Airing Dirty Laundry

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Puzzled June 28, 2008

Filed under: family — airingdirtylaundry @ 12:24 am

I’ve always been good at puzzles.  Word puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, you name it.  My mother and I used to put together a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle in a span of a few hours.  We’d go on excursions to Goodwill and thrift shops and load up on puzzles, and then go home and race each other at putting them together.

On a whim, I bought a photo mosaic puzzle at Barnes & Noble earlier this week.  It looks hard.  It IS hard.  I worked on it for an hour on Monday night and an hour tonight (yes, I know we have exciting Friday nights at our house).  I got the outer edge done on Monday and 25 interior pieces done tonight.  It took me an hour to put 25 puzzle pieces together.  Wow.  As difficult as it is, I’m enjoying the challenge.  But it’s so frustrating to go so slowly!  What a completely different puzzle strategy than your typical scenery puzzle.

In other puzzle-related news, I kicked Mike’s ass at Othello tonight (and tonight was the first time I’ve ever played!  Once again, exciting Friday nights at our house . . .).  I took a picture that I’m too lazy to upload, but in summary, he had 8 pieces on the board to my 56.  I think it was a fluke that I did that well, but it totally makes up for my frustration at the Marilyn Monroe puzzle!

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Eeyore, Fred Mertz, and Cliff Clavin June 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:07 pm

I stumbled across a personality test today, and thought I’d give it a try.  Turns out I’m an ISTJ according to the Jung Typology Test.

Every damn word of the description fits me perfectly.  And then I got to the very end, where there was a list of fictional characters who share the same traits.  Apparently I’m just like Eeyore, Fred Mertz, and Cliff Clavin.

How nice.

 

The next steps June 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:52 pm

Mike and I went to the doctor yesterday for my follow-up exam to my D&C and also to discuss the results of the genetic testing that was done.

Basically, there was too much deterioration for them to determine any genetic problems.  Maybe if they had done the procedure SEVENTY FOUR HOURS EARLIER INSTEAD OF MAKING ME CARRY MY DEAD CHILD AROUND INSIDE OF ME ALL WEEKEND, it would have made a difference.  Am I still disgruntled about that?  You betcha.  Note to self: do not schedule any doctor’s appointments for Fridays EVER AGAIN. 

I didn’t go there expecting any concrete results, and I didn’t get any.  But we also didn’t get any BAD news.  I was happy to hear that we’re free to try, try again starting in late July/early August.  Our worst fear was that the doctor would tell us that we shouldn’t attempt to have children together.  We’re so compatible in so many ways (and have long ago accepted the few incompatibilities as the other’s “quirkiness”), that it would be nothing short of ironic for us to not be able to even try to have children together.

My doctor is also doing additional testing on me to see if he can find anything that would prevent me from having a healthy pregnancy in the future.  He made the comment that most doctors wait until after the third miscarriage, but his philosophy is “why wait?”.  Might as well do it now.  If nothing else, I’m becoming a pro at getting my blood drawn.

My biggest concern with attempting to conceive again is my age.  I went almost two years between miscarriages.  I’m 34.  If it takes me two more years to get pregnant again . . .well, you do the math.  Dr. L wasn’t concerned at all with that.  He said that he’ll give us 3-6 months (Mike and I both heard “3 months” when he said that), and then we’ll discuss fertility medications.  This doctor has already done more for me in one month than my previous doctor did in the 12 years I went there.

Dr. L told me to start charting my cycles and bring him everything when I come back in 3 months (assuming all the testing they drew blood for yesterday checks out OK).  So on the way home, I stopped at Barnes & Noble and bought my own copy of a fertility book that I had previously borrowed from a friend.  This book is awesome.  It’s “dumbed down” enough for people who don’t want to be bothered with medical jargon, but it’s also very thorough.  So let the charting begin. I had always been insistent that we would never resort to timed intercourse, but damn it, my biological clock is ticking.  Mike is going to hear the words “ovulation” and “cervical mucus” until his ears bleed.  Forget the romance, we have a mission to accomplish!

 

On the road again June 20, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:07 pm

I’m beginning to think that my concentration on this month’s NaBloPoMo theme should center around “never at home” rather than “home”. 

Last weekend I went back to The Sticks to spend some time with my family.  My father plays in a band, as I mentioned previously, and his band was playing at an all-day jam on Saturday.  It’s a really neat event–the bands play in a garage while all of the spectators are on the front lawn of a house that’s set way back in the woods, less than a mile from my father’s house.  There are tents set up for when it rains (which it did for a few hours this year), and a vendor selling hot dogs, hot sausage, etc.  A lot of the people that show up are friends of my Dad’s that I’ve known since I was a toddler.  Mike went with me last year, but opted not to go this year because his allergies have been hitting him hard and sitting outside all day would have been torture for him.

Tonight, as soon as I get home from work, we’re leaving for Virginia to go to Mike’s brother’s house for the weekend.  We always try to make it down there to spend time with them at least twice a year–in June for our nephew’s birthday and in October for our niece’s birthday.  So Mike, his sister (JLo), and her fiance (AT), and I are cramming ourselves into my car and making the 6-hour trek.  Be prepared next week for a photo extravaganza of our nephew’s 3rd birthday celebration (unless I get lazy and don’t upload the pictures in a timely manner).  My sisters-in-law and I are also spending some time on Saturday looking for a wedding gown for JLo.  She and AT aren’t getting married until next August, but it’s rare that the 3 of us girls are together, so we wanted to make the most of it.  And it’s never too soon to start looking!

And in 2 short weeks, Mike and I are headed to Vegas!!  I know that doesn’t count as being “on the road” since we’ll be “in the air”, but you get the idea.  We just planned this trip within the past week, and we’re so excited about it.  For us, Vegas is the perfect vacation.  There’s always something to do, we’re never bored or restless, and we always have a great time.  For us, Vegas is a relatively cheap vacation.  We can’t agree on most of the shows, so we don’t go.  We get cheap flights.  Our hotel room is free.  Neither of us care about fancy dinners so we don’t blow money on that.  Drinks are free when you’re gambling.  So the only real expense is the money we’re gambling with, and we go out with a budgeted amount of money and stick to it–no exceptions.  We’re not high-stakes players anyhow–I’m happy as a clam on a penny slot machine for hours at a time.  This will be the first time we’ve been there in the summer, but even the desert heat (weather.com is telling me that its 102 there right now–gasp!) can’t ruin my enthusiam!

I’ve been running around like crazy every day after work this week, shopping for birthday gifts for our nephew, running miscellaneous errands, and finally getting my hair cut and highlighted (we were both overdue, Sydney!).  I hadn’t had my hair highlighted in over 3 months and hadn’t had it cut in 8 weeks, so I was starting to feel mousy and messy.  I left the salon last night feeling like a new person.   I kind of have a stacked/bobbed/wedged thing going on.  My stylist cut it in basically the same style that she had done before, but this time it’s REALLY short in the back–she actually SHAVED MY NECK!  I really didn’t want to spend an hour and a half at the salon when I had so much other stuff to do (like cleaning the house, which is so neglected that it’s getting to the point of becoming a PROJECT instead of a TASK), but now I’m so glad I did.  And after all of the running around this week, it will almost be a welcome relief to sit in the car for 6 hours tonight.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

 

I’m becoming my mother June 16, 2008

Filed under: home,meow!,NaBloPoMo — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:54 pm

My father gave my mother (before they were a mother and a father, and before they were even married)  a pomeranian puppy named Teddy.  The dog lived for a long time, well into my childhood, and eventually had to be put to sleep.

My mother was a mess.  Crying jags, mood swings, you name it.  At one point, she went to a local painter (that had done a beautiful painting of my grandparent’s house a few years before) and had a portrait of the dog painted from an old picture.  It was a BIG and EXPENSIVE portrait and it hung for years at the end of the hallway–right next to my bedroom door.  The only thing that bothered me about the painting (other than feeling like the dog’s eyes were following me) was that there were no pictures of me or my brother in the house, but yet there was a big picture of a dead dog.

One summer (I was either 12 or 13), we “acquired” a dog named Marshmallow, a beautiful husky.  The dog’s owners were customers at my father’s garage and brought the dog along in the back of their truck.  Marshmallow kept jumping out of the truck and seemed to want to stay with us.  After this happened a bunch of times, the dog’s owners asked my father if we wanted to just keep the dog, and my mother, animal lover that she was, immediately piped in and said yes.

Months later, Marshmallow bit a neighborhood kid.  We let Marshamallow run free because he didn’t like to be on a leash or chain and he was a very mild-mannered dog.  The kid who got bit was a little brat who was provoking the dog, but my father put his foot down and said that we had to get rid of the dog before we got sued.  My mother put an ad in the paper.  “Free dog to good home.”  A squirrely-looking man in a pickup truck showed up to take Marshamallow and said he had a farm where Marshamallow would run free and chase bunny rabbits for the rest of his long long life.

Weeks later, my mother still had a bad feeling about that guy.  We had his name, so she pulled out the phone book by calling every single number listed under his last name trying to find a relative of his that would lead her to him.  If only we had the internet at pur fingertips then, it may have been a lot easier.  We living in the country.  Everyone was related to just about everyone else in the area, and this guy had a fairly common last name.  We eventually found out that he didn’t have a farm.  And he didn’t live where he said he did.  My mother and I spent the summer canvassing the countryside, playing detective and tracked down the man who picked up the dog.  It turns out that the man went around picking up free animals and then sold them to animal labs for drug testing.  By the time we got that far in our detective work, Marshmallow was dead.

My mother had a nervous breakdown.  As a teenager, it scared me to death to witness it.  I remember thinking “this is all because of a DOG.”  Sure, I love animals too.  Sure, I think animal testing is cruel.  Sure, Marshmallow was a great dog and fun to play with.  But I saw animals die all the time.  Even at such a tender, self-absorbed age, I realized that there was a circle of life.  That those pigs across the street that squealed horribly when they were being slaughtered ended up as the bacon I ate for breakfast.  That even though I was heartbroken when my first cat Cookie died, the pain would slowly heal and become less severe.  Pets could be loved and you can get attached to them, but in the end they’re just pets.

I didn’t understand my mother’s reaction at the time, and looking back today, I still struggle with it.  I swore long ago that as attached I would become to an animal, I would be able to let it go when it’s time came.  I’m actually kind of proud of how well I handled Giz’s death.  Mike and I knew that the time would come eventually, but I was determined that she wouldn’t suffer.  She had such a long life.  What I like to think was a happy life.  She’s the best pet I’ve ever had and probably the best one I’ll ever have.  She didn’t deserve to suffer.  When I saw that she was struggling to, well, just be herself, it made it easier to tell the vet to put her to sleep.  She wouldn’t have lived through the night anyhow, and if she did it would have been after being poked and prodded and stuck with all kinds of needles by strangers.

Sure, I cried.  I was an emotional train wreck to begin with that day.  Sure, I miss her.  Two weeks later, I still open the door when I come home from work, expecting her to be there. 

When we were waiting at the vet, I told Mike that we were getting Giz cremated individually.  I’ve put animals to sleep before and have always just done the group cremation.  I always thought it was kind of creepy to keep ashes of the deceased around the house, on display.  Anyhow, Mike didn’t argue.  He agreed that Giz was a one-of-a-kind cat and just shouldn’t be chucked in the furnace with other animals.

I went to pick up her ashes last Wednesday.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  A little Chinese take-out box with a Ziploc baggy of ashes in it?  Instead, it was a beautiful wooden box with a brass nameplate on top bearing her name and “2008” on it:

giz's ashes

The box doesn’t lock, it just latches.  Inside are her ashes and a certificate of cremation.

ashes

certificate

I had already ordered a small stone with her name on it because our intention was to bury her ashes in the garden and put the marker on top.  But I can’t bury this box.  I just can’t.  We discussed it I think we’ll bury the ashes only, and use the box to put mementos of her in it–pictures, a piece of her favorite blanket, etc.  Even though she only lived in this house just shy of two years, it will always be her home.

Giz, sleeping on Mike's chest

It was then that I realized that I’m becoming my mother (minus the nervous breakdown).  This box is to me what Teddy’s painting was to her.

And I think I’m OK with that.

 

 

 

The week in review June 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 4:27 pm

I’m still alive.  I did feel I was teetering on the edge for a little while, but I didn’t go off the deep end.  Although it was sooo tempting to just stay curled up in bed in my PJs and close my eyes really really tight and wish it was all just a bad dream. . . .

Thank you–all of you.  I received so many emails from real-life friends, blogging-world friends, and total strangers.  The concern and prayers and sympathy that you all sent my way just blew my mind.  I made the comment today to a Goodreads/blogging friend that this safety net of support has really helped me to recover a little bit faster than I would have ever expected to.  And it’s true.  I still, of course, have moments when I end up in tears and turn in to a complete blubbering idiot, but I think those instances are a lot less severe and a lot less often than they would have been without all of you.

So what have I done this past week?

  • Changed my mind every few seconds as to whether I wanted to be surrounded by people or left totally alone.  I’m still doing this. 
  • Went back to work on Wednesday.  Not quite sure I was ready, but I don’t get paid if I don’t go, so that made the decision a little easier.  I started off the day by bursting into tears when a co-worker (who has NO idea of what went on) asked me how I was doing.  He skittered out of my office as fast as his legs could carry him and I haven’t seen him since.
  • Spent approximately 8 hours (seriously) on the internet looking for a destination for the weekend of July 4th.  I’m determined that Mike and I are going to pick up and go somewhere for the weekend.  I think we need to get away, just the two of us.  So I’m carefully planning a spontaneous getaway.  That’s just how I roll.
  • For the first time in my life, I wasn’t able to lose myself in a book or “sleep it off.”  Both were very new and strange experiences for me.  I’ve dealt with every bad situation in my life through what I call “book-therapy” and “sleep-therapy”, but this time I just couldn’t do either.  So I just kept myself slightly numb with prescription medication for a few days.  Not quite as satisfying, but it did help through the worst of it.
  • I ate myself into a sugar coma.  Anything from the category “food that’s bad for you” made it’s way across my lips.  One day I had 3 ice cream cones (breakfast, lunch, and dinner!) plus fast food and take-out.  I probably broke the 4000-calorie mark that day.  The other days weren’t quite as bad, but nutrition definitely took a back seat for the entire week.  I’m actually craving vegetables and fruits now.
  • I drank.  A lot.  (So if you’re looking for holistic and spiritual ways to overcome a loss, I’m obviously not your role model.  For me, it was booze, food, and pills.)  I fell a little bit in love with a beer called Victory Whirlwind Wit, and then ditched it on Saturday when I discovered Celis White.  I’m blaming my love affair with Belgian beers on a new restaurant/bar that’s within walking distance of our house.  They have about 40-50 beers on tap and hundreds of bottle choices.  Way too tempting.
  • I got up one morning and wrote a poem.  That night I got drunk and wrote a few more.  Really.  I haven’t ventured into the realm of poetry-writing since I was an angst-ridden, misunderstood teenager.  It actually felt good to be creative.  Cathartic. 
  • I’ve felt such a full range of emotion, roller-coaster style.  There was no nice, tidy 5-stage progression of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.  Instead, it was severe anger, a little bargaining, complete denial, wondering if I was depressed, then more severe anger, definite depression, acceptance? nope-false alarm, and a little more bargaining. 
  • I went a week without wearing make-up or my contacts.  Thanks to the sporadic crying jags, neither were worth the effort, maintenance or upkeep, and I really didn’t have the energy.  I felt like I was making great progress by taking a shower each day.
  • I boxed up the few maternity clothes I had bought, the pregnancy journal and scrapbook my father and his girlfriend had given to me, the What to Expect and baby name book Mike and I had been devouring, a “mom” picture frame from a dear friend in Seattle, and also the Hop on Pop book that Syndey had sent to me when we exchanged a few books weeks ago.  I need to get the reminders out of my sight, for now at least.  And with the way I’ve been eating and drinking, those maternity pants may just find their way back into my closet sooner than expected.
  • Retail therapy.  Mike and I headed to the outlets on Saturday and spent way more money than we should have.  But we did end up with some “necessary” items–sandals and shorts for Mike, and summer clothes for me–so it’s not like we were just spending money for the hell of it.  It WAS very therapeutic, and it kept me from moping around the house all day, so it was worth every penny. 
  • We had a second litter box, food, and water for Giz upstairs in our master bathroom so that she wouldn’t have to keep going up and down the steps.  And I was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to make it to the litter box in time.  So it was a necessary evil, but still, it was EVIL.  There’s nothing like the smell of cat crap and cat food when you’re taking a shower or washing your face.  Yesterday, I dismantled everything and had a stern talking-to with our remaining cat (Guinness aka “Little Kitty”–I hardly ever mention her.  Let’s chalk that up to her being very private instead of me showing favoritism for Giz over her, shall we?).  Little Kitty can stand to lose a little weight since she had been chowing down on the wet food we left out for Giz that she could rarely finish, so a few extra trips up and down the stairs won’t kill her.  Or at least it better not, because I’m a little too fragile to handle much more right now.
  • I ordered a stone marker for Giz with just her name and a paw print design on it.  We paid some exhorbitant amount of money to have her individually cremated and want to bury her remains in our back yard and mark the spot.  We don’t pick up the ashes until later this week, and I keep wondering how much ashes there could possibly be from a 3.5lb cat.  But we definitely wanted something to honor her, and a little marker with her name on it seemed appropriate.  And I think it would creep me out to have her ashes in the house.

Today I have make up on, my contacts in, and have only cried once (privately, quickly, and without making my mascara run).  Tonight I’m venturing out in public for the first time by myself (OK, so it’s only to the grocery store–where I haven’t been for WEEKS–but still . . ).  So, at least there’s progress.  I’m headed in the right direction.  It’s slow, and it’s uphill, and sometimes I want to backslide, but each day is truly a little bit better than the day before.

 

Gizzy June 2, 2008

Filed under: home,meow!,NaBloPoMo — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:35 pm

giz

I’ve written about Giz many times before.  Even if you’re not a cat lover, or an animal lover, I’m sure you can at least appreciate how much others get attached to their pets.

Tonight, Mike and I had to take Giz to the animal hospital and have her put to sleep.  She was down to 3.5 pounds, wasn’t eating as much as she had been, and tonight she wasn’t able to support her own weight and walk on her own.

We knew it was time.  She was somewhere around 20 years old.  Despite her many health problems throughout the years, this is the first time she looked uncomfortable.  In pain.  We knew it was the humane thing to do, but it didn’t make it easier. 

I had just told her last week that that it would be easier for me to handle her eventual passing; that I was more prepared then than I ever would be.  I was 10 weeks pregnant.  And here we are, only a week later, and I lost the baby and the cat within 12 hours of each other.  Needless to say, today was an emotional day.

I came home earlier this evening without my child.  I came home half an hour ago without the cat that has been part of my life since she was a kitten.  NaBloPoMo’s theme this month is not treating me very well so far.

It may be awhile until my next blog post.  I need to find something happy to write about.  I need something good to happen.  I think we’re due for it.

Thank you for all of your kind words, comments, and emails over the past few days.  I greatly appreciate your support and concern.  Thank you.