Saturday, September 26, 2015

"Storage Queen"

Janine's sister Dee has been one of our great Angels. She was also involved in all the packing and clearing out of the Jackson house. Dee is a "Storage Queen" having several storage lockers in her home town of Gulf Breeze, Florida. She helped us get organized and to physically do the heavy lifting and packing and loading and reloading and everything that goes with the process. She has been a huge relief to me. Dee has been the one who replaced me and picked up my load and carried it to where we are now.

She represents for us everything good about family. The above paragraph is real and true in every since of the word. However, it is a metaphor symbolic of the act of "bearing one's load". Words like that are indicative of Christian attributes since we believe Christ bears our burdens or loads in life if we will just call on him to do so.  

Dee was raised by one of the most Christian women I have ever known, her mother Jean Johnson. In over 50 years of knowing her I have never heard Jean utter a cross word or say anything bad about another person. Dee, Janine, Becky and Rosanne were raised right and I am the beneficiary of their goodness.

Dee has been a good sister to Janine throughout my sickness. Right after we returned to Jackson last year from long unexpected stays in Houston Janine needed to go back to work and catch up on a lot of missed task and duties. Dee traveled from Gulf Breeze, FL to Jackson and stayed with me during the day so Janine could go to work. My condition was so bad that I required someone to be with me 24/7 so Dee carried that load, too. She stayed with us for several weeks until Janine and I had to go back to Houston for longer stays. Then when we were finally able to get back home Dee found the time to come back to Jackson and help out again.

Dee you are the best! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, September 25, 2015


What a wild time these past two months have been for us. My health has continued to improve with the leukemia still in complete remission. Blood cancers are marked by many transfusion moments. Not since October 6, 2014 for me, though. Amazing! I get to enjoy the needle every two weeks for my blood draws and these are far more tests than most people have but I give blood for testing, not take it to survive anymore.

It's the consumption vs production continuum. For way too long I was a consumer of other's blood production. Receiving many transfusions from unknown donors is humbling, yet necessary. For almost a year no donor blood has been used for me. My blood cells have been good. Last week my bone marrow exam was the best it has been since I was diagnosed in February 2014. If I heard her correctly, Alexis said my bone marrow was "normal" with no signs of leukemia. (I tend to not hear well or to hear more than was said so who knows?) I still think I'm doing pretty well on the cancer front. I am a producer again! Mind you, I can't donate blood to pay it back or to pay it forward but I am manufacturing my own healthy blood again.

On the house hunting/moving front we have been in a great zone. The Jackson house closing went off with no problems. Only a few minor repairs were required to be made so we went to closing on August 31st and became houseless, but had new funds in hand to better negotiate our financing of our new house in TX.

We hit the road and got to Houston the first week in September. After a long but rewarding Friday at M.D. Anderson we moved into a temporary location and started serious move preparation. Finally, we had found what we wanted after weeks of looking. My health is good but my stamina is not so I was a burden to all during the process. We were on our way back to Jackson on Saturday August 23, 2015   with no final selection made when we decided to turn around and go look at some newly constructed houses that we had previewed several weeks ago but didn't feel too sure we liked the locations. Now it was in a better state of completion that showed us the development was looking very appealing. Also, attracting us was the knowledge that many of the new builds were priced less than the resells on the market. With deadlines drawing near for us we also enjoyed the newness of everything and great price incentives from the builder in our target area. So we picked a new house that we liked, was affordable (mostly) and negotiated a deal we liked. On September 23rd we closed on the new house and started our final push to get permanently relocated.

Our final phase is to go back to Jackson this weekend and wrap up a few last "good bye" visits. Then on Monday we meet the moving crew at our storage facility to "supervise" the loading of their truck. Everyone who helped us clear out the Jackson house on August 28-30 did grueling work. James, Taylor, Sarah and Janine worked very long and hard on that Friday/Saturday emptying the house, loading a big truck and James' trailer, driving to the storage place a few blocks away, unloading the truck onto their large carts, navigating up and down the elevator numerous times and cramming as much as they could into our two storage units.

Like most tasks we were under a tight time frame so the last hour on Saturday was hectic trying to get everything to storage by 2:30pm, the time the facility would close and need their free loaner truck back. Somehow we made it but still had a lot of stuff left to get out of the house. This post is getting too long so for now I must close. Later I hope to share more about the final push. My love to all who helped us get through these difficult days.