Love that Daughter L’s friend is staying with us

My daughter’s friend was miserable at home.  In recent years she’d run away from home a couple of times.  She has spent some time with our family, and think she likes spending time with us, so a couple of months ago asked my daughter if she could stay with us.  Wife M had to work it out with the parents (who are none too pleased) but L’s friend is unofficially living with us right now.  I love that she feels comfortable at our house, and that wife M has had a conversation or two with her about curfew/friends etc and she has been really respectful of that.  She is a great person, especially considering how unhappy she was, and I’m glad we have a place for her to stay.   I wish her parents were a little less threatened about it, but I also can understand their pain.  We’ve made it very clear that this is not official in any way, that she is just crashing at our house indefinitely – we don’t want anyone to feel that we are imposing our will or trying to take control and want to avoid legal battles (yikes!). We just want everyone to be happy.

PS I love that daughter L has embraced this too.  She has had to share her room and has lost some privacy, since her friend lives in her room.  But that is so important, to learn to share and that when friends are going through tough times we don’t just offer verbal support but share shelter with them.  I wish there were more of that in America — I feel so many AMericans are all alone in our culture that prizes independence to a fault. Plus I think L likes it – the two of them get along very well and seem to have a healthy blend of privacy but companionship, like close siblings.

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Love that Daughter L’s friend is staying with us

Wife M’s Best Friend J has two lumps that will be biopsied

Wife M’s best friend and soul mate J has two masses in her breast that the doctors want to biopsy, especially since her mom had breast cancer.  M has already had two close friends beat serious breast cancer (i.e. lives were in danger) so this would be the third if it turns out to be true.  Luckily, it is early and the doctors are confident it is treatable.

I reached out and offered my support.  I am always worried about that, about reaching out too strongly and worrying someone who is trying not to think about it.  But I’d rather error but being over supportive than not supportive enough. When I battled my own potentially fatal lung disease, I have never felt more alone, since the world around me continued on while I fought my own private battle. The world around me truly felt like a shadow.  But J said she feels okay – she was just glad an ovarian cancer test came back negative.  

This month it has been five years since my lung disease battle began.  When you have cancer, people mark and celebrate five years, but I don’t think that really happens with lung disease, even though the mortality rate was 50% before 5 years. So I am privately marking my own days this month, and appreciating that it has been five years.

Wife M’s Best Friend J has two lumps that will be biopsied

Dreamt my good friend was secretly getting married

My friend IB has been a very good friend for over 15 years.  She met and married a good guy over 5 years ago, and they have two beautiful daughters.  So it was a very strange dream last night that wife M, my family and I were staying in a nice hotel and happened to bump into my friend, who was dressed formally with a large gathering of people in what turned out to be her surprise wedding to an obnoxious man who I’ve never seen before.  

When I saw IB in the lobby of my dream, she was insisting I ride an elevator up with her, and it was to show me her wedding, which was about to start.  My parents and wife joined us up there, and the wedding commenced, but it was not a clearly defined wedding in my dream, it seemed like a bizarre type of festival or party.  I was a little offended/surprised that she hadn’t invited me and felt like an uninvited guest, and everyone was reassuring me that I (me) was to be invited the entire time, that it was meant to be a surprise.  On every level, it was a strange dream, and possibly rooted in that friend IB didn’t use wife M as her agent last year, plus my other friend T didn’t really (officially or directly) invite us to his wedding.  At any rate, it was an odd dream that in no way featured IB’s actual husband…

This is a silly thing, but one of my great badges of honor is that friend IB is an attractive Spanish woman (a coworker once said she was so attractive he took his breath away every time we had a sales meeting) who for many years was my terrific friend, and because of work we had to travel together and we had many lunches together and she even spent Christmas with our family one year, and after many years of this she told my wife indirectly that I never showed any hint of wanting to be more than friends with her or any other female coworker/friend (what she said was she always assumed I had a low sex drive 🙂 ).  I love this, because I was always certifiably girl crazy and am 100% heterosexual (men are actually quite disgusting), so the fact I am so true to my wife and it is eveident to other women to the point a very close friend didn’t think I was phyically attracted to anyone made me feel very happy.  It goes back to what I always tell the kids, that other than murdering someone cheating on a spouse is probably the worst thing you can do, and just like there are a few people in this world I would truly love to whack but never will, I would never dream of even mentally cheating on my wonderful wife M 🙂 ).

Dreamt my good friend was secretly getting married

A nice thing about getting lung disease at 43 is I can prioritize who gets my attention

Our friend is throwing a birthday party this weekend. It isn’t a convenient time, but I will never forget how when I was in the hospital she sat with Wife M and I for an entire day, so there is no way I won’t make time for her party. One of the things I love about being sick relatively young is I learned who is there for me, so for the rest of my life I can prioritize who gets my time in return. It would be a bummer to be there for everyone all my life, get sick at 70, and only then learn who my true friends are. 🙂 But my friend I and friend J, who went the extra mile, will always get my time for now on!

A nice thing about getting lung disease at 43 is I can prioritize who gets my attention

Neighbor C listed house with another agent.

Our longtime neighbor and a family friend dating back to my childhood listed her house for sale with another agent and not my wife M. Once again, the people who were part of my life when I was a kid have given business to a stranger rather than my family. Honestly, it is indicative of the people in my life when I was a child as compared to the friends we’ve made in the past decade, Who haven’t hesitated to give wife M their business… One of the things I love about being an adult is the wisdom and freedom to choose who can and will be in my life. When you are a kid, you are kind of trapped with the people around you without the option of picking up and changing to a better community… I am a tiny bit disappointed and bitter about all my so – called friends who have not supported my family (especially when a few of them we’re happy to accept my familys help, including this neighbor, whose son my wife found a job for when he was unemployed), but more than that I am very happy for the people I have surrounded myself with as an adult. I appreciate the friend who brought us dinner when I was sick, and the multiple friends who have been there for wife M at Various times. In short, I am very grateful for the people I have met these past 10 to 15 years and this neighbor moving away means I have one less person from my past to think about, which isn’t a bad thing :-)).

Neighbor C listed house with another agent.

So many times, an extra 10 minutes goes a long way towards helping another person – we are grateful to the person who did that yesterday.

Daughter L made a friend on one of our days ashore.  They spent the entire day talking, laughing and swapping stories.  But at the end of the day, they forgot to exchange contact information, so all she had was the person’s first name, age and country of origin.  But she wanted to reach that person again.  What to do?

We called Guest Relations on the boat.  Could they help us?  No, they said.  But we could try the Excursions desk.  So I called the Excursions desk but we were put on hold.  I tend to hate the phone anyway (I’d rather do face-to-face or by email), so I walked down to the Excursion desk.  I told the story and asked if they could help us track down this person?  No, the person said, only if we had the first and last name.  Ugh.  Later, that night, I went back to Guest Relations, and tried a final time.  “We have the first name, age and the person’s nationality,” I said.  “Isn’t there any way to search the database that way?”  The young woman at the front desk thought for a moment.  Let me try a few things, she said.  And she took 5 minutes to search through her computer.  “I think I found it,” she said.  “There is only one 20 year old from that country on the ship.”  She explained she couldn’t give us the name or the cabin number, but that she could call on our behalf or deliver a message to the room.  So I sent our contact information to the room.

(Note: if this is a different format, it is not by choice 🙂 – I think I hit a random button that changed formatting for this paragraph).  A half hour later, there was a knock on the door, and it was the friend.  My daughter was happy, and it turns out the friend was happy – they were having the same dilemma and wanted to reach my daughter, and in fact had been searching the shiop for her.  Both were happy, life was good, and all because one of three people took an extra effort to help us.  She cared, she took 5 minutes to search, and she took 5 minutes to relay the message.  

10-minutes is nothing. It is the time it takes me to shave, brush my teeth, floss and rinse off in the morning.  But so many times it is difficult for most people to find an extra 10-minutes to go the extra mile for another person, especially when we are disgruntled with something else. But it is so important, not only for customer service and business, but primarily on a human being level – we all want to same like our needs matter.  

I am very grateful to that person who helped us, and I sent a note to her employer that I hope expresses my apprecation in some small way,.

So many times, an extra 10 minutes goes a long way towards helping another person – we are grateful to the person who did that yesterday.

Ode to the man on a motorcycle in the Netherlands

Our ship was sailing out of the Netherlands, and for an extended stretch a two-lane road ran along the waterway.  A man and a passenger trailed our ship on a motorcyle for the entire stretch, matching our pace.  And for that entire stretch, the passenger on the motorcycle waved at our ship.  I loved whoever that man and his passenger were, for taking 10 minutes out of their day to wave to fellow human beings they will never see again. It was a touch and human moment I’ll never forget.  If I were a painter, it would be a scene I’d paint, and title “Ode To the Man On a Motorcycle In the Netherlands.”

Ode to the man on a motorcycle in the Netherlands