A Heart Full of Gratitude

November 30, 2009 at 2:32 am | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Ramblings | Leave a comment

Reflecting on the blessings in life.

This Thanksgiving, Barton and I spent the day with my family in Atlanta. After having such an eventful week in Hatteras, I was terribly behind in work, yet I knew it was important to be with family, so with house in near tatters and the computer practically still attached, we drove on treacherous roads, past ten accidents on 85 (no, never a dull moment). We had a great day of feasting with family, and it was my cousin’s 21st birthday! 

I have not always been so joyous about the holidays. After my mother passed away, I spent several years trying to avoid and escape the holiday season at home. Yet as the year has passed on, I have realized how important those connections with family are.

This year, it’s been such a joy to get to know our neighbors and those in our community around us. One day this fall I borrowed a neighbor’s van to pick up some bookshelves our mentor from our writing group was selling. While moving bookshelves out, we had a chance to chat about family and work, and it was great to get to know them better. Dropping my neighbor’s van off, I helped her move the heavy seats back in, something she had put off since it was a two-person job.

I am reminded about how important those community relationships are when I recently had to leave to teach an evening writing workshop and Barton had walked home in a cold downpour. Barton walked to a neighbor’s house, who helped him dry off.

Yesterday, I found out my grandmother passed away. On one hand, I am not sad because she had suffered from Alzheimer’s for many years. On the other, she was my last grandparent to pass away, and I am saddened by a generation now gone by. When Barton moved to Alabama, my grandmother patted Barton’s beard and smiled, and even the last time I saw her, our eyes connected.

This holiday season, I am thankful for all of the blessings in our lives, our family, our neighbors, our community, and I look forward to the adventures to come.

//
Bookmark and Share

Vacation Evacuation

November 22, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Our Love Story, Wild Stories You Just Wouldn't Believe | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

So we were supposed to go on vacation for our 5th year anniversary to relax, and it had been our only vacation for the year. We did relax, in fact, we had an incredible week, but we also had a bit of adventure getting home.

Why Did We Stay?
Tuesday, we realized that the storm was headed toward the Outerbanks, and there was a possibility of flooding. We decided to stay for several reasons. While we were right on the sound and beach, we were in a secure house, and the main living area was on the fourth floor. We had groceries, everything we needed to ride out a storm. And we knew if we went home, we would just be sucked back into that long list of things to do that would intrude on this time together that we really needed. 

Bracing for the Storm

Stormy seas

Stormy seas

In preparation for the storm, we made sure we had all the food & water we needed. We drove the van a couple of miles up in case of flooding where we were. In the next several days, we experienced little road over wash, rain and wind. The wind was like nothing we had ever heard of, and the waves crashed between 6-12 feet. At one point, we were sitting inside and looked out the window to see an orange beach chair tip over and slide across the balcony to wedge itself under the ledge. And I admit, I did quite freaked out when the mirrored clock on the wall shook as did the rest of the house against the force of the wind.

Vacation Evacuation

Saturday, we received a call from the house rental company- an evacuation ferry was leaving in an hour to go to Occacroke. An hour, but there was no way. We didn’t even have the van- I didn’t even know if I could get the van. We weren’t getting off by road as the roads by Rodanthe were completely washed out, and there was no way to know when they would open up the roads. She did tell me the numbers to the ferry so we could find out when the next one would be leaving. Right away we called to book a ferry on the mainland from Occacroke to Swan Quarter, with hopes that we could get to Occacroke in time. We called the island taxi service, however she called about a mile from where we had parked the van with news that she had to turn around. I knew that we needed the van and walked two miles in the wind and rain to pick it up, several times having to climb the dunes to avoid the flooding in the roads. I was a little concerned, after all, I was going to have to drive back.

Flooding in Hatteras.

Flooding in Hatteras.

That night, I could hardly sleep. Waking up at two in the morning, I began packing and loading the van. At four am, I could see the travel on the roads pick up, cars headed into Hatteras village. I woke Barton up with a start and began rushing to pack the van. While I didn’t know exactly what was going on, I knew we needed to be there. At five thirty, I called the ferry. Ferries were going out, on an evacuation basis. We rushed to get everything packed, and headed through the flooded streets. Driving through Hatteras Village, the water got higher and higher around the accessible van we had rented (which was heavy and only 2″ off of the ground). Just the day before, we had ventured out, but turned around due to the road over wash. Several times, the battery light came on- we were getting wet. Yet, we knew we had to forge ahead.

In the ferry lane, we discussed what to do. Should we try to wait it out a few more days? Should we see what Occacroke would be like? What if the battery died? What then? Finally, I noticed a couple of other cars, which were also low to the ground. I asked them about the roads, and we struck up a cool conversation since one of their cars was also accessible. We chatted about accessible vehicles, adoption among other things. It was a great connection and camaraderie! 

Occacroke Island.

Occacroke Island.

The men and women loading the boats were absolutely incredible. What a job they had getting every car they could off the island. In Occacroke, the roads weren’t as bad as we thought- with flooding in localized places. However, the restaurant that we had eaten at earlier in the week was completely flooded with water. Because we had made a reservation, we were able to secure the ferry to Swan Quarter. We stopped at the local store, picked up lunch and ate in the car. We waited another several hours to board the ferry that would finally take us home. The dogs began barking and whining on the ferry from Occacroke to Swan Quarter. I didn’t blame them- they had been in their kennel for over seven hours at that point. 

Finally, on dry land, or so we thought, we touched down in Swan Quarter. We got a little turned around as we headed home. Now safely at home, we have tales to tell from the sea.

An Unusual Detour.

An Unusual Detour.


var addthis_pub=”mcutter9″;
Bookmark and Share

Not Exactly the Way Pictured it… Yet Perfect

November 18, 2009 at 1:21 am | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Our Love Story, Wild Stories You Just Wouldn't Believe | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Last week, as we were preparing for our fifth year anniversary vacation to Hatteras Island, the weather was sunny everyday. Well, we’ve had some adventures this week! We got here to the Island, and spent two days sitting on the porch relaxing (backporch, the silence of the sound, front porch, the gentle waves).

Our first little adventure was when Basho broke free from his collar on the dog’s trip out to go potty. Basho is still a puppy at just a year old, and we should have named him Tigger from the way he bounds everywhere. So he was bounding around running from me as I chased after him. We make a game, and I try to get him to chase me into the house. Finally he took a break to go potty, where I was able to wrangle him back in.

Before the digs out of the sand.

The next day, we took them on bit of a walk, and on the way back, Barton pulls off the road to let an ambulance pass by. Into the sand, of course. I attach the dogs to a sign post, remove all the bags from his wheelchair. At just that moment, Barton sees a couple riding bikes and flags them down. With the three of us, we managed to push his wheelchair back up onto the road.

But, as we turned into the house, Barton took a different way in, back into the sand of course. This time, we were on our own. He had me get two pieces of firewood to wedge under the wheels, and with a bit of pushing and rocking, I pushed his wheelchair out.

We were unaware of the two fronts, remnants from Ira and the Northeasterly wind front that were about to make a huge splash across the Island very quickly. The power went out the first night of the storm, and as I looked down the street, realized it wasn’t just our house, the entire Hatteras Village had lost power. Finally, power came back on after many fits and starts.

Crashing Waves after the storm.

The rest of the week, we watched 6-12 foot waves and the water pool on the streets both from the ocean and the sound. I had taken our car to higher ground, but found we were in one of the best places on the Island with minimum flooding. However, to retrieve our car, I had to walk two miles in the wind, fog and pools of water covering the street. For several nights, the house rocked to the force of the wind.

We ventured out to Hatteras Village and realized how lucky we were. Water covered nearly all of the streets. We stopped at the only restaurant that was open and hadn’t been flooded and listened to talk about the storm. Outside, the locals walked or rode their bikes down the flooded streets in galoshes and water bibs.

To get off of the island, we must take the ferries as the road north of us has been washed out, and so we must wait to see if and when they will run. (No, our adventure isn’t over yet)!

Rainbow Over the Sound.

Rainbow Over the Sound.

Yet, we had the best week together. On our anniversary, we drank champagne with strawberries, read poetry, danced to music. We sat on the porch and just relaxed into the silence of the sound and then witnessed the power of the ocean’s waves and listened to the constant wind across the ocean. We watched dolphins surf and flip through the incredible crashing waves. We watched the stars dance across the night and a rainbow across the sound between storms. We cuddled up together when we lost power. We wrote and read to each other on the swing overlooking the beach and ocean.

We couldn’t have had a better week.


var addthis_pub=”mcutter9″;
Bookmark and Share

Happy 5th Anniversary (from Barton)

November 18, 2009 at 1:19 am | Posted in Barton's Blogs, Our Love Story | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Out of the back of the ferry, I watch a pair of sea hawks gliding on the airstream of the boat. Above them, the first blue sky in five days. While I did not expect to have such an eventful week, filled with howling winds and a battery of rain causing the Hatteras Dunes, I could think of no better way to spend a week of celebration with the woman I love.

I suppose that after five years as a couple, I should expect nothing less than the unexpected, which makes for a wonderfully rich and diverse life. I came to this vacation with great anticipation of spending the week writing, both on our manuscript and for this blog, creating some fun videos and finding some ways to get my coaching practice off the ground. And of course, all of this would be done on a gorgeous porch overlooking the ocean waves or on the sound depending on what we fancied at that particular moment.

 

Silence of the Sound

Silence of the Sound

At the beginning of the week, we were perfectly on course to see this through as the first day we were there, we spent the entire day relaxing watching the sound mirror an infinitely blue sky. We also had the much-needed opportunity to allow every spec of tension to be washed away by the sound of the surf.

 

After three days of relaxing and exploring the neighboring island of Occacroke, the remnants of Ida rolled in. Then the fun began. We both agreed that, despite the warnings, it was worth staying put, even amidst pouring rain and gusting winds.

In between the periods of rain, I couldn’t help but to step out onto the porch and revel at the sight of the enormous waves. In preparation, we scurried to the grocery store and got all the nessacery provisions for the rest of the week which included ample chocolate and beverage. Since the house we were in was situated on the northern tip of Hatteras where there is little more land than 200 feet between sea and sound, Megan found higher ground for our rental van in hopes of keeping it from being washed away. Alas, by Thursday morning a break in the dunes to the north of us was causing flooding to the “safer” area where we left the vehicle. At the same time, the local taxi had stopped running, causing Megan to trek out on foot to save the van. Thursday evening, the clouds broke briefly and we were able to enjoy the setting sun cast amazing tones on the nearby clouds.

By Saturday, the day we were originally supposed to leave, I was beginning to feel a bit of cabin fever and since the area near the house looked relatively clear, we decided to venture out for lunch. About a quarter mile up the road, we found ourselves treading through a river six inches deep covering the width of the road. Having perused our options (those limited few that were open and dry) we turned our sea-fairing van around and headed for a hole-in-the-wall on the edge of Hatteras Village, before the worst of the flooding.

 

Flooding in Hatteras

Flooding in Hatteras

Perhaps, however, the greatest adventure started this morning as we packed the van at 5 AM to catch the ferry alongside other evacuees. Yet again we found ourselves wading through flooding roads with six or more inches of water but this time the already low riding van was weighed down by brimming luggage and two dogs in addition to my wheelchair. As we found our way through the deepest waters, we noticed the electricity dim in the van as the battery light went on and a faint waft of smoke rose from the hood. Thankfully, however, we made it to the ferry with only a minor panic. Once in line to board, Megan asked some people from an adjacent car what to if our car died. To our amazement the couple that we spoke with are adopting a boy with CP and are exploring the possibilities of moving to Raleigh. After a great conversation, we all boarded safely and are on our way home. What a great anniversary!

 

//
Bookmark and Share

Happy Anniversary! (from Megan)

November 18, 2009 at 1:16 am | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Our Love Story | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

This week, we traveled to Hatteras Island to celebrate our fifth year anniversary and had a true adventure of sun, storm, and wind! Our lives together have been an adventure, and it’s been amazing to think about how far we’ve come in only five years.

We’ve had our share of celebrations and challenges over the years including moving to North Carolina, buying a house, starting our own writing business, Barton’s surgery, challenges of growing our family, and speaking at conferences and events. I am so blessed to be with someone who truly lives life with a smile and an open heart.

I admit, I grew up with a more cautious outlook on life. As a very young child, I would look to what my mother or my father thought of what I was doing, remnants of challenges with their divorce. I would look to the approval of those in authority and held back.

 

Thinker on the Balcony

Thinker on the Balcony

Coming out of those old thought patterns, I am blessed to see how open Barton is, with all life experiences.

 

As an inter-ability couple, we’ve had many challenges along the way from people who thought we shouldn’t be married in the first place to a continual break down of stereotypes where a family member has a disability. But with laughter and a bit of perseverance, we have walked through many of those challenges.

We’ve also had many joys, from celebrating with Chinese eating on the floor of our first house to reading and speaking at many different conferences and events, we are always a part of something new and exciting. I am always amazed at the different projects we have worked on over the years.

A toast to the years to come and to the adventures ahead!


var addthis_pub=”mcutter9″;
Bookmark and Share

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: