Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Journal: Sprung, and restless

Over the weekend, we got a nice sunny day, and the crocuses came out to play. The yellow ones by the birch tree first, then a few of the purple ones I planted near the lilacs a couple years back. On Sunday morning, I was out front with the camera, kneeling on the lawn with my rump facing the road while some neighbors walked by. I took a few pictures and rooted around to find other bulbs trying to poke out of the dirt: tulips down by the street, daffodils at the foot of the maple tree. I assessed the likelihood that the honeysuckle and white forsythia survived the winter (honeysuckle, yes; white forsythia, not so much).

It doesn't take much crouching, kneeling, stooping, and standing to make me tired and start to teeter and stumble, and I think it must be apparent to our neighbors that there's something not quite right about me. We don't know most of our neighbors very well, and I wonder if they think I'm a drunk or I'm dying and why it matters to me what they think.

Work is slow, and will continue to be slow for a few months. We had planned to take a vacation this spring or summer while we could get away from work. First, it was going to be a week on a houseboat on Lake Powell in May with my brother and his girl, which seemed like an ideal sort of trip for my needs, but the girl decided she didn't want to go, so that got scrapped. Then we decided we would take two weeks in June and take the train out to Seattle and spend some time kayaking on Vancouver Island, but it became apparent that we couldn't really afford to do that in high season. Then I started looking at renting a lakeside cottage in Sweden, where we could do some outdoorsy stuff and see some sights and revel in the excitement of being somewhere foreign and far away. But airfares in high season seem so expensive, and Scandinavia seems pricey whatever time you'd go, and if we wanted to go to a cabin on a lake, why wouldn't we just go up north to my dad's cabin, and wouldn't it be nice to use the money we save to finally get our shit together and do the remodeling we've been talking about for the last couple years?

So the question is, what is the value of travel for me, and how does it compare to the value of some home improvements? And the consideration of this question over the weekend (and for a long time before the weekend, too) drove me deep into a funk from which I have not yet emerged. See, MS has left me with little energy for the sort of backpack-toting/train-hopping/walking-a-mile-to-the-hotel travel that I used to do. Now, I do a lot of sitting: sit at work all day, then do some sitting and home, and then lay down in bed. Repeat.

It’s nice to sit somewhere else: a different view, different surroundings, maybe the sound of chatter in a foreign language. Nice. But is it worth a few thousand dollars? I dunno. My wife recently said, of our travels together, that she seems to enjoy the memory of a trip much more than she remembers enjoying the trip itself. That rings true, I think, at least for our recent trips together. And since our last big adventure (going to France three years ago) I’ve gotten a little weaker, a little more wobbly, the bladder thing is a little worse. I’d probably have to pack a separate bag full of bed- and undie-pads. Bleh.

Sure, it’s a nice problem to have: figuring out how to spend a little money and two weeks away from work. But it feels like the resolution of this problem will be a sort of mile-post in my illness: 2006, the year I stopped traveling, after which I never went anywhere but had some nice new windows to look out of.

Update 3:29 pm:
Oh yeah- also, Lyrica's making me fat. At my most recent neurologist visit, I learned I'd gained 10 lbs. since starting Lyrica. I need new pants.

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