Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Gren, an Evil Genius?

Simon has so labeled me...and who am I to disagree? To me, however, it just seemed painfully obvious what needed to be done.

A little while back, as you may recall from my initial telling, I conducted the wedding of my dear friends Taltap and Elsa. However, what I was careful not to mention in my original reporting was a particular coincidence that occurred there. During the rehersal, I was chatting with the various members of the wedding party, many of whom I had never met. That's Laegren on the far rightThe bridesmaid was a delightful, red-headed girl who mentioned that she lived in Edmonton, Alberta (that’s in Canada, eh?) Now, there are many possible responses to this bit of trivia, but I, being the sort of person who is constantly looking for a way to talk about the friends I’ve made out here in web-land, immediately told the bridesmaid (who I will henceforth refer to as Laegren for reasons I will explain later) all about Simon. Plus, I was well versed in odd little details about her city, having conversed with my ice-bound friend many times about his environment, and so was interested to get her take on the same city.

Over the course of the weekend, it occurred to me that I was sitting on a golden opportunity. I had just met a person who apparently lived only five minutes away from a friend of mine who lives over 1500 miles away from me. Plus, her kids go to some sort of play group even closer to Simon's house. The odds were staggering and made me want to break out into a few rounds of “It’s a small world.” But more than made me want to mess with Simon’s head.

I quickly scribbled a message on a piece of notebook paper and gave it to Laegren, asking her if she would be willing to post it to Simon’s door. She seemed excited by the prospect of a practical joke...then she saw the letter. She seemed a bit concerned since it was vaguely threatening and didn’t have my real name on it. I would have been worried as well…were I her. “Is this going to get me into trouble?” she asked. My wife quickly vouched for me, trying to explain that Simon would, indeed find this amusing. Laegren seemed convinced and all was settled.

Upon returning to St. Louis, I quickly wrote the tale of my weekend, carefully avoiding any reference to Edmonton so as not to give Simon any clues to work with when the note was posted. However, I had overlooked one detail. I had forgotten to tell the groom, Taltap, about the impending prank. This hadn’t seemed such a large oversight since he rarely posts here, but as soon as the story hit the web, Taltap swooped down and mentioned to Simon that one of the guests had been from his neck of the woods.


I ignored it. Refused to enter the conversation. Hoped it would die down.

Laegren, meanwhile, was waiting for me to send her Simon’s physical address and could not deliver the letter until I did. I figured this was my one chance to salvage the game since I had some control over the timing. I’d just wait. Give Simon some time to forget this seemingly minor detail.

A month went by. Some would politely call it delayed gratification. I would call it torture. Finally, about a week ago, I sent the address to Laegren (Long Arm of an Evil Gren) and waited.

For the completion of this story, visit Simon or his wife, Amy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Amazing Disappearing / Reappearing Gren

Currently, I’m sitting in my new, slightly smaller office, looking out the odd little window that opens into our much smaller warehouse and crunching on a baby carrot. “But wait,” you say. “Where have I been for the last two weeks? You can’t just dissapear like that and pop back in talking about windows.”

Well...I’ve been getting here. I’ve been fighting and struggling and gnashing my teeth so that I could sit here in relative relaxation and tell you that I have an odd little window in my office.

About two weeks ago, the president of the company I work for let me know that we’d be moving our corporate office. This I had already known. There was a loose contract on our building, but he wasn’t too concerned about the timing…so I wasn’t too concerned. I figured everything was under control. Then he mentioned casually on Wednesday, August 29th, that the new owners would be taking possession of the building we occupied on September 14th. Two weeks. Prep work done at that point…none. New location to move to…hadn’t even started looking. Panic level…stratospheric.

There’s a part of me that would love to go into excruciating detail on all the hurdles of the move, but two things prevent me. First, while we are now nestled into our new digs…the move isn’t really over. Folks want their voice mail and their printers to work. The warehouse evokes a 300 lb man squeezed into sweatpants designed for a man half his size…it demands some compressing and Tetrisizing. And there’s all that pesky work I was ignoring while focusing exclusively on the move…it didn’t magically disappear as I had hoped it would. Secondly, if my wife’s glossed-over eyes were any indication…the minute details of my battles with telecom, my attic crawls, my shelving assembly, and all the other skirmishes that made this such an ordeal are slightly less interesting in the retelling. I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty.

Besides, all that minutia were only tangentially related to the more important aspects. The new office itself tells nothing of my wife and daughter, left home to await the return of some semblance of normalcy. There were days in which I saw Norah for less than 20 minutes total. There were days when Moonshot nearly lost her mind from boredom and loneliness; unable to leave the house due to an illness Norah was fighting.

So, instead of telling all the details, I’d rather take these precious moments of remaining lunch break to thank a few people who really made a difference in all this.

Thanks to MoMa for coming up on short notice to keep my family company in my absence. Thanks to Panache for meeting Moonshot and Norah in Hannibal last week just to get them out of the house. Thanks to Jet, for shouldering the burden of our store with absolutely no help from his suddenly absent business partner. And a huge thanks to my wife who worked every single long hour I did…with no co-workers to keep her company.