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Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Ingram Holiday Letter

The Ingram's Holiday Letter, December 2005

Desperate Housewives. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Lost. Grey's Anatomy. Starting Over. Who knew that the new must-see TV would serve to define the great soap opera that has been our lives in 2005?

Needless to say, I'm the desperate housewife, but not wearing size 2 jeans and Prada shoes. I ferry my parents back and forth to doctor's appointments, clean the kitty litter box, walk the dog, baby-sit for our grandson, Keegan (age 1), and dish with the neighbors about important issues such as why the city had to place a port-a-potty next to our driveway for three weeks while changing pipes on our street. We had a couple of untimely deaths, but thankfully no murders. No gorgeous young gardeners to ogle here, but the UPS guy looks a little like George Clooney.

Gary's work life is one big Extreme Makeover, but a lot less heart-warming. The only tears are the ones shed by Gary and his partners when a client turns out to be a deadbeat who refuses to pay for all the change orders initiated by his wife. Nevertheless, Gary loves the contractor's life and still enjoys wearing shorts to work year-round.

Our version of the hit sci-fi show, Lost, involves moving my parents into a lovely assisted living community in Irvine last February 14th. It was our family's personal "St. Valentine's Day Massacre." They hated it for the first few months, at least till Papa Jack went crazy on Mom's birthday in May and had to be tied to a bed in the hospital for several weeks. Thanks to an adverse reaction to some of the two dozen or so pills he takes daily, Jack was convinced that he was fighting WWII, the hospital was a prison camp, the staffers were "The Others," the hallways and gardens were mined and there was a secret underground tunnel that his fellow POW's used to escape. He snapped out of it in time to be home for July 4th weekend, or I'm sure he would have thought the fireworks were bombs going off. Mom handled all of this beautifully, listening intently to Jack's war stories and learning to love the relative sanity of her new home.

Grey's Anatomy is my favorite show. I'll substitute my animal friends for the main characters. Poudre, our 20-lb. cat, is Dr. "McDreamy" Shepherd, although more of a redneck version than sexy Patrick Dempsey plays on the show because Poudre only has two teeth. Still, he dominates the female "interns" - Vanna-dog, Molly-cat and frequent visitor, Crazy Oreo-dog, who belongs to our kids, Cory, Emilie and Keegan. When Poudre enters the room, Vanna falls on her back in front of him, submitting to what I call his "McDreaminess." Molly tails him like a wife who's being cheated on, and Crazy Oreo just wants to play doctor and sniff his behind. My kind of ER.

Starting Over is daytime reality TV that plays well to my professional life which has been starting over since 2003. In case you haven't heard, I finally embraced a new careeer and wrote a book titled The Heart Way - A Journey From Corporate to Care. It will be formally published in February '06. I'm finally doing what I love - wirting and talking about stuff I like. It beats selling computers or dealing with crabby corporate travelers. I'm just waiting for the money to follow!

Survivor is an old show that still hooks us from time to time. We visited Houston a week after Hurricane Katrina, at the start of a Caribbean cruise, and had the pleasure of taking extra suitcases full of clothing for survivors from New Orleans housed at the Astrodome. Then we survived the cruise in spite of consuming copious amounts of after-dinner drinks with names like "Buttery Nipple" and "B-52." I survived my first year of being on our church board. Jack survived his brushes with death and is now looking and feeling the best he's been in years. Mom Marianne survived cataract surgery. Niece Lindsey survived some very cold, wet days on the football field in her new role as saxophonist in the Washington Husky band. Niece Hannah survived her first cotillion as the tallest and prettiest girl on the dance floor. Keegan survived his new Nike Air Shox, the perfect first baby shoes. My sister, Meg, and her husband, Ted, survived a "vacation" in a motor home with another couple and four kids under 14. Cory and Emilie survived a round-trip to Minnesota looking like the Griswold's on a plane with Keegan. Poudre survived another year. None of us won a million dollars for our efforts.

We hope you had a great year, with or without a favorite TV show. Please read my book. Visit my web site often and add comments to this blog. Shameless self-promotion is another thing I learned from watching TV.

Happy Holidays!

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