Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gypsy Rose Lynn

Once I moved out of my Grayson apartment  in August, I officially declared myself a gypsy. I have to admit that it was a bit scary pulling out of the apartment complex in a moving truck with no clear direction for my future.  I felt like a pioneer heading out to find my frontier . . . looking for the way to improve my life.   A dear friend of mine gave me the name "Gypsy Rose Lynn."  For the past two months, I have lived the gypsy life . . . just going where life has taken me.  I can't tell you how many text messages I have received recently that have started with "so where are you today?" 

I have been spending time with mom in Blairsville, with Haley and Austin in Warner Robins, with Hadrian in Americus, and with Hannah and my sister/brother-in-law in Snellville. I have been praying for over a year now about where to start over when the time came to start over. When my nest became empty, I knew that I was headed somewhere . . . I just didn't know where. I knew I had to be patient and just let things unfold. Oh, how hard it was to sit back and trust that everything would be okay when there was no clear plan . . . at least I had no idea what the plan was.  But, God is revealing it now that it is time.

I spent some time with my mom and explored the possibilities of moving back home to Blairsville and living with her. I really enjoyed my time there, and it felt so right being back home. And, when I was staying in Warner Robins, it felt so right being there as well.  Time with the kids is always great. While I was enjoying a lot of time to myself and exploring my options, I was feeling more confused than ever . . . where should I go?  where should I live?  what should I do?  My heart felt really torn between going back to Blairsville since mom is alone now OR going to Warner Robins where there is better opportunity to rebuild my life.  All I could do was talk to God and put it all in His hands.  And wait.

In these tough economic times, I knew finding a job could be a challenge. I started applying for jobs in the north Georgia mountain area and also in the Macon/Warner Robins area.  A lot of people have been praying for me to find a job . . . and not just any job.  I needed to find a job with a company that could offer me a career opportunity with excellent benefits.  Being single, and needing health insurance, I feel that right now the benefits are actually more important than the pay.

Well, after two months of gypsy life, I finally found the opportunity that I was looking for.  I have accepted a job with Geico in Macon. Geico is the largest employer in Macon, and they are known to be a great company to work for.  They have the best benefits out there! And, they have me on a career path that I feel is promising for advancement and future compensation.  So, Macon, it is!  The prayers worked!  Thank you very much to all who prayed about this!  I feel very blessed to be offered this position.

I knew that once the job was in place, the rest will hopefully follow.  The first big piece of the puzzle has been solved.  And, I am living with Haley and Austin for now . . . until I feel ready to get a place of my own OR until they kick me out . . . whichever happens first.  ;)

Where I Will Now Be Spending Most of My Time

So, I guess my gypsy life will be coming to an end.  It was short-lived, but Gypsy Rose Lynn is settling into a new life in Warner Robins.  And, I will settle into my working life in Macon (about a 30 minute drive to Geico).

I guess it is official now that I have changed the license plate.  I am now a resident of Houston County!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Move . . . UGH

My apartment lease at Tree Corners Apartments ended July 31, 2011, and I decided not to renew it.  I knew that my stay in the apartment was a temporary one . . . it was a place to live while Hadrian finished her senior year at Grayson High School.  But, my nest was officially "empty" when Hadrian went to college, so there was nothing really holding me to Gwinnett County anymore.

SO, everything that I own had to be moved somewhere.  And, I had no idea where somewhere was going to be!  I had been praying about this since my divorce was final . . . just over a year ago.  Where, dear Lord, should I go from here?? I knew that the day I got out of my apartment, I would officially be homeless. But, I had no idea where I wanted to move yet.

Even though I didn't know where to go, I did have to come up with some kind of a plan for my stuff .  . right or wrong . . .  but a plan none the less.  And, there were three phases to this plan.  I had a storage unit that I planned to move out of by the end of June (Phase 1), I had to be out of my actual apartment by the end of July (Phase 2), and I was renting a garage (used for storage) at the apartment complex. They were willing to be flexible with the garage and allow me to move out of it as soon as I could during the month of August (Phase 3). So, this was the timeline I was working with.

I decided to sell as much stuff as possible.  The household stuff that I decided to keep, I decided to put in storage in Warner Robins.  All of my more special and personal items such as pictures, oil paintings, scrapbooks, papers, and such, I decided to move to the best storage facility of all . . . Mom's House . . . in Blairsville.  Mom graciously allowed me to take over a bedroom and use it for storage.  And, I packed three suitcases with clothes . . . one with tops, one with bottoms, and one with shoes.  Along with my regular travel bag, the suitcases were going to stay with me in my van at all times.  The rest of my clothes went to a closet in the spare bedroom at Haley's house.  Whew!  What a mess!  I literally had stuff going all over the state . . .  north and south and in between. But, this was the plan.

I moved everything out of the storage unit first.  YES!  Met that deadline! Phase One done! Now, it was time to move on to the apartment (Phase Two).

Anyone that knows me knows how I feel about moving . . . I think it is the closest thing to torture that a human being can possibly go through.  And, this was the third July . . . in a row . . . that I had to move my entire house . . . my entire accumulation of possessions.  And, believe me, I still had a lot of possessions, even after dwindling down with each of the two moves before.  With that said, I cannot describe how much fun my July was!  And, on top of this, Hannah had just moved out of her "home" during the month of June, and we had her stuff to deal with while she was trying to figure out where to live.

But, it was time to get moving! I was loading my van . . . to the gills . . . and alternating trips to Warner Robins and Blairsville . . . to drop off stuff . . . one van load at a time.  Austin drove his truck up, and he and Haley took another truck load of stuff to storage.  Haley also drove up a few times and hauled car loads of stuff back with her. Haley also helped me sell a lot of my stuff.  Facebook was great for that! And, we have had two very profitable yard sales at her house in Warner Robins!

For the heaviest stuff, I rented a truck, we got it loaded, and Austin, Haley, and Eric Ati drove this truck down to Warner Robins, and unloaded the entire truckload of stuff into my storage unit.  One truckload down.  But, these three kids were exhausted.  After loading a truck all day, driving it to Warner Robins, unloading the truck, and then driving a car back to Grayson, dropping off Eric, and taking another car load of stuff back to Warner Robins. Geeze!!  What a long day.  Haley and Austin didn't get back home and in bed until 4 a.m.

The last few days of getting out of the apartment were somewhat of a nightmare.  I was packing stuff, selling stuff, moving stuff, cleaning stuff, and trying to maintain my sanity.  I never would have made it without my girls!!   And, thanks to Hannah's friends - Samantha, Luis, and Eric - who were absolutely amazing help!!!  If it wasn't for Luis helping Hadrian pack and clean her room, her stuff would still be there.  I was SO relieved to meet the deadline and get the apartment keys turned in by 7 a.m. on August 1st! After a couple of all-nighters, Phase Two was finally done!  Yes!! 

I was beyond exhausted.  I went to my sister's house in Snellville and crashed for a couple of days.  Thank you, Joy and Gary!!  They have the comfiest bed, by the way.  : )

Then, the phone call from the apartment complex came.  "Ms. Plott, the apartment manager has decided that you must have your stuff moved out of the garage by Thursday morning at 7 a.m. The manager said I actually didn't have the authority to allow you to keep your stuff in the garage anytime in August, so you have to get out."  What?!  Seriously?!  It was Tuesday afternoon. Come again?! 

Yikes!! Panic mode!!  I had one day to move my entire garage somewhere.  And, if you could have seen my garage, you would understand why I was in panic mode.  It was not humanly possible to move this much stuff in one day.  Or, was it?!  Well, I didn't have a choice but to try!

So, I rented another truck, and started working. And, thanks to Hannah, Eric, Samantha, and Hadrian, we got alot done.  But, I couldn't see it happening.  I was weary.  It was hot.  This was too much.  But, just as soon as I was about to accept defeat, my brother-in-law, Gary, shows up to help.  He worked himself to death for a few hours, but with his help, we finally got the garage cleaned out by midnight.  Phase 3 Done!!  Yes!!  We were done!  Totally out! But, it was all on a truck.

We all took showers, and then Hannah, Hadrian, Eric, Luis, and I started a caravan to Warner Robins at 2 a.m. The moving truck and three vehicles all made the trek to a new storage unit . . . that I had to call and rent that day by phone.  We arrived in Warner Robins at 4 a.m. to unload the truck . . .  thank you, Lord, that I had helpers!! 

After about 3 hours of hard labor with all five of us working, the truck was finally unloaded.  We ate at Waffle House.  Eric and Luis left to drive back to Gwinnett County.  We girls returned the truck.  And, then, we had to regroup and drive Hadrian to Americus to move into her dorm room at college on the same day. Talk about exhausting!  None of us had any sleep that night.  But, somehow you do what you have to do.

The good news is that ALL of my stuff is somewhere.  And, Haley and Austin are living in their home in Warner Robins, Hannah is living with my wonderful sister and her amazing husband at their home in Snellville, Hadrian is living with all of her college friends in Americus.  The goldfish (Sorghum) went to college with Hadrian. The cat, Scooter, went to Snellville with Hannah. The dog, Bella, went to Blairsville to live a carefree life in the mountains. And, I have officially declared myself a GYPSY.  More to come about the gypsy life.  ; )

Me driving the moving truck.  I only side swiped a few things while I was at the wheel.  ; )

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sorghum Goes to College

Hadrian recently got settled into her college dorm room at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus. She moved in early for soccer preseason. Her roommate is Jordyn, another soccer player, and they are living in a freshman dorm.

Hannah, Hadrian, and I arrived on move-in day with all of the crap that one needs to survive in college.  Hadrian actually had to head to the soccer field for training, so Hannah organized like an organizing maniac, getting Hadrian's room put together.  This is right up Hannah's alley!  Anyone who has ever seen Hannah's closet knows that she is the right person for the mission!  She informed Hadrian . . . . "just so you know, SISTER, I am not doing this because of my love for you, I am doing this because I like to" . . . but let's be honest here . . . she would be horrified if Hadrian's room wasn't put together the way it should be.  Fine by me . . . I was thrilled to relinquish the duty!  I turned Hannah loose to do what Hannah does best . . . organize!

Jordyn's room is on the left.  Hadrian's is on the right.

The finished room . . . we still have a few finishing touches to do . . . like add some posters.  : )

When did a Wii System and a gumball machine get added to the list of things to take to college?  ; )

Hadrian in her room.

Hadrian took her fish, Sorghum, to college with her! Hopefully, the little fishy will survive the move . . . this fish has amazing survival stories.  Hadrian went to the Sorghum Festival in 2009, and won this goldfish.  Yes, I did say 2009. Sorghum is almost two years old. And, he has survived absolutely deplorable fishbowl conditions to amazingly clean fishbowl conditions (see photos) . . . ha ha . . . this is what happens when your owner is a teenager who wavers between taking care of things and not taking care of things.   Sorghum made the trip to college and survived for about 2 days in a styrofoam McDonald's cup before finally landing in his wonderfully clean fish bowl.  He goes everywhere Hadrian goes.  This is his 3rd move in two years.  He is a real trooper!

Sorghum has been forgotten to be fed more times than it could be fishly possible. But, he is still alive . . . and still going strong!  Hadrian's friends never understood why her fish had such a weird name . . . um, Sorghum?!  I guess you must need some past experiences in Blairsville before you understand the name.  : )  It is just interesting to me that kids have never even heard the word.

The bathroom. Sorghum is living on the counter.

Sorghum posing for a photo.  Notice the very amazingly clean fishbowl conditions.  : )

Now, notice the absolutely deplorable fishbowl conditions!  This is how the fish bowl looked just before we left for college.  Sorry, Hadrian . . . I had to sneak a picture.  There is probably one inch of water in the bottom of the bowl and enough fish fungus on the sides to kill anything . . . . except the fish.

So, Hadrian is settled in at college, and Sorghum is settled in, too.  I hope they both adjust well to dorm life.  : ) 

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Final Year

First Day of School Senior Year Fall 2010
Many of you know that my divorce was final at the end of June, 2010.  Well, Hadrian and I moved into Tree Corners Apartments in Grayson  at the end of July in order for her to finish her senior year at Grayson High School.  We knew it was a temporary home, but it served the purpose of a place to be while she finished high school.  And, my focus for the year was getting her through her senior year and getting her off to college.  Then, my work would be done.  Well, I just got Hadrian settled into college, and I am reflecting on my favorite things during the last year that we had together . . .  just the two of us.

One of my favorite memories was when Margeaux was crowned homecoming queen.  This picture is of Margeaux and her dad, Tony.  This family has been very important to Hadrian.  They have been so good to her, treated her like one of their own kids, took her on family vacations, and it was a place she could hang out and feel safe and loved. Hadrian would be at their house when none of them were even home!  I cannot think of a kid more deserving to win homecoming queen than Margeaux Lacavera!  I love this girl!

Hadrian and Margeaux on a snow day!

Hadrian turned 18 in February 2011.  We had dinner at Provino's (of course).  This was her boyfriend,
Kyle, at the time.

Hadrian and I spent the week in Panama City Beach with a large group
of teenagers.  Glad my days of chaperoning spring break trips are done!

One of Hadrian's special memories was senior prom at the Fox Theater. It was a cool
venue to have prom! Oh what a night!  ; )

Locker Decoration Night . . . I now have 3 of these
magnetic keepers!  : )

Senior year was a special year for high school soccer.  Hadrian was captain
of her team.  Here she is in the state playoff game taking care of her official captain duties.

Hadrian had a signing party at the high school.  She signed her letter of intent to play
soccer at Georgia Southwestern State University.  Coach Terry Klinect, her high school soccer
coach, is pictured with Hadrian.

The cake celebrating all of the signing senior girls!

Senior Day for the senior high school soccer players. This is
always a fun time of recognition!

The night before senior day, someone came into our gated apartment
complex and decorated Hadrian's car. She walked out the morning of Senior Day
to find her little car had been painted and papered!  And, yes, this is the
same car that was stolen earlier in the school year (out of our gated apartment
complex . . . so much for that gate!)  . . . a whole different
kind of memory!! 

Hadrian and Mom on Senior Night.  It was really hard to
believe that my last child had just played her last home soccer
game at Grayson High School.  Hadrian was injured, so Coach Klinect
allowed her to be put in for the kickoff so that she could officially play in her last soccer match.

Speaking of the injury, Hadrian injured her foot really badly in the Parkview game.
The trainer thought it was broken, so he wrapped it in something like a temporary cast. 
Dr. Traub said Hadrian was very lucky . . . she barely avoided having to have surgery.
He said a break would have been easier healed than the sprained ligaments on the top of her foot.

Hadrian made it back in 4 weeks to play in Grayson's first state playoff game.
She had to ice her foot at half time. And, then in the second half of this game, she gets
a concussion.  Another senior year memory.  She was one loopey girl after getting her head
hit.  We still laugh about how crazy she acted. Thank goodness she recovered . . . at least,
we think she recovered . . . ha ha.

Atlanta Fire United held a celebration to honor all of the senior players who played
at this club.  Here is Hadrian and her club soccer coach, Craig Peter, who coached
the 93 AFU team during its final year.  Hadrian loved Coach Craig!

Hadrian's senior display at the high school soccer banquet.

Hannah and Hadrian both wore the Number 16
while playing soccer at Grayson.  For 8 straight years, the number 16 was owned by
a Plott.  I personally think it should be retired!  : )

A close up of the poster made for Hadrian by Rick Craine.  Rick is just like a daddy to Hadrian!
He has taken amazing photos for the soccer teams during the years.  I, for one, am in
awe of his dedication to Grayson High School Soccer.

Senior Picnic Day!
Shayna, Devin, and Hadrian
BFF's during senior year!

Hadrian received the award for the senior with the worst case of  "senioritis"
at the Senior Dinner.  I told her I should buy her this tee shirt, but I never did.  Lol.

Hadrian and I attended her baccalaureate service held at Graystone Church.
The ceremony was very nice!

 Graduation night!
Margeaux, Hadrian, and Rachel
Hadrian and Rachel will be going to college together!
Hadrian plays soccer/Rachel plays softball

Rachel and Hadrian at college orientation at Georgia Southwestern.

We just moved out of our apartment after living there for a year.  And, Hadrian is now settled in her dorm room in college.  What a special year . . . a year full of memories! Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to make it through the year! Mission accomplished!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Graduation from Gwinnett County Public Schools

May 28 was a BIG day!  The baby daughter, Hadrian, graduated from Grayson High School!  My kid who hated school the very worst of the three . . . has finally made it!  Hadrian finished her thirteen years of torture by graduating with her classmates at the Gwinnett Arena.
Hadrian - Ready and Waiting

Grayson High School Class of 2011
Hadrian was one of 8,921 graduates who graduated from Gwinnett County Public Schools this year

Enjoying the Ceremony

The ceremony apparently became boring in a hurry.  Is there any wonder Hadrian was nominated for the senior superlative for the "Student Most Likely to Fall Asleep During Class?"  She didn't win this prestigious title, by the way.  She instead won the "Worst Case of Senioritis" award.

Time to Get the Diploma - Yay!!  (Apparently, someone woke her up for this part . . . Lol)

Hadrian had to stop and chat with Mr. Gilbert while waiting for her diploma.  Mr. Gilbert has been the assigned counselor to all three of my girls during high school.  He has had a Plott girl in his care for the past ten years . . . bless his heart.  I think I saw him doing the happy dance after Hadrian walked across the stage . . Lol.  I told him that his job just became a whole lot easier!  :)

Yippee!!  The Tossing of the Caps!!

 Celebrating After the Ceremony
Haley, Hadrian, Mom, and Hannah

I felt like I should be celebrating as well!  This night marked the end of an era - my stint as the parent of a Gwinnett County Schools student was officially over.  Twenty years of parenting school aged kids is done. My oldest, Haley, enrolled in Kindergarten in 1991 . . . and my youngest, Hadrian, finished in 2011. Thinking back over the past twenty years is mind boggling . . . a blur of PTA meetings, open houses, buying school supplies, school parties, sporting events, sports banquets, carpool lines, endless homework, STRESS, sad times, and happy times.  I chose this school district for my girls, and I feel they received the best education that public schools has to offer.  And, I did my very best to be at every event, be involved, and not miss a minute of it!  While the ending of an era is somewhat sad, what a wonderful sense of accomplishment . . .  WE MADE IT!!  :)

Thank you, Lord!!  Now that I am through living it, maybe I can tackle those storage containers full of pictures and memoirs.  Hopefully I can get these things scrapbooked before twenty more years pass . . . I better get busy!

*A special note of thanks to Bryan's wife, Paula, for sharing her photos - a few of these were used in the blog. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

May 7th - Celebrating the High Achievers

May 7th was a very special day!  The two high achievers in the family graduated on the same day.  How very appropriate!  The only problem was that our family had to split ways.  Joy's family traveled up to Tennessee to celebrate with Joy, and my family traveled to Atlanta to celebrate with Hannah. 
I SO wish I could have witnessed Joy being "hooded." She has worked so hard  for years to earn her doctorate degree.  I am not sure how we all survived  . . . yes, Joy was doing the hard work, but we were all stressing with her . . . every step of the way.  Thank goodness that she has a saint for a husband who was patient enough to endure such a feat.  Everyone in our family was literally singing "hallelujah" the day we  learned that she would be earning her degree! My dad was very proud of Joy's accomplishment.  I am really happy he saw her achieve this goal before he passed away.

Dr. Joy Collins Kitchens
Doctor of Education, Executive Leadership
Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate. Tennessee
Joy was the first person EVER to walk across the stage and receive a doctorate degree at this university! 

Joy's Family
Daniel, Dr. Joy, Alaina, Gary, and Sarah

While Dr. Joy's family was celebrating in Tennessee, my family was celebrating in Atlanta. It was a full day! It all started with a brunch to celebrate the honor graduates at Georgia State.

Hannah received her Honor Graduate cord at the morning brunch!
Hannah graduated Summa Cum Laude - impressive!! 

Hannah got ready for graduation after her brunch.  My gosh!  What are all those cords for??

This is our favorite graduation picture!  While the graduates were marching in, everyone in the audience was trying to spot their graduate.  Hannah turned the tables and zoomed in on us while we were looking for her!
All in a row:  Me (holding my camera), Hadrian, and Hannah's friends (Mariella, Samantha, and Eric - in the yellow shirt). We were all in a row. 
At least we weren't waving like the man in the green coat behind us!  LOL

Graduation was at the Georgia Dome.  There are A LOT of seats down there!!

Jimmy Carter was the commencement speaker.  His speech started out great but quickly deteriorated when he went off on a political agenda.  He lost me on universal health care. 

The most fun part of graduation!  The massive explosion of streamers!

Hadrian, Hannah, and Mom
Hannah is an official graduate of Georgia State University!  Yay!!
Bachelor of  Business Administration in Marketing and International Business

Last photo opp with the Panther! 

What a long day!!  After the graduation ceremony was over, the celebration continued with a fun graduation party, but that is a blog for another day!!  

I am VERY proud of our May 7th graduates!