Back To The Salon

Most people who know me personally know I was fiercely loyal to my hair stylist, Natalya. I adored her and she always got me when it came to either changing the cut, color, style or all three at the same time. I believe I went to her for about 6 + years. Our relationship came to a crashing halt when last year Natalya told me she had gotten married (she was a single mom); I was so so happy for her, but…she and her family were moving to Florida. I was very sad for me as selfish as that sounds.

So I began going to a salon around the corner from my house that I had frequented many many years earlier. I really liked the cuts and color my new/old stylist did for me, he listened and would give great input. But my goodness they were so expensive compared to the salon Natalya worked at. I used to color my hair myself but once you get used to the salon doing it, it’s difficult to go backwards. Last month I did bleach it myself and just paid for the haircut around the corner, but when it came time to have a cut and color done I decided to call Natalya’s previous salon and start with someone new from there. All you women readers know how nerve wracking that can be!

So here I sit with blonde dye in my hair patiently waiting for the color to develop and then I’m going for a different short haircut that is similar yo my picture here on my blog. It’s buzzed sides and leaving the top longer. Should be interesting, I’m hoping I leave with what I want.

More Time for Now

So since I’ve withdrawn from the Masters program I’m thrilled with the amount of time I seem to have in my hands. I’ve rediscovered my Kindle, downloaded a book from an author I’ve enjoyed in the past, vacuumed my car, oh the excitement ! Haha! When I made that final decision I felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. On Sunday Tommy and I drove around to an AT &T store to return the portable hot spot I ordered for my use for school work. I was able to cancel the service since I won’t need it anymore. From there we went to an Italian specialty store way on the South shore of where we live (we are on the North Shore). We ended up getting homemade pasta and had it for dinner, it was so good! Point is, I was able to go out with my husband and just “be”. No worries about getting home to read or work on a project.

I have decided to be certified in school nursing. It’s nothing prestigious but I want to do it. So in my spare time I’m reading the book and taking practice tests. I’m enjoying the reading since this is what I do. But there is very little about school nursing for the medically fragile students I care for, it mostly conditions that affect typical students, not that my students couldn’t have the same issues combined with what they are already diagnosed with; actually they do but the majority of my time here is taking care of the medically fragile students. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And I’m Done, For Now

I’ve decided to withdraw from the Masters program I began a month ago. I just don’t have it in me. I read the assignments and the first thing that comes to mind is WTF…I don’t want to do this, I really don’t. I can’t say I enjoyed the bachelor degree program but I wanted that degree; like I really wanted it. I don’t feel that way about the masters program, not today anyway.

At first when I was thinking about withdrawing I felt like a failure, like why don’t I have it in me? Is there something wrong with me? But I’m over that now and I realize I’m not a failure. I’ve raised 3.5 children; one special needs, landed a full time job that I love and earned my BSN in under 2 years. Now I just want to hang out with my husband and kids when I have time off. Or sit on a beach when we go on vacation, or do nothing. Not worry about completing the next assignment or worry when it’s due. So that’s it for now

Exercise at o’dark thirty AM

Since the middle of this past September I’ve been getting up at the early hour of stupid o’clock in the morning to work out before work. Honestly it’s the only way to fit it in my schedule, plus as an added bonus I do it in the morning and I’m good for the day. I attend classes at The Maxx Challenge Gym about 10 minutes from my house; well it’s 10min at 5am. That’s how this all works, I’m able to get to the gym and back in recorded time due to the lack of traffic.

It’s interesting working out that early in the morning. Most (mainly me) are quiet and we say good morning to each other. Then at 5am sharp class begins. Our instructor, Amanda is amazing. She’s beautiful inside and out and her workouts really get you going. Amanda takes the workouts seriously and it’s shows after you’re done. Love her!

After the workout I rush home to make a protein smoothie and get ready for work. If I know what clothes I’m wearing that day all is well and I’m out the door by 6:50am smoothie in hand. If I’m in a mood and can’t find a thing to wear just get out of my way. Thankfully I’m still the only one up at that hour, so no one is in my way.

And Here We Are

So I’ve begun my Masters program. The first class is like an intro to becoming a graduate student. A lot about mindfulness and being present. I kind of like it. It reminds you to stop and take in what is really going on. I’ve been noticing I do that especially at work when one of my students needs extra care and it is a serious situation. I project a sense of calmness but inside I’m urgently trying to stay in the moment and appreciate what is going on and what is my next step?

I need to be more mindful at home. Especially as my children just keep getting older. I’ve said in the past that grammar school seems to take forever (my gosh it really does…). Then there’s junior high in which 6 and 7 grade are pretty slow until grade 8 hits and the next thing you know you’re paying “senior dues” for a yearbook and cap and gown. Then; high school which IMO passes at the speed of light. Samantha is a sophomore. Her freshman year was spent virtually and I was so happy for her when it was announced that the schools here would be in person. These kids need each other! To meet one another and learn about themselves through their new friends and sports or extracurricular groups. I’m so glad Samantha had taken to joining sports teams. She’s met a lot of people and has made friends, it was truly a relief to me. When she was attending school virtually there wasn’t any interaction with the other students. Not good.

So here we are with Samantha having only 2 more years left of high school. Told you it goes fast. I want to be present in the lives of all my kids. Thomas’ childhood, adolescence and teen years were broken up by violent behavior, hospitalizations, residential school period of time living home with us and now he resides in a group home. Not what I wanted for my son. When he was about 14 years old and things were going smooth I pictured him living with us while attending a day program and awaiting placement in a group home. I never imagined we would be living this life with him the way we are. It’s not a bad part of my life, him being in a group home, it just is what it is. God always had his own plan for Thomas’ life. While I prayed for guidance the Lord led the way.

With my girls I enjoy being a part of their life and the closeness we have. Yesterday while Samatha was at a wrestling tournament in the Bronx she texted me, “Mom” twice. I answered yes what’s up? She texted back, nothing I just miss you. I was so so happy to read that and texted back that I missed her too. You see Samantha’s a tough one. I swear God knew I fervently wanted a fourth child 17 years ago; and he certainly did give me a fourth, but on His terms. And that’s ok. Samantha is nothing like our older 2 girls. She is sometimes like an only child and sometimes a young person that I’m still discovering what makes her tick. That’s cool though. It keeps things interesting that I know. I will now stop procrastinating doing my school work and get back to it.

So Here We Are

It’s the day my dad passed from this world to be with The Lord. A quote from Billy Graham always comforts me when I think of daddy passing away. “Your last breath on earth is immediately followed by your first breath in heaven.” I love those words. At daddy’s wake I remember saying that I felt as if my dad was with us one minute then in the next he crossed over to a place we couldn’t go…yet. But that he was still with us spiritually, like his soul didn’t leave us just yet. I don’t feel like that anymore. I believe he’s watching over us but I’m not one that feels his presence next to me. I know there is no timeline for grieving but I never thought I would still cry when I think of him, talk about him or write about him after 4 years have passed.

There’s so much about my dad I wish the world knew. How funny he was, how he beat cancer only to have it rear its ugly bead again; and when it did how hard he fought until he couldn’t fight anymore. I don’t know if I’m like my dad. I take after him in some physical ways, we have the same skin complex too, we both tan in the sun. But looks wise I take more after my mom. I hope I’ve inherited his inner strength and ability to see past peoples bullshit. Daddy was good at that. He was also good at calling someone out. I really miss him. I miss laughing with him and listening about how “frugal “ his mom was, and that’s why I’m so “frugal” aka shopping the thrift stores. He loved to hear about my finds.

So it’s 4 years. Some days it feels longer and some days I see him sitting at my dining room table laughing at my cat listening to me talk about my kids. He was always there for us.

I

Thomas and His Helmet

When Thomas was 5- 6 months old the pediatrician practice we used finally noticed that Thomas has a condition called torticollis, which is a shortening of the muscle that controls how you turn your head from one side to another. Thomas only turned his head to the right when he was sleeping which resulted in his head being terribly misshaped. His head was flattened in the back and was beginning to bulge in the front/forehead. One of the pediatricians in the practice took one look at him and the shit hit the fan. She was freaked out and combed his chart with a fine tooth comb and let the other partitioners have it. I felt somewhat vindicated because I was telling them this all along and that he was slow to meet his milestones but I was blown off by just about everyone.

This was the true beginning of our journey with Thomas. Thomas was to have skull x-rays, a CT scan and an MRI to rule out other structural abnormalities. Thankfully all were negative at that time. We found a neurologist who didn’t have a 3 month wait for an appointment who diagnosed the torticollis and put a name to what I had been noticing for the past 3 months. This started our time with Early Intervention and Thomas qualified for physical therapy. He also needed a moulding helmet to re-shape his head. For that we were recommended the head of neurosurgery at NYU. He prescribed the helmet. We then had to go to the guy who would actually make the helmet. They covered Thomas’ head with plaster of Paris, waited for it to become hard and then cut the mould off his head with a saw while Thomas sat on my lap. It was just him and me. I wanted to cry and yell but I couldn’t I felt like I had to be calm for my son. I was never so afraid in my life watching them with that saw.

So then they made the helmet from that mould. Thomas would wear the helmet for 23 hours a day for the next 6 months. Only taking it off to bathe. Thomas was such an easy baby he handled it all so great. He kept the helmet on with ease. Thank God. What I bothered me the most was not that he had to wear the helmet but people who would stare at Thomas and make up their own conclusions about the helmet without asking me. One time we were waiting in a doctors office and this girl who was about 7 years old and asked her mother why this baby was wearing a helmet. The mother looked over at us and said, “Oh… he probably has seizures or something…” I wanted to punch her. I spoke directly to the girl and told her the truth, that Thomas’ head wasn’t shaped right and the helmet would fix that, then I gave the mom a dirty look. It was really funny because it seemed that the “realist” people who just came out and asked about the helmet were store cashiers, people who worked in the deli, people who did not know us but acted in a kind and appropriate manner toward us.

Anyway you would think with all the appointments Thomas had in the city I would have learned to drive there alone. Nope. I would do the driving but had to have someone come with me. It sounds silly now but then I was afraid to drive in Manhattan with just Thomas and me. So I would recruit our good friends like Bill, Brant, even my mother in law. The best was when my dad was free. He would not only drive us but he stay outside in the car driving around the corner a dozen times so I didn’t have to pay for parking. Everyone who went with me never treated us like this was something wrong or out of the ordinary to do. I do have the best family and friends. I still have Thomas’ helmet.

What You Remember, My Dad

The anniversary of my Dad’s passing is quickly approaching. I began to write what I remember during that time before he took his final breath here on this earth but then I began thinking of the good times and what a good Dad he was to us. My dad graduated from a local vocational high school here where I live. Growing up, he made a living as a truck mechanic. The big dump trucks. He occasionally would drive a truck here and there but he mostly repaired the trucks for the company he worked for which was owned by a very nice man named Sonny.

I remember some Saturdays when my grandparents weren’t watching us, when both my parents were working/mom in school; we went to the garage where daddy worked so he would “watch” us. Him watching us (us being myself, my sister and my brother) consisted of my brother usually doing tasks; don’t ask me what, I don’t remember; and my sister and I climbing all over the big ol’ dump trucks that were out in the yard. We would climb up and sit in the drivers seat and pull the cable that sounded the horn. It was a lot of fun. When we were bored of that we would run down the street which was a dead end street and all different garages; one after another. Some repaired cars, some were carting/private sanitation, etc…. All of the garages kept dogs as guard dogs. And there were always puppies at some one’s garage and just about everyone knew who we were: Walter’s kids. There was one car repair garage though that we weren’t allowed to play with the dogs because we were told those dogs were mean. You didn’t need to tell us twice because when you walked past their fenced in yard the dogs would bark and growl at you. So yeah, we stayed away from them.

Daddy had a German Shepherd named CB at his garage. CB was a great dog. He loved my dad, omg. And he was so good with us when we were young. Never growled at us or barked, such a good dog. And very protective of all of us. Not a traditional childhood memory but my dad wasn’t exactly a traditional dad. I mean he loved us I know that, but it wasn’t until we were all older, Daddy included that we would say I love you to each other. I’m glad we did grow to say I love you.

Decisions

As a nurse I make decisions for all different situations. Some situations are not emergent but important non the less. There are many times a situation can turn from a run of the mill situation into an emergency and will require well thought out decisions. In the school where I work there are medically fragile students. Every day is different at my job. Some days are consistent with nothing to write home about and other days are full of running from incident to incident while trying to make sure scheduled feedings and treatments and medications are provided on time. I’m not complaining, I’m not. I love my job. And it is what it is.

I’ve worked in hospital as a bedside nurse early in my career and I did not like it at all. So I left. I had great learning experiences there but that’s all I took away from there. School nursing; caring for this population of students has given me the best of everything in nursing that is important to me. The chance to make a difference in a students’ life and the opportunity to lend support and build bridges with parents. When Thomas attended the school I now work at, I received such wonderful support and feedback from his teachers and therapists. It was very difficult to leave there when Thomas needed a residential school. Fortunately the residential school exceeded my expectations of the care they provided for my son.

So…decisions. I am often assessing the situation and running decisions through my mind before deciding on a course of action. There’s so much to consider sometimes your head spins, but not in a bad way more like an information gathering spin; what are the doctor’s orders for this situation? Is there improvement after administering meds, oxygen, etc…. If no improvement, is calling 911 necessary? Which hospital will the EMT’s take the student to? Is that facility an acceptable destination for the family? There are times the parent or guardian will only consent to one particular facility and will not allow their child to be transported and take charge of the situation themselves. And that’s ok, they have that right.

I’ve learned so much working in my school. My students have taught me so much about about what it takes to be their nurse. Every student is different and they may have similar nursing orders but their needs are not the same. I’m happy where I work. And most days I’m satisfied with the job I’ve done for the day. There are days I leave, questioning decisions I’ve had to make that day. No one is perfect and no decision making process is flawless.

The Shoe Closet…

I am a self admitted shoe whore. Well shoes and bags if I’m to be completely honest. But it started with shoes. I remember I became friends with a girl named Michele, we both worked at this children’s clothing store that was very popular in the ‘80’s in my neck of the woods. Michele was young, beautiful and really dressed for work, accessories, heels, body con dresses, the works. I wanted that look so we shopped together and I began wearing heels just about everywhere; especially to work. So I can easily say Michele sparked my love of shoes, boots, all with at least a 2 inch heel. Back in the day I did not go out with my friends unless I was wearing heels.

I began working at an auto parts store right next door to the children’s clothing store. I continued to dress up for work. It didn’t matter that I was a cashier, I wore dresses with heels to that job almost every day. The owner of the store was an interesting man. I asked him why he wanted a woman to be his cashier and he answered that he felt men cursed less and had all in all more calm behavior when he had a woman working in the store. I worked there almost all through college. It was a fun place to work. And the environment didn’t stop my love of wearing heels and nice shoes to work. I think the only place I didn’t wear heels was to college because there was so much walking involved from one building to another, and I won’t get into how terrible the parking was.

Fast forward to today. I no longer wear heels; much. My feel totally kill me if I do. I’ll wear flats whether it be a sandal or a boot. Heels wouldn’t work very well with the job I have now anyway. One day I wore a short boot with a 2” heel and I ended up literally running from one classroom to another to keep up with emergencies that were happening that day, up the stairs, down the stairs …Bad day to wear a heel. I still love shoes and boots. Today I organized my shoe closet. I have a lot of shoes. I didn’t count how many pairs. Every variety of sneaker, sneaker with a wedge heel, then flats, sandals, platform sandals, I will wear a platform heel if we are going out. (I wore platform heels when my kids were small, I could run a marathon in a platform heel I tell ya).

So it was interesting to go through my shoe collection. To think about how my collection has changed over the years. Changed the way my hair color and styles have changed. I’m sure there’s a connection somehow. I do have shoes that are more sensible and conservative than others the same way my hair has been conservative and then totally not conservative. Sometimes you just have to shake things up.