Looking for translation software? You're in the wrong place. But. If you think you might be interested in the musings of a cranky forty-something learning to follow her dreams, live without fear, love herself, and look good doing it, well then, hell, come on down!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Off the Road, Finally

The road went ever onward (almost without end, amen) but we are finally here. We grabbed everything we could carry, without regard for whether it needed to go inside or not, and practically ran for the door. Liberty Bell? Convention hall? Betsy Ross’s house? Pfft. I just want to sleep.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On the Road, Again

This morning I once more find myself heading east on I-80. (That makes it sound as if getting here was effortless, which, I assure it, it was not.) Destination? Philadelphia and the wedding of JT’s little brother, 43 and, up until now, never married. Life has been a whirlwind (or perhaps a whirlpool?) of activity since returning home from Michigan 4 days ago, but we managed to do everything that needed to be done, and now we’re off, finery in tow, to celebrate a joyous family event. Although I am surrounded by books to read and writing to critique (3000 pages by June 15 if I do the recommended reading as well as the required; 1869 if I only do the required), the trip will be a much-needed break: no houses to buy, no workshops to prepare for, nowhere that we have to be until Friday night’s rehearsal dinner. You know what they say about a change being as good as a break.

And the reading I need to do for school? I’m actually looking forward to it, and not just because I want to cross it off my list, (though I must admit that I have a great fondness for crossing things off a to-do list). What a concept: studying something I enjoy. What a nice change from my undergraduate studies. I might turn out to be a good student, after all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

On the Road

Perhaps I am not, at heart, a blogger. I like the idea of blogging, of chronicling the events in my life, even if for my own amusement or future consumption. But when things get busy, I don't find the time to blog. Probably I would never have been a journalist or famous diarist, either. I am what one of my workshop writers called an "emotional writer." She was speaking of herself when she said that she tended to write when she was upset or in love, but she could have been talking about me. But while that tends to be therapeutic, and I'm all for therapeutic, those aren't often the times I want to go back and read about. And yet, when life is full of change and excitement, I can't seem to find the time to record my thoughts and impressions. Perhaps it is just not a priority to me; I'm in love with the fantasy of blogging, but don't want to commit.

Still, something keeps nagging at me, urging me to the keyboard.

We're in Michigan on Whirlpool's dime, in a Holiday Inn Express suite overlooking Lake Michigan. I knew we would have a room with a view, but the gift basket was a surprise. I've never been wooed by a corporation before so I'm easily impressed by offerings of Michigan cherries and blueberries and local fudge. It was dark and cloudy when we arrived, so we pretended that we could see the waves from our balcony. We immediately hooked up the computer so that we could re-check the home listings a local realtor e-mailed us last night. Tomorrow morning we'll meet a "tour-guide-cum-propagandist" for a 3-hour tour of the town, then it's off to tour the Benton Harbor facility where JT will work (if we accept the job offer, that is). After lunch, we're going to look at house. Just to see what the market is like, and whether there are neighborhoods we like and houses we can afford.

Those from JT's department who have already made the trek to Michigan and lived to tell about it have been impressed with location. One co-worker came up here with the clear intention of turning down the job; he is now a fan of the area, with every intention of accepting the offer. I hope we'll get a chance to watch the sunset over the water tomorrow night, and perhaps to walk along the beach somewhere. Oh, and that we'll see enough to be able to make an informed decision come next Monday.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

To Move or Not to Move

That is the question before us now. Whirlpool announced yesterday that it would cut 4,500 jobs, close plants, including the one here in Iowa. JT learned yesterday that he is one of 58 Research and Design employees offered a position in Benton Harbor, Whirlpool's headquarters. Neither of us wants to move, but, as we suspected, a real-live job offer, even one 400 miles away, is pretty hard to decline. He--we have to decide by May 22. Less than two weeks. I have shows this weekend and school matinees on Tuesday and Wednesday. We plan to leave after next Wednesday's matinee and be back here in time for Friday evening's performance. The Wednesday following that we go to Philadelphia for his brother's wedding.

Which is why I'm up at 1:43 on a Thursday morning. Nothing like a series of seemingly-impossible deadlines to jolt me out of my self-indulgent doldrums.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Days are the Hardest

I had Vienna sausages for lunch today. (I know. I have the palate of a child. And not a particularly well-bred one, at that.) Mealtime went much more quickly today because there was no Christopher begging for bits of sausage. I don't know why he liked them so much. (I don't know why I like them either.) But the only thing he liked better was chicken from Long John Silver's. (Yes, yes. See first parenthetical phrase.)

He was actually quite annoying when I was eating Vienna sausages, eating his portions faster than I could spread a saltine with Miracle Whip (ibid) and adorn it with slices of processed meat product. If I ate in the living room, he jumped up on the coffee table and helped himself. (He also liked Miracle Whip. He was my cat, all right.) When I moved the plate out of his reach, he'd jump up on the couch and then walk from the couch to my lap. If I ate at the kitchen table like a grown-up (albeit one who still eats like a kid--anyone remember Franco American canned spaghetti? Yummy with cut-up hotdogs), he would try to climb on the table (a no-no) or, failing that, paw my leg to let me know he wanted more more more. Often the claws were unsheathed. But today I was able to eat my Vienna sausages unmolested. Unmolested but sad.

With JT at work all day, Christopher and I developed our own routines. If I slept in, Christopher would be asleep on the love seat when I got up. My opening the blinds in the living room was often his first clue that I was awake, and he would yawn and stretch, then saunter in to say hello and maybe eat a bit more breakfast. He slept a lot during the day, curled up on an electric blanket draped over a wicker love seat in the solarium, which is located just off the living room by the front door. The door, a heavy old oak door, sticks, and shrieks a little each time it is opened or closed. Christopher raised his head each time the door was opened, so it was habit to look in on him. Each time I left the house I said good-bye, telling him where I was going and when I'd be back.

When all three cats were alive, I checked their whereabouts before leaving the house, and routinely said, "Bye, guys," as I went out the door. After Riley died in October 2001, I made sure I told Mikey and Christopher that I loved them each time I left. Just as with people, you never know when the last time you saw a pet might be the last time you see him. It seems strange, now, even after more than a week, to go out without stopping in the solarium to kiss Christopher on the head and say good-bye. Sometimes, because I can't stand not to, I pause at the door and, looking into the solarium, still say good-bye and I love you before I go out the door. And I still turn my head to look at his spot on the electric blanket when I come in.

The electric blanket is off now, but still draped across the love seat. I know it needs to be washed and either put or thrown away (after years of providing a warm bed for elderly cats, it's not really fit for human use), but I'm not yet ready. Nor am I ready to deal with our outgoing answering machine message, which still says, "You have reached the home of Hannah, JT, Mikey, Riley and Christopher. Please leave a message at the tone, and one of us will get back to you." When I lived alone, I used the cat's names as a sort of protective camouflage, and when JT and I moved in together, couldn't bear to give that up--I was giving up so very much as it was, moving from Virginia to Iowa where I knew no one but JT and his sister's family. And then, when Riley died, I couldn't bear to take his name off the message.

The day Christopher died, I turned off the answering machine, not wanting to hear the outgoing message. We haven't turned it back on. I know it's time we took the cats' names off of it. It was one thing to have the names of our cats on the announcement when they were alive, and another to leave the names of deceased cats on the message. But it's a whole other level of crazy when all of them are gone. It's just...I'm not ready for them to be completely gone. I picked up the litter boxes and cat rugs. I picked up and put away the water dishes and his food bowl, and the mats that went under them. I'm just not ready to give up everything.

Sometimes I think I hear him. When I'm the only one here, I still think that any moment I'll hear the click of his claws on the floor as he gets up to use the litter box or eat a little more food. When I sit in the recliner with a computer on my lap or say my lines out loud, I expect him to come out of the solarium, stretching his back legs to get the kinks out, and then to jump up in my lap. After 21 years, it's strange not to have my day and house filled with Christopher's needs and presence. Perhaps this is a little like the way parents feel when their children move out. We are, after all, empty nesters now. Or maybe just empty hearters.