Monday, March 27, 2017

Tired. Hospitals. Kidnapping.

I. Am. Exhausted. But! I must stay awake, so here I go.
I've been at the hospital with Kevin since 2am because he started having chest pains last night. Chest pain is nothing to take lightly to begin with, but Kevin was a bit worried given that his father just had a heart attack last month. To sum it up, he's not having a heart attack and the doctors don't believe the pain has anything to do with his heart, but they're running some tests to rule out blood clots and any illnesses, so we're going to be here a while yet.
Coming to this hospital this morning has really opened my eyes and shown me how great St. Luke's is. I've always loved St. Luke's hospitals for they're short waiting times--Anderson Campus had my father-in-law in the OR in less than 30 minutes--thoroughness of their doctors, attentive nurses, and the sweetest house keepers! The list goes on and on. It truly is a wonderful hospital.
And now here we are in a hospital where ER patients have waited for more than an hour and a half to be see a doctor. The overall upkeep of the hospital itself is the worst I've ever seen. The nurses and doctors have all been great, which is the most important thing, obviously, but my experience here has really made me think.
There are so many things you take for granted in life. And with that, there are so many things that we don't really think about as anything less than staples in everyone's lives.
Hospitals are one of those things. Clean, well-maintained and functioning hospitals where doctors are knowledgeable and experienced, where the entire staff goes above and beyond to make sure every patient receives the best possible care.
It's hard to believe that many people don't have access to doctors or sanitary health care practices. It's a necessity, something most of us don't think twice about. We need it, so it's always going to be there, right?
Just something to think about...
On that note, I must get back home now so I can get Sebastian ready for school--don't worry, they're not home alone! But I may wait another few minutes to witness the action going on outside Kevin's room... "You can't hold me here against my will. It's not kidnappin' but you can't keep me against my will. I'm signin' my right to walk out this hospital."
Have a great day, everyone!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

All Because She's Proud of Me

If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor. -Neil Simon
I checked my mail this morning (apparently I forgot to do so on Saturday) and was pleasantly not-so-surprised to find a letter from a friend. The letter itself meant so much to me, but the most important words were, "I'm proud of you."
I don't hear this often, so after everything we've been through since we decided to move our family to another state, I couldn't help but smile and blink away a few tears.
I am the type of person who needs constant reassurance that I'm doing the right thing. So when Kevin and I made the decision to pack up our family and move 500 miles away from everything I've ever known, I was beyond uncertain, scared, excited, heartbroken. Completely and utterly overwhelmed.
Was I doing the right thing for my family? Would my mother hate me for taking her three grandbabies so far away from her? What if my grandparents get sick? Will Sebastian experience a culture shock, moving from a rather small mostly-white community to a very diverse suburb on the outskirts of a big city? Will I be able to find a job if I need to, in a place where I don't know a single soul? I've always had at least a connection or two whenever I started a new job "up home."
So many questions unanswered. No reassurance that I was doing the best thing. But I knew. Deep down I knew that this is what our family needed. The time had come when our income was lower than our expenses. So when Kevin was offered a job making more money in a community where the cost-of-living was so much less than what we were used to... I would have been stupid, not to mention a bad parent, to talk myself out of it.
Indeed I did try. When it came time to say goodbye to my closest friend. My grandfather, crying for the first time since I was small. My mom. My children's Mum Mum. Crying. Heartbroken. When I had to tell her to leave because I couldn't bear to see her falling to pieces any longer. Knowing it was all my fault. "Just go!"
I tried to talk myself out of it. Just stay. Unload the truck. Put the pictures back on the wall. Put the coffee maker back on the counter and brew a cup for mom. Tell her you can't do it. You can't live without her being any farther than a 30-minute drive away. You can't live without your best friend, just a couple towns away to be there for you whenever you need a quick escape from the walls of your own home. Don't do it. You don't have to do it.
But I did it. Despite the absolute fear of the unknown, I took the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken in my entire life, and fell. Over and over again I fell. But every time, I got back up. I hyperventilated. I cried. I had anxiety attack after anxiety attack. I yelled. I sobbed. I gave the silent treatment. I turned the radio on and sang away my sorrows.
And hear I am, sitting by my fireplace all alone while the littles are asleep, knowing that this journey to a better life is far from over. But, son of a bitch! I did it! I DID IT! I looked fear in the face and I flipped it the bird! I'd be lying if I said he didn't spit in my face and kick me while I was down, but I still told him to kiss my ass!
"I'm proud of you." I am proud of myself. I'm proud of my husband. God knows how crazy it must have been for him! To leave his job of ten years! To start over in a brand new place, so foreign and fast paced (the job, not the south). But he's doing it. He's doing it for us. We're doing it.
Life has been hard. But my God has it been so good. And now I know that I'm not always going to have reassurance. Every single person I love will not always agree with my decisions. And I don't "need" them to. Sure, I'm going to want it. But even when I can not see the top of the staircase, I will keep climbing.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What a Beautiful Day for Heartbreak

It's beautiful here today in North Carolina. It's 64 degrees, the sun is shining, and there isn't a cloud in the sky.
The house is filled with the aroma of citrus and spices, along with the voice of Nathaniel Ratecliff on the radio. Sebastian's at school, Kevin's at work, Noah's napping, and Avery's eating her lunch.
Laika and I are sitting on the deck, listening to the birds calling to one another.
It really is a beautiful day.
But it's one of those days for me. I miss my mom and I just keep picturing her crying over Noah on my living room floor as he slept the night we said goodbye. My heart is broken.
I'm trying to be positive and I know this move was best, but it's really hard. I just try to keep busy so my thoughts aren't constantly racing.
I know it'll get better with time. But today, I just want to cry.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Chaos Ensues! Oh, the Irony!

I knew it was too good to be true. Every night I wake up at least one time before 1am and 3am. I take a drink of water from my bedside table, toss and turn, and eventually scroll through Facebook until I fall asleep again.
My first five--yes, five!--nights in our new home were completely uninterrupted. Until tonight. I knew all along it must have been exhaustion and stress weighing on me, and sure enough, I think I've finally returned to my "normal" sleep pattern. Ugh.
So as you might have guessed, the craziness has not stopped. After we found a house here in NC, we returned to PA with my father-in-law, "Big Kev," so he could drive our moving truck to NC while my husband, Kevin, and I drove our personal vehicles. As we got into bed the first night back in PA, Kevin realized he forgot to lock the back of the truck, which we had already begun loading with our belongings. And thank God he did.
When Kevin and I went downstairs, Big Kev was sitting up on our couch, saying he didn't feel well. He followed us outside because he felt like he was going to be sick, then told us it felt like an elephant was sitting on his chest. I knew he was having a heart attack, but all of my in-laws are stubborn, so he said he was fine. Needless to say we took him to the ER, and sure enough, he was having a heart attack.
Not only were we worried about my father-in-law, but we were running on about 6 hours of sleep over the previous three days, and now we had three vehicles to two drivers. It was decided that Kevin would leave his truck in PA at my uncle's so Kevin could drive the moving truck to NC, and we'd come back in a week or two to pick it up. No biggy. Then the chaos with the moving truck happened.
Upon renting the truck, Kevin questioned whether the driver needed a CDL because it had air brakes. The woman at the rental company assure him it did not, so my husband drove the truck home. A day or two later, my uncle, who has a CDL, questioned it again. Not only did the truck have air brakes, but once it was loaded, even just a little bit, the truck was overweight to be driven by a non-CDL holder. Fantastic. We called the company again and this time we were told, "Oh, I guess you're right." I guess you're right?! You guess?! Now we either needed a CDL driver to drive our moving truck, or we needed two non-CDL trucks, which--of course--the rental company didn't have. Lovely.
My uncle couldn't get off work. My grandfather couldn't get off work. If my father-in-law were cleared by the doctor to drive by our moving date, he no longer had his CDL. Now what?
The rental company agreed to give us two more days because of their error. Too bad I couldn't get my CDL in that time frame! Kevin called his grandparents in NC, who mentioned two cousins with CDLs; one in PA, and one in NC. Grandma called cousin Donny in NC, who was just pulling out of the lot at his job to take a load to Long Island. He turned his tractor-trailer around, told his boss he had a family emergency, and agreed to come to PA that night to drive our moving truck for us. I am still unbelievably grateful and simply amazed by this incredibly selfless act. I could write an entire post on this act itself.
But how would Donny get to PA without bringing yet another vehicle without a driver? We later learned that Big Kev wasn't going to be released from the hospital for another day, hours after we had planned on leaving for NC. So Big Kevin's parents and fiancée, Regina, along with Donny, piled into Regina's car and headed north. Regina and gram would wait at the hospital until Big Kev was released, grandpa would ride with me to NC, and Donny would drive the truck. Kevin would follow a few hours later with his pickup, as he needed to get an alignment (another long story), and no one could do it on a Sunday.
Grandpa and I left Monday morning a bit after 5am, and Donny followed shortly after 7. A few hours into our trip, Kevin called to say he couldn't get an alignment because he needed to replace his universal joint. At this point, I just laughed out loud, and Grandpa joined in. What more could go wrong? I had to ask... Shortly after, Kev informed us that the "few" remaining things that hadn't fit inside the moving truck--a 26 footer!!--would not fit in his pickup. Rather than spending even more money on a trailer, Kevin took the two or three loads of stuff to my parents' house, almost 30 minutes away. Needless to say, he wasn't getting out of PA that night.
He finally arrived in NC around 2:30 the following afternoon, after getting two or three hours of sleep before making the nine-hour drive.
Since we've moved into our new home, we've had the plumber here twice, the fireplace fill our home with smoke, and the washer spray water all over the basement. Good times. Oh, and the kicker... residential moving trucks do not require a CDL driver. Isn't it ironic?
While I'd love to end there, I must say, this entire ordeal has made me realize just how many amazing people we have in our lives, and we are truly grateful to each and every one who have helped us in one way or another. And while it seems as though we keep getting kicked while we're down, not only do I know it could always be worse, but I am a firm believer that when God has a plan for you, the devil himself will step in and try to do whatever he can to stand in your way. But I assure you, the good Lord will provide!