Thursday, June 25, 2009

A View of a Difficult Day

Nothing helps ease the pain of grief like the joy of laughter.
"Speed Bump" by Michigan's own Dave Coverly is a great comic strip. Read, laugh, and share.

Today was a very difficult day.

It was one of the first things my boss said to me this morning. She's still coming to terms with the loss of her mother who died about two weeks ago. Her mother was an amazing woman - smart, funny, strong, and full of love. My boss is very much like her mother, and it's been hard to watch her cope with her loss. Today was especially difficult because she did something I've only seen or heard her do once before.

She began to cry. It was out of nowhere. She called this morning to check in and, as she ran through her schedule for the day, she noted that she had to go to the dentist for a routine cleaning. The appointment was always set up so that her mother would go at the same time for her cleaning. This was her first appointment alone in many years, and having to cancel her mother's appointment brought her to tears.

The difficult part was not the fact that she was crying, but that it felt like there was nothing I could do to help. She apologized to me for the tears, which almost made me cry. It felt as though I should be the one offering the apology for only being able to say, "Don't apologize, just let it out." It felt like more should be done. What, I don't know. I gave her a moment to pull herself together, to let the tears flow. She quickly pulled herself together, and we talked for a few more minutes about the day ahead, about her mom, and about moving forward.

The day didn't get much easier. It was an unspeakably hot day and no one could get comfortable in the office. Some were too hot, others were too cold - there was no middle ground. A training session to go over a new piece of office equipment got delayed because of a configuration issue. I was behind because my day started with my cable going out, which led to a much too long call to a customer service rep walking me through steps I'd done at least three times before calling before she finally announced that I needed a service call - what I asked for in the first place. I went out at lunch to buy some salad dressing for the salad I remembered to bring for lunch, only to discover that I'd left my bank card on my desk.

The day became even more difficult when I learned that Farrah Fawcett had died. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being Jill Munroe - complete with the flowing hair, flirty charm, and cool Mustang Cobra. Years later, it was a treat to discover she had true acting talent in work like "Extremities" and "The Burning Bed." I came to admire Farrah during her battle with cancer - she was kick ass enough to help catch health care workers leaking her medical information. Reading about her passing felt like a part of my childhood had gone. She was only 62 - much too young to be gone so soon.

Then I got home, turned on the TV and (before the cable went out - again) heard that Michael Jackson was in a coma. Then I heard that the hospital he was in was being closed off and crowds were gathering. Then I heard my mom through the ceiling.

"OH NO! NO, NO, NO!"

That's when I knew he was gone. Such a troubled life. Such sparkling talent. Such a sad, tragic death. I could tell by the sound of my mother's voice that she was about to cry. When she came to my front door ready for me to take her to work, the first thing out of her mouth was an apology.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I don't know why I'm crying." Then, after a second, I made a joke to help her pull herself together, and we went back to the routine of the day. On the ride to work, we listened to the radio for news about Michael's passing and talked about Farrah's death. I thought about my boss, who's in the midst of settling her mother's last affairs. I thought about the people left behind - how they must be feeling, the hurt they must feel, the love that my boss's mother, that Farrah, that Michael gave to everyone they touched.

And I tried not to cry. More later, but not before saying rest in peace.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

A View of a Father's Day Tribute

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there and with love to my dad. I know you would've found this cartoon especially funny.

More later, now go bond with your kids.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A View of the Return

Reading "Rhymes With Orange" won't reduce your clutter, but it will increase your laughter. Check it out.
I'm back! Yay!

You'd think that wallpaper stripping and painting one room would be a pretty straightforward job, right?

Not when you're in a 60+ year old home. It took two days to strip the wallpaper off the walls. It took a day to repair a section of plaster that buckled and crumbled as I stripped the wallpaper. It took three days and about 2.5 gallons of paint to cover the room. It took nine hours, three people (including an electrician), and just under $200 (payable to said electrician) to put up a new ceiling fan in the room because I found out the hard way that one wire can control lighting in at least two rooms. I'm still cleaning up the dust from the two days of wallpaper stripping. Flocked, gold foil wallpaper does not go out without a fight or leaving evidence of its existence behind in any way it can.

Anyway, the work is done (aside from the mopping) and the room looks 200% better than it did. Next up will be painting the ceilings and trim in my den, sewing room, and bedroom - but not until the fall. I need a vacation from the paint brush and I need a bit of time to take in some of the valuable lessons I learned as I prepped, primed, and painted.
  1. You will go over your budget when you take on a DIY task. Accept it. Deal with it. Increase your credit limit. Things will go a lot smoother if you face this fact from the beginning.
  2. A sander has the potential to maim until it completely stops running. I'll have a scar on my left index finger to remind me of that for the rest of my days.
  3. A cat is more frightened by the sound of a sander than he is curious about how that funny colored liquid in the long pan tastes. (It took the cat about three times to learn this lesson for himself.)
  4. You will never have enough paint. Accept it. Deal with it. Be ready to buy more. Things will go a lot smoother if you face this fact from the beginning.
  5. When you move furniture, you will find items you lost long ago and forgot about or things you never knew you had. I discovered my ex-husband's favorite spot to stash his empty bottles of vodka (his liver must look like crispy bacon), about 30 assorted cat toys, two wall outlets I never knew about, and a layer of shedded cat fur that was roughly three inches thick under my china cabinet.
  6. Someone will always have a suggestion on how to do some task better, faster, easier, or different - once you've completed said task. I heard about a gazillion tips about removing wallpaper from plaster after the last bit of paper was off the walls - and my finger was just beginning to heal from my run in with the sander. I got a suggestion to strip the paint off my windows and part of the ceiling "to let the wood show through" after the last coat was applied. I'm still hearing about how you never paint a ceiling any color except white, or little remarks like, "Wow, I didn't think that color would come out looking so nice...."
  7. You will get paint on you in the most unexpected places. Doesn't matter how much clothing or protective gear you wear. Fortunately, latex paint washes right off.
  8. It's hard work, but taking on a large task and finishing it gives one an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment. It feels good to have this project under my belt.

More later, and pics too, as soon as I stop being lazy, mop the floors and put down the rugs.

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