Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Friend C in NYC
So, tomorrow morning, Friend C leaves us for NYC. Before I'm even awake, she will be on a plane, on her way.

I have 108 million things I would like to say to, and about Friend C. I've been saying all week that I can't get enough of her, trying to spend as much time with her as I can. And that about sums it up.

I would like to be able to blog everything I want to say to her today, right here. I feel like I've been saying goodbye to her ever since she first told me she was applying to grad school last November. I knew even when helping her with her application to apply for school that she would get in, and that I was essentially helping one of my best friends leave me for a city and a life far away.

But, I was just so proud of her for trying. I couldn't say no. I couldn't not help. She didn't need my help, really. She would have made it on her own. She was going. I knew that the second I heard about it from her.

She's requested no tears throughout all of the parties and "last" gatherings and events, as the days and weeks have counted down to her departure tomorrow. I hate saying goodbyes. I hate it when the people I feel like I need in my life, go. I am so lucky to be able to call her a friend.

But, as I hugged her goodbye tonight at Two Rows, and said awkward goodbye things to someone I've seen or talked to almost everyday for the past two years, I had to walk away quickly . . . because the tears started. They are here now.

I can't say everything I want to say to Friend C. Hopefully she knows what she means to me. I will say it sometime. But for tonight, I will say that I will miss everything about her.

I am proud of you. Best continue making me proud in NYC.

I am counting the days until we can hang again.

If I don't get a phone call before the weekend, I will assume you have been kidnapped by the mafia in New York, and I will call 911.

I can't get enough of you, Friend C.

Much Love and Warm Thoughts when it turns cold in NYC in a few weeks-

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Looks like they picked the wrong month to be related to the Tyrant
And the wrong month to stop sniffing glue.

In addition to my dad's hip, and my grandma's increasingly failing health, Hurricane Katrina has made the third in what will hopefully be the end of a series of rough events for my family.

I know as we all watch the news about the devastation in New Orleans, each of us are likely affected in some way by friends or family members who are displaced and without homes due to Katrina. It seems like everyone I talk to knows someone somewhere in Louisiana who is affected by this disaster.

Late this afternoon I learned that my cousin, his wife, and his two young children are now without a home. My uncle and his wife are also now without a home. They are all currently staying with family a few hours north of New Orleans.

They live in Slidell, an area hit hardest by the hurricane. I don't have much info at this point, but they are in for a long process of starting over, along with thousands of other people in similar situations.

I'm glad that they are safe. I'm glad that they have family available to help. They are some of my favorite people on the planet.

But, my heart breaks for them. I can't imagine knowing that I could never go back to the home I left. Especially with two young ones who don't understand why they can't go home, or why they don't have their toys.

One of my greatest fears is that my house would get burned up in a fire. I don't know why I have that fear, except as related to my fear of not knowing how to start my life over without anything. I can't imagine how I would be able to start over if I lost everything I have. No clothes. No stuff. No pictures of loved ones. I think that is what would kill me the most. All the things I have that hold memories, gone forever.

I was frustrated today by suddenly higher gas prices, which will only go higher over the next few days. Then I saw a story on t.v. about people driving from Louisiana to Mississippi to get gas, waiting in a line that stretched down the highway. The police were called in to keep the peace over what small amount of gas was left.

At least I can get gas here when I need it. High price is a small price to pay, considering what these people have lost.

I ask for lots of prayers tonight for my family, and for all the people affected by Katrina, as they begin trying to figure out what to do. Both sides of my family are getting hit lately with illness, surgery, loss, and now Katrina. August has not so much been a good month.


Monday, August 29, 2005

This ain't your ordinary league.

Friend C's going away party on Friday was an action-packed evening. Fun times, good friends, yet a sad occasion for a party.

But, in the midst of the sadness of saying farewell to our dear Friend C, an important event was born. Not just dancing. Not just fanning. No, it's the . . .

National Fan Dancing League

In an event that could not have been more perfect had the stars been perfectly aligned, the creation of the league occured simultaneously with the auditions for the very first season of the NFDL. Co-Captained by C.T. herself, with Friend JW, and under the watchful eye of Dance and Hotness choreographer MAA, scrupulous attention to many details took place in the forming of both the Varisty and Junior Varsity sqauds. MAA plays a vital role in maintaining the highest standars of hotness and choreography, for it is mandatory in this league to be hot, and choreographed.

The evening of dance provided a variety of styles, and included a variety of music. Notably, hip-hop is the dominant musical accompaniment to the leading fan dancing routines. But other genres of musicality are also widely accepted.

The ancient art of fan-dancing combines the use of a typical asian fan . . .

. . . with the modern art of random dance. There is deep meaning behind every move, and many years of dedication to practice and understanding the ancient art are required to achieve the highest levels of Fan Dance.

Here, Co-Captain Friend JW demonstrates the rap / hip-hop style of Fan Dance in a move we like to call . . . The Diddy.

Note the fan usage in a back and forth motion, but pointed downward as if to say "Sho' nuff!". Also note the mouth open facial stance - very important to the success of the Diddy.

Next we have a more interpretive style of Fan Dance, demonstrated by Friend Chuy.

Note the joyous abandon in which she uses a fully flared fan, front and center. This move is known as the Dancing Queen, and it is widely seen in interpretive fan-dancing circles worldwide.

Friend AnolongerinP shows us a variation of the interpretive Fan Dance style, known as Celebration, in which she lifts her eyes upwards in celebration of the art of Fan Dancing, and nature.

Here, I, myself go through the grueling audition process, using everything I have to score a spot as Co-Captain of the Varsity Squad. I begin with my patented Peacock move, using both hands as fans, even though I have only one actual fan.

Note my use of the audience reaction to further fuel my next move . . . The Bow. And note the approval of Dance and Hotness Choreographer MAA in the back left.

Here, I take the Peacock to the next level by bowing forward to an audience member, engaging them further into my Fan Dance. Note Co-Captain Friend JW in the background, shocked and awed at this bold move.

From the Bow, I then move to The Model, where I involve the very important use of good hair.

Since Fan Dance is a thing of extreme beauty, it is vital to all good Fan Dances to involve gratuitous use of flowing hair. Note the strong wrist action as I use the fan to propel my hair outward and upward, arching back to get the full good hair of a model-at-a-photo-shoot effect.

I ended my audition with a final outrageous move, The Stare.

To attempt The Stare in a Fan Dance performance, you must fully commit to the move, without hesitation, without reservation. The key is to lock eyes with a target in the audience, and fan like you've never fanned before. Points are given for fanning speed, and duration of stare-lock. Note also in the photo my intense red-eye. The extra effort to concentrate my eyes into a frightening shade of red is what secured my spot as Co-Captain of the Varsity squad, much to the delight of Co-Captain Friend JW, again in the background.

Now, if you are concerned that you may not have what it takes to become a professional Fan Dancer and participate in the NFDL, I encourage you to give it a try. Sometimes, you may be a Fan Dancer and not even know it . . .

. . . nor remember it afterwards.

So, you think you can Fan Dance? Rest assured, ANYONE can be a Fan Dancer, if it's truly in your heart and soul.

Even dudes.

Here's to a great start to a fantastic season of the NFDL!


ADDENDUM: Due to proper props being mistakenly left out of this post for reasons that are both inexcuseable, and unexplanable, it must be recognized that NONE of this event, nor would the existence of the NFDL even be possible without the inspiration and the prop supply-ation by the fabulous Friend JR. It was only due to her bag of tricks that produced the fan seen throughout the evening and used exclusively for NFDL auditions that the League was able to be birthed.

Friend JR, the NFDL thanks you for your inspiration, your insight, your very large purse full of random things, and for being the reason why we Fan Dance. We are truly nothing without you.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Musings on Anger
I watched Upside of Anger today. Not for any particular reason, except that I stumbled across it at Blockbuster and decided to get it.

I really wanted to like it. The first half is painfully slow and borders on ridiculous in some parts. But, there are a few tidbits of conversation and narration that stuck out to me as really profound. These things are really the only things that saved the movie for me. I find myself struggling with anger a lot these days.

Two of my favorite parts of the movie are expressed in the narration from the youngest daughter in the movie. She observes the following about anger and relationships:

People don't know how to love. They bite rather than kiss. They slap rather than stroke. Maybe it's because they recognize how easy it is for love to go bad, to become suddenly impossible... unworkable, an exercise of futility. So they avoid it and seek solace in angst, and fear, and aggression, which are always there and readily available. Or maybe sometimes... they just don't have all the facts.

I've seen this to be true for me, and also for others in my life lately. It's like we don't realize when we have a good thing, and we go and ruin it because we get scared. We judge, and back away, without necessarily having all the information to make us less angry.

The second quote that really struck me is this:

Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It's real, though - the fury, even when it isn't. It can change you... turn you... mold you and shape you into something you're not. The only upside to anger, then... is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they're not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm.

It's true. Anger is easier to fuel than love, or patience. It seems to feed itself, really.

I think the upside of anger for me is that it shows me that I care. Sometimes I am so even, so non-responsive, so generally calm that I wonder what I care about. Does anything affect me? When I get angry about something, that means I care enough to let myself get angry. The upside for me is that I care, and it hurts, and it makes me angry. It's not the best response. And it usually causes me to react in a way I'd rather not react. It's something I need to work on. But, it proves to me that I do have a heart, and it's tender, and soft, and gets hurt, because I care about some things. Deeply.

I've noticed this to be especially true lately, in my world. I'm pissed off. It's not going like I figured it would be at this point. To be as vague as possible, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But, I'm angry. Because it hurts.

My favorite moment in the film is a scene between Denny and Terri. Terri is generally pretty horrible to everyone in her life throughout the movie, but she's hurting, and going through a tough time. And choosing to take it out on everyone who loves her. Finally, Denny has had enough. He says (or yells, rather) this:

"I am so sick of being your bitch. I put up with your shit because I know how much pain you're in. But, it's enough! It's a tall order for a patient mother f***er, and I'm the furthest thing from that, that you're ever gonna lay eyes on."

I have been in that place, with those feelings. In fact, I could have written those lines myself. It breaks my heart that I've gotten to that point. But, I can definitely relate to that frustration. It's a disheartening feeling. Makes you wonder why you invest in the people who are hard to love.

I've also probably been that frustration for others. At some point, there is a statute of limitations on how horrible you can be to people and still attribute it to "going through something painful". After awhile, you are just taking advantage of those who love you. I have to remind myself to be careful of that sometimes.

Denny stays. He keeps trying. And in the end, Terri comes around. His patience and ability to take more than he deserves perseveres. He's not perfect. He doesn't pretend to be. But, he stays.

In the end, I think all we really want in life is for people to stay. Even when we make it near impossible for that to happen. Getting angry about stuff is just a quick way out, and a poor way to handle things.

Overall, not a good movie. I mean, the youngest daughter's name is Popeye, and the movie never covers if that is just a nickname, or if she is really named after a cartoon guy with big forearms who eats spinach. But, the movie has a few good nuggets that make it worthwhile.

It's another thing that makes me think. I like that.


Friday, August 26, 2005


They are SO cute . . .

Go see this movie.

Bring a jacket. Just looking at all that ice will make you cold.

But the penguins will warm your heart...



Ninja Baby
I received this today in my email . . .

Folks, what you are seeing here is the first ever ninja baby, with a mohawk. Otherwise known as my honorary nephew, Ninja Baby G. With a mohawk.

The mohawk is very important in this early developmental stage.

I met him a couple of weekends ago. He is every bit as fabulous as you see here, just like his parents. Except they don't all have mohawks.

The ninjaness is strong in this one.

He cheered me up today.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gotta love 'em.

Just when I thought my posts could get more lighthearted and a rough week or so might be over, maybe not so much. I don't really know what to write about this, but tonight I got a call from my dad about my grandma, his mom. Without going into great detail, she's not well. It doesn't look good.

My grandma has lived for the past several years in a retirement apartment in Oklahoma. For awhile, she was great there. I took a few trips up to see her over the past few years. It was good. A lot of repetitive conversations, because she would forget that we'd already talked about something several times. She'd do a lot of typical things that old people do when they start to actually get old. We'd putter around her apartment complex, meeting the same friends of hers that I met each time before. They'd forget they already met me, sometimes by the next meal. Once, I took her the grocery store. That was an adventure. Another time I took her out to eat at a restaurant, outside of her dining hall where she eats all of her meals with the other people in her retirement place. Also, an adventure.

I went up once with my Dad. That was a good visit. They are so cute, dad and Grandma, in her retirement home. We all ate dinner together with her friends in the dining hall, so she could show us off. She loved it.

They weren't easy visits. But generally, I enjoyed those times with my grandma. She would go to bed early, and I would stay up looking through her books of old pictures. Good memories. That side of the family doesn't spend time together anymore. It's nice to see that we once did, when all of us were here to be in pictures.

I stopped getting Christmas cards and birthday cards from her several years ago. I think she forgets me, until I'm there with her. Then it seems to click who I am. Sometimes she'll call my phone number, looking for my dad. But not realizing she's leaving a message at my house and not for him.

Every so often over these past couple of years, we'd get a call from one of my dad's siblings. Grandma wasn't doing well. This was the end. She's not going to make it. But, that's never quite been the case. She's deteriorated over the years, but she stays with us.

It happened earlier this summer. My parents considered cancelling a trip to Hawaii because we were told Grandma was not going to make it. But, dad called her and she seemed fine. He went to visit her a week or so before his hip surgery. She seemed fine.

Tonight, though, it seems different. She fell, she's in the hospital. There was mention of a coma. My dad heard from his two brothers that he never hears from, one in Romania who is now coming home to make funeral arrangements. It seems a bit more real, and serious, this time.

I've had the thought several times earlier this summer that I needed to go visit her. It had been awhile, and I was due for a visit. But for one reason or another, I just never made the drive. Not for any particular reason. It's only about 4 hours. Right now I am regretting that I didn't go. There's no reason why I shouldn't have gone.

My debacle now is if I should go this weekend or not. If I go, it will be just for me. She won't know I'm there. She won't know it's me. It likely won't do anything for her. But, do I go? Do I really need this? Could I even consider it doing it for her, to be there? Do I cancel my plans for the weekend, miss Friend C's going away party, to go there? My last visit with her was good. I can't exactly remember when it was, which I'm feeling right now is pretty horrible of me. But maybe I should leave it at that, knowing I may be up there soon anyway for her funeral.

Gah, these are terrible sentences to write. Any way it comes out, it sounds selfish and insensitive. I wish there was no question of just drop everything and go. Or stay because that's what is best.

I was with my grandfather when he died. It was awful, but also really beautiful to be there for his last breath. I'd never experienced anything like that before. But at that time I felt like I wanted to be there for each family member, when the time came. I don't know if it was more for me or for them that I felt that, and still do feel. But, I have to think if I was the one fading away, on some level it would mean something to me to have family there. I don't know. Maybe it's a selfish thing for me to want to do, or to give. But, it seems important.

I wasn't there for my sister. No one was there. But no one saw that coming. I wish I'd been there, though.

It may or may not be time for my Grandma. She won't ever go back to her apartment. At the least, she'll need full-time care somewhere. I really just don't have the information about the severity of her condition. But, it doesn't sound good.

I often find myself conflicted about what the right thing is to do for people I love. Let them go? Keep the memories I have? Or let nothing come between being there, even if I'm not sure that it matters or not.

Does it matter?

I'm not sure what to do.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

This post sucks
I want so much to post something fabulous before bed. But I'm just too tired.

Too much work at work, keeping me after I should be working.

A fabulous burrito with a fabulous Boy.

Evening with the most friends I've had all in one place at one time in a long time.

Trumps blogging for tonight.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Showing Christ's love... one governmental assassination at a time.
This KILLED me today.

SO FUNNY!! And so sad. And so ridiculous. You just don't say things like that.

This is why no one likes Christians or Americans. And why no one listens to us. We make no sense, and we are not nice.

You'll also find Pat saving the world at the ONE campaign.

Which is, Pat? Killing, or helping?


PS. Don't tell Pat I said anything bad about him. He might have me killed.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Weekend Update
Just the highlights... inspired by Friend L.

1. Roadtrip on my own, on a day that's historically not good for roadtrips. A personal victory.

2. Quality time with Friend C before the crowd arrived. Can't get enough of her before she leaves.

3. Another quality sunburn from time spent on a lake with good friends, and a good Boy.

4. A 14-hour "nap." Possibly a personal best for longest time spent sleeping ever. But sometimes, you just need to sleep for 14 hours. Especially after a week as emotionally and physically draining as mine was last week.

5. Waffles for nine.

6. The honor of driving Friends K and L home from the lake, without scaring the poo out of them. But with including the invention of ... we will sting you! (Play Journey softball to find out more about what this means...)

7. Filling in for someone by speaking at church, and being brave enough to talk about the vulnerable parts of my week, since it was a mostly vulnerable week. It was the first time I've shared about my sister in front of a group, other than a group counseling group. I could have made fun of my dog instead. But, I went for what was real. And probably weird and creepy for everyone listening. Especially the part about waxing my lip** in honor of... (see next)

8. Moustache appreciation night at church. I mean, really, how could these guys with these moustaches NOT be a highlight?

All fine looking fellows with facial hair, and poster boys for Future State Troopers of Small Town America. But this one is my favorite:

** my lip waxing courtesy of participation in Moustache Appreciation night... because no one appreciates a moustache on a lady.

9. Moustaches only being topped by seeing my dad walk for the first time since his surgery. He went home last Friday, five days earlier than expected.

10. Not getting eaten by something scary late last night.

Good weekend.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

I Called 911
Living alone in a house, one of my greatest fears is that one day "it" will happen. It will be that day, that moment, when I really have to call 911. Someone is breaking in, something is on fire, some emergency is happening, and I will need to dial that number that we never, ever dial unless it is the end of the world - 911.

Tonight I was sitting here at the computer, minding my own business. Suddenly, I heard a sound outside. It was a thud, of sorts. It sounded like something had hit the side of my house.

Then it happened again.

And again.

And now it sounded like someone, or something was beating the side of my house, or perhaps throwing something at it.

Then, it sounded like it was on the roof.

I flipped on my front porch light, hoping the light would scare off whoever was attacking my house, before it got IN to the house. But, no. The noisy beating continued, getting louder, and more frequent.

I couldn't decide if maybe it was kids messing around in my driveway, throwing a ball against the house. In which case, I would just be really mad at some neighborhood kids. Or if it really was some mass murderer outside, chopping away at the brick, trying to drive me insane before coming inside to get me. In which case, I would be extrememly frightened, and less mad. And possibly in grave danger.

So, I decided this was the moment. The very moment I have feared for the past two years of living here. I grabbed my phone, heart racing, and I dialed 911.

Thankfully, it rang a few times. And in those seconds of the 911 operators not picking up the phone to save me, I had a thought:

That sound could also sound a lot like fireworks. It would be unexpected and out of place at this particular date in time, but if you take away the fear of thinking someone is breaking in and just listen to the noise, it could be fireworks. Which would mean no one is trying to beat a hole in my house in order to come in and get me.

Maybe I should not call 911.

My options were to continue to stay on the phone with 911, tell the 911 people that I think someone is beating my house and trying to come in and get me, make them come to my house and check it out, only then to find someone scary in my yard and save my life, OR to possibly discover that the sound that was freaking me out was fireworks, and I'm in absolutely no danger whatsoever.

OR, I could hang up the phone and go outside and check for myself. If there was no crazy man outside, and it was only fireworks, all is well. If there are no fireworks, and there is a crazy man outside, then I might be in some trouble. But at least I wouldn't have cops laughing at me as they tell me, "Ma'am, those fireworks are not trying to break in to your house. Please don't call us again unless you are actually having a real emergency." I would be That Crazy Fireworks Lady forevermore.

I hung up the phone, opting for the less embarrassing of the two options. But, I did not immediately go outside.

See, it is not a holiday that I am aware of. My house is in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Why, on August 21, would there be a massive fireworks show that was so loud it sounded like someone was beating my house? Fireworks did not make sense. It seemed like a ploy to get me out of the house where I could then be gotten. By someone bad.

So, instead of opening the door and going right out to see what all the hub-bub was about, like they do in every scary movie right before someone gets axed, I turned off the porch light and looked outside.

I saw fireworks.

Good thing I hung up on 911 before they answered.

I opened the door and went outside to see (and hear) a very loud fireworks show coming from I-don't-know-where for I-don't-know-what-reason, but someplace apparently close enough to rattle my house, for a very festive occasion.

They should give a warning before they do their Fireworks For No Apparent Reason. Especially when there is no logical explanation for why there would be a big fireworks show tonight, and it frightens us old people in the neighborhood.

Unless they are just celebrating that it's Sunday. As we all do. But usually with less pyrotechnics.


Thursday, August 18, 2005


Still miss you... and the hugs.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I Blame Ben
I've come to the conclusion that I can safely blame Ben Affleck for most things that are wrong in the world. And even if that's not entirely accurate, I am in the mood to blame someone for what is wrong in my world. And he seems like a good guy for it.

I've learned some disturbing items about my favorite spy show, Alias, and the upcoming 5th season. I'm a diehard fan. I've stuck with it from the beginning. Ups and downs, I believe myself to be a Sydney at heart.

But then Jennifer Garner goes and hooks up with Ben Affleck, and now it is ruining my life. I thought she and I had an understanding, as I have with everyone else I know. And that understanding is rule #2 of all of my rules:

2. NEVER, under ANY circumstances, get pregnant with Ben Affleck's baby.

You see, NO good can come from this. I mean, come on. Do I really even need to say it? No. It should be universally understood that it is generally a very bad idea to get pregnant with Ben Affleck's baby. I don't do it. Neither should you.

If a series of bad movies, and a bad fling with JLo aren't bad enough, would you want to be caught raising a child with this guy?

Look at him!!! Hat's on crooked....

I mean, sure. I will admit that I had the same crush on Ben that every girl had back in his Good Will Hunting days.

But, I think we all have to admit it's been downhill from there. My crush, and any thoughts of thinking highly of him have long since been ruined by the following list of lame movies:

Surviving Christmas
Pearl Harbor
Reindeer Games
Sum of all Fears

ALL BAD! Very bad movies.

His handful of decent ones are somewhat redeeming. But, not redeeming enough to . . .

GET PREGNANT WITH HIS BABY! Do NOT ever do this, people! It's not like he has enough good movies, or acting ability to justify getting pregnant with his baby. Just. Say. No. You'll thank me later when you don't have a little Ben running around making bad movies and being a general idiot.

I mean, come on. Her first clue should have been that they MET on one of his terrible movies. (I prefer to think of Jennifer as never having been in the movie, even though she seems to be in this picture)

But somehow he showed up in a red rubber suit, and managed to woo her. I should maybe question her logic and possible idiocy, but I prefer to think of her as perfect, and likely under the influence of some secrect spy drug that is causing her to see Ben as a normal, baby-worthy human being.

See, here's the problem. Alias is now ruined for Season 5 because Jennifer is pregnant. The whole goodness of the show revolves around Sydney's abilities to to run, jump, fly, shoot, evade, be sneaky, wear costumes, make out with Vaughn, and be super hot. When you are pregnant when Ben Affleck's baby, NONE OF THIS IS POSSIBLE!!

It's only common sense.

So, I blame Ben. For ruining Alias, and for effectively ruining my life. Not to mention, he's ruined Jennifer's life and career, he's ruined Sydney's life, he's probably ruined his own baby's life by forcing it to be raised by the idiot formerly known as Bennifer, and who is still lame enough to be caught again with a Jennifer, effectively keeping the name Bennifer, only with a different Jennifer than the first Jennifer.


People, we just shouldn't let these things happen. Only YOU can prevent Ben from ruining lives.

Rule #1: Safety First.

Rule #2: NEVER, under ANY circumstances, get pregnant with Ben Affleck's baby.

Learn it, live it, live it again.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Life Lessons
I've spent the better part of the past 5 days in a hospital. Not because I am sick, but because my dad had hip replacement surgery. I have learned a lot about myself, about my parents, and about relationships in general over the past few days.

I spent much of Friday, Saturday and Sunday with my parents. My dad was coherent for some of it. My mom and I were awake for all of it.

I've learned that my dad is truly the amazing man I've always known him to be. He's had tons of visitors, some from people he's only known a few weeks or so. He's had calls and cards and flowers. People really like my dad.

I've also learned that my dad is human. He hasn't been able to do for himself the simple things we all take for granted on a daily basis. In fact, I've had to help him do some of those things. I've seen him be frustrated by this. I know it is hard. I've never seen him unable to care for himself, and I know he is not used to not being able to do his own stuff.

I've seen my mom stay by his side the entire time. She's had to do some things for him that she didn't necessarily sign on for in that whole "until death do us part" thing. And yet my dad today told me, "I just really love her." My parents have what many of us search for for so long.

I've learned about myself that I'm stronger than I think I am when it comes to sucking up and taking care of family. I REALLY hate hospitals, but I've had to get over that. I haven't flinched at anything asked (or not asked but done anyway) of me over these past few days. Although I can't say that being tired hasn't had it's affect on my attitude a few times.

I've missed a lot of fun things with my friends over the past few days, to be with my family, to sit with my dad, to spend time with my mom, to run errands. I've wanted to instill confidence in my parents that 1) I'm ok, and b) Let me help. I hope I've done that. I've learned that sometimes family is priority, because we love family, and there's no question of choice, really. When family needs you, you are there.

This morning my mom called and told me my dad was having a bad day. Yelly, refusing to do his physical therapy, just generally throwing a fit. Understandable, if you ask me. He's had a hip ripped out of his body and something metal put back in, and he has to have help to sit on a toilet for the time being. But I'm also sure the scenario was unpleasant for those he was yelling at and being difficult with, all of which took place while I was far away at work.

Tonight I went by to see him on my way from job #2. I didn't quite know what to expect. He had been moved to a new rehab hospital, so I would be seeing him in new surroundings. After the report from earlier in the day, I didn't anticipate walking into anything good.

But, I stepped out of the elevator to see a man resembling my dad, sitting in the hall, in a wheelchair.

My dad was out of bed! And, he had wheeled himself down the hall in a wheelchair to greet me.

It's possible he was lurking near the elevator waiting for his chance to escape. But, really he seemed pretty good. He wheeled around in his chair and took me on a tour of the floor, introduced me to his roommate and hospital staff, and showed me how far he had WALKED this afternoon. Once he got to the new hospital this morning, something got into him. The therapists had him up, and he took his first actual steps with the new hip. He walked all the way down the hall and stayed up for about 5 minutes. A vast improvement over the scene yesterday and this morning.

We sat and talked for a good while. He was in clothes, instead of a hospital gown. He was no longer hooked to any IVs. And, he had his freedom in a wheelchair to roll anywhere on the floor.

I was really proud of him. The tiny steps he took down the hall today were big steps for his recovery.

And, he is just about the cutest man in a wheelchair I have ever seen.

I've also learned a lot about the people in my life, not directly family, but who I would consider my family. I won't go into all of that. But, I've learned a lot.

Life teaches lessons. Sometimes it's stuff we really need to learn, even if we don't think we do. Sometimes it's just time to learn some stuff, growing up a bit more, perhaps. And sometimes it's stuff we already know, but haven't wanted to accept.

I already knew my dad was cute, but he is super cute in his wheelchair. Too bad he won't be keeping it for very long.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

My house is not Handicap Friendly
I've learned over the past two days that my house is not exactly handicap friendly... for my dog. She's small, she's old. My house just might kill her.

While my dad is in the hospital this weekend, our family dog has come to live at my house. She is almost 17 years old. Quite elderly, but she still gets around pretty well. She's had a few near death experiences in her lifetime, namely the tumor that we thought was going to kill her a couple of years ago. But today she runs around the house on her wobbly legs, running into things because she doesn't really see very well anymore.

Of course, running around the house today has also been a near death experience for her.

I brought the dog home with me yesterday, lifting her gingerly in and out of the Jeep. I set her down on my kitchen floor... and she immediately fell down. My tile floor is too slick for her wobbly legs. She has trouble standing on carpet. My clean tile floor was just too much.

Unfortunately, this tile is in several places throughout the house, including in front of the back door where she has decided she likes to stand because she can see out into the yard. Only, she doesn't really stand for very long because her legs slide out from under her. And she hits her head on the door.

And the transition from tile to carpet to tile is not so smooth. She doesn't see very well, namely directly in front of her. She sees better out of her peripheral vision. But, she's spry. So, she just takes laps around and around the house. But when she hits the tile after she's gathered some speed on the carpet, it's legs and body parts flying everywhere.

She just gets up and keeps going, while I have a heart attack every time I see it happen. If I bring my mom's dog back broken, I will be severely punished. The dog is worth more in this family than I am.

The next issue is getting out into my backyard. At my parents' house, they just open the back door and the dog goes in and out. I happen to have a step down that leads onto the patio. And not only does it step down, the flat part of it is a metal door jam. This is apparently very slippery for an old dog.

So, the first time I opened the door, once she could finally see that the door was opened and that she could go outside, she took one step onto the door jam and bit it hard as she fell off the step and onto the patio. She did the same thing coming back in, because I couldn't grab her fast enough to pick her up and put her back in the house.

She's fast, for an old lady.

This afternoon, I dug around in my shed and found what I thought would be the perfect piece of particle board to concoct a ramp for her to walk up to get into the house from the backyard.

Yes, I built a handicap ramp to access my building, for my dog.

It made perfect sense to me. I set it up on the step, and for some reason I thought she would see that and know to walk up and down the ramp.

She fell off of the side.

I set it up again and she slid off. I finally noticed that one side of the board is slick. And, much like the tile floor, she can't quite get a grip on it. I flipped it over to the rough side, but who knows if she'll try it again. She just kinda looked at me as though I was crazy to think she would slide down that thing again.

I put her food bowl in my kitchen, once again on the slick tile floor. She's not the neatest eater, and I'm trying to save chewed dog food from getting all over my carpet. But the trade off is that she slides the bowl all of the kitchen while trying to get food out of it AND balance on her wobbly legs on my slick floor. I need to find a rubber mat or something for her.

It's so ridiculous. She'll only be here for a few days, but I've had to make all kinds of handicap adjustments for her sake.

I felt terrible. I had no idea my house was such a hazard for a tiny, old dog. She may not like me very much after the weekend. I promise I'm not trying to kill her.

Just think if I had a kid running around here.

I'm going to need to cover everything in a layer of Nerf just so no one gets hurt.


Friday, August 12, 2005

My Hip Dad, part deux
Dad is doing well. Now having fun with the morphine button.

He was only getting one new hip, not two. I was wrong. It's just his left hip. Which I intend to turn into a feature film titled, My Left Hip, starring Anthony Hopkins as my dad.

More later.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

My Hip Dad
My dad is young, he's hip, and tomorrow he's getting a new one. Actually two. Hips, that is.

Tomorrow my dad goes in for the first major surgery of his life (that I know of), a hip replacement. He's too young for this, but someone forgot to tell his hips. They went and got crappy on him.

So, I'd like to take this opportunity to not only talk about my dad and this event, but to pay tribute to his hips. I write this to commemorate this major event in his life. And, to give him something to read while he is up late tonight, not able to sleep because of being nervous for his surgery tomorrow.

I've known his current hips for nigh on 29 years now. The loss of these hips will hit my family hard, as they are the only hips we've ever known of my dad's. Tomorrow, two new hips will replace our familiar hips. And while we hope to grow to love them and let them serve in every possible capacity as the old ones have done, they are new and foreign. And not made of natural products. They won't be easy to love.

It will take time to adjust. For all of us.

My dad is my hero. He sets the bar high for men in my life. Every time I was ever sick or in the hospital, he was there. He would always ask me what I wanted after he'd rushed me to the hospital during an asthma attack. I'd always say, "My bear." And he would go home to get my brown stuffed bear, and bring it to me in the hospital.

I still have that bear. I don't touch it, because it has been to only-God-and-my-mom-knows how many diseased hospitals with me. It likely carries the plague, west nile virus, and several of those CDC diseases that only people with yellow hazmat suits are allowed to touch. But, I still have it. It's cute.

It's safely tucked away in a box in the attic.

When I had my sinus surgery several years ago, my dad slept outside my bedroom in the hall, on the floor, to be close by if I needed anything. He's always taken care of me. I still call him when I need a guy to do things. He's the handiest man I know. He can take anything apart and put it back together again, pretty much the way it was before, and sometimes even better than it was before. In fact, you'd think he'd be able to do his own hip replacement. Just take it apart and reassemble. No problem.

And now, for all the years he's taken care of me, it's my turn to be by his hospital bed, and do things for him while he can't get around very well during recovery. And I am honored to be there to do it.

Typical of my dad, when he found out he was going to have this surgery, he got online and started researching on the internet. He probably knows more about hip surgery now than the doctors do. And being his daughter, I did the same thing. Because that's what we do.

To Google "hip replacement surgery" or "artificial hip joint" will bring up 108 thousand links to everything you do or don't want to know about this surgery. My dad mentioned today while we had lunch together that he will be getting a metal on metal joint. I found this . . .

. . . as the first picture of my dad's new hip. It's not very pretty. But hopefully we will all grow to love it. Maybe we will send it out in our family Christmas cards this year.

It's a weird feeling to think of my dad being stuck in a hospital bed, and unable to do all the things we know him to do. I've never seen him sicker than having a bad cold, and I've never seen him in a hospital as a patient. That's usually my spot. We're about to experience a role reversal, of sorts. I guess.

He'll have to work hard in rehab to get back to the things he does. And even then, it won't quite be the same. It will be about 108 million times better than what he's hobbling around with now. But, let's just say he won't be running a marathon, or climbing Mt. Everest with the new hips. He will, however, be able to play golf, and bike, and do lots of things. But, it's strange when our parents start to actually seem old. Not as invinceable as they once were, and how you've always known them to be. It happens fast. Last summer, my dad and I climbed around on the roof of my house, repairing gutters. This year, not so much.

But then you realize, if they are old, that makes you old, too. So, I guess it's my turn to be grown-up and take care of family things.

But really, I've had to grow up quick. It didn't just now happen for me. It's times like these when I really miss my sister. You always figure you'll have each other when we start to have to take care of our parents. And now, it's just me. It's lonely. It's scary. I wonder if I can cover for both of us.

I admire my mom during these times. Not that there have been other hip replacements for us to deal with. But, she just buckles down and continues to take care of all of us, like she always has. I think it's tough for all of us to not have my dad to do things for us. It hasn't happened, before tomorrow. But just the thought of it is a little weird. He asked me today if I needed him to do anything for me before tomorrow morning. I almost panicked for a second. I've been trying to think of what I can do for him before tomorrow, and for the next weeks and months. I didn't think if there was something I needed from him. But after tomorrow, if my gutters fall off of the house or something, it will be quite some months before I could call him to come fix it. I'm not used to that. I almost got teary because I know he won't like not being able to come fix things.

But, we have each other to cover for each other until we're back to functional again. That's what's cool about families. We make it.

I'd like to end this rambly, somewhat emotional, but a little bit silly post with one final mostly silly tribute to my dad's old hip. It's a poem I like to call . . .

Ode to my Dad's Old Hip
Dear hip, why must you go?
We're not ready for this, don't you know.
Hips aren't made to last,
They wear out way too fast.
You'll leave us, dealing with woe.

Dear hip, you've been really good.
Day by day, you've always withstood.
But alas, you've now given out,
And my dad must do without.
But we know you did the best that you could.

Dear hip, you'll surely be missed.
It's not like you are being dissed.
But a new hip's in town,
This poem winds down.
Farewell, much love, is the gist.

Much love, Big Daddy. 18 holes, me and you, before your new hips are one year old.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp
There are many reasons why I love my dad. One, because he reads my blog and still loves me.

And two, because he is very resourceful.

After my last post, I received an email from my "mom's" email account. Billed as a collaborative effort from "The Folks", my dad sent me several links as proof that I did, in fact, watch a show as a kid that involved chimps solving mysteries. I know it was my dad because he is an internet and computer nerd (like me) who would take the time to find these links. My mom has better things to do.

(My dad reads my blog)

The proof he sent as links to Lancelot on the web, in conjunction with a comment from Rhealyn also verifying this detail, is a show called Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. I had the show right, but I had the name of it wrong.

Not only do I now have proof that this show existed, I have evidence to the fact that it is out on DVD!


Thanks, Dad. For always looking out for me, even when it only involves a TV show about chimps in suits. You always come through.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The links, they are a changin'
I had this whole completely genius Sir Linksalot theme going in my head to start this post, because I SWEAR when I was a kid, my sister and I watched Nickelodeon and there was a show called Sir Linksalot, and it was live-action chimps driving around in cars, wearing suits, and solving mysteries. The chimps had voiceovers as though they were actually having conversations. It was terrible, but we had outgrown Little House on the Prairie, and we had parentally-invoked TV restrictions for all the good shows (aka: Dukes of Hazzard).

But I Googled Sir Linksalot and I can't find a link to it anywhere, so maybe I made the whole thing up, or just imagined I was watching chimps in suits solving crimes on TV. Mom, help me out here if you can vouch for Sir Linksalot.

(My mom reads my blog)

Anyway, I'm working on updating my links to blogs. I added quite a few today. And here is my first official MOL Nation Tribute Blog (blatantly inspired by all recent MOL blogs).

This is legal for me since MOL Jr. left a comment some weeks ago that I am officially MOL, and he reinstated a link to my blog on his blog. However, MOL Tyrant takes this opportunity to point out that not only did I score the link on MOL Jr.s blog, I scored placement in his list of DAILY reads.

I rock.

Big ups to MOL Jr. for the link placement, and for stopping by the Rantings on a more than just weekly basis.

Anyway, I feel a need to explain the links a bit. Because linking blogs, or linking anything, for that matter, is a source of headache and soul-searching for some of us. While I generally blog openly here, I also must be wary of my readership. Which, as many of you may know, spans the globe. (Hello to my readers Down Under! Gooday, mates!)

I've got kids (not really, but kids read this), I've got peers, I've got parents, I've got cousins, I've got complete strangers, and I've even got long-lost blog twins that I've never met before- all of whom read my blog on a regular basis. It's a wide spectrum of interest level, as well as a wide spectrum of sensitivity, and even a wide specturm of familiarity with the Tyrant. Some know me in life, and also read my blog. Some have known me ALL of my life, and have found my blog. Some know me only through my blog and have no real idea of my life. So I must always be mindful of my audience. Depending on who you are, you may or may not really know me, and the blog is an integral piece of what you may or may not know about me.

Of course, there are the days when I just don't care, and I blog whatever I feel like just because it's my blog and I can do that. People still come and read, and so far I haven't lost any loved ones over it. It's good. I like what I've got going on here. Even though I tend to still struggle with being really real here, sometimes. It's too easy to make a universally audience friendly blog, and avoid ruffling feathers.

So, now with the links.

Friend L once told me he would know he had made it in the blogworld when his link moved up on my list of links. Unfortunately, if this is his guage of his success as a blogger, he will never make it. My links are in alphabetical order, have been from the beginning, and will be until I blog no more. I do this for severalfold reasons:

1. So that I can find the blogs I am looking for. I know the alphabet pretty well. If I want to read a bit from my non-bimbo friend, I know where to find her via simple alphabet rules.

2. No one blog is more important to me than any other blog. I do not play favorites. Although I do have some blogs I read more often than others (mostly it's your own fault if I don't read you regularly, because you likely don't post regularly), I don't play favorites by listing them in any particular order of preference. Not to say that I don't read them in an order of preference each day (a secret order which I will carry to my grave). And, not to say that is a bad thing if you list blogs in any order of preference on your blog (see several paragraphs up and my excitement over being a daily read of MOL Jrs.). But as a Tyrant policy, blogs will stay listed in alphabetical order.

3. I lack some creativity in how I link blogs (see here, and here for MOLs with far greater creativity than me in the blog link department). While I fancy myself as mega-creative in many areas of my life, these MOLs impress me with their creativity in the simple task of linking fellow MOL blogs.

Mostly, what I want to communicate here is that I am proud to be part of this MOL Nation. I started blogging long before most of these MOLs began blogging, and it has been a joy to see them embrace this thing we do called blogging. I am also proud to know each of these people, whether they are currently all up in my business, or MOLs that have special places in my world past. I love taking time each day to read from them, whether I agree with what they say, how they say it, what they do, or not.

I love the passion they exude about the simple things, the silly things, or the deeper things in life. I love the humor they bring to my day, just by things like JORTS! I love how they make me think about things I might not think about on my own, and I love different perspectives and conversations formed around any one MOL post of the day.

I love that we are pretty, and we're not afraid to say it.

I love the interaction encouraged outside of the blogs, brought on by much of what goes on inside the blogs. I love that we have this world to explore with each other, and how it rounds out my relationships with each of the MOLs behind the blogs.

I love that we are interested enough to continue reading even the things we say that make no sense to any of the rest of us whatsoever.

What I hope with this list of blog links is that it will serve as an introduction to the people in my life. Not all of the people, mind you. But many of the ones that I like.

Although not all of the blogs I link to are technically MOL blogs (I have longtime links to a few blogs that I just happen to like... or they like me), I hope my links do not provide opportunity to pass judgement on me, or the people in my small (yet mighty) sphere of influence. It's a peek into my world, through the blog world. And it opens to the worlds of brilliant, witty, sensitive, kind, spiritual, and precious people. Tread there with respect.

My list of blogs is not complete, so if you are not there yet and you know I know you or read you, be patient. I'm getting there. My attention span grows shorter everyday. I likely got bored with this blog link thing right.... now.

MOLs, and chimps in suits, forever.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

How I Found My Rainjacket
It really makes no sense. And I wasn't even looking for it, even though it rained today. I've been looking ALL OVER for my rainjacket since last summer, finding it nowhere, and not understanding how I lost it, since I never use it. I thought I must have taken it to Friend C's lakehouse last summer at some point, anticipating rain, and it had somehow never made it back, even though I never used it.

Just disappeared. I've looked through every piece of luggage I own. I've looked through the Jeep several times. Every once in awhile I get a brilliant idea of where I think it might be, and I look, but it's not there.

I spent a good part of my weekend cleaning out and organizing my office. I bought some storage boxes at Ikea, and I worked through all the papers I had crammed in the closet in my office. I made a huge mess everywhere. But, it was for the sake of organizing it back into containers that would clean everything up real nice-like.

In the closet was the box of stuff I brought home from my last job at the homeless shelter.... over a year ago. I had brought the stuff home after cleaning out my desk at work, and just put it away in the closet. I didn't want to deal with it. It contained various desk items, my performance review (not great, and I kept it because of how hard I worked to receive that not-great review for my wasted efforts), a list of brainstorming ideas that I presented to my boss at one point about how to make the golf tournament actually RAISE MONEY (he ignored all of the ideas, and that year the tournament brought in less money than ever before).

And, the box also contained several love letters from some of the homeless men. Sadly, a few of the men over the course of my 2.5 years of working at the shelter became a little too attached to the Tyrant, and they decided to profess this in various ways via the written word. A couple of letters, a card, and one "poem". These written professions of love completely creep me out. Yet, I keep them for severalfold reasons. Mainly because if anything ever happens to me because I'm still secretly being stalked by one of these guys, I want evidence somewhere in my house of where it started and who these guys are. I have now put the letters away in a drawer.


Anyway, also in the box were several golf balls. My boss at the shelter was an avid golfer (people always describe people who do things a lot as "avid", although I'm not really sure that's a great descriptor for such things. It's kind of a dumb word. It always confused me when I worked on the AVID video editor in college. I didn't understand at first that AVID stood for something, and it did not mean that you had to be an editing enthusiast in order to use that machine).

Um, anyway, my boss had given me a bunch of golf balls because I golf on occasion, and he was always trying to get me to golf more. I brought the golf balls home. I figured I would give them to my dad, who golfs a bit more (and also loses a bit more golf balls) than I do.

So today, as I cleaned out my office and the closet in my office, I gathered these golf balls and took them out to the garage. I opened one pocket in my golf bag, saw that it wasn't the "golf ball" pocket, and then I opened the other pocket to put the golf balls into the pocket.

In this pocket, I found something. Didn't know what it was. I pulled it out.

It was my rainjacket.

I have absolutely no recollection of ever putting my rainjacket in my golf bag. I don't know why I would. I can't remember the last time I played golf, or if that would have even been the last time I looked in the pocket or put the rainjacket in there. It's been months, if not a year since the last time I golfed.

So, to sum up. If I hadn't gotten a new job a year ago, and I hadn't quit my job at the shelter, I would not have cleaned out my desk and brought home the golf balls that led me to open my golf bag and discover my rainjacket. It would still be lost.

Good thing I quit that job last year and cleaned out my office today. I think it's supposed to rain again tomorrow.


IKEA, part deux
I made it to Ikea on Friday after work. I get to leave work at 3:00 on Fridays, so I took the opportunity to head to Ikea before the after-work crowds had time to get there.

I don't have much to report. It wasn't dramatic, it wasn't terrible, it wasn't great. Overall, it was a good experience. I didn't tell anyone I was going. I went alone. As I walked through the front door, I text messaged Friend C just to say I was on my way in. I guess in the event I didn't survive, I needed one person to know where I was.

The experience was definitely an "experience". Driving up to the store, I had a sense of dreaded anticipation. It's huge. You see it from miles away. And there was still a line of traffic being directed into the remote parking lot, as though we were arriving at a major sporting event. So I had ample time to stare at the store looming ahead, whilte I sat in a line of cars just waiting to park. I had time to think about bailing before I got there.

I didn't bail. I kept going.

There were also dark rain clouds behind the store, so my first impressions of my attempt to go to Ikea were somewhat gloomy. But once I made the long walk from my car to the front door, I had time to be less nervous. The long walk calmed me down.

Yes, I was nervous to go to Ikea. I'm telling you, I'm inventing an Ikea support group.

I took it slow. I took it all in as I wandered first through the top floor of showrooms, then made my way downstairs to the marketplace. I didn't have an agenda, except to get through it without a meltdown. The store was still remarkably crowded, but not annoyingly so. I was kind of glad. I didn't feel like anyone was looking at me. I was kinda worried I had a look of fear on my face. Everyone else seemed so excited to be at Ikea. I know I didn't share that same excitement by the look on my face.

I thought about my sister. I looked at everything. I picked up a few things here and there and put it in my bag. Later I picked up an abandoned shopping cart. It looked like I would be buying a few things after all. My bag got heavy.

I wasn't really familiar with Ikea until all of this happened with my sister. Then one day I found myself with Ikea furniture and knick knacks that I didn't want. I only had them because of a very bad thing. I wanted them only because they were hers. It was all so strange.

But, now I see the beauty of Ikea. It really is quite amazing. And so cheap! I made it to the checkout, and purchased my items. Just some random things that I've already put to good use.

Some don't understand why I needed to do this. Some don't understand why this is a big deal to me, or is something to deal with. It's just Ikea, right? Some can't believe I would go two days after the store opened. Fighting the crowds, all that craziness. But, I needed to do it. And it needed to be last week. My sister would have been there opening day. I had to represent.

I think I'm not mad at Ikea anymore. I can even admit I had fun. I was teary. I was overwhelmed. I spent two hours in the store, working up to making peace with it.

The scariest part was actually driving home. I don't think I need to say why.

But, I survived Ikea. And I will go back.

And now I feel a little closer to my sister again. I understand a little more about that day.

One step closer to healing, and peace of mind.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Nothing is really maintenance free
Yesterday was one of those days that just kept getting worse. It's like I should have just given up and gone back to bed.

I was set to get to work early yesterday. And by "early", I mean "not late". I had a meeting scheduled with a client for most of the day. I wanted to not be late to work.

I went out to the garage, got in the Jeep, and then there was nothing.

Jeep wouldn't start.

That's when I should have called it a day and gone back to bed.

If this has never happened to you, turning the key and getting nothing in return, let me tell you. It's a sinking feeling. It kills your momementum for the day. You realize that everything on your agenda for the day has suddenly been postponed indefinitely.

I've never had a dead battery in a car before, but I figured that was the problem. I don't know why, but I called my mom. I didn't think she could save me. But, sometimes when you don't know what to do, you call your mom. It's a comfort thing. I mostly just needed someone on the phone while I talked through my options.

I got the Jeep maintenance book out of the glove box and looked up the "battery" section. It said a lot of stuff. It didn't help.

I got out of the Jeep (realizing that it was really hot in the Jeep, in my garage), and I popped the hood of my car. There I saw it.

Right on top of the battery was written "Maintenance Free".

Interesting. One would think that a maintence free battery would be working right now.

I called the dealership, since some of the Jeep is still under warranty. He said, yep, it sounded like the battery was dead. He schedule me to bring in the Jeep to check it out and make sure that was the problem. Then I called roadside assistance, which was strange to me since I was not on the roadside. I hoped they would still help me while the Jeep was stuck in the garage. Roadside assistance is free for my partially-still-under-warranty Jeep, and I definitely needed assistance.

After asking me if my car and I were in a safe place (yes, we are both stuck in my garage, which is the whole purpose of my call for assistance to get OUT of the garage), they said they would send someone... in an hour.

Great. I guess it's not SPEEDY Roadside Assistance for a reason.

I went back inside. Called my mom. She made fun of me that I would have to ride in a tow truck. I called my office. Had some breakfast. Watched the news coverage of the Ikea opening. And an hour or so later, the two truck showed.

What an odd feeling for a tow truck to come fish a car out of my own garage. Don't get me wrong, I was glad to be stuck at home, as opposed to stuck on the side of the road somewhere. But still, it's a little odd.

The tow truck guy jumpstarted the Jeep, I backed it (sputtering) out of the garage, and Tow Truck Guy put it on his truck. I then climbed into the cab of the tow truck. The weirdest part was not being in the cab of a tow truck with a guy I've never met before. It was that instead of driving to work this morning in my Jeep, I was driven to work while being followed by my Jeep. Quite strange to look in the side rear mirror and see my Jeep staring back at me all the way to the dealership. It's like it was tailgating me.

Maybe that's what I look like to the cars in front of me when I'm tailgating everyone else on the road.

We delivered the Jeep to the dealership, a friend at work picked me up and took me to the office. But, I would have been better off staying in the tow truck cab with my new Tow Truck Guy and his dreadlocks. Driving around with him all day.

Work was a disaster. I was 3 hours late. I'd missed half of my meeting with the client. And all I wanted to do since walking in the door was to walk back out and go home. It's just one of those stressful weeks that I'm ready to be over with.

But, after work, and after my mom rescued me from work and delivered me to my Jeep, which I rescued (after paying more than I should have for a new battery and oil change), things just didn't get better. More inopportune things at a not very good time.

Thank goodness for softball last night. At least I got to hit some stuff and dispel a bit of anger.

I play better with fury.

And I learned yesterday that nothing, from battries to relationships, is really maintenance free.


PS: I didn't make it to Ikea yesterday, although my crazy co-workers went. And took pictures and video of their trip. I'm working up to going tomorrow.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I have an interesting relationship with Ikea. I'll warn you now, it's not a happy relationship. And as many ways as I've begun this blog in my head, it always comes out sounding like this is the set-up to another silly blog about something that irks me. It's not.

I've been forced to think about Ikea alot over the past week or so. I've been forced to confront some issues I have about it. I've never been in an Ikea, and before six years ago I never had a reason not to go, except that there wasn't one close by.

In a few weeks it will be the 6 year mark of this. Some of you may know that story, some of you may read it here for the first time. Most of you probably don't know how or what happened that day. And all we really know is that my sister and her friends were on their way back to Waco from a spur of the moment trip to Ikea in Houston, and bad things happened.

So, I've kinda had this inner battle with Ikea. The only Ikea stuff I own is stuff I inherited from my sister: two little tables, some picture frames, some shelves. Should I blame Ikea for what happened? No. But sometimes I can't help that I do.

In two days, Ikea will open a store here in the Dallas area. It's been all we talk about at my office, namely because of this woman who has been camped out in front of the store since last Monday a week ago. The first person in line gets $2500 in gift cards. I've tried to join in and make light of the Ikea. After all, everyone else sees it as a good thing.

I've even come up with a list of things to do to entertain myself in regards to this crazy lady camping outside of the store. Some of them are:

1. Go vist her everyday during lunch and give her a different list of items I want her to get for me, if she doesn't mind, since she'll be there before I can get there on opening day.
2. Call the police tomorrow night and tell them someone is trying to break in to the store. She'll get arrested. I can steal her place in line.
3. Bring her lots of water so she has to pee a lot. When she leaves, I can steal her place in line.
4. Camp out next to her and cudle with her until she can't take it anymore, and she decides $2500 of Ikea is not worth sleeping with me.
5. Tell her there's been a mistake. It's really just a big Container Store. No one wants $2500 of Container Store.

See? Ikea can be fun.

I'm caught in a dilemma. A battle with my soul. I don't dislike Ikea. I want to be at peace with it. I've known it was coming to Dallas for over a year. I've had time to work up to it. Not only is it coming to Dallas, it is located about 30 seconds from my office. This thing I've avoided for this long is now about as close to me as anything can get. I can almost see the big blue boxy building from my parking lot. I've passed it many times going to lunch and running errands.

For the past 6 years, every time I see that Ikea logo, or hear people talk about Ikea, it's been a reminder of a very bad day. But, it's gradually become a part of my world, watching it grow from the field that was there, to the big blue box that is there now. And maybe that's been it's way of reaching out to me.

I want to go to the store, like a normal person. But I don't know if I can. I've thought about gathering a bunch of friends and making an Ikea outing to get me through the first time through the door. I think after I've gone once, I'll be okay. I'll see that Ikea is fairly harmless, and actually pretty cool. I will bring more Ikea into my home. But, I'm also thinking I'll go alone. That way I can freak out by myself if the need arises. And I can have a moment to wander the store in peace. See what my sister saw and did that morning. It had to be worth it. At least, I hope it was.

Most people I know are super excited about Ikea. Everyone in my office is thrilled. A few of my co-workers are planning to go to the store during lunch on opening day. They've got a whole plan worked out, involving comfortable shoes and whistles, I think. They want me to go with them, probably more to run interference than anything else. They don't know the Ikea part of this story. I don't know if I can go with them. But, maybe that would be a good way to go. They don't know, and maybe that is easier for me.

One co-worker brought her catalog to work, and we've been obsessed with it. And then I wondered why I didn't get one. I live close by. Apparently everyone in certain areas got free catalogs. I figured this meant Ikea didn't want me to come visit. I figured that was probably best.

But, Friday I got home and found a catalog in my mailbox. Since then I've gotten two Ikea grand-opening emails, I've seen it in the paper several times, and just tonight I saw a commercial for it at least three times. I think Ikea is calling to me. Reaching out.

I've managed to look through my catalog. There's so much good stuff in there, and it's so cheap. And it's opening week, which means free stuff and discounts. I do like that. Plus, the How To Shop Ikea section of the catalog mentions that you can take as much time as you need in the store, because Ikea salespeople will not come harrass you to offer you help or sell you things.

That may be just what I need to get me in the door. I would probably lose it if Mr. Ikea came over in a blue apron and offered to help me. They cannot help me. I am now reassured that they will not try.

I don't know if I'll go opening day, in two days. That may be too much. Is it stupid to be afraid of Ikea, to be hurt by it? Probably. But is it a real thing I struggle with? Yes.

I need an Ikea support group.

I think I'll go. Someday. Maybe by the weekend. I think my sister would be proud, and she'd definitely have a list of things for me to get for her.


PS: The first 100 people in line get free chairs worth $99. People of My Church, get yourselves up there early Wednesday morning to be the first 100 people, so we can sell those chairs at our garage sale.