Hello! My name is Heidi Good Swiacki. I have been married to Steve for 25 years, which has been filled with laughter, trust and love. We have 2 great kids, Ashton 22 and Chris 16. I have ALS, aka Lou Gehrigs Disease. I was officially diagnosed March '05, I was just turning 45. This blog will be about a myriad of topics. I will share my ALS story which will hopefully encourage others. It will show that quality of life comes in many forms. I have to tell you up front that there will be some spiritual references. Don't be afraid or turned off by that. Since I have had ALS I have seen many miracles. Let's be realistic, who can be a happy, non-verbal,ventilated quadriplegic without Faith? I hope you will join me and make this an interesting, educational, inspirational forum. Humor and the ability to enjoy life is required! :)
Heidi passed away 3-25-13 :(
August 4, 2013
Hello, Steve here. To help with the healing process, I am going to continue on with Heidi's blog, primarily talking about our lives and how we as a family are learning to live on with Heidi's memories pushing us forward. Topics covered will be geared towards the affects ALS has on loved ones.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Our bedroom - we always loved carpeting, warm and soft in the morning, but as the ALS progressed, we had to think about our ability as caregivers to move Heidi to and from the bed. We had decided to remove the carpet and install laminate flooring with a light wood grain to match our furniture. We chose laminate vs. wood due to its durability..It does not scratch easy and is resistant to spills, chemicals and all the other fun stuff that accompanies turning your bedroom into a medical clean room.
The other area that needed a major modification was our bathroom, timing in the bathroom was key, as I always wanted Heidi to start using new equipment well before it was necessary to do so.
The first change we made was with our toilet, before Heidi lost strength in her legs, we changed to a "handicapped" height Gerber toilet, with that we also added a bidet made by TOTO. We were able to add railings that attached to the seat itself for safety and stability. This set-up allowed Heidi to maintain her independence and privacy for 6-9 mos. As Heidi lost the strength in her legs, I would carry her to the potty, we had some pretty interesting/comical discussions when we were in the bathroom together.
The toto is still going strong after 6 yrs, the gerber toilet has never clogged once, both worth while investments.
Our next change had to be in the shower/tub area. Heidi was able to use the shower enclosure while the strength in her left leg permitted, but there came a time where it was just too dangerous for her to do this alone. We went to a specialized bench that was about 3-4' in length, that had a chair which would slide on rails. The chair had straps/seat-belt arrangement for added safety and stability. The bench would straddle the shower door and together we would slide her into the shower. This was a stop gap arrangement, as we both knew Heidi would lose strength in her torso. So a couple months before we needed it, we demo'd our shower/tub enclosure and built a walk-in shower. Heidi had all the design input, the tile used, the shower glass, the two shower heads, one on the wall and a wand assembly which allowed for easy cleaning.
Heidi started researching commodes (shower seats) with recommendations from our UCLA PT's (physical therapists) We landed on the AQUATEC (THE OCEAN VIP)
Key design features
* The entire chair tilted back vs. reclining
* Doubled as a commode
* adjustable machine washable back upholstery
* adjustable head-rest
* adjustable footrests
This worked great until Heidi's tracheotomy, it was not safe to routinely shower her due to concerns about water getting into the machine and or her air-way. But Ashton and I treated her on mothers day, birthday's to a warm/long shower. We had to get creative with our keeping the respirator out of harms way, her airway securely covered to prevent water intrusion. Heidi only trusted Ashton and I to this treat.
Heidi's bed, Heidi already provided details on our bed's (SAT bed) which I am still using today.
Ramps, this was not really a home adaptation, but more used for mobility. We bought a PVI ramp made by Parairie View Industries. We opted for the Multifold Ramp which provided flexiblity to accomodate just about any set of stairs and patio's we wanted to traverse. Use of the ramp is pictured in "the big event" post, we used it to get into Ashton's home during our visit to Sacramento this past December.
Thank you for reading.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact me via the blog
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
We all are having a very difficult day without you. We love you
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
It seems that they only see the negative impact watching your loved one die can have on you. They see your bouts of depression as a weakness, that you don't love your wife. They don't see that you too are having a very hard time adjusting to watching the love of your life die a slow death.
My message to anyone who is faced with the horrible reality of living with a terminal disease is this. Sit down and have a frank discussion with your spouse and any in-law that is considering moving in to "help". If there is any hidden animosity or distrust it can be magnified 10 fold by their grief and what started out as a great thing can turn into something that could lead to some very difficult decisions.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Sunday, August 4, 2013
THIS WAS MY MANTRA, I SUFFERED FROM ALL OF THE ABOVE IN VARIOUS STATES THESE PAST 8 YEARS.
WHEN HEIDI CALLED ME, SHE WAS CRYING HYSTERICALLY, STEVE I HAVE ALS, I AM GOING TO DIE, I WON'T BE ABLE TO SEE MY BABIES GRADUATE, GET MARRIED, BE A GRANDMA. . WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO OUR DREAMS.
THIS IS THE REALITY OF ALS FOLKS, YOUR DREAMS ARE SHATTERED, THE LIFE YOU HAD PLANNED FOR IS GONE, YOU TRY AND LIVE A LIFE THAT IS AKIN TO RUNNING FULL SPEED WITH A BLIND-FOLD ON, KNOWING YOU ARE GOING TO HIT A BRICK WALL, BUT NOT KNOWING HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO HIT THE WALL.
PALS (PERSON WITH ALS) LIVE FOR AN AVERAGE OF 3-5 YEARS, COPING WITH THIS REALITY IS SOMETHING THAT LIFE CANNOT PREPARE YOU FOR .
REALITY SETS IN WHEN YOU WATCH A WOMAN WHO WAS ABLE TO WALK 60 MILES IN A WEEKEND STRUGGLE DOWN THE HALLWAY DRAGGING HER LEG. YOU CRY, BUT IN SILENCE..I CRIED A LOT IN THE GARAGE SITTING IN MY JEEP. I DID NOT WANT HEIDI OR THE KIDS SEE MY WEAKNESS, I NEEDED TO BE STRONG FOR THE FAMILY.
THIS STUPID MALE TRAIT REALLY TOOK A TOLE ON ME PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY.
HEIDI AND I HAD ROUTINES WHICH I HAD TAKEN FOR GRANTED. AS SHE LOST HER ABILITY TO HUG ME, TO TELL ME SHE LOVED ME WITH HER OWN VOICE, AS WE LOST THE ABILITY TO DRINK WINE IN OUR KITCHEN AS WE COOKED DINNER, I SEEMED TO LOSE SOMETHING WHICH I AM UNABLE TO EXPLAIN. THIS LOSS MANIFESTED ITSELF IN BURSTS OF ANGER, CRYING JAGS, BURYING MYSELF WITH ALCOHOL. I WAS CLINICALLY DEPRESSED, I USED TO THINK ABOUT SUICIDE, AS MY LIFE INSURANCE MONEY WOULD HAVE MAINTAINED HEIDI'S COMFORT AND CARE, PERHAPS LONG ENOUGH TO FIND A CURE.
THE LOSS OF MY WIFE, EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS ALIVE WAS BAD ENOUGH, BUT I ALSO HAD A CONSTANT FEAR OF RUNNING OUT OF MONEY TO CARE FOR HEIDI. THIS FEAR ONLY INCREASED AS I SAW OUR SAVINGS, OUR RETIREMENT FUNDS DWINDLE.
I USED TO THINK ABOUT OUR SPENDING EVERYTHING WE EVER SAVED ON HEIDI'S WELL BEING AND IN THE END I WOULD BE LEFT WITH NOTHING, LIVING ON SSI SURVIVING ALONE. THE THOUGHT OF BEING ALONE AND PENNILESS SCARED ME TO NO END. HEIDI WOULD TELL ME THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE, I USED TO LAUGH AT THIS COMMENT AND TELL HEIDI TO STOP LOOKING AT LIFE WITH HER CHRISTIAN COLORED SUN-GLASSES. GOD IS NOT GOING TO PAY OUR BILLS OR YOUR CAREGIVING COSTS.
|My dear brother Walt|
WELL YOU KNOW, SHE WAS RIGHT..I WISH I WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BELIEVE HER. MY DEAR BROTHER DIED IN 2006, HE LEFT US A LARGE SUM OF MONEY , TOTALLY UNEXPECTED. THIS LASTED ALMOST 4 YEARS...AT 100k PER YEAR FOR CAREGIVING COSTS, YOU CAN DO THE MATH.
AS THIS SUM DWINDLED, I WOULD GET CAUGHT UP IN WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO NOW? DO YOU EXPECT US TO START CASHING IN OUR RETIREMENT FUNDS? DO YOU REALIZE WE WON'T BE ABLE TO PUT CHRIS THRU COLLEGE, DO YOU REALIZE I WON'T BE ABLE TO PAY FOR ASHTON'S WEDDING? HEIDI REALLY STRUGGLED WITH THIS REALITY AND MY REMINDING HER WAS MY WAY OF LASHING OUT AT THE DISEASE, NOT HEIDI.. I LOVED HEIDI..I BELIEVED IN OUR VOWS, THRU SICKNESS AN IN HEALTH, BUT MY STATE OF MIND OFTEN TIMES CLOUDED THE REALITY THAT WE WERE BLESSED TO HAVE THE FUNDS, RETIREMENT, REFINANCING ETC. TO MAINTAIN HEIDI'S CARE.
HINDSIGHT, I AM SO GRATEFUL THAT WE HAD THIS WONDERFULLY RADIANT WOMAN FOR 8 YEARS.
IT SEEMED THAT GOD WAS PROVIDING AS HEIDI PROJECTED, THE INTEREST RATES CAME DOWN ALLOWING US TO REFINACE OUR HOMES, PULLING MONEY OUT, EXTENDING OUR CAREGIVING CAPABILITIES ANOTHER 18 MONTHS. THIS IS HOW I THOUGHT , I WOULD ALWAYS TELL HEIDI, HEY WE HAVE 6 MOS LEFT, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO...WHAT A DUMB-ASS I WAS, HEIDI WAS AN ACCOUNTANT, SHE REALIZED WHAT WE HAD AND NEVER ONCE DID SHE LASH OUT AT MY WEAKNESS
I GUESS WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PREPARE FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO IMAGINE YOURSELF ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS TO HELP OFFSET YOUR DESIRE TO KILL YOURSELF.
I AM SURVIVING WITHOUT MY ANGEL, BUT ONLY WITH THE HELP OF MY BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN.
DO NOT EVER TAKE FOR GRANTED BEING ABLE TO HUG YOUR WIFE, HEARING HER TELL YOU SHE LOVES YOU, HOLDING HANDS, LAUGHING OR EVENING ARGUING. LIFE IS NOT FAIR AND IT WILL TAKE AWAY YOUR DREAMS IN AN INSTANT.
THANK YOU FOR READING
Saturday, July 20, 2013
For me, it was all about finances and our capability to provide what Heidi needed. With every trip down to UCLA (every 6 mos) Heidi had lost bits and pieces of mobility and with every trip came the same recommendation..Figure out how you are going to keep Heidi safe and comfortable as the disease takes over her body.
At this time, Heidi had a PPO insurance carrier through her work, so there were no issues with seeing doctors that she needed to see. Getting the "durable equipment" we needed for her comfort and mobility was a different story.
One thing you have to be wary of, there are a lot and I mean a lot of unethical companies out there that will promise you the world, oh don't worry about your insurance covering this, we work with them all the time and will make sure that things will get covered. This only happened one time, but it was a $5000.00 one time that hurt. We had bought our beds with that promise and after 6 mos. of wrangling and finally no call backs from this company I realized I had been duped. The beds by the way were one of our best investments into Heidi's care, oh yeah the owners of that company were bought out by a larger company that I understand are a tad more reputable. Heidi talks about this bed in one of her earlier blogs
Besides the bed, the next biggest thing was her wheel chair..my recommendation is, work with a company that is local and or within a 1-2 hour drive...service capabilities are huge. Next make sure that company works with your local MDA chapter. Superior Mobility out of Ventura CA was the company we ultimately went with, as they were one of the MDA "closet" providers..As people pass,families would donate items such as hoyer lifts (we were loaned an electric system to use) it was on loan to us for 6 years. I recently gave it back, along with Heidi's wheel chair and every other durable piece of equipment that made Heidi's life better. Chairs are extremely expensive, this is an expense that most insurance companies will only pay for once.
MAKE SURE YOU GET A CHAIR THAT WILL ADAPT AS YOUR DISEASE PROGRESSES
The chair must have belts and straps to maintain stability in the chair, it must have the capability to change from hand control to other methods for control, one method is the puffer where you puff into a control mechanism to steer, go forward,back etc. Heidi still had great control of her head, neck but her breathing was starting to get shallow and labored, so we went with the head control mechanism instead. The chair also should have a hand control for the caregiver, as over time, all body control will be lost and it will be up to the caregiver to motor you around.
After having this chair for 4 years, Heidi and I had only a few regrets. 1) We opted for the feature which would allow Heidi to raise herself up ~ 12". She really enjoyed getting eye level with people while in her chair. The only limitation to having this is that you give up the cradle for the eventual respirator, Our other regret was not getting real wheels (rubber with air) We got wheels with molded rubber, very unforgiving on bumps, no traction when things are wet. Working with Superior was for the most part a great experience. Very knowledgeable, provided feedback quickly on what had to be adapted next on the chair and always worked with our insurance for approvals..okay.
Thats it for now, Ashton complained that my entries are too long...I will talk about things we did to our home next...thank you for reading.
Friday, July 19, 2013
|Ashton waving to mama with pride|
When Heidi told me that we were going to Sacramento, I said are you sure you want to subject yourself to this, it will be really hard on your body and me both. Her response was, a few ache's and pains pale to the opportunity to see her baby girl graduate and that we needed to figure how to to do this, not talk about why we cannot. That was Heidi, direct, forceful and full of confidence that we could do this together.
As I worried about the cost of our making this trip, Heidi had been working behind the scenes on grants. We were looking at 6 mos of caregiving money in our account (about 60K) and I was worried that this 72 hour trip would consume our dwindling care-giving funds. Never doing anything without a plan, Heidi had landed a $2000 grant which was a provided a sigh of relief.
Now that the finances were addressed, we had to find a hotel that could accommodate her wheel chair and that would work with us to have our room set-up with a medical bed, oxygen, suction machine (this was key) a hoyer. Heidi found a company up in Sacramento called Marion Medical Supply 916-451-4461, they were wonderful to work with, they reserved everything we needed, did not ask for a deposit until the week of the delivery, they arrived early to the hotel room, set-up the bed, the hoyer...all we had to do when we arrived was get me a beer to mellow out and get Heidi ready for bed.
Next we had to get the van ready, I had the Ricon lift serviced, there is only one company within a stones throw that do this, they are Adaptive driving systems in San Luis Obispo, They always have a leadtime, so I had to make a reservation to get it serviced a number of weeks prior to our leaving. The drill has been, I drive it up on a weekend (sunday) they work on it Monday, I get a ride up monday evening after work to get it.
Next we had to get the van serviced, last thing we needed was to have any mechanical issues on a 20 hour road-trip...My biggest fear was due to Heidi's vent, it was battery powered, (each battery was supposed to last up to 8 hours) it was always the "up-to" explanation that scared me, The system had a cigarette lighter charger that we were able to power the vent with...So if the van had mechanical and or electrical problems, our lives would have been interesting if we had gotten stranded on I-5 somewhere. I had considered bringing our generator just in case.
We always use Olivera's repair in Buellton to service the van and it was serviced a few days before we left. My job was done for the time being, Heidi organized what she would need for the trip, food, cloths, towels, med's , she had made arrangements with Annie Wright (our nite care-giver) to travel with us. Annie was wonderful, she was very patient with me anytime I wigged out, which was often, but the stress was unbelievable on my end. Both she and Heidi did lot to keep me calm.
The day is here, one of the things I missed most were the trips our family took together. Heidi and I always had the "boy" jobs and the "girl jobs" Heidi always organized everything to be packed, I got the van ready and packed all of our luggage etc...My dad, Chris, Annie and I were in the van, we were able to get on the road by 11:00.
I had been concerned about which route to take, as the road to kettleman city was always full of ruts, jumps and would have made Heidi miserable as it would have caused her to bounce around in the chair, Now keep in mind, the chair had redundant features to keep Heidi secure, we had a shoulder harness and belt system on the chair itself, this was followed by seat-belts that were part of the anchoring system for the chair. Heidi had just received a modified forehead system that had soft pads that were pressed firmly against each temple to help keep her head secure.
It turns out that the route to kettleman was smooth as glass due to all the new construction and was very comfortable. The trip up went off without a hitch, the van ran great, the vent caused no problems. We had a great first leg of this road trip.
When we arrived to the hotel is when all hell broke loose. Annie was getting out of the van, she fell very hard onto the pavement, after a few tense moments I helped her up and she was able to walk it off...Tough woman. Heidi was still strapped into the van as my dad, chris and Annie unloaded the luggage to bring into the room. It was not until I parked that van that we had our first heart-pounding moment. I started unstrapping her chair, a series of alarms went off on the vent...this was the solid loud alert telling me that Heidi was not getting air.
I am thinking oh my god, this is it. I was able to get Heidi out of the van (I playfully told her to hold her breath) which she smiled and blinked once...one blink meant yes...She remained calm as I started scrambling around trying to figure out the problem..Annie had to get the ambu bag (which is a pliable bag) that is hooked onto the trach opening. Annie breathed for Heidi as I got the vent working. We were able to hook Heidi back onto the vent and we made it into our room. We had already hooked up the second vent in the room to prepare for the transfer, as we started to lift Heidi out of the chair her alarms started sounding again, but by then we had her close enough to the bed, so no real stress at this point..we got her into bed, she got potty done, was fed, we gave her a treatment and all was good. She smiled as we got her computer hooked up so she could talk. All she said was great job and how excited she was to be in Sacramento. If you could have seen her face, she was radiant. This really made the trip up worth while..seeing how satisfied she was..you could see in her face she was saying na-na-na-nana that she knew we could do this....I smiled and kissed her.
|Negotiating the stairs|
|Love and Pride seeing our baby graduate|
|With Mama in her Sacramento home|
As we got the the van, the batteries started alarming, which meant we had x-amount of time left before we shut down. So scrambling, we got Heidi into the van and got her hooked into the car charger. No problem right? Well as we are leaving, the vent alarms were sounding again...As I pulled the van over, everyone as shouting advice as to what I should do, my dad and Ashton, I yelled to keep quiet so I could figure out what was going on...I never really did figure it out, I moved hoses around detached and reattached and it started working again...This would happen a few more times as we were heading back to our hotel. When we arrived, the vent went into complete shut-down, alarms and confusion. I looked at Heidi and it was a face of calm, she blinked at me once as if to say I trust you will figure this out. Annie had to get the Ambu bag again as we wheeled Heidi into our room. We got her hooked into the spare vent and all was good. I got myself a few beers after this one and proceeded to sit next to Heidi, we watched TV as I tried to figure out what had happened...I detached and reset everything and hoped for the best
The trip home as a reverse of the trip up...no problems...the vent worked without any issues, van ran great..Heidi smiled the entire way home
|Aunt Chris and Cousin Carol|
|Setting Heidi's arms for comfort|
|Says it all, my dad emotional that Heidi was able to attend|
Thursday, July 11, 2013
To help with the healing process, I am going to continue on with Heidi's blog, primarily talking about our lives and how we as a family are learning to live on with Heidi's memories pushing us forward. I will try and explain how we (Heidi and I) attempted to prepare for this day.
We lost Heidi almost 4 months ago, never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined what was going to happen less than 24 hours after Heidi left us. Here is that story.
March 25th, I receive a phone call from Christopher, his 3 word statement will forever be with me. Crying, Chris said "Dad, Mama's dead", I could not believe what I had heard and asked him to repeat, he said in a louder tone "Dad, Mama's dead" What filled my mind next was a flood of emotions which caused me to collapse to the floor of our office in tears crying no, no, no. My pain was felt by everyone who was in ear-shot of our office. I ran out the office door not realizing where I was going, ending up at my truck without keys. As I ran back into the office, my boss caught me in a bear-hug telling me he could not let me leave, as he feared for my safety and those around me if I got into my truck and left. We sat out in front of our office for what seemed an eternity, I cried and Santos just held me
When we got back into the office, he told me that the owner of our company needed to see me, when I entered his office, he hugged me and cried as he prayed for Heidi's soul and my families well being. We talked about our previous 8 years, I talked often with Pete as Heidi and I coped with ALS and its progression. I am blessed to work in a company that see's its workforce as a family.
My son called my around 2:30 in the afternoon, I arrived home around 4:00 to find Heidi's closest friends all huddled in our living room, they had all had a chance to go in say say good-bye to Heidi. When I got to our bedroom door, a police officer stopped me from entering, I looked around him and saw Heidi, it looked like she was asleep, nothing out of the ordinary.
I tried to get around the young officer who stopped me again apologizing that he could not let me pass as the room was a crime scene. What he said did not really register (will touch on this later when I am able) all I heard was that I could not go in and hug my wife's body. I was not polite, I told him that if he did not let me in my room to hug my wife before she was cold to the touch there would be some real problems. He got on his walky talky and got approval for me to enter my own bedroom. As I got closer to Heidi, her smile which always radiated the room was not there, I broke down crying asking her why, I hugged her, kissed her and huddled down with my head on her chest sobbing.
It was soon after this that the mortuary arrived and took Heidi's body.
I don't really remember when I called Ashton, but when I called, her reaction was like Chris's and mine, hysterically crying and asking what/how in disbelief. Ash was at Lake Havasu at the start of a week long spring break, her friends all took her in and held her. They offered to help pay for a flight home, but unfortunately no flights were available, so she rented a car the next day and drove home .I am glad she was not at home for what happened next. I had also called my dad, who dropped everything to come up to do what he could to help. He arrived and stayed the night with us.
It is July 10 and I realize that although we had 8 years to plan and prepare, there is no plan in the world that really can prepare you for the feeling of desperation and loss you will experience. I can remember just as it was yesterday, Heidi calling me in tears as she was driving back from UCLA, Steve I have ALS, I am going to die what are we going to do? We both said after composing ourselves that we will beat this, Heidi said she will make a difference and together we embarked on this adventure with bravery, laughter and love. We often talked about the choices we made as husband and wife, choices in employment for one. When I lost my job, Heidi prayed (she prayed enough to make up for me) we had decided to stay in the Santa Ynez Valley, I would take a job making 50% less.
This was one of the best decisions we ever made and came back 10 fold in the support and love our family received from the Santa Ynez Valley.
Ashton and I talk about Heidi and what we remember..it is not the woman who could not move, talk or breath on her own. What we remember is the mother who had endless energy, the one always volunteering for school functions, coaching soccer, hugging and laughing. My memories are locked on our wedding day, 26. 5 years ago, I could see her blue eyes and radiant smile coming at me, I remember our vows, I can hear her voice.
The following are pictures of what we remember today
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Movie review: Walk A Mile in his Shoes
This is "another "baseball movie with a nice twist. It's about a young man with Asberger's Syndrome, a coach that wants him to succeed , a family that fears for him but wants to have faith. This young man teaches everyone a specific lesson, deals with the cruelty of people who don't understand and opens a whole new world of understanding of this very real syndrome. PG 91 minutes. NETFLIX STREAMING Steve and I give it a 5 out of 5.
|Through sickness and health. Love forever|
Santa Barbara became my home purely by accident. A childhood friend invited me to visit, to meet her new husband and catch up. It took very little convincing to make Santa Barbara my new home. My boyfriend was off to Harvard to get his masters in Landscape Architecture and would not have time for a relationship. My best friend was moving back to her home in Georgia. I was 24, living on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and winter was coming. So, unencumbered, my savings in my pocket, I packed up my cat Hoser and moved out to California. Side bar: I had been raised winters in California as a child and summered at a family home on the Cape. I moved to the East permenantly for high school at Dana Hall in Wellesly, MA.
Back east my schooling and profession was psychology. . I worked with severly mentally and physically challenged. I changed professions when I did some fund raising and fell in love with accounting. I went back to school and studied business finance, accounting and business law. In between I got my EMT license. Talk about fickle. Before moving west I was working at the local Emergency Room and opened a bookkeeping business for B&B's.
|I am a lifeguard on the Cape|
I definitely needed to grow up. Moving to Santa Barbara was the opportunity to do this , to find myself. .
ONCE in Santa Barbara I was free and looking for adventure. I had to find a job and decided to do bookkeeping. After a few interviews I
decided to work for a Stock Brokerage Firm It was a dual job, bookkeeping and they would train me in stock transactions. I had made a few transactions and thoroughly enjoyed it, not knowing at the time that that was highly illegal. They ran into financial problems so I was let go, they gave the position to the receptionist. I was devistated. I had never been fired before! (Good thing, they soon went out of business )
I wanted to meet people but this was not when my adventure really started. After being laid off I decided to console myself with a couple of cocktails. I WANTED to meet people but I was not interested in any relationship ,. I went to a popular bar in town, Joe's Bar & Grill.
|Where it all began|
IT was shoulder to shoulder crowded. At a point I grew bored and decided to call an acquantance. This was 1985 and pay telephones were still the way, no cell phones. I am standing in line for the phone and I was standing behind this cute guy . I caught his attention and said "Did you know that phone booths and laundrimats are the new place to meet people ? " Personally I was appalled that I had said this. Instead of answering me he planted a big kiss on my mouth! Talk about shocked! That got my attention so much that we had a cocktail and got to know each other. MARCH 6th, 1985, 2 days after his birthday and, the first time I had been fired and only a little over 3 months after I came to town. That night I met Steve Swiacki, I met my best friend and future husband. He had been at the bar with a friend helping his friend through a difficult time.
Remember, I was not looking for a relationship. We spent the rest of the night driving around Santa Barbara, until the wee hours in the morning. Laughing and talking and unbenouced to me, falling in love. We were from 2 different worlds ,
|Pink, green and frogs|
I was sailing and he was power boat, I was wearing pink and green with whales and frogs on my courderoy Talbots pants
|Unflashy, Steve with his dog bo and Mike|
and he was understated, non flashy and had a mustache. He enjoyed making uninhibited mockery of my preppy attire; two days later I met his parents. WITHIN months we bought an investment property lived in the cottage in the back and rented out the front house.
|Our first Christmas in the cottage|
|Steve's Parents house|
Also remember that I was NOT interested in a serious relationship! WITHIN 8 weeks dating, he told me that he was going to marry me, I laughed. Within 6 months, he asked me marry him, I said no. He asked me again, I said no The third time he said think about your answer, as it would be the last time he asked. I made him wait a few days and said yes. I said yes. WE MET in March '85and were married September 13, 1986.
26 years and 2 wonderful children. What's our secret? TRUST< love and laughter.
The following is a pictorial of us pre-marriage. o
|With all my men, Daddy, Walt Sr. and Steve|
|My first Prelude, I loved this car|
|Our first date, first love letter Steve gave me|
|My Best Friend Marie|
|I learned to love camping|