Friday, September 26, 2008


Today is one of those days where I feel like I am being beseiged by so many emotions at once that it might be best to just go back to bed and start over again. It may be hormones, it may be the barometic pressure, it may be the severe lack of chocolate (and other forms of decadence, for that matter) in my life of late. I'm not sure (although i strongly suspect lack of sleep) but I think I know what a rollercoaster must feel like.

I'm happy. (picture that long uphill climb to the top of the first drop)
It's Friday.
I just finished that book on Iran and I can feel the relief pouring through me.
I have work to do this weekend but I don't feel completely overwhelmed by it. I will not be able to take much time off, mind you, but enough that I won't get resentful.
My kids are all home, happy and doing well.
The weather report is full of sunshine.
I went to a great play last night with Nicole ("Menopause: the Musical") and we had such a fabulous time.

I'm worried/stressed. (peaking at the top and front part of the car is just tipping down)
The editor on the Iran book has already emailed to say that since we were behind deadline, he'd have revisions back to me FAST. I hate, hate, hate revisions. (shudder)
The economy, which I generally try to ignore as part of my life philosophy, is actually intruding on my personal life. Not only have a seen a change in the writing markets--they are using staff more than they used to because who the hell wants to spend more than they have to these days--and my income has reflected that. People who are important to me may lose their jobs and my mom's house, which has been on the market since February, continues to sit there costing us money instead of creating a small but appreciated inheritance.

I'm tired. (whooooosh. . . . .down the slope . . . .)
I haven't slept too great of late. Two nights in a row was due to this stupid toe of mine. Last night it was because I was up until 4 am finishing the aforementioned book. I just don't recover from that like I used to . . . . Of course, this darn hyperparathyroidism doesn't help matters.

32 DAYS AND COUNTING to Operation (get it? operation?) Parathyroid!

A nap is definitely in today's plans. That will help with most of the complaints above in and of itself. I hope when I wake up, the rollercoaster ride is over, the car has come to a standstill, the crowds have gone home and all I have left is the glow of survival--and the pleasure of a quiet Friday night.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Some Pics to Share

Hey there. Since slowly more and more people are reading my blog, I wanted to update it with a few pics of our family. So, enjoy. If you stop by, leave a comment so I know you were here. The pictures are as follows:

(1) TOP LEFT: Joseph at the beach this summer. Ain't he a looker? I'm one lucky woman.

(2)TOP RIGHT: Coryn, our youngest, 12, at the beach.

(3) MIDDLE LEFT: Jasmine, our oldest, 24, looking like a beautiful sunset.

(4) MIDDLE RIGHT: Caspian (15) and Nicole (17) hanging out together because they actually enjoy each other's company.

(5) The family in the Avocado Crib, our adventure mobile

A Success

The writing workshop went really well, I am happy to report. Not everyone came that RSVP'd which is no surprise and to be honest, I am not sure the room we were in could have possibly fit another human being in it anyway.

Joseph was his usual sweet self, lugging boxes of books in and out for me, as well as going outside and entertaining a number of the kids who came to the workshop and strangely enough found me more than boring (grin). Nicole was my assistant, answering questions, handing out papers and books and making me proud as usual.

I haven't taught in a long, long time but this reminded me of how much I enjoyed it. Of course, it would have been a little more fun if I didn't have a sore toe while I stood up front for a couple of hours. I thought about sitting down but it just didn't feel right.

I'm glad I did this and I hope I get the chance to do it again for people living on the east side. Now I just have to spend the weekend doing what I was teaching--sitting down and researching a topic I don't want to write about--namely, Iran and nuclear weapons. It is SO not my topic that I am pulling myself through the research as if it was molasses on a chilly autumn morning. In 150 plus books, I have never struggled this hard to get motivated and get it done. However, I want to get my life as much in order as possible before the surgery date arrives. Between now and then, I have FIVE books to write. Yup, five. Fortunately, three are pretty short. The other two are medium length and once Iran is out of the way (such a depressing topic), it will be pretty smooth sailing.

Happy weekend to everyone. May you all have two Iran-free days. (grin)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This Little Toe went to the doctor . . .

Well, the ingrown and infected toe nail is gone.
So is much of the toe nail itself.
Seven shots of novacaine. Scalpels. Digging into nail beds. My body told me it didn't hurt because I was numb but my eyes kept looking and saying you should be screaming in agony. It was an odd experience. A little disconcerting.
The toe is now a bit tender, of course. It didn't help that tonight I went to a wedding and danced a few songs. Came home limping.
Cried a lot at the wedding. Ridiculous, I know. So many thoughts going through my head though. Not being present at my oldest daughter's wedding and wishing so much that I could have been. Thinking about Nicole getting married in the next 5 years or so and wondering who will my new son in law. Crying at the thought of her going away because I have so much fun with her.
Thinking about watching my sons marry and hoping that I like my daughters in law.
Most of all, missing my parents. Remembering my father walking me down the aisle and dancing with me at the reception. Remembering my mom helping me get ready and the hug I gave her as soon as I saw her afterwards. Listening to tearjerking songs like "Butterfly Kisses" and "It's a Wonderful World". If they had played "Sunrise, Sunset", I am sure I would have been a puddle on the floor.
Danced to "Unchained Melody" with the hubby and was choked up enough until I looked over to see Caspian dancing with Nicole. Cue the waterworks.
So a good night, albeit an emotional one. Toe hurts like hell. Going to bed gratefully. Wishing the newlyweds as much love and laughter in their lives as Joseph and I have found in ours.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Yes, my friends, the day has finally arrived. I have a surgery date. Who knew it would take SO LONG?

Of course, the doctor only does these surgeries once a week so I couldn't get in for forever. The two dates I was given were Oct 21 and Oct 29. The first one is a night that I have play tickets for for the family (which I won't forget like I did before--see previous blogs). The second is the night before our 26th anniversary. Hard decision but I went with the 29th. So I have to wait for 5 weeks but at least I GOT A DATE.

On the surgery front, I am also have my big toe most likely operated on tomorrow morning. They say the biggest pain will be from the needle they use to make it not hurt. We all see the irony there, right? I think the biggest pain is the $225 I have to give them up front. I've tried living with this toe for 6 months though. . . and it's not getting better . . . so my family nagged me into having it looked at. Tomorrow morning it is.

So there we go. Now I am off to call about the previous billings I got from the hospital to see if they can be revised since I got the discount. That would certainly take the sting out of the toe surgery bill.

Man, ever feel like you are falling apart, piece by piece? I've certainly felt that way of late. I keep stitching to keep it all together though!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Karma Works!

Thank you to all who took a moment to send good thoughts my way because apparently, it worked! The hospital called less than 24 hours after we were there. They had already processed our application and, in what could only be considered a miracle in my opinion, told me I would be given the 100 percent discount.

Yes, in other words, the surgery is free.

Have goosebumps? Gasp? I did. Then I started crying. Right there in the middle of a restaurant. I have already bought a box of chocolate for the woman who helped us do this. I told her I loved her and that she had made my year as well.

On Monday, I will call the surgery scheduler and get an ACTUAL SURGERY DATE. I am hoping for Oct. 1. That is when my calendar, personal and professional, will be clear enough to be out of things for at least a week, the recommended time to be down and quiet following surgery.

So, thanks guys, for helping out because the universe listened. Later that same day, I got a check I wasn't expecting and I found the chance to run over and have an x-ray I needed to have taken for my follow up kidney appointment on the 22nd.

Things are looking up. Karma strikes again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Showdown at the Hospital

Well, we didn't walk in with guns drawn but we did walk in armed. I had every possible financial paper I could think of in my folder and I was armed with anger, impatience and frustration cleverly cloaked in friendly chatter, a charming smile and an eagerness to please.

They weren't thrilled we were there . . . but we got in quickly and the lady we worked with was quite sweet. I had all the papers they needed. I came up with the rest of the numbers they required. She promised me that I would have an "answer" within 5 to 7 working days. Once I have that answer, I can schedule my appointment. I promised her chocolate and flowers if she put me on the top of her list and expedited my application. She chuckled.

So, did I get the ultimate prize--a surgery date? No. But I made more progress in 30 minutes than I have in the last three months and I see a definite light at the end of the tunnel. So, I'm feeling pleased and able to hold on until the outside date of the 22nd. Of course, if nothing has come through by then, I will be back in their offices clearly without the chatter and the smile.

Keep thinking good thoughts for me, peeps.

Cross Your Fingers, Say a Prayer, Dance with a Naked Chicken

Whatever way you personally send a message out to the universe, please do so for Joseph and I today as we personally go in and "storm" the financial department of the hospital to see if we can FINALLY get this damn mess straightened out and get the surgery scheduled. I have a folder full of financial papers (ah, the alliteration!) to throw their way and hope that it is sufficient. It would make me one happy woman if we could figure all of this out today and I'd come home knowing that the surgery appointment was in the process. So think good thoughts and send it to whatever deity, being, concept or direction you personally choose. I will update when I can to let you know how it turned out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Question of Friends

I have found myself in a bit of a dilemma of late.

My hubby has been going to a VW group for the last year plus. He has gotten to know all the guys and they meet once a week at a local restaurant and even go on the occasional camper weekend. To date, I occasionally, and far less often, the kids, have gone with him. However, at the last meeting, several actions made it abundantly clear that I and the kids were really not welcome. A number of them went to another table and no one spoke to us except for one other wife (the only other woman, who, in my opinion, is just as ignored as I am) and one man, briefly. This weekend, Joseph was invited to go with them to a VERY, I repeat, VERY primitive campground. I honestly didn't want to go because while I can deal with outhouses, I would prefer not to have to resort to a shovel and a handy tree.
So, does the hubby go or not?
It has been a hard decision, but one I left up to him.
If you know us at all, you know and J and I are very, very close and spend most of our time together. I am TICKLED no end, however, that he has friends because he hasn't had any of his own friends for years. But I don't like that his friends ignore me and my kids and make it clear that we are not really welcome. If the meetings were once a month, no big deal. But four to five times a month? Hmmmmm. Plus, I helped him host a party for these people . . . . and even though it was my house, I still felt like I was in the way.
So, it has been a dilemma for me, because, to be honest, if I had friends who acted that way towards my spouse and kids, I wouldn't hang out with them much--if ever. Sigh.

Other news in the Orr household . .

NO, I don't have a surgery date yet. I am beginning to despair that it will ever happen.

We are actually doing a semi official homeschool curriculum for the first time in a LONG time. It's a once a month program that I created years ago with my oldest. It not only covers some basic information in all subjects but I involve lots of activities together, outside the house and so on. It also teaches some real important stuff about pacing yourself and time management. Now let's see if I can maintain it, expand on it and refrain from daily nagging.

That' s the latest for now. Work is picking up, so I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel again. Whew.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Red Tape Runaround

In June, I was told I would need two surgeries.
The first one was for kidney stones. I called, I scheduled it, I went in, I had it done on July 7, they sent me a bill and I am making payments. All is well.
The second one is for hyperparathyroidism and it is what CAUSED the kidney stones. It also causes a lot of other crappy symptoms like constant fatigue, joint pain, mental confusion, and so on. It is the most important of the two.
So has it been scheduled?
Have I been trying to get it scheduled?
For how long?
More than a month.
Have I gotten anywhere?
When you are non-insured, this hospital insists that you go through their financial procedure. This is no simple thing. They want more papers and information than the IRS did when we worked out a payment plan with them. They are making it SO HARD. It will take me hours to get this info together. And then, I am pretty sure they will reject me anyway. Our income will be too high to qualify.
Then what?
According to the hospital, "the doctor will let you know whether or not he will ACCEPT you as a patient anyway."
I simply cannot believe this.
The other hospitals did not do this. Not with my first surgery, nor with my son's surgery several years ago. Instead, they gave me a non-insured discount and then accepted my monthly payments.
Until I get this figured out, I do not get scheduled. So the calcium keeps being leeched out of my bones and yes, increasing the chance of getting kidney stones again. And I still feel like crap.
Do they care?
I think not.
Am I bummed?
You bet your . . . . . (fill in the blank with your preferred word).