T-minus 92 Hours

In case anyone’s interested… here’s the latest on the wedding front.

Got the Marriage License today. Basically, it took a half hour of our time plus 40 bucks for us to guarantee that (a) we are not related — that is, second cousins or closer, (b) we were not intoxicated while applying for a marriage license, and (c) neither of us have syphilis.

Seriously. We had to swear that we didn’t have syphilis. How long has that law been on the books?

Anyway, we’ve touched base with pretty much everyone, including the photographer, officiant, bakery, our families, and our wedding party (well, pretty much… I still haven’t gotten hold of Mel yet, but she’s supposed to call tonight). Still on the to-do list:

  • Cut fabric and tie ribbons for centerpieces
  • Get programs printed at Kinko’s
  • Get French manicure on Thursday
    …or is that a freedom manicure? 😉
  • Buy crepe paper/tulle and balloons for decorations
  • Make giant "Cook-Schnuth Wedding" roadside signage
  • Pick up wedding dress on Friday with Amy
  • Buy flowers for centerpieces on Friday
  • Finish matting engagement photo / guestbook
  • Call in final guest count to Catering

I’m sure there’s probably something else that I’m forgetting, too. Ehh.

If you’re not in the wedding party, and you’re coming in to town on Friday night, you’re welcome to hang out with us after the rehearsal. We think we’re going to Junction for dinner (we’re all going Dutch), but we’re not positive about that yet. I’ll try to leave my cell on as much as possible on Friday, not including the time we’re rehearsing (5:30pm – 6:00 or 6:30), so if you want the number, e-mail me.

Just out of curiosity, I looked at the guest list and broke it down by age group, so all you folks attending will have an idea of the cross-section of society that will be at our reception. The Young Adults (ages 16-ish thru 30) have the highest attendance, at about 55 or so. After them, we have about 15 Adults (our parents’ ages), a dozen Kids (under 14 or so), and four Grandparents.

The honeymoon is going to be in Cummington, Massachusetts, so I won’t have internet access for that entire week, just so you won’t yell about a lack of post-wedding updates. We’re heading out early Monday morning (after one day of wedding decompression) to arrive there Monday night — it’s a 10 to 12 hour drive. On the agenda is (1) eating lobster, (2) whale-watching, (3) seeing Boston, (4) buying maple syrup, and (5) visiting Mt. Greylock.

Why Cummington? Because Aaron’s grandmother owns a house there, and rents apartments out of it. We’ll be staying in the apartment she reserves for herself when she goes up to visit her tenants for three weeks out of the year.

Feel free to e-mail or call me to chat about the wedding… This wedding thing is making me necessarily more social than usual. 🙂 See you on Friday, if not before!

My Very First Breakdown

Some of you will be surprized that I ever break down at all. Back in drumcorps (in Northern Aurora, anyway), they used to say I was a rock. But everyone has his or her breaking point. I reached mine on Wednesday.

I came to work Wednesday morning feeling generally sick. Sore throat, dry eyes, headachy, nausated, mild fever (I think). But I didn’t even consider not going. I wasn’t puking, and I could walk, so off I went. (Note: Monday was a 12-hour day. Tuesday was a 10-hour day. I was expecting things to let up just a little…) Of course, oodles of mail came in — three full mail tubs full. (Two is a light day, and four makes you want to give up and camp out on the floor and just work all night.) But I plugged away, all day, feeling like shit. Loni left at 5:00 to get her hair permed, and Rama and I continued to plug away. Andrew, our Team Leader, jumped on Loni’s machine after she left and started processing work over there. Aaron called around 6:30pm to let me know that work let him go home early, and I told him I’d be home in about 45 minutes. Still felt like crap, but I was looking forward to seeing Aaron soon.

Now, there are two phases of the processing that we’re responsible for: (1) entering payment information into the computer and printing reports for clients, and (2) encoding checks and preparing the client’s deposit for Item Processing, where the actual banking magic happens. (You know the line of numbers on the bottom of your checks? Well, after you write a check, someone at the bank encodes the amount of your check on the bottom right-hand corner of the check. Look at your cancelled checks online sometime, and you’ll see.) We got to a point in processing where Rama and Andrew were processing the last account, so I started encoding their checks from previous accounts. And, in the middle of encoding one deposit, my computer told me to change my encoder ribbon. *sigh* Annoying, but only mildly so. Changed ribbons, continued being highly productive. Only half an hour to go.

Or so I thought.

Justin from IP (Item Processing) came and picked up the about 1200 checks we had processed and encoded and took them back to work their magic on. They use the encoding we put on the checks (and they encode other checks from other places, too, like banking centers) to debit each checking account for the encoded amount. Hence, your check gets "cashed." Anyway, I continued to encode.

About two deposits (of 300 checks each) later, I saw something bad. Very bad. The encoding wasn’t right. The bottom third of the numbers weren’t printing correctly. This is bad, because the machines in IP are automated, and read the MICR line to enter the info into their system. If the numbers aren’t printed right, the machines can’t read them. At all. When I had changed the ribbon on my encoder, a little piece of plastic in the new ribbon had been defective. I should have checked the encoding sooner, but I didn’t. It was my fault, but it wasn’t. I almost swore aloud when I realized what had happened. But I kept my cool, got out the box of white stickers, and began putting blank stickers over the encoding for over 500 checks. Called Aaron to let him know I’d be later than I thought.

After all the checks were stickered up, and I’d fixed my encoder, I began encoding again. But this time, the machine I work on made me do it differently. Usually, the machine encodes by showing you the amount that is to be encoded. If it’s right, you hit enter, and it goes. On to the next check. After it’s encoded once, though, you can’t go back and do it that way again. You have to do it the hard way, which is to enter each check amount manually on the computer, then hit enter. This relies on your being able to read the checkwriter’s handwriting. So, of course, once I reached the end of the first deposit, I found I had misread one check and I was off by 60 cents. So, I had to compare the calculator tapes to the amounts I’d encoded. (If you’re not following, it’s not all that important. Suffice to say everything was going wrong at 8:00 at night.)

Cue Justin from IP. He came in with two more deposits that he’d taken back earlier, and said, "I can’t run these."

Without even turning from my computer, I snapped (a little too sharply), "Which ones did I miss?" At which point I turned to see two full deposits in his hands.

I saw them, and I knew I was fucked. I could feel the tears starting in my throat. He left, I went back to trying to find my encoding error, and something just snapped. Finally, abruptly, I turned away from my co-workers, put my elbows on the desk and my head in my hands and cried, "I’m tired and I’m sick and I just want to go home!" And, embarrassingly enough, I started to cry.

This seemed to weird out my supervisor, who said, "OK. Go home."

I answered in my best teeny weepy cute voice, "Really? I can go home?"

He said yes, and asked if I had found my encoding error, and asked what else is left to re-encode. I wiped my eyes, handed him the checks, apologized, and went home. Aaron had Hamburger Helper ready for me, and I laid down on the couch and watched TV with my Honey-Muffin and took aspirin and went to bed.

And that’s the story of My Very First Breakdown. The End.

Catching Up

So, I spent all day at work thinking of things I wanted to put in my blog tonight. Now that it’s time to post… I find myself feeling particularly unmotivated to write… but I’ll do it anyway, for the sake of my audience. So, Beth, Erk, Sheryls (who apparently are the whole of my devoted readership), here’s your latest post.

Last Week: Loni reminded me in conversation of the time a couple months back when I was called in to our supervisor’s office and interrogated about Loni’s habits, particularly regarding religion in the workplace. I’d known I was being led by the verbage of the questions, but I had to answer truthfully. Turns out that Loni did get written up as a result of Mary’s and my comments and answers. She’s apparently prejudiced against other religions, and had treated Mary (a Catholic) in a degrading manner. Loni knows that the “investigation” was started by a complaint from a co-worker. What Loni still doesn’t know, though, is that Mary is the one who started it…

Saturday: The Annual Waterville Community Garage Sale. Usually a treasure-trove of thrifty goodness. This year, however, it was a big piece of crap. I think everyone on our little trip got one thing. I got the best find of the day (IMO), an 11×11″ HP graphics tablet from 1987. (I gotta make this thing work with Photoshop…) Kris got a Vonnegut book, Mark got some 45’s, and Aaron got… um… a book? I forget. Disappointing, to say the least.

Monday: Nothing like a good old-fashioned 12-hour workday to get the blood pumpin’. Been a while since we had one of those. (Been a while since we had two new temps on a Monday.) And afterward, I went to Jerome Library on campus to photocopy wedding music and return the music books Donna had borrowed for me. Had to buy another friggin’ copy card, too, since I gave mine to Aaron when I graduated and thought I’d never need it again. Dammit.

After going to the library, I decided to take a walk around campus. It was nice out, and I’d wanted to take a walk, anyway. I walked all the way across campus, from the library to Shatzel Hall. I was actually scoping out potential wedding photo ops when I climbed the steps of Shatzel and checked out the pillars and the railing — and discovered someone’s CD wallet (which appeared to be a stolen restaurant check folder). Right in the front, once I opened it, was a CD I’ve actually been interested in (but not enough to actually purchase): Zwan. I looked, and thought, and pondered, and left it there. I’m so proud of myself, leaving it there for someone else to steal.

<girlie stuff>
Today: OMG, I am never wearing a thong to work again! I just bought a couple in my last spree of Lane Bryant shopping (sure, $40 is a spree for me), because I didn’t actually own any real thongs, and I was curious. The cute little thongs that came with my wedding lingerie didn’t seem too bad, so I figured, WTF. Never again. I won’t go into graphic detail (which I could), but feeling like I had a wedgie at my workstation all day was no picnic. The point of underwear, to me, is not to have to think about the fact that you’re wearing it. Instead, I alternated between having it up my crack and having it balance stupidly on my ass, very un-thong-like. Neither was comfortable.

— Oh, and BTW, I never realized how dimply my big ass was until I cranked around and looked at it in the mirror at home, framed by the wondrous thong. I know, you didn’t want to think about that. Well, neither did I. Deal.
</girlie stuff>

Mom called me up today, too. She said that her weekly Tuesday visit with Memaw wasn’t… well… very interactive, I guess you could say. Memaw has apparently refused to be kept functioning by mechanical means, otherwise she’d probably be on a respirator by now. She’s on a morphine drip (mmm… morphine…), and isn’t really very coherent. Mom said she sat by the bed and held Memaw’s hand, and every now and then Memaw’d come to and realize who was there, and they’d smile at each other, and then she’d go back to being dazed and in pain. It sounds like she really doesn’t have too much longer now. I hope that’s true. I’ll miss her, but I’ve been missing her for months now, since she’s honestly only a vague likeness of the Memaw I knew. She’s ready to go. Not to say I won’t be sad, but… I’d be sadder to see her carry on like this.

And I can’t really discuss my beliefs (or lack thereof) with Mom right now. She wasn’t comfortable with my departure from stardard Christian Protestantism already — now that Memaw’s about to die, I can’t very well tell Mom that I don’t know if The Entity Formerly Known As Memaw will even exist once she breathes her last breath.

See, I was having this doozie of a brainstorm the other day. If the human soul-personality-consciousness resides in a given body by a series of electrical impulses in the brain, then once the brain stops functioning… what happens to the soul? Well, what happens to computer software when the hardware on which it resides goes bad? You’ve lost it. It’s gone. The only way software can exist is with hardware on which to store it. So… if the only way your unique self will exist is in your brain, then once your brain stops working… poof. No comforting out-of-body experience, no dead relatives, no pearly gates. No fire and brimstone, for that matter.

Which begs the question: if you no longer exist, how do you know? What do you have to compare your non-existence against? If your current universe exists by virtue of your having experienced it, what happens when you no longer have a vantage point? This is the part I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around.

That’s why I liked to believe in an all-encompassing Force or Tao or general life-energy from which we are all born (and perhaps reborn). I used to think that, depending on how strong-willed or charismatic you were, your soul might exist as itself for a little longer before being absorbed into the collective consciousness. But now, after seeing Memaw fade… I don’t know. She is — was — a strong-willed woman, with a sense of humor and opinions and fire. Now, she’s just there. Will her soul live on?

Don’t you think I’d like to believe it will?

Don’t you think I’d like to resubscribe to the Mormon notion that she’ll go to the Spirit World, where she’ll be with her family and old friends and new friends and learn about The Gospel until the Second Coming and the Millenium of peace? Don’t you think I’d like to believe that after the Judgment she’ll make it to perhaps the second level of Heaven (aka the Telestial Kingdom), where most good Mormons will go? And don’t you think I’d like to believe that she will have Eternal, Everlasting Life? Wouldn’t that be more convenient? Simpler? More comforting?

No, instead I have to be in the midst of a little Belief Question & Answer period with myself. Bah.

Dee-lite vs. Space Channel 5

Remember the 1990 hit "Groove is in the Heart" by Deee-lite? Me too — their album World Clique was one of my first BMG purchases (and one of the first CDs I sold off several years later).

Remember the Sega Dreamcast? Groovy system, died an early death, never truly maxxed out its capabilities (except for the launch game Soul Caliber, which looked smooooth, played quick, and kicked ass).

Remember the game Space Channel 5? It graces the Dreamcast, GameBoy Advance, and PS2 with its funktified presence. Ulala, the main character (yes, it’s pronounced ooh-la-la), has to mimic dance moves PaRappa-style (minus the helpful rhythmic graphics) to shoot invading aliens. Fun, but moderately difficult.

Finally, after about four years, Lady Miss Kier of Deee-lite is suing Sega for unlicensed usage of her likeness.

Aaron and I called this way back in ’99 or 2000, when the game was released (can’t remember if he bought the domestic or the import). You be the judge:

pic courtesy of deee-lite.orgpic courtest of sega.co.jp

pic courtesy of deee-lite.orgpic courtesy of sega.co.jp

SSDD (Same Shit, Different Day)

So, I’m starting to get used to this regularly-updating thing. Since mid-month, I’ve updated at least every three days. Considering that March only had six updates total, I think I’m doing better. ^_^

That said, there’s not much to report today. Finally put all my mp3 CDs in my old CD wallet and brought it to work, after ousting the old homeless CD-ROMs that had been living in it. Got out of work waaay early: before 4:00. Hung out with Aaron, packed up a long-overdue eBay package to Japan. Bounced on my new trampoline while watching the news. I’ve got stuff still to take care of, like messing with the logo for Sheryl’s aunt’s webpage and maybe repotting some plants or playing Civ III.

Slated for the remainder of the week:

  • Wednesday: Meet with Reverend Dr. Diane during my lunch break to discuss wedding vows and ceremony.
  • Thursday: Go to Sky Insurance in Maumee during my (extended) lunch break to interview for the position of Marketing Coordinator.
  • Friday: (tentative) Meet with Dining Services to sign reception contract.
  • Saturday: Waterville Community Garage Sale. Leave BG at 11am.

Bachelorette Fun

Saturday was the Bridal Extravaganza, just to inform those of you who (a) were there but don’t remember, (b) couldn’t make it due to other commitments, or (c) have a penis and so weren’t invited.

Aaron and I were awakened by the phone at about 10:30am (which I tried to answer but picked up just in time for the answering machine to pick up, too, and start this righteous feedback). Good thing we were awake after that, though, ’cause Mom showed up at 11:15am, almost a full hour early.

The original plan was: Mom would show up at noon, and we’d go have lunch. Chris Walmsley, the Best Man, would show up around 1 or 1:30, and he and Aaron would go to lunch while Mom and I were chillin’. Amy would show up around 2:00, and us three girls would go do the BG Artwalk. All of us would reconvene at the house around 3:00, and the rest of the guys would show up. Us girls would head to Sheryl’s apartment around 3:30ish for the party to start at 4:00, and the boys would head up to Windsor for their party. That’s pretty much how it happened, too, except Mom showed up almost an hour early and Amy got caught in the insano Meijer while getting the cake, and had to miss the Artwalk and go directly to Sheryl’s. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

So, that’s how it happened. Mom and I left the boys around 3:30 and headed to Sheryl’s by way of Kroger (to get ice cream and bags of ice). When we got there, Eric was just leaving, Amy was already there, and Sheryl had the place totally decked out with flowers and general prettiness and cleanliness. Hung out, had some munchies, marvelled at all the shit Sheryl had put together for my day. *tee-hee* Amanda showed up shortly thereafter, and we almost got worried about Andrea, who didn’t show up until around 5:00 — just about in time for food.

After the gift-opening, of course.

Amy manned the digital camera and took pics of me opening up all my schwag, including a food processor, kitchen utensils, thongs, bras, a teddy, peppermint pecker candies, makeup, body butter, hemp lotion, and a partridge in a pear tree. So to speak. Then we had food.

Andrea is a veggie, so she got fettucini alfredo. The rest of us got one kickass pot roast. There was also salad, and corn-on-the-cob, and fresh green beans, and it was all sooooo good. Simple, yet quite yummy. Then we had some cake, and Mom bailed so she could get home to Cleveland before dark.

Mom’s gone! Bust out the alcohol! 🙂

Sheryl made some mudslides (just add ice), and we hung out in her computer room checking out the Webtender. And we played with DP (Sheryl’s chinchilla). And I tried on one of my new bras with see-thru straps (and it made my boobs enormously threatening). And I read everyone a story about Anpanman (translated from Japanese by Sheryl’s friend Mariko). And we went outside and tried to fly kites, but there was no wind. (Seriously. No wind in BG. It happened. I was there.) And we drank some mudslides. And I made myself an Amaretto Sour with the booze my Mom bought me. And, eventually, we all headed over to my place before walking downtown for some drinking and debauchery.

Amy and Sheryl drove, and we hung out at my place for only a few minutes — long enough for everyone to go pee and for us to decide we were going to Brewster’s. It’s not a hoochie-bar: no dance floor, just tables and booths and a bar and live music (for a while). We walked the few blocks to Brewster’s, skirting the Rocky Horror crowd on the way, and found out there was only a $2 cover. Sheryl paid for me. Yay! We got a booth near the back, and listened to the mildly inoffensive live band. All four girls each bought me a drink, and I requested something different each time. After the three mudslides and the Amaretto Sour I had at Sheryl’s, I then had another Amaretto Sour, a Screwdriver, a Whiskey Sour, and a White Russian (well, Andrea spilled most of the first White Russian all over the table and floor, so I guess I had one-and-a-third White Russians). This was over the course of a couple few hours, during which we really had a kickass time talking and laughing and carrying-on. Of the people there, I think only Amy had seen me completely drunk before (since I so rarely drink, and very rarely get blitzed), so it was a new and fun experience for all, I’m sure. 🙂

Somewhere around 11:30pm (Rocky Horror hadn’t started yet), we left the bar and attempted to find somewhere new to drink up. The next un-hoochie-fied place we could think of was Howard’s — but it turned out that the cover was $5, since they had “a bunch of DJ’s” there, according to the doorguy. We opted to just go back to my place. Sheryl and Amy went back to Sheryl’s apartment to fetch the booze, while I showed Amanda and Andrea the apartment, particularly the computer/media room. Aaron’s 8-tracks were a hit, as were all of our books and DVDs.

At some point, I announced that I was really fucked up. Which I was. Either that, or someone installed a moving floor in the computer room. At any rate, Andrea announced in turn that she was preparing to add to that, and proceeded to dig out of her pockets a baggie with a couple joints’ worth of weed, plus rolling papers. She said she brought them for the “special occasion.” As she was in the midst of rolling, Amy and Sheryl came back with the cooler of pop and booze, so Amanda and I left Andrea to finish rolling and headed back out to the living room. I put some music in the CD changer (Soledad Brothers, Flaming Lips, Matthew Sweet, Catherine Wheel, and the Afghan Whigs), and we all hung out and talked for a while.

Once 1am rolled around, Sheryl was falling asleep in her bowl of munchies and Andrea was ready to spark up. Sheryl took this opportunity to leave before the pot made her fall asleep where she sat. We were all worried that it had made her uncomfortable, but it turned out she really was just tired.

(Now, folks, I know that a publicly-accessible blog isn’t generally the wisest place to discuss illegal activities, like “doing drugs” — oooooooh *collective gasp* — but it was how the evening ended, and it was a new experience for me. So I’m going to trust that no future employers are going to Google “Diana Cook marijuana” anytime in the future, and continue with my story.)

Understand, I’ve never even smoked a cigarette in my life. So, here we all were, crowding about Andrea in my living room. Amy was Designated Driver, so she wasn’t even drinking, and she’s not a big pot fan, anyway. Her brother’s a bit of a pot fiend, and his memory suffers because of it, apparently. So, Amy was out, which left me, Andrea, and Amanda to pass around the Bachelorette Party Joint. Andrea explained to both of us the mechanics of smoking a joint, I lit up some incense, and the joint was lit and passed to me.

My first impressions: drawing fiery-hot smoke into your lungs makes your throat burn. Seeing smoke exhale from your own non-smoker’s mouth is unsettling. Not coughing on the very first drag, however, feels like some sort of accomplishment.

After the third hit, I finally started coughing, and I had to pass on the rest of the joint. My throat was on fire, and the taste of burnt paper and weed was far back in my mouth. I was no more messed up than I had been, though, so I sat down and waited for something to happen.

Which it did.

At the risk of sounding like a total retard, I’ll describe kind of what it was like. I felt like I was in a sea of chinchilla fur, in low gravity or molasses or something. I’d turn my head from one side of the room to the other, to look from Andrea to Amanda, and my chinchilla fur aura would drag behind me as I turned my head, pulling around to the other side and rebounding slowly like a cartoon from the opposite side once I focused on my target. (Sure it makes no sense. It’s not supposed to.)

At any rate, I sat there enjoying the sensation of being drunk and high, feeling rather naughty on some level, noticing that Amy looked awfully uncomfortable with the whole thing, but just chilling out and having a good time on another level.

Around 2:15am, the guys came home. Aaron, Chris, Kris H., Mark, and Aaron’s brother Matt all funneled into the room (Jesse and Kris Fries had already gone home), and realized there was nowhere to sit. 🙂 Aaron took the couch with Amanda, Matt left, and Kris and Mark hung out for awhile before they too left. Amy rounded up Amanda and Andrea, and they all headed back to their respective places: Andrea to her car at Sheryl’s, to drive back to Medina; Amanda to her apartment, two blocks from Sheryl’s place; and Amy to her hotel room in town. Chris had dibs on our couch.

So, that was the bridal shower / bachelorette party. In case you were wondering, no, I didn’t precisely have a hangover on Sunday… more of an all-day exhaustion thing. No surprize, considering. 🙂

(By the way, you can read Sheryl’s version of the night, too.)


Do you ever get the feeling that High School wasn’t just a part of your past, but more of a different life? Hell, sometimes I feel like that about the first year of my college career.

I had just been thinking of the music that put me through high school. For all you young whipper-snappers who read my blog, my high school years were 1990 through 1994. Alternative music came into its own whilst my appreciation of "popular music" was in full blossom. Though I must admit, I discovered the Cure in about 1989, seeing the "Lovesong" video on VH1. But I digress. Here’s a blast from the past (I know some of you still listen to these artists regularly — don’t take it as a rip on you, ’cause so do I):

Oasis * Collective Soul * James * Pearl Jam * Toad the Wet Sprocket * Bad Religion * Radiohead * Bush * The Lemonheads * Nirvana * Smashing Pumpkins * REM * Matthew Sweet * The Cure * The Sundays

Sometimes I think high school was the worst experience of my life overall (except for 6th grade). Sometimes I think it was much, much better than I give it credit for. And generally, I assume I didn’t get enough out of my teen years. Or, at least, as much as I could. Not that I would particularly want to experience those years firsthand again, but I find that, depending on my mood, I can see a great deal of either spectacularly priceless moments or of amazingly pathetic and depressing happenings.

Sometimes I wonder if and/or when I’ll look back on my college years or my newlywed years (yipes) like I look back on high school: Something I enjoyed, something I should have taken more advantage of, something nostalgic. I wonder if the music I listen to today will set off memories of sitting at my computer, blogging, the day before my bachelorette party.

(I know it’s a disjointed entry… it’s 1:20am, and it’s technically not even the 25th anymore. Cut me some slack.)

P.S. – There is talent in Bowling Green. Who knew? Check out Mac Hall.

Blah Blah Blog

Despite all the depresso ranting and raving I’ve done in my recent entries, I’m really not all that depressed. I promise. It’s just that the vaguely happy things that happen never make it to the blog.

Got home at 4:50pm after making a pit stop on the way from work to gas up Aaron’s car. And he’d already left for work. Poopstain. At least he left me some stuffed crust frozen pizza in the fridge, though. Yum.

Just called Andrea’s cell and left a message. Apparently her voicemail is set on one minute, because I timed it out. 🙂 Asked her if she’d be able to make it to the bachelorette party and bridal shower this weekend, told her it would be cool if she could make it since I haven’t seen her in so long, asked her if she’d gotten her dress yet, and finally got the guts to tell her that if she’s not into the whole bridesmaid thing, because she’s too busy or it’s a weird time in her life or something like that, she can back out and won’t hurt my feelings. The voicemail cut me off just as I was reiterating that she needed to get back to me. Hopefully that’ll inspire her to give me a call sometime soon. If not… I’m not sure what to do.

Bounced my first check the other day. Twelve-dollar check, and got charged a $30 NSF fee. That blows. When I balanced my checkbook today, I realized I was in danger of doing it again, so I transferred some money from my savings to my checking. Now I’m covered. Whew.

Today was Mary’s last day in the Lockbox Department at work. Our supervisors bought an assload of cookies and cupcakes, so I munched on them all day and didn’t eat my nutritious lunch. At any rate, Mary’s husband works in the department she’s moving to: Loan Servicing. I don’t think he’s her supervisor, but they’re closer on the org chart now. Mary has informed me that her husband would take me into his department anytime I wanted, so that’ll be a good ‘out’ if I don’t find another job by the middle of June or so.

I figured out my demands, in case the Lockbox Department wants to beg me to stay (which is unlikely, but I can dream). Since they won’t be able to guarantee stable hours, which would be ideal, I will instead ask for a 6% pay increase, effective ASAP but no later than the beginning of third quarter (October). I wanted to say second quarter (July), but they probably already have the budget laid out for second quarter. Again, I don’t think it’ll happen, but I wanted to have my demands ready, just in case anyone were to ask what would keep me in Lockbox.

Well, I think that was a good, sufficiently undepressed update. Hmm, no, wait. I complained about shit the whole entry. Hang on… Oh, I know.

I’m getting married exactly one month from today! Tee-hee-hee! *girlie giggles*

There. Happiness. I am now going to post stuff on eBay and work on graphics for Sheryl’s Aunt’s online store.

P.S. – Hey, Donna? Here’s Karma Police, just for you.

Karma Police

…arrest this girl
she takes for granted
the people she shouldn’t
and she drives so recklessly

this is what you get
this is what you get
this is what you get
when you mess with us…

When I was planning this entry (all day at work), it was originally going to be quite woe-is-me, and perhaps even a bit guilt-trippy. See, Amy (maid of honor, duh) informed me yesterday that the bridal shower / bachelorette party is going to consist of myself, Amy, Sheryl, and my Mom. That’s it. The end. Then I got an e-mail from the wife of one of Aaron’s friends (which makes us all friends, I suppose) who said that, since she’s with child, she wanted to offer up herself as a Designated Driver. Cool. I forwarded that on to Amy. Then I was bitching at work today about my severe lack of friendage, and A said she’d go to the shower and party. Which could be interesting, since I don’t know how she’ll mingle with the current attendees, but I’ll take any participation I can get at this point. I went against my own better judgment and checked my TagBoard at work today, too, and saw that Beth has to work and Donna has a concert to attend in Toledo. Both good, valid excuses, and apologetically offered.

So, that kind of mellowed me out.

I’m still pissed at myself for this doozie, though: I got my first-ever speeding ticket today. Those of you who know BG, the cop was stationed on Seventh and Manville while I was cruising north down Manville, toward Wooster. I saw him and hit my brakes, but it was too late. He’d already clocked me going 41 in a 25. A says I was too calm; I should have been more nervous or cried or been mad or something. As it was, I accepted my fate politely and quietly. And my fine of $85.

See, for the past two weeks, I’ve been thinking, "One of these days, I’m going to be speeding down this road, and there’ll be a cop sitting there at Sixth Street…" Well, I was one street off, but I knew it was coming. That’s why I didn’t complain or fuss. I had it coming to me.

Same with the shower, I guess, and my less-than-communicative bridesmaids. When you don’t make a concerted effort to stay in touch with your friends, and delete all the stupid forwards they send you instead of actual personal messages, then something important comes up that you feel they should be involved in, and they don’t (or can’t) make time for it, that’s just karma coming around to bite you in the ass. And I’m OK with that — well, as much as can be expected. I do wish I could have had a big, crazy bridal shower and bachelorette party. Kathy (the DD mentioned above) had at least a dozen people at her shower (I was one), and her bridesmaids and a couple close friends (not me) all showed up for her bachelorette party. I guess I’m just jealous, maybe. It’ll be fun, anyhow. I know it will.

In other news, I posted for a new job at Sky. Sky Insurance in Maumee has an opening for a Marketing Coordinator, which involves planning and designing ad campaigns and PR materials. I really did just want a lateral transfer to something in my field, but this is more of a promotion to a management position. I mean, I’ll take it if they feel I’m qualified, but I have this feeling I’m not. Not at all. At least this job doesn’t require "licensing" like the last Marketing job I tried to post for. At any rate, if I don’t have a new position lined up within Sky by the time I’m getting ready to get married and take my honeymoon vacation time, I have every intention of finding another job outside Sky.

I mean, I don’t want to leave the company after only seven months — I just started my 401(k), I get two weeks’ vacation and five personal/sick days every year, I get annual raises of roughly 10%, and my quarterly reviews have been favorable so far. But I’m willing to look for something more related to my field and with more stable hours and with better pay, and sacrifice my three weeks’ paid time off for something less grandiose.

I keep saying that I’m biding my time and waiting for the right opportunity to come along. But with Mary leaving the department at the end of this week, A leaving at the end of next week, and Loni intending to leave within the month, I refuse to be stuck working the 70-hour weeks that the resultant workload would force upon me. Part of me hates to leave it to poor Rama (a temp who’s just started training on Citation this week) and Sharon (the older woman who’s been with Sky for 10+ years) and the new temp and Andrew (our "Team Leader"). But another part of me says this is my opportunity to get while the gettin’s good.

And I think the rest of me agrees.

Sunday Easter Sunday

So, who’s morbidly curious about what I did for Easter?

…Thought so. But I’m going to tell you, anyway.

Headed out at 9:45am. Made it to Lakewood (about 5 miles west of downtown Cleveland) in less than two hours. Lakewood Hospital, where Memaw’s staying, is on the same street as Aaron’s grandparents’ house, so we drove past their place first, thinking maybe we could just walk from there. Alas, it was closer to five blocks than the two Aaron had originally thought, so we drove down and found a parking spot on the street (to avoid paying for parking in the parking garage).

Walked into the hospital, asked the receptionist what room Jessie Lowe was in, and followed her directions (hitting the restrooms that were conveniently located on the way). Since Mom had asked me to get hearing aid batteries for Memaw, we stopped by the nurses’ station on the way to her room to drop them off, and ended up conversing with Memaw’s personal nurse. She gave us a run-down on how Memaw was doing: her hearing aid had just plain died, she wasn’t eating, and she was generally groggy and in "what she perceives as pain." The nurse said that if Memaw doesn’t start eating, she won’t have enough strength to make it much longer. I thanked the nurse, then mentally steeled myself and led Aaron into the hospital room.

The greeting was much different than the warm welcome of Tuesday. This time, I got, "Oh, it’s you." She was much more confused this time around, and I only managed to converse with her at all by hovering two inches from her ear. We only stayed for about 15 minutes, because I saw no point in being there. Maybe it sounds callous. I don’t know. I’d just rather minimize the Memaw-as-a-confounded-invalid memories and stick with the Memaw-as-a-good-cook-and-strong-woman memories. I’m glad I came up on Tuesday, because if this had been my only "last visit" with Memaw, I would have been much more upset. I didn’t cry when we left this time, but I know I’ll be haunted by my (assumedly) final image of her watching me go and dazedly repeating, "I love you, too. I love you, too. I love you, too…"

With the depressing part of the day behind us (I know, I know, I’m being crass and callous in the face of family tragedy), we drove back down the street to Grammie and Poppa’s house. We were the first to arrive, and sat and talked with Poppa for a while, since Grammie was still at church. Five minutes after we got there, Aaron’s dad showed up in his new SUV (who’d have thunk Bob would buy an SUV?). We talked about the wedding and Aaron’s job and everyone’s various medications and unions and on and on… Grammie came home from church and joined the conversaion. it was pleasant. Then Pete’s clan showed up.

If I haven’t explained Uncle Pete’s clan, let me clarify for you. We’ve got Pete, who is Aaron’s uncle — his mother’s brother. (Poppa and Grammie are his mother’s parents.) Pete’s first wife, Peggy, the mother of his children, died some time ago. I want to say about 9 or 10 years, but I’m not sure, since I never met her. The oldest child is Megan, who is 17-almost-18. Then comes Alex (15?), Natalie (13?), and Joey (10). (I’m sure Aaron will tell me if I got any ages totally wrong.) That had been interesting enough, but there’s a recent twist: Pete just got remarried. His new wife is Deanna (yes, our names were confusing to the grandparents at first), and she has two children from her previous marriage: Sophie (16?) and Gabe (14). Most of the kids are old enough that they’re "real people" and aren’t too annoying anymore, but Joey still likes to watch Spongebob and those bizarro Dexter-type cartoons on Nick and the Cartoon Network that make me stare in confusion.

So, this should provide a better idea of the immediate insanity involved as soon as the Bura Clan arrived. …Not that I would have it any other way. A holiday at Grammie and Poppa’s wouldn’t be the same without Pete’s family.

After Aaron and I talked with Megan and Alex for a while, food was ready. We had ham and twice-baked potatoes and kielbasa and paska (polish raisin bread) and green bean casserole (a Bura family staple) and Poppa’s famous salad and there was horseradish and we had a lamb-shaped cake for dessert. Grammie forgot to put out the sweet potatoes, so we all divvied them up and took them home afterward, along with all the other leftovers.

We stayed until 8:00pm, just talking and watching TV (and being bored while Joey monopolized the television with weird cartoons). Aaron and I ended up being the last to leave. Overall, it was a good time, as usual.

I guess maybe I always took my family for granted, since we were always together, anyway. We had big meals on special occasions, but never had any other family over. Mom, Memaw, Aunt Sammie, my cousin Michael, and I all lived together, and rarely lived close to other family, so that was it. No cousins or other grandparents or other aunts or uncles to visit or invite over. Now I’m finding that I enjoy this "visiting family" thing. Even going to visit Mom and Gary for a day is enjoyable (to an extent — the less Gary, the better, I’m afraid).

Now, just to be sure to end the entry on a down note… when we got home at 10:20pm, Mom had left a message on the answering machine not 15 minutes earlier. She was upset that, when she went to go visit Memaw, "the lights were on, but no one was home." She asked me to e-mail her, which I did, pretty much detailing what I detailed here about my visit. I told her it made it a little easier for me, seeing Memaw like that. That way, when she goes, I won’t feel like she could have had a few more good years left in her. I’ll know she was ready to go.

When Mom e-mailed me back today, she had this to say:

"You look into the eyes of the first person you remember, the friend you had before you had friends, the one who taught you all the basics from how to go to the bathroom, get dressed, eat, talk even, and the body’s there but she isn’t. When I worked in the nursing home, I used to think the families of those folks were so cruel to not visit more often; now I understand, it wasn’t that they didn’t love them, it was that they loved them too much to see them that way."