Thursday, March 29, 2007
There comes a time in the life of every person where they come face to face with their own fragile humanity. Nobody enjoys dealing with the fact that, despite the best efforts of modern science and medicine, our society will always require the services of a grave digger.
Most of us receive difficult medical diagnoses in the company of close friends, family, and doctors who (we hope at least) have our best interests at heart. Treatment plans and similar arrangements are discussed far from the glare of the public spotlight – a fact for which most of us are very grateful.
Such is not the case for public figures such as Elizabeth Edwards (wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards) and W’s Head Spear Catcher, Press Secretary Tony Snow. Both of them have had to deal with the return of cancer – a crucible through which both of them had already passed once before.
My regular readers will already know I don’t hold John Edwards in very high esteem. That said, when the public persona is lifted, he is what I am – a husband and father. Elizabeth is his wife of over three decades – the mother of his children. That side of him I understand and I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel something for a man who – somewhere deep inside himself – knows his time with his sweetheart will be shorter than either of them would like. John, may her days be such that there is time for more joy than sorrow.
My heart goes out to Tony Snow in much the same manner. He is a devoted husband and father – titles he cherishes far more than any title or honor he will ever receive. I’m sure in the back of his mind he knew recurrence was a possibility – just not one he ever wanted to deal with. Tony knows what its like to be sick. His attitude is truly one to be emulated.
Receiving a difficult medical diagnosis is a lot like getting “clotheslined” on a football field. You’re running down the field, intent on finding the ball carrier and separating him from his shoulder pads when suddenly you are blindsided by an opposing blocker. Your momentum stops, you see the tops of your shoes in front of you and suddenly you’re on your back on the grass looking up at the bright lights and wondering why you can’t breath so well. (That’s what people tell me anyway. I, of course, never ever got clotheslined. That’s my story and I’m sticking too it.)
Being blindsided by a serious medical problem is a little harder than that. Medical blindsiding usually involves waking up on a very uncomfortable ICU bed to find yourself hooked up to an IV, blood pressure cuff, heart monitor, and one of the medical professions most heinous torture devices ever invented, the foley.
If you don’t know what a foley is, trust me, you really, really, really don’t want to know.
It is in these moments you really have to ask yourself the question posed by the theme song to John Wayne’s 1970 movie Chisum – “Can You Still Keep Movin’ On?” On the playing field, as in life, you really have but two choices to consider. One is to lie there on the field and feel sorry for yourself. In so doing you run the risk of being trampled by a bunch of sweaty guys with spandex pants and bad attitudes. The other choice is to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and stagger back to the huddle to prepare for the next play. The next play comes at you whether you’re ready for it or not.
Both Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow have elected to pick themselves up and continue with their lives despite dealing with difficult medical diagnoses. For that effort they are to be commended. Their private battles will be party waged on a very public stage. As someone who has received my own difficult diagnosis – which I won’t go into here – I take strength from their example of courage.
Life, dear reader, is not fair. Any one who tells you different, to quote the Dread Pirate Wesley, is selling something. Life rolls along and my experience has taught me that rolling with it is much better than kicking against it.
Here endeth the lesson.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The Last Room
There are those of you who have followed the seemingly never ending saga of Cordeiro Manor. Even if you haven’t, I’m sure those of you who have ever experienced any time of home improvement drama can understand the impetus behind this post.
Since purchasing and moving into Cordeiro Manor in 2003, the entire house has been remodeled. If I get really motivated, I’ll update this post with some before and after pictures so you get a better idea of the process. We came into the house after the previous owners had repainted the main and upstairs levels. Normally when somebody repaints a home, it’s a selling point. In our case, the previous owners simply took some beige construction grade flat paint and painted over every wall – outlet covers and light switches included.
Beige is a color which should be removed from all color wheels.
Even after the Contractor Fiasco – updates to be included in another post – there was one room which had remained untouched by the renovations. Yes, it got crown molding along with the rest of the rooms, and yes it got recarpeted as well, but the paint remained. The master plan, or perhaps I should refer to it as the Matron Plan as the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro is the principal author thereof, was for this last room to become Corderinha’s room when she out grew the Nursery.
Yes, I have a Nursery in my home. No Den, but yes, a Nursery.
Well, Corderinha recently turned four and in her not so humble way announced that she was no longer a baby and didn’t like sleeping in a crib. So, as a part of her birthday present, the conversion of the storage room to Princess Central began.
Paint. Lots of paint. Three different colors – Pink, Green, Purple. Three coats of white paint on a bedroom set purchased from a Craig’s List advertisement. Then of course came the decorations. I know nothing about decorations for a girl’s room. Never fear, the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro knew plenty. She came up with great ideas. What does that mean? It means Your’s Truly had to figure out a way to take her ethereal musings and somehow translate them to a physical reality.
Note to self: Block Home & Garden TV. Block The Learning Channel. Persuade ABC to cancel Extreme Home Makeover.
And, in case you were wondering, laser levels are a gift from the Almighty.
So, after much sweat and a little blood, the last room is done. The home I purchased some three years ago bears little or no resemblance to the home I now live in. My seemingly perpetual construction zone is now closed.
Well, mostly closed. I went out on my back deck yesterday to find that the recent high winds blowing through my neighborhood managed to pry loose the metal flue cap – the pipe which serves as a chimney for the furnace and water heater.
Sigh. Now I have to go borrow a ladder and climb up on the $#%&*@! roof.
Guess its time to make sure the life insurance premiums have been paid.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The Long Voyage Home
I really don’t keep up this blog like I should, but lately I get the feeling nobody reads it but me. I guess that gives me the right to write what I want when I want and for whom I want. But I digress.
Like a few thousand traveling Americans, I was stranded in northern Florida late last week. Seems that the Northeast had a little dusting of snow which managed to throw the entire airline industry into convulsions of panic. In days past such a hiccup would not have taken longer than a day to iron out, but with modern prognosticators and high fuel costs having whittled the US Airways fleet down to the point where every flight is packed any bump in the system causes a tidal wave of consequences.
So I got to sit around in Jacksonville – sometimes in a hotel room, sometimes at the terminal, most time spent in a Panera. After being told for the umpteenth time that my flight would again be cancelled and I would be booked on yet another hypothetical flight at a time and date to be determined, I decided to make use of the only transportation means under my control.
I got in my rented Grand Prix – yes I had already turned the Mustang in prior to the first cancelled flight – and drove the 730 miles by myself. In hindsight, I probably could’ve pulled up to the curb at Jacksonville Airport and charged three other people $300 a piece to go with me, but there is something to be said for solitude.
I don’t know when we became so risk averse in this country. We now put all our faith in weather forecasts which are – by the forecasters own admission – a bet guess. Traveling is a risk no matter how long you look at the sky and try to figure out whether or not you’ll get rained on.
That said, from Jacksonville to DC the weather was downright gorgeous. It was a long drive, but thank God for an Ipod and Audiobooks.
Here endeth the lesson.
Personal note: As I said earlier I don’t really know how many people read this blog. I’m really only sure about one and I haven’t seen that particular reader around these parts for quite some time. I hope you’re well, and yes I do miss your wit and wisdom. Don’t stay away too long.
Monday, March 12, 2007
My professional travels have taken my to south Georgia for the week. As the closest airport is in Jacksonville, I had to rent a car to get me to my final destination.
I have never had a good relationship with rental cars. I usually get stuck with a non-descript four door sedan which serves its purpose in getting me from Point A to Point B with little trouble or excitement. Most of the time I go to the parking lot only to spend ten minutes trying to find my non-descript sedan in the sea of other non-descript sedans. You'd be surprised how much a Chevy Malibu looks like a Ford Taurus in the dark.
So today I land at Jacksonville International Airport and go through the motions of getting my checked baggage and finding my way to the Avis rental counter to pick up my non-descript sedan. The rental agent duly took my credit card and drivers license and disappeared behind the wall to get the keys.
He then reappeared with two sets of keys. "You have a choice," he said. "You can take the Chevy Malibu,
or for another $6 per day you can get the Convertible Mustang."
Yes, dear reader, there was my dilemma. Take the non-descript Chevy with the stock stereo system, or pony up the extra cash and get the Convertible Mustang. It didn't take me very long to solve my dilemma.
In the interest of full disclosure, I do own a 1999 Mustang hard top. I love the car. That said, I have come to the conclusion the next Mustang I get will be a convertible. Years ago, H. Jackson Brown, Jr wrote a book for his son who was departing for college. He called it "Life's Little Instruction Book". One of his "instructions" stated:
Once in your life, own a convertible.After having cruised up I-95 with the top down at speeds to which I will not admit I have come to a sobering conclusion: I need a convertible.
And, just in case you were wondering, Mustangs don't perform well under 80 MPH. They just weren't designed for slower speeds.
Here endeth the lesson.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007