2022 was a strange year. The strangeness hasn’t resolved yet. But. Our year in review:
In January, we were living at my parents. Blaine and I and the two littlest boys were in their converted chicken coop now bunkhouse. The rest of the kids were in their house with them. It’s strange to be separated from your children like that. They got away with things in the evening because I wasn’t in there. Winter was wind and snow and very cold. It’s typical for South Dakota. Much of my family was not impressed. Blaine was driving semi and definitely was the leader of the not impressed brigade. It’s what I grew up with. But they all knew how much nicer winter can be. It was time to look elsewhere for a home. A dream for me died… and oddly, I’m ok with it. It took a while to get there though.
Memorial Day week, Blaine’s parents came to visit. Pierce cracked his head on the concrete edge diving into their motel pool. No concussion, no pain, so I didn’t take him in. That side of his head still swells often. We’re unsure of the damage, but circumstances later make us think there’s some.
We decide to travel in the camper back to Missouri. Find a place to settle. We don’t want to end up where we were before, but that leaves a lot of the state to explore. I work remotely for a flight school so that income follows us. It’s not much, but it’s some. We pack up everything into our storage units and horse trailer. One morning just before we planned to leave, Pierce has his first seizure. He’s taken to the local emergency room where they run tests and then ambulance him to a children’s hospital. Following that ambulance was hard. I hope to never repeat that experience. We spent three days in the hospital. Tests are inconclusive. He’s given meds with instructions to find a new neurologist once we settle.
We left South Dakota on August 8. Liberty stayed in South Dakota. She now rents that bunkhouse from my parents. We spent the rest of August, all of September, and the first part of October traveling around to different Missouri state parks. Their requirements mean two weeks is the most we can spend in any park in a month. We moved that camper a lot. We set up and took down our camper fifteen times in two months, staying in six campgrounds. We had to move sites, sometimes often, since we didn’t make reservations very far in advance. We had once, over Labor Day weekend, specifically Ruby’s birthday, that we couldn’t find any site available and thought we’d have to dry camp in a parking lot. A site reservation was canceled though, and I scurried to the park office when I saw the opening and got it. Tense moments.
In late September, we looked at a house for sale on just shy of ten acres. It was 40 minutes to the church we’d been attending, near a tiny town, and shopping would be in Jefferson City instead of a big town. With three bedrooms, two bathrooms, it checked all the boxes. We made an offer. Twelve hours later, they accepted our offer. We were under contract. We did our own inspections, paid cash and didn’t need a loan, and the house had been under contract before and had something with the buyer fail, so the title company had all paperwork almost complete. We closed in eight days. We had a home. We spent a day shy of two months traveling.
We walked into the house for the first time as owners and were hit with a wall of stench. It. Was. Wretched. The kids looked at us, having just seen the house for the first time, like we’d lost our minds. We weren’t so sure we hadn’t. That smell had not been there when we toured it. But. It was ours. So, get to work. We lived in the camper for two more weeks in the yard here. We cleaned cat feces off of the kitchen cabinets, tore out trim that was swollen from dog pee, ripped out every bit of carpet, and primed walls and ceilings with stain locker primer, then painted every room in the house. Only the laundry area and bathrooms remain. Bathrooms are next. The laundry area Blaine plans to do more work to, possible moving walls. For the moment, it sits. The smell is gone. We’re still missing flooring in two bedrooms and the trim is random yet, but it’s home.
Blaine has applied to many jobs. He has yet to find one. The flight school I work for is closing, so my hours there are less and less. It’s closed officially this week. A little bit of paperwork remains, and then that four year job is over. I started waitressing a couple days a week at a local cafe. Eden also waitresses there – she started there first – and Sterling also works there bussing tables. That job came with much drama, as Eden got accused of stealing tips. It seemed so bizarre. This is not who we are. It was soon realized, when the owner began watching security cameras, that the accusers were the ones stealing. Eden was cleared of all wrongdoing. Many people were fired over that one. Eden kept her job. It was the strangest thing I’ve seen play out in a long time.
We got puppies to raise for yard dogs. Eden has Monty, and I have Pepper. They’ve made life more exciting. Escaping the chain link fence is their favorite past time. Any minute they’ll be too big to squeeze out. Please, let that be soon.
I have an interview later today with the driver and motor vehicle licensing office, and another one with the state taxation division. State government jobs abound here, obviously. Both jobs are full time. One has the option of working from home part of the time. The idea of working away from my children is not a fun one, but we think this might be what we need to do, in this season, with needed home repairs and a dear son who is seriously struggling with all the meds he now requires and their side effects.
Liberty drove through some seriously nasty weather to visit for Christmas and New Years. It’s her third visit since we left. She’s Lachlan’s favorite, which is so funny since he’s a year old and he sees her rarely. But he loves her. She’s got him walking part of the time. He can if he wants to. He doesn’t really want to.
We bought four rabbits to breed and raise for meat last week. The weather turned cold and they ended up in my living room. Today they go outside. It’s warmer now and they stink.
Now… I don’t even know. Life is so strange. The kids commented that the warmer weather is exactly the kind we’d have gone to the park before. But I was at work. Hard doesn’t mean bad. I know this. I tell my kids all the time to do hard things. But man. Hard.
I think the biggest change through this whole year is increasing hope. Having a home and some sort of permanency has been huge. Jobs, churches, local friends… all that has yet to be seen. But we have much hope.
Happiest of New Years, my friends. Thanks for coming along with me to keep me company on this mothering journey!
Joanne Torkelson says
Love following your family. Praying for all of you and God’s blessings and the meeting of your needs in the New Year.
Charlotte Moore says
Love this look back on 2022. Thankfully you do have your own home. I am not a patient person so everything that needs doing would make me bonkers. HA!!! We do what we have to do at times.
Trust the best job works out for you.
May we all have a Healthy, Prosperous, and Happy 2023.