Thursday, April 29, 2010
I am writing in response to your recent deposits behind my rhododendron bush. I was recently pulling weeds near the bush when my nostrils were greeted with a foul aroma. This fragrance was determined to be from your poo. I would like to remind you that I have never made such a deposit behind your home unless perhaps you live deep in the woods off of a hiking trail in Colorado--and for the record it was an emergency! I do apologize if that is the case. However, that only happened once. There have been at least three occasions that you have utilized our new mulch as your dumping ground and although I am not an expert none of your visits appeared to be emergent.
While I do realize that you may encounter some difficulty in finding an area that provides for your apparent need for privacy as well as behind our lush leafy plant, I strongly recommend exploring some new options perhaps near the creek or behind the neighbor's house. Continuing to poo behind our bush will not be tolerated. I am unsure at this point exactly how we will stop you, but be aware that increased surveillance will be in effect.
In case you are not aware, we are currently trying to sell our home and your contributions to our landscaping plan were neither approved or welcomed. Potential buyers will likely not be impressed by either the smell or appearance of your gift(s). Furthermore, if I attempt to remove your masterpieces I am quite certain that it will result in a significant amount of vomit which will also likely not be on the buyer's wish list. It would be very much appreciated if you would do the right thing and relocate your excrement.
Finally, I would like to briefly address your eating habits. I am not sure what you are ingesting and have not intention of trying to figure it out, but I strongly suggest that you try a little less fiber and natural foods that are significantly less smelly.
Thank you for your prompt attention and cooperation in this matter,
~M, a disturbed and, frankly, sickened homeowner.
- Had an inspection on our new home while we were still in Michigan. It passed. There are a few things that the seller is going to fix, but the rest is small potatoes and fairly inexpensive. I love that house and after spending a little more time there it is really feeling "homey."
- Learned that I am really not adept at flying or understanding airports in general. I asked Craig to let me do all the thinking and finding where in the airport we needed to be on the way home. When I joined the crowd that was Toronto bound he intervened and led me to the correct gate. Once, just once, I want to outsmart him. We flew out of Detroit last Wednesday and put our current home on the market that evening. Anyone need a house???
- Spent a day sulking and feeling completely and profoundly sorry for myself.
- Gathered the last of the things that I could collect from our time with Christopher :( and checked on the status of a custom made box that a carpenter is making for us to put our tangible memories in. :)
- Poured over pictures of my dad's headstone. It is finally set and is beautiful, but really brings a sense of finality to our time with him. I don't like that feeling AT ALL!
- Worked 4 days. Bittersweet. It is good to be back, but have found that the stress of my job gets to me in a whole new way. I'm not nearly as patient as I used to be and nearly karate chopped the lady who spit continuously in my direction for 30 minutes. I did have a few minor breakdowns, but overall am glad to be back--kind of.
- Had an open house with good turnout. 2 families said that they wanted to return with their realtor.
- Left Craig at a neighbors as they incessantly compared their home (which is for sale) with ours. He came home 15 minutes later looking rather traumatized. Sorry, Honey. I couldn't take it anymore and had to "oops" return home to get my phone!
- Had breakfast with a friend and dinner with a different friend on the same day. I (heart) days like that!
- Stalked my house as our realtor hosted an open house for other realtors. It wasn't intentional, but I was having lunch with my neighbor and had a clear, inconspicuous, view. It is weird feeling when strangers are walking into and out of your house.
- Facilitated a 0730 house inspection at our Iowa house. (Thanks, Craig!). Do you know that I don't care much for mornings?
- Had a great appointment with my favorite doctor.
- Attempted to make a work schedule. Do you know how hard that is to do when your entire future seems to be up in the air?
- Have cleaned ridiculously. Is someone really going to look under my bed? Well, now they can because it is very tidy there...and everywhere else!
- Took some silk flowers to my dad's grave and inspected the headstone for myself. I laughed initially when a bird had pooped on my sister's name, but then was disgusted by it as I scrubbed it off.
- Checked out my newest mooing siblings. There are 5 now and 2 more on the way. The are so cute, but we look nothing alike.
- Took a single, beautiful silk yellow rose to my grandpa's grave that is across the road from my dad's.
- Shopped for new living room furniture...just to get some ideas.
- Got the brake recall fixed on the Corolla. I guess there is another recall coming, but I still love my car.
- Agreed to another open house this Sunday.
- Had lunch with two neighbor ladies. One is in her 80's, the other in her 70's. It was hilarious as they discussed how "young people" these days use their computers for everything. They knew about facebook, google, and even blogs, but "would never do anything like that!" I smiled and was rather quiet. ;)
- Assisted in interviewing my replacement at work. I think that the interviewee (is that a word?) would work out well.
That is why there are unreturned messages and e-mails that have not been responded to. I want to get there--and will--but for now I need to tidy up my house again! Grrr...
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I can't explain what that place does to me. Even as I drove into the parking lot it was all so surreal. They gave me the things that I needed, as well as what I have learned to refer to as the "sympathy stare." This is when you just know that people want to say something to acknowledge your loss, but they don't know what to say so they just stare at you or even sometimes (but not today) say something completely off of the wall like "I lost 10 pens last week," which I know happens--I am guilty, too. They were very nice at the office, just very quiet after they learned that I was the one that was there for the blanket.
The last time I went there was not so pleasant. It was 2 weeks after our loss and I had a check up. As I sat in the waiting room I became very aware of everyone around me. One gal was staring in awe at her newly acquired ultrasound pictures. Another couple entered dressed to the 9's with their young son. The man stepped out of the waiting room to accept a phone call while the obviously pregnant mom headed for the restroom, leaving the little boy there with (I assume) his grandma who constantly begged him to sit still and be quiet while she read her magazine. Then the teenage girl walked through the door smelling of smoke with her belly bulging; the look in her face screaming that she had a million places that she'd rather be. There I sat. So empty and missing the excitement that I had felt every time I had been there before. I was grateful that Craig had come along. By the time I got to the exam room and my awesome midwife came in I was losing it. I couldn't even say anything when she asked what we had named our son. The harder I tried to compose myself the faster my tears fell. I wanted more than anything to erase the time between my last visit and then. I wanted another chance to carry my son; to dream, to hope, to feel him there. I eventually did pull myself together and got some answers to some questions that I'd had. As I left that day there was a lingering feeling that life had shorted me. It was completely unfair that my son was gone and that my dream for this child had ended. Why me? What was the plan in all of this?
I can't say that is a feeling I've had a lot in the 4 weeks since then, but sometimes it really bothers me when it happens. So many of our plans for this phase in our lives revolved around this baby joining our family, and each time one of those plans unfolds in a different way than what we had dreamed it is a reminder that life has changed.
Today I have struggled with those feelings again. I think it is partly from receiving the blanket...the last thing that I can collect that reminds us of time spent with Christopher, and I'm sure that a lot of it is because we're facing so much change. We are in contract for our house in Michigan and put our Iowa house on the market last night. I am going back to work on Saturday and wonder what work will entail for me once we move. Recent appointments have led us to a place where we will have to make some decisions. My dad's headstone was set yesterday bringing a new sense of finality to his death. I am overwhelmed with change to the point that at times this life that I'm living doesn't seem like mine at all. I still feel a deep sense of peace most of the time, but sometimes my mind produces questions a little faster than my soul finds peace.
Someday, some way, some how, sometime, this will somewhat make more sense to me. I can't wait until that day. Until then, I'm just thanking God that there are many more days where I'm feeling pretty good than days like this. It's amazing how seeing and holding one little blanket can trigger so much.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
PRO: Breakfast. I don't like to make breakfast because it interferes with my attempt to deny that it is morning. I don't like mornings at all. It is wonderful to be able to go down to the lobby and see what tasty breakfast pastries are fresh that day, as well as the hot items, orange juice, and coffee. My favorite? Sausage patty, banana with peanut butter, and OJ. Sum it up with a decaf 2-2-2 and morning isn't so bad. (Decaf 2-2-2= decaf with 2 splendas, 2 creamers, and 2 ice cubes)
CON: Bad cable coverage. We've watched more news broadcasting this week than in the last 5 years combined. I think that I now know everything that is going on in the world, including more than enough of the erupting volcano in Iceland that has put the UK flight schedules on hold. My advice? Take a boat.
PRO: No cleaning!! WoooHooo! The only thing better than not having to dust, vacuum, and clean the bathroom is knowing that all I have to do is push a button and someone will do all of the above for me. After last week's big clean of our current house I don't care to ever hold a can of Pledge again. Once we close on the new one, though, I know another big clean is coming...
CON: Room temperature. The wall thermostat seems to have no connection to the AC unit in our room. It is so stinkin' warm in here, but when the AC fan kicks on...wheew-wee...we start looking for penguins around the room. It gets sooo cold. We currently have Craig's tennis shoes holding a thick bath towel over the vents. It works pretty good.
PRO: Cookies! They give us cookies in the afternoon. Chocolate chocolate chip, regular chocolate chip, and sugar. Sugar is the best.
CON: Sporadic internet. I keep getting booted from my wireless and putting in the pass code constantly is a little annoying. Yesterday our pass code wouldn't even work. The nice lady at the desk told us that our pass code had expired. Um? Hello? Remember us? We've been here for a week and will stay a couple more nights...could they not have let us know before we were booted off yet again? It isn't like they don't see us...we walk past the front desk several times per day as we prepare to stalk our house again.
PRO: The hot tub. After this week I think that I finally have Craig convinced that we need a hot tub. It is so nice to sit back let the jets work their magic on my tired back. The heat also feels great when the air conditioner situation gets out of control.
CON: It's not home. I have all of the essentials that I need but would like to have a few of the extras that I have at home. My pedicure kit, for example, would be very welcomed by my poor feet.
PRO: Separate beds. I sleep soooo good without my tossing, turning, snoring, and talking husband stealing my pillows and blankets. I am totally fine with a good night wave from across the nightstand--for a while anyway!
CON: Poor snacking habits. Staying in a hotel can be very boring so we find ourselves in a boredom hunger quite often. It probably doesn't help that there is a Dairy Queen nearby that is currently running a blizzard special. Buy one (any size) get one for 25 cents.
There you have it. Happy Tuesday, all!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
- I spent several hours in the last two days pouring over medical journals trying to decipher statistics--and liked it, well--kind of. That is the kind of stuff Craig would do. (Actually, he read them with me) I read Karen Kingsbury or Lori Wick. Not stuff I can learn from. Nerds read to learn things.
- I passed up an opportunity to get a free facial so that I could stay home to look at houses on the internet. (Well, I would have been late for the facial, anyway!)
- I thoroughally enjoyed cleaning the oven and stove top the other day. Fun fun, right? I even showed Mom how clean it was on Skype--that's pretty nerdy. Fume Free Easy Off is Awesome!
- My life is starting to revolve around when I will have sushi next. It is really getting rediculous. I am in love with Alaskan, Philadelphia, and California rolls. No ginger or soy, but a touch of wasabi. The wasabi somehow gets a little flavor stuck in my nose sometimes, though and I don't care much for that. I think I want some sushi now, actually, but am limiting myself to once a week. Nerds develop crushes on certain foods and then want nothing else. I fall into that category.
- Lately, my wardrobe consists largely of t-shirts, stretchy capris, and flip flops. Although I won't leave the house in them (often, anyway) I have come to realize how comfortable they are, but I do look the part of a nerd. In all fairness, though, I haven't had time or desire to do much shopping and all of my pre-baby clothes are too big.
- I check my work e-mail regularly even though I haven't been there for 5 weeks. Sometimes I even check it more than I would if I were at work. One who pays too much attention to their job when they're not there could be considered a nerd.
There you have it. A few evidences of what I am becoming. The bottom line is, though, I am just looking for some sense or normalicy. I miss the days that I woke up without a care in the world and didn't analyze everything. I miss so many things...and people...
Saturday, April 10, 2010
As I was working around the house yesterday I received a phone call. On the other end of the line was Patrick, the guy from work that had trained me on placing PICC lines. While training we had a little downtime and he shared with me his excitement over the fact that after several years of trying to conceive (and eventually using IVF) he and his wife were expecting a baby girl. I didn't used to be an emotional person, but that made even tough shelled me tear up. I loved how he so openly talked about his role in how he just knew that God would give them the desire of their hearts if they would just trust.
I'll never forget the day that I was went to the nursing office and learned that Patrick and his wife's precious baby girl, Charley Rose, had died and was delivered still at nearly 27 weeks. At that time I could only feel a glimpse of the heartache and sense of loss that they must have felt. Although each situation is a little different, I can now understand a little more what they were going through in a way that I never wanted to know.
So, yesterday it was so refreshing to have a conversation with someone who has been there. He told me of some support groups that helped them heal. His wife was in the background prompting a bit, which was totally adorable. He told me about a program called Butterfly Blessings which was taking place today in Rock Island. As much as I wanted to go, I would not allow myself to get my hopes up about being able to make it. (We had scheduled 3 realtors to come to the house at different times to interview.) He also let us know about some other support groups and things that they have done that helped.
As our conversation ended and I hung up the phone I thanked him profusely. I was so glad that he called. I don't know if I would have dialed the digits if the tables were turned, but I just can't explain how much it helped to talk to someone who understands. We agreed that we are all members of a really crappy "club" of parents who have lost children. Honestly, it is a club that I knew must exist but never really paid that much attention to and would never have chosen to become a part of, but we didn't choose it. It chose us, and now we're here, but are not alone.
Fast forward to today. We did go to the Butterfly Blessings ceremony. It was lovely to hear the music and Patrick and his wife speak about their feelings at the time that Charley died and their feelings now 2 years later. We lit a candle in Christopher's memory and made picture with his initials and picture with background wording that says "Some people only dream of angels...we got to hold one in our arms." I like that saying a lot...except Christopher was much to tiny to hold in our arms...he fit perfectly in our hands, though!
It ended up feeling like a very appropriate way to spend the day that is exactly one month from the day that our son was born and died. We laughed, and cried, and remembered. Oh I miss that little boy.
P.S. Patrick and his wife now have 2 beautiful twin boys that are about 18 months. Hooray for healthy miracles!
Friday, April 9, 2010
A friend called in the afternoon just to chat and my sister called a little later and read me a children's book that she had bought at some conference. It was a whimsical story about what a person may experience in heaven after death. I cried like a baby before asking her "Why are you doing this to me?!?!?!" It felt good to cry a little. Tears have been pretty evasive lately and letting them fall was refreshing to my tired spirit. Thanks, sis. :)
Craig came home at his usual time and asked what I had done that day. The only thing that I had accomplished was going to a dentist appointment and getting my teeth cleaned--oh so much effort I had to put in for that! We sat and talked for a long time about things and where we are at with everything from moving to our losses and spent a lot of time talking about Christopher. I started to feel a little better...well enough anyway to go out and tidy up my flowerbeds while Craig power washed the deck. My mood was a little better, but we still felt it best to work on projects on the opposite side of the house. That Craig is a smart cookie, I tell you!
Later in the evening I got an e-mail from my aunt reminding me that she had not forgotten my hurt, which was comforting and I skyped with my mama after warning her that I was a crabby mess. She even got me to smile. I love her. She also made me cry (as did my neighbor, which was a little awkward, because she had no idea and probably just thought we were talking about mulch, which really isn't sad). You know, that is the thing I love about my family and friends. They know and understand that not all days will be good ones. They acknowledge that there will be some days will be better than others and accept me for who I am and where I am, often times hurting right along with me. Thanks everyone!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I have really been focusing on taking just one day at a time right now. It is so easy for me to get overwhelmed with everything, and when I am feeling that way I can't accomplish anything. I am looking forward to moving in a way. It is exciting to have a fresh start in a place where no one knows us and all that we've been through in the last several months. Looking for a new house is fun, as is making new friends. Craig has an excellent career opportunities there, and I think that in time I will too. However, we can't move there until we leave here. That is the part that really stinks. This is the area that we have called home for the last 6 years. This is where many of our friends are and have supported me through the difficult months recently and when Craig was deployed. This is where Christopher was born and the doctors are that know me best. I really thought that this would be where we would live for a long time, not merely a stepping stone.
I would be lying to say that I'm not at least a little concerned with how I will adjust to this move. I am trying to keep things as low-stress as possible (I just giggled as I typed that--who am I trying to fool with "low-stress?"). I will not be pursuing a new job right away. Matter of fact, I am retaining my job here at least through the summer, which sounds crazy, but makes sense when all of the circumstances that I do not have time or energy to explain here are considered. I am worried that once we get settled I will have nothing to do and will have too many days like today where I can't do anything but think too much.
I know that God has this all under control, and worry shouldn't fill me because He is so much bigger than all of this. So much bigger, yet he holds tiny little (in one sense, anyway!), hurting, worried, confused me tenderly in the palm of His hand. That should be enough, but I am a planner** and would really like to know what the Big Guy has in store...maybe.
**Disclaimer for the statement "I am a planner." I am not really a planner. I like to think I am, but sadly, am not. I do make long range plans, but they don't typically work out because they need short term plans to make them happen. I have no plan for what I will wear tomorrow, what time I'll get up, what is for lunch, or what I'll do (besides clean the dining room floor). There, that's it. Planner: Long term only and not good at it.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Apparently no one likes rosy pink toilet seats anymore. None of the major home improvement stores carry them and give you a funny look when you ask if one can be ordered somehow. (They can be, by the way, but they're 30 bucks and take 17 days. No thanks, I'm Dutch and impatient). I know they're all thinking something like "She looks kind of normal, but I wonder why she wants pink so bad. She probably has one of those houses with wallpaper everywhere, gold specks in her white counter tops, and lots of pastel walls." Not quite. Wallpaper was created only to annoy me. The gold specks have been painted over (in the pink bathroom, of course, and by the previous owners), and not ALL of the walls are pastel. There are a few white ones, but most have a little pizazz. We really just don't have time to do another bathroom remodel....
Anyway, back to the toilet seat. I did find one at a mom and pop style hardware store. The lady who looked like she was in pain every time she took a step led me to the aisle where a very lonely and ugly pink seat sat on the shelf. She unknowingly said "How about a pink one?" I smiled and said "Perfect, I'll take it." I think that she was a little surprised. She's probably been trying to sell that sucker for 25 years. I couldn't wait to call Craig, but he didn't seem nearly as excited as I am. We're one step closer to getting this house ready to sell. Since we're interviewing potential Realtors on Saturday and likely putting it on the market next week time is short.
On a different note, I am really missing my Christopher today. I don't know if moving the crib, maternity clothes, and all that we had acquired in anticipation of becoming parents to the storage unit last night started this or it is something else, but my heart is heavy today. Even though I can work around the house and get things done, thoughts of the little guy that I love and miss so much are never very far away...
Sunday, April 4, 2010
This was a difficult decision for me to make, but given the circumstances I knew that I needed to do something different. My job can be very stressful at times when there is a pull to be in several places at once...often times at different campuses. Then there is the factor of problems that arise resulting multiple physician phone calls. I was starting to get burnt out a little in the last year--just ready for a change. To top it off, I knew that my career here could not be long term and as long as I was filling a full-time slot, no one else could be hired. With all of this in play, I stepped down. My goal now is to help train my replacement and pick up some hours that work for me when available.
After my dad's funeral I went back to work rather quickly and found that it was a very difficult place to be. I found that my "normal" felt anything but comfortable. I could get into the routine of my workday and not think about things until I was at the threshold where all I could block out met the overflow of emotions. The only thing that I could do during those moments was hide in my office and let go of all I was holding back. Five months later that was still happening and I got to the point that I couldn't think about or much less say my dad's name without breaking down. Things really seemed to be getting worse rather than better--but in retrospect maybe part of that had something to do with all of the extra hormones from my pregnancy dramatizing my experiences. I really believe that a large part of it had to do with the fact that I would not allow myself to deal with my thoughts early on. I realized that I could shut off my emotions for a while and stop feeling...which I became way too good at and tended to do a little too often. This time I can't and won't deny myself the chance to deal with the waves of grief as they come.
Even as busy as we've been getting ready to move, I have taken the time when sadness finds me to stop and reflect on my feelings instead of try to deny them. It feels already like I am dealing with Christopher's death in a much more healthy way than before, but it doesn't make hurt any less. I often wonder how something so tiny can change a person in so many ways.
Anyway--I am going to return to work April 19ish. Please pray that I can get the right balance of hours so that I can both continue to heal and keep on top of things at home. It will be nice to make a little money again to offset all of these little fix-it projects that have come up in preparation of selling.
In the meantime, does anyone have a pink toilet seat that they'd like to part with? :) The one bathroom that we didn't get around to remodeling is the guest bath, which still sports a pink tub, toilet, and sink. The accompanying pink toilet seat is the one that broke this weekend.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Craig spent the better part of the day trenching in landscaping blocks around the perimeter of the house, around the lilac bushes in the backyard, and along the back of our property. By the time he came in he was all scratched up, hot, and very tired, but relieved that the project is mostly done...until Tuesday when 5 cubic yards of mulch gets dumped on our driveway.
Today we got a ton of "little" things done. To name a few: the firepit is revamped (and ready to burn a few more times!!), the stair rail and outdoor lamp have been repainted, annuals are potted and looking pretty, all of my house plants have homes in new pots and fresh soil (Even Mary Jane Schefflera, who is making a comeback), and last but not least, the front door has been fixed--now no one can complain about getting stuck in our house.
This moving business is for the birds. When we moved from Ames it didn't seem like such a big deal. Moving from our previous home to this one was a bear. After this, I am never moving again...well...for a while anyway, and we're not even doing the actual loading and unloading ourselves. It is the organizing and getting ready to show our house that is so taxing. We're not even clutterbugs and generally keep our house pretty clean, but it is crazy how much stuff gets accumulated.
Just the time we got it all finished we heard a bang-crash-giggle from upstairs where Maddie was getting ready for bed. I just looked at Craig, shook my head and went up to survey the damage. Apparently the lid of the toilet seat just broke and fell off. I don't know why it couldn't have waited another 2 months, but I guess that's an easy fix. Maddie though it was hilarious, though, and laughter of a child is a good way to end a long day of work.