RIP

My mom passed away today. I will be taking a break to attend to family matters.

A Destination Starts at the Beginning

On January 1st, after a year of driving Uber and Lyft while finishing his trading courses, my husband became a full-time day trader. He (Jeff) had been a maintenance technician for almost 20 years, this was a significant career risk! He was hanging up his tool belt for an unknown future. Let me put the emphasis on trader, this means getting in and out of stock options as quickly as possible, making some money, and repeating this process all day long. He is not an investor. An investor puts money into a stock and waits for a long term financial gain. Nope. The hubby just looks for the quick buck. Jeff does not give anyone financial advise, other than to say, do your homework, and there’s a lot of it!

Why the change? Maintenance is a stable gig. After 20 years of hands-on experience, a boiler license, a pool license, including his technician’s license… why in the world would you want to change? Freedom. Freedom from a 24 hour a day emergency cell phone. Freedom from working day in and day out with a messed up back since high school football. Freedom to spend more quality time with an ailing wife who can’t guarantee her health will be at a maintainable level on any given day. Freedom to work in an arena that he only dreamt possible… (that’s the most important one I think.)

Has trading gone well for us? Hell no!!! But my husband is a survivor. He will fight for every nickel, dime, and dollar. He has and does! Day trading is a damn rollercoaster ride. You better be strapped in and ready for the drop, or you will not make it. You will literally be thrown from your seat off that ride! We have experienced the drop, several drops to be truthful, but we were both buckled in! We will continue on this ride.

So, my husband now needs only an internet connection to work. He is completely mobile. I am a blogger. All I need is an internet connection.

We have been going to home building shows for years, one day wanting to retire from the city to a log cabin possibly by one of the Great Lakes. Which one? When? How do we go about deciding where to live? Jeff is the outdoors type. Not the hunting/fishing guy but the camping/hiking kind of guy. He can fix anything, drive anything, and make a damn good breakfast over a open fire! Remember, I have some skills, I was a camp counselor and drove a big school bus. Why not continue ‘camping’ until we decide?

What in THE hell…?

It made sense. The RV lifestyle. We began our research even before Jeff decided to make a career change. The hubby and I are not impulsive people. Heck, he knew me since birth … it only took him 37 years to propose! To be fair, it took me 37 years to accept.

RV trade shows replaced our home shows. YouTube became an invaluable source of connecting with this lifestyle. Real pros and cons were listed, discussed, and re-categorized. We told no one. They’d believe we were daft. Would we be able to achieve what had now become this feverish goal? There would be many discussions, eventually revealing to extended family our plans. Some were good with it, others not so much.

We began to make the changes to get us mobile and into this elusive RV lifestyle destination! We just had to start at the beginning.

Now, this Fibro Warrior begins to find freedom by learning to become a rolling stone!

~Kim

I Am Homeless

It feels surreal. No, actually it feels scary… unorganized, tumultuous, messy… and a bit sad. The house on Taylor Street now stands alone. Vacant. Waiting for a new life to fill her walls. I only want the best for her. She saw me through many years of health, happiness, illness, sadness… but I could no longer care for her. Fibromyalgia made sure of that. On the 5th of September, we will hand over the keys to her new owner.

I don’t know much about him, the future owner. I don’t believe we are really supposed to ever meet. The little bit of information I have found out is that he is from Japan. He is an expert at purchasing and refurbishing duplexes. This is what he DOES. The house on Taylor Street will be in good hands, I think. I hope.

Fibromyalgia takes and takes. The more you fight your symptoms, the more your symptoms fight back! I was not able to move from my home with a planned pace of moving in an organized fashion … fibromyalgia made sure of that. It was a frantic and chaotic exercise, just trying to get everything boxed and thrown into a pick-up bed.

IT. WAS. NOT. PRETTY.

I arrived at my family lake home with very little memory of the actual event. The following days my families annual reunion was taking place as scheduled. I was in attendance. (I know this because I am in the family picture!) Honestly, I do not have much recollection of the weekend event. The following week I know I made some meals, went on a few boat rides, and drove my mom to a few medical appointments. I made a nurse cry (long story). I made the ritualistic runs to WalMart, I have the storage bins to prove it. During this time, my husband was driving from the lake house to the city house to empty the last remaining boxes of tools and ‘man’ stuff.

Then, three days ago I went to bed and I just never got up.

Three days felt like an hour… I did emerge from my room once. My sister simply looked at me and said, “you’ve lost two days.” I nodded and returned to my room, ‘losing’ another day. My sister knows about the loss of time as she suffers from debilitating migraines. Infrequently but never the less horrific to observe. (I can’t fathom that kind of excruciating head pain!)

Now what lies ahead of me is a smaller home. An RV until we decide where to put down roots again. A pickup truck. Only the worldly possessions that we can carry with us. Fibromyalgia can’t take that away… but it will try.

It is so good to be back blogging! I have missed our tribe terribly!

 

 

 

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The House on Taylor Street (Looming House Inspection)

This is where I try to sound like I know what I’m doing, but I really only have a 50/50 shot of coming out of this unscathed. Right now, it is 5:14 AM. Neither the hubby nor I can sleep any longer. The day of the home inspection is here! A man who literally holds the key to Jeff and I being able to sell our home in two weeks arrives at 10AM. I feel the left side of my chest tighten, the acidity of bile burns the back of my throat… I am terrified.

We never got our bathroom finished. We’ve lived in this house for 14 years. The beautiful artsy neighborhood referred to as the Arts District in northeast Minneapolis. The day we signed our mortgage papers, we knew there were three things we wanted to do. We planned to pull the carpet, hardwoods were underneath and the white oak needed to be given back some life! The bathroom, I wanted that subway tile with a black and white checked floor for as long as I could remember. The beauty of buying an old home is the restoration of it. Our house was built in 1907. We knew we would paint the interior, the exterior was a scrumptious buttered cream stucco. (You thought I was going to say remodel the kitchen… no, maybe a different countertop?) I loved the big weird kitchen. The corner sink, gas range, empty corners that would allow me to display some of my treasures! The kitchen was ugly, but it was my kind of ugly!

In June of 2006, the hubs and I moved into our big stucco duplex, with big dreams and high hopes for the future of whatever was to come! The first chapter of our life together as husband and wife.

This is my account of life in the house on Taylor Street … warts and all!

(To be continued… whenever an opportunity presents itself.)

Always choose to live your best life!

As per your request, The House on Talor Street (My Ugly Kitchen)

img_1453~Kim

Have You Ever Been Happy Sad?

Does this make sense? Have you ever been happy and sad at the same time? Happily sad? Thinking of memories, some make you sad, but you are still happy to have these memories. That’s where I find myself at this moment. I am happy sad…

Currently, I am at our family lake home. This is my Dad’s homestead. Now it’s been passed to his children, I’m one of five living siblings. I do have two other brothers who have passed on. One I didn’t know, born before me, stillborn. One died at the age of 37. The 37-year-old was in the Army, single, his death benefits came to our family. He wanted this money to be used to build a house on my dad’s property that we could all enjoy, and gather as a family. His dream came to fruition and our lake house has a bedroom for each of us, including a sixth in his memory. It was a happy sad moment upon completion. Sometimes still is.

Saturday, we toured assisted living facilities with my parents. [Happy sad.] I was watching my parent’s worried looks as we started the first tour. But they relaxed, both having visited relatives and friends at these facilities. They were familiar with the sites but didn’t believe they may one day be residents.

We were treated to lunch after our tour at the first facility by the program director. This facility was like a small city under one roof! There were two restaurants, a hair salon, a heated pool, a post office, a movie theatre, a work out facility, a boxing gym, pool tables, a library, therapists and trainers on site… amazing. After we had ordered our food, my dad and I were sitting together and he explained to me that although this was nice, he had the farm… the lake house we owned as a family. [Happy sad.] I had to explain that he would always have that, but mom was in poor health. The facts pointed to sooner rather than later, she would need a nurse. My dad, as healthy as he was, would not need medical care but he needed to get mom the care she would need. [Just sad.]

We toured the others, then headed to Dairy Queen! [Just Happy!]

We dropped off our parents at their townhome to rest, but it wasn’t long before they joined us at the lake house. I couldn’t remember the last time I was with all of my siblings and my parents at the same time. [Happy sad.] We had an evening of laughter, serious discussion, and more laughter. I was very aware that these gatherings were becoming very rare and would eventually come to an end.

Life changes. Circumstances change. Health declines. Being present, in these rare beautiful moments, is the only way you can keep them … in your heart. Time marches on. No matter how hard we try to slow things down, Father Time keeps the clocks wound. You can’t cheat time. Beautiful moments happen in real time be they ever so fleeting. [Happy sad.]

img_0992-2~Kim

The Intruder in the Night (Magic Memory)

I have fibromyalgia and some coexisting conditions. I experience a cognitive dysfunction known as fibro fog. I need to do mind work every day. When a memory strikes, I write about it! It’s ‘magic’ in my mind, simply because I remember it!



I had to be 13, maybe 14 years old. My parents were out of town at a state school board conference. I was left at home to care for my two younger siblings. A boy we’ll call ‘Jon,’ was one year younger than me, and my sister, who I’ll refer to as ‘Leah’ was six years my junior. (The eldest three siblings, graduated and had moved out.)

It was warm, I really remember the heat. We had lightning storms with blinding sheets of pouring rain. It was about two in the morning, and I heard rustling around in my little sister’s room. I got up and went to check on her. She was going through her dresser drawers in the dark. [OK, this is weird, I wonder if she’s been turned into a child zombie.] 

“Hey Leah, what are you doing?”

“I need to find my long johns.”

“Are you cold?”

“I need to find my long johns.”

I began searching through her drawers with her. I was sweating! Why did she need her long johns? Then I hear the wood crack on a step leading to the upstairs where my sister and I were. I knew my brother was asleep in his room in the basement, so hollering for his help wouldn’t work.

“Can we look for your long johns in the morning?”

“Yes.”

“Back into bed, quickly.”

The next crack of the wood stair was closer. I figured the nighttime invader had to be close to arriving upstairs where we were. I shut the door to my little sister’s room behind me. [I’m sure we will be murdered at this point, but I wasn’t going to let this intruder past me.] I walked to the end of the hall towards the stairs picking up a baseball bat on my way. I positioned myself and got ready to take the perfect swing and knock the intruder down the stairs.

There was the intruder! He was rising up from the last step. I stepped into my swing, stopping just short of his head.

“Jesus Kim, what are you doing!?!?”

“Jon! What the hell are you doing out of bed!?!?”

“What are you doing with a bat?”

“What… good lord I could’ve killed you.”

“I was hungry, then I heard you and Leah, and I wanted to see what you were doing.”

“Go to bed, Jon! NOW!”

I slept fitfully that night, and when I woke in the morning, I went into my sister’s room and said, “Let’s look for those long johns then…”

She had no idea what I was talking about…

img_0992~Kim

Surprise! (Magic Memory)

I have fibromyalgia and some coexisting conditions. I experience a cognitive dysfunction known as fibro fog. I need to do mind work every day.  When a memory strikes, I write about it! It’s ‘magic’ in my mind, simply because I remember it!

It was 1997, and we were on our way to my sister’s house. I had flown in from Seattle for a summer visit and stayed the night at my brother’s house to spend time with his family. I think this was the first time I was going to visit my sister and her husband’s new home.  I had no idea which house I was looking for… thankfully my brother, his wife and their three kids were bringing me to my sister’s. I didn’t know why all five of them needed to come to drop me off but whatever…

Then, to my horror, I saw a big sign and a lot of people around it. The sign was hanging from a house and said, “Surprise! This is what thirty looks like!” [I had to stand under that sign later that day and get my picture taken.]

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I asked my brother whose birthday it was? I horrified I didn’t have a gift. They both yelled, “It’s yours!” I was confused. This was July, my birthday wasn’t until September. They were both yelling, “surprise!” and their three children were laughing in delight at my shocked and completely surprised face.

I saw the culprit who had thrown this little shindig together, Melanie! Standing by her side was my younger sister. I could see my older sister back in the crowd smirking, her hand was definitely in this too! These three had put this surprise birthday party together for me. I walked up to them. We were all laughing, but Melanie could tell I wanted to strangle them. (I am so uncomfortable being the center of attention!)

I shared my cake with my adorable little nieces and nephews! They couldn’t believe we could eat the frosting with our fingers!

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Here’s the kicker. Melanie was one of my best friends since middle school, she also is Jeff’s (the hubby) younger sister. There was food and cake, presents, and so many people! Even my ‘friend’ Jeff showed up, with his then-girlfriend, to wish me a Happy 30th!

I laugh about this day now. It was so fun. I’d never had a surprise party thrown for me. It was the first and last, and the best birthday memory ever… even then, all of Jeff’s family, now my in-laws, were at the party to help me celebrate. (Our families were then,  and still remain terrific friends.) I never guessed that eight years later I’d be marrying the man, who brought his girlfriend, to my Surprise 30th Birthday Party.

 

My 31st Birthday was very different, I was just in a car accident that would change my entire life… and wearing that horrible neck brace! What a difference a year makes.

Memorial Day (My Brother, My Soldier)

My brother passed away on the United States Army Base in San Antonio, Texas, at the Brooke Army Medical Center on August 18, 2003. He was 37. He loved the Army, serving his country…

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~~~

My Brother, My Soldier

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We are so far from home,

he and I.

Engulfed in a land so foreign to us,

a city within a city. 

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At times he is stubborn

and full of mischief,

teasing and laughing

the brother I know.

.

There are times when he is reflective,

speaking as if

communicating with

I would guess, the Divine.

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He is so thankful for the help he receives 

and so apologetic when he is in need.

He loves and hugs all who are near,

Only they and I experience the fear.

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His body tires and his eyes close,

he puts his hand in mine.

I wait silently for him to wake,

and I greet him with a smile.

.

I tell my brother he is a good soldier.

I tell my brother I love him so.

I tell my brother God is with him.

I tell my soldier it is okay if he is called to go…

~~~

k.Lynel (2003)

 

 

 

The Range (Magic Memory)

Hello! You probably know my name is Kim and I have Fibromyalgia Syndrome. I also have significant cognitive difficulties because of it… so I blog! It is definitely mind work. I wanted to start writing some bits and pieces that I remember from different times in my life. The reason? These memories are called ‘magic’ simply because I can remember them! 

My husband (Jeff) and I got actually got married at the Boy Scout Camp I will be talking about. We rented the entire camp and threw a weekend wedding party… but I’m getting ahead of myself. This is about my husband, as well as my three brothers, and my nephews who were all members of The Boy Scouts of America. Only my husband went all the way and received his Eagle Scout rank, meaning he earned all his required merit badges and completed all of his service project requirements by the age of 17. That, folks, is the pinnacle of honors. Our nephews followed along in Boy Scouts starting in Cub Scouts, then Webelos, to Boy Scouts. You need to get specific merit badges to complete each level, and you age out at 17.

My husband continued to serve his Boy Scout camp as he worked there the summers he was home from college. Eventually, he went to ‘camp school,’ to become an instructor. Jeff’s area of expertise was shooting… he was (and is) a dead eye. [Fun fact: Whenever we run into his old camp instructor buddies there are multiple low whispers of “s-h-o-o-t-e-r…”] My husband became the range instructor, eventually independently writing the current manual used by the Boy Scouts, to this day, “Range Set-Up and Safety.”

Here’s my man in full instructor mode in the following picture.

(I need to be clear, this is NOT a post about gun laws or opinions. This is only a post about how my family members learned gun safety and awareness, starting with proper training in The Boy Scouts of America.)

First, and always there is respect shown to the United States of America’s flag.

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The Webelos shooting range is for BB gun practice only. The older scouts may join in. That is my father-in-law in the foreground (he is a decorated Scout Master) with one of my nephews in the first picture. In the second picture, two of my older nephews, who are Boy Scouts, are participating in the BB gun shooting range.

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This following picture is the range for the Boy Scouts who learn everything there is to know about a .22 caliber rifle and also get to practice shooting these guns with instructors on site.

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I consider this a magic memory because this was done on a family weekend. Three generations together, learning, growing, and enjoying puppy breaks!

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I hope you enjoyed my first magic memory post!

Live your best life!

img_0749-1~Kim