Spirits In the Night

October 9, 2008

Our high school has been celebrating Spirit Week, which will culminate in the Homecoming Game and Dance on Saturday.  The festivities kicked off on Monday with “Decades Day.”  I already did my part for the Twenties, so I decided to wear something more comfortable this time.  I chose 1990 grunge.  My outfit consisted of ripped jeans and a flannel shirt over a Nirvana tee.

Tuesday was  Mismatch Day.  I wore green and white checked seersucker pants, a pink and white striped tank top under a patchwork shirt, one black boot and one brown boot.

Wednesday was Twin Day.  My Friend and I wore jean skirts, black boots, off-white tank tops and our identical corduroy jackets.   (Hers has been worn and washed more than mine so it’s a bit faded.)

We’re off today for Yom Kippur. I have an appointment with a pain management doctor this afternoon, and, for once, the appointment coincides with a full-blown flare-up. The stress of waiting for a response to my request for a health-related accommodation has exacerbated my symptoms, and I’m in terrible pain.

By the way, I was looking online for information about how quickly an employer should respond to an accommodation request, and found that employers should respond “expeditiously.”  Furthermore, “Unnecessary delays in responding or implementing an accommodation can result in a violation of the ADA.”  The EEOC provides an example in which an employee submitted two requests (I have submitted four).  “Yet, two months after the initial request, nothing has been done. Although the supervisor never definitively denies the request, the lack of action under these circumstances amounts to a denial, and thus violates the ADA.”

Tomorrow is School Colors Day (blue and white), but I’m taking the day off to have Sacroiliac Injections..  Again, the timing is uncharacteristically good.  My back has been killing me the last several days.

Stress at work is not the only factor that is wreaking havoc with my body.  The 20th of this month will mark the 2nd anniversary of my brother’s death.   Tuesday evening, Leigh left a hysterical message on my answering machine.  I was sleeping, and didn’t hear the message until yesterday morning, just before I left the house.  It sent me off to work in quite a state.

The message had something to do with a medium who visited her campus, and a question Leigh asked about Mark.  She was crying so hard it was difficult to understand what she was saying.  I called her yesterday afternoon to get the whole story.

Paranormal Investigator, Chris Moon, uses “Frank’s Box,” a device that allegedly can communicate with the dead.  Of course, I am skeptical of such things, and so is Leigh.  Others in attendance at the college event were quite skeptical, as well.  One young man challenged the voice coming through Frank’s Box to tell him his nickname.  It did.  Then a girl who wanted to contact her grandfather asked the voice what he died of.  The voice answered, “Disease.”  She pressed it to tell her what kind of disease.  The voice responded, “Lung.”  Her grandfather died of lung cancer.  The girl sobbed.

Leigh asked, “Is Mark P**** there?”

Voice:  “Yes.”

Leigh:  “Is there anything you want to say to my mother?”

Voice:  “I’m sorry.  I… (unintelligible).”

Now I know that some of you are rolling your eyes, and, as I said, I too am a skeptic when it comes to these things.  Still, “I’m sorry” strikes me as a rather strange response.  I would expect something more along the lines of “I’m okay,” which is what you typically hear during these episodes.

Regardless of whether this is real or fake, it shook me up because it caused me to relive what we went through two years ago.  It slammed the fact that my brother is not with us anymore right smack in my face.  It ripped my heart wide open again.

I’m sorry, too, Mark.  I’m so sorry you are gone.

Song of the Day:  Spirits in the Night by Bruce Springsteen

Becca and I did end up going to see the Bronx Zoo’s Holiday Lights Friday evening, and I’m so glad we did. It was a fun thing to do, even though we got lost in the Bronx for a while. Note to self – Stick with Yahoo directions, and never use Mapquest again.

We passed these cranes on our way into the park.

Here’s an elephant.

This is a close-up of a camel.

White-faced monkeys

These sheep in the petting zoo area cracked me up because they came running and jumped onto the fence when they saw us heading in their direction. I guess they were expecting a handout.

This is an ice carving in progress. Your guess is as good as mine as to what it’s supposed to be.

The pictures didn’t come out very well because I couldn’t figure out how to set my camera for night photos. Oh well, I still had a good time. And I scored a candy apple, which is always a special treat for me.

Moving right along to “things that go bump in the night.” I had a weird experience a few evenings ago. My sister and daughter were witnesses, otherwise I might doubt my own eyes and ears.

Michele and I were sitting in the family room, and Rebecca was coming down the stairs from the upper floor of our house. Suddenly, we heard the sound of shattering glass. Rebecca and I checked all the rooms on the upstairs level. Then we checked the main level. When we didn’t find anything, we went down to the basement.

There, at the foot of the stairs, we found the remains of a vintage mason jar. The jar didn’t belong to me, but I did notice it when we first moved into the house. It was on a shelf on the far side of the basement – nowhere near the stairs.

After puzzling over the situation for a while, my sister and I shrugged it off as just one of those things. We went back upstairs, leaving Rebecca behind to get her clothes from the dryer.

A few minutes later, while I was typing something on the computer for my mother, I heard the sound of four, distinct footsteps coming up the basement stairs. In a shaky voice, Michele asked, “What was that??”  I replied, “It must be Rebecca.” Michele said, “Rebecca is right here!” I turned around and saw Rebecca standing there, with wide eyes and a face drained of blood.

Even though we were all pretty freaked out at that point, we went to the door that leads to the basement stairs, and opened it. There was nothing there.

Shortly after that, Rebecca left for work, and Michele had to leave soon afterwards. Being here alone for the half hour or so before Daniel got home was pretty spooky.

I’m still not sure what to think about the eerie episode. This house is ninety-nine years old. Could it be that we have a poltergeist in residence? Who ya gonna call?

Song of the Day: Ghostbusters  by Ray Parker Jr.