Thinking Out Loud

So here I am, upright and alert at 1 am. The upright part is a constant struggle, but the alert part, happens a lot. I told myself I was taking a hiatus from blogging, and I certainly have kept true to that. The problem is, the mind didn’t stop writing. For me, I find myself composing a million entries in my mind, but not having the willpower to physically bother to just type it out. It’s like that is one step too much a lot of the time the past few months. So I lay there and think about things. Religion, politics, the state of my health, family drama, sometimes zombies after watching too much of The Walking Dead. I craft it all out in my head, what I would say, IF I was writing. Telling myself that the therapeutic value of writing is something that I have found helpful in the past, but still, not actually getting up and doing anything about it. So, still in the fashion of not making promises to myself I don’t know if I’ll keep, I sit once more trying to jumpstart the disconnect between my brain and putting it down on paper (or blog as the case may be)

I have been though a lot since I was doing this as a regular thing. My health has been a roller coaster of coming to terms with the way things are and trying to manage life as things get thrown at me. I spent three months recently not eating enough to sustain energy to function, because Gastroparesis decided to take over my body on top of the Rhuematoid Arthritis becoming increasingly hard to manage. Spending days on end fearing and steering away from food, having my joints uncontrollably ache to the point of needing extra assistance walking and surviving in general just sum up a pretty miserable winter by most counts. We have been adjusting to Ken working nights, sleeping days and not quite knowing where I fit into all that. Digging out of financial issues, trying to retain a tether to friendships I haven’t been able to keep up with, and going into a pretty deep depression have dominated all in the past few months. At one point, I just wanted to curl up in the most remote corner of my house, with a blanket and just not think anymore. The freedom of stretching out in bed seemed even too overwhelming some nights. I went off pretty much all my medications and am currently struggling to get back into a regimen that keeps me as functional as possible. I had plenty to be thankful for, yet bringing myself out of the pit was something I just could not seem to undertake. Sometimes its hard to think about the reality that it probably WON’T be the last time I go through this sort of thing. That I just have to keep moving on and letting myself take the time to rest and reorient as needed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

At the moment, we are dealing with the logistics of having our car damaged in a car accident, dealing with insurance and the waiting game of getting our car back. Ken is on his way out the door for two weeks military assignment in Hawaii, which doesn’t include me, and I’m jealous about that. He better look sufficiently sad in every picture he takes, the nerve. I have to mentally and physically prepare to drive up to DC for a few days, mostly to help out my grandmother with some stuff, maybe feel good enough to enjoy a few things while I am there. It certainly helps that the rental SUV we have at the moment, I thoroughly enjoy and I might have to give it back with great sadness when all things car are completed.

In other news I have been craving eggs on my burgers lately, and its kinda been non stop on that end…I want one right now actually. Which reminds me, our oven is broke and I need to call that in.

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It’s Hard Admitting Real Life Behind The Facade.

So it’s been a month since Ken graduated. And things are hard for us. REALLY hard. I’ve never felt this uncertain before. Ken keeps going on positive interviews and then not hearing any news for weeks, or in one case an internal applicant suddenly popped up and got priority over him. Everyone is impressed with his resume, he is a friendly interviewer, AND he has the degree with 12 years experience  there is just so much competition out there apparently. As his wife, I want to just bust into these places and tell them what talent they might miss out on because I used to work with him as a colleague as well, but ……that would be inappropriate. So here we sit, bills piling up, my SSDI case on appeal, no jobs, being bailed out by the greatest family member in my life. And I feel horrible about it.

It’s why I took my friend’s advice and started this therapeutic art thing. Its kinda what’s keeping me  engaged at all with life, even if I’m just focusing on a piece of paper, a pen and the creative side of my mind. It’s working for the anxiety at that moment. That’s also the problem. After that moment is over, it’s anxiety city up in here again, and I start getting manic because its one of my natural actions to anxiety. Either I want to soothe myself with going and playing with the world, money and consequence be damned, or I go into the dark depression where I want to be swallowed into a black hole and ignored by everything with a pulse for days on end. I have anxiety meds, but i really only use one of them at night to sleep. I worry about the other, because I’m just on so much medication for other health issues it kills me to accept one more. I don’t know WHY think the Ativan is less important than the 17 other pills I take (by last count), but something in my subconscious feels its something I can sacrifice.

It doesn’t help much either that Ken will be leaving for a month in a couple weeks for Ft Knox and we are going to be awaiting some more orders for him to be gone another 3 months to Ft Sam in Texas. But hey, its pay right? We are even looking into going back on active duty on the reserve side because a place may be opening up in his current unit, but that is in its baby stages of being worked out right now. Don’t want to jinx it.

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Are We There Yet?

It’s been awhile eh? (i’m feeling Canadian in honor of my friend Laurie today.)

Move 2014 has been successfully executed. This is mine and Ken’s 8th move since we have been married in all of 5 short years. Between Army duties, deployments, moving, school, health issues and regular marital stuff, our marriage is really really exhausting. I feel like its been an uphill battle the entire 5 years, and I’m with a partner who loves me and who grins the whole way. This move was no different. He put up with my neuroses of starting to pack 6 weeks ahead of time. Though color coding and labeling all the boxes. He helped me purge the extra items for a 15 box donation to Purple Heart. On move day our pep talks went a little like this:

Him: “Deep breaths, we will make it. We are already there!”

Me: “Please don’t punch my dad when he says/does something infuriating.”

Outcome? I didn’t die, and he didn’t punch my dad.

Of course over all the people that came to help were pretty extraordinary to move all our shit that fast and pretty cheerfully at that. I am thankful. After everyone left Ken and I still made another couple truck runs for last min stuff and to clean the house, before we were able to fall down and do nothing last night and survey the disaster that is the new house.

My hips ache. I can barely keep my eyes open and the nausea is pretty constant, and the fibro fog is getting the better of me, but other than that, I came out in one piece. This is going to be a pretty short blog because I am passing out at the computer as I’m typing. I just don’t have it in me to bust out some Pulitzer Prize stuff right now.

We’re Still Having Fun, And You’re Still the One.

Five years ago today woke up next to my best friend. We got dressed, ate breakfast with my roommate, she went to work like it was just another day. It wasn’t for us however. We proceeded to do the scariest thing I’ve ever done. We went downtown and got married. Yup, just like that. There was a moment of cold feet in the courthouse elevator but other than that the story was short and sweet.

In five years, we have moved 8 times, were separated the first 4 months of our marriage, been though the countless struggles and issues with my illness, craziness of the military, spent almost 3 years as a poor college couple and survived a deployment. I came to realize that though all of this, we have never fought, REALLY fought not even once. Mind blowing. I was raised in an environment where knock down blow out fighting was the norm, and taught that early on and throughout a marriage it was to be expected and for 5 years I’ve been waiting for that ball to drop. I realize now, this warped expectation of relationships has caused me great anxiety when really I have the healthiest relationship right in front of me. We are being our own example and I didn’t even know it.

So, today, I’m still waking up next to my best friend. And we are going to get dressed, eat breakfast, and celebrate today the best thing we ever did in finding each other. Committing to it long term.

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Some of you may remember this, but for those who missed it, here is my wedding story.

I feel like we are that couple that no one ever knows quite what to do with. It’s marvelous. He’s this super nerdy nice guy who’d jump in front of a train for a total stranger…..or a puppy. I’m a headstrong sometimes bitch who will cut you if you dare abuse the niceness of my husband, or try to legislate my uterus, whichever. We were brought together during such outwardly mundane circumstances (work). He was a small town boy (LIVIN’ IN A LONELY WORLD….sing with me!) who joined the military and ran into me, a city girl (WHO TOOK THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN GOING ANY-WHERE!), working at the Pentagon. We clicked, and that’s all she wrote.

Actually, that’s not “all she wrote.” We actually have one hell of a story of an evolving friendship and quite a backstory to go with it that’s led to this incredible thing we rightly and proudly call a not so traditional marriage we have today. (DON’T WORRY INTERNET, IT’S TOTALLY LEGAL AND NOT PERVERSE, AND THERE ARE NO ANIMALS INVOLVED, RAND PAUL).

What I love the most about our story is this: IT’S OURS. Some people know the abbreviated version of events. Our closer friends know more of the intimate details. However, there are only two people on the planet that know some of the most important memories of all involving how everything came to be when we started legally sharing the last name of Woodland, and that’s Ken and I. I intend to keep it that way, because I’m complicated like that.

But I’ll tell you this. Our original wedding rings were purchased by hopping off the Red Line of the Metro at Union station and bought from a street jewelry vendor. We took a cab to the courthouse in Arlington and were legally married in a law office underneath a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza. No one mentioned God, nor did we bear any vows to a religious nature. (Gasp! No! Those Atheists have gone and ruined the sanctity of marriage!) We promptly had 5 shots of Jameson at an Irish bar to celebrate after. There were no witnesses. And I was married in my sneakers. Hell yes. I love the city.

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Fingers Crossed For Progress.

You know what’s cool? The Enbrel seems to be working! I’m in so much less pain, I’ve cut way back on the pain meds and my morning stamina is even up. I still have bouts of burning hands and feet, but this start is nothing short of amazing in my opinion so far. I’m still kinda on edge about being constantly immunocompromised and therefore easily able to get sick but so far so good.

My sleep cycles however are a totally different story. Since recovering from the accidental over saturation of sedatives on my liver, I’ve been able to recover from that but it’s brought back all my sleep issues. Namely, my body thinks it’s time to get up for the day at 3am no matter what, and my fatigue tends to get really bad after about noon. I’m going to be doing a sleep study soon to see if we can get some clarification on that because my sleep has been wildly out of control for one reason or another for over 10 years now.

I was also molded and folded and stuffed and fitted for a new bra this weekend for the upcoming bout of Army formal fun. My boobs hurt just thinking about that experience but there is an upside to this. Due to my recent weight loss of 60 lbs my dress has to be taken IN now! Sadly though, my boobs did not shrink. It was like hauling sandbags into a hammock. But I will be pretty damn it! Along with my hot husband in his brand spanking new service uniform, we will look good for once this year!

And with that, coffee #3 is calling….

A Toe In The Water.

So here is a small rundown of my life the past couple weeks.

We got a Kuerig machine. I may have mentioned this already but I’m going to talk about it again. It’s like my most favorite appliance ever and I have a serious K Cup addiction going on. Ken and I have been making up excuses to brew up coffees, teas, and hot chocolate 5-6 times a day each. We really need to lay off this thing before I send myself through the roof. (Actually this has made no difference on my sleep pattern at all because my health just sucks like that but anywho….)

I’ve been cutting cutting cutting back on our expenditures to try and save money but we are still bleeding from the arteries with new things that keep cropping up. Cest le vie, right? But we did get rid of several of our cable boxes and rearrange our plan a bit and now just have Apple TV on the downstairs TV, I’m LOVING it so far, I spent more time in the living room now than when I had cable! Worth the investment, totally.

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Ken was recently promoted. Finally, I can announce that his sergeant rank is official! We have been crossing our fingers for so long on this, knocked down so many times, fought for YEARS for this through several really tough setbacks and situations. I’m really proud of him, and I think he can do this well. If it doesn’t drive us both crazy….you know the military, same shit different day, no matter what day, and let’s say, shits stirring already this holiday season.

And in bizarre news, last week we had a domestic violence incident that the cops got involved in. By cops I mean, 20 squad cars, 30 cops, full riot gear, weapons drawn. They negotiated the release of the wife and child, then entered the house in all their gear and guns, ended up subduing the husband, taking HIS SNIPER RIFLE, and arresting him. This was my next door neighbor and I was in my living room with a front row seat when it all went down. Turns out the family was military as well. Needless to say, they are now being evicted and we can’t wait till our lease is up to vacate this place.

Fibromyalgia is a Bitch.

Lately I’ve been experiencing a major fibromyalgia crash, which is why I’m not blogging as much. This time it’s coming in the form of a crippling fatigue and exhaustion that’s making staying alive difficult, so things like writing have taken a back burner. Don’t get me wrong, I’m using the tiny bit of energy I have to cook a meal and love it, or get done the essentials of the day, but ANYTHING beyond that is out of the question. I can only drive my car when absolutely needed because I’m afraid of passing out behind the wheel. So I’m struggling right now, but my spirits are actually pretty good about it, my crazy meds, and my RA meds seem to be working a bit. Also, I just became one of those sad pill organizer people because the Fibro fog is so bad I keep forgetting and/or double taking my morning pills and it’s gotten out of control….sigh.

On the exciting news, to me anyway, we got a Keurig machine and it’s my new best friend. A friend of ours gave us an opportunity to get one for a super good deal and I’m already declaring it the best purchase of the year and I’m so thankful to her! It would appear I’ve fallen in love with the French Roast sample included in the pack. This could get dangerous.

Today is also day one of Ken and I finally using our complex’s gym. I’m trying to stay moving after ceasing my physical therapy, and Ken has to be able to pass his 2 mile run after recently coming off his profile he has been on for years for mild asthma. The importance is high because he just GOT PROMOTED, and we are determined and excited to make this work and keep on keeping on with this. The Army isn’t easy and we really don’t love it much but we are so close, that we are in it to win it at this point.

HOOAH!

It’s funny how in 24 hours the military can absolutely wreck your plans for days, and those of everyone involved around you. HOOAH!

Ken has been called to work this weekend, with 48 hours notice, so now it’s a total scramble to cancel all our plans. No birthday party for Rhysie. No Costco shopping for grandma. No playing IT consultant for grandma and Eileen. No staying with my parents, seeing my sister, paying last respects to the Colonel AGAIN (he would get it though) and no revisiting the Pentagon for “old time’s sake.” It was just a flurry to disappointing cancellations and clarifying “WHAT THE HELL” details with his unit yesterday when we found out. So in our sadness we ate Bon Chon, and got wasted off of some Soju for the second time this week. White peach Soju is a winner.

20130808-063857.jpg it’s patriotic, red, white and blue. Get it? Ha!

Turns out though, not all was a loss. In our misery, our poor friends down at Bragg were having their own special hell finding out his report date for a 6 week assignment to Ft Lee, in Richmond was moved up two days to FRIDAY, instead of SUNDAY. We had agreed to get him safely to Ft Lee on Sunday as he would not be allowed a car (the military is stupid with the rules for training schools) but since they now thought we would be gone on Friday in DC, he and his wife were freaking out. So as luck would have it, it works out that we are no longer going because I can now help them on Friday no problem! Ha. It’s really fine though, because this particular couple, were my neighbors while Ken was deployed, and without them, I surely would have lost my mind. They took me in as one of their family, every single day, helped me move in, kept my mind from going nuts, became my best friends. That bond continued when Ken came home. We owe them favor upon favor. I would rearrange a million plans to help them out anytime. They are extended family in my eyes. And I’ve missed them terribly since we left Ft. Bragg. But in October they will be moving to Newport News, VA! So much closer!

Maybe we will get some helpful news this weekend about this upcoming year of separation, but most likely not. I’m not holding my breath. I’m too much a veteran in my own right to expect too much out of this no matter how hard they hint at the possibility of information. You get better information listening to people talk in the bathroom like in highschool, than you do at formation most of the time. Until they actually cut and hand you orders and people start going insane.

Ch-ch-ch-changes….

I’ve switched the layout of this here old blog a bit. I believe I’m going to do that from time to time, flex my creative design license a bit. See what WordPress can do for me. I’d like to be a bit more interactive with this page in the future, because after all, it is my project, coming straight at you from my brain. It’s also important though that its pleasing to the eye, and interesting to read, as well as nice to click around on.

So now, at the top right of the page are the RSS feed, twitter, and Flickr logos. Clicking on them will let you subscribe and take you to my photostream respectively. This is definitely a “test” layout, so it might not always be like this but I will never take access to either of these features away. I’m just trying to find the best placement for them. In fact, I’ve added a “Photography” page as well, for me to have some fun rotating pictures I take and sharing them. IT’S LIKE A PICTURE LOTTERY, YA’LL! Feel free to comment on them any time you like, whether its my cats inappropriate display of genitalia, the adorableness of some of the kiddos I’m lucky to be related to, or whatever. It’s all welcome. I would like a better system for this section, but this is my working brainstorm for the moment.

This week has gotten quite busy. This guy, pictured below, is having a birthday. His name is Rhys and he’s the big 2. And as his proud aunt I want to run up to D.C. and smother him with hugs and feed him things made of sugar. So we plan on doing that. I can’t wait to hear what entertaining vocabulary he’s got in store for us this time.

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Bring me cake.

It’s also coming up on my niece’s first day of Kindergarten so we are pretty excited for that big event and come bringing “school supplies” for everyone, to ease the transition we hope a little bit. Also, my grandmother needs to go to Costco with her sister and WE ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!

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School has no idea what’s about to happen. It’s never going to recover.

Also we will be setting foot in the Pentagon for the first time in quite a while. Flashbacks to the place where it all began for Ken and I, maybe it’s something I even need. Even if all our friends being military, are no longer there, save one or two civilians. It’s where I met my best friend who became my husband, and its a good time to revisit that memory. There is a memorial going on for the Commander we worked under, who passed away a year ago, a wonderful Colonel, and if we can we are going to attend that, as we were unable to attend his funeral due to military obligations at the time. I’d like the chance to pay him a last respect, because he treated us as humans and coworkers on his team, rather than subordinates in a distant chain of command.

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Ken, Col. Block, and I. Last day before we PCS’d to Ft Bragg. I was labeled “Benedictine Arnold”for choosing to leave with Ken over the Colonel and the clinic. He was a good man.

The Fruit Of the Week is: Pepino Melon

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This is our new fruit we are trying this week. The Pepino Melon.

It’s been over a week now. So much has happened, but I’m so tired and still confused and sad I’m not sure I want to spill my guts about it all yet. I still feel drawn to write, yet awkward about doing so. I guess my inspiration is just down. Out of whack. As broken as I feel at the moment.

I’m learning there are actual words to describe what I’ve been going through recently, and for many years in fact, and that’s both comforting and a little sad at the same time. Knowing I have a starting point for expression and help is great, but facing realities is always a difficult process. I want to just get back to some really funny stories here again, and I’m sure I will. I’m just weathering out this storm and waiting for the good stuff to come around.

I have learned this week that my onslaught of vertigo related migraines are most likely due to my use of Methotrexate for my RA, and since I have quit the injections, the vertigo has nearly ceased and the migraines have receded to happening for the “normal” reasons and only 3 in the past month instead of 18+. Now, I’m in an RA flare and must find a new med, but there are options for that and I feel that’s a compromise I’m willing to look into. My physical therapist agrees, and my Rheumatologist better get on board because well, I’m not going back on the methotrexate.

I’ve learned that sometimes the Army gets paperwork right two years later and drops a reenlistment bonus into your bank account without notice. Freaked us out at first (because usually these things are a mistake and they then take it back and it’s a HUGE ORDEAL) but this time it seems to be ours and we really need the money this month for bills. That reminds me: Make JAG appointment to update our wills. Because where the Army gives us money to live, they also want us to remember to prepare for death in a timely manner.

Pets are valuable. So are spouses/significant others and good friends and family that reaches out. It’s like a small army of people not willing to let you die mentally until you can get what you need.

I only teared up twice writing this post.