I’m going to backtrack a little here to March. The flowers from the day of the memorial were long gone and Mother’s grave needed attention. I got in touch with one of the florists and asked her to fix something nice and explained that it would be put on the ground. She understood what I wanted and made up a nice arrangement. The little marker my brother-in-law had made needed some sprucing up, too, so I printed off an overlay and put it in plastic to protect it.
After I finished there, I toured the cemetery a little. It was getting close to Easter and the children’s graves were decorated for the occasion.
It was sad but festive-looking.
Now we slide back through the rest of March and April and wind up in May.
It was early in the month and Mother’s Day was just around the corner. DS2, my DIL and granddaughter sent me a beautiful arrangement of flowers. I left them on my desk with the picture of my mother and father. Twinkle likes to terrorize such things so I didn’t attempt to bring them home.
I did get to enjoy them at work, though.
My manager at the Mother Ship made sure “her girls” were well taken care of. She had encouraged all of us to join both TAHAM (Tennessee Association of Healthcare Access Managers) and NAHAM (National Association of Healthcare Access Managers) and I had taken her up on it. The next NAHAM conference was at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, FL. There was no way I could see my way clear to go. The budget didn’t allow for it so I was resigned to stay home and go to work. Then she called with a surprise. None of the other supervisors would be able to go so she could pay my way! Did I want to go? DID I?? I didn’t even have to think about it. Yes!
We would be driving to Florida in her van so we made arrangements to meet at the Mother Ship where I would follow her out to the university. DS1 would meet us there and take my car to his house where it would live until we got back.
The van was big and roomy. There was only one problem. The air conditioner had gone out. May in Tennessee, Georgia and into Florida can be hot. We rolled the windows down and shouted at each other over the noise. It was a fun time in spite of it.
We stopped on the way and got some ice cream. That cooled us down a little and we got back on the road.
Nine hours from when we left, we pulled into Saddlebrook. She always looked like she’d stepped off a bandbox but I was an unsightly mess. When we checked in, I was given the once over and it was obvious the person at the desk didn’t like what he saw.
Now, Saddlebrook is a huge, sprawling place geared to hosting conventions and conferences. The vehicles are parked ‘way out on the back 40 and everywhere you go, you walk. I had my suitcase, laptop and purse and, thank goodness, my suitcase was on wheels.
We made our way to our quarters and, of course, they had to be on the second floor. That meant stairs to climb after the (seemingly) 10 mile hike.
Those pictures were taken after the sun came up (obviously). When we got there, it was well after dark.
In spite of the late hour, we were hungry. There were eateries available but I opted for room service. DD had started experimenting with raw food and had shared a recipe with me for raw cookies. I’d made a batch and taken them along. The only thing on the resort’s room service menu that looked like I could eat it was a fruit and cheese plate.
I knew even less than I do now about taking pictures of food so the plate still had the plastic wrap on it. It was a beautiful plate full of calories. I ate most of the fruit and nibbled (yeah, right) on the cheese. What was left went in the fridge for later. To soothe my conscience, I ate a couple of the raw cookies, too.
When my travel-mate got back, we fell into our respective beds, leaving a wake-up call for what was to be just a few hours away.
Meals were mostly provided and I was able to pick around and find enough to eat. Being a lone vegetarian doesn’t make it easy but it is possible. I ate a lot of eggs, cheese and pasta salad. If that didn’t fill me up, there was always bread. When I got to the room, I snacked on raw cookies.
The days were wall-to-wall meetings. We each charted our course and tried to take in as much as we could. Even with sitting in sessions, there was a lot of walking involved. It sounds like it was all work and no play but we did have time to take in some of the beauty of the place.
My manager is on the right and the blond is one of the first people I met when the Mother Ship took over the hospital. We’re all Facebook friends now.
One afternoon, there was a barbecue. Once again, I scrounged to find enough to eat. I could tell that, between not being able to pig out and the walking, my clothes were fitting differently. Not that they were loose. They would have a way to go to be loose but they weren’t quite so tight.
The regular sessions were over on Friday but there was an additional one on Sabbath that my travel-mate had signed up to attend. I looked up the closest Seventh-day Adventist church. She insisted on driving me there. The congregation wasn’t large but they were friendly. I was glad there was a fellowship meal after the service. It was nice to eat “my kind” of food. When the NAHAM session was over, my manager came back and picked me up.
That afternoon, she and a couple of the others that we knew decided to go to the beach. I was pretty tired so I didn’t go along. When they got back, I was glad I hadn’t. They’d wound around for hours and never did find the right road to take them where they wanted to go.
Next morning, we checked out and headed for the van on the back 40. On the way home, we shouted at each other and laughed a lot. A brief shower came up and cooled things off for a bit. We were able to roll the windows up for a few minutes and rest our voices.
Getting to the university, there was DS1 with my faithful little car. Unloading and loading, I bade my manager a fond adieu. It had been a real treat to get to go on a road trip with her.
I spent the night at DS1′s house. The next day, I stopped by DS2′s. Feeling particularly brave and knowing I’d lost some lubs, I decided to take the plunge and weigh myself. When I stepped on the scales, I was almost afraid to look. 187.5. And I had lost.