Posts Tagged ‘lost’

A long time ago
Me, my Father-in-law, Denyce, Clary and Quinn

Every now and again a situation occurs which you never forget. 9/11 2001 is a perfect example. Ask any American what they were doing, where they were on that day and they can tell you. Me? I was at home searching the internet for work. I had the T.V. on in the background, I saw the news banner along the bottom and I honestly thought it was a disaster movie. Something seemed off, after a few minutes I turned up the volume, it wasn’t a movie. Moments later the phone rang, it was my wife.

I will never forget February 15, 1971, Not because on that historic day Alan Shepard walked on the moon but it was the first day we got out of school on time, if not a wee bit early. I hated school! I was 6yrs old and our grade 2 teacher would keep the entire class in detention if anyone broke her ‘rules’ somebody was bound to speak, chew gum, or look out a window. But on that day our teacher Ms Wilson wanted to watch Shepard leave the spacecraft and walk on the moon. My classmates and I celebrated our on time release by playing a round of CHAMP (a game played with a ball) in the school yard.

I don’t remember the exact day, but I was walking through Wegman’s grocery store. I was leaving the vegetable area when my phone rang. It was my sister, “Where are you? What are you doing?”
“I am in a grocery store, why?”
“Well, you will probably not forget this moment. Mom has cancer.”
My sister was right, I’ll never forget that call.

Ever since my Mother passed away it has been hard to write. My mother was my cheering section in everything I did. Always the first to comment or call after an entry on this blog.

Mom used to tell me I should have a pen and paper next to my bed so I could write down my dreams. I don’t bother because the only ones I remember are the ones which repeat. Taking the subway to places which don’t exist. Suddenly having an exam for a class I didn’t know I signed up for. Growing up we had kitchen chairs that spun. Every night I’d have the same dream I’d be sitting on the chair slowly spinning and moving forwards on a track, I’d see all kinds of things I can’t describe now but it was horrifying.

I never believed in ghosts, the after life, psychics, UFO’s or the like. As I get older I’m not so sure.

A week after my Mother passed I had a dream. I’ll call it a dream as it happened while I was sleeping. I was at a party, sitting alone in a kitchen on one of those black chairs that would slowly spin. This time it wasn’t spinning, (already a bonus). I don’t know who was there, I could not make out faces or hear conversations. Just shadows moving about and lots of murmuring in the background. So yeah, pretty much like every other party I’ve ever been too.

A figure sat down in the chair next to me. I couldn’t really make out a face but I knew it was my Mother. We sat quietly, almost looking into one another not a verbal word exchanged. After who knows how long, (but not too long) her face cleared up and she spoke, “Well, I think its time for me to go.” I replied, “I’m really going to miss you Mom.”

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a dream. I remember every moment. It took a week before I could tell my wife. It has been two years and still hard to talk about. Three weeks after my Mother died, my father in law passed. Two weeks after that our cat Gumpdrop also passed.

November 4th 2021 our good boy Quinn passed away just a few days after we returned from our last trip. He enjoyed traveling, the entire trip I just hoped he would make it home. And he did. He slept in his bed he walked in his woods he was happy. And then he was gone. The loss was crushing.

A few days before we left on this trip on May 1st 2022, we said goodbye to our old cat Trouble. He had thyroid issues and cancer. He was a pain in the butt till the end and we loved him so. When he stopped being social and then stopped eating it was time. Two days later we said goodbye to Clary our Good Girl. She was diagnosed with bone cancer. We managed her pain as best we could. But when she had enough, she had enough. She stopped enjoying her walks, eventually her food and we couldn’t blame her and the loss was devastating.

Just a few days ago a good friend of ours, Valerie lost her battle with cancer.

To say its been a rough few years would be an understatement. We are still devastated, the tears still come, the losses still crushing.

Perhaps its time to turn the page?

Happy Memories

Clary about to lose her bone to Quinn

Valerie was integral to planning our wedding. On the actual day she grabbed a video camera and became our videographer. We have the absolute best wedding video ever! Many a time Val thought she turned off the camera but alas she had not. She would let the camera hang off her shoulder, pointing at the ground while it was still recording. We know what shoes everyone was wearing and we have plenty of butt shots, sound was on so we heard all the gossip, fortunately nothing too gossipy or negative. We get a huge laugh when she is getting something from the freezer suddenly stops and says, ‘Is this on? Has it been on the whole time?” And then proceeds to turn the camera upright so she is staring right into the lens.

When my family came in for the weekend for our wedding they were staying at a hotel in town. We made arrangements to meet downtown. We also made arrangements to meet Val in the same area. We did not tell them to look for one another. Imagine our surprise when we found my Mother and Father sitting on a bench with Val! They had never met, didn’t know they were supposed to meet. They had no idea there was a connection or that they were all waiting for us.

On first time visiting my father-in-law, (John) in California we were looking for a parking space to do some shopping. John was driving and there was this woman just meandering through the parking lot obviously lost in her own world. John in an exasperated sigh, “Oh you stupid cow, get out of the way” Denyce and I are started laughing hysterically as we realized that in some situations the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We still get a good laugh at the memory.

Quinn and Gumdrop
Clary and Trouble

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It was a time before the snows fell, a time when gas was still under three dollars a gallon and there were still only 12 Zodiac signs. The leaves were already off the trees and the forest floor was spongy from the rains. Nairb opened his eyes just before dawn, in truth he didn’t know or care when Dawn opened her eyes, it didn’t matter as Dawn has nothing to do with the tale being told. The sun however, had not yet crested the horizon. One thought entered Nairb’s head ‘check the sump pump!’ It had indeed been checked the previous night but like all things mechanical sometimes the sump pump fails.

Alone and miserable Nairb, fortified in jeans, a sweatshirt, light jacket and a trusty flashlight went out into the cold driving wind and rain. Down he went into the desolate world of spider webs, insulation and cement. The root cellar housed the heating unit for the house along with the main water intake and of course, the sump pump.

The cold dirty water flowed over the tops of his boots. Instantly his feet were freezing. Gritting his teeth against the cold in his boots Nairb sloshed over to the sump pump and deeper water. Quickly he tapped on the hose waking up the sleeping beast.

Nairb waited, his only comfort was the circle of light his flashlight provided. His feet so cold they were tingling, but hunched over the sump pump he waited to make sure the water went down. Eventually he saw the change, the water was slowly retreating. Nairb headed back into the driving rain his freezing feet swimming in his boots. Finally making it to the front porch, looking into the window he saw his beautiful wife, Ecyned getting ready for work after all it was only Thursday. Nairb bent, removed his boots and lifted them so his wife could see as he dumped the river from them. Ecyned’s eyes opened wide.

Nairb opened the front door and peeled off his soaking socks, the door closed behind him but did not latch, DID NOT LATCH! Almost crying from the cold it was all Nairb could do to make it to the bedroom and dry his burning feet. Ecyned, his loving wife and fast thinker got a second pair of socks and headed for the laundry room where she could toss them in the dryer to heat up to ease the pain in Nairb’s aching feet.

The laundry room doubles as Aiouqes bedroom (my apologies, Denyce backwards is hard enough to pronounce Sequoia’s is almost impossible).

In opening the laundry room door Ecyned freed the dog, Aiouqes into the rest of the house. And unknown to all the front door had not latched, THE FRONT DOOR HAD NOT LATCHED! Nairb, trying to warm his feet in the bedroom heard the dreaded call from the front room. “Aiouqes! Get back here! Aiouqes! Nairb Aiouqes got out!” Nairb threw on a fresh pair of jeans, didn’t even bother with socks. Donned his black sweatshirt, slipped his feet into his running shoes, and followed his wife and the dog out the door into the freezing rain and driving wind.

He caught a glimpse of Aiouqes as she darted behind the garage. Nairb followed heading into the woods calling out in his loudest voice ‘Aiouqes! Aiouqes!’ In the distance he could hear his wife also calling for the dog! Unfortunately it was the start of buck season. In central Pa most men live for two only two reasons, hunting and football. Neither Nairb nor Ecyned were wearing orange. Aiouqes with her large plume tale and red and white colouring could easily be mistaken by an overzealous hunter for a buck and both Nairb and Ecyned could easily be shot for running through the woods yelling and screaming scaring all the deer away.

Freezing tired and soaked to the bone Nairb kept trailing Aiouqes it was a difficult task as he would catch glimpses of her but if he followed too close Aiouqes would think it was a game and keep running. But if he gave up it was a good bet that Aiouqes would just run and be lost forever, that is what huskies do, they run.  Finally Aiouqes turned and headed back towards civilization, Nairb chased her through the yards of many neighbours. He spied his wife through the trees; she was in the car driving up and down the road. Aiouqes was heading in the right direction, heading for home via the backyard of a neighbour. Nairb managed to jump up and down attracting the attention of his wife, using hand signals (stupidly he neglected to pick up his cell phone as he ran out the door earlier) he let Ecyned know that the dog was heading towards the house. Nairb turned a corner around the side of a house and lost track of Aiouqes she simply vanished in the driving rain.

Nairb ran onto the street calling her name. Exhausted shivering losing feeling in his fingers and toes Nairb stood on the street calling and calling. From behind he heard a voice. The neighbour in full hunting gear was standing on his door step demanding to know what was going on.

“My dog got away from me”

“The red and white husky? It is a miserable day for her to be out and about”

“Yes I know, I managed to keep her in my sights but lost her in your backyard”

“Well I just got back from my hunting camp and didn’t see her, but I’ll keep an eye out”

Suddenly there was movement from behind. There she is! Nairb was tired and at a crossroads. Aiouqes stood deep in the lawn across the street. Nairb knew that if he approached Aiouqes would run again. He got onto his knees on the wet pavement, patted his chest and called out to her. Aiouqes went into play bow enjoying the game and would not come.

“If I called her would she come to me?” Said the large man in his hunting fatigues

“You could try, she likes strangers.”

He called her name and whistled, Aiouqes unable to resist anybody new moved a step closer. A car was coming down the street, Nairb seeing the possible light at the end of the tunnel stepped into the street blocking the car from advancing, the large man called again. Without missing a beat Aiouqes went running to the large unfamiliar man calling her name. The large hunter closed his front gate trapping Aiouqesvon his porch. Nairb standing in the street frozen, wet and weary asked the hunter,

“Do you want a husky? Only five dollars and I’ll give you the fiver.” The hunter only laughed and Nairb thanked the hunter as he secured the leash to the collar and led the wet dog down the porch. Ecyned drove up the road in the car, relieved to see Aiouqes safe and secure. Ecyned opened the car door, both Aiouqes and Nairb were only too happy to jump in, Nairb thanking the hunter again before closing the car door.

Tonight, gas is up past three dollars a gallon there is snow on the ground, an extra zodiac sign has been added to the zodiac calendar, Nairb and his lovely wife Ecyned sit in their recliners, finally enough time has passed that Nairb can tell this tale without feeling that sick feeling in the pit of his stomach while Ecyned plays a video game.

Aiouqes? She is lying on her back in the kitchen, paws in the air, (like she just don’t care) in her mouth is a utility bill which she has grasped by the corner and is wiggling on her back making the paper flop back and forth across her cheeks. I think I’ll keep my five dollars and my dog. But now, no matter what we make sure the door is latched. THE DOOR IS LATCHED!

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I have a lousy sense of direction.  When I interviewed for the job I am currently in I was informed that we cover not only State College but Lewistown, Huntingdon, Lockhaven, Lykens, Tyrone and we help out our sister warehouse, (who my supervisor also supervises) Williamsport. I was asked if I had issues if asked to travel to any of these destinations.  I was perfectly honest about it and told them that I had no issues about traveling to any of the locations.  Lykens, being the farthest out is only two hours away.  So really it’s no big deal. 

“Nope, no problem” I responded.  However I immediately started thinking about the time I showed up to work at the bank and they asked me to help out in the Avis office. I wasn’t sure what a bank teller was going to do at a car rental agency, but what the heck. Then I remembered that there is a place called Avis Pa.  I had been there once before and my wife was driving.  I was told just go towards the mall and keep left, it should take an hour.   If you look at Google, to get from the State College branch of the bank to the Avis branch you would see it is a basically a straight line.

Two hours later I found myself at the Jersey Shore!  I had no idea when I crossed into Jersey, I didn’t even know Jersey was so close!  What I did know is that something went desperatly wrong.  It turns out that just as there is no Port in Port Matilda the Jersey Shore is not actually in Jersey!  Oh I’m sure there is a shore in Jersey but it is not this Jersey Shore which is probably a good thing because as much as I didn’t want to be lost, I really didn’t want to be lost in Jersey, (new or old) I didn’t have a GPS, I didn’t even have a cell phone, I was in the wilds of Pennsylvania and lost, eventually I had to (gasp!) ask a man at a local business how to get to Avis.  The man was very nice and pretended to understand how I missed the exit.  After all, it is really hard to see that large glaring Avis exit sign.  I think he saw my eyes gloss over as he gave me directions which were basically, ‘drive down this street and make a right’ And this very nice man got in his truck, yes a beat up red truck and had me follow him to the bank. 

In Montreal I never got lost.  Not that my sense of geography or direction was any better, I just didn’t drive.  I got from point to point by walking, transit, or bike.  And if I did get lost all I had to do was find the giant cross on top of the mountain and head for cross.  Once at the top of the mountain I knew where home was.

In Vancouver I never had to travel.  Everything I needed was in a four block radius.  And if I wanted to go downtown I took the skytrain which only went in two directions.  Even I could navigate that. 

My wife and I were hesitant about a GPS. Our only experience with one was through my father.  My folks came to visit, my father had a Tom-Tom and loved it.  We wanted to go to a restaurant in Altoona called Don Pablo’s.  My father punched it into Tom, we explained it wasn’t necessary as the only reason we ever go to Altoona is to go to this particular restaurant and it is easy to get too, it is right off the exit.  But my father insisted.  I watched Tom-Tom as we drove and I too was soon in love with the machine.  But Tom got it wrong.  It had my father get off the highway an exit too early.  We told him no, but he was going to listen to his buddy Tom.  Fine, it was just going to take a little longer.  Then Tom told my father to turn Right.  This was totally the wrong directions.  Images of a cab ride of long ago came to mind.  We convinced my father to disobey Tom.  Lucky my wife has a great sense of direction because now I was as lost as Tom.  My father refused to admit Tom was wrong.  He informed us that there must be another Don Pablo’s.  Why yes, yes there is as Don Pablo’s is actually a chain.  The next closest one to us is in Virginia!  We got to the restaurant and my father still refused to admit defeat, (he is loyal that way) and told the waiter what happened and if there was another Don Pablo’s in the area.  Yes, yes there is if you consider Virginia part of the ‘area’. the waiter understanding my father’s predicament did offer a way out.  He mentioned that there is a Mexican community on the other side of town and perhaps Tom-Tom new a Don Pablo that lived over in that direction.

Of course my father only listened to Tom when it was convenient.  For example we knew how to get to Don Pablo’s but on that occasion my father decided Tom knew better.   However when we were looking for a restaurant in Lancaster Pa, a restaurant non of us had been too, in an area non of us had ever been before, a time when we were at the mercy of Tom-Tom to guide us through the back roads of the Amish country side was the time when my father decides to disregard Tom’s directions with all of Tom’s fancy global positioning.  Tom was telling my father:

“In 500 hundred feet turn left”

“In 200 hundred feet turn left”

     …no turn signal

“In 100 feet turn left”

     …no turn signal no turn.

“Turn Left now!”

     …No turn.

“Recalculating, make a u-turn in 50 feet”…Father continues to go straight. 

Eventually and with enough of us pestering him he makes the U-turn and Tom leads us safely to the restaurant.

I was offered, and accepted the job two days after the initial interview.  My date of hire was a few days before my birthday.  We also had made plans to drive down to California to visit my father-in-law.  All things considered it seemed a great time to purchase a GPS. 

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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One Second

Ever have one of those ‘oh shit’ moments?  You know, the ones where you wish you could take back that one split second that would make life so much easier?

Here is one of mine.

I was transferring our husky from her zipline to her leash,  only to late did I notice that I had not actually connected the clip to her collar.  I will never forget that millisecond where we looked into each others eyes the clip between us, each sharing the same thought, she is free! Just as the thought formed in my head to reach out and grab her, she was gone. 

I stepped back into the house just long enough to inform my wife of the situation.  I made a dash for the fridge and grabbed a hotdog with the thought of bribery in mind.  I saw husky head off towards the neighbors I was in pursuit,  the neighbor came out and made an attempt to intercept husky but it was not to be.  Up she went around his house and across the street to the famous rooster place (once before she was on the loose and was stopped by a rooster, she thought it was a toy and while playing with it my wife was able to grab her, rooster is no more).  I went around one way, my wife was coming up the other.  There was husky, stopped dead in her tracks face to face with two other dogs.  I put the breaks on, this was my chance as her entire focus was on those dogs.  I moved slowly but once I got within striking distance she was on the run again.  My wife was going to get the car to patrol the street while I followed husky into the woods calling her name and waving my hotdog in the air.  Husky would keep me in sight but wouldn’t allow me to get close, the hotdog wouldn’t even give her pause.  Husky’s run, not away from anything, not towards anything, they just run, and that is what she was determined to do.  Down the side of the mountain we went.  Eventually she disappeared from sight I stumbled upon a small brook surrounded by mushy ground.  My tracking blood, (keep in mind I couldn’t even find a train on the tracks) kicked into overdrive as I scoured the ground for paw prints.  I was not sure where I was in relation to my home except that I had to climb the side of the hill, why is it that home is always up hill?  At least I wouldn’t starve, I had my hotdog.   I climbed the hill calling out every now and again but I knew it was a waste, even if she heard, she wasn’t coming and the hotdog was offering no help.   Finally I made it home no dog, no wife, no car, totally exhausted  I dropped to the ground placing my hotdog by my side, (now my only dog), placing my head in hands trying to catch my breath and just wishing I could take back that one second.

Eventually my wife drove down the driveway with husky proudly sitting in the back seat. I was so happy to see them both, the thought of killing the dog quickly left my head. Turns out while I was playing tracker in the woods husky looped around me and went back to the famed rooster place and settled on one of the deck chairs.   My wife with dog securely in the car spent some time driving around looking for me, explaining to the neighbours she found the dog and was now looking for her lost husband.


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