Tag Archives: family

Welcome to South Carolina!

Yeah, I know, I haven’t written here in over a year. But if you’ve read anything here, you know I struggle with the desire to write and the equally strong desire to keep myself hidden. Okay, maybe not “hidden” – just not out there for the world to see.

But here I am. And “here” is a new state and a new start for us. The past couple months have been a whirlwind for our little family. See, ever since K got his MFA, he’s been working to get a teaching job. The whole reason he went to grad school was so that he could teach photography on the college level, but the jobs don’t come easy. However, in July he got his first teaching gig – teaching 2 classes at the Art Institute in Charleston, SC. At first he was commuting 2 days a week and that was the plan until he knew if there were going to be steady classes in the future. But things kept pointing more and more toward the idea of us moving to Charleston. 

Things are still coming together, but K not only has the teaching gig at AI, but he’s also teaching at The Citadel  and still selling honey for Savannah Bee Company but now at their Charleston store. I’m training at a new job, Wildman is at a new school and will start ice hockey in a couple weeks. We’ve rented a cute little house and while moving SUCKS, we’re enjoying making the house a home.

So welcome to South Carolina, Free family! It’s a new chapter in our lives, and we’re going to make it great. 


Back on track

OK, so I haven’t done a good job of writing. I still find excuses to keep from bareing my soul to the world, like doing pretty much anything else than writing. I really do think about this blog, I even think of clever things to share. But I’m usually not anywhere I can write when I do. But I know I need to write. Writing is theraputic. Writing is good for me. Writing is how I can make myself be a little more human.

I know that last thing sounded a little weird. But I really do feel that way. I can so easily close myself up here in the house and keep everything to myself. Sure, I go to work and deal with the public all day long, but I don’t share anything more than anticdotes with them. My staff knows me, and a few of my peers do. We have a small group of friends, and that’s about it. I don’t really have to go out of my way to be open to anyone other than K and the Wildman most days. But if I write, I’m forced to open myself up to anyone who bothers to read, and I feel like that makes me be a little more human.

So here I am. I’ve been working to be a better me so far this year, like I said I wanted to be back in January. I’m working hard at work to give it my all. I’m trying to have more fun. I planned a great vacation that I think we all enjoyed, even took my Mom along. We went to Universal Studios and played Wizards and Witches for 3 days in the Florida sun. I think we all needed to have fun and spend some quality time together. And I’ve made sure I’ve planned my time at work so that I get to not only spend time with the guys this summer but also get to take a week to lay in the sun and relax with my girls. Last summer two of my best girlfriends from high school and I took  a week and escaped from the rest of the world, reconnected and had a wonderful time. We’re doing it again this year. I have learned that if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t expect anyone else to. And if I don’t love myself, no one else should be expected to either.image

I am going to work more on doing something meaningful for myself at least once a week, as well as doing something for the boys. Last night I had a “dinner date” with the Wildman and we talked and laughed and shared some time. It might not have meant much to him – I think he was annoyed that I won’t let him use his ipod or phone – but maybe some day he’ll appreciate it as much as I did. Tonight I’m fixing K some of his favorite food for dinner and trying to take care of some things here at home so he doesn’t have to. Not big things, but thoughtful things. Things that make me feel good to do them.

I guess my point is this – it’s a conscious decision every day to be happy, to be human, and to actively live life. Some days it is a stuggle, but I’m going to do it.


Ms. Super Tough

Okay, so it’s been almost a month since my last post. But only almost, not quite. So I’m not a total slacker, right?

I figured out what’s held me back from writing. I realized when I’m just writing about our normal everyday lives and such, it’s much easier than writing anything about me that has real weight. (Not my weight, although that does weigh into it but we’ll get to that later.) Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a pretty private person. At this point you’re probably asking why I ever started a blog in the first place. Well, I’m private about myself. I don’t mind telling the world about anything Kev and the Wildman are up to, especially if it’s funny. I’m especially uneasy sharing my struggles and anything that could appear as a weakness. Because I’m super tough – can’t you just tell that by looking?

10430895_10205486622512498_1569430663930111882_nSee? Super tough.

Anyway, back on point. I’ve been putting off writing because I didn’t want to talk about the hard stuff. It’s much easier to convince myself that I should be catching up on Downton Abbey or planning to redecorate the living room. But this time I won’t. This time I’ll write something instead.

I mentioned in my last post that the previous year or two were difficult. I refused to find happiness. It wasn’t always a conscious decision, but it was a decision nonetheless. Some days I did nothing at all outside of sitting at home and wishing I were somewhere else. Other days I went through my day at work or wherever I was with the minimal effort or true involvement. I didn’t take care of myself, and really did the least I could get away with.

But I want this year to be different. This year I’m going to live. I want to have fun with friends and the family and make more happy memories. I want to put an effort into my work so I can fully enjoy the rewards of knowing I gave it my best. I’m going to take better care of my body, my mind and my soul. I’m going to share more with the people I love and who love me.

I started with this blog. I want to find the fun and humor in every day life again and share it with you. Second, I recommitted myself to my work and my job. I told my boss I know I haven’t given her my best effort, and I’m tired of being mediocre. That’s not how I roll. And speaking of rolling, I’m going to take better care of my self by starting to eat healthier and get some exercise. I’m not happy with how I’ve let myself go, and I’m going to do something about it.

And I’m still going to have bad days, I know that. And that’s okay. But I’m not going to let the bad days become bad weeks, months and years. I’m going to turn up the music and dance – no matter how hard the Wildman laughs at me. And I’m going to live.


Hitting the Reset Button

Remember back in the olden days when we first had video games in our homes? If you were playing a game and didn’t like how things were going, there was this magic little button you could push and everything would just start all over. Just hit “reset” and you got a fresh start. Now, this sounds like a great thing, unless you happened to be playing a 2 player game and you were beating your little sister, who then decided to hit “reset” and all your hard work was erased in the blink of an eye. Then it was a terrible thing and you suddenly had homicidal thoughts about your own flesh and blood. But right now I want you to think about it as a great thing.

Don’t you just wish you had one of those buttons some days? Or maybe weeks or years? I know I do. The last couple of years have been tough for me. The relocation didn’t sit well with me. That’s why I haven’t written. I’ve thought about it many times, but I didn’t want to explain why the long absence. But I spent most of the last 2 years in a deep depression, a dark place that was of my own making in many ways. However, 2014 did bring me some very bright spots and many happy days. I laughed more and remembered how to have fun. I reconnected with friends I love and was able to spend quality time with them. We had good times with friends we’ve made here in Savannah. And to top it all off, I had family with me on Christmas for the first time in 8 years. There were memories made that I will treasure forever.

This place is too beautiful not to enjoy it.

This place is too beautiful not to enjoy it.

Most of all though, I realized that life has to be lived. You get out of it what you put into it, and if you aren’t putting any fun into life, you won’t get any out of it.

So I’m hitting my reset button for 2015. While I could make many resolutions, I’m just making a statement: This year, I’m going to live my life and not just let it happen. That’s going to encompass all for me. I’m going to do away with the negativity and focus on the fun. Every day I’m going to wake up and LIVE.


The Laundry Room (or playing catch-up, part 2)

So here we are in Savannah. Did I mention we’re in a small apartment? Oh, I did. Well, sorry to repeat myself but its small. We don’t even have our own washer and dryer. We could get one of those little apartment-sized sets, but they cost more than the big ones we left in Nashville and wouldn’t do half the size load. So here I sit on my day off in the laundry room of the apartment complex doing laundry. I haven’t used a laundry room – or lived in an apartment, for that matter – for a very, very long time. Life here has taken some getting used to, and I’ll admit I’m probably not really adjusted yet.

But all that aside, Savannah is a great town. I really don’t get downtown much since I’m working retail and still getting used to the hours and days off, but when I do get to get out it’s a beautiful place to be. We’re actually living on an “island” between downtown and the beach on Tybee Island. We chose this area to live in because of the great elementary school for the Wildman. It’s a small, quiet community, and its a big change of pace from good ‘ole Nashvegas. I never really thought of Nashville as a big city until we moved here, but in comparison it certainly is.

There are so many other things to get used to here, like sand under the topsoil (or instead of it) as opposed to the solid rock foundation of Middle TN, being on the Eastern time zone again, and the fact that I’ve worn shorts everyday I’ve been here and it’s past the middle of October. But some things are the same: Kev is working hard at school, the Wildman is – well, wild – and the crazy dogs keep us entertained. I’m getting involved with Scouting here locally and Kev is a tutor and mentor for undergrads through the college. We haven’t found a replacement for hockey for the Wildman yet, but we will. We have to find some way for him to expend some of that endless energy!

Well I need to check my washers and get the dryers cleaned out and ready. I also have a parent/teacher conference at the elementary school this afternoon, and those are usually quite interesting…


Playing Catch-Up, part 1

As I mentioned at the open of my last post, many things have changed since I last wrote here regularly. I also mentioned that our new home is in Savannah, GA.

Yes, the 2 boys and I have relocated even farther South. Kev graduated with his BFA in the spring, and from the time he enrolled in school we knew he’d have to get his MFA in order to fulfill his long-term plan – to teach photography and related courses on the college level. After investigating many different programs, different possible living arrangements and looking at the situation from every imaginable angle, we determined the best way for him to accomplish this goal was to move the family to Savannah, GA so that he could attend SCAD. It was by far the best program and the move made the most sense of any of the scenarios we considered, so we started sorting through all the things we accumulated in the 10 years we’d lived in our house to make the move 8 hours down the road to coastal Georgia.

Now, I only wish it was as easy as that line made it sound. First, let me say that we were not really prepared as we should have been for this move. I’m a planner, and an organizer, but I was so preoccupied with finding a job and a place to live in Savannah that I didn’t do any of my usual preparation for this massive undertaking. And I also underestimated the amount of stuff we had. We started selling, donating and giving away anything we didn’t think we’d need. Oh and did I mention that we were moving from our 3 bedroom home to a 900 sq ft apartment? So most of our stuff wouldn’t even fit in the apartment. We got down to the last few days before the move and realized that we weren’t possibly going to be ready before it was time to go. Kev really kicked into overdrive and worked to get things taken care of, and we managed to get a moving truck packed full of the stuff we needed.

At the same time we weren’t doing such a good job of planning the move, I was sending out resumes (easily 100 of them over 3 months), making connections on LinkedIn and writing introductory emails. If you think it’s hard to find a job in a town where you’ve lived for a while, then you should try to find a job in a town you’ve only been to twice and you know no one! Fortunately, I finally received a job offer the day before we were picking up the moving truck. So now gainfully employed, apartment lease signed, moving truck packed to the rafters, we hit the road.

Now, just because the moving truck was packed doesn’t mean the house was empty. Or that we had someone ready to rent it from us either. It actually took 3 more trips back to Nashville to get it empty, and we’ve had two renters back out on us at the last minute. But we’re here in Savannah, ready to start the next chapter in our lives.

Stay tuned for more…

Image

Savannah College of Art & Design Library


One hour

What a difference one hour makes.

At a few minutes after 5pm I was leaving the office, on my way home for the long holiday weekend. I had a slight headache so I decided I was going to go home instead of going to the Wildman’s hockey practice. It would be nice to be home alone for a couple hours.

About 10 minutes into my drive my mother called. She wanted to tell me that her older brother, my beloved Uncle Larry, was having chest pains and they had called the ambulance. She was just starting to tell me what she knew about the situation when she had another call coming in from her younger sister, so she got off the call with me to talk to her, promising to call me right back.

I’m not a patient person, and waiting on this kind of news about a loved one while stuck in rush hour, first day of a holiday weekend traffic isn’t easy. While traffic was stopped I decided to look on Facebook to see if any of my cousins had posted anything. See, while Larry is a very special uncle to a total of 6 of us, he’s also a doting father, grandfather and even great-grandfather to a good sized brood as well as big brother to my mother and her sister. He’s the family patriarch and has been since my grandfather passed away in 1984.

His oldest granddaughter had just posted a note saying “it’s not good” and asking for prayers. I called my mom and she was on the way to the hospital, saying he had suffered cardiac arrest. She told me she’d call when she had more news. That was about 35 minutes after I had left the office.

Once I pulled into the drive at my house I was a mess. I couldn’t hold the tears back. I didn’t want to lose my uncle. This world wouldn’t be the same without him. I kept thinking how he always checks in on my mother, who lives alone, and how much he loves everyone of us. He has another great-grandchild due soon, he can’t miss that. I was texting a friend back home in Ohio who knows my uncle very well, she sat next to him at choir practice at church last night. It is times like this that it is very difficult living 6 hours from our hometown where nearly every single other member of the family still lives.

One hour from the time I walked out of the office building, my mother called me back. We have lost him. It was a short call, as she was understandably very upset and I didn’t even have any words to say. I was glad I wasn’t at the hockey rink when I got the news, but being at home alone wasn’t all that great either. I text messaged a couple of friends and my best friend called me to make sure I was okay.

Am I okay? At this very moment, not really. It’s been about one hour since Mom called and I’ve stopped crying, but I know this empty feeling will last for a while. This is the 3rd time in 4 years I’ve lost a loved one. We lost the matriarch of my mother’s family, my Grandma, in 2009, then 8 months later I lost my other beloved Grandma. That was hard, because I’m going to turn 40 later this year and those were my first major losses since Grandpa died when I was 12. This one isn’t any easier. My heart is broken, not just for myself, but for my mom and her sister, my sweet aunt who has lost her husband of nearly 51 years, my cousins who lost their dad (one of whom just turned 50 years old yesterday), their children who have lost the grandpa who has been there for everything in their lives, and the 3 great-granddaughters who adored him. Then there are the nieces and nephews, our children, his co-workers, church family, and a long list of others who’s lives he’s touched over the years.

One hour. That’s the time it took for a huge hole to be left in many, many lives.

I love you Uncle Larry.