Monday, September 22, 2014

The best seat in the house

The Mud Squad
Summer is packed with outdoor festivals. Bring a blanket or a chair, pack some snacks, and enjoy the day.

Me? I like to go early and get a seat up close. I don't know why. In most amphitheaters, the sound is clear wherever you sit. Still, I like to see the entertainers. And I don't like being distracted by the goings on in the audience.

If you've been to one of these festivals, you know what I'm talking about. The balloon toss. Hula hoops. Dancing circles. Passing food and other stuffs back and forth.

To avoid the circus in the seats, I typically scurry to the front. Even at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, where I sat in the splash zone for The Mud Squad (see them on "The Book of Face").

This weekend, I had to nix all outings after being waylaid by an aggressive and fast-moving cold. Rest. Liquids. And more rest were my marching orders. And that's all I had strength for.

I settled into the sitting room, windows open, prepared to be bored. Then I found I had the best seat in the house for live music.

The orchard next door was holding its annual Arts, Crafts & Music Festival. Over the course of two days, I heard six bands playing favorites, old and new. The sound was clear and full.

Of course I didn't see any of the musicians. But I didn't miss them. I could stretch out, relax, scratch a cat, even nap -- and still enjoy the show.

I realize how scarce an opportunity it is to have live entertainment delivered not just to your door, but through your window. But for a sickly stay-at-home weekend, it was the perfect treat.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Life as a rush job

It started this winter. The feeling that I had to hurry. I didn’t know what for, I just knew procrastination wasn’t advised.

In the back of my mind, I was cognizant of having two elderly parents living a thousand miles away who might need help.

This get-it-done-now attitude had some benefits: an earlier-than-usual vacation; home repairs attended to; and paperwork kept up to date. Projects came in and were turned around without delay.

The opportunity for a mid-summer trip to the Midwest cropped up, and on my last night there, my hurry-hurry strategy began to seem prescient. A telephone message from my dad revealed just how much things were unraveling for my folks in Florida.

Over the following days, concerns shifted from one parent to the other, as both dealt with their own medical issues. The calls were what I had dreaded but expected.

The month of August was a blur of flights back and forth, helping out as much as I could and then heading home. I conferred with my brother over medical options from wherever I happened to be – even on a layover in the Atlanta airport.

As I rushed between crises, time ran out for my father. He passed away after a tough four weeks navigating all the healthcare system had to offer.

There was more rushing around as my parents’ children, grandchildren, a great granddaughter, a niece, a grandnephew – plus spouses – gathered to honor my father’s life. After the service, we all rushed back to our own lives.

Because I had fulfilled my commitments to client projects early on, I was able to spend as much time as needed with family throughout the whole medical morass, from hospital to nursing home to hospice to final arrangements. Good thing, too, because I wasn’t good for much else, finding myself unable to string together cogent sentences.

Now, as life settles into new patterns, I’m ready to jump back into the flow of work; and new projects are appearing on my schedule. 

I don’t feel as much need to rush through deadlines, but I probably will to an extent. There’s no immediate need for me to fly back to Florida at a moment’s notice, but you never know. Time will tell. And I will be ready.