Little one

This weekend was exhausting. Amazing, but exhausting.

We had a lot of cleaning to do before our guests arrived this weekend. Starr did a lot of it, but I tried to pull my weight. We established Friday’s high point when I received a panicked call at work letting me know that Midori had pulled the gerbil cage from the bookshelf and smashed it. Starr finally managed to catch two traumatized but unharmed gerbils, and I screwed the replacement cage to the bookcase… so there, cat.

Why all the kerfuffle? Well, we had a rather special little boy and his parents coming by. Owen is observant, intelligent, cheerful, and energetic; and Starr gave birth to him four years ago, giving him up to a couple in a much better position at the time to give him a stable home.

I hadn’t really been aware of “open adoption” before. The idea is that the adoptive parents keep the birth mother in their life, trading phone calls, email, and pictures, and even getting together when possible. Owen has grown up thinking of Starr as a relative who loves him a lot, and I suppose that one day, when he asks very specific questions, he’ll get straight answers.

The idea sounds good; an extra close relative in a child’s life has to be a bonus, and when he’s a teenager trying to figure out who he is, he’ll have immediate answers to many of the questions I imagine an adopted child might ask. On the other hand, I can see how the relationships involved might need more work on everyone’s part than normal. On the gripping hand, I have some experience of my own with unusual relationships, and I feel the effort’s well worth making. I suppose time will tell how it all works out.

More importantly for the time being, Owen was a joy to meet. I’m spoiled by precocious kids like him and Bethany… perhaps it has just as much to do with the parents’ determination to raise him as something more than a yard ape. His parents were pretty awesome too; we got along from the beginning, and it only got better when Paul and I started Mac geeking together. Starr reported later that they thought I was a pretty decent guy.

(Actually, they called me ‘grounded’. Is there anyone here who knows me who’d have picked the adjective ‘grounded’ to describe me?)

I greatly enjoyed the day and a half of time with Owen and Paul and Susan; Starr’s mom joined us as well. However, all that time of socializing and trying to keep up with a 4-year-old drained me dry. I took a somewhat unwilling nap on Sunday afternoon, and craved a quiet night of WoW afterwards. Wouldn’t have missed it though, and Starr’s center returned to her after a week of pure frantic. At least next weekend ought to be a bit quieter.

A bit.

Kinda echoey in here, hmmm?

We had a guest over last night… are having more guests this weekend… and are planning on seeing shrewlet, rhaps, and meiran in the next month. So this last week, we cleaned up the apartment.

Between possibly the most serious cleaning we’ve done since we moved here, and the ongoing stuff reduction program (I need to find shipping boxen for cjmr‘s and rattrap‘s models ASAP), the place looks practically new. The lighting’s better now. I can get into my bed without sidling past bookcases. All of the rooms in the place are suddenly fully usable. Heck, after tonight’s effort I might be able to admit people into my computer office without embarrassment. My ‘house’ is clean.

What an odd experience.

Tonight they start filming a movie here on base. I didn’t quite get around to sending them a glossy, and I’m not sure I’ve got the 70’s look they’re after, so I don’t get to be one of the extras. The film’s got Cameron Diaz in it… somehow I don’t think she’ll be swinging by. All I’m getting out of this is the mandatory opportunity to park my clearly 21st-century car another block-and-a-half from work. Ah, well. Exercise.

Resting Place

Since the issue has come up, this is what I’m currently thinking of for the fateful day:

I recently heard the story of a person whose passing wish was to have her ashes scattered at midnight on a local golf course.

Problem was, no one in the family had access to the golf course. So the family and friends had to sneak in, in the middle of the night, in their funeral garb; scatter the ashes, and get the heck out, riding adrenaline highs and laughing nervously the whole time.

When I heard that story, I thought that was awesome.

Area 51 is probably a bit much to ask of you folks, but I’m sure I can come up a suitably interesting place before it’s time.

A VTSFFC Party, Day Two

I slept quite late Sunday morning; I’d not had enough rest in the last week, and a five-hour drive is still draining even when it’s pleasant.

shrewlet fixed a big breakfast for us. I was starving, I honestly ate too much. I spent a few minutes checking e-mail and trying to log onto WoW – I’m trying to earn enough quest tickets to win a prize in-game – but I couldn’t get a good connection. It wasn’t long before I had to give up and get dressed for yubbie and colleenk‘s wedding.

Wile dressing, I amused myself by considering the far greater number of times I’ve worn a Starfleet uniform than a suit, but it’s not as if I’d forgotten how to put it on. Dwight and I left the Arthur digs early, for we had stops to make – I picked up a cute card for the happy couple – and we arrived pretty much on time.

Listing the LJ and fan folk who were there would be quite tedious, so I shan’t try. The wedding was wonderful. Colleen was gorgeous and Ron looked great. I saw people there I hadn’t laid eyes on in years!

That sad part was that I couldn’t stay for the reception – we had a 5-hour drive back (6, really) and Dwight had to be home in time for an early work day. So I didn’t get to pass on my congratulations in person. But the pictures prove I was there!

Home now… I had a great time, and wish I could have spent more time at that end of the state. The Roanoke and New River valleys need to be brought at least 2/3 closer to Hampton Roads (or vice versa).

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Funeral scribbling

Got back last night from Salem / Roanoke. rhaps and shrewlet let us stay overnight at their place with no notice, and Rhaps even came down to the service on Friday. I’m really glad, too because it was one more familiar face for raininva, and I think that meant much to her.

Dad thought highly of both Rain and Starr, and I felt they should both be there. The family proved their great class by welcoming and supporting them both; I don’t know if I’ve even been prouder to be an O’Brien. Beth, Cathy, Benny and Jamie (old-guard Batron Starfleeters) showed up for the public reception on Thursday too. Interestingly, time_shark‘s name came up a few times, as it turns out that my dad and my dad’s dad knew Nelson Bond’s family pretty well, and I got to reminiscing with some of the Bonds and their friends about the Showtimers and the southwest Virginian fiction community.

My father was involved in fascinating stuff I never even heard about, stuff I can’t even talk about here. There was a long stretch of my life where I wasn’t close to the man, but I thought I had a pretty good idea who he was and what he got up to. I was right in some ways, and completely wrong in others. I wonder what else I missed?

My sister Whitney, of whom you’ve heard me talk almost nothing here because we too have been somewhat out-of-touch, asked me to be a pallbearer. I was honored, and I’m not sure I could have been talked out of at least trying… but this may have been the stupidest testosterone-induced promise I’ve ever made. I’m not supposed to lift over 25 pounds since the hip surgery; to be fair, I violate this on occasion, but usually with discretion. I strained several muscles, and nearly fell over once. Thank goodness no one said anything. At least I did no actual damage to myself.

Whitney’s one-year-old daughter Kennedy was with her for the two Thursday receptions. Baby singing and the throw-the-toy-on-the-floor game was exactly what I needed that day. Everytime the walls started to close in, I’d just look at Kennedy’s innocently quizzical expression, and things got a tiny bit better.

Friday on the way home, I stopped by my Mom’s, and she and Starr and I grabbed some lunch. While trying to dig up some Tintin comics I wanted to re-read, I found my old I.P.M.S. award for the Ether Flyer Thunderchild model, as well as some Pathfinder group shots and another portion of my dice collection. I can’t believe how much of my life is still at Kentland. I despair of fully sorting through it.

This too, is a bit rambly, but I’m getting closer to my center again. Tried to do a little fiction today, but the headspace isn’t there, and I’m determined to write something. I don’t have the luxury that a Conan Doyle character would of six months of “brain fever”. Bills gotta be paid, chores gotta be done, and life goes on.

And on a crass note, Dad was going to take care of my Dragon*Con travel for me. This isn’t an entitlement whine, but a note that I don’t have a Plan B yet. We’ll have to see what I can work out.

Pushing words through the mush in my skull

I mentioned in a Friends-locked entry a few days ago that my father passed away over the weekend. I locked it because I didn’t know almost anything about the situation at the time, and because I wasn’t quite ready to share publically before I talked to all the family. They all know now, and I know more about the circumstances. There’s no need to share much besides the facts that it was apparently natural and quick.

I’m kind of a mess right now, though I don’t think you’d know to look at me. I haven’t been sobbing or screaming or clawing at the walls, but I’ve been pretty depressed all week, and I’ve had fever-like symptoms off and on every day. My appetite’s been weird too. I’m hoping that the reception and service Thursday and Friday will help clear my psyche.

Perfect time to be making a four hour drive each way, huh? Luckily, I can do that completely on autopilot.

Lots of people offered support both online and off. All I can say is that you folks are wonderful. I am absolutely blessed to have so many excellent people offering me their thoughts and prayers… that’s helped more than you can imagine.

Rambling a bit today, and I know it, but well, I need to ramble.

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Monday morning musing

This morning, I stared into the shaving mirror while performing my daily skin irritation ritual, and remembered someone at Technicon referring to me as one of the con’s “elder statesmen”. I enjoyed the compliment… but it’s still a little weird trying to think of myself that way.

Didn’t get to stay in bed any later than 9:30 or so this weekend – too much to do! Happy weekend, though. We were celebrating Starr’s graduation from nursing school at the top of her class! I think that excellent things are ahead for her.

My Dad drove up to see me yesterday, and I’m planning to go see my Mom and my sister before long this summer. There’s been a bit of distance, because of how wrapped-up I’ve been in myself lately, and I’m really looking forward to re-connecting with them all this year.

The living-room TV’s flipped its power supply, and we’re down to watching Good Eats on a 12″ portable we had in the bedroom. I was looking at getting an AppleTV in a few weeks, but I suspect I’ll be putting that off a bit. One of the reasons I’m so far behind on my TV watching is that a lot of it’s on the computer, and I just don’t think of my desktop Mac as a media center – more of a creativity, communications, and gaming support device. TV programs are for relaxing in the living room – so, really, that makes me a perfect AppleTV customer. (Another reason I’m behind is that I usually have much better things to do than television. Even really good television. I’m almost to the point of cutting things I like from the DVR schedule that I know I just won’t get around to watching. People keep saying things like “you should start watching Heroes!” and I look at my backlog and think “yeah… next year maybe!”)

Dave S. will be running his Marvel Super Heroes game tonight. I haven’t been able to attend since March, and I can’t wait to catch up with everyone. For the last sessions, I’d had to finish at work and fly right over to arrive fashionably late; with my new schedule I can take it a little easier.

My outlook’s not too bad for a Monday morning.

Coolest… Dad… Ever.

Some kids get tree houses when they’re young. I always wanted one, but never got one.

What do this guy‘s kids get? A freakin’ BattleMech!

MadCat tree fort

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