In my sleep, I still see all the guns pointed at me, the flash of light from the sniper's scope, and the tank.
My wife and I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, in October 2008.
Having visited the town on several occasions, we fell in love with the lifestyle that defines Fort Collins: rather small-town hospitality and pace, with most of the city amenities, weather that works for our favorite activities, a host of outdoor options, and relatively affordable housing.
We bought a property from a local builder, and put together the specifications for their semi-custom dream house.
It would take about six months to complete. We rented a house during construction.
I have been medically disabled since 2004.
I was born with a complicated laundry list of eye problems, and a Primary Immune Dysfunction. For over six years, one of the eye problems was treated with eye drops that -- I later found out -- burned my corneas, leaving me in severe, chronic pain.
I had to leave a career as a Director and Vice President of several different corporations.
I now have to wear fluid-filled, custom-made contact lenses while I am awake, and was treated for the chronic pain that the eye issues cause. It is only because of the gift of these lenses that I could tolerate the dry, windy, wintry climate of northern Colorado. But the lenses are maintenance-intensive, ridiculously expensive, and ... I cannot ... MUST not ... sleep in them.
My underlying eye issues are particularly severe when doing "close work," like reading and using computers. My focusing muscles are like having two bad knees, with focusing being a lot like standing up and squatting down. While standing up and squatting down should be fairly easy, in my case, my knees (focusing muscles) tend to either give out or lock up. Imagine being locked with your knees bent at 90 degrees for hours and hours and hours. When I use my eyes for reading or computer work, that's what happens -- I get a 'charley horse' in my eyes.
Medically, I need to be outside as much as possible, bicycling, hiking, snowshoeing, walking, running, or nearly any other activity that lets me focus on things off in the distance -- straightening out my legs, so to speak.
The exercise is also necessary to help me strengthen my ability to fight off infections.
As our new house was being built, my wife and I noticed that the structure extended nearly all the way back to the property line, behind the house -- much farther than the neighboring house to the north of ours.
As a result, the entire master bedroom was "in the back yard" of the neighbors' house, and a mere couple of feet away.
No reason to be alarmed, I thought. While the houses were very close together, my wife and I picked this neighborhood because of the clear sense of community and friendly people who lived there.