Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's been a long time coming

Where have I been, you ask? Right here, but disengaged from the blogging world for a while. Needing time to come to terms with the circumstances of our lives here in the Swamp and beyond. It's been a very hard year, and I just didn't have the heart to write, but our lives have mostly resumed their hectic everyday struggles and the most welcome joys that lighten our hearts.

I was reading a few of my past posts and remembering the satisfaction that came from knowing that I got it right sometimes, that there is a writer lurking in me that needs nurturing occasionally, and that I miss the interaction of my talented fellow blogger friends. I realize that some of you will have given up on me and will have gone elsewhere, and that's okay, but I thought that some would like to know what has transpired since you last heard from me.

There is a lot of catching up to do.

Starting with Lauren, about whom I'm sure you are most interested, we finally had a smidgen of justice  in the case against Ms. Gough. She was charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, and failure of assured clear distance. She finally, after many months, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of vehicular manslaughter; the other two charges were dropped. After many more months, she was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 60 suspended; two years probation; two year license suspension; 200 hours of community service in a relevant capacity; $600 court costs; and, $7100 restitution to the family for funeral expenses. The judge read over 100 letters written to him by family, friends, and concerned citizens. Kelly also read a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking victim impact statement in front of the judge and Ms. Gough on the day of sentencing. We, of course, thought the sentence was very lenient, but felt that the judge probably did all that he could, considering what he had to work with. I hope that during her time in jail, Ms. Gough reflected on the damage she did to our family.

That damage is reflected in another direction. Jaye and Kelly separated in February and are now in the process of divorcing. The statistics for divorce in these kinds of tragedies are very high, and they didn't escape. There were underlying factors that had caused fractures in the marriage, and the tragedy of losing Lauren completely broke it. Nonetheless, it is a very sad situation, especially now that a new child is involved.

Matthew welcomed his baby brother Nicholas on June 1. Nicholas Ethan was born with Down Syndrome, although he doesn't seem to have any of the physical health problems that a large percentage of Down's babies have. He has no heart defects and his hearing is good, even though the ear canals are very small, and he will have to be monitored closely for wax buildup to prevent hearing loss. His eyesight seems to be good; he follows movement well. He is smiling a little and his muscle tone is quite good. He pushes himself forward when he is lying on his tummy. He is a darling little boy and such a joy to be around already. I know he will be our special little guy. Kelly is worried that because she is older, she won't be around to take care of him when he is an adult. I told her that's why he has such a loving and attentive big brother...Matthew will take care of him.

Aimee is still in the process of obtaining her divorce. It has been a messy and ugly situation. I won't go into the details here, but I will just say that we have had to call the police on two occasions and her ex (almost) has a no contact order against him. One reason the divorce is taking so long to process is that Aimee became pregnant. No, it isn't her husband's child. She met up with an old crush from high school, and another new grandchild will be born in December. She thought she was protected and that turned out to be not the case. The father will not be in the picture, as Aimee learned that one cannot go back in time and expect good results, at least most of the time. Life happens, whether we are ready for it or not.

Back on our little farm in the woods things are going very well. David's hip surgery in May had him down for about a month. And then he was back on his feet slowly conditioning, rebuilding lost muscle tone, and working on his endurance and stamina by walking a little farther every day. All the pain was gone, and the doctor said his hip was better than new! By the middle of August, he was up to 3 1/2 miles, which prepared him for his annual bowhunting trip to Colorado at the end of August. This time I went with him! We drove to Nebraska to pick up his friend Bob (his hunting buddy for 30 years), and then they dropped me off in Denver to stay with our friends, Judy and Paul, whom we have known since our days in Baton Rouge. I had a wonderful visit with them in their beautiful southwestern style home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

The view from the golf club restaurant at our friends' house.

Once we both got back home, and after catching up with stuff that doesn't get done while you're on vacation, we had a wonderful visit from Ruth and Don Mowry. (She, of synchronizing.) We had spent a few days with them in Michigan to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in July. They got to see our piled-up mess in the dining room; preparations for ripping out the nasty living room carpet and installing bamboo flooring. That project will have been completed at the end of today, and it only took us nine days! Well, that included my prepping and painting the room, so really just seven. Not too bad for old people! David says that he is done with floor laying for a while. I told him it's just like giving birth; you'll forget all the pain when you look at that wonderful finished project. I only have four more rooms for us to do. :)

Next on the agenda is a camping trip to the Hocking Hills with the oldest grandkids. We look forward to this one every year. They are so much fun. They're getting so big now; I'm not sure how long Nathan and Kaitlyn will be able to fit into those bunks.

Then we will have our annual couples weekend with David's cousin and his wife (one of my best friends) in the Hocking Hills, a greatly anticipated getaway for both couples. No kids, no animals...just shopping, walking in the woods and trails, eating (a lot!), and relaxing in the hot tub under the stars. It just doesn't get better than that.

It was a busy summer, and fall is shaping up to be just as jam-packed, with Scout activities, holidays, cutting wood for the woodburning stove, and planning for our new ventures come spring. I hope you are enjoying your autumn cool weather, after the extreme heat and drought of the summer. We certainly are.

See you later.