Monday, October 26, 2009

My Magnetic Personality

According to my dad, I have a magnetic personality. No, he doesn't mean that I am attractive (although I am, of course). He means I break things. With the mere power of my presence.

Lately this has meant things like being stuck home with a nonstarting vehicle, no hot water and no clothes dryer. Dad came over to take a look at the car (after giving me an emergency ride to the doc's office...another long story) and it started right up for him. He drove it home, washed it off, called me to tell me I was imagining which point the car quite working. See? All he had to do was talk to me while he was near the car and it quit! Then we hooked the computer up to it and drove all over town and it refused to misbehave-so we couldn't get a reading to figure out what is wrong.

The hot water heater's pilot light went out and for the life of me, I could not get it re-lit. The maintenance guy started it up with no problem and now I am afraid to go down into my own basement for fear that the mere sight of me will thrust us back in time to when we had to heat our water on the stove to do dishes (it isn't that far back...last week for me!).

The car now runs sometimes and the water is hot, but the clothes dryer is still drying for only 10 minutes at a time, requiring an hour break between each stint. I have been hanging clothes all over the house trying to get them dry but Mt. Washmore is still growing daily in my hallway and we are running out of clean clothes. I am hoping the mere act of dismantling the timer mechanism and putting it back together will cause it to work again...but I would have to go near the water heater to do that, and I just don't know which appliance is most important!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Everyone Loved Her

Our family lost a dear friend yesterday.

It's rare that I can remember the first time I met someone. Rarer still when I met them at the age of five. It was New Year's Eve, the first year my parents let me stay up until midnight, if I remember correctly. Jessie was drunk, loud, obnoxious and amazing.

She carried a gun. She talked to me like a grown-up. She dyed my hair, let me get my ears double pierced and took me to see the Phantom of the Opera. She could drive from Seattle to here in 2.5 hours instead of the four it took everyone else. She borrowed my roller skates when I was only seven, and they fit her tiny feet and we went roller-skating together. How many grown-ups do that? Over three decades and three generations, she charmed every one of us.

Jessie lived years beyond the doctors' expectations. That fits her personality and force of will so well that I have a hard time believing she is gone. I have never been one for those fuzzy, childish, earthly-minded views of heaven, but today I find myself wondering if there are roller skates up there.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hanging On To Dreams

This morning Nate and I were chatting with a bright young man who is in the midst of filling out scholarship applications, as he begins college next year. Somehow this segued into Nate discussing what he wants to study and the limitations of local opportunities for a child of his age (Nate will be 14 in two weeks). After getting over the 'what grade are you in' hump (um...all of the above?), the bright young man asked Nate what he wanted to be when he grew up.

"I want to be in the FBI."

I winced. I feel awful about it, but it's true. I winced. Until that moment, Nate appeared intelligent, mature, older than his years...and then out came his childhood dream. Nate has wanted to be in the FBI since he was about six, except for a short period in the middle where he didn't think he could shoot to kill. Even though he is seriously considering going into the Navy, his career goal is still the FBI (or possibly NCIS, but he says very few people get into the NCIS).

This evening, while he's gone at youth group and I am sitting in the quiet with nothing to do but be circumspect, I have been pondering my reaction to his announcement. I guess part of me considers it a childish, impossible dream, and figures other people will hear him say that and *boom* think he's 10 years old. Finally it dawned on me. The FBI is real. There are real FBI agents. They did not get there by accident! Clearly, some people hold on to that childhood dream, and thank goodness they do!

Nate comes by his dream honestly enough, with law enforcement on both sides of the family. When he talks about his career goals, he talks about double government pensions. He is not a little boy any longer, and I guess it's about time his mother realized he's serious about this FBI business. So here's to hanging on to the dream!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Well, That Backfired

Yesterday I was so tired that I called in and told the hotline I would be a couple hours late for work. My plan was, I would go back to sleep, and go to work later a much happier person. I am pretty stingy with my paid time off, so I must have been pretty dang tired.

It backfired.

In addition to having a hard time getting back to sleep, once I did, I spent over an hour in a harrowing nightmare. It went like this:

I was running for my life from a shape-shifter that was trying to kill me. My mom and my dad (who in my dream were nothing like my real parents) were running after me, as well. My mom kept trying to give me weapons with which to beat off my attacker. But the weapons would morph into useless items. For instance, she handed me a golf club that, once I swung it at the shape-shifter's head, became a spatula. My dad ran after us from location to location, but then he would sit down and read a newspaper and tell my mom she wasn't doing it right. Anytime I miraculously came close to killing the shape-shifter (once with a mixing bowl), it would take on the form of a baby, and then I couldn't bring myself to kill it.

Then my alarm went off.

It was anything but restful.