Sunday, August 31, 2014

One. Intense. Week.

Together again, for eternity
This has certainly been a week of ups and downs that I am happy to put behind me.

On Saturday of last week I got a call that Mom was not doing well and steadily going downhill, and that I should come if I could. Well, it turns out that Cam's trip to NYC, while successful, ended on not great note when he discovered, upon his arrival at the Albany Amtrack station, that he had left his car/apartment keys at Shaina's. That meant an addition train ride to Rochester on Friday night, followed by a day of crew obligations, after which, on Sunday, we would drive back down the thruway to pick up the car in Albany. Seriously?! 

So, when it was clear Mom had taken a turn for the worse, I decided I needed to take care of the Sunday trip and go into work for at least a little while on Monday to get some things in order, having been out for college stuff the week before. We all communicated on Monday, and decided that Nic and I would leave on Tuesday and be prepared for the duration. Mark had been in Denver all month and was scheduled to fly back on Thursday so he was also "on call."

Nicole and I arrived around 12:30pm on Tuesday, at which time my mother was pretty much unresponsive with irregular breathing. By 4pm she had drifted peacefully away as her breathing slowly stopped. Her passing was very peaceful and all we could have asked for. We all believe she waited for Nicole and I to arrive, and, ironically (and unfortunately), Mary had stepped out for less than hour to meet with the caterer for the post-burial reception and Mom passed away during the time she was out. With Mom's health decling in recent years, it certainly was a blessing that she was able to leave us peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones.

It was decided the calling hours would be on Thursday afternoon/evening, and the funeral on Friday. Because I had my final reconstruction surgery scheduled for Friday (which had been scheduled for months), I decided that Mark and I (who was able to fly back from Denver on Wednesday and join the family on Thursday) would leave after the calling hours Thursday and say our final goodbyes then. I also decided not to pull the kids out of school since it was their first week of classes. For better or worse, I was concerned that they would start the term already feeling behind the eight-ball, so they stayed put in Rochester and Syracuse.

Mark and I arrived home late on Thursday night, and I had my scheduled surgery (which kept getting delayed and did not actually happen until 7pm) on Friday. The surgery went great and I feel very well!!

The silver lining, of course, was spending wonderful, time with the family. I think we are all acutely aware that our family is getting smaller, and it was great just being together, sharing lots of laughs and memories.

It feels very weird to have both my parents gone now, but it's so comforting to know they are now together with our other beloved relatives in Heaven. What a great comfort!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Move In Day 2014

Whew! Another move-in day completed and both birds are out of the nest again.

Let's just say it was a good thing we brought a load to Syracuse on Saturday because we had another carload for yesterdays trip - during which there was a downpour and lightening strikes as we were unloading (totally soaked...). We spent a bit of time putting the finishing touches on Annalisse's bedroom and arranging the kitchen stuff, and she is really pleased with her apartment (seriously, who wouldn't be?).

After getting settled, we had some lunch at a vegan/gluten free restaurant near campus (I had an amazing blueberry/rosemary smoothie that I will definitely be making at home), then we walked "up the hill" to pick up her books and do some other running around before her transfer meeting at 3pm. SU was bustling and full of energy; it was a very exciting and fun day. In the beautiful quad we ran into a tent with the men's/women's crew teams (I think they were recruiting), and Annalisse had a nice chat with them about trying out for the team (meeting on Monday).  She went away from that encounter very excited as well.

She had planned to go to the the New Transfer Student BBQ, but we realized that it was in the transfer living community on the "South Campus," which she would need to take a shuttle to. I could tell she was feeling a little anxiety about that - both unsure how to take/get the shuttle and not knowing anyone - so I offered to take her out to dinner before heading back. (Side note: the transfer dorm she might have ended up in is on the South Campus, which is a little hike from campus, so I'm glad she ended up at Park Point which is two blocks from campus. It's super convenient and very nice.) 

I stayed longer than planned, but I know she appreciated it. When I dropped her off back at her apartment around 7pm she was ready to chill out after a super busy day. This morning she was up early for the transfer student breakfast at 9am, which will be followed by several activities today. Then, tomorrow, there are more academic-type activities planned. On Sunday, Alex will be driving from Oswego to visit for the day, so I know she's looking forward to that!

She still has some concerns about meeting people and making connections, but I know once she's in her classes she'll start to connect. Plus, she's really looking forward to auditioning for the improv team, so if she gets into that group it will be another peer group.

As for the other little bird, he successfully made it to Shaina's apartment in the Bronx on Tuesday, and he'll be making the trip back today. The last I knew (and, trust me, I don't know much!!), he planned to take the 11:20am train back to Albany, then it will be a three hour trip home. I'm hoping he'll get back to Rochester by 5-5:30pm, so I can stop worrying about that trip. I am proud of him, though, that he took the trip on his own. A great growth experience!

So, the house is quiet once again. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bakers Dispersing

The Bakers are set to disperse again. There have been very few times this year when we have all been together, and after this week two out of the four Bakers will be gone again.

On Thursday, we head to SU for Annalisse to begin her sophomore year. We took a load up to her apartment on Saturday so Mark and Alex could help out with some of the heavier stuff since Mark will be away in Denver for two weeks. Annalisse also wanted Alex to see where she would be living, and we took a nice walk around campus before having lunch at Chipotle (one of the few places Annalisse feels comfortable eating with all her dietary issues). Her apartment is really nice, and I know she is getting super excited about her new (academic) adventure.

Cam moved into his new apartment last week, also very, very nice (nicer than Annalisse's). Tomorrow he is taking his first solo trip to NYC to spend a couple of days with Shaina as she moves into her new place to begin the fall term at Hunter College. He is taking the train from Albany, which will get him to Penn Station in 2 1/2 hours. Then, the challenge will be getting from Penn Station to Shaina's place. I think I will offer to pay for cab for him, at least this first time, since he has ABSOLUTELY no idea where he is going. He'll come back on Friday since I think his crew practice may begin on Saturday morning. Then, he's off and running into his senior year at RIT.

As mentioned, Mark is in Denver for two weeks for the implementation phase of the project he's been working on for a year. Once Annalisse is in off to Syracuse on Thursday, it will be just me hanging with my fur child in a quiet house. Eggs and toast for dinner, it is!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Dawn of the Foobs

"Of course they're fake, the real ones tried to kill me!" 
-Author unknown, although sometimes attributed to Erma Bombeck

In 20 days, on August 29, I will receive my new boobs (actually Fake Boobs, or FOOBS).

My skin has been making way for their new silicone occupants since their first "fill" on my surgery date of June 4, and every week after until this past Thursday, during which I completed the LAST of my fills after accelerating the process to have my "exchange" surgery quicker (and get this over with!!!). There have been some weeks which were extremely uncomfortable (muscle soreness), but all in all it's been a nuisance more than anything else. How unpleasant it's been to have large, hard, foreign objects at the front of my body (the process requires that the expanders are filled to the size they will actually be, then to go 50% beyond breasts than I am used to).

While I'm glad I am cancer free, I do sometimes wistfully miss the old girls, especially:
  • Crossing my arms
  • Wearing lower cut clothing (doesn't work with my camisole tops)
  • Hugging without being self-conscious (they sure are hard!)
  • Comfortably sleeping on my sides
  • Shaving my armpits
Too much information? Well if you haven't gotten it by now, you should get the sense that there is nothing pleasant or sexual about my current foobs-expander exercise. I am told I will be so happy when I have my implants as they will be softer and more comfortable. Hence, the speeding up of the process to finish up this process quickly.

So, 20 more days...!

Friday, August 1, 2014

A change of course

Who's glad this week is mostly over?  -----> This girl.

What a stressful week it's been. It all started with an email from Buff State on Monday night which stated that, due to overcrowding and dorm renovation, Annalisse would be housed at nearby Canisius College (run down, dangerous part of town) and shuttled over to Buff State for classes. 

Um, what? No, I don't think so.

I guess you could call this proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. After a tense month of monitoring the required Chem class she needed (or she would be behind a year in her studies), with all sections closed pending freshmen enrollment, then a waiting list even when they did open, plus the fact that Buff State did not take all her credits, and finally the housing situation, we called "uncle" on Buff State. 

It's been difficult for Annalisse as she is away all week at camp and unable to really work through this situation. All she knew was that she didn't want to live at Canisius and be shuttled to Buff...very, very upset. So, I've spent a bit of time this week on her behalf trying to untangle this mess by contacting Syracuse University to see if she could still accept their offer, try to secure housing, pay another enrollment deposit, and figure out how to get her registered. 

Fast forward to today: She is able to go to SU, and they will honor the tuition exchange scholarship she was previously awarded. We're going to take a trip there next Friday to look around again (the last time we went it was a snowstorm in December), to meet with the department (but we're hoping we can get her registered before then) and a couple of other offices. The only hiccup has been that there is no on-campus housing at this late date (no kidding...thanks again, Buff State, for the super late notice about the dorm situation). We are in the process of signing a lease for a 4 bedroom/2 bath apartment near the campus (at Park Point actually, the same company as Cam's apartment), but it's super expensive and we have to come up with two months rent on short notice. It will all work, it will just be a very tight month. They will assign roommates so maybe she'll learn who those folks are next week.

To say that this whole transfer process has been quite rocky is an understatement. While I know that it will all work out, she's been super stressed and anxious about a lot of the bumps along the way. Truthfully, I'm glad she's going to SU. We saw some real red flags at Buff State, but we overlooked them because of their excellent Nutrition program, which I'm sure is still true. The folks at SU's Falk College have been very kind and accommodating, which is a welcome change during a very fragile time of frustration.

So, here we are, three weeks before school starts, charting a new course (pun intended). Go Orange?! Yes, GO ORANGE!