Chimney Rock

I found the pictures from Chimney Rock on my computer and this is the first I have gotten a chance to sit down and write about it.  Chimney Rock is just south of Asheville, NC and just north of Lake Lure.  You will see Lake Lure in the pictures.  The area is beautiful and reminds me of the Adirondacks in many ways.

We traveled to the area for the weekend with the cub scouts for a camp-out and had a great time!  John was the resident cooking expert being an eagle scout.  The other families in our den brought very basic cooking equipment and ate very simple things like hot dogs.  I must give myself credit here because I shopped for all the things we would need and did the prep ahead of time.  But we planned the menu together and John did most of the cooking.  We decided to cook pretty much entirely in our new dutch oven.  At the end of the weekend John managed to get himself roped into teaching the rest of the den untensil-less cooking.

The total distance was around 5-5.5 miles from the bottom and including the waterfall.  Even Cody liked it.  We had about 30-40 hikers of all ages, some starting at the bottom and some starting a little further up.

This is the ultimate stair-master, and my husband didn’t make it to the top or to the waterfall due to his bad knees from all the years he spent in the army.  Myself and the kids did though!  This is a fairly popular state park and there were many people on the trail but not so many as to turn me off.  Of course I was one of the slower ones.

In fact, this hike was the catalyst that caused me to seek treatment for my hip.  Of course I haven’t done a lot of hiking since leaving Hawaii because the mountains are a minimum of 45 minutes away.  I knew I was out of shape and de-conditioned but when my hip began to collapse on me at the end of the hike I knew I really had to find out what was going on with it.  I didn’t sleep that night because my hips hurt so much, despite having a cot to sleep on, and I could hardly walk for 3 days.  We packed up and drove home the following day after breakfast and by the time we got home I took muscle relaxers and went straight to bed at 2pm and stayed there until the following morning.

I was very proud of the kids on this hike.  It had been quite a while since I had asked them to hike since 2014.  Although we have done a few local things it’s flat here in Charlotte so the terrain was not what they are used to at all.  Even the most fit people in the group were sore the next day from all the stairs.


General update

Since I have been MIA I started working for Community Home Care and Hospice almost a year ago.  I absolutely love what I do!  Much better pay, much better hours,  although some days can still be long it’s way more predictable.  Every job has ups and downs but this one has more ups.  We are a small team, as opposed to another giant hospice agency in charlotte.  We help each other and work well together.   I have no plans to look for other employment any time soon.

In my last post about King’s Pinnacle I elluded to an issue with my hips.  We took a camping trip with cub scouts and hiked Chimney Rock in April, after which I could barely walk for 3 days, and it was only 5 miles.  Granted most of it was stairs but still.  

I have been dealing with a limp in and pain in my hips on and off for years.  But after that I realized I really needed to see what was going on.  First step was my primary doctor who took x-rays and called to say I needed to see ortho.  Once i saw ortho the doctor must have asked me 5 times if I injured my hip at some point.  Not that I am aware of.  

He went on to explain that my left hip is bone on bone with spurs and advanced arthritis.   I had 2 choices, physical therapy or total hip replacement.   However, he said no ammount of physical therapy would restore the range of motion loss and he prescribed anti inflammatory medication.  

After thinking about it and reading up on prescription anti inflamatory medication and long term side effects I decided to pursue surgery.  At first the doctor was not excited at the prospect of performing surgery on a 37 year old, since the devices dont last forever.  But after I made it clear that I want my life back and that I’m not willing to settle for not being able to do the things I love he agreed and got on board.  

I was pre-approved for surgery in June and was offered a date in July but I opted to wait until my kids are back in school.  So, in one week I will have a left total hip replacement. 

I’m not gonna lie, I’m scared.  I’ve never had surgery of any kind and anxiety has been an issue for the last month, as has pain.

I had my pre-op testing last week and I’m counting the days. I found out that they will use a combination of spinal anesthesia and sedation rather than general anesthesia, which I feel better about. But it will take me out of work for 6 weeks and that kind of stinks.

I know its a bold move but I also feel confident its the right decision.  So this week is about focusing on work and family and trying not to freak out.  I’m thankful to have friends, family and coworkers supporting me and I hope this will improve my quality of life significantly.   

So thats what I’ve been up to.  Right now I can survive the work day but after I push through that I’m in pain and totally spent physically.   So if you’re the praying kind I would appreciate prayers.  But i also know I’m stubborn as hell and I will work hard to recover as quickly and completely as I can.

There are those that agree with my decision and those that don’t but agree or disagree I take comfort in the fact that they all have my back!

Kings Pinnacle

I have been pretty down and out fpr the last 6 months.  I have had pain in my hips and range of motion problems for at least 10 years.  Over the past year it has intensified a d i’ve been limited by the amount of activity i can tolerate.   Luckily, I’m one stubborn bitch!  At some point I  need to find our pictures of chimney rock in april.  Its gorgeous to say the least.  

But I did manage to find pictures of Kings Pinnacle in Kings Mountain,  NC only about 45 mins from home.  One day my co-worker,  her 2 daughters, the dog and I all hiked one of several trails in Crowder’s Mountain State Park.  The hike was moderate difficulty with a shprt strenuous climb at the top.  Approximately 4 miles round trip.

Most of the trail is wooded and it’s well trafficed but not every so.  Great way to spend a sunday morning.  I hope to go back soon and try some of the others.

I had fun scaring my friend by getting too close for her comfort,  but after all those narrow muddy ridges in Hawaii it didn’t scare me in the least.

This was my last hike a little over 2 months ago which makes me mad and sad at the same time.  I hope in time i will be back on the trail and I’ll explain that in another post.  After this 4 miles I was in a ton of pain for days!  So I’ve had to put that on the back burner for now.  Really a great hike though!

Adjusting to life in Charlotte NC

It’s been 10 months since I last wrote a blog post!  Things around here have been very busy.  We have been very lucky to have settled in here nicely.  We built a home in the same development as my brother-inlaw and mother and father inlaw and we are very happy here.  John and I both have good jobs that we like and I couldn’t be happier to be working as a nurse.  The boys have settled in too, playing sports, making friends and joining cub scouts.

I never envisioned myself in home health but the flexibility and the constant change is something I really enjoy.  I love the fact that it’s something new all the time.  It really challenges my skills and I have learned a lot.  I am thankful to my boss for giving me my “big break” into the nursing field.

John worked for Blue Max trucking for 6 months but he wasn’t all that happy there.  He has since gotten a job working for Yale Carolinas where he works on fork lifts.  He enjoys it most days and I know he likes the hours better.

Aidan and Mason have been keeping us busy as well.  Mason was diagnosed with ADHD and, though its been a struggle, we see a difference in his behavior.  Aidan has started going to church every week with my mother and father inlaw and he sings in the children’s choir.  The boys also did cub scouts this last year and enjoyed it.  It’s provided some cool family outings for us all and we all enjoy it.

Do I miss Hawaii still?  Of course, but Charlotte has a lot to offer as well.  It’s a booming city.  Houses are affordable, jobs are plentiful and things to do are all around.  I also love that I can drive to see friends and family.  Living in Hawaii really did cut us off from our extended family.  The funny thing is most people we meet are not from Charlotte but have moved here from other parts of the country.  Charlotte has done a lot to attract businesses large and small to the area and it’s evident.  Most of our friends are from someplace else.

The neighborhood we live in is great!  There are lots of kids for the boys to play with and frequent get togethers in the neighborhood.  We love having our own home that we can do with as we please and, though we are still pretty close to our neighbors, there are no party walls or looking in each other’s windows.

We’ve added a dog to the family and his name is Cody.  I probably wanted a dog more than the rest of the family but he fits right in.  I think he’s finally starting to learn his place with the cats.

Lately the biggest thing I enjoy is Crocheting.  I decided to learn after I saw all the beautiful things my mother in law makes.  I’ve gotten pretty good at it but there is always something new to learn.  It keeps me busy and I like being able to hand make gifts for friends and family.

I really don’t know how often I will be able to update this blog but I will post my adventures in Charlotte as I am able.  If you haven’t been here I recommend it.  Lots of things to see and do.

Life after the Army

It looks like this blog will be morphing a bit but I want to keep the URL the same because I have followers who may be interested in what is going on next. I am still passionate about the outdoors and living a healthy lifestyle, I’m just not doing it in “paradise” anymore.

Since my last entry many things have happened in our lives. We enjoyed a great 2 week vacation in Orlando Florida and visited the theme parks there.  After we left Orlando the kids went with my mom and dad back to CT for a week.  John and I headed to SC to look around.  First we came to Indian Land, just outside Charlotte NC, and spent a couple days with John’s side of the family.

On Sunday afternoon we headed down to Columbia where we had arranged to stay at a friend’s house. We originally planned to rent the house for a few months while we got on our feet.  Once we got to Columbia, though, we didn’t find much in the way of jobs and we didn’t like the area that much.  After a few days of “camping” with just an air mattress, a computer and a couple chairs with headed back to Indian Land and helped John’s parents move into their new house.

We then headed to CT to retrieve the boys and spend some time with our family there. At that point we had been living out of suitcases for a month and we were all worn out.  But we had a chance to take the boys to the statue of liberty, something Aidan had requested that we do last year and we promised to take him this year.  They rode the commuter train into grand central station and we took the subway to battery park.  We also made a short trip back up to Ft. Drum for a reunion with a bunch of the families that we knew during John’s first 2 deployments to Iraq.  It was really great to see everyone.

Also during the week we were in CT we discussed, at length, what the next right move for our family should be. John’s brother had basically found him a job in Charlotte.  All he had to do was go for an interview.  We didn’t see many job opportunities in Columbia when we were there.  The schools in Indian Land get great ratings, and we are close to John’s family.

In the end, even though we had been planning to go to Columbia for over a year, we chose to come to Indian Land and I think we are both glad that we did.  We hadn’t spent a lot of time here but we’ve been glad we made the right choice.  We’ve started to meet people here, Aidan is playing football and the kids are enrolled in a brand new school that just opened this year.  The kids love riding the bus to school and eating school lunch, two things they never did in Hawaii.  John is content in his job and I am progressing in my refresher course.  In fact, I have an interview tomorrow with a facility where I may do my clinical externship and perhaps work after I finish.

On the health and weight loss front I have struggled a bit this summer with all that traveling but I’m working on that by walking and running 5 days a week.  There are not a lot of hiking trails nearby nor do I have access to free Zumba classes or the weekly scuba diving I had in Hawaii.  But I knew I would have to adapt a bit and I am.  There are some pretty nice greenways here that make walking/running pleasant even if they are pretty flat.

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