This week

This week

September 9-15, 2018. National Suicide Prevention Week. I’m in Seattle for a long weekend with my daughter. Sightseeing. Concert tickets. A visit with my college roommate who moved out here over 20 years ago. It’s my first time. First day’s impression: a little “San Francisco,” a wee bit of “Dublin,” and just enough “Newark New Jersey shabby industrial” to make me feel at home.

My interest in Seattle developed in the early 90s encouraged  by the movie Singles, grunge music, and Kurt Cobain. In recent years I’ve become somewhat of a Starbuck’s addict. I’ve been thinking about all of those things. Especially Kurt Cobain. And yes, suicide.

In an effort to get back to the quality time I want to spend with my daughter exploring a new city. I will leave you to catch up on all that I’ve written about this exhausting, and yet extremely important subject…

Suicide is not selfish, June 2018

Let talk about this – it may save a life, September 2017

His story, September 2016

 My story: Part 2, April 2016

And finally (from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)…

WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk.

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:

  • Do not leave the person alone
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK(8255)
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional

THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE 800-273-TALK (8255)

A free, 24/7 service that can provide suicidal persons or those around them with support, information and local resources.

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Seattle, Washington. September 2018.
The truth about the move

The truth about the move

As I write this I am sitting at DMV. West Randolph Street. Chicago, Illinois. So far doesn’t appear to be all that different than New Jersey. They are telling me I need to take the written exam even though it’s technically not a requirement (“agents do reserve the right to choose whether or not you take one”). So much for 36 years of driving experience. They took my picture already, so I guess they’re assuming I’ll pass. I’ve been here for a half hour.

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Atrium at the Thompson Center. Home to Chicago Central Illinois Secretary of State Facility (aka DMV). September, 2018.

Moving is almost as bad as losing your wallet…with over $10,000 in it! Every card company, every financial institution needs to be contacted. As well as insurance companies (still not sure when my medical coverage in Illinois goes into effect; still covered in New Jersey until it does, although that’s essentially useless now – my only complaint about the ACA). 

My move wasn’t completed until August 25 when I finally had the last vehicle and last person (my daughter) in Illinois. Last week I got her moved into her college dorm, did one last sweep of organization in the apartment, and sat down on my new sectional sofa and declared myself done. It took two months. A few trips back and forth. It was very expensive. And at times, very stressful. I held off writing about it until I could get my thoughts together, calm down, and come at it from the best perspective possible.

I’ve still only had my documents reviewed and picture taken. I’ve been here for an hour.

Moving sucks. I realized this in college when it seemed every few months I was packing to go one way or the other. As a married adult, I moved five times in less than 20 years. They were all local moves no further than maybe 10 or 15 miles at best and I finally had resources to hire help. I didn’t know what real moving stress was until I moved 800 miles as a single adult.

The moving company I hire to do my previous moves wasn’t available on the dates I wanted to move and neither where the companies friends recommended. Who knew June was such a popular month to vacate the land of high property taxes? I found another company with mixed reviews, but availability.

Okay, finally my number is called. Quickly moved to the testing area (only after paying for the license, so again, it appears they have confidence in my ability to pass).

My stuff was loaded up without incident on the 26thof June.  My stuff arrived in Chicago a week later. What happened in between I’ll never know. Some of the boxes coming off the truck looked like they had been thrown down the side of a mountain. Plastic bins marked “fragile” crushed. China, crystal, my mother’s tea sets. My running awards and the dining room table. I was devastated.

As I opened boxes I was surprised to see some fragile items actually made it (stuff I packed of course!). A few other things didn’t make it and the dining room table needed to be replaced. Some boxes in storage I haven’t had the courage to open. I have nine months to complete my claim.

The driver’s license process took a total of one hour and 45 minutes. I’ve seen worse in New Jersey. I passed the written exam, getting 28 of 28 questions correct.  On to registration and plates…

I will be happy when this is all done, although I do realize giving up my visual New Jersey identity is a big deal. I have been a New Jersey resident since I was two years old. It’s such a part of who I was. Beyond letting go, there is also fear of the unknown that lies ahead, finding the courage to take risks, networking and reestablishing myself professionally when I’m feeling overwhelmed and, at times, completely lost. It’s been a lot. I will admit that it’s been tough. But here we are.

And I am happy. I love my neighborhood and how homey my apartment finally feels. I’m making some nice connections among runners and Rotarians, Let Me Run colleagues, and I’m taking on a new volunteer project (more on that to come). And of course, I have the benefit of love and support close by now. So, there are lots of good things to balance the stressful times.

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Journey from the Garden State to the Land of Lincoln is complete. September, 2018.

Getting all the right documentation for the car registration took a total of two hours and 45 minutes (which required three separate calls to Volkswagen Credit each of which included sitting on hold waiting for a live person for over 20 minutes). That was balanced by some very nice people behind the counter and on the phone trying to do their jobs within a challenging system – although at one point I was ready to drive the car into the lake and take the train home.

There are probably a bunch of lessons learned from the move – and my four and half hours at the DVM – that I could share. Yet it all boils down to this: be patient; with yourself and others. Do what you can do and try to find a good story in the rest of it.

Some thoughts about Move-In Day

Some thoughts about Move-In Day

This week, I moved my daughter – my only child – into her college dorm room. This is a “room” that I would more accurately describe as a “suite.” There are two bedrooms (with the expected amenities) and two full bathrooms for four girls. In addition, there is a living room (with a cable connected, flat screen TV, two chairs and a sofa) and a full kitchen. There is as much, if not quite possibly more, square footage in this space than I have in my new apartment. And I certainly didn’t have anything like this when I was in college. Read more

Why Chicago?

Why Chicago?

Fifty-one years-ago this past May, aboard an Aer Lingus 707, I arrived at JFK to meet my adoptive parents for the first time. I spent the first night in my new Northern New Jersey home…and basically, I never left.

I couldn’t wait to leave for college, but after four-years in Philadelphia, I gravitated back to northern New Jersey. My first apartment with friends was only 5 miles from the home I grew up in and the home I just moved out of, where I raised my daughter, was only 6 and half miles away. Read more

Twelve things I will miss about New Jersey

Twelve things I will miss about New Jersey

High School Graduation is now behind us! I am so proud of my girl for all that she has achieved here and for setting herself up right for what’s to come. The movers are on their way. Today is the day I move out of my house. It is going to be bitter sweet closing the door for the last time this week. There will certainly be a lot of things I’m going to miss about life in New Jersey. Read more