Glutton For Punishment

Spending the summer of 2012 in Maine was a really nice change of pace from the previous year. I got to wear high heels a hell of a lot more, and the house I lived in didn’t have odd-smelling traps hanging from it to catch pestering swarms of flys. I suppose the fly infestation wasn’t an issue in Maine though because my house also didn’t have chickens, dogs, cats and peacocks running around the premise. No, you read that correctly. On any given day, you could have opened the wobbly RV door to an overwhelming whoosh of heat and a couple of peacocks just chilling out with some chickens and a ratty pet cat that hadn’t been bathed in fourteen years. Who the hell was operating this place and thought, “Hmmm, a couple of peacocks would really make this place feel like home”? I guess literally they did bring some color to an otherwise sea of tan and brown, but  I always wondered if it was even legal to pick up a set of peacocks like you were out grabbing a couple of flowers for your entryway. I suppose what happens in RV parks, stays in RV parks, but…what in the hell?? Either way, while Anthony lived with his mother in Grandma, I made sure that I remained thoroughly grateful for my normalcy in Maine.

I did take some time off to visit Anthony during the 2012 season. But during this fourth trip to Yuma in less than a year, I made sure to reserve a hotel room for my short stay. I figured that if I could stay out of the RV, then I could resist the temptation to move back into the sweltering peacock farm. Really tough to resist, but I prevailed. I spent each day of my “vacation” in the stands of a baseball stadium for over seven hours – three hours of batting practice/fielding, and then four hours of an actual game. At least I was smack dab in the middle of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. Despite the 115 degree heat I couldn’t wait for three hours of downtime in the stands with Christian Grey. It felt a bit odd reading it next to Mama D and her bible (how many times did she read that thing??), but I was way too enthralled in my guilty pleasure to hide it. Plus, it’s only fair to mention that I got her hooked on the Christian Grey hysteria when I left my books behind, so I feel like my soul has since been cleansed. Eye for an eye, if you will. When it was finally game time, we put our respective reading material away and proceeded to see who could clap and cheer louder for “their boy.” Unfortunately, Mama D is one of those people who can do that thing were you shove two fingers in your mouth and whistle louder than a hurricane siren, so I just decided that when Anthony got a hit and pointed in our general direction that he was pointing at me. Although, in hindsight it’s tough to say for sure. For one, we both left lives behind in Maine to live in an RV park for Anthony, and for two, well…she gave birth to him. I don’t know though. Does that trump girlfriend of two years? I mean, it was a rough two years! Alright. Mama D takes the cake.

Back in Maine, I resumed normal life while I waited for Anthony to finish up the season in Mexico. He was having a hell of a year, hitting almost .400, but still there was no buzz around him in regard to moving up. Well if you count Mama D’s bragging as “buzz”, then we were covered for the next ten years, but it wasn’t enough to create a new opportunity for Anthony. The discouragement of playing some of his best baseball and remaining stagnant in his career started to wear on him. He even told me that it was probably time to move on if nothing panned out for him, and that we should follow my career somewhere instead of his. I was really unhappy in my job at the time, so I got really excited and started looking immediately for a way out. I searched with no reservations, knowing that wherever I chose to work that I’d have Anthony by my side and we’d be aligned for the first time since dating each other. One of the first places I looked was at Verizon Wireless, where I spent the first five years of my professional career. I had tremendous success there, loved my leadership and made great friendships. It was an unparalleled experience, and just like what my associate director there had told me would happen when I resigned, I missed it. I don’t think I need to explain the global span that Verizon Wireless has over corporate America, or the amount of opportunity that exists in that company. What I might have to explain is why I felt so excited when I saw that they were hiring my old sales position in none other than Yuma, Arizona. My thought process should have been that it’s a tragedy for them to subject a poor soul to the rigorous feat of hitting a quota in that hell-hole, but let me give you the real insight to the inner-workings of my demented mind. I actually felt guilty that Anthony would start a completely new life with me in lieu of playing baseball. I felt responsible in a way because he knew that after two years of dating, I wanted to settle down and be able to plan any part of the future, let alone two months in advance. I couldn’t fathom ripping baseball from his hands just like that. With this in mind, I contorted the Verizon job in Yuma into the biggest blessing we’d had thus far as a couple. (Since we had had exactly zero blessings up until this point, that wasn’t saying much). I figured that I could get back into the company that I loved working for so much in Maine, and Anthony could play another year of baseball while pursuing his college degree and a career. He often shared his fear of not having opportunity after baseball, so I thought this was the best way to address both of our goals. In my mind, it was brilliant.

With my typical pursuit of the things I want, I began vigorously applying to the position in Yuma. People must have thought I was nuts for being so eager for the role, and the hiring manager even asked me if I was sure I knew what I was doing. Duh, Mr. Manager, of course I did. One of my strong points was clearly thinking things through before acting on them. And within two weeks I had an offer letter to take the position in Yuma-friggin-Arizona. Anthony hadn’t even gotten home from his season yet, and I was already working on a plan to move back out there. Let me repeat. I was trying to move back to Yuma. 

Within one day I accepted the position. When Anthony returned to Maine, we had exactly eight days to pack our lives into the BMW and head back across the country…for home.

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