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As a "recovering" middle school teacher with a unique outlook on life, I stopped active teaching in 2010 and moved into another career path... writing! Here goes! In addition, I am a travel buff, forever baseball addict, movie fan, music fan, foodie extraordinaire, NCIS devotee, gardener, and more.

Just love writing for kids, travel writing and basic journalism. Pretty unusual, since I taught Home Economics! But there's a story here too - a non-fiction one or more...

Friday, October 19, 2012

A September to Remember...

Rule # 41 – When all else fails, hang on tight!

Toyota is famous for their Christmas time ads, “The December to Remember” sales pitches. The other 11 months should be slightly ticked off with this. What makes you think it’s only December that’s worth remembering?

My whole summer was filled with ups and downs. For the most part, it was good ups and downs. Hub and I were busy, that’s for sure. We got the kitchen finished, painted the dining room, had visitors, made plans to travel, got the travel set up, then went on vacation in August and had a ball. Our only really down note was losing our 18 year old dog. Even today, neither of us is truly beyond that need for fur in our daily life.

But then came September…

You could probably tell from the number of postings that something was up. It’s not like I’ve forgotten my readers. The roller coaster that is life really had us on some serious peaks and valleys. I’m just now able to catch my breath after being sucker-punched by life.

It started just before Labor Day. My annual mammogram showed another abnormality so I was off to get that biopsy done. That came back 100 percent benign – praise God – so now it was time to start climbing the “up”.

We were leaving for a 2-week road trip to visit Hub’s cousins in Oklahoma and Texas, with a side stop to his niece in Dallas. A few days before we left, Hub’s sister called.

“Our house finally sold, can we move in with you until we leave finally for Texas?”

We said yes, got the timeframe settled, brought a copy of our house key over, and then packed up to leave on our trip. (up, down, up, down) It was going to work out ok, since we were officially to have house sitters for a few days while we were gone. But, I needed to let my neighbors know what was going on, since the sight of a U-Haul in my driveway might have Hub’s sister and brother-in-law U-Hauled to the pokey.

We finally head west at o-dark-thirty on a Monday morning. Such a peaceful, beautiful drive we had through the Maryland and West Virginia Mountains! It was a great time to ride shotgun to Hub’s driving and take pictures. We passed the exit for an asylum that was investigated on Ghost Hunters. I made a mental note to check it out further when we got to the hotel that evening. We made really great time the first day. It was also comforting to see that the DC Metro area is not immune to horrible traffic problems at rush hour. We hit Louisville, KY, at the rush and tried to get to Indiana, to a hotel we already stayed at before. It was bumper to bumper on some of the roads at that time of day. We joked that all the traffic was heading north, so that it would be Indiana’s problem from there on. Serious “up” at this point…

Hub normally likes to do all the driving. I don’t mind that. Same thing occurred this trip, too. He drove the first day. He was a bit stiff and sore at the end of Day 1. So we both did some time on the exercise machines in the hotel. As we finished our drive, I found that I was racking up lots of blog material from this trip. I started to organize it into blog topics to focus the writing a bit more. I did some driving at points on Day 2.

Oklahoma was a bit of a surprise. We crossed the border and did not see a “Welcome to Oklahoma” sign where we crossed. We saw “You are now entering the Cherokee Nation”. Hub’s cousins were so glad to see us. We relaxed, did a bit of touring in Tahlequah and Claremore, relaxed some more, talked until wee hours of the evening, relaxed and then finally agreed to do this again in the spring. Now it was off for a day’s drive to Dallas, to bunk in with his niece for the evening.

After spending the night with his niece, and catching up on the life and craziness of 2 teen girls with 2 working parents, we headed south to San Antonio to catch up with Hub’s other cousin and her hubby. He made it through cancer treatments and was doing really well, staying cancer free. Hub drove most of the way while I handled the navigation duties. Hub was very sore and stiff after all that driving. He’s not the best passenger, either, especially if I’m driving. There was a lot of side-seat driving and arguing going on when I was behind the wheel. But what else is new? More “ups”…

We got a chance to remember the Alamo – literally visit it. Lucky for us we went on a really rainy day. Almost no one was touring that day. So we had free reign of the site and could check out so much!! We walked around the tourist area surrounding the Alamo, checked out some shops, and made plans to take a Riverwalk cruise the next evening. That is, until we pulled into the driveway and my cell phone went off. Get ready to dive down the big hill.

My daughter called, so upset she could hardly talk, to tell me that my aunt passed away suddenly that morning. She didn’t know too many details at the time… she couldn’t convey them if she did, anyway. So later in the evening I made a few calls and got the details. Turns out she was killed in a freak accident in her church parking lot. People were in the process of being notified and funeral events were scheduled for the end of the week. This gave us time to get home.

We were over the “up” and now heading for a bunch of “downs”.

I drove most of the way home. Hub was stiff and sore in his back. Sometimes he would move and yell in pain. He sure wasn’t sleeping well. So we made a straight shot for home. We took Interstates all the way. As a side note, there are some places on the Interstate system that require a large bladder in your body. You can drive for hours and not hit anything resembling a rest area, unless you are a guy. This is true of some spots in Mississippi and Alabama. And don’t go getting hungry for anything other than fast food. When you do find a stop or restaurant, it usually has golden arches or a freaky-looking king nearby.

Hub is in some serious pain now that we are home. We schedule a doctor’s visit… then the doctor’s office cancels us and reschedules. We start on the funeral process; all the while Hub’s pain is visible on his face. He’s more comfortable sitting down, but chairs in funeral homes are not always easy to get in and out of. He was having a harder time getting up and down. Churches need to rethink straight wooden pews, too.  He had a hard time sitting through the Mass, and not just because he’s not a Catholic. He made it through the viewing, Mass and the burial on the third day.  Then he got to see our doctor, who began treating him for back spasms.

Now the calendar is in the last week of September. His pain is still high on the scale. The spasm meds are not doing what they should. And he is having a harder time walking. We go back to the doctor, who gives us heavier pain meds. They seem to work some. In the meantime, we need to get some tests done. He now has a referral for a spine doctor and more tests than a Maryland school kid.

In between, I am helping my cousins clean out my aunt’s apartment. They set a date of the end of September to have the place emptied out, so they didn’t need to pay another month’s rent. My aunt told my cousin on several occasions before her passing, “You will rue the day you have to clean out my house.” She did. My daughter was helping us on one of the days. She reminded me to take care of my stuff now. She’s right. I need to do that. But first, let’s get the Hub pain free.

It’s half past October and we are finally getting some answers for Hub’s back. We see another doctor today, who should have some definitive word for us. Somewhere in there, I need to concentrate on writing. Right now, this blog could be one of my mental therapy sessions. Now to keep myself calm and get him off to the doctor’s appointment…

Notes to self:
  • Blog about doctor’s offices and gatekeeper/office personnel. Try to be kind.
  • Blog about the Alamo and Oklahoma touring portions of the trip.
  • Don’t forget the notes on restrooms on interstate highways you made on the trip. That’s worth a blog post too, even if the potty subject is a bit middle school.

Ups… downs…ups… downs… right now I could use a merry-go-round. Just for a bit. And a whole lot of sleep…

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