Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I am sitting here writing but my mind is not with it tonight. So forgive me, dear readers, if I am a bit disconnected.

About 10 days ago I found out that one of my neighbors - I will call him B - was in the hospital to have some tests done. It seems as though he was having some trouble remembering things. Initially, it was thought that it might have something to do with some of the medication he was on in his attempt to quit smoking. Nothing major to be sure, but some test would hopefully give some answers.

Today I found out that they brought B home. To die. He is not expected to make it through the night. It turns out he has a brain tumor and there is nothing that can be done.

I met this neighbor and his wife, C, a several years ago after we moved to our home. We didn't meet right away but, rather, came together when a municipal project was put in the works in our neighborhood.

The thing is, I'm not normally the type to go out and get to know the neighbors. I mean, I can't even see any of their houses unless I go for a drive so it's not like we cross paths on a daily basis or anything. At any rate, we started talking at the local meetings and eventually started meeting at houses in the neighborhood.

The meetings eventually moved to their house on a regular basis. They kind of became the leaders of our little pack of concerned citizens. Being retired engineers, they were able to look at plans and translate them into layman's terms for the rest of us. They would sift through zoning and code books, environmental regulations and funding criteria. They attended meetings and hearings during the day and brought back information and reports to those who had to miss them due to work. In the end, B and C are in a large part responsible for making sure the project had as little negative impact on the environment and neighborhood as possible.

During the course of all of this our little neighborhood community began to grow closer. One winter, when we all had it up to our ears with municipal project stuff, we were lamenting the fact that the stretch between Christmas and spring was just too darn long and depressing. Someone came up with the idea of having a party in the beginning of February to shake off the winter blues and thus the Boilo Festival was born. B and C graciously offered their house for the festivities and have done so ever since.

When the municipal project finished, B took on the task of monitoring the water in the local stream on a seasonal basis just to make sure nothing ever got out of whack. He would go along with another neighbor and clamber down hills, through brambles, into the stream to snatch a sample of water. Just to make sure things were ok. Just because he cared.

The last time I saw him was a few weeks ago when we got together with them and other neighbors and purchased a 20 acre tract of land that sat in the middle of our three properties. It came up for sale and we and the other neighbors, although we wanted desperately to buy it, could never afford to do it. B and C offered to go in on it with us. Their main reason for doing it? They just wanted to make sure the land got into the hands of people who would care for it. We went to the closing and signed the papers. B and C and the other neighbors asked if we wanted to go out for dinner to celebrate but, alas, my hubby had to go to work and I had to drive the kids to something or other.

And now this.

B and C don't have any kids. They don't have much other family. B has C and C has B and that's mostly it. And now C is sitting in her house with B while he slowly slips away.

I can't imagine what she is going through. They have one of those marriages where they truly are each other's best friend.

It might seem odd that I am thinking of her rather than him. Maybe it even seems cold, but I rarely feel bad for someone once they are dead. I really believe that we go on to something better so death, in that sense anyway, never really bothered me. It's the people left behind that I feel sorry for. What will she do?

Who will finish her sentences?

Who will finish her dinner when she can't?

Who will know how to make a cup of coffee for her exactly the way she likes it?

Who will snuggle up and keep her warm at night?

Who will know exactly what she is thinking just by the look on her face?

Who will be the safe harbor when she needs a break from the world?

I think about her situation and wonder what I would ever do if it were me. It couldn't be the same, of course, because I have children and other family. But I wonder what I would do if I were suddenly faced with her situation. How do you ever get over the loss of your very best friend? That friend who understands you like no one else ever will. The friend so close that you forget they are not actually a part of you but a separate person entirely. How do you wake up the next morning knowing you won't roll over and look in their face? Hear their voice? How do you ever deal with such a thing?

I guess in the end, you just do. Just like everything else.

At any rate, it's a crappy thing.

If you are of the type, please say a prayer to whoever your god is. For B and C. And everyone else who loses a spouse. And after you do that, if you are married to your best friend, go give him or her a big ol' hug and tell them how wonderful s/he is and how lucky you are to have him/her in your life.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Water, water everywhere...

On my dryer.

On my floor.

In my basement.

In about 50,000 buckets all over our house.

Yes, the rain has come and the roof is leaking. Again. So the water is everywhere.

Everywhere except...the pipes. That are supposed to have water.

Such is life.

A quickie update for you all. I know I've been away for a little while and rather lax about posting. It is not, however, without good reason.

The reason has varied parts.

The first part is that we were away for a few days closing up my mother's cabin for the winter. On the way home from there, we picked up a dog at Cornell University. It is a 1.5 year old beagle. She was one of the dogs mentioned in d.b.echo's (see side bar for link) post a little while ago that were in need of good homes. They didn't mention that good homes = dry homes. We didn't bother to bring it up.

Anyway, her name is Ruby and she's really little and really cute. And I would post a photo but...I can't. Further explanation later.

At any rate, we came home to a house with no water because the pressure tank (what?) went bad while we were away. Bad pressure tank. Bad, bad pressure tank.

And since it was our new dog's first car ride, and she was scared to death and consequently slobbered and vomitted all over herself and really needed a bath, it made our arrival home all the more special.

Oh, and the other part of the reason...

We used to have two phone lines with our dsl on one of them. I got thinking to myself..."Self?" I say, "There's no point in paying for two phone lines. Why not just cancel the one and get the dsl put onto the regular phone line?" A simple plan, you would think.

So, I called the phone company shortly before we left for the cabin and explained what I wanted to do. I would only require some minor flicking of switches and data entry on their part.

I was wrong.

So wrong.

What it in fact requires is the phone guy to come to the house when we are stuck in traffic in Ithaca - resulting in many confused and desperate phone calls to my teenage son who doesn't understand that once you let the phone guy in the house, you will incur such debt with Phone Company Guy Labor charges it will make the national deficit seem like pocket change. Then said teenage son tells you "Well, he already did all the inside work." And you are still stuck in traffic. Only because you had to meet the lady with the dog 10 minutes ago and how were you to know that I81 would be backed up with traffic really bad and the alternate route involving many small country roads - all under construction, every single one and I'm not lying - wouldn't get you there any quicker?

Because that's what it involves when you want to change your dsl to another line. Just so you know.

So when we came home with our pukey, slobbery new dog to no water, we also found out that we had no phone service either. Because the phone guy saw our phone line, which had been perfectly happy laying on the ground after the tree ripped it off the house and pole - hey, it still worked - and he thought it wasn't such a great set up. So he decided that new lines should be put in and, while we're at it, let's run them underground and avoid this whole messy tree business in the future. Which is cool by me. The only downside being that I am still without phone and internet. And I'm getting frighteningly used to it. Frightening to my kids, that is.

So I have my reasons for no update, folks.

Right now I'm at work. Making good use of my time. After this I'm going outside to hang some decorations.

I love my job.

So, if I ever get internet back at home, I'll post a picture of our new dog. Oddly enough, out of everyone in our family, she's attended the best school so far.

Alright, I'm done for today.