Like it’s 1999…

M2K. Jeff bought the tickets well in advance.

We had them in our hands way before either of our jobs created a mandatory on-call 1999 New Year’s Eve melt-down emergency plan.

We thought about it. Keeping our jobs was a necessity.  Rationally, we ultimately decided if the world was gonna melt down, if all communication was gonna cease, no one would be able to contact us anyway, so, we might as well be where we’d be enjoying the end of the world as we knew it.

The dilemma was, my parents were still in Michigan and my Dad was hoping for a New Year’s Eve gathering. After being in the hospital so long, and worried about his mortality, it was important to him. I asked Jeff to talk to my father. Weenie that I am I didn’t want to break his heart, but I didn’t want to disappoint Jeff, either.

It wouldn’t be the last time I faced this battle. Jeff faced a few of his own.

We ended up at the Silverdome, M2K Tour tickets in hand, ready to rock no matter what. Of course, I worried. Not about the ‘what if work calls” factor, but about what would happen if there truly was a Y2K. I packed granola bars and potato chips and water, made sure we had cash, blankets and pillows, extra socks and a first-aid kit. Just in case, we were going to be stuck in Pontiac when it all went south.

Jeff was excited about Nugent. I was focused on Metallica, of course. The coolest bonus was that it would be the first time either of us had seen Kid Rock.

From side seats more toward the stage than not, 2nd tier up, the view was great.

We saw everything that happened on that stage from Kid Rock & entourage to crazy indoor pyrotechnics. Ted Nugent came out riding a real, freaking live buffalo.  We were on our feet right until the final culmination entrance of Metallica.

Truthfully, we didn’t see everything.

I  saw everything.

It was 50,000 jammed in people and flame-shooter, super-hot, thickly smoky, and weirdly muggy. There was lots of yelling and cheering and noise and everything that comes along with crowded drunkedness.

I should mention neither one of us had any alcohol. We were Mt. Dew’ing it not only to keep us going at the show, but for the ride home, as well. Amped for sure.

I’ll tell you something else important – I’ve only been to one concert in my life that was louder, and I’m pretty sure they had the audience mic’d to make it seem that way.

Anyway, in the midst of all that, Jeff sat down for a minute to cool down.

And promptly fell asleep…seriously.

Right. In. The. Middle. Of. Metallica.

I woke him up in time to see the televised Times Square Ball drop. I wasn’t the only one holding my breath, either. 50K humans got pretty quiet for what had two minutes ago been a really rowdy crowd.

The countdown began with the usual methodical chant –  5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

At exactly midnight – nothing happened.

The lights didn’t go out, and the world didn’t end, which made the entire audience participation finale all the more outrageous, since we sincerely were celebrating non-destruction and the best New Year’s Eve Kiss, ever.

By the way, it took a good two hours to get out of the post-show chaos and unto the highway. Someone was glad I’d insisted on being prepared, enjoying our snacks on the way home.

Quote for the Week:

2016 02 23 There are reasonable limits for emergency planning jakorte

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3rd Time

The third time was almost the deal breaker.

“I’ll be there a little after 1:00 AM,” turned into another round of “Where’s Jeff?”

I paged. I paged. By this time, I had his cell #, so damn-the-expense, I called. I called.

I started to panic. I paged. I called. I finally full-fledged panicked, and called his mom.

I even called his work dispatcher, and then asked the dispatcher for his brother’s #.

Then, I went another round of pages and calls, sick with imagining the worst.

At 5:30 AM, he called me.

He said his Mom had called him and woke him up … in a gas station lot…again.

Angry didn’t convey concern, but it’s where I went. I told him not to come; to just go home, and hung up on him.

He called. I answered and told him to stop calling because my Mom was still sleeping. I hung up, again.

He called again. One ring in, I picked up and hung up.

My mother shuffled into the living room to ask what was going on. She thought my Dad might have been trying to call from the hospital.

I explained it wasn’t, and what the problem was and what my final words had been.  She told me to call him back, and say it was ok to come.  I said, “Not happening.”

“Jod,” she said, “I asked Jeff to come get you this weekend so you could get a break from going to the hospital almost every night and taking care of me. I need some alone time, too!”

“It’s too late now,” I told her. “He’s on his way home. Maybe, if things work out after this, we’ll be able to do something next weekend.”

I was still angry, but starting to feel terrible. He was trying to get here as soon as possible, but like I’d told him before, sleeping in parking lots is not a good idea, and if you’re that tired, you should just stay home, anyway.

My mother was very upset with me, as was Jeff. I know this because, as she had her hand on the knob on her way out to the hospital at 6:30 AM, my doorbell rang. So, she opened it.

I was standing to the side, peering out form the kitchen galley, when Jeff marched in and exclaimed, “I’m sorry! It won’t happen again! I’m not going home! ”

My mother left and Jeff stayed.

“You don’t have to be so upset,” he said

“Yes, I do!’” I wailed, “and I’m upset because I’m angry, and I’m angry because you did something stupid again, and I didn’t know where you were or if you were dead somewhere!”

“I’m not dead,” he said, exasperatedly extending his arms.

“I made plans,” he continued with a little stomp and a frustrated little boy pout.

I didn’t agree right away, but after I packed an overnight bag, after my tears, I figured it out.

I was angry because I was scared. And I was surely in love, because that’s what people in love do.

They worry.

And then they give each other nicknames… like the one Jeff gave me.

Wort. As in, worry.

Quote for the Week:

2016 02 16 dont tell me not to worry jakorte

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Worry or Worship:


1999 was also the year my parents came to Michigan. They planned to stay for a while, due to the impending birth of my nephew.  They stayed much longer.

My father spent 90 days in the hospital with a broken back he acquired before he ever got in the car to travel.  My mother stayed with me in my new-ish 2 bedroom apartment, leaving in the morning when I went to work, and coming home about the same time as I did.

Our nights varied. Every other week night, I’d accompany Mom back to the hospital  so she could have dinner with Dad. Friday nights and weekends, I’d visit, and help him devise mischief.

At his request, I paint his toenails (truth), hung blinking lights, gave him fake tattoos,and added glitter to the baseball cap he liked to wear, all for the reactions of doctors, nurses, aides and physical therapist.

The situation changed Jeff and my weekend routine. There were no stay-overs, and a lot more phone- talking, ICQ, email and day-planning.

Still, for those three months plus some, a week never went by without at least one day together. Jeff would come on a Saturday morning or a Sunday morning, and we’d head out for the day.

We’d go shopping, exploring, find a nice little place to have a bite or coffee for a few hours. He’d drop me off at late afternoon, wait to say “hi” to my mom. Occasionally, he would be able convince her to go out and have dinner with us, before heading home.

I also spent a few one-night weekends with him in Tecumseh. I’d drive down Saturday and come home Sunday, giving mom some alone time and me more Jeff-time.

We were getting to know each other’s mothers better.

My father refused most well-wishers and specifically did not want Jeff to visit. I assumed it was a pride thing. After a while, I mentioned how ridiculous I thought that was.

Dad admitted that at first, it was pain and then it was pride, and now it was because he didn’t want Jeff and I wasting our time together ‘baby-sitting’ him in the hospital.

Mostly, when I asked if this was a good weekend for us to come us and say “hi,” he’d say no. Jeff made it up to see my father only twice, at his allowance. Both times, we were dismissed after only 15-20 minutes, but that gave Jeff plenty of time to tell him a story or make him laugh. Jeff cared; if it was important to me, it was important to him.

One Saturday morning, Jeff was late, again. Later than usual. By the time my mother had left for the hospital, I was concerned.

So, I paged him, again, and more than a few times. An answer never came, so I called his home to see if he had overslept. His mom told me he’d had a late delivery call the night before, but got up and left home early that morning to come see me.

I was about to panic when call waiting beeped. Jeff had woken up from a “nap” in a closed gas station parking lot in a not very nice area, but was now on his way.

When he got to me, I got a little feisty and explained why I thought that was a stupid move.

He should never sleep in his truck and definitely not in unsafe neighborhoods.

He replied that it was better decision than falling asleep at the wheel.

“True,” I answered. “At least find an open-all-night joint, market or restaurant, or maybe just sleep in and come later.”

He didn’t like the ‘come later’ part, he said, because it meant less time together.

Of course, I melted.

Quote for the Week:

2016 02 09 id rather you be late jakorte

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A year under

I999: a year under our belt.

I moved to a larger, less expensive (go figure) apartment to save some money and accommodate weekends with Jeff.  Most of the time, he would arrive on Friday evening and stay until Sunday afternoon. One Friday, he was late. So, after waiting about an hour, I decided to page him.

He had a shoe-box size work cell-phone, used only for work, so I did not have that number. Non-work related outgoing and incoming charges were an expensive responsibility for the employee, so I likely wouldn’t have gone that rout, anyway.

I figured he might have decided on a nap before driving up, in which case I would wake him, and he would get on the giddy-up. It’d happened before.

I didn’t hear back from Jeff, so I paged him again about 15 minutes later.

I didn’t get a call back, but five minutes or so later, there was a knock on my door. It was Jeff, but he wasn’t looking good. He was pale and sweating and looked like he’d just been through something horrible and come out the other side in one piece, but shaken.

“I could use a glass of water,” he said. I went for the glass.

He came in dropped his overnight bag, and plopped down on the couch. Staring at the floor, he said, “I nearly had a heart attack…”

“I got your page,” he said, before he drank the entire glass of water, and sat back wiping his brow.

“I was really tired driving up here.  Long day.” Jeff explained.

“When my pager went off, it sort of woke me up, but not really. I wasn’t sure where I was or what was going on, but I saw a huge tree in front of me and realized I was going to smash into it, so I screamed and slammed on the breaks.”

I sat there, wide-eyed.

“When I was done screaming, and hadn’t hit anything, I realized that the truck was running, but I was in ‘Park.’ In your parking lot. In front of a tree.”

“Wait, what?” I asked. “You were here?”

“Yeah,” he said, looking up at me, “for about an hour.”

“Holy cow ploppings,” I said, (although I probably used a real curse.)  “Do you need to go lie down?”

“No,” he laughed, more like his regular self. “I’m wide awake now!”

In our first year together, I’d learned that Jeff could fall asleep anywhere. At a race track, in a movie theatre, sitting on my couch, while talking on the phone, using ICQ, in the break-room at work waiting for on-call calls on weekends.

I never thought about him falling asleep at the wheel, so I asked him if that had ever had happened. He said it hadn’t, but that was because many times he’d just pull over and catch a 20 minute nap at a gas station or market parking lot.

Made sense to me.

By the time we’d finished dinner, Jeff was not-silently laughing at himself, and had another funny story to share.

Quote for the Week:

2016 02 02 situation not as it seems jakorte

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