Over the last week, in no particular order (okay, in SOME order):
My brother successfully bought, lugged home, unpacked, plugged in, and started using his new microwave oven (YAY!) But then he blew a fuse (BOO!), which of course necessitated another phone call. Luckily, the super helped him replace the fuse, and my boyfriend is going to stop by this week to see if he can adjust something with his electrical setup to prevent it from happening again.
I sent the paperwork for my mother’s last tax return to her accountant, a woman that I have never met before but who seemed genuinely crestfallen that my mother had passed away.
I spent several hours at one of my local high schools to conduct some guerilla-style class visits. Well, that wasn’t the original plan, but the visits I’d been asked to do a month earlier by the library assistant fell through because by the time I emailed to confirm my visit … that guy was no longer the library assistant. Oops. So instead of me discussing how to use my library’s website to find free programs for teens (demonstrating on a laptop hooked up to an overhead projector), it was more like several hours of me and the school librarian running in and out of classrooms and cafeterias with books, buttons, and fliers promoting library cards and library programs while doing drive-by booktalks. Good times!
We went to see a show called An Evening With America’s Test Kitchen. I’d bought tickets for us as a birthday present for my boyfriend (you see what I did there?) It was both fun and informative, but I had a headache by the time I left because the sound system was cranked up a little too high.
I went to that group memorial service for the people who had donated their bodies to be used by medical school students. My boyfriend came, too, but it took him longer to get out of work so he didn’t get there until the ceremony was mostly over. Several people spoke about their loved ones in glowing terms, explaining that they decided to donate their bodies to this medical school because they really cared about the advancement of science and medicine. Then I got up and explained that my mother basically made this decision because she was both thrifty and unsentimental. Which got a laugh. I also told a story about my grandparents being OVERLY sentimental about death, which also got a laugh. Later, a man representing another family said that his mother was also thrifty and unsentimental, and referred to the story told by “Miss _____,” with that blank space being my mother’s last name. And I haven’t been called “Miss _______” since I was in high school, so that just added to the surreal quality of the entire evening. And then a girl got up to talk about her beloved uncle (this guy MUST have been beloved — there were 11 PEOPLE there on his behalf). Then the girl started crying, so most of US started crying. Then the medical students got up to speak, and a lot of THEM were very emotional, so then WE got emotional … come to think of it, I had a headache that night, too. But that time it was from crying, and from trying not to cry. Oh, and I forgot to bring tissues with me because I’M AN IDIOT. At the end of the ceremony we picked up my mother’s ashes, and then we went out to dinner to discuss grief and mortality over burgers and fries.
We had dinner at my boyfriend’s parents’ place for Easter. We brought my brother along, and while most of the time he stayed at baseline neutral, he did manage to embarrass me a few times but he also managed to behave favorably a few times, too. My boyfriend’s mother did her usual job of carrying most of the conversation, which means that she would periodically hit a touchy subject or two (you can only compliment the food or talk about cats for so long). There were the usual awkward conversational speed bumps when she would talk about some ailment or other that she or another family member had suffered (Uhm … thanks for that colorful description. Now could you pass the meatballs, please?) Then she asked me when I was going to be getting my mother’s ashes, and I almost did a spit take because my brother was sitting right next to her and HE DIDN’T KNOW that my mother had already been cremated. I tried to respond as smoothly as possible by saying that we should be getting the ashes “soon,” and then we would discuss what to do with them.
A bunch of other stuff happened over the last week, too, but most of it’s a blur. The cat has been coming out of hiding, a little more at a time. We got some very unusual book donations in our book drop (pictures to follow!) Annie came to our last YA Book Club meeting before she’s moving to Australia. I worked on some more book reviews. I learned that my group podcast is going to be starting up again … which means that maybe I need to buckle down and solve my own podcast website problems once and for all …
Other than that, though, things have been pretty normal around here 🙂