Another project bites the dust!

April 6, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

New friends Javier and Holland knocked out those juniper bushes like they were saplings! Now you can actually SEE the house. I’ll put something much smaller there – fountain grass and/or flowers.

20140406_114135

One down…

April 3, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

One project down! My new friend, Greg, got the mower started in less than 5 minutes AND mowed the yard!! Many, many thanks to Greg!

I have volunteers for juniper bush extraction, but I know it’s going to be hard work so I wouldn’t hold anyone to it if they took one look at the bushes and said “Oh, HELL no!”

I left a message with one fence repair place to get me a quote. Tried another fence guy who evidently lives in my neighborhood, but his voicemail box is full…

Projects

March 30, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

I have some yard projects that need to be addressed… Hoping someone can put me in touch with someone to handle them or come help me with them. I have at least four fence posts that are broken and I’d like to replace with metal posts.

I planned to mow today, but the mower is not cooperating. I’ve added oil, cleaned the spark plug, added gas (it sat all last year with whatever remaining gas it had from the last mowing), cleaned the air filter. It won’t even cough. Could take it to Kyle’s Bike & Mower shop.

I have two large juniper bushes at the front entry that need to go. I don’t know why we even planted them. Jeff was allergic to them! I think they’re a security risk too.

I can pay in beer and pizza/wings, or cash… and a huge thank you

Call me crazy…

March 29, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

The gun safe is an eye-sore no more! I covered it with Con-Tact paper! It’s not perfect (getting around the handle and dial was tricky), but I can live with it.

BEFORE AFTER
20140329_165133 20140329_203536

Meh

March 21, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

The end of a so – so week… A second glass of wine is well-deserved while Travis and I watch Frozen for the Nth time.

Talk of someone’s life being saved with a bone marrow transplant on the radio this morning brought me to tears. Touching story I’m sure, but i couldn’t listen to it. I was saddened, thinking if only…

Work is busy, busy. Travis has allergy issues that evidently make him nauseated. Kristen is constantly wanting to be carted here and there to meet her social “obligations”, Alex just got her first jury summons!

I was hoping to replace the front door and was informed that the city of Fort Worth requires a permit. I’ll have to once again ask for my handyman’s (Carlos) help installing the door. I’m slowly checking off all the house projects Jeff and I had planned, albeit with a bump here and there. Several projects in the works means the house is in a state of slight chaos.

Travis has a birthday party to go to tomorrow.  Maybe I’ll get the last two faucets replaced tomorrow and finally get the office organized. Jeff’s powder, bullets, brass etc are being listed at Texas Hunting Forum. Get it while it’s hot.

Good times

March 12, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

Jeff, the kids and I had launched a toy rocket many moons ago and Travis loved it, the girls not-so-much. I had never seen a toy rocket launch and was skeptical but it was fun following the rocket and trying to meet it at its landing spot. I came across the rocket while I was cleaning some months ago and even found some engines. Travis was thrilled and was ready to launch it immediately. 20140311_13211720140311_133205The parachute had melted, so I bought a new rocket and invited our friends to head to the park the next day. I figured out how everything went together and, I have to say, it was probably as much fun for me as it was for the kids. Well, I found MORE engines recently and yesterday was perfect (though windy) so we went to the park and launched the rocket twice before the wind carried it and we lost it. No biggie, we just took a detour to the playground, watched the kids wear themselves out and enjoyed the sunshine.

The girls and I talked Travis into seeing Frozen. He is very particular about his movies and for some reason was very reluctant to see the movie. He finally told me he was afraid of the snow monster that he saw in the preview. I reminded him it’s just a movie and we would just melt that guy anyway. As soon as the movie ended he said, rather loudly, “I LIKED IT!” Just today he said we needed to buy the movie on Amazon when it’s available.

20140312_190648The house has been invaded by teenagers tonight (Kristen and her friends), so I’m letting them have the living room, while I’m relegated to my office. It’s nice to hear them laughing, joking and having fun. Ah, to be young again! Nah, I don’t need to relive that…

And check out the lovely Celtic pendant I received from my sweet in-laws. It’s a triskele (Google it, it has many meanings, though the meaning I like is past-present-future). St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner. It would have also been our 13th wedding anniversary.

New meaning

February 26, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

Jeff has been on my mind a lot the past few days, or should I say he has come to mind a lot. When I work from home I usually have music playing and have a favorite playlist. Some of those songs have taken on a different interpretation since Jeff’s passing. Those old break-up songs now sound like expressions of the pain/anger/emptiness/sadness/disbelief following the loss of a loved one – my loved one. It’s like almost every song is about Jeff and me at some point in our relationship. And songs about kids growing up really tug at my heart now.

And then I’ll switch to the angry heavy metal music but that tends to remind me of driving to or from Houston (MD Anderson) at some godforsaken hour and just trying to stay awake. Maybe I need to switch to classical music or 80s “bubble-gum” music. Maybe ocean sounds or rain…

No news is good news

February 12, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Nothing is going on really, so that’s a good thing. No drama is a very good thing!

I closed on the mortgage re-fi this morning. One less worry there.The odd thing was, the person handing me the mound of paperwork had a special doodad on his finger for flipping through the pages. It was not a usual rubber grippie finger like I’ve seen before. This guy seemed to really relish in flipping through the pages so fast with his finger doodad. I just imagined Jeff sitting next to me and giving me a funny look in reference to the fanatical page flipping. It made me smile to myself.

Wonderful Carlos fixed the popcorn ceiling in the master bathroom. Travis did final inspection and he approved :) New water heater is in. Taxes are done. Bought a couple bar stools and assembled them. Changed out two bathroom faucets – only three to go. I’ll be scrubbing the front door to prep for a new finish and new hardware. I’m pondering painting some rooms. Working hard. Working out at the gym again – I think I’ll actually make it to all three classes this week.

Travis’s class has been working on biography projects for the past couple weeks and the big presentation is tomorrow. Travis’s person is Bessie Coleman. If you’ve never heard of her (I hadn’t), Google her. She was one determined woman!! And that’s your homework for tonight…

Love to all :)

Peace

January 27, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

I know it had been more than a month since Jeff’s passing, but the celebration Friday just gave me a bit more peace. It was truly awesome to see everyone there. And such nice things were said about Jeff. All the hugs did me a lot of good, too.

As I feared, the video is too large to upload here, so I’m uploading it to YouTube here: http://youtu.be/0Z7q6xBYwiM

My speech:

Hello friends! I want to first take a moment to acknowledge the passing of our friend, Dr. Henry Cunningham. He was a wonderful man with a calm, kind heart and he is already missed. I know Jeff was there to meet him with a huge hug. Our thoughts and best wishes go to his family. Let me just say “Cancer sucks”! I have harsher words, but we have kids here.

I want to point out the papers on the tables. There is a page for each of you so you can take your time and write something about Jeff or to the family, include your contact information, draw a picture, whatever! I’ll have everything bound into a book or two. Also on the tables are poems. There are seven poems which were written by someone we never met, but who followed Jeff’s struggle in his last few months. We know him only as Ken, or Sergeant Kiwi. He is very talented and I encourage you to mingle and read them all. I’ve also asked that you send me copies of pictures you take here tonight.

I am so happy and honored to see you all here. I am touched that you all loved Jeff so much and that you love our family too. It’s really apparent. You know Jeff loved you back with all his being and I’ll tell you now I love you all like family – a sweet, dysfunctional family. As in any family, you go through good times and bad. Heck, Jeff and I almost called it quits a couple times. Yup. But you can’t help but love Jeff, even as aggravating as he could be, right? He had an incredible sense of humor – a little strange maybe, but that was Jeff. He’d get that twinkle in his eye, a little smirk and tap his foot when he was messin’ with you, like he couldn’t wait to get to his own punchline. And smart! He was a news junkie and was constantly reading. I, however, am not a news junkie, so if I wanted to know what was going on in the world, I could simply ask Jeff for a synopsis. We had a comfortable relationship. I was the calming water to his wildfire; the yin to his yang, the structure to his chaos. (If you’ve ever seen Jeff’s office or his man-cave at home, you know what I’m talkin’ about.) We had fun too.

I LOVED to startle Jeff. LOVED it! He would be in his man-cave playing one of those first-person shooter games and deep in concentration. Making sure his flanks were covered, watching out for snipers, checking his ammo supply and weapon chosen. Very intense stuff. I would stand silently outside his door and then burst through the doorway with “WHAT ARE YOU DOIN!?” And he would jump out of his seat, squeeze and shake the mouse which would contract his finger on the mouse button such that he would often wind up shooting his own character. And I would double over laughing! Oh he tried to get me back. He would try to sneak up on me. But his feet and knees popped and squeaked and were so noisy, that I could always hear him coming. It’s a good thing most of his hunting involved lying and waiting for game to come in range because he wouldn’t be able to sneak up on it.

Jeff loved to have fun with big boy toys – cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles. He’s had them all. You’ll see just a few of his vehicles in the slide show. He wrecked two motorcycles during our marriage and luckily walked away from both. Oh, the road rash though, and the bruises… Ugh! He changed cars and trucks with the seasons or the gas prices. Thank you to our neighbor, Gary, for dangling the carrot and parking the fancy trucks practically in our driveway. You knew Jeff’s weakness. (I don’t see you ever working in a shoe store, so I think I’m safe. J) Jeff made any excuse to trade up. “The truck needs new tires. I’ll just go get a new truck.” “The wiper blades are bad. I’ll just get a new truck.” He researched the heck out of every purchase though and thank you again, Gary, for all the good deals so we weren’t in debt up to our eyeballs!

No, Jeff took good care of us. Even when he was in the hospital for chemo, he would order double entrees so I’d have something to eat when I came to see him in the evening. He was very selfless and considerate. Even going through all he went through, he was concerned for others. It absolutely broke his heart to see bald kids at MD Anderson in their small wheelchairs, riding alongside him in his wheelchair. Jeff was a steadfast friend, a loving, playful father to his son and stepdaughters, and a warm, giving husband to me. He had a huge heart and I am a better person for having known him. I feel very blessed to have shared a life with him and to have the gift of our wonderful son. Love you forever babe.

Friends

January 14, 2014 in Lymphoma by Reta Reed

Why is it that we too often overlook blessings that are right in front of us? We’re looking too far ahead? We’re “busy”? I’ve been terribly guilty of this. But I am so fortunate that those blessings I had overlooked have not abandoned me and have allowed me to finally discover them. What the hell have I been doing all this time? Taking care of Jeff during his illness was a small part of our 12 years together. I can’t use that as an excuse. I’m pretty shy and reserved (unless you get a couple margaritas in me) and keep to myself. I didn’t usually seek social situations. I have always felt a little socially awkward. While Jeff could talk to anyone, even he preferred staying home to partying. When you’re response to party or function invitations is usually no, soon the invitations stop coming. We used to make excuses to stay home. Now, I look forward to seeing friends. I’ll make time, dammit! I have delighted in reconnecting with those who… were overlooked. I’m embarrassed and feel I was perhaps rude in not acknowledging my blessings.

Friends, thank you for hanging around until this wallflower got her act together (somewhat)! Jeff is still doing great things. He is still helping me grow.