Letters to Holly

Tuesday, September 25

The Rest of Saturday

In addition to the last post's doings, these also occured:

1) I had a meeting with a local business about a freelance gig.
They want to make a somewhat caricatured map of the town and county based on those made in Hendersonville and Asheville. The company that makes them wants too much money, and these local folks decided to find a local guy. I was recommended. I met with the company two weekends to get details. Between that interview and the one this weekend, I made a sample map using Google Street View. They seemed to like what I made, but they want to show the sample to their shadow partner (my bet: a local realtor). We also talked turkey about pay this weekend. I cited a flat rate. They balked, citing the estimate from another artist, and I underbid him to get the "contract." It's still early, but they have my quote and sample. They want to print by March to get the spring tourists, but I fed them some ideas that might affect that time table: Are all the buildings going to face the streets; we'd only see the front of half the buildings; and why not make a map inset for fall attractions?

In a bit of second-guessing paranoia, I wondered if they had manipulated the meetings to take my artistic temperature. In both meetings, a rescue dog was bouncing off the walls. Was that to measure my temperament? Was the estimate from the other artist a bluff to get me to underbid? Even so, that second point doesn't matter. My original bid was a lottery-ticket amount. The second number I gave them, slightly more than half the original, is still a respectable chunka change.

Looks like I won't get to work on the map until after the minicomic is all done. That's handy.

2) I might mentor another student about comics.
I got an email from a high-school student from another county asking if I'd help her with the senior project on American comics. I asked for the mentor paperwork from the school and got them from the school yesterday. We would have to meet for a total of 15 hours minimum. That's hefty. She wants to make a five-page comic as her final project product, and our 15 hours could involve that creation. But the travel is a sticking point. Unless she has her own car, she's gonna be dependent on others, and I got bit by that with the last kid. I don't want that disastrous mentorship to prejudice her project, but the time requirement and the necessary travel work against her.

I presume she found me via the ad in the roller derby programs. I'm going to email her teacher for clarifications.

Picture of the Day
This is my common sense tell my art brain to stop with the new gigs already.

Monday, September 24

Meeting the Man

Last weekend, My Mom called to ask if we could meet her and her new best friend for lunch on Saturday. She and her running buddy have been tighter than twins for a few months now after reuniting accidentally in the grocery store. They knew each other as kids, grew up near each other, but were kept apart by their parents. She married. He married. The marriages ended, and they now have no reason to not be together. It's a sweet story. Mom has used the term "soulmate" often when describing him.

She's never home anymore, and you can only get a hold of her via cell phone because she's either at his place or zooming about the state in his motorhome. They're living the life of convenient Bohemia -- retired, flush with cash, aging but still vital. After eating at McDonald's, Mom sat me down to explain their relationship: They agreed not to get married, but they are an item. What's hers will become mine, what's his will go to his sons, but they are acquiring things together as they be-bop to caravan sites. They are committed.

I have no problem with any of this. I wanted Mom to avoid the life of a recluse, and after a period of mourning, she has. She fixed up the house. She put in a pool. She changed up the yard for her convenience. She found people to socialize with. There were other pseudo-beaus before this gentleman came back into her life, and now she's the opposite of a recluse. She spends as much time at her house as I did in college (read: desperately minimal).

There are two small speed bumps that hinder my full embrace of the sitch-iation:

1) They're first cousins.
Now as I understand such things, first cousins are kept apart for fear of their offspring having four heads and hooves. Since we're talking about a couple in their later, later years, this won't be an issue. Socially, it might be. My Mom always stayed close to her mother's family, and her relatives from Pop and Granny are everywhere in the state. I was taught in third grade by a cousin through Mom. Down the hall in that school worked another cousin through Mom. My Mom constantly pestered me with the family histories of my pathetically few girlfriends for fear that I was accidentally dating in the bloodline.

I have some concern about how public their relationship might be, how well it would be received by the surviving family. Would she bring him to the family reunions we usually attend? Even if people don't know him, it's pretty obvious that he's family. He has her mother's face, and her brother's nose. It's shocking to see, which I did for the first time Saturday.

2) She kinda slammed Dad.
When Mom was delineating their relationship to me, she said she was so much happier now than she was with Dad because "something was missing." I imagine that something was intent. They didn't plan to marry. They were forced to. And they had nothing. Dad worked two jobs to support them and build up enough money to buy a house. He went to night school to get better jobs. He was a mensch about sudden fatherhood and husbandhood. He provided. And my memory of their marriage is that Mom was always angry about the up-knocking and being stuck with Dad (not her dream man) and me, the perpetually ailing urchin. She grew up around (and is now sparking) Good Ole Boys, but her husband and child were not of that ilk. Makes me a mite defensive about her reservations toward Dad. He worked hard for them. He worked hard to earn the family trust and love. Remember: This was his second family, his second shotgun wedding, and his near-child bride was a party girl suddenly made domestic.

The Saturday meal went great. Her Guy/My Cousin bought The Deputy his first milkshake, and it was devoured. He slipped the deputy a $10 bill, which I plan to tuck into his piggy bank. He was generous, conversant, and polite. He and Mom clearly are thick as thieves. Personally, I have no qualms with him. He made a good impression. As I told Mom a while back, I'm owed nothing regarding the details of her choices and company. I consider her beaus the same way I consider yours: As long as the women are happy and treated well, I have no gripes. Mom and he were on a day trip to the mountains, but they've gone to the beach and other mountain sites for days on end. She's out and about. She's happy. I shall have no gripes.

She hinted she wants to stay home for Thanksgiving, and I told her there will be no stigma if she chooses not to go to Birmingham. It's a long drive with a toddler in a short amount of time. I don't begrudge her happiness in this or her new relationship.

Picture of the Day
Really not used to the new look, but Your Sister loves it.