And today I’m fine. (So far.)

MS is so weird. One day, I’m damn near immobilized by fatigue and seizures, and the next, I’m feeling great and am having a genuine debate as to whether it’s smarter for me to blog or fold and put away ALL. THE. THINGS. (It can’t be some of the laundry. That’s just not enough. I’m adulting so hard today!)

fold

Happiness > Folded Laundry

Of course, since you’re reading this, you know what choice I’ve made. Surely, I’ll make a dent in the mountain of clean laundry at some point today, but I felt like writing was a better use of the short time that I have while Henry naps.  Why?  Because writing is one thing that makes me genuinely happy, even if I’m writing about tough stuff… and if I don’t do simple things that make me happy, I have no one to blame but myself.

I think that’s one of the hardest things about being a SAHP (Stay-At-Home Parent, for the uninitiated). It’s way too easy to spend the entire day focusing on your child’s needs and housekeeping and to completely neglect yourself.

If you can sing every jingle from every Daniel Tiger episode, but you haven’t listened to a new release from one of your favorite artists that was released almost a year ago (like this one for me), you just might have your priorities slightly out of whack. (And that’s ok.  Friends help each other. Yes, they do. It’s true!)

If you don’t carve out time for things that make you smile, you can become overwhelmed and sad so easily. Heck, when I first started this gig, I had to set alarms to remind myself to eat (Ok, I’ll be honest. I still use those alarms.) and take showers. (More than 1 a week! It’s important!)

After going back to therapy, this time for postpartum depression, I realized something: I’m doing a fantastic job of challenging automatic negative thoughts… but I’m doing a crap job of giving myself credit for the things I do and an even worse job of having fun.

A thought really struck me hard the other day — Henry is learning how to be a person from watching me.  If I don’t do things that make me happy, I’m teaching him (by example) how to be miserable. We can’t have that. I refuse.

domorehappy

So, I’m gonna keep doing my best to show him that you rest when you feel bad, and you do whatever you can when you’re feeling well.

On that note, I’ll be busting out the guitar this week…finally bringing it out of retirement. It’s been almost a year and a half now since I played. (Baby belly bumps get in the way!)  I’m not expecting that it’ll sound particularly good — but something is so much better than nothing. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now, and I think he’s finally at an age where I could play it and he wouldn’t automatically try to wrestle it away from me.

Truth be told, I miss parts of my identity from before I became a mommy… from before MS made my life wonky… from before I stopped thinking that I could be and do anything I wanted to do be and do. It’s time for that thinking to end. My mindset is in my control. Self-empowerment is about owning your bullshit and choosing to powerfully move past it.  You can’t be proud of yourself and be mired in self-pity at the same time.

How do you kick self-pity’s ass?  Gratitude and credit.

The Sticker List

Y’all have heard me talk about how important Gratitude Rampages are, and how you can rewire your brain to be more positive by writing down 3 great things that happened yesterday, every day.  Well, we can add another exercise — one that I made up myself that is helping me out loads.  The Sticker List.

What’s “The Sticker List?”  It’s a simple list of everything that you believe you deserve a sticker for.  See, we give kids stickers (or other little treats) when they behave well, in an effort to give them positive feedback and attention so that they will develop good habits. Some kids gets stickers for using the potty. Others get them for brushing their teeth or doing basic chores.

Today, I believe I deserve a sticker because I’ve chosen to write… and I think I probably also deserve a sticker for:

  • changing 3 poopy diapers before noon
  • remembering to take all of my morning meds
  • eating within an hour of waking up
  • not being ashamed of sharing this. 🙂

It’s like a to-do list in reverse… a “Done” list, if you will.

poopsticker

This would be the sticker I would give myself for changing diapers. Have you ever seen such a happy crap?

And, now that I’ve shared this, I actually want to go fold clothes. (Who am I becoming?!?)

Hope you’re all having a wonderful day. ❤

 

I Am Mommy, Hear Me Roar.

I know it's a book for kids, but I swear to God, this is for new parents as well.

I know it’s a book for kids, but I swear to God, this is for new parents as well.

How I know I’ve fully transitioned to being a mommy: just now, after trying for several hours to make myself  sandwich and finally succeeding, I gave Henry a bottle and held him until he fell asleep while the delicious toasted corned beef sandwich got completely cold… and I still feel like I won because I ate something.

I honestly can’t believe that he’s eating full 4-ounce bottles now. Granted, they’re not at every meal, but at most! He’s 7 weeks old as of today, and I’m already thinking that I may need to buy some of the big bottles.  Crazy.

Time is blowing my mind with its speed. Days are going by in a blink… and the last several weeks has been a total blur.

These days, the little one is sleeping a solid 5 hours at night, which is incredibly helpful, but it took some time getting there. I do wonder, from time to time, when the next time I’m going to wake up feeling fully rested is… or if it will ever happen again. Fortunately, he’s napping now, so I have a chance to write. (FWIW, I did consider napping as well… but the logistics are all wrong for that right now. Too many balls are in the air.)

In a move that ended up being much less frightening or difficult than my mind had made it out to be, we’ve fully transitioned from disposable diapers to using cloth. We still use disposables when we leave him with family or when my hands are just too dumb to work snaps (read: in the wee hours of the morning). Still, whenever Henry poops in a rare disposable, and I don’t have to dunk-and-swish, I feel a surprising amount of joy. It’s like a mini-lottery win.

And yes, I am aware that I could just use disposables full-time and never have to clean poop off of a diaper, but, let’s be real here: I am frugal. Sure, cloth diapering is good for the environment and all, but have you seen how expensive disposable diapers are?  They’re, like, $0.25 each, and this kid goes through 10-12 a day.  Ok, so $3 a day doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but when you realize that 1 year is 365 days, and that means spending more than $1K in year 1 alone, it makes more sense. Plus, these diapers will fit him until he’s ready to potty train, and they’re also unisex, so regardless of which gender his sibling ends up being, we’re already set. We’re using them til we cain’t use em no more!! But, really, I’m just not a big fan of dunking my hand in the toilet. I’d rather use a utility sink. I’m looking very forward to when we have our own place, and I can install our diaper sprayer.

Speaking of… we actually found a house that’s reasonably priced, in a good, safe neighborhood, with good schools, low taxes, and the walkability that I need.  It’s a 3 bed/2 bath tri-level that’s right across the street from a park, and it’s got a back yard that ought to make Brisco pretty happy.

Admittedly, I’m worried about the stairs, but I was also worried about stairs when we were living in Romeoville with Nick, and there were way more stairs there, and I had tons more seizures back then — so, I should be fine.  Besides, I just had a relapse with a ton of seizures about 3 weeks after the c-section. I should be good to go for at least the next 6 months, right? 😉

thepriceisrightWe’re currently in negotiations to purchase it… and today’s negotiations are hilarious to me because the seller’s agent totally typoed on their counter-offer. Don’t get me wrong, I want to accept what they’ve sent, but I seriously doubt they actually intend to sell us the property for $16,600. There’s very clearly a number missing there. This situation makes me think of the Price Is Right. Which digit did they omit? What number did they mean?  If I guess correctly, do I win the house? 🙂

Anyway, this is our 9th attempt at purchasing a home in the last year or so — so please keep a good thought for us.

Little one’s starting to stir, so I’m gonna wrap this up. Time to put clean diaper inserts in the dryer, hang the shells, and get started on the dishes. The fun and glamour of being a SAHM never stops!

As a little bonus, here’s the song that’s been my jam for the last several days. If I’m ever able to play this on guitar, I will have exceeded my goals.

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!!!

Less than 24 hours until Henry is born!!!

It’s hard to believe, but I’m scheduled to give birth to Henry in 23 hours.  TWENTY THREE HOURS.  That is crazy to me. Crazy awesome. Crazy scary. Just crazy.

Sure, I’ve got a lot of things to do today, and I should probably get to them, but it felt like it would be wrong to finish this pregnancy without a final blog entry on it.

2 and a half weeks ago. Tonight, I'll take a final bump pic. :)

2 and a half weeks ago. Tonight, I’ll take a final bump pic. 🙂

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 39 weeks. People always say, “Pregnancy goes by so fast! Enjoy every moment! Cherish it!”

Well, along the way, I’ve said those people are nuts. Pregnancy is gross, humbling, and often ridiculous… and while you’re going through it, it feels like it will last forever.  I’m guessing, after I give birth tomorrow, the whole experience will seem like it was very short.

Right now, however, Henry is digging one of his elbows into my abdomen, and all I can think about is how glad I am that he has descended, at least enough for me to be able to take a deep breath. Sure, the little guy is still breech, which is why I’m getting a c-section, but at least breathing is easier.

Pregnancy Brain Is REAL.

So, I know that I’ve said, on many occasions now, that pregnancy brain (that wonderful condition of cognitive fog and forgetfulness — or Momnesia if you will — that occurs when you’re pregnant and your brain literally stops being reliable) is real… but it never really affected me seriously until last night.  I took morning pills instead of nighttime pills. Fortunately, I am not on much medication right now, so I still had the correct amount of Labetalol, but I missed taking my omeprazole and unwittingly took extra hydrochlorathiazide.

Translation: On my last night to possibly get good sleep, I was up every hour either peeing or because I was, quite literally, choking on vomit.  It was disgusting and depressing. It did, however, make me momentarily stop worrying about dying during childbirth, and instead think, with giddy anticipation for major surgery, “SOON THIS WILL NOT BE A PROBLEM ANYMORE.”

Yes, I’m aware that I could get good sleep tonight, but let’s be real… intensely excited and scared aren’t exactly the ideal emotions to encourage your body to get a good night’s sleep.

So, the things I’m worried about…

Honestly, I’ve had an irrational fear of dying during childbirth since I was a kid.  I’m not sure whether to blame a belief in past lives coupled with nightmares or the number of movies and TV shows I have watched where the mom dies giving birth.  It’s probably a combination of the two.

Fortunately, c-sections are pretty safe.  Sure, there’s a website or two that suggests that you have a higher likelihood of dying during c-section than with vaginal delivery, but that tends to occur more for women who are put under general anesthesia and are not conscious for their child’s birth. It’s debatable whether the surgery or the anesthesia is more to blame for those deaths.

I’m scheduled for spinal anesthesia w/ an epidural backup, and I feel really confident after meeting my anesthesiologist yesterday. I explained how Uhthoff’s syndrome with MS works and how I’m more likely to seize if I am overheated, so we made plans that involve me staying cool, and instead of 3 heating sources, we’re gonna try one at a time. Dr. J and Dr. R (my MS and seizure neurologists) are in the loop and know that I’m going in tomorrow. Both have said to have Dr. I (my OB) contact them if he needs anything at all.

Honestly, the things I’m worried about today are a lot less freaky than the idea of dying, though I cannot control either of them.  I’m worried about an MS relapse during recovery and billing issues with Humana, despite the fact that I did everything I needed to do to make sure that they would cover everything for this delivery when they spontaneously decided to not work with UCMC at the beginning of this month.

I keep reminding myself that MS relapses are gonna happen one way or another, so worrying isn’t going to be remotely helpful. If I need steroids, I need steroids.

As for dealing with insurance billing well, we can only deal with things as they come. I can’t second guess this. I did the paperwork. We were told that we were covered, and I pay for a PPO.  So, even if they act like we didn’t do our due diligence, the absolute worst case scenario is that we’ll get billed at 50% of the total (plus my daily inpatient hospital copay of $265), and then we’re approved for financial assistance for UCMC, which means we’d be paying 25% of the total balance.  So, if the cost of this is ~$20K (the average cost of a c-section is $14,000 to$25,000), it shouldn’t be more than $4000 – 5000 at the end of the day, and they’ve got extended payment programs, so we’re gonna be fine. (Thank you for helping me talk myself through that, internet.)

OK. Enough of that.

According to my “Shit that’s gotta get DONE” list, I need to double check that the bags are properly packed for the hospital, clean out the fridge, eat some lunch, bake some cookies, and make a surgery playlist. And now, I can check off “Blog” from the list.  That’s right, it was on the list. 🙂

I hope you all are having a good day today, and that tomorrow treats us all well.  In the extremely unlikely event that I do end up actually dying tomorrow, please do something righteously goofy and fun in my memory and know that I’m profoundly grateful to have had a part in your life, even if it was just as entertainment.

And if I don’t die, do something goofy and fun anyway. Life’s too short to take it too seriously. 🙂

truth

Ladies & Gentlemen, We Have Viability!

week24 As of today, I’m officially 24 weeks pregnant, and the baby, if I were to go into labor today, would have a better than 50% chance of surviving birth.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the little guy has been wiggling and kicking like crazy, but this takes the “realness” up a notch for me.  Not that I would ever personally consider abortion, but the time for thinking about it (or rather worrying that there will be some terrible health thing that threatens me or the baby) has officially passed. It is now time to clean all the things (and buy the ones we need and don’t have) so that our apartment is ready for his birth.

cleanallthethings

In that vein of thought, I’ve been working like crazy on figuring out everything we want and/or need. The Amazon baby registry is finally looking done to me. The Moms (mine & Adam’s) have suggested that I go ahead and register at a brick-and-mortar store as well, just so people who want to buy us a present have options when it comes time. We’re probably going with Target, just because it’s all over the United States, isn’t over-priced, and isn’t Walmart.  I’m just wondering if I should essentially copy the Amazon registry (which would increase the likelihood of us getting doubles) or just put certain things on the Target one and certain ones on the Amazon one (which would decrease the likelihood of us getting certain things).

Either way, I feel totally uncomfortable with the process of creating baby registries and figuring out who to invite to the baby shower/beer & diaper party/Welcome to the World party in the first place. Wish lists and registries have always felt kind of icky to me because they sometimes come off like a “give me this” list (which smacks of entitlement) instead of a “hey, it would be cool to have this” list (which is more of what it truthfully is).

Truth be told, I’m just super stoked to be having a baby, and I want to invite the whole world to celebrate with me. That’s why we’re going to be live-streaming all the events.  Right now, I think the front-runner for the live-streaming platform is Twitch, so that everyone who’s “tuned in” can chat with one another. I am, however, open to other suggestions. The presents are an awful lot less important to me than the presence of friends in welcoming the kiddo to life. Because I am trying to be so inclusive, I’ve posted a survey 3 times on Facebook, trying to get friends to give me their contact info, but so far have only gotten a handful of responses. Not sure if folks just aren’t interested in filling it out or if FB’s recently tweaked algorithm is making it not even show up for them.  I’m guessing that I’ll need to email or PM everyone individually to be able to send out invitations.

My Husband Is a G-D Saint.

My favorite part of pregnancy so far has been laughing about the insanity that comes over me from time to time.  There have been a couple of times now where I’ve yelled at Adam for absolutely ridiculous bullshit and almost immediately broken down crying in apology.  If I hadn’t been through therapy, I would not see the humor, but truthfully, it’s hilarious, and has made me decide that this is my current theme song.

Somehow, Adam can tell the difference between genuine anger and hormonal wonkiness.  He understands me better than I do. And then there’s nesting. I thought that people were joking about feeling an intense need to clean and reorganize everything. NOPE. It’s real. (Why can’t it be a regular thing?) I even accused both of us of living like 10 year old boys, while frantically bouncing between different cleaning projects and getting absolutely nothing productive actually done. Oh, and then more crying.

And cravings? YUP. Definitely a thing. Feeling an intense need to eat something mind-bogglingly specific makes me feel like I’m a crazy asshole. I mean, there’s food in the house! Why am I not craving what’s immediately at hand??  That would be too easy, right? Nope. Can’t be that easy. But Adam takes it all in stride.

panchosanchoTake last night, for instance… after having eaten a delicious dinner of roasted turkey (yeah, he freakin roasted a turkey breast last night), stuffing, and sweet potatoes at a reasonable hour, at around 9 at night, I had an intense craving for Pancho’s cheese dip.  And I don’t mean “intense” like “Wow, I would really like some cheese dip.” but like, “OH MY GOD IF I DON’T EAT PANCHO’S CHEESE DIP UNTIL I CAN’T POSSIBLY EAT ANY MORE, I WILL SURELY DIE.”

Of course, we live in Illinios… far, far from any store that carries it.  Did that deter Adam? Not one bit. We found a copycat recipe from my hometown newspaper, and at the time he usually starts to fall asleep on the couch, my husband went to the grocery store for ingredients, came home, and fixed me some of the most delicious, thick, gooey unhealthy crap I’ve ever asked for. And it was glorious. Angels sang and divine light flooded the room as I glutted myself on it… and it was just as glorious when I ate it cold for breakfast this morning.  Cold cheese dip with tortilla chips sounds kinda gross, right?  Anyone from the greater Memphis area has my back on this one. I promise you, it’s a thing. 🙂 And I have no regrets. Not even one.

It’s Not Easy Being Green… Or Is It?

Of course, on the other side of things, I’m genuinely trying to eat more healthfully for both my benefit and for the kid’s. As you know, Adam and I have taken the 30 day Green Smoothie Challenge as our New Year’s resolution. Have we had a green smoothie every day for the last 14 days? Nah. But we did it for 11, and that’s not shabby! There are a couple of recipes that have emerged as clear favorites for us. I figured I’d share them for anyone else who loves the idea of getting more spinach into their diets, but isn’t a fan of eating salads all the time. Both of these recipes makes enough for 2 people.

Tropicolada Fiesta (My very favorite!)
2 c. spinach, fresh
1 c. coconut water
1 c. water
1 1/2 c. mango
1 c. pineapple
1 banana
1 tbsp. lime juice

Blend spinach (tightly packed), coconut water, and water together until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

Vitamin C Immunity Booster (really more of a purple smoothie… We like to add 2 tbsp of flax & chia seeds to it too.)
2 c. spinach, fresh
1/2 c. orange juice
1 c. water
1 banana
1/4 c. carrots
2 c. strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries

Blend spinach (tightly packed), orange juice and water together until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits & blend again.

Other than that…

There’s not much else to report. Tomorrow, I see the OB for our monthly visit and have the glucose test.  I’m gonna be sure to ask what all I need to do to set up cord blood donation and what goes in to keeping the placenta so that I can get it encapsulated.

Things here have just been really unusually relaxed. I’m guessing it’s the calm before the storm. (Or Stormageddon. 🙂 You know, whatever.)

I’m super-happy that both Adam and I got over the colds we had. It doesn’t matter how many years in a row I deal with a winter head cold, it’s always surprising to me how badly they knock me out. Thankfully, they don’t happen often.

Tonight, I’m looking forward to watching the season 7 return of Parks & Recreation and episode 3 of Agent Carter. (Finally! A well-written female-lead Marvel show!)

Hope you’re doing well ❤

Apples & Oranges

Week 15!

week15-2I’m currently very amused by the fact that some websites say our baby is the size of an apple and others say s/he is the size of an orange. There’s something poetic and hilarious about it because it means that you really can compare apples an oranges, at least as far as size is concerned. 🙂

week15 For all interested parties, I am now showing!  Most of my clothes, though, are loose, so unless you felt my belly, you still wouldn’t know.  One of the perks of losing ~20 pounds before conception has been that most of my clothes still fit very comfortably, jeans aside.  I basically am living in my pajama pants and t-shirts. That hasn’t stopped me from falling in love with maternity clothing, however.  I honestly believe that belly panels and shirred sides on shirts are some things that plus-sized women’s fashion has been desperately needing for a long time.

And can I just say how totally bizarre it feels to have all of your organs shifted around and up, and for your lower abdomen to start feeling kind of like an inflated ball?  Because it’s straight-up weird. And it’s occasionally acutely painful.  The best way I can describe it for guys or ladies who haven’t experienced it yet is that sometimes you get cramps that feel sort of like the cramps you get when you are super constipated and really have to make a bowel movement, but slightly higher in your abdomen… and no amount of pooping is going to make anything better, so eating a big handful of prunes, while great for its fiber and nutrients, is ultimately folly.

This week has been much better in the realm of tummy issues, though. Only 1 day where I got sick – otherwise, things are alright!

One thing that has been a bit disturbing to me is that I’ve had a few seizures.  Not like, a ton or anything – heck, it’s nowhere close to what I dealt with prior to pregnancy, but it still freaks me out when it happens.  I got so used to not seizing! I got some tinglies in my feet and back yesterday too, so I’m willing to bet money that I’m fighting off some kind of ickyness. It’s nothing to be worried about, just so you know. My epileptologist told me that as long as I continue breathing through the seizures and am not falling, it’s not likely to harm the baby. Her biggest concern is making sure that me and Hush Puppy have sufficient oxygen at all times.

Pre-Birth (or “Soul”) Contracts

contract-ariel

So, one thing that Facebook is really great for is introducing me to concepts that are second-nature to friends of friends but are totally unusual and bizarre to me.  One of these things is the concept of the Pre-Birth Contract.

A quick summary: Before you were born, you and a bunch of spirit guides got together, reviewed your last lives for what was good and bad, and decided a path or “destiny” for yourself to move towards enlightenment — to better understand what life is all about — to better understand how you are a part of God.  This solidifies the idea that there are no coincidences or accidents — this was all part of God’s (and your) plan. The curve ball?  You forget all about the contract you made upon incarnation and have to experience it without the knowledge that you’ve chosen your path for your higher self’s greater good. That’s the only way for you to experience free will and the ability to creatively problem solve.

At first blush, this notion made me angry (It seemed like the cruelest form of victim blaming I’d ever seen.) and then it amused me greatly. My response to my friend’s friend was, “If I planned the life I’ve gone through for my greatest good, I am a serious pain in my own ass.”

I mentioned it to Adam, who is an even bigger fan of table-top roleplaying games than I am, and his immediate response was, “What a neat idea! It’s like cosmic character creation.” He made a joke about how there’s got to be real estate in Heaven, and that we’re all just trying to get to the de-luxe apartment in the sky — that folks with harder lives get better quarters.  Imagining that I’d get better digs because of MS and seizure disorder gave me the giggles.  When I said, “I’m doin’ it all for us,” he was quick to remind me that we’re only married until death, so he’d have his own place.  I asked him a moment later if my eyes were actually shooting laser beams into his face or if I was just imagining it. 🙂

I wondered if Hush Puppy was currently in negotiations, or if that happened before conception.  Then I wondered, with all the things I’ve endured (and continue to endure), what enlightenment my soul was after.

Why NOT me?

whynotmeYesterday, my friend Erika wrote a great blog entry about how she deals with self-pity in regard to having MS. Her tactic is not to say, “Why me?” but rather “Why not me?”  She reminded us all that everybody’s got their burdens to bear, and that it’s better to do so without unnecessary sadness over the hand you’ve been dealt — but then she said something that I’ve seen many, many folks with MS say.  She said, “I want my ‘old’ life back.”

For whatever reason, when I read that, it made me think about those Pre-Birth Contracts. It made me wonder, “What am I trying to learn?” I can’t count the number of times over the last 7 years that I’ve wished that I never developed MS… the number of times I thought about how much better life would be if I were still able to drive… to be a full-time attorney and to still perform musically without fear of experiencing seizures on stage… the number of times I have shamed myself for not being an equal financial contributor to our household… the number of times that I worried about being a burden to the people I love, or worried about frightening children with my seizures… the number of times I’ve had to fight suicidal ideation.

It got me thinking: what good has come out of dealing with MS and seizures?  And the answer was, “Quite a lot.”

The Upside of Down

findthegoodHaving MS and seizures has caused me to learn many lessons that I would not have otherwise have learned.

  • It’s absolutely forced me to learn the importance of regular meditation and/or prayer for physical and mental health.
  • It has highlighted the need for self-compassion and made me learn how to practice it.
  • It’s made me question the way that I think about everything – and to constantly examine those thoughts for truth and rationality.
  • It’s made me wildly change my expectations of myself and others.
  • It’s made me face some of my biggest fears (like spending huge amounts of time alone or being locked up in a mental hospital against my will) and to learn how, not only to cope, but to thrive in situations that prior to seizures, I would have avoided at any cost.
  • It’s required me to face demons of past abuse and to do the hard work to move as far past those memories as possible by both growing as a person and learning to forgive the people who caused me harm to begin with.
  • It’s made me take a long, hard look at what I thought was important and to reassess my priorities.
  • It’s made me redefine what love means, and to see how vital it is to not only feel gratitude, but to express it loudly and regularly.
  • It’s made me a more kind, empathetic, compassionate person to others.
  • It’s made me much, much more patient. (Which isn’t saying much, since, emotionally, I’m still wildly impatient – especially with myself. Still, 2014 Rae is way more patient than 2006 Rae.)
  • It’s made me redefine what it means to be a good friend, and to more fully appreciate the people who are willing to be on this ride with me.
  • It’s made me painfully aware of mortality, of the importance of never taking any aspect of your body or health for granted, and of the fact that doctors are just people who are doing their best to help people with the knowledge that they currently possess.
  • It’s helped me to recognize what’s really important versus what society and advertisers suggest are the things we should be focused on.

If it weren’t for my disability, I wouldn’t have the privilege of staying at home with my future children. I wouldn’t know, deep down, that the most important work I will do in my life will be to raise kind, emotionally intelligent, community-minded, curious kids. I would be trapped in the Quest for More Stuff and More Power.

I wouldn’t know the joy of the double-nap day or the freedom that comes with being able to say, “The dishes and laundry will be there tomorrow.”  I wouldn’t be able to laugh about people who are genuinely fretting over fashion or other “first world problems.”

Does that mean that I’m grateful for my challenges?  OF COURSE NOT. That would be silly. Challenges suck! Nobody’s genuinely grateful for disability.  But I am genuinely grateful that there’s gold to mine from the rubble. I am genuinely grateful for growth that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred.

When I think about my “old” life and my current existence, it really feels like looking at two very different people… sort of like comparing apples and oranges. 🙂

But either way, the fruit is sweet. Life is good.

Everyday Earbug

And just because life is amusing in its serendipity, while I was writing this, I found out that one of my favorite bands (Marina and the Diamonds) has released a new single.  The name? “Froot.”  I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to. 🙂 Hope you enjoy.

Happy Friday!

Exercising My Right To Abstain.

iabstain

Today’s the mid-term election in America. Damn near every post on my Facebook feed is the same digital sticker saying “I voted.” that is otherwise completely devoid of content. For everyone who is proud of themselves for participating, I say, “Good for you!”  I, for one, will be abstaining.

Why?  Because of 3 reasons:

The first is logistical: I can’t get to the polling place.  When we moved to the Chicagoland area, we moved in to my brother-in-law’s house in Romeoville (a town that’s an hour away from where we live now). That’s where my ID says I still live, and hence is where I’m registered to vote.  Yes. I know that I need to get that ID updated. Adam and I have delayed that process because we thought we were going to be getting a house somewhere, and that it would be a lot of unnecessary waiting in line and filling out of paperwork. We expected to live in this apartment for maybe a year.  It’s been almost 3 now. So, we will be remedying that soon. Strictly logistically speaking, thanks to my seizure disorder, I lack the ability to drive way the fuck out there while Adam is at work. So, there’s no way for me to voice my opinion, if I even had one.

The second is practical.  I am not remotely invested in this community, and I am not educated on any of the races. Other than not wanting Bruce Rauner to be governor because his family gave $700,000 to the lobbying groups behind the terribly flawed SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision, I have absolutely no opinion whatsoever on anything that’s being voted on.

Honestly, I am just starting to accept that Chicago is going to be my permanent home, and that I don’t have any say in the matter. I absolutely hated this city before being forced to make the best of being here.   I wanted to live in Los Angeles.  I still do, but I know it will never happen again. I did all the hard work necessary to get out there… but disability completely stripped me of my autonomy. I couldn’t support myself anymore, and when Adam couldn’t get a job there for over 2 years, we had to choose between going to a homeless shelter or moving in with family. Not a tough choice, especially considering that Adam had a job here within a week of our arrival — but it has been a long, difficult adjustment for me.  These days, I look hard to see what’s good about Chicago… (and there’s a lot!) but I still don’t feel like a Chicagoan. I don’t know if I ever will. I feel like the people who live here and love this place should have a louder voice than me when it comes to their local politics.

The third reason is intellectual honesty. I factually know that my vote wouldn’t matter anyway. I would only be playing my part in a nation-wide charade. We are no longer living in a representative democracy. We are living in a society where the only people who make it to the ballot are there because they have the financial support of oligarchs. We are living in a society where votes are lost all the time by malfunctioning hardware, where the Republican party actively works to stop poor people from voting and miraculously has the SCOTUS’s aid in doing so, where the only real votes we have are with our dollars.  You know, because money is speech now. Voting gives us the ability to PRETEND that we have any say in what goes on here. It gives us the ability to PRETEND that we’re not succumbing to neo-feudalism. This pageant gets played out because people buy in to partisan marketing messages and can’t be convinced of truth afterward.  I have had to accept that very, very rich people are the only ones whose voices will actually be heard by our government, and that those people, by and large lack empathy and are out of touch with the needs of the common person.

Personally, I don’t like participating in a farce, even if it’s the “American” thing to do.

Chasing the American Dream

Remember how I said we had a contract on a house? (This would be the 7th house we bid on in the last 6 months…)  Well, we don’t anymore. We had a housing inspector out on Saturday and found out that the property we were slated to buy had all sorts of interesting problems.

Electrical issues! There was no electricity to the kitchen, wiring to the main breaker using wires that aren’t even available in this country, and all of the electricity to the garage was not grounded, and was therefore a fire hazard. Also, the connection to the city’s power was not up to code, and there were wires just randomly sticking out of the ground that could hurt people!

Plumbing issues! All of the spigots on the outside of the house were leaky. None of the showers or tubs drain properly. The sump pumps were both homemade, rigged incorrectly, and non-functional. The whirlpool tub was non-functional. The hot water heater needed to be replaced.

Safety issues!  The door to the basement opened over the stairs. The outside stairs, both in the front and back were irregular in size and could cause people to fall. There were cracks in the foundation.

For these reasons and more, we decided to step away from the property.  At this point, I’m completely over the idea of owning a house. Other than wanting to be closer to family and friends, I don’t see a benefit. Our 2 bed/2 bath apartment has good access to public transportation and damn near everything you could want in walking distance, for a good price.  If Adam finds a place he wants me to check out, I’ll give it a look, but I’m absolutely done spending time on Zillow and RedFin for the time being.

Pregnancy Update

It’s been over a week now since I last worshiped at the porcelain altar! Morning sickness has been replaced with extreme crankiness and bacne.

Tomorrow, we enter week 14. The traditional “size” this week is “lemon.”  I much preferred this graphic, however.

Our next OB appointment isn’t for another 2 weeks, so there really isn’t much to report. Things are just rockin’ along.  I have, however, come to a very important conclusion – and that is that I don’t need to participate in The Bump’s May 2015 mommy board anymore.

Why I left TheBump: Somebody asked about whether or not it’s ok to host your own baby shower, and she got mercilessly flamed. She was told, “If no one throws one for you, you don’t get one.” I jumped in to say that I vehemently disagree, and that Emily Post and Dear Abby’s opinions should never mean more than your personal experience and your genuine relationships with the people in your life. I said that folks are going to be giving their unkind, unwanted opinions regarding motherhood for the rest of time, so she should start getting in good practice on telling people where they can shove those unwanted opinions, and that she should do whatever makes her happy. At that point, I became the target for the catty, hormonal bitches, and decided that if I actually stood by my opinion, the correct next move was to completely ignore theirs.

I have found it interesting, however, that when I’m super cranky, I have an unreasonable desire to click back on that thread and see the mean things that these women have said and get upset and fight.  Resisting that urge has been a big deal for me.

3 Great Things About Yesterday

  1. Started a new 21-day meditation challenge by Oprah & Deepak Chopra. I always enjoy those.
  2. I was taking the bus home from my chiropractor appointment, and on the second leg of it, when I tapped my Ventra card, it said “insufficient funds.” I started to look for the money, and a total stranger offered her card. She said, “Happened to me just last week, and somebody took care of me. I’m just payin it forward.”
  3. Was an effective housewife – got dinner on the table, did the shopping, did the laundry.

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Daily Cute

Everyday Earbug

And now, it’s time for me to go do all the things! You know, things like actually eating breakfast… 🙂

Peachy!

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Everything All At Once

It wouldn’t be my life if things weren’t quiet and calm for a long time and then suddenly changing all at once.

So yeah, there’s the baby, and that whole situation rocks. But there’s also the house. We’ve got a signed contract on a property right now! We’re scheduled for inspection and appraisal on Saturday. Tonight, I spent over an hour going over mortgage paperwork. And crying… for no real reason at all, thanks to hormones.

I just kept thinking things like, “We’ll never live in this apartment again!” and, “I’ll miss the view and the super-short walks to Walgreens and the grocery store!” and “Why are we even moving?! IT’S SO MUCH WORK.” And then the cars outside started honking incessantly, there were sirens, and the dog wanted to go down… forcing me to get dressed and experience the cold that has taken over our city.

So, other than just being homeowners, there will be other important benefits, like sleeping through the night without being woken 3-4 times by emergency vehicles, having the ability to just let the dog out into the yard when he needs to pee, and having a neighborhood that’s safe enough to go on long walks after dark.
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3 Great Things About Yesterday

  1. Lots of cooked roll sushi for dinner.
  2. Two naps!
  3. Adam had to go in to work early, which mean he got home early!

Daily Cute

DOUBLE CUTE FOR NATIONAL CAT DAY!!!!

Everyday Earbug