Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where the &()^*(%%% Did I Put the Aspirin?

I love my wife most dearly, as most of you already know. I'm probably not the best at showing appreciation at points, but I'm trying to learn to be more perceptive and appreciative about all the things she does. I've never met anyone who deals with so much in such an efficient, logical manner, and yesterday, I gained quite a bit of appreciation of what she deals with when I get to escape to the relative quiet of my cubicle farm.
Granted, our house is going through major upheaval with a construction project to put extra rooms in back, so things aren't exactly normal around our place. But then again, we live with seven cats and my mother in law, so normal is a relative thing. There's always something going on, as it's rare to have a quiet day with nothing going on. Tuesday night, girl wasn't feeling too well and so skipped out on bowling, and asked me to work from home the next day so I could be here to deal with the chaos of the day. I agreed, because I have the flexibility to do that and I wanted to help.
And things got off to a raucous start with my first conference call at 8 AM and the construction crew arrived. I've worked around construction before, so I understand there's noise about, but I'd forgotten how constant it can be, especially with a rather chatty crew. Our contractor is a great guy, and his crew is extremely professional, and when they are in the mode, they are very detail oriented while having fun loudly. Well, and playing with loud tools means lots of constant noise. While humans can relatively tune it out, our cats aren't as tuned in so they tend to cling tenaciously to any familiar humans because of the unfamiliar sounds. Granted, we are blessed with some of most visible cats ever as they are constantly about, unlike other cats I know that only tend to appear when they want something.
As the day wore on, I spent my time balancing my work calls and emails along with interruptions from the crew about questions (thankfully, they told me they'd be making a hole in the roof so we could prepare for it) while the phone rang a bit. Oh, and the doorbell rang because of a stream of deliveries of random stuff. I can't imagine how difficult it is to get anything done amongst the constant stream of interruptions, especially since there's not too many places to hide in our house from the noise. My office has the same interruptions and randomness, as I'm sure we can all relate to, but I have the option of putting on headphones or finding a conference room to escape to for some space out time until someone kicks me out because they have an actual meeting. I should remember to put in a real conference room reservation before I just wander into a room...
But what my day at home did was make me realize how much she has to deal with, and I often time take what she does for granted. I'm sure that if she had to deal with what I do at my cube farm, she would see the same thing as I did, but this is about me and my putting into words how impressed I am with what she deals with, and how much I appreciate what she is doing. And all I can say is that the end results of this project will be well worth the temporary insanity. I'll just remember to bring the aspirin home and try to pitch in where I can.
In other news, I was reading the headlines and found a most recent email interview with Bill Watterson, the creator of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Watterson is a remarkably talented artist who is also a major recluse, as he shunned most publicity interviews during the time he was drawing the strip that became wildly popular. Everyone could relate to the adventures of Calvin, a wonderfully adventurous boy whose imagination was unbridled by the bounds of reality. His near constant companion was Hobbes, his stuffed tiger who provided his thoughts that only Calvin could understand. The strip was required reading for me every day, as I could relate to the craziness that Calvin dealt with each day, and it became a worldwide phenomenon. Calvin and Hobbes also ushered in the golden age of some of the new strips that became pop culture repositories, often putting the world into insanely funny snapshots. I'd say that Calvin and Hobbes ranks with Bloom County and Get Fuzzy as some of the best comic art ever done in a daily newspaper.
And as soon as Calvin and Hobbes reached a near pinnacle status, Watterson announced he was done doing the strip. After starting his strip in 1985, citing stress and a few other issues, he decided to stop it all together. Unlike other strips that have carried on for years, Calvin ahd Hobbes left at the top of the game and fans have always wanted more to this day, as the reprints are still widely popular. We all see things in pop culture that have stayed way beyond their useful shelf life. I can't figure out the appeal of the Chipmunks myself, but hey, apparently I'm alone in my disdain for furry rodents warbling out today's crappy hits in high pitched shreaking. Calvin and Hobbes departed on their terms, and being a big fan, I was dishearted to learn that there would be no more adventures of Spaceman Spiff, Stupendous Man and what would the transmogrifier screw up this week. But I can imagine that it's a wonderful feeling to leave a legacy like this on your own terms, never having to compromise the vision of the creation, and be able to truly inspire and entertain so many. Plus this summer, I'll have to to buy the stamp!!
Being a Trail Blazer fan, I'm really happy to hear that we've finally got some misery in our company. Our beloved NBA team and city were listed amongst the 15 most tortured sports cities, with our history of near misses, spectacular meltdowns, a first round draft pick the city can't forget (Sam Bowie), and a most recent first round pick that can't seem to stay healthy. I moved here right before the 1989 championship run, and watched the near misses in 1991 and 1992, thinking that things couldn't get much worse. That was before the 2000 championship meltdown and the dark ages of the team that shall remain nameless. Now here we are with a collection of really good guys this season, playing out of their minds and hovering about the .500 mark despite leading the NBA in player games missed due to injury. I would expect most teams to fold up like a tent if they had to deal with the uncertainty we've dealt with this season, and despite all of that, we keep winning. If you took this sports history and linked it with the Timbers' near misses in their history, there are many sports fans that probably would have just given up already, not being able to take the losses, the pain, the suffering. That's why it takes a special breed to be a sports fan in Portland, it's not for the faint of heart.

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