24 December 2023

Merry Christmas!


May you continue to receive gifts of love, peace, and happiness

23 December 2023

To All A Good Night

 I'm on Winter Break now and am making a point of enjoying it. Last year was chaos and I don't want a repeat of that, at all, ever.  The way the calendar fell and with some vacation days I had to burn, I have three weeks off this year.   Other than the holiday, I purposefully don't have any big plans scheduled.

We just dropped off the last of our Christmas cards and the neighborhood ones are waiting for tomorrow.  The process took much longer this year than usual but I think they'll arrive mostly in time.    It felt like I had too many cards but by the time I finished, I didn't have as many as I thought.  I'm genuinely relieved that I can go browse sales for more now.  I took Swistle's advice to heart that if we don't want to do cards then we don't HAVE to.  I focused on the central family and our friends.  I didn't do all of the cousins this year.  It feels a little strange but mostly a relief.

I'm running behind on watching holiday movies.  I have just gotten out of the habit of watching television.  I try not to turn it on during the work day so the habit of watching/listening has been broken, I think. Lifetime used to have good holidays movies and I used to just set that channel and Hallmark on constant play during the season. But now we don't have that channel anymore so it's not that easy.

Anyway.  I've watched Round and Round on Hallmark, which was actually a Hanukkah movie that featured a time loop.   It was very progressive and I loved that. Then there was one that I don't remember the name.  The original owner of an historic house appeared in current time.  It was a little romancy and that's okay.   

Then I watched The Family Stone. This is one movie I make absolute sure I watch every year.  I think it was missed when it was released and perhaps mis-marketed because the cover photo doesn't at ALL match the storyline. It has everyone in it and is such a good mix of comedy and drama.  Have kleenex at hand upon watching.  Now Miracle on 34th Street is playing.  It's the 90's version, which I prefer.

On Friday I left Lucy at home *gasp* and went pick up the remaining gifts with my grocery order.  All in all, there were seven stops and took a little over two hours.  It was also warm and raining so it was very incongruous with task at hand.  I had my Christmas playlist playing in the truck and just kept my mind focused on finishing.  One store didn't have what I needed so that created another stop then one order didn't have what I ordered so I had to go INTO the store.  I was braced for chaos but it was pretty mild, busy but mild.

I arrived home exhausted but satisfied, just in time to go out to dinner for my in-laws anniversary.  We took Kevin's dad out to dinner to "celebrate".  I didn't think it was a good idea but it wasn't my plan.  It went fine and he was happy to have us together at dinner so that's happy.

Wrapping is all I have left to finish.  This is easily the earliest I've ever been done. My plan was to be completely done by noon today but we went into town to have breakfast, then there was some family stuff that left me triggered so I stress-cleaned the house from rafters to floors.  You know, as in the holiday spirit. lolsigh.

Tomorrow morning I will wrap everything, take the neighborhood cards and treats to the mailboxes, then be completely finished. It seems gone are the days of last minute shopping and wrapping and organizing.  I kind of miss it; not the stress but the busyness of it.

Also, almost assuredly I've forgotten something.  Not to worry, stores are open tomorrow if so.

I hope this finds everyone cozy where you want to be and spending these days in the way that makes you happiest.  

20 December 2023

13 December 2023

Surely It's Christmas

 I wrote that whole rant about my Christmas Play list then realized I could share said Play List.  And yes, I put a lot of thought, research, and time into this.  Probably more than is reasonable for a grown-ass adult.  But I'm a former 80's teen, mixed tapes are my jam.

And I know as soon as I click "publish" I will think of a song...it's okay, this is already a pretty long list.

All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman/We Three Kings - Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan

Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade

Peanuts Theme - Charlie Brown Christmas

Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses

Seasons of Love - Rent soundtrack

Cool Yule - Matt Dusk

Christmas Baby - U2

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Put A Little Love in Your Heart - Al Green

Last Christmas - Wham

Peace on Earth - David Bowie & Bing Crosby

River - Joni Mitchell

Same Old Lang Syne - Dan Fogelberg

Let it be Christmas - Alan Jackson

Baby, It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin

You Make it Feel like Christmas - Gwen Stefani

Happy X-mas - John Lennon

Do They Know it's Christmas - Band Aid

Mele Kalikimaka - Bing Crosby

Santa Baby - Madonna ( or Eartha Kitt)

I'll Be Home for Christmas - Frank Sinatra

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - The Pretenders

Please Come Home for Christmas - Bon Jovi

Winter Wonderland - Eurythmics

River - Robert Downey Jr. 

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree - Darlene Love

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas - Gayla Peevey

Step Into Christmas - Elton John

Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You - Billy Squier

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry

O Holy Night - Nat King Cole

Blue Christmas - Elvis

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas - Michael Buble

Fairy Tale of New York - the Pogues

We're Totally Frocked

 Last year I had the clever idea to make a Christmas playlist on my phone. I share the music app with Kevin so I included music he would like too.

Well, this is one of those examples where the gap in our ages show a difference.  His preference in holiday music is different than mine; the biggest is genres.  He prefers the more classic songs and Country Christmas.  Whereas I'm GEN-X so A Very Special Christmas is embedded in my DNA.  

This season has been challenging with the loss of Kevin's mom, it was her all-time favorite season.  Their wedding anniversary is on the 21st.  She hoped for snow every year like a child. She loved Christmas lights on everything. There was few things she enjoyed more than shopping and then watching everyone open their gifts.

My point being, this has been rough.  I knew it was going to be and kind of tried to prepare for it but you just can't.  You Just Can't.

The other weekend I asked Alexa to play my Christmas playlist and the algorithm played all the songs that I tolerate.  I kept yelling "Alexa, skip this song!"  And that, as I think about it, is an excellent example of this year.

Eventually I switched to SiriusXM and it was marginally better.  (p.s. my privilege is showing:  wah, my robot won't play the music I like. wah, the music subscription service isn't making me happier)

Today I asked Alexa to play A Very Special Christmas and it felt more pleasing and comfortable.  Then it occurred to me to just create a new playlist.  So now there's a Surely Christmas playlist and all the Whos in Whoville are happy.

So, then let's talk about how Kevin has called four five times today because I cried over Christmas cards yesterday.  I had it planned, cleared the table and had a cup of coffee. I was done with work and walkies for the day.  I took out everything: all the cards and printed labels, stickers and confetti, found a pen and then the list.  That's all she wrote.  I literally did one card and walked away.  

I always chose a card Kevin's mom would love, if I didn't buy a specific special one.  We sent it to their PO BOX even though they lived next door. She would tape them up on her window so she could see them from her chair.  It's all different this year.  So...yeah.

It's the 13th today and I am mostly done with shopping.  This in itself is a Christmas Miracle. This is also an example of how I tried to prepare for this holiday.  I started very early.  Kevin is done, the family name I chose and Kevin chose is done.  The kids are mostly done.  Even the gift for the gift exchange is purchased and will be assembled ten minutes before my staff Christmas party on Friday.  

In another example of how this year is going, Kevin ordered my gifts over the weekend.  One arrived on Sunday and he hid it in his shop.  One arrived on Monday...and....in the original packaging.  #thanksshamazon

So, I got a Keurig for an early birthday present, which is later next week.  Hooray me.  (it is cool, a matte red and narrow to fit in a small kitchen)  Kevin hates it when things like this happen and also: I never want to snoop or have hints about my gifts.  

I offered to Kevin that he could choose one of three gifts already under the tree to balance the scales.  He laughed and surprisingly said no.  Instead he ordered something else and then I saw the notification in my email.  GDAMMIT.  But I don't know WHICH one he chose or HOW MANY he chose of that gift so it's still a fun surprise.

The house is decorated and festive. I've mentioned often that this house tends to shrug off decorations like a toddler wearing a hat.  I don't understand but I keep trying.  Very few of the decorations I had in the old house are still here, mostly given away to the niblings or goodwill.  

This year, because Christmas Challenge Level 1,000, I have Kevin's mom's decorations.  When I packed them away over the summer I knew it was going to be a festive punch in the face when I brought them out and I wasn't wrong.  Also, though, I have found that it's nice to have her around.  There's a Santa on his sleigh, a big Santa boot, a bunch of candles, a big candy dish, and some trees.  

And wouldn't you know it, the house has happily accepted her decorations.  They blend in perfectly with my decorations and with the house.  Go figure.  Apparently the house was just waiting for her.

The Santa boot and the Santa sleigh
(also: that's her lamp)

Four of the trees are hers. The table cloth is hers

These are all new, purchased last year.
My childhood BFF sent the perfectly matching Christmas card
My current BFF gave me the candle holder years ago

A mixture of decorations collected over the years.
And Velma from a Christmas Eve happy meal years ago

A different location for the tree this year, because reasons.
Also, white lights instead of color

03 December 2023

04 November 2023

Permanent Nerdery

 After waiting for two months, I have two tattoos!!!  

I've wanted one for quite a while and had tentatively set a goal for a Significant Birthday then that birthday happened right at the beginning of the pandemic.  Then my mother-in-law passed and it just compelled me to follow through with it.  I wanted a Doctor Who tattoo originally but then I found the tribute tattoo that I wanted.  I found it on the ticktock app actually.  (Bunami Ink)

I found the shop I wanted and made an appointment.  Unfortunately, it was going to be two months away.  But as happens in life, those two months flew right by.  Originally I was scheduled for 5:30 pm on Wednesday, right after my sister-in-law got hers. (this is where I whisper "this was my idea and then she did it too")  Then the artist phoned about noon and asked if we could bump it up and I was all SURE, with a little flutter of anxiety.

The shop is in the historic part of town and is kind of funky.  They're super nice and of course, a little edgy.  ALL WOMEN staffed.  Paige is the newest artist, thus the two-month wait versus six months wait that is standard, I discovered.  She felt like talking to one of my nieces; like a daughter-figure, in a good way.  The shop is separated by booths, kinda, ten feet by ten feet; and it was surprisingly cozy.  Everything you see on television is open air settings and like a group effort.  I was relieved that it was a one-on-one setting.

We sat down and got cozy.  She decided to do the Doctor Who one first because it would take a little bit longer. She measured the templates again to make sure placement and size. Because, you know, this is permanent.  

During the consultation when I first saw the Doctor Who one, it reached from my hand to my elbow and I was way "That's too big!"  She agreed, especially as the wrist where the veins are is very tender.  She sized it down a little bit and had to close some loops in it in order for the tattoo to look good so it might not specifically say "I will love you through all of space and time"    (this will make you giggle in a minute, keep reading...)

Also, she placed them so if my arms are hanging "loose" at my sides, they're not obviously visible.  Not that I was worried about it, but I appreciated the attention to detail like that.  I work from home now but who knows what the future holds. 

She started to begin then hesitated "You're good, what do you need?" she asked very kindly.  I said "Just do it, don't hesitate, don't tell me about it. Just do it."  She laughed and was all "Okay" and ZAP.  Like Swistle explained, the first few were AAACCCKKK then the body acclimated.   The soft "underbelly" of the arm is Super Tender.  I had to breathe through that for a few moments and near the crook of the elbow and aforementioned wrist was pretty SHARP feeling.  

It was EXACTLY how Swistle described so I was sitting there thinking "Swistle said it would feel like this..." and I'm eternally grateful to know that ahead of time. Then about a third of the way into the first one, my brain/anxiety suddenly went "Um, okay, so this is REAL. We're doing this" so I had to breathe through that a little bit.  Then you just kind of lull into the zone, just as described.

I will say that one of my friends at the coffee stand was incredulous "You got TWO!?! On your first time!?!"  I guess I didn't think about it that way.  

The tribute one is on my left forearm, closer to my elbow than my wrist.  The Doctor Who one is on my right forearm and is nearly the length of it. I don't know if they're big or just seem bigger because  my vision is wonky. A determination can't be made until the dermshield comes off and we can really see them. They look Really Dark and that will fade with the dermshield removed and with time. I'm not disappointed at all, despite that previous paragraph.


Did I tell you that the Doctor Who tattoo was a surprise for Kevin?  What had happened was the mom tattoo wasn't going to come close to the 45-minute allotted time and when I was browsing through the tattoo examples on my phone, she saw the Doctor Who tattoos and got very excited.  She mentioned that she could do that one too and it wouldn't cost much more at all due to the time it would take. Basically, it was a buy one and get one free.  I thought about it for a second, realized that my follow-through is not good and what the hell, let's do both.  So, I didn't tell Kevin that I was getting that one.  He knew it was on the list for the future/maybe but he was expecting just the flowers.

It's is Galifreyan, the native language of The Doctor.
It says "I will love you through all of space and time"

After I was done, I met Kevin at a restaurant for dinner.  As we were waiting to be seated, I told him "Sorry that took so long, you'll see why in a minute."  He looked a little panicked so I shrugged my arm out of my coat and showed him the flowers.  Then I put my arm back in my sleeve and started to shrug off the other sleeve. "Wha...what did you?" he asked.  I showed him the other and he said "That's Doctor Who, right?"  I said yes and "It means I Will Love You Through All of Space and Time."  He smiled then did that expression where he realizes he married a crazy person.  I've seen that expression many times.

Indeed, Kevin was very touched, first by the mom tattoo then about his.   Then he joked "It doesn't have my name or anything, that could go for any guy."  LOL   Then he also said "You got one for me so you know Brother is going to be all WTF, my wife didn't get a tattoo for me" which made me really laugh.

The next day it was so ITCHY.  I chose to have the dermshield tape on it because I didn't want to risk infection or complications.  It makes the skin wrinkly, which is disconcerting because your brain sees it and says OLD LADY SKIN! Moisturize, for the love of god.  It hurt with heavy sleeves, like a hoodie but otherwise is just kind of tender.  Each day is better but itchiness is still a thing.  

Also, this is where Surely was reminded that Surely has sensory issues so having TAPE on her arms has made her a little fussy.  I'm actually counting down: Today is Day Three of Seven.  I can take off the tape on Wednesday morning.  Also, I got prescription Allieve for my knee and am super happy to report it takes the edge off my arms as well.

I have zero regrets.  Will I ever get another?  Not sure.  I can't think of anything that I would like and these are exactly what I wanted.  Originally, we were going to try to incorporate a dragonfly into the flowers but they were going to be so small that it would just look weird.  I'm not sad about that.

OH! Wait, I'm a little bit of a liar.  Right before my appointment I saw a tiktock where the guy got a tattoo then used his phone on it - like a QR code - and it PLAYED A SONG.  It's a real thing and you get the code from Spotify.  THAT is intriguing!  but I would never be able to choose just one song.

I showed my father in law the next day and he said "You girls sure must have loved her to do that..." which was so sweet.  I told him "Well, I'm not getting a tattoo for MY MOM" and he laughed.

The Doctor Who took about thirty minutes and the flowers took twenty.  I asked hundreds of questions so I had something else to focus on.  Here are the highlights:

*Has she ever seen Asian symbol tattoos that were wrong and she said yes.  Only once has she explained to the person that it was wrong.  The girl thought she had "Family" and she had "House".  It required a second symbol to mean family. As in, add the people symbol because the house with the people symbol means Family.  She said she told the girl and she was "Okay, thanks" then never returned. Lolsigh.  

*The most stupid tattoo was a camel on a guy's big toe.  I didn't get it then she said "camel-toe" and I was OMG.  Because: omg on all the levels.

*She's never done private areas, if you will.  She said it's not her thing and it would have to be something very meaningful to even consider.  Never on a man though.

*She is picky about what she will tattoo because she's new to the field and "building her brand" and she admits, even after she's established she'll probably still be picky.

*She said other artists will tattoo everything/anything.    She did say they have "drop in" tattoo availability and "joked" about me coming back for something else on a whim.

*She said men are the WORST.  The worst.

*I always thought it was a law that if you're drunk, you can't get a tattoo but it is one of those Moral vs. Legal things. She said she won't do it though, because drunk people.

*Finally, there isn't a thing like "Tattoo School"  This surprised me a little. Typically, a person will apprentice in a shop for year(s) and learn by observation then work their way into actually tattooing.

So, it was a fun experience and I'm happy that I did it.  Kevin likes it and is curious to see how it turns out once everything is healed.  Maybe I'll do another one but probably not.  Would I recommend it?  Yes, I would.  

Also, I got a cute sticker:


31 October 2023


 It's Halloween today and it's only noon and it's already been a day. (as evidenced by that poorly-constructed sentence)

It's been a week and one day since I had the dog body-slam me.  Guess where I was today?  Yes, the clinic.  


First of all, it was another new doctor because my new doctor wasn't available.  He was like an attractive nerd-like quality yet outdoorsy.  His name was Brooksy.  His full name was Collin Brooksy Hayfen.  Dr. Hayfen.  It felt very Greys Anatomy.

(it's been a busy brain day today so this is going to wander)

Wait, I was excited to tell you about Dr. Outdoorsman that I left out how I ended up there.

I've been wearing a brace for a week.  It helps and it's cumbersome and I realized that I was 100% triggered this morning by this whole process.  It's like 2012 reimagined without the ambulance ride/hospital stay/casts.

Kevin was fussing over the weekend that my knee didn't seem improved. I promised him that I would phone the chiropractor in the morning and if he said "Go to the doctor" then I would do so.  He said "Go to the doctor"  


I made the appointment and only had to wait until this morning.  That's plenty of time to spiral and imagine that I'm going to need surgery (again) and be on bedrest (again).  With added splashes of "AND this wasn't even my fault, Not even My Dog." pouting.


The doctor said to wait and see AND to take prescription Allieve AND to follow-up with an ortho doctor.  Use it but also stay off of it.  Basically everything I've been doing and BONUS: I get to pay for that advice that I was already employing.


Today I learned that "Injury by large dog" is NOT an unusual injury.  The x-ray tech (yes, x-rays) said he gets one about once a month.  That makes this marginally feel less stupid.  

However, I also learned today that the brother has already commented about how no one likes the dog and the dog can't be around the family and that's upsetting.  This is a veiled comment because upon entering their house for family dinner on Sunday, I said "No. Stay. No. You've spent all your chances with me" to the dog. To which, Nephew put the dog in the bedroom because he is my favorite.  

Kevin is fully prepared for the "Your dog is a d*ck and it nearly put my wife in the hospital" confrontation this weekend.  I kinda want to watch with popcorn and a soda.


But Good News: my blood pressure was back to its usually crazy low numbers.  To which, I wondered "Wow, I wonder what happened...what's changed...hmmm...ohhh, dead mom."  (I totally just heard her in my head "Oh SURELY!")


Meanwhile, I'll be working from home and skipping walkies and taking it easy this week.  If you need me, I'll be on the couch.  Oh, and Kevin said again: "Thank god for you working from home."  Yes, Kevin, that is exactly it.  If I weren't HOME I wouldn't have been in this situation in the first place.


Happy Halloween


26 October 2023

Dog Breaking and Entering

 Well, because this year simply cannot get any more dumb, I've hurt my knee.

Actually, no, *I* didn't hurt my knee.  The siblings dog did.  Please update your 2023 list to include:

Injured knee by 60+ lb. boxer dog who broke into my house

The siblings have a boxer and this is the second one they've had.  They're terrible at training their dogs AND it's a boxer.  I described it as "Poorly trained" and was corrected to say "Not trained". It has zero boundaries and I've tried working with her but a dog that isn't made to behave isn't going to change by any small attempts made by me.

Usually the dog is in the house during the workday.  On Monday, I was working in my office and heard the jingle of a collar that wasn't Lucy's.  I got up from my desk and went into the hallway to discover the dog bouncing back and forth because it's always over-joyed to see people.

Wait, you have to know that the first time she did this she peed on our brand new couch.  Proceed.

Lucy was on the people bed, sleeping, and she stayed up there during this ruckus.  Good girl.  I'm body-blocking the dog to get it to go down the hallway, through the living room, and out the door.  All the while, hoping it doesn't pee all over the carpet.  

I was nearly successful when the dog spun and body-slammed into my leg.  The leg that used to have eight screws and two plates holding it together.  Luckily, I was standing next to my chair so I could hold onto it and not fall.  And then just hold onto it until I could regain my composure.  I honestly thought it was broken, again.

It took my breath away and this is when I realized that my phone is on my desk, at the other end of the house.  And the dog is still in the living room.  Holding my breath, I took a few tentative steps to discover Not Broken but Definitely Hurt.  I got the dog out the door, slammed the door, then sat down.  

My knee swelled almost immediately and I sat there debating what to do.  Emergency room? Urgent care? Chiropractor?  I got ice, made a blanket fort on the couch for me and Lucy, and laid down.  After about an hour, it was still painful but obviously not broken.  I could wiggle my toes, bear weight and had mobility, even if it did hurt.

Clearly, I was done working that day too.  

Kevin came home a few hours later and asked what happened.  He was annoyed then more annoyed because he can't just call and say "KEEP YOUR DOG OUT OF OUR HOUSE" because a) there will be drama and 2) it's my father-in-law who is letting the dog out during the day.  Instead he asked about ibuprofen and ice and what I thought I should do.  I told him that I was going to see how it was in the morning then decide.

I couldn't get comfortable during the night, which didn't bode well for the situation.  The next morning, only my knee hurt.  When the dog hit me, I felt a pop in my ankle, leg, knee, and hip.  Now I could feel like my knee was displaced; everything else seemed in working order.  I phoned the chiropractor and got an emergency appointment; after hearing "You were hit by a what?" from the receptionist.

Our friend the chiropractor was incredulous.  He knows the family dynamic and everything that has happened this year.  He agreed that nothing was broken and examined my knee.  "It's very inflamed" he tsked.  He adjusted my ankle and my hip which really needed adjustment, probably the "pop" I heard.  Then did an over-all adjustment and checked my knee again.

He's always honest, which I appreciate.  "It's going to hurt, probably worse tomorrow then hopefully get better.  If by Friday it's not, you can come back OR go get it checked"  This is one of the reasons I like him, he will say "This isn't my area" instead of just having me return again and again.   

I went home after buying a brace and we rested the entire day. It still hurt but it did feel marginally better.  I had to make sure it wasn't a placebo effect though.  Then yesterday, I had a meeting at work so I put on the brace, took some ibuprofen and lots of water, and off I went.  It was at the college, not my office, so lots of walking, including stairs.  I did okay but definitely felt sore.  I made it back home and rinse/repeat: couch-ice-ibuprofen.

Later in the day, I was reading when I heard a scuffle outside on my deck.  Lucy had been laying on her blanket on the deck so I opened the door.  The effing dog is back.  This is where I explain that Lucy is thirty-pounds and eleven years old.  She cannot take a hit from that dog and that's what boxers do.  

I'm trying not to yell because it makes the situation worse. I'm blocking the door, yet trying to keep a small space for Lucy to sneak into the house.  The boxer, circles around her "playing", and slams her. Lucy growled and snipped at her then looked at me with an expression of "Sorry" and "Help" and I'm all GOOD GIRL. Then Lucy dove into the house and I again slammed the door in the dogs face.

I do feel badly because the dog is lonely and badly trained but to quote Kevin "We're not sacrificing our dog to train your dog."  I gave Lucy some CBD and we both took a nap.  At this point, I was able to walk a little without the brace but it felt risky.  Every once in a while, I would feel my kneecap "slip", which hurts a lot. 

Kevin came home last night and I mentioned that the dog was here again.  He immediately phoned his brother and said "The dog was here again today.  It knocked Surely on her ass yesterday and hurt her."  At first my father-in-law denied letting the dog out, LIKE WE DIDN'T KNOW DIFFERENTLY then admitted that he did "But I don't think she went anywhere."  


I think I'm going to be fine.  I don't think I'll need to go to Urgent Care tomorrow.  I will decide later today if I will go to the chiropractor again or just let it heal over the weekend while using the brace.  In fact, I ordered a different one that isn't so cumbersome which will be here today.  I am hoping to be annoyed that I won't need it by the time it arrives.

But I will have lost a week.  A WEEK of productivity because I got body-slammed by a dog.

Oh, and when I say "It broke into the house" I mean:  We have a big deck with gates off of the living room.  During the day, Lucy will lay outside on her blanket for hours.  Sometimes I leave the gate open so she can come and go as she pleases.  If I know the dog is out next door, I lock her gate so she can't get on the deck.

I also leave the screen door and door to the house cracked open so Lucy can come in without needing me. There is a big rock that blocks the door so it only opens about six inches.  Kevin hated this set-up until he was home with her for a week then was all "I understand now" because Lucy wants in/out/in/out/in/out all day long. This is our compromise.  

Also, if you thought "Well, just don't do that anymore" my response is It's my house that I would like to live in freely.  I shouldn't have to worry about a dog breaking into it. They should worry about Not Letting the dog break into it."  So, yes, I've thought about this a lot.

Usually Lucy will come in the house if she sees the dog come over to the house.  However, it appears that the dog has learned to check the gates to get onto the deck.  Also, it seems to do it quietly so it's in the house before I know it. That's what I mean when I say "Broke into the house"

So yeah.  If you need me, I'm the one with the brace and the cane, feeling my age and thinking about ordering a truckload of sage to cleanse me and everything I own.  2023 has been ridiculous.

Gratuitous photo of Lucy
sleeping on the people bed

22 October 2023

I Broke The House

 Kevin is gone all weekend, working on a project.  I thought I would just have a relaxing weekend, with nothing big planned.  Maybe paint, maybe not.  Watch a movie, read. 

With that, I usually do all my chores (housework) on Fridays so I have the weekend to do whatever.  Because Kevin was going to be gone, and frankly I just didn't have the energy, I skipped it.  I figured I'd do it over the weekend.

With that and because of the alphabet brain, this isn't a big deal. Most people would never notice that I had skipped chores.  Well, I had also let the laundry pile up a bit.  This is very unusual because after having no power for four days years ago, my PTSD will not allow it.  Except for this weekend.

And the universe laughed at me.  Silly mortal.

Now let's add that I can't get the bathroom sink to clear. I've tried everything, Kevin has tried, and no.  I did manage to get it to flow better then it stopped.  I have time on my hands, I will try again I thought.  I started the laundry and went to work under the sink.

This requires a towel because no matter how careful I am, there's always water.  I had a hand towel and an old bath towel down.  Upon taking everything apart and cleaning it with the little tool, nothing was improved.  I put everything back and it was WORSE.  Wtaf.   I decided I would leave it and Kevin could look at it tomorrow. Clearly, I had put something back together incorrectly or something.

Then I checked on the laundry.  Nope.  The washer stopped.  Of course it did.  It threw a code so I searched it and it said the drain was blocked.  Now this has become a Kevin problem. The interwebs assured me that this wasn't a big deal. The interwebs lies.

About 6:00 Kevin phoned and said he was on his way and apologized that it took so long.  "What's happening there?" he asked.  9/10 times the answer is "nothing".  Today was "Well, it appears I have broken the house. I can't unclog the sink and now it won't drain and the washer stopped working."

He immediately went to 1,000 because all he heard was two things weren't draining.  I assured him that it wasn't a drain issue, it was a coincidence.  All the while, hoping it was indeed, a coincidence.  But the other sinks drained, the tub, the toilets.  It wasn't a drain issue.

I'm bailing out the washer and throwing soaking towels into the tub when he came home.  "I'm going to fix the sink..." he said.  I stood there like...wut?  But okay.  I realized that he needed to make sure that we didn't need a plumber because our plumbing was broken.  Because that is exactly how this year has gone for us.

He took apart a piece that I hadn't that was near the floor of the cabinet.  And...retch.  There was the plug.  I offered to switch him places because I don't ick out as badly as he does.  Also, that meant he would go look at the washer, which was more important to me.  

He has a thing about "letting" girls do gross jobs.  Even though I know he'd rather go to the dentist than clear that clog, he told me no.  I wasn't disappointed.  I went back to bailing and wringing towels.  

Once he fixed the sink, he came out to look at the washer.  I showed him the google search and he went to work.  He pulled out the washer then jumped behind it.  He took off the back of the washer and...it looked nothing like the internet said it would.  

One of his best friends used to work at Sears when it was still a thing.  He reluctantly called him and asked for help. To my relief, he said to do the same thing that the interwebs did.  He also suggested (literally) unplugging it and plugging it back in.  I had already done that.  Twice.  He had Kevin check one more thing then asked us to run it on a different cycle then let him know if it helped.  We did and...nope.  Then we got the "It's probably more expensive to repair than to just replace it."  I flipped him off but said "Thanks for your help!"  (remember, he's on the phone)

It feels like Kevin asked simultaneously "How much does a washer cost?" and "I hate to ask but what are you thinking about dinner?"   Sensing a shift in the ether, he said "I don't care, you can make eggs. Cereal. I'm going to go shower..."

I cleaned up the mess in the mud room as best as I could with a broken washer in the middle of it. Then started dinner and tried not to swirl the metaphorical drain myself.   Kevin came out from the shower and said that his friend wanted him to check one more thing.  Back behind the washer he goes, we try it, it doesn't work, and now the washer is full of water again.  

I returned to making dinner and Kevin went out to his shop.  He came back with buckets and asked for help.  I started to gesture toward dinner like "DO YOU SEE THIS" but refrained because it's not his fault for trying to help when I had broken everything in the house. #melodrama

We took out ten gallons of water then called it a night.  We ate dinner then I got onto the interwebs again to search for washers.  No one keeps appliances in stock now, in case you're wondering.  I checked a local store and while they were closed, the site said they had them in stock.  Fantastic.  When do they open?  11:00 am.  Sigh.  But at least they had one and it wasn't terribly expensive.  

KEvin offered to phone the siblings to see if they would let us do two loads of laundry.  I said no, because if one thing went wrong it would be my fault FOREVER.  He tried to deny that but then just couldn't.  "We'll save that until tomorrow" he says.  Answer will still be no tomorrow, Kev.

Finally we went to bed and Kevin was almost immediately asleep.  Love that for him.  My brain is trying to find  traction, what can I do in the morning to be ready for this.  Is there anything else we can do.  Certainly, this isn't a new problem.


I realized that I can hand wash clothing.  It's been done for centuries.  While not fun and not even in my Top 100 Ways I Like  to Spend My Time, it was better than what-felt-like a disaster I had on my hands. It's 11:00 pm and I'm googling "How to wash laundry without a washer."  You know, just in case there were new developments since the 1700's.  There wasn't but at least I felt like I had a plan.  I went to sleep thinking how I could prioritize what needed washing, what could go next door if I chose to ask, and what could wait.  It is super fun living in my brain.

Oh and this is where I also realized that there shouldn't be that much water in the wash and perhaps it wasn't just a drain issue.  #causeandeffect

Kevin left the next morning at 6:30. I woke up momentarily but thankfully fell back asleep.  About an hour later, my  alphabet brain started yelling at me about laundry.  I got up, made coffee, and contemplated My Plan.  Once coffee was started, I emptied a tote and let it start to fill with soapy water. I had to deal with the wet  towels from the night before first.  In they went into the soapy water for 30 minutes. I took my coffee, a brownie, and the dog and went back to bed.  I turned on NCIS so I wouldn't get caught up in a movie and distracted. 

Wet towels are the worst to wring out. The worst.  This is where I explain that my preference in towels tends toward a cozy rug.  I want them thick and heavy.  Kevin tends toward "This is the towel I had when I moved out of the house when I was 18."  One by one, I took the towels out of the soapy water, wrung them the best I could, carried them to the kitchen sink, then rinsed them.  

My hands hurt, I don't think I have fingerprints anymore, and that was really hard work.  At one point, I said aloud "This is the WORST" then laughed at my own self.  Trying to balance karma immediately,  I said "No, no, this is bad but it's not the worst.  There are many worst things."

I did the best I could then put them in the dryer.  I was a little worried that they weren't wrung enough and I was right.  It took forever for them to dry. And it caused a little catastrophasing of "Now the dryer is broken."  Eventually they dried and I could see and feel where perhaps the washing machine had been not working well for a while.

Next I did the "easy" clothes: socks, underwear, yoga pants, tshirts.  This went much easier but wringing them still made me wish for one of those old-fashioned wringers that essentially strangled all the water out of the clothes.  Finally the dryer finished the towels, I started the color clothes then tried to psych myself up for more towels.

I realized that I didn't need towels, per se. I needed wash cloths and hand towels.  My first instinct was "They sell those at the store every day" then I tempered that with "Well, that applies for every single item I'm washing so..."  I washed just the hand towels and wash cloths.  

The store texted me to confirm that the washer I wanted was in store.  I replied "I will be there in an hour."  Then he clarified: "Do you want top load or front load?"  I answered "Top load, preferably but beggars cannot be choosers."  They had both and they were waiting for me.

I showered, feeling bad about creating More Laundry,  and loaded up Lucy.  I phoned Kevin to let him know and he was relieved as well.  I bought the washer after a little debate and went to pick it up.  This is how I had to get it:

Thank the universe for the back-up camera and 
a husband who drove dump truck teaching me
how to back up

Okay, so now that was done.  I began to pull out of the loading dock when I saw that I missed a call.  I assumed it was going to be Kevin.  It was not.  It was my father-in-law.  I was immediately curious because the siblings are home.  I phoned him and he asked if we still had his hand truck.  Weird.  "Yeah, it's in your old shed."  He asked if we could bring it to him when I got home.  Puzzled still, I said Yeah but what are you moving?"  He stopped then tried to verbalize but his cognitive delays wouldn't allow him to form the thought.  Somehow the universe whispered in my ear.  "Did you mean Mom's WALKER?"  Relieved, he said yes.  Well, it's kind of a hand truck, for people.  

About THAT: the doctor told him that fall prevention is A PRIORITY.  He cannot fall and remain living.  So, in answer to that he just about fell outside this morning while I was gone.  The siblings yelled at him and this was him being contrite.  

Now I'm home, hoping it doesn't rain before Kevin gets home.  In the olden days, my father-in-law would have this done by the time Kevin got home but this is where we are now.  The last load of hand-washing is in the dryer.  All that remains is still more bath towels, jeans and bedding.  

And I'm still not sure that the dryer isn't dying.

10 October 2023

Five Minutes Peace - The Latest Edition of Raising Parents

I remember a thousand years ago when my best friend had all-the-kids under grade school age and was a stay-at-home mom.  The book Five Minutes Peace was new...maybe? popular, probably at the time.  I sent it to her as gift of support.

I think about that book often, not as in I-gave-it-as-a-gift but like I do with If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.  My life is often If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  I realized today that it has also become Five Minutes Peace.

A new stove is to be delivered sometime this afternoon. That is another whole story but try to focus.  

I had four errands to run, not including walkies for Lucy.  I started early, after working all morning so that I was home well in time for said delivery. They weren't difficult errands: recycling, buying dog food, dropping off goodwill donations and recycling grocery bags.  All in and out, quick.  

My phone rang when I'm less than one minute away from recycling, my first stop.  I had been gone fifteen minutes.  It's my father-in-law.  Like always, it's a scenic tour to the point.  Two things happened: he managed to get two flu shots in one week and he fell.  Which happened first? unclear for a minute.  

I'm getting that frustrated kind of tired where you're teary.  I'm thinking "I can drop recycling and go right back home. That will be twenty minutes at the most. I can call the ambulance..."

Then I get to the "I fell last night after dinner" part.  Okay, heart rate: return to normal. Brain, you can also just relax. Everyone stand down.

There were two separate incidents, unrelated perhaps, and the reason he phoned was he needed to know Which Shot He Still Needed.  He was certain he had three flu shots.  (spoiler alert: he didn't)

For effs sake.

I clarified which shots he's had in the past two months and said I would work on this when I got home.  He was satisfied with this answer then said he was really sore and how sister-in-law had to help him put on his socks.  Sigh.

I suggested that he could a) call the doctor b) go back to the chiropractor and/or c)  take some tylenol and rest.  He clarified again: he was sore from falling but maybe because he had all the flu shots.  I repeated his options and he chose to rest.  Okay, then.

Lucy and I went for walkies - in the rain because Fall in the PNW - and I texted my sister-in-law the update.  She just phoned me, it was too much to text.  He fell because he dropped a fork and ignored the siblings telling him to leave it.  Like a toddler - not sarcastic, literally like a toddler - he got his head over his feet and fell, unprotected.

This is where she shares that he hit his head.  WUT.

a) he didn't tell me this. He said his back hurt

2) he's 85, diabetic and on blood thinners.

c) they left him home alone and didn't tell anyone TO CHECK ON HIM FFS

ACK.  Now I'm back to considering returning home.  She said that she was confident he was fine and also said she would come home if she needed to and if I could check on him when I get home.

This is my life now.

Okay, so whatever, there's that.  I then phoned the pharmacy to clarify which shot he received on Friday.  They transferred me to the pharmacist who loves my f-i-l.  She explained that he got the flu and the Covid imm and how did he get two flu shots.  "Because I didn't phone you to clarify. I  thought he had it and indeed, he did not."

She says "Well, you're guaranteed a long life. You've fulfilled the fifth commandment and have honored your parents.   You will have a good long life."  

It's very sweet of her to say and I appreciate the support but the alphabet brain is scrambling for which commandment...it's not the right for not self-incrimination...and also: it feels like this whole thing is shortening my life. But it was nice of her to say.

I finished my errands, after two separate conversations with Kevin and return home.  I went downstairs to check on him and the door is locked. I can see that he's snoozing in his chair and their dumb dogs did not bark.  I backed away slowly and quietly and went back home.  

Then I thought "Well, maybe I should check because he hit his head" then the equally dark thought of "If it happened, it's already happened.  Possibly waking him up would be worse."  Yeah, that's effed up, I know.

I let my s-i-l know and checked with Kevin to make sure he agreed.  He did and so I started to work. 

About two hours later, my f-i-l phones.  He asked if the stove has been delivered yet then announces that he is getting a Shingles shot on Sunday.  I wanted to say "Can we just calm down with the shots for a little while?" but instead I said "Great!"  

Then..because there's always something else...he says that he's going to the doctor tomorrow to see why he's falling "all the time".  I measured my words and said "My guess is she's going to tell you you're 85 years old"  He took that on the chin but was adamant that he was asking.  FINE.

But I absolutely emailed the doctor all of the above so she had the information ahead of time. Then debated whether or not I should just go.  Kevin said no and sister said no.  I'm not going. Yet.

So, let's back up two months ago when he fell just prior to leaving for California.  YES, a WHOLE OTHER STORY.  The doctor told him that he needed to start using a walker and he declined that.  He was polite about it but no.  I've since reminded him that Mom's walker is in our shed and we can bring it down. He says no.

It turns out that s-i-l still has the walker from hospice - they knew we'd need it - and she is putting it in his room tonight and having another "bone of contention" discussion.  1...2...3...NOT IT.  Although Kevin has intentions of having a conversation with him about this also.  I reminded him that we had this same conversation with his mom dozens of times and her life ended exactly has predicted: started with a fall and never recovered.  He said he wants to say it so he knows he's said it.  FINE.

But wait, I'm not done.  I haven't mentioned that I went to the doctor with him A WEEK AGO.  It was his annual exam and really wasn't that comprehensive or enlightening because he's 85 and he is in there all the time.

He did, however, fail his cognitive tests.  I wasn't surprised but I was also disheartened.  The doctor specifically asked who is handling his finances and decisions.  I explained that the family was and she was visibly relieved.  

Yet, she gave him a handicapped placard for this van.  I mean....wut.  (they had one, it was invalidated when mom passed)  He renews his license next month and we're equally hoping and dreading that he fails. 

On that day though, I spent forty minutes on the phone with Kevin in the grocery store parking lot rehashing everything that was said and recommended.  INCLUDING the fact that he is also having AUDITORY HALLUCINATIONS at night, most likely due to stress.  He's hearing church music/noises when he's alone and it's loud enough to drown the television noise.  The cure? up his anti-depressants and time.  Super.

It feels like I'm forgetting a big part of that doctor visit and I probably am. But nothing else will describe this situation better than "I just can't remember all of it; there's so much." Oh wait, I took notes on my phone...oh, of course: he arrived to that appointment with wet pants because he couldn't find a parking space and he refuses to wear much-needed diapers.  Yeah.

And keep in mind: he doesn't live with us. He lives next door and it's still this intense.  And, and, and, Kevin is going to have to tell all of them: "If you have complaints, talk to that person. Don't talk to us and then get frustrated that it isn't fixed."

So...yeah.  It's been a roller coaster this week.  It's Tuesday,

And my damn stove still isn't here.  It's officially six minutes past the delivery window.  Of course.

Oh, and I'm getting a new stove from my father-in-law as a thank you for helping so much over the last year(s).  It better also be able to tie my shoes and wash my truck.

09 October 2023

Didn't Have That On the Bingo Card

 Well, because our life just can't be normal - like - ever, we have a cougar in the neighborhood.  No, not me but an actual cougar.

I get email alerts from the nextdoor app and most of the time they're annoying nonsense.  This time it was a post from really nearby: Cougar Sighting.  I clicked through and there had been multiple sightings.  Before I could talk to Kevin about it, our neighbor commented that she had heard it in the woods.  The woods behind our house.  So much for the neighborhood text chain, I guess.

We let the family know to watch the dogs and keep an eye out for anything.  Like always, the brother has suddenly seen/known something before us. "I saw one the other morning!" he reports.  I eyeroll because that's something you share with people.  Also, I can spot a liar at fifty feet.

A few nights later, I was out on the deck and heard something.  It sounds like a child scream.  There's only one little kiddo in the neighborhood and it was too late for him to be outside playing.  I texted the neighbor who reported hearing it and she confirmed that's what it sounded like. YIKES.

We've been keeping Lucy closer than usual and she has her rattle collar on her so it's guaranteed she will come when called. (old girl doesn't hear as well as she used to)  We go with her if it's dark and we keep an ear out for any noises.

The other night Kevin was out in the yard with her and he heard something in the woods.  He called me to come out to listen and the cat alerted.  It's a creepy sound, especially in the woods and in dark. (Click here to listen)  It startled an owl and it began to hoot in reaction.  This time, it sounded like it was down by the creek instead of behind us.  

AND THEN on Saturday Kevin came home from meeting his friends.  He was driving his car, which is a little loud.  He pulled it into his garage then stood outside the bay door, working on something.  He heard the cougar scream really really close by.  

He said he ducked into the garage, pulled the door down, then went to the entry door.  He listened and could hear something in the woods. He called out to his brother, who had also just gotten home, to see if it was him.  No answer.

Then he debated: stay in the garage or come to the house.  Realizing he couldn't stay the night in the garage, he bolted for the house.  

He spoke with our other neighbor and they reported that their dog - a giant, doofy Pyrenneese - had been barking at the woods all night, confirming that there was something out there.  (draw the bottom of a boat. The left upper part is one neighbor and they're by the main road. The upper right corner is the other neighbor and they're completely surrounded by woods and the last house on the road.  We are in the middle, with woods on one side and a ravine/woods on the other)

This morning I phoned Fish and Wildlife and they were surprisingly unconcerned.  If we had actually seen the cougar, then they would make a plan but because it's only auditory, we're on our own.  She did refer me to the website, specifically Living With Wildlife, with categories for which kind of wildlife you're experiencing.  (link, if you're curious)  She assured me that cougar attacks are unlikely and to just be careful.  That seems contradictory but here we are.

She suggested that we could get a game camera so we knew what/how close any animal may be.  That is a HARD PASS for me.  I am happy not knowing what's out there.  I mean, I assume and I intellectually know that there is plenty of wildlife out there.  I do not, however, need to specifically know if they're wandering around the house.

One of my favorite things is to step out onto the deck to look at the stars when there is a meteor shower, possible Northern Lights, or full moon.  It's well after Kevin and the dog have gone to sleep.  I always have the deck gates closed when I do this and listen for movement.  Now I'm hesitant to do even that and will probably take a break for while.

Our hope is that it will move on once it gets colder and the salmon spawning is done; which will be late November.

Live in the woods, they say, it's so peaceful they say.

21 September 2023

My Signature Color - It's Not What You Think

 Quite a while ago I realized that I didn't know what my friend's favorite color was.  I thought I had an idea but I was wrong. After some thought, their reply was "I don't really have one."  

This makes sense, I guess, because we're not seven years old anymore.  Also if you have a brain like mine, there would be categories: clothing? cars? interior design? flowers? There's too many colors to just, like, choose only one.

Then I realized that I really didn't have a favorite either.  For a long time as a child I said blue.  I don't know why other than the supposition that it was the favored color in the household I grew up in.  Then as a teen I would say black, partially because shock value but also I liked it.  

Honestly, my favorites really do depend on what the color is on.  I'm still a big fan of black.  There is a black house paint color that I love. I like black cars. My favorite hoodie is black. I wear black every day. But I don't like black fixtures or interior design. 

Years ago Kevin asked if I could wear an actual color other than black.  My compromise was purple because there are darker shades that are black-adjacent. Also, I like purple.  But it also wasn't a color I was particularly drawn to overall.  It was just a color that I chose to like.

When I redid our bedroom, I bought a bohemian quilt that is orange. Then I painted our closet orange. I realized that I started to gravitate toward orange. The living room curtains are bright, multicolored and featured orange. This spring when I bought all the flowers, I noticed that I liked orange flowers the most.  

I realized: omg, my favorite color is orange!  I like it on just about everything.  Well, not exterior house paint necessarily but overall I like it.  

Or...maybe I do...

My niece has bright orange Chuck Taylors that I love. Halloween decorations are second to Christmas. I bought myself an orange Yeti cup for my tea. My favorite dishes I inherited from my mother-in-law are orange carnival glass. My old work color was persimmon. If I think about it, orange is a theme in my life.

 Kevin is one of about three people who look good in orange.  He has to wear high visibility shirts/hoodie/jacket for work.  I've borrowed his hoodies before when I'm working outside or going on walkies on dark PNW days. This then triggered a memory from when I was really young.

My paternal grandma spoiled me while she was still alive.  She didn't have a lot so "spoiling" would be stuffies, trinkets, candy, clothes.  I was about five, I think, when she bought me a coat.  I remember I went on a car trip with her and she bought it. 

I loved it, because I chose it. I didn't have to wait for it because usually my clothes were purchased on lay-away (no judgement), and I didn't have to base my choice off of what my brothers were getting or what my mom wanted.

It was quilted, had white fur-ish collar and lining.  It was BRIGHT ORANGE.  Like really orange.  I loved it.  LOVED it.

Make this coat bright orange:

Like this. Combine these two coats. Make it a 4-T, probably 

Again, I loved this coat.  I was so excited to take it home.  It was in August and I wore it home in the car. (a Datsun station wagon, traveling from Eastern Washington back to Western Washington)

And...my mom hated it.  HATED IT.  I remember she was angry that my grandma bought it for me.  Because that is a reasonable reaction. *shaking my head* I don't remember why.   I just remember anger.  Maybe it was the color or it wasn't the right size or who even knows. I just remember anger.

The reason I tell you this horrible story is that's where I learned that Orange wasn't an acceptable color to be your favorite color.  So here I am fifty years later, saying Orange is my Favorite Color.


 So, mother-effing depression leg-swept me for about two weeks.  SUPER FUN.

And no, I wondered this too: it's not grief.  Well, not all of it. Although that is mixed in there with good measure. Perhaps it's the Fall Ennui happening a little early.  I don't know.  I do know that it's exhausting.

I've had a few days where my brain is all "Oh hey, I'm going to fully function today. What did I miss?" Then I'm trying to "catch-up" on things that were put aside only to have it last a day or two.

I'm working on healthy coping. Ignoring it doesn't work, except sometimes. I worked from bed one day while NCIS played endlessly in the background.  I made sure to do my stupid little mental health walks but I did skip a few days.  I switched off the country music for a while.  I tried to eat on a schedule but this is where I say that effing test messed up my body and I just now started feeling physically normal this week.

Kevin is in his own feelings because: dead mom and he knows I'm in the dark and twisty place.  He tries but he knows that only time will fix either of us.  So he doesn't comment if I randomly start a project or buy more flowers or forget things or have the music up loud or am watching documentaries at midnight.

Because time is the only thing that is going to fix this.  Time to heal, time for my body and brain to rebalance. Time to just be.

08 September 2023

See You in Seven Years Because You Suck. Also: Benign

 So, two things then I'll be finished talking about this whole thing. Because, I would like to forget this forever.

Also, evidence to the contrary: I am telling all y'all about this so no one has unpleasant surprises. Not at all intended to deter anyone.  I mean maybe it isn't shared how difficult prep is because it's already difficult to get people to do the screening.  Well, here's a crazy idea: make it less awful. Make it not take almost a full week to prepare for. Okay, I'm done yelling. Probably.

A listicle:

  • I had the Sutab prep and that's the harsh one.  The other pill and fluid combination is reportedly less harsh.  
  • If you have just the fluid one, put ice in it.  Or alternate Yukky Fluid and Alternate Drink.
  • Advocate for yourself.  Call the clinic if you feel like I did. 
  • Reddit has an entire thread and more about this procedure. It listed some good suggestions
  • As Swistle reminded me: "As they say in My Fair Lady, “listen very nicely and then go and do precisely what [I] want.” 

I still have mild discomfort in my abdomen.  What I mean by that is that the abdomen is tight, not squishy like the Pillsbury Doughboy.  It feels pressurized and sore.  Not like a tummy ache, not like indigestion. 

The clinic says it's 97% air and the rest is trauma and/or readjustment. It feels like it took a half a tank of air to do the procedure and they used the full tank. The nurse said to take a long walk and that didn't really help but here we are.  I've since taken Lucy on two additional walks and I haven't noticed a difference.  As soon as I eat, it feels like I lose progress.

In desperation, I did a search and  the internet said tea and a hot water bottle so I feel like an old Renaissance woman convalescing on her fainting couch.  It does feel like doing this has helped.

More importantly, the three polyps were benign. Not cancer or even pre-cancer.  So that's the goodest news.  It does harken a little "I did that for nothing" though.  And yes, I know those needed to be removed and still.

During the follow-up call, the nurse said it's up to the doctor to determine five or seven years before this test is needed again.  I replied "So, seven years then" and she laughed but corrected me.  I was emphatic that seven years is the plan.  Because she is not the boss of me.

Then I shared the horrible prep reaction and she did a little tut-tutting which felt a little like "Was it really that bad?" and I persevered. I explained that one shouldn't be lying on the bathroom floor at 2 in the morning thinking about going to the E.R.  That I broke my foot off of my leg and was all "I have THINGS TO DO. FIX IT"  I am a stoic.  Believe people when they tell you.

Taking a different approach, I asked that style of prep either be reduced to half or to a child-size dose OR not at all.  She did agree to that. I explained that the first dose did the trick, there wasn't a need for a second dose. I mean, not to be gross but it's OBVIOUS.  She mentioned that it would be a shame to have to do the test again because the "clean-out" wasn't completed. I repeated again that it was obvious that a second dose wasn't needed.  Trust people when they tell you stuff.

Anyway, I asked her to add a note to my chart with glitter and highlighter and she agreed. Then she said something about "Mention it, if you remember next time" and I was all "OH I WILL REMEMBER"


Oh, and now the doctor has really said five years so SEVEN YEARS it will be.

Also, it is the hope that in those seven years, there is a less invasive way to conduct this test. Already there is the at-home test and with technology changing every day, hopefully it will be like an x-ray/CAT scan/MRI/magic wand that doesn't violate your body kind of thing.

Poor Kevin has heard "FUCK THIS TEST" at least twice a day for a week.  Poor guy.  About day three, I think, I made him place his hand on my abdomen to feel that it was tight as drum.  He said to call the clinic but because I have such fantastic luck, it was a three-day weekend. The situation didn't feel like it was worthy to call the on-call doctor.  I had resigned myself to a "My life is ruined" mindset until one day I wake up and my body isn't staging a revolt.

Because, honestly, I've lost almost two weeks for this test.  The first 3-4 days of clean eating that gave me a stomach ache, the 24-hours of prep, the day of the screening, and now Day 7 of being uncomfortable.

I can look forward to feeling better and not thinking about this for another seven years.  NOT FIVE.

**This is where I say, again, this is a necessary and important screening.                                          Don't skip it because of anything I said and be prepared instead**

03 September 2023

Chicken Soup with Rice - September

(this one was always my favorite page)


02 September 2023

A Very Necessary Screening Part Two or aka EFF THIS PREP

 Okay, so now I've completed the screening.  It's fine, everything is mostly fine.  It just turned out more than I had planned or expected.  To tag onto Swistle again, I agree that it's important to share these experiences so no one is left surprised or scared or upset.

The second alarm went off at 4:00 pm to take the first doses of the pills.  I was working and was wearing my headphones.  I left them on, marched out to the kitchen, and dumped out the pills.  I set the stopwatch on my phone and started the process; pill/water/pill/water/pill/water/PAUSE/pill/water/pill/water/pill/water/PAUSE/pill/water/pill/water/pill/water/PAUSE/pill/water/PAUSE/pill/water/did a frustration dance/pill/water

The meds provide a 16 oz plastic bucket for the water portion.
I opted for a 20 oz. water bottle, knowing I didn't have to drink all of it
and bonus of not being made to feel like cattle lapping from a bucket.

I didn't look at the pills while taking them, I didn't want to be daunted because TWELVE. Instead, I just focused on the television or the window or Lucy and got them down.  I can't guarantee I am going to be this successful at 2:45 tomorrow morning though.  It is A LOT.

And now we wait for the...er...ummm...fireworks.  I still have four ounces of water to drink but I also took two bites of watery jello because I suspect that my stomach is also not going to be my friend as  I rarely take medicine. Let alone twelve pills at once.....

Annnndddd....as predicted, I got nearly done with the water portion and hurled.  I phoned the clinic and they said to a) take the next set slower and b) take the second set EARLIER.  FML.  However, I was concerned that I would have to start all over and so much NO.

Then shortly after that adventure, the intended effect began and I was surprised at how long it lasted. For not eating since 8:45 am this morning (it's now 6:00 pm) and eating very little over the past three days, it went on for so long that I was anticipating seeing aliens and lost socks.  But I knew this was going to be the case so no panic, just kind of sad resignment.

Now it's subsided and I have to "eat" which is chicken broth and my soupy jello.  Chicken broth is not the worst thing ever. Nor is it something I will now include in my diet.  Nor is lemon jello, lime isn't terrible but will remain on stand-by for medical procedures.  And of course, the never-ending water bottle.

This is where I say that for me the level of discomfort went from uncomfortable to unbearable and back again, multiple times.  I told Kevin that I'm never doing this again.  He tried to placate me and I said I MEAN IT.  I wasn't just pouting.  Justification for said pouting in a few paragraphs.

It turned out that I was awake most of the night. Kevin went to bed with Lucy and I watched television and drank water.  I eventually fell asleep, just to be awakened by the second Take Your Pills alarm.  I took my time taking them as advised and still it was a miserable experience.  I could barely take any water afterward so I couldn't remotely achieve the 32 oz. over one hour.  Luckily, my symptoms were showing that I didn't need to worry, I'm guessing that was because I had worked on so much water/clear food intake earlier.

This is where it went sideways.  I am allergic to Sulfa meds, they make me violently ill.  I honestly thought that I was having an allergic reaction.  My stomach hurt, all the rest of the digestive tract hurt, my kidneys hurt.  I was laying on the bathroom floor thinking I was going to have to wake up Kevin because something was clearly wrong. 

Finally I made it back out to the couch, fell asleep and slept fitfully for two hours, maybe.  Kevin woke me up just prior to the final alarm.  I was still feeling sick - nausea and pain, still "symptomatic" and now emotional like an overly tired child.  I slept in the truck on the way down then had to check my attitude at the clinic.  Because they don't deserve any wrath for something that isn't under their control.

Kevin's treading lightly at this point, not making eye contact.  Because he's never met a stranger ever and he has the face that read "Talk to me" he struck up a conversation with an older couple behind me which veered into wills, dnr's and prepaid burial plans.  I'm thinking "Can we just...like...not right now?" 

The check-in process was quick and we waited one minute before they took me into pre-op.  The one happy thing that happened is one of my favorite local artists had art on the walls.  

Ben Mann - photo nipped from his website

The nurse was a little younger than me and was my favorite kind of medical professional: kind but direct.  She listed out what was going to happen step-by-step.  She mentioned sedation levels and I told her "I don't want to remember any.of.this.ever"  She nodded assuringly and said "We can do that".  

So, now I'm waiting and I hear the patient in the next cubicle.  She sounded like an older lady with a complicated health history.  She seemed very familiar with the process. A different nurse was doing the check-in process and she asked how the prep went for her.  She had the EXACT same issues that I had, including the considering going to the ER.  

At this point I felt relieved and vindicated.  I'm usually the very definition of stoic and this was so not how I deal with these types of things.  The nurse returned to me and started her process for the procedure: i.v. pulse ox, blood pressure, etc.. She asked how I was feeling and I explained that I was miserable, still feeling sick and in pain. She was sympathetic but my brain says she doesn't believe me (even if she did) so I mentioned that the lady next door reported the same issues. (so much for HIPAA laws, btw)  

The nurse, to her credit, lowered her voice and shared that they had a many complaints about that style of prep.  Again, I felt vindicated and validation and also: frustrated.  I asked her to note that it not be prescribed to me again and she agreed.

She left, I napped then they rolled me back to the operating room.  I rolled over as instructed, which is actually how I sleep anyway and I went to sleep.  I remember nothing of the procedure.  I woke up to the nurse asking me if I wanted Kevin to come and next thing I knew, he was sitting next to me and it was time to leave.

It turns out that they removed three tiny polyps and sent them for testing.  Odds are it's nothing to worry about BUT - no pun intended, but funny - it now means that I have to rescreen in as little as three years, possible five.  Right now, that is a no.  More on that in a minute.

I opted for walking out instead of using a wheelchair and of course, I stumbled.  The nurse looked skeptical and I laughed "That would have happened without sedation" and Kevin agreed.  

We stopped at the starbucks to get a white chocolate iced mocha and chocolate croissant then I did the little seat happy dance to have food.  Once we got home Kevin went out to the shop because I needed space after all of that.  My stomach/internal organs were still aching but I felt like doing chores or something instead of laying back down for a while. 

Well, that found me under my desk rerouting the cords to my computer, printer, router, lamps, etc.  It also included Kevin cutting a whole in the kickplate of my desk so I could do this.  Yesterday I think I could have gotten him to do anything for me.  lolsigh.

Once that was done, I did nap for a bit as my abdomen was still tight and aching.  Kevin woke me up and asked what I wanted to do for dinner.  Also, that he had scheduled a haircut for 4:00.  My choice was snoozle on the couch and he would bring me whatever I wanted for dinner or I could go and choose which restaurant.  I felt good enough to go so we went.  We sat outside at the marina at one of my favorite restaurants, I had prawns and steamed vegetables that were so GOOD.  

Then by the time we returned home, I was feeling sick again.  I "recycled" my dinner and I have to mention that it hurt. Not the expected kind of hurt because of all the "activity" if you will - and yes, that too, but hurt then ache like before and probably where I now have little cuts or stitches.  I took some ibuprofen (as directed) and laid down on the couch.  

I remarkably slept through the night and slept in.  My stomach doesn't hurt, nor my kidneys but my abdomen remains tight and sore.  The clinic phoned to check in and I missed the call.  I phoned them back and they're closed because Saturday.  It's not enough to call the on-call but I will phone them on Tuesday.

Kevin asked how I was feeling and I said marginally better, still not "normal"  I told him that I don't see myself doing this again, it was so miserable.  He understands but demurred a little.  I explained the laying on the floor thinking about going to the E.R. and he agreed that I need to talk with the doctor.

So, now, I went and read my medical records because I'm a huge nerd.  It turns out that they used a pediatric scope.  I continually forget that I am child-sized.  Child-size glasses, child sized anything medical.  Did you just think what I thought?

I wonder if I need the child-size dosage of the prep stuff.  The wonder has merit as I was symptomatically good after my first prep.  I really didn't need a second one.  All the second one did was make it painful and miserable.

So I'll be asking THAT on Monday as well.  

With that, for me though, it's a hard pass until there are better prep procedures for this. I will do the other style of test, which I've done before, instead. I thought that maybe today my attitude about this would be different and instead I feel more steadfast.  That's how sick and in pain I felt.

While there is another way to check that is less invasive and traumatic to the body and psyche, I will opt for that.  Yes, it's not as thorough or proactive AND it didn't literally ruin my life for days.   If I have to do it, I will opt for the gallon of yukky stuff but I still will have grave concerns about the whole prep process.  

Despite all that being said, schedule your colonoscopy, it is important. It might just be me that had this experience. I'm allergic to everything, I don't take medicine usually, it could just be me. It could just be that prescription of Prep.  

Go prepared with questions and concerns and know that it is your choice.  Use this and Swistles post as a guide to help assuage your concerns and know what questions to ask.