In other news, the whole issue with Christine's brother has unfolded, refolded, and changed many times. I don't know what to post as a status in my blog because no one is sure where he stands. Right now, there are half a dozen different scenarios of how this week will pan out. Some even involve Fran surviving, because apparently his liver hasn't totally failed yet. But it's impossible to tell because the hospital is so stupid about giving information. See, Fran's eldest son is 18, so they often won't tell him anything because he's under 21. Christine is the only other listed contact (and she had to fight for that), but they won't tell her anything because she's "only his sister." One of Fran's ex-wives has gotten involved, but she's rather (understandably) reluctant because of her past with him. One of Christine's other sisters, Cheryl, is a... well, let's just say she really loves the Bible. Her husband speaks in tongues. They live, unemployed, on a farm in rural Ohio. She's taken this opportunity to preach "the word" to a lot of people, not mean-like, because she's a very kind soul, but perhaps she's a little misguided. But if Fran can live for a little longer without hospital care, we're persuading Cheryl to take him in, since she's converted Fran to the Ways of the Lord (before all this). The only sane sibling left is Debbie, and if there's a funeral, we're driving her with us down to Jacksonville.
I have never been there, but I am convinced that Jacksonville Florida is the ass-end of the United States. I swear to God, nothing good ever happened to any of my family, friends, or even coworkers there. My late sister-in-law Brenda and her husband Bernie went down there to retire in the mid 1990s. Brenda got sick, two hurricanes nearly blew their house down, and Bernie lost his job. They moved back to West Virginia after just two years. I have had several friends tell me stories about the area, and none of them paint a good picture. It seems like Jacksonville is a run-down, redneck-ridden city with rampant crime and drug use. When I programmed a call center there, most of the employees were utterly incompetent, the management was incredibly cruel, and the few good people there got laid off. One story that comes to mind was the huge wildfires that swept through Florida a few years ago. I was the guy on call for shutting down the call center, if needed, but the management didn't want to declare a state of emergency. They made people come to work, even though the edge of the wildfire was at their parking lot. In fact, their parking lot was used as a fire break, and no one could park there because the fire trucks and everything needed to be there. Besides, any cars near the flames would, well, catch fire and blow up. Luckily, there was free parking everywhere because most of that area of Jacksonville had evacuated. But people had to show up to work anyway, and one of the managers of the help desk said the smoke was so thick, you couldn't see from one end of the call center to the other. Inside the call center. Let me repeat this, Smoke was inside the call center. I said, "We have to shut you down, if anything, because of the equipment." The help desk guy pleaded with me because if we shut the center down, the management would take it out on the employees, no one would get paid, and he was late on rent as it was. That totally sucked, and I got in trouble for not insisting they shut the place down (it later turned out that it wasn't my decision to make, and I got off the hook). I wonder how many reps got lung damage that day.
If we have to drive down there for some funeral that no one can afford to throw anyway (Fran has no money, no insurance, nothing), I will fear for my safety. And sanity. But we're probably going in the next week or so unless one of the "Fran gets better and Cheryl takes him in" scenarios pans out.
I don't have an update on my grandmother yet. I haven't heard a peep from my uncle since she was re-listed from "critical" to "stable" condition. For the last few weeks, I have let this slide because I had too much going on, but now I have removed enough pressure to refocus back on her. I just hope she didn't die and no one told me. My family only found out that my grandfather died (married to the same grandmother) when we said we were coming for a visit. "Oh," said my grandmother, "Well, you won't see my husband, he died a few months ago." She told no one. Later on, she lived with my uncle for nearly 17 years until they put her in a home. So the information chain on that side of the family hasn't exactly been sturdy. I sent some e-mail to Uncle Charles today, and hopefully he'll get back to me soon.
Oh, and all our fish are now dead. Well, the Beta has survived, but he's not at all well. We have no idea what disease hit our tank, but before we get new fish we're going to have to empty it, toss out all gravel and plants, scrub the tank and filter parts down with boiling water, and start all over.
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