Yesterday in the middle of the early evening, after I had blogged, walked around the hotel grounds, read some of a book, tossed around some story ideas, showered (there is no bathtub here), eaten TWO WHOLE MEALS (and a gross nutrition cube), and was full on in relaxation mode for the evening...
When it happened.
A loud blaring started.
Wait, let me rephrase that.
A loud, rhythmic blaring and flashing started.
Inside the hotel where we are temporarily living.
And let's talk about that for a second.
If you would have told me last year at this time that I'd be living in a hotel in Michigan waiting to move into my literal dream house I would have probably bark-laughed in your face.
Or, if I'm being honest, I would have bugged out my eyes and kept my lips stuck together because I was still doing a lot more masking a year ago than I am now.
Well, like, mental masking. I still physically mask my face the exact same amount when I am in a public place. Cause, you know, this pandemic is NOT over yet.
But at this time last year, Mickey was on one of many many trips and I was doing a lot of floating in the pool and working on myself.
In like, every definition of the word. And my greatest hope is that everyone I love gets the chance to spend the time with and on themselves that I did. I know it was a massive privilege that I am grateful for every damn day.
And part of the working on myself that I did lead me to realize that Florida just sucks and I wanted to get out.
I knew Mickey was unhappy at his job and also that he had a bit of equity in the house, so I started researching ways we could use those two things to get out of the state.
After hours and hours of google searching, YouTube video watching and more, I was 99% sure I wanted to move to Spain. Somewhere, there exists a very giant document with all my reasoning and cost analysis.
It looked real promising, y'all.
But obviously, that is not what happened. That's a big scary step without the safety net of something, anything, familiar.
Then a few months later, we were having a hang with Big Tim and we were talking about starting a cult.
In all honestly, they joke a lot and call it a cult, but I don't like to do that.
Why is that? Well, it is because of the way my brain works. I never know when someone is kidding or serious (unless it is a fact that I already have filed away in my brain's card catalogue).
Also, at my core, I am very trustworthy so I always take the words coming out of the mouth of someone I love and care about (aka all my friends) as 100% truth.
Now, that was beaten out of me for a long long time because of the world at large. I didn't take anything at face value, questioning motives and backstories all the time.
Not because I didn't want to trust people, but because I had trusted so blindly in the past and gotten repeatedly burned. So, my brain prepared backup plans for backup plans when people who I took at face value eventually let me down.
I had to be prepared to pick up the pieces so that I didn't look bad myself.
Y'all, I honestly think doing this burned me, Jacki, more than it did anyone else. I did not serve me at all.
So I stopped.
And I started listening to people when I take them at face value.
If they burn or hurt me, I ask them about it and tell them my experience with the situation. If they dig in and swear they did nothing wrong, or shut down and don't want to discuss it, then I'll give them some space.
I'll be here for you if you wanna work through whatever issues you have that make you uncomfortable being yourself, but my brain cannot handle folks that lie to themselves anymore.
Even though I understand why they do it. I did it practically my entire life as a survival mechanism, so I fucking get it.
But also, the way my brain works (I'm learning more everyday), I will go out of my way to make you happy and that includes buying into these hurtful lies you tell yourself or adding some lies back in about myself to make you more comfortable.
For the health and growth of my brain, I cannot let myself do that anymore.
If you're not comfortable with yourself or the way you act, then I have a lot of trouble being comfortable with you.
This is a new discovery but, woah, has it been eye opening. The people I've found myself getting closer to over the past year are the ones that are also falling in love with themselves.
Or the ones that are comfortable simply being.
Like KPerks, the other biggest non-Big Tim cheerleader for us moving to Michigan. She's been yelling about it being a magical state for about a year now and dragged me up there for a visit earlier this year, where I (obviously) similarly fell in love. Traveling with her was a really freeing experience that I'll be forever grateful for.
So Big Tim & Mickey called it a cult (which I had to remind my brain not to take at 100% face value) and I called it a community, but we meant the same thing: a place for like-minded people to become their best selves.
Tim's reasons for choosing Michigan as a state were many, including the cheap land prices and an upcoming MMJ cottage kitchen law that'll be on the books soon enough.
Once we started putting Michigan as a goal into the universe, things started falling into place.
And here I am.
And here I was yesterday afternoon, as clean as my Flipadelphia is once a week (IYKYK), ready to welcome Mickey "home" from work and eat a dinner of OCD nachos (my favorite) when the bleating started.
Quick side note: I just packed up a smol backpack of stuff to go find somewhere outdoors to write so that I am not stuck in the same four walls all day.
Well, I am still so used to the thick wall of heat you get every time you step outdoors in Florida, I was not prepared for it to be cooler outside than in and quite gorgeous.
I CHOSE to sit IN THE SUN.
I dunno if you can see in the distance but there is a carnival. Of course this pleases me greatly.
Ok, so the bleating.
Now, at first, I didn't know if it was on the show I had on for background noise (I was watching"Orange Is the New Black" so my brain had become somewhat desensitized to the alarm sound) or if it was a real thing I needed to act on.
It was real and it was in the hotel we were staying in.
The hotel room that had literally every single stitch of our lives that we need to immediately live. These items (even all four stuffies!) had been very carefully selected to get us through this weird hotel-livin' month.
So, my brain froze up.
Did I grab as many things as possible and bolt?
Do I bring select items and peace out as quickly as possible?
Or do I just drop everything and leave? You know, "Save the Jacki".
As my brain was turning these options over in my head, the alarm was still going off and, if anything, it seemed way louder.
I decided to slide my laptop in my backpack (it has all of my work life on it, after all) grab my phone and gtfo.
I still have so much internal guilt because I didn't take a stuffie with me, but my brain wouldn't allow me to choose.
BedTyme was the obvious choice. I use him every night for sleeping!
But what about Travis? He's the most seasoned traveller and helps everyone keep a cool head.
Then there's Larry the Pool Sloth, who has become more like Larry the Utlility Sloth for us lately, managing cables and being my office buddy since Office Snoop is in the Pods Pod.
And we must also protect Danny Brown at all costs. He's the only local that knows his way around Michigan!
I also could not bring them all. So I brought none.
When I stepped into the hallway, I expected to see/feel/smell nothing.
But there was smoke, so I made a very fast right towards the door outside.
There were only like 5 other people outside and they all seemed... calm?
Was smoke in a hallway normal for hotel livin'?
The alarm was still going off but I was too awkward to talk to anyone to find out wtf was going on.
I was also beating myself up internally in my head.
I should have grabbed extra clothes for both of us.
I should not have left my gross nutrition cubes in there.
I should have made sure to bring our 'important papers mailbox' with me.
If we were burnt out of our hotel room it would have been cool to have the chargers with us.
I should have fucking touched the door before I even stepped foot in the hallway.
I forgot every single detail of every single fire drill I did growing up.
But at least I remembered my room key.
Since the alarm was still so loud and no one was telling us what was going on, I just leisurely walked around the building (at a distance, of course, in case of explosions).
Everyone else just seemed like they were hanging at a BBQ, so I told my brain to do a little ramping down because it was stressing me the fuck out.
It was at that point that I was sad I didn't bring my MMJ pen with me, cause it would do me a calm for sure.
Then, miraculously, the alarm stopped.
And everyone started walking back into the hotel.
Which still smelled of smoke and was kind of hazy inside.
As I turned the corner to our room, the smoke was even stronger.
Then I noticed an open door, kind of kitty corner to our room (what is the technical term for this? I can never remember).
Framed in the doorway, with an aura of smoke haze around him was a sad businessman whose dinner was ruined.
Turned into a pile of ash and smoke.
Now, we don't have ovens in this hotel, so my brain tried to science out how/what he could have been cooking to that disastrous end.
Maybe something boiled too long? Or overboiled and started a fire on the stove?
Maybe they did a Jacki and tried to deep fry on a stovetop and forgot not to put out a grease fire with water.
(Look, that was a very long time ago and I will never forget running out of my front door with a pan on fire just because I wanted to eat some fresh hushpuppies. I have not attempted to fry a food since and never will again. I will leave it to the experts, tyvm.)
Whatever it was, it made for an interesting afternoon.
And I feel so bad for the fella who went through that panic just because he wanted to eat something! (side note: this has also given me an excellent business idea - providing healthy microwave meals to business traveller-heavy hotels)
I'm guessing the sprinklers must have come on in his room too, cause Mickey said there was an industrial sized dry out fan in the hallway when he came "home".
And honestly, that started a whole new card catalogue drawer of worries in my brain.
This morning I looked over our room with a critical eye, making sure anything electronic is out of the way of sprinkler damage.
Well, as much as I could.
Then I got bored and started writing about this adventure instead.