Friday, August 15, 2014

Chaos to Calm - Life in the {empty} nest again

My daughter and son-in-law moved in their first apartment on Monday and my son headed back to college yesterday so the chaos of the summer is over and calm once again is restored in the Monroe household.  I'm not too sure I like the new calm, but it is our new reality so I'll adjust again to the empty nest and settle in to the new routine.

But oh my word - what a chaotic week to get to this moment of calm.  Last weekend a friend of mine got married on Jeter Mountain, in Hendersonville NC.  I had just returned from my 3 week Asia trip, but we were not going to miss Melissa's wedding so off we went Friday night.   US Airways got us to Charlotte on time at 9:30 pm, but we didn't arrive to our hotel till 12:30 am since it was a 1 1/2 drive to the hotel and Charlotte NC is not known for speedy service at the rental car counter.  We got back home Sunday afternoon at 3:30 only to head straight from the airport up to Beverly to help Sarah and Ivan move in.  Sigh.  I was tired!

My in-laws were already at the apartment with a truck full of furniture and boxes (stuff people had been setting aside for S&I for their first apartment.)  Thank goodness for my in-laws.  They were a HUGE help in bringing all the stuff over and unpacking the first round of boxes before we arrived.  We finished up the non-furniture pieces and headed back to Waltham and enjoyed a nice dinner with everyone.

Once home, we had to find a place for everyone to sleep and park.  We had 5 cars to tuck into our city home driveways (2 in the front - 3 in the back.)  Our darling 3 bedroom condo is cozy, but we managed to get a sleeping surface for all 7 of us and lights were out by 10:30 pm.  Monday morning was off to an oh-dark-thirty start as Bob and I were up and at em at 5:30 am.  I had a full training class to teach in our Northern Boston location and training would start at 8:30 promptly with 22 users ready to learn a completely new system.  At 6:00 am, Eric greets me with a dreaded sentence 'Mom, I don't feel so well.'   

Eric had just returned Saturday night from West Africa.  He was part of 6 person team from Clemson who joined Engineers without Borders in The Gambia to begin a 5 year partnership with the community to improve life for the community in areas of bio-engineering (think water improvements, solar power....)  

10 minutes after Eric give me the dreaded sentence, he is violently ill in the bathroom. I wasn't nearby but Bob says he thought his toenails came out - it was that bad.

Sigh.  Not a great day to have a very sick young man.  In-laws are in bed upstairs.  Daughter and son-in-law are in bed upstairs.  Bob and I are moments away from heading off to work and an entire apartment needed to get unpacked and Eric's man-power was required to get the dressers and mattress to the 2nd floor apartment.

Oh and did I mention that many of us were trying hard not to think about Ebola as Eric is sick, but it was definitely on our minds as Eric went back to the couch moaning. Fun times. Not to spoil the end  of the story but Eric did NOT have Ebola.......

So, Bob and I give Eric a glass of water and bucket and send him to our room with the shades drawn and tell him to rest.  We head off to work and hope for the best.

When I get a break at 10:00 am from my training class I contact Eric's doctor and get him an appointment.  Bob checks in with the others and is re-assured that S&I were able to manage the heavy pieces and the move is going as scheduled.

Eric arrives at Mount Auburn Medical Center (1/2 a mile from our house) and gets situated in the examining room.  The darling nurse begins checking his vitals and asking him questions... 'so you've been feeling under the weather.. tell me about it.'  Eric describes his symptoms.  Nurse asks 'are you on any new medications?'  Eric replies 'well I am just finishing my malaria pills' Nurse 'oh, were you travelling out of the country?  where were you?'  Eric 'Well I got back from West Africa Saturday night.'  

The nurse and anyone else in the near vicinity jump back and literally run from the room like roaches when a light bulb is turned on.  Lots of scurrying is going on outside the examining room and a few moments later Dr. Becker cracks open the door to the examining room.  'Are you Eric from West Africa?' Eric replies 'yup.'  Dr. Becker rolls his eyes and say's 'we'll be back with you in a few minutes.'

The good news is that Ebola protocol is in full swing in MA health clinics.  

I guess the nurse had gotten enough of his vitals to confirm to the doctor that Eric did not have a fever so the Dr. and nurse return with gloves, masks (and a mask for Eric) and come back to the room.  If they had hazmat suits in the office, they would have been wearing them.  After further exam it is determined that Eric has gotten a parasite from his trip to Africa, a very common thing to happen, and an antibiotic is prescribed along with strict instructions to stay home and rest for 2 days.  Thankfully the parasite is not contagious and Eric was feeling fine and eating again by Tuesday afternoon. Having heard Eric describe the conditions of the food he ate in Africa none of us were surprised he had some stomach troubles.

I can't think of the last time I've had a more chaotic day than Monday August 11th.  I was quite distracted at work and had a really hard time focusing on training the users.   The training audience was my largest ever and as luck would have it the most resistant to change and quite grumpy.  It was not a great day and I was quite glad to have my head hit the pillow that evening.   Thankfully Eric was feeling better and the newlyweds were settling into their apartment.

So now all is quiet.  Eric is in VA 1/2 back to college.  Sarah and Ivan love their apartment and are settling in to the new routine.  Bob and I are heading off to Jordan's furniture tonight to buy a new mattress and we have a low key weekend on the docks.   I hope we can set up my craft stuff in the room Sarah and Ivan were using on Sunday.

The empty nest is back and while I miss the kids, I'm looking forward to a calmer quieter household and I'm so happy that they are all settled into their lives - moving ahead with their own dreams and plans.   I just hope that we still see Sarah and Ivan often.  I really enjoy their company and we'll have to build some routines to enjoy Sunday evening dinners together or something.  Their new apartment is about 40 minutes away so hopefully we'll see them several times a month.

Okay, well today was a long post.  Before I end, let me share a card I made a bit ago that I never posted. This is a sympathy card I made using Papertrey ink's 'through the tree's' set.  This image is gorgeous and I accentuated the leaves with a bit of distressed stickles.  The bow adds a nice textural touch and the inside has a beautiful scripture verse to encourage the grieving recipient.  I don't have a place to send this right now, but it's always good to have an inventory of sympathy cards because you never know in advance when you'll need one.

Thanks for visiting today.  Have a great day.