I’m here to create, not to compete (PS My Family Sucks)

The on coming storm
The on coming storm

We stood in the field together. She stares past my long curly hair as she twists her shoulder length hair around and around and around her finger. She glances up and down my body silently searching for weight gain. Sizing me up. I am well dressed in expensive indigo flare slacks, a retro-inspired black top with white polka dots. My makeup was flawlessly applied. She’s dressed sloppily in a pink and white strip tank top, jeans, and no makeup. She hasn’t shaved her armpits. Before I arrived I knew I would be judged so I dressed to impress. My attire will become the primary topic of conversation after I leave the dinner table.

“So, like, I’m not working now. I’m a supervisor so they just let me work when I want which is nice because having kids is SO hard. I mean, not that you would know, but it’s hard. Especially because my husband can’t pick him up from daycare so I have to get out of work early. I just decided not to work…”

Her single participant conversation trailed off in my ears as I started thinking of other things; any other thing. Anything not to get angry. Anything to keep me from saying what I really think of her for using her child as a pawn to get under my skin.

I watched Owen drive off in the golf cart with my dad. Jonathan and Luke were pointing at some purple flowers beside the house.

“Those are four o’clocks”, I shouted to Luke hoping that identifying flowers would give me an excuse to exit the conversation with my sister.

Every conversation is equally uncomfortable with my sister. For her, life is money and feeling accomplished. Currently having a child fulfills her longing for accomplishment. Comparing her son to my childlessness makes her feel like she’s accomplished more than I have in some way. She continues not to acknowledge that Luke and Owen are my children although they spend more time with me than with their mother and I provide for them as though they are my very own in every sense. Luke and Owen ARE my children and I don’t need her approval to make it so.

For me, life is not a competition.. I’m not concerned about my family’s judgement, really. I dress well and it gives them something to talk about. I’m more concerned about why my family suddenly decided to include me in an event when they typically exclude me. In the past, I was upset by their exclusion. Now, however, I prefer to be excluded. You don’t get tangled in the web of constant drama when you’re excluded.

I keep a close eye on Luke, Owen, and Jonathan the entire trip because I feel like I’ve been invited to be mocked. This family gathering doesn’t give me a friendly vibe. Instead if feels like I’m the geeky 6th grader invited to the 8th grade cheer leaders lunch table for the sheer purpose of being ridiculed.

My sister loudly conducts a conversation about my mother’s heart attack with my father’s extended family and my suspicions are confirmed. I knew nothing about Mother’s heart attack or that Mother had quit her job. From that point forward, my sister repeatedly tried to shame me in front of the extended family over my relationship with Mother.

Just as I suspected…

Let there be internet!

I finally have internet after weeks of living in the new house! Since I moved to the middle of nowhere, cable lines had never been run to my house. I had to wait for the ISP to run and burry cable lines then activate my internet connection.

So, no, this blog is not abandoned on the chance you were wondering.  More on our moving adventures later.

The Lucky House

About 2 years ago, my area was hit by a huge storm. The worst storm to occur during my lifetime.

Tree limbs ripped the electrical hookup off the side of an apartment building.
Tree limbs ripped the electrical hookup off the side of an apartment building.

The storm struck at night a few months before Jonathan and I started dating. He and I were IMing when my power suddenly flickered. The power rarely goes out at my house so, I walked out on the porch, assuming it was a thunderstorm, but was greeted by gusts of wind upwards of 70mph ripping clusters of leaves ripped from the trees in the front yard. I gathered all the pets and myself in the basement and called Jonathan to ask if there was a tornado warning. There wasn’t. There was no warning at all.

Jonathan began to panic because his children were at his ex’s house. I told him to stay inside and call her. He wanted to drive nearly an hour to pick them up and storms hit the area Jonathan lives in about 30min after they hit the city. His ex was outside with the children watching as the winds hurled huge branches through the air. Jonathan told his ex to get in the basement with her children and she did just in time.

He called back and we talked on the phone as the trees behind my house were torn limb from limb. Ominous creaks, groans, and snapping sounds filled the air along with the freight train wind sound of a tornado.. I mentioned nothing of this to Jonathan as I imagined the house being ripped apart by the wind. He was still panicking about his children. I talked to him until the storm hit at his house. I talked him through the panic and out of driving down wooded country roads in the middle of the storm. I was certain trees would be blown into the road.

The following day, Jonathan had to cut limbs out of his driveway just to move his truck. I was on call for work and while I was lucky enough to have power unlike most of the city, but I didn’t have internet access so I camped out at work after staying awake for 48hrs straight helping critical facilities without power or internet access.

That’s one thing I’ll miss about my house – it always weathered storms well. I always had electricity when most of the city was without. I always had water even when the lines broke elsewhere. My house was always lucky. I hope my next house might be the same but since I’m moving out to the woods, I better buy a generator just in case.

Although the tree limb had been cleared, the damage was already done.
Although the tree limb had been cleared, the damage was already done.

Autoimmune Life: Crohn’s Disease

A good friend of mine suffers from Crohn’s disease. Whenever he and I get together, we always commiserate about our autoimmune lives. Weird medical issues, allergies, sleep problems, pain, skin issues…you name it. For autoimmune folks, it’s important to have friends who can relate so we don’t feel like we’re suffering alone. Especially friends who understand our morbid medical jokes. 🙂

Here’s the story of a woman who is also suffering from Crohn’s.

 

Fatigue: Will it ruin childhood?

After a week of super-sickness, I spent a few days at the beach with friends.
After a week of super-sickness, I spent a few days at the beach with friends.

Much like a bad pain day, autoimmune fatigue is hard to relate to if you’re not autoimmune. It’s like the exhaustion you feel when you’re coming down with the flu or a nasty sinus infection, but instead of subsiding after the illness is over, the fatigue is always there grinding away in the background. Before I was diagnosed, I thought I was just a lazy person who lacked the motivation to stay awake. Now I know differently. My immune system is constantly “sick”; constantly at war with the rest of my body.

A few weeks ago, I was sick – as in sick with germs – and I’m still recovering. It takes a long time to get back to normal when I catch a pathogen, so I try to avoid catching even a sniffle since I know it will be weeks before I recover. The asthma symptoms have decreased from potentially life threatening attacks to mildly annoying. I’m finally off prednisone, however, and I’m thankful for that. I still need a steroid inhaler, generic mucinex, and a rescue inhaler so I don’t wheeze while I’m at work.

Fatigue is my biggest struggle when I’m recovering. I constantly feel weak and tired. To manage the fatigue, I’ve been taking a nap every evening after work – sometimes for 3-4hrs – so I have energy do chores around the house. Since I’m moving next week, I’m running out of time to get things done.

My biggest worry about living with Jonathan and the kids full time is how they will react to living with someone who, through no fault of my own, is constantly sick and tired. I worry they will think I’m lazy on days…or weeks… I need to sleep after work to control the crushing fatigue. Growing up, my mother suffered from serious mental illness. She either slept all day and left me to fend for my brother and sister or, when awake, was horribly abusive. I don’t want Luke’s or Oliver’s memories of childhood to include me being absent from their lives, ignoring them, in bed asleep.

 

 

 

The Drama King and the Tampon Aisle

Luke is my husband’s almost 12yr old son who is extremely dramatic about most things most of the time. It’s just his personality. Everything is a big deal to Luke even things that shouldn’t be a big deal…to anyone. EVER.

Luke and Oliver (9) were having a naughty day Saturday. Perhaps they’ve been spending too much time with one another. I don’t know. They just couldn’t stop picking fights with one another Saturday while we were out shopping for our new house. Jonathan broke up fights. I broke up fights. We separated them. We made them hold the cart. I even held Oliver’s hand at one point in Target. Nothing we did seemed to calm their urge to pick fights.

So we’re in Target walking from the dog food section to the paper towels section. Oliver spits on Luke. Luke starts yelling and whining and dramatizing the number of pathogens in Oliver’s saliva. Jonathan pulls Luke aside by the ear and Luke starts whining how he wasn’t doing anything…which he was…he was arguing with Jonathan about what he was doing while throwing a tantrum about his brother’s spit. Jonathan has words with Luke then Luke, in typical drama king form, begins to tear up.

Oliver, blissfully unaware that he is next on Jonathan’s poop list, laughs because Luke got in trouble for freaking out about Oliver’s spit.  This sends Luke completely over the edge and he runs down nearest aisle in full blown sobs. The nearest aisle happened to be the tampon aisle. So there’s Luke, 12yrs old,  angry and crying in the tampon aisle, bottles of douche and Midol at eye level… I just couldn’t stop laughing.

Parenting is awesome.