Last Friday (on Saint Patrick's day) our old, beloved car Steve finally gave up the ghost. Through a series of fortunate events, we already have a new car: Patrick Bryce.
Yesterday, my (step) brother-in-law, Mark died.
Mark was Margaret's son, Margaret married Shawn's dad some time in the late 1980s. Our families never mingled terribly well. Shawn like to explain that instead of becoming a melded family, we were more like 'adjacent.' For a long time, we really didn't even cross paths with Mark or his sister Karen, not even at Pat & Margaret's place, where it would seem likely. But, Mark lived here in the Twin Cities, and one Pride Festival (probably in the mid-1990s), I ran into him at the "Tubby Lovers" booth. Neither Shawn nor I had ever realized Mark was gay. He's just not the sort that automatically trips a person's gaydar, and he was always pretty closeted around his mom. It was one of those things, though, where had we thought about it realistically for five minutes we would have realized that OF COURSE Joe was not just Mark's roommate.
Mark always had a lot of health issues, and in these last few years his kidneys had mostly failed and so he was doing dialysis. Sometime after Thanksgiving, Mark fell in the parking lot of his dialysis place. The hospital determined that he had sepsis--which is the catch-all phrase for a body-wide infection. Likely culprit was the dialysis port. My father had sepsis (as did Mason, actually,) and it is ALWAYS life-threatening. Mark seemed to be doing fairly well, recovering, however. Joe had been keeping people posted on Facebook and the news was mostly of the "I can't believe we're still doing this, but Mark is okay" variety. This was very familiar to me, because my dad's recovery was just as long and frustrating and the longer you stay in the hospital or hospital-type settings, the more vulnerable you are to other infectious diseases. But, as I said, Mark seemed to be in the kind of holding pattern you're in when you're dealing with this kind of major illness.
Until last Sunday night.
He ended up back in the hospital. Joe had just left for home when he got the call to come back. Long story short (and it is a long story), we lost him yesterday.
Joe and Mark never married. They've been together for 22 years, but for reasons, the biggest one being Mark's health insurance, they never tied the knot. I wish they had. Partner is not a word that carries much weight (even though it should). But legally, you might as well be roommates. Things worked out for Joe, but I just want to put this out there for my unmarried friends--queer or straight--GET YOUR DAMN PAPERS. Do NOT depend on he kindness of relatives to include you, because, legally, they don't have to. You might be saying, but they've always loved me. Yeah, I'm sure they do, but will that be your consolation when the death certificate you're going need to close out bank accounts and credit cards goes to someone else? It's not that hard or expensive to have a health care directive. Wills are a good idea, but they are more of a commitment. But, there's no excuse for all y'all not to be sure you have a health care directive ready to roll.
/public service announcement
So, the car. It's lovely. It's a Ford 500, metallic green, with (by chance, since it's a used car) heated leather seats. This car is, in point of fact, the most TRICKED OUT car we've ever owned. Apparently, the first person who bought it originally did NOT see an optional feature that they did not want. So, now that it's been passed to us, we feel like we're driving around in some kind of luxury sedan.
The story of how we ended up with it is kind of funny, but not one I'm entirely up for recounting today. Suffice to say that probably the LUCKIEST part of this unlucky day was the moment when Shawn's brother Greg called up Shawn and said, "I just got your email about that car you're thinking about. I'm sitting in my car, taking a break between work sites, and I can see the dealership from where I'm sitting. You want me to go check it out for you?" This is why our car now has a second name of Bryce. (Greg's middle name.) The car was also DIRT cheap. Our budget for new (used) cars is under $5,000. Also the whole thing was kind of a whirlwind. Car was pronounced DOA at 7:30 am and I drove our new (used) car off the lot at around 2:30 pm.
Other news. My Loft class is viable, so I'll be starting teaching next Tuesday night for about eight-weeks (I think.)
And... Gizmodo linked to an article I wrote for Bitter Empire.