Thousand Acre Heart -Part 11

I have always liked to write and always said I would love to write a novel if I had the time. In fact I still have a couple manuscripts in the works that have been lying around in binders and boxes collecting dust for many years. You would think that being in the hospital for months on end would have afforded me the time to write something meaningful but inspiration was sorely lacking! I did write letters though. Even though I saw Kirk often sometimes I would write him letters and send them in the mail, handwritten letters were so retro, even back then! I thought it would be fun for him to reach in the mailbox and get something other then a bill. They were ridiculous letters just meant to be funny and I would even address them in unusual ways. I came across one recently in a box of pictures. It was addressed to Mr Craven Moorehead. Some of you won’t get that and some of you will get it and not be amused. Judge if you will but I can assure that if you spent as much time on your back staring at four walls as I did you would do anything for a laugh. Anyways the letter in question was largely about “Nipplegate” otherwise known as Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. Obviously a cheap publicity stunt because when Janet Jackson stopped flashing her nipples she abruptly disappeared from pop culture. Besides the occasional mention in a rag mag about her weight gain or loss, no nipple…no mention! The letter was dated February of 2004 right after the incident at Superbowl. In the letter I confessed to my own unfortunate wardrobe malfunction where my hospital gown slipped off the shoulder exposing my nipple to a young , wide eyed intern. I then preceded to tell “Craven” that after my initial embarrassment about the incident I decided to use my  nipples to my discreet advantage and began flashing the man that delivered my breakfast in hopes to get an extra sausage the next day! This of course is not true…..well maybe it is, you will never know. “Evil laugh”

So as much as I recall I hadn’t completely lost it by Superbowl of 2004 but there was still plenty of time and wall staring to come. I did what I was told which consisted largely of doing nothing. I even tried to spend less time in the washroom when Kirk was around so that he and the doctors would not conspire to put a catheter in me. The nurses desk was outside of my room to the left. It was always a flurry of activity but even with my door open I couldn’t see what was going on. Every Monday I got to go on a big excursion to get weighed. The weigh room was directly across the hall and I was wheeled on a wheel chair, weighed and wheeled back! Do not turn left our right, do not pass anything fun, do not collect any smiles. Back to bed.

The nurses were at times my saviors. I would get pretty attached to the good ones and there were some that would come and sit with me for a couple of minutes at night, as there time would allow and just chat. Nights were the hardest, not tucking Morgan into bed, not curling up with Kirk. The nurses worked on rotation of course so when they were sent to another floor or wing it could be crushing. I guess I got used to the consistency of my hospital routine but I never got used to the people that came and went out of my life on a weekly basis. I have a profound respect for “some” of the doctors that treated me during my stay but I have to say that some of the nurses went way beyond the scope of their work by understanding how hard it was to be cooped up in a little room away from your family and treating me with such kindness and love.

One morning I was so excited because there was a craft program in the family room that I was invited to with the other ladies on my floor. I am not super crafty but I was looking forward to the social aspect (for my sanity) I was all ready to go at the designated time. I think I even put on lip gloss. The doctors came for their morning visit and delicately told me that the nurse had made a mistake and I wasn’t allowed to go to the craft program because I was not allowed to leave my room and sit up for any length of time. I know I tried to hide it but I was thoroughly devastated. It was like being 14 and getting grounded before the big dance that your crush was going to and being certain your best friend was going to dance with him. That kind of angst. My nurse for the week quietly felt my pain and she brought a lady on my floor who was in a less precarious position then me and able to wander the halls periodically to visit me. It was nice to be able to connect with someone else in a similar position. The lady who came to visit me was pregnant with twins. She lived in Cape Breton with her husband and three young girls under the age of seven. They owned a video store in their small town. Because of the distance and the fact that they were trying to keep a small business afloat her family could only visit on weekends. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it must be for her to be away from all her family and then to have the whole crew come visit and be cooped up in her little room. I think we were able to offer each other some comfort and understanding and I thank that wonderful nurse for recognizing my need to have some socialization. I never saw the woman again but I questioned my cleaning lady and found out that she had been put on complete bed rest as well. One morning the doctors only detected one heartbeat and during an ultrasound confirmed that one of her babies did not make it. She had to continue to carry both babies as long as possible and ended up delivering an early but healthy baby boy to the delight of his three big sisters.

My family and friends were fantastic and Kirk and Morgan still stayed with me as much as possible. Kirk tried his very best but I was grumpy and irritable when he was around. Looking back I had no control over anything and truthfully he probably felt much of the same thing. It drove me crazy that Morgan would come to the hospital with a big bag of candy from the Candy Bowl bulk store. She thought Daddy was the best and I thought that was complete idiocy. Lets take a four year old child, hop her up on sugar and stick her in a tiny room with a mother who cannot leave the room. There was a definite rift between us but I believed that when things went back to normal we would get better.

One night I was going crazy and Kirk tried to convince the nurse to allow him and Morgan to take me for a walk in a wheelchair around the hospital. I was only a couple of days away from self care so I didn’t think it would be an issue. Self care was in another wing of the hospital and it allowed for a lot more freedom. Moving to self care meant I had reached a point in my pregnancy that if I delivered the baby was not in any significant danger. I believe it was 36 weeks. It was still too early for me to go back to Truro because they were not equip to deal with a pregnancy that early. Anyways the nurse said “No way” and Kirk felt really bad. I asked him to take Morgan out for a bit, they had been cooped up in my stupid room all weekend and we all needed a breather. The minute they left I called my Mom and lost it. I cried my eyes out and told her I was going crazy. She assured me I wasn’t and I assured her I was. Mom calmed me down and even had me laughing and in a much better frame of mind by the time Morgan and Kirk returned.

I moved to Self care right before Easter and was allowed a certain amount of freedom which to my Mothers dismay I immediately took advantage of. Kirk allowed me to come to Walmart with him to help pick up some Easter stuff for Morgan. It was supposed to be a quick trip but I begged him to take me home. There was no reasoning with me, I wanted to see my house so Kirk made the hour long trip to take me home. He was pretty pissed when he found me in the bathroom with my big pregnant belly hunched over the tub scrubbing the dripping hard water stain under the spout with an SOS pad. I had already cleaned the toilet with bleach and was about to put in a load of laundry when he discovered me. He convinced me to halt the housecleaning and come lay down for a minute. He held me in our bed while I cried because I didn’t want to go back to the hospital. I had been away from home for over 3 months and all I wanted to do was tidy up and prepare for Haley coming home. Kirk comforted me and it was probably the warmest most honest interaction we had had in months. Somehow he convinced me to go back to the hospital, I recall a phone call from my Mom so it is possible that he enlisted help. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel though and that was positive. Self care was not as exciting as I anticipated. All those exciting interactions I had heard from my bedroom on the other wing of the seventh floor were certainly not happening over here. There must have been a lot of vacancy because when I was out wandering the halls it was about as exciting as a non alcoholic beer on a hot July day! Blah!

At 38 weeks pregnant they allowed me to go back to Truro but I wasn’t allowed to go to our house in North River because it was too far from the hospital. We stayed at my Moms but it was short lived. I think I had four days of freedom before Kirk dragged me into the Truro hospital. I was having headaches and swelling and according to the Doctor my blood pressure was on the rise. I tried to insist that my rising blood pressure was due to being in another hospital but as if I didn’t exist Kirk and the doctor discussed my immediate admission to the Truro hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy. I was admitted and put into a ward with two laboring mothers. I had been told to take it easy and get some rest and then I was put in a ward?? I assume Kirk spoke with the doctor who exchanged heated words with the nurse and in a flash I was moved to a private room.

Prior to my stay in the Truro Hospital  whenever there was talk about the “NEW” Hospital being built I would question why one was needed. It only took me a short time to understand. The Grace Hospital was like The Four Seasons in Comparison. My blinds were broken, my bathroom door didn’t close properly, cream of wheat for breakfast almost sent me over the edge and the nurse seemed to only make a visit just as I drifted off to sleep.

On Thursday April 29, 2004 Morgan and Kirk were in and out of my hospital room. He had bought her new sneakers and a soccer ball and they had played a bit on the hospital lawn. Played out, she gave me a big kiss goodbye and Kirk took her to the sitters because he had a doctors appointment. I hadn’t seen the doctor all day and he popped in the door at 4:45 and said five magical words “Wanna have a baby today?

To be continued……


Thousand Acre Heart-Part Ten

Gracie Anne

Thursday was the beginning of a very emotional, edge of my seat couple of days. Kristy was induced on Thursday and the progression from labor to birth was pretty slow. If it was excruciating for me I imagine poor Kristy was ready to burst…excuse the pun.

She was so tough. Jeffrey was there for the duration and was great about keeping in touch. It was exciting and stressful all at the same time. When things started to progress it was difficult being miles away. Beautiful Princess Gracie Anne was born at 12:14 am, Saturday April 6 weighing 8 lbs 6 oz and she was nothing short of PERFECT. I most definitely have a bias but I am not speaking with a bias, this baby girl is AMAZING!! I told Jeffrey to prepare for the moment she was born, I told him that it was difficult to put into words but that it would change him immediately. He said I was right, it was indescribable. He is madly in love with his little girl, holding her he finally knows what it feels like to hold his whole world in his hands. He wanted me to share in that. I wanted it to but I felt that it was best to allow his family that time by themselves. I know in my heart that it was the best thing for everyone. A girl who waited for nineteen years to meet her son can certainly wait. My heart ached though. More than I ever thought it would. I accepted all the milestones that I missed over the years but this one that was so special to him seemed almost unforgivable. So I decided that two weeks was the best I could do and I started searching flights. The girls are in a crucial time in their school year and Kirk is in the middle of a project up North so it was impossible for them to get away right now. With Kirk being away it makes it difficult to travel. I booked a short trip. I land in Nova Scotia, a place I still refer to as “Home” on April 24. A place I have not visited in four years. The moment I booked my flight home I was an emotional wreck. One way or the other it is justified, I get to see Jeffrey and meet his beautiful daughter (my granddaughter) Gracie. It almost feels like more than that. I have been in Edmonton for almost five years and I am a different person then when I left. I feel I am a better, more confident person and I feel like I left behind some bad memories in my little hometown and being there in my little hometown I may be forced to deal with all of my demons.

How funny and ironic that I am listening to the radio and Trooper is playing. In a roundabout way a Trooper concert is responsible for me meeting Kirk. I guess I should listen to Trooper “We are here for a good time, not a long time…”

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to go home but there are things there that I may need to face that could be difficult.

Three times in the last couple of days people have referred to me as “confident” I take that as a HUGE compliment but I also want people to know that I have the same fears as all of you. Sometimes I take a whole day to cry and reflect. I am now and have always been very led by my emotions. I draw confidence and strength from my family and experiences. I learn from experiences, I embrace change, I stick my foot in my mouth, I bite off more then I can chew. I fear not being good enough, I fear being too good. Since I met Jeffrey I have experienced a peace within myself that I never thought possible. I love me!! I would love to be thinner, richer, more cultured, wiser….who wouldn’t?? The things I would really like to change about me are more subtle but generally I am finally pretty happy with who I am. When I said I was led by emotions I wasn’t embellishing in the least, I am a person who FEELS everything. The most important thing is that I recognize learning experiences. With every tear, every goodbye, every hardship, every triumph I have learned. I like me, I am not afraid to be me. I share my wisdom and experiences with my children and I am not afraid to tell them how bad the world can be and I also am not afraid to let them know how wonderful it can me. I know one day they will spread their wings and fly away from me. They want to experience the world and I know that when the time comes they will grasp every opportunity because I told them they could. My family is where I draw my strength.

If it were up to Kirk we would have had several babies but I struggled with that. I loved Morgan more than anything in the world. She was my miniature bestie. I just didn’t want to take any time away from her being a baby. Since Haley wasn’t born till Morgan was four I am pretty sure you are all smart enough to question that! I was terrified. I really really wanted to have a boy. The million dollar family. We also all know that though you can replace things, you can’t replace people and there was a little boy with wondrous eyes taking up a huge amount of real estate in my heart.

I had had some cervical issues and the one thing that made me decide to have a baby is the thought that the choice might be taken away from me. All of the sudden what had been a priority for Kirk for years became urgent for me. Our friend worked at the doctors office and I remember how sad she was to tell me I wasn’t pregnant when I was certain that I was. It happened in good time though.

From the moment I had conceived Haley I knew there was a problem. I felt like I was holding a bowling ball between my legs. My doctor kept disregarding my fears but I knew something was wrong. I had had no “real” labors with Jeffrey and Morgan so it really should have come as no surprise when I found out that I had an incompetent cervix. When women know that we have a problem, we push, even when our doctors tell us we are fine and that as mine said “maybe you are no spring chicken anymore” (seriously) we know our bodies enough to know when their is an issue. I finally convinced my doctor to send me to an Obstetrician who noted that at 16 weeks my cervix was softening. She sent me immediately to the city hospital where they noted that my cervix was softening and they would see me again in a month. In a months time my cervix that had measured 12 cm had funneled open and now measured .5cm. That feeling of me holding a bowling ball between my legs was me holding Haley in by sheer will power. I need to mention that we did not know at this point that Haley was a girl. If we had a boy, he was going to be Lorenzo Douglas DeBay, paying homage to Kirk’s grandfather and my uncle who had died when he was quite young. He would be Loren for short. Haley came by her name in a truly unique fashion. Before I was even pregnant with Haley, Kirk had taken Morgan to a truck show and I was to meet them later (Big Stop, Truro Heights). When I got there I went to the store first to get lotto tickets and gum. The girl that waited on me had dark hair and big brown eyes, she was very pretty and friendly. Her name tag said Haley and I loved the name immediately. I found Kirk in the crowd with Baby Morgan on his shoulders and when I approached them he said “hey before I forget if we have another baby and it’s a girl, let’s name her Haley” Too funny, we named our daughter after the pretty girl at The Big Stop. Haley Jade Catherine. Catherine is after my Mom, strongest woman I have ever known!

When I went to that second visit at the Grace Hospital in Halifax the doctors were concerned. I was 24 weeks pregnant, my cervix had opened up and I was starting to dilate. They took Morgan to play while they told me the news. I had prepared myself somewhat. I thought they were going to tell me that I needed to take it easy and worst case scenario they would put me on bed rest at home. I was devastated when they told me that I would be in the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy and that it was essential that I was on complete bed rest. They told me that they thought I was in danger of delivering at any time and my baby had a 50% chance of survival. I was so scared and sad. I was determined to do everything I was told to do to ensure I delivered a healthy full term baby but the price I paid for that was high. Four months in the hospital away from Morgan (who was four) and Kirk changed me. I was fighting for Haley in the only way I knew how and in turn I shut Kirk out in a major way. At the beginning we butted heads because they wanted us to visit the Neo-Natal unit. They were quite certain that Haley would spend some of her young life in there and they wanted to prepare us for what to expect. Kirk refused! In his heart he refused to believe that Haley would spend a second in there. He had every faith that I would grow here big and strong and she would never glimpse the walls of the Neo Natal. Everyday they asked for us to come visit the Neo Natal, everyday we fought and Kirk refused. Every morning they updated me on her survival rate. When I got to the hospital I was 24 weeks and her survival rate was 50%. My goal was to make it to 27 weeks and her survival rate would jump to 60%. I had a private room and I could go to the washroom and I could bathe but not shower. I will never forget the time Kirk told the doctor I was spending too much time in the washroom and he and the doctor discussed me getting a catheter so that I wouldn’t have to get up to use the washroom. I am typing this through tears at the memory. I had been in the hospital for over a month now and Kirk and Morgan spent a lot of time with me there. Kirk had taken sick leave from work and they were at the hospital lots. The hospital was over an hour away from our home.They spent every weekend, all weekend with me. I never left my room. To go to the bathroom was the only place I ever got to go to be by myself. There was me, Morgan who was four and Kirk jammed in a tiny room that I never saw the outside of. I can remember he and the doctor discussing putting a catheter in like it was the most normal thing in the world. Sometimes I just went to the bathroom to sit there by myself. To sit, oh yeah I wasn’t allowed to sit. Sometimes I bathed two-three times a day! I wasn’t allowed to shower!It is quite possible that I threatened Kirk and the stupid Doctor with bodily harm. Lets just say I didn’t get a catheter.

We certainly had some sweet and funny times while I was in the hospital. One time Kirk let my parents keep Morgan and he brought me a scallop dinner he made at home. They were a little rubbery when he heated them up in the Hospital Microwave but the thought was there. He set them up on the little slide in table with a candle he had brought from home. He way trying.

I was going crazy about the Dairy Queen commercial for the Brownie Batter Blizzard. One night Kirk disappeared and returned about 45 minutes later with one for me. He had run blocks there and blocks back with no coat. It didn’t taste as good as I imagined but the gesture was incredibly sweet!

Every single morning I had to count Haley’s kicks for the first two hours. If the kicks were less then they were the day before a team of doctors would come look at me. There were three female doctors that I adored and they adored me. They even threw a party for me one day and brought me gifts. I got very attached to them so when the rotation changed and I had some clueless Strangers in my room, that was very frustrating.

In February Kirk was coming down to watch the Daytona 500 with me. He had gotten me a Dale Earnhardt Junior book, mug and a calendar to mark down the days. I had begged my doctors for permission and they finally agreed that missing the Daytona would do me NO good! It was agreed and written on my chart that Kirk was allowed to take me to the Family Room on a stretcher to watch. I was so excited all week. When the time came the nurse refused it. She was a short little red-headed nurse who looked like the grown up version of a cabbage patch kid. My favorite Doc Kristen had left a note on my chart not only giving me permission but also giving the nurses permission to call her for clarification. She refused. At one point she agreed to allow me to watch a couple of laps. It was my choice whether I chose the beginning or the end. She said and I quote ” Don’t they just drive around in circles for a while?” If anyone reading this is a Nascar fan you are certainly feeling my pain right now. Luckily my lovely cleaning lady who I gave treats to like Wurthers originals and other such things that people brought for me showed us how to hook up “illegal” cable on my hospital TV. C’mon…we were desperate!! My driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. won that race, his first Daytona win, three years after his fathers fatal crash at that very track in 2001. It was a great moment to share with Kirk, one of the few we would share in the months to come.

Later that evening the Red Headed Cabbage Page Nurse came to my room. Morgan was asleep by my side and Kirk was settled on his cot. The shifty nurse kept saying things like “That baby looks uncomfortable, you need to move that baby” Morgan was snuggled into me, some might describe her as “snug as a bug in a rug”! Nurse “care-a-lot” was in and out of my room with a degree of frequency that annoyed me. She was already on my bad side and after spending a month in this room it felt like my home, it was; and her intrusive nature was exhausting. After several fretting visits she said “You need to move that baby, she is not safe!” I looked down at sweet four-year old Morgan curled up beside me. My baby without question but she was not a baby by most people’s standards. Then I realized that on the other side of me was Morgan’s doll. I picked it up by it’s ankles and held it up in the air “do you mean this baby?” Reds eyes registered horror and then understanding and she shuffled from the room in embarrassment. On Monday when all my fave Docs stopped by to congratulate me on the win I felt slightly elated. I told Doc Kristen about Nurse No Fun and she was banned from my room forever. I had three more months to go to carry to full term so it only made sense to banish stress from my perimeter. There was a favorite nurse I had that would visit me at night when I was feeling down, she would bring me hot chocolate and Cheez whiz toast even when I insisted I was fine! I loved her and she became my new constant.

To be continued…

Thousand Acre-Part 9

Tender Moments
Tender Moments

Morgan Alyssa DeBay was born Nov 8, 1999. She was amazing. I had a healthy uneventful pregnancy but a tornado of a delivery. I went to the hospital because my fluid was leaking and within half an hour of sending Kirk to work and being told I wasn’t in labour or dilated I was holding our beautiful daughter. Speedy deliveries are great for several obvious reasons but overwhelming to say the least. The recovery time is quicker though because being in labour for hours is traumatic and you are deprived of sleep. Being as I wasn’t in labor the nurse told Kirk to go to work so I could get some rest. Luckily my Mom was on her way into the hospital as Kirk was leaving and she did call him to come back but he missed the entire delivery. His Mom made it just in time and was able to cut Morgan’s chord and help keep me calm. It was an exciting time. Kirk was so proud and I will never forget the way he looked at her, like she was a miracle that had transformed his whole life. For me I felt that I had been given a second chance. I pictured my babies face a lot in those couple of days in the hospital and hoped that somewhere he was happy and blissfully loved and that someday he would understand and be proud of me. Even though the adoption was closed it never felt like a closed book to me. I always felt that I would fulfil the chapters of my life and one day he would be a main character in it. It was probably extremely naive but it was a star that guided me through the darkest of nights.

nice Morgan

Morgan was a perfect baby and she fullfilled in me the need to nuture and mother. Kirk was a wondeful father, a child himself really so getting down on the floor and playing, and being silly was right up his alley. When you become parents there is a definite divide, or at least there was for us, Kirk was the fun one and I was the parent. These roles collided periodically and of course still do and I am certainly capable of having fun but I  don’t think my children would hesitate to name Kirk as the fun one if given the choice.

As I said Morgan was perfect. She was so beautiful and though she came early and in an extremely big hurry within a month I had managed to fatten her up and she was so healthy and chubby. At a little over a month old she was sleeping 8-10 hours overnight and she barely cried except whe she had gas or was constipated. The doctor insisted I keep her on Similac with Iron because she was born early but it made her constipated so my Mom suggested I give her a little prune juice. The operative words here being  a little. She loved it, sucked it back like she was Chelsey Handler shooting triple distilled Vodka on a sunny beach in Cabo. I felt like such a good mommy so I gave her a little more, and a little more….you get the picture. The next day I was visiting My Mom and I was cuddling baby Morgan on her lazy boy chair when all of the sudden she cooed, stretched her legs and then there was this massive explosion and everything was warm, followed by a very happy baby, two ruined outfits (hers and mine) and a head to toe bath in my mothers kitchen sink. To this day I have never seen anything like that. She was covered in shit, I was covered in shit, our clothes were destroyed. I never gave her prune juice again. 🙂

Kirk was a truck driver back then and he worked shift work, one week days and one week nights. Morgan became my little BFF and we did everything together. She brought me such joy.

Parenting Morgan was a happy time for me and I didn’t realize that Kirk felt left out or not needed. He spent a great deal of time either playing sports with his buddies or watching sports. I was fine with it I was rather busy and happy with life.

In November of 2000 I went Christmas shopping with a friend. I went ridiculously overboard seeing as Morgan was only a year old but I had so much fun doing it. I bought just about every princess toy and trinket available. When I got home I got a phone call from Kirk and he kept saying he had made a major purchase that day and he wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I was positive it was either a truck or a truck part and I couldn’t have been less interested. Kirk spent a lot of time and money building 4 x 4 trucks to take to the mudhole and beat the guts out of them. After a third time he mentioned it I accused him of trying to start a fight and told him to lay off it I didn’t care.

He arrived home a short time later and interupted me in the kitchen. He was back on the kick “ask me what I bought, ask me?” Finally to get him to stop I halfheartedly asked him what he bought and he said wait I have to do something first. I turned around and looked at him awkwardly fumble in his pants pockets and then drop to his knees and say “Will you be my wife? Will you marry me” I said “yes” immediatley. We hugged and kissed and I allowed him to put the diamond on my finger and then I jumped up and down for a couple of minutes and then I asked if I could call people.

I called my Mom first and I didn’t get the reaction I expected. She made an off handed joke that spoke to her lack of enthusiasm about our engagement. She quickly apologized and we moved on. In my excitement I hung up and called my sister in law Kelly who was super excited for us but I was nagged by my Mom’s comment. My Mom and I have a good relationship and she always told me “never go to bed mad” That always stuck with me and we never really let any hard feelings fester between us. After the initial excitement of the weekend wore off I went to see my Mom and I confronted her. The conversation didn’t go very well and I left feeling worse. My Mom married very young and in that had experienced a lot of hardship and pain, she really truly just wanted what was best in me and at that moment was worried that maybe Kirk wasn’t it.

Kirk didn’t always treat me the way I deserved to be treated. He was a trucker with a trucker mouth and and often he lashed out without thinking and regretted it later. That worried my Mom because obviously she felt I should never be talked down to and Kirk was different then any guy I had ever dated. He challenged me in a way that nobody else had. I can say one thing with absolute certainty, I have never been bored.

I think maybe fifteen minutes passed before Mom called and we cried and made up. You can’t make people’s decisions for them but you certainly can express your concerns if it comes from a place of love. Her want and need to protect me was a Mother’s beautiful love. For the record Kirk and my Mom have a mutual love and respect for each other and if he raises his voice to me now she still doesn’t condone it. I love her for that!

I had a pretty long engagement. There were several reasons for this. We had originally wanted to elope and get married away and when we decided to stay at home and have a small wedding I was adamant about making sure that everything was paid for in advance. I didn’t want to go into our marriage saddled with wedding dept. We managed to accumulate debt quickly enough afterwards.

We had a small wedding on our property at home in July of 2002. It was attended by family and close friends and then we explored the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton for a week. We had a lot of fun. It was relaxing. We were staying at this gorgeous chalet and I got out of the shower one evening and Kirk was sitting in the Jacuzzi with champagne poured and the TV turned so he could watch “Return of the Giant Squid” on The Discovery Channel. So romantic. Fear not my friends that romance has not faded, we went to Grand Cayman Island in the fall and he had me curl up in the King size bed with him with a faint tropical breeze blowing through the window and watch “1000 ways to die” ! That show scares me badly. Eek

On both these trips we did have some very nice and romantic times. My husband is an information junkie and as such his choice of shows doesn’t always fit my mood. Kirk is by far one of the smartest people I now. It surprises people if you just meet him because he is a non suit and tie Oil field Supervisor  who has has more smarts then all the big wig office, three piece suit chair filler types combined. He is a deep thinker who absorbs info like a sponge and very little of it leaks out. He has forgotten more information then most people learn in a lifetime. Just this morning lying in bed I mentioned the Bermuda Triangle and he proceeded to dispell all my myths and tell me all the facts as he believed them. I was in awe but all I recall from the conversation is water, bubbles, porous. I simply cannot retain the information as he does. I absolutely loved history in school but have retained very little of it. Haley was giving us a quiz last light and asked in what year did Paris gift the statue of liberty to New York and Kirk correctly answered 1876. I don’t recall ever knowing that. I am quite obviously not smarter then my daughter the third grader.

Typing this I am wondering if that is a contributing factor to Kirks stress because his head is so full!! Hmmm food for thought. Speaking of food, mine is almost ready.

Before I sign off am going to share with you a little challenge I started with the urging of my longtime friend Sandra. It is a project (Orange Rhino) to try to give up yelling and learning to get your point across in a much better way. My 13 year old is a yeller and I have to yell over her. It gets us nowhere. I have gotten through last night and today. Morgan and Kirk both tried me. Haley said she was proud that I didn’t yell at sissy when she had a meltdown. Yay, almost through day one!! Join me in the challenge and I will share updates on my progress on here. The goal is to reach 365 days yelling free. Did I mention I am purchasing shares in wine!! LOl. Also follow my friend Sandra on her blog for updates and so many fun tips and tricks for busy Moms at!/TheOrangeRhino

Kirk is home for Easter for the first time in FIVE years. Do you think I can get through the weekend YELL free?? Wish me luck 😉

Happy Easter

I am also sharing this for you because I like it. Much to my dismay Kirk makes me listen to country but I like this “feel good” good ol boy song and it reminds me of our younger days in NS driving down the dirt roads.

Thousand Acre Heart-Part 8

Wedding Day, July 13, 2002
Wedding Day, July 13, 2002

I was pretty certain Kirk was crazy about me but he would always ask me if I had heard the Jennifer Paige song “Crush” It was a popular song for the moment and I wasn’t sure if he was trying to tell me he had a “Crush” or that it was “Just a Crush” according to the words of the song or that he just simply liked the song. He hadn’t got around to making his big move yet so there was still room for a bit of uncertainty.

We went with my brother and mutual friends to Keddy’s one night and played Shuffle board. I had never played Shuffle board before but I had a great time and lots of laughs were shared. At the end of the night we were taking a cab to my house to watch a movie and Aerosmith’s “I don’t wanna miss a thing” came on the radio. Kirk took the opportunity then to make his life altering move. He reached for my hand and held it so sweetly and with Stephen Tyler crooning in the background he looked me right in the eye and said “I could stay lost in this moment forever” True Story. It was our wedding song!

Our first kiss was horrible. We were like birds pecking. I remember thinking to myself “Really???” It was nerves and once they wore off I have a much different story to tell 😉

Kirk and I became inseparable. The next night we spent the entire night sitting on my living room floor playing music and spilling our guts. The night turned into the day and we had laughed and cried and sang recycled rock songs at the top of our lungs. We started out with full disclosure. He knew my deep dark secrets, I knew his. We never put up any walls to hide behind and it felt good and real. Over the years I always thought Kirk put me on this pedestal that I couldn’t live up to. He still does see so much more in me then I am ever capable of seeing in myself. Wouldn’t it be great if we could look in a mirror and see ourselves through the eyes of the person who truly loves us.

The next night Kirk took me to the city. We had a nice dinner, hung out with friends and danced till dawn! Famished we stood in a huge line up at the Apple Barrel for a table in the wee hours of that Halifax morning. We met a really fun couple in line and became fast friends. We got a table first so we asked our new friends to sit with us. We thought that they were married, and well they were…just not to each other. Turns out he was in the city on business and her husband was away on business. There was a whole lot of business going on! Funny business. Ugh.

We had fun times and a huge affection for each other. Things escalated really quickly. I still chuckle when I think of when I first moved in with Kirk. I was getting ready for work one morning and he was on his way to work and tried to give me spending money. I said I didn’t need any money and he said he thought I might need lunch money or cab money. Haha I had a job! I had my own money. It was sweet I guess but I had been on my own since I was seventeen, I never depended on anyone for lunch money!

Happiness is a form of courage. I am writing this blog because that is one of the single most valuable pieces of information that I have ever received.  I used to be a “pleaser” I wanted to make sure everyone else was happy but never stopped to think about myself, I thought this was called selflessness but it is really called stupid. If anything was made to be shared it is happiness, but how you can share it if you don’t have any yourself. All the happiness you ever care to find lies within yourself. To claim it you must accept and love yourself. It may sound like a bunch of hot air but it is true. We put a great deal of pressure on our relationships because we expect our partners to make us happy and when we are not happy we are placing the blame on all sorts of things, our spouse, your children, the weather…When you blame someone or something else for your unhappiness, you are abdicating your responsibility for your emotional well-being.  If someone isn’t doing something you like or think they should do by all means have a conversation with them and express your concerns but do not allow the outcome to determine how you feel. Happiness is an inside job . You are responsible for how you think and feel so no matter how anyone else chooses to live their life you get to live yours. Live Large I say!

Anyways I wish I had known this many years ago but I didn’t.

Kirk and I both wanted children badly and we took baby making pretty seriously.  We probably trained more hours a day then most Olympic athletes. lol. It wasn’t long before Morgan was on her way. We certainly did things  little backwards baby first, marriage later. I won’t even begin to explain the logic behind that because though I wouldn’t change a thing I am not about to recommend it. I have been known to waiver on whether I am a fan of marriage or not, mostly because  almost all the weddings I have attended have ended in divorce. I am a fan of marriage, what I am not always a fan of is weddings.  I have seen so many people get caught up in the stress of planning a wedding that they forget what it is really about, a marriage. If the purple flowers your ordered for your wedding show up yellow is this cause for total devastation. No. What that is, is a great story for your grandchildren. Your wedding is for you and should be about you. I have seen sweet and simple girls fall to pieces trying to plan huge weddings and I just don’t understand why. Nobody really cares about the centerpieces, they want a bride, a groom, good food and a dance floor. The number one thing that stands out to me about my wedding is standing at the end of the aisle and just wanting to take my shoes off and run to Kirk. In that moment I knew that we would always be together, even though circumstances  would make me question it several times over the years, standing there at the end of that rose pedaled aisle I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.

Maybe it was more then Crush

To be continued of course….

Thousand Acre Heart-Part 7

A love too stubborn too die!
A love too stubborn too die!

20 seconds of courage is all it takes to change your life. I wonder if that is how Kirk felt when he walked up to me and said “You know what I like about you? You are always smiling and having fun. I like that!” He was lighting touching my arm in that gesture that keeps you from walking away because I was actually walking by his group and he stopped me. We were at the old Mill in Truro and he was among a group of guys that I knew quite well but I didn’t know much about him. He dated a girl I knew and he was best friends with my ex-boyfriend, a guy that I was crazy about it. We had crossed paths countless times but I would never have described him as a friend or an acquaintance for that matter. In fact, until that moment I hadn’t really considered him much at all. Anytime I had encountered him he seemed rushed and miserable. I paused there suspended in that moment and I smiled at him before joining my friends on the dance floor. Earlier in the evening my friend and I were curled up in our sweats about to order take out and watch a movie but something happened in our twenty-something brains we were certain that if we didn’t go out we would miss something big and perhaps we were right.I recall we had $20 between us including cab fare.

The following weekend I ran into an old friend of my brothers. I hadn’t seen him in years and invited him to stop by for a drink before going out. He came over with a group of his friends, one of them being Kirk.
We all chatted and laughed and picked up my brother and some other friends and headed to the Mill again. At the end of the evening the same group of us headed in my buddy’s old white Chevy van up to Union. I can’t imagine what the reason behind this was. A scenic drive perhaps? I can’t recall if the van broke down, got stuck or ran out of gas. I am pretty safe to say it was one of the three. Either way it was a chilly fall night and we were stuck in the woods in the middle of nowhere. Nobody had cell phones back then and even if we had there were no towers out there.

The excitement of the evening wore off pretty quickly at the thought of us spending the entire night in the cold. I got out of the van to stretch my legs and was face to face with Kirk. We had a huge conversation with our hands in our pockets leaned up against trees. He was at the bitter end of a long relationship and seemed very anxious to talk with someone. He spoke so lovingly about his girlfriend, how she had been his best friend but they were just making each other miserable. They were at the point where they were holding on by threads, the fabric of their relationship had been shredded by years of hurt and anger. I really felt for him talking about it because he truly wanted her to be happy and he clearly knew that they were hanging onto to something that was in shambles. It seemed so ironic to me that we had never had a conversation before. I had dated his best friend and was still crazy about him but he had gotten back together with his ex. We remained close and I was smart enough to know that it wasn’t a healthy relationship for me but sometimes your heart speaks louder then your brain. Kirk saw that in me and think he really wanted to save me from myself.

It got too cold to talk outside and we went back to the van where everyone was was fighting for floor space and body heat. The only unclaimed space was the passenger seat in the van which we shared. Kirk gave me his coat but it wasn’t heavy enough to keep me warm and cuddling would have been inappropriate though it most definitively crossed our minds. I never felt closer to anyone without physically touching. You could have hardly put a thread in the space that divided us but we were conscious not to touch. By the time the dawn broke we were mentally tangled up in each other.

You can’t imagine the moments that will change you forever. I met my best friend that night. I had no idea what that would bring to my life.

It was a sleepless night. One of many Kirk would cause me over the years I’m afraid. When the morning light came we were able to walk to help. We warmed up at a friends Dad’s house that lived up the mountain. In the afternoon his best friend and the ex I was crazy about came to pick him up and drove me home as well. It was an odd drive home. In the presence of him I felt guilty and he was definitely suspicious but nothing had happened or at least nothing to feel bad about.

A short while passed. It could have been a week or a couple of days I am not certain but my phone rang and it was Kirk. It seemed like the most normal thing in the world for him to call me. His voice made me smile.

Things wouldn’t be easy for us from there. Kirk was ending a relationship. I was in an argument with myself because I was trying to convince myself I didn’t want the complication. He called daily for a while and then the phone calls abruptly stopped. Things were still very light, we were just talking as friends but when that stopped I missed it. It was probably for the best  but even still I sat there with my phone one afternoon for three hours picking it up, putting it down, dialing, hanging up….repeat. I missed his voice. I held my breath, dialed and let the phone ring until he picked it up.

I spent a lot of my life running from things I should have faced and running to things I should have run away from. I was always one to say “timing wasn’t right” The timing couldn’t have been more wrong for either of us yet I have never fought harder for anything in my whole life. There is no way I could have known how important that phone call would be. I didn’t know how much we would love and how much we would hate. How much we would struggle to be our own person and then realize that we share a heart. Everyone thinks they have been in love but very few people experience the kind of love that you will suffer for. There are times we didn’t like each other but we still loved, there were times we had to learn to be friends all over again. We have knocked each other down and lifted each other up, suffered each other’s pain and shared in each other’s joy. We have been selfish, impatient and insecure. We have lived, loved, learned, and we have forgiven.

That is the beginning.

To be continued.

This is the song that plays when Kirk calls me.

“The Dolphin’s Cry”

The way you’re bathed in light
reminds me of that night
god laid me down into your rose garden of trust
and I was swept away
with nothin’ left to say
some helpless fool
yeah I was lost in a swoon of peace
you’re all I need to find
so when the time is right
come to me sweetly, come to me
come to me

love will lead us, alright
love will lead us, she will lead us
can you hear the dolphin’s cry?
see the road rise up to meet us
it’s in the air we breathe tonight
love will lead us, she will lead us

oh yeah, we meet again
it’s like we never left
time in between was just a dream
did we leave this place?
this crazy fog surrounds me
you wrap your legs around me
all I can do to try and breathe
let me breathe so that I
so we can go together!

love will lead us, alright
love will lead us, she will lead us
can you hear the dolphin’s cry?
see the road rise up to meet us
it’s in the air we breathe tonight
love will lead us, she will lead us

life is like a shooting star
it don’t matter who you are
if you only run for cover, it’s just a waste of time
we are lost ’til we are found
this phoenix rises up from the ground
and all these wars are over

singin’ la da da, da da da
come to me
singin’ la da da da, da da da
come to me

Yep….me and Ed Kowalczyk of Live!!

Me and ED

Thousand Acre Heart Part Six

I’m Back!!!

In case any of you were uncertain about the relationship between Mike and I, whether it was still strained or all was forgiven I actually had a little moment of worry today that Mike may take something out of context but rest assured he is fine but he expressed concern for me. He told me that people are concerned about my blogging that I might be losing my mind and that by sharing my stories I was making it look worse for myself. He asked me not to shoot the messenger. Well I let him know that I was pretty certain that the “concerned” and the messenger were one in the same and thanked him for his “concern” but let him now that I was doing great. I get it, some people think it is absolutely ridiculous to talk about your feelings and put all your vulnerabilities and mistakes in black and white. Mike and I are actually able to stay in touch more now that he has finally learned to text and I think when you look back on our conversation you will agree that if anyone should be worried about their sibling…perhaps it should be me. Love you Mikey!!


Mike and Michelle

At this point of my story I want to say that I grew up as a regular girl. I dreamed of Grand castles, flowing gowns and Prince Charming. I didn’t keep a wedding scrapbook but I certainly had my dreams. My teenage walls were wallpapered with every imaginable Prince Charming. There was my all time and still favorite Jon Bon Jovi, Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid) Vince Neil (Motley Crue) Slash, Rob Lowe…you get the picture. Picking the ideal Prince Charming is not as simple as going through the drive-thru and ordering a burger. “yes I will have a Jon Bon Jovi in a Ryan Gosling body with a little dash of badboy Slash and can you throw in a good amount of Liam Neeson because I want him to be able to take care of shit!! Real life doesn’t work that way! So your best bet is to go out and meet people and experience life and not focus on who you will settle down with in your grand castle or double wide trailer, sometimes what is meant to be will be.

I met some interesting characters over the years and to be clear when Jen (Po Po) and I went out I didn’t pick up guys at bars. I preferred the ones that were already there working. Number one reason is that they had a job and it was great to have friends that were in a position to help your position. Bouncers are great friends to have because you don’t have to stand in line and mess up your hair, waiters to bring you drinks way before your glass is empty and DJs to play your favorite songs. I did have a really enamored DJ friend until an unfortunate incident where his speaker landed on top of me. I would tell you the details, I really would but my mind has blocked the memory! I truthfully didn’t date the guys from these different bars in these different positions because that would not have been smart.The good relations were kept by flirting, but not dating. I didn’t have a problem dating people that worked at the bar but not as bar staff. I dated a guitarist/singer once who had the craziest hair. He was a cross between Slash and Lenny Kravitz. He was a talented musician and sweet as apple pie but so painfully shy it didn’t go anywhere. He had the look of a bad boy without the bad boy. I found out that this is more common then not when I met a “dancer” at a best buns contest. His stage name was Michael but his real name was Peter. I couldn’t quite keep that straight. He really HATED me calling him Michael which was understandable because it wasn’t his name. The problem is I wanted to date the strong and sexy Michael. I did think it was great that he lived out of town though,except when he came to town he had to spend the ENTIRE weekend at my house. That was an ENTIRE weekend with a guy that I kept calling the wrong name and no time with my friends 😦
Things fizzled but I still have an 8×10 black and white glossy of him in a box in the garage. So in thinking I wanted a bad boy I dated a Portuguese guy that I disliked intensely. I guess at first we mistook it for a chemical reaction but we just really didn’t like each other. I think maybe he was a nice guy who was trying to be bad ass but he was just an Ass. It was cool for about five minutes. Then there was the guy who was perfect in every way, good looking, great personality, smart, independently wealthy but he snored, really incredibly loud. I know people snore but this was like a sonic boom. He was also very political which wasn’t my cup of tea so I had to tune him out a lot. He was working on this political campaign that he was so excited about and we would chat casually and that dominated our conversations for a significant amount of time. He called one night wanting to go have a drink. He said he would take me to eat if I was hungry but he had already eaten with what I thought was “Shari” Now we had a casual relationship, I liked and respected him and he was all the things I should have wanted for myself but neither of us ever pushed for a commitment or got jealous. That miffed me though. “Shari” gets dinner but I get drinks. I blew him off that night and then he called the next day to ask if I had seen his picture in the paper. A picture of him and Jean Charest. Not “Shari” Jean Charest served as the 29th Premier of Quebec from 2003-2012. So from all of this I determined that my perfect man would not snore or be into politics, he should be smart but I should be as smart, he should be a little bad ass but not just an ass and dammit if nothing else I should be able to remember his name.

I moved home to Nova Scotia in my early twenties and it was a huge change after living in the city. I missed everything but the creep jerking off at my bedroom window.

Being back with my family was great but I was gone between 18-22 and it was a small town and everyone seemed to have their little cliques. I had to take the time to reconnect with some dear friends and make new friends. I still felt like “the girl who gave the baby up for adoption” but enough time had passed that I figured everyone had moved on. When I lived in Ontario I opened up to people I trusted occasionally but back home in Truro unless you were a super friend, family or someone who was close to me at the time it was simply not discussed. It was a defense mechanism I built around my heart and very few people were allowed in.

I wondered a lot about my son though and being back in that small town I searched for him in every 7 year old boy. I learned fairly quickly that not everyone had forgotten nor were they wiling to let it be. It seems pretty ridiculous looking back at it now that anyone would throw that in my face to hurt me or to make me look like a bad person but it happened. I would learn about the power of forgiveness and friendship. I would also meet the person who changed my life and was instrumental in making sure that one day my life would feel complete. You can’t run from your life and your mistakes. You can forgive yourself and become someone you are proud of. Fall in love and you can see the stars, love yourself and you can touch them!

I am blessed to have a beautiful family and I have struggled every step of the way to get here. More often then not the struggle was with myself.

To be continued…..

Thousand Acre Heart-Part Five

Kirk and during our month long tenth anniversary celebration!
Kirk and I

One of our songs….
This has a very valuable message, to be loved, you have to love yourself!!

I wanted to share this and my thoughts on it and how it really helped me this week reflect on my life, my choices and my changes over the years that have made me the person I am today. Cheryl is a mother, a grandmother a wife and a beautiful friend to many. She is someone I truly admire and I am proud to know her.

Conversation started Thursday
Cheryl Paris

Cheryl Paris

You probably have received hundreds of responses to your story. I don’t even really know what I want to say so this will sound like somewhat a ramble I’m sure. I’m not sure how or why we never became close friends back in high school because I swear sometimes when I’m reading your page I think my god we are A LOT alike !
I wonder if I ever made you feel any kind of way back then, as I remember watching your life and having mixed emotions like a mafucca ! As you know, I kept my son at 15. I vaguely remember at one point thinking that you were selfish but I recognized fairly quickly that I was secretly jealous. Jealous that you had the courage to admit you were too young. Jealous that you were given choices that I wasn’t. Jealous that you appeared to have resumed your life and I was home changing diapers and clumsily raising a baby. At 15. Wtf.
Maybe that is the reason we never became close friends. Your life reminded me of the life I might have had…and perhaps mine would have reminded you too much of the child you loved enough to let go.
At almost 40, I have finally accepted that every choice I made was the exact right one for me. And I can see that you are on that same path. Every choice you made was right for you. I can tell you already know that.
Having said all of that what I really want you to know is that I admired you then, and I admire you now. I love seeing pics of you and your family. When Shelly (Stone) told me you had connected with your son I was ecstatic for you !
Your stories almost always bring me to tears and I am anxiously waiting for this one to continue.
Until today I hadn’t realized how young your Dad was when he passed. That is truly shocking! Your Mama is clearly one strong lady.
Much love from the East !
Cheryl xo

Those were such powerful words and they really got me thinking. My life did resume. The cute guy from the beach stayed with me and helped me through some terrible times. He taught me how to have fun again. He came from a Pentecostal family and I never felt they approved of me but it didn’t change how he felt or treated me. With him I felt special and brand new. I didn’t get along very well with my older brother Mike after my Dad died. I understand now that he felt he was the man of the family and was trying to protect us but I felt like he was being a controlling asshole and I didn’t like it. On my seventeenth birthday in January we had a huge argument and he held me down in a snowbank and I was pretty annoyed. My boyfriend and I got a little place and my brother and I didn’t talk for months. I think we are both well over that foolishness. As an adult I now know that he wanted the best for me. He just didn’t know how to express himself in a way that didn’t sound like he was being an asshole. Kirk and I were talking with a couple from back home on a recent vacation to Grand Cayman Islands and we got talking about my brothers. Kirk was telling him about “Mikey” enthusiastically and I chimed in, well yes Mike is cool, he can be an Ass though. Priceless reply, “OMG Mike Watson. Mike and Sherry. We love them! They have a cottage by us!” Then preceded to tell us a drinking tale about Mike convincing the husband to wear a shock dog collar. Yeah. That’s my brother Mike. He is smart, disciplined, organized and I respect and love him lots. He did have a habit of starting arguments and then leaving, in turn leaving my brother Gerry and I to look like the jerks. I remember the time Mike and Gerry got scrapping and took out my mothers entire garden of Gladiolas, then Mike left. Gerry and I stayed, there were cocktails left! I always take Gerry’s side in a fight because at 11 months 363 days younger then me he is my baby brother!! Gerry and I are in fact the same age for two whole days.

I couldn’t have lived in that little place very long because I moved to Ontario when I was 18. My boyfriend very much wanted to be a cop and was accepted for Training in Toronto. A week before we left he got a letter saying there was a moratorium on hiring. We didn’t tell anyone at the time, we were excited for a change and planned to go anyway. I was excited to leave the small town of Truro for the big city of Toronto. I rather liked the idea of being anonymous. I didn’t have to feel like I had anything to hide. I could live a little easier not looking for my son everywhere I went. EVERYWHERE I went I looked for a dark haired boy with eyes I was certain would be unmistakable to me. If I was at the grocery store, Park, McDonalds I was searching, scanning the room. I am not sure what I would have done had I found him but that didn’t stop me from looking. Leaving was as hard as it was exciting. My Mom was sad of course and my baby brother was devastated. Mike had moved to London, Ontario about a week before I left so Gerry was feeling abandoned. My Dad actually fell into my brothers arms the day he died. A very traumatic thing for Gerry to try to overcome and both his siblings leaving him behind was hard on him. So Mike led the way to Ontario but he didn’t stay long, Mamas boy :). I stayed about six months in Toronto and then moved over to London. Mike and I both lived there for a short time before he drove home at break neck speed. Gerry came up at some point and lived between London and Toronto for at least a couple of years until he went home for a visit and never returned. My boyfriend and I had a charmed life for awhile until I started working at Great West Steakhouse and met some amazing friends. I liked to stay at the bar after work and chat with the girls. My sweet boyfriend would walk to get me and I started to really resent it. I missed a lot of time with girlfriends and I missed my friends from back home. Nobody knew I had had a baby that I gave up. I was normal and not damaged. I had some of the very best times of my life with that guy, he taught me how to live again but when things started to get sour he got very jealous and protective of me. He would tell me I was nothing without him and I couldn’t do it on my own. We drove home together when his mother was dying, things were already tense and we got home he was focused of course on his Mom but shut me out completely. Back home was full of memories and my comfort and my weakness was my baby’s father. I was quite simply an adolescent who wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and I made bad choices. I wasn’t grown up enough to be in the grown up relationship that I was and luckily we were smart enough to end it when we did so that we remained friends. My brother moved in with him after I left so we had a lot of contact. I know there were a lot of times that we could have easily gotten back together but it was not right for either of us. He was an Incredible guy but I wasn’t ready for him. I needed to find out who I was. Even after I was married, he contacted me when a mutual friend of ours died and we chatted for a long time and cleared the air, owned up to our mistakes. It was nice. I never felt we left anything unsettled. My friend said the other day that she thought we were fantastic together and we were for a time. I thought back and I couldn’t recall any bad times. I just wanted to spread my wings and he wanted to prevent it and so we struggled. He is married now with children and I hope his wife is as great as him!

Insert my years of partying here and you can ask my friend PoPo for the details. I had lots of great friends in London but Jen (PoPo) who remains one of my closest friends to this day was most certainly my partner in crime. The two of us worked hard and played hard. She taught me a lot about life and a lot about having children because she was a mouthy bratty child that required a lot of patience and would cry if she was yelled at. Mouthy, yet sensitive. It sounds a lot like my thirteen year old daughter. She is exactly what I needed in my life. Most girls were looking for Mr Right but PoPo and I were looking to learn about life through parties with the occasional Mr Right Now thrown into the salad of our youth! We did however decide to prepare for the future by becoming responsible pet owners, I had a budgie and a dwarf rabbit and she had a cat.

I had gotten a promotion at work from Waitress to Manager. We worked at a large Steakhouse that was housed in an old Rail Roundhouse (where they turned the engines). The owner decided to make me Public Relations Manager. This basically meant that after my work day I was to schmooze with the regulars in the lounge. I ate and drank for free. We had great regulars, most of them businessmen that hung out at the bar to talk bullshit with the other regulars and avoid going home to watch TV with their wives. I cant complain, for a girl who loved to socialize this was a damn good gig. I did however have one goal, on Mondays I wanted to make it home in time to watch Melrose Place at nine. In three months I only made it home once and I was so tired and probably a little drunk on Black Russians that I fell asleep. This one night I came home exhausted and I was just putting my nightie over my head I saw a flash in my mirror and a tap tap at my bedroom window. I loved my apartment, it backed onto the Thames River, and in back where my bedroom was there was a pretty row of rose bushes. I had a big window in my bedroom and two sets of blinds, there was maybe an inch between the two sets. I guess that was enough because when I went to my bedroom window and pushed my blinds apart there was a man pleasuring himself. Disgusting! I mas more then disgusted I was terrified. Paralyzed with fear. I don’t know how long I stood there frozen before I went to call the cops and my friend PoPo!

This period in my life became the source of many a joke but it was scary and it caused me a lot of anxiety. I wasn’t able to sleep at night and if I was alone I would stay up until it started to get light outside. There were nights I would be exhausted and I would force myself to stay up. The sleeplessness started to get to me and I started to have anxiety attacks. I feared falling asleep. At this point I had had to call the cops on several occasions. They had been trying to catch this guy for a long time and had other area complaints but the search dogs kept losing his sent because they figured he was crossing the river. I recall the horrible day they cut the pretty rose bushes down in back of the apartment so that the offender would have nowhere to hide while he was seeking his prey. I never feared the creep outside my window, I feared coming home or waking up to him in my bedroom. I have watched enough horror movies. The cops “assured” me that he PROBABLY didn’t want to hurt me!!

One Saturday night at the Steakhouse it was a zoo ,we were always crazy busy on the weekends! Staff kept telling me that there was this strange guy hanging around who wanted to talk to me, apparently he said it was snowing hard outside and he wanted to shovel the steps to keep them safe. I sent one of the bussers outside to shovel and he came back and told me it hadn’t snowed. I checked myself and it was clear…weirdo. He didn’t leave and insisted he speak with me. I firmly told him we were busy, we didn’t need his services and asked him to leave. A couple of days later he walked in to be seated at lunch. He was ill kept and not very clean. I was on the phone at the front desk and called the waitress over to explain that she may have problems with this guy because he was in Saturday night bugging me. A couple minutes later she returned and said he wouldn’t give her his order and insisted on seeing me. I huffed and sighed but went to his table and he was sitting there in the middle of our lunch hour with his pants undone stroking his penis. Lovely. He ignored my order to leave so I called the cops. They came and questioned him in the parking lot and then spoke with me. I told them about the guy that was coming to my window and that I was pretty sure it was the same guy. The female cop told me they probably were not connected and she thought it was a waste of time for me to press charges because he was a deviant of no fixed address and it wouldn’t go anywhere. They figured this guy had seen me walking to and from work because I used to walk right by a Men’s mission. This is on Michelle’s top ten list of “where NOT to pick up men” The sad thing about this is some of the cops I spoke to during this time were so passionate about catching this guy. They told me to call 911 so the dogs could track him immediately but when I would call 911 they would tell me it wasn’t an emergency and to hang up and call the regular number. It was frustrating for me and I can only imagine how frustrating it was for the cops that had been sent out countless times only to come back empty handed.

A few days later I put it my official resignation. I needed my Mom, I needed sleep, it was time for me to move home to Nova Scotia.

For my Mom. xo

To be continued……