September 14, 2018

I’m back from Massachusetts just in time to settle in to that awkward period here in the Valley of the Sun known as post-monsoon. The clouds over the mountains to the east, north, and south have completely disappeared – retreating back to wherever they came from in early July, the sky returning to that shimmering phosphorescent blue of pre-monsoon June. The temperatures are back to the low-to-mid 100s, the witching hour of 3-4 PM back to its, well, former witchiness. The forecasters say we’ve got one more week in the 100s before the daily temps drop below the century mark in the drift towards October.

Back in Massachusetts the signs of fall are everywhere: the Sam Adams Summer Ale has turned into Octoberfest. The trees there are starting towards their own silent, evolutionary timelines – some shedding of leaves, others displaying that whitish shade of foliage when the light is just right. Still others actually starting to turn into early oranges and yellows. The nights are cooler and the dew heavier, the humidity making up for the early summer heat in its own different way.

Not here, though. The palm trees rustle in the soft wind that now comes in from the southwest or west instead of the south or southeast. The bougainvillea is just as bright and full as it has been all year. The days, of course, are noticeably shorter: my 7 AM calls with the India team require the light to be turned on in the office room; I no longer have to slightly shut the plantation shutters as the sun comes over my neighbor’s roof to our east – its angle is now lower and delayed so that I don’t have to touch the shutters at all.

And it seems that the relationship between my boss and me has survived “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”. For the first time in like nine or ten months, on our weekly call today he seemed much like his old self, joking, asking for input, being, like, a human being again. Maybe it’s because we all survived the latest round of layoffs and we’re all here to stay (at least for the present!). Maybe it’s because the gig at “TCWSRN” really and truly – I kid you not, big fella – seems to be drawing to a close. (It’s not as if the work there will end – it’s just that everyone knows that there’s really not much more either party can do to make the other truly happy. At some point you just have to go Bill Belichick and just say, “it is what it is” and move on.)

The most important thing above all is that my dad’s transition from the apartment he shared with my mom for the better part of fifteen years to his new senior living studio apartment is now complete. It took a lot of time, planning, and stress, but it really worked out for the best and better than anyone could have possibly imagined. At his new digs at Summer Place, the old routines have been replaced by new ones, the lifestyle lived in the vacuum created by my mom’s passing two-plus years ago now replaced by an entirely different one shared with dozens of folks his own age, in similar or different situations, from similar or different backgrounds. The stress of having to drive, or wonder how to plan for his next meals are a thing of the past: he can come and go as he likes, have his breakfast at his own time, then go down for lunch and dinner with familiar faces and do as much or as little with his time as he wants.

While traveling back on yet-another delayed Jet Blue flight (I’m not sure I’ve ever had a flight to or from Phoenix this year that ever took off on time) I couldn’t help but think of the process and how it all worked out. Visiting Summer Place for the first time last January (or was it February?) I somehow knew in the back of my mind that this was the place for my dad’s next phase of his life; I just didn’t know how it was going to happen. But it did happen, and I’ll allow myself a pat on the back for making it happen as (I think) as stress-free for my dad as could be expected. I consider myself a damned good planner who leaves very little to chance, yet allowing for the wiggle-room of chance and opportunity to make things happen in a way that benefits everyone. And it all worked out – almost flawlessly. I know Mom would be pleased to see Dad in the kind of arrangement he’s now in.

So that’s that. This whole year, between work and my dad’s situation, has left precious little time for me. (So shut up and suck it up, Great White Shank – since when has it all been all about you, anyways?) There’s been a lot of travel, and I’ve grown to hate air travel. The way you’re treated, the way people dress and act when traveling (since when has it become fashionable to rush forward ahead of the rows before you?), the delays, the overall hassle of it all. I’m worn down and tired, my golf game sucks, and I’ve really kind of lost sight of who I am, where I am, and where the road leads from here. Staying at the guesthouse at my dad’s place and seeing all the folks there, I couldn’t help but wonder what my own future is. What’s the purpose in my life, if there is one? Am I just supposed to kind of work my way into retirement, drink Pinot Grigio under happy pineapple lights until I get cancer or have a stroke, or keel over dead from a widow-maker?

I guess in the back of my mind it’s this: at the ripe old age of 89, my dad has a great little situation. Is that what my future is? I’m not saying anything or any outcome is good or bad. I don’t know what’s coming down the pike. But for the first time in my life I’m fearful of the future. Something’s gonna happen – it’s bound to – and I’m just not ready for it. They say you’re only as young as you feel, but I feel tired, old, and washed up. And maybe that’s understandable: I’ve had enough drama these past 2+ years since my mom’s passing that I’m just tired both mentally and physically. Most folks in my situation would bury themselves in their work as a form of relief from the personal stuff, but in my case work has done nothing but contribute to the overall stress of things.

And the same thing with golf: I’m sick of fighting with my golf game to the point where I’m just going to leave them in the travel bag until something makes me want to look at them again. The whole Goodboys thing I think I’m done with. I’d rather putter around the house and keep ahead of the dirt and the dust than fight with something that offers nothing in return for the effort put forth.

As it turns out, this year has been one of transition far more than I ever could have imagined at its start. And probably even more for me than what I thought it would be for my dad.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:22 | Comments (0)
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