The longest 14 days

They begin tomorrow. Well, I suppose they have already begun. Tomorrow, the last day of March, which is an odd month. I had to agree with a classmate this morning as he contemplated March.

“It’s a weird month,” he said, stroking his magnificent beard. “I always find that life throws big changes at me in March. New job, or I get injured, or something massive happens. I’ll be glad when it’s out of the way.”

“Me too,” I said. Actually that’s a lie. I said, “Ahahaha, beware the ides of March.” But he didn’t seem to get it, so I had to drink my tea and be embarrassed for a second and hope that he forgot all about how socially awkward I can be.

April is the month of my birth, so I always like April. This year, April is also the month when I get to return to my homeland for a few days, where I intend to eat curry, Branston Pickle, and have a solid Sunday roast. Not all at once. That would be awful and strange.

I’m going to spill the beans, I just can’t hold back any longer.

April is the month when we will move in to our new home. This time it isn’t a friend’s RV. It isn’t a friend’s basement. It isn’t a tumbledown trailer house rental property. It’s a real house, sitting on a real foundation, nestled into eleven acres. In fourteen days, we will sign the papers to become the owners of this little snippet of splendour. Cowboy and I.¬†Homeowners. How thoroughly grown up.

We are unbelievably lucky to be in a position to do what we are about to do. Whatever higher powers are out there, they are paying us back for all of the shit that we’ve endured.

In that vein, there are two weeks of shit to endure, still. I am fully booked at school, rehashing a lot of the material that we covered at physio school in London, but it’s important for me to get a handle on the scope of practice that I’ll be operating in here. This weekend, Cowboy will be working down in Yelm, where he handles the cows for the Westside Team Penning Club at their monthly competitions. He has to borrow my horse so that his helper has something to ride. I get to stay at home and start packing.

Then the following weekend, he is planning to leave for Montana to fetch some things that will help us at our new home. It means I will probably only see him for a few hours this Thursday and Friday, and then not again until the Monday afternoon before the move. It could be worse. I can eat girl food as much as I like with him gone, which means no beef for a long time, and Sir Richard and I can snuggle without judgement.

“It’s not like we’re not going to see each other again for six months,” Cowboy said stoically. I mumbled something grumpy and moody in response. He’s right, we are over the worst of it. Our days of living long distance are behind us. It doesn’t stop me feeling thoroughly bummed about it.

I bought this t-shirt in Target today to cheer myself up.I made an impulse t-shirt purchase today. I couldn't help it.

I may need such motivational words to get me through the next fortnight. Incidentally, “fortnight” isn’t really a word here in America. I never thought I’d have to explain that one, but life is full of surprises that way.

A quarter

This week marks the quarter way point through the second half of my manual therapy training (so technically it’s an eighth, but I like quarter because it sounds bigger). Yesterday we had our first student clinic, where we were unleashed on real live members of the public, and challenged to do our best work yet.

It seemed to go quite well. I had been anxious and apprehensive, and spent most of Sunday lolling about wondering how on earth to get myself out of this pickle, and considering whether I could pass off my ever so mild cough and cold as serious illness (when, in fact, it’s a combination of dust and cat hair), and thus fabricate a reason not to go to Seattle in the morning.

I’m glad I went. My client was suffering from frozen shoulder, which was a juicy therapeutic issue for me to think about while I worked. The general relaxation thing, of which I can see the many merits, does not excite me in any way as a practitioner. If all you want is a nice rub, please go to the spa place and spare me the boredom. However, if you have an interesting problem for me to think about and tackle, please come along.

The weeks feel long, as I am now away from home more than I am there, or so it seems. School days blur into an afternoon spent on the computer at an internet hotspot. My current favourite is Panera Bread, which has not bad tea (a little strangely sweet), and pretty decent salads, although is a little pricey. I am trying to eat less cake and fewer buns, and less chocolate (because let’s be honest: American chocolate just isn’t that enjoyable), as I am suddenly mindful that there is a dress of specific dimensions waiting for me back in the UK.

It is easy to spend the four days in Seattle resting on my buttocks in various locations. Said buttocks have lost the shapely er… shape that Mark the Magician whipped them into last summer, and I rather miss them. Of course, there is nothing to stop me taking my buttocks to a park and doing a bunch of squats and lunges, except that I have no self-discipline whatsoever. I like to think that I am working up to the self-motivation to go to the part and do squats and lunges, but in reality I am just avoiding it.

At home, we are about to undergo a rather huge change, which I’m reluctant to talk about until it is completely finalised, in case I jinx it… It means we will have busy weekends full of activity, all very hands on and vigorous, and it also affords Cowboy the opportunities that we have been striving for for the last year.

As March winds down, we are also a quarter of the way through the year. It’s an insignificant sort of milestone. Who cares what time of what year it is? In a way, it is strangely comforting to look at the expanse of 2015 calendar still unmarked and view it as a green grassed land of optimistic successes. It was equally comforting to take my pen this afternoon and scrub out the weeks of school that have already passed this semester. What is it about scratching out the physical evidence of time that is so cathartic? To see that quarter of the semester¬†already behind me gives me hope in the upcoming weeks, that they might pass as quickly and painlessly as those five have done.

I try not to think too hard about how long those five weeks have felt. I instead focus on how monumental they have been. My doubts about my ability to thrive as a manual therapist have been put to one side. I might not be good at general relaxation, but by golly, my clinical reasoning is sound, my anatomy knowledge is fairly solid, give or take a few origins and insertions, and a complete stranger was happy with the work I put in to her tissue yesterday. The end is in sight, and I am seeing a reasonable career at the end of it. A chance to recoup the investments of money and time, both of which have been hard to swallow.

The urge to spill the beans about what is going on in life is almost overwhelming, so I am going to try to restrain myself and stop here… Watch this space.