Mum used to say, “A change is as good as a rest.” I was never quite sure what she meant by that. When those words came out of her mouth, she often had one eye on my father. Best to leave that alone, so I’ll just say that, in my experience, a change of scene and routine will do you more good than shutting out the world and napping for three days. You don’t need more sleep; your eyes need to open to a change of scene. In other words, sometimes you just need to find a stray frog in the bathroom to truly know you’re not in Kansas anymore.
I’d hit the too-tired-to-give-a crap stage of mental fatigue. Absolutely everything got under my skin. I didn’t like anyone or anything, including myself. Ask my husband. He’ll vouch for this. My usual outlets (writing, gardening, and photography) had lost their charm. Even Netflix lost its appeal. I’m rarely bored, but a year of sheltering-in-place while trying to stay engaged in life had run its creative course. I was drained and done. But what to do?
The easing up of stay-at-home edicts coincided with our 22nd wedding anniversary, my emotional enervation, and both of us being vaccinated. Remember me mentioning my crankiness and general dissatisfaction with life. It’s well known that I’m not one to suffer in silence. My better half was more than ready to get me a lobotomy, send me to a nunnery, or experiment with few days out of town. Lucky for me he chose Option Number Three.
What? Back to the frog? Okay, if you insist, but in a roundabout sort of way.
We packed up the car, arranged pet-sitting for the cat, strapped the dog into his car harness, and headed up to Sedona. I have to throw in the fact that I don’t like road trips. Not at all. I’m rattled by regular cars sharing the freeway with eighteen-wheelers and too many looney-tunes with driver’s licenses, but as soon as we turned off I-17 and the red rocks of Sedona loomed into sight, I felt my humanity return. The road trip was worth it.
Sedona has trees and a rushing creek, and if you are so minded, vortexes and aura readings. Tucson has heat, drought, and mountain views, and yes, my home which I love, but I know you’ve heard about having too much of a good thing, right? Sedona also has resorts with creek access.
Resorts also offer room service and someone to make the bed! After a year of staying at home, never eating out, and planning and making all the meals, this was Nirvana. And don’t bring up camping please. This lady has had her fill of sleeping in a tent, peeing behind a bush, and drinking camp coffee. Been there, done that, for too many bloody years. At my age and level of joint creakiness, I want a luxury bed and bathroom, and someone who, at the press of a button, is delighted to bring me anything from a cocktail to a lovely breakfast. Add in a deck with a perfect reading corner, ducks on the creek, and a property that includes flower gardens, a creek trail, duck beach, and a frog pond…well, what more can one ask for. Frogs in the bathroom were an unrequested but not unfun perk.
Frogs. Plural. One parked on the wooden floor of the outdoor shower. Almost stepped on the poor little bugger. Since I was, shall we say, not dressed to go out, David rescued Frog Number One and popped him back into the pond behind our cottage. Frog Number Two was hiding in the indoor bathroom the day we were leaving. Cutest little, leggy creature. I coaxed him into a plastic cup, topped it with printed page of room service meals, and trotted him back to his favorite lily pad.
So, heed my words. When lethargy settles in and the cranky-meter needle edges into the red zone—and be honest here, we all know when our tempers are shorter than short—it’s time to switch gears, not hide under the covers. Even if working in a getaway isn’t possible, we all have access to a tree-filled park, some even with small lakes; a botanical garden; a friend’s garden; the zoo; an art gallery; or a coffee or ice-cream shop with a patio. Get creative. Exchange houses, apartments and/or pet-sitting with a friend for 24 hours; pack a snack and drive out of town until all the houses disappear; browse a bookstore or a great thrift shop…. Just leave the confines of those same-old/same-old four walls for a while. Trust me, a change is as good as a rest. And sometimes you just need to find a frog in the bathroom.