Friday, February 10, 2006

That Was the Week That Was

For you youngsters, the title originates from a very old TV program. Sort of the precursor to Saturday Night Live, with comics and pundits giving a humorous take to the week's events.

This week has been an odd mixture of events. I feel like I've been in the middle of an angry hive of bees and swatting like crazy and there's always more bees. I haven't been stung yet, but my arms are sure getting tired of swatting.

But the week ends with a piece of good news. Cousin Robert reports that he and Stacy are infanticipating. Always glad to hear there are more branches popping out on the old family tree. I'm happy for them and I'm happy I live a little too far away to be called on for baby sitting. (Just kidding, kids. Well, not really. The old hen is just not up to that sort of thing anymore. Glad the grandparents are nice and handy.)

Earlier in the week, I got notice that a cousin and a cousin-in-law had passed away some time ago. One of the benefits of having a family history website is that folks looking for people who connect into the family find me when they start googling. An acquaintance of cousin Willard Kunkel got in touch, wanting to know if I had an obituary for him. It was the first I knew that he had died. A lot of internet surfing on my own confirmed that he passed away in September last year.

And then, because I got to wondering who else might have passed on that I had missed hearing about, I began doing some searches for cousins who are seldom in touch. Turns out that another cousin's husband, Vernon Kitcher, had passed away in 2004.

So that's two gone and one on the way. Or if it turns out that twins are on the way, we will have an even displacement in the family tree. (And I'm really too far away for baby-sitting.) Life continues on. One chapter ends and another begins.

I'm still wondering about the lady I saw yesterday. She was in the little white car next to me, waiting at the stop light. Every available space in the little car was filled with stuff. Piles of files. White grocery bags of what did not appear to be groceries. Literally, there was stuffed piled in every available space except the seat where she sat. It didn't look like someone in transition to a new dwelling. It didn't look like she was a salesman with inventory. It didn't look like she was living out of her car. I watched her drive on, wondering what on earth her house looked like, if her car was any indication.

This morning the welcome sound of thunder came unexpectedly, followed by a nice little rainfall. We've been awfully dry here, so who cares if the traffic was awful this morning as a result. It was nice to have an excuse to exercise the windshield wipers. Then, as I topped the hill just before descending into Garfield, I saw the smoke. It did not take long to realize that it wasn't one of the grass fires that have been plaguing the area during the drought conditions. It was a structure fire. A house that I've passed for 30 years in commuting to work was fully engulfed in flames by the time I got close to the thick knot of firetrucks. It's always a shock to see a dwelling on fire. The last time I saw such a thing, it was a hotel unit on fire in Del Valle. To see a home well on the way to destruction is a sickening thing. My first thought is for the people and then for the family history that likely became ashes this morning. One day it's there and the next day it's gone.

I'm definitely going to get back to work on getting all the photos scanned and copies made to distribute to family members as insurance against such a loss. I may seem paranoid to some, but fear of fire is one reason I always take my laptop with me when I leave the house unattended. I might lose my notebooks and my original photos, but I will have a digital version of my records still available.

On Wednesday, caretaking was the theme of the day. Doctor visits first, then dropping off the prescriptions obtained therefrom, then on to do some critical banking that has been long neglected, then back to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription that had been written incorrectly (causing telephone calls and an extra trip back to the doctor office on Thursday) and paying bills and I'm sure I've forgotten something in there. I remarked to David that Mother needed a full time secretary. He remarked to me that she had one. Very funny.

On Tuesday, it was cat caretaking. I had been concerned for a little over a week about Sister's sneezes and watery eyes. She's getting on up there and her littermate succumbed to cancer a couple of years back, so I decided I had better drop her at the vet's on the way to work and let them check her out. I had a coupon for a free exam (sort of a frequent customer thing), so why not? Turns out that we had not done any blood work in awhile, so would I like them to give her a really good going over? Sure. I extracted her from their clutches that evening after shelling out $135 for labwork. The verdict? She may be suffering from allergies. Otherwise fine. She's back to sleeping all day on the guest bed and I'm the one emitting frustrated hisses.

Amongst all of these opportunities as a former boss used to describe them, I dealt with a mother who wants to eat nothing but hamburgers and French fries, dogs who cross their legs and wait until the door opens and they can get back inside to the carpet to relieve themselves, and being bombarded by conflicting directions from the powers that be at the office.

I will be glad to write finis to this week and give it another go next week. In spite of all the turmoil of the week, I still managed to get a result of 86 after taking the test that you can find here: . I guess that's something.


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