Snow Snow Rambling Snow Snow

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The first big snow of the season is supposed to come this weekend. Sure, we’ve had a dusting or two, maybe a couple of inches, but they are saying it could be 6-10 inches over the course of 48 hours.

As much as I hate Winter, I do look forward to the first snow storm. Something about it brings out something very childlike in me. I have so many memories attached with the first snow and getting excited for Christmas, that I can’t help but be a little bit thrilled when the first snow storm hits. Not to mention, we’ve had a handful of years where it didn’t snow until after January, so huzzah to snow for Santa.

I do have some things to do before the snow gets here. I decided against putting up Christmas lights on the outside of the house, (got the inside covered!) but I do need to move some things into the shed and pull out the snow shovels. Just generally clean up the yard so I don’t have to do quite as much in the spring. The snow is supposed to start tomorrow evening, so I know what my day plans are for tomorrow.

Thankfully I don’t have any plans for this weekend. I did most of my present – shopping online this year, so beyond one more day with a trip to a couple stores, I’m done. So while the snow is piling down, I’ll be at home with my tea, occasionally shoveling but mostly binge watching Netflix and random cleaning. Unfortunately the boyfriend, Jon has to work, so I’ll be worried about him driving, but I’m sure he’ll be fine. Hopefully the snow slows down by Monday so my own commute to work won’t be too bad.

Other than my excitement for the white shit that falls from the sky, things are.. okay. The short kid is excited for Christmas, I got her one big present and some smaller things, and of course Santa is coming to my house and Grandma and Grandpas.

I’m trying to share in her excitement but of course, for I assume all single parents, the holidays are a stressful time. Jon has helped out with some gifts, and has been helping me tackle some things around the house I haven’t had time for so that’s definitely been helping. Just trying to stay on top of all the household chores and the finances is kicking me when I’m already down.

Of course my FMLA for work had expired, and getting it renewed isn’t exactly easy. I’m trying to be patient and understanding, but it hasn’t been easy on the corporate side of things. Thankfully I have a couple of friends who either work in employment law or are very familiar with FMLA that are guiding me through it. Of course, all of that just adds stress on top of what I already am dealing with, plus being sick. That’s how it always works. When it rains, it pours. (Or in this case, SNOWS!)

Other than that, one thing I don’t have to worry about is my car. My lovely Rav4 hit 250,000 miles the other day. We rebuilt the transmission 2 summers ago, so that’s been good. However, my wheel bearing went out. I went to get that replaced, and also replaced the ball joint as well as finally getting new tires for it. It was time, I couldn’t put it off any longer as they were pretty bad and I was sliding on just wet pavement.¬†Of course that set me back quite a bit, but it needed to be done, and thankfully it is done just before the big snow.

I am still reminding myself to think of the good things, because like anyone else under a lot of stress, it’s easy to take life for granted. I’m very lucky, even though I’m having a tough time with my health, I’ve also been much sicker. I may be stressing about finances, but I have my house, car and decent job. I may get overwhelmed, but I’ve got a smart cookie for a kid, and a very loving boyfriend (who brought me a chai at work today because I was having a rough day!). There’s an upside to everything, and I am very blessed to have the life I do and the people in my life.

Wheezing costs money

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Being a single parent sucks sometimes, hell, being a single parent with a chronic illness really sucks, but that’s neither here nor there.

My little Buddha has been wheezing up a storm lately. We know she’s allergic to cats (not much to the little black fur-ball of hell that we own, but other people’s cats) and when she gets a cold, she immediately feels it in her chest. She’s past the freaking out part, but has a hard time running around and sleeping despite all of the old asthma tricks I know.

So anyway, on Friday she was wheezing, I chalked it up to asshole cat sleeping on her face or something, but it didn’t go away, so I kept her home. Thankfully we have some prescriptions from her doctor, that should kick it in the butt pretty quickly, so there’s that positive note. Unfortunately, even though I met my prescription deductible, the short one did not, so that was the rest of my money and then some.

This is where I’ve struggled the most raising her on my own. Between childcare (which is 1/3 to 1/2 of my paycheck), to every day things like colds, it kicks me right in the bank account. It doesn’t help that I miss days due to my own illness, but I always somehow figure out a way to make it work.

Honestly though, it’s times like this.. where I’m shit broke before Christmas, that I get angry at the sperm donor. Both Noodle and I have LONG gotten over him disappearing to make more babies in Colorado, and I prefer he stay the fuck away at this point, but Christ. He toted to everyone that he was such a good dad, yet since he’s left.. nothing. Not a single dime of child support, no health insurance for Noodle, and he’s supposed to pay half of daycare. I know he’s occasionally paying his other “baby mama” here, but nothing. Yet the fucker goes off and pro-creates again in another state. Man, I sure do know how to pick em. Ugh.

Whatever though, as most of you know, my kid is wise beyond her years. Back when she was 7 she picked up that her dad was a scum bag when one of the kids at school explained what a dead beat was. She understands, she accepts it, and she’s understanding of the fact that I do my best to cover both parental roles. The benefit of all that, is she is a very grateful child, and she understands money more than most kids her age.

It still sucks to have to count pennies and pick bills to pay around the Christmas Season. When all is said and done though, I’m proud as hell of the fact that I’ve been making it work this far. Noodle will grow up knowing that I took care of her on my own.

Normalcy.

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I was going to start off this blog in a general, all encompassing way. I was going to include everyone with a chronic illness in this post. However, I don’t know what’s in everyone’s head. Frankly, after trying to start writing the first few sentences, and deleting them about 5 times, I give up.

This entry is my thoughts. Purely me.

As some of you know, I’ve been having some problems lately. My heart isn’t acting up nearly as much as it had been, but when it does, it’s traumatic. My Crohn’s has been active too, with all the normal symptoms. From urgency, to extreme joint pain, and with today’s newest symptom, mouth ulcers.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, which of course has been effecting my mood. It’s been hard to keep myself out of a rut. With the debilitating fatigue, it makes it all the more easy to just¬†stay in bed.. why fight my body¬†and depression.¬†Of course, my anxiety is high as well. With missing the odd day almost 4 times a month, my bank account is hurting.. and with Christmas coming up, that’s scary.

To top that off, I found out my FMLA expired, and having never been on FMLA before, I didn’t know I was responsible for keeping track of when it expires. I figured that my company would notify me. Unfortunately that was not the case, and I randomly followed up on it and found it was expired. So there’s nothing better for anxiety than being in immense pain, living in the bathroom, and stressing about money.. than also having to worry about missing a day and losing your job because of it. Thankfully I was able to get an appointment with my chronic illness manager to renew my paperwork at the end of this next week. Still, it’s just one more thing I didn’t want to deal with.. talk about trying to choke back tears at work.

Anyways, what I’m getting at is, I’m at my.. wits end? It’s been very stressful, and I’ve been stuffing it in the back of my head, hoping for a better day, but I think it’s appropriate that I put this on paper/or in this case my blog, since it is Crohns and Colitis Awareness Week. This is one of the many facets of living with Crohns.. so why not share it?

So without giving away too much information about someone… well that’s not me.. a guy I know has a throat condition. He has a procedure scheduled coming up that will relieve some of the symptoms. Essentially a chance at pseudo-normalcy. Which is great, by all means, all of us with any kind of chronic condition deserve a break. It got me thinking though. Thoughts started tumbling through my head rather quickly. Admittedly I lost a lot of them because I didn’t think to write them down right away, but such is life.

I really don’t remember what “normal” is like anymore. I’ve been sick now, for almost 10 years. For a long time I struggled with the fact that the life I knew was gone. It took a long time to come to terms with it, honestly, it was mostly because as time went on, I started to forget what it was like.

In the years I’ve been sick, I’ve never achieved remission. Sure, I’ve had a group of months here or there that were “good” [Sidenote: not to be an ass, but “good” for most people with a chronic condition would send a healthy person running for the ER.] but I haven’t had a pain-free day, or a day without any symptoms.. period.

Thinking about normalcy almost.. almost upset me. It dug up some old feelings I’ve been avoiding for a while. Yet, I can thankfully remind myself of what I’ve¬†gained¬†from Crohns Disease as well as Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. I may have lost my old life, and I may not have much of a chance at normalcy any time soon, but I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be who I am today, if I hadn’t been through what I have.

Through the last decade, I’ve learned to appreciate the “good” days, as well as the little things. I don’t know if I’d have appreciated a good cup of tea or a surprise phone call from a friend if I hadn’t been in a place where I felt like I had no one, and couldn’t even stomach water. I really doubt I’d appreciate the first warm spring day as much as if I hadn’t watched one from the other side of sealed hospital window.

Like tonight, I wouldn’t appreciate sitting on the couch with my boyfriend, watching stupid scifi shows.. if I hadn’t been completely alone and scared before.

So I guess the point of all of my rambling tonight, is that we, or I may not have “normal”. Even without normal though, there are good things. Good moments, good people, and memories to be made. Life isn’t over, life is just different. It may not be all fun and happiness, I’ll have bad days, but it’s important to remember that that’s not all there is.

 

In honor of Crohns and Colitis Week, today, I am going to embrace the good I do have. Things may not be normal, I may not have the life I used to have, but I do have life.

 

Autumn.

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There is something about Autumn that I simultaneously loathe yet fall in love with. It’s a beautiful time of year, all of the different colored leaves both on the trees and on the ground just make me pause. It’s the season of sweaters and hot coffee, snuggling up for movies while listening to the rain, I look forward to Autumn every year.

I can’t think of something I enjoy more than sitting around a fire with close friends, and staying up talking, singing, and drinking cold beer as the stars come out. That’s medicine for my soul right there, it’s soothing. Even a fire by myself is something out of this world. The smell of wood smoke, just my tunes, my thoughts, and myself.

Even now, after a night with friends, that unfortunately ended up with some severe pains in my abdomen, I am back outside. I did my chores, did a bit of bids from home, managed to eat a bit, and I’m back outside with my laptop. Just sitting and writing, listening to the leaves blow in the trees.

Yet, this time of year means winter is coming. It means cold and darkness, snow and memories. Every year now, I take Autumn as a time to reflect and prepare myself for the months ahead. Winter hits me hard, for numerous reasons, and each just strike me through the heart it feels.

My mother was really sick in the winter months. A lot of my aversion to the winter is due to the inevitable digging up of those memories. From the childish hope that my mother would get better, to the charity of our family and friends, all the way to death and emotional pain so deep, that you wish to join.

Of course all of those memories drudge up others I have lost, and the attached pain and longing as well. Then of course you have to face your own mortality, especially as someone who is chronically ill, that can be a bitter pill to take.

It’s a tough time of year for me, despite my love for it. It’s the time of year for reflection, to remember, and to¬†learn.

Written Word.

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My pen has been scraping across paper for the last 4 to 5 days. There’s nothing more glorious than when you break through a block and you can watch the words pour out of your fingertips. 

Maybe its the season? Every autumn I reminisce and reevaluate. Something about leaves falling, wood smoke, and chilly nights just does it for me. My journal, gifted to me by a friend, has lost at least 20 pages. Sitting by the fire, just emptying my mind as the smoke curls up into the night air. Whether its a hot cup of coffee with cream, or a cold beer, I’m there.. writing. 

On the off chance that rain is falling from the sky, I’ve found myself laying on the cold kitchen floor. The tinny sound of the rain coming through the windows and the snores of my child, finds me on my stomach with my coffee and stack of books. It’s a habit from my younger years, the cold tile, the hot coffee, and my journals, sketch book and scraps I’ve written on spread around me. It’s simular to the chaos of my thoughts, beating against my brain to layout on paper. 

It doesn’t matter where the thoughts turn. I write everything. Sometimes I’ll use a separate journal to put the more chaotic words. The raw emotion that seems to come out of nowhere, splashes across the pages. I don’t know where it comes from, but suddenly I’m drowning in it. Desperation, loneliness, emotional pain and fear. Love, gratitude, hope, appreciation. It just comes, and the only way it will leave is through my fingers. 

So the words have been coming, I hope they keep on burning thier way out. Its the best physical sensation to just pour out my mind.. and know theres that much more. 

Feel.

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One of the things I’ve been working on this year, is accepting and enjoying life around me instead of just beating my own ass to do better. I don’t think I’ll ever stop pushing so hard, but that’s not a bad thing in my eyes, I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and how much I achieve each and every year. What I was doing though, was essentially killing myself trying to make life “better” for my child, and of course the men who shall not be named. I lost touch with the simple things in life and only focused on the future.

Could I finish this project before the next one had to be started? Would I be able to move out of my town in 5 years? Would I be able to keep repairing my car, or should I be saving for a newer model? Could I be happy.. in the future? Thankfully, I realized that I had no concept of the present during the whole -get the crash cart, her heart cant go much longer- bullshit at the tail end of last winter. Facing mortality, yet again, kind of makes you re-evaluate everything.

Through spring this year, I started focusing on the physical and emotional “now”. [Insert Zen Bullshit Here] When was the last time I really watched a sunset? When was the last time I laid in bed and¬†just listened¬†to the rain? When was the last time I watched my daughter play in the sand, without worrying about tomorrow?

I couldn’t remember. The ache that had developed in my chest wasn’t just my literal broken heart (subnote: I guess I could blame that on he who shall not be named hahaha) it was the lack of feeling.. the lack of seeing.. the lack of being right in the moment. So I started trying to appreciate the little things, and enjoy simplicity, especially with nature, in all aspects.

Truthfully, it took a couple of months to be able to be in the moment without forcing myself to pay attention. Worries for the future would take up most of my thoughts until I made myself feel the breeze, or until I directed my focus to the sound of the wind through the new leaves on the trees.

The last month and change, I finally noticed I was doing it without thinking about it. I could watch the sun glint off of my daughters blonde hair and think only of that. I could play catch with my dog, and just enjoy it. I could again write about things (mostly in my physical journals) that I was living.. instead of just worrying about what I would have to live through.

There have been many realizations along the way. I had to learn to become comfortable with myself, I had to start accepting things I wasn’t happy with, with my own body. (Still a work in progress, my surgical scars still bother me). How can you enjoy the cool night air on your skin, if you can’t bare all of it? To be comfortable with my own thoughts, had to be comfortable with my own skin. Then I had to acknowledge what I was capable of, what I had actually achieved. It was like a first step for me, then it was time to face the rest of my demons.

I’m getting there. I can set aside the future, and enjoy the current moment. I can just listen to¬†the sounds of my boots crunching over the leaves on the ground. I can¬†just listen¬†to the fire crackle in my backyard. I can watch my daughter dance around, I can just take part in¬†her joy when we dance in the kitchen. I can¬†just taste¬†the woody notes in my favorite tea, or the tang of my beer with the sun overhead. I can¬†just feel¬†running my fingertips across someone’s lips,¬†just feel¬†their touch.

Life is unbelievable short. It’s over before we know it. I think what I’m getting at, is how important it is to enjoy the little things in life.. to actually live.. instead of just living. Of course I worry about tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll ever stop, but now, I can live in today too. So no day is ever “wasted”.

Time keeps flying..

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Holy crap, it’s already August! Where did the summer go? Hell, where did the first 8 months of 2016 go? It’s almost time for school to start back up for my little one, and she’s not so little. She’ll be going into 4th grade this year, and it still feels like changing diapers and tying little tiny tennis shoes was just yesterday.

She’s super excited, I can’t blame her. She’s now at the age where picking out school supplies is super fun, as well as new school clothes. She’s looking forward to seeing all of her school friends again and is super excited to see who her new teacher is this year. Here I am, panicking because I have a 9 year old instead of a toddler. I have a 4th grader instead of a pre-schooler. Where did the years go?

Hell, time has flown for me too. In 9 years, I’ve been through 2 major relationships, I’ve bought a house, gotten sicker, and gotten better and all of the nitty gritty in between. It’s been one hell of a ride these past 9 years, hell, most of my life, but what I’ve made of my life makes me proud. It definitely has taken some hard work, and there’s a lot more work to do, but I’m where I feel I need to be at this point.

What’s next? I don’t know. I’m planning on some minor remodeling in my home, it’ll take time, but it’s all things I want to be done. Other than that, just planning on enjoying life a little bit more now. I have the peace I’ve been wanting, it’s about time I take advantage of it.