After attending thirteen schools in twelve years, I married Tim Staggs in 1971 and my life became much more stable. I went to three colleges in five years (Tim was an Architecture major and it’s a five year degree). Tim still knows people he went to kindergarten with. I, on the other hand, have to think hard to remember in which state I went to kindergarten. Yes, my father was in the military and not just the military–the Air Force (or the Chair Force as my son the Army Officer likes to call them). I say that because I was in high school before I realized that people in the other services weren’t those who couldn’t get into the Air Force, and civilians weren’t people who couldn’t get in to the military. And they say the Marines are the proud.
Twenty years ago, Tim fulfilled a dream. He designed and built our home. And he’s been remodeling it every since…I was going to put the number in here, but I lost count somewhere around seven. I think that’s when we put in the hardwood floors…might have something to do with the fumes. Sometimes, I feel more like a general contractor than a writer. He could have a worse hobby…I’m sure.
In self-defense, I took up gardening. Tim redoes the house and I redo the yard. Fifteen years ago, I got serious and became an Advanced Master Gardner.
Nine years, four months and ten days after our wedding, our son, Nicholas, was born. He was a fun child to raise…then he hit the dreaded teens. We all survived and he’s now an Army officer. Before OCS, he spent a year in South Korea and a long year in Iraq, both as a medic. What is it like having a child in a war zone? Try holding your breath for a year and jumping every time the doorbell rings. The good news is he came home safe as did all the men under his command.
When Nicholas went on active duty, we inherited Calvin, a cat. Neither Tim nor I had ever owned a cat. As I told a good friend of mine, “You can’t love a cat like you do a dog.” We’ve always had dogs. Cats are different. I frequently (much to her amusement) turn to my said good friend, Janis, for guidance with this cat thing. Calvin was a gray fur-ball with the attitude of a Rottweiler. Friendly to his family but not above a tussle if the occasion called for it. I saw him stand up on his haunches and slap our 90 lb. Spinone on the nose. Unfortunately, we lost Calvin to a rare condition when he was only two. I still miss my little gray kitten—who weighed sixteen pounds. After Calvin came Walter and Gracie, the cats and finally, Guido, the Spinone. Guido lived with us for three years before he and Tess became the parents of 8 strapping puppies. In a moment of weakness, we decided to take one of the puppies. Now we have two large dogs to go with our cats.
This year, we’re revisiting Tim’s dream and building another new home. This time, it will be on enough land so he can have a urban tractor (read riding lawn mower with attachments). This little project should take up the next six months. Then, unlike most people our age, instead of down-sizing we’ll be up-sizing.
That’s my life in a nutshell…childhood, husband, kid, cats and dogs. Oh, yeah, I write too.