Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Legwork and Life, week of 5/16/17

That was a certainly a weekend.  Kind've didn't stop until now, and unfortunately now I can't just lie around because I have lots of work piled up...

Friday/Self Advocates

So in my work as part of the public relations committee for Self Advocates of Michigan, I've been running the meetings for that particular committee and designing a website and such.  There was one of those meetings earlier last week, and then a full board meeting in Lansing on Friday.  This was exhausting, but unfortunately it also meant I was driving to Lansing early in the morning to sit through an hours-long meeting, only to drive home to get on a plane and travel even more.  The meetings in Lansing tend to get stuff done, but they're brutally exhausting and I was having a really bad sound sensitivity day.  I figured this out after they tried to use a crappy microphone/speaker combo and it kept making horrible static sounds and that high pitched shriek that accompanies feedback overloads... I wasn't supposed to spend lunch alone at that meeting, but I did it anyway, with my noise-canceling earphones in, because I might have said things I shouldn't otherwise.

It's absolutely astonishing how exhausting those meetings are, really.  I prepare myself very well, laying out beforehand everything I'll need for the day so I can just grab it and go in the morning...  And it's only an hour's drive, usually.  (I'd prefer to stay there the night and be ready in the morning, but the state won't pay for a hotel room if you're less than 100 miles from the destination... which means no hotel room for me.)

After I drove back to Lansing, it was time to hurriedly pack and get off to the airport, so we could attend Funeral: Electric Boogaloo.  (For the very confused, this was the second round of a funeral for Chris', and now my, grandmother.  She actually died mid-January, but her children's schedules didn't line up very well over the months, so they had a funeral earlier, and then a memorial service later in the year so the ashes could be interred with her husband's ashes.)

Saturday and Sunday

One of Chris' brothers had kindly volunteered to host us and help us get from the place to place, as he and his wife live close to the airport, so we stayed with them post-flight and drove up the next morning (Saturday).  I got to spend time with my parents for a bit, mostly my mother.  Since my parents are moving soon, they've been agitating for me to sort my various belongings.  Which is fair, it's not like they want to move all my stuff into their new (much smaller) home.  It's no small endeavor to get down there, though, so I made the best of the few hours I had and cleared out most of my closet and some boxes in the basement.

Saturday also involved a trip to the local comic shop and some time with Chris' family, but much of it felt rushed and I didn't really enjoy that much.  We slept at Chris' parents' that evening, and then attended church (on Sunday) before going off to the Boston area to attend the memorial service and burial.  The weather was unpleasantly rainy, but we fortunately didn't have a full Nor'easter, which in those parts is a really nasty storm.  Apparently that was what was the weather prediction was calling for, but we lucked out.  Due to the rain, though, the service was held inside an old chapel, which was all finely carved stonework and stained glass.  Unfortunately, the inside of the beautiful place was musty and sickly-sweet, and I, Chris, and my mother had to sit near the door so we could run out for fresh air without making a fuss.  Fortunately, none of us needed to do that. 

I'm not really sure what precisely we were reacting to.  My mother insists mold must be involved, but I couldn't pick out anything in particular that was offensive.  But there was definitely something.  Chris developed a headache, my mother's anxiety level rose the longer she was in there, and my head fogged up within 15 minutes, getting lighter-headed the longer we stayed.  I'm not sure about Chris' headache, but my mother recovered within minutes of leaving the chapel.  Personally, I was muddled for at least 15 minutes afterwards.

Post-memorial service, one of Chris' aunts. who lives minutes away, hosted a lovely reception at her home.  While parties aren't my natural environment, I did amuse myself by observing the "fancy food" and chatting with some of the relatives I knew.  I'm afraid I didn't really try to be a social butterfly and catch up with everyone I knew there...  I spent much of the trip exhausted and just trying to keep my anxiety and lack of natural social graces in check.  Fortunately, Chris' family is mostly pretty good about not being offended by stuff like that.


After the party, Chris' brother once again kindly hosted us and spend some time with us, with the plan being to relax the next day and see a movie before bringing us to the airport.  Unfortunately, I had managed to lose my wallet and some books I'd bought, and Chris his favorite jacket.  So instead of spending the next morning relaxing, we spent the morning going back to find those lost items.  Chris' mother found my wallet before we got there, though, and Chris' brother's wife managed the spot the jacket, so it was only really the books that we had to locate.  And those hadn't gone far.

We did still manage to see the movie, though.  We had decided on Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which turned out to be pretty decent.  It maybe wasn't quite as balanced as the first, and it absolutely refused to take itself seriously the entire way through, even though there were parts that probably should've been taken seriously.  In the end, though, it was an enjoyable watch and I'd still probably recommend it.

Then it was back to the airport, where security managed to turn Chris' laptop from "partially destroyed" to "mostly destroyed," and Chris had to go back through security to deal with that.  Wasn't really a nice way to start the travel back, and my anxiety and sound sensitivity only got worse as the evening wore on.  The first flight included someone popping bubblegum right in my ear for the entire trip (and a baby a few rows up).  I can't imagine how one could possibly tolerate stale bubble gum for 2 hours straight, but this lady managed it...  Kind of wanted to strangle her, but settled with wearing my noise-canceling earphones the entire flight.  It only helped a little bit, probably should have told her to knock off popping the dratted stuff.

I spent the layover in Detroit pretty miserable, with my earphones in and at max noise-canceling, which was too bad because Detroit's airport is actually pretty nice.  Very spacious, high ceilings, and lots of gates.  They also have a tram that goes from one end of the terminal to the other, stopping only once in the middle.  I was bemused by that until I realized that that concourse literally has 80 gates, and I think there's at least one more concourse.  Maybe two.  I didn't go exploring, because, as I mentioned, miserable.

The second flight was much shorter: a half hour flight for what would be a 2.5 hour drive across the state.  It had another crying baby in it, but at that point I was so miserable I didn't even care.  I think I'd stopped looking at people's faces while I was talking to them by midway through the first flight, which I guess I recognize now as a sign I'm doing poorly.  It's an energy-saving technique, because faces are complicated and full of information.  For brief, polite social interactions, I don't badly need the information the face conveys, so I just stop looking.  It's not really a conscious decision, but I do recognize I'm being impolite and that upsets me...

We got home after midnight.  I unpacked most of my stuff because I knew I wouldn't want to do it this morning, and after a few chore-type things, we both crashed.  I have a lot to catch up on this morning...  Things like making a website go live, scrambling to finish a Friday entry and start another, etc.

Lastly, welcome to the world, Annika.  (My sister-in-law just had her second child, which means I now have a nephew and a niece.  Oh boy.  My grace period for being an aunt is running out for Peter, too...  He'll start storing memories like an adult does soon, which means I'd best figure out how to be an aunt properly.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment