Sunday, October 31, 2010

28 and Counting

Yesterday Joseph and I celebrated 28 years of marriage. Since we were relatively broke, it was a quiet celebration. We got some coffee, cuddled on the couch and read the newspaper, took a lovely nap together and made a tasty dinner. In the evening, Nicole's boyfriend Jon, treated the family to a double feature at the local movie theatre. We saw "Inception" (fascinating, confusing and impressive) and "Salt" (action heavy, unbelieveable and fun). We came home and he had some wine, I had some chocolate and we called it a day.

28 years has gone by so very fast. We have raised four kids, suffered through three miscarriages, ended one career and developed another, moved across the entire country, endured heartbreaks and victories, bonded through health emergencies,. switched places within the family unit, lost people we loved dearly and throughout all of it, we have managed to stay in love. I find that pretty remarkable. And in a completely secular way, I also consider it an amazing blessing. I only wish for my children to find mates that they can feel this way about 28 years later. What a treasure.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Torture Time

Today has been a day I wouldn't wish on anyone . . . . I am older, wiser and so much more tired, I cannot begin to tell you.

Yesterday I had blood in my urine a couple of times and hoped it was just a period getting started. I felt a pang when going to bed but slept all night. When I got up this morning, I took a shower and by the time it was over, my back and side were getting pretty touchy. Trying to ignore it, I got dressed and climbed in the car to go and pick up Nicole. Within five minutes, I had Joseph take me back home. I did NOT feel good.

I thought it would help to lie down. Nope. In fact, made it worse. Moving seemed a little better. I began pacing. I paced and paced and paced the bedroom floor. I tried drinking water, using a heat pack and stretching. No relief.

After almost an hour of pacing and even walking up and down the street in front of the house, I began crying. Soon, I was also vomiting. Finally, after calling the doctor, Joseph told me we were going to the hospital.

I fought that decision because I knew what it would cost . . . without insurance, it would be astronomical. I knew we would be paying the bill off for months to come. But in the end, I agreed simply because I have never, ever, ever felt pain like that.

I've had four babies completely without any anesthesia.
I've had a broken rib while 8 months pregnant.
I've had several car accidents.
I've had a number of surgeries.

NONE of them compared to this. NONE. This was a pain that was so intense and so non-stop that I began hutting myself in other ways in an attempt to distract myself. I bit my hand. I pinched myself. I did whatever I could think of. On a scale of 1 to 10, this was a 42.

The trip to the hospital was the worst. We hit construction and were in bumper to bumper traffic. I hit the door, cried, shook, cried, and pleaded with traffic to move faster. We finally got to the hospital and when the admitting clerk told me I had three people in front of me, I thought I would die. I paced and paced and cried and paced and they finally got me in. My BP was 250/110 and I could barely stop moving long enough for them to take it. Thankfully, they processed me through pretty fast . . . . and then I had a horribly painful IV put into my wrist (spraying blood all over the floor in the process). But then, bless 'em, they gave me morphine. All hail morphine. Good stuff, baby. In about 2 minutes, I was floating and finally, finally, the pain stopped. I cried again, this time in relief.

They took me in for a CAT scan (which is wayyyyyyyyyy better than an MRI) and, as we had pretty much figured out, I was passing a kidney stone. By this time, it was almost to the bladder which means I was close to being done with the process. They took some blood, gave me some pain meds and finally sent me home.

I am not sure I have ever been that tired. I slept for 90 minutes and then got back up. I have spent the evening on the couch and am ready to collapse from fatigue already. I am counting the seconds until I am back in bed and this day is completely behind me.

It was a very bad, no good, rotten, awful, terrible, lousy day.
If you know anyone who has passed a kidney stone, call them and tell them how sorry you are, no matter how long ago it might have happened. I am pretty sure they will remember the event quite well--this is one kind of pain you just never forget.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Questioning Yourself

I have been going through a bit of an emotional "funk" lately. I'm trying to pull myself out of it, but so far, it ain't workin'. I find myself going through a period of questioning myself, questioning things about me that I believe are true and then suddenly, I feel like maybe . . I'm not.

Case in point #1: I worked on a nightmare of a project for six months. I put amazingly long hours into it, did enormous amounts of research, wrote, rewrote, revised, re-revised, trying to complete it as the editor was asking. Directions were vague to say the least. While working on it, the company gave me two other projects to work on . . . . it was stressful and I really poured myself into it. Editor B said I did a great job on project 2. Editor A, however, started with comments like "could use a few changes" and escalated to "we have hired someone else to fix everything you did, so you aren't likely to get paid". Many rants have been inspired by this project, lemme tell ya. At this point, I am guessing the $2000 I was expecting will turn into something like $200.

Case in point #2: I, like a billion other people on the planet, was looking around Facebook and came across my fiancee from back in the late 1970s. Thinking, apparently like a WOMAN, I thought I would say hello to him. Since then, we have exchanged about a dozen emails in which I have been told I basically ruined his life. I mean, it was 30 years ago people. I figured he was long married and had kids and I wanted to wish him a happy life. Best of intentions. But clearly, I have caused him a life time of pain. Okay then . . . .

Case in point #3: I wrote a column for Home Education Magazine that yes, had some seriousness to it, but was mostly just a call for young people to take parenting seriously and to educate themselves on important issues before blindly making childrearing decisions. Once again, best of intentions. Instead, I seem to have upset some readers and even a friend of mine found a lot to question in what I said.

So, I find myself flucuating between confidence in my beliefs and abilities and memories and self-doubt about them. I know this ties into the fact that work is slow, income is down, winter is coming and my emotional well-being is a little shakier than usual. See that huge black spiral I seem to be caught in?

I think I'd better find a life preserver pretty quick.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meet Nicole

I am not even sure where to start with this one. Besides being my daughter, she is one of the dearest friends I have. She is who I wanna go to Goodwill with. Who I want to watch a movie with. Who I laugh hardest with. Who I share deepest secrets with. Who I like to hang with. She is just a wonderful person, not just my child. Funny, smart, kind, loving, silly and adorable.

So here is Nicole. She is less than a month from turning 20. (EEEEEEK). She is madly in love with a handsome guy who has pretty much become part of our family (Jon). She has a part time job as a cashier at Sizzler's. She is a budding actress. She writes up a storm and is getting ready to do her fifth National Novel Writing Month/NaNoWriMo competition.

She has a wonderful relationship with her brothers. They both adore her and look to her for advice and encouragement. She actually enjoys spending time with them and they take walks, go out to eat, ride the max into the city and just talk, talk, talk. She has a relationship with them that I would have loved the chance to have had with my brother.

Nicole has a lot of living to do before she settles down . . . she hopes to do a lot of traveling and exploring the world. She wants to discover more passions than she already has and most likely will do this by seeing other people, other parts of the world. I will enjoy each moment vicariously. I am alrady planning on fantastic care packages to send to her.

Nicole hates spiders.

Calls the mound of mess in her room her personal POC (pile of crap).

Dreams of buying a kayak.

Gives amazing back massages.

Is graceful, elegant and articulate.

Despites doing research.

Wishes people would ask her more questions when they chat.

Is crazy about Neil Patrick Harris and "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog"

Writes fantastic letters.

Makes me laugh uncontrollably.
Brings me occasional chocolate.

Searches for a best friend (mothers only go so far in that deparment).

Is a sucker for a good romance novel.
Adores theatre as much as I do.

She is an amazing person, more beautiful inside than outside and I love just atching her blossom and bloom and become. And I get a front row seat!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Meet Coryn

This handsome fella is Coryn Aslan Sebastian Orr. He is 14 years old. . . technically. I believe his soul is closer to 40 or so. His sense of humor has been years ahead of his chronological age for a long time. It is wicked and funny and often embarassing.

If you met Coryn while he was out and about, you would come away with the impression that he was sweet, quiet and polite. If you got to know him well, you would know that he is sweet. He does have good manners. Quiet? HA. Not for a moment.

Coryn is smart--and knows it. He is a smart . . . a. . . let's say aleck. He reads faster than the speed of light can hit the page. He is our resident computer geek. He recently went from a shy homebody to a teenager desperate to connect with other teenagers.

From the time he was born, he was a ham. Bring out a camera and he smiles. At only a few months old, he seemed to know there was a camera in the room and would pose. By the age of one, he would stop, smile and wait for the flash. Today he still makes faces for pictures and if someone picks up a camera, unlike his other brother who immediately hides before he can be caught, he turns to the photographer and waits. Perhaps that is why, today, he seems to lean toward a passion for photography.

He has an infectious laugh that makes me smile whenever I hear it. He loves a dirty joke more than almost anyone I've ever met. I can't tell you how many times he has read the jokes in the National Lampoon book.

Coryn had problems with homesickness for a long time. On the one hand, I felt bad for him. On the other, since he is my youngest, I didn't really mind. Now that he is completely past it, I kinda miss it. But I really AM happy for him. I was pressured to force him to get over it . . . but I waited, loved him and you know, he got over it when he was ready.

Recently I wrote a tongue in cheek article for Home Education Magazine that apparently upset a few readers. I feel badly about that because that was never my intent. When one reader wrote a letter to the magazine stating that I was clearly a bad mother, all three of my kids responded by writing letters to the magazine. Their words of love and support warmed my heart. Coryn's letter stated, "My parents are loving, caring, noncontrolling, helpful and full of great advice. They let me be who I want to be. If I ask for their help, then they help. They would never push thier ideals on me. Coryn Orr--a child who is a giant fan of his childhood and family".

Not too shabby, that boy. He makes the world a better place for me and for anyone who gets the chance to spend time with him.

PS Please note that Jon, Nicole's boyfriend, wants to take this opportunity to say hello to the world. And that he is great (and obviously humble).

Meet Caspian

I have amazing kids.

I had someone recently say to me that if they had had to take a vacation with three teenagers, it would have ended up in tragedy and an arrest. But you know what? I can't imagine any people I would rather go on vacation with than my kids and husband.

So, I've decided to introduce you to my kids via this blog. I'd love to introduce you to our oldest but we don't see her or hear from her enough to know how she is. But rest assured, she is a great one also. We have countless wonderful memories of her growing up and I see her in all three of her siblings all the time.

Rather than go in order of age, I decided to be random. I know! Me? Random. Hard to believe.

Caspian-Rolf Alexander Orr is our oldest son. He is 17 and will turn 18 (gulp) in about six months. From the time he was little, Caspian was the one who wouldn't sit with the rest of us for family pictures. He was too busy doing something off in the corner. He was the one who wanted to sleep when we were up--and wanted to get up when we were sleeping. If we all liked a food, he was sure to hate it and vice versa. When we were vegetarians, he wanted to eat meat. When we began eating meat, he wanted to be a vegetarian. Although this trait has made me pull my hair out and bang my head against the wall many a time, it is also endearing.

Here are some facts about this unusual and charming son of ours:

1. He loves his hair--it is down to his waist now and admittedly, some of the most beautiful hair on the planet. He brushes it often and has me braid it. He is the only one of our kids to have no interest in dying his hair (continuing his character trait described above).

2. Although he professes that he has no interest in having a girlfriend, all of his friends are girls. He has more phone calls and meetings with girls than any teenage guy I know. Perhaps it is because he treats them all as friends . . . . plus I think he is just charming and handsome.

3. He is STUBBORN. He decided he wanted to go on a fast. We have all fasted before. Joseph is quite knowledgeable about the topic, having done it and read and researched for years. So, we said yes, but we monitored it very closely, checking blood pressure and keeping him home with us at all times. How long did this teenage boy go with water only? Two weeks. Yup. Two weeks. Of course, he has since rediscovered his passion for bean burritoes but he also proved to himself that he is tough and has enough willpower for a small town.

4. He loves to read but reads the same set of books over and over and over, once again, something no one else in the family does. I know of several books he has read a dozen times.

5. He gives out amazing hugs. One thing Caspian definitely does is show that he loves you. Joseph and I, as well as his sister (rarely his brother but hey, they're . . . guys, ya know?) get regular daily, heartfelt hugs. He brings me ice water without my having to ask. Puts a heat pack in the microwave for me. And on those special occasions, when he knows I'm stressed out, he even grabs a bottle of lotion and gives me the world's best foot massage. He has also been known to walk down to the corner and buy his mother a couple of Three Musketeers bars and then dole them out when he knows I'm having a rough day.

6. He has one of the biggest hearts on the planet. If someone needs help, he is there. He holds open doors for everyone. He jumps in to move furniture or lift something heavy for total strangers. He can't stand to see someone in need without addressing it. He has done volunteer work for a number of places and I suspect his future holds a career in helping people, one way or another.

7. He is fascinated by people. . . . .he is the one who is always talking to people about what they do and how and why and when . . . Even when he was little, he would walk up to the street sweeper or the window washer or the baker and ask all kinds of questions. When we recently had our major power surge/outage, he was outside for two hours talking to the electricians. I think he absorbs knowledge about his world in this manner.

8. He hates to write but loves to read. He can't stand the Beatles but loves classical. He makes me groan in frustration and laugh in delight.

So, that is our son, or at least the highlights of him. I am going to attempt to post a picture with this so you can put a face to the description. Hope you enjoyed meeting him. I certainly enjoy sharing my life with him.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pardon Me While I Hibernate

Hey friends. Sorry for the disappearing act. Since I got home from vacation, it is like I've been taken over with a combination of chronic pain, lethargy/fatigue and worry. Ridiculous, but true. My workload has dropped such that I am back to combing the part time job ads, yet I know, deep down in my heart, that between a sore hip and back, a completely useless right arm and unreliable vision (we will overlook the high BP and the tinnitus), taking on another job might be more than I can handle. I have been sending out emails and reminders to every one I've ever worked with in an attempt to drum up some more assignments, but this is the lull that happens every year about this time. I know it will turn around but it makes for tight holidays and sleepless nights full of worry.

So, I haven't posted because I don't want to be the Eeyore of blogdom, bringing everyone down with a discussion about not being able to find my tail (a metaphor for not having work, for those of you not keeping up. Grin.). I'm sure I'll be my sunny self again soon. Maybe after a little more sleep, a couple more Advil and a few more assignments.

Stay tuned.