Sunday, January 16, 2011

Still Wouldn't Change A Thing

If you follow me, you know that when Curt came home for Christmas we found out he had pneumonia and he was pretty sick, a very uncommon occurrence for my husband.  I on the other hand am no stranger to being sick, so when I started with a sore throat a week and a half ago I brushed it off as just a cold.  Then it turned into a cough which continued to get worse and a sore, achy body.  I drank a lot of hot tea and sucked on a lot of cough drops and kept going about my routine.  Drop Gunnar off, go to work, pick Gunnar up, Cub Scouts on Wednesday nights, homework in between and clean the house and laundry on the weekend.  By the time I got to work on Friday I must have been in pretty bad shape because my supervisor didn't even let me log in, she just told me to call the doctor and get seen ASAP.  

So I ended up at urgent care with a PA (physicians assistant) telling me how bad my tonsils looked.  FYI: I haven't had tonsils since I was 6!  So either my throat looked really bad OR this guy needed to retake his anatomy class!  They swab me for strep, which I don't have, but after no further testing he says I do have pneumonia.  I assume this is based on me telling him what Curt had over Christmas.  So I was sent home with an antibiotic and a cough suppressant.  It's now Sunday and I don't feel any better.  Luckily I see my doctor tomorrow and hopefully she will get to the bottom of this.

I realized though that I had pneumonia in 2009 and I was out of work for an entire month.  I also don't recall feeling as bad as I do now.  I attribute the difference a couple things.  In 2009 I was a complete and total wimp.  I'm by no means past the wimp stage, but it is no longer complete and total.  I also had Curt to take care of anything I couldn't, or better said wouldn't.  I didn't see that until now.  I took that and him completely for granted.  I didn't realize how easy it was to just curl up and let Curt take over if I didn't feel well, how easily I could shut the bedroom door and tune out the world.  

Not anymore.  There is no room for door shutting or tuning out when there are things that need to be done and it's only you there to do them.  It's amazing what you can do when you find that  you have no other option.  Sure it would be nice to lay in bed all day and do nothing, but a 6 year old can't cook or do laundry.  He is pretty good at entertaining himself, but even that only lasts for so long. 

I guess what I am trying to say, is that as odd as it may sound, even in sickness I am finding small victories.  I am a stronger person now and I am finding new strengths each and everyday.  It may not be easy but I still wouldn't change any of it.  Each day is a new lesson, a new opportunity to learn how to live this life to the fullest and I am ready to take that course head on.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I am grateful for many things.  I realized when I heard of a devastating event in the town I grew up in, about a mile from where we last lived before we moved to Mesa about 4.5 years ago that I have not put into words all the things I am grateful for.  I know that I cannot possibly list them all, but I thought this would be a good start.

I am forever grateful for my family and friends, but that is a given.  It is why I am grateful for you that is more important than the simple gratefulness. 

I am grateful for my mother who never minces words and is always truthful, even when I don't want to hear it.  I am thankful for her ability to be both mother and friend, and always there for me.  I am truly appreciative that she has given me the wings I need to fly this journey I am venturing on, and so many, many more things that would take pages to list.  I love her more than she will ever know.

I am grateful for my father who is brutally honest and yet so very, very right.  I am much more grateful that he chose me so many years ago to be a father to.  He has made my life such an amazing one just by being in it, and I am eternally grateful for my daddy.  I am thankful for the adoption papers that sit in my filing drawer showing his devotion to me and I am so thankful each time I hear him say he loves me because he never had to.

I am grateful for Kenny, my biological father.  This may sound odd, but without him, I would not be here.  I am also thankful to him for knowing when to let go.  For allowing me to live the wonderful life that I have lead and having the amazing father that I have.  I believe it took  either great strength or great selfishness to do what he did, possibly both.  Whatever the case, I am eternally grateful for the decision that was made.  I was given the ability to have both my true Daddy, and Kenny's family.  I could not ask for more.  So, I thank you Kenny, for what I assume was something of a sacrifice for you, and for allowing me a better life.

I am grateful for my baby sister even if she doesn't always think so.  I am thankful for our many wonderful memories growing up, from singing in the shower, sleeping together on Christmas Eve, summers at the shore and walks to the bay, and pizza at Slice.  I am also thankful for the memories we will continue to make in the years to come.  She is a great sister to me and aunt to my son.  I could not ask for more.

I am grateful for my husband, my best friend, and now my soldier.  For almost 9 years Curtis has been my rock, he has been there for me through thick and thin.  He has seen me at my best and my worst and everything in between, and never once has he considered taking the "easy" road like many people would have.  I am so thankful to have found my soul mate, the person in this world who truly completes me.  I will hold dear the promise of his love forever.

I am grateful for my son.  For many reasons Gunnar should never have been.  I was told I most likely would never conceive, so getting pregnant alone was wondrous.  I had a difficult pregnancy, and Gunnar was 5 weeks premature and he was perfectly healthy and an amazing 6lbs 12oz!  He was and still is my little miracle!  He amazes me on a daily biases, and knowing that I cannot have anymore children, I feel so blessed to have been given such a loving and wonderful child with such a kindred soul.  He is so much like his daddy and I am also very grateful for this in Curt's absence.   

I am grateful for my all my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  You have all been a wonderful part of my life.  I wish we were closer (geographically) so we could spend more time together.  I am thankful for the time that we have spent, and I cherish it.  I look forward to time we will have together in the future.  I love you all dearly, more than you know.  Each and every one of you have a very special place in my heart.

I am grateful for Curt's family, whom have become my family over the last many years.  I now have an entire network of amazing people that I am related to because of my wonderful husband.  I am so thankful for the many brother-in-law's I have for showing me what it's like to have brothers, and even more so making me that much more thankful I have a sister!  I love you boys so much, but I am very much a sister kind of girl!  I am also very appreciative for the large extended family that I have become very close with.  Whether you are an Osborne, a Gibbens, a Crawford, a Searcy or any other of the many last names in this well blended family, I love you all so much, and thank you for being my family too.

I am grateful for all my friends, past, present and future.  For those that have stayed for the long haul, and for those that have come and gone.  Each of you have taught me many valuable lessons over the years.  To some that have gone, I am much more grateful that you are now gone, but also thankful for what I have learned from the volatile relationships that have passed.  For others that have gone, I miss you dearly and wish and hope to at some point reconnect with you, even if it is only for a brief moment.  There are some of you who have been with me for the long haul, to you I am eternally grateful.  We have had wonderful times, and learned many lessons together, and I hope to have many more of each.  To my new friends, I don't yet know which category you will fall into, but there is a plan for everything and everyone and I am ever so grateful to have you in my life now and look forward to what the future holds for us all.  We all have great journeys ahead of us and I hope to have you all along for the ride in the journey of a lifetime with me.

I am grateful for my house.  Not because it is big and wonderfully furnished, but because it is my home.  I am thankful that I have a place to live and food to eat and a bed to crawl into at night.  I am grateful that even though I felt like I had been run over by a semi truck over the weekend I had that house to clean, because so many people don't.  I'm also thankful that I have an obscene mortgage payment to remind me every month of the wonderful home I have.  These may seem like strange things to be thankful for, but these days, and after recent events, I feel grateful for everything and everyone I have.

I am grateful for my job.  I work for a company that CARES!  I don't know how many people can say that.  Truly, I work for a fortune 100 company, and they CARE!  They care about me, they care about the patients we are helping, and they care about the world we live in.  That's a pretty amazing thing when you think about it.  I have amazing co-workers that I consider friends.  I have supervisors that go above and beyond the call of duty on a daily biases to make sure that I can do my job to the best of my ability.  Guess what my job is...I give FREE MEDICATION to people who could not otherwise afford to take their prescriptions.  Doesn't get much better than that when you want to talk about being grateful, huh?!  Sure there are days when I'm tired and there are too many calls and I just want to go home.  It's still a job, and I am NOT A SAINT!  We all have bad days, but if I had to pick a job that was completely fulfilling to my core, this job would surely be in my top 10.  The caliber of the company, and the people, combined with what we do every day, bar none makes this a job I will be forever grateful to have taken part in.

I am grateful for the small things, that suddenly don't seem so small.  Things like Gunnar's smile or the way he tells me everyday without fail how much he loves me and how beautiful I am, even if I just woke up.  Curt's voice on the phone and the letters I check the mail for everyday.  The smell of my Mom when she hugs me and the feel of her small but strong arms holding me, or watching my sister sit in the sink and put her make-up on like she has done for as long as I can remember.  The soft but slightly scratchy feel when I kiss my Dad's cheek, or the smell of head and shoulders in his black but turning salt and pepper hair.  The silly dog that is now running around my house, sleeping in my bed, curling up beside me and barking a strangers passing by.  Me who didn't want anymore animals, suddenly adores this yippee little dog with the name that's too big for him.  I'm thankful for the little turtle hanging out in the tank in the playroom named George.  Another animal I didn't want.  He's cute as can be and is content to just be a turtle, but my boys adore him.  Curt actually asks about him when he calls and in letters, and Gunnar feeds him and makes sure the heat lamp is on in the morning and off at night.  I am rather fond of the little guy too.  There are so many things I am thankful for, to have money in my bank account, gas in my car and food in my house.

I am grateful for the Army for allow us to have this new journey.  For giving Curt a new and hopeful future that he is proud of and for teaching me to be strong and independent not only for myself but for my husband and son too.  I am thankful for the great things the Army provides for our family, money for housing, health insurance that covers absurdly expensive medication at nearly no cost to us, money for education for Curtis or Gunnar depending on how long Curt stays in.  The Army has brought so many wonderful experiences and people and things into our lives already.  We have both made new friends, people I wouldn't have ever met, yet my life would be so different without them.  I have learned amazing truths about myself that I could not be more thankful and excited for, and I know Curt has learned things about himself and about me too.  We have grown more as a couple during this time apart than in all our years together.  I know that I cannot always expect things to be this smooth, or this easy, but I am truly thankful to have had such a wonderful welcome into military life, I know not many are this blessed.

Blessed.  That is really what it comes down to.  My life is blessed by people, places, things, in every way and everyday.  I didn't always feel that way.  There were times, not very long ago,  when I couldn't see the upside of down, but this is a different time in my life, and I feel truly blessed to have come so far to realize, no only how far I have come, but how far I can go from here.  So for all of you who are part of my wonderfully blessed life, I will say it again, I am ever so grateful for every single one of you for everyday that I am able to spend with you, for anything that we do together.  Thank you for being part of my life past, present and I hope, future.  I love you all.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Knock at the Door

If you read my last post then you know I left you hanging when I didn't tell you who was knocking at my door on Monday night.  I was on the phone with an old friend when I heard a knock, and then another (apparently I wasn't fast enough) next thing I know someone is trying to open the door.  Good Army wife that I am, I have it dead bolted, but at this point I know it's my mom or my sister.  They are the only one's who would try to open the door.  Low and behold, I unlock the door to find both of them standing there....holding a shivering white mess of fur.  The first words out of my mouth were "Is that for me?!"  Then I told my friend I would have to call him back.  Mom and Kate came in and the mess of white fur that was a dog came running up to me like it had known me forever.  It was as friendly as could be, and it was a Maltese, so Gunnar wouldn't be allergic.  I agreed to keep it since mom couldn't bring it back to her house because of Luke (that's why why she brought it to me in the first place).

This poor dog was so matted.  If you don't know anything about a Maltese, they are considered hypoallergenic dogs (that's why Gunnar is not allergic).  They have hair instead of fur, which means that they do not have pet dander.  This also means that they get matted or knots just like human hair, and this dog was covered in them!  So Gunnar and I went to the store for some baby shampoo so I could bathe this poor dog, that's when I realized just how bad these mattes were.  I tried to brush some out, but it was no use.  The poor thing was pretty much one big knot.

By this time we already started calling it Princess, and even Bella.  We just assumed it was a girl.  Yeah I know I should have checked in the bath, but it wasn't exactly the first thing on my mind.  I did noticed that it peed like a boy, but I didn't think much of it, we were pretty sure it was a girl by this time.  So "Princess Bella" seemed to be at home.  Eating out of Gunnar's hand, really, that was the only way we could get the dog to eat was out of one of our hands.  It was curling up on the couch and had already claimed my bed for sleeping, and I don't mean the foot of the bed, I mean curled up by Curt's pillow or in the crick of my side.

So it was determined, the dog had found a new home.  I promised I would check for signs of a lost dog in the neighborhood and on Craigslist, but due to the neglectful way we found the dog I refused to post that it had been found.  I don't believe in returning this animal to a home that has been neglecting it.  If they are willing to put the effort into looking for it, that is different, then it may have been missing for longer than we believe, but I think it has been neglected for some time.  

My first task was to find a groomer who didn't require shot records.  This lead me to mobile groomers.  I have one coming after work on Monday.  I'm sure this is going to cost a pretty penny, but is needs to be done, and if I could have gotten the groomer there sooner, I would have believe me!  Next was finding low cost shots since I am somewhat certain shots of some sort have been given, but I still need to have record.  So I had to go get some essentials last night, like a halter, leash, and dog food that isn't meant for a 50lb Luke.  So I headed to Pet's Mart and was lucky enough to get a tip about a low cost clinic for shots in my area, so I made an appointment for that on the 17th.

Now I'm sure most of you have picked up on the fact that I keep referring to this dog as "it".  As I said, we assumed it was a she in the beginning, but by Tuesday night "she" rolled over on my bed for a belly rub while I was talking to my mom on the phone and I gave a yelp and told mom that Bella had a winkie!  To which Gunnar immediately starts laughing uncontrollably.  We realize at this point that girl dog is a BOY and Bella is not a suitable name.  So after a round of Name That Dog we came up with SSG Sill, or Sergeant for short.

Here is a picture:
Meet the newest member of the Osborne Family, SSG Sill.  Bad teeth and all!  He's so ugly he's cute, I just cannot get enough of him.  I can't wait until he gets groomed on Monday so he looks more presentable AND so the poor guy doesn't have those mattes anymore.  I'll be sure to post an updated picture of him when he's all cleaned up.  Oh, by the way, this picture was taken after his bath!

As if having this cutie on my bed wasn't enough to melt my heart, I was getting ready to go to bed when I found this on my night stand :

Then I opened it to find this:

I teared up right then and there!  Gunnar had been sleeping for about a hour by this time, so all I could do was sneak in and kiss his sweet sleeping head and think about how much he is like his Daddy.  What 6 year old do you know who could pull this off and not say anything?  Sneaky little devil...with a heart of gold.

Now you know who was knocking at my door...and the great joy that simple knock has brought me.  However, if I got a turtle the first time Curt left, and now I have a dog.  This has got to stop!  I am NOT running a zoo, and I cannot take in a stray every time my husband leaves!  He is in the Army, he is going to be leaving A LOT...that it WAY TOO MANY ANIMALS!  So let's be stops with Sergeant.  I love George my turtle, and I love SSG, but enough now.  It's in writing, so if any one of you plans on knocking at the door the next time Curt has to leave and you have a stray, just pick a different house, because this zoo is closed for business!  :-)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Update from Mi Vida Loca

So I know it's been a while since you have heard from me, and I am sorry, but I plan to make up for that now, so get comfy, this is going to be a long one!

The same day as my last post I got a call from Curt on my way home from work telling me he thought he should see a Dr.  Coming from anyone else I wouldn't have been surprised, but this is the man who fought me tooth and nail about going to the ER when he broke a 1 inch tire iron over his nose shortly after we started dating.  When that happened, he said something along the lines of "All the hospital is going to do is glue it, I have some super glue right here."  I quickly informed him that the ER would be using STERILE glue and that he would also need an x-ray and tetanus shot.  He was none too pleased when I won the battle and he was sitting in the ER waiting for all of the above.  Luckily the x-ray showed no broken nose, and that is still a mystery to me!  That is really the only encounter I have had with Curt needing a Dr. 

He was sick 1 time that I can remember in the last 8+ years.  We were in California visiting his family and Curt said he didn't feel well.  He went into his moms room, slept for about 15 hours and came out like he was superman again.  That was also pretty early in our relationship, so when he said he needed a Dr that Wednesday it nearly knocked the air out of me.  I knew his cough had been getting worse, but I didn't realize just how bad he was feeling until the words came out of his mouth.  I explained that not only did he not have a Dr due mostly to the fact that he never needed one, but that the letter I received from his commander indicated I was to take him to the nearest ER in the event that medical care was needed.  Here's the kicker...he AGREED!  No kicking, no screaming, no fighting me tooth and nail, just an "Okay, we'll go when you get here."  I nearly fainted myself from shock!

So I called my wonderful friend and neighbor Laurie and explained what was going on and asked if she would watch Gunnar so I didn't have to take him to the ER with us (I didn't need him getting sick, and a 6 year old in the ER is NO fun!)  Lucky for me Laurie was not only home, but more than willing to take on my son along with her 2 kiddos for a few hours.  Huge thanks to her!  The next call was to my mom for the fastest ER in the East Valley.  She sent us to Gilbert Regional.  If you live here and don't know, it's the hospital down by Power and Ray with the helicopter on the roof.  This place is AMAZING!  We walked right in and went straight back to a waiting room, no was great!  I think the whole thing from start to finish was about 2.5 hours, and they ran every test in the book on Curt!  That included taking about a pint of blood, a chest x-ray and giving him a breathing treatment.

Long story short, they chest x-ray came back with a 3 inch spot of pneumonia on his lungs.  The nurse came in and gave him a shot about the size of a horse needle of an antibiotic that made him white as a ghost and nearly passed out.  Scared me half to death!  His fever was also higher when we left the hospital then when we went in.  When he woke up the next morning his fever topped out at 103, and I had him take a fever reducer while I went off to work.  I checked on him every few hours to make sure his fever didn't come back up, and it seemed we were in the clear and it was just a reaction to the antibiotic.  He was getting better and was on the road to recovery, but it was no quick fix, at least not what Curt was used to, and neither was I.  My superman had found his kryptonite.

He was doing better by Christmas, but still FAR from himself.  So we had Christmas Eve Dinner at Mom and Dad's house with some of Dad's rocket buddies and Grandpa and Grandma Barbara.  Then we spent the night there so Santa would only have to make 1 stop.  Christmas morning was great, Gunnar was great about waiting until Grandpa and Grandma got back to the house to open presents and Katlyn played Santa and handed out gifts for most of the morning.  I think everyone was very pleased!  Then Daddy made his traditional Christmas morning breakfast, which was more like lunch by the time we ate.  We spent the rest of the day just hanging out.

On Sunday we did some shopping, and I think that pretty much wiped Curt out for a few more days.  I had to head back to work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  That brings us  to Thursday.  We woke up early to go get my ID and try to avoid any possible waiting like we encountered at Luke AFB.  Let me tell you, we hit the military ID jackpot! We went to the Army Air Guard by the airport, and we were the only ones there!  The woman was so nice she even gave Gunnar an ID and he's not supposed to get one until he's 10.  The kid was all smiles and is still telling anyone who will listen that he has his own ID.

After that we headed over to Curt's old stomping grounds (TCI) to say hi to anyone who might be stuck working the skeleton crew.  Then we grabbed a few essentials to send to Afganland for Curt's cousin and went to see Tron 3D.  I was quite impressed I have to say!  It was a really cool movie.  Later that evening we met my dear friend for an excellent dinner at The Keg.  We had such a wonderful time, but were ready to crash when we got home.

The next day was Friday, New Years Eve, and we were going to spend the day relaxing and picking up the house after doing a few small errands.  Somehow the few small errands turned into being out ALL DAY!  We picked up my truck from the shop and we picked up a few more things to send to Afganland, including some Crazy Juice, better known as Rockstar, and some Monkey Butt.  These were both requirements from my 6 year old son to his "Uncle Rich".  He also could not stop giggling about the Monkey Butt (it's a powder to help avoid rashes..G just liked the name).  We ended up gathering the rest of what we needed to send to Afganland and headed to the post office for our first lesson in APO shipping (that's a military address in case you like me no so long ago didn't know) and customs forms.  Interestingly enough, the customs forms are not at all designed for an APO address, which may as well read like a forgien language.

We barely made it home by my "required" off the streets on New Years Eve at 4pm time period.  Just in time to clean up for Curt's best friend from Tucson to come up for the night.  Our neighbor and her son also came over and we enjoyed a great dinner.  I made enchilladas and a salad and she brought pineapple and mango and mimosas.  It was a great treat to spend such a relaxing time with people I enjoy so much.  I even stayed up until midnight!  I'm pretty sure it's the first time since I've had Gunnar that I have made it until midnight on New Years Eve.  Curt finally did not have to wake me up to kiss me at midnight.  That's when I knew it would be a good year!

Saturday we hung out most of the day.  Andy had to get his annual calender, so we headed to Tilted Kilt for lunch.  Then we had dinner at Curt's cousins house with the whole family.  It was great to see everyone and spend time with family.  Before I knew it, it was Sunday morning and we were having breakfast with my parents and grandparents and saying goodbye to Curt.  

Gunnar and I took him to the airport, and Bless our military ID's, we were able to get a security pass to the gate and stay with him until he boarded the plane.  I am certain this goodbye was harder than the first.  This time I knew what to expect.  I knew how long my days would be and how sleepless and lonely my nights would once again become, but this is what I signed on for.  I agreed to be an Army wife, full of long days and sleepless nights, all for the glory of being able to stand beside a soldier and know the he is making the ultimate sacrifice.  Watching strangers stop and shake his hand and thank him for his service, and seeing him blush ever so slightly makes me well up with a pride that is nearly indescribable.  It makes long days tolerable and sleepless nights just part of everyday life when you can see and feel what I feel and what I am sure every other military spouse, parent, sister or brother feels too. 

Curt made it back safely late on Sunday night.  Gunnar and I both had off on Monday, and I found that I deal with separation from my husband by cleaning and organizing everything I can get my hands on.  I was up until after midnight on Sunday.  I cleaned out and reorganized and cleaned the inside of the fridge and the pantry.  On Monday I did a few errands, including a records release for Gunnars medical records and picking up just 2 of my meds, to the tune of a $1000 saving to my $6 paid THANK YOU Tricare!!!  I then proceeded to come home and go through 9+ years worth of paperwork and weed out what I needed to keep and what needs to be shredded.  I was just finishing up this little project when there was a knock at my door....but I'll save that story for next time, I promise you won't be disappointed.