Saturday, October 27, 2012

Holy De-ja-vu, Batman.

I'm having a serious sense of de-ja-vu.

Last year in August 2011, a hurricane was on the way, eventually down-grading to Tropical Storm Irene but still packing a wallop! 

It was a MISERABLE storm. I remember huddling in the living room with the kiddos (Daryl was on ambulance calls) as the wind whistled and shrieked, trees shook all over us and the normally placid lake turned into a wavy, churning mass of waves...it looked like the ocean!

This picture does it NO justice. It looked worse at times!

Lots of damage, trees down, flooding and.... no power for at least a week!   There were generators selling out everywhere, nowhere to get gas, and LOTS of  candles and battery powered lamps in use.

We had over $200 worth of food in our fridge go to complete and utter waste. Had to scoop water out of the lake to fill up the tank on our toilet so we could go to the bathroom. We sparingly used toilet paper becuz our grinder pump had no electricity to pump the waste out to the main sewage line.

And worst of all? Our close friends (and their three children) lost their house and 3 dogs and 1 of their 2 cats to a horrible house fire (caused by a candle left going while they slept) that literally they escaped from with singed hair and some smoke inhalation. 

I still cry when I think of all they lost. The loss of their home was an incredible blow but the lives of their 3 dogs and 1 cat is something that can never be replaced. They were some of THE sweetest fur-babies I've known.


And then in October, as people still cleaned up the mess from Irene...the forecasters started predicting...a NOR'EASTER.

BEFORE HALLOWEEN.

Um, a horrible snow storm in October? Before Halloween even has hit? Craziness!

And this storm was bad with a capital "B".
Most of the leaves were still on the trees so the extra added weight of the snow and leaves caused tree limbs and branches down EVERYWHERE. Business and house roofs collapsed from the weight of the snow. It was chilly and of course, you guessed it, we had NO POWER.


Yup, almost all of the state had no power for a MINIMUM of a week. Another shitty week of missed work, mess to clean up, and all over the news...people getting injured or DYING from improper use of a generator!

And I also called this the year of the Non-Halloween.

Halloween was a complete and total BUST. With no power, and tree limbs and power lines still down all over the roads, it was a dangerous mess out there. In no way, shape or a form was it safe for kids to go trick-or-treating.

And yes, it may be pathetic, but I cried.  I remember siting in the semi-dusk, bored out of my mind and depressed that this was Avery's 1st Halloween and Hunter's third Halloween...the one where he actually knew how to say "Twick or Tweat" and was super excited about wearing his Woody costume.  Thankfully, he was still young enough though to not quite understand that Halloween was a certain DAY, and both kids fell asleep on the couch that night, in the cool darkness, by 6:45pm. 

It was NOT a fun Halloween (although I was happy we had no serious damage to contend with. Some  shingles blew off the roof, lots of limbs down, one of which fell on our truck but didn't damage it, thankfully.) but we were all safe!  We had a little Halloween costume dress-up the next day where I took the kids pictures!



So, this year was supposed to be our do-over. Now Avery is the one who can say "Twick or tweat!" and Hunter picked out his own Halloween costume (originally a skeleton, but it was too small so when we went to return it--and saw no more skeletons in his size--he chose a fireman instead).  And Mommy is ready with a witch hat, spider ring and web earrings.

And what's going on? Why,  Hurricane Sandy is on her way, of course!

I've already resigned myself to the fact that there will be no Halloween this year. We are stocked up on batteries for our flashlights, candles, wood and paper for our wood stove (if needed...it hasn't really been THAT cold yet), bottled water...and a generator!

We bought a generator this summer when we purchased our camper. So that will be useful in keeping the fridge going, some lights, my KEURIG (VERY important!) and maybe the TV to watch some movies for the kids. Last year, Hunter didn't understand and kept asking to watch Mickey. I felt so bad that I couldn't get him his morning daily dose of Mickey for a WEEK!

And last night we went to a local town's trick or treat! It was on Main Street, and local businesses participated so it was fun for the kids to get their costumes on, get some candy and fun for Mommy to get some pictures!
My grumpy little fireman had just fallen about 20 min. before this picture, bloody-ing up and loosening his bottom front tooth so he was NOT cooperative for pictures!
Even Mommy got in on the Halloween fun!

Getting ready to get our TRICK or TREAT on!

 




I loved the pics of Hunter (on the right) and his little buddy Anthony, strutting around in their firemen gear!



What? Did somebody say free donuts at Dunkin??
So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this storm is waaaaaaaaaaaay less damaging and (strong!) than predicted (although I'm not holding my breath). I'm also praying for the houses all on the coast! NO flooding!

And of course, can we puh-leeze have Halloween this year? ;-)

Stay safe, everyone!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Come check out my FB page for Itty Bitty Bow Boutique for a chance to win a free hair bow!

I'm super excited to have reached 75 (now 76!) "Likes" on my facebook page...so I'm doing a giveaway there!


Be sure to go "Like" my page and then comment under my giveaway status update for a chance to win a free holiday hair bow!




Come and visit me for a chance to win!! And when I reach 100 "Likes", I'll be doing another giveaway. :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A chilly and beautiful weekend!

A much-needed weekend with my family and friends.
 
Camping in Vermont.
 
Summed up in a few words.
 
Endless giggles.
 
FREEZING.
 
Hot dogs.
 
Playing in the crunchy Autumn leaves.
 
Cool, brisk air filling our lungs.


Snowflakes falling around the campfire.
 
Pure Vermont maple syrup.
 
Rosey cheeks.

 
Scarves, gloves, mittens.
 
Steaming HOT mugs of Pumpkin Spice coffee.
 
Sticky marshmallow fingers.

 
LOVE.
 
An AWESOME weekend!!!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Cancer sucks.

I found out some news at work today that threw me for a loop.

One of our patients passed away a couple of weeks ago.

He was sick with cancer, dying, and that I knew.  But it's just the quickness, the aggressiveness of cancer, that always seems to take my breath away.

J was a sweet, super friendly man. Always a kind word for me, the doctor, whoever he spoke with. He'd been battling cancer for years and about a year ago, was given the double thumbs up...he'd beat it!

I remember feeling so, so happy for this man who I hardly knew.  But he reminded me a lot of my father and he gave me a good feeling.  A happy, hard working man working a laborious outdoor job. A man who always had a smile for everyone, NEVER an unkind word!

And when he was getting sick, and dealing with the cancer again, still I held out hope for him. Hope that, unlike my father, J would beat this fucking disease. 

I don't swear a lot on my blog. But in this respect, it's almost like an f-bomb isn't good enough. FUCKING CANCER.  Going downhill fast, back in hospice, and then...dead.

Another sweet, caring, would-never-hurt-a-soul man was DEAD from this stupid fucking disease

I'm angry.  I'm feeling sorrow for someone who I only knew in passing.  I'm feeling helpless.  I'm feeling confused about why this man's death is affecting me so deeply.

I had a strange experience about a month ago and like my boss said, sometimes people like this are put in our path for a reason.

I was driving home from work after a morning spent fighting back tears.  J's health was failing, my boss told me when I asked...he was terminal. I couldn't get my father out of my head.  Rugged, tanned skin from working in the sun day after day.  Strong arms, the better to hug.  A warm smile to share.

I think about my Dad often, so often that it surprises me. Before he passed away, I NEVER knew that losing someone so close would leave such a hole in your heart. A  hole that maybe you could sort of patch up, but never, ever would that hole be filled again.  A piece of you gone forever.

So here I was analyzing the comparisons between my dad and J, and struggling to hold back the tears at work. Feeling how just unfair life could really be.  I hopped into my car and started driving and instantly an Adele song came on. Adele and Sarah McLaughlin songs have the knack of knocking the breath from my lungs and instantly transporting me back into memories. (that is pure talent!) And that day was no different. I was by Dad's bedside, rubbing his cold, cold skinned arm, his hand. Watching his chest rise and fall almost painfully, it sounded like he was drowning in his own body.  Whispering in his ear, as he lay there eyes sometimes open, there but not really there, "Don't worry. You can go now, Daddy. I'll take care of Mommy."

And I can't remember if I spoke out loud, or in my head in my car that afternoon, but I said something to the affect of "Dad, I miss you so much. I'm so angry you are gone and that someone else is going to lose THEIR Dad. IT's not fucking fair. I wish I knew you were still here." The song ended, I dried my tears, and I went and picked up my kids. 

Later that afternoon, I hopped on Facebook while the kids were napping, and went into one of the Mom's groups I belong to for each kid's birthdate.  There is this woman in our group who has said in the past that she communicates with those that have passed away. Whether you believe her or not, she's amazed some of the women on the board with things she's told them about THEIR loved ones. Once before she told me my father saw me walk down the aisle in my peach-colored dress. My dress was gold-colored but Dad was color-blind, so maybe? I kind of took it with a grain of salt.

Anyway, that afternoon, there was a message from her about how she'd been scrolling through her fb home status updates and something about my profile picture stopped her.  Her message to me was as follows:

"April, I think I have talked to you before. Your picture stands out today as I read through the posts. I have been so busy with my daughter and an emotional mess that I stayed away from this group. I have something I want to tell you. You need to slow down and BREATHE. I know you will understand this msg. You have been going too much and your health is starting to suffer(minor aches/pains). I keep getting .. BABY GIRL. This is a male.. I believe your father who is concerned the aches and pains might turn into more if you don't take it easy. Also there is something medical that you have put off for a while.. now is the time to take care of you . Is the passing aniversery soon or just passed?"

"Oh my God!" I remember saying out loud in shock. And instantly bawling my eyes out.  In the car earlier that day, as I gasped for air in between tears, I thought how I just needed to BREATHE and that I could barely BREATHE, life had been so chaotic (especially with Daryl going back to the emergency room and the kids misbehaving and me not feeling well). And I WAS my dad's baby girl, he made it known to everyone. He called me his "Chicky Babe".  And JUST THAT MORNING, I had called and made myself an appointment at a new doctor's office cuz there were some issues I wanted to address.

It's like everything was connected. My sadness over J, morphing into missing my father...and it being a wake-up call for me to start taking better care of myself.  Which I immediately made my mission to do.

And then this morning hits.

Ugh.  Like a load of bricks slamming into me with the knowledge that cancer has stolen ANOTHER person.  I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm lost.

I don't know what else to say, other than if cancer was a living, breathing being...I'd seriously kick it's fucking ass.

Monday, October 01, 2012

"It's Halloween-time!"

It is officially "Halloween-time" (as my son calls it) in our house!



I'm so excited for the holidays! I swear, I'm like a big kid as soon as the first Halloween decoration hits the department stores.  It doesn't matter what store I'm in, I can NOT ignore the aisles of orange- fun!

And of COURSE, I've already decorated in my house. We dragged my three rubbermaid totes from storage about 2 weekends ago!

 
 
Am I done? Probably not. I've already redecorated my mantle three times. THREE times. It's a sickness, I tell ya.



And now that I have kids?

That doesn't help! Hunter LOVES skeletons (he thinks they are all pirates) and all things Halloween.

So he expects me to buy a decoration every time we go to the store. Who am I to disappoint?

Lest you think I'm spending billions on orange bling, I will set you straight. In addition to my Michael's app on my phone that leaves coupons at my fingertips, AND my scores at the Target $1 and $2 "dollar bins", I also LOVE GOODWILL!!!
Good Lord, how am I so late to the Goodwill party? I "found" them over the summer and I seriously can't leave with out at least $20 worth of treasures, each and every time I go.

Look at this adorable wooden pumpkin and ghost garland I got for $2.99! I seriously am in love with it's utter cuteness.

And this sweet pumpkin frame?

Yup, you guessed it. I got it from Goodwill this past (early) summer for like two bucks!

Anyway, I can't promise my house won't change "character" before Halloween hits...it's like n obsession that I can't shake...

 

Good thing my husband knows how "crazy" I am for the holidays.

He wasn't surprised to see that I've already started...ahem...moving living room furniture around to make room for our Christmas tree. Ha!