Monday, August 31, 2009
But I'm fine, just kind of...gross. Sniffling. Sneezing. Hacking about. Ugh.
So, before going home, I drove out to my parents house. They're away for the week, travelling the hills of West Virginia, and I went out to water their gardens, even though it was in the total opposite direction of home and the couch.
I stopped at the gas station, filled up my tank, and the display screen said, "Please see cashier." Now what? Turned out it was just that the receipt tape was out at the pump, and had nothing with my check card. But because I was out of it, I found that I'd locked my keys in the car.
So, the police actually came to my rescue. When the cashier told me they'd come out, I didn't believe her...I seem to remember someone having this problem and the cops essentially said, we're fighting crime...call AAA or a towing company. But apparently, G*d was cutting me some slack because here comes an officer who had the car open in like two minutes. Very, very thankful...
Since I was home early today, I found myself on the couch with The Blanket (the world's softest fleecey blanket, thanks to Steinvic's lovely cousin's generosity last Christmas). And Inside the Actor's Studio was new and featuring Mickey Rourke. I haven't seen him in a lot of things, but I know he is a good actor. I always wondered what his story was, where he'd been all the years that he wasn't acting, and how he got back in. Seriously, I don't want to spoil it for you, so watch it if you can...I plan to watch it again. And, man, is James Lipton a gracious interviewer...touches on some sensitive subjects very skillfully...
But, without completely recapping the show, I have to say that through my sneezing and Kleenex, I saw in Mickey Rourke someone who wears his troubles so very clearly - not proudly, but honestly. I admire this real quality. It makes me realize that probably the only person I'm so honest with is Steinvic. And I write honestly here, though even this is somewhat edited and - let's face it - anonymous.
So here is to Mr. Rourke for being his true, endearingly flawed, incredibly talented, raw self. It takes great courage to put it all out there - not screaming to the world, "Hey, I'm messed up! Pay attention to me!" but instead saying, "Hey, I've been living my pain for a long time...thanks for noticing now. Thanks for caring about what makes me tick. I can't believe that you do." And also, here is to him for not being a victim, which is so easy to do, isn't it? You have to watch this show!
Well, I'm televisioned out. I never sit still on the couch! So, that's it for now...I'm heading for bed soon... be well.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I could be pissed today. I really could. Seriously, if I were superstitious, I'd be looking for the mirror I must've smashed or the crack I'd stepped on or the ladder I'd unknowingly walked beneath, because what the heck?!?!
Last night, our heat pump finally died. Last winter, when the furnace croaked, our super awesome heating/cooling dude warned us that the heat pump wouldn't last forever. But I was reeling from the $2500 that we spent for the furnace and we agreed to take our chances...the pump was another $2000, and he was cutting us a deal. (Which he said he'd extend to whenever we needed to buy it, which I appreciated...)
So, our luck ran out. No heat pump. No air conditioning or heat until it's replaced.
But you know what? I can't care. I say it's always something, but that is life, right? It always IS something! Something is always going to sneak up and sock you in the jaw and you're going to stand there, stunned, rubbing your face, saying, "What's the big idea?" and wishing that something would trip or stub it's toe or just generally go something itself.
But there isn't a big idea. Luck, good fortune, whatever you wanna call it...not predictable, is it? You can't earn it, apparently. You can be as positive and wonderful and giving as can be and you're still gonna end up with sand in your soda. You can either cry about it or go get a different soda. Or you can learn to like the sand in your soda.
So, don't let the heat pumps get you down...roll with it. Count your blessings. Have a Plan B in your pocket. (No, I don't mean this Plan B) Smile anyway. Go have a beer. What? You didn't ask for a pep talk? I'm kind of giving one to myself here... ;)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
1. Monday was my Grandma's memorial service. It was really special. The minister who carried the service was a very close friend of my Grandma and of my Grandpa...almost like a son to them. His family wasn't in town when he and his wife and sons arrived here years ago, so my grandparents just kind of adopted him. There was no one better to eulogize her. It was a hard day, but she would have been so proud... Interestingly enough, a lot of the service came from her writings. She'd once given an envelope to my aunt who thought it was just family records and memorabilia. Turns out, they were transcripts of talks she'd given and writings she'd contributed to different publications. So, her words were a big part of the memorial and that was oddly comforting. Unexpected. And her ashes are now resting beside my Grandpa, where her heart has been these last 23 years. Everything is in it's place...I just have to get used to this changed landscape and that is happening slowly.
2. If I haven't recently stated that I am completely in love with Steinvic, please take note. I would not have made it through the last month without him. No...that isn't true. I may have made it through the last month. But I would not like that world one bit! My life is better because he is such a big part of it. He is always devoted but he has been especially attentive, which I couldn't have imagined was possible because he already treats me so well. But I appreciate it. I am so very fortunate...(Thank you, Steinvic, for the sunflowers...for everything...)
3. I'm determined to have some fun and feel normal this weekend! We need fun. I am going to see it out as much as possible.
4. My new computer is freaking fantastic. This weekend, Steinvic and his brother-in-law figured out the issue with the wireless connection and got me all configured and up and running. Also, I was able to use my Zune last night and get it all synced up and loaded some new songs which I really needed to do. Music rut ended!
5. I made my famous Pasta Bake to share at work today to celebrate a big milestone in our department. Half of the pan is gone. That means that my colleagues had pasta for breakfast and I love that!
6. I am going to go read about Ted Kennedy now. RIP, Ted...Wow. What a life.
That's it for now. See, I posted! Hopefully more soon...
Friday, August 21, 2009
Yesterday was an adventure in plumbing. Wednesday night, I came home to a very wet utility room. The pipes going into our washing machine were leaking. Thankfully, the water hadn't ventured into the finished/carpeted area of our basement. I was able to get a first thing in the morning appointment with our awesome plumber. Mom - who really can be a saint when she wants to - came over and stayed so I didn't have to miss work. She encouraged the plumber to check out some other spots she was worried about and also our sometimes leaky kitchen sink. $401 and three hours later, our house is safe from the perils of leaking pipes, corroded valves and improperly installed dishwashers.
My jaw, which locked up last Sunday due to a Tango with TMJ, is finally almost 100%. This morning, my upper teeth and lower teeth can touch on both sides. We take these things for granted, people! I should be able to chew and eat normally, which is a relief since I have been eating soup all week long and it's getting kind of old!
Tonight, we have a work event for Steinvic up in Columbus, but then we'll come home tomorrow and be here through the weekend, including Monday's memorial.
Plumbing, money, TMJ...I'm asking you, G*d, can you cut a bitch a break!? Seriously...It's a good thing that I count my blessings daily...
Speaking of cutting a bitch a break, I have to comment on the Semenya situation. WTF, y'all? She doesn't look like a man. She looks like an athlete. She looks like a female to me. What, she was supposed to have on fake nails, a push up bra, heels, extensions and false lashes when she crossed the finish line? Come on!
How humiliated this young girl - and she is a young girl - must feel about herself, her sexuality, her attractiveness... the media has beaten all of this to pieces. At a time when she should be able to be proud of her tremendous accomplishments. Look what dedication and hard work got her - shame, speculation and embarrassment.
My hope is that somehow, this makes her angry. That somehow, she has enough self confidence, even at the young and tender age of 18, to give the press the middle finger and move forward. (Or fo-waad, Steinvic. Ha!)
I think something special needs to be done. The whole world owes this kid an apology.
UPDATE - ONE MORE THING: I was just talking to a co-worker about this and you know, something else occured to me... What also pisses me off (besides the fact that this entire situation was handled so poorly) is that of course a WOMAN couldn't possibly have this record-breaking time or improve this much, right? Couldn't be the training, couldn't be sheer will, couldn't be any of that. No, to do this well, she would have to be a MAN. I am not a feminist - I'm a humanist - but that is total bullshit. An insult to every woman.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Losing my Grandma so far is like that feeling you have when you think you've forgotten your wallet or lost your keys or cell phone.
That drop in the pit of your stomach.
That rush of heat across your face.
Only for me, I'm not getting the relief you feel when you realize that your keys are safe and sound in your jacket pocket, or that your cell phone is sitting right there on the car seat next to you.
I have been in touch with "The Sads" only in little waves at this point. Most of the time, I feel very little about anything.
I truly know people mean well, but if one more person tells me that I was lucky to have her for so long... it's not really an appropriate thing to say to someone who has a gaping hole in her chest.
No one seems to get that she was my friend. I take that back - Steinvic understands. He really does. It's such a relief to have one person on this planet understand me.
Monday, we'll gather for the memorial service. We'll bury her ashes next to my Grandfather at the cemetary. I haven't been there in years because I just never felt like he was there.
She requested that her ashes go inside a wooden box. Not an urn. Not any kind of decorative container. A box. Made of wood. But that is what she wanted and so that is what we've asked. I have a feeling that seeing a wooden box that contains what used to be my Grandma will be difficult, so I have been trying to prepare myself. But what do I do to prepare for something like this?
Tonight, I feel like a hiker with no compass. I'm looking at the treeline, breathing deeply for the scent of water...am I close to a stream? Should I stop for the night? I'm relying on the light from the sunset to hopefully help me find my way to a main road. But it's getting dark and I'm afraid.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
So, we signed up for a "bundle" (I don't like that word for some reason) with CB, thinking that this would be awesome...wireless internet service coupled with our land phone service and it would end up costing us a whole dollar more per month than what we were paying for land alone.
Did I mention that it comes with a free voice mailbox? And that they don't send you any instructions about how you'll use it. So...like...you come home and find that your regular, old fashion answering machine has been hijacked and no longer works. You can see that you have a message waiting, but you have NO idea how to retreive it.
You also find that the Zoomtown high speed Internet service that CB promised to activate isn't activated. So when the recording for the general CB number you call (because you smartly printed it off while you were at work) tells you that you can access their Web site for all of your customer service needs, you want to scream.
Of course, after holding the line for 55 minutes, you want to scream even louder. In fact, you've resorted to talking to yourself. You talk out loud, as though you were speaking with someone in the room so that the recording of your call, "monitored for customer service purposes," documents your insanity born of frustration. You question your stupidity for choosing Cincinnati Bell, why don't they have anyone working there, what kind of party they're having while you hold for an hour, what is wrong with humanity, and why should U-Scan lanes at the grocery ever be closed?(After all, "U" are scanning, "U" are there...what's the problem?) You hang up.
You decide to dial "0," just like in the olden days, and after half a dozen prompts, you get a real live person. You ask her, kindly, "Hi. Do you happen to have Cincinnati Bell phone service?"
"No, I'm at a call center in another state. Can I help you with something?"
"I hope so. I thought if you were a Cincinnati Bell customer, you could tell me how to get my voicemail. I was on hold with customer support for an hour, and would just like to retreive my messages."
"Wow. I'm sorry...that is something. Here! Here is a number...wait...okay, have you tried this number?" (Gives me a number I don't have...) "Try calling that and I hope it helps."
It did. It was actually the number to call to set up the voicemail settings. It asked for a password to get started. I gave it one I like to use, thinking, "Easy to remember!" Then two steps later in the process, it made me choose a different one.
After another two hours total on hold to find out why our Internet wasn't working, I learned that they hadn't connected it. The message that was waiting in our new voicemail? A cancellation of the appointments we'd made and rescheduled to have it connected. We finally have Internet access, but it's not wireless; you have to keep the ethernet cord plugged in. I would call to find out why, but I haven't had a spare three hours in the last week.
So, now we have an extra wireless unit (yeah, they sent two. One of the connect appointments they were supposed to honor? They just dropped off a second box...on our porch. In a very colorful box that read, 'wireless Internet connection!' with a picture of one on the outside of the box. It may as well have said, "Steal me!Quickly!") that I need to drop off at Cincinnati Bell's store. But you can't call the store to ask them where they're located in the mall...no! It takes you right to CB's main line, where you will wait until you die.
So, think twice before you get Cincinnati Bell! Unless you've got some extra patience you want to burn...
Monday, August 17, 2009
I made it to Columbus on Friday night and was greeted with the biggest hug imaginable from Steinvic. And a card, and a small stuffed friend and a giant glass of vodka and club soda. (And a scratch off lottery ticket, because well...we're always hopeful.)I have loved him for so long, but how I realized just how much I also need him as soon as I saw his face.
He listened to all the things I'd been thinking and feeling through the course of the day on Friday. I have to tell you...I wasn't feeling much. Totally locked out. But he listened. Our friends listened. And I was glad to be there.
He told me that at the resort that was hosting our Family Reunion, he had made a reservation for me at the spa for a de-stressing massage and a facial. I had never had a spa experience and he said he felt I needed it now more than ever. I didn't even know what to say.
We arrived at the resort and he and his son dropped me off at the spa. I had a fifty-minute massage ("You have a lot of tension in your shoulders..." you think?!)and a thirty-minute facial. New dress we'd found last week and hosiery and shoes. The best company and comforting from his siblings and their special others. Thoughtful cards and sincere sympathy amidst the happy family banter.
It was exactly what I needed. Princess treatment and love like I've never felt before. My Grandma would be so happy to know that I have such love surrounding me. That is what she would have chosen for me, had she the power.
I didn't go to work today. My jaw has been locked up for days and finally hit a max. I woke up with a hellacious headache. Steinvic stayed home with me...he didn't have to, but said that he told his boss he needed to take care of me.
I am not accustomed - even with as devoted as Steinvic has been - to being taken care of. For the first time ever, I'm allowing it to happen. How will I ever thank him and his family?
I'll go back to the real world tomorrow. A world where I don't have the compass I had before in my Grandma, but a world in which I think I can make it...with a little help from the people who really, truly love me.
I really, really miss my sweet friend. But I am so thankful for the people who remain here on this planet to love and guide me.
Friday, August 14, 2009
My heart is heavy (I now know what that expression means) and I go through moments of feeling completely resolved to feeling absolutely lost. She was my compass. She was my friend. And she was a fantastic grandmother.
My Grandma was a surprise baby born to parents in their midlives...something that was pretty much unheard of in 1918. When people told her expecting mother how sorry they were to hear about her "predicament," my great-grandmother replied with, "Don't you feel sorry for me! This baby is going to be the greatest blessing of our lives." And she was.
I could go on and on about how wonderful and talented my Grandma was and tell you all the things she's accomplished. But it won't really matter to you...no offense meant by that...it's just that you didn't know her except through me. But maybe this will give you an idea of the kind of woman she was. Plus, it's one of my favorite memories of her...
When my parents split up, I had just graduated from high school. In a nutshell, life sucked. We had no money, Mom was out of her mind from her 30+ year marriage ending, and my sister (yes, I have one of those, though I don't really talk about it here) was very into her own life so it was pretty much me on my own. I had a job but no car, and my Grandma volunteered to take me to and from college and work. I saw her just about every day.
It was evident to her that I was not eating, so she began showing up early to drive me to work. "Have you eaten?" she'd ask. Before I knew it, we were at the mall food court with a tray of food that I wasn't interested in. But she'd get me talking and before long, I'd eaten half a baked potato. Or half a sandwich. Or something. But the fact is, she'd get me to eat. Sometimes, I'd go dump our trays and when I'd return to the table and she'd be gone.
The first time this happened, I thought she was in the ladies room. After a few minutes, I started to worry. Until I heard, "Yooo hooo! Over here!"
I turned to see my Grandma going round on the full-size carousel that was in the game area of the mall. She was laughing and laughing and after a few seconds, I started laughing, too. I laughed until I cried. And then I got on, too. And this became our thing.
And that is my Grandma.
We had a tough visit on Wednesday. She was suffering and trapped. She wasn't herself. But last night was different and I'm thankful. She was very weak, but her hallucinations weren't scary. At one point, she asked that I pull back the drapes. She said, "I'm living inside a big flower garden," and I told her that was a nice place to be. She told me about the tree in her room and how she takes a leaf from it every day. She fell asleep for a moment and she must have been dreaming she was on the phone, because I heard her say, "Okay, I'll talk to you later! Bye bye!" in her bright and cheery way. And she told me she dreamt that she was "shopping for a big affair." We said our I love you's and she squeezed my hand and said, "Be safe." When I promised I would and said not to worry, she whispered, "besafe, besafe, besafe..."
Last night, Steinvic called, which he has been so dutiful about since this began, and I told him that I really hoped Grandma would die in her sleep. In the night, she felt like she couldn't breathe as easily, so they gave her a sedative, just to relax her, but that was the little push she needed to help her over to where she so desperately needed to be.
I can't even describe how I feel today. I'm at work, because that is how I cope. I will leave to go see my Mom this afternoon and then I will head north to be with Steinvic. That is where Mom says my Grandma wants me to be...
Thursday, August 13, 2009
1. If you've been wondering about Virginia, please know that she is doing pretty well. In addition to her son, she has three daughters. One of those daughters - who lives locally and had just sold her home in an attempt to downsize - bought a house with plenty of room so that Virginia could come to live with her. Over the next few months, Virginia will move. We'll miss having her right next door, but I'm so happy she has a place to go. Plus, I can still visit her. Right now, I check in on her a couple times a week. Not so crazy about her son being our new neighbor, though...
2. Did you see Clean House last night? The whole cast was there...how sweet is that?! I am sure that the producers will see a nice jump in the ratings. I only saw the first half, but it had a way better feel than other episodes have recently. I am sure I'll see the rerun here in a day or two...
3. Give a big hand to our friend, J, who adopted a stray kitty! And an even bigger hand for naming the new kitty after my Grandma. (I was only kidding when I suggested it, but how cool that you actually did it. Even if the kitty is a boy, I think the version you chose is really perfect...) Here is to a healthy, happy addition to her family (with two great kids and two very active dogs, I think this just about rounds things out, don't you?!)
4. I've started power walking at lunch with one of my colleagues. It was her idea...she struggles to fit exercise into her schedule, too. We concluded that bringing in t-shirts and gym shoes and cruising around the walking path here at lunch would be a way for both of us to get healthier. We did three miles on Tuesday, one yesterday (she had lunch plans) and we'll do three again today. Even if we can't do as much as we like each day, I'll still have walked more than seven fitness miles at the end of this week...which is seven more fitness miles than I walked last week!
5. My Grandma. There are days that she seems alert and herself. Then, there are days like yesterday. Yesterday, I had a good cry...the emotions that had been so far off in the distance came crashing down after I left the nursing home last night. Because she is so uncomfortable, they've had to heavily medicate her. Sometimes, it's a good high - she's tired but happy. But yesterday? Agitated, restless, bad dreams, struggling to function, no eye contact, hardly able to talk. This has been her greatest fear. And that is why I cried - not for me - I am not thinking of the void I'll feel. I cried because she has said a million times how precious her mind is to her. This is why she loves word puzzles and games...it's kept her mind sound and strong all these years. To see her in the state she was in last evening? Robbed of her personality and wits? Where is the dignity and fairness that she is due? I am still honored to be a witness of her passing, just as I have been proud to be her granddaughter. I will not stop going to see her even though it is hard. This won't overshadow or discount all the good memories I have, because I won't allow it to. I have to be there as much as I can.
I guess that is enough for a catch up, right? I promise not to stay away so long next time...
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Did you tune into Clean House last night? I did and THANK GOODNESS Niecy was back! And Mark and Trish. Matt was a no-show. But still, 75% attendance is a whole lot better than 25%! Like I said, I'm not one of those fans who freaks out when someone other than Niecy hosts, but I can say I like the show a lot better with the regular cast.
Steinvic spent hours pouring over reviews for our replacement cell phones as we re-up with Verizon this month. At the end of his research, he selected the LV enV Touch. What? You think I'm nuts for letting someone else (even someone as amazing as Steinvic) choose my phone? Listen, Steinvic is the one who has to listen to me bitch about my phones when I'm unhappy with them, and that pretty much makes him an expert, don't you think?
Homerun for Steinvic! I activated my phone this morning, and I have to say, this is a damn fine phone. Nice big keys for texting, easy to find what you need, pretty darn intuitive so far. It's a sturdy, substantial phone with dual screens. If it can't do what you want it to on one screen, it politely displays a message that you'll have to open it up and use it horizontally. Easy to use, nice ringtones, a little drawing pad, fun stuff. So far, so great!
What happened to the Palm Centro, you ask? It ended up not being very reliable. Using the stylis on the miniature everything was a drag. Had to be charged constantly. My face would make the phone hang up on callers, plus the speaker phone and connections were spotty, so talking on the phone wasn't easy. Texting was a chore with those tiny keys. While it was somewhat better than my last phone, it wasn't the phone for me. I'm glad I didn't pay money for it! Digging the LG enV Touch so far!
Finally, we're getting wireless Internet access at home this weekend. We've gone from Flintstone status to Jetson status in a month's time:
-We had one land line in the house and it was a corded phone in the kitchen. Now we have cordless phones in two rooms in addition to the corded kitchen phone.
-We had no television in the basement and no cable down there. Now we have cable and tvs on all three floors.
-We had no computer. Now we have one.
-No Internet. Bam! We've got Internet (or will on Saturday.)
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I have a computer. Of my very own. All because of Steinvic...
I've never had my own computer before. For a few years, I had a second hand computer that didn't work more often than it did. It was actually more frustrating to have occasional access than it has been not having access at all.
So, I have a beautiful, blue, Dell Inspiron 15 and I love it. In fact, this post is the first thing I'm doing on my new, gorgeous, fabulous computer.
Thank you, Steinvic, for once again doing something so amazing for me that I never would have done for myself. This is too much but I really love it and appreciate it!
Happy birthday to me...