There seems to be a strange wonderful sensation that creeps into my life and quite a number of other as well, completely unnoticed. There is no sudden jolt or a specific time that I can point to that marks the arrival point. It's all very subtle. You may find yourself singing more often or being a bit bubbly or just smiling a lot all day long. Then someone says to you,"Whoa. What got into you today"? And you stop and think, "What got into me today"? DUH!! With less than three weeks left before returning to our tiny piece of paradise, those oh so familiar images begin to appear in my mind's eye and throughout my body.

It's just before we land. I look out the window. There is that glorious sight of Montego Bay, the resorts, the water, all of it. Syl and I are holding hands and smiling. We look at each other with utter amazement that we have been able to pull off another trip. The excitement and anticipation are almost out of control. The wheels touch down. The engines roar as the plane begins to slow down. Finally, the seatbelt sign clicks off and everyone jumps to their feet. The air is electric. And so the next part of the adventure begins.

Ahhhh, but sadly, the plane is not about to land, for us, it has not even taken off. But it will soon and that's why my inner self is already enjoying shades of things to be. We've had the bags here in the computer room for about two weeks already. Some new clothes to try on, some old clothes to dispose of. Carefully weighing the checked bags to stay under the fifty-pound limit. When we flew first class, the limit was seventy pounds per bag. That really helped with all the stuff we bring down. Now we have found other clever ways to distribute all the weight. Experiences teach us.

Now that I am definitely fully aware of what got into me, I am enjoying every moment. As I drive to work every morning at 4:30 am, there are planes overhead. The store I work at is about 10-15 minutes from the airport. Most of the time I don't pay that much attention to them. But on Monday morning as I drive thru Wellington Circle and over the bridge to Everett, I will pay close attention to those dark shadows in the sky. I will look at them and I will yell, "THAT'S US IN A FEW WEEKS TOO" I will smile, maybe even laugh out loud. Like a little kid who knows his birthday is less than three weeks away and he knows what he's getting. Yah. Going home is like too.

I'm excited to be able to put all of the virtual reality away. As I typed those words, "virtual reality", it made me think. Growing up, and for most of my life, I never really thought about "virtual reality". All I ever knew was "reality". The day to day existence that we all lived. Hands on. If you fell down, you got hurt. If you went out in the rain, you got wet. If someone died, they stayed dead. They did not get back up and live another day. That was a reality. Today, with a virtual reality we can immerse ourselves in that scenario and derive certain pleasures or rewards, but there really is no substitute for being and doing and feeling and taking in every ounce of the reality of being there.

No more pics and videos of other couples vacations. No more reading the thrilling adventures of anyone who has been kind enough to post so that the rest of us can live vicariously through their journey. No more. My patience is reaching its limit. I may have to resort to more herbal medicine than normal.
However, I am well aware of my current state of reality. I am painfully reminded every day of the present weather conditions that exist just outside my window. Cold, windy, cold, snow still on the ground from the last storm and cold. Not my oasis. Under these conditions, it would be hard to ignore my current existence in reality.

With the recognition of what my body and brain are experiencing, I can welcome without any hesitation, the tiny terrific tingles that make me warm all over and the little shutter that goes up my back every once in a while and makes me smile. These are welcome signs. These "virtual sensations" will continue to interrupt my workday.

I work at Michael's, a craft store and the other day I was putting some stickers away in the travel section. I picked up the next package to open and scan for a location when I looked down at the package, I saw it was of Jamaica. A 6" x 8" page with the word "Jamaica" at the top. There were palm trees, coconuts, the bobsled, the Jamaican flag and more. I suddenly felt very weak and went straight down on my knees. By the time one of my co-workers found me, I was sitting on the floor leaning against a post in the aisle and babbling something that they said sounded like, "tree whittle turds" and I was drooling. I'm sure I could hear the mento band on the speakers in the store.
I have been at this job for just over a year so my associates have already experienced some of my pre-trip behaviors and said they are better prepared for this trip.

The sweet reality, for now, is that the moments of planning and waiting and all that goes into having another marvelously, enchanting, enjoyable excursion, are winding down. From the agonizing triple digit beginning to the exciting dance of the double digits and now, just a few more 24 hour periods must tick tock away and we will be in the staging area for the numbers that stand alone. They are the much anticipated and loved by everyone, the single digit. Nine strong and capable numbers that need no other number by their side. They have come to be known as the "final nine" in countdowns held around the world. They are always the last to go. And when all but one single digit remains it will leave me with nothing. Zero. Time to go.