Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tangents

I'm in a really good place right now. I mean that literally. I am tucked happily into my extraordinarily soft bed leaning on an overstuffed European pillow with my beloved new netbook on my lap piping Adele through my earbuds. My son is contentedly sleeping in his room and my husband is snoring softly beside me. There is a light rain pouring outside, a true rarity here in the desert. All is right with the world in this moment.

I have started writing towards a book. I wouldn't go as far as to say that I am writing a book. Really I am jotting down a paragraph here and there as I get a second in my ridiculously busy life. At this rate, I should have put something together by the time my son graduates college. He's six now, so that is a pretty realistic goal. Everyone around me, the non-writers, are expecting me to shoot something out in the next couple months and be on the press circuit by this time next year. I love how they all think I will write the great American novel simply because I tell a good story here and there. Writing is wicked hard!

I am terrible when it comes to details. I get bored with them. I think I get bored when I'm reading them, I do not think in minor details, and I certainly don't write them well. Colors, sounds, smells...when I start to write about them I feel like everything I say has been said. It's all too cliche. And while I'm on the cliche matter, why can't I find the stinking accent on my keyboard? It shouldn't be this difficult to correctly accent foreign words. These are the details that I get caught up on. See? Tangents.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hello...my name is Erin

I'm back baby! I could very well be returning triumphantly to an empty room, since I have neglected my blog terribly. Nonetheless, I survived a long, ill summer. My husband just purchased me a gorgeous little ASUS 1000HE netbook so I can start my writing up again. It's been too long.

So, let me tell you a little about my summer. It was hell. I spent the entire summer sick with a myriad of different issues, in and out of doctors' offices getting no answers, being scheduled for more tests with no results. We had two vacations planned. One was with the family and we headed to Nashville to see my brother and his family. It had been planned for some time so I was loathe to cancel. By the time we left it had pretty much been determined (by WebMD and MayoClinic.com) that I was suffering from lupus. After doing some research I learned that I needed to get as much rest as possible. I was running a constant fever of 99.0-100.2. When my normal temp is 97.4 that leaves me feeling flu-like and miserable. Nonetheless, we hit the road for Nashville. My parents were flying in on the weekend for my niece's first birthday party and it was the first time in years that our whole family (all four of the originals) were together. I couldn't cancel. It was a big deal. So I went. And I napped through it entirely. Every time someone wanted to do something, I had to lay down. I was a party pooper and it made me feel miserable. By the time we drove the sixteen hours home I was more worn out and sick and had a terrible time trying to work.

Next, my mother and I had planned on going to Ohio together for her 40th high school reunion. It was big and if I didn't go, she wasn't going to. She hadn't been back but once since she was 17 and she didn't want to do it alone. So, even though I was still weak and feverish, I boarded the plane and headed out. The trip was wonderful. I love Ohio. It's truly a snapshot of American perfection. I napped a lot because I was with my Mommy and she takes good care of me without the guilt. Still, I managed to contract the flu and by the time I was supposed to head back to work I was out for another week.

No one at work was happy with me. I went in with what was probably the swine flu just to process payroll, but that was all I could do. When I went back in the following Monday I was summoned to my boss' office where he reprimanded me for travelling when I was ill and cut my hours in half. It was a huge blow to the family budget, as I am the primary earner. Patrick and I started fighting again. The stress was so high. We were missing car payments. We couldn't buy groceries. Things were tight and scary and Patrick acted as though he blamed me because of my "mystery illness".

And that, my friends, is how I spent my summer. It felt like I was fighting for my life, definitely my livelihood, against an invisible foe. Straight through September I struggled. (You like how I am talking about September as past...cause in 2-1/2 hours that crap is behind me). I am beginning to see some promise. I found a way to treat what is ailing me (unfortunately it is with tons of rest and a lot of fever reducer). I'm changing my diet and trying to reduce my stress levels. I have increased my work hours back to a liveable (paywise) 32 hours a week. I'm going to make it and I am back to writing.

So, to the great void out there (and if I'm lucky, maybe even Mae), I'm back!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sick In The Head?

I'm sick. But not the kind of sick I have been whining about. It's the kind when you stick your foot in your mouth and your stomach goes into your throat and your face turns red and you feel like a complete TOOL.

Today I was reading Twitter and one of my favorite people mentioned that she loved French. Hey, I love French too. It was my minor for crying out loud. My home is filled with the Eiffel Tower and I speak the language casually throughout my day at times. It has been a part of me since I fell in love with the language at sixteen.

But I was tired and cranky and I shot back a quick remark, in French, that I loved French but detested THE French. You see, my actual experience with Parisians was quite negative. After further studying the country's sociological tendencies, I decided that I could live without it altogether. But that is such an ignorant statement and state of mind. That is like anyone saying that Americans are fat and lazy and they have no need for us at all. It's just not true in all cases. To make it worse...she is part French. Funnily enough, so am I. My father's mother was French and my mother's father was Cajun French.

But wait, worse still...read this. Numero Uno of things that tick her off? Yeah, that would be me.

I just want to say Mae, I am terribly sorry. It was ignorant of me...and I usually am not ignorant. Looking back at the comment, regardless of whether you were French or not, it is a classless generalization that I am ashamed to have put into words. When I think of uttering the same about ANY OTHER COUNTRY it seems unfathomable! Can you imagine?

"I love Iran, but hate Iranians".
"I love China, but hate the Chinese".

Who says that???? It is unacceptable and I am eternally sorry. It's not who I am and it's not how I think, but I cannot account for how the thought came to be in my mind. I feel as worthless as the boyfriend who hits his girlfriend then says he didn't mean it. I said it. I can't undo that, but please know that I have thought a LOT about the subject since tapping it out on my iPhone and it is NOT my heart. I have always thought that I loved all people until they individually gave me reason not to. I would like to think that from this day forward I will pay closer attention to never fall into the thoughtless complacency that allows racism, sexism and other forms of intolerance to exist in our society.

I. AM. SO. SORRY.

My Anniversary Gift to Us

Here is the email I just sent my husband to prepare him for our anniversary weekend that I booked tonight. Tell me what you all think...
___________________________________________________
I have taken the liberty of making plans for our anniversary weekend coming up. I'm not sure how you feel about surprises but I can't imagine this is a bad one. Allow me to paint a picture with words (and add some in case that's ineffective)...

We will leave after work on Friday, the 9th. We can pack the night before and you can scoop from work at 3pm and head out. After a long drive where I may or may not (who am I kidding, I will) talk your ear off we arrive at our room at the hotel, a Lone Star King room with the atrium view. We can grab a bite at the Riverwalk Cafe and then relax for the evening on our terrace overlooking the atrium.
The next day we sleep in, then wander around the property. There is shopping, an outdoor pool with bar and grille, a walking trail and many other resort amenities. We can get massages or just enjoy the lake. The Texas vs. Colorado game is that day and we will be enjoying it from Texan Station Sports Bar & Grill, where there are 50 flatscreens throughout and a 30' x 52' (yes, that is feet...it is called the Wall of Sports) bigscreen.

For dinner we can dress up and head to Old Hickory Steakhouse. It offers a seductive selection of artisanal cheeses and tempting tableside desserts. We'll be sure to make time and visit the warm, rich atmosphere of their Texas vineyard-inspired wine cellar, where we'll find an extensive list of wines to choose from. And of course, you will like their 1855 Premium Black Angus Beef. After a romantic dinner we can plan for a night out at the Glass Cactus, which overlooks Lake Grapevine. There is no cover for us as we are on our Unforgettable Anniversary Weekend package. Aside from the 39,000 square feet of indoor floor space and four bars, the $16 million venue also offers 13,000 square feet of outdoor deck space on two floors overlooking Lake Grapevine. What we do when we get back to our room on our king size, custom-made mattress is entirely up to you. With the plush, luxurious bedding it will be tempting to simply fall asleep.

The next morning, after sleeping in for the second consecutive day - an entirely unheard of occurrence for parents of a six year-old - we can extend our checkout to 1 o'clock and head back to the deck of the Glass Cactus for the Grillin' and Chillin' Lakeside Sunday Brunch. With breathtaking lake views and an extensive menu featuring all-you-can-eat shrimp, breakfast items, an omelet station, chilled salads, carved meats, fish tacos, items on the grill, and dessert selections, it will be the perfect ending to our romantic weekend.

Finally, we'll hit the road and head back, blissfully happy and completely relaxed. I can't wait to share this experience with you and I hope you will look as forward to it as I am. I think that this anniversary is really one to cherish. The fact that we made it seven years coupled with the fact that we are more in love and compatible now than ever is worth celebrating.

Happy Anniversary Patrick

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tales From The Crypt

I am trying to commit to getting back to normal starting today. First things first, take all my medicine. I started cutting back on my Zoloft and Wellbutrin because now I know that it is causing my stomach issues. Granted, I do need to go see my doctor and get an actual plan for doing so but that's such a pain. I figure if I've been on the stuff for 12 years I should know better than anyone how to taper down. But yesterday I was a pissy mess and slept all day so I realized that I better just take all of my medication as directed until directed otherwise. In the footsteps of my grandmother, I now have a Monday-Sunday pill box to carry in my purse. I am a sexy 31 year-old lady.

I've also gained three pounds since this mess began. I haven't run in ages and I intend to get back to it starting tonight. I downloaded some songs to my iPhone and I am shamed to admit that one of my favorites is Disney's own Demi Lovato's new single "Here We Go Again". I am a total adult Disney whore. I even recorded Another Cinderella Story this weekend and am really excited about watching it. I'm digressing in age mentally and progressing physically at a rapid rate. Funny how life does that to you.

Now that I'm all caught up at work and things are starting to get back to normal I am hoping to pick up the blogging again. I need something to keep me focused. Ah, speaking of hobbies, I picked up a "Learn To Knit" kit at Wal-Mart last night. For some strange reason Cade has stated a desire to learn to knit. Patrick told him that it was for girls and I responded strongly that my little boy can try anything he likes and make his own mind up as to whether or not it is suitable for him. In a show of solidarity with my possibly gay son I went straight to the store to get the materials. I got burnt orange and white yarn so whatever we knit will be masculine and sporty to ease Patrick into it. Who wouldn't love a Longhorn sweater? But of course, more than likely Cade will realize that one has to sit still to knit and give it up in about four minutes. I, on the other hand, would like to try to knit something. You know, a baby cap or puppy scarf. We're about to take a 14 hour road-trip to Nashville next week and I have to pass the time somehow. Since my body is acting like that of a 96 year-old I figure I ought to try to join it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Good News!!

I'm aliiiiiiive! I finally got my answers yesterday and I am so grateful and happy to say that nothing is mortally wrong with me. I am quite jacked, but not mortally so.

The final tally is:

1 - Vascular liver tumor (benign) - we just keep an eye on it and check it every six months to make sure it isn't growing.

2 - Hiatal hernia (small - 2cm) - It kicks stuff up from my stomach into my esophagus which causes heartburn and nausea. If it doesn't grow then I will not need surgery. Hopefully it will self-heal.

3 - Gasteoparesis - my stomach is literally weak. The muscles are too weak to push the food out of my stomach and empty it. The food then stays in there and ferments (mmmmm) then bacteria starts to grow and I get really sick, like with food poisoning. This is caused by my ridiculously high dosages of antidepressants over a prolonged time. They broke my stomach. :)

The treatment consists of "playing with my medication" which is so much easier said than done. It seems that all antidepressants have pretty bad side effects that will affect me one way or another. So, between withdrawals from changing and new symptoms from new medication...it will NOT be fun. They are also giving me medication that will force my stomach to empty. Sounds fun, eh? Through strong stomach cramps it will push out what is remaining. It's going to be a lively weekend!

Last thing, I have to brag...kind of. When I did my endoscopy yesterday I elected to do it without sedation or pain meds. Crazy! It's not that I am brave, I am just more chicken of how I react to pain meds (horrible puking and illness) than I was of a big camera getting forced down my throat. Sooooo, they laid me on my side and I closed my eyes. They put in a bite guard then shoved the camera down my throat and into my stomach. And then I spent the next two minutes puking violently (just bile gratefully) because, in case you aren't aware, your body does not want things forced down your gullet. It was horrible. Really horrible. Everyone at the facility was in awe that I did it, and I felt really proud. However, the misery through the remainder of the day made me realize that the lesser of evils is most likely the Demerol. Next time, they will knock me OUT.

And so...there ends (for at least six months) the Erin Health Scare '09. Thanks for all of the prayers and thoughts and well-wishes. You guys are awesome!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Shocker

Hello strangers! It's been so long and I've missed you all terribly. I am so out of touch with the blogosphere due to work. But I just got some big news yesterday that I wanted to share with you all, since you've been along my ride with me for a while now.

I was diagnosed yesterday with a vascular tumor in my liver. Two and a half weeks ago I became severely nauseated and it lasted all day and awakened me at night. It didn't go away. At first I thought it may be a pregnancy (thank God that I could have the suspicion for once). After a test came out negative I made an appointment with my GP. She first assumed that it was my gallbladder and sent me for the sonogram. It came back with a "strange mass" on my liver. Then they sent me for a CT scan with contrast and I got the results back yesterday.

Now everything I know about a vascular liver tumor I learned from Google. They made an appointment for me with a liver specialist on Tuesday and I will learn more then. From what I have researched so far there are three types. The first, benign tumor, is almost always asymptomatic and is only found through other tests. The second, a malignant tumor, is treatable with chemo or, if it is confined to one lobe of the liver, surgical extraction. With this tumor, it is confined to the liver and has not affected any other organs. The final one, which I will not accept, is metastatic tumor. This is one that is fast-growing, spreads to other organs and causes discomfort. The prognosis for this tumor is 2-4 months.

I'm not sure what I think here. I am scared. I'm scared because my stomach is completely jacked and it shouldn't be. I am always nauseated, extremely gaseous, and have indigestion and constipation. None of those symptoms should relate to my liver. When I move too much I get short of breath. Upon reading about the third tumor I see that it spreads quickly because the liver filters blood and it spreads through the blood into the lungs, gallbladder, intestines, etc. That is when the symptoms show up and by then it is too late. Of course I am praying that there is another explanation.

It's early yet. Patrick says it's too soon to worry before we really know what we have to worry about. This comes from the man whose mother died 5 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer out of the blue. And the same man never spoke in any depth or addressed his mother's illness at all, so I am afraid I can't really lean on him for support. My parents and brother and sister-in-law are scared and constantly gauging my mood so I am trying to be upbeat about it for them. In all honesty though, I am terrified. I am terrified that my beautiful son, who relies so completely on me, will never get a chance to know me. I know that, if I were to pass, I would watch every moment of his life from wherever. But he won't have that luxury.

Anyhow, I just wanted to jot some thoughts down. It's all rather surprising and there are still a lot of unknowns. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to deal. Today I am at work, even though I am in a lot of pain (my stomach is filled with shooting pains and cramps). What else would I do? After I found out yesterday Patrick left to go take practice pictures of a baseball game and left me alone with my thoughts all night. By the end of the evening I was in tears just watching Cade play and be young and carefree. I know that I need to get out and keep my mind on other things. So, outside of writing this, I am trying to do so.

And on that note, I am going to go study some financials! What is more enthralling than that? I will keep you all updated. It's good to be back!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Our Bigfoot...Or You Know, Sex.

Yes, it's that mystical idea that is constantly spoken of in just about every cultural medium, yet only fleetingly appears in my marriage.  Like the yetti, Loch Ness and Bigfoot, there is much debate as to whether it really exists.  I vaguely remember something about it from a past life, but now...alive and in MY bedroom...iiiiiiittttt's SSSSEEEEXXX!!

Yup, I had sex with my husband last week.  Yes, just once last week and not since then, but that was the first time in well over a year with more than a year and a half before that.  And you gals would be so proud of me!  I am the one that hunted down the practice and forced it upon my unsuspecting captive.

See, Savannah has been getting on to me lately about not sleeping with my husband.  Things are going so well with Patrick and me and there is so much goodwill that it seemed silly not to...I just didn't wanna.  But she told me to suck it up and get it done because he would have a hard time staying away from the bad stuff if he got no relief.  However, as a parent it is really hard to find time for sex.  After Cade's bedtime I am so tired that there is no way, and so is Patrick.  Sooooo, I waited until he came home for his dinner break from work and I jumped him while Cade was watching cartoons in the living room.

I lured Patrick into the bedroom, pushed him on the bed and undressed him.  You know how it usually goes from there, I'm sure.

Annnnndddd...it was nice.  Nice, right?  Not the right word for sex.  But that's what it was.  It felt good, but again...no connection between us.  We enjoyed the activity (although we were interrupted by Cade banging on the door demanding to be let in while I yelled to him that we were planning a surprise for him).  Patrick wasn't able to finish which puts an asterisk next to the performance for me.  I don't count it as successful.  Granted, he only had a brief time at home, had to go back to work, worried about Cade, not to mention it just being odd that we were naked together.  All of those things make it understandable that it was hard (well...difficult anyway) to get things done.

The final outcome of our adventure was a decision to do it more often.  Also, I'm out $40 because I had to make up a surprise for Cade and the only thing I could think of quickly was a DS game. Part of me now wants to sit back and wait for him to instigate because it always hurts a little (no matter how many times I tell myself it is not my fault that he doesn't finish).  But those games only hurt us in the past and got us to where we are today.  All of this mystery and bitterness surrounding sex in our marriage has been impossible to overcome.  Since we are starting with a clean slate, I think that I will just be 100% honest with him.  I'm going to instigate again this weekend and see how it goes.  I will wait for a more appropriate time so that there will be no interruptions.  If he is still not completely satisfied, we will then have a discussion about what may be the causes.  Or I could just slip one of my Viagra into his Dr. Pepper and see what I get!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not Quite

I may have spoken too soon.  Just when I thought things were evening out at the office and I would have a little more time on my hands again the rug was pulled out from under our company and in a matter of two days we went from on top of the world to layoffs.  It sucks.  I hate to see people go when you know their financial and personal situations and nobody can really afford to be without work in this economy.  

Here in West Texas we have been lucky in that the recession only recently really started hitting us on all levels.  As gas went down (yea you all, boo for us) the oil & gas companies started layoffs but the rest of the market remained steady.  Gas is now going back up (yea for us, boo for you all) and we are starting to ease out of the panic that hit.  We are by no means safe or functioning regularly.  I am in the construction industry and we were working in public construction (i.e. county, state, city).  Just yesterday our bonding was pulled which means we can no longer accept those jobs.  We were just awarded a small job ($525k) that we will now have to pull out of and pay them $30k for their troubles, and all other jobs we were going for (which were flush due to the stimulus bill) are now kaput.  That immediately changed the trajectory of our company.
So, since I am accounting I am pouring over the numbers, budget, etc. looking for ways to cut costs and get us back on top.  Good times as you can all imagine.
I am so sorry that I'm not able to really blog like I would like, but thank you guys for checking back in.  I imagine I will get down to the real business of updating you on my life sometime this week.  Not even mildly intriguing is it? 

Monday, June 1, 2009

There Is Hope

Things are calming down at work and we all seemed to realize that we simply cannot be productive a full eight hours out of the work day.  I think that I will begin to go out on a ledge and maybe blog a little during my day.  I have missed the blogosphere!  I have missed reading up on everyone's blogs!  I do have a computer at home (though the laptop is now kaput), but by the end of the day, after getting everyone fed (because yeah, I'm cooking) and getting Cade to bed, and making lunches for the next day, and getting all the clothes ironed and laid out, I am knocked out.  The last thing I want to do is sit in front of the computer.  I have been falling into bed exhausted.

But, just a tease...I had sex!  And it was good.  And I'm gonna do it again.  And I'll tell you all more about it from work tomorrow. : ) I will just say that I am rejuvenated and feel like I am producing on a higher level than I have for years in my life.  I am genuinely happy and genuinely in love with my husband.

Now, forgive me for not editing this post.  If there are a multitude of grammatical errors blame it on severe fatigue and try to forgive me.  I will not make a habit of it.  

I've missed you all!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reprimanded

We have been chastised at work and told that there is a new company policy against personal use of the internet, texting while at work, and personal phone calls outside of break time. This is hilarious for a few reasons.

First, our company employs a total of 13 people. Our "HR Manager" sent us all an email, then typed up a letter and delivered it to us all in a sealed, addressed envelope. You see, he wasn't an HR guy originally, he was a friend of the owner who needed a job years ago when the company consisted of three people. His skills have not evolved, but they couldn't very well let him go, so he was deemed HR/Safety Manager. He takes his job very seriously. We lovingly refer to him as the "hall monitor".
Secondly, the average age of our company is 33, with the owner being 27. We are a young group. We are all driven, team players who get our work done, plus some. But somehow it was decided that there was excess of shenanigans on the computer and we were shut down.

Finally, apparently it really was excessive. Now that we are unable to get online for personal reasons we are all bored senseless with every last task completed. Now, I run all things financial for the company. I'm the mini-Controller/CFO. I have a LOT to do. In fact, our boss just started another company and handed that one over to me as well. And yet, I could do it all in a 25-30 hour workweek if I focused (which I don't generally do). Now I am so stinking efficient that I am going to work myself into a time decrease, and thus a pay cut. And Savannah, she is ready to poke her eyes out. She handles a LOT as well, project management and contract procurement, etc. Still, it is done and she is now stuck reading Eclipse under her desk to pass the time. All while trying to evade "HR". It sucks.

Anyhow, that boring diatribe about work politics is all to say that I am stuck posting only at night and on weekends, the same block of time that I try to spend quality time with my husband and son. Where is the humanity in that? How can an employer take away my time from my family to handle personal stuff that could easily be handled on his dime? I know, as the accountant I should be on his side...normally I will break down cost-efficiency to the penny, when it doesn't result in horrific boredom and lack of exploration of current events on my part. And by current events, I mean Evil Beet Gossip, of course.

Look Ma! An Award!

Wendy in LaLaLand has honored me with an award and I am thrilled. It's like when I was nominated for prom court in my high school class of over 700. It's a great honor to be recognized out of so many great bloggers and peers. Thank you Wendy!

Some of my faves were already dubbed by Wendy in her nomination (DSS) so I won't be redundant. But you'll have to check out those that Wendy listed. All great reads!


And now, the Queenly Duties are as follows:


1. List 7 things that make me awe-summm.

2. Pass the award onto 7 bloggers that I love.

3. Tag those bloggers to let them know they are now Queens too (and link back to the Queen who tagged you).


Seven Awe-Summm Things About Me (a trial for someone whose blog contains "inadequate" in the title...

1. I am starting over after seven years in a bad marriage, and despite every reason to...I didn't give up on it. And now, I am in a great marriage!

2. I gave birth to a human being. Yeah! I know! It's incredible.

3. I am learning how to shop sales after a lifetime as a snobby shopaholic. That's right, I can now admit to shopping at Kohl's.

4. I am training to run a half-marathon in October. And I'm asthmatic...so that makes me awe-summm and stupid!

5. I often think in foreign languages. When I lay awake at night and my mind is racing, I like to translate my thoughts to French or Spanish.

6. I can say the alphabet backwards in under 5 seconds. (Something I learned to do while laying sleeplessly in bed).

7. I have gone down two sizes since January...and I am still shrinking!


And now, for the nominees for Queen of All Things Awe-Summm...










Check them out. They each have a lot to offer and are really entertaining.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Metamorphosis

We're nearing summer and just like a caterpillar, wrapped up all winter, I am getting the urge to burst forth from my cocoon of cellulite and emerge beautiful for warm weather.  This isn't as simple as just pulling out last year's summer clothes and getting on with it.  Since I am just awakening from a 4-year depressive spell, which was accompanied by the requisite weight gain, I am currently downsizing from that old body.  

On Saturday I went out to get a couple things for the warmer weather and was excited to see that I am now 2 sizes smaller than I was back in January!  That's great encouragement to keep going in my journey to better myself health wise.  I'm still a lot bigger than I would like to be, but I have lost enough weight that people actually notice.

For the last four years I have been trying to cover myself up.  I may have mentioned it before, but I was hiding behind weight, mediocre hair and baggy clothes.  I didn't want to be seen by anyone because I was afraid that if someone showed interest I would do something stupid.  I came so close all those years ago and it scared the crap out of me.  

Now, I feel like I have awakened to a new life.  I love my husband.  I am in love with my husband.  I have no desire to have anyone else fill the sexual or physical void in my life.  I think a lot of the reason I am not interested in sex right now is because I feel disgusted by myself.  I need to be sexified.

My plan consists of the following:
- Highlights: my husband has been asking me to put blond in my hair for ages and I was always too pissed at the thought that he wouldn't accept me for the brunette he married to lighten my hair.  The fact is, I like blond highlights (little strands) and I am looking forward to lightening       things up for the summer.
- Pigmentation: I am pale.  I have that lovely Irish skin that is translucent.  You can see my capillaries at all times and I have that lovely reddish tint.  I use a sunless tanner, but the plan is to be outside more now, between running, biking and taking Cade to the park, that way I get a nice color that is flattering.  I am really tempted to go to a tanning bed because I like the all-over tan, but I'll put that off for now.
- Mani/Pedi: Since I am now a recessionista, I will probably have to do these two myself.  That sucks, but I'll suck up the suckiness and make it look nice.
- Continue losing weight: I still have about 30 lbs to lose to be at my ideal weight.  Mind you, I am a recovering anorexic/bulimic so my ideal is not necessarily where I should end up.  I'm 5'7" and muscular, so 140lbs is about a size 4-6...and that is where I want to be.  That is where I was when I was modeling a few years ago, and that's when my husband was really attracted to me. That's also where I can walk around with my head up.  I have seen a lot of my shoes and the cracks in the pavement lately.  It's time I face the world with who I am.  

I think in the interest of full disclosure, so you can all see what will hopefully be my transformation over time, I will do before, during, and final pictures.  I have been terrified of cameras for a long time, but I'm going to cave and do it.  I would like to get everyone's opinions on what I could do to further blossom.  I'll get my photographer husband to take some pics (he doesn't like to because I complain about every picture...again, I'll suck it up) and get back to you with those.

Do you think I could get some help from you all?  I would be eternally grateful!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In Another's Words

Well, as with the last few posts, looks like I will take the steps of our fair President and backtrack a bit.  I have been reading up on and watching a lot of the hearings on the crash of 3407 and I am willing to back away a little from supporting the pilots in this case.  It looks like there were a lot of poor choices going into this trip as well as lax industry standards that combined to cause this crash.

I ran across this editorial from a pilot on the internet and thought this person really captured the frustrations of the airline community when hearing the berating of the pilots and airlines during this investigation.  I noticed that no one commented on the last post, and I know this is a touchy subject.  It just happens to be the subject that I am concentrated on right now.  I hope you all bear with me.

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"I'm a pilot for another regional carrier (not Colgan, or any company owned by Pinnacle Holdings...the company that owns Colgan). So many people don't understand the life of a regional airline pilot, I almost feel obligated to give some insight here.

To become an airline pilot it's almost impossible to gain all the licenses and experience necessary to get hired without racking up at least $50,000+ in student loans for training, including all your books, equipment, other materials, fuel, instructor fees, renter's insurance, etc. You could easily get a bachelors and masters degree at most state schools for less. 

My first year in the regional airlines I made $28,000 before taxes, and that's at the top end of the scale. And I spent about $2000 of that (7% of my paycheck, about 10% after taxes) on uniforms, luggage, and other equipment just to be able to do my job. I got lucky in that when I got hired we were in the middle of a hiring boom, and I never had to sit on reserve duty (where you only make a minimum monthly guarantee pay most of the time). Had I not been hired when I was, I would have probably made $20,000 per year or less. Most of the captains I'm flying with now made less than $15,000 their first year in the industry.

The passengers obviously provide our paychecks, just like customers in any other industry. But, the flying public wants their $69 one way tickets. In my opinion, flying should never be less than at least two or three times the cost of driving the same distance. Let's say I flew you 1000 miles (a pretty common distance, even for a regional carrier). If you drove it, at $2.20 per gallon and 25 MPG in an average car/suv, it would cost you about $90 in gas, $100 for a hotel (because the average person doesn't drive 1000 miles in one day). The trip would take you about 17 hours by car averaging 60 MPH. Double all those figures for the return trip, and you would have paid close to $400 not including food or other incidentals, and taken four days of your time. But, the flying public demands that we provide travel for that same distance for about $300 or less for a round trip. And, we can get you there in about two hours (as opposed to two days...one way). You can avoid the mileage and wear and tear on your car, fly your 1000 miles, for 25% less money, and 90% faster time. Then you could do your business, turn around and come back in time for dinner. Yet, the public goes into uproar if ticket prices go up. 

So, "thank you", Mr. and Mrs. U.S. flying public, for demanding the lowest airfare in the world, and for my minimum wage paycheck. I would buy you a beer for your caring and compassion, but you can't buy that with food stamps. Oh, and while I have your entire family's life in my hands, flying through thunderstorms, ice, rain, and snow in some of the most congested and complicated airspace in the country on less than three hours of sleep, please feel free to keep sending up your complains about how hot or cold it is, the seats are uncomfortable, my bag won't fit in the overhead, why is the seat belt sign still on, there isn't enough leg room, it's too bumpy, this is taking too long, blah blah blah.

It takes a special kind of person to work in this industry. These days being a pilot is viewed by the public as being not much more than a glorified bus driver. So, until ticket prices go up, wages increase, work/rest rules are improved, and the industry regains some of its exclusivity, it will never attract the caliber of individual the public expects to see at the controls. Until that happens, the flying public has made the airline industry about the almighty dollar rather than actually serving the customer. The same is true in crew training. I can can tell you from experience that safety is always our number one concern, but not far behind in the list of priorities is completing the flight on time. We fly with substandard and/or broken equipment on a daily basis because you, as the flying public, want your free meals, hotel stays, and free travel vouchers if the flight is delayed or cancelled. The maintenance guys could delay a flight by 45 minutes to change a tire, because it's so worn that one more landing would make the thing explode. And, all we get from the passengers are arms thrown up in frustration and comments about how "ridiculous" this is. Yet, you still want to pay peanuts for your ticket.

So, yes pilot training in some places might be considered substandard compared to the ideal level of proficiency the public demands. The airline industry likes to boast about how well pilots are trained and how safe it is. What they really mean is that the pilots are trained well and safety is held at the highest standard given the available financial resources and associated costs. You can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want airfares cheaper than dirt, that lack of cash flow trickles up to all levels of the individual company, including training for pilots and maintenance personnel, as well as making the industry as a whole unattractive to the most qualified and capable people.

The pilots of Colgan 3407 might have made some bad decisions, and it cost many people their lives. I prayed for their families and hope it never happens again. But, those pilots' level of training and arguably lack of experience is a direct result of the demands of the flying public. While I go to work every day, trying to make the best decisions possible and keep my passengers as safe and comfortable as I can, I know Colgan 3407 will not be the last or the worst accident we'll have, maybe even just this year. And, what I cannot tolerate is the public's constant complaining, insistence on perfect performance and better safety, while also demanding cheaper fares. Do you go to a BMW dealership and demand quality parts, power, and German engineering for the price of a Kia? Probably not. So, which one do you want? Quality or economy?"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Colgan 3407

I was listening to the news on iTunes at work today when the followup story on the Feb. 12th crash of Continental Connections played.  The cause that they are investigating is one I fought so hard against back in February.  Pilot error.

Here is the article in the Wall Street Journal.

That crash hit very close to home.  Continental is my old company. The old guy of whom I no longer speak flew for Continental Express. I still have many friends and connections that fly Continental Express for one regional carrier or another and are based out of Newark.  It's a really small family, all in all.  

I've had so many dreams over the years of working a flight as it crashed.  Nightmares, usually. In the same way that I would dream over and over again that I was on the 1ooth floor of the World Trade Center and had to jump, I feel the emotions so clearly.  Even all these years out of the industry, I still have these dreams regularly.  And so, having flown so many times, I can so clearly imagine how those flight attendants felt on their jumpseats; trying to look calm for the passengers that were looking to them for some comprehension of the situation. But they knew what was happening.  They knew how close they were on their descent and they knew when the plane started to buck and roll wildly that they were going to die.  It breaks my heart to think of what everyone on that flight went through.

At the time of the crash, it looked like icing was the leading factor.  From the looks of how the captain handled the situation, he may have thought it was tail icing, which makes sense based on the reported conditions in the area.  The big trick from God on aerodynamics is that with wing icing you do what the plane is designed for, push the stick forward and increase thrust (step on the gas).  With tail icing, you pull back on the stick to decrease speed.  But it is really hard to know which condition you are presented with.  Every model handles differently, each plane indicates stalls differently.  

But now, the death of all of those people are being blamed on this one man.  That makes me so sad for his family.  For those fliers reading this, you're probably thinking, "hell yeah, we blame him!  It was his responsibility to fly the plane!".   I think we all take for granted what that entails. We get on a plane and expect that it's routine for these people.  And it gets that way.  Flight crews get so used to day in/day out regular conditions that we can be complacent when something finally happens.  The idea is to train us so systematically that the procedures are emblazoned in our minds so that it is completely natural to follow those procedures.  I'm speaking from experience in the cabin.  When I had a passenger down with a heart attack I did, robotically even, what I had been trained to do.  

However, I have also been in the cockpit.  I have flown a plane.  I honestly couldn't handle the pressure of the fact that my mistake, in an instant, could cause my or anyone's death.  There is SO MUCH going on in that cockpit.  There are SO MANY things to consider when making any split-second decision.  Hearing Capt. Sully retell the story of the Hudson River landing gives you an indication of that.  His calm, calculated handling saved hundreds.  But he had been flying for more than 20 years.

The fact is, this pilot wasn't trained extensively enough.  You can bet that there will be new FAA requirements due to this accident.  But we have to remember, the people flying those regional jets are there for a reason...you have to start somewhere.  They are usually just building flight hours so that they can get to the majors.  The hours they acquired (which are pretty minimal) in order to get hired on were likely as flight instructors on completely different equipment than what they are now flying.  Flying for the regionals is like continued training.  Perhaps this is a new concept to the press, but it is understood in the industry.  If you took pilots with little experience out of the cockpits of regional carriers, there would be no one left to fly.  When they get the hours that the public would expect from them to qualify as experienced, they jump ship and go to the bigger airlines because that is the whole point.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great pilots out there in the regionals.  There are those that handle pressure better than others.  Perhaps this captain wasn't one of them.  I just hate to see the press pick apart things like "idle chatter" below 10,000 ft. and how that is not allowed by the FAA.  They point to the fact that the co-pilot was congested as if that would in any way contribute to the situation. When you are congested and fly your ears don't pressurize normally and it can cause severe pain and bursting eardrums...but she never said a word about pain once she was inflight, so why even bring that up?  She did nothing wrong, yet they are trying to cast doubt on her ability to fly that day.

Yes, I know I am rambling.  No, I don't guess I really have a point.  I guess, with the airline industry being so close, it feels like they are picking on family.  Family that is no longer here to defend themselves.  I guess the greatest loss is that no one in that plane stood a chance.  That finality absolutely breaks my heart. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Takebacks

Wow.  After I posted that whiny, bitchy blog post last night I totally beat myself up.  What a spoiled brat I was being!  It's not Wife's Day, it's Mother's Day.  My son wrote me a card, which was cute because he spelled it Happy Muder's Day.  Ahhhhh...  I spent quality time with my child, the whole reason the day is celebrated.

And what did I do for my mother, you may ask?  Very little!  Because funds are tight I simply got her a good bottle of wine and a card.  We all went and hung out with them, but I didn't really do it up the way we used to.  It wasn't a day all about me.  It was about her too.

And to add to my guilt, it really hit me that perhaps my husband is having a hard time with the day anyway.  You guys will probably want to kick me in the shin for being such a selfish idiot when I mention this part.  Four years ago this month my husband's mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal cancer.  Five weeks after her diagnosis she had died.  He was very close to her and yet, to this day, we still do not mention her in our house.  It is something he just is not able to touch.  So, I would assume that on Mother's Day, he has his own issues to deal with.  Yet there I was laying on the guilt trip.  Bitch.

The only thing I have to be grateful about is that I can look at myself and see these flaws.  I'm thankful that I am not one of those people who act this way throughout life and wonders why those around them are miserable.  I have a lot of making up to do with Patrick 2.0.  This new version of my husband deserves a lot more respect than what I was used to showing the old version and I have to remember that.

And Libe, you are absolutely right.  You shouldn't force anyone to celebrate a holiday with you. Of course the ideal is that it is not forcing, it is something that they want to do.  All things considered surrounding this day, I am going to make a point to celebrate my mother from now on and let the rest be.  

I really hate it when my flaws are so glaringly obvious.  I so wish that I would grow up already and be the composed, graceful woman that I want so badly to be.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother Schmother

If I see one more wish for a Happy Mother's Day, I swear I will pull my hair out.  Where does all this love and kindness and well-wishing for mothers everywhere come from?  Every single status update on Facebook is "Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there, blah, blah, blah". Honestly, I hate holidays for this very reason.  Everyone else is always living it up.  They have great stories of what their husbands or children have done for them.  My brother, for instance...today he took his wife and children to a river park outside of Nashville with their bicycles and a picnic.  They all frolicked and rode bikes during the brief breakthrough of sunshine that seemed to come through just for them.  My brother makes it a point to make holidays for his wife special.

My sweet, dear husband, whom I love more than anything, was not raised in a home where holidays were anything special.  His father is not a kind, loving man like my father is.  His father is a selfish, self-centered, egotistical jerk who thinks of little else but himself.  My husband didn't have a good role model.  Even though he tries, and sometimes really comes through, he just doesn't know how to make special days special.  Our anniversary and my birthday are a day apart and they usually come with little more than a card and a meal.  The cards are there because I told him that he would lose his left nut if he ever forgot to get me a card again after the first Mother's Day.  He fell asleep yesterday at 4 pm and didn't wake up until 4 am because he has been working ridiculous hours.  But he still got up at 4 am and went to the store to get a card for me from him and my son before getting to work at 5.  Sure, he put it off to the last minute, but he went out of his way to get it done and I appreciate that.

Still, nothing ever really measures up to all I hear from others and what I expect.  What would I want him to do?  I don't know.  We went to my parents house and Patrick went outside with Cade and spent forever playing baseball with him, something he wouldn't have done only a few short months ago.  Truly, this Mother's Day really has been the best because I am in love with my husband and our lives together are moving in a really great direction.  I should suck it up and be grateful for that.  And after writing this and really taking a look at all that has changed around me, I think I will.  

But I still don't want to hear another word about this stupid day.  I'm just glad it's over.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Contentment

Contentment - A Foreign Concept Until Now

Wow!  What an amazing week! I started full-time work this week and I haven't worked a 40 hour work week in over a year and a half.  I was really worried about how my body would handle it, but my darling husband has been so great this week.  He has let me take naps every evening while he cooks, does homework with Cade and generally mans the homefront.  I'll tell you something, I am feeling pretty lucky right now to have such a wonderful man.  It's amazing how a little time can change things.

As for Cade (who was seriously on my last nerve and about to get shipped off to boarding school for 1st graders) he was wonderful this week as well!  He got into trouble at school on Monday and that night was no fun at home.  But I asked Wendie for some advice and we started implementing some things around the house and WOW!  On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, Cade actually asked US if he could go to bed.  He proceeded to fall asleep in a matter of minutes after laying down with no fussing whatsoever.  For some of you parents, that might not seem like the modern day miracle that it really is.  But seriously, since the day of his birth all those years ago, he has gone to sleep without a fight maybe a handful of times.  He is hyperactive, and with that comes a lack of need for sleep like most children have.  He can operate fully well on six hours of sleep and has been that way for as long as I can remember.  It's one of those cruel jokes that the world plays on us, considering I could sleep for 14 hours and still not feel rested.  Naturally, my first concern was that he was still sick.  It was completely uncharacteristic.  But I've kept a close eye on him and he seems fine.  He is agreeable, considerate and independent...and it's niiiiice.

For the first time that I can remember I am going into a weekend with a family of which I am really happy to be a part.  This is completely new for me.  I have been discontent for so long that I hadn't realized what a weight it was on me.  And you know, it comes easy now to do things for my husband.  I love him, I like him, and what's more...I respect him.  Things are good.  Do I still wig out if he doesn't listen closely enough or seem concerned about what I am saying to him at the time?  Yes.  But now the first thought doesn't instantly go towards leaving him.  Now, I just think about how much work the next fifty years of our lives are going to be - and I am glad to be a part of it.  I want to work to keep this family together.

Mind you, there still has been no sex.  I am really stuck where that is concerned.  I don't know when or how we are going to start attacking that aspect, but for his sake, I hope it's soon.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex (Part Two)

This is the second part of a story.  Part One is here.

As I was saying, my husband and I haven't had sex in over a year.  Although it hasn't always been my lack of desire that stopped us, it is now.  And that is why I am trying to figure out how to make a change.  Now, there are many possible reasons for my lack of interest in sex.  Allow me to expound:

1. High doses of Zoloft - Zoloft is known to have sexual side affects.  Many people who are treated for depression usually start at a dose of 25mg once daily.  Over time your body gets used to the medication and it stops working.  It does this suddenly, without warning, and usually causes a breakdown. Since I began being treated for depression at 19, twelve years ago, I am now taking 200mg a day, plus another 100mg of Wellbutrin.  You would think I would be a walking zombie, but I have built up a resistance to the drug and apparently my doctor thinks increasing the dosage to a level at which the insurance company constantly needs reassurance is safe prior to filling my script is a good idea.

2. Lupus - I was diagnosed with systemic lupus at 21 and have struggled since then.  When I don't get regular naps, say if I have to work a 40-hour week, my body starts to break down. Arthritis kicks in, extreme fatigue, the big splotches on my face known as the lupus mask become noticeable, and I am utterly useless.  On a normal basis, when I get a daily nap of at least two hours, I am only fatigued, and I am talking about bone-aching tired.  Remember the last time you stayed up for more than 24-36 hours?  Remember how sick you felt?  That's what a normal day without rest can feel like to me.  So, needless to say, sex is not the top of my priorities.

3.  Lack of Chemistry - Patrick and I have never been electric by any means.  In fact, while dating the sex was good in that "it's a new person and different is good" kind of way. However, Patrick was struggling with premarital sex and his Christianity and so there was always a lot of reserve on his part.  From the day we were married the sex dropped to simply mechanical.  It was predictable; eyes closed, no kissing, no creativity, no good.  With all of the things we have been through over the last 7 years, it has simply gone downhill from there.

My general practitioner prescribed me Viagra a year or so ago to combat the Zoloft's affects.  I took one and then tried to force Patrick to have sex with me.  But he was struggling with his own issues then and he turned me down.  So I vowed never to try again. And I haven't.  But he has made a complete and sustained 180, and now that he wants to have sex, I am not interested.

I know that it is extremely important to the survival of our marriage, the one we have both started fighting for at the same time for once, to become intimate.  But even talking about it one-on-one with with our counselor yesterday, the physical reaction to the idea of having sex with Patrick is still there.  I get chills, and not the good kind.  The counselor told me that he would start working with us to learn intimacy all over again.  At this point that seems impossible to me. But if you had told me a month ago that I would be falling in love with my husband all over again, or maybe for the first time, I wouldn't have believed that either.  But I am.

So, our next step is to start at 1st base.  Apparently, we are going to relearn the whole kit and caboodle.  And in the meantime,  I need to talk to my psychiatrist about alternative options for treatment other than slowly causing liver failure to prevent suicide.  I appreciate her short-term vs. long term approach, but I'm in this life thing for the long haul, so I would like to do something to treat both.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex (Part One)

I was awakened last night with a kind of scary epiphany. I think I have become a-sexual. As in, I have an utter lack of concern with sex. I could care less. I don't want it, I am doing fine without it, and I cannot imagine a situation in which it would be desirable. That is really scary. Prior to marriage I was very comfortable with my sexuality. I enjoyed sex, a LOT. I pursued, I enjoyed being pursued. There were the occasional one-night stands, testing of the waters. I didn't have sex for the first time until I was 19 and a freshman in college. I was going to save myself for "the one" and guys that age seemed to run pretty fast when they realized they were not getting the goods, so "the one" was impossible to find.

Enter my first real boyfriend. We started as friends. Over time I noticed that I was attracted to him though he wasn't the norm for me. He was a large, dreadlocked black man which was a huge no-no in my part of Texas. But we shrugged off the cold stares and hateful comments. He was a sophomore, older and wiser. Once he admitted that he had a thing for me, we carefully began feeling our way around a relationship. I was absolutely terrified because I knew that he had had sex before. I had to take Valerian root - a natural sedative - just to spend time with him. I was nauseated any time I was with him alone because I didn't know what was coming.

One night, while we were feeling each other out, quite literally, I felt something in no-man's land. I immediately jerked to attention and told him that nothing could happen and he told me to relax, it was only his thumb. Maybe a minute or two of cringing discomfort later he said, "I guess I should carve my name in your heart".

"What?" I asked.

"We just made love," he replied ever so sweetly.

That was it. That was my first time. I didn't even know that it happened. Now, because I felt that I had to stay with him because he was now "the one", after about a month of making him keep his distance I decided to let him be my teacher. He took that on with great joy. For the next four years, on and off, he taught me everything I know about sex. He was a wonderful, spiritual teacher and I was an eager student.

From that introduction came what was very nearly an addiction to sex. I cheated on every boyfriend I had because if an opportunity came along, I was not about to turn it down. I relished each guy as an important life experience. They made my life richer or taught me that looks didn't equal capability in bed. And from 19-25, sensuality was a defining aspect of my persona. I exuded it, as I was told by so many.

Fast forward to now...

I haven't had sex in probably a year or so, and a year and a half before that, but I don't miss it. I'm no longer sensual in any way. I let myself go, gained weight, lost my self-confidence. And now I have an actual physical reaction to the thought of having sex with my husband. I literally shudder. I don't think that it has anything to do with Patrick. He is a kind man and we are getting along spectacularly. I know that I am doing a grave disservice to our marriage by not having sex with him. There are so many possibilities for why I don't. We have spent our entire marriage trying to figure out why one or the other didn't want to have sex. In the beginning, say...the first five years, I wanted it and he didn't. And now, he wants it and I don't.

Now I have to figure out why. Just the intro to this topic has gotten rather long, so I will continue later with some of my rationalizations. In the meantime, have any of you ever gone for long periods without desire? Did you have a valid reason or was it a social drought? How do you feel about sexuality as a defining feature of yourself?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vanilla

Do you guys ever feel like you simply can't write enough?  There are so many things on your mind, scratching and clawing their way to the surface, begging for resolution.  Well, now is not that time for me.  It seems like my life is pathetically boring.  Mind you, I am grateful for the lack of upheaval, but it does leave little about which to write.

Right now I am taking time to check out other blogs and I am endlessly entertained by the voyeurism that allows us to partake in their lives' events.  Here are my favorites...


as well as those listed on my blogroll.  What I am noticing is that my life is incredibly tame, lame even.  Everyone is out there living their dreams and experiencing life to the fullest.  If I had blogged years ago when I was flying, ohhhh...the stories I could tell.  Trust me, you guys would be endlessly entertained.  But now...nothing.  I feel like I am doing a disservice to the blogosphere by wasting space.

Nonetheless, I appreciate you all.  Thank you for taking the time to read my mundane and confused musings.  I am grateful to you, each and every one.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dr. Feelbad

It's been a crappy weekend filled with illness at my house.  We went to a skate party (roller skates!!) on Friday and the birthday boy had stayed home that day with pinkeye.  Now, I have an immune deficiency, so this wasn't wise to begin with.  In fact, me going around sniveling kids is never a good idea.  I catch a cold when a fly sneezes. 

On Saturday I woke up with a grossly sore throat.  I still cleaned house and did all the crap I was supposed to like a good mom.  Sunday I woke up barely able to swallow.  And my son, his eyes were a puffy mess.  They were matted shut, we were all scratching.  Mess.  By Sunday night Cade was crying because his throat hurt him so badly.

So, I took my child to the doctor today.  We couldn't get in to my normal GP or his pediatrician, so we went to the local PromptCare clinic.  Bad idea, I know.  We waited for almost two hours to see the doctor who then breezed in, looked at Cade's throat, his ears, listened to his heart, wrote a script and walked out.  With insurance, it cost us $65.00.  He never looked at his eyes, never gave me a diagnosis.  Nothing.  He wrote a prescription for antibiotics and eye drops and was done.  

WTH is wrong with our health care system?  Do doctors even care anymore?  Do they try to find what ails us or just throw the first pill that has come to mind since the pretty pharmaceutical rep left? I have long believed that they are pretty much guessing.  I have had so many tests and so many diagnosis in regards to my lupus (if THAT'S what it really is).  I am so frustrated that we have to pay so much, money that is budgeted and set aside for other things, to have these people throw some crap at you as they cram in as many patients as possible to pad their bottom line. Mind you, I have seen this doctor before and he was attentive and kind.  Today though, as we were paying out, another woman stormed out saying that the doctor wasn't worth a shit and she wouldn't pay.  I tried to lighten the mood with the nurses by joking, but I agree with the woman 100%.  I had to pay this guy to SERIOUSLY do nothing more than write a script and kick us out.

Anyhow, we are heading back to work and school tomorrow.  I'm hoping that we will not be spreading illness to everyone we come in contact with (yeah, Savannah, I wouldn't come too close).  The nurse asked if I was sending him to school tomorrow and I said that I guessed I would since the doctor didn't say anything about it.  I still can't swallow, but I figure that is overrated anyway.

Good times.  Now, to get ready for my 5k on Saturday...

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Big Question

I mentioned a while back that something was bugging me.  I want some outside perspective on the issue.  I know that religion will always be something that no one will ever agree on, but I am so torn since deciding last year to transition from agnostic to Baptist.  Allow me a little back story...

I was raised in a non-denominational Christian church.  That can mean many, many things to many, many different churches.  In the church in which I grew up one of the things it meant was that we believed in the manifestations of spirits.  That went for the Holy Spirit (i.e., talking in tongues, being slain in the spirit, etc.) as well as demonic spirits.  There was a phase in our small church where they cast out demons of everything from pornography to laziness (I was on the receiving end of that laziness one).  I was told one summer at church camp that I was molested by a warlock and had his evil spirits passed on to me.  I am pretty sure that the "evil spirits" of which they spoke were related to my sense of defiance based on rationality.  When they would push on my forehead to slay me in the spirit I would dig in and push back.  One thing they did manage to do was instill a deep fear of the dark side.  I was told that opening my mind to meditation, for something like yoga, opened the doors to allow spirits to inhabit me.  

Knowing that history, you might be able to see why I turned my back on religion altogether as soon as I got out of my parents' house.  Religion was confining and scary and hypocritical.  There was always the nagging in the back of my mind that God did exist, I was simply too pragmatic to fully buy in.  To this day, I still have so many questions and concerns and realities that counteract my intentions of being a Christian.

I was talking to Savannah at work today.  She is a relatively new Catholic.  I asked her about some of the finer points of Catholicism.  One of my questions is why there is so much weight given to Mary and the other saints.  Unfortunately, she has not been a student of the religion long enough to answer those questions.  She is, however, going to find resources for both of us to better understand.  It's not that I think that one religion has the answers that the rest do not, I just want to know the answers of all religions so I can decide whether or not I think they are all fatally flawed.

It comes down to this; I don't know how to accept Christianity in my life.  When I raise these issues to my pastor he says to focus on my relationship with God.  But then I go to church and they tell me that in order to have a relationship with God I have to follow His word.  Then I start reading His word and there are contradictions left and right.  He is a loving God vs. He is a wrathful God.  He understands your heart vs. He will spit you out of his mouth like vile water if you are lukewarm in your relationship with him.  And don't even get me started on the social issues.  I simply cannot accept that Jesus wanted us to use shame, isolation, and harsh words in order to show people the ways of their sin.  Prop 8 anyone?

So, am I not really a Christian?  If I doubt or dislike some of the fundamentals of the Christian faith (take the whole Old Testament for instance), how can I truly live for Him?  I am a skeptic at best and a hypocrite at worst.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Free To A Good Home

Here is a brief snippet from an email I got from Cade's teacher.  It was a lengthy email that fully chronicled a day in the life of a carefree little boy.  He is so carefree that he cannot be bothered with silly things like limits and rules.  Keep in mind, this snippet was about paragraph five of an essay ticking off his bad behavior.
During instruction time he interrupted nearly every three minutes by talking, shaking his art box, throwing something, crawling under the tables, standing on his head with his feet on the desk, or flipping his chair over and pretending the legs were a steering wheel. I tried moving him, isolating him, talking both firm and gentle, making him move his bus...but nothing seemed to work today. I spent a majority of the seven hour school day saying the name "Cade" over and over again. 
Standing on his head?  Really? Yes, Cade is hyperactive.  He is also very intelligent and tends to get bored towards the end of a school year (preschool in years past), but he knows better than to behave like this.  And at home, his behavior is simply defiant.  He could care less that his father or I am talking to him.  He will not do anything that he doesn't want to without a huge fit.  With both Patrick and I being non confrontational in nature, this means that Cade runs the house.  We spend most of our time asking, then begging him to do things.  He is naturally manipulative, a trait that I never managed and will knowingly cave to when it is used on me.  He has our numbers and he is cashing in.

I entered this parenting thing with a lot of idealism, as I guess we all do.  I would never spank.  I would address him as a competent human being from day one.  I wouldn't raise my voice or lose control of a situation, allowing him to gain what I had lost.  I would be understanding and, above all, I would listen.  Everyone knows that the key to good communication is listening.

Yeah, that's a bunch of crap when the person you are dealing with doesn't care one whit about you.  Sure, I am a soft place to hide when things aren't going his way.  Sure, he loves me because I am always there for him.  But I see something new in my little boy with whom, for all these years, I have had an alliance.  He sees his control slipping.  Mommy and Daddy are becoming a united front.  Mommy no longer second guesses Daddy to make sure that Cade is happy.  And quite frankly, I don't like what I see from this child.  He is wily, but more ominously, he is a master manipulator.  All kids have that tendency to step their toes over the line to see just with what they can get away.  But Cade, at the ripe old age of six, doesn't care if the answer is no.  He will look you boldly in the eye and continue with the actions and behavior that are outraging those around him.

I think that I have created a monster and I have no idea how to wrest control away from him.  I will tell you right now, his will is stronger than mine.  He feels more passion in a fight than I can muster.  His father is just the same as me. Patrick and I don't argue because neither of us like unpleasantries.  In the past (say...last night), we have punished Austin with tickles.  Rather than a timeout, which honestly has NO AFFECT whatsoever on Cade, we tickle him to distract him from the negative behavior.  Better laughs than screams, right?  But now we have this handsome, smart little boy that knows exactly what buttons to push with everyone in his world to get what he wants.

I know I have to get it under control now before he becomes a sociopath in his teens (okay, maybe I'm overreacting).  However, in a battle of the wills, he will win every time.  Maybe it's time to call in Supernanny.  I am at my wit's end with this child.  

I find myself asking over and over again, why in the hell do people have kids?  I understand the biological need to continue our race, but other than that, I simply do not see the lure.  At least 80% of the time I have spent with Cade in the last week, neigh, the last six years, have been a struggle.  And these are the good times?  And then he marries and leaves me for his wife and the time when I would enjoy him, I become the outsider who is intruding on his new family unit.  So I spend my time doing everything for this child, worrying day and night about every last decision that I make in my life and how it pertains to him.  And if my parents are any indication, I will continue into old age worrying day and night about him.  Sure, I love his tiny hand holding mine.  I love the smell of his head when he nestles in my lap.  I love his sighs, his remarks, his wit.  And oh, do I love to watch him sleep.  But really, the weight of this responsibility is tearing me up.  I can account for myself.  I do great work.  I excel.  But Cade, the most important and momentous extension of myself, I cannot vouch for him.  I cannot impress my moral characteristics onto him.  How do parents carry that weight?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ctrl + Alt + Del

When I started telling this story the other day, I thought I could handle it.  I thought it was a story that I was ready to tell.  It ended with me calling my doctor to make sure I wasn't having a panic attack. My arms went numb, my head was spinning and confused.  I don't know what caused that and I truly hate to think that I am neurotic enough that going back in time to that point would cause such physical anguish.  Still, I can't help but think that I psyched myself out by revisiting what has been buried for a long time for good reason.

What really is important in all this is that I have only recently decided to completely let go of the past.  I am letting go of Andrew, of memories of how it was and what could have been.  It occurred to me that I never gave my marriage a chance because Patrick was simply not the man that I wanted him to be, and that man was Andrew. But lately, looking at him for who he is and can be, I really like the man that Patrick has become.  Our counseling sessions have gone incredibly well and ever since I packed the bags to leave (and then chickened out), Patrick has been a new man.  And in being so, he has shown me how unfair I have been to him since the day we met.  I never gave him a chance.

Now it's time.  It's time to look at the father of my son and erase all the expectations that someone else implanted in my mind and heart. Because Patrick is a good, kind man.  He is becoming an exceptional father and has been a patient husband/roommate.  And when I look at him now, I can see a future.

Maybe sometime down the road I will finish the story of Andrew for you all. Maybe someday soon.  I think it would be cathartic to lay it out there and be done.  Perhaps I will have a Xanax on standby for that day.  

Almost eight years have passed and it's time that I start to appreciate what I was given and say goodbye to what never was.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remembrances

While at work I listen to NPR through my computer.  Usually it's Morning Edition followed by All Things Considered from the previous day.  But at the beginning of the week my favorite show is new and I anxiously await listening to This American Life.  Today, I watched the page buffer wondering what gem of American life would be there for me to speed along my day.  But much to my dismay, it was a repeat from not so long ago.  But there was sweet relief.  They have archives.  I have been listening to the show since November 2001 and in my boredom over the years have listened to most of the shows in the archives.  Today I figured I would go back to before then and see what was going on in the world all those years ago.

For whatever grim reason, maybe because I have only lately been able to acknowledge the existence of the day, my mouse rested on the show from September 21st, 2001.  It was the first that they were able to produce with any information about the attacks on the 11th.  So I decided to listen.  Amazingly, I could listen with somewhat detached interest.  I still got the ache in my throat while listening to discussions of the escape from and subsequent fall of the towers.  But I wasn't overwhelmed.

You see, until only weeks ago I saw my life as "Before and After", ironically the name of this episode of This American Life.  "Before" that Tuesday my life was on a straight trajectory to success.  I loved my job as a flight attendant based out of Newark, NJ.  I had the perfect boyfriend and we were planning a trip to Hawaii at the beginning of October, around my birthday, where it was simply known that he would propose.  He was already wearing a ring on his left ring finger, a show of commitment for all of the vulturistic flight attendants.  He was a pilot, first officer on the 737, with a bright future. 

On September 9th, I had spent the night in Washington D.C. on a trip. I couldn't get a hold of Andrew that night.  He was heading out on a 4-day trip to L.A. from Newark late on the 10th and was supposed to be in his hometown of Toronto that night visiting his family.  I called his parent's home and they seemed surprised to hear from me.  He wasn't there.  His phone went straight to voicemail.  My phone rang at 3 a.m. and I answered with pounding heart after having cried myself to sleep, so relieved to hear from him.  But it wasn't him.  It was my college boyfriend, calling a year after I left him to yell at me for being so callous as to leave him with only a note.  My head was swimming from trying to drink away my concerns the night before.  I apologized, tried to figure out if I had drunk dialed him and thus received this call.  I hadn't. I looked at my call list after I hung up with my random caller and saw a 1 a.m. call to Andrew which was well after I had sworn not to call him again at 10 o'clock that night. I had caved, in an alcohol-induced haze of self-pity, but the short call time reminded me that he had still not answered.  I could vaguely remember myself standing in a small bar bathroom, some bar in D.C. that I still don't know how or with whom I ended up, plugging one ear to hear the ringing over the pounding music, hoping to hear his voice.  And I did, but it was voicemail. With my last shred of dignity, I hung up without leaving a pleading or angry message.

On the morning of the 10th, I got up, threw up, hopped in the shower and climbed into yesterday's uniform.  I met up with my crew and headed to the plane where the saviour of a captain fed me oxygen to get me up and going again.  We flew out of Reagan Intl. and I completed my day, still never having heard from Andrew.  When I ended my trip at Newark International I decided to stay at his place instead of mine.  I was hoping I would catch him before he left on his trip to L.A.  But I fell asleep that night, in his apartment on the Hudson in Bayonne, New Jersey, with no idea of where he was.  His bags were packed, his uniforms were gone, but he never had called.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Here Comes The Sun...doo doo doo doo

Perhaps most of you have heard that one of the fascinating faults of those with bipolar disorder is their inability to take their medication as prescribed.  For many it is because they don't like the way it makes them feel or they enjoy the feeling of mania.  For others it is because they start feeling better and begin to believe that maybe they don't need it.  I am different, and even more confounding to myself and others.  My meds don't make me feel funny. I know that I need them in order to function normally, and I hate the way I act and feel in a manic state.  I don't take my medication regularly just...because.  I forget.  I am too tired to get up and get it.  It's not convenient at the time I remember.  And I've tried it all.  I've set the medication and water by my toothbrush, set an alarm, etc. For some reason I continue to take my meds rather sporadically.  When I start getting dizzy spells and feeling lethargic and nauseated I know that I have gone at least three days without.

Another indication...my writing.  As you may have noticed there has been very little positivity in my writing.  I have been in a dim place.  It's not dark, just tinged a dingy gray.  This last week I was so exhausted that I didn't run, at all.  Running rejuvenates me, but I couldn't pull myself up and get going.  Patrick was doing everything around me, including working 12 hour days with inventory, cooking, laundry, picking up Cade.  I was fading back into my hole.

But today...the sun is out!  I feel positivity!  I want to run.  I want to clean.  I even cooked dinner last night.  How's that for a change?  Patrick was even sweet enough to leave only one bite on his plate, that it was probably because he could no longer stomach it is irrelevant.  He ate it.  He thanked me for cooking and then put Cade to bed.  What a man!

And you know what else?  He worked until 11:30 p.m. on Monday night, then woke up at 4:30 a.m. yesterday to get to work so that he could get off early to take Cade to the dentist.  And he never. complained.  I can't tell you guys what a huge 180 that is for him.  He used to complain about reaching for the remote.  He is now going above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis.  And I really like him.  I'm enjoying our time together.  Things are good.  I'm even thinking about (gasp)...sleeping with him.  I know, I know.  Drastic.  But maybe I'll give it another try.

Things feel mostly good right now.  I do have one looming issue that is bothering me which I will write about soon.  But for now I want to see if I can get back on the track to self-improvement. The self-loathing is just so tiresome.