Tuesday, November 04, 2014
In the 15 days since my last blog, things are looking brighter and I am once again feeling like my usual optimistic self.
I am still grieving the loss of my friend Ellen, worrying about my mom and have yet to communicate with my nephew, my roof is still unfinished and winter is nearing, but I am trying to focus on the positives.
I was so lucky to have Ellen as a friend and have many treasured memories of her.
I am lucky to have my mom still living, and on the road to recovery. She has had a couple bad days but overall is doing much better.
I love my nephew, and hopefully some of what I said to him will sink in and he will become the responsible man he should be. My niece helped too when she posted the following on my facebook wall.
I have a home, and although not perfect, it is comfortable, has character, keeps us warm and dry and is filled with love.
I have two amazing sons, who make me proud each and every day; and always let me know how much they love me.
I live with the love of my life and our two crazy dogs; and Mike has been offered a 6-month position with the department of Transportation that could lead to a full time position due to several upcoming retirements.
I have awesome friends – both in person and online – that help pick me up when I need it.
I have a job I love, wonderful co-workers, an amazing boss, and receive a decent paycheck.
With my down-in-the-dumps mood, I had left much undone and slipped into old routines. Organization went down the tubes and clutter is everywhere. My weight has gone up and daily exercise has been pretty much non-existent.
Sunday morning Mike and I went out for breakfast and visited with his mom. Once we were back home, I decided to get my butt in gear and accomplish something. I started laundry and then went outside to tackle raking of leaves. I mowed those on level ground but had to rake those on the hill in front of the house. By the time I was done, there were six 45-gallon bags full of leaves. I was sore and tired but felt so good at what I had accomplished and the calories I burned. I let Mike nap because he has been putting in very long days between his two current jobs – some days getting up at 4:30 a.m. and not returning home until after midnight.
This was a first step back toward my goal of a healthy weight and lifestyle. Now I need to keep reminding myself of all I have to be grateful for, and do my best to get healthy enough to really enjoy all that I have.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
No, it’s not a comedy like the Alexander movie that is currently showing. Sunday was one of my worst days in a very long time.
It started out okay – coffee and conversation with Mike, a little house cleaning and laundry.
In the early afternoon I went to see the couple who operated the daycare my oldest son attended. Over the years they have become a second set of parents to me, grandparents to my sons (who still call them Grandma and Grandpa) and their six children another family to me. They are leaving for Florida this coming weekend so I wanted to spend time with them. They will be gone until mid-April and at ages 79 and 82, I just never know when the last visit may be.
Their middle daughter was diagnosed with a debilitating about 20 years ago and her case is severe. Due to her medications, and a recent divorce she has become verbally abusive to her parents and siblings. It doesn’t help that a cousin and his wife continue to prey on her vulnerability and fill her mind with untruths. She lives next door to her parents, and also has a home near theirs in Florida so they are anxious to get her away from these vultures and down to Florida.
A month ago, their oldest daughter had surgery to remove a grapefruit-size tumor on her ovary and several cluster tumors from her stomach area. They were able to get all the cancer but she was told that it is the type of cancer that keeps returning. Now her parents have to make a decision between taking one daughter away from the bad influences (and her dad can’t handle the cold winters anymore) or staying here with the other daughter. It is so heartbreaking.
After I left their house, I went to my mom’s to pick up a few things for her – she is on her third week staying at my sister’s due to her anxiety. We remain hopeful that her new therapist has her on the right track to getting well, or at least able to be on her own. She had borrowed her van to my great-nephew and he was supposed to bring her some items from her house but she hadn’t seen him yet. I called him and he said they were in the van and told me where he was – a local bar. When I got there I asked if he had been drinking (he has had a DWI and an arrest for disorderly conduct when drunk), and he blew up at me, calling me names, saying that my sister (his mother), my mom and I are “holier-than-thou @#&%*”, and was just being awful. He got me at the wrong time, and I completely lost my temper. Some very awful things were said and I am not sure our relationship can recover from it. He has used my mom for years – ignoring her until he needs a place for he and his two sons to stay, money or a vehicle. I reached my breaking point yesterday and pretty much let all my years of frustration out. If he were to get in an accident, and Heaven forbid someone was seriously injured or killed, my mom could lose everything. He has always blamed his misfortunes on everyone but himself; and he needs to wake up and realize he makes his own choices and has to face the consequences. He can’t be a 38-year old, single father and act like he’s still 21. My sister and I decided that we need to back away (and convince Mom to do the same) until he realizes that we have always been the ones who have been there for him and apologizes for the way he has treated in the past. At the same time, we have to make sure his sons know how important they are to us. I am planning to call the 16-year old tonight and go visit the 9-year old when he is with his mother this weekend. Fortunately she and I have been able to maintain communication despite their awful divorce. Those boys have been put through so much (mother’s infidelity, the divorce, living with two of his dad’s girlfriends, their mom’s boyfriend and his dad, two times living with my mom, and three other rentals with their dad in less than eight years) and it breaks my heart.
I was pretty strung out when I got home and told Mike what happened. I was just about to call my great-nephew to tell him that no matter what he hears from his dad, that I love him and his younger brother and will always be there for them. I love my nephew too but really don’t like him much right now.
Before I could call, I was notified that my friend Ellen had lost her battle with cancer. In 14 months I have lost my best friend Pam and Ellen to cancer, as well a classmate (last month) to a sudden heart attack. And, we are only 51-years old!
Ellen was so beautiful on the outside; and yet much more beautiful on the inside. You couldn’t be around her and not love her. She will be missed so much by so many.
I turned on my computer to look at pictures on her facebook page, and just sobbed. I knew it was coming – she had been sent home from the American Cancer Center a couple months ago so we knew her time with us was short. Still it is so hard to comprehend.
Poor Mike had no idea what to do to comfort me, and I couldn’t give him any clues because I was having such a hard time wrapping my own head around the events of the day.
Yesterday and today have been much better days thanks to the support of Mike, my sister, her other son, some great friends and co-workers.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Fall is my favorite time of the year – leaves changing colors, cooler temps and no mosquitoes. I can sit on the deck in the morning, enjoying a cup of coffee or in the evening with a glass of wine or water and my favorite guys. The air smells amazing, the Northern Lights put on a show some evenings and a huge harvest moon is always a welcome sight.
I had planned to accomplish so much outside this past weekend – emptying flower pots, cutting back perennials, and putting up my fall décor. An 8:15 a.m. phone call put an end to my plans before they even began. It was a paramedic calling to tell me they would be transporting my mom to the local emergency room. She was having another anxiety attack (the previous one had been Thursday evening). These calls have become commonplace, and have brought my sister and I to our wits-end. Mom is 77-years old and in great physical health for her age; and should be embracing all that life is offering her but the anxiety/panic attacks make her afraid to leave the house.
This ER visit turned out different than the others when the doctor (who has seen her in the ER three times this month) called in “Crisis Management.” A man, who looked to be in his early 30s, visited with us and gave us some options – including adult foster care, an two-to-three week stay at a facility for observation and therapy or staying with one of us until a program between a therapist and her general practitioner could be worked out. After a visit to a private home adult foster care, we ended up bringing her back to my sister’s house. A friend, who has dealt with anxiety issues in her family, came over and gave the three of us some good advice and hints for mom to use in order to decompress herself.
My sister had to work Sunday, and after a little while by herself, mom called me to go sit with her. By evening, her meds seemed to be helping (doctor upped her high blood pressure dosage). She was a bit nervous at the thought of being by herself while my sister and I were at work, but made it through by talking to friends and family on the phone. We talked with the crisis management man again and he will be setting up appointments with a therapist and behavior modifying specialist. They will work closely with her doctor in an effort to get her going in the right direction. We also discussed having my ex-husband’s girlfriend (yes, we all get along) spend a couple hours in the morning with Mom and driving her to appointments once she is back home. She isn’t working right now, Mom can afford to pay her for her time, and she is someone Mom gets along well with and trusts. She would also be able to help with heavy cleaning, painting and odd jobs Mom can’t do anymore. It may be a long road, but I am hopeful. The call to crisis management just may have been the answer we were praying for.
Below are a few fall-color pictures I took last Friday.
Friday, September 19, 2014
This week has found me plagued with allergies. I am allergic to dust mites and they were out in full force after we had to turn on the furnace when temperatures dipped into the 30s and reached high in the upper 40s and low 50s. Dust that had settled in the vents all summer long was blown all over the house and I am certain that every mite found its way to my eyes, nose and throat.
I was miserable throughout the weekend and stayed home from work Monday. I am feeling much better today but still sound terrible – coughing, stuffed head and nose. Fortunately this is typically a one-time-a-year event and I should be breathing normal soon.
All has been going well at work. Our new accountant has most of her training done, is catching on quickly and seems to be a good fit in our team. I am now able to get back to some my job duties that have been placed on hold during the transition – website and newsletter design, development of a facebook page, news articles, etc.
A few months ago my boss sent me paperwork in regards to a new job classification. He felt I deserved it due to the extra duties I had taken on during all the changes in our department. My supervisor and I filled out the papers, she signed and submitted them to our boss, and he forwarded them to his boss the Main University. Last week I received documentation that I am now the “Principal Office and Administrative Specialist” for our research facility. I did receive a small raise, but more importantly, it means a higher cap on yearly pay step-ups. In my old classification, I would have reached my wage cap in three years. Now my cap continues to increase for seven years and goes up at a higher yearly percentage. Having the support of my boss, supervisor, my union and our Division Head really meant a lot to me.
Home life is overall good with a few bumps along the way. The roof remains unfinished so Mike and Troy will be working on it this weekend. Once it is done we can concentrate on indoor jobs that had to be put on hold. The new closet and painting of the kitchen will have to wait until spring, but other small jobs will get done.
I am looking forward to this weekend. My oldest son is in town for a friend’s wedding and we will be visiting his former daycare provider (my kids still call them grandma and grandpa) Sunday. They are like family and it has been several years since both boys and I have been with them at the same time. Tomorrow I plan on taking it easy and hopefully getting over the allergy cough and stuffiness.
I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend.
Below are pictures of some of the beauty I see every day at work.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
It has been quite a while since I blogged or been able to correspond much with my Spark Family. Summer is the busiest time at work, and there has been a lot going on in my personal life too.
This afternoon we are holding an open house in our horticulture department. There will be wagon tours, bus tours to the apple orchard and grape high tunnel, and guest speakers in entomology and tree planting in high tunnels. It is a perfect day to be outside (for us Minnesotans anyway) with temps in the upper 60s to lower 70s, sunshine and a light breeze. Last year it was 94 degrees – prefer today’s weather a lot more! At the beginning, I will be at the registration trailer and then will be able to go around taking pictures the last couple hours. Love when I can get out of the office and spend time in the garden areas!
Tomorrow I am going to learn how to update our website. It’s supposed to be more user friendly than the previous one. Then I will be gathering information and pictures to put on the site. There is also talk about setting up a facebook page. I will be the administrator, responsible for the content and updating.
Away from work, I have been helping both boys get ready for school to begin. Last minutes glitches in Tyler’s financial aid needed to be cleared up so his classes wouldn’t be dropped. All has been taken care of, but was sure stressful for a few days. He is in his fifth year of college and one class is only offered fall semester. If all wasn’t straightened out, he would have had to go back next fall for one class in order to receive his degree. Last night Troy and I went to his school to sign up and pay insurance on a school-issued laptop. There are a few items we need to buy before he starts his junior year in high school next Tuesday.
Mike worked extra hours last week, due to his boss purchasing a lot of junked cars. He drives the wrecker and semi for a salvage yard. The purchased meant 50 cars to haul to the yard, and five semi loads to a larger company where they will be recycled. The week was muggy and rainy so he came home filthy and tired every night.
We spent the day at home Saturday, and on Sunday drove to Duluth and then to the assisted living facility his mom is living at on our way back home. She has an appointment at a facility here today so we are hopeful she will be back by next week, and it won’t be a 1.5 hour drive to see her. Most of the family lives here, and with work and kids in school, it is difficult for some family members to go see her.
My mom continues to battle severe anxiety. My sister and I are at our wits-end trying to help her. She will call in the morning saying she needs to see a doctor because she is having an attack. We try to explain that we can’t keep taking time off work to bring her – especially when she is typically better by the time we get to the clinic. Tomorrow and Friday, I am going to try and find someone to help us deal with her condition. We have no idea what to do or how to get her help when she doesn’t do what the doctors recommend. She blames a lot on the medication she is on, and yet hasn’t cut back after the doctor said she should start weaning herself from it. If anyone has advice, please give it to me.
On the way back from Duluth the other day, I received a text from a friend telling me that her cousin (and a dear friend of mine) is in the final stage of her battle with cancer. The American Cancer Center has sent her home due to the cancer spreading to her small intestine and her inability to eat or drink. They are doing their best to keep her hydrated and medicated for pain, but that is about all they can do. I had such high hopes that she would beat the cancer – she is one heck of a fighter. Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of my best friend’s death from cancer, so hearing about another one really hit hard. I feel extra sad for her brother, who lost his first wife to cancer seven years ago in October and their mother to brain cancer at the beginning of the year. I pray every day that a cure will be found, and that no one has to watch someone die from this horrendous disease.
Have to put on my happy face and walk down to the Horticulture Department. Hoping for a good turnout and a successful event!
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