The term thrifty has been applied to me in the past.  I suppose it was a nice way of saying that I am cheap.  Well, I am.  I do not like paying full price for anything, especially when I know that retailers have marked it up 200%, or more.  Right now we are in an economic crunch.  Well, at least in this house we are! 

My husband’s job has been affected by the tsunami in Japan.  He is having to take a few unpaid days off each month.  The plant’s production has gone way down and they are having lay-offs like mad.  I know that we are not the only ones.  Right now the economy is not good.  In the area I live in it is really not good.  Companies keep moving out and nothing is coming in to replace them.  My Mother-in-law lost her job last year, and subsequently her house.  People have to move to wherever they can find a job to support themselves.  Currently, in this area, there isn’t much you can support yourself on.  Sure you could get a job, but you won’t make enough to pay your mortgage, bills, and still eat.  I am not talking steak here, try hamburger. 

While we are in this phase, and I am hoping that is what it is.  the prices for EVERYTHING  are continually going up.  Groceries, gas, and everything else that you have to have.   I started trying to do the coupon thing.  So far I have been able to cut our grocery bill in half.  I am satisfied with that.  I cannot devote the time and energy some people do into the extreme couponing.  It just isn’t in me.  I do not have the available space to store that stuff either.  I spend what I consider to be too much time each week sorting and clipping coupons, and looking through the ads. 

Something has to give.  It just has to.  Not only for my family, but everyone is feeling this.  It is so hard to be able to afford just to live.  We do not have government assistance, and would prefer not to, BUT at least we wouldn’t be thinking about what we will eat next week, and if we have gas money if we do something this week. 

From the time I started writing this, about 37 days have passed.  At the time I started writing it, my husband HAD  a job.  Well, due to downsizing, he lost his job.  This in turn sent us into a tailspin!  We were fortunate that he was able to find a job in the short amount of time, and that it is comparable in pay and has better benefits.  There is going to be some sacrifice though.  The commute is going to be about double, and the hours are crappy, BUT there are so many people unable to find a job that pays enough to support their family. 

What do we sacrifice here?  If you have to work two jobs to support your family, honestly you are never going to see them.  If you can’t make it on one job, then what?  I might be able to get a part-time job, BUT with my disability, there is no guarantee I will not be fired rather quickly.  With the hours he will be working, 6pm-6am, it leaves little time for me to go to work.  Unless he wants to be a zombie day in and out.  Day care is out for us.  Any place that will hire me, will not pay me more than peanuts.  I stopped working at my last little job because, after day care costs I would have brought home $2 an hour.  Yes, that is right $2 an hour.  What is the point in that?  Make $2 an hour so someone else can take care of my kid?  That is nonsensical. 

I honestly do not know how people are getting by these days.  Yes, I am a homeowner.  In all honesty, I cannot rent a place for less than my mortgage, unless I want to be a sardine in a can.  A decent two bedroom apartment is more than my house payment.  This is one of the many reasons I bought a house in the first place!  On the other hand, it’s not like I can rent out a room to some stranger to make some extra money either. 

We, as Americans, are stuck in a sticky situation.  The people making decisions for us are not worried if they can pay their bills on time.  They are not worried about buying groceries for the week.  They THINK they know about the economy from their statistics, but they don’t live it.  They probably never will.  It is easy to claim that you came from nothing and you understand, BUT you are not living it right now are you?  Maybe you came from that, but you don’t have the worries currently that many of us do.  What comes next?  There is absolutely no stability at this point. 

I hate talking politics, and get a little too serious when I do.  I apologize.  It is just unfortunate that we can’t afford to just live in this day.  The possibility of no medicare and Social Security is frightening.  I am going pay check to pay check to get by, and explain to me how exactly I am supposed to save anything that way?  I am not flamboyant, I am pretty frugal.  I try to buy only what I need, BUT you must have a little fun too!  You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but to do anything cheap or free around here we do have to drive a bit, and eat.  We can take a picnic, but it still costs us at least $30 in gas to go to a beach.  Forget the amusement parks, waayyy too much money right now.  I am not even sure if we can swing the fair.  Admission prices are outrageous and food prices are exorbitant.  It is unreal. 

I hear the value of the American Dollar is decreasing.  So then, what do we do about this?  I am convinced that one sure way to cut our spending is to start bringing our troops home.  I value the job that they do, but I feel it is time for them to come home.  We have serious economic issues at hand, HERE.  I often feel that we get so busy helping other countries that we forget what we need to take care of here, at home.  We make these commitments, and being Americans we will uphold our agreement at whatever cost to ourselves.  I just don’t know.  I am one person, and most of what I think, feel,or say is of no consequence whatsoever to anyone.

My son is nearly two.  In fact I am planning his party for the end of the month!  I am excited!  The other day, I was apparently feeling nostalgic or something and while we were eating lunch, I noticed the day.  I realized that I completely remember what I was doing that exact day two years ago.  I was sitting in a hospital, watching my husband recover from a very serious surgery.  He had to have a back fusion surgery, exactly one month before I was due.  Yeah.

Thinking about all that was going on then, got me thinking about being pregnant.  Oh, I wish I knew then what I know now.  Sure, like every first time parent, I read the books.  Just about as many as I could get my hands on, until I reached the third trimester.  There were things going on with me and my body, and the books might touch on it, but never really, fully explained it.  At least I don’t think they did!  I don’t want to discourage anyone from having a baby, it is the best gift I have ever been given.  Seriously though I wish I knew these things, I felt as if only the wonderful glorious part of being pregnant was what I knew, and there is a lot more to it.  I wish I would have known what to REALLY expect when expecting!

Firstly, it is a wonderful feeling to find out you are pregnant.  I took the test after several days of sore breasts.  I believe this is listed as ‘tenderness and soreness in your breasts’.  When I think of tenderness, I think of achy, sore, noticeable, and mostly annoying.  Now I concede it is probably different for every woman, but for me, my boobs HURT!  They were so tender that putting a bra on was panful, but not wearing one was worse.  I really wanted to strap the suckers down and not move.  It only lasted a few weeks, which was such a relief. 

I was looking forward to enjoying my first trimester, and resting more, eating better and generally savoring the fact that I was pregnant.  I went right out and got those prenatal vitamins and took them every day.  The books never mentioned I might want the low-iron vitamins.  They did mention ‘constipation may be a symptom, but will resolve’, or something of the like.  Constipation?  OK  How about nine days without a bowel movement?  My OBGYN’s office was of the colace/peri-colace belief.  I was not.  Being a migraine sufferer, and having taken pain medications in the past that can bind you up, I had never found either colaces to be of any help at all.  And they certainly didn’t help here either!  Finally, one of the Nurse practitioners said I could take Miralax.  Gee, I had been asking that for two weeks, calling every other day, and now that I am bound up tighter than anyone should be, its OK????  I was so miserable.  For one, I was one of those women who are starving.  I was hungry the whole first trimester, even if I just ate, I was hungry.  I couldn’t possibly fit anything into my stomach, if nothing was EVER coming out!!!!  Thank You Miralax, you truly saved me.  And fortunately that only lasted about three or four months. 

‘Frequent urination’.  Frequent??? My bladder was on constant run for nearly ten months.  I could pee and go in two minutes later and pee again.  I should have bought stock in toilet paper!  This was from about the first month and the bigger I got the worse I got!  One time I was in Meijer and had to pee three times in one shopping trip!  By the time I got home I had to go again and was lucky I made it!  The bigger I got, well the bigger he got, he was able to clip my bladder in just the right spot.  It was a shot of pain and then I had to go, I might literally have to run sometimes to make it.  If I am in line for the facilities now, and I see a pregnant woman, I let her go first.  Another thing I know was never mentioned in the books was that you might leak!  When you get kicked just right, you just might lose a bit.  When you laugh too hard, or walk too fast.  Honestly, my Kegel’s are just fine, really, always have been, but this happens even to the best of us!  The upside for me was, before I was pregnant I could never pee in the little cup.  I had some sort of bladder shyness, well that is long gone!

I was fortunate I never had morning sickness.  I actually had a lot of energy and felt better than I had in years.  I was so happy and moving right along, and then I started crying.  I rarely cry for anything.  Next thing you know I am watching a stupid commercial on TV and start bawling.  My poor husband had no idea what was wrong with me!  Trying to explain to a man that nothing is wrong, that you are not actually upset, or unhappy, that it is just hormones, is like trying to communicate to him in Chinese!  The phrase “it’s just hormones” is so foreign to men, not to man bash, but it really is.  My husband of course just wanted to make it better, which only made me cry all the more.  Poor guy.  I am not really a Lifetime movie of the week kind of gal, but when Rocky Balboa makes you cry your eyes out, that is not good.

The whole third trimester I didn’t get any sleep.  I was too fat to find a comfortable spot.  I would toss and turn and every time I was just about to drift off, I would have to pee.  I became the queen of two-hour naps.  I was stuck for a while sleeping upstairs, on a fouton.  Right before Hubby’s surgery I came down with a wicked cold, and I just didn’t want to risk him catching it.   A delay like that might have meant we would both be laying in hospital beds at the same time!  (As it was he was only allowed to lift the weight of a coffee cup when the kid was born!)  So, upstairs I went, he couldn’t walk, so banishing him to that room was out of the question.  It was uncomfortable, but having to come all the way downstairs to pee was worse! 

When I ended up going in to be induced, I learned a whole lot more.  First of all, dignity goes out the window.  Why is it they want you to be completely bare, except a hospital gown?  Then they suggest you go out and walk the halls.  ???  I am an undies kind of girl.  My nurses would lecture me when they came into my room to ‘check’ me because they had to wait five seconds for me to pull my undies off. There were so many people in and out of my room, I really didn’t want to be having contractions, wondering if the lunch lady saw my privates! I had so many different hands reaching inside me I forgot who they belonged to.  My son might know, he probably saw all of them!  The books say that ‘having your cervix checked may be uncomfortable’.  Well that depends on who is doing it and how fast they want to get it done.  I began to think that Nurse X was on cervix check for this two-hour block and she wasn’t bad.  But Nurse Z had to be in a hurry for lunch, because DAMN that hurt. 

My favorite thing was the Nurses, and my OBGYN telling me that “you will know when your water breaks, you will notice a really earthy scent”.  I was picturing like the smell of overturned dirt in the woods.  I am not sure why, I guess that is what ‘earthy’ means to me.  When my water finally broke, there was absolutely nothing EARTHY about it!  Try musty, musky, something I have never smelled before, and now can’t forget.  Try to mask it all you want with Earthy, but Chanel will never touch this!  UGH!  They have to know the truth!  I felt like that was a simple bold-faced lie.  Seriously, many of those nurses are mothers, they know better than that!

I eventually needed a c-section.  Woah, the minute that is in your chart, there is a nurse in there to shave you right up.  We, of course, had to go through the panties thing again, but I didn’t care.  They just splay you out and go to work.  Another thing never mentioned is that you have to push a button and get help to pee.  You are hooked up to all these machines and have to be un-hooked to go the ten steps to the bathroom.  I have no problem with that, except waiting and waiting for someone to show up!  At the point I got to, with 60 hours of labor, I could care less what was going on as long as that baby came out.  Then, the next day they are right back into making you poop.  That is a big one post-delivery.  Poop, poop, poop, and if you don’t, you stay!  I had to lie about that.  I got back into constipation the bigger we got and there was no way, plus that bladder shyness is ten times worse for me with pooping. 

I am sure there are so many more things.  I guess these are just the big ones that stick in my mind.  I usually keep my sense of humor about stuff though.  I figure it was all par for the course and well worth it.  I am simply a realist.  I wish someone would have told me this stuff.  It would not have changed my decision to have a baby in the least, but I think I would have been so much more prepared.  I just roll with it, but I could see how some women might get scared or upset about some of these things.  I just laugh and then Nurse X becomes Nurse Cervix Scraper between my husband and I!!  Yep, Maximus was definitely worth it.  Believe me though, when he is married and decides to have a baby with his wife, I am going to have a little laugh about that!  And if she does ask, I am so not going to sugar-coat it for her!!

Well, recently I blogged about my migraine situation.  I have received some very positive feedback about it!  I have been a participant for several years in a few forums and other sites about migraines.  One thing in particular that is bothering me is that it seems as if many people don’t know how to talk to their Doctor, or develop a good relationship with them.  This is not something you just automatically know, it took me many, many Doctors and many years to understand how to speak frank.

When I was pregnant, about 2 &1/2 years ago, I was given paperwork, tons of it, from my OBGYN’s office.  Many of you can relate I am sure!  One set of papers were a birth plan.  This thing was about three pages, front and back.  It had so many questions of stuff I had never heard of or would never even dream of.  It had water birth, birthing bar, birthing ball, doula, massage, lighting, aromatherapy, you name it.  I researched through everything.  I dreaded having to return these papers.  Finally the appointment arrived when they asked me to bring my birth plan with me the next time so it would be in my file to go to the hospital.  UGH.

I had two weeks to decide what my birth plan was, I already had a good idea of what it would be, and that didn’t change through all of my research.  I, reluctantly, remembered to take it with me to the appointment.  I had been with my OBGYN for about seven years before I was pregnant, so we had a very comfortable relationship.  He got my humor, and I was not shy around him at all.  I felt so awkward handing him the papers.  I was new at the whole pregnancy and mom thing, and wasn’t in my comfort zone.  He took one look at it and laughed.  It was blank.  I hadn’t written anything on it.  I had a few check marks on things I knew I wouldn’t need.  No birthing ball or bar, no doula, no water birth, no way to aromatherapy (c’mon I have migraines!), no 500 visitors while I am in labor and tying to push a kid out, etc…  He asked me “Well then, what exactly is your plan?”  My response was “butter it up and slide it out, but I really didn’t think I should write that on there!”  He just laughed and said “I should have known.”  So my birth plan went in my file empty, except the few check marks.  (In the end, I had an un-planned and very complicated c-section.  Whatever plan I might have had would have gone right out the window!!)

Now, ten years ago, I NEVER would have said that to ANY healthcare professional.  I have, however, learned a few things.  The biggest thing is that you are your own best advocate.  Many times, in a DR’s office, you are your only advocate!  Sometimes I take a list of my questions with me.  I do not like to be treated like cattle, shuffling through my appointment in ten minutes.  I am ok with that, if it is something like a cold or sinus infection, where I am there to get checked, and get treated.  With my OBGYN, or Neuro, I don’t want a rush job, and then left feeling like I didn’t get the answers I needed.  I will change Dr’s before I deal with that.  

I also will not tolerate Med-speak.  Language that I don’t understand and am not familiar with.  I am pretty seasoned and pretty intelligent.  Most times I completely understand what they are saying, but I then have to translate that to concerned family and friends, why not have the Dr translate it?  I often ask questions using apples to apples, apples to oranges type things to equate the situation to what is happening inside my body.  When you get your Dr to go into teaching mode, you get a lot more out of them.  If you do not speak up though, you won’t get anywhere.

If you are totally not comfortable with something, make it known.  I have had several MRI’s.  I will never have another one without sedation.  I dealt with the first one.  The second one was worse.  The third one had me in an almost panic attack, and I knew I should have had sedation.  I knew it, but I guess I was just too shy to speak up.  I do not want to feel that way again, and I will not do it. 

Referrals are a big issue it seems.  My Family Doctor has the policy that if he doesn’t know then he sends me to someone who does.  He will also send me to anyone of my choice.  If I need an Orthopedic Surgeon, I make the appt and if they ask for a referral, I call my Dr and they take care of it.  That is how it should be.  It is your right to ask for a second opinion.  They call medicine a practice for good reason, it is just that PRACTICE.  In my opinion, and the Dr’s I currently work with, if you want a second opinion get it.  Any Dr should be more that willing to have you look into that, they should even suggest it for serious conditions.  That doesn’t mean you are going to change Dr’s or that you don’t trust the one you have, you need to cover your bases.  Any Dr worthy of their title would agree on this point, and if not, well they won’t be working on me. 

Always ask for alternatives.  If you can’t afford name brand medication,  there may be a generic alternative available.  Just tell your Dr you can’t afford it.  With migraines, at least with mine, many things just didn’t work.  I was very, very thankful to have samples given to me to get me started.  This has saved me a lot of money as far as filling scripts that I wouldn’t end up using.

Another thing I like to consider is appointment timing.  Yes, probably first thing in the morning is best.  I am not a morning person.  I tend to shy away from last appointment of the day, you never know how far behind they are.  I, personally, like the after lunch time.  Everyone in the office is in a good mood, relaxed and ready to start.  The day is half over and getting them after lunch means they are not thinking about eating!  This always tends to be a good time.

Be honest.  Oh, haha.  No one wants to talk about body odors, or secretions, or poop.  Seriously???  Yuck.  However, many times this can help in your diagnosis.  Your Dr isn’t there to judge you, they are there to help you.  People go into medicine for science, yes, but also because they want to help.  If you are not comfortable talking to your DR about these things, you need to think about what it is you want to achieve.  I am certain that in most cases they have either heard it, or seen it all before.  If they haven’t, well like I said it is a practice. 

During my c-section, I was just in a world of insanity.  My epidural didn’t work well enough, so they gave me a spinal.  That was turned up so high I couldn’t feel my lungs and thought I was dying.  The baby was so high up my Dr was feet-off-the-floor pushing him out of me.  I lost a lot of blood, a lot.  Once the baby came out, they took him off, and I sent my husband with the baby.  The spinal was turned down a bit and I was beginning to feel a bit better.  I told my OBGYN “while you are down there, why don’t you give me a little nip and tuck!”  He said “that is a different surgery, separate charge!”  Well then, I said “You owe me, you told me this was an average size baby!”  My son was 9lbs 14ozs!!!  I like the camaraderie in conversation like that, I like feeling that my Dr is human too!

One appointment with my Neuro, while she was giving me Botox, had me saying “quit making me laugh you are going to mess up and my face will be floppy!!!”  We were both laughing so hard over something we had been talking about.  I just believe that you have to be able to trust your Dr.  I think that they are able to sometimes make a much more well-rounded assessment of your issues when they can see you as a person, and see how you interact with others, and your outlook on life in general. 

My point is that the better relationship you have with your Dr the better you will feel when you walk out of their office.  The more you can share with them is only going to benefit you.  They are only human, and although the profession itself dictates a kind of decorum, if they genuinely enjoy having you as their patient it make life easier for both of you.  If you have any issued with your Dr, or the  way you are being treated, think about what you want.  You need to be comfortable with who you have helping you to make, sometimes, life altering decisions.

So being a first time parent is all it’s cracked up to be and more!  I remember my Mom saying this and that and how wonderful it is.  They never tell you the not-so-wonderful stuff!  No one does!  I believe that if they did, people would run screaming and maybe never have a child!  Ok, well it’s not that bad. 

Why does it seem to me though, that the Mom always seem to get the grunt of EVERYTHING?  When he’s sick I am the one that gets puked on, diarrhea, I get that too.  When I have laundry going, dinner on the stove, trying to load the dishwasher, and a million things on my mind, the kid falls down and runs from the living room to the kitchen to me.  He’s crying and clinging to me, and Dad is comfortable sitting in the living room watching Sports Center!  Why is that? 

When the kids isn’t feeling well, he is clinging to my leg, and crying and nothing I do makes it better, but he still wants me.  Is there just something in a Woman’s DNA that kids are instantly attracted to in times of need?  I am so curious about this.  When it is wrestling fun and games time, he is all about “gaddy”.  When I told him ‘I love you’, earlier this evening, he said “I uv gaddy”.  Gee thanks kid! 

Now there are other things they didn’t tell you when you have a kid.  For one, any time you are around other kids, yours is going to catch something.  (With my luck I inevitably catch it too.)  They tell you about vaccinations, but you don’t learn how many, and how often, which is all the time the first two years, until AFTER you have the kid.  There is no instruction manual what so ever.  I know, I would have read the thing cover to cover and highlighted it, if there were!

As far as parenting goes, EVERYONE is up for offering you advice.  Most of the time it is unsolicited, and annoying.  They can be insistent that you do something this way, because it worked so well for them.  What they neglect to realize is that your kid is not their kid, and their advice may not work at all!  I admit I took some of the advice and tried it.  It also failed me miserably.  I didn’t want to even mention it to the person again, until they kept telling me to do it, every conversation, and then would check up to see if I tried it ‘yet’.  Finally I just had to say that it didn’t work, and of course, according to them, I must have done something wrong! 

I know I am not the World’s Greatest Mom.  I will probably never win that title.  I will also probably never try to compete for it either!!  I just figure there is a first time for everything so I am gonna make the best of it and figure it out as I go along.  Dr. Spock has nothing on me!!

Ok.  I wasn’t sure I was ever going to go here with this blog, but I am.  Lets talk about migraines.  When I was in my late teens, I worked at a restaurant.  One of the waitresses was fumbling around, started crying, and went home early claiming she had a migraine.  I was like “Are you kidding me?  How lame, take an aspirin and get over it!”  I did not say this to her, I never would, but I rolled my eyes and took on extra work to compensate her leaving. 

Over the next few years, I had only heard the term migraine used a few times.  I associated it with a bad headache.  Then on July 8th 2002, I had an episode and have heard the word MIGRAINE so many times since then, that I could scream.  The day I had an “episode”, my life change forever, and not in a very good way. 

I had returned from my honeymoon on the evening of July 7th.  the next day, my husband and I went to lunch with his mother, my own mother was meeting us at the house after lunch.  On the way home, I clearly remember, I was sitting in the passenger seat and BAM!  Suddenly, it felt as if my eyes crossed, I was instantly nauseous, and couldn’t even see straight.  I thought I was going to be sick and was sure I must have eaten something bad.  When we arrived home, I got out and felt so shaky, I felt shakier than I was, but there was a noticeable quiver in my hands.  On the inside it felt like a shiver.  I just wanted to lay down, and a few minutes after I did, the pain started in my head. 

This was quite a jolt to my family, as I had been fine a few minutes before it started.  I called into work the next day, my first day back from my wedding and honeymoon, and went to the DR the next morning.  I didn’t go back to work for 3 more weeks.  My Dr was on vacation, and his sub gave me Imitrex.  This did nothing and within a few days I was in the ER.  A few days after that I was back to my regular DR.  He referred me to a Rheumatologist, and I got in rather quickly to that appointment. 

My Mom went with me to the Rheumatologist, because I needed someone to drive me and my husband had to work.  I didn’t make it home from that appointment.  The Rheumatologist called a Neurologist and told her what was happening.  She admitted me to the hospital, and I was put into isolation.  They were concerned that I may have viral meningitis.  I had blood work, CT, MRI, numerous tests and a spinal tap.  No Meningitis for me, in fact I was perfectly healthy.  What I had was one hell of a migraine.  It lasted 3 weeks, and I was in hell.  It never really went away.

Since July 8, 2002, I have tried well over 75 medications, endured many, many medical tests, had countless ‘procedures’ and felt like crap the whole time.  Taking all the medications did quite a number on me.  I gained weight, was constipated, was irritable, had side effects, and was very unhappy.  I am lying, I didn’t gain weight, I gained 100lbs! ( That is like Nicole Ritchie! )  I was sort of depressed, who wouldn’t be?  The Dr’s really had no clue as to why the migraines started, and still don’t, or what to do about them.  So, I had to see a Psychologist, along with the Neurologist. 

This Psychologist, the one that was part of my Therapy, was one of the worst people to ever come into my life.  He actually had me starting to believe that it was all in my head.  He offered several different reasons to why: 1)I got married, that was traumatic, even if in a good way. 2)My childhood was traumatic, and was haunting me. 3)My mother was overbearing. 4)Maybe deep down I wanted attention and this was my way of getting it. 5) My father was absent, I got married and now had a man in my life.   There were so many other reasons he kept feeding me.  He honestly had me thinking I was crazy, insane crazy, and was making the pain in my head up.  I began to think I might be insane and maybe needed to be in a Psych ward!  It took a while for me to realize that insane people don’t wonder if they are insane!!!! 

I needed help, but not this kind of help.  I knew there was something wrong with me.  I knew the pain I was feeling was real.  I knew that inside, but He had me doubting it was real.  He had me to a point where I began to believe what he was saying, he was a DR after all, and I trusted him.  I was doubting myself.  Here is the thing about that, when you don’t believe in yourself, others don’t believe in you either.  What was supposed to be the happiest time in my life so far, being a newlywed, was turning into a nightmare.  It truly was.  When I stopped believing in myself, so did my husband, and other important people in my life.  This began affecting my relationships with everyone, and not in a good way. 

Two years into what I dreamt would be a wonderful married life, it almost blew up.  My husband was not happy, and neither was I.  We spent a week apart, and decided to try working on things, both of us, and lots of things.  I took a long look in the mirror the second day he was gone, and I didn’t like what I saw.  I just looked, and then stared, and then after quite some time, I saw a little flicker.  It was just in the background, barely there, but I saw it, and it was ME. 

I picked myself up off the bottom of my world and started to reclaim myself.  The first thing to do was get rid of toxic waste, and that Psychologist was the first to go.  Then I got a new Neurologist.  Meanwhile, I got a job.  I had lost so many jobs due to these migraines.  I didn’t think I was even hirable.  I got a job as a hostess in a restaurant, part-time.  There was no way I could work full-time.  Not, with these migraines, and not if I wanted to stay employed.  I learned my limitations as far as work, work environment, stress, sleep, you name it.  I started losing weight and I realized that although I might not be able to change my circumstances, I could change the way I felt about them.  I could deny it, and look for a non-existent ‘cure’, or I could accept it and move on, well kind of.  I can’t get away from the migraines, but I can learn to live with them to the best of my abilities.

I became pro-active in my medical care.  I researched, joined forums, and support groups.  I learned. I learned I was not alone, and surely not the worst off.  I learned what I could do, and what I definitely could not do.  I learned that there are so many things out there that there has to be something I like that I can do.  I stopped taking medications, preventatives, that were not helping, hadn’t in the past and probably never would.  I went strictly to pain management and it was the best decision I have made with the migraines.  I filed for disability.  I began to accept this condition. 

I am an extreme case.  On a scale of 1-10, for three and a half years, I was pretty much at a 9 or 10.  Every day, all day.  I have no medications left to try.  I am not too interested in re-trying any of the ones that have failed me already.  I was able to try Botox.  Without two types of insurance this hadn’t been possible previously, and it is extremely expensive.  This option wasn’t there before, but I took it.  It is helping, but is not a cure for me.  The Botox, combined with pain medication is making my life manageable. 

My husband and I are in an excellent place.  In fact, nearly two years ago we had a baby.  I had to have the Botox and take my pain medication on occasion.  This was all very monitored.  My son was born very healthy, fat and pink at 9#14ozs.  He is advanced, and well-adjusted.  There have been no side effects from medication.  When I was pregnant, my migraines were at their best!  I felt the better than I had in years, but after the baby was born, I went back to manageable. 

Having a child is a challenge.  It is an extreme challenge when you have daily headaches and migraines.  I do the best I can.  I will say though that the likelihood of having another child, is slim to none.  In fact it is probably none.  I don’t think it would be a wise idea, I have all I can handle mostly competently right now.  I don’t think I can go back to working part-time having a small child at home, and therefore adding another child would be like adding a more than full-time job!!! 

I am still adjusting to this realization.  It makes me resent the migraines for yet again trying to run my life.  However, I now have Maximus to think about and I really don’t think it would be fair to him, or me, or Matt to risk rocking the boat, so to speak.  I would like to have another baby.  I would like him to have a sibling.  As I said I am still adjusting to this, and honestly I haven’t accepted it yet. 

So for now, this is where I am…I am in a good marriage, with a happy child.  I take each day slowly.  I try to work within my limitations, and do the best I can when I am outside them.  I try not to do too much, and enjoy what I can do.  I have no big future plans or goals, trying to live simply.  I have pain everyday, but it does not dominate me.  Many days I get to a point of extreme pain, my not as many days as before.  I believe in myself and I trust myself.  My house may not be the cleanest, neatest, or nicest, but it is mine and it is comfortable.  My kid is good, and loves me.  My husband is there for me when I need him, and he believes in me. 

This is a battle.  When I am suffering I can be irritable.  I can be short with people.  I forget what it was I was just doing, or going to do.  We may not play outside this day.  We may just play quietly while mommy lies on the floor and watches.  We may not have a hot dinner ready, laundry done, dishes done, house cleaned up.  We may not go anywhere on the weekend, and I may be in bed for a few hours.  We may have to have the curtains drawn and the TV down low.  I may wear sunglasses in the house and take 3 showers and 2 baths in a day.  I may have an ice pack or heating pad.  This sucks, but it isn’t going to kill me. 

I am at the point now where I can withstand almost anything.  I figure if I can live with these never-ending headaches I can surely handle life and living.  I have been dealing with this chronic pain for almost 9 years now.  If I can do this for 9 years, I can do anything for a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, or a few months.  Have I become Superwoman???

So it has been quite a while.  I took some time off to decide if I am an actual blog person.  I guess I kind of am.  I don’t think I can necessarily be a daily blog person though, I don’t always have that much to say!! 

Maximus is going to be 2 at the end of April.  I have had some really unique experiences with this child.  yesterday I washed a diaper.  yes it is a disposable diaper.  It was used, it had been full of pee, and he had soaked through his crib sheet.  I had changed him in the middle of the night and just tossed the diaper on top of the dirty sheet.  I must have just thrown all of it, including the diaper, into the dirty clothes bin.  then I washed all of it!  I was very fortunate.  The diaper was right on top, the first thing I saw when I opened the washer and it had just a small tear on the top.  Hardly any of the jello, jelly, tapioca stuff, whatever it is, leaked out.  So, me being me, I just took out the clothes, shook the stuff off, and put them in the dryer.  The washer I ran hot water into for a few minutes, ran the spin cycle and shut it off.  Everything seems to be working fine.  Anyways it seemed like a good idea at the time!!! In retrospect, I probably should have actually cleaned it out and thoroughly done the job right.  Hey, now that I know this works, I am sure when I do it again ( and you know I will), I will just use my quick clean method!!! 

I have become a regular Martha Stewart in the past several years.  Well, not really Martha, more like a spin-off, cheap end, domestic diva.  I won’t pay the prices for the “Martha Stewart” brand.  I am so cheap.  Even if I don’t have to be, I am.  I make my own glass/multi-purpose cleaner, which works on just about EVERYTHING.  It costs me about four dollars for a whole lot of it!  Simple really, ammonia, alcohol and water, equal parts each.  I put it in a spray bottle and it cleans it all.  You can do toilets, mirrors, tubs, sinks, windows, and even carpet without discoloring it.  Although the smell about kills me, and usually starts a headache, I will probably use it forever.  I have to thank Lloyd, my grandfather, for that one.

I have tons of tips and tricks for cleaning.  I have figured out how to do pretty decent window treatments.  I know about clothing stains, and how to even get blood out of whites.  I can usually come up with a pretty unique solution for solving common house hold problems.  I am not sure where I pick this stuff up from either.  I remember reading once in a magazine that   “if you have guests coming, throw an antacid tablet in the toilet for a quick sparkling shine”.  So I tried it.  Initially I thought the article was wrong and you should use like an Alka-Seltzer.  I didn’t have any of those so I used a TUMS.  Once it dissolved, like 15 minutes later, I just used the brush and swished quick.  Know what???  IT WORKS!   I did have a sparkling bowl!!  On the down side,  that is my toilet cleaning regimen now.  I don’t think of myself as lazy, more like efficient!

I have also picked up some insane cooking skills.  A couple of days ago I made roasted potato wedges, baked chicken and green beans.  The potato wedges were lightly coated in a butter/oil mixture and lightly seasoned with a herb mix.  My primo chicken breasts were coated in crushed pretzels, seasoned with the same herb mixture as the potatoes.  I also added a little of the oil/butter mix to the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.  What happened was the pretzels soaked up most of the oil/butter and my chicken was more like a baked/fried chicken.  It was just slightly crispy coated.  It was quite the experiment.  I always call that type of dish Steph Surprise.  I can use almost anything to whip something up, last time I used Chex mix on the chicken!  My husband cringes behind my back when I announce we are having ‘Steph Surprise’ for dinner.  I caught him one time, out of the corner of my eye.  At least he is a good sport and tries it!!!

Ten years ago, 15, even 20, I never would have thought myself to be doing this stuff.  I am actually pretty good at it too.  It just didn’t appeal to me then and, not that cleaning appeals to ANYONE, EVER but these tricks just seem to stick in my head.  I never really cared about cooking much in my early 20’s.  I used to work in a restaurant, the last thing I wanted to do was go home and cook, or wait on other people, or cook for them, or do anything for anyone else I didn’t have to!! 

So I am noticing that people absolutely change.  It take a monumental amount of time in some cases, but it is possible.  It is also possible that they are not necessarily changing for someone else, but for themselves.  I clean with my tricks BECAUSE I hate cleaning and it is so much easier my way.  I hate cleaning, I can stand some messiness, and stuff here and there, but I can’t handle dirty.  I cook because, well I have to.  I think I really just got tired of having the same crap all the time.   So not only do people actually change, they take more risks.  Years ago Chex mix or crushed pretzels never would have occurred to me as a sort of breading agent.  Crunching up Funions (which I had never had before my Mother-in-law brought some over) and putting them on Macaroni and Cheese, and by the way, that is pretty tasty!  So yeah, people change and they take risks, maybe small risks, but it is still something outside of the box and unpredictable.  It is always nice to have some spontaneity in your life!

New Discoveries

Posted: 07/08/2010 in Uncategorized

So I feel like everyday is a new discovery of some sort.  Not just with my one year old, either.  I discover something new everywhere, many times about myself.  With Maximus there is new stuff all the time, and it is completely awesome.  He picks up so much by just observing and listening.  This I realized several months ago, and decided that I might open myself up a bit more and see what I can see.  I have always been observant, almost to a fault.  I can usually pick up a lot from conversation, body language, and mannerisms.  Lately I have learned a lot more.

I am pretty laid back about most stuff.  I can be a bit sensitive to certain things though.  I don’t really have the ‘get over it’ mentality.  I think about it, and analyze things.  Many times I over analyze stuff and stress myself out.  I am a very accommodating person, and have sometimes allowed myself to be a doormat in certain instances.  I am for the most part a peace keeper.  However, there are times, when my sensitivity does not allow me to lay down any longer and take the shit.  This is my breaking point.  I usually want to back away and calm down and take a minute to think about my next course of action, or choice of words.  For me this usually works, unless I am pushed and pushed and then its done.  I know I can be bitchy, and stubborn and less than accommodating once I have reached this level.  It really takes a lot to get me to this point and I don’t like it.  If I am pushed this far, it’s too far and someone has to really wipe their feet on me for a while for me to break. 

I know it is a fault, but seriously?  Is it fair to me to have someone push me that hard?  I almost feel like, well, you asked for it so here it is…  Like I said I am very observant, most times I don’t ever mention the things I see in people.  I figure it isn’t my life, let them live it how they want to, but when it directly affects me, then there comes a point when I have to say something.  Or do or not do something.  In all I must have some sort of self-preservation at the end of the day.  I don’t want to be that person that regrets not saying this or that, when that is the way I felt.  I am aware of other people’s feelings, more so than most, and I don’t want to intentionally hurt anybody, but I can’t allow myself to feel like I am not standing my ground, because I don’t like the feeling of regret.  I hate it.  It has been rare that I have had to deal with that, but when I have it gnaws at me. 

I guess when you begin to open your eyes and observe others more, you get to see a little more of yourself.  I am more compassionate than my husband by far, there is no way he would ever put up with half the shit I have.  I have more patience than him and am willing to be more patient.  There are times though that I wish I could be more like him, less sensitive myself, and less sensitive to others needs.  I wish I could just ‘get over it’ and move on, and not really care whether I was actually wrong, when I am so certain that what I did or said was right in my heart.  I wish I didn’t analyze things so much and worried less about others feelings and was a little less accommodating.  I honestly think I would be a lot less stressed.  I am very happy with my life, but it seems that there is so much drama outside of it that it just seeps in.  I wish I knew how to avoid or ignore that. 

I have a lot of wishes about myself.  I am happy with myself, but I can totally see where changes would be better for me.  FOR ME.  Not for everyone else, but make MY life easier.  One place I know I need to start is with myself.  I take less because I want others to have more.  I want others to be happy and don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.  I sacrifice my own feelings to make someone else feel better.  I am at the point where I am tired.  Tired of making things right or better for everyone else.  Taking blame for other people’s problems and shouldering their burdens by taking their worry and making it my own.  It is my own fault for feeling this way because I have allowed this to happen.  So I am going to become Swiss.  (Although I literally already am) I am going to be neutral as much as possible.  “Oh you have a problem?  Good luck with that!”

33, another year down!

Posted: 06/18/2010 in Uncategorized

So I want to think about age.   Tomorrow I turn 33.  This really isn’t a big deal to me.  I don’t really care about being 33.  I have no fear of it.  I am not afraid or ashamed to admit it.  I never have had that cringe when people ask me how old I am. 

When we are children, and it is our birthday, we celebrate it, really celebrate it.  I am not talking about parties and gifts, but when asked we proudly proclaim how old we are.  As a child we announce it is our birthday and it inevitably prompts someone to ask how old we are.  The older we get the celebration starts to dwindle.  There is less often a house full of screaming kids and balloons and party hats.  There is more often nicer gifts, and more cards.  So much less the celebration though.

When we turn 16 it’s a big one.  Driver’s license.  We celebrate the fact that we are legal to drive.  When we are 18, we can go to the bars and are legally adults.  At 21 we can legally drink in the bar we have been going to for 3 years (and probably were already drinking in at some point).  For me 25 was somewhat of a turning point.  I got married 10 days later, but 25 I felt like I was an adult.  I felt like my life is my own and I felt the shudder of sole responsibility, and until then I hadn’t really noticed age at all.

I have girlfriends that so do not want to admit their age.  Claim they are old and don’t want to think about it.  Have decided that they are always going to be 29, and stopped counting after that one.  I haven’t figured that out yet.

When we are of the young celebration age, not much is an issue.  As teens, there are parents who are wary of friends/boyfriends that are “too old” for their kid.  In my 20’s dating someone in their 40’s was just weird.  In my mind if I could be your kid, then I am too young for you.  It is just so odd how there are stipulations put on age.   We have heard it for our entire lives, “that is a baby toy”.  “You are too old for that, he is too old for you, it is not age appropriate, I though you would have grown out of that by now…” We are taught to believe that age is not only a number but a way to live our lives.  “Act your age”.  Now, I know that 33 isn’t old, but how exactly should I act at 33?  Please let me know.  Should I wear pants up to my boobs and flowered blouses?  For me, that will never happen at any age, even 90. 

So I figure I have seen some older folks, 70-80-ish, behaving like new-in-love teens.  As annoying as this may be, it is often endearing.  My Grandfather had two girlfriends after Grandma died and often acted like a teenager around them.  He didn’t get around as well as he used to but he found other ways to enjoy companionship and he had fun.  I have also seen some older folks doing nothing, looking totally unhappy and bitter.  I am thinking it is all in your head!

We took Maximus to his friend Zach’s 1st birthday party, and they had one of those blow up jumpers.  I went in it with him, not even thinking that I am “old”.  I climbed up on a tractor with him the other day, in a skirt (???) and took off on it with him.  I have re-learned what it is to play.  I have always been the kind of girl to do what I wanted.  If the nieces and nephews are on a trampoline, I just might get on it, or go on the water slide, or climb the tree.  When the urge hits, I don’t pause to think “am I too old for this?”  ( I have thought “am I too fat for this?” though!!)  I think that is part of it.  People think they are supposed to act a certain way when they age or have kids.  I certainly won’t do things to set a bad example for my child, but I am not going to hinder him having fun because I am “too old” to do it with him! 

Age is only relative as far as how old you feel.  There are days when my creaking bones feel 80.  But in my mind I just don’t think age even pertains to me much.  Any physical limitations I have to deal with, don’t mean less fun, just a different kind of fun.  I want to raise my son to break free of the age-old stereotype of age.  I don’t want him thinking I am too old to do something I want to do, or too old to do it with him!  When I am 80, I don’t want to be unhappy and bitter, I want to roll around the nursing home raising hell and breaking out to see the moon at night!

So, yeah, I am 33 and proud to put another year behind me and see what this one brings.  This is how I celebrate my birthday, by looking forward to the next and being thankful for all the ones I have had!

Tupperware and socks have a lot in common!  One thing I have trouble with is Tupperware.  I always seem to lose the lids, or the containers, or I don’t know which.  I end up with containers with no lids and lids with no containers!  Last year I got fed up with this and decided that before I put the Tupperware away I would put the lids on and stack them neatly.  Unfortunately they never seem to stay neatly stacked for one, and I still have un-matched pieces! 

I started thinking about it one day while folding laundry.  I was socks, usually in pairs and somewhere between putting them in the washer and folding, I often have one left over.  Where do they go?  I have looked in the washer, in the dryer, under and behind both, and it is quite a mystery.  Baby socks are the worst.  Those I usually find in sheets, or pant-legs, as I am rushing out the door mostly.  I do have to admit though that I have a few baby socks that I have NEVER found the match to!

So what exactly is it about Tupperware and socks?  Is it that they are in pairs?  I can’t figure it out at all, I mean, honestly, where in the hell are the matches?

When I moved here almost 9 years ago, this neighborhood was pretty decent.  There are parts of my street that are nice, and then you have the other parts.  My cluster of two houses to the north of me and one to the south are nice homes.  The people aren’t trashy and they keep their yards kept up.  Across the street, there is a rental that is currently vacant and the grass is knee-high.  Then two houses that are fine.  We all know each other and when we are outside we chat, but really we just stay to ourselves and I like that fine.  I like knowing my neighbors are there if I need them, but not up in my business. 

In the past 5 years, things are just going south.  I don’t have a problem with trashy people.  I don’t have a problem with folks that have a pack of kids.  I don’t have a problem with dogs, or cats ( I have a few myself).  I don’t have a problem with drinkers.  I don’t have a problem with teens, or young families.  I don’t have much of a problem with anything, except when it all converges around me!  I am tired of trashy people, and I mean that two ways.  Trashy as in dirty, slightly stupid, too tight clothes, letting their kids run wild at all hours in the night, yard full of junk.  Oh yeah and trashy as in alcoholic, swearing at their spouse and kids, embarrassing trashy.

You get these houses of trashy people who want to have a party.  Ok.  Every Thurs, Fri, and Sat night, a bonfire outside, with a lot of alcohol and some underage drinking as well-not ok.  Not any of it.  This constantly leads to fights, people having their windows punched out, people peeing in my backyard!  This will go on until all hours in the night too.  They even park in the alley.  The public alley!  I had to call 911 last summer because a woman was screaming  “get off me! ”  Turns out she was the problem. 

Last night I text a guy at 4am, telling him if he didn’t shut his dog up I was going to call the cops.  I had to text him the night before too!  This dog barked the first day from 4:30pm until 1:30 in the morning!  It was outside the entire time!  I just so happened to be able to get his number, so I text him.  Never heard back but the dog shut up a few minutes after I sent the message. 

We have 3yr old kids leading babies in diapers across the street.  ACROSS THE STREET!  This is a short residential street, and cars try to drive upwards of 50mph down it!  I hate that too!  We have the parents who don’t care where their kids are as long as they are not bothering them…yeah.  These kids are so starving for attention, that they stop and talk to ME when I am outside!  They have asked if my dogs can come out and play!   (And yes, they do have their own dogs!?!)  When I was 6 or 7  I never talked to strangers unless my parents said it was ok, and these kids just hop off their bikes and start the conversation!  They will hang out front or back and they DON’T leave!  It can be an hour before they get bored or we have to tell them to go home!  Their parents have no clue where they are.

I would so love to move.  I love my house, but there are people around me ruining it for me.  I can’t.  The economy has me trapped, and now that I have bought new carpet, because of that fact, I am staying for a while at least.  Maybe I should start a neighborhood watch or coalition?  Do I want that hassle though?