I met Steve, oh about 17 years ago I think. His roommate, Kelly, was working in my office at the time. Kelly and I became super close, like brother and sister, and we hung out on off work times too. Inevitably I met Steve and his huge Great Dane, Maggie.
Steve and Kelly were/are like some kind of comedy team. Being around them was like being inside some Pun Festival as it didn’t matter what you said, something “punny” would be made of it and the game was on. I swear they could go on for hours volleying back and forth like that. They brought brought out the funny in each other. It was great energy to hang around.
These boys were a few years younger than me so I often was kind of “big sister” but secretly I had kind of a crush on Steve (I’m just outing myself right now to him on that). I asked Kelly about it once and he just said something like “I don’t know…..”. I just dropped it but we all remained great friends. Steve traveled a lot for work in those days. He was a big wig in the “Babies R Us” industry and seemed to be flying all around the country opening stores for them. That’s how I always remembered him…buzzing in and out and being very industrious.
I’ve always thought Steve looks like the actor Mark Wahlberg, can you see it?
Kelly met the woman, Abby, who would become his wife on an exotic Club Med vacation and ultimately moved to NYC to pursue this relationship. He still lives there now with Abby and their adorable two kids. On a side note, at one point, Kelly was the massage therapist for Gwyneth Paltrow! I remember stories of him being asked his opinion on one set of earrings or another for her to give Madonna. He was in the big leagues over there.
Here is a photo of Kelly and Abby. Dang, she sure gets prettier as the years go by…some people are like that.
Steve got a promotion and moved to CA. So we all just kind of drifted but stayed in some peripheral contact. It’s always been one of those “like no time has passed” when we get together. You take your finger off the pause button and just resume. Those kinds of friends are a treasure.
Steve also went on to get married, much to all our surprise, to Linda! “Linda? You’ve got to be kidding me!” I blurted when Kelly phoned me up and told me they were getting hitched. I reacted like that only because Linda had chased Steve for years in kind of a way that you felt sorry for her. He was always dating other girls yet there was Linda, long suffering, always in the background pining for Steve. I guess her persistence paid off, because he married her! Yet when the chips were down, she left him. She isn’t on my radar in any kind of respectable way now, I’ll just say that. I know I shouldn’t judge but my loyal Scorpio sticks his tail up at times.
Kelly phoned me up, oh about three years ago, concerned about Steve. He said something was going on with his health. That he wasn’t able to work, he was having terrible headaches, he was kind of isolating in his apartment. This was exactly the opposite of the Steve we knew. I talked to him a couple of times back then but it was all a big mystery. Until it wasn’t.
Steve suffered a serious shoulder injury at work which took him out for awhile. But he was already struggling there with concentration and memory problems and had gotten written up for some mistakes. I’m sure this was probably the first time that happened in his entire career as he’s a Type A perfectionist. He was on Work Comp for the shoulder injury and during that time, took a trip to Sedona with family.
This weekend he described to me how he hiked up to a vortex , closed his eyes and said a prayer for guidance. He opened his eyes and saw a rainbow literally shoot out before his eyes. He knew then and there he needed to see a Dr. and get himself checked out.
(this is the actual rainbow he saw)
He went back home and saw a new Dr. immediately and mentioned to him that he’d had a strange eye twitch going on. That Dr. took it seriously, unlike the ones who preceded him who sent Steve to Psychiatrists, blaming his symptoms on “depression” and making things actually worse.
Let’s just say, that Dr. after looking at the MRI of his brain, sat down with him and prayed right there in the office. He handed Steve a Bible and asked him to wait. When he returned, he’d scheduled the brain surgery for 4 days later.
Steve had a “colloid cyst” in his brain that, at that point, was cutting off 83% of the circulation to his brain. By the time he went in for surgery, it had cut off 91%. In four days, it was moving that fast. That Dr. said he would have very likely been suddenly dead in two weeks had he not come in for that “eye twitch”.
Steve attributes the timing of all of this discovery to that rainbow in Sedona.
It’s been just over two years since Steve’s brain surgery. He moved back to AZ to live with his sister shortly thereafter as recovery was challenging. He had lost most of his short term memory. When he awoke from the surgery, he thought he was still married, asking “Where’s Linda?” over and over. In reality, Linda was long gone, having abandoned him when he was at his worst and no one could figure out what was going on with him. Bitch.
The surgery itself created a kind of “head injury”. For some people the treatment for the disease is what they actually end up recovering from. This would one of those situations. I mean cutting in to someone’s skull to remove a tumor the size of about half an orange is pretty serious business.
Steve and I have reconnected since he came back here and I’ve watched him steadily get back to his old self yet a new improved version of his old self. He seemed to never sit still before as he was always work work work. Now he’s a much more pensive and spiritual person, having nearly lost his life and for sure the life he once knew.
It’s also kind of a perfect fit as my last official nursing job as an RN was in head injury rehabilitation so I understand a lot about what he’s going through to recover. Most people don’t get it.
How ironic, just as I was writing those words above, this text came in from Steve (I had texted him earlier to make sure he was ok with me writing about all of this which he is):
“You know in my mind…that tumor or surgery will not define my life. Just a small diversion in my life’s plans. Attitude is…Everything! :-)”
Steve and I have been hanging out a little here and there. We went once with Alfonse on a day trip up to Sunset Point, a beautiful rest stop about half way up to Sedona where we first saw the weird “HOURRELZY” mystery message. It’s kind of our thing now.
Another time, we went to see a concert and went to dinner beforehand and only Steve and I would end up in a Thai restaurant called “Nunthaporn”. Of course he went to straight to “Nuttinbutporn”. Try keeping a straight face when you are ordering in a moment like that…seriously!
This past weekend we went to another Thai restaurant in Sedona where Steve realized the lady’s perfume at the next table (it WAS pungent) was exactly the scent of some kind of odor remover you place in a hamster cage. This is what dining out is like with Steve. Try and keep a straight face, I dare ya.
You may remember that I was thrown in to a tailspin right before I headed down to the Ranch two weeks ago. I had put John in the hospital suddenly just days before I went and had the immediate task on top of other tasks to get our cats cared for while I was gone.
I put on Facebook this pickle I was in and guess who stepped up to the plate? Steve.
He stayed in my house the whole time I was gone, caring for my cats and as it turned out, my house itself.
I noticed immediately when I returned that my house had a new sense of order, not the chaos I’d left it in.
Steve had cleaned my house, done all my laundry and folded it, cleaned out my frig, fixed my sprinkler in the back and basically restored my entire house to a new sense of order it had not enjoyed for months. While house sitting! What a gem!!!
He’s living now with his Aunt and said he needed a break and a space all to himself. What a win/win situation that was!
In gratitude for all his hard work and unsolicited kindness I invited him to come to Sedona with me this last weekend. He brought his particular brand of fairy dust up there too.
We had such a blast, start to finish. And beyond that, we got so much accomplished! Steve is one of those “take charge” people and since I tend to be so much “in charge” in my life, what a gift it is for me to be around someone I can step back to.
He made a list of things we needed and we went to Home Depot the first morning we were there and he got to work on projects. Like hanging this huge heavy mirror I’d been seeking a handyman to hang for me:
He also completed this cool project I had in mind of attaching this vintage headboard I’d had hanging around, to my grandfather’s old chest of drawers
It looks so cool! Like it belongs there.
He also did some organizing in the garage, insisted I get a spare key in one of those magnetic things and made me go on a goose hunt to find it, did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, basically spent the weekend eyeballing little projects that needed doing and did them. Do you know how rare this is for me to be in this kind of situation?
Of course we had lots of fun too. Even walking to the grocery store is a fun event with Steve. So is mattress shopping. I had to get a new bed for the house so that became such an event, the salesperson knocked off $50 for the “entertainment”. Can you imagine the two of us laying on all the mattresses and the jokes that ensued? One is Steve telling her we didn’t need a Queen size as “we like sleeping on top of each other basically”. I’m sure she thought we were a couple and I didn’t care. On the way out, Steve grabbed this little Serta lamb and said “I know we get one of these right?” and he named his new little lamb “Curtis”. He cuddled with him on the sofa later that evening.
We sat on the balcony and watched the lightning show. We watched action movies. We ate good food and drank AMAZING red wine which Steve picked out. Some kind of 337 Cabernet.
He made us little cheese and cracker plates and we drank this while watching a movie. Ahhh
Of course we called Kelly while we were together and the puns were flying all over my car as we chatted with him on the Bluetooth. He then sent us heartfelt text messages saying how great it was to catch up and that we were together. Good men, both.
Steve was also playing a bit of “nursemaid” with me. I woke up not feeling well the second morning. I announced I wanted to just veg and be lazy so that’s when we got on our testosterone movie fest and he kept bringing me glasses of water saying “I think you’re dehydrated, I’m going to make sure you drink one of these every hour”. So I did.
I don’t look very well in this pic but I was drinking my water!
About mid afternoon, he said “we need to get out of here” and we found the very vortex path where he saw his rainbow! We hiked up there in our flipflops and walked around, ultimately laying on that red rock and meditating for awhile.
He found this heart shaped rock for me and said it was to wear on my sleeve
Steve placed that tiny rock on top as a prayer
He said “now don’t you feel better that you got some of that vortex energy?” and I did. So much so that we decided to head over to the Goodwill after that and do some “shopping”.
The “poncho” and “seizure plates”
I did find a gorgeous little lamp, a table runner and some one dollar light bulbs that Steve promptly used when we came home to replace the burnt out bulb in the entryway to the house. He’s always thinking of the details and taking care of them.
One morning, he’d remembered I wanted to take a bath in the big tub so he mentioned “I cleaned out the bugs in the tub for you so you can take your bath”.
I’m telling you…this is something I so rarely have experienced I felt like I was transported to some other planet where the men take care of the women, not the one I’ve been living on for the last few years.
(with the exception of course of my Boys Rob and Sean, just had to clarify that one)
We had such a great time, it was hard to leave. But leave we did yesterday morning. I was awakened to Steve gently rocking me awake saying “hey Beautiful, your alarm didn’t go off”. And then bringing me a cup of coffee. See what I mean? Paradise found.
On our way home, we stopped at Sunset Point and visited Hourrelzy and I snapped this photo. Now I didn’t notice until last night the UFO appearing in the upper right corner…what the hell!?!?
It sure didn’t show up in the subsequent photo I took of basically the same view
Only with Steve would I shoot a UFO!
He drove us back, allowing me to relax even more. I love being a passenger in my own car. One of my little known secrets.
Of course on the drive home, Steve was all “pull out your pen and paper” and giving me things to put on another Home Depot list for the next set of projects. He also said “I need to come over to your house and fix that toilet too”. Mr. Fixit, Mr. Comedy Hour, Mr. Spiritual uplifting friend all wrapped in to one!
We’ve already planned our next trip to Sedona next weekend with it’s new list of projects.
I noted he posted this on his Facebook page this morning and this sums it up about Steve, to me.
I swear, Steve coming back in to my life in this way is right on the heels of me allowing myself to let go in the arms of Sebastian in that Watsu session is all part of the same continuum. And my Dad is also in the equation offering me more support than I’ve had for years in very tangible ways. And finding that attorney Chick Arnold yesterday. Things are changing and just at the right time.
And as a bonus, I have my new /old friend back in my life and it includes non stop laughter.
I love you Steve.