Things That Are Hard To Do #1

Back in high school one of the people closest to me in my life was diagnosed with ALS. My basketball coach/hero/perfect family man role model started experiencing some problems controlling his arms and later found out he had Lou Gehrig's disease. In the years since, he has been confined to a bed and lost all but blinking motions and sharpness of mind. This amazing man gave everything to everyone in his community, and for awhile, everyone gave back. The school sponsored a trip to Disney, others helped him go hang out with his kids at a ranch in Texas, he got to meet his baseball heroes and Micheal Jordan. The last time I saw him I had a very difficult time sitting on the bed next to him talking and watching him not be able to respond or ask me questions. I tried really hard to forget, I think, and waited uneasily for the phone call that would tell me that the 5 year life sentence he'd been handed had finally expired. Well, it's been at least 2 years now since I last visited him, and 8 since he was diagnosed, and I read somewhere on the internet that his full time nursing staff would accept phone calls and relay a message to him. So today I called.

I was completely unprepared to talk to him. I updated him on everything I could before I got stupid and awkward and he signaled to the nurse I was finished. It was ridiculous. I couldn't even be strong for 10 minutes. The biggest part of me was just fighting my anger at his wife for moving out of his home and taking her children with her. Part of me understands, but another part of me is irate that she could give up on him. Perhaps she made the best choice for her children. I won't understand unless I'm in that situation, but it kills me that anyone could abandon this incredible person. Maybe that's not the case at all. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions...but all I wanted to do during that conversation was cry and hug him as hard as I could.

I feel that I'm a horrible person for allowing myself to feel any pain in this. Like, what's actually affecting me life? I feel guilty for not talking longer. I feel guilty for not being there. Back in college I wrote papers on ALS and thought maybe I'd even go into research on it. Now it rarely crosses my mind.

So perhaps this is my little bit of outreach. Please, please, please take a moment to read a little about ALS. Take a moment to think about how lucky you are to be able to move around and get out of bed. Take a moment to imagine what it would be like to be trapped in a dying body you couldn't use, but still be able to think as clearly as you do today. And take a moment to spread a little bit of love...with a smile, a touch, a nice word....

Be thankful.


Tonight's Crappy Drama

So today is a beautiful day, and Pete and I decide to go out for a nice relaxing dinner after what has been an incredibly difficult and stressful past three weeks. Dealing with issues—including my compensation, my job altogether, Pete’s work, my finances, our apartment hunt, friends going through big bad breakups, and my boss’ family dynamics (of which I get thrown into the middle)—has really taken it’s toll on us.

We’re sitting at dinner when I get a call from my boss saying the car I used is parked in front of a driveway. I’m shocked because neither of us noticed that last night when we parked it, and I can’t imagine that I would have missed it. She hangs up to go move the car (the cops are there telling her to move it), and calls me back a few minutes later. This time, though, she’s screaming at me that the ticket was $75, the car’s a pig sty, and the driveway was obvious. I immediately apologize and offer to go speak to the neighbor, pay the ticket, and clean out the car. She continues to yell at me and revokes my car priviledge.

So, obviously upset, we finish our “relaxing” dinner quickly and silently so that we can hurry home to fix it. We stop to buy an orchid for the neighbor whose driveway we blocked, and I add one of my nice flowerpots to make it look nice. I ask Pete to stay home and I go to my boss to get the info of the neighbor and to find out where the car is. She’s had time to calm down, and her fiancĂ© is present, so she’s a bit calmer. She even tells me she isn’t mad at me. She shows me the note from the neighbor which says that the woman missed work because of this, and tells me how bad it was walking with the cops and having the woman stare her down while she moved the car. She keeps telling me how horrible it was and goes back and forth on what she wants from me. First she tells me that she just wants me to own up to it. When I remind her that I did right away, she says I should have explained it. When I tell her I offered an apology and a solution rather than an excuse, she says I have been using the car too casually. When I point out that she’s the one who told me to stop asking her every time I wanted to use it and that I could use it when I needed, she says that was probably her error. She keeps going on and on about how irresponsible this was, how messy the car was (“it’s a pig sty!) and that she can’t believe I couldn’t see it. I point out that most of the mess in the car is the stuff she had in the car, and she goes off about tons of papers and coke cans. Apparently I’m being irresponsible by only throwing my trash away once a week or so when I’m close enough to the house to use our recycling bin (when it’s not already full). I tell her that I do clean it out regularly and that it has never been messy when the kids are in the car. She finds something else to pick at. She makes it very clear that she assumes I was drinking, and that’s why I didn’t notice the driveway. I am livid at this point because I’ve been working for her and using the car for ten months…does she really think I’d do this now? I get really upset and basically finish trying to talk with her. I tell her I’m going to fix this and walk out.

First, I walk to the residence where we were parked. I meet the husband of the woman who was so upset. The guy is extremely nice and not mad at all. He was actually happy that we got the car and it didn’t get towed, and stated that while it was a big inconvenience, his wife overreacted. He appreciated my apology and the orchid, and said he would pass it on to his wife. She had actually gotten another ride to work and hadn’t come home yet. (So it wasn’t her staring my boss down.) The guy was totally sympathetic because it was quite obvious I was stressed, and said that he appreciated the gesture. Very nice man.

A bit about the garage: It’s a dark grey house with a dark grey garage. The door has no windows, no handles, and no easily defined lines that make it look like a garage door. It does, in fact, look like the side of a house. Next to the NARROW driveway, there is a big tree that makes it seem like it would be impossible to have a driveway there. I can totally see how I would have missed that at night. It was definitely not an obvious driveway. YES, I should have seen it. YES, I made a big bad mistake. I’m paying $75 for that mistake. Maybe that’s not enough…but still, it is just an honest mistake.

Next I go to clean out the car. I would like to make it very clear exactly what I pulled out of the car. First, I moved all of her shit into the back of the car. By that I mean half the mess that was in bags and snacks and whatnot that are hanging out back there. Then, I pull 2 cans of Fresca, 3 Diet Coke bottles, and 1 juice drink bottle (all empty and closed tight) out of the car. I throw away one napkin, take a plastic bowl out, and remove a small pile of about 5 sheets of paper (all documents I actually use). THIS was what was causing her anger. It took me about 2 seconds to clean up. Yes, this means I should have done it before…but honestly, was it worth that anger? Was it worth all of this?

I move out next month. That’s what I keep telling myself. The problem is, she’s my landlord, my boss here, and my boss in my full time job. This is gonna kill me. Moving out next month will help.

In the meantime, though, am I to be responsible for moving a car every few days for street cleaning when I’m not allowed to drive it? How do I approach that issue with her without fucking myself over? Any suggestions?

Long Time No Blog

And so much happened in that long long time.

Compensation is settled, apartment search is going well, blah blah...

Crappy stuff is going on tonight, so I'm just gonna share a bit of fun....

Wikipedia actually has a listing for Marina Girl! Rock on.