Living Single While Very Married: On the road again…sharing a seat and a laugh with George and Gregory Peck!

So a little over 2 years ago we began this adventure.  It has had it’s up and downs and we are ready for new adventures of “Living Together While Very Married” !  That is what we both signed up for but we keep hitting the replay button on this “Living Single While Very Married”   What?  Nobody is more surprised than we are and fingers crossed we will end this journey in 2016…BUT in the meantime let me catch you up.

So Paul took his “dream” job and I am keeping  the home fires burning here on the East Coast.  We had ( still do) really great reasons for doing this and there have been some really good things that have come from this arrangement.  There have also been some really difficult times and despite seeing each other as often as possible we miss each other tons.

One of the first parts of this was our road trip to get Paul to his new job.  Flying is great but there is nothing like a road trip to really see the country.

As we made our way across the United States we had fun seeing family in Ohio and Michigan/Indiana ( also known as Michiana) and we made my one requested stop to my childhood stomping grounds of LaGrange, Il just outside of Chicago.  I spent my “wonder years” there and still love the place.  As kids we had such freedom and walked EVERYWHERE ( school, the movies, shopping)  In the summer we left to go play and we were lucky if our parents could get us in for dinner.  Good times.

623 S. Kensington Ave LaGrange, IL

My “Wonder Years” home..good memories!

As we left Illinois and ventured onto RT 80 in Iowa we discovered some really interesting and fun places.

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Just in case we weren’t sure what road we were on!

We, of course had to stop at the “The World’s Largest Truck Stop”  Paul  heard a rumor they served the world’s largest hamburger ( his favorite meal) but turns out it was just a rumor.  Still it was fun.  Here are a few photos:

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Just in case we forgot where we were

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And just what you need to find at the World’s Largest Truckstop!

 

My  favorite stop was “The Wilton Candy Kitchen” ( not to be confused with the Wilton Cake Company)  I had envisioned antidepressants this quaint little town, bustling with visitors and a busy old fashioned candy and ice cream parlor.

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Not exactly what I had envisioned..but I loved it!

Well I got it partially right.  We drove through Wilton, IA and the town looked like it was on vacation and the Candy Kitchen appeared to be closed.  I got out to take photos and up drove Thelma and George….the proprietors.  Thelma was busy bustling around, complaining about George ( in a humorous way) and was out the door before we knew it with ice cream sodas for some good friends.

George had worked in the Candy Kitchen since he was 6..he was 93 when we met him and very entertaining.  We felt like we stepped back in time.  I was wondering if  Sheriff Taylor, Barney Fife and Aunt Bee were nearby.

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I swear Barney Fife is near by!

We ordered some ice cream sodas and watched as George operated the machinery like he was still 6 years old.

They were very proud of their famous celebrity guests  Gregory Peck and Brooke Shields.

I even got a photo behind the counter with George but first I had to promise him that I would never tell Thelma he allowed me behind the counter.  Evidently Thelma wore the ice cream pants in this family.

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George really loved serving up ice cream!

It also looks like she had no problem having Gregory Peck behind the counter!!!

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We asked George to take a few photos…I think the digital camera threw him off a bit but he gave it a good shot.

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I was a little sad to leave and promised myself we would stop by when we made the trip back in a few years.

Sadly if we do get to stop George will not be there.  He is now serving ice cream to all the angels.

It would have been easy to just blow through Iowa and not stop anywhere and make a beeline for Paul’s new stomping grounds.  So happy we took the time to see the sights and meet the people.

We only spent an hour or so with George and Thelma but I smile each time I think of them.  I might have to go out and have some ice cream in George’s memory.  Won’t be as good as his homemade ice-cream but I can pretend!

As always keep triing!

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Take the risk and say this….

Sometimes the most thoughtful thing you can do to connect with someone is also the hardest.

Losing someone you love dearly is gut wrenching.  Saying goodbye is never easy even if the person you are saying goodbye to has had a long and good life.

I think there is an added dimension of grief when it is a young child or baby.

We all have good intentions when supporting our friends and family during this emotional tearful time.  We bring food, we call, we send cards and then….well then it gets awkward.  Do we bring another meal, send another card or do we even bring it up at all?

Do we mention their name?

We are afraid of adding to the grief, of being the reminder that their loved one or friend is gone.  We long for them to find joy again, to take away their pain, to have it all be good.

So often we say or do nothing and promise ourselves we will call tomorrow or send a card in a few days.  Those days become weeks and soon it has been months since we have made that promise.

We have all done it.  Put a BIG guilty stamp on my forehead.

And then I had an amazing lesson in what I know to be true.

Many of you know I work at our local hospital in the Mother Infant Unit.  I work with some awesome women.  The vast majority are younger than I am so we have lots of co- workers having babies.  We get so excited over one of our own having a baby.  So much so that you never know we see it on a daily basis.

One of our co-workers was 16 weeks pregnant when shewent to her OB appointment and discovered her baby’s heart had stopped.   She was devastated. We all felt horrible.  We supported her as best we could and after a little while she returned to work.  It must have been so difficult to come back to work and see all the Moms with their newborns but she did it.

Fast forward to 4 1/2 months later and I sat down next to Carol to chart on the computer.  I suddenly realized that her original due date was that month.

I had a little conversation with myself.  Do I say anything?  Does she want to remember?  We are at work, will it upset her too much?  Finally I felt a gentle nudge at my heart.  I like to think it was spirit or perhaps my guardian angel who whispered “What would you want?’

So I leaned over and said ” I just want you to know that I didn’t forget  your baby would have been here this month and I am thinking of you.”  She thanked me, smiled and then leaned into me and said “Want to know a secret?”  I nodded and she said “I’m pregnant” I was one of the first to share her joy.  What a privilege!

That was three years ago.  She welcomed a healthy son into the world to join her two daughters.  I KNOW she has not forgotten the baby that will never get to grow up with the other three. And even if my gesture had not been met with such joy I know it would have been appreciated that I remembered her little one.

I keep that in mind when friends have lost loved ones.  I mention them. I share a memory.  I keep their photo on my frig.  I want them to know I did not forget.

So being thoughtful can sometimes be hard, but it is worth it.  It is so important.

And as gently as I can say this “Go out and make it a Thoughtful One!”

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He didn’t have me at “Hello”

The things we nurses see could fill a few books with lots of stories left over. Most are humorous,some tragic and some jaw dropping.

I often see funny things on the internet about the life of a nurse and they are so true.  We wring our hands if our patient hasn’t peed in the last 8 hours all the while forgetting we haven’t peed in the last 12 hours.

My hospital friendships are the best.  We see and do things together that are unimaginable. I am fortunate to work with a group of supportive nurses and rarely go down the hall without being asked  “Are you doing okay?”  “Do you need anything?” even when they themselves are running around like crazy.

And yet we get jaded. I am taking liberties saying “we” but I know it is true.  I work with new Moms and newborns.  It is the best job ever and yet I do have patients that test my limits of being gracious and understanding.  I know I am not alone.

And then out of nowhere a patient or their relative touches my life in such an unexpected way that I wake up at 4am on a Saturday morning and know I have to get it down on paper.

I rounded the corner of the hospital hallway in my usual brisk pace when I am on a mission to get something done.  I almost run smack dab into this tall guy.  First thing I notice is his long scraggly beard with the middle of it confined to an 8 inch braid complete with pony tail elastic around it.

He says “excuse me” and I do the same all the while parking the thought of “strange” in my head and I continue on my mission to complete a task.

Fast forward as I am rounding on my patients.  There he is again.  He is the father of a newborn.  The braid from the beard is gone, he smiles and is very quiet and I get my tasks done.

Like I said “He didn’t have me at “hello”…  and yet there was something about him that stuck with me.

I sat down to chart and somehow this patient came up and my fellow nurse said..”that Dad has the most beautiful blue eyes”!

Shame on me..I had not stopped long enough to notice or to even take the time to have more than a few words.  I silently told myself to slow down.

As my shift progressed I noticed little things about him.  He was exceptionally kind to all those around him, he was gracious and always polite.  He went out of his way to help us with his girlfriends’ care and the baby.  He never expected anything from us and was exceedingly grateful for whatever we did.

He was genuine in a way that I rarely experience.

So I mentioned it to my friend.  She went onto to tell me about how kind and helpful he was to her (the nurse) as his baby was being born.  Before I left, the nurse who took over their care came out of the room and just exclaimed “What a nice guy!”

It’s not that we don’t have nice families and patients all the time but there was just something about this fellow.  I could tell this was his essence.  He wasn’t buried in his phone, or attached to the T.V. or trying to make us laugh. He was totally present, paying attention and helping out when he could with the little things.

He was just being himself.

He made a difference just by being who he is and I am a better person for it.  He touched my heart  without knowing it and he won’t be forgotten.

So no he didn’t have me at “hello”.  He wasn’t suppose to endear me with his looks, or anything superficial.

He did it in a better way.

He did it with his kind and loving spirit.

 I know there are angels on earth that are here to teach us.  I think he just may be one of them.

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! It’s okay to just be and not fix anything

I spent time with my parents this past week. I went out of fear, out of necessity but mostly out of love.  My parents are 88 yrs young.  My Dad will be 89 this month.

By all accounts they are doing amazing.

Amazing as in I just taught my Dad how to download, open and print an attachment.  He was amazed at how easy it was.  He and two of his friends ( 85 +) were going to try and figure it out together. I can only imagine and chuckle a little at how that scene would have unfolded.

So yes they are doing amazing….. except when they are not.

Two calls to 911 for my Mom in less than a week gave us a bit of a start.  She collapsed twice. Once for outrageously high blood pressure. Once while sitting on the couch just talking to my Dad ..scary I know.

So I went to be with them, bring food (I am not the best cook but I have a few dishes I have perfected) and a few gifts I knew my Mom would appreciate.

Mostly I went to be..just be with them. Not to clean (their house is cleaner than mine) not to clean out the frig (my Mom’s version of Tetris) not to tell Mom to throw out magazines (maybe next visit).

No this visit was just to wiggle myself in, love and just alcoholism be.

Mom and I watched a movie ( While You Were Sleeping), I updated her digital frame and put the same photos in a photo album. We chatted, watched the deer in the woods behind their house, and laughed at the jokes that Dad told. We have all heard them numerous times but he gets such a kick out of telling them again we can’t help but laugh.

It used to be when I went home I fell into the role of daughter which looked a lot like this:Mom and meJPGStill their little girl, or as my Dad likes to refer to me..his fat baby.  It’s a term of endearment referring to my baby days when I was indistinguishable from a rather quishy basketball 🙂

These days our visits look more like this:

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Just so you know, Thoughtful Thursdays came from my Mom. I remember always seeing her sitting in the kitchen writing letters, or notes. And she still does. Never misses sending a birthday card or just a note.

So this visit was not to “fix” anything but just to be with my parents.

We need to do more of that.

Just be, just love and cherish our time together.

It is what Thoughtful Thursday is all about. It’s the connection.

My hope for you is that you get to love and be loved today. There is nothing better!

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!

 

How my exercise “cheat” turned awesome

So I have to admit that this summer hasn’t been the best for me on consistency with my running or any kind of exercise.  Not that I haven’t been active.  Between hanging out with my very active 6 grandkids, running up and down the halls at the hospital, yard work and my dog I haven’t exactly been sitting on my keester.

HOWEVER…I did promise myself I would get more consistent with my running.  I even signed up for a marathon ( in a moment of weakness) which will now be a half marathon and if I don’t get myself out on the road it will be a very expensive 8k.

That alone will get me back on the road.

Well that and the better temps and lower humidity this fall. 🙂

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Still I didn’t want to be a total slacker. So one night around the beginning of July I was already in  in bed and realized I hadn’t kept the promise to do something everyday in the way of exercise.

I really wanted it to be something along the lines of running, or biking.  Something aerobic.  And well at 11 o’clock at night the thought of that was way too much..not going to happen. So….

I hopped out of bed and did 25 push ups.  Let me clear.  25 girly push ups.  Hey at least I did it.  AND I kept on doing it.  It was probably the easiest habit I started and kept!   EVER!  I have no idea why but it stuck.  Not that there weren’t more than several days where I forgot and had to hop out of bed to get them in but I did them.

I’m still doing them. Nobody is more surprised than me!

So it wasn’t what I thought I would be doing but it was a great compromise.

If you made a promise to yourself and it’s not “looking” like you thought it would it’s okay.  It’s more than okay if you found another way to get from here to there.

I’m back to running but still doing push ups.  The push ups are an added bonus.  Feel free to stop by and see the gun show…I am TOTALLY kidding on that one!!

As always…Keep Triing!  

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Time for some Gumby Gratitude!

Have you ever tried to get someone to try something new?  Maybe a new food, a new experience or just a new way to do an activity?  Or have you been the one who had to be coaxed into something you thought you would never do and then ended up loving it?

We have all been there.  Reluctant at first, shaking our heads no but then taking a tiny baby step into the unknown and we are almost always  glad we did!

If you have someone who routinely “stretches” you either physically or mentally (in a good way) then on this “Thoughtful Thursday”  you owe them some “Gumby Gratitude” because like Gumby they made you stretch in good positive ways!

I have six people in my life that not only stretch me on a regular basis but remind me it’s okay to do fun things and quit being such a grown-up!

Every year I do a special day with each of the grandkids ( ages 11,10,9,8,6 and 3). They get to pick the activities we do together and lately it has been quite an adventure.  I am praying my body continues to cooperate !!!

This year we did everything from a fashion show out of my closet to ice skating to swinging in the trees at “Go Ape”.

So indulge me as I hand out my “Gumby Gratitude” to my grandchildren:

What a gift you all have given me!  Thank you Nick, Cris, Ava, Summer, Bella and Tristun!

You reminded me that:

  • It’s easier and much more fun to just jump into the Tarzan swing instead of trying to ease into it ( less scary too)
  • I can climb trees, rope ladders, zip line with the best of you!
  • Falling can be fun ( well I was in a harness)
  • Ice Skating in the summer is the bomb and you thought I looked like I knew what I was doing ( if you only knew)
  • Hanging out at the pool, splashing, standing on our hands, and diving for stuff is way more fun than just sitting and watching
  • An 8 yr old can do my makeup and I can learn from it…plus what fun it was to play fashion show with my own clothes and shoes
  • Your fascination with my old typewriter reminded me how far we have come and how much I want to share other things with you ( pay phones, dial phones, the wonders of carbon paper, real photos, stick shift cars and roll up windows) Everything old is new again!
  • AND Chocolate Chip pancakes for any meal are the best as long as you follow them with homemade chocolate chip cookies!!! YUM

Thanks for stretching and challenging me. It has been and continues to be a blast.  I hope we can continue to learn from one another and see the world through each others eyes.

I sincerely hope that the idea of “Gumby Gratitude” catches on.  Thankfully none of us have to turn green to do it.  Now go out and spread some “Gumby Gratitude” to those people who make you stretch into more of who you are meant to be.

And as always…Make it a Thoughtful One!

P.S.  Leaving you with a few photos of some of  our “Gumby” adventures!

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Thoughtful Thursday??? In a backwards sort of way

If you follow my posts you know the hubs was home for a week. If you missed it you can read it here and if you are really curious how all that started you can read about it on this post.

He left me with a mowed lawn, a powered washed house and new tires ( out of necessity) on my car and a very quiet house full of ….dangerous food that is threatening to jump in my mouth every time I walk past it.  🙂  Well at least that is my story.

Seriously he left me with 1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream and root beer.  Who can resist that?  Also a half eaten carton of rocky road ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and other various forms of food threatening to add to my girth with little effort on my part.

There is a reason I don’t keep that stuff here as in weak moments late at night.  If there is nothing here then  I am safe.

So as I am making my case for why this can’t happen again in our most recent phone call he agrees with me but then says ” Yes, I left you with all that junk food  BUT ( yup here it comes)  I also left you with a brand new treadmill.

Your welcome.

WHAT???? How thoughtful of him??

Truth be told he wanted the treadmill and when he found one on sale I agreed ONLY because I know he will use it (when he finally gets home) and seeing as how the elliptical has 600 miles on it and is about to wear out I knew it would get used…by him.  I will claim 100 miles of the elliptical but I’ll admit I am being generous with myself.

So the “dreadmill” kept staring me down as did the possibility of a HUGE root beer float.

Not a fan of the “dreadmill”  I much prefer to run outside.  Still I needed to try it out. So I did. It didn’t totally suck and given the fact it was raining and my granddaughter was visiting and still asleep when I wanted to go running…well I’m starting to see the advantages of having it here.

Except now I have no excuses left..kinda like the post office.  Rain, nor sleet nor dark of night will keep me from my workout…gee thanks???

So it’s a Thoughtful Thursday in a backwards sort of way.  I am hoping I will come to love to the “dreadmill” as much as a root beer float.

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hahahaha  I crack myself up..as if!!  Now go make it a Thoughtful One!!

Oops…You were probably wondering why we are “Living Single While Very Married”

Nothing like writing a post in your mind and thinking you had published it.  Shhh don’t tell my kids or they will think its time to put Mom in a home.

I have been living and writing a bit about “Living Single While Very Married” for so long that I actually forgot to post WHY we are doing this crazy thing at this time in our lives.

Many thanks to my friend Barbara who has read many of my posts and finally asked “did you ever tell us why you are doing this?”  Thinking I had I quickly went through all my posts to find the right one to send her.  Except…..it is NOT there.

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So here goes..it is actually quite simple.  An opportunity came up for Paul for the “almost” perfect job.  It was with the same company, a promotion ( no raise but a promotion) and it was exactly what he wanted to do.  The “almost” perfect part is that it is not where we live. Not even close.

So I gave him my blessing to take the job while I kept the home fires burning.  Was I crazy?  A little.  However I am also a seasoned hair loss military wife, pretty independent and admittedly addicted to my incredibly adorable grandkids ( of course they are adorable) so it made sense for me to stay here.  There were other practical reasons.  Some financial, some because this is where we want to retire and just other reasons unique to us.

So there you have it.   We are almost two years into it and I can say that its not been the easiest thing I’ve done but not the hardest.  I have learned so much (who knew I could run a power washer?) and come to appreciate all the things Paul usually does without me noticing.  Replacing  burned out light bulbs has been an interesting one.  Turns out there is no “light bulb fairy” who magically replaces all the light bulbs.  Who knew?

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I’m a little behind in my posts about this.  I need to catch everyone up so please be patient.  At least now you know “why” we are living single while very married.  I have lots of adventures to share with you so hang on.

And as always..keep triing!

 

Back to reality “Living Single While Very Married”

After a week of a little bit of normal (if you missed our little bit of normal read it here) we are back to reality.  Well almost back. It will take a few days to get use to the quiet house and to get back into my regular routine.

One thing that never changes. Saying “goodbye” sucks and it just seems to be getting worse. Yesterday as I was preparing the “last supper” I texted my best friend this:IMG_3114

So a few clarifications about this “screen shot”  My skills at this are not great, I couldn’t figure out how to edit it and even I have my limits as to when “happy hour” starts and it is NOT at 10:35 am..omg.( That is when I took the screen shot NOT when I sent the text!) Although my grandfather would argue you that point. He died at 92 yrs young so maybe he does have a point about when happy hour starts. 🙂 By the way “swill” is what my BFF claims is the kind of wine I drink. I am in no way a wine connoisseur and what can I say, I like cheap wine because cheap or expensive it all tastes the same to me!

Obviously Paul and I were both dreading the goodbye but we managed as we always do. Although we have an awesome airport that makes it easy to park and say goodbye in the airport it usually blood pressure works better for us if we do it curb side. It’s a little quicker and just a tad less painful..maybe.

Retail therapy might have been on the agenda if the stores were open at that hour but no such luck.

And just like that old phrase “don’t kiss and tell”  I don’t “Donut splurge and tell”  If one or two donuts jumped into my car as I passed the amazing donut place on the way home..well those are the only hitchhikers I am even tempted to pick up. Not that it happened. 🙂

My big “WIN” for this trip home is Paul realized it really was worthwhile to pay someone else to power wash the house. We both come from a long line of Do it Yourselfers (if that is even a word) but sometimes it just is smarter to get someone else to climb on the roof!

My other confirmation is that my guardian angel is alive and well and keeping me safe..more about that in another post.

In the meantime Max (the endless shedding dog) and I have some deer and rabbits to chase on our daily walk.

I will leave you with my new favorite saying from a print from Curly Girl Designs :

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and a photo from our quick trip to the beach!FullSizeRender (4)

Keep triing…it’s what makes life interesting!

Living Single While Very Married..a little bit of normal

Since  I have been writing this series of blog posts it has not been written in real time for many reasons.  I have decided that this has  gotten a little too confusing for me and it would more fun to write it as it happens.  I have a bit of catching up to do to get everyone up to date but for now here is what is happening in “real time”.

Paul is home for a bit.  While we see each other every 6 – 8 weeks its not always here at home. So as things worked out this is his first visit home since January.

Six months since he has been here.  Six months since it hasn’t solely been my responsibility to lock up at night, walk the dog, fix things, or vacuum ( our dog sheds his entire coat once a day or so it seems)

Six months since “Hey what do you want for dinner”, “Want to take a walk?”, “Should we make it “Donut Sunday”? (Yum) “Need anything from the store while I am out?”

Believe it or not I even smiled when I saw his smelly workout clothes piled in the bathroom ( actually I smelled them before I saw them). I’m not going to lie, I smiled but that is one thing I really don’t miss.

Six months since my week-end didn’t really suck (not all of them suck but we find week-ends are especially hard when we are apart). The week-end didn’t suck not because we did anything special but just because we were together.

Nothing here is earth shattering or huge but it is all a little bit of normal, our normal.

I’ve learned so much through this experience and yet appreciating the things that often go unnoticed and yet are so valuable is the best gift ever.

So while he is here I’ll take a little bit of normal with a side of just being together all day everyday.

Of course watching him get “loved” by the grandkids never gets old. That doesn’t happen everyday so it’s always fun.
FullSizeRender (2)As always, keep triing..its what keeps me going!