Monday, June 29, 2009

Heaven on Earth Part I

We got back from our camping trip on Friday. Saturday was a catch up day,and Sunday I was down for the count all day with a migraine,so this is the first chance I have had to post.

Monday at Rick's eye appt they did determine that his lenses have some irregularities to them,meaning that they are slightly misshapen. During testing they checked his lenses with his eyes dilated and his eyes normal. The irregularities were more prominent while dilated, so they gave him some drops to keep his pupils more restricted,the theory being that it may help minimize his double vision. So far there has been no change. If these drops don't work,they will go to a stronger drop,and if that doesn't work,then surgery may be an option.
Tuesday was Zach's last day of school,and they had their honors assembly. Zach received a health award and honors for the third trimester,as well as honors all year. He was nominated for the 5th grade writing award,but he did not get it. It was great that he was nominated,as he writes really well for his age,and has many stories that he works on.
After he got home from school,we left for our camping trip.
Pittsburg,for those of you who don't know, is the last town before you reach the Canadian border in NH. It's a large area,but does not have a lot of residents. There are mountains,lakes,ponds, heavy forests,and alot of wildlife. In fact,a section of Route 3 is called "Moose Alley" because there are always moose either crossing or on the side of it.
This was the view of First Connecticut Lake from out campsite at Ramblewood Campground. As you can see from the left side of the photo,they have areas for campers as well as tents,and they have cabins across the street and right on the lake as well. This was our first morning there. We were so happy to see the sun! We hadn't seen it very often the last couple of weeks. We went fishing at Second Connecticut Lake ( well, the males fished and I reread my Outlander book by Diana Gabaldon). We also went exploring on some roads to see more of what the area looked like. We have been camping up that way before,and are seriously considering moving up there once Zach graduates high school.

You can't really see it in this picture, but Zach has a small Brook trout on his line. He caught this at Second Connecticut Lake.

I will have to continue this tomorrow. I am getting my migraine back and am not feeling well all of a sudden.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yesterday was a fairly quiet Father's Day. My mom came up to the house to see how we remodeled Zach's room. Zach wanted it painted red,so we did that,put down laminate floors,new mopboards,new molding around the door,and Rick built a new closet. We had a nice visit. Zach made Rick a Father's Day card,and tied it to the back of our youngest cat,Omar. So the card was made special feline delivery. Rick and I though that was pretty funny!
Today we had to go to the Veteran's Hospital in Jamacia Plain,MA. Rick had some tests done a couple of weeks ago on his eyes. When he got home from Iraq,he was having some problem with distance,things looked out of focus. He also had some sensitivity to light. He got glasses,and that seemed to help with his sight. Then after he had a stroke last August, he started seeing things double. He explains it like seeing in 3D. Things are not double side by side.He looks at an object,and sees 1 1/3 of it.So he has been seeing alot of eye doctors to figure out why he sees like this,and why it's in both eyes instead of one. Apparently,the lenses is Rick's eyes are slightly misshapen. They feel it may have been caused initially by the RPG attack he was in,then the stroke made it worse. They have not confirmed this yet,though. He has to try some eye drops to make the pupils smaller (the abnormalities on his lenses are more pronounced when his eyes are dilated). If that doesn't work,they may do what is basically a cataract operation-removest his lenses and replace them with plastic ones. So we will see!Hopefully the drops will work.
We will be going on a camping trip to the beautiful Great North Woods of NH until Friday,so I won't be blogging until sometime over the weekend. Hopefully there won't be much rain up there!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Make Hay While the Sun Shines ( Or At Least,While It Doesn't Rain)

Those of us in the eastern part of the country have about had it with all the rain we have been getting over the last week or two,and my family is not any different. When you have a garden to tend,lawn to mow and weed wack, as well as a few piles ofwood to stack and split for the winter,you really need a day ( or two,or three) of uninterrupted sunshine to work on things so you dont' fall too far behind.
Today,so far there is no rain. So we went out and worked on as much as we could until the humidity got to us. Rick mowed the lawn and weed wacked,and I hoed the garden. Now, I know in my previous post that I thought we had found the solution to getting rid of weeds on the pathway inbetween the rows. That didn't quite work out as well as we initially thought. When Rick laid down the clippings,we didn't weed first. Our thought was that the clippings would smother what was there and prevent any more growth. Well, either we were way off base on that,or the clippings still had some active seeds in them,because our walkways were quite covered with a combo of clippings and weeds. With the rain we have been getting of late,you can imagine how it looked. So I took my trusty hoe and hoed the offenders into submission (until the next time I have to do it).
Now it is cloudy again and the forecast calls for more rain later. Sigh.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Help Is On the Way

After nine months down at Fort Gordon, Rick was taken off active duty and sent home. They had him on Remeron,which was suppose to help,but it didn't,really. He was still having all those issues. He did not like crowds,and really didn't like going anywhere at all. He was extremely hyper vigilant. He had a lot of flashbacks. His temper kept flaring up. I finally had had it. Apparently,they didn't really help down in Georgia at all. One day,after he snapped at me and dismissed what I had to say, I thought,"That's it. I can't live like this. It's not good for any of us, especially Zach." This was not the man I married. This was the opposite of the man I married. I looked at him and said," I can not live like this any more. You get mad all the time,you snap at us for no reason. I am not going to let Zach grow up like this. If you don't get some help,you are going to live alone!" I saw the color drain out of his face,and he said,quietly, "Then I will get some help. I didn't realize I was that bad."
Within a month, we were at the VA and Rick did finally the help he needed. It took awhile to get him on the right medication,because they don't want to put someone on something strong if something milder will work. Finally, the Dr put him on Seroquil,a fairly good dose,and that seems to work. Until then, though,it was a struggle,and we took one day at a time. His walls had been put up,emotionally. The Dr told us that was a normal thing,since if you let your emotions go over there and didn't stay focused,you could get killed or someone else could get killed. Those walls stayed up a long time,and there was a quite a big gulf between us. I would mourn what was. I would look at our wedding picture and cry. The good thing was we were open and honest with each other,and that has certainly been a blessing. I would say that he started to be more like his normal self about 2 years after he got back. He is more outgoing,and though he still doesn't like crowds because of his hypervigilance, he does go to stores,our son's concerts. He does not drive any longer,partly because of the PTSD,partly because of the medications he takes,and partly because he suffered a stroke in August 2008 which left him with no peripheral vision in his right eye,and a blind spot in the inner corner of his left.He still has flashbacks and has a hard time sleeping, but he doesn't get mad like he used to.
Those of you who have gone through this know that your lives change. You can get back some of what was,but not completely. It's a new way of life, and you can either accept it as your new normal,or keep banging your head against the wall ,bemoaning your previous life and not living your current one. We decided to accept it. Did it take a long time? You bet. There are moments when I still wish things were different,and I feel bad, or get angry,but I allow myself to feel that way and then move on. Because in the final analysis, he is alive and he is here,and I would rather have that than anything else.
We also discovered through testing that he has a mild traumatic brain injury,which has affected his cognitive skills. His reading, spelling,and memory have been affected. He also gets really confused. He can ask me the same question several times in a day. Some days he is right on the ball. The military calls it the "double whammy." TBI can be hard to diagnose because some of the symptoms are the same as those of PTSD. He is going to be undergoing further testing to see if some of the physical problems he is experiencing is linked to his TBI ( such as his thyroid going kaput and nerve pain).
I am just thankful we were able to get the help. He sees a therapist each month ( I go with him) through the VA,and he goes to a PTSD support group through the DAV ( Disabled American Veterans) which he finds very helpful. It's mostly made up of Vietnam Vets,but the problems are the same.
I am very glad that I have my more of my husband back.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Some Grow,Some Don't

My garden is coming along OK. Our corn is growing like crazy,as well as our zucchini and carrots. Our tomatoes aren't doing that well,nor our peppers ( I know, we were suppose to start them indoors,but we didn't. We figured we would give it a try anyway). Our cucumbers which did start as plants, didn't take either. Our green beans only sprouted one plant out of the two rows we planted.
Our soil is very rocky. I rototilled it,raked out as many rocks as possible,and we mixed some nice dark,rich compost soil that we have adding to for five years into it. All our yard clippings,chicken and turkey poop have gone into this pile,and this was the first year we used it.
We have tried liquid plant food this year to see if that will help. The corn cetainly loves it!
We are using yard clippings in between the garden rows to keep down the weeds,and it seems to have worked fairly well.
Today I bought a new digital camera,so I will be able to take pictures to show you what my garden looks like. It's not very big,but this is the first year in a few that we have done a garden. We are planning on doing a bigger one next year.

A Changed Man

When I started dating my husband,there were several things about him that attracted me to him. First,he was tall- 6 foot,broad shoulders,and I found him very handsome. He was very self assured. It may have come across as cocky or arrogant to some, but to me he was self confident. I felt very safe with him,he could handle himself in any situation,and protect me. He was very outgoing and had a great sense of humor. While he was very much a man's man,he was also very romantic and loving,and treated me like a queen. I don't think we even had an argument for the first 5 years of our marriage! We not only loved each other,we truly liked each other. We had both been divorced,and finding a relationship like this was incredible. I didn't think that there were men like that any more, and for the longest time, I kept waiting for something to go wrong. It was too good to be true! We went to the beach,for dinner,for drinks,for drives,window shopping. We like to be out and about,even after Zach was born.
So when he came off the plane in Manchester, I knew something was amiss.
Zach and I flew in to his arms,and of course, I started crying, because I was so happy to see him and I was glad that he was OK. The old Rick would have let me cry as long as I needed to,and would've held me, saying how much he missed me,and loved me. What he said was, "OK,that's enough,"with a pat on the back. That was the first thing that struck me as odd. He almost felt like a stranger to me,and was acting like he had been gone just a couple of hours to the store.
Brian, his brother, drove on the way home. I sat in the front,and Rick and Zach were in the back. Brian kept telling him things like,"There's construction coming up on the right with concrete barriers." I was wondering why he kept doing that. Then,all of a sudden, Rick started crying,out of the blue. "What's wrong?" I asked,concerned. "I didn't see the blown out tire in the median," Brian said. " Sorry about that,"Rick said,"It brought back something I saw." Apparently,there was a truck that hit an IED that he had seen. He never elaborated,but that is my guess.
It was great to have him home,but he was different. He would get mad,very quickly and out of the blue,for no reason whatsoever. Once it was the size of the house-the house he loved before he left-now it was "too f---ing small." Our routine was too boring. I told him it was the same as before he left,and he didn't seem to mind then. He hated the woods across the street,there were too many trees around;he loved them before. He drove, but it made him nervous-he thought people on bikes with backpacks had bombs in them,he would scan bridges for explosives. When I slowed down to go through the toll booth, he yelled,"Don't stop,don't stop,for Christ sakes, keep going!." When he was over there, if they slowed down in the Bradley,they could get attacked. He woke up from nightmares,sometimes crying,sometimes yelling, if he could sleep well at all. If he asked me a question,he wanted a yes or no,and any explanation was "too long." He would literally cut me off and end the conversation. I was not used to that. You couldn't touch him to wake him up,he took a defensive stance. You couldn't come up behind him,he would get startled and yell and get mad. He started snapping at Zach and I. The deck where he used to love to sit he could no longer use because it made him "an open target because of the woods across the street."
I had read about the symptoms of PTSD,so I knew that a good portion of what was going on was in relation to that,but it was mighty hard to hold my tongue when he would yell at me or Zach for no reason. Especially when that was something he had never done in his life.I found myself responding with anger back.
He was home for a week,and then he went back to Fort Gordon. I was hoping that someone down there could help him get back to the man I had married.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

July 2005

After Rick left Manchester,he went to Camp Shelby,Mississippi for training before heading over to Kuwait and then Iraq.
For a while, we were not sure where he was. When he sent his first letter home,we discovered from his return address that he was in Ramadi, in the Anbar Province. I had never heard of Ramadi,and knew nothing of it. What I did know I heard from the news. Anbar Province was a hot bed of activity from the insurgents. There was alot of fighting going on there. Of course, Rick never mentioned fighting,in his emails or letters. He did mention that he had "just got back from" a mission or had "a quick chance to write"before a mission. We did have access to emails, but whenever the FOB (forward operating base) was under attack,it would get shut down.
While Rick was there, he tried for and became a member of the Scouts, so he was attached to the Vermont unit.While I would like to say what he did while he was there, and what life was like,I can't. I keep asking Rick," Can I say this? Can I tell them you did that?" And he keeps saying no. This is too much of a public forum. What I can say is, that when Rick was there, it was considered one of the most dangerous places in the world.
Some wives will tell you that they never considered the possibility that their solider wouldn't come home. Though I knew Rick could take care of himself, my mind could not help but go there. I would envision his funeral,and each time it was different.It would be sunny,it would be rainy,I would be the stoic wife,I would throw myself on his coffin in a very dramatic display of grief. I just couldn't help it. Maybe it was my way of preparing myself, I don't know. The military mantra," Pray for the best,prepare for the worst," certainly became more clear to me.
I would see stories about soldiers who had been killed on TV and cry.That actually continued quite awhile after Rick came back. I could certainly place myself in that family. I would think,'There but for the grace of God...."
July2005, Rick had been in Iraq for about 2 months. He was on the FOB when the base sustained an RPG ( rocket propelled grenade) attack. It was not just one,it was several in quick secession,and it happened right where he was walking. When one exploded,he ran,but another one went off where he was running to,then he ran the other direction where a third one went off.
He got lifted off his feet,but cannot remember if he landed on his feet,or got knocked to the ground. He does remember hearing the schrapnel flying all around. He was very lucky-no schrapnel hit him. He did notice months later that sand kept working its way out of his skin,it was so deeply inbedded. After the attack,he noticed nothing unusal,and a few hours later, he was on his way to go out for another mission when he had a searing chest pain,confusion,and the left side of his face dropped. At first, they thought he was suffering a heart attack or stroke,but that was ruled out.(We later learned that facial drop is a symptom of a brain injury.) His heart rate dropped down to extremely low levels,so much so that they evacuated him to Balaad,then to Longstahl Hosptial in Germany.He was in intensive care there for two weeks;there was specualtion that the concussion from the blast had done something to his heart rhythm,since he had no issues before. The Army was in the process of making arrangements to fly me out,when I received word that he was going to be coming home,to Walter Reed on a critical care flight.
After landing in Washington,DC,he was told that Walter Reed was full,so they sent him to Fort Gordon, in Augusta,GA. Once he was there, they determined that we was no longer in critical status,so the military would not fly me to see him. I was quite upset,as you can imagine. Plane tickets were quite expensive,and we did not have that kind of money.I just wanted to see my husband! We were very fortunate that Bea,from our Family Support knew about the Fisher House. The Fisher House is a great non profit organization that helps military families. People donate unused frequent flyer miles and military families use them in cases such as this. I spoke to Rick to see if he wanted me to to fly down,but he said it could be possible for him to fly up,since he was no longer in the hospital and was now in med hold status in the barracks. He would have to clear it. Long story short, it was cleared,and in August he came home for a week's leave. A soon as I saw him,though, I knew that something was wrong. This man was not the man I married.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lavender Here,Lavender There,Lavender Everywhere

Last year, I planted my first lavender plants. I have them under my bedroom window,in a nice,sunny spot.If memory serves, I planted "Provence". I had planted them in between two hot pink Azalea bushes. I had to move the bushes over this year, because the lavender has spread a bit. I was very excited when my first blooms came in-I intended to make soap with them. For some reason,the lavender soap with buds never came to pass, but I did make some lavender bottles and some sachets.
Lavender bottles are neat. Cut about 13-14 lavender stems,with blossoms. The stems should be at least twice as long as the length of the flowers. Let them wilt until they are flexible. Tie in a bunch,with 12" thin ribbon or twine ( depending on how pretty or rustic you want- I used twine,since I had had no ribbon in the house),fastened just below the flower heads. Take one end of the ribbon or string and wind it clockwise around the flowers,ending at the top. Take the other string and wrap it counterclockwise around the flowers. You should only have to go around the flowers about 2 or 3 times. Tie the ends of the ribbon or string together,and trim the excess. Bend each stem up past the top of the flower heads.Tie the stems together,and cut them stems evenly. Hang to dry. Though lavender keeps it's scent a long time, you can freshen it up with some lavender essential oil. You can keep these hanging in your home, or use them as a sachet.
Sachets are pretty easy. I cut the stems with blossoms,and just cut the leaves and blossoms into pieces. The leaves have a nice smell, too,don't forget! I set them out to dry,then put them in a pretty mesh sachet bag. These bags are available at any craft or department store. Again, after a while,the scent might need refreshing, so you can use some lavender essential oil.
This year I am going to try some lavender tea and lavender cookies. I will let you know how that pans out.
There is nothing more soothing than the scent of lavender. I love it. I love to walk by my plants and just run smell them. I even run my hands over them so I can just smell the scent on my hands. So far I don't have any blossoms, but the time is nearing, I have a lot of buds this year.
I have been reading more about the medicinal uses for lavender. I am very interested in learning more about herbal remedies in general,especially since I suffer from migraines. I take my Excedrin Migraine,which works ( for the most part) but I would like to learn about more natural,healthy methods to get rid of them.
I apologize for not having any photos-I can't find the charger for my digital camera battery. I may have to bite the bullet and buy a new camera. I look upon that as an investment,since we take alot of pictures!

Time To Go

I had gone grocery shopping,and had come through the door,when Rick's brother Brian (who lives with us) helped me with some bags,then told me that Rick called from El Salvador. He had gotten word that he was going to Iraq. Rick had asked him to tell me. I guess Rick couldn't.
No one can guess what their response will be when they find out that their husband is going to war, especically in light of what had happened in Fallujah and Mosul. I was somewhat shocked,but in all honestly,had been expecting it. I think the shock was more that he had found out while he was in El Salvador. They certainly didn't wait to give him the news,which meant he was going soon.
He only in El Salvador for two weeks,and couldn't call home much. In fact,we believe that is the only phone call he made home. I do know that it was only a few days before he was home,and we could get the full story.
A Colonel went down to El Salvador to let all the soliders who had volunteered for Iraq know that they were going,and would be gone within a month.
It went by fast.
We had to have all the conversations that no one likes to have,but have to. IF the worst happens, what were his wishes? I wrote everything down,hoping I would never have to look at it again.
The pressure on Rick started early. Please bear in mind, Rick was one of the oldest soldiers going,had been in combat,and knew his way around weapons. He had trained with and did missions with the 10th Mountain Division and the Green Berets when he was in Airborne,and came very close to being in the Rangers ( I think he haddn't been in his rank long enough,there was some technicality)He was an excellent marksman,and the younger guys respected him. He was ( and is) an excellent soldier. Everyone wanted to be by his side when the you-know-what hit the fan. He was very good under pressure,and kept a clear head. They knew he would know what to do,and that I am sure gave the younger soldiers comfort. The problem was this:parents started coming up to Rick,asking him to take care of their sons. One wife even told him that she would be angry ( she actually mentioned castration) if anything happened to her husband. While these people surely were afraid for their loved ones,and certainly didn't mean any harm,it hit Rick really hard. I went into the bedroom shortly before he left,and he had tears running down his face. I had rarely seen him tear up,so I knew that something was seriously wrong. "What I am going to do if something happens to one of them? These families are relying on me." He then told me their requests. I could understand their fears,but I pointed out to Rick that it wasn't just up to him. It was their responsiblity to watch out for each other,and his responsibility to come home to us.
He was going to be gone for 18 months,which seemed like forever. There were rumors about where he was going,but we weren't really sure, How in the world was I going to get through for that long period of time? We had never really been apart for more than a few days. Zach was in first grade and in Cub Scouts. Rick was going to miss out on so much.
The day came when he and the rest of the 20 were going to fly out of Manchester Airport. I don't even remember what we said on the drive. Rick said his goodbyes to Zach and Brian at the house,so it was just the two of us. Saying goodbye at the hotel was really hard. Rick asked if I wanted to stay there for the night, but I really couldn't. I just couldn't prolong the goodbye anymore. I felt bad,but I knew he understood.( Even as I write this,I have tears in my eyes. The memory and feeling is still that strong. No one knows or understands what it is like to leave your loved one to go to war unless they have gone through it. No one) As I pulled away,he saluted me,then went inside. I drove the hour and 20 minutes home,hoping I didn't get in an accident because of all the tears in my eyes.My best friend was gone,and all I could do was pray for his safety. Everything was out of our hands.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Check Out Some Of My Favorite Blogs!

I loooove homesteading blogs and blogs that have to do with simple living. Check out some of my favorites under my profile link!!!

What Was Important No Longer Is

In the summer of 2000, Rick came up to me and told me he was seriously considering joining the Army National Guard. He had been in full time Army in the 1980's,in the 325th Airborne,the only combat team stationed in Europe. He had been to many countries, and had seen combat. I was hesitant at first-it was still the military after all. He missed the military,he said,and plus, the chances were very slim of him going anywhere. It was the Guard! At most, he might help in the event of a natural disaster. I told him if it was that important to him,sure, go for it! I would support him all the way.
Well, we all know what happened next.
On Sept 11,2001, I was a store manager for a retail outlet store in MA. I was coming back from making the deposit when I heard on the radio that a plane had struck the twin towers. At the time,the theory was that it was a tragic accident. However, once I got back to the store more info started filtering in-Rick called and said there was a second plane,then the Pentagon had been hit. Later,the plane of heroes went down in a PA field.
All I wanted to do was to be with my family,but I was stuck at the store. I couldn't believe that people were still shopping. I was actually dumbfounded. I wanted to yell,"What is wrong with you people? We are under attack,thousands of people are dead,and you are shopping for underwear?! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" I was completely disgusted,and still am,when I think about it.
That day changed my life and thought process. It just didn't seem worth it to me anymore. I was tired of having no life in retail-weekends, holidays,nights-what was the point? I had an 18 month contract,which was not up until the following September. I made up my mind then and there that once that contract was up, I was out of retail forever. I told Rick when I got home how I felt,and that I really wanted to move back to NH. He was in agreement. If I wasn't happy,there was no point.
Rick,needless to say,had a feeling that he was going to be going somewhere. We held our collective breath,waiting for the phone to ring. When it did, he was told at first that he might be going to Afghanistan. That was scary. Then, that was changed to Homeland Security at Manchester Airport in NH. That meant I had to find day care for Zach,since Rick would be up in NH. There weren't many options,and I was ready to pull the hair out of my head. About one week before he was scheduled to leave,the mission got cancelled. Another unit was going to do security at Manchester Airport. So we breathed a sigh of relief-for a while.
In 2002, we went back to NH. I became a dental hygienist assistant,and while it was OK, it wasn't really what I wanted to do. Zach was going to start school in 2003,and I really wanted to be a stay at home mom,if possible.Rick had started doing security at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant,but it was only a few months later when he got activated for Homeland Security at Pease International Tradeport. It was going to be a joint mission with the Air National Guard. At this point,we had gone into Iraq. When we went in, Rick predicted-" We are going in too fast,with not enough ground forces. The insurgents are going to come down into the towns and cities and it's going to be bad urban warfare. There is no way we are going to be greeted as liberators.You watch. All hell is going to break loose." Truer the words were never spoken.
Rick did two tours of Homeland Security,working as the armourer. He volunteered to go to Iraq several times, but was always told no, he was on this mission,and there he would stay. It did not help that the members of his unit not assigned to Homeland Security went to Iraq,guarding one of the prisons.
In Dec 2004,his last tour of Homeland Security was up,and went to work as a Correctional Officer at the County jail. We had been in our little house for about a year. He was activated for a couple of weeks in El Salvador,helping to train the El Salvadorian artillery. There were a few guys from his unit that went,quite a few of them had volunteered to go to Iraq.
Then, the phone call came that changed our lives forever.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brand New

Welcome to my blog! I am new at at this, so please bear with me as I make mistakes and changes.
My main goal in doing this blog is to share my family's experiences with not only finding a more simple way of life, but our ongoing adjustments to my husband's PTSD and mild TBI that he acquired during his tour in Iraq. I know that there are many many families out there dealing with these issues,and I hope in my blog you will find that you are not alone in your thoughts,feelings, or problems.
Like it says in "About Me," I am a 41 year old wife and mother. My husband,Rick, is 46 and is my knight in shining armor. Our son,Zachary, is 11 and keeps us on our toes!
Like my blog title suggests, we live in a small ( 918 sq ft) house in the country. We live in a small town with no streetlights,a lumber mill,and a small truck dealership.That is it for industry,with the exception of many small home businesses. We do have a town hall,police dept and volunteer fire dept,which Rick belonged to until he got back from Iraq. We live in the southern part of NH's Lake Region.
We moved up here because we were tired of spending money on rent. Why spend the money on something you can never own,when you can spend the same amount ( more or less) and get something that is yours? Well, we looked around my hometown of Somersworth,and the houses had gone through the roof! ( That and the fact that our gas grill had been stolen out of the backyard sealed the deal for us moving out) I had stopped working when Rick went on Homeland Security and Zach was in Kindergarten,so we were on one income.We went to a mortgage company,clueless. While they worked on a loan for us, we started checking places out on the Internet,and we saw our current property. It was cute-2 bedroom,1 bath,detached garage-so we drove up to look in the windows and check out the property. The real estate agent happened to be there,so he let us in and we looked around. A deck! And a nice corner lot with .63 acres of land. Enough for Zach to run around in. Rick loved it right away,but I was still unsure. It seemed a bit small, but after seeing more houses, I realized that we really didn't need anything bigger. Our mortgage guy didn't see it that way,however. He kept trying to get us to buy a bigger house for over $300,000. He was flabbergasted that we would even consider a house for only $134,000. You can get the loan, he said, no problem,go for it! We firmly informed him that we did not want to live to pay our mortgage,we also had to eat. Well, you can imagine when the whole housing crisis hit. Looking back,we realized that we,too,were part of the sub prime mortgage scheme. We had no clue! We were extremely fortunate that we were able to refinance to a fixed 30 year mortgage and that we did not buy over our heads. We see all these stories about people buying homes they couldn't afford,losing their homes,and having no where to go,and I am so thankful that we did not go there. We knew what we could afford,and even that seemed like too much to us. That was probably one of the best decisions we ever made.( Aside from getting married and having Zach!)

Brand New