It’s so good to be home!

I’m such a home body. It’s something that’s never been as clear to me as during this one day away from home. I missed my home terribly. I missed my dogs, my hubby and the lovely conveniences of having TV, internet and a phone.

This retreat was like entering a different time period. The entire building was massive, set in a place among 150 acres of forest with lakes and trails that were beautiful if you’re a squirrel and want to leg it.

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The place was as quiet as a tomb and incredibly laberinth-like. There were stairs and twisted corridors everywhere. No matter which you took, it turned and ended up in a different area of the building. I got lost more times than I can count.

The rooms were microscopic…and filled with dead flies. The staff was just as minuscule consisting only of about 4 people. They did everything from cooking to welcoming us to telling us the rules of the place. No outside shoes. Everyone had to go around in slippers.

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The food was great…except for the coffee cups. They were the size of thimbles and I just about had it. In an act of unparalleled rebellion, I seized one of their cereal bowls and used it for coffee. People stared…but I couldn’t have cared less. In the mornings, I need coffee.

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We did a lot of ‘circles’ where we sat and listened to our ‘leaders’ tell us how to work better. I tried to be a good listener and appreciate what they were saying but it was hard and, with each passing hour, it got harder. By the second day, I wasn’t the only one dissociating. I counted 7 heads nodding while the last speaker rambled on.

The group leader only had to say that it was time to go before I was gone. I was the first out of the building and the first car out of the lot. I came home relishing loud music on the radio, shouting it out as I drove.

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My doggies were thrilled to see me and my hubby even had flowers waiting.

dog-puppy-labrador-retriever-flowers-rosesIt’s so nice to be home!

What have I missed? What are you guys up to?

 

A little gratitude…a whole new perspective

I was at a homeless shelter not that long ago.

Since I’d never been to one before, I had little go on. As usual, the only references I had came from books. In my uninformed, little mind, I figured it had to be better than Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist but would probably be worse than L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

The first shelter was for youth. As in teens. Now, teens can be a handful but this place was bad. Really bad. And, no matter how rude teens can be, they’re also kids.

Forget the graffiti on the walls and the locks on the fridges, it smelled. There were signs posted up for what to do if you had bedbugs and/or head lice and I immediately started to feel itchy. The bedrooms were tiny with lockers crammed inside and bunk beds lining the walls. I counted six before I stopped and left the room. I didn’t see a window. The mattresses were the thickness of gym pads and covered in plastic for easy cleaning. So were the pillows. I was glad we didn’t see their washrooms.

I felt immediately sad. And claustrophobic.

Our tour went on to the Salvation army. Another type of shelter, this time for adults. There we went through the kitchen and onto the living area where we saw another typical bedroom. More signs for bedbugs and lice, more plastic-covered mattresses and pillows. We helped out with lunch. Those who came to eat weren’t scary or crazy, they were average people who had been hit by hard times. They talked to us and told us their stories. They were hoping to get jobs and to reconnect with their families. Some were in transition, going to another province because there was work there. Others were trying to find work here, closer to their loved ones.

They must have seen something in my face, because they started saying jokes and trying to cheer me up. When I saw that they were trying to take care of me, I had to turn away or I’d cry.

I left not caring one iota if my book was number one in Amazon or last on the list. I forgot all about that reno I wanted done in the house and about the winter tires the car needed. I got home and kissed my husband, took the dogs for long walk and told them how wonderful they were (as they drooled around me in delight). Then, I sat at home, stared at our trees and felt so grateful I could have cried again.

I am so grateful that I have a job. That I have a home. That I’m sober. That I have my health. The rest is gravy. I need to remember that.

(credit:lindsaysalvationarmy.ca)

(credit:lindsaysalvationarmy.ca)

Will one of you kick me if I forget? Really. No? How about a shake? Next time I whine about something, just give me a little shake.

I really needed to see those shelters.