Filling In The Blanks
Sunday, August 14, 2022

Quite a lot of time has passed since I last made a blog post of substance that wasn't just a cut-and-paste share from Facebook. 2022 has been one of the rougher years I've had, and I didn't really wanna air my dirty laundry during the fact. I'll only be touching on the highlights now, because sharing details just isn't necessary.

Let's start from the beginning.

We moved to NC in May of 2020. "We" was me and Jarrod, Felix, Andy, Cassy and Rem. Jarrod got a job before we even moved, and did well with it while we were there. Within the first couple months, Cassy ended up coming back to Iowa and living with their dad. Since NC was locked down and had a mask mandate for all public places, Rem was only able to go to school virtually. Also because of the COVID procedures, Felix was only able to have about 3/4 of his therapy and /evaluation/exam appointments in person, the rest were all telehealth. And even more, I was unable to meet anyone in person to make friends. The entire year we were there was full of solitude for all of us except Jarrod. He was able to socialize with his co-workers, and even got too close with one of them, which sparked my very sudden insistence upon moving back to Iowa.

We came back to Iowa in May of 2021. We had a house lined up to move into in Des Moines, but since our moving situation did not go off without MANY hitches, our NC landlord was upset by the mess left in the kitchen, and called our would-be landlord in Des Moines and bitched about us, essentially leaving us homeless once we got here. Luckily, Rem was able to stay with their dad and Andy was able to stay with my mom. Felix and I stayed with a friend of mine and my mom until we could find a place. Jarrod stayed in a hotel and dealt with some personal family issues with his daughters. Within a couple weeks we were able to get into an apartment. It wasn't the place I wanted to be, but it was a roof over our heads until we could find something better.

Crappy apartment/townhouse in a horrible drug-ridden complex.

Brand new trailer before it was ready to move into.

A few weeks later we landed a brand new 3 br 2 ba trailer home in a trailer park. I was pretty excited about it at first, as it was brand new and I saw it as an opportunity to downsize so we could prepare ourselves to eventually buy a bus and convert it into a tiny home. However, as time progressed, it became very clear that downsizing was not a good idea while any of the older kids lived with us.

In September of 2021, I was cruising Facebook and a classifieds ad came up about a dog boarding facility vacant and for rent. I actually saw the ad several times and finally thought maybe that was a sign to inquire. So I did. I will call the owners "P" and "O." P and O showed me around, told me about the history of the business in the kennel, and told me their price and ideas. It seemed too good to be true, and I started planning and envisioning a future where I was a business owner, working with animals as I've always wanted to.

Then, one day in October I was driving past the house we lived in for 3 years before we moved away, and it was for sale (which I already knew), and I contacted a real estate agent. I never expected anything to come of it. I just wanted to go in and see it, and reminisce. However, with months of ups and downs and paperwork and phone calls... WE GOT THE HOUSE.

So in March of 2022, my older kids, Felix and I all moved into the house. Jarrod decided he needed some time away after our relationship had been on the rocks for nearly a year, and he stayed at the trailer alone.

Meanwhile, with the kennel, I was aiming to have it open by spring break, but the building failed the inspection and the owners and I had a long list of improvements to make to bring it up to code. There's a LOT more to that, but details aren't necessary.

Within a few weeks of living separately, Jarrod said he wanted a divorce, and so we both went our separate ways for a while. He had regular visits with Felix, and from my perspective things were going pretty well. He was seeing someone, and I was enjoying my independence. I had time to go do things I wanted to do, alone or with a friend, while Felix spent time with his dad. I reconnected with an ex briefly. Then one night Jarrod and I sat down and had a serious conversation. We had both had our freedom to do whatever we wanted for a while. I was accepting it a little at a time, though divorce was not what I wanted. But he admitted he didn’t really want that either. And through several intense conversations, we decided to seek marriage counseling and stick with it.

In June, Jarrod moved into the house with us and we’ve been working on our marriage ever since. It’s not an easy recovery, but it’s coming along. We renewed our commitment to one another at our first ever live Billy Strings show. And we continue to improve.

As of right now, the kennel building is still not ready. The list of improvements continues to get shorter, and my current goal is to open by October. I really hope it works out, because I’m quite excited to get started, and I’ve already advertised within the community a little. I don’t wanna keep everyone waiting, or even worse, let them down. And I think it would be amazing to be able to offer my services in my own community when I know how badly it’s needed.

And the biggest positive aside from buying the house, is that Felix is walking now!!! He’s been going to physical therapy weekly since last fall, and it’s really paying off. He walks most of the time, still sometimes walks on his knees and occasionally crawls. He’s a lot more coordinated with his hands and can play with smaller toys now like hot wheels. He still doesn’t feed himself or talk, but his communication skills are definitely improving. Jarrod and I understand what he wants and needs most of the time. And via speech therapy, we’re teaching him to use programmable picture buttons to tell us some of the basic things he needs.

Overall this last year or so has had a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but we’re all still alive. And thankfully, things seem to be evening out, at last.