Thanks For Reminding Me.

Monday. What an annoying day, usually, but this was an exception. The weather was relatively cool, the rain storm this afternoon didn’t last long, and, more importantly, didn’t start until I was already home.

Hell, even the time at work wasn’t as annoying as it normally would have been. We had a reorganization of our cubicle farm last Friday and I got moved to a new cubicle; I’m no longer in the cubicle directly across the hall from my bosses’ office. That means that for the first time in almost three years I didn’t have to listen to her talking on her phone, dealing with employees, or arguing with the IT department all day.  I like my boss, but I hated being directly across from her office.

There has been no progress or information about the theft of Turlaugh’s trailer. No information, or news of any kind from the police. I’m sure they are busy giving people tickets for riding (not driving, riding) without a seat belt. So, that sucks, but I will tell you something that doesn’t: the outpouring of support and offers of help that all of us that lost items has been ….well, it’s beyond my ability to describe.

I knew I had been blessed with good friends. I knew, …I know that, but sometimes it is necessary to be reminded of the fact. Since I made the posts alerting to look for stolen property on the Gleann Abbhan and Grey Niche lists, and since posting about here in the Corner, I’ve received countless of messages offering everything from condolences, offers of help in looking for the stuff, and in a couple of cases offering to help hide the bodies if we ever find out who stole the trailer. I even got contacted by a guy in a SCA group in Alaska asking for pictures of the stolen pavilions. As he said, “you never know where stuff will turn up, so I’ll be keeping an eye out”. Damn, that’s just bloody cool.

I’ve always thought thought that friendship is the only form of wealth that really means anything in the long run. You can’t take money or items with you when the time comes, but you can take the love of friends. By that measurement I am a very wealthy man, and most of the time I am consciously aware of that fact. Occasionally though I need to be reminded of it, and this weekend was one of those times.

You see, this past weekend was the aniversary of the last three days of my Dad’s illness. In fact he died 15 years ago today. I’ve dealt with all the issues brought about by Dad’s death several years ago, so Idon’t get overly emotional on the aniversary of his death, but I do tend to get a bit melancholy the third week of August. That didn’t happen this past weekend. I was to busy being reminded in a lot of ways, by a lot of people, how lucky I am. How truly rich I am. Thank you, all of you for reminding me.

C

Vexa minus
Labora plurius

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It is here

It is here. I picked up the damnable machine yesterday afternoon. The machine that I know I need (well, the machine that my Doctor tells me I need). I spent roughly an hour yesterday organizing a place for the damnable machine close to my bedside, and another 30 minutes or so getting the mask adjusted properly. Then I tried to sleep.
I have to admit that I did sleep, and I slept better than normal. I normally sleep about five to six hours a night. However I never really get “deeply” asleep. I toss and turn a lot (or as much a fat man can toss and turn), and I normally wake up two or three times a night. Of course I don’t stay awake long, usually just five to ten minutes at a time.
Last night I only woke up once, and that was to go to the bathroom. It did take a while to get over the two strange sensations (a mask strapped over my nose and a air blowing into my nose. However, eventually I did sleep. Apparently I slept better than I expected, or better than I normally do. I slept deeply and enjoyed it thoroughly. That is, I did until I woke up this morning.
If any of you that read this ever find yourself in a position where you have to use a CPAP machine I’d like to give you a bit of advice: it is a really, really, unspeakably bad idea to roll on your side with the air hose under you. This causes the hose to compress, and you will find that you wake up rather quickly and unpleasantly.

C.

Sometimes things sneak up on you.

Fourteen years ago and one day ago if you had asked me if I would ever forget what happened on August 23 and August 26, 1993 I’d have laughed at you. I’d have told you that I would never, ever forget what anniversary fell on those dates. I obviously would have been wrong. For it wasn’t until about 3:00 today that I realized I had forgotten.
You see, on August 23, 1993 my Father died. He finally lost his fight with the cancer that had attacked so suddenly and had ravaged his body that spring and summer. None of us should have been surprised he had cancer; among other things he was a three pack a day smoker and drank to much. I know some cancer patients fight the disease for years, but Dad’s illness came on so quick, and spread so fast it was only four months from his first indication of illness until the day he died. A relatively short time, I know. I should be glad it didn’t drag out over years. Etc. Etc. I know that, I really do, but fact is, at the time it felt like the period lasted somewhat over twenty years.
His memorial service was held on August 26th. Since my family is fundamentally unable to do anything in a traditional matter, it was not a traditional funeral. There was no “viewing”, because Dad had been cremated. A couple of months later his ashes were spread in the Gulf Of Mexico, over the reef where he had caught the biggest fish he had ever caught. The Gulf was his favorite place on Earth. The cremation, and the ash dispersal were what he wanted. He made sure we (Mom, Kris, and I) knew that before he went into the hospital for the last time. The rest of his family, his parents and sister’s didn’t like it, but in a rare display of common sense they were not stupid enough to argue with the three of us.
The memorial service was led by three Episcopalian priests: The priest of the church my sister was actively part of at Auburn, Father Bargetzi. He didn’t know Dad at all, but he came up from Auburn at Kris’s request. Then there was Father ….Hell, I’ve forgotten his name. He was the Priest at Mom and Dad’s church in Decatur, where we were living at the time. I was not active in the church with them, I had …other issues I was dealing with at the time and had not been going to church for years. Then there was Father Masters. We had only known him for the last month or so. He had gone to seminary with the Priest from Decatur, and was the main priest at a church in Nashville (Dad was in Vanderbilt Med Center in Nashville when he died). He had visited Dad many times in the hospital, at the request of his old friend from Seminary. Father Masters was a good man. He cared more for Mom, Kris, and I, than he did for Dad. I think he knew that Dad wasn’t going to make it, so he saw his job as taking care of us. We spent a LOT of time in that hospital that last month. He was not a typical priest in a lot of ways. He had a bit of a …..I can’t think of any other way to say it, but he was a bit of a smart ass. A good man, certainly, but a smart ass. Can you guess which of the three was my favorite? I thought you could.
I remember the first anniversary. I was afraid of that day. I thought it would be horrendous, and in some ways it was. I knew Dad wouldn’t want all of us to spend time feeling bad, etc, but I did any way. We all did. Each year after that first anniversary, the approach of those two days got a bit easier. I was less afraid of them. In the last three or four years I tend to spend August 23 and August 26 remembering the good times with Dad. And despite the fact that prior to his illness he and I had gone through a kind of rough period in our relationship, the good times, the good memories far out number the bad times. So, my feelings about those days, has changed, but I had always remembered them. I always made sure I called my mom and sister, to make sure they are dealing with the day ok.
This year, I just plain forgot the anniversary of the day he died, and of the memorial service. When I realized on Sunday I had forgotten, I called my Mom. I was feeling truly awful about not remembering. I was feeling guilty. I expected a major guilt trip from Mom, but that wonderful lady, a lady I make fun of a lot, simply said, “Hell! Do you think wherever He is this weekend He’s spending time remembering those days? He’s not, he’s enjoying himself, and expecting you, me, and your sister to do the same. “. I thought about that for a couple of hours and realized she was right. Dad’s soul is off fishing the Cosmic Ocean. I truly believe that, and someday, if you ask, I’ll tell you why. He would not have wanted any of us to dwell on those particular days. So I’m not going to feel bad about it.
I am, however, going to ask you to join me in a toast….

/raises a glass of diet coke….

Wherever you are, old man, I hope the fishing is good, and know that I think of you often. I miss you, and the fun we had together. I know I didn’t turn out the way you wanted. I didn’t follow the plan you had for my life, but I was able to chart my own path because you raised me to think for myself, and to have the courage to live the life I wanted, not what other’s wanted for me. You did a good job. You were a good parent, and I love you Dad.

Cormac.

Lesson Remembered

A while back I posted the revelation that I dislike the learning curve. What I meant by that is that I dislike the process of learning how to do something. There are some things that I do, like planning and organizing, that come naturally. I didn’t have have to “learn” to do them. Those activities come easily to me.
Now, I freely admit I have no artistic abilities whatsoever. I can’t draw, I can’t paint. I can’t sing. Some very kind ladies once tried to teach me to sew so that I could make my own garb. At the end of that day two very talented costumers were both heard to order me to step away from the sewing machine and not to come within thirty yards of it ever again. Normally this lack of artistic skill doesn’t bother me.
Well, that’s not totally true. What would be totally true is this; normally the lack of artistic skill doesn’t bother me enough to make me actually take the time to learn an artistic skill. The lack of skill doesn’t bother me enough to actually sit down and practice something, to learn something. Normally, that second statement is true. Well, it was true until I got intrigued by the cool chains I saw being given to the Gleann Abhann army a couple of years ago at Gulf Wars. They were cool, and I found I wanted to learn how to make them.
In the last couple of years I’ve been playing with wire. I learned how to make three or four different chain patterns. It wasn’t easy, for me anyway, but it was the first thing that was even vaguely artistic that I kept working on for more than a couple of hours. I found I enjoyed the process of making the rings, cutting the rings, opening them, and finally assembling them into a chain that could be used for a necklace or a bracelet. It’s a great way to focus the mind. Focus on one activity that is rather repetitive, and as you get more comfortable with it you will find that while your hands are busy, your mind is busy working on whatever may be troubling it.
Recently I’ve been trying to learn a couple of new techniques, and that is what caused the most recent comment about the learning curve. I still haven’t mastered them, but despite the other statement, I find I’m enjoying seeing the improvement in my practice pieces. I just wish the skill increases would come faster. I guess what I really need to learn, or remember, is that it’s the journey that is important, not the destination. That is is true about so many things in life.