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Archive for the ‘Down and dirty’ Category


My friends made fun of Shawn when we had two girls, and then three. And then we rescued our dog Kira, a girl, and got our dog Katie, another girl. There was no getting around it, the women ran the household. Estrogen trumps testosterone. Girl power reigned supreme.
And we liked it that way. My girls talk about everything and anything in front of the boys. So much so that Shawn Michael, my delightful 16 year old, doesn’t even bat an eye at the mention of periods, cramps, tampons, and being endlessly dragged into bra stores at the mall. Actually, I think he likes that last part. I keep telling him what an amazing partner he will be some day, after being raised in the warm bosom of a bevy of females. It’s true too, he’s one of the most sensitive, plugged in, compassionate and caring PEOPLE I know, let alone young men.

So we moved and kids got older and grew up. Keisha moved out, Liam moved out, Ash moved out. Kira passed away and then Katie. And now we have myself, Shawn, Kathryn, Shawn Michael and Kermit. And Cole.
Who is Cole?
Oh, he’s Kat’s boyfriend. A sweet, lovely, overgrown puppydog of a boy, and he spends a lot of time at our house.
Now it’s three against two!
I wish I could say that I don’t like it and that the boys are being stinky smelly boys and exerting their power over pizza orders and choice of programming but in truth, I like it. He is one of those kids who just….effortlessly fit in to our world and we have claimed him as one of our own. So, I wish I could say I don’t like it, but, it’s nice to have back a small bit of the chaos we had when the house was fuller. Watching the two of them is like getting a glimpse into a not so distant future when the kids will come home, god willing, for holidays bringing with them their partners and one day, their own kids.
It’s going to be a weird holiday for us this year. No extended family is coming, Liam can only come home for a day, maybe two, and Keisha can’t come home at all. And while Shawn and I have time off, the younger kids will all have work schedules.
But I like it.
I don’t mind this shift in the force. After all, life is change. You can either roll with it, or fight against it, but it’s going to happen whether you like it or not. I choose to embrace it.

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We have…an infestation.
No, not like six years ago when we had bedbugs and DEAR GOD may we never endure that perfect storm of EW ever again.

Saturday past. The day before Mother’s Day. We actually had a warm, beautiful day with double digit plus temperatures. It was wonderful! So of course we spent the day out in the back yard doing clean up, pulling out old shrubs and things that we’ve been meaning to pull out since we moved here, raking, you know, all that good hard summer prep work.
We left the back door (to the sun room) open, and, the door from the sun room to the kitchen. Just a bit. Just enough for the dogs to get in and out so they too could enjoy the fine weather.

We forgot to close them.

Saturday night. My daughter and I are in the living room watching a show. My husband is down in the basement playing Assassins Creed. Ash gets up to go to the kitchen for a drink of water and immediately starts yelling for Shawn and I.

Why?

Because we have crickets. Big, giant, black, ugly crickets. All. Over. The. Kitchen.

They were on the floor, on the cupboards, on the wall, ON THE CEILING!!! No, I’m not kidding, two of them were on the goddam ceiling. She was frozen in the doorway freaking out.

Shawn came up and we spent a good fifteen minutes killing, catching and getting rid of them. After we closed the door of course. Our dog Kermit ate one, I’m pretty sure.

That was Saturday.

On Sunday, we found about six more. Three of them in the living room. Yesterday morning the kids killed four more in the morning, more after school and I got two when I came home from work.

So, let this be a lesson to you all. If you’re going to pull up old shrubs and shit trees and basically turn over old earth in dark, pokey corners of your yard, DON’T LEAVE YOUR DAMN DOORS OPEN!

I have to go now. I have a plague in my home and it must be cleansed.

ugh.

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It’s been a whirlwind month and a half since I first went to the hospital with my swollen feet.
There I was back in January with a small, sharp pain thinking it was plantar fasciitis or something related, just dealing with it when one night in February, I looked down and noticed my ankle was a little swollen. No biggie, I thought. I had been feeling pain in my left foot, so maybe I was unconsciously over compensating with the right. I went to bed and woke up without swelling.
But then it kept getting worse. And the pain shifted from under my heel to both my ankles, my knees and my feet in general. Finally the swelling and pain got so bad that I had trouble walking so one night, after my late shift at work, I went to the ER. 11 hours later I left with an appointment to see a rheumatologist. Dr. Grant.

Dr. Grant is wonderful. At our first visit, he told me that what I was experiencing was likely Rheumatoid Arthritis. Which was a hard thing for me to hear. He gave me a prescription for naproxen and a follow up appointment for a week later. We talked about all the other joints where I had sharpness or pains and we talked about sarcoidosis, which he felt was not to be completely ruled out, but, he wanted to wait and see what happened with the naproxen. To be safe, he sent me downstairs (his office is in the hospital) for chest x-rays and blood work. Well, I picked up my pills, took them home and started on it. Two days later the pain was worse and the swelling was WAY worse. My legs were one size, from the widest point of my calves, down to my toes. I could barely fit shoes on, even with the laces open as widely as possible. I called his office and he got me back in immediately.

That was a Wednesday. I went to my appointment with him that morning and showed him my feet, which now also had angry looking dark blotches on the skin. Then he looked at my legs, my knees, my fingers and fingernails and told me that my x-ray had shown that the lymph nodes in my lungs were enlarged. A classic sign of sarc. He did an ultrasound on my ankles and pointed out granulomas and swelling issues. He sent me down for more blood work, another x-ray and a ct scan with contrast as well as an ECG. Sarc, I was beginning to learn, is a scary ass disease. He also wrote me out of work for a few days because now I needed prednisone to take down the swelling and I really needed to be off my poor feet. I was fine with that, seeing as walking was so painful and I had been limping around work for a while.

The new pills took down the swelling and my next appointment the following week confirmed it. I had granulomas everywhere. In my joints, lungs, one in my BRAIN behind my EYES (I’m seeing an opthamologist about that one, and it’s likely the reason I suddenly needed glasses this year) and enough of a question mark around my ECG result that I’m being sent for an echo-cardiogram.

I may or may not have had a panic attack about some of this.

Here’s the thing about Sarcoidosis though, that I’ve learned on this complete whirlwind. It’s either going to be acute, and it will all clear up and go away, or it’s going to be chronic and I’ll have problems and flare ups for the rest of my life and NO ONE knows which until I finish my course of steroids and have things settle down.

It’s called “The Snowflake Disease” because it’s literally different in everyone it affects. It’s called the “it’s not cancer booby prize” because often times those granulomas are seen as tumors. It’s called the great pretender because it’s symptoms imitate: arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue, hashimotos, fibromyalgia and many, many more illnesses. In fact, it’s not unusual for it to go along with any or all of these. The jury is still out on whether or not I also have rheumatoid arthritis with this, we simply can’t know until all the sarc symptoms are gone or under control.

My wonderful husband, who as most of you know, has had his own issues with sudden, extremely serious health/heart problems, has been wonderful through this. He has listened to me rant, he has listened to me cry, and he has listened to me complain. On our most recent date night, we spent a good hour discussing our respective health and how we feel about it all. Who knew that at 40 we would have so much to talk about in that department? Certainly neither of us did.

No one ever expects that they will wake up one morning and be sick for the rest of their lives. We simply don’t count that in the things that we worry about. There are far too many other things to worry about. But I can’t spend my days dwelling on it either. I have to make a choice every morning when I get up. Pay attention to what’s hurting today, yes for sure, but then, adjust, and move on. I have to CHOOSE not to live *in* the hard. I have to choose to let my hard just be a part of me and focus on what’s good. Or at least focus on what needs my attention more. Because there is always something that does. It’s the same mindset that I use when I’m having a bad day with depression. Or at least the one I work hard at using, some fights are better than others. We live in the mindset we allow ourselves to live in. Sure, I could give in to the self wallowing and eating of all the feelings and depression of it all. Sometimes I do just that. But I don’t want to live in it every day. I don’t want ALL my days to be defined by my illness. Because I am not my illness. I am just me.

So that’s it, folks. Opthamologist on May 3rd (I AM freaking a bit over this one, I have a phobia about my eyes being touched and an intense fear of what they may have to do) and echo cardiogram coming up sometime soon. Then follow up x-rays and likely a follow up ct to see if anything has shrunk or gone away completely.

In the meantime, work. Kids. Husband. House.

Life.

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It was a dark and stormy night.

Actually, it was a stupid night after the first day of spring with a freak snowstorm and now it looks like full on winter again and I don’t like it.

It’s twelve thirty six am here. My husband is gently snoring in bed beside me and I cannot sleep. Could be the steroids. Could be my overactive brain. I’ve never been a great sleeper. I mean, I *was* getting good at it for a while there but then I got sick and went on steroids that can mess with your sleep patterns so there you go.

My room is too warm. Which is funny, because before his heart attack Shawn was a human furnace and liked it cool whereas I was always cold, but, we’ve done a switch because my body has already kicked itself into pre-menopause and I’m hot all the time and his new, post heart failure, on blood thinners body is now always cold.
Trade-sies!

I’m annoyed with my illness. I’m ever fearful of his. Who would have guessed that we’d each wake up one day at 40 and be sick for the rest of our lives?

That’s maudlin, I know. But it’s late and therefore the maudlin thoughts are the ones with top billing. My brain always did like to fixate on the negative. At least that’s what a therapist once told me.

I miss smoking sometimes. But I don’t miss the money it ate up, the smell of it stale or the health problems it probably was a huge contributor too.

I need some sleep. I’m going to be so tired in the morning. But, the plows are out and they’re doing the circulation of the school parking lot across the street, so all I can hear is that loud engine revving and the sound of the scoop scraping on the asphalt. Not exactly a lullaby. A very Canadian sound. Like a zamboni. Or tinny voice at the Tim Horton’s drive through.

I’m going to try to sleep soon. I’m going to lay down, tuck my body pillow neatly between my knees and pinch and release my muscles, from my toes to my nose, as a yoga teacher once taught me, until my whole body remembers how to relax at the same time.

I will not get distracted by the beckoning electric light of my cell phone’s internet. I will not.
Probably.
An hour, tops.

Goodnight, strange world. I’ll see what you look like in the morning.

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When Shawn got his job out here, we had about two months to pack up our Ontario lives and move to the East coast.  Not a huge amount of time, but you’d be surprised what people who are motivated can accomplish.

Then, when Shawn was jussst starting to come back from his heart attack, an opportunity presented itself for our oldest daughter, Keisha, to move back to Ontario.  She never liked it out here.  It was hard on her, which, is totally understandable.  I mean, she was out of high school and not yet going to college and there was nowhere for her to meet up with any peers in a non-weird way.  So she was lonely.  And work in New Brunswick is hard to come by.  At least sustainable work.  I should know, it took me nearly three years to find my full time, permanent job.  I worked a lot of part time, contract positions.  But, you do what you gotta do.

And now we find ourselves living and breathing the preparations for the next big move.  Ash is going to University in the fall.  And it’s overwhelming all the planning that goes into it.  And the money….jeez louise.

The money notwithstanding, there is just so damn much to know.  And to get ready.  She has lists upon lists.

I have to admit, I’ve been waffling so much between being incredibly proud, completely nervous, stressed out.  Probably all the things I would have felt more thoroughly with Keisha had it not been such a whirlwind and also in the midst of one of the biggest stress points of my life.  Our lives.

Poor Ash.  I’m trying to keep most of my more extreme feelings away from her (she is stressed enough).

I’ve never been good with big changes in my life.  I like things to stay the way they are.  But life doesn’t do that.  It just waits until you get comfortable and then it throws big change at you.

I guess I need to spend more time preparing myself for the changes that are inevitable.

How do you handle big changes??

 

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Sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. There are times in my life when clearly, CLEARLY, I should have opened my mouth and spoken some damn truths. But the same thing stopped me then as stops me now. And that is, when is it okay to air your dirty laundry and when should you keep your stains to yourself?
Believe me, I know that I have gotten very personal on this blog. That’s what a blog is, right? It’s basically a public journal. So yeah, I’ve gotten personal. But, about things that are concerning myself and my family, not really when it comes to outing someone else and their behaviour. And not when it comes to some highly personal shit that has gone down in the last five to ten years. I’ve never named names and I’ve never put the behaviour of some others under the spotlight here. Even when those same people decided it was okay to sick a bunch of adults on my children. Even then. (Of course in that circumstance there SHOULD have been police involvement, and that person has continued to occasionally stalk me online) But I digress.
I was reading something online the other day. It was a post on a social media site from someone I know who was putting out there some intensely personal stuff. Right out there. Which meant that I had to talk to my kids about it, since they all saw it. Information that they didn’t need to know. Not that I EVER shy away from hard conversations with my kids, but sometimes, they don’t need to know things about adults. Some things, I believe, should be kept to yourself.
Case in point. When Shawn had his heart attacks. Yes, I posted updates and talked about it here all the time. I still do. BUT. There are parts of that ordeal you didn’t get. Because they weren’t for you. They were for us. As it should be.
I don’t know what I’m saying today. It’s a tough subject to broach. I guess I’m saying: shouldn’t there be a line? I don’t mind telling you all kinds of personal shit about myself but I have a line. Some stuff you don’t get to know.
Ugh.
It’s raining and slushy and awful out today and my sleep patterns are messed up and I’m having all kinds of lucid, not altogether welcome, dreams lately so maybe that’s making me weird. Or maybe I’m just mad about that post.
Maybe it’s nothing at all.
Maybe it’s Maybelline. (snicker)
Sorry for the rant, folks. Tomorrow is another day.

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I’ve been busy, y’all.

Before the holidays, I had a job interview for what would have been a dream for me. It was a fundraising position with, wait for it, The Heart and Stroke Foundation! Yeah, that would have been super sweet. Spoiler: I didn’t get it. Which is a crying shame because I would have been more passionate about that job than anyone else I know but, c’est la vie. I *did* get a different job that I applied for and, drum roll please, this one is a full time permanent position! Yes! Since moving here (as I have much vented on here) I have only been working part time or on contract or both. But, it seems that I have now found my place and I start this coming Monday. It means that 2016 for me is starting with yet more life changes, but, that’s okay. I’ll take this new job change, because I’m super happy about it.

The holidays were weird. Not in a good way or a bad way, per se, just…weird.
First, we had to cancel our plans to go to Nova Scotia to spend a day and a half with my sister, her family, and my parents. Why? Because we have dogs and it didn’t even occur to me to look into the logistics of bringing them (because I just assumed I would) until it was too late. So, we stayed home, which, as I mentioned, was fantastic after all. And our holidays were a lot of more of the same of those days. Lazy days at home where we all hung out together, ate all the food, drank, watched movies and basically just got all loved up on one another.

I had a LONG overdue and very real conversation with my oldest, Keisha, over facetime on our phones and a lot of what we talked about got me thinking about myself, some of my life choices and how I wound up where I am and who I am today. Introspection can be a wonderful thing but it can also be a bit of a bitch, because you wind up looking at not just the great and wonderful things that got you to here, but also the bad choices, the mistakes and the heart breaks. My mind has been a whirlwind of thoughts lately. I’ve not really been talking to people outside of home unless I absolutely have to. Sometimes you just need things to be…quiet. So, I stopped texting people and I stopped posting on here and I haven’t even been as active on my social media as I usually am, but, when your head gets noisy, you need all other things to quiet down.

Y’hear that, head?? Quiet the hell down already!

I AM excited for new job. That is going to be one really big, really wonderful change. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

Also, we have a big spring ahead of us. Our middle daughter is graduating high school. A super big deal.

So, hello to you all who I’ve been keeping quiet from lately. I’m not neglecting you, I promise. I’m just shushing myself. I’ll be back to loud and rowdy in no time.

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