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.

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.

A Real Pain in the Neck

A few days ago I slept on my neck funny or something. Since then I can’t turn my head to the right without pain. It was bad enough yesterday that I spent the day hopped up on painkillers to dull it. This morning I feel utterly like crap. Nausea and no appetite whatsoever, and aching pain from my neck to my shoulder.

Hopefully the chiropractor that Mr. Hottie and I went to last year will be able to see me today. I don’t want to have to keep taking drugs for this.

Sitting upright is making my arm and shoulder shake. Laying down is just as bad.

On a totally unrelated note, it looks like I need to move some posts over again, so don’t be surprised if the rather large gap between May and June starts to fill in.

A Glimmer of Sense?

Well, we just got back from the neurologist.

The doctor was really nice, very professional, and took a lot of time to ask us questions and examined Little Man very thoroughly. The drive is a bit much but I think it’ll be worth it.

It’s not my imagination, at least. He said there is definitely something up with Little Man’s fine/gross motor movements. He said that the muscles in his legs are underdeveloped in his hips, over developed in his upper legs, and underdeveloped on the lower legs, which leads to that froggy pose. He’s got some issues with his hands as well. Too hard to describe exactly but he’s not picking things up quite the way he should.

He’s recommending we start physical therapy now, and in about a week (after they get authorization) we need to make an appointment for an MRI/spinal MRI. This time we’ll be able to get it, it says on there anesthesia as needed. There are also a whole other slew of blood tests that need to be done.

Speaking of which, we STILL haven’t heard back from the pediatrician about the x-ray and the bloodwork that we had done before. Hottie called them but they haven’t returned our call yet. I’m looking for a new pediatrician.

Bottom line, yes there is something, and now we can start taking the steps needed to figure out what it is, and from there, how to treat it.

There Is Something Wrong With My Son

I’ve been writing this blog entry in my head since yesterday. It should have had some catchy title like “9-Month-Old Turns Into Beaver, Gnaws Off Boobah” or “Hey, What’s THIS Cord Do?” or even “Baby Defies Physics – Teleports Across Room”.

In it I would tell about how my son gave his daddy a birthday present by finally cutting a tooth on that day – and biting my finger (and later my boobah) to prove it. I would tell about his fauxhawk hair that is constantly sticking up, and how much he looks like his daddy. I’d say that he’s finally saying “ma-ma-ma” and “da-da-da” but doesn’t mean it yet, but he does turn his head when his name is spoken. I wouldn’t forget to mention that he’s able to pick up a piece of finger food and propel it more or less to his mouth.

Instead, “There Is Something Wrong With My Son”. I’ve just become one of ‘those’ parents whose blog is no longer about the simple joys of rearing a child – the sleepless nights, the frazzled mornings, the zombie diaper changes – but instead about the simple joys of rearing a child With Something Wrong With Him.

Now, granted, it’s too soon to say EXACTLY what is going on with Little Man, but there is no doubt there is something amiss. To my chagrin, by going back and looking at videos and pictures I shot months ago, I realize that this is something that has been going on since June at least. I just didn’t notice because it never occurred to me to think my child was less than perfect. Also, Little Man wasn’t crawling at the time.

Little Man can’t straighten his legs. When he’s picked up, he keeps his legs tucked up. He won’t bounce or try to stand. The little things he did that I found so endearing were actually a Sign of Something Wrong – the way he would put his forward knee into my hand like a stirrup when I held him on my side, and the way he puts the bottoms of his feet together, and the way he crawls with his feet up in the air, instead of along the ground. Now I question every cute thing he does. Is that a Sign of Something Wrong?

The pediatrician is calling this “spasticity”. Now, I’ve looked that up, but after the first couple of hits I stopped looking, because if I read too much more, I’m going to be blaming myself for every time that Little Man fell off the bed.

Who am I kidding? I already do. I feel like this is completely my fault. Preventable, if I’d been a better mother, if I’d kept him in a crib instead of co-sleeping, if I’d checked on him more and made sure he wasn’t slowly creeping towards the edge of the bed, if I’d taken more vitamins, if, if, if.

There are too many if’s for this post, so I am going to end it here. Thanks for listening.

PS – If the struggle we’ve had today with simply trying to get all these tests and appointments scheduled is any sign of things to come, I may very well go completely grey in the next few months.

Things Are Looking Up!

Lately my husband and I have been horribly financially strapped. We knew things would be tight if I quit my job at Rollins, and if we stayed in a nice apartment rather than moving to a slum. I don’t regret either of these decisions. Being able to stay home with Snugglespawn was my priority, and I didn’t care if I had to eat ramen to do it. With rising gas prices, we felt the pinch even more. It’s almost $4 a gallon here now, and I know it’s over $4 in other places. It made me glad I wasn’t commuting to work.

My mental state suffered, though. I felt guilty for making Hottie do all the work (even though he says -I’m- the one doing all the work, heh) and really wanted to find something to help out. I guess I’m one of those people who need to work.

When I got the job at BKP, I was floored. Here was a legitimate, honest-to-goodness work-at-home job that didn’t require me to pay any money or write ads on Google AdSense. I made about $200 on my first paycheck. My next paycheck will be my first full blown working-my-ass-off paychecks. I work as much as they let me, and even then it’s hard for me to stop working sometimes. I enjoy the work, I need the work, and it’s actually a little fun.

My little man turned 5 months old yesterday. It’s hard to believe. Time flies swiftest when you have a baby. As Kenny sings, “Don’t blink.” This was driven home last night when we decided it was time to introduce him to the wonders of solid food, and he had his first spoonfuls of rice cereal. Once I got the spoon around his hands, that is. Isn’t it amazing that no matter how hard you try, some will always get up their nose? He seemed to enjoy it and wanted more than I had made, so that’s a good sign.

An update on my surgery situation. The surgery is going to cost ME about $70. Insurance covers the rest. Unfortunately that does not include the hospital stay, which will be the most expensive. I’m so thankful to those who have donated, because between that and the little bit I saved so far at least the -surgery- is covered. The good news is that I can put it off a few weeks if I’m careful, so I can save up the $400-$500 it will cost to stay at the hospital. But at least I know if it becomes an emergency, the funds are there and I don’t need to panic.

And the best news – I might have a “real” go-to job by the end of July. It would be online support via chat, something I’ve got plenty of experience in via EverQuest. Hottie works with a guy whose wife works for the company and she asked for my resume. This place is within walking distance of my apartment. Of course I don’t want to leave my spawn with someone else for care, but now that he’s getting bigger and eating food…well I can’t feed him by myself ALL the time. This job would lift such a strain on us, it would be a real blessing. And if I can be allowed daydream a little bit, the first thing we’re doing is getting Hottie out of that rattlecrap car of his and into something small and cheap with good gas milage and A/C. Then I’ll address the $1200 in work I need done on my truck, plus tires.

A Riddle Solved, or, How to Lose Weight by Fear of Pain

Well, it’s been a bit since I had opportunity to update here. I’m still unpacking the new apartment and feeling the press of time as we only have a week to vacate the old apartment completely. There are some random odds and ends still there, mostly books and the like. We were going to work on it this weekend but we had the kids for all three days, and time was, of course, very limited.

We’ve decided to do some nightly moving after Hottie gets home from work. It’s too hot in the daytime for me to worry about packing up the Snugglebug and driving to the new place while I try to pack things and then haul it all back. Summer. Florida. Humidity. Enough said. Of course, since the Snugglebug is sleeping through the night, there is that anxiety I have about leaving him sleeping alone anywhere for any length of time. However, I came upon the bright idea of using our cell phones as a baby monitor. I’d call Hottie’s phone, and we’d leave it next to Snugglebug on the bed, while we used mine on speaker to hear anything.

Since our new apartment and old apartment are in the same complex, it would take us less than 2 or 3 minutes to get from one to the other if he did happen to wake up. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

I’ve lost five pounds. After the horrible experiences of the previous week, including the aftermath of Texas de Brazil and Red Lobster, which I’ll elaborate on in a moment, I’ve been afraid to eat anything more serious than french toast. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Thursday before last (15th) I woke up shortly after I went to bed in the worst pain of my life. This was worse than labor pain, because at least with labor pain I could threaten bodily harm on a nurse if she did not get me some pain killers RIGHT FUCKING NOW! Oh no. This was agony without relief. The pain was centered right below my breastbone, and I truly thought it was only heartburn, or MAYBE an ulcer, and revenge for the ketchup and tomatoes I had eaten earlier. I should be so lucky. For a couple hours I writhed on the floor, crying, with Hottie worriedly hovering over me and asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital. He looked up home remedies for ulcers and went to the store, returning with more Pepto, this time in liquid form, and bananas. But nothing helped. About half an hour after the Pepto, my stomach rebelled. After that, the pain too-slowly receeded to a manageable ache, something I’ve been living with since then.

I called my doctor the next morning and begged to be seen ASAP. She fortunately was able to see me the following day. She thought it was ulcers as well, and handed me a box of Prilosec. However, I was unable to start taking them as nursing while taking that kind of medication is a HUGE no-no. So the Prilosec sits unopened, which actually works out, because I end up not needing it anyway.

She gives me a referral to have an abdominal ultrasound and a barium swallow. I’ve heard things about barium, so I’m a little concerned but I make the appointment. Anything is better than the pain. They also draw my blood to check for the bacteria that causes ulcers. The nurse was amazingly gentle, and despite the huge bruise I had later, the draw went easy for me. Fast forward to the other diagnostics.

I could TELL when the tech was doing my ultrasound that she’d found something. You just know. They keep going over the same spot and measuring things, have you roll around a bit, go back to the same spot and measure some more. Yeah, I was suspecting something. The barium was a lot easier than I expected. They stand you against a large machine, have you drink some fizzy, THEN have you drink the barium. Now, the fizzy is typical carbonate that tastes vagely of orange and isn’t so bad. The barium, though… I could tell they TRIED to make it taste … well, I hesitate to use the word “good” so I’ll settle for “not bad”. They tried to make it taste it not bad. It was thick like a bad smoothie and tasted like… well I can’t remember, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. They watched everything go down, had me turn, took x-rays, had me turn some more. Then they told me to lean my head against the back of the contraption, whereupon they FLIPPED the whole thing backwards so instead of standing, I was laying on my back. They sloshed me around a little more and took more pictures.

The blood tests came back perfectly fine, everything normal on that end. But I KNEW that the technician had found something. Sure enough, the next day, the nurse calls me and says my ultrasound came back positive for gallstones and mild reflux.

Well! The reflux I’m not worried about. I tend to watch what I eat anyway, drink low acid orange juice and whatnot, but I’m glad it wasn’t ulcers. But gallstones? Oy. I called my mom with the news and she says “Oh yeah! Your brother and aunt both had theirs removed.” Oh, so there’s precedent! Well that makes me feel better. My doctor refers me to a surgeon to have things explained to me.

Today I went to see that surgeon. He’s the type of guy who blinks with his whole face, I’m sure you’ve seen that. He explains laparoscopy for me, even though I knew what it was already, and went over the reports with me. Turns out I have a 2cm gallstone sitting at the top of the gallbladder. 2cm, for those not well-versed in metrics, is a little less than an inch… about the size of a quarter. Doesn’t seem TOO big, but when you consider that the gallblader is about the size of a thumb… no WONDER I was in pain.

He then says there’s no rush, relieving one of my biggest worries. Obviously I cannot nurse the Snugglebug if I’m to be doped up and put under for a surgery, then spend an overnight in the hospital for observation. However, if I can wait a few weeks or a couple months, Snugglebug will be on his way to being weaned a bit and eating cereal. Recovery takes about a week on average. I’m hoping that someone other than Hottie will be able to stay here and help me for that period of time.

I’ve never had surgery in my entire life, but I can think of worse things to need removed. Maybe I’ll have surgery for my birthday in August!

I Love Being A Woman, and then some.

This post is going to be mostly complaining about my bodily functions. If you don’t care to read about a stranger’s bathroom habits, then just click here. If you’re willing to put up with it while I vent, then feel free to continue. It’s my blog, and I’ll complain about my poop if I want to.

As I said previously, this weekend was an adventure and a half, with my 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son visiting me for the first time. Both my son and my daughter are very bright, but I can see little quirks of their psyche that I can’t help feel guilty for. Hopefully with the help of my Hottie we’ll be able to give them a firmer foundation and help smooth some of those odd spots a little. We’re starting by letting them pick out their own beds and decorate their side of the room how they want.

Moving on.

We went to Texas de Brazil for Mother’s Day. Briefly, this is a place where you sit at a table and roving servers bring around giant skewers of meat and ask if you want some. It’s all you can eat, and they also have a huge salad bar with lots of things besides salad. The soup of the day was lobster bisque, for example. They also bring you these warm bananas that have sugar and possibly cinnamon on them, to help “clear your palate” between meats. Yeah right. They’re very tasty, I asked for extras of those.

I have, up until this point, been sure I’m more a carnivore than a vegetarian. I love meat, and I love rare meat. I grew up on the tri-tip roadside BBQs of California, and my step-dad used to buy big bags of it to freeze and make roasts and jerky out of. Needless to say, I stuffed myself at the restaurant.

The next day I felt a little queasy, but I chalked it up to nervousness at getting an IUD. What a nightmare that was. I’ve never really liked male gynecologists, for obvious reasons. So while he’s down there doing horrible things to my uterus, I’m writhing in pain and squeezing the nurses hand. Twice the whole thing came out before the IUD stayed. Each time I feel like someone is punching me in the stomach. I find out later I had a good reason to feel this way.

The doctor leaves the room. I can barely get my legs out of the stirrups and onto the table. I roll onto my side and start shaking uncontrollably. I have a hot bowling ball in my uterus. Finally I feel like I can get off the table. As I bend over to put a pad on my underwear, I start getting the feeling of impending doom. I tell the nurse, “I’m going to be sick,” and frantically try to pull my pants on. I grab my shoes and she clears a path to the bathroom for me.

I spend the next several minutes reaquainting myself with dinner. I decide that I need to both chew my food better, and stop eating meat. Finally one of the nurses knocks and asks me if I’m okay. I stagger to the door and tell her yes, I just need a minute or three. Turns out she’s the ultrasound tech who is going to check to make sure the IUD is in the right place. I finish up in the bathroom and shuffle to the room with the ultrasound.

This is a great ultrasound room. If you’ve ever had one, you’ll know that typically the machine is off to your right and you have to break your neck trying to see the screen. This room has a large plasma TV on the opposite wall from the bed, so no neck-breaking is necessary. I see my uterus on the wall, and the shadow of this thing… uh oh. The nurse is frowning. She keeps rechecking the same place!

“Tell me it’s not in the right place.”

“It’s not. I need to get the doctor in here. See this? It’s supposed to be here. It’s actually down here, in the muscle.”

The doctor had impaled the inside of my uterus with the IUD. Fortunately it didn’t go THROUGH, which, as I understand it, is a rare occurance. She fetches the doctor, I tell him to take it out and don’t worry about trying again.

He pulls the thing out, and I immediately start to feel better. Not fantastic, but the hot bowling ball has been reduced to a minor cramp. The doctor wisely writes me a prescription for birth control pills instead, and the nurse fetches me some advil. By now I sense that my snugglebug is getting hungry, and just as I’m about to ask the nurse if I can borrow a room for a while, another nurse brings my Hottie and the Snugglebug to me!

Nursing is a comfort to both of us, and I waste no time. I’m feeling better by the minute, and when we leave 20 minutes later I’m almost feeling human again. An hour later and I feel fine. We head back to the apartment to decompress and let the little man catch a nap, and I try decide where we’re going to dinner. Finally I make a decision I will later come to regret. “Let’s go to Red Lobster.”

Dinner was great. I had crab legs and a potato. Little did I know that the two days of indulging would swiftly come back to haunt me.

Cue this morning. I wake up about 7 with the urgent need to violate the toilet. With no effort at all, I do so. And I continue to do so about every half hour, with little to no warning. Just “GOTTAGONOW!” I’m disgruntled because I had to work today, and it’s hard to type when you have to get up to go to the toilet every 30 minutes. On top of that, someone switched my toilet paper to sandpaper. Fortunately, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste works just as well on bottoms abused with sandpaper every half hour as it does on diaper rash. Dehydrated badly, I send Hottie to the store for Gatorade and Pepto, a sure sign of my desperation because I hate to take any kind of medicine if I can help it. Later I send him back for some cottonelle wipes and chicken noodle soup.

I just finished eating the soup, I’m feeling better, but my butt is still on sandpapery fire. As I keep telling Hottie today, “Never again.”

Sleep is for the sane. Clearly, I’m not one of them.

Last night was a rough night. Not on the part of my son, who slept through the night after he finally passed out after fighting sleep for an hour, but because my insomnia kicked in and I was awake until 5am this morning. Two, perhaps three hours later, I was awoken by the cheerful axe kicking heels of my son on my thigh. At one point I thought he was going to leave bruises. As the DH (that’s dear husband, for those of you not versed in womanly messageboarding shorthand) was getting ready for work, I groggily fumbled through feeding my son and trying to keep him occupied without falling asleep again.

After the DH left, I was able to gather myself enough to put the boy on the changing table, change him, and manage to get myself some breakfast. I was so hungry I thought my stomach was going to eat itself. I should note that right now I am only 20 lbs shy of my pregnancy weight. Although I have happily not gained any, I’m not losing either. I believe I am going to keep track of things here, just so that I can’t use the “out of sight, out of mind” trick on myself.

When dealing with things that you need to change about yourself, the best way to do it, is to do it. Don’t say “On the first I will start…” or “On Monday I will start…” or “On my birthday I will start…” Nike had it right. Just do it. So I will do the same. I will make another post detailing my weight and eating habits. Sure, I could find a diet site and do the same… But then I’d have to pay for it. I’ve heard it only takes 21 days to make a habit. For the sake of my son, and my knees, I’m going to make health a habit.

Speaking of health – Morningstar Farms corn dogs taste EXACTLY THE SAME as real meat corn dogs. They are so tasty it’s hard to believe. Although I am not a vegetarian, I can certainly stand to include more veggies in my life, and this is just one very tasty way. Although, in this case, I will need to wait to change some of my eating habits simply because we can’t afford to do anything else for now. We don’t have a microwave so I have been cooking from scratch a lot more, which I love, but my pantry and fridge are not as well-stocked as I’d like. Such is life, and thank God for Top Ramen.

Back, foul tangent!

After I had breakfast, I laid down with my son again and we slept until the DH got home from his first job (the part time one), right around 2 pm. At that time I was able to say “Here, distract the boy!” while I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher and did a couple loads of laundry. A quick trip to the grocery store later, and now both the DH and the DS are sleeping. I’ll need to make the DH some dinner in a couple of hours when he wakes up to go to his second job (the full-time one), but I’m not feeling very adventurous tonight so I’m making spaghetti, using whole-wheat noodles.

For right now, I have some free time on my hands. This could be spent in many ways. I could play a game on the computer, read a book, doodle, write, scrapbook, pack, or exercise. I could attempt to take a nap, but unfortunately I’m one of those people who need lots of darkness and white noise to fall asleep, both of which are hard to get at 6pm with an already occupied bed. I tried one of those sleep masks, but it was more annoying than helpful. I think what I’m going to do is assemble three boxes, my goal for packing today, and do some crunches. Then I will doodle, and then I will play a game.