Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dances with Boxes in Haiku (and Other Stuff Update)

Springtime in Tulsa
six inches of snow today
viewed while unpacking.

Planned move* date? Today.
Actual move date? Thursday.
Bullet dodged? You bet!

Last minute date change
two days left became two hours
rushed then, grateful now.

Many helping hands
willing hearts, quick feet, remind:
good folks outweigh bad.

Neighbor*'s parting shot,
security called for noise
too loud moving out.

(No, seriously.
Not kidding. She really did.
Even the guard laugh'd.)

Snow day in new home,
no neighbors down below us
much happy dancing.

*(New to the saga?
See this post, 2nd bullet.
Bad neighbor, moving.)

Other Stuff Update: I'm still on a somewhat bloggy break. There is still much to unpack, set up, tone down, re-do, kiss, help adjust (like the ones with whisker breath and triangle ears) and turn up as loud as I wanna in a house without any shared walls and otherwise occupy my time and mind and body. Plus my nephew is coming to help me clean the old place visit in less than 24 hours. I'm still mostly keeping up with reading blogs here and there, even when I don't comment and sometimes from my phone while out and about, and I'll probably be back soonish, I think. Nope, I still haven't heard back about JET, but I'm not expecting any news until the first week or two of April, and you'll be the first to know after Tom. Not that I won't post before then. Not that I will, either. Posting as the spirit moves me is feeling really oh-so-very-good, but I do miss Weekly Winners (waving "hi" to dear Lotus anyway, just 'cause). If I'd've taken even a single photo the past week or so, I'd've done that kind of post, but it turns out that my camera is on a little bloggy break, too, I guess. We'll be back. Worry not, or fear much, you know, whichever way you float.

Off to dance with more boxes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Legacy

Dear Mom,

It's so strange to think that today would have been your 70th birthday. Oh, the party we would have had! I bet you'd be even more hilarious by now, some on account of you being crazy little you and some on account of age doing its thing that makes some folks a little battier. I wish I could have met 70 year old you. But that kind of sadness and sorrow talk is for tomorrow, the 14th anniversary of your death, one day after your 56th birthday when you were still, as the realization encroaches upon me more each year, just so goddamn young. Tomorrow I'll deal with sad. Today I'll deal with a celebration of you, possibly with a birthday cake and definitely with that one meal that I make every year and that always involves my own little rituals.

And I'll tell you a story you'd appreciate.

I was back home in Chicago in February for the JET interview (yes, I might be doing Japan again) and got to spend time with everyone, and on the last day there before I went to Indy to see my dear friend J (who I met the first time I did JET and who you would have L-O-V-E-D if you'd met him because he's almost as crazy as you), Dad and I went out for breakfast. We actually went to a restaurant, not just to a store with samples like where he used to sometimes try to take you for breakfast when he was being the lovable ass Dad likes to be (you'd love COSTCO for a meal's worth of samples, though, seriously).

Breakfast done, Dad gave me the keys to his car and was going to just run to the bathroom, which was around the outside of the building since the place used to be an old gas station, for what I assumed should be a quick trip. I got in the car and sat in the passenger seat awhile, but it was taking him forever, and it was really cold. Chicago, February, you remember the drill. I put the key in the ignition hoping to start the car and get some damn heat going in that cold bitch (you'd've said something about a witch's tit), but you have to push something or do some fancy action while turning the key to actually make it turn, and I wasn't sure just what, so I sat and waited some more, getting colder. At first I was just cold, but after 5 minutes I was a little annoyed that Dad hadn't just let me stay in the warm restaurant with my coffee if it was going to be one of those sit down bathroom trips instead of the stand up kind. By 10 minutes I was a little worried. I mean, Dad's not exactly a spring chicken, and he was in there a really long time. I started to wonder if he fell in or if something bad had happened.

I considered some options. See, Dad has a cell phone (OMFG, I know! Crazy, isn't it? He resisted, but now he has one, and you'd totally have one, too. Everyone does, and lots of them are small enough to fit in your back pocket instead of in some big bag you keep in your car.), so I could call him, but if all's well and he's just on the crapper, that would really be the weirdest phone call of my life. Just, no. Still, I was weighing the option. Turns out my iPhone (long story - it's a small computer that's also a phone, though the computer aspect often works better than the phone aspect, even though it's a phone...) had very spotty coverage north of Chicago, and in this particular location, I had zero signal, which means I couldn't make that potentially weird call anyway. The phone sorta saved me from myself, I guess.

So I just keep sitting there, worried, wondering at what point I need to do something like knock on the bathroom door (with great potential to be no less weird than a phone call would have been) when I saw Dad standing in the parking lot looking completely lost and dazed and confused. I was instantly worried that something was wrong. He might be getting old-ish, but he never looks confused like that.

I open the car door and step out, still kind of inside the door, and wave to him and we have this conversation across the parking lot:

Me: "Hey, Dad, what are you doing?"

Dad: "Looking for you. What are you doing? My car is over here."

Me: *speechless, face turning 18 shades of red*

Um, yah. The car I'd been sitting in for 20+ minutes? It looked like Dad's car, but it was decidedly Not. Dad's. Car. Maybe the owner had left it unlocked, and my pushing the button to unlock it remotely hadn't actually unlocked it (or they didn't and it still had somehow). Of course the key fit in the ignition when I wanted to turn the car on for heat because it was still the same make of car, but that's why the key wouldn't turn. There wasn't a lot of stuff in the car, but Dad still doesn't keep much in his car, either, and it's not like I'd taken inventory for cross-reference.

So as I start to sheepishly make my way out of the car that I now remembered was in a completely different part of the parking lot than where we had parked upon our arrival 90 or so minutes prior, a handful of women are walking in the direction of the car. If it's possible to turn even redder at that point, I did, and I started apologizing up one side and down the other, trying to explain basically that I'm enough of a dumb ass to sit in the wrong car to wait for someone, and they just looked bewilderedly at me and my flusteredness. Yah, the car that I was in that was Not. Dad's. Car.? Um, Not. Their. Car. Either. Too. Oh. Gee. Zuss.

Of course, while I'd been worried about Dad, he'd been even more worried about my unexplainable and sudden disappearance after his 1 minute trip to the bathroom and had gone back in the restaurant, was asking if anyone had seen me, was doing the math on the bathroom keys and generally was just getting concerned, so I felt really terrible that I'd made him worry so much. Once the worry part had been over awhile, I think he found the humor in it, and I hear that the way he told it to my sister, your other daughter, he ended his story by saying "there's a little bit of your mother in that girl."

Indeed there is.

No matter how long you are gone, I'll always be your daughter. Happy Birthday, Mama. I love you. I miss you. You live on through me, and sometimes it's so obvious that it almost ain't even funny, except that it is. Thanks?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Here

Thanks to all who have emailed, sent me messages on Twitter and in other ways stalked looked after me to make sure that all is well while I took an unannounced little bloggy break for far longer than is usually my style. I realize I missed Haiku Friday twice and even Weekly Winners once, which normally should be cause for alarm, I suppose, but I am fine. Things are good. I'm not sure I'm completely done with my bloggy break because honestly I'm still kind of enjoying it, but I figured I should at least say hello and blow some of the cobwebs off the blog so that it doesn't look all abandoned.

Here's what has been filling my life while I've been not blogging and only sporadically commenting on other blogs (though I am reading more than I am commenting, so don't think I'm not watching you...):
  1. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I made it home from my Chicago/Indy roadtrip smoothly and without event and even quickly enough to have breakfast in Indianapolis and still be home in time for dinner with Tom in Tulsa. While I miss Portland, I love that Tulsa is so much closer to so many places and people I love.
  2. The night I got home, Tom mentioned a really nice house that a friend was trying to get rented out for just a bit more per month than we've been paying to rent our apartment. We went to look at it that Tuesday (Feb 24th) and loved it for so many reasons. That night, we received our fourth unwarranted visit from security for noise that we were not making. The decision was made that much easier. We are moving in just over 3 months weeks (that seriously was a typo, yikes), and I look forward to not feeling like we have to whisper and not sharing walls with people who start fires. And to having a yard. And a guest room. And another huge area full of so many possibilities (most fitness related, but then we'd have to move our fat asses, so maybe just an air hockey table or something). Oh, the list of good things just rambles and warbles happily on from there.
  3. It would be convenient here to say that I've been not blogging because I've been packing, but so far I've just pulled out all the boxes from when we just moved here at the start of December. I keep thinking about packing, though, and today is the day it starts. The good news about moving so soon after the last move is that we haven't accumulated all that much more crap yet. The bad news is that moving sucks. It's so very worth it, though, sometimes. Like this time.
  4. I watched the movie Milk and was stunned at the beautiful way that old footage was weaved into the film and also was left feeling like I need to do more about something I care about very deeply. I'll leave it at that and not get political about something I don't really think should be political but somehow is.
  5. I actually sat down and read a book. An entire book. One that was not even online, but in the form of bound paper in my hands. I stayed up until 5AM a couple nights ago trying to finish it because it was that good. I realized how much I miss reading and how I need to take the time to do that more.
  6. The book I read was A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a good read. While I found it engaging from the start, the real meat of the story, the stay-up-past-bedtime-page-turner part, starts a little more than halfway in, and there were at least two points when I actually sobbed, complete with the erratic breathing and ugly cry face. I love being touched. Heh.
  7. On my bad tooth issue, I've been just trying to ignore it and to chew on the other side, but it turns out that I might be able to afford dental insurance continuance through COBRA (especially if, like medical, the stimulus plan pays for 65% of the premium - still sorting out for certain if this applies to dental, which I think it might). The catch is that I'd have to pay a couple hundred dollars up front to reinstate myself, then wait to see if they'd even cover whatever treatment, which is tough since it's unclear whether I'd be a candidate for a root canal (depending on if the root is fractured, and, if so, how badly) or whether the tooth would need to be yanked and then something spendy put in its place. This saga continues, but it would help knowing I may only be out $500-$1000 instead of double or more. Maybe. Fingers crossed. I never thought I'd pray that I could just have a root canal and crown. Life is funny.
  8. I still feel good about my JET Program interview, which, if you are just catching up, was the centerpiece of the above Chicago/Indy trip, and I still won't know until some point in April. That's good because having to start deciding while in the process of moving would be a lot on my mind. Not that it isn't on my mind, but it's easy to brush it away while I don't know if I've even been accepted or even have a decision to make.
  9. I finally got my Oklahoma license plates and driver's license. (See Colleen's post for an idea of how the picture part went since mine was similar.) I'm not sure how I feel about that, but it's done now. I only had to swear at someone once. I pretty much never chew someone out, but I've never been treated as rudely as I was by someone at the Public Safety Office where I first had to go to prove I belong in the country before going back to the other location for the rest. She did that thing with her voice like she was talking real sweet to a 3 year old but being heinously rude, condescending and generally asshole-ish while she did it. And I told her so, without swearing. At first. But as she continued needling me, seemingly just for sport, I really do think, by the end, my usual restraint was gone, and out slipped a "fuck you very much." Oops. The older I get the more likely I think this is to happen. You've been warned.
  10. My unemployment check this week was magically (the magic of tax cuts through the stimulus plan - correction, thanks to Tabatha: increase due to this, also from stimulus plan) $20 more (after taxes). I still won't get political, but I will say that for someone working to make just what I'm getting on unemployment, having an extra $80 per month could make a nice dent in groceries or other expenses, and I think it is a good way to not only stimulate the economy but to actually make the difference in the lives of real Americans, the difference between making it that month or not. Times are tough. To me, $80 per month is huge.
  11. An hour later, and I'm still here typing. I need to get back to "the other here," the one that is my life requiring my attention and my awesomely stellar packing skills. Did I mention I'm moving?
  12. Truth be told, it's not the packing that calls, but I bought a $3 set of markers to use for labeling said packing, and I'm itching to break them open. At least I think that's what that itch is...
  13. If this was Thursday, this would be a perfect post for Thursday Thirteen. Too bad it's Wednesday. Laters, sk8ters.