Thursday, June 28, 2012

I did it.....

Fort would be happy.  I know...because it would mean I could spend more time visiting HER.  She loved my lunch visits (maybe it had something to do with me paying for lunch?)...I know Nick is pretty happy about it too ~ more time to help out with the kids - which I love.  And Donny?  Well, not as excited as the kids, only because HE would love to retire too.  He only has a few more years, and by the time he retires, the house will be paid off.  Believe it or not, I look forward to when he is retired too so we can do some travelling. 

Until then, I have LOTS of odd jobs to do around the house.  I've become, what I call, an "organized hoarder".  In the last three years not a lot has been done around the house (actually, the last 9 years).
Every time things started getting cluttered, I'd buy baskets.  Organize stuff in baskets.  The first week out of retirement I went through all those baskets.  What in the world was I thinking????  I don't know why I saved any of the stuff.  Mostly now I only keep Melissa things.  So I got started on that.
Then I decided to redo the downstairs bathroom.  You know, just pull down that wallpaper and paint...HA!  I don't know about you, but taking down wallpaper is NOT a one day project.  Turns out I needed to spackle, sand and clean up the dust  from the sanding before I could even open a can of paint....and that's where I am today.

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself here...thought I'd reflect a little on my work history.  Pretty interesting really (to me anyway)...of course like every other girl, my first job was babysitting, seventh grade (for one of my teacher's kids!). That was 1968.  In 1972, I had a Journal Herald paper route (long enough to get through "NewsBOYS" day - girls weren't permitted to have paper routes back then, I shared a route with my brother and it was in HIS name!).  After that, got a job at Clancy's as a short order cook (which is really funny - since I am probably the worst cook ever!) Donny was the bartender same time I was working in the kitchen! 
After graduation, got my first "real" job - full time Personnel Secretary at Goodwill Industries.  Starting salary - $90/wk.  I was living in an apartment with a girlfriend from high school-Jerri.
Our rent was $165 month.  Not much left over for food/utilities, and I didn't have a car - Donny was driving the car I bought back and forth to Wilmington! 
Took the state Civil Service exam, had the highest score so I had to take the first job offered - at the Welfare Dept.  NOT my favorite job.  Transferred to Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation as soon as a position opened.  Before I transferred, got married June 26, 1976.
LOVED my job at BVR, but left December 1977, a few weeks before Melissa was born (1/5/78).
Went back to BVR in August of 78...needed the money.  Paid a sitter $25/week to come to the house.
She would call me every day "OH-Melissa took a step today." or "OH - Melissa said ..." I hated it.
Nine months later I was pregnant with Nick and decided to be a stay at home mom.  BEST decision I ever made.  I LOVED staying home with the kids.
Before I went to work for Kettering schools in 1985 - had LOTS of part time jobs. 
Elder Beerman, Lesko Photography, U.D. Arena, and lots of odd jobs with Crown Temporary Services. 
When Nick started first grade, I started part time at Greenmont Elementary.  Was there for 5 years.
Then one year at Oakview as a classroom aide.
In 1991, Rusty Clifford (the new Principal at Moraine Meadows, now Superintendant of W.Carrollton Schools!) hired me, Jackie Geary and Josh Stucky on the same day.  We ended up working together for 20 years.  I loved EVERY minute at Moraine Meadows.  I was the Librarian, Writing to Read Coordinator, Intramurals Director, Volunteer Coordinator, picture taker, Reading Incentive Program name it. I couldn't say NO to anything.  And I loved it.
Went through 5 GREAT Principals at MM. 
I really thing Melissa and Nick LOVED the fact that I worked in the school system.  I was home when they were home for holidays, Spring Break and all summer.  We had a lot of fun when they were kids...I had a lot of fun when they were kids!  I had the best of both worlds for sure.

Then, in 2010, the dream ended.  The handwriting was on the wall...there had been talk for many years that Moraine Meadows was just too small and would eventually be closed.  As long as the district was raking in MILLIONS of dollars from the GM plant, we did stay open.  As soon as GM closed, they closed us.  VERY SAD day for me and the entire staff at MM.  We were all moved to schools across the district.  I chose to go back to Greenmont, where I started 20 years previously.
Nothing against Greenmont, but it just wasn't the same.  I had planned on retiring with Jackie from
MM.  Now, Jackie was fighting cancer, she was in a different building, Melissa was gone, all my friends from MM were in different heart just wasn't in it any more. 

I always knew when I felt that way it would be time to go.  They need someone who had the enthusiasm that I once after 26 years with Kettering Schools (plus 3 years from BVR) I was able to retire with 29 years....and here I am.  BUSIER than ever in my first few weeks of
In the last month I've been on a vacation to Saugatuck, MI with MM friends, torn apart a bathroom,
gone through multiple baskets of who knows what (and made the house a TON lighter taking stuff to Goodwill), reconnected with friends from BVR, celebrated our 36th anniversary and watched the kids at least a couple of days a week.

BUSY is good, or so I'm told.  I did have a few minutes of "idle" time last week. Of course, thought of Melissa ~ missing her terribly...and what do you know?  VIVA LA VIDA came on the radio.  Haven't heard it in a  long time.  But I needed to know she was around, and she came through.

Donny has been blessed with a couple of Melissa dreams (we call them "visits").  When I was in Michigan, he had a dream (visit) I was in it too - it was the three of us.  He said he KNEW it was a visit, and he wanted to ask her some things.  He asked her if it was hard to do "this" (visit).  She said "YES".  He asked her to blow in his face.  She did.  He said "NO. Not now, later" (like when he woke up) She just laughed.  He also asked her what heaven was like.  She said "It's impossible to tell".
Must be REALLY beautiful.  He said at the end of the dream, they were cheek to cheek, and he woke up - he cheek was warm - like she was there. 
I'm still hoping for a visit.  Hasn't happened yet...

There are good things in my life.  Nick and Mere are in their new home, happy.  Drew and Max are healthy and happy little boys.  Drew starts preschool in the fall already.

I stay in touch with Melissa's friends - most often with Angie (who has some exciting news herself!)
All good things.

But not a DAY goes by that I don't think of Melissa.  In fact, despite what someone told me once (that eventually she wouldn't be the first thing I thought of when I got up in the morning)...she IS the first thing I think about every morning.  Might be the message she left me on my dresser mirror many years ago - I'll always be grateful for THAT.) And I miss her EVERY single day.  Always will.
You NEVER "get over" losing a child.  You just get through each day the best you can. One day at a time.

I am thankful for a loving husband, a healthy son, a wonderful daughter in law, two happy grandsons and caring friends.

And I know what Melissa LOVED to end with (she would probably be a little upset with this long post...sorry Fort)....
so without further ado...a few pics of the BUSY "ness" that was June....


                                           Last day at Greenmont
                                        Me and Caleb Fortener-yep. Related.
                                           Me, Angie, butterflies...

My "Retirement" party - Thanks MM friends!

Dad and Donny's birthday

Rugby - Old Girls Game - had a display
with lots of pictures - here's one of Fort.
They retired her jersey and gave it to us too.
I love those girls.

Father's Day - me and my dad.

Moraine Meadows friends in Saugatuck, Mi.


                               Butterfly horse- Carousel in St. Joseph, MI.

                                    Dune ride group shot.

And of course a post would not be complete without a
pic of Andrew and Max.

We have a small pool in the backyard, and they
aren't much into wearing bathing suits. And well,
when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.... paint on my hands (primer).  It's dry now, so the painting
begins!  The bathroom should be finished soon.  Fort wanted
me to paint this bathroom green (for some reason, I remember
that - so's green (a shade of green)...for YOU.
(If it looks good, I'll post pictures...)

Enjoy the summer.