Wednesday, December 29, 2004

One hundred and eight days later ...

Mrs. A's brother came over this morning and is currently driving their Mom back home to Houston. The doctor gave his ok for her to be by herself as long as she had someone that could come by and check on her. I think my brother-in-law is going to make the necessary arrangements with one of the local social service providers. Anyway, it's what Mom wanted.

(And, truth be told, I don't think anyone at the Aardvark house was disappointed by this morning's departure.)

It will be nice to be sleeping in my own bed again instead of on the hide-a-bed in the living room.

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    Thursday, December 23, 2004

    So let it be written.

    Isaiah

    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

    So let it be done.

    Luke

    And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

    Merry Christmas from the Aardvarks.

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    Shalmanezer dreams in his cryogenic sleep

    Ok, that's an obscure reference, but then again, I've been pretty obscure here lately myself. 200,000 bonus points if anyone knows where that quote comes from.

    Thanks to the folks who've emailed me to check if I was still around. Yep. Still here. Just not here, if you know what I mean.

    Things have been crazy, mad hectic and something had to slip, and since this is a completely voluntary activity and most everything else isn't ...

    But don't give up on me just yet. Like MacArthur, I will return.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    Eventually.

    My guess is sometime in mid-to-late January. I have a big work deadline on the 20th, and assuming I meet it, things should take a dramatic turn towards normalcy after that. At least as normal as *I* can get, anyway.

    I have been able to attend the Youngest Aardvark Child's play (both nights) and Christmas Band Concerts for both Aardvark Children (different nights) as well as a piano recital in which both children were scheduled to perform, but only the YAC did since the EAC had to work. (SOMEONE (the EAC) was supposed to ask off for that evening, but didn't until it was too late to do anything about it. There were tears and trauma, but I think she learned a valuable lesson in the process.) Mrs. A and I managed to make it to the work Christmas Party and the Sunday School Christmas Party without incident. And we've played handbells for church twice in the last couple of months. So there have been some respites from work.

    I haven't been working QUITE as many hours here lately, mostly because my candle is about burned out. Fortunately, being able to actually complete an assignment or two every now and then provides enough satisfaction to keep me coming back for more. I was surprised last week to receive an additional bonus for the extra work I put in on the major project we've had going on since September. It was unexpected and unusual that bonuses would be given and, as a result, made it all the more satisfying to receive the recognition (not to mention the cash).

    Mrs. A's mother is still living with us. She had a doctor's appointment this morning, and depending on how that went, it's possible that she may return home to Houston on Tuesday. We really don't think she should live by herself and so far away, but short of getting her declared incompetent, I don't see much way of stopping her from doing what she wants. We were suggesting something along the lines of "assisted living" arrangements where she wouldn't have to cook and could get some assistance with her meds, but she has resisted every suggestion along those lines. And poor Mrs. A, it doesn't matter what she does, she is "wrong". If she helps her mom, she's accused of "not letting" her mom do more for herself. If she doesn't help her mom, she hears the "why didn't you ..." routine. It's also been hard on the kids. Not only are their routines interrupted and altered because grandmother is in the house, but they see how much Mrs. A does and how little appreciation is shown for it. It has caused them more than a little stress from time to time.

    It's been a very frustrating time - more for Mrs. A than me, since I spend 90% of my waking hours at work, but it's also been a very necessary thing for us to do. Hopefully, we have learned a lesson on how to act when we are in a similar situation years down the road. I also think it's important to show the kids how to "honor your parents" even when the parent in question hasn't done much to deserve such treatment. And that we should always do the right thing even when, perhaps especially when, it's not easy. When Mrs. A and I are old (er), I want my kids to look out for us the way we are for Mrs. A's mom. Only hopefully, we'll be more cooperative. And pleasant. Did I mention pleasant?

    Anyway, there have been a kajillion little things that would normally prompt a blog entry, but that I've just had to let go. And once gone, I promptly forget about, so there's no going back and catching up. The only hope is that the same thing will happen again so that I can remember it as new and write about it then.

    Remember, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. (and a waist is a terrible thing to mind, but that's a different thing altogether)

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    Random rock and roll thoughts

    You don't HAVE to be deeply misogynistic to listen to ZZ Top.

    But I'm sure it helps.

    ---------------------------------------------------

    Best use of Mephistopheles in a song lyric: Toto - She Knows The Devil (from Kingdom of Desire)

    ---------------------------------------------------

    Worst monkey metaphor ever: 10CC - The Monkey and the Onion (from MirrorMirror).

    It wants so hard to be clever but only makes me cringe.

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    Monday, December 06, 2004

    Manolo Blancs? No, I'll just take the boxes.

    I have big feet.

    Not really that big, though. No where near the size of the clod-hoppers on Yao Ming or Shaq. Not even big like Bozo, or Chuckles (may he rest in peace), or Crusty for that matter. (had to throw in a reference for the younger generation) My feet are just barely out of the normal range (like their owner). Normal sizes for men's shoes start out around a 7 and go up, in half-sizes (which has always been a mystery to me, but who am I to question the status quo?) to size 12.

    I wear a 13.

    Of course, that's a good thing. I am 6' 3", and if my feet were any smaller I would have a (greater) propensity to fall flat on my face. As it is, it's all my little piggies can do to keep my lumbering bulk from falling and crushing them. (Although, that's highly unlikely unless I somehow collapse in an Indian-style position) But I can imagine their panic as they look up and see me always lurking one step behind. (Fortunately, they have yet to convince a judge to issue a TRO) "DIG! DIG! DIG!" the Right Big Toe shouts to his teammates as they pull together and push against the ground for all they're worth. Somehow, miraculously, they manage to overcome the twin forces of gravity and inertia and lob the metaphysical, metaphorical, metatarsal ball back to the Left team. Left and Right keep this lob-and-volley game up wherever I go. They're pretty evenly matched, but occasionally one will score a point on the other, leaving in the aftermath an assortment of bumps, scrapes, contusions and delusions.

    Anyway...

    I needed to buy some new shoes for work. I'm not saying I'm cheap or anything, but I think I've managed to nurse an extra year out of the shoes I've been wearing. But here lately, they've been looking extra sorry. To the point where even I am beginning to be embarrassed. So, it's time to buy a new pair.

    I went to the mall this weekend and brought along Mrs. A for moral support, reinforcement, and just because I like having her around. Started at the shoe department of Jacques Pennet (my French tailor). I want brown shoes for work. Not real dressy, since it's just slacks and button-downs most of the time, but not too casual either. I'm not going to be hiking across mountains or wading through forest streams. And brown is better than black, because I can wear the same pair of shoes whether my slacks are khaki, blue, green, or stained the color of congealed gravy. Oh, wait a minute. That IS congealed gravy.

    My selection is limited by the above criteria, but is further limited by the amount I'm willing to pay. I have no problem shelling out a hundred bucks or more for a pair of nice dress shoes. (with leather soles that can be replaced, of course) But I have issues paying big bucks for casual shoes with non-repairable, non-replaceable polyurethane soles (thought those soles are more lightweight and comfy). So, I'm browsing the shoe department, which, being a week-end in December, just so happens to be filled with a hundred other desperate souls, and I finally find a pair that meets my approval. Funny, but they look pretty much like my old ones. They're sitting on a stack of boxes and so we look for my size. Hmmm. Here's a 12. Maybe I should try them on? So I sit down and take my other shoes off and ... no good. A 12 is just not going to work. Mrs. A takes the initiative (I told you I like having her around) and tracks down a sales clerk sales associate employee and asks, "Do you have this in a size 13?" The sweet young thing she's asked scuttles off to "The Back Room" to see. In just a bit, she's back shaking her head. "No, I'm sorry. We don't have that in a 13." Okay. No problem. I've encountered this before. "What about this one?" I ask, pointing to Plan B. Once again she heads off and reappears (quicker this time) shaking her head once more. All right, this is getting ridiculous. "Ok, what about this one?" I ask, pointing to a much pricier shoe than I really wanted to buy, but hey, desperate measures and all that.

    She doesn't even bother going to the back room. "No, I'm sorry." Feeling just a little exasperated, I say (just a little snarkily, for which I feel guilty later), "Well, can you tell me what you DO have in a size 13?" This sweet young child looks at me and says, "We do have some larger sizes, but they're mostly in the younger styles."

    ...

    ...

    ...

    Ouch. Direct hit.

    "Okay, thanks. We'll keep looking," I say as I slink away. After she's gone to help the next person, it dawns on me just how ridiculous an answer she gave me. "What do all those 'younger' guys wear on their feet when they get to be old farts like me?" I wonder. Do their feet shrink as they age? Mrs. A insists that they chop off their toes. I eye her nervously.

    By this point, Mrs. A and I decide to head back to the car in defeat (or on de feet, if you prefer) and just come back another non-weekend day when perhaps the place won't be so crazy. On the way out, though, we decide to check out the shoe department of one of the other big anchor tenants in the mall.

    Whooie! These folks are right PROUD of their merchandise. I do spot one pair that has promise, but they're $90. I turn to go, but then notice a sign that says "All regular priced shoes 33% off." Sweet. That's makes them only $60, which is still more than I LIKE to pay, but not more than I'm WILLING to pay. We ask the Shoe Lady if perhaps, just maybe, it might be possible that they carry this make and model in a size 13? She heads off to "The Back Room" (Hey! They have one here too!) to check and while she's gone, Mrs. A notices a brown steamer trunk sitting on the floor displaying several selections of footwear. "Hey, maybe if they don't have those shoes in your size you can see if they've got another one of those trunks and you can wear them." Have I mentioned I love this woman!?!

    (My dad always did accuse me of throwing away the shoes and wearing the boxes)

    The Shoe Lady comes back with a BIG box in her hands. Success!

    Mrs. A comments that we need to keep the box for next year to fill up for Operation Christmas Child. (With the amount of stuff you can fit in this box, some kid is going to be VERY happy)

    And yes, today I am wearing my spiffy new brown shoes.

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