Thursday, October 30, 2008

Goin' up the country

As I was wandering down the hall to the elevator for the second -- the first time I had to go back and drop off some papers --all I could think of was the lyric "gonna jump in the water, stay drunk all the time."

And I don't drink. Never have. I don't like the taste of alcohol; I don't like what it does to some people. I am just not a fan, let's say.

But on the way out of the office tonight, I was ready to go "where the water tastes like wine."

It was a hard day at work; we have been short-staffed this week and were shorter today. And of course, there was as lot to do. So I did it and got home too tired to walk Claren or do anything but watch TV.

The day began poorly, too. This morning, I did not feel like crying when I looked at the shower chair but I did when my feet slipped out from under me when I stood to transfer to it.

I slid forward till my shin hit a corner and the other foot caught on the door. I had to call Dad in to help me up because I could not get my feet under me. I can't really blame Dad for not shutting the door and watching surreptitiously until I was safely in the shower chair.

Tomorrow's Friday, so that's something, I guess.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Claren the comedian

I don't think she did it on purpose, but I will give Claren the benefit of the doubt.

In dog training back when I got her, the trainers told us that dogs are really attuned to their owners' mood and that dogs will know when their owners get depressed. The trainers said the dogs react in two ways: They try to cheer their owners up or they get depressed right along with you. Claren is usually one of the latter.

Today was not a great day to begin with. This morning, I had the energy to breathe, I was not sure if I had any else. I looked at the shower chair and wanted to cry because it was going to be hard to transfer into it. It wasn't and I survived, but it was that kind of day. And it frustrates me that I had four days off to recoup, but Monday wiped all my energy completely away.

I don't think she did it on purpose, because Claren does the same thing most days. When I call her out from under the desk to go home, she comes out, stretches, then rubs her face on the rug, flops on to the floor and squirms around with a silly look on her face.

Tonight, I was running late; I was tired; I just wanted to go home. Claren had other ideas. She flopped on the floor once and again and again. I would wheel toward her and she would pop up, make sure i had stopped and flop down again. I got madder and madder until I just gave in and started laughing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Elmo sitting in Darth Maul's lap

It is almost biblical, isn't it? Like the lion laying down with the lamb? The boy was dressed as Elmo, the furry red muppet, and he was with his dad, who was dressed up like Star Wars villain Darth Maul. Maybe that is why I like Halloween. You can see the fantastic.

At least you can at a big neighborhood party a friend throws every year. It is huge. A moon bounce, a potato bar, s'mores, a fortune teller. Best of all, there is an outdoor fireplace, and it is wonderful.

Continuing my social butterfly weekend, I went to this party this evening. I saw several friends and their dressed-up children. And I saw the parents of a friend I went to college with. I am not sure if I saw the dad since we joined him on spring break in Florida to watch Spring Training in my fourth year of college.

I need to figure out a good way to eat when I am not at a table. Plenty of people offered to bring me food, even people I don't know. But I don't feel balanced enough to eat on my lap.

But it was fun, and for once I stayed warm.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Surviving a reunion

My little sister said to me that I could not be upset if people at the reunion were not all that crazed to see me. It seems, she said, that all the people going are still friends and so our gathering might be a more of just a night out at a bar.

My little sister is silly.

Everyone was happy to see me, starting with the gal who screamed "Matt" when she saw me. Then there were the people I did not recognize who gave me hugs and talked with me. What was particularly nice was that some people sat down to talk to me, so you know, I heard 75% of what they said. I hate trying to talk or listen to people who are standing. It is too hard.

I don't think anyone asked me to wear a puffy shirt. I wouldn't swear it, though.

I felt bad for dragging Claren out to a loud, crowded bar. I don't think she really minded but every time she got settled someone's foot nudged her. That's OK because I did more than nudge a few feet in my travels through the bar. People were nice about it, though.

Actually, what I felt bad about mostly was leaving early. Well, that and the fact that my indeliable memory of someone singing "Sweet Dreams" at a talent show was disputed. And I know I am right.

Friday, October 24, 2008

... Touch me, heal me

Now I know that everyone is breathlessly awaiting my recap of tonight's St. James Rocket Reunion, but as with a fine wine, I need a little time to savor the bouquet and digest the evening. But I am not one to leave my horde of readers thirsty. Here is what I was writing before the butt-breaking incident.

I went for a walk at work the other day and I came upon one of my co-workers.

She and I had talked a bit the day before about all the bad news out there. She said it was hard t to follow and said she had spent the night before watching Monty Python on Youtube with her son. She had asked if I was OK and I said I was tired.

When I saw her on the walk, she looked at me for a second and then just patted my shoulder.

It took me by surprise and made me feel so good.

Well, 60% glad, 40% jealous.

I don't dare try to spontaneously pat someone on the shoulder. I might hit their ear or if it was a gal, maybe I'd get arrested for accidentally copping a feel.

I actually had a friend who was going through some hard times a few years ago and I remember telling Mom how much I wanted to pat her shoulder, just to let her know I was thinking of her. I finally did, but only after I told her I wanted to so my stiff arm moving cautiously toward would not freak her out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm such a hard ass

I was writing something else just now, when I had to get up and go to the bathroom. I did, although I did not want to. Mom's prayer group is out in the family room and the bathroom I use is just off there. It is not particularly private.

It's not as if I had a choice, though, so I went out there and went in. I was mostly worried about my crazy grunting.

Oh, I needn't have worried about that.

I am realizing that in the new house, I want the toilet next to a wall on the left side. I am not as good getting on to the toilet when the wall is on my right, like it is here.

Tonight I went down with a thud and a crack. When I got up, I saw I had cracked the toilet seat with my butt.

I did not grunt or anything; the only weird noises (other than the loud crack) was me laughing as I thought about explaining it.

Monday, October 20, 2008


A Facebook friend from grade school found my diatribe about people friending after they had been mean to me. What struck me -- after the "omg, I've been found out" moment -- was that she talked about "sharing good times" with me.

I just don't remember good times related to grade school.

How pathetic is that. There must be some.

There was the time in Great Books when this guy hauled off and hit some girl in the stomach, but that was more weird than good.

I had a crush on my fifth-grade teacher, I guess. That's good, right? Of course she moved to San Francisco at midyear. I mailed her a little 49ers pennant, but she did not come back and pledge her undying love to me. Maybe she could be my sugar-mama now?

My brother and his friends let me play with them, so those were good times.

Have I have just blocked out the good times that involved grade school? I am meeting some of my former classmates for a reunion Friday. They can set me straight.

Oh, I remember one. We were at a class mass and the priest, during his homily smacked the Bible. Some kid muttered, you should treat the Bible better. The priest heard. That was funny.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cold crap

It has been fall-like for the past two days. Nice weather, except I can't feel my feet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

i pity me

A growing contingent of co-workers is advocating that I dress up like Mr T for Halloween. By contingent I mean two. By growing I mean that yesterday it was 1.

We can wear costumes to work, but I have asked them both what other people at work will be wearing while I am in a Mohawk, vest and gold chains. One of them at least had the honesty to answer appropriate work clothes.

This started because a girl at work, on the young side of 25, did not know who Mr. T was. Others told her, but I suggested that I be Mr. T, given my last name.

I am still not sure what I'll wear, but I just found out that another good friend won't be there to see me. She will stay with company but move to NYC. A hard time gets harder.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Why would I want to be friends with jerks?

I am Facebook friends with 10 people I went to St. James grade school with, nine of them are girls (women now, I guess).

It goes back to the friend request I accepted from some guy who was in my high school class. I don't think we ever talked in high school or if we did, he was making fun of me. He was one of the beautiful people then. I have never been in with the in crowd.

I am not sure why he friended me, and I have always felt moderately untrue to myself for accepting. I am too kind to sever the friendship, though. I will just suck it up ... this time ... But I decided that people who were unkind to me 30 years ago are not people I want to associate with.

That explains the female majority. The girls were as nice as boys and girls ever are in grade school, but at least they weren't jerks,

In sixth grade, for instance, we did Kris Kringle. I got nothing, and the last day before break when everyone else in the class got their "big" present from their Kris Kringle, I got an explanation from my teacher: So-and-so forgot your present, he'll bring it in after the holidays. What I got finally was a regifted CHiPs motorcycle model, which would have been fine but the jackass opened it and lost some of the pieces.

Granted they may have changed, but you know what: I don't care. People in my family laugh about me missing an average of 30 days a year in grade school. With the crap I put up with, I should have stayed home 300.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I have some issues

Here was my dream from last night:

I was back at UVa, watching a softball game between work friends. I was in my chair and had Claren with me … sort of. It wasn't the living Claren but a taxidermied copy, kind of like Rowdy from Scrubs or if she had been the victim of the Impedimenta curse.

I was watching the game kind of surreptitiously from the outfield because I did not want people to think I had nothing better to do with my time than watch non-athletes play softball. It started to rain lightly, and there was a structure with a roof near home plate. Again, though, I was afraid people would think I was a loser if it became clear that my sole reason for being out near the field was watching them.

Instead, I wheeled past and went down the path to a bridge over Emmet Street. At least it was supposed to be a bridge over Emmet Street. Instead, the street was a huge river and was up above the bridge at some points. I turned around and went to another bridge and it was even worse. This other bridge had no railings or anything, just little lips on the sides. As I turned around again, a biker went past me without warning and zoomed over the bridge. I think I was going to head back to the game, but as I turned my two front wheels went up on one of the lips of the bridge. I had enough time to see two people on the bridge and shout "Help! Help!" And I had enough time to think I am buckled to my chair so I am going to die when it sinks. Then I started falling into the river. I remember nothing more.

Unfortunately, it is a fairly true representation of things. No, I have not drowned, but yes, I do feel odd taking too much of an interest in sports people play for fun. They can be interested because they are playing. I feel like some people would think I was odd to watch.

But I promise I won't have Claren stuffed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Boy barking

The second we get home from work, Claren rushes to grab her ball. When she drops the ball, the barking starts. She is reminding me that the ball is on the ground, that she is waiting for me to throw it and that I should hurryhurryhhurry.

If I really try, I can keep her from barking, but I enjoy it and she deserves. She is quiet all day and must have so much steam to blow off.

How I envy her.

I didn't have the energy to go to a farewell party for one the top dotcom folks at work. It didn't help that some people were thinking of going out afterward to a bar up some stairs. Plus, if I don't let Claren run around in the late afternoon, I risk death taking her out at night. It is so dark around here and the sidewalks stink.

I have gotten no new hits on the condo, and I work in business news. The news gets worse every day. I look at the stories and just want to cry. It may have been exciting for a while; now it just makes me weary.

It is just so hard, and that isn't a shock. I just wish it could get easier, or even not harder. Maybe I need to take up barking.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I am a wimp, but not a hypocritical son of a bitch or an ascetic

That headline is really the only way I can figure to unite three unrelated tales.

The wimp

I have wanted to go to SPX for years, this year in particular because I wanted to meet a writer. Not a huge deal but it has been in the back of my mind. I had told a friend months ago that I'd be asking her for a ride.

But I went to the comic book store last week and realized that SPX is nearly upon me. It is tomorrow.

I went to talk to my friend about a ride on Tuesday, but she was not there, then I got bogged down at work. I was getting worried, too: What if she stays longer than I want? What if I can't fit Claren in her car?

On Thursday, my boss was going out of town and he asked me if I could be on call if anything happened over the weekend. I thought of SPX, but heard myself saying, sure, I'll be around all weekend. I think I was looking for a reason not to go.

But not a hypocritical son of a bitch

I don't use those disposable toilet seat covers.

I am not opposed to them, but they'd need to come with sticky tape to stay on when I sat down. And then there's the whole careful placement of them. I know it would only be a matter of time before my hand slipped when putting the cover on and I was suddenly up to my elbow in toilet water.

I also don't think they are that worthwhile in normal restrooms anyway. Filthy ones, OK; my office restroom, I doubt they're needed. But whatever. If they make someone feel a bit safer, then awesome.

Less than awesome, though, is going into a stall and finding a seat cover still on the toilet. I have to push it into the toilet myself and the thought of touching someone's toilet seat cover grosses me out more than touching the toilet.

Also, it is so freaking hypocritical. "I am too hygienic too touch the toilet, but I will make you touch my toilet seat cover." Thanks, jackass.

Nor an ascetic

For the staff that works later in the day, Doughnut Thursday is Cookie Thursday. The office manager puts out a bunch of real cookies on a filing cabinet.

I have never had any of the cookies. Maybe that is fair, as I have a doughnut. It's not because I never want one.

The real reason: The cookies are at head level, and they are too hard to reach.

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