On The Road Again

I’m pretty sure the garbage man saw me naked today.


I was in the first-floor bathroom standing in front of the vanity. The window on the opposite wall faces the north side of my neighbor’s house where her garbage cans are. Outside the window are lilac bushes, which in summer provide a fair amount of privacy. Sunshine is a rare commodity here in western PA so I hate keeping the shades drawn when the sun is out. Since no one’s ever around my bathroom window at 7 a.m., I throw open the shade first thing every morning before changing into my workout clothes. We’ve lived in our house for more than two years and I’ve never had an audience. 


Not so today. Just as I whipped off my pajama top and reached for my bra, I looked in the mirror and saw the garbage man about 15 feet away. Our eyes met for a split second. Because my back was to the window and no boobage was showing in the mirror, I’m sure all he saw was the dolphin tattoo on my right shoulder blade and maybe the length of my back to just above my *ahem* torso. I’m kind of proud of my back, but still, how embarrassing. It’s one thing if I’m in a bathing suit or low-cut dress. To be surprised at 7 a.m. and sporting a bad case of bed head is another.


Will I keep the shade down from now on? Probably not. I need natural light more than I feel embarrassed by some guy seeing my naked back end. (Of course that wouldn’t have been the case 170 pounds ago. But I digress.)


I’m also not worrying about what the garbage man may or may not have seen because I’ve got bigger things on my mind. This weekend kicks off the big Minnesota Trip. I technically leave at the ass-crack of dawn on Sunday, but I’ll be in Pittsburgh tomorrow so I don’t have to leave Podunkville at sunset to get to the airport on time.


I’m lost in thought, making lists. As you know, planning an 8-day sojourn “home” takes more than just precise timing. I must coordinate outfits (god forbid I wear the same thing twice), shave my legs, plug phone numbers into the Blackberry, add photos to Grammy’s Brag Book, charge the iPod…It’s all very similar to last year’s preparation, only this time I’m flying, not driving, and so I have to be a more prudent packer. (See last year’s blog Let The Road Trip Begin to read how imprudent I am when I travel by car.)


This year’s trip is a lot like last year’s with one very fun exception – Baby Claire is going along, too! She’ll meet her great-grandparents for the first time, and her great-uncle Matthew, great-aunt Tracy, cousin Michaela, and great-uncle Marty. My dad is the master of silly songs and I can’t wait to hear my old favorites as he sings them to Claire: “Dear Old Daddy’s Whiskers,” “The Poor Old Slave” (a completely politically correct song), “She’s Got Freckles On Her, But She’s Nice” (gotta love the double entendre), and assorted other songs that are half real and half made up. When I was a kid, I went to sleep every night with a song of his in my head. Now that we have video capability on our phones and cameras, we’ll finally get to record Dad in concert. Good times.


I’ll see my old friends Pam, Pam and Val again, and this year I have the time to see a few others as well. I’m having lunch with my dear friend Lois who, despite all the things I’ve done in my life – good and ill –has always been a source of gentle support. She always reminds me that I have a higher power looking over me. To me, she is God at work on earth.


I’m also reuniting with someone I consider one of the most important influences in my life: my former pastor, David Mohn. David was pastor of the Jasper American Lutheran Church when I was 18. He married Bruce and me, buried Bruce, and baptized Carlene. He and Bruce sang in a barbershop quartet (along with my former algebra teacher and choir director). When Bruce died, David was the first one at my door. He is witness to the most painful moment of my life. Although he and a few others made the decision to not allow me to see Bruce dead (a decision David grew to regret and later apologized to me for), I know he only did it out of concern for me. David was the one who told me how Bruce died when I was ready to hear the story. David is the one who told me that time doesn’t heal a damn thing, it merely gives us perspective. David’s friendship and support kept me alive those first weeks after Bruce died. After 25 years, I finally get to tell him, face to face, thank you.


Next Friday, I’ll travel to Jasper for the big All-School Reunion and stay out on my cousin’s farm like I did last year. He’s having a party on Friday night, then there’s the parade, goat race and street dance in town on Saturday. Sunday is breakfast at the town hall and church in the park before the Haraldson Family Reunion at noon. My parents will be in town, too, but I doubt I’ll see them much until the reunion. I doubt I’ll get much sleep, either.


For another perspective of this trip, head over to my other blog, Lynn’s Weigh, and read Staying Real in Minnesota. While I’m looking forward to seeing family and old friends, I still have issues to work out. Don’t we all? I’m just glad one of them isn’t feeling I owe the garbage man an apology for my nakedness. There was a time when I would have felt ashamed and guilty. Glad I shed that skin.

2 thoughts on “On The Road Again

  1. We (finally) frosted the windows in our bathroom as the tree between us and our neighbor died and I know that we flashed them more than once. We don’t have a shade on the windows in the bathroom because it had never been a problem before. I just didn’t want to be able to look my neighbor in the eyes (or find that I was the cause of their nightmares!)
    Have fun on your trip!

  2. Apologize? I’m pretty sure seeing the occasional naked homeowner is the only perk there is for garbage collectors. I’m pretty sure you made his week!

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