Thursday, September 28, 2006

Old age, and why I'm perhaps suffering the effects already...

Yesterday was my Grandma Anne's 90th birthday. My brothers and I sent her one of those big gourmet gift baskets full of yummy goodies. I talked to her yesterday afternoon, and she was having a wonderful day. Everybody had called and she was feeling loved. We chatted about what it was like for her to be 90 and to look back on all of the things that have happened in her life. The world has changed so much in 90 years, it must be like recounting a dream to think back on World War II or the civil rights movement or the emergence of rock and roll.

My Grandpa Leo is also 90, and my Grandma Ruth will be 87 next week. I had four great-grandparents until I was in high school. I've got good longevity genes is what I'm saying. Time seems to pass so quickly -- Jason and I will celebrate our first anniversary in two months (yoiks!) -- but given my lifestyle and genetic makeup, I should have a long time left to go. I hope I do something worthwhile with it.

In other news, I had to shower at the Y this morning because we had no water. Last night Jason and I were doing the dishes after dinner when we noticed that the water pressure was really low and getting worse. We went and talked to our neighbor across the street, investigated the water meter, scratched our heads thinking that maybe there was a water main break somewhere in town. It was a big mystery. Perhaps someone was playing a practical joke on us?

Turns out, I'm just a forgetful dork and I forgot to pay the water bill, so somebody from the county came by yesterday and turned it off. I looked through the pile of mail that I'm really bad about paying attention to unless it's an issue of Entertainment Weekly or Sports Illustrated, and found a notice from Dekalb County informing me that I owed them $55 and that my water would be cut off if I didn't pay the bill by September 21. Oops. Luckily, we had some gallon jugs of water that I keep in the laundry room in the event of a natural disaster (Jason laughs at me about this -- who's laughing now, smart guy?), so we had water to drink and brush our teeth. But since there was no water for flushing the toilet, when I had to pee at 3 in the morning, I went outside and did it in the back yard. Seriously. Anyway, I paid the bill online and it should be back on today, but I guess I've learned that I need to look at my mail more than once every two weeks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Yet another thing that my husband and I have in common...

He thinks he may have a hairline fracture in his right arm as a result of this fall. Welcome to the gimp club, honey!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Happy New Year, but if your New Year isn't actually happy, I disclaim all liability

My dad sent this lovely New Year's blessing (happy 5767, everyone!) out to offer good wishes for Rosh Ha'Shana. To my great amusement, it included the standard confidentiality disclaimer and tax warnings that accompany all emails out of his office. Leave it to a Jew to wish you a happy new year, but with disclaimers.

May this New Year bring to you and yours all the blessings of Peace, Health, Happiness and Prosperity.

L’Shanah Tovah!

This communication, along with any documents, files or attachments, is intended only for the use of the addressee and may contain legally privileged and confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of any information contained in or attached to this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately and destroy the original communication and its attachments without reading, printing or saving in any manner. Thank you.

Circular 230 Notice: Pursuant to regulations governing practice before the Internal Revenue Service, unless expressly stated otherwise, any tax advice contained herein or in any attachment hereto cannot be used, and is not intended to be used, by a taxpayer for (i) the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) the promotion or marketing of any tax-related matter or program.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Chicken and the Egg

A friend of mine who is going through a significant traumatic event suggested that she is so shattered by it that she doesn't know if she will be the same kind of person when it is over. I haven't been able to stop thinking about that -- the notion that certain experiences are so profound that they change who we are as a person. I've been looking back over my life and trying to analyze how I've changed from point to point, and why.

About 8 years ago I had my first depressive "break." Clinical depression runs in my family (on my dad's side -- my mother is the most nauseatingly sane person in the world), and it hit me hard when I was about 28. I was in a serious relationship with a guy that I really loved, but was overwhelmed with feelings of despair and worthlessness. It took me months to accept that I needed help (and, it turned out, medication), but in the meantime I made my boyfriend so miserable with my own miserableness that he dumped me. He didn't handle the breakup well, and many of my wonderful friends are still ready to string him up because of the way they think he treated me, but it wasn't his fault. I was broken, and he couldn't fix me, and I subtly punished him for it, and he couldn't take it anymore. That's the truth.

The depression was very intense. I kind of felt like a marine in boot camp, where they're supposed to break you down to your barest elements as a person so they can rebuild you as a soldier. I felt like a raw, exposed nerve ending all the time, I had suicidal ideations (never could or would act on them -- don't worry), I felt worthless and despondent and beyond salvation. But then I went to therapy and went on medication and got better. I've had relapses, but the difference now is that I recognize what's happening immediately and get help. Mostly it's just chemical. I feel fine on the meds, and I cycle downwards fairly dramatically when I'm not on them. The only side effect that I can't get rid of is insomnia (I'm writing this at 3 in the morning). I haven't slept through the night without the assistance of ambien or something similar in 9 years, and I've resigned myself to the fact that I probably never will.

So how did the depression and the breakup back in 1998 affect me? In a way, it made me determined to take control of my life to the extent I could, and not be a slave to my chemical makeup. I know I have tendencies to feel down, so I'm determined to not feel that way, to the extent I can control it. I feel like I have two choices: I can deal with whatever comes, and get on with my life, or not. "Not" is not an acceptable option. Life's too short to feel crappy about things, so a big part of my approach is to just not feel crappy.

Since 1998, my life has changed quite dramatically, and I did things I'm not sure I would have done before. I ran a half-marathon and then a marathon, though I had never been a runner. I bought a house and got a new job. I started playing bluegrass music in public. I made new friends. I joined tennis teams. I started a book club. Best of all, I married an Australian surfer that I met on vacation in Costa Rica.

Without the depression, I don't know that I would have ever done any of these things. On the other hand, maybe the outlook I have now was always in me, just waiting for an opportunity to emerge, like a butterfly in a cocoon. So the depression, in a way, provided me with the impetus to act. But the desire, the impulse to make a life, was there the whole time. And since then I've felt very strongly that I control not only my destiny but also how I'm going to feel about it and what I'm going to become. I'm relatively fearless about how my life is going to go. Marry an Aussie surfer/electrician? sure, I love him and he's fun and sweet and he makes me happy. Move to Hawaii? Why not, it's pretty and people will come visit. Have a kid soon? Hell, yeah. We're ready. Full steam ahead.

Yesterday my mother called me to tell me about an envelope of my old school records from when I was in first grade in Venezuela. The teachers loved me, I was cooperative, smart, eager to learn, a joy to have in class, blah blah blah. In the "needs improvement" section, the teacher said, "Wendy has a difficult time keeping her work space neat and organized." I would like to invite my teacher to my office to let her know that her observation would be as applicable now as then -- my desk looks like a filing cabinet was dumped out onto it, and it pretty much always looks that way. I try to clean it, but it doesn't really take. I guess that part of me has been encoded since the age of five, and it's never changed, and it's never going to.

I want my friend to know that her core as a person isn't something likely to be changed by anything. She's smart, principled, moral, ethical, and serious. I suspect that those qualifies may spur her to make some changes that she might not have otherwise made, or that she didn't realize she had the strength to make. But it will still be her. Some lessons learned, a little more circumspect, perhaps, but still wonderful her.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Depressing but true

My agent has tried calling the poop-stepper's agent, but no response. Not good. It's looking more and more like we may have to take the house off the market and try again in the spring. *sigh* I'm so bummed. We were so encouraged only a few days ago and now feel hopeless. On the plus side, we're going to the Falcons' home opener against the Bucs on Sunday (big grudge match), which should be really fun, especially because I scored good seats. And I've become addicted to Project Runway. So I've got that going for me.


It's a couple of hours later and I just got a good pep talk from my real estate agent. She told me to keep the faith, so that's what I'm going to do. I figure we'll ride it out for about a month, and if it hasn't sold at that point, we'll figure something out at that point. So I'm feeling a little better.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

You're shitting me, right?

This is so ridiculous I can't even believe it's true, but I swear I'm not making it up. The woman that expressed great interest in our house at the open house on Sunday came by to look at it again today. Which is great, except that apparently, for the first time since he was a puppy, Max took a dump in the house. Jason came home and found it, with a footprint across the middle of it, and then a series of shitty footprints leading across the carpet, through the laundry room, and out the back door. I'm praying that, as with getting hit by bird shit, having a prospective buyer step in dog shit while inspecting your house is good luck. Oy.

Monday, September 11, 2006

We have a nibble

I don't want to say too much about it because I'm afraid of jinxing it, but there's a person who's very interested in the house. Fingers and toes crossed.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Help me out, people.

Yesterday I had a bit of a stomach bug and there wasn't much going on at the office, so I went home early. I had some unwatched Netflix movies, including Midnight Cowboy, which starred Jon Voigt and Dustin Hoffman and won the Best Picture Oscar(TM) in 1969 and is supposed to be this incredible classic. I had rented it because it was one of those venerated, hip movies that I had never gotten around to seeing. To my surprise and dismay, I found it to be boring, plodding and pointless, and was utterly unmoved by the characters or the acting. Now, I consider myself to be a relatively sophisticated consumer of culture, so I'm a bit unnerved by my reaction (though I also thought Crash sucked major ass and cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone liked that movie, so maybe I'm just out of touch and not as sophisticated as I think I am). Anyway, if someone can explain to me what it is about Midnight Cowboy that is so great, I would most appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hanging in there.

The house sale is officially frustrating as hell. The market completely sucks right now, to the point that every major news magazine/organization has a cover story about how shitty it is and how everyone trying to sell right now is going to lose their shirt. We just lowered the price -- again -- so maybe that will help the process along. I know that houses in my neighborhood and price range are selling, if somewhat more slowly, so I'm hoping it's just a matter of time. I keep having the same conversation with everyone I know.

"How's the sale of the house going? Any nibbles?"

"Not yet. We're still getting a fair amount of traffic through it, so we're encouraged, but you know how it is. The market is screwy right now."

"Yeah, I've heard that. Well, hang in there! It'll sell."

"I know. We're trying to be patient."

So, we're hanging in there. Not that we have a choice, but whatever.

As for what else is going on, we had a lovely Labor Day weekend. Friday night we had dinner with Kathleen and Addie and Lula, and after dinner Jason and I had the honor of taking Addie for ice cream by ourselves while Kathleen took Lula home to put her to bed. Good babysitting practice for when we have our own bambini.

What else? The rest of the weekend, I spent much time on the couch, watching tennis and napping. We were shocked by the freakish death of Steve Irwin. Jason took Max for a walk late Sunday night and lost him for 45 minutes when he let him run around off the leash for a few minutes. The poor dog is almost completely blind, especially at night, so he must have wandered away (bumping into things the whole time) and couldn't find his way back. Jason found him a half mile down the street, sitting in front of a car under a street light. Saturday night we went to the drive-in movie, which was very fun in an old school, kitschy kind of way. We saw a gloriously awful movie about hip-hop and street basketball called Crossover. It's the first movie I've ever seen that got a 0% -- yes, you read that right --rating on Not a single positive review. We loved it, so screw you, critic bitches. It was a beautiful, breezy night, and we sat in our little camp chairs drinking Australian shiraz and eating Fritos and Fiddle Faddle and had a grand time. We watched another bitchin movie on Sunday called Roll Bounce, an awesome 70s teen roller-skating movie. Interestingly (at least, it's interesting to me), both movies starred Wayne Brady (who I love) and some new kid named Wesley Jonathan, who can't act for shit but is quite cute and charismatic on-screen nonetheless. Anyway, as soon as my arm gets better, we're totally going roller skating.

Speaking of which, my arm is getting better. I have so much more range of motion than I did even just a few days ago, and I don't ever wear my sling or have to take heavy-duty pain meds (which is good, since I went through all 30 of the pills I had in a week). I figure I'll be back at full strength in another 2 weeks or so, so I'll have to find another triathlon to compete in, because I need the training. I'm feeling a little pudgy.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Bestest Get Well Card in the World

Last night when I got home from work, there was a large envelope waiting for me in the mailbox. It was from my brother and sister-in-law, Sam and Erica. Erica has a jewelry business, so I figured it was something related to that, perhaps a new catalog that she had put together and wanted me to see. Instead, what I found was the most awesome get-well card ever.

Apparently, Erica gets catalogs from supply companies, including a fine establishment called Fine Mountain Gems. They have their astonishingly unphotogenic employees model jewelry designs. Erica had the idea to use the catalog to make an inspirational card. Sam helped her take it to the next level.

I'm not sure if this guy turned to Jesus for sodomy, or to sodomy for relief. Syntax, Sammy, syntax.

I think Chinless Lady is my favorite.