Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


“I’m Glad You Called…”

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:06 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, I think I’ve driven off most my readers now.

Between my work schedule, the holidays and this damn crud that just won’t go away, I haven’t had a lot of time or energy for blogging. I do feel a little guilty, though. I know some of you do still read and my normally regular posts have been erratic at best and filled with little of my usual fare.
Well, get ready. Here comes an update…

Okay, my last excuse for not writing more is getting old, fast. I have been sick since before Christmas. It started as a head cold, or sinus infection, and moved South into my chest. Mainly, it just makes me unbearably tired all the time and gives me this terrible sounding death-rattle of a chest cough. My mother, naturally, is quite concerned. I told her that I would go to a doctor if things didn’t start improving, but I haven’t been to a doctor in years, so I don’t really have a regular doctor to get to down here. On the other hand, my mother is in Chicago, so what can she do besides scold me? Besides, at the moment, I have at least five women asking after my health.

First is L., J. the Groom With Cold Feet’s fiance. She was quite concerned Saturday night when she heard my cough. I honestly was waiting for her to cluck over me and tell me to get to a doctor. But, all I got was the worried look and an extra helping of concern.
Then, after dinner, the cute, red-headed Federal Probation Officer gave me a parting “Feel better” with a lot of direct eye contact and expanded pupils. That sort of caught me by surprise, really. I didn’t think she’d noticed me hardly at all, much less enough to exchange even that level of pleasantry.
Before that, when we were still at church, waiting in line for communion, K., J.’s former fiance, walks by. I’m standing behind J.’s brother, who’s developmentally challenged. Naturally, he sees K. and shouts her name, so she suddenly finds herself drawn into a conversation I think she was hoping to avoid. Turns out, he hasn’t seen her since she and J. broke up, so, naturally, having fewer social inhibitions than the rest of us, he asks her what happened. To her credit, she handled it with grace and said, simply, “Well, things just didn’t work out.” Then, of course, she has to stop and give me a hug hello before making a break for it. Sunday, I sent her an e-mail to check on her. My heart really goes out to her. She went from the failed relationship with J. to another engagement that also didn’t work out. Only with the second one, they’d set a date and started moving in to her house. Anyway, I asked her how she was doing and gave her some general cheering-on, but when I signed off, I apparently mentioned that I was going to take some Theraflu and crash. In her response, she asked after my health. (That’s three, in case you’ve been counting.)

Now, I’m going to get even more out of chronological order.
Last week, I got a little tired of C., the receptionist, not returning phone calls or e-mails. Not at work, mind, but personal communication. I figure I’m worth at least the same consideration that a professional contact would be, but that’s not what’s been happening. So, I dropped her an e-mail asking if that’s what she was tryng to tell me, and if it was, just come out and say it. I understand her worrying about how I would react at the office, since I recognize that not everyone deals with that sort of thing well, but I assured her it would not effect our professional relationship at all. I didn’t get a response. So, I just stopped calling or e-mail or anything else.
For the past month or so, I could be counted on to call at least once over the weekend and leave a voice-mail. Probably in the same amount of time, I might have sent one or two e-mails. But, this weekend? Nothing. Then, Monday, I was my normal, cordial self, but I didn’t go out of my way to make conversation with her. When she asked me for help with the mp3 player her daughter got for Christmas, I helped her, but didn’t make any other small talk. She noticed.
Later in the day, she stopped at the copier outside my office and made copies, then asked me if everything was okay. I shrugged and told her that I guessed so. She told me I was quiet. I reminded her that it was because I was sick. She seemed surprised. I laughed at her a little because I can’t imagine anyone missing my hacking cough for the past three weeks. She gave me a little “get well” wish and slipped off back to the reception area.
We’ll see how things unfold there.

The last woman who’s concerned about my health, besides my mother, is S., the nice Chinese lady I met on Match.com
We had a good date Thursday.  A quiet, little Thai place called Thai Corner.  It’s right at the edge of Chinatown and right next to a big asian grocery.  So, naturally, I ended up getting there way early and waiting a bit.  I’m pretty sure I was the only non-asian for a couple miles in any direction.  But, that’s okay, I’m used to not quite fitting in.  It was a nice, quiet evening that started and ended with a handshake.  Which is just fine, considering the hair-raising pace my last relationship took!  She has her undergrad in Biology and her Masters in Computer Science, both from Rice.  And her conversation showed that she was on the ball.  After dinner, she asked if I would come with her while she did her shopping at the store next door.  Naturally, I went with her.  When I walked her badk to her car, I asked if I could call her on the weekend.  She told me yes, so I planned to call Saturday.
Well, Friday, I got an e-mail from her telling me what a good time she had and thanking me for dinner.  So I replied back and set my sights on calling Sunday, which was a better day timewise anyway.
When I got her on the phone, she said, “Oh, Jim, I’m glad you called.  I’m really glad you called.”  And, naturally, she asked if I was feeling any better.  Sadly, I’m still not.

But, that’s not going to keep me from going out with her again Friday.


Death, Life and Things Inbetween

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:43 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

So, I’ve been a little quiet lately…

I suppose it’s natural, considering how busy the holidays always are, and how sick I’ve been and the family emergencies and all. Still, I feel a little guilty not keeping up with the blog.

First, let me thank everyone who sent warm holiday wishes and condolences about my uncle’s passing. I was very glad I went up for the funeral, even though I don’t particularly care for them. For one thing, I had no idea how much it would mean to my cousins, one of which I haven’t seen in close to 20 years. It was a little bizarre to see her “little” kids all grown up and talking about college or post-graduate work.
And, I know that me being there meant a lot to my father. He was very close to his older brother and I know he was really feeling the loss, even if he couldn’t say so out loud. I love my father dearly, but he certainly is where I learned to suppress my emotions. But, in any case, I was glad to be there to lend support to the mourners, though, I have to admit, it was a new and different experience to help lifting and loading my uncle’s coffin into the hearse after the funeral. There wasn’t a graveside service, since he was being cremated, so no funeral procession or need for formal pallbearers. Still, it was… Well, a bit strange to find myself doing that, performing that last familial service for a deceased relative. Honestly, I was honored to be able to do so.

My family has always had an unusual relationship with death. For one thing, we’re fairly religious and, though our individual beliefs may differ, we all believe in an existence beyond this one. I’m not sure any of us are willing to commit to what that might look like, but, I think, we all believe that the end of this life isn’t the end of all things. Certainly, that’s what I believe and the message I got from our parents. I’m not quite willing to embrace a particular view of heaven or hell or purgatory or limbo or nirvana or whatever, but I feel strongly that something goes on beyond our short time here.
Combine that with my father’s work with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross on death and dying and, well, my views on that whole process are, I think, I little different than what some folks might expect. It’s a process, a step, a thing that happens. And, of course, I’m sure it will be all different when it’s my brother, or father or other close relative who leaves this world.

But, life goes on.
So, I have a date. Thursday night at 7:30PM, with a nice Chinese girl I met on Match.com. She’s been in the States since 1997, has a Masters in Computer Science from Rice and seems, as I’ve mentioned, quite nice. At least, from the few e-mails and one phone-call, she seems nice. Her English is almost perfect. Just a trace of an accent. Just enough to make her sound a little exotic and interesting on the phone. She’s pretty cute, too, from her picture.
We’re meeting for dinner at a Thai restaurant in what my ABC friend calls the “new, safer” Chinatown. Well, actually it’s right at the edge of the “new” Chinatown. You know what fascinates me, though? I had no idea that Houston had one Chinatown, much less two. What have I been doing all this time that I missed that?
Anyway, I’ll be glad to find a new Thai restaurant and just get out a little. Though, I have to admit, as always, I’m worried about that first date. Kiss or no kiss? Hug only? Shake hands? That always stymies me. I guess I’ll just play it by ear and hope for the best. (Though advice on that topic is always welcome!)

And C., at work, has been as confusing as ever.
She had a big blowup with her BF of 9 months or so while I was away. Apparently, he was just pushing too hard and smothering her and… Well, from what she said, he made the classic mistake that all men make in that situation, even me. As we feel our heart’s desire slipping away, we try to hold on tighter and end up squeezing our chances right through our fingers.
So, I talked with her a bit and it was good, but… I don’t know. There’s something there, but what I have no idea. I sense a certain amount of interest, obviously, or I wouldn’t keep coming back to it. But… But, I keep getting mixed signals from her. My friend, J., the Groom with Cold Feet, reminded me what I was like right after my divorce, even though we’d been separated for more than a year. So, I think I can understand some of what she’s going through. I like her. I really, really like her. And, I’d like to get to know her better, but I keep getting signals that she wants me to back off, possibly all the way off. So, I think that’s what I’m going to do, more or less. No phone calls, no e-mails, nothing more than polite, professional conversation at work. At least, for a while.
Bedsides, I have at least the one girl from Match.com and another possibility, also from Match.com.

Or, I could just shave my head and join a monastery. That’d work, too.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Men are born with two eyes but with one tongue, in order that they should see twice as much as they say."
   --Charles Caleb Colton


Family Emergency

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:40 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything since before Christmas.

Well, there’s a reason. I had actually planned to post something Christmas Day, but, well, I sort of lost heart. You see, my uncle, my father’s older brother, past away Christmas Eve. I got the call first thing Monday, Christmas Morning. It sort of put a damper on all the other stuff going on. I’ll be flying home tomorrow, thanks to very generous bereavement rates, for the funeral. The vet was all booked up, but I got a friend to let the dog out and make sure she’s got food and water, not that I expect her to really eat while I’m away. She’s funny like that.

It’s depressing, of course, to go to funerals. Though, mainly, funerals don’t bother me. I’m much more put off by mourners. I’m a little socially awkward to begin with and nothing’s quite so awkward as either trying to comfort someone who’s just lost their spouse or parent. At least, to me.
You see, I grew up with the idea of death. We talked about it at the dinner table. My grandmother, my father’s mother, lived with us from the time I can remember until she died, which was when I was still in college. She was quite comfortable talking about funeral arrangements for herself and all the related details. My father was one of the people with the AMA who coordinated the case work that went into the now famous On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. It’s not talked about much these days, but most of her raw data came from hospital chaplains and, apparently, that was something my father was involved with back then. One of my earliest memories is being told not to hang on the edge of the casket when I was trying to see my Great-Great-Grandpa Grosh, who died at the age of 99, when I was just a little, little kid. So, death in and of itself doesn’t bother me much at all. It’s just a part of life.
But, all the other stuff that goes along with death gets to me.

And, I have to admit, it occurred to me that, one day, perhaps soon, I’d be making a similar trip to bury one or both of my parents. That idea did not sit well with me at all. Apparently, even with all the childhood hours spent in and around funeral parlors and hospitals, I had managed to repress the idea that they’d be suffling off this mortal coil eventually.  This, though, brought it all home.  And, it makes my father the eldest living Hoffman.

In any case, that’s where I’ll be Friday and through New Year’s Eve.  Well, actually, I’ll be flying back into Houston New Year’s Eve, but I’m quite sure I won’t be celebrating at all.  Then, after things settle down a bit, I’ll get in touch with the girl from Match.com with whom I broke a date Tuesday because, frankly, with all this, I wasn’t going to be very good company.  She was sweet, though, and I look forward to meeting her in person, eventually.  Since she was born in China, I suspect I’ll be getting to know some new haunts with her, especially in our Chinatown.  Hey, I didn’t even know that Houston had a Chinatown!

Oh, and another bit of good news: The groom with cold feet, J., who will be watching my dog, has been talking to L., his once and future fiance.  And, she’s already taken the ring back.  They’re going slower this time, though, which I think is probably a good thing for both of them.  Still, I’m very happy that these two are back together.  Crazy as they both might be sometimes, they’re still perfect for each other.

Well, I’ll queue a Friday Fun Link post, but I won’t be active on-line until I get back Sunday night.  Enjoy the weekend.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Between saying and doing many a pair of shoes is worn out."
   --Italian Proverb


Beat Me To It, Again!

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Well, my idea for a Rent-A-Girlfriend has been stolen.
First, there was Prison Blues, and now this. The Chinese are “capitalizing” on the open markets there and the cultural issues that all good Chinese boys face. And, like the industrious, little vixens they are, a group of young Chinese women are renting themselves as girlfriends for the holidays. I pass no moral judgements here, after all, I was thinking the same thing! I’m only sorry that they beat me to the punch. All that nice money being spent somewhere else and not lining my pockets. Oh, the shame of it all!
Of course, when I came up with Prison Blues, I thought it was illegal to profit from prioners, because it was too much like slavery. But, the Rent-A-Girlfriend idea was clean. Clean! I tell you! Well, at least it’s happening in China. Say, Houston has a Chinatown, doesn’t it….

Powered by WordPress
Any links to sites selling any reviewed item, including but not limited to Amazon, may be affiliate links which will pay me some tiny bit of money if used to purchase the item, but this site does no paid reviews and all opinions are my own.