Gratitude week 133

  1. I changed my cartilage piercing for the first time in two and a half years with no issues, no swelling, and no bleeding like the last time…so after 8 years I think it finally healed.
  2. Fresh picked cherries and my husband made cherry pie for the first time.
  3. Summer!
  4. My birthday week…seriously, I’m all birthdayed out.
  5. Sailing on my birthday and staying overnight on the boat with Alex and Lexi. It was Lexi’s first time sailing plus her birthday was the day after mine…so lots of celebrating.
  6. Celebrating my birthday with friends and family over the weekend.
  7. Going out for lunch and getting a massage with my mom for my birthday today.
  8. My good friend Lisa quit drinking. I’m happy she is making a healthy choice and is taking care of herself. She is a friend I really worry about especially the last couple years after her teenage daughter died.
  9. I’m always grateful to be home and sleeping in my own bed.

Gratitude week 128

  1. I took an upper level sailing class, and I passed. I wasn’t sure I would.
  2. As much as I like to get away, I’m always grateful to sleep in my own bed.
  3. We purchased a quarter cow. I’m grateful to have meat in the freezer from a local farmer. I’m hoping this will save us money at the store.
  4. Paul and Angel ran a 10k yesterday. It was my daughter’s first time running a 10k and my first time watching instead of running. It was a bittersweet moment. I’m grateful I inspired my daughter to be a runner, yet was sad I could no longer run. It was a strange feeling. I felt nostalgia for the days of running, happiness watching my daughter (and husband) run, a great sadness I will never run again, and a part of me felt relief.
  5. I’m grateful as a previous runner of the race that I had inside knowledge of the best places to be an observer.
  6. Spring; warm days and cool nights. I’m trying to go the whole summer without A/C. We’ll see how far I get this year.
  7. An old friend from college was in the area and stopped by. I haven’t seen her in over 5 years.
  8. I also got an unplanned visit the same night from my best friend.
  9. After working two weeks straight, my husband has the next couple days off.
  10. I’m grateful to go out to eat with family and friends this past week.
  11. After the race, Paul made his famous homemade pizza.

Gratitude week 110

  1. January is over! I’m grateful for this because it means no more bad things can happen in January.
  2. My daughter Angel and her fiancĂ© bought a house. Oh my gosh, my daughter is a home owner. I’m grateful they were able to find something they like and I’m anxious to see what they will do with it.
  3. So, I’m trying to complain and criticize less. A couple nights ago I decided to start the following day. In the wee morning hours, I had to go to the bathroom and sat down only to find the toilet seat was left up. Sometimes I swear God has a sense of humor. I’m grateful for goals, obtainable or not.
  4. Arabella got a job! She had an interview at a sports bar. They asked her if she had experience as a server. She does. They asked her when she could work or what her preferred hours were. When she said evenings and weekends, they hired her on the spot and asked her to come in to train that evening. I’m grateful my daughter found a job and I really hope it goes well for her.
  5. I’m grateful the trade show we had a booth at is over. Kid you not, within the first hour I spilled half my water bottle over our marketing materials. All in all, it was a successful show even though for the most part it was incredibly boring.
  6. I’m grateful for great TV series on cold winter days. I’m grateful for the ability to watch them whenever we want. Gone are the days of having to wait once a week hoping the VCR was set right to record the show over an old VHS tape if we were gone. I’m really aging myself here. But what I’m really trying to say is I absolutely loved watching the first half of the new season of Ozark. I LOVE that show!
  7. I’m starting to think about summer. This past week we planned our summer sailing cruise schedule with our sailing club and also picked a date for Angel’s bridal shower. This will help me get through the rest of the winter, hopefully. Paul and I will also have our 25th wedding anniversary this summer so I’m starting to think about that as well.
  8. Watching the winter Olympics.
  9. I’m looking forward to unwinding tonight with a stiff drink by a roaring fire in our fireplace while watching a funny movie.

Home life

I don’t know where my daughter is right now. The last I heard she was planning on living in her car and getting a puppy. She left my parent’s house a couple of days ago.

While Arabella was in inpatient, we received an unusual fee on our bank account. Paul called the bank and they told him Arabella over drafted her custodial account by $150 so they charged us $100 and closed her account. So not only does she not have a job but she also doesn’t have any money. Previous to that, she spent hundreds of dollars a month on gambling and the arcade.

When she moved in with my mom, she begged my mom for a puppy. My mom said no. My mom said it was strange because one day while she was there the neighbors dog ran away and jumped into Arabella’s car. She probably saw that as a sign of some sort.

Arabella wanted my mom to spend $1300 for her to live in a hotel for a week. My mom said no to that too. Arabella called around to the local homeless shelters. They said they had a waiting list and the ones who have been on the streets the longest were going to get help first. It made me angry she would call the shelters. She has several places she can live at, our house and my parents house included. She is wasting resources that other people need.

It also bothers me she is wasting resources by her false accusations against us. Every time when she tells someone she has been neglected or abused they are mandated to report it even if it didn’t happen. I was told while she was in residential that they were mandated to file a report against us. Yeah, that makes sense. Someone who is willing to pay the cost of their first starter house for residential treatment isn’t willing to buy food for their kid?? It’s another waste of resources because someone has to take the time to look into the claim when there are abused and neglected children out there waiting for services.

My mom has been very upset Arabella left her house. She was visiting my brother Luke and his family when Arabella left. My mom left my brother’s early because she was having problems sleeping probably from the stress. Arabella told my mom she was going to live in her car. She was going to get a dog to live in her car with her. She was going to find people who would give her free food for this dog. My mom told her to get a job first to save up for an apartment and later a dog, but Arabella told her she didn’t want her advice.

It’s hard to think of my daughter living in her car with winter coming. But I am glad that once she came back from residential I had her go in to the doctor to get an IUD. So even if she ends up coming back home someday with a puppy it’s better than a baby. She can barely take care of herself right now.

When Paul’s mom was Arabella’s age she got pregnant with Paul. She had similar mental health issues, had dropped out of high school, and Paul didn’t have a dad. Paul’s grandma stepped up to help raise him. At least we don’t have to worry about that right now. It’s hard enough to have a daughter living on the streets not knowing where she is or if she is okay.

Since the first edition of this post this morning, my mom told me that Arabella spent the night in her car and is now living at the homeless shelter. She will be stopping by shortly to pick up more of her items. Paul wants to talk to her but I really don’t. This whole thing has been upsetting for me and I am afraid of losing my temper with her. Typically I am the calm and collected one. But I can only handle so much. I feel really anxious and trapped right now. I just want to leave. I just can’t see myself living the rest of my life feeling this way. But what can I do? I don’t have any control and can’t change things so I guess I’ll have to find a way to live through this somehow. I can’t let this ruin me but it’s hard right now.

Gratitude week 85

  1. Summer! The last couple of days the weather has been perfect. If only we had this weather last week so we could cross Lake Michigan. But I’m not complaining. I’m going to hold on to these nice days as long as they last.
  2. Even though we weren’t able to cross the big lake, we were able to go to some nice places. The pictures turned out great and maybe just maybe I’ll share some later this week.
  3. Although Angel tested negative for COVID, both of my daughters lost their sense of taste and smell. But they are both feeling a lot better and so far no one else has gotten sick that I know of.
  4. Although I love to travel, it is nice to be back at home and sleeping in my own bed.
  5. It’s nice to have a week with nothing planned until the weekend. I decided to spend some time today in the pool and started a new book. I try to remind myself that we were still supposed to be on vacation when I feel like I am being lazy by taking it easy.
  6. I’m grateful to find out what I don’t want. Paul and I are thinking ahead to our 25th anniversary next year. I was thinking that it would be fun to sail somewhere beautiful for our summer anniversary. But after the frustration of not being able to do anything that we planned months in advance for this last trip I would rather do something else.
  7. I started reading My Sister’s Keeper. It’s a great piece of fiction. I wanted to read more memoirs like Educated which was phenomenal. I decided this fall I will start the second edition of my book. I want to read some good memoirs in the mental health genre in the meantime. I want to analyze them to see what makes them great (if they are). Really good books in that genre are hard to find. If anyone has suggestions for books especially dealing with family members with mental health struggles, please let me know.
  8. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m grateful to have a crazy life to write about.
  9. I’m grateful that I don’t have a gas leak in my house especially since after we left we had the rest of the household lose their sense of smell.
  10. After I couldn’t find any in the stores, I’m grateful that my husband was able to order goat macaroni and cheese online for me. No, it’s not made out of goats but it is dairy free and delicious.
  11. I’m grateful for my husband, who was a big part of the leadership for the Lake Michigan crossing cruise, for the difficult decisions he had to make in order to keep everyone safe. We had a total of 5 boats wanting to make the crossing. A majority of the sailors have never sailed across before including all five people on our boat. Some of the boats were small. The rest, besides our boat, had only one experienced sailor with either inexperienced crew, incapacitated crew, or passengers that were very nervous. In some ways I’m grateful we didn’t cross because I couldn’t relax with a sick child at home. I guess it wasn’t meant to be this year.
  12. I’m also very grateful for the people we tried to cross Lake Michigan with, especially those on our boat. Everyone was very kind and supportive after we received the news that our daughter has COVID. Some offered rides home. No one expressed anger or irritation that they could’ve been exposed through us or that we wanted to go home early. Everyone seemed to have the attitude that being sick or exposed was the new world we live in now. I’m grateful to be around a wonderful group of people with a similar hobby.
  13. I’m grateful that my best friend has a new grandbaby.

Gratitude week 58

  1. While it was really wonderful to get away. I’m grateful to be back home again.
  2. I checked another 4 states off my bucket list. Only 14 states and 5 continents to visit before I kick the bucket.
  3. Talking about kicking the bucket, our dog is feeling 100% better so we didn’t have to put him down. I don’t know, maybe it was the fried eggs. LOL! I’m grateful for more time with him.
  4. My son is moving out this weekend with a couple of friends into our partially finished garage. My husband’s office is out in our detached garage now which will be moved into our son’s bedroom. The garage already has two finished bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a partial kitchen. We are going to use the money we charge for rent to finish remodeling the garage apartment. I’m getting excited about the remodeling project and also thinking of ways to update our house.
  5. We ended up getting a lot of snow a couple days ago and now it is bitterly cold, but it is absolutely beautiful outside. Even though I complain, I am grateful for very distinct seasons. When we were on vacation it was anywhere between 45 and 75 degrees. I don’t know if I would like a cool winter without snow. It was funny because a news station in New Orleans was talking about the cold Wisconsin weather while we were there. There is some pride in being a hardy people, plus our summers are absolutely perfect.
  6. Arabella is making a lot of progress on her online schooling which is wonderful. I was kind of worried about if she would be able to graduate on time.
  7. I’m always grateful for a warm house to live in on a brutally cold winter day.
  8. I’m grateful to be back in planning mode. I’m thinking about the next trip I want to take, getting ready for summer, and hopefully a graduation party as long as things wind down with COVID.
  9. I think the next couple months are going to bring a lot of changes. I felt very apprehensive about things because I really don’t like change. But sometimes change can be good. In the next couple months all my children will be adults and although I do worry a lot about my kids I feel like a lot of responsibility will be lifted. Technically I could go from 3 kids living at home to being an empty nester. Instead of viewing this as a negative thing I can view it as an opportunity to grow like I haven’t been able to before because I always had to be responsible for someone else besides me.
  10. I am grateful for my husband who has been putting a lot of hours in since we got home to keep things running around here.

Gratitude week 48

  1. I finished writing the census series. I did forget a couple of stories. I was required to wear a mask, but one day I forgot. I had to cross a busy street in a downpour to go to an apartment complex that was always locked. But that one time the door was open. I went upstairs and knocked on the door. It sounded like someone was home. I was mortified because after I knocked I realized I had forgotten my mask in the car. That was a time I was thankful no one answered. I’m grateful to be able to share my stories with you.
  2. I’m grateful that I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving this week with my best friend and her family. Apparently she called her parents to wish them a happy Thanksgiving and found out that her siblings were invited over for the holiday but she was not. She works at the hospital and her parents consider her high risk for COVID so she is not welcome for the holidays this year but her siblings are. They didn’t even tell her. I’m grateful that we could get together to celebrate. I feel hurt by my mom as well. She considers us high risk but she still gets together with other people. We could really use her support right now. I wonder how many other families are dealing with this.
  3. I am glad that I have 2 days left on my detox diet. I am saving the pumpkin pie my friend made for the morning I am done. I told my daughter Angel to please not make deviled eggs otherwise I would crack. We’ll save the devil for Christmas.
  4. Yesterday my husband and I found the perfect Christmas tree. Every year I try to pick a theme. It has been difficult this year because we aren’t in any shows. Sorry, but quarantine is a sucky theme. In a couple weeks, it will be the 20th anniversary of my grandpa’s passing. This year I decided to dedicate our tree in tribute to him. If it wasn’t for my grandparents there is a good chance I wouldn’t be telling you my story today. I put 20 candy canes on the tree and decorated it with the pine cones my grandfather made many years ago. I feel like I was directed to the perfect tree in remembrance of him. I’m grateful I have some good memories to pass on to my kids.
  5. My daughter Arabella is in the hospital again. This is the third time in the last four months. She has been diagnosed with Major Depression with Borderline traits. The suicide rate for Borderline is 10%. I can’t imagine what it is combined with depression. I’m grateful that for now she is safe. This year has been hell for a lot more than COVID. I am going to start a new series tomorrow that will explore this past year.
  6. As I was decorating my tree yesterday I was very dismayed by the selection of Christmas music, so I made my own Christmas playlist. It includes both sacred and secular songs. I have over 8 hours of playtime and have hit every single genre from opera, traditional, rap, reggae, polka, pop, rock, metal, instrumental, funny….
  7. We have entered the season of light. This has been such a horrific year that I decided to decorate my house with every single strand of Christmas lights I own. I am going to be grateful for Christmas this year even if I can’t leave the house.
  8. I am grateful I was able to see my craniosacral massage therapist this week.
  9. I’m grateful for the classic Christmas movies. Last night we watched It’s a Wonderful Life. It makes me wonder how I have impacted other peoples lives. What would the life of others be like if we were never born? Wow, that is deep. I really should watch a comedy or something.
  10. Yesterday I cleaned out Arabella’s frog cage. I’m not sure how it even happened but her frogs escaped in her room. I asked Angel to help me catch them but she is afraid of frogs. She just ran around the room screaming. I’m grateful I caught them. The cage is clean and everything turned out alright.
  11. My son and I ran into his old piano teacher at the grocery store. She was a very instrumental person in his life throughout his difficult teen years. It was wonderful to see her again and find her well.

I miss the life I planned

Today was a sad day. We cancelled our trip to Florida.

There has been a lot of feelings going around our house lately from sadness, anger, and anxiety.

We are preparing to spend the next two months at home.

Our foreign exchange students are having an especially hard time because they are not at home. The separation from their families has been heartbreaking for them at times. Both students have shed tears of sadness and fear.

Some of the foreign exchange programs are sending their students back home. But as of right now, ours is not. My daughter is uncertain about whether or not she wants to be a foreign exchange student next year.

What isn’t uncertain at this time?

Prom has been cancelled. My daughter’s college graduation has also been cancelled. Thankfully she lives off campus because otherwise we don’t have extra room at our house for her to move back home.

One of the host parents of a foreign exchange student said she could no longer handle the responsibility of caring for a child that is not hers. They decided out of fear to abruptly stop hosting. Now the child does not have a home.

The foreign exchange students are panicking. Will they be sent home? What will they be sent home to? Will they have to stay longer? Their whole experience is off the rails now.

Our foreign exchange student from France, Estelle, has parents who are not together. They disagree about what should be done. Her dad wants her to come home, her mom wants her to stay.

Now I long for the days when I had to convince my kids to get out of bed to go to school.

This is the beginning of the new normal.

All of the restaurants and bars closed in Wisconsin. I never thought I would see the day the bars would close on St. Patrick’s Day. The churches will be closed on Easter. They closed the mall today. We can no longer order items on Amazon.

I’m trying to get everything done before I can’t do it anymore.

Today I got fingerprinted for the census job. I tried to make an appointment immediately after I got the link but apparently the link was not active right away. I called their 1 800 number and got a recorded message. I figured I needed to get in ASAP because I didn’t want to call that number again.

I plucked my eyebrows and shaved my legs. I even painted my nails. This will be the last time I leave the house in awhile. Normally I wouldn’t shave to get fingerprinted. I mean, it is too cold to wear shorts.

Yesterday I ran outside. I won’t lie, it was cold. I had to be careful too because the roads were icy in spots and I nearly fell. I really miss the gym. I even miss my stalker. I miss the guy that sweats on the machines around him. I miss the lady my age who runs and smiles at me. I imagine we are friends although we never spoke.

I miss the life I had planned. This is my new life now.

On a good note, I should not have an excuse not to write everyday.

Stay safe!

Together we will get through

The gym closed today.

I found out about it late last night when my pastor commented on Facebook. He said something like the one time he was thinking about going to the gym it was closed.

Exercise is a big part of the keeping myself sane routine. Addiction might be taking it a little far, but… More than anything I’m a routine addict.

Our trip to Florida we were planning for the end of the week is pretty much over.

The kids went to school today, but now the schools will be closed until at least the middle of April. My daughter works at Culvers and her work hours for this week have been cancelled.

The world is ending, yet here I sit calmly. I don’t feel like my anxiety is any more or less than normal. I’ve been dealing with a high level of stress and chaos since I was born. How is this any different? My husband is doing well too. We are not freaking out or buying massive amounts of toilet paper.

Yesterday I felt hopeful for a small amount of time that maybe our trip would still happen.

Today I am preparing for isolation. I am no stranger to it. I wish I had some control over it, but I do not. I like being alone. But I fear for the ones who do not.

I spent three years from 8th to 10th grade homeschooling. I rarely saw people outside of my family, much less my friends. That was before the days of cell phones. Right now we are safe. I’m not sending my children off to war. We will get through this.

Although I wish I could start my census job tomorrow. I would have more of a chance of finding people at home. Once this is all over, no one will want to stay home again.

Tomorrow starts the first day of the new normal. By the grace of God, structure, and routine will get us through. This might be the best memories we have together as a family.

We will be forced to get through this together and together we will get through.

Gratitude week 2

  1. We spent the weekend in Chicago and didn’t get murdered. The girls and I went to Chicago with Paul. He attended a conference and we went shopping. I had a nightmare before we left that the girls got murdered. I was a little nervous being the “chaperone” of my daughter and our two foreign exchange students. I was afraid because they do not understand our culture and might not know what is safe. All the people that we met were wonderful. We walked 6 miles then took an Uber back to the hotel and didn’t get murdered. I don’t know what I was so worried about. Ah, I am too much country mouse.
  2. We were supposed to get a major snowstorm on the way back from Chicago. Instead we only got a dusting of snow which made the drive a lot better than we were expecting. Gotta love when the weather forecasters are wrong!
  3. I met with my therapist who read my book over Christmas break. She said it was a Christmas present to herself (which is good I told her, since I didn’t get her anything). She thought it was so wonderful she wanted to read it again. She thought I should go deeper with my writing. I am grateful that so far two out of three readers were very happy with my book. I am meeting with my third test reader tomorrow.
  4. I decided to get an even shorter haircut this week. I also am growing out my blonde hair color and letting it go grey. I think it doesn’t look the greatest. However, I got complimented by two strangers on my hair this weekend after wearing a hat on it most of the day. Bizarre. Two people raved over my unbrushed hat hair. Then another stranger complimented me on my new glasses.
  5. I am grateful my son was in a really good mood all week. Although now that I think about it, maybe it was because we were all leaving for the weekend and he had the house to himself. I also found a really cool shirt for him that he loves.
  6. I am grateful to find a beer that I am not allergic to. Also, I am grateful for goat and vegan cheese so I can enjoy macaroni and cheese and pizza. Although we had good Chicago style pizza, I am grateful that my husband makes the best pizza around that I can eat.
  7. Although I love to travel, I am grateful to be sleeping in my own bed tonight with fresh clean sheets.
  8. I am grateful we stayed at a really unique hotel called Fieldhouse Jones in Chicago. The decor was amazing, all antique sports stuff. Our bedroom wall was about 10 feet from the L which was cool. Paul and I played a game of air hockey in the hotel basement this morning. Although he beat me by one point, it’s been a long time since we had fun together.
  9. Although there were periods of rain and snow, I am thankful it wasn’t too cold to walk around Chicago.
  10. I am grateful that I don’t have a lot of plans for the rest of the month and can finally have some down time.