When all around you earth turns to fire

When it rains, sometimes, it pours.

Last week was a rough week here. First, this very website went down – and not even with a blaze of glory, but with a White Screen of Death (for those unfamiliar). As that was being fixed (no seriously, AS it was being sorted through a flurry of texts), the family truck dies. That was a little closer to a blaze of glory. In fact, it’s still being worked on, and if you’re at all familiar with how much mechanics charge per hour, your jaw has hit your desk or floor. Mine did too when they gave us the estimate.Those two things happened on Sunday. (It was a long week!)

On Monday, our trailer, which was being towed at the time by our now “out-of-commission” truck, had to be retrieved. Another day, another rental car, or truck in this case. I think that was the day we found out just how far this little fix-it job was going to set us back.

On Tuesday night, our microwave died. I don’t know about the rest of you – but we rely on that little appliance a lot. I can deal without a truck (sort of), but the microwave? Come on now.

On Wednesday morning, I came downstairs to find a small mess around and near my coffee maker. I assumed that when I poured the water in to the machine the night before, I missed and didn’t notice. Nope. The coffee maker has a leak. Seriously???

Later on that day, I also found out that my last living uncle on my dad’s side passed away. My uncle Joe was 92 and had lived a long, full life. Like my father, he was Sicilian, and the family tales of his possible-Mafia involvement were semi-legendary. We never knew for sure, because he kept those cards very close to his chest (and I appreciate that simply because I didn’t want to be involved). However, I will say one thing about my uncle: he was the one person (after my dad died), I could call if I needed help. I knew and trusted that about him, even if I did not see him regularly. He lived in Florida and each year we exchanged Christmas cards. He’d tell me he was coming out that summer, and I’d smile, knowing that there was no way he’d make it. He meant well, and most of all – he was the last vestige of family I had left on my dad’s side. I will miss having that little bit of comfort. I think I’m still coming to terms with what it means and how I feel, particularly because I didn’t have time to really process it because of what I’m about to share next.

Next was Thursday. The piece de resistance to the week was coming home to find Walt’s rental car sitting next to the curb. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I knew. I always do. I gathered my things, took a deep breath, ushered my youngest into the house and asked, “Were you laid off?”, already knowing what the answer would be.  “Yep.” , was the reply, coming from the kitchen.

Awesome

In the US – we say “laid off”, elsewhere you might call it “being made redundant.” In other words, he is now unemployed, which is a disaster with two kids in college who both need their tuitions paid this month.

What a WEEK.

So forgive me again for waxing nostalgic, as I take a minute or more to remember back to a much happier time. On this date in 2011, I saw Duran Duran in Glasgow, Scotland.

I don’t know that I’d say I’ve done a lot of traveling outside of the US. I feel lucky to be able to say I’ve done a little, that trip to Glasgow being a highlight. Many American people that I know or grew up with have never been outside of the country at all. To give the tiniest bit of insight, I think my parents were pretty average people. My dad had a white-collar job, but it wasn’t terribly high paying, and my mom was a secretary once she went back to work when I was about ten. We had most things we needed, but very few things that we really wanted, I think.

Vacations were a luxury, and the most we ever did for a family vacation was go camping – and that didn’t happen until I was in high school. Until then, my parents would take a two-week vacation from work each summer, but we didn’t really go anywhere, and that was not unusual for the parents of my friends, either. I flew on a plane with my parents exactly once, and that was to go up to the bay area to see family one Thanksgiving.  My dad considered flying to be a luxury, and not one we could readily afford. I had aunts, uncles and cousins – siblings of my father and their children, as well as the same on my mom’s side – that I never met because they lived across the country from us. I didn’t travel outside of California until I took a special trip to Washington DC in 8th grade, and after that I didn’t go on a plane again until I was well into college.

The idea of traveling to see a band is still pretty “out there” to many people, I guess. My friends from high school are surprised when they see my posts, not because I go to see a band (they’re used to that part now!) but because I’ve gone some crazy places to do it. One of my friends commented that the farthest she’s gone from home has been to Arizona, which is where she lives now. That’s pretty shocking to ME. There’s an entire world out there to explore, and yet a lot of the people I know would be satisfied to just see the capital of our country. That is why when I say the US is a big place and many people don’t travel outside of their general area, I say it with confidence.

So for more, one of the shows I’m most excited to be able to say I attended, was Glasgow. We weren’t even really supposed to be there! It wasn’t a part of our original plan at all, but when these tickets came up, Amanda and I agreed we should just do it. We took a train from Birmingham into Glasgow, which in and of itself was a fantastic trip. Then we stayed with Amanda’s friend in Edinburgh, and even spent time in that city before going to Glasgow for the show. I loved every minute of it. The winter markets, seeing ice and snow on the ground (yes, I’m from California and to me that’s a novelty!), going to a Scotch club and just walking around – memories I will keep forever.

And then there was the show.

It was our last show on that little mini-tour, and while I know the band likely had no idea who we were (Except for Dom – by then he was probably concerned I’d never go home!), I would swear they played with extra energy that night. Hungry Like the Wolf was ridiculous, as John and Dom came right to center stage and played off of one another. Amanda and I nearly had strokes! I reveled in the show, turning around to watch the crowd clap and respond. To say I enjoyed myself would be an understatement. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to top the experience I had at that Glasgow show.

So, when things are down, like right now, I tend to think about those moments. I don’t know if anything like that can ever happen again. I’d like to think so because otherwise, it’s all pretty hopeless, but you never know. I treasure the memories.

The other day I was chatting with someone online, and they mentioned that the nicest people they knew from the US were those who had traveled abroad. I understand what they meant by this. It is very easy to remain complacent and somewhat naive about the world we live in when we aren’t able to see HOW one another actually lives, There are a plethora of reasons for this, but I think when we rely solely on media for our information, it is very easy to make assumptions without verifying using our own eyes and experiences. My own eyes were opened much wider after my first visit abroad, and every time I get the chance to go somewhere new, I learn more.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m hoping for a better week!

-R

3 thoughts on “When all around you earth turns to fire”

  1. Sad for the loss in your family… All support
    This past week was ok, but the coming one (11th Dec to 15th December wil be FIRE for me, due to the DD TV Music Awards on the 16th… knowing the “perfectionist” in me… LOL… hahahaha)

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