Friday, August 31, 2012

Confession Is Good For the Soul Part 2

Now where did we leave off...       I think I had just gotten out of the Kansas Institute and returned to my senior year of high school.   The only thing I am proud of in this is that years later when I wanted to go to college and ordered my transcript, I discovered I had made a 3.8 GPA even with a nervous breakdown.   I also was still a member of The National Honor Society and had the sticker on my diploma.   This doesn't mean I was super smart, it just means I did a good job during a very difficult time.  

I forgot one other thing that shaped my fear of men.  I used to ride my bike to school with my friend every day.   One day, she had to stay after school and I went home alone.  I lived less than a half mile away.   I stopped at a stop sign and a car pulled up to me.  The man said, "Have you ever seen a cop this big?"   Now, at the age of 11, the word I heard was cop.   However, going by the towel on his lap that was lifted so I could see said "cop", that is not the word.  All I knew was some strange guy was talking to me and showing me things I didn't need to see.  I ran, terrified, back to the school and although I can very vaguely remember having to give a report to the police, that's all I remember from that incident.

I was in no way shape or form ready to start college after I graduated.   It was too bad too, since I actually had a scholarship to a local college.   The only problem was, the college was up by where my Dad now lived and I couldn't deal with that.   So, I figured out what my strength was, and got a job.   I was an excellent babysitter so I applied at La Petite Academy and was hired.  At that time, you needed extra child classes but could get them through the businesses, you didn't have to have an early childhood education degree.   Considering I am only 37, it sounds weird when I say that time, like it was ancient history.  LOL   It does FEEL like decades and decades ago.  Anyway, that job was the happiest time of my life.

I was really good with kids and even better, I was good with parents!   I started out helping someone with the one year old's, but eventually they built on a nursery and I ended up heading it.   I was really proud that I accomplished that at 19.  Taking care of the babies was the best thing I ever did.   Some times, I miss those days.   I have skipped over some things that made those days the best days as well as some of my worst days.   I loved having my nephew in the daycare, I got to see him every day.  Yeah, my nephew, I was married.  

I knew the sister of the man I would marry, we went to school together.  He came over to buy my word processor I had for sale and started flirting with me.  I didn't actually know he was flirting, I'm just a little wiser now.  A couple of weeks went by and he proposed.   Now, I had been out of the hospital less than a year and let's just say, I wasn't totally all there in the head yet either.  My self esteem was so low, I figured nobody else would ever want me and I might as well marry him.  Yeah, a real love match.  

There's something about having the marriage certificate in hand that makes some men nut up.  He was normal until we were married, but then he started yelling at me all the time.  He would tell me about how worthless I was and bully me into giving him my check from the daycare.  He had income as well but that was spent however he wanted it.  In the meantime, my nephew is removed from his mother's care due to suspected child abuse (he came to daycare with his head all squishy from cerebral spinal fluid leaking).   I was still living at home, so was my husband.   We couldn't afford to move out on our own but Mom didn't mind.  It was a big house and there was plenty of room.  But she did get tired of him abusing me and finally said something along these lines, "I do not want to see you being abused and can't take it anymore.   Either move out so I don't have to watch, or leave him."  She wasn't serious about me leaving of course, she was trying to give me a mental "shake".  It worked.  

I left him and we started foster parent classes to foster my nephew.   Then they turned us down, devastating us, saying that since I had been abused as a child, I would abuse any foster kids.   I truly hope they know better now.  They really missed out on a great family helping them.  I was so upset, I felt like it was my fault we lost him.  I had started college and was working part time at another daycare but my second semester, I started faltering once again.  In the meantime we had to move and ended up in a duplex pretty close to where we used to live.  I was thrilled since my grandma was in walking distance and remained that way.   Her and I got very close since I would escape to her house after school when I needed to. 

We were happy at the duplex for awhile and then it happened.  Yet another guy proved you can't trust men.  A young couple moved on the other side of the duplex and I was smitten.   Not with either of them, with their son.   He was such a doll and I was hired to watch him while they worked.   He was just a couple of months ago and at such a fun age.   Then one day her boyfriend came over to our house.  I watched their son in our side of the duplex.   I didn't think it was strange he was there, I had his son after all.   I was home alone and he started coming on to me.   I was still trying to figure out my feelings on men and had told him I wasn't interested since I still wasn't divorced and he had a girlfriend and a baby!   He started touching me in ways that made me not only uncomfortable but made me freeze up.  Apparently, lack of response isn't a turn off for some guys.   Things happened that should not have and they were not consensual.  That whole time is in a haze for me and I never moved.  Truthfully, it felt like I wasn't even there.

Some would say that it is not rape and I have been struggling with that for over a decade.   But I finally think a decent person would have realized that I was not with him and stopped.   I did not come on to him if there is any confusion there, I was just gone.  I said no, quietly, once, was ignored, and then I was no longer in my own head.   I had all the signs that things were not right, taking a shower and scrubbing until I was bright red, feeling like something was wrong, etc.   The police were great, they never doubted it was rape and told me so.  I didn't get an exam, I was terrified of them. 

That's another odd thing with me.  I am terrified of gynecological exams and that was before I even had them.   This isn't nerves, this is visceral terror.  My first exam was the one where I found out for sure I was pregnant with TJ at 22.  I always figured I didn't need it since I wasn't sexually active.  Its pretty dumb on my part since my Mom had cervical cancer when she was pregnant with me.   I was born a month late due to cryotreatments.  Luckily, it didn't affect me in any way other than slowing my growth so I was late.  I was only 7 lbs 9 oz even though it was 4 weeks past time.   So yeah, I know its stupid that I avoid them, but it hasn't stopped me.

The police had to drag my Mom off my rapist, she was choking him.   They let her punch him one last time then yanked her off.   They said something about it being unfortunate that they couldn't let her kill him.  When he got out on bail, all Hell broke loose.  My room in the duplex contained the back door.   He would yell through at night about what he was going to do to me for ruining his life.  He was constantly trying to break the door down and needless to say, I didn't sleep much.

The landlord couldn't evict them because of some clause for families with children under one year.   I couldn't even get a restraining order because he had a right to be in his home and it was the other side of my house.  Things were really getting bad and Mom decided to send me to California.   The only good news I have is, after Mom joined me about a year later she told me that he raped another girl and lost his child (social services, not death) due to drug use and neglect.   So he got his, it just kicked in too late for me. 

Mom and I were so close, leaving to go to California was the scariest thing I had ever done.  I lived with my aunt and uncle out here and actually started healing.  I found a good psychiatrist and therapist and my uncle and I would have talks about my Dad.   My aunt was like a second mother and I eventually enrolled in college out here.  Then came the day my uncle was out of town for work and my aunt had a manic episode.   My aunt is bipolar and I don't know if it was the stress of my uncle being gone, she needed new meds or what.  But an incident happened while I was home between classes and she scared me to death.   I ran next door to the neighbor and she took me in.  I was about 1800 miles from home and terrified.   A call to my uncle later and he asked her if I could stay until he got back home.  I had watched her kids many times so she was happy to have me there to help her more often.   My uncle came home and my aunt came out of her mania, not even remembering what happened.   I stayed with the family, right next door, still going to college for about five months.   Then things got too confusing for me again and I dropped out to become her nanny.   I didn't know she was taking advantage of a confused girl, I thought it was great.   I got to do what I love, take care of kids, and had a safe place to stay.  I missed Mom so much though and I guess my aunt couldn't figure out why I wouldn't come home.

I spent Thanksgiving alone, the family went to a relative.  I did have a turkey TV dinner though.      LOL       I can look back now and see that I was taken advantage of.   I did all the cleaning as well as watching the girls in exchange for a bed and food.   I was never given any money.  Anyway, Christmas was great because Mom was coming!   I was so happy when she pulled up and I saw her for the first time in over a year.  I will give my Dad one thing, he sent a money order for a deposit on an apartment.   It really wasn't much considering he cleaned out all our accounts, including my college, the day after Mom kicked him out.  But I will give him that.   Anyway, we were happy in our apartment, I even had an iguana for a pet.  I tried several jobs and never lasted more than a couple of days.  That was the start of being unable to cope with a lot of people around me.   Telemarketing was the biggest flop.   One of my phone calls, I reached someone in the middle of a viewing.  Yes, like someone was dead.  My boss wanted me to call them back another time!   That was my last day.  

Things seemed to happen all at once after that.  My iguana went into puberty and bit my nose so hard he drew blood (he used to kiss it) and ended up in a pet shop.   Yeah, I know its normal but I was a bit scared of him after that and figured it would be better to get him a new home.  He wasn't just dropped off, it was a consignment type situation.   I checked on him periodically, worried about him, even though he did bite my nose.  Then came the eviction notice at the end of the month.  Um, what???   Turns out the manager of the apartment took all the month's rents and split!   We had a receipt but the owner didn't care, they had lost a lot of money and a lot of people were evicted.   We staved it off for about a month with fake bankruptcies.   Did you know that if you file for one and then let the time run out without doing anything, you gain some time to figure out what to do in an eviction?    That's why I don't have one on record, it was just a ploy to buy time.   We ended up in a hotel and that's ultimately where Mom met my Dad!

Mom had a job and I was watching a baby for someone.   But it wasn't enough, not even for a pay by the week hotel.  So three months in, I was back in Missouri.  At first, I was at my Dad's Mom's house.  She spent all her time berating me about my childhood and what Mom did to Dad.   She even told me she was molested by her brother and she turned out just fine so I was being ridiculous?!   Notice she didn't say she didn't believe me, just that it shouldn't affect me!   I had been encouraged by my psychiatrist and therapist in California to go on disability.  I had a psychiatrist and therapist in Missouri as well and they agreed.  I was still in my appealing/filing time and had no income.  I would go over to my Dad's apartment just to get away from my grandmother and even slept on a cot in his one room apartment.   Talk about twisted!   He did his best while I was there to convince me that my memories were messed up.  I was so confused by the time I got accepted for disability and was able to get an apartment of my own. 

I met my current husband (yeah, I know, we aren't divorced yet) in the apartment building.   I would like to tell you it was love at first sight and I knew what the heck I was doing.   But I can't.  I was so messed up that I don't even remember dating him.  I know we dated for like six months but I can't really remember anything about it.  I know what we did because I was pregnant when I got married.   But I have never lost that, out of body experience, during times of intimacy thing.  That's ultimately why I decided I was better off alone.  But I am skipping ahead of myself here.   Everything was fine until we were married.  Then, for lack of better words, he wigged out.   Its like he suddenly couldn't handle being a husband and father at the same time.  He started going downhill until he was admitted to the hospital in about my seventh month.  He would not get out until our son was six days old.  His sister was my labor coach and I don't know what I would have done without her.   I really didn't realize that 13 days after TJ was born, I would be headed on a plane back to California.   But that is for Part 3.

These are such heavy subjects that I thought a cute/funny photo would be nice to end with.   This is Snowy in TJ's shirt instead of Peanut.   As you can see, he doesn't fit as well!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Confession is Good for the Soul

I have heard of a site that tears apart MWOPers but I had never been there.   Comments made about SNORT made me curious and you know what they say about that.  I wish I hadn't gone there and read the comments but I can't go back in time.   I very rarely say something judging Jen in a negative way and am usually complimenting her on something.   I guess a few times lately I have been more negative than positive and the one good thing reading over there did was remind me of that fact.   I have no obligation but I am going to answer some of the things that were addressed on that site about my life.   In one way, I hesitate to do this because of that whole, "The lady doth protest too much," thing but I have decided to do it nevertheless.   I thought I would give some of my background for this post since I had intended to give a little more of everyone's history anyway.  

I was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1975.   So yes, that makes me 37 years old.   I did pretty well in school, was in honors classes, etc., but I wouldn't say I was a genius.  We moved a lot because my Dad was in charge of paying bills and he didn't do very well at his job.   Yes, that means we got evicted a lot.   We had the money, my Mom has no clue what he managed to do it.  She wasn't paying them because at one time she went to college and worked full time, then after that she worked full time and was at work during the hours she could have paid bills.   Remember, there was no internet then for you to submit them!  You could mail them but we really didn't trust the mail.   I asked her one time why she kept trusting him when he wasn't paying and she said it was like disbelief, she should have been able to trust her husband!  I can see that one.  I can't tell you the first street I lived on, the last one I lived on before I became an adult, or pretty much any of them in between because I don't remember.  I do know I have lived in KC, MO; Grandview, MO; Raytown, MO; Springfield, MO; Hemet, CA; and Orange County, CA.   I currently live in Hemet.

Other than the moving, things were pretty normal until I was about 12.  My Dad was sick a lot when I was younger as well but I really don't remember it.  My Mom worked for the USDA as a freight rate specialist.  Yep, she was the one responsible for making sure that our yucky school meals arrived as scheduled.   I used to give her a hard time about that.  I complained once about the black cherries in our cherry cobbler and she started laughing.  I guess they were some gourmet something or other but us kids had been turning our noses up because they didn't look right.   Anyway, she had a really good income and if I asked for something, I usually could have it.   The only good thing about that is I wasn't a naturally greedy kid and really didn't ask for things.   I was very active with other kids before I became a teenager.  I actually got out, played tag, rode bikes, etc.  None of that changed until I was a pre-teen.

My Dad was not a predictable.  He worked for Universal Underwriters for a short time then chopped off the tip of his pinky in the printing press.   It did take time for him to recover, but it seemed that he lost all interest in working after that.   For the rest of my childhood he did a little handyman work, worked at a hardware store and that's about it.  I think he was working at the hardware store when things started really going downhill. 

One summer, a friend of my Mom's at work invited us all on his sailboat.  It was a fun summer but my Dad got sicker every time we went out.  He wasn't seasick, but he had this weird rash on his face and he just felt ick.  That started the first round of medical drama.   I was dragged from pillar to post, relative to relative as Mom took him all over trying to find answers.   She even ended up at Duke University at one point, but that's later.   Finally, he was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and the rash on his face was one of the biggest signs.   Its called a butterfly rash because that's what it looks like.   I started picking up second hand nursing journals from garage sales and every other medical book I could get my hands on.  For me, knowledge was the key to everything.   As long as I knew what was going on, I was okay.

Then came the day he woke up with a knot on his side.  When he went to bed it was the size of a marble and when he woke up, it was the size of a grapefruit.   I will never know what caused the original infection, whether that was on its own or helped along, as I will explain later.  He went to the doctor and they lanced it, as they generally do with lumps on your skin.  After this point, things are not necessarily in order as they happened because my short term memory is shot and my long term memory has holes worse than Swiss cheese.  At some point the wound in his side was 13 inches across and all the way down to organs.  It wouldn't go away and was packed more then daily with gauze soaked with a bleach solution.   Packed literally, all the way down to the bottom.   Sometimes my Mom was doing it, sometimes a home health nurse was.   No matter who accomplished the grisly task, there was always screaming.   I seemed to hear that screaming in my head even at school.   And school was my refuge.  I no longer went out and played with friends, I came home and hid in my room.   It wasn't far enough. 

There were many times he ended up in the hospital, in the intensive care unit, after the infection would get too good of a toehold and his white count would be in the hundreds of thousands.  Sometimes Mom was home, sometimes she was in the hospital after he was in a regular room because he needed 24 hr care and our insurance wouldn't pay for it.  Those times I was with relatives.  I can't count on both hands the times he was "dead" and brought back.  My grades slipped more and more but I didn't care.   I didn't know how to deal with everything and I stopped eating what little I already had.  My grandmother (Dad's Mom) was there a lot when she didn't seem to care about our family until her son got sick.   And when was there, she told me that if my Dad died, it would be my fault for stressing him too much.   I guess I was her stress relief doll.  My mental state was going downhill rapidly.   Mom was so busy with Dad that she was just glad I wasn't causing problems and making things worse.   I didn't tell her what grandma said.  Mom and I had always been close but this experience really cemented our relationship.   Somewhere during this time, my Dad stopped walking and was in a wheelchair.   Sometime about how the Lupus messed with his muscles and joints and now he couldn't walk.

He was in physical therapy to walk again as well as heading to the hospital for septicemia every time you turned around.  I am not sure at what point, but the physical therapist told us that he was faking and should have no problem walking.  That was the beginning of the end.  Then we found out that suspicion about the infection had caused the insurance company to put him in a hospital room with a camera.   He was discovered re-infecting himself with bodily fluids.   Trust me, you don't want me to be more specific than that.  People don't normally have an infection for years on end.  He had made several medical journals since his case was so unusual.   I was 17 when things just became too much. I didn't want to do to school and Mom snapped, telling me that if I didn't want to go, I could go a mental hospital to figure out what was up with me because pretty much every day I didn't want to go.  She wasn't serious, she was just stressed, and shocked when I told her that was fine with me.  I was tired of dreaming of my Dad in a coffin, I was tired of him calling the school and telling them I was sick so I had to stay home and take care of him (Yes, folks, this is true Munchausen by Proxy), I was tired of not being able to think straight, I was just plain tired.

I went to The Kansas Institute and was gone for 8 weeks of my senior year.  A physical there revealed that I had bleeding ulcers, weighed 86 lbs and was completely run down.  Big surprise, huh?   Imagine my shock when two weeks in, I report to my counselor and my Dad is sitting there.  He is so sick and twisted that he had himself admitted to the same hospital so he could still influence me.  I lost it and the dreams began.  Not only was he making himself sick and running me ragged, he had been abusing me all my life.  I had a lisp when I was young, he wouldn't give me food until I lost it.  Its amazing how fast that can happen when it has to.   My counselor was shocked at my reaction to him and started digging.  Did you know he was diagnosed as schizophrenic at 13 years old?   No?  Neither did my Mom or I.  My grandma refused to believe it and wouldn't let them help him.  He flunked the army psych exam later but that wasn't his fault either.  Did you also know that untreated schizophrenia causes actual sores/lesions on your brain?   Yeah, no wonder he was nuttier than a fruitcake.  Suddenly, some things started coming together for my Mom.  I was perfect at putting my toys away at 2 years old.  Not good at it, perfect.  In fact, lots of things made more sense when she looked back.  And she didn't like the picture.   I wasn't there when she threw him out at 3 am but I would not have objected. 

Some things were not remembered, but they had left marks.   I was unable to take a shower without feeling like there someone in there with me.  Assignments at school had to be perfect or they were crumpled up and re-started.   My head constantly felt like it was stuffed with cotton and thinking was hard.   I was the easiest person anyone knew to startle, but my reaction was far from amusing. 

This is getting pretty long so I am going to continue it later.  I guess you could call this part, The Early Years.   I am not typing this for sympathy, I just thought people might like to know what makes me tick a little more.   I am well aware other people have had a harder life, this isn't a, "Who had it worse" contest.  All I can do is talk about my own life and I do regret that theirs is more difficult.

Part two later.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Swimwear, shirts, size 14, Oh My!

TJ and I start our gym membership on Tuesday.  The poor kid has three classes on Monday, one being at 8 am, so I thought perhaps Mondays would not be a good day!   So our gym days will be Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.   If he wants too, Saturdays are also a family swim day and he can go swim after he works out.  I was going to go three days in a row but Dad said he should have a day to recover his muscles and the gym instructions say something about that too.  Surprisingly, I am kind of looking forward to working out, we'll see how long that lasts!     LOL   I have started wearing my size 14's and other than the shorts with an elastic waistband, they fit pretty well.   The shorts still feel a bit tight to me.  I don't know if that is from being too used to wearing loose clothes or because they really are.   I found some tops online and will post pics of them in a minute.  I wasn't looking forward to picking out or trying on a new swimsuit, so I was thrilled I found one that I don't think needs trying on and looks like something I would actually wear! 

First, the swimsuit, its cute, its not too revealing and it looks like me

I have gotten very fond of these type shirts and was lucky enough to have a great coupon   :)

I'll have a longer post another time, I just wanted to share my excitement.  I usually don't care what I look like, so this-being happy about clothes thing-is taking some getting used to!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Variety News

Yeah, I know, two posts in one day.   That is pretty impressive!  But, the first post was a bit of a downer and I doubt either of the 2 people (LOL) that read this were really interested.   That post was for me.

Anyway, we have had a lot going on and I have a few little stories to share.  We still don't have all our stuff from the mobile but Mom and I have a new plan.  We are going to go over early every morning and get a van load.  If she is having an exceptionally good day, we will go in the evening as well.   You would be surprised what I can get in there by filling up the back and both back seats!   I am not thrilled about putting it all in the formal living room but its only temporary.  I can unpack it from there.  It WILL be nice not to have this conversation, "Where is ****?  Oh yeah, its at the mobile!"

Mom's tummy is not happy right now.  Her diverticulitis was exacerbated by West Nile virus.  My Dad and her got a mild case of it.  Unfortunately, everything that she gets that affects her stomach lasts longer with her because it usually also aggravates her medical problems.   Dad is feeling better but she is still fighting lingering symptoms.  She hasn't been able to tool around on her scooter much because its cooler in the evening but no less humid.  She can't breathe when its too wet out.  Her birthday and anniversary were both this week so it was kind of a sucky week.   The only upside was finding this great Italian restaurant that delivers in our neighborhood.  We ordered Chicken Parmesan for her birthday and it was really good!  It was $32 for the entree, a family salad, a 2 liter of pop and delivery.  That dish had EIGHT chicken breasts!!!       We ended up feeding a total of 13 people from that one dish.  Of course I mean it was us eating it on different days for lunch, etc.  Its not something we can do all the time on our budget of course, but very affordable once a month, especially with all the leftovers.  For her anniversary I got her a single serving tuxedo mousse (if you don't know what it is, find out, OMG) and put a candle in it.   Then Dad and TJ got a cupcake.  I had a single serve Dryers double chocolate fudge brownie ice cream.  It was almost too chocolatey!  I know, I know, hard to be too chocolatey, but it was only almost.

Peanut gave us quite a giggle the other day as well as a bit of a worry!   Mom wasn't sure if she was going to have great grand-kids.   We have been getting sporadic storms with thunder and lightning.  Well, Peanut doesn't like thunder and was scared.  So she crawled into TJ's boxers!  I am not sure how she manages it, but she does.  Anyway, she poked her head out of the slit and it looked really odd!  Just imagine looking over at your child and seeing a dog's head peeking out of the front flap of boxers.  The worry was because if she gets mad, she is not in a good place for biting.  I am afraid I did not take pictures.  I know they would have made great blog fodder and all but I was just don't think it would have been appropriate!

Snowy had a story of his own.  Mom uses a pillow under my laptop to get it higher for her and somehow, it became a game for him to attack the pillow when she's done playing.  He listens for the click of the mouse turning off, her shutting the lid, etc.  He's pretty good at it!  When he hears them, he races over and starts barking for the pillow.  We usually wrestle him with it awhile and then put it up.  Well, today Mom barked back at him when he barked for the pillow!  He stopped and just looked at her, cocking his head.  No telling what she said but he went nuts, really attacking the pillow after that.   We were all cracking up.

TJ had his first week of 9th grade this week and it was packed!  He normally only has one class each day but since they only had three days this week, they packed a lot into them.  The classes were much shorter than they normally are but the chaos of the schedule caused a lot of meltdowns.   Not to mention whining.  For the most part, he is really a very good kid and we hadn't had meltdowns in a long time.  I guess we are pretty lucky, I have heard some real horror stories of kids with Aspergers that are violent.  That doesn't mean that the whining didn't get old!  We have our own schedule with his school, they are supposed to do a little of all their classes each day but that is not works for TJ.  He does best by doing the whole week's work for one class each day.  For example, Monday is his live LA class.   So on Mondays, he will do all of his LA work for the week.   There is always wiggle room in case there is too much work for just that one day.  Another class might have less work so that day he can do some spillover things.  The other thing is that a couple of the classes have like a cumulative paper due at the end of every quarter.  So he works a little bit on those every week to take a big assignment down to size.  It works great, his papers are always exceptional with all that extra time and always done early!

I have been going to the laundromat about once a week.  Unfortunately, I kept getting up too late this week and had about 10 dryer load's worth.  We do have a washer/dryer at our house but its still not hooked up.  In the mobile, we had them inside and could do laundry any time of day.  Over here, its in the garage and its too hot to be out there.  I feel sick just going out to get bedding and hay to change bunny boxes.  So we have put on hold any more renovation, etc, until the weather cools.  Its either pay the electric/gas/water company for using the washer/dryer or pay the laundromat.  While its so hot, its going to be the laundromat.  I get there about 8 am and am done by 10 am so that's not too bad!  You don't want to go any later than that or the laundromat will be too hot.        LOL

I am continuing to lose and still eating normal.  Last night I weighed Snow and Peanut to see what they are now and I weighed 178 in the evening!  That means that in the morning, I will most likely weigh 177, I am not holding my breath for 176 because your weight loss slows big time as you level off.  And in case you were interested, Peanut weighs a whole 3 lbs now!  Snowy weighs 8.4 and the treats are getting cut off.  Its hard because they look at you with true puppy eyes but he's supposed to weigh like 5 or 6.  They got a bath today and look so pretty.   The white part of their fur is very white and they are all fluffy.  For a three lb dog, Peanut let me know how much she liked her sink bath.  Needless to say, it wasn't much.  They have been scratching a lot but I have never found fleas.  I think they have really dry skin and hopefully that will help.  Peanut spent her dry time in her towel in TJ's shirt.  Snowy took a shower with Dad and I guess he liked it until he figured out that he was getting washed too, not just Dad.  Let's just say Dad learned the hard way that he needs wear something in the shower to bathe the dog! 

Well, I think that's about everything that has been happening around here.  I need to blog more often but it will actually get harder now that he is back in school.  He is really smart but lacks some confidence so a lot of the time I have to sit with him while he does his assignments.  He does do more and more each year on his own though, I am really proud of him.  Dad and I are watching Dawn of the Dead and I suppose I should get some dinner.       We still have leftover chicken tacos we need to clean up so I guess I will raid the fridge.   (:

An Open Letter To My Parents

I try not to talk to my Mom and Dad too much about smoking because discussing it makes it worse.  But for awhile now there have been some things I wanted to say to them and and just couldn't speak about them.  So I thought maybe I would get some of my frustration out by "telling" them on here. 

To Mom and Dad,

First of all, I love you.  I love you so much that I am terrified when I think of the time you are longer going to be around.  You and TJ are my world, without you, I don't know what my life would be like.   And I don't want to find out anytime soon.  What does this have to do with smoking?  Your smoking is causing you to leave me before you should.  Mom, you are on oxygen at night and sometimes I am pretty sure you should be on it during the day.  You struggle to breathe just because you took a shower!  You promised me when I was a little girl that you would NEVER keep smoking long enough to end up oxygen.  You are late on that by several years.  I know you were born with and developed worse lung problems growing up so you will not get rid of all of the problems by quitting.  But you can't tell me that it is HELPING these for you smoke!   You talk often about alcoholics and drug addicts being selfish.  What you don't see is what you are doing is selfish to yourself as well as to your family.  Your choosing to continue and waffling about a quit date is taking you away from me more and more each day.   Its taking you away from your husband and grandson as well.  And as for Dad?  He has a message too, its coming.  I am not picking on either of you.

Dad, you have just as many excuses to keep smoking as Mom does.  Yay, you don't have COPD or emphysema.  That is wonderful but its besides the point.  Just because you don't have it NOW doesn't mean you won't get it in the future.   You also say Mom smokes more than you do.  Guess what?  You are right about that.  And what do you tell me about alcoholics all the time?  "So and so is a much worse drinker than I am!"   So what if she smokes more, its okay for you to keep it up because you don't use as much nicotine?   As much POISON?   That is one of your more ridiculous excuses.   I know its ten times harder to quit when someone else is still doing it but its not impossible.  No, I have never smoked and never will.  But there are people out there that have been smoking longer than both of you and they managed to quit.   How did they do it?  Well, first of all, they quit making excuses.

I want both of you around for a long, long time to come.  I know Mom keeps telling me that she is going to be around so long she will be a problem to her great grandchildren but those are just words.  If you don't stop what you are doing, that is not going to happen.  Dad, your health has started a bit of a decline as well, think of how much ground you will gain by not smoking anymore.  And how about TJ and I?   I have been breathing smoke since I was about 9 years old and it hasn't affected me so far but I have been lucky.  How would you feel if one of these doctor appointments I came home and told you I had developed lung issues?  Please, both of you, not for my sake, not for TJ's sake, but for YOUR sake, stop smoking.  I don't say try because trying doesn't work.  This time, it has to.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

From 219 to 179 lbs and counting

I haven't done a weight loss post in awhile so I thought I would throw one up today.  I'll give you a little background on how I got this way and then show pics of the progression or rather my regression!

I was anorexic from about 13 years old until I was 23, after I had my son.   My grandmother and Dad trained me from a very young age to eat extremely small portions so even before my teens, I wasn't a big girl.   You might be wondering why my Mom let this go on?   Simple, she didn't know.  My Mom went to school and worked full time when I was young, then worked even longer hours when I was older.  That and I was not exactly a noisy child.  I didn't talk about things going on with me.   I was a little on the low side but not bad weight wise until I hit my growth spurt.  Since I was short for my age until then, it wasn't that noticeable.  Then I grew 6 inches literally over one summer and at six foot tall and 12 years old, it was obvious to anyone but me that I was extremely underweight.   You could count my floating ribs.  I wore a size 0 and my Mom sometimes had to take it in for me.

I can't remember if I thought I was fat, my memories are pretty fuzzy of that point in my life.   I do know that my Dad being sick all the time caused me so much stress that I wasn't hungry and my stomach hurt all the time.   By the time I had the nervous breakdown at 17, this was due to full blown ulcers.  My Mom asked my Dad and grandmother one time why they did what they did and they gave her some story that her family has weight problems and they kept me from getting fat.  Yeah, Dad isn't the greatest and grandma was not a nice person.  For clarification, this is NOT the Dad I talk about lovingly.  He's actually my stepDad, but long ago earned the right to have the step removed.  I wish he was a part of my life before I was 20 years old!

I was 6 foot tall with a little heavier bone structure and I weighed 86 lbs at my absolute lightest.   By the time I got out of the hospital, I weighed above life threatening danger level but was still way underweight.  And if anyone is stupid enough to think this is a good idea, I was told I didn't have any damage they could find right away but it was likely, almost even certain that we would find damage as I got older.   I think the reason I have trouble losing weight now is that my metabolism was messed up.  You can rock your metabolism to lose again by eating more.  It usually takes about 2 weeks for it to re-set but mine can take up to a month.  It really can be annoying.

Fast forward to 22 and I was pregnant with my son.  I never had gained enough to be at a normal weight and fought that until my seventh month.  I checked in with WIC and that was their constant complaint.  I was not at a healthy weight and they were concerned.   My seventh month I finally gained enough that I was actually a normal weight for once in my life.  I was still thin but it didn't seem like that would ever change.  After TJ was born, I immediately dumped all the weight again and left the hospital looking like I had not just given birth.

Pictures of TJ and I when he was younger still show a thin me that is at a normal weight.  I think the first signs of my metabolism changing were about the time he turned seven.  I was still eating anything I wanted to but it was starting to show too.  About five years ago, I went on Slim Fast as well as went swimming all the time and did really well, that time I lost 30 pounds.   I bought some skorts that were size 14 in the hopes that I would be wearing them but I fell off the wagon and kept on rolling.  The exciting thing is that I saved the skorts and tried them on last night.  They fit!  But this is the first part of the story and I am skipping to the end.

I noticed I was heavy but it just wasn't something on my mind much.  Then I decided to get pictures of TJ and I together for Dad for Father's Day.   When they came back, I was shocked.  I couldn't believe that was me.   I wore a size 18 and am pretty sure I was closer to a 20.  But I still didn't do anything about it.

Then one day I went with Mom while she had her blood drawn and I sat in a chair with arms.   It wasn't a small chair, it was just a normal size chair.  And it was tight.  That did it for me.  I had never had a chair be tight on me in my life and I wasn't going to start now.  I had to make some changes.  That was on Jan 8, 2012.  The girls on MWOP talked about MyFitnessPal.  It a calorie counter and an exercise recorder.  The best part is that its free and I didn't have to buy special food.  The weird thing I noticed is that I went back and forth between eating way too much and not enough.   The first step I had to take was to quit skipping breakfast.  I wasn't hungry in the morning but you could see my portions at dinner were increased on days I didn't have breakfast.  I had to quit skipping meals.

My problem wasn't really eating too much.  My problem was not eating enough so my body would hold onto what little I would give it.  I was STILL mostly eating like I was an anorexic.  But my body was no longer acting like one, holding onto every calorie I would give it and giving nothing up.  I don't know if that is from damage or just getting older.  I had become a bit too sedentary as well.  So I started eating three meals a day, whether I wanted to or not, and exercising.  At first, I just did sit ups and things on the floor.  But later I purchased one of those exercise "bikes" that is just pedals for your feet.  I still had my ice cream, cakes, etc., just not all the time, not every day.  And if I did eat like that, I pedaled for it.  It took a few pounds to notice a difference but results were showing.
April 10, 2012
April 28, 2012
May 9, 2012
June 19, 2012

July 25, 2012

August 11, 2012

According to my goal of 169 lbs, I still have 10 lbs to go.  I have lost 40 lbs so far and am happy with how things are going.  I still can eat my treats, I just adjust for them.  I am eating pretty normal, in fact my food diary is filled with fast food entries due to house renovation.  I haven't decided if I am going to stick to my goal or stop in another five pounds or so.  I am tall and have a large frame so my normal range should be between 150-180.  I don't want to go down to 150 because that's a slippery slope.  I want to stop at a weight where I can lose or gain a little and it won't be a big deal.  That's how I settled on 169.  I thought 50 was a nice, round number.   But in the process, I have learned that this isn't an exact science and I have to be flexible.   Right now?  I am beyond thrilled that I tried on my long awaited skorts and finally made a goal I started five years ago. No telling how far this journey will take me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Its the Snowy and Peanut Show!

Tonight I thought I would talk about the last two furry members of our family.  But first, I am going to whine a bit and update on a few things.     LOL     I was thrilled that TJ got a card on Monday from Tom with his birthday money.  I am not happy things went the way they did, but he's trying again.  I was surprised, the whole time he kept telling me that even though he was manic, it was not an excuse.   I was actually a bit proud of him.  My aunt is bipolar and tells us that no matter how manic she is, she is still responsible for her own actions.  Tom usually just makes an excuse, so I guess at 47 he is finally growing up.    LOL   I wanted to whine as well.  Today's high here in Hemet was 108 and its going to be even hotter tomorrow.  I am so thankful that we now have a place that is always cool enough for Mom's breathing.  Cross your fingers that Mom is feeling well tomorrow, we really need to take my laptop in for an overhaul.  If we take it in first thing in the morning, we will have it back before they close.  Since Mom is addicted to Pogo/Facebook games and tomorrow is Pogo badge day, that will be very important!  Its two years old and I have never had it cleaned.  We get so much dust here that I have to clean my desktop out every six months or so.  I am too nervous to open the laptop, its just too small in there.  Anyway, you came to hear about the two furries so I will quit whining.   LOL

TJ has always wanted a chihuahua.  Part of it was Beverly Hills Chihuahua and part of it was just him.   So for his 12th birthday, we decided he was old enough and responsible enough for a dog.  I called the shelter and for once, they didn't have any puppies in.  Normally we always adopt from the shelter but we wanted him to have the experience of raising a puppy just once.  So I looked in the PennySaver.  Its like a small classified newspaper we get free here in SoCal.  Most of the ads were outrageous and completely out of our budget.   Then I saw one for $150 and that was affordable.  They were born on April 20, 2010 and at the time of the ad were about 4 weeks old.  I called the man and we took T over to look at them.  He had told me that TJ would be able to pick his pup out but by the time we got there, only two were left.   I was a little irritated but the one he thought would be perfect for him was busily eating his shoelaces.  That dog was Snowy.

He was too young to come home of course, but it was love at first sight on both their parts.  Here is a
 picture of their first meeting, before he bought him the collar.

 We had a small complication though.  There was a tiny puppy there that the guy gave for my Mom to hold.  She was the runt and came out with him snapping and snarling at a whole half pound.  The moment she was put on Mom, she settled in.   He told us that was the first time he had seen her calm since she was born and Mom had to take her too.   I pointed out that $300 was over my budget and he said if we bought Snowy, we could have her for free.   That is how Peanut became our bargain puppy.  LOL

So that was how we ended up taking home two puppies a month later.

We still had my Mom's dog, Docker, at the time.  He was blind and deaf and TERRIFIED of the two pups.  He couldn't see or hear them but knew that something was there.  Its too bad too, Peanut just adored him.

We ended up putting Docker to sleep a month later.  He got to the point that he was terrified of everything.  The poor dog just stood and shook.  He had a great life, he was 17 years old, he had just had enough.  It wasn't just the puppies, he was afraid to go out, he was afraid to stay in, etc.  It was really sad.  One of the reasons we decided to get the pups even though we still had Docker was because we kept telling TJ he could have a dog after Docker was gone.  It started sounding a bit morbid!  He was upset that Docker had to die first, not wanting to lose Docker to get his pup.  Put like that, it didn't sound right.  

Anyway, the pup's antics helped with our sadness at losing Doc.  Don't get me wrong, we still miss him, even now, but watching the puppies tumble over each other made it possible to laugh again.  


The funny thing is that Peanut was Mom's dog and Snowy was TJ's dog.  After we fixed Snowy and I took care of him, he became my dog.  I felt sooooooo bad!  But then Peanut transferred to TJ and the only one left with no dog now is Mom!  LOL   Peanut was always fond of him but now she really is his dog!  One of her favorite places to sleep was in his slipper.
They came home weighing 1/2 lb (Peanut) and 3/4 lb (Snowy) and now they are 2 1/2 lbs and 8.2 lbs.  Yeah, Snow needs to lose about three lbs!  Peanut likes the bunnies, I am not sure she knows what they are but seems to think Butter is her boyfriend.  TJ says its because they are the same color.    LOL     Snowy thinks they are grow a snack and we have to be careful with him.
No, my son is not pregnant, that's Peanut's favorite place to sleep!  The only problem is she bites him when he breath

OMG, I am ready to kill his dog.  She was on my lap just going nuts growling at her brother because she doesn't want him on me even though I'm HIS human.  I finally had to call TJ in from playing because she was making me so nervous with her growling.   She may only weigh 2 1/2 lbs but she has 20 lbs of attitude!!!!   That concludes your introduction to the last two furry members of our family.  The next post will be about one of the humans.      :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hodge Podge

Okay, I know that I said I would introduce everyone and I still will.  I just thought I would take a little break to update everyone on what we are up to!   Of course, we don't have near as much drama going on as some people do.  We still don't have everything over here but Mom has health problems off and on.  You never know what kind of a day it will be.  I have been busy re-reading the Stephanie Plum books instead of blogging or keeping up with the MWOP site.     LOL   

I did finally get enough of my stuff over here that I can start making memory angels again.   I had a friend that had a baby and pre-eclampsia.  She ended up having a seizure during labor and whatever happened to her body at that time also happened to her daughter.   Rose lived a very short time and I was left wondering what I was going to do.   I had made her a layette (I was on a major layette kick at that time and it seemed like EVERYONE I knew was pregnant!) and wasn't sure whether to send it or not.  Turns out she still wanted it, her sister was going to make her a shadow box.  Anyway, I wanted to do something for her and Rose became my first memory angel baby.  They turned out to be rather addictive in a sad way.

She loved it so much that I started looking around for other recipients.   I think my next one was Christian, Carly's little boy.  I think her project was called Names in the Sand but now its Project Heal.  Many, many more would come.  In fact, too many followed that one.  I burnt out about a year ago and I have been trying to finish my last one ever since.  If you ever want to see all of them, they are here.  I have never charged for them and I don't really have any specific criteria.  I am not that good at mouths so I usually stick with babies/toddlers but my current one is an exception.  You will probably recognize some of the children's names on those pages.  I hope to start on the one I am now in the next few days, its time for her go home.

My Mom got her scooter.  I am so happy for her!  She is having a blast, my Dad actually heard her giggling like a young girl last night when she was taking a few spins around the block.  We don't have a lift so she can't take it with her yet but even just being able to take a drive around the neighborhood has really put color back in her cheeks.  She is losing as well, I wish she would let me get a pic of how loose her shorts are but I was lucky she let me take these pics of her scooter with her on it!


This is her, "getting ready to race" look

Look close, the speeds on this thing are turtle and hare!  There are tiny silhouettes of a turtle and a rabbit over to the right.

I thought this one was funny because you can see my reflection in the glass.   It reminded me of a Jen picture to show weight loss.           LOL

I went to WalMart the other night and got some more stuff for the house.  I was very excited, I couldn't wait until the first of the month and we had money again!  My aunt is sweet but she has a bigger budget than we do and tends to forget, so Mom and I were both in our overdraft.   :(    Any, you want to know what I was so excited about?   Its not jewelry, new clothes, a good bra (Ha, inside joke).  It was a stick vacuum and mop!  There is so much fur with the buns and without carpet, its just blowing all over the house!  The dust mop wasn't working very well for that and it wouldn't pick up the tiny pieces of paper left from Snowy's shred sprees.  I can't use a regular vacuum on the laminate so I was in the market for a small stick vacuum.  This is the one I settled on and so far its working pretty good!   I was shocked at how much fur it picked up. This is the Bissel 3-in-1 and I chose to get the cord model.  I really don't want to be re-charging it all the time!

I wanted a new mop too.  The one my aunt bought me is huge but it has nothing in the middle under the cloth so I couldn't really scrub.  I chose this one that has microfiber covers you can wash.  I am not really environmentally conscious but being able to wash it and not keep buying new ones really did appeal to me.  I like this one because you can flip it over and you have another clean surface.  It did really good going around all our furniture legs.   This is the O'Cedar flip microfiber mop or something very close to that name.     LOL I am not getting paid to review these so I figure close will work.

I had one other purchase that I was excited about.  I know, I need a life.  But I really was excited to get this stuff.  I got my first set of "Tupperware".  Another inside joke, its actually Rubbermaid.  Anyway, I haven't ever had my own set of plastic food storage containers since I have been adult.  For some reason, this purchase made it really feel like we were home.      LOL  

I did buy some fun stuff too, just not at WalMart.  I LOVE the sandals that are gladiator type with the zipper at the back.  I am not sure why, I just do.  I bought my first pair two years ago and they are getting a bit ragged since I wear them all the time.  I found a new pair finally at JCPenny's that are flat (a requirement for me!) and didn't have that thong thing in between your toes.  When I saw they were only $10, I snapped them up!  The clincher was a free shipping to the Penny's store.  That made my new sandals $10.77 with tax.  Not bad since I paid $20 for the pair I wear now.
I got our new Mary Maxim catalog in the mail a few days ago and they were having a good sale on their crochet/knit accessories.  I haven't bought a new bag for my crochet in about three years and I fell in love with these bags.  I bought one of each for Mom and I.  The little one is a matching crochet hook case.  At $58 for all four, I don't think they were a bad purchase either.  And best yet, they are cute!  I love how they are Vera Bradley "inspired".   Like I really thought I would get a Vera Bradley bag for that price.     LOL

I'll share my angel when she gets done and I have shared her with her mother.   I think she should get first look.  TJ is over at his cousin's house again.  I don't say no because they are only here for the summer.  But that does mean I will have two dogs in bed with me tonight!  The bunnies won't be happy either since they are used to watching T play games or watch TV.  He is really good about talking to them.  Our washer and dryer still aren't hooked up so it looks like I have one more laundromat trip coming.  I have good news for us as well though.  We finally got our first electrical bill and we have been really dreading it.  Our highest electrical bill in our mobile was about $130.  We really can't afford more than that and were terrified the house would be outrageous.  Well, we were pleasantly surprised since our first house bill was about $145.  Its not the full month but its close and we are not so scared anymore.  It looks like things will go up but not so much that we can't afford to live and that's a great thing.  We really do feel like we are home here.  Its funny, when we go to the mobile to get stuff, we feel like we are just visiting!  The boys told us we could come in and get our stuff whether they are home or not but it just doesn't feel right.  It might be our stuff and we might still have a key, but that won't be happening.

I heard from Tom this morning.  He told me that he's been manic for like the last month and finally got his meds straightened out again.  He is sending TJ $70 today because he feels bad.  Yeah, I kinda will believe it when it finally gets here.   TJ isn't even expecting anything at this point.  You know what's sad?  He isn't even upset his Dad messed up, he expects it.  Anyway, I guess this truly was a hodge podge of stuff and hopefully you all aren't totally bored.       LOL

I am looking forward to Sunday.  If all goes well, I should break the 180's.