And Sometimes, The Demons Win

This post is a little more serious. Today was an extremely difficult day for my family. We said goodbye to one of Spencer’s childhood friends, Richard. Richard and Spencer became friends somewhere around 2nd or 3rd grade and remained so all through school. He lived only a few blocks from us, and I used to tease his dad that I was going to have to start paying child support to him because I was pretty sure Spencer had moved in.

I didn’t see Richard a lot during High School, largely because kids become mobile with cars and such and busy with school/sports and work.. and they just don’t hang out as much. But, like any kid who has crossed my door and been a friend to my children, he held a special place in my heart and I enjoyed watching him play in band and stuff. Other friends of my kids can attest to this, once you’re in, you’re in. I love you. You’re part of my family. It’s just how it is. I had an awesome mother’s day lunch this year with not just my four kids, but a total of 8 kids! It’s just how we roll in Stefnee, Ks. We love.

I love Richard.

Richard struggled with depression. I didn’t know.

I wish I had.

I wish I had known, because… I struggle with it too. And you know what helps me? Not some random person at the end of a 1-800 number, not some post on facebook about how xxx people die every year because of suicide and we should copy and share this to make others aware….  no. I’m sure those things bring awareness.. but when someone is battling demons, it’s bigger than that. What helps is knowing that I’m not alone. What helps is hearing someone else talk about how they struggle with suicidal thoughts regularly. What helps is knowing that mental illness is normal. Yes. It is. The problem is that we don’t talk about it. We label it, we judge it, we point fingers and whisper.. but we don’t just have open conversations about it. And maybe if he had known that I struggle too, maybe he would have reached out. Or maybe he would have reached out to someone else…. sometimes just knowing you’re not alone is enough.

So. I’m going to talk about it today. I’m going to talk about it because it’s difficult and it’s uncomfortable and it’s ALWAYS THERE. I’m going to talk about it, because I want every single one of my kids’ friends to know that if they ever need to talk about it, my door is open.

My mental illness is depression and anxiety. My official diagnosis is Adjustment Disorder With Depressed Mood. This means I don’t handle change well, even positive change can send me for a loop, and it triggers depression. My anxiety is more PTSD (abuse) related, but it can pop up unexpectedly as well. I also struggle with suicidal ideation. Now, before you start plastering my walls with 1-800 numbers and prayers, understand what that means. Or more importantly, understand what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to drive my car into oncoming traffic at any given moment. It does mean that I think about it. Often. Not as a “I can’t take this, my life sucks, I want to die.” thought, but as a “I could do this. I won’t. But if things got to be too much for me, I could.” You know what? Things don’t ever get to be too much. Why? I talk about it.

I talk about it with my kids, I talk about it with my friends, I talk about it with my partner, I talk to my therapist, and you know what they do? Nothing. They sit and listen and they love me and they get it. They don’t judge, they don’t try to fix it, they just listen and they love me. And that is what keeps that little cloud that sits on my shoulder from floating over my head and drowning me.

This is the first time I’ve ever talked about it openly in this format, but you need to know. You need to know because if it’s 2 am and the demons are beating on your door and you don’t think you have the strength to fight them one. more. time. you need to know that I get it. I hate those bastards too, and you can call me or text me or show up at my house, and we can either fight them together or we can invite them in to watch movies and have popcorn with us and we can talk about things like grown ups.

And I won’t judge you. Because you’ve seen mine now, and you know I get it.

Richard, I love you. Thank you for being a part of my family and for your friendship. You are important to us and I hate that the demons won this time. Rest in peace, Richard, your battle is over.

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I Still Believe in 398.2

 

There’s this man that I love, you may remember him, his name is Brian. We’re actually getting married pretty soon, did you know? Yeah. It’s a thing.

Here’s another thing. Coffee. Go ahead and roll your eyes or fake gag or whatever you do (I’m looking at you, you know who you are..) but ask any marriage counselor or any divorcee or any married couple that’s been together for a bajillionity years, or ask anyone, anywhere, ever… “What is the key to a successful relationship?” The answer is always the same.  Coffee. Coffee is what keeps us together.

It’s true.

Brian and I met in 2013, kinda by accident, kinda not. It’s a long story. But neither of us were looking for anything. I really wasn’t interested in a relationship and neither was he, and then… we met. And things started changing. We talked on the phone a few times, and very early, I went to Mexico for vacation. We had only known each other for five or six weeks. We weren’t dating. He was just Amber’s boss that I might potentially be traveling to Ireland with. Maybe. Anywhoo, I was in Mexico and there isn’t interwebs everywhere like there is here. There’s also no air conditioning or hot water in Casa de Lisa. The hot nights coupled with the fact that I’m really a morning person, meant that I was awake every morning at 5 am. I would shower and then make coffee and sit on Lisa’s patio and …… Brian was usually online.

Clarification: I have since gotten to know Brian and he is most certainly not a 5 am kind of guy. I think he was only waking up that early because he’d noticed that it was the only time I was online. He tricked me.

Anyway. That’s kinda where it started. We started having coffee together. Once I was home, it was just a couple of times a week, and gradually, every morning. Now, we talk on the phone several times a day and always, just before bed, one of us will say, “Coffee in the morning?”

ALL OF THIS TO SAY—–

This morning, I was sitting on the porch having Coffee with Brian and we were talking about the most important thing going on in America right now. The eclipse. We are taking a mini vacation this weekend, taking the kids and heading north. Brian has been watching the weather, we ordered glasses, we have hotel reservations…. It’s a serious thing. I’ll tell you a secret, Brian has been planning this since he was in 4th grade. Not kidding. So we’re talking back and forth about how he’s been planning this.. for decades…

 

Brian: I know I’m super geeking out about this.. but I’m excited!

Me: Babe, I get it. You’re going to Griswold the eff out of this. It’s ok.

Brian: I’ve been researching this since before Google was invented!!

Me: You had to use BOOKS!

Brian: I KNOW! With the Dewey Decimal system and everything!!!

And then we actually, legit, spent the next 20 minutes discussing the Dewey Decimal system, how we both know it and how they don’t use it anymore and “Damn kids these days.. it’s a system that WORKS!!” and how we’re building a library in the new house and how we’ve both always wanted to own an old card catalog file, but what would you put in it? That dumb bar going the length of each drawer. Maybe we should catalog all of our own books using the DDS just to show off!! Yeah!…….

This.

This is why I am in love with this man.

There is so much going on in the world and in our own lives.. and we talk about politics and bills and kids and stuff. But… we talk about card catalogs and people lining up for miles to get eclipse glasses and smashed pennies and the best way to catch crawdads.

He gets me.

coffee

Okey Dokey…. Artichokey

I bought an Instant Pot. Those of you know me know that this is huge, mainly because… well.. I don’t cook. I mean, I can … I just don’t. I hate it. It takes for.ev.er and then there’s clean up, not to mention the planning, the shopping (gawd, I hate shopping for anything, let alone groceries.) and the preparing.. all of the mise en place… I’m a better sous chef than I am a cook. Ask Brian.

So I bought a magic pot. So far, it’s been wonderful. I mean, I left work on Friday at 5, did the grocery shopping (gag) and came home and made baby back ribs and kalediscope cabbage (no kale, promise) and had a full meal on the table by 7pm. For real. It’s a miracle. To date, I’ve used it four times. Baby back ribs, cauliflower soup, General Tso’s chicken and then today….  artichokes. For lunch.

I like artichoke dip. I like artichokes on my pizza, I like artichokes right out of the can. I have, however, never cooked one. Ever. Shocking, I know.

So I googled it.

Y’all. When you have to google how to eat something…..  maybe… you should just go open up a can of tuna and have an easy lunch. Jussayin’.

 

http://www.wikihow.com/Eat-an-Artichoke

We ate the damn artichokes. They weren’t entirely unpleasant… we did the heart wrong.  Silas and I both tried to eat the prickly flower fuzz stuff (hence the CHOKE in Artichoke) … and even added lemon juice and garlic butter. After further research, it’s been decided (by vote, here in Stefnee, Ks, we are a democracy) it’s been decided that perhaps we didn’t have ripe (?) fresh (?) artichokes and we’ll all be willing to try it again.

Silas did make the comment, “Can you imagine, who found an artichoke plant one day and said ‘Hey, I’ll bet if we cook this just right, peel off the leaves a little at a time and dip it in butter, it’d be good!’ for the first time? I’ll bet everyone thought he was insane.”

 

'You know, I bet if we steamed that and dipped it in mayo, it wouldn't be half bad... that or use it as some sort of weapon.'

Pretty much.

 

And I’m still hungry.

Today’s Oxymoron: Bathroom Humor

I know it’s not a true oxymoron, but hang with me here…. it gets tragically funny. (see what I did there?) (Mrs. Thomason would be proud.)

Yesterday was a long day. Just…. stupid long. I had a pointless Dr visit (not my regular Dr) regarding this kidney/back pain I’ve been having, and his advice to me was to ‘ignore it as best as you can and it will probably go away.’ …   then I had an appointment with my therapist.. which is always good, but yanno… emotions and all that jazz….

19399344_1394859773923027_6692871812935256267_n

… so the persistent pain in my back coupled with the examining of emotions meant…I followed my heart and Silas and I ordered Wendy’s for supper. Total comfort food.

Now… here’s the thing. I’ve been working out regularly and for the last month or so, have been sticking to this diet that my personal trainer gave to me. Lots of veggies and protein, no mayo, butter, cheese, processed food.. etc. I’m eating like a freaking caveman body builder. And it’s paying off. Here’s the other thing..  I’m getting older. I know that this is the only body I have and I want to take care of it. I figure that since I mainly live off of coffee, bourbon and cigarettes… maybe … just maybe… I should pay attention to what food goes into my body, and, yes, hit the gym regularly. It’s all about balance.

Fast forward to this morning.

The Girl and I woke up at 5 am to hit the gym. Getting ready, I noted to her that my tummy was uber cranky and ‘omg, look how bloated I am… ugh.’… and we got dressed. Both of us in our shorty shorts and runners, and we were ready to go. Right about then, a message popped into my inbox from Tina “No gym in the morning!”  (our trainer owns his own place and occasionally, for whatever reason, he can’t make it.) OK, not a big deal… but here we are, dressed for a workout at 5:30 am and… I’m not crawling back into bed with my tennis shoes on. Besides, the dogs are awake now anyway. We’re up.

Shasta – Hey! Wanna just go for a power walk? I mean… we’re up…

Me – My dear, that may simply be the best idea ever! Let’s go!

 

**SPOILER ALERT**   It was NOT the best idea ever.

We walked, and chatted, and got about a mile under our belts when….

Me – oh….  oh…. my stomach…..

Shasta- Y’ok?

Me- Um. No.

My stomach was cramping…. I know you know what I’m talking about….  that hot-flashy-doubled-over-oh-my-god-get-to-the-bathroom-RIGHT-NOW kind of cramping….

and we’re 10-12 blocks from home.

PS. That’s where my bathroom is. Weird, I know. But I keep a couple of them at home. Just in case.

Shasta- Do I need to call one of the Twidgets to come get us?

Me- No… let’s just get home. Quickly.

So we started home. Folks…. I didn’t think I was gonna make it.

Me- Oh god. How much further?!

Shasta- only like four blocks!

Me- dies

Shasta- CLENCH YOUR BUTT CHEEKS!!

Me- I AM!!!

Have you ever tried to walk for 6 blocks as fast as you can while clenching your butt cheeks? And every other muscle in your entire core?

I’m stiff-legged-clenching-my-core walking home going as fast as I can, while The Girl is bopping along beside me screaming encouragement at me and simultaneously dialing The Twidgets trying to wake one of them up to come get us. I would have laughed at the situation if I wasn’t so afraid that my guts were gonna come spilling out of me like hot lava.

#sorrynotsorry #thiswasmymorning #glamourgirl

It was awful. But I made it. I was afraid I was going to end up like an extra on the set of Bridesmaids..

 

By the way, this is, in my humble opinion, the funniest movie scene ever filmed. *It’s funny because IT CAN REALLY HAPPEN*

No more fast food for this girl. For. Real. I’m too old for this…well… shit.

 

 

 

 

 

IAM: NY + KS

Those of you who don’t know, I belong to a very dorky elite group of mysterious bloggers called The Internet Axe Murderers, IAM for short. It’s a tongue-in-cheek title, we don’t actually murder people. As far as you know. You see, I started blogging over 10 years ago on Yahoo 360. Way before blogging was mainstream. And I made friends. Alan, Cam, Linda, Lisa, Paula… were my first friends. Then, we made the migration to Multiply. It was a great site, and we picked up the likes of She, JadedTales, Harmy, The Dude, G, Seamus, Jeanette… the list goes on. Here’s the thing tho… we were a community, but we lived everywhere from Arizona, Japan and California to New York, Canada and South Carolina. People thought we were nuts. “You don’t even KNOW these people… how can they be your friends?” Well, we *did* know each other. We bared our souls, helped each other through tough times and celebrated the good times. We became a family. Even though we’d never met. Yet.

The first IAM I met was when I was in Albuquerque, NM for one of Shasta’s choir trips. Tammy. She met us and we hugged and laughed and hung out for an afternoon, it was a blast! Slowly, we all started meeting each other in real life. Puerto Rico for a wedding, New York for a visit, Japan for the Adventures of Cam and Max. There are many on my list that I haven’t met yet, they’ve met each other… or stuff like…  Spencer was stranded in South Carolina overnight so Mama Bear called Sheila who lives nearby and she kept him overnight. No. I’ve never met her. Yes. She went and got my boy from the airport.

It’s awesome. Plus, if you’re ever in Mexico, you have a place to crash. So that’s handy.

So… all of that back story to say that sometime in January, Linda called and said, “Hey, I’m coming to see you!” Yaaaasssssss!!!  After planning and organizing, Linda and Her Man left freaking New York and drove All. The. Way. to Stefnee Kansas to see me.

We had a blast. It was hilarious watching her FaceBook announcements. Her Big City Friends were all like “Why are you going to KANSAS?!” “Because Stef, that’s why.” “Yeah… but Kansas?”…..  so, I showed her My Kansas. The beauty here is something I’m so proud of. The gentle rolling hills of the Smokey Hill area (the beginning of the Black Hills) and the breathtaking views in the Flint Hills. It’s a different kind of beauty than the beach or the mountains or the redwood forests in California, it’s a subtle beauty. More of a State-Next-Door kind of thing… you get used to Kansas, you see her every day, heading to work, going to dinner with her friends, she’s nice, but she’s Kansas… then one day, you *see* her… she’s not doing anything out of the ordinary, and suddenly you realize, she’s beautiful… and you’re in freaking love. Everyone talks about how flat and boring she is, she’s a fly over state, but you know better. She’s got curves, she has history, she has depth.. and you aren’t even attracted to the Silicon Valley anymore, all you want is Real. Raw. Beautiful. Kansas.

Yep. That’s where I live. And I love it.

On the list of Stuff to See was bison. There are several places where we can see them, I’ve hiked with them running around at the Tallgrass Prairie preserve, but… that can be risky. .. they kinda can kill you, and I didn’t want Linda to die, so we opted for a guided tour on a tram at the Maxwell Prairie Reservation. We loaded up into an open tram (When I told Brian of this plan he said “Wait. Like IN the herd? Is there a fence? Do you KNOW how big those things are?!” Yes, I do. And I get it, we weren’t worried about ourselves or my kids.. but if you’re on a tram with a bunch of people… it only takes one idiot to start a stampede. Seriously.) ….. we loaded up into an open tram and we rode out into the middle of the herd.

Suckers are huge.

Like bigger-than-a-van huge.

And, did you know? They can jump 6 feet into the air from a stand still position.

And they can run 35 MPH. Forever.

And they weigh a ton. Actually. Actual tons.

It was cool. After that, we took the Worst Highway In Kansas (just to show off) and headed to Topeka. We have actual cities here, did you know that? And electricity. And fancy stuff like running water. It’s not all just prairie and bison. Truth. We went to the Harley Davidson museum, had supper and chilled in Brian, Kansas for the rest of the evening.

Sunday, Brian had to work, so Linda, Tracy and I headed home. We gathered some stuffs and headed to Kanopolis Lake for some hiking in Horse Thief Canyon. Also known as the Gateway To Hell. Just in case you forgot about The Adventures of Suki. We tromped through the paths, catching frogs and trying to catch skinks. Suki was less than helpful in that department.. and along the way, I pointed out stuff growing, like sage and sand plums and, oh yeah, poison ivy. There’s that. I’m not allergic to it, so I’ll point it out, but then, I kinda forget about it.

After hiking for a crackamillion (shout out to Dana) miles, we ended up back at the parking lot. Linda and I had a sit down while Tracy decided he needed more hiking, so he left. We lounged about on the picnic tables chatting and laughing and then a huge birch tree dripped a blob of sap on her arm. She got up, milled around for a bit, then picked a leaf off a plant and rubbed it on her arm. Um…  I’m watching her…..  and she bent over and picked another one…. and rubbed it all. over. her. body.

Linda. Honey. Stop. Don’t touch anything.

I pulled up a photo on my phone just to confirm.. and yes. Linda had just picked poison ivy and rubbed it all over her hand and arm… then touched her ear.. and her neck… and .. holy moly…. I just let a City Girl kill herself with poison ivy.  I calmly informed her of her poor life choices.. and she started to cry. Ok, not really, but she did look a little panicked.

“Oh my gosh! What am I going to do?!”

Me “Come to the car… I know what to do.”

I popped open the trunk and gave Linda a blob of dog shampoo. (Gates to Hell, remember? I was prepared this time.) and then while she was lathering up her skin, I looked in my First Aid kit. See, Brian is a paramedic. This means, I will never want for things like …. those weird scissors.. and butterfly bandages.  ..  or ace bandages.. or any sort of bandages, really. And he bought me a first aid kit for my car. (It’s more like a First Aid Suitcase. But I’m prepared.) Guess what was in the First Aid Suitcase?!  POISON IVY WIPES!!! I didn’t even know that was a thing!!  So we broke out half of a dozen of those suckers and Linda had a towel bath at the back of my car.

And… she didn’t break out! Yay!! Country Bumpkin saved City Girl!! Woo!

Betcha Linda never forgets what poison ivy looks like.

Ever.

Then, a couple of days later, she went home. And I miss her. 10+ years of friendship and I finally got to see her beautiful face, hug her neck, snog on her and take her hiking. And no one died. Well, other than the Blue Jay chick that Chtib The Cat brought to us….  but that’s a story for another day.

I’m Blue, Ah Ba Dee Ah Ba Dye

So, the Blue Hair is a thing. Along with the attention I’m getting, I’m also having to seriously step outside of my comfort zone with this hair. Learning how to cope with… well….  not washing my hair. That’s right. I’m not allowed to shampoo like normal. Instead, my hair goes way up on my head when I shower (I’m not allowed to get it wet in there) and then twice a week….  I can ‘shampoo’ it. Which involves applying a dime sized amount of shampoo to my temples, back of the head and crown. Dry hair. And massaging it into my scalp…. then rinsing it with cold water. The End.

No piling it on top of my head and lathering up the hair…. no deep conditioning…. no washing it every day….   just ….  couple of times a week, scrubbing the scalp and rinsing in cold water.

Wes explained the science of this to me. (He reminds me of Alton Brown, but with hair instead of food) and the cuticles of the hair hold the color, when we introduce moisture to the hair, the color and the shampoo/water/conditioner all jockey for the same position. And Water is a bully. That’s why we lose color so quickly. (there was more sciencey stuff, but I have a Math brain, so science is interesting, but it falls out faster.)

So!! Things that are grossing me out I am learning about my new hair.

#1. Dry shampoo is a thing. And it actually works.

boar-bristle-brushing-benefits-1

#2. My normally dry and frizzy hair …. is not so much anymore. I usually use lots of spray oils in my hair to keep the curls under control, and greasy hair is not something I’ve ever struggled with. Wes sent me to the beauty store to purchase a Boar Bristle brush (that thing cost me $23!!!!  FOR A HAIRBRUSH!) and told me to start at the root and brush it out every night and again right before I ‘wash’ it. I laughed at him. Let me ‘splain. I have curly hair. When I straighten it, I use a wide bristled brush, and when it’s curly, I use a very wide tooth comb. You don’t use a boar bristle brush on curly hair unless you want to look like you just walked straight out of 1971 with your White Girl Afro. No. No no no. He got all Alton Brown on me again and explained that the close together, soft bristles work the natural oils from your scalp through your hair, which causes the cuticles to close up or something and other stuff, but ‘Trust me, Sis, do this.’ So I did. And…. it’s working. It’s not frizzy. Well, I mean, it is when I first brush it, but a little bit of  conditioner mixed with water in a spray bottle and a quick spritz calms it down fairly quickly. But for the rest of the day? No frizz. And it’s been pretty humid lately…..  it’s weird. It’s like I have someone else’s hair on my head and I’m not sure how to handle it. It’s being…..  normal.

#3. THE CURLS. Holy schnikes. My hair is so much curlier than normal. It’s always wavy/frizzy but… I’ve got these beach curls… it’s nothing like the Bad Barbie hair I had when I was in Mexico… it’s … just different. Again, not sure who’s hair this is… but I’ll take it.

#4. I look forward to Shampoo Night like it’s a night at the Oscars. Seriously. I came home from work last night, lit some candles, put on some soft music and it was like going to a spa.

#5. Middle aged women who sweat at night should not leave their hair unattended. I sleep hot, and I toss and turn quite a bit. (I have a queen sized bed, and other than a Suki Sized amount, I tend to sleep on the entire bed.) I went to sleep the first night and woke up with a blue back, neck, shoulder, pillow case and sheet. Remember the whole Moisture Vs. Color thing? Yeah…. sweat is moisture. I looked like I’d rolled on top of a Smurf Village and left no survivors. So, hair goes up into a tight braid at night now. *eyeroll*

#6.  Also… people touch my hair. I’m not a touchy feely kind of gal…. I don’t like hugs unless you’re my kids or my fiancée …  and yeah. Hair is in my bubble. The dye job took five hours and then I came home and took an hour nap because, dude, Momma was exhausted from all of the touching. Now, people I work with are touching me. A lady at the grocery store touched my hair while I was standing in line….  . My boss just spent 10 minutes lifting up my hair and looking at it and touching it.  Stahp.

 

Anywhoo…. these are the things I’m dealing with today. It’s not easy being green BLUE.

*toss toss* But it sure is Purdy!

 

 

Not ready

I don’t even know how to write about how I’ve been feeling lately. This blog is all about change and stuff, and it’s about me. The Momma. There’s just such an incredibly huge mixture of feelings.. that words just don’t fit them. Yanno? There’s dread, anxiety, joy, excitement, pride, love. Love is the biggest one.  But the others are still there.

We are in the home stretch. And I’m starting to panic. Really. I don’t handle change very well, (seriously, ask my therapist) and ..  Change, she is a’comin. Fast.

Nine more months until the wedding.

24 months until The Twidgets graduate.

26 months until I leave Stefnee, Kansas and move to Brian, Kansas.

I’m a planner. Procrastination is not something I do well, and I already have lists and plans and strategies and… I’m really starting to feel overwhelmed.  I want to enjoy the moments….  but I’m struggling with letting go and I’m finding myself tripping over the details.

I need to breathe and relax… but if I close my eyes for a nanosecond, it’s going to be over.

The Babies are almost done with High School. I just…..  I don’t have words for that. The days of diapers and walks with the wagon, the nights of snuggles and nursing, the months of growing and changing  … have brought us so close to this …. looming transition… and quite frankly, I’m not sure I can do it.

For the last 22 years, I’ve been The Momma… and … gah. It’s shifting. I’ll still be The Momma, but my entire job description is being rewritten… and I don’t know what it’s going to look like. It’s hard.

It’s exciting, watching these people that Scott and I have raised.. seeing them grow and set off on to their individual paths. I’m so proud. But I’m also scared out of my fucking mind. I mean…. holy shit, people. LOOK HOW FAST THAT WENT!!

I’m struggling. This isn’t a flowery-feel-good blog. Sorry. It’s raw and it’s emotional and it’s hard. But it’s where I am today.

I want to dig my heels in, grab the hands of everyone in my circle and focus on stopping the world for a few minutes. I want to control every day, plan it out, write the script … And. I. Can’t.

And I’m working on being OK with that. I’m shifting my focus. Daily. I’m not looking at my planner, and I’m looking across the table at the Men-Children sitting across from me. And I’m going to enjoy them.

And cry. I’m going to cry. A lot. Over the dumbest shit. But.. let’s be honest. It’s going to happen.

And I’m going to remember silly little things like how excited they were when they were about three years old and discovered that magnets stick to stuff. I’m going to remember how little hands felt on my cheeks. I’m going to look forward to more Big Kid hugs, the way they drape themselves over my shoulders when they hug me… like they think maybe I could pick them up one more time. I’m going to savor wet beach towels in my car on days when the temperatures could fry eggs on the sidewalk. I’m going to enjoy every episode of Ancient Aliens that they force me to watch and I’m going to love walking through the living room and letting them explain to me which anime show this is and what the plot is.

I’m going to write every detail down so I don’t forget them. I’m going to enjoy this.. and I’m going to work really, really, really hard to let go. Just breathe. It’ll all be ok.

Thursday Massacre

Remember when your kids were small and you were all starry eyed? You gaze upon the wee little bit of perfection in your arms and you can’t imagine that in a few short years, they are going to become these destructive, emotionally unstable, smelly, horrid wee beasties. It’s not until you walk in on your precious toddler who has just redecorated your living room furniture with a Sharpie, or find them underneath your dining room table after they’ve spread an entire box of cereal (and smashed it into the carpet) through the entire house, that you realize you need to rethink your approach to this whole parenting thing. Maybe it’s not all sunshine and baby powder…. Perhaps it’s time to add new weapons in your arsenal.

By the way, this goes for pets too. You never imagine as you’re holding that little ball of fur, high on the smell of puppy breath, the level of destruction that this shedding, drooling, chewing maniac is going to introduce into your life.

I have a Cleaning Caddy. Fine, it’s a five gallon bucket with rags and cleaning supplies in it, but it’s my Caddy. Over the years, I’ve discovered little magics that I add. Like… a baby food jar with baking soda and Dawn dish soap mixed together. Or Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, and a small bamboo spoon. Holy smokes, that thing is good for scrubbing what not off of stove tops and bath tubs. As my kiddos have grown, so has my arsenal Cleaning Caddy.

Yesterday, I added something new. Crime scene tape.

Honestly, with three teenage sons, I don’t know how that’s not already in the Caddy. I should have a roll of it to tape across their bedroom doors. I know you know what I’m talking about. ..  that weird, musty, don’t-ask-don’t-tell, how-is-it-possible-for-that-smell-to-be-coming-from-everywhere-and-nowhere-at-the-same-time, kinds of things that become teenage boys’ bedrooms.  DO NOT GO INTO THE BEDROOMS, MOM. Just..  don’t.  It’s not safe.

But, today, I’m not lamenting the wreckage of teenage boys.

No. Today, I’m here to tell you about how a dog destroyed my entire house in an afternoon.

**aside** NOT EVEN MY OWN DOG.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. “Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to step behind the crime scene tape.”

*sigh*

Ok. Yesterday, I had a billing meeting in Anthony, Kansas. It’s very far away, but it’s also the part of the state where my dad is from, so I try to leave a little early and I swing by the cemeteries to say hello to all of the ones I love and miss. The peonies were blooming, and so I cut them and then decided that since Shasta is home for the summer, I’d see if she’d like to tag along. While I was at the actual meeting, she poked around Anthony and found a coffee shop. All in all, it was a great day, visiting graves, placing flowers, laughing in the car, listening to Ani DeFranco, Crash Test Dummies and The Outfield all the way up and back.

Little did we know… the horror that awaited us…..

We pulled into the drive, and came in through the back. I had to pee, (Wharton bladder) so I was first. I walked into the kitchen… and started feeling very confused by what I saw…  What is that?… on the floor?…..  a few little feathers??  … weird…

It was just a few feathers. Odd.

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Then…  I saw the living room.

Shasta still in the kitchen- What’s with the feathers?

Me- basically doubled over in the doorway to the living room- LOOK AWAY SHASTA!!

Shasta- oh…. my…. god.

Feathers. Everywhere. And…. is that laundry? What?… omg.

Me- I just can’t.

I headed up the stairs to use the restroom… and…. every stair was feathered… and the landing… and the hall…. and my bedroom…. and my bed….

A herd of chickens exploded in my house. I should probably tape off the area and call the ASPCA or PETA or CSI ……

Back downstairs, Thunder (who was also covered in feathers) was wagging his tail at us while Suki (not covered in feathers) was sitting nicely on the couch looking at Thunder like “Dude. You are gonna die. It was fun while it lasted.”

Not only had Thunder The Destroyer gotten onto my bed, ripped open my favorite down pillow, drug it through the entire house, he’d also torn open Shasta’s laundry bag and spread her dirty laundry around in the feathers.

Guys. Guys.

 

Guys.

My house is big. The pillow was small.

The feathers….  on everything. Under all of the furniture. ON the furniture.

This is some weird new math, because… we were looking at 100 chickens worth of feathers. At least.

I just…. we put the dogs outside and got trash bags… and gently started gathering the feathers. Yes, gently. If you sweep fast, they fly around and re cover everything. (not that we know that from experience)  We sneezed and coughed our way through the feather dust and got the living room sorta back to normal, and started a load of laundry (yes, picking feathers out of the washing machine still.)

And then we vacuumed the stairs, hall, landing, rugs, bed, couch, chaise… all of it. Twice.

Not kidding.

And there are still feathers.

 

We are still putting our lives back together. The crime scene still fresh in our minds… once you see that kind of devastation first hand, you can’t unsee it. It changes you.

Hardens you. Forces you to look the devil right in the eyes.

Not to mention I had to sleep on my bare naked mattress last night because my sheets were still in the washer.

Oh, and Thunder The Destroyer slept on my bed too.

I’m still kinda mad at him. It’s going to take time. I’m not sure how we come back from this, now that I know what he’s capable of. Good thing he’s freaking adorable.

*Not Thunder, but it made me feel not so alone to know there are others out there who suffer*

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NSFW

*NSFW*
Just a warning: I’ve always said I am Half Sailor; apparently the other half is Dirty Trucker.

As you may or may not know, Friday I had surgery. Nothing major… well, ok it was semi major.  I had a uterine ablation. But it was out patient and really, the stupid biopsy I had a week before hurt more.

Anyway. Surgery. So Brian came down Thursday evening and took me Friday. I’ve been putting this off for almost two years… maybe longer? Mainly because anxiety is a bitch and there’s a lot of anxiety involved with surgery.  We putzed around at All School’s Day and then I took a Xanax and we went in.

Things are going ok. They drew blood and left a bruise, normal. Then the gal came in to give me my IV. I hate IVs. Hate. With the fire of 1,000 suns, hate.  She started with the back of my right hand. Ok, now, I’m not a nurse, or a paramedic, or even a CNA, but for chrissake, there are so many bones and tendons and tender bits in the back of my freaking hand… and CAN YOU EVEN SEE THE VEIN?! ..  no. No you can’t. She kept shaking my arm and telling me to relax.

Lady. Listen to me. I’m a fairly easy going person. You’re fishing around in the back of my hand with a garden hose. I. CAN’T. RELAX. Eventually, she blew out the vein or whatever it is they do when they admit defeat and she moved to my left forearm.  Got it in. Thank you.  Now, GTFO.
Then the surgeon came in, then the anesthesiologist (this is important, he makes a guest appearance Post Op.)  Brian gave me a kiss and I was off to surgery.

They wheeled me in and got me situated … the anesthesiologist (I think his name was Craig or something) got me situated and said he was going to start putting me to sleep. I looked up at him and said “It’s going to be ok?” to which he replied, “Oh, you’re fine.” And I said “No. You have to tell me…” (it’s this little game I play when things are bad. I need to hear the words “You’re going to be ok.” So I’ll tell Brian, “Tell me it’s ok.”)  Craig smiled at me and said “You’re going to be ok.” And I was out.

That was the last time anyone heard from Stephanie for awhile.

Upon waking, The Trucker was there.
Here’s where it gets funny, but… again, there’s a reason she’s called Stephanie The Trucker, gentle reader, so … read at your own risk.

The nurse woke me up.
Nurse “You’re all done Stephanie, we’re going to head back to your room.”
Me: “Do I get pain meds?”
Nurse: “Sure, do you need them?”
Trucker Me: “I want them. I have fucking amazing insurance! Hey, did you see that anesthesiologist? He’s fucking hot.”
Nurse: Chuckles a little uncomfortably.. keeps wheeling me to my room.

Immediately upon my arrival, I started asking for “Brian My Fiancée” and I vaguely remember describing him physically to her “He has a quirly moustache and he’s really cute.”
Brian arrived, quirly moustache and all, and the nurse brought me some peanut butter ritz crackers.
Me: “That other nurse said I could have pudding. Where’s my pudding?”
Nurse: “Would you like to have pudding too?”
Trucker Me: “Fuck yeah, I would!”
Brian: “What did you say?”
Trucker Me: “I said ‘FUCK YEAH I want pudding!”
Then the real me made a brief appearance….  Me: “Oh shit! I said bad words! So sorry!!”
To which the nurse replied “Oh, it’s not the first time….. “ and flat out refused to say what else I had said. Who knows, there may have been more….
I was just so excited for pudding. I mean…. It’s pure carbs. I don’t get to eat that stuff on a regular basis.. and I was psyched. Bring me the goddamn pudding.

And then Brian gave me my phone back.

Yanno how you shouldn’t text when you’re drunk? Yeah, same applies to pain meds. Only, it wasn’t texting… I got into my SnapChat.

It wasn’t until the next day.  THE NEXT DAY … that I realized and saw what I’d posted to my story and sent to my sweet innocent babies.  First was a shot of me that said “Done. Apparently my first word in the operating room upon waking was the F word. Oops.” All things taken into consideration, good punctuation, no spelling errors, complete sentences. Thankfully, Trucker Steph has at least a little bit of an education.

Then… my favorite.Screenshot_2017-05-15-08-36-59
Really. What more needs to be said?