Welcome Back!

Well. What can I say, it’s been a while.
I haven’t much been in the mood to type in several months and during my long bike ride on Monday decided that I need to start again. I doubt it will be a daily thing – but I will try to at least weekly. Fifty two posts instead of 400? Should be easy…
Life has been crazy still. My dad died in October and although I really tried to back on track – it has not worked.
The holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) were emotionally unbearable. Right after Christmas our dog was attacked and lost her leg. January brought some stress with an attempt to get out of town and apparently I did not handle that well either and sadly is still a sore spot in my life. I’m working on that.
I have not been able to ride my bike as much as I would like to. I’m about ten to twelve pounds heavier than last year and it doesn’t appear that it’s going away anytime soon. There truly are not enough hours in the day. We had to make further cuts at the factory and I am now doing three people’s work plus my normal stuff. Adding to that I now work every Saturday at the local DirectBuy trying to sell my doors. I used to think that if we just made it through 2009, that 2010 HAD to be better. Nothing that is being proposed or actually passed has given me (or anyone else apparently) any faith that the economy is going to get any better this year. April normally kicks off the ‘busy’ season as people start thinking about spring/summer projects. Not happening – again.
Working your ass off when you are making money kind of makes everything worth it. Working your butt off to lose less money sucks ass.
My plans are to update my life a little more. Wish me luck on that…

Things I do when I have any extra time:

    1. Watch TV on Hulu – favorites are: Community, 30Rock, Parks & Recreation
    2. Investigate energy saving upgrades to the house: Windows, Doors, Appliances
    3. Try to Sleep. I don’t get too much of that
    4. Try to figure out what I can do.
Published in: on April 14, 2010 at 7:56 am  Leave a Comment  

An Apple a day…

Apple Announcement Day
We’re less than four hours away to see what product Apple is going to release. I hope that Steve Jobs does the whole presentation and that he looks well. For all the Apple ‘haters’ there are out there whether it be for price, features, the sort of locked-down OS and hardware – you cannot argue that most every product they have released looks SEXY. The first iMac? Looked cool. Were the colors kind of strange? Yes. But the damn thing was awesome looking. The clamshell iBook? I was stopped in the airport by people that wondered what the hell I was carrying. The flat screen iMacs? Damn cool. The iPhone? You wanted to just go get one to LOOK at it. The first month I had my iPhone, people would just be drawn to you.
Although I don’t know personally how much Steve Jobs actually comes up with the designs, I know from books and articles that the man at least has visions and then assembles the team to get it done. We’ve all heard about how focused and how much of an ass he can be towards people. But if you look at the end results…. I’d say it’s worth it. The iMacs, the OS, the iPhone, even iTunes – all work. You can pretty much just set someone in front of it and it’s kind of like second nature. Yes, there is a learning curve on some things – but for the most part it seems more intuitive.
Pricey? You bet. I do feel that the Apple products of old were made a little more bulletproof than current standards. I also believe that Apple realized that they built their products ‘too well’ – in that even though they didn’t break down, they wanted you to upgrade more often than what was happening. Short of the major OS changes – you could keep an old Mac for five years plus. I think that most people upgrade every 2-3 years. Some people have to have the Latest & Greatest no matter the product.
What will today bring? We can all assume from the ‘leaks’ – I promise they are all part of the marketing ‘plan’ – that it will be a tablet Mac. The name? Who knows. Who cares.
When the iPhone came out three years ago (!) I didn’t care what the price was. I could only afford the small 4GB version at the time but cash was a bit more available then. Today’s product? I don’t think I have much more than about $500 available and think that it will be much more than that. We’ll see.
Features? Who cares! I’m sure that even it were a iPhone Touch on steroids that it will still be impressive. I feel that Apple is on track with delivering a new experience as far as book readers are concerned. Did Apple make the smart phone? No. They made an impressive piece of hardware with some kick-butt software. The potential to salvage print media – without the printing – is impressive. Whether or not the big ‘printers’ will play will be interesting and hearing how the revenue sharing will work will be even more exciting. Think about the ability to make your ‘print’ ad clickable or imbedding video all in your ‘print’ media. I imagine that this revolution will make a lot of new jobs at print media houses for video, programmers, and coders. Huzzah!
The potential from an education standpoint will be wary. Apple’s products have never been ‘affordable’ and with the budget shortfalls of public schooling – will never be adopted as a norm. Colleges and Universities have the potential – similar to the iTunes U usage – but an mp3 player is more widely available and much more affordable. If they want to hit the world with ‘shock & awe’ – the product would be $399.
I think that the paint splashes on the invite also hint to an Apple art program. Those color splashes could have just as easily been geometric shapes and the fact that they are not makes me lean that way.
Sadly, I won’t get to watch the presentation until I get home tonight and it is hard to stay ‘dark’ on whatever gets announced as it makes headlines. Apple stock will go down by the end of the day. I suspect if they make any announcements about other wireless companies – other than AT&T – AT&T will drop. That won’t help the market for the day. Once the new product actually rolls out and people are waiting in lines for it – it will all correct itself.
Regardless – I can’t wait to see what the new ‘thing’ is. I can’t wait to see Steve Jobs onstage again. I can use some excitement this week…

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Today is Sunday

Life: Indifferent Work: n/a
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
BRRRRRRR! It is cold outside. Like ‘winter’ cold.
I’m baaaaacccckkkk… The Atlanta trip did not go so well. I knew there was going to be problems when they finally get me set in front of a computer and I’m looking at a new version number. After an hour, the told me that it was something ‘totally back-end’ that they didn’t change anything else. After about two hours of testing…. Ooopsy. They broke something. The lady that runs the whole thing had asked me to get them to push an order through to our EDI program so that we could all confirm that it was working. I purposely did this before 11 am so that they couldn’t have any excuses. Then I kept asking him every hour if it was done. ‘That team is working on it’ was the standard answer. I took a late lunch and actually went outside – it was in the high 70’s and beautiful.
We don’t get much of an autumn unless you go to the bosque – the only real place that we have an abundance of trees. Being in the middle of all the trees in Atlanta actually made you feel like it was fall – just that I could have just as easily been wearing shorts.
The rest of the afternoon was me fighting with the guy waiting for ‘his team’ and waiting for the boss-lady to have time to see what was going on. She was so upset that they had tried to push a new, untested version on us that I thought that her head was going to explode. Then we discussed how different business is anymore and how nobody will take responsibility for anything and how frustrating that can be. She would not let our version be distributed as it was and the only good thing is that I made her promise that I would not have to fly back out to sign off on the new version. I also found out that they could have made all the changes that I had asked for in September, there was no ‘freeze’ on new work. Grrrrrrr.
Up
Back at the hotel I watched the last Disney/Pixar hit – ‘Up’. It looked like a good movie but I never had time to see it in the theater. Wow. What a disappointment. Not only was the story kind of dark, but very violent for what I was expecting. Here’s my take on Pixar – do not include adults. You do a very poor job trying to make them cartoon-y. Look at the adults in ‘Wall-E’ – they sucked. They lacked personality. The boy in ‘Up’ looks EXACTLY like one of the offspring of the blobulous space adults. The most amazing part of the movie was the first ten minutes with very little dialogue. EXACTLY like ‘Wall-E’ – the first ten minutes told more of a story with NO dialog – then most movies could accomplish in 190 minutes. After that it just turned sour in ‘Up’. There’s some amazing animation but almost feels like they had to rush it out. There’s shooting, hitting, betrayal, bullying, and other things that are not appropriate. When it’s monsters, cars, or toys – it’s okay – but with people? No. Not worth the $19 – but it did include a digital version….
Friday night I went into town and picked up my old friend Jal. We had not seen each other since ’99. She looks awesome and is doing well. We went to an area of town that is kind of like Nob Hill but with more restaurants. The food was awesome and we just sat there catching up on things and solving the worlds’ problems. It was wonderful. I passed out once I got back to the hotel but woke up at 6:30 am and could not go back to sleep. I left there around 10 am to drive back to Birmingham. There was some big football game that I was afraid that I would be stuck in traffic for – I wasn’t. Birmingham to Chicago. Why did I book this flight again? I had a yogurt in Birmingham and tried to think of something good to eat in Chicago which truly has so many different restaurants – good ones too. My issue was still having to have a 3 hour flight. That made me cross off pizza, hot dogs, and even popcorn off my list. Before I knew it, it was time to board and I opted for…. nothing! By the time I hit ABQ I was so hungry I was going to eat anything I could find. Everything was closed – even the bookstore with the snacks. By the time I got home I was shaking from lack of food. I hit the fridge like a ravenous bear just waking from hibernation. I just pulled containers and through them in the microwave. Ate that while I heated up something else. My body was using all the energy to digest the food and I was out very quickly.
I actually slept pretty good too.
Today – dressed in jammies and a large to-do list of things to catch up on.

Published in: on November 15, 2009 at 10:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Today is Sunday – Dealing with Grief – Part 2

Life: Indifferent Work: n/a
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
The continuing saga… [the first part is HERE]
The mortuary was there within a hour. The poor guy that called had asked for my dad over the phone. I asked who it was and he literally realized his mistake and was horrified. They came into the house and we were not ready for them to take him. They asked if we had any questions and I laughed and said that we probably knew the process better than they did! They wore dark suits and I said that they looked like the bankers from Bank of America that came back in 1999 to call our note. They were big in poor fitting dark suits. They were not quite sure how to take our family I think. I told them that they should have a change of clothes in the van to fit the family. Either dark suits for the more serious ones or bright, hawaiian shirts for people like us. That was the time that they actually loosened up a bit. I can’t recall where I went that morning but I was not there when they removed his body. I think I am glad about that.The rest of Tuesday was a blur. I can’t really tell you what happened that day. I remember calling people, especially people that were planning on visiting him later that day or on Wednesday. Some of the calls were to his doctors. His oncologist was to come by and he had had an appointment on Wednesday. The doctor’s staff assistant was not available and I had to leave the message with the person answering the phones. She seemed a little uncaring for me and I let her know that he had had an appointment on Wednesday that they could open up and she said ‘That had already been cancelled’. Bitch. Between my outright despise for the hospice system and now this oncologists office I was livid. The next call was the Santa Fe oncologist which put me back into a happy place. The doctor was with a patient and the lady who answered the phone was as touched by Dad as everyone else was. The next few dozen phone calls went much easier. The hard ones were the people who had just seen him the days before.
I just remembered some more things about the weekend. He was okay with his death and wanted to be involved with the planning. On Monday I helped him pick some music for the service. He picked Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’. I remembered the parts about Doing It Myyyyyyyyy Waaaaaaaay but I had not listened to the words. OMG. How fitting (feel free to play while reading):

And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets I’ve had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes there were times I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all
And I stood tall and did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes it was my way

He also picked a gospel song – ‘I’ll Fly Away’. We were talking about how much he liked acapella songs and I found a perfect one for him.

There was talk about our making a casket for dad at the factory. We called one of the owners to inquire about it – I had figured that there would be laws or regulations against that. Then I remembered that we live in New Mexico and that there are no rules. Dad was excited about it and I had asked him on Sunday to help design it. We made lots of jokes about putting in a speakeasy door or some glass. Things progressed too quickly for us to do anything. Mom picked out a really cool, simple pine casket. It looked great.
We picked a bunch of photos to show and with my Mom’s shutterbug syndrome – there was not a shortage to look through. By this point we all had become kind of not into talking to people about all the plans. I had decided that email was the best manner to get information out and then hope for the phone tree method of information dispersal. She was still making plans with the funeral home so I had to wait until Wednesday to get all the details. I went back to work on Wednesday, although I really didn’t know what day it was ANY day this past week. My brother had flown in from New Hampshire as well in the middle of this. We got back to my house late on Wednesday and about midnight I remembered that I had not made the flyer yet announcing his passing and what the plans were. I mailed all those out around 2 am on Thursday – the same day as the viewing. Better late than never.
Dale Fox Celebration Flyer
Ends up we didn’t get the word out as well as we had hoped and there were quite a few holes. The obituary came out on Thursday morning too so a lot of people saw that. It’s kind of strange that people look in the obituaries. My grandfather used to say that he looked in the obituaries to make sure that his name wasn’t there! Funny man.
The viewing was later that night and as weird as it sounds, he looked great! The last few funerals we have been to the makeup artists didn’t quite capture the person. I don’t envy that job – you have to make a 3D version of someone based upon a 2D photo that someone gives you. In hindsight I had thought about our inviting the makeup person to the house to see dad before he died so that they would have a better idea. Didn’t need it. They nailed it! (no pun intended)
The viewing went well and our last brother and his family made it down too. The only strange thing – and I had never given it much thought – was how little interaction we had between my mom’s side and my dad’s side of the families. My cousin pointed it out to me and I tried to visually give her a map to understand the relations and only then realized how we never really had done that before. This was not the time to try.
Although I have had some teary times this past week, after the viewing I set in my car and cried. The only was… I sounded like a Wookie! It made me laugh that that sound came from me and kind of ended the crying. I’m a lost cause.
The next morning was the service at Mom & Dad’s church. I had come early as I had spent a few hours putting together a slide show of all the pictures and needed to make sure that it would play on the church’s system. It did. I happened to be early enough to help get the casket into the church and helped rearrange the seating. As I can’t just set there when things have to be done I also helped arrange the microphones, set up the picture table and move all the flowers in. I’m sure I busied myself doing other things to. The man from the mortuary is someone that we have come to know quite well through all of our funerals the past few years. He’s a great guy and was very grateful for my help, but also said I needed to go help with my family.
The service was incredible. Dad had been able to choose who would be officiating and has spent a lot of time with my Dad on the Misison Trips to El Salvador and had visited at least once a day while dad was home. He did a great job. Bud is about 6 foot 7 inches and is quite a personality. The service started with the song ‘My Way’ – it pretty much made everyone cry. The service talked about what all he had done in his life and as it was said – 90 minutes was not adequate to talk about everything that he had done. Bud choked up a couple times but did very well. He even did a humorous – Top Ten Thing I Learned About Traveling With Dale Fox. It was great. Afterwards we formed a receiving line and were able to greet a lot of the people who stayed. There were family friends, church friends, old neighbors, current neighbors, work associates from twenty years ago and associates from the past two years, old employees, and current employees. It was wonderful. The funeral home guy even choked up – something that we all commented on as yet another first.
The procession left the church and went for a private burial at the cemetery. The weather was beautiful – high 60’s and clear. After the service my Mom had purposely said that she was uncomfortable with seeing the casket lowered. I stayed because I needed to make sure that my dad was in there before the buried him. For reasons that I had not thought of, they frown upon opening the casket on the cemetery grounds so that people do not think that they are ‘robbing’ from them. Made sense to me. I had not given that any thought. They did ask if anyone wanted to have something placed into the casket and Railee volunteered her necklace. The lady from the cemetery allowed me to place it in the casket and I was able to make sure. My mom’s Mom and Dad are buried at this same cemetery so they all went to take some flowers to their grave. I stayed with the cemetery lady and the funeral home guy and helped lower dad into the grave. I stayed with Dad and was amazed that they started working on burying him very quickly. They put a formed concrete ‘vault’ on top of the casket to help protect it from the weight of all the dirt. Then they put a formed concrete slab on top of that then fill it up with dirt again. I put the first shovel full of dirt in. It made me feel better. He was buried and the grass was replaced less than 45 minutes after we were done! That efficiency was a bit scary. I took some flowers to over where my Grandmother and Grandfather were buried and between the whole thing – cried like a wookie again.
The open house was over at my Mom’s – and it only took me a day to stop referring it to as ‘Mom & Dad’s’ – and that was nice as well. The ladies from the church had arranged food and drinks and they were amazing. We got to see a lot more people and for the most part was enjoyable. We started kicking everyone out at 4pm and the neighbors brought what my dad loved over at 4:20 pm – pitchers of margaritas! All the family was able to relax a little.
As you can see from my weight – I ate my grief this past week. I understand why but it makes me feel like I failed myself. I will fix that and get it back down to where I want it to be.
All in all – in all of my wordiness – I want to help explain what a roller coaster I have been on these past two weeks. Not that I’m making excuses but I just feel better putting it down. My dad was an amazing man – and he would be the first to tell you. He will be missed. The most amazing thing is that he was able to deal with the end of his life – HIS WAY. He accepted the end, and made is all about him. He was able to plan, visit, and do it all. I can only help that all of us are able to do it in this similar manner.
Again, and I cannot stress this enough – without all of your support I would not have made it through this past week. Thank you Thank You THANK YOU!

Published in: on November 8, 2009 at 9:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Today is Saturday – Dealing with Grief – Part 1

Life: Imdifferent Work: n/a
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
Where to start?
First and foremost – My friends. I can’t tell you how much all of your emails, texts, messages, facebook entries, and phone calls meant to me. There were times in the past five days that I truly thought that I was going to break down past the point of return. It always seemed that somebody called or texted at the perfect time – when I needed it. If I did not tell you thank you then – THANK YOU!
The story – my dad was diagnosed with a lymphoma in the early 90’s – maybe around 1992? He went through all the normal stuff – chemotherapy and all sort of other treatments. Even back then the old mantra of chemo kills the bad cells AND some good ones. One of the potential side effects (if you live through the treatments) is that later in life, survivors often get various blood disorders. Most advanced cancers are not necessarily ‘curable’ but just controlled so that they do not spread. Tumors and the such are different, if caught early enough, the cancerous growth is removed and you are done. Our lymphatic system has it’s own little superhighway in our bodies and sadly, those evil little cells tend to spread elsewhere. My dad went through many different times where growths came back and truly after so many times of riding the roller-coaster of ‘bad’ news – I grew kind of weary of riding that roller coaster. I used to tell myself that I would believe it when he was in a box. I’m not saying that it was the correct way to cope, but I couldn’t go through all the emotions of ‘this is it’ and then have him laugh in the face of death by surviving longer. He has been through so much. Cancers, electrocution, heavy machinery accidents, quadruple heart bypass, I can’t even think of some of the others. One of his doctors admitted this past week that if we were cats with nine lives, dad had 29 lives. Unfortunately, he pointed out, he has used 28 of them. Very true.
I’m not saying that I haven’t taken any of the news lightly. I tended to process the information, look up stuff on the internet and then dealt with it however at that moment. Some of you have been very tolerable of me when at those junctures – again, lots of thanks due. This past June we were informed that ‘this’ time was probably it. They diagnosed him with Aplastic Anemia Syndrome – where his bone marrow does not replenish blood cells to keep up with where it needs to be. His blood volume level would go up and down and also his platelet count was crazy which was fought by having a ‘6 Pack’ of platelets added to his blood transfusions. I would hate to count how many of each he has received over the past four months. Through our investigation, normal people can only accept about ten ‘6 Packs’ of platelets before their body will just reject the new platelets and they would not do any good any longer. For those who don’t remember, the platelets are the first things that go through the blood to the source of bleeding to help stop the bleeding. Something as simple as a nose bleed or even cutting yourself while shaving became very serious issues.
Over the past four months, we kept an eye on him and he had good days and bad days. I called him a vampire as he would be invigorated after getting some new blood. When new blood did not help him, I told him that he must of got some old person’s blood. It was amazing how much blood helped his energy level. All during these ups and downs, he continued working and not much changed.
On Sunday, October 25th, I was being picked up by my family when they mentioned that Dad was put back in the hospital that afternoon. I called my Mom and nobody told me quite how serious it was at the time. He had had a hard weekend and his blood levels had dropped to unheard of levels. His blood volume was about half of what it should be and his platelet count was at ONE! Instead of 150 to 400. I saw him on Monday morning and he was very pale. By Tuesday, he was back to his normal self. Full of energy, walking around, and ready to be released on Wednesday. That was the Tuesday of my last post. What a change that day…
His doctor – the very frank one – came in and helped dad realize that the blood had turned into his life-support system. Sometimes the truth hurts. He truly helped my dad realize that he could keep getting blood but that nothing was helping. His body had already started attacking the new platelets which means that they would not help anymore. Basically, within six hours, we went from going home to going home to die. That made for the beginning of a rough week.
We made plans for the Hospice Care to come to the house. That proved to be a waste of time and energy under the results but I guess it was a better plan for a long haul if it were needed. The doctors gave him another transfusion – without platelets. This confused us as to the doctor’s plan but we all really think that they did it to give him a couple more days. No doctor, even the frank one, would take the bet as to how long he would last. A ‘normal’ man would go in one or two days. The best that the doctors would sort of allude to would be soon but no more than a couple weeks. The funny part was that they said to eat whatever you wanted and to enjoy life. He disliked the hospital food so much we sent out for doughnuts and even chili-cheese dogs! I bet the other patients were mad having to smell the food smells coming out of his room.
My dad had that affect on people. You couldn’t tell him ‘no’. And, nobody did. This big ol’ guy was loved by his doctors and his nurses. I’ve seen him be a terrible patient but these last few times he learned that a happy nurse equals a happy patient!
He was released on Friday and went home to his own house. He was in great spirits and on the outside showed nothing different. He was just dad. The long train of visiting family and friends. Actually the train started while he was in the hospital and then continued. We tried to let as many people as we could know about the situation so that they could come see him. It wasn’t so much to say ‘goodbye’ as it was to just be able to talk to him and celebrate him. It wasn’t necessarily sad and very few people actually said goodbye. We joked that it was similar to him being able to be at his own funeral. He was able to hear – firsthand – how much he was loved. Yes, it sometimes got teary – but it was very respectful and actually quite funny at times as people remembered ‘their’ side of the story and he was usually quick to correct them or laugh along with them. I wish there was a better manner to have invited everyone that we wanted to but it just didn’t work out that way. We all just wanted our time with him.
Saturday and Sunday were no different. Sunday a little weaker that Saturday, but unless you had been there the day before you would not have noticed. That was the hardest part is that he looked so good. It’s kind of hard to look at guy that on the outside was just so normal – knowing that on the inside his body was fighting for it’s life. Again, just more of a testament to him.
Monday was a little harder as he was a bit weaker physically. I opted to ride my bike to work and then stop by afterwards. As the day progressed, he was tired. He had asked for some morphine for the first time. Morphine has an added effect of opening up the chest to make breathing easier. We had purposely not allowed anyone to sleep at my Mom & Dad’s house because had she known she had company – she would have expended energy towards vacuuming and other tasks that she did not need to be worrying about. My sister and nephew had come down and were staying at our house. On Monday we decided that it was better to have them sleep at my parent’s house. My nephew is a strapping, fit, twenty-year old that could help out. As the night progressed, it was decided that I should sleep there too just to help out in case he needed to go to the restroom. When it was time to go to sleep he had asked for some more morphine. It was hard to get to sleep on the sofa, but once I was asleep, I was out.
It was still dark when my nephew called for me that my Dad needed some help. He had slept most of the night and my mom had helped him earlier get to the bathroom without any additional help. He needed some assistance and Chris and I helped him. He was very weak and clammy. After about twenty minutes we helped him back into bed and he was complaining about his head feeling like it was exploding. We gave him some more morphine. This is the part where having the hospice nurse would have been helpful. The one who came out over the weekend to get all the ‘history’ and stuff had brought the morphine and had given my mom instructions as to how to give it. The ‘real’ nurse was to show up on Monday but did not and did not call. We were not worried about things so we really did not bother with it. My mom was giving him very literally, drops of morphine. She was scared that if she gave him too much, it would be the morphine that would do him in and without any further help – did what she thought was best. We called the hospice and asked for the nurse to come – they said it would be about 20 minutes. So much for on call. I guess I just had wanted something more quickly. Mom had me call all my brothers and sisters to come. After the last drops of morphine he had breathed easier and appeared like he was going back to sleep. I called everyone. Tim was the furthest away and I made the mistake of telling him that mom wanted him here but also said that I didn’t think that this was it, but he definitely was not doing well.
My sister came and got me from where I was making the calls and was crying a lot. I went back and it was like a different man was laying in that bad. All the color had left his body and he had already started that hard, guttural breathing thing. He said some things, I can’t remember what. The breaths became fewer which was very difficult. Mom was at the foot of the bed, my sister and nephew at his side. The hardest part for me was when Mom said something about ‘This is it? I’m not ready!’ A few minutes more and he had another breath which actually made us all laugh because you halfway expected him to just start again and start laughing with us. He didn’t. Within ten minutes of making all those calls – he had gone.
When my other sisters had come to the house, I had to greet them at the door with the news. That sucked. I had made the decision not to call them in transit because I didn’t want them to get emotional in the car or to drive stupidly and risk another injury. The on-call hospice nurse came by – the same one that had come on Saturday. I let her know that nobody had ever come after her and she seemed surprised but also didn’t really seem all caring. She double checked that he had indeed died – wow, that was a hard call. I removed the oxygen tubing that had become an fixture of his room, hundreds of feet of clear tubing from the oxygen generator so that he could move around his room – maybe even to the back porch when he needed oxygen. I just didn’t want anything that looked sickly to be around him for when everyone arrived. I helped the nurse clean him up a bit and she had to inventory the morphine. She was amazed that so little was used and that’s when my mom admitted that she had not wanted to give him too much for fear of what would happen. Sad.
[CLICK HERE for the second part of this story]

Published in: on November 7, 2009 at 11:46 pm  Comments (1)  

Today is Saturday

Life: Frustrated Work: Indifferent
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
My attempt at completing the tasks at hand last night did not go well. Half of it is the lack of motivation and the fact that my mind is contemplating a lot of options that all have the potential for live-changing events. Twenty years ago, I acted first and dealt with the repercussions after the fact. I thought first but reacted more quickly. Now I take into account a bit more than I probably should. My two largest life-affecting conditions are my children. This is somewhat silly to weigh my decisions so heavily toward them as children are so resilient. They do not think of the future – just for the day. Oh well. More on that later as well.
I woke up at 7:00 am on purpose to get to work – with the intent that I would finish and hop on the bike and ride for about three hours. I need that therapy today. Motivation to work? None. Three hours and I’m nowhere closer to being done.
We did have some morning excitement already. Sunnee lets the chicken become free-range-poop-making critters and lets them run around the yard. Our dogs have to stay inside during this time. Sunnee and I were upstairs and we heard Jaeden yell downstairs from the kitchen. The neighbors have two dogs, one mid to large size, pit-bullian mix who has enjoyed our yard and house on recent visits over the summer (not invited) and a little, yappy, thing. Little yappy dog had chewed through the fence and had his little mind set for chicken chasing. Oh the excitement!
With my having to work the show tomorrow, I HAVE to get this work done….

Published in: on September 26, 2009 at 10:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Today is Saturday

Life: Happy Work: Indifferent
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
Yesterday started with my ‘almost’ leaving the house… then I answered the phone. I’ve been getting some crazy, rude phone calls from Chase about a payment that I apparently did not make last month. My bad – but the Federal Tax Refund came in so I paid the balance in full on the 9th. I STILL have been getting the messages on the phone. I didn’t bother looking to see who it was before I picked up and it was VERY rude girl from Chase. I explained how I had already paid it in full and that I was not appreciating these calls any longer. While I was in front of the computer I looked it up to ‘prove’ and… I messed up the BillPay. I sent it from the wrong account – that doesn’t have any money in it. Ha. I had already got the one girl that I had reamed off the phone. I called the bank and made sure that they would stop trying to pull the payment from the account and initiated another one from the right account this time. I called Chase back and semi-apologized for my attitude but they still had a crappy ‘tude and told me that unless they had the payment by Monday, they were going to proceed to the next step. So all of this for something that is 34 days late? I don’t get that – but I do… in today’s economy I bet they just get the run around. Oh well. I think it’s all taken care of.
Made it to work where I started training Jo to do my stuff. That took about four hours and she sort of got the hang of it. It’s one of those things that there’s so many details that if she doesn’t do it ALL the time, she’ll forget little things that will cause more grief later. I need to work on that.
Frank has been working on some new radio ads for me and – you know when you have a creative idea in your head for what you want the end product to be? HE NAILED IT! It was awesome – I spent the rest of the day waiting for the end results because I was so excited. He must have had more fun things to do 🙂
I surprisingly completed quite a bit yesterday. That actually felt good. I still ended up bringing about 40lbs and the other computers home for the weekend but I think it’s all good in the long run.
This weekend should include at least a couple of bike rides, some yardwork, and then all the work work.
Dirk & Kat are in NYC for the week and apparently some crazy alignment occurred last night as Kley & Karen as well as other Amsterdonians all went to NYC. I don’t think that I’ve felt this kind of jealousy in quite some time….

Published in: on September 19, 2009 at 8:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Today is Sunday

Life: Happy Work: n/a
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
Yesterday kind of started out kind of dull, slowly during into a dull roar. Everyone seemed to be in a kind of mood and I apparently was the focus of everyone’s ire. I tried to get the kids to get up and try to go play tennis – that backfired. I tried to get my family to make some plans. That was not happening either. I had a couple calls from Home Depots as I had remembered to forward the phones. I was in the middle of laundry and attempting to clean the kitchen when Lori had called and invited all of us to Santa Fe for a Labor Day Barbecue / Sleepover. I was very excited as it would get all of us out of our house and off their butts!
There were other ‘plans’ for Sunday morning and to make a long story short – the family was not available for the trip. I seriously contemplated going by myself to get away from the sad state of affairs in the household and actually felt some relief when Lori suggested it. I needed gauge everyone’s opinion of my deserting them before making that decision and within two hours – it was apparent that I would be the ‘bad guy’ for this weekend. I hopped at the opportunity. I really ‘needed’ a bike ride this weekend too and it seemed logical that since it was just me, to take the train. I looked at the train maps and Casa PK is only 2.5 miles from the station so it really wouldn’t be that bad – plus I could ride the train again! I made plans, packed the bike and made a last ditch effort to have some people accompany me. Even the train trip was not enough of a lure…
The Bernalillo Wine Festival is going this weekend and the train was PACKED of people going to the festival – just two stops away. That looked promising that people would take mass transit when it was available to them. Lawrence Rael, the head of the train operations was out at the station seeing how it was going. Since I had 30 minutes (40 with the delays) it was kind of funny watching him trying to be managerial and every now and then wanting some kudos for the whole thing. Every now and then he’d get into the waiting crowd and would be asked questions but mostly they were questions, not kudos. Some people that were waiting next to me had thought that they recognized him from their High School days. When the man went to ask him, Lawrence was deflated that it wasn’t a better question.
All in all they got all those people on that train and on it’s way. They have an area on one side of each car that can fit two bikes. This particular car was filled with strollers and luggage. There was a State Police officer on the train who told me and two other bikers to just leave our bikes in that ‘vicinity’. We kind of made some more room and made it work. I got to sit next to a very DRUNK man that to be honest I had to keep looking as I thought he was relieving himself in his seat the way he was squirming. Right before the Wine Festival stop he mumbled something and I heard ‘bathroom’ and he went towards the bathroom. I didn’t wait for him to come back and the train emptied out at that stop. I went upstairs and found a nice seat. Surprisingly a LOT of people got on going back to Santa Fe. They had already been to the festival and nobody was very excited about it. They complained that they waited about 45 for every taste and that the wines were not good. They wanted to end their ‘festival’ with a glass of champagne and waited over an hour for it – and were very disappointed. They said the best part of the festival was the train trip!
The only part that was odd for me was that the seating – maybe this was just on the upper deck – was all facing eachother – there were not any seats facing front/back as rows. This means that you have to either stay engaged with the others seated around you or attempt to not be interested. It’s very difficult to stay with three others and not listen to what they are saying and to try not to interject too often. They were nice people. The thing that they were speaking most about was how their businesses and their kids/friends/family businesses were all changing to meet the economic needs of today. Just from their experiences, and they were comparing lives to people in the Bay area, back east and in the midwest – it’s all the same. They lamented about people losing jobs and kids from college not getting any jobs. Kind of sad.
The trip up was awesome! I didn’t remember to take any pictures though.
From the time I got on the train at Paseo del Norte and 2nd – no more phone service. There was a little bit right before La Bajada hill that I got service and Jill had called – but otherwise – NO SERVICE. Everyone around me had service all the way to Santa Fe. AT&T is really pissing me off.
As we got closer to Santa Fe, there were a lot of rain clouds to the west. It was sprinkling as we pulled into the station. By the time we exited, it was a bit more. The people that I was sitting next to came back from the parking lot and offered me a ride – I thanked them and told them it would change. I started out and then it dumped! I was soaked in about 10 seconds and returned to the cover of the station. Chris was out getting ice and he came to pick me up. Oh well, so much for a good ride today 🙂
The PK’s are doing great – everyone looked awesome. Kids are growing, scary. I changed and helped get things ready and guests started showing up. It was fun to have conversations with adults and even some of the kids. I was observing how the guys and girls separated immediately and how the kids kind of made up their minds who they were going to “include” in their plans. I tried to get some conversations going with the odd-man-out kids but could tell that they didn’t want to talk to the old guy that they didn’t know. One opened up when we started talking music and he ended up being real cool. The men stayed outside, the girls inside. I joked with Lori as to when ‘the dance’ started; would we start to mingle. Really cool people and I got to meet a several people that we have only seen in photos or heard third person about.
I had not realized how many beers I had been having and also didn’t realize how late it had become before we knew it it was almost eight and we had just started eating. The spread was incredible – burgers, ribs, homemade pasta, veggies, OMG I can’t even remember everything. It was fabulous. Eating seemed to be over in about 15 minutes and we cleaned up real quick and continued with the libations. Sam had brought some homemade liquors that were very interesting. After several different tastings I was burning a hole in my stomach. The kids had assembled a band and had practiced a song that they all performed for us. We continued talking and as people started departing it was just a few of us on the portal. Next thing you know it was 1 am.
I slept like a rock but woke up at 6 am. Could NOT go back to sleep. Tossed and turned for about an hour and half and finally gave up and went out on the portal. It was a beautiful morning. Still overcast, crisp but not bad enough that I needed a sweatshirt. After everyone had risen, we went for breakfast at The Pantry. Green Chile solves all morning-after issues and did in this case too. They dropped me off at the station, even though I still had 45 minutes or so.
Right after breakfast my mom had called to let me know that my cousin had passed away overnight. He had been in the hospital, never waking up from an accident about two weeks ago so it was not surprising. We will never know what happened to him.
While at the station, I attempted to fix the shifter on my bike – which had broken while I was waiting at the ABQ station. I was able to shift but still it was all wonky. I texted my sister to see if she could pick me up – just in case.
The trip back was filled with people going to the festival. Lots of 20’s and 30’s people talking about how the train was their DD – Designated Driver. I wanted to interject that they still had to drive from the station to their homes as nobody seemed to think of that part of the equation.

The ride was nice, we had to wait for another train to pass us and we parked for about 20 minutes. I think I slept for a bit.
The station where I got off was crazy busy! First people going south and then north to the wine festival. While waiting for a ride, I witnessed a bunch of people that had NO idea how to board a train and lots that did not understand that they were not ‘guaranteed’ a seat. I also witnessed a lot of young people that did not have the common sense to give up their seats to the elderly. Albuquerqueans also do not understand that a train needs to leave on time….
There were people holding up the departure for their ‘friends’ who were sprinting across the parking lot. Another lady in a wheelchair was not making any attempt to get to the train and was waiting for someone who was parking the car. They rolled up – a full ten minutes after the train was to leave and because the handicapped areas were already filled – they actually had to move the train forty feet to get her in. The train departed almost 20 minutes late – explaining why we had to wait so long in the middle of nowhere.
Back home and back to my ‘normal’…

Published in: on September 6, 2009 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Today is Friday

Life: Happy Work: Indifferent
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
Another day of running around. BEST NEWS? – the new car is officially TITLED & REGISTERED! Woo hoo! It only took two weeks but I’m happy that it’s done. Only took an hour….
After it was all over and I had the title in my hand – I asked the big question…. Shouldn’t the ‘rules’ be the same for every person? Why is it that some offices wanted the death certificate and others didn’t? Why did their office say I didn’t need a Bill of Sale originally? They asked if I got the names of the people. I left a little angry, but not angry enough to let them take the title back! 🙂
I, on the otherhand, was trumped by a true, Cranky Old Guy – this guy had come in for to renew his license. He could not pass the eye test. He said he needed to get new glasses anyway and would return. He went outside and was talking on his cell phone. Twenty minutes later he returned to complain that this ‘new’ eye test was not fair and wanted the ‘old’ test back. After explaining that it was the only test that they had available and had been using for the past four years… he left even more cranky.
See? I’m not so bad.
Today – get this advertising thing wrapped up. Make plans for the weekend…. Ha. Who am I kidding. I will work.

Published in: on September 4, 2009 at 8:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Today is Tuesday

Life: Happy Work: Indifferent
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!
I do enjoy my birthdays – no matter how aged I become they are special days and deserve special things. This birthday didn’t live up to the expectations – but I have a feeling that comes with the age thing as well…
Yesterday was wasted from from a productivity point of view. I stayed at the house and realized that my over the weekend posts were not actually posted. Then I made a video animation of my bike/train ride from Saturday and added that to the post that never was posted. I answered emails, forwarded others, and didn’t even get to work until 11ish. If Toni were in town, she would have taken me to lunch – I ended up having a good green chile burger instead. Although I would have argued that it was possible to be any LESS productive after lunch – I was. [or is it ‘wasn’t’?]
By the late afternoon I was convinced that I should have not even showed up to work and I had noticed that nobody from home had called so I was going to be on my own for dinner. Damn.
I got home to see the tail end of what was the dinner from hell that started this past Saturday morning that I had to scour the kitchen from. She started making a nice red sauce – unfortunately for my tummy it included LOTS of garlic. I chose not to partake in food last night to save my tummy from the after effects of food that I like, but literally cannot stomach.

I caught up on what episodes of Rescue Me my kids have not taped over and also watched some Better Off Ted – I guess that ABC season is over already. Rescue Me season finale is… tonight? They also announced that Rescue Me will end in 2011 and they will film the last two seasons in one shoot. It’s like a guilty pleasure show. Funniest line from last night:
Black Shawn – “Could things go any further south for you and your wife?”
Tommy – “Hey we’re talking marriage, it’s a bottomless well. True south doesn’t exist when it comes to marriage.”
You would have to have a little more background on the characters but it’s VERY Denis Leary-esque…
To make up for my unproductiveness – I was at work at 8:30 and trying to get through the stacks on my desk.
It’s also September and even though it ALWAYS occurs the day after my birthday, it doesn’t seem possible. It’s like winter and Christmas, and a New Year are all just around the corner…
Now I have bummed myself out.

Published in: on September 1, 2009 at 9:12 am  Leave a Comment