Monday, February 17, 2014

Once Upon a Time: Chapter1

“For something new to begin, something must end.” Kris King

But what if you’re not ready for that “something” to end?

Once upon a time, I had a full life.  In fact, for years I worked as news director at a little radio station in my hometown of Porterville, CA.  Sounds glamorous doesn’t it?  If only you knew.  I was up at four.  After a couple of weeks I realized doing my hair and make up at that hour was useless.  Only one person saw me that early in the morning and he didn’t care if I showed up with wet hair, no makeup, and in my sweats.  Make up and hair, I figured, could be done between the news broadcasts at the top and bottom of the hour.  As long all my primping was complete by the time anyone else arrived, it was all good, right? 

Well, I’ll never forget my co worker’s face the first time I showed up in the broadcast booth holding a mascara wand.  It was even funnier when I slid into my seat with curlers in my hair.  Funnier still was that he couldn’t say a word about it (or so I thought)…but had to try to maintain a straight “face” on air.   He did “broadcast” it to our little world, though, which set us both off on a fit of giggles and we had to run an ad while we pulled ourselves together. 

I didn’t just do hair and make-up between news broadcasts, though.  I had ten minutes to fill at the top of the hour and five at the bottom from 6:00 until 8:30am so there was lots of work to try to keep the broadcasts fresh.  At 8:30am I helped host a radio talk show. Thank goodness I didn’t have to do it on my own.  Some interviewees were wonderful and we could have spent much more time with them.  But for others…welllll…that’s where having a co-host came in handy.  My time between 9:00 and noon was spent tracking down news stories, mostly human interest as there just wasn’t much hard news to cover.

There were a few coworkers who especially made the job rewarding. Mike, Chad, Ken…yes, all guys, but I was “one of the guys”.  My only real regret was not being there when Ken mooned Mike in the studio during a live cross town rivalry basketball game.  HA!  I missed it! 

Glamorous?  Hardly.  And if I ever began to feel it was, well, all I had to do was go home and clean a toilet or two to remember what was truly important: First and foremost I was a wife and mom.   

My hubby and I moved to a little town called Mariposa, Ca. and I quickly landed a job as marketing director at a little bitty, teeny tiny hospital called John C. Fremont District Hospital.  Small, but important as it was right outside Yosemite National Park.  A helipad ensured prompt delivery of injured and ill locals and visitors to larger hospitals down on the floor of the central valley if treatment required more specialized care than was offered there.    

I loved that job!  I was happier than I’d ever been in my life.  I loved the job, the community, where I lived in the foothills amongst the pines, being near Yosemite, long car drives with my hubby on days off, the fact that my job was part time and allowed me plenty of time at home, and I adored my church congregation.  The only negative was that we moved away from our adult sons, but they weren’t so far away that we rarely got to see them. In fact, the first couple of months I was visiting them every weekend and cooking up meals to see them through the week.  Sound crazy?  Yeah, but I love my boys.  And to me, they’re still boys even though they’re young men now.  Being wife to my hubby and mom to those boys was extremely important to me.

I went back to school and this time it looked like I was in the home stretch.  One son moved in with us for a bit and we took macro and micro economics together.  You know what was special about that?  First, he wanted to take the classes with me.  But most special was that he didn’t need the classes…he just took them to be with me.  I was later accepted into an online degree program through Chico State University in my area of interest: Social Studies.  Life was very, very good!

But life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you.  In the spring of 2004 hubby and I found ourselves guardians of two nephews who’d been through hell.  It was our job to bring them out of it.  Years of abuse at their parents’ hands were followed by two years in the foster care program with foster parents who were in it for the money.  And there is a lot of money to be made by fostering children in California.  Try about $600.00 per month per child.  Foster a few kids, hold down a full time job, and life could be pretty cushy…for the foster parents.

Now, prior to all of this…in fact, four months earlier…the hubster and I felt prompted to look for property outside of Cali.  Why?  A coworker of mine brought in some pamphlets of property she was looking at in Oklahoma.  I couldn’t believe the prices!  Small homes in the cheapest part of California were going for $90K and up.  Postage stamp size houses on postage stamp size lots crammed up against other homes. But in the Midwest, wow!  I mean, she was looking at homes in the $150,000 range that were gorgeous and had corrals for her horses, outbuildings…

So, prior to becoming those-whose-job-it-is-to-show-the-two-boys-the-way-out-of-hell, hubby and I flew east just after New Year’s Day and plunked down some money on the house in which we currently live.  Yep.  Just like that.  We shook our heads at this ourselves, not understanding what we were doing or why.  We’d sold a home a year and a half earlier but were priced out of the market in Cali for anything we’d want…which just happened to be a decent sized home with some acreage.  Found it in Missouri, plopped down the down payment, and prepared to move in two years’ time.  Yeah.  You read it right.  Two years.  “Why two years?” you ask.  Good question.  You see, I needed just two more years to complete that degree.  So we settled in to wait.  Meanwhile, life was good.

Now, about that curve ball.  Actually two blonde haired, blue eyed curve balls.  They were a bit of a handful, especially the oldest, who was 12 at the time.  He’d seen the worst of the abuse.  There had been no discipline in their lives and we didn’t know it at the time, but it was going to take a LOT of work to help him overcome his past.  The youngest was only 6 and so was easier to work with.  He’d been sheltered by his brother and an older sister.  Sadly, we weren’t able to take her.  At fourteen she was running away frequently, drinking, smoking, and essentially doing as she pleased.  We were aware she was savvy enough to know that if she didn’t like the rules and discipline we expected, all she’d have to do was say my hubby had touched her inappropriately and our lives would be ruined.  It was heartbreaking.  We knew her background and had wanted to take her when she was young, but CPS told us that until there was evidence of abuse they couldn’t investigate.  And so we couldn’t take her.  And it hurt.

Suddenly, that property sitting out in Missouri looked attractive.  I’ll be honest.  I wasn’t ready to move. 

And this is where “For something new to begin, something must end" occurs.