noun, verb,-anced, -anc·ing.

1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

2. mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

3. the act of balancing; comparison as to weight, amount, importance, etc.; estimate.

I just got done with six straight days of flying. My body feels it. My home looks it. My family of birds and dog are just fine. Parker is currently out on the porch whistling his ass off and taking in this fine Easter morning.

I, on the other hand feel like I’ve been run run over by a truck.

I had some great trips! I got to catch up with friends like Nancy:

And my trip home yesterday was a riot because we had seventy people to look after on a 757 that holds 166 and there happened to be a lot of us, so that wasn’t difficult at all. And there is just something about being the “Queen Bee” and only female on a Flight Attendant Crew of six:

But I don’t care how you slice it, when you get older and you’re sleeping at a nine-thousand foot altitude, and flying almost half a months schedule in six days, you feel it. I’m flying out of Miami and driving I95 to get there is no picnic, even at one in the afternoon:

Usually on my Quito trip, I’m up at an ungodly hour in order to get back home:

There is a free breakfast in the morning, but do you really want to eat this at five a.m.?

Or this?

But we do, because if you don’t you are going to be one starving Stew in a couple of hours if you don’t. But it’s always good to get home. Back to my family who have been beautifully taken care of in my absence by Nan:

And Beverly:

And I just know that everyone is going to be cool as a cucumber and they will have barely noticed I was gone. I’m not worried and the birds and the dog act as though I had just gone to the corner store when I get back instead of another continent. I like it that way. I want them to be confident and relaxed and comfortable knowing that everything is fine. It bothers me when I have to leave them, but it would bother me more if I couldn’t afford to feed them. They are well-balanced in this life of many caretakers and I think they are better for it.

We all have to do things in this life we’d prefer not to. I’m never thrilled about leaving my “Guys” but that’s just the way it is. One of these days I’ll look up and it will be time for me to retire and you’d think I’d have all the time in the world. But probably not. I’ll most likely still be racing around the world on different writing projects and seeing all of the things I never got to see when I was busily sleeping in a hotel room during my ten hours in a place other people go to on vacation. So I don’t expect much to change. I just take comfort in the fact that my family really isn’t bothered by it and are well balanced enough to welcome other people into their life. Give your animal family the skills to get along without you. Arrange afternoons where they stay with other people to begin with and work up to an overnight. In the long run, they’ll be better off. And so will you.