Friday, December 21, 2007

it didn't hurt a bit

I've lived in Brooklyn for 7 years and for 7 years I've tried to avoid ever entering a post office. Every time it has been an unavoidable task, I've left the post office frustrated, irritated and pondering libertarianism. So, after losing a bet with my dear husband (not really, but it felt that way), I had to go to the post office today to ship Christmas presents to Skippito and Dee Dee (and yes, as usual, they are being shipped this late). I went prepared, mentally and physically. I reloaded my ipod with new stuff, charged it up, bought some chocolate milk, brought the book I'm reading plus some crossword puzzles and wore lighter layers so I could take off my outer layer when I became too warm, without having to tote a bulky winter coat. I was prepared to move in if I had to.

When I arrived at the 9th Street PO, there were 2 lines; one for pick ups and the other for those shipping packages, purchasing stamps, etc. There were about 15 people in each line and only 2 windows open. It looked almost exactly as it has every time I've ever gone, which is why I never go. And to make matters worse, I searched and searched for a box in which to pack these presents and couldn't find anything even close to being big enough. I knew I was going to have to purchase a box at the window, then get back in the line after I'd packed the box up. ugh. I noticed the line was actually moving and people were not nearly as surly as I've been accustomed to. One old guy was even cracking jokes with me. After less than 10 minutes in line, I am next and I can't believe it. I get to the window and Linda, the postal worker is smiling, friendly, helpful. She finds the perfect sized box for my gifts, gives me a label and a roll of tape and tells me to come back up to her window after I pack the box, rather than get back in line. gaah. I was out of that post office in under 20 minutes and I was happy! Thank you Linda. Seriously, thank you.

I now have so much unexpected time I'm currently trying to recreate the Belgian beef stew with prunes I had last weekend. It smells delicious!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

november was the longest month

Once again, November was a crappy and difficult month. I've sworn off deriving any kind of pleasure from Thanksgiving, because for as long as I can remember it's been a stressful and depressing holiday.

On October 30th my healthy and happy grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer. It had spread to his lymph, bones, liver and then brain and 30 days later he died. 30 days. No one in the family even had a chance to wrap their heads around it, least of all him. Jamie and I went home the week before Thanksgiving to visit with him. He was in and out, although mostly in. He had some wild hallucinations though since it had spread to his brain at that point. He saw fog rolling in off the walls, red bugs crawling, saw his dogs sitting at Jamie's feet. But when I said goodbye to him and I was crying because I knew it was the last time we'd see each other, he said "Kaci honey, you're too pretty for me never to see again."

He died a week ago today and we went back for the viewing and funeral. It felt like everything a funeral should be. The time spent with family was comforting, the services felt intimate and not impersonal and I came home feeling oddly relieved. At least it was over fast and he didn't have to suffer. And I think my grandma is holding up better than we could have expected.

One of the more unnerving things to happen while we were in Ohio was that my mom found a gray hair on my head. That might not sound like much, but it's a huge deal to me. My mom was totally gray by 40, but my dad didn't get a single gray hair until he was almost 60. I have my dad's coloring and was obviously delusional in thinking I had no/would get no gray hair. But as Jamie pointed out, mom zeroed right in on that one gray hair and seemed to take a little too much pleasure in it. It's kind of fitting that she found it the day after we buried Grandpa because I was thinking a lot about mortality at that point (duh), but not my own mortality, everyone else's. Now I have a piece of paper with a gray hair taped to it and the date noted. Stupid, shitty gray hair.