And So It Goes

Oh How Time Flies!


Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog. I’ve got the first week of my new job under my belt. It was a wonderful week! I have really missed doing victim services work. I hit the ground running. It was 3:00PM on the first day before I even made it to my office. By the time I left at 4:00 I was already behind in work. I mentioned that to my boss and she smiled. She shared that she has been behind for the whole 22 years she’s worked here. That was a comfort (I think).

The second day I facilitated a children’s group. What a great time! The kids were engaged and participated so well. Of course the hand carved school buses and color crayons they took home-made them eager for next week.

The third day I was just getting the lay of the land. I think a map might help. I have supplies in three different storage areas, and I can’t remember which stuff is in which area. SO I do a lot of back tracking, at least for now.

Day four found me meeting with the insurance specialist regarding my benefits. I’ll just say AMAZING! That covers it.

Day five surprised me with free circus tickets to take the kids to the circus in a couple of weeks. And I created a ‘what’s new’ type of calendar. Did you know that National Leap Frog Day is on Wednesday? Don’t forget to celebrate!

Chuck and I are spending the weekend in Iowa. The weather is fabulous and we have taken full advantage of it. He bought a couple of new pear trees for his yard. We had a lovely lunch in Mason City at ‘The Hungry Mind’. We stopped by to visit my girlfriend Tammy and then took a walk at East Park. All of the baby geese were out for swimming lessons.

After we got back home, my daughter stopped by for a visit with her Boxer, Oscar. Shortly after she arrived, the front door opened and my granddaughter appeared with a big smile. She stayed for a short game of Candy Crush. I’ve been stuck on level 201 for like a month… the things we do for our grandkids!

This evening it’s off to the races! Hunter is racing in the Sport Compact Class this year as is my son Nick. Competition between brothers… it could get interesting.

Okay, well that’s it in a nut shell. I haven’t forgotten all of you out there. Life has managed to fill my moments lately. Once I get adjusted to this new schedule, I will blog again in earnest.
Love to you all!

Last Minute Update


I’ve been so short on time that I haven’t been able to post. I have just a few minutes now, but I wanted to keep you all up to date on the latest developments.

First of all, I got the job! I start my new position as Child Advocate for a Women’s Crisis Center on May 4th. I’m very excited and I know I will be challenged. It’s a new town for me so just finding my way around will be hysterical all by itself.
I’ve given notice at my present job. I have mixed feelings about that of course. I enjoy the staff and individuals I work with. And saying good-bye is always difficult.

On the up side I’ve decided to keep my apartment here for the time being. Chuck made a generous offer to let me stay at his place during the days I work there, and I can come back and have weekends here with my family. It will help us all make this transition.

Second on the list is that Chuck got an email from his doctor’s office that he will be scheduled for a couple further diagnostic tests. It doesn’t seem to be a panic, so I feel relieved about that.

He also has a birthday coming up, so I’ve decided to have a birthday party for him. (After some detective work, I learned that he hasn’t had one on a while.. party that is.) So what better way to celebrate his special day and have a chance to entertain as a couple. We brain-stormed a couple of ideas and have settled on one. So if you’re reading this… you’re invited. Just message me for the details.

Okay.. that’s it for now.

ANTICIPATION – Is Makin’ Me Wait


Remember the commercial from years ago… Anticipation ~ is makin’ me wait? Ketchup. It’s all about the ketchup.

Well, not exactly.. I”m just trying to make light of all the pots that I have simmering on the stove at this moment. Oddly none of it requires ketchup. But all of it requires time and patience. Thus the anticipation levels are rising. Pots on a slow simmer. One bubble and then wait for it… another. But nothing is done yet. The flavors have not melded. The ingredients haven’t yet combined thoroughly. And you really do want it to be just right. Sometimes waiting is the only answer. Other times it’s right to push on through with a decision. Not this time.

First of all we have Chuck’s tests. They were completed and the results came back. He’s been sort of vague about the results. It puzzles me really. He pooh-poohs it when really it isn’t pooh-poohable. But he’s dealing with something here other than his health. His health is just the venue with which the issue has come forward. His wife passed away unexpectedly. Grief comes in waves and stages over time. I think this is one of those times. You can’t experience the death of a partner of 43 years and not be deeply affected by it. He had health things that he had been managing for a few years, and yet she.. with no health issues, just passed away.

I think he has the mentality that if you don’t think about it- then it isn’t a problem. Minimize it. It’s no big deal. Really. And compared to all that he has swirling around in his mind, it really doesn’t begin to compare. So what does that mean for me? Hmmm.. my favorite! Patience. Pass the ketchup.

Then.. there’s the job interview I had last week. It was so awesome. Then I got a call on Monday, that they wanted me to come in for a second interview. (A shout out to my references, you know who you are – and thank you so much for your input into my future!) The second interview was just as amazing as the first. I was asked about my availability, as in how soon would I be able to start. So I feel very positive about this opportunity. I was told that I would hear from them in a day or two. Today was day two… and guess what?! Not a word. Nada. Maybe tomorrow. Pass the ketchup.

TGIT – Thank Goodness It’s Thursday. My favorite television watching evening. I wait for it all week actually. My daughter and granddaughter have me hooked on Grey’s Anatomy. In fact, Kali informed me that she is watching the whole series from day one.. all over again. And then follows Scandal. That one gives my blood pressure a work out. But I love it. And it wasn’t on last week, so I’ve been waiting a long time for this one. Pass the Ketchup.

In my current job, I have one weekend a month where I’m off and not on call. This weekend is it. And Chuck and I are going to spend it together. We are taking a bike to the bike shop in Minneapolis to have the brakes adjusted. Gotta stop when ya gotta stop. While the bike shop is doing their thing, we’re going to the zoo. I love the zoo. It makes me smile. After we pick up the bike, I know some fun little spots to eat, I have a favorite and I haven’t been there in ages. Jake’s City Grille in Eagan. Yummy. No ketchup necessary.

So while the pots are simmering on the stove, life goes on. Anticipation is makin’ me wait. But I have the weekend with my favorite guy. It’s all good.

A Most Excellent Day


There are those days that are simply amazing. I had one today. It was cold, about 35 degrees… with a fine mist that soon became snow flakes..in April. Not necessarily welcome. In fact, completely unwelcome at this point. It’s spring for crying out loud. But I barely noticed.

Odd? Yes. Because I don’t like winter. I’m not into snowmobiles or skiing or ice skating even though I’ve lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin or Iowa for most of my life. My idea of a perfect winter day is hanging out in the kitchen concocting some new creation or buried under blankets on the couch watching videos.

But today, none of it mattered. I was up early. Made coffee and sipped at it while I checked email. I showered and made myself presentable. I even had a good hair day. Then I drove into Rochester for an interview. One step inside the front door and I knew something wonderful was about to happen. Of course in that first step I tripped. But I didn’t fall. Fortunately. I was there for an interview. It wouldn’t have made a good impression if I had needed first aid.

Even though I had never crossed this doorway before it felt comfortable and familiar. A cheerful young lady behind the reception counter was answering a phone call and a client was on the lobby computer looking up an ad she had found. A small boy, maybe about 6 can plodding through the reception area where I had taken a seat in the corner. He looked at me, but did not respond to my hello or smile. I didn’t think he was being rude, I am after all a stranger. A slim woman in a black exercise suit came through carrying a bag of supplies. She glanced at me as I glance at her. I wondered if we would become coworkers.

I was lost in that thought as another woman appeared, younger than I am but taller, as most everyone is. She motioned that I should follow her. Through this hallway and that, then a door way, and another until there was a desk with two chairs facing it. I took a seat and the interview began. With a worksheet and ten minutes to complete it. An essay none the less. fortunately I like to write and usually have a lot to say about most things. I was finished with the worksheet with plenty of time to spare. I put my pen down and looked around the room. A mid-fall yellow with black words scrolling across the room just above the file cabinets. The only visible word said Every the other words were obscured by unexplored Easter Baskets. Apparently this is where the extras are kept until next year.

The young tall woman reappeared with a reinforcement. A group interview, I took this to be good news. I thought maybe my initial impression might have been a good one and worthy of further investigation. It was a good thought.

They ladies shot out questions and each took a turn writing down my responses. I felt so excited by this interview. I was talking… a lot, like usual. I felt confident and like I fit in here somehow.
Then a ‘trick’ question. “What position are you applying for?”
But I caught it and responded with, “I was told the only position available was….. ”
There was a new development.
(I was quietly praying that there was another second position, full time.)
These young ladies did not let me down.

“In fact, just this morning we became aware of another position. It would be full time though.”
I believe my excited smile could be seen for several blocks. Just short of jumping up and down, I shared that I would in fact, be interested in that very position.

This of course lengthened the interview to an hour and a half. But I felt I had an intelligent well-thought answer for each question on their lists. Reaching the end of their questions list, the two of them conferred as if I could no longer hear them. Deciding that if further questions were indicated, they could simply call me. I agreed. They handed me one last sheet of paper and a pen. They need a background check. No worries. It seems everyone does.

I turned in this last form to the ladies who were now stationed in the reception area. They were visiting with a coworker who had gotten a new dog last night. A pug named Margo. The name suited her.

The young tall woman took the signed form from me and said they’d be checking my references and then I’d be hearing from them. I thanked them and asked them to call if they needed anything further.

So my fingers are crossed as I lay myself down for a nap before I go to work tonight on the night shift. If I get the new job, one of the perks will be sleeping at night. I can hardly wait.

Monster Under The Bed


Remember when you were a kid and you were sure. Just positive. That when the sun went down at the end of each day, a monster appeared under your bed. One that would grab your foot if it got too close to hanging over the edge of the mattress in the night. The kind of monster that scares you so badly that you can’t even scream for your mom or dad to save you.

Okay, so the blood test in question finally showed up with results. Chuck got a call on Friday afternoon. That in itself says something. The levels were still as high as they were three months ago. They wanted to do further testing then, but Chuck said, let’s give it three more months and see. The doctors and I aren’t happy.

The test result didn’t freak me out as much as the fact that he didn’t tell the doctors that he’s having pain. That is very well related to these tests. I was angry.
I had asked to go along for the tests and consultation. He kept saying it was no big deal. (If it was no big deal, then why couldn’t I go along, was my response.) So to placate me in the moment, he promised me that he would tell the doctors about the discomfort that wakes him in the night. He promised. And I believed him.

Well, for tests that were no big deal.. NOW it’s a big deal all over the damn place. Cause he broke that promise to me. And he didn’t tell the doctors. I wasn’t so sure at the time which thing made me the angriest. But anger is anger. And I was definately that.

I don’t get angry very often. But I was this time. The level of it even surprised me. I’m sure Chuck was just as surprised becasue he’d never seen me angry before. Well actually he didn’t seee me angry this time either cause he avoided me through the whole weekend. (Yeah… that was one way to ensure the anger had even more to feed on.) Avoidance isn’t a healthy way to deal with anger.

As the weekend progressed, my anger morphed into other things. Like a little boy’s toy, it transformed into all sorts of ugly. I tried to let it dissipate. Tried to write my way through it by journaling. I wrote him several of those letters that you never send. By Sunday afternoon when my daughter texted to see if I’d heard from Chuck, the anger had turned into crazy thinking. And then finally the tears fell. And fell.

I wasn’t so angry as I was hurt and disappointed. He had broken a promise to me. Lied. Avoided. And worst of all, he was denying.. about his health.
This isn’t a little cold thing or a sore throat that would eventually heal itself. We’re talking big, bad and ugly disease here.

So I did the ‘put myself in his shoes’ thing. I tried to imagine what would be going on in my head to come to the outcomes he was choosing. And I didn’t like what I saw.
Fear of course. Has he given up? Is it that bad already and he’s just not telling me? Does he think I’ll run away if I know?

Finally late on Sunday afternoon, I answered an email he’d sent me earlier in the day. Then he called me. And we talked it out. For a long time. By the end of the call, apologies had been shared, forgivness given. And a new promise made.

Today Chuck called and talked with the doctors. He goes in tomorrow morning for more blood tests. Other testing may be scheduled as well.

I thanked him for facing the monster under the bed. For being brave enough to run across the room and turn on the light so that we can look under the bed together and face that ugly monster head on.

Falling Into His Arms


Last night as I was getting ready to go to work, Chuck called. He’s just getting off work as I’m going into work. So we use this transition time to check in with each other.

I was telling him about a job I had applied for earlier in the day. A pretty cool one. Of course right after I filled out the online application and attached a resume and cover letter and hit send, of course. I went to take a nap before work.

They say that when you dream it’s your mind trying to manage stress that has occurred during the day. Well, I didn’t think that merely applying for a job was stressful But I guess it is. At least it was yesterday.

I had a similar job for a few years while I worked at the hospital. As I laid in bed just moments from sleep, I started to remember when I first began that job. I remembered the psychologists I had worked with. I remembered some of the life events occurring in my personal life at that time. Like getting married to my ex, moving to a new town, starting this new job. Total life change.

My nap was not restful. In fact, I never reached a sound sleep. And then it was time to get up. I showered, still thinking about the dream. And applying for this job that has the potential to change my life in much the same way as the first time I did that work. As I was drying my hair, I felt a moment of relief with the warm air blowing through my hair. That’s when I heard the phone.

Usually I don’t have any problem finding the right words to describe things. Like feelings and stuff. But I was struggling a lot with finding a single word to describe how that dream affected me. I came up with words like: Overwhelmed. Scared. None that were comforting at all to Chuck.

But he stepped right into the thick of things with the perfect words. “Jeannie, Jeannie, It’s gonna be alright.” “This is one step at a time. There is no rush. If you get the job you can stay here on the days you work and go back to your apartment on your days off.” “We can keep the apartment for a year even. We can go stay there on weekends to spend time with your kids and grandkids. We’ll have a comfortable place to stay when we’re there.”

Who knows how it will work out. I might get the job, or not. But I learned something important today. I learned that I can fall (Or jump as the case may be) into his arms. Chuck became a safety net for me. He could see rationally when my mind was busy swirling in details. I felt heard even when I couldn’t find the right words. And I felt safe. Even with his arms a couple of hours away, I felt as if they were wrapped all around me.

Holding My Breath


It’s a beautiful spring day in North Iowa. Bright, sunny, very windy and warm. Lower 70’s are expected for this afternoon. So you’d think this post would be full of light and the splendor of spring.

It’s not.

As I write this post, I’m waiting with bated breath for Chuck’s call. He had blood tests done this morning. Could be serious. Very serious. Or it could remain a ‘watch it and see’ kind of thing.
We knew this day was coming. We’ve talked about it extensively. I think that’s what some of the urgency has been about the past couple of weeks. A serious case of the ‘What If’s’ looming out there.

He says he’s not nervous. I pretend I’m not nervous. We both are trying to be strong for the other. Full well knowing this day is a fork in the road. The results have some power here. Potentially, the big scary kind of power. Life and death power. Can’t hold it back or deny it kind of power. Damn it. I’m really scared.

I’ve been watching the calendar up until today. Today I’m watching the clock. Tick, tick, tick. I’ve checked my phone at least a million times. To make sure the ringer is on. To make sure I didn’t somehow become tone-deaf and miss his call.

I wanted to go to the appointment with him today. He insisted it was no big deal. We both knew that wasn’t true. I don’t know if he’s just scared and doesn’t want me to see him like this. Or if it’s really the ‘nothing’ he says it is. Or if he isn’t going to tell the doctors that he really is having pain. He has minimized the pain over the past two days to ‘discomfort.’ Liar. Brave, silly liar. I love him. I do.

After the blood tests he had to wait three hours for the consultation. He was gonna call me after the blood draw, while he ate breakfast. He didn’t.

Trying not to worry. Trying to be patient. I’m not good at patience. Horrible at waiting. Anticipation only belongs to the ketchup ads. Not to real life results. Somewhere, out there, at Mayo Clinic, some lab assistant knows the results.

The consultation was scheduled for an hour ago. Tick, tick, tick. Check the phone again. Breathe, in and out. It’s easy.

Damn it. I’m really scared.

And The Winner Is…


(Drum roll please)

I got a call from Chuck last night before I left for work. We hadn’t planned to see each other for a couple of weeks. He said that he wanted to see me, that he needed to talk with me. I asked if we needed reservations at Perkins. We shared a nervous laugh. We worked out the details and Chuck drove down this morning.

Since I worked last night, I was sleeping when he arrived. After coffee had been made and a muffin eaten we began a bit of small talk. Getting caught up on the happenings of the past week. We were interrupted by a knock at the door. My daughter and granddaughter stopped by. Fortunately I had baked a Pineapple Upside Down Cake and my granddaughter was delighted. They stayed visiting with Chuck and I for nearly three hours when my daughter headed home to start dinner. My granddaughter was having fun helping Chuck with his new phone. They were taking pictures and recording videos. Then she put on her bike helmet and gave me a hug. She said a perky, “Good Bye Chuck” and was on her way. I do believe she’s warming up to Chuck.

I mentioned the loud grumbling coming from my stomach and we headed promptly to Mitchell’s Sports Bar in Leland, Iowa. Leland Iowa just happens to be named in a song by Kevin Costner… “you can’t buy a thing in Leland Iowa.” Kevin Costner is a good guy. He came with his band and did a free concert in a barn for all the residents of Leland Iowa. Then he went for lunch at Mitchell’s, and which I have lovingly named, The Kevin Costner Cafe’.

I ordered a Grilled Chicken sandwich that was topped with bacon, grilled onions and BBQ sauce. Chuck ordered ‘The Big Pig’ sandwich. Lots of pork on there. As we waited for our dinner, I mentioned that he had something he had wanted to talk to me about. And so it began. We both proceeded with caution. Gently talking and listening to each other. I told him about my concerns, and he clarified some things. He said that he’s quickly discovered how I have endeared my heart to him. And how when we’re not together that he’s wishing we were.

As our food arrived, I took a couple of moments of the timely diversion to consider my thoughts, feelings and possible options. I thought about feedback I’ve gotten from my daughter and all of you out there in blog-land. I said a quick prayer and took a deep breath. All this while watching Chuck wrestle with The Big Pig sandwich.

After dinner we took a drive and continued our conversation through the blurtings of random thoughts. We drove through Forest City, down the airport road and then north along the edge of the golf course, Chuck asked what I was thinking. Well, that’s usually a loaded question. Instead, i felt calm and peaceful. I opened my mouth and just the right words came out. Not too many, not too few. “We have something special here. If we can step forward with patience and honesty, I think we stand a chance.” Chuck smiled and said that he’d like it if we continued through the summer and meet each other’s friends and keep spending time with each other’s kids. Just take our time and see where it goes.

Suddenly the urgency I had felt about making a decision right now was gone. His words were heart-felt and sincere. I felt a calm tenderness between us that there hadn’t been before. We drove along side the Winnebago River until we reached the Swinging Bridge. I shared about walking along here with the kids and the park where they had played. All the thoughts of the convent and the cliff had disappeared.

“I have dreams for us Jeannie. Meeting you has changed my life. I think about the future and I never did before. Before Marge died I never thought about it. Now I think the best is yet to come.”

It was a nice thought to end the day on.

All In Or All Out


The moment of decision has come. I have to decide. Am I all in or all out? Over the past couple of weeks we have been laying cards on the table. Getting honest. Getting real about who we are after those perfect first impressions diminish.

The Perkins Talks were pretty tough. A lot was revealed on both sides. His issues were triggered. My issues were triggered. The dust is settling. And it’s come time to choose.

I feel like I’m on a game show and I have to choose between door number one or door number two. I’ve been given clues and the audience members are screaming their opinions. Only I can’t make out a single clear word because they’re all screaming at once. I seriously have a headache. And I’m afraid I’ll make the wrong choice. I have before. I have ignored red flags, flashing yellow lights, and the safety gate that’s closing as I approach. I have gone in the ring not realizing the opponent was down right evil. Then I show up with my coy smile, manicured nails and a pan of pumpkin bars and hope for the best. They like what I’m offering up. And then I get the emotional crap kicked out of me cause I didn’t see the boxing gloves.

Part of me wants to run away and join a convent, vowing never to sign up for online dating ever again. The other part of me wants to step off the proverbial cliff and fall with the faith that he’ll catch me at the bottom. Trouble is: it’s a long way down there and I”m near-sighted.

He says he’s all in. Wants a future with me.. and yes the “M” word has been spoken in passing followed with a ‘someday’. It’s a big contrast. Convent or cliff…

What to do, what to do?

I was All In until The second Perkins Talk. The baggage he shared is alive and well and living in Dallas. With all sorts of history, internet access and apparently unlimited cell phone minutes. He had asked me to be exclusive… but he isn’t. He told me he could be trusted and was loyal. But to whom? Certainly not me.

I’m disappointed. And I’m proud of myself too. For seeing and questioning. But still disappointed. (Insert big sigh here.)

He’s been talking and explaining for three days. I’ve heard it all. Over and over. How much he loves me. How much he needs me in his life. Everything I mean to him. All the things he can see ahead for the two of us.

I told him about my blog post..There’s The Door. About people loitering at the doorway to his life. Not coming in, but not getting out of the way either. And he seems to not own a broom or maybe he doesn’t know how to use one. Or maybe he doesn’t want to. (ouch)

I talked to my daughter… she is wise.
I told her that I should just cut my losses now and walk away.
She said that I should wait a little bit.
I reminded her that people don’t choose me. That they say how awesome I am, how they love me and want me, need me… but then they choose someone or something else. Never me.
She said, “But what if he is about to choose you and you aren’t there?”

Damn it. I hate this. I feel all crazy inside. This outcome is resting on his word and his actions. Ugh…

This morning when Chuck called, he asked if we were okay… I said we’d have to wait and see.

Me? Wait? (Insert wild crazy laugh here, AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)

I wish I could just turn to the last page in this story and see how it all turns out. I think either way, I’m gong to need tissues.

Perkins Talks


I’m not sure how it worked out this way, but Chuck and I have had some pretty intense conversations at Perkins lately. The first time it was over lunch, the next time was dinner and the last one breakfast. We had the same waitress twice.

It was while we were at Perkins eating that we’d open up a new topic and who knew it would go where it went. But we certainly got there. In a hurry no less. By the time we were all talked out, we were also emotionally drained.

I guess to cut to the chase, we stumbled upon old baggage that was trying to unpack itself in this new relationship. So over the Tremendous Twelve, the Tomato Basil Soup or the Cheese Omelet, we were wading through all sorts of old stuff. Not necessarily a light-hearted date, but an added brick or two to the foundation of our relationship. It’s beginning to be quite the structure. And some how, we managed to still be standing and together at the end of each conversation.

No offense to Perkins or the Tremendous Twelve, but I think we will frequent a different restaurant next time.

After the second Perkins Talk, we were sitting in the three season porch at Chuck’s. We sat there in sort of a stupor and watched the sun set. It was lovely, I think. I remember seeing it. But my mind was swirling with thoughts about our earlier conversation. What does it all mean? Can we continue moving forward? Should we? Or should we part ways now and save ourselves a lot of risk? Can we manage the risk? Is it really even current risk? Or lessons learned from past errors in judgement?

That’s when the phone rang. I took a deep cleansing breath hoping I’d regroup as Chuck answered the phone. I could hear his voice out in the kitchen talking with someone. I used the moment to decide we’d be alright. We would, I’m sure of it.

It was when he got to the doorway, with that ‘OMG’ look on his face that I wondered if I had made that ‘sort of’ decision prematurely. The phone call was from a piece of that baggage. (Is it still called baggage if it just happened?) I’m not really sure.

The sun had managed to set in spite of my thoughts that time was standing still. Life goes on whether you’re ready for it or not. Guess it was karma that came along to bite him at just the right moment.

I was feeling so overwhelmed. Nauseated even. I told him I thought I should just go home. Panic spread across his face as my words registered in his ears. I’d only had three hours of sleep, and it’s dark and home is two hours away. Now I had the ‘OMG’ look on MY face. I felt too exhausted to deal with this now.

His baggage had scratched upon one of my issues. I was trying so hard to be logical. To be wise. To not panic right along with him. One of us had to be strong in this moment. I wish the cat would have stepped up. Slacker. Instead, she just crawled up on my lap and waited to see what was gonna happen.

What ensued was another hour of couples therapy with me leading the session. I hate having to be my own counselor. But sometimes it’s the only option.

I explained what was going on inside of my tired little head and my ego-bruised heart. He started explaining.. then justifying… (which sort of pissed me off) so I pulled out the big guns. I had no choice.

I began, “If the shoe were on the other foot… and I was the one who had gotten a phone call like that…. would you be sitting here saying it doesn’t matter?”

Even though it was dark, I saw the color drain from his face. He opened his mouth and quietly admitted that he wouldn’t be very happy about it either.

BINGO! He got it.

You’ll have to stay tuned for the resolution. I’m not sure we’ve found it yet.

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