Hit Me With Your Best Shot

For the past two years I have spent part of the winter in Florida.  I found a pet friendly rental in Madeira Beach and drove down with my Golden Retriever Honey and a friend to help me drive.  Last year went without a hitch, except said friend forgot her drivers license.  This year not so much, and it seemed that last week in Florida is when it all started. 

The Sunday before we were to head back to Michigan, I experienced what I thought might be severe gas, or a heart attack (pick one)….After two hours of waiting for it to go away, I relented and went to the ER.  They first had to make sure it wasn’t my heart (EKG, Blood work, and oh,  a Nitro pill under my tongue just for good measure.  (Thanks for the giant headache)  Well as you might have guessed, yup, my Gall Bladder.  Emergency Surgery on Monday, released Tuesday afternoon, left for Michigan Wednesday morning.  In hindsight that was asking a lot of my body not to mention my mind.  We made it to Atlanta that night and found a pet-friendly place to stay.  Score one for us.  I won’t get into the “add a quart of oil immediately” light that came on just as we were going by the airport in ATL.  Rough night trying to sleep, hurt to lay down, or move or get up.  But I made it and was ready to roll out of Atlanta about 10:30am.

It was a beautiful morning when we left, but there was rain in the forecast.  We figured we would be home around 10:30 that night.  Just on the other side of Chattanooga it started to rain and when I say rain, I mean cats and dogs, pitchforks and hammer handles.  I mentioned to Kathy that we had the same exact weather in the same exact place last year on our way home.  She concurred.  We continued through the mountains and it continued to pour to the point you couldn’t see, but were afraid to stop, fearing  we’d get hit, so we kept going hoping it would let up.  Well it finally let up just short of Nashville. ( I’m telling this story for a reason.)  The pavement was very wet, cars were stopping and going stopping and going.  A recipe for disaster.  Bingo!  That’s right, rear ended…and guess what?  It was raining again.  I get out of the car (ouch) go back and look at my car, no real damage, talked with  the young lady, who’s Dad was her insurance agent, traded information and called my agent.  Much to my dismay, because it happened out of state she wanted a Police report.  Really?  Was she kidding?  Nope.  Called them, sat in car for an hour + police came, out of the car (ouch) had to move my car to another location where we weren’t tying up traffic, they gave her a ticket and me my police report and we lost almost two hour 

And we are back on the road, and it is still raining.  But we are out of Tennessee, “whew”.  As we go through Kentucky it is still raining and the traffic is quite heavy.  Did I mention it was still raining?    Driving along with the rest of the traffic, I was on the outside lane and came up over a knoll and guess what?  Yup, cop in the median.  I looked down at my speed and the cruise was set on 78mph so I backed it down to 76 and remained calm.  I checked my rear view mirror and the lights were on and he was on the road.  “What are the odds, Kath?”  I asked.  Well apparently pretty damn good, cuz before I knew it I was pulled over  and I gave him my license and registration and he told me he clocked me going 94 mph..Kathy and I had to pick our chins up off the floor.  I said he had to be mistaken, this car has never gone that fast, it wouldn’t know what to do at that speed.  Then he told me he doesn’t just pull people over for no reason and by the way was this my car?  I told him it was and didn’t he notice that the license and registration match?  I really wanted to argue that I wasn’t going that fast, and by the way didn’t he notice that my last speeding ticket was when I was 21?  46 years prior, evidently he didn’t.  So he took what seemed like an eternity to write me up and return to the car.  I knew I couldn’t argue, I wouldn’t look good in an orange jumpsuit and I wasn’t going to fight it because I sure as hell wasn’t going back down to that God-forsaken state again.  I was officially defeated.  It was a perfect trifecta, emergency surgery, rear ended, and speeding ticket for 24 over.  If that isn’t a message from God himself, I don’t know what is.  We made it home about 1:00 am, I am still licking my wounds and as God is my witness, I will never drive from Michigan to Florida and back again, EVER.

 

 

 

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The Reason I Breathe

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It’s about 6:00 am on what looks to be another gorgeous day in southwest lower Michigan and I am doing my usual routine.  Take the dog out, make coffee, and check the news to make sure the world hasn’t blown up while I was sleeping.

My life has changed in so many ways during the last five years.  The death of my husband of almost 30 years after a three year battle with cancer, the death of my sweet Waylon the Corgi dog  a year ago, who had been with us the last 13 years, and the death of my Mother this past November.  Not to mention two moves, from a home that I loved on Lake Allegan, Atlanta for six months and now I am  back in Kalamazoo, MI in a condo that I am trying to make my own.  There is a pattern to my itchy feet, it seems the longest I can stay anywhere is 24 months then I have to move on.  It’s true, it actually happens.

Trying to make the best of it, I find I am missing a very important part of life,  my immediate family.  Perhaps this is fueling my restlessness.  Most of my friends and family that are in the area still have their spouses, and their families  in the area.  I missed Christmas this year with my Son Andrew and my Grand Kids, due to an epic fail of a kitchen renovation at their house.  It was the first Christmas I missed with them EVER.

Let me also add that at my age, the only thing that is constant, is change.  Turns out we don’t live forever and as we get older, we lose our friends and family and pets  and must adjust to a new normal and quite frankly I am sick of it.  But that does not mean it will stop so in the meantime I want to be happy, healthy and enjoy the time I have left here.

Which brings me back to the blog title subject, my Family.  Moving back down to Atlanta seems appealing to me so that I could maybe have Sunday dinners for us or coffee with Andy on weekend mornings and get to know him a little better as a person, and that is when he opens up to me when we are together, over coffee at Starbucks.  The Grand Kids  are growing up and doing their own thing.  Addie is a sophomore in High School and accomplishing everything she tackles and Max is in his second year at Kennesaw State and thriving.  It would be nice if I was a little closer so I could get a hug every once in a while.  Maybe just figuring out how we could see each other more often, on a more regular basis would be an option.  I am also looking to live in a more moderate climate.  So win-win right?  Maybe for me, but…..

We learn to live without some things.  This is a tough one.

 

 

 

 

They Will Know We Are Christians?

 

If I re929eb-thumbnail-aspxmember the hymn correctly the rest of the chorus goes “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love and they’ll know we are Christians by our LOVE.

What the hell has happened to our country? (rhetorical question).  The divide between Black and White, Christian and Muslim, Democrats and Republicans, Liberal and Conservative, I could go on and on.  Have we become so rude and callous that there is no room in our hearts for humans that identify with something that we do not?  All I see is Hate.  Hate in the name of God..How screwy is that?  Very.  The Christian Conservatives want to rule the country according to the Bible, and the Progressives want to give the entire country free everything..a nice thought, but how?  There is nothing but gridlock in Washington.  Congress could not even agree to have a moment of silence for the victims of the nightclub shooting..

The point I really wanted to get across is that if we truly believe that we are Christians we will honor God’s  most important Commandment  (according to the bible) “Love one another as I have loved you.” (paraphrasing)  “Love your neighbor as yourself” etc. No one has all the answers, but even Pope Francis says “Who Am I to Judge?”

In my opinion, if our country keeps going in the same direction as the last eight years, we will have nothing but a big mess for future generations.  We need to quit hating for our differences and start loving for our sameness, members of the human race.

 

 

Where Are You Christmas?

119ef-christmaseve2008003“Where are you Christmas?”  ” Why can’t I find you?” goes the song.  In writing this I am not suggesting that I am the only person on earth feeling this way.  I am merely reflecting on how I feel this Christmas and the memories from Christmas’s past.

This picture of Mom was taken the Christmas that Sam surprised me by flying from Portland to Kalamazoo in a blizzard, via Lansing, after they tried to land in Kalamazoo 3 times, taking a bus to Kalamazoo, and finding cab at midnight to Parchment,  walking in halfway through Midnight Mass, like a scene from “Train, Planes and Automobiles”.  The man truly loved me.

Memories keep us going, memories unite us, memories keep loved ones alive in our hearts. But life moves on whether I like it or not, situations bring changes,  and when I start to feel like the changes are way too much for me, I take a Xanax and go lay down.  I call it coping.

This year may be the first Christmas I do not spend with my Son and Grand Kids.  A remodeling project has left their home in shambles and they aren’t even sure where they will celebrate.  No ones fault, just circumstances.  We will get together to celebrate, whether it is December 25th or July 4th.  It doesn’t matter,  they are healthy and happy and that’s gift enough for me.

I will miss helping my Mom put up her Christmas Tree, the smells of candy being made in her kitchen, singing with her in the choir, and just knowing she was there if I needed her.  With Mom not here now my parents are gone and with the loss of Sam,  well he was always there…One thing about change, it is consistent.

And what about the weather?  Last warm one like this is 1987 when Sam rode his new Harley Soft Tail home from Perry’s on Christmas Eve.  Memories…….

 

 

 

 

The Big 6 – 0

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The day you came into the world Sam Bond, you made it  a better place.  Now I didn’t meet you for another 25 years, but you changed my life and my world as soon as we got together.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t be caught dead dating, let alone marrying a guy that was 5 years younger than myself.  But there was something about you…..

Thank God I came to my senses.

Happy Birthday Sam.  Today would have been your 60th.  It is a perfect day the kind you always enjoyed.  Sun shining and 70 degrees.  Your birthday fit you to a T.  Summer was your favorite season.  If you were still here we would be on Lake Allegan with your loud, banana yellow,  speed boat.  We lived the hell out of those last two years.

You have been gone 3 years and 4 birthdays.  To say I miss you is a gross understatement.  Today’s 11:15 Mass is for you at St. Ambrose and I pray it lifts you higher in God’s presence.  I am sorry I cried on and off during the service.    Your spirit was everywhere in the Church, it was our spiritual home for decades.   It was the church in which we were married.   Didn’t even sing today,  just sat by myself.   At the sign of peace, I remember how you would always turn to me looking down with a  “peace shorty”,  every Sunday..it did get a little old but I miss it now.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to get through these special events without crying,  you were such a huge presence in all of our lives and your absence leaves a void that is difficult to fill.  For now we will have to be happy with the great memories of an all too short life amongst us.

Happy Birthday Baby,  your spirit will never die.

HOW DO YOU SAY GOODBYE?

How do you say goodbye to a companion that has been with you through thick and thin over a period of time that your whole life was in transition.  From the day Waylon came into our life, we experienced Kidney transplant surgery, two cross-country moves, countless trips to Mayo Clinic (yes the dogs came with us) in Rochester, MN and finally back home to Michigan.

I have blogged about his countless antics.  How he fell in love after our to Washington state, with a female Rottweiler across the street.  Every time she went into  heat before he was neutered, he would lay and moan at the laundry room door.  There’s an example of an impossible dream.

We got to where we had to spell the word ” ball” when he was around, because if heard the word, he would go get it and bark until you threw it for him.  If you said anything to him, he understood.  It was uncanny.  Most dogs are very intelligent, we don’t give them enough credit.

We got kicked out of obedience school, cause he wasn’t buying the whole thing.  He would look at me like, “you want me to do what?”  “For that lousy little treat?”  No way lady.  But then he would look at you with those brown eyes and perpetual smile and everything would be okay.

My heart is broken.  I hear his phantom nails on the floor and snoring in the corner.  I miss his unconditional love and acceptance, his endless whining to play ball, the house is so empty without him.  I am waiting on a call from the Vet that his ashes and paw print to pick up, then I will find a suitable container and he will spend his days next to Sam’s in my living room.  Very appropriate as I know they are now together playing ball and going for car rides and having treats all day long.

 

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A Message From Sam

DSCN2352It was the second day of Spring, March 21st and I was feeling really great, thinking I might actually be getting lucky ( if you know what I mean)  so I went out to do my daily walk, when I received an email from said person saying he was going to chicken-out on that, oh, and by the way,  me….  Shit!  Again, I had fallen for someone with so much baggage and absolutely no interest in me, really.  Just flirting and I of course thought it was something it wasn’t.  Not that it stopped me though, being a glutton for punishment, I was not willing to give up.  Thinking I had finally worn him down, the joke was on me.  So  I fired off an email in response and just for good measure left him a voice mail, something to the effect that he was not going to get away with a chicken-shit email, he was gonna talk to me.  Well he did get away with it and did not call me back.

Cutting my walk short (I was going to show him) I ran home and jumped in the shower,  hoping to wash off everything that had happened since I got back to Kalamazoo.  As I was vigorously drying myself off, I noticed something on the shower floor that I did not recognize at first.  Kind of looked like an earring but I wasn’t wearing earrings.  In horror I realized it was the Cameo and chain that Sam had put around my neck on Valentines Day 2012 and had not been off my neck since then.  I blamed myself for being so rough on it.  Than I blamed chicken man.  Then I sobbed and went to Sam’s picture and told him how sorry I was and how much I missed him, and could he send me a message that he was with me or something to that effect?  (I am even trying to control dead people.)  Plus anyone who knew Sam would know that he would think not taking a necklace off for 3 years was kind of dumb, no matter what the reason.

Somehow I pulled myself together, went to the refrigerator, and opened a beer.  Then I opened another one and another.  I called my friend Kathy and we went to a bar and I drank another 4 or 5 along with a couple of Steak Tacos.  Oh and 2 baskets of popcorn.  Then I went home and had 1 more beer and a hot bath.  Feeling a little more relaxed, I went to bed while it was still light out, settled in with my David Baldacci book and read til I couldn’t hold my eyes open.  Of course when I closed my eyes, immediately the events of the day came rushing back.  When my eyes shut I was back in the shower looking at the floor and realizing that the reason I did not recognize my necklace right away was because it had landed upside down and the engraved message was showing.

It read “God and I love you Theresa”.