On a more personal level, let’s talk about ourselves. Annabeth officially turned 3 on our 3rd day here. T.J. went in for his first day on Monday and took Tuesday off to celebrate. We wanted to go to Magnolia Plantation but the weather was drab and Annabeth had a cough. We went to the credit union to set up a bank account instead. We had breakfast at an adorable cafe. Annabeth got pancakes covered in rainbow sprinkles and didn’t take a single bite. We had dinner at Mellow Mushroom with a peanut butter cookie a la mode. She loved that and I think T.J. has a new favorite pizza restaurant. We were at an extended stay hotel for the first few days and it was in the neighboring lot. He still casually suggests Mellow Mushroom every chance he gets!
T.J. is a Service Estimator for a shop that formerly worked on select trucks and transmissions. They recently opened the doors as a full service shop and will be building a new facility soon. His previous position lumped the job of a foreman, service advisor, and service estimator into one. He was responsible for 19 technicians, roughly 50 regular accounts, plus countless walk-up customers for an operation that ran 24/7/365. His current shop is open Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. There are 8 technicians and 3 people to take care of his previous responsibilities. They also have a dedicated Human Resources lady! He saw the H.R. representative, that they shared with the entire Rocky Mountain region, maybe once a year. He is stunned but welcomes the change of pace. We are temporarily renting a condo that is 2.5 miles from his office. He comes home for his hour-long lunch! He even got 2 weeks of vacation the very minute he started!
Annabeth thinks everyday is a beach day. She wakes up asking if the sun is out. She is nearly always ready to go. I say that but today is what we call, a sensitive day. We’re staying home to make masterpieces and cuddle. She has bursts of tears when the simplest thing upsets her. She slumps away but makes a u-turn to point at her lower lip poking out and says, “Look, this is my sad face. See it?” She resists my offer to give a hug but whines that she’s cold and asks to be bundled up next to me. I don’t mind. I’ve been taking everyone’s advice and savoring these moments.
As for me, I am in love. I was born in Colorado but I feel like I am really from Louisiana. I grew up there. It is the only place that I feel a strong connection to. I never caught the bug and fell in love with Colorado. I loved being near to my family and I did enjoy the mountains. I just never felt at home there, unless I was in my mother’s house. My soul is a converted Southerner. I catch myself lost in happy thoughts driving down the streets under a canopy of trees and lined with flowers, taking note of historical markers to research when I get home. That is, until Annabeth screams for a snack that I know I’ll later dig out of the car seat. I say a prayer in jest that Cooper sniffs it out before I do.
Culture is unlimited in every direction. The pace is relaxed and stress comes in the form of having too many choices of where to go next. The rain and humidity are revitalizing. I felt Colorado’s weather was harsh- dry, sunny, hot, and cold. I think the soul finds rest in a cloudy day. Colorado is more ideal for vacations than permanent living, in my opinion. Regardless, we are in the right place at the right time for our little family. You could almost feel the tension release from all of us in the first few days here. There are several more factors involved than location. T.J. has the mental capacity and time to participate in his personal life. Annabeth frolics as she walks. Frolic may be an embellished word but not if you could see her skip hop style. I am active and engaged at any given moment. I fall asleep decorating our new house and wake up taking notes from my dreams.
Not a single step to get here has come easily for us but this is the reward. We are at peace. Finally. I never want to paint the picture that this has been a fantasy but I guess it has been a Grimm Brothers style fairy tale. Now that’s embellishment.