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Life with a Death in the Family

05/13/2014

Entry 05/13/2014 08:09:23 AM – Mentat 699

Yesterday, the Tundras of New England was treated to what I would call a typical “Atlanta Spring Day”. Shortly after the rains that we got the night before, the temperatures skyrocketed to 80F/23.3C and just the right sort of humidity that comes off the Gulf of Mexico making the day fall on the wrong side of uncomfortable. The good thing about it though is that the air flow (when you were in the shade) was the sort of comforting New England breeze needed for that heat, haze and humidity. I honestly wasn’t ready for it. Between the issues that I had through the weekend involving the back of my mouth (from the allergies I talked about two journal entries ago involving nitrates from the Easter Ham leftovers) that caused me some lack of sleep and these temperature, I felt like the walking dead. And I was about to post in my failed journal entry yesterday:

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So instead of keeping the entry, I deleted because I was coming off far too whingy for my own taste (and my own good). And instead, I went with trying to do a bit of fractal creating since the system’s been rebuilt and running to specs again… Though the funny thing about that is I’m finding myself still being in hyper-sensitive mode since the rebuild (you know, like what car owners do when their car makes all these funny noises and when they bring it in for a check-up ends up costing them a couple of hundred dollars in repairs).

I came into the house this morning and could hear the fans running on it and them sounding like they were humming just the wrong sort of way. Then I realized that they were making the right sort of sounds and I just wasn’t used to hearing them as the neighborhood was unusually quiet. It wasn’t quite the quiet that comes from living in the suburbs, but instead the quiet that comes when no one’s driving like crazy people on the street. Ironic given that yesterday morning we had road construction on Knight Street as Contractors were stripping the road out to lay piping (not sure water, gas or sewer) starting promptly at 7 AM; complete with jackhammers and lots of heavy trucks driving up and down the side streets.

On a side note: where are the construction workers this morning? Yeah, that’s right. Not out there continuing to work. We have unbearable temperatures for New Englanders and they’re out there early working until almost sundown, but now that the weather’s comfortable… Nothing. Other than the Road Closed (Except for Local Traffic) signs and the dour looks of Rhode Islanders as they have to drive on the stripped roads. This is a “marvelous” example of hurry up and wait as defined by civilian contractors… Yeah, let’s see how long it’s going to take them to finish this “project”. The sewer line expansion project (Eagle/Atwells Ave) took more than 18 months, and they’re only up to Delaine Street (.4 miles/.64 kilometers from Eagle St)… And from what I’ve seen of the plans — this is to lead to the bay. At this rate it might be finished in 2100, both for the local roads along with the Sewer Expansion Project. … If we’re bloody lucky.

I’m also finding myself being hypersensitive about Moe’s health. I know it comes from taking care of Cricket during her last two years; and is a habit that’s going to take more than a little bit for me to break. I’ve been keeping a sort of monitor/log of some of his habits, including maintaining my giving him a good brushing every morning and he seems to be doing all right. Heck, he even looks forward to the brush as much as he does his obsession with chasing the little red laser dot. He hasn’t vomited any of his food up and goes to the box regularly. Although I’m still getting used to the fact that unlike any of my other cats, he’s determined to eat at night while I’m unconscious and drooling into a pillow. But it’s easy enough to check up on in the morning when I see the cat’s equivalent to an empty bowl:

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So of course, I have to break myself of the habit (associated to guilt) for not seeing the signs the first time with Cricket’s illness and simply ensure that he continues to do what he’s supposed to do and not read it as signs of a problem.

I got a call from my (biological) father the other day informing me that my cousin Marlene had passed away due to the ravages of cancer. Yeah, I didn’t answer the call though when I saw the number pop up and the prefix (area code-prefix-line number) to the area of Rhode Island that I knew he lived in, I was like, “what the hell does he want?!” I received a call from my mother about 5 minutes later when she asked me, “Did you just get a call?”

Apparently my father called my aunt, who then gave him my brother and my phone numbers. My aunt then called my mother to tell her about it.

My mother told my aunt that I wouldn’t pick up the call no matter what (which is partially true, if I don’t recognize the number. it’s not in my contact list and I can’t find any information on the call during a Google Query; I won’t pick it up letting it go to voicemail).

My mother then called me to tell me the news knowing I wouldn’t answer the phone and wouldn’t even check the voicemail.

Thinking about it the next day, it’s not like I could attend the wake & funeral. She died in California and that’s where it would probably be held. And it’s not as though I could send out sympathy cards… She’s an only-child… Her mother — Aunt Phyllis — died 11 years ago (and shortly after Jon’s wedding). Her father died from the second stroke he suffered 13 years ago. According to my mother who probably got the news, Marlene and her husband divorced years ago (the details weren’t quite clear, but get the impression it to do with her cancer and his denial of it being life-threatening). I know she has a daughter, but I’m not sure if it were hers or her husband’s… And in either case it’s not as though her daughter knows I exist. I never met her and she didn’t show up for Jon’s wedding — ducking out instead for her friends because the Newlander side of the family was never close.

And I’ll be go to hell if I’m going to send a sympathy card to my father. We’ve been estranged for decades, and in spite of the brief ceasefire for my brother’s wedding and shortly afterward, we’ve been estranged again the last decade. I didn’t answer his call and I’m not about to mend bridges I prefer nuked into the stone age.

Strange though. I’m sitting here recalling a few of the conversations that I had with Marlene (back around the time I saw her at Jon’s wedding in 2003), and I distinctly recall that the her daughter was her step-daughter. Then there was the time I spoke with her shortly after Aunt Phyllis’ death and her remarking that the family plot in Union Cemetery covered her whole family (alongside my father’s and grandparents). I mentioned this to my mother and she said, “how are you going to find out?”

“How else?” I said, “The Briere Hotline.”

After all, as Douglas Adams once said, “Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.”

And that’s it for the time being. My mother’s home from her trip to the doctor’s. We’re watching Jack to see if he really has to go out (mother said that his morning trip his bowels were a little loose)…. Heh, if he had to go out, he would be dancing at the door.. All he’s doing right now is following us around bored because he would rather be out causing trouble, than sitting about the house resting. At this rate, I’ll be walking him at the usual time (good thing too, given that the other dog-owners time it so that their walks avoid his barking insanity). Time to pack up, head home and give my cat some much needed attention.

Until the next time.

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