Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Welcome to Corporate America!

It is a bitter-sweet time. Today is the first day in our new building.

Let me back up a step.

In a previous life(wife)time I drove past a little rock-front building every day on the way to work. And every day I wondered what that little building was going to be. Even after the sign was put up in front of the little building, I still didn't know what the business was! Lo and behold, I became one of their employees in January of 1990. The little building became a bigger building, then a bigger building. The business that a wonderful family built from nothing had become a thriving business that a much larger company coveted to the point that they were happy to pay the almost ridiculous asking price!

I didn't stay in the little (big) building continuously for 20 years. I went on my way and tried other things, only to come back twice and be welcomed back with open arms. I am so grateful to the S family for letting me back in!

I knew this time was coming, and I tried to prepare myself. The younger folks who have only been around for a few months or a few years, and those who didn't even know the S family, cannot possibly understand what I am feeling. Last night when I left the big(little) building for the last time, I actually cried. I didn't sob--it isn't as if I have really lost a friend--but I was nearly overcome by my emotions.

The new building is huge, everything is brand spanking new and it's all just wonderful (except that it is twice as far from my house and there is a really ugly green wall to my right). But it isn't my home.

The only reason I am able to compose this post from work is that the phones are not working correctly and we have no databases at all. What we have are printouts and very limited information at that. But it's better than nothing. They will get the phones working eventually, the computer servers will be transferred and put online again, and all will be right with the world. But it still won't be my home.

Not sure I like corporate America.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


This post is not about my mother, but rather my mother-in-law whom I called "Mom" when I was living in Ohio with her son.

I'm not sure I even have the words to describe her, though some that come to mind are: loving, warm, kind, upstanding, truthful, righteous (but not self-righteous), good . . . truly good. There haven't been many people in my life that could be described with two of those words, much less all of them. And I know I'm leaving out a lot of them, just from lack of vocabulary. She prayed daily and often and had the strongest faith I had ever encountered. I'm still not sure how she could have produced The Man to whom I am still regretfully married, in spite of having been separated for nearly four years. (That's my project for August of this year, at which time I will have--hopefully--settled in from moving yet again!)

Mom died in January of this year from what I believe was a brain aneurysm. At that time I could not afford the price of the gasoline to get me to Ohio for her funeral. Just as well, I suppose, since the self-righteous hypocrite who is her son and my legal husband "ordered" me not to come. He did it out of spite because I had finally convinced him I was NEVER coming back to him, no matter what he did, and he might as well stop asking. Mom would not have been very proud of him for that.

My last conversation with this wonderful woman was concerning The Man, her first-born child, who never showed her one ounce of love or respect that I could see. This conversation took place after the death of his son in November of 2007, a time when I WAS able to afford to drive to Ohio for the funeral. Mom gave a beautiful eulogy for her grandson who had died in a motorcycle accident. I still don't know how she stood in front of all those people and read the most heartfelt and sincere account of her "Brian's Song." She was so composed, so loving and sincere. As she finished, I whispered to The Man to go help his mother off the platform where she had been standing. (Not only could he not think of it himself, being the selfish pig he is, but I actually had to repeat it.) He did help her down and even gave her a hug in front of everyone. And this simple gesture is what our last conversation was about. This small act had given her so much pleasure that it was really sad. She asked me if I knew what she could possibly have done to make The Man dislike her, and I told her truthfully that I did not know. He had indicated to me at some point in the last 15 years that there WAS something, but he never told me what it was.

Mom would have celebrated her 80th birthday today. I have been thinking of her since I woke up.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

It was such a nice gesture, it made me cry. My family has a long-standing ritual for Christmas Eve where we burn candles and read the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible. Back when we were young we also sang "Silent Night", but that has sort of fallen by the wayside. Never mind . . . it's still a good ritual.

I am working tonight in order to allow the younger employees to do their thing with their children. There's not much going on anyway, so it's not much of a sacrifice. I'm watching whatever bowl game is on TV at the moment. (Although a little earlier I was busier than a one-armed paper hanger. The girl who ran the switchboard today failed to switch the phones into night mode when she left, so no one could get through to us! I just thought we weren't busy. Then I had to catch up. Anyway . . .)

I had asked several of my family members to call or text me when they were about to burn their candles so that I could burn mine "with" them. Lil Sis obliged, and my candle is still burning. However, around 7:00 p.m. my son called and said they were about to burn candles, so I lit mine and was preparing to bid them all good night. Suddenly I realized he had me on speaker phone and was reading the Bible story. After that my grandchildren read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas", taking turns reading passages. It literally brought me to tears.

I don't have much Christmas spirit. I don't know why. I just don't. (Oh, I do know why but it's so illogical.) But tonight I am filled with happy memories and looking forward to the coming year.

It has to be better than this one.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lucinda Update

If I live to be 100 I will never understand cats. Lucius is perfectly happy to lie around in the blanket-lined plastic container I have placed on the deck for him, moving only to go under the deck and eat or to walk with Chico and me (only when it is dark, though). Lucinda hides from me, coming out only to eat. She hears me when I call to her and comes running from somewhere in the woods behind the house, meowing furiously as if I am going to forget she is there and hungry. I have placed a blanket-lined plastic container on the deck for her as well, but I have yet to see her in it. In fact, Lucius has taken over the one I put out for Lucinda even though the containers are side by side. Lucinda rubs against my leg as if to thank me for the food, and she will let me pet her. I could probably pick her up and carry her around if I wanted to, but she'd really rather be eating.

But she's there . . . somewhere. I don't know where she goes, but she comes back.

As soon as my landlord gets his computer back and hooks up the router again so that I have Internet access, I will post pictures of my sweet kitties and my Chico. Right now I am posting this at work. Oops!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And She's Back!

Just as quickly as she departed, Lucinda has now reappeared after an eight-day absence. I don't know where she is living these days, but she drops by to eat and will let me pet her for awhile. Then she's gone again. As I stated before, she has never been quite the loving cat that Lucius is, but after all I HAVE fed her!

It is a comfort, though, that she is still among the living.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Going Home

When I moved to Ohio in early 2004 I insisted on taking my black cat Spook along with me. I failed to realize that he would not know the difference in our long driveway into the woods in Georgia and the narrow but well-traveled road mere feet from our house in Ohio. He lasted about a month before one of the locals who drove too fast on that little country road ended his life. I didn't have time to cry the day Spook died because it was the opening day of my sister-in-law's greenhouse. But the following morning while I was washing his food and water bowls and putting away all his things, it suddenly hit me that he was gone. I sobbed uncontrollably for quite some time and stared out the window at the spot next to the road where his life had ended.

About six months later The Man found a tiny black kitten while he was parking his tractor-trailer for the weekend. (I am convinced that the kitten was put there by someone who knew how upset I was over Spook's death, but no one ever owned up to it.) He brought the kitten home to me, which I suppose was the only tender thing I can ever remember from him. He did not like and did not believe in pets, so it was quite a sacrifice for him to bring me the kitten instead of snapping its neck and throwing it into the field. We wanted to name him Lucky since he was under the trailer by the time it was parked. But we thought it was a girl kitty, so we named her Lucy. The vet pointed out to me the difference (they weren't that big when we first looked at him!), and we decided to name him Lucius. When I moved back to Georgia it naturally followed that Lucius would come with me.

In August of 2007 I found Lucinda in an outbuilding on the property where I was house-sitting for my aunt. I waited to name her until I was sure she was a girl kitty. She is a calico, and I have since been told that all calico cats are females. (Reminder to self: Google that.) She was very tiny and very shy, and it took quite some time before she would come close to me. But as she grew she trusted me more and more, and at some point she came to live inside with Lucius and me. They got along very well, and I loved to watch them together.

When my aunt moved into her house and I moved to the basement apartment where I now live, it was not possible to take the cats with me and my aunt agreed to let them stay with her until I could find another home for them. After several months my aunt grew weary of the responsibility (which she took seriously) and asked me to come get them. Knowing I really couldn't keep them inside, and fearing that outside they would be at the mercy of some of the big dogs in our neighborhood, I debated and pondered and cried and cried. At one point I even pictured myself dropping them off in the middle of the night on a farm out in the country where they would be happy and catch mice and frolic and play all day. Of course it was only a fleeting thought which disappeared entirely when I saw them. Lucius came to me right away, but Lucinda seemed to be angry with me for leaving them in the first place. It took some time and patience, but I finally managed to get them both into my little pickup truck and head for home. I deliberately did not feed them until I got them to their new home.

It was raining and miserable that day. I found a place under my deck which was dry and decided to feed them there. Lucius came right away and ate voraciously, but Lucinda eyed me warily for awhile before timidly coming up to the food bowls. She ate a little and then went into the woods behind the house. I assumed she was going to check things out and explore the woods and the lakeside. That was five days ago, and it was the last time I saw her.

I have cried so much that I can't cry any more. I feel totally worthless, as if I have lost something rare and valuable. I have tried to tell myself she was just a cat, a stray that wandered into my life and never did seem to love me like Lucius does. But I keep seeing her sweet face the way it looked the last time I saw her.

Of course I have thought the worst. That's my nature. Think the worst and nothing can disappoint you. I have heard the dogs in the neighborhood barking and wondered if they saw her. I walk out on the deck and try to detect any sign of movement in the woods, but there is none. At times I think I can hear her meow, and I imagine she is in a tree or caught in some underbrush. I can't get to her, and I can't help her.

So I have decided instead to imagine that Lucinda has gone on a journey, trying to get back to the only home she has ever known. In my mind I see her slipping through the woods, crossing over the streets and following her cat senses leading her home. Maybe she stops along the way to eat whatever scraps have been discarded at a home or a restaurant. Maybe she rests under a shelter for a time before continuing her journey. This is the only way I can rest, thinking that she will succeed in making her way home again. I'm looking forward to the call from my aunt telling me Lucinda has shown up there.

Goodbye, Lucinda, and good luck. I will miss you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sometimes You Just Need a Good Cry

While I was intending to check my bank balance, I ended up instead reading Lil Sis' post from last night. For some reason I decided to re-read all the ones she wrote with my name in them. Guess I have a wider streak of narcissism than I thought. (Good thing I have the dictionary on my iPhone. Had to make sure I spelled narcissism correctly.)

Anyway, I read the one she wrote on my birthday--which I am certain made me cry the first time--and I cried again. Coincidentally I had just been thinking about both of my sisters and how much they mean to me and how proud I am of all they have accomplished. Over the years I have lost touch with most of my "best" friends from my past, and my sisters have become my very best friends.

There are times when I feel that I just can't get out of bed, just can't make myself do anything at all, want to pull the covers over my head and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist . . . you get the picture. It's at those times that I think of my sisters and how they would respond. It would go something like: "Oh, I'm so sorry you feel that way. How can I help you? Now get your a** out of that bed and get on with your life."

Lil Sis and I went bicycle riding with our friend Rozmo yesterday, and it saved me from another day of sitting around like a bump on a pickle, worrying about things I can't do anything about right now. I came so close to calling (or texting, more likely) Lil Sis to tell her I just wasn't up to it. But once I got there and we actually started riding, I was so glad I hadn't bailed out. It was a glorious day, one which really makes you glad you're alive, and we had a most wonderful ride of 37 miles.

See, I know my sisters have both been in similar situations to the one in which I now find myself, and I know they persevered and overcame them. They probably still find themselves in difficult predicaments from time to time, and I know they fight through them. That's what we do: we fight--for each other and for ourselves.

And just as soon as I'm finished crying I'm going grocery shopping. I'll start figuring out the rest of my life when I get back!