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A surprise to remember

Happy Friday good friend :)

Well... this is a total first for me... as I write my grateful Friday message to my friend I do so while being outside... you'd first think, holy hell! it's hot outside.. well, not from where I'm sitting.  It's currently mid 80's, there's a slight breeze and I can hear and smell the pine tree behind me with each passing wind... it's damn beautiful out. 

While out addressing phone calls this morning and taking care of some real estate fires I was able to pause for a moment and capture my view...

and then there's this one... I can't choose between my favorites at all..

So it's these two that I'm using for this week's weekly picture...  I hope that it helps set the tone as to where I am right now, quite literally, that mountain is smack behind me. :)

A little over a month ago I encouraged Chas to go spend some time with her mom.  Her mom lives up here in the Nevada mountains far away from life itself.  Her mother has stage 4 pancreatic cancer and this is something our family has been processing for 8-9 months now.  Given a shift in her condition, while Chas was in the shower I called and asked if there'd be someone to pick her up from the airport, called a friend to see if she could help take Chas to the airport (I had a real estate appt the next day that I couldn't break) and by the time she got out of the shower, her one way ticket was purchased and coordinated.  A few weeks ago I published a post on a Saturday morning rather than my regular Friday.. It was called a moment of silence ... given the emotional that day had created (rightfully so) I needed to be present in that moment. So in case you were wondering, that's what it was about.

So... in one fell swoop I suddenly became Mr Mom and Mr Dad.  Keep in mind, Chas has only been away from the boys for no more than a couple days, and no more than a week from myself.  So this was a BIG deal! 

As I write this to you, today marks one full month she's been gone.  The longest any of us have been away from each other.  I also need to mention... in our house I work almost all the time and Chas, is almost always mom.  Cooking, cleaning, boys to school, practice, shopping.. you name it, Chas had it covered and covered with excellence and passion.  Suddenly I added that criteria to my plate as well.... needless to say Chas really had to let go and I had to step up... total what the hell moment... hahah :) and talk about both of us being outside our comfort zone.

Thankfully we only had one week left before school started.  So I could develop a routine with both of them.  Quite honestly, I enjoyed having to stop work and just be there for them.  This also meant that I needed to bring my kids to work when it came.  The day Chas left, Tristan went with me on a full day of 14 showings then followed up the next day with a handyman job... up in the hot as hell crawlspace... total and absolute trooper! 

In the absence my precious bride, someone had to cook... thankfully with the additional absence of my fountains, I was jones'n to make something creative... so to cook! Man! I was ready! Given Chas's role at home, one way I could feel close to her was cooking all the things she's cooked... I even cleaned up in the kitchen like she does... ahhaha! it was awesome.

Ground Beef Burros

Chicken Alfredo with roasted veggies 

EVEN JAMBALAYA!!   this really caught her off guard! hahah! I'm so jacked to make it for her when she gets home.

Beef roast over lime cilantro cauliflower rice 

even the simpler things like eggs, bacon, fry'able mexican cheese over arugula... 

I think over this entire duration the boys ate out once or twice.  

The leftovers were all eaten with throwing nothing away. :) 

The other real challenge and bummer was that during this time Chas had to miss Avin's first day of High School and Tristan's first day of 4th grade... Being a Dad I didn't take the best picture of their first day of school... however, I did take a picture of them helping each other.  Here T helps Avin with his earnings.  They both have been incredible to each other during this time.

Tristan even palled around while we watched Avin and his teammates practice football... it was definitely a really full plate.

In addition to their awesomeness between each other I cannot come to words or express those whom have been here for our family over this long month away from each other.  Truly, I can bring myself to tears reminiscing how well we've been treated. The frequent genuine check ins on a daily basis.. the open and unasked help to watch the boys, to pick them up from school and practice.. Truly, balancing all of the work I try to do to provide for my family mixed with the incredibly odd hours the jobs take of me.. MAN! the boys were taken care of.  Including myself... the random dinners, drinks, casual just conversations to see how I'm holding up, the boys and Chas... I truly can't describe.  We will forever be truly grateful to them for this.

As the weeks went on I could tell that Chas was missing her life at home and she needed a boost of spirits.  So without her knowing I contacted our friends of extended family for help while we would be gone and a week later committed to the 13hr drive up here.  I had told Chas that I knew she had a shitty day and to help with her I encouraged Jimmy Johns to make an exception on their delivery to bring her some dinner... I said they told me it would be about 30min out... 

So.. sur'nuff... we pulled up to the house, Jimmy Johns in hand and I had the boys knock on the door... You could tell based on their reaction to the wait, Chas had no clue what was happening.  So they answered the door and well... you probably guessed it, it was another emotional shit show :)  But a heartfelt good one.  :)  It was nice to surprise Chas and her Mom with the visit of the boys and myself.

the mountain behind us is the one I took today's picture for. :)

I guess what made today's post so full is that a lot of the pictures I've shared with you are ones that I was sharing with Chas while she was gone.  It was good for Chas and I both too... It let her know that I could handle the day to day stuff while she was out and it let her know she could go be herself elsewhere to be with her mom and maybe someday feel confident enough to leave for a girls weekend... again, this was a big step.  

This also taught me a lot about myself too.. That I can handle it but also understand her commitments as a mom and the emotional balance of parental leadership and other household needs.  I have a ton of respect for the single parents out there whom are out legit on their own.  It's a lot of work if you want to do it right.  A big thanks again to our friends helping out. <3

I appreciate you allowing me another unique opportunity to share with you my life, our life. :)  I hope you enjoy the scenic pics.  :)

Until next Friday, :)

Have a grateful weekend! 

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