It’s 5 am. Do you know where your brain is?

I should have taken a Lunesta around 10 PM. Then I might not be in this mess, which is to say, awake at 5 AM with my son blissfully crashed out in the next room, recharging his batteries for 9 AM. Undoubtedly, I will be regretting this course of action at approximately 9:05 AM.

Insomnia will always get the better of me, I think. Lunesta leaves me feeling off the next day. I can’t take Restoril, not because it doesn’t work, but because I enjoy the high too much before it knocks me out. It’s the same reason I didn’t ask for a refill on my oxycodone or tylenol with codine from the dentist, despite the fact that I now have to pop ibuprofen like candy to take the edge off the pain.

Did I mention my $5409 tax return was delayed? It’s likely this is now a prominent reason why I’m unable to sleep at this time. Fortunately, Mr. Hottie gets paid in 3 days so the zero in our bank account won’t be there much longer. Again, I’m just grateful it’s not a negative number. I can handle having to live off of the change out of the theoretical seat cushions (we don’t own a couch) but when it goes in the red, that’s a different story. I’m anxious because I don’t know what’s missing. I don’t know what I missed when I dutifully entered in our W-2s and 1098-Ts into the electronic tax boxes. I don’t know where I made the mistake. It’s probably something to do with my tuition, but until I get the letter of explanation, all I’ve got is suppositions at 5 am.

My school term is up at the end of April. I still have a statistics class to go through, as well as a java class and natural science. There’s a science project involved with that. I had 6 months to do these things. Why do I continue to procrastinate to the last minute when I know -know- that it’s not a good idea? It’s like I have to put myself in this kind of stress because I don’t work out of the home so I have no other stress in my life. Is there a word for that? For consciously -making- stressful situations?

I don’t know, but it’s damn annoying.

Another thing that’s annoying is the way that WordPress keeps moving the focus of this block of text back to the beginning of the post if I’m not actively typing. I pause for a split second to gather my thoughts and woosh, it’s back up at the top. Annoying.

Ah well. I guess I’ll play Peggle until my brain rebels and I decide that an hour nap is better than no nap at all when faced with a supercharged two-year-old.

Oh yeah, and I have to go back to the doctor today to get a halter that will record my heart for the next 24 hours. Awesome. Maybe I can finally pin down that irregular heartbeat that happens every time I lay down to go to bed. YAY more stress.

I was going to go to BlogHer

But then my much anticipated $5409 tax return that I was supposed to get on February 16th was delayed. “Something was incomplete,” said the kind person on the phone when I called for an explanation. “How can that be? I filed electronically?” “It just happens sometimes,” she replied, with sympathy. I thanked her and was instructed to keep an eye out for a letter from the IRS detailing my omission, which I was to complete and return with all speed, whereupon it would be processed and I would get my return within 6 – 8 weeks.

I owe my dentist in the neighborhood of $1600 on March 8th, only because they were willing to do the work on me when I assured them I’d be getting my tax return this month. Now I’ll have to put off the rest of the work until I get the check, which just stinks. It’s hard enough to eat as it is, so I might be going back on a liquid diet for a while. Hey, I needed to lose weight, right?

Speaking of losing weight, I was doing really well on my diet. I had gotten down to 182, then the tooth problems started happening. It’s really hard to chew certain things when teeth are hurting on both sides. I ate a lot of ramen. Subsequently, I gained some of the weight back. I’m not terribly upset, I was expecting it, after all, and I didn’t gain THAT much back. I’m still under 190, at least. We were going to try to pick up the diet again on Monday, but the lack of tax return has put us in the dubious possession of a big fat goosegg in our bank account until payday, which is next Friday. Thankfully, everything that was coming out automatically has already come out, so we won’t be overdrafting anything. I don’t mind having no money, it’s when I get in the red that I start to get upset at myself.

We did just join Sam’s Club (definitely worthwhile, if only for their $1.77 a pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts. What a deal!) and stocked up, so we’re fine for groceries. I have a full tank of gas, so I know we’ll be just fine. It’s just annoying that I was told when I submitted my taxes that it was fine and the IRS had accepted it, and it was being processed. “You should recieve your return on the 16th” proclaimed the website, right up until the day of. When the day passed and there was no deposit, I started getting nervous. Oh well, now it’s just a waiting game.

As I write this I can hear my daughter playing Edvard Grieg’s “Morning Mood” on the violin. She started taking lessons at the beginning of the school year in August/September, and she’s progressed amazingly fast. She’s auditioned for and gotten into a special pop strings group at school. They do stuff like Crocodile Rock, it’s pretty cute. I’m just so proud of her and I hope she keeps it up. When my 2 older kids come to stay with me for summer, I’m going to try to find her a place to continue lessons. My middle son wants to dance, so I’m going to try to find lessons for him too. He needs some way to burn off lots of energy.

The past few days have been difficult for me mentally. Since the 16th, I’ve been depressed and had horrible insomnia, coupled with a few incidents of erratic heart behavior. I was at the doctor’s yesterday and got a prescription for Lunesta. It’s a a love/hate relationship as I get used to the stuff again. The first night it zonked me out in ten minutes but left me groggy for several hours after I woke up. Last night it took me a half hour to fall asleep, but I only stayed groggy for about a half hour when I woke up. The main thing I don’t like about Lunesta is that it leaves a funny taste in my mouth all day. Tonight I think I’m going to try taking just half. I was suppose to go get tested for ADD/ADHD on Wednesday, but of course, suddenly did not have the money for the test.

On the good side, I did get one bill paid off completely, so that’s one out of the way. When the tax return comes in, we should be able to pay off almost all of the medical bills. I’m so excited about that. We’re well on our way to being out of debt. We’ll even have my truck paid off in about 2 years, just in time to be looking to move up to Alabama. Ugh. I can’t wait to get up there and have a house with some land that I can make my attempts to be self-sufficient on.

I’ve rambled enough for now, I think. I wish I could afford to have someone do a site for me that didn’t involve a .wordpress. domain name.

This Is One Of Those Days

About 2 am, or maybe it was 3, I woke up with excruciating tooth pain. This is not surprising, due to my lack of general tooth care, however I was hoping I’d be able to hold out until later. Oh well. I knew that one of my teeth was dead, and after having four root canals, I knew I was due for another one.

Sure enough, I went to the dentist today and was told I needed a root canal. Fortunately, I also needed a new crown and a filling on that same side, so they went ahead and started all the work. Unfortunately, they had to stop because I ended up being there at closing time. Sooo I get to go back on Monday for them to finish the filling and the two crowns worth of prep, then go back again after that when the crowns arrive. In the meantime, one whole quadrant of my mouth is full of temporary material that I can’t chew on.

I forsee a lot of ramen in my immediate future. They gave me a prescription to oxycodone, which definitely helped to blunt the ache in my jaw, and after a 2 hour drive in Orlando Rush Hour traffic and another 20 minutes of waiting at Walgreens, I was finally able to stumble into the house and take one. It’s an odd feeling when half of your face is numb, yet the pain in your jaw is definitely present.

I took a little nap from about 8 pm to 12:30 am. About 1, my husband decides he’s going to bed, and mentions to me that the Little Man is still awake and kind of tugging on his ear (uh oh), so I go and check on him. He’s burning up, so I get a thermometer. 101 degree fever. I ask him (via sign language) if he hurts, and he points to his ear. Hoo boy.

Fortunately, I have some baby ibuprofen, the kind that comes with a cup. I pour out the dose and give him a little, and he signs and says “more”. No struggle to get this boy to take medicine, at least. Then he wanted to get into our bed instead of his bed, so right now he’s tucked in in the middle of the bed. Thank goodness for king size beds. Plenty of room for all three of us, and a dog, if we had one. As for me, I’m wide awake. The pain is tolerable, but I know I need to go to sleep, and I can’t take my usual tylenol PM.

It might be a long night.

You go, girl!

Lately there’s been quite a few bloggers who have admitted being alcoholics. I’ve often nodded and thought “good for them”, but I didn’t really feel a connection because so far, none of them have been folks I read. I say so far, because today, a wonderful woman whom I DO read took an extraordinarily brave step, and I wanted to say I am SO damn proud of her.

My own experience with alcohol has always felt like I was dancing on the edge of a cliff. When I lived in San Diego, California, I was about 5 blocks from an On The Border, which, aside from having some really smashing fajitas, had a cantina.

I found myself stopping by there Friday nights after work, to hang out and have a couple drinks. Then I started going two days a week, then three, then four. Then I started stopping by there on my way home, ordering three very strong shots, slamming them down, and then jumping in my truck to drive the 5 blocks home before the alcohol hit me. I would have blackouts. I would be fall-down drunk and pass out, but I didn’t think I had a problem because I never had a hangover.

I knew exactly how much I could drink and still be able to drive the short distance home. I never swerved, never put anyone in danger, and I felt like I was in control because I WOULD leave my truck there and walk home when I knew I had too much.

Was I an alcoholic? I don’t know. I think I could be, given the chance again. I’m very careful about drinking when my husband and I go out to dinner. I have a beer or two once in a blue moon, but quite honestly, the only thing that is keeping me from the shots is how expensive they are. We planned on getting some booze here in the house to stock a minibar kind of thing, and although I was nodding and going “yeah, great idea” I was really thinking “I can’t do that. I’ll drink it all.”

If I had not met my husband, I probably would still be drinking 3-4 times a day.

Would I have been able to announce to the world my addiction, like Maggie did? I don’t know. She amazes me constantly, and her announcement only makes me love her even more.

Maggie, you’re the bomb. You are an inspiration, and I wish I could write as eloquently as you do. Keep it up.

One Eighty Two

Disclaimer: Denise Austin has no idea who I am, and probably could care less that I’m talking about her book on my blog. I certainly haven’t been paid for it.

When the New Year rolled around, I weighed 200 pounds. I’m 5’3″. It was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life, and I didn’t like it. My husband told me I was still sexy, that I wasn’t fat (bless his heart, I was 125 and a size 8 or so when we met), but I was. I could feel it in the way my knees would scream every time I went up and down stairs. I could feel it in the way it was hard to breath when I bent over to put on my shoes… oh, and the fact that I had to sit down to put on my shoes. It was evident in the pantry and fridge. We just weren’t eating the way I wanted. We weren’t eating -healthy-, and I was tired of it.

I read a lot of magazines, and in one of the magazines I read about a new diet plan. Only it wasn’t really a “you can’t eat this” kind of diet, it was a “change the way you eat” kind of diet. Exactly what I was looking for. It’s kind of like Weight Watchers, but without the stupid point counting. Weight Watchers always made me think “Oh, I get 20 points? I’ll just eat 20 of those little 1-point brownie things”.

Anyway, this plan, by Denise Austin, is called Denise’s Daily Dozen. It is, in a word, EASY. It’s an utter no-brainer. Follow her plan, you will lose weight. My husband and I are both doing it. There were a couple days at the beginning where we were hungry, but it was tolerable. Most of the meals are really fab and there’s a ton of room for flexibility, thank goodness, because a couple of the meals are… well… yuck. Personally, if I NEVER have goat cheese again it will be too soon. Blech.

We started on… ohhh.. I want to say something like January 7th. I’m now down to 182. That’s EIGHTEEN pounds, folks. I never, ever thought it would lose this weight. I’m still what I would consider “out of shape” because it’s hard to exercise when there’s an active anklebiter running around, but I do it when I can.

It feels good to finally be getting off my ass, so to speak. Here’s to another eighteen pounds.

New year, new beginnings, new procrastination

Well, only halfway through the month this time. I was actually thinking about waiting until the 31st so I’d have an entire month to put off from posting.

Yes, we’ve made some resolutions. Not many, and not ones like “I won’t procrastinate anymore” because everyone knows that resolutions like that are bullshit.

We’ve resolved to get out of debt (mostly, there’s pretty much no way to speed up the truck payment) by October. Definitely doable.
We’ve resolved to eat healthier, eat at home more, and work out more. So far we’ve successfully done this for 8 days. It’s a record, really, and I’m so proud of both of us that we haven’t broken, haven’t said “Oh fuck it, let’s just get Wendy’s”. I’ve made breakfast, lunch and dinner every day (except for today, when I didn’t want to get out of my warm bed and Mr. Hottie had to make his own damn frozen waffles), and it’s been really enjoyable. We’re getting a lot of use out of an electric grill we purchased earlier in the year. I’m so glad to be finally using this stuff instead of it sitting in the pantry collecting dust.

There are cravings, but they are manageable.

Little Man turned two a couple weeks ago. It’s hard to believe. Two already! He knows more signs than I can count off the top of my head, and is slowly learning more words. The other day I taught him how to say “Bilbo”, “Gandalf”, and “Mordor”. Every child should know these!

I got my 11-year-old daughter’s ears pierced as a Christmas present. I didn’t take her to a booth in the mall, oh no, I took her to a REAL piercing parlor, complete with giant needles and corks. She did fantastic, considering. My 8-year-old son declared he is NEVER getting his ears pierced. Never say never, kid. Anyway, my daughter picked out a really pretty blue optical cat’s eye type of bead to go on her hoops, and it really looked great. She’s growing up so damn fast!

My 8-year-old is starting to behave better now. This is a good thing, and I’m really proud of him. I just hope he continues on this good streak. Maybe we’re finally having an impact on his behavior. I hope so!

Math is starting to get interesting. While I’m not enjoying all aspects of it, I have noticed I’ve been having fun doing a couple things, and feel really good when I get a right answer without too much help. As time goes on, I expect to need less and less help. I’ll beat this thing down yet!

Then I’ll get to tackle javascript and a science project. Woo hoo!

Oh yeah, and I’ve lost 10 pounds already. 🙂

I am still here, and I have no excuses.

I just haven’t had anything to say lately. School is kicking my butt, mostly because of the horrible thing called algebra that I’m very slowly getting the hang of. We’re talking 20 years of rust on the math gears, plus some stuff that I never learned, and this is just the first module! Logarithms? What the hell are those?

But I’m getting through it. Another thing I’m getting through are bills, which is fantastic. Because my university is so cheap, and my GI Bill is so much, it’s allowing us to get out of debt. It’s a wonderful feeling, truly.

We’re also slowly getting to the point of being able to actually have some furniture. We went to IKEA the other day and picked out a couch, which we should be able to get at the beginning of the year. We also have an idea of how to arrange the living room so we can have a kind of computer area, yet still have a TV area that is separate. That way, my middle child will be able to have his own room to sleep in, currently the computer room.

Little Man is a climbing fool and loves water. You’d never know that a year ago it was uncertain if he was even going to be able to walk, ever. Children are amazing, wonderful creatures, and sadly? enough, I can’t wait to have another one. We’re going to try to finish paying off the hospital bill for this one first (don’t worry mom!) before we go for another. We also have a pretty good idea of WHEN we want to have another one and it’s not for a loong (okay, maybe not THAT long) time.

Anissa

You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but after watching the huge response to your stroke earlier in the week, I wish I did know you. You are obviously a strong, incredible woman. The love people feel for you shines from their posts of support, and it is amazing.

You don’t know me, but I’m praying for you, and your family.

Cure Juvenile Myositis Day

Kevin at Always Home and Uncool has asked me to post this as part of his effort to raise awareness in the blogosphere of juvenile myositis, a rare autoimmune disease his daughter was diagnosed with on this day seven years ago. The day also happens to be his wife’s birthday.
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JM Badge

Our pediatrician admitted it early on.

The rash on our 2-year-old daughter’s cheeks, joints and legs was something he’d never seen before.

The next doctor wouldn’t admit to not knowing.

He rattled off the names of several skins conditions — none of them seemingly worth his time or bedside manner — then quickly prescribed antibiotics and showed us the door.

The third doctor admitted she didn’t know much.

The biopsy of the chunk of skin she had removed from our daughter’s knee showed signs of an “allergic reaction” even though we had ruled out every allergy source — obvious and otherwise — that we could.

The fourth doctor had barely closed the door behind her when, looking at the limp blonde cherub in my lap, she admitted she had seen this before. At least one too many times before.

She brought in a gaggle of med students. She pointed out each of the physical symptoms in our daughter:

The rash across her face and temples resembling the silhouette of a butterfly.

The purple-brown spots and smears, called heliotrope, on her eyelids.

The reddish alligator-like skin, known as Gottron papules, covering the knuckles of her hands.

The onset of crippling muscle weakness in her legs and upper body.

She then had an assistant bring in a handful of pages photocopied from an old medical textbook. She handed them to my wife, whose birthday it happened to be that day.

This was her gift — a diagnosis for her little girl.

That was seven years ago — Oct. 2, 2002 — the day our daughter was found to have juvenile dermatomyositis, one of a family of rare autoimmune diseases that can have debilitating and even fatal consequences when not treated quickly and effectively.

Our daughter’s first year with the disease consisted of surgical procedures, intravenous infusions, staph infections, pulmonary treatments and worry. Her muscles were too weak for her to walk or swallow solid food for several months. When not in the hospital, she sat on our living room couch, propped up by pillows so she wouldn’t tip over, as medicine or nourishment dripped from a bag into her body.

Our daughter, Thing 1, Megan, now age 9, remembers little of that today when she dances or sings or plays soccer. All that remain with her are scars, six to be exact, and the array of pills she takes twice a day to help keep the disease at bay.

What would have happened if it took us more than two months and four doctors before we lucked into someone who could piece all the symptoms together? I don’t know.

I do know that the fourth doctor, the one who brought in others to see our daughter’s condition so they could easily recognize it if they ever had the misfortune to be presented with it again, was a step toward making sure other parents also never have to find out.

That, too, is my purpose today.

It is also my birthday gift to my wife, My Love, Rhonda, for all you have done these past seven years to make others aware of juvenile myositis diseases and help find a cure for them once and for all.

To read more about children and families affected by juvenile myositis diseases, visit Cure JM Foundation at www.curejm.org

To make a tax-deductible donation toward JM research, go to http://www.firstgiving.com/rhondaandkevinmckeever or http://www.curejm.com/team/donations.htm

Validity

I was reading a blog today over at Okay, Fine, Dammit, and it got me thinking.

My thoughts went something along the lines of “I should post on my blog more” to “I should really get with Hottie and launch our joint blog” to “I don’t have time for that stuff right now, I’m busy with school” to “No one wants to read my bullshit anyway” to “Yeah, why write if no one cares? I don’t need a diary, I already know what I do every day” to “Just write something, already!” to “Fuck you, I’m not writing anything until I’m done with this term!”

Then my inner voices got into an animated fight complete with dust clouds and random limbs sticking out with “#@%$&!” popping out here and there.

Then I ate half a bag of Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chunk Brownie cookies and I felt better.

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