Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Bobby!

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the Irvine Improv listing Dana Carvey as an upcoming act. I checked the dates and prices. Neither the email or the Improv website had a picture or a bio up yet, and the price was so good, I was questioning whether it was the real Dana Carvey or someone with the same name (I know, how likely is that, but you never know) But he was performing on Bobby's birthday, so I bought four tickets. The site was later updated with a pic and bio - all was good.

So last night Brian & Jessica joined us for some birthday comedy. We were originally going to eat dinner at Javier's (sort of an upscale Mexican restaurant), and then go to the Improv, but when I called the Improv to see if they would hold a good table for us (I figure most places will give you special treatment if you tell them it's your birthday - and can prove it) they said no. Even if we got there early, they seat diners first, and that night they had 200 people scheduled as "diners" out of the 300 tickets sold. So basically, we eat there, or we have bad seats. We chose to eat there - We were fourth in line... so we sat almost on the stage. I actually had my feet up on the stage. We couldn't have been closer.

The food was decent, the boys drank a lot of alcohol, Carvey was hilarious. Brian was laughing so hard while Carvey was telling one of his jokes, that he actually caused Carvey to start laughing. He points to Brian and tells him to stop making him laugh.

When the show was over, Jessica and I were ready to go home, but the boys were drunk and wanted to keep drinking, so we reluctantly went to Yard House. They had one more round before they (thankfully) closed up. The boys were actually a bit obnoxious, but it was Bobby's birthday, so c'est la vie. He actually apologized for his behavior the next day, even though I'd already forgiven him.

Overall, it was a great birthday celebration. Funny how things just work out like that sometimes.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Working on a Holiday

For the Memorial Day holiday, Bobby went to install his first job, and I went in to work.

Bobby had hired one pipe fitter, and his dad and brother, and my dad and brother all volunteered to help out. Bobby got there at 5am, and everyone else arrived at 6am, and they worked until about 4pm. It was a learning experience for everyone, and after 4 more trips to Home Depot and another $200 in tools and supplies, they had most of it done. Bobby realized that he needs a lot more (and better) tools (although his understanding was that the fitter was bringing his own set of tools, which was not the case), and as the day went on everyone got better at what they were doing.

We also realized that Bobby needs more than a small pickup, he needs a full size truck, so we are planning to sell my car, I'm going to buy his car, and he's going to buy a full size truck. So if you know anyone that wants to buy a red 2005 Honda Civic LX with side airbags, brand new front brakes, and 33K miles on it, send them my way. Blue Book is about $12K. Great car, we just need a four-door vehicle.

It turned out to be a perfect day for me to go in to work. When I got in, the phone system was down, and Caleb was emailing JoAnn, not knowing what to do - he had a conference call and he couldn't get in to the conference line. So I reboot the phone system. Then I was able to get a lot done because no one was bothering me all day.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Beautiful Afternoon

Today was so beautiful! It was that perfect temperature between cool and warm. I had one of those everything-is-right-with-the-world moments, and was wishing I didn't have to work so I could just lounge around all the time the way I was right then.

In the morning I went to Costco with Mom, Gma, and my aunt Lisa. We went for 3 purposes: a pull down shade for Bobby's Nana's apartment, one of those outdoor space heaters (the kind they have at restaurants) for Gma (her circulation is really poor, so she gets cold often, and some camisole/tanks for all... We came home with $500 worth of stuff, not including a shade or space heater. We'd seen the shade, but there was no way we could have gotten it home since there was all four of us in my little Civic, and the wheelchair we brought to push Gma around. I'm impressed we fit all we did buy into the car.

When we got back to the house, we barbecued up some chicken and carne asada and had a nice meal on the patio complete with a very nice Sauvignon Blanc (I love lunch on weekends), then we lounged around on the hammock and in the sky chairs. Mom and I walked around in our bare feet watering the plants, including my new basil plant (I'm trying really hard not to use it until there is a lot, otherwise I'll eat the plant and have to just buy a new one).

When we were lounging on the patio, I went in the back room to let Bobby know that he need not worry, I'd be back to work soon (he was working on the logo, I was supposed to be setting up the QuickBooks file for the company), it was just too lovely out to come in just yet. I finally get back there... and he's passed out on the couch. He'd been working so hard this week, trying to get his work done for his employer and get his first job coordinated. Up early and late every day. So I just let him sleep, and snuck back out onto the patio, but the hammock had been absconded with.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bizarre Episode

I've mentioned that my family is now taking turns staying at my house to watch Gma. She can't be alone now, and this is why:

Today, she was supposed to be taking a nap, and my cousin Rachel, who was there to watch her, decided to take one too. Well, Gma didn't take a nap - she started packing... for when it's time to go home. By the time she was caught, she'd packed up the whole linen closet, and a bunch of her bathroom and bedroom.

This is not the first time she thought that this wasn't home: she has referred to the house as a rental, told my aunt that she's only been here about 12 months, and Sunday morning she told me "This place is nice, but I hope they let me go home soon." I don't think she knew who I was when she told me that; she's always referred to my Gpa as 'grandpa' with me, never by his name - but this time she told me she wanted to go visit 'Jim' today because she hasn't seen him in weeks (it had been a day and a half). Also admitted that when she woke up she wasn't sure where she was, but then realized that she knew 'some of these people.' Really sucks knowing there is nothing you can do.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


So I lost 10 pounds.... in about 5 days - though I've already gained like 4 back. Not from dieting or exercising or anything healthy like that... I was sick last week... Tuesday afternoon through Friday morning. It was really weird... I only had a fever Tuesday evening, but after that I couldn't eat anything, or drink anything... everything sounded repulsive. I got really dizzy when I stood up, and was really tired - slept all but about 5 hours on Thursday.

I left a little early from work on Tuesday, and I called the house on the way. I had been warned a few weeks ago to be really careful about getting sick. Gma's immune system is very weak, and if she gets sick, she'll die. I wanted to ask my mom what I should do - I'm sick, if I don't go home, where should I go? But I don't want to bring something home that kills Gma. She and Dad told me to just come home and stay away from Gma. I started crying when I got off the phone. I had tried so hard to stay away from everyone at the office that was coming in sick - which was a lot of people; one of the interns even had strep throat - and here I was, bringing it home anyway, really afraid I was bringing it to Gma. When I got in the house I went right to my room and went to bed.

She's really fragile now. It's so strange. She was only diagnosed in February of '06, and they were just starting treatment around this time last year. You would have thought she was fine. She's always been a bit quirky, but she was lucid and made sense and I would joke that she was in better shape than me - going to the gym at least 3 times a week. Now most of the things she says make no sense at all - like there are 3 or 4 trains of thought that were somehow jumbled, or if she is making sense, it's something she told me 5 or 10 minutes ago. And when she walks more than 6 feet, she's bracing herself on a chair or the couch or the wall. Getting out of bed has become an ordeal that leaves her panting, sitting there trying to catch her breath so she can put her shoes on.

It's amazing how exponentially worse she's getting. Just a month ago my aunt Lisa was still picking her up on Saturday mornings to go to the farmer's market and walk around the rose garden in Santa Monica. Life expectancy for someone with her type of cancer is 2-5 years after diagnosis, and for her age, it's much closer to the 2 year mark. Now they've qualified her for hospice care, meaning they estimate she has less than 6 months to live.

My mom has told her siblings that Gma can't be left alone anymore, and until they decide to sign her up for adult day care or hospice care, they are taking turns staying at the house. So far Mom has really carried the majority of the load, taking off large amounts of time or trying to work remotely. Wednesday was my uncle Kevin's first day shift. He has normally come by on weekends or for an hour or so in the evenings, and I don't think he'd been by in 2 weeks or so. Wednesday he realized how bad she is... I could see it hit him. My aunt Marie and her husband are coming out today and staying until Saturday... she hasn't been out for a few years and couldn't really afford it, but Mom used some frequent flyer miles to bring them out.

Last night Mom, Gma, and I played a game of Scrabble on the back patio, and after the first game Gma went to bed. Mom pulled out Gma's lab results and a Do Not Rececitate Gma had signed. They took her off all her meds, and now are just waiting it out. Mom had to try to explain it to Gma, and discuss with her the DNR and what it means. Gma signed it, but Mom said she's sure Gma doesn't even remember, and isn't sure if she knew what she was signing. Mom's pretty torn up about the whole thing; started crying when she was telling me.. And then she has to put on a hard face to inform her siblings and handle their reactions.

We've been letting Lucas (our cat) snif and lie about the back yard the last few days. It's been so lovely out that we've been hanging out on the porch (I slept in one of the sky chairs out there a good chunk of Wednesday), so we caved to his whining and let him wander. We know there is a hole in the fence, but he pretty much sticks to the yard. Well, last night Mom let him out because we were sitting playing Scrabble on the patio... he took off. Brat. I told Mom that Lucas is no longer allowed outside when it is dark out - it's harder to keep an eye on him, and I think he's more likely to want to explore outside the yard at that time.

I knew he'd come back... he always does, but Mom felt really bad and was really worried about him (kinda like I was the first time he left on me). I was just hoping he didn't get into too much trouble or bring back some fleas. This morning Bobby got up at 6am, and there he was at the back door. He came in, climbed up on our bed, and looked all depressed and tired. We think he might have gotten himself into a fight - he has little spots of blood on his fur and when we were petting him this morning some of his hair was falling out. Definitely not to where he needs to go to the vet or anything, but a little traumatized.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Spiderman 3

I saw Spiderman 3 last night... and it was painfully bad. I was really disappointed. I had really been looking forward to it. I had been willing to overlook the plot holes in the beginning - chalk it up to movie magic - but the last 40 minutes or so were so bad it became comical. We began critiquing it a la Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Jessica & Nathan's Wedding

Unfortunately the alarm clock in the hotel room was set for 6:25am, so my sleep was interrupted yet again. After breakfast, Mom, Dad, and I went over to Jessica's, but she wasn't there. It was about 9:30am. The door was open so we knocked. Nathan's car was there, maybe he was home. He was sleeping. When he came out, we asked where Jessica was. "I have no idea." We apologized for waking him up, but told him we were there to steal his laundry, and Dad was going to start working on powering Jessica's workshop in the back. So we compiled the laundry in question, and left Dad to dig his ditch.

The amount of laundry involved was insane, and all of it was covered in dog and cat hair and damp. Now, I have a cat, and he sheds a decent amount, but I try to make sure I remove it from myself after I pet him. After we sorted and started the 8 loads of wash, we went down to the hardware store for laundry baskets and some tape so I could get the hair of me. Jessica found us there.

We went back and switch the laundry, I taped more hair off myself, and then we went back to the Apple Shed to buy a blanket for Gma. Then we went back and fold laundry, and I taped more hair off myself.

By the time we made it back to Jessica's it's past noon and everyone has already arrived for their BBQ. Dad is in the back yard and has recruited Nathan and his brother Neil to help him get a giant boulder he's uncovered out of the ground (yes, I have pictures) while Nathan's dad and grandpa watch. In the house Jessica, Nathan's grandmothers, and her friend (who was also in the wedding) were putting the boutineers together.

After eating Jessica and Nathan opened presents. They got a lot of cash, and his grandparents bought them gift certificates for Sears for a washer and dryer. Also one of those square barbecues and some cooking stuff. My grandma Korky, and aunts Kandy, and Timi sent along some really nice olivewood cooking spoons and a serving dish (the olivewood spoons were especially nice). And they announced that Mom & Dad were paying for the wedding.

We eventually went back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the wedding. At this point it was snowing outside, so there was no way I was wearing my dress until we actually got to the chapel (sunny and warm my ass). So Dad went with Nathan's dad to his place, and after Mom and I did our hair and makeup we went over to Jessica's. She still hadn't done more than take a shower - she had less than an hour and needed to do her makeup and wanted to straighten her hair. I straightened her hair, and before I had finished she had to start doing her makeup - already running late. We finally get her out the door and it is really snowing.

We arrived at the chapel and finished getting ready, then waited in the little changing room for the ceremony to start. It was a short ceremony. Jessica cried and Nathan had a big smile on his face the whole time. They both looked nice, Nathan's brother wore a pink and black tie and pink and black converse; my dress was brown and cream and the other girl wore a wine colored dress. They were cracking jokes and laughing during the ceremony. They signed the Marriage Certificate and we all took pictures with 8 different cameras, then we headed to the restaurant for the reception.

We were heading home after dinner, so we stopped by Jessica's to drop off some stuff before heading out. When Mom got back in the car, she said that all the olivewood utensils they had just received were in shreds all over the floor. Vixen strikes again.

We got back to the hotel, packed up, and headed out. I hadn't had any alcohol, so I was first up. We again made excellent time. We left Cedaredge at 10pm (Mountain), stopped for breakfast in Vegas, got back on the road before the Cinco de Mayo, fight weekend Vegas traffic began, so we had clear sailing and were back in Norco at 10:30am. Glad to be home.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Day before the Wedding

After our naps we went out for lunch at the Apple Shed. They have a little cafe, and a sort of gallery/store, selling furniture and artwork and handmade Indian blankets, etc. We ate a nice lunch and walked around for a bit. After that we went with Jessica down to the chapel to meet the person in charge there and so Jessica could pay for it. Really nice little chapel, very small. Then Jessica took us to her place and showed us around; pointed out the shed in the back where she is going to set up her potter's wheel - she just needs to get power out there.

Nathan's parents and grandparents came over, and we all chatted for awhile as everyone got to know one another. Jessica got ready to go - we were all going out to dinner with Nathan's family at the restaurant he works at - but was having a hard time finding something to wear. She and Nathan had brought their refrigerator with them from California, but the house they were renting had one already, so they were going to trade with some girl Jessica works with the extra fridge for a washer & dryer, but they just hadn't gotten around to trading and Jessica hadn't had time to got to the laundromat, so they were running out of clean clothes. Mom decided that the next morning we would come get all her laundry and wash it as a sort of wedding gift.

We had dinner at the Fireside, which is the restaurant that both Jessica and Nathan work at. Nathan was working, so he prepared a good chunk of our food. It was another chance for Mom, Dad, and I to spend time with Nathan's family, and everyone got along well. After dinner, we dropped Jessica off, we told her we'd be there between 9 and 10am to pick up her laundry. I was exhausted and went to my room to crash, though checking email and chatting with Bobby kept me up a little later than I'd hoped.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Driving to Colorado

I met Mom & Dad at their house when Bobby went to drop Emma off. They packed and we chatted. Bobby came by to hang out for awhile before we left. He couldn't come because of the Saturday class he's taking (the instructor said at the beginning of the semester that if you miss three classes, he drops you; the semester is almost over and he's missed two classes). Dad was telling us that my sister Shannon had been over recently and said something about how she's been stressed out and moody lately, and Dad very non-chalantly replied "Yeah, women get like that when they are pregnant," and went about his business. Two days later, Shannon called and said that Charlie would appreciate if he wouldn't joke about things like that. Shannon had already taken a test and made a doctor appointment. I thought that was funny.

Mom, Dad and I left at 9:30pm. Mom wanted to take the first shift driving, so she drove until 11:30 when we reached Baker. Then I took the wheel and drove until 3:30am. Dad stayed up the entire time. "Dad, why don't you try to get some sleep?"
"I can't sleep."

Finally at 3:30 I decided that although I was fine to drive longer, I wanted Dad to get his turn before he was up way too long and was falling asleep. He looked tired, but I trusted that if he was too sleepy to drive, he would stop and let one of us take over, or even just pull over and get some sleep. I laid down in the back seat and tried to get some rest. About an hour later, I woke up and asked Dad how he was.
"I'm struggling."
"Well, I got some rest and feel pretty wide awake right now, why don't you let me take over?"
"I want to get to the 70."

I could see him drifting a bit, so I tried to make conversation to keep him awake; he was complaining about how since his surgery he had trouble with depth perception at night. The lights make it tough for him to see how far away the next car is, so he follows farther behind than usual. I mentioned that on the way back he should probably take the last shift, after the sun had come up. When we got to the 70 Mom had just woken up and we were both adamant he pull over and let me drive. Once we were back on the road again, he was sitting upright in the back seat, trying to stay awake. He eventually passed out for a little while, but when we would hit a bump, he would sit back up and fight the sleep.

I drove until around 7:30am when we stopped for breakfast at this little cafe in Green River, and on the table was a box with some books from Apricot Press. The titles of these books were things like "How to Make People Think You Are Normal," "The Fine Art of Worrying" and "GeezerHood." As tired as we were, flipping through these books we were soon laughing so hard we couldn't breathe. It was a nice wakeup.

Back on the road, Mom started driving, but from Green River to Grand Junction is a long straight highway surrounded by nothing... very boring. Soon after, Mom was looking sleepy eyed, even though she'd slept most of the night. So then instead of getting some much needed rest, I struck up a conversation with her and put on some music that wouldn't put her to sleep. We made good time and even let Dad drive again. Our trip took a total of 14 hours, and we arrived in Cedaredge, CO at 10:30am (Mountain).

When we arrived, all I wanted to do was take a shower and brush my teeth. We checked into the hotel and did just that, took about an hour nap.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What to Wear?

I went shopping for a dress because all the dresses I own are black. Jessica had told me it had been warm lately, but I checked the weather forecast which indicated either rainstorms or snow. "Oh yeah, it does that for part of the day."

Hmmm... That's not sunny and warm. When I was looking for a dress all I could find were warm weather dresses. This is California - in May - no warm clothes... you couldn't even find heavy socks if you needed them.

I called Jessica to see what the other girl in the wedding was wearing (color? pattern?) but she had no idea. Great. I picture myself wearing some brown & cream pattern and the other girl wearing a floral pink and purple or something.

"Just wear whatever you want." She is no help whatsoever.

I found a couple dresses I felt lukewarm about, and then came across one I actually really liked. $280. Hmm...