Sunday, January 1, 2006
We slept in until about 10:00 today then scrambled to get out the door for the 10:30 service at church. Nice way to start off the year. Mike Ashcroft, the preacher, talked about letting things go and the passage of time. That’s a theme that’s always rung deep with me. Afterwards, when we were heading home, the Five for Fighting song 100 Years came on the radio, which sort of goes along with that theme.

We ate lunch at Golden Corral with Peggy and Earl. Anytime I eat at a place like that I try my best to get my money’s worth. Or, as the case may be, my grandfather-in-law’s money’s worth.

We got back to the house at about 3:00 and I took a nap. Amanda watched a marathon of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I woke up an watched the end of one episode than all of another, at which point Amanda decided it’d be fun to watch some Friends. She was looking for the one where Ross tells Rachel, “Ugly baby judges you!” We throw that quote at each other a lot.

Ciarán Hinds in HBO’s Rome :: Zach DotseyCiarán Hinds in The Phantom of the Opera :: Zach DotseyWhen Amanda saw that Phantom of the Opera was on and decided to watch it (again) I was checking out the cast on IMDB and discovered that one of the owners of the opera house is the guy who played Julius Caesar on HBO’s Rome. After finding that out, I heard his voice in my head and realized right away who it was. Ciarán Hinds was in a scene right after that as if to confirm it for me. He’s not nearly so tough when he’s dressed in frilly French clothes, as opposed to when he’s dressed in Roman togas or armor and leading armies. Of course, at the end of Phantom, he doesn’t get betrayed and brutally stabbed by sixty men, so maybe there’s something to be said for dressing funny and singing. Still, he’s much cooler as Julius Caesar.

Yeah, so pretty exciting beginning to 2006, huh?

Oh, resolutions! Yeah, I don’t really do resolutions. However, I’ll try to take something from the sermon today about being more truthful with myself and in regards to others.

Monday, January 2, 2006
Amanda slept until about 11:00 today. Good for her. I took care of a few things with work and freed myself up enough by noon that we could go get some bagels from Manhattan and then go to the mall. Amanda is still looking for some boots to replace the ones her mom got her for Christmas. After that we ran out to PetSmart to replace a toy of Bruce’s that had fallen out of the car and gotten run over. The toy itself was fine, but the squeaker in it was punctured and didn’t work. Since he really liked it when he got it (it was a Christmas present from Amanda’s parents) we wanted to replace it for him. It was only like four bucks, and it came with an extra squeaker so Bruce now has two new friends to play with: Smooshie I and Smooshie II.

All of Bruce’s toys are named, by the way. In addition to Smooshies I and II, there are Celia, Brown Sonic, Rita Polkapants, Callie, Princess Sophia and Camel. Apparently Camel didn’t have a name until just now.

Amanda and I stopped at Sonic on the way home to get some shakes. She also got some tots and I got a small burger. We spent most of the afternoon after that cleaning up. I worked a bit while Amanda started on it, but we took down the Christmas tree and decorations then picked up a bunch. I did the dishes, Amanda vacuumed. A client from work stopped by with some pictures for me to scan for her when we were just about done.

I watched Duke kill Bucknell while Amanda printed up some pictures for a frame we’ve had for a while. Then we went to O’Charlie’s to eat. I’d had a headache all day and finally took an Advil just before we left. I don’t know if it was just the Advil or the potato soup I ate, but I was feeling better by the time we left. I think part of it was the weather- it was rainy and miserable.

We watched a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother that were on the DVR. It’s a pretty decent show I think. It’s no Office, but it’s not bad. I’ve enjoyed it thus far anyway.

Amanda got a call from her grandma, who told her that the Frazelles, her aunt’s family, had a weather delayed flight back from Barbados and missed their connecting flight because of it. I’m not sure what the situation is exactly or when they’ll be back now, but Hannah, their older daughter, has school tomorrow. I hate not having about a day to come down off of vacations; it would suck to come back and have to get back into the swing of things immediately. That happened to my family one time on the way back from Kentucky when our van got a flat tire or something.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Nothing really happened today. We had a frozen pizza for lunch, had some Buffalo Wild Wings takeout for dinner. We caught up on some more DVRed stuff, notably Arrested Development. Scrubs returned to TV with back-to-back new episodes, so that made me happy. The New Year’s excitement continues!

Oh, second ranked UConn, who many nay-sayers place as the team to beat Duke if they both make it to the championship game (which I think is the only way they’ll play this year if Connecticut stays a number one seed), got beat by an unranked Marquette by 25 points! It just doesn’t pay to be ranked number two this season- apparently it sets you up to get blown out by unranked teams. Now, I’m not so arrogant as to think Duke will stay undefeated, but still, the upset was a nice thing to hear and has a lot of people giving Duke more respect.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006
I drove the Jetta today, as it’s the nicer car and I was going to meet a client. Had a nice drive out to Burgaw and I think the meeting went well. On the way back into town I picked Amanda up for lunch, which we had at Andy’s.

Work’s getting busier again, which is good. December was a better month than I originally thought, but January’s shaping up to be pretty nice.

We went to Paul and Kim Ayars’ for group tonight. Kristen and Rob didn’t make it- something about Kristen’s boss’s birthday, but Ben and Jessica Lambeth were there. We took Bruce along in his little pimp jacket that my parents got for him for Christmas. Paul and Kim’s puppy, whose mouth was proven big enough to fit around Bruce’s head, had a good time. Bruce didn’t seem too thrilled with Shinjo at first, but after a while Bruce would get him to chase him around and would antagonize him. They were fun to watch.

Thursday, January 5, 2006
Dad just called and said that Pup Pup, my mom’s dad, went to the hospital yesterday and they found out he has cancer. It’s in his bones and his liver.

Today was busy at work, and despite that, I managed to clear up some of the nagging credit problems on my credit report, all of which go back to college. I was kind of proud about that, but it really doesn’t seem like as big a deal now.

Friday, January 6, 2006
Amanda had to get up early to do some bag runs for work. I had a hard time getting back to sleep, so I looked up the predicted time for sunrise and headed out on Martin Luther King Boulevard to get a picture of the sun rising over this old bridge off the road a ways. It’s actually the bridge that is on the opening sequence of One Tree Hill (according to Amanda). I thought it’d be a great picture, but for one thing, there was no place to park anywhere near it (MLK is like an interstate) and for another thing, the sky was completely clouded over, so there wasn’t really any sunrise to see anyway. I was inspired in part by my grandfather’s recent prognosis to go out and do all this.

Work was ridiculously crazy, especially after lunch today. Dad called and said that Pup Pup’s cancer was also in his lungs. They’re doing a biopsy, but of course it’s not looking good. He also said that my cousin Jeff and his oldest daughter Hannah, Aunt Robbie, Uncle Roy and one or two of his sons were all coming in town to visit with Pup Pup, so I scrambled to make arrangements, specifically covering the directing duties for this weekend at church. I had a number of calls back and forth with Amanda to discuss it, talked to Adam about riding to Rougemont together and talked about things with Andra. On top of that, I was still working and had to set up a payment schedule to pay off part of a problem on my credit report.

Ben and Jessica Lambeth – Crashed on the Couch :: Zach DotseyI told Scott and Josh (my boss and co-worker, respectively) about Pup Pup. Scott told me his father had died of cancer when he was seven, and Josh just lost his grandfather very recently. They were both supportive, Josh in particular, which is not meant in any way to take away from Scott; it’s just that Josh and I had had a couple good talks when his grandpa was sick.

I worked late to finish some things up while Amanda did an amazing job of picking up in the living room. After that we picked up a few things (water, some C2 for Amanda, a couple snacks) and a pizza from Michelangelo’s Pizza then headed back to the house. Ben and Jessica came over a little before 9:00 and we got stuck watching an episode of Trading Spouses. After that we watched Ocean’s 12, but I don’t think anybody made it all the way through the movie; we were all so tired.

Saturday, January 7, 2006
We got to sleep in a little today, which was nice. I spent some time capturing some DV tapes to the computer to free some tapes up. Sometime soon I really, desperately want to get an “interview” with Pup Pup about his life and memories of it. We ate at O’Charlie’s then packed to go to Rougemont. When we got back from eating I saw that Adam had left a message about getting out of his Army Reserves training early, so we decided to wait on him so we could all ride up together.

We hadn’t heard from him by a little after 2:00, the time he said he was getting out, so we rode on over to check up on him. It turned out that he had his ringer off. Anyway, we had to swing by Renee’s, where Adam had left not only his shoes but his suitcase as well. On the trek up we talked about some geeky stuff, much to Amanda’s delight, before Adam took a nap. While he was sleeping I helped Amanda come up with some “either/or” questions for a game for her friend Amy Brower’s wedding shower/dinner, and once we couldn’t think of any more we went through them ourselves, which was pretty fun. I was tired on the trip, and to me it seemed to take longer than usual, so we stopped for a pee break and some drinks. I got a Mountain Dew Code Red to help me through.

We got to Rougemont sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 I believe. My sister Andra, her son Jackson, my cousins David and Jeff and Jeff’s daughter Hannah were all there. Mom was out in the barn finishing up with the horses for the night, Dad was out doing some errands, Pup Pup was asleep (and had been all afternoon) and Aunt Reggie was picking up Aunt Robbie, Uncle Roy and Gordon and Eleanor, two of his kids. It was really great to see everyone, but as it’s always said, it would have been nice to be under better circumstances. The whole Horner side of the family was, if not in attendance, at least represented.

Uncle Roy and I talked photography a bit. Jeff and I went out to his Jeep (which is for sale!) and talked a bit. He talked a little about his and Becky’s divorce and business and life in general.

Pup Pup seems to be taking everything okay I guess. It’s amazing how weak he’s already gotten. He’s staying in Mom and Dad’s room, for now at least. Mom mentioned getting a hospital bed for him. Dad brought his flat panel monitor (HUGE for a computer screen) over. It’s got TV hookups and I was working on getting that going for him, but his cable box doesn’t have the necessary component outputs, or you could say his monitor doesn’t have the applicable RCA or coaxial inputs. Either way, I told Dad that to get it to display on his monitor, they’re going to have to upgrade to an HD set.

Sunday, January 8, 2006
This weekend turned out to be rather emotionally draining, which is in no way to say that I’m not glad I went home this weekend. When Pup Pup woke up this morning, we all gathered in his room. Father Parish from the church (St. Matthew Catholic) had given Dad a Communion wafer for Pup Pup, so we were there to watch Uncle Roy administer it to him, then we all said prayers and hugged and kissed Pup Pup before filing out of the room so he could get some more rest.

Jeff and I went to one of the stores up the road to get a few things. I drove his Jeep, which was fun, and I took him by Mom and Dad’s land so he could check it out. After we got back there was mostly a lot of hanging around. Amanda and Andra fixed eggs and toast for everyone then Amanda and I cleaned the kitchen. She’s been so good this weekend. After that I figured out how to work the blood pressure machine and showed that to Mom. Somewhere in there I learned that the cancer is also in his abdomen. It’s made his belly swell up, which is why Mom and Dad never noticed that his arms and legs had gotten so thin. Literally every day I have heard that the cancer is somewhere else. It’s not in his brain though, which is good.

I should take a moment to talk more about Amanda this weekend. She had a tough week at work, but she was taking care of my family, making breakfast, cleaning, helping take care of the kids, talking to my mom about hospice care and sharing her family’s experiences with Kim’s situation. (Kim was her mom’s cousin, who died of cancer just a few months ago.) I thanked her a few times, and I know Aunt Robbie was grateful because she was talking to Linda about her. Pup Pup thanked her too, and this morning said she was a good granddaughter. He then corrected himself but then uncorrected himself and let it go at granddaughter. She’s so great.

Aunt Reggie took Roy and his kids plus Hannah and Jeff out to eat for lunch. During the lull, I asked Pup Pup if he’d mind doing something of a video interview since he’d never gotten around to writing down any memoirs. He said he’d probably get a little emotional, but that he wouldn’t mind doing it. He said he had nothing to hide, and also told me where Mum Mum’s family Bible, with a bit of a family tree, was, along with where a lot of old family photos were. I asked if he wanted me to get them for him, but he said no, he remembered it all just fine. I’m so glad he’s still got his mind. He’s so weak but his mind is still strong.

I talked to Mom about doing the video, although I know it’ll be very tough for her. With all the people around for the weekend I knew I wouldn’t have the time to do it, but I desperately want that, not only for me but for the entire family. She thought it’d be nice if everyone came up with questions for him, so throughout the day I mentioned it to almost everyone.

David came by and while we were sitting in Mom and Dad’s room with Pup Pup he needed to be moved a bit, so we did that. Dad came in and suggested to Pup Pup that he get up and walk around a little, like the doctor told him to. David went outside at that point. I went out a few minutes later and talked to him. I thought that, being the oldest grandson and having been able to spend the most time with Pup Pup when he was younger, David would be taking it a bit hard. It’s always obvious that David cares for him. He talked about when he was small and he’d go into the basement and watch Pup Pup build computers, back when you couldn’t buy a whole computer but you had to completely make your own. He talked about all the sci-fi books that were on the shelves that he would read through and how much it all influenced him.

I felt a little ashamed at the time because I couldn’t think of a lot of memories of doing things with Pup Pup right then, but now I can think back to video games he taught me how to play, trips he’d take us on and, when I was little and we were still in Kentucky, I remember making a comment about his nose hair and feeling some twinge of guilt because I might have embarrassed him, although I don’t think I really knew what the feeling was at the time.

Someone, Mom or Aunt Robbie I think, had closed the bedroom door at some point during the day, but Pup Pup asked for it to be left open, because he liked hearing everyone and seeing people go by. You could tell he was moved and grateful that everybody was there.

Nobody’s been able to get in touch with Erin yet, so she doesn’t even know. Speaking of not knowing things, I didn’t see Scruffy this weekend, and I wondered if she might have died, but Mom and Dad didn’t want to tell us with everything else going on.

Dad and I, with a bit of help from the other guys in moving the drawers and doing the logistics, moved the dresser from my parents’ room to the room upstairs where they’re staying to make room for a couch. Dad and I went to get a couch from Pup Pup’s place, and going to his house was the hardest part of the day for me. I still think of Mum Mum every time I see the loveseat in the living room. It’s where she died in her sleep. Walking in there today, I saw all these things, all kinds of stuff that I’ve remembered and identified with my grandparents’ place, like the giant stein next to the TV in the living room, the wooden forks and knives, all kinds of things. The TV reminded me of when I would go to their house in the afternoons when I was in middle school and watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Duck Tails and Tailspin and Animaniacs. I walked through the kitchen and remembered eating apples from the fridge and standing back to back with Mum Mum and realizing I was finally taller than an adult. Passing from there into the hallway I looked up for the bell she used to ring to call me or Pup Pup, but it wasn’t there any longer.

The computer room was probably the toughest thing. There was all this stuff all over the place, like Pup Pup had left it and would be back in just a couple minute, when in reality he most likely will never walk back into there again. The finality of that hit me like a brick.

Dad and I went through some things downstairs. I was going to see about getting all my boxes of comics to take home, but there were too many. In one of the downstairs rooms is a work bench with a bunch of electronics parts. Whenever I was down there I pondered over the fact that those things were once used and useful, but that they’d probably never be used again. Now it was true. Dad saw the tiny little black and white TV/radio Mum Mum and Pup Pup had had in the kitchen for years before replacing it with a new model, and he marveled at how cool he used to think it was.

I almost lost it a few times, but I held my composure. I came close again on the way home when Amanda, Adam and I stopped for some Smithfield Bar-B-Que. Amanda had gone in to use the bathroom and pick up some food, then Adam decided a couple minutes later that a bathroom break might not be a bad idea, and it was the first time I was really alone all weekend. Amanda opened the passenger door before I did though, and I got control of myself.

I don’t want to cry. I want to be happy that this man is my grandfather and that he raised a good family. He has, what, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren? He made a lot of friends in the church. He used to say he’d go up and bother the ladies at the church. He always made a fuss about not being a bother or a burden, and he never was. He always lets you know that he’s glad you called to talk to him or were able to see him. On one hand I hate that he didn’t get the chance to go out like his wife, taking a nap and just not waking up, not having to go through suffering and weakness. The only good side to it is that we all get to make sure to spend some time with him, to get some sort of closure. And hopefully Mom will capture his memories. We all get to be prepared. In fact, it sounds like he and Mom did a good job of preparing for everything a few years ago, after Mum Mum died.

We don’t yet know how long he has. The rapidity with which he has lost his strength is alarming. Just two weeks ago he was having trouble getting around, but he was still able to stand and walk and drive. The biopsy was Friday, so hopefully we’ll hear something back soon.

On the way out of Durham, on Roxboro Road, there was a bit of a traffic slow-up. When we got to it we saw that someone had hit a deer, and the deer, in the left lane, was still alive. It was on the ground, but its head was up and moving around wildly. When we passed it I saw bright red blood on its mouth and stomach. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but something touched me, besides the pity for the deer’s obvious suffering. It just seemed to fit into a scene in a movie, the sighting of a random event that is connects deep inside of you and makes you uncomfortable. It was the bright red blood that stood out, really drew the image in. I told Amanda not to look as we were passing by.

I hate to be such a downer. I’m so glad we all got to go and see him and spend time with him.

In other news, Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, had a stroke the other day and has been in an induced coma since. There was a terrible mining accident a few days ago as well, in West Virginia. News came out that all of them (or all but one maybe?) had survived, but that turned out to be a miscommunication and actually only one survived. It was an awful shock to the town. The one survivor is, if I correctly recall, in critical condition still. The miners had left notes while they were trapped. The same day that happened, the roof of an ice skating rink in Germany collapsed and killed a number of people. The snow on the roof was too heavy. A record number of people, or at least the highest in a long time, were killed in terrorist attacks in Iraq a few days ago, and today a Blackhawk went down, killing all of the people onboard.

I think the world could use more positive news reports. I did see a squirrel on skis today, on the news, just like in Anchorman, so there’s that.

In sports news, the Tarheels beat NC State yesterday, which pisses me off. Carolina’s supposed to be having a down year. In football, the Panthers killed the Giants today, 23-0, which I guess means they’re a step closer to the Super Bowl. Duke played Wake Forest tonight. The intensity of the crowd was really something, even through the TV. Sheldon Williams and Josh McRoberts both got into foul trouble, but Redick and Melchioni lit it up from three-point land and ended up winning 82-64. The good thing about this game was that it showed Duke could win without a strong presence from Williams. They’ve shown they can win when Redick isn’t firing on all cylinders, but I don’t know how they’d do without both of them just yet. The game was very physical and tense until the second half. The turning point seemed to come when, I think it was Strickland of the Demon Deacons maybe, messed up a completely wide open fast break dunk. When Amanda went to put on her jammies and get ready for bed the game was relatively close. When she came back Duke was up by about twenty.

This was the first time the seniors of Duke’s team beat the Demon Deacons at Wake Forest, so it was nice for them. This game also marked the return of DeMarcus Nelson, who has been out due to a broken ankle for about two months now.

Skip Prosser and Jerry Dotsey- Long Lost Brothers? :: ZachDotseyBruce was watching the game with me while wearing his blue and white sweater, so Amanda taped a piece of paper with “Duke” on it to his back. Amanda said after the game that Wake’s coach, Skip Prosser, looks a bit like my dad if you added about 20 pounds to him. She was kinda right.

Almost every other undefeated college basketball team took a spill this weekend, including Villanova, who is (or maybe was) number three, right after Duke and UConn. We’ll see what happens tomorrow once the rankings come out.

So there’s something good going on.

Monday, January 9, 2006
Okay, so they really don’t look alike per se, but I think they could pass as relatives.

On the Pup Pup front, Mom said she didn’t think he’d be able to do any kind of interview, which saddened me of course, but not as much as the news that he couldn’t even get himself up to go to the bathroom and he’s so weak he can barely talk.

I feel like I’m getting buried at work.

Amanda made some chicken salad tonight. She thought she put a little too much tenderizer in the chicken, but I thought it was fine.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I went up to Bear Rock to meet with Scott and work a bit today. The My Venue project, which is a way for us to automate a bunch of things and help better organize and keep track of our work, is coming along very well. It’s not done, but it seems like every day it’s getting better. Scott wanted to go over a few new changes with me.

Since Bear Rock was at the mall and I had a few discounts, I went to Suncoast and bought Wedding Crashers and a replacement Chicago DVD. Our copy got lost some time ago when Erin borrowed it. The case is still around, but we can’t find the DVD itself.

Speaking of Erin, Mom had mentioned over the weekend something about Erin’s boat story. I had just thought she was talking about how she went to St. Thomas on a boat and decided to live there for a while. She was actually talking about a story she thought she’d told me, which she went ahead and did yesterday. Apparently on New Year’s Eve, Erin was in the boat of the guy she’s seeing with some other people going from one island to the other and the weather was bad. The boat started taking on water so everyone started bailing it out. Another boat came along and they were going to lighten the load by transferring a few people, but the boat they were on ended up just going down. Erin lost a lot of stuff, including her passport and a few hundred dollars. I guess that’s the reason they had such a hard time getting in touch with her to tell her about Pup Pup. They’re working on getting her home, but Mom had to send her birth certificate since her passport’s gone. She’ll be here soon though. Mom told me today that Jodie (Roy’s wife) is coming to town along with the rest of the Roy Horner crew, which is good. Linda, Aunt Robbie’s friend, should be in, I think tomorrow, as well. I was thinking about packing up and spending a few more days there, but I think I’d just be in the way with a house packed that full. Besides, Amanda can’t go since she has to work, and she’s afraid (with some reason) to stay in this house alone.

Mom said they have a hospital bed for Pup Pup now, along with oxygen and morphine. They give him the morphine in a liquid or something. I think they said it goes under his tongue, which puts me in mind of a breath strip. He’s not doing good, of course, but she said it eases his pain.

Anyway, I went by the bank on 17th after leaving the mall then got home and did some work, paid a couple bills. I also caught up a little more on my credit report stuff. I should have everything paid off by March I think. That’s a good feeling.

I spent literally the majority of the afternoon trying to help a client with an e-mail problem. The place constantly has problems with it, but it’s never on our end. I could set it up just fine on my computer, but for some reason the settings they had to use were completely screwy and unlike any of the scores of other people I’ve helped set up e-mail accounts. Whatever.

As it’s Tuesday, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings for takeout, but we stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up some dog food (which, by the way, the cat eats as well) and a few toiletries first. When we got home we discovered that they gave me teriyaki wings instead of sweet bar-b-que. I didn’t mind so much, but I definitely prefer the BBQ.

Scrubs was pre-empted by the NC State/Boston College game. State won, which was good. It was actually a good night of basketball, except that Carolina beat Virginia Tech and Kentucky lost to Vanderbilt for the first time since 1974. Ouch! Poor Cats. It’s been a touch season so far, and if they keep playing like they are they’ll be lucky to make the tourney come March. Aside from those two travesties though, actually including them, there were a lot of close games. Seems like almost every game the ESPN crawler reported was only won by two or three points.

We watched Supernatural, which was decent, and I watched some Boston Legal as Amanda was going to bed. Of course, during Supernatural I was standing in the hallway where I could see two TVs because the UNC/Va Tech game was too close not to watch, and during BL I had to flip between that and UK/Vandy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 – God Bless
Roy Jack Horner, Sr. died today sometime between 3 and 5 AM. I was actually awake until about 3:30, which made me think a little once I heard the news. I saw a missed call from home from about 5:30, but I heard the news from Andra, who called me around 9:00. I sort of wish Mom had called the house phone, just so I’d have known, but really, it doesn’t make any difference.

The story, as I have it from Andra, is that David had come to take care of Pup Pup overnight to give my parents some rest. He took care of him, gave him some morphine around 3:00, and when he checked on him at 5:00, he was gone. I wonder how David felt about that. In a way, I think it was probably nice for him to have been the last person to take care of Pup Pup while he was alive.

Work has been so busy today, and I feel like I’m drowning right now.

Thursday, January 12, 2006
I wrote the above early yesterday. The whole day was spent taking calls, making sure people were up to date on everything going on so I wouldn’t have to worry about anything over the next few days, talking to family, getting ready to go, all kinds of things. It calmed down some after Amanda and I went to Andy’s for lunch, so I ran a backup of a site over to a client on Market Street downtown, which is only minutes from the house. When I got home and was parking my car, it sounded like I was scraping something, so I got out to look at the rear passenger tire was deflating as I watched. Something must have gashed it- I still don’t know. I really just didn’t want to bother with it then, so I said a few nice words, threw my hands up and went inside.

While I was out I talked to Paul and Kim, who said they were sick and would maybe try to stop by for small group, but didn’t want to have it at their place, so I called everyone else and told them they could come to our place. We could have headed on home of course, but it felt important to be with our friends for a bit before heading out.

I wasn’t able to help clean up the house much because I was on a sales call until after 6:00 and had yet to take a shower.

This morning we got up early and left for Rougemont. We’d talked to Adam and Renee about riding together, but Adam wanted to take his car (Erin’s, actually) so he could switch it out for his Civic. We took a bunch of stuff and didn’t want to ride in the same car with Bruce and Tsota, Adam’s coati mundi, together, so we rode separately.

On the way up we talked to Erin and Andra, who were at Southpoint Mall with Hillary and Ellie, Uncle Roy’s two daughters, so we decided to stop by there to have lunch with them. We called Adam and Renee and they followed suit. Dad had said before when I talked to him that he wouldn’t have recognized Hillary if she hadn’t been with the rest of the family, and when we got to the mall, I actually walked right past her. I knew that Jackson was there, and I saw this tallish blond girl with a baby stroller, but I didn’t realize it was her until Eleanor ran up to us after we’d passed them and took us back to them.

I played with Jackson and talked to the Horner girls while Erin tried on dresses and Amanda looked at shoes. Adam and Renee arrived and after a few minutes we headed to the food court. We left not long after, Hillary in our car playing with Bruce and Adam and Renee following. I played the mixed CD I’d made for Amanda’s uncle, Barry, because she has good taste in music and I thought she might like some of the stuff on it. If I can spread the word about the Old 97’s, more power to me.

We drove up Fayetteville Street, which may not have been the quickest route back, but it was the easiest. I had to make a few extra turns in downtown Durham and temporarily lost Adam for a minute, but we got out eventually. I dropped Hillary off at the church (St. Matthews in Bahama, NC) because she was practicing singing Ave Maria for Pup Pup’s funeral. Aunt Jodie was there, and I talked briefly with her before heading on home. I noticed where they had dug out Pup Pup’s grave, right next to Mum Mum’s.

Francis Horner Spraying Mud on the Rougemont Trails Behind the Dotsey House :: Zach DotseyAt the homestead, the Horner kids were playing with the four wheeler. I took Francis out on the trail and showed him all the old buildings and the old cemetery. I even let him gun the four wheeler through some very large mud puddles, although I got off and watched from a distance. I told him I’d like to take him back there to do that again tomorrow, so I could get a picture (which I’ve added to the left). I had to drive back standing up to make sure I didn’t get mud all over my pants. I had mostly gone out there so Mom could see how one of her new horses handled the noise of the four wheeler, which was just fine, but it was fun showing things to Francis and telling him about some of the memories from back there. Antonio Balayan and I had set up a little makeshift grill in one tobacco building to cook some hotdogs once way back when, and it was still set up. It was made of cinder blocks and a refrigerator tray/shelf.

Scruffy’s alive, by the way. She was even back on the trails, which surprised me considering how old she is.

After a bit, everyone started getting ready for the viewing. I took Uncle Roy, Gordon, Eleanor and I believe Francis out to the funeral home, Hall-Wynne, downtown. Amanda stayed behind to go with my mom, who decided to go later since she had spent time with her dad’s body the day before.

The viewing was nice. They did a really great job with his body, and I’d say he looked even healthier there than he did in his last few days. His kids had a sense of humor and buried him with his suspenders on. The only thing that bothered me was the hands, but that’s been the case with every viewing I’ve ever been too, and I’m sure it has something to do with whatever is done to keep a person’s hands in place. But they always looks sort of flattened. The mouth usually looks a little long, but Pup Pup’s beard helped with that, and there’s usually something a little wrong around the temples at the eyes. But he really did look good.

The funeral home had a little DVD of pictures playing on a loop. It was obviously a template, but it was really nice. There was a picture of him from when he was three that looked just like Gordon, one I’ve always loved of him at a desk when he was in the Army, a picture of Mum Mum and Pup Pup bundled up in the cold outside a house somewhere, one of him on a horse for probably the only time in his life, some family pictures, one of him on a tractor out at our old house on Johnson Mill, and a church picture of him and Mum Mum. The final picture, which about got to me each time, was a recent church picture. He had a slight smile on his face and he just looked so good. I’ll try to scan it in and get it on here at some point.

There was a nice turnout. A lot of people from church came, along with lots of Mom and Dad’s friends. Jackson took some steps all by himself. There was a little area where a lot of the smaller kids were just hanging around. Gracie, Jeff’s youngest daughter, is at the stage where she’ll try to say whatever you ask her to say. Becky and Sara showed up, which was so nice of them, what with the fact that Jeff and Becky had just split.

After all that, David suggested that a few of us go out to toast Pup Pup. We went to The Federal, which was just a couple blocks down the street, well within walking distance. We weren’t blown away with the service, but Josh ordered six tequila shots which we used to toast Pup Pup. Reggie, David, Jeff, Amanda, me, Andra, Josh, Erin, a friend of Mom’s from the hunt club and a visiting German friend of hers were all there. Amanda and I stayed long enough for me to down a beer then we headed on home. I had a bit of a buzz and honestly thought myself rather charming, but Amanda’s opinion differed in that she thought I was obnoxious.

Everyone else was watching Cinderella Man when we got home, but I was tired and didn’t want to start watching when it had already been on a few minutes.

Friday, January 13, 2006
Amanda and I woke up at 7:00 today to make sure we could get hot showers. The following is a list of people who were sleeping in the house: Mom and Dad, me and Amanda, Erin, Adam, Andra, Josh, Jackson, Jeff, Roy, Jodie, Wally, Hillary, Francis, Gordon, Eleanor. Seventeen people, and only two of the four bathrooms were fully functional, so yeah, we decided to get up and get ready.

We talked to Amanda’s dad, Phil, who was making the trip up here for the funeral this morning. He left a bit early and was the first person to the church. It meant a lot that my in-laws made such an effort, driving about two hours there and then right back on a Friday morning, to be there for us.

The limo got to the house at about twenty ’til ten (about ten minutes late). The priority of riding in it was Pup Pup’s kids, their spouses, then oldest to youngest. Since Roy and Jeff had already left and Robbie and Linda were just leaving from Pup Pup’s house, Amanda and I rode with Mom and Dad, Aunt Reggie, Erin and Andra. This was my first limo ride. I expect it’s a little more fun if you’re spending a night on the town with drinks and such.

When we got to the church, an Army color guard was waiting by the hearse. They carried the casket to the rollers set up at the church entrance and we, the family, followed behind. I think that was a bit tough for everyone. The service itself was really nice. Hillary had told us she was nervous about singing, but she did a great job. It looked like she got a little emotional at times, but she really has a nice, clear voice. It was also great that the priest actually knew my grandfather. It made the eulogy very nice. He talked about how my grandpa’s car was always the second one in the parking lot. He’d go over and visit with Mum Mum then go hang out at the church. One thing he spoke of was Pup Pup always mentioning that he just wanted to hang around, that he didn’t want to be a bother. Pup Pup always made sure to let people know he didn’t want to be a bother, and he never was.

Mom got up to say a few things about how Pup Pup had been so good about taking care of Mum Mum in her last few years as her health was failing, and that after she was gone the people of the church became another part of his family. Dad said something to the effect of, if Pup Pup was willing to accept him into the family, he must have been an alright guy. A friend of Pup Pup’s from the church, Don, got up and talked about how they met in the cemetery while visiting with their wives and how they became friends and would tease each other. Their plots were nearby and Don had told Pup Pup it was a good thing there was some space between them because he didn’t want Pup Pup’s feet in his face. Pup Pup said it was just as good because his feet were ticklish and he didn’t want Don reaching up and tickling them. It was great to hear from someone outside the family to attest to his wit.

After that, Adam, David, Jeff, Roy, Wally and I carried the casket to the grave site. Father John said a few prayers and then they had the 21 gun salute and flag ceremony. I think anyone who hadn’t cried yet did so there. I remember my jaw was quivering so much it made me think it must have looked like jelly. It was hard, emotionally, but it was beautiful. Uncle Roy was presented the flag. The funeral home gave yellow roses to each of the siblings, and they in turn put them on the casket. Each of us pallbearers put our boutonniere on as well and we stuck around to watch the casket get lowered into the ground.

Jack Hanley was there. Dad told me recently that some cancer had been found in him, and so I know it was probably tough for him to watch. It was great to see him though. I’ve always liked Jack. I talked to Phil too, and we all thanked him for coming. The Nortons, long-time friends of Uncle Roy’s and in-laws by way of Jodie’s sister, were there also. I haven’t seen them in years and years and years. We all headed back up to the church after a bit, where they were serving refreshments. There was a good number of people around, which was really nice considering it was a Friday morning and many people had to work.

The Extended Jack and Rosalie Horner Family and Friends at the Dotsey Homestead :: Zach DotseyWe went back to the house after a while, had a few visitors. Mostly we just puttered around for a while until Dad helped me round everyone up. I figured since everyone on my mom’s side of the family was there, we needed to take some pictures, so I got a picture of everyone (Adam’s friend, Troy, took those), a picture of the siblings and pictures of the subsets of the families. Unfortunately, Jeff’s daughter Aubrey (while being mostly well behaved and very cute) was being a snot just then and wouldn’t come outside for the pictures.

After a while some of the cousins started throwing around some footballs and Frisbees, which ended up becoming a football game in the front yard. It was Jeff, Erin, Wally, Gordon and Hannah against me, Josh, Hillary, Francis, and Eleanor. Erin and Hillary had some good tackles on each other. Wally got me a couple times, I think I got him once and I got Jeff once. It was a lot of fun. We called halftime when it was 14-7, Jeff’s team, and we never got up again, so we called it a draw. Us old folks were ridiculously tired. We had some beers out in the field and sat there talking until Aunt Jodie called all her kids in so they could leave. Wally and Hillary have some things to do, but Jodie was going to return later with the rest of the kids and work on organizing Mum Mum and Pup Pup’s pictures. Mom and Dad are giving one of the guest rooms (probably my old room) over as a sort of memorial room, a repository if you will, which will have all the old pictures and some of the stuff from the house like the giant stein filled with pennies.

All in all, the service was beautiful and we had a great day just being together as a family. Erin, Adam, Renee, Joe Runkle (Adam’s friend since way back, who had also come) and Troy went over to David’s house that night. Amanda and I played Apples to Apples with Sara (Jeff’s ex-step-daughter, if I haven’t yet said), Hannah and Gordon, who, among the Horner kids, was the only one who got to stay.

Saturday, January 14, 2006
I woke up sore today and couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was the air mattress we were sleeping on? Then I realized that, no, it was tackling and getting tackled and running and blocking. It feels good, in a way, to be that kind of sore.

We were planning on going home today, but we didn’t.

Josh and I helped Dad move the furniture that had been put upstairs back into his and Mom’s room. Jeff was going to take a few things back to Pup Pup’s house and a few of us were going to go over there to start looking and sorting through stuff, so I rode with Mom, Amanda and Andra over in the Prius. Just before leaving I realized that Duke was playing today, and not tomorrow like I thought, and that the game (versus Clemson) was starting in just a few minutes. Carolina lost to Miami just as we were leaving, so I turned the game on the radio and we headed over.

Jeff and I brought in the couch, so I used it to watch the first half of a very close Duke-Clemson match-up. Aunt Robbie and Linda already had the game on. I wasn’t totally occupied by the game though, as I was also looking around the house and talking to people. During the second half, Linda switched to hockey and told me there was another TV in the house.

I asked Aunt Robbie about getting Pup Pup’s laptop, since it would be better than mine for the work I do, and I prefaced the request with, “If you say no, that’s cool, but I wanted to ask.” So I didn’t get the laptop, the desktop, the PDA or the giant flat panel monitor, but it’s cool- that’s just stuff. The only thing I’ve requested specifically is this prism they had in the bay window in the dining room. You spin it and it throws colors all over the place, and I enjoyed playing with it when I was little. We’ve put in a request for some furniture too, and we’re getting a ceiling to floor lamp that I’ve remembered since Kentucky. Jeff and I loaded up the old ping pong table into the truck, I grabbed the leaf to the table Aunt Robbie gave me a few years ago, and we headed back to Rougemont.

Amanda and I planned on leaving once we got back, but everyone was sitting around talking and by the time we ate a little, I didn’t feel like going. Somehow everyone ended up in Mom and Dad’s room, sitting on either the bed or the couch and just talking and laughing and having a good time.

Eventually David took Roy and Francis to go see The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Erin, Andra, Josh and Troy went to George’s Garage the The Down Under Pub downtown. Amanda and I stuck around and ended up talking to Roy until about 2:00. It was nice; he started out with a recollection of Pup Pup taking him on the Saturday right before his sixth birthday (which was on a Sunday, but shops weren’t open on Sundays then) to buy a toy. He talked about a lot of stuff from when he was in the Navy and his newspaper career. He certainly has a passion for the business. I’d love to be able to find something down more towards this area for him.

Sunday, January 15, 2006
We woke up this morning and had eggs, bacon and bread (it wasn’t exactly toast) for breakfast. Dad also fixed me a pastry with fried bologna. Yum. Uncle Roy had bought some chocolate milk in a glass container. It was very good and went very quickly.

We finally left sometime between 11 and noon or so. Ben had called in the morning to see if we were back in town yet or not and asked if we wanted to go to South of the Border for dinner tonight, which we accepted. We sat around for a bit of the day and dropped by Anna and Barry’s on the way to the restaurant to drop off the air mattresses Anna had let us take to Rougemont. (I forgot to mention that we met her on the way out of town to pick them up.) We chatted with them for a bit then met Ben and Jessica. It was nice to spend time with them before getting back into the groove of things.

We came home and watched Lost on the DVR. Sadly, we had never set the DVR to record The Office and My Name is Earl, so I’ll have to see about finding them somewhere I suppose.

Monday, January 16, 2006 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Being that today is a federal holiday (or if it’s not, that a lot of people are off of work), it was a nice transition back to work for me. I was pretty busy, but it was nothing like the last few days I worked.

I thought over the last few days that Pup Pup’s death does not have a huge day-to-day effect on me, which I feel unnecessarily guilty about. The biggest change is that I can’t pick the phone up every week or so, call him up and ask him what games he’s playing these days, chide him for using cheat codes and see if he’s traveling anywhere in the near future. My parents, however, got a call from him every morning so he could let them know he was okay. He started doing that after Mum Mum died.

Anyway, Amanda got some salad and noodles for dinner after work. I apparently prepared the salad wrong, so I learned something new today. Of course, if I’d really thought about it, I’d have realized it’s better to pull a leaf and shred it up as opposed to ripping up whatever’s at the top of the bag.

We watched a bit of the Golden Globes until a CSI: Miami came on. It was one where Horatio (David Caruso) is framed, and when we tried to watch it before on the DVR it was messed up just a few minutes into the recording. Most of the shows we watch on the DVR are set to record the new shows only, but Amanda’s been recording Miami reruns for quite a while now, as she was very intrigued by that episode.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
If yesterday’s lesson was about preparing lettuce for a salad, today’s was a reminder that when you’re changing a tire, you loosen the nuts before jacking up the car. Man was I struggling with that!

First thing today I called Randy’s Auto Service, a place we’ve used since we moved here and I’ve been happy with, and ordered some tires from them. I also got a call from Dover Mortgage, with whom we are getting our loan, and they said the final thing they needed was a bank statement. So for lunch, Amanda and I took the Cutlass to the auto place and dropped the bank statement by the mortgage place, in between which we stopped by Chick-Fil-A for lunch.

It turns out I had forgotten to turn in some signed paperwork as well, which I’ll just have to do tomorrow.

The weather was beautiful today, getting up to around 70. Work was alright. Pretty busy, especially in the morning. I’m meeting with Scott in the morning.

After work Amanda swung me by Randy’s after which, being on Carolina Beach Road and directly on the way to to it, I went by Buffalo Wild Wings to get our regular Tuesday dinner.

Cousin Hillary sent me an e-mail today, which was really nice to get. She said she’d been enjoying the CD I gave her and that she’d been reading over this site and got teary reading about the last couple weeks.

Giving myself a moment to geek out, my good buddy Jason recently sent an e-mail to me and Rick Titus saying he was thinking about spending some Christmas money on some trade paperback comics (a series of comics put together in one book, for everyone not nerdy enough to know). Anyway, he was asking for some advice on what to get, while having already decided to go for a collection of Alan Moore books (Watchmen, V for Vendetta and Miracleman) along with Ronin, Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns. A good selection. Rick and I added a few more selections, but the ones Jason picked were definitely good ‘uns.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
It was really windy last night. At about 2:00 we were woken up by the cat meowing very loudly, but it turned out that she was outside. I looked outside and there she was, sitting on the air conditioning unit. I went to the kitchen and called for her and she eventually came on inside.

I was at Bear Rock with Scott from about 9:30 on through lunch. We were going to discuss sales strategy, but we were both too busy to get much done in that arena. However, since I was up there so long I asked Amanda if she wanted to eat there for lunch. Bear Rock is overpriced, in my opinion.

After lunch I dropped off the last papers needed for our mortgage, made a bank deposit and ran by the comic shop. In running by there, I noticed that this green house Amanda and I have liked since we moved here was for sale. It had been for rent a few months ago, but now it’s for sale! Probably out of our range, but you never know.

After work we had to drop the Jetta off for its first oil change. We then went to Target to do a little shopping for Amy’s shower. The idea was to get sexy undies for both Ben and Amy, and Amanda wasn’t sure of Amy’s bra size. She tried calling Amy’s mom, but didn’t get an answer, so she called Amy to get her sister, Katy’s number. Amanda and Amy started gabbing, so I took off to look around at stuff. She never got an answer, so she took a guess. I was in a very anti-shopping mood so by the time Amanda started looking at paper and colored Sharpies, I was dragging.

Since we were in the area, we went to O’Charlie’s after that for a light dinner. Duke was playing NC State at 7:00, which was right about the time we got our food. I told the waitress I’d really appreciate it if she’d keep me updated on the score. She ended up with a pretty decent tip.

Small group was right after that, and halftime started at about the time we pulled up to Paul and Zach Dotsey with Facial Hair (The Beginnings of a Beard) :: Zach DotseyKim’s. State was up by one at that point. Ben and Rob were understanding of how tough it was for me. Since it was the first time in probably more than a month that all four couples were able to get together, I didn’t bother with it as much as I wanted to, but since we started off just conversing, I did go to on the mobile phone to get updated scores. I was able to check again towards the end of the game, and Duke ended up winning by ten or so. Group itself was good. We got into some decent discussions. Rob was the first person to mention noticing I haven’t been shaving. Amanda finally said something about it tonight too, separately. I haven’t fully shaved since just before Pup Pup’s funeral. I don’t think there’s any correlation there, but subconsciously, there could be. Basically though, I just had a bit of growth and didn’t feel like getting rid of the head start I’d given myself.

We stopped by the green house on Wrightsville Avenue on the way home to get what info we could.

Thursday, January 19, 2006
There was a phone call early this morning. It was Phil, calling to say the house we were wondering about was for sale at around $425,000! Almost a half million dollars! Re-effin’-diculous. Kristen, who works with an appraisal office and had access to MLS, told me later that it was because it’s for sale along with another house, which still seems stupid to me. Oh well; I guess it will be a starter home for us after all.

I took Amanda to work this morning then headed over to the Chick-Fil-A across from the mall. The the next month, they’re giving away a free breakfast item each Thursday. This week it was a three-pack of minis, which was really good. I got that and an orange juice. I should have gotten an extra pack though, because three wasn’t a very filling number.

Work was good and steady today. I finally caught myself up on all the follow up calls/e-mails I needed to make. I picked Amanda up for lunch, which was salad, and she took the car back to work. When she got off, we went to pick up the Jetta then went to Wal-Mart to get the stuff she needed to make a cheesecake for dinner tomorrow night at Anna and Barry’s.

We watched last night’s Lost, which had a great encounter with the Others, last week’s CSI: Miami, then watched My Name is Earl and The Office. In between CSI and Earl we (well, I) watched most of the end of a UNC/Virginia game. Virginia almost totally blew a nine point lead, but by the time Earl came on, the Tar Heels were down by seven with less than two minutes to go. They lost (huzzah!) and, as best I can guess, will probably drop out of the top 25 next week.

Friday, January 20, 2006
Work was, as it has been, pretty hectic today. I had two clients to meet with in the afternoon, which meant I had to compress my work into even less time. Not a bad day, just hectic.

Amanda and I went to have dinner with Anna and Barry. We stopped by the car wash on the way there (the birds where Amanda works are not too kind to the cars). We ate spaghetti and salad with Amanda’s cheesecake for dessert. The cheesecake was good- very creamy. And it was made with Splenda, so it wasn’t quite as unhealthy as some cheesecakes.

After dinner we introduced all of the Frazelles to Apples to Apples. It’s such a simple game and if you describe it, it doesn’t sound like much, but it really is a fun game. Anna and Barry, much to Hannah’s chagrin and over Kirsten’s head, got a little randy with some of their answers. Amanda won the game.

We stuck around for just a little while longer. During that time, as a combination of the food, the heat of the house, the comfortableness of their overly large chair and the couple glasses of wine I’d had for dinner, I dozed a bit before Amanda and I headed on home.

Saturday, January 21, 2006
Today was the day I ranked as the third worst of the year thus far, following #1: the day I was told Pup Pup was diagnosed with cancer, and #2: the day he died of said cancer (which is ranked lower because it was a relief that he didn’t have to suffer too long. Duke got beat today by an unranked Georgetown team, although to the Hoyas’ credit, I think all, or at least most, of their losses so far have come against really good, highly-ranked teams.

Shelden Williams was almost a non-factor with his four points. Greg Paulus made some really bad passes, especially down the stretch. In the first half it seemed that no Blue Devil could make a basket from inside. Redick even missed two free throws, which is becoming less and less a surprise. (This is often attributed to the pace and hecticosity [yes, I just made that word up] of his current playing style.) They were down by sixteen at one point, which is the most they’ve trailed all season, but they came back to within three by the end, which is pretty good considering all the fouls they were throwing out in an attempt to get the ball back. I think they were in the lead only once, which was 22-20 in the first half. After that I don’t think they ever even tied again.

It was disappointing, but after I had some time to cool off about it I realized it wasn’t all that bad. Nobody was expecting them to go undefeated, and Georgetown played their asses off. Even if Duke hadn’t been playing like crap and letting the Hoyas freely score on backdoor passes, it would have been a close game. The thing I’m most disappointed in, really, is that if they’d won, this Duke team would have broken their record for most wins to open a season. (The record, then, is tied at seventeen with, I believe, the 1991-1992 team.)

Before the game we caught up on Smallville and folded a buttload of clean clothes that we’ve had sitting around for a while now.

Aside from all that, the game made us late in leaving to drop Bruce off with Ben and Jessica. Jessica requested that Bruce be brought to them with a shirt on, and that his leather pimp coat (I’m the only one who calls it that, but he really does look like a tiny canine pimp with it on) also be brought along. Ben’s parents are in town for the weekend and I think she wanted to show him off.

After dropping Bruce off at the McDonald’s on Eastwood and Military Cutoff, we went to Hecht’s. I couldn’t find my black shoes (probably left them at my parents’ house) so we needed some for tonight. Amanda wanted to get some pants for me too, since my nice gray ones are fading a little, but we were pressed for time so we just did the shoes. It’s just as well, in my book. I didn’t want to spend the money.

After Amy Brower and Ben Farmer’s Engagement Party :: Zach Dotseyhat we headed to Raleigh for Amy and Ben’s wedding shower/dinner at Michael Dean’s. We stopped by a party supply place in Garner to get some balloons then got there right on time at 7:00. The dinner was nice and Amy and Ben got lots of undies from people. I’d been to the place once while selling some pizza cards (with Bo Bodenstein) but had never actually eaten there. We had a little over thirty people in the party, and I think they took good care of us. We sat across from Amy and Ben and next to Tiffany, who organized the whole thing along with Amanda, on one side and the husband of one of the girls they all went to high school with on the other. Doug was his name, and he is a cop in Durham, so we talked a little about that and it turns out he works with David Piatt, who was sort of a friend of mine in middle school. I guess we were friends anyway. I went to his house a few times and remember playing Bayou Billy on the Nintendo. The girl across from me was from Roxboro.

All in all we had a nice time. I drove back, nearly falling asleep. When we got back I looked up the Duke message board on to see how much hate had come through during the day, and of course there was plenty, but I’d come to accept the loss already.

Sunday, January 22, 2006
Having gotten back latish last night, we decided to go to the 10:30 service at church, which we’ve decided never to do again. We only went one time before, and that was New Year’s Day, so it wasn’t overly crowded. Today though, we had to park in the furthest lot from the building and there were no two seats next to each other in the auditorium, so we decided to sit in the Video Cafe, which is an overflow room where they have a screen set up and you can drink coffee. I’d been wanting to experience that for a while anyway, just to see first-hand what people see when I’m directing. I have to say that since the meeting we had a little while back, the quality has certainly gone up. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.

The Video Cafe ended up being standing room only as well. After the service (which had a historical look at the Bible) was over we saw Amanda’s cousin, Hannah and talked to her for a minute. I was introduced as her half-cousin when she couldn’t come up with cousin-in-law. She was with some friends, so it was kind of interesting to see Hannah in a different element. It’s not that she put on a show or anything, but you know how people are always somehow a little different around friends and around family.

On the way out I wanted to stop by the production setup and tell them the director did a good job today, but on entering the auditorium we literally almost bumped into Rob and Kristen, so we talked to them for a few minutes and decided to go get some brunch. They were planning on meeting some other friends, Larry and Kim, somewhere else, so they asked if they minded meeting all of us at the Saltshaker, I believe it was, over on Wrightsville near the comic shop. It then took us (Amanda and I anyway) forever to get out of the parking lot, so Rob and Kristen were there waiting by the time we arrived.

I’ve passed the place a million times but I’d never paid it any real attention. The food was good, particularly the thick, greasy, crunchy bacon. And with Amanda’s order of it, they brought out plenty. Larry and Kim were nice people, too. We may see more of them in the future.

Leaving there, we went looking for houses. Instead of hitting up the Gordon Road area, we looked all around the King’s Grant area. We found quite a bit, but most of it was likely out of our range. We ended up on the far side of Market, so we called Ben and Jessica to let them know we were coming to get our puppy. We hung out there for a bit, then called Rob and Kristen, who had said earlier that the house they’re in the closing process of was near Ben and Jessica’s, and if they were going over there when we were in the area they’d show it to us. They came by with Larry and Kim. Rob and Kristen had been by the Lambeths’ house before, but never in it, so Ben and Jessica gave them a tour before heading over.

Rob and Kristen’s house is very nice. It’s brand new, two stories, it’s got lots of space and a nicely-sized backyard. It’s across the street from what looks like a place people drop off old shrimp boats, but that fifty acres is for sale and I’m sure it’ll get cleaned up nicely before long. They’re right down the street from the waterway too. Rob said they went a little over budget with it, but they still got a deal on it. They could probably turn right around and sell it now for a nice profit.

It was cold, by the way. I had read the weather to be at a high of 70 (in January!) but I had read tomorrow’s weather. It was 58 today, so not unbearable, but not pleasant for flip flops and a short-sleeved polo.

Anyway, we dropped Ben and Jessica off at their place and headed on home. They said Bruce had behaved himself (read: they didn’t find any poop or pee yet) and that he’d had fun playing with their tiny kitten, the aptly named (for he is smoky gray) Smoky Bob. We got to watch them play a little, and it was pretty entertaining.

We stopped by Wal-Mart on the way home for taco ingredients and some things Amanda needed. Once home, Amanda made the tacos, I helped her a little but mostly putzed around and we ate while watching the Carolina Panthers get trounced by the Seattle Seahawks, so Super Bowl XL is going to be Seattle and Pittsburgh. I was thinking I’d go for the Steelers, since they beat the Panthers, but I might just go for the Seahawks, since it’s their first Super Bowl. I like watching football, but I don’t go out of my way for it so I’m not quite as passionate about it as I am, say, Duke basketball.

Since the Panthers were getting their butts kicked, I let Amanda watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on the big screen while I watched more of the game in the spare room. At 9:00, with little hope of a Panther recovery, I watched Supernatural with Amanda. It’s funny; I don’t look forward to that show, and sometimes I feel like I’m making myself watch it, but I always enjoy watching it when I do.

The final score of the game was 34-14, which sounds closer than it was.

Monday, January 23, 2006
Really not much to report on today. Bruce very quickly stole a slice of pizza from my plate at lunch today. I had left the room to do something with the computer and Amanda was putting her slices of pizza back in the oven. When I got back, I saw that there were two small slices on my plate instead of three, and Amanda was eating. I looked at her for a second until she said, “What?” I asked her why she took one of my pieces of pizza, figuring she was just being cute. We realized very quickly that Bruce had taken it. He had ducked under the coffee table, and when we pulled him out he had his mouth stuffed with half a pizza slice hanging out of his mouth! I yelled at him, but it was very cute.

UConn took the number one spot today and Duke fell to second, as I pretty much expected. Fortunately Florida and Pittsburgh, the only other two undefeated teams of any import, also lost.

I worked on a little genealogy tonight on I opened an free account with them years ago, back when I was on University Drive in Greensboro. I even met a distant cousin through the message board there. Anyway, I did a little updating on that and added in a bunch of Amanda’s family as well. I got to thinking of that because I was updating the family page on this site a little. I was mostly playing with the pictures in Photoshop because the originals are a bit washed out.

That’s about it. Oh, and the client I drove out to Burgaw to meet with turned us down. They complained about price to me then ended up going with a more expensive place because the company did some other franchise sites and works on their computers or networks or some such, so they think they’ll have more of a sense of accountability. I can understand where they’re coming from, but I was almost offended. I think I was just taking it personally is all though- I don’t think they meant to imply that we’re not accountable.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Busy work day. Not a whole lot happened today except that Renee, my brother’s girlfriend, came over to do a presentation. She’s interning with a company that either sells insurance or helps with financial planning- not totally sure which. Anyway, she and this guy, Brian (whom I am guessing is her trainer or whatnot) came by after work and talked to us a bit. To be honest, it was good stuff to talk about, and for some time I’ve been wanting to get some kind of help with our finances. I mean, we’re doing okay these days, but I want something down the road.

They said they’d crunch some numbers and get back to us, and after they left neither one of us felt like going to pick up food, so we forwent our Tuesday night Buffalo Wild Wings tradition. We (as usual) caught up on some tv then watched the Greensboro American Idol auditions. One of the first girls was this cute little nineteen year old. I mean cute in that she looked cute, but she also had a cute personality. She was from Albemarle. If we end up watched that accursed show again this season, I think she’s the one I’ll pull for already.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 – Happy 23rd Birthday Michael Mercer!
Lots of nice leads came in today. I was so intent on my work that when I got a call from Amanda, I thought she was out doing a bag run for work. It turned out that it was a little after 5:00 and she was on her way home.

Backing up a little, we watched one of last night’s episodes of Scrubs during lunch, and I thought it was just great. The way the writers tie together so many things and use music to enhance the show is really just, I don’t know what I can say besides great. This particular episode tied the problems faced by JD, Elliot, Turk and Carla to the characters from The Wizard of Oz, complimented by an a cappella assortment of show tunes (most prominently from the aforementioned show). Often touching and always laugh out loud funny, Scrubs is definitely one of my favorite shows. Great stuff.

We had small group tonight, although Jessica couldn’t make it. Someone from her office was leaving and they were taking her out for a farewell dinner. Paul and Kim served chicken. We didn’t get much Bible study done, but we had a decent little talk about Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses and a couple other religion-themed things.

Thursday, January 26, 2006
I feel good about work. Not only do things look like they’re going well, but I met with Scott late this afternoon and we discovered a few things that are available that we can implement to change a lot of the services we offer people for the better. I’ve been playing with some of them tonight just to check them out a bit. We were up at the Port City Java until nearly 6:00 playing with the new discoveries.

After leaving there I went by Food Lion to pick up some bread and cheese. Once home Amanda made some egg and cheese sandwiches then we watched Duke beat Virginia Tech. If you’ll recall, last month it took a miracle shot by Dockery to pull off the at-home win for Duke. They beat them pretty good tonight. The big story from it came from when Deron Washington from Va. Tech kicked Lee Melchioni in the face after they tumbled out of bounds together.

I felt pretty bad for Tech though. Coleman Collins has a dad in hospice care in Atlanta and was leaving right after the game to go be with him. Someone else’s grandma died and Washington’s family lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. On top of everything else, they’re 0-6 in ACC play and, before tonight, the total of their ACC losses was sixteen points.

I’ve got to take a moment to talk a little about our cat, Selena, whom we are pretty sure is a girl. She’s about the most affectionate cat ever and loves to come curl up in my lap when I’m working. She’s a bit annoying at times, butting my hands when I’m trying to type if she wants to be rubbed, meowing loudly and often when she’s hungry (which is always), but she’s very sweet and the annoyances are easy to overlook. What’s not as easy to get around is that she’s been farting a lot lately, and good God has she got some smelly-ass junk coming out! We haven’t been letting her outside lately, trying to get her used to staying inside for when we move, and I’m sure that has something to do with it, but man is she smelly when she lets one rip!

Friday, January 27, 2006
The plan tonight was to clean, but we didn’t do much of that. Instead, we watched Lost and Smallville. It was the 100th episode of Smallville, and for some time it’s been put out there that someone close to Clark would die. My guess was either Lana, Chloe or someone who hasn’t been on the show much. Everyone else on the show is in the comics. (Lana is in them of course, but she’s not all that important.) Well, at first they killed Lana, but then Clark was able to redo things and so his dad died. Up until the end of the show, I was thinking they were going to change something again, but it ended with the funeral of Jonathan Kent. I was rather surprised.

Saturday, January 28, 2006
We woke up this morning and started cleaning. It felt good to clean up so much. We got all the laundry done, picked up in the bedrooms, cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom, did some bleaching and washed the Jetta. I think it ended up taking about three hours, but the place looks so good right now. We’ll see how long it lasts.

I shaved this morning. I haven’t fully shaved since right around the funeral. I had let it go a bit and decided to grow it out some, but Amanda and I struck a deal and she upheld her end of the bargain, so I shaved today.

Amy Brower’s Wedding Bridal Pictures at Wrightsville Beach :: Zach DotseyWe met Amy at Anna and Barry’s. Michael and Sarah were going to meet us at Mayfair to watch Glory Road, but I was going to be busy with Amy and Amanda decided she needed to help us, which was a good thing. She put on her wedding getup and we headed on down to the end of the island. A number of people commented on her- a woman in a wedding gown walking down the beach tends to draw attention and compliments. After filling up the memory card we headed back to the Frazelles. I showed Amy how to clear off pictures to free up some space, and we stopped near the bend on Airlie to take a few more pictures. Amy rode with Amanda in the Jetta and I drove Amy’s SUV. I was behind them but I ended up getting to the house first.

Amy Brower’s Wedding Bridal Pictures in Downtown Wilmington :: Zach DotseyWe downloaded the pictures then headed downtown for some sunset shots on the riverfront. Amanda remembered a very nice client of ours with a bed and breakfast in that area, so I called her up and asked if she’d mind us taking some pictures in the backyard, which she was amenable to. So we took some pictures there then on the River Walk.

After that we headed back to the house and met up with Michael and Sarah. We waited a while for Ben, but he took forever to show up so we headed off to Henry’s for dinner. While waiting there Sarah and I had some Blue Moon and a White Russian each and got to feeling pretty good. She’s a fun drinking buddy. I talked to Adam, and he and Renee joined us at about the same time Ben arrived. I was watching Duke kill Virginia in the bar part, hanging out with Michael and Sarah.

I liked the place the last time we went there, but it took us forever to get seated and while the waitress was nice enough, the service was only so-so. Adam and Renee went back to Renee’s, but the rest of us went back to our place and played the Trivial Pursuit DVD game Amanda and I got Michael for his birthday. Amanda and I won. I spent a lot of the time when it wasn’t our turn downloading pictures and burning them to a CD for Amy.

We finished the game around 2:00 an all shuffled off to bed- Michael and Sarah in the guestroom because Amy and Ben (who slept on the couch) are getting up early. So am I.

Sunday, January 29, 2006
Amy Brower and Ben Farmer’s Engagement Pictures at Wrightsville Beach :: Zach DotseyI got up at 6:00 this morning after a whopping four hours of sleep. Ben and Amy and I headed off to Wrightsville Beachto take some sunrise pics. They were wearing white polos and jeans, and it wasn’t until tonight that I realized I was wearing the exact same thing they were. If anyone had seen us this morning they’d have thought we were freaks. Anyway, we shot by and on the Oceanic pier and got some good shots. I think ratio-wise, Amy’s shoots from yesterday were better, but I’m pretty happy with some of these pictures too.

I got to Port City Community Church by 8:00 and directed all three services. Actually, I directed the first two and let a new girl who had been watching me, Caroline, direct the last one to get her feet wet. We were all given some lunch between the 10:30 and 12:30 services, which was nice. I talked to Ben and Jessica for a minute after the 8:30. Amanda, Michael and Sarah went to the 12:30 after Michael and Sarah went to a Catholic service downtown. We were very chatty over the headsets during the final service.

I helped break down everything, mostly by helping collect up cords and carrying things out to the trucks. Exhausted, I got little chance to rest once I got home because we then headed over to Anna and Barry’s so they could give Michael his birthday present, a season of Seinfeld, and some of Anna’s exquisite chocolate cake. We didn’t see Barry much because he wasn’t feeling well. I think I may have passed out for a bit in the large chair they have. Eventually we played some Trivial Pursuit, but it was taking a while so we didn’t fully finish. Anna, Amanda and I were one team, the other was Michael, Sarah and Hannah. We got two pieces of pie on our first turn, and by the time the cake was out I think we had all but one pie to Michael and Sarah’s (Hannah had basically quit playing a while ago) two, so, since they acceded, we claimed the victory.

I think I’m going to crash soon.

Monday, January 30, 2006
We went to the Medac tonight. The Medac, for those who don’t know, is kind of like a little emergency room/mini-hospital place. More on that later.

I felt very rushed today, like I didn’t have enough time to do anything, when really I don’t think I was all that much busier than usual. It might have had to do with one client who has been very excited to get things going, and whom I’ve been trying to help, and the fact that their stuff wasn’t quite done until this evening and all I could do was keep saying “We’re working on it.” I had told them that we’d probably be able to have it done Monday. I’d said by Tuesday, but probably Monday. And so he was upset with me today. He said I was “very nice” but that I don’t seem to know what I’m talking about. I don’t think he realized how much I was trying to get things going for him. I was not very pleased with his e-mail.

So tonight, for dinner, Amanda made salad and pasta. During dinner she said she had something stuck in her throat. It kept bugging her so I shined a flashlight down her throat and sure enough, there was something really small, kind of splinter-looking, sticking out of the side of her throat. So we went to the Medac and paid $40 (and that’s with insurance) for them to try sticking swabs down her throat and eventually tell her to go to the ear, nose and throat people in the morning. They also numbed her up a bit in an attempt to stop her very sensitive gag reflex (yes, poor me), but that didn’t help much. We did get to bring some of it home though.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Whatever was in Amanda’s throat last night worked its way out by this morning. I kind of figured it would, but on the off chance that it actually was something serious I’d have hated to have been the one to tell her to forget about it, then wake up to find my wife bleeding from her throat or choked or something terrible like that. Yes, I have a vivid imagination.

I talked to the upset client this morning, and things seem to be better. I couldn’t stay off the phone today though, which sucks because I have a few really strong leads. One of them did pay a deposit tonight though, so they’re now an actual client. They seem like nice people. I like when I feel like I get to know a client, when I can relax with them. Those are mostly the mom and pop places or laid back people with a lot of money. Come to think of it, a lot of those are either women or guys no older than their early thirties. Maybe those are my niche clients.

Amanda and I had the old standby Tuesday night dinner: Buffalo Wild Wings. We brought it home and caught up on some Invasion. Amanda watched more TV- American Idol’s Vegas tryouts and Supernatural. I paid attention, but I was mostly fixing up Amy’s pictures so I could put them online.

Amanda’s cousin, actually her mom’s cousin, Jon, is getting married in a few months and they want me to do their pictures. Originally they were going to come down here and do them, but I talked to Denise, the fiancée, tonight and it makes more sense for us to get up there. I wanted to get Amy’s pics online so she could get some ideas.

I got some really cool news via e-mail tonight from my cousin Hillary: the Pennsylvania Horners are moving to North Carolina! How cool! They’re going to stay in the trailer on Mom and Dad’s property temporarily, which, with the seven of them, may be interesting. At least they’ll have room outside. I’m so glad they’re going to be closer. Now, if only we can get all the cousins from the Dotsey side here too.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it the other day or not (and I don’t feel like looking to see if I did), but speaking of cousins on the Dotsey side, I got an e-mail from Roger, Uncle Bernie’s oldest, the other day. He’s going to Louisville now and stumbled onto this site.

A reminder to anyone who reads this: do me a favor and sign my guestbook. I’ve had it up since like Friday, and the only entry in it so far is one I got Amanda to do tonight. It’s empty and lonely. Granted it looks like crap because the font size doesn’t want to cooperate, but I’d still like to get some content in it. Since it’s in an iframe it won’t get detected by search engine spiders, but at least it won’t look so pathetic.

the first month of 2006 is over. I’m getting old.