Monday, December 29, 2008

A loss

My father passed away on Tuesday night, December 23rd. He had battled cancer for over four years, but the end was mercifully quick. Just under a month ago, he was told the cancer had spread to his lungs and we arranged for hospice care. He figured he had until the spring. But my mom and I felt it would be quicker, and it was. My mom took the picture below on December 13th. By the 19th, he was clearly in his final days. I always thought we'd have some final words together, but the last 48 hours of his life were very quiet, as he danced on the edge of consciousness.

On Tuesday, three friends of the family came over to eat dinner with me and my mom, as they had been doing for several days. As we sat at the table, eating and talking and laughing, I suddenly really needed to go upstairs and see my dad. Within the hour, he passed away, with all of us gathered around his hospital bed, holding his hands and whispering "I love you." It was a remarkably peaceful thing, the slipping of life, the turn between breath and stillness.

In a wonderful coup, two friends had arranged for my father to receive a special one-off printing of his memoir, which is still months away from publication. We got the books two weeks ago and showed him a copy on what turned out to be one of his last days of consciousness. When he realized it was an actual copy of his book, not just a mock-up, he said "I'll be goddamned."

His memoir, titled "Guts: One American Guy's Lucky, Reckless Life" will be published by Random House in May 2009. It's already available for pre-order here. (In one of the strangest assignments of my copywriting career, I got paid to write the jacket copy for my dad's memoir!) And you can read his obituary in the Boston Globe here.

My dad was a pretty extraordinary guy, quite smart and totally goofy; and though, like many dads, he could be annoying, opinionated, bossy, and stubborn, he was my dad--and I'm really going to miss him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back on, baby!

And on the seventh day, there was light.

The power's back on! That's right, the power was out for 7 DAYS. When it came back about an hour ago, I went around turning on every appliance in celebration--the dryer, the microwave, the Christmas lights! wooooo-hooooo...
...and just in time for the next big storm predicted for Friday. Why do I live in New England again? Oh, that's right, because it's home. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice, Ice Baby

and yes, too cold (too cold).

The last few days have been totally surreal. When the freezing rain started on Thursday it just seemed like a normal little winter icing. By late Thursday night, the sound of trees cracking and breaking all around the house kept me awake most of the night. We lost power and it hasn't come back on yet. But thank the gas-guzzling gods for the generator in the garage! Five gallons of gas yields about 10 hours of power, but appliances can only be run one at a time.

The amazing part of this storm is the way everyone came out and pitched in to help. The road was initially totally impassable, but neighbors went out on Friday with chainsaws to clear the large trees and tie up dangling power lines with twine, and when I walked down the mountain into town that afternoon I spent a lot of time clearing away the smaller branches. Now tree crews have come to town all the way from PA to help with the cleanup.

It's going to take a giant effort to get all the debris cleared away. But for now, the views are gorgeous. I took some videos, you can see them here.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thank you. And repeat!

The first ever Clementine Black Friday Free Shipping Event was a smashing success--a record-breaking weekend for orders at my shop. Thank you!!

Now I just have that little task of completing, packaging, and shipping all those orders. I drank coffee at 10pm last night. I've never done that. Ever. But it was a good first, really. :)

Getting me through? Thao on repeat. And repeat. And repeat....