My spirits were lifted by a phone call this evening from my dearest friend in the known universe, Julie. While word on her side of the States isn't all that great, hearing from her was WONDERFUL!
Of course, the chat started with the worst question she could ask. "How are you?" While I could have immediately spouted all sorts of bad news, the opening of our chat went like this:
Me: Well, I've decided to run for President.
Julie: Okay. *begins laughing hysterically* Aside from you running for office, what's really going on?
Me: Julie...I'm running for President.
Julie: *still laughing* Right. Now, without your Presidential aspirations, how are you?
Me: Jules, you're the first person I'm actually saying this to seriously. I am considering running for President in 2012.
And then I was off on a tremendous rant, with her slipping an occasional "I know" into it. One of my greatest joys is being able to talk to her without having to hold ANYTHING back. There is no such thing as a subject that's taboo between us. She'd support me in almost anything, as long as it's not criminal. Then again, if I told her I'd decided to start trafficking marijuana from Mexico, she'd probably ask me to share the wealth, and maybe some of the product. (Purely as a joke, folks. Our days of smoking "wacky weed" are long gone, and my allergy to prison is too severe for me to risk any such thing.)
Julie, unfortunately, retreated from the world when things went sour in August. Although she had the joy of her newborn daughter, Ruby, her live-in boyfriend (long story as to why they're not married, which I'll summarize shortly) lost his job 10 days after the baby was born. He's been trying hard to find work, but the job market is terrible in her neck of the woods. She can't work because she has the two kids at home with her most of the time. As a result, rather than be a burden to me with all of her issues, she became utterly silent.
This was cause for me to remind her that she is "my Julie," and that I need doses of "my Julie" from time to time. Her man, Joe, may claim ownership of her for most of the time, but she's been "my Julie" longer than she's been "his Julie." "Think about how you felt when this call started," I said, "and how you feel now. You know these calls are good for both of us, so why would you hide from them?" She, like so many people in the past, admitted I was right. (Insert a big ol' wink right here.)
I am, of course, worried about her. It's what we do. I worry about her; she worries about me; we are somehow happy to worry about one another. The cast of characters in her home are Julie, Joe, Keiler (five years old), and Ruby (just over four months old). When Julie became pregnant, Joe was a stand-up guy and basically said, "Right. We need a house. This apartment living isn't for a family." While they discussed marriage, they both agreed, "Been there, done that, got the tee shirt." They are happy to be together and unwed. Having spoken to Joe myself, he is a man of commitment. The two of them are more than willing to live as a married couple without the legalities and ceremonies. And because I know Julie so well, this is a very good decision.
They bought a barn that had been converted into a house. It hadn't been lived in for years, and would need a lot of work. Joe, being a hands-on guy, had big plans, and was making repairs to the house on his days off from work. While all this work on the house was going on, Julie was taking hour-long drives on a regular basis to see her doctor to make sure the pregnancy went smoothly. Try to keep in mind that we were still suffering under nightmarish gas prices then, so money was tight to start with.
That's when disaster struck. With no warning whatsoever, Joe was laid off from work, along with several other people. His employer, feeling terrible about the circumstances, told everyone that they could file for unemployment and their claims wouldn't be contested. The problem is that unemployment is limited in terms of time and finances. They have a newborn in the house...a house, mind you, that is still in need of monumental repair. I mean, for the most part, they all live in the living room, which is heated by a wood stove, and Keiler's room has an electric heater. The rest of the house is freezing, and the northeast isn't exactly having a mild winter.
Those who know me should know what I want to do by now. Throw on the old tights and cape, fly to New York, hefting all the repair supplies in a giant crate in one hand, and possibly a bank vault in the other. I'll repair their home in five minutes, turning it into a palace, then dump the contents of the vault in their living room. That the removal of a bank vault just might be illegal doesn't matter. This is "my Julie" we're talking about.
And going to NY to visit is kind of a dream, as I told her son on the phone that I would try to come visit when the baby was born. This led to a lot of laughs between Jules and I, because he said to her, "Uncle Wob might come visit when the baby is all born." When she reported this, I was off on one of my comedic shticks. "Yes...When the baby is 'all born.' Because coming to visit just a leg or an arm would be disappointing."
Like me, Julie always seems to have it rough. If it's not a financial bind, it's an abusive guy in her life. Just once, I'd like to see her like the queen I have come to see her as.
Okay...So it wasn't a completely happy chat, but even while talking about disasters, we did a lot of laughing. It was very good for both of us.
And then my night took another turn for the better. A friend from GitP asked if I would give him my account information for City of Heroes so he could pay into it and let me have some fun. Sharing account information of any kind always makes me a little paranoid. I suggested sending me the money for a month or three-month payment via PayPal. He didn't have a PayPal account. I suggested he buy a game card, which would run about $30. He was hoping to give me access immediately. I caved. I gave him my account info, after playing it safe and making a few alterations to it, strictly because I have a slight paranoid streak in me, and let him do what he wanted.
Now, I was seriously thinking that he would purchase one or three months for me at most. I don't ask for a lot from any one person. I ask for a little from multiple people. That's the theory, at least. Yet people managed to take my minor requests and inflate them beyond my dreams. The goofy SOB, (and I say that with great affection), apparently saw the holiday special I wasn't paying attention to, and purchased six months that just happen to come with a bonus month, giving me SEVEN MONTHS of game time!!!
Well, at least I'll have something fun to do with my time.
So I had me a good night. I got a dose of the best drug on the planet, "my Julie," and a friend bought me a holiday gift. It really was a good evening.