Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out with a whimper

Tonight I'm marking the end of 2008, which by most people's measures would be a rather shitty one due to losing my Step-Dad and then later my Mother. Although they didn't surprise anyone, knowing they will be dying soon and then living with that baited anticipation isn't much comfort and doesn't make things much easier.

Yet with their respective passings and the sorrow that comes with the realization that, no matter what your relationship was with them, you won't get to see them, hear them, or hug them again; what I find is that my mind seeks out the fondest memories and events that I shared with each of them. Sure there were rough times, but they are what make celebrating their lives and achievements special and motivating if you take the time to make it a part of yourself.

In a nutshell (can two paragraphs really be succinct enough to fit in a nutshell??? That's one big ass nut if it does!!) that really sums up what 2008 was for me. I got past challenges and watched my life blossom from the bad moments into the good ones. My son Perrin, who will always be my hero because of everything he overcomes each day, is walking better and has a chance (with hard work) to walk just like any other kid. He's tough as nails and I wish I could have half the zeal he does for life, but I suppose we could all say that about every two year old.

The funny thing about tonight and about this post is that I could care less about New Years Eve. It's an arbitrary marking on a political calendar that has no other significance than being the last in line. I kid that I have already become a crotchety old man, and maybe there is some truth to that, but the older I get the more I realize that marking the passing of one year and embracing a new one isn't as important as being aware of present and how precious our moments are.

To that end, I sent my wife off to celebrate our friends at a party so that she could unwind with out having to worry about the kids being there and just be an adult, a woman, and a friend. I put the kids to bed as I normally would and I now have the house to myself, which is itself a treat. I intend to spend my rare evening alone writing and maybe just relaxing and watching a movie. Just having the chance to work on some projects I have been neglecting is so exciting that at times today I had to distract myself to avoid being overly anxious.

So, if you're one of the handful of people who pop in here and read my rantings, I want to wish you a happy evening and the presence to enjoy the moments as they come. While it's impossible to move forward without knowing our past, its also too easy to get lost in either or both. Seize the moment and smell the roses......or whatever the hell that smell is that comes from the back of the refrigerator!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Come and Gone (or going)

Thankfully we are coming to the end of this year and I couldn't be happier to see 2008 in my rear-view mirror. I don't want to turn this into a pity post, but losing my step-father just days before my birthday and then losing my mother the day before Thanksgiving. It absolutely sucked, but I honestly mean this when I say that I am fortunate those are my biggest lamentations because I know there are people out there who suffered more and endured more than I could possibly even remember. So, while death is a natural part of all our lives and transitioning yourself from life with and then without your parental figures is hard, I am thankful that I wasn't hit with more adversity.

Christmas was very nice. Everyone spoiled my kids and I think we brought more toys back with us from Ohio than what we had at home. I am fortunate that they are loved by so many. Meva and I had a good time, and I think she enjoyed the gifts I gave her. I wish I could have got her more, but she got a lot of what she asked for, and all things considered, you can't ask for much more than that. Meva gave me some great books on Zen philosophy and a book by Les Stroud of Survivorman. That was really great and I am looking forward to devouring each one of them.

Our trip back and forth to my in-laws was much easier on the kids as it was the first time we used the new DVD player and it was a fantastic success. The overall crankiness was down, and even Ryan had a hard time finding something to cry about! It was totally worth everything we paid for it and luckily we got it on sale for a ridiculous price.

On a really annoying note, new comic books won't be out until Friday this week. I don't know what it says about me that I am pretty pissed about, but I am and I'm not going to be ashamed of that (OK, maybe just a bit ashamed). It's only three more days, so I think I can make it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

First Snow & Hanging Up The Lights

The first snows came, and by last years standards it wasn't too much. I think we got about 4 inches of it, not even enough for me to even bother shoveling the driveway. I can't wait until the thick heavy stuff comes so I can get out there at like midnight and shovel the snow and be in the element. Yeah, I'm crazy!

Thankfully I was just able to get the outdoor Christmas lights up. I had planned on doing this on Saturday, but Meva wasn't feeling good and the day just got away. Usually I don't have any problems hanging up the lights or at least nothing that gets to me (And I fell off my roof last year and landed right on my head trying to put up lights with a broken hand, two pins sticking out of it, and a cast). This year though I was ready to go nuclear!

All I wanted to do was set up four strands of net lights on my evergreen bushes. I had brand new lights that I hand purchased last year after the season, but they all tested well when I checked them inside. Somehow from the trip in the house to the bushes out front, two of the strands stopped working' one completely and the other just in the middle. I brought them back in and checked all the bulbs and the wires. One strand had a defective wire, so there was nothing I could do there, and the other one was beyond me. So I headed to the hardware store and bought a different (read cheaper) set. I even bought extra boxes just in case.

I got them home and on Sunday, when the snow started coming down fast and heavy, I went back out to finish. Each one of those cheap ass strands of lights either wouldn't light, or literally fell apart as I tried to gently lay them over the bushes.

Even Meva knew I was fuming. Money is tight, but with everything happening with my mother dying, my kids just now old enough to enjoy the pretty lights, and this being the first Christmas since my step-dad Lou passed away, I was going to have lights on those bushes if I had to set them on fire! Meva could sense of close I was to losing it and didn't say a word when I told her I didn't know where I was going, but somewhere I would find working lights and I didn't care where I had to go. I don't know what she was thinking, but she knew how important it was to me and just let me go. I guess we could call that reason number 37653876087502 why she is such a fantastic wife and that I love her so much.

Anyways, I got lights that work and finished the bushes. The snow was coming down at it's heaviest and I still had to put the lights on the roof. We have a low roof, so it wasn't a problem, other than the cold, and those lights went off without a hitch. The only thing I didn't get out this year were my plastic candy canes to go along the walk, but that's my fault for not getting them prepped and with working bulbs, so I wisely skipped them. I don't have as many lights as I'd like, but it's enough for this year. Next year I will build on this.

The other interesting thing to note is that the lights I have for the roof and my other bushes are new LED lights and they didn't give me any problems. The net lights for the evergreens are regular lights, so if we can swing the cost I may have to go LED there as well. The energy savings alone should offset that cost. Anyways, I'll try and get a picture here of the house soon if the snow will hold (or more will come).

With the economy the way it is and money tight for all, I'm going to be giving out cookies this year to all my friends. I love to bake Christmas cookies, so it will give me something to keep me focused on good thoughts and it will also help me stay in the holiday spirit. Hopefully I can narrow down the kinds I want to make and get started on them so I can begin getting them out to everyone.

That's it for now. I have a house to clean and possibly a small nap to take because I did not sleep soundly last night.

Monday, December 01, 2008

This Week Can Only Be Better Than Last

Last week I wrote about what was a very miserable Monday I was having, culminating with putting my foot through the season. I should have relished those moments because as it turns out it was about the best day of the week for me. The lady to the left is my mother. It's the only recent picture I have of her, and it is over a year old. She was suffering from COPD and Congestive Heart Failure. Her health was slipping slowly, and she was in and out of the hospital and ICU several times over the past year, often it included being put on life-support to get her through the event. Well, the very next morning she passed away at about 6:35am. I try to keep things topical here, so I'll continue that. I had stopped speaking to her over a year ago about some things I felt very strongly and I had made the decision that it was best for me and my wife and kids. It wasn't an easy decision to come to, but it was the right choice to make and I stand by that decision. I can't think of anyone in my family that supported me; I'm not even sure anyone respected my right to make that decision.

So as she passed, things have gotten very dramatic. It's been tense with my family and emotions are very raw. For me, even though this was something that we all saw coming, it's been more difficult that I would have imagined. I'm running all the normal gambits of losing a parent, even if we ended on the outs, and although I expected that, the intensity has caught me off guard. The other thing that has gotten me are the memories.

Whether I'm awake or sleeping, they come flooding to me out of nowhere. Bad ones, good ones, things that make little sense, things I hadn't thought of in years, and things long forgotten. It's exhausting and turns my mood and thinking into places without my control. And when you mix all of that with the issues with my family, it's been an incredibly tough week. If you want to know more, you can read my more personal blog.

I guess I'm putting this up so people have a bit of an understanding or a deeper understanding as to where I am at right now and what I'm going through. So if I appear flaky or you aren't hearing from me as usual, you know why. I'm blessed to have such a fantastic wife and three of the most exceptional children to help me forget things for awhile and remember to smile and feel good about myself,