Resourceful friend…

During my workshop last week, i had a chance to catch up with a friend i hadn’t seen much over the past few years.  He was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer last winter, and is about halfway through his ‘hell year’ of treatment.  GP and his wife, DP, are simply adorable humans.  Favorite memory was from a Halloween party, where he showed up as a smokin’ hot pirate, and she was dressed scantily in a black mini skirt and jewel-encrusted mesh top…. as “The Pirate’s Booty”.

Asking GP how he was doing, i was amazed to learn that he is currently undergoing aggressive chemo.  He really showed no outward signs of feeling poorly, just maybe a little tired.  Working through it, although he said he has had some pretty grim days.  Radiation, major surgery, now chemo… he’s facing one more surgery in January to repackage his intestinal parts.

His wife, DP, was very sweet when i was diagnosed in 2006, bringing me silly gifts, booze and chocolate to cheer me on.  i asked him how she was managing – with two active children at home, part time job, she was always on the move.  GP explained that she seemed very scared, was hovering a little, and always wanted to be close to him – which was ok with him. 

daisyfae:  If there’s anything i can do for you or the family, please let me know.  Maybe just taking DP out for lunch some day and getting her drunk is what y’all need?

GP:  Well, I’ve been telling her that since I got cancer, she owes me a three-way…

daisyfae: ….

Digging out and wandering around…

Odds and ends from a marginally disrupted daisyfae…

– Power was back on at my new place by noon on Monday (storm was through our area Sunday afternoon/evening).  i was lucky.  Four days later there are still hundreds of thousands of people in the region in the dark. 

– My old house is still seriously dead.  Since that neighborhood is on well water, no electricity means no water.  Which means i’ve invited a few of my old neighbors over to my new place to shower*…  And there’s a potential impact to the repairs on the old place – can’t really install a new chimney if there’s no water for mortar.

– Cable TV Dependency:  More than just “Project Runway” withdrawal…  Those of us who have “bundled service” (cable tv, landline phone and internet connectivity) are fucked.  There was apparently much damage to the infrastructure, and restoration of service has been slow.  At first i was pissed off at my neighbor**, and was tempted to knock on his door to tell him to reboot his fucking system, but then realized that there is simply no internet connectivity.  Ugh.

– Television stations are annoying as all fuck.  No one has power.  Stations are constantly broadcasting “tune in for storm recovery updates”.  Better yet?  They are sending people to their website for information.  Hello?  If we ain’t got power, we ain’t got the TV-tubes.  And even if we DO have power, we’re all roaming the city, seeking active WiFi connections… Because regional cable/internet is wounded.

– Roving Bands of Wireless Pirates:  We’re starting to recognize each other.  The look.  Backpacks full of gear, desperation in our eyes.  Looking for a fix.  Going from cafe to bookstore to Starbucks… seeking connection.  Some of these people smelllook as though they haven’t showered for a couple days.  You’d think that would be a higher priority than the interweb.  Passing tips: “Panera is still dead, but i heard that Barnes and Noble is back up and wired…”.  Whining about having to pay $10 for a 24 hour pass at the local Starfucks***.

– Sad: As is always the case, the people who are the hardest hit?  The people who have the least options.  Those folks who have been squeaking by paycheck-to-paycheck are completely hosed.  Fewer resources mean fewer options for escape.  At least the state has offered to replace Food Stamps for those who have lost everything in their refrigerators and freezers due to power outages.  But it will take a week.  In the meantime?  The food banks are pretty bare…

– Resourcefulness:  A good reminder for me not to throw out my camping gear as i purge belongings.  i’ve got a gas powered generator, propane stove, non-electric can openers and all sorts of ‘gear’ that can come in handy in such circumstances.  And i can make a fire.  What i intend to add to the collection?  Chainsaw.  [grunt, scratch].  Bow saw just doesn’t cut it….

– Smells Like Disaster:  Driving through the old neighborhood, i was hit with a powerful smell.  Combination of wood chips, smoke and fresh autumn air.  Sounds?  The occasional generator humming in a back yard, chainsaws, wood chippers… If it weren’t such a pain in the ass…

– Usefulness:  A local church has been offering free hot meals every evening between 5pm – 7pm.  If that isn’t the most useful thing a church can do, then i don’t know what is.  Let’s hear it for the Methodists – and those lovely ladies who can whip up a jello-salad to feed hundreds!

Lucky: Yep.  That’s me.  This could have been SO MUCH WORSE – had we gotten the rain.  instead?  Gorgeous autumn weather!  High pressure blue skies, not a cloud to be seen…  If water had been pouring through all of those punctured homes?  Ouch. 


* No.  Not like that.  We were close, but no exchanges of bodily fluids.

** The source of my bootlegged internet connection.  Mine had just been set up – but wasn’t quite operational yet when the power crashed.

*** Which is where i am now…  Annoyed to the point that i am refusing to buy their goddamned $5 coffee.

Adventures in Business Travel – Part 725

It was only on July 4th, while knocking back pints in London with bob that i decided to seriously consider purchasing a condominium and moving. A lot has happened in the past two months… most of it good, just a lot of it!

Work responsibilities, of course, have not been placed in a magical suspended animation state so that i can happily pursue all of these life issues, mind you. There has been a bit of stress percolating there as well. 

For the past three Wednesdays, i have been summoned to The Mothership*, preparing a high visibility presentation for an advisory board well above my pay grade.  Beyond the garden variety conference trip, where i drink my weight in coffee during the day and alcohol during the night, this effort has required me to DO things.  Can you believe it?  They expect me to DO something for that paycheck?

WIth the final event scheduled for 8 AM this morning, my team and i needed to fly out yesterday.  The other two members went out mid-day, but worrying about leaving a large dog – with gastric distress – on his own in my new white-carpeted crib, drove me to schedule a later flight.  This gave me time to stop home en route to the airport, and take Mr. P for an additional walk, praying for full colon blow and blessings from the carpet gods…

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Breaking and Entering

During the “pack and move” process, i’ve been cautious about burning out the good will of friends… Unlike the days of my youth, where buying pizza and a case of beer would get me from Apartment A to Apartment B, i’ve got too much shit, and have to rely on professionals. 

Trying to “spread the joy”, i’ve taken a selected few up on offers to help – trying to match their skills and interests with things i need done (or things i completely suck at…)

For instance, the garage sale?  Artfully executed by my friend KMD and her delightful Helper Monkeys.  Upon discovering that the moving crew would not transport alcohol, i accepted an offer of help from another friend, RJAK and put her to work packing and moving the wine and liquor collection… and we celebrated with a giant vat of cosmos consumed on my back deck.

ETS has been a friend of mine for 27 years.  We were both engineering co-op students working in the lab, and she was my first coach and mentor on the job.  Almost three decades of mutual support* and adventure**, we’re pretty good at knowing strengths and weaknesses.  So when she offered to help, i suggested the job of unpacking and organizing the kitchen.

When she arrived, there were perhaps a dozen large boxes still untouched in my living room – marked “Kitchen”, “Food”, “Spices” and “Kitchen – Misc”.  We started with a strategy session – recommendations on what to put where, questions about how i cook*** and use the kitchen, and a general ‘game plan’ evolved as we got started.

Ruthlessly throwing things into the trash bin****, or the Goodwill boxes, within three hours (and only one bottle of wine) it was done – and well organized.  Finishing the wine on the deck*****, she was headed home around 10 PM.

Although i didn’t pay attention at the time, ETS must have locked the doorknob on my front door as she unlocked the deadbolt.  After waving goodbye from the end of my walkway, i discovered that i was locked out as she backed out of the driveway!

Barefoot, and in my pajamas, i raced back to her truck – having to smack the right rear quarter panel to get her attention before she drove off!  Back in the driveway, we did a quick triage on options: any windows unlocked?  no.  garage access?  break a window perhaps.  lower door unlocked?  no.  hidden keys?  nope.  maintenance office/emergency line?  i have no idea!  back deck, top floor?  yes.  but no ladder… it’s in the garage.

Quick walk into the dark, wooded area around back – although i wouldn’t walk through one set of shrubbery because i saw a giant spiderweb – we were able to gauge that her 7′ stepladder would likely be just enough to get me up to the railing…

Hopping into her truck, we went 5 min down the road to her house for the ladder, had it in her SUV and were back at my place 10 min after that…  carrying the ladder around back, i was up over the deck railing in a flash, back in the condo, and scooting back down for her to haul the ladder back to her car.  My days as a tree-climbing kid, not to mention marginally skilled juvenile delinquent, came in handy here…

Entire “oh shit i’m locked outta my house” adventure:  under 20 minutes, with 10 minutes of that spent driving. 

it’s cool to have functional friends… but i better get a key stashed out there somewhere so it doesn’t happen again…

* ETS is high a high functioning, independent woman.  i’ll never forget the call i got almost 20 years ago when a water line in the wall of her condo burst, spraying water all over her new furniture.  She was crying, freaked out and had no idea what to do… Showing up shortly thereafter, with two bottles of wine, a tool box and a shop vac, we beat our way through some serious water damage…

** And last year, we did a fairly impulsive jaunt to Iceland for a five day weekend!  She’s the mastermind behind my upcoming trip to South America in October as well!

*** i do cook.  just not often, and mostly when entertaining.  more often?  i distill… given the widespread knowledge of “daisyfae and the jello shot buffet”, i usually am simply asked to bring jello shots to parties… (sigh)

**** ETS:  “Daisyfae – why do you have three open cannisters of oatmeal, 6 bottles of vanilla extract and four cans of baking powder, one of which expired in 1994”

***** Is there a pattern emerging here?  i need to get unpacked soon or i’m going to turn into a fucking drunk…