Day 17: A lovely hike

We went hiking yesterday, at the Fourth Of July Trail, about an hour and a half away, in Estancia, NM.

 

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On the way there we found a remote Sufi center in the small town of Torreon. We drove in, realized it was a compound, felt like we were encroaching, and left.

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We reached the trail, which is part of the Cibolo National Forest. The leaves had just turned, and it was an easy trail. There were pedestrian gated to discourage vehicles, which required me to take Paloma out of her stroller and pass the stroller under the wire.

I enjoyed being in nature, hearing the wind roar through the trees, playing with leaves, looking for tracks and scat.

It wasn’t perfect. I lost my temper at Selah’s pissy attitude, and smacked her on the back of her head. I shouldn’t have done it. I was upset at her for not controlling herself, which is exactly what I did.  I was wrong. We made amends and enjoyed the rest of the day.

It was a nice trip, and we enjoyed getting out and exploring. I’m looking forward to more adventures.

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Day 15: Derby Fun

I’m writing a short post because it’s late, and I have reading to do. I took the 2 older kids to see a high school fried’s roller derby bout. I don’t know much about the sport, and had never seen it live before. We had a blast, my friend is a super-badass jammer, and got MVP. She scored a ton of points against the opposing team, and beat them by nearly 100 points. We had fun cheering, and it wasn’t as brutal as I thought it might be. I was worried about having my 6-year old there, but I think she had the best time.

I was invited to go to practice and try-outs. I could see myself going to practices, but I don’t know I can add another full-time activity at the moment, but I want to try it out.

All in all, it was a fun, family-friendly event. Cheap night out, too. Good time.

DAY 7: LIFESAVER

life-saver

As a caretaker of  a special needs child, one of the hallmarks of managing my 3-year-old’s severe epilepsy is routinely saving her life. My wife does the bulk of it; coordinating the endless array of medical, therapy, and educational assessment appointments, wrestling with insurance and doctors who sometimes just don’t get it.

Yesterday I had to do the lifesaving thing thing, administering rescue medication after several attempts failed to stop the seizure. It’s trial and error, and there’s a hierarchy of actions, the most severe being to call 911, which we did a few weeks ago. We recognize she’s having a seizure, get her to a safe place, and so on. Yesterday’s seizure was ugly and powerful, and afterwards, as usual, she went into a deep but troubled sleep. She’s physically and mentally exhausted from the convusling. It was about 6pm, and she typically goes to bed at 7, but we knew this meant a sleepless night.

It largely was, and became the kind of night where my wife and I tried to sleep while we let Paloma watch Barney on my macbook in our bed at 2am, to keep her from slapping us and starting conversations.

I woke up stiff and tired, but I didn’t lose my kid. When I first became a routine lifesaver, I didn’t think I was built for it, but knew I didn’t have a choice. Now it seems like a speedbump, and I’ll eat a sleepless night here and there.

 

Ugh

I don’t think delivering bad news about someone you care about to someone else you care about gets easier. It shouldn’t. I can’t compartmentalize and detach myself from this situation, it’s real and painful. Forgive the vagueness, but I wasn’t able to deliver the message to the recipient today. I just couldn’t do it. I tried to psyche myself up and make the call, but I failed. It’s a bad one, and will require action. Again, vague-but maybe if I talk around it, I’m not keeping it all inside.

However, we bear burdens in the name of family. It’s what we do. We weather minor inconveniences and struggle with helping loved ones through sickness, addiction, dark valleys. “Bad news travels fast”, as the phrase goes, and with distance, you rarely get to share in triumphs and valiant efforts.

I will take courage and do it. It will not get better right away. It will strain tenuous relationships. It is the right thing to do. Peaks and valleys, right?

*3 deep breaths*

In an attempt to segue to a more positive note to resolve the composition, I would like to share that I reconnected with an old friend, the one my old blog post Autodidact is about. After I left Hawaii at age 20, our lives took very different trajectories, but are now moving somewhat in parallel, as far as family life, making sense of our hardscrapple upbringing, and career stuff. It’s a good thing.

I also had a really good phone conversation with one of my hanai aunts. Though we are not related by blood or marriage, and we speak infrequently, and I haven’t seen her in 15 years, we are family.

This weekend I’m going to meet some folks we met as friends-of-friends, and we’ve been talking online for a few years now. I may get to see an old friend from high school. It’s going to be weird and fantastic.

I’m choosing “weird and fantastic” as the lens through which all things are viewed. I will recognize the awful, take it in, fight it if needed, and let it go, but “weird and fantastic” is my default outlook.

 

 

ABQ

We pulled in to Albuquerque late Sunday morning. That night, we had a brief storm after an amazing lightning show. Our furniture was delivered and internet connected on Monday. We’ve been unpacking and arranging and cleaning, and it’s starting to look like people live here.

It’s fantastic to sleep in my own bed again, after sharing an air mattress for a few weeks.

Here’s  the thing- we came here with a plan dream. I declared a do-over. We left steady employment in an okay place with AWESOME people for a place where I know only 1 person , without a job solidly lined up, and not a lot of options, but a great deal of hustle topped with a patina of wishes. We knew the way we were living our lives in Utah was unsustainable.

Tonight we sat on the deck, looking at the pastel Southwestern sunset. We listened to the wind gently rattle leaves, to doves cooing sonnets to each other, to crickets. We watched the crescent moon rise. Magic was all around us.

People often respond “living the dream” when asked “How are you?”

I am really living my dreams. In real life. For real.

I got offered the exact dollar amount I had in mind for what seems like The World’s Best Job.

My house/neighborhood is awesome.

There are bad things, to be sure, like grievances with the moving company, and the  oppressive heat which is making my hair do WEIRD things, and I think my truck is going to die soon, but I am content. I do not recall the last time things felt “right”.

I’m looking forward to meeting people, and carving out a routine, but I am grateful. I’m still not used to this- I am not used to nice things happening to me. I am used to being the purveyor of nice, or feeling stuck in the security line between circles of Hell.

We’ll continue to feather our nest and explore this strange city. I am truly astonished this is all coming together, after years of scheming and talking hypothetically through insomnia. We are building the rad lives we’ve wanted to live for a long time, and I’m stoked to the max.

Changes and Challenges

Last night I read at an open mic. The others there were just starting to remember my name. It was fun, I thought I’d found my tribe. I told everyone I was moving, and the open mic was one of my favorite things about Utah. It felt like good closure, a sweet “see you later.”

I have a great deal of change on the horizon. This is a good thing, and mostly of my own design. I know change can produce stress and anxiety for me. My main challenges are:

1) Leaving the military after 15 years

2)Moving to another state/city (Albuquerque) where I don’t really know anyone

3) Entering the civilian workforce

4) Leaving the small but powerful support system taking root after living in Ogden for a year and a half

 

This is what a Do-Over looks like. I am changing costumes. I am abandoning nearly everything which is familiar.

I’m excited about the individual elements, but looking at it aggregated, it’s a bit much. There are some things I’ll need to be intentional about in order to have some semblance of stability during this tumultuous season:

1) Not neglecting myself- sleep, eat better, exercise

2) Stay connected with God

3) Find peer groups immediately (Especially Jiu Jitsu)

4) Don’t entertain negative thoughts

5) Most importantly, check in with myself so I don’t take my crap out on my family.

 

The next few months, especially the next few weeks are daunting, but I can do it, as long as I remain mindful to remain mindful. I’m a little scared, but my anticipation of my adventure is much stronger than my fear and anxiety. I can do this, and wether I could or not, it’s happening, and I’m grateful.

Two years

Facebook reminded me it’s the 2nd anniversary of meeting that a-hole monster, Dravet Syndrome. Here are some of my posts from that day:

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