Birthday 2015

It was a crazy / interesting day. Nothing particularly good or bad, just different than what I expected because of a whole bunch of little moving things. Put all together it made the day enjoyable. I guess I’m not that different than the girls in that sense.

The roots of the day actually start on Saturday. We were at Moms’ for my birthday dinner. Pops wanted to plan a day to go take me and Dave out to lunch for my birthday. He had a window job scheduled for today, so asked about Tue or Thu. I had a meeting Tue, so we settled on Thu.

This morning was rainy / windy / stormy. When I got to work there were some power issues. Some people were on an affected grid so their computers wouldn’t work. There were also some lights out. I was able to work though.

Mid-morning I got a call from Pops. Because of the weather, he couldn’t do his window job today. He wanted to switch lunch to today. Fine for me. He said he would check with Dave.

Next, the power problem affected the rest of Accounting. I was down for 20-30 minutes, before I figured on trying to set up a mobile hotspot through my phone. It worked. I got Shell on too since she also has a laptop with Wi-Fi and a VPN.

Pops called back. Lunch is on for today. I told Shell that she only has until 11:45, then I’m taking the “network” with me. And because it was my birthday lunch we were going somewhere with wait service and I was probably going to be a little on the long side.

…I was gone for about 1:30. Lunch was at Toscana and it was good as always.

I got back about 1:15. Power was half back, so Shell didn’t need me anyway. Finally got into work a little bit.

In Accounting, the birthday person always treats the group. Normally people bring in breakfast. I’m one of the few summer birthdays, so I normally do ice cream or water ice or something like that. Plus I eat breakfast too early to wait until work anyway.

With the power problems, the air conditioner stopped running. Everybody was hot and miserable. Perfect time for a cool treat. I went to Trader Joe’s for chipwich sandwiches. I found these a couple years ago, and they are fucking unbelievable! I’m not a huge ice cream guy (that’s a story for another time), but the ice cream is good. And the cookie is great. With a chipwich you need a cookie soft enough to eat that won’t fall apart, but not so hard that it squishes all of the ice cream out the sides. Trader Joe’s nailed it.

I came back and the office was dark. We were being shut down by PSE&G for a repair. I handed out the chipwiches. Everybody got happy. And about 10 minutes later CHH called over to say we were closing. 3:00 dismissal! Happy birthday to me indeed!


Ron Connors

Colleen’s dad died on Sunday. He was a good dude. I would see him 4 or 5 times a year at Dave’s house. He seemed like he should be gruff, but I always found him affable.

He had been sick for awhile. I think like 6 years. He had “one of everything”…heart attacks, cancer, COPD, emphysema, etc. Honestly, being a step removed, I couldn’t keep track. I do know that if he was a cat, he well out lived his 9 lives. He had a lot of reasons for his health issues. It was a combination of smoking, exposure to Agent Orange while fighting in Vietnam, and even possibly working in a commercial bakery (fine flour in the air all the time).

A couple weeks ago he had a stroke. We found out the night we went to Moms & Pops for Pam’s birthday dinner. Col wasn’t there. She was shooting us text message updates throughout the evening. In the middle of all that she managed to apologize to Pam for missing her birthday. She is too considerate.

He made it out of the hospital, but never fully recovered. He was weak and fell and wound up back in the hospital. He was then diagnosed with kidney failure, sepsis, and probably some more stuff. He only lasted a couple days more.

The funeral was on Wednesday. This was the first time that the girls were going to a funeral. They wanted to go to support their cousins. Pam and I were fine with it. We felt like they were old enough to handle it. At no point through his up’s and down’s over the last few years did we ever hide any info from them. We’re generally pretty honest with them about everything. I think kids are more capable of dealing than most people give them credit for. Plus, they know when something is going on anyway. We figured this would be a relatively good funeral to expose them to for their first one.

In preparation for Wednesday, I gave them a rundown of what to expect. The main thing I wanted to make sure they were ready for was the open coffin. I tucked in Julia first Tuesday night. Before I left the room – unrelated to anything – she asked me how many seconds there were in a day. I told her we would look it up tomorrow. “Go to bed!”

Next up was Susie. We talked for a while. We came back to a discussion of the open coffin. Good thing we did. She said she was envisioning something out of Indiana Jones. I’m not sure if she meant one of the mummified bodies or the guys whose faces melt off. Either way, I’m glad we got it straightened out before I left her because she probably would’ve been up all night.

After I left her room I figured I better go back to Jul just in case she had the same misconception. I popped open her door and she is sitting up in bed, reading light on and pan and paper in hand. “What are you doing?!?” “I’m calculating how many seconds there are in a day.” Little wacko!!! She asked why I came back. I explained Susie’s confusion. Julia, confused by Susie’s confusion, “He’s just going to look like he’s sleeping, right?”

I’m usually not really bothered by funerals. I don’t know if it’s because I never lost anyone I really cared for or if it’s just because my black heart inhibits me from having any feelings about anything. I remember being a little weepy at Grandmom Girgenti’s funeral. I was 14. It wasn’t because I personally felt a great loss – she wasn’t a warm person (as evident by the generic name “Grandmom Girgenti”). I think it was because I was envisioning my other grandmom dying.

Of course when my other grandmom did die 11 years later, I don’t recall being broken up about it. I knew that I would miss her – she was a great lady…I have lots of special memories with her – but I don’t remember crying at all. Maybe because she was very realistic about life and death. (I’m realistic too, but dammit, I want to live forever!) Maybe because my mom wasn’t outwardly upset. For the record, if emotions can be passed through hereditary, this is the family line that I can blame for me not having any. My mom has been nicknamed The Rock because she doesn’t break for anything. I know it’s a stereotype, but there might be something to the thought that Germans lack feelings.

Ron’s funeral pretty much played out the way I expected. Susie cried a lot, Julia didn’t cry at all (Rock v3.0), and I just took everything in a practical manner. But then Colleen got up to give the eulogy. It was awesome! She really did a great job highlighting interactions from his life. And it was…moving? I guess. What were these feelings I was having? I really got choked up, especially when she talked about moments her dad had with his grandchildren. I can’t believe I got upset. I was shocked, confused…and excited! Yay, I do have empathy!

The last highlight of the funeral was communion. It was getting close to lunch time at this point. Julia saw they were handing out food at the front of the line. She looked at me like “heyyyyyy, can I go get a cracker?” I should have let her go just to see how quickly Pam could pull her out of that line. I’m sure it would’ve been less than a second.

Here is Ron’s obituary:

Projects with Pops

Moms emailed me this week. She needed help with bookkeeping for Dave’s new company he is starting. I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk her through it on the phone.

About the same time, Susie decided she wanted to make some kind of rack that she saw on Pinterest. She asked me to get her a piece of wood…a scrap size that Pops probably has in his garage. So I figured it was a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

Sunday morning worked for my parents. Since Pam works on Sundays and we were going to be gone for a while, Julia had to come with us. So, since she had to come, she decided she was going to find some projects to do too – a bank made out of cut aluminum cans, and a “J” made out of broken crayons.

Julia planned her day around food. She purposely asked to be woken up late enough so that she wouldn’t have time to eat breakfast at home. I told her she can’t bother Grammy to make her anything because I would be busy with her. She said all she would need is a bowl. Apparently even cereal taste better out of the house.

We got there and it was even better than she could’ve anticipated. Pops immediately said, “Let’s go!” and took the girls to Dunkin Donuts. He had a Gift Card from work burning a hole in his pocket. They got donuts and coffee!

Moms and I stayed back and worked. They came home and did their projects. I think Pops got a kick out of helping them and just the fact that they wanted to do projects that required his help…not just arts and crafts.

We all wrapped up just around noon. This, of course, led Julia to exclaim, “Let’s stay for lunch!”