Friday, October 21, 2005

Lost

Am lost tonight (this morning’s wee hours) can’t get online. Been trying for an hour. For the first forty minutes the AOL dialup process couldn’t get past step 2. Was given a bit of hope when it finally broke through to step 3 and shortly thereafter to step 4: requesting network attention and I sat and stared at the connection log as it racked up 14 attempts. I had been canceling after five attempts but that little bit of hope….. Then I remembered that Dr Phil mantra that the definition of insanity is obsessively repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result. I realized that I had just spent a precious hour watching the computer endlessly repeat a behavior and getting the same unwanted response while I sat helplessly chanting (silently) ‘go, go, go’ or alternately, ‘please, please, please’. Either I or the computer must be insane. :)

I decided that I needed to find something else to do for a minimum of twenty minutes. Obviously the local dial up numbers for AOL were having some kind of problem or were down for regularly scheduled maintenance. At least I do hope that is the explanation. Besides feeling hopelessly lost while disconnected from the www, I have several things I need to take care of online which are of a more urgent nature than surfing for news and info or blogging or IM-ing or whatnot.

The first is the need to send an error report to Microsoft as something odd happened the first time I tried to go online tonight. Windows quit. The screen went black with a lot of different colored font that looked mostly like code. I caught a brief glimpse of a phrase: Windows encountered an error and must shut down. Then the screen went totally black followed by the cold boot up screen. I panicked for several moments. Until the familiar welcome screen appeared with the logos for mine and my husband’s desktops. I clicked on mine and it loaded without a glitch but once loaded it popped up with the error report message that the system has recovered from a serious error and requesting that a log of the error be sent to Microsoft. I must confess that I don’t always send those reports. Especially if I am not already online. But a ‘serious error’ at the system level does tend to send shivers up your spine. I don’t know what good is going to come of sending the report anyway. There is never a response so it is not like I am going to be learning anything helpful by doing so. Still….

Anyway the second urgent matter I need to tend to is to go online to Jackson County Library System to renew the books which are due today. I am still out of town. This time tho, there are only a few which will renew. The majority of them have had their two renewals already. A few of those I have with me. So I am going to have to make a long distance call to the library tomorrow to explain my situation. But first I need to renew the ones that will and then send an email to my husband regarding the ones that need to go back which are still on the shelves in our room. I have been doing that every Friday since I left town. And my husband has not always found and returned all of the relevant books on time.

That relates to another way I am lost tonight. I had no idea when I left town how long I would be gone. The trip was planned and executed on an emergency basis without any way of pinning down a time-frame. I had gotten the word my Dad’s liver was failing and time was short. But ’short’ covered the territory from hours to weeks. Thought they expected him to have only days of mental coherence left, he could have possibly spent weeks in a comatose state. So my plan when I left was to stay for the duration plus at least one week beyond the funeral. I left Phoenix four weeks and two days ago. It is just twenty-some hours short of four weeks since Dad died. And it is one day short of three weeks since his funeral. I am in limbo in my mind and heart. Neither place is really my home. Here is my mother’s home and there is my mother-in-law’s home. Not a good position to be in for a married woman in the last half of her fifth decade.

The whole meme of ‘lost’ for this post was inspired primarily by the ABC series, Lost, which I watched with my Mom, sister and nephew last evening. And, yes, I mean Thursday evening. They record it because it’s new timeslot on Wednesday night is past my nephew’s bedtime. I was surprised to discover that my family had been avid Lost watchers last season. Including my Dad. I would never have predicted. Anyway, it is the only show that I was hooked on last season that I am getting to watch while I am here. I missed all of the season premieres. I gave them up without a peep because most of them would not be child-friendly and many (Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal, Medium, Joan of Arcadia, Grey’s Anatomy) do not have the appropriate values frame for a mostly conservative, evangelical household. I would have expected Lost to have fit in that category too. I’m stymied as to what attracted and hooked them all to it. Especially Mom and Dad. I can see its attraction for a not yet fully indoctrinated eleven-year-old boy. And my sister has always been rather eccentric. And come to think of it, my Dad used to watch Star Trek with me why back when and seemed to enjoy it almost as much as I did, making no comment to my Mom’s frequent query as to whether he didn’t think it was sacrilegious.

The only other series this family watches every week is 7th Heaven. I used to watch it regularly too until my in-law’s switched from cable to satellite two years ago and opted not to pay the extra for the local channels. WB was the only ’local’ channel that will not come in on the regular antenna for them so I lost the ability to follow the Camden family exploits about the time Mary announced she was pregnant, Matt’s wife walked out, Lucy was just married, Simon was leaving for college a year early… Now I am completely lost while watching it.

And tonight after Lost was over, a situation developed in which I came close to loosing it. It being my composure, my precarious balance on the emotional tightrope I walk each day while here. The entire hour of the story had been riddled with interruptions because one person or another had not caught one scene or phrase etc and another would fill them in either muting or pausing the tape or talking over the dialog or occasionally rewinding. I have my Dad’s ears as well as my Mom’s eyes. (10-15% of my field of vision left and under 50% of my hearing range) So it was very frustrating. To make matters worse, I had not slept that day, having stayed on the computer most of the day. Well both my sister and her son have been diagnosed with ADD and my sister suspects that both Mom and I have it too. But if I have it, it presents quite differently for me. I hate to have my stories interrupted. I have never had a problem sitting quietly thru them. Mom never could and still doesn’t. She gets up to putter around in the kitchen during commercials. Even when someone is fast-forwarding thru them. My nephew chatters incessantly. He opines on the character’s motives, he predicts the next plot development. And he is seldom right because he has not been listening closely enough and jumps to conclusions. His Mom or Grandma then feel the need to correct him or request he calm down. But not in brief form. Unless you might be referring to a legal brief submitted to the Supreme Court. :)

Anyway. I was on edge when the story ended. And then my nephew pitched a fit when a preview for another story came on the TV. I am unclear as to whether the tape was still playing or this was in real time on one of the channels. It was apparently for a new series dealing with serial killers and the images were graphic and violent. My nephew is susceptible to nasty nightmares which images like that witnessed just before bed can trigger. He jumped up and ran out of the room crying and, in escalating volume, chanting over and over: Shut off the TV. Shut off the TV. SHUT OFF THE TV. Followed by shrill wailing and then: WHY IS THE TV STILL ON? DON’T YOU CARE I’M GONNA HAVE NIGHTMARES? WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT, ME OR THE TVEEEEEEEEEE?

My sister had apparently noticed that I was interested in that preview and so had not immediately complied with her son’s request. Myself? I had been blocking out the distractions to some degree so had not tuned into the situation in time to realize my role in it. And once I did understand, instead of immediately empathizing with the distressed child as I am wont to do, as is my well earned reputation in the family.. I felt myself becoming a distressed child on the verge of a meltdown of my own. The weeks of listening to his whining, me-first, me-NOW OR ELSE voice, his sarcastic, in-your-face back talk to his mother, I had enough. I am easily overwhelmed by sensory overload which is one of the reasons my sister suspects me of ADD too. The volume of his voice and the TV, my sister’s attempt to get his attention, my Mom’s clinking and clanking the dishes as she loaded the dishwasher…. I had to get out of there or I was going to stick my nose and mouth in where it didn’t belong. My head was bursting with phrases more typical of my Dad than myself. And the fact that I was sitting in his recliner took on an eerie significance and I felt as tho I had to get as far away from that chair and that room and that ruckus as possible or risk loosing my very sense of my self.

I went downstairs and sat in the dark watching the computer’s screen saver. And I did finally loose my composure. For the first time in nearly a week, I wept. For loss and for feeling lost. For confusion and for sensory and emotional overload. I let the tears flow for probably five minutes. And suddenly I was exceedingly weary. I decided to go to bed. I’m not sure how soon, but I slept for a time before being awakened when my sister came to bed a couple hours later. Then I got up so that I could have a session. Now that the house is silent and dark.

And I used to think that I wanted a dozen kids!!!
Well actually, I still do. But that’s another story. For another day. Or another lifetime.

Meanwhile that incident and its aftermath has fed into my current conundrum. I have been dithering about whether to stay or go for the past ten days. I’ve tried repeatedly to compile a good pro and con list for staying and another for going back. And all I get out of it is a steady flip-flop on a six to twelve hour pace. And I guess I am not going to solve it now by reiterating all the reasons for going against all the reasons for staying here. It has been well over an hour since I tried to log on. I think I will try again. And if it works get those afore mentioned tasks taken care of and then post this.

2 tell me a story:

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