Saturday, January 26, 2013

Crazy Train

I have often thought my life is like a ride on a crazy train.  I've never taken a trip on an actual train, but if it's anything like my life, I would imagine it's a long trip, with mostly just prairies and fields outside the window, but once in awhile you pass a natural disaster in progress.  Or the train gets robbed by armed bandits on horses.  Or all of a sudden gymnasts from Cirque du Soleil are performing in the aisle.    Or the elephant from the animal car gets loose and starts running around all rabid-like through the cars.  But mostly it's just prairies and fields.

None of those things happen in my actual life, although I might like them to.  That's just how it feels sometimes.  Except the prairies and fields.  I grew up in Wyoming so I've seen my share of them.  Also, keep in mind that I have a fantastic talent for exaggerating, so you must take everything I read with a grain of salt.  (See?  I just used the word "fantastic", when I should have said "somewhat competent".)

Over all, my life is pretty darn quiet.  I am a stay-at-home mom, a "SAHM".  I don't know if that would be pronounced Sam, rhyming with BAM!, or Sam, rhyming with bomb.  I think of it as SAHM-I-Am, therefore it would be BAM!  But my day-to-day life usually consists of laundry, mundane errands, figuring out meals, loading a dishwasher, catching some TV, and wasting time on the internet.  I don't mean to belittle my job--I am an AMAZING (okay, "pretty good") mom, and I keep my household running.  I just mean that days seem to get sort of Groundhog Day-like sometimes.

But these days are punctuated with crazy days.  Like when the elephant came crashing through my house.  Ha!  Kidding.  But I do have a dog...  I actually mean like when you get in a car crash and end up in the hospital (seven years ago).  Or you go to a doctor's appointment with your parents and find out that one of them has cancer (both my mom-in-law and my dad).  Or your kid breaks his arm.  Or you bring your dog home for the first time.  Even when something happens like you make a major purchase or decide to go on a vacation.  These are all big deals.  They don't happen often, but they are the events life is made of.

I'm babbling on like this just because I sort of had a couple of those crazy days this week.  Keep in mind my supernatural ability for exaggerating as you read about my yesterday, by the way.  The story may not be as exciting as that group of acrobats that robbed my house that one time...

In case you aren't aware, we live in an old farm house.  It's charming, but a constant work-in-progress.  Hubby is very handy, so we VERY rarely hire anyone to do work here, as he is capable of doing most projects on his own or with a buddy (or occasionally with my inept help).  There are usually four or five projects going on, some stalled for years, some done from beginning to end without stall.  Over the years we have installed drain tile in the basement, re-done our hardwood floors, painted almost every room at least once, re-tiled a bathroom, put in new toilets, installed new ceilings, added a wood-burning fireplace, carpeted a couple rooms, finished a big basement room into a family room, removed old siding and replaced it with new, put in new windows, and I'm sure other projects I have missed.  Not to mention we have 8 outbuildings that need constant work.  And hubby does have a full time job.  It's sort of scary that we live here, actually.

Occasionally he has complained about our entry-way.  It's small, and it drives him batty.  It's always super congested with shoes and jackets and "hubby stuff"--my word for the random tools and implements and metal pieces or musical gadgets or whatever that I don't know what they are but I know he brought them in and they probably belong in a different building.  phew.  It is an annoying room.  Imagine all four of us coming home on a winter evening.  In coats and hats and stuff.  As we're unlocking the door, Freddy is whining and dancing RIGHT on the other side of the door, as if he'll DIE of he doesn't see us in three seconds.  We get the door open, and then we have to shove Freddy in, and each person needs to get all the way in and out of the entry, all the way into the kitchen, to fit the rest of us in.  It's ridiculous.  We have two giant cabinets in there to try to store all the crap that goes in that room, and it just doesn't work.

So the other day, out of the blue, he decides to change it.  This is very typical of the way projects begin in our house.  He just empties Every.  Single.  Item.  out of the cabinets and hooks in there, moving it all to the kitchen.  Rendering my kitchen almost useless, but hey--I'm all on board, since I love change and improving.  And then the banging starts.  He busted off the inside plaster wall, all the way down to the studs.  Then he started removing the ceiling boards.  And then he started chiseling the tiles up.  So this is no small job.  I should not be surprised, no job around here ever is, but still.  Our ceramic tile floor extends from the entry way, all the way through the kitchen, down the hall, and into the main bathroom.  I hate it.  It's white with gross dark gray grout.  Who the hell puts a white tile floor in the entry way and kitchen of an old farmhouse???  (Not us--it was here when we moved here.  FIFTEEN years ago.  I didn't say we do anything fast, mind you.)  So my entry way--well, actually my kitchen--is now a construction zone.  Good thing I don't have any big dinner parties planned.  Like I usually do.  You know, my weekly cocktail hour?  HA!

So in the middle of all this, the night before last the hubby had mentioned to me that he wanted to see Gangster Squad.  Ryan Gosling is in that, so of course I'm all for it.  I told him maybe we could go to a matinee the next day while the kids were in school.  So yesterday, I woke up, got the kids off to school, took a shower and made myself presentable, and then sat down with my iPad to wait for hubby to wake up, not sure if he still wanted to go to a movie.  I kind of thought he would change his mind and decide he should work on this craziness.  But he must have a soft spot for Emma Stone the way I do Ryan Gosling, because when he finally got up he wanted to go.  So we did.  We got home shortly before the kids got home from school.  Then he says, hey, I saw this mattress that's on sale, and I thought you might like to see it.

People, I have been telling him we need a new bed for years.  We have had the same bed for almost 17 years.  And to make it even worse, it is a soft-sided waterbed.  Does anyone even know what that is??? When I was dating my hubby, he had a waterbed.  The actual kind all the cool kids had in 1977.  With the stuffed vinyl padded frame.  Awesome.  It even had the blue paint-splatter printed sheets.  But after we got married, we needed a grown-up bed.  He was pretty attached to the waterbed, so we got this new fangled thing (new fangled for the mid-90's, at least) called a soft-sided waterbed.  It looks like a regular bed.  You can use regular sheets.  It's basically a really strong frame and box with a mattress on top of it that's made of a foam frame with a water mattress inside that's about 4 or 5 inches thick, and topped with basically a pillow-top mattress.  It was very comfortable when we got it.  But NOT ANY MORE.  The "pillow top" had flattened over the years, and the foam had broken down so it looked like a big inner tube.  But we are slow to change.  My back would hurt so much in the morning, it was hard to get out of bed!

So in the middle of all the craziness yesterday in the house, we just left the kids at home for a bit and took the truck and got a new bed.  Then we got home and had to hurry up and get ready to take the kids to a high school basketball game, where my 11-year old was singing the anthem with his class.  Darling!  And very fun.  But we didn't get home until pretty late, and we had the bed issue.  In our excitement, we had already stripped the old bed before we left.  So we get home and have to begin the nightmare of draining our bed.  That shouldn't be a thing.  But we had to.  It took forever.  Longer than watching our DVR'd episode of the Following.  CREEPY.  Then we gathered up all the pathetic old pieces of the old mattress and tossed them off the upstairs porch.  We're classy that way.

And then, near midnight, hubby is outside in the ultra-cold, lifting the queen sized mattress over his head, and handing in to me, standing like an idiot on the upstairs porch in my PJ's and old Crocs.  That's how we got it inside.  We have super-human strength when we're that cold and tired.

Anyway, we got the thing in.  And set up.  I got fresh bedding on it.  It's very tall, and I hoped I wouldn't stumble off of it and crash through my bedroom window in the middle of the night when I would surely have to get up to pee, but it's super awesome.  And I didn't have a sore back this morning.  Now today the kids bowl, and then it's back to work on the entry way.  I'll keep you posted.  Maybe I'll even post some pictures.

And this is how we roll.  I love this train.

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's Never Lupus.

I think I'm going mad.  Like the old-fashioned, crazy-train mad.  My body has become a foreign thing to me lately.  I've been absent from my blog, and that's mostly because of how nutty things have been.

Those of you that know me or have stopped by here before are surely aware that I had a hysterectomy a couple months ago.  It was a big deal, made even bigger by my lack of pain tolerance or patience, and my general fraidy-pants type personality.  But I have emerged from the shadow of my former uterus-containing self, and am now a happily uterus-free woman no longer in need of tampons.  I cannot tell you how happy that makes me.  Sorry, Playtex, you've lost a loyal customer!

Anyway, since the surgery my body has completely gone awry.  The recovery from the surgery was longer than I anticipated, and lately I can't tell what's wrong with me.

After Thanksgiving, I was feeling pretty good.  I was four weeks post surgery, off the pain meds, and slowly getting some energy back.  That lasted about a week.  Then, during about the second week of December, I got smacked with a vicious fever.  It was pretty high, at one point I hit 103.  I had the fever for two days.  NO other symptoms.  No sniffles or sore throat.  Just that icky "holy shit fevers suck" feeling that you get with a fever.  Then it went away.  A couple days after that, all my muscles tightened up as if I had just completed an Ironman triathlon without stretching (which, I assure you, I did nothing of the sort--the triathlon, that is.  Not the lack of stretching.  But I didn't stretch either).  The sore muscles, from the tips of my fingers, my hands and feet, my arms and legs, lasted for I think more than a week, getting progressively worse.

I was starting to Google stuff, which is NEVER a good idea.  I had decided that I was at the beginning phases of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, some rare blood cancer, and possibly Lyme's disease.

And this is all while the hubby and I have been trying to plan a few days away for an extended date.

Then mom called me and invited my sister and I to an overnighter at a casino hotel up north.  Sounded like fun, and I hadn't let on to anybody the fact that I was slowly dying, so I figured I'd go.  Surprisingly, the morning we left my muscles felt a little less tight.  By the middle of the day, the pain was almost gone.  The swelling in my hands was better.  I felt looser.  Yay!

And then it was time to go to bed.  I went up to the room to go to bed around midnight.  As I was washing up, I noticed that my Entire.  Body.  Itched.  A burning, angry itch.  I chalked it up to the disgusting smoky air in the casino, and went to bed, scratching myself to sleep.

Woke up with a hideous rash.  It was on my neck, chest, arms, legs, belly.  Awesome.  So we went to breakfast and I got some Benadryl at the gift shop.  We decided maybe I ate something the night before that I was allergic to.

The Benadryl took the itch away, or maybe the fact that I won $200 playing penny machines took it away, but I felt a slight relief.  So we went home, and I was joking around that I must have Shingles.  But I was only acting like I was joking.  Because in my brain, I knew that this was just a symptom of the disease that was slowly killing me.

And then I got home.  The rash had spread up my neck, was burning my ears, and was creeping up my jawline.  So last night we went to Urgent Care.

Here's where it gets weird (ha!).  The doctor checks me out, and says it's an allergic reaction.  And that it's most likely from contact rather than food, but it definitely looked like an allergy.  He prescribed me Claritin, a steroid cream and a steroid pill (in case the rash continues to worsen).  I was so relieved!  Until we figured out what I'm most likely allergic to:

Christmas trees.

Folks, Christmas trees!  I LOVE Christmas, we always get a real tree.  And my tree was slowly killing me.  Crap!  But I was the one that put the lights in it.  Right before I got the fever.  And I was the one crawling under it to water it.  During the time I was getting the horrible muscle cramps.  And I was the one that took all the strings of lights off of it, undecorated it, and dragged it outside.  Right before we left for the casino.  So that definitely seems to be the culprit.  Augh!

So here I sit, all rashy and itchy, sticky from the gooey steroid cream, and wearing a scarf to hide my neck so I can go to the grocery store without people thinking I have leprosy.  Which I also considered that I might have for a while.  Hopefully stuff will start working.  Because if it doesn't, then I have to really get serious about finding out what kind of flesh-eating virus I have.  I'll let you all know.