Archive for June, 2007

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Breaking Up is Never Easy to Do

June 27, 2007

After a great 10-month relationship with Washington Business Week, I had to break up with her. I mean we had some great times together. The week in Aberdeen. Meeting CEOs of Washington’s most successful companies. Writing the newsletter and annual report. And all the great people I met because of this job. But it was time to move on. I know she liked me a lot. And I could have been happy with her.

But it was the little things that began to wear me down: the commute – 55 miles each day; the drive times – 35 minutes in the morning and 45 to an hour in the evening; the tremendous amount of work unrelated to development; the tremendous amount of work during summer, mostly uncompensated.

Then I met someone else. The Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI). Our relationship happened unexpectedly and was very innocent. She has all the qualities of Business Week but less maintenance. She is a half mile from home, same pay, career mentorship, more vacation, a free bus pass, better summers and a great mission (curing diabetes). She asked me out and I said yes. I broke the news to Washington Business Week and she was very disappointed.

The earliest Business Week and I can break our lease together is July 16, 2007. I am going to help her find someone else and then I am going to move my stuff out. Business Week and I talked after I broke the news to her and it was awkward. We talked about everything else except the breakup. We acted like nothing happened. But I quietly broke the news to our mutual friends and they were sad that we broke up. It will be hard for Business Week but she will be fine. She was fine before she met me and she will be even better after me. My life will change greatly with the new girl, but I am excited about the new possibilities and our future together.

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We Always Think there is Time

June 17, 2007

With Journey blaring in the background, the screen abruptly turned black and the show that has been compared to the modern day equivalent of Shakespeare ended on HBO. The Soprano’s ended with little resolution, conclusion or tidy endings found on other hit TV shows like Friends, Sex in the City, or Seinfeld. And it was perfect.

I have often said to my friends that life very rarely concludes nice and tidy. Tully’s Girl moved away one day. I never broke up with Katie. The last time I saw some people was at their wedding. I have co-workers I never said goodbye to. I think the reason we never finish things in our lives is that we always think there is time. Time to tell our friends the impact they had on our lives, time to forgive our parents or we think that we will see people again no matter how unlikely the possibility. Like the ending of the Soprano’s, things just end and move on without conclusion. That is life.

This idea hit home hard the other day when I heard that my homecoming date’s father died last week. Ken Waller was 53. When the planning for homecoming started to get underway in the fall of 1999, he joked with me that he was going to bring out his shotgun when I picked up Enid. He helped me craft my leadership skills and was a strong male role model when my father left. The last time I saw him was at Lindsey’s wedding last August. We exchanged pleasantries and I would have never known that would be the last time I would talk to him. What makes me disappointed is that I never told Ken how much respect I had for him. Even when I saw him at Lindsey’s wedding, I thought there was time. Ken died in his sleep. So one late evening in June, he closed his eyes for the last time and without resolution, conclusion or a goodbye, things went abruptly black. Wherever you are Ken, I hope you are well.

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Hello My Name is Doug

June 12, 2007

When I lived in the U-District, I never knew my neighbors. My next-door neighbor was an older balding man who always wore white undershirts with black dress socks. He had glasses and always looked surprised to see me in the hallway. He only spoke to me in mumbles and after two and half years, I never knew his name. Those were my neighbors.

When I inquired about the open apartment in Capitol Hill, I asked my future apartment manager what qualities he would evaluate potential renters because there was more than one person interested. He said that it would be a combination of the normal stuff but he would also evaluate on how well the renter would relate to the current community… Community?

In life, you can’t choose your family. You can’t choose your co-workers. And to some extent, you can’t choose your neighbors. By the first week of moving in, I had met most of my neighbors. And they are so cool, but three of them stand out – Ricco, Bethany and Jane. Ricco is a gay fashion consultant who gives me advice on everything from sushi restaurants to date night activities. Bethany is amazingly pretty, even when she is in her baggy college sweatshirt and smoking a cigarette. And Jane is the sweetest most laid back person I have ever met. They make it a community for me. They ask me how my dating life is going. They knew that I got my wisdom teeth out. They know what I do for a living and they ask about my life. I love them.

But something strange has happened with Jane. She thinks my name is Doug. The first time Jane called my Doug I corrected her. And we had a good laugh about it. She said that a guy named Doug moved in the same time I did and she must have gotten confused. Days go by after the Doug name-calling incident and I see Jane again. I was running to my car, late for a date and she was sitting on the lawn chair smoking. As I was getting into my car and closing the door, Jane calls out and says “goodnight Doug.” My door closed and it was too late to correct her. A couple of days later we pass on the stairs and she goes “Doug, Doug, Doug.” Again, I was running late and didn’t have the time to correct her. I told Ricco about my predicament and he said he would talk to Jane. Tonight after bullshitting with Jane about how Seattle is always shitty in June (Kelli calls is “June-uary.”) she called me Doug again.

But now I feel like I cannot correct her again. I told her once. Ricco told her once. And now that I have accepted the name Doug on numerous encounters, I have in fact become Doug. It is like the Seinfeld episode where a woman at Elaine’s work, Peggy, thinks Elaine is named Susie. Peggy wants to have a meeting with Peterman, Elaine and Susie because she thinks Elaine is a dolt and tells Susie this who is actually Elaine. When Elaine talks with Jerry about Peggy badmouthing Elaine in front of her, he states one of my favorite lines from the show, “The nerve. Talkin’ about ya behind your back and right to your face!”

I know that I have to have that uncomfortable conversation with Jane again about my name. I was hoping it would go away but it is not. But at the end of the day what is wrong with being Doug?

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I Found Nemo

June 8, 2007

As I starred at the Nemo looking fish in the office of my oral surgeon, I was filled with anxiety. I had not had teeth pulled from my head since the fifth grade. Back then I had a total of nine taken out – five baby and four permanent. An attractive blonde nurse called me back. She reviewed to me how the next 40 minutes would go and asked who would be picking me up. I told her that I had nine teeth pulled before and she asked me if I had the laughing gas before. I replied that I had done it old school – just a local anesthetic.

As I sat in the exam chair while she prepared everything, I began to think about how easily we trust people when they are in some position of authority. In a matter of minutes, two near strangers were going to drug me to near unconsciousness, pull four teeth out of my head and demand $1,200 for doing this – and I was letting them do this completely willingly and without question.

She fitted the mask over my face and told me to breathe normally. And within minutes, I began to float around the room. It was one of the best experiences I ever had. I was pretty high when the doctor walked in and asked me what I did for a living. I told him that I worked for a nonprofit… …doing fundraising. My voiced sounded like it was slowed down and very deep. I vaguely remember him telling me that he was putting an IV in me for the painkillers. The next thing I remember was the nurse telling me that the top wisdom teeth were gone. And that they were going to drill on the bottoms to get them out. Moments later the doctor was gone, the IV was out and I was holding the hand of the nurse to the recovery room. The whole procedure seemed like it took minutes but the clock on the wall told me it had been an hour.

My friend Katherine was in the recovery room waiting for me. The nurse went over the instructions with Katherine and me and before I knew it, the gas had completely worn off and I was feeling pretty good with all the painkillers in me. I filled out my prescriptions for Hydrocodone (commonly known as Vicodin) and Penicillin. Once home, I took a couple of Hydrocodone pills and basically slept on the couch for the entire day.

Today my mouth hurts to open it. But I am armed with soup, ice cream, movies and magazines, so my next couple of days looks pretty relaxing. I looked into my mouth today and it looks weird in there without my wisdom teeth. But I am glad that they are out now. I originally had this appointment scheduled a year and half ago but I kept on pushing it off. So yesterday, I had my reckoning and now I am up to having 13 teeth pulled from my head.