April 29, 2005
Chicken
Yep, that's me. I am a chicken. I still haven't called the office. I am sorry I complained so heartily in my last post. What a waste of breath. I had to post something else to have that move down my screen.....
On to better things. We had a playgroup yesterday - I was so happy it went well after only one other person showed up the last time. I met a few more really nice ladies that live in this area and I am looking forward to seeing some of them again next week!
We went to the library for toddler storytime. Strange how Little A has absolutely no interest in storytime, but her sister gets involved even at the ones for kids younger than her. We had a good time at storytime and the girls love their computer time - the library has wonderful children's games on computers in the children's library. We then went to the park - a beautiful park here - one of the nicest I have been to anywhere. Everyone seemed to have a nice time and the kids played well while we moms got to know each other a little bit. The weather was perfect and sunny, without being too hot and it really was a perfect day. I can't wait to have my computer all fixed so I can post pictures again.
Well, we don't have a lot planned for the weekend, but we are going to have lunch or dinner with Adam's family on Sunday to celebrate his grandparents' 62nd wedding anniversary. What a beautiful thing to celebrate.
Until next time, may you have peace and beauty this weekend and many blessings in your life.
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Won't You Be My Neighbor?
I've had the (dis)pleasure to meet some of my neighbors lately. We live in an apartment, mainly because we know that A's career will warrant another move in a year or two. We've been fortunate to have decent experiences in apartment living since we sold our house almost 3 years ago. The last day has shown that there has to be some compromises made when living in an apartment.
First, the neighbor below us came up yesterday morning to inform me that she was being kept awake in the day (she works the night shift) by my daughters’ little running feet. I apologized profusely and promised that I would keep the noise down to a minimum as much as possible. She went back to her apartment, and I assume, back to sleep. Not another word was said. I did curtail the heavy feet in our apartment for much of the day. I applaud my neighbor for just coming to me and letting me know of the disturbance, particularly since I didn’t know how to inform my upstairs neighbors I was experiencing similar noise from their apartment.
The other experience happened this morning. After having such a nice outcome yesterday (when my family was the one making the noise and I was the one apologizing), I was a bit empowered to approach my upstairs neighbor again. (I had called the office regarding the noise from my upstairs neighbors shortly after they moved in and Mary suggested I call it to their attention - that perhaps if they knew the amount of noise they were making, they could curtail it a bit.) Not wanting to be a "bad" or "complaining" neighbor, I was unsure how to talk to them without sounding petty - I sure wasn’t going to go up there right after being awaken by their loud noises - I wanted to be fully awake and polite.
About 6 weeks ago, when the girls upstairs were out on their balcony, I came home with my family. I stopped on the sidewalk and mentioned to them (the girls on the third floor) that there is often loud noise coming from their apartment. One asked me what I was talking about and I said that at all hours of the day and night, one could assume they were repositioning furniture - or they had a pet elephant. She did mention that her brother sometimes jumps around. She went on to say that I could not have been hearing noise from their apartment because they hadn’t been there that week. I explained that I just wanted to call it to their attention that when they are there, the heaviness of feet causes my light fixtures to shake and the glass in them to rattle. I figured, as Mary suggested, that if they knew just how loud they were being, it would at least be minimized.

Now, having children of my own, I am aware that sometimes children do jump around, but the frequency of this type of noise from upstairs would suggest that the child living there is either an unusually large rabbit or perhaps a small kangaroo. I do understand that when you live in an apartment and have neighbors above you, you will have some noise filter through the ceiling. I have gone many weeks without complaining because I understand that there is going to be some noise. But, after my pleasant experience with my neighbor below yesterday morning, I felt like I knew just what to say with those above, particularly when the "furniture moving" was taking place this morning before 7:30.
I do not expect that the noise will be halted completely, but I do expect that my neighbors would want to be courteous and try to make their residence as stress-free and pleasant for everyone. However, when I went up there this morning to once again call it to their attention, I was met with nothing but rudeness and aggression. I knocked on the door and when the man answered, I told him that the noise was very loud coming from his apartment. He immediately was telling me that I had no right to complain about the noise from his apartment when he is disturbed by the sound of my children playing on the porch. He said that the noise I hear is "what I get for living below him (hey, I was here first!) - that it’s just the kinda noise they make." I was trying to explain that I have not ever complained of the noise his daughter and her friends make on their porch or even the noise I hear at night - loud noises, like they are moving furniture, I am not kidding. Instead of letting me say anything, he continued to tell me that they are never home and that the noise my kids make on the porch (my girls are out only during daylight hours) disturbs him when he and his girlfriend are sitting on their porch. He was aggressive, insisting that I have no right interrupting his morning to complain about the noise they make and that I should just "take it up with the office if (I) have a problem." I did tell him that I had previously brought this to the attention to the girl up there and he told me "I know, she told me you were awfully rude about it." I know I wasn’t, I know I laughed when I made the elephant comment, I maybe was getting irritated when she insisted that they are never there, but I was not rude or accusatory. I simply wanted to let them know that my lights shake when they are moving so heavily around up there.

Now, I admit, I probably should have introduced myself by name when he came to the door and maybe I should have immediately begun apologizing? I have no idea what would have gotten a less aggressive response from him. When I returned to my apartment, wondering if we really should renew the lease or hurry up and find someplace else to live (moving? Again?!??!), I was shaking. This man was incredibly threatening in the way he spoke to me, though not in the words he chose. His words did clearly convey that he has no interest in curtailing the noise or being a courteous neighbor. But it was the way that he spoke and his stance that caused anxiety and fear to course through my body as I came back downstairs. I called A immediately and relayed what had happened. The noise increased after I came back to my apartment and I suppose it was my neighbor’s way of sending a message to me that he is in control.
Except that we will just have to be more in control by forcing ourselves not to be disturbed (even when I am awaken throughout the night and morning) by the noises from above.
Should I just suck it up and not say anything to the office? Or would that be letting the bully above me win? And I haven't even talked about how we can't have our windows open when they are home since they smoke on their porch... yuck.
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April 28, 2005
American Idol Travesty
I cannot believe that Scott Sav*l is still in this competition. While I was definitely a fan of his from early on, his inconsistency and general failure to perform well in different genres has made me bang my head against a wall week after week when he is voted on the show. Are there scads of Americans out there voting for this guy simply because he is a Joe Schmo? Or is it a big joke? All these people are gonna make him the next American Idol as a joke on the producers of the show? What?
I am also sick and tired of listening to the musical stylings of ultra-vanilla Anthony. Yes, he has a nice voice, but is he idol material? Not really. I mean, you gotta hand it to a guy who's gonna get out there and belt out Celine Dion, but he's not really the next hot thing. A and I were wondering why we don't really like him, but we loved Clay. I'll tell you why, Clay has an AMAZING voice. Hands down, one of the most incredible voices they've had on that show. ever. So, Anthony, I think the market is not out there for his albums - sure he'd sell a few because he does have a nice, smooth voice, but he's really not amazing.
There is no way that these two are better than Nikko, Anwar, Nadia, or *gasp* Constantine.
I seriously am considering not watching any more of this season. As far as I am concerned the competition is over. The top three should have been Bo, Constantine and Vonzell. And well, I think Bo should win.
And dang, I am not some big Constantine fan cuz I think he's sexy (he's just okay), but the guy can sing way better than 3 others in the current "top" 5. He just kept getting better and better - and singing better than even I (an early fan) imagined he could. I think it is awful that he suffered because his fan base didn't know the Nickelback song.
Constantine, I'll buy your first album. Just please tell me you have the sense to work with a good producer.
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April 26, 2005
Atlanta - My Home Away from Home
I should have done this over the weekend - or late last week since now my brain has forgotten half of the week.
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On the trip up, we stopped to meet Cara, L and D for lunch at Cracker Barrel. It was a nice way to break up our long drive and as always, so wonderful to spend a bit of time with a good friend. I wish that I had dug out my camera and taken some pictures of the kids, since V and L were glued to one another again. Those two really act like they spend each day together, little peas in a pod. Little A and D are always the "stepchildren" of the bunch, left out of the fun with the older girls. But, a delicious lunch was had by all and, of course, the visit was much too brief.
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We arrived about dinner time in Atlanta and got settled into our hotel suite. We had a quick trip out after A realized that he couldn't find his cell phone charger. So nice to be "home" on a business trip.
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Sunday, we had a lazy start, then church where A played drums with the old group. I'd had about an hour to while away before mass since he had to practice beforehand. I was blessed to get to visit with the nice girls in the nursery and see some of my friends that I knew from the mom's group there. During mass, as I watched A and one of my good friends playing music at the front of the church, I was overcome with tears as I realized just how much Atlanta had become home to me. How much my community and friends at church had come to mean to me in such a short time. And how much that is missing at our new church here - how I feel rather alone here, in spite of being an hour from our family and friends.
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After church, we ran to the grocery and a quick change of clothes at the hotel before heading to one of our favorite parks. My friend T came with her two and half children :) and we had a nice picnic lunch and wearing out the kids. I think we had room service that night for dinner. So nice.
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Monday, was spent with my dear sister Becca and her family. It was nice to finally meet her husband, but I have to tell you that I swear it wasn't like meeting at all. More like getting together again. And of course, little Rach was so adorable. We hung out at their place before heading out to grab lunch and drive to the Children's Place Outlet in North GA. We got some incredible deals and Becca even got a couple things for herself at one of the other stores before we headed back into town. Because of the time, I thought we'd stop and pick up A from his training instead of making him walk the mile to the metro and then taking the metro to the part of town where Becca lives. So, we got there and he was done about half hour later than expected. So, we spent the wait letting Rach drive the car and then we all got out for a little walk. You should have seen us all loaded into the car - three adults in the front seat and three kids in car seats in the back. It was seriously like a clown car. Thank goodness, the drive back to Becca's wasn't so bad. We had a casual dinner, packed around their little dining table, but the evening was nice. We were blessed to have the family come up to meet us for dinner Wednesday night as well and we enjoyed a rather nice meal at The Cheescake Factory. :) Always too brief.
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Tuesday, V had school and her big end-of-school-year evaluation. It was wonderful that B, the mexican woman in the nursery at V's school, was working in the morning and Little A was thrilled to see her. It was also nice to see the other parents that had become casual friends during the time V was in the school last fall. Little A and I had a lunch date with some friends which was so nice, another cause for me to shed a few tears - just missing the time I used to spend with these girls and their families. We returned to the school (by this time, I was so sick of driving and it was only Tuesday!) to find V with red clay dirt embedded in her scalp and covering her forehead and clothes. Apparently a new student was picking it up the dirt and throwing it on her head - and she just let him. Strange girl. It's a wonder they cleared her to proceed to first grade. ha! Smart little cookie - she's four and half!
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We met some friends for dinner at the mall Tuesday and rushed back to the hotel to watch American Idol. My girls are also addicts.
Wednesday, we met a friend (I'd left my camera behind at her house the day before) at a park before heading to another friend's empty house to spend the afternoon doing our laundry and just relaxing. It saved her a few bucks since the babysitter didn't have to come take care of the dog and it allowed me to get laundry done and have an afternoon kind of at home. This friend is one that I was/am so sad I didn't get to see while I was in Atlanta, but I know it meant a lot to her family and friends for her to be visiting them in Ohio. Especially since a good friend lost her grandmother last week.
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Thursday, we met a friend and her (high school age) daughter for a local theater show and then lunch. It was so nice to spend time with this friend. She and I forged a deep bond during the time I was in Atlanta and she was battling breast cancer. She is so special and such a strong testament to faith. I really enjoyed my brief time with her and to meet her dear daughter. What a sweet girl. After lunch, I went to spend a gift certificate at the School Box, then back to the hotel for naptime and then to the pharmacy (did I mention that Little A's asthma went crazy with all the pollen? and that since we hadn't had to give her any meds for the last couple months I didn't even pack the neb or inhaler!).
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Friday, I refused to take A to his training in the morning. I did not want to go out in rush hour traffic one more time. Besides, I will leave out the fact that every morning of the week, V got sick in the car - and she hadn't even had breakfast! The girls and I had a lazy morning of cartoons and movies in the hotel room before packing up. We left after lunchtime to make the drive back to the Sunshine State. It was a rough trip back, with lots of rain through middle GA and a late arrival at A's parents' house. Did I mention how wonderful they are that they even gave us the big Lincoln to take on our trip so we wouldn't be cramped into my little Nissan? So, instead of coming home from our week away, we went there.
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I'm debating on giving much details about my weekend, due to the personal nature of the information and the public aspect of this weblog. If it were only info about me, I'd be willing to share, but this is some really bad stuff about other people and I just don't want this place to be one of bashing other people, though I'd really like to right now. I told Kelly yesterday some of what happened and am willing to share via email some of what went on and the reasons I cancelled like a loser our dinner with Sandi and her husband. But, I warn you, it comes off as bi*ching and you can ask Becca - I am hopping mad over what is going on - mad to the point of having foul language in every sentence. I certainly don't have to be foul in an email, but the situation has definitely put a negative attitude into semi-permanent residence in my head.
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If you've made it this far into the post, I love you. You've been wonderful, praying for my family and missing me this past week. :) I've missed you, dears.
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And until next time, God Bless you.
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April 25, 2005
I'm Back, with Technical Difficulties
We are finally home. I will give some updates later, but for now, I am working on trying to get our internet connection repaired (Verizon maybe is preventing my new "MAC Address" from connecting through the modem. Ugh. (you might wonder how I am composing this post... well, apparently, one of our neighbors has wireless internet - and I am connecting through their modem! USE FIREWALLS, my friends)

Anyway, I will be posting an update or two - one re: Atlanta and one re: our distressing return.

Until then, be safe and blessed.
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April 15, 2005
Out of Commission....
Well, I don't know if I will be back online before late next weekend...

We are leaving tomorrow to go to Atlanta for the week, and I have loads of laundry to do and much packing up of computer stuff, as I referenced
here. I am really excited that I will be seeing my Atlanta friends and that Becca has gotten permission to take the day off Monday to spend with the girls and me!

We are actually going to go tonight to spend the night with A's parents because I forgot to bring his bongos home and he's playing with the ensemble at our church home in Atlanta on Sunday at the noon mass. :) I am thinking maybe we will have breakfast with my mom tomorrow before we hit the road, too.

I am excited to be going to see most of my friends in Atlanta, particularly one you all know in blogland. I am super excited that we will finally be able to get our husbands together and meet each other's other half - even though I am already pretty comfortable with M, after talking on the phone and on IM several times. We also have plans to meet up with another couple (A's been friends with her practically his whole life and we were blessed to grow a friendship with them while we lived in Atlanta) for dinner Tuesday. I'll be so happy to see our friends and their children - all of them are at ages where they change almost daily, so I can't imagine what it will be like to get the kids all together. And, Little A and I will have lunch on Thursday with some of my favorite people in Atlanta. A wonderful pair of girls, that I have been so blessed to become friends with.

I am hoping that I will hear back from the principal at V's school and that she'll be able to attend Tue/Thu this week. It turns out it is also her teacher's last week before maternity leave, so I need to gather up a baby gift for her. V is excited at the prospect of seeing her classmates and their other friends while we are on "vacation".

I am just looking forward to not having the responsibilities of home for a few days. I need a little break and hopefully, I'll be able to steal away one evening for a pedicure at my favorite skin care school. That would be a slice of heaven. :) And the parks... oooh, the public parks in the greater metro area are just beautiful. I am looking forward to some cool spring weather and beautiful days at the park.

And well, I just don't even know if I will have computer access anywhere there. Maybe I'll even read a book. :)

Until next time, may God's abundant blessings be evident in your life.
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April 14, 2005
Mixed Feelings About Dell
Can you believe my new system came today!??!?! Incredible! I was really excited after returning from the park to find a sticky note on my door from UPS.

I tried copying my pictures and other files onto my new external hard drive, only to have my old pc crash halfway through the download. Ugh. Decided to try to network the two computers and move the files that way.

Unpacked and set up the Dell - happily cleaning and dusting my desk, vacuuming the cobwebs from the wires behind the desk... Got it hooked up and got online.

My techie friend IM'd me and said Dell had an even better deal today - with a 19" flat panel monitor and free printer - for the same price I'd paid for no printer and a 15". Well, I called them up.

I thought, hey, they don't want to deal with the issue of a return and all that, they would just send out the new monitor and I'd return this little one. Nope. I had to order a whole new system (thank God for credit cards) and will box this one back up tomorrow and send it on its way.

Weird, you'd think they wouldn't want the hassle - since the system is EXACTLY the same. I wasn't even going to push for the printer.... but for 4" more!

I don't care what any of you say, size DOES matter.
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April 13, 2005
You're kidding me!
I am 98% sure that I am now allergic to something in beer. That's right. All of a sudden, I am getting an allergic reaction whenever I imbibe a brew or two.

Not something that is easy to overlook, having blisters on my lips that burst when I put softening lip balm on. Having scads of tattered skin on my precious lips makes them not only hurt, but totally unkissable - even to my girls.

I have to admit that maybe there is a problem since I am motivated to see an allergist more quickly than I was when we wondered if it was a new allergy to peanuts.

Beer = good

Allergy to beer = very very bad

I want to cry (okay, not really - but who is allergic to beer?! And how can I have THIS happen in a week when I was motivated to have a couple brews?)

Any thoughts?
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April 12, 2005
Strange Day
Today would have been my dad's 19th wedding anniversary, if he'd lived past August, 1994.
I had a simple plan of taking my mom to a healing mass this afternoon and getting some folks to pray (more) for her in particular. Now, I did have alterior motives, since going to mass means I receive eucharist and I need it as much as possible these days. Aside from mass and prayers afterwards, I really had no other plans for the day, other than spending some time with my mom and helping her with anything she might need.
Well, I awoke late (it was nearly 9!) and felt guilty that MIL had been up with the girls. I know she enjoys the private time with them on the mornings we are there, but I can't help but think their presence also intrudes on what is normally her quiet solitude each day. After a quick getting ready, I loaded up our stuff (not much since it was one overnight stay) and the girls and headed out. We stopped at a major discount store to get the girls some swimsuits to leave at Mimi's (she and Pop got a pool last summer). I ended up buying my mom an outfit too, since she mentioned yesterday that if she's going to start having a social life and going to church, she's going to have to buy some clothes. I know that there is a big question mark about how she will pay the mortgage next month, so I thought we'd forego a couple dinners out and I will pick up a few things for her when I can.
Well, strangely, time got away from us and we were rushing to get out the door to mass. The girls were thrilled to be able to stay with my mom's cousin and swim while we went to mass. They were in that pool all afternoon, breaking only for lunch and potty breaks. After mass, my mom and I stopped to pick up a hard drive I ordered yesterday (terrified we are going to lose the stuff on our computer before the new one comes - this thing is a beast, crashing after about 20 minutes at its worst). We also stopped at the grocery to pick up a few things for dinner (I hadn't known I was staying that late) and she surprised me by announcing she wanted to go by the tow yard. I didn't want to take her, but I knew she'd go alone, so we stopped. I really wasn't interested in seeing the wrecked bike again, but she didn't want to see it alone...
When we got back in the car she accused me of thinking her weak (I had discouraged her from seeing the motorcycle). And then she went on to tell me all the tough things she's gone through in her life, which I know very well. And I gently tried to explain that I wasn't accusing her of being weak or anything else, I just didn't see the good it would do for her to see the wrecked bike that her love had died upon - the bike that she was pissed he bought only a month before. That even though he was happy on the bike, it ultimately did lead to his death even if the fault was not Pop's. So, instead of her being upset or crying or something, she was pissed at me for having told her she shouldn't go see it.
Back at her house, there was a message that one of Pop's friends was going to clean out his locker at work tonight and bring its contents over in the morning. She would have none of that. She didn't want anyone, not his boss, not his friend, nobody, to touch his things. She wanted to do it herself. She wanted a peak into his life outside of home, I suspect. On the phone, one of the guys told me she shouldn't do it - that there were some pictures he was certain she would not want to see, implying that he had some pinups or something. Well, come on, we are adults and if she doesn't know that he looks at chicks in bathing suits after being with him 16 years, then she's clueless. She didn't want to go alone and I offered her cousin the honor, but she refused, preferring to watch my girls frolick in the pool. So, out we went again, to get it done before dinner.
There were no nudie pictures in his locker, unless you count the one of my mom from about 23 years ago in a tiny string bikini (not that there was much to cover anyway, busty my mom was not). It was a bit more upsetting emotionally to find that the goofy magnet my mom bought him for his birthday was on the outside of his locker and the inside of the door was plastered with pictures of his family - several of my girls, several of his grandson (his older son has a child that we have only met like once, but the mother was sending pictures occasionally - from Orlando), old old pictures of himself and friends, and a picture of my when I was 20 and a friend had come to visit at spring break, only a few months after I moved to FL. There were other odds and ends and some things my mom will have to go through, but it was incredibly sad that we were able to erase the physical evidence of 10+ years in a matter of 5 minutes. We were touched that the guys there took the time to offer their condolences and express their own sadness, each one telling personal stories of time they worked with Pop. But still sad that we walked out of there with a plastic bag that held the flimsy evidence of long hours, great pride and a big part of my stepfather's life. I hope those guys hold dear in their hearts the memories of B, allowing him to hover around a place that really brought him a lot of satisfaction.
And then back to my mom's for dinner. By this time, I really just wanted to load up the kids and head home, but my mom was adamant about us staying for dinner.
We made it home without incident, about half hour later than I wanted, but about another 2 years older. This was a day that I did not inted to have this emotional weight so firmly placed upon me. I wouldn't change it, I want my mom to lean on me as much as she needs to for as long as she needs to. I just hadn't planned on emotional stuff today. (selfish of me? probably)
However, I can't wait for tomorrow. A day of cleaning and laundry and schoolwork.
Ahhh, the simplicity of home.
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April 11, 2005
Life Goes On
I feel guilty about it, too. I know I shouldn't, but let's face it, my mom is still in the midst of seeing the pieces of her life scattered on the floor around her - she hasn't even begun to pick them up.

But, as the title says....

I came home this weekend and found even more problems plaguing my computer. I have no viruses and no spyware.... Some other critical errors, though. We've run all sorts of diagnostics and gotten some great tech support. To no avail. This weekend, the dumb thing has crashed no less than 5 times - in 2 days.

I'll tell you a funny story about why I am blaming one of my best friends for the current problems. First, his wife built this computer. Second, he has been my tech support for all the years I've had a computer. And third, 11 days ago he sent me a link to Dell with a phenomenal deal - but we weren't even thinking then of replacing the computer, just adding some memory to what we have.

I was completely unwilling to think about spending the money 11 days ago - even accused him of trying to get me out of his hair, technologically speaking. And look at what happens. Here I am, with a computer that is sporadically functioning (at best). And while we were able to find a similar deal, it wasn't the sweetness that could have been had a scant week ago.

So, we took the plunge. This morning.

Dude, I'm gettin' a Dell!
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April 09, 2005
We are Here *Edited*
I finally came home last night. I will add more to this entry, but I wanted you all to know that I am depressed, but okay.

I appreciate your prayers and all those who have donated money for my mom (can you believe it cost her more than $70 for a scrip for something to help her sleep?!?!?) Her heart medications alone are going to keep her in the poor house, so your donations are more than appreciated.

I love you all and like I said, I will add more later. But for now, my girls need their mommy.


***Edited***

Things have obviously been crazy, what with planning a funeral and all this past week. This whole thing has been a shock and completely uprooting for us. I have been doing pretty well, holding it together, with the exception of some wailing into the mattress last Monday night. I feel like there are some emotions boiling below the surface, but they are unwilling to come out, now that I am free to emote as much as needed. Figures.

I won't go into great detail regarding my mom's financial situation, but suffice to say it is looking bleak. Florida does not recognize common law marriage, so even though my mom and Pop have been together for 16 years, she has absolutely no rights. Except that since the house was also in her name, she can keep it - as long as she keeps making payments. Hopefully, we can help her make that happen. The only advantage to not having been married, she is not responsible for his abundant debts - scary how much he has racked up in the 2 years since they refinanced the home and he took money out to pay off his credit cards. Absolutely unbelievable. And how she will pay her monthly bills is beyond us right now, and we are just going day by day and trying to figure out what she will do. If she sells the house, she will be forced to move to another county (she couldn't afford any place where she is due to the skyrocketing real estate)... and we all agree that she shouldn't have to lose her partner and then everything else too. So, we will figure it out somehow. I will not let her live on the street, that's for sure.

The girls, well, it is weird how they've handled it. I guess they are too young to really understand, though V pointed out that we will see him again - when we go to heaven too. Little A keeps asking when we go to their house to see Pop too. It will be a long time before she stops asking, I think. Their major thing this past week was mommy being gone every day. It was stressful for them to be with someone else every day - they both wanted to sleep with me each night - even if they could only sleep on the floor next to my bed (we were staying at A's parents' house so I could be close to my mom). They have both been a bit clingy, even this weekend, all four of us being home together.

My mom's sister leaves tomorrow to go home to SC and then her cousin will "move in" for 2 weeks. My mom intends to go back to work on Thursday and I think it is good for her to try to have a routine and get into some sort of groove. I also think it is key that cousin D will be here for two weeks so my mom doesn't have to be alone at night after work. My grandmother is coming in May for a week or two as well and I think my aunt plans to come back in the summer for a week. This is very nice of all of them, but I hope they let her be when she asks and I hope they respect that she is going to have changing needs every day.

I am feeling very protective of her, and I have to balance that with wanting to completely take care of her - she is really going to have to learn to be on her feet on her own. It is a scary future for her, but one in which I hope she is able to find peace and eventual happiness in spite of her loss.

Of course, I can't stop thinking of all the wonderful times we spent together as a family - we'd just started spending holidays together with A's parents and grandparents and my parents included. We just all had Easter dinner together - and our Disney trip last September. It is startling to think that those holidays in the future will include my mom arriving on her own. I can't imagine how her life has changed in the blink of an eye.

I have so much more to say, but I haven't decided if I am going to write down everything here... I did get a paper journal to record my thoughts and feelings. I just don't know if my blog is the place to store these things - and honestly, as much as you all have proven you care, I am certain there are details you just don't want to know. Trust me.

I love you all and want to extend sincere thanks for your thoughts, prayers and generosity during this incredibly difficult time for my family. I will never be able to thank you enough. I pray God rewards you with many blessings for being such a great support for me (and my mom has read some of your comments and always is so touched that these thoughts and prayers are coming from literally around the world and that I have not yet met so many of you in person.) It means a lot to her that I have you. And I know she will eventually cherish the pages of well wishes received from you during this time. Believe me, she feels the prayers.

I want to close real quick and let you know that my computer is on the blink. We are going to have buy a new one and I don't know if I am even going to be able to get online each day this week. Also, we are leaving Saturday to go to Atlanta (A has training that has been rescheduled like 3 times). We will be there for a week and will return just in time to have dinner with Sandi and her husband to celebrate their anniversary and her birthday). While I am in Atlanta, I look forward to spending as much time as possible with my friends there, in particular, Becca, who has been incredible to me this week (not that the rest of you haven't been, but there's been something special between Becca and me that we've truly felt like family practically since before we met in person).

I do appreciate you all and I can't wait to eventually sit down and have a cup of coffee or shot of vodka or something with each of you. You will never know just how much your support and love through this time has meant to me. Truly unbelievable - you all have humbled me.

Until next time, God Bless you and keep you and yours safe.
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April 08, 2005
Blogspot was being Bumb yesterday....
or, my computer was being stupid with this site, but I could not post for Holly yesterday.

Well, I was trying to post yesterday to think of Holly and her family (she asks for prayers especially for her mom) at 1pm for the funeral. She said it would be a long, hard day. We spoke briefly 10am yesterday, and she told me we probably would not speak until sometime today.

We've been watching my 9 year old niece the past 2 days, so when I do speak to Holly, the first chance I get I'll post an update from her. I'll do my best to get it here fast.

She does thank everyone for their comments, those sending their love and prayers, and everyone who is donating. Please keep spreading the word - your actions are more than appreciated!!!! Holly loves you all. Thanks for sticking by her during this time.

Much love to all of you, and thanks for all you do. I'm honored to witness all the friendship we've been seeing this week - and Holly and her mom especially are honored to be touched by it all.

God Bless,
Becca
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April 05, 2005
A Post For Holly





Hello Dear Friends. This is Becca for Holly. She wanted me to get the "Make a Donation" sticker on her blog. You'll find it above, and to the left top of her blog near her pic and info. Please let me know if the links don't work - I'm not the best HTML queen around.

Holly is holding up. She is VERY busy and on "autopilot" as she says. I also spoke with her mom today, who was having a better moment when I spoke with her, but it is still unbelievable. There really are no words are there?

Holly does want to thank, somehow, all of you. She is so grateful for the paypal account, and all the offers of "what can I do?" Jen was INCREDIBLE today to spend so much time working on photoshop with some pictures of Pop for the funeral. Holly thanks you so much, and Holly's mom especially, Jen, was very appreciative. She was raving about your work. Your work was so moving, incredible, and perfect. They ordered copies of all the pics, with 2 being the ones for the funeral blown up bigger for many to see. THANK YOU for your time in creating this tribute.

That is about all the updates for now. Please consider giving. The financial picture is not looking pretty, and the more word we can get out, the better. If you'd like the HTML code, many of us have it now, or you can contact me here on this blog, or here for the code.

You all are incredible. Much love to all of you. This community is amazing.
God's Peace and Blessings!
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April 04, 2005
I can't believe I am writing this....
This morning, just before 3:30am, I was awakened by a nightmare. I was unable to go back to sleep, completely spooked and feeling like something was terribly wrong. Our phone rang about 15 minutes later. Seriously. Well, I ran to the living room to answer it, but there was noone there. I have caller id so I picked up the phone and called the number back, only to go straight to voicemail - where I ranted and accused the person of having no manners.

The phone rang a minute later (same number) and it was the police. I immediately thought it was regarding my mom, since she has a heart condition (and they were calling from my mom's town). Even once they told me she was okay, and they were taking her to the hospital, I was convinced she'd had another heart attack. It wasn't until she got on the phone, crying, and told me that B was in an accident that I realized I had been wrong all along.

My stepdad (most of you know that my dad died about 10 1/2 years ago, suddenly) was on his way home after going out for a couple hours. He'd gone to a rib festival as an excuse to ride his motorcycle in the beautiful early summer weather. As he was nearing his street, a pickup truck made a u-turn directly in front of him. I won't go into the gruesome details, but I will tell you that a pickup truck made a u-turn right in front of him. The driver was arrested for DUI and later also charged with manslaughter (initially, Pop had brain stem function, thus was breathing on top of the ventilator - though barely).


My mom arrived at the hospital about 4:30 this morning, and I arrived a scant 45 minutes later (I live 75 miles away). After talking to the chaplain (before even seeing my mom and stepbrother), I knew there was no hope. I just hugged my stepbrother B as he was walking out, telling him over and over "I am so sorry". He insisted that "You know Dad is going to pull through this, he is a fighter." I didn't have the strength just then to tell him not to leave, but that today would be the last day his father was on earth.

I went in the ER and though I thought I had prepared myself, knowing the circumstances of the accident and that there would be no recovery.... There was no preparing myself for what lie in front of me. My poor Pop didn't look at all like himself, the swelling had masked his face, and the only definable feature (that actually looked like him) was his fingertips of the right hand - the skin around his nails still stained from the ink that was so much a part of his professional life.

My other stepbrother arrived shortly before 7 and by that time, I had gleaned some details of Pop's condition from the chaplain (who was unable to offer information, but nodded and shook his head in answer to my questions). I told M that there was no hope for recovery, physically or neurologically. The second time I would tell a brother that his father wouldn't make it. In his certain disbelief, he required the nurse to tell him precisely the details of his father's condition. The nurse was gruesome with his details, leaving no room in any of our hearts for hope.

I was too distressed to tell a third brother the news of his father's demise (I was the one who told my own brother that our dad had died over 10 years ago), so after we spoke directly to the neurologist, M called B to come back to the hospital. When he arrived, he needed to be told by the nurse the gruesome-ness of his father's condition. We then met with the LifeLink rep, to discuss our options for donation of Pop's organs. After talking with her, we made the decision to have the ventilator removed as soon as possible. This never did actually happen because the neurologist refused to sign the paper for at least 24 hours. While this made me angry (he himself had told us that there was no hope for recovery), I would soon realize that the ventilator would not be enough to keep his body alive.

The nurse removed the dopamine drip (it was no longer having any effect on his blood pressure anyway). Then, another drug stopped working to keep the blood vessels constricted, so that drip was stopped. The respiratory therapist did lower the function of the respirator by 5 points. In a couple hours, he finally stopped breathing at all on his own. I had asked A to come and be with us (thank God my cousin Brit was here for her spring break and A was able to leave the girls with her). He arrived just before Pop stopped breathing on his own. Something about having A's arms around her, maybe it was because it was the man that loved her next best to Pop, but my mom broke down in my husband's arms. It was the first time of the day I truly saw the extent of her grief. She'd been holding it together pretty well, certainly lots of crying and contorting of face, but not the complete weakness I saw as my husband held her. I felt grateful and devastated at the same time. This would be repeated again later in the day when my amazing husband told me that he understands that we might have to welcome my mother to live with us, depending on what we discover in the clear picture of her finances.

After Pop stopped breathing on his own, a short - but very long - two hours was spent standing around his bed, watching his blood pressure slowly fall. Then his heart rate decreased by half and within minutes, stopped altogether. Though we knew it was coming, it didn't change the devastation felt in each of our beating hearts.

Please pray for my family during this time, particularly for my stepbrothers - but especially my mom, who has lost the other half of her life.

I so appreciate all your prayers. I can tell I am being prayed for as I go about taking care of the details, piecing together the puzzle that is my mother's financial future. There are no words to express my gratitude for your generosity in prayers and for those of you who set up the paypal account and who are donating to help my mom in this incredibly difficult time.

I will be gone for several days, but will check in to read everyone's prayers and wishes - it does help during this incredibly painful time. Becca will have access to my blog and will update as necessary. I imagine none of you need to hear the daily details of my next days as I sift through paperwork and legalities...

Again, thank you. God Bless You.
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April 02, 2005
May He Rest In Peace
Hearts are both saddened and joyful as the beloved Reverand Pope John Paul II has left this earth to share in everlasting life with his Heavenly Father.

The Pontiff's recent illness and longtime battle with Parkinson's disease and other health issues have ended, his suffering coming to a peaceful, loving end. The day before his death, he requested a reading of the passages of Christ's body being taken down from the Cross, wrapped in linens and laid to rest in the tomb.

May Catholics (and other supporters) around the world be comforted in knowing John Paul has already risen to meet Christ, whole again in the perfection of eternal life.

Your influence will transcend time and your presence will be greatly missed. God Bless you, Reverand Father.
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April 01, 2005
A WORTHY CAUSE
Click here to help raise money for breast cancer research



PLEASE GO to California Hammonds and participate in the Comment-A-Thon. I have spent many late nights reading the love story that is his blog. I have never been so touched by someone's open-ness in the midst of so much pain.

GO FRIDAY AND COMMENT - Bookmark the site and read it later if you don't have time now. ***Say I sent you and I will donate one dollar for each referral (up to 50) that comments on his site on April 1. (comment here too to let me know you participated in this worthy cause)***

It puts my life into perspective. The Hammonds are an incredible family.

If you aren't interested in reading, at least go Comment! It is for a great cause. And then, sit down and pray for the family. Today must be incredibly difficult for them.

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