Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Catching Up

A couple of weeks ago, as an exercise in creative blog design, I posted a photo of my Grandma and me. It's from last October when I last visited. It's not that I am a negligent grandson. I live 600 miles away. I doubt that any of my far-flung cousins make the trip with any more frequency; but that's not the point.

My Dad and I were taking our annual trip to see a football game, and I wanted to visit Grandma. She's been living in an assisted living place in northeast Nebraska for the past 6 years or so. Dad let her know that we would be coming, but only to say he did. When we arrived on a Thursday afternoon, she wasn't sure who Dad was, and she was thrilled to find out that I was her grandson. And although I was a stranger to her, she was still beloved Grandma to me.

At a time when most Nebraska farmwives were just that, my Grandma set out to be a career woman. She succeded. She eventually owned her own grocery store in a small town, and because the nearest hair salon was a town or two away, opened one of her own (operated by a daughter in law) so she and others wouldn't have to leave town to have a nice 'do. When she retired, she continued to deliver food and things to old folks who could no longer get around on their own. There's no one left to return the favor.

Life in the nursing home is not terribly exciting (for a 40 year old, anyway) but the staff does a nice job of taking care of Grandma. There's trips to the store, bingo, church services, etc. to keep her busy. She apparently has no short term memory. She asks the same questions over and over. This annoys my Dad, but not me. Perhaps it's penance for not living closeby; but I answer her questions each time with enthusiasm. She remembers childhood adventures easily, and I try to steer our conversation in that direction.

Even though she didn't recognize me, I could tell that she was thrilled to see me on that October afternoon. And because of her memory issues, she was equally thrilled to see me the next morning when we came to say good-bye.

Her overall health is pretty good, but she is 87 and life at that age is never certain. I will take a few days off of work and take my family to see her later in the summer. Oh sure, she won't know who we are, but she'll be thrilled to see us just the same.

Something so wrong

It happened again. Another Al Queda hostage has been beheaded. It makes me sick to my stomach just hearing it. Humiliation is not equal to death. If you think it is, you are too attached to this world.

This has turned into something stupid.

Can there be any real justice for this crime? Doubtful.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Reagan Weary

I turned 18 the day before election day in 1980. I was thrilled to be able to vote, and I made sure that I was all registered and ready to exercise my right and duty. I planned to cast my vote for the Governor of California, although he sure seemed like a very strict guy.

I admit that I voted for him (twice) and I thought he was above average in many respects, but this wall to wall coverage of his funeral is getting on my nerves.

Each time I hear a CBS Update on the radio, I expect to hear Chevy Chase say "Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th president of the United States, remains dead at the age of 93".

Perhaps it is simply my attention span.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

In Nebraska with Grandma Posted by Hello

Look, my Grandma's on the Internet!


I once had a boss who told me that whenever you go on one week's vacation, you lose three weeks of productivity. One week preparing for the vacation (getting caught up so you can leave), the actual week that you are on vacation, and a week to get caught up on the week you missed.

That would be my life right now.

In addition to being the arbiter of Midwestern Pop Culture, I am salesperson for a Fire & Safety company. The bulk of my business is in the institutional market: schools, hospitals, prisons, stadiums, etc. With summer approaching, it seems that this will be a gangbuster year for new and/or retro fitted schools. My bread and butter is the Kitchen Fire Suppression System, a mundane item that is required in every commercial kitchen. Thanks to my loyal customers, my head will be swimming until after Labor Day, trying to quote, design, sell and coordinate the installations.

Of course, the first thing I found out about the sales profession (after 10 long years in commercial credit) is that the harder you work in sales, the more money you earn. I always envied the salesmen who had the world by the ass. Now I'm one of them, and I'm not so sure that the envy was worthwhile.

After being inspired by "One Good Thing" and "Frogblog", I've decided that even when I am swamped at work, I owe it to myself (and to anyone who would ever happen to read these blogs) to invest the time and talent to write something good.

I'm not in the same league as either Flea or Frog, but I know I can be entertaining and somewhat well-written. We'll see! Thanks for stopping by.