123 Days Remaining
I'm on the plane on the way back to Victoria, via San Francisco. It's been a bumpy flight but it seems calm enough now to sit down and try to get you all caught up on my last few days. I don't even know how to express how amazing this entire trip has been. I'm so grateful for everything that I've experienced and everyone I've met.
Friday morning I tried to sleep in a bit, but the continental breakfast was calling me. I made my way down to the “breakfast room” and loaded up on homemade waffles – they had a pump that dispensed the exact amount of batter for each waffle and then each customer could make their own waffle with the big waffle makers. I didn't really want a waffle all that badly, but I had to try it out. It was really delicious. After breakfast I headed back up to my room and basically lazed around for much of the day; I knew that I was going to have a busy couple of days ahead of me and I wanted to take the opportunity to relax whenever I got the chance. I did make my way down to the pool and hot tub, and – even though the sky was quite overcast and it wasn't exactly what I would call California temperature out – I forced myself into the water for a swim. I really didn't want to say that I stayed at a hotel with a pool for three days and never once went into the pool! I pretty much threw myself into the cold, cold water, swam the length of it, and jumped out to run straight for the hot tub. Punching the button for the jets, I sank under the bubbling water with a sigh.
This is a good time to address what several of you have already asked me about – my Michelin Man. Yes, this trip was originally planned in order for Mitch and I to finally get the opportunity to see each other in person, and we had planned to meet in San Diego and spend a couple of days together before heading up to Temecula for the Reality Rally. Unfortunately, Mitch wasn't able to make it. I had known that was a possibility for a little while, yet I still had a small hope that he would somehow manage to come...but it didn't happen. Nonetheless, I knew that this would be a great adventure for me, and I also knew that I would enjoy myself regardless of whether Mitch and I got to spend some time together. I am a bit sad that now I don't know when our meeting will happen, but the time I had alone was invaluable and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I also feel very sad for Mitch, as he had a family tragedy that made any slim chance of his meeting me in California a complete impossibility. It was hard to be having so much fun while I knew he was going through something very difficult; my texts were alternating between enthusiastic and sympathetic. I wanted badly to be able to support him, while he was attempting to share my excitement for what I was doing on my trip, but we both have had a difficult time with it.
So this brings me to what I mentioned the other day: how every day of this wonderful adventure has found
me crying. Friday morning in the hot tub I sat and just thought about Mitch and what he was going through, and prayed again, asking God to guide me with what I should do with our relationship and also asking that He would support Mitch as he goes through this really difficult time. I asked that I would have clarity with how I should approach this relationship – because certainly, though it may not have a label, this is definitely a relationship of some sort – and that I will continue to be strong if it becomes apparent that it will not work out. I prayed that Mitch would have support in his grieving, and as he supports those close to him who have also suffered this loss. I cried thinking about the life that has been taken away, and how hard it is for the family who has been left behind. I also asked that God please never take my beautiful, incredible children from me.
I was terrified. There's something about showing up for an event like that on one's own - and early - that can really kick the nerves into high gear. Add to that the fact that all the people I saw in the parking lot were in jeans or shorts (though the invite clearly said “cocktail attire”) and it added up to one incredibly nervous Lisa. I felt overdressed and conspicuous as I went to the Will Call table to receive the wristband that showed I belonged. I made small talk with the ladies manning (womanning?) the table, and they were encouraging. “There are lots of good-looking guys here, and you look gorgeous,” said one, “so get in there and have fun.”
It's a little easier to wander and mingle with a glass in one's hand (never mind the relaxing effect of the alcohol itself) so I purchased a glass of champagne (Wilson Creek's signature cuvée – absolutely delicious, and seeming fitting for the occasion) and planted myself near the greeters to make small talk and watch everyone wander in. I saw several reality stars right off the bat, but as it was still early, it took some time for them to arrive and for my nerves to settle.
And soon enough, I was in my element. I met so many people I had watched on television over the last few years, and they were all so gracious and easy to talk with. I couldn't believe how much fun I was having, how many in-depth conversations I was able to have, how at home and comfortable I felt after just a few minutes. I learned how to play Texas Hold 'Em. I got kissed on the cheek by a reality celeb who said I was "irresistible". I shared some things about my dating hiatus and my relationship with Mitch (although not referring to him by name) with people who were sympathetic and interested. I ate strawberries run through the melted chocolate of a chocolate fountain. And as the party started to wind down, several of the reality stars invited me back to their hotel for their after-party.
After stopping in at my hotel to change into jeans and more comfortable shoes (I could barely walk after hours of trotting around on those heels!) I went to the resort where all the stars were staying, where the after-party was already underway. We danced like crazy and I finally got home around 2am.
After removing my makeup and sliding under the covers, I lay there with a stupid grin on my face. This really is my life right now, I thought. I can't believe it. It was the stuff of many a Lisa-authored short story back when I was a teenager (except the New Kids on the Block were not in attendance this weekend - ha!). It was so far removed from my reality but so exactly where I belonged at that moment. For a moment I allowed myself to think of Mitch and feel slightly sad that he wasn't there with me, but I also knew that if he had been there, I would have been completely focused on him and not have allowed myself to fall so completely into the evening as I had. I needed that.
With that, I drifted off to sleep, knowing that the next day was going to be a busy one. Reality Rally race time!
To be continued.