I haven't posted all week due to a few reasons:
1) I was getting actual work done (evident in my 2nd draft of Ordinary Angels).
2) I was being sick.
3) The last week before spring break entails a lot of school-related activities.
4) I was also indulging in my favorite form of crack - some tactical strategy games, namely Star Wars: Empire at War (which has all the cool stuff about Star Wars without any of the lameness), and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (which is based on a tactical miniatures game I used to play back in the day - which was a Wednesday, if you believe Dane Cook).
I'd feel a lot worse about #4 if #1 and #2 weren't the case. :)
I wanted to give a big shout out to GAMA, the Game Manufacturers Association, who held a silent auction at this year's GTS show, and presented us with a generous check. Thanks Anthony, and all the wonderful folks who made the auction happen. I keep marveling at the generosity of our industry. It really helps, guys. Thank you.
And to the generous folks in the Puget Sound area who donated to the Seattle's Bravest firefighter charity - thank you. We were presented with another check that really helps take the sting out of the out-of-pocket expenses we have absorbed (and will have to absorb until we get a final insurance settlement). Dave came out to the house with a big envelope full of your cards and notes. You are all wonderful.
There's been a huge buildup in my mind regarding this coming Wednesday, which will mark 1 year since Sam died. Since our family was transformed. Since the kids lost their mom. Since my life as I knew it ended. I don't know how I will observe/handle/cope with the day. I guess we'll find out. Don't be surprised to see another open letter to Sam. It's kind of my shtick, I guess.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about Sam. There's still some longing, some looking back with a tear and a sigh. But that looking back is from a completely foreign perspective now. I look at those old photos and it's like observing someone else's life... like, "oh yeah, I knew that guy... married, couple kids, videogame designer..." It just doesn't seem like me anymore - probably because I feel fundamentally different at the core. And while I might sometimes wistfully remember what it was like being him with her, that is a dynamic that no longer exists. That combination, that equation is no longer valid. It has gone out into the universe as something good and loving and unique, and will never be seen again.
I don't usually talk about a lot of metaphysical stuff on this blog, due to the fact that it is very personal to me (and I only post stuff I feel comfortable sharing with the world at large). But interestingly, Tyler confessed to having had a dream about Sam, where she briefly talked to him. That was good to hear - it's only about the second time he's talked about his mom appearing in a dream. According to Tyler, she said she was glad we'd found a temporary place to live, she was glad Tyler and I were getting along better (we are), and she was sorry about James Brown's accident (he's still not recovered, but is slowly gaining back some use of his hind legs - a good sign). I don't claim these "visits" are anything more nor less than what they appear to be. If they are real to the dreamer, so be it. Sam & I shared too many freaky "connection" moments for me to disregard the possibility of a persistent soul. I also had a dream about Sam last night, on the eve of a road trip up to Bellingham to help celebrate my grandparents' 65th wedding anniversary. Seemed like she was just checking in and giving me a hug to keep moving forward.
Picked up my brother & sister-in-law bright and early, and trekked up to the B-ham. We surprised my grandparents at their church, and all of us went to brunch after the service. There was a time (recently) when I would have been sour and jealous at the thought of celebrating such a wonderful anniversary - from a purely selfish perspective (like that could have been Sam and me eventually, blah blah blah, bitter bitter bitter). But I'm a lot more at peace with the way things are, the way things have been, and the way things will be. And VERY happy that my grandparents are still here with us and celebrating such a great milestone! I love them dearly and I'm glad we made the trip. Photo, L: Jack & Dorothy Brown, April 1941. Photo, R (from Left): sister-in-law Michelle, grandmother Dorothy (aka Omi), little sister Sara, yours truly, grandfather Jack (aka Opa), and little brother Gavin (who is taller than me, so "little" only refers to our chronological age).
My best friend, Randy, has been working on some CAD designs for proposed alterations to the house when they get to rebuilding. There's a lot of talk of opening up the upstairs quite a bit, to allow more flow. There are also some alternate designs that include an enclosed garage (we've had a carport since day one) and a dedicated studio space above. I keep remembering what Sam said when she'd decided on that house 11 years ago (much to my astonishment): "It's perfect."
"It's too small for us," I worried. "We already have Tyler, and we want to have a second kid - this place isn't big enough." "But the lot is huge," she countered, "and we can add on..." It was totally the wrong reason to buy a house, but the fact that within 5 years we'd doubled the square footage drove her point home. Because of the home's modest beginnings as a 1924 craftbuilt 1-bedroom bungalow, there were always space issues - not enough storage, small rooms sectioned off from one another, plaster/lathe walls filled with blown newspaper insulation (most of which had settled halfway down the wall after 80 years), a full bath upstairs which was rarely used since the basement was turned into living space. Now we have the opportunity to make it a truly useful space with lots of storage and good flow. I'm really excited to see what we can do. And my adjuster says we should have approval to start work by Friday of this coming week.
Caleb and I were watching the documentary Murderball the other night, and it really inspired me to start interviewing some of my friends in the widda community, with the goal of assembling a compelling documentary piece on spouse/partner loss.
Kayleigh's having a blast with her cousin and my stepmom in Oregon. They are visiting a friend's farm and getting to feed the new lambs. It's a valuable experience to have - every kid should at least visit a farm.
That's all for now. No school for the kids this week. There's a beer with my name on it and rebel scum who need a good Imperal smiting. More later.