Moving forward…

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I realized the other day that it had actually been over six months since I had updated this little outlet for my writing, and decided it was long past time I did so.

So, what’s new?

Well, swimming (both girls and boys) at Vinton-Shellsburg High School lives on. I’m working for free this year for the boys’ program and we’re trying to become more financially viable. It’s been a struggle, but as I’ve pointed out in the past, struggles make us stronger. I hope we survive the latest round of budget cuts; the administration and the V-S school board are wrestling with the latest budget cuts. I’m hopeful — along with all of our supporters — that we can go on from here.

A few weeks ago, my father went into the TLC Unit (Alzheimer’s) Lutheran Home in Vinton. It had finally reached a point in which — try as she might — Mom could no longer care for him. He’s getting more comfortable there, but constantly asks where he is, when he gets to go home and where his car is. Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease; Dad is still healthy and happy, but so much of him — the real him — is gone now. He still knows Mom, Angie, Sage and me. He still recognizes his brother, Glenn, too. But the teacher, the scientist, the Hall-of-Fame wrestling referee is gone now. And as time goes on, it only gets worse. We have learned to cherish every day, because we know that it’s probably the best one we have left.

Sage is having a good year at school. While he still stuggles with some things, he spends the bulk of his school day in a mainstream classroom. He turned 7 last week and got his first big-boy bike. It still has training wheels, but so long as the weather holds, he’s out there riding up and down the driveway on it and acts like he conquered the world.

Oh, and we FINALLY moved!!! We lucked out and through the fine efforts of our realtor, Scott Schlarbaum, our banker, Tom Lindauer, and a buyer that really wanted the place, we were able to get out of the one-year transitional house that turned into a five-year albatross. We moved across town to a beautiful, spacious house, just a block from Mom with everything (space, basement, garage, fireplace, space and space) we were missing. It’s like heaven with a patio.

After months of wondering whether she would survive all of the cuts her company faced, Angie has become an Eastern Iowa celebrity as the food writer for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Now, instead of working weekend late nights as an editor, she interviews interesting people about food, cooking and the like and gets to travel all over Eastern Iowa talking to them. Her favorite comment is “I get paid for this?”

As for me, I’m coaching, I’m substitute teaching, I’m trying to plug along on my way to my graduate degree and I’m trying to be a good husband and father. Like all of us, I haven’t gotten to where I want to be just yet in my life, but no matter what happens, I feel like I’m moving forward.

The day before our girls’ Regional swimming meet, I spoke at a pep assembly at the high school. I actually like speaking at those, love to brag about the atheltes that I love to work with. But on this day, I spoke about something else.

I talked about our family’s ongoing move to our new house. I talked about the packing and lifting and loading and lifting and unpacking and doing it all over again. And I compared it to what the swimmers had been doing as they improved all season. And what I said was (and I honestly made this up at that moment), was this: “Moving is tough, but throughout our lives we are always moving. But so long as you’re always moving forward, it’s worth it. When you move forward, you’re moving toward something better.”

So anyway, Watching Wheels is back. I’ll be updating regularly on whatever strikes my fancy and hope you will enjoy it. It’s good to be back!

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