August 31, 2009

I LOVE to fly!

Wednesday I flew to Roanok5 with three of my coworkers. Once there, I stayed up until 1:30 AM EST working on the final presentation. Woke at 6 AM to get ready, eat, print our script, rehearse and get to the pitch. We got to the client, set up, did the song and dance, packed up and raced back to the airport. Thursday afternoon we jumped back on planes to get home.

On the plane back, I shared a row with a very polite teenage boy. He offered to help me put my suitcase in the overhead bin, offered me a Tic Tac. Played his gameboy with earphones. We didn't have anyone in the middle seat and I was VERY happy with my seat placement. I sprang for the 'nap sack' with blanket, eye mask, ear plugs and neck roll and settled in to sleep the whole way home...

This is the part where you expect the crying baby, right? Hah! There were no children in sight. I'd finally wrestled away my anxieties about the pitch. I knew it had felt flat and not great, so I kept sloshing scenes around and around in my head. I FINALLY drifted off, when, for some reason the teenage kid decided it would be a good idea to work out his restlessness by drumming on the trayback table. For fifteen minutes. Then HE promptly fell asleep and left me with 5 hours left to read four magazines and stare out the window.

Movie? None on US A1rw@ys.

Oh, and dinner? They ran out of food.

The pitch? It didn't go well. We found out today that we didn't get the job. Sigh.

My next trip is Saturday. It's a much longer post, but basically, Mom K has decided to let Dad K be comfort care. They transfer him to hospice on Friday. She specifically asked that I come while he's still alive, so Jrex and I are trying to fly out together on Saturday. One of our friends here is giving me her airline miles. Another couple has agreed to watch the mutt. My boss told me I don't even have to pretend to 'work from home' while I'm there.

We're feeling relieved, peaceful and definitely sad. And hoping for no crying or drumming on the flight there!

August 21, 2009

It's just business

I've been invited to go to V1rginia next week to be part of a sales pitch. As part of my research before the trip, I spent two hours yesterday looking up remote-controlled cars (RC cars--for those in the know. And that's me now, baby!) We're proposing a team-building game using the cars, so I had to call a local hobby shop to get prices.

"Hi. Do you have the ________ in stock?"

"Hold on, ma'am, I'll check" (cue really bad pop songs) He came back on, "We don't. I can look it up for you, do you know if it has a specific number?"

I click over to the website and check, "No, it was due out this summer and may not have been released yet."

"Let me look" (more bad music), "Ma'am? I'm not seeing it in the system, can you tell me anything else about it."

"Well, it's a kit car not an RTR (ready-to-run)."

"Oh! That helps." After a couple minutes, he comes back with the price for the car. I ask him, "That's just the car, right, I'd still need to get the controller?" He confirmed that and chatted a bit, then I hung up.

My coworker laughed after I hung up and stated matter-of-factly, "That guy thinks he just met the woman of his dreams."

August 19, 2009

On Being Alone

Jrex has been gone for a week and a half. He was gone for three weeks, came home for nine days and then flew back to New York. This is the most time I've had alone since we got married. It's been long enough to think about what life would be like if I were single again.
  1. I don't like it.
  2. The evenings are long and it's hard to go to sleep in a big, empty bed.
  3. I wouldn't eat very well. I like cooking FOR someone, eating WITH someone. By myself? I live on English muffin pizzas, cereal, fa[s]t food and salads from Trader Joes.
  4. When he's here, I feel like I don't get as much done because we're sitting and talking. With him gone, I just avoid my evenings by reading or watching TV, so I don't get much done either way!
  5. I blame him sometimes when the house starts to feel cluttered; without him, it still gets cluttered! I just do a massive straightening once a week. I guess it's not all his fault...sigh. It's much more fun to blame someone else!
  6. If I were sole dog owner, I'd definitely find a middle-school kid and get a dog walker deal going. Jrex doesn't like the idea of a strange kid in the house, so he won't let me do that, but it's impossible to juggle this crazy job with a dog at home unless I have help.
Bottom line? I get to pick him up today and I'm SO (so) grateful that I'm not a widow. It gives me sympathy for Mom K as she still can't decide to let Dad go. Being alone is a formidable task and I honor my friends who are braving that frontier.

August 14, 2009

We interrupt today's regularly scheduled broadcast

. . . to bring your attention to this beautiful video. It starts a little slow, but is jaw-dropping by the end.

Proof that the Ukraine has talent, in the sand:

If anyone gets the Ukranian cultural references, please comment! I want to know why everyone is crying in the middle.

August 11, 2009

Drifting Along

Jrex is back in New Y0rk. His Mom still can't decide what to do. This is the one week where his sister and he are there together with their Mom. So, it's the one week they could make Dad comfort care and let him die together as a family unit.

I called Mom this morning to see how she's doing. Yesterday she said she gave up, she was ready to let God take Dad, but this morning she had a dream which she interpreted to mean Dad would be healed. I shared that with Jrex and he says she's done this cycle five or six times already. Dad has a bad day and she's ready to give up, then she has a dream, or reads a scripture, or someone gives her a phone number for a faith healer, and she's back into holding on mode.

I feel like an evil vulture to just be waiting for her to give up. What's wrong with me, why can't I jump on board the 'jump out of bed, Dad!' boat?

Too much experience? Listening to Jrex and the 'medical view'?

We've had so many conversations around all this. Christianity and the definitions of 'life'. Why do Christians resist dying so much when they have hope of eternal life? The Baby Boomers and a culture of entitlement being translated into how they die (or resist it). How few people in this country have been exposed to the dying process. The reality that if Dad is kept on the vent, then the means of his death becomes a septic bed sore or a super-killer pneumonia. That our friend who's a rehab doc has seen 15-24 year olds come out of month-long comas and go home, but never someone over 65. (any counter stories? Please comment!) And between now and then, it's endless rounds back and forth from nursing home to Emergency Room. (He's back in the hospital now after three days in the nursing home.)

It's all a big mash up in my head. All I know is that I feel so sad every time I think of Dad K being trapped in his body when he said repeatedly he never wanted this.

Last night, OTRdad called me and asked for an update. Then he prayed with me for Mom and Dad K. He saw a picture of Dad K right now being the chrysalis and his death releasing him to become the butterfly. I shared that with Mom K this morning, and she said, "I know. I know both sides." There's so much confusion around her right now. Such heavy decisions on her shoulders. Dad never wanted this for her since he knew she wouldn't be able to handle it.

This really, really stinks.

Of course, this means my blog has become a total downer. Welcome to the vulture's nest! Come on the death watch with me. It'll be FUN!

August 6, 2009

Constructive criticism, a forgotten art form

I've always been happy to collaborate with clients. You have ideas? Great, bring them to the table and lets solve it all together. No problem.

For the past week, I've been in Keynote/Powerpoint purgatory. Trapped with one of the VP's of sales. He has very strong opinions. I can respect that. He seems to like working with me better than anyone else in the creative department. Clearly a man of taste. However . . . he jumps on me for missing a text update buried in a chart. And then the next night, misses my email that says, "sending you the first three of four pages to make sure we're on the right track". When he writes back to give me feedback, he says, "Last page missing, info incorrect. Can't use this tomorrow."

Repeat cycle. And rinse the irritation each time if you can.

August 3, 2009

On a lighter note...

A few years ago, while camping in the Adirondacks (mountainous state park in upstate NY), Jrex chatted up some park rangers. Without much prompting, they all began to swap bear stories. The black bears in the high peaks region have been geniuses at figuring out ways to steal camper's food. (Two bears hanging on steel cables to bring it down and the food bags with it. Sending cubs up the trees to cut the bear bag lines, etc)

The most notorious bear in their stories was Yellow Yellow. Named for her two ear tags, she was bold enough to steal food from the pan — as it was cooking. She never threatened any hikers, just stole their food.

Now she's made it to the New York Times:
...In one corner of the Adirondacks, campers started to notice that the BearVault, a popular canister designed to keep food and other necessities safe, was being compromised. First through circumstantial evidence, then from witness reports, it became clear that in most cases, the conqueror was a relatively tiny, extremely shy middle-aged black bear named Yellow-Yellow.
Read the rest of the story here.

And, for a little more link love, I found a site that features endangered animal noises as free downloadable cell phone ringtones. Check it out. Be nice to me, or I'll assign your number the sound effect of a hyena.