before we got here: steps [and failures] along the way

the long and winding road                                                                          on how we got where we are now

Rachel, another Monday post workout

2006 was a banner year in the Swattison household. We bought our dream home, moved and got married—not something I recommend doing back to back. We began to dream about who we could be and what kind of lives we were going to build together. Suddenly 2007 rolled in like a lion and Ratchet was plagued post-honeymoon with strange medical event that could only be described as pushing the boundaries of our vows. The whole in sickness (and health) thing was pushed to its limits and more, bigger transitions were right around the corner.  Who knew that this would be the start of the great unravelling of me?

One of the first pit-stops in this great coming undone (yes, I see the current trajectory as finally getting my shit together) was a job that got me on the rebound from a really-crappy didn’t-like-how-it-ended other job. The job I left was not crappy, the environment and situation were. That along with a lack of leadership, lack of honesty, and inability to shine light on the truth and doing the right thing is what sent me packing, right into the arms of the new job.  So of course the new job, much like the next lover post breakup, is the rebound, the one to suffer. And suffer we all did.

The person I was hired to replace, now a good friend, had no idea she was being let go. I came into an office with no phone, no computer, no desk, no job description, and a boss who was leaving to go out of town for 2 weeks tomorrow. I had a whole slew of people who wondered who the hell I was, and where was the other person they love so much? It just got more awful and dramatic from there. The details are useless in painting a picture of anything other than a complete mess. I didn’t last long. But what I did gain from this little job that was supposed save me was the seeds of a life that would, eventually.

Janice was the friend who replaced me in the rebound job. Years later I think I can look back and point to when I met her and say with confidence “There. Right there.  Meeting her is where this ship, this Titanic life, started to turn.” How you may wonder? Simple hospitality.

Janice and her husband Eric invited us over for dinner; I can still almost taste the corn soufflé she made that night. Whipped it up like it was no big deal, inviting us into their home and lives. We met Marlee the dog, and a sweet fattish kitty. We talked about this and that, about the job we shared in common, and laughed and laughed the night away. Some of you may know about this me: my mind is like that of a 50-year pot smoker, I don’t remember the details well but I do remember the highs. This night was the night we’d see our first glimpse of what a healthy life might start to look like.

We had already slipped into being strictly financial supporters of the YWCA up the street, paying our bills but never actually setting foot in the gym. Upon getting the tour of Janice and Eric’s home, we saw their in-home elliptical. It was serious. And fancy. It looked like the ones in the gym with all of the lights, bells, and whistles. I distinctly remember asking if they liked having theirs and they said they did. They didn’t have to go anywhere, it fit their life and lifestyles, being accessible any time of day. And if we wanted one, Eric could get his hands on one for us for a really great price. We looked at them and thought “Yes, we want this; this life, this machine, this ability to be together and make a lovely corn soufflé. Yes, sign us up.”

A week or so later we had one in our basement. And we loved it. But of course you know this isn’t where the story ends. No, it would be another few years, and a few more gigantic purchases with the best of intentions, filled with even more failure before we would be ready to call in the personal trainer and get started for real.

But Janice and Eric, you were a part of the beginning. We do use the amazing elliptical now–we are now able to use it as a central part of our home gym. And no, we never used ours as a laundry drying rack. The home gym we hoped for long ago now exists and actually gets used. You helped us start it. And even though we don’t see each other much at all, please know how grateful we are to both of you. You are lovely amazing friends who helped us find our way to where we are now, and we couldn’t have made it this far without you. Yes, you.



2 thoughts on “before we got here: steps [and failures] along the way

  1. I am not an “aw shucks” kind of person, but aw shucks! As taught by my Mother, my first words are “thank you” for such lovely words and sentiments. However, you are two of the loveliest, brightest, most wonderful people I know and there is no doubt in my mind that you would have found your way down this path. If Eric and I are in any way responsible for a small part of it, then we are honored to have been a cog in the wheel of such an incredible journey. Eric will be gob-smacked that he had anything to do with the transformation the two of you have made, but it will make him smile. And Rachel, meeting you was one of those transformation encounters with someone that you may not see as much as you want, but touched your life in a way that few others have. Much love to both of you and we look forward to watching as the journey continues.

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