The rambling, largely unfocused, sanity report

mailboxI have noted that this past winter was tough. The cold. Attending four funerals in the first ten weeks of 2015. One of my library buds leaving work at the end of January. Black History Month stuff. Friends of the Library stuff.

Plus the family sickness chain. The last week in February – the Daughter, the week before her church play. By March 1, she was better, but I felt awful. Yet I had an adult education class to teach, scripture to read during the service, and needed to attend that aforementioned play.

I said, OUT LOUD, that day, “If I didn’t have all these things to do, I would have stayed home.”

So you would think I’d have listened to myself and stayed home the next day; I did not. But I felt so miserable, I left as soon as I could, which was two hours later because the buses out of Corporate frickin’ Woods run infrequently in the middle of the day, then I stayed in bed the next couple days.

Why on earth did I go to work? Because we were shorthanded at work. One of the librarians was on maternity leave for December, January, and most of February, which, I rush to note, is a good thing.

The weekend of my birthday, March 7, I was better, but my Wife was definitely becoming ill. Then the next week, the Daughter.

The week after that, my lungs felt as though they were underwater. I went to the doctor’s and got some meds, but the situation was slow to clear.

I went for a massage several days later, and she pressed my back; the noise from my lungs sounded like the special effects sounds of a horror movie. It was actually quite entertaining to listen to – I wish I had recorded it! – aside from the fact that it was emanating from me. I missed choir for three weeks during Lent – my favorite time of the church year – during which both the Wife and the Daughter got sick AGAIN.

I missed seven workdays in March, five of them sick days, two vacation (one of which involved going to the fourth funeral). Plus, in April, some weird thing was wrong with the Daughter’s foot.

But now it’s May. It’s warm (or hot, or occasionally a bit cool.) We can ride our bikes. Everything is both hunk AND dory. Well, almost. There’s the live bat we found in the house, the first in several years. And the noisy neighbors: after telling them to keep it quiet at 11:30 Sunday nights, I called the cops on them a few hours later when their volume returned.

Work still is a slog. Trying to get done with four librarians what we did with five is difficult.

Almost the whole staff statewide attended the annual training meeting in mid-April, where the librarians talk about things we can do for our colleagues. Every year, this has inevitably meant a spike in the number of questions that come into the library, and it was true again, especially the last three days of April. We had traditionally offered a week’s turnaround time, but we didn’t finish the April questions until May 13.

There’s a part of me that says that I oughtn’t to take time off. But a greater part says that I NEED to. I have a couple of weeks of vacation, and close to six months of unused sick time.

Here’s something that is more than a rumor: we may be moving out of Corporate (frickin’) Woods by the end of the year. One unit on our floor, affiliated with SUNY Albany, is moving in September to a building near Stuyvesant Plaza, which is also close to the campus.

A woman from another unit on our floor, affiliated with SUNY Central, as are we, says that her group is moving somewhere downtown, once parking issues are resolved. I assume the same will be true for us as well, though we’ve heard nothing official.

If we were in downtown Albany again, which we left in May 2006, I would be SO thrilled. Access to restaurants, stores, the post office, my bank. I could attend events, such as the weekly talks of the Friends of the APL. Plus, there’s a Farmers Market every Thursday for at least half the year. In other words, there’s a THERE there.

In the winter, I could take one bus to work, and one bus home, rather than two each way. I’d have the flexibility to take one of at least three buses that would get me home, and I’d get there sooner. Plus both my dentist and my eye doctor are downtown, so when I need an appointment, it’d be a quarter day off, rather than a half-day.

In fact, the ONLY downside is that I’d have to go to Corporate (frickin’) Woods every 28 days for my allergy shots, but I could still get to work by 10:15 if I take the usual two buses to CfW that I take now.

Well, there IS one thing I’d miss if we move downtown. There is always a cadre of new folks coming out to CfW , having difficulty navigating the buses. Having the need to be useful, I’ve helped more than a few people out.

Recently, one of these twentysomethings was texting his 10-year-old nephew and was puzzled by a question he received: “When is a door not a door?” Heck, I knew that, straight off. My daughter would know it. I was glad to help.

You do know the answer, right? “What is ajar?”

Looking forward to NEXT month

There were a lot of deaths in the families of people I know in the month of February.

It’s not the warmer weather that I’m longing for, it’s a bit of sanity. February was Black History Month and is always brutal for me at church. I try to fawn off responsibilities to others, but, like a boomerang, they keep coming back to me. Lining up speakers, getting approvals, making sure equipment is set up, putting information into the church bulletin, etc.

Sunday, February 24 was a prime example. Go to the 8:30 a.m. service to make sure the guest preacher has shown up. Afterward, accompany him to a place for him to rest until the 10:45 service. Make sure the 9:30 adult education speakers are there and make sure they are set. Make at least some of the choir rehearsal, which starts at 9:30, but my cloning ability is frayed. Sing in the choir at 10:45 service, and also do the presentation of the ceremonial kente cloth, and read prayers of the people.

Thank goodness my wife has taken responsibility for the luncheon. But then there’s the clean-up afterward.

I would have been happy to have gone home then, as I was exhausted. Unfortunately, the husband of one of the choir members had died that week, and choir people support their own. So we sang at the 3 p.m. service.

Not that it was a BAD day, mind you. I thought everything went well. The guest preacher was good, the adult ed presenters were well-received, and the dinner was fantastic. I thought the music was fine; in fact, if I’m doing this correctly, you should be able to hear I’ve Been in the Storm So Long [LISTEN]; yes, there’s a one-second recording glitch at the end.

There were a lot of deaths in the families of people I know in the month of February. Our choir’s soprano soloist lost her father; him, I hadn’t met, but the rest of the people I knew. The former treasurer of the Friends of the Albany Public Library, Peg, passed away. So did the wife of the former president of the Friends; Len and Naomi Tucker had been married for over 70 years and were such a sweet couple. My friend Broome’s dad Michael died; he was always an interesting and entertaining guy. Our former secretary at work had her mother die in the early morning, then had to bring her father to the hospital for treatment of his heart that same day.

March means working on an initiative my church is supporting with Giffen Elementary School in Albany; my wife is even more heavily involved than I. There’s a church musical, and I have a part in that, on March 17, which means some rehearsals as well. And of course, there’s Holy Week, which church musicians and singers think of as hell week. (Someone suggested that was a sacrilegious sentiment – well, when you think about the betrayal, whipping, and crucifixion stuff prior to Easter…)

So I’m looking forward, more than usual, to April, when our office has a presentation to prepare by the end of the month; a piece of cake.