Author: shatteenk

AND…

Twenty-three years ago, I became the wife to Cedrick Algernal Shatten. July 2, 1997 I woke up “jittery”. I guess the term is “cold feet”, the term used to describe nervousness before a big event, such as one’s wedding day. Why was I worried on my wedding day? Well, as I look back on it now, I was nervous because of everyone I dated before Cedrick. (Cedrick and I joke, B.C. is before Cedrick for me, and B.K. is before Kim for him.)

Every relationship before Cedrick was BUT. “I love you Kim, but I met someone else.” “I love you Kim, but I don’t see forever for us.” “I love you Kim, but I will always love drugs and alcohol more than I will ever love you.”

With Cedrick it was not like that, even from the beginning when we were newly in love. It was, “I love you Kim, AND I want to marry you.” “I love you Kim, AND I want to build a life with you.” “I love you Kim AND I want to have a family with you.” Now, after twenty-three years together, its, “I love you Kim, AND I want to grow old with you.”

God gave me far more than I asked for and even far more than I deserved in this life, love, marriage and family that Cedrick and I have built. I love you, Cedrick AND I always will.

Goodbye to Anthony

Anthony E. Stamper

Three months ago, yesterday, I got the call from my mom, our Anthony was gone. I sat in a dinning room chair in shock. We had just gathered 2 and a half weeks earlier for our birthdays. How can he be gone? He was our spouse, our brother, our brother in law, son in law, coworker, neighbor and friend.

Anthony had a passion for politics, movies and books, and I wonder if he is watching from above the Covid crisis, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the 2020 political circus.

We did not get to say goodbye in March due to Covid hitting hard the week he died. But if we could have met, and could have had his funeral then, we would have stopped all the clocks, and shut off our phones. We would have prevented his cats from eating juicy fish bones.

We would have silenced pianos, and with muffled drums, we would have brought out his coffin and let the mourners come.

But for now, let airplanes circle from overhead scribble in the in the sky that our Anthony is dead.

For our Daniel, he was your North, your South, your East and West. He was your  working week and your Sunday rest. He was your noon, your midnight, your talk, your song; You thought that love would last forever, you were wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one. Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun. Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; Our Anthony is gone and it is hard to feel any good.

Poem words from “Funeral Blues”, by W. H. Auden

Thanks For Showing Up Today

Palmer Lake, Colorado

Thanks for Showing Up Today…

In the fall of 1994, I began attending the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS). I was what you call a non-traditional student. I took a few courses at Pikes Peak Community College the summer after I graduated high school in 1984, but never returned to a college classroom until ten years later. Some students take a gap year, I took a gap decade.

Lucky for me, UCCS was a non-traditional campus. Built in 1965, it was for students who intended mostly to attend night classes. As the campus grew, it attracted more traditional students. By the time I attended, the average age of the students was 28, the exact age I was in the fall of 1994.

As part of my financial aid package, I qualified for work-study. For me, I could work up to twenty hours per week, part-time, to help pay for college courses. I visited several places on campus to apply for work but was offered and accepted a cashier position at the Bursar’s Office. At the Bursar’s Office, we students worked in the “cage” and were responsible for the collecting student fees and tuition payments. Our boss was William, probably in his mid to late twenties at the time, barely out of college himself. He reported to the head accountant on campus, Lori and she had a second in command, Julie. Together, they did the payroll for the campus, and performed accounts payable and receivables.

Lori’s desk sat directly outside the cage, and there were usually two students on shift during the day, three when it was time for tuition payment due date. Always at the end of any one of our student’s shifts, Lori would say, “Thanks for showing up today.” And we students would either attend class or go home.

About the winter of 1995, my co-worker, Lila needed a roommate. She had worked at the Bursar’s office a year longer than I had. One day, as we sat around the living room of our apartment, we talked about classes and the topic of work came up. I finally asked Lila, “Why does Lori always say thanks for showing up today when one of us students leaves the cage. Is she messing with us?’ Lila shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know. Next time you work, why don’t you ask her?”

So, the next shift I worked, I did exactly that. I had a class to attend after my shift in the cage was over. As I left the cage, Lori, who wore reading glasses below her nose, did not even look up from her computer. She said her customary, “Thanks for showing up today” as I was leaving to head to class. I did what Lila told me and confronted her. I put my backpack down, and said, “Lori, why do you say that. Why do you say thanks for showing up today to all of us work study students whenever we leave?”

Lori took off her glasses and looked straight at me. “Kim, as a work study student you had your pick of jobs on campus. You could have worked anywhere. But you chose to work here, and I appreciate that. By you students working in the cage taking student payments, it allows me and Julie to work on the accounting functions of the campus. So that is why I say that, does it make sense?”

I was embarrassed, and humbled. “Yes, that makes sense.” Lori put back on her glasses and proceeded to go back to looking at her computer. Me, I went on to class. But I learned a valuable lesson that day. We choose to “show up”. We get jobs, we go grocery shopping, we volunteer at school or at church. But do we really “show up”? Or do we just go through the motions, do the bare minimum of what is expected?

This summer, my daughter Alena started running in a local running club. As she does her early morning runs, I go hiking around Monument and Palmer Lake. I have been hiking the trails in this community for years, but I have really made an effort this summer to take in the scenery, the lakes, the animals and the flowers growing. I am not just “showing up” but am trying to take in as much of the beauty that Colorado has to offer.

The great comedian Tom Papa said once on his “Come to Papa” podcast, “Good or Bad – Nothing happens unless you show up!” Try it, I encourage you, show up today, and I bet someone will be thankful that you did.

Beware of the Ides of March: What my family and I lived through in March 2020

Beware of the Ides of March: What my family and I lived through in March 2020

“At this point we have to assume all of us have this virus.” Anonymous

Ides in Roman day calendars were the fifteenth day of the March, May, July, and October, and the thirteenth day of the other months. The ides originally corresponded to the full moon, which were believed to foretell omens.

On March 4, 2020, I took our son to urgent care for flu like symptoms. He was prescribed Tamiflu and was better in a few days and returned to school. The next week, his sister was down with similar symptoms, body aches, fever, sore throat.

I also took her to urgent care, and she was tested for flu and strep, both negative. She too was prescribed Tamiflu, but her symptoms did not abate. Below are the emails I sent to my managers and co-workers of the dilemma we endured for the next two weeks.

March 17, 2020

Time to take this seriously!

This is just a personal account to provide insight to let others know that we should be taking this Covid-19 pandemic seriously and hopefully provide helpful information to others.

Yesterday was a wake-up call of hopefully things not to come. Our 15 year old came down with flu like symptoms on Thursday March 12. We spent two hours in U.C. Health Urgent Care where she was tested for strep and flu, both negative. We were given a prescription for Tamiflu. She took the prescribed dosage for nearly five days, with no change in her condition, mild fever, body aches, sore throat were not abated by the medicine.

When she woke up yesterday, March 16th with still a fever, I called U.C. Health back, this time for two hours I received “All circuits are busy”, and no one ever came on the line. I finally called her pediatrician, ABC Pediatrics that recommended we get her tested for Covid-19 as she tested negative for flu and strep five days earlier.

We were told that Optium Health had Covid-19 tests and we could not just show up, we had to call first. We called and they told us we could come, but we would have to stay masked and in our car. We waited in our car for two hours.

While we waited, next to Colorado Brewery, we noticed young people coming out of the restaurant, hugging, taking selfies, and not practicing the recommended social distancing. We also noticed at least twenty people coming in all with masks to the clinic.

We finally were seen by a wonderful health care worker, but who was frustrated, because, she said “I do not want to be political right now, but I am very mad. People are being told everyone who wants a test can get a test, but we really can’t do that. We do not have enough tests.”

She told us she had to follow protocol since our daughter had not traveled; she had to rule out mononucleosis since she tested negative for flu and strep five days earlier. A technician came in, pricked our daughters finger and eight minutes later said she was negative for mononucleosis. I assumed then we could get a Covid-19 test.

The health care worker came back in to say, “Unfortunately, we only have one more test. We were given 150 tests, and today was our first day we got these tests that we have been asking for over a month now. We can’t give your daughter the test because in another room over is a man who was at the card place where the woman here (in Colorado Springs) last week died.”

Long story short, since our daughter had not traveled, but had all the symptoms except the cough, and there was only one more test left at this clinic, the health care worked had to make a choice. I asked if we could go to the drive thru testing center (in Colorado Springs), but she said, “Unfortunately, they too are out of tests, they only test as long as they have tests, then they close down.”

The lessons we learned yesterday, and even this past week as we grocery shopped in crowded stores with bare shelves, is to take this seriously. Start listening to our leaders. Stop taking sides on social media platforms and do the mindful. Don’t just buy toilet paper, beans and rice, especially if you do not normally eat the stuff you are putting in your carts. But really do what you can to be helpful.

As I took care of our daughter all weekend, I touched base with family and friends. I did not just send a quick text, but I took time to call them and told them I loved them and to stay healthy.

We will get through this, but only if we stop blaming and really knuckle down and do what scientists and government officials who have more information than we do are telling us to do.

All the best. Kim

March 19, 2020

I am not feeling well, sore throat, headache, no fever, but lots of congestion. I could use some help on the long running SR I let T.J. know about that he has been very helpful on as well as reaching out to my Q buddy Charles for some support.

Last night we lost my brother in law Anthony. We do not know all the details yet, maybe a heart attack. He was 59. We all are in shock as we are trying to plan a funeral in this age of Corona virus. I need a day to try to sleep and keep healthy for my family.

All the best. Kim

March 22, 2020

I recently seen a quote on line that said, “It feels like I have lived a year in a week.” This time last week we were dealing with our 15 year daughter not getting better from flu symptoms that were not getting better with the prescribed Tamiflu. Now, myself and my spouse are “presumed positive” for the Corona virus due to no more testing as they are saving them for health care workers or for people whose outcomes would be improved by testing.

My symptoms have all the Covid-19 hallmarks (body aches, headache, horrible cough, burning throat) except for fever. I have the worst burning in my throat and it is as if an elephant is sitting on my chest when I breathe. My spouse has mild symptoms of burring throat and body aches. I am isolated from my family in the downstairs guest room, while my spouse is upstairs. We did not travel; we went to local grocery stores, pharmacies, school concerts, and Home Depot.

My symptoms came on suddenly in the middle of the night on Thursday and by that evening, my husband was calling 9-1-1 because he was so scared of my coughing spells and the way I was breathing. Tri-Lakes fire and ambulance service were dispatched to our home, but would not come inside. They gave me an oxygen treatment in our garage and got me to breathe better and told my husband it was his call to have them take me to the hospital, but said, “The E.R.’s are staring to fill up with people sicker than her, and she may get sicker there.” He made the decision to perform self-care at home.

I did a tele-doc appointment with U.C. Health on Friday where the physician’s assistant stated “At this point we are assuming anyone with flu symptoms and coughing is presumed positive for Covid-19, since we are no longer able to test everyone.” They want me to stay off work for 10 days since the sign of first symptoms which was March 19.

To make matters worse, we lost our brother in law on Wednesday night of what is thought to be of a heart attack and we are awaiting autopsy results. If this were “normal” times, we would have already gathered and made funeral arrangements, got photos together, and started making tons of food. Instead, we will do an online service and hopefully do a proper service in June which would have been my brother in law’s 60th birthday.

I hope the email I sent last week and this one today finds you all well. I forgot which doctor on T.V. stated recently “At this point we have to assume all of us have this virus.”

I wish you all good health, and let us hope we can learn from each other and help each other.

All the best. Kim

Spring Break Week

By the following day after the above email was sent, Tuesday March 24, I had to forgo my self quarantine in order to take care of my husband. He had chills, body aches, sore throat and congestion. He had no cough. For the next few days, as I healed and nursed my husband, I cleaned every surface with bleach. I wiped down all the light switches. I moped the floors with Lysol disinfectant. All sheets and towels were washed in the hottest of water.

Over that week, our good friend, Florence, brought groceries, cooked and dropped off meals, and left Nyquil on our front step. Knowing that she had her own kids home from college, as well as a teenage son on spring break, she risked her health to drop things off on our door step. She called or texted daily to check our status, and I will always be grateful to her for that.

My husband and I returned back to work on March 30th. We are blessed to work from home. We are both software support engineers for a major software corporation. That same day, our seventh grader stated on-line school; his sister has already been attending an on-line high school for the past two years.

Our state went on “shelter in place” while my husband and I were sick. My daughter and I ventured out to Walgreen’s and the Dollar Tree on April 2. The world looked different – closed stores, empty parking lots, and taped off play grounds. It took another week for our son to feel comfortable to come out to run an errand with me.

March was month of sickness and loss for me and my family. I woke up on March 31 more determined than ever to self publish my book the Checkers Club. On April 1, I paid a freelancer to put my manuscript in e-book format. I also paid an artist to make some cartoon graphic images for my blog and social media sites.

I recently heard an author on T.V. say, “It’s our jobs as writers to document theses times.” And that is what I plan to do. I hope to document my hopes, fears, disappointments, and joys as we try to navigate this new landscape we find ourselves in.

All the best. Kim

Why am I blogging?

Why am I blogging?

In the spring of 2016 I had lunch with a good friend. We talked about the six suicides that occurred at her son’s school over the past several months. Northern El Paso County, where we have called home for fifteen years, consistently ranks at the top of many national lists, including best places to live, but it also has become a hotbed of teen suicide. After that lunch, I decided to write about my “annus horribilis”, my horrible year from 1978 to 1979, which was my last year in elementary school and my first year of middle school.

Why should I tackle this?

  • Because my kids became middle-schoolers themselves, first our daughter, followed by our son, entered a local charter school, with their versions of ups and downs of trying to fit in.
  • Because by detailing my story, my hope is that it will help readers, especially young people, know they are not alone in what they are dealing with.

It was not easy to tackle the topic of my middle school years. It brought up painful memories of all the doctor visits, the loss of friendships, and the numerous family members and friends we lost in the spring and summer of 1979. I wrote the Checkers Club in my makeshift writing lair that my husband set up in our utility room, as well as in local coffee shops and restaurants. Many times as my fingers sped over my laptop’s keyboard, I found myself in tears as I played my late seventies music play list on my phone. The memories I suppressed from so long ago, came out, chapter by chapter, word by word, until the final manuscript was complete. The first draft was read by my mom and sister. My mom told me, “It brought it all back”. I had forgot, she was there, she too experienced my “hell year”, but as an adult, not as an adolescent. She did not have the luxury to cry in her room every day, as was my go-to; she had to be strong for me, my dad, my siblings, her siblings, and our grandmother.

What do I plan on accomplishing with ThroughOneGoodEye?

  • Why should anyone out there care about my blogging publicly, rather than me just keeping a personal journal?
  • Who am I to think my situation of going blind in my left eye at the age of twelve matters to anyone but to me and my family?
  • Who do I really want to reach via this blog?
  • If the Checkers Club does become successful throughout the next year, what do I hope to have accomplished?

Others have had the same struggle as I have with one good eye, such as Dan Crenshaw, who is a former United States Navy SEAL officer and is now serving in the United States House of Representatives for Texas’s 2nd congressional district. He was injured by the detonation of an improvised explosive device; he lost his right eye and required surgery to save the vision in his left eye.

Teddy Roosevelt, who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909, was avid amateur boxer while in college. During a sparring practice, Roosevelt, was struck in the left eye. The blow caused severe hemorrhaging, eventually a detached retina, and finally blindness in the eye.

The author Alice Walker is blind in her right eye due to being accidentally shot by her brother’s BB gun when she was eight years old. She wrote the novel The Color Purple, for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The movie The Color Purple was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Whoopi Goldberg and Best Supporting Actress for Oprah Winfrey

The actress Sandy Duncan Duncan underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor behind her left optic nerve. As a result, she lost vision in left eye. She is known for her performances in the Broadway revival of Peter Pan and in the sitcom The Hogan Family.

The late entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., lost his left eye in an car accident in 1954. He was depressed from the loss, and thought his career was over, but he went on to be one of the great entertainers of all time, and a member of the famous “Rat Pack”.

The late actor Peter Falk, who played the television Detective Columbo in the 1970’s, had his right eye was surgically removed when he was three because of a retinoblastoma, a type of cancer; he wore an artificial eye for most of his life. The artificial eye was the cause of his trademark squint.

Some of the above I knew had eye issues, but I had no idea that Alice Walker or Teddy Roosevelt were blind in one eye. What do the above have in common with me? They all persevered. I call my self “left eye challenged”. It is my way of coping with what shingles took away from me so many years ago. I am not looking for sympathy, but rather I want to be an example to others of what I have learned to do with just one good eye.

My hopes for this blog is that I can be just a voice for somebody else who may be a little lost. I have many passions, not just writing, but cooking, working out, and being with my family. I hope I have other books in me. I plan on working on the next book the way I worked on The Checkers Club, with the help of my family. Check back in once in awhile to here my struggles with “writers block” or just the process of writing in general. I am not social media savvy, even though I work for a “big tech” company. I hope get better at social media and to have a second book completed by the end of 2020.

Stay safe, be blessed. All the Best. Kim