Posted by Linda on Oct 26, 2012 in family
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Most people I have talked to are comforted by the fact that Seattle Children’s Hospital exists. They have heard of or experienced top notch quality care for one of their family members or friends.
We have a more intimate connection with the place. For half of Heather’s first year of her life she lived there off and on. And as each year has gone by she spent less and less time there. Now she is down to 2.5 hours in Day Surgery sessions four times a year for hip injections for pain management.
Actually we are on our way out the door. We are in “transition.” ( Que the music from the graduation scene of “To Sir with Love” playing softly in the background.) Heather is over 21 and we need to find another place that will meet her needs. We all have been walking slowly toward this goal. Her doctors haven’t liked the rules any more than we have. But there is only so much bed space. So Heather and her 22-year-old self need to find other care providers.
We are working on this final medication switch before we go. It seems that one of Heather’s medications that we have been using for the past 17 years will be discontinued from the factory is just a few months. We have 5 months to switch her over to a new medication. It will be delicate and slow, to do it fast might cause seizures. We are 10 days in and so far so good. December will be the rough time when her brain lets go of the last little bit of this medication that has put her to sleep for 17 years, sigh.
I connected with a grandmother last Sunday whose grandson’s life was saved at Children’s Hospital a few years ago. ”What are you going to do without Children’s Hospital?” was what she said as we cried together. (Turn the music up louder.) These tears have been several years in the making for me. The deep, almost wailing kind of tears. Simply there is no other place like Children’s for us. Will Heather be O.K.? I think so…
Heather has a very strong spirit and deep soul and tends to rise to the occasion better than her mother. As we leave Children’s we have done one thing that is sane for us and that is our Family Doctor is the same. He has been Heather’s Doc since she was 8 months old and will continue to be that first line of defense for the regular things like colds, flu, and infections. It’s just, where do we go for the big things? We have a few ideas and we will be passed off to a clinic of some kind in the city in a few months.
Fade music and wipe tears for now…
When I think of Children’s Hospital, I see special people. I see Vic in Radiology, and Linda our favorite nurse. I see Kit Song who did three surgeries and has now moved to L.A. to be the Chief of Staff and surgeon of Shriners Hospital because he wants to serve a needier population.(That man is solid gold.) I see many nurses, always kind and generous when asking questions about Heather, rarely judgmental. I see an ever-changing place of hope, and state-of-the-art care. We are thankful you have been such a big part of our life, Children’s Hospital. Not sure how we are going to move on, just that I know that we will.
One final word for this post…THANK-YOU!
I’ve been feeling more than a little overwhelmed. So today I applied Linda’s strategy of breaking things down into manageable pieces to finally check things off my to-do list. (I have a separate to-do list for work, but let’s not even go there.)
Here’s my list. It’s actually the second version. I already broke “clean house” down into laundry, bathrooms, sweep & vacuum, and dishes before I started accomplishing anything. I was too overwhelmed by thinking about cleaning the whole dirty house. I don’t have time for that!
I broke it down, but I still felt too overwhelmed. All that laundry? ACK, that would take all day. Instead, I gave myself an out. Something’s better than nothing, so I modified my goal– towels. And while I was at it, some underwear and socks filled out the load. Bam! One thing done.
Then bathrooms. If I had to clean both bathrooms completely, it would take at least an hour. So I told myself if we just have clean sinks and counters today, I can do the tub and the toilets later in the week.
Sweeping but not vacuuming seemed like a reasonable compromise because it only meant one set of cleaning equipment (broom and dustpan) and one round through the house. I included the bathroom floors on this and felt like a champ because now the bathrooms really are clean enough to go a few more days.
I had too many dishes to fit in the dishwasher, so I didn’t even want to start. I told myself I just had to get one load in the dishwasher and rinse everything that wouldn’t fit. Once I lowered the bar, I just did it.
Finally, the workout. I’ve been feeling guilty for not getting my usual 45 minutes to an hour in regularly. Since something is better than nothing, I did 15 minutes of cardio and told myself I’d do more later if I had the time. (Surely that scurrying around with the broom and dustpan had to help my health a little, right?)
Now I’m on to the blog post, and I’m almost done with the list. Sure, my post isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Say it with me: “Something’s better than nothing!”
Have you felt paralyzed by perfection? What pass will you give yourself to enjoy the truth of today’s mantra?
Posted by Linda on Sep 4, 2012 in family
, life at home
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The idea was to go flat: get rid of the stairs, and while we are at it get rid of a bedroom and a bathroom, otherwise known as downsizing. Heather was done with her high school house, and Colin and I were ready to tackle “the move”.
Our goal was to move to a cute 3-bedroom rambler. Keeping our options open, we included condos in our search. We found a 3-bedroom condo with a pretty view– and two huge drawbacks. One: it was a short sale, and they are tricky to say the least. The second was that the previous occupant had three cats, and I am very allergic to cats.
BUT THE VIEW…
Our agent, Leigh, worked out a deal so we could rent the condo while we waited for the bank to clear the short sale. We were told that could take months, or could fall apart. The good part is we would have a pretty place with a view to wait to see what the Bank was going to do. What we underestimated by a mile was the work it took to get rid of the cat residue. We have several friends and family we will be indebted to for a while for their help that week.
The great news and the reason for this post is that we are now condo owners! We are delighted that the deal closed so quickly for a short sale. I tell everyone that I feel like I moved into a condo years about 10 years early…but we are here, and home is where love is. All of us love the view for starts, and it fits us pretty perfectly.
We know we need to warm this place up and that is where people come in. We have already had two dinner parties since we signed the papers last Wednesday. And I’m planning more. Come on by and enjoy the view, and did I tell you the Burke Gillman Trail is right outside our entrance? Perfect for walks with Heather, our outside girl.
This is news that came quickly…just wanted you to know.
Posted by Linda on Aug 15, 2012 in community
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This is the time we have all been waiting for, the harvest of the carrots and beets! Tomatoes and zucchini will come later, and lettuce and spinach have already passed.
But we have been waiting for carrots and beets!
Today we make a family adventure out of it. Heather has been a regular at the garden all summer watering with her adult helpers, me and Toni. But today since it is harvest day, her friends Daisa and Kaia get to be there.
The garden is magic and it has grown. Here are some photos we grabbed today.
Step one: get the soil wet
All hands in
Toni’s first beet
Toni, Heather, and Dasia harvesting beets
Yes, we ate some carrots before we got home. And more to harvest next week. This is simply exciting for beginners.
I am so glad that we got some things to grow. I am looking forward to next year and rolling on with what I have learned from this year. This was the year to just plant something, anything and see if it will grow. Many of our veggies did grow, but I also want to learn from my mistakes.
We have several hot weeks left, and I wonder how many tomatoes will ripen, and which zucchinis will get to a decent size.
What is growing in your garden? And what are you doing with your abundance?
Heather in Rose Garden. Taken by: Toni Noll
Heather in the Rose Garden at Woodland Park Zoo, on her birthday last week. I love this photo. It captures her sweetness, and her ability to reach for something if you give her time.
I have been focusing in on my daughter lately…really seeing her. I wonder what it would be like to be her, having very limited sight and hearing, but able to see and hear. Her response time to any stimuli has about a 5-7 second delay, on a good day. She was born with hydrocephalus, actually a severe case. Many people recover lots of function with a shunt installed at birth. Heather is one of the rare ones who did not.
Our life has been Heather-focused for 22 years. The great part about Heather is that our life became very simple and loving, connecting with many compassionate people along the way. We have a unique story in that both parents love her equally, and I would say Colin’s heart and my heart became welded together when she was born. We have taken each surgery and each recovery as a challenge in keeping all of us healthy. It’s been a long road.
As Heather has matured a unique thing has happened. She has gotten stronger…not what anyone would have predicted. And another surprise: we have recovered some of the joys in life, like riding motorcycles…
So, Heather will be in San Francisco cheering her mother on while she swims the Sharkfest 2012 and raises awareness and money for Team Hydro. But then we will get to part ways – for the first time – and Heather will have an adventure of her own. She will fly back from San Francisco sans parents (only Toni her caregiver will be there).
I am looking forward to this year’s Sharkfest for 3 reasons. 1). To do it again, to prove it wasn’t a fluke the first time. 2) To share it with Heather and 3) To celebrate 35 years of marriage as Colin and I ride back home on a rented Harley.
Right now…Life is good.
To contribute to Team Hydro and Heather and my cause, click HERE. If you get a java screen just x it out and keep moving. THANK YOU!! We are half way to our goal.
Posted by Linda on Jul 10, 2012 in community
, life at home
, Linda's posts
Our first visitors at our new home would be Heather’s friend Dasia and family. They came for fireworks.
We all nestled in on the Love Sack and enjoyed the view from there.
Our new home is on the Northend of Lake Washington and that night we had a spectacular view.
We were just days into our new home (unpacked boxes everywhere) or we would have invited all the folks who helped us move. Colin and I counted: it took 20 people and 170 people hours to move us. We want to continually thank them. Every time I see them I say THANK YOU!!!
“WOW,” you might be saying, “That sounds like a lot! What was the problem?”
Cats were the problem. See, I am allergic to cats, and the person before us had three. It is a short sale property with a wonderful view, so we decided to take the risk and take on the cats, but little did we know we were going to be in over our heads by day two of the move. All walls required 2 coats of Kilzs paint not just one, and let’s just say the painting went slow. We also had a Fire Alarm that went off for nearly 2 hours one evening that felt like torture.
But we are in and waiting. In Short Sale we wait for the original bank to clear the offer. They say it can take months, meanwhile we rent from the owner. Step one was to clear the cats…Done. We did it with a HEPA Filter and then an anti-allergy liquid for all counters and hard surfaces, and Kilzs paint for the walls.
This move has been one of the most stressful events of our past couple of years. And I have to admit waiting will have its stress too. But it was our choice to go risky…and we will see.
Thank you, Monica, Tanya, Jazzy, Jessica, Rachael, Toni, Tom, Anna, Micah, Brooke, Lahlae, M.L., Leslie, Nahun, Margo, Eugelico, Juan, and Dave! Without you we would have been lost.
Nothing left to do but enjoy the view and invite more visitors.
As we wrap up our time at our current home and pack boxes for the big move, I feel this week has been coming for months . . . and now it’s just time to push the baby out! It may hurt us all; for a move, usually I am much more packed up by now. It’s just time to dig down deep and go!
The best part of this move is who bought our house and how they found us. It was on Mother’s Day. We decided NOT to have an open house because, well, it was Mother’s Day, and we figured we could list the house on Saturday and let it hold a week. Then a sweet family knocked on our door anyway and asked if there was going to be an open house. We said, “Next Sunday.”
The man at the door explained that he was a father looking for a home for his daughter. . . and would it be OK if they looked? They took a quick tour. The electricity was gently flowing between us as we exchanged sentences. The daughter volunteered at Children’s Hospital for 6 years. Her mom was a kindergarten teacher. By the end of the conversation, the daughter asked if she could bring her husband back when he got home from work.
Short story: enter agents, paper work, inspectors, and a small list of things to fix including carbon monoxide alarms now alongside the smoke detectors. Last Friday we had a final walk-through together, and our new owners asked the agent about the SOLD sign that they want a picture in front of. She said she would bring it and put it up. Which she did– in the dark.
The plan was for a photo on Sunday morning with the new owners in front of their new house with the sign and the old owners. Less than 14 hours after the realtor put it up, the sold sign was gone. What?!? We are doing what we can to get the sign back. This is their first house. But, whether we can get the sign back or not. . .
On Friday at 5:00 this house will be the cute young couple’s house. I hope they enjoy it as much or more than we have. They are perfect for this house.
I will let you know more about where we moved to next Tuesday. . . Stay tuned.
Posted by Linda on Jun 18, 2012 in family
, life at home
, Linda's posts
Like clockwork every year our wedding anniversary rolls around. This year we have not been very aware of it because of all the other things going on in our life; we planned to celebrate of our marriage late with an adventous ride home on a rented Harley after I complete the Sharfest Swim in July.
This morning, a text from a sweet person in our life came in…”Today is your anniversary, right?” I said, to myself, “Right!” and smiled. Minutes later the phone rang. It was Colin. We said, “Happy Anniversary” in unison! We acknowledged that this one got away from us…and we laughed. I’m going to work tonight, so we have no special plans in place for today.
We’ve been so knee deep in planning our move and celebrating graduates that the date got by us. This has never happened before. So, after 35 years we have done it…taken that special date for granted.
This year, Colin and I have pulled together more than ever through all sorts of challenges and changes. We’re building a satisfying life for Heather in her post-high school years. We’re days away from a big move. Colin’s work life has shifted some. We are more aware that we are in a rapidly changing world in our aging bodies. Through it all, we celebrate our relationship often. We enjoy being together and leaning on each other to problem-solve the big and the small. I find myself grateful for Colin daily.
When I met Colin in college, he was the kindest person I had ever met. That is still true. He is also a whole host of other things, but kindness is at the top of the list.
Happy Anniversary, Kind One! I can’t wait to ride that Harley back from San Francisco to focus on 35 years of togetherness and CELEBRATE! You are a big fat gift from God to me. I love you. (Still surprised we both missed the date!)
A friend of mine is getting ordained in her denomination in a few weeks, and the ceremony will be outside overlooking the ocean. I offered to loan her my cordless microphone that has stayed at the ready since my “Singing Elephant” one-woman show days. Or at least I thought it was ready. Good thing I double checked, because the batteries in the battery pack had leaked and battery acid was all over the inside of the beautiful Sennheiser system. BLECH!!!
So, I went to my local music store to see if it could be restored. The first thing I got was, “You have a Sennheiser?” I got used to that response, a few years ago. It seems they aren’t used to a middle aged woman walking in with a quality system. Next was the declaration, “It’s toast.” I said, “Like blue screen toast, or can you work with it?”
He said, “Let me try to clean off the contacts,” and he walked down the hall with the battery unit. Several minutes later he returned and said, “Yep, it’s toast,” then quickly offered, “I have a much cheaper one I can sell you.”
Right then I was kicking myself for not storing it well or finding it a home where others would use it more often… And I flatly said, “No I won’t be buying a microphone for just a one day use.” Then his tune changed: he thought he could try one more thing. Like change the batteries. (I had already changed the batteries to fresh batteries before I walked in). He walked away and voila, the microphone was working! We plugged it in. I could hear my voice over the system, and I heartily thanked him for coming to my rescue.
When I told Colin the story, he said, “I’m surprised he didn’t offer you a dandy trade in for your microphone.” Then the story changed in my mind. Was he a good guy or. . . ???
I let them know I would be telling the story on my blog. So here it is for better or for worse. The good news is my mic works!
Have you ever had a story where when you walked away you weren’t really sure what just happened there?
Posted by Linda on May 21, 2012 in family
, life at home
, Linda's posts
Yes, there is a tornado in my head full of house deals. I like the cute stylized tornado better than the real deal.
We accepted an offer on our house on Wednesday. Our new owners found us on Mother’s Day, 26 hours after our listing went live on the internet. It took a few pushes back and forth to get what we wanted out of the contract. We were very surprised that a buyer came by so quickly. All week I have likened it to two hour labor instead of the eight hour kind; it’s over before you even know it has begun. I’m just now coming out of being disoriented.
Then the obvious question: Where do we move to? Well, we think we found that answer too, on Thursday. Crazy! We drew up an offer on Saturday. Now we wait. Our deal for where we are going might take a bit of time so I will wait on that news, but it is all very crazy and feels unsettling. In my mind there are tunnels of wind which can build to tornado force when I let them. I’m full of whirling what-ifs, like what if the deals fall apart? Or what if only one deal falls apart?
Colin is a grounding agent at these times, saying the calming right words most of the time. But he is up for adventure, and believe me the place we are moving to has some adventure elements attached to it.
Yep, selling and buying houses equal tornadoes in the brain.
What gives you tornado brain?