Mystery Lane

Mystery Lane

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Didn't See It Coming

When I left the blog last Kevin had quit his job and we were heading into summer.  Now, summer is almost over and Kevin has a new job!  Oh and we are leaving Spokane!  Bet you didn’t see that coming.  Neither did we!

Kevin’s hobby for years now has been the stock market and investing.  He’s nothing short of obsessed.  Every night he watches the Nightly Business Report, reads Barron’s and checks the stock market like most of us check our Facebook accounts.  So what better career for him to go into than investments and financial planning.  He’s been researching and looking at different options to change careers.  We went out to dinner with some representatives from Edward Jones and Kevin decided that would be a good fit for him and he began the process of applying. 

Then this happened - right around the same time Kevin quit, so did the Director of EPIC (the outdoor program at Eastern Washington University).  He had only been there for a year.  Kevin had actually applied for the job last year when it opened.  So when Kevin quit and the EPIC director quit, some of Kevin’s employees and co-workers came to Kevin and asked him to consider applying for the job.  It’s a position I have always felt Kevin would excel in and one he has a lot of passion for.  In an effort to give it one last shot, just so there weren’t any “I wonder if…..” in his future, he applied for the job.

Then this happened – we went to Florida for our annual summer vacation trip.  While we were there we celebrated my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary.  After 60 years they are still so much in love.  Watching them brings tears to my eyes and such a deep admiration for the strength of their love.  They are in their 80’s now and there are definite signs that they will be needing help in the near future to continue to live on their own.  Since Kevin’s changing careers, why not do it in Florida we asked ourselves.  We are mountain people and Florida has no mountains (or even hills).  But if we are going to leave the mountains, we might as well do it for the beautiful ocean.  After talks with Sylvia and a little negotiation on my part (I negotiated a paddle board and a house with a heated swimming pool so we can swim year round), the decision was made.  We are moving to Florida!!!!

Then this happened – we came back to Spokane.  Right away, Kevin went to the hiring committee for the Director job and let them know he was withdrawing his application because we had decided to move to Florida.  A couple of weeks later they asked him if he would consider taking the job as an interim position until next June.  I was in Seattle at my Developmental Disabilities Council Meetings when this happened.  I got home Friday night and Kevin says “Guess what?!”  So I dug out our big white board and we began our list of pros and cons of Kevin taking the Director job.  In the end, the job won – we are staying in Spokane for now!  Kevin went into work that next Monday, accepted the Interim Director position with an end date of June 30, 2017.  Come July 1st we are headed to Florida!

So there you have it, a new job and we are moving to Florida.  The kids will have one more year to go to school with their friends (Sylvia is starting middle school so that is important).  I will have more time to prepare for the move.  I am heading to Vero Beach, Florida in October for a week to start scoping things out.  Schools, doctors, therapists, and a place to live are on my list.  So much to do….

If anyone would have told me I would move across the country to Florida I would have never believed them.  I’ve spent my whole life living near mountains and lakes.  It’s going to be quite a change.  I’m going to miss Spokane, Washington state, the Pacific Northwest and all the friends we have made here.  Someday we may be back, or maybe we won’t.  Who knows what will come.  But I’m excited for the adventure ahead of us.  There’s a lot to see in Florida – the Keys, the Everglades, Winter (the dolphin with the prosthetic tail), Disney World (Florida residents get discounted tickets!), cruises to the Bahamas, Daytona, the list goes on.  What matters more than anything is that we will be close to Kevin’s parents and all his family in Florida.  The rest will all work itself out.  “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, June 20, 2016


I'm not good at fundraising.  I hate asking people for money.  I'm not very persistent or determined.  But here I am fundraising.

This spring Jackson's teacher raised money for a SmartBoard for the classroom.  But according to the district it wasn't an approved vendor so she couldn't put that particular SmartBoard in her classroom.  Sadly, she had to give the money she raised back.  Which kind of made me mad.  And making a special needs mom mad is not a good idea.  So I went to the principal and had a talk with him.  Basically I asked what I needed to do to get Jackson's class a SmartBoard.  He showed me the paperwork, we calculated the cost, got approval, and I left his office on a mission.  First, I had to see if I could get a good chunk of the money back.  A local credit union had donated over half of the cost so I reached out to them first.  There's no way I could raise all $2500 on my own!  Like I said, I'm not good at fundraising.  Thankfully Inspirus Credit Union agreed to give the money they donated directly to the school to go towards the SmartBoard purchase.  Now I just have to come up with the rest, to the tune of $1100.  Can I pull it off?  Time will tell.

So here's my sales pitch:  The fact of the matter is that no matter how you look at it, special education students tend to get the shaft.  They don't have the same opportunities as our general education students.  And that includes technology.  This past year Spokane Public Schools spent a good chunk of money on technology for Jackson's class.  How much?  I don't know.  No one at the district can answer that question for me.  And what is the technology?  Something called a Smart Table.  Where is this Smart Table?  I don't know.  No one at the district can answer that question for me.  So money that was allocated for Jackson's classroom was spent by someone outside of the classroom, on technology that wasn't conducive to the classroom so they took it away, and it hasn't been in the classroom all year.  Great.  Meanwhile, Jackson's wonderful teacher realized that because so many of the kiddos have visual impairments, the big screen allows them to see the instructional material better.  Couple that with the ability to interact with the big screen (which they do with iPads), and you've got yourself a SmartBoard and technology the kids could really benefit from academically.  Now, of course, there is no money to buy this SmartBoard because the technology money was spent on that Smart Table thingy.  Which brings me to this point of having to fundraise (big sigh).

Which now brings me to this.  If you can help, please do, I'll be forever thankful.  If you can't, I get it.  Either way, share this link on social media if  you feel inclined.  Spread the word!

SmartBoard for Jackson's classroom:

Monday, June 6, 2016


Growing up I watched my Dad get up and go to work every day.  Most days he went to work and he was bored.  He loved the guys that worked for him, but he wasn’t inspired nor passionate about his job.  But that was neither here nor there.  The important thing, I was taught, was that he had a job.  It didn’t matter if you liked your job or not, you did it because you needed a paycheck to pay the bills and put food on the table.  If you were lucky, you made enough to put some in a savings account.  You worked because that was what you did, not because you liked what you did.  So that is what I did, worked regardless of whether I liked it.  Then I met Kevin.  

When I met Kevin he had his own business fixing cameras.  This was before the digital camera age.  Yes, I am old.  Anyhoo, until Kevin I had mostly dated professionals.  They had college degrees and careers that required them to work during the day.  Kevin made his own hours and worked when he wanted.  Sometimes he would go into work at 9 p.m. and finish at 3 a.m.  During the days he did what he was passionate about – mountain, rock and ice climbing.  I remember thinking that there was no way our relationship was going to work.  He didn’t have a steady 9-5 job!  I couldn’t possibly date someone who just worked whenever he wanted.  But I noticed something, he was happy.  He liked fixing cameras and the freedom he had.  He loved climbing and it meant something to him.  I started to realize that maybe he was on to something.  As time went on and I saw how happy Kevin was, I realized how miserable I was.  I hated my job.  I was bored.  A couple of years after meeting Kevin we were in Florida on vacation.  I sat on the beach and came up with a plan.  I was going to go home, quit my job and go back to teaching.  And I did.  Meanwhile, Kevin’s camera repair business was slowing down and he decided he was going to pursue a career in outdoor recreation, something he loved.  And he did.  After finishing his masters coursework he got a job at the university where he got his degrees – Eastern Washington University – as a climbing wall manager and climbing instructor.

Kevin, and I’m not just saying this because he’s my husband, is not just a good instructor, he’s an amazing boss.  His employees are students and he has a way of inspiring them, teaching them how to be leaders, exposing them to a world they don’t know much about, and cultivating learning within themselves.  Recently one of his students told him that when he decided to come to EWU he had no idea what the outdoor program was, but he heard about Kevin and wanted to work for him.  Enough said. 

Unfortunately, in every job there are politics.  EWU isn’t without them.  I won’t go into specifics because it isn’t my story to tell, but Kevin hasn’t been happy in his job for a while.  If he could just go into work, teach his classes, take students outside to climb and spend time mentoring his staff, he’d be delighted.  But other stuff exists that contributes to a work environment that makes him unhappy.  Recently, he found out the college was going to restructure his job and essentially make him a 9-5 office guy.  No dice.  So last week Kevin quit his job.  I couldn’t be more proud of him.  Does he have a job lined up?  Nope.  Do I?  Nope.  Come the end of August we will be unemployed and throwing caution to the wind.  It’s frightening and exciting.  If my Dad were alive he would be freaking out!  For some reason, I’m not.   I don’t know where we are going to land, but I don’t care right now.  The heavy weight Kevin has been carrying is off his back.  That is more important to me than anything. 

The future may be unknown but I have a feeling it is going to bring about some much needed changes for the Klim clan.  As Ray Bradbury said “You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

Onward we go!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

An Overdue Update

I didn’t realize the last time I sat down and wrote a blog post that it would be my last for two months.  Life got crazy and time got lost.  In the blink of an eye, lots has changed for the Klim’s.  From my working to Jackson learning math to Sylvia being in a play to Kevin finally having time to just be home instead of spending all his free time at our old property.  

You might remember that I received a Fellowship through the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council for Public Policy.  I spent two days a week during legislative session over in Olympia trying to learn as much as I could about our legislative process and advocating for people with disabilities.  Then working from home the rest of the week trying to keep up with what was happening on the other side of the state.  Three short words describe my experience – I Loved It!  It completely affirmed my suspicion, I need to work in public policy.  While I was basking in love with being able to work again, Kevin was realizing how much he loved staying home with the kids.  Just to clarify though, he was still working while the kids were at school and coming home early to take care of them.  There is no way I could have done what I did for those two months without his support.  I think we both realized that changes need to happen in our family.  I desperately want to go back to work, we just need to figure out how to make that happen.  My Fellowship is ongoing until June so I have been working on follow up work from the legislative session and tackling some problems locally around special education while making new connections with community organizations.  One highlight is that I went to Washington D.C. earlier this month for a Disability Policy Seminar.  It was a great conference and I had the opportunity to meet my Senators and Representatives.  Kevin let me stay a few extra days to see the sights (did I mention he was rocking it at home?).  I saw everything on my wish list and more.  If you’ve never been to D.C. – GO!  The city is filled with American history, buildings you can’t imagine, and an overwhelming sense of pride in our country.  It’s a trip I’ll never forget.

Sylvia is busy preparing for her Broadway debut.  Ok, well not really Broadway, but she will be performing on the stage at a big high school.  She got the part of Mrs. Teavee in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Yup, she’s playing a mom and one of her best girlfriends is her “son”.  This play should be fabulous and entertaining!  She also won the T-Shirt design contest at her school (shhh, she doesn’t know yet).  So hundreds of little kids in Spokane will be running around with a T-shirt that bears her drawing.  I’m so proud of her.  If you don’t know, Sylvia is really an amazing artist.  She’s got talent!  Sylvia is turning 12 in a couple of weeks.  I already feel like I am running out of time with her.  Soon she will be in high school and I will become so uncool.  I always wish we had a few more years of her early childhood.  It seems like just yesterday she came over to our house for the first time, totally unaware of our plan/hope to adopt her.  

Jackson turned 8 last weekend!  8!  Every year on his birthday I dig out the pictures of his birth and the first few weeks of his life.  I wish I could turn back the clock and have my little baby back.  (Who am I kidding?  That kid was never little.  32 pounds at 9 months old.  He was a mini sumo wrestler.)  I always reflect back to that day sitting in the doctor’s office getting his diagnosis and fearing his future.  Looking at him now, I couldn’t be happier with how far he has come.  He busts around the house walking on his knees almost as fast as we walk.  At school he is doing addition and patterns in math, word recognition in sentences and next week will receive the “Citizen of the Month” award at his school.  He’s not the child I thought he was going to be, that’s for sure.  He’s so much better.  My cup runneth over.

One of the biggest changes in our life came in March.  We FINALLY got our wheelchair accessible minivan!!!!  No more lifting Jackson in and out of his wheelchair, in and out of the car.  Now, the side door opens, the ramp comes out, I wheel him in, lock his chair, and off we go.  It has changed our life in so many ways.  Jackson loves riding in the car, Sylvia loves having her own seat (which as she likes to show everyone, has 2 cup holders and a drawer where she can put her stuff), and I love the rest my back is getting.  

Looking at the family calendar for the next month and a half reveals barely any free days.  A busy spring leading into the end of the school year.  Kevin will be off climbing rock and mountains, Jackson will be busy riding horses and learning at school, Sylvia will be learning her lines and rehearsing, and I will be spending my days advocating.  

This is usually where I leave a quote that pertains to something I have written about.  So this time I am going to leave you a quote that is located on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in D.C.  It’s inspirational to me as Jackson’s mama and voice.  I hope it will inspire you too.

“Make a career of humanity.  Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights.  You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” ~ MLK, 1959