HAWMC Day #7: Health Activist Choice! Write about what you want today.

I'll write about my trip to Cape Cod (and back!) yesterday.

We (that'd be me, and my two dogs Hobie and Charlie Brown) left the house here in Spencer at 9:30.  I was supposed to stop at work and show the gals how much Charlie had grown, but by this time I had already been delayed by half a dozen reasons so decided to send them a quick message from my iPhone (sorry, I'll bring him by Monday instead) and off we went.  This, after packing the car with bags galore of cleaning supplies for the cleaning woman who will arrive there the Tuesday after Easter.  I was going to go down there for Easter Sunday but realized, uh, that'd be dumb since all the stores would be closed and I wouldn't be able to get a good sandwich at The Box Lunch since it would be closed as well.  So, instead, I took a vacation day from work and toodled down there on a very special and rare day off.  I consider myself the only person in the universe who hates Fridays... it is my busiest day at work, and something stressful always happens at work on Fridays.  TGIF does not apply to me!  So, for me to get a Friday off is really something special, and I treasured being able to es-CAPE, besides!

It was cold and windy.  Our place is right on the ocean so it is always 5 degrees cooler, or more.  That's nice in July and August, not so great during the first days of April.  I had to wear a coat and hat all day long, even indoors! There is no heat or insulation in the house, so we shut it down for the winter.  I can't sleep in the house unless it has been cleaned from the winter.  There is no foundation or basement under the house, so "creatures" come inside and usually die.  We have had dead mice, living mice, but mostly we have bugs, lots and lots of bugs.  Dead bug carcasses, everywhere, live spiders and other creepy-crawlies too.  The carcasses give off a dust, sorta like dust mites I would wager, and there are hundreds of dead bugs in the house after 4 months of the place being empty.  If you spend a few minutes cleaning them up, you can't breathe.  I don't usually have allergies, but this sets off something, for sure.  This year, I did not find any mice (the cleaning lady might, though!).  Since it's a 2 1/2 - 3 hour drive from central Massachusetts to the house, I cannot, with my fibromyalgia then spend the next 6 hours vacuuming, scrubbing floors, cleaning bathrooms and making the bed in order to sleep there.  It's hard enough that I have to walk the dogs immediately, first thing as soon as we arrive.  Every bit of activity adds that much more probability that I will have a fibro-flare.  So, on my first trip to the Cape every spring, I do not sleep over.  I buck up and prepare to drive 6 hours plus walk the beach with dogs on a leash (pictures shoulders doing a lot of work holding steering wheels and leashes, carrying bags of groceries and supplies).  Upon arrival, I prep the house for the cleaning crew... I make sure the water is running, that there's hot water, that the electricity is fully-functioning (don't want any brown outs) and that all cleaning supplies are available including vacuum cleaner bags.  The first thing I do is walk the dogs up the dirt road [here's a picture of Hobie the arthritic 12-year-old taking a break on the dirt road -- I never thought we'd share chronic pain and fatigue, instead of a hamburger].

Then I settle in and make sure everything is working.  I always bring my laptop so I can test the satellite internet connection -- it worked great.  Last year the phone lines got cut by some dudes grading the dirt road, this year ta-da!  Dial tone!  Hooray!  But (waw, waw, wawwww) no satellite TV.  Getting the satellite TV to work is always the biggest challenge -- it's been dormant for 4 - 5 months -- but I usually manage to get it functioning again.  Not this time.  There appears to be either a disconnected wire, or something blocking the dish.  I'll have to deal with that next time I'm there, in a clean house, staying over for a few days.

After that, my friend and her dog came over and we took all three dogs for a walk on the beach.  It was Charlie Brown's first experience with sand and salt water.  The water was too cold, so we didn't go very close to it -- next time we'll have to see his funny face as he tries to take a sip and gets a mouthful of salt!  He seemed to love the sand, and here are a couple of pictures to commemorate the anniversary of his first visit to a beach.

We locked the house up again and drove home.  I stopped at the fish market first, to get some fresh fish for my Easter dinner.  What should have taken 2 1/2 hours, ended up taking four because, like a dope, I decided to take the "scenic route"  (Route 28).  Don't ever let it be said that off-season on Cape Cod on a Friday night has low traffic or un-crowded.  Not true.  Traffic was horrendous and everyone was driving 20 mph, tops.  Annoying!!  The reason I chose Rt 28 was because on my way there I had noticed that traffic was at a dead standstill [i.e., PARKING LOT] on the opposite side of Route 6 from the bridges all the way to Sandwich.  Figuring I'd outsmart everybody, I took the scenic route.  No better, except at least we were moving, albeit at a snail's pace.

Once I reached the Bourne area I felt the coat-hanger syndrome kicking in.  This is where the area of the neck and shoulders starts to seize up -- picture a coat hanger and you get the idea.  Not wanting to pull over to take Advil, because we had already lost so much time, and the dogs were blissfully asleep, I forged ahead as the pain slowly crept through my legs and arms as well.  We got home at 9 pm, not what I had planned, I don't like to drive in the dark, I don't like to drive on Friday nights, and I hurt all over.  I immediately popped two Advils and within minutes, the pain was gone.  Close call.

This morning, I awoke feeling pretty good!  I was Miss Cranky Pants last night, kicking myself for having done the trip and everything else that went along with it, but this morning I'm glad we went.  It will be a happy memory of Charlie's first trip; Hobie managing the 45 steps down and back up again AND walking in sand with his arthritis -- what a trooper!; and a reunion with an old friend and her dawg.  Not to mention that fabulous sandwich at The Box Lunch!

Fibro flare averted!