08 January 2015

The Storm

September 2014 was more intense than April 2014 - which we should all be able to agree was pretty intense. I kind of wish there was a warning system for months like those. Then again, if I'd had any indication of what was to happen, I might have missed some of the pluses for worrying about the minuses. It's those pluses I'll share first.

My coding improved. I felt more comfortable with HTML 5 and set a pretty serious goal. I want to to be able to write the code that designs Pique A Boo. There is a lot of data here and it might be difficult to know what's needed and what's not. Nonetheless my goal is to do exactly that. Five months later, I'm reminded that I have a lot of work yet to do.

Dancing at El Rio - 7 September 2014
I did not get a do over to open my eyes, but
I still like this picture.
Lucy's baby!
I went back to Fargo for Lucy's wedding. There is no way to write that sentence to truly convey its significance, so I'll try to explain it.

I went back to Fargo for my friend Lucy's wedding. I went back to Fargo for Jesse's sister's wedding.

Of course I had visited Fargo since moving to Vegas. Jesse had also visited. But this was to be our first joint visit since we dissolved our union. He and Yrama were coming from Spain and it was going to be the first time that anyone who had known us before 2010 would see our new dynamic. I mean it was already weird for people who just knew our story. I couldn't imagine what it was going to be like for the people who had actually witnessed it unfold.

Yrama & the baby. 
Obviously, there was nothing to actually worry about. Everything fell into place. Lucy picked me up from the airport and while I got ready, we laughed at how the tables had turned.

I was unemployed, bopping around from event to event, doing exactly what I wanted without any real responsibilities. I had my suitcase in the dining room and I had traveled without body wash.

Lucy was getting married, to the father of her baby. Together they were living in a house they owned and paid for with their steady employment.

It was nothing short of poetic justice. I used to judge Lucy for how not together she had it. Deep in the annals of this blog are all my complaints about Lucy's visits and Lucy's messes. As I tried to squish my stuff back into my suitcase, Lucy gave me some body wash for my trip. We laughed. By the time Jesse & Yrama arrived, Lucy had me working on wedding decorations and their had me on my second cocktail.

Everything else that happened in Fargo was wonderfully familiar, just with more kids.

I stayed with Ryan & Kelsee, as I do. They actually hid their children. They said it freed them up for whatever I wanted to do. But I'm pretty sure they used me as an excuse to get wild and crazy sleep, and I was okay with that.

Adam & Amber grilled, only instead of sitting and savoring, dinner happened in the background while I played with a toy kitchen downstairs. Adam & Amber's kids are old enough to have personalities. I imagine that can be a real test for parents - what kind of person is your kid really? The kids in the Adam / Amber collection are sweet, and they share their toys. The oldest even prayed for my soul in his bedtime prayers. Adorbs.

We saw Hairball at the Knickerbocker Liquor Locker, as we did the last time I was there. I ran into an old coworker, as I did the last time I was there.

Full disclosure: standing in a gravel parking lot belting our hairband hits in 40 degree weather is part of my personal happy place. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

Yrama's reaction to "Do you want to wear the hats?"
I had brunch with some of my news friends. Lucy got married. The ceremony was quick and the party was awesome. The next day I drove to Minneapolis to see Wen and meet her baby. Honestly, I don't recommend partying all night and driving all day. But I wholeheartedly endorse meeting babies. So I can't think of anything I would have done differently.

We ate at old places with old friends and stopped by the visitor's bureau so Yrama could get her picture taken with the wood chipper.

She was happy.

My trips to Fargo are always great and this was no exception. In fact, it might have been the best trip so far. I was a basic 20 year old when I moved to there. All of the people I visit now are people I met then. We've all grown up and chosen our paths, but we still make time to get together and make new memories.

The shift into the storm happened at the airport. I was having my final catch up session at the airport bar - because every opportunity is an opportunity to socialize. One of my aunts called and launched a lot of words at me. These were words of hurt and of shock and of anger. Her sibling / my parent had had heart surgery earlier than scheduled and didn't tell the family. My aunt was calling to tattle - because I'm actually a threat to some people. I took the wind out of her sails by telling her that I knew, and that I was already at an airport and on my way. I felt for my aunt, because it has to hurt to know that you've been cut out of something so significant. But that relationship is beyond my control.

Visiting Fargo is like a taking a deep breath. It grounds me. I live a pretentious life in a pretentious city. Being grounded is good. I take from my time in Fargo. I soak it up like a dry sponge. When I'm with my family, I give. Whatever anyone needs, I give. So I'm not sure how well I would have handled the rest of the month if I hadn't hit my emotional reset button in Fargo. There was a lot to be done at home.

The cost of a flight from SFO to BWI was cheaper than the cost of changing my flight from Fargo. So I flew all the way west, then all the way back to the East Coast. It was exhausting. My body was confused and I wanted to eat, sleep and shower all at the same time.

By the time I arrived, it was discharge time. Dre had had a portable defibrillator installed. The bottom line is that his heart doesn't work properly. The defibrillator is a permanently necessary backup to total heart failure. The science is sound. It's the implications that are potentially brain-breaking.

She just fell asleep face down in plastic.
I looked at the facts. My parent was experiencing a significant change in health status. My brother (as a result of the implosion in the beginning of the year) was doing his best with his two kids on his own and it wasn't enough. (I mean three kids between the two households and they weren't even shopping at Costco. Bless their hearts.) I was staying in SF because I wanted to - not because I needed to. No one asked me to move back east - I'm pretty sure Derek called the idea "dumb." But it was easy to see the positive impact I could make by just being closer.

As I think about it now, I wonder if I just wanted a purpose. I didn't really have one at the time and devoting myself to helping my family seemed noble. It didn't seem like it would be fulfilling, but it seemed like the right thing to do - especially in the absence of having anything else to do. I began deciding to move east. I began telling people, because that made it more real. I never felt satisfied with my decision and chalked it up to being selfish.

The recently operated upon can wear socks with sandals...
I arrived back in SF on the 6th anniversary of arriving here. As I was thinking of leaving the Bay Area, it was a sad homecoming.

Ultimately, I decided not to move. I have very sound reasons, but they didn't make themselves clear until November. So you, reader, will have to wait.

Step one for my September self was to close outstanding business. I has a Project Management Certification program that needed to be finished. I had a goal of learning to swim and I had dreams of downsizing. I came home in September determined to get everything in order so I could more easily take my next steps. It was a classic case of doing the right things for the wrong reasons.

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