New Chapter in Life

Been house hunting for almost a year now and finally have one under contract. Financing is iffy though and I have been forced to document my sparse regular employment record. Apparently being a business owner does not count one iota when buying a house. th, 2015 when she passed… So there is a gap in my recent employment record which the loan guy is trying to explain to the underwriters who want some kind of proof of “my story”.

So as I fight to put turn the page on this terrible chapter of my life in this town, I am being forced to dredge up old records and remember the time when I had to downsize 25 years of marriage accumulation to a 21 foot camper in three weeks. Pretty much all the records along with everything else we owned had to be disposed of and I left our cabin with the shirt on my back, the pets, my laptop, the camera and some pictures and DVDs. I really wasn’t wanting to remember that right now. The pets were old by then, so in the last two years they have mostly passed as well. Only Maggie and Fonzy my two black and white cats, remain of the original seven critters who made the journey to the mountains with me.

Fonzy

Fonzy

But as a reminder that life moves on I noticed that some beautiful wildflowers have bloomed in the little cemetery out back where four of my four legged friends are memorialized with pretty quartz stones I found on the hillsides here through the years.

Dot & Puppies

Dottie all grown up with her new pups

 

Also, little Dot that I met last year has had a litter of puppies that I went over to visit yesterday. They are only a week old, eyes not even open and so tiny they almost don’t even look like little doggies! Well, the cutest thing… When I knocked on the door and Dottie saw me she started jumping up and down and screaming with excitement as usual, but when I stepped inside instead of jumping on me she turned aside and stopped and looked at me. So I went closer and she went a few more steps… obviously wanting me to follow. And she had a look on her face like, “come and see what I got!”. She took me right in to show me her new puppies 🙂 Cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

In the meantime I have had to go to work full time to qualify for the home loan and even though I’m fighting it there is an interesting phenomenon that I don’t have a name for yet. When people ask me what “I do”, of course I always say photographer. But when you work full time, the job consumes you, a person becomes what “they do”. You are either working, resting from working or getting ready to go back to work. So I’ve noticed that I don’t even feel like a photographer anymore and I’m taking fewer and fewer pictures. I still bring the camera along but I see things to shoot and I’m like… naaa, I already have one like that.  I also am having fewer and fewer ideas along with less and less motivation to continue. I am fighting hard against it but now I feel like an “unloader”, which is just a job, not even a profession and I don’t want to lose sight of my dreams.

Dot

Dot when she was a puppy

Well anyway, back to the point… I so badly want to start a new life chapter in a new town in a new home with new fur babies and new friends. A place where everything I see doesn’t remind me of some hardship. Perhaps then my inspiration will return, maybe this brief foray into the past will quickly be over and just a necessary step in putting a bookend on a lost decade with a whole new life in front of me 🙂 Lol… or maybe it is like the song says, I have a “Gypsy soul to blame and you were born for leavin’.”.

As everything from thirty years of marriage and my life as a software engineer was passing away, this verse from the book of Ezekiel often kept me going, and continues to as I prepare to start over again … Ezekiel 36:11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”. The verse along with Dot’s new puppies seem particularly appropriate 🙂

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items


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Buddy

My best friend Buddy crossed Rainbow Bridge tonight. He was all heart, but his heart could hold on no longer. When he came to me the vet thought he was about 6 years old, which would make him 22 tonight. He has been faithfully sitting on my lap while I work at my computer or watch television, happy with nothing more than to enjoy my company for all these years. And I have so enjoyed every minute of this faithful and sweet soul, and he is on my lap yet tonight as I cherish the last bit of warmth and love his small frame can provide, as I write down my memories of him. He was my last living link to the good times in Parker, before my world imploded around me. My life will seem awfully empty without his eager company.

Buddy

Beloved Buddy

Many years ago he was hanging around my house in Parker, but  I didn’t realize it. A neighbor who had moved had abandoned a cat that looked just like him named Miles and we were taking care of him outdoors as he didn’t want to come in. Finally someone bought the house next door and we explained to them that the house came with a cat. Fortunately they were amenable, and Miles moved back into his former house. We stopped putting food out and life went back to normal. However one day Miles was in our driveway yelling at me for some reason, so I asked the neighbor what was up with Miles. She said, it’s not Miles, we think it is his twin brother, and he was some kind of upset that we weren’t feeding him anymore. So I got him some food and went back to feeding a stray black cat.

Our neighborhood south of Parker was pretty wild for a suburban housing development. We had plenty of fox and coyotes and even an occasional mountain lion roaming the forests. Once I heard a commotion and I went out to see what was going on and it was Buddy faced off in the driveway with a fox. The fox was clearly looking for a meal but it was obvious to him that Buddy had no intention of becoming a meal. The fox dared not take another step or I’m sure Buddy would have turned him into mincemeat! During one commotion I couldn’t find him, so I just turned Klondike my 90 pound Samoyed loose and the commotion stopped and never came back 🙂

Later on he got into a couple of cat fights and had to get patched up at the doctor, which was when the doc figured he was about six. Not too long after that one day, he came to our ground level sliding basement window, so I opened the side that didn’t have a screen and he sauntered on in. He strolled around the basement for a while locating the kitty box and the food and water… After a while he went back out, but it wasn’t long before he was spending his nights safely indoors on the basement couch. He still enjoyed going outside during the days to sun himself on our deck, but I guess he knew nighttime was not a good time to be out.

Finally our time in Parker came to an end and we packed up and moved to Woodland Park. Once we got Buddy moved here, he didn’t like going outside anymore and fully retired from his outdoor escapades. From then on he was content to spend every minute of his time sitting on our laps at the computer or watching TV with us. Turns out some old Sonny and Cher episodes were his favorite. He would never fail to return from his wandering through the house when he heard the familiar jingle of those old episodes playing.

So for six solid years I have had Buddy on my lap by day and on my chest by night. He is at peace now, it looks like he is curled up asleep. I’m sure he is basking in the warmth of Heaven tonight, eagerly awaiting my arrival. I will miss him terribly until that day.

 

One Year Ago

One full year has gone by since  the passing of my wife and companion of 27 years. Much has changed in that year, but much is the same. I find that I miss what we had together, especially during our years in the Denver area. I miss our home, our friends our holidays together and having someone to hang out with on bad weather days. I remember the fun we had just walking around Park Meadows on rainy days, looking at stuff and going to the food court.  I miss walking our dogs in the parks near our home in Parker and hiking in Castlewood Canyon State Park. But after a full year, I also find that I can go days at a time without looking back, only forward at what might be yet to come.

Tricia MemorialOne thing I find interesting and maybe even good news that might be helpful to others navigating the grieving process, I can now visit places that remind me of our life together without feeling the sting of loss. At first I just wanted to escape, to go someplace where every restaurant, every park and every shopping mall didn’t remind me of our life together. But after one year, these places have become mine, not ours. One year of new experiences, new friends and new memories have made their way to the forefront of my mind and I feel at home in the town where fate landed me. The people in my life too have changed… no longer do they greet me with sadness when they see me as the broken half of a pair, but as my own separate and distinct identity.

Out of necessity, I have completed the massive and ruthless downsizing that took me from suburban husband with a good sized house, yard and garage to single and nimble photographer ready to roll on the next big project at a moments notice. The mountains are starting to respond to the advance of spring and the signs of renewed life are all around. With the change of four seasons now behind me I am ready to move on, to create a new life for myself and experience new things and to contemplate new possibilities. But I know also that I will never forget her and the good times we had together, I wouldn’t want to.

Chapter Complete

I wasn’t going to go to Denver today. Only had three boxes and it wouldn’t be worth the trip, but they were bugging me. Three boxes standing between me and being finished with that chapter of my life. I can’t stand something like that hanging over me so I loaded them up in the Miata and headed down the pass. It seemed like a much longer trip than it does in the pickup but I made it before the loading dock closed.

Tricia

Tricia

So it is done. Twenty seven years of memories, business ventures, projects, household goods and memories left on a loading dock on Santa Fe Blvd. I have looked in each and every box that was packed to determine what should be done with it and where it should go and it is all done. Just a few scraps in my storage unit to bag up and take to the dumpster. I did keep a few momentos to remember her by, including the sea shells she worked so hard to collect on the beach in Hawaii and a few German Steins she found for me. And of course I still have my photography studio stuff that I’m not sure what to do with just yet. Don’t think I’ll ever have a studio again but I have a lot of nice stuff including some cool shiny metallic backdrops in every color. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them, Tricia worked so hard making them for me.

It didn’t take long to unload the three boxes and I was soon on my way. But there was one more thing I’ve been wanting to do so I decided that today was the right day for it. I’ve been wanting to have lunch at Romano’s ever since this heartbreaking journey began last March. Romano’s on Littleton Blvd is where we had our first date all those years ago and it is also the place I wanted to say goodbye. The place still looks the same as it did when we first met. Prices must be the same too because after I did all the calculating, the tip was the same as what I used to leave as well. I didn’t remember getting so stuffed, but then I guess we used to split the small calzone.

The journey is complete. She never was much of a mountain person so I think it would have been better for her if we hadn’t come here. She loved Littleton with all its quaint amenities, South Glen Mall, the pretty houses and lawns, Highline Canal and some kitchen place on University that I don’t remember the name of, the Christmas store on Santa Fe, and the antique stores and thrift shops on Broadway. Littleton was the place we fell in love and that will be the setting in which I would like to remember her I think. Rest in Peace my Love.

Writer’s Block

I have heard of Writer’s Block… a situation where a writer cannot seem to write anymore for some unknown reason. I have had some Writer’s Block lately, but I know the reason. I know what I am supposed to write, I just don’t want to do it. So I guess if I’m going to get past here I’m going to have to write it. The last couple of trips to Denver have been very depressing. There is a particular intersection that Tricia and I encountered hundreds of times, usually on our way back from a day of errands or projects. Santa Fe is a main artery out of the city and parts further north and is where we would make the turn to the east for the home stretch on the highway. My last couple of trips to Denver brought me to that place and for some reason as I sat there waiting for the light I was overwhelmed by a tidal wave of memories. Memories of our twenty years together in that place. Memories of return trips from the antique malls up north, of holiday shopping in Littleton and of the Christmas store on Santa Fe. Memories of DJ gigs in that part of town, of trips to Southwest Plaza, Chatfield and Waterton Canyon. Memories of trips to the thrift stores to hunt for treasures in the piles of rubble dumped on the shelves. Romano’s was our favorite restaurant in the whole world, a little place just off of Littleton Blvd. and how I have missed it since we moved away. And of course there are good feelings of the financial security and good health we enjoyed while we were there. We had friends and co-workers, there were company parties, church functions and a sense of belonging. There were also calls from work, people with questions, problems to solve, and a feeling of being needed. I had other things I wanted to do this week while I was in the Denver, but the pain I felt sitting at that intersection was too unbearable. So I just headed straight down Santa Fe past C-470 where it becomes Highway 85 and a great way to miss all the traffic on the way back to Colorado Springs. I sped away as quickly as I could but the depression remained for days, same thing with this weeks road trip. So I was praying to have the depression lifted and for a way through the impenetrable wall of pain. As usual, the answer came from the Word of God. One word, Egypt, one of the earliest stories in the Old Testament. Of course it is the story of the Ten Commandments. The Hebrews were at first overjoyed as they left 400 years of hard bondage and slavery behind, but soon the heat and desolation of the desert had soured their mood toward the journey to an unknown place. Food and water were in short supply, the days of walking long and hard. They started to murmur, “At least we had food in Egypt.”. They said to Moses, “Have you led us into the desert to kill us?”. They had quickly forgotten the pain and merciless toil of life as a slave. And it occurred to me that five years away from there has dulled the memory of the hardship there. I had forgotten the torture it was to sit in a cubicle for eight, nine, ten and even more hours of mind numbing tedium. Forgotten were the one hour commutes morning and night in heavy traffic, driving to work in the dark in the morning and coming back in the dark at night. Forgotten were car accidents caused by too many trips and too many cars on the roads. And of course there were the ever present problems with the old house which we not so affectionately called the Money Pit after the Tom Hanks and Shelly Long movie. I had also forgotten the rage and hatred I fostered towards a nit picking homeowner’s association manned by busy bodies with nothing better to do than spend their days trying to find ways to torment people. Forgotten was the dismay when we discovered that the landing pattern for DIA was right over our house. Forgotten was the road past the lake that turned our street into a thoroughfare for delivery trucks on their way to other towns, turning our quiet little street into a roaring truck route where deer and dogs and cats were routinely run down by careless mentally challenged delivery drivers. I had forgotten the heartbreak we experienced when they cut down the forest where we loved to go snowshoeing in order to clear the way for the mansions they wanted to build. Forgotten were the anger I felt when the bosses would make the announcement that profits were too low for raises this time, and the next time and the next. It was then that I remembered how much we hated the place and how we had tried for so long to find a way out. Our hatred for the city is what drove us to try all the businesses, to find something that could sustain us somewhere else so that we would have the confidence to make the break. And we did finally make the break to our new start here in the mountains. Of course life in the mountains comes with it’s own set of hardships, but they are just problems to solve not the insidious spirit crushing stress of city life that has no beginning, end or identifiable solution. Sometimes we need to take a step back and recognize that God knows to take care of His own. He had been telling us for a long time to get out but instead of obeying immediately we tried to work every detail. When this is done or that is done, or this amount of money comes in, then we will go. Perhaps if we had gone sooner Tricia wouldn’t have gotten the cancer. In any case, the place is my Egypt and I am certain that the flood of memories I experience the next time I’m there will only serve to remind me that I don’t miss that life at all, and of how happy I am to be living in the mountains. There is a saying up here, “If you are lucky enough to live in the mountains, you are lucky enough.”. I agree and I hope that this writing helps anyone out there reading this who is missing their “Egypt”.

Memories

Haunted by memories, that’s what I’m noticing these days. At first I didn’t notice it too much because I was already feeling bad anyway and I was busy with my nose to the grindstone moving out of the old place and into the new. Now the pressure for the move is off and I am finding time to do some other things that I enjoy. However, I am also finding that all the places I enjoy and all the things I like to do are reminding me of the partner I no longer have.

The Colorado Springs area was always our special place. We lived in a subdivision south of Parker and it was only a quick 45 minute drive down highway 83 to the Springs and many of our favorite things to do. We loved coming down here to avoid the Denver traffic and do our shopping. We had some favorite restaurants and enjoyed going to the health food stores for our groceries. We especially liked Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City where we would walk the downtown and enjoy a coffee somewhere. Then of course we finally moved down here and settled in Woodland Park. We didn’t have too many good memories of this town though, pretty much just hardship and suffering since the day we arrived. It is also a small town, so it didn’t take to long to find and do pretty much everything fun to do here.

The other day I was out and about and needed to stop in and use some wifi to upload my pictures, so I stopped in at the coffee shop where she liked to go. At the end it was about the only place she could go, as there was a recliner chair there with a footrest attachment and huge south facing windows. The sun would shine in and she could sit in that chair and get warm. The cancer robbed so much of her energy that she was always cold, but at the coffee shop she could sit there and enjoy some warm time. So anyway as I sat there I could not help but notice the empty recliner and it was too much to bear. I finished my uploads and got out as fast as I could. The library is the same way. Before she got too sick, she loved going there and looking at magazines and picking out movies. Now I don’t like going there and I don’t even like watching movies anymore. My friends were our friends, the church was our church. Today I went to the Greek Grill in the Springs that we used to go back in the “good times”. Same thing, but I was hungry and needed something good, so it was worth the pain. The girls at the counter hadn’t heard and both cried when they asked about her and I could only shake my head.

I don’t know how to deal with this, except that I am getting rid of everything as fast as I can in case I just have to leave this place. I wonder how many other people have just had to leave somewhere and get a completely new start? I wonder if it would even work. I wonder if I stay here long enough if the bad feelings will pass. Sometimes I wonder why I’d even want to stay here. Time will tell.