Friday, July 15, 2016

Living in Oblivion...Albeit Thirsty




We lost our internet webs1 the other night and for a whole 24 hours.

A freak thunderstorm came up out of nowhere - or, really, it came down from the northwest - and I was just sitting here, minding my own business, when...

KABLOOEY-BLAM!!!

A lightning/thunder strike so close it rattled the windows and made me jump out of my chair and exclaim, “Holy schnitzel pretzel crisp!”2 It also scared Vinny so bad he did a Scooby Doo run on the throw rug before taking off like a rocket downstairs.

The next moment, I got a notification pop up in my system tray indicating my “internet connection has been lost”.

And I’m all, like, dammit, Internet Connection! You do not even have my permission to wander off and get lost. Next thing I know you’ll be getting in a white van and taking razor-bladed candy from a stranger.

So I hollered down the stairs at Lex - the Keeper of the Internet Connection - and told him to DO SOMETHING.

But he couldn’t just then. Because he was a little busy cursing loudly at the modem/router and at his computer...all of which had, a split second after the KABLOOEY-BLAM, went sizzlesizzlesizzle poof. And died.

At least it was a quick death. They didn’t suffer. We don’t think.

That is not to say there wasn’t suffering though.

WE suffered. Oh my yes. There was suffering. For, at least, 40 minutes.

Because not even my mahjong game likes to be without an internet tube web connection. And that’s saying something. Mostly because Microsoft Games should just be...standard...in the “accessories” folder...like they always have been...internet web connection not required. Not with Windows 10 though. Alas.

But after 40 minutes I just kinda shrugged and retreated upstairs to read Pride and Prejudice. Again.

Hardback. Hold the candlelight.

Because Mr. Darcy makes even the lack of an internet connection better.

I can’t say Lex fared quite as well. The quality of his life depends on three things. The internet, pot, and good snacks. He had two of the three. But it wasn’t enough.

Regardless, none of this is actually the point of this post except for the part where, once I’d retreated upstairs, I realized that I’ve lived 3/4 of my life without an internet connection and before there was an internet I was certainly able to keep myself easily entertained with something.

Right?

Right.

I think.

I just don’t actually know now what that something was.

Except reading, now that I think of it. And solitaire the old-fashioned way...with shuffling. Both highly satisfying activities still.

Regardless, totally, not the point.

So...the next day, I’m driving to work, toasted modem/router riding shotgun waiting to be delivered to xfinity for exchange. I’m grooving out to SiriusXM’s 1st Wave - Alternative 80’s...because I’m a middle aged white lady driving the 21st century’s equivalent to a minivan and that’s what we listen to3 when we’re in the car (when we’re not listening to NPR) - and drinking my coffee. I set my coffee down as I approached my turn and...that’s when it hit me.

The internet webs aren’t the only thing we lived without in the 20th century. The internet webs aren’t even the most significant thing we lived without. Nay, People.

Would you like to know what else we lived without?

Car cup holders.

Think about that for just a moment.

The modern car was born in 1886.

It would take over a century before the car cup holder became a standard feature in every automobile.

My first three cars - a 1981 Chevrolet Malibu Classic, a 1984 Toyota Corolla, and a 1992 Hyundai Scoupe - had no cup holder. The Chevy had bench seats in both front and back. This meant that I either had to have a navigator to hold my Big Gulp whenever I headed to Blockbuster Video or drive with that 32 oz. cup of delicious, fizzy goodness between my knees. Sounds safe.

At least once bucket seats for the front became standard I found I could wedge said Big Gulp (but only a Big Gulp anything more or less could not be accommodated) between the emergency brake and the passenger seat...which worked pretty well unless I had to start or stop suddenly.

Thankfully I never had an emergency requiring the emergency brake.

I didn’t have a vehicle with a cup holder until 2001. Less than a decade before Blockbuster would become completely irrelevant.

Mind. Blowing.

Especially when you consider that the world wide web was launched to the public in 1991...2 years before we could buy a car where a cup holder was standard equipment.

What the actual fuck?

The struggle. Real.

So...when I think about what life was like in 1988 and compare it to now I had no idea that instant access to cat videos no matter where I am would trump a convenient place to hold my beverage of choice in my car in level of importance.

Back then? All I wanted was a [diet] Pepsi. And a place to secure it. In my car. Where I felt safest of all.



Perspective.

I haz some.

Along with a cheezburger. And a cat video.


  1. Thank you, Chewbacca Mom.
  2. I don’t even know.
  3. Listen to what’s playing on the muzak at the grocery store. Then maybe you’ll believe me.




Saturday, January 30, 2016

So This is 44

I posted my very first blog entry 10 years ago last week.

It was originally posted to Friendster (which, for you young ones, was an actual thing before LiveJournal was a thing and way before Facebook was the thing) but I also cross-posted it to LiveJournal when I discovered Friendster wasn’t really a blogging platform as much as it was a hookup forum and that’s not what interested me. I just wanted to write and be read.

Friendster doesn’t even exist anymore. LiveJournal, while seeing a bit of a resurgence in popularity-ish awhile back, barely exists. I sometimes wonder how much longer Blogger will hang around.

Regardless...not my point.

My point is that my very first blog entry was called “So This is 34”. Because I had just turned 34 and was at the tail end of a practice run at a midlife crisis. It mostly went like this…

Yesterday I turned 34.  I didn't even so much think about the fact that it was my birthday.  I mostly thought about what bare essentials I needed to bring down the mountain with me until I find a job and a place to live and have somewhere to put all my stuff.  And I have a lot of stuff.  What is that all about???  Can anyone please tell me why I insist on carting around a stack of half used spiral bound notebooks from college?!  Wasn't it George Carlin who did the bit about how much stuff we accumulate?  Or maybe I'm just thinking about the commercial for the Mile High Flea Market.  Hmmm...that's an idea.  Except...well truthfully, most of my "stuff" is boxes full of books and how could I part with those?  They're my friends!  Every few years I do try to weed out the collection, but so many are ones I read and re-read - like food, they are comfort.

Anyway, back to my point.  What was my point?  Oh yes.  My birthday.  So yesterday I filled my trunk with 2 suitcases, 3 trash bags full of clothes and shoes, my laptop and 2 assorted bags chock full o' supplements and organic foods my naturopath has prescribed for me (shhh...don't tell her about the bag of peanut M&M's that is nestled quite comfortably in between the psyllium husks and the B12 injectables) and, after a rather tearful goodbye with Ms. Kitty (for both parties), I was on my way down the mountain to re-claim my life.

THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!  Mid-life crisis (my first - drum roll please) in full swing.

So I find myself unemployed and homeless at 34 with absolutely no direction.  I know I can get a job but I don't know what I want to do or be and I don't want a job that sucks just so that I have one.  I sorta feel like Lloyd Dobler right now - except without the whole kickboxing thing...my legs are too short for such a sport.


I feel sort of lost right now.  That'll go away in time.  I'm fighting fear, fatigue, sadness, and loss.  I can grieve for a relationship that I failed and one that failed me, even if I'm the one that said goodbye...right?  Truth be told, I miss Antonio very much.  I'd like to call him but I wouldn't know what to say.  He doesn't know what to say either.  It's just...complicated. 

And this is a passage on the road.  My sister invited me to come stay with her and her husband in WA.  Be careful what you wish for, big sista!  You never know what might happen.  Could I eat meat at your house?  More importantly, could I store and cook meat at your house?  Organic, cage free, grain fed only - I promise :-).  I know how to cook now even.  And I clean.  Plus, I'm cute and love board games.  I promise not to vomit on you in your bed if you promise not to chase me about the house with a butcher knife.  And I swear I'll make my bed (and yours) every day.

Ugh.  What do I want to be when I grow up?  Will somebody please just tell me?  Besides just being me - what else is there?

Not long after I wrote that, I found a job - one with an organization who still likes me enough to continue to promote and pay me all these years later. 

I never went back up the mountain to retrieve the rest of my stuff. It was donated and/or disposed of and I miss none of it. Not even the books. It was a difficult process to disconnect my internal Self from the physical stuff I’d accumulated but, once I got there in my head, it was wonderfully freeing. I’d never realized how much emotional weight could be packed so tightly in and around objects. Saying goodbye to all of that literal and figurative weight was quite possibly the single most important life lesson I’ve learned thus far. Buy what you need. Buy quality over quantity. Buy only what you are willing to pack and move. Buy experiences, not things. Because, at the end of the day, it’s the experiences I treasure. Nothing else matters except the memories.

When I wrote that entry, I had no idea there was no such thing as being a grown up. I had no idea there wouldn’t ever be a time when I wouldn’t want my mom to figure shit out for me because this life business is hard. I had no idea that my mom doesn’t have shit figured out either because she’s not a grown up anymore than I am. We’re all just...kids! We’re all just pimply, occasionally angsty adolescents costumed in business suits and graying hair saddled with sometimes ridiculously hard responsibilities we don’t know how to handle.

Being a grown up doesn’t just mean we pay our bills on time and eat vegetables with every meal.

Now I know.

And knowing lends a great deal of compassion and forgiveness to others. When I realized my expectations for the adults in my life to be capable of adulting all the time were set way too high, that there was no secret ritual/rite of passage/adulting handbook I would eventually be privy to when I finally FINALLY entered adulthood, I could understand and forgive them for not adulting very well.

I’m 44 as of last week.

I know a whole lot more than that girl who came tumbling back to reality in 2006 - emotionally beaten and bruised and confused - who was actually ready to learn, live, love, trust, and grow after hiding herself away, trying not to be noticed just in case the consequences of being noticed were going to be painful, for too many years. 

I know pain is part of it now. Pain is an important part of it. So is grief and inexpressible joy.

I know that sometimes I’m a great friend and sometimes I’m a shitty friend and, while that’s not necessarily OK, it’s human and that is OK...to be human with faults that sometimes lead to hurting other people. If I have hurt you, I am so very sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Really. I swear. Please, if you can, forgive me.

I know that growing up isn’t a destination. It’s a process we never complete. 

I know that age isn’t just a number but a reminder of just how fast 30, 40, 50 years can pass...and that counting down the days to Friday eventually feels pretty scary when you realize there aren’t that many more Fridays left.

I know that the best friendships are the most enduring ones. The ones that started when you were 4 (Andrew and Liz), or 10 (Brad), or 12 (Mr. Bliss), or 15 (Beasley and the Divine Ms. D. and Darling Nykki). That these are the friends, decades later, you will love the most because you’ve loved them the longest. That these are the friends who, decades later, still think you’re cool, even when your mom doesn’t.

I know that, even now, therapy is still a thing I occasionally need...if only to remind me that I’ve already been there, worked through that, and received the t-shirt.

I know that purple hair, at 44, is weird and uncomfortable and laughable for those under 30 who see it and think I’m little-old-lady-cute, and a RECOGNIZE moment for those over 40 who see it...and get it.

I know love is a many splendored thing and that, while those who are lucky enough to have found enduring love are to be envied, there is something to be said for those of us who experience love in short, intense bursts. 

I know that sharing a bathroom, the older we get,  is a very big deal. And that, if we don’t really, truly, wholeheartedly love the person with whom we share a bathroom, we’ll resent them. Forever. Thanks, Mom. I get that now.

I know that 34-year-old Jane saw a whole life ahead of her.

I know that 44-year-old Jane sees more than half of her life behind her. Wondering...am I living up to Thoreau’s expectations?

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

This.

This is 44.

xo,
Jane...In My Infinite Wisdom



Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ready

I’m ready.

100%.

I can officially state, for the record, that I’ve actually got my shit together - at least, my physical shit - so that I can start the new year off with some semblance of order in the business of my life.

One benefit to having been thrust into GO! mode, dealing with my dad’s affairs, over the last couple of months is that, once the crisis was finally over, the urge to make my hay while the sun shone hadn’t yet dissipated going into a week off from work. This allowed me to tackle a number of tasks and projects that had been weighing me down for awhile.

Instead of collapsing in a heap of exhaustion and self-pity, I just kept moving and accomplishing. I cleaned - including the disgusting excuse for a refrigerator - this house to a Mom-worthy level of clean, I found frames for all the artwork friends had gifted me over the last few years and got everything framed and hung so that the house is, as Lex likes to call it, “spruced up with interesting bits”, I shopped for and replaced all the clothes of my dad’s that went missing at rehab, I drove up to Loveland to see my dad, I organized my jewelry, I washed my car. I saw a movie...in the theater - something I haven’t done since Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released. 

As a result, I feel really good about where I am and what’s to come. 

While, in many ways, 2015 sucked, it sucked for all the right reasons.

It sucked to have received that come to Jesus call about my health and taking charge of it...or else.

It sucked that my dad declined to the point where I had to intervene and take over.

It sucked that I had to say goodbye to a friend.

It sucked that I had to replace my furnace at a terribly busy, overwhelming, worrisome time.

Yeah, 2015 sucked.

But only because what made it suck were all things that required Major Adulting AND HOW!

Instead of dwelling on the suckage then, let me tell you how the suck changed me and/or my thinking for the better.

It sucked to find myself in urgent care and then the emergency room twice in approximately 2 weeks and to find out I have a heart condition. And yet, I’m also grateful. Because I have super solid, affordable health insurance that allowed me to find out what the hell was going on in order to take charge of my health to the best of my abilities. That same health insurance is helping me manage my condition in whatever way I choose to pursue. I have options. I have options a lot of people in this country still don’t have. I have incredible access to professionals who can help me help myself. 

And! I have this health insurance because I have an amazing job I love, working with incredibly talented, intelligent, fun people, by (mostly) contributing to their own well-being and happiness every single day.

Yeah, it sucks that my dad is declining and can’t take care of himself anymore.

His problems have put a major crimp in my self-serving lifestyle (no kids, no spouse...no one but me, Me, ME! to worry about *tongue definitely poking hard in my cheek right now*).

As much as I can’t stand my dad, I also have discovered a deep well of compassion for him. And, yeah, there’s some love there too. He’s a bigoted, misogynistic asshole, to be sure. But he’s also a sad, sorry man who, even though he had all the brains to be someone great, didn’t love himself enough to even try. Instead, he sat around waiting for affirming adoration, without even attempting to apply himself.

Compassion aside, the last few months have been chock full of important lessons for me. 


  1. Plan for the financial future! Even if the future might end tomorrow, it very likely will not be over for quite some time - long after working age and long after your body takes a major crap on you. The elder care game is a lucrative, rape-y kind of game full of well-intentioned people who are overworked, under-paid, and directed to cut costs at every corner for the corporate good. If you don’t have any money, your last years will be spent sitting in shit...your own. And that isn’t anyone’s fault but your own.
  2. Take care of yourself! As we age, our minds go, our knees go, our balance takes a dive. Take care of yourself now! There are so many many many things we can do now to help ourselves later and the pay off to our self-respect can be HUGE!
  3. I am not alone. This is the biggest, most important lesson and gift I’ve received. I am not alone in all the heartache, hassle, and sadness associated with caring for my dad. I am so incredibly grateful for all the advice and camaraderie extended to me by my friends and colleagues who are in various stages of this very same dilemma. Every single bit of advice, every hug, every knowing nod helps!
  4. I am so ridiculously privileged to have the smarts and the education to navigate extremely complicated healthcare and legal systems on the behalf of someone else. I cannot even begin to imagine what this situation would be like if I didn’t have the vocabulary, problem-solving skills, or ability to think of and ask questions and keep track of all the ridiculous details involved in making sound decisions on behalf of my dad. I am so very sorry for those in this same situation who haven’t had the same advantages I’ve had to help me through. This shit’s hard, y’all. Very very hard. Calculus hard. Geometry is a paid vacation compared to this1.

Saying goodbye to a friend is almost always hard. It sucks. Especially when it’s a close friend. There is grief - grief as though the person died instead of just the relationship. 

In all fairness, I’ve been grieving for two years.

And yet, I find gratitude that I was able to finally recognize a lost cause when I should and subsequently set a firm boundary. I’m grateful for all the other extraordinary people in my life (who I resolve to see in 2016!) who would never take the opportunity to elicit congratulations for themselves at the expense of someone else’s desperate plea for help. I’m grateful to have known him and relieved I’m not obligated to care for him in a way that should have never been my responsibility to begin with.

Gratitude. Relief. Good things.

Finally.

The furnace.

Furnaces are expensive. Ridiculously so.

And, it turns out, unless you’re conditioned to spend your life in a fur-lined parka, living it up in an igloo made of snow/ice like an Eskimo, furnaces are a necessity. An evil, evil, heat-producing, flaming necessity.

It sucked, hard, to have to replace mine.

I was cold for four days. And it was expensive. All while I was worried and stressed out about my dad.

Here’s the thing.

I am so lucky!

That furnace I replaced? It was mine. I owned it. Acquired it when I BOUGHT MY HOUSE.

That furnace I replaced? I didn’t have to scrounge up the money for it - or, worse, live without heat for the next six winters while I saved up the money for it - because I have excellent credit and could qualify for six months, no interest financing which allows me plenty of time to sock away enough savings to pay for it.

Grateful that I can pay it off in six months...or less.

So there.

That’s what’s good about 2015 that I carry into 2016.

  • Gratitude.
  • Relief.
  • Compassion.
  • Privilege.


I’m shaking off the bad and embracing the good.

And that is a tremendous amount of good!

So, so good.

Bring it, 2016.

I’m ready for you.

Armed.

And dangerous.


1. Kind of a quote from My So-Called Life

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Ghost of Christmas Presence

This may be the very first Christmas ever that I spent the day in near constant motion.

And by motion I mean cleaning, de-cluttering, organizing.

Normally, I’d use the fact that it’s Christmas as an excuse to move as little as possible while drinking as much coffee and eating as much chocolate as possible. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Lying about in one’s pajamas reading or watching movies or playing with/looking at one’s loot while indulging in all manner of not-good-for-you things?

Never mind that it’s been nearly 20 years since I had any actual loot to speak of - with the exception of that one Christmas I spent in Seattle in 2007. I don’t generally buy Christmas gifts for pretty much anyone. I don’t encourage people to buy Christmas gifts for me. I make donations every year to whatever charities resonate and that’s where the money for presents people don’t need goes. I typically spend the day alone - except for a Lex who doesn’t celebrate hiding out in the basement - and do whatever I want and eat whatever I want (usually Cheetos and boxed wine thankyouverymuch) and, aside from calling my mom and dad to wish them a Merry Christmas, I don’t generally speak to anyone on this day. 

I’m not a Scrooge. 

Not by a long shot.

I actually love Christmas.

I love the lights, the smells, the songs.

I even have a few decorations I usually put up (last year, I didn’t take them down until April *laughing*).

It’s just been a long time since I’ve celebrated the holidays in the traditional sense...the planning, the shopping, the baking, the family. 

This year though was, in a nutshell, weird and awful and heart wrenching and frustrating.

The weeks and months leading up to Christmas were a blur. Halloween apparently happened and Thanksgiving too. But both those holidays were spent at rehab with my dad and I didn’t have any time to think about anything else except all my growing responsibilities as an unwilling parent to him while trying to stay employed.

There wasn’t any time to think about home or Lex or Acr0 or me.

I’m totally not whining, by the way. It is what it is and I’ve done the best I could even when I sincerely didn’t want to anymore. I even went so far as to send an email of resignation to my family one night. 

“I QUIT!”

Knowing full well this was one job I didn’t have the luxury of quitting.

Thanks, Obama.


So I didn’t quit.

I pushed through until my brother and his family stepped up and in, providing Dad a place to go when he didn’t have anywhere left.

The final days leading up to Christmas then were spent taking care of the business of essentially an eviction, making arrangements to haul all of his stuff out of his apartment and into storage.

That meant there really wasn’t time to think about Christmas...or decorations...or Band Aid...or Cheetos and chocolate.


Instead, I woke up yesterday morning with really only one plan.

Getting my shit and my house in order.

Because I’ll be damned if I start a brand new shiny year with no catastrophes in it yet buried under a dozen loads of laundry, a layer of dust an inch thick, and mounds of papers - Dad’s and my own - lying about just waiting for an opportunity to mock me over my lack of willpower when it comes to filing.

So that’s what I did.

I scrubbed, laundered, sorted, organized, FILED, and just generally kicked up so much dust I went to bed sneezing.

Because if there is one thing I’ve learned through all of this?

Life is short.

Life is messy.

Clean it up now.

Before someone else is forced to clean it up for you.

Next year? 

Next year I’m decking my halls within an inch of their lives. Hell! I think I’ll even buy a tree...or, yannow, at the very least, a fresh pine wreath. Because evergreen smells so damn good! I’m blasting carols - especially Band Aid - from Thanksgiving through December 25 as often as Lex will let me (which, OK fine, let’s face it, will be once before he threatens me with bodily harm). I’m going to bake. I’m buying presents and I’m going to be present. I might even send cards! (HA! Who am I kidding? Cards. L.O.L.)

And I am NOT going to spend another Christmas with my hands shoved down in my toilet(s) (plural. I’ve got 4.)

Because I love Christmas.

I love the lights. The smells. The songs.

And life is short.

Too short.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Nobody Puts Gershwin in the Corner


It’s done.

I’m risking a possible jinx here by saying this but, for now, the Dad crisis that has been all-consuming for the last 10 weeks is officially over and I can hopefully get some good sleep for a change.

At least tonight anyway.

Stupid Anxiety is an expert at finding any manner of Next Things to worry about so, at best, I suspect I’ll get a night or two of tranquility before I’m waking up at 2 a.m. chewing on something new.

But I’ve at least got tonight.

The last 10 days have been a whirlwind of urgency. Yannow, because the preceding 60 days weren’t quite urgent enough.

I found out Thursday evening of last week Dad would discharge from rehab - per the insurance company’s polite decline to pay for any additional days - on Wednesday. At the same time, I was informed his independent living community’s director had determined he was no longer sufficiently independent for independent living and would not be allowed to return to his apartment.

Surprisingly, I didn’t actually panic.

We - my siblings and I - had been told a week or so before by the rehab staff this was likely going to be the case and so we’d had an e-mail discussion about our options already.

  • Move him in with one of us.
  • Personally supplement his income for assisted living.

Fortunately, my brother and his wife stepped up and offered a room in their home about an hour away as a short term solution until we could find somewhere he could afford without requiring the rest of us to drain our own savings (risking our own future long term care needs) to pay for something outside his budget.

Which is so great! I cannot even begin to tell you how incredibly grateful I am that they were both able and willing to open up their hearts and homes to, let’s just face it, an extremely cranky, bitter, negative old man.

Seriously.

It isn’t something I think I would have been able to do emotionally even if I could have done it physically (my home has all sorts of accessibility issues...namely lots and lots of stairs). He...just...yeah. His opinion of me is probably about as good as mine is of him.

Hard to believe, I know. Because you all think I’m all sorts of upstanding and spectacular and I would have to concur. However, he suspects I’m a weirdo drug dealing meth cooker. Because, yannow, I really like wearing black.

The purple streaks in my hair don’t help.

And still...he granted me Power of Attorney and signing privileges on his checking account..

[insert maniacal laughter here...I’m kidding...sorta]

Totally not my point.

What was my point?

Hold on. Let me look.

Oh! Oh yeah! I hadn’t quite gotten to the point yet. Gershwin.

So anyway!

Yeah. We - my siblings and I - made the determination that Dad would go to my brother’s house at discharge.

But…

That also meant in just five very short days we had to figure out what to do with all of his stuff. And he has a lot of stuff. Stuff that, frankly, no one but him really gives a shit about.

What did he want with him (aside from everything)?

What did he need with him?

Where would we put everything else?

We figured it out - not helped even one tiny bit by a rare dumping of a foot of snow over the front range on Tuesday - and put the plan into action.

U-Haul rented.
Friends enlisted.
Storage found.
Packers/movers procured.

It was crazy, let me tell you. But we made it happen. Everything - mostly - fell into place.

And then…

Wednesday afternoon, after work, I went to his apartment to meet with the senior services moving company I’d hired to help to do a walk through/assessment/cataloging of his belongings so they could give me a fair estimate of the cost to pack and move most of his material life into storage.

“That goes to Loveland.”

“That goes to storage.”

“Loveland.”

“Storage.”

Until the end.

When we were standing in the living room, just finished with the tour, I spied him.

George.

Face eternally uplifted, a cigar chomped in his mouth. The bust of George Gershwin, created by an prominent Wyoming artist, my mother had gifted my dad decades before, years before their marriage dissolved - the occasion long ago lost.

A visceral, emotional, irrational reaction happened deep inside me. I cannot explain it. All I can say is that, in my head and heart, I knew, “Nobody puts George in storage”.

I picked him up and set him by my purse.

“This goes with me.”

I wasn’t cherry picking.

I have no idea of that piece of art’s worth.

Honestly, I don’t care.

I’ve told my brother and sisters that I took it. I’ve told them if they want it to just let me know.
I just...I couldn’t bear seeing it go into a 10’x10’ storage unit.

Like my dad.

And all the rest of his stuff.

George just hangin' out on my mantel.