Sunday, September 9, 2007

Pokey's One-Way Ticket to Hell

I’ve had my daddy here for 24 hours or so now, which has been a joy. He hasn’t been to my house since we lived in Winston-Salem because of work and dogs and aversion to air travel and then momma. He’s going to visit his surviving sisters in southwest Georgia for the week, and since I went to Southport for Hope Marie’s birthday party yesterday, I brought him back here for a quick visit with us before his trip.

Tonight at 1:05 AM he boards the bus in Columbia proper for a 12 hour journey to Albany, where Aunt Evie and Uncle Beal will pick him up and take him back to Dawson. He’s the youngest of the remaining four (at 74, that speaks to our family’s longevity) and feels compelled to go see Aunt Annie Mae in the nursing home and Aunt Marie at her home since they can no longer travel. They’ll take a quick trip to Pitts (seriously, that’s where he grew up – Pitts, GA) one day to reminisce, he’ll swap stories with some nephews and cousins and all, and then he’ll be anxious and ready to return home.

His knees give him a lot of trouble, his cigarette habit is as bad as ever, and as much as he enjoys dwelling on the past, he grows quickly weary of being away from home, so his return trip next weekend won’t come soon enough for him. Most of them are pretty narrow-minded, to the extent that daddy looks like a real liberal when among them, and he’ll get pretty sick of all that, too. But, he knows he wants to see them all, and he wants to visit the graveyards there, because he realizes he might never get back.

Then again, he might. But it’s strange to imagine that time in our lives when we are doing everything for the last time. I’m sure this is the first of many lasts for him, and I hope he has years to complete them all, because I’ve grown accustomed to having him around! I hope he’ll grow weary of doing his consulting work sometime soon and come see us more frequently or for longer periods. Meanwhile, we all are entertained by the fact that he’s bought a one-way bus ticket to the back door of Hell and how much that would have amused my momma!

I sure do love my Pokey and I know he loves his Squirt-diddy-bo. Safe travel for him! Godspeed!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Online "Friends"

Now that I have completely reverted to adolescence and have both myspace and facebook accounts, I am faced with the concept of friendship.

My philosophy is best summed up like this: No one has 896 friends. No one. Even if your account says you do. See, I subscribe to the school of thought that "friends" are people you actually KNOW.

But my new challenge is this: I certainly have known 896 people over the course of my days. More, even. But can I call them all "friend" and do I want to add them all to my friends list? Just because someone requests your "friendship," do you have to give it? Mrs. Manners probably doesn't have a facebook account, so I can't consult with her snooty butt. God wants us all to get along and be friendly, but I think the "-ly" on that is an out on maintaining relationships with people you hardly know.

So here's how I'm dealing with this: The people on my "friends" lists are people I actually know or have known and that I am willing to develop or renew friendships with. Just like in real life, I'll put more time and effort into maintaining some than others. It's maybe more like a "friends and acquaintances" list, now isn't it? I'll continue to reject the friendships of total strangers, and I'm sure I'll be faced with a friend request that I'll reject wholeheartedly at some point, but for now, I'm going to save the world, one facebook poke at a time.

For my paranoid friends who read this, don't worry. You really are my friend. I'm talking about other people, not you.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Free writing ain't as easy as you think...

Austin has to free-write for 10 minutes every weekend, so I promised him I'd write alongside him during those times. He just read me part of what he's written thus far - mostly a thorough mocking of his beloved mom. Nice. Trouble for both of us: can't think of what to write.

Actually, I can think of a bunch of things I could write about and would love to, but most of them are about Austin, and he doesn't want me "broadcasting his personal and sometimes embarrassing life all over the internet." (almost verbatim...) For instance, I wanted to write a piece entitled "What I want? I want Somefing!" but that would have required the story behind that ever-so-present part of our family's vernacular. (Hint to outsiders: Austin started it - but I didn't tell you that, now did I?)

Alas. I have Austin-imposed writer's block, but I've free-written with him, so I guess that's what matters.

Time's up already. I cheated and didn't spend the whole ten minutes writing, but neither did he. He spent most of the time asking me how much time he has left. Just like my students used to do before they got the hang of what I expected and knew what to do. How dear. He'll soon have so much to write and such a willingness to do it that he won't even think of the time.

Thanks for reading. Now you go write for 10 minutes and see what you come up with under pressure!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Do I talk in questions? Yes, I do.

There's an episode of Scrubs (one of my all-time favorite shows, especially now that it's in syndication) where this surgeon is a question-talker. Does he ask questions and then answer them? Yes he does. Is the episode funny as hell? Of course it is. Does it beat Seinfeld's uptalker episode with a stick? You betcha.

Anyway, I recently realized that I do that - talk in questions, that is - a bunch. Now I'm almost paranoid about it. I caught myself asking a question today when a statement would have been just as effective and I almost laughed aloud at myself. Would I have looked stupid? I believe I would have. (See, it's sooooo hard to stop.)

So I hereby resolve to only use the question-followed-by-answer when it is the best way to create my desired effect with whatever I'm saying. I think it's a residual teacher-me habit. If you ask a question, people are more likely to listen than if you just make a statement, because a question mark actually implies you want THEIR answer - but in this case, of course, it's all about me. I'd like to limit myself to asking questions when I really want to hear someone else's thoughts rather than when I want to rope them into hearing mine.

Does that sound like a plan? (Oh, how I want to answer...)

Being the Boss

My boss (Jeff) is in the Bahamas swilling down Bahamian booze and going to ball games with a bunch of other Indiana Hoosier Loosiers, but mostly he is celebrating ten years of marriage - which, as we've all come to realize in our old age, is quite a feat. Meanwhile, I'm here Being Jeff.

THAT MAN WORKS WAY TOO HARD. Or maybe just too much; hard to tell. My phone rang off the hook on Friday and quite a bit yesterday. My only "scheduled" tasks when he left were two closings on Friday afternoon and get a new listing up and running. No problem! Before noon on Friday, I had the rest of my day booked and ended up working about 8 hours yesterday, as well.

Needless to say, this is one reason I am not a full-time real estate agent, nor do I desire to be. While I can juggle a few cases for a few days and keep all the balls in the air, every task seems to grow in the amount of time it requires to complete between the time you schedule it and the time it is done. I am counselor, photographer, graphic artist, technology technician, race car driver (Lord, I'm in the car a lot), teacher, magician, and palm reader all in one. (And the counselor part is the part that makes the difference in decent agent and stellar one.) Multiply that times 15 active listings and several buyers, and the guy in charge is swamped.

Difference between Jeff and me? It feeds him. He thrives on the surprise of it all and the sense of accomplishment and the tremendous challenge of making everything happen while making everyone happy.

I have just grown to think that most people are a bunch of whiners.

Anyway, I'm glad it's Sunday and a holiday weekend. Most people are wanting to party and play on the lake this weekend, so I don't think the phone will be too active today or tomorrow. At this point, I only need to create, print, and deliver flyers to one listing today, but I'm knocking hard on wood that my day doesn't fill up. It can't, as I have bunches to do around here and want to spend time with MY family. Hats off to Jeff for thriving in all of this - and he BETTER be having a good time and relaxing, because he won't be getting any more breaks any time soon! I quit! (But that's a whole other story...)