Moment.

I have no comprehension as to where we are in the week. I thought yesterday was Thursday. This morning I woke up knowing that it wasn’t Friday because it didn’t feel like a Friday but I had to look at my watch to see what day it was. My watch said WE. I have no reason not to believe it.

You would think that a person so obsessed with time, well at least making sure that the choreography of time is completely in sync, would have a keen awareness of where we stand on the timeline. I could be optimistic and say it’s because I’m living in the moment and I’m not concerned about what’s behind or what’s ahead, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. I have to admit that I occasionally enjoy looking at a snapshot of “now” and saying, “Yes, my life is cool”. When I say things like this I worry about sounding too Pollyanna and making people gag (spoon optional), but my life is good. I’m loving the moments.

Way back when this was a wee young blog and I still had hair on top of my head, I remarked that it seems like time is flying by faster and faster. Almost like someone has sped up the clock. I feel like I was enjoying the moment of seeing a yard full of dandelions just a few moments ago and now I’m looking at leaves that are changing on the trees in the back lawn. Sugar is mixing in with my ginger spice blend of a beard. Where is the time going? I certainly don’t feel like I suspect a 43 year old is suppose to feel so somehow, somewhere, something has gotten ahead of where I think we should be. Perhaps this is because of this sped up clock I’m always blaming.

Even though I had no idea of what day it was when I woke up this morning, I knew that I felt good, I felt confident and I felt happy. I guess that is what’s important and I shouldn’t worry about the rest.

After glancing at my watch and deciding that it was right, it took me a few more moments to figure out that WE meant Wednesday. I guess I would have better moments if I could sleep in a little bit.

– I am crossing my fingers and praying to the digital mecca that this has been a successful instance of using BlogPress from my iPad

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Assistance.

I had to make some creative decisions yesterday to get home since the Thruway was closed and there was a lot of congestion on the backroads between points A and B. My familiarity with the area proved helpful, I trucked up some paths that barely resembled a road. At one point I had to stop and pull a tree branch out of the way to make the road passable; it was when the cows started running alongside the Jeep that I realized that I had in fact fallen so far off the beaten path that I was actually in the middle of a farmer’s pasture, so I found the quickest exit and got myself on the real roads again.

Calm down, I’m kidding about that last part.

Actually, when I emerged on the main road at the top of a fairly large hill, I found a car nose down in a ditch. The back end was so far off the ground that the wheels were in the air. The New York State tags pointed towards the sky. Two people were standing outside of the car. I pulled up.

“Are you OK?”, I asked.

“Yeah, we’re alright.” His voice was thick with an accent that seemed to resonate from the deepest core of the Big Apple. The man and woman looked pleasant enough. They were looking up the road.

“Do you need me to call someone or something?”

“Nah, we got a tow truck on the way,” he said.

“OK, I just wanted to make sure you were alright”, I said as I got ready to get back to the cow pastures.

He responded with, “Ya know, you guys up here are nice for stopping and checking on us.”

I smiled and waved as I moved on. I guess folks don’t stop like that down where his accent originated. I drove off and continued my quest to get home, waving to the man I call ‘Farmer Bear’ as I passed his farm. He waved back.

Even though driving around these parts has been a bit of a challenge and the cable news channels are blaring on about how much damage actually happened here in Upstate from Irene, I have to admit that I’ve been smiling. Neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger, friend helping friend.

I think I have once again found my pride in being from Central New York.

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Detour.

We got a lot of rain yesterday. This wasn’t the whimsical, ‘water the flowers’ type of rain that one would hope it would be, no, this was rain that fell from the sky in buckets for several hours. More than a soaking rain, Hurricane Irene brought us some flood-inducing rain. To keep it interesting, there was enough wind to knock around and down some trees and powerlines, though we didn’t lose our power. There was one impressive gust that tried to bust out one of the windows in the great room but we fought back and won.

The back lawn flooded a bit yesterday but that’s to be expected. The county and the town have been fighting over the ownership of the drainage ditch that goes across the back part of our property for years, so it hasn’t been cleaned out by anyone. I guess if we want the ditch cleaned out we’ll do it ourselves and send the government the bill.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to run to the store to pick up a few household items. I was a little surprised to see that the driving rain had flooded one of the local rivers this much:


As the day moved on, more and more detours were posted and by sunset there was only one way to get to and from anywhere from here.

This morning I was up and ready to go at my normal time. I headed off to work 10 minutes earlier than usual, thinking that I would have to use some creative measures along the way to navigate some of the back roads since I expected more detours to be in place. I wasn’t disappointed.

The Thruway was closed in both directions from milepost 210 to milepost 173. In these situations traffic is usually diverted onto either neighboring NY Route 5 or NY Route 5S, however, because both of these routes go through the Mohawk Valley as well, they had been flooded out along with the Thruway. Therefore, traffic was diverted to the high grounds, along the exact route I take to work through Amish country on NY Route 67. “New Turnpike Rd” was never meant to live up to the name it’s hyped to be, so there were countless out of state drivers and tractor trailers mingling with the Amish buggies that make me smile on a normal day to work. As I mentioned on Facebook, folks should remember to slow down on these back roads and also remember that Amish buggies do not have EZ-Pass.


Traffic into the little city I work in was backed up about 8 miles. I made a few creative detours of my own (because of my familiarity with the area) and found myself ahead of the curve, so to speak.

I was at work for an hour and a half or so when Earl called to tell me that he wasn’t feeling good and heading to the ER. I headed home to be with my husbear. We are now back from the ER and they have changed his meds again. His MRI came back clear and they think he has an upper respiratory infection of sorts. These meds should knock it out. He seemed well enough to eat for the first time in days when I made him a turkey sandwich on toast.

Today has been a day about detours. I’ll be happy when they lead back to the main path again.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Calm.

This is my second attempt at writing this blog entry. The first attempt, written on my normal iPad app, BlogPress, was swallowed up to be never seen again. BlogPress froze up as well and wouldn’t relaunch, I had to delete the app and start from square one. Another recommended app, Blogsy, doesn’t seem to be compatible with iOS 5 (which I’m running on my iPad for development purposes). The WordPress app is crap all the way around, so here we are. I knew this would happen when Steve Jobs resigned as CEO.


I am sitting on our back patio. The air has a feeling of “calm before the storm” about it, there is no breeze. Birds are not where they usually are at this time of night and there is just a marked feeling of stillness in the air. When I was writing the aforementioned first version of this blog entry, it was also very quiet, but since my shenanigans with the blogging apps began, a number of planes have started landing at the local decommissioned Air Force Base. I’m thinking that some of the planes are being moved out of the New York area and being brought up here to weather the storm easier. It’s rare for air traffic to come in and out of this airport on a weekend, proclamations of “Griffiss International Airport” notwithstanding.

As I look around the lawn I notice that hints of impending autumn are also present. The maple trees are starting to make their change to fall colors first. One tree in particular is changing before the others, she does that every year. I guess she’s a precocious tree or something. Funny how I think of this tree as a she, but nevertheless I do.


With the stillness of the air and the lack of bird feeding activity going on, I’ll take the opportunity to show off the new birdfeeder that Scott installed this past month. He has had an ongoing battle with the squirrels, so he built this particular bird feeder to be bird free. The underside of the runway is covered in sheet metal so the squirrels theoretically have nothing to grab on to. So far his design has proven to work in his favor.


I posted a video on my Facebook page showing a Weather Channel reporter decked out in goggles and some fairly hefty foul weather gear standing in a seemingly dangerous area, as guys in bathing suits (and one streaker) danced behind him. They were accompanied by folks driving by, other people dancing around him and other unfazed pedestrians that he criticized for not taking Hurricane Irene seriously. I like to think that they were keeping it real and not doing the Chicken Little dance that so many folks would like us to do. Bravo to them, even the streaker.

Tonight the wind and rain is suppose to start in these parts. We are expecting 30 MPH winds with 40 MPH gusts, according to the National Weather Service, as well as 2 to 4 inches of rain. For those unfamiliar with the Empire State, we are located about 200 or so miles northwest of the City of New York. Many assume that because we have “, N.Y.” in our mailing address that we can see skyscrapers. The closest skyscraper is at the local casino and it sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle of corn fields and cow pastures. Nevertheless, that’s where we’ll be getting married.

I plan on getting up in the middle of the night to see the predicted foul weather move in. I have my rain coat ready and have secured a few of the loose items around the back of the house (old fence, etc), because every house in these parts has loose items hidden from the street view.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the calm and the arrival of autumn colors. The ragweed isn’t making me sneeze this year. Let’s hope that trend continues.


And the birds apparently stocked up from the feeder the prefer over it’s neighbor.


Oh, and for the more nature inclined, does anyone know what kind of berries these are?


Keep it safe and keep it real this weekend.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Hurricane.

I am suppose to be ready to head to work at a moment’s notice this weekend in case the hurricane gets the best of our 24/7 operation. I suppose this is the part of the job that is somewhat satisfying to me; making sure connections remain in place for the masses. If grandma can call her grand kids in the midst of a hurricane then we are doing good for the world.

CNN seems genuinely disappointed that North Carolina hasn’t been wiped off the map. They have shown a fallen Dairy Queen sign a number of times. Video of roads “so flooded” that you can still see the yellow stripe on the pavement are designed to scare people. I hope folks are safe and more importantly, using common sense.

I don’t know how I would handle a mandatory evacuation because I have never been in those circumstances. I know my first impulse would be to rebel and ignore such commands. I believe that people should be intelligent enough to make these decisions without having to resort to the government to tell them what to do. Consequences are consequences. I don’t have an issue with folks recommending evacuation, but mandatory evacuation just strikes me the wrong way. Of course, if I choose to stay and then were to drown then I would hope that I knew better in the next life. But that’s just the way I think.

The Twitter stream is interesting because downstaters are now mentioning the word “over-reacting” quite a bit. Again, I hope folks are making smart, thought out decisions given the circumstances and not buying completely into the hype. With the 24 hour news cycle and the amount of ad revenue required to keep these behemoths alive, folks might be saying things to frighten and sensationalize. Politicians may be grandstanding to show that they’re not being like Bush during Katrina. Everyone has something to prove.

Just be safe, be cautious and be smart.

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Attention.

It’s only natural that I noticed the two Harleys parked outside of Dunkin’ Donuts as I made my way in for my daily iced tea. There was nothing unremarkable about them aside from the fact that they were Harleys. The riders were apparently in the store.

As I made my way through the double doored entrance, I held the outdoor for the two customers that were exiting. The quick glance confirmed that it was probably the owners of the aforementioned Harleys. The first was one walked by as he looked at me quickly, the second one followed. He had a shaved head and a good sized beard. He had a leather vest on over a Harley t-shirt. As I held the door, he grinned at me and said something I didn’t expect.

“Thanks, cub.”

I think I might have blushed.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Extremes.

Earl will admit to anyone that cares to listen that his husbear is one that goes to extremes. For example, in my eyes the service isn’t bad, the service was tantamount to hysterically awful and the person responsible for it, and their superior, should be at the very least fired and there should be some consideration of caning anyone involved with my discomfort.

OK, maybe I’m not that bad but I tend to ramp up from 0 to 60 pretty quickly on certain occasions and people interpret this as either I’m wildly giddy or maniacally angry, depending on the circumstances, when in fact I’m happy or slightly miffed.

I have some suspicions as to why I’m this way and it would be rather tedious for the gentle reader to delve into a psychotherapy session right here on my blog, so instead I’m going to focus on something else. My tendencies for extremes is appreciated in my love for the weather. Yes, I love weather and if I could find a way to make a living at it, I would be chasing storms all over the globe and diving into situations that would normally scare the jebeebus out of people. This was blatantly apparent early this summer when we were driving through Cleveland on our way to Chicago; the radio blared with tornado warnings, trees were falling down all around us and water was sloshing up onto the sides of the Durango, but I wanted to see it all, despite the cries from my white knuckled, crying passengers. By the way, no one was injured in that adventure and we had a lovely long weekend together.

A few nights ago the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch. The clouds mustered up a few ominous poses but then there was nothing. Well, ‘nothing’ probably isn’t the best word to describe the storm that passed through, but as god as my witness I have farted louder than the claps of thunder that these “severe” storms presented us with. Please. Don’t waste my time if you’re not going to do it right.

Around 4:30 this morning, without any warning from any of the weather radios in the house, we had a pretty impressive thunderstorm. Non-stop lightning, lots of accompanying thunder and a good, torrential rainfall for a little bit before sunrise. The wind could have been whipping harder to make it a little more to my liking, but I’ll take what I can get. Now this is what I’m talking about. I don’t know if it’s the rush of adrenaline I get or what, but if someone is going to muster up the energy to make a thunderstorm, it better be a good one. As I closed the windows throughout the house, I glanced at the weather radios and confirmed that the National Weather Service had nothing to say about the event. I then considered running outside into the wild weather but decided not to, mostly because Earl wasn’t feeling well and I didn’t want to needlessly worry him.

It was when we both officially woke up this morning that I told him I wanted to go on a road trip this weekend if he was up to it. When he asked where I wanted to go, I had a simple reply.

“I want to chase Irene.”

Now if Hurricane Irene is going to hit the Big Apple head on then I really don’t have an interest in it. I don’t want my view of one of Mother Nature’s more impressive displays to be obscured by skyscrapers, floating taxis and people running around like screaming mimis (most likely with a loaf of bread in each hand and a gallon of milk wedged into a pocket). I want to see hurricanes come in over the ocean from an open beach where I can get a panoramic view. I think that’s one of the reasons that I want to live in a relatively flat area. I want to see the blizzards come in, I want to see the rolling thunderstorms and I want to see tornados make their way across the landscape. Six inches of snow is a nuisance, four feet of snow is something worth talking about. Drizzle? Don’t waste my time. Flood it like you mean it. And let’s not even talk about a few poofs of wind. At least blow a tree down or something.

Of course I want to do all of this with a point of safety nearby. I’m not interested in jeopardizing my life needlessly. Personally, I wish I could be some sort of computer operator, administrator, whatever on a rig that went into these storms. I would love to be part of a team that’s learning from these extreme events. Anything to better the human experience with as much knowledge as possible.

So I don’t know if we’ll be meeting Irene head-on this weekend, but I’m sure I’ll be reviewing weather maps and watching videos from those that stand courageously as Mother Nature brings on her worst.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Date.

So last night I posted a status update on my Facebook that went something like this:

This wedding is so far outside of my comfort zone but I don’t care.

I was sitting next to Earl when I posted this. We were in the process of assembling wedding invitations and getting them ready for mailing. We talked a little bit about what I meant with this update, but I think my words may have startled some people. As usual, many of our friends and family are excited about our upcoming celebration and expressed sentiments stating this.

First of all, I still can’t put into words the amount of joy that I feel when I think about the fact that I am going to marry the man that I know is my true love. My soul mate. If anyone can put up with my shenanigans for 15 years then there must be something to this whole thing we got going on. I better get it down on paper quick before he comes to his senses.

Folks have asked about our wedding plans, so here’s how it goes. On October 13, 1996, Earl and I hiked to the top of Rocky Mountain Point in the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the Adirondacks. At the top of this mountain, I got down on my knee and asked him to marry me. Like the first time that I told him I loved him (which was romantically situated over a couple of foot long subs at a Subway restaurant), he told me that I better not say it unless I meant it. And I knew that I had never meant any words more in my life than what I was about to say whilst down on my knee.

Earl and I have decided to become legally married on Thursday, October 13, 2011, 15 years to the date after I asked him. We briefly considered doing it at the top of the mountain again, but it would have been cumbersome to hike family and friends to the top, so we are going to have a celebration in a private room at the local casino. There will be vows, we will be wearing suits and there will be a sit-down dinner for a small group of our friends and family.

I call this a celebration because Earl and I exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony back in December 26, 1996 on Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. That’s when the rings went on. We call that our wedding. That’s when it really started for us, after a few months of practice living together and a new washer and dryer. On October 13 we’ll be signing the legal documents, stating our sentiments in carefully constructed vows and sharing with our friends and family what we did privately back in December ’96. That’s kind of cool.

I consider this whole thing to be outside of my comfort zone because I’ve never really understood the need for a big wedding affair. I have seen brides walk down aisles barely representing what they really look like; their hair is being held up by flowers, they have makeup on in places that rarely need sprucing up and they might be stumbling a little as they make their way down an aisle of glaring guests wearing anything but their normally comfortable shoes. Conversely, I’ve seem grooms scrubbed up and cleaned out like they never have been before. Scruff is wiped away, unruly mustaches have been tamed and a comb has been introduced to hair that is usually hidden under a cap. It’s surreal to me. On the other hand, I’ve been to weddings where the bridesmaids ran off with the groom and took him to another bar for three hours. I don’t know if there was a stop at a no-tell motel along the way. Weddings are downright whacky to me for many reasons, but if it makes the couple happy then who am I to judge.

I mentioned to Earl last night that I thought it was going to be a little weird to kiss him in front of friends and family. Now don’t get me wrong, we still kiss and I still love it very much after all of these years, but I’m not one for public displays of affection. I think part of it is because I come from the tail end of the gay generation when you didn’t make other people uncomfortable. I don’t like people being uncomfortable. I get uncomfortable when I see other couples kiss (gay or straight) and to compensate I usually turn away slightly. It’s not that I’m embarrassed by it, but affection is something to be savored between the folks engaging in it. It’s a special moment and I just like to keep those thing private. I took a photo of Earl years ago where he was so overjoyed to be at Disney. His expression was pure happiness. I posted the photo on Flickr but then took it down. That was our moment and something that we would savor. It shouldn’t be put up on the web for people to make comments on. To see it on a website would be out of context. Context is important. The photo was printed out and posted on our wall of photos in our home. I can explain why Earl was so happy. Now that I think this through, I’m sure those celebrating with us will be happy to see that Earl and I share affection all these years later.

Suits have been fitted and will be here in plenty of time for alterations. Hotel reservations have been made and I have made our reservations for a long weekend together as a honeymoon. On Saturday we go to the casino to do some food and cake tasting and finalize the details.

Getting married on a Thursday evening is different. Not many people do that. But the date is special. I hope folks are able to share the moment with us. While I fully believe happiness should be savored, I guess it should also be shared.

I just need to realize that I am comfortable with that.

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Respite.

So in my blog post yesterday I quickly alluded to the fact that I needed to write about something trivial to kind of distract my mind. It wasn’t because things were overly intense or crazy, they were just slightly hectic. It’s interesting to see how the fates occasionally change our plans just to remind us of who is boss.

On Saturday, Earl, Scott and I went to Southwicks Beach State Park. Longtime dear readers will know that this is my favorite state park in the state; this particular park features sandy beaches, gentle winds and a view of Lake Ontario that looks like the ocean if you don’t squint too hard when you look south. It’s a busy place but because of it’s location it’s usually the local folks that populate the recreational areas, and this is another reason I like it. It’s also close to the hometown, so it feels really familiar.

Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day in these parts. We found ourselves at the last picnic table available. After some rearranging we were situated under one of the trees in the beach picnic area. I decided to go for a swim. Always cognizant of the fact that I have Irish skin that burns really easily, I sprayed some sunblock all over my milky white body (my sister prefers the term ‘lily white’ but I don’t feel that pure). I’ve done this before when cycling. I hate the feeling of sunblock on my skin but one has to do what they have to do, so I sprayed it on and jumped into the lake with the other couple hundred swimmers. There was merriment.

Earl opted to stay out of the water and relax in the shade because he wasn’t feeling quite right. He didn’t feel like he had the flu but he did feel like he might have some sort of fever, but he still wanted to enjoy the beach. So he took it easy.

After the ride home and the movies on Saturday night, I slept soundly until Sunday morning, when I awoke with swollen, itchy eyes and the bridge of my nose wider than usual. Vanity prevents me from sharing a picture of this state, but I attributed it to the sunscreen that I had sprayed on. Things calmed down to semi-normal by Monday morning. Earl, on the other hand, continued to feel feverish on and off. Because of this, he did not sleep well at all, in fact, I knew the fever was getting worse when he started babbling in his sleep. I had napped on Sunday so my sleep patterns Sunday night were screwed up too, so neither of us got a lot of sleep Sunday into Monday.

Monday morning I got up feeling just awful with my eyes still a little swollen but markedly better than Sunday. I headed off to work and got only as far as the first exit on the Thruway; I knew I wasn’t going to be productive at work, so I called off and headed home. When I got home Earl looked like hell but he was going to make an attempt at work. I crashed in bed until 11 and then went and met him for lunch. He still looked and felt like hell and his stomach did not enjoy lunch. I told him to go to Urgent Care, which he did. He said he wanted to go alone, but I had a call shortly afterwards to come join him. After blood and urine tests and a lot of poking and prodding, he was sent off for a CAT scan, which showed nothing out of the ordinary. His temperature was 103. A few hours later, we were headed home with not a good idea of what was going on but a couple of antibiotics to help with a possible infection in the gastro area and the promise of a doctor’s appointment by the end of the week (which has since been confirmed for Friday).

The swelling from the sunscreen is gone but now I have a slight rash over my right eye where apparently I rubbed my eyes in my sleep. Earl is home today and tomorrow, I resumed my work activities today. This is where technology does us well, IMs and phone calls at lunch are helping keep me apprised of his condition.

I think it’s time for me to get a physical.

On the bright side, I cooked dinner two nights in a row and it didn’t make anybody any worse off than they already were.

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