I'm still waiting for them all to arrive back here. I won't be reassured until I see them all, and then they figure out their next step.
It started Friday night. It had been a hellacious day - make that week - at work. My body had simply had enough by about 7 PM and I went to bed, thinking to sleep through until morning. I'd even developed a fever, not to go with any kind of bug, but just my body's way of saying, "Enough already!" It took the third full cycle of my cell phone ringing right next to my head for me to recognize the sound and decide it required a response. By then my phone had stopped ringing and I heard Steve's phone ringing in the living room.
Somebody really needed to reach someone in the house. By the time I finally sat up and put my glasses on to read the phone display, still taking a while because my eyes were still blurry, Steve was heard explaining that I was sick and he'd taken a pain pill rendering him unfit to drive. He was walking down the hall as he spoke, saw me sitting up with the light on, and handed me his phone.
It was Rich. He was looking for a ride home. Details were sparse, and many bounced right off me. I gathered there were problems with his boss and he wanted a ride home from Howard Lake where they were set up for the week. Paul was working overtime Saturday and was also not available to head out to pick him up. Rich finally agreed to try to cool down over Saturday and check in with us again Sunday.
Last night Steve took off in his van to go pick up both Rich and Brenda plus all their gear, run them down to Rochester to pick up her car from where she leaves it over the summer while they're on the road, and then all would return here. Last I heard from Steve was last night when he called to reassure me he'd connected with them in Howard Lake. As soon as the place closed down, they'd be leaving.
Few more details were forthcoming. I'd originally been concerned that Richard quitting would result in the two of them splitting up. That bothered me almost more then his sudden unemployment after years of working with the carnival. Though seasonal, it's been reliable, at least until now. There've been problems along the way, but the two of them have weathered them and supported each other through them. When Brenda got fed up, Rich encouraged her to stick it out, and vice versa. That ended this weekend. Both of then had had enough, including three weeks unpaid. The fact of their consensus was enough to reassure me that this was the right move.
UPDATE: Steve just called. No sooner had the two of them loaded their gear and driven off last night than their boss started calling and texting them on both their phones. The calls were ugly and got threatening. They were both smart enough to save them all. They shared them with a cop when they got to her car about five minutes ahead of the tow truck the boss had called to have her car hauled off. It had already been disabled with two flattened tires. They will be fixing or replacing those this morning once the stores open, and the cop wants a copy of the receipts to get them fixed. Meanwhile everybody spent the night in a Super 8 and are still safe, as Steve reassured me briefly before his cell battery ran out. I'll know more tonight.