If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Leaf Me Alone

Wanna save yourself hundreds of dollars in therapy? I'll let you in on my new little secret.
A leaf. And a river.

Feel better yet?
Stick with me.

Keep in mind, this coping mechanism was given to me to address one of my specific issues, so this might not even apply to you.

BUT, if you suffer from random irrational thoughts that fly into your head and then swirl there like an endlessly flushing toilet 24/7, then this is your jam.

No? You don't?
Well. Aren't you a lucky s.o.b. And the thought that I'm the only one won't wake me up tonight at all, except that it will, so you may as well stop reading now, because you obviously don't possess this gift of neuroses. It requires professional help to survive it, but that doesn't make it any less of a gift, k?

Movin' on to all you super cool obsessively neurotic people like me.
I know you exist and I'm not just saying that.

There's no way to pinpoint what triggers my thoughts.
Yet. We're hoping for a cure. Maybe I'll sponsor a 5k. I'll design these shirts.
It'll be wildly successful. Unless nobody comes. Or buys a shirt. How humiliating. And what am I supposed to do with all these shirts? I'm so embarrassed and owe everyone an apology for even suggesting such a stupid event. Pelt me with rocks and garbage, I deserve it. Fine, I'll wake up at 3am and do it myself.

Aaaaand there's just a tiny example of a 30 second trip around my toilet bowl of thoughts. It could be about anything; Things I did. Things I didn't do. People who don't like me. People who do. Or do they? Maybe they're just pretending. Or they just haven't met the real me yet. What is the real me? Who am I?

*flush* And around we go.
You get the idea.

You should see my therapy sessions. I only make a fool of myself for like 90% of it. It isn't any wonder she won't give me her personal number or accept my facebook friend request, which I feel is counterproductive to treating my rejection issues, but hey, she's the professional. That aside, there's no denying she and I have bonded. One day she said she could never beat a groundhog to death even if it did eat her geraniums, and I said I couldn't either, and she said, "That's because you're not a sociopath" which might be the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me.

You heard it here first, folks. I'm not a sociopath. Check.
It's one breakthrough after another, I tell ya.

My husband calls me Bob Wiley, from the movie 'What About Bob.' 
For the record, I'm nothing like him, except if my therapist ever goes on vacation, I'm willing to temporarily relocate. Sure I might occasionally gag into a paper bag on public transport and randomly shout obscenities, but I don't wear a goldfish in a jar around my neck so that completely disqualifies me from the nickname. 

I had a goldfish as a kid. My mom put his bowl out on the back porch on a winter day while she cleaned. She forgot about him. He froze. So she moved his bowl to the top of the kerosene heater to thaw him out before I got home from school. She forgot about him again. I walked in to find 'Wade' at a full boil. There's no bouncing back from that. That'll probably come up in therapy. Or at least it should.


Anyhoo. I bet you're waiting to hear how a leaf and a river will help all you thousands of neurotic people just like me. We're like the majority. We should form a club. I'll come up with a name. I'm sure you'll understand why shirts are out of the question after what happened with the failed 5k that never actually existed. 


Where were we?
The leaf and the river. 

It's simple. Here it is.
WhenEVER a thought enters my mind, if it doesn't need addressed in that very moment, (ie; a frozen goldfish and/or a fictional 5k)...I imagine myself putting that thought on a leaf, sending it down a river, and letting it go before I allow it to drag me down the toilet bowl of neuroses. My therapy homework is to give myself a mental break. Or as Ron keeps saying, she wrote me a prescription to...
What, without a leaf and a river? Stop with your lunacy.

Call me crazy, but the leaf and river really work.
Except I'd rather you not call me crazy.

It doesn't have to be a leaf and a river. Some people visualize putting their thoughts on a hot potato or in the little tubie thing at the bank drive through. Those would work, too...if you don't mind burning the palms of your imaginary hands or you have a complete disregard for the make-believe person working the non-existent bank window. 
But you do you.

So because I tell Ron everything and because he's the person I drag along on my emotional swims, I told him about the leaf and the river for the sole purpose of reminding me if I get caught in a swirl of toilet water and forget. 

He suggested I send my concerns about my weight...and his...down the river. Seriously dude? What's next, sex on a leaf? Is that where we're headed???

He basically proved an inclination to abuse my leaves for his own selfish purposes. And if that weren't enough, he wondered if my river might eventually form a cesspool and backwash all the leaves into my brain at once.

Let me stop you right there.

You jumped to my weight, and YOURS, and then suggested my brain river might actually turn against me and assault me with my own leaves. 

And I'm the one in therapy.
Who needs pelted with rocks and garbage now, huh?

It's only a matter of time before my therapist requests Ron's presence in one of our sessions. I would totally suggest it myself, except the last thing I need is for him to plant the idea of Death Therapy in the mind of my new super good therapist friend.

Of course she'd never entertain the thought of that, seeing as she's not a sociopath and neither am I, so I'd never even qualify for such an extreme therapeutic treatment anyway. Plus I've got my leaves and my river, so that proves sanity. Also please don't strap dynamite to my chest and leave me in the woods. It wouldn't be the dynamite that bothers me so much as the seeing someone walk away from me in the woods. Ron might consider it though. Maybe not the dynamite thing, but the leave me in the woods thing, if he thought it would jolt the Bob out of me. It's not far fetched considering he once left me in a sensory deprivation tank for my birthday...*flush*

Ok, I'm not great at the leaf thing yet, and this might be an ongoing process, but I'm sending that Bob Wiley nickname crap straight down the river. 

I'm baby steppin'. I'm doin' the work. 
I need, I neeeed...

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Eye Eye, Officer

 Our local lake puts on a huge fireworks display and we have a boat. Does anything more even need to be said? Situations like this is why my blog exists. A boat full of people, 3 dogs, 2 cops, 5 stitches, and an asshole...this story has it all.

It started out uneventfully. Ron, me, Caymen, Kearstin, Kearstin's boyfriend, my son and his family, and my sister and hers, headed out on our boat for an evening of tubing before the fireworks. About an hour in, our 20 year old daughter, our daughter-in-law, and our nephew were on the tube, and were violently thrown off, which is the goal, as if you didn't know.

My daughter-in-law, Barbara yelled, "Kearstin's bleeding!" This was not alarming, because Kearstin gets frequent nosebleeds, so yeah. She got violently thrown from a tube. Of course she's bleeding. Then we looked over the side and saw her face covered in blood that was gushing from a cut above her eye. Gushing.

Everyone's immediate reaction: Daaaaamn.

We pulled her onto the boat and grabbed the first aid kit, that didn't have any butterfly strips, which begged the question, what the crap kind of first aid kit doesn't include butterfly strips??? Barbara (mentioned in my previous blog, who's in school to be a PTA), jumped into action, gave her a 'follow my finger' field test, and made 3 butterfly strips out of tape, because she's our family's MacGyver.
She's MacBarbara.

Between my back and Kear's eye, she's basically earned her degree.

Accepting the fact that even MacBarbara couldn't make this problem go away, we threw the tube on the back deck and sped toward our dock. As we entered the 'No Wake Zone' Ron slowed the boat down...sort of...because we're rule followers like that. That's where we encountered the Police Boat coming toward us in the opposite direction. Good thing we're...sort of...rule followers. Except they made a turn and came toward our boat.

"Can you please get into the boat?"
I turned to see our son, Zac, squatting on the back deck of our boat, where he'd been riding to hold onto the tube. He stood up. Ron quickly explained that our daughter had been hurt and we were headed in to take her to the ER. They looked over at Kearstin and I knew what they were thinking.

Poker faces, gentlemen. Poker faces.

Soooo, we should probably get goin' now.

"Sir. Can you please get into the boat."
I turned to see Zac still standing on the back of the boat. Dude. Seriously? A cop should only have to say that once.

Then he turned to Ron and said, "We'll follow you in and talk when we get to your dock."
Ok. Cool.
*Everybody glare at Zac.*

It has officially gotten real.

So we began the slow, humiliating, police escorted trip back to our dock.
Nothin' to see here, folks. Mind your business.

We began to discuss the situation. Whyyyyy the dramatic police escort back to our dock...besides a guy squatted on the back and blood all over our boat, if we were forced to name the obvious.

Did we exceed our boat's 12 person maximum capacity with 14 people and 3 dogs? Sort of. I mean, we'll probably have to count the 12 year old and the German Shepherd, but the 2 toddlers don't even add up to one whole person, nor do the 2 little dogs. So total number of boat occupants: 12 1/2 people and 1 1/4 dogs. (They're really little dogs.) Plus, we bought the extra floater seat to allow up to 14 people, so Boom. That means we still have room for another 1/4 of a person on our boat. Plenty of room. But having one person riding on the back deck is pretty misleading. *Everybody glare at Zac again.*

Did we exceed the 1,600 pound weight limit? Probably a safe bet.

Ron: "At least we don't have any alcohol on board."

 Me: Welllll...funny story...one of my water bottles is filled with Calico Jack.
Everybody stop glaring at me.

Would it be weird if I started slowly pouring something over the side of the boat right now? Yeah, okay, not a good look.

Ron: "You're going to have to hurry and drink it."
But I'm a total light weight.

By the time we all arrived to our dock, I'd done as I was told. Speaking of our dock. Parking our boat in it requires us to make a couple of sharp turns. Under the best of circumstances, this takes an average of 4 tries and roughly 23 minutes, with everybody sober, and 2 people on the front and back deck corners to keep us from bumping into other boats and/or the metal frame of the dock. That's on a good day. A not good day, involves a cop standing on our dock watching us...and probably counting heads and mentally adding up our poundage while not hiding his look of disdain, as Ron made several 14 point turns in our overloaded Tritoon with none of us on the deck to help, because illegal. Duh. Where've you been?

Meanwhile, my Calico Jack was taking effect and I couldn't stop thinking of the song...It Wasn't Me, by Shaggy. Circling, circling through my brain...It wasn't me...don't sing...It wasn't me...there's a cop...It wasn't me...don't laugh...It wasn't me...Do.Not.Start.Dancing. I had to put a stop to this before something regretful happened. (As if this entire day hadn't already turned regretful.) So I did what drunk me does best. Witty banter. I don't remember anything I said, but I'm sure it wasn't awkward at all and definitely fixed everything.

We make really bad first impressions. It's like our gift.

So Kearstin, her boyfriend, Trevor, and I got out of the boat to take her to the ER while the rest of them stayed behind and tried to explain our festival of terrible choices.

No way this could get worse.
Hold my Calico Jack.

Ron handed me the van keys.
Dude. A DUI might actually make things worse right now. As would the officer seeing the bloody-headed 20 year old take the drivers seat. Sorry, Trevor. That leaves you to drive the mini-van. A dream come true, I'm sure of it. Thank goodness he didn't lose his contacts when he was on the tube, because Kearstin would've been the only one left to drive, and somebody has to be responsible, and then everybody would've had to glare at Trevor.

As we passed the Urgent Care, we realized they were still open for 5 more minutes and it didn't take long for the Physician's Assistant to throw in 5 stitches and send us on our way. Things were finally going in our favor.

Meanwhile, back at the boat...
The officer was explaining to Ron, who was wearing his 'Don't Hassle Me I'm Local' shirt, that a tubing injury is classified as a 'Boat Accident.' That seems dramatic for an UNdramatic family like ourselves. He was asking Ron a million questions, as the dogs whined to get off the boat. So Barbara asked herself, 'What would Shari do?' and proceeded to let them off the boat. Unleashed. And our German Shepherd went after another family's dog.

Nope. Not what Shari would have done, but I appreciated the thought process.

Of course the officer was quick to point out that it was illegal for the dogs to be unleashed and attacking other dogs, willy nilly. Just add that to our All The Laws We're Breaking Tab, thanks. Ron was told to meet him back at the dock on Monday afternoon to finish explaining himself for the "9 separate violations" and wrapping up the "paperwork." Also texting all of our boat guests and asking for their full names and ages for the police report is every boat owner's dream. What, you don't want their weights? Do you even care about the obvious danger we are to society?

We arrived back at the boat dock at 9:40pm. The cop was gone, and if we hurried, we could make it across the lake for the fireworks. (Violation #10)

And if you're thinking we should've just cut our losses and retreated to our homes for the safety of others, I'd kindly ask you to stop making sense. You're wasting everyone's time.

As we sped through the dark, (Violation #11), weaving around other boats (Violation #12), that were anchored by people who more than likely hadn't just spent the evening getting their kid's eye stitched up and hosting a dog fight for the cops who were already questioning every choice they'd ever made. In short, a little grace would've been appreciated. Instead, what we got were angry boat honks and someone called Ron an asshole. (Where's their violation, huh?)

Ask yourself this. If you've never been called an asshole, are you really living your best life?

We parked, anchored, and totally blended in with everyone...meaning, Zac fired up Ron's drone, (Violation #13), which in the dead of night, looked and sounded like a
ticking time bomb. (Violation #14). Then they brought it back down to change the battery, just as the finale started, because of course we missed the finale with the drone.

I felt like I owed my family an explanation for everything that happened. The eye, the cops, the drunkenness, the dogs, the asshole...the 14 violations...You see, I'm writing again. And God is providing all the material I need, because Jesus loves me more than most.

Then we got back to our dock, our dog peed on somebody's bag, (Violation #15), Ron grabbed the hose in a fit of rage to spray him (Violation #16), and ended up spraying me point blank in the face instead. (Violation #17...the most life threatening violation of them all.)

Back the love down just one notch, there Jesus.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Back To Normal

My back hurts. This is nothing new. My back always hurts.
I have 2 chiropractors. One can snap my lower back like a champ, the other is a genius at relocating my ribs. One has daytime hours, the other has evening hours. If they could work at the same place, it'd be a dream realized for all of us, but they don't share my vision. Yet. But for now, the system works. Unless something goes terribly wrong in the middle of the night and I'm left to my own devices. That's when things can take a turn for the worse. And they almost always do.

Which brings us to last Wednesday. I left Zumba feeling a few spasms in the right side of my lower back. Nothing an Icy Hot Medicated Patch won't take care of. (I get absolutely nothing for endorsing them, even though I should.) Before bed, Ron patched me up and rubbed me down with muscle rub cream. Then he put his arm under my pillow to kiss me goodnight, lifted my head about an inch up, and I felt the familiar pop. There goes my rib. And the ability to inhale right along with it.

With no chiropractors to call, we took matters into our own hands.
Will we ever learn not to do that?
No. We will not.

Our attempts at relocating my rib include, but are not limited to, Ron putting me in a bear hug, lifting me off my feet, and shaking me up and down. Me laying on my massage table while he presses on my back with his forearms and/or tennis balls. YouTube videos, because YouTube is like Amazon. It has everything. Maybe it shouldn't.

Basically, our bedroom turned into the DIY-Chiropractor Edition...similar to my DIY-Ear Nose and Throat Edition and my DIY-Gynecology Edition, except significantly less embarrassing to explain to the doctor when you end up there. And you will end up there. 

When he finally resorted to laying all of his dead weight on me because "Your rib will have nowhere to go but back into place" I decided it was time to call in the closest thing I have to a professional at 11pm. My daughter-in-law, who is currently studying to be a PTA. Her first piece of advice, "Don't try to pop it back in." (Maybe we should've called her first.) She told me to lay with my foam roller against my spine and gently roll it back and forth to relax the muscles and then maybe the rib will slide back in on it's own. To her credit, that worked. Unfortunately, the spasms were too far gone for it to make much difference.

Ron wanted to take me to the ER. Hard pass. The last time I let him take me to the ER, I called a teenager names and lost my testimony with pretty much everyone. I was provoked. Not my fault. It rarely is.

Because I also have a history of self-diagnosing myself, I ended up on the couch in the fetal position, WebMD'ing my symptoms. According to my professional medical googling skills, I'd narrowed it down to kidney stones, a UTI, a bladder infection, appendicitis, or cancer, because on WebMD, all roads lead to cancer. And at 2am, you'll leap frog from back spasms to cancer within 5 clicks of a link.

I woke Ron up.
"What if I have appendicitis...or something?"
Ron: "I was thinking it might be a heart attack."
Holy crap. I'm having a heart attack. THIS.IS.NOT.A.DRILL.
Then he told me to wake him up if it gets worse, which I'm pretty sure is not the advice you'd give to someone having a heart attack, so I wandered back to the couch to listen to 'I Can Only Imagine' and cry.

*New Life Rule: Two hypochondriacs are not allowed to talk to each other in the middle of the night.

When Ron woke up at 4am and found me crying in the Rec Room imagining how he'd tell the kids, I caved and let him take me to the ER. On the way out to the van, he said, "This reminds me of when you were in labor with Aubrey." 

Sh*t. That's it. I'm pregnant and didn't know it.
Because at 4am with no sleep, that's a genuine possibility. 
A reality show called 'I didn't know I was pregnant' would support my diagnosis.

While he parked, I checked myself in, telling the lady I was having back spasms, because there's such a thing as a psych ward, and the ramblings of a mystery baby could very well land you there. Then she wrapped my id bracelet tightly around my wrist, thus triggering my claustrophobia, because I'm weird and prefer not to have my circulation cut off. All I could do was stand at her window staring at that super tight band and uselessly bending my wrist back and forth back and forth back and forth...And that's how Ron found me. He immediately knew what was happening because he's witnessed such a meltdown at the town carnival's ride pass window, and he asked the lady if she could please loosen it. She said no. So he ripped it off my wrist and put it loosely back on with what was left of the shred of sticky end. He doesn't like to be told no. 

Back in a room, exhaustion was setting in, but all I could do was sit straight up with a pillow held to my face, because maybe I could trick my body into sleeping vertically. For future reference, my body cannot be tricked into sleeping vertically. Then the nurse came in and explained that they had no record of me ever being in the ER. Not that I blame them for wiping their computer clean of my existence after the outburst of 2017. So I filled her in on my entire surgical history while Ron sat across from me mouthing things and pointing to parts of his own body, as if I'm going to forget to mention my surgical enhancements. Pull yourself together, man. This ain't charades and if I can see you, so can she. 

Then the doctor came in, poked my back, said "You're having back spasms" and asked if I wanted shots or pills. It was crazy. He didn't even google anything.

I chose the shots. And the pills. 

I'm not sure what's in hospital muscle relaxing shots, but I'd equate them with an elephant tranquilizing dart...not that I know anything about those either. Two shots, straight into my a** cheek. She warned me I'd feel a poke and a burn. She was correct. What she failed to mention was that I'd immediately break into a hot sweat and have to throw up. So I told her. I'm gonna throw up. She walked across the room to get a small pink plastic curved vomit pan, which is clearly made for tiny people who must not projectile like us big folks. Then I asked Ron to hand me my bottle of crystal lite. 

The nurse stopped reaching for the little vomit bowl and turned to me and said, 
"I thought you were going to throw up."
I am.
"Then why do you want a drink?"
Maybe because I'm 47 years old and know myself well enough that I'd like a drink of something before I throw up, which is going to happen whether you hand me that vomit cup or not, so maybe we could stop the interrogation. 

And then I miraculously threw up like a normal person, didn't miss the pan, didn't fill up the pan, and managed not to drop the pan out of my sweaty hands. That's a win all around, people.

So let's celebrate that in silence, shall we? But instead, as she sealed my pan in a trash bag, she said "Is that cherry crystal lite? It smells like cherry."
*Heave* There's that projectile vomit we know and love...and they probably deleted me from their records again.

I returned home and was at the mercy of Ron to meet my basic needs, and what I thought I needed was a bath. (The know-it-all nurse would probably tsk tsk such a terrible life choice.) The problem was, the odds of me successfully climbing into and out of our new ginormous bathtub were slim to none. You could stack bodies in that thing. Trust me, getting stuck in there is not an irrational fear. For once. As Ron carefully navigated me over the ledge, Caymen yelled, "She's in!"

1. I didn't realize this was a spectator sport and
2. I don't even wanna know who she was announcing that to.

I laid helpless on my back as the tub filled with water and then he turned on the jets, sending columns of water shooting over my head and face in an obvious attempt to drown me. That's the only plausible explanation. 

No more baths. Obvi.
And I'm perfectly willing to slap the smug I told ya so look straight off that nurse's face right now. Don't test me Janice.

With regular doses of prescription meds, ice massages from my daughter-in-law, and a long weekend of rest, I was able to return to the gym on Monday. My back still hurts, but not, let-my-husband-experiment-with-my-skeletal-structure-hurt, so that's an acceptable normal to me. It was a long 4 days, but I just keep reminding myself that it could've been worse. 

Like, dead worse. Or, even worse worse, had a baby.
I'll take the spasms, thanks.