Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mom, I'd like you to meet...

My mom is in town this week. Though it was a pre-planned visit, her trip coincides with my attempt to overcome whatever post-viral syndrome I have. In case you're not one of the 100 people I whined to, I got sick in July from dehydration and have not been the same ever since. Every time I think I'm getting back to my idea of normal, I have some kind of setback. Last week, I visited the white porcelain god. I have no idea why I felt the need to hurl. And the next night, I felt something similar and ended up falling asleep on my back, sprawled across the bathroom floor. At least I think I slept, not passed out. No worries, I lay there for only half an hour. Now I'm riddled with leg and neck aches and have to reintroduce heavier foods to my belly. Let me just take a moment to vent: I F***IN' HATE PHOENIX SUMMER WEATHER!! I think World Cup players have shown soccer balls more kindness than the climate here has to me. I've already seen my doctor here twice and there's not much more she can say than "drink plenty of fluids." And I know this sounds silly, but when I come back to visit in October for my high school reunion, I plan to go see a doctor at the Sunnyvale clinic, as though being a Sunnyvale doctor will automatically make a physician more comforting in my eyes. Well, I hope by the end of October, I'll be healthy and able to handle the junk food I like.

It's been kind of neat showing my mom what a typical work week is like for me, what my "Phoenix life" is like. On Monday, I showed her our new bureau -- though we haven't moved in yet. I was going to take her into our current office to introduce her to a couple of people, but then I remembered one of our off-color sports writers was in there and our broadcast reporter who typically yells out curse-word laden tirades. So, I changed my mind. The next day, Barb, our accounts payable person, asked me what Mom was doing to amuse herself. I said she was down in the lobby reading since I got to work. Some others, including my boss, overheard. They were worried that Mom was bored out of her mind. Despite my saying, "She's getting oxygen; she's fine," they thought I should urge her to go somewhere. Anyway, since they now knew Mom was in the building, I think they thought I was trying to hide her or something. So after we ate lunch, I brought Ma up to meet everyone. But I made sure to coach her first (i.e. Do NOT start any sentence with "When Terry was little..."). It's kind of funny; you think that elementary school is the last time you do the open-house thing with your parents. But turns out, that's not always the case. I felt like that again--showing Mom my desk, my computer, some of the things I enter, etc. And instead of meeting my teacher, she met my boss, Ed.

Mom's journey into my world continued after work that same day. I took her to the homeless shelter where I spend most of my Tuesday evenings reading to children whose families live on the premises. Hehe, all the regular volunteers who know me all started their intros to Mom the same way: "I thought she was your mom but I didn't want to assume..." I should've scared them and said, "What? You think just because we're the only two Asians in the room, we must be related?!" And some of them recognized her from when they flipped through my camera a few weeks back and saw pics from my free ice cream party.

I was so happy later on. One of my favorite girls, Hannah, 5, showed up for the first time in weeks. I thought she and her mom had moved on or found housing. Hannah is just really cute and bossy in that adorable way that only little girls can get away with. Mom and I shared blanket space with her and took turns reading books to Hannah. I told Mom beforehand that a lot of the kids here are extremely cute and she ended up agreeing with me. So, my mother is the first person to really get a glimpse of how I spend my time. I found it's really fun to share things like that with someone.

Mom is only sorry that she didn't get to meet my co-worker Jacques. He's on vacation in Italy. He is also a character who makes work pretty interesting for me. I had no idea that we'd get along so well. Jacques is currently fixated by this series of filmed vignettes chronicling the life of Chad Vader, Darth Vader's underachieving younger brother who is the day manager at a grocery store. It's pretty amusing--at least Episode 1 is. These episodes were made for some film competition by some guys in Wisconsin and have found fame on YouTube. Anyway, Jacques currently likes to address me as "Commander Tang" and Ed as "Emperor." If any of you are curious, it's a total trip into geekdom.

Chad Vader: Episode I

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