Procrastination (But I Digress)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

A sad beautiful day

Erika's news is so sad, I'm crying and at the same time feeling lucky to have spent time well. I look out over to the hills with the brilliant rain-fresh blue sky and I wonder over how unique every person is and yet how integral we all are to each other. To know someone peripherally and yet to be so touched by the relationship. Lyle, your dad was truly a great guy.

So when you hear this kind of news, you take stock of how you spend your time on this planet and you press "buy" on those reservations you were leery you could afford. I'm going to fly back with Erika to Detroit on Saturday, January 22nd (I actually got the same flight and the seat next to her) and then return on Tuesday, January 25th. I looked into all the logistics and its all doable. I have to be back on Wednesday because I am going to be on a live web cast teaching debt collection--cameras in my office and everything. It's probably not a good idea for me to be gone the weekend before my signatures are due to qualify for the election, but with the pressure on the get them in early, I'll probably come out ahead in the long run.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Under the fold

Well my picture is on the front page of the neighbors, but it's under the fold. I'm the sixth candidate for City Clerk and I think, the most qualified. Norm says that my name's the easiest also. Only in America. I'm going to try to find a straw hat--one of those political convention hats and put "Van Houten for City Clerk" around the band and start wearing it everywhere. Dave wants me to start sending letters to ask for money, but I'm really resisting. I think I'll just run flyers and brochures off at the office. We do brochures for ABWA and just run them ourselves, so that should be fine.

It is pouring down rain here. I had to drive to the gym and got soaked just getting to the garage. I went up on the roof on Sunday to make sure the gutters were clear and it's a good thing with all this rain.

We had a very nice Christmas out here--Josh made breakfast for everyone and I got my pictures that I wanted. (Thank you, thank you). Of course Adrienne and Adam seemed to think I'd want my pictures in the living room I spend hardly no time in, but they were soon set straight and my pictures are prepped for hanging in my sitting room. (Hint, hint--we can use more pictures). We had all (even Mike) gone to Aunt Mary's on Christmas Eve and left after dark to see the lights in the neighborhood. Bailey was a big hit and he got his full dose of kids. I should have had everyone open their sweatshirts when we were all at Mary's and taken a picture, but I missed it. We didn't take any pictures at all on Christmas. I think I'll take the camera out and just take candid shots over the next few weeks and pretend they're from Christmas.

P.S. Adam's sweatshirt shrunk--be careful. Thank you for the great picture from Michigan with all the Michigan sweatshirts.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A Long Story

Last night I met someone who tells a much longer story than me. I mean I'm pretty good at adding a bunch of details that are interesting to me and not the listeners necessarily, but this guy took it to a whole new level and I wish to share the story with you (because you don't have to read it and I really want to write it).

Last month, a card got sent around our Kiwanis Club for this guy in the Eagle Rock Club who was in the hospital. I didn't hear who it was for and I figured I only know one guy from Eagle Rock, so I probably don't know them, so I didn't sign the card. At the end of the meeting, the card was sitting abandoned on the table and I made sure it got to someone who was going to deliver it. That's kind of my job around the place--make sure nothing falls through the cracks, is in my job description. Anyhoo, last night I get to the Division meeting (meeting of all the club presidents for the division--my club president is not very good about attending and I'm the Pres elect, so I'm going now), late and sit next to a guy whose face I know, but I can't place him. When it's time for Eagle Rock Club to step forward, he got up. I never would have pegged him for Eagle Rock, because I only know one guy from Eagle Rock and that wasn't him and he looked familiar. Anyhoo again, (btw Eagle Rock is the club that has the member who owns an Italian Restaurant that we went to for a fund raiser and a Christmas party one year--the only two times I've been in Eagle Rock, except to the library two times and when I got really really lost a few times) (btw again, there's really no punch line worth all the excess words, so if you are bored already, don't bother) his name is Ted and I recognized his name right away as someone who's been around forever, whom I've known for years (the way you know a name and a face without actually putting the name with the face. He was with a different club for years that has since disbanded and that's why I didn't place him with Eagle Rock.) It was time for club reports and he gets up and says "I have to get this straight right here and now. Women are smarter than men. Most men are lucky enough to have a mother who will take care of them, because they just can't survive. They need a woman to protect them. Many men are even luckier to find a wife to help with the job. Of course, men need to listen to women--that's very important. We recently had a skylight installed at our home and my wife pointed out that they chipped the paint when they were installing it. I said, that's ok, I'll touch up the paint. My wife said absolutely not. Wait until our son is visiting so he can do it or we'll hire someone." Ted says "I know to listen to my wife, so I said ok. Then on November 4th, she called and said 'Don't start dinner, I'm so buried at work, I'm not going to be home until 9 o'clock tonight.'" So Ted says to himself "Hey, she won't be home to stop me, I'll just touch up those chips around the skylight." So he gets the ladder and the white paint and he's a careful guy, he's paying attention, but he thinks if only I were a little taller I could reach the spots. Now he knows not to stand on the top rung of the ladder, but he thinks to himself, I'll be really, really careful. He gets on the top of the ladder and knows somethings wrong right away--his head is going one way and his feet are going the other way and he is now falling horizontally. It is really dark and so he thinks, well this is it, I'm dead. He rubs his eyes and they are full of paint, but he gets them sort of cleared off and looks at the clock--it is 5:15. He went up the ladder at 4, so he's been unconscious for over an hour. He hurts--everything hurts. He tries to move and he can hear broken bones rattling around. He can't move his left side--his arm, his hand. And there's paint EVERYWHERE. In his eyes, in his ears, down his throat, all over the carpet, all over his clothes, all over the walls, all over the skylight, on the pictures on the wall, everywhere. So he's been out for an hour and his wife isn't due home for another four hours. The phone is in the kitchen on the wall and he needs to call his son, so he turns onto his right side sort of and crawls to the kitchen. He uses a stool that weights about a pound, but now feels like it weights a ton to try to knock the phone down and he gets it down. The phone starts talking. It didn't ring and he didn't dial, but it's his son on the phone. He's a little out of it from the pain and all and says "How did you know to call me" and his son says "That's what phones do Dad, you dial and someone picks it up and you talk." Ted persists, "But how did you know that I wanted to call you now?" "I don't know," his son says, "I'm getting ready to go out and I wanted to know if you want to have lunch this week?" "Sure," Ted says, "but I don't know if I'll be able to have lunch this week, because I'm in pretty bad shape and I need you to come over right away." "Do you want me to call 911," his son asks. "No, there's too much paint--I don't want to get it all over the ambulance, just get here as fast as you can." So his son comes over and sees him and again offers to call 911, but Ted says no, get some old sheets and wrap me up some so paint won't get on the car. He feels like his legs are ok, so he wants his son to kind of lift him up, but not until he has the sheets on him, so that he won't get paint on his suit. So his son gets the sheets and kind of wraps them around him, but then he has to stop. "You know this is really funny," his son says. Ted says, "Yes, I know that, but I'm in a little too much pain at the moment to appreciate it." So they get him up and put towels in the truck and get him in the truck, with the sheets all around him and get him to the hospital and his son wheels him into emergency in a wheel chair where they are giving him a shot for the pain as he's arriving. But the doctors stop for a moment (after the shot) before they treat him to say "You know, you're a few days late for Holloween, Casper." (The sheets, the white paint everywhere) So he had broken bones in his hand, four broken ribs and a split butt. He described the split butt like a salami that you slam on the counter splits--that's what happened to his butt. The nurse said she'd never seen anything like it. So Ted thanks all the clubs for the get well cards, he's doing much better (thanks to all the morphine) and he showed us his favorite card from the High School Kiwanis club that he visits twice a month. He always wears a suit to their meeting and one kid wrote, get well to the cool guy in the suit. He got a kick out of that. So someone asked if all the paint is cleaned up now--oh no, he says, there's still paint everywhere. But he added that his son told him to make a claim on his homeowner's insurance--apparently stupidity in your own home by yourself on a ladder is covered.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Forcing Myself to Take a Risk

I have to force myself to take risks. Dave (ultra democrat in our Kiwanis) told me that I should run for City Clerk in Glendale. The job pays great and has a pension plan and once you are elected, you are pretty much assured of keeping the job for a long time. It requires organization and leadership--I have those--and administrative experience. What is administrative experience? Do you get it from being Cookie Chair for Glendale or Service Unit Manager or President of YWCA or President of ABWA or any of the other volunteer leadership positions I have held. I'm the manager of the collection department at my firm, but only because no one else wanted to be it. I'm very responsible--that should be a plus. So I said out loud to the gals in ABWA that I was thinking about running. I wrote an e-mail to the gal from the Commission on the Status of Women in Glendale who is pushing to get more women leaders in Glendale. I have to force myself to take this risk. Boy my cosy little room sounds good--a little cross-stitching--a diet coke--a good book. Nope. Must go on internet and declare candidacy.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Memories and Thank You

I am planning the Girl Scout Leader/Daughter holiday party and I couldn't think of any good games besides Name Bingo, so I thought I'd tell a story, but it can't be a Christmas story because we have all faiths (and have received complaints in the past) and we'll have all ages. So I thought I'd tell the story of my favorite camping trip as a girl and how I had hated having my mother be the leader. I had my two best friends going on the trip and everyone else loved having my Mother as their leader. I thought they were nuts. She was always yelling at me and never any fun that I ever saw, but they all seemed to adore her. Well she invited my favorite adult on the planet on the camping trip--Joscelyn. Joscelyn was so cool. She was a nightclub singer and she seemed so young and hip to me (I think I was about 12 or 13). The first thing we did was make a snowman--Joscelyn dressed it up so cute and made it really fun, even though it was old snow and raining a little. Later she sang "Oh Holy Night" giving me goosebumps and cementing that song as my favorite Christmas carol ever. The next day it was raining and the leaders cleared out the hall of tables and chairs and we jumped rope for hours--it was so much fun. I can't remember Mom too much from that trip, except that she said the leaders would sleep in a separate room (leaving us older girls to stay up as late as we wanted, so I remember being excited about those arrangements). It was long ago and my current memories of Cadettes with Mom as the leader are all good--we did a lot of stuff-backpacking, lots of camping, Mystery Trip to Toronto, pottery--just lots of stuff. When I get compliments as a leader or for working with kids, I don't have to look very far for the examples I learned from (even as an adult--nickle dice is a hands down favorite troop game). Thanks Mom.

Hmmm. Maybe we'll play nickle dice.

Friday, December 10, 2004

When You are Old

You know how when you are old and ultra responsible, you push yourself to go to work, even if you are sick and you pretend that you are a better person for getting out of bed and subjecting all the people around you to your germs, because the work just wouldn't get done if you didn't do it. And you know how when you are all fuzzy in the head, your work suffers and you have to do the same thing over and over to get it right. Yeah.

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. (an ungodly hour to anyone other than Erika) feeling as good as new--ready to face the world. I decided to go to the gym at 6 and actually was ready too early and had to force myself to sit in a chair to wait for 5:55 to leave. As I walked to the gym (in the dark) I thought, gee I hope I'm not pushing it, with me so close to just getting over my cold. But on I pressed. The gym was surprisingly full for 6:00 a.m. on a Friday, but I took my place and worked my tush off. Ok, I sluffed a bit here and there, I mean I am just getting over a cold. I brought kleenex and a cough drop just in case, but didn't need them.

I got home, showered, dressed for court, got Adam up, had breakfast--plenty of time for everything. Mel croacked that she couldn't go to work today still being pretty sick. Off I went to court with kleenex and a cough drop, but I didn't need them. My coat felt too heavy and it was warm when I left court so I abandoned my coat to the back seat. I made a quick stop at the post office and was cheerily standing in line when it happened. Uncontrollable, nonstop coughing like I was dying and about the throw up all over those nice people standing in line--spewing them with all of my germs--and no kleenex and no cough drop (because they were in my coat pocket). Now I'm sick as a dog. So I go home (get mad because the dog was in my sitting room) and I am fine. So I got a diet coke (I called to Mel to see if she needed anything, but she didn't answer, she just coughed) and I went to work (armed with cough drops and kleenex) because that's the responsible old kind of person I am. Fuzzy attorney for hire--please wear mask for your own protection.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

It's going up to 80 degrees

At least that's what the weather man says. So I tried to leave the house with no coat this morning--ha, ha, ha. (Or is it LOL or lol--when you laugh out loud isn't that like shouting?) My office is a very nice 75 degrees, but I think it has more to do with the sun finally blaring in thought the window than the heating panel.

So I need to drink plenty of fluids (read diet coke) to keep from coughing and my cough drops help too, but I can't do both. Cough drops make the diet coke taste awful and diet coke alone is not enough. The problems we face in industrialized countries. I mean if I lived out in the wild, I'd be baking in the sun, coughing up a storm and swishing my sword around to keep off the wild animals who could sense my weakness. But no, I live in the USA where my biggest problem is that my diet coke tastes funny.

The good news is that my belt fits. I have a really cute belt that hasn't fit me for years. Everytime I clean out the closet, I suck in my gut and make it fit so that I will keep it, but I never wear it because it's way too small. No more. (In my head I say "No more, it's not", but that's a double negative which would mean that it is too small, but it doesn't seem like a double negative--you guys would know what I meant, right?) Moonstruck, Olympia Dukakis "No more, she's not." That's the line from a movie that comes to mind. Cher says "His mother was dying" and Olympia says "No more, she's not--she recovered." It's amazing how much memory I have for meaningless things, but I forgot to watch the West Wing last night. I went to bed early to get over my cold and completely forgot that it was Wednesday. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Do you remember

being young and you are sick, so you take the day off of work, but you feel ok by the night and so you go out with your friends and then the next morning you are so sick that you stay home from work again. That's our Mel. She has such a cold, but at the first sign of not coughing nonstop, she's "better" and she goes out.

The cold caught me--it's not so bad, but its not good either. I pity the fool who shakes my hand. I mean I try to cough into my elbow, but that's not fullproof when your head is fuzzy from coughing so much. What a time to be busy at work--I really need to get that list made.

It is cloudy here--we must be on storm watch, because it looks like it could rain. Last summer we'd get hazy days and Mel would say, oh good it's going to rain and we'd say, no--that's haze--it doesn't rain in summer. But these clouds are definitely more than haze and it is winter (almost). OMG it's not even technically winter yet and it is so cold (comparatively speaking--for you Michiganders and Indianers, it's balmy, but for those of us who don't usually need to wear a coat IN THE OFFICE, it's pretty cold.) The heating panel doesn't work in my office. It's probably never been turned on before, but mine caught on fire when they were trying to fix it. I have this cool clock that you can click and get the temperature--it's 66 degrees in my office (the fire only lasted a second--not even long enough to warm the place up). Yesterday it was 62 and I didn't have my gloves. That must be why I'm sick.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I Hope this Works

I seem to have entered my blog in a round about way--so we'll try the old republish and hope that clears up the problems. My old postings are probably lost forever which is kind of sad, but oh well. Other lost things (I really hope forever) is 30 lbs since April, 2003 when I joined Curves. They printed out a chart and the last 20 lbs were lost in the past three months, but it was nice to see that the first ten stayed off for over a year just by going to Curves. Hopefully, that bodes well for the rest of it. Marcella said we have to go shopping, but I told her, not yet--I'm not done. And I have no money. The belts are working just fine.

In unrelated news (I hope), I'm losing my great memory. I always make lists and I memorize my lists and then I make new lists. I can't remember what's on the old list or the new list and I lost my lists. I've got a lot fewer balls in the air, but I still feel overwhelmed. One day at a time, that's all we can do.

And I'm catching a cold--I'm running away as fast as I can, but I can feel it catching up to me. Melody went home early with a horrible cough, so I know it's only a matter of time.

Tour of Homes was great--Adrienne came for almost the whole day (and stayed out front to help with the crowd in the cold) which helped so much. We tracked dirt on the homeowners white wool carpet and the owner came home before I could vacuum, but the little bit that I did vacuum looked great, so hopefully there was no long term damage. The upstairs of the house had double thick walls which made the bedrooms so quiet--they were wonderful and the tv room had heat on full blast making it so warm and cozy. I could so live in that house.

I can't believe it's already December 6th, but I'm so busy at work I'm not allowed to get all Christmasy mushy yet--I need to make a list.