Virgil Brigman back on the air…

Rochelle and I dropped everything and left for the peninsula.  For many years now the fine folks at Chevy Chase Beach Cabins have been providing us with our favorite vacation spot, and we just couldn’t stay in the house one minute longer with all its reminders of Remington. We’d been going to Discovery Bay for years with Buddy and Adia.  Remington only got to visit there one time, so we felt it would be a safe place to reflect and to focus on the other two dogs.

It felt really good to get away.  I didn’t realize just how much being at home was actually stressing me out during the whole ordeal, because my life had been turned upside down.  People afflicted by or having to care for anyone (be it person or animal) they care about who has a life threatening disease have to adjust to “the new normal.”  And I had done just that for a month. Remy was limited to the first floor of the house and had to be under 24/7 supervision so for the past month we’ve been sleeping on an air mattress, having to let him out every couple of hours due to his medication.  I don’t regret anything at all, he had a 90% normal quality of life for an entire month, and that’s somewhat of a miracle for a dog with his particular form of immune mediated disease. But I was under tremendous stress as well, and when he died it all came crashing down.  I just lost it.  I never dreamed it would be so difficult, because he beat the odds for so long.

After all of that and even trying to integrate work back into my life,  turning off the Internet for a while and playing with the dogs in the ocean was definitely a medkit for the soul. Then via a text message I received the word of the death of Steve Jobs. I remembered so many memorable things Jobs did for technology, one stood out: “Real artists ship.”  I had brought my recording equipment with me, thinking if I felt up to it, I’d finish the audiobook and begin post production.

Well, I finished most of the recording and am nearly done with production on the audio version of A Microsoft Life.  It felt kind of fun to turn a room in the cabin into a makeshift studio, and I think my emotional state actually produced much better readings.  The investment in a Blue Yeti Microphone setup resulted in a much richer sound in combination with the wood floors and ceiling of the cabin’s interior. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I still plan to split the proceeds between recouping some of the cost of Remy’s treatment and Child’s Play, now that he’s gone I will most likely just increase the percentage that goes to Child’s Play.  I will make a formal announcement about the Audiobook on Monday 10.10.11 (cause I like that date) letting everyone know expected availability, price, and features. So for that and so many other things, thanks Remy.  And thanks Steve*.

This is sort of the cap to the entire Remington event in our lives. To the wonderful staff at Seattle Veterinary Specialists in Kirkland: Thank you so very much, from us and from Remington.  I credit a lot of his beating the odds for so long to your wonderful care and guidance.  You told us how much you had all fallen in love with him, and even though he never went to your hospital of his own choice, he came to recognize it and wag his tail when he came in the front door because you took such good care of him.

I’d also like to thank all of you reading this.  The comments and tweets and emails were just amazing.  I was overwhelmed at the first day’s download of mail.  Your wonderful words and remembrance of Remy’s life touched me immensely. I recorded a special message for you on this weeks Major Nelson Radio episode.

So. I’m back.

I return to work full time Monday (again) but this time with no distractions. And there’s something on the horizon I can’t discuss just yet because I don’t want to jinx it, except to say it will be a fitting and upbeat epilogue to the sad ending Remy’s life had.

Oh and that joy I was looking for?  Found it:

Buddy and Adia playing in the ocean.

* I’ve read a lot of Steve Jobs reflections this week.  This one is the best.  And this is the single best image.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m happy to hear you guys are doing better, and I just saw on twitter your going to order a iPhone 4s. Someone told me today that the 4s, on the new phone stands for 4 Steve.

  2. Happy to hear you managed to get a little time and space to digest it all, seeing you back tweeting today almost made me virtual fistbump/yeah he’s back :D

    Really excited about the audio book, hey like my hardback when I buy this can you raise your pen above your head and sign my virtual data stream please :)

  3. Just heard your message on Major Nelson’s podcast and it was so great, actually brought tears to my eyes. You and Rochelle hang in there and relax well. Once again thank you for the wonderful Remmington stories and all other stories  about your dogs :). Can’t wait to hear you again in the podcast as a co-host :). Hope you will return well and with peace on your mind :).

  4. Happy to see and hear that you are doing better.  It most definitely is a process when we go through things like this but just as one influential character puts it…” Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…swimming..swimming..swimming.”  Cheers mate

Leave a Reply