Saturday, May 27, 2017

moving forward...

The fan circulating the cool stormy breeze through my house is so loud, I can hear it throughout the house. Although I am finding myself thankful for it tonight, darn air conditioning is acting up.

It's been an emotional week.  Full of highs and lows.  People that I'm thankful for.  Short tempers and high spirits.  All the things that happen when any group is put through a huge change.  Our little group has been put through more than their share.

We are a family.  We aren't co-workers, peers, supervisors.  We spend way too many hours together for that to be the case. For 10 months we have been in a state of change, turmoil, transition in our professional lives. We've had to learn to deal with the fact that our "family" would be fracturing, no way all of us could move forward with our future, for a variety of reasons.

Our beloved Y was closing, our building was not sustainable. I remember the day it happened.  The beginning of the end for that beautiful, old piece of history that we loved and hated depending on the day. The flood in January of 2014.


We all knew the day would come.  For a while that first evening as we sat there in shock we feared that we would never open again.  The damage was intense.  Water everywhere. Large parts of our building seemingly destroyed. Ceilings coming down, water continuing to rise in the lowest levels of the building as the water continued to come down from 5 floors above, seeping through nooks and crannies.

There were four of us sitting in the lobby that night.  Emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted from the battle we'd fought since the early hours of that day.

I remember the feeling in my heart.  It felt hallow.  It was a building for pities sake. The sense of loss was almost over powering.

Our "family" worked hard.  Hubs was part of that family, it was when he still had an office on the main floor. That flood caused the Corporate Offices to move out for the first time since our Y had opened in 1926. And while we worked for 9 long months to get back to where we were, it wasn't meant to be. It was the beginning of the end for that old girl.

Ten months ago the decision was made, the battle ceased.  It was time.  We'd done a good job holding our own, we'd grown our membership base, we'd proven that a Y still belonged downtown.  But it was definitely time.

We got word that we were going to have a new Y, in the heart of the city.  A new kind of Y.  She's almost ready, soon we will open her doors.


This week, I closed the door on the past for the final time.  I was struck by the powerful feelings it held.  As I pulled up out front for the day, my heart hurt again. I would pull up again, many times, but it would never be to a Y again.  Simply to a building that needs to be emptied.  A place full of memories.

I spent Thursday comforting members and staff.  Offering tissues and hugs to people that have been there for decades.  Encouraging them to come with us to the new location. Climbing the stairs to all of the levels many times, giving final tours to people that simply wanted one more look. I guess when you have been part of the city landscape for 91 years, you don't truly slip off into the night.

Hubs was not feeling well - a migraine level headache took him out - he'd been supposed to join me for the final walk through. One of my B's was in Delaware, the other simply too tired to stay to the bitter end.  The Beast, well let's just say the week had pushed her hard and she needed to be home before her children put her picture on a milk carton as a missing person.

I knew that my boss was feeling under the weather, fighting a head cold that wanted to win.  But that night he showed up to help me walk every square inch of the old girl.  Locking rooms and insuring there was no one hiding in corners. Turning off lights and saying good bye.

I am blessed to work for a man that I can truly respect and admire.  He is a true cause driven leader.  He lives it.

I'd shared with him that I wanted to toast the old girl, after her doors were locked she was no longer a Y, just real estate.  Despite a cold and probably needing sleep more than helping me, we toasted the past, the present and the future for our Y.


She does have a future.  Because a Y is not just a building, it is not brick, stone or marble.  A Y is the people inside.  The work in the community.  A Y doesn't need walls, it helps, but it is not necessary.

Remarkably, I didn't cry.  At least not as I turned the key, reminisced, or even walked out to my car.  Maybe it was my military upbringing.  Maybe, just maybe I felt she deserved respect.  She'd sheltered so many over her 91 years, people had been connecting and finding a place to belong inside her walls for over 9 decades.

I can't say I didn't cry on the way home.

Our new "home" is almost ready.  Each day is more exciting than the last.  It's bright, airy, full of energy and fun! I am beyond excited about the things that we will accomplish.

The change is hard.  We're all running on fumes, working long hours with a single day serving as a weekend, if that. Our families aren't seeing us and we aren't seeing them.  Not only that but it's a busy time of the year. Graduations, vacations, endings and beginnings in all of our lives.

On top of all the things that need to happen quickly, we are all dealing with a 91 year old cranky old lady that might be trying to kick us out.  Ceilings are leaking that shouldn't have water above them.  The elevator decided to quit working the day before we started moving things out. Chunks of ceiling want to fall on the track.  It's been so stressful.

I have a lot of work that I should be doing. Schedules, bills to pay, so much.  I decided I needed a break. It's time to rest.  For a day, that is all I need, I want a long night's sleep. I will be better after a day of rest. My emotions not so raw. My energy level returned.

It's an interesting place. Looking west I see the past, it's quiet in its worn regal state.  Looking east is the future, full of life, excitement, energy, power, and possibility.


Now it's time to give in to sleep.

I'm worn.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

sandbags...

Hot coffee and a beautiful sunrise.

Still doesn't feel like enough to get me motivated to do anything.  I want to get a walk in.  I do.  But my headache from yesterday is still lingering and the cold breeze is not inspiring me to slough off the exhaustion this week has brought with it.  

I haven't been sleeping well.  Correction, I've been sleeping fantastic until something makes me wake up and once awake all of those to do lists start popping up in my head.  Home ones, work ones, personal ones... they come flying in, robbing me of sleep.

I feel like I am stealing a few moments of time.  I guess I truly am.  I should be folding laundry, doing more laundry, changing sheets, catching up on the ironing, dusting (I'm am thinking of labeling all surfaces a science project with a do not disturb the dust signage), finishing pulling that darn English Ivy and putting out my beauty bark, moping floors, vacuuming (haven't seen that thing in weeks)... that list currently feels as overwhelming as the one for work.

I'm not complaining.  I'm sorting through.  I love my job.  I am so excited about all of the great things that we are doing, the changes, the energy.

I am just feeling a tad caught up in the maelstrom. So many moving parts in all areas of my life.  It's swirling around me. Golf, move, closure, opening, advocacy, staffing, coordinating, new rates, schedules, lists, lists and more lists.

Is it truly possible to be excited and anxious at the same time?  Where does one end and one begin?

So I'm stealing a few minutes.  Not many.  Just enough to enjoy the silence while Hubs and daughter are off on a mission that possibly involves a canoe?  Don't ask.  I've learned it's better that way.

There is no music playing, the house is silent except for the sound of the fountain in the aquarium. The boys are both snoozing and I am pretty sure the cat has once again returned to the upper level (I believe she has claimed it as her own).

In the silence, with the beautiful shadows from the breeze and leaves in the sunlight dancing on the hardwood floors, I am feeling calm.

More in control.

Control is something I have not been feeling a lot of lately.

I missed two of my workouts this past week.  Life, rain, and a headache all decided they were more important.  It's hard to believe that not a week ago I was standing out in the rain helping to bag sand.  Putting other problems and responsibilities on the back burner to help not only the community I live in, but a fellow leader in the Y movement.

Standing in the rain, covered in sand with my fellow Y family, my family and complete strangers I remembered what I missed so much about having time to volunteer. That powerful feeling of doing for others is amazing.

As Valley Park posted pictures of where we had worked so hard for so many hours, with flood waters dancing around the makeshift levees I felt a sense of pride for the efforts and immediate sense of defeat.  It looked from the pictures like it had been a wasted effort.

Slowly I started reading the comments, in fear, I didn't want to see what they said.  I didn't want to know all that was lost.  But in my usual Polly Anna manner, I was hopeful that I would see a silver lining somewhere, some how.




Seems that old adage, it's all a matter of perspective, is very true.  The pictures were taken from a drone hovering overhead.  The reality is that our efforts did make a difference. The homes might have taken a bit of water, but nothing tragic.  The county police department stayed dry. Homes and businesses were not destroyed.  We didn't save them all. Many have a lot of work to do to recover.  But we helped save some.

The Mobil station that we all kept running to for bio breaks and hot coffee appeared to have lost it's battle, but no sandbagging could have protected it.

In the midst of all that chaos, we made a difference.

I'm feeling the same way about the sunrise that is blinding me this morning.  I was so thankful for the rain to stop yesterday.  I love rain, but sometimes you can simply have too much of a good thing.

One storm handled, calm restored.  That is where I am right now.  Tackling one storm at a time and hoping I don't miss anything along the way.

Those endless lists will keep me focused.  I have all my B's, the Hubs and my girl keeping me grounded and sane.  I even started planning this coming weeks workouts. And tomorrow I will prep all the meals for the week.

It's all in the planning.  I guess it's time to fill my own sand bags.  It's time to rally my support system.