"That's entertainment, that's entertainment, la la la la la la la-a..."

buff sis

working in the wee hours

plant rescue

a wee flirt


Went home to see my mother and brother and sisters. Pay a visit. Help stain some windows. Look through some of my dad's things. I hadn't been thinking much about it. Avoiding thinking about it. Maybe. I haven't been thinking about my dad's death as much in the past few weeks. Every once in a while, but I don't burst into tears quite as regularly. I'd made my reservations several weeks ago, so I had to keep vigilant. Something like this could easily be forgotten or remembered incorrectly. Like a departure time, for example.

But, thanks to my friend Erik, I got to the plane with plenty of time to spare. And thanks to American Airlines, I had even more time than I had anticipated. It seems they couldn't close the door to the jet. They tried to fix it for a couple of hours, but then gave up. The crowd got restless, some bailed, but a new plane was found. The only catch was that it had started to storm in Chicago, so no one was leaving. I didn't care. I had my cell phone with me. I called the woman I have this little crush on. I went to an empty gate and sat on the floor by the window and talked to her for about fifteen minutes or so. She was in a good mood. I found myself sprawling on the floor, feeling like a teenager in love. Or like a middle-aged guy in love. I remember calls a few years ago, where I was lying on the couch, my leg kicked over the back, my head hanging down by the floor. I remember having to stop the car, having to pull over and park in the middle of traffic to kiss. To sit in the car and make out. And not a give shit whether anyone was watching. That's how I felt at the airport. In a word, happy.

And I know this isn't going to go anywhere. It hasn't even started. But it just feels great to talk to someone like that and feel like that. So, I didn't mind the wait at the airport. I didn't really care about anything. I was in a strange mood between this crush elation and the sadness of my dad's death.

I finally got in to Elk Grove around 1:30 in the morning. My mom was up, the new windows were up, my brother was asleep. We talked for a while. One of my sisters showed up. The other was coming in the next day. It was good to be home. My sister was excited because she had found some old papers and pictures to take to her high school reunion. She laughed hysterically as she read some of the pieces to us.

The next day (he jumped ahead), we started working. Building new supports for the couch, prepping the windows. My brother, always a Cub fan, went to the game. My sister and I began staining the new sliding glass doors. We dabbed the white stain with rags and started to rub it on. The stain soaked into the wood trim -- and left parts of it white. Other parts barely looked coated, but some areas looked as if they had been whitewashed. My mother got this sick look on her face. We tried rubbing it away, sanding it away. The wood was uneven. But we found that after a few hours of looking at it, you hardly noticed it. Unless you looked at the weird parts. My youngest sister showed up and we filled her in on the staining fun.

That night I went with my sister to her high school reunion. The VFW-night-before the-official-reunion party. My sister was only a year behind me, so I had known a few of her friends. We showed up and my sister immediately found her best friend. I checked out the displays and pictures. A woman walkd up to me. Tall, pretty. She glanced at my hand-written name tag. I looked at hers. She said hi. I said hi. She said "We went out on a date in high school." I looked at her. I tried to look at her name tag. "Really? We did?" "Yes, we went to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." I had no memory of her. I asked her if she were kidding. No. I was astounded. How could I forget someone who looked like that? And I was pretty sure I remembered all three or four dates from high school. We talked for a while. I told her in high school I hadn't been much of a dater, had been pretty nervous (anxious) about it. She was kind. She remembered that "Mr. Dean" had driven us. One of those dates. Sitting silent in the back of the car as my Dad drove us to the movie theater.

A few minutes later, I found my sister and told her about it. As we were talking, another woman walked over to us. Before I could look down and read her tag, she asked me point blank, "You don't remember me, do you?" I looked at her. She was pretty. Very clear eyes. Blond hair. I read her name tag. "No," I said. "You don't remember going out on a date with me? You were working at Walgreen's." What? I looked at her. I did not remember her. Was this a joke? I asked her if she were kidding. No. She played at being mad for a while, but was having fun. At my expense. A little while later, I saw one my sister's friends. She looked exactly the same as she had in school. She was surprised to see me there. We caught up with each other, cutting each oher off, talking excitedly. And at one point she turned to another friend of hers and said "Jim was so sweet in high school." She looked at me and asked, "Do you remember when we were on that ski trip and I broke my leg and you rescued me?"

No. I had never been skiing. Just once about a year or so ago. But never in high school. I tried to tell her that I had never been, but she was adamant. No, it had been me. I had helped her when she broke her leg. I finally said, okay! Yeah, sure. My sister appeared a few minutes later and straightened things out. When this girl had broken her leg, my dad and I drove up to Wisconsin or wherever, and got her. We brought her back home. I had rescued her. Sort of.

A little while later, I ran into another woman. She also looked the same as she had in high school. She, too, was surprised to see me. "Aren't you famous or something?" I told her if I were famous, she'd know it, wouldn't she? I knew I had liked her in high school. I asked her, "Did we go out on a date in high school?" "Yes!" Her eyes lit up. This all happened about a half hour into the party. I didn't run into any more lost dates. I did look up the second one. Her senior photo was on the wall. When I saw the picture, I suddenly remembered her. But I still didn't remember the date with her. However, I did realize even more clearly that I had only dated these women/girls only once. I had been ridiculously shy and backward and awkward. I didn't know what to do on a date. And I had no follow through. And I still don't have much of a clue. But at least I had gone on a couple more dates than I had thought.

Before I left Elk Grove, we finished staining and coating the woodwork. And my Mom threw me a birthday lunch, complete with her famous angel food cake. And we all went through my dad's things (mostly tools) and selected a few items as keepsakes, or just for our own use. It was a little tough on my mom, I think. At one point she came back from having looked in my dad's dresser with tears in her eyes. And I realized how hard my Dad's death still is for her. I think of her as a rock. She has always been very calm and level-headed. So, it hurts to see her in pain or to think of her living in pain. She's surrounded by a house my father rebuilt and changed. A house they had lived together in for forty three years. I offered her my support, told her I would call more frequently, and said I would visit in September. She seemed happy to hear that. But honestly, I don't think there is much I can do. And that is frustrating and sad. But I guess that's how it is.
We all try.

some recent polagraph shots. the top was the first exposure on a roll and came out just as it looks.

girls in the hoods

Who says I don't do headshots?

ski rescuee (rt)

the original sonofabitch

little red

all material ©2001 iguanaking