One Year Later

So thought I would carry on with the last post…

Belize, as I said, was amazing. My husband and I got some much needed ‘us’ time away from everything. I got my sun and he got to release mentally. Belize itself was an amazing experience. We will definitely be back!

After spending a little over 2 weeks there we hopped back to the US to the in-laws. I missed my daughter a lot, but was always at ease because she was in amazing hands, and around people she needs to get to know. Prior to the flight and right up until we walked through the door I had an old fear come back…will she remember me? I know it seems a little silly, but it goes back to something I think I talked about in a post somewhere way back…when I came out of the coma and was finally at a point where I could see my daughter she responded to my best friend…not me. When I got home she responded to my best friend…not me. It crushed me. I could tell my friend was worried about it…but we did talk and I thanked her, to which I think she was fairly surprised at first. I admitted it was hard to see that reaction from my daughter, basically seeing someone else as a mother figure, but that what it told me was that She had truly stepped in…moved a thousand miles and been there for my child…nurtured her as her own…and that is nothing short of an amazing act! None the less, I still have those moments entrained in my mind, and while I am eternally grateful for the people in my life being there in this manner, it still scares me that I have missed so much of her infancy and that fear of her bonding more with another is always present. Part of that is my relationship, or lack there of, with my own mom, and I know it is in my head…I guess it is healthy because it is a reflection of how much I want to be there for her and to be her guidance and go to person.

Anyways, we spent some more time in the southern US…even more time in the sun…YAY. His family is so great to be around. They are all VERY close and have an amazing home, and are just good people all around. I did get to see a scary dynamic though…something I have never witnessed…my husband and his brother…just…just wow! There is always tension there to some degree…I think my husband gets a little frustrated with his brother. The entire family are professionals…except the brother. He is a free spirit. His ambition is finding the next good time…hitting the beach or a party or the next woman in the sack…whatever. Anyways, out of seemingly nowhere they start fighting…and I mean fricken fighting! I have brothers…I have seen fights…but there are 2 guys who are gym nuts and no how to fight. Fists flew…stuff broke…there was blood………………it was just stunning! Still no idea on what actually started it, when I asked they just laughed…2 bloodied men just laughing….looking at each other and saying lets go golf! WOW. I really don’t know what to make of it. In one hand it was funny and kind of awesome that they could shrug it off and then hang out immediately after…on the other hand it scares me on so many levels I don’t even know where to start. Afterwards, when me and their mom were hanging out, she simply said “Yeah, they are like that. They show they care about each other with fists.” Really hard to wrap my head around, because it seems sooooo displaced for this family.

Anyways, since this we have returned home and enjoyed a super early spring. I have been progressing really well and enjoying messing around in the yard and taking kiddo out in the sunshine. Right now everything just seems perfect…tis great. I am probably in the best shape of my life. I have been going mad in the gym and have fricken stunning abs! My blood tests are showing stability for the time being, but I know we are going to have to deal with it all again soon enough. My daughter had a spinal tap (something I simply couldn’t be there for…it was too much for me) and there is nothing over the top. There are some numbers they want to watch and intend to do a couple taps a year. They are saying she is a high risk person for a Leukaemia outbreak, so we are going to monitor it all very close. If something does progress…we want to be all over it. The only thing that has been hampering me of late is that it is coming up on the one year anniversary of my sleep…and that has been causing me to miss out on some sleep…which is probably why I am writing out my thoughts. Basically 2 weeks from now is when it all happened…will be relieving when July long weekend comes and goes!


Beautiful People

When times get tough we generally anticipate, or at least hope, that those closest to us will be your supports system, as you would be theirs in their time of need. It is so true that in the darkest of hours that the brightest of lights will guide you and be your security, and further that a lot about those around you will be truly shown. you will see those that shock you with how much they offer their ear or a hand, those that are there if you really need them, those that are not their as much as you anticipated and those that you never really thought would be there but become someone special in your life when the tide eventually recesses a little.

When I awoke from the coma and started to really wrap my head around the severity of the situation I eventually started to think about a lot of things, such as the business that I had been growing. So, I had started delving into real-estate, and had jumped in full force with an initial purchase of 11 houses to work on, essentially flip. I keep a steady crew of people pretty busy…one crew (call it Crew A) working on demo on a house and getting ahead of the next crew (Crew B). Crew B works mainly on plumbing, electrical, rough-in work, etc. Crew A comes back and works more on final constructions such as dry-walling, perhaps a deck, sometimes flooring. Crew C focuses on finishing…painting, most of the flooring, yard details. This seems to keep everyone pretty happy, because there is some level of diversity, yet there is enough repetition that they get a little more efficient on every house. In the end, we are working on any given 3 houses, and the timing of interchanging the crews gives freedom of project space, plus with 3 crews they can shuffle a person from one to the other when needed, and if there is a delay on something it is very easy to shuffle people around and keep them working, and thus happy and not looking for a new job.

It seems to be a pretty efficient model, not sure how I came up with it with zero construction experience, but I did. I was also pretty luck because I landed a pretty darned group of trades guys right off the hop, and they seemed content to stick with me, and realized I was going to be going at this aggressive enough to keep them all going for some time. Getting a good group of construction guys here is very difficult, as the economy has been booming for over a decade. Even in the recession, it never really slowed down, and it is near impossible to find workers for anything. I have heard it can be hard to find people that even have time to bid on a job, never mind actually DO it. Some larger industrial and commercial jobs have actually been put off due to lack of work force, and the billion dollar jobs are flying people in from all over. It is rather insane.

So anyways, one of the guys, Ji, working with me is basically the foreman running all of the crews, and actually found most of the guys to work. Part way through the initial 11 houses, Ji approached me to see if I would be open/interested in some sort of a partnership. Now, he had been awesome to work with…very knowledgeable, I got along with him well, the guys respected him and worked for him, and I really liked that he kept the atmosphere at each job light yet productive…I want an environment that people like working in. What I liked in the deal was that I generally trusted Ji and that I would not have to be there near as much, which is pretty cool. He would do full over-site without me actually continuing to give him direct payment, but wanted 20% of the profit. I liked the general idea and structure, but had some unrest. At 20% of the profit it would consume about 7-8% of my profits, but the huge trade-off is of course cutting my time at the jobs probably in half, which is worth it in my opinion. However, I countered him by requesting 40% take (yes, I know, more than he requested!), but he needs to put up 20% of the costs. There was then a progression on each new house where he would have to contribute more. My thought was that this gives him a bit more motivation to manage costs and more likely keeps his numbers true. My costs ramp up, the profit goes down and my margins drop, so does his take, and I know to start looking where the money is going. It is a way that if he can come up with the initial investment that he basically gets extra take-home compared to investment to start, and once he is stabilized he has double the stake in profits than he asked for, but he also takes on part of the risk, as he is investing cash in each project between initial investment, materials, labour, etc. This is a window to grow into a true partnership where he can make a lot more money, and it is a scale that he simply did not have the finances to do on his own. I know I could simply say no, or take his offer and would line my pockets a lot more, but I like this guy, and it just seems like a good fit. To my joy he found the money for initial investment and away we go!

So yeah, I kinda had to explain that portion of the business model to explain my concerns when I started wondering about where all of that was at after I came to. Of course nobody wanted me worrying about it, and just kept saying everything was fine. Ji even came to see me when he finally could and echoed what everyone else said. It really frustrated me…I had a lot of money invested in this, and while my health was the key focus it was still important. Now, the fact that Ji actually showed up, gave me some level of reassurance.

So finally, over 7 months after going into the hospital, people finally started bringing me up to speed on what had happened. The company had slowed a little without me around, as I was the primary person securing properties, but he still had it going along, and my husband and a friend would step in to secure the odd house that he would find. Here is the crazy part…he was not receiving full payment from MY end, but he stuck with it! He understood the situation, and was patient. I mean, the guy was out a LOT of money, and I immediately took him to the bank and got him half of it, and explained I would get the books in order and go over it all and make it good within about a week. He simply replied with a polite “no rush, I know you will fix it.” Seriously, how amazing of a person is this! Here is the even crazier part. When I finally got to go home I was in a wheelchair, and had all sorts of accessibility issues. It was Ji and some of the crew who, on their own time and dime, set up my ramps and worked on stuff in the house for me to be able to have access. I never new any of this until this week…I just assumed my husband hired someone to do all of that.

You know, I don’t know how I managed to team up with such great people in this, especially from day one, and while I clearly liked Ji and the crew, I had no idea how amazing they are. The world often upsets and saddens me. I often step back and look at the world, and it brings a tear to my eye. Then you see this…it makes you see the greatness that also surrounds us…it gives one hope. All I can say is thank-you…

Beautiful People!

Life’s Little Musings

Things swing fast at times. It is amazing how your momentum can swing just as fast!

It has been a crazy start to the new year, with things unfolding at rapid pace the past few weeks, and for the most part, that is pretty good for me on a personal level, and really making me think about things.

The single biggest change for me is I am finally able to get back in a pool, and I can feel it recharging my system with vibrant new energy. It is a sensation I have not had in some time, and it is empowering! It started with just building some general balance, then challenging muscles that have basically sat dormant.  That little bit of challenge to them REALLY seems to have them and my entire body responding.  I am able to walk about a little now, though I am using a walker if it is more than across a room, I can land a hop, and I can climb a couple of stairs!  My energy level has also  made things better at home, as I am interested in more than simply laying around.  We have company and go out for dinner, and just have a better quality of life now.  On a relationship level, we had been a little active, but the bedroom activity has definitely picked up, and that is really good.  I am blessed with a pretty patient man.

My talking voice seems to be getting nearer to normal, though I still struggle with singing, and it still kid of does it’s own thing at times, but really, it is a massive improvement and heading in the right direction!!

So as I started to return to some resemblance of my former life, my papa unloaded something on me as well.  He is considering retirement and wants me to start thinking about whether I want to take over the business or if he should start looking at potential successors.  I had kinda stepped away, but have been kept in the loop, and we had discussed the potential of my return in time, but this caught me off-guard.  I mean it is not shocking that he wants to retire at some point, the man has worked his ass off and has more money than he will ever spend in retirement…he deserves it.  I suppose it is more that it is hard to watch a parent, a man I have idolized and followed in his footsteps look at moving into the “golden years.”  It is a lot to process for me just being slapped with the reality that he is getting up there, but also that I love that company and would hate to see it go to someone else.  Here and now I am really torn.  We have started a whole new thing elsewhere with my new family, but I did love that life.  Lots to think about, but he said it was a few years out still, he just wanted the bug in my ear.  I suppose I need to evaluate the next year or so, see how the Meningitis recovery goes, which seems to be going well, then see where I am at with the Leukemia, plus talk with my husband and see where his career opportunities lay.  All so scary and exciting!

I have also been feeling well enough to start doing some visits to the children’s hospital again.  That is a great feeling to get to share some time with them again.  I met a girl the other day, Jamie, who I spent a few hours talking to.  We got along so well and just had a blast talking.  It scared the crap out of me how much she reminded me of myself when I was 12!  Her dad is a music teacher, her mom bailed when she got really sick, she has battle Leukemia and has gained a bunch of weight because of the meds prepping for her HSCT.  It is like I can read her mind!  I know exactly what she is thinking, because I have been there.  I think we may be kindred souls.  She looks at me and has a hard time believing I was in her shoes…I was and I had the same stance…nobody would ever love me, no guy would ever want to date me, I would never look good…SOOOOOO hard when you are that age…you are going through enough changes and developing and trying to cope with all of that, then THIS is thrown into the mix!  You change tenfold more!  So hard.  But I dug up a picture of me when I was her age, and as she said…if it wasn’t for the smile she would never know it was me.  I told her it is not easy, but battling through this will give her character and an appreciation for life that few others truly have.  She will get to where she wants to be, it will just take time and a lot of effort.  Next time I see her I am going to make her a promise…that when she is ready I am going to help get her there…I will be side by side working with her.

My daughter, well, she changes more and more every day.  People keep saying that she is definitely a mini-me.  Not sure if that is good or bad lol.  She does the cutest thing right now.  She is infatuated with reflections, and he own trips her out a little bit.  We have set this big mirror up at ground level and she will stare at it, then suddenly dodge to the side and look back and giggle, then sit there for like 5 minutes and do it again.  She totally looks back to see if the image is still there lol.  I am not entirely sure if she has figured out it is her, I think she knows but doesn’t entirely know how to process that yet.  I will sit there and point at my reflection an then myself, and go “mommy” to both, then do the same to her, and she seems to grasp that…though she gasps with a massive giggling smile, so who knows for sure!  She also likes to get up close to it and lick the reflection…too funny…and if you say “kissy” she will give her reflection a little smooch.

Looking forward to what the rest of the year reveals.

xox, LGOE

Dinner Resolution

Well, as a few of us sat around and chatted we came up with a bit of a New Years resolution so to speak. I try to come up with a new one every year, but my catch is to never make it something for myself, rather something that effects others. It is fairly easy to let yourself down by not sticking to it, and basically shrugging it off…it is a little harder when it was meant to help someone else in some fashion. I have traditionally done this by myself, but everyone really liked my train of thought on it all, and brought up pooling our efforts into something. The idea intrigued me a bit, but we all know how most resolutions work out, and this is actually something I have stuck with for a while. None the less, I stayed in the conversation, but insisted I would not commit unless an idea cam up that I was all in on.

Well, eventually an idea came up that perked my interest a little. Someone mentioned the idea of all of us picking some dates at the food bank / soup kitchen and helping out a few times. I must admit that this idea was appealing. A good cause that often needs extra hands, and a group of people such as ourselves could step in on occasion and give some much needed relief to regular volunteers.
This idea, I liked.

There was however a couple that actually did volunteer there fairly frequently, so we wanted to try to do something different. However, something interesting was eventually brought up. It was mentioned that when people, such as myself, are in the hospital that a lot of families miss out on the sit down meals together, especially for events like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Well, it made me think of the kids that I often go visit in children’s wards…I have done this very regularly (averaging at least once a week) for years, and it has always meant a lot to me…doing a lil makeup, playing a game, reading, just being there and talking…there was someone who came to visit when I was a kid sick in the hospital and it meant a lot to me, so has always been dear to my heart to return that. So I put it forward…let’s do New Years Day at the hospital. We can bring meals to people so they can eat with their kids, and the people that are waiting on someone in the CCU…well, we can just offer a smile and a nice meal with a few people.

I was really pumped when people got on board with the idea, because it was too big to do myself. Now, it was fricken cold out (like -30) so a couple people with motor-homes offered them up, and my husband arranged special parking for us. We pealed a pile of spuds, and away we went. Now, we kept it pretty simple…deep-fried turkies, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, carrots, perogies and buns.

I was so exited

we were all exited

this felt good.

Well, we roamed the hospital New Years Day, and brought people out in batches, and delivered a few meals as well. Lots of parents, grad parents, relatives, even a few doctors and nurses. Each time we set them up with a nice table and served them a good home-cooked meal. Strangers embracing each other around a table, and all of us so very excited and happy that we could bring a good moment in a time of struggle to people. Some people shared stories of having stayed in hotels through the holidays and missing Christmas and everything entirely while they looked over a given loved one…and for me, all I could do was offer them a huge hug and a tear or two, wish them all the best.

We got so many than-yous, and said the same thing to each…No, thank-you for sharing your time with us and the others that have joined in.

Such a wonderful day. It was one of the most fulfilling days of my life. I mean, it was hard to see all of those people in such a rough period, but seeing them smile or get a break from it all or meet new people and relax was really nice. I don’t do charitable work to document it to apply for a job or anything. I don’t do for my self joy either…I do it because it isn’t done enough, and I have been there and know how much it means to the people who receive it. I have always had a hard time sharing that I feel rewarded for doing it. I don’t generally talk about it lot, mainly because of that, and most of my friends don’t learn about it for ages. But people said a few things that stuck with me a bit…there is nothing wrong with it feeling rewarding and fulfilling…what is the point if it feels like a chore every time as it would simply equate to not doing it as often. Another said that perhaps I should share it more often to encourage others, but I don’t like that because I don’t want people thinking I am preaching to them and such…not everyone can afford time, some donate money because they don’t have the time, some don’t have either…nothing wrong with any of those scenarios.

Great way to start 2015!

17 Simple steps to curing a hangover – Advise on the first hangover of the year…erm…Jan 1st…Bad trend?

1 – Wake up.
2 – If you think you can boot, puke hard.
3 – Drink water till you feel weird.
4 – Lay down in bed on your back with hand on forehead.
5 – Wait like 3 minutes, rush to the bathroom and get sick again.
6 – Go back to sleep…for say like three more hours.
7 – Wake up and immediately start bitching to anyone around you. If nobody is around you, resort to social media. Note that if you resort to social media you will have to mock everyone’s posts.
8 – Make brunch plans and then blow them off, texting 5 minutes before you were supposed to show up.
9 – Drink a moderate amount more water.
10 – Complain more until you’re ready to go back to sleep. Remember…nobody has ever felt as bad as you do…they do not understand and don’t let them tell you otherwise!
11 – Sit upright in bed on your laptop and/or tablet and/or mobile around like 4 pm and start making dinner plans.
12 – Keep drinking water until you feel well enough to stand up.
13 – Now you can drink some cranberry juice…YAY. And yer…do go for the sweetened one, as you need sugar. Also, add a pinch of salt, unless you want power aide or such…eww.
14 – Show up late to dinner.
15 – Complain a lot about how much you feel like shit. Remember, nobody has ever felt as bad as you do…they do not understand and again…don’t let them tell you otherwise!
16 – Be a downer and pain in the ass throughout dinner, making everyone listen to your complaints of self-inflicted headache and nausea, until you sense they wish you hadn’t come at all. Then have a drink and mellow out!
17 – Question why you did not just do hair-of-the dog to start with, and enjoy your night out!

Works every time!!!

A Houseful

Well, it was a pretty busy holiday season, as I am sure most people can relate, tis the season and all. Having just gotten out of the hospital and not being sure if I actually would in time for Christmas, we were a little lost as to what to do. Do we stay down in the US and enjoy the warmth and his family? Do we fly to my dad’s? Do we simply go home? After a little pondering we decided that we just wanted to be together…our first Christmas together with just my husband, myself and our almost year old baby.

It is hard to believe she is almost a year old! It has been such a wretchedly chaotic year, and in basically a week she has her first birthday! It just amazes me how you blink your eyes and so much time passes by.

At any rate, we started talking to my dad, and ended up inviting them out. They were hesitant about coming but we poked at them long enough that they came. I was really happy that he agreed…yes…I admit that I am a bit of a daddy’s girl. What can I say, growing up he was my dad, my mom, and when I was sick as a kid he was my best friend for a few years, then we worked together…we are extremely close, and for me, in such a turbulent year having that foundation around at Christmas would just feel good.

Next my best friend, who has helped so damned much the past year I can’t imagine her not being here. Really she should have been the first one invited. And then it was my husband’s parents, and then brothers, and so on and so on. 17 guests lol. My dad and his significant other, my mom and hers, my husband’s parents, his brother and his other half, my best friend and her squeeze, both my brothers and their wives + 3 kids between them.


Now one of my conditions was that it is my house, my Christmas, I am the host, though admitted I would need some help…I simply couldn’t be on my feet long enough to do everything…and everyone agreed. So, for the first time in my life I became nervous about prepping a meal. I am sure most have been there, but lets put it this way…I stalked up on burgers just in case. It wasn’t that I seriously felt that I would ruin Christmas dinner, it was more nerves, and I knew I had a couple of pretty great cooks around to provide some guidance. I mean, I wanted to be pretty independent with it all, but I can also count the number of times that I have used an oven on one hand…chicken wings a couple times, fries once…and really I think that is it. A cook I am not.

Well, there were some tensions, too many cooks in the kitchen at times, but I think people knew I couldn’t handle the stress…they could see I was a bit of an emotional bubble about to burst, so people were actually pretty good, and at the end of the day I am pleased to say that things turned out amazing. Couldn’t have really asked for much better…a darned near perfect bird and stuffing, veggies were fresh and crisp, there was good conversation and spirits carried into the wee hours…even if I did have to sneak off and nap a couple of times.

I am pretty damned proud of myself, and extremely grateful for the most amazing friends and family. I can’t believe that everyone just up and dropped their holiday plans and flew in from thousands of miles away at essentially the last minute. While it started to become pretty stressful at times, it turned out amazing. The season is, for me, about friends and family, so while a cozy night with the 3 of us would have been terrific, this was the way it was supposed to be!

Sunshine and lollipops

F*** Leukemia

Yeah…Fuck it!

Been pondering the ribbon as a tattoo, and have seen some awesome concepts online.

I kinda like this one, though I am not really overly religious so:

I am thinking of maybe a fairly standard Leukemia ribbon and than some script with it.  Something a friend said might be kind of neat is to get the ribbon and have “SURVIVOR” on it on one side, and get it touched up with the same thing on the other side when I beat it again. Beyond that I am thinking of circling it with FAMILY FRIENDS … MY STRENGTH, MY COURAGE

Would really love to hear some ideas from people out there as I am still pondering it all, and not 100% sure it is what I will get.