Monthly Archives: February 2009

Letting Go is Hard

I got a scare Monday morning when I got word that my 17-year old nephew was in a serious car accident.  He shattered his right ankle and may have other problems with his leg.  He lost control of his car Sunday night and swerved into on-coming traffic where the passenger side of the car got hit by an SUV.  I saw pictures of the demolished vehicle, and it was fortunate there was no passenger and that his side was not hit.  Someone would be dead otherwise.  He is going to have to go through a couple of surgeries, and it will be a while before he’ll walk on his leg.  Otherwise, thankfully, he is fine.  I got to talk to him about 12 hours after it happened while he occasionally cried out in pain for more morphine from his hospital bed. 

It hit so close to home.  He is 10 months older than my son, who has been driving on his own for less than a year.  His mother (my sister) was calmed down by the time I spoke with her that afternoon, but she told me that Sunday night she was hysterical.  I would imagine that I would have been close to the same.  She told me that maybe this would slow him down; he’s always on the go.  I can understand; all I’ve done is try to protect my kids.  If  I see that they may get hurt, physically or otherwise, I want to step in and help them or tell them “no” because I think they are making a wrong decision.  But there is a point where they have to learn on their own.  It sure can be hard letting go though.

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Pay It Forward

What a weekend.  It all started on Friday actually.  My husband had a flight to catch that morning to Anaheim, so I dropped him off at the airport at 9:30 and kissed him good-bye.  If he had gone, I would be picking him up later today at the airport.  But as it happened, he called me 30 minutes later and said his flight had been cancelled.  The next flight out was so late that he would have lost a day of his conference, so he got a voucher for another flight, and I drove back up to the airport to pick him up.

Originally, he had decided to return home tonight, get on his motorcycle tomorrow and drive down to Florida to pick up his mother’s airplane to fly it back up here.  But since his trip to California got nixed, he decided to leave Saturday after our son’s basketball game.  He got to the North Carolina/South Carlina border just after sunset and decided to spend the night.  The next morning, I got a call from a man who was at the Sam’s Club in Myrtle Beach saying that he had found my husband’s wallet in the middle of the road.  I exchanged cell phone numbers with him in hopes that we would get in touch with my husband soon.  I was afraid he would drive so far south that the gas tank would be close to empty and he would have no money to pay for gas.  We both tried to get him on his cell phone, but as I had thought, he didn’t answer as he probably couldn’t hear it ringing.  About an hour later, I finally got a call from him, but the connection was so bad that we couldn’t have a conversation.  Another hour later, after travelling back north, he called me again from Myrtle Beach.  He had figured out that his wallet was missing and had gone back to where he thought he might have left it.  The man who had found his wallet had gone home, 25 miles south, and my husband was close to empty on the gas gauge.  So this wonderful man drove back up to Myrtle Beach to get it back to him.  In the meantime, his wife called me and told me that they were more than happy to help my husband out.  They were paying it forward.  The reason that her husband was even in Myrtle Beach that morning was because they had left some paid items in their cart the day before at Sam’s and had to drive the 25 miles back up to Myrtle Beach to pick them up.  Someone had found them in the cart and took them to the service desk so they could get them back. 

My husband says his faith in the human race has been restored.  I know that there are a lot of good people out there,  but when you get the rude cashier or the guy who cuts you off in traffic, it makes your faith falter.   I just have to keep reminding myself that I want to be one of the good people even when I am facing the bad.

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Time for a Career Change…Sort Of

I just dropped my daughter off at school after an orthodontist appointment and lunch.  We ate at one of those places that you can take in your laptop and use the free wi-fi.  It’s a neat concept, but I prefer sitting at my own desk (or on my couch or in my bed in my jammies), and I get a little nervous with food or drink too close by while I’m surfing the net.  The only time I can remember needing wi-fi like this was when we moved to Paris (we didn’t have it in our hotel) .  The McDonald’s a few blocks down had it.  We would bundle up each morning and trudge down and order a coffee or hot chocolate to justify us taking up space to use their wi-fi to look for an apartment and check e-mail. 

Today I looked around at the yuppies on their laptops and the colleagues on their lunch breaks, wondering if I would be in that crowd in a few months.  I wonder what kind of job I will get.  When we first started talking about me working when we get to Florida, I was nervous.  I haven’t worked full-time since just before my first child was born.  I’ve had part-time positions mainly because I wanted to be around when the kids got home from school.  I have done a lot of volunteer work in hopes of balancing my lack of paid time on my résumé.  Being a mom has been a big job, especially when my husband was deployed for 6-8 months at a time.  Now the deployments have subsided, and two kids are in high school and one is in middle school.  The kids say they would miss it if I wasn’t at home in the afternoons even when we move to Florida.  I tend to agree that I like being there for them as well.  So we’ll see if I can find something that will fit into our lives to keep everyone happy.

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To Everything There is a Season

I like to watch the seasons change, and as much as I like the warmer weather of spring and summer, I do like to see the colors change in fall and winter.  Fall colors are my favorite; when the trees are red and orange and yellow, it is gorgeous.  I just wish it could happen and the temperature still stay around 70 year-round.  Sometimes I wish I liked the cold weather.  It sure would make my life easier.  It’s just too cold for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to ski and bundle up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa (ooh, chocolate!).  But waking up with a sinus headache or a sore throat is not really that fun. 

Right now, I am impatiently waiting for spring.  I like watching the new flowers slowly show their pretty colors.  But, unfortunately, I’m not sure if spring will be springing any time soon here.  We get a glimpse every couple of weeks with a day of 60 degree weather.  But then it goes straight back down to the 20’s and 30’s.  Monday was President’s Day, and the kids of course had the day off from school.  We woke up to a blanket of snow on our lawn and cars.  It was very pretty, but the kids said that of course the snow day would have to be on a holiday! 

Backing up a couple of days, our daughter’s perfect eyesight is no more.  In September when school began she had a sports physical at the doctor’s office and had 20/15 vision.  Within 4 months it went to 20/25, and now, as of Friday, she is sporting a cute little pair of glasses.  At least the styles make wearing glasses seem cool now, and they don’t have those big, round, nerdy glasses from the 80’s – that was probably the worst (or best) boy repellant for me in middle school.  I hated wearing glasses, so when my parents allowed me to get contacts in high school, I was in heaven.  And now, after PRK (laser surgery), I am in whatever is above heaven.  As great as contacts were, it is even better waking up seeing my alarm clock and being able to take a shower or go swimming under water without worrying if I am going to lose a contact.  And I have 20/15 vision to boot.

On Saturday, a friend of my husband’s came for a visit.  They were in Iraq together and became good friends despite the fact that he cheers for some Bulldogs down in Georgia.  We were still good hosts even after his basketball team beat ours in the last seconds of the game.  Well, it was Valentine’s Day, and love … and chocolate … were all around.

On Sunday, we trooped down to the school fields and watched a high school lacrosse match for the first time.  Our oldest played in his first scrimmage and had a blast.  I didn’t realize how much physical contact there was in this game; it’s a combination of a lot of sports, and he was able to use skills from each of the sports that he has played.  When we got home, I immediately went on line to see what the rules were; there aren’t too many besides get the little ball into the goal, and don’t hit another player above the neck or below the waist.  The boys play with protective gear – helmet, gloves, and chest and elbow pads, so that allows the game to be more physical.  The girls only play with goggles, and they don’t allow as much contact.

On Monday, our youngest had a friend over , and they decided to play outside.  First they built a fire in our outdoor fireplace, and when that went out, decided to build a target with some of  the left over wood.  My son came in after about 5 minutes with a bloody finger saying he had cut it with the saw (fortunately, it was a small cut).  I then looked around for my husband whom I thought was supervising.  He said he was looking out the window every once in a while, but I guess he missed the blood scene.  I stood by while they finished the rest of their project, first aid kit in hand.  When they finished, my son went in search of the paint ball equipment.  As he searched, I found his friend on the back (wooden) patio, flicking a lighter.  I think my husband thought I was a little crazy for asking him not to play with it with no one else around.  Once found, the masks and protective gear were donned, and the boys proceded to blast the target with yellow paint.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?), the friend’s parents arrived soon after, and they were not allowed time to start another fun project.  My son asked me last night if his friend can come  for a sleep-over this weekend.  Maybe my sore throat will get worse…

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The Nose Knows

Yesterday was a busy one here.  My husband went in for another surgery, this time for his sinuses.  He’s been having a hard time with them for while and is also hoping it will help him with his sleep apnea.  So, while he was in surgery, I had to run to the sporting goods store to pick up some lacrosse gloves for my oldest son.  He has decided to try out yet another new sport since they probably don’t play it at the school he’ll go to in Florida.  I met him at his practice and asked him to take his sister to her orthodontist appointment after his practice.  Thank goodness he can drive now.  Then I drove back to the hospital to check on my husband, and we were out of there within an hour.  I got back just in time to take our youngest to his first band concert.  My husband was in no shape to sit through a concert, so I recorded it so he could listen to it afterwards. 

When he started band this year, I wasn’t sure how our youngest would do.  His brother and sister both took piano lessons before they started in their middle school bands, but it wasn’t possible for him as we were moving more often when he would have taken lessons.  But fortunately he is loving playing the trombone.  He and his brother, who plays the trumpet, have played a couple of songs together and it sounded pretty good. 

I need to get back to my nursing duties.  My husband’s nose bra (that’s what the nurse called it!) needs the gauze to be changed.  Earlier he had to pull the “packs” from his nose that they had put in there to stop too much bleeding after the surgery (the nose bra collects what the packs couldn’t stop); they were attached by a little string that was dangling in front of his nose for the 24 hours following his surgery.  I thought they would be little pieces of gauze that he would have to pull out.  I felt so badly watching him pull ever so gently and whincing through it all; it made me want to cry for him.  When he started pulling, two long skinny looking cotton strips started coming out and kept coming; they were over 2 inches long!  It’s amazing what could fit up your nose.

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Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

I have recently been tagged by several FB friends to tell them more about me.  It’s sort of like the e-mails asking What’s your favorite flower? or Diamonds or pearls?  except that I have to make up the list all by myself, 25 habits, goals, or facts about myself.  I came up with the first 20 pretty easily, but now I just roam around the house thinking, What else can I come up with besides, I like roses, or I’m a diamond kind of girl? 

It’s fun, though, reading what other friends have said about themselves, finding out things I probably wouldn’t have known about them.  That’s thanks to the internet.  It has made our world a little closer.  I remember when my husband first joined the Navy (there was no internet then).  When he was gone for his first deployment, we relied solely on the US Postal Service.  I would put a number on each letter I sent so that he’d know what order to read them in just in case they weren’t deliverd in the order I mailed them.  He got to call me from the ship a couple of times on a MARSAT line; that was an interesting experience.  We’d have to say “Over” when we were finished speaking each time to indicate that the line was open for the other person to speak.  I remember my husband telling me about one sailor who spoke with his mother, and she would say “Over” at the beginning of every sentence.

The internet and cell phones have taken over those methods of communication.  On his later cruises, my husband and I would get excited when we were, on the rare occasion, on the internet at the same time and could chat.  Now a lot of families can have video chats from ships and talk on cell phones from just about anywhere.  The internet sure makes it nice having friends all over the world.  I used to hear from a lot of friends just once a year with a Christmas card.  Now I get excited when I see an e-mail from an old friend, even if it’s just a short note or a forward; it’s nice to see their name staring back at me and to think they were thinking of me.

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Four Weeks

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I last wrote.  I spent 2 of those weeks in Florida.  First I drove to Fort White and took a car load of books.  We think we may be over our weight limit when we move in June (if we are, we have to pay the difference to the military after they move us), so since I was going down, I figured I’d take some of the extra weight with me.  When we go down for spring break, we’ll probably take some more. 

Our renters moved out of our Milton house in December, and it was time for a new coat of paint inside, a few repairs, and new carpet.  My mil vounteered to help me, so after a couple of days tooling around Gainesville, we hopped in the car and headed west.  I found this automatic paint roller at Lowe’s that allows you to paint without the mess of a tray.  A tube feeds the paint directly from the can to the roller with the push of a button.  It was so cool that I painted a 1900 sq foot house in one day.   As much fun as it was, I don’t plan on doing that again any time soon – I thought my arm was going to fall off the next morning.

While in West Florida, I found out a few reasons why I miss where I grew up.  My mil and I probably visited Lowe’s a total of 3 times in the 4 days we were there, but it only took one visit to make an impression (the bright blue Florida gator shirts we were wearing that first visit probably helped).  After that, we were greeted by the same employees who had helped us the first visit.  It felt welcoming each time I walked in the door.  One night I took my mil out to the beach to one of my favorite restaurants, Flounders, and had the best nachos in the world.  They make a seafood nacho appetizer that is big enough to share as a meal with 4 or more people.  Needless to say, we had to have a doggie bag to take most of it with us.    I also got to see a high school friend I haven’t seen in over 10 years.  She has since been married and just had her second son.  It was so great to see her, but it was crazy to think about someone my age with a newborn.  My baby will be 12 next month, and there are times I miss being able to cuddle with one of the kids on my lap or read Go, Dog, Go! “one more time.”  But then, I don’t miss diaper changes or potty training or late night feedings.

On our return to Ft. White, I began thinking of our options of living arrangements when we arrive in late June.  Since we haven’t quite finished the details of our house plans, and it may be best to wait on beginning constrution when we are present to watch the progress, we have looked at local house rentals and sales.  We are finding that most houses are too small for us or too expensive for a temporary residence and after we’ve thought about it, we’d like to live, even temporarily, close to where we are going to build.  We have been blessed by a giving family and have 2 tracts of land on the family farm.  So the plan right now is to build on one, and temporarily live on the other.  My mil  and I drove around looking at manufactured homes for the remainder of my trip.  I have not ever considered living in one until I stepped into the first one on a lot in Lake City.  I would never have known it was a trailer, I mean manufactured home,  from the inside.  They have changed so much…they look like normal houses with large modern kitchens, huge master suites with closets big enough to be  bedrooms, fireplaces, walk-in pantries, etc.  And the price is good for a temporary home that we could sell or rent out after we finish building our house.

I have mentioned that we got a Wii for Christmas, something I have been telling my family for over a year that we coud not live without.  Okay, we could, but they just looked so cool, and I knew it would be a great family activity.  My mil was with us for Christmas and got to play with us for a few days as well.  When I arrived in Florida, she was waiting on the delivery of not only her Wii but a Wii Fit as well.  It arrived within a day, so I got to test it out and reported back to my family that there was yet one more thing that we could not live without.  I think my bil’s family found this out as well once my mil’s Wii arrived.  While I was there, around 4:00 each day (after school got out), my mil would get a call on her cell phone.  One of my nephews would ask how she was doing and if she was home.  It was fun to have them around to play with.  And I’m sure there will be lots more playing when we arrive in June; we’ll live next door to them for a bit in our temporary house.

So you’ll never guess what was waiting for me when I returned home to Virginia last weekend…

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