Monday, March 3, 2014
Sunday, March 2, 2014
You see, when I was little my family had money. Or at least the appearance of money. We lived in Mexico which I'm sure helped to skew the perception. There was a maid, a full time gardener, private school. We lived in a big family house with a pool. But I also remember when my Mom and Dave separated and we moved to live with my grandparents. At one point there was a reconciliation, but our lifestyle was completely different. My mom worked nights as a CNA. Dave went from being president of a company to at one point delivering pizzas and then as a beauty supply sales rep. Job to job and next business venture to next business venture and somehow (I don't know the details) we were living in Texas. My mom had gone back to school and was to finish her semester by staying with some people from the ward. My sisters and I were to move back to Utah with Dave a few weeks before my mom could come. Someday I might write about that trip, but most of the memories from it leave me with a pit in a my stomach. We made it only through the generosity of strangers and had to miss Trick or Treating that year.
Back in Utah, Dave and my grandma took us school shopping at D.I. I remember seeing and wanting a denim jacket. I wanted it sooo badly. It was $8.00. They said I couldn't get it because it was too expensive. I wasn't an idiot. I was going to be in third grade. I knew what money was and I knew that eight dollars was not a ton of money. It was standing embarrassed at DI that I realized something was wrong. The weird anxious feeling that accompanied is the same feeling I still get when having to talk about money.
Later that school year a boy at school made fun of my grandma chosen shoes by saying they were just like his grandma's shoes. It wasn't until this week that I realized that, oh my gosh, they could have been his grandma's actual shoes. Along with the memories of the neighbor boy I was madly in love with down the street, my favorite elementary school teacher, and breaking my nose by jumping a crack in the sidewalk on one foot in rollerskates on a dare, I also remember that Christmas happened due to the generosity of family members and knowing that my aunt paid for my Mom's plane ticket to visit us over Thanksgiving. When I think of my mom, I still picture her meeting us after school that day wearing jeans, a turtleneck, and a pink sweatshirt with puffpaint like teddy bears and a faux fair aisle embossed pattern.
Even though things were tight, I never went without. My mom worked hard so that when they divorced we stayed in our house. By the time my mom married my dad in Jr. High, life was different again. We lived in a middle class neighborhood in Southern California. There was always the expectation that we work and earn our own money, but we went to Disneyland at least once a year, ate out, built a new house. My parents worked hard and still do, but shopping at thriftstores has been for a long time more about the thrill of the hunt for me than necessity.
When John and I got married we had nothing, but we were too young and dumb to notice. We were waiting tables and going to school. We busted our backs to put each other through school. I became a nurse and he an electrical engineer. We were never going to be rich, but nice and steady paychecks every two weeks is what I'm about. The uncertainty of starting a small business or jumping from job to job makes me feel like an awkward third grader whose teeth are too big while wearing some punk's grandma's shoes. Life insurance, health insurance, 401k. That's what I'm about. But life still happens. Sometimes you make stupid choices like buying a new Mini Cooper on a whim and others you fulfill God given callings like taking in three kids on your dime. Either way, life is expensive and the money's got to come from somewhere.
So, knowing that talking about money makes me almost physically ill, you can imagine how awesome the conversations around our house have been when we found out that the company John works for is downsizing this year and offering severance packages to those who voluntarily leave. Good ones. One we couldn't pass up. Even if it meant that we might have to move after just planting an orchard in a house we thought we'd live in forever. Completely out of character for us and a little risky, we had to take it. As of the end of March, husband will no longer be employed with the company he's worked for for eight years. He has to take his sabbatical so he will be "on vacation" for eight weeks. That's only part of the good news. The other good news is that it looks like I don't have to move. We are expecting the official job offer to come in this week or next with a company that's actually one mile closer than where he's been working. More good news...I don't want to throw up or jump out of my skin due to anxiety anymore. Also, I'm going to be cow-sitting at my house in a few weeks for a couple months and milking a sweet black Dexter named Pepper.
Moral of my long and boring story...things have a funny way of working out.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Saturday I am driving a van full of my knitting group to one of the biggest yarn/fiber expos on the West Coast. The day cannot come fast enough-except that I have to clean out my car before then and it might take me all day. It is a very needed and well timed outing for me. And my car is grateful.
When I was in nursing school we took a mental health wellness quiz based on life stressors. You got points for major life events like a relationship status change, new job, moving, etc. Then you tallied all your points and it gauged how likely you were to become ill. At that time, I had enough stressors to be dead. I used to joke about it because I didn't even have kids or a mortgage! Ten years later, I guarantee that quiz was faulty. Had to be. Or that's why this is Crazytown and I'm it's Mayor. In the next two weeks (preferably one), I hope to have more clarity on a few of those stressors that are giving me and my knitting grief.
Some of my nearest and dearest kept going through all this major life drama. I was literally sitting in a hospital parking lot (because it was the cheapest, closest parking to our Pioneer Day fieldtrip at the Fort) when I got the voicemail from one of my oldest and dearest that she was being admitted to the hospital. This has helped to give me perspective. But then I think I'm going to lose it if I don't clean out my car, and I'm back to square one. My kids are fine, my marriage fine, but if one more person clogs another toilet I'm going to run screaming down the gravel road.
I had a self imposed afternoon of bedrest because this baby feels like it is trying to climb out, but I didn't knit. While Juju and Porkchop napped, I traced dresses for Scrunch's paper dolls. I played on my computer while she glued sequins and buttons to everything, including the back of my skirt I found out later. There are sequins and bits of ribbon still all over the bed. We laughed at her silly baby name suggestions. My favorite being Rainbow and Peter Pan of the ones that will never make the actual potentials list. This was a welcome change from stressed out, cranky mommy of the last couple days.
Who knew parts of being a grown-up were going to be so lame? And it's not the things that FlyLady can help me get a handle on. So, I knit. I might never actually finish something and have to keep restarting, but I'm still here. Tomorrow I hope to recharge and stock up so I can keep going.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
I am several weeks past being able to squeeze into my lucky thrifting pants so I sat in the parking lot of the Korean market downing my lunch of noodles, sushi, and kimchi while the couple in the car next to me hunted down some jumper cables. I jumped their car, finished my lunch, and hoped I had secured enough karma to make my two hour trip to furniture heaven worth it. Four chairs and the beginnings of a bench later, me thinks it might be worth it to start carrying my own set of jumper cables and eating in the parking lots of every ethnic grocery store in the county.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
#1. I have pregnancy induced insomnia- all three times. Yay, wee morning blogging where my lack of sleep is evident!!
#2. I recognize that my problems are first world problems. Pediatric hospice, multiple organ transplants, and potentially terminal cancer in a friend's spouse is a little too close to home right now, so believe me, I get it. My whining sounds shallow even to myself.
#3. If you have known me long, you will come to find out that I call for help pretty much when my house is on fire. Thankfully, my house has never been on fire, so yeah...I guess I'm a little proud. Ouch. That hurt even to just type it.
#4. On the surface I could be described as a Northern California homebirthing, home-schooling, hippie who recently moved very close to living on the edge of "the grid", is trying to raise as much of our own food supply on our property, and milks and then drinks raw milk.I know you're thinking, "Wackadoodle!" But please don't misunderstand...I'm not an idiot or a Kool-Aid drinker. I can only advocate and support homebirth when attended by experienced, certified midwives who have made it their life's mission to assist women in doing what has been done and attended by women since Eve's daughters. And only if low risk, and blah, blah, blah. I home-school because well, really? Read up on it. It's cool, and I don't have to worry about whose going to see me bra-less and in my pajamas when I drop of my kid at the butt-crack of dawn. Our move to BF nowhere came about because I wanted some goats and some chickens and my husband wanted somewhere high enough and far enough that light pollution didn't mess with the night sky and his telescope. Yes, I am growing a no GMO, organic garden and we're going to (soon I hope!) butcher our own pigs and stuff, but I also like Del Taco a little too much. And if the nacho cheese on the Nachos Bell Grande is mostly made of plastic, I'm kind of cool with it. The milk thing...well mostly, why not? It's pretty tasty and very handy to not have to go to the grocery store for it.
So, now I can tell you my story.
Two (or three) weeks ago I was watching my goats out the window and saw Moira, the herd "boss lady" wagging her tail a little too much. Aw, crap! She should not be in heat. She's supposed to be pregnant. So, I kind of went on a rampage trying to find a new buck and figuring out what I was going to do. Through some e-mails and a recommendation off the FB dairy group I belong to, I found a vet who would come out that week and teach me how to draw labs and would ultrasound my girls. While she was here she recommended that we test for a panel of zoonotic diseases, including brucella, coxiella burnelli, and leptospirosis because we were drinking raw milk. Based on #4 above, I agreed because well..hello? I'm not an idiot. I get why pasteurization is done and I would never drink raw milk unless I personally knew the udders it came out of.
So we tested for these rare, but still potentially disease causing agents and wouldn't you know it? Two of my does came back with positive titers for leptospirosis. Don't know where and I don't know how, but they were two does who I purchased together. I got the lab results late one evening and emailed the vet for clarification because positive titers only means that an exposure and immunity and has been developed, not necessarily that there is active disease, but it's hard to know. She called me first thing the next morning and very professionally, but with a tinge of panic explained that while transmission risk was low leptospirosis is "a known aborting agent in both goats and humans most often occurring late in pregnancy." Oh, great. But really not so great. Her recommendation was to isolate the two goats, re draw titers in 30 days to see if it was past exposure and then make a decision. As she put it, in one of them the level was high enough to "warrant humane euthanasia, although not her first recommendation". I was not to touch them. I am not to attend their kiddings unless gloved, gowned, and masked and I needed to consult my family doctor to have labs drawn on me to verify that I was not exposed during milking. At this point, I'm thinking that I got an over-zealous vet who was going a little overboard who was freaking me out! Did I mention my Husband was gone on a last-minute trip to Portland?
I read, and read, and read. I got a second opinion from another vet. I even emailed a homeopath in the UK who treats both animals and humans. They all said the same thing. "You're pregnant. Don't touch the goats." I called my midwives. I hemmed and hawed about actually finding a lab and having the tests done. I mean come on! I cared for AIDS, Hep C, and MRSA patients- all the time! And where was I going to find a GP who was a) going to take a new patient in their second trimester and b) be "Yay, homebirth! Yay, raw milk!"
Through the wonder known as the internet, I found an ND (naturopathic doctor) a few blocks from my husbands work. I saw her yesterday. I love, love, love her. She is one smart cookie. I was totally upfront with her. "I'm pretty much only here so you'll write me an order for a lepto titer and a CBC." "Oh, yes. We'll definitely do that, but since you're here do you mind if we talk a little and go over some things." "Um, no." I only had to drop off a 13 page history at least 24 hours before my appointment. She asked me a bunch of questions. I asked her a bunch of questions. Have you ever heard of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency? Yah, me neither. But she's sending me to the lab again to have a panel drawn. She thinks there's a chance I might have it. It's a common genetic mutation of a gene responsible for making enzymes that do a bunch of stuff. One of them is to properly process folate. There is some debate, but they are finding this deficiency more common in young women with recurrent miscarriage. Also, I had a son with cleft lip/palate even though I'd been on folic acid for a loooong time in trying to get pregnant.I don't know if anything will come of it, but for the first time in nine years someone is trying to figure out the why of things. I'll do the labs soon and in three weeks I'll find out if I have been exposed to a rare bacterial infection and/or have a genetic mutation. Awesome. Not so awesome.
As for the goats, we've decided that it would be best to sell two of them if I can. It just isn't worth the risk that it be spread to the rest of my girls. I am so bummed. Sparkles is my favorite and I was so excited she's due with twins. In 6th grade I butchered and then ate my pet goose, Raffiki, to impress a boy so it seems I have a fickle, fickle heart when it comes to livestock. I will get over it. I don't even plan to replace her. At least not for a while. I do plan on doing a major day of thrift store shopping when the sun comes up though. It's been sort of a rough week and vintage chairs for the kitchen table would be an appreciated consolation prize. Especially since Amazon also e-mailed me to tell me that the order of amazing chairs I had ordered at an amazing price was not going to be fulfilled.
#5. I have very good and very bad luck.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
I keep reminding myself that I was in a similar slump four years ago. I found out I was pregnant the first month after moving into our last house. For all my planning, things still moved in slow-motion for about two years. Maybe it's a blessing. I don't make the wisest pregnancy paint choices. Remember my yellow kitchen and the "cheap South American hotel" color scheme? I can't find a picture of it right now, but honest. Picture a cheap South American hotel minus the paper mache Jesus on the wall and you'd have my house back then. So, I keep reminding myself...Patience. It's a virtue. One I lack. Like it or not, I am being forced into working on it.
Just so you know, eventually things came together. When we listed our house it no longer looked so South of the Border. These are the pictures from our listing. They make me miss my old house, but also help remind me that it took me years of back breaking, never ending work to get there and that was a much smaller house and yard to work with. This was staged for the listing. I know because it was hard to move out my beloved green piano, all our family pictures, and my even more beloved cow-hide rug.
Monday, January 27, 2014
At first, I wasn't sure it was such a good idea, but we went with it after seeing her reaction to singing 'Happy Birthday' to 'Her Majesty'. She laughed and laughed and laughed. Scrunch can be an intense kid and is not always so easily amused so it was worth her reaction. I think she might have been better behaved than usual because Her Royal Highness felt the obligation to set the example for her subjects. She was so excited that all of Primary would sing to her ON the actual day of her birthday.
She seemed to love her birthday this year. As the first one up she got to spend a little more time just with Mom and Dad which she usually forfeits by being my latest sleeper. She carefully reviewed each of her presents before opening them. Her gift wrapping is one of her favorite parts and it has now become a tradition to see how they are wrapped. The glittered 'after Christmas sale' ornament bows seemed to cut it this year. I was so proud of her when she said 'Thank you' after opening each present without being prompted. We put off a 'friends' party for another year and I was worried she might regret it when we went to a birthday party on Saturday, but she didn't even mention it. You just really never know with her.
The last several weeks have been filled with some intense conversations about her adoption as she processes what it means. There have been tears when talking about her Birthmom and lots of questions. I read some really great articles from qualified professionals that used the metaphor that processing your own adoption is like climbing a mountain every adopted child has to climb. Depending on their personality it may affect how they approach it and at what point, but they all have to do it. Some choose to go around it, others ignore it's there, others a little bit at a time, and others up and over. True to her personality Miss Scrunch seemed to take it on and not stop till she had conquered it.
These questions and all the talk of adoption kind of came out of nowhere. We've always been open and just treated it as a fact. "All babies grow in tummies. Not all of Mommy's babies grew in Mommy's tummy." Things like that. At one point she commented that she had been for sale. Turns out she heard somewhere how adoption is expensive and because she knows that her Birthmom 'chose us' she interpreted it to mean she had been for sale. She took a few opportunities to push the limits and made some comments about not really being "part of this family". I was so grateful to be able to tell her about the temple and her sealing to us and for her to be at an age where she could understand a little bit more about what that means. We finally figured out that all of this wasn't really about her Birthmom, but about her. She is still 6 so in her mind the world still revolves around her.
My pregnancy opened up some questions for her as to where she fit in. I knew we'd address the fact that other children were biological at some point, but I didn't think it would be kindergarten. I was thinking more along the lines of 13. But that is Scrunch. One morning I told her she was my favorite Scrunch and would always be. She asked me if she would always be the oldest in our family and I told her that she would always be my first baby. We talked a little about the night she was born and that was it. She seems to be cool with it and hasn't mentioned it since. On her birthday I told her that we loved her and hope she knew how much we loved her. "I know Mom. And I know C loves me too." She looked at me waiting for my response. "Tha'ts right. We all love you very much." She smiled and that was it.
Her birthday is the one time we make contact with her Birthmom. I had given her the option over the last couple of weeks to draw a picture or write a letter to her but she wasn't interested. I sat down last night to write her my yearly email and debated whether or not to tell Scrunch. When she came in to ask what I was doing I told her and asked if there was anything she would like me to tell her. I was a little bit nervous as to what she would say and whether or not I was prepared to fulfill my promise to relay the message. "Tell her I wish I could drive and that I got a bean bag for my birthday. Also that I am going to see Frozen again in the movie theater." You got it. Your wish is my command. Happy Birthday Your Majesty!
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