The Day After

I jerked-up and stared at the clock, two-something in the morning was all that registered before I said, “It’s not time to get up yet.” Apparently, I said it loud enough to wake-up Dave. “Who are you talking to,” he asked when he saw me sitting straight up, staring at the clock.

Unable to comprehend exactly what was going on, all I knew was I felt like I did some thirty-five years ago, when my parents would try to wake me for school. Feeling a little confused, I said, “I don’t know,” and then laid down and went back to sleep. Less than two hours later, at exactly four a.m., my cell phone rang.

“You have an alarm set for some reason?” Dave asked me as I lunged across the room looking for my phone.

“No, someone is calling,” I said.

“At four in the morning?”

“Yeah,” I replied, “which means it can’t be good.” Seeing that the call was coming from Mom and Dad Mobile made my heart sink. Realizing that it would be 3 a.m. their time, did not make me feel any better. I then started to panic when my phone refused to respond to my finger sliding across it. “Answer, damn it,” I instructed my phone. It would not comply.

Within seconds, I was calling the number back. My mom answered, “Susie?”

“Yes,” I confirmed, “mom, what’s wrong?” I could tell she had been crying.

“We’ve lost your dad,” she exclaimed, and then started sobbing uncontrollably.

Part of my brain was not getting this. Part of me wanted to say, lost him where? although I knew that I knew exactly what she meant – my dad died.

“NOOO!” I cried at the top of my lungs, and then asked, “Where are you?”

Part of me was still hoping that her answer to this would clear everything up, and that my dad really was just lost or something.

“I’m at the hospital,” she said, solidifying the fact that I did not want to accept.

“Oh my God,” I cried, “what happened?”

“Well, he had an episode, I called 9-1-1, did CPR until they got there, and …” just then, the doctor had come to talk to my mom. I heard her say that she suspected the cause of death to be a pulmonary embolism. “Suze, I’ll call you back,” my mom said.

“Wait – what are you going to do,” I wanted to know. Suddenly, I was super concerned about my mom’s state of mind. “What hospital are you at, how did you get there, do you have a way home?” I felt a bit frantic as my thoughts shifted to, how in the world is my mom going to get through this?

“Harvey drove me to the hospital, and Pastor Adam came,” she informed me.

“Oh good,” I said, I’m sure sounding very relieved. “Okay, call me back.” That was the start of the saddest day of my life.

Twenty-four hours later, I was heading to the airport with a one-way ticket. That afternoon, on Halloween, my mom and I met with the funeral director to decide the details for my dad’s memorial service. It was still the saddest day of my life.

The following week, my spouse, my brothers, their spouses, and about half of our parents’ nine grandchildren arrived for my dad’s memorial on November 10, 2018. Approximately 45 family members stayed for lunch afterwards. Then I learned all about “Bedlem,” and as OU beat OSU, the saddest day of my life continued.

Two days after that, my spouse, my brothers – everyone was gone, heading back home – back to their lives. A deeper level of overwhelming sadness came upon me. For two days, I gave myself permission to do absolutely nothing. Almost. I wound up watching three seasons of “The Americans” on Amazon Video.

Over two weeks it took to complete the saddest day of my life – just in time for Thanksgiving. Which brings us to today – the day after. Standing outside today, in unseasonably warm 60-degree weather at one of my dad’s favorite places – a place he affectionately referred to as “The Buffalo Ranch,” I suddenly thought of my dad possibly feeling “left out,” if there were such a thing in Heaven.

Feeling “left out” is no stranger to me, although it has been a while since I have. Learning how humans either come from a place of love or a place of fear, changed all of this for me, and much more. I decided to think that my dad, being the loving person that he was, would be happy that we are here, even if it has to be without him. I also think he would be one of the first to offer me a sunrise in bed, especially knowing how I don’t do breakfast first thing.

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Nineteen States in Nine Months

Between August and May, we have seen 19 states, and in hindsight I wish I would have thought of collecting their plates. First there was Florida, then there was Georgia, and in Tennessee we stopped because of friends we wanted to see. Next we drove through Arkansas in order to get to Texas, where it was Dave’s brother, niece, and her girls that we saw. Up to Oklahoma was our next stop to see my mom and dad, then back through Texas then New Mexico so that we could get to Colorado. Another brother of Dave’s we stayed with for a couple of days, it was great.

Back to Oklahoma we went. Picked up my folks, and the next few days in Nashville we spent. My nephew’s wedding was what we did, a real shin-dig.

It was mid-September before it finally came time to come home, for hurricane Irma had  hovered Florida like a drone. Waiting until we knew it was gone, we high-tailed it back and it still took us long. Through Oklahoma then Texas, we felt at home there by now, then going through Louisiana, I felt we had a sort of comradery, somehow. Mississippi and Alabama were the next states to go through, before back in our home state of Florida, where there were no rooms at any of the inns, period.

A little less than eight months later, another road trip we took, this time to northern Michigan, where our daughter graduated nursing school – Look!

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Again we drove through Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, which I am not counting here, you see. But the next state, Kentucky – yes, which we thoroughly enjoyed – with beauty it has been blessed. Ohio was next, and their roads were so terrible, we joked about them having some kind of hex. Shortly after entering Michigan, we stopped for the night, seeing some old friends again.

On “Star Wars Day” we went further north, where Amanda’s graduation was on May the fourth. After celebrating and spending a few days there with her, the three of us went to Indiana – Indianapolis, as it were. Spending time together sight-seeing was mostly what we did, downtown we walked around just about every joint. Then finally, the finale – we went to Cedar Point! The “Roller-Coaster Capital of the World,” is what they say. Who they are, who knows, but what the hey!

Cedar Point is in Ohio, which we won’t count again because, you know. Next we went through a state neither one of us had been to – West Virginia. Is this now the most beautiful state I have ever seen? Yeah!

Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina we drove through before getting to familiar Georgia, and then the state we call home – Florida.

So there it is, nineteen states in nine months! And we loved every mile of it.

The Rock Star Tour of 2018

I was somewhat shocked to see the figure, after counting the states that Dave and I have driven through in the last nine months – nineteen. Nineteen states in nine months we have seen. “Pretty impressive,” I’d say. “Like a rock star!” Eleven states had us overnight and seven of the eleven for more than one night. This, I would like to remember. What a blast it has been.

Packing for this last trip went much more smoothly than our prior trip. Still, I brought too much stuff. But like I told Dave, “At least I’m getting better. At least this time, I only brought four bins of stuff we didn’t need!” Trying to be sarcastic and obviously exaggerate, this only made us laugh harder, as we both knew that I wasn’t exaggerating much. “Okay,” I conceded, and then added, “at least they were small bins.”

Because I wish to do different than I do, and not feel the need to lug around with me every little thing I think we might need on a trip, I am writing about it with the hope that it will help me continue to get better, for future trips. I am doing it for Dave, so that he won’t have to make as many unnecessary trips to the truck, hauling stuff. I am doing it for anyone who wishes they could pack lighter, including me. So while it is fresh on my mind, I will write of those things next. First, something I must get off my mind – saying, “I’m sorry,” to some of our Indy friends.

20180504_174903You see, we were in town last week and did not let most of our friends know. In fact, we told very few of us being around, as our goal was to simply spend time with our daughter and celebrate her passing nursing school. Yes, Amanda is going to be a registered nurse! And we are so very proud of her.

As per the plan, we had no plans for the three days we were there, and we stayed quite busy spending time together. We walked all around downtown, which is also where we stayed, and when we got tired of walking, we rented bikes. We saw lots and lots of sites. We also did “Escape Room Indy” one night and had a blast. The few friends we did see, we have known since Amanda she was four. Two of them had her in their childcare program until she started kindergarten.

My point is – some of you reading this might feel left out upon discovering that we were 20180510_143137in Indy and did not at least say hi. And if you know me, then you know that feeling left out is something I do not like – for myself or others. So at the risk of sounding defensive, well, yeah, I am.

It was our “Rock Star Tour.”

That being said, I can now share the many fun photos of our trip without worrying about a beloved friend feeling left out. If you still do, please know that we are sincerely sorry. We hope to return to Indy soon and when we do, we hope to see you!

Our first stop on our “Rock Star Tour” was in Tennessee to visit friends. Little did we know nine months ago when we made them our first stop on our “Wonderfully Wacky Road Trip” as well, that the next time we’d see them, Stan would be doing chemo and radiation. A real trooper he has been through it all, both of them, indeed! After enduring a dose of radiation, he insisted on taking us to their friend’s place along the river – a place and a person we have heard much about throughout the last three years they have lived there.

A real treat it was for sure. Thanks guys! I will be sure to write more about it soon!

20180502_134312-COLLAGETo view all the pictures from our trip, click here or go to https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/102561194521147515210. Click on “Ask to Join.” You will then need to sign-in to your Google account (gmail) or create one. Keeping the site private through Google I have found to be the easiest, safest way to share my online photo albums. I will accept your request as quickly as possible. If you have any problems, please email me at admin@susieraffey.com. Thank you!

 

Susie’s Subaru

Dave will say he was tired of hearing me complain; I know that my increasing comfort of never leaving home had him concerned. And so knowing how much I love surprises, he came home in the middle of the day to get me and go look for a car. Within 2 hours, we were sitting at the DMV waiting to register this very one. What a good find.

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Of course the first thing I noticed were the colors – they are very close to the ones of the car I had when Dave and I met. Then I thought of how he had a Subaru. How funny, in my mind. And when I exclaimed, seeing the sticker on the rear side window, “Honey, it was made in Indiana,” Dave had to burst my bubble and inform me that all Subaru’s are made in Indiana. “Well then why don’t we just LOVE Subaru’s?” I wanted to know. “What are you talking about, I have always loved Subaru’s,” he reminded me. “Oh yeah,” I remembered, “that’s right.”

He wanted me to get in, look inside and turn the key while he looked under the hood before we made any decisions. Right away though, I knew this would be the one. The radio started playing WAY-FM and I was sold. And since it sounded and looked good under the hood, Dave was sold also.

Woo Hoo! Susie has a new 2000 Subaru!

Which Way’s the Wind Blowin?

I think it’s interesting how the weather at my house has changed since the power plant went in, and I’m amazed at how many people have no idea there’s a power plant in Loxahatchee.

A few years ago, I noticed that a good number of storms rolling through the area would go around our house, and I equated it with the new power plant that went up a half a mile from us. When I mentioned it to my husband though, he looked at me funny like he wasn’t so sure about this. But I kept watching storms on the radar break apart once they reached the power plant, and as they continued north, they remained separated over our house.

Blog weather mapThis is a picture of the radar taken with my iPhone. The pink box is where the power plant is and the circle is where our house is. Time after time, storms coming from the south either break apart, storming to our east and west, or the whole thing just goes around us, to the east or to the west. Don’t get me wrong – this doesn’t happen every single time – but it happens enough to where it is certainly noticeable.

Eventually, Dave agreed that the power plant does affect our weather, and when a storm approaches and people are over, he delights in telling them to watch how the storm will break apart and go around us. And most of the time, it does. We’ve gotten pretty good at being able to tell which storms are likely to go around and which ones might bless/curse us (depending on the season) with some rain.

So for those of you who exclaimed, “There’s a power plant in Loxahatchee? Where?” Here’s a link to a FPL site that will tell you more about it.

http://www.fpl.com/environment/plant/west_county.shtml

blog power plantHere’s a picture of the smoke it was emitting yesterday on my way home. My house is at the end of this road, which is only in total a half-mile long, and the power plant, by way the bird flies, is a shorter distance than this.

Being way out here also used to mean unreliable electricity. It went out all the time for no apparent reason and stayed out for hours. But ever since this power plant went in, we’ve hardly had a fluctuation. This alone makes me a big fan. HOWEVER, in hindsight, I can probably thank a lot of those power outages for more time spent with the kids. Playing board games, coloring, drawing, making up games, and playing in the pool (because it didn’t have to be storming for the power to go out!) happened more often, I’m sure, due to our power issues. But, as in most cases, timing is everything. The kids are now grown, with lives of their own, and today I’m thankful that after 15 years of spotty electricity, we’re finally on the grid for lasting power.