In Other News
I can't help but reflect on where I was at this time last year. I was in Dove Creek, Colorado, nursing my dad back to health after he'd had a heart attack. I wasn't at all sure he was going to make it, and things got a lot worse before they got better. Beth and Zoe were back here, sick and alone, and in these pages I was trying to make light of a bad situation.
This year is a much easier, happier time. My dad, the Lizard King, has pulled through admirably well and was out here just last week for a visit. Beth and Zoe are sick again, but this time I'm home to take care of them -- and get sick myself. There's no snow on the ground for me this New Year's Eve, but there is the rattle of celebratory automatic gunfire off in the distance and that makes it feel like home. Nobody's near death and everyone's close to their loved ones.
I think this new year is getting off to a much more promising start.
Thursday - December 31, 1998
New Year's Eve
Just a quick one tonight, I think, something to sum up the last couple of days and close out the year. And to make things interesting I think I'm going to put a timer on myself as I write this. I usually spend hour upon hour (okay, okay: half-hour upon half-hour) crafting the quality entries I proffer here; this time I'll see what sacrificing quality for speed does for us. To hell with editing, we're racing the clock. Ready... Set... Go!
I guess first I'll run down my Christmas haul. All told, it was a telecommunications kind of Christmas this year. Beth gave me a new desk phone, a new headset for the new desk phone, and a cell phone for when I'm away from the desk phone. Gifts from the rest of the family ranged from a tie from one of my brothers to cash from my father-in-law, but I'm holding the telecommunications theme out as the overriding one.
Come Boxing Day I wiped out the theme, though. Beth had gotten the desk phone and headset from Fry's, so of course I had to follow my standard pattern and return them. I returned them primarily because I already have a desk phone and headset that, while needing replacement, still work 90% of the time, and secondarily because Fry's was involved and you know I can't resist returning items there. So I traded them in on a new CD-ROM drive for my computer to replace the Goldstar CD-ROM drive I bought a few months ago, said drive turning out to be such a complete piece of shit that I plan to take it out to the garage in the next few days and mightily enjoy beating it into shrapnel with a ballpeen hammer. After the exchange I was left with about $75 in credit, which I just credited back to Beth's Visa as a post Christmas Christmas present. Of course, as soon as I'd left the store I remembered that I'd wanted to pick up the lens pack for my webcam, but the crediting had already been done and I decided it was better to be a nice guy than to have even more gadgets.
But I was still telecommunicationally challenged. Sure, I had the old phone and headset and a new cell phone, but I didn't have a pager. Well, I did have a pager -- two of them in fact: mine, and one we'd gotten for the nanny -- but it wasn't activated. So I toddled over to J&J King of Beepers to have it reactivated so I'd be truly connected and able to ignore calls no matter where I was. But that old beeper was kind of...well...old, so I decided to upgrade to a newer model. I picked out a new one and was paying for it when I noticed the customer next to me playing with a little Tamogachi kind of gadget. Cute, I thought. Then it beeped. It was a beeper. A tiny, midget, gadgety beeper. I had to have it. Hold everything, I told the salesman. Gimme that one! And so now I've got the smallest beeper I've ever seen. I think it's totally cool, but all anyone else can say is "Wow, that's really small....and really easy to lose." I'm surrounded by gadget heathens. Here's a pic of it so you too can marvel at its minisculousity -- just don't tell me it's eminently loseable, okay?
Okay, clock's still running and I'm winding down to a close here. Tonight's New Year's Eve and we have a night planned that would send shivers down my younger self's spine. We're not going to any parties, we're not having people over, we're not doing anything festive, we're not drinking, we're not doing drugs, we're not doing anything...fun, by Young Chuck's standards. What we are doing is having a little movie marathon. I hit Blockbuster last night and picked up four tapes: The Opposite of Sex, Mask of Zorro (Beth's choices), The Big Hit and Zero Effect (my choices). As soon as I upload this we're going to plug a tape in and settle back to bring in the new year with movies. Beth will probably be crashed out come midnight, but if she's not we'll probably just pause the movie, kiss each other and say HNY, and restart the movie. No adrenaline, no celebration, nothing maudlin and no fistfights. Young Chuck is appalled, but that's just the way I want it this time around.
So I guess that's it for tonight and for the year. And now, as I throw a quick save on this entry, I wish you all a safe and happy new year.
Time: 24 minutes. Damn, too slow. This entry took me about exactly as long as a standard one does. I knew I shoulda left out all them verbs.