01 June 2008

Getting Better Every Day!

"Sick as a dog, but having the time of my life!" Gomer Pyle - "The Andy Griffith Show".

I guess going out on a date with two younger, crazy men was too much for me. The morning after I had dinner with David and Chris, I woke up feeling like I had a tennis ball stuck in my throat. Fortunately, that didn't preclude me from having breakfast with my wonderful friend Sally, or going to work for a few hours, but by Saturday Night last week, I was clearly, without question, in the throes of bronchitis.

So how did I spend my Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of summer? In bed, feverish, drinking tea, coughing and sneezing my head off. Not how I imagined, that's for sure.

Sunday Afternoon, feeling extremely sorry for myself, alone and having only my trusty dog Cassie by my side, I was laying in bed when in dropped my friend David with all manner of meds, a gallon of tea from Smithfield's, and the time to keep my mind off how horrible I felt. He even inducted me into the Blackberry Pearl fellowship by programming my phone and teaching me all of the fun things it can do. He was great company and made a very nice nurse even though I think he told me to quit complaining and "check this out!", as he would enlighten me to cool features of the Blackberry.

When he got bored with my sneezing and coughing, he would go back downstairs and visit with my parents, who made him a banana-split and were probably relieved that they didn't have to deal with me. Every now and then one of them would venture upstairs to see if I needed anything, not that I think any of them had any designs on bringing me more coffee or soup, but it did make me feel less alone and fortunately the movie line-up on TCM (Turner Classic Movies), was to my liking.

Also on Sunday Afternoon, my friend Wayne dropped by bearing a pot of daisies, soup, a beautiful wicker basket, a card and, best of all, the latest "hot off the presses!" issue of "Cruising World" magazine so I could salivate over sailboats I'll never be able to buy. Hey, it's good to hold onto your dreams, right?

Monday Afternoon, it was more of the same. David dropped by to check on me but was mostly interested in visiting with my parents, but when he did hang out with me, he fired up the laptop and as I was struggling to breathe, he was looking for property in Oriental. He saved about eight possibilities and now and then he would get excited and say, "Look at this one! It has a dock!", and then he'd go right on creating an organized spreadsheet of his real estate possibilities while I watched Claudette Colbert and Joseph Cotton in "Since You Went Away".

Other friends called and checked on me, thinking I would be seaside, but the only water I got close to was the shower which I would run as hot as the water would go, because that was the only thing that allowed me to breathe easy for a few minutes. David wound up his visit by driving to Smithfield's on a chicken wing run (for me), but he chose to dine with my parents downstairs at the table because my Mom was serving spaghetti. From the sounds of it, they all had a very nice dinner. I ate alone upstairs in bed but Cassie was kind enough to stay with me. A good dog is hard to find and loyalty, particularly in times of need, is a precious gift, indeed.

I stayed in bed most of Tuesday and didn't go to work, but work came to me in the form of a visit from Sherry Tuesday Evening. She brought dinner over and hung out with me upstairs and we watched a couple of episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" and caught up with each other. As she was getting ready to leave, Justin appeared with a homemade casserole and I was so happy to see him! He took her place on my bed and we chatted, well, he chatted and mostly coughed. This house still feels so empty without him and yet it struck me just how grown up he is. My son made something for me to eat at his place, and brought it to me. What a sweet guy he is. His company helped me immeasurably.

Wednesday I did make it into work in the late morning, but before starting work, Sherry and I met at La Costa for lunch before going to the office. She wanted to "ease" me back into "pre-audit work mode". She's nice like that. I wish I could have tasted the guacamole and refried beans and rice, but I could smell the cilantro, so that was definitely an improvement.

My health almost took a nose-dive on Thursday, as I read about Karen's weekend in Canada and turned an unattractive shade of "envy green", but she wrote me a nice note which took the edge off and returned me to my normal color. It was a good save and I was happy she had such a nice time during HER holiday weekend. She is still on the look-out for a seaworthy boat (and a guy to go along with it), for me, but progress is slow and I understand these things take time. I'm trying to be patient KAREN!!!!

Friday Morning, I had the experience of installing my first SCRAM ankle bracelet. I was trained and certified to do this back in March, and March was a long time ago, so I was a bit nervous but fortunately I had the kindest, sweetest, most patient client for my first experience and really, it went quite well. He had a great attitude about the whole thing and was eager to take this next step in illustrating to the NC DMV his commitment to staying sober, so his positive attitude and cooperation made him an ideal candidate to allow me to test my technical skills and fortunately, we were successful!

Sherry and I are both working like maniacs getting ready for our 12 June audit and we are so ready for this to be over! We're going to celebrate in some form or fashion after it's finished, we just haven't figured out how yet.

My friend David (in Michigan) tells me he's going to put together a sailing program for us and I can't wait to hear the details on that. I'm ready to be on the water, in spite of the fact that one year ago today, I was spent twelve nerve-racking hours sailing in Tropical Storm Barry with a lunatic captain and a boat that felt like it was going to break apart with the next wave. I look back on that now and I can't believe we were able to crawl into shore in one piece, but thanks be to God we did and it was nothing short of a miracle. I'm also grateful that it didn't diminish my passion for sailing, even though I emerged bruised and more than a little battered. I can't wait to get back on the water on a viable boat with a knowledgeable captain who doesn't have a death wish and understands the importance of safety and weather forecasts.

I have relived the memories of one year ago today, but not in a dark way. I realized that tropical storm notwithstanding, I discovered a passion on that erstwhile sail. In hindsight, it probably wasn't the wisest thing to take off sailing in international waters with someone I knew so little about, but for me, that trip was less about the person and more about the water. The water, from the second I was invited on that trip, was the magnet for me. I wanted to finally know about sailing and though I wasn't really bargaining on a sail in such dangerous and dire conditions, I learned a great deal in those ten days. It has fueled a thousand dreams and if I'm lucky, it will be the catalyst of a few thousand more.

One of the interesting things about feeling unwell, even if it's just being laid up in bed for a few days with a bout of bronchitis, is that it reminded me of how much I missed feeling fine. Most of the time I feel great and like most of us, I take that for granted. The string of days, weeks and months when my health doesn't dip below the barometer, I just whiz through my days taking so much for granted. Only when I became congested, had a little difficulty breathing or smelling the coffee I enjoy every morning, did I think about how exceptional it is that most days I can do just about anything. Great health should never be taken for granted. You can't buy, barter or trade it. It is, in fact, a blessing and one I want to try really hard not to forget about or allow to go unnoticed. I need to thank God even before I pop out of bed each morning, that I appreciate the fact that I am waking up pain free and clear-headed.

A few weeks ago I bought a book - "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch, a former Carnegie-Mellon professor who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer over a year ago. Groping around for something to read, I remember that book and in less than two days, I finished it. I highly recommend it. It's an amazing book and it's filled with lessons, reminders of what is important in this life.

This afternoon, as I perused Dr. Pausch's website for an update, I saw that he had participated in the commencement address this weekend at Carnegie-Mellon. If you have a couple of minutes, I highly recommend watching this. If you find yourself in or near a bookstore, do yourself a favor and read "The Last Lecture". It isn't at all sad or maudlin. It's inspiring, funny and laced with a gentle, exquisite poignancy. It is also a challenge. Perhaps it is true that we need to recapture those childhood dreams of ours, dust them off and look into using them as a foundation for new adventures, regardless of our present age.

All in all, it has been a pretty good week, bronchitis notwithstanding. I am grateful to God, my family, my ever-present and crazy friends and yes, I am also grateful for my faithful dog Cassie and her kind company when I took to my bed. It is practically summer, my favorite time of year, and there are all manner of reasons to celebrate. Life is exceptionally sweet and I am uncompromisingly grateful.

And yes, I really am becoming quite addicted to my Blackberry. If you're in the market for a way cool phone that can do practically everything but make tea, you should absolutely check it out. Before long, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

Oh, and a loyal dog. You really need a loyal dog - maybe more than you need a Blackberry Pearl. Cassie is over ten years old, but she still retains her sense of mischief, silliness and fun. Those qualities are incredibly attractive whether you're a dog, a cat and I know I'm drawn to people who have a natural exuberance, a feisty, fun and adventurous nature. The world seems populated with grown-ups who act way too grown-up. Maybe we all just need to kick back and get in touch with our inner puppy more often. Cassie reminds me of that often. Here's to jumping into the ocean, regardless of what you're wearing.

Happy Summer!!