By now you all know that we packed up everything, stored it in Texas and Virginia, and set off to live abroad. Where? A riad in the, dare I say, racist town of Marrakech, a lofty apartment in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest, and a beautiful farming complex in the picturesque Tuscan countryside with a view of Dante’s Castle have all been called our home. At this very moment, as I write this, I am sitting in the Tiger Bar aboard a ship docked in Marseille. I’m gazing at the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean and watching seagulls soar in a near cloudless sky. Morocco, Hungary, Italy, France, it all sounds so romantic. It is. I suppose. But this is not vacation, this is our life now. Our home, the one place we own, is in Thailand. I am ready to get there. Well, we still own our house in Texas, hopefully not for long, but for a little longer than we had hoped. A part of me is glad. I will have a place to call home, a real home, in December, when we return stateside. And I’ll have a base to bask in the things I miss.
I miss golfing with my dad. We made it a weekly affair, well almost. Sometimes we would talk, sometimes we wouldn’t. It was never about anything serious, never about either of our troubles or stresses. We mostly chatted about how scared he was of the tall scraggly grass 40 yards in front of the tee box that wasn’t even in play; it was. Or why did the people in front of us take three practice swings per shot and still hit it into the woods. Or why did my ball sail over the green from 140 out when I used a pitching wedge. We would watch the ducks play in the water near the 18th green, and both be a little sad. Sad that our 3-hour vacation was over. I miss that.
Our home. “I would be sweatin’ it if I were y’all. Not to have your own bed.” My dad said those words to us, and we all had a good laugh. At the time, I thought nothing of it. But now? I miss our home. Not the structure per say. Since the flood, I haven’t felt the same of our house. It was just a project that Mother Nature forced upon us. I will be glad when it is sold. I miss the amenities though. Amenities that our next home will have, but European travel deprives. A giant tub of liquid heaven, complete with bath salts or bombs at 4am after a long shift is surely missed. Coming home after golf and my wife still soaking, as she was when I left four hours earlier, I miss that. Strangely enough, the thing I miss the most was the room I despised—the laundry room. Europe is allergic to dryers apparently. I miss the fabric softener I teased my wife of, I miss the smell of clean clothes and the feel of warm cotton on my skin. Yeah, I miss these things, things that Americans take for granted. I know I did.
Our little one. That’s what I call her, our kitten. Her name is Lucca and she is 18 months old. She would’ve loved Budapest. The loft bedroom above the main living area would have been kitty heaven. Sadly, we were unable to bring her along for this part of our journey. I miss the way she slept at the foot of the bed, and then sometime in the middle of the night, she would nestle between us, snuggled up by someone. I miss the way she followed us to the bathroom or kitchen, and the way she watched Jeopardy with us. My favorite is how she ate like a person, perched in a third chair at our kitchen table. She wouldn’t dare get on the table to eat, but if we pinched off a piece of steak or turkey and set it in her place, she would lean forward, and with her paws bring the meat to the edge of the table, lean down, and eat it. She would always mind her manners. It was like teaching a 4-year old how to eat properly, quite cute, actually. I’m glad I will see her soon. She brought our house to life and made us all a bit happier.
Banana splits and movie night with Mom. These were the best! We would sneak away to Huntsville from time to time and spend half of one day, a night, and half the next. Why? To see my mom and dad, to escape our home for a brief moment, but mostly, for the banana splits! Mom makes a killer one, and well, we love it. I want it now. Ice cream, hot fudge (never chocolate sauce), sliced bananas, and caramel, mmmm. The sugar would put Dad to sleep before the movie even started, good night Dad. About twenty minutes in, Susan made her way to Dreamland. But Mom and me, we could stay up. I miss those nights. Nights that were about nothing, just banana splits, time together, and the occasional Scrabble or Rummikub match.
Bucky, Bo, and the gang. I referenced Bucky in a previous post. He and Bo are my best friends, I miss them. I miss poker nights, yelling at Bucky about his poor play, and watching Bo laugh hysterically as Bucky laid his head in his hands and wondered where it all went wrong. I miss Jim heckling Tony, “throw your cards in you Jew,” as Tony stood up, thumped his cards, scratched his head, and wondered how the hell he lost. And after the game? Well nothing was better than Big Deuce with everyone. Add some jaeger and scotch to the mix, and the game was on! Yeah, I miss you guys. Get the cards ready, because I’ll be there soon.
Perhaps what I miss the most, and it is going to sound strange, is my wife. She is with me, of course. Nearly every minute of every day. It’s different though. I miss coming home to her, but I don’t miss working. I miss dress up date nights and dinner out. I miss her being snug with five pillows and a fluffy blanket wrapped around her. I miss vacation, a real vacation, not just traveling as we are now. It’s a work in progress, and we will work out the kinks. When we sell our home and buy the next, be it in the USA, France, or wherever, it will be better. I miss having a home. I didn’t think I would, but I do. I am glad we are doing this, and I am ready for the next part of our journey, Thailand. However, I’ll be glad to be in Texas for a month. Mexican food with Bo and margaritas with Mom sound divine. Golfing with Dad and gambling with Bucky sound like a perfect day. But most of all, I am looking forward to missing my wife only for a short time, then taking her on a proper date. I can’t wait to wake up and see her snuggled with all the pillows (even mine), and our little one sleeping somewhere in between. Yeah, I miss things, it’s safe to say I do.