There’s been a lot going on during the last few weeks that has left me exhausted and thankful for the life I have.
A few weeks ago, my hours at work increased by 24 every 2 weeks. I’m adjusting. My brother Vincent and his friend Jon came for a visit. And my in-laws drove up from Florida to spend the summer at their camp in Averill Lake Vermont, stopping here for a few days for a visit and a rest. DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was overturned, and it’s about time. And through it all, I’ve relied on Van Morrison to keep things in perspective, or at least provide me with a temporary distraction from some of the fatigue I’m feeling.
Speaking of Van Morrison, Flamingos Fly came on my car radio the other day. It’s one of my favorites and has a way of creating a calm in me which sets my mind adrift. I got thinking about a recent conversation I had with Mom about a couple of dresses she has put aside in a spare closet. She pulled them out one day and informed me that she wants to wear one of them for her funeral. She wants us to choose. We joked that we could arrange for a costume change in the middle of the services so both outfits would get some exposure.
The black one she made about 50 years ago, and the light colored one she bought in the ‘80’s with a plan to wear it to one of her 5 kids’ weddings. But since I’m the only one who’s married, and Brian and I “eloped,” she never got to wear it.
When Vincent was visiting recently, I pulled them out to show him and let him in on the plan. I’m glad someone else now knows. And he wasn’t at all spooked by the conversation. God, I’m so glad he’s my brother!
Yesterday was an Anniversary
Twenty years ago, on June 28, 1993, I began my job at Our Lady of Mercy Life Center, a 160 bed skilled nursing facility that had just been built, and had 9 residents the day I started. At that time, I had a loosely formulated plan to join an agency for traveling occupational therapists. I had visions of spending the summer in Cape Cod, and then making my way down the east coast and eventually ending up in Florida for the winter. The stints were for 3 months at a time, and I predicted I would be in the warm sunshine state during the cold northeastern months. But, before I could solidify these plans, I met Brian. I decided to hang around. I’m sure glad I did.
I was hired by Wes, my eventual boss at Our Lady, and spent the next 17 years working harder than I ever did, and was also rewarded in ways that I had never been. It was a wonderful job, and I had the best boss in Wes. He taught me so much, allowed for independence and creativity, and was always willing to coach and share his knowledge for the betterment of the facility and the community. We, as a facility, positively affected countless lives.
I’m forever grateful for having worked there. Life lessons were learned, and it changed me in many ways. Never had I been exposed to such intense, concentrated, and important processes that serve to uphold humanity. My Grandmother Mamie spent the last four years of her life with me there. There is no greater gift than to have the opportunity to give love and protection to another human being, especially a cherished grandmother.
With all of the struggles that come with every job and every mission, the prevailing thoughts of my time at Our Lady are of magnified goodness. I take those lessons of quality care and human rights with me everywhere I go.
Our CSA Marshal Job (Community Supported Agriculture)
Our (Mom and I) self-defined CSA Marshal Job is going well. This is week 4, and each time we open our own CSA box, bells ring (dinner bells) and we instantly start thinking of the many wonderful chemical-free, organic side dishes we’ll have for dinner over the week. The variety and quality is amazing, and could never, in a million years, be grown by us at home. We’re so thrilled with the CSA concept, and feel lucky that we’re members. The Denison Farm family and staff certainly know what they’re doing!
Our Marshal Job has been quite uneventful. Sometimes, the checked off list doesn’t match the number of boxes left, but we think people are taking their share without checking off their names. At least we haven’t heard from any disgruntled or disappointed “share holders.”
My in-laws drove up from Florida last week. We’re quietly thankful that they made it without incident. We spent an afternoon with them, and were enlightened as always by their humor and good nature.
Ernie, my father-in-law, has formulated extensive plans for his birthday celebration this summer at their camp on Averill Lake in Vermont. A large group of us coming from Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York are anxiously anticipating this joyful event. A family reunion will ensue, and Ernie will be at the heart of it all, while we shower him with love and attention. We really can’t wait.
This week, Jon Katz and Maria Wulf from Bedlam Farm have announced that they have decided to open their farm for visits on July 21 and September 1. Red will be herding sheep, Simon and the donkey girls will be begging for treats and pets, and Maria will have her Full Moon Fiber Arts studio open and set up as an art gallery. Jon and Maria have also graciously invited the Hubbard Hall Writers group members to read from our blogs. Another exciting Bedlam event not to be missed.
DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act)
I stopped in my home office on Wednesday and was greeted by a co-worker with a huge smile. I’ve known Steven for about 20 years, and never saw such relief and a sense of belonging on his face. He strolled over to me in a light-footed way, and went on to tell me that DOMA was finally overturned by the Supreme Court. This I already knew. I was so happy for him and the countless same-sex couples who continue to be discriminated against, when all they want is to have the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples. In the states that recognize same-sex marriage, the federal marriage laws will now also apply to them.
Although I know the issue isn’t simple, it should be. In the name of love and commitment, let’s continue to move humanity forward, please.
Work hours/Health Insurance
Finally, I’m so glad it’s the weekend. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my work hours increased a few weeks ago. This is the result of a merger that happened almost 2 years ago with a larger health system. When I took this job before the merger, I was told that if I committed to working at least 20 hours each week, I would receive full-time benefits. It was unheard of, but I thought about it for a split second and signed up for the 20 hours…actually 22.5 hours which is equivalent to 3 full days. I also knew that I could and would work more, but having to be responsible for only 22.5 hours outfitted me with incredible flexibility, something that was especially valuable during this past year. Starting my Blog last June and being able to devote a lot of time to writing, and then deciding to move in July has required an enormous amount of time and energy that I wouldn’t have had if I had to work full-time. I’m grateful for the last 2 years of flexibility with an unheard-of benefits package.
The party’s over now, though, and I’m trying to adjust. I really can work part-time again, it’ll just cost 3x as much out of my pocket for health insurance. The insurance companies are ruling the world. I don’t have the time or energy to fight it, but I hope someone is addressing this insanity.
So for now, I will enjoy my weekend flexibility and continue to unpack and manage our collection of stuff from our move. Our local Captain Youth and Family Services Organization takes donations for their Captain’s Treasures store to support their mission of “giving a hand up to youths and families.” I have another box ready for donation. Little by little, we settle in. I’ll work on that today, and tomorrow will be a day of rest and fun as we and some close friends gather at our neighbors’ camp on Saratoga Lake. It’s going to be a little old neighborhood reunion of sorts. I’m ready for a cook-out in the woods.