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!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Going back

I have moved 13 times since I was a kid. My parents sort of started a thing where once we move, we just cut all ties and go. We never go back to visit friends. It just makes the transition harder. If you keep hanging on to what and who you knew at your last home, you won't be able to move forward and make friends at your new home. So I have pretty much adhered to that until this past weekend.

My first visit back to Atlanta. I went to stay with my friends Paul and Sara. They have come to visit us multiple times, but I just haven't been back to Atlanta. I decided it was finally time.

Sara knows my rule and thusly got a bit nervous when we turned onto my old street. (We know Paul and Sara because they used to live directly across the street from us.) I was excited to see our old house. When we pulled up I cried. The young woman who lives there now has put a lot of work into it. It looks just beautiful. She has really brought the house to it's full potential - just as I knew it could be. It is the cutest little cape cod. It just oozed potential when we bought it. I cried because my first thought was "Oh! I can't wait to call Jim!"...of course he's not here to call. Although other people saw the house as we worked on it, I don't think they can comprehend all the planning and discussions and love we had for that house. (Me perhaps a bit more than Jim.) We really spent a lot of time walking around the neighborhood, looking at houses, thinking about where we wanted to go with the house. Of course we opted to leave Atlanta for a better quality of life in WI. But there was so much emotion wrapped in that house. Rachel was born in Atlanta - that was her first home. We put a lot of blood sweat and tears into the kitchen. (Jim perhaps a bit more than me.) We had such plans for the upstairs. I think Jim was the only one that could understand the emotion I felt when I saw the house for the first time in nearly 4 years.

Being in Atlanta didn't make me sad like I thought it would. Jim was r.e.a.l.l.y. over Atlanta by the time we left. The week before we left we were sitting in our living room and watched a homeless guy steal Rachel's purple plastic ball off our front lawn. Why any grown man would want a purple plastic ball I have no idea, but that pretty much capped off our years in Atlanta for Jim. He always thought there were too many people in Atlanta. Personally I loved it. I loved all the action in the city. It was calming for me to hear the traffic, the sirens, and know there were people around all the time.

This winter I have threatened to move back to Atlanta several times. I've thought about it a lot. (I've also thought about moving to Austin although I've never been there.) I know I'm starting to get antsy for a move. For my entire life I've moved every two or three years on average. We even moved during our six+ years in Atlanta - we moved two blocks from our first house into the adorable cape cod. I know I won't want to stay in Kohler forever. This is a great place to raise a family but I am struggling through this winter. Being in Atlanta made me long for some place warmer. The good news about Kohler is that it's relatively bug free. Cockroaches can survive a nuclear blast but they can't survive a winter in the frozen tundra...

We threatened to move the entire time we lived in Atlanta. We looked and looked. When this job came open for Jim at International Paper and they agreed to move us to Kohler, we knew we'd struck gold. Jim never would have left IP. He loved his boss Wayne and he had four other designers (one was his mentor) that he truly respected and considered good friends. But now the real reason that bound me to this location is gone. I'm starting to think about a move. It could literally be years until I get around to it. But I can feel it coming. Whether it's to Atlanta or Austin or some location out west, I'm starting to mentally prepare myself to go.

A move to me represents a fresh start. If I make it through nursing school I would love to work at a really big hospital. I can always come back to Kohler, but I would like to get that kind of experience under my belt. As much as I would like to think that I'll be able to stay here for the rest of my life, I have to admit that I have way too much wanderlust for that. I would like my kids to have more life experience than is available to them in Kohler. I guess taking each day as it comes is the right thing to do. I hate thinking about these things and making plans without Jim. It just doesn't seem right. My best friend, my lover, my sounding board, my partner in crime isn't here to feed the excitement. Of course if I went back to Atlanta I would have good friends to feed my excitement and help me plan. But it's just not the same without the guy I love so much.

It was a good trip back. It got me thinking. It got me going. It got me really contemplating my plans for the future. I have been doing that, but seeing Sara and Paul helped me realize that it's okay to go back. It's okay to keep old friendships while forging new ones. It's okay to appreciate Kohler for what it is and still want to move elsewhere. Because heaven knows I've only been here for nearly 4 years and the winters are already starting to get to me. I don't know how many more I can survive! :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Don't want to go it alone

My niece posted a blog a while ago with song lyrics that really get to me. It's an unlikely source - a band called Nickelback. I'd heard the song a few times, and I knew right what song my niece was talking about when she posted it. Nickelback is not a group I would normally listen to, because, well, I'm not cool. But this song seems to fit. The chorus is:

`Cause nobody wants to be the last one there.
'Cause everyone wants to feel like someone cares.
Someone to love with my life in their hands.
There`s gotta be somebody for me like that.

`Cause nobody wants to do it on their own
And everyone wants to know they┬┤re not alone.
There's somebody else that feels the same somewhere.
There`s gotta be somebody for me out there.

We all know that Valentines Day is a fake holiday. It shouldn't matter. For me and Jim, it really didn't. We weren't much into celebrating contrived little holidays like that. Love was something I thought Jim and I celebrated every day. Not like we were ultra lovey dovey every day, but I still don't think we wasted love. In any case, I had a date for last night but a stomach virus swept through my household and I couldn't go.

Valentine's Day mattered this year. I'm not sure if it's because I ended up sitting there with my parents watching a movie last night, or because I'm without my spouse, or because I got sick, or because I didn't get the choice to go out. One of my many, many, many pet peeves is feeling like I don't have a choice. I didn't have a choice last night and that annoyed me.

There's something distinctly wrong with sitting in with your parents on Valentine's Day. And even worse - my parents have a very healthy relationship. (Read: they drive it like they stole it and have been for 40 years...) So I doubt quite seriously that sitting there with their stomach virused daughter was high on their agenda! Although - Jim and I took after them in that aspect - they don't place a high priority on a fake holiday because they live love every day. So maybe it was just another day to them.

My folks were in town because there was a Father-Daughter dance at the school and my Dad took Rachel. It was really sweet. He was very honored - he bought her a beautiful little necklace and a corsage. He wore a suit and she wore a cute little party dress. They looked adorable! I am so grateful that he was here to take her. She didn't seem to notice that he was the only grandfather there. Which I guess is a good thing. They went with a little group of friends - my friends Ken, Mark and Tom and their daughters. My Dad knows all those guys and their wives so it was nice that he got to go and didn't have to hang out alone. Especially because he said that they got to the dance and Rachel dropped him like a hot rock! Apparently she danced one or two dances with him and spent the rest of the time in a kindergarten conga line. How nice that I have such a resilient child. A girl that appreciates her family and is just happy to be doing the things everyone else gets to do. She was delighted being there with her Grandpop. She didn't mention her father, but I know he must have been on her mind. This weekend she asked me a few questions about cremation and why I wear his ashes in a necklace.

I know I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life, but I also know I don't want to settle. I gotta tell ya, there's a lot of mediocrity out there. Which is hard to accept once you've had the best. I don't want my kids to grow up without a significant male role model. It's a good thing I have my parents here. And that's the thing. My father is among the most dynamic male role models I can think of. He's pure gold. As was Jim. Where in the world will I ever find someone like that again? When I do find it, will I feel good about not celebrating a fake holiday again? Because this is ridiculous. Who cares about Valentine's Day? I do. I do for me, I do for my kids. It's all about perspective.