I alluded to things being a little rough around here earlier this winter... Well, I can finally tell those of you who may not have known, that it was because Mark was working 500 miles away from home (about 8 hours drive time). And he only got every other weekend off (and only Saturday and Sunday) so we only saw him 4 days a month for the past 4 months.
After hunting for work for three months around here, he finally headed out to the North Dakota oil wells right after we got back from being with my family in Michigan at Christmas. He left on January 3rd to look for work, sleeping in his truck and hoping to find a place to stay.
He ended up finding a job working in a shop for one of the oil companies after a couple of weeks. And, for one month he rented an old bomber of a camper at a car dealership with a couple of other guys from our church who were out there (two of them also with spouses back here). After that, he was back sleeping in his truck (with no heat) when the others were put up in man camps by their employers. (His heat hadn't been working for a couple of years. Ironically, he did fix it now but only since the weather has warmed up. Too late to be of much help when it was cold.)
I sent him out there with a bunch of heavy quilts and sleeping bags and he ended up bringing some of them home after a few weeks. So, I was glad to know he was managing to stay warm enough while he slept anyway! (He was able to shower at the local rec. center.)
I can't even begin to say how hard it was having him away from us. The kids and I missed him like crazy. We've never had to do this for this long before. (We'd been apart for work for a month at the most prior to this.) We were all lonesome. But so very thankful for the work. It felt a little bittersweet finally getting a job when we were living under these circumstances.
(And at the same time, I had to remind myself that there are those who do this all the time and especially I often found myself remembering our military families out there who's loved ones are in constant danger while they're away. It just gave me a whole new appreciation for those who have to be apart, under any circumstances.)
We decided to play it by ear when he went out there. If work didn't come up here, he was going to look for a rental so we could all be together. In fact, he had just started looking for a place when he came home one weekend this spring and met with the guy he contracted with last year. Intending to decline the offer to come home and work on one cabin with him, he went to meet him -- only to come home in the afternoon and decide that he was going to come home (even though he only had the one cabin lined up).
(Mentioned on book but not here: Got my blue suede shoes today. I love the color! Photo credit: Ebay seller.)
He came home 'officially' this past Friday night and it's so nice to have him around again! I still keep reminding myself that he doesn't have to go back. Now, we're hoping more work pops up or we'll have to revisit the oil company thing again in the fall or winter. But it also feels nice to know that's an option if we have to do it. We've done it once, we can do it again -- but this time I'd want a place out there so we can go back and forth and see him more often. (We have no plans to leave this area or to sell our house -- we love it here.) For now, we're just very much enjoying our new 'normal' again.
It was especially hard for him to be away from the kids so long. He was gone for his 30th birthday (Jan.), for Nikayda's (Feb.) and Abram's (Jan.) birthdays and for our 10th Anniversary (in April). For the kids, he called and we put him on speaker phone so he could sing with us while they blew out their candles. But he was home for Mother's Day, and my birthday is tomorrow (Thur.) and as small as it may be, I'm just so, so happy to be able to spend it with him! I'll be 30 for the fourth year in a row. Looking forward to it. :) The kids want me to make a cake. I never have before and haven't decided if I will or not -- but I might just to see their smiles.
(Also mentioned on book but not here: my new summer sandals that should arrive tomorrow! Thanks to a link from an old school friend on book, I couldn't stop thinking about them and got them for now insead of these ones because they're brighter and more colorful. Purchased for half off thanks to Swagbucks gift cards! Photo credit: Amazon seller.)
PROJECTS: I've been working on a couple of projects this week. The cabinet I mentioned last time I blogged is almost completely primed (I just need to contend with the rusty bottom section) and the bookshelf is now ready for a couple of coats of paint. It's upside down in the second picture because I just finished priming the bottom.
It was covered in oil in spots near the bottom (first picture). I tried getting most of it out before priming it with Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3. It should be fine with a couple of coats of the primer. It'll house some of our homeschool books. They're all in wire fridge baskets in the living room. It'll be nice to have them on shelves finally.
I haven't decided on colors yet. I'll have to dig through my stash and see what I've got or go pick out more. I'll be using some vintage wallpaper inside to pretty it up, too. I'm anxious to get them done! It feels so great to be painting again. It's been far too long!