December 2006


It’s winding down towards Christmas and the attendance at work has taken a nosedive.  Only about half of us are still here and I’m strongly leaning towards just using vacation and staying home tomorrow.  It’s tempting since school is out and that’s what the kids are doing.  We still haven’t gone on our Christmas-light-watching drive this year and we need to do that.

It goes against all commone sense to blog about work; therefore, I won’t.  That’s too bad since I have some interesting things to say on that front.  Maybe some day I can write it all down as a story from “back in the day” when it won’t matter.

Today at lunch, I spilled half a grande-sized Starbucks coffee in my lap which tends to punctuate the day in an interesting way.  When that’s the worst thing that happens to you, you know that life is pretty good so I won’t gripe – not until laundry day anyway.

So the family is settling in to await Christmas morning and there are sweet things to eat everywhere.  I hope I don’t gain too much weight.  Last night, somebody dropped off a ham and potato casserole so even our main dishes these days are fattening.  May as well eat birthday cake for dinner.  Not a bad idea when I come to think of it.

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Well, what do you know?  My birthday came and went with no blogage of it.  Shocking.

Everybody was up before me and had present piled on the table.  I got a nice pile of books from my amazon wishlist as well as some great funny cards.  One of them made fun of my suit I wore to the prom way back when.  I wish they’d give it a rest.  That night, I had a cake decorated with leftover Easter stuff.  Not timely but very tasty which is all that matters.

It was very rainy today.  It’s amazing how many times it can be rainy but I can get from my car to the office without getting wet.  It’s surprising how seldom it happens to be raining right then.  Today it was and so I wore my hat and big coat which usually prompts at least one smart-aleck to comment.  Something like “Hey, you got a six-gun under that duster?”.  I guess it may have been funny the first time but I’ve heard it enough by now.

Well, I guess it had to happen.  My cellphone rang and it was an automated voice telling me that I had a collect call coming and dial a number to accept the charges.  I don’t know what number it was since I hung up before Mr. Automata could finish his instructions.

Add to this the occurance on multiple occasions of a “missed call” from a number I don’t recognize but which is always the same.

I had hoped that having a cellphone would free from this sort of thing that my home phone always gets but apparently not.

Mel came home yesterday and is feeling fine.  Contrary to my expectation that the hospital would serve her something healthy (and moderately yucky) for breakfast like oatmeal, they instead larded her down with bacon, eggs, a large cinnamon roll, milk, coffee, OJ, and fruit loops.  Her mom ate the roll and I ate the fruit loops.  How’s that for “hospital” food?

The day before, while waiting for her to recover, Mel’s mom and I went down to the cafeteria for lunch and were amazed at how good and cheap the food was.  There are many fancy restaurants in that area but from now on, I will be temped to duck into the Saint Francis hospital cafeteria rather than PeiWei Asian Diner or anything else.  I probably won’t but I’ll think about it.  I got a pretty decent book at the Gift Shop too.  It’s called “How to Get Into the Bible”.  I’m not usually interested in such things but the synopsis of the first book of Judges (or maybe it was Samuel) included the phrase “a woman is gang-raped to death in front of the temple”.  Funny, I don’t remember that one from Sunday school at First Methodist in Camden, Arkansas.   Perhaps this book will sumarize things in English for me instead of “church talk”.

During all this, Mel was doing at least 10 times better than expected.  She has yet to report any serious discomfort and so was allowed to go home with the admonition not to drive or lift anything.  She had been in the bed with some booties around her legs that inflated with air every thirty seconds or so to massage away any potential blood clots and so was more than ready to get out of bed.  I can imagine that a little air compressor going off like that all the time made for a long night.  Her mom has always been the sort of person who loves to sit with the infirm in hospitals and so I was sent packing to sleep at home and to make sure the kids were going to bed, getting up on time, and all those other real-life things that kids will slough off when not goaded.

The staff of Saint Francis were more than nice but that hospital has been in the Tulsa area for many decades and has been renovated and added onto many times and is now a hopelessly confusing warren-like maze of passageways guaranteed to make you lose your way on the way to your car.  Just finding my way from the surgery waiting area to the Starbucks (and thank goodness there was a Starbucks – the official coffee from the Bunn-O-Matic was horrendous) was a challenge.  Not to mention finding the men’s room.  Getting around had a certain exploratory appeal to it but not when I was hunting a bathroom or my car.  We had a brief visit from one of our pastors but he was one of those guys with the uber-caring, soft-spoken demeanor that annoyed me so I was glad to see him go.  I appreciated the thought immensely and Mel seemed to appreciate his visit but he set my teeth on edge.

She’s home now and feeling good so I hope this little episode with the cancer and the surgeries is over and we can get on with living.

Mel’s last surgery (we hope) was completed OK yesterday.  We had to arrive at the unholy hour of 6:00am but everything happened on time and she was in her room by 11:00 or so.  She spent the night there which is unusual to me – her other surgeries seemed more extreme than this one in terms of what she had to do during recovery but nevertheless, she stayed the night and is apparently feeling fine.  She comes home today.

As hard as it may be to believe, when you get a roomful of middle school teachers together outside the classroom, they turn into real people that you enjoy hanging out with.  It’s true!  And even more unbelievably, the principal was the coolest woman ever – very funny.

So our party with the middle school staff was a fun time.  Too bad they all decided they had to go home to bed at about 8:30.  I’ve never wanted parties to end and ever since entering the workforce, parties have always wrapped up early.  Only in the movies do they seem to go past midnight.  My work parties go pretty late but after a certain time it’s just a bunch of young twentysomethings dancing to hiphop music.  That’s not what I’m interested in.

But it was fun while it lasted.

Of all the things that I think I might hear when I get home of an evening, the least likely would be:

“Do you want to take Erin to see ‘Seussical The Musical?”

To me that didn’t even make sense – or even sound like English. It had to be explained to me that it was a play at the Broken Arrow Community Playhouse. Well, I had originally intended to watch a recorded episode of MythBusters (We still don’t have Tivo!) but this is the sort of thing that isn’t truly an option. I was asked but in fact was really being told. No matter; it’s the same for all of us whether we choose to admit it or not. I went to see Seussical.

And of course it was fun. Two of Erin’s aquaintances were in it and three of her friends were working the lights so she had some socializing to do after the show while Evan and I just stood around and talked about electric guitars, the Christmas song “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out”, and Weird Al’s body of work. The actors always come out to the lobby so you can tell them how much you enjoyed their volunteer efforts but I couldn’t bring myself to actually exchange words with The Cat in the Hat. That character always came off as one who would get you into trouble if you made eye contact – that’s certainly what happened in the play and so I avoided him (HER actually since the character was played by a woman. A very outgoing vivacious woman at that which made it even less likely that I would make eye contact.)

And boy was it cold last night! When the play let out it was 20 degrees. I suppose that’s nothing to many people further north than this but we aren’t as prepared for it. It was painfully cold to me.

And so it goes. Tonight: Mel’s work party which will bring together a middleschool-full of teachers and spouses. Should be interesting; I’ve never been to a Christmas party that wasn’t a roomful of engineers except for one of Mel’s work parties back in the ‘80’s. That one was a noisy drunken affair and I’m hopeful that this one is more fun than that. Maybe with prizes.

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