Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Last month I got to experience something really awesome. I helped my parents host a reunion for Vietnam Veterans. Specifically, the unit my dad was in in Vietnam, the 1/92 Field Artillery. It took me a year to organize all of the details, visit all of the museums, tour possible hotels, restaurants and so on. Just thinking about the 4 day extravaganza made me tired. I really wish I had been able to do more with everyone, see more of the people and talk to them. Adeline and I couldn't keep up though. I didn't want to subject them to a cranky screaming baby just so I could hang out and chat. But we did make one friend in particular along the way. Tom.

You see, Tom has been battling pancreatic cancer for a while, he had lost well over 100 lbs and was very weak. But he made it a point to make this his first reunion, and boy was he determined. He has always had a hesitation to coming to the reunions, but made the plunge this year. At any rate, on the Thursday of the reunion he was just too tired to finish all of the stops for the day, and I was planning to take Adeline home so she could rest so we offered him a ride back to the hotel so he could rest up as well. That is, if he didn't mind a crazy kid riding along side of him. He gladly accepted the challenge. On the ride to the hotel we talked about his kids, and all sorts of stuff. I told him the last time I was in Dallas (which is the area he is from) it was for a Mary Kay event. He explained that he actually worked for a company that used Mary Kay Ash's original warehouse! Pretty neat. He was so grateful for the ride back, and for the work I had put in for the reunion. I of course told him the thanks should be to them, not me, and that this event was the least I could do. I almost cried on the ride home after we dropped him off. It occurred to me that his battles with cancer were probably related to his service in Vietnam, and his exposure to chemicals like agent orange. Meeting people like Tom really make you think, and appreciate your health. But I applauded the strength he did have and his determination to get to Atlanta (alone) to see these guys he fought next to, even if it were for one last time.

We had our big party on Saturday, and Tom was there all day - he and Brett had a good chat while Brett manned the smoker. Tom told him about his reluctance to come to past reunions, I guess he was worried people wouldn't like him. It seemed to me that he was quite the popular guy though! Which made me happy. At the end of the night on Saturday he was really sad to tell us all goodbye. I think we all got a little choked up, and it really was sad to tell him goodbye.
All in all I would say out of the 100+ people that were at the event, I had the opportunity to talk to Tom the most.

Yesterday afternoon I was told that Tom lost his battle with cancer. 15 days after he returned home from the reunion. My face felt hot, almost like an anger, and then the sadness set in, and it occurred to me that it was now time to go and tell dad the news.
There are just some things that you can't explain.
I can explain this though, I am so glad that I had the honor to meet Tom, and everyone else from the reunion. Now I know why it was so hard for him to tell everyone goodbye that night. At least I can say that I helped provide his first, and only reunion and that it was a memorable one. He is in a much better place now. May you rest in peace Tom.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Technological Baby Steps

I feel like a proud parent,
My dad used the internet to look up an antique shop, all on his own this morning. He even looked at some of their inventory, and contact information.
He is growing up so fast.

sidenote - he did however ask me if his computer had "all of it's parts" before he got started. Someone in the office was going to borrow his monitor last week, poor guy thought it was missing. I assured him he had all of the parts he needed to investigate the antique shop deal.

Next step? World domination. I imagine.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Automation station

As we prepare to move I have been calling all of our utility companies so that I can set up disconnect dates. Of course they are all getting confused about how awesome our situation is and how no, I don't need to reconnect at the new location. I am not moving to a new house, I am moving to mom and dads. Or as Brett and I like to say, with "our roommates" -Grandma's boy reference. ftw.

I also just realized how stupid I sounded on the phone with GA Power. They have 50% of their customer service line handled by an automated person. You know, the one where you have to physically say what you want vs. pressing a number to move onto the next step. I am currently at the office so I know I sounded like an idiot. Another thing I have learned is that those fake customer service reps have really shitty hearing, and similarly can't understand my dialect. Got a lot of -"I'm sorry, I didn't understand you" Yes automated person, you are sorry.
If your office were close to mine the last 10 minutes would have sounded something like this:

"This music sucks, I hate being on hold, oh wait the music stopped!"

"english" ...
"existing customer" ....

"no way I am not saying my social security number out loud. Why can't I just push in my account number? Stupid automation..."
beep beep beep, beep beep, beep beep beep beep

"yes, that is correct"

"disconnect service"
ughhhhhhhhhhhhh "DISCONNECT SERVICE!"

Eventually I got to talk to a person IN REAL LIFE. I think I offended he/she when I said yes ma'am for like the 3rd time.Ok, so it must have been a guy. Or a ticked off lesbian. Who knows, I was sure to be polite either way. I think by the end of the convo he/she felt bad for me and even added in a "good luck with your house stuff."
That was very thoughtful of him/her.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little Bear's first Halloween

Adeline's first Halloween was a success. We didn't take her trick or treating because she doesn't have any teeth. We did however dress her up, and took her to the festival in town. I was hoping she would be in the costume contest, but we were a little too late for that. BUT we did find out that our scarecrow (in the pic with us) we made for the paranormal group won 3rd place. Paranormal George got us $25, we are only like, $1,975 away from a thermal imaging camera. So, 79 more scarecrow contests and we are set! By then the entire group will be dead themselves, but we can dream.

Anyways, Ms. Baby was a bear for her first Halloween. She didn't seem to be too mad about the costume, it was a chilly day so she enjoyed the extra layers of fur. We let her "help" hand out treats to the kiddos in our neighborhood.
We had some extra treats this year, compliments of my dad.

See, dad's Vietnam veterans reunion just wrapped up 2 weeks ago, and he had boxes of little peanut butter cracker packs, and TONS of baggies of pretzels. So each trick or treater got a bag of Snyder's pretzels, and a handful of candy. EXCEPT when Brett answered the door. I guess he figured he was too good to give the kids pretzels with their candy, so those kids just got candy. After watching Brett's hand pass right over the box of pretzels and straight to the candy a few times a thought popped into my head, "What in the hell am I going to do with 200 bags of pretzels?!". It was at that point I made it to the door before he could to greet 2 new trick or treaters. I of course gave them PRETZELS, and candy. I held my breath waiting for their reaction to getting a bag of pretzels along with the generic boring stuff. And? One of the little boys literally ran, yes ran, leaving a cloud of dust behind him- off of our porch and down our driveway screaming "OH BOY!!!! MOOOOM! I GOT PRETZELS!". I glanced at Brett and smirked. "See, they love the pretzels, please for the love of god get rid of the pretzels."
That little boy totally made my night.

Adeline enjoyed greeting her neighbors for about 45 minutes before ripping her fuzzy little hat off and screaming at us. Not bad for her first Halloween.