Interstellar Adventures

July 19, 2008

Flashback

Filed under: Blast from the Past,Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 9:12 pm

So, my mom is moving soon, and all four of us kids still have stuff at her house. I went over today to help throw old stuff away, and find anything remaining that might be mine. I didn’t find much, but what I did find put me in the Way Back Machine.

When I was a wee Lass, I read voraciously. Seriously. I read all the time. Nick doesn’t believe me, because nowadays, if I read a book a year, it’s a miracle. It’s not that I don’t like to read anymore, but time is precious and my attention span has withered. But when I was a girl, I would read 3 or 4 books a week, depending on how long they were.

So today, when I opened a box and found these, I jumped up and down like a little kid at Christmas and yelled “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”. For reals y’all.

The Sunfire Romance series. Distributed by Scholastic books, written by four or five of the same authors, and all about as formulaic as you can get. Young girl in historical time period falls in love with two guys, has to figure out which one is the right one for her. And I fell for them hook, line and sinker. Sad, pathetic, but I.LOVED.THEM. (No, I will not give back my Bachelor’s in English with a Concentration in British Literature, thankyouverymuch.)

I have several favorites. Kathleen, Caroline, Joanna, Roxanne. Some of the girls were like my best friends. They were all smart, stood up for themselves, and made their way in the world. All of the books have dog-eared covers, creased spines, and were read more than once. I thought I had them all, but it seems I stopped at book 27. I will be buying the last five in the series. Also, I am missing book 4. I know I had it, but I wonder if it fell out of the box at some point on the way home. I will have to look in the car tomorrow.

I found some other nostalgia today too, like a pair of my pointe shoes from my ballet days, and a few photos – like one of me and my first boyfriend. I also scored a box of vinyl albums that my step-dad didn’t take when he and my mom divorced. Lots of Willie Nelson, some Led Zepplin, Bee Gees, Elton John, etc. Nick like those best.

Our unpacking is coming along. Last week one of Nick’s friends (and some of his friends) came over to help us move some big stuff around that we didn’t figure out what to do with until after the movers were long gone. There are still a few boxes, and the kids’ rooms need LOTS of work. The rest is just organizing stuff that isn’t used everyday, so of course that will go on for some time to come.

Nick is just back from Target, with lots of picture frames for pictures we need to hang, and a new turntable (Zed has one on his stereo in his room, but that’s upstairs and it’s old and doesn’t work well) so we can listen to the vinyl.

Anyone else come across something lately from the way back yesteryears?

July 16, 2008

Her Big Sister in a Shining SUV

Filed under: Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 9:10 pm

This evening, my sisters and I were supposed to head over to my mom’s house and help her with some stuff. So I changed after work and was headed for the elevator when my phone rang. It was my mom, and I figured she was checking on my ETA. Instead, she informed me my sister had a blow-out, and was stranded on the side of the freeway. I immediately assured her I would get to her and get the tire fixed.

So I called my baby sister, and she was on the verge of tears. She’s young, and was somewhat unprepared for the situation. OK, totally unprepared for the situation. No spare, no jack. But, her phone was charged AND she had the tire key. I took control, came up with the plan, and calmed her down.

I located her, but due to some fouled up issues with the road, I was only able to get within about 100 yards of her car. Doh! So I called her and had her walk over to my car, then we toured the other side of the freeway and came back around.

Her tire was totally shredded. She’s really lucky she didn’t lose control of the car. So I got out my (manual! ugh!) jack and got the tire off the car with no issue. We drove to Wal Mart (yes, Nick, I actually by CHOICE entered a Wal Mart – it was for a good cause) and got the replacement tire.

We got back to her car, and I put the jack up all the way. But the tire wouldn’t fit. Crap. The angle of the car on the roadside put the right rear section of the car lower than the rest of the car. I decided to try to move the jack as far to the left as I could (about 4 inches), to see if that would give me the angle I needed. And it just barely did. Otherwise I was going to be calling emergency roadside assistance. All the nuts got tightened up properly, and she was ready to go.

And lest you all wonder if mankind is still helpful, they are. Before I arrived, four people stopped. Then, after I got there, another guy stopped (just as I got the tire off). And, as I was tightening down the last nut, another guy stopped. But, it’s all good. I had the knowledge and the ability.

So, the tire we got tonight will get turned into a full-sized spare that WILL be put into my sister’s car. We WILL make a trip to an auto parts store to buy her a jack. And we WILL be having a tire-changing lesson in the near future. And Elle WILL watch. Go Girl Power!

July 9, 2008

Monkey pajamas

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass,Mr. Wonderful — by InterstellarLass @ 10:08 pm

I downloaded photos off my camera the other day. There was a photo of Elle and Pop that I took a couple of weeks before he died. It was when we realized that Pop wasn’t going to get better, and I had to talk to Elle about dying. She was quite upset, and she said she wanted a picture of Pop. So I suggested they take the photo together. Elle was wearing her monkey pajamas Pop bought her (well, Nick bought on behalf of Pop) for Christmas. She’s worn the heck out of those pajamas.

Elle & Pop

I love how Pop put on a smile for the camera. This was taken 12 days before he died. There was so much change in those last 12 days, but he actually looked really good in this picture. He still had the life in his eyes here. It was two weeks yesterday that he passed. We’re still in a fog.

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I traveled for work yesterday and today. After my obligations yesterday, I got to visit my grandfather. When I saw him in December, he was still himself, able to talk even though he didn’t make much sense. When I saw him yesterday, I was more prepared than before. And I think having seen Pop decline recently maybe numbed the shock of seeing my granddaddy. But he was much thinner, and has greatly lost his ability to speak. Supposedly he has been having small strokes, which mostly go undetected, but affect his cognative ability. He’s also stopped eating due to issues with being able to swallow. So, he’s had a feeding tube installed, which is keeping him alive. He’s had some therapy, but really there isn’t much more that can be done for him. I was glad to get to see him again.

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I feel like coming by here has been so depressing lately. It has been a sad time, but we aren’t just sitting around moping. We’re moving on with life as we should. We’re trying to figure out what the next steps for Nick will be. School is a possibility, which I think would be wonderful for him. We’re still exploring the options though. Right now he’s assembling furniture and moving things around. And being cute and sweet and stuff. Last weekend we celebrated the third anniversary of our first date (because we’re big dorks like that). He’s my sweetie.

July 2, 2008

Still unpacking

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 10:50 pm

Yesterday I had my suit pants and jacket. I couldn’t find the top. I dug in a box that seemed right. Found it at the bottom. *sigh* There are professional packers. Aren’t there professional unpackers?

I’m taking a four day weekend. Still going to a work-related happy hour tomorrow. Hey, free booze.

I’ll be finishing my bedroom paiting this weekend too. I’ve come to loathe painting.

The kids have gone to their dad’s for the month. Missing them and Pop sent me into some slightly moist eyes in the middle of Ikea earlier.

Nick and I are readjusting to alone time. We haven’t had a night out in over a year where we didn’t feel we had to rush back home. I feel guilty for liking that a little.

June 28, 2008

Missing Him

Filed under: Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 9:46 pm

On May 18, the person that bought our house came for their first showing. And while we were out at breakfast that morning, we realized that Pop had broken his arm again. He confessed to me after I pressed him why he wasn’t using his right arm. The next day, we had an offer, and the day after that we accepted. We also took Pop for an x-ray. Followed by an MRI, a bone scan, and blood tests, all in the midst of negotiating contracts, scheduling inspections, and re-negotiating terms for inspection results.

And during that month, as we finished all of the official paperwork, scheduling movers, and packing, Pop was quickly dying. He lost the ability to walk just over two weeks before he died. I caught him as he fell after taking what turned out to be his last unassisted step. Either the doctor or the hospital lost the blood work that would have gotten us closer to an official diagnosis, but looking back, it wouldn’t have made a difference, ‘knowing for sure’.

I felt horribly selfish, praying that he not die before we closed. Really I wanted him to get better. One of the reasons we picked this house was the bedroom, bathroom, and patio arrangements for him. I had plans to make him a sitting area just outside the front door, on the covered patio closest to his room. He had stopped eating about the time he fell. I was force feeding him, struggling to get 1200 calories into him every day. Pleading with him for one more bite. Then at the recommendation of a nurse, I switched him to body builder shakes. A $49.99 container of lean mass gainer from the health store, whole milk, ice cream and fruits. I became a gourmet chef of smoothies. He liked those, and it was easier than me feeding him.

I combed his hair, helped him shave, made him shakes, and shrugged my shoulders, saying ‘we don’t know yet’ when he asked me what I thought was wrong with him. In reality, we knew. Between the bone scan results and his medical records, I pieced it together with help from Dr. Google. An abnormal PSA test indicated prostate cancer as a likely source. The bone scan report had terms which lead me to metastasized bone cancer. He had ‘hot spots’ on his (broken) right arm, left clavicle, thoracic vertebrae, and ribs.

We didn’t expect him to get better. It was hard to watch, and the speed with which he declined caught us totally off guard. A few months before, Nick and I had discussed that we thought he was slowing down. I wondered if he was holding on until we moved, and then he would die soon after. Little did I know what I was foretelling. He knew where he was when we brought him to the new house last Friday. I was glad of that. Saturday and Sunday he was pretty out of it. Monday and Tuesday he was never concious. Just over a month after we figured out he was sick, he was gone.

We are missing him terribly. We haven’t had a meal where we haven’t thought about the empty space at our table. I’m looking at menus, wondering what I would select for him to eat. (I ordered for him whenever we went out.) Songs on the radio make us think of him. Nick and I hug several times a day, one of us with tears in our eyes, telling the other of the memory or the thing we’re missing.

I miss him greeting me each day. Nick sometimes complained that I looked forward to coming home to Pop more than to him. While that was never true, I can see why it seemed that way. I would walk in the door, say hi to Nick, but make a beeline to Pop’s room to see how his day was and tell him what we were doing for dinner. I would come around the door, and he would look up from the paper or the TV and smile and say “Well Hi!” as he reached his hand out for a shake and a hug and a kiss. “You have a good day?” he would ask. I would shrug, make the hand-sign for ‘so-so’, or give a thumbs up.

Some nights he wasn’t hungry. Or so he said, until I told him what was for dinner. And then he would say “Well, that sounds good, I guess I can make a little room.” And then he’d eat a whole plate. Later, he would say “Got anything sweet?” He like his sweets.

When we were out, he would sometimes speak so softly I couldn’t hear him. Because he couldn’t hear himself, and he was afraid of talking too loud. “Am I talking too loud?” he would whisper. I would grab my ear and shake my head. And then he’d loudly say “Is that better?”. I would laugh and nod. “Make sure they bring extra napkins” he would tell me. Because the man could never have enough napkins or tissues.

He was my guy. Nick was there during the day, but when I was around, either at home or when we were out, Pop was right by my side. I fell for the old man, hard. At dinner some nights, especially out, when Pop was sitting by me, he would wait until he knew Nick was looking, and then he’d lean over and give me a kiss. “Oops, better be careful or the kid will get jealous!” and then he’d laugh with a mischevious twinkle in his eye. Nick would make a fist and point at his nose.

The last year plus was wonderful. At first, it was a major adjustment, but we transitioned from a family of 4 to a family of 5. And now one of our family is missing. And it hurts.

We love you Pop. We miss you so much. 249.

June 24, 2008

Passing

Filed under: Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 6:45 pm

Edward – 1920-2008

Pop\'s Birthday

We love you always. Thank you for coming into our lives. 

June 23, 2008

Quick Update

Filed under: Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa — by InterstellarLass @ 12:58 pm

The move took forever, but it is done. Nothing is unpacked.

Pop has hours remaining. We have said our good-byes. Please pray that his passing is swift and peaceful.

June 20, 2008

Hang in there Pop

Filed under: Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 5:31 am

The prognosis isn’t good. We suspect prostate cancer that has metastasized to the bone. His decline has been swift and unexpected. We closed yesterday, and are moving Pop to the new house tonight. This wasn’t our plan. He was supposed to enjoy the new house for awhile with us. It looks like ‘enjoy’ and ‘awhile’ are subjective terms.

Hang in there Pop. We love you.

June 19, 2008

We closed, eventually

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 2:45 pm

Oh dear lordy. I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach and a pain in my head. Today was closing day. The day we’d both been waiting for and dreading, equally. Waiting for this to be over. Dreading the issues we knew were bound to pop up.

We got to the title company early, and we signed our selling paperwork first. That was easy, and I ended up with a few more dollars (nothing to write home about) than I thought. Yay. The title company we selected for our sale rocks. As does our realtor. They are awesome, awesome people.

The title company we were forced to use for our purchase doesn’t so much rock. We were doing a ‘courtesy close’ at the same title company we used for our sale, and when they received the paperwork, they sighed and rolled their eyes and shrugged their shoulders. NOTHING was marked for signature. Thankfully our notary was a professional and she knew exactly what to do.

Then when we got to a couple of biggie documents, I nearly flipped my lid. Nick’s sister’s name was on several of the documents. She’s been difficult to work with on a couple of things lately, and I couldn’t figure out how her name got on our housing paperwork. WTF?!? So, I called my lender immediately and got voicemail. Left message. Commenced internal freak-out, meanwhile skipping those papers and continuing on. Called the lender again after about 15-20 minutes and this time she answered. Had to quick explain to her what was going on and who Nick’s sister was. She is on one of Pop’s joint accounts, and the ‘assumed’ she was Ed’s wife. Yeah, not so much. So, we had to wait for the lender to re-draw several documents and route through the other title agency.

Over three hours and two bouts of writers cramp later, we were done with our closing. We got a copy of our key, and went to the Home Depot to 1) analyze the layout to familarize ourselves with our new home away from home, and 2) make a new key. We decided we’d better change the locks on the doors after we move in, so we didn’t go hog wild with the key copies.

Tomorrow I am meeting a slew of service persons at the new home, starting bright and early at 8 am. Cleaners, fixers, and installers are my new best friends. Saturday the big moving van shows up, and we truck all our stuff 11 miles up the road. Seriously, we still live just off one of the same main roads, just north, and in another city. I now live further north of the DFW metroplex than I ever though I would, but the home is great.

Wish me luck with the movers and the weather. We can pay the movers to do a good job, but are at the mercy of the weather gods.

June 8, 2008

75 Things I May or May Not Be Able To Do

Filed under: Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass,Memes & Quizzes — by InterstellarLass @ 5:06 pm

I’m continuing the filching in the maner of the ever-lovely Kimberly over at Petroville. This sounded like fun and is an escape from my current reality of real estate and senior care.

The Rules: Bold the things you can do and you leave in normal type the things you can’t. Sarcastic comments in parenthesis are encouraged.

1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. (Every choice you make affects your future.)

2. Tell if someone is lying. (I’m a maybe on this one. If its Zed, I can tell without fail. Others, I’m not sure if they’re lying or joking.)

3. Take a photo. (The point and shoot camera was invented for people like me. I’ve managed to take some fairly artsy photos [shut up].)

4. Score a baseball game. (My step dad taught me how to do this back when Nolan Ryan was with the Rangers. Counting pitches and all. Paid off when Zed played t-ball. I can also do basic basketball score-keeping.)

5. Name a book that matters. (Don’t all books matter?)

6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible. (I know a little about a lot. Nick is the gifted pop-culture reference person around here.)

7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill. (Sautee, broil, roast, grill, yep. But not poach. Who poaches meat anyway?)

8. Not monopolize the conversation. (I’m chatty. I try shutting up and listening more. Its kind of a personal growth thing I’m working on.)

9. Write a letter. (I haven’t in ages, but I know there is paper, pen, envelopes and stamps involved.)

10. Buy a suit. (Also something I leave up to Nick. He picked out Zed’s suit when we got married. The man has style when he tries.)

11. Swim three different strokes. (I swam the butterfly and backstroke on the swim team. I have an issue with my right hip joint that prevents me from doing a legal frog kick, which is why I got dq’d many times in the IM. I can also do the side-stroke and freestyle. Go me.)

12. Show respect without being a suck-up.

13. Throw a punch. (I hate watching myself in kick-boxing class. I think I look so dumb ‘punching’. Maybe its the flab, but I look weak.)

14. Chop down a tree. (Gimme a chainsaw and I’ll got at it. Nick and I did a lot of tree-trimming last spring.)

15. Calculate square footage. (Length times width. Today Zed and I calculated the cubic footage of our fridge too. For fun.)

16. Tie a bow tie.

17. Make one drink, in large batches, very well. (Martinis count, right? I’m the martini mistress!)

18. Speak a foreign language. (This doesn’t say fluently, so I’ll claim it. Three years of Spanish, plus experience. It helped tremendously when I waited tables. I’m a bit rusty now though.)

19. Approach a woman/man out of his/her league. (Out of my league? Right. There is no such thing. 🙂 )

20. Sew a button. (I’ve done this many times. Ever been a poor college student and can’t afford to buy more shirts for work [waiting tables]. I don’t even have to take the item off.)

21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer. (Why would anyone insult soccer? We live soccer.)

22. Give a woman an orgasm so that he doesn’t have to ask after it. (Um. No.)

23. Be loyal. (Yes, which is why I have guilt.)

24. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope. (Jack on the rocks.)

25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it. (I love me some tools. Excuse me while I go replace some shingles and frame in a support.)

26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat. (I can even bait a hook by myself. Worms and minnows.)

27. Play gin with an old guy. (I would. Although I don’t know any old guys that play gin. Pop likes black jack.)

28. Play go fish with a kid. (Until the kid starts wailing in dispair that they lost go-fish.)

29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped. (Riiiiight. This happens at the end of the martini binge?)

30. Feign interest. (I nod and smile like the best of ’em.)

31. Make a bed. (I can. But Nick does it. I rarely remember.)

32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick. (Creamy?)

33. Hit a jump shot in pool. (Once counts. Even if it was pure luck.)

34. Dress a wound. (I was a doctor’s daughter. Worked at his clinic a few summers. Plus I have younger sibs, and kids.)

35. Jump-start a car. Change a flat tire. Change the oil. (I know where the oil goes, I can find the air filter, but I’ve never drained the pan. I’d end up emptying my tranny probably.)

36. Make three different bets at a craps table. (Nope. Never played craps.)

37. Shuffle a deck of cards. (And I can make the bridge too.)

38. Tell a joke. (Where do sheep go to get their hair cut? The baaa-baaa shop.)

39. Know when to split his cards in blackjack.

40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he/she will hear. (Its all in the tone.)

41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. (I can speak so they can hear. I can’t guarantee they are intelligent enough to understand.)

42. Talk to a dog so it will hear. (As long as I have treats in hand, yes.)

43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. (I’ve watched Nick install a disposal, but I won’t take credit. The trick to lighting is to turn.off.the.electricity.)

44. Ask for help. (I suck at this so bad. It pains me to do this.)

45. Break another man’s grip on his wrist. (I’m with Kim. Biting, scratching, kicking, screaming. Those all should work.)

46. Tell a woman’s dress size. (I don’t want anyone guessing my dress size.)

47. Recite one poem from memory. (I can still do about a quarter of the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. “Whan that aprill with his shoures soote”…)

48. Remove a stain. (I give it to Nick. He’s good.)

49. Say no. (This is something I’ve started to do recently.)

50. Fry an egg sunny-side up. (The more difficult thing would be to fry them over-medium. Which is why I only make scrambled at home.)

51. Build a campfire. (Wait, is this like kindling and matches kind of campfire, or the logs, lighter fluid and flame-thrower kind of campfire?)

52. Step into a job no one wants to do. (I ‘wear many hats’ at work. So yeah.)

53. Sometimes, kick some ass. (See #52.)

54. Break up a fight. (I just tell everyone to go to their rooms. They can’t fight through walls.)

55. Point to the north at any time. (When they say, ‘at any time’ do they mean at any time I’m driving down the freeway, or do they mean in the middle of the woods and lost?)

56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person.

57. Explain what a light-year is. (Its the distance light can travel in one year. That’s a long, long, loooong way. Like trillions of miles.)

58. Avoid boredom. (Its called a ‘Nap’.)

59. Write a thank-you note. (Yep. My kids do too.)

60. Be brand loyal to at least one product. (Arm & Hammer tooth paste. I love it.)

61. Cook bacon. (I made bacon this morning. With scrambled eggs.)

62. Hold a baby. (Its the best thing in the world.)

63. Deliver a eulogy. (I guess reading a poem at a funeral doesn’t count.)

64. Know that Christopher Columbus was a son of a bitch. (I don’t get this. Zed came home from school last year proclaiming good ‘ol Chris was an evil man. I love it when history gets re-written based on ‘new thinking’ i.e. judging history based on modern mind sets.)

65. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap.

66. Throw a football with a tight spiral. (Once or twice. Then my throwing arm is done.)

67. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably.

68. Find his/her way out of the woods if lost. (How lost are we talking here?)

69. Tie a knot. (Done it twice. I think the second time is going to stick. :))

70. Shake hands. (I like a firm hand shake. Not the wimpy half-bent hand shake.)

71. Iron a shirt. (Yeah. But a little wrinkle releaser and a few minutes in the dryer works too.)

72. Stock an emergency bag for the car. (I’m a maybe on this one. I know what I should put in one, but I don’t have all of the supplies on hand.)

73. Caress a woman’s neck. (This is just a little creepy.)

74. Know some birds. (Grackles. We got lots of those. And pidgeons. And cardinals, blue jays. Yeah, ‘some’.)

75. Negotiate a better price. (I hate haggling about money. There is something about it that makes me sooo uncomfortable.)

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