Category Archives: We Are Family

This week

The past few weeks have been crazy busy at work.  And, even though a lot of people have already taken off for the holidays, this week doesn’t look to be any calmer.  Atleast, by mid-week, most everyone else will be gone.  So in their absence, with the peace and quiet, maybe I can actually get some work done.

Monday:  Conference call with India at 6am (so not looking forward to being up in 4 hours).  Then I have to spend 2 hours training someone to support a project we are going live with in January.  Then the rest of the day playing catchup on support tickets and email that I haven’t touched in almost a week.  Go brave one of the malls in an attempt to finish my Christmas shopping.  Come home and watch the game. 

Tuesday:  All day work session with my design team, rewriting test cases for our gigantimum upgrade next year.  Atleast we’ll get a free breakfast and lunch out of it.

Wednesday:  My birthday.  Yay.  Going to try to duck out of the office early and then meet up with friends to watch the Stars game and have adult beverages. 

Thursday:  Try not to be too hungover so I can be at work before noon.  Run some test batches to make sure the process we’re using for that January project will work the way I think it will.  Continue unloading my inbox (it’s really frighteningly out of control right now) and work more support tickets.  Come home and do laundry and clean house in prep for going out of town.

Friday:  Hopefully I can get away with working from home.  And finish laundry and cleaning.  Pack clothes and stuff.  Get all the presents wrapped and loaded into the car.  Give Mazzy a bath.  Clean car.  Check all the fluids and stuff in the car.  Make sure I have bottles of all those various fluids to take on the road with me (my car is an old POS and I am dreading the 5+ hour drive…something always seems to go wrong).  Air up my tires.   Watch the game.

Saturday:  Get up early (ugh) and drive for 5-8 hours (depending on my car and how many potty breaks Mazzy and I need).  Get to parents’ house.  Unload car.  Change into comfy pajamas (aka fat people pj’s) and hope super hot guy that I used to date way back when doesn’t decide to stop by my parents’ house for a visit again.

So if I can just make it through Monday and Tuesday, the rest shouldn’t be too bad.  Speaking of, I need to get my ass to sleep!  I’ve got multiple alarms set to wake me up at the crack of dawn so I can be in the office before 6.  I imagine this is what I will feel like for most of the day:

(photo from http://cuteoverload.com)

Here’s to the last month of 2005!

I love December.  Not just because my birthday is coming up.  In fact, birthdays after 30 don’t sound too exciting.  I think I’ll just stay 30 from here on in.  But I like the upcoming holidays.  The decorations.  The pretty lights popping up on the houses up and down my street.  The time off from work.  The trip to Beaumont to spend time with my family.  I even enjoy the Christmas shopping.  Although, I usually end up doing as much of mine online as I can get away with. 

You have to go out to the malls and/or shopping centers.  You just have to.  It’s like a rite of passage.  All the excitement in the air.  You can just feel it.  It’s electrifying!  People scurrying about, overloaded with shopping bags.  Some look ready to pull every hair on their head out.  Others seem to almost skip their way through the stores, in perfect timing with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing in the background.  Even if I’m just window shopping, it’s always fun to go wander the stores and see what new-fangled trinket people are fawning over.

I remember, when I was a kid, the Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage.  Parents were lining up at Toys R Us at the crack of dawn for a chance to get their grubby paws on one for their demanding child who just wouldn’t understand why Santa didn’t bring them the doll of their dreams.  People were actually fighting over these dolls.  It was insane.

I never got a Cabbage Patch doll.  Honestly, I don’t remember ever wanting one.  My mom might remember it differently.  But what I did get, every year, without fail, was something I would never trade for all the <insert most wanted gadget here> in the world.  And I’m not just talking about Mom’s jailhouse rolls either. 

I got to tiptoe into the living room with my brothers, before our parents were awake (or so we thought) to discover what Santa had left for us.    

I got to see my parents smiling as they watched us rip open our presents.  And to, later, see my brothers smiling as their children opened their gifts. 

I got to see my neices and nephews go from their parents helping them read the nametags on the gifts, so they could deliver them to each person, to them reading them for themselves.

I got to see my dad, year after year, break out that electric carving knife (that thing has to be older than I am!) and go to work on the turkey or ham. 

I got to melt the butter to brush on top of Mom’s rolls before hiding them away, under the most mismatched kitchen towels you can imagine, so they could rise before putting them in the oven. 

I got to sit around the dinner table with my family, all of us so full we could barely move, only to hear Mom ask who was ready for dessert.

And I got so much more that I could never put it all into words.

So for all you Scrooges out there, put a stocking in it. 

And HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Around this time last year, I had enjoyed several servings of Turkey (wink, wink) and was rushing him out the front door because my parents were less than an hour away and I still had to clean house.  This year, no Turkey for me.  And no turkey either. 

I normally get Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving.  However, this year, they decided to give us the option of saving the Friday and using it in December.  Since I’d rather have the time off for Christmas, I opted to work this Friday so I could have the extra day later.  Then, Monday, I end up sick and haven’t been in to work all week.  So now I am working today and tomorrow to avoid wasting 3 days of vacation on being sick. 

My brother that lives in this area, Duckie, has the whole week off from work, so he made use of one of middle brother’s, Red Baron’s, passes and flew to San Diego to visit oldest brother, Dilbert, and his family for the week.  He got there Saturday evening.  Mom & Dad headed that way on Tuesday.  I’m not sure if Red Baron and his family decided to go, too, or not.  Since Red Baron’s family usually spends most of the holiday with my sis-in-law’s family, they may have opted to stay in town. 

So, here I sit, on Thanksgiving day, alone with my dog, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade on tv.  I could feel sorry for myself for missing out on being in San Diego (somewhere I’ve never been) with the rest of my family.  Or for being sick and snot-nosed and working when I should be off.  Or for still being single, with no hope of ever meeting Mr. Right.  Or for being buried in debt and having to force myself to keep the same crappy furniture for another year to avoid further burying myself.  I could really have a pity party. 

But…

I’m not.  Instead, I’m grateful for being able to work from home, in my PJs, with my dog to keep my feet warm.  I’m grateful to own my own home (yes, I realize, I am still paying for it). 

I’m thankful for my family and all they have done for me and continue to do for me.  My parents totally and completely rock, there is no arguing that.  My brothers, although I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, are cool as hell and are there for me whenever I need them.   I have the most adorable, sweet, and smart nieces and nephews who are growing up faster than I’d like to admit. 

I’m thankful for the friends I have made in the past few years that literally pulled me out of the depths of my despair.  I’m thankful for those that I have managed to establish true friendships with.  I’m grateful for those that annoy the crap out of me and force me out of the house when I don’t want to be as well as those that know when it’s best to just leave me alone.

I’m thankful for the promotion I received at the end of last year.  I have truly enjoyed my job exponentially more than I did previously.  I’m grateful for the opportunity I was given and the challenges I faced.  I’m grateful I was able to meet, and even exceed, the expectations that were made of me. 

So while I could find something to complain about, on today of all days, why would I?  Cheers to you and yours!

Happy Turkey Day!

There’s a house under there?

My parents were able to go back into Beaumont on Friday.  They thought they’d be back before the weekend was out, but by Sunday, they had power.  And they already had water and gas because they live out of the city limits.  So they are staying there and getting to work cleaning up the mess.

Their houses are all okay for the most part.  No major damage, structurally atleast.

My oldest brother (I’ll call him Dilbert) flew in on Saturday night to help Dad with the (tons) of work to be done.  Since my parents’ computer is trapped in the van in a shop near Jasper somewhere, it’s a good thing Dilbert brought his laptop.  He managed to, over my parent’s ridiculously slow dialup connection (seriously…it’s like half the speed of normal dialup), email a few pictures tonight.

Supposedly, one of my dad’s rent houses is under all the mess.  Amazing.

It’s still dark outside, so why am I awake??

Seriously.  People that get up this early are insane.

My parents left around 5am.  The Beaumont Enterprise was reporting yesterday that the area would be open today only for people to come in and check their property, secure things, and gather any belongings they might need.  They are asking that people not stay, but I’m sure there will be plenty that will.  Mom and Dad were planning to go back through Jasper, roads permitting, to check on their crippled van that they had to leave behind and all the stuff they had loaded it up with. 

I’m guessing they will be back before the weekend is over.  Although, now Dad is talking like he might stay and send Mom back.  He’s thinking he can start clearing limbs or whatever else needs to be done.  He had gone over to Mississippi with a group of guys from church after Katrina to help with the cleanup there, so now he’s thinking he should be able to do the same where he lives.

Think I’ll see if I can’t get a couple more hours of sleep before work…

Hockey and a missed call

Took my parents to the game tonight against the Blues.  That was certainly a welcome break!  AND we won.   It’s preseason, I know, but still.  One more preseason game at home this Saturday and then the real deal starts next Wednesday!  Can’t wait!!!

After the game I noticed a missed call on my phone.  A call from T.  I haven’t talked to him since our big “discussion.”  And no, I never did send that email.  Never deleted it either.  I think the ball was still in my court to figure out the could we still be friends thing.

Anyway, he left a message.  Saying he was glad to hear my family was all safe and sound.  And to give him a call when I had a chance.  I would’ve called back when I saw the message, but wasn’t too keen on doing so while walking back to the car with my parents after the game.  And by the time I got home, it was too late.  Probably for the best, right?

I’ll call him back sooner or later.  Awhile back, I had offered to take him to his first hockey game next weekend.  I’m sure he’s forgotten about it. 

Now that there’s been some space to let the emotion and disappointment subside, I think we could actually do the friend thing, if we can agree on what that means.  It’s the “benefits” part I’m not sure of.  I’d hate to give that up.  I’m pathetic, I know. 

As for the good news, well, my parents have heard that one of their rent houses has a huge tree through the roof, but their other houses appear to have only minor damage.  Some shingles gone, lots of trees down, but no visible structural damage.  Granted, that’s from the street view of the houses, so the backs could be worse, but we’re thinking positively.  No word on when they will allow people back into Beaumont.  Still sounds like atleast a week.  Probably longer.

Red, red wine, you make me feel so fine.

We decided to go ahead with the Housewarming on Saturday.  Already had all the food and drinks bought, and it was a nice distraction from the events of the last several days.  I wasn’t sure, with it being an afternoon event and mostly coworkers in attendance, whether or not it was appropriate to serve wine.  But just in case, I picked up a few of the BIG bottles from the store.  In an attempt to mix it up and have some variety, I had some chardonnay, a merlot, and something I had never heard of:  white merlot.  I also had plenty of soft drinks and bottled water available. 

Several of my coworkers called that morning to check in on whether or not my family ever made it here.  And most I think assumed the party was cancelled or atleast postponed.  I told them we were still having it.  It was better than being glued to the news all day. 

Since I expected a smaller turnout due to all of this, I called up a few of my friends and told them to come over, too, if they wanted.  They are accustomed to drinking (a lot) for parties at my house, but knew the crowd that was attending so it would be a little more “civilized.”

Initially, people were opting for water and snacks and stuff.  Most people were just stopping by to see the house and stuff and couldn’t stay too long.  When the first of my friends arrived, I offered her a drink, knowing that she’d go for a glass of wine.  It had been such a rollercoaster the last few days, so I really wanted a drink.  So yay!  I can open the first bottle and have a drink without being the lone drinker.  Another friend, more wine. 

So there I am, with more guests trickling in, my parents here (who, btw, do NOT drink.  AT ALL.), and me trying to give tours of my house without sounding like a rambling drunk.  Granted, I wasn’t drunk.  Just feeling good.  People I work with probably think I’m a lush now. 

Within an hour, 3 of us had emptied the first giant bottle and decided to give the white merlot a try.  I’ve never been a big fan of red wine.  Most are too heavy for me.  I like a lot of the whites though (does that make me a racist wine drinker??).  All I can say is I WILL be buying more of this stuff.  It was soooo good and light and fruity. 

After most everyone else had gone, the friends and brother and I sat outside and three of us finished off the THIRD bottle.  Yes, I was drunk at that point.  And my brother, Duckie, mentioned Mom & Dad making snide remarks about how chatty I was.

But you know what?  I didn’t care.  I had been an emotional wreck and stressed and had little to no sleep in days and it was nice to just forget all of that and enjoy the company of friends, one that I hadn’t seen in ages even!  I feel so adult (at almost 31…how sad is that?) for finally drinking in front of my parents.  Although, I’m not exactly going to break out the Wild Turkey in front of them or anything.  They would be appalled.  Atleast wine seems like a feminine drink, not that of an alcoholic (their big fear, having grown up with them). 

I slept like a baby that night.

RIP, Mamie.

I don’t even have what it takes to write down everything I’m feeling right now.  Here’s the tip of the iceberg. 

My parents made it safely here around 3am Friday morning.  What should have been a 5-hour drive took 18 hours.

My brother, Red Baron, driving their motorhome with sis-in-law’s grandmothers on board and towing their jeep, his wife and kids in their other car, and her parents following in their car were not able to follow the roads my parents took.  They were diverted again and again betwenn 146 and 69 and essentially forced to stay right in the path of the storm on little country roads.  Which is complete and utter BULLSHIT. 

After more than 24 hours on the road, the furthest they were able to get was Lufkin.  Barely 100 miles north of Beaumont.    And were out of gas in 2 of the 3 vehicles.  And there was no gas to be found within 70 miles.  So they were forced to ride out the 100 mph winds in their motorhome.

We got a call from them at 7am today, before the hurricane had even reached them.  My sis-in-law’s grandmother, who was in bad health to begin with, had passed away.  I guess the stop and go travelling to NOWHERE was just too much for her.  The paramedics had just picked up her body.  And they still had the storm to deal with. 

We got word from them later this afternoon, after what they think was the worst of the weather, and they had found a pavillion to park under and seemed to have done ok.

We heard my sis-in-law’s parent’s house had lost most of the shingles off the roof and had a lot of fallen trees, but no structrual damage.

We still have no idea what kind of shape my parents and brother’s houses and rent houses are in. 

And they are being told to NOT return home until told they can do so….which is supposedly atleast 72 hours.  It’s the waiting and not knowing that is so bad.  We’ve seen pictures of areas around Beaumont that are under water and buildings with all the windows blown out and stuff.  But like Mom says, atleast, for the most part, all of our family is safe.  And the damage is less than expected.  Thank heavens for the downgrade. 

And it’s Red Baron’s birthday tomorrow.  Sigh.

Slow Going

My parents got on the road out of Beaumont around 9am.  The last time I talked to them, about 9:30pm, they had only gotten about 100 miles…in TWELVE HOURS!   They had Mom’s van loaded up with everything they could fit in it.  Dad was following behind her in another car.  And then the transmission went out in the van, so they had to leave it in Jasper and are riding together now.

My middle brother, Red Baron, and his family, in caravan consisting of a motorhome towing a jeep and two more vehicles, where a few hours behind them.  Apparently they had been diverted twice in a 6-hour time period and had managed to get to West Hardin by around 6pm.  That’s about 20 miles, tops.  That’s insane! 

I have no idea where my brother’s family is now and am just hoping they didn’t turn around out of frustration and head back home.  Latest news says Beaumont is directly in the path of this thing now. 

Hopefully the traffic will start moving soon.  I hate to think of all those people being stranded on the roadways when Rita hits.  And I’d feel much better if my family could get here between now and then!

Another female hurricane.

They’re bitches, I tell you.

My parents were already planning to come visit this weekend, but now, with the threat of Rita drawing near, and the recommended evacuation of the Gulf Coast cities, their travel plans have changed somewhat.  Now, rather than flying (perks of having a pilot for a son), they will have to drive.  And apparently traffic headed north is a nightmare.  I talked to Mom & Dad earlier and they said all roads leading north looked like a parking lot. 

Mom joked about leaving at midnight, but I haven’t heard from them so don’t know if they did that or not.  I guess if someone walks in my door in the next couple of hours, I’ll know.

The really pathetic thing is, had we not just seen the wrath of Katrina, I doubt anyone would be making as much of a big deal out of Hurricane Rita.  Sounds like a party drink if you ask me.  But this girl is packing a hell of a punch!
 

From CNN.com: 

“Hurricane Rita’s winds were at 175 mph early today as it spun closer to the Texas coast — where it is projected to make landfall early Saturday — and as thousands of residents began streaming from the Gulf Coast. The storm, which now is history’s third most intense, “could be worse than Katrina,” which devastated southeast Louisiana and coastal Mississippi a little over three weeks ago, said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center.”

Yikes.  Yeah, get the hell out of Dodge.  Or atleast southeast Texas.