Sunday, January 29, 2012

Temporary Occupants

Last Monday, I noticed a really old car on my street.  Not a classic, but a 20 year old Civic that somehow still runs.  Later in the day, I saw that same car driving out of the subdivision, with three dogs in the hatch.  At the time, I was amused to see all the dogs, but then I wondered who they were actually visiting on my very small street that would let anyone visit with three dogs.  We only have two dogs and have no takers in terms of anyone wanting us to visit with them.

The car was still there on Tuesday.  It was still there on Wednesday.  By Thursday, I had concluded that the owners of the car were actually living out of it, and possibly camping in my local park.  I mentioned this to a neighbour, who had seen the couple and their dogs emerging from a wooded area that morning.  We agreed that we should alert the police to their situation since they made us nervous for our safety.  My neighbour also noticed a campfire behind her house that night, which isn't really awesome in a residential area.

I didn't call the police on Thursday.  The car was gone when I returned from taking my daughter to school, and I crossed my fingers that they would not return.  They were back that night.  I didn't make the call.  My husband wasn't really on board with me harassing these poor people when they had nothing but a shitty car and a park to camp in, while we sat in our warm house, eating bon bons.

I agreed with him on that level, but I couldn't help but feel unsafe.  I really wished they'd leave so I wouldn't have to feel guilty about having them removed.

On the Friday, I did a really wimpy thing.  I mentioned the situation to another neighbour, who I knew would call the police.  The police were there that night.  From what I witnessed from my darkened living room, the cops let them reside until morning, when I saw them packing up their gear into the car.

I was glad that they were leaving, but still felt horrible for their situation.  More than likely, they were just people down on their luck, not wanting to lose their pets, trying to stay alive as a family.  I wanted to help, but was afraid of them at the same time.  What if I helped and they came back and asked for more?  What if they posed a harm to my family?  They had to go, I figured.

The huz walked our dogs that morning.  On his way home, he encountered the female occupant of the old car, whose dogs were looking to say hello to my dogs.  The huz and the woman had a brief conversation.  She flat out told him that she and her boyfriend were camping, but were now on their way to Thunder Bay to visit someone in his family.  The huz wished her well, and offered her whatever cash he was carrying as a way of helping out.  I'm proud of him, but feel pretty ashamed of myself

Intellectually, I know that this was not a stable situation and could not persist.  They would have been removed from our street/park eventually.  I also know that if I had approached them to diffuse my fears, probably nothing bad would have happened, but there was no way of knowing that.

I still feel like an asshole.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Would Have Paid a LOT More!

I actually offered my daughter money to make her do her homework.  I'm not even joking.  After three months of failing to get her to focus and be serious, I just gave up and tried to throw cash at the problem.  Guess what?  I also seem to have failed to get her to value monetary reward.

I'm not sure that I can adequately describe what happens to my six year old when I try to get her to do her homework.  She starts talking like a baby, she scribbles, she jumps around, she belches, she laughs maniacally, and she manages to get me to bang my head on a wall.  The work is always a mess, and I can't imagine that any learning goes on during what has become a nightly, excruciatingly long battle.  This is just grade one!

At the start of this week, I made her a deal.  I told her that I would mark her calendar with a happy face on each day that she behaved well and made an adequate effort during homework time.  I told her that each happy face was worth 25 cents, and that I would double the amount for each week where she managed to earn five happy faces.

I tried to explain that she would have enough money to buy a Barbie after a month of good behaviour, but she couldn't seem to grasp the concept.  The homework on that particular day was as bad as ever.  The rest of the evening was even worse!  Homework initiates the bad behaviour, and once it starts, she can't seem to stop.  Just before bed time, I made another futile attempt to explain my reward system.

"I have enough money!  I'll just use the family money!" she argued.

"Wanna bet!", I angrily retorted while the huz poured me a glass of wine and escorted me into a quite room.

The next morning, my daughter was looking through the Scholastic book catalogue, and found something she really wanted.

Aha!  Leverage!

"Ok, sweetie.  All you have to do is earn ten homework happy faces, and that book is yours!"

You would not believe how furious she got in the face of the daunting task of behaving well during ten homework sessions!  I stood my ground though.  She was in tears when she got on the bus that morning, and turned the tears on for me when she got off the bus after school.  And then something neat happened!

She earned a happy face!  And then another!  And another!

I'm realize that I'm still throwing money at this problem, but at least it's under the guise of the gift of literature.  So what if it's Barbie Surf Princess!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DASH of Something

Last night's dinner was a disappointment for me, as have been many of my meals over the past year.  This is yet another obstacle, albeit a minor one, that I've recently had to tackle.

The Huz came home from work one day last year and said, "I met with my Dr. today, and he said that because of my high blood pressure, I have to follow the DASH diet".  He said this like it was no biggie.  Aside from having to worry about his health, I gained an immediate challenge.

The Dash Diet is essentially a high fruit/vegetable, low sodium, low fat, low flavour diet that incorporates none of the things I've ever made in the kitchen.  Let me further add that cooking has proven to be the bain of my existence ever since I entered the realm of motherhood.  Before I had kids, cooking was a relaxing thing that I did after work in anticipation of a nice meal with my man.  Now that time has become what I have heard referred to as the 'Arsenic Hours'.

This is not a fun time of day.  Homework has to be done, two meals have to be made, dogs have to be fed, (and encouraged to eat, if you can believe that), interruptions are guaranteed, and the general noise level is enough to put me in a foul mood.  Then I learned that the DASH Diet meant that I had to learn to cook all over again.

I won't say that I actually followed that diet perfectly, since lowering the sodium intake seemed to be the only issue.  Lowering fat is of course desirable, but the Huz is not overweight.  He's actually in better shape than most men his age, so we just focused on the sodium.  (See how I incorporated a back-door compliment here?) The first thing that I learned was that bread was a killer.  So now I bake my own fucking bread.  I am not the kind of person that bakes bread.  I'm really only into baking cookies, and that's based on not having to share them with anyone.

There have been a lot of shitty meals served around here with new recipes and experiments.  With flavour being the goal, I've tried a lot of things that just didn't work, at least not for us.  Last night's disappointing meal was an example of what happens when I take a perfectly good recipe and replace the broth with a zero sodium version.  Not all meals translate well, no matter what you try to replace the salt with.

The good news is that the Huz has what he calls 'lumberjack mentality' when it comes to eating.  Apparently, lumberjacks are terrible cooks, and none of them wants to take on the job of cooking.  That is why they will eat anything without complaining, even if manure is a known ingredient.

He's a keeper, right?

So here we are, six months later, and my efforts have proven to be fruitless.  The Huz is not salt sensitive since his BP is a genetic thing, so he is now taking meds to deal with this.

Well that was fun.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Shaved My Legs for This???

Last night was to be a birthday celebration for my brother-in-law, but all it ended up being was a blog post.

The huz's immediate family all gathered at a nice restaurant downtown for a gourmet meal.  I had checked out the menu on-line, and salivated in anticipation of my future piri piri shrimp dinner.

When we got there, I looked at the five steps leading up to the dining area and wondered how we were going to get my father-in-law in his wheelchair into the restaurant.  The maitre d more or less absolved himself of any responsibility, and got kind of defensive about it.  Regardless, we had enough strength in our party to lift my FIL in, but it kind of set a negative tone for the meal.

The huz and I ordered some wine and got over that issue easily enough.  The others dwelled on it for a bit.  They really should drink more.  Then we ordered from our seemingly eager-to-please waiter, and we waited.  And waited.  And waited some more. I started looking for Chef Ramsay, wondering if he was sending food back into the kitchen, but food kept coming out, heading upstairs to the party room. 

Finally, my BIL asked what the deal was, at which point we were promised food in 10-15 minutes.  My nephew set the timer for 15 minutes on his smart phone, happy to prove the waiter to be a liar when time ran out and we were still unfed.  We inquired again as to the timing of our food, and were told five more minutes.  My nephew's phone once again proved to be more accurate than the waiter's promise.  By this time, everyone was playing with his or her phone since conversation had run dry, and we had no food to stuff our faces with.

The huz and I were hungry, but weren't overly concerned.  Waiting over an hour between appetizers and main courses wasn't awesome, but we were happy enough to wait. We had nowhere to go but home, and still did need to eat.  The menu was said to be worth the wait.

The next thing I knew, my BIL was putting on his coat, announcing that the wait was ridiculous and that he had cancelled dinner. 

Huh?  I'm hungry mofo!  You can't just do that!  It was too late to protest.  I saw my BIL clear up the bill for the appetizers and wine, and he beckoned for us to leave.  I've never done that before and was feeling insanely awkward.

We ended up driving my BIL, his partner, and ourselves over to my BIL's place, where we were served a bowl of chips and some frozen pizza.  Happy birthday to you, buddy.  Too bad you cancelled your own cake!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Obsession and Name Calling

My mom is known for her obsession with getting things done.  She isn't as bad as Dolores Herbig's character on  Dead Like Me, and doesn't have a webcam such that everyone can observe her completing mundane tasks around her house, but she would give Dolores a run for her money.  If an appliance breaks, my mom is out the door to buy a new one within five minutes of it breaking.  When the laundry cycle ends, those clothes are folded and put away before anyone has a chance to bitch about doing laundry.  When I lived with her, I recall a few occasions where the newspaper was thrown in recycling before 10am, and before I had a chance to read it.  Don't even talk to me about what waiting in line at a restaurant does to her.

My mom is aware of this quirk, and accepts that it is the subject of mockery within our family.

Just after Christmas, my mom and I both went to a rug store to take advantage of a sale. Since we were both in need of an area rug, it made sense to buy them together, hoping for an even better deal.  We each made a purchase, but neither of our rugs were in stock.  The plan was to wait for both rugs to arrive at the store, and pick them up in one trip.

My mom's rug was ready first.  She really wanted to have it in her hands.  I encouraged her to wait until mine was ready, which would have been a few days later.  She couldn't deal with that.  She announced that she would just go get hers on her own that day.

"Mom,", I began, "You really need to try to get this obsession under control!  It's just going to get worse and worse as you get older.  I actually think that it has already started!"

"Well,", she replied, "If that theory is true, by the time you're old, you're likely to be the biggest bitch on the planet!"

Now was that called for???

Friday, January 6, 2012

One Reason for My Crankiness in 2011 Part 2

If you're just tuning in, read my last post first.

Have you ever heard of post viral arthritis?  If not, you might be in the company of my family doctor.  To be fair, he wasn't the doctor who saw me for my sore throat since that happened during the holidays and he was likely playing golf somewhere hot and sunny.  Had he been the one to treat me, maybe he would have made the connection between my throat virus and the fact that several weeks later, I was unable to move any joint in my body without a crazy amount of pain.

Every joint was f*cked!  It was so difficult for me to go from sitting to standing because of how bad my back was.  Mom mom commented that I looked like Tim Conway when I tried.  We're a such a compassionate family.  Even worse, I was old enough to get the reference!

In addition to popping knuckles and crackling knees, the arm pain that I had been dealing with prior to all this was intensified to the point that I couldn't sleep more that three hours at a time without being woken up by it.  So my first call was to the physiotherapist, who was baffled by my issues, and couldn't do a thing to help

Next I was back at the doctor's, who also seemed baffled.  I begged him for drugs, which he reluctantly prescribed, and which helped somewhat.  Regular pain killers didn't help, but something called Lyrica made it such that I was stoned/sleepy enough to not care about the pain.  I only took them at night, btw.  There was some daytime parenting being done during these times.  

Note:  this is not an endorsement for recreational use of Lyrica.  It dulled 'other' nerve sensations that had no business being dulled, and I never felt clear headed during the time I used it.  Recently, a friend of mine said that her mother was using it but had to stop because it induced suicidal thoughts.  Don't use it if you don't need it!

Then came a round of medical tests.  Blood tests revealed nothing.  MRI's revealed nothing.  Thankfully though, an ultrasound at a sports clinic revealed inflamed bursitis.  Hmmmm.  Bursitis.  Where have I hear that before?  Oh yeah, in my opening paragraph when I asked my doctor about it more than five years ago!!!

I asked to see a rheumatologist, who offered me cortisone shots for bursitis, and diagnosed most of my other pains as post viral arthritis that would go away on its own.  She also said that I had a touch of carpel tunnel syndrome and that I should sleep with wrist braces.  This rheumatologist became my favourite person of 2011.  I had six solid weeks of no pain.  The arthritis is gone, although it did make a second appearance, I almost never need to use the wrist braces anymore, and my bursitis is mostly under control.

So yeah, my arms still hurt but are cruising at a level of 3 out of 10 on the pain scale.  I'll live with it for now.  Sorry for sounding like an old lady complaining about my health, but the old lady version of me was definitely along for the ride last year.  And what a bitch she is!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Reason For My Crankiness in 2011

Shortly after our first daughter was born, I began experiencing pain in my arms.  My husband suggested that it might be bursitis, which is what I suggested to my doctor when I eventually went to see him.  He said that the pain was actually from tension in my neck, and suggested massage therapy.

I had a few massages, but the pain was always there.  I also tried my husband's physiotherapist.  I ended up sticking with physio.  My husband and I spent so much time in physio during this time that we actually got invited to our therapist's wedding! And we found it appropriate to attend!  That aside, any benefit I got from physio was always temporary.  I did end up with a lovely centre piece from the wedding though!  The suckers who actually won it couldn't fit it in their Porsche, so they offered it to me.  Score!

After about five years of living with arm pain of varying degrees, I woke up one day with no pain at all.  This lasted about six months, until last Christmas when I woke up all messed up again.  Being Christmas time, my physiotherapist was on vacation, although my massage therapist was still around.  I went to see her instead.  In retrospect, I'm thinking that this was a bad choice.

I don't want to accuse the massage therapist as being the cause for any of my subsequent woes, but boy did my life start to suck large after seeing her! I distinctly remember last new year's eve being unable to extend my right arm in any direction.  I also remember a throat infection that I sincerely hope had nothing to do with my massage therapist, despite the onset of the infection being just hours after my massage.

My massage therapist is rather chatty, and often tells me waaaaayyyy to much about herself.  On this particular occasion, she was telling me about how she was on antibiotics for an infection in her 'area'.  Her doctor told her that it was strep.

If you know me at all, you'll be aware of my germaphobia, as inconsistent as it is.  Picture me lying on a table while the hands of a woman with strep woo woo rubbed my neck and shoulders.


So yeah,  I really hope that the timing of the massage and the onset of my throat infection were purely coincidental.

To put your mind somewhat at ease, I don't believe that I had strep throat.  I went to a walk in clinic where the doctor admitted that my throat looked terrible, but he didn't see the telltale signs of strep.  He gave me antibiotics to take in case white spots emerged, realizing that the lab might not get back to him fast enough given that it was during the Christmas holidays.

The pain compelled me to take the antibiotics without confirming that I had strep.  The doctor/lab never called to tell me to go ahead and take them.  Either way, I recovered, but not before breaking out in an itchy, red rash caused from an allergy to the antibiotics.  Awesome!

Then the real fun started!

To be continued...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Blog Revival

For those of you who followed me over from my old blog, you may have noticed that I haven't been writing much over the past year.  I can probably attribute my break from writing to the fact that last year really sucked donkey balls for me.  I never wrote about my real life issues, but instead continued on with my usual attempts at comedy, which became a bit tiresome when I wasn't feeling all that funny.

So here I am at the start of a new year, embarking on a new blog, hoping to be a little more real.

I'm not going to bombard you with my emotions right now all in one post, especially given that spilling feelings has never been much of a strong suit for me, but I will let you know that everything really is ok over here.  I have learned to cope with some new challenges in my life and will be writing about them eventually, but for now you should know that the laughter continues, and that this blog will still offer up its fair share of fart jokes.

Happy New Year!