Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hodge podge

Princess Bear (PB) was delighted to have the day off of school after our adventures with the fire department and not getting to sleep until well after 3am.  She tried to have another free day reasoning that it was only a 1/2 day and she could spend it with me.  She definitely knows how to work.  She still went to school!  I did let her after a couple of friends over the afternoon she had a 1/2 day so I was back at being the best mom in the world.  It's a bit entertaining how quickly that status changes. 

I had my evaluation with the physical therapist for my ankle.  This is the same ankle that I hurt over 2 months ago.  I'm getting a bit sick of gimping around to be honest.  I was told that I have fluid in the ankle joint as well as 4 cysts around my ankle.  Fun and games.  She also said that all the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in my left foot are very loose.  This therapist is awesome.  Both my mom and I have worked with her in the past.  I was slightly disheartened when she told me that she was sending a report to my Dr. that I not only needed therapy for my ankle but my knees, hips and back.  She said that it will be 3 months of 2 or 3 times a week and another 6 months of weekly.  After that it'd taper off until I could stop.  She did tell me that I need to wear shoes with more "substance".  Nothing like having an excuse to go shoe shopping!  I've got a couple of new pairs of Dr. Martens heading my way! 

Life with PB has been interesting this week.  Last night she went to see the theater production of Beauty and the Beast.  This is the 2nd time her fairy godfather has we jokingly call him sent her to this.  Jack is my dad's best friend and you'd think his purpose is to spoil my child!  In the last couple of years he's bought tickets for her to see Wicked, Beauty and the Beast twice, and Mary Poppins.  He doesn't get send her to the play either.  It also includes the playbook, a t-shirt and whatever else tickles her fancy!  He regularly stops at the house with new movies for her or just some toy that he thinks she has to have.  If she hears of an play or event that she really wants to go to she'll usually ask me or her grandparents.  If we tell her no she then informs us that it's time for her to call Jack!  She knows where her bread is buttered!  Anyway back to the play.  It was bitter cold here last night and there were several other events going on at the Civic Center so my parents decided to go about an hour and a half early.  It was so nice to have an evening to myself to just chill!  I did think of going to see American Sniper but staying warm won out.  PB and my parents didn't return home until almost 10:45pm and PB was SPUN UP!  I asked my mom what she fed her.  Just a bunch of hard candy.  Thanks mom!  It was big fun getting her to sleep last night!  Today she decided that breaking out in random hives just isn't good enough anymore.  She has this very funky purple spotted rash above her top lip and her lips are swollen.  I really wish I knew what the hell that was all about.  I gave her some benedryl even though this wasn't a regular case of hives.  It lightened up the rash for several hours.  I can say that PB keeps me on my toes at all times! 

So that's the story here.  I'm just glad that tonight PB was asleep by 9pm.  I'm hoping to watch some Netflix and fall out pretty early myself.  'Night!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The excitement is neverending (or why does this $hit happen on my watch?!!?)

So Monday night/Tuesday morning around 12:20am I hear an alarm of some sort shrieking.  Like could wake the deaf old lady 4 miles away kind of loud.  I jump up to see what the bloody hell is going on.  It's not the fire alarm so at this point I'm kind of asking myself "wtf?!!?".  It was the carbon monoxide alarm.  I immediately open 2 doors and the screens.  I scream for Princess Bear (PB) to get dressed and get dressed myself.  I then call the fire department non emergency number.  I ask that they do not use the lights and sirens if at all possibly.  I go check on PB again who obviously thought it was morning and we'd overslept because she was dressing in her school uniform.  I tell her that it doesn't matter what she wears.  She needs to grab her winter coat, hat, gloves and a scarf while I find a leash for the dog.  Our dog is the sweetest dog in the world...once she knows you're "OK".  Until then she isn't afraid to use a growl or two to tell you to back off.  She is a lab pit mix and I didn't want there to be an issue with the firefighters.  It took them about 15 or 20 minutes to get to our house.  Our house is a dead end.  The street dead ends into a field.  On the other side of the field is a fire department.  As I knew she would the dog put on her tough girl bark growl routine for a minute until she was sure everything was ok.  The firefighters then walked around the house concentrating mostly on the basement where the furnace is.  Nothing was triggering there carbon monoxide monitors even though mine was still shrieking.  After thoroughly checking out everything they decided it must be a faulty alarm.  WTF?!!!?  Are you kidding me?  One of the firefighters was telling me that the alarms actually do expire and it is a good idea to replace them every 3 or 4 years.  Good info to have!  OH!  I also found out that the firefighters across the field from our house had been called out for a fire so the next closest station were the ones that responded.  I felt somewhat better then about the wait time!

So by the time they left it was close to 1am and PB was WIRED and ready for action.  She was all "Let's turn on Netflix and watch some movies!".  I was all...where is some good wine and I want to finish watching the episode of Castle I DVRd earlier.  We hit on a compromise of we'd all sleep in the family with the pets but no movies for her.  As it was she still didn't fall out until after 2 am.  I also posted on Facebook what happened and immediately someone asked if the firemen were hot.  Um lets see we had one middle aged woman and a young boy next door type.  Once I could find a bit of humor in the situation I was a bit bummed.  Isn't it a prerequisite that all firefighters have to be smokin' hot? 

Since I am so kind I won't deny you any eye candy!
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Friends are the family we choose

I'm sure you've seen or heard quotes just like these:

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I think these statements are so very true in so many ways.  Since my home life was so dysfunctional growing up my friends especially those that I was close to were such a safe haven.  I've been doing a lot of thinking about friendship(s) lately for a few different reasons.  One being the last post I did about Princess Bear's (PBs) biological father.  It always brings to mind my former best friend.  Jess & I were best friend's for 22 years before. 22 years before I just couldn't carry on with the friendship for the sake of what it had been.  That was several years ago (more than 5 if you really need a gauge). 

 One of the first things that she did that really, really didn't sit well with me and sat in the back of my head for a long time happened after PB's first major surgery.  At 7 1/2 months old PB had major reconstructive surgery on her skull.  We're talking about over 7 hours of surgery on a baby.  Her skull was opened from ear to ear.  I'm giving you this background not to gross you out or anything but to let you know how very serious this surgery was.  It didn't go without complications.  Her dura was ripped during the surgery.  (to find out what the dura is read HERE).  The first patch did not take.  Luckily since the surgery was so long they released the first patch wasn't ok and were able to fix it while she was still in surgery.  After that the first few days of recovery went relatively well, all things considered.  Then on the 4th day PB spiked a fever out of nowhere.  Well ok not out of nowhere when you think about what she'd been through.  It was just that she'd been doing well for a few days and each day that passes the risk for infection decreases a bit.  While PB was in surgery and recovery the main way I was keeping those who loved us appraised of the situation was by changing the outgoing message on my cell phone and trying to do an email update from her Caring Bridge site when I felt it was ok to leave her room for a few minutes.  At the point when PB started running her temp and not responding to the appropriate drugs and antibiotics very quickly 2 of my 3 best friends were going to make the drive up from Peoria.  We're talking a 3 hour drive just to they could spend a few minutes with us.  I was so touched but told them it really wasn't necessary.  I promised to keep them in the loop and they were ok with that too.  After 2 touch and go days PB was just dandy!  

What I found out after we got home from Chicago and the surgery is that Jessi and her best guy friend who was very close friends with PB's bio dad had tried contacting him to tell him what was going on with PB.  Now you have to understand that when things with PB's father and I fell about it did it quickly and completely.  There was no more friendship there and no desire to be in each others lives and he had no desire to be a parent to PB.  Can you imagine how completely horrified I was to learn that they were trying to bring him into the circle on what was happening with PB?  He hadn't been there for any of the previous hospital stays (and although she was only 7 1/2 months old there were previous hospital stays), he hadn't been there anytime she aspirated and scared the holy hell out of me, he hadn't been there any of the times her apena/heart monitor when off in the middle of the night scaring the hell out of me.  Yet, Jess and Chris somehow though he deserved to be privy to what was going on with her when things were really dicey.  REALLY????!!!!???   REALLY????!!!!???  Oh hell no!  First off all those rights were gone at his request.  Second of all if I really wanted him to know there were ways I could reach out to him.  So to say that I was incredibly angry that someone so close to me would consider doing something like that would be putting it mildly. 

 I do wonder if that was the beginning of the end of the friendship.  Through the next 6 years there were lots of other ups and downs and space between us before I'd finally had enough to make that break.  It still in ways breaks my heart because we had been so close for so long but on the flip side of it I know it was absolutely the right decision.  At the point where she wasn't accepting me and my choices much less being a good friend in so many other ways it was time for the friendship to dissolve.  I know without a doubt looking at how my life has changed and her life has changed since the end of our friendship that it would have happened anyway.  It's not like I can look at it and say "Damn I miss her and the friendship.  Maybe I should try to reconnect".  Rather it's "Damn I miss her friendship and those good times.  So I'll give thanks for those and know that the friendship fulfilled it's purpose and it was time for it to be done".  I can still hate that it happened but fully acknowledge that it had to happen. 

The most important thing I walked away with from the friendship ending was the knowledge of what I really need from the people in my life and those that I call friend.  It was a bitch of a lesson but what's the old saying?  If you learned from it, it was worth it? 

 Lesson learned.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


I gave birth to Princess Bear (PB) in June 2003.  She for all intents and purposes has never seen her biological father (we passed him once shopping at Walmart when she was about 10 months old....I don't think that counts).  As far as she's concerned she doesn't have a father.  Her conclusion not mine.  She's never once asked me about him and I've never brought him up.  If you ask her who her family is she says "Momma, Boaby (grandma), Dzadza (grandpa), Aunt Kate, Uncle Larry & the boys (her cousins).  She's completely ok with this being the extent of family for her.  At this point I am too.  When she was younger and so sick and I was always working on complete exhaustion there were moments I would have given anything for her father to step up to the plate.  Now I'm just very glad he's stayed away.  None of that in and out bullshit that some dads do.  There are no questions and PB things life is just peachy this way. 

I'm sure you're asking yourself what the heck I'm even babbling about.  When I told PBs father I was pregnant we were still together.  His reaction was awful.  I'll leave it at that.  We broke things off soon after.  He did assure me that he would always pay child support and help out financially.  The child support order we are working under is one that was filed in court in 2007.  In the years since although I know he must have gotten raises along the way I never went after him for more money.  I was just happy that he was staying out of the picture and not complicating things for PB.  I was ok with the status quo.  Then in January he started playing screw around with his child support payments by shorting them.  Not a lot.  Enough to fill my gas tank but not a ton.  The first time I let it fly thinking ok not a big deal.  The second time I called the state disbursement unit to ask what the heck was going on.  They said they'd look into.  The third short payment as well as none of the money he shorted on payments had me saying "Screw you buddy!".  I requested a redetermination.  The state usually tries to do this on every 2 or 3 years but I didn't feel the need to go after her father.  Don't get me wrong.  The money would have helped and he did indeed promise to pay his fair share.  I just didn't want to be a bitch about it.  After 6 weeks of trying to fly under the radar though I'd had enough.  It's redetermination time.  I'm sure he's going off about how unfair I am.  Yeah, so unfair that you've been working under the same court order for almost 8 years.  I would love to be a fly on the wall when this does go to court! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Road trip!

This past weekend my mom was on a complete warpath trying to start too many projects at once, get too many things done and nothing was really getting accomplished.  She was in a completely foul mood and being a total tyrant.  It was not a happy Saturday.  The only bright spot was that my sister brought my youngest nephew over for a visit.  That kid is a pistol!  He's making my sister very gray and I'm loving watching it happen!  After his visit my mom was right back on the crazy train.  This happens periodically.  We all try to cope the best we can and hope like hell she fizzles out soon.  My mom has never ever been able to control her temper.  It doesn't help when my dad gets pissed and pokes the bear.  Really dude?  Not the smartest move.  So that is kind of how Saturday played out.  As a result I didn't look at my phone at all.  I had actually silenced it since there's no point in trying to converse with anyone when there is a completely crazy woman screaming like a banshee.  Late afternoon my mom's cell phone rang and she decided to ignore it since in her mind no one calls it without calling the house first unless it's a volunteer group she works with.  She often forgets that is the first number my sister tries as well as family in Chicago.  She didn't check her phone.  An hour or so later I was in the basement switching laundry and frankly taking my own sweet time since it was quiet.  I grabbed my cell with the idea of playing a few rounds of Trivia Crack.  I see there's a missed call and it's from one of my Aunts.  My Aunt doesn't call me often.  If she wants to talk she'll text or facebook messenger me to call her when I have time.  All of a sudden I remember the phone call my mom blew off earlier and get a sinking feeling.  I came up from the basement (no trivia crack for me dammit!) and tell my mom that my Aunt called and that she needs to check her cell.  Sure enough my Aunt had called her too.  So there my dad and I sit waiting to see what is going  on as my mom calls my Aunt back. Now my dad comes from a very big family.  He's the oldest of 6 kids, 5 of whom are still alive, I'm the oldest of my grandmother's 16 grandchildren, there are 6 great grands at this point and my grandmother was one of 5 and my dad has a slew of cousins.  We're able to tell from the questions my mom is asking that it is about one of my great Aunts in a nursing home.  The report was that my Great Aunt Celia whom I was very close to before her dementia set in has leukemia.  Some of the Doctors are saying she has a couple of weeks to a month or so.  The hospice nurse on the other hand thought it is more likely a matter of days.  Wtf!  How does someone have leukemia so advanced that they might just have a few days to live without knowing it before that?  Without missing a beat I look at my mom and ask when we're going to Chicago to see Aunt Celia.  Now my dad doesn't deal with stuff like this well and he started getting funky.  My mom and I decided that we'd drive up with Princess Bear (PB) the next day.  My mom wouldn't have to take any time off of work and PB wouldn't miss school or I wouldn't have to find someone to watch her after school if just my mom and I went.  We did call my sister to let her know.  Both my sister and I lived with Aunt Celia at different points in time.  Me when I first moved to the Chicago area before my apartment was ready to move into.  My sister before she was leaving Chicago to return to Peoria after her lease was done but before her contract was up.  Coming from a big Catholic family it was quite scandalous that I was unmarried and remain so after having PB.  Aunt Celia was the driving force in getting the family in line.  I found out this weekend that she was very pregnant with her first daughter before she got married.  She knew what I needed and didn't need from the family and shit and guilt were on the don't need list.  My dad did get himself together enough to join us as did my sister.

Now the actual trip up there was enough to make me want to get out of the car and call any one of my aunts to come pick me up.  My sister had entered the nursing home address incorrectly in her GPS system.  Thank G-d for Audible!  My sister does not have the ability to gracefully deal with changes in plans.  As it turned out we only wound up losing 40 minutes of travel time.  Not bad all things considered.  Didn't matter my sister turned into the worse bitchy version of herself and I wanted to throat punch her.  She was being awful to my parents (thought that was my job....per them!) as if they had something to do with her entering the info incorrectly.   I could discuss the trip home but frankly I don't want to relive it!  My mom did let me know as soon as we got home that we were driving her car when we have to go in next month for a baby shower.  She didn't want to deal with my sister, her GPS or schedule.  Sounds good to me!

When we did get to the nursing home my dad's cousin was there with Aunt Celia.  Turns out that Aunt Celia had told another one of my dad's cousins that had come in from Wisconsin that we'd already been there and left.  So my dad was bummed about missing a cousin he doesn't get to see often.  My great Aunt was pretty out of it and very tired.  We went to a visiting room/ rec room to visit.  It was pretty empty.  Only a few other residents.  As soon as we all got settled at a table my great Aunt started taking off.  She's in a wheelchair but can use her feet to navigate pretty damn well.  Actually they have a little tracking bracelet on her ankle.  Turns out that Aunt Celia goes roaming with great regularity!  For most of the visit she seemed very out of it and almost like she was sleeping but every once in awhile she'd have the amazing moments of clarity.  Her daughter said it was much more than she'd had in months.   When PB started talking to her about our gardening plans for this summer Aunt Cel perked right up and started asking what we were planting and telling us about her garden.  In her last home within a mile or so of O'Hare she still maintained a garden until a few summers ago.  She used to grow the best tasting green beans!  It was hard seeing Aunt Cel in such a state.  She was such a smart, funny lady and to see her like this was sad.

We wound up staying for almost 2 hours.  It was so wonderful when she had the moments she was really with it.  It was also nice for PB to spend some time with an older family member and hear the rest of us sharing family stories.  With all of my dad's family being in the Chicago land area she doesn't have that very often.  Since my side of the family is all she'll ever know I'm always thankful when we get the chance for a good visit.  It's also always interesting to hear old family stories.  My grandmother turned down my grandfather's marriage proposal twice before she finally said yes.  She figured that he probably wasn't going to ask again so she better say yes if she wanted to start a family.  My grandmother told me that story several times.  It came up the other day and my sister had no idea.  Like I said I'd never heard that Aunt Celia was pregnant when she got married.   This would have been in the late 40's.  Very scandalous back then to be sure!  They lied to their oldest about their wedding date for years!  I'm just glad that we got to visit and share a few laughs.  It's always nice to have memories like that to hold on to.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Man I hate it when I don't have my computer!

Seriously!  It feels as though I'm missing something rather significant!  On the flip side there was nothing horribly wrong and it was free to fix.   I so love my computer guru friend Mike! As things go it wasn't a bad time to focus on other stuff.  Princess Bear (PB) had her first appointment with her new GI Dr.  He seems like a nice enough guy.  Very kid friendly.  He did have me a bit concerned when he wanted to test her for gluten intolerance/ celiac disease.  I've actually discussed with my mom that most people in my family show almost textbook signs of it.  So last week after getting a ton of blood sucked for that and a few other tests the results came back today.   No gluten intolerance and/or celiac disease!  I know in the scheme of things it really isn't that big of a deal but my kid is a carb queen and would not have liked the dietary changes that would have been necessary.  It also s turns out that she has no new food allergies which is a plus!  Next month we need to go back twice for tests that are rather long (4 hours each).  They are checking for lactose malabsorption and fructose malabsorption.  Fun and games.  PB's excited about missing 2 days of school and watching Netflix on my phone.  I wonder if she realizes that my phone probably doesn't have 4 hours of battery time on it?  Time to find the Mophie!

As for me I'm doing ok.  My ankle is still jacked 30 different ways.  The good news is that the xray showed no hairline fractures!  It did show a very messed up swollen tendon.  The Dr told me to expect at least 6 months of PT when I start.  Fun and games I tell you! 

I could babble some more but I really want to go check out all the blogs I haven't in almost a week!  Withdrawal I tell you!