About Me

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Watkinsville, Georgia, United States
We lost my beautiful wife of 20 years on 9/12/07. Lisa was my world she was my everything and now she is gone. We are learning to live without Lisa now. I say we because I am not alone. My children are stuck in this mess with me. These are my notes, my vent, my way of letting you all know that we are doing well (some days). This is for myself, my friends and my family that want to know how we are doing and what we are up to. Along the way I hope this might also help someone else who has been dealt a similar hand.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

And The Beat Goes On

The thing I don't get is how I can be so fine for a while and then all of a sudden feel like I have for the past week. I had been feeling so good! I had been doing so well. What gives? I will shake this off I know but I just want to crawl under a rock until I do. I suppose thats why I have not been writing much lately. The really crappy thing is I know this will happen again sometime in the future. I think the only thing I can hope for is that it does not last as long and is not as strong next go around.

I am, I think, ready to finish up my shop. I just have a little bit more electrical and drywall to take care of and I can start on the cabinets and such. I really do want to get the shop put together and orderly by this winter. I really want to get out there and start on a few projects but can't until I get that shop straight.

Today however, church and then cut the pastures. The bitter weed is taking over the pastures and I really need to get it cut back.

It will be Monday all over again soon and it will be a short week due to the coming holiday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

September Sucks!

As you know, my adage these days is “things could always be worse”. That’s my way of reminding myself that I could have it a lot worse than I do. Heck a lot of people do…

However, Some days it’s just hard to remember that things can always be worse. It’s hard to remain positive and upbeat all the time. To make matters tougher, Matt seems to take on my moods. That makes it even more important that I remain on the positive side of things. When I am upbeat, through it would seem, like osmosis, Matt is more upbeat also. When I am not….well, you know the rest.

I seem to go through cycles of tough times and seem to be in the middle of one of them right now. I don’t want to do anything right now. I don’t want to write, go to work, cook, cut grass or even work out in the shop. I just seem to be in a slump. I hate feeling like this but short of taking pills (that’s what I had to resort to last September) only time seems to get me out of a slump.

I thought of something this morning. You know I miss Lisa, God knows how much I desperately miss her, but I think I am also just missing loving someone. I am not sure if that makes sense but that’s how I am feeling. Pure and simply I just miss loving someone… Having someone to share with… someone to walk and talk with… someone to share life with… I think I am missing getting to love someone. Sounds a bit corny but that’s where I am at today.

Okay, enough of that…off my pity pot I go…

With the cooler mornings we are having it feels like fall is almost here. I love cool weather and that’s just what I think I need to get me out of this slump. Cool weather seems to invigorate me. The heat and humidity is so draining at times. Maybe we will get an early fall cool down and I won’t have to make a run to the pharmacy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Two Years Or Ten

It has been a difficult past few days.

I have been working hard to complete the room that Abby left empty. I hate that I don’t do a better job of knowing when to quit my “Dad” work and do my “Mom” work. I know that sounds a bit sexist but that’s how things have always worked in our house. Lisa took care of certain things and I took care of others. When I get wrapped up in a project like this, I like to work for as long as I can since I know my time is limited. The problem is, I wind up working so long that I don’t feel like doing all the other things I need to when I do finally stop. You know, things like cooking a decent meal. I worked on this empty room Friday, Saturday and Sunday and all three nights we wound up having to eat out because I did not feel like preparing a meal when I finally stopped working. I used to work right up until dinner was on the table. I would stop long enough to eat. Once I ate I would give Lisa a quick kiss and a thank you and promise not to work too far into the night. Off I would go to put in a few more hours work on whatever project I was working on at the time. I do like a good project…

I am struggling with picking out, yet another, bed and bedding however. I thought that I had it all figured out but keep second guessing myself. At this point, I am thinking the best thing to do might be to have Dad come up one weekend and help me just build a bed. It sure beats spending a lot of cash on something that I don’t even like.

That’s not why it has been a rough past few days however. I think the reason that I have been struggling a bit the last few days is due to the fact that we are quickly coming up on the two year mark. September 12th will be two years. Two years!! Seems more like ten…

As the date gets closer I tend to think about Lisa a lot. I tend to look at old pictures and that’s never a good thing for me to do.

Hopefully the day will come and go without incident, but, who knows

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Picture This

Today was picture day at school. The day most school age kids dread. Most children don’t seem to like this day because mom wants them to look their best which translates into not being able to wear what you want and not looking as cool as you might think you could otherwise. It means that a shower is mandatory and one day of neatly combed hair is compulsory. Certainly no ball caps today. No tee-shirts with snappy verbiage or hip logos will work today. A shirt with a collar will be the order of the day. I can picture kids all over the county fussing with mom about the whole affair.

Picture day for us has always been a little different. Our kids have always looked forward to picture day. Since Lisa was a teacher the kids and her always got two pictures. One by themselves and one with each other. Some of my favorite pictures have been the school pictures of Lisa with one of the kids at her side. I have some very good ones of Lisa and Abby. They loved the fact that they could have their picture taken together. I think it made them feel special in the fact that most of the other kids wound up with that one goofy picture of themselves slouching in front of the camera with a forced half smile.

Last night I reminded Matt that today was picture day. He said that he knew and had already planned on dressing for the occasion. He said that he was going to wear his favorite blue button-down with a pair of jeans. He said that he had been saving the shirt for just this day. That cracked me up because it told me all my harping was paying off. It told me that he is finally starting to concern himself with his appearance. It also told me that he understands that he should not wear the same shirt too often. Actually it made me feel pretty good since it was only about a year ago I got a call from a close family friend and teacher that was concerned about Matt’s hygiene. She told me that she had ran into him a couple times that one week and noticed that he kept wearing the same tee-shirts and that he did not look like he had been brushing his teeth regularly. This was not long after Lisa died and I was still getting my hands wrapped around taking care of the kids. I started paying more attention to these things and noticed she was correct. I took some steps to change this. I started making sure he brushed his teeth regularly and enlisted Abby’s help to make sure he did not leave the house in the same tee-shirt every day. Additionally, when I washed his clothes I would not let him take them to his room until the following week. That forced him to pick out something else to wear. I suppose my diligence is starting to pay off.

I don't think Matt thought about all this very much. I don't think that it dawned on him but, for me, picture day is just one more reminder that Lisa is not with us. I will no doubt get my package of pictures in a couple of months and be reminded yet again that our lives have changed and will never be the same.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Painting Blues

Okay I finally decided on a room color. You can see the color I chose in the picture attached. You can also see the ugly yellowish greenish color I covered over. I found a color that I thought would work with what I want to do with the now vacant bedroom. It was a somewhat light blue with a hint of grey in it. I say "was" because I made the mistake of asking Matt what he thought of the color. He said that the liked the color but wanted to go two more shades darker with it. I told him that I thought it might be too dark. I don't want it to look to cave-like after all is done. At the last minute standing there at the paint counter I decided that Matt knew more about decorating than I did and went with his color. I got stark white high gloss for the new moldings and it really is looking good. Who knew Matt could decorate?

However, (there's that word again) I finally got in touch with my good friend Linda. Linda is telling me that now I should not go with the black finished bed. She says it will be to masculine and after all, don't I want Abby to feel good about coming home when she wants to. Do I... I guess... Maybe... Yeah I do. Linda has a point I suppose. So I will likely not get the black bed.

Who knew decorating could be so difficult!

I suppose this exercise is good for me. Maybe if I can make some simple choices like this I can learn to handle the larger things that will be coming my way. If I can learn to put on my big-boy spider-man undies and make decision without a partner, well that might just help me in my healing process.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Am I Rambling

I suppose the toughest thing about this whole process that we are going through is the mental challenge. The mind is a powerful thing. It can be my biggest adversary and my most valuable ally. Those of you who are regular readers know that these quiet mornings alone are some of my hardest times. It is during this time that I must wage that mental war against letting my mind take me to places that are not healthy. No, I'm not talking about anything as dark as the S word. I'm talking about basic stuff like being alone. It's not healthy for me to fixate on that sort of thing as it leads me to become depressed and unappreciative of what I do have. Like I tell Matt, we have to focus on what we do have and not what we don't have. Again, the mind is powerful and getting it to work for you rather than against you can be a difficult chore.

Faith, family and friends have been the most important things that have helped me continue to win battles in this ongoing war. You can't have enough of any of the three if you are going to win the war. These three things are what help me continue to keep my mind working for me rather than against me. I have told a number of people that I find grief to be a very powerful and addictive drug. It can drag you into places that you would have never thought you would go. Grief can make your mind work against you in more ways than you could ever imagine.

So this morning I chose to have my mind work for me rather than against me. As I found myself walking, yet again, in circles this morning, I realized that I have to get back to some old habits. I need to get back to my lists. I have gotten away from making lists. To Do, Shopping, Meal and Project lists keep me focused. They keep it right there in front of me and help me prioritize my days and keep me productive. They take the thinking out of the process a bit and help me make descitions that I need to make. When we moved here to the farm one of the first things that Lisa and I agreed to do was remove the hideous wall paper in the kitchen. One day Lisa was making a list and could not find a pad of paper. I told her to just write it on the wall. She did and it is still there with almost nothing completed. More folks have laughed about that list than I can count. I love that list...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Is "eventually" Here Yet?

I woke this morning to see that the sample paint color that I put on the wall of our now empty bedroom was not what I wanted it to be. Or was it... Heck I don't have a clue.

I have spoken about this several times in the past. One of the things that stumps me is my ability to make decisions without Lisa. I find that I don't know what to do when it comes to making simple life decisions. Things like what color to paint the wall, throw me into a tail spin and I suddenly find myself walking around in circles and not knowing what to do. Such is the case this morning. I have been going in circles ever since I got up and accomplished zilch. Why do I find the need to get input from others? Why can't I just make a simple decision and move forward with somethings.

I finally decided that I would just go get the paper and read it. I did what I rarely do and read my horoscope. It said " Even if you start out slightly intimidated by the challenges facing you, you'll eventually get your sea legs and fearlessly take on whatever complicated problems beckon".


Just what I want, to be able to fearlessly take on whatever complicated problem beckons me. What about all this simple crap that confounds me and let's not forget it said "eventually". Just exactly when is "eventually"?

Oh how I miss having her input. There is nothing I would like more than for her to be standing here to tell me that this light shade of blue is an idiotic color and that she has the perfect color picked out for me to slap on the wall regardless of my opinion. I keep telling my self to man up and just go for it. Make a decision and stick with it. If I am happy with it, thats all that matters. Sounds simple enough but I have a terrible time putting that into action.

I suppose the best thing to do is start from scratch go to Lowes and spend a couple minutes looking at paint samples. Or maybe just walk around in circles till some kind stranger walks up to me and tells me what color to go with.

Maybe I should just go back to bed, I don't know because I can't make a decision on that either!

Maybe if I just close the door to that little empty room for a few days a little fairy will come and do everything for me. Choose the paint color, bed type and color, bedding color, window covering the whole enchilada. Thats what Im going to do. Just shut the door and keep my fingers crossed.

If it were only that simple...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Project Time

Its good to have the first week of school behind us and back to a week to week schedule of school and activities. Matt seems to be settling down and getting a bit more comfortable with the new situation. I am glad to have my Fridays back to myself. That sounds a bit selfish but I have always enjoyed my Fridays. Working a 4 day schedule is tiring but having Friday to myself makes it worthwhile.

We took the last load over to Abby's place Sunday evening. It was a couple of chairs that Lisa's folks had been holding onto. We told Abby that we would meet her there and forgot that she has to keep the place locked up. Living where we do, we don't feel the need to lock everything down. However, my first instructions to Abby were that she keep the door locked while there or not there. As a result we wound up sitting and waiting for a little while. Matt felt the need to be as comfortable as possible so he took advantage of the chairs. He already looks like a fraternity boy sitting on a porch waiting for the next girl to walk by.

I am taking advantage of having Abbys room empty. I have already started taking down the moulding so that I might upgrade it. I have decided to make it more masculine and sent back the frue-frue quilt that I purchased. I decided that Abby was right about it, it looked a bit old ladyish. We are going to go with a blue tone. I am thinking light blue on the walls and a darker blue for the moldings. I know that it is a bit "out of the box" but I figure I can repaint it if it looks like bad. Additionally, I think we are going to go with black bed or natural wood bed. It feels good to have a project.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Brain Fart

Well I had an epiphany last night, or as I like to call it, a brain fart.

I got to thinking about this thing with Matt and him feeling alone in the morning and decided to use a little psychology 101 on him (again). I told him to think of the mornings as his alone time. I told him to consider the fact that I am not there pestering him to chew with his mouth closed or to sit up on the couch. I explained that this is the only time during the day that he is not being watched and directed by a parent or teacher. I asked him to consider it his special time of day to just relax and get ready for the day. I asked him to consider the fact that he gets some alone time as a positive and not a negative. I explained to him that I love this time of day and it’s nice to just have some time to myself. Yes, if you are a regular reader you know that I am telling him a little bit of a lie. It’s worth it however if this works. Once he started thinking about it he seemed to like the idea. He said that he had not thought of it like that.

When I called him this morning he seemed to sound better. The first thing I asked him was if he was enjoying his alone time. He laughed (which was nice to hear) and said he was. Maybe we have had a quick breakthrough, maybe he is just manning up so as not to worry me, maybe it was just a good day. I don’t know but I suppose time will tell. It might just be the fact that he is going to his best friend’s house after school today and then joining him for a church youth group trip to the Varsity. Nothing says loving like a greasy chili dog, onion rings and fried peach pie from the Varsity. Anyhow, he seems to be better today and I hope that trend (yeah, yeah I know one day is not a trend ) continues.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Missing Momma

It was a bitter-sweet weekend. We moved Abby out to her first apartment this weekend. As I have already mentioned, we were both ready. Actually we have been ready for some time now. She has been thirsting for the independent freedom of being on her own and I have been anxious for her to taste that independence. Of course, she is still somewhat oblivious to the fact that independence is a double edged sword. She is figuring it out pretty fast however.

The one regret I have is that her mother was not there to see her move on and to help her set up her first place. We took the last load over yesterday evening. After huffing a couple of big chairs up the stairs, Matt and I sat and relaxed as Abby continued to unpack and place doodads throughout her new home. I could not help but sit there and think about how much fun it would have been for Lisa and Abby to be doing it together. It made me so sad that Lisa was not there at Abby’s side during this time. Lisa has missed some of the biggest milestones our daughters life these last two years. Homecoming Queen, graduation, the start of college, baptism and now her first apartment. It’s kind of like Lisa did all the work and now is missing out on all the payoff. On the other side of the coin, Abby does not get to share these things with the most important and influential person in her life, her mom. I know the events will continue to come and go without having mom there. She will not see her get married and she will not be there for the birth of Abby’s children. It is so sad that she is not here with us. We miss her deeply and the void that she left in our lives was large this weekend.

Now I have my attention turned back to Matt. He seems to be doing a bit better but I am worried about him. When I called the house yesterday morning he sounded so down. I was so worried about him that I sat at my desk in tears. I felt so helpless and unable to do anything. I wish that I could just find some way to be there for him in the morning and give him a hug as he leaves for school. I have no option however. I am stuck. I can’t just quit my job and stay at home. The bills have to be paid and food put on the table. For now all I can do is be strong for him and reassure him that I am here for him. I am hoping this is just the start-of-school blues and nothing more. I think his sister moving out also has something to do with it. He is a great kid with a tender heart. After a lifetime of stability, he has seen things in his life change dramatically over the past two years. We left his childhood home and neighborhood to move to the farm, he lost his mother, started high school and now Abby has moved out. These are big changes for anyone, much less a tenderhearted teenage boy. I pray, that with the new school year and things getting back to a normal day to day routine, he will find his stride and feel comfortable once again. I will, for now, remain vigilant and keep a close watch on him.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's Her Dime Now

Other than having to work part of the day, yesterday was pretty pleasant.

When I finished up at work I came home and rolled Abby out of the bed. First we stopped by the bank and got her off my accounts and me off her accounts. Then we grabbed some lunch to take to Matt. We decided to have lunch with Matt and try and cheer him up. He enjoyed the food we brought but I think he enjoyed the additional friends at lunch more. By the way, he sits at a table full of cute girls!! How could you he bummed out about that? It was great and it worked. He had a really big smile on his face when we left. Abby and I basically got mobbed at and after lunch by kids that we know. Well, Abby knows most of them but I got my share of hugs also. We got swarmed in the lunch room and the commons area. My head was spinning by the time we left there. It was tons of fun, however.

After lunch we took a couple of loads over to Abby's new apartment. We got a lot more done than I expected we would. Of course, she is on the top floor instead of the bottom and her bedroom is upstairs also. She is very excited to be setting up her own place. However, reality is starting to hit her between the eyes, her phone died yesterday. Correction, she finally destroyed her phone yesterday. She keeps waiting for me to jump in and get her a new one but I am not going to. I told her when I got her this overpriced phone that I would not replace it if she did not take care of it. I suppose she should have made a bigger transfer from her savings yesterday to checking! I am very interested in seeing if she replaces her phone with the expensive cool one or a reasonably priced one. Since it's her money now it should be interesting.

Friday, August 7, 2009

All Alone

Living without Lisa has brought us many changes and challenges. I sometimes have to remind myself that it has impacted the kids just as much as me, if not even more. Last night I got a reminder. Matt was upset and fighting back tears. I actually got him to talk a bit last night. He told me that he is just feeling so alone. He said that he gets up alone, comes home alone and none of his friends have the same lunch period as he does. He went on to say that he doesn’t have any of his friends in two of his four classes. Additionally, this year he is driving himself to school instead of riding with our friend Sandra and Abby is moving out this weekend. He said that he just feels so alone and feels like everything keeps changing. That’s all he kept saying.

I hurts me to the core… I wish that I could be there for him every morning and evening when he gets home. I do what I can but short of quitting my job, I can’t be there all the time. Of course, I tried to reassure him that he was never alone, not really. I assured him that his Sister and I are just a phone call away but I know that does not make him feel any better. My, things could be a lot worse outlook, does not work for Matt. He tends to look at what he doesn’t have rather than what he does have. Heck, what teenager doesn’t. I promised him that we would work on some things that would allow him to not be alone in the afternoons so much. I told him that once school got going and everyone started getting into a grove with their schedules things would get better. I assured him that he would not have to come straight home from school every day. We talked about him going to Abby’s apartment some days and also he could stop occasionally and visit with his friends after school. I reminded him that his after school activities would be gearing up soon and he would have a full schedule before he knew it. All this seemed to help just a little but did not give him the comfort that I wished for him. I just hate to see him hurting so much… It did not help that I had to work today and could not spend the first Friday morning of the school year with him. I think I will see if Abby and I can drop by the school for lunch. That might pick him up a bit!

I have finished issuing layoff notice to all our effected employees. They were so very gracious. I can’t tell you how many of them asked how I was holding up. Isn’t that a something… Here I am telling them they don’t have a job anymore and they are worried about me. That’s the kind of thing that reminds you there are good people out there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Defrost Dummy

Well, I suppose I am not doing so well on my commitment to get back to cooking and eat better.

Abby is eating out tonight. Thats not so surprising since she is basically on her own and pays absolutely no attention to what is happening at home as far as meals are concerned. However, (there is that word again) Matt is also eating out. I was worn out by the time I got home tonight and did not have the interest or energy to cook. On top of it, I forgot to defrost anything (handy excuse). I continue to be amazed at what Lisa was able to accomplish when it comes to this subject. How did that woman pull it off? Like I was saying, I was just too worn out to think about it. Of course, I asked Matt a stupid question. Are you very hungry? He is always hungry... so stupid question. I suggested a turkey sandwich or a bowl of cereal with some fruit. Yes, I have some fruit in the house. The only problem is it usually winds up getting thrown out since we eat out too much. So back to Matt... No he did not want anything I suggested. He wanted to go get something. I, once again I think out of guilt, agreed. I justified it in that tomorrow is the first day of school so I was letting him wind out his summer break on an up note. So dinner out for Matt and a serving of guilt for me. I feel like such a bad parent right now...

Things are moving along at work. I have spoken all the employees that are going to be moving within the facility. Tomorrow I start talking to the ones that are actually being laid off. Twenty-seven of them to be specific. By the end of the day tomorrow, I should have completed all the notifications and be well into the mountain of paperwork that is associated with something like this.

Maybe at least I will get a better night of sleep tonight than I have the past two night

Monday, August 3, 2009


I am glad to have today behind me. I worked through a RIF (reduction in force) within our very small salaried staff today. I have been working with two of the affected people for over 15 years. One of them went into labor with her last child while sitting in my office. We have been through a lot together but this is the first time that I have had to go through this with this staff. It was a difficult day, more difficult for them I am sure. I thought for sure that would vomit right in the middle of one meeting. My hands shook and my stomach wrenched. I worked though it without and incident, however. I can only imagine how the affected people felt and still feel. This is always a difficult process no matter who it involves but these are the folks that I work the closest to on a daily basis. We know each others families, I know their spouses, children and in some cases parents. I have visited them in hospitals, sponsored the kids in sporting activities and let them poor out their problems to me time and time again. I have counseled with them in everything from supervisory skills to money management, marriage and college plans. We have shared each other triumphs and tragedies. I have been to weddings and funerals with them and seen them at the birth of their children. It is hard to hurt them like this. Each of them went home tonight without a job in one of this countries worst economic downturns. While I am sure that they will survive and maybe even find something better, I am sure that they are hurting tonight.

I am exhausted, both physically and mentally. The kids are off to Six Flags with our church children's group. So I am alone tonight. It sure would be nice to have Lisa here tonight to encourage me and to remind me that things happen for a reason. It would be nice to have her here to remind me that while I have a tough job tomorrow, I do have a job. It would be nice just to have her here tonight.

Tomorrow will most likely not be any better. I will start with the hourly group tomorrow and I feel just a strongly about them.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

River Trip

Kayaking the river was one of Lisa's favorite outdoor activities. We have made the trip more times than I can count and I always enjoy the it. Yesterday was no exception. My good friend Chuck was able to join us along with his oldest son Isaac. Along with me and Matt, William was also able to join us. The weather was cooperative and the water level was high enough to allow us enjoy the ride. I wound up getting a lot more sun than I realized. I am burnt from head to toe but don't mind at all. It was a good day... I enjoyed about five hours of adult conversation and interaction with Chuck. Additionally, Chuck is a pretty easy going guy with a great sense of humor. This helped me kind of unwind and not be to anxious with the three boys acting like a bunch of goof balls for the five hour trip. What is it that makes boys think standing up in a kayak is a good idea? Not to mention, all three standing up at one time in the same kayak? I thought about Lisa a great deal yesterday but having another adult along helped keep my mind occupied. It was a good way to wind up the weekend and the summer break.

School starts next week and both Matt and I are both very anxious about next week. I am nervous about Matt driving to school but very happy that we don't have to burden others with transportation request. I think Matt is just nervous about school starting in general. I have no doubt that we both will be happy when we have this first week behind us.

Getting back to a normal schedule will be nice. I am, selfishly, looking forward to having my Friday's back to myself. I have always enjoyed my Friday's and put them to very good use. My plan is to get out to the shop and do some more work toward having a functional work shop. I have had many people asking me to produce things for them and I would like nothing more than to have the smell of saw dust fill the air. I would love to get lost in a project and I do truly get lost in them. I think it is the best possible therapy I could have.