Category Archives: Me Me Me

Scatterbrain

There are certain people who talk about “Mommy Brain,” as if one becomes a mother and gets a lobotomy on the same day. Someone suffering from “Mommy Brain” may leave the house without a full set of clothing. Or, she’ll get all the pieces, but maybe the socks don’t match. Sometimes the shoes won’t match. These things happen. But it’s not because she’s suddenly become quite stupid – oh, no. It’s the opposite.

Monday mornings are really my Saturday – I don’t have to work at my job, and everyone else in the house does. What’s-His-Name goes to work and Jillian goes to school and I get a chance to just GET THINGS DONE without people getting in my way or asking me for impossible things.

I tend to spend the first part of Monday morning with my *real* life partner, Coffee. We have a cozy relationship, Coffee and I. Some say it’s unhealthy and co-dependent, but to those people I say this: YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND. So Coffee and I set up at Mission Control, in front of the laptop, with a notebook at hand. We take inventory of our life, and make notes.

This is where true Mommy Brain kicks in. For instance, I know there is a hamper of laundry upstairs, so that goes on my mental radar. The vacuum is still up there from last weeks burst of manic energy ended before I could get the whole bedroom swept. That goes on the mental list, too. The bathroom… that’s mostly okay, so can be safely ignored for the moment. I really should make the bed. Ooh, and we desperately need new bedding, so I make a mental note to start shopping around for that. The Tower of Yarn… let’s ignore that for the moment.

Moving on… the bookcases upstairs need some serious love. I need to cull the herd and dust the rest. There are things that can be tossed out and/or put into storage. I know there are Pez dispensers up there, they can go in the Pez bin downstairs. There are lots of Scrapbox things (ooh, mental note to the mental note – Scrapbox: When You Put All Your Memento Bullshit In A Box Because You Can’t Be Bothered to Make A Scrapbook) that need to find a home. This area needs to be swept, too.

Ditto the stairs, ew.

Entryway – needs to be swept and mopped, desperately. Talk to What’s-His-Name about fixing some of the tile grout. Clean up the dog food area. Look in Magical Closet of Wonder, decide it’s organized fine for now. Coat closet – shoes are out of control again, that needs to be fixed. There is a case of beer that needs a temporary home before it finds a permanent home in my belly. Okay, mental notes made. Moving on.

Now we’re in the kitchen. What’s in the freezer? What kind of dinner can I create with what I have… oh wait need some stuff from the store. Jot those things down in the notebook. The cabinet under the [drippy] sink is smelly again, need to get some Damp-Rid or similar until a permanent fix can be made. Good thing I organized all that stuff after I flooded the kitchen that day (don’t ask).

Countertops… put stuff away. Okay, done. What’s in the fridge… let’s get rid of some things that can probably talk at this point. Ew, the shelves in the fridge need to be cleaned. Actually, the whole thing could use a good scrubbing. Do we want to do that today? Maybe.

Okay, so we probably do have to hit the grocery store. Let’s look at the vague mental inventory of what we have in the house. This stuff is always in the back of my mind, because it’s part of running the household. What’s-His-Name couldn’t tell you the first thing about what kind of food we have in the pantry. This work is invisible.

While we’re making a grocery list, do we need other stuff like toilet paper, paper towels… cleaning supplies? Shampoo/soap for anyone? Maybe… Hmmm.

All this stuff is in my head.

Also, tonight we have a Brownie meeting. I need to call and see the status of my Co-leader application and schedule training sessions. I have to write up Jillian’s cookie order, decide if I have time to get the sewing machine out and sew patches on her vest (I don’t), figure out what dinner is going to be, since the meeting is at 6.

While we’re at it, let’s keep in mind the rest of the week. Skating and piano and a doctor’s appointment and I have a vague feeling there’s something I’m doing this weekend but I’m not sure. All of these things are on the calendar, but that doesn’t mean I can just forget about them. They’re still in my head so I can effectively plan the week. On top of that, I need to pay bills, remind What’s-His-Name for the eleventy-billionth time to fix the upstairs toilet seat, do laundry, get a plan together to organize the beer stuff, start pricing chest freezers for the basement, start thinking about this year’s garden, get a quote for front garden landscaping, get a quote for resurfacing the driveway, get an estimate on the truck’s front wheel bearings, get an estimate on the 43 things that What’s-His-Name’s car needs, go to the dry cleaner, take the dogs to the groomer (and maybe the cat, too), make vet appointments for everyone, and so much more.

Somewhere in this, I need to find time to work out, shower, dress myself, and eat.

This is why some of the moms in your life seem like they have no idea what they’re doing. In fact, they have ALL the ideas of what EVERYONE is doing, usually all at once. This is why moms seem so frazzled or spaced-out. This goes double for moms who work outside the home – I have no idea how those badass ladies juggle all this bullshit.

This is also why it seems like some moms seem to lose their identity as people. For some moms, that is probably okay with them, and was likely a Life Goal of some sort. But for others, it’s so difficult to get a handle on the Mom Stuff that the Person Stuff tends to take a backseat. That’s just how it is. I know it took me a good long time to get even halfway good at Life Stuff once the kid arrived. I used to do a lot more knitting. I used to play guitar (badly). Now, who has time? Between Mom Stuff and Job Stuff and Marriage Stuff, there’s not a whole lot of time left in the day for Me Stuff.

This is why my brain doesn’t work.

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ANNOYED

I was just in the shitty grocery store because we were out of one of the Major Food Groups. I don’t normally shop there, because that store is gross and because Wegmans exists.

But I was out that way and the only thing I needed to get was M&Ms. I thought I’d get the Valentine’s Day ones, since that’s coming up and they are pink and pretty and we love those sorts of things here. Everything is pink. However, I went to the section where the V-day stuff normally lives and…

There was Easter stuff there.

Um, hello? It is a full week before Valentine’s Day. I don’t want to be seeing Easter shit in the store yet. You know what I’d like to see on the shelves a week before Valentine’s Day? FUCKING VALENTINE’S DAY SHIT, GODDAMMIT.

This “jumping the gun” that happens in EVERY fucking store pisses me off. I think Target is the worst, though. They have bathing suits out on the racks already. Who the fuck buys a bikini in February? No one, that’s who. You know what I buy in February? SWEATERS. Because it’s still fucking COLD and will continue to be FUCKING COLD for the foreseeable future and I’m sick of the sweaters I have so maybe February is a good time to freshen the wardrobe, yes?

YES.

But ohhhhhhhh no. If I want to buy sweaters, I have to do that in JULY. Why? Why does this happen? HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE? Oh, wait. It doesn’t.

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Here we go again

I went to the gym today for the first time this year. I have a number of excuses as to why it took me until January 8th to get there (NYE recovery, I was sick, the kid was sick, it’s fucking cold, etc), and that’s fine, but I went today.

Ouch.

I even got on the scale, which I generally try to avoid. However, I need to know where I’m at so I can get a better sense of just how fucking long this road is.

It’s long, children.

That’s fine. I am okay with where I’m at because it’s not like there is a mystery as to how I got here. I know very well how I got here. And I know where I’m going and how to get there, too.

So today I did “what I usually do” which is a half-hour on the elliptical and then a half-hour on the treadmill. I feel okay. My new shoes are not even close to being as cushioned as my Asics, but since I’m not running (only walking), that’s okay for now. As I progress I might have to plump for the spendy shoes again but for now, the Sauconys are getting it done. Might need arch supports, though.

The usual suspects are all feeling pretty good. That’s a good sign. We’ll see how the shinsplints feel in the morning but for now, I’m not unhappy with any of my body parts, except maybe the lungs (and the brain, but we are never happy about the brain). The lungs get a pass today because I have been sick for the past few weeks. So.

So here we are. The numbers are understandably grim. Oh well. My goal is 1,000 miles. I have 994.2 to go.

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Happy 2014

I tend to agree with Bridget Jones, in that one cannot reasonably be expected to launch into one’s New Year’s Resolutions bang on January 1. We all really need at least one day of recovery and then we can get started with trying to do and be better as the year begins.

This year’s resolutions are pretty straightforward:

1. 1,000 miles. That’s 2.67/day.

2. Learn all the words to “It’s The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and be able to sing [yell] the whole song without stopping and getting confused. I have never been able to do this.

3. Keep the house a bit cleaner than I am accustomed to. This is the biggest challenge of them all. But I am planning to do this in concert with decluttering and purging and organizing so maybe, just maybe, I will be able to keep it together.

4. Spend more time with my creative pursuits. I really should start taking guitar lessons again, but the budget doesn’t allow for that at the moment. Soon. Besides that, I have 3 other instruments I should be playing, plenty of yarn projects, etc. The list is long.

And that’s really it. 2013 was a strange year, full of really high peaks and really low valleys. While that can be an exciting way to live, I’d far rather have a more stable and even day-to-day.

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On gratitude

I had to de-friend and block someone from Facebook yesterday because I was in the middle of a thing whereby I was ranting against Walmart and the people who shop there. This particular rant was sparked by a conversation with another friend and was part of a challenge that had been given to me by that same friend. It’s a long story, but suffice to say, there was a reason why I was saying the things I was saying on Facebook.

The person I ended up blocking chimed in with some kind of sad-sack bullshit about how my feelings about Walmart were making her feel bad about her life. I… just… no. Fuck that. Unless I am calling someone out by name, my opinion of something should not matter to anyone but me. If my dislike for something makes you feel bad about your life, you should maybe step back and re-evaluate what it is that you’re doing because something is not quite right.

Granted, this particular person has a history of such behavior, so I wasn’t surprised, but I was annoyed enough to de-friend and block her. Because you know what? Have some fucking gratitude, lady. I know her life is hard and at times is REALLY fucking hard, but that doesn’t make her special. Everyone has their shit to deal with. I know there are people who will rally around her and try to vilify me and I just don’t fucking care. Have some fucking gratitude. You have a house and a computer with an internet connection and food to eat and clothes to wear and that is miles above what some people have. Count your fucking blessings and shut the fuck up.

There are people who take three buses and then walk a mile to get to the food bank. There are folks using space heaters because they can’t pay their gas bill. There are people whose spouses are in the hospital following a freak accident. There are friends with critically ill children. There are people who are contemplating suicide because they can’t see any way out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves. BE GRATEFUL THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT YOU.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 was to be a less-terrible person. I occasionally fail at that (thishere blog post is evidence) but one of the ways I succeed is to look around me and express gratitude for all the things that I have. And then I try to give back as much as I can. I have given money and food and my time and my skills to various people all year long to the best of my ability. That’s all I can really do, since they haven’t invented personality transplants yet. So every time I find myself starting to whine about things I don’t have or can’t afford to do, I check it and look around and think “I have all of these things. It is enough. I am happy.”

“It could be worse” isn’t the *best* life philosophy to follow, I’m sure, but… it could be worse. So, even though we’ve still got about 7 weeks to go, I am stating my New Year’s Resolution for 2014: COMPLAIN LESS, AND BE GRATEFUL.

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Further Adventures of the Medical Marvel

I am a well-documented medical marvel. I have been written about in at least two official medical journal thingies. I have been studied, y’all. Because I don’t just get “sick,” I get bronchitis. I don’t just have chronic post-nasal drip (with no drug history to justify it), I have the most deviated septum my doctor has ever seen. I’m not just allergic to dust, I am REALLY allergic to dust. Which is produced by the pound in my house.

I am not, amazingly enough, allergic to anything else. Just dust. My symptoms are even quite manageable, in that I tend to suffer from dry sinus cavities and post-nasal drip. Apparently those things don’t usually go together, but… MEDICAL MARVEL.

Maybe I’m a superhero.

Anyway, I haven’t been able to hit up the store to pick up my Rx refills. It’s been three days since I’ve taken my mega-high-powered antihistamines and… friends, I ITCH. My whole body itches from head to toe and it’s driving me insane. Even the space between my toes itches. I’ll be picking up those refills today, for sure. This is nuts.

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A week gone by

So, as of right about NOW, I’ve had these new hearing aids for a week.

IT HAS NOT BEEN A GOOD WEEK.

Being able to hear is nice, but this adjustment period has been less nice. The technology is so different from what I had before that I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I’m not really aware of them being in my head.

The brain is starting to filter out things, though. That’s good. That is VERY VERY GOOD. The wind-tunnel feeling is going away because the brain is learning that it can ignore the ceiling fans and the air-conditioning. That’s helping keep the panic at bay.

I’ve been *thisclose* to a panic attack for pretty much the whole of the past week. It takes quite a bit of mental energy to keep a lid on it, and I think I’m doing all right with that, but it’s exhausting. It’s because I can’t get away from ALL THE SOUNDS. I can’t adjust the volume, and I absolutely HAVE TO wear the hearing aids all day or I will NEVER adjust. It’s so hard, though.

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Ear Robots

In the spring of 2006, I finally got over myself and got hearing aids. I hated them, and resented nearly every second I wore them because (at the time) I was only 31 years old and to have to wear something that was usually reserved for the Medicare set was humiliating.

But hearing loss is no joke. It requires a certain amount of social finesse to navigate the world when you can’t hear clearly. You need to have a sense of humor about yourself, because nine times out of ten, you’re answering a question that is not even close to what was asked. You need to be able to roll with occasionally looking like a buffoon. You need to be able to explain, quickly, what’s happening here.

And you need to be able to put up with the shitty, shitty, unimaginative jokes. When I tell people I can’t hear well, the first thing they all do is to start mouthing words with no sound. Not only is that the weakest fucking joke ever, but it’s fucking insulting t’boot. But EVERYONE does it, and I am always amazed.

It used to make me angry. Over the years, I’ve learned that a slightly raised brow (how I wish I could raise just the one) and a slightly tilted head coupled with a quiet stare is pretty effective in shutting that down. The tilted-head stare simply says “how interesting you are, that you feel this is appropriate.” Most people get it pretty quickly and knock it off. Only occasionally do I have to explain, in small words, why silently mouthing words at a hearing-impaired person is a dick move.

I understand the urge, though. My specialty in life is inappropriate jokes, but… social finesse. It’s not something I ever thought I’d be good at, but here we are.

Anyway, the hearing aids I got in 2006 were fucking top-of-the-line for the time. And well they should have been, since they cost me SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS. They’re not covered by most insurance, which is a topic for another day. I have a rant about that but it involves a whole lot of swear words and an interpretive dance. There is also shouting.

In 2006 we had a baby on the way and I wanted to be able to HEAR the baby, so hearing aids became necessary. As it turns out, the Mama instincts almost completely override the hearing issues, because I can hear that kid sneeze from down the street. Still, one has to be able to hear, or at least gather enough clues from the surrounding environment to know what’s going on. Approximately.

As the years progressed, I was so used to these hearing aids that I sometimes couldn’t tell if they were in my head at all. That is actually not the best thing, since the difference between wearing them and not wearing them is supposed to be noticeable. That’s the whole point. I quit going for regular check-ins and never pursued any kind of upgrade or anything like that because I just didn’t care. Besides, the hearing aid dispenser I’d been using was absolutely fucking terrible. I’d call to make an appointment and they would mumble on the phone and talk too fast and get really bitchy when I asked them to slow it down. Um, duh? THE PEOPLE CALLING YOU CAN’T HEAR YOU VERY WELL. SLOW THE FUCK DOWN, LADY. That gets irritating after awhile.

Seven years down the road, I found myself sort of back where I’d started. I was having more trouble than usual when it came to understanding people, watching television was really difficult even WITH closed-captioning (and there’s another rant for you). So I went to the otolaryngolgoist…

…and the shit hit the fan. I started with her because I wanted to rule out any physical reason for my hearing to be so awful. She checked my ears, and then decided to look up my nose. She was amazed by my sinuses, which are perpetually pissed off. She jammed a camera up there to see what was happening and, as all my doctors do, she sat back and said “…whoa. Can I have the other doctors take a look at this?” Seriously, EVERY TIME I go to a doctor, they pull in every medical professional within 5 miles to have a look at me. I should start charging THEM.

After seeing the ENT, I toddled across the hall to the audiologist, who was very nice. We chatted a bit about my hearing issues and then we started the test. The whole “raise your hand when you hear a sound” thing went all right, but then when he started the “word recognition” part, it was a disaster. That’s where he sits behind me and says a common word and I have to repeat it back to him. Annnnnnnnnd… NOPE! Disaster.

Which meant I then got to go see the hearing-aid lady. We discussed my issues and what my ideal hearing situation would look like (duh, excellent hearing with no hearing aids) and we talked about the types of situations that are more problematic than others. She took a bunch of notes and then we scheduled a follow-up for me to decide what I was going to do.

I totally understand why hearing aids are so expensive. There is an awful lot of technology stuck in my head at the moment. But what I don’t understand is why my shitty insurance company (and probably your shitty insurance company as well) doesn’t cover ANY of the costs. It’s maddening, and I’m lucky that we have enough money to cover these costs. But what if we hadn’t had the money? What then? Would I have been expected to just walk around all deaf and shit?

The healthcare situation in this country is a fucking disgrace.

Anyway.

After talking with Freddie and doing a bit of research, I made my decision. Molds were made of my ear canals (that was a fun 20 minutes, let me tell you), and an appointment was made with a representative of the manufacturer, since this is a pretty new-ish piece of technology.

That was an interesting appointment. I talked with the rep about my issues and my challenges and she explained how these new ones work and talked to me about some of the add-ons that are available, should I want them (and want to pay for them, haha). We put the new ‘aids into my ears and then adjusted them via the computer.

It was like night and day. I could hear ALL THE SOUNDS. That’s mostly due to the fact that everything is amplified where it wasn’t before, and partly due to the fact that my brain will need to re-learn what sounds to ignore and what sounds to pay attention to, and that is more a marathon than a sprint. That is what I need to remember: it’s not going to be perfect overnight.

I am to wear these hearing aids from the time I get up to the time I go to bed (except for the obvious times, like working out/swimming/showering), which is normal for me anyway. But because I can hear ALL THE THINGS right now, I’m noticing my anxiety levels are going through the roof. I spent most of yesterday feeling barely-controlled panic because HOLY SHIT THIS IS SO NOISY. All the things that I hadn’t been able to hear (or hear very well) were all now at the forefront of my consciousness and it’s a lot to take in. I sympathize completely with kids who don’t respond well to a lot of environmental stimulation. There’s a lot going on, all the time.

In my case, I know it will all calm down eventually. There’s no other way to do it except to do it.

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Success!

If you want to call it that, I have achieved success in updating the look of thishere blog thing.  I suppose this would be easier if I were to learn how to do it in a linear fashion, but that takes more time and effort than I am willing to put in. A couple of reference books and some judicious googling and I'm good to go, for now.

So, now that I'm less mad about the blog, I will be able to finally sit down and write about my Adventures in England! Yaaay! 

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Strange Things Are Afoot…

Here I am, shouting into the vast void that is the internet. I have, after nearly 20 years of using the web, decided to learn HTML and CSS and some other combinations of letters in order to be a smarter moron. I'd like to be able to tinker with my site and build one from scratch and all that jazz, and in order to do that, I need to know things. So, dear readers, stay tuned. There are going to be some strange things happening, but I think it will be good for all of us.

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