Thursday, September 20, 2007

OKC Bound

My flight leaves at 9:00. I'm finishing up work for the day and then heading home to finish up the last minute packing. Mom and Dad are bringing over Jackeeno's pizza for supper and Megan is coming too. It will give us all the chance to talk about Grandpa's care over the next 10 days.

Mmmmmmmmm. Now all I can think about is Jackeeno's. How does one type out that sound that Homer makes when he thinks about something yummy? You know. The one where he tilts his head back a little and drool drips out the side of his mouth? It's like a gurgle/moan. Austin - get on this, this is your domain. Report back with an answer. I may need it in the future.

Like I told Heidi today in an e-mail, I've been distracted at best and bordering on non-productive. It's hard to focus. I keep thinking of little things I need to do before I leave. And now that I can actually count down the hours until I see Zac, the waiting is ever more burdensome. I'm not sure that I'll be able to blog while I'm down there, but I might get the chance to pop my head in every now and again.

I get to see my boy!!! :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

T-minus 36 hour (or so)

Tick tock. Tick tock. Sitting here, watching the clock tick down until I hop on a plane to OKC. I started packing last night and was a little dismayed to realize that I was going to need to use the medium-sized suitcase instead of the smaller one. Granted, I am going to be gone for ten days, which is a fair amount of time. I'm just used to getting by with a small suitcase and minimal packing. This time around I have to tote along nice clothes as well. I'm usually not packing skirts and dresses and high heels. Also, it doesn't help that I'm bringing two extra pairs of shoes. This is my rationale:

If I only bring the two pairs that I had planned, I will get down there and freak out thinking that I should have brought the other pairs. "Wait a sec - I don't want to wear these! They don't look right! Oh, if only I had brought the other pairs!" By bringing the two extra pair I will be able to wear the original selections, because I'll be able to sooth my anxiety by saying, "See? The other shoes are here if you want them. But you don't want them. So just wear the ones you planned on." Clearly, I'm losing my mind.

Not much else to report. I've got a handful of errands I need to run before I leave. Although, now that I think about it, I could run some of them in OKC. For example, I need to get wrapping paper and boxes for the gifts I got Zac. Believe it or not, OKC actually has a Target or two. This way I could just transport the gifts in my suitcase without worrying about damaging the wrapping. . . This would also give me something to do on Friday morning, since I won't have much to do until my parents get there around 2:00.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

That was fun

Good times! I probably should be in worse shape than I am this morning. Earlier this week I was lamenting to Paul that I wanted to go out, have a few drinks and enjoy being silly for a few hours. There's one person who's perfect for job - Steven, my pseudo-brother-in-law. Steve is Paul's brother. Technically there is no title to affix to the brother of a brother-in-law, but I've known Steven almost as long as I've known Paul. I guess we just have to use the title of "friend".

So Sara, Steve, Paul, Megan and I went out last night. Actually, the four of us met up with Steve at Grandma's in Seven Corners. He had gone to the Twins game with some buddies, so Grandma's was a good location. It was really dead in there. We got there around 10:15, which is a little early granted, but when it didn't start filling up by 11:00 we decided to head across the street to Town Hall Brewery, which I've never been to. I'm not sure how I had made it to 30 in Minneapolis and never had a fishbowl, but that ended last night.

So we had a fishbowl. It tasted vaguely like grape-flavored Kool Aid or maybe even grape-flavored cold medicine you got when you were a kid. I don't particularly like grape, but if someone else is buying you just roll with the punches. And, honestly, about half-way through you don't really care what flavor it is anymore.

Poor Megs - she's more than five months pregnant and was playing the role of designated driver due to her inability to drink. That means she had to put up with our loud, obnoxious, drunk butts all night. What a trooper. Even Paul was drinking last night. That rarely happens. We all raised our eyebrows when he ordered his first Captain and Coke, but it's one of those things you don't want to bring attention to because you don't want him to feel self-conscious about it. By the end of the evening, as we were finishing off the fishbowl, Paul proclaimed that he had had quite a bit to drink. He's a funny kid.

Megan eventually decided that it was time to make the late-night food-run. We headed down to the Perkins, which had closed at midnight. Why on earth would they close at midnight? I don't get it. Although, I could see where they avoid a lot of the hassles of the neighborhood by closing. It may not be because they didn't make any money, it may be because the night-time crowd in that area might be a little rough.

So we did what anyone would do - we went to to White Castle on Lake Street. Instead of going through the drive thru, Megan had us go inside. It probably had something to do with the fact that all four of us were whining about needing to pee. Megan stayed in the car while we went in to order. We ran into Steven's friends inside and were shooting the breeze when Megan comes bustling in and says to the cashier:

"Your dumpster is on fire."

Our drunk butts all press our noses up against the windows of the White Castle and sure enough, there are three or four foot flames shooting up out of the dumpster in the parking lot. Well, there's something you don't see every day. The White Castle staff, at first, thought that Megan may have been another one of us drunk morons. I looked at the cashier and said very seriously, "She's pregnant, sober and our designated driver. If she's telling you your dumpster is on fire - it is."

At that point the White Castle staff went a little nuts. There were four of them. One, the cashier, was the mother hen. The one adult among the remaining three teenage staff members. One of the young guys went to grab the little fire extinguisher, which would have done nothing to cut those flames. The mother hen was hollering at him to stay away from the dumpster, that the fire was too big. It was a bit chaotic. Paul, Steven and Sara were standing outside watching the show. I was still inside because I had just ordered two hamburgers before Megan had come in and made her announcement. In order to get her staff back in line while we waited for the fire truck, the mother hen barked, "Let's get this customer her White Castles." The kids looked at her, a little incredulous. "Let's get this customer her White Castles," she repeated.

The register read $1.09 (you gotta love that value) so I handed her a five when she gave me my burgers. She smiled at me and said, "Thank you, ma'am." I nudged the bill at her again. She met my eyes and repeated, slowly, "No. Thank. You. Ma'am." I finally caught her drift and took my two free White Castles outside to watch the fire with my crew.

So we stood there in the cold, steam rising from the hamburgers, listing to the sounds of the approaching fire truck and watching the fire flicker in the dumpster, like a messed up bonfire.

What a fun night. God, I love living in Mpls.

Friday, September 14, 2007

He's en route to OKC

Zac's currently in the air over the Gulf of Mexico, about 35 minutes away from landing in Houston. Then he heads to OKC. I know that he's still more than 800 miles away, but it's nice to think that he's at least a little bit closer. Part of me is half-tempted to hop on a last minute flight to OKC this weekend to go see him, but I guess I can wait the six days until I see him. But he's so close . . .

So here's my first attempt at posting a photo in my blog:

I got some photos from Zac this morning before he left El Sal. It was weird because I haven't seen him in more than two months. I've talked to him on the phone almost everyday, but I haven't laid eyes on him in what seems like forever. At least he looks happy and healthy. I can't wait until he's actually standing in front of me so I can hug him. I hope I don't accidentally squeeze the living breath out of him in my excitement.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday update

I am anxiously prepping for my trip to OKC to see Zac. I'm actually wearing my new black heels today to break them in a little. They are to go with my KALBD. (*sigh* I need to get Heidi to teach me how to link to stuff and put pictures in.) I'm still musing over what to wear to the pinning ceremony, but I figure I'll go through everything I own this weekend in one mad try-on session and see if I've got anything I like. If not, I'll just hit the mall and get a new skirt or something. So much of my wardrobe has been in various forms of packing over the last six months, that I'm not even sure what I own anymore.

On the Grandpa front, he's losing his eyesight rapidly. In the last three weeks it's gone from bad to almost non-existent. It means that Grandpa and my family are facing a number of decisions about what kind of care he wants and needs. What my Grandpa wants is a miracle pill that will make him 25 again. I think he's fairly convinced that it exists and that the doctors are just being mean by not giving it to him. He hates being old. He hates how his body is failing him. He hates not being able to walk around the block. He hates being frail and feeling vulnerable. I hate seeing him like that.

There was some talk about Grandpa moving into an elder care facility, but now it looks like we're going to try and get someone to come in M-F for a few hours a day while I'm at work. He said himself that if he's going to go blind he wants to be blind in his own house instead of learning where everything is in a new place. So that's the plan for the moment. However, plans seem to change almost daily, so things aren't set in stone.

It's been a trying time for everyone involved; Grandpa, my family, me. I've had a number of moments of helplessness. I've got the rational part of my brain that tells me that I'm doing everything I can and that I am actually providing help to my Grandfather. The emotional part of my brain has me feeling guilty every time I leave the house and has me feeling like there's nothing I can do. It's a tough spot. I want to be spending time with my friends, but especially during the week I don't like doing things because I feel so bad about not being home. And then I plan everything with my friends on the weekends so I feel bad that I'm not home during the day when I could be because it's not a work day.

I'm not saying that I don't enjoy going out with my friends, I just feel over-scheduled. Between household stuff I need to do for myself and Grandpa, plus things like the Dome and having a handful of friends that each want to spend time with me -- it's overwhelming. Like I don't have enough time to do everything and to make everybody, including me, happy. I'm also not very good at saying "no" to people, especially people that I care about. If one of my family or friends asks me to do something, it kills me to say "no". More guilt.

You know how each of Shakespeare's dramatic characters has a tragic flaw? That one attribute of their character that ultimately causes their downfall? Mine must be my over developed sense of guilt.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Are cute shoes worth the blisters?

I love shoes. I particularly love cute shoes. But, as most women know, cuteness often comes at the price of comfort. I have one pair in particular that no matter how many times I wear, I get blisters on my heels. And even though they always cause me pain, I can't bring myself to get rid of them because they're . . . well . . . cute.

I decided to wear them today and as a preventative measure I decided to arm myself with Band Aids before I left the house, knowing that blisters were in my future. But, alas, I was out. Band Aids aren't one of those things I ever really think to buy. They're just kind of there when I need them. Or not, as in this case.

I knew Grandpa had some Band Aids on his dresser, so I decided to raid his supply. But when I got to his box I groaned with frustration. He didn't have normal Band Aids. He had a box of those little round ones that they put on your finger after they prick it and take blood at the doctor's office. Seriously, for what other life event would you possibly need those quarter-sized bandages?!?! I mean, the actual bandage part is less than a quarter of an inch in diameter! What sort of wound could these actually cover?? And why would you need 50 of them? The only reason that there are so many of them in the package is because they're so dang small.

I proceeded on to work, Band Aid-less. Sure enough I wasn't halfway across the parking lot walking into work before I started to feel the uncomfortable rubbing on my heels. I ignored it. Why? Because I secretly hoped that this time my feet would have built up enough callouses to combat the shoes. However, each step was more uncomfortable than the last. By the time I got to my desk, I was relieved to take them off.

I briefly considered going to the company's convenience store to buy a box of Band Aids, but decided not to. I did that once before (probably when I was wearing the same shoes) and the box cost me a small fortune. That's the thing about the convenience store at work -- they know they've got you. There's nowhere else to go. When you need Band Aids, you need Band Aids, and they're going to make you pay handsomely. It's a really sick and twisted take on supply and demand.

Luckily I was able to bum a Band Aid off a friend which made walking for the rest of the day a little more bearable. However, as I spent the afternoon sitting at my desk, I decided to take my shoes off. When I went to put them back on at the end of the day to leave, it was excruciating. You know how it is - you got blisters from the shoes, they popped, leaving tender, nerve-exposed skin beneath and now you're rubbing them in the same darn spot. It hurt. So I did what any self-respecting professional would do. I put my shoes in my lunch bag and walked out of the office in my bare feet.

As I walked out, feeling extremely paranoid and foolish, I started obsessing over other people's footwear. All I could do was look at every one's shoes. Did they realize that I didn't have shoes on? Would they think I'm nuts? Okay, maybe I am nuts, but still, do other people look at shoes? Why do I care about cute shoes? I've never noticed much about other people's shoes, so why would they notice mine, even if they are cute? Will they revoke my "adult license" if they catch me barefoot at my place of employment? I was completely freaked out the whole way through the building. When I got to the security desk, I was relieved to realize that they couldn't see my feet from behind the desk. I'm not sure if I thought they'd kick me out or what, but I was glad to get out of the building.

Now I had to walk across the parking lot. No biggie, I thought. It was strange feeling the black top under my feet. You could tell which parking spots had been in the sun for awhile and which ones had had cars parked in them by the amount of heat they gave off. About half-way to my car my feet were starting to feel a little tender and I wondered to myself how on Earth did I manage to run around barefoot in the street when I was a kid? I must have had leather for soles.

I finally got to the car and headed home. I even had to stop for gas and fill the tank in my bare feet. Spilled oil, gas and anti-freeze don't exactly appeal to me as moisturizers. When I got to Grandpa's, I sat down and looked at my dirty, beat up feet. They're not pretty folks. And they're pretty tender when I walk around. Tragically this means I won't be working out tonight.

Maybe I'll give the shoes one more chance, though. They are cute after all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Two weeks from tomorrow

I get to see Zac two weeks from tomorrow. Not that I'm counting down the days or anything. 15 days . . .

Labor Day weekend has come and gone. It was a long one. I took Friday off so I could enjoy a second day of pure joy at the Great MN Get Together. It turned out to be a lot hotter that day than I had expected. It wasn't so bad if you were sitting in the shade and the breeze was blowing. But once you started walking around the streets of the fair, on the blacktop, with all those people and the sun beating down on you -- then it got a little warm. It can really wipe you out.

I ran into a friend from college as I was wrapping up Fair Day #2. It was fantastic to see her, but a little strange. It's always weird to run into people who knew you when you were 18. We lived on the same floor when we lived in the dorms. She was always one of the more level-headed people I knew. It was funny to run into her and do a 20-minute catch-up. Like it's even possible to cram 10 years worth of history into a short meeting. Perhaps my favorite part was the obligatory, "So what are you up to?" She said, "I'm a chiropractor." I said, "Wow! I'm an attorney." Then there was a slight pause where I thought to myself, "Wow. We actually sound like adults with jobs."

I kind of laugh at the absurdity of it. She and I are "professionals" but all I could think about was us living in Sorin, ordering pizza, staying up late studying and dealing with the ever-present drama that always accompanies living in a dorm with 50-60 girls. It was great to see her, if only to remind myself of some of the really good times I had in college. Sometimes I look back at Hamline with a certain amount of regret, but without even trying she reminded me of the good stuff that I experienced too. Thanks, Amy. I hope we stay in touch.

Saturday morning I went up to the Dome and stayed there until Sunday afternoon. I helped clear paths and even had the distinct pleasure (?) of crawling under the deck to do some repair work. Our deck is about 18-24" high. It was starting to sag in a couple of places where the deck was segmented. After trying a few above-deck options that didn't quite work, I volunteered to get the car jack out of my trunk and crawl under the deck to jack up the sagging pieces. Once I got them up I was to put boards under the legs that had sunk into the ground.

Now under the deck isn't exactly the place you'd want to hang out. Besides being confined to wiggling around on your belly, there are cobwebs and leaves, dirt, critters and the occasional snake. But the deck had to be elevated and no one else in my family was going to volunteer. (Or could volunteer for the assignment. Paul and Dad are too big to fit under there. Come to think of it, Megan's pregnant belly makes her too big to fit under there too. Lol.)

I jacked up the deck, fixed the legs, lowered the jack and then scooted my way out, feet first. It's really hard to be elegant when you're doing that. I was pretty grody when I got out, but I felt like I had earned my keep for the weekend. On Sunday I cleared more paths with Dad and split firewood with Paul. Yes, we used an axe. Apparently there are machines that will split firewood for you -- where's the fun in that? I enjoy attempting (and 52% of the time, failing) to hit the log with the axe.

When I got home on Sunday, I did some laundry. Monday I went shopping with Sara to find a dress for the Khaki Ball. (Which is in a little more than two weeks. Did I mention that I'm going to see Zac in two weeks? Yeah, I'm not counting.) I totally owe Sara because she found me my Kick-Ass Little Black Dress. It is phe-no-men-al. I luuuuuuuhhhhhhv it. As soon as I put it on I thought, "I don't care how much this costs. I'm buying it." Of course I got shoes to go with it. I think the endorphins from my reaction to the dress made me a little delirious. I may keep looking around to see if any other dresses catch my eye for the Ball, but at the very least I figure every woman needs a KALBD in her closet.

It took me a couple of days of being back at work to recover from my weekend. Too much fresh air, physical labor and shopping. But now I'm back at work, marking big red "X"s through the days til I can see Zac. Did I mention it is two weeks away?