Gary called me Sunday October 3rd and told me he wanted me to move in with him as soon as I can. We made plans for me to come for dinner the next Friday. I knew he was going to be visiting his mother the next few days, so I asked if he could take some food items to my parents in Klamath Falls. I knew he'd be happy to do that - since he is a "people person" and truly enjoys doing good deeds and being helpful. That all went well, and I was happy that he met my parents. The funny story is my mother asked if he wanted to "take a leak" before heading on over to his mother's. I asked him "Did she use those exact words"? and he said yes. I told him that was out of character for her. Then I found out there was a story behind that - Debbie and Tony had grown a bumper crop of leeks, so would humorously ask everyone who visited them if they wanted to "take a leek" when they left. We had a good laugh about that.
Anyway, when I went to dinner that Friday, I met the neighbors Kelly and Dana. Kelly is a stockbroker, and he and Gary do a lot of farm projects together. They are growing red wiggler worms to sell for composting. They have two huge containers, and will be harvesting the worms to sell and the compost for their own use. In the meantime, they drain liquid out the bottom, and use it as fertilizer mixed in when watering their crops. Gary calls this "worm pee". His tomatoes are out of this world - a rich red color and the most flavorful I've ever had. My mother said she hadn't had tomatoes like that since she was in Oklahoma. He says it is the "worm pee" that makes the difference.
Dana works for HP. She was in the middle of painting her nails when Gary invited them over, so she finished while at his house, experimenting with a very dark blue color. That night I drove straight from his house to my job at Mt. Angel.
I had inquired about employment at Corvallis Manor, which is only 15-20 minute drive from Gary's house. I was pleased to be invited for an interview. The director of nursing services was impressed that I was from the Providence Benedicting Nursing Center. She also liked that I was taking a Medication Aide class. She asked what area and shifts I preferred and she gave a little jump when I said short stay - night shift. That was just what she needed. So I was offered a job, the sooner the better. I told her I needed to give two weeks notice, and ended up taking an additional week to have a breather between jobs.
This extra week turned out to be really important. The night of October 13th I agonized about the decision to give notice at PBNC. It was a huge step for me. I had been so excited to get the CNA training at Mt Angel. And so excited to be working there, and for Providence. Excited again when I got to work in the short stay area. I loved many of the people I worked with. And loved the commute with my audiobooks, etc. Also of course, thinking of leaving the life that I loved in Beaverton/Portland with my 3 book groups, season tickets to 3 theatre series, the Body Recall class I taught, my great Zumba class, etc.
But by the morning of the 14th I made the decision that since Gary was the man who seemed to fill the bill of a man to share my future with, I would give notice at PBNC, and try taking steps toward a new life with him in Corvallis. I e-mailed my family about this decision. It happened that later that day my father took his own life. We daughters were full of sorrow, but also sympathetic with this decision. He hadn't been feeling well from complications after a surgery, he had lost his appetite, he was facing needing to move to assisted living and never did want that. He always said he had had a good full life and didn't see any point in living past age 90. He did it when Debbie and Tony were there, and bless Tony for being the one to say comforting words to him at the end, and to deal with what needed to be done.
Pam, her husband Rod, and I decided to go down the next morning. I really appreciated Rod driving us. It was so good for the 3 sisters to be together. I took the train back, needing to get back to take the final test for my medication aide class.
My dad had been looking forward to me getting a job that didn't require the commute I had, where I needed help staying awake on the way home (phone conversations with him and my mother served this purpose and I treasure all conversations we got to have). I don't know if he thought about this that day, but he might have felt good about meeting Gary and knowing I possibly had a more secure future. And at the least, a shorter commute.