19 May 2007

Dollar Rent A Car makes good

Ok, ok, maybe Dollar Rent A Car doesn't entirely suck so bad.

A certain blogger - Vicious Rumours - went way out of her way for me. She took it upon herself to help me out and came through in a big way.

Using her amazing superpowers, she tracked down a real, live, actual human instead of the seeming robots in human clothing that I had spoken to. She got them to contact me and suddenly I received an offer of a voucher for a rental in the amount that I didn't spend with them because I was busy having a nervous breakdown.

Here's how it went down: I got a couple very nice emails from one of their representatives, who not only had the good sense to compliment my writing but to offer her condolences about my sister.

I first told her that I didn't want any compensation other than to know that no one would have to suffer the same sort of worry and panic I had at the airport, or put up with the runaround I got on the phone.

But then she offered the voucher and I realized 1) I am going to be in Chicago for BlogHer and will need a car to go out to the 'burbs to see my fam and 2) I am a total sucka for saving money, so I took her up on her offer.

I did warn her, though, that hundreds of women bloggers would be descending upon Chicago for BlogHer the last weekend in July and that those losers at Dollar at O'Hare had better treat us nice. So when they have the red carpet out and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies for us, you know who to thank.

17 May 2007

Things to be thankful for

I know this grieving thing is going to get a little old. Having a blog is a good place to flog my feelings, but public grief gets embarrassing for everyone.

I am reminded of how I am always appalled at those cars that have the "In memoriam" type on the back window -- "Hey, look at me! I know someone who died! Pay attention to me!"

I think that after today I am going to try and write about other randomness instead.

But I think we can all take this opportunity to be thankful I haven't hopped on the Twitter bandwagon, which would just make it all so much more TMI-ish:

6:04 am Crying in the shower
7:40 am Complaining to co-worker about how tired I am
9:07 am Reading obituary for the first time; crying
12:14 pm Uncomfortable silence at lunch with co-workers
2:38 Rueful laughter, more crying, blaming cruel universe

And so on. At this point, hearing someone Twitter about big poopy diapers actually begins to sound attractive.

What do YOU think about Twitter? Worth it, or stupid?

Ok, that's it. Taking off the crepe. My sis would approve. Onward.

Work work

I'm financing BlogHer by covering graduation ceremonies for the local newspaper. Tonight is my first of six.

Do you think anyone will notice if I write one article and re-use it over and over with just the school names and colors search-and-replaced?

Didn't think so. (JOKING!! But after about graduation 3, I may be tempted to change my mind).

15 May 2007

A little help

Can anyone out there use the awesome power of the Internets to find me a copy of Jack Gilbert's poem "A Description of Happiness in Copenhagen"?

I have been google-stalking my sister. What a weird occupation, chasing after traces that someone has left on the internet to survive them. I guess it is like when people smell their departed ones' shirts for leftover scents. It may not be much, but it is what I have.

Anyway, she mentioned that that poem was something that was keeping her alive. I would love to get a copy.

I have always been a lazy sumbitch but I am now setting new records for personal non-accomplishment. I feel quite proud that I made pasta WITH sauce AND a vegetable for dinner. That is about as good as it gets, however. Those cauliflower bits on the floor...eh. Makeup? Who needs it? Groceries? The milk doesn't smell THAT bad yet.

Thanks for all the condolences. Eden of Fussy could use some, too. Her dad just died. She doesn't have comments open but her email is fussy AT fussy DOT org.

What a sad and beautiful world.

14 May 2007

Let me tell you about Laura

The cool thing about my sister is that she wasn't afraid to look crazy.

She had a bowling ball collection. A BOWLING BALL COLLECTION, PEOPLE. And what is more is that she kept the collection out on the back lawn, the colorful balls randomly strewn across the green grass.

Advice: if you live where it snows, bring your bowling ball collection inside during wintertime or at least put the hole side down, because water gets in the holes, freezes, expands and cracks the outer layer. I know this to be true.

She also had 2 lighted fake palm trees (in Illinois). Tiny lights and reflectors in her outdoor trees. Crystals strung in her windows to make rainbows. A wild part of the yard so insects and animals could enjoy the wildness.

Because she was paralyzed from the neck down at the end, she was quiet and motionless and birds would land on her. She liked that a lot.

No wonder children loved her. They saw her big power wheelchair as a toy, which is also how she saw it. She dubbed it "La Tonteria," the foolish thing.

One summer, when we were in Chicago together, a mentally ill woman asked her "Do I make you nervous?" and she answered politely, "Oh, no, I'm just flustered by the heat." The woman snapped back "Well, that's God for ya."

I don't think we had a conversation over the past 10 years where one of us did not eventually say "Well, that's God for ya."

Oh, man, I hope she is somewhere really good.

Small graces

I am the kind of tired you don't get. I am the kind of tired that gets you. Every little thing is impossible to decide. Every action is like swimming through melted glass.

I am afraid to go out because of the unpredictable rains of tears. Last night it was the grocery store cookie aisle. Pepperidge Farm Ginger Man cookies. My sister loved those things. I cried a little and bought some in her honor.

Then the dreaded question: "How are you?" Not from people you know. From strangers. I lie pretty good, mostly. "Good, thanks." It feels like the most monstrous lie and I can barely squeeze it out.

Sometimes they say something "You look so tired." "Do you have the flu?" Then I balance on the verge of tears, trying not to say it. Because "My sister just died," is a huge hand grenade to drop in the middle of a conversation with a stranger and they really don't deserve it. On the other hand, by then I am beginning to get blotchy and to dissolve into tears and they already know they have stepped in it...

Yesterday at the coffee place I was buying beans and the girl asked "How are you?" and I said "That is a question my attorney has advised me not to answer." A joke but she could tell something wasn't right. Later she said "Well, I hope the rest of your day gets better" and all of a sudden I breathed in and it turned out to be this horrible ragged gasp that shocked us both.

That kind of stuff.

Everyone has been tremendous. Friends, family, church.

Goldie is especially concerned for me and climbs up on the bed to snuggle me and leans against my leg the rest of the time. Dogs know.

On the plane back from Chicago, I got such a funny blessing. There was a lady in the window seat who didn't speak English. Me in the aisle seat, no one in between. I was worried about how I was going to keep from crying for 4 hours. Before we took off, the window lady made a phone call and started crying. I gave her some tissue. I started crying. We smiled weakly at each other. I put the tissue package of the seat between us and we cried whenever we needed to throughout the flight. Row 31, the row of unspoken misery where it is ok to cry. It was such a relief to have that freedom.

Small graces, strung together moment by moment, lead us forward through days of sorrow.

Thanks again for all your kind words and thoughts.

13 May 2007

She's gone. 8:20 this morning, with her husband and son by her side.

My teacher Mary Hill used to say
"You don't know how many times we have laid down our bodies
and risen up, laughing."

I hope so.
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