A quick catching up

It’s a chilly morning and I’m snuggled in a blanket on the couch with my second cup of coffee.  It’s quiet-just the shhhhh of the furnace.  I have a cookie scented candle burning from Bath and Body and it smells delicious.

It has been a busy several months since I’ve last written.

I have officially moved into my grandma’s house-directly next door to the house I lived in for the past 20 years.  I boxed up her lifetime of accumulated belongings and moved the majority of it into my old house.  I still have a lot of things left to move out but it’s a process.

I was able to design the remodel completely on my own:  paint, fixtures, tile, counters-everything, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We’re actually still in the process of remodeling but the main areas are done.  It’s a small house but so much bigger than where we were.  I honestly felt like the Old Lady in the Shoe, especially having seven of us living in less than 1000 square feet with ONE bathroom between us.  We managed;  we survived.

I think what I love the most is that I’m living in a house in which I’ve only ever had good things happen.  My grandma was such a treasure to me-all through my growing up years as well as my adulthood.  As a kid, we all had family dinners on Friday nights at her house where we’d laugh, eat, and us kids would watch The Dukes of Hazard or Benny Hill reruns.

It’s surreal living here.  I know it’s the same house but it looks so different.  I have my couches and tv facing a different direction but in my head I can still see my grandparent’s rocking chairs and all of their furniture. It’s like my memories are clashing with the new ones I’m making.  My kids will be so confused when I’m old and trying to tell them stories;  I’ll have the timelines all garbled.  Oh well, they can sort it out.

I’m in the process of trying to start either a vlog or a podcast…I get myself so worked up with anxiety about it that I haven’t actually put anything together.  Stupid, isn’t it?  My biggest downfall is fear of failure.  Lord only knows what I could have accomplished if I didn’t hold myself back.

I’m still alive, if you hadn’t guessed.  And back on a diet.  *groan*

Since I feel like my writing is stuttering, let me share a few pictures with you:

Gorgeous view overlooking Lake Elsinore

Robert got a brand new bike!

Matthew is continuing his guitar practice and always improving.

Sweetpea loves this house so much more

So does Baxter

I absolutely love my new kitchen

Jordan was able to spend Christmas with us

I hope you enjoyed my little photo tour of the last few months!

A Minor Procedure

 

I’ve had this bump on the back of my thigh for several years-it’s grown, as have I, unfortunately, and my doctor finally agreed that my insurance would pay for its removal.  The first time I went in to have it looked at, she said it would be considered cosmetic and therefore, not covered.  I’m not sure why;  it wasn’t supposed to be there, it was an obvious lump, and it bothered me.  So, it stayed.  And grew.  It got to the point where I wouldn’t wear swimsuits because I was very conscious of it-directly below my butt cheek for the world to see.  It started causing me discomfort when I’d spend any length of time driving or sitting, and even made lying on my left side quite uncomfortable.  My left side is my favorite side, as sides go…

I got the approval a few days after the visit with my primary care doctor.  She isn’t the most friendly doctor and I suppose it’s not necessary that they have a prize-winning personality.  After all, what’s important is that they are good at their job.  An agreeable nature is secondary, although feeling like I’m being looked at like I have hypochondriasis isn’t pleasant.  The more I think about it, I might look into switching.

My mother volunteered to go with me to my appointment.  I didn’t rush to say yes only because I didn’t know how long she’d have to wait for me but I told her I might have her go.  Just in case I was sore driving home, she might be of some use to me.  I reminded her of it on Saturday and she asked when it was again and proceeded to tell me, “Oh, I made an appointment for the dog at the vet on Friday…”  One upped by the dog.  Thanks, Mom.

I got myself to the hospital where the doctor would perform the procedure-no idea what to expect, and quite stressed, actually.  My biggest fear was that he would cut on me before I was numb.  After having each of my five large children, I had stitches like most women nowadays.  Unfortunately, I felt each stitch and no matter how many times the doctor would inject more anesthesia, it didn’t seem to help.  I felt each one.  As you can imagine,  this left an unpleasant impression on me.  Would this doctor listen if I told him I was hurting?

The nurse took my vitals and asked if I was allergic to any medication.

“None that I’ve encountered thus far.”

“On a scale of one to ten, what would you say your pain tolerance is?”

Now that’s a question I haven’t put much consideration into.  How much pain can I take-were they going to see how far they could push me?  The notion didn’t help my blood pressure, I can tell you that.  I thought about it for a minute and the implications if I made the number too high and if I’d be considered a wimp if I made the number too low…I sat there psychoanalyzing myself before deciding on five.  Five is a good solid number.  Right down the middle.

The nurse asked me to put on a gown and I was concerned about being allowed to keep my underwear on.  She said I could and so I felt some relief.  I don’t like strangers looking at my naked butt.  I was also able to keep my shirt on, which was a bonus.

We walked back to the surgery room where I was asked to remove my underwear and lie down on the table.  Man, just when I was starting to relax a little.  So up I went, feeling very exposed, and they quickly rubbed iodine on my thigh and cheek.  They were nice nurses and understood my desire to have a bit of modesty and laid the sterile cloths so that only one cheek was exposed and nothing else extraneous.  They laid a warm blanket over me, afterward.

The doctor came in, checked that everything was as it should be, and let me know he was going to begin numbing my leg.

“This will sting, I guarantee it.”

He went slowly and I didn’t mind it at all.  It felt like little pinches and were only a slight irritation.  He asked if I was doing alright and I said I was.

“You’re not a guy, that’s for sure!”

I’ve been told that women have a higher pain tolerance;  it would make sense, of course.

He asked if I felt this and did I feel that, and thankfully, I did not.  He proceeded to cut and I noticed that I was suddenly feeling warm and slightly nauseous.

“Gosh, it’s really warm in here.”

“I told them to turn the temperature down in here so it should be cooling off soon,”  said the nurse.

“I’m worried that you’re feeling that way because you’re about to pass out,”  added the doctor.

They brought me something to vomit into, just in case, and after a bout of the sweats, I started feeling a little better.

I’m not sure how he was able to cut into my leg when I know I had both butt cheeks on super-clench the entire time, but he did it and asked if I’d like to see what he retrieved.

“Yes, absolutely!”

He brought around the growth that had been causing my discomfort for well over seven years and it looked like what I can only describe as a baby octopus from the Korean BBQ place up the street.  I wish I could’ve taken a picture.

“That’s about how I imagined it,”  I said.  “I’m glad it’s out of my leg.”

He asked me if I wanted stitches or staples and that there was no wrong answer.

“I think I’d like stitches.  I’ve never had staples and the idea isn’t the most appealing.”

Stitches, it is.

I got seven on the outside, I don’t know how many on the inside and I’m not sure if he counted, anyway.

He went over all of the ways I should care for my wounded thigh-no shower until Sunday, no hot tubs or jacuzzi for three weeks.  Come back and have the stitches removed in two weeks.  He was naming all of this off as I laid there light-headed hoping I’d remember everything.

“Thank you for being patient,”  he said as he was about to leave the room.

“Thank you for numbing me!”  I responded, as they were applying the gauze.  Truly, that was the greatest gift-a doctor who listened when I said I could feel something and he promptly gave me more anesthetic.

As I got dressed and was directed by the nurse which direction to go, she said to go one way if I had anyone waiting in the waiting room for me.  No, I didn’t.  Thanks again, Mom.  Then go the opposite direction to get the elevator.

I picked up the pain pills the doctor prescribed and then hiked what felt like a mile out to my car.  I made it.  I had my first in-office surgery and it wasn’t horrible.  I also realized that my doctor was someone I could picture my husband and I hanging out with at karaoke.  He probably liked Neil Diamond, too.

I went to the grocery store directly from the hospital and bought some ice cream.  Yes, I’m on a diet, but I figure a little pistachio almond ice cream is better than a glass/bottle of wine and it’ll make me less upset with my mom for ditching me.  Right?

By the way,  I told my mom that I was giving up the alcohol for a bit.  My brother and his wife took her wine tasting tasting for Mother’s Day weekend and, being the wino they’re used to, they found this mug and unanimously agreed it was perfect for me.  Obviously she’d forgotten about my abstinence, but it was nice to be thought of, I suppose.

A midday hike to clear my head

I’m getting increasingly stressed about the idea of my husband switching jobs-the company he is currently with is making certain changes which are not conducive to a good working environment and so he is looking at his options.  This means we will no longer have the same insurance and we’ll most likely take a financial hit.  He’s in the trucking industry and is away for long stretches of time.  While he’s been away, two of the kids have moved out, the other three are rapidly moving closer to adulthood, and his own health has declined.  I’d love to see him find employment that has him home in the evenings or at the very least, the weekends.  We all miss him and want him to be healthy and happy.

In order for him to possibly have a local job, he would most likely be forced to take a serious pay cut which would mean we would have to pick up the slack somewhere…this means me.  Somehow, I need to make some money.  I haven’t worked since 2010 when I was a home health aide.  Before that, I taught for a year at a private school, was a substitute teacher, and was in college completing my degree in English.  Honestly, I have no clue what I would even be good at, let alone where to begin my search.  I would absolutely love to work from home but is there even such a thing anymore?  I know people somehow manage to earn money off of their blogging and various other social media ventures but I’m completely out of my element in that area.  How exactly does one do that?

So here I am-what does an unemployed 42 year old mother of five kids do when faced with the challenge of finding supplemental income?

I grabbed my daughter and we went for a hike yesterday.  I needed to get some nature in my lungs, be off of my bed, outside of my house, away from the noise in my head.  I needed some pine trees, wildflowers, and bugs crawling in my socks-some sweat, slippery dirt, and climbing.  I also realized quickly just how out of shape I’d gotten.


 

About halfway up, I realized I had worn the wrong shoes.  Converse sneakers do not have the tread needed to navigate through the slippery surfaces and I easily envisioned myself landing with my feet over my head and having to be helicoptered out of there. We’d be easy to find between my heavy breathing and Hannah’s lime green socks.

We spotted several lizards that seemed to be trying to race us down the hill and only encountered a handful of people, which was very nice.  There was quite a collection of poops along the trail and I’m sure at least one was from the mountain lion the sign at the gate warned us about.

The sun felt good on my bare arms and the breeze helped relax me somewhat.  Bonding with my girl was a great escape-exactly what I needed.  She’ll be twelve in August and I relish the time we spend together while I’m still in her good favor;  before I turn into the woman that no longer knows anything.

As for extra money and me gaining employment, who knows, I don’t know what I’m qualified to do other than possibly work at Taco Bell.  What does a B.A. in English get you nowadays other than snickers and giggles from engineers?

Wino more wine…

Day 15

I’ve done it.  I’ve gotten over the hump.

The “hump”, as I call it, is the first three days getting my mind adjusted to the fact that there will not be overflowing glasses of wine while I cook dinner, or two or three martinis while I watch a movie before falling asleep for the night.  The hump is hard.

I have to constantly remind myself that I, in fact, do not have to have a drink.  That there will still be opportunities for drinks in the future, if I so choose, and the world hasn’t suddenly depleted its wine reserves.  It’s a whole body transformation.

My Navy son has come home to visit before joining the fleet and I’ve been his chauffeur.  Normally, I’d have to gauge when I could pop open the wine bottle by when I’d be done driving for the day. “Just three more hours, then I can drop him off and relax with some drinks.”  I’ve had to alter that thinking completely.

What I’ve noticed since I’ve quit drinking:

  • I have more energy
  • I wake up earlier
  • I sleep better
  • I can drive whenever I want
  • My memory is improving
  • I’m able to be fully present in the moment
  • I’m able to deal with my problems-my head will NOT implode
  • I’ve developed an obsession for iced tea

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure I could do it-I did not set a time frame as to how long I’d quit.  I just let myself go with the flow and that seems to be working for me.  So far, the benefits outweigh my desire to have a warm comfy buzz and I love that!  I feel the need to become healthy, and I will go back on a diet once my son leaves at the end of the week.  I wanted to be kind to myself so I’ve had ice cream twice and a couple of other treats.

I think the biggest misconception I had about not drinking is my weight-I thought for sure I’d be dropping some pounds.  Sadly, no, this hasn’t happened.  On the contrary, I’ve been gaining and it’s not the ice cream.  Somehow, I think because alcohol dehydrates the body, I’m showing what my actual weight is on the scale.  I weighed more while I was drinking but since I was in a constant state of dehydration, I was less on the scale.  Well, now that I’ve replaced alcohol with iced tea, I’m no longer dehydrated and now find myself faced with the fact that I’m just plain fat.  But that’s alright!  I can do this!  I can face obstacles better now that my mind is clear.

I draw on the strength of my grandma.  She was an alcoholic who drank throughout the day, everyday, to deal with my grandpa’s health issues.  He wasn’t alway kind to her, and quite often would say hurtful things to her.  She drank more and more until she found herself in the hospital with her doctor telling her to quit the booze or die.  She’d developed diabetes and her numbers were sky-high, as well as her blood pressure.  She decided then and there that she’d quit drinking and never go back.  I admire my grandma for so many things and this is one of them.  I do think that there was a certain determination that one only achieved after having survived The Great Depression.

I have a lot going on.  I’m dealing with a criminal/drug infestation in the property next door that seems impossible to overcome.  My husband had just pulled into the driveway and heard a commotion in the garage so he shouted at them to shut the fuck up and as soon as those words left his mouth, several people ran out of the garage and towards the alley where one guy started beating on his girlfriend.  My son and his macho buddies with their crowbars, knives, and various other instruments just stood there while they waved their objects but didn’t do a damn thing.  This “friend” of theirs continued to wail on the girl as my husband ran up, pulled the guy off of her, and proceeded to go Marine on him.  He didn’t need to lay a finger on him-the drill instructor shouting as he was nose to nose with this piece of trash was enough.  He told him to get out of here and never come back and the punk said  he was taking his girlfriend with him.  Robert said that, in fact, she would not be leaving with him and that he’d better take a hike.  I’m paraphrasing, of course.

This is just one of many instances of the activity I deal with on an almost daily basis.

The oldest son’s court date has been pushed back until May 30 because the D.A. brought in a new prosecutor.  It’s basically starting from the beginning and I’m so frustrated with the state.  The county is willing to bend over backwards to help him get on some sort of aid-a phone, housing, etc., but they aren’t willing to make him have some real consequences.  The kid needs rehab.  I refused to pay for it with our insurance because:

  1. Kaiser has ridiculous rehab services
  2. Our particular plan is outrageously expensive
  3. If the county wants to support him, let them pay for rehab
  4. He’d be better off in a Salvation Army rehab where he has to work to earn his keep
  5. I’m not going to be his damn taxi

I talked to his social worker/assessment coordinator yesterday-I didn’t care for her tone.  You’d think with a degree in Social Work, a person might develop skills to be social.  She failed that class, apparently,  because she basically ordered me to call Kaiser and find out what the insurance would pay for as far as drug rehab services.  I obliged, but when she called back to find out what I’d discovered, I told her forget it, I’m not paying for it.  She told me she had a long list of places she could try to as she said this I’m thinking to myself,  Bitch, why didn’t you just start there instead of me doing your damn job? I wasn’t feeling especially social, either.

With alcohol, I can numb my mind, relax my body, feel less inhibited.  I’m finding that I don’t need or want that as much.  I need to be more aware, especially when finding myself in a den of thieves and addicts-I need to keep my wits about me.

I poured out the remaining contents of the wine bottle sitting atop my counter.  Then I made some bacon.

I haven’t had one drop in 2 weeks.

None