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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve, 2009

SO …..

It is New Year’s Eve, 2009….. and I have never before looked forward to the new year as much as I do today.

Not that tonight will be anything special, in fact it will likely pass with barely a notice from Eleanor and I. We will likely Fall asleep around 10 (oh, can you stand the excitement ?) wake up at midnight long enough to wish each other (and the kids if they are awake) a “Happy New Year” and then fall back asleep.

But tomorrow morning…I can’t wait… a new year, a new beginning. Nothing will really change, I will probably work around the house, pay bills, catch up on paperwork BUT the attitude and perception will be different. It will no longer be the worse year of my life;
  • NOT the year our son died
  • NOT the that I lost my Florida condo
  • NOT the year that I accept the likely loss of my other CT property
  • NOT the year we needed counseling to get through our grief
  • NOT the year I hit a pedestrian

 But rather, it;

  •  WILL BE the year I regroup, lick my wounds and rebuild my financial life
  •  WILL BE the year I reinvigorate my “career”
  •  WILL BE the year I resurrect my entrepreneurial plans and efforts
  •  WILL BE the year I reconnect with my kids after being absent fronm their lives during and after Andrew’s illness
  •  WILL BE the year I move beyond the reminders (but never the memory) of Andrew
It will be the year I stop questioning (my) GOD for all that has happened and instead pray for an understanding of why it happened and the wisdom to use the experiences to batter myself and the lives of my family.

It will be the year that we survive and we thrive

The stake gets hammered into the ground at midnite … stay tuned

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas is behind us, now for New Years

Well, Christmas is finally behind us and it was a very strange weekend. Although we decorated the house , it was mostly for Annie and AJ, and if not for that you would not have been able to tell it was a holiday.

Annie and AJ spent Christmas eve and most of Christmas day at Allison's and then at friends. They wanted to and we agreed since the events of this year were likely to overshadow any joy and we don't want them impacted any more than necessary.

El and I spent the weekend like we would any other day. Fell asleep around 9 on Christnmas eve and spent Christmas day doing odd things around the house.

It was a tough night and day, really tough.

A bright spot however in an otherwise really bad Christmas though was that we had dinner and visited with my aunt and uncle and their daughter. It was so "normal"  to be with family and not talkor think about Andrew. I am so glad we went.

Saturday and Sunday were spent finishing up the move from the (now) old house. I still think nieghbors are sneaking in at night and leaving stuff there - this just never ends.

But I reached a benchmark of sorts. I quickly ran out of room for things with the (now) new house being smaller and only a one car garage, and the garage filled quickly mostly because Andrew's bed and other paraphenalia is in it.

I found myself cursing the bed ... and immediately fell sad at the thought that this bed that had made it possible for Andrew to live home all those years was now just an annoyance could I feel that way ?.
Maybe I am just finally accepting everything.

I need now to get through New Year's Eve. We never really did much on New Year's Eve to celebrate but this year will be even less in the way of physically partying .... BUT ... I am mentally and emotionally celebrating like never before at the passing of 2009. January 1 is my stake in the ground, the day when I can say this lousy year is behind us.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

So here we sit on the brink of Christmas Day, 2009.

This is the year that my life, and the lives of my family, has been shaken to the core. Almost everything I ever feared might happen has happened this year but somehow I and my loved ones, excepting Andrew, are still standing.

But we will survive and even prosper.

This year began, already bad for a lack of work in 2008, and went horrible with another period of downtime followed by a cut in income. Like everyone else, asset values tanked and net worth dropped. Florida became a total drag as the tourism ceased to exist and my management company “grew” itself out of existence for the non-McMansion type rentals. And then we find out that our condo association has been screwing us (owners). Then, just to pour salt in the wound, the industry for which I spent the better part of three years building an application for – my shot at being an entrepreneur – basically ceased to exist in central Florida.

Second quarter began with suspicions that Andrew might have a health issue and progressed to a confirmation that there was indeed an issue and numerous tests to determine what it was.

Mid year kicked in with my tenants announcing that they would be moving at the worse of all possible times. A time when my rental place, which used to be one of (on average) 6 in Hamden, was now one of more than 100 as every homeowner in financial straights attempted to rent their homes in a shot at saving them from sale / foreclosure.

Mid year progressed as Andrew failed to recover from the surgery done to correct his suspected issue.. And as much as this little guy tried to hold on to life, and in spite of the prayers of more people I ever realized I knew, the mid year period ended with his funeral and unimaginable grief.

And so we come to the end of the year ……

Since Andrew’s death, my family has all but fallen apart. Issues in dealing with grief have overtaken our “normal” lives (as if anything is normal any more). The turmoil that accompanies these things has all but alienated Annie and AJ – who had already pretty much lost the parents they knew when Andrew went into the hospital – from us (I do understand this as much as it hurts) . Allison has moved to another town (albeit close by, she is no longer down the street), I am in process of losing Florida (it’s current value is 1/3 of the mortgage) , we have moved into our first (smaller) house to escape reminders of Andrew and to “save” that house in case things get worse , and just to end the year on a high note, I hit a pedestrian the other day when she ran out in front of me from between two stopped cars. Oh yeah, and I broke a tooth this morning.

So how exactly am I still standing ?. What purpose was there to any of this? Can anything else possibly happen ?

I take solace in knowing that Andrew is not suffering and is in that “better place” we all believe in. I believe that, as Allison so eloquently said in Andrew’s eulogy, “that Pepper (our Dalmatian that he loved and we had to put down two years ago) will once again meet you in joy and devotion at the door, waiting to be pet; that Nana, having guarded you for these intolerable months, will take you in her arms and call you “darlin’.” That the grandparents we never met will talk to you of Mommy, and that Grandpa Shaw will still be the only one allowed to call you Andy. That this better place I keep hearing about has a vast library of Disney movies and Stitch dolls and Gameboys that need no batteries.”

I choose to believe that the possible (and the probable) loss of property and/or it’s value is too make us realize how little property really means.

I must believe that the grief issues will bring us all closer and make us stronger, both individually and as a family.

I have no choice.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

God, I am sooooo stupid.

I did it again ... What an idiot I am........ I am sooooo stupid.

I hit a low point the other day, a really low point as in I couldn't take any more and while trying to pull myself from the depths of despair, I went and said to myself "well, atleast it can't get any worse".

You know, even Andrew with all of his problems understanding and communicating would have understood that YOU DON'T SAY THAT because THINGS WILL GET WORSE.

Rewind the tape a bit - I never mentioned in this blog that Eleanor and I both were (are) having issues dealing with our greif over Andrew. We have been seeing someone to help us keep things in perspective - going about twice a week and hashing over our coping mechanisms.

Now fast forward a bit...Today, we have an appointment at 4:00 and I picked up El to get down to the appointment. Annie needed to be somewhere and had missed her ride so I agreed to drop her off as it was really only a few blocks out of the way, but it did cause me to take a different route to the appointment. So I wound up driving through New Haven on streets that I know (I did grow up there after all) but not ones I would choose to drive as a normalcy simply because of the traffic. Anyway, I was the first car at a light and when the light changed, I turned and proceeded (oddly and for once at the legal speed limit). All of a sudden, 10 feet in fromt of me (ok, it was really prbably 30 feet), a girl runs out from between two cars in the other lane. I nailed the brakes but still I hit her nearly at full speed.

I can now tell you that someone bouncing off the hood of your car really does look like they show it on TV.
I can now tell you that someone can be knocked out of their shoes (hers went about 50 feet).

Guess what, things just got worse......again .......BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Things are worse. Even being told by the police that I was not at fault, I have a nicely dented hood to remind me that things are worse. Maybe now when I start to think that things can't get worse, instead I'll just walk outside and look at the hood of my car

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Back Again" Plus Nine Days

So, the move is behind us now. Well, sort of. It is going on endlessly - I swear that someone is sneaking into our (now) old house every day and leaving things there since there is always something regardless of how much we take.

The new house is an example of organized chaos – boxes everywhere but at least (for the most part) in the room where they belong and reasonably well sorted.

We have so much stuff…........... George Carlin would have a field day with this.....

Monday, December 14, 2009

God's lab rat

A person who I am very fond of once exclaimed “I am tired of being God’s lab rat !! “.

At the time, I couldn’t understand the sentiment but I do now.

I feel as though I am in a maze and not only can I not find the exit but there are fake ones all over the place. I find the egress only to discover that it just leads deeper into the maze … and just for laughs, the floor is wired to give me a good electrical shock, at random intervals and for no apparent reason.

Now, I understand the sentiment all right.

I can just picture this supreme being up there saying to whomever it is He speaks to, “Hey, let’s give him 1000 volts through the floor – see if he can take that ! “.

A while before Andrew’s surgery, we were struggling with several issues. Like everyone else, our asset values had plummeted and we were now looking at decreased worth across the board. I had been out of work for several months in the preceding year. My Florida property, in addition to diminished value, took a hit from the lack of tourists (and from Kissimmee allowing a condo to be erected on every square inch of undeveloped land). And then …..

Like an idiot, I said to myself “well, at least it can’t get any worse”……. Which of course meant that it could and would and  it  did

First we find there are issues with the condo in Florida (which we rent out short term – like a hotel – through a management company)….guess it wasn’t enough to have it empty a good deal of the time, "let’s just get rid of all tourism in Orlando. There, now the place is completely expense.". Two points for the supreme being …”Bwahaha, let’s see how they deal with this !!!”. OK, I am a big boy and I can weather this even after a quarter of the previous year with no pay. It might be tight but …..

“at least it can’t get any worse……. And I have my health and a healthy family….”

Really ?, well we will just see about that !” says the supreme being. “Let’s take one of the kid’s for a little stay in the hospital. Bwahaha……and let’s make it the one that can’t defend himself … hahahahaha…..HAHAHAHAHAH”.

Well, we all know where that went, don’t we ?

He sat up there for two months with the old juice-o-meter and just kept the shocks coming …… “let’s try 1500 volts – Intubate Andrew and see what they do”…..

Wow, they almost handled that…I know, let’s have Andrew’s kidneys fail…That’ll get them …..HARHARHAR !!!”.

I think it was in the second week when I started to think to myself “What kind of God would take this helpless child and basically torture him ? “

Crank it up to 2000 volts !! – that will teach him to question me !”

After every setback, I would think “well, at least it can’t get any worse…….”

And then came the day when He basically drained the Northeast Powergrid into my spine by taking Andrew from us.

And I thought “well, at least it can’t get any worse…….”

And He thought “let me show mercy … I think I’ve given him the maximum voltage – I’ll leave the voltage alone, maybe even turn it back a littleBUT I’LL LEAVE IT ON FOR DAYS !!!!!!!

“BWA Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha !!!!!”

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Dear God, I'm back" plus three days

So here I sit, another three days has passed. We decided to move from our current house back into the house we own next door where all of our kids were born. The younger two barely remember, the oldest remembers all and who knows what Andrew would have remembered.

Regardless we fit now since there are only four of us at home.

Shortly after Andrew passed, we realized that the current house was full of memories (of course) but it was also full of reminders. We will never be free of the memories from the current house, nor do we want to be, but we dislike the reminders. AJ has to sleep in the same room he once shared with Andrew, still filled with Andrew’s belongings because they can’t (yet) be moved, but without Andrew. Annie gets to sleep by the wall that used to be permeated with Andrew’s vocalizations, now loudly silent. And we can barely walk into the den where Andrew spent so much of his time, nor look at the placement of items there only to accommodate Andrew.

The other house has memories too but none of the reminders, just the memories –and albeit time or reality that makes it so, they are all good.

However, the thoughts of moving has taken its toll even though we are committed to doing it. We have so much stuff to move – funny, I used to care about belongings and now the house could blow up and I would care less if family and photographs were safe. Annie and AJ are looking forward to it, the wife and I shudder at the thought.

Then again, maybe we will finally go through all the boxes in the attic marked “to go through” and I strongly suspect that “to go through” will soon translate to “to the dumpster”. Speaking of shedding belongings, have you ever tried to give away something that everyone wanted as long as they could avoid actually taking it ? More on that later… I guess I will need the large dumpster ……

So this now is the flavor of this blog (hope no-one is disappointed)…day to day life as it is after Andrew, interspersed with thoughts and stories of Andrew and random thoughts like this one:

I think I am now certifiably crazy … Since Andrews passing and the events and changes afterwards, I can no longer say I believe in a supreme being (God) but yet I still have faith that these events and changes are a part of “a plan” - so basically I no longer believe in God but I have faith that the events are a part of the plan that the God I no longer believe in has in place for me (us).

Rationalized Insanity …………………..