Friday, March 17, 2006

How do the Irish celebrate St. Paddy's day? We had Irish soda bread for breakfast and watched Imus do a special live audience SPD show in Boston. Cherish the Ladies performed several Irish tunes, and I'm sure their CD sales have increased as a result. I'd never heard of them, but I was instantly enchanted by their Celtic sound. Wonder what Benji and Karen are doing on the Emerald Isle to celebrate.

I've always thought of March 17th as a lucky day for me. It was on that date in 1969 that I started working for Southern Bell in Nashville as a long distance operator, and it was on that date in 1999, I retired from Bellsouth. 30 years to the day I worked to qualify for my pension, then I left. I got a letter from them yesterday announcing and explaining the AT&T - Bellsouth merger, and reassuring retirees their pensions are safe. That's good news, but I credit our union with that as much as the company.

That I lasted 30 years with them is a minor miracle. I went through an ungodly amount of garbage and heartache. Many times I came close to take this job and shove it, but self-preservation always made me stop short. I knew that would hurt me a lot more than it would hurt them, so I stuck it out. Providing for my kids was always my strongest motivation, then I had to provide for me.

I could not have retired when I did if I had not married Mike in '92. Together we've built a comfortable safe-haven for the two of us. I complain about his salty behavior a lot, but I love him. His temper tantrums, which are more frequent than they used to be, seem to get the adrenaline pumping and that helps him with his disabilities. I noticed the same thing in my father after he had strokes. His speech got so slurred we couldn't understand him, but if he got mad, it was suddenly clearer.

Mike has a keen sense of humor, loves to laugh, and can be a lovable old curmudgeon. He was cursed with unhealthy genes and they have caused heart attacks and now a stroke. He works hard to keep himself healthy and alive and to recover. He could use some help with the emotional problems that have developed since his stroke, but whenever he sees his neuropsychologist, they spend most of the time telling jokes and making light of his situation. Or at least, that's the impression I get from what he's told me. It's not a perfect life, but then, who has that? I haven't known anybody I would like to trade places with. And if he goes before I do, I will miss him terribly.

In the bulletin at yesterday's funeral was a note of thanks from the grieving parents to the rest of the parish. In it, they asked that we all hug our children, love our family, and be grateful for what we have. Life is too short to look for all the things that are wrong, there are so many blessings that we take for granted.

2:00 pm. `... you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!' Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking glass

And that’s the way I feel about planning a trip abroad. I’m running as fast as I can, running twice as fast is not an option. Yes, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m delighted that my son wants to share the beauty of Ireland with me. God knows I’d like to spend some time with them and Pip. We’ll just have to plan another vacation to Asheville this summer. I’d much rather spend vacation money on that, and we can’t afford to do both.

Nevertheless, I emailed Ben Preston to see if he could get me a good deal. I need somebody to walk me through the whole process of getting a passport and all that. When I mentioned to Mike this morning that I wanted to go see Benji while he’s there, all he said was, “Bye.” Seems he’s been thinking I should have a vacation, maybe trying to convince himself he can manage without me. We’ll see how this goes, and if it was meant to be, it will all happen without a lot of “double, double toil and trouble…”

Skip’s interpretation of the VBS dream was that I’m fenced in with a lot of responsibility and that I need a break. He’s probably right. Wonder what the May weather is like in Ireland. It’s been so horribly cold the whole time they’ve been there, I can’t get excited about leaving this gorgeous spring here and going to a wintry place.

Mike left about 1:30 with Ron for the casino, and told him I’d be glad to let him have my “ball and chain” for a couple of days. At least he was laughing about it. Ron is such a mother hen, I have no doubt he’ll be ok.

The New Age channel on has been playing a lot of Irish music this afternoon, so pretty. I went out with the dogs and cats to enjoy perfect 68* degree sunny weather, flowers blooming everywhere, freshly mown grass, who in their right mind would rather be in a cold, damp place? Today’s high in Galway is supposed to be 40* with snow flurries, low 32*. I’ll be ambivalent about this trip until I do it.

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