Eleven Years an Angel

This year, the anniversary of Mom’s death hit me worse than in years past. I’m not quite sure why…but for the first time in years, I spent a January 26th crying the night away. The last couple weeks have been emotional, really.

Nick was involved in a car accident ten days ago. He was hit from behind by a speeding motorist who was checking his phone. After the collision, he spun out of control across two lanes of traffic, the median, two lanes of oncoming traffic, down an embankment, and finally came to a stop in a field. Just typing that out makes my heart thud and my stomach hurt.

By grace, he was unharmed. I don’t know how that’s possible, considering the damage to the vehicle and all the little variables that could have changed that outcome. How did he avoid hitting any other vehicles during lunchtime on a busy highway? I can only believe that someone was watching over us from the other side.

The enormity of it all didn’t sink in until that evening. We were making dinner, wading into the darkest waters of what-ifs, when he said (trying unsuccessfully to lighten the mood) something like, “Not another one in January!” Dam: broken…poor Nick.

It’s just that I hadn’t felt terror like that in almost a decade—the doubt that life could go on, the feeling that all of the oxygen has left the room, the sharp ache in the center of my chest.

Obviously, life does go on, even when it seems cruel to leave your loved one behind to live only in memory. I am profoundly grateful that I do not need to relearn that hard truth. Thank you to…well, I’m not sure who or what I should credit…but I have my own theories.

Please keep looking out for me, Mom. I love you.

Caledonia Picnic

Oh, this and that…

Well, hi there!

I’ve been silenced for the past little while with some technical website server silliness, but I’m back with a lot of updates.

Started April 7, 2013

So, two weekends ago, a lot of really nice friends came to help us move out of the condo. We went with a PODS unit to store the majority of our possessions. I had been working very hard in the weeks working up to this, and everything was packed, labeled (with color-coding), and ready to be lifted. Nick told a few of the men who came to help that if they saw me lifting anything at all, they had strict orders to hit me on my low back (because it would sideline me for the rest of the day). See, about three weeks earlier, I missed most of a week at work recovering from a flare up with my back pain…that, and my back is just a trainwreck in general—honestly, if I were to spell all of the problems out for you, it would sound made-up, because no one’s luck is that bad!

Needless to say (such a silly phrase: it always means that you’re about to say something that you clearly don’t find needless), I was a good girl and lifted nothing, but I felt like crap the whole time when I did little else but manage door opening/closing and direct while everyone else did the gruntwork. I feel incredibly blessed to have met such wonderful people willing to dedicate their time and kindness to this task. Since I had everything packed, the work was done in about two hours, so I felt happy that we didn’t eat up anyone’s entire Saturday.

The original closing date on the condo was scheduled for March 29th, but rescheduled for April 8th due to financing delays for the buyer. Meanwhile, we have an accepted offer on a pretty lot. Our stress has been on the high side lately. Once we close on both of these properties, my gray hair factory will probably close its doors. We drove by the lot yesterday, and we were happy to finally see indication that someone had staked a claim!

Hands off, it's going to be ours

Continued April 14, 2013

So, we’re staying with my aunts—back in my subterranean loft where I lived in 2005/2006. Now that life is starting to feel sane, I need to get into an exercise routine. My body feels sluggish and unhealthy…I know part of this is the time I took off when my back was hurting (it’s just SO hard to get back into it after a break!), part of it is all the takeout food that we ate the last few weeks of March (because we had packed up the kitchen), and the rest of it is that my tummy has been acting up on me (so I’ve been turning to more comfort foods that I know will digest properly).

Anyway, we sold our treadmill and elliptical trainer so that we wouldn’t have to move them…and I foolishly allowed all my dumbbells and exercise DVDs to be packed into the POD. Once Wisconsin finally warms up, I will walk outside for exercise. Unfortunately, spring is taking forever to, well, spring this year. A guy who I work with wrote on his whiteboard calendar during the last week of March “January 85 – January 89” because he was certain January never ended. I think we’ve finally turned a corner as far as the likelihood of blizzards go, but it still doesn’t meet my standards.

What I would really love to do is join a gym again. I never belonged to a gym before 2005 when I first moved back to Wisconsin, and even I was surprised at how much I loved it. My little gym is no longer there, but there are other gyms in the area. I need to figure out if I can work the expense into my budget.

Speaking of exercise, my cousin has finally become a runner. She was one of those people who spoke so negatively about running to me (at the time, a runner) when she had never really tried it before. Those people really irk me, but I’m humored that those same people do a 180 when they decide to give running a chance.

Of course, I am no longer running (which I am convinced was the right decision for me), but I remember how superhuman it felt to run 10+ miles. I miss that feeling. I don’t miss the swollen joints or the nightly icing. Besides, by the end of my relationship with running, I felt more like a helpless victim than a superhero. My cousin told me that she hurts a lot since becoming a runner, looking to me as if I had the answer for her. I shrugged, which wasn’t the reassurance she wanted. There is a price for everything…it’s all about what you are willing to pay.

She just returned from a trip to India. I’m very happy that her travel-bug took her to India instead of North Korea! Anyway, she has lost so much weight and looks terrific…I’m sure vacation was all the more enjoyable as a physically fit person.

I’ll wrap this up since I’m all over the place (that’s what happens when you take weeks to compile a single post), but I wanted to note that I’m once again reacquainted with a certain orange cat who used to steal my stuff:

Clem

The one about moving

It’s been a few years since my last big move. When I moved in with Nick, it was so gradual that I barely noticed that it happened…and the process was accelerated when I became ill and could no longer drive back and forth between abodes. (Nick wanted to take on the task of changing my dressings so that he could still see me every day…he took excellent care of me.)

When we received an offer on our condo that was very close to our minimum acceptable amount, it came with the requirement to be out by the end of the month—pretty stressful when a third of the month was already gone. That, and we both carry a lot of work stress…we rely on a worry-free home to keep us sane.

I feel so unsettled

So anyway, I’m left comparing the two moves even though one was a relocation of 1,200 miles and the other of 10. For what I’ve saved in distance, I’ve made up for in the accumulation of stuff. In the last seven years, I’ve discovered my preferred decorating style and purchased accordingly. It’s a lesson though to be careful on what you wish for: I looked at our storage shelves in the basement several months ago and thought, “Man! I need to move! I’ve got too much stuff!” You see, I moved several times in my 20s…which forced me to live with minimal possessions for reasons of moving-laziness.

We sold our condo both slower than I hoped and faster than I expected. It was so quick that I stopped looking at houses after the one we fell in love with sold. (Why get your heart set on something you probably won’t be able to have?) Now we are (or will be soon) homeless. We will be staying with family while we figure out next steps and save for a bigger downpayment. Sophie may or not move with us, I’m not sure. She’s been staying with Grandma the last month or so for many reasons related to the craziness of showings and stacks of boxes EVERYWHERE.

There are other cats living where we will be staying. Sophie has been an only cat most of her life—and she’s female. The two together scream TERRITORIAL! even though I don’t know that for sure. Our cat has issues with anxiety, so we work pretty diligently to keep her all “calm blue ocean” every day (or she actually becomes ill). We visited her tonight at Grandma’s house, and she seems to be adjusting well there. I miss my Sophie in day-to-day life, but I question the direction that’s best for her instead of me.

My Sweet Cat

SO, I’m really sore and achy, I’m tired, I’m nervous, and I’m ready to be done with boxes for a very long time.

Walking, Love, Ultram, and HGTV

Yep, you guessed it: another melting pot of a post.

In Training

Did you know that June 1 is just over 15 weeks away? No? Well, why would you—unless you have a walking marathon to complete that day like I do. I fell into LDW (long-distance walking) last year. This was after I decided to think with my head instead of my heart when it came to high-impact exercise and the structural issues with my spine. The doctors had been suggesting it for years, but I was too proud to admit my body wasn’t the well-oiled machine that it used to be. And in true human fashion, I focused on what I couldn’t do instead of what I could. That all changed when I discovered long distance walking.

Anyway, Nick and I completed the Walk Wisconsin half-marathon last year. We made it into a local newspaper when we kissed at the finish line on stage:

Walk Wisconsin Finish Line 2012

We made a pact to complete the full marathon this year, and our [self led] 16 week training program commenced on Monday. We can use the walking track at the rec center until the weather is a little nicer (16 laps to a mile), but we need to find an outdoor venue this weekend to complete the scheduled 10-mile walk because I’m pretty sure that I’ll go insane during one of those 160 laps.

Valentine’s Day

I suck at romance—seriously do. Nick is the romantic one of our pair. I admitted my failings yesterday as I sat in the salon with foils in my hair. When I approached the chair with my request for highlights (since my hair keeps going back to blonde anyway, might as well go with it), Jean (my hairdresser of the last eight years) looked upset. “You can’t do that! Not yet! It’s still fun season with your hair!” she cried. I couldn’t tell if she was joking, so I just stared. “Do you trust me?” she asked at last. Since I do, she waved her magic wand and gave me pretty, copper-kissed lowlights instead. I’m getting the feeling that my brunette stylist is bored by my blonde.

Anyway, I told her of my unromantic tendencies and she started going on about ideas from Facebook and Pinterest and blah, blah, blah. Finally, she got to the point and suggested a trick with hard-boiled eggs to make them look like hearts. “You could give that to Nick!”

I couldn’t stop the snort. Happy Valentine’s Day, honey! Here’s an egg to show you how much I care! “Or you could just go home and be yourself, I guess. He’s probably used to you by now anyway,” she finished sarcastically when I finished laughing.

New Coffee Mug

I take a lot of pills. I don’t like it, but…

I take Ultram four times daily for chronic pain. This doesn’t have a huge effect on me, but it definitely takes the edge off and allows me to function fairly normally. Since all this fell into my lap in August 2006, I am a little afraid of anything that totally takes the pain away because that’s such a nice, addicting feeling. I have heavier narcotics and muscle relaxers in my arsenal for when the hurt is way out of my pain tolerance (I refer to them as my “escalation drugs”). The point is that doctors have stopped trying to find a fix, so they try to make me as comfortable as I can be (i.e. medication). I’m hoping to see a doctor in a couple months who will give me another option, but it is what it is for now.

Anyway, I try to make light of it as much as I can. As such, I couldn’t resist purchasing this coffee cup when I saw it:

New Coffee Mug

I like laughing, and this makes me laugh: I actually take chill pills—DAILY!

Homeless

Since all this moving madness started, Nick and I, for the first time ever I think, started watching Home and Garden Television. Apparently we’ve had the channel all along! Anyway, HGTV has approximately a bajillion shows on real estate…it’s a new obsession for us. Property Brothers in particular is very nice to watch.

Bonus Dose of Cuteness

Sophie doesn’t know how to be anything but adorable. It stinks when you really want to be angry with her.

Sophie

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my dad’s birthday. I had to do some quick math just now to figure how old young he is today: 58.

Summer 2005

This picture is a bit old…almost eight years to be exact. I am posting it because:

  1. The picture clearly shows his glacial Norwegian blues (he is 100% Norwegian).
    • He did not donate them to my gene set (still bitter…they are mighty pretty eyes).
  2. I clearly remember posting about his 50th birthday (the age he was in this picture)…remember as in, “Wasn’t that just last week?”
    • I’ve actually been blogging for almost a decade—that’s nuts.
  3. I really hope I inherited his “aging genes”—the man looks the same.

I love my father. Whatever can be said about our relationship, the love is always there…and I know completely that it is mutual. His heart is big and vulnerable; he is brave because he displays it for the world to see. I am proud of the person he is, and the truth is that I wouldn’t be “me” without him.

Happy birthday, Dad!