Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Not a great deal to tell or explain or mention, so this will be just what the title says: bits and pieces.

Loss at work: My place of employment was in a somber mood yesterday morning. A co-worker -- although not in my dept. -- was murdered on Friday. She was only 34, a smiling young woman who did her job well, greeted everyone and had a winning personality. Her life was taken by her husband, who stabbed her and left her to bleed to death. According to the news, they had "marital difficulties". Most of her co-workers were unaware that she had any problems at home, as she displayed that upbeat look. I didn't know her very well, but knew who she was. I was in that department yesterday morning, and there were many tears, and many hugs being given and being welcomed. My employer is offering grief counseling (yes, professional counseling) for those who are requesting it. A very nice gesture, and one that I have not seen being offered before.

I am coming to the conclusion that I will definitely miss (most of) my co-workers, once I retire. They have been an extended family to me over the years, and definitely were there for me when Greg died. I was so shocked, so amazed at the number of them who drove out for the services last May. When I expressed this feeling to one of them, her explanation was, "Well, we're your family, too." And I am talking about co-workers from my own department and many from other depts. that I have met and worked with over the years. Of various ethnic backgrounds and colors. It made no difference that my speech has a different accent than theirs (although I have been here nearly 25 years, I still carry that "oot" and "aboot", I am told, when others pronounce it "out" and "about"). We are there for each other, we celebrate the joys, we cry over the sad times. Just like your own families do.

What brought me to the above frame of mind, was receiving the e-mail notification of Lucinda's services on Thursday. I think that her co-workers will rally FOR her, even though she is the one who is deceased. And I hope that maybe her 15-year-old daughter (oldest child) will remember that her mother's co-workers thought enough of her to go to the funeral and maybe tell that daughter or another family member how much she was liked, was loved. It would be nice for her children to have that legacy, not only the circumstances surrounding their mother's death and their father's arrest. Because they will need every strength available to them, to carry on without either parent in their lives.

Fajitas: We had a birthday party at work on Thursday. For several years now, we have limited a birthday party for an employee to only mark a decade: 40, 50, etc. In the years before this, we would do a party for every employee's birthday, collecting money for (at a minimum) a cake and a few decorations. It always fell to the women in the dept. to get the ball rolling, and the fair gender (does anyone use THAT phrase anymore?) did most if not ALL of the work: ordering, buying, set up and clean up. Ugh. That's when we shifted to the decade-only birthday policy.

So... I digress. But we (under new management - howdya like THAT phrase?) are trying to build up morale in this dept. It has been sadly lacking for many years, as any attempt we made at planning or having fun, has been repeatedly shut down. But our new manager, R, had made it plain that he will attempt to get morale going, plan fun things, etc. Unfortunately, too late for me, but I applaud his efforts and the direction that he is trying to take this dept. in.

Thus - the party. We have 3 decade birthdays this year, and in an effort to spread the work around, a co-worker, D, organized us into 3 groups. So each group will be responsible for 1 of these birthdays. My group was the first one, and (unfortunately) through a series of unplanned events, the work mostly fell to me. One of the co-workers in the group had originally been tasked with tracking down prices for the caterers. And she had to miss a lot of work recently, thus - tah-dah - yours truly had to run with the ball (any of you who has seen me try ANYTHING athletic will surely laugh at this!). But we got it done, even though our original group of 7 had now shrunk to 3: 2 were on vacation, 1 was ill, and another was working off-site. So our committee ended up being: me, G - who took on the task of designing and ordering/delivering the cake, and the new manager, R. Several of the other co-workers were a big help and assisted with setting up (and more importantly, clearing up!). We had a fajita lunch, excellent food, lots of it, and there was enough to use for lunch again the next day. Yum! The only thing missing was beer and margaritas.

The cake: The birthday "boy" is in the networking group, and thus the cake has a relevant design. The wording reads, "2009-03-26 12:00:01:ERROR=BBUCKLEY-50.00-HAPPY_BIRTHDAY". Guess you have to be a techie, a geek, a nerd to "get it".

Progress at the house: more stuff is GONE. Can I hear an AMEN? The late Mister had stashed leftover bricks (from the building of our house) in one portion of the garage. Quite a few bricks, of course, and they were piled in an area where lots of stuff had to be moved, to even get to them. So... good neighbors again: my next-door neighbor, B, has 3 grown kids. Her son AJ was interested in the bricks. He has a very muddy portion of his yard where grass just will not grow. So his short-term (free) solution is to put the bricks down and (hopefully) prevent their dogs from getting into the mud and tracking it all over the place. B's brother T (who got my tree removed from the front yard) helped AJ load the bricks up - and they are OUT of there!

I put the old chandelier (ugly one that the builder had installed in the dining room) out with the garbage on Saturday. And before the trash was picked up, someone helped themself to it. Great! I don't care - it's gone, and hopefully it will grace someone else's house for years.

New TV installed: again, neighbor B's family to the rescue. Her son-in-law, A, had once worked at a place that installed entertainment systems, surround-sounds, etc. And she asked if he could hook all of my audio, new tv, and surround-sound together. God bless him - he put in quite a bit of time on Saturday, then gave me a shopping list. I purchased some various cables plus speaker wire, he returned on Sunday, and labored some more. I offered to pay him but he refused $$. So I gave him a bottle of red wine (his wife's favorite) and he did take that. So, now my new 37" tv is operating!

Free dinner: neighbor B insisted that I take leftovers from their Sunday dinner, so I had chicken and dumplings, mixed veggies, and peach cobbler. Such a good neighbor, and what a nice treat!

That's all of the bits and pieces that I could round up, folks. Why does this week seem so long, and it is only Tuesday?!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The L-word

I have been recently e-mailing with an internet friend - we connected through each other's blogs. And have also exchanged off-blog e-mails, since we have some circumstances in common.

Anyway, we had a discussion about being the first to say the L-word. (Just typing this in, makes me realize how we shy away from that word at all!) I think, in many relationships, some of which were long-term, some not, I only ONCE said "I love you" first - and that was over 40 years ago!

Now, I don't know about you, but my heart is usually in WAY over its head (okay, I know that is a bad phrase, but you know what I mean here), before I can muster up the words. Sometimes it is too late, by the time I have even considered blurting it out. And I am not very liberal in using the phrase, let me tell you. After you have said it, there is NO retrieving it. In for a penny, in for a pound. (Okay, I'm not sure what THAT means, either.)

So I thought I would throw this out there for the readers (yes, BOTH of you). What has been your own experience, in saying and/or hearing "I love you?" for the first time, with someone you are drawn to? And how did this phrase affect the relationship, after it was said out loud?

That's it. After these many lengthy posts, be grateful that I can actually post a short-y version!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One Flaw in Women

This was sent to me by a co-worker, and it is SO true...

For all the women who read my blog... dedicated to you.

One Flaw In Women

Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.

They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.

They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding..
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they
think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss
can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what
makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their
family and friends.
Women have vital things to say
and everything to give.


That last line really says it all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little bits of progress

For the most part, this is just boring, ho-hum stuff. So go ahead and skip reading it, or maybe just look at the photos.

Tree removal: One of the two trees (must have two, as these are "required" by subdivision edict) in my front yard was split by ol' Ike in September of '08. The remaining fork of said tree looked a bit dangerous, but did seem to be somewhat thriving. I had contacted a firm to give me an estimate on removing this tree a few weeks ago, but nothing was reported back to me, either by phone or on paper. So I assumed that they had been a no-show. On Wednesday of this week, I was talking with my neighbor's brother, T, about the no-show situation. T said he knew of someone who might be able to do this, and asked what I was willing to pay. I said I would want to be under $1,000 for this task. And I promptly forgot about it. Until I came home from work on Thursday and found a handful of Hispanic men excavating around the roots of said tree! Truly, I did not know who they were employed by - the "no-show" group or who... I said a few words to them (and most did not have a good handle on English), and one of them handed me a piece of cardboard with a first name and a phone number on it. The first name was the same as the neighbor's brother. Well, I was both relieved and puzzled when it was the brother who picked up the phone. He said these guys would do the whole thing for $700, but they wanted cash. The reason that he went ahead and had them start was that this was the only day that they could get this done. And then they would pick up the limbs, trunk pieces, root stuff, etc. on Friday - when they were clearing up from other sites. I would pay him, and he would hold the money until they had completed everything, including the Friday removal of debris.

I had to leave shortly to meet my church dinner group for our monthly chow fest at the local Outback Steakhouse. The gentlemen were digging (and now chopping) at my oak when I left. T had told me that the chainsaw broke, and they were tired of waiting for their boss to fix it and bring it back - so manual chopping down it was. By the time I returned, it was dark, the tree was down and the hole had been refilled. The debris was piled in the front yard. I gave T the $700.

The next day was my every-other-Friday off. Leroy (painter) was scheduled to come back that morning, and I had to run to Lowe's to buy another paint color. The warmish beige color that I had him use in the master bath, upstairs bath, and upstairs bedroom, now looked quite PINK in the kitchen. There was ceramic tile in the master bath (white) and also in the kitchen (sort of taupe-ish). In the other rooms, the beige still looked beige. But the kitchen tile and the large windows in that room definitely accented the pink that was in the "background" of this warm beige. Off to Lowe's for a taupe-ish color!

While I was at Lowe's I received a phone call from a friend in Florida, and talked with him for a while. Then I got the paint and returned home. While I was in the kitchen (where Leroy was working), I heard a noise in the front yard that caused me to look out the window. Yessss! The crew from Thursday had removed the tree debris and were fixin' to depart. I checked with them, and yes, T had paid them. Another item off my to-do list (before I can put the house on the market).

China hutch: I had listed this piece of furniture on the Craigslist.com for Houston. Had 2 questions by e-mail, and then a real live person phoned on Tuesday. Actually, she left a message on my home phone. I then left her a message, and then she called again. She was quite interested and asked several questions, and wondered if Sunday would be a good day to look at it. I agreed to that day. Wednesday morning I got a call back from her, while I was at work. Could they (she and her husband) see it tonight? I explained that I wouldn't get home until 6:30, and she asked if it would be possible to make that earlier? Well, if they had let me know about this on Tuesday, yes, but I took the van pool that morning and was stuck with that. Okay. So, after the van dropped me off, I drove home. Got a phone call while I was sitting at a light. They were at my house - but the van had started a bit late, and then there was heavy traffic at Reliant Park, as the HLSR (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo) was going on. I explained that. About 10 minutes later, I turned into my driveway and there they were in an Expedition and had a trailer attached.

I let them into my house and the husband was concerned that no one could help him with this heavy piece of furniture (I had explained to her that there was NO one to "tap" for assistance). However - he IS a structural engineer and you could see the wheels turning for his "grand plan" of moving this. And by God, he did it! It is a two-part hutch, and he got the top off (with no damage) and out to the dolly, wheeled it to the trailer, etc, then repeated the process with the bottom section. I asked for $300 cash, they paid and off they drove! And another piece of furniture gone, and another item off the to-do list!

The best news is that it really makes the dining room look so much bigger, and it really lets that new paint job (my excellent color picks, if I do say so myself) show so nicely - two shades of taupe, with the lighter above the chair rail, and the slightly darker below that. I have a painting to hang in there now - will solicit some advice from friends/neighbors as to the best wall to put it on.

Replacement tree: I came across Connie and Don (neighbors a couple of houses down from me) when I was coming back from my walk on Sunday. She took the Texas Master Gardener course a while back and when she saw my split tree, had volunteered to help me find a suitable replacement. That was just after Ike. Well, we have tentatively set up Friday, April 3rd to run the tree-replacement search. She has a greenhouse in our area that she likes PLUS! she has a pickup truck to haul the tree (and I heard her mention that she wants to get whatever, at this same greenhouse. Maybe I can talk her into hauling some mulch for me? My shrub areas desperately need some, and my lawn guy ONLY mows and edges. He had said he'd do the weed 'n' feed for me - but so far: no dice. I will be happy to be done with him and with all the crap that lawn care in Houston requires.

Food glorious food! I actually went out to eat, three nights in a row, last week. Thursday with my church group, at Outback Steakhouse; Friday to Escalante's (Houston-based Mexican restaurant with higher prices) with two neighbor women and some of their friends; and Saturday to Johnny Carino's with my friend A, one of the women I met at the Houston Widows/Widowers group (a group that we have dropped from our schedules, as they never plan anything fun and only the same ol' members seem to attend).

Clothing sizes: I had to shop for clothes this weekend. None of my stuff fits, as I am just about wearing the sizes I wore when I graduated high school. Not braggin', folks, I am just saying. My friend in Florida would have a cow if he knew - he thinks I need to gain some weight - and so I will just not tell him. Anyhoo, I have decided to go through my casual clothes and set aside the bigger sizes. I will probably get back to wearing them sometime in the future. I'll pack 'em away for the next few months. I am not putting any money into the smaller clothes for work (I mostly wear suits). Since the jackets are long enough to cover my self-alterations, I use at least one LARGE safety pin to keep my skirts at the correct position on my waist/hips. The last time that I had this weight-loss "problem" was following one or both of my heart surgeries. I think my body, back then, was using all the calories for healing. I could eat like a little pig and not gain a pound. 'Course, that was only temporary.

Speaking of clothing: I wore a t-shirt to the Outback gathering on Thursday. There are 3 couples and 2 singles (B and myself) in this group. (B's husband, the jerk, left her at Thanksgiving, a few years ago - and eventually they divorced - what a prick. And I am now solo, too.) I was sitting at the table with my right elbow sorta propped up on the table itself. Two of the couples, the L's and the D's, finally couldn't stand it. They had to ask me, "What does your shirt say?" (Some folks think it is an Aggies t-shirt, misspelled. You probably need to have spent some time in TX to know what an Aggie is?) So I explained that it came from my nephews wife, who is an assistant professor at the college named Augsburg (in the Mpls-St.Paul area), with the name of "Auggies" on the shirt. "Oh," one of them remarked, "We thought it said Juggies!" Now, folks, I could use a little male attention - but NOT by using a shirt with that kind of "advertising" on it! For illustration, I just had to wear this another night and have a friend take this photo. And that margarita - delicious and SO worth the $8 for the silver Herradura top-shelf version. Mmmmmm.....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Confessions - Part Four: the CONCLUSION

Aha - I hope you are as happy to see that this is the Conclusion, as I am! As previously cautioned, if you are STARTING with this post, you might well be advised to try Part One, then Part Two, then Part Three (yawn...) before commencing with this one. But it's your choice. Some of the posts ramble on a bit.

Okay, back to where I left off. We were muddling along in an existence that most marriages grow into - expected behavior, roles one or the other will assume (cook, gardener), etc. Nothing more, nothing less. I really, really tried to boost his ego, boost his self confidence. But nothing seemed to work. And at various times over the years, he would resume drinking on the sly.

The last time he did this was shortly after the holidays, in late 2007 or early 2008. He was heading to bed one night and we had had a heated discussion about something. And with his slurred reply to me, it was obvious that he was intoxicated. And I said so to him: "You're drunk!" and he didn't even try to deny it. I couldn't see how that was accomplished (idiot that I was), since we had had one glass of wine apiece that night. However, his alcohol intake was (once again) supplemented with vodka. He would use the empty water bottles that so many of us tote around, and would refill them with vodka - I never did find out if it was straight vodka or if it was cut with something such as water. He established this behavior because he really WOULD go through a lot of water during lawn-care season. Houston's summers are brutal, even when you go outside to start mowing as early as possible. So he would go through several bottles of water while mowing and edging, and to (supposedly) save some money, he would refill the bottles from the 'fridge.

This last time, he dashed upstairs and willingly showed me his stash. Mostly in one of the upstairs bedrooms, behind the daybed in that room. It was a heavy bed and one that he didn't have much worry that I would suddenly want to move. Perfect place. He brought the bottles downstairs and poured them out, then once again begged me not to leave him. Truly, I know that at this time (and at the other times) he did intend to not drink - or to at least not drink on the sly. So once again, he swore off drinking.

About a week before he died, he had had some trouble with his digestive tract and with constipation. So he called his gastro doc's office and was given the suggestion of some over-the-counter stuff he could take, which should give him some relief. He bought it, and took it as the label dictated, once a day. After a few days, he called the doc's office again, and one of the staff (not sure if this was a nurse or not) told him he could take it 3 times a day. Well - it worked. WAY TOO WELL. Now he was having the opposite problem and couldn't keep a thing in his digestive tract. I was trying to get him to eat gentle things, but to KEEP EATING. I had yogurt in the house, beef broth, soda crackers. The night before he died, I heated up some broth and he drank some of that, ate a few crackers, finished a small yogurt, and said, "I'm going back to bed." He had decided to sleep upstairs (the master br's on the first floor) so he wouldn't wake me during the night when he had to make a mad dash for the restroom.

I got up and got ready for work on the morning of May 15th. I didn't go upstairs and wake him up to say goodbye, not knowing how well he had slept during the night. My car pool driver showed up about 6:10 and I was off to work.

Several times that morning, I tried to arouse him by telephone. Finally, around 9 or 10 am, he called me. He asked if I had tried to call him a couple of times and I said I had. Then he explained that he had slept extremely poorly that night and was just now heading off to sleep. He said that HE would call ME back, and I abided by that. By the time my workday ended and my car pool driver was headed home, I was troubled by the fact that he had not called.

S, the driver, dropped me off in my driveway, and I let myself in the front door. I had placed a can of soup and some soda crackers on the kitchen counter, and I could see that they hadn't been touched. Furthermore, the nightlight was still on in the kitchen (it was dark when I left for work just after 6 am). Now I was beginning to worry.

I headed for the stairs, got to the midpoint where the landing was, rounded that corner... and there he was. From the position of his body, it was obvious that he was headed UPstairs. And also (as though I have any knowledge of these things) it appeared that he did not try to break his fall. His head was at an awkward angle and up against the rails that form the outside of the staircasing. I touched his bare foot and it was cold to the touch. I remember saying softly, "Oh, Greg." I did try to move his head, which I could not do at all.

Boy - retelling this stuff is much harder than all my previous Confessions. Bear with me...

I knew, I really, really knew. But I called 911 anyway and explained my situation. They asked me if anyone else was in the house with me and I said no. "How about a neighbor?", someone asked. I had heard my neighbor across the street mowing or edging, and carried the phone (portable) outside with me and crossed over to talk with him. He immediately returned with me to the house and also observed Greg's body and said, "It doesn't look good." We waited for emergency medical personnel and also the local cops came. After answering what seemed like endless questions, they wanted me to leave the house. But before that, someone stated the obvious - that he was, in fact, dead. Neighbor S (who had been doing the lawn care) and his wife A very kindly took me in, and also accepted my friends who showed up after I had phoned them. We had NO family in this town, in this state, at all. Thank God for friends and neighbors that you can phone and lean on, eh? I think I was in dumb, barely functioning shock at this point. Could not keep any saliva in my mouth at all. S and A were so gracious, bringing me warm tea and rounding up some sandwich stuff and fruit for my friends and myself. Sandwiches were hopeless for me - the bread just gummed up in my dry mouth.

I had my cell phone with me, but it was nearly dead. I called my sister, my poor, poor sister who had lost her own husband about 6 years before that. She screamed into the phone: "NO! NO! It's not fair." And I guess it never is. I never asked her just what she meant by that statement. Maybe that it wasn't fair that I was the third female (after my sis and my mom) to be widowed in our family? Maybe that he was young and it was unexpected? But she was a lifeline to me at that time. She had been there, had walked in these shoes. And all of this at age 52, with a daughter still at home who was a senior in high school.

My sis started the ball rolling for me. She phoned my Hill Country friends, D and T, who immediately cancelled a flight they had been very close to driving to catch, and they came in later that night to help with anything, everything. Sis needed to know when the services were (so she and her kids could plan their flights), so I just had to pin down my pastor and get something scheduled as quickly as possible. By Saturday, the services were scheduled (and I was woefully unprepared to choose music - I should have been more innovative, I guess, since he had been a musician, but I just went with the tried and true), and Saturday evening saw my sis and her kids arriving. D and T moved back to the hotel that night, and I had a housefull of family. Blood, as the saying goes, is thicker than water. Well, not sure what that means, exactly, but blood (family) is certainly there when you need and want them. Thank God.

For those wondering: I do not, to this day, know the cause of Greg's death. He had Hep C, certainly, but was nowhere CLOSE to dying from it. The wonderful county judge who was the acting coroner (we do not have our own morgue in this county - autopsies are performed, by contract, in Galveston Country) decided that Hep C (which he would not have known about, if I hadn't shared that info with the EMTs on the scene) would suffice as cause of death. Yes, I know that more detail about COD would not give Greg back to me. But I wanted to know. My feeling is that he died from some kind of massive medical event - aneurism, heart attack - or else from extremely low electrolytes which made him dizzy enough to pass out. He had eaten very little for several days preceding this. But. As I said, it wouldn't bring him back. It was probably one of the hardest things for me to accept. I wanted answers and there were none. I do know that his gastro doc does not believe that the COD was Hep C. He phoned me on Sunday following Greg's death. "Mrs. Snyder?" he said. "When they phoned me, I thought they had the wrong name." So.

As with other women who fell into this situation unexpectedly (and even with those whose spouses were known to be dying), I was in a fog for weeks, maybe months. I was hospitalized a week after his death, overnight. Turns out that not eating has a bad impact on your system, particularly if your magnesium levels sink. Raised hell with my heart rate. My #2 nephew had stayed for a few days after the rest of the family had to return, and he blessedly drove me to the hospital. Thank God for T - a truly wonderful nephew. He also spoke at the service and I remember a few things that he said, especially that Greg "made my Aunt Jessi laugh". That brought a laugh from those at the service - and from me, too. He and I had some heart-to-heart talks. It is so nice to really get to know the family as adults. My sis, A, and her late hubby, did a great job raising 3 kids who are wonderful people. I like them all, and I know that not all can say that about their kids or nephews/nieces.

I apologize for the length of these postings. For a long time, I have wanted to share this stuff without sounding like "poor me". I will probably add to this last one a bit, or maybe even do an addendum (damn, there is that old business language that I am SO ready to leave behind). Thanks for bearing with me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Confessions - Part Three

As I advised in yesterday's posting, if you have not read Part One or Part Two, you might do well to read those before tackling this one. Thanks.

Resuming the story:

So Greg was not only recovering from the mental slide so unexpectedly resulting from his last drug trial, but now he was unemployed.

I began searching for something - some line of work - that we could develop and use for supplemental income in our retirement. Okay - he was a musician, but all I can do is sing. And I think I sing well (I was a soloist in my high school chorus), but to perform? I think not. However, we both had artistic tendencies, and my mind started focusing on that. Faux painting? Well, why not? So we took one of those little classes at Home Depot from a woman who was NOT an employee, but rather had been hired by HD to show customers some of the basics.

When we finished that little course, we walked to our car and I said, "Well, do you think you and I could do this?" He looked at me. "For a living?" I asked. "You know, extra income after we retire?" and he pondered that, and then nodded.

Back to my trusty friend, the internet, as I searched for classes that would give us a good footing to do this professionally. I found several, of course, in our general vicinity and then tried to weigh the pros and cons of those. Some were quite specific, and only trained for products of a given manufacturer. I thought that was a bit restrictive, and opted for a school based in Waveland, MS. And we could drive there, in about 7 hours or less. So we ponied up $1,000 apiece and enrolled.

The woman who did most of the instruction, S, was a veteran in this busines. She had been based out of California, but decided to move her school when the state of CA made it mandatory for faux painters to apprentice for a couple of years before they could strike out on their own. She knew her student enrollment would decline and possibly die. So she and her husband searched for a place to move to - and chose Waveland, an area whose residents were locals, and artists of various specialties - ceramics, painting, photography and many other areas.

Note: Waveland was virtually wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. For a while, I followed up on the rebuilding that was taking place there. Our instructors had, by coincidence, relocated their school to Missouri the year before that hurricane. S and I exchanged e-mails about Waveland. I haven't had the heart to go back there - it was such a pretty, idyllic-appearing area when we had been there. I didn't want to see the aftermath of Nature's destruction.

The Faux Finishing class: It was an intensive, hands-on course. S really knows her stuff and does her damnedest to impart the technique to others. She had limited the class to about 8 or so students. We ate lunch together each day (5 days) and sometimes dinner. On the last day, mentally overloaded by the knowledge, we took our samples with us and headed home. S was only a phone call away, still giving us support and answering (dumb) questions. Through them, we put up a small little web page. And in less than 60 days, we had our first clients! They had found us through that web page, we went to their house, gave a bid, and got the job! Wow, we thought, this was gonna be easy income.

What we painted for this couple was the entire ceiling of their very spacious family room. We had to rent a scaffolding, in fact, to do this job. We brought the pieces of the scaffold out to their house the evening before we needed it, and when we got back there the next morning, the husband (a retired engineer) had already assembled it for us! Those engineers... in fact, the rented scaffolding was missing some key parts (not unusual for rented equipment) and this fellow jerry-rigged those parts. So the scaffolding was much safer than it would have been, if we had assembled it ourselves.

This ceiling project gave me a new appreciation for Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. A few hours into each work-day, I had a headache that would not quit. I believe it came from having my head tilted back far enough so that it pinched a nerve. But we persevered, and finished the project in 2-and-a-half days. The clients were very pleased and we were happy - with the check and the fact that we finished it to their satisfaction. Upon completion, the husband broke open a bottle of wine and three of us each had a glass of wine. His wife did not drink, for she had enough challenges with the state of her health. She was already confined to one of those motorized chairs, which she could operate with one hand control. The results of her multiple sclerosis were quite evident. We enjoyed these folks, and they seemed to like us, too.

Ironically, we had "winged" this project. We had never painted a ceiling and had no experience in producing the effects that the wife wanted to see: a rather free-form painting in colors to match their draperies (pinks and sea-green). I sketched out my concept to her and she was in agreement, so off we went on this abstract effect. Wow.

Greg took over the business aspects of the faux painting, and he was very capable and organized about it all. Thank God. Because I am NOT Miss Organization. (But I am sure that I am Miss Mis-organization!) Another failing of mine. He kept the records, handled the incoming calls, etc. I only wish that we had had MORE calls, to keep him busier. Maybe then he wouldn't have fallen off the wagon numerous times over the years. Or maybe he would have.

For a period of time, he seemed to be able to drink casually, limiting himself to a glass or two of wine. And other times, I cast a jaundiced eye (what exactly does THAT mean, anyhow?) towards his consumption behaviour. I never called him out in front of others about that, but I would remark about it when it was just the two of us. Or sometimes I would caution him before we got into a social situation. Although I had gone to a few Al-Anon meetings (and did NOT like them), there were some ideas shared that I picked up on. One was that no matter how much you worry, the behavior will be what it will be. Worrying cannot, does not change anything. I know this to be true - but trusting, or just plain NOT worrying, does not come easy - especially after seeing that pattern of behavior.

We stumbled forward in our marriage. There were good times, there were bad. Greg did have several health problems, and the two most serious ones (besides the Hep C) were oral cancer and his arthritic knee. The oral cancer was discovered by our dentist - "just a little spot, probably nothing to be worried about - see your family doctor". He was still smoking at that time (and I hated that habit and I really hated the smell). When he had surgery, we did not know if he would ever be able to speak again - and he was in sales... His surgery had the best possible outcome - removed a good-sized circle from the floor of his mouth, under the tongue. I told him if he resumed smoking, he would be doing that with his NEXT wife. This took place about the time he turned 40, shortly before his mother died from cancer out in Phoenix. Because his parents were already dealing with their coming tragedy, we only shared Greg's cancer info with my family. His parents had enough stress to bear.

The knee had been injured in a plane accident in about the early 70's. He was working at a small airport and was pulling in a plane towards the hangar. He had a leg planted forward and was tugging on the aircraft - which suddenly lurched forward and ran right over his foot. It twisted his right knee pretty badly and he ended up hospitalized, where the standard surgery of that time was performed: they scraped nearly all of the cartilige out! Over the years, arthritis set in and he eventually was in a lot of pain with that knee. Before he was 50, he had that knee replaced. This came while he was still employed with a computer reseller. Besides the knee, he had flat feet (they had always been flat, from childhood on). So his "pins" were not as reliable as they should have been.

My own health was amazingly stable, considering that I had had two open heart surgeries, one at age 38 and the second at age 43. The second one was when I had my mitral valve replaced - 17 years ago and still going strong. Amazing, after all the stress over the years, ain't it? I remember the second surgery and its aftermath pretty well. It was an Olympic year, and of course (stuck at home for weeks) tv was showing the recovery of injured participants who were bound and determined to compete. So I thought (unwisely) that if they could recover from injuries more severe than what I had undergone, I could do the same. I laid down on the floor with my arms spread open wide, a small dumbbell in each hand. I tried to lift my arms. Wrong! wrong.wrong.wrong. End of initial recovery efforts. I was only at home four weeks after that surgery. I saw my cardiologist and asked for permission to return to work. Why, he wondered, was I in such a hurry to go back? And I truthfully told him, "I'm running out of vacation and sick time!" He reminded me that I should not be driving for at least 2 more weeks, and I nodded that I had heard that. And of course I ignored that directive. How else was I gonna get to work and back?

Anyway, for years, we knew the layout of St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital very well. Living in a major metropolitan area does have its pluses, and Houston's Medical Center is one of those. With so many surgeries between the two of us, we could easily fall into the routine of following the blue or yellow lines to the requisite elevators leading to those wings.

Through all these years, we never ceased telling each other, "I love you", when ending our phone conversations. I suppose, as in most marriages, it becomes a routine thing to say and do. But we persisted, anyway, even (most probably) when one or the other of us was not FEELING loving. I had a phone conversation with him the morning that he died. And then was haunted by whether we had told each other the "routine" thing. Never could remember if that happened or not.

Well, this was much lengthier than I had anticipated. So with any luck, I will wrap this up tomorrow. Thanks for hangin' in there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Confessions - Part Two

Well, here is Part Two of My Life and Welcome To It.

If you have not read Part One, I would suggest that you might want to read that one before reading this. Just sayin', is all...

(Trying to concentrate here - I am on my lunch break and the guy in the next cube is chattering away... I try to act disinterested and he keeps talking.to.me. Arrggghhhhhhh....)

I guess that the passing-out-and-then-detoxing incident was my first exposure to the fact that Greg was an alcholic. However, he never let it interfere with his job or his usual day-to-day performance. After detoxing, he went immediately to (I drove him and sat in on this) his first AA meeting. As expected, it was difficult for him to stand and say the expected words, "I'm Greg and I'm an alcholic." He was shaking, actually physically shaking, because of what his body had just been through. After that meeting, one of his most difficult things was trying to find an AA meeting with those in similar circumstances. You know, white collar guys and gals. The initial meeting had some folks in there who did NOT toe "the party line". AA-ers are supposed to respect whatever and however you got to these meetings. But I remember him talking about a guy who did not react positively to anyone who came through other programs. The guy was a real hard-ass, plain and simple - no other way to put it.

After he de-toxed, I cleared all the liquor out of the house. Took the liquers over to the house of a couple that we knew (and who worked with Greg), and don't remember what I did with the rest of the hard stuff. I guess if it was open and didn't have much left in the bottle, I poured it down the drain.

With the direction of this same couple, I had a few sessions with a psychologist who they knew. I was feeling very angry and HAD to talk with someone. I liked a glass of wine to relax with, and I felt that Greg had removed this option from me. When I expressed this to her, she said, "I give you permission to have a glass of wine." Now, isn't that silly? and yet, for some damned reason, I guess I felt that someone HAD to give me permission. I could only go to her for a few sessions (insurance limitations), but the sessions were amazingly helpful.

I think it was shortly after this that Greg had his gallbladder removed. During a routine physical, gallstones showed up on an xray or during an MRI or something. His doctor quizzed him as to whether there were any patterns of gallbladder trouble in his family, and Greg related the facts of his mother dying of cancer that had apparently started in her gallbladder. That was enough for the doc! He scheduled Greg for laparoscopic surgery, and I sat patiently in the waiting area. It seemed to take much longer than they had told me (I guess that is always the way). When the doctor came out, he ushered me into one of those closed-door rooms where they don't give you good news. He explained that significant cirrhosis was detected on Greg's liver and so they did further checking. That revealed hepatitis C. I explained that he had recently stopped drinking - the doc agreed that given this diagnosis, this was a good thing - and I did not know the source of the hep C.

Another wall to climb.

(OMG - he's back standing in my cube and talking directly to me. And I did not ask or invite him over here. Oh thank God - he put on his sportcoat and had to leave - YAY!)

So now we added another doc to his specialists - a very good and supportive gastroenterologist, Dr. G. He worked very hard with Greg, getting him into at least two study programs of drugs that did work on some of the hep C patients. But not on Greg. He would get his "numbers" down for a period of time, then they would shoot back up when the program ended. One of the drug regimens damn near did him in. After a period of time, I noticed that he seemed to be exhibiting behavior that was akin to early Alzheimer's. Scary. Very scary. I finally had to insist that he quit driving, since he just could not seem to remember where to turn or where he was going. During this time, we went to Vancouver, BC, Canada, for his oldest nephew's wedding. And most of the family noticed that Greg did not seem to be "all there". Just a vacant stare. And he was very, very chilled most of the time, and had lost a LOT of weight. When we returned to TX, we got a phone call from the gastro guy's office, wondering if Greg had stopped the drug, as instructed. It turned out that someone from the gastro office had neglected to phone us re: those instructions. We talked with the gastro guy (guess who had to drive him to this appointment?), and I could see that he positioned himself so that he could watch Greg in the mirror. He explained that this side effect was sometimes seen, while on this combo-drug treatment. And yes, Greg stopped that combo and gradually got better. But I did feel like he lost a bit of "edge" - hard to explain, but I guess when you spend so much time with someone, you know when they are not as sharp as before.

The above - in and out of drug trials and so on - happened over a period of several years. His employment changed over that time, too. As companies changed their buying habits to dealing directly with manufacturers for pc's and peripherals, jobs like Greg's where he sold products through his company, fell by the wayside. There was a temporary reprieve when his sales division was bought by an East Coast company. That lasted for a year or two, then buh-bye.

We talked about his options - not so great, when you have been in sales for years. He decided on a whole different tack - Home Depot (HD). He thought they would welcome his sales experience, and clients had always commented on how supportive he was of them. HD tested you to see where you would be a better fit. So naturally they put him in Flooring. FLOORING? Where he had NO. experience. at. all. They sent him to school, and soon he was doing those weekend classes where they show you how to install ceramic tile. I can see the light coming on in your collective brains: I always KNEW that those guys didn't know what they were talking about. Uh-huh. But he did a good job in those classes and made it a point to give the correct info and not throw out any BS if he didn't know the answers.

He was working at HD during the time of the "Alzheimer's" incident. And that got him fired. He did something totally inappropriate at work - something he would never have done if he had been in his right mind - and it got him fired. I will not go into his actions, for he can't defend himself. But we did not yet know why he was acting this way. If we had, we (or at least I) could have argued the case for him and probably have gotten his job back for him. Instead, he filed for unemployment.

By this time, I felt like my little row boat was drifting further and further from the shore. And me without any oars.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Confessions - Part One

Maybe this is why I am able to “let go” a bit earlier than some other widows. You can tell me…

Like many marriages, ours was not perfect. This was my second marriage and I was 37, and Greg was 34 and had never been married. He had been a musician before I met him – played with a country-western band for about 10 years and really, really loved drumming. He went into the business world after that, starting by selling computers with a retail organization and then moving into corporate sales after that. We had some lucrative years, where we kinda-sorta had money to burn. We had tackled that “should we have kids or not?” question right away – since I was already 37 - and had a mutual agreement that we could enjoy the nephews (four between us) and one niece and spoil ‘em a bit. Did you ever have an aunt or uncle that was single or didn’t have kids? We both had experienced that and we wanted to be that kind of uncle/aunt.

We met at the holidays of ’83, and we were both definite partiers. We ran with a group who seemed to find any excuse to party (read: drink), and that December we held a traditional gathering to celebrate the birthdays of a coupla guys in the group. We had this in Roseville (a St. Paul suburb) at a Mexican-themed chain restaurant, El Torito's, noted for their champagne brunches. Lots of free-flowing (poorer quality) champagne. There were a couple of faces that I did not know in the group (overlapping crowds – younger brothers and so on, of guys that were in my age bracket), and Greg’s was one of them. He was funny (always an important criteria for me – gotta have a GOOD sense of humor!). And when he started pouring champagne with a towel draped over his arm, I found that very funny (maybe the consumption of champagne helped, there). And even more so, when he returned wearing an apron of one of the waitresses AND her name tag, Nikki. I started chanting that Toni Basil song, “Hey Mickey”, substituting Nikki for Mickey. It turned out that this was Nikki’s last day, and Greg bought the name tag and apron from her. I think he gave me his phone number (probably on a business card) and I never followed up on it. I should mention that my on-and-off-again boyfriend, J, was there, too. But we were not “on” at that time.

Next time I saw Greg was in the spring, at the wedding of a couple that I knew through J. The guys (J and the groom, among them) played on a softball team called the Brew-Ha’s (what does that say about them?). I was not with J, but he decided that a seat beside me was where he wanted to sit. And I got up and moved – a couple of times, as I recall. I think Greg had a date. No big deal. Just noted that we had met each other a few months back.

And the culmination of all of this was my girlfriend’s wedding that summer. J (yes, another J!) and I had been friends since elementary school. This was her second wedding, and she wanted that “wedding of a lifetime” thing. Her worst decision was the choice of groom (as though MY choices for a love life have been that stellar). But it was a fun time, and the bridesmaids wore dresses that would have been right at home, if we had been extras in “Gone with the Wind”. Greg was there, and we started talking. Did some dancing, too. And eventually decided to leave together, although we did try to do so without LOOKING like either of us was leaving with the other. A then-friend of mine ruined that by shouting at me (I was THAT close to a clean get-away), “Jessi, who are you leaving with?!”

We went back to his place – me wearing that bridesmaid dress! – and then I realized that I probably shouldn’t have made that choice. So, yes, I “shut him down” and he was quite the gentleman, even giving me a t-shirt to sleep in. The next morning was even more awkward, as he drove me back to the street where my girlfriend lives and where I had left my car parked. Her parents (who knew me well) had overnighted there, so I slunk back into my car - wearing that dress! - and drove home (only a few short miles from there).

Anyway, one thing led to another, we continued dating, blah, blah, blah. Engaged just before we moved to Houston, and we drove into this city on New Year’s Eve day of 1984. We married in October of 1985.

We had come to Houston via a job transfer for Greg. Unfortunately, we moved here when oil prices were tumbling and businesses and public entities were curbing their spending. So the insurance he was supposed to sell, went nowhere. His target group was school districts. He was laid off, and went back to selling computers for a retail chain. And that led to working for a reseller (back before we all could buy our pc’s online and so on), and the money started to get much better. We had several lucrative years, until the online market drew away his bigger corporate clients.

We socialized with the co-workers from his employer, and from management on down, they were relatively young and hearty partiers. We were right at home with this crowd. I didn't know how easily Greg fit into ALL of this, at that time.

We had airline tickets and plans to go to the wedding of my oldest nephew that summer. I remember the date, for their marriage was scheduled for July 22nd, which is also my sister's birthday. It was just a bit before that date, in 1995, and I found Greg in what I thought was a comatose state, maybe even dead. I could not rouse him, could not even tell if he was breathing. I called 911 and they were able to get him "awake" and then informed me that he was passed out. I was shocked - why and what had made him do this? We ended up putting him in a couple-days detox program, and that made me have to cancel the plans for the MN wedding. I made some sorry excuse about him being hospitalized for stress or whatever. And I was seething, burning that his actions had deprived me of the chance of seeing my nephew, my godson, getting married.

And for me, the cat was out of the bag... I was married to an alcoholic, and never, EVER had had a clue that he just couldn't have a drink or several, then stop. For me, it had never been that big a deal. Did I enjoy a drink or more? Yeah, sure - but when it was appropriate, and not as in, "I had a bad day, I need a drink." Or, "I had a GREAT day, I'll have a drink to celebrate." Which should have been red flags to me, but somehow I was blind to all of that. Worse yet, I covered for him, as he wished, so that his family and mine did not know. And that left a helluva burden on my shoulders, as I would eventually come to find out.

Well, faithful reader(s), I will close this and try to find time to continue it at a later time. I feel better already, sharing this. Isn't that weird?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Widows Wear Stilettos

This posting is for any widows who may read my blog.

When Greg first died, I could not find any support. Oh, yeah - I had the obligatory "I'm sorry for your loss" comments and all, but I could not find any local support groups - not even through my church. I felt pretty at sea with all of this.

So, because I am an internet junkie (well, kinda sorta - but I was already writing this blog when he died), I went looking online. And I stumbled on a couple of areas. One was a local group, recently founded, that actually encouraged social gatherings. They did NOT promote themselves as a support group or counseling group. Just a place for those in like circumstances to vent, etc. Well, after several meetings with some of these people, it was evident to me that some were NOT making progress: some had lost their spouses over 2 years before and made the same woe-filled comments at each gathering. I know, I know... we all progress at our own pace. I just felt that some of those folks could probably benefit from professional counseling. And some may have suffered from depression, which I was fortunate to have NOT gone through. Stunned disbelief, I had, but not depression.

However, I did make a few closer friends out of this group, so that was good. A small group (in my suburban area) of us "broke away" and now meet every now and then for lunch and dinner. I am in phone contact with one of those women very frequently, and I enjoy her friendship. I guess you could call us "merry widows" because we have discovered that laughter is so beneficial.

I found another site that enourages and supports widows, and for a while I posted on that one - Widows Quest. Incredibly supportive women on that one.

Very recently, and a bit too late for the needs I had last year, I found this one, Widows Wear Stilettos. It looks a bit jazzy, maybe with a commercial look, and now has a book written by the woman who started this site. But it seems, on the surface at least, to be also incredibly supportive and has a monthly newsletter, some "tips", etc. The book apparently addresses dating. To sample the website, you might want to try the first monthly newsletter that I could find in the archives, dated September 2006. It even encourages you to - when you are ready - find love again. A comment by the author's rabbi: "Love doesn't die. The person does."

Okay - those of you who still have your spouses, I'll resume some "regular" stuff in my next post. But I still want to help the women who are in the same boat as I am. Collectively, we need all the help we can get!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Great garage sale!

Wow! Nancy had a wonderful two-day garage sale! Made over $1100, and got rid of gobs and gobs of stuff, to boot. My good friend D came in from Wimberley (Texas hill country region) to steer me right and kick my butt when my energy or drive was failing me. The upshot of all of this: I have kitchen cabinets that are now half-empty, and it will be much easier to pack up when the house sells. And my self-confidences is standing on its own hind legs and crowing, folks, CROWING.

Most of the money came from not-large-ticket items, and the profits were fairly well-split between Friday and Saturday. Holy cow - Friday was amazingly busy. We had (mentally) geared up for an 8 am start. Then I noticed a car sitting in front of the house, so I went outside. The driver asked when we were starting, I told him the time, and he said he would just sit outside until we were open. Well, I recognized the guy: he frequents the garage sales in this area, buys the better stuff, and then re-sells it for a profit. I don't care - more power to him. So this time we introduced ourselves, and I opened the garage and let him poke around while we were getting set up. I knew that he had been at a garage sale of mine a few years back. Anyway, after some chit-chat, T said he was a painter (interior/exterior) and I said that I did faux painting. He took my business card and also gave me some of his. He said he frequently gets asked if he does faux stuff or if he knows of anyone who does. Voila! Of course, it is probably a little late in the game (for my Houston contacts, anyway), but hey, it is nice to have someone think you have something to contribute.

Well, once the garage door was open on Friday, all hell broke loose. People swarmed us, plain and simple. It was after 8:30 before I was able to break free and put up the signs at the highway and entrance to my street! Fortunately, I had placed an ad in our regional weekly newspaper. So that brought in some folks, obviously. And I guess the signs did the rest. D sent me back inside partway thru the Friday sale, telling me that I HAD to find more things, since we were running out of items to show. So I did as directed. So amazing at the kinds of things that sold.

We celebrated with dinner at a local sushi restaurant. Well, we started the "celebration" with a glass of beer (each) at the house. Then we had two carafes of hot sake at Kenshin Sushi (great food there!), along with the food. And followed that with a glass of wine each back at the house.

Saturday seemed much slower, so I was surprised when the sales for that day were very similar to Friday's. OMG - so happy to see so much stuff out of the garage, out of the house. One nice Hispanic man was quite interested in any tools that I might be selling. He also chimed in and offered to find a second quote on getting my front tree (the one that split during Ike) chopped down. He said something about the fact that I needed a guy to kind of run intereference for me on this matter. (He is married, by the way and had his wife with him.) He also said to let him know when the house sells and I am ready to part with the rest of the tools.

More progress: the alarm company guy disconnected the alarm to the back (kitchen) door on Thursday, in preparation for the door replacement on Friday. And then the long-awaited replacement door was installed on Friday - it is SO much better than the old one, both in quality and in installation.

On Tuesday, a guy is coming out to give me an estimate on the tree removal. On Thursday (hopefully), the back door will be reconnected to the alarm system, and on Saturday someone from the church-affiliated donation center will pick up my couch and bring it to the center for re-sale. Busy girl, I am, she said. Now if I can only be so fortunate as to have a quick sale on the house. But....

Anyway, just coming down from my successful-sale "high". We ate at BJ's Restaurant, which is a place that brews its own beer (D and I like the Nutty Brewnette). They have a fantastic appetizer combo plate that was tasty and a little innovative. So nice to NOT be eating alone, to have someone to talk with.

Oh - and we played a few practice hands of Texas Hold'em, too. We got a little stumped on the poker "hierarchy", but other than that, did okay. We played with some of the "profits" as our bank. Of course, I would have to play it frequently to remember the rules about the flop and the burn and all of that. But I can see where it would get people out and trying to win.

It will be SO nice to NOT have to get up and face the herds who will paw thru your stuff, tomorrow. But hey - at least they bought the stuff! And my neighbor S sent over two beers for us to have with lunch today - good friend and neighbor! Anyway, gotta push off and get to bed. Catch up with y'all soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another quiz: What is Your Heart Feeling?

Okay - I have a little bit of stuff to share, but none of it interesting. So I'll start with another quiz. This one is called --

What Is Your Heart Feeling?

My selection gave me this:

Your heart is brimming with passion, intensity, and extreme lust.
You definitely have desire for one particular person, and it seems like nothing can squelch your craving.
You are ready to walk across fire for the one you love.

Deep down, your heart is susceptible to: Distrust and aggression . You're determined to get what you want.

Your current outlook on love: Love equals obsession. Love equals mania. Love equals thirst.

Your love life will improve if you: Follow your passion far, but not so far as to ruin your life.

Watch out for: False feelings. Your emotions are intense, but they could easily mislead you.

WOW! As they said back in my day, "That's heavy!" Hmmm... extreme lust??!!

Okay - back to boring, everyday, mundane stuff.

Leroy (the wonderful painter) is making more progress on the interior painting. He got the upstairs bath FINISHED in one session (bless his heart) and today is starting on the dining room. First, he had to move the big ol' china cabinet - and to refrain the previous wording, "That's heavy (as in WEIGHT)." I do need to unpack it, but the weight is mostly from the cabinet itself.

I will be so happy to start the garage sale. I know the setup will be a major pain, but I am SO ready to see what I can sell. I have already sold (to co-workers) pots and pans, a camel-backed steamer trunk (hand painted by my late mother-in-law) and possibly some towels (college student daughter of a co-worker). Oh, and an older Seal-A-Meal, complete with lots of bags in various sizes.

Some of my neighbors have admired the new lights that have been installed outside my garage, and front door (plus there is one outside the back door, too). They are all dusk-to-dawn, plus when you approach closer to the lights, they flare brightly, as an added protection factor.

The APX Alarm person will come out on Thursday, to de-install the device that is on the back (kitchen) door. Also, I had an alarm failure on the dining room windows last night when I tried to set the alarm for the house. After talking with APX, the tech guy put it on the "to do" list for the person who will be here Thursday.

On Friday, someone from Custom Doors will take my old kitchen door and its rotted frame, out and replace it with the much nicer one that Greg and I had chosen last spring. I can hardly wait to see how it will look!

And, of course, Thursday is set-up, for the Friday and Saturday garage sale. I hope that my girlfriend D can make it here, to help me. If not - I'll take a deep breath and find a way to get some of the heavier stuff carried down the stairs and out into the garage.

I already dragged THIS down the stairs, and it was another HEAVY item. Most difficult of all was getting it into my '97 Honda Accord. But I did it all by myself - all 114 pounds of me. I am Woman, hear me roar.... yeah, I know, I really was NOT that fond of that ol' song, either. Besides, nowadays, someone would associate roaring with me being a "cougar". Nah - not really interested in those really younger men. Unless a very rich one just absolutely fell in love with me and I could NOT dissuade him...

See y'all down the road a piece.

Monday, March 2, 2009

What Girl Scout Cookie Are You?

Totally uninspired am I. So... you get a blog quiz:



You are bold and brave. You dare to be different, and you are confident about who you are.
Your fearlessness has paid off. You are extremely well liked and popular.

You are charismatic and charming without even trying to be. People appreciate your unique take on life.
You are willing to take risks, speak your mind, and live life to the fullest.

anyhoo: It's a quick and easy thing to do. Give it a try! Link at What Girl Scout Cookie Are You (just above the cookie photo).