This blog is for Jim Marventano's family and friends to review his status and updates while he goes through treatment for Stage IV Colon Cancer. We can beat it together!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes

Today I was getting ready to go to the gym and I could hear Rachel talking to Jake around the corner:

R: Just stay away from her Jake, she's crabby.
J: Yeah.
R: She's crabby because Daddy died.
R: She's just crabby. You might want to stay away from her.

Kate: Um, Rachel, are you talking about me?
R: Yes. You're crabby because Daddy died aren't you?
K: Well, I'm not crabby right now. But the fact that Daddy died is enough to make anyone crabby, don't you think?

R: *I knew it.* She's crabby. Just stay away from her Jake.

The funny thing is - I really wasn't crabby! (Although admittedly I did get pretty crabby this afternoon...)

Missing Jim is enough to make anyone crabby. Lately I've been working hard on moving forward with some of my goals. And although they are all positive changes, they're still hard to make.

It's fall again and we're just past the one year mark. I sort of feel like this is an opportunity to start anew. It's almost like a new year. I don't remember what the weather was like at this time last year. Actually, I don't remember much from September 17th until around Thanksgiving. I know I was busy and doing things...but I can't remember what. Or how. Or who with. Or what the weather was like.

Jim used to bring out his flannel shirts around now. Fall was always like a new beginning for him. He loved it when the air cooled off. I'm going to follow in his footsteps. It's time for a new beginning for me, too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Swishy Pants

I was thinking about buying some new exercise clothes today, wondering what the shorts in the catalog felt like. Are they cotton? Poly? Or swishy?

Then I actually laughed out loud. Jim had a penchant for swishy pants. I call them swishy pants because the material makes that swish, swish, swish as you walk. I never understood Jim and the swishy pants. I think he put some on once and got such a kick out of my reaction to them that he just kept wearing them. Swish, swish, swish.

Saturday morning: swish, swish, swish *giggle* - I know he thought it was just hilarious. You could almost hear him snickering as he walked.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Celebrating Jim

Here we are on the 17th. I can't believe it's been a year. It's been the longest year and the shortest year of my life. (Although I said that during his year of treatment, so it's a toss up.) Leaning more toward the long side. It was a rough road without Jim.

When I started the day, I intended to be totally positive. But you know what got to me? Wal-Mart. We were out of some staples and I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up milk, juice, etc. I sat in the car for a minute and watched the people go in and out at 8:15am - busy as can be.

Don't these people know what day it is?

On this day last year, we lost the person I loved most in the world. On this day last year, his parents felt the dull roar in their hearts that continues to this day. On this day last year, we lost a daddy, a son-in-law, a brother, a brother-in-law, an uncle, a friend.

On this day last year I was stricken with grief for the life lost, and relief for my dear husband who struggled through a year of intensive treatment.

This day last year did not sum up the whole of Jim's life. It was a fleeting moment in his existence that was a life magnanimous.

Today although we mourned the loss of Jim, we also chose to celebrate his life. We did a balloon release with a bunch of Rachel's little friends from school. It was wonderful. Brief - but wonderful. I didn't think I could handle a long party with 30 kids running around, so we shortened it down to 45 minutes. That was plenty long! The kids played on the swingset and in the neighbors yard, they ran around, colored pictures and tied them to balloons. We let the balloons go around 4:00. It was beautiful.

The kids might not know exactly what this day means. The people that shopped at Wal-Mart, went to work, or took a vacation today didn't know what this day meant. Life goes on and moves forward. We are moving with it. For some of us, the day was a little slower today. Not every moment was crystal clear in our minds. We felt sickened with sadness and grief, knowing that a full year has passed after we lost someone we love. Gradually our lives will pick up. We'll move at the same pace as the current life that everyone else is living. But for today, we were destined to drift - to float like a balloon.

Rachel's balloon release was just the thing for today. A celebration of Jim, sending notes to heaven to tell him we love him. I believe we'll drift for a while, but eventually life will pull us back.

Miss you, Lambchop.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Doing things for me

So when I posted my epiphany blog on August 17, I guess I didn't realize how much I was effected by the revelations of that day until a little later. I decided that it's time to do some things for me. I came up with two biggies.

1. I joined a gym. With babysitting. It's a really nice gym. I resisted joining in the past because I felt like I should be working out/be a member at the YMCA for my kids. But Rachel is at school full time now, and two years ago Jake got norovirus while he was in babysitting there. (I can't prove it, but I swear it's true.) Any babysitting is yuck, but the Y really pushes my limits. Anyway, this babysitting is much nicer. Also, I am freaked out by working out in Kohler. Because:
a. I really want to just work out. I don't like to stand there and chit-chat while I'm all sweaty and miserable. And,
b. I'm filled with dread at the notion of pretty much everyone I know seeing me work out, all sweaty and miserable. And 80% of the Village of Kohler belongs to this gym. And about 50% of Sheboygan.

I tried walking/running outside with Jake, but he can only make it around 2 miles before he starts to melt down. I was miserable walking him and it finally got to the point where I was just avoiding the walks altogether.

So far I've lost 4 lbs. Since September 5. Not too bad. Enough to make me keep going! And although it's a drawback that I know a lot of people there, it can also be an advantage in that if I stop going eventually people will say to me "Hey, I haven't seen you at Sports Core lately...?" Guilt. Great motivation. And, my friend Lisa gave me great advice..."If you don't want to chat, just keep your iPod on the whole time." So far, so good.
I've felt selfish leaving Jake in babysitting in the past. I don't feel that way anymore. Something lit the lightbulb in my head and I got it. He seems to have a lot of fun at this babysitting, which helps my psyche and my guilt a lot. He marches right in there with his little Diego backpack and he's ready to rumble.

2. I bought a car. On eBay. It's a 1979 VW Beetle Convertible. Here's a pic!

It might sound rash (because I haven't mentioned it to many people - see paragraph below on why), but in reality I've been doing research for more than a month. Did you know that eBay is the #1 car dealer in the country? And that they sell more cars before 9:00am than the average dealership sells in a year? And typically the cars are exactly as described on eBay, because the sellers need to keep up their feedback rating so that others will buy from them. And eBay has a $50,000 Buyers Protection Program. So if something is vastly wrong with the car and it poops out in the next 30 days, I will be refunded the money.

A 1979 Beetle gets about 25 miles to the gallon. Do you know what I'm driving now? A Chevy Tahoe that gets around 16 miles to the gallon. But I didn't buy it for the gas mileage. I bought it for me. For fun.

I know what's coming on Wednesday. And if I'm going to meltdown all day (hopefully I'll be okay, but there's bound to be tears shed at some point) then I'll be darned, I'm going to drive around crying in a fun car.

Before you say it, I'll address it - the reason I haven't told anyone is because I just don't want to hear it. No one ever asks a man who buys an old car how they're going to take care of it or what they'll do if it breaks down. I'm not going to be driving this thing cross country. I live in Sheboygan, people. If it breaks down I can walk home. And truthfully? I don't leave Kohler four days out of seven. So then no matter where I might break down in Kohler, it's a half mile home. Maybe .75 if I get crazy and drive over to the "south side" of Kohler

I've always had a thing for cars. I guess it started with my first car - a convertible Cavalier - we named him Jerry. I have relationships with my cars. For some people, a car is for getting from Point A to Point B. (I'm looking at you, Judi!) For me, a car is like another home. It's a reflection of my personality. (It doesn't have to be a status car, but it does have to be a good color - take into consideration my poop-brown Chevy Cavalier that I disliked immensely.) It's someplace I can go to be alone. Or to listen to my music - loud. I've always considered driving a privilege. I take care of my cars (except the interior of the Tahoe, which always seems to be littered with Goldfish crumbs. Or worse). And I really enjoy driving them.

A VW wasn't my first choice. My first choice was a 1969 Camaro - black. But this one? It's already at $24,000. And they can get really pricey. This one would be cheap. Jim was so excited when I told him I wanted a Camaro. And then we started looking at them. Jim nearly fell over when he saw the prices and told me to forget it. He also found it very humorous that I wanted a Camaro. He used to tease me and say "Kate, a Camaro isn't going to make you a bad a$#." I know. Sort of. But maybe it would. And wouldn't it be fun to be a bad a$#? A VW Beetle? Does not project bad a$#. Maybe it's a good thing. Because I could see me really getting into the speed of a Camaro. I'm guessing the Beetle doesn't go really fast. It probably goes 0-60 in about 5 minutes. But it's so cute!

The thing is that Jim and I have talked about a fun car for years. He nearly cried when my folks sold the Fiat I was driving. (It was their car, on loan to me permanently for around 2 years.) And at the beginning of August I found a book in the basement that Jim must have bought years ago - "How to Rebuild Your VW Engine". That sort of kicked off me thinking about it. And then I saw one while Up North and I knew that's what I wanted to do for myself.

I wrestled for a long time with how I would feel driving the car without Jim. After all, it was one of our plans together. But I shot sporting clays this summer without him and although I was sad, it felt really good. I wrestled with whether or not people would think I'm grieving "enough" or the "right way" if I got the car before a year was up. But then I decided that it's sort of like what people say about having a baby - "there's never a perfect moment". Will the car make me less sad? Nope. Will I grieve less? Nope. I'll just be driving in a car that's fun for me. And if I could let the grief go for the daily 10 minutes I buzz around Kohler with the top down, then wouldn't that be a good thing?

Wednesday is coming and I feel sad in my heart. I miss him something terrible. I've eaten my way through the summer in grief. And I don't want to be a fattie driving around in my VW. So I'm going to drive my new car over to my new gym and work out. And that's that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The new Cabelas and L.L. Bean catalogs came today in the mail. Jim loved getting those thick fall catalogs. He used to sit down with a red Sharpie marker and circle the things he wanted. Um, yeah - he did that as an adult. Sometimes he was bold enough to mail the whole L.L. Bean catalog to his mother with the circlings.

I miss him today.