Luke Has Issues

How am I?

Nearly 2 weeks after getting cortisone shots in the back and I’m doing much better. I wish I could say I’m pain free, but that would be dishonest. I am in much less pain. Also, the rheumatologist prescribed refillable muscle relaxers. Although I don’t take muscle relaxers daily due to the side effects, I do find them helpful when I need to accomplish something other than lying in bed.  For instance, today I needed assemble a dog house for my giant lab. Without muscle relaxers, I would have been in too much pain to use tools and crawl around on my hands and knees putting the pieces together.

Overall, my habits have improved greatly since moving in with Jonathan and the kids. Since we live 30min from the nearest restaurant or grocery store, I pack my lunch every day, grocery shop for the week every weekend, and make dinner every evening. I wake up at 6A without hitting snooze 10 times because I’m responsible for getting the kids on the bus in the morning. Regularly packing my lunchbox and cooking meals at home have helped my eating habits tremendously. Although I was mostly in recovery from an eating disorder, I had a tendency not to eat or to binge when I lived alone.


Luke Has Issues

Luke (12), started counseling this week. His anxiety is so severe that he cannot make even the most basic decisions such as what to eat for dinner or if he prefers to wear the black pair of pants vs. the gray pair.

He also has a tendency to rage quit everything. For instance he decided to put together the dog house for my 90lb dog. He took everything out of the box and spent all of 10 minutes trying to assemble it. He didn’t look at the instructions or the parts, but tried to slam the parts together out of order without tools. After the 10 minutes, Luke was unreasonable frustrated and threw the parts of the doghouse into the yard insisting that the parts didn’t go together and there was no way to assemble the house. Then he went inside.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to clean up Luke’s mess. Nearly every project Luke attempts is met with immediate frustration. It’s exhausting. Every time Luke quits a project or doesn’t feel like behaving, he bellows that he has anger issues. “Anger issues” are his excuse for not following through on any (and every) project. He has no concept of what it means to work through a feeling – acknowledge the feeling and keep going – he just leaves a huge mess wherever he goes.

Hopefully counseling will help him handle his anxiety and “anger issues” (read: rage quit issues) more appropriately. Hopefully.


My Mother’s Birthday

My mother’s birthday happened sometime this week. I can never remember if her birthday is 8/21 or 8/23. Normally, I’d ask my family the date of her birthday but this has gone on so long I’m embarrassed to ask. Every year I send her a birthday card although we have barely spoken in two years.  I want her to know I care for her and remember that she is my mother, but maintain a comfortable distance from her nastiness. Choosing the card is always difficult. Every year it takes almost an hour reading every last card in the card aisle until I find a card that fits.

What card do you buy for a mother who whipped you with the metal end of a fly swatter because you didn’t get off the phone in time? What card do you get for a woman who played no small part in manifesting your eating disorder by constantly commenting on your weight and eventually refusing to feed you? If we still spoke, she would comment on my weight now. Comment on how fat I am….I can hear her now. She’s asking where I find clothes in my size because I’m so large.

I have 5 good memories of my mother. Only 5. I try to on the positive memories but there are so few. Pink floral cards with declarations of love and friendship and close maternal bonds simply won’t do. Those cards are cloyingly sweet…inappropriately sweet…like the kind of cards I hope my step children give me when they’re grown, but definitely not something I can give to my own mother.
After almost an hour of looking and attracting the attention of several sales associates, I settled on a cheery yellow card with birds on the cover. It says “From near or far. From here to there. Happy Birthday.”

Moving, RA, and Sneaky Blog Updates. Oh my!

Since moving to the new house with Jonathan and the kids, it’s been difficult to find time to update. Jonathan and I lie in bed together at night and he’s always stealing glances of my screen…mostly while I work in Photoshop or Lightroom. But his observation definitely prevents anonymous updates. If he knew I wrote about him anonymously online, he would be extremely angry.

Luke and Oliver (the kids) went back to school a couple weeks ago. I was surprised by how easily they transitioned to the back to school routine. Last year, even at the beginning of the school year, they whined and complained about showers and bedtime and lunches. This year seems to be much easier. Maybe because I wake them up each morning instead of Jonathan? I don’t know. Jonathan is notoriously grouchy in the morning. The kids and I have nicknamed Jonathan the “Grump-asaurus Rex”.

“The Grump-asaurus Rex is awake! You better have your shoes on and be ready to go!” 


My RA symptoms were in remission for much of the month. I only struggled with fatigue and a mild back ache. This week RA came back with a vengeance and I was stricken with crippling back pain. The pain was so bad I made an emergency appointment with the rheumatologist.

“How many days of work have you missed?”, the rheumatologist nonchalantly asked during the physical exam.

“None.”, I replied.

“You haven’t missed a single day of work for this?”

“No. I don’t miss work.”


Shaking his head in disbelief the rheumatologist gave me 4 cortisone shots, muscle relaxers, anti inflammatory meds, pain meds, and ordered two days of bed rest. I didn’t take the bed rest. Instead, I worked from home and took 10min breaks to lie on my back every 2hrs. I don’t miss work.

Normally I struggle to meet my own basic needs during a flare, especially a flare causing excruciating back pain like this one. This flare has been easier because Jonathan, Oliver, and Luke are so helpful. Chores like loading the dishwasher and feeding are unbearably painful without help.

Speaking of Jonathan, here he comes. He just finished leveling the basement floor to install tile and he’s ready to snuggle and browse the internet together before bed. We’re such geeks.

Then Life Happened…

The drama with my family has finally calmed down. My sister and her nasty attitude have flown home. I announced to the extended family that, yes, Jonathan knows I cannot have children. He knew that before we were married and he’s fine with this fact.

I spent all day Saturday cleaning and unpacking box after box. Today I got up early, started Irish cabbage stew in the slow cooker and made pico de gallo with some of the bazillion tomatoes from the garden. After cleaning up the kitchen, I washed load after load of laundry.

Then, I cleaned and organized Oliver’s room. Oliver, 9, is a walking toy explosion so I threw out a huge bag of trash then put everything else in labeled bins. Now all Oliver needs to do to clean his room is put things in the labeled bin.

Jonathan worked on the kitchen re-do. He installed crown molding and ran wire for the pendant lights. So far we have new tile, new appliances, the shell for the bar, and a completely redone ceiling. Jonathan is one hard working guy. He gets more done in a day than most people get done in a week. After the kitchen project is complete, he plans to tile the downstairs floor next. Currently the downstairs is covered in old stinky carpet which the previous home owners’ elderly incontinent cat used as a litter box. I’ve cleaned the carpet a few times, but it still smells slightly of cat pee. The only thing we can do is replace the carpet, really.

This coming week I’ll be preparing the kids for school by getting them to bed on time and waking them up at 6A every morning. At work I’ll be dreading the stupid self evaluation we have to do every year. What  pointless waste of time. The manager and supervisor give you whatever “rating” they think you should have regardless of how much time you’ve wasted on evaluating yourself. Besides, I really don’t take this job too seriously. In the past, my job defined who I was as a person however since my previous job was horrible, I decided to stop defining myself by a job over which I have no control. As as result, I don’t work as hard. I’m really not looking forward to going to work tomorrow.