Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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It’s 2020…

August 30, 2020

Looks like I haven’t written anything since May 2019. Or was it 2018? The Chief even asked me if he should/could delete the shortcut to my blog. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say…I’ve got plenty…the muse and purpose just wasn’t there. The Chief and I are still working out–after 27 years together (Aug. 5, 1993 was our second date and beginning of our relationship)–how we communicate with each other. And while these are my thoughts, my musings, how they are presented and received is a fine dance. If he had his way, I’d write and communicate like him–because that’s what he understands. Well, I’m not him. As our daughters find their voices as young adults, I’ve reflected on that dance. I’ll let him lead (sometimes! ūüôā ) but we’re writing the music together and I’m penning the words. (Funny thing is, he used to be the one to write poetry. Maybe he needs to get back to that…) And BTW, there is definitely an “engineer voice” as T1 is developing it and sounding just like her father, only with a lot of young adult female drama…it’s so confusing!

I took him to the airport this morning. He’s been sailing with the company officially 29 years in January. We should be planning for his retirement in 2022…but he thinks he’ll sail at least until June 2024 when T2 graduates. Who knows, though. His credentials expire in November. He sent in his documents for renewal so crossing our fingers that everything gets renewed.

The house is empty. Except for 4 large dogs! That’s right, we have three greyhounds and a borzoi now! Artemis, fka Sofie Bazzie, joined our family in March of this year–I call her my COVID crazy baby. She’s an alpha so she and Simi-Ruthie, the demon borzoi, have had to work things out. Artie’s youth (just turned 4 on August 5th) has not allowed her to successfully challenge the old lady who will be 12 in November. Hedwig will also be 12 in December and Bailey Boy will be 7 in November. So not really an empty nest.

T1 is starting her third year. She had just gotten back to campus for third quarter when the pandemic started. Most college student were mid-semester but being on a quarter system changes things. While other college students just had their spring break extended and the semester ultimately turned virtual, T1’s classes were just starting. We didn’t know whether to make her come home once the dorms had closed or to agree for her to stay in-state at the home of her boyfriend’s family. I kept asking, “Are you two adequately supervised? Are you giving them money for food? Are you outlasting your welcome?” She stayed until the end of May. It was hard but it was the right choice–too many changes would have been too hard on her. Virtual was difficult with her hearing loss though they made every effort to close-caption all her meetings. Her school is in-person and starts after Labor Day. We’re hopeful. There was just no way to keep up a virtual environment for engineering classes. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a massive distillation lab in my garage.

T2 graduated. Or walked across a stage, smiled for her three guests (me, my best friend, and her best friend), and couldn’t wait for it to be over. Because our district chose not to “grade” the final semester, if she hadn’t had 4 AP tests to prepare for she never would have attended any virtual classes. The Chief had left for sea on March 3rd in the hopes of being home for her CGS and regular school graduations. Instead he was at sea for 101 days and nights. I messed up the video conference and he never saw her regular graduation. Thankfully once our state moved into Phase 2 her CGS graduation, such as it was, was held and he was home for that. We even had family overs for a socially distanced celebration. Three months with just me and her… and four dogs. I’m not sure I ever imaged that. I will cherish the time.

T2 is at university now. She had her early decision acceptance last summer, months before any of her friends, so senioritis was BAD! She just wanted to start this new experience. I’m happy to say she’s had a week of classes and seems to be doing well. I plan on driving down to take her to dinner on her 18th birthday. I can’t not be with her on that day. If I think old lady Heddie can make the trip I will bring her with me.

And I am back at work. It’s been stressful because everything was left unfinished. There were too many unanswered questions. I watched 14 out of 16 hours of the school board meeting, seeing the best and worst of our community members and elected officials, where they ultimately voted to begin the year 100% virtual instead of hybrid. Really, the decision was between a rock and a hard place. My biggest take away from starting up was the stress of information loss. One usually hears about information loss in students over the summer–how the first weeks of school is spent relearning what has been lost, even after sending home take home packets and suggested summer activities. If I as an adult can’t remember quickly the processes I did every day for 6 months, how much will the children have forgotten? We’ve had 2 weeks of teacher training, one week of online orientation with students, and one week of online classes. I’m not as stressed.

Empty nest… typically a time when career military marriages fall apart. The Chief and I have really worked hard. And I have to say, I have enjoyed the past month–a week in Florida with him when he took his re-certification classes, and these weeks after the girls went to school. I cleaned up my desk during quarantine and found about 20 unused restaurant gift certificates! Let’s just say we used as many of them as we could! There was an intimacy that I think we both we looking forward to–an emotional intimacy that said, “we earned this, we did this, our job, and now it’s just us.” Sappy, I know. #goals LOL

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Our Life

February 7, 2019

Image may contain: one or more people, water and outdoor

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 ‚Ķ 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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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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