I’m a stay at home mom and student (nursing) in Dubuque, Iowa. I have three kids. One has an Asperger’s, and one has PDD-NOS and does not communicate verbally. We’re also Quaker, and try to attend Meeting for Worship here in Dubuque when we can.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and much of my family is still back east. I’ve not been here very long and it is an interesting adjustment. Never before did I have to tell my dog “get that mole out of your mouth” or have pipes freeze and break, or worry about deer and my garden. Not that I mind.
I used to be very keen on photography. I took photos and later wrote for some local Brooklyn newspapers. I should get into that again. I’m back in snapshot mode, photos of the kids, birthdays, nothing artistic. My stock stuff still makes me a little money each year, probably enough for a weekly coffee. I should get back into that.
-Dec 9, 2007
Thanks to Facebook, I’ve run into friends from as far back as elementary school! So I’m going to do a quick ‘where I’ve been’ to catch people up, and leave it here for more people to read.
After P.S. 255, I went to Hunter College H.S. until the beginning of the ninth grade. By that time we had moved from Sheepshead Bay/Homecrest to Bergen Beach, and the TWO HOUR COMMUTE EACH WAY was too much for me to handle. I was a social creature and having no life really made school tough. So I transferred to South Shore High School in Canarsie.
I was bored because they did not recognize the accelerated classes from Hunter, and I couldn’t even get honors classes. By senior year, despite decent test scores, SATs, and the like, I took my GED (doing well enough to get a full scholarship at LIU years later). I then started life at Brooklyn College, completely unprepared for it and unsure what I wanted to do with myself.
I took a year off to live in Germany with my “high school sweetheart” but that didn’t work out. We returned to the U.S.A. and parted ways. I started working various temp admin positions “in the city”, and was invited to be in a wedding party. It was there that I met my current husband (it’s 1990 now). He worked in construction supply, I continued admin work. I tried college again (LIU) but he got laid off and I had to go back to work. At one point I lived in London for 2 years as well. Worked at a pizza place, and a glass place. Oh yeah, in my early 30s I had a pretty bad horse accident in Prospect Park. Kinda explains the bit of (HA HA BIT? I WISH) weight I put on since school. Lost a lot lately though. ANYWAYS.
We had our first kid the day before our fifth anniversary. She’s going to be 13 next month, and is attending middle school here. Great kid. (By the way, lots of pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kibbles) She will have one more year and then off to the eighth grade. Very much the social butterfly, that kid. Our second was born in 1999, he’s a great kid, he is very much into engineering and meteorology. He got a diagnosis of Asperger’s (although most of the ‘symptoms’ that one would consider negative were successfully worked on in therapy) and is currently undergoing evaluations for vision processing issues. Doesn’t slow him down a bit. Our third was born in 2002, and he has PDD-NOS (similar to autism/a form of autism). At the age of six, he is still non-verbal for the most part. He uses a computer of sorts to help communicate. Very happy kid, I once commented on Christmas, sadly, that he doesn’t know what Christmas is, and pitied him. Then my husband and I realized “every day is Christmas for him” and its true.
After my husband became a union ironworker in NYC, we realized our rent was skyrocketing, we couldn’t find anyplace cheaper, only more expensive, and we simply did not have enough for a down payment and a manageable mortgage payment. At the time we were still trying to get through the red tape to see if we could get ANY help for our son (hint, in NYC, we got NONE, he was in such a bad way, it was horrific). As a joke, I said “let’s see what it is like where YOU grew up” and looked at the classifieds in Iowa. I stopped laughing when we saw the cost of living out here.
Out here we have a great life (although Dan still works in NYC a lot — but he can take a LOT of time off. A LOT). I have a small house but a huge yard, with a nice vegetable garden. We have a bird, a dog, couple of cats, couple of ferrets. Schools are amazing out here. Health care is accessible here, and GOOD. University of Iowa hospitals ROCK. My boys get all the help they need, their lives would have been horrible in NYC, especially my youngest. I finally went back to college for another try, and hope to have my RN in three years. (I’m taking it slow because of the kids.) I just got my CNA as the first step to my ladder program.
I miss Brooklyn of a decade or so ago. Not the Brooklyn I left in 2006. To me, Dubuque is everything Brooklyn was in a fantasy. Solid, nice, working class people. Enough money to do some nice things, not worry. Just ‘regular guys’ like I knew when I was growing up, you know?
Here, the arts are accessible. I don’t have to pay a fortune to go to a museum, or see a show. If I need bigger, Madison, Wisconsin, the Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, are all about 90 miles away. Chicago is three hours away. For the most part Dubuque is enough. I mean, back in NYC buying original art was just something the average person couldn’t do. Here, there are galleries that I could get a nice piece and not starve for the next year. Lovely stuff, too. (The photographers in the area are especially inspiring.) My kids are free to play all over. We have great pools here. We have a fantastic library. Our Farmer’s Market (oldest in Iowa) is wonderful. Going every Saturday is an event, especially if we go to Chuck and Jo’s for breakfast afterwards. The music, the drumming, the food, the crafts, everything. (Oh and the thrift shop because I think those are fun even though my daughter won’t go, nope!) I love it here. I’m sorry I ever had any preconceived notions about small city (pop just under 60k) life.
This is home, and we will stay here for some time. I love it, and I love my life. I have just about everything I ever wanted.
I think that should catch most of you up!
Added, November 2008.
Finally, I am driving! This makes Dubuque that much better.