Weather Complications

Gen’s trip to Ohio ended up being a bit of an adventure. ✈️ The original plan had her taking off from NJ, landing in NC with a half-hour to catch her connecting flight, and then onto Columbus. But for whatever reason, their plane landed in Charlotte only a couple of minutes before the connecting flight took off… so anyone that was continuing to Ohio missed their flight. πŸ˜ŸπŸ˜•πŸ˜ πŸ˜ πŸ˜πŸ˜ŸΒ πŸ›« American Airlines obviously knew they screwed up, and had everyone quickly booked on the next flight out to Columbus, but the result was that she ended up getting here about an hour and a half later than anticipated.

It was almost 4pm by the time we were leaving the airport, and that’s when the flag placement ceremony was supposed to beginΒ – so we didn’t even really try to hurry, assuming that we were just gonna miss it. (And that was the main reason that she was coming to visit.) But as we were heading to Lancaster, she was texting with Toni (who was already there) and we learned that the crappy weather and other “opening remarks” type stuff had kept everyone inside one of the buildings at the fairgrounds πŸ˜―πŸ€”πŸ˜ƒ and that we’d possibly be able to make it in time for the flag placement after all.

The first couple of flags had already been handed out by the time we were pulling in, but it worked out so that they called Dad’s name just as we had parked and joined everyone standing there. πŸ™‚πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Couldn’t have cut it any closer. 😎 They go alphabetically, so that meant there was still plenty of time before Uncle Rick, Grandpa Shepherd, and Genesee’s dad’s names were called. Any other year that would have been great, but this year… whoothe weather, man. πŸ˜―πŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈπŸ’¨πŸ˜£

Ominous dark clouds, half drizzle, half sleet, freezing winds gusting so hard that people were struggling to hold their flags… it was just awful. 😟 (They had a huge eagle on hand as well, and he wasn’t too thrilled about things either.) πŸ¦… And as much as I’d have liked for Dad to have been able to go… at least when we were talking about it in the daysΒ prior… I’m glad that he decided not to. With the flight delays, getting there late, mother nature going crazy, and him not feeling that great over the past few days anyway – he definitely made the right choice. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Other years that I’ve gone, loads of people would sit in the stands, listening to the names, ranks, wars, etc as they waited for their person’s name to be called. But there was no sitting this time. The bleachers were cold and wet, so everyone just huddled together… enduring the weather until they could place their flag and then flee to their car. πŸš™πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸƒπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈ I don’t blame anyone… it was just unfortunate that this year’s event didn’t have the same “feel” as previous years because of all that other crap. πŸ˜•

We did end up going back through there the next day though, when the weather was much nicer, to see how many flags were displayed – and to pay the proper respect to the whole thing that none of us were really able to give the day before. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ§πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ We did take a handful of pictures on the actual placement day, and boy do they not convey what the experience was actually like. 😏 (But of course once everything was overΒ the weather calmed down considerably.) We’re still fortunate to have made it though, since this is the first year that we had flags for Dad and Gen’s dad – so it would have sucked if we weren’t able to place them ourselves.

Okay, it’s been a busy couple days, so I’ll follow up soon with an entry covering anything else worth mentioning from Gen’s stay.Β I didn’t even do half as much as her… but I’m out of juice. πŸ™„πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Thursday Mission

Woke up stupid early yesterday so I could help out a friend. She’s been in an ongoing custody “disagreement” with her former SO for quite a while now, where they’ve each been representing themselves in court due to how expensive an attorney can be. 😟 And without having a lawyer on her side, while things have been going in her favor, it’s just happening so slowly. With another hearing coming up in about a month and a half, she knew she had to start doing something differently, so I looked up a few places that claim to offer pro bono representation for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

She’s got an aversion to talking on the phone, just like me, but on Wednesday I encouraged her to start making some calls… and by that afternoon she had spoken with someone at SEOLSΒ who seemed open to the idea of taking her case, or at least hearing her out and looking at all of the information to figure out the best way for her to proceed. πŸ™‚ So that evening I printed out all of her case information to date, a ton of things meant to show that she’s the “more ideal” parent, and got it all sorted and organized in a way that would make it easy for an attorney to look through. πŸ€“πŸ“’

So then yesterday morning I picked her up to take her to the closest SEOLS office serving Fairfield County, which is unfortunately way down in Chillicothe. πŸ˜’ I left the house around 9:30a, and by time I got back home it was after 3p. That’s a long friggin’ time (for me) to be out and about, working on a stressful project… even though, obviously, she’s the one bearing the most amount of that stress. I just really want things to go well for her, and being familiar with the frustration of facing hearings with unknown outcomes, the empath in me kicked in and I couldn’t help but feel many of the things she was feeling. πŸ˜•

I didn’t go in with her when she actually met with the attorney, but she said things seemed to go well and that it felt more positive than negative. He made copies of all of the information that he needed and said that he wanted to talk to some folks who specialize more in custody cases on Monday… so while things sounds good, she’s still gotta wait a few more days before she’ll know for sure if they will provide someone to represent her. It was worth the trip regardless, because at the very least they’ll be able to hold her hand through what she should do next, even if they end up not being able to actually be with her on the day of her hearing. I’m gonna stay hopeful though, because having an attorney could make all the difference.

But I was wiped out by time I got home. πŸ˜₯ I’ve done very little “out of the house all day” stuff lately, and especially for something that’s as “high stakes” as this. And of course helping her with her legal stuff kept my legal stuff in the back of my mind… the upcoming WC stuff, that is… and starting off the day so early, with my shoulder already bugging me, all of the time in the car didn’t help. 😣 But it was a small sacrifice to help her with something that could end up being a game-changer in the long run, and I knew that I’d have all day today to recover if I needed to.

Well, my body didn’t wanna wait until today. 😏 Shortly after getting home I knew I wanted to take a short nap, but also not screw up my sleep schedule. But my nap lasted until the evening, and when I did wake up I went ahead and took my evening meds and thankfully ended up falling back to sleep – not waking again until a little after 6a today. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ So I’m just now starting to catch up from messages from all day yesterday, but I’m gonna wait a while to reply so I’m not waking people up as early as it is.

I’ve still got a friend or two that gets concerned if I don’t reply in an undefined amount of time. That’s thoughtful of them, but boy I wish that folks in general would consider that even the most nerdy of humans don’t necessarily get online every day, or multiple times a day… and that sometimes whatever is going on during a particular day might cause messages to be ignored until the next. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yesterday’s situation was based on necessity, but I still do wanna try to take “days off” from the digital world every now and then… a luxury that younger people these days probably don’t really have. Imagine taking a teenager from today and transplanting them to 1985, during summer break from school, living out in the country, with only a landline telephone as means of keeping in touch with friends. πŸ˜…

Heh… another “old fart” thing to add to the growing library of “old fart things” in my head. πŸ™„πŸ‘΄πŸ»

Disappointed, But It’s Alright

Made it through most of the day without thinking about it, but tonight was the night that Skillet performed at Express Live in Columbus. 😟 Indoor show, general admission, standing room only. 😬 It’s those last two bits that got me. (I hate to admit it…) But I made the right choice by not going. Today hasn’t been a great day when it comes to my neck bothering me. Standing, getting bumped around by an appropriately enthusiastic crowd, for a few hoursΒ (Alter Bridge was performing as well) just wouldn’t have worked. πŸ˜•

(But I also know that I’d feel even more disappointed if I made an attemptΒ to go – and then ended up having to leave before the concert was even over because of my oush. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Sigh… it is what it is.)

Finding the positives… πŸ€”Β Okay… I’ve seen Skillet plenty of times, and there’s always the possibility of seeing them again at the right time and right venue, so it’s not like I missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And the show? They’re touring on their newest album, and don’t tell anybody… 🀫 but this album isn’t exactly one of my favorites. And if I don’t count “missed the Skillet concert” then I’ve otherwise had an okay day.

Genesee and Sarah upgraded their security system, so a couple of weeks ago she sent me an extra camera that works with my home security setup, and today I found a place for it and added it to the network. πŸ“ΉΒ So I now have five active security cameras keeping an eye on my house. 😏 A house with hardly any visitors, and even fewer “suspicious” people coming anywhere close to stepping onto my property. It’s the same theory as having the dashcam in my car. Having video cameras installed somewhere almost magically prevents anything worth capturing on video from happening, and that’s a good (yet boring) thing.Β πŸ€“ Touch wood. 🀞🏻

But I kept today low-key, much like yesterday. I did start watching more of the political news coverage… and woo boy… πŸ˜―πŸ˜…Β Whether you believe that the fuss is all justified, or you believe that it’s a witch hunt that’s wasting the government’s time, energy, and money – stuff is sure heating up quickly. πŸ”₯🍊πŸ”₯Β It makes you wonder how any normal, functional, useful “government-ing” gets done. But I think my DVR also caught today’s NASCAR qualifying for me, so after O’Donnell I’ll click over and see how that went. πŸπŸš—πŸš•πŸš™πŸ’¨

I’m not even sure what track they’re at this week. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ (… said the formerly enthusiastic fan of the sport.)

C’est la vie

Well, I suppose it was bound to happen one of these days, considering the amount of appointments and other obligations that I’ve got… but this morning I completely blew past my scheduled appointment with the psychiatrist. 😬 It was scheduled at 9am, so I knew it was gonna be a struggle, but I really thought I’d be fine. I mean, I haven’t missed any of my other stupid-early appointments… but I didn’t manage to fall asleep until after 4am, so meh… whatever, I guess. πŸ˜’

I shouldn’t look at it this way, but when I’m keeping up with all of the other stuff I need to be keeping up with, waiting a little bit longer to bring in the doctor that provides the happy pills… yeah, I guess I’m just not that worried about that. 😡 And I know, mental health is probably as important as physical health, but hey… I’ve got the counselor now, and I’ve already got that next appointment scheduled, so that’ll have to be good enough for the time being.

The two offices are related though, so I’m not sure if ghosting the pharmaceutical shrink will have any affect when I go to the talky shrink. 😐 I’ll give ’em a call on Monday and make nice and see what they say. I did make it to the dentist though a few hours later, so I can report that maintenance on the lower part of my mouf is now finished and those teefs are about as good as they’re gonna get. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘πŸ» The permanent crowd actually feels really natural, although I’ve been afraid to look too closely in the mirror in case it looks wonky.

I’m Right Here

Got a call from the doctor’s office. I guess one of the “referral” folks trying to get ahold of me called them back and said that I was unreachable. 🀨 Strange, since I’ve got no incoming calls or messages, but whatever… I got their number and will give them a call back soon.

Right now I’ve still got a week before I have to go for the ultrasound, and that’s the nearest upcoming appointment that I’ve got… but the thing is, I’m hoping that when I call this ENT that they aren’t gonna want to get me in too quickly – cuz, quite frankly, I don’t want to go through the embarrassment of shuffling into their office, in front of everyone, like a hunched-over old man with a cane. 😣😟

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that all this stuff is in process now… but what a shit time for my back to be doing what it’s doing. 😠 As if going to different doctors to get poked and prodded isn’t enough of a pain in the ass. (No pun intended.) I guess I don’t have to feel too rushed… as long as I get ’em done before my next family doctor appointment, which isn’t for a while. That is, unless the ultrasound shows something extra scary, I suppose. 😳

Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was rough. 😐 I woke up and hit the road shortly after dawn, because I wanted to allow myself plenty of time to compete with rush hour traffic heading towards Columbus. I just wanted to get up there early enough so that I could spend a while with Cassi and Lily before we had to head to the vet’s office. 😞 Once we were there, I couldn’t make myself stay in the room when the time came – but thankfully Cassi was strong enough to stay in there with Lily through all of it. As I sat out in the car waiting for her, I found what I felt was the best way to think about it…

Cassi loves Lily and didn’t want her to go, obviously, but she knew that for Lily’s sake – that’s what needed to happen. And Lily… I like to think that Lily didn’t want to go, but only because she didn’t want her adoptive mommy (and the other kitties in the house) to be sad and miss her. 😒 But Lily herself, I’m sure that if she would have been able to say it, she’d have said that it was time to go.Β  Thinking about it in human terms… as all of us approach our final years, there’s a pretty good chance that we ourselves will go through days, weeks, or maybe even months where we’d probably like to ask God to go ahead take us – due to the discomfort that often comes with that old age. πŸ‘΄πŸ»πŸ˜Ÿ

We were sniffling and sobbing all the way back to the apartment, and she was telling me even more little stories about Lily and some of the other cats that I hadn’t heard before… kind of a rolling “wake” of good kitty memories. πŸ™‚πŸ˜Έ Of course I couldn’t help but start thinking about Maven’s age, wondering how I’m going to be able to face it once that day comes for her… but luckily I’ve got both Cassi and Genesee who said they’re willing (and want) to be there. I wish I could have made myself stay in the room for Cassi, but she understood – and actually said that she never expected me to. 🀨 She basically said it in a way to let me know that she stayed in the room not only for Lily, but also so that I didn’t have to.

Prepared

Cassi sent me a text a couple of days ago to ask if I’d wanna join her for Thanksgiving again this year. First thing that flashed in my head was that it sure didn’t feel like an entire yearΒ could have passed since we made our premiere attempt, throwing together a (surprisingly edible) Thanksgiving dinner for everyone in the house there. (With neither of us having any bird cookin’ skillz to speak of.) 😏 We were pretty proud of ourselves.

This year she stepped up her game. 😯 She did her research and the bird was prepped, seasoned, in the oven, and half-way done before I even got there – so she alone gets the cookie when it ended up turning out amazing. πŸ˜ƒ It’s weird how the turkey was almost half the size of last year’s bird, but we somehow ended up with way more “good” meat this year… and it was every bit as good as anything that we used to have at family holidays. I was impressed.

Honestly the only tasks that I had were making the cornbread and then making the gravy, and most of the rest of the time I just tried to stay out of her way. πŸ™‚ Oh, I did the carving too… but even that I can’t take much credit for, as the bird basically fell apart in a way where all of the “good stuff” separated itself from the “ick” in nice big chunks. I didn’t let them know that though. 😁 I mean, I gotta appear useful for something.

I’m glad that I went. And it wasn’t a definite. It’s not easy to leave the bubble and go out for something uncertain, even if I know it’s gonna be at least an okay time. 😐😟 But agreeing to it when she asked “locked it in” so that even if I wasn’t feelin’ it today – that alone would have made it harder for me to cancel. Oh, and Aunt Sharon left a message about our local family’s gathering today – but she left it at 8:00Β am, I didn’t get it until I woke up aroundΒ 1:00Β pm, where I learned that “we’re gonna eat” at noon. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Another example of how my inability to conform to human schedules kinda messed things up. But, while I love my family and love that they still invite me, our family gatherings are just shadows of their former selves these days. 😟