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Le Chat

Le Chat

My latest zentangle project finished. This one was really fun and very therapeutic. I’m pretty proud of myself for completing this.

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Up Shit’s Creek Without A Paddle.

My cat has conjunctivitis.

I feel like leaving this post just at that sentence alone, because that’s just the overall tone of my week. Everyone is laying around sick trying to give what they have to the next person (or cat). The lethargy in this house is epic. Ken and I have been sprawled out in bean bag chairs in the basement, pretty much just drooling, looking at the TV and willing there to be a magic fairy that would bring us food. And that fairy must know what we want, because we sure as hell didn’t.

I was shown the way into some totally free college courses by major universities this week as well and I’m pretty excited about the prospect, but to be honest, I don’t know how much I can handle at this present moment. I have registered for two classes, and I’m checking out two archived ones, but the commitment terrifies me even though its totally self paced. I haven’t been able to sign on but one night this week and only for like 30 min because of all the sick going around. But I want to share this resource for anyone interested in learning just to continue learning. Some of the programs will give you legit completion certificates at the end, and they will grade you and take your assignments serious as a college course should be taken for an extra small fee. edX.org is the website.

Also I have taken up some stress relieving meditative art. I’m getting into zentangle, which is kinda like creative pattern doodling, where you just make patterns and go with it, creating this wonderful masterpiece as you go. Mine are still on the new and crude side, but the really good ones are truly beautiful works of art.

I really need some stress relief in my life because financial relief isn’t coming soon enough. Ken has been going on interviews and there is good interest shown, but the hiring process potentially takes so long we are drowning in the meantime and have been turned down for every state assistance I have been able to apply for. Losing round 1 of my SSDI case was really a huge blow even though it was a long shot to begin with and I STILL have to appeal that. I don’t know if I have the strength to move on and do it, I’m just broke down right now really. The last thing I want is a legal battle. Just like the last thing I want is an eviction. And both of those are on the table it seems, when you are disabled and no one has any income coming in or help to offer. Things were supposed to get better. College degrees open doors right?

I feel like such a failure at life.

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My First Zentangle

My Husband, The College Graduate.

Today is a rather big day in the Woodland house. It’s the last day of Ken’s clinicals, but that signifies something larger for us. It means, that after 3 years, KEN IS FINALLY A COLLEGE GRADUATE. He’s earned his degree and done with school (for now) and it’s time to move on to the next phase of our lives. We have trudged through financial aid, student loans, GI Bill benefits, all night studying and keeping the weirdest hours on the planet, and survived with our relationship in tact. I’m so proud of how he’s been excited through the whole thing, given it his best and been recognized for his hard work along the way. Personally I would give him ALL THE DEGREES, but then again, I’m biased I suppose. Now onto the job market with us, which is a daunting place and already proving to be somewhat of a nightmare.

It’s hard knowing that now you have next to no income coming in, bills to pay and a time limit until you could possibly be out on the street. We have been struggling for 3 years teetering on the edge of this, but now that school is over and absolutely no more loans or aid is coming, it just ups the stakes to epic proportions of stress and scariness. And with my SS denial, my health taking a major crash lately, and life that doesn’t stop just because you have problems or are sick, I’ve cycled down into a depressive state of my bi polar roller coaster. It’s definitely not mania anymore. I just want to curl up and disappear from the world to take my existence away from being a burden from all those my life effects. At least temporarily until I have something better to offer them, to make up all the craziness that has come out of my being alive. I do appreciate though the support system I’m building with a few people who understand and are even experiencing the same types of struggles. This is honestly a first for me. I’m glad I’m not alone, even though I can’t fix them, or myself in the boat we are all in together.

But we should be ok this month, and that’s what I’m going to remember when Ken gets home today, and for the rest of this week. This week is a celebration of an official college graduate at Casa Woodland.  ❤

Struggling to the Top, Again.

To be perfectly honest, I’m tired and I want pierogies. Or sushi. But since I don’t have a car today, sushi is out of the question and I have a feeling Ken might be all sushi’d out. It’s all I want lately. So shortly I will attempt to stand long enough for some pierogies which will most likely evolve into pizza rolls, and I will then hit the bed like I have been doing manual labor all day. The truth is however, I haven’t been doing much manual labor all day. I caught up with a great friend today…. I MISS YOU KURT IRBY!!!!…..I cleaned the kitchen up a bit, and I have been exhausted the rest of the day.

We found out yesterday that I was denied round 1 of SSDI approval. While this was actually expected, my psyche is actually taking it as a blow. Those fuckers have NO IDEA what I deal with everyday, how I struggle to physically and mentally remain here on this earth and try to find a purpose in my life. How I DO NOT want to ask for help, yet I know I’m in no position at this point to make it on my own anymore.To someone on the street I may look like a normal human, but I assure you every step I take is calculated, every activity planned. Everything revolves around having the proper rest and pain under control to carry on. My goals aspire to be the girl who can support others like me from home, while taking care of myself, to let them know they are not alone, there are people out there willing to connect with them. But it cant happen if this stress in my life over where my next meal is coming from continues to be a problem. I need a little support myself so I can give back to those who need support as well. Is our system so broken that this can never be a possibility for me? I hope not. In the meantime, I need a lawyer and advocate to get me through these appeals so I can continue to fight this fight until I can bring some relief to myself and to Ken who is my steadfast supporter no matter what we face, or the outcome. I need to live up to this for him, and myself at this point.

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.

 

If That’s Movin’ Up than I’MMM….Movin’ Out!

Big things have been brewing here at the Woodlands. Ken finally got the call that he would be starting his clinicals at the VA Hospital, starting…..today. We have been waiting for this phone call since the beginning of January and were growing worried he wouldn’t get in and therefore NOT graduate on time. HUGE sigh of relief. On the stressful side this means 10 hour days, and no car for me at home for him to catch up for time lost, but we will take it. Anything to get this done.

However in the same day we also had to make a HUGE decision. Our current lease is almost up so we were sent our lease renewal papers. The new rent was just too high to justify paying for the house we are in and all it’s problems. So we have decided to move, or transfer units. We were lucky enough to get a renovated unit, that while it’s only two bedrooms, it has a basement rec room, so it’s actually a LARGER floor plan for the same amount of base rent that we pay now. Having two furballs though to pay rent for is going to raise our rent uncomfortably, but at this point we have no choice. Until Ken has a steady job, we can’t prove income to move anywhere cheaper. It’s more important than ever I win my disability case.

So we are moving in April, and I’m already obsessively packing and purging. I have a huge donation for Purple Heart, a veteran’s charity, of clothes and household items we really have no need for, and so much of our stuff is getting packed away because it’s just clutter it’s unbelievable. I’m so stressed and excited to have a new house and floor plan to play around with, but I want it to be nice and clean, not overstuffed and cluttered. I’m a minimalist, Ken is the pack rat. My therapist probably thinks I’m a special kind of nuts at this point because to be honest, I’ve been freaking out over the stresses of the possibility of moving since October, and now that it’s actually happening, Ken’s going to have to hold me back from falling over the edge. We have moved 8 times in 5 years, yay Army! , and I’m so moved out I have a complex about it now. So, there might be some moving talk coming up if I forget to take my Ativan.

Peace out.

Wintertime Blues.

I’ve been out of my mind feeling like I have been dropped on my head for weeks. I feel like my meds stopped working. I’m not in my deepest darkest depression, but I feel like a shell of a person just walking around my house, looking for something to do, but not feeling like doing anything. I watch the hours slowly tick by and wonder if drinking will help the days speed by any faster. Nothing seems amusing, but I’m not super emotional in the opposite direction either. Most days I look forward to the washes of fatigue so I can just shut my body down for a few minutes to make time speed up. I have no desire to write. I have hit a brick wall.

Today, I realized, I think it’s winter. Just 6 weeks ago even I was feeling MUCH different, thanking my doc for finding the right combo of meds for me, as I had never felt better. In general I was seeing hope for life despite my struggles. Then the bitter cold, shorter days, and the rain and snow started dumping. I’ve been sick, quarantined and cooped up in the house due to my autoimmune issues. I’m so done with winter but I really have no idea how to perk myself up right now. I really don’t have friends in Richmond. Life has been so stressful with school, my illness and the Army that we haven’t had a real opportunity to make any. Especially since I’m a pretty introverted person, I find it hard to initially put myself out there and build connections anyway. I guess I’m just feeling the downside of that pretty hard right now, when I look at my phone and realize I don’t even have anyone besides my grandmother to talk things out with anymore. My call history contains 3 people, and all of them are family. 

I know I have turned this post into a total pity party, but its been weighing on me. I need to change some things in my life come spring. I need to find the zest for living again. Remember my hobbies. Try to figure out how to adjust my physical needs to be able to accommodate a social life. Figure out how to get a social life. Until then, I’m going to keep holding on and hating snow. 

 

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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From the Favorite Granddaughter, with Love.

Recently we lost a very dear member of our family, my grandfather. It’s hard because he is the first grandparent I have lost while I have been alive (my other grandfather died before I was born) so a part of me has no idea what to say about it.

I know he’s been sick and struggling for a long time. Now, I’m a very rational person, and my first thoughts are, I just want his pain and suffering to be eased. It might emotionally hurt us, but we have to accept what is meant to be for him. I think of my grandmother and aunts and uncles and how they are going to cope and I’m upset for them. My father has tried very hard to be there through this whole ordeal and its been hard on him. My grandfather was a good man, a kind man, and deserving of everyone coming together to show him the love and time he needed when he needed it the most. I’m only sorry I do not live close enough to have the means to be of more of a help myself.

I have thought about death and what it means to me. Because of my position of not having a belief in a god, I also do not believe in an afterlife. I am ok with that. I do believe we all participate in the cycle of life, that we originated from stardust like everything else on our speck of a planet in this vast universe, and we function here within each other’s lives for the time we have. And afterwords we go on to continue to feed the cycle of life, and that’s beautiful. We leave behind our accomplishments, our memories with our loved ones and a legacy through our families that is never really forgotten. My grandfather had his own faith which he was very strong in, and perhaps he is right, what’s after death is certainly something no one knows for sure. Anyway I look at it however, a man with that much love to give deserves nothing but the most beautiful it has to offer.

So, here’s to the man who used to call me “boy” when I was 4 just to hear me squeal “BUT I’M A GIRL GRANDPA!”

Here’s to the man that I used to fight my cousin over trying to determine who was his favorite granddaughter.

Here’s to the man that always had PB&J and, barrel drinks and slices of American cheese in the house for me.

Here’s to the man that was always there, watching the family chaos, but genuinely happy to sit back and embrace it all. He never forgot a grandchild’s name, which is amazing considering there are 19 of us, and for me, knowing my grandpa was at a gathering, somehow made it complete.

And here’s to the man that brought a huge family together and made us all better people for it.

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Even the GREAT grandchildren found him to be something to smile about.