An exhausting birthday

Soon after I wrote my last post, I found out that I would be working graveyard shifts on Sundays instead of the 5am-2pm shift I have on all my other days. I don’t remember being informed of this in the interview. It wasn’t on the schedule, but my coworker showed me all of the price tags I’d have to change and told me there wouldn’t be enough time unless I came in at midnight and there is no one else to do since it is my job. So I did it.

I ended up going to the funeral after all. Kurt couldn’t get the day off, so I got a ride with my dad’s cousin Darrell, our former landlord. It was a beautiful service. Lots of crying, lots of laughs, lots of family. It had been a while since I’d seen that much of my dad’s family in one place. My grandma was very loved, and very loving. I only hope to leave behind a legacy as powerful as hers.

dad's fam

Taken sometime around 1968, I’m guessing. Left to right: Tom (my dad), David, Grandpa Bill (who passed away before I was born), Grandma Shirley, Mary, (second row) Michael, Billy, Laura, and Phillip. My cousin Angie, who is Mary’s daughter, told me that when this picture came up in the slideshow at the service, she thought her mom looked just like me, especially with the attitude. 

grown up siblings

My dad (in blue), all his siblings, and their cousin Steve (with his arm around my dad) at the memorial service. All seven of them said a few words, and then some more people did. It was so touching to see how many people had been affected by Shirley’s loving nature.

westbay fam

My mom, Noah, Eli, me, my dad, and Silas. I am so glad I got to go and see my family. 

I got home around 8 and should have gone to bed right away but decided to help my friend Caitlin move into her apartment, then tried to sleep when I went home around 10. Kurt got me some coffee and took me to work at midnight. I survived. It was a weird night, being all by myself in HABA and doing one thing over and over again for 8 hours. Not as awful as I thought it would be. I left at 8:30, tried to sleep, failed, read for a few hours, maybe got in 2 hours of sleep before I had to take a shower and get the house ready for my birthday party. Seven of my friends (including the people who already live with me) came over and we played a card game called Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity, ate pizza and cake, and just laughed a lot. I survived that with the help of coffee, again. Went to bed later than I should have, worked at 5 am, came home and was bored and alone until Nik came home from work. We watched a movie until he decided he had to go to bed because he worked at 6 am today.

But today is my day off, so I slept til like 9. Ahhhhh, it feels so good to finally be able to just chill. I’ve been doing laundry, setting up hangouts with new friends, and just relaxing. And I’m off tomorrow too! Getting to sit down and not stress for more than 5 minutes has allowed me to finally realize something:

I’m 25.


I’ve Never Lost Someone Before

Today was my first day at my HABA job. I walked to the bus stop in the dark, got confused about where the employee entrance was, unpacked cardboard boxes, stocked shelves, helped customers, cut open a lot of shrink wrap, learned where things are in my department, and got a text from my mother. I had taken my second 10-minute break at 12:30 and saw a text my mother had sent at 11:24.

“They are pulling the tubes from grandma shirley right now. She is already in heaven.”

I couldn’t believe it. My brother had texted me last night saying that she was in the hospital and needed our prayers, but I did not expect this. No one did. I cried a little but was pretty much in shock or denial. It didn’t seem real. I tried to text my mom back, “No!” with a sad face, but it didn’t send. I tried texting Kurt and that didn’t work either. I apparently can’t send any texts in my new store. So at 2, when I got off work, I called my dad.

Hearing your father sob and say “I want my mom” changes you. You see your dad as vulnerable, something you haven’t seen much of. It breaks you to see him so broken, when he’s always been so strong. I mean, what can you do when you’ve lost your mother? Completely out of the blue? I don’t even know what I would do if I lost my mom. My Grandma Shirley was 83, but she was totally fine yesterday. She complained of things that sounded like stroke symptoms or indicators of a coming heart attack, so my Aunt Mary took her to the hospital. She only got worse from there. The doctors tried everything, but nothing was explained. Her body was shutting down for no clear reason. They sedated and intubated her in order to perform a CAT scan last night and by this morning, she was hooked up to 22 different tubes, all keeping her alive together. She never woke up. All of her seven children were gathered in her room, if not in person then on speakerphone or on Skype. They chose to pull the plug because though the doctors didn’t know what caused it, they did know that she wasn’t coming back. My dad told me all of this through sobs while I walked in the heat toward a QFC to reload my Orca card. I cried along with him. It didn’t make any sense. One day, she was there, and then suddenly, she wasn’t. My dad and his siblings ordered an autopsy before the cremation to find out what went wrong. Because that has to happen, there won’t be a body or even an urn at the memorial, which will happen this weekend. If it’s Saturday, I hope I can get the time off work. If it’s Sunday, I’m postponing my birthday party. Because that’s what you do.

Oh and by the way, Kurt was offered the full-time position of lead barista today. You can imagine that I had a hard time feeling excited for him. But I am. It’s a weird feeling, though, to get terrible news and great news so close together. I’m sad that my dad is hurting so much, but glad that my grandma isn’t suffering, and happy for our future financial stability, but tired from a hot trek home after a long day at work. I just…

Please pray for my dad.

Almost 25 and much has changed

I’ve never had a full-time job before. I always imagined that my first full-time job would be in an office and would be in the field I studied in college. But, you know, sometimes you gotta take what life hands you until something better comes along because who knows how long that will be. Tomorrow is my first day as a full-time Health And Beauty Aids morning clerk at the closest Fred Meyer to my new apartment. My apartment in Seattle. That’s actually what I’m most excited about. I haven’t officially lived in Seattle since I was seven years old, and all of my young life, I have yearned to go back. For the past two years, Kirkland has been a nice placeholder for the city life I knew would make me happy. But I can’t stand the suburbs. Busing places was extremely difficult, especially at night and on weekends, and that’s when most people can hang out! Living in the city means I don’t have to leave the party early just to bus home. I can stay out til 2 if I want to and I don’t have to call a cab or beg for a ride. Not that I’ll be staying out that late, like ever. My new shifts will be 5 am to 2 pm, so there won’t be a lot of late nights. But it will still be easier to hang out with people than when I worked 2:30 to 11:30 pm and usually on weekends! Hello, that’s when everything is happening!

There’s a lot to love about my new neighborhood. There’s a park right across the street, with a lake and tennis courts and a swing set. I can walk 10 minutes to a library, a consignment shop, Ross, Grocery Outlet, a cheap nail salon (for special occasions, a.k.a. when my mother-in-law visits), Starbucks, Dollar Tree, and Baskin Robbins. I can bus to Pike Place Market in half an hour! Basically everything I need, right here. Just a 10-minute bus ride away is Greenlake, where my parents used to take us with our bikes when I was little. I remember so many summer days walking or riding around Greenlake. Heck, I could even very easily visit Lincoln High School and show Kurt where I used to live!

Our new apartment has carpeting, no mold issues, plenty of storage, a huge bathroom counter, and I can buzz people in the front door of the building! I never have to open the apartment door to anyone I don’t know ever again. Unless they’re my neighbors, all of whom seem to keep to themselves. I’m thinking of making some cookies and going to door-to-door to meet people. Is that still a thing?

All of these new things are just making me so happy. I’m glad to be starting over at a new store (not that I hated the old one; I’m just tired of closing Apparel), in a kind of new town, just as I’m turning a quarter of a century old. As my birthday approaches, I’m taking a step back and looking at where I wanted to be at this point in my life. I hoped I’d be doing something with my degree, and maybe I am. Maybe I’m turning out to be so good at customer service because of all of the communication skills I acquired while earning an Bachelors in English with a Writing Specialization. I still don’t want to work in retail forever. Maybe in the corporate levels, because man, a desk job sounds so easy on the feet after two years in retail. I don’t know how people do it for the rest of their lives. More power to you, but it’s not for me. I just do my best, pay the bills, and hope that something closer to writing or editing pops up in a few years. I’m really in no rush. Who says you have to have achieved all your dreams by a certain age? I’m totally fine with giving my HABA job 100% until it’s time to move on to something bigger. For right now, life is good. Happy birthday to me.