Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing

Even as much as I try to enjoy the small things, sometimes I lose focus. This weekend started out with my being passive aggressive and bratty. Ron’s given me a smidge of a free pass because I’m about to have surgery on the 11th, and we’re not sure what’s going to happen with that. The plan is for a relatively minor ovarian cystectomy and a double salpingectomy. When my previous OB/GYN did my hysterectomy, he left my tubes; now they are full of fluid and have to come out.

What’s funny is that I switched doctors because my old one wouldn’t take my ovarian concerns seriously. Because he also took my cervix, there’s no way to reach in and palpate the ovaries, making it difficult to screen for cancer. While I’m not at high risk, other cancers run in my family so I try to be vigilant. My new doctor agreed that I needed a more thorough exam because I do have abdominal pain, although I tend to attribute that to my interstitial cystitis. I am ALWAYS in abdominal pain. Just to be on the safe side, she ordered an ultrasound and found all the little issues.

Of course, just because the plan is for minor surgery doesn’t mean she won’t find other stuff while she’s in there. My right ovary is scarred and looks like a battlefield. My doctor suspects I may have endometrial adhesions. The cyst is on my left ovary. She’s committed to saving my ovaries if possible, but if not, it’s instant menopause for me. Between the post-op pain, recovery period, and possible hormonal fluctuations, I’m worried about how and for how long this will affect my sex life.

Ron’s been feeling burnt out lately and decided to take a couple of days off, giving him a four day weekend. I wanted to slip away to a B&B, no kids, dogs, work, knit groups (dire, I know!), or housework; just us, a big fluffy bed, and food delivered in. Ron said no, especially since we’re going off to New Mexico for a few days this fall. I pouted and moped for most of the first three days, railing against the unfairness of it all. Poor me, right?

Of course, if we’d gone away, I would have missed out on Matt losing his keys, tearing the house apart, then finding them on top of a bookcase about a foot above his head (he put them there). I would have missed Aubrey spending the night on Saturday and fixing pancakes with Ron on Sunday morning, then watching Aub shovel them in her mouth in giant quarters. I wouldn’t have enjoyed Ron bringing me wine and making me rest while he did dishes and laundry. There would have been no ridiculous dinner prep conversation, one of my favorite times of the day. Pinky wouldn’t have had a bath, and I wouldn’t have seen her prancing around like a puppy, all excited to be clean and brushed.

Life happens in the day to day stuff. Feeding the kids, washing the dog, cooking meals. Ron still managed to sneak in plenty of alone time, in spite of all the other goings on… and I didn’t miss a thing.

Fade To Black

Yesterday was my first Thursday night knitting group. Several of us from my Sunday group decided to start one on our side of town, just so we’d have something midweek. While I was there, my mom called me twice, but my phone was in my bag and on silent. Matt’s like a toddler whose mom goes to the bathroom: they can be fine for hours and hours, but the instant mom has to pee, they suddenly NEED attention. Yup, Matt does the same thing to me while I’m knitting.

Anyway, I called my mom thinking she wanted to ask/tell me something about my step-dad’s birthday party on Sunday. Instead, she told me my dad died. Technically, he was also my step-dad, but he adopted me when I was a toddler, so he was the only dad I really knew. He was a pretty shitty one, and I hadn’t talked to him for at least four years. Now I’m trying to process and getting nowhere, because I just don’t feel anything. No sadness, no regret, nothing. At the most, I feel bad that I didn’t have the kind of dad, or the kind of relationship with my dad that would make me sad that he’s dead.

I never met his new wife. I haven’t talked to my sister in seven years. It’s been even longer since I talked to my aunt, after she screwed me over on my inheritance from my grandmother (which my dad did nothing about…but I’d already stopped talking to him long before that point). The only reason my mom even found out was because a friend ran into a friend who knew a friend who saw my dad while he was in hospice. My mom wasn’t even sure what day he died, but it was sometime this week.

Maybe I’ll feel something later, though I doubt it. I spent decades getting past the not so lovely job my parents did. I look around at my life now, my wonderful husband, amazing children, and good friends, and I am grateful for what I have, but… On the plus side, I’m obviously past all my anger issues, because I’m not happy that he’s dead. I used to dream of dancing on his grave, but that mostly went away by the time I hit thirty-something.

I’ve tried to think of the good things, and can only come up with six. He taught me to snorkel. He stayed in the hospital with me when I had my tonsils out. He got my tuition refunded when I had to stay in the hospital for a week with a kidney infection while I was pregnant with Matt. He went to as many of Matt’s football games as he could and taught me about football. He taught me how to make spaghetti.

That’s my eulogy.

What Love Is

I have a cold. There’s not much in this world that is worse than a summer cold in Texas, except for having a summer cold in Texas on top of fibromyalgia. My head feels like a thousand pounds, my neck and shoulders ache, and everything in my body hurts. On top of all that, I somehow ended up in an interstitial cystitis flare that makes that whole Texas cold thing seem like a longed for Christmas gift.

IC is a chronic inflammation of the bladder. When I first started researching for treatments, one doctor at Tufts University was using hydroxyzine pamoate in a clinical trial. The brand name is Vistaril, and although it is technically an antihistamine, it’s mainly used to treat anxiety. His theory is that IC is caused by an overgrowth of mast cells; in other words, it’s like an overblown allergic reaction in the bladder. At the time, everyone thought he was pretty crazy and no one outside of Boston was following the protocol. He got the last laugh though, because it’s now one of the standard meds for IC.

Recently, I added benadryl to my regimen along with the hydroxyzine because it just wasn’t cutting it alone anymore. The benadryl seemed to be working fine, and when I ran out of my hydroxyzine, I upped the benadry to make up for it, and I didn’t have any problems…until Tuesday night.

I’m almost positive that my cold has screwed with my bladder, considering a cold sets off a histamine reaction in the body (hence the sneezing and runny nose). It’s not like that stuff decides to just screw with your nasal passages and sinuses. It attacks everywhere. By Tuesday night, I was hurting, but it wasn’t unbearable. I took some pain meds, an extra benadryl, and drank a bunch of water to clear out my bladder, then went to bed.

I got about an hour or so of sleep before the nightmare started. I woke up to my entire urinary tract spasming. If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, you’ve got a vague idea. Now imagine that you are trying to give birth through your urethra. It feels like a combination of desperately having to pee while having excruciating labor pains. Except labor pains come in waves with at least a minute between them. IC spasms just keep going. and going. and going.

I got out of bed to take more benadryl, and added in a couple of other pain meds. Then I laid in bed and rocked. I sat in bed and rocked. I sat on the edge of the bed and rocked and tried not to scream. I stood up next to the bed and cussed under my breath so I wouldn’t wake up Ron. I rocked and cried and finally, I took one of my knock-out pills in an attempt to just sleep through the pain.

The next morning, I told Ron about my miserable night and he said, “Why didn’t you take any AZO?” AUGH! Why *didn’t* I take any AZO? I could have sent Matt to get some hours before. I told him we didn’t have any, but I would wake Matt up and send him. Ron was running late for work, but by the time I got Matt up, Ron had already texted him to say he had the AZO and was on his way back home.

My sweet, sweet, wonderful husband (who is NEVER late to work) stopped at the store just to get the AZO and brought it to me right away, just so I wouldn’t be in pain any longer than necessary. Pay attention people. This is what love is.

Today I’m sore and achey, but it’s not excruciating. I feel like someone kicked me in the abdomen with steel toed boots, and I still feel like I have to pee every second, but I’ll take the small favors.

That’s What Friends Are For

I know it’s been a while, but with all the anti-feminist crap going on in the world, I’ve been too livid to write anything. Today is really the first day that I’ve been able to really organize my thoughts without being spitting mad. I’m still angry, but I’m not sputtering quite as much.

This blog post isn’t really meant to be a political statement (seriously, if it were, you’d have stopped reading by now, I’m sure!). This entire blog is about finding the happiness in crappy day to day situations, and that’s what this post is all about.

In the last two weeks, I’ve been unfriended, I’ve unfriended others, and I have been publicly vociferous. This is such a polarizing issue, but what has been awesome is that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the friends who have come out as on our side. Considering the people that I’ve unfriended are generally not important to me, while the ones who surprise me ARE important to me, it makes me feel somewhat relieved about my friend choices.

I’ve also become friends with some really amazing people, both male and female. One thing that I’ve happily discovered is there ARE a few other liberal women in Texas, and they KNIT! While I usually hesitate to make generalizations, my limited personal experience is that the people I know who only crochet seem to be less intellectual than the people I know who knit. Perhaps that’s just a southern thing? I don’t know.

Last Sunday, our regular group was quite loud and angry while we knitted at a local Panera in a very Republican neighborhood. We were thrown dirty looks by little old white women, but as our militant quasi-leader said, “Life’s tough for everybody. Get over it.” She’s from the hippie generation, so she’s already fought this battle once before. That evening, I sent her a message on Ravelry asking if she’d be my roommate at next year’s fiber retreat and she said yes. I’m super excited to have a friend who not only knits, but has a doctorate and is a feminist.

For most of my life, I’ve felt really alone, especially in my adult life. While my husband and kids are fabulous and wonderful, and my daughter truly is one of my best friends, it’s not the same. It’s hard for a liberal woman in Texas to make friends, especially friends with similar interests. It’s been the main reason I’ve wanted to move to the northeast, where friendship comes easily. Suddenly, I find myself surrounded by like-minded women and it is glorious! It is definitely making my time in Texas more pleasant and way less depressing.

While Saudi America goes to shit and the Constitution dissolves before our very eyes and the Supreme Court ignores decades upon decades of precedent, logic, and reason, I’ve found the good. More importantly, I’ve found hope. I think that is what friends are meant to give us: hope. The feeling that we are not alone in this dark universe.

So screw Hobby Lobby. We are women, we are crafters, and we shop…but we don’t shop at Hobby Lobby. Even more than all that, we freakin’ VOTE. And there are more of us than I ever imagined.

birth control


You’re Still Here

Aubrey has been mostly moved out for almost two weeks now. I still see her every day, either before work or after, so it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. In just a few more days, Matt will be here and I will have both of them in the house more often than I did when Aub lived at home!

She has such great roommates, and she loves her apartment complex. It’s mostly young military guys (MEDICS and DOCTORS IN TRAINING!!), and she’s had great fun watching extremely well fit, shirtless basketball players in the gym at night. Last Sunday, she went to dinner with her roommates and had a great time, so I’m really happy that they are getting to be friends. They are a bit older than she is, but she’s always gotten along better with people who are more mature than her age group.

There are some serious downsides to her not being here, though. Last night, there was a giant water bug flying around in what was her room. I jumped up from my chair, ran over to the door of that room, kicked some boxes out of the way, and slammed the door shut. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that her 36″ God’s Eye project was overlapping the doorway, and I broke a couple of spokes. She hadn’t gotten very far, but still. She went in there this afternoon to hunt for it, but couldn’t find it. I did find another one in the kitchen, and while I doubt it was the same one, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Fortunately, she was here to trap it and take it outside. I wanted her to squish it but she just threw it over the fence.

Matt’s pretty useful for bug smashing, but he has a horrifying phobia of “hair swirlies.” They make him gag. Aubrey will reach her hand into any drain and pull out who knows what, but Matt just can’t. Neither can I. Ron’s a little iffy…it depends on where the drain is. She is the fearless one with a very minor gag reflex.

For the past few days, I’ve been suffering from the side effects of diflucan. Although I’ve taken it before, I’ve never had a reaction like this one. I took it on Monday night, and it wasn’t until Wednesday before it hit, and it hit hard. I thought for sure I was going to die, then I was terrified I was going to live. The worst of it was over after about 24 hours, but I’m still feeling woozy and exhausted, and I have a shrieking headache. Aub has brought me drinks to keep me hydrated, though. On the plus side, I’ve lost five pounds! I’m subsisting on Sonic slushies, tea, and toast with peanut butter or strawberry preserves. However, I don’t recommend the diflucan diet.

While my stress level has dropped dramatically now that Matt’s heart is pretty stable, Aubrey is moved, and Ron’s test is over (he passed!), poor Amy has started to lick holes in her skin once again. We’re keeping her medicated with benadryl, which does help, but it makes her so sleepy. She hates that she can’t sleep with Aubrey, and we refuse to let her on our bed because she’s a bed hog, plus she stinks. She did the same thing when Aubrey left for college, and her anxiety eventually decreased once she adjusted, so we’re hoping that she’ll calm down in a couple of months.

It’s still one day at a time, but that’s not a bad thing. We’re making it through.

Moving On

After much discussion, Ron and I decided that it was time for Aubrey to move out. We feel that the only reason for a 21 year old kid to live at home is if they are in school, which she is not. Considering she doesn’t want to share a bathroom with Matt, she was pretty motivated to find a place before he moves home.

We spent days looking at apartments online until the wee hours of the morning. We laughed our asses off at some of the reviews that people have posted at From possums to a girl who steals stuff and leaves it in the bushes, to the people complaining that maintenance won’t come change their light bulb, but especially the ones obviously written by management, we waded through probably fifty different properties. It’s pretty easy to tell which reviews are fake; if there are several positive reviews written on the same day, or clustered across several days; if they gush about how great management is; or if they use an excessive amount of exclamation points, it’s a safe bet those aren’t residents.

I found a couple of places on craigslist that seemed worth checking out. One was a garage apartment over in Matt’s neighborhood. I thought it was perfect, but Aubrey didn’t like. She said she couldn’t figure out what it was, but she just had a bad feeling about it. Later we looked at crime statistics and the registered sex offender database…turns out that a rapist lives across the street!

We checked out an apartment complex that is just down the street from us, and although Aubrey loved the closet and kitchen in the tiny one bedroom, I was wary of all the extra fees tacked on to moving in. They wanted $45 to do a credit check, plus another $75 “administrative” fee. Then there was the deposit and first month’s rent. It was going to cost her over $600 just to move in, assuming she passed their various requirements. It was also going to be more than she could really afford. Although we could cosign for her, Ron said we wouldn’t be doing her any favors by allowing her to live above her means, and it would teach her a bad lesson. I had to agree, and Aubrey took it well when we said no.

Finally, I came across an ad for a roommate. Two guys wanted to rent out their extra bed and bath for $600 including all utilities, even internet.  When we went to meet them and see the place, it was perfect and exactly what I had hoped for. The apartment complex is slightly more upscale, and it’s in our old neighborhood so Aubrey knows where everything is. The apartment itself is great, other than being on the third floor. Since the guys are a couple, I don’t have to worry about Aubrey’s safety and I absolutely adore them. One guy is an immunologist and the other one is military intelligence. The immunologist is a complete biology geek, so he and Aubrey have much in common. She snapped it up within ten minutes of walking through the door, and I feel so much better knowing there is someone to notice if she goes missing. Mama paranoia, I know.

The best part is that it is month to month, so if she hates living away from us and her dog, she can easily move back home. There’s also the possibility that Aubrey could become a manager at work, which would likely require moving to a different city. She’s not sure about applying, though.

We had a long talk about the whole management track and she said one reason for putting it off is that she’s scared to move to a different city where she has no family and knows no one. If she ended up in New York she’d be fine, since we have friends in New England that are like family, but Pittsburgh, Miami, or DC? Not so much. However the most important factor for her is wanting to be here while Matt is recovering. She’s terrified that something will happen with him and that she won’t be here, or won’t be able to get back fast enough. Even though we are all moving forward with the assumption that Matt will be okay, I can understand her fear.

She started moving in last Saturday, but her car was giving her all sorts of grief last week. Then there’s the face that she’s packed about seven boxes and moved six. My friends are suggesting that I pack for her, and I’ve threatened her that if I have to do that, I’m packing pretty much everything into the trash. She’s off tomorrow, so we’re going to try to get the majority moved then.

As exciting as it is to see her make the next big step into adulthood, it is scary. I am going to miss her terribly. She’ll only be ten minutes away, and I’m holding her dog hostage, so hopefully I’ll see her often. I’ve been knitting myself into a frenzy to cope with all the stress. At least it’s productive!