Friday, October 13, 2006

The Crassula Nebula

Captain's Log. Stardate 060327/12.37. (written 27 March 2006)

We have just entered the Crassula Nebula (Crassula is the name of the street my brother's houses are in) and there are strange things afoot. We have encountered a race of mysterious beings who seem elusive and unreliable, popping into existence just long enough to perform a few tasks before disappearing. We have transported an away team to coordinates 83A where scientists on the surface have set up an experiment to terraform these beings, sometimes called "subbies" (we think for "sub-contractors" but our digital dictionary appears to have malfunctioned and repeats the phrase "fucken plumber" whenever we try to access the entry). "Subbies" cause more havoc whenever they appear and not finished what they set out to, before suddenly disappearing again. You have to shout at them, implore them to return and finish. Threaten them, lay guilt trips on them, set your dog on them. Nothing seems able to translate into the language they speak. Over?

The Starship Enterprise doesn't have to deal with the pre-civilization lack of regard for agreements, punctuality and honour. Let alone such nefarious and unheard of concepts like good workmanship. Starfleet never had to try to deal with a plumber.

I dare Captain Jean-Luc Picard to get the electrician on site anytime in the week he promised that he'd be there on Monday. Or to at least send some tools when he drops some men two weeks later for an afternoon. For several days worth of work. Without Tools. Try negotiating with them aliens Captain. Tell that to Starfleet.

In a way, having to just jump in and run his business is good for my emotional state. I have so much to do and so many people relying on me to get it done that I just do it. I am amazed at how I've managed to adapt. I have a pretty good team of guys who worked for him and his contractors have been amazing and really shown up. He was really great with them, so they are doing it in return. For instance, the electrician came to tell me he owed Mike money for paying for the cement for this guy's house when he couldn't afford to. I've hired a builder to manage the everyday on-site project management so that's a huge weight off my mind, even though I still have to manage everything else. At least I know the steps will be straight.

Personally, I am like a ball of pain. I'm shattered, then feel calm, then so depressed I can hardly move. I got really angry with Mike the over the first weekend about how long its taken to do this building. These sudden moods swings have just become part of my day. I'm sure it's the classic stuff you go through. I think I'll find out about trauma counselling, but I figure if I just keep letting it out and talking about it, it'll help.

But my main concern is for my mother and father, who are really shattered and are taking it very hard. I should have their house ready by the weekend, so we can get them into that and they can be busy with moving.

The irony of course is that Mike was going to buy me out and in a few weeks I wouldn't have been involved at all. I had had enough of the building game and lost my appetite completely.

Whenever I stop and think about it, its quite surreal. That strange feeling hasn't fade, I feel the same painful longing for our phone calls and lunches. My sense of loss is as acute as ever, especially being on the sites where he spent all his days - doing what he was doing, experiencing the same frustrations and getting some sense of the stresses he was under.

Last Thursday was been the best day I've had in a year, I realized that evening. Despite the stuff I've had to handle (the usual fark-ups on site, a difficult business meeting, and having to put my foot down with a few people) and really, really missing my brother in a way I haven't, I have had to hold my line. To quote ER (if you meet the Buddha on the road and his wisdom is a throw-away line on TV.), there was a scene a few years ago when a major character left the series and he told the then youngster taking over: "you set the tone". The other night, that character left and told the new guy: "you set the tone".

I really felt like I did that on Thursday, as much for my brother's memory as for myself. If this is the gift Mike gave me, then that is how I will repay him.

I am so tempted to feel too sorry for myself but there just isn't any time - and I have been quite clear that I haven't allowed myself to feel victimized in any way. I could be angry at him -- which I have been - for the convoluted business arrangements he left behind but I won't say a single bad thing about my brother. He lived his life exactly as he wanted, in the way he did, doing what he loved. He was a man in his full, living and doing exactly what he wanted. He was living his dream.

I wonder if this is my dream, or if I will ever find it again?


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