One Week in Fayetteville

Technically, yesterday was supposed to be my first day at Quaker House. But, at this moment (late Saturday night), I have been here exactly one week. Moving just works better on weekends than in the middle of the week, so everyone was in agreement that the switch would happen last Saturday.

There was food in that cooler on the right side
of the photo, thanks to the Osbornes of Spring Friends!

I am completely muscle-energy depleted, sleep-pattern jolted, and brain-wave scrambled. We crammed a 15-foot U-Haul and two cars full. I could not have done it without the incredible help I had from Carmen, Zac, Elizabeth and Ron. I will be forever grateful to them.

For now, I have gone from walking around mazes of boxes and items waiting to be packed to walking around mazes of boxes and items waiting to be put away. At the same time, I am trying to hit my stride in this new role, as quickly as possible.

The only bit of misalignment (that I know of) was when an evening gathering I assumed had been canceled for the week was not. I was just about to pull my car up closer to the garage to unload more stuff when I saw a person walking to my door. That required a quick re-calibration, but it all came together fine.

One of the unexpected joys I have found is when previous directors or their family members interact with one of my social media postings of photos of the house. Quaker House Directors live at the house. So, when I see their name pop up, I realize they have their own memories associated with that image. I have met three previous director units (directors or co-director couples) and some of their family members. It is a fun sense of continuity. It is also a bit comforting to think that they truly know what lies ahead for me.

As far as the mazes of unpacking and organizing that remain — I’m so glad Monday is Labor Day!



I just completed a flurry of activity in preparing for the Quaker House transition — I came off of a run of several conferences/yearly meetings where I was meeting people and learning from the current Directors Lynn and Steve Newsom and even a couple of members of the Board of Directors. I have met so many amazing people.

Sunday was the last day of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative). I noticed some right-sided back pain when I got home, which I thought was odd since I did not remember any catching or unusual movements, even with heaving a suitcase around. I also thought I must have razor burn under my right arm.

The back pain gradually intensified to the point that every breath hurt. I took some Advil. If my heart was on the right side, I would say I was having back pain radiating to my heart. That’s the corresponding location.

Tuesday night, I did not bring Advil with me while visiting someone’s home because I did not think it was helping anyway. I was just about brought to my knees. I did not sleep all night. The only reason I did not think I was having heart issues was because, if I sat with my back pressing against a small jar in just the right spot, the pain was alleviated for those moments in time. It definitely seemed nerve related. Plus, it was on my right side. Good sign, right?

In the morning, when I suddenly felt a needle pain pierce through my back, just right of my spine, I suddenly knew what was going on. I looked in the bathroom mirror. There it was. The beginning of a shingles rash, just right of my spine. Under my right arm? Not razor burn. Shingles.

I went to work yesterday (after putting in a work order for my broken air conditioner at my apartment) and was miserable. I kept up a constant flow of Advil, but my back/chest/breathing pain/catch was always there. Any time I moved my right arm, the rash under my arm screamed. I am right handed. Despite the fiery rash having spread across the right side of my upper back by this time, the intense nerve ache with every breath was so intense that I was glad to find aspirin in my medicine cabinet . . .

When I got home, the air conditioner was still broken, despite a note saying it had been fixed. In July. In North Carolina.

On one hand, I obviously do not like this one bit. I need to be packing! On the other hand, at least I was not dealing with this while traveling and sleeping in dorm rooms, one of which was without air conditioning. If I am going to be miserable, it is a blessing to be miserable in my own home. (After a second work order today, my air conditioner is fixed.)

I wonder if there is any ancient wisdom about shortening the course of shingles?