Since it will take me about five years to get to 1,000 posts, I thought I would use Papa Moose’s idea for my eighth post. So here goes nothing…
I was the second child born to my firefighter Dad and my stay-at-home Mom. I don’t really remember them being together. They divorced when I was about 3 ˝ years old. My first memories were of being asked by the judge if I wanted to live with my Mommy or my Daddy. I think I said my Dad because my brother said my Mom, and I wanted to be fair.
My Mom remarried just before I turned 5. My Dad remarried just before I turned 6. I gained two brothers and one sister through my Step-Dad. He is 19 years older then my Mom. Since his kids were already grown and out of the house I never got close to any of them. I gained one brother and one sister through my Step-Mom. I am as close to them as I am to my brother, since I grew up with them (at least every other weekend and one month every summer).
I didn’t really do well in school until high school. I think it had something to do with getting involved in sports. I gained confidence in myself running cross-country and track. (And high school just seemed easier to me) I took honors classes in math and science. I attempted honors English my sophomore year, but failed that miserably.
I only had one boyfriend in high school. He didn’t even go to my school. He went to school in the town where my Dad lived. I don’t even remember how long we dated, but I do remember that he kissed my sister while we were dating!
My going to college story is nothing like Papa Moose’s. I wanted to go to New Mexico Tech. It is geared to math and science. They were going to give me a (small) scholarship. The out-of-state fees were minimal (compared to the high cost of housing where I ended up going). My parents did not want me going that far away and they were worried about the out-of-state costs. I finally gave in and ended up going to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I guess someone up stairs had a plan in mind, since I met my future husband there.
The summer between high school and college I hung around with my brother, his girlfriend and her sister. It turns out that she (the sister) was already a student at UCSB. I ended up being in the same residence hall with her. We became good friends. She brought me to Gaucho Christian Fellowship (part of InterVarsity). Through her and that group I was introduced to this guy nicknamed Moose (because there were so many Michaels). Well, I cried on his shoulder at a conference (he was lost from then on). We went on one date, Halloween night. The date was fine. There was nothing wrong with Moose. I just had a crush on another guy we knew.
I did still see Moose every now and then. We were even in the same wedding party between my sophomore and junior years. Now, Moose will tell you the funny part about that wedding. You see, I requested that the bride make sure I didn’t get paired up with Moose because I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea! I still get teased about that one. I don’t even think Moose knew that until after we got married.
I dated a couple guys in college. I even went to “pre-engagement” counseling with one of them. Neither of the relationships was healthy by any stretch of the imagination. I did learn a lot about myself and I did have a lot of growing up to do before I was really ready for a long-term commitment.
I lived in three different cities the summer after I graduated college before I finally ended up back in Santa Barbara. The bride (from the above story) got divorced and I moved in with her and another friend.
I had a couple temp jobs before getting an interview at a manufacturing company. I was hired as a temp receptionist. Within months they hired me directly to work in accounting. After several promotions I finally ended up being the assistant controller for my last three years there!
There was one major event in the first couple years after graduating from college. My Grandfather (on Dad’s side) was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, the doctors only found where the cancer had spread. They could not find the original source of the cancer. Therefore, they could not fight it directly. In January 1997 the doctors found the cancer had spread to his lungs and gave him one year to live. I vowed that I would spend a lot of time with him during that year. I was never really close to him and really wanted to get to know him during that year. Four days later I got a phone call at work that they found the cancer in his brain and gave him two weeks to live. That night my brother and I drove down to the hospital to see him. He was already losing his speech, but he still started singing a song in Swedish after we started it in English. That weekend I spent all day Saturday with him and the family. He had a hospital bed at home in the living room. Even though he was hard to understand (his brain was already shutting down), he still had a great sense of humor. He told me I wasn’t a good Swede because I didn’t drink coffee. He died fourteen days after the discovery of the cancer in his brain, just as the doctors said. They finally discovered (a lot of good it did then) that the original cancer was melanoma, but they never did find where it originated. It was a very hard time for me. I will always regret not being close with him or even knowing much about him.
At that time I was actually going to the same church as my friend’s ex. On Easter Sunday 1997 the ex brought his new (returning) roommate to church with him. That is when I saw Moose again. We went out to “catch up.” A few weeks later we had the “I am not ready for a relationship right now” talk. Within weeks we were actually dating (now this is 5 ˝ years after our first date). It was interesting at first since I was living with the ex-wife of his roommate.
Moose says I put all the pressure on him. After we had been dating about 5 months I told him that I would say yes. Those were not my intentions. A few days after we had gotten back from my uncle’s wedding at Lake Tahoe, Moose called me at work. He told me he wanted to go celebrate because his department had gotten some really good scores for something (I don’t remember what). He mentioned dinner at the place where we had our first date. It was almost six years to the day since our first date. I kind of thought that maybe he was going to propose. I even looked to see if I could see anything bulging in any of his pockets on the walk from the car into the restaurant. Moose tells the story better than I do. He did a good job of making me think he wasn’t going to propose. He talked about what he was supposed to look for in a ring once he started looking (carat, quality, etc.). He had me fooled. He went to the restroom. He came back another way so that he came up from behind me. He slid to his knee. The waitress was coming from the other direction and promptly turned around when she saw what he was doing. Later she came back and asked us if we had just gotten engaged. We told her we had. She actually cried. It was really fun at work the next day showing off my ring!
We were married six months later. We got a great apartment that was exactly halfway between our respective workplaces. The only bad part was the schedules. Moose was on a retail schedule and I was on a Mon-Fri 8-5 schedule. We rarely saw each other on the weekends. He finally left Sears and got a “real” job. It was so nice to actually spend time together.
Our first goal when we got married was to be out of debt before our first anniversary. We paid off the last credit card about a week before our anniversary. It felt great to accomplish that. Our next goal was to save up to buy a house. We moved in to our house a couple months before our second anniversary.
Now, when we got married we agreed that we weren’t going to discuss having children until we had been married at least two years. We wanted to be able to get used to living together and have time with just us before we gave up our freedom. During this whole time I kept needing to have what we called “baby fixes.” I had to hold a baby every now and then to keep the urge at bay. As soon as we hit our second anniversary I was ready to go. It was a few months before we actually decided to go for it.
The first six months of the pregnancy were great! There were no problems. At six months I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to drastically change my diet. The good thing is that I was able to control it without having to take insulin. At 33 weeks, the little one decided he wanted to come early and we had to make a trip to the emergency room. We spent the night in the hospital. After a couple shots and some pills they sent us home. I was still having six contractions an hour when I went home, but they were subsiding and getting less intense. I spent the last seven weeks of the pregnancy at home. It turned out to be a blessing because I actually got to enjoy the pregnancy. I had been working 50-60 hours a week, not including the commute to work (one hour each way). Mooselet was born one day before his due date. I went from 5 to 10 centimeters in less than two hours. Thank God for drugs!
I won’t go into Mooselet’s problems. Most of you already know about all of that. We certainly had an interesting welcome to parenthood, that’s for sure. We couldn’t have made it through without the support of family and friends.
I had to go back to work. I knew that as soon as my boss got back from her maternity leave that I would be looking for a job closer to home. It took about nine months, but I finally have a new job. Mooselet no longer spends two hours a day in a car seat!
Well, this is much longer that I thought it would be. Thank you for wading through it!
Tammy and anyone else who doesn't know the saga-
Here is an excerpt from our Christmas letter for 2001:
On June 10th, at 4:20 AM, a small boy (7 lbs. 4 oz. and 20”) came into the world. After much deliberation and argument, he received the name Carl Vincent. As it turns out, this was indeed his first choice. The delivery required forceps and an episiotomy, but went well. Carl was born with clubbed feet. We later found out that this was almost unavoidable, as his father, uncle, great-grandfather, some first cousins once-removed, and who knows how many other relatives also had them, at least to some degree. The hospital’s social worker couldn’t understand why the parents were taking it so calmly until he found this out. Carl got casts put on his legs after a couple of weeks to start straightening them.
At 1 month, his parents got a scare. After conversation with the doctor on call, we drove up to Santa Barbara and brought Carl to the emergency room. We panicked when we saw that the wait was an hour and a half, but were relieved to find that the doctor had called and reserved us a room. After several attempts to draw blood and get an IV line in, he went up to the pediatric intensive care unit, where they cut off one of his casts and put a central line in his leg. Several days and numerous tests later, it was determined that there was a blockage in his urinary tract (a posterior valve), which was causing pressure buildup and reflux. This had resulted in a urinary tract infection, which spread to his bloodstream through his kidneys. Since there are no pediatric nephrologists (kidney specialists) between San Francisco and Los Angeles, we found we would need to transfer him to Children’s Hospital L.A. for further treatment, but we stayed in Santa Barbara until the infection was under control. Once at Children’s, we saw the nephrologist and the surgeon, and found that Carl would require a vesicostomy, which he got 3 days later. He now has a hole about an inch below his bellybutton (a super-pubic drain!) from which he urinates pretty much non-stop. After about a year, they will remove the blockage, and he will return to indoor plumbing. And, oh yeah, Michael’s company decided they’re going to close entirely. (And by this time, he’s now doing the jobs that 9 people used to do, and hasn’t had any compensation change.)
Between 2 and 3 months, Connie went back to work, and Carl went to daycare. We all survived, barely.
At 3 months, it was determined that continued casting would not correct the problem with Carl’s feet, and that he would need surgery, which would take place at about 6 months (currently scheduled for December 28th).
At 4 months, Carl got his 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th plane rides (to spend a week in New York). Other passengers on the plane rides were amazed at how well behaved he was. He had a wonderful time in New York, but wishes he had stood underneath Niagara Falls with his parents, and that mom hadn’t gotten so sick while she was there.
At 5 months, still bitter about his not getting any Halloween candy, Carl went to Arizona for Thanksgiving, and made a wonderful self-watering centerpiece. He also hit a record, soaking through three sets of clothes on the same day.
At 6 months, Carl had another urinary tract infection, regarding which Connie and Michael are now experts. The doctor switched him from Trimox to Keflex, and he’s doing well. Soon we will celebrate our first Christmas as a family of three. We’ve been blessed throughout the year, with support from friends, family, and God (not necessarily in that order). Thank you for your continued prayers. We trust that next year will be slightly less eventful, though no less enjoyable.
Back to now...
Carl's foot surgery went great. He had to wear casts for 12 weeks. There were two cast changes, but they were done as out patient surgery. He is walking now, but his feet are turning in again and he is walking on the edges of his feet. We go back to the orthopedist on October 11th.
Carl is currently scheduled to have his urinary tract fixed and his bladder put back where it belongs on October 14th. We are hoping he does not get sick between now and then so we don't have to reschedule it.
Wonderful post. Much better than Papa Mooses, actually ( ).
Anyway, um... do you still live in/near Santa Barbara?
I grew up there. I miss it terribly except that there's no way I could actually afford to live there. My mom had a condo on the beach until very recently (about 2 miles North of Stern's Wharf). It was so cool. We held our own wedding reception there.
We live an hour south of Santa Barbara (Camarillo). Moose still commutes up there every day. We commuted together until I got my new job. We loved it up there, but since we wanted to buy a house, we had to find someplace else to live.
I'm so glad to hear your side of this wonderful story!
You must know that the beautiful Mooselet will be in my prayers. Funny for me to say that, since I'm fairly confused about religion at the moment... but I do pray for my friends, and people who need strength and help that I know I can't supply. And, I'm a mommy, so all mommies automatically have my sympathy.
I know what it's like to have a little one with medical problems. My oldest needed surgery as an infant, but due to incompetent medical opinion, didn't get it until he was almost 2 and a half (and nearly potty-trained). It was very traumatic, and set the potty-training back by at least a year.
As hard as it must be to see one so small have to have surgery, it's best to get on with it, I think.I'll be thinking of you all. (knows Papa hates the smilies, but can't help it)
Ok, a follow-up. First, it should be made clear that that's a past-tense "put" there -- I'm not claiming she always puts the pressure on me, I'm claiming that she did that time. I should also be clear than I am not now claiming that that's the only time I've accused her of doing it.
In addition to telling me that she would say yes, she said that she trusted me to know when the right time was. That is where the pressure came in.
Since you've kept your maiden name, what does Mooselet go by? Does he use his father's last name, i.e. Mooselet Moose; His mother's last name, i.e. Mooselet Squirrel; Or is his last name hyphenated, i.e. Mooselet Squirrel-Moose?
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