tobermory's Diaryland Diary

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Vacationland

Um, hi. It’s me – I have my shit together a bit more now and I’m back (of course a kind note from Ms. Bix helped prod me along). I took a couple of months off to let the happy pills kick in and hopefully have a brighter outlook and, by George, I think it’s working! I no longer feel like I’m constantly going to burst into tears and I’ve actually been able to talk about my mom and her death with my dad and Steve and work out some of my ‘issues’ with it (I really hate the term ‘issues’, but it was the only work I could think of that fit). I no longer think I have: blood clots in my legs, a heart that is about to explode, a random tumor somewhere in my body or sometimes more specifically in one or both of my breasts. It’s been over a month since I told Steve that I was certainly going to die sooner rather than later. If you had asked me a year ago what I thought of anti-depressants I would have told you that they were fine for ‘other people’ – you know, desperate housewives or ‘crazy’ people, but not me. Why, I was fine thank you very much. Now I know better - firsthand. I don’t want to get preachy or go all afterschool-special on you, but sometimes problems, issues, life – whatever – can get to you and a little help is beneficial. So if you start to feel overwhelmed have a nice chat with your doctor and know that there options available that can help you get through the bad times. OK – that’s enough of the boring self-revelatory stuff – now I can get to a recap of the past 8 weeks.

In October, just after I put the journal on hiatus, Steve and I took my dad up to Wisconsin for a mid-week visit to the farm. It was nice to take my dad up to a place that Steve and I truly love and show him the local towns and their various charms. We antiqued in Mount Horeb, ate schnitzel in New Glarus, toured the Huber brewery (now the Minhas brewery after their recent buyout) and had a sandwich at Baumgartner’s on the square in Monroe, and set the wheels in motion for a big, big announcement (more on this later – and no, I’m not pregnant). My dad really enjoyed the house and having the time to relax, kick back, and hang out in front of the fire with a book.

At the end of October I got stuck on Jury Duty – for two weeks. I had a standby notice but since my last name begins with a letter that falls between F as in Foxtrot and M as in Mary, I got stuck. Then I got double stuck when I was picked for a jury. In some ways it wasn’t so bad. We didn’t have to report until 12:30 every day so I got to indulge my inner clock and sleep in everyday. Because the trial was held at the Daley Center in the Loop I was able to easily take the train. Also, the Daley Center is conveniently located close to fabulous shopping at Nordstrom Rack, H&M, the big Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s), and there are a plethora of places to get a quick healthy lunch and a cup of foo-foo coffee or freshly brewed tea. The rest of the jurors were all really nice – we were all female which is apparently a rare anomaly – and we shared snacks, cracked wise and traded books, magazines and newspapers on our breaks. I’m lucky enough to work for a company that has a policy of paying people their normal wage when they get called for Jury Duty (one of my fellow jurors wasn’t so lucky). The bad parts were that the trial wasn’t particularly interesting (it was a civil case involving a wrongful termination) and the lawyers dragged some parts of it out – it totally didn’t need to last two weeks. My work piled up on my desk because I don’t really like other people to mess with my system and I had to come in to work a few times after hours and stay until 11:30pm to catch up. But, taken as a whole, since it was my first time serving on a jury it was interesting to see how the system works. In case you’re interested we unanimously found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him over $640,000.00 because the company he worked for had such a weak case against him. The most memorable moment came one day in the second week when on my way in I had imbibed a venti sized Early Grey from Argo Tea and then while waiting for the case to start for the day had a large bottle of water. I was just about to hit the head when the bailiff came into the Jury Room to bring us out to court. I figured I could make it because we usually got breaks of some sort every hour or so. Well, not this time. I was stuck out there for an hour and forty-five minutes fidgeting like a kindergartner. Yes, I could have raised my hand and requested that the bailiff ask the judge for a break, but I didn’t want to be labeled as the juror with the weak bladder so I toughed it out, but I was the closest I’ve been to wetting my pants in a good long time. I was never so happy to hear the judge ask the lawyers if it was a good time for a break.

On the 19th, my dad had a party at his house. Although he didn’t make a big deal out of it or make any kind of announcement, he had it at this time to memorialize my mom. The 14th would have been their 54th wedding anniversary and the 15th would have been my mom’s 74th birthday. The party was a big success and over 60 of his friends were there. I originally went into the party with major trepidation – I imagined that I’d spend the evening bawling in a corner – but it turned out fine. I was so busy hostessing, chatting and munching on tasty snacks that I didn’t let the blues get to me.

After the trial it was back to regular life for only a week. In a move completely motivated by wanting to avoid the first major holiday without my mom around, Steve, my dad and I all went to Vegas. We ate at some fabulous restaurants: N9NE, Bartolotta, Isla, and Japonais and saw fabulous shows: La Reve and Mystere, and we saw Jubilee! an outrageously Vegas-y topless revue that despite the high cheese factor (think a stage full of showgirls wearing enormous feather headdresses and g-strings and ‘bras’ made out of tiny strings of rhinestones) was very entertaining. I had a fabulous hot stone massage at the spa at the Mirage (although not as fabulous as the one from Travis in Green Bay). I played some slots and Steve taught me the basics of Blackjack and watched while I was able to keep $20 going for almost an hour betting $1/hand on the video Blackjack (I’m not quite ready for the tables yet). Oddly for me, no shopping took place. I guess I should clarify and say that no buying took place – I did wander around the mall at Caesar’s, the canal shops in the Venetian and the retail corridor at the Wynn but nothing that I could afford caught my eye. My dad on the other hand dropped some major green on a new Rolex – must be nice! Vegas isn’t quite as much fun when you have to baby-sit your dad, but I did have a great time.

The biggest news of the hiatus (and what I hinted at before) is that Steve and I bought four acres in Wisconsin with a brick one-room schoolhouse from 1891 on it. I inherited some money from an insurance policy that my mom had and this is what I used most of it for. There should be enough left over to make an addition on the back of the schoolhouse and then it can become a perfect weekend getaway. It feels strange – I consider myself too young to have a ‘second home’ and it also feels sort of frivolous – I could have used the money to pay off more than half of the mortgage on my house. But, the way I look at it, it’s a great investment and unlike stocks or bonds it’s one that I can use and enjoy while it appreciates in value. We found a real estate agent in Wisconsin and while we were up there with my dad we looked at a couple of places that weren’t quite what we were looking for and then on the way back to her office the agent suggested that we might like to look at the property with the schoolhouse – mostly just for fun and curiosity. Like many great things that happen by accident (“You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” “YOU got your peanut butter on my chocolate!”) we fell in love. The scenery is beautiful and peaceful, the schoolhouse is historic and lovely, the land by the schoolhouse is level and easy to build on, we’re less than a mile from two fantastic bike trails, and Steve will get to indulge his architectural skills by designing the addition. Sometime if I ever learn how, I’ll post some pictures or a link to flickr or something like that.

Whew. It’s been a wild hiatus. I’m going to try to keep up a little better now that the dust has settled.

2:17 p.m. - 2006-11-30

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