Well. Have You Tried To Use Blogger from Flippin' Dialup??

Rumors Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I have been desperate, desperate to get at a PC with any sort of usable connection over the last few weeks, just so I could drop a quick post and do something that felt normal. Right now I am on a timed computer at the local library--yes, in the Manchester vicinity. We have taken occupancy of our perfectly located but shabbily appointed 3 bedroom rental, and are rattling around the place feeling slightly out of sorts as we slowly but surely fill the place with the finest IKEA has to offer, and wait anxiously for our shipped belongings to arrive. We have no phone, no internets, no friends (sniffle) and frankly, the sheer enormity of what we have done is really beginning to set in. Basically, we are uprooted and completely unsettled, and when the evenings draw in I have had a few darker moments when I pine for my old HUGE and SPACIOUS and NON-GROTTY house (with functioning tumble drier, phone, and internets) and more to the point, our bevvy of lovely friends who were always just "there."

We do, however, have all the BBC has to offer sans commercials and as many maltesers and bacon butties as we could care to eat. Which, let me inform you, is an enormous amount. Jack started at his new school yesterday, and seems absolutely thrilled with it, which was our biggest fear. My husband is taking everything into his stride, and has already taken to drinking copious amounts of tea throughout the day, and goes off on runs coming back with tales of "I found another Indian Takeaway" or "Nice looking pub. Look, it's got high chairs" and the like. And just sitting here in this library, writing this post, feels tremendously reassuring. I start my new job next week, and New Life officially begins.

I'll try and be a more faithful poster and reader, folks. Bear with me til we gets the in-home internets.


Gripping On For Dear Sweet Life....(Fasten Your Seatbelts. We're Taking Off)

How can you be emptying a house of all its contents over two months, and still find on the day before you leave that you have MORE junk to dispose of?

It's been a trying week, and this afternoon I am going to pay my respects to Mike and his family. Ironically, his funeral is tomorrow--at the same time we take off for England. There's something morbidly poetic about it, and my work colleagues have commented how much of a gap there is there now, with both of us suddenly gone. It reminds me how much the cliches ring true--to seize the day, to treasure each moment, to live each day to the full. You could be dead tomorrow. Remember to put on clean underwear.

Mike would have made every morbid and black joke available at a moment like this. He was relentless and unapologetic about finding something funny in the most dire of moments. The fact that the hospital shaved his head into a mullett when he was in a coma--that would have provided him with much fodder. His wife wants that trait remembered beyond anything else, and so those who knew him are taking care to make fun of one another as much as possible, calling one another pussies, even while we cry at the awfulness of it all.

When I arrive home, neighbors will be at our house ready to drink with us on our last night here. And then tomorrow we cram the very last of our worldy possessions into a few suitcases, and head off to the airport for a new beginning.

We leave behind us so many dear friends, and Mike's death brings home how much it is easy to not take enough notice of those around you who make you who you are. As someone far from home, the friendships I have made over the fifteen years here have been everything. I have grown up here, become an adult, a wife, a professional, and a mother.

I am British, but much more so I am from here, where I have truly lived and become who I am today.

My husband Frank and I, we take with us our two little Michiganders. Jack, who was five on Monday, and Sam who is about to turn 10 months.

Me and my boys--Off on life's next great adventure. We're fearful, we're hopeful, and we're gripping on for dear sweet life. Wish us all the best. We'll see you on the other side....


my friend is dying (edited)

my friend is dying.

in my last post, a few days ago, I put in a postscript.

[Written for Mike. Co-worker, conspirator, complete asshole, and dear dear friend. You are much, much missed. You'd better show your face soon, you prick].

I keep writing and rewriting lines in this post. I have very mixed feelings about even writing a post on this, because this is not about me, and I don't want it to be. But I also feel I can't let this moment go unmarked. In years to come, when this little archive becomes a way to remember, I want to remember.

So I am here, messily remembering.

Mike has been my dear friend for a decade now. I have worked with him for eight of those. I have seen him every day in the grind. He is brilliant and hilarious and caustic and curmodgeonly. He is an a-1 asshole with a broad shoulder to lean on. Mean-spirited and big-hearted. He can be trusted to make you laugh your ass of at your own self (and, ok, various others) but is there for you at a drop of a hat.

He is 37.

Last Friday morning Mike had a stroke. He called his wife at work at and said "I think I am having stroke. I am calling an ambulance. Come home." His wife sped home to find one of her sons on the front lawn, ready to flag down the paramedics.

He was lucid in the ambulance but faded at the hospital. He suffered a stroke.

At first we thought he would rally. His pupils dilated and he responded to his name, even when under sedation. All the signs said "it will be tough, but he will be back.

But now he is bleeding and he will be lost to everyone by tomorrow. To his wife, and to his three boys. This morning his two eldest boys came to the hospital to say goodbye. Ethan, 12, and Harrison, 6. He youngest was born in June, and will have no memory of his father.

How do you write about something like this? But how can you not say anything?

Mike. I am so so so fucking sorry. You are so very loved, and you will be so very missed. If it were not for you, I would not be leaving this Friday. I'll never forget that.

Mike slipped away this evening, Saturday, September 8th, 2007. It was the night of our going away party. We ate American Fayre to mark our occasion--chicken with a beer can up its butt and mac and cheese and smoked ribs. There was much boozing.

I know he would have approved.


Well. Where Have the Buggering Hell Have You Been???

Brought to you as my eldest son pounds a "V-Tech See Me Go" device that is officially doing my head in....

Let me start by apologizing for the yawning stretch between entries, especially when you know I simply *must* have shitloads of fodder to act as my muse. Shitloads is right, so many many loads of shit, I've not been able to sit and actually string a thought for an entry

(and I know, I am overthinking it when I impose the notion of "stringing a thought" onto this form of writing. Just write a flipping post. DO IT. I hear you say).

I've even received a couple of toe-tapping emails along the lines of "uh. write a post already. please. you are annoying me with your selfish refusal to post" Which made me feel both loved and mildly guilty, a mixture of emotions with which I am only too familiar.

Main reason for my absence--end of my Real Job in America. i.e. two weeks of frenetic attempts to finish up one billion tasks and not shit royally upon my co-workers with my departure. General consensus among my friends is that try though I might to leave a legacy of professionalism and "my GOD that woman had an astounding work ethic, and ran all her projects in the most efficient yet humane way" the fact of the matter is that She Who Last Leaves becomes The Scapegoat Upon Which All Future Fuck-ups Will be Blamed.

And I am, now, at peace with that logic.

So now I am free of work and at home with a house that feels empty, but apparently has an endless source of junk through which to sort. My husband just asked me what exactly was in the ten bags we just hauled to Good Will.

"Clothes" I answer defensively, even as he raises an eyebrow of disbelief that we could not have possibly accrued such vast quantities.

What did you get rid of that's mine...?

Don't worry, sweetheart, your 120 "running t-shirts" that are "worn in" and therefore riddled with holes and questionable stains"comfortable" are safe...

Since I last wrote, the "spacious, pared down, unfettered" feeling of rattling around a house devoid of clutter, a lot of furniture, and signs of humanity, has worn a little thin. We're a little tired of living in limbo, a holding pattern.

Also, figuring out what you can cook for dinner with an ancient frying pan and a 4 quart pot gets boring... But I will admit there is something liberating about wading into a cupboard and being utterly mercenary. Do I want to launder this, fold this, and pack it lovingly in my suitcase for England?


And so, one very lucky Good Will shopper becomes the proud owner of a Union Jack "Swinger" T-Shirts (yes. Austin Powers has a lot to answer for) some blousey, floral numbers that seemed a good idea in 1998 (thank you Phoebe of Friends fame) and a series of tanks with the scuba logo, purchased over a couple of summers where I felt that some snorkeling expeditions and "one day diving experience, no experience necessary" excursion in Key West was reason enough festoon my person with signs that I was a professional.

We leave in one week and 3 days (next Friday, the 14th). This date feels miles away and yet also breathtakingly close. I've been asked by so many friends "what will you miss about this country?" I can't voice the answer to that one yet, but I am working in it. Apart from those we hold dear, the answer lies somewhere between fried cheese and loving John Stewart in Bush's America.

[Written for Mike. Co-worker, conspirator, complete asshole, and dear dear friend. You are much, much missed. You'd better show your face soon, you prick].