Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"I haven't lost my grandfathers I know exactly where they are..."

That's probably been one of the most positive things someone has said over the last two months.  These past two months have been a nightmare, a roller coaster of emotions and a million other things all rolled into something called life. 

It all started on the evening of February 2nd.  That night was my last night in my Baton Rouge house.  I had been out after work for one final fling with the plant staff and then headed home to get some last minute things done at the house before the movers came in the early AM.  Adam and I had been taking down some storage shelves in the garage when I came inside to make dinner.  As I was making dinner, Dad called.  He said he just wanted me to know that they had left my grandparents and Paw wasn't feeling very well at all.  They didn't know if he had a bug or what but just wanted to let him be able to rest comfortably so they headed home.  I went to bed around midnight, talked to Adam around 2am because he had been called out to the plant, and then was woken up again to the phone ringing around 4:30am.  I knew as soon as I saw Dad's name on the screen something awful had happened.  He said that Paw only had about 30 minutes left according to the doctors.  At that point he was unresponsive but Mom said she thought he could hear me so I got to say goodbye for the last time.  Since that early morning phone call my heart has been completely broken for our loss and for my sweet grandmother.  She and my grandpa met when she was still in high school and then married once he graduated high school.  They had been together for 60ish years and were not only husband and wife but truly best friends.  They have the kind of love that most of us can only hope for.

The movers were supposed to be at my house at 8am but I was able to leave a message that I had to cancel.  I was fortunate to be able to get a flight back to Roanoke that afternoon.  I believe that is the first time I have flown anywhere without any delays.  We had the visitation the following day and were blessed with so much food, flowers, kindness, love and prayers.  My grandfather's 2 hour visitation went well over 4 hours and my grandma stayed by his side the whole evening.  Every person that came thru the line knew so much about Chip and me - if you were around my Paw for a second you can bet that he was going to tell you about his grandkids.  One thing I will never question is how much he loved me or how proud he was of everything Chip and I both have accomplished.

My grandfather was a devoted Mason for a good part of his life.  The Masons were there for the funeral and he had a beautiful funeral and ceremony at the cemetery.  My family will never be the same without him and in these past weeks since he has gone on to Heaven we all wish we had so much more time with him.  It's hard to not be angry that he was taken so young.. 76 just seems like nothing for today's standard.  I feel so blessed to have had such a loving and supportive grandfather for the 25 years that I did.  After every dance recital, he was the first one to hug and kiss me.  I will always remember the good times and know how much I was loved.
May 2004
Forest Festival - 2006
Chip & Karmen's Wedding, 2007

Christmas 2010

Almost a month to the date that my grandfather passed, my parent's had to put their dog of 17 years to sleep.  We got Heidi when I was in second grade and she has been such a good little dog.  The last few years of her life she had to go thru so much for such a little dog. 

Then, this past Saturday, tragedy has struck our family again.  My other grandfather left us Saturday morning to go to Heaven and to join my other grandpa.  It almost doesn't seem real that we could have had so much loss in such a short amount of time.  My dad's dad was a World War II veteran and we had a beautiful military funeral in his honor.  I don't know about you, but watching a stranger's military funeral or one from a TV show is emotional enough.  There is so much honor and dignity that comes from watching the soldier's salute, fold the American flag and then present it.  A quote that many recall my grandfather saying when people said he was a war hero..."the heroes didn't come home."  

This picture was taken on Labor Day 2010.  My grandfather attended a ceremony where they retired around 200 American flags.  As each flag was burned,he raised his hand to salute each and every one.  
Something unique about my family is that both sets of grandparents have always been extremely close.  Instead of "out laws" they truly have been in laws.  This picture was taken on the 4th of July in 2009 as my grandpa's shared stories.  I can picture them setting up in Heaven swappin' stories like they did every chance they got down here on Earth. 

I am hopeful that when I see my family for Easter it will be for nothing but good and happy memories.  It is times like these that make you realize how strong you really are and how important faith really is.  It must be so hopeless for those that can't know their loved ones are living on in eternal bliss.  Thank you to each of you who have prayed for my family during these rough times.  

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Snuggle Bunnycat

I got the cats a sleeping bag of their own several months ago since they would rather sleep in between the sheets with me than anywhere else at night.  Of course, they haven't had anything to do with the sleeping bag.  I thought I would let Mason check it out again tonight and he had a few moments of calmness before he was out exploring again.  How sweet is he???

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Work drive

One of the things I actually enjoy about my drive to work is the beautiful sunrise I get to see every morning.  There couldn't be a better way to wake up and what a wonderful reminder of how blessed we all are to see such beauty every day :-)
Morning Sunshine!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sneak peek of master bedroom!

I had my new bedroom furniture delivered tonight from the Bassett store in Knoxville.  It's a dark finish (Ebony) and Oak.  I was worried the pieces I picked were going to be too big but everything fit with room to spare!  I didn't have time to get all the decorations in place yet so it's very basic at the moment, but I'll post more once I'm done decorating.  Mason has already made himself at home :-)

PS - my camera was dying when I took these so it made weird circle blotches...


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gettin' Settled... somewhat

I am SO tired of looking at boxes, unpacking moves, moving boxes around... basically anything to do with BOXES.  Luckily, my mom and grandma have been down here since last Sunday helping get everything unpacked and put away.  My  mom and I have different opinions on where things should go and how but I can always rearrange later.. right now.. it's mission Empty the Boxes!  Here's a picture from last Friday when the moving van came.  It's really pretty impressive to watch the guys unload everything from the big vaults and get it put inside, except for when they dropped my chest, that's always an "OMG did that really just happen" moment. 

This weekend has been really nice.  Adam drove up Friday with Henderson and the cats.  The cats have been staying with Adam since October when my LA house was put up for sale.  It is SO nice to have them back with me!!!  Trixie is very nervous so it takes her a while to adjust to being somewhere new, especially when there's a lot going on.  By last night she had finally come out from under my bed and by under my bed I mean out from the boxspring where she has dug a hole to hide in... 

Trixie nappin' on her favorite rug
The weather here this weekend was absolutely gorgeous.  One of the things I love at my new house is the screened in deck off the living room.  When I got home from work Friday, Adam and Henderson were hanging out on the deck. 
Mason also LOVES the deck.  He and Trixie are 100% indoor cats so being outside in any form is completely new to them.  I think Mason has even gotten locked out there a time or two this weekend. 

Mason bird watchin'
Well, I'm off to downtown Chattanooga.  After a week of unpacking boxes it's time to get some fresh air!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First blog

Well, I have contemplated having a blog for a while but then I think my life is so not that exciting that it would boring.. but then I think.. I've moved 3 times in 3 years so it can't be that boring, right?!  What finally pushed me over the edge in making a blog was one of my good gal pals has one that is awesome!  I suppose Brittany started one a while back but I didn't know until earlier this week when I noticed she had referenced posting how Marcus proposed to her on it... so, I mosed over to it and got sucked in!  I couldn't stop reading because it was just LIKE talking to Brit during class, after class, over some wine, on the phone, during class some more :-).  I think it's a GREAT idea to just have somewhere to catch up, share pictures, keep in touch and everything else. 

Plus, this is as good as time as ever to start a blog!  I'm starting a new chapter in my life and what a great way to document it.  So what's the new chapter?  Well, since you ask....

I just bought and moved into my 3rd house since 2008.  Yep, that's right.. that's where the 3 times in 3 years thing comes from.  Let's take a little trip back into time...

So, in 2004, I graduated high school and went away to college at West Virginia University.  I moved into the lovely dorm - Arnold Hall.  Say hello, Arnold!

I really didn't mind living in the dorm, minus the 4th floor part and no elevator and skank of a roommate that I had, which is a whole other story that is best left in the past.  I ended up only living in the dorm from August thru December.  In January, I was fortunate enough to be able to move into a beautiful 1-bedroom spacious apartment within walking distance of the football stadium!! (Priorities people!)  See how cute my apartment building was??? I LOVED my apartment! (and yes, it was a steep parking lot, but hey, it's Morgantown)
I lived in my lovely apartment from January 2005, through undergrad and grad school and moved out in June 2008.  It was a very sad day and very emotional for me.  Grad school was def. my favorite year of college and the year I made some of the best friends I will cherish forever.  (Sorry Lauren, it's your fault you weren't there for this picture, but I'm sure I will cover you later)
So, after graduating with my master's degree it wasn't all work and no play... before I started working full time with Olin, I had the trip of a lifetime.  I took my last 2 classes as part of a study abroad program in Italy.  Studying abroad was something I had wanted to do my whole school career and when it finally worked out at the very end I knew it was an opportunity I had to take advantage of.  We spent almost 6 weeks overseas and saw Milan, Asolo, Cinque Terre, Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Venice, Murano, Burano, Rome, Pompeii, Paris and Dublin.  Here's a few of my favorite pictures from our time in Europe...

This will forever be a favorite picture - this was in the
 town where we studied.
Lauren - a true friend and wonderful travel buddy!

Venice, enjoying the beautiful day and city

Sadly, after a wonderful summer, we had to come back to realty.  However, big changes had happened with my small family while I was away - I became an Aunt!  Miss Abbie BreAnn Kidd joined the family just a few days before I flew back to the US.  I was SO excited to meet my neice and of course, see the family. 

A few days after arriving back home, it was up to Morgantown for graduation and the hooding ceremony - my education had officially come to a close.  It was a very bittersweet time and saying goodbye to a city I had fallen in love with and made so many wonderful memories in was not easy.  The following week it was south to Cleveland, TN where I started my career as a Human Resources Generalist with Olin Chlor Alkali Products.  At first, I didn't think I would EVER learn to say that or understand what the heck the company did - now I can speak the lingo with the rest of 'em - I know my KPIs, DCS systems, up times, down times, run times, evaporators, MSDS, ORC, PPE, and so on ... what has happened to me.... I used to be so cool.. hah.  So what does Olin do?  We make Chlorine, Caustic and Bleach.. and several other byproducts but those are the biggies.. so here I am off to work for my first day as a big girl!

Oh, I guess I forgot the other BIG thing that happened in Cleveland.. I bought my first HOUSE!  I was so excited to be a homeowner and I fell in love with this house before I even saw it.  You know me, always researching everything and of course, I LOVE real estate so I knew this was MY house before I even saw it.  It was in a great location and close to everything.  Even though I only got to live in my adorable house for 8 short months I made a lot of great memories and got to experience some of the joys of home ownership... pipes freezing, small leak and weed pulling!  
Pin Oaks Circle, Cleveland, TN
Trixie and Mason
One of the best things about living in TN was getting my two baby kittens - Mason and Trixie!  They were born August 4, 2008, and I got them at the beginning of October.  They were SUCH a handfull when they were babies, oh heck, who am I kidding - they still are.  But when they were babies and had claws they used to literally climb my legs... painful.  I wouldn't trade them for anything though, they are such sweet cats with adorable personalities.   

In the Spring of 2009, I was approached with an opportunity to head down to our St. Gabriel/Baton Rouge, LA plant to help out with some HR projects for a short-term assignment.  I thought it sounded like a good opportunity and a fun way to spend the summer.  Plus, I knew a certain someone was also assigned to an engineering project down there and felt better knowing I'd at least know someone else SO far away.  So, the cats and I packed up and made our way down to Cajun Country.  To make a long story short, the short-term assignment turned into a permament gig and a promotion to HR Supervisor.  I sold my house in TN and purchased my 2nd home in Baton Rouge. 
Springtree Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge was an experience I will never forget.  It had it's ups and downs and trials and triumps.  I left Baton Rouge with about 7 years of HR crammed into a year and a half, a best friend and wonderful man in my life and... without a gallbladder (ouch!)! 

Well, that's pretty much 7 years in a nutshell.  I promise my next posts will be nowhere near this long but just wanted to throw some background in there for those of you who just know I seem to move a lot!  Last Friday, I made what I hope to be my last move for a while!!  I finally got to move back to TN for a role with the Division HR group once again.  This time I bought a house in Ooltewah, TN.  I literally saw between 100-150 houses in this area and Cleveland and just couldn't find the "one".  I looked at the one I ended up buying a few times and ended up realizing it had everything I wanted just not in the area I really wanted to be.  But, I have to admit, I'm really enjoying the area and everything it has to offer.  The 30-minute commute one-way isn't even that bad.  Gives me time to listen to Michael Buble sing to me before and after work.  So, without further ado... Meet house #3!
Peppertree Drive, Ooltewah, TN