I took an inordinate amount of pleasure in flipping over the ol’ wall calendar this morning.
That’s right. Like the Pope, ol’ man winter is getting rickety and frail, and he’ll be quitting in just a few weeks.
February used to be tolerable because my birthday falls right in the middle. Yeah, not so much anymore. Now, I just do a lot of math on my birthdays. How many years ago was that? How old was I when I used to do that? How many years until I’m 70? I used to think that my current age was soooo old. Perspective is a bitch. As is February. (And this during a fairly mild winter!)
Obviously, it’s been a rough week for posting. Partly because of a busy time at work and several evening meetings to attend. Partly because somebody okay’d a 10-day vacation for Mrs. Carpetbagger without considering the implications — mainly, that I’m going a bit nutty by myself for 10 days. Separate vacations? you ask. Trouble in paradise? Hardly. She just has a lot more days available than me right now, and I’m saving up mine for a couple of short trips in March and April.
Jean works in a banking department that processes insurance checks… like when your insurance pays you for something that the bank owns, like a house or a car. The check first goes to the bank, where it gets endorsed to the customer once they are assured that it will be spent on repairs and not on a cruise. Recently, they’ve been inundated with Hurricane Sandy checks. They’ve been so buried that they have created special procedures to expedite the approval process for customers who are desperate and homeless. Jean has become somewhat of a rock star to the New York and New Jersey branches by chasing down vice presidents for approvals while their customers wait in the lobby. She has built relationships with key administrative assistants who allow her to burst into VP offices or interrupt meetings for a signature. Instead of giving foggy answers and vague timelines, Jean gets it done while they wait. They love that.
She has developed such a relationship with some of these branches that she took vacation time to go to Manhattan and the Jersey shore to meet some of the voices she’s been working with. She’s been greeted with somewhat of a hero’s welcome at said branches. Now, she is volunteering at an emergency food pantry near Tom’s River, NJ. Yeah, Jean is not one to go for the lounging-on-a-deck-chair -vacation. She wants to work. She’s in hog heaven.
Here are some of the shots she’s been sending… a house in sorry shape…
A local hotel turned into a Home Depot…
Even the seals are exhausted. Don’t worry; he seems to be okay. Jean called 911 and was told that he was tired and crawled on shore for a nap. The police still posted a sign…
Jean’s hotel. She calls it the Bates Motel. Very deserted…
…but safe. The two employees (clerk and maintenance man) both live at the hotel since their homes are uninhabitable. They are keeping an eye on her.
I have to admit, I was a bit surprised to learn that in many of the towns on the Jersey shore, electricity is still out… for the entire town. Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29… four months ago. Many people are living in their cars. Don’t get me started about the Republicans still complaining about providing disaster relief. You know some of those grouchy codgers are going to be coming to Congress hat in hand later this year when their districts get hit by tornadoes or fall hurricanes.
But enough of that. What’s important is how this affects ME. I’m the one who is talking to myself out loud and freaking out the dog. I’m the one on constant dog walking duty and nursing her through a sore disc in her back. I’m the one who is cooking for one and watching the Oscars by myself. You think a little alone time will be good. And it is… for the first 36 hours or so. Then, you quickly realize that, after nearly 20 years of marriage, you don’t do alone so well anymore. Not for 10 days.
But as I said at the beginning of this rambling post, today is March, with all that brings.
• March Madness. Not sure why I love the tourney so much; I rarely have a favorite team in the tourney. But it is, hands down, my favorite sporting event of the year. Have you noticed how topsy-turvy this basketball season has been? #1s are getting beat every week, it seems. This tourney could be one for the books. I love the frenetic pace and seeing what 20-year-old kids do under pressure. I love the upsets and the Cinderellas. I love filling out brackets, even if it’s just for my own refrigerator.
• Arizona. A trip to Scottsdale for some Spring Training baseball. The Diamondbacks and Rockies built a new ballpark (Salt River Fields at Talking Stick) just a few miles from my parents’ house in Scottsdale. I usually don’t like to travel on the opening week of the NCAAs, but for this, I’ll make an exception. We’ll be sitting on that grassy grandstand in two weeks.
• Turning the clocks ahead. I know, we lose an hour of sleep on March 10. But, we also get an extra hour of daylight in the evenings. No longer will it be dark by the time I get home after work! Woo-hoo.
• Good Friday and Easter… the Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan of the liturgical calendar are in March this year.
• Opening Day. And best of all, one month from today — April 1 — I’ll be heading to PNC Park for the Pirates and the Chicago Cubs.
Can. Not. Wait.
48 more hours as a hermit. I can do this.