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Our Life

February 7, 2019

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The Chief is STILL sailing. T1 is already has enough credits to be a Sophomore during her first year at college, living 12 hours away from us and studying Chemical Engineering, minoring in Business and Music. She joined Pep Band and was appointed junior conductor. She’s on her second roommate (don’t ask). Joined a sorority. Made Dean’s List for the first quarter. And is currently joining the ChemE fraternity. Whew.

T2 just scheduled all her senior classes–5 of which will be AP level. We’re hoping she has enough AP credit to start college a sophomore and can skip all her gen-ed requirements. We’re waiting for the college of her choice to announce summer early decision days and we could actually know exactly where she’s going before her last year of high school even starts.

I finally have my current dream job–library para-educator. Unfortunately, my boss said she wanted one thing–independent, self-motivated, competent, strong, creative, co-teacher that she didn’t have to micromanage but what she really wanted was someone who would only do what she specifically told them to do. I’ve edited this sentence because I am trying to practice … I don’t know what I’m trying to practice. I just have to grin and bear it. I love the work. I love most of the students. I don’t have to test any more. And I have a sneaking suspicion she won’t be returning.

Merchant Seaman Tee-Shirts and Hoodies posted the above comic. The Chief FINALLY join the evil FaceBook to keep in touch with his woodworking forums. Every now and then I see some of his activity. His comments to this comic brought tears to MY eyes.

My used to say she sees me more even though I am gone half of the year than if I were stuck commuting to an office every day.

The ability to communicate has gotten easier over the last 30 years, but nothing takes the pace of just being there(.)

Another mariner responded: Especially when you’ve got kids. Takes a strong-willed woman.

Very true. And my bride has done a great job raising 2 more strong willed, self-reliant women.

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Life Takes a Funny Turn

October 2, 2017

Summer was winding down. The Chief was going to be late by a week for T1’s ceremony. Any potentially appealing job listings mysteriously disappeared off the county website after I had inquired about not hearing anything when I had been promised help transferring into another position. I was pretty much resigned to going back to full-time subbing. Maybe that was for the best. It would be T1’s senior year and I knew it would be a crazy time for us.

But I couldn’t help not being satisfied with that. I started looking at the nearby neighboring county. Some of their schools were actually closer than my last job was to my house. But interestingly the pay was almost $1,500 LESS!

The Chief was in sell range and we were talking about all manner of upcoming things. I finally asked him how he would feel if I applied for those jobs even if the pay was less. Three schools were closer to home and to my gym. He supported my decision.

I spent the next few hours applying and uploading resumes and letters of recommendation. It was after midnight before I finished. It was in God’s hands.

The following day I had a follow-up ENT appointment for myself for my sinuses and I was going to have a hearing test to see if I was the reason T1 suffered from hearing loss. I had been at the gym earlier but I had a caffeinated drink and it triggered my SVT. I spent the next few hours in SVT but nothing major happened. My appointment was running long and my cell phone rang.

It was the principal from my children’s elementary school, the place where I had desperately wanted to be the library para and had been passed over twice now. He was offering me the Title I para position I had been released from at my previous job when they lost their Title I status. It was last minute but I would report the following Monday.

Sure it wasn’t the library position I desired but it would be one mile from my home and I wouldn’t have to take a pay cut. I agreed to take the job.

There was of course some comedy of errors on the part of human resources. Because I was technically still on the pay roll, no one called me to offer me my salary memorandum. It had been emailed to my still active email account. This also caused some confusion about filling out my benefits paperwork–that I had signed in January. No one seemed to know any answers and my drive over to the school board office was for nothing.

We’ve been in school four weeks now. I am making bulletin boards and having fun at that. I’m teaching reading and math remediation. Familiar faces have been so welcoming. And my new boss? It doesn’t hurt that she is the blonde doppelganger of the most delightful woman at church. So far we are definitely getting along. One of my classroom is a bit annoyed with the fact my group is noisy. It’s kind of a chicken or egg situation–she has a noisy class in general.

We’re knee deep in marching band. We’ve had Senior Informational Night. Tomorrow is the FAFSA night. It’s getting real.

Just got to trust God’s timing…

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Gold Award Court of Honor

August 20, 2017

The Chief was unable to make it home. He missed it by a week. It couldn’t be helped. But he was there in spirit. His carved Girl Scout Bridge and his Hounds at Hazelwild medallion were on display. And he sent an email for me to read during the parents’ moment to speak.

Ok, now is the time to grab your tissues. T1, your dad, who is the Eagle scout, and I are very proud of you and this amazing project you created and undertook. I would say yes, there were times you were a typical teenager but then this wasn’t a project a typical teenager would attempt. I hope you know that after doing this, you can really take on any event and project you put your mind to.

                              The Chief sent the following message: Every Dad thinks their daughter is amazing, I have the blessing of knowing that mine is. When I learned the size and scope of the project she set out to do I had an initial bit of hesitation, knowing the amount of work that would be required. T1 insisted that she was up to the challenge and would be able to get the job done. In the end, the time, sweat and trials that went into this project were worth it in the end. Completing a Gold Award Project is something to be proud of, but as a Dad I was more proud of something else. Being able to have a vision, share it with others, and get so many people to give their time and energy to make it a success is even more amazing. Seeing the growth and maturity as she dealt with the challenges lets me know that she’s capable of anything she sets her mind to.

  I truly know my daughter is awesome.

Many of you know that T1 lost her special greyhound, Crookshanks, on March 31st. I was originally going to commission the same Cindy Liebel pendant for T1 but the idea came to me to honor Crook. Racing greyhounds have tattoos in their ears. One set of numbers marks the kennel the hound came from. The other ear has the birth month and year followed by a letter showing which order in their litter they were tattooed. Crook, who raced as Kiowa Saints, had identical tattoos to her sister Hedwig except for the letter–128F. I always said it stood for fair, as Crook was lighter than Heddie, who is 128D (for dark). I thought about a pendant but you are really a bracelet kind of girl. So here is a custom Cindy Liebel cuff bracelet with Crook’s tattoo numbers. And when people ask you about those numbers, Crook will always be honored as your first–but not last–greyhound and how she helped you earn your Gold Award.

Note: I had a few dads in the audience come up to me afterwards to say that they fought back a few sniffles. My SIL’s dad came up to me and said, “When she struggles in life, the first thing she needs is the Bible. The second is her dad’s email. Make sure she takes a framed copy of that with her to college.”

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Repeat & Add Craziness!

July 28, 2017

Does this year really need to repeat everything about last year?

One “perfect for you” job that I didn’t get. Adopt a dog on June 11. Second “perfect for you” job that I didn’t get. Now just waiting for that third job. Stinks. But I refuse to sink. I am trusting God again.

If I had gotten the first job this year, I’d be working full-time, 12-months a year. That just wouldn’t work right now. Two days ago we found out T1 has mild to moderate hearing loss of all the middle ranges in both ears.

Normal hearing is between -10 to 20 dB. T1 hears low sounds and high sounds in those ranges. Mild hearing deficit is between 20 to 40 dB. Moderate hearing deficit is between 40 to 70 dB. All of the middle sounds for T1 fell between 40 and 70 dB.

This is a “sound banana.” (Found on Pinterest, source unknown.)

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The middle sounds are between 500 and 3,000 Hz.

During the word tests, if they turned up the volume she could hear about 88% in one ear and 92% in the other.

Of course I asked if this was from earwax (a chronic problem for her)…nope, no wax to speak of. She hasn’t had an ear infection since 2012 that we know of and currently no fluid behind the ear drums. I asked if this was from earbuds and always wearing them… nope, no evidence of sound trauma from the other tests they performed. Looks like a nerve deficit.

To say that I was stunned is putting it mildly. T1 handled it great–she is relieved to know the hearing loss is real. Maybe her sister will stop picking on her and calling her deaf!

In short I contacted every family member I could, but I was desperate to hear from the Chief. I eventually called the ship on the satellite phone. Something I don’t think I’ve done in like 5 years.

The ENT is recommending either an amplifier or hearing aids but he wants to find the cause by ruling out some pretty serious genetic conditions. In case you weren’t aware, the inner ears and the kidneys form in utero at the same time. Often if one has kidney disease, one has a hearing problem and vice versa. So T1 needs a urinalysis. There are some chronic heart conditions, not “momentary” like my SVT, that also could indicate a hearing issue. So T1 needs an EKG. Need to find a pediatric cardiologist. The inner cochlear bones could be malformed. So T1 needs a CT scan. The ENT could order the CT scan but I needed to get her pediatrician to either do the other tests or order them.

And after talking to a friend who just got hearing aids, those will be a series of appointments as well… one to get a trial pair, one to see how the trial went, one to fit the ones we’ll buy, one to retest in the booth how they are working, etc.

And the Chief is at sea and due to circumstances out of his control may not get home until the end of August.

Pediatrician visit and urinalysis complete today. Her pediatrician, who had only started her private practice within the year T1 was born and had seen her less than a day old, was in as much shock as I was. We talked family medical history and about all the testing the ENT wanted. Opted to get T1 into Children’s Hospital for the cardiologist rather than just a routine clinic EKG. (“If there is a problem she’ll need a cardiologist anyway…”) Of course I couldn’t get into the closest branch until late September but by choosing a different branch she could be seen sooner and at least I don’t have to go all the way to the big city like when T2 had her first mystery illness. Cardiologist scheduled for the 7th and the CT scan will be local on the 10th. Follow-up with the ENT on the 28th.

Last night we told her private teacher for viola lessons about the hearing deficit. After his initial shock he said, “Now things make sense. She doesn’t self-correct like she should.” She has college scholarship auditions to prepare for–now we know we have additional work to accomplish.

Got a call today to see if we wanted to start the hearing aid process. I am not ready for that. Gadgets are not my thing. I know the Chief will research every model out there and have all the pros and cons and customer reviews on hand. He’ll look at cost and efficiency. He wants to know if this will be progressive. I’m going to wait until the 28th, crossing my fingers that he will be home, to start the process. I am not up to doing this alone.

On the drive home today T1 was silent so at the red light I signed, Are you okay? Of course she scowled at me. I had been jokingly signing I love you since the day before. I stopped giggling and said, “I have to joke about it because I think if I didn’t, I’d cry.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

The light turned green and I caught her out of the corner of my eye signing Are you okay?

“Maybe I have to find your old sign language books and watch YouTube to teach myself sign language. I might need it in the future.”

Like I said, she’s handling it better than I am.

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