4,344 hours

Four thousand, three hundred and forty four hours. At approximately 11:35 tonight, Mom will have been gone from her earthly life 4,344 hours, 25 weeks and 6 days, 49.5% of a year. Some days I forget that it has been that long, other days it feels like forever since the last time I talked to my Mom. Things happen and my first instinct many times is “I need to tell Mom”, it happened just today when I heard of the passing of an old family friend from church.

So much has changed, the first three months were a whirlwind of trying to figure out what we were going to do, making plans and preparing for our move. I was forced very quickly to go through Mom’s stuff. We did not have the luxury of working through things when we were ready, when the pain of her passing wasn’t so raw. Within just a few days, I had to start the process of purging. So much stuff, you would not believe how much stuff!

While Tara and I were excited to have a new life to look forward to, the process was painful for me. So many memories in the belongings i needed to pick through. Things I needed to decide whether to keep, donate or toss.  I did most of it on my own. Too painful for some, no time or interest from others. It was painful and time consuming for me too, but I had no choice. It has to be done, whether we stayed in Lansdale or moved to Florida, we had to downsize and move.  I continued to work a full schedule only taking my allowed bereavement time from work and the last 4 days prior to moving.

In March actions of another family member, overshadowed our last weeks in PA. Stressful, ugly events. I fear these events, actions of another, have widened the chasm in family relationships that was already deep and wide. Judgements made and sides taken. While not one person had the right to judge any of our actions. No one knew 1/2 of what we lived with for four years, collateral damage from decisions my mother made.

It felt very strange to pull away from our apartment on March 30th at 11pm, in a thunderstorm and not feel one bit sad that we were leaving our family behind.  Friends were there for us the months leading up to the move, more than most of our family. Yes, we all were grieving the loss of Mom, but no one else was faced with having to uproot their lives while grieving.

We are settling into our new lives, we feel very relieved to be away from the trauma and drama that we lived. We feel very comfortable in our new home, and are getting acclimated to our new surroundings. Making people connections for us is a little more difficult, but that will come in time. Until then, Disney is our “family” and our happy place!

If you had told me on July 4th, 2016, we would be celebrating the 4th of July this year without Mom and living in Florida, I would have told you that you were crazy, but here we are!

 

 

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Time is moving too fast….

I can’t keep up with time right now.

So much to do, and I just don’t seem find enough hours or energy in each day to do all that I need to do!

We are quickly approaching our deadline for moving out of our apartment, March 31. Still so much to do, including locking down a place to live. Most places we have been looking at we need to take possesion (aka pay rent) within 2 weeks of the application being accepted. Financially we can’t do that much before mid-March, so we have had to wait until properties with move in dates during that time period came available. We have three on our radar at the moment, but that could change at any moment!

Tara and I both should have no issues transferring jobs, there are plenty of Walgreens in Florida and my job title is always hiring, and Tara has been told by Petsmart that it is super easy to move between stores!

Relocating back to Florida is one of the reasons I have stuck it out at Walgreens. Tara and I have been thinking about moving back to Florida for a year or so. When we moved back “home” from Florida, it was with Mom’s advancing age in mind.  I did not want to be far away as she grew older. She did not want to move to Florida with us. We also wanted to be back near family, but Tara has never really felt like PA was her home. The cold weather bothers both of us more each year. The snows of 2009/2010 were great, but since then we have both pretty much been over it all! I did what I came home to do, and now it is time for Tara and I to build lives for ourselves once again. The past four years we have not lived for ourselves, we lived to make it through the stressful environment that our home had become due to decisions my mother had made. In the end those decisions really came around to impact Tara and I far more than I think Mom ever realized they would.

So much still to be moved out of this apartment, so much stuff to decide whether to move, sell (not so easy) or donate. I would love to just donate, donate, donate, but we also need to add a little cash to the bank account for this move!

My birthday will be here in just 5 days. I have four days off coming up. When I scheduled that time off, I never dreamed that we would be where we are. I actually thought that maybe Tara and I would be able to make a quick trip somewhere. It has been forever since I have been away from home.

Home, it really doesn’t feel like home anymore. It just feels like a HUGE weight bearing down on me every single moment I am here. A weight that some days paralyzes me. I am paralyzed from fear of all of the variables and unknowns right now. There are so many moving pieces of this puzzle that all need to come together just right to make this all work!

Please say some prayers, send good energy and vibes our way.

I haven’t even really been able to fully accept the fact that Mom is gone. From the very next day, it seems that fast balls have been coming at me (us) right and left.

Most days I actually look forward to being at work, because at work, I can only think of work for the most part. There are times when I talk to a friend that stops in or a long time customer acquaintence that knows some of my family story, but for the most part it is all about Walgreens.

I spent two weeks in late January working 10 overnight shifts…. 10pm-6am on a special project. It was work that I enjoy, but that schedule was a killer for someone not used to working overnights! I had a hard time sleeping during the day. By the end of the two weeks, I wound up with a cold that knocked me off my feet (except for work because I can’t really call out!) for another week! I felt like those three weeks were total wasted time in getting important things done.

My days off always seem to have dreary to bad weather. Sunshine helps me be more productive. I have a patio full of boxes that I need to make the sell, donate or keep decision SOON. We need to get working in the apartment, all the rooms, not just my mother’s really SOON. Tara has started to purge her clothes which is a good start!

I will leave you with cute puppy pictures. He is the light of our lives right now. He is a puppy, so sometimes he is naughty, but 99.9% of the time he is just a pure joy!

 

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Sokka The Puppy

Since my mother died on Christmas Eve, I have a lot in my head to say, but the words just don’t come together.

I am trying to keep my blog active, not so much for readers, but for me, this is a huge time of change, not only for my family, but our country as well. I can’t even go there right now!

So that being said, let me officially introduce Sokka the Puppy to my blog!

He joined our family on November 12, rather a spur of the moment adoption, but one we have not regretted (well maybe when he chewed through my daughter’s laptop cord) for a moment.

We are told he is a rat terrier mix…. mixed with what is anyone’s question. Chihuahua, dachsund (he has really short legs), mini pin; we just don’t know! He was born in Mississipi, on August 10, 2016. He was surrendered to a shelter with his litter and came to Pennsylvania through a rescue.

He was just around 6 lbs when we adopted him, and as of Thursday at the vet, he is 10 lbs. He really doesn’t seem to have grown that much in size, but he has a REALLY big personality. He loves everyone, and is a very social puppy, which is what we wanted.

He has brought lots of smiles and love to us since he joined our family, and has been a great distraction in dealing with current situation!

Saturday Critters

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Rest in peace Sweet Mother

My mother, Betty Miller, passed away peacefully at home with my daughter and I close by.
She had been declining in ability over the past months, and she was ready to go Home and be with our other loved ones who preceded her!

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I will miss her terribly, she was a part of my every day. Up until aearly fall, we still had good conversations and even some laughs. She slowly was withdrawling more and more, and it got harder and harder to get her to open up and even smile. I cherished the good days here and there!

Watching a woman who prided herself in her independence and her sharp mind into her 90s decline in ablity was so very hard for me.

She is at peace now.

Love you Mom! Miss you terribly.

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Camera Critters – Kovu the Ginger Cat

I always enjoyed participating in Camera Critters, but it has been a long time!

Kovu our ginger kitty. I was trying to post a picture of both cats, but Word Press was not cooperating with sizing.

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Kovu

 

 

 

Camera Critters

Check out Camera Critters for more great critter shots!

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Skywatch Friday – Point Pleasant

When I had time to blog, and take pictures with my DSLR, I had multiple blogs. One was mainly for sharing my photography and participating in daily photo “challenges”. I really enjoyed looking for subjects of the different themes each week. I have recently “downsized” my digital presence to just one blog. This blog space will now be my random musings about life as well as a place to showcase my photos! I hope you will visit often!

I always loved particiapting in SKYWATCH FRIDAY. So many fantastic photographers share their views of the sky from around the world. This is where I will start! I hope you enjoy my photo and if you have a chance take time to head over to Skywatch and enjoy the photos of others!

This photo was from two years ago in Point Pleasant, NJ. I am so missing the ocean. I have not even had the opportunity to take one day trip to the beach (it in less than 2 hours for those who are not local friends.) This weekend ends the summer beach season, I am hoping for some nice weather mid month, when I plan on taking a couple extra days off from work. I would love nothing more than a day trip to the coast to enjoy some quiet and peaceful time wiht the ocean. I was born under the sign of Pisces and really feel a sense of well being and contentment when I am near the ocean. I have been lacking this feeling for quite some time now and need to recenter!

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Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, USA

We have a gorgeous blue sky here this morning, it really feels like fall is on the way. A beautiful day to spend outside, too bad I have to be at work in 4 1/2 hours. I will be spending most of my weekend at work, as will Tara. Labor Day weekend will find us both laboring!

Have a great day!

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The Unofficial End

August 31, where did summer go? We still have three weeks of meteorological summer, but in coffee season, Fall has arrived. Tara and I had our first pumpkin spice coffees that other day at Dunkin Donuts!

Many schools around here have actually started school before Labor Day, which in past years was not as common. School buses on the road again, need to plan that into my commute! I do pass through a school zone and bus stops on my 2.7 mile commute. We have had lots of back to school shoppers at work this week, back to school supplies right across the aisle from HALLOWEEN candy! People comment that it is too early! Why yes it might be, but that is the retail business!

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Photo credit: Martha Kasper

In some ways summer has just flown right on by! It seems like it was just Memorial Day, and I was enjoying a few days off from work, where did June, July and August go.

I did absolutely nothing summer like this year. Juggling schedules to spend time together with Tara with our work schedules was difficult, we never really had a chance to make a day (or evening) trip to the beach. Tara did take a drive to Atlantic City the other night with a friend, I am glad she is a confident enough driver, and I have confidence enough in her, that she is able to make impromptu road trips like that! I miss the ocean. I am hoping to take a couple extra days off mid-week soon, hopefully a day trip to the ocean will take place!

Today and tomorrow are again my “weekend”. My two days off from work. I continue to work 4 out of my 5 shifts as closing shifts. It is beginning to wear me down. We have finally hired someone new, and she seems very promising. A young mom who is working hard with two jobs to make ends meet and get out of debt. She is my ticket out of closing shift hell!

I am on a wild tangent ride here today aren’t I? I am just feeling trapped and stagnant right now. Work, home, grocery shopping, repeat. That is all I feel like I do.

I stress over grocery shopping in the worst way. While yes, I am a huge proponent of on-line grocery orders, once I hit Aldi’s, and realized the huge savings on many things we use, i can’t justify the time savings over the money savings. I just stress over providing a good variety of food for my mom who can’t physically shop for herself any longer and rarely will tell me what she wants. Aside from the regular items she uses each day. We are always out of something that is vital to someones day it seems. I can’t keep up some weeks with the bread, milk cereal and peanut butter. Yes, we sell all those things at Walgreens, but some shifts I barely have time to grab them. I barely have time to pee (lol!).

So for today,I will try to accomplish some things on my “at home” to do list and maybe relax a bit; read or just stare at the wall! I do need to do some tidying up. I was happy to see I had some help with dishes that accumulated while I was at work yesterday! Maybe the young folks in the house are starting to realize I am at a breaking point. Mom does what she can, but it is not much, and it should not be, but i can’t be the only one in a house of three + one!

I need some decompression time. I lost it on my poor manager yesterday. She was giving some “managing/coaching” advice to me, purely innocent, but I took it as criticism and BURST INTO TEARS, on the sales floor. I had about 5 different things going on at once, and just fell to pieces! UGH. I knew it was coming, I was moments away from it on my way into work, so as embarrassed as I was, I was not surprised!

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If you want to watch a funny show (again that off on a tangent thing!), check out Odd Mom Out on Bravo! It has two seasons 10 or 12 episodes each, only 20 some minutes. Very funny!

Well, I guess I will close for now. Although I really don’t have much to say, I am trying to at least update her once a week!

Have a great day!

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Sounds of Summer

I am sitting at my bedroom window where I recently moved my computer table, with the window open a bit. It is nice to not be in the oppressive heat and humidity of last week. I hear the cicadeas outside, and although over the weeks you get used to the constant “hum”, if I really stop and think about it they are VERY loud. I think the noise intimidates Jack a bit, his trips outside have been far less and he will stay around the patio. (I am ok with this!)

I continue to work far too many closing shifts as we are short staffed with key holders at work. As far as work goes, I really do not mind the closing shift. I, for the most part, prefer the variety of the people on the shifts in the evening. Our day time folk are pretty much the same three people. As far as home life, it makes things a little more complicated. I sleep later, I get less done around the house and I can’t sit and have dinner and some conversation with Mom. This is pretty much the only time we sit and converse. She sleeps a lot these days, and as has been her routine watches her soaps around lunch time. I find little time (or desire to cook) and am eating on the fly again.

Hard to believe that summer will soon be over. It has gone fast. Too much work for both Tara and I, and too little time for play and adventures. Tara is picking up a second job, and will be going for her orientation tomorrow. She enjoys food service, and will be a barista at the Cafe in Barnes and Noble. I often thought it would be interesting to work in a book store. She has a friend that works there as well, so that will be nice for them to have something else in common.

As I do many mornings when I get up, I went to the patio door this morning. As i looked out I saw a butterfly flit by and land on a bush. I have seen many butterflies this summer, but few that stayed but long enough to be photographed. This one even obliged my frantic search for a working memory card. Said to say that my DSLR photography has taken such a back seat to IPhonography, that the only memory card that I actually knew where it was located is in my Nikon camera that is currently in the office at work! This little butterfly was such an obliging subject, that he waited not for one, but for THREE trips back in the house until I found one that actually would work!

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In other news, I am a great aunt again. Ella Jean Nash was born on 8/17. This makes 7 (5 great nephews and two great nieces), Tara was hoping for a girl, since there are not very many of them. Besides Tara, I have just one niece (Kristen who attends the University of Texas) and the two great nieces (Avery who is 2 1/2 and Baby Ella.)  Linda (Mom-Mom) Tara and I went for a visit on Thursday, she was less than 24 hours old when we saw her. Linda and Larry took my mom to visit with them on Sunday at home. She now has 5 great children and 7 great grand children. Mom is 92 and now the youngest in 8 days old!Me_Ella nana_EllaThat’s about all on the homefront today. I am thankful that I have a day off today! Tara is off as well. Not sure what adventures, if any, we will find, but it is a gorgeous day out, so hopefully we will find our way outside! More than likely hunting Pokemon!

Pokemon Go has become quite a sensation this summer! We have visited some new parks around the area that we probably would never have taken the time to find. Some I never knew existed, like FDR Park in Philly. It really is a neat place. I haven’t had the opportunity to take photos, as we are always too busy catching Pokemon, and the one time it was after dark!

But first another cup of coffee!

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