Weight On My Shoulders

Jonathan and I have been struggling financially for quite a while. A huge part of that struggle has been Jonathan’s inconsistent pay schedule. The company that uses Jonathan as a contractor sometimes goes a month or more without paying Jonathan and frequently owes him thousands of dollars more when they do pay him. Last month, the company didn’t pay Jonathan for 3 weeks and, once the company did pay him, he was still owed $3,000 more dollars. You can understand how this leads to financial stress.

Jonathan was offered a job with steady hours and steady pay. The new job’s starting salary is 3 times Jonathan’s currently yearly salary. Yet, Jonathan didn’t take the job. He also didn’t consult with me about not taking the job, he just declined the offer.

Jonathan was offered the job a second time in mid-July. This time, having been shorted over $3,000 on his latest overdue paycheck, Jonathan accepted the offer. He immediately quit the contracting company with no notice and prepared to start the new job the following Monday. Unfortunately, there was no new job.

Between the first job offer and the second job offer, the CEO of the company hired someone else. So the job that Jonathan had been offered technically had been filled. The manager who offered the job to Jonathan offered to employ Jonathan at his personal residence doing handy man work until the CEO makes his final decision.

That’s where we are now. I still work for TheCompany as an underpaid programmer. Jonathan is working on and off as a handy man with an unsteady paycheck. Jonathan could have made a choice to improve our financial outlook tremendously. Instead, he made a choice which has us teetering on the edge of financial crisis. At any time, the manager could run out of handy man jobs for Jonathan leaving him essentially unemployed.

For a brief moment I was hopeful. For a brief, glittering, shimmery moment I thought I could count on someone else to pull our feet out of the fire just this once. Jonathan could accept the higher paying job. I could work part time for a while, chauffeur the kids and my father in law to appointments, and take care of my health. This is not not the case, however. The responsibility again falls to me and it’s up to me to push through.

The Stupid Injury (and Sal-Free Shopping)

Stupid Injury is Stupid

I was able to leave work on time today. Yesterday I worked late then stopped by a friend’s house to bring her a baby shower gift. I missed her baby shower because I was crushed with exhaustion that weekend.

When I got home, Jonathan snuggled in bed with me for a while. I needed to lie down when I got home because I injured myself in the stupidest way. I coughed in a store and somehow injured the muscle that connects your shoulder blade to your spine. Now, whenever I move sharply or breathe deeply, I’m punished with a sharp stabbing pain in the back. It’s easier to accept an injury and pain when you’ve actually done something to warrant the injury. I coughed.

I've injured the rhomboid major...coughing of all things.
I’ve injured the rhomboid major…coughing of all things.

I’m Not Angry…Not Mental Either

I’m not angry with Jonathan any more. Anger passes. That’s the second reason I don’t confront Jonathan when I’m angry with him – anger passes. Expressing my anger isn’t worth being told I’m mental which, in turn, makes me all the more angry.

Yes, it’s not fair that Jonathan associates my legitimate anger with his ex-wife’s irrational, mental illness fueled, angry outbursts. Fortunately, I don’t often to stop to contemplate the fairness of life or the fairness of being incorrectly judged by another person.

Salicylate Free Product Shopping

Sal-free shopping continues slowly. Today I picked up Vaseline Lip Therapy balm to replace my beloved Nivea Lip Butter. Almond oil and castor oil contain salicylates.

I was using Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer and I picked up No7 Radiant Glow concealer to try as a replacement. The ColorStay concealer contains several plant extracts and plant extracts contain salicylates.

I’m disappointed my favorite No7 foundation isn’t sal-free. Especially since sal-free Covergirl Liquid Powder foundation settles into the dry, peeling patches of winter skin on my cheeks and forehead – not a cute look unless you’re a zombie. No7 foundation contains kiwi fruit water and other seed and fruit extracts which – you guessed it-  contain salicylates. Next, assuming I have the money in the budget this month, I’m going to try L’Oreal Lumi Foundation since it’s a liquid which can be blended more easily.

Next trip to the store, I will pick up Olay Total Effects Cleanser and Maybelline Great Lash BIG mascara because I have high value coupons. I also need to find a sal-free brow product to color in my nearly invisible brows however it’s proving difficult to find one that works and isn’t completely outside my tiny budget.

Jonathan yelled at my dog

The Daily Headache

At work today. I wish this wasn’t the case because I’m terribly busy with painfully boring work. A few offices away one of my middle aged coworkers is talking on the phone loudly to a client who “doesn’t care about infrastructure”. So very loudly. Perhaps it’s only loud because I have a headache. The kind of headache which starts at your eyes and wraps around your head. Is it the too bright fluorescent lights? I don’t know why I keep getting headaches while I work. I’ve tried to adjust my desk, the monitor, the lights, drinking water, changing my diet… Every day I still get a headache even if it’s just minor.

Jonathan Yelled at My Dog

This morning Jonathan yelled at the dog. He didn’t just grumble at the dog, but screamed loudly with curse words. I thought the dog was about to pee in the floor because she a was cowering and shaking so I put the dog in the bathroom with me. Jonathan is a raging asshole in the mornings. He typically doesn’t shout at me, but he does shout at the kids. I suppose he’s kinder to me because I’ll tell him to shut up when he’s acting like an ass for no reason.

I don’t know if I should move my makeup station to the upstairs bedroom to escape his morning bullshit (and take the dog upstairs with me of course), or if I should leave my makeup station in the downstairs bedroom and tell him to get over it. If I leave my makeup area in the bathroom beside out bedroom, he will continue to gripe about me occupying the bathroom and continue yelling at my dog.

For the record, he could use the upstairs bathroom in the morning, but he doesn’t like want to walk upstairs to do so. I keep my makeup and supplies in the bathroom beside out bedroom to discourage the kids form using my things. They are fascinated by things like my face lotion, shampoo, and hairbrush. Luke especially likes to watch me put on makeup and enjoys asking about the various products I use. Luke’s bio-mom would always shout at him for asking questions while she got ready in the morning. Point being, although they’re boys, they’re curious about my things and likely to go though them if left in the upstairs bath.

Why are such basic elements of human interaction and morning routine so annoyingly complex?

Hive Free, Green Tea, and a Missing Diamond

<In the voice of Dr Farnsworth from Futurama> Good news everyone!

I’ve been hive-free for a couple days! Since antihistamines make me horribly drowsy on top of my existing autoimmune fatigue, I researched natural antihistamines. Green tea is a mild antihistamine. Local honey can help build a tolerance to area pollens. So, I’ve been drinking a large bottle of freshly brewed green tea with honey in the morning. I was extremely skeptical, but the hives and itching have decreased to a tolerable level. I can sleep through the night without itchy skin waking me up. I can sit through a day at work without squirming in my seat all day too. Surprisingly awesome.

There are huge expanses of things I could write about other than allergies. It’s nice to focus on things other than allergies.

The main diamond fell out of my engagement ring while I was rinsing out a cooler. I didn’t bump my hand. I didn’t get the ring stuck on anything. The diamond just fell out. While I was searching for the diamond in the grass, I snapped at Oliver. Luke asked me what I was doing and I explained I was looking for the diamond that fell out of my ring and less than a minute later the same voice asked what I was doing again.  I thought Luke was not listening – sometimes Luke just doesn’t listen – but it was actually Oliver asking a brand new question.

Jonathan snapped at me for snapping at Oliver because I thought Oliver was Luke. Jonathan actually spent the entire day snapping at me, but insisting he wasn’t mad. According to Jonathan, his anger was all in my head. <eye roll>

Once we made it the river to go tubing with a bunch of my friends, Jonathan accused my friends of ditching me. Then he accused me of failing to stand up for myself. In actuality, my friends didn’t realize that Luke was having second thoughts about tubing down the river so he’d gotten out of line. I had to go back to persuade Luke that tubing was safe. My friends just didn’t realize I wasn’t behind them. Their behavior certainly wasn’t malicious. In fact, my friends brought s’mores, crackers, cookies, and lemonade for Luke and Oliver. They had just assumed Luke would be more adventurous than he was prepared to be.

After spending the entire day listening to Jonathan insist that his grumpy mood was all in my head, I’m glad to have my own space today. I contacted the vendor who we bought the engagement ring from and they’re looking into a one time replacement even though the stone is lost for good.

Amazing Wedding was Amazing

The wedding was awesome. Most everything went as planned. Jonathan’s best friend from out of state showed up and surprised him at the venue. The kids were super happy. A friend of mine brought a tiny flask labeled “liquid courage”. My best friend Lea brought some Firefly for Jonathan since Jonathan’s super hero nickname is Anxiety Man. The fascinator I made the night before the wedding turned out unexpectedly well.

We had dinner with friends afterwards at one of my favorite restaurants. The kids didn’t like the restaurant, but hey, they’re kids.

Gustav (the Intolerable) managed to keep his mouth shut, fortunately. Jonathan was too busy being happy to pay attention to Gustav. The worst thing Gustav did was buy us an ugly green sheet set. Crisis averted.

Everyone present helped with everything. It was AMAZING.

Luke and Oliver have been at my house since 10A Thursday and are still having a great time. We’ve done tons of exciting things, played with the cats and dogs, gone out places, played with the neighbor children, and inspected some interesting fossils. Yesterday everyone stayed up really late so everyone (except me) is in a grouchy mood today. No more staying up past 11 for Luke and Oliver. Oh. My. Word. Such bad behavior. Maybe I should suggest an earlier bedtime for Jonathan too. He’s grumpy with grumpy sauce today.

Super Secret Ninja Wedding Plans

The blue lace dress has been ordered. I know, I know. Everyone liked the white lace dress better but it’s sold out.  Jonathan and I decided blue was completely acceptable for a bride to wear to her second wedding.

Also, in “real” (non-wedding) life, I never wear white. My clothes tend to be black with occasional blue, grey, purple, and green. Wearing any light or pastel color causes my friends to immediately raise and eyebrow and ask if something’s wrong. Since I have massive hooters, I ordered a size larger due to bust measurement. This means I need to either alter the dress myself or have the dress altered for it to fit properly. I’ll see if this is something I can do myself once the dress arrives. I’m not sure how the lace attaches to the dress from the photo.  And, yes, there is a backup plan if the blue dress is a disaster.

I’m sure everyone says this, but I’m in awe of how fast the wedding date is approaching. Just under 1 month and Jonathan and I will be married. Wow…

So far, I’ve kept the courthouse elopement plans secret from everyone but a few close friends and a couple members of Jonathan’s family. If I “go public” by posting on Facebook my family will discover my plans and attempt to start a huge fight. I wouldn’t put it past certain family members to show up at the courthouse and make asses of themselves.  This is especially true of my mother. She’s the type of person to tell the courts that I’m still married to my ex Adam *just* because I didn’t include her in the plans.

The secrecy is exciting. Knowing something big is going to happen and getting to announce it to everyone with a huge “Surprise!”.  On the other hand, I wish my family were the type of people who behaved like…well…family. Sometimes I feel pangs of guilt for keeping the secret, but I know those pangs are based on how I wish we got along rather than how we actually get along. These are the people who screamed at me, hit me, had me arrested for lies as a teenager, and left me homeless at 17. These are the people who don’t include me in their life plans but expect to be included in mine. The reality is the family I wish I had and the family I actually have don’t have much in common.

An evening off, white zinfandel, and marriage

After months of relentless, 80-100hr, 7 day, work weeks, I finally have an evening off. Although I desperately need to go to the grocery store, the roads are covered in ice so I made soup from pantry groceries. I did a much needed load of laundry so I can finally stop hunting for the least dirty outfit to wear to work, done dishes, replied to photography clients, replied to emails from members of the meetup group I organize, and picked up around the house.

Currently I’m sitting on the couch waiting for the laundry to dry and sipping an individual serving of white zinfandel contemplating both how amazing it is to have an evening off work and my own infertility. I’m so tired of hearing how everyone “my age” is either having or has already had children. It’s the annoying sting of constant reminders…

While not technically engaged, Jonathan and I made plans to be married in April.  I will inherit two extremely cool children via marriage. Jonathan has spent every weekend working on my house so I can sell it while I’ve been working around the clock for my job. The best thing about our relationship is that we have such a good friendship. We love each other, but we also help each other. It’s such a change to be loved like this.

Not again

Jonathan and I looked at a house together.  1,700sq ft. 5 acres of land in the country.  It’s a nice house.

I’m not going to buy a house with so much land without being married first. That’s just too much property for me to take care of on my own. Plus, living so far away from a town by myself would be lonely. Living in my current home is often lonely and I live in the city.

Will we get married? I’m not sure. Jonathan is still traumatized by his bitter miserable marriage. I’m still paying off the debt that my exhusband left behind in his wake. In my defense, he left $40K of debt in his wake and 3.5yrs later, I only have $6K left.

I miss the companionship of married life. The snuggling and the company. Making dinners together. Going shopping together.  Knowing that you’ve “arrived”. Knowing that you get to come home to the one you love instead of going on a date with someone you barely know.  I’d like to be married again.

The problem is I don’t want to get divorced again…

Stagnation, Relationships, and Expectations

Being chronically ill is a lonely business. I wonder if everyone else who is chronically ill feels this way. I’m sure everyone doesn’t, but I wonder if most people do.

My “peers” are all married, in relationships, and having families. Meanwhile, I’m sitting at work struggling through pain to keep my job or I’m home fighting my body and fatigue to finish basic household chores everyone else takes for granted. I feel like I’m lagging behind…losing ground. Everyone else is advancing with their goals and their lives and I’m stagnating.

Marinating in a job that doesn’t interest me.  In a pseudo-relationship with a man who seems only partly committed. Struggling against my illness to maintain my house. Others think I struggle because I’m female, but that’s not the case. I struggle because my immune system is consuming me and nothing makes it stop. Fatigue. Constant pain. Swelling. Nothing makes it stop.

Say Jonathan wanted to marry me. This would be our second marriage. He has two kids. I’m incapable of having kids and I have a debilitating illness. How long would that marriage last? Suffering for debilitating pain and requiring my partner to care for me, how long can I expect any relationship to last?

This is the worst part of chronic disease. It’s not the pain or other symptoms, but the result of suffering from so much pain. This is the toll of talking about it.