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.

Image

One Box a Day

Do you know how hard it is to limit yourself to one box a day? But right now, it’s about all that I can handle. I’m so exhausted from the move on Saturday that my days look a little like this:

5:15 am wake up, fight some vertigo, stare at the ceiling and think about how much my hips hurt, my shoulders ache, and the fact that I don’t know if I have the strength to roll over today…… go pee, take pills,  make coffee (all hail mighty Kuerig!)

6:15 drive Ken to work. In my pajamas. Who needs getting dressed this early?

7:15 Arrive home and fall down to rest, fight some vertigo until about 9:30-10:30, because  driving exhausts me that much

10:30 try to unpack one box until the task gets too overwhelming and I end up on the floor sweating, in pain and almost in tears.

11:30 Stop to eat, take more pills, start preparing dinner, or maybe run an errand or two. Try not to die from pain, exhaustion or a combo of both. With a bit of anxiety thrown in, just for fun you know.

1:30-3:30 pm – it’s time to lay down and fight some vertigo whether I like it or not. Set alarms so I don’t sleep right though getting Ken from work.

4:00 Call my grandmother, who without her and Ken, I don’t know how I would pull through the day sometimes. I get my pep talks through them, or I just vent my frustrations of being sick, fatigued, in pain, you name it. I need the outlet sometimes.

4:30 aaaaannnnnnddddd…….I’m off again, to pick Ken up from the VA Hospital, for his shift is over. I try not to zone out and just focus behind the wheel, but admittedly it’s hard at this point. I’m very foggy, and as much as I love driving, I don’t trust myself a lot in the car anymore. It depresses me that I have lost joy and gained fear in something else in my life. I always end up letting Ken drive home, because I’ve used up all my reserves just to get there safely to pick him up.

5:30 Hopefully, if I’m on top of things, I’ve planned dinners for the week already and taken steps to pre prepare them with Ken’s help on Sunday or at least the night before because if not, starting from scratch, I’m screwed. We end up eating like crap. And I have spent all day fighting nausea anyway so it’s hard to find an appetite.

6:30 Resting, working online on a project, helping Ken unpack a box, running an errand, take your pick because I could be doing any of these things. With a little fatigue and vertigo thrown in.

8:00 Finally, I’m in bed. But i can’t take my pills yet, it’s too early. I’ll wake up like its morning at 1 am if I do. Must stay awake until 9. Finally at 9 I take my pills, and pass out.

Wake up at 10. Wake up at 12. Wake up at 3. Wake up at 4:30. Give up sleeping, and start thinking about the day over my coffee from the almighty Keurig again.

One box at a time. It’s all I can handle right now. I just want to be normal.

 

Driving Ms Eileen. Crazy.

I had the greatest snippet with my ultra conservative Fox News loving, Ann Coulter reading, Sarah Palin worshipping Great Aunt the other day. Sometimes I forget what music I have on XM in the car……

Car ( playing ” Back That Ass up” )

Eileen: “OH MY GOD. WHAT IS THIS?”

Me: (snickering) “Sorry about that, forgot to change the channel.”

Eileen: “WELL. That’s certainly not very CHRISTIAN music now is it.?”

Me: “I never claimed to be a Christian. I’m an Atheist.”

Eileen sucked in her breath SO hard I thought it was going to suck the car and all of us right into a black hole. Meanwhile my grandmother erupted in laughter in the backseat and later told me it was the funniest thing she had heard anyone say to Eileen in a LONG time.

Speaking of my godlessness, my dad specifically wrote in his card to me that he hopes God will step up and show me that “I Am Here” so that I believe once again. Uhhhh. I appreciated the rest of the sentiment, why did he have to go and throw that awkwardness in there? Religious fundamentalists just cannot help themselves can they??

If This Were a CD, My Thoughts Would be Songs

I bought this nifty keyboard case for my iPad so it would help me you know….write easier. Guess what I haven’t been doing? A whole lot of writing, I can tell you that. LLLIIIIIFFFFEEEE. I’m living it, I want to share it but I’m just too damn tired to be bothered sometimes to be honest. SO, here’s a post of non sequitur thoughts that have some to maybe no relevance to my life but are in my head.

My brother turned 20 and that’s neat. He is the youngest and he is getting all “growed up.” I also just had a semi frustrating dream about him last night in which I was SUPER pissed off because he was being a jerk and refusing to do the dishes right.

Ken, the CATS, and myself are all bumming it at grandma’s this week. Yes, the cats too! It was a family road trip to DC this year. “Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we go!” The cats were less than pleased with the car ride but they are treating this place like one huge cat resort where love is dispensed at every turn and treats reign down from the sky. I think they are going to be ok.

Every time I merge onto the Beltway this week I end up regretting it. Obscenities are screamed, road rage is had. DC, baby, I’m home for Christmas.

Danica Mckellar, “Winnie” from the Wonder Years, was on TV talking about doing a lesbian make out scene and I felt REALLY old.

I’m going to have all sorts of fun in a few weeks with electrodes and a bed. Nope, its not some sort of 50 Shades of Grey thing, sorry you got excited. It’s a sleep study to be evaluated for sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, one of which I can pretty much already tell them I have. I mean, out of control twitching? KINDA HARD TO MISS. I did not even bring this up with the sleep doctor, he picked up on it from my intake paperwork which was nice. I did not have to go in there sounding like a hypochondriac, my medication list I gave him was already mind blowing enough.

Speaking of, my SSDI case is moving forward. Ken and I both received extensive quality of life sort of packets to fill out regarding my daily pain and activities, blah blah. We have 20 days to complete it. Fingers crossed.

Grandma: Bringin’ It Full Circle.

My grandma is a serial cell phone swapper. She doesn’t even use it. She is one of those people who still turns it off every second it’s not in use, charges it every day at home anyway, and uses only three minutes a month. You can NEVER actually call her on it, which is annoying since she does spend A LOT of time outside the house wandering all over D.C. on foot. We do get concerned because, whatever, Carole does what Carole wants! She takes the city by storm with no car at 86 years old and there is nothing you’re gonna do about it! And she’s kicked cancer in the ass THREE TIMES.

But I digress. Back to the phones. At one point she owned one of those old people cell phones with only 3 buttons. Jitterbug it was called. Remember those hilarious commercials? (turns out Verizon was the parent company and just used the idea to pander to old people.) You actually had to CALL the Jitterbug customer service people and they programmed your phone for you because you were old and your phone only had 3 buttons. Operator, Tow (your car), and a 911 button.

20130814-065347.jpg
Three button phone, in all it’s glory. Who could mess this up?

Then she decided she could handle a real cell phone and got Verizon. Not long after that though she decided contracts were for suckers because she never uses her cellphone (remember she turns it off at all times unless she’s actively on it)…..and went to Virgin Mobile. However, now she needs me to figure out how to erase texts Virgin Mobile sends her to top up her minutes. I also have to program her directory, erase her voice mails, and all the other functions a normal cellphone user does when your phone has more than 3 buttons. So basically we have come full circle and now I’M THE JITTERBUG CUSTOMER SUPPORT PERSON.

I love my grandma. (Also, she routinely calls me up to ask me if I think going with Sprint like my mother does is a good idea. No grandma, just no. No more cell phones for you. I’m cutting you off.)

Respecting the Elderly CAN Be Hard.

Today I’m doing an experimental exercise on self-restraint through writing. Mostly because I had this absolutely horrifying conversation with my grandmother last night, and I know this woman is not a terrible person, she just has Tourette’s of the mouth sometimes, that goes along with Tourette’s of the 1950’s ideology and it rears its head sometimes and makes me want to scream. I promise you the very next day, she will go out and do something fantastically generous and liberal and you won’t even believe it’s the same woman but I’m the one who’s left to deal with knowing that sometimes…..sometimes she still acts like “that person” sometimes and I hate her for it. SO ONTO HER FUNNY QUIRKS.

My grandmother sometimes gets caught up in the fad of the month like someone following PEOPLE magazine, Or Dr. Oz goes crazy for. (Oh….Dr. Oz. If I had a dollar for every time she called me up and started a conversation with “Dr. Oz says….” and then drops some stupid medical knowledge I told her YEARS AGO I’d be fucking rich by now. But when HE SAYS IT, IT’S THE FIRST TIME EVER SHE’S HEARD IT.) She also does this with fad diets and DISHES. At one point she had a theory. Buy little dishes, “like Koreans.” (Her words not mine) Eat little portions out of all of them. So she went to Macy’s and bought a shit ton of fiesta ware. All little dishes. She then made dinner in 6 little dishes every night for each of us. It lasted for like a month until she realized she was washing a shitload of dishes. Now, that I’m married and have a place of my own, guess who is trying to give me all of the little dishes every time I visit? She tried South Beach for a while, I’m not sure what happened there, but Atkins, well, she likes grains. In her words “Starving herself of bread just doesn’t work.” Currently she’s into Greek yogurt, Oikos mango to be exact, every morning, with toast and good lord she does not live without protein bars, that must consist of peanut butter and chocolate. She also freaks out if she thinks the fridge has “too much food” in it. Which is a major issue every time Ken and I visit and put ANYTHING in it, because you know, the logical cause of two more people in the house is a temporary influx of food. We try to hide it as best we can but you know, what can you do, we have to EAT. I finally came in a few months ago to see she bought an upright freezer for the basement for all her frozen Costco purchases and laughed, because even though her upstairs freezer is NEVER FULL I guess this eases her food storage mind a bit, and ultimately we have more out of sight food hiding places when we visit for the weekend.

I feel marginally better after thinking of this side of my grandmother and her crazy obsession with the perfect food consumption and storage situation. It sort of explains also where I constantly get the need to revamp and reorganize certain parts of my life, only I take it out on the living room furniture configuration and how the pantry operates and dispenses food directly into my mouth. THANKS GRANDMA!

Ode to My Grandma, Chapter 2 “She Gets Lost A Lot”

My grandmother, as I’ve mentioned before, is a brilliant woman, whom I respect, and owe a lot of who I have become to. But she’s got to know by now, this also means my foul language and my sense of humor. And the fact that she herself makes me laugh. A LOT.

My grandmother lives and functions fully on her own, but she gets lost everywhere. At the grocery store, at Target, in the mall, places like that. I always feel like I’m corralling her into the direction she needs to go. Yet this woman can to the most amazing things considering, like work the military computer system at Walter Reed in Bethesda where she volunteers twice a week, and still remember how to ride the NYC subway like she’s still 15.

She also gets lost on the DC Metro (subway) . Like at Gallery Place, where she transfers trains 5 days a week, for the past 20 years. The part that kills me the most is the look on her face. It’s total shock and confusion. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. She then will walk the wrong way in a circle. But with a purpose. And she’s 5 ft 10. So it’s weird, towering, giant old person lost in the subway, bewildered yet determined. I do not know how she finds her train sometimes because when I’m with her, it’s me who gets us on the right track, quite literally.

Then there is Costco. The Costco thing Ken and I have developed an actual battle plan for. For when we make the Costco trip we always have to take her and her sister. And they always want the same items on their lists. Every single time. And they always get lost. In opposite directions, at different paces. Its much like unleashing two toddlers inside of Costco, closing your eye for maybe 15 seconds and then spending the rest of the day trying to FIND THEM. So we divide and conquer. And they are shocked we show up with armfuls of toilet paper, salmon, protein bars, and Kleenex. Also, dish soap, crystal light, Metamucil….And we communicate via text across the store. What’s mind blowing about this situation with my grandmother in particular is that her list never changes and she’s NEVER actually out of this stuff when we take her shopping. We come home and she’s still got 120 rolls of toilet paper left, 20 boxes of Kleenex and 3 gallons of dish soap yet to be used. It’s all in the basement, in that situation I posted about a few days ago, here

When I called her yesterday, because I call her at least every other day, this woman is BFF status to me, she told me she’s going to have someone haul away all the junk in the basement again. Minus her Costco spoils. I feel terrible about this, because Ken and I wanted to do this entirely FOR HER in recent months, but due to my hospitalizations, migraines, vertigo, his school, and general suckiness of life, we have not even been up to DC since March, let alone anything else for months preceding that. I feel like I should make this up to her somehow. Mostly because soon, we are going to have to ask her for HER help again, and she knows it.

Ode To My Grandma, Chapter 1

I used to live with my grandmother for a few years in my mid 20’s when I was trying to get back on my feet again after getting life kicked in the face too much to handle on my own. She has always been great like that, picking me up when I needed it, giving me the chance to move on again, and being this amazing inspiring battle axe of a woman herself all at the same time. She’s also hilarious, in that “Don’t judge me I DO WHAT I WANT, I’M FROM NYC, COME AT ME BRO!” sort of ways and I feel some of this stuff REALLY needs to be immortalized….through prose.

When I moved in, I moved out 30 years of stuff from the basement. Like I called 1-800-GOT JUNK and had it hauled outta there because there was no way she could handle that herself, and had no intentions of making the hard choices to. And shes not a sentimental material person, so beyond what i KNEW were off limits to throw away, it was all fair game for trash or donation. However, She’s filled it since I left again. Not quite as bad. Not HOARDERS status, but dusty junker status. She is a QVC shopper. And loves bags. Most of it at this point isn’t really good old stuff, it’s just old stuff. She doesn’t have much that has “history” to it really. Besides her jewelry. But it’s not like she has antique furniture and lamps or stuff from Spain from being in the military. She has shoes from the 80s that she can’t let go because she’s thrilled they finally make size 10 shoes. Because they did not when she was young for women. This woman has so many size 10 shoes, she will buy 4 pairs in different colors in case she NEVER finds them again. 4 closets full of shoes.

So it’s more like “grandma, stop buying exercise equipment!”
“Why is there a battery powered mop down here? Your house is carpeted…. on sale? That makes NO SENSE GRANDMA.”
“You never use the iron gym. You’re 87”
And “did you really need that table top pizza oven? You only make a tombstone pizza once a month. It’s now in the basement”
And “the patio furniture from 1984? I don’t want that. It’s gross, and I don’t have a patio.”

We recently lied to her and hid a toaster oven in a cabinet downstairs because we don’t have any room in our kitchen right now to take it on. We want it….but not right now… She gave a Total Gym to my step dad. I have another weird sitting elliptical thing that you can sit on the bed and pedal with your feet. There was a rowing machine at one point. All these things last for like 6 months and she’s like “yeah, I’m not feeling this anymore” And purses…. Purses only work for about 3 months. Before she finds one with a more strategically placed pocket, rendering all other purses useless! (Her words, not mine.) I bagged up about 40 purses and donated them once. There is a new pile in the basement, slowly creeping their way toward the door, like a moving wave purse monster. I’m always scared of what’s going to greet me in the basement from the Home Shopping Network that’s now been extinct every time I go home. Upside? I have a lot of cool barely used gadgets and purses waiting for me whenever I need to match an outfit or build my home gym.