Ten Years Ago

I shared this five years ago on my personal blog. Thought I’d share it here this year, though you seriously don’t have to read it, lol. Some context – in 2001, I was still working an office job, which I loved dearly, for a mid-size insurance company in Des Moines. I was the technical writer for the financial department, which meant I did a lot of financial reports, contract revisions, and then also things like job descriptions and procedure manuals.

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Ten years ago, we were counting down the days to our annual rating review meeting with A.M. Best. I was in charge of writing the report, complete with charts, that would form the basis of the rating. The report was due to go out via Fed Ex in a few days. I went to work early, to give myself some time to make the changes that I knew my boss Sarah would have left for me, she being a night person and me being a morning person.

We had our morning meeting, as we did every morning in those weeks before the rating meeting. Me, Sarah (the CFO), and the heads of Accounting and Actuarial. They had some new numbers (yes, new numbers came in up to the last minute), I had some questions, Sarah had some verbage she wanted changed. We still needed to get some feedback from the CEO. Last minute stuff.

Right before that meeting, I got a phone call from Randy, who was working late hours at the time (10-6) and was still home with the morning news on. A plane, looks like it hit the World Trade Center. Hm, I said. I can remember it like it was yesterday, I said probably just some yahoo who doesn’t know how to fly, but I have a meeting, is this really that important? Randy guessed not.

During our meeting, we were interrupted by another phone call, this one from Sarah’s husband. A plane, looks like it hit the World Trade Center. Yes, Sarah said, we already know. No, he said, another one. He had just heard a rumor around the office, it turns out, so we wrote it off as gossip and misinformation.

An hour later, meeting over, I returned to my desk. I had a report to finish and I did not want to work nights or the weekend. I didn’t answer the phone much that day. I had a report to finish. The FoxNews website wouldn’t load, but our IT folks intermittently banned news sites, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Sarah went down to the other end of the hall, where they had pulled a TV into the Board room. Sarah, she said, this is a big deal, you should go check it out. My phone rang and it was Randy, reporting that both towers had collapsed, he had watched the whole thing on TV. And I didn’t believe him. Surely it just is obscured by smoke or whathaveyou from the airplane, right? No, no, they really really fell. “I watched them collapse with my own eyes. They fell.” I argued with him about it.

And I had a report to finish. Because it really hadn’t yet dawned on me that our world had just fundamentally changed. To heck with that, it hadn’t even dawned on me yet that there would be no Fed Ex plane delivering that report to New Jersey in a few days, and that A.M. Best, located just outside the NYC metro area, would not be able to entertain taking any meetings for a while.

So I did go check out the TV. I wandered down to the other floors of the building (I worked on the sparsely populated Executive level) to see that pretty much everyone else was standing talking, or staring, or listening to radios. But I had a report to finish, darnit.

Part of me wonders if I knew, inside, that I would not be able to function if I took the time to let it sink in. That I had to filter it all out for a while. Because, in reality, that report did still need to be finished, planes flying or not. And if I had taken a half hour to watch the news, I would not have been able to go back to the report and do a good job.

So I worked all day, avoided conversation, and did a darn good job on that report. I did take one memorable phone call from my sister. Did you hear that President Bush flew here to Omaha? I’m so worried!! I, missing the obvious, said Oh, honey, I’m sure he’s very safe! No, you dummy, I’m worried about ME!! If he’s here, and someone wants to get him, they’ll get ME in the process! Oh, said I, you’re right. Hm.

I needed gas. I really truly did. I was driving on fumes to get to work and had planned to get gas on the way home. Yeah, like everyone else in the country. I wanted to protest at the gas station – but look at my gauge – I really DO need gas!!! I’m not being alarmist!! I just need gas!!!! I was at the gas station for a full hour. (I was also taking an accounting class, so I took the opportunity to complete the homework for the next seven chapters while I waited.)

Then I went home. And turned on the TV. And we didn’t turn it off for three months. We were too scared to.

Five years ago, I finished this post with¬† “And I still can’t think about it much. I can’t. I cannot deal with the emotions. Anger, grief, sadness. Too much.”

Five years later, 10 years after the attacks, the emotions are still there, but the raw horror of the day is fading. I watch documentaries on TV, and I’ll tell you, I prefer the ones with the re-broadcasts of news and radio from that day, or film taken that day, rather than just survivor retellings. Most of the recaps-after-the-fact are lacking that raw emotion. These people have obviously readied themselves for their job of providing commentary without sobbing for the camera. The news anchors on the day of…¬† there’s just that raw sense of “holy crap, I can’t believe what I’m seeing.” I find that I need that to truly remember what that day was like.

And I think it’s important to remember. To really remember. Not to remember that it happened. But to remember how it felt. To hear the stories of those who were there. The shock. The horror. The terror.

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And to wrap this up on a business-related note, I find myself wondering these days how I would have evacuated Manhattan if I were there and with my two kids. And I think of how hard it would be without babywearing.

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Personal sewing

I was an extra good girl over Labor Day weekend and worked hard to get my Work work finished. Then I snuck down and took some time to get my own projects finished. I continued working on these in snippets throughout the week – they’re all small, fast projects. I love having them done!

Personal sewing
Three jumpers for the fall for Genna. I’ve been hoarding these corduroy prints for several years, so now that cord costs far more than I’ve ever seen it… I didn’t have to pay the higher prices for it. Yay! All based on the same pattern, but each with slight differences. Experimenting with how I like to do the facings.

Personal sewing
Baby gown.

Personal sewing
Found these all but finished in my Unfinished Projects box. They were originally going to be embroidered or painted and listed on Etsy, but with new laws in place now, I’m choosing not to list children’s products with zippers. And of course they’re too small for Miss Genna. Fortunately, I know people having babies.

Personal sewing
Fleece sleeper for new baby, made with leftover scraps from the pouch (below).

Personal sewing
New fleece pouch for new baby. Not sure I like it now that it’s finished.

Personal sewing Personal sewing
Two fall/winter skirts for me.

Personal sewing
New carseat cover for Genna. Her old one was FILTHY. This one is kind of busy, but I have several Disney prints I bought for a particular project that I never did and I’m kind of trying to use them up. She was delighted.

One Knitting Project Done!

Dollies

I started these little dollies at Knitting Night on Monday, and have continued working on them in bits and spurts this week. I was able to really spend some time getting them done on Friday when I needed some preggo mama rest time, and then in the car while running errands and doing other things this weekend. Two of these will be attached to oiled wooden rings as toys for the new baby; the others will be birthday presents or stocking stuffers for Miss Genna.

She’s seen me working on them, but I’ve made them disappear without her giving it much thought. She picked one up and said, “Oh! My dolly! Oh, mommy, so sweet….” Yeah, her adorable moments help balance out her orneriness.

Dollies

Hiking

Our first hike of 2011 was a few weeks ago in an area called Grant’s Nature Area in Warren County with some friends. Last week, we went to Brown’s Woods, but I neglected to bring the camera. It looked almost exactly the same, but everyone in different clothes.

Grant's Nature Area

Grant's Nature Area

We are wearing our Wrapsody Bali Baby Breeze and were quite comfortable. She fell asleep shortly after I took the picture.

Grant's Nature Area
Poor Mrs. A was anticipating her youngest to walk, so she didn’t bring a carrier, but he decided he wanted to be carried after all.

More Knitting

One thing that sick kids are good for, and that’s lots of knitting time, usually. I was planning to restock fitted diapers again this week, but all I ended up doing in my office was the bare minimum of shipping out a few orders. Instead, I sat in the bedroom with two sick kids, first with high fevers (104/105) and then with what appears to be an upper respiratory cold. Sounds like pretty much all the other little kids I know in town have had the same thing. We’ve been laying pretty low all week. Wally’s spent most of his days laying in bed watching movies, and Genna’s spent most of her days sitting in the chair, either alone and looking sad and pathetic but refusing comfort, or snuggling up with me. Sometimes they snuggled together in the bed, but with both feeling unwell, that often did not go well.

So, very little sewing, but quite a bit of knitting.

I finished up the Jules Verne socks that I’ve been puttering with for a while. I usually make a pair of socks for every “major” book or series that I read. (classics, or good series, or really super excellent single book.) I read two Jules Verne books recently – well, listened to on audio to be truthful. I had planned to read/listen to more, but after Around the World in 80 Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth, I decided that I didn’t really care for Jules Verne’s writing. It’s very flat, his characters lack any real dimension, and they’re just not too engaging. Nonetheless, his books are classics and I’m glad I finally got around to reading (listening to) them. (I listen to audiobooks when I sew on my Work Nights when I don’t have the kids with me.)

Jules verne Socks

So, here they are. The pattern was chosen because it’s kind of a winding path as in Around the World in 80 Days, and because it’s also mountainous as in Journey to the Center of the Earth. The yarn is Unique Sheep Sushi Socks, which I bought for my yet-to-be-knitted Lord of the Rings Socks, because the picture on their website was much, much darker. It’s far too light to be suitable for the LOTR socks, but seemed just right for Jules Verne. It was delightful to knit with, and the skein was huge. They’re a treat to wear, too, and might be my new favorite socks.

Jules Verne Socks

I also started and finished the shawl I need to go with some fancy pants dresses I’ve borrowed for an upcoming event. I have certainly felt like an old lady knitting this, lol. There are certainly fancier shawls out there, and I might have preferred one made with a finer yarn, but I needed something simple and fast, and this fit the bill.

Shawl

The yarn is KnitPicks Shine Sport, which was nice to work with. I bought 5 skeins based on the pattern recommendations, and though I started to panic a bit at the end, I ended up with just under a yard remaining. That’s my kind of project! The pattern was simple and easy to follow, and is based on a 1930s shawl.