Friday, February 25, 2011


I'm back in Georgia! It was a good week in DC because I got to see Damion Wolfe play twice (I heart Damion!), and I got a lot of work done, saw friends, etc.  But it was a long week away because I left on a Friday and did not return until the following Monday... and I missed my cat!


I quickly got back into the swing of things: waking up and working, sometimes heading next door for lunch, ALWAYS heading over for dinner, followed by Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy...

And poor arthritic Hogan always greets me at the house with his tail wagging a mile a minute and his doggy smile a mile wide. If I sit on the floor with him, he'll roll over or just scrunch up as close to me as possible, in obvious preparation for another full-body puppy scratch. (Yeah, he's 12, but he's still a puppy to me!)

Hogan, the cutest dog ever!

And the weather has been beautiful this week, so I've seen my dad a bit more. He and Hogan came over to visit the other day so I was able to get pics of Hogan, as well as my neighbor dogs, Harley (Jack Russell) and Hero (German Shepherd).

Harley and Hero

Harley and Hero are hilarious - whenever I walk over to my parents, I walk the length of their fence, and they follow me the entire way! Sometimes, it's just with their eyes, but other times it's with bounding joy and hopes for scritches. I love it!

Hogan chats with Hero and Harley

The other day, Calypso was "helping" me work again (i.e. sitting/sleeping on the kitchen table) when suddenly the dogs went crazy - Hero and Harley were barking louder than I'd ever heard them and I could hear Hogan barking up at his house too. Calypso arched his back and fluffed out so he looked about 50 lbs (instead of his svelte 22lbs... uh... ok, not svelte), so I looked out the door into Mom and Dad's backyard. There, calmly peeing on the trees and fences to mark his territory, was a beautiful brown Malamute-type dog,  Needless to say, the dogs whose territory it WAS were NOT pleased to be penned up or leashed and unable to defend said territory.

I went out and called to the free dog, "Hey puppy, what are you doing?"  He wagged his tail then came over and licked my hand, but when I tried to pet him, he bolted and ran a couple of houses away.  I didn't follow him past Mom and Dad's driveway, but think he felt sort of safe where he was because he kept looking back and didn't go any farther.  A few minutes later, a young man walked by the driveway carrying a leash, looking for his dog "Mac" who had somehow gotten out of their yard.  Turns out the young man had been a patient of my dad's before he (Dad) retired, so I got to meet Mac officially.  Beautiful, sweet dog!  I wish I'd taken a picture, but I have a feeling I might have more opportunities because apparently Mac has a tendency to go "on walkabout" on occasion. :-)

And now it's Friday afternoon... I'm off work because I work a half-day on Fridays and guess what?  I'm actually staying in Eatonton this weekend.  Mom and I are heading to Walmart this afternoon to get her pictures developed and I have promised to help her figure out how to email her book chapters to a friend who will edit them for her.  (I think I'll have to write about Mom's writing in another post...  It's pretty interesting!)  And Dad has promised to give me a tour of his life in Eatonton so I can take pictures.  YAY!  I brought my "fancy" camera down just for that purpose!

So until then...

Y'all be safe now, ya hear?


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just ... get over it!

I can’t believe I said that to someone.

Especially someone who was obviously hurting, someone who is obviously suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.


He was an asshole and he didn’t listen and he just would. Not. Shut. UP!

OK, back story:

I met this guy a couple of weeks before I started my temporary relocation to Georgia.  He’s somewhat attractive, and he seemed intelligent and interesting.  My first thoughts were “Of course! I meet a great guy RIGHT before I move 650 miles away!”  But, luckily, the other side of my brain kicked in and reminded me that I had just met him and didn’t know a thing about him and really shouldn’t jump the gun on thinking “he’s the one” or anything stupid like that.

I saw him the next week and laughed with him that we had both been somewhat inebriated that first meeting, so I was kinda glad to meet him semi-sober.  Haha, silly goose!  It was about 7pm, and he was soused already.  But, we still had a fairly decent conversation.  But he told me some more of his story and I felt sorry for him (alcoholic parents, one of whom commit suicde when he was young), and then he talked about being embedded with troops in Iraq and how that affected him.  I suggested that he try therapy since it’s done wonders for me, but noooooo, he’s not having someone “shrink” him.  I mentioned again how it would be nice to meet him sober, and he just looked at me and said, “Sober.  Yes, that’s what I should do.  Get sober.”

I looked at him, and said, “Maybe that IS what you need to do. “

As it happened, I had been talking to a now-sober friend of mine shortly before that and she had given me information on AA meetings and a hotline and stuff like that.  I mentioned some of this to him and he was just sooooo thankful… as he ordered another drink.

Boy am I glad I’ve got that other side of the brain.  That boy is MEEEEEESSED UP! (I actually use a more succinct yet not-PG turn of phrase, but… you get the drift.)  He’s a journalist who used to cover the wars, but recently took on a new job with some really rich Indians so that he doesn’t have to go back to the desert, but he hates that job.  He is depressed, but refuses therapy, and he self-medicates by getting drunk, really drunk, I’m talking slurred words, squinty eyes, loss of motor function/brain kind of drunk… every night.  But he still has enough brain power to argue whatever his point is by shouting down the opposition.

When I was back in DC last time, I saw him a couple of times and it just was not good.  The guy has serious problems, and I just don’t know how to deal with them.  Or, whether I *should* deal with them.  I mean, I’m no picnic, and I have been known to hoist a few here and there… but, I think I’m a responsible drunk, er, drinker (“hydrate while you dehydrate!”), and at least I’m going to therapy on a semi-regular basis!  I know I have problems and I’m working on them!  But, I made conversation with him, continued to suggest therapy, and just let him rant.

But last weekend, some friends and I had been drinking all afternoon and it was pretty late, but we decided to go down to the bar where I had met this guy for a nightcap.  My friends sat at the end of the bar and I put my coat on the seat around the corner from them so we could talk, and then hit the ladies’ room before I sat down.  I had noticed a drink at the seat next to mine, but there was no one there at the time.  Until I came back from the bathroom and there he was.  Psychokiller, qu’est que c’est!

*heavy sigh*

So, I said “Hi” but then turned back to talk to my friends.  Of course, he kept pulling me back into his conversation, and I said, “I’m sorry, I’m here with other friends and I’m talking with them.”  Somewhere in there, he started on about how terrible his life is because he has seen war and seen people exploding and he went on into gory detail which, just by the way, I REALLY didn’t want to hear!  Finally, I just shouted back at him, “Would you just SHUT UP!”  He just yelled louder and got into more gruesome detail and finally I couldn’t take it anymore and I said, “Would you JUST GET OVER IT!?!”

He shut up.  The bartender, a good friend, looked at me, shocked.  My friends were shocked.  I was druuuuunk.  And angry.  And at the end of my rope.  I felt that I had done as much as I could for this guy and I didn’t want to be his punching bag anymore.  I feel awful for anyone who suffers from PTSD and I know full well that you can’t “just get over it”.  It’s awful, it’s terrible, and I can’t really even imagine it.  But I’m pretty sure going out and drinking yourself into oblivion every night isn’t going to help.  And laying everything down on anyone who will talk to you is just going to piss them off.  I like to help people, but I’ve got to remember that they have to help themselves before my help will do any good.

I just can’t believe I told someone to “just get over it”…

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Southern Life

So, I’m kinda settling into Southern life a little now.

I’ve got cable internet which is faster and more reliable than using the Wi-Fi from next door. Only thing is it’s only available on the kitchen table. I also have a 13” TV which my brother and sister-in-law very kindly donated to me – but no cable TV hook-up. But that’s OK, I can watch TV shows on my laptop. In the kitchen. Or I can watch the HD TV at my parents’ house next door. (It worked VERY well for the Super Bowl!) 

Or I could just read…

Anyway - Every day I wake up around 7am, wash face or shower, try to get some exercises in because I’m not walking my normal 1.5-2 miles just getting around DC, feed the cat, fire up the computer and coffee maker, and start working at the kitchen table around 7:30am. I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast, but I also have bread, butter, and jam if I want toast instead. And of course, there’s grits, with cheese and butter because I’m a good Southern girl, y’all!

Well, not really. Last Friday, I made an appointment to get a haircut at the same time my mother got her hair “done” and the woman told me the name of the person who would be cutting my hair. I said, “Leah?” “No, Leee-yunnnn”... *face palm* I felt rude for having had to ask her to repeat the name, but I’m just not used to “Lynn” having multiple syllables. 

But Lynn did a pretty good job of cutting my hair… until she got to the bangs. It’s pretty simple really – long straight hair, cut off about 1.5” to 2” to get rid of the split ends. Bangs, cut while dry and keep them just at the eyebrows. Somehow, the bangs ended up about a ½” ABOVE the eyebrows, so every morning I now wake up looking like Freddie Mercury.
No, not this one (thank god!):

(Edited because the picture could not be linked into my post, so here's the link instead...)


Ooo baby.  *sigh* Anyway – I spend the morning writing/revising documents, responding to emails, and generally doing my job (with the occasional peek at Facebook or DCist) until lunch. Most days I just grab a sandwich from my fridge and spend some quality time waking up my cat and annoying him, but today I grabbed my sandwich making stuff and walked ALL THE WAY (about 20 steps) to my parents’ house and had lunch with them. It was quite nice, and they seemed to enjoy the fact that we all sat at the table for lunch, and then we snarfed down our sammiches. Well, they had leftover KFC, which I couldn’t stomach (when did KFC start being so awful?) so I’m glad I brought my own sammich!

Yesterday, I went over a little early so I could take Mom to her writing group. Well, I don’t take her all the way there, but I take her to her friend’s house and then SHE drives her the rest of the way. It works out well because then I only take about an hour to get her there and I can pick up something on the way back. And Dad picks her up in the afternoon because we never know when the group will end and I generally have meetings on Tuesday afternoons.

Originally, I came down to Georgia to drive my parents everywhere because Mom had been the driver until she had a seizure and was told by the state of Georgia “YOU CAN’T DRIVE”. The good thing though is that Dad is actually getting up and driving Mom short distances. This is good because otherwise, Dad really doesn’t move. And that’s not healthy! He and his arthritic (and impossibly cute) dog are a total pair because neither of them wants to move too much, but at least Hogan gets outside a couple of times a day. I guess he has to, or it would be a really messy house! Heehee

SO – I am working four nine-hour days, generally 7:30am-5:30pm, unless I start early or have a shorter lunch. And then I have a half-day on Fridays, which is great! Last week, I gave myself retail therapy and went to Wal-Mart while Mom was visiting Miss Bonnie. It was fun! And I got some really great buys.

BUT… this weekend I head back to DC. And I can’t wait! Is that bad? I love my parents and I’m really enjoying my time with them. And I loved spending a night in Atlanta last weekend with my sister-in-law and niece and her gorgeous Border Collie, Jake. But… I’m a DC girl. And I want to get back home. Even if it’s colder there. I miss my city!

Of course, the drawback is that I have to leave the cat in Georgia...  meow

Saturday, February 5, 2011

January? What's that?

Well, apparently January did not exist for this blog. But it sure did for me! Many things have happened over the last month, the most important of which is the fact that I am currently writing this post in the kitchen of my Mom and Dad's old house in Eatonton, GA.

Wait, did you say EATONTON, GEORGIA????

Why yes, yes I did! I'm not sure I mentioned it, but my mother had a health issue late last year, from which she has pretty much recovered, but she is still not allowed to drive for six months (by GA state law). Wouldn't be much of a problem except that Dad doesn't do well on driving long trips. In addition, my company is running out of office space, so they are trying to convince people to telecommute more. SO, I took these combined circumstances and decided to temporarily telecommute full-time from Georgia for a couple of months.

A couple of weeks ago, I rented a car for a week and drove nearly 12 hours from DC to GA... with a cat in the back seat. Oh, let me tell you, THAT was fun! ... NOT! Well, it wasn't too bad after the first rest stop when I took him out of the carrier and put him in the harness with the leash tied to the back seat belt. I had (very cleverly) prepared the back seat before the trip with a tarp AND a thick blanket to avoid having white cat hair everywhere, and that actually worked out well.


Calypso was happier having a little more freedom, and he quieted down when he ended up on the "hump" between the two front seats with his head resting against my leg. I tried to get him to pee in a box of litter at some of the rest areas, but he just looked at me like I was evil.


And the other travellers laaaaaughed at the sight of someone trying to "walk" a cat. Oh well, I'm used to being the source of amusement! :-)

We finally got to Mom and Dad's and I set him up in the back bedroom (used to be their's but they live next door in what used to be Grandmother's house), with access to the little powder room next door with the litter and some food and water. Not surprisingly, he snarfed down the food and water immediately! And then crawled up the bed in between the sheets and the spread... and pretty much stayed there for a week!

The problem with that was that I had to go back to DC for a week to figure out the technical glitches (i.e. very low Wifi service) and my mom was going to have to take care of him. Apparently, he was peaches and cream the first two days. And then he realized the weekend was over and I should have been back... but I wasn't. MREOW pht pht pht... and he scratched Mom. Oh no! But she let him be and still fed him and cleaned his box until I came back the following Sunday.

I had to drive back to DC (rental car, remember?), but I made amazing time, mostly because I only had to worry about one being's bodily functions. I was smart and started off about 5am, so I got home about 4pm. Not bad! Coming back to GA, I was lucky enough to have a niece who is a flight attendant on AirTran AND who has buddy passes! Of course, I had to get up at 3am on a Sunday morning to catch the 6am flight, but hey - it was free! (AND first class!) And Sara, Rachel, and Marla met me at the airport and we went to have a fantastic Southern breakfast at the Flying Biscuit, and then they drove me back down to Eatonton. It was LOT of fun!

Now I'm in GA for two weeks, then back to DC for a week, GA for three weeks, DC for a week, GA for three weeks, DC a week, GA for two weeks, and then we decide if I need to continue and/or if my company will let me. Calypso has come out from under the covers and is getting more comfortable with the house, if not necessarily my mother.


He's been "helping" me work from the kitchen table...



But he still runs back to the bedroom if Mom or Dad come over. *sigh*

Today, my sister (in law) is picking me so I can spend the night in Atlanta. Yay! That's a side benefit of being in GA: I get to see my brother's family! Yay!

Another benefit is that my dad sometimes comes over and plays the piano while I'm working. Wonderful! (ok, he came over once and played Claire de Lune. Wonderful!) And, that I have access to a piano AND ragtime piano music so I can remember how to play!

I have dinner with my parents every night and we watch "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!", and just in case you don't think we have any excitement, just yesterday I went to the Walmart and got some really cute clothes for next to nothing!


Groannnn... My life has changed sooooo much...