to Orlando and back twice on one tank. I knew that meant roughly 550 miles on my tank. I sat in my Honda telling everyone that doubted me that I could make it all the way to Tuscaloosa on one tank of gas. The number of miles was about 430. I hoped that my horrible math skills wouldn’t fail me and get me stuck on the side of the road hoping to catch a ride out of the hurricane bound state. So I took a leap of faith and went for it.

I had a few factors against me.

1. I had a lot of extra baggage in my car.

2.Gas stations had no gas and I didn’t know where I could find one with gas at.

3. I had a lot of people against me.

4. I had to deal with crammed roads and scared people from a hurricane.

5. I was going to take back roads to avoid the crammed roads, which meant being in places with little access to help or gas.

I told everyone that it would be fine, that I wasn’t at all worried if my car could make it or not. I knew that it could. But over a conversation with my mom I revealed that I was worried, and I was putting on a good face because I wanted nothing more than to leave the situation I was in.

I sat in my little Honda windows rolled down when going under 50 mph, AC off for the drive, and drinking warm sparkling water jamming out to music. I was covered in sweat, dirt from moving, and a fake layer of energy was pushing me forward.

I was driving though small towns, back roads, and monitoring my gas tank closer than a parent with a newborn. With every mile I drove I kept telling myself you can’t turn around now, and each time I told myself that it got a little easier to keep putting the pedal to the floor.

I was almost outside of Tallahassee when I finally saw a gas station with gas. I was right under a full tank and already over a hundred miles out, two hours into my trip. I can’t remember any details about the gas station besides the fact that it had GAS and a huge line of cars. I was on the back roads and I figured if I stayed on them I had a better chance of finding some small town that had gas where the other evacuees didn’t know to look.

I made it all the way to Georgia before I stopped to fill up on gas. I was at 3/4 of a tank and had gone about 200 miles. I started to feel the doubts of others fall off of me and my beautiful car and sink back towards the fearful people of the hurricane. By the time I reached that gas station in Georgia I had begun to see other gas stations without lines and gas. I filled up my car and head towards Tuscaloosa with about 265 miles to go.

The rest of the trip went fine. The last place I filled up was Jackson Mississippi, and I arrived back home almost five days ago. I put a lot of trust into my car to help get me to safety. That trip made me a fan for life. Honda, you have won my loyalty. I did my calculations and I got about 625 miles to a tank of gas. WTF. Who knew my car could get that good of gas mileage. I fell into love with my car at that moment and became a Honda girl for life.

Fleeing Irma

It was only a few days ago that I wrote a post about preparing for my first hurricane. A LOT has happened since then, I feel like I was preparing for Irma at least a month ago.

It all started last Friday, I was supposed to go in for work at noon when my cousin came home and told me I should gas up now since everywhere was running out. I left and went to a gas station a town over since we had none. I had texted my boss to let her know I would be late. She told me not to bother coming in, it was really dead. Unusual for a normal Friday.

I still needed to go pick up my check so I went in just to grab it. I decided that I would talk to my boss. She cut me for the whole weekend and told me that it was iffy if I would work the next weekend. I was already leaving at the beginning of October to move back to Texas. She told me that the hurricane had put Ginnie out of season and it was okay if I wanted to leave early.

I went home not knowing what to do. Should I stay even though I won’t have any work. Should I go and risk the possibility of horrible road conditions. I had no idea what I should do. So I asked those closest to me what to do, should I stay or should I go? The consensus was come home to Texas.

I decided that I would just pack one box, the next thing I knew half my room was packed. I felt so clearheaded. Everything was pushing me towards Texas. Things had completely fallen into place. I packed up my belongings in about an hour and a half.

I set out on the road. My car loaded with my stuff, a full tank of gas, and an uncertain road trip plan. I was making decisions about three minutes in advance. Uncertain if I could find gas on the way I drove in the hot Florida sun without my air condition on to conserve gas.

The drive was about fourteen-ish hours away. Luckily for me I have some really good friends in Tuscaloosa Alabama. One of them works for the Bama football team. He told me if I could get in early enough he would get me a ticket to the game with his wife. I arrived in Tuscaloosa at midnight. The next day I went and saw the Roll Tide Roll. I got to catch up with friends, and then drive the last part of the way home on Sunday morning.

I’ve been meaning to write this since I got home Sunday night, which was less than forty-eight hours ago (but feels like weeks ago). But I have been so freaking tired. I had mono in college and all I wanted to do was sleep for days, that’s how I feel right now. I have no idea how people drive such long distance by them self. It was hell. My whole body felt like it was seizing up. My legs started to cramp and all I wanted to do was go thirty over the speed limit.

But I made it. I made it back home to Texas and I’m here to stay for a little while. I have no idea what I am going to do, where I am going to go. I have some plans, things I want to do. Being an adult is hard and sucks. I’ll just keep making decisions three minutes, three days, three months, three whatever in advance.

 

It should be called the “that was not easy” button.

Staples, for years I knew your slogan. As kids me and my brother would go around hitting that button just to hear the words say “that was easy”. Shopping in your stores has been a breeze for years.

But my first time ordering from your stores online was a nightmare.

I know first of all I did give the wrong address, but in all fairness it was given to me by someone who thought they knew the real address. And when I called the next morning to fix the problem you told me it was too late. My order was already out for delivery. But your very kind girl on the phone helped me cancel the order and place a new one.

I thought it was over, but no it was far from over.

All sorts of things must have happened in your system. I had to call back multiple times just to get it all sorted out. I was hung up on twice. Told by your employees they had no idea where either of my orders where at. And just plain irritated.

In the end you did get it all sorted out. Hopefully, I am still waiting on my money back.

What I am taking away from this process is that going into a staples is easy. And ordering online is not easy. You might, just maybe, want to rethink your button.

The Attic

I think I adulted today. It’s simple really, I only put somethings in my parents attic in preparation for my move.

I crawled up into the attic today while my mother, who in her defense had been doing a lot of yard work, struggled to hand me up the first load of boxes I brought home for my post college adventures. While up in the attic surrounded by just four of my boxes I moved the all to familiar luggage out of the way so I could stash my discarded cloths, shoes, and other sentimental items. And I thought to myself is this adulting?

My second thought was why do I have so much crap? 

Somehow in my four years of college and the eighteen years before that I accumulated a lot of stuff. Which I already have a large pile waiting to be donated. Some of the stuff I chose to keep I’m not even sure I’ll actually ever wear post college or want, a stupid little sentimental bug in me fought my hands every time I placed something in my donation pile. Multiple things I can look around at in my room could easily be thrown away or donated and in September when I decide what to do next with my life, I probably won’t miss.

But today I am going to take this small adulting victory. Baby steps, right?