The cough

In the midst of everything else going on, last week my husband Paul went in for a CT scan.

My husband has had a chronic cough for years. He finally broke down and let me make him a doctor’s appointment. I was worried especially since his mother and an uncle both passed away from lung cancer last year. His mother and grandmother who lived with him smoked during his whole childhood. His mother smoked while pregnant with him. But it was the 1960’s, people smoked in libraries. Almost everyone smoked back then and no one thought much about it.

Then after Paul left home, his mother quit smoking and he started. He smoked for almost a decade. He was exposed to cigarette smoke in some shape or form for half of his life. He had close family members die of lung cancer. I was worried.

That day at the doctor’s office, they made him wear a mask because ‘cough’ was listed as his symptom. He glared at me in contempt and muttered muted garbled words of unhappiness through the mask. Look what you made me do! I am not even sick! The doctor set up a urine test and blood work along with an appointment for a CT scan several weeks later.

After the doctor appointment, we ate lunch at a Chinese restaurant. He received a fortune cookie that stated he would enjoy good health for a long time. See! I’m fine!!! It’s probably just allergies.

In the meantime, we worried. We worried more after I lost my job.

What if?? What if I have cancer like my mom?? How am I going to work? How are we going to make ends meet? How am I going to handle the lead part in the show if I have been given bad news the same day?

What are we going to do?? It took our minds to dark places…

The morning of the show, Paul left home early for the CT scan. A few hours later, we received the results. Everything was fine. No cancer! Praise God!

I’m just fine he said with a cough. May the fortune cookie be right. May he have good health for a long time.

This time another crisis was averted. I can’t bug him anymore about the cough, but I bet he will bug me about the doctor bill. Knowing that I did everything I could and having a peace of mind that everything is okay is money well spent.

 

 

 

A pirate looks at 50

Today my husband Paul turned the big 50.

We don’t have big plans for the day. We have play practice tonight. Paul, Arabella, and I tried out for the local community theater’s musical last week. Paul got the lead part and tonight is the first rehearsal.

This past weekend, I threw Paul a huge party with 70 of our closest friends and family. Just kidding. In my calculations, I didn’t know 6 out of the 70 people that showed up. It was a great day, no rain, and not too chilly. Since I hosted the party by myself, I decided to have food catered in. It was pricey, but worth every dollar.

This was the first party I hosted at our new house and this was the biggest party I ever hosted. It was stressful to know how much food to get, etc… Some people showed up that  weren’t expected and some didn’t that I thought would. My guess was that we would have 64 people, so I wasn’t too far off.

If I could do it all over again, I would’ve asked someone specifically to take pictures. I didn’t take any. I just didn’t have time.

Alissa, there is a child swimming alone and unattended in the pool. Alissa, we need a plunger. Alissa, the faucet isn’t working and I can’t turn off the hot water. Alissa, Alissa, ALISSA!!!!!!!

I loved every minute of it though. The planning, preparation, and especially cleaning up afterwards. I worried though. I wondered if I got enough food and drinks. Would the weather be nice? What if I drop the cake? What if it rained? Or snowed? What if it was too cold?

The worst thing that happened was that I felt sick with allergies/head cold the week of the party. It made cleaning and preparing on top of my regular schedule that much more demanding.

From what I heard, everyone had a great time. In fact, someone suggested that I host a party once a month. We’ll see about that!

Fortune cookie wisdom # 16

You will be unusually successful in business.

My husband Paul seems to get this fortune cookie every other time he gets Chinese food. My typical response is to laugh then throw the fortune away. It is true though. If Paul is a natural at anything, it’s business.

The strange thing is that I started to get this fortune. I don’t know if they made extra of these fortunes at the fortune cookie shop or what. Then I thought…why not write about it?? Maybe if I stop throwing the fortune away, I won’t get it over and over again and can get new ones. Hence more writing inspiration..

I don’t consider myself to be successful at business. I don’t come up with the ideas. I certainly don’t sell anything. I am more of the diligent working sidekick behind the scenes. I have been working with my husband somewhere around 10 years now.

This year we sold our successful start up business, but continue working as employees. We are planning on retiring in another 5 years and starting another business in an unrelated field. We both decided that we would go totally crazy if we didn’t have something to do with our time.

Paul just signed up to work on his captain’s license. We are planning on starting a sailing charter business. We’ve already had people approach us for sailing trips. This is not going to be a big lucrative money making business. It would be a hobby business.

Right now, it seems like I don’t have any time. When I am not working, I am cleaning my house, doing laundry, spending time with family, worrying, running, or blogging. If I am lucky, I can read a couple of books a year for fun or travel. Unfortunately, I have to be really selective with my free time. I have more things that I want to do than time to do them.

But in less than 3 years time, the kids will all be out of the house. In five years, I’ll retire. Maybe then I’ll have the time to do everything I want to do.

Maybe I will write a book, take a dance class, start working on genealogy again, do more traveling, write music, paint… The possibilities are endless..

Outrunning my demons in Hell

Next year I want to go to Hell.

Whoa now, before you get a little concerned, let me explain.

Hell is a town in Michigan. With some of our winters, I’m surprised that more towns are not named Hell. Although, after a bit of overthinking, maybe the name should be reserved for hot Southern crime ridden towns.

Anyway, every year there is an ultra trail run in this little town called Hell. Part of the course includes running through waist deep water for a river crossing.

Sign me up already!

I am starting to look ahead to running goals for next year. This summer I completed my 4th marathon. The first couple times I said I would never run a marathon again. But now I am thinking about doing a 50k ultra race. Hey, what’s a few more miles??

Then I thought it would be super cool to get a tattoo that says Outrunning my demons in Hell 50k. I don’t have any tattoos yet, unless you consider my car which is plastered full of bumper stickers…I have a couple of tattoo ideas, but thought it would be great to kill two birds with one stone…running and blogging.

I have one more race planned for this year, a half marathon next month. My husband is planning on running his first half marathon with me. I am really excited for him. I must really make it look like a lot of fun! Ha ha ha…

Fortune cookie wisdom #1

The price of greatness is responsibility.

My husband received this fortune cookie last week when he was touring our state on a public speaking route. It was meant for him.

My husband is a great man. That being said, he carries a lot of weight on his shoulders.

My husband is a great leader of our house. It is no easy task raising 3 teenagers. It requires the perfect balance of love and discipline. All this he has done without having a father to show him.

My husband is a great business leader. He started a successful business out of an idea. He had no clue what he was doing, but was willing to learn. He earned his MBA. Over time and hard work, he became the expert in our state. Running a business is a heavy weight to carry. The responsibility is enormous, but so is the reward.

Over the years, he has been involved in many boards and committee chairs. He volunteered to get the finances in order for several organizations. If there are conflicts or issues, his phone is the first that is ringing for advice, problem solving, and resolution.

He gives, and gives, and gives..Someday he said he might retire from it all. But I’m not so sure that will ever happen.

I don’t say it often enough, but I am proud of how great Paul is and everything he does to help others. So often I am guilty of heaping more problems on him instead of showering him with appreciation.

I would thank him personally, but he is at a meeting right now.

 

 

 

 

Paul’s journey, part 10

I’m going to conclude Paul’s journey today.

Wow, that came across as a little harsh. Almost like I will be waiting at the door for him with an arsenic cocktail.

What I meant to say is that I will finish telling the story today. The story isn’t over, in fact some might say it is just beginning..

I just wanted to get the point across that Paul grew up poor starting his life in the inner city of Chicago without a father born to a teenage mother that dropped out of high school.

He had a dream of starting a business. After working very hard for almost 2 decades he saw his hard work come to fruition.

The American dream is alive and well. If Paul can do it, anyone can. The odds were against him. He is a self-made man.

It has been a huge adjustment. I don’t think the fear of not being able to make ends meet will ever go away for Paul. Being poor is so ingrained into who he is. It is a bit of an identity crisis.

I wrote a couple of series on this blog before. This was by far the hardest. If I wanted to do an adequate job of it, it would probably take me at least 6 months of writing his story everyday. I’m not going to do that here. I get bored of hearing broken records (if that is a thing anymore). I like changing things up.

So I will share with you my life. The joys, the heartaches, the journey. All of it..

I want to write a book someday about Paul’s life. It is very inspirational and remarkable story. I may just write it to leave behind for future generations. I would have to get a lot more detailed information. I told Paul that I would be writing a series about him. One day I grilled him for information while we went cross country skiing. He asked me if I would stop asking him questions about the dark days that past and we could focus on the beauty of nature on the trail instead.

Paul doesn’t spend as much time in the past like I do. He focuses more on the future.

I also found it challenging because the story isn’t over yet. I wrote a series previously about eccentric family members that passed away. I found it easier because that story is over now. There are certain things that I can grab onto and remember, but there will never be any more stories.

I have been with Paul over 20 years now. A lot has happened since we met. There was a lot that happened before we met that I couldn’t share from personal experience. I worried that my information might not be accurate enough for my liking. Also, how do you narrow down 23 years together into 10 series? To do an adequate job I would have to do a lot of thinking, note writing, and question asking. I would need an outline of sorts. Sounds like a lot of work for a hobby and I’m a marathon runner.

Plus another thing I wasn’t expecting was how my feelings got in the way. For example, if I was planning on writing a post that was positive and encouraging about Paul but we just got into a fight…how do I brush that aside?? It seems fake. He is the best thing that ever happened to me…but I want to conclude his story right now with arsenic just doesn’t give the right feel. Seriously, all is well.

All I can say was that it’s been a wild ride. I wasn’t really expecting that.

Paul’s journey, part 8

When you decide to take the first step, you never know where it will lead you.

Paul had a dream. He was at a dead end job. He used up his vacation time to cut back his hours at his job so he could start a business on the side. He worked after work. He rented a small office nearby so he could work over his lunch hour.

Eventually Paul ran out of vacation days. They gave him an ultimatum. Either you come back full time or you leave. Sink or swim Paul.

For awhile, he stood at the edge of the precipice. What am I going to do? Should I start climbing even though I can’t see anything at the top? What if I fall? What if I fall further than I am right now? What if I fail? How will I provide for my family?

“Should I climb?”, he asked. Climb, I said.

Taking that first step on his own was the scariest. It was risky. There was a mortgage to pay and little mouths to feed. We were already living on one income.

Paul immersed himself into building a start up business. He was working towards a Master’s degree in his field of study. He took a couple of sales training classes. He knocked on many doors.

Over the years, he attained every accreditation, certification, license, and joined every industry association that he could. He started working on his MBA one class at a time while running his business. He oftentimes would start his day at 5AM doing homework before work. Then he worked until the work was done. He earned his MBA. He still grabbed at every opportunity to learn more. He worked hard and became an expert in our state.

It wasn’t something that happened overnight. It took decades and years of climbing not knowing what was at the top. When the recession hit, he thought he was going to lose his footing. He managed to hang on.

Over time, Paul got used to and became very good at climbing. He is always looking ahead, always striving for that next goal. Sometimes I wish he would take a glimpse back to see how far he climbed.

All it took was being brave enough to take that first step.

20 years of marriage

What is it like being married for 20 years??

 

Being married for a long time means that you know someone as good as better than you know yourself. Why do I say that?? How can I know my husband better than I know myself? There are certain things about myself that remain hidden from me. I refuse to admit, or see, my faults at times. But I have no problem seeing the faults of my husband.

I know that sounds bad, but I find it to be true. Sometimes I cannot see myself for who I really am. My husband is that step outside of myself.

I know everything about him. I know his strengths, I know his weaknesses. I have heard about everything that has ever happened to him. I know his past. I’ve heard his life story more than once. I know how he will respond in any given situation. I know his habits and routines. I could order his food for him in a restaurant if he was running late.

It is knowing everything about someone, the good and the bad, and loving them anyway.

We have almost identical thoughts about religion, money, and politics. This is vital.

We work as a team to raise the children. He is the bad cop and I am the good cop. We balance each other out.

We share similar hobbies…traveling, sailing, running.

We even run a business together. He is big picture. I am the details. We have each other to bounce ideas off of to make great business decisions. We talk shop in the evening and can really relate to the stresses of the day.

We both had hard childhoods. We both have scars. We both have demons. This motivates us to work hard on our relationship. We appreciate what we have because of what we didn’t have.

We both want a life of adventure. We don’t want our weekends to be filled with hours of nothing to do.

I miss him when he is gone.

I get annoyed when we spend too much time together.

The honeymoon was over a long time ago. But so are the tears, the fights, and the fear of him leaving.

Now I fear that there isn’t enough time..

We don’t get along 100% of the time, but we make it work.

We build each other up higher than we could ever go alone.

It may not be as exciting as finding a new partner every couple of years, but it is much more rewarding.

I’m thankful that God gave us 20 wonderful years together…

Hand in hand we entered this journey through decades and years…different houses, different cars, college finals, 3 children, dirty diapers, sickness, fitness, running a business, making supper, doing chores, a cancer scare, major surgeries, family vacations, the death of grandparents, teenagers, graduations, the death of a parent…

A journey that continues on endlessly until the very end..

 

 

On casting the first stone

This weekend something happened to me that caused my blood to boil. I felt furious enough to punch someone.

Saturday morning I did a 12 mile run outdoors. It was a lovely fall day that drew many people outside on bike, foot, and car.

As I was running mile 7, I saw a lady about 10 years older than me walking in front of me with her unleashed dog. A car was coming towards us in our lane. There weren’t any cars in the opposite lane. The lady in the car did not move over or slow down for the dog or the walker. After she passed them, she veered in my direction. Then she quickly swerved back into her lane as she sped by.

I was really upset and complained to the walker about crazy psycho drivers. I slowed down to walk next to her. I didn’t think I could run past her without her dog chasing me. After petting her dog a couple of minutes and venting my rage, we introduced ourselves.

The walker told me of a man that ran by her house all of the time. She thought perhaps I would know him. She said that she started seeing him many years ago and that he lost a lot of weight. He always runs with a beagle dog that, although old, never seems tired. And on and on she went about how wonderful the strange man was…

Maybe I know who he is?? Yes, he’s my husband!

When I got back home, I told Paul about his secret admirer. I told him that I had a conversation with her after our run in with a careless driver.

Paul gets very upset when I tell him about my close calls out on the road. I’d like to say that it doesn’t happen very often, but it does. It makes me even more enraged when people do not move over or slow down when there are animals or children on the road.

Paul said that he had the perfect solution. He said that I should carry a rock while running. If they almost hit me, I should take the rock and chuck it at their car. Perfect!

Forget the mace and rape whistle! My biggest threat isn’t from dogs or the creepy guys that cat call as they drive by. My biggest threat is from the psycho drivers that almost run me down as they speed by. I was even wearing my ‘honk if you’re going to hit me’ shirt. But the words are on the back of the shirt, not the front. My bad!

Carrying around a rock was Paul’s best idea ever. It seemed out of character for him to give that kind of advice. He regretted his words immediately after uttering them.

What if your hobby of running gets you in trouble with the law?? What if they get out of their car and beat the crap out of you?

Seriously, who cast the first stone?

**Honey, if you are reading this…Not to worry, I probably won’t start taking your advice anytime soon.**

Day 4: Vow Renewal Ceremony

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Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.  Ruth 1:16-17

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Captain Tom officiated our vow renewal ceremony on the beach. I read my original vows from the book of Ruth. Paul found a few words to speak online as he no longer had the original words. I sang Morning Has Broken and read a few words that I wrote.

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It seems like yesterday that I said these words to you.

I chose my vows from the book of Ruth. I remember getting criticism for stating the words ‘may the Lord deal with me be it ever so severely if anything but death separates you and me’. Could I keep that commitment not knowing the path before us? To think that Ruth said these words to her mother-in-law!!!

It has been a wonderful 20 years. I would like to think that we already encountered our hardest days in life before we met. Those struggles strengthened our determination to fight for us.

I recently heard it said that nothing changes much in a day but when we look back everything changed. What is 20 years? It is 7,300 days to be exact. Days that go by in tortoise speed but looking back it went by as quick as a hare.

I’ve heard that slow and steady wins the race, but not in any race I’ve ever competed in. But this is one race I want to face hand in hand slow and steady with you. I am not ready to finish this race fast and can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.

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The day before our 20th anniversary (the vow renewal ceremony)

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Our wedding day.