Water – Part 2

water 3

Moving on with the events that have shaped my life. I know this section is going to piss someone off (or maybe even several people), and I apologize, but they are all moments that have made me who I am.

1989 -1990 – After high school, I continued working in business offices, changing jobs only to “up” my progressing secretarial career. At this point I had a newer car, because the brakes in my Rabbit kept going out. My parents purchased the car, and I agreed to pay them for it since I was doing well for a 17-year-old. I started college in the Fall of 1989 with the full-paid scholarship I had received. Here enters my first big dilemma. I worked full-time to pay for my car. My scholarship required I go to school full-time. My mom told me to quit working and just go to school, that she would pay for my car. I had a strong urge to be independent and responsible, so I didn’t listen. I would work all day, go to school in the evening, and spend my free time with Chris. I quickly learned that attendance wasn’t taken as seriously in college as in high school. So I would skip classes to spend more time with Chris. My time and attention was being pulled in too many directions (sounds like a familiar theme currently in my life). By my second quarter in college, I dropped half my classes. By my third quarter, I withdrew completely. I wasted the scholarship I received – one point in my life I do regret. A moment in life that makes me say, “My mom was right, I should have listened to her.”  Fortunately my “career” continued to grow, and I obtained a good administrative job with Bank One in Downtown Dayton. I was financially responsible and had my life financially outlined already at the ripe old age of 18.

I visited my friend Brent for what would end up being the last time ever. He had just gotten home from having surgery and having a rib removed. So one day, when I got off work, before heading to Chris’ house, I stopped by Brent’s house to see how he was doing. It was one of those moments where things move so quickly you aren’t quite sure what happened, but even with just having had surgery, he ended up pinning me on the floor and had my skirt up. I told him several times to get off me, and he did not. So I put my hands on his chest and pushed on his rib cage, and gave him a final warning when I said, “Don’t make me hurt you.” He finally let me up. I never saw him again, and as I said in Water Pt. 1 – a year later I read in the newspaper that he had shot and killed his girlfriend. It seems there was a reason the Universe kept us from getting together.  You will find many moments in your life where things don’t work out as you like, and it may be for a good reason.  You may find have a “feeling” about a person or situation. Please always trust your gut/instincts/intuition – whatever you like to call it.  It’s a gift God gave you, use it.

1990 – 1992 – My days consisted regularly of me going to work, getting off work, driving to Chris’ house to visit with him, then driving home.  One winter night while driving home from visiting him, I hit a patch of ice on the back country roads and my car started to swerve. I had learned in driver’s education to turn into the swerve so I did.  Then the car over corrected and I went the other way – and off the road. Because I was in the middle of nowhere and going into a cornfield, I remember just letting go and thinking I would let the car slide into the cornfield, wait for it to come to a stop, and then simply drive out. It didn’t work that way. I slid a good distance through the cornfield and back to the road, where I hit a telephone pole. Now to my mind this took place in only a matter of minutes. But according to my mom, by the time I called her, it was much later, so there is a good possibility I blacked out. When the car came to a stop, I got out (foolish thing to do, as I learned later the pole broke in two and live power lines were all around the car) and walked to the nearest farmhouse. The lights were all out and it appeared no one was home. So I walked to the next farmhouse. The family there answered the door and let me use their telephone to call my mom and dad (the good old days before cell phones!). I had managed to knock the engine clean out of the car, and because my parents had to “pay” for a new telephone pole, I still hear about that stupid pole to this day!

Chris and I fought often, and it finally reached a point that lead us to our first and only breakup. We got back together and within two weeks he proposed – he says it was because he couldn’t get rid of me, but we all know it would have been foolish of him to do so. 😉 I thought I had blogged about the proposal already, but I guess I have not. It was a lame proposal (sorry Chris), yet funny when I look back on it. I had a bad day at work, went to get a fake suntan in a tanning bed and then went to visit him – looking quite the fright in my sweat pants and sweating from the tanning bed. As I got out of my car, his parents were leaving to go somewhere. His mom walked up to me and gave me a big hug, and all I could think was, “what’s  wrong with this woman – I’m here all the time and I’ll see her later”. His sister greeted me at the door with a big smile on her face, but being in the bad mood I was in, I ignored it. Chris was back in his bedroom laying on his mattress that was on the floor as always. As I entered the room, he removed his hand from a hole in the mattress where he hid stuff from his parents. I asked him what was in his hand. He told me to close my eyes. I was irritated and asked again. Again, he told me to close my eyes. So I did. When he told me to open them, there in front of my face was his hand holding a ring box with a ring in it. I looked at him, but he didn’t say anything! so I asked him, “Does this mean something?” He simply replied, “Yes.” So then I actually had to say, “Let me hear you say it!” He responded with, “Will you marry me [pause] someday.” I ignored the someday part and said yes. Then his sister busted in the room with wine glasses. After a couple of weeks of pestering him about wedding plans, I agreed that if we would set a date, I would keep my mouth shut about a wedding until the date was closer. We set a date almost two years out for 1992.

In 1991 I became somewhat of an anomaly when, at the age of 19, I contracted chicken pox for the second time in my life. Yes, I said second time. I am aware that all the experts say once you have chicken pox (as I did at about the age of 6), you cannot get it again. Well, guess what, they were wrong! Anyway, the day started like any other. My brother had been visiting from college and my parents were getting ready to leave for Florida. When I woke up, I noticed what looked like a bug bite on my forearm. Rob teased me about it being a spider bite and proceeded to go on and on about spiders, poisonous spiders, etc. etc. I immediately went on a cleaning spree in my room. I was so determined to rid my room of any spiders that may be lurking that I even washed the walls and vacuumed the curtains. Everyone left on their trips, and before the day was half over, I had spots all over me. I went to the doctor on base (as always) and was told I had chicken pox. The only explanation I received for contracting it a second time was that perhaps when I had it as a kid it was a very mild case. Well it wasn’t mild this time. I was covered from head to toe. They were even on my scalp and I couldn’t brush my hair for a week. It’s a wonder Chris stuck around after a week of seeing me this way. With all the itching, sleeping was very difficult. That first night as I lay in bed (in the basement), home alone, I heard something that sounded like someone was upstairs in the living room. I was petrified. Eventually I talked myself into going upstairs to check things out. Nothing. But as I was upstairs, I heard the noise again…this time downstairs in my room. I grabbed a knife from the kitchen and worked my way back downstairs. Again there was nothing. But the fear had already set in. I couldn’t sleep. Instead I crawled into my water-bed (with the knife) and called Chris. Remember – this was back in the good old days before cell phones. Calling Chris meant calling his parents’ house phone. They weren’t very happy about me calling them at about 2:00 or 3:00 am. After that first night, each night Chris visited, and before he left, he proceeded to give me sleeping pills to ensure I wasn’t going to be calling. Smart guy!

As our wedding date approached, Chris was still working at his dad’s body shop, as he had since the age of twelve (that’s a whole different story), and the money just wasn’t there. So, he attempted to sell cars for a living. It turned out he didn’t like screwing people over (yes car dealers do that), so that job idea wasn’t going very well either. There was only one option left – join the Military. I casually mentioned it, not believing at all he would do it, but was shocked when he agreed. So we visited an Army recruiter and he enlisted. He was scheduled to leave a couple of months later in January of 1992. I had been trying during this time to get a government job with my mom and had not been having much luck. After an extensive background investigation on me, which was only required to go back 18 years into a person’s life (essentially my entire life), I obtained a job with the United States Customs Service at the Dayton International Airport. By this point, my hope was to get a government job so that I could transfer it to wherever Chris was going to be stationed with the Army when we got married. Once again my plans didn’t work out the way they did in my head.  But my job was still pretty great while I had it. It was a third shift job, and I was able to plan my wedding during the days while he was away for basic training. I made all the plans myself and went on the notion that I would be paying for it all myself too. Of course I didn’t have to, but it sure helped me search out the bargains. Yes you can have a very beautiful wedding without breaking the bank – I hope my children remember that for their dear mom! 😉

Two days after the wedding, Chris reported to his first duty station – Fort Carson, Colorado, without me.  So much for a honeymoon (I always joked that the six years we lived there was our honeymoon).  I joined Chris in Colorado a little over a month later. Little did I know that this was a precursor of the life that was to follow – one of me always doing the majority of things on my own.  As I said above, I was not able to transfer my government job, so I moved with just the faith that something would come along to help us get by.

1992 – First Year of Marriage – I learned very quickly that not only is being married difficult, but living with someone is even more difficult. We lived in a tiny 300 square foot apartment on the ground floor of an apartment complex.  Chris’ Army buddies were always hanging around, and we did have a lot of fun. One time there was a newly laid patch of cement with caution tape around it. The guys took a bar of soap and ran out to it. One laid down and they traced his body with the soap to resemble a chalk outline of a dead person. We watched the next day as the maintenance man had to scrub to try to remove that soap.  It was funny.  But in addition to the fun, there was the stress of adjusting to married life and just the part of living life on your own as an adult.  We continued to argue as we always did.

After working briefly for a temporary service, I obtained a job at a law firm.  Chris was always off doing stuff with the army. Sometimes it was overnight, sometimes he would be gone for a week. The hardest blow hit me that September when he went for training in California for a month.  I was completely alone for the first time in my life. While he was gone, I started receiving bounced check notices in the mail. I flipped out. I was way too good with money for this to be happening to me. It turned out that every time Chris and his buddies got a break in California (which seemed to be quite often), he would withdraw $20 from the ATM – an ATM not affiliated with our bank.  Each $20 withdraw resulted in a $20 ATM fee as well. Yes I said $20 fee. The largest I have ever seen in my life – even to this day (which I still wonder if that was legal). We were getting deeper and deeper in trouble each day. I panicked. I called the bank and cancelled his ATM card, and I called my mom, who wired me money to cover our losses. So began the first of our money troubles – perhaps a red flag to the future I had to look forward to.

During this same period that Chris was in California, a few other incidents took place. I caught the two women I worked with in my office talking about me. They denied it, but I was standing in the doorway for a while before they noticed me. I hated working there.  As part of my duties, I  had to run errands for the lawyer I worked for that included going downtown to the courthouse. I went down there one day to obtain some documents he requested. In the time it took the court clerk to find them, the meter I paid for had expired. I got out to my car as a parking cop was giving me a ticket, and an emissions ticket.  What the hell was emissions? I had never heard of emissions before in my life. It didn’t matter to him that I was young and dumb. All he cared was that I had already lived in there for two months and “I should have known”.  I had reached my newly discovered stress limit. I had two days left until Chris returned from California. I went back to the office, sat down and cried, and then called out sick for the next two days until Chris returned. I missed being near my family and friends. I was lonely and I was miserable.

Within the same year, some things outside of our control hit, turning our finances upside down and instigating increased stress that would cause several fights between us that would continue for many, many years.

1993 & Somalia When I had finally had enough of my job at the law firm, I applied for a position with the Colorado Springs Police Department. I got the job, with the stipulation I pass a polygraph test. I swear by the end of the test I felt like I had been lying about my own name. All I could think was what if I failed. How would I explain to my mom that I didn’t get the job after I had already told her about it?  I really do tend to worry a lot – I had no reason to worry about failing the polygraph. I was a pretty good kid who never got into trouble.  So in May of 1993 I started working nights at the front desk of the Police Department. Another eye-opening experience for a naive girl from a small town in Ohio. The range of people who come into the police department at night is really something. But I really loved that job.

About this time we moved into a new apartment and I found out I was pregnant. I lost the baby only a few weeks later. My parents had been visiting, and the very day they left I started bleeding. I went to the hospital and was given the news. I had the doctor call for Chris, who was down range at the time. I was put on the phone with whoever was on the other end, and the guy had the nerve to ask me if I really needed him. I was hysterical and screamed, “I’m in the hospital, YES I need him!” I swear Chris showed up at my side only a few minutes later. Guess I got my point across. To make matters worse, my doctor said the worst thing anyone can every say to a woman who has just had a miscarriage (and ironically most people say) – something to the effect of “you’re young” and “sometimes it’s for the best”. I hated him.  It may have been a true statement, but in a highly emotional moment, it should never be said.

Shortly after that, Chris was deployed to Somalia for several months, and I actually did feel the timing for a child wasn’t right. Once again (like the Brent situation), I was reminded things do happen for a reason. This deployment was the second time I would be alone in my life – this time for a long time. But this time was different. I had a job I loved. My favorite part of this time frame was going out after work at 6:00 am in the morning and drinking with the cops. They were a blast. I would work nights, sleep days, and hang out with a few of the military wives in my free time. At times hanging out with the wives was more stressful than it was worth. One woman’s husband left her just before leaving for the deployment. While he was gone, it was discovered he had been having an affair with her best friend (another military wife we hung out with). For weeks she wasn’t mentally with it. Her kids were running rampant to the point I no longer wanted kids. I started hearing stories about all the soldiers on deployments having affairs. I felt uneasy a good bit of the time, and with all the previous arguments I had to this point with Chris, yes I have to admit I had some trust issues about his being gone.  After all the military is coed, as are the deployments.    That added to the stress that during this time was when all the shit went down in Somalia (see the Battle of Mogadishu or even watch the movie Blackhawk Down – it was a horrendous time). Lucky for me, the wives were kept informed.  That, the police family I had, and the fact that I heard from Chris every so often so helped me managed the separation relatively well. Chris – not so much. What he went through fucked him up. I would only learn off and on over the next several years of things that he saw/did. He came back from Somalia hating the world. To this day I still learn new things about his time there.

1994 – 1996 (& Haiti) – We moved again into a nice little house at the base of Cheyenne Mountain (the home of NORAD). I transferred to a day position at the police department in the Traffic Section. Chris was always out doing something with the Army, and we had no kids, so I started killing some time in the evenings by taking up a part-time job at Blockbuster Music (yes they had a music store once).  Eventually I decided to return to school in the evenings. I always seemed to stay busy. This time I really loved college. I worked during the day at the PD and went to school at night (obviously). I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I basically was going just to get any degree. I found I truly loved psychology classes, so I did take several of them.  Humanities classes were a close second. Chris left for another deployment to Haiti for several months. Once again I was alone. I no longer hung around with the military wives from the previous deployment, but that was alright, I kept pretty busy anyway. My job at the police department was stressful, but was still going great and I loved each and every person I worked with. At that point in time, I would have told you that I would retire in that position, that’s how much I loved it. It felt like a family.

Chris returned from Haiti a little earlier than his company due to the death of his grandmother. It seemed during our first few years in Colorado there was one death a year in his family – this year both of his grandmothers had passed away. With his return, came a renewed peace in his life. That’s when I would learn about the amount of anger he had the previous year from Somalia. I had no idea all these troubling thoughts were going through his head. So much so, that he admitted he almost divorced me that previous year – for what reason I still don’t know. Although I can tell you we argued a lot, but that was nothing new.  Even so, it’s very troubling when you find out that you could so easily be “thrown away” when you had no idea anything was wrong outside of the ordinary. But all that was behind him now. We already knew he was to be deployed to Germany within the next year – a deployment that would require him to either go to Germany without me for two years or reenlist so I could join him, which he did not wish to do. Instead he decided he had enough of the military life and wanted out. He asked me my thoughts on getting kicked out of the Army. I didn’t wish to live alone for two years, so I was fine with it. He and our dear friend Bernie then proceeded to fail their weekly PT tests, which resulted in their getting kicked out of the military.

After Chris got out of the military, he went into construction. One of his Army buddies had a part-time job at the Broadmoor Hotel and casually mentioned to him (knowing that Chris liked to cook, was a good cook and cooked for me and his friends all the time), that the hotel was starting a culinary apprenticeship program. Chris appeared to blow it off, and I was a little surprised, because he really was a good cook and enjoyed it. Two weeks later he told me he had applied to the apprenticeship program. After submitting an essay (that I wrote) and taking some taste tests he easily passed, he was one of the few new apprentices accepted into the program. Thus began his culinary career – and my life living with a chef – a blessing, and a curse (as I didn’t know at the time it meant not seeing much of each other).  When we were together, we still spent a lot of time with his Army buddies and our neighbors, Jeremy and Wendy, and we watched a lot of ice hockey, which is my favorite sport to this day.

In 1996, because our landlord wouldn’t allow pets, we moved into a home of our own. Yes, we purchased a house just to get a dog, but not just any dog – Stanley – Lord Stanley to be exact (in honor of Lord Stanley’s cup).  He was a wonderful dog.  But we watched hockey a little too much.  All that yelling and screaming during the game resulted in me getting a vocal nodule on my vocal chords.  After several months of feeling a need to clear my throat, I went to the doctor and found out.  I had a couple of weeks of speech therapy to learn what you shouldn’t do to your voice (rules I break to this day), and then I had a vocal laryngoscopy (laser surgery on my vocal chords) to remove the nodule.  There went my singing voice.  Hell I even lost my talking voice for two weeks – doctor’s orders.  Everyone loved to harass me during that time frame, knowing I wasn’t allowed to talk!

1997 – 1998 – I graduated with my associates degree in 1997 and life progressed with our new normal. We didn’t see as much of each other due to his culinary training, and outside forces were still ruling our finances, causing many fights. Additionally, Chris’ hanging out with new culinary friends lead to many new fights – mainly because I got extremely tired of hearing about his new friend “Leann”.  Things started going downhill at my work as well.

Every few years in the police department, the high ranks would rotate, allowing for a fresh perspective throughout the organization. My boss was a lieutenant, and he was an awesome boss. His boss, the captain, also worked closely next to us with his secretary. Unfortunately the captain was rotated out, and a new one brought in. At the same time, due to the increased demands of my job, a new person was hired in to help me. Well the captain’s secretary, Pam, must have become threatened with my attention being diverted to my new coworker. Her demeanor towards me started changing. One day she was off, and I had to find a file she created for the captain (in the good old days of using floppy disks for the computer). As I looked for the file he requested, I found a file labeled with my initials. Of course I had to open it to see what it was. It turned out she had been keeping a log of every minute detail of my work day that was outside of me actually doing hands-on work. Even when I would joke with my lieutenant, she would log it as “Kris said…” never once stating the actual context it was said in. Of course, she had to have been reporting this information to the Captain, because he seemed to be on my case about everything. He was the first boss I had ever had that didn’t seem to like me.  As part of my job, Pam and I also rotated taking staff meeting minutes. Everything came to a head between the captain and I one month when I took the meeting minutes. Our Deputy Chief attended the staff meeting and addressed some issues. After he left, the captain proceeded to make comments about what the Deputy Chief said. When I turned in my minutes for review, the captain had me delete everything he said after the Deputy Chief left the meeting. I did as I was told and turned in the revised version. THEN he proceeded to call me into his office and tell me my minutes weren’t accurate. In my defense I spoke up and said that was because he had me delete a large portion of them. I remember his face going cold.  He told me to shut the door and sit down. I did so. What followed is a blur to me, perhaps because the flight or fight syndrome kicked in, but he proceeded to yell at me to the point that I truly felt like he was going to come across his desk and harm me at any moment. In a moment of panic, all I could do was stand up, and I said, “Thank you for explaining to me how things are going to be around here,” and walked out. I was terrified. I didn’t even ask or wait for permission to leave his office. The next few months were pure hell at work. My only saving grace was my lieutenant, who loved and appreciated me, and who served as a buffer between us. But then the lieutenants were rotated out as well. My new lieutenant didn’t know me and he didn’t know the situation. Even though he was nice to me, he was not able to make me feel as protected as my previous lieutenant did.  I was miserable.

When Chris graduated from his culinary apprenticeship program that year, he asked me if I wanted to move back to Ohio. We agreed it would be a great idea to be near family to start our own family.  I’m not sure why Chris wanted to return to Ohio…he hated Ohio.  In truth, I used the move only as an excuse to quit a wonderful job I would never have left otherwise. Five years after I started at the police department, I said goodbye. Leaving Colorado is my second regret in life. (College was the first.)

As we returned to Ohio (moving in with my parents), we tossed around the idea of living abroad for a while so Chris could further his culinary training. That idea didn’t last long when he was offered a job with a master chef in Columbus, Ohio. It’s really too bad that dream didn’t come to fruition. It would have been the perfect time in our lives to have an adventure like that. Chris moved to Columbus to start his new job, staying with a friend.  I stayed with my parents for a short time (three hours away), and eventually I moved to Columbus as well.  Another recurring theme in my life it seems (me always moving after the fact).  Once in Columbus, I decided I wanted to continue on with my bachelor’s degree, so I took a part-time job as the secretary to the ER director in a hospital during the day, and went to school in the evening. It was the perfect setup.

1999 – 2002 (Reynoldsburg, OH) In 1999 the norm was me going to work in the morning, coming home, then going to school and returning home after dark. Thanks to the stupid hours a chef has, I rarely saw Chris (yes, same old story for most of our marriage and continues on today). Thinking it may take a while to get pregnant, we planned to start “trying” in hopes that I would have a baby about the time I would graduate from college. Instead I was blessed with Virginia immediately. Unfortunately, we lived in a not so great apartment complex, and the unit on the end saw a lot of shady characters come and go. I hated being alone there all the time, especially when I was pregnant. I was thankful for two things….having a big, black dog (Stanley) and my brother Rob visiting me on his way to work in his police uniform. His presence helped the visitors at the end unit (at least appear to) slim down, and I was never bothered (Thank God!) Rob and his wife, Julie, were going through a divorce, so I spent a lot of time with him. In all my life, I think this period of time with my brother was one of the best we ever had. I treasured every moment I spent with him.

We bought a house in Reynoldsburg, Ohio (where Rob was a police officer) in September and Virginia was born in February. With the demands of a baby, my days of going to school ended. I still worked only part-time and promised myself it would stay that way as long as I had kids. I never wanted to return to full-time. I still had many trust issues with Chris, not just about money.  He would get off work at 10:00 at night and not come home until 2:00 in the morning.  I would beg (and continue to ask for years) for at least a courtesy phone call, that most of the time I would never get.   We ended up trying marriage counseling, and it came out during a session that Chris was once told by his father that “your wife doesn’t need to know everything.”  That was some seriously bad advice.  But over all, life was good.  Even though I was always home alone with Virginia, Rob came over for dinner every night.  I think you could say at this point in my life, my brother Rob was my best friend.  He loves to joke to this day that he is still waiting for the current owners of that house to invite him in for dinner.

Because we worked opposite shifts, Chris watched Virginia in the morning when I went to work, and then he would go to work when I got home and I had her the rest of the day. On the rare occasion that we both had to work at the same time, Chris’ mom would come babysit (she lived 45 minutes away). I only had a non-family baby sitter twice (I think)- the aunt of one of my bosses. I was not comfortable with that setup when it did take place, as the woman had a houseful of boys. Virginia was the only girl, only a one-year-old and couldn’t talk. I had no way of knowing what took place during the day and I was overly protective and paranoid. By the time I was pregnant with Klara, I was longing to be a stay-at-home mom.

2002 – 2005 (Savannah, GA to Nashville, TN) – With each pregnancy, Chris quit the job he had (no that’s not stressful at all!), and by the time Klara came into the world, he was unemployed involuntarily.  He received a job offer in Savannah Georgia, and two weeks after Klara was born he moved to Georgia ahead of us. I stayed back in Ohio with my two-year-old and my newborn to sell our house. I moved down to Savannah a month later and finally became a stay-at-home mom.

Almost immediately, Georgia was a disaster. Chris hired into his new position with an hourly pay instead of salary, and he wasn’t getting the number of hours he was promised. I was no longer working and money was scarce. I was truly broke for the first time in my life. I applied for WIC assistance to keep food on the table for the girls. The required trips to the Health Department each month for reporting purposes and blood tests were demeaning, and I cried every time I had to watch little Virginia get her finger pricked for blood.  Additionally, being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Perhaps it would have been nicer if I lived somewhere that I knew people, but I didn’t. I was new in town…hell, new to the state, with no money, nowhere to go and no one to talk to. We rented a house across the street from an apartment complex. At one point, I was so desperate for an adult to talk to, that when I saw a woman with kids at the apartment complex, I walked over and put a note on her car introducing myself and to say hi. She never responded. The friendly South, I found, wasn’t so friendly – at least not in Savannah, GA. I finally met a mom at the kids play area inside the mall. That friendship didn’t last when she invited me to shop with her and her friend, and while shopping I got to hear about how she had to fire her maid and other eccentricities like that. I was so out of my element.

Within a few months, Chris obtained a better job and things were finally looking up. By chance one day I did finally meet another stay at home mom down the street, Shannon. I finally had a friend and someone to take the kids to the park with. Shannon sent her daughter, Sophie, to a preschool three days a week. So after we moved into our new home and Virginia turned three, I thought I would give the preschool a try. She loved it. I loved it. But I was still unhappy staying at home all the time. I applied for a job at the local hospital and was hired. My neighbor, Ruthie, agreed to watch my girls and take Virginia to and from preschool along with her son. I went through two days of orientation and was an emotional wreck at the thought of leaving my baby Klara with someone. I just couldn’t do it. So after the second day of orientation, I quit my job at the hospital. That day when I arrived to pick Virginia up from preschool, I was telling one of the teachers there how stressed I was over the situation. She suggested I work at the preschool. So the following school year, I did just that. I taught preschoolers (age 3) five days a week, three hours a day, and absolutely loved it!! By this time, Virginia had been accepted into the school system’s pre-kindergarten program and went to school. Klara went to preschool with me (although to her own class). I only made $500 a month, but I was happy.  I absolutely loved working with those kids and teaching.

Then Chris lost his job.  I remember just sitting down and crying when he called me on the phone.  Virginia hugged me and told me it I would be alright.  Such a sweet angel.

First he tried a temporary job in Aiken, South Carolina. The girls and I stayed in Savannah. I was already so used to being home alone the majority of the time, it didn’t make much of a difference that the distance was further away. That job didn’t work out, so he obtained a temporary job in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He received a job offer in Wilmington, North Carolina and moved up there while I stayed in Savannah to sell our house. Just as the girls and I were about to move to North Carolina, that job fell through as well, but our house sold. We had one option….move back to Ohio and in with my parents. As we packed up to move, Chris received a call for an interview at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. He got that job, and in July, 2005, as I moved in with my parents in Ohio, he moved to Nashville.

I visited Chris in Nashville a few times in attempts to find a house for us to purchase, as Virginia started Kindergarten in Ohio. Living with my hot-tempered dad would prove to be difficult once again. This time, his temper was directed at my five-year-old, Virginia. For some reason it was as if he couldn’t discern her young age from that of a much older child. When she wouldn’t listen to me, he would really lay into her. Knowing his temper and history, his actions would put me into defensive mode. Nobody was going to attack my baby like that. By October, I had enough. The idea of buying a house would have to wait.  I packed up my girls and moved down to Nashville into an apartment with Chris. We have been in the Nashville area since. Due to various circumstances, some I believe I have already written about here, I did break a promise to myself, that was to never work full-time again while I had kids at home. Maybe someday I can get back to working part-time.

This is where I will end this part of my story.  There are plenty more stories just from our lives here in Nashville, some of which have been written about in this blog, and some which remain to be written. I hope you can now understand how I became “Water” – always going with the ever-changing flow.  Many times it was because I have had no choice, or risk drying up.  But in the end, with each rain storm that enters my life, the end result so far has been a cleansing of my soul, and I have been able to flow freely onward.

waterdry water


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