Renovation finished!

After a kind of long/not so bad/ had its moments 6 weeks we are finished with our renovation! Our contractor quoted us 6 weeks and he was right. This past week was finishing touches such as the glass tile backsplash and my talented electrician brother in law setting up the television on the wall.

I know I couldn’t wait to get out of the basement. I was so happy to cook again and actually wash dishes in a sink. We didn’t use many reusable things during the renovation. We became experts on which paper plates were better than others. The basement wasn’t horrible, you just go a little stir crazy after a while. Samantha and I watched plenty of on demand television together. So there was that bonding experience. Lelly went off to the Netherlands on her foreign exchange program so she was able to escape during the last stages. It was nice to see her face when she walked in after being gone for 11 days.

My mom brought our dog Lola back home after 6 weeks of watching her for us. We had asked my mom to take her when the renovation began. Lola is a bit high maintenance so I didn’t see her staying in the house during the demolition as a good thing. She would be more interested in playing with who ever is there to work.

I love our new house!  And I’m pleasantly surprised at how easy going Tommy and I were about things such as picking out colors, moulding and finishings. There was no arguing and very little disagreement. I’m sure our attitudes come with age and that we were more concerned with keeping each other happy rather than keeping ourselves happy.

I miss my Dad. I wish he could have seen this renovation to completion. I showed him pictures in the beginning and he was so happy for us; that we were doing it and impressed with the level of demolition down to the studs. When I was a young child my parents did similar to their own house so he would talk to me with remembrance and admiration in his voice. I know it can be said that he’s watching everything from where he is now;  I’d just rather he physically be here.

Thomas is so happy with the results and can’t wait to sleepover. I brought him to the house one afternoon while the painters were still here. He was so good and asked plenty of questions. Thomas  was especially interested in whether or not Tommy had paid them; go figure. Steve, the painter, answered that no Tommy hadn’t paid them yet. We all had a good laugh. Thomas has a great sense of humor.

One of Tommy’s friends tiled the backsplash for us on Saturday. It looks so good and really finishes off the kitchen. I’m grateful for talented relatives and friends.



Out with (some of) The Old…

On Saturday Tommy and his friends unloaded most of the POD that was housing our belongings and furniture. The side effect of going “open concept” is less wall space to hang a lot of my wall hangings. So I have a lot for sale on Facebook yard sale groups. Yesterday a friend wanted a mirror I had just posted only minutes before. She came and picked it up yesterday and we had a chance to catch up so it was a win win situation, yay!

Unfortunately a lot of my fragile collectibles were broken while in storage. My wedding cake topper was a porcelain statue of Cinderella and the Prince dancing. It was broken beyond repair as well as a couple of other sentimental pieces. I’ve come to the conclusion that they are only “things”. I have pictures and memories with those belongings and I can always scour EBay for replacements if I choose. I’m glad pieces from my mother in law remained intact. My mom thinks the constant change of temperature we had in January played a huge part in the breakage issue. I agree.

Yesterday at church a few of people came over to me to express sympathy for my dad’s passing. I never thought it would be so hard to thank them as it was. I immediately started crying and could barely acknowledge what they were saying. One dear man named Ray said to me at “You only get one father…”that about killed me. I had to stop and get myself together before leaving the church. Samantha was sweet and gave me a hug. Have I mentioned how much I love my church family?

My small group/bible study group meets this week after a 6 week hiatus. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone and the fellowship we have. I’m off from work this week for mid winter break. I still can’t believe that I’m off and I get paid for it. I love the Board of Ed!


My House And other Thoughts.

My house is slowly regaining a sense of normalcy. The kitchen is almost finished; there are light fixtures to be hung and cabinet hardware to be installed. Not too bad I think. The painters have been here since Monday sanding and filling in nail holes and of course painting. It looks so nice, it’s hard to capture the color in a picture. By the time I get home from work it’s later in the day and the light isn’t that good. This week while I’m off will be a great time for updated pictures.

Tommy is even talking about starting to empty the POD of our furniture and other belongings this weekend. I’m excited for that. There are cd’s that I can’t find for the life of me that have to be in that POD. I miss eating at my dining room table. It’s funny what you miss when your house is turned upside down. Yesterday Alyssa said she missed cooking eggs on the stove.

Today one of my dear friends from church is bringing us dinner. I couldn’t say no when she offered, I know what it feels like to want to do something for someone. I really love my church family they’ve been so thoughtful in praying for us during this time of mourning my dad. One of my friends, Sherrie actually had my father’s picture placed on a sterling silver heart. I almost fell over when I opened the package. I adore that gift. I’m still receiving sympathy cards. I’m touched by the number of people who have been thinking about my family.

As for grieving my Dad, that is still in full force and why shouldn’t it be he’s only been gone a matter of weeks. It just hurts that he’s gone. I can’t think of any other way to describe how I feel. Today has been difficult probably because I’m not working. Going back to work has been a Godsend for me. When I first went back on Monday everyone was so, so nice and thoughtful offering their condolences, shaking my hand or offering a hug. I was really touched by their sincerity. People I only interact with once a day knew about my Dad and said how sorry they were.

So I’m off this coming week for mid winter break. It’ll be Samantha and I for most of the week with Lelly in the Netherlands with the foreign exchange program. Hopefully I’ll be able to get the house back together and that will be a nice “normal” to have.


A New Normal

I feel like that’s what is happening now. After the wake and after the funeral we must settle into a new normal. A new normal life without my dad. I know I am not unique in feeling this way. I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. But I know this is what life is now. There are so many sayings to comfort those that are grieving. That we should hold on to memories, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”, I can’t think of more; mostly because those sayings mean nothing to me right now.

So many people have reached out to my family and I during this difficult transition. Meals were sent as well as sympathy and Mass cards, flowers, fruit, texts and phone calls. We appreciate every single gesture.

Today is my first day of my new normal while at work. I am glad to be going to work, I missed the kids I care for and my co workers. I never told anyone at work where or when my dad was being waked or when the funeral was. It wasn’t because I didn’t want them there I simply did not think of it, I could think of little more than my grief. One classroom that I’m always in and out of due to the large number of medically fragile students they have sent me 2 sympathy cards. One card with each child’s name stamped and one card that was signed by all the staff in that room along with heartfelt sentiments.  I was quite touched by that gesture. I’ve only been at this job since this past  October but those cards tell me that I’m family now.

So here’s to a new normal even though I know I’ll be fighting it every step of the way.


Walt, Walter, Big Walt, Dad, Pop, Poppy, Grandpa,or as I always called him even as an adult; Daddy.  I am not saying goodbye forever; this goodbye is temporary until we all meet again in the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Daddy was a believer in Christ, I know this because I straight out asked him if he believed in Jesus. He answered me, “Yes I do, I do believe” Soon after that conversation he asked me to buy him a cross to wear around his neck. Aside from his wedding ring I’d never seen him wear any jewelry; ever. I was so happy to have pleased him with that gift.

Daddy was an easy person to please. He wasn’t so interested in the material things of this life. He would rather sit and talk to you than anything else. Telling stories of when he was growing up and driving cars before he was legal to drive, his time in the Army at Fort Dix, when he owned his gas station and spent a lot of time with his pal Jimmy Shron and raced cars at Weisglass stadium.  Those are just a few of his favorite topics. He especially got a kick out of his grandchildren. Quoting them or telling stories that he found funny. He proudly told people the number of grandkids he and my mom had: 11 for those of you who don’t know. And he was equally proud of each one, celebrating the unique differences they all have.

Daddy always told you what was on his mind. He didn’t mince words and you knew where he stood and how he felt. I can’t think of one thing I couldn’t talk to daddy about. He was always there to talk, to laugh, to lend support or to simply admire what you were doing in your life. Never failing to let you know when he approved or commiserate with you when things didn’t go as planned.

I’ll especially miss his humor and the sharp wit that he is known for. I’ll miss talking to him on the phone and seeing him at his place on the couch or at the head of the dinner table. I will miss telling him about my life, my house renovation and what my kids are up to.

Daddy I will miss you


And Just Like That…

After being a fighter his whole life, especially a fighter for his health these past few years, after my sister and I left for the night; after my mom was ready to settle in for the night; my Dad’s earthly body could take no more and he crossed over to be with The Lord. Just like that. “Absent from the body; present with The Lord” 2nd Corinthians 5:8. He crossed over with my mom present.

This isn’t easy. I never thought it would be. I feel especially blessed that 16 months ago when my Dad was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer “they” didn’t give him very long to live. “They” certainly never said he was going to live another 16 months. But we knew better. We knew my Dad was going to fight and he fought hard. We were blessed with more time with him. More time to talk and listen to his stories. My dad had a story for everything and every event. More time to just be with him.

My Dad and a lot of “one liners” such as telling me it’s a “shoppers sky” when I scored while thrifting or at the mall. He would call me the Fashion police if he saw someone wearing a questionable outfit. He sent me off in my first car (a huge 1976 Buick LeSabre) with the stern  instructions to “Just drive!” when I was nervous and I had to sit on a phone book to see over the steering wheel.  I still hear those instructions whenever I drive a vehicle that isn’t mine. “Just drive the thing!” I hear in my head. He was great to all my friends while growing up especially the teen years. He joked and laughed with all my guy friends (the majority of my friends were guys) and thought nothing of it if my sister and I had a party and everyone (yes, the guy friends) stayed over instead of going home. My dad would joke about “stepping over bodies in the living room” which was where everyone would crash for the night. He would good naturedly hide the “good cookies”  from certain friends of ours who were notorious in finding which cabinet they were in and eat them. I don’t ever remember a time my dad didn’t like one of our friends. There was one guy one of our dogs didn’t like and that made my father give that person the side eye.  When Tommy told my father he wanted to propose to me, my dad had two rules: 1. I was to finish nursing school first and 2. There were no refunds.

That was my dad.




My Dad

My dad is not doing well health wise. Yesterday my mom made the decision to have him receive hospice care in the comfort of their own home. He was in a rehab facility to regain his strength after a lengthy hospitalization, but my father’s health quickly made a turn for the worse.

Fir the past 15 months my father has been battling liver and colon cancer and he fought with the tenacity I witnessed him having while growing up. I always believed my dad to have angels looking out for him. Major issues concerning his health were discovered under seemingly innocent circumstances . Major issues such as lung cancer which my dad beat twice. He is such a strong fighter.

As of today my dad is on hospice care.  This is harder than I ever thought it would be. Even though he’s been battling cancer these past 15 months he’s been a strong fighter and still kept his well known sense of humor. I’m glad the Lord granted him the time He did.

My house is still upside down with the renovation but that’s ok because I feel like my life is upside down.

Co workers

I’m very fortunate I have awesome co workers that I work with. I work with two other nurses: No one thinks a second thought about helping another, whether they are asked to help or not. There have been times I’ve been called to another area of the school for an urgent situation  and I’ll hear the footsteps of a co worker not far behind me coming along to lend a hand that I didn’t have to ask for. It’s pretty great.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had such awesome co workers. When I worked in hospital 20 years ago I worked with some pretty awesome people who would help you at the drop of the hat. So I was fortunate at that time as well.

I know God places people in your life for a reason and sometimes only for a short time to help you through a particular season. My co workers during this time in my life are not only quick to lend a hand but quick to take a moment and turn situations into a teaching experience. And it’s not done in a condescending manner, it comes from a place of wisdom and caring.

I don’t believe it was any coincidence that I was placed with these great nurses.