Tuesday, July 31, 2012

my vacation tried to kill me (part 1?)

Warning: Many tedious, unnecessary details included. So, this could take awhile.( oh, and I'm not proofing it at all, so assume all mistakes are typos. Feel free to comment on any you find so I can fix them. )

So, as I posted last week, I joined the M & Ms in TN for our first annual girls' week. According to Google, from St. Louis it's an approximately 9-10 hour drive. I think the furthest I've ever driven alone is maybe 3 hours so I was excited and scared to death all at the same time. I decided to leave Sunday afternoon, drive as far as I felt comfortable with, then stop for the night. The hubby and K had to actually push me out the door to leave. But once I got on the road I felt pretty good. Traffic was sparse and the cruise control helped me avoid any speed traps. I cruised along for about 2-3 hours and then.... my check engine light came on. So I pulled over to a gas station (that was 4 MILES from the exit ramp, why did they even list it?! If you're that desperate for gas or a bathroom you probably won't make it that far anyway.) and texted Shawn. His response "Do you want me to come get you?" Hell, no. I am not a wimp! I can do this. When the engine light came on the oil warning light came on briefly also so I decided to check the oil, thinking that was the problem. I have done minor "work" on my cars in the past- check and fill the oil, refill wiper fluid, change the battery (with help) etc so I was pretty sure I could handle it. Until I realized I didn't even know where the latch was to open the hood. Not the one inside the car, the one under the grill. I finally got the hood up and boy does the engine compartant of my car look clean! Too bad nothing is ever in the same place from car to car. However, a nice fatherly gentleman stopped to help me out. We tested the oil- it was perfect so we dug into my car book again and finally found the engine warning light entry (it's BURIED). Guess what it said?! Your car is still safe to drive, just have a tech check it when you can. Seriously. Why even bother putting the light there then?
An hour lost, I headed back out on the road. The rest of the evening was fairly uneventful (except a kinda weird, kinda sweet little old lady who sat down with me at dinner so she wouldn't dirty any of the other tables while waiting for her to go order. I told her I was deaf but she kept up a steady stream of conversation anyway.) I decided to stop in Nashville for the night then finish the last of the drive Monday morning. Shout out to the security guard at the rest stop who helped me find a great coupon for the Best Western off exit 219. Saved me $40! Checked in, lugged my stuff up to the 2nd floor room (on the other side of the "buuilding" from the elevator) and tried to plug my phone in to charge. Nope, not happening. Apparently at some point between St. Louis and Nashville I broke my charger. So, the first full day of my vacation involved me missing (free!) breakfast to search out a Verizon store to get a replacement. The staff at B.W were SO helpful. They even printed off directions for me. Replacement secured I left phone in room to charge while I headed out (again) in search of food. The Waffle House next to the hotel looked fairly clean and smelled pretty good (breakfast ALWAYS smells good) so in I went. I ignored the "save booths for parties of 2 or more" and plopped myself down. Guess what? You don't have to have waffles at Waffle House. I got biscuits and gravy instead and it was pretty darn good.   After all that I was still on the road by 10:00 am... Central time. Which means 11:00 at my destination. Not too, too late. And had I not got lost on the way (thanks to some truly confusing Google directions) I think I would have made it by my promised arrival of 3:00 pm. Instead I drove in circles for an extra 40 minutes, then got stuck in some extremely expletive worthy traffic. (Only because I had stopped using my a/c after the warning light came on- apparently it's connected to the cooling system. Better safe than sorry.) Finally managed to drag my sorry, sweat-soaked ass into the hotel at about... (4:30-5:00?) way after I said I'd be there. My 9-10 hour drive took... 24 hours. :) But I still beat Mary!

Hmmm, I think I'll stop there for now. Leg is getting sore (that story will be in episode 2 or 3 or 4).

Monday, July 30, 2012

back from vacation and learned a new phrase

And no it's not an expletive (though plenty of those were involved). I've been home since Friday night and I'm still recuperating. I'll fill you all in on my awesome trip as soon as I feel like sitting at my desk for that long. I'll try to include pictures, too, but no promises.
But about that new phrase I learned- it's called a "soft tissue injury" and apparently if you hit a muscle/joint/ligament (basically about any non-bone body part I think) just right it will immediately form a huge ass lump with lots of bruising and swelling and pain involved. If that lump appears on your leg just after falling down the side of a mountain people who come to your rescue are going to freak out because they think you broke something. Even after you tell them it really doesn't hurt as bad as a broken bone should, then proceed to stand up and hobble down said-mountain on said-"broken" leg (with lots of help from strong Southern gentlemen :o)  ). But now my right leg is sporting some mighty fine colors and I got some really great pictures. :) (It's still kind of burning a little- like I'm trying to over-stretch the muscle or something. I wonder at what point do I say "Maybe I should see a doctor about this after all"?)
By the way- the title of my vacation post is going to be "My vacation tried to kill me"... so stay tuned!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

fare thee well...

until we met again. This time tomorrow I will be either on the road or already sacked out at the most reputable hotel I can find on my way to Tenn. I will be back Thursday/Friday but probably recuperating through the weekend so you won't be hearing from me for awhile. (Your heart just broke a little, didn't it? Awww, I love you, too.) But once I'm back I promise to fill you in on all the excitement experienced during Tracey and the M & Ms first annual girls' week. It's gonna be an adventure!

Friday, July 20, 2012

hubby does good

I'm a voracious reader... except when I'm not. So, when Husband wants to buy me a PFNR (present for no reason), he plays it safe and buys me a book (or candy. You can't really go wrong with candy. Unless is has coconut it in it; that stuff is nasty.). It's a treat because I get most of my books from the library these days to save money. I like to read good books over and over though and that's easier if I actually have the book. Last time he came home bearing (baring?) PFNR is was two books: one that I already have and one that's actually the third in a series that I haven't read. The reason this has ended up in my blog is two-fold. First, because this is not the first time it's happened (buying a not-first book in a series I haven't read). In fact, it happens so often it's pretty much a running joke in the family. And it only gets funnier because he never does it on purpose. (Once he bought me 3 books out of a series, and guess which one he missed? But that's not his fault- the series list was upside down inside the books; last to first. Who does that?) The second reason I'm talking about this is- for missing the first two (which I'm now going to rectify) this story was actually pretty good. It's YA so the main character is a teenage girl and it involves the supernatural (because, let's face it, that's pretty much all YA is these days.) The series is called Bad Girls Don't Die and I'll try to remember to let you know how the other books compare. (But no promises on when rthat will be- I about to get super busy.)

So, you did good, hubby!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

not this day

There are dishes and laundry to be done, but not this day. The floors need to be swept and the trash needs to go out, but not this day. The furniture needs dusting and the cat litter needs changed, BUT NOT THIS DAY! Today, we are going to the pool. But not the regular old boring pool right down the road. The one that doesn't even have a diving board (ok, it does have a slide but it's short and not too exciting.) We are going to the pool that has real waterslides and an innertube river and... I don't know what else because we've never been there. But that's going to change. Today.

As soon as we get off our lazy butts and go.

Monday, July 16, 2012

crazy busy

It started today. Hair appointment at 11:00 (bye-bye gray!). While there I noticed the toenail polish on just one little toe was completely gone. Like someone crept into my room one night while I was sleeping, cackling and rubbing their hands together in mad glee (I'll get you my pretty and your little toenail, too.), poured some polish remover on it and wiped it away.  This is so not acceptable, especially during the summer. (I love my feet so they must look pretty at all times. :D )  So, I texted the Sister and we agreed to meet to get pedicures. Then it changed to lunch first, then pedicures. Then it was lunch, quick runs into various stores at the mall, then pedicures. We crammed the day full! Lunch was delish. I found my hip scarf for belly dance class. And the woman at the salon did a great job on my feet- but why do they always ask me if want my eyebrows done? I swear I'm getting a complex.
After we finished and Sister helped me to my car, wobbling all over since I was wearing salon slippers instead of real shoes- mustn't smudge the polish!, I had to come home, run interference with the brat.. I mean kids, check in with the husband and gather all my library books to take back. I had ten. And out of the ten, I had actually finished... one. I was sick and tired of looking at them though, so back they went. I'm just not in a reading mood right now. It comes and goes. (Oh and my little hoard cost me $2.80 in overdue fees because they were actually due last Thursday. The library loves me. I'm one of their biggest money sources.) On the way home I stopped and got my fingernails done. They were getting way too long, which is just an invitation to nibble on them, then they crack or break off entirely. I have to keep them short; but my "real" nails are so super thin and prone to ripping so I also have to keep them... covered/? Thickened? Protected? Whatever you want to call it. I call it looking pretty. :D

Sounds like a pretty full week, right? Let alone a day. But that's just the beginning. Tomorrow I fly up to Chicago for full brain and spine MRIs. (Send me good vibes. I can't shake this feeling that it's not going to be great news. Not bad news exactly, just not really good news. You know what I mean.) After the scans I see my neuro-oncologist (who is AWESOME!) for the results then immediately head back to the airport to fly home. Luckily an amazing friend is chauffuering me around. (Thank you, Sally- you ROCK!)

Wednesday is either going to be pool and movie day or Science Center and IMAX day. We are playing it by ear. (And then Friday is going to be whatever we don't do Wednesday day. See how that works out?)

Thursday we are having (another) sister day. The sister and I are going for massages and facials, then lunch, then... who knows. Unlike today, which was an impromptu sister day, Thursday has been planned for awhile. Of course, now we have to figure out a different place to eat lunch since we used our normal spot today.

Finally, Saturday is the niece's 1st birthday party! She's already walking, did I tell you? It's exhausting trying to keep up with her! She's really gotten the hang of it. She still falls sometimes though and I about have a heart attack each time. (I think I must have missed this phase with the nephew, or maybe they had more room?) Anyway. So, sometime this week I also have to fit in birthday shopping. What do 1 year old girls like?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

this i swear to be true

Ok. After editing that last post at least five times after originally posting it, I've decided to make an important announcement. (This is for you, Grammar Nazis.) For future reference, any and all mistakes found in my blog posts are the result of typos. Not me being a terrible speller who can barely grasp the English language or proper sentence structure. (Especially proper sentence structure.)

That is all. Good night.

Friday, July 13, 2012

just a quickie

Since I have SO MANY READERS*, I now feel obligated (in the best possible way) to give you something new to read, since it's been a couple days. So, here's an update on my life:

The rain actually freaking parted to go around us! I watched it on one of those cool weather in motion doppler radar map thingies. So, that weather-related pain I briefly mentiond (cough cough) the other day is sticking around a bit longer. I missed yoga class Wednesday and belly dance today; it's hard to do those kind of things when you are carrying a plastic bowl everywhere. (I even have one in the car. Don't believe me- ask. I'll share a picture.)

One of the boys' friends is leaving tomorrow for 2 weeks to go (something I didn't catch but didn't bother to ask him to repeat. I got the important part) so he's spending the night. S and K very quickly got into a fight that involved punches being thrown and elbows being jabbed. After their 10 minute time out (which was really so I could eat a cupcake in peace) I told them that they were being rude to their friend and the new rule for the night is: the FIRST one to throw a punch (jab an elbow, whatever) would be sent straight to bed, no room for appeal. But the other one wouldn't get in trouble at all, even if they had retaliated. I hope this makes them pause because I think they don't mind getting in trouble, as long as their brother does too. Weirdos.

And, finally, I broke off not one, but two nails this week so I really need to get my nails done. They are ripped off almost to the quick but my other nails are all too long so it just looks weird. Like I'm missing the tips of those two fingers or something.

And, on that cheerful image, hasta manana, amigos!

*ummm, that was a joke. but not in a mean way. i love my 5 readers :) (it would be 6 but i keep forgetting to share the link with my mom :D  )

Update: It was a successful ploy to get them to stop fighting! For one night, anyway. I'll take it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

lightning sizzles

all through my shoulders and down my back. It's like a wave of electricity dancing just below my skin. If you could see it, I think it might actually be pretty. What's not so pretty- me throwing up in a plastic bowl because the pain makes me so sick to my stomach.
When it comes to pain, I'm an old pro. When you have NF2, you have pain, simple as that. One of my doctors once told me, after I complained about the headaches, "You get your head cut open twice, you're going to have headaches." ( I love that and I still quote it all the time. Obviously.) Of course, my head's been cut open more than twice now. And my headaches have become such a part of my everyday existence that they're background noise more than anything. I don't even take anything for them until they start heading toward migraine status. (I'm drugged up enough as it is.)  I've pretty much forgotten what it's like to be truly pain-free. I think it might be a coping mechanism. If I remembered the good, the bad would be that much worse. Or something like that.
The nerve pain, though, used to be just random zaps here and there. The first time it zapped through my head I literally fell on my ass, it was so unexpected. It was not pleasant. At all. But it would just happen once or twice, sporadically, then stop. And it wasn't that common of an occurance. That was 12-13 years ago. These days it's a bit more common. And the location has changed, too. More legs and feet, (sometimes arms), less head.
But this pain is different. It hums just below the surface and you can't ignore it. You can live with it at low levels, and it's not always there, but when it flares, there's not a damn thing you can do but ride it out. To be perfectly clear, I DO take medication for this, daily, and it DOES help. The flares are much less frequesnt and of shorter duration now. And I know when they are coming so I can brace myself. (It's a specific weather thing for me.) But it's a constant pain that is insidious in how it burrows in and builds, not just by a dramatic increase in the amount of pain, but by the fact that it JUST DOESN'T STOP. There's no respite, no chance to catch your breath. For that day or week or however long that specific weather pattern holds, you're just constantly living inside the pain. That's when you start throwing up in the plastic bowl. You just can't help it, no matter how much pain experience you have. Your body needs to find a release somewhere, anywhere.
Now, I'm not telling you this because I want your pity (although if you want to send me presents, that's okay with me). The weather this summer has been extreme on so many levels that I want to help people (ahem, my family) understand what I'm going through. That I'm not just being lazy or trying to "milk" it to get out of being productive. (Hello, it's summer- that's really all the excuse I need.) When you poke me in the shoulder and I flinch and say ouch, do not roll your eyes at me and say "That didn't hurt- I hardly touched you." Because one of these d ays I will brain you with something heavy. And I think I'd get away with it, too. Seriously, how do YOU know what pain I feel? Ahem. Anyway. I'm just trying to give a more accurate picture of exactly what is going on inside me when this happens. More than just "I hurt. Go to hell. Touch me again and I will kill you." This is definitely bitch-tracey's territory. And, no, it's not that time of the month! (Ass.) 
This weekend's forecast is calling for rain. That usually puts out the fire. Let it pour down on me. I'll be the one dancing in the rain. Unless it's lightning. Through with that!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

that's what i'm talking about

Yes! It finally feels like SUMMER! Emotionally. Not physically. Temp-wise it's been summer since like March. So, we baked at the ball park Sunday. Then the boys started summer camp yesterday. (The brain camp; the brawn camp is in 3 weeks.) Then today I took the boys and one of their friends, Co. (as apposed to their other C friend, Ch.), to the pool for some fun in the sun. Saturday we stayed in the water the whole time because it was just too hot to not. This time we stayed in the water the whole time because otherwise the breeze would make you shiverrrrr! Until you dried off. Then you'd have to just jump back in the water anyway to cool down from the blistering sun. When the pool closed at 5:00 (for swim lessons- go to the Rec Plex/YMCA like normal people! grumble grumble) we decided to head into McD's for some food. In our wet pool clothes. :) That is SO summer!!! And now we are lazing around in the a/c cooled house, half asleep, watching a B-horror movie (Abraham Lincoln vs the Zombies!!! or somerthing like that. And now that I've typed this out- why did I pay $1 for this at Redbox, I think it's on Netflix for free. Oops!) The only thing missing from our pefect summer picture- freshly mowed green grass (it's all dead and burnt) and a sunburn.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

take me out to the ballgame

Today was a family double header- my mom's birthday (she's a HUGE Cardinals fan- happy birthday, momma!!) AND my youngest son's choir was selected to sing God Bless America to open the game. It was the St. Louis Cardinals vs the Miami Marlins (right?) and it was so. freakin. hot. That's becoming a recurring theme this summer, isn't it?* There were 15 of us there- a mini family reunion. It was so great to see everyone. And the hot dogs were delicious. :) Kiernan's choir did a fantastic job, very professional looking in their matching shirts. I had given K a cap to wear so I was able to pick him out as they walked onto the field. (Of course, he took it off to sing and I lost him in the neon green blur of the choir crowd.) We were up on the 3rd level, actually, technically the fourth b/c we were the last 2 rows of the section. But I whopped and hollered and clapped as loud as I could when they finished singing. On the way out of the game later I asked K "I woo-hoo'd really loud after you sang; did you hear me?" and since he's my mini-me, he said "yes."

The game was... kind of boring actually. But it had a very exciting finish! It was difficult to get really involved leading up to the ninth inning because I really just wanted to lean my head on my twinny's shoulder, close my eyes and take a nap. But going into the ninth we were trailing 4-2. Then with 1 out it was 4-3. Then with 2 outs, 2 strikes and players on 2nd and 3rd, we got a TWO-RUN SINGLE to win the game!!! I can't remember who hit it but I know the runner that crossed the home plate for the winning run was hometown hero David Freese!! We LOVE him! Then we sat in traffic for 30 minutes just to make it to the highway to start our 40 minute drive home.

♫ take me out to the ballgame,
take me out to the crowd.
buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
i don't care if i ever get back.
cause it's root, root, root for the Cardinals,
if they don't win it's a shame.
for it's one, two, three strikes
you're out
at the old ball gameeeee♫

Play ball!!

*St. Louis' streak of 10 consecutive days of 100 or higher (June 28 through July 7) has only been topped by the Dust Bowl year of 1936 when the streak was 13 days.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

i want to but...

It's SO hot outside! When I saw the doctor (see... some previous post) and he said "exercise every day" I was like "No problem. Piece of cake. Piece of CRUMB cake." I got the yoga. I got the belly dance. I got the swim pass. I got the hula hoop. (More on that later- maybe with pictures. If I can ever find the charger for my camera.) And I've been good. I go to my classes, I have found a great at home yoga Netflix video that I do every morning that I don't have some other exercise planned, I got a new swimsuit. See. that's the problem. I really, really, really want to go swimming. I don't care how I look in my swimsuit. I'm married, I already won. I just LOVE swimming. But it's so freakin hot outside and the sun just burns down on you with the force of 10,000... suns. (okay, that didn't quite work out.) And how is it going to cool off? With rain. Big, huge, booming thunder and sizzling lightning storms. Oh, yay! Let's go swimming in that. Sorry, no death wish here. So, again my options are: be baked to a crisp by the sun or be blasted to mini-crisps by lightning. I think I'll just stay home. Where's that hula hoop?

Updated: We braved the heat, after slathering ourselves in a gallon of 500 SPF (do they make that?) sunscreen each, and headed to the pool. It looked deserted as we pulled up; all the chairs were empty except two, but that's because everyone was in the water. It felt like warm bath water but it was still cooler than my house. (I'm pretty sure, if it doesn't cool off soon, that my a/c is just going to get up and walk away. "Take this job and shove it.")

Thursday, July 5, 2012

let's get this party started!

My husband and I share custody of his boys (MY boys) with their mom. This means that during the school year they stay with us but she gets visitation alternating weekends and holidays. It flips from year to year so, for example, one year we'll have them Thanksgiving and she'll have them Christmas then the next year it flips. Summer vacation is completely different though because it's so long. Generally we alternate back and forth every two weeks, for a total of 6 weeks each. But this year, due to some (ah-hmm) "miscommunication" their mom got her dates wrong so she asked to just keep them the first 6 weeks then hand them off to us. Her 6 weeks was up this past Sunday but 4th of July is her holiday this year so she got to keep them until 8 am today. Only it's 2 pm and they aren't home yet. Even though we talked to her yesterday and she said she'd drop them off this morning. Why aren't they home? Because they "had a late night with the holiday and want to stay to play." Fine, let them sleep in, I get it. They're growing tween/teen boys. But fucking have the courtesy to contact us when this is decided instead of leaving me to sit around the house until 3 hours after you were due waiting. (ah-hmm sorry. anyway..) I had things to do today. Now I'm doing them in the 102 degree heat with a car air conditioner that only blows cool-ish air, not cold. And apparent;y she's not even bringing them home. The husband is driving out to get them when he gets off work.

I have so much planned for us for our 6 weeks- got the pool passes (yes, I know I keep bringing them up- its COOL :D ); the boys are signed up for STEM camp next week (Science Technology Engineering Math- they are total nerds, just like us), and now fencing class one week at the end of July. Then in August family vaca to St. Thomas. Doesn't that sound like a fun half summer? There will be movie days and stay home and be lazy days and go to cool places days, too. But in order for us to get this party started, she must give us back my boys!

Monday, July 2, 2012

dogs are just plain nasty*

*if you gross out easily, maybe skip this one. you're welcome.

Of course, she thinks it's perfectly normal. Let me explain. (No, that would take too long. Let me sum up.) My cute, cuddly, loves to snuggle up and nap away rainy afternoons doggy, Delilah, has a profound love of rooting through my bathroom trash can, finding the mst undesireable (by my standards) pieces of trash in there (and you know what I'm talking about) and snacking on them. Even though she can't digest them and they swell up in her belly making her look like she's pregnant with quadruplets and just generally cause us all massive amounts of stress. Her, because she has to find some way to rid her body of these not-so-good-for-you treats; us, because we're the ones that then find the after-remains of these removals. Quite often by stepping on them as we shuffle, stumble, tumble our way through the dark, in the middle of the night, to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, pitch the cat out of the bedroom. You just shuddered reading that, didn't you? Or maybe threw up in your mouth a little. Yeah, it's that nasty.
Anyway. To combat the trash issue we have been leaving our little trash can up on the seat in our shower so she can't get to it. Problem solved. Unless you want to take a shower. Apparently sometime last week the husband who shall remain nameless, but I like to call him Dumbass, either left the door open while showering or forgot to put the trash can back up. Only he didn't tell me, until after I found the evidence. This time around the incident coincided with a vet appointment for annual vaccinations, etc. But we didn't get the vaccinations because Delilah was so distended we instead had to do x-rays and examines and buy special food and medicine to make sure she doesn't die. (Death by tampon- just great.) So, $250 later we have 2 teeny tiny bottles of medication and 2 cans of stinky "bland food" and we still have to go back next week for shots.
Oh, and she stinks because it's hotter than Hades outside but the groomer won't take her until we get her rabies shot updated, fuck you very much.