Less long ago I had a personal goal to write something once a week.
Then it was monthly.
I've been trying for a couple weeks to figure out what to write, but nothing has come to me, aside from some vague topics.
I guess one reason for not having much to say is that I pretty much do the same things over and over. Not enforced routine, but comfortable routine. Out of the house: work, the gym, my weekly game of Pathfinder, dinner with the guys. At home: tv, cribbage, games, servalan, and the cat. Sure, there are occasional changes (going to a play, going out of town for the weekend, that kind of stuff), but... I dunno, maybe my desire to share is diminished.
It's certainly not that I've gone to Facebook and/or Twitter, because I can't stand either of those products.
So... yeah. I turned 30. Some days, it's weird. Other days, it doesn't matter. Weird. If you asked me last year what I was going to do when I turned 30, it would have been to call up my dad and rub in how he was so freaked out about his 30th birthday, and I completely didn't care. But two things complicated that... first, I sort of cared... but possibly because second, my dad died.
A couple of months ago he found out he had a rare fast onset cancer (sarcomatoid carncinoma) in his bladder. They actually scheduled the bladder removal surgery for before the lab results came back. Before going in for surgery he sent me a text (which I still have) which told me that unless I was planning on assisting the surgeons I shouldn't bother wasting my money flying cross-country on short notice. The surgery was said to have gone well. I'd talked to him a little bit after the surgery, and he was eventually downgraded from ICU to normal inpatient, looking like he'd be home for Thanksgiving, no problem. His white cell counts were a bit disconcerting, but he'd regained his appetite, and they seemed happy with his progress. That was Wednesday, I talked to him that night and he was in good spirits, I was glad that he was eating, and was talking about plans to come out to visit between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I very specifically remember being amazed at his high SpO2 numbers without having an oxygen tube up his nose (given that I pull in around 92 without direct O2).
Thursday night he got a high fever, and they put him back in the ICU... though I didn't know that. Friday afternoon I got on a plane to Las Vegas.
Saturday morning I got a phone call very early in the morning, I noticed it was from my brother, and decided it could wait until the sun was up. Then he called back immediately, so I answered. He was on his way to get mom, because the doctors were very worried about dad. A very little bit later I got a call from my mom... which I knew wasn't going to be good news. The cancer got out into his lymph nodes, and then into his lungs (they'd noticed a small spot previously (after the surgery), but they couldn't do anything about it because he was still too weak from the previous surgery). His life expectancy without going on a respirator was "minutes, hours... maybe a day". His life expectancy if he went on a respirator was "until they unplug it, or the cancer spreads more". He made them bring out a DNR form, and started his process of goodbyes. I had the last conversation I'll ever have with my father with him dying in a hospital in the midwest, and me in a hotel room on the Las Vegas Strip. He told me he was proud of me, and that I needed to "enjoy life, because you never know how long it will last". We talked for 15 or 20 minutes, and then he had to let me go, because talking had winded him too much, he needed his full O2 mask back. I made some silly faces and sent pictures to my brother to show dad... but I was told that he'd fallen asleep.
Later that day we went to the timeshare program that was paying for our hotel. Interpreting my dad's advice we bought one. (I convinced her, because I was way too distraught/receptive)
That night I got a voicemail from my mom's mom, she was very upset that I wasn't coming (tickets were $2000 per person, and I -really- didn't want to get there and find out he'd died while I was on the 3 hour flight). I called my mom again, and we cried at each other for a bit. I did a toast to my dad at the tables.
At 2am (Las Vegas time) I went to bed. At 3am he died, and my mom called to tell me around noon the next day.
I don't know that I've ever cried as much as I did at the funeral. There wasn't much endurance crying, but just lots of little sessions. I think I was trying a lot to be the stoic one and hold everyone together. After all, he probably would have told me to "walk it off". I didn't want to talk at the funeral... but I didn't want to not talk either. After my brother delivered a very hard elogy, I got up and said some things. I don't really remember what I said, but lots of people told me that it was good. There had apparently been some drama/red tape around getting a military burial; something about my mom needing to produce his honorable discharge paperwork, she couldn't find it, and the time to request another copy was measured in weeks... but somehow something went right and two guys in uniform showed up and did the folding and presentation of the flag. I have no idea why I was able to stay composed through the priest's words, but broke down when they gave the flag to my mom... but I did. So I'm really glad that whomever did whatever to get things processed in time did.
For the curious, when we got back from Las Vegas I was looking up bereavement flights, and really they're a joke (though probably due to abuse). Instead what really worked was doing a Name Your Own Price from Priceline, which saved us a LOT based on the posted rates. So we got back to Seattle, did some laundry, repacked, and the next morning had flown out on one-way tickets. (Oh, and on day 5 of 5 we cancelled the timeshare)
After spending a few days at my mom's (I'm still torn between "my parents'" and "my mom's") and it seeming like everyone was going to be okay, we took off to visit servalan's parents (the other half of that December trip we weren't going to do now). Priceline again to the rescue. We flew back (Priceline, again) via Virgin America, and when I was checking in for our flight they had some reasonably cheap first class upgrades to go with our pretty cheap tickets. When servalan was dithering (aka decided "no" to buying the upgrade) her father handed her cash and said he was buying it. (Thanks, again). So now servalan has had a first-class flight. It was the first relaxing couple of hours that I'd had in 2 weeks.
Thanksgiving was very subdued, and Chrismas much more so (it was his favorite holiday... and things like taking pictures of every present being opened I got from him). Pictures at Christmas were even harder because I was taking them with the camera that I was going to have given him as a Christmas present.
This past weekend we went back to Las Vegas to try to have the vacation that got so unfortunately tarnished in November. The first couple of days were still a bit hard, but we had filled the weekend up with shows and other distractions. The last day and a half were good, though.
One thing that I've carried out of this is that I should probably do more things with friends. tekman and angel_grrl moved forever ago, and I've not seen their new place. Though I'm still running at pretty low levels of social interaction, the funeral having way overdrawn my usual amount of extroversion energy.
Coming up on 9 years at work, and one of the guys on my team just passed 25. While I still like the stuff that I'm working on, I might be coming to the point where I'm ready for a change of pace (probably just another project at work, I've been on this one for 6? years). Though I really dislike being the new guy...
In happier news, my brother finally got around to popping the question, and I get to make use of my priestly credentials (his original timeline got derailed by the funeral, sadly). Also, I start the ground school portion of getting my pilot's license on Tuesday. I'm excited... in that reserved way I have :).
That's all, for now. I guess it was a lot... but still, that's all.