Interstellar Adventures

December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 11:52 am

Merry Christmas Eve and Day to all of you. I hope your celebrations are enjoyable, stress free, and memorable. May your children have smiles of glee and be thankful for the gifts they receive. May your dinners be flavorful, your firesides warm, and your wine glasses never empty.

December 17, 2007

If I could turn back Time

Filed under: Blast from the Past,Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 10:45 am

I’d hope that I could be as hot as Cher in her little floss-tape fish-net outfit thingy. Just a little humor to get you started you know.

My cousin graduated from college this weekend. So, I had planned to go to her party down in Houston, and at the same time visit my grandaddy, whom I haven’t seen in too, too long. I knew he wasn’t in good condition mentally, but I knew if I didn’t go see him, and he passed away, I would regret it forever. I know, because I experienced the same thing with my great-grandmother eight years ago.

My plans, however, were slightly delayed. Saturday morning Elle came banging on our bedroom door at about 7:30. “Pop fell and I think he’s hurt.” she said, calmly. Nick, not so calmly, bolted out of bed, and ran out to his dad. I, still confused, took longer to react. But by the time I got out there, Nick was pacing, Pop was sitting on the floor like a dazed toddler, telling us not to touch his right arm. After a few, we managed to haul him up off the floor, not without inflicting some pain, unintentionally, and deposited him in his recliner. I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to safely get him into the car to go to the hospital. Which, by the way, he did not want to go to. “It’ll wait till Monday.” and then “Give me an hour.” No Pop, I don’t think so. I can be more stubborn than you. We finally called the non-emergency police line, hoping for just an easy ambulance transport. They still sent the ambulance and fire brigade, lights blazing, to our house.

Fortunately, we were the early accident of the day and the ER wasn’t crowded at all. We were there less than 2 hours I think. X-rays confirmed Pop has a 2 cm fracture of his humerus. So for now he’s slinged and on hydrocodone until we take him to the ortho tomorrow. He will probably have to have surgery to pin it, and I’m actually very concerned about an 87 year old man going under anesthesia.

After getting the kids settled to their dads, and Nick and Pop settled at home, my sister and I headed south for the weekend. Saturday was largely unremarkable, the graduation party rather awkward, and my grandmother blowing my bloodpressure through the stratosphere. I won’t talk about that.

Seeing my grandaddy on Sunday was hard. It’d been about two years since I’d seen him. My own fault for not making the time. I knew from reports by my uncle that grandaddy’s mind was going. I’d hoped that it wasn’t as far gone as he turned out to be. I’m fairly certain he doesn’t have Alzheimers. I’m 90% certain he recognized my sister and I, but he never called us by our names. We were just ‘two pretty girls’. In his living room, there is a collage of pictures of all the grandchildren. He saw me looking at it and said ‘Those are all my grandchildren.’ I told him, ‘I know, and I might be one of those grandchildren.’ He said, ‘Yes, I know you are.’ And later, I looked, as I have many, many times in my life, at his right index finger. When he was about 5, his house caught fire. His finger was burned, and they used a strip of skin from his chest to repair the burned skin. Amusingly, when he got hair on his chest, he got hair on his finger also. When I touched his finger, he looked at it and said ‘When I was a small boy, there was an accident, and they had to fix my finger.’

We visited with him for about two hours. And except for the specifics I mentioned, the rest of the conversation was dominated by admiring the ‘two pretty girls’ that came to see him, wanting to take us down to Luby’s to show us off, and wanting to go to Luby’s because that’s where they call him ‘Hungry Henry’. He repeated this about every 15 minutes. And then, when he knew we were leaving, he kept repeating how he was going to cry and cry when we left because he doesn’t have pretty girls come see him that often.

I managed to hold it together while I was there. I don’t know how. My heart was in my throat the entire time I was there. I was choking on it as I tried to come to terms with the fact that my grandaddy’s stories are gone. He had a story for everything. He was able to experience so much in his life that it would be impossible to write it all down. He was an engineer in the early days of computers, technology and oil exploration. He has visited every country that ever produced a drop of oil. And he’s probably the one that helped them find it all. From the early 50’s to the late 80’s he traveled the world. He spoke 4 different languages fluently, and many others marginally. He was in China when I was born. Even back in the 90’s, he was still being contacted as a special contractor and traveled back and forth to Canada, consulting on their shale oil projects.

And now, he is a small, frail old man. He can’t buckle his own belt. My uncle said he’s lucky to remember to put on pants. And underwear. Last week he caught him wearing two pair of pants and no underwear. His hair is wild because he won’t let my uncle comb it. He now wears a beard because he can’t shave himself anymore. He watches TV all day, sitting in his worn leather recliner in the living room. He used to read constantly in his office, sitting in his worn leather recliner. He is still sweet. Still smiling. His voice has the same timber that it used to. He still seems to have a sense of humor. But the gregarious, social, outgoing, bubbly man that he was is gone.

And the same is true for Pop. Something so simple as going out to get the paper, and he now seems so small and helpless, sitting with his arm slung across his body, eating peanut butter crackers and drinking tea, propped up in his electric recliner. He used to be a master welder, carrying acetylene tanks up towers and building missile launchers.

We think we have all the Time in the world. But Time is not fair. It is cruel and hard and a thief. Both Pop and my grandaddy were men of a different era. They were strong, brilliant, capable. It pains me to see them wither away. Fortunately, Nick has the memories of his dad. And I have the memories of my grandaddy. I hope I can write them all down before Time takes them from me. I’d better start now, before Time catches up with me too.

December 7, 2007

Friday, With Feeling

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 1:25 pm

Phew. I was in training for two days this week. That was fun. Sort of. The hotel was in a rather skanky part of town, which made me a little suspect about the training itself, but I was pleasantly surprised and it wasn’t that bad. Plus I got a free book and a professional membership. Well, it was included with the class I should say. Which my company paid for.

Christmas is just a little more than three weeks away. And it’s 78F outside right now. There is something wrong with this picture. I also have no tree up, no lights up, and no shopping done. Again, I slack until the last possible Christmas minute. So this weekend will be a tree-trimming, house-lighting weekend. I don’t know when I’m going to go shopping. Budget is an issue this year, and fortunately we ‘drew names’ for the adults in the family. So that will make it a bit easier, but will slightly diminish the holiday feeling for me.

I’ll probably end up hosting Christmas again this year. Which Nick doesn’t like. I host everything. It’s just logistically easier for me to do. Last year we compromised, and we had the morning to ourselves and did a Christmas dinner with the family. Hopefully that will suffice again this year. Poor Nick. He puts up with so much. I love him to pieces.

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