Tag Archives: family

Journey

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This is what I am moving toward: my family, grandchildren especially.

I looked at my list of posts over the past year and was tickled to see a post about Monarch butterflies followed by my getting-ready-to-move post. Disconnected? I think not.

Both posts are about migration and survival.

My last post I was packing in preparation for my move from Connecticut to Texas. That certainly qualifies as a migration, and not in preparation for winter, metaphorical or seasonal.

This post is about the move itself.

Day 1

I picked up the 16-foot Budget moving truck at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 14th. My plan was to load up the truck and leave the following morning.

Oh, the plans of mice and men–of mice and men.

I arrived home to find no one working, no one packing, no one accomplishing anything necessary to achieving my goal of leaving the next morning.

I took a few deep breaths and began to engage each son, explaining what I would like to see done and why. I always include the why when engaging my children, grown or not.

I realize now that I handled the move entirely wrong. Hindsight and all that.

Needless to say, we (yes, they finally kicked into gear) continued packing while my moving truck sat empty at the top of the driveway. It remained there overnight. I tried not to cry.

Day 2

Saturday morning dawned, filled with bird songs and cries, sunshine and fluffy clouds. It was a perfect day to begin our journey.

And then I looked around and realized there were only a handful of boxes completely packed, sealed and labeled. The kitchen was not packed.

I had tried to sell as much stuff as I could at a 3-day tag sale. Very little interest and less than $100 made, I now had all that stuff there that needed to be dealt with (dump and Goodwill).

I don’t remember what time the boys finally woke up and began to pack. It wasn’t early.

It was on this day that I got an answer to the question: “Are you going with us to Texas?”

I had been asking my 21-year-old son this for weeks with no answer. I mean not even his typical grunt was forthcoming. He didn’t know.

Suddenly, he was coming with us. He had not assisted us in any significant way prior to this point. I was nearly pulling my hair out.

Now I had one more person’s belongings to accommodate on the truck and my storage unit (which I already rented – my daughter picked up the keys for me that week).

If nothing else, I am a mom. I would never leave one of my children if I could help them be where they wanted to be. And I certainly knew that Texas, specifically Austin, was where this computer programmer, game developing musician needed to be. Of course, he could come with us.

And suddenly things were happening. It was like the trip itself had been holding its breath, waiting for my 21-year-old to commit to the move.

The floodgates opened and stuff flew into boxes, got loaded onto the truck, and progress was being made.

However, not enough got done to leave on Saturday. I announced that I had canceled our hotel reservations for the next two days and replanned our trip for a Sunday departure.

Everyone stopped working and called it a day; not what I wanted.

I was exhausted; I was beyond exhausted. I took two naproxen for pain and called it a night.

Day 3

I had been waking up around 4:30 a.m. the last three days, and this day was no exception. I can get a lot done in the early morning hours. So I did.

Packed boxes were everywhere. Many household items had made it out to the truck in the evening prior, much that had to be unloaded before we could begin seriously loading the truck properly. Yes, there is a right way to load a moving truck, and I had to supervise closely while still trying to pack and supervise the boys packing. I was exhausted by 10 a.m.

Around this time my 27-year-old son arrived to pick up the house and pickup truck keys and discuss caring for the house until his father decided to engage (my estranged husband was giving everyone the silent treatment, refusing to answer the phone or discuss me and our sons leaving for Texas). I had asked one of my son’s friends to help care for the house, to house sit even which he agreed to do.

The second set of floodgates opened and the move was happening.

I knew that the house would be cared for, cleaning would get done, and projects dealt with. I offered money and money talks (even though I don’t have money for such things – you do what you have to do).

Approaching noon, the truck was finally loaded. The cars were loaded with computers and other items that were deemed too delicate to go on the truck. When I drove the truck up the driveway to get it out of the way so the pickup could get back to work hauling stuff off (driven by friend), I realized that the tag sale stuff was still there. Sigh.

I told the boys that we weren’t leaving until everything we weren’t taking was either hauled to the dump or stowed in the workshop and/or garage. We were not leaving a mess (of course not).

An hour later, we were ready. Actually ready!!!

I nearly cried when we pulled out, our caravan of moving truck and two cars.

It took me years to get this move started. I had asked my estranged husband to help me move, to help me sell our house, to help me be near my elderly, very sick mother and he refused. Keeping me in Connecticut was his last bit of control over me. Cutting me off from our finances hadn’t brought me back to him. Forcing me to live in poverty hadn’t brought me back to him. Ignoring me hadn’t brought me back to him. Tough love just didn’t work, because I was not a drug-addicted, rebellious child. I was his equal partner in a marriage that had started out with great potential. Control and abuse destroyed it.

But this day, Sunday, July 15, 2017, I drove away from my prison, declaring that I was free.

We drove across Connecticut to New York and I celebrated.

We drove through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee that first day. We drove for 8 long hours, arriving at our first destination after 10 p.m.

We all crashed, exhausted, but not before a celebratory drink or two. We were far, far away from Connecticut and closer to our destination.

Days 4, 5 and 6

The following days we drove as long as I could handle driving. When I arrived at a hotel where I thought I had a reservation, the lovely clerk made sure we had a room. I found everyone I met along the way was helpful and kind.

Each day we would arrive at our hotel, my legs would be so swollen I could barely walk. I would spend the next few hours drinking Mullein leaf tea with my legs elevated so that my legs would not sustain permanent damage. This trip was not easy for me physically. But it was not going to kill me, so we drove and drove.

I drove the moving truck every single mile. My sons were reluctant to drive it, so I did. I actually enjoyed that truck a bit, being up high, being treated kindly by truckers hauling all the stuff that Americans need to live and enjoy life. The roads were crowded, but most drivers were courteous.

Day 7

Thursday, July 20, 2017, we lazily awakened in our Holiday Inn located in Livingston, Louisiana (very nice place). We were less than 5 hours from our final destination.

I had been trying to figure out how to time unloading the truck into the storage unit and where to park the moving truck overnight. My storage unit manager said I could not leave it there. I couldn’t reach the drop-off facility manager. It was stressful. My contract stated that I could not drop off the truck after hours (which turned out to be untrue).

I had this whole dilemma at the back of my mind as we drove the last miles to Houston. When we crossed over into Texas, I texted my daughter.

“Welcome home!” she texted back. I cried tears of joy.

And just typing those words makes me cry with joy, with relief.

We had picked up four two-way radios in northern Alabama (I think that’s where it was). So we chattered back and forth between cars. When we stopped for gas about an hour away, I told them that the sky looks different in Texas. They didn’t believe me, but I stand by that.

Politics aside (please ignore Texas politics—pols here have all gone insane), Texas is a beautiful, crazy, fun, full-of-life place to live. It is never boring. Never.

That big sky. Oh, that big sky.

We arrived in Houston and drove for about 30 minutes to my storage unit where my daughter and granddaughter were waiting for us. Lots of hugs. So many hugs. I exclaimed over and over how happy I was to finally be in Houston. My granddaughter was happy as always. She is always happy.

I admit the unloading was tortuous. I didn’t do much because I couldn’t. It was crazy hot and humid. My sons were melting. But they did it.

And then I got a brilliant idea. I would just park the moving truck in front of the drop-off location and leave a note that I would be there first thing in the morning to check it in. I left my lock on the back and took the keys with me. Haha! A whole ‘nother story, but it worked out fine. The grizzled, old facility manager and I bonded the next morning after he told me he thought I was just some stupid Yankee for leaving the truck without dropping the keys in the drop box (yeah, I could have dropped it off after hours). So funny!

I called my mom and let her know that we had arrived and that I planned to drive to Austin Saturday to spend the weekend with her and my stepdad.

I emailed a couple of people that we reached our destination safely. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and fell asleep soundly on my inflatable mattress in my granddaughter’s room (she loves that I sleep in her room).

This part of my journey is over. I am without a place of my own right now, but I am welcome in my daughter’s home and my mom’s home. They love me and embrace me. That is what I have yearned for all those years I was being held prisoner in Connecticut (I held myself prisoner as well by trying to do what was right by the house, the property, be responsible and I did have a teenager in high school there).

Update: July 25, 2017

My mom found out yesterday afternoon that she has late-stage cancer. I am devastated. I will be here for her, though. We will walk this path together. And this is why I felt an urgency to get to Texas.

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Special thanks

I want to thank my friend, Charlotte Gelston. She has been my greatest inspiration and the one who told me to just pack up and go. Stop worrying about the house. Just go. So I did.

Charlotte is a woman of God who knows how to show the love of God. It isn’t religion to her; she believes her very life is meant to express God’s love toward others. And it does. I have never met someone who is a more genuine Christian.

I do believe in the power of prayer, and I know that she and the other member of our small knitting group, Ginny, prayed for me every minute and every mile of the move.

Thank you.

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Moving away from love toward love

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Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

I find that I must move away from what I love to move toward what I love. It is the lot of women to leave what they love to follow what they love or move toward something else that they love.

In this moment, as I did all morning from the time I rose while it was still dark outside, I feel torn, split in two, being forced to divide myself into mutiple people, several segments, each with different loyalties, affections and desires.

I am sad to leave my mom in Texas, and sad to leave Texas itself, while thrilled to be going home to my children, my sons, and my current home which IS home to me. My belongings are there. My garden is there. So many memories are there. I am returning to those things, away from memories, loved ones, and another place that I called home in the 80s and 90s.

I am also leaving two of my adult children, a wonderful daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Oh, it is heart-rending to leave so much that I love.

I can’t wait to see how much my garden has grown in 6 days. I am even excited about driving my old car and walking into my house and seeing my cat, Boots. It is a bittersweet excitement.

Tears come to my eyes as I think about my mom. I was on the first leg of my flight, reading some junk fiction when the protagonist merely thought the word
“mother,” and I got weepy.

I feel so far away when I am in Connecticut. A million miles and years away. I am not sure why the sensation of time is included in this sense of distance, but it is. I am always shocked at how much time passes between visits to Austin.

And now I am 30,000 feet above ground plummeting through space and time toward my connecting flight. Every mile, every minute takes me away from what I love but brings me closer to what I love.

It is the lot of woman to be divided so throughout her life.

A snail stuck to the side of a starship, holding on for dear life

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Thinking about starting seeds . . . last year's crop long gone

Thinking about starting seeds . . .


I wrote a paper on The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. Yes, the whole thing in three hours.

I wrote a discussion post on my perception of Kurt Vonnegut.

I looked out the window and wished the snow away.

I thought about starting seeds.

I thought about my doctor’s appointment yesterday. Sigh.

It is the last day of February 2014 and life is moving along at a furious pace while I move at the pace of a snail (yet, miraculously accomplish something each day — I have no idea how).

I was driving home from the doctor’s office and thinking. I think a lot when I am driving, as I have mentioned before. I had a vision of mankind moving along, some at a walking pace, some at a driving pace and others at a flying pace, while plummeting through space at an insane speed (for a human body) on a huge ball of rock and magma. I was humbled and awed by the movie running in my head. Then it was so funny that later that night I watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager on Netflix about how Voyager got sucked into orbit around a planet that allowed them to witness a civilization progressing at the rate of years per minute because of a huge time variance between the two. It was such a perfect ending to how I was feeling about the speed of matter in space and time, and my very small, extremely slow life.

I am going to make myself a humble lunch now in my humble kitchen, slowly and carefully. I will saute’ some onions, grate a little cheese, and cook up a yummy omelette using delicious organic eggs with a side of raw red peppers (because I learned that heat destroys Vitamin C). A lot of organic ingredients have been unavailable at my local grocery store lately. Hmmm, could it be that the demand is far greater than the supply, and farmers and suppliers need to catch up to consumer demands? I like this trend (except we need to watch for imports from Canada which are imports from China). I need to start those seeds, soon.

TGIF, y’all!

Dreaming of Texas . . . and fresh tomatoes . . . and warm days . . . and grandbabies . . . and how small, yet rich my life really is.

My new grandson and two-year-old granddaughter who are far away in Texas

My new grandson and two-year-old granddaughter who are far away in Texas (their mommy is a doctor and their daddy works in oil and gas while remodeling their house — talk about fast-paced lives)

Hardship. Difficulty. Change of Plans.

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On my way home from Middletown, from class, I got a call from my 17 year old son. His older brother cut his foot. Should he call 911? I begin to assess over the phone. How big is the wound? 1-1/2 inches long. Okay. Doesn’t sound too bad. Son says they put on a tourniquet. I tell them to remove it immediately, put pressure on the wound which needs to be elevated above son’s heart and watch for how much it bleeds. Phone down, instructions given, words exchanged, not too bad with the bleeding. Okay. Then he says older brother is going into shock. (This exchange is occurring while I am driving home on a back road with a slow pokey in front of me. I am illegally talking on my cell phone, giving first aid instructions, assessing the situation from afar.) I ask if wounded son has fainted or is looking bad. No. Wounded son thought he was going into shock, but it was just the effects of seeing his wound again that made him a bit queasy. Okay, I told son I was 15 minutes out and would reassess when I get home. I told 17 year old to call me if anything changed. But all seemed well when I hung up the phone.

I get home, much faster after slow pokey turns off giving me the road. I remove the kitchen towel that is on the wound and held in place with paracord. Really inventive, actually. Oh crap! That is not 1-1/2 inches long. That is huge, and gaping, and scary looking. That is definitely a trip to the ER kind of wound. So what happened?

Yesterday, my 19 year old son cut the top and side of his foot with a glass fragment that was sticking out of a trash bag awaiting the inevitable trip to the old chicken house where we keep our trash before hauling it to the transfer station, or “the dump” as everyone calls it around here. That glass should never have been put in the trash without being bagged carefully in one of the old cat food bags that I save just for disposing of broken glass. That bag of trash should not have been sitting inside the house at all. It should have been carried out immediately. So what we have here is a set of circumstances that could have been avoided but instead created a perfect setup for a cut foot and a trip to the emergency room, apparently on the busiest night of the week.

I would include a couple of photos (that my 19 year old insisted I take in the ER with my phone) but I won’t gross you out. (Okay, I will put a picture of the foot after it was stitched up at the end of this post.) It was bad. Nearly 3 inches long, gaping, the glass cut into the sheath that attaches and positions the muscle near the ankle. That was stitched together first. Then the cut skin was stitched back together. A stop at an open pharmacy around 9 pm, a bit of a wait with me running back to the car to make sure my son was doing okay (and to bring him candy), and we arrived home around 10 PM. What a long, long day.

A few stitches aren’t any big deal. We have done a lot of stitches in the years I have raised my kids — and my daughter has the record for the family. We have done broken bones, too, even a broken femur. We always survive. This time will be a bit more of a challenge. I have chronic fatigue from persistent Lyme disease. My 19 year old son is the one who cooks dinner on school nights (when I have afternoon classes). My 19 year old son is the one who runs the dishwasher when no one else will do it (when I am pooped). My 19 year old is the one who will plow through 10 loads of laundry. This kid has energy and strength. He runs circles around everyone in the entire household (except for my 22 year old who has the best work ethic I have ever seen).

So he got stitches. Well, the catch is that muscle sheath. He can’t use his foot for 10-14 days. He must use crutches and not put weight on that injured foot for 2 weeks. Yikes!

We can do this. I decided this morning that the two youngest will just need to step up to the plate. They will need to take up the slack. They will need to grow up and take responsibility. Yep, it is time. 19 year old gets an uncomfortable vacation and the two youngest will do his work. I will try to do what I can but my main focus will be caring for 19 year old: food, liquids, meds, changing bandages, morale (along with being the only parent in the house, my studies, and the garden). The other boys will need to do the dishes, laundry, run up and down the stairs when I just can’t one more time, and wake up. They will need to become aware. They will need to see that the cats have no water and give them water. They will need to set a timer for the next load of laundry. They will need to wipe down the bathroom because it is dirty, not because I said to. They will need to help me in the garden.

Did I mention that my 17 year old son has wrist drop, or radial nerve palsy, now? Yes, he is partially handicapped, too. Doctor ordered nerve testing, but this will need to heal itself unless they find a specific cause. This kid can’t really use his left hand much. He can grasp (and actually drive, believe it or not), but his hand will not do what he wants it to do most of the time.

17 year old missed playing the piano since his left hand stopped working properly; he rigged this getup so he could play for a bit

17 year old missed playing the piano since his left hand stopped working properly, so he rigged this contraption so he could play for a bit


These be hard times in our household. I am disabled, the 19 year old is out of commission for 2 weeks, the 17 year old has partial use of his left hand, and the 13 year old is, well, he is the baby of the family. This means that he has always had “someone else” take care of most things. That changes now.

This morning, while I was making lunches he made his own breakfast. Tomorrow I want him to make his own breakfast without me asking him to (really, it is HIS breakfast). Baby steps, but fast tracked.

We can do this. It is the last few weeks of school for me. The boys are winding down their school year. The vegetable and herb garden needs to be finished in the next few weeks. There is so much to do and we just lost one of our key players. That’s okay. We can do this. We always do.

We always do what needs to be done. We are a family.

WARNING: Graphic photo below.

WARNING: Graphic photo below.



WARNING: Graphic photo below.

stitches