Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Even My Dog Feels Sorry for Me





Even the dog feels bad for me.

Okay, this picture was actually taken by Jamie, who can always consider photography as a profession if the whole helicopter pilot/blowing shit up thing doesn't work out.

Yeah, I was as surprised as anyone when my doctor said I have pneumonia on Monday. I dragged myself out to my mom's (who does not need to be exposed to any germs) thinking I was just having a really bad fibro flare. But with the sharp pain in my right shoulder and the difficulty catching my breath to get through a sentence, I just wanted to make sure there was nothing major wrong.

Is pneumonia major?

I just saw that a guy I went to high school with is in the hospital with pneumonia. I know pneumonia is what my father's dad eventually died from. So yeah, it's a little scary.

I didn't really think I had any upper respiratory symptoms (although now it certainly seems to be setting in with a cough that makes me want to rip my lungs out of my body. But apparently having severe right shoulder pain can be an indication of gall bladder problems. Oops. Had that out in 2007.

Combined with shortness of breath, the doctor made sure that my lung hadn't collapsed again and immediately pronounced, "You have pneumonia. It's a good thing you came in." I almost fell off the table. That might have been the dizziness and the brightness of the overhead light, but I believe it was actually shock.

So here's the thing with chronic illness. If your body is telling you something not quite normal for you is going on, you need to listen to your body. I'm just grateful I caught it before it developed into something hospital worthy.

The big bummer out of this is that Justin will be taking the kids down to his mom's and cooking Thanksgiving dinner down there and I will be staying here because I am just not up to the trip. Before you feel too sorry for me, remember I will be getting the house to myself for several hours (although probably in bed or on the couch) and that we will be making a complete Thanksgiving dinner for my parents here on Sunday. I'm even going to try to make a no-cook peanut butter/chocolate/cream cheese pie. Usually Mom does the pies, but they have company coming in for a couple of days and I don't want her up and making pies and stressing that she needs to get them done, no matter how much I love her pie crust.

Long story short (can I even do that?), it looks like I will be recovering for a few days (hopefully only a few days) and I haven't gotten much Christmas shopping done. It also means that I will be missing out on the regular Thanksgiving festivities (because I would never suggest that Justin not go to his mom's this year and the kids want to see their grandma and great-grandma). Hopefully, this whole being sick thing will be history in a week and I can get back to my own version of normal.

In the meantime, if I am not responding to emails/Facebook/blogs, etc...it's because I'm in the prone position on the heating pad for the shoulder pain. I was thinking today how handy my Kindle Fire is going to be on those days that it's too much work to put the laptop on my lap.

Justin says Apple is doing Black Friday deals online and he gets a 20% discount on all of their products through his company. Plus, a new computer for us is a write off, since he can use it for work. Not to mention that I am trying to get a writing career off the ground here. Can you write off something you buy to work on if you're making absolutely no money at it?

Okay, back to the couch and the heating pad. I had to stop reading The Executioner's Song because it was actually very poorly written and just uninteresting. Right now, I need mind candy. I'm switching off of the award winners for just a bit until I feel better. I gave Norman Mailer 200 pages and two days of my life, so next time I won't try to force it if it's just not a good read. I don't care how many awards this guy won. He can't write. As Justin said, "It's dreck."

Happy Thanksgiving and I will be back as soon as I can remain upright for any extended period of time without feeling like I need an immediate nap. In my soup.




Monday, November 21, 2011

Having Fibromyalgia, Week 4,368

I'll do the laundry for you!

That's not my cat, but I think it is my washer. But it's really clean, so it can't possibly be my washer. I wouldn't know though, because...

I'm. Still. Sick.

But I'm not sick in a classic get a 102.1 degree fever, barfing, punctured a lung coughing up icky green stuff, wavy lines in my vision sort of way. I'm more sick in an exhausted, achy, severe pain in my shoulder way...if that even makes any sense.

What it really means is that fibromyalgia has once again reared it's ugly head and flattened me onto the couch and it' really starting to piss me off. I mean, I even missed Stream of Conscious Sunday yesterday because I was too tired to write for five minutes, I haven't been on Facebook except to blearily update my Words with Friends games with words like "scepe" (which probably made total sense in my 3:00 a.m. I can't sleep because my shoulder is killing me mental fog), and my mother is wondering if she is going to see me before Christmas. Thank God Justin is driving on Thursday because I will only have to drag myself to the car with a pillow and hope my mother in law won't care that I'm in my pajamas.

So, I'm whining my "being chronically ill sucks" motto again. My diagnosis is a "rule out" of "real" diseases, I never know when I'm going to spend two weeks (months) doing nothing but trying to comprehend a Stephen King book that I've already read because I'm too tired to even contemplate taking a shower, and my children are wondering why they have no clean clothes and Mom doesn't have any makeup on. Again.

I have a doctor's note to get blood work and a mammogram (not necessarily in that order) and I'm too tired to schedule the appointments.

I'm going to run out of one of my prescriptions and I'm too tired to go to over to the pharmacy to get it. And it's one that actually helps.

I'm starting to think that all of my Christmas shopping is going to be done online, which will probably make buying Justin a grill kind of hard (does Lowe's deliver grills oh shut up he already knows I'm buying it for him). And I'm hoping I can use my Gamestop credit if I go to the website because I would really hate to lose that $105 because whatever this thing is that has me in its grip made it impossible to drag myself to the store. (I will drag myself to the store if that's the case, but my fingers currently seem to be the only part of my body that can move without extreme effort, so I'm going to briefly cross them and pray to my higher power (yeah, right) that I can use it online.

And if you're not following this, don't feel bad because I'm not even sure what I just wrote. Cognitive dysfunction is a total bitch.

Please tune in tomorrow for another suspense filled episode of As The Couch Sagged. No wait. That's my chest. I promise to fill you in on the exciting drama of whether or not I made it to the shower and how many days (okay, weeks) Joey will have to live with needing new shoes.

Mom, we really need to get webcams and do the Skype thing. Hey, I hear you can do that with a Mac...


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

 

It's official. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

On Tuesday, I took my son out for lunch for his 20th birthday. The food was delicious. After we ate, we went over to Best Buy to return the iPod I got for Joey for Christmas (because everyone agreed a new bike would be better - shhh...don't tell him!) and I found myself very confused.

And then the pain hit.

I'm used to chronic pain. I've had it for over 25 years and I'm very used to chronic pain. But this. This was so bad, I thought I was going to pass out behind the wheel. This was lightning sharp, intense, blinding pain in my abdomen. We were almost home and Ben asked if I wanted to pull over, but all I could think about was getting home. I was able to hold it together long enough for him to help me out of the car. I wouldn't let him help me into the house because I didn't want Justin to worry or be distracted from work.

The pain and fogginess got worse as the day wore on. I thought maybe I had taken too much of my narcotic pain reliever and the old digestive tract just wasn't working, so there was no point to going to the doctor. I would wait it out and see if things passed, so to speak. Things passed and it still hurts and I'm still really foggy. I don't think it was the narcotics.

I've been walking around since Tuesday afternoon holding my insides in and trying not to bitch about how bad I feel, because I can't possibly feel worse than Justin. He hasn't had a day off since the end of October and the work just keeps piling on, despite his recent bout with a sinus infection and severe bronchitis that was about one cough away from pneumonia. He's still coughing and hacking three weeks later, so I'm sure he doesn't want to hear his unemployed, unpaid, writer wife whining about how bad she feels.

I unloaded the dishwasher yesterday bent in two and was really glad that I had done the laundry on Tuesday. I'm praying Joey has enough jeans to last until Saturday.

When the pain hit, I cleared my schedule for yesterday and today, hoping whatever it was would be gone by Friday, because Friday is the day my best friend is supposed to come out for lunch and a few hours of sewing time. I've been resting up my hand all week so that we can sit and do nothing but focus on our crafting. If I have to cancel on her because I need to go to the Urgent Care tomorrow, I am going to be some kind of pissed.

And there's the visit planned to my mom on Saturday. And Christmas shopping with another friend on Sunday.

All of the fun things that I would never cancel at the last minute like I would the unfun things. I know that's when I really don't feel good...when I don't meet a friend for something, because I look forward to those dates like a 3 year old looks forward to ice cream.

I am sick of being sick. And I am sick of the sickness having another level. Every time I get to the point where I think I am handling it and getting on with things, something else hits. I've been pretty much completely physically miserable since my hysterectomy in April 2010 and it's not getting better. A doctor and three specialists can't find anything (else) wrong. It could be adhesions from the surgery, but if it is, if they go in and try to fix it, they will make it worse. The surgery that was supposed to fix things just made them worse. I'm supposed to go have blood work done, but I've been too sick this week to do it. (Isn't that an oxymoron?)

There's a blog that I read that is written by a fairly well know woman with fibromyalgia. I've been struck with how many negative posts she writes. I know how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole of being miserable and then spreading it around. I have actually winnowed out a lot of blogs that I used to read to try to keep things positive. And now here I am complaining about how bad I feel. I feel bad about complaining. I feel worse about being sick.

This is not what I signed up for. I need to be functional, at least to some point. And I'm having a really weird sense of deja vu that I have written this post before when I got "sicker" with some kind of virus or something that was making me nuts.

So, I'm miserable. I've been in my slippers for so many hours straight, my toenails were starting to rub the toes beside them so badly I had to take them off. My right hip is screaming at me because I have to lie on my right side on the couch to see the television and that side doesn't like to have all of my weight on it for an extended period of time. I am fighting the cat for the pillows (which he totally thinks belong to him now). Have you ever had to fight a 25 pound cat for your pillows? It's no easy task when you feel weak as a kitten. (Ha - play on words, which probably made no sense to anyone but me.)

I don't have time for this. I just got accepted to write for a new website and need to get myself set up with them. I need to see my friends. I need to see my mom. I need to go Christmas shopping, if I want to have gifts under the tree for my kids.

And I feel like going to the doctor is a waste of time and money, because they can never find anything (new) wrong with me. My primary care doctor is an hour away and Justin can't take three hours out of his day to get me out there. Hell, he can't take an hour to take me to Urgent Care. He's on the edge of sanity as it is with his workload. The last thing he needs is a sick wife.

What happens when Mom gets too sick to do anything? How do you handle that? What do you do to keep the laundry done, the meals made, the dog hair from drifting around your house?

And now I need to welcome my kids home (as much as I can without lifting my head) and...I forgot. I think the dishwasher needs to be unloaded. When am I going to feel better, damn it?

I figure it's something from the restaurant. But I'm not sure; it could be anything. Or it could be nothing and I am making more of some transient pain than I should be. But whatever it is, it's really starting to piss me off.

I don't want to be the blogger who can't shut up about how bad she feels. Because that gets old really quickly.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011



(This post was written for the now defunct Motherhood Uncovered site. Due to the incredibly sharp pain I am currently having in my side (which I am sure means I need an ambulance and heavy doses of morphine), I am posting it at the risk of pissing off my better half. But he's such a good sport, I figure he will know that I am totally joking. Except about my being a major spender, because that's no joking matter. I hate it when he's right.)

Justin and I have completely different ideas when it comes to how to spend (or not spend) money. And it drives me absolutely crazy.

Justin is a saver. He will go for years in between underwear purchases and then has to be talked into them over a period of several weeks, while his old ones are cobbled together by two threads and an elastic band.

I, on the other hand, am a spender. I never got into the habit of saving. In fact, money almost literally burns a hole in my pocket. You can imagine how overwhelmed with joy I was when I discovered I could get credit cards. It was the equivalent of getting a box of Godiva chocolates during a bad PMS week. It was a free pass to adulthood and the mall. I mean the mall I used to go to before you could order everything you ever wanted online. A whole new world opened up the day the internet opened up shop and gave me the option of entering my credit card number.

The problem is that we are living at two extremes. Because of my spending, Justin feels like he simply can't spend money. Ever. It's in no way fair. And sometimes I wonder if I could stop hemorrhaging money from both ends of my wallet for any period of time whether he would be more amenable to spending when there is something big I want (like a new washing machine - yeah, right; appliances are so much fun). Or, alternatively, on some new underwear for him. But we will probably never know, because I am simply not a saver and I never will be. And "one click" does not go well with my impulsive fingers.

Our two extremes clash horribly at this time of year. Not only do we have Christmas coming; we also have all three kids' birthdays between the end of October and the end of the year. And in my own defense, much of the shopping I do the rest of the year is for the kids. I take care of all clothing needs and back to school shopping. I buy the occasional video game, milkshake, tank of gas, or all of the above. I pay the doctors, the dentists, the orthodontist. I buy the cell phones and the iTunes. I make sure moms' birthdays get remembered with flower deliveries. This year, for my parents' anniversary, my brother was supposed to pay for a portion of the Edible Arrangement I got my parents, except I haven't seen a check yet. I'm sure he forgot. Mostly because I decided not to remind him.

So, not every time I whip out the charge card is for my own benefit. Not even most of the time. But I do admit to way more than my share of Kindle downloads and "taking clothing on trips around the country," as Justin refers to my ordering and returning of clothing. I have refined the clothing trips so that I do not ever pay shipping charges (being a preferred customer of my favorite store with my very own store credit card) and a lot of the time, what I order gets returned because it doesn't fit. But it seems like the money comes in through my husband and go out directly through me. The harder he works, the harder I spend. I swear it's not intentional.

We have two major purchases we are currently contemplating - a new computer for me and a new car, also for me. And we are about to embark on the dance we do that leaves me beating my head against the wall, saying, "Why did I get married again? Why did I get married again?" I start fantasizing about how easy it would be if I made the money and I decided when I was going to make a purchase for me without having to get the agreement of my "better" half.

For the sake of brevity, let's just do the new car dance. It goes something like this:

Me: I think we should start the process of shopping for a new car. Ben's car is turning itself off at lights and that scares me. We talked about giving him the Explorer and buying me a new car and I think the time has come. We can use his Jeep as a trade in.

Justin: You're probably right. We'll take the Explorer in to get all of the fluids changed tomorrow.

Me: Wait. What?

Justin: Did you call the mechanic yet?

What this really means is that he is processing the fact that we should begin to think about maybe, possibly, looking into purchasing a new car sometime in the not too distant future. What I am thinking is that we should take advantage of the fact that it is the last day of the month and the dealerships are going to be desperate to move some vehicles. You see the problem?

We've talked at length about what kind of car I want for a couple of years now, since I haven't been able to choose my own car since before the second kid was born and I want something that I want this time. I don't want a "family" car or a minivan or an "SUV" that seats five, uncomfortably. I want a small, four door sedan that I can easily maneuver and don't have to worry about taking the passenger side mirror off when I am backing out of the garage at five miles per hour. True story. I've replaced that mirror three times - twice was going into or coming out of the garage because I have this problem with figuring out where I am in space (or in this case, the vehicle). The sense is called proprioception (a really fancy term for the fact that I can't figure out that I am about to knock over whatever is within ten feet of me) and I have absolutely none of it. So I want a small car. I want a dark blue car. I want an automatic. I want rear object detection and an iPod connection. And I want it now because we need to get rid of the Jeep that stalls at red lights, endangering my son's life.

I made the mistake of making a comment last night that Hyundai's donations to childhood cancer end at the end of September and the response was, "We are not buying a car tomorrow!" Okay, so I didn't really think we would go buy a car tomorrow. It was just a thought.

The way buying a car usually works for us (because I cannot stand the all day affair of going to the dealership and pretending like they are actually going to work with us on giving us a price we can afford while they hold our trade hostage so we can't leave) is that Justin will go and get a car that we think we might like and bring it home for me to test drive. If I like it, he will go back to the dealership and negotiate the deal so I don't get irritated and ask him for money for the candy machine every five minutes while we wait. Which means that if I want to get on with the process of buying a new car before the end of the year, I must first convince him to go over to the various dealerships and bring home one of each of the different makes we are considering for me to check out and then decide which one I want and then send him back for an all day Saturday negotiation ending in five years of car payments and expensive insurance. Oh and property taxes.

Needless to say, this is not something he enjoys. Nor is it something we do often. We used to do it often - as in every three years - but then we wised up to how much cheaper it is to keep a car for a few years after it was paid off, so it's been two years since we negotiated a car deal and that was all Justin and Ben for the Jeep that became Ben's 18th birthday present. The one we need to now trade in. My Explorer is 9 1/2 years old, but because I am afraid to go anywhere, it only has 73,000 miles on it, so it will continue the circle of life by being passed on to the oldest child. Since his "new/used" Jeep is biting the dust.

Justin does not like spending an entire day off dealing with car salesmen in shiny suits who are trying to reach their quotas and managers who are trying to squeeze as much profit out of us as possible by wearing him down. By leaving him sitting there while the salesman runs back and forth pretending like he doesn't know what the price actually is. Who could really blame him? And he won't give when he knows what the trade in is worth and what the new car is worth, so the process takes, like, three weeks, a hostage negotiator (for the trade), and a SWAT team with pizza delivery.

But we've made the decision. I don't want to look at a million different cars online and consider each of them extensively. Justin's way of getting to a large purchase is to check out every different possible purchase online (showing me each one as if it was one he is actually seriously considering). Then, once I am worn down finally to thinking we will never, ever start actually looking at real vehicles, we will begin round 2, which consists of going around to dealerships when they are closed (so as not to be bothered by the salesmen) and see which cars I actually like when I see them for real. After several weeks/months of this, he will finally be at the point where he might agree to go over to the dealership that sells the type of car I like to bring one home for me to test drive. If I can get him to this point, I know I've got a new car in the next couple of days (or after three weeks and my filing a missing persons report). But getting to that point is absolutely agonizing for me. For him, it's a carefully considered decision with lots of thought put into it. For me, it's something I just want to get done already. Banging My. Head. Against. The. Wall.

Scene change...

I stopped by Best Buy with Jamie last week to check out the iPad I have been dreaming about since whenever it first came out. Justin has been trying to convince me that what I really want is an Apple MacBook Air. And wouldn't you know it? After looking at the iPad and then looking at the Air (for about five minutes), I decided that Justin is right. I actually want the Air. I trust his judgment, but I also hate it when he's right, especially when I've been so convinced for so long that I want an iPad. So it grated me something fierce to come home and tell him that indeed, I think the Air is a better idea.

I know he was planning on getting me the iPad for Christmas. But the Air is about $400 more...so what I'm wondering is whether or not this is not just another car deal, with months of comparison shopping and more bruises to my forehead. I guess we'll know on Christmas morning. I am greatly anticipating the new Stephen King novel...which is probably what will be under the tree.

Update: I have taken the Jeep and Ben is using the Explorer. The Jeep is no longer turning itself off now that it is getting the high octane gasoline and it just passed inspection. And I really kind of like it, so we're keeping it for awhile. And bonus for Justin: the new Kindle Fire arrived in stores yesterday and THAT'S what I really want. So I told him to hold off on the computer and just get me a Kindle Fire. Saving him about $1,000 (for the moment). Maybe there is hope for me yet. Except I pre-ordered Stephen King's new book for the kindle. That damned one touch.

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And Then There Was Ice

Once again, my amazing, talented, over-worked husband has done battle with our aging refrigerator and, in his words, "wrestled that f*@%er into submission." Once again, we have automatic ice.

I don't know how long he can possibly keep this thing going and the shelf life of a new appliance these days seems to be about as long as a piece of fruit, but having taken it apart and put it back together numerous times, it would seem he's got the hang of fixing it. Maybe Justin should consider going into the refrigerator repair business. Less stress and the money's probably better.

On another note, I woke up this morning with pretty high pain levels. After seeing Joey out the door at 7:00, I climbed back into bed, whereupon I remember thinking that some Icy Hot might just be the ticket to a little pain relief since I didn't want to start in on the heavy duty pain meds that early in the morning. (I know it's 5:00 somewhere, but that doesn't necessarily mean narcotics are a good idea first thing.

As I rolled that little magic roller ball over my shoulder blade, I can vaguely remember thinking that my hand was hurting a lot from holding that teeny tiny beading needle last night for the project I am making as a Christmas gift. And it seemed like a really fabulous idea to just put a little of that magic heating balm on my hand to calm it down.

And then I went to the bathroom.

Here's a tip. Do not put Icy Hot on the same hand you wipe with. I don't think I'll be making that mistake again.

And speaking of my nether regions (now there's a seque)...

Today is Ben's 20th birthday, so I am taking him out to lunch and shopping to use the gift card we gave him. He actually wanted books for his birthday. I am so proud.

Ben, we went through multiple embarrassing fertility tests to have you, I threw up for five months once I finally got pregnant with you (I would say something here about our herculean efforts, but that might be somewhat mortifying if you ever read this - I swear we only did it one time for each kid!), and you split me from top to bottom with a huge POP! when you finally entered this world 20 years ago. I didn't poop without screaming for a year, but you were totally worth it. Happy birthday to my most amazing first born child.



And now, I'm off to lunch with my oldest offspring.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review - 11/22/63





Book:  11/22/63

Author:  Stephen King

Date Released: November 8, 2011

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Review: 5 out of 5 stars:





Jake Epping is a small town English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. Childless and divorced from his alcoholic ex-wife, he takes pleasure in eating at local Al's Diner and the occasional decent essay from his students. One assignment, "The Day That Changed My Life," written by a GED student who also happens to be the mentally disabled janitor will come back to haunt him.

Al Templeton owns the local diner that most of Lisbon Falls avoids. The prices are eerily low and Al's famous "Fatburger" is rumored to probably be "catburger" with a price of that just can't be possible in 2011. And there's just something off about the little aluminum trailer that comprises the local joint where you can get a Fatburger Special with fries and a milkshake for $1.19.

Al and Jake come together at the end of the school year in 2011 as Jake is grading his American Honors Poetry class' essays after school lets out on the final day in June. Al calls him and asks him to come down to the diner and Jake, more out of curiosity than anything else, complies, where he finds Al five years older and clearly very sick. Which can't possibly be because he was just in the diner yesterday and Al was fine. What Al shows him could possibly change the world.

Coughing up blood from an advanced stage of terminal lung cancer, Al shows Jake a secret passageway back to Tuesday, September 9, 1958. The passageway always leads to 11:58 a.m. on September 9, 1958. And every trip back resets the clock.

Al asks Jake to change history by removing Lee Harvey Oswald from the Texas Book Depository on that fateful day that Kennedy was assassinated.

The Kennedy assassination is often described as a "watershed" moment - a moment where history changes drastically. If no assassination, Kennedy might not have escalated the conflict in Vietnam the way that Johnson did after assuming the Presidency. Almost 60,000 men not killed in action. Robert Kennedy wouldn't have been killed by Sirhan Sirhan, because Robert Kennedy wouldn't have needed to run for President. Martin Luther King might not have been in Memphis and standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on the night that James Earl Ray was there to shoot him, meaning no race riots. The ripple effect of that one watershed moment where Lee Harvey Oswald takes aim through the sixth floor window of the book depository and either hits the President with his third shot or doesn't will have effects that absolutely no one can predict.

Jake needs further convincing before committing to such a huge task. He remembers the essay written by Harry Dunning, the school janitor known as "Hoptoad Harry" because of the residual brain damage from his drunken father trying to kill him with a hammer. Jake decides he needs to see if you really can change the past by going back and stopping Mr. Dunning from killing Harry's mother, brothers, and sister, and disabling Harry for life with his hammer.

After a successful trip back that changes the outcome of the Dunning family, Jake knows that he has to try to stop the Kennedy assassination. He will have to live in the past for five years to do it. What happens is King's well researched, thoughtful, insightful vision of what happened in the events leading up to Oswald's assassination attempt, whether those events could be changed, and how the past doesn't want to be changed and puts barriers in the way. What happens if you are able to change the past and do you really want to?

Although the topic of time travel has been addressed in multiples movies, books, and short stories, this particular book will make you look at it in a whole new way. You will simultaneously want to make a trip into late 1950's America (an era of unlocked doors and trust, a nicer, gentler way of life, pre-cell phone and internet and GPS) and realize that time travel isn't necessarily a good idea.

This explosive, eye opening, gripping account of how things might have played out and how one man will try to stop this watershed moment is another amazing score for King. With over 50 novels in print and multiple award winning bestsellers, King manages to knock another one out of the park with a book you won't be able to put down. Once again, his ability to be both prolific and wonderfully readable makes 11/22/63 a book you will immerse yourself in, forgetting the world around you as you travel back to a simpler time where the civil rights movement is years away and women are expected to obey their husbands and act with decorum.

The end of the book will stun you and yet not surprise you. Because the past is obdurate. And the idea that things happen for a reason is never truer than in the ending to the story.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

SOC Sunday - Let There Be Ice!

It's Stream of Consciousness Sunday, which means here is my five minute brain dump for the week!

#SOCsunday

It's 9:30 on Sunday morning and I'm listening to my husband trying to fix the ice maker for the 90th gazillionth time. He has babied that thing through more breakdowns than I thought humanly possible. But what it's going to boil down to is that eventually we will have to decide whether we are going to make the ice ourselves or buy a new refrigerator. Because how did they live before they figured out how to make the ice actually make itself? Oh, I remember. Those ice trays.

I used to be really good at ice trays. When I worked at the job I loved the most (because it's the job I was the greatest at), there was a refrigerator in the kitchen, along with a dishwasher, and a microwave. I seemed to be in charge of all of them. I loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, made the coffee in the morning, cleaned out the microwave after the green, mostly idiotic, law clerks exploded their lunches in it, and made the ice. That's right. I made ice in trays I brought from my own home. I was seriously invested in that place. To me, making ice by hand was a small price to pay for having a glass full of ice water in the afternoon while I was transcribing tapes with legal briefs on them or preparing a divorce filing or updating a personal injury case.

While it's true that I pretty much ran that office all by myself while my boss went out and did things he enjoyed more than practicing law (which was just about anything, but mostly golf - law paid his bills and for his lifestyle), I was not above unloading the dishwasher, making the coffee, or making the ice. Because I wanted to have ice and if I didn't make it, nobody else would. Now, almost 20 years later, if we want ice, we get it from our refrigerator who (oooh, shouldn't that be "that?") has taken over that job for me.
Technology has taken over a lot of jobs, which if you think about it is a little scary. Because if we give all of our jobs up to technology, then aren't we really getting into a gray area about what our role is in a world where we no longer have any jobs?

I have told my husband every time the icemaker breaks and he has to take it completely apart and put it back together that I don't mind making ice in the trays like I used to. But he feels that ice is a right we have earned by paying an ungodly amount for our appliances and it should come out of the refrigerator with no effort on our part. I feel as if all of "my" jobs are slowly disappearing, which makes me wonder what I will have to do here in five or ten years. But I've gone over my five minutes, so that existential question will have to wait.

.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day


I was looking for an image to put with my post and this one cropped up about halfway down the page. Now, my eyes are leaking.

I was two years old when my dad signed up to be a captain with the United States Marine Corps and go to Vietnam for a year. When he came home, I am told that I did not remember who he was. I cannot imagine how hard this must have been for him - his only little girl didn't know him.

My mom kept a picture of him on a table and somewhere there is a picture of me kissing it. My little two year old cute self holding the frame with both chubby hands and giving Dad a smack. But when the real guy walked through the door, something made me hide behind Mom's legs.

That rift between us never really seemed to go away completely. I am told I was extremely close to my father before he left. But it seems like after he came back, we never really hit our groove again. I love my dad with all of my heart. The problem has always been that he's a quiet man and we don't have a lot in common. But when the chips are down, when I've needed my dad, he has always been there.

It was my dad I went to when my high school boyfriend broke my heart.

It was my dad I flung my arm around with a huge kiss as I was leaving the reception following my wedding. I know Mom was there, but it's Dad I remember - giving me to the man who would be my husband.

It was Dad who visited me every day when I was in the hospital because I wanted to take an overdose of my medication and just go to sleep. That hospital scared the shit out of me, but my dad came every day to make sure I was all right. So did my husband. These two men have been the rocks in my existence. Justin loudly; Dad more quietly.

When my mom got sick, my dad and I cried together and decided that of course she would be okay, because there is no other option. And then had a screaming fight on the phone over how I wasn't handling it very well. There were no winners in that one, but it was the first time in my life I had ever yelled at my dad. We chuckled a little about it the next day, because really, who doesn't want to yell about cancer? I wasn't mad at him and he knew that.

Although my dad and I haven't always known what to say to each other, I have always known he would be there for me through hell and high water. Because I am still Daddy's little girl. And I am one of the lucky ones who can say that. 58,272 men were killed in action in Vietnam. There are children who grew up not knowing their fathers. How many children were casualties of the Vietnam War at home? I wonder about what my life would have been like if my father had not come home sometimes. Not often, but always on this day every year.

I know that my life would not have been as complete as it has been. But I know I would have been proud of my dad in ways that I can't even imagine. I am proud that he was willing to go to war for his country, an unpopular war, a war that didn't sit well with a lot of people at home, for a country that wasn't very kind to its veterans when they came back. That patriotism is a huge part of who my dad is. And it has shaped who I am.

When a person joins the military, he or she is giving our government a blank check that says "up to and including my life." My dad was willing to give his life for his country and he volunteered to possibly do that. There was no draft card, because he enlisted. Because he believed in fighting for his country at a time when it wasn't the most popular thing to do.

Please take a few minutes today to thank our veterans, those who served and those who are serving and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Because without our veterans, we would not be free in so many ways.

Thank you, Dad. You make me so proud to be your daughter. You've been the love of Mom's life for almost 50 years. You will always be the first love of my life because I am still Daddy's little girl.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Update to Reading Challenge? Should I?



Okay, so I know I put The English Patient on my list, but then I read the transcript of the Booksluts' skype review of the book and I'm kind of thinking I might have to pick a different book.

Had anyone read this book and, if so, did you like it or hate it? (I'll take a movie review also.)

(Update - I have gone back and made my categories fit to the challenge and have replaced The English Patient with another book. I'm 33% through 11/23/63 and will write a review when I finish it. The one drawback I am finding to the Kindle is that you can't flip easily back and forth to find names, remind yourself what's going on, etc. so I haven't written any book reviews since receiving it. I need to find a way to work around this and I promise I will with this book.)


Insatiable Book Sluts Challenge

Join the challenge!

(I tried to get their half naked lady with the book challenge image from their website, but because I don't speak HTML, all I have to offer is my list. Sorry about that!)


So, I don't know if I followed this challenge correctly and, because I'm a non-conformist, I don't really care. The point is that I have a looonnngggg list of award winning books to read once I finish Stephen King's new fascinator. (It's totally a word - I just made it up.) I kind of got lost in all those lists and clicking back and forth, but here's what I will be reading over the next, oh ten years or so. Hey, they said no time limit!

Toe Dippen

Pulitzer Prize Winners:

The Executioner's Song - Norman Mailer
Rabbit is Rich - John Updike
The Killer Angels - Michael Shaara
The Stories of John Cheever - John Cheever
House Made of Dawn - N. Scott Momaday

These next ones all won some award and were in their categories somewhere, but I got lost and can't get back to wherever I found them. I'm a great reader, but lousy at following directions, so I have no idea which awards the next three won, but I think it was in their Genre Buster category:

Mine - Robert McCammon
Lost Boy, Lost Girl - Peter Straub
Horns - Joe Hill  (Stephen King's son, if you didn't know. How he thought he could keep it a secret is beyond me.)

National Book Award for Fiction:

Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
Beloved - Toni Morrison
The Great Fire - Shirley Hazzard

Man Booker Prize:

The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje (Because of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine hates the movie)
Sacred Hunger - Barry Unsworth
How Late It Was, How Late - James Kelman  

Hugo Award for Best Novel:

Dune - Frank Hebert
Spin - Robert Charles Wilson
Rainbows End - Vernor Vinge

I am stepping outside of my comfort zone on a few of these, which is somewhat the point. It's easy to decide we fit into a certain category of books and I've kind of gotten stuck there. If you want to be a good writer, read a lot. If you want to be a great writer, see what makes a great book by reading the award winners. You might think you're a great writer, but if no one else does, it's certainly not going to win you a publishing contract, lots of money, and important awards.

Hopefully, some of these will be free on the Kindle. I know the out of print "classics" are all free, so Catcher in the Rye shouldn't cost me anything. We have Killer Angels and Dune, so again, no cash outlay. Anything I can't get on the Kindle for less than $5, I'm going to try to get from the local library. I will do a review as I finish each book and I will start with the current book I am reading, 11/23/63 by Stephen King. He is my all time favorite author who has won several of these awards and, as Annie said in "Misery," I am his number one fan. I've already read everything I know of that he's ever written though, so I had go with unknowns. Which makes me a little nervous, but a little excited too.

I will be copying this post over into a little tabby thing at the top of the blog, so you can all go back to it if you're interested and I can keep track of my progress. And check out the booksluts link up top if you want lists of hundreds (maybe thousands?) of books that have won some kind of major award.

Monday, November 7, 2011

In Defense of Standard Time

Yeah, It's Out There - Just Earlier


So, let's see a show of hands. How many of you were thrilled when the alarm seemed to go off an hour later this morning even though the clock had it's normal time on it? Were you excited that you weren't getting up in the dark? Did it feel like you got more sleep? What did you do yesterday with that extra hour? I got a lot more laundry and grocery shopping done, I can tell you.

How did you feel yesterday when the sun was going way down around, oh, 4:00 in the afternoon? Did it feel like dinnertime around 5:00? Were the kids and pets begging to be fed an hour before the clock said it was time? Feeling any Seasonal Affective Disorder yet? Because I can honestly say that when it gets dark around 4:00 in the afternoon, I'm a little depressed.

We're still heading toward the shortest day of the year, which actually will happen next month. After that, it's back to gaining daylight throughout January and February, the months that feel to me like they are the longest of the entire year. It's cold. It gets dark early. The schools keep closing because they saw a snowflake somewhere in the county. It feels like spring will never get here.

But, what everyone close to me knows (and I mean, husband, kids, parents, friends, checkers at the grocery store, people I happen to bump my cart into at the pet store, the telemarketers who call and usually get the phone slammed down in their ear) is that what I hate worse than being handed an hour in the fall is the government deciding for me that I have an hour more in the fall and an hour less in the spring.

How the hell does this work?

Isn't time an immutable concept? And isn't it a concept that we, as human beings, have basically constructed? Does time stop if the human race is eradicated one day by aliens from a much smarter planet that knows you Can't. Change. Time?

It doesn't seem to matter whether we are gaining an hour or losing it; my body has major trouble adjusting. This morning, I was still lying awake at 2:00 a.m. (really 3:00, right? How long do you do the whole is it 1:00 or 2:00 thing?) after an hour of listening to relaxation and meditation sounds on my iPod and two hours of petting the cat who had deigned to grace us with her presence for some reason. I woke up at 7:20 this morning to the call of nature (myself, not the great outdoors) and now I'm dragging because even though they generously gave me an extra hour Saturday night (who is this they and aren't we giving them an awful lot of power when we tell them they can change time and we, the sheeple, will blindly say "oh, okay" and change all the clocks in the house?), it will still take my body days to adjust to this change.

In the spring, fuhgeddabboudit. I am a total waste of space for a week after they steal back that hour I just magically received over the past weekend.

At one point a few years ago, I got so incensed about the loss of the hour in the spring that I went online and did a little research. Did you know that car accidents increase on the Monday after the time change in April (or is it now March)? People aren't catching up with that one hour loss by Monday morning. There's a shocker. It takes our bodies more than one day to adjust to losing an hour. Please alert the government, someone, won't you?

I was so incensed that year that I actually decided to write our local Congressman and ask him to please, please do something to stop this madness. Do they have any idea of how much this change wreaks havoc on the children? Or the pets? The little people and mammals don't understand that we spring forward and fall back. Their little bodies still think that 6:00 is 5:00 or 5:00 is 6:00 and woe unto the parent who tries to tell them differently. Kids are waking up cranky and falling asleep at school. Cats are still meowing to be fed and dogs are still requesting (loudly) to be walked, regardless of what Congress tells us the time is.

My family thinks I'm crazy (for many reasons, but especially because I hate this time change business so freaking much). But since I already knew my family has written me off, I wrote to our Congressman anyways. And got no response, because he probably thought I was crazy too. And he's a nice guy who has been personally involved with us because of Joey's autism. No response on the time change thing, though.

Today, people will feel all smug about their extra hour of rest (unless they are like me and it screws them up entirely) and be heading into work all awake and everything. And then when 4:00 comes and they would have been heading home to cook dinner, they will start to be all cranky and grumbly and "why can't I go home now? It's getting dark!"

See? It's a stupid idea.

I can take the days getting longer and shorter on their own. That's just nature. What I don't get is my government telling me that I have to add an hour in the fall and take away an hour in the spring. Was that why they taught addition and subtraction? Because God knows I didn't learn it so I can correctly balance our checkbook.

I hear that Arizona and Hawaii (one a pretty warm and sunny place and the other, well, you know, paradise) "opt out" of the time change. Which means that twice a year, people are saying what time is it over there? Can I call now or is it too late? Or too early?

It seems to me that if two states (Or is it 3? I think Indiana also doesn't "do" the time change?) have decided that this whole daylight savings thing is a crock, maybe we should listen. Do we really need it to stay light until 9:00 in the evening during the summer? And if we do, why don't we just leave it set to daylight savings time? But personally, I think standard time ought to just stay, well, standard.

Isn't moving our clocks back and forth is a little bit like messing with the whole space-time-continuum thing? Which could result in our having a whole different life than what we now know. I fully expect that after one of these clock turning events, I will wake up the next morning as a single librarian with a lot of cats and no children.

Have I made my point or have I just come up with a great reason to let them change the time twice a year? I think I outargued myself. Some days single librarian with cats and no kids doesn't sound awful...but maybe I could imagine it as married with lots more money and vacations because of the whole no kids thing...

There's a lot of power in messing with time. I'm just sayin'...


Sunday, November 6, 2011

SOC Sunday - What Defines Being Rich?



#SOCsunday


Stream of Consciousness Sunday - A Five Minute Brain Dump

Today I saw something that made me so sad. I was at Food Lion, loading up on bagels two for one and their takeaway rolls that taste like homemade and stuff like lettuce for salads. I had over $55 worth of fresh stuff and bread in the cart ($45 after my bonus card) when I pulled up to the conveyor belt. As I waited for the guy in front of me, I noticed that his "haul" was pretty small and there were what looked like checks (remember those pieces of paper we used to use to pay the bills?) on three separate smalls stacks of food.

One stack had three boxes of the store brand rice krispies - the large size - and a loaf of wheat bread and a check.

One stack had two gallons of milk, a quart of orange juice (store brand), a bag of beans, and a check.

The last stack had a canteloupe and a banana and a check. The last one said in part "no more than $6 cash."

Do you ever look at what the person at the grocery in front of you is buying? Try to figure out if it's a single guy alone with his 12 pack of budweiser and bag of tortilla chips and dip on Saturday night or a woman with two kids hanging out of the kids cart in the front screaming while she piles packages of eggos and cartons of ice cream onto the belt, along with the vegetables she hopes they will eat. Or the woman in really high heels who is obviously just off from work and picking up dinner stuff.

This guy was a WIC client. As in women/infants/children.

My curiosity got the better of me and I think I was actually being rude, although what I was feeling was the desire to hand him my bagels and raspberries for his kids. WIC is for people who can't afford groceries.

And this was probably the groceries for the week. No meat. No eggs. No butter. No peanut butter. Bare essentials.

Justin said I have no way of knowing if that was all the dude was going to be able to buy for the week, but I came away from there horribly sad that people might actually have to live on that amount of food and try to feed their children with that amount of money. And that there are people who don't even have that and have no food at all. Or even necessarily homes in which to eat.

I came away incredibly grateful for all I had and thinking that I need to give more of my time and effort to paying attention to those around me. Because the people who need help aren't necessarily overseas and starving. Some of them are actually in my backyard and starving.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

We Have to Celebrate!

I've been kind of watching my stats and guess what? We've almost reached 10,000 page views!

Yippee!!!!!

I think 10,000 page views entitles me to a few balloons and some of that stuff that flutters all over the place at ticker tape parades. What the heck is that stuff? Confetti? (Word retrieval problems brought to you by fibromyalgia and CFS, thank you very much.) Of course, a lot of those page views are from my mom and my husband, but I know a lot of them aren't. I love my mom and my husband, but I also love that other people find me interesting.

I've written 330 posts, not counting this one or the ones I wrote about that office that didn't like me so much they made me leave. (I pulled those posts off because I'm decent that way.) I have 46 official followers on google, not to mention all of you nice people who read me through my facebook page. I love each and every one of you. Seriously. I *heart* all of my readers more than you will ever know. And I *heart* each and every comment.

I was reading my blog updates this morning and discovered that Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) has a memoir coming out in April. Of course, I had to run right over to Amazon and pre-order it in hard copy. I'm kind of hoping for a book tour somewhere in my area so that I can meet this amazing woman in person and get her autograph. And if she wanted to hang out or something, I would totally spend time in the bathroom with her, hiding from the crowds. Anxiety disorders unite!

But my point was going to be that when I saw that Jenny took eleven years to write her memoir and that it is almost due to be published, I got just a little inspired. I figure if someone with mild ADD and access to the internet (her words, which she says is as bad as severe ADD - I have to agree) can spend eleven years writing a book, maybe I can take one (or less) and put something together. I won't be sought out by publishing houses or begged to sign on with anyone. In fact, I suspect that it would have to be a self-published thing, which would mean I would be out on the curb selling lemonade to make enough money for the self-publisher and then hope all of my Facebook friends would buy it.

I ran the title I came up with by Justin and he wasn't so hot on it, but I think it's got real pizazz. It sums up my feelings most days, although I would have liked to have included the "F" word in it. Since I don't want to jinx myself, I'm not going to share quite yet. Things were flowing pretty well and I managed to grind out over 3,800 words before 3:00 this afternoon. Not an insignificant accomplishment.

I went back to Stephen King's book, "On Writing," the best book (in my humble opinion) ever written about how to write and he said that he writes every day, 365 days a year, and doesn't stop until he has cranked out at least 2,000 words. Some days they flow; some days they don't. But he sits down and writes until the words are on the paper, whether they are in the right order or not.

I've been flexing my writing muscle for a little over a year here on this blog. I have made several false starts into the world of book writing, including a couple of stabs at fiction (which really sucked) and a couple of true story books (which also went downhill pretty quick but I might go back and see if they are salvageable), but this is more of a stream of conscious thing and I think since Chapter Two begins with "My dog is an asshole," it really has some merit.

That's the teaser, guys. If I actually get a bunch written, I might be persuaded to share a chapter or two, but we shall see if I can keep pouring my heart out onto my computer screen. I promise no one will get hurt in this process.

Until then, I appreciate every single one of you. Thank you for reading every time I have a thought. You'll never know how much I *heart* you.


Random Conversations With Joey

Calvin and Hobbes Cartoon via Google Images


I was sitting in my recliner at 9:00 this morning when Joey came down for breakfast. Normally, he would bug Justin on Saturday morning to do his usual milk and peanut butter toast for him, but Justin has a work thing and I am redirecting traffic right now. I am usually up by 9:00, so I thought I would help the dude out. After all, he is taking care of that pesky mortgage and did walk the dog this morning before starting a five or six hour work marathon after a full work week with a sinus infection and bronchitis. It's the least I could do. Seriously. The absolute least. (Sometimes I wonder why I'm here.)

So, I got up with a groan that is usually reserved for 80 year old women. The following conversations ensued:

Joey: You must be really tired.

Me: No, I'm sore. Well, and I'm tired. I'm sore and tired. But I'm reading something funny, so it's okay.

Joey: (Wanders back over to see what I'm reading.)

Me: You can't read that. It's for adults. (I was reading the latest Bloggess post, FYI. She's way funnier than me. In fact, you should be reading her right now - here's the link: The Bloggess. Go. I'm fine with it.)

Joey: Oh, I guess I have to be 18 to understand it.

Me: At least.

Joey: And it probably has a lot of swear words.

Me: Yep.

______________________________

Joey: Good thing I came down for breakfast.

Me: Why?

Joey: I'd probably be cranky before I got my morning milk.

Me: BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Joey: What's so funny?

Me: Most people say that about their coffee.

I swear you can't make this shit up and I'm going to write a book called "Conversations with Joey" someday. If I can remember to write them all down, which is a big if because half of them fly out of my fibromyalgia addled, can't remember that I haven't eaten until the craving for candy becomes insane brain before I remember they were funny.

For the record, the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon is because Joey loves Calvin and Hobbes and it makes him giggle, which can sometimes get annoying when he can't stop, but usually is seriously precious. How am I going to make peace with the fact that he's turning into a teenager next month?


Friday, November 4, 2011

Are You SURE You Want a Monday?

(Note...this was written several weeks ago for Motherhood Uncovered. It will be published there later this month. We have been to the doctor and they have referred us to a dermatologist. Also on a Monday, but they got it that I needed a Monday. Go figure.)


 

I recently needed to make Ben a doctor's appointment for what appears to be a growing wart on his elbow. It's been there for a long time, probably years, and I never really thought anything about it other than it was probably a wart on his elbow. I figured if it was bothering him, he would tell me and we could do something about it.

I can't remember when the wart showed up. It might have been sometime in high school. He graduated in 2010, so it's been there awhile. But it seems like maybe it might be getting bigger. Or flatter. Or something.

The other night, he came downstairs with his car keys in hand, and said, "I'm going to the store to get something for this thing on my elbow." I said okay, gave him the bonus card and some cash (because I'm still his mother and if he needs a wart removed from his elbow, I'm all there with the cash).

He came back shortly thereafter, with said bonus card and cash, and said, "I couldn't find anything." I said, "Well, maybe they have some Compound W at CVS. I could go for you tomorrow if you'd like." And didn't think much more about it. Until Justin said, "You know, we really should have a doctor take a look at that and take care of it."

Now, of course, we are 99.9% sure this is just a wart. I had warts (one of my dirty little secrets) all over my hands when I was about 6 or 7 and I can remember my mom taking me to the doctor, something about liquid nitrogen, and my screaming uncontrollably when they touched it to each and every wart. Say what you will about doctors who are sadists to 6 year old little girls. Those warts fell off a week or so later and I've never had another one.

I had meant to make an appointment on Monday, but didn't. When Monday ended up be one of the suckiest days of my life, Ben's wart just wasn't on the top of my to do list.

Last night, I wrote myself a sticky note to make the appointment and tried to think of where I could put it where I would see it. I ended up putting it on the kitchen island where we set all things medical that need to be done (as in prescriptions to be refilled, etc.) and went up to bed.

This morning, I got up, took a shower, checked Facebook (priorities, people, priorities) and headed out to see my mother for a few hours. When I got home, I noticed the blue sticky on the island and said "Oh, I need to make Ben an appointment." So I picked up the phone and called the doctor's office.

After what seemed like three hours on hold (ten minutes - tops), a voice came on asking how she could help me. I explained what I needed and that I needed a Monday appointment because that was my son's only day off from school and work during the week. She looked through her calendar on the computer, muttered to herself that oh, this day is full, and oh that day is full. And then she said (wait for it)...

Receptionist: Are you sure it has to be a Monday?

Me:

Um, no. I was testing you. I really wanted a Tuesday, but I was trying to see if my Vulcan mind-meld was working.

Did I say any of this? No. I politely answered that yes, I was sure it had to be a Monday, explained why it had to be a Monday (again), and waited until she found a Monday appointment. I wasn't picky. It could be any Monday in the near future, but yes, it had to be a Monday.

After I hung up, I told Justin about what she had said and he started laughing at the stupidity of the question.

I'd like to think she just didn't hear me the first time around. But since she was looking at Mondays to begin with, I have to believe that she heard me and processed that I wanted a Monday appointment. And that she heard the reason. That reason wasn't going to change just because her calendar wasn't cooperating.

So we have an appointment on a Monday. Now I have to make sure that Ben is aware of the appointment and remind him 30 gazillion times in the days leading up to the appointment not to forget the appointment. Since he was the one wanting to get rid of whatever this protruberance is on his elbow.

Sometimes being a Mom leads you to meet some smart, interesting people. And then sometimes, it really doesn't.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

Before I settle down to stitch, I thought I would share my latest cross stitch project. I made this for my mom, because she doesn't put up a tree anymore. Now she has a fully decorated tree that she can hang up with one little nail anywhere she likes.

Pattern and kit are both from 123 Stitch. They have a full range of Christmas projects that won't take you a long time. I am now working on a snowman from the same designer for my mother in law.











I had to learn how to "whip stitch," which I actually already knew but didn't know I knew and had to figure out how to get those teeny, tiny little beads onto the little, tiny needle. Also, it was very difficult to get two strands of floss through the smaller beading needle.

I'm quite pleased with the way this turned out. I gave it to my mom early so that she would have a Christmas tree this year. I am now working on the snowman and will be doing a project for a friend while she does one for me. She picked an item off of my wish list and I picked one off of hers. It's going to be fun.

Here's to hoping my hand holds out!



Why Do My EYEBALLS Hurt?






Just for the record, my eyeballs hurt.

I woke up with a roaring headache this morning.

I took benadryl.

I went back to bed.

I woke up two hours later.

Now I can't turn my head because my eyeballs hurt.

That doesn't even make sense. Why wouldn't I be able to turn my head if my eyeballs hurt?

Do eyeballs even have the ability to feel pain? (If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it...)

I know my headache doesn't begin to compare to Justin's work headache, so I can only imagine how much his head hurts.

Well, actually I can't.

Because I can only think about the fact that my eyeballs hurt.

I think my head might explode. If it does...

I don't know. Because my eyeballs hurt.

I need to go to my therapist and whine about my head hurting, but I'm kind of afraid to drive right now.

Plus, it's already 10:30 and I haven't taken a shower yet.

I thought I would catch up my words with friends games, but the letters seem to be moving and I can't make any words.

This sounds like the beginning of a Stephen King novel. Or maybe the end.

At the end of this book, my head explodes.

Am I even making sense? Because, seriously, my eyeballs really hurt.

What do you even take for this?

Maybe more benadryl. Unless my head explodes.

In which case, I won't need anything.

I think my writing is getting worse. Or maybe it's getting better? I can't tell.

I took more bendadryl.

Hopefully, my eyeballs will stop hurting and I will start to make sense.

Maybe this is a good time to do my online Christmas shopping. Maybe not.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Mental Health


Discussion with psychiatrist today (this conversation has been slightly edited for my own comfort):

Doctor: (looking at my form) I see you're having a lot of trauma in your personal life right now.

Me: You think?

Doctor: Where are your parents moving?

Me: Near Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Doctor: Why are they moving?

Me: Well, they say the weather, but it's the same weather here today as it is there. I don't know. It's upsetting. I love my parents, but this is making me nuts. I know that's where they want to be and that it will be better for my father's business, but it's going to be really hard on me, physically speaking.

Doctor: I can imagine. You know, I have a little cottage in Shepherdstown for rent. It's really cute - one bedroom in an upstairs loft, a jacuzzi tub downstairs. Nobody knows how old it is. My wife won't let me sell it. Could you seduce them into renting the cottage from me?

Me: They insist on moving. They already bought a house.

Doctor: With your mom's illness, there might be a contractual way for them to get out of the closing on the house.

Me: You don't understand. They want to move. I even had a huge fight with my dad about it and they're determined to move south.

Doctor: That kind of puts you in a bind with your fibromyalgia. How far away is it?

Me: (gritting my teeth) Ten hours.

Doctor: That's kind of far for you to travel. I don't think you should be traveling that far.

Me: Uh, yeah. I don't really go more than two hours in any direction. Plus, if there's a crisis and I have to be there for a long period of time, I will be ten hours away from my kids.

Doctor: That must be upsetting. Oh. I see your father in law passed away. I'm sorry.

Me: Yeah, that was traumatic. It was very unexpected.

Doctor: Your life is kind of in turmoil. I see it also says that you are having weight gain and abdominal discomfort. How's your appetite?

Me: I'm starving. All the time.

Doctor: How can you be starving when you have severe abdominal discomfort?

Me: The pain is below my stomach. It makes no sense, I know. Maybe the Lyrica?

Doctor: That's possible. You might have to back off the dosage.

Me: Except it's helping the fibro. Can I rent your cottage? I could escape from my kids.

Doctor: Sure. I'll rent it to you, if you want it. Is the zoloft helping?

Me: The zoloft is allowing me to cope. I actually cut back on the anti-anxiety med.

Doctor: I would think you would need that right now.

Me: Well, I didn't tell you when I cut the dosage back the last time I was here so I would have the extra pill for the really bad days.

Doctor: That's reasonable. We won't change the prescription.

Me: Thanks.

Doctor: You look much better than the last time I saw you. I think this is a better weight for you.

Me: I don't care what the scale says, as long as it doesn't hurt.

Doctor: How much do you weigh?

Me: Seriously?

Doctor: Well, you're much less "drawn" than you were the last time I saw you.

Me: That's amazing, considering I feel like my life is falling apart.

Doctor: Well,  your life is very difficult right now, but you're completely stable. Here's a refill on your sleep med and I'll see you in three months. Exercise as much as you can. You know, needlework is exercise.

Me: (Slightly hysterical laugh) I cross stitch until my hand hurts.

Doctor: There you go.

Med Student: You're really bipolar?

Me: Oh yes. Dr. J thinks I should be in his theater troupe.

Med Student: That's remarkable.

Me: Well, I'm pretty dramatic. Theater is a hobby I should consider.

Doctor: We have some great productions coming up. There's a one man Christmas Carol.

Me: Um, how is that possible?

Doctor: He plays all the parts.

Me: Okay....maybe acting isn't for me. That just sounds weird.

Doctor: Well, you could do anything you wanted, once your life settles down. Look at Patty Duke.

Me: Oh, Kay Jamison is my idol.

Doctor: Isn't she in Baltimore now?

Me: Somewhere on the east coast, last I read. She was in California and then moved here. But that was awhile ago.

Med Student: Who is Kay Jamison?

Me: If you're interested in bipolar, she wrote An Unquiet Mind. Best book on bipolar ever. She's my idol.

Doctor: I'll see you in three months. Hang in there.

Me: I appreciate that.

(Completely medicated for your protection, but still impulsive as hell and prone to bursting into tears at a moment's notice.)

My Roller Coaster Life


November is National Blog Post Month. Since I have so much to say (relevant or not), I don't think this will be much of a stretch for me.

The first writing prompt was something along the lines of what would the story of your life be called. Wow, that's tough because there are so many different things that define who I am. If I say fibromyalgia or bipolar disorder, that's defining me by my illness. I am also a mom, a wife, a crafter, a reader, and a writer. In my former life, I was a paralegal. I am also a college graduate with a degree in psychology. I am raising a child with autism, which is also a huge part of who I am. Hence, I am a special needs advocate. I am a chronic pain patient. I am a daughter and a friend.

Raising children is perhaps the most important job we do as moms and I write a lot about my kids both here and over at Motherhood Uncovered. I also write about my hubby, I talk about the crafts I have completed and am working on, and I am wanting to start a book and product review section as well. If you haven't noticed the tabs at the top of my blog recently, there is a reading list of books that have touched my life. They don't begin to cover all of the books I've ever read, but these are all books that influenced or touched me in some way. I someday hope to complete one of the books I've started writing, if I can ever get off of Facebook.

I have no idea how I came up with the title to my blog and I don't know if Life on the Domestic Front would be a good title for my life. I can remember checking various titles and nothing being available until this one popped into my mind. And it really started to become a part of who I am. Because it really is my life on the domestic front, even though I don't necessarily consider myself "domestic."

I live a lot of my life through reading and through the internet. I travel to great places from the comfort of my family room recliner. I am limited because of my chronic illnesses, but I am so much more than just my chronic illnesses.

I was lying awake for about 10 minutes last night (before blanking out completely) and was thinking that the best way to describe my life is as a roller coaster. My mood goes up. My mood goes down. My fibro flares. My fibro is tolerable. I am very involved in my kids' lives. My kids want nothing to do with me. It's like riding a roller coaster. Some weeks are intense and some weeks are on a down slope.

So, I guess the title of my book would be "My Roller Coaster Life."


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Grim Reaper Has Candy!



As he does every year for Halloween, Jamie dressed up and went outside to hand out the candy. Usually, he wears this costume with "the Scream" mask. This year he decided to dress it up with a completely black face. I so appreciate his handing out the candy before they get to the door because it keeps the dog from going ape shit every five minutes.

Because we have blue light bulbs in our outside light fixtures (light it up blue for autism!), the front of our house is fairly dimly lit. The kids were coming up the driveway in packs and Jamie was sitting on the front porch or standing there in the dark with the candy bowl. I was sitting in my recliner (which is right there in the picture) and could hear the screams of one little one in particular who didn't see Jamie in the dark. He felt kind of bad, because he really didn't want to scare the little princesses and fairies and other assorted adorable dressed up munchkins. So if one of the little ones seemed really scared, Jamie immediately pulled up the mask and apologized and showed them he was only a 15 year old high school freshman. Which of course resulted in more screams. (Seriously, is there anything scarier than a high school kid?)

I am hoping nobody had nightmares last night because of my son with the dark sense of humor. That costume is even a little scary to me. He did have me cut little slits in the face for his eyes so that he could see who was coming. He was afraid I would slip with the scissors and accidentally stab him in the eyeballs, but no blinding occurred in this incident.

Joey was not going to go trick or treating this year, since I think once they get to middle school, they're getting a bit too big. I hate when those roving bands of teenagers with their pillowcases come ringing your bell at 9:00 on Halloween night. Truly, I find these kids the scariest thing about Halloween. You think "It" was scary? Try having four or five adolescent boys that are taller and bigger than you ringing your bell after you've turned off the porch light, shaking you down for candy. I'm happy to have that big, barking golden retriever when these things happen.

But anyway, Joey went to a Halloween pizza party across the street and then a neighbor took him around to the houses on the street. He told everyone "no, thank you" to everything except M&M's, the only candy he will eat. Damn it, I wanted those smarties! Now I remember why I sent my kids out every year!

We had to scrounge a costume at the last minute when he got the invitation - he went as a tae kwon do student because the ninja costume no longer fit him (when did he get so tall?) and because Jamie still had his old uniform. Of course, I missed the photo op for that one, but at least I got our 15 year old grim reaper with his candy bowl. I think he had fun. And hopefully no children were emotionally harmed last night due to our offspring.


I Woke Up Five Months Pregnant



I woke up this morning five months pregnant. Except that's impossible, because there is no equipment in there to allow another human being to incubate inside my body.

So, what I really mean is today I woke up with my abdomen swollen so large that I expect people to be asking me when I am due. (Never, ever ask a woman when she is due unless you know for a fact she is pregnant.)

And I'm in pain. A lot of pain.

My doctor tells me that it's from the Lyrica for the fibromyalgia. The only drug that keeps the fibro at bay even a little bit. I could go down on the dosage, which would free up my gastrointestinal system to actually move again and probably shrink my mid-section, but the fibro would roar back with a vengeance.

It's a constant choice. Do I want to have the fibromyalgia at its peak or do I want to have side effects? I hate this choice.

I've always said that having something wrong with my stomach was the worst possible illness I could personally imagine, which is saying a lot. It's not my stomach that hurts, but the area right below it. It's painful, it's hurting, it's bothering me, and I want it to stop. I don't want to have to shop in the maternity section for my pants. I don't want to wear sweats every day. And mostly, I don't want to be in this much abdominal pain from a medication that is helping the main disease so much.

The narcotic pain relievers actually make this pain worse. Because they slow down my intestines even more, making it more swollen and more intensely painful. This seems like a total oxymoron to me. How can a pain reliever cause such intense pain?

My doctor has no answers for me. I have to choose. It's either don't manage the symptoms or live with the side effects of the medication. What kind of choice is this?

There are all kinds of things going around Facebook and the internet right now about breast cancer awareness. Football players are wearing pink. The water bottles we buy at the store are encased in pink. The world looks like a pepto bismol bottle exploded.

For the record, I am not against breast cancer awareness. I just would like to see some fibromyalgia awareness. I'd like to see the whole world turn purple just for a week. Or even a day. Or for the researchers to figure out what this disease is and how to either control it better with no side effects or (gasp!) cure it.

So today I am in pain. A lot of pain. And it's not from fibromyalgia. It's from the drug that is treating my fibromyalgia. And even though this is not acceptable to me, it's the only choice I have.

Because if I choose to stop the drug, I will be completely non-functional and that is not acceptable in any way. Not with a house, a husband, three children, and three pets. I don't do much, but I play my role and it's an important one. My kids need a mom and they all need their laundry. There are dentist appointments and orthodontic appointments and dermatologist appointments and school conferences. And those are my job. I have to do my job, so I will continue to take the medication. And I will continue to shop in maternity at the store and I will continue to bitch about abdominal pain and weight gain. Because I have to.