Fog, Smoke, Ash, and Light.

Hi. It’s been awhile. Mostly because my life has been a goddamned shit show for the last 9 months, so finding the motivation (let alone the time) to write has been impossible. Not that I need to justify it to anyone, but here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened:

-I changed jobs. Not because I wanted to, but because I got demoted and my pay was slashed for a very unjustified reason. I won’t get into it here, but needless to say I’m still extremely bitter towards the company I used to work for because this was the catalyst for the upheaval of our entire lives for literally no good reason. Has some good come of it? Absolutely. I now work in a job I love for a company that really cares for its employees. Truly. I feel great knowing my company’s values align with mine and they back it up with actions. But holy hell I got career-slapped to the point that the only good way through it was to push the eject button. On everything.

-The job change required us to move because the commute from where we were living was 2 hours minimum each way. Sometimes over 3. Not sustainable at all. So after working insanely hard over the last 4 years to establish roots we had to rip most of them up and start over again. Has some good come of it? Absolutely. We made a small fortune on the sale of our house and my new company paid for nearly every aspect of our move. So we used some of the profit to pay off all our consumer debt and start a real family savings, which has allowed us to breathe easier and stop living paycheck to paycheck. Kind of like real adulting. And we now live in a really rad city that’s still a day trip from our old friends, so it’s not like we’re starting from scratch again. And we’re establishing new friends, with 2 other families on our street with kids roughly the same age as T.

-The house had some major unforeseen issues. It was a complete flip and the flippers did a decent job. Mostly. They added a bathroom on their own upstairs and did such a shit job that we had water leaking in the walls from the sink, shower, and toilet drains for 10 straight days after we moved in. So we spent 36 days in hotels and Airbnbs while undertaking a $30,000 construction project. My insurance company paid for most of it but it was the last thing we needed at the worst possible time. And right in the middle of it:

-Our beautiful baby daughter was born. We’ll call her J on this blog. J was born 4 weeks early on her own accord with a birth story that’s as chaotic as it is magnificent. You’ll hear more on that later, but she’s 8 weeks old now and sleeping on me in the Boba Wrap as I type. My new company gave me 6 straight weeks of fully-paid paternity leave so I got to spend way more time than I ever thought I would with her in the first critical weeks of her life. She’s a goddamned jewel and a shining light through this very heavy fog.

All of these things happened in the span of 9 months. And right now my emotional and physical states are a fucking wreck. I’m typing this standing up with my laptop on my son’s dresser. He’s playing imaginary games with his favorite stuffies while J sleeps on my chest. T has been up sine 6:30am and we’re coming off a rough night with J to the point that a Starbucks Venti Cold Brew is barely propping me up. And yet I feel like I shouldn’t complain because my wife got even less sleep than I did. Plus, this is what newborns do and we definitely signed up for this with eyes wide open.

The house is a mess because we still haven’t finished unpacking, and we’re about to stay in a hotel for 2 days while some very sophisticated equipment tries to rid the house of cigarette smoke smell once and for all. This will make 38 days out of the last 60 that we’ve spent in a hotel or Airbnb for home fixes. We’ve cooked maybe 10 total meals in our new home and my blood pressure is through the roof because it’s really hard to eat fucking salad every day when you’re barely hanging on by a thread. I’m not proud of McDonald’s and Slurpees at midnight after a 19-hour day in the NICU, but goddamnit sometimes it’s the best you can do. 

I’m over all of it and feel like crying as I desperately yearn for things to go back to “normal”, yet because so much has changed I have no idea what the new normal looks like. It’s absolutely true that the only way out is through and that we’re on the other side of all the shit. But it’s still really, really hard, even with the incredible support of family and friends.

OK I think I’ve vomited enough words for now. Just enough to make sure my blog didn’t get left behind in the ashes of my former life. I think there’s more coffee hiding around here somewhere…..

2 thoughts on “Fog, Smoke, Ash, and Light.

  1. Whitney, Chris: Courage!!!!
    I know it’s easier said than done, but you will get through this, for sure.
    Just remember how great it is to have J. at home and hopefully slowly things will turn to a better rhythm!
    Meanwhile, don’t forget breathing in and out and don’t shy from asking for help. Remember: friends are here to help, even if only as listeners.
    Sending the 4 of you a huge hug,
    Take care and love,
    Susana

  2. Chris, It’s Nicole. Congrats to you and Whitney on your new bundle of joy. I miss you guys. Sounds like all the changes were disruptive but necessary. Once you’re both settled in to your new home and not in newborn mode, I’d love to come see you guys! I’ll watch this space for updates in the meantime. 😉

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