Saturday, July 12, 2014

Commencement, Fried Chicken, Waffles, a CISCO router and flies (alot of flies)

On Friday, we had a commencement ceremony for our April and July Graduates. I had told Gary several times earlier in the week, yesterday morning and at lunch time that I would be gone until at least 9:00pm....just like every other twice a year graduation for the last 7 years. He knows this.  Well, he used to know this. 

I left for the downtown auditorium around 3:30 and while on the road, attempted to call Gary.  Home line, no response.  Business line, no response.  Cell phone, no response.  GPS, no response.  OK, now I'm irritated. Obviously, he had gone on a walk and forgotten his "electronics".

I parked at the auditorium and proceeded to haul my load of stuff in to the dressing room.  Extra robes, shoes, makeup, flat iron, purse, cell phone, tablet and one of my employees suit jacket. I forgot about rechecking on Gary.

My role in the day is to be at the auditorium, help with setup, rehearse the graduates, put on a robe and serve as Mistress of Ceremonies, including shaking about 200 hands while smiling for posed diploma-giving pictures. I am not able to take phone calls from about 6:00 to the end. 

About 5:30, my phone rang from an unknown number.  I answered to hear Gary's usual, "Hi honey, this is your husband."  "Gary, where are you?" "Honey, Diva and I went for a walk and I'm lost.  Here, talk to this man."  He handed the phone to a man who said that Gary had knocked on his door and asked for directions.  I asked the man if he was wearing a necklace GPS as I could use it to find his location and give better directions. No, he was not.  The man said that he was on the phone with the IRS (it was important to him) and said he could not give directions.  He asked if I could pick up Gary and the cute little dog. I explained that I was in downtown Sacramento.  He was very nice and suggested that I text him our home address and when he got off the phone with the IRS that he would take Gary home.  He said that he would call me after Gary was home.  I sent the address right away and proceeded to finish rehearsal. 

About 6:20, Gary called me from home and said that he was home.  I promptly lectured him about going on a walk with no water and no electronics.  I realized that my words were wasted but I felt better.  I told him that I need to get dressed and that I would be turning off my phone.  He said he understood that he needed to eat dinner and that I would call him when I was on the highway around 9:00.

When the ceremony was over, I glanced at my phone and saw that he had called three times.  On the freeway, I called him to discover he had not had dinner.  Burgers and fries for dinner.

I was exhausted emotionally and physically. To say that I was looking forward to sleeping late would be an understatement. 

7:30 am.  Gary was in the bed next to me, staring at me.  I knew instantly that sleeping late would be a lost "dream".  He said, "I have a big responsibility, what do you think?"  As the fog cleared from my head, I said, "What are you talking about?"

Then he blew me away and set me into an advanced state of anxiety unlike any I've felt in a long time.  He said that he had talked to our friend of 28 years with whom he has made several lengthy and grueling backpacking trips.  Gary said that he was in charge of planning a trip for the group to Yosemite.  He indicated that because he had so many good ideas when they talked that he would be doing all the planning.  I couldn't believe it.  First I thought that he had imagined that the guys wanted him to plan it.  Secondly, could it be true that he really had been put in charge of the trip and Michael did not really grasp the depth of Gary's decline.  A thousand other things went through my mind while I continued to get stressed.

I told him there was no way he could plan that extensive a trip.  I reminded him that he had gotten lost just yesterday in our own neighborhood.  I reminded him of many, many reasons and gave him extensive examples of why he could not do this.  He got overwhelmed and upset and said that I was being cruel.  I don't remember the rest of the conversation nor how it ended.  I was so stressed at that point that I went to the shower and just soaked my head.  Once a person reaches that level of stress (both of us) it is hard to come down.  The adrenaline keeps the muscles tense for hours.

Since I had a team working at the school and we were going to COSTCO, I thought it might be relaxing to got to breakfast at one of our local breakfast joints for chicken and waffles.  Gary seemed to have temporarily forgotten the Yosemite trip so perhaps we had a chance for a peaceful meal. Right.

The only table available at the restaurant was on their outside patio.  It was only 75 degrees so we agreed to sit out.  We sat down and were given menus.  When the hostess left, we realized that the overhead fans were way too strong and they would make our food cold when received.  I would have stayed but Gary was starting his griping which heads to more overwhelm....We asked a second waitress if we could move inside, at least to the bar if no table was available.  We picked up our water and coffee and started to follow her to the inside.  The girl seemed a little irritated and said, "I can turn off the fans if you like." "Really, ok, then we'll stay."

I looked down and saw a text from an employee at the school that the phone system was down.  Stress level eight.....Normally not so stressful but we have been fighting this issue for weeks and thought it had been fixed.  The CISCO router had been replaced and things went back to normal.  I texted and called the employee who is in charge of such outages.  No answer.  I then saw an email from a VP where she had sent an email to the woman who is in charge of the phone system.  She was meaning well and asking why  this keeps happening and that it was not acceptable.  The irony was, the employee she sent the email to is on medical leave and would never receive the message. 

Meanwhile, we had ordered our Chicken and Waffles.While I was trying to reach someone to get the school back online, the food arrived....along with what seemed like a swarm of black flies.  I guess we didn't really hear the waitress say that the fans were to prevent flies from annoying the customers.  Gary started with the waving of hands and complaining.  I was stressed enough.  He then said that we need to move inside.  We asked the girl who was pouring the coffee if we could move inside.  She said that she would check.

Perhaps we did not express to this young woman the irritation we were experiencing with the flies.  She did not come back.  I was on the phone with a friend who is also the go-to guy for our network.  He was on the road and could not write down phone numbers and I couldn't find a pen.  My stress was increasing because of both situations and Gary's whining and reactions.  He very nice and said that he would get it fixed.

I asked Gary to go to the head waitress and ask if a table was available inside.  I was still on the phone trying to reach the school because the employee who called me did not answer his cell phone. Really? I had the helper trying to reboot the system and I needed to tell them but he wasn't answering his phone?   Really? Stress level nine.

I saw Gary coming back with the waitress and now she seemed irritated.  She said, "I don't care if you move back and forth all day.  Come inside and I'm sorry about the flies.  Here is the plate you asked for..."  I was listening to the man on the phone and following Gary into the restuarant while carrying the Chicken and Waffles.

He sat down at the counter, so I did, too.  The waitress said, "What are you doing?  I have a table for you."  We moved five feet and sat down at a table for six.  She obviously wanted us to be quiet.  I walked outside and talked to my employee and asked him to tell all employees to save their work as they were taking the system down.  All I could do was wait.

The chicken and waffles were cold.  Gary said that he wanted his chicken heated.  I told him that he would be lucky if they did anything for us after how we have been acting and all the hoops we asked them to jump through since we got there.  The girl poured Gary four more cups of coffee.  I was fuming and just could not calm down.  I ate the cold waffle while Gary asked for hot chicken.

The head waitress asked if she could do anything for us.  I told her that I was having a work emergency and that I just wanted to eat my breakfast.  Being a free spirit, she said, "Then why did you bring your phone?" first that upset me.  Then, I realized she was right.  How insightful.  That did not reduce the stress much.  I received an email that the system was working.  Problem solved for now.

I ate quickly and was ready to leave.  Of course, Gary wanted another cup of coffee. I waited and then we went to Costco.  The distraction was good and we made a few more stops and then came home.

We laid down to take a nap before I went to my hair appointment.  Right before I went to sleep he said, "We need to call Mike to discuss Yosemite." 

The story continues.....

1 comment:

  1. Oh, honey, I'm so sorry for your stress. To offer you anything except prayer is just silly. You just moved up to my A-list prayer list.