Monday, June 26, 2006

Those Left Behind

This past weekend one of our coworkers ended his life. We are all bewildered. We are hurting. We are barely funcitioning. We keep rehashing our last days with him. Our conversations and I remember his laughing at something I told him. I remember, almost always, seeing him with a smile. His kind gestures and thoughtfulness. He always called before coming in, did we need anything? I think of the last phone call where he called and I had three other calls on hold and I kind of rushed him off the phone.
I think I know why he may have done this. He apparently had financial problems and I am wondering if he had a hefty life insurance policy. Most people don't realize that you CAN collect on policies after they are a certain time period old even if you do not die a natural death.
My heart aches for this man's family. I had met his wife a month or so ago. I cannot imagine how she is feeling. There are something I hope never to understand.
In the meantime we grieve, we miss our friend. We feel the loss. We cry and we hope that somehow we will never go through this again. We find ourselves telling each other that we are here for each other. A counsellor is coming to talk to us. To explain and to offer us support. In the meantime, we go through the motions. It's all we can do. You will be missed B. Perhaps more than you might ever have imagined.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Gearing into summer mode

It's official. Yesterday was the first day of summer. To me summer is the time I get to wear the clothes I love most. Cotton tops and skirts....billowing in the summer breeze. Top on my list is flip flops. I have them in many colors and some are leather and quite fancy. Others are the basic type. I simply love them. Last week I received a chain letter from a neighbor where I was asked to send someone a pair of flip flops. I did and found that it cost me about $5 to send the flip flops that I was able to get on sale from Old Navy for $2.50. Anyway I thought that person would enjoy receiving a fun summer package.

It's really been hot here in the Northeast. I keep watering my plants and trees. Tomorrow evening we are supposed to get a heavy rain storm. I planted some small trees and shrubs and they are like my babies. I love flowers and all nature. We have a bird bath and two bird feeders near our wooded area of the backyard. I get such pleasure watching the birds and the trees in the wind and sun. We enjoy our patio very much but when it's 90 and very humid I can't enjoy it too much until the sun goes down. We are considering getting some type of outdoor fire pit or chiminea for chilly evenings. I have noticed it also seems to keep the mosquitoes at bay. I miss my fireplace from my old house. This house doesn't really have a place for one. Our neighborhood has been upset over the one neighbor who filed a complaint against another for using his chiminea. The man who filed the complaint uses a charcoal grill and puts enough lighter fluid on it to cause huge flames. Then he complains that his neighbors clean fire wood burning is what causes smoke. I don't buy it. I am a live and let live kind of person. I am happy to help any neighbors or friends. I hate people who are confrontational and want to impose their preferences on others. It's the only thing I am intolerant about. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine. I wish I could go back to the hippie period and hang out in Haight Ashbury. I want to attend a love in. Wear beads and flash the peace sign. I know that can't happen but can't we just have neighborhood peace and brotherly love. Being the perpetual optomist I sent the disturbed neighbor a note and suggested that. Now when he passes he looks at me like I'm the crazy one. I kind of like that. Maybe I have him thinking.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Trying to catch a break

Things in my life have been topsy turvy since Saturday. On Saturday I went to work and put my purse in my boss's office. (The keys to open her office were inside the purse.) She came in did some work and left. After she left I realized that she had locked the office with my purse in it. I called her cel phone but she was with a client and I had to wait nearly two hours for her to come back to get it. When I got home I had hoped to attend our township celebration day. They were having a lot of music and fireworks. Our neighbors were on and off about joining us. In the end they didn't and we didn't go. I had Rob pick up ground beef for dinner and made a meatloaf. After waiting for it to cook when I went to slice it a rancid smell filled the air and we had no dinner.

Sunday I went grocery shopping and caught up on a few other things.

Monday I was rushing around like crazy and my head was abuzz with all the things I was going to accomplish that day. I opened my purse standing next to my car and saw that my keys were not in it. Panic. I pulled out my cel phone and there was one bar left. DAMN! I called my mother and told her I needed her to give me a lift to Rob's work so I could take his key. When she picked me up she let me know that my father had planned to take her to lunch. I told her that she had plenty of time left and could be at the restaurant by 1. This was not good enough though. We had been to Rob's job site and returned here in less than an hour. When I did get back I left for my bra shopping ordeal. I went to a dept. store having a huge sale. I found two that fit and they were on sale so I got them. I ran over to my cardiologist office and got a much better report than I did last month. I was feeling good and decided to go to the bra outlet place where you get good attention. I was measured and the salesperson presented me with TWENTY bras in my size. Two of them fit well. I took them and headed home. It was a good day. I decided to bake cakes for two men I worked with who are single and were having birthdays. I baked an extra one and invited our neighbors over. They said they were coming and I prepared a pitcher of margaritas, lit outdoors torches and candles and chilled their favorite beer. When all this was done the phone rang and they said they couldn't make it. Hmmmm....okay.

Tuesday morning I arrived at work an hour early. There was a meeting and I needed to slice bagels and arrange furniture. This went off without a hitch until something was said to me that was very embarassing. Basically my presence was not required at a meeting. Whatever happened to calling someone aside and speaking to them privately? It ruined my day.

Wednesday today took the cake. I went to work and that went okay. I had an appointment after work to have an MRI of my left shoulder. It's been painful and difficult to move. I arrive at the place at 4:15. They tell me they have lost their power. Not sure when it will be back. They think I need to reschedule but can't do it without their computers. They'll call me. I had hung around town running errands killing that hour before the appt. I come home after picking up sandwiches for dinner. Rob comes in eats and showers for his yearly physical appt. Just as he is leaving and a neighbor shows up at my front door with her huge dog, the phone is ringing. The MRI place has their power back, can I come for 9? I say I can. Rob gets home just in time to take me. When I arrive I reconfirm that this is for an OPEN MRI. Yes. They take me in and show me this machine. They have to be kidding. This is NOT open. It's about 4 feet long and solid. The regular machine is 9 feet so the man tells me that this is considered open. He insists on putting me on the table and putting me in the machine. OK I bite. After about 30 seconds I demand to be taken out. I have a fear of being buried alive. This is way too close for comfort. He tries to persuade me but I tell him NO. He says I need to be tranquilized. Hmmm let me put it this way if I am conscious it's not going to happen. I am now home and very tired. I need to have a few consecutive easy days.

My boobs are looking perkier in my new bras but the shoulder thing is going to need a different approach. What is it that MRI people don't understand the word OPEN?
A long tube is NOT open. There has to be a better way.

Friday, June 09, 2006

TGIF............sort of

Today is Friday and I should be jumping for joy.......except that I have to work tomorrow AND next Saturday so it doesn't feel like a real weekend. Even though I will have Mondays off afterwards, it's just not the same. Besides this Monday I will be going to my cardiologist. He's a brilliant but not the most patient man. He has a biting wit which I do enjoy like when he asked me recently if I were taking my blood thinners (Coumadin) recreationally. This is the most difficult drug to get the dose right on. Nearly all other medicines, the food that you eat, and alcohol consumption can alter it. It's usually too high or too low but rarely at the target number. When the count is off it often means blood tests every two weeks instead of each month. I hate needles and I hate copays.

Yesterday my problem neighbor (who had a pool up last year without the benefit of a fence called the township to lodge a complaint about us. Although initially annoyed, the more I reread the letter the funnier it became. Firstly she claims that we put use charcoal and burnt food on her property. We use a gas grill and there IS no charcoal. Rob is an expert chef and there has never been any burnt food either, except for an occasional hot dog which he chars the outside of for me. I wouldn't even share that with the dog. Her second absurd claim is that we are grooming our cat and throwing the cat fur on her property. This person has two DUCKS roaming her back yard which is littered with feathers. She would know a piece of cat fur? We have an indoor cat and he gets brushed inside with the fur being put into the garbage. This woman has an environmental easement on her property as do we. She was seen cutting down trees which I feel border the easement, if are not inside the easement. I took some pictures. I guess she thinks this is my payback. How sad that in life we have to deal with some people like this. This woman came from another country, is a single mother of three and has no visible means of support. She drives a new vehicle and her children are in private schools. They dress beautifully. You have to wonder. It makes me think something has gone terribly wrong in this country.
In this state and in the town where I grew up.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Animals are a huge responsibility

So many people take on animals without any thought to the fact that you are taking on a dozen or more years of responsibility. At times it is necessary to take an animal and later find it a good home elsewhere. That is honorable. What is not honorable is taking a member of your family and dropping it off at a shelter because it's become inconvenient for you. Someone sent me this is an email. My first reaction was a flood of tears. Please read this and pass it on because maybe it will make some people who want to go on vacation think before they drop their pet off at an animal shelter.

Educational and realistic on "giving up" pets...
this will bring tears to your eyes.

A man in Grand Rapids, Michigan incredibly took out a $7000 full page ad in the paper to present the following essay to the people of his community.

HOW COULD YOU? By Jim Willis, 2001

When I was a puppy,
I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh.
You called me your child,
and despite a number of chewed shoes
and a couple of murdered throw pillows,
I became your best friend.
Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me
and ask “How could you?” --
but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly-rub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together.
I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed
and listening to your confidences and secret dreams,
and I believed that life could not be any more perfect.
We went for long walks and runs in the park,
car rides, stops for ice cream
(I only got the cone
because “ice cream is bad for dogs, you said),
and I took long naps in the sun
waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work
and on your career,
and more time searching for a human mate.
I waited for you patiently,
comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions,
and romped with glee at your homecomings,
and when you fell in love.
She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” --
still I welcomed her into our home,
tried to show her affection, and obeyed her.
I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along
and I shared your excitement.
I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled,
and I wanted to mother them, too.
Only she and you worried that I might hurt them,
and I spent most of my time banished to another room,
or to a dog crate.
Oh, how I wanted to love them,
but I became a “prisoner of love.”
As they began to grow, I became their friend.
They clung to my fur and pulled themselves
up on wobbly legs and poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose.
I loved everything about them and their touch
-- because your touch was now so infrequent --
and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be.
I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you
if you had a dog,
that you produced a photo of me from your wallet
and told them stories about me.
These past few years,
you just answered “yes” and changed the subject.
I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city,
and you and they will be moving to an apartment
that does not allow pets.
You’ve made the right decision for your “family,”
but there was a time when I was your only family.
I was excited about the car ride
until we arrived at the animal shelter.
It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness.
You filled out the paperwork and said
“I know you will find a good home for her.”
They shrugged and gave you a pained look.
They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.”

You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar
as he screamed “No, Daddy!
Please don’t let them take my dog!”
And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty,
about love and responsibility,
and about respect for all life.
You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.
After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago
and made no attempt to find me another good home.
They shook their heads and asked “How could you?”

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter
as their busy schedules allow.
They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago.
At first, whenever anyone passed my pen,
I rushed to the front, hoping it was you
that you had changed your mind --
that this was all a bad dream...
or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared,
anyone who might save me.
When I realized I could not compete
with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies,
oblivious to their own fate,
I retreated to a far corner and waited.
I heard her footsteps as she came for me
at the end of the day,
and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room.

A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table
and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry.
My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come,
but there was also a sense of relief.
The prisoner of love had run out of days.
As is my nature, I was more concerned about her.
The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her,
and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.
She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg
as a tear ran down her cheek.
I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you
so many years ago.
She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein.
As I felt the sting and the cool liquid
coursing through my body,
I lay down sleepily,
looked into her kind eyes and murmured
“How could you?”
Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak,
she said “I’m so sorry.”
She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job
to make sure I went to a better place,
where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused
or abandoned, or have to fend for myself --
a place of love and light so very different
from this earthly place.
And with my last bit of energy,
I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail
that my “How could you?” was not directed at her.
It was directed at you,
My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you.
I will think of you and wait for you forever.
May everyone in your life continue to show you
so much loyalty.

A Note from the Author:
If “How Could You?” brought tears to your eyes
as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it,
it is because it is the composite story
of the millions of formerly “owned” pets
who die each year in
American & Canadian animal shelters.

Please use this to help educate, on your websites,
in newsletters, on animal shelter
and vet office bulletin boards.
Tell the public that the decision to add a pet
to the family is an important one
for life,
that animals deserve our love and sensible care,
that finding another appropriate home for your animal
is your responsibility
and any local humane society or animal welfare league
can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious.

Please do your part to stop the killing,
and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns
in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Please pass this on to everyone,
not to hurt them or make them sad,
but it could save maybe,even one, unwanted pet.
They love

Friday, June 02, 2006

I miss.............

I miss many things right now. I miss the carefree life I had before having to take life saving meds and the tests required to monitor them. I miss my chest before it got this "hypertrophy" scar that people keep asking about. I miss Pam and her entries and the hope that things would be okay for her. I miss Duffy being small enough for me to scoop him up in my arm. I miss my Sandie and have come to the realization that I always will. I miss my neighbors who left today to go to the Nascar race at Dover, Delaware. I miss reading without having to change glasses....or to squint. (Still can't figure out how that works but somehow it does.)
I miss driving by Manhattan and seeing the twin towers. I will never get used to that either. I miss the feeling that I lived in a country where things like that could never happen.

I miss living in a world where people treated each other with kindness and respect.

Thank you to everyone who emailed me or made a comment after my last post. You are examples that kindness does still exist. Thanks, I really needed that.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Forging ahead.........

It's not often that I am down in the dumps but I am today.
Right now the real estate business is in a slump. While it may only be temporary there are concerns about office budgets and my hours I am allowed to put in are not enough to meet my needs. I am going to have to begin an aggressive search to find a full time or a part time job with 30 hours a week. Change like this is very stressful for me. I am concerned about meeting bills and have put off going over my bills right now. That's not like me. I am tired of the long search that has produced only TWO interviews. The first later learned that her boss would only hire someone with a bachelor's degree. My three years of college don't count for much. Not without the degree.
I also feel that almost no one is reading my blog anymore. I feel that I am wasting my time making entries and not having anything to say that is worth hearing. I know that is part of depression. I am hoping I can kick this soon.
Worstly, I feel that I am a burden to the person that I most want to be happy. I never wanted to be a burden to anyone. Ever. That's what makes me feel the worst. I hope this feeling passes.