Usually I struggle with how to end a post, but today I am having trouble with getting started. When I last wrote, I was sitting on top of the world. The trip for which Sam and I had planned and diligently saved was finally here, and I was so excited I could hardly sleep. No one would ever refer to me as a cool, calm, sophisticated woman. I am really just a big kid, one who is still asking, "Are we there yet?" long past her childhood.
Sam grinned and told me that a really good spanking was coming my way if I begged him just one more time to, "Tell me about the rabbits, George." Ha! Like that was going to stop me! "Bring it on, Mister." Packed and organized down to the last detail. House was ready and fridge was stocked for Son #1 to camp out with the dogs. Walked out of work that Friday afternoon "caught up" and all my responsibilities covered.
The sun glittered on the big, beautiful Virgin Atlantic jet that carried us to the UK. Lovely attention on this airline's flights, and I was still as happy as a tornado in a trailer park. Nice limo driver holding a sign with our name on it (this always makes me feel so fancy) and a big black car to whisk us from Heathrow into London. Oh, wait a minute. Correction. We were "whisking" pretty well until we got close to the city. Then things slowed to a crawl. No matter. We were in London!
Next morning the first episodes of a terrible bout of gastric disaster began. I will spare you the more sordid details but will explain that I am still under doctors' care back here in the states 6 weeks later. Nothing on this special trip went according to plan. I have dealt with a lot of disgust and depression and really must admit that I am still struggling healthwise, physically and mentally. Thanks so much for all the sweet notes and get well wishes.
Am going to try to concentrate on sharing some of the few good times that came to pass despite all the illness and tears. Well, there is no place more important to begin than to tell you that I was able to meet Ami! Definitely a high point and one I had looked forward to for close to a year. Dear Ami is just as beautiful and sweet and wacky as her posts. A heart so big and generous that one feels instantly at home. Ami and Dan did indeed make Sam and I feel that way.
Ami wasn't feeling all that keen herself for several days, so it was a case of misery loves company. We did get to spend part of one day with the guys at the ruins of a beautiful abbey, and Ami introduced me to my new favorite store, White Stuff! Loved that place! While our men pondered life over pints of Adnams, we girls did some power shopping, including an absolutely gorgeous scarlet bra and "knickers" from Marks and Spencer. Ami and Ella never stopped talking and laughing. She is a very special lady, and our time together is a lovely memory that I get to keep forever.
"We'll be friends forever won't we,Pooh?" asked Piglet.
"Even longer," answered Pooh.
Sam had business in London and arranged a private tour of Lloyd's for the Starsongs and us. Alas, this was another activity I missed; this time I sat in Urgent Care for half a day to see my 2nd UK doctor. Nothing I took seemed to help. Short list of things I was not able to see or do. The Shard, Liberty of London, the Tate, the London Eye, and both beloved Shakespeare plays. Also many pies, pints and pubs.
However, despite numerous trips to the loo, I did get to meet and thoroughly enjoy, Rosie, Jan, Ronnie, and DF. Of course, Ami was there, too. So a perfect 6 again! And speaking of numbers, we did add up the total number of years married around the table. Didn't quite hit 215 but we were close. It was hard to talk about some topics with other people dining nearby, but we managed to share quite a lot. I think DF has already posted a picture of the gifts we all exchanged.
One night not too long ago when I was feeling fairly symptom-free, Sam decided we were doing a Spanking Sampler to try out each and every new implement. I rated them with various volumes of "Ow." Each woman around that table was such an individual, but the common bond made it seem like we had known each other for much longer than one afternoon. A very wonderful time.
I don't think the tears and monumental pity party started in earnest until I had to say goodbye to Ami and Dan. I sobbed on Sam's shoulder for at least 20 minutes. When I finally stopped, I formed a plan to just get drunk. That didn't work either, but I did quit crying for a time. Next day we left for France on board the Eurostar. Yes, Ami had warned me about the "pissoirs" in France, but it was hard for this little Yank to believe until we arrived at the Gare du Nord in Paris. If I had not been sick, I may have laughed when I saw there was a cash register and cashier and a line of 20 men and women at the entrance to the public toilets. In my condition I just paid my 70 Euro cents and prayed.
By the time we were in France, I was taking 10-14 Immodium a day, but there was still no improvement. The only relief I ever got was by starvation. So Sam left each morning with our guide, and I stayed behind. Usually I would go back to bed for a while and have a good cry. After a shower, I would nervously venture out for short periods. I would usually shop for a banana and then find a pastry shop for a huge croissant. Some days I would live dangerously and walk about the beautiful little village in which we stayed. Lost count of how many times I had to rush back to the hotel in tears. One day I did manage to take lots of photos and another time I did some souvenir shopping. I read in the sun on the little terrace outside our hotel sipping 7-up. One morning I spent 30 minutes on the Internet looking up enough French words in order to write a note to a French pharmacist.
"Immodium nu' pas fonctionne'."
Don't know if this is correct, but the pleasant man got the idea and sold me more stuff that didn't work. My best French (since I practiced it so often) was "Toilette, la femme?" Which, by the way, the French are big fans of communal toilets. So, instead of "la femme," I was usually sharing the toilet with a Frenchman with his wang in his hand. Umm..... no thanks.
On the 3rd day, Sam and the guide rearranged the destinations so I might have access to a bathroom for a good portion of the afternoon. They picked me up at noon after a morning at Pointe du Hoc. I ate NOTHING for almost 24 hours, and it was worth it. We started at Omaha Beach. Our guide was a witty and knowledgeable British man who resided permanently in Normandy. He was simply perfect and brought the story of what happened there alive. He used a walking stick in the sand on the beach to explain what happened and in what order. He also corrected some of the misconceptions fostered by movies such as The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan. I drank in every word and felt so privileged to finally be standing there. He had so many first-hand stories from old soldiers he had met and interviewed. There were huge portfolios of photographs that documented each location and the units that landed. We drove to a look-out point over the beach where buses could not navigate. After a short hike we could view the complete breadth of Omaha.
Our guide has spent over 20 years compiling his documentation, and on our way to the next destination, he played us voice recordings from soldiers who were there that day. It brought home again that every man had his own story.
When we arrived at the American Cemetery, our guide explained that he did not accompany his clients into the cemeteries. He gave us a rough idea of what we might want to do, but said he would wait and that he did not agree with the guides who talked in these sacred places. He was right. This was a holy site and an experience that really did not need words. As Sam and I walked quietly, the enormity of the life sacrificed on that day so long ago touched you like the hand of God. I wanted to be by myself and silently separated from Sam to walk among the crosses until I came upon a grave with no name and decided that here was the place I wanted to pray.
"Here Rests In Honored Glory
A Comrade in Arms
Known But to God."
There was a small, gray chapel at the center of the cemetery, and it was there I found a quote that said everything I could not say that day.
"Think Not Only Upon Their Passing,
Remember The Glory of Their Spirit"
I truly regret everything that I was not able to see and experience. It is one of the biggest disappointments of my life. Sam felt awful that I could not participate in all this with him. It was at this point that I "climbed into myself" and pulled away. The condition persisted, and I became resigned and weak. The trip home was a nightmare, and by the time we finally landed, they had to bring a wheelchair to the gate. Weeks later I am still seeing doctors, having gobs of tests and trying not to succumb to falling into a sinkhole of self pity.
Sincerely, I thank my family and friends for their persistence and kindness. Sam has been at my side, concerned and loving which, of course, was greatly appreciated. But there really was very little progress in my state of mind until he finally decided that perhaps I was not too breakable to spank. This is very hard for him to understand. I still crave his leadership when I am dispirited, maybe more than when I am sassy or bossy. I need to feel he is my rock, and for me, that means I need to feel his hand on my bottom. Don't think I could explain this need except to all of you. Others would never understand. But I believe that many of you could relate a similar experience or could at least remember a time when you dearly wished there had been a spanking to pull you back. It is my safety net. Just like the routine of daily life can give comfort and strength, it has been when Sam reconnects with me through spanking that a sense of normalcy returns to us both.
A reason to smile and look ahead.