Monday, January 20, 2014

The Story I Would Have Told If We Hadn't Been in Church

Speaking in front of an audience and, especially, at funerals is hard. And, frankly, it never occurred to me, in my frazzled state, that there would be an opportunity to speak at John's memorial today. So, as we sat there waiting, sometimes awkwardly, as people came up to say a few words, I was frantically racking my brain for a favorite story to share and kept drawing a blank. Until just as the minister was drawing to a close and the strains of the bagpiper at the back of the sanctuary began playing the first notes of "Amazing Grace" and I completely lost whatever vestiges of composure I had, I remembered this story...which is probably for the best.

It was Thanksgiving of 2012.

I decided I wasn't up to hosting the 5th annual Grotto Thanksgiving so, instead, a few of us Denhac-ians decided we should throw a Denhac Thanksgiving potluck. Everyone was invited - open to the public - I supplied the pies. Someone else, Sidragon, I think, wiped out his entire personal stash of single malt scotch and brought it over for our delightful consumption.

Acr0nym and TC, after stuffing themselves at the obligatory family get together, packed up TC's twin girls and his and Acr0nym's dad, John, and headed down to Denhac to join in the festivities.

Well. Turns out, John had a particular liking for two things: pie and single malt scotch, to which he helped himself to plenty.

As the evening progressed, normally quiet John became the life of the party. He entertained a number of us with several hilarious stories and jokes, his bright, blue eyes (so much like Acr0nym's) twinkling. He held a captive audience and it was clear we were all enjoying ourselves very much.

Until TC and Acr0nym realized their dad was on the slippery slope toward drunk.

And the consequences sunk in. 

One of them was going to have to return their quite lit father to their feisty mother and have lots of explaining to do.

An argument ensued1.

TC: You take him home.

Acr0: No, YOU take him home. You brought him. He's your responsibility.

TC: But I have the twins and I'll have to go home and I'd rather stay here for awhile longer.

Acr0: Yes, but you're the oldest and she won't be mad at YOU.

TC: Oh she'll be plenty mad no matter who takes him home. You should take him home because you have to come back this way anyway to get home.

Acr0: But if you take him home, you'll be within a mile of your own house.

Back and forth and back and forth they went. Both afraid to take him home and both with valid-ish arguments.

Meanwhile, John headed back to the "bar" for more scotch.

Eventually, TC drew the short straw and poured his hilariously happy father into his car, much to both their chagrin.

I never did learn of the outcome of that fateful trip. If Evelyn was pissed, I never heard about it. Regardless of the consequences, it's my favorite memory of one of the kindest, generous, most gentle men I've ever known. A memory in which he shined so brightly and so happily and held us all enthrall with his tales.

Rest in peace, John. I'm sorry I never got the chance to bake a cherry pie for you, my biggest pie fan. You are already sorely missed by so many.

Love,
Jane, in my infinite wisdom


1: This is, to the best of my recollection, the actual argument. I'm sure I am grossly paraphrasing but, knowing TC and Acr0nym as I do, I can promise you it's about as accurate as an actual transcript would be.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

42

I turn 42 tomorrow.

The age all Douglas Adams fans anticipate with great excitement. The year we become the answer to life, the universe, and everything...whatever that means. We're all still looking for the ultimate question as far as I know.

And I'm celebrating it by attending the memorial service for Acr0nym's father.

He had a heart condition - his first heart attack came 25 years ago - so it's not like this was completely out of the blue. But the timing couldn't be any worse...for Acr0nym, for TC, for their mother...for me.

The last two months, I...well, there isn't much I can say about it publicly. In so many ways it isn't my story to tell. Even though I played, and continue to play, a central character in the story, it still isn't my story to tell and I am so lost for words. I am so lost period.

Lost enough to seek out therapy for the first time in 8 years.

Lost enough to beg my doctor for help in the form of as-needed anti-anxiety medication for the first time ever (which, as it turns out, I'm too damned anxious to take).

Lost enough to be worried about how many hours a day I'm sleeping...something I haven't done since I was 15, since my suicide attempt. Worried and wondering if I'm sleeping because I'm depressed and attempting to escape my reality as I did back then or sleeping because it's my body's way of trying to heal from trauma.

All the time knowing anxiety is driving the question and the answer (TAKE THE PILL ALREADY, JANE!!!).

Still...the jury is still out because anxiety doesn't trust itself.

Anxiety, like all mental illnesses, lies.

And there has been so. much. anxiety.

So much grief.

So much loss and lost.

While trying to be strong and available and proactive and ridiculous. 

I'm going to regret this in the morning.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Only Way to Beat It Is to Bat It Down

And the only way you're going to get that title is by listening to the song at the end. So there.

We have a pretty sweet recording/performance studio at my work.

And by sweet, I mean, it's the kind of place in which world-renowned artists have performed (like, yannow, that Yo-Yo Ma guy, for one). And, since a certain adult alternative (AAA or triple-A) format launched a couple of years ago, the performance studio has become a veritable revolving door of any manner of musicians dropping by to visit and record.

Mostly, I don't pay too much attention. I'm compensated for my work and they prefer it when I work and my work does not include loitering near the performance studio to catch a glimpse of the bands. Occasionally, when I'm lucky (or unlucky...depending on who it is), a band will load in through the door right next to my office and I can peep out my blinds and ogle them like the dirty, dirty voyeur I am. Which then gives me bragging rights because I can honestly say I have been two feet away from a handful of famous folks...even if there was a wall between us and they couldn't see me.

Every once in awhile though, if it's a particular favorite of mine or if I have a special connection to the band (like any time Alameda and my friend, Jessie, come in), I'll make a point to find business near the performance studio.

As an aside, did you know that if you carry papers in your hand and walk through highly populated areas relatively fast, you look busy and important and no one questions your motive or destination? It's true.

Anyway!

There are a handful of musicians who, if they magically appeared before me, I'd promptly drop to the floor  and uncontrollably flop like a fish out of water in a self-induced fan-girl swoon. Artists who have touched me in profound, intimate, formative ways. Paul Westerberg comes to mind. Bob Mould, check. Mark Kozelek, yes, yes, yes. Zoe Keating, of course. Also, Patti Smith and Exene Cervenka would likely render me unconscious. And if they all came in together, you'd probably need to order an ambulance in advance. There are others. Bowie, David Byrne, Robert Smith, Debbie Harry, Terri Nunn, Greg Gaffin, Trent Reznor, Gary Numan...larger than life and, frankly, unimaginable.

But none of those artists (and more) are likely to roll into our humble little performance studio. Yo-Yo Ma was a well-timed fluke...right? RIGHT?! That's what I believed anyway. At least, I did until this week.

And then Tuesday happened.

Tuesday morning, mid-morning, I was attempting to schedule a conference room for a training session and accidentally clicked on the calendar for the performance studio. Before I could realize my mistake I saw, scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon, "Mike Doughty". Don't worry. I have edit access to that room's calendar. I was totally allowed to be all up in it. And the booking wasn't intended to be clandestine or anything.

Perhaps it should have been.

At that moment, it was 10:46 a.m.

My heart started racing. MIKE DOUGHTY! OMG! He's here! He's here! He's OMMFG! Mike Doughty is yards away!!!! 

I do realize this means nothing to most of you. 

Suffice it to say that Mike Doughty is, to me, one of those artists I might faint if I met in real life. (Hide the glassware.)

Knowing time was of the essence, I leaped up from my desk and ran - yes, I...who never runs...ran from my desk out into the lobby where I came to a screeching halt when I saw Keefer, the guru who coordinates such artists for the performance studio.

*SLIDING TO A BREATHLESS HALT*

Me: Is *gasp* Mike Doughty really *gasp* in this building?

Keefer (while looking at his phone): Huh? What?

Me: Is. Mike. Doughty. Really. Truly. In. This. Building?"

Keefer (looking worried): Well...he...um...was. He just pulled out of the parking lot.

Me: ... ... ...

Keefer: He finished up a few minutes ago. That's him in the RV pulling out of the parking lot.

Me: ... ... ... *tears welling up* FUCK!!!!!!!!! Excuse my language. [Inappropriate for an HR professional in a high-traffic area.]

Keefer: Are you a fan?

Me:  I'm...yes, I'm a fan. I have every album he's ever put out.

Keefer: Oh! Wow. I'm sorry you missed him. Do you want me to put you on the list for his show tonight? Free tix.

Me: Where?

Keefer: Boulder Theater.

Me:... ... ...

Yeah, right. Me drive to Boulder. At night. On the freeway. Alone. Sounds likely. Or not. Not even for Mike Doughty. For Acr0nym or my mom in an emergency MAYBE. But only if it's life or limb threatening and even then only maybe.

Me: Shit! [Still inappropriate language.] No.  I can't...I can't get to Boulder.

Keefer: If you change your mind, let me know. I won't turn in the VIP list until 1.

I slowly walked away.



PS Yes, I stopped driving on the highway most of the time two years ago. I can do it, occasionally, if I absolutely have to but will avoid it if at all possible and, with the exception of a trip up to Loveland this summer - and only because I had 3 other licensed, mostly capable drivers in the car with me, have avoided driving on the highway outside very specific Denver city limits ever since.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Least You Could Do is Offer Us Cake

For Janet: Because I promised her I would.

Dear Members of the United States Congress,

My name is Jane, I'm white, I am a U.S. citizen, and I live and work - for a 501(c)(3) charity - in the state of Colorado. 

Who I am specifically is of no consequence. I have no illusions that you care anything for me. If we met in person and it wasn't a photo or sound bite opportunity, I suspect, you wouldn't greet me with a smile or really acknowledge me at all. That's OK. I understand the delicate intricacies those of you who are rich and/or powerful must adhere to when interacting with the help.

And make no mistake...I am the help.

Most of my family and friends - as well as the vast majority of this country - are just the help too. 

You know who we are or, at the very least, you know our collective faces. Every few years, you descend into our masses, riding in your pimped out buses through middle America, stopping to shake our hands, kiss our babies, and promise each of us the moon in exchange for the one thing we can give you that you can't (I still say with a fading glimmer of hope) buy.

Our votes. 

The votes you need to land a cush government job - one with a salary - a salary many of you don't even need -  few of us can ever hope to aspire to; an automatic, annual, cost of living increase which, most of the rest of us, haven't received in the last decade or more; one with a pension; and one with the crème de la crème of benefits...affordable health care and paid leave and special perks. You are wooed by lobbyists, star on television (albeit mostly on C-SPAN), and get invited to all the best cocktail parties (wearing couture dresses, drinking top shelf booze, and feasting on fancy canapés).

Do you know what that actually means?

*Irony Alert*

We, the help, put you in your position of power. We did so with the confidence that you would do what we, the help, intended for you to do...serve us. Represent us. Speak for us. Make sound decisions for us. We delegated the basics to you because we don't have time to fuss with the details. We're too busy literally greasing all the various wheels that make our country function. 

That means, in essence, we, the help, are the ones in a position of power. We are your hiring manager. You, in fact, are, or were intended by the founding fathers to be, the help. 

Oh! Um...hai...

You are really Really REALLY REALLY not helping.

None of you.

Somehow, somewhere along the lines, you've come to believe we, your bosses, are no more than some hypothetical, pushover pussies that don't actually matter. That what you do, as long as it doesn't impact you directly, is inconsequential and can't possibly touch you. You've relegated us to the role of the invisible help who doesn't deserve your attention unless we've done something to fuck with your day and must be punished.

But "let me be clear": we do matter. 

In the last several weeks, I've listened to political analysts - on every side - describe this government shut down as "an epic game of chicken". I've heard unintentionally recorded conversations where some of you - from every side - have stated, "We're WINNING!". I've been told this shut down would only be effective - for every side - if it lasted long enough to hurt us - the American people who elected you to serve US.


Guess what? We hurt.

All of us...even you - maybe especially you.


Individually, we might not yet feel it. Individually, we may not have been furloughed or know someone who has been furloughed. We may not have tried to travel around our country to explore various historical sites and been denied access to a national park, monument, zoo, museum. We may not depend on disability benefits or WIC to feed ourselves and our children. We may not be trying, in government shut down vain, to buy our first (or second, or third) dream house. We may already have access to affordable health care, because our employers care, and couldn't give a shit less if anyone else does. We may not all give a rats if that everyday Joe is eligible to work in the United States - the one whose eligibility must be verified, via a website that is no longer accessible, within the first 3 days of employment because you said so. 

Still...whether we or you know it or not...every single one of us hurts from this game you are playing. 

Sometimes the onset of feeling pain is slow.

And that is something you should be aware of...sometimes the onset of pain is slow.

You may not feel it now. You may not yet see the stain of human blood on your hands. You may not know that your games now will eventually equal pain, for you, later, but! There will be pain...

At, the bare minimum, the polls.

You are representing me and those like me who told you, with our votes, to represent us. We gave you that salary, that COLA increase, those benefits, those perks as incentives to do a job well done on our behalf.

Do you remember what your momma said when you were being especially naughty? "Child! I brought you into this world. I can take. You. Out."

And, if you remember that, you might also remember that if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Right now, Momma really Really REALLY ain't happy. If you've talked to your momma recently, you'll know this and still feel the sting from her slap upside the head.

You're doing a crappy job. You have a 5% approval rating. Cockroaches and hemorrhoids, right now, are doing a better job of satisfying their constituents than you are. And dude? I've had both cockroaches in my house and hemorrhoids up my ass - neither of which is pleasant or desirable - so that's seriously saying something.

If the members of Congress were subject to an at-will employer, you'd be hosed. For real.

So, you know, get your shit together.

Stop believing this is a game. The lives, the welfare, the health, the double-iced-espresso-mochas of the American public isn't all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

Your job and your success isn't dependent on how many 1-ups you collect from your colleagues or how many virtual dungeon bosses you defeat.

THIS IS NOT A GAME!

Your job and your success depends on me...

Your boss.

Your help.

Don't believe me?

I'll see you at the polls.

Sincerely fuck you,
Jane

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wait Ten Minutes

That's what they say about Colorado weather...if you don't like it, wait ten minutes. It'll change.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that Denver and the Front Range were seeing record-breaking temperatures nearing 100º. School districts were closing some schools early or altogether as the attempts to keep old buildings without air conditioning relatively cool against the oppressive heat failed miserably. Everyone in this neck of the woods has heard of that glorious unexpected holiday known as a "Snow Day". No one, to my knowledge, can recall schools closing for a "Hot as Hell Day". It was unprecedented.

I think most of us have been waiting, anxiously, for that first hint of autumn. That first morning we step outside of our houses and feel that first bit of a chill signifying its inevitable approach. This summer started much like the last with fires raging - devastating communities, destroying homes, contributing, psychologically, to the unbearable heat. It felt hotter than normal - at least, to me. Maybe that's because I was moving in the middle of it. I don't know. Regardless, I don't believe I'm in alone in saying that, last weekend, when the powers that be began forecasting cool temperatures and rain for several days in a row, I let out a ginormous sigh of relief. AT LAST!

Ahem.

About that...

Tuesday, September 10
After a long day at work and an extra long, intense acupuncture treatment for tennis elbow (apparently from all that, um, tennis I play) I sat out on my patio in the gloaming, enjoying an adult beverage, when the wind kicked up and I realized I was sitting outside and I was cold and not really in a good way. There's a difference between a crisp chill in the air and a cold wind stirring the leaves ominously. I shivered. I went inside and grabbed a sweater. 

It began to rain.

Wednesday, September 11
It was lightly raining as I made my way to work. It didn't seem unusual or even particularly heavy. Just, you know, rain...like the rain that rains in Seattle a good portion of the time. It had rained off and on throughout the night. Occasionally, very occasionally, that happens around here. I had an umbrella. I left it in the car. That's what most Coloradans do...cuz, you know, why carry an umbrella when, in ten minutes, the weather will change?

It rained pretty steadily all day but was, all in all, uneventful. I went home. I slept well. The rain was such a nice change from the weeks of blistering heat.

Thursday, September 12
Morning dawned. It was raining still. Light and steady most of the time but punctuated every once in awhile with a hard shower. I thought nothing of it beyond how annoying morning rain is when it impacts my ability to enjoy my morning cuppa joe out on the patio.

A couple of hours later, when Acr0nym rolled into work, he IM'd me and said, "This shite is crazy!" I made some comment about how this was just like Seattle so what's the big deal. And that's when he told me about Boulder.

Boulder was flooding. Boulder was, in effect, closed. 

Huh? Boulder's closed because it's RAINING?! That's almost as ridiculous as Denver Public Schools closing buildings because it's hot.

And that's when I thought to tune into the news.

Ahem.

It wasn't just Boulder. By then, Lyons and Jamestown had been completely cut off - no way in or out. Reports of houses collapsing and being washed away in Nederland. And then Longmont, home to TC and Mrs. TC and Mr. & Mrs. Acr0nym Senior - his whole family, cut in half by the St. Vrain River and impending evacuation orders issued. 

Both of us sat, mesmerized, horrified. 

Highway 7 12 miles west of Lyons, CO from the Camping in Colorado Facebook page


Parts of Commerce City, near Denhac, evacuated. Pictures rolling in, stories of wide-spread havoc and devastation from Colorado Springs to the south all the way up practically to the Wyoming border 100 miles away.

And then I saw this picture on the 9 News website...

Utah Park, Aurora, Colorado 
Utah Park is approximately a mile from my house. My NEW house.

And then I saw this picture also on the 9 News website...


This is a picture of an apartment complex right up the street from my house.

And all of a sudden I just really really wanted to go home. Because those pictures, while not nearly so devastating, were much closer to the little world I've carved out for myself, for Lex, for Vinny.

I canceled my chiropractic appointment (my back had been whacked for weeks) for that afternoon, sounding to my doctor, I'm sure, like a helicopter parent who has left her child at daycare for the first time. He told me to go home. He told me he was at a conference all weekend but, if I needed him, to call his cell. I assured him I would be OK. I told him I'd see him on Monday. Ha. Hindsight. 20/20.

My house was just fine. We were snug as bugs in our little nest. While the streets and neighborhoods around me were inundated with flood water, hail, and torrential rain, my little neighborhood's roads didn't have so much as one puddle. I counted my blessings. I worried about my friends, family, loved ones who pepper the communities hit hardest. I went to bed.

Friday, September 13
My back hurt.

Bad.

Badder than it had hurt since I had a strained sacral ligament and spasms in my piriformis muscle back in February and spent weeks and several hundreds of dollars on acupuncture and chiropractic care getting put back to rights.

I took an ice pack with me to work. It got worse. I started to re-think the wisdom of canceling the appointment with my personal wizard, Dr. Sid, the day before. 

I crossed my fingers and just hoped I could muscle through (ha ha) the pain until Monday. I doubled down on the Aleve. I iced. I rooted around my recently unpacked medicine chest and found an old prescription of Robaxin...just in case1.

It was still raining.

I barely noticed.

I posted to Facebook: "Oh hai, Back Spasm. Been expecting you. Why you gotta land on a Friday when Dr. Sid is busy at a conference all weekend is beyond me. Regardless, I see a weekend fueled by Robaxin and the haze that goes with it. Also? Friday night couture should not include ice packs in the pants. Pretty much ever."

I went to bed.

Saturday, September 14
I guess it was about 1:30 a.m. when I awoke with excruciating pain radiating down my left leg.

"Oh my gawd. What fresh hell is this?" I thought to myself as I grabbed for the Robaxin and then stumbled downstairs to retrieve a fresh ice pack.

But I already knew. Sciatica. An affliction that, in 1988, landed Betsy, the Mom, flat on her back for days and on prescription strength painkillers ever since. An affliction that's plagued several people in my life...Acr0nym (who, if he is even a few minutes late taking his evening anti-inflammatory, gets a little panicky), Beasley, my boss to name a few...for years.

I cannot possibly describe the pain. There aren't words. Only if you have experienced nerve pain can you truly understand. All I can tell you - those of you who have never had the pleasure and by pleasure I mean suckage of the Dyson kind - is that the pain was so intense, so horrible - the worst I've ever experienced - that amputation, if offered, would have come as a welcome relief.

Sincerely.

It was that bad.

I confess. I cried. The ugly cry. Several times.

The muscle-relaxer/sedative fog descended. Still...I couldn't sleep. The pain was the worst if I sat or stood still for just a few seconds. Even lying flat on my back hurt. The only thing that remotely helped was to keep moving. Walking and ice. I paced. And paced. And paced. I shoved ice packs down my pants2 quite possibly more than was prudent. I paced until my spasming back screamed shrilly in protest and I was forced back to my bed, tears streaming, begging some unknown and unbelieved in deity to please Please PLEASE just make it stop.

It didn't stop.

I took deep breaths and considered my options.

While dying was preferable, it wasn't forthcoming. That was plan A. Plan B was to make it until Monday when I was scheduled to see Sid. Considering a moment felt like an hour, that didn't seem survivable - especially knowing I'd have to sit at my work desk for a full 8 hours before my scheduled appointment. Plan C was the ER. However, knowing what I know about sciatica, muscle spasms, and western medicine in general I knew Plan C would result in either a cursory examination and a handful of prescriptions for crap that wouldn't do much of anything that the Aleve and Robaxin I was already taking weren't doing or a bunch of ridiculously expensive tests and an even more expensive reservation in a surgical suite for an epidural. That left me with Plan D...seriously inconveniencing the 2 people I count on the most in these kinds of situations on a weekend...my acupuncturist and my chiropractor.

Luckily, my acupuncturist, the lovely St. Jude, was due at my house that day around 2 for a leisurely afternoon on my patio. So, you know, I kinda knew her schedule was already blocked out for me. I called her. I left a tearful message. "I need you. Help me." The call to Dr. Sid, even though he'd told me to call if I needed him, was harder. He was busy doing continuing education-type chiropractor things. It's hard enough to interrupt a friend for professional reasons on a weekend. It's way worse to interrupt when they've paid money to attend a conference you're going to rudely circumvent after you needlessly (as it turns out) canceled your appointment at the very last minute because you can't seem to control your out-of-control anxiety and helicopter homeownershiphood.

Still...I made the call. He answered. After listening to my tearful, plaintive plea, he said, "Call me at 9 a.m. tomorrow and I'll see you in the morning. Unless Jude can't help you today. In that case, call me this afternoon after 3."

St. Jude, however, came to my house prepared, carrying an old fashioned doctor's bag filled with needles and a heart full of healing gold. She laid me out on my bed, stuck me full of needles, and then we talked. We talked about my diet. About diarrhea. About yogurt. About wine. I don't know why. The pain was alleviated...a little. There was little she could really do until the root of the problem - that pesky sacrum and piriformis - was resolved.

It wasn't raining. I hardly noticed.

Afterward, I took her out on my patio. I took Vinny (harnessed and leashed) out on my patio. The sky above was broiling with angry, black storm clouds. Within ten minutes (wait ten minutes), we heard no less than 3 emergency sirens going off in several directions. "Tornado?" I said. "Flood," she said.

Fuck.

I invited her into my living room - the living room whose accommodations include one ratty old couch and boxes of stuff we don't know what to do with and haven't unpacked. She sat on the couch. I laid on the floor. I got up. I took a muscle relaxer. I laid back down. We turned our heads toward the picture window and talked not looking at each other - one of us more coherent than the other - as we watched the hail and the torrential rains pelt the world outside.

Jesus. Is this ever going to stop?

In my head, I was questioning my question...am I talking about the rain or the pain?

Both.

She left a couple of hours later with me issuing grateful promises to gladly have her back in a couple of weeks when I was functioning and able to host her appropriately. 

I retreated to my room. I tried to sleep. No go.

Sunday, September 15
The hours between the wee sma's and 9 a.m. were spent pacing, pacing, pacing intermittently spattered with futile attempts to sleep in my bed and then the guest bed - a bed that, while certainly lacking in lavish comfort, is lower to the floor and easier to enter and exit - and excursions to the freezer for more ice and to the patio for a smoke.

At 9:05, I called. 

"Help," I said.

"OK. How soon can you be here?" he asked.

"Now," I said.

20 minutes later, I found myself lying on my stomach, the e-stim machine attached and scritching away at my back, stimulating the muscles, in hopes that they would relent and allow Dr. Sid to provide me with full release from my agony.

He gave me an extra long time on the machine in order to "cook" he explained.

I took deep breaths in time with the machine.

"I hope this works," I said.

"It will. You'll be OK," he said.

The machine beeped as it stopped.

"Take a deep breath. Now let it out," he said.

And I did.

Pop!

Pop!

Pop!

My spine.

"Turn over on your side," he said. "I've got you," he said.

POP!

My hip.

"Turn over on your other side," he said. "No really. I've got you. I've got you! It's OK, I've got you," he said.

POP!

My other hip.

Immediate relief. No pain. Just sore. The muscles and the sciatic nerve retreating in defeat.

"Don't lift anything heavy. I'll see you tomorrow," he said.

"Thank you. I can't even tell you how much," I said.

I drove home. I slept deeply. I watched the last 6 episodes of Homeland season 1. I no longer hurt.

It wasn't raining.

I didn't care.

Monday, September 16 
It was so beautiful today! Blue sky, low 70's. Colorado in September. My adopted home of 20+ years that I love so much. I relished my new lease on life without pain. I'd forgotten about the floods.

As I drove to work on dry roads, relishing the tasks that laid ahead, the sun shining, listening to Colorado Public Radio, there was a story about the floods. A girl - 15, I think - describing how she and her mother, each carrying a cat, escaped from the devastation of Lyons, CO. just a few short miles from my little nest. "They're saying we won't be able to go home for, at least, 2 to 3 months at the soonest," she said.

Wait...what?

Acr0nym, later, said, "Jane. Lyons is basically gone."

Wait...what?

The gravity hit me again. Floods. Devastating floods. Lyons is gone? The pinball museum? The original Oskar Blues? What about the commune where my darling, Nykki, lived for a time? Gone?

They are calling it a 1,000 year flood. 30+ bridges washed out. The rescue effort the largest since hurricane Katrina. Towns - towns I know intimately, towns whose citizens are friends - devastated, no water, no sewer treatment, no electricity.

All of a sudden I understood...

Ten minutes is a lifetime.

When it's ten minutes of pain. When it's ten minutes of devastation.

Ten minutes can feel like infinity when it's your life.

Wait ten minutes and everything can change...for better. For worse.


1. I really hate taking drugs period. But I especially hate taking drugs whose potential side effects include jaundice because that means the liver is compromised and, well, if I'm going to compromise my liver, I'd at least like to enjoy it. 

2. FYI: Every ice pack in my house has now been shoved down the backside of my underpants several times. Just know that, in the event you need an ice pack while at my house, you are one degree of separation from my ass. You're welcome.