Tag Archives: Life

Saying Goodbye to Our First Home

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This is another long overdue, but much needed-to-be-documented-post. Almost four months ago we said goodbye to our home. Our first home. The first home that was all OURS. As in, we owned every crack in the stucco, every rock on its property, every teeny hole in the wall from where we once hung a picture, every square foot, it was ours.

I remember our long three month adventure of shopping for homes. It was during a time when homes were getting snatched up left and right because of the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit that was about to expire and we were badly wanting to jump on that band wagon as well. But at the same time, we didn’t want just any home. We looked for homes out by the Count’s grandma because at the time, we were spending a lot of time driving from our little apartment in Gilbert out to East Mesa to take care of her, take her shopping, to dr.’s appointments, and spend time with her, so that was our chosen locale. We put an offer in on a short-sale home and waited for about a month but never felt quite comfortable about it and then OUR house came on the market. Our realtor sent it to us. She drove out to us from North Scottsdale to see it and that same day we put an offer in on it, canceled our short-sale offer, and the new offer was accepted. Boom. Like that. And it wasn’t a short sale.

It was so exciting. Counting the days down of escrow, inspections, and signing papers until we got that one special brass key. I was working when we got the key so the Count got to go into the house by himself first. He studied for a mid-term on the floor with no furniture and his backpack and papers strewn about. I was so excited at work I could hardly contain myself and I remember exclaiming this excitement to my friends at work about how I couldn’t wait to get HOME from work that night. More than usual, of course.

Anyways, that was four years ago. A lot happened in that four years. We changed, we grew in our relationship, in our professional lives, and most importantly, we had a baby.

First of all, when we chose this house, we weren’t planning on having kids. If you’ve followed my blog, you know this. So, our house definitely wasn’t the best layout for having a child. It was fine for our early months and years with Finn, but it wasn’t perfect and I think that made it easier to say goodbye to it. On the other hand, almost every memory of Finn’s almost two years was spent at this home. Which made it perfect to us. And made it really difficult to sell and leave.

Packing up and cleaning the house (once our house sold, everything happened so FAST and unexpectedly) was such a rough month for us. Tensions were so high. I was working a lot of hours at work. The Count just started a new semester at school. Mom was just getting over her scary heart attack. My brother had just gotten back from a bad situation in Northern California. It was a rough period. We all needed each other’s help and to band together and unfortunately we didn’t do it so well. I think everybody felt isolated and like everybody was doing everything themselves and it was just a clusterfuck of a month. But we managed to get out — barely.

I remember the last night we went to drop our keys off the three of us went over there to say goodbye to our first home as a family. We ran into our next door neighbors who were having a party and they gave us some cupcakes and we said our goodbyes. We both kicked ourselves for not getting to know each other sooner as we just started to talk in the few months before we moved. The Count played football with the husband and older boys at the park, I’d visit with the wife while the young ones played on the playground. It would have been awesome if we had done that all along. Oh well, next time?

I didn’t cry when we walked around our house that last time. I was still sort of numb on the outside to the whole situation but I was flooded with emotions on the inside. In one huge way, it was the biggest sense of relief we could have been handed — no more mortgage for a while, which is what we needed at this juncture in our life. But I wasn’t saying goodbye to a house, I was saying goodbye to memories. I was saying goodbye to where Finn came home from the hospital, where he learned to crawl and walk. Where we saw him smile and laugh for the first of countless times. Where we put him to bed safely in his crib each night before we secured the doors to our home to keep OUR family safe. Where we cooked our first Thanksgiving meal for our entire extended relatives. Where Penny had her first backyard (not that it was much of a yard!). Where the Count studied for most of his college education and where I planned our trip to Europe. And more recently, where we had our last Christmas with his Grandma before she moved to Colorado. So many wonderful things happened in this home. We laughed, we cried, we fought, we loved, we lived.

Finn had no idea what was going on. Nothing much was going to change for him and still hasn’t. That was the important thing for all of us. He’s very much at home at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. But he ran around and had a ball that night. This big empty house where he could go anywhere he wanted for once! We were sort of rushed as it was close to Finn’s bed time (or past it) and the Count had either homework or to be up at the crack of dawn (it’s always one or the other). We loaded a couple more things into the car and took video and pictures of Finn in his first home that night and then drove away. We said goodbye to our home, our park, our playground, and our gate a final time. He won’t remember that night or any night he spent in that home, but I’ll never forget it.

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Hard Times

I have put off writing this post for a long time, but I’ve finally decided it was time. For me. Because I need to. It’s so therapeutic for me to write and all too often I don’t do it. This last year was the hardest year for me. Probably not for Dan, but definitely for me. We’ve faced some really difficult times together which I’ve talked about before. Six months after I met Dan he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure as a result of his untreated cardiomyopathy and hyperthyroidism. Well you can read all about that here. Anyways, 3 months after that his dad died after a long battle with alcoholism. So, that was probably his roughest time. He has been on  disability since that time and working on getting healthy and trying to live a normal life knowing that one day he may still need a heart transplant and that he may still not live the same long and healthy life that his friends and other people his age will. Fast forward 10 years and he is doing so much better. He’s 3 semesters away from graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, we have a happy and healthy son, a house, and overall we’re pretty happy. However, this last year was anything but a walk in the park.

Finn’s birth story was no fun, although I can’t say I’m really complaining about a c-section (heh), just the 48 hours leading up to it, and then of course the eclamptic seizure and losing my vision for 4 days and all that sure was one of the scariest things I’ve ever been through, if not, the scariest. Then there were my back troubles, my emergency back surgery in September, all the physical therapy that led up to it, and the absolutely miserable headache that happened afterwards and ended up being a cerebral spinal fluid leak due to them nicking my dura during the back surgery in September that meant another emergency back surgery in October to repair that. This resulted in some serious headaches that I am still dealing with 9 months later and am on some heavy duty headache and seizure medication daily to keep them at bay. Not having enough spinal fluid in your skull for such a long period of time can really do a number on you, let me tell ya! I went a month without! I still have another ruptured disc that I am nursing and doing everything that I can to avoid any other surgeries because the fear of that happening again is almost worse than the pain that I endure everyday.

I went back to work in January after 4 months of being off and it was pretty miserable. Absolutely awful new management that I endured for just a couple of months and then on March 8th my department of 40 was informed that they were cutting it to 10 people and the rest were either being sent back to the phones (at practically my starting pay from 5 years ago) or packing to find new jobs. I chose the latter. If I’m going to have to start over, I’d rather start over somewhere else, not at a sinking ship working for what I already knew was horrible management. Luckily, I stayed in pretty good contact with my old boss at the company I used to work for and I asked her if she would hire me back. And she did. Practically that day. So, I stayed with my current (old) company until the date they gave us (April 4th) after putting in my 2 weeks, and started at my new (old-old) company as a supervisor/CSR. Then, the manager of the department stepped down! A blessing! And they asked me to apply. And I did. And I got it. I start June 2nd. So, I have another month to continue to try to get up to speed where I’m at and then I’ll be the manager of this department. Yikes.

And then we got another road block. Dan lost his disability. Which is good and bad. It’s good because he’s not “disabled” anymore. It’s bad because on top of going to school full time taking a full load of biochemistry classes AND doing research at the school for FREE so he can get a job afterwards AND having a kid AND a house to take care of, he has to now get a part-time job. Maybe 2, to make up for what he was making. Which wasn’t much, but it wasn’t anything to laugh at either. So that’s where we’re at. It’s like one thing after another. Fortunately, I can put him on my insurance at work because I’m still in the 3 month waiting period at work and so I’ll be able to sign all 3 of us up at the same time and he won’t have to go without insurance for any period of time.

So, things are really stressful for us right now. Where does he get work after not working for 10 years? Who is going to hire somebody with no recent work experience? Where do we go from here? What do we do?

All I know is I’m just thankful for us, still. After 10 years and everything we’ve been through… WE. STILL. HAVE. US. And now we have Finn, too. He makes everything 10x harder, but 10x better at the same time. I know we’ll get through this. Like we’ve gotten through everything else. This feels like the end of the road a the moment, sometimes I wake up and I cry and I just think, none of this stuff is worth it, take it all, I’m done. And then I get up, I shower, I go to work, and it is. It just is. We’ve thought about renting our house out for the last year and moving in with my parents while Dan finishes school so that he doesn’t have to stress about getting a job (and we’re still thinking about it) and I don’t have to carry so much weight on my shoulders anymore. We’ll see what happens. Dan doesn’t want to do that. We like having our own house, of course, but I also really want Dan to be able to concentrate of school and his research program his last year and not have to worry about any of this crap.

I found this great quote that really resonated with me:

The bottom line: If you want a happier family, create, refine, and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones.
That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.

via a New York Times article / March 2013

We’ve definitely made it through a lot of hard times. We’ll make it through these hard times. We have a lot of great family to support us. We have US. And at the end of this great big tunnel we have hopefully something great. A job for Dan with his degree. Lots of student loans to pay off. You know, the American Dream. :)

A Change in Plans

If you’ve been following my blog you know I had been teetering back and forth for quite some time about whether or not to take any classes this semester.  I did not register and this would have been the 2nd week of classes.  Well, I had a mini meltdown (all in my head) about how disappointed I was in myself for not taking any classes.  It was pretty much pure laziness.  I still have 4 200 level classes that I need for my Bachelor’s and then all upper division courses after those.  I got my Associate’s already, but had so many classes that did not pertain to my degree.  So, I decided when I get to ASU (more to come) I would rather replace some of the classes I took (like Economics, Sociology, Communications, etc.) with classes that were pertinent to my degree.  So, Monday morning at work I had this “epiphany” (or mini meltdown as I previously called it) that I need to be taking these classes and I need to do anything to get in them that I can.  So, I frantically started contacting the instructors, the department heads, admissions, registration dept. and got all the answers that I wanted.  I just got home tonight from school where I had the department heads override me to get in the classes since it was past the “Drop/Add” period.  I am now officially registered for ENH241 and EDU222.  Then in October I am going to register for ENH222 online through Rio Salado.  I feel good!  I am so glad I am not going to sit around all semester doing nothing.  Man, I swear I could be a professional student for the rest of my life!  I never want to stop learning.  All of these classes I am extremely excited for.  And so thankful that all the the instructors and bureaucrats were so accomodating to me.  Yay!  I start my English Lit class tomorrow and then my Education class next Monday.  W00t!  Stay tuned for this continued adventure.

Update: The department chair of the English department decided not to approve my enrollment in the ENH class.  So, I’ll be registering for that at Rio Salado online as well.  Oh well.