I’m trying to be a quitter…

31 10 2008

This was written freely and I’m not editing it yet. Why? ‘Cause I’m really annoyed and I need to get this shit out of my head.

So very recently, the board members from “The Organization” got together. We’re facing a big event, and our annual club meeting in the next, oh, 3 weeks. Yay for me. Since I’m heavily involved in the event. And the meeting, oh, yeah, that thing is ALL MINE. How? Why? I have no dang clue.

Our president has decided to resign. Leaving us with, um, NO ONE to be President. So now we’re going round and round. Who will it be? Will the VP take it? He doesn’t want it… I’m asked “You’ll be the next President of the club, right?” to which I reply, “Heck, no!” or “Who will do EVERYTHING that I do if I do that?”

But it seems it is still down to the two of us. And to be honest, I do SO much for this group. And it’s terribly exhausting. They call me the ‘Den Mother.’ And, honestly, I AM. Does it drive me freaking nuts, absolutely. Will it ever end? Not until I quit 100% and leave – go away from Pittsburgh, that is – because I seem to have this ability to store knowledge. What needs to be done when… What should happen when… Where things are… Who to call for certain things…

But what I don’t understand is HOW I came to have this information, I know I have a good command of totally useless info, but honestly sometimes all the “things I do” don’t seem like much. At. All. It’s just retaining and repeating info at certain intervals throughout the year… But more importantly, why is it that not one single freaking person besides me seems to be able to retain this information?????????? Can i write it down in a nice, little notebook and give it to someone? Please? And pray they don’t lose the notebook? I wish I could…

I tried, a few years ago, to give away the “big spring event” that we host. I gave up a binder that had everything from the previous 2-3 years. Quotes, notes, instructions, teams involved, what food to buy and costs charged and what to charge. What happened, you ask? She LOST IT on a dang AIRPLANE. Not just lost… FORGOT. Just FREAKING FORGOT IT. Please, how does that happen??? If you have an answer, and you’re one of the 4 people who read this, please tell me how, because I wanted to die when all my work was lost.

So now, I live in an apartment that is over run by “The Organization” shit. Totally taking over my space. I’m not the best housekeeper, but seriously, it’s taking over and I can’t even clean up my stuff for barriers created by all “The Organization” stuff.

And when I travel to see my family and don’t take my laptop? I have to make a DVD of every current doc we have. Just in case… Have I had to field the calls and open that DVD? Many, many times. Did I send the offending people a copy of the files before I left? Guaranteed I did.

What am I to do now? I want to give up some of my “jobs.” Most of my “jobs” really. There are really only a few that I excel at and/or enjoy. But I know that I’m going to keep being the person that knows all this garbage.

I am not sure I can accept that fact for much longer. I asked today to maybe give up the official title I have and take on a pseudo title where I do the excel/enjoy stuff, and still retain all info, but someone laughed at me. Said it’s not gonna happen.

Dang. Is there ever an off-ramp on the road I’m on?? Please????





I’m sorry…

29 10 2008

I’m sorry. I have nothing annoying me right now to write about. I AM annoyed, believe me. Pissed is more like it. But I met this person. Same person I blamed for the pictures, who has me in a relatively good mood as of late.

And even though I had a meeting tonite that was supposed to take 1 1/2 hours, but took nearly 3… and the contents of said meeting made me quite the angry girl, I’m still in a good mood.

Part of me likes to think I don’t care anymore, and I’m positive a small part of it is that. But most of it is this other happy person.

Damn Happy Person infecting me with their happy-go-lucky mood. How dare you interefere with my annoyance and anger??!! How dare you!?!?

Meh. And I still can’t be mad at the fact… geezus. What’s wrong with me?





Losing my mind?

26 10 2008

Today, I’m annoyed with myself. For the past week, I was supposed to do a few things. And I’ve forgotten. Completely and totally. One of these things was to send an email. How the heck did I forget to do that? It’s not like I’m not online most of the time…

So I’m totally blaming this lack of memory on another party. You know who you are.

Someone gave me an idea the other day that happens to go along with something I talked to my mom about… photography & cameras. I have this kick-ass 35mm film camera. It’s really awesome. I had a digital camera… I broke it. It was basic, but it had amazing zoom capability.

So anyway, instead of remembering to do all these things yesterday, I spent the majority of the day taking pictures, getting them developed and uploading them. Yesterday was a very gray day here. And I was worried that the pictures would just be boring and ugly. But I was pleasantly surprised to find they look pretty cool…

So now I’m going to send that email… I’ve selected location #2 and I’ll just have to hope that it’s sunny next Saturday…





Echo – Part 3 – The Finale

24 10 2008

Echo settled into a nice, quiet, Pretty, Pretty Princess life down there in Florida. She caught gecko’s and brought them, as gifts, to my dad, her fantastic food-giving Prince. She sunned herself daily. Long before this time, we had progressed from the “first plate” of dinner issue to having a bag of cut up chicken in the fridge. Always. Even if there was chicken available, you could always get love by giving her some nice deli turkey. She even came out from hiding for me a few times when I laid out the goods. (Hey, at that point, I’d take the sight of her as love for me no matter what it took!)

The only new bane of her existence, besides me, was a cute little puppy named Dewey (above), even worse than Clyde (also above). My sister and brother-in-law’s new puppy. Poor, poor Dewey. Totally puppy like, she pounced around the house. Trying to sniff and lick everything into being her friend. And again, Echo wanted NONE OF THAT. And again was sequestered to the bedroom. But this was okay for her. Around this time, we realized she didn’t care if she was kept in the bedroom. This was one of her favorite places to hang with my dad. When he went to bed, he would read before going to sleep. On his back. And pretty, pretty, Princess? Well, she would position herself right on top of his stomach, behind the book or magazine. Quite content. Like a Queen holding court. And when dad was ready for bed? She’d hop off and sit by the night stand so he could pet her a little before he fell asleep. She did the same patient sitting when he played card games on the computer.

My parents moved into another home in Florida just last year. Just over a year ago. With the Pretty, Pretty Princess in tow. She was mad at first. I guess she thought her fantastic food-giving Prince wasn’t with her at first, but soon she realized he was there. And things were good. For about 8 months. Then it all went into the toilet.

I got a call from my mom sometime in late April or early May, right after I had visited. Echo wasn’t well. She was going to the bathroom on the leather furniture. One chair in particular. And we didn’t know why. But we waited it out. I visited my parents in April. And I should have known. But I couldn’t face it… I wanted to put her last video here, but it wouldn’t work… the pic is basically all she did in the video…

This was the very first time, in Florida that Echo spent an EXTENDED period of time in my presence. The last few times, if there were no other people or Clyde or Dewey involved, she’d show up, eat some chicken, beg for my dad’s affection, and then disappear. But this time, this ONE, dang time… She spent an hour or two with her Prince, me and Mom in the den. I was terrified the whole time to speak. To move. To even breathe. I was so happy to just see her out and about that I didn’t see what was in front of me. A sick kitty.

All she did was lay on my mom’s Croc. Laying on shoes was always normal. She was a strange cat. But the way she was laying and the lack of any movement at all, combined with the fact that someone other than the “Prince” and mom were there, that was not the same.

So, more phone calls came. She wasn’t changing. She went to the vet. He had no idea. But had some suggestions. They didn’t work. And then came the day that Mom finally told me a few things that made me come to a decision that still, now, months later, has me in tears. Echo ended up – somehow – in the spare bathroom bathtub. NEVER has that been “her” place to hang out. But she was there and there were some litter box issues involved. After that first shower curtain issue, Echo abandoned the bathroom as a hang out.

And now my girl wouldn’t jump up on the back of the couch to look outside, and more importantly, she wasn’t spending that quality time with her Prince like she always had. She couldn’t jump up onto the bed to lie on his stomach. I nearly died hearing that one point. And it’s killing me now to type all this out. But at that point, hearing that she wouldn’t lay with her Prince while he read his magazine… Made me come to the most awful decision ever. In the midst of the tears, I told Mom to put her down. Mom basically refused, and said they’d wait it out a while. I told her no. That Echo was NOT herself, and that was NOT what I wanted. If she wasn’t herself and we couldn’t easily fix it, we should end her misery. NOW. I just knew that if Echo couldn’t be with my dad like she always was all the time, then she was not MY ECHO, my baby. I just KNEW that she was in pain somehow and somewhere, and as much as it killed me to say it out loud, and it took weeks of debating, I wanted her to be put down.

Fast forward a few weeks. I’m at rugby and I called home about something random. Mom called back during practice. My family KNOWS when rugby practice happens. And they know not to call then. If they do and I happen to see my phone, I worry. But on that night, it was a great choice on Mom’s part.. I ended up returning the call early the next day. Mom tried – WOW, did she try – to make it through the conversation without revealing anything… but then she broke… into tears…. and told me that the day before, while she was out, my dad had come home and realized that Echo was really sick. And made THAT DECISION. He called Mom’s cell phone, told her not to come home for a while.

He took her to the vet. Had her put down and arranged for her to be cremated. He then went home and cleaned up all of her toys, dishes, cat litter. Everything. So that my mom wouldn’t see it. The vet, in his final examination, found some tumors…

I asked my mom to set aside two or three of her favorite toys. One that she had since I first had her – a catnip mouse (below) – and a ball… the Sylvester the Cat oven mitt? Long gone, and as much as we have searched, we have no idea where it is. We’ll find it some day…

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE my parents for their love of this crazy cat? I loved the fact that she loved them so much. I don’t think Mom thought Echo loved her. But I know that she did. She loved them both, more than she ever loved me. And I LOVE that. I care that they loved her. And gave her the best life possible when I couldn’t and they tried so hard to see past her poor little faults and give her chicken and turkey whenever she wanted.

So, the end of the story is my dad, the Prince of this story, finally realized it was time. And it hit Mom – and me – harder than I ever imagined. I can’t tell you the number of crying phone calls we had, weeks after they put her down. Mom is a saint. For dealing with and then falling in love with that quirky cat, Echo.

But it’s still not done. They had Echo cremated. And I wanted to bury her the last time I was visiting. But at the same time, my family was in town from Australia. And Mom said No. So I understand that, but as the car approached the house, I started crying. And I couldn’t walk into the garage. My dad came to me, held my arm, and said we’d go into the house together… All weekend, I avoided the question of where the ashes were… And then… in the room I sleep in… that same den where she spent that last hour or 2 that I saw her… I notice this….

Which contained this:

In December, at Christmas, when I am down at my parents house for the holidays, we are going to bury her. Right below the window in the den that she loved to sit in and people & animal watch. And maybe then I can start to think of her and not cry. Because I’m just not there yet, I’ve tried to finish this up three times and had to stop because I was crying too much. And as I finish this post, here at work, I’m crying at my desk…

I miss you, bunny, and I’ll love you forever.





Disorganization

23 10 2008

I was asked by DjLunchbox yesterday if I’d be posting about this, and I told him that someone with “The Organization” was bound to annoy me, as they always do, so most likely… but we’re taking a little different path this time. Be patient with this post and read it, and I’ll give the disclaimers at the end.

Due to the waiver crap I signed, I can’t say much about the the EMHE home build site where members of “The Organization” were volunteers this evening, from 6pm till whenever we left or midnight. And I didn’t really expect to have much to say. But I do.

We arrive at the build site to find, well, chaos. It was a working exercise in severe disorganization and miscommunication. You stand around. Waiting to be needed. Fortunately, a few of us we were needed immediately. We removed un-needed trim through a window of the house to front yard of some neighbor’s house. But it took three minutes to figure out where we were supposed to take it.

Then we stood around. And waited. And maybe 10 minutes later the volunteers were needed again. A small group of us were to follow some guy down the road. And this would mark the point in the night where I started to get pissed off. It was maybe 6:30pm.

Before I rant, I should point out that rugby girls are not your average girl. We’re not crazy weightlifters, but rugby is an endurance and strength sport. We can lift things. We’re totally fine with it… The rugby girls were well prepared to handle our share of the work.

Anyway, they needed us to help move something they were building & painting. There were 6 or 7 of us. At least three rugby girls. And the guy in charge kept saying that the he needed guys to lift this thing. It was something that 4 of us could have handled. Oy.

We walk back up towards the “waiting area.” We join in on the unloading of a U-Haul. The next things up are big rolls of carpet. The guy on the truck warns me, “These are pretty heavy.” I look behind me and see two teammates, my coach and one of the men’s players. I turn back around and say, “We can handle it.” So we take the carpet, walk beside the house, around the back and make a crazy, awkward turn into the basement. Did we do it without a problem? Absolutely. Did two of us walk backwards half of the way? Absolutely.

Next came the wood flooring. My first trip, I somehow ended up with two boxes. No idea the weight, but they handed the boxes to me in such a way that I nearly couldn’t handle it. But I managed into the house, up the stairs and into a room. As did my teammates. The next set went to the first floor. Piece of cake. But each time any girl went back for a box, we were warned, “These are pretty heavy.” In no way did they compare to the Silver Bullet.

When that task was over, the volunteer coordinator asked for two volunteers, myself and my teammate now referred to as Jumping Bean stepped up. What a bad choice that was. We ended up in “The Field”. We were settled into a tent. A tent with a few folding chairs, some scary heating lamps, and more hard hats than you’d ever see in your life. We were checking the “real workers” in. We checked in FIVE PEOPLE. In two hours. We drank coffee, lit things on fire in front of the heaters… tons o’ fun.

We returned to the site, around 9:45 or so, and though we mentioned to a few people that we were leaving, no one had known where we were. Apparently I wasn’t the only one noticing the disorganization, because someone said to me, “We thought you were inside running the show and telling people where to go and what to do!” Yeah, not so much. I may have mad chaos-organizational skills, but nope. I was in a tent. Yippie! We were told that in our absence, the rest of our group had loaded a dump truck with wooden trusses and the left over trim. And then UN-LOADED it. Because guy #32 in charge apparently hadn’t talked to guy #17 in charge. Are you kidding me?

But guess what we were asked to do next? You got it. Load the trusses and trim etc. BACK into the same truck. Ok, no big deal. At this point, a few of the workers realized that I was stronger than they first thought. My ability to lift one end of a 10 foot wooden truss and push it to the back of the truck is apparently impressive. Yeah, whatever. Seriously. Try the Silver Bullet.

It was about that time that a few of us had decided we were done. We’d had it. One of my good friends turns and looks at me and says, “If you and I were organizing this thing, it’s be a damn machine.” And she’s right. There were so many people there. And so many people in charge. And no one knew what the other people were doing. I don’t know how they get this stuff done in 1 week.

So, your disclaimer…. I understand that this situation is chaos. It’s cool. But I guarantee there is a better way to spread the news and have everyone on the same page. Guarantee. My real issue is this: just because we’re girls, please don’t continue to assume that we can’t do something. If I can’t do something, believe me, I’ll speak up!  

Ugh. And for the love of god, please do not make me wear a hard hat ever again.





Echo – Part 2

22 10 2008

In the next few years, Echo managed to break the globe to a clock my sister & I bought for our parents’ anniversary, damage the mantle my dad built (both by sleeping where she is in the pic above & trying to “escape”) and basically leave cat hair every single place she could.

I always loved to come home, but when I came home and Echo wound her way to my room, meowed quietly and then jumped on my bed to sneak under the covers and sleep with me, I was in heaven. When my grandfather passed away, I came home and Echo did just that. But she fell asleep facing me, with one paw on my cheek. It took all of my self-control to not cry so hard as to wake her up. She loved me. And she knew I needed her. And then she moved on to explore the house.

Eventually, I graduated from college as did my sister from high school, and my parents moved to a new house and I into an apartment. By this time, or actually a few years earlier, Echo had become a scaredy-cat. Afraid of everyone & everything and we don’t know why. We can only assume one night that I wasn’t home the first year I had her, or at her little original farm home, something happened to her. One year later, I was moving out of that apartment and back home. My Mom did not want all that cat hair in her house, so she did some work and found a live-in care home that wanted a cat. My dad and I told her she was crazy – who is going to want a cat that hides all the time?? But my Mom held her ground. So we moved my stuff out of the apartment and my dad and I went back one last time to see Echo. My parents would take her the next day to her new home. I can’t even tell you how much I cried that night. My dad took pictures of me saying goodbye to her. I told her I loved her and that she’d be okay, and my dad basically forced me out the door to go home.

The next day at work, I got a phone call from my dad. He informed me that he and I my mom were “adopting” Echo, and I had to come sign “adoption papers” later that night. She was going to live with them – and with me too for the time being. I guess my parents finally realized how much I loved her, how much she needed us and how much we needed her.

So Echo moved in with the ‘rents. And she began her new life as a Pretty, Pretty Princess. Echo managed to not only gain Mom’s love, but she also would my dad around her little tail. But it started small. Tiny, considering where it went… What’s for dinner? Chicken on the grill? Love it! But Echo gets a small plate first. Almost any other grilled meat? Same deal. While Mom and I sit at the table with the side dishes waiting, my dad cuts up Echo’s portion for her. First. Now granted, you cooked something Echo liked, you had to endure the howling and “please feed me!” cries! But Mom and I laughed it off because we knew Echo LOVED him like none other. She tolerated us. But dad. He was THE MAN to Echo.

Echo lived an issue free life for a while, for the most part. Until the evil “Clyde” entered the picture. Clyde was my sister’s cat. She would sometimes bring him with her when she visited. Clyde just WANTED TO PLAY and be friendly. That’s just how Clyde rolls. And Echo, wanted NONE OF THAT. She would hide under my parents’ bed (closest way to get to my dad eventually) and Clyde would peek under the bed skirt. With my sister and I peeking on either side. And she would hiss at Clyde like her life depended on it. And Clyde was totally confused by the hissing cat under the bed. We eventually just sequestered Echo in my parents’ bedroom whenever Clyde visited.

A few years later, my parents decided to become “snow birds.” The spent April/May to September/October in Pittsburgh, the rest of the year in Florida. Echo tolerated the drive as best she could – she howled & hid. Avoided everyone at all costs. To the point that one time my parents were worried she slipped out (she was sneaky) and they lost her!!

Their original home in Florida was in the “no pet” section of the neighborhood. Mom was worried. My dad could have cared less. It’s not like Echo was always in the windows chasing people and animals! She still hid anytime anyone entered the house. Even me.

They were evacuated for at least two hurricane warnings I can think of. Each time, I got a phone call from Mom. “We’re going to be evacuated. So I’m trying to book a hotel. But it’s hard to get one that will take pets. So we might have to leave her behind.” And poor Mom had to hear me crying, “You can’t just leave her there!” while my dad is in the background saying “We’re not leaving the cat!” In the end, they took her with them every time. She was so scared every time that she didn’t cause a problem. Well, except for that one time that they apparently had to pry her from under the bed… but that was Echo.

More coming in Echo – part 3.





Echo – part 1

22 10 2008

I knew I should have started this blog, for my own sanity at the very least, a long time ago. And last night reinforced that for me.

A new internet friend, BurghBaby, recently suffered the loss of her family’s Lhasa Apso, Jasmine. And that set me back about 4 months to when my parents had to put my cat, Echo down. This wasn’t the first time that I lost a pet. The family dog, Heidi, passed away in 1998. We knew Heidi was sick, and we knew her time was coming. Soon. So we were prepared. With Echo, it just wasn’t that way.

So now, I’m going to tell her story. And it’s going to take two posts, because my bunny deserves her whole story told. And I think when you read the end, you’ll understand that my family is gonna need this nice reminder soon.

In 1995, my junior year in college I lived in an apartment with a friend. I got the idea that I wanted a cat. I don’t think I knew anyone with a cat – and I knew my mom didn’t really like cats, but still. I wanted a cat. And my boyfriend at the time searched the papers and found a local farm that had kittens free to a good home. So one day we took a drive… We went into the family’s living room and the last kitty, the runt of the litter, scattered. We tricked her into coming out – this adorable and terrified tiny white & grayish black furball.

With my new kitten on my lap, we headed home. She cried and almost immediately jumped to floor and fled under the seat. Every meow she let out, I tried to meow back. When she paused for a moment, I meowed again. And she echoed me. And thus, she was named. Echo.

That night we discovered that she had fleas. The boyfriend gave her a flea bath because I could not bear to be a part of it. Echo became an entertaining and annoying part of my life. I would sit on the couch to do work on my laptop, and she would curl up between my stomach and the laptop and sleep. And I wouldn’t move for hours for fear of waking her. I would wake in the middle of the night to a tiny kitty attacking my feet as I moved in my sleep. She was banished from the bedroom at night. I woke one morning, wandered to the bathroom to pull the shower curtain closed, only to find it in shreds. Apparently someone was climbing & sliding down. All. Night. Long. She was banished from the bathroom at all hours.

One morning, I wandered into the kitchen and noticed that the oven mitt I had hung on the freezer door (top freezer refrigerator) was on the floor. It was a Sylvester the Cat oven mitt. Newly purchased by my mom for my new apartment. It had been on a hook at least 4 feet from the ground. I hung it back up. The next morning, the same thing happened. And then I realized that tiny, little Echo was jumping up and knocking Sylvester off his hook and then fighting with him. The oven mitt was bigger than she was! But it was her FAVORITE toy for a long, long time.

As winter approached, I knew I had to go back home to Pittsburgh and the Mom who did not like cats. I tried to stay and work at school, but it didn’t work out and I was broke. I remember calling my mom and telling her I needed to come home, but that I had this little addition to the family to bring home. Mom was NOT happy, but after much discussion and yelling and crying, Mom agreed to let me bring my kitten home. And honestly, that’s where the love affair begins. My sister and my dad immediately fell in love with her. Mom, well, that took a little bit longer. Echo held her own with our poor mini schnauzer, Heidi. She would hide under the coffee table and pounce on Heidi when she passed. Heidi didn’t even care. Echo and I spent Christmas & New Years in Pittsburgh and returned to school, where she continued with her entertaining and annoying ways.

Our first summer at home, my parents took a trip, leaving my sister and I, the cat & dog at home. Not a big deal. My sister and I had gone to the mall one night and when we got home, we were unable to find Echo. Anywhere. Not in any of the wacky places she hid. My sister and I searched the house and called my parents on their trip, with Mom, sister and I in tears over the missing cat. My sister stayed inside to keep looking and I wandered outside. Walking up & down the street looking for my baby. And then I found her. On the opposite side of the house from the driveway, in the ground level, basement window well. Just sitting there, all “What took you so long?” and “It’s no big deal, I’m just chilling here.” Turns out she ripped the screen in the basement door (before we left for the mall) and snuck out that way. The very next week, Ms. Echo found herself at the vet, getting spayed & declawed. (And before anyone starts on the declawing issue, it was a bad idea, our first experience with a cat, and I’d probably never, ever do it again.)

That same summer, Mom refused to admit to it, but Echo managed to wedge herself into her heart too. Every morning, Mom would get up to make coffee or tea for my dad before work and breakfast for my sister and I. We had a little screened in porch type room off the kitchen. When Echo heard her, she would head to the kitchen and to the door to that porch. And meow until Mom opened the door. Echo would spend half the day in there. Sunning herself on the chairs and table, and watching the wildlife outside the windows.

And this is where I’m going to end Echo – Part 1. There’s more to be said, so hang on a few days…