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First – it’s okay to post it here I think because no one who knows them IRL reads here. I’m gonna be a grandma! OMG! I did (or will have) make (made) it to my 40th before that happened, but barely. By a nose! I knew it was coming, I saw all the signs and symptoms and am pretty sure I told a couple of people several months ago that I was calling it then. They, however, seem genuinely shocked. Especially the girl. Oh, maybe should clarify that this is my 21 yo son and his girlfriend, not my 18 yo daughter. It could have been either, I suppose, but I would have been less enthusiastic about my daughter. Only because it’s not something she wants right now, not to mention that her dad would kill her.

 

So anyway, they usually come up on the weekends for dinner and hanging out, and she didn’t come this time because she wasn’t feeling well. I asked my son (I calll them A and B in real time, so will do that here as well) what kind of sick, as I had a hunch, and he admitted that she was late but really not regular and they didn’t think it was possible. Apparently B had been told she probably wouldn’t be able to conceive without help, and as such they weren’t being very careful. I sent him home with sticks to pee on (well, for her to pee on) and instructions to text me when she knew.

 

I feel for B at the moment – she says her family will not be supportive and she can’t tell them yet. Meanwhile, they’re still living at my mom’s, in an environment that is not good for a baby, and she is unemployed and legitimately worried about being able to find a place. Add to that the lovely hormones of early pregnancy, and the poor girl has called me and texted me so many times over the past two days just crying over this or that. She’s over the moon thrilled, but also petrified of what this means. I reassure her that it’s all perfectly normal, and I really think she’ll be okay once the hormones settle down and she gets used to the idea.

 

So I have to blab here, because I’m so excited and must start knitting immediately. Since I called it MONTHS ago (lol), I’ve had plenty of time to get used to the idea and am on to the next stage. But I’m not allowed to mention it IRL because they aren’t ready yet. So I will gush here instead. Regardless of what the future brings, this has been a good year. I really thought that I wouldn’t see 40, and I’m 31 days or so away from that right now. I mourned the fact that I wouldn’t get to meet my grandchildren, and while I can’t be certain I’ll still be here by the time he/she arrives? I will at least have the chance to knit some lovely booties and gush over my firstborn’s firstborn-to-be. I can’t describe how that feels.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have very important bootie knitting to attend to.  

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Playing Catch (up)

Sorry for the long silence. Life has been frustrating, and when life is frustrating I am less likely to want to talk about it. Wonder why that is. I think my mom is just the opposite, she loves to bitch about anyone and everything. I think she lives for that most of the time. When I have nothing good to say, I don’t really want to say much at all and tend to just hole up in my safe space and ignore the world as much as possible.

September was a very challenging month, on so many levels. I spent more than half the month fighting with government agencies (well, only one really) about our food stamps and medicaid, or rather the lack thereof. It was absolutely no fault of my own that got our benefits canceled, but I am quite certain that the folks who work there have heard every excuse under the sun. One hour of one day sitting there just listening to what was going on around me was enough to convince me that I could never be a social worker for such a place. I do not have the patience for that type of thing, not in the least.

At any rate, I finally broke down about three and a half weeks into the month, when I really really really hit bottom. No meds for my guy who really needed them, and no food stamps at a time when I needed them even more than usual. I really needed the convenience of pre-packaged, processed food, thanks to being unable to cook due to brokenness. Since those types of things tend to not be cheap, the lack of food stamps hurt even more than it would have typically when I don’t buy as many pre-made things.

So finally, I combed through the DJFS website and found an email connection through which I typed up a desperate plea for assistance. I had heard nothing on my case since the end of August, and I was at the end of my rope. Although I had tried repeatedly, I was unsuccessful in ever reaching another live person on the phone via any of the numbers that were available to me. I spent quite literally hours dialing, over and over and over, having nothing better to do with my time anyway, and the system just continued to frustrate me by hanging up on me time and time again. We’re sorry, all our workers are busy helping other clients. Please try again during regular business hours. Click. Start over. My email must have sounded just desperate enough, or I caught an efficient and caring case worker, or someone was just having a great day; whatever the reason, I got results! Nearly immediately! It was only an hour or two later and she had my food stamp card reloaded, and promised that my son could get his meds the following day. Apparently medicaid takes 24 hours to process.

I thanked her so very much and from the bottom of my heart for her help. I meant it when I told her that one person like her can make such a difference in the day and life of someone like me, and I really appreciated her taking the time to check on my case and get it through for me. She said the heartfelt gratitude was what kept her going in the hard times, so I guess we’re even.

I thought things would start to look up. I was wrong.

Had my daughter’s birthday the last week of the month. She’s no longer my little baby girl, she’s all grown up and a gorgeous 18 year old now. Bittersweet. We had a get together for her, and I spent a lot of time working on her gift (which is part of what contributed to my lack of blog entries I must confess). I managed to go through years and years and years of pictures and made her a scrapbook that covered all of her years. I also asked all the people in the scrapbook to write her a little note that had a story or some hope or wish for her or just something that she can keep, and put it in an envelope, and I put that envelope on the back of the page that belonged with that person. So she has a keepsake of photos from birth to 18 and a note from everyone important in her life. Excpet her dad, who refused to write one because he didn’t know what to say.

More to say on her birthday and such, but for now I”m just trying to catch up with the past few weeks.

Foot is still broken and not healing so well. Ortho is not worried, because he said that the spot where the break occurred is really difficult to heal even if one is not on many mg of prednisone. It hasn’t moved, and that is a good thing, because it means that it won’t need pinned to stay in place and such. It may still need surgery, like a bone graft or something, but I told him I had Big Plans in mid-November and broken foot or not, I’m not changing them. 😀 He said if we needed surgery it would be okay to wait until after that, no harm in just leaving the boot on to see what happens and maybe it will heal by then. I follow up the end of Oct.

So much more, but I am so done for now so that’s all you get. I’m fighting something lung-related and can’t decide if I’m trying to be sick or just adjusting to the weather or suffering from the day and a half without prednisone last week? Who knows, time will tell I suppose. I’m hanging in.

Still waiting

Still no food, and still no meds.  I still wait patiently for the magical day when my card will be reloaded and the pharmacy will call and say I can pick up their prescriptions.  There isn’t much else I can do at the moment.  I’ve been calling daily for the past three or four days, but I cannot seem to find the sweet spot that will connect me to a live, actual person.  It just keeps hanging up on me, and I am so frustrated with this system.

In other news, I was graceful enough to snap a bone in the side of my foot last weekend, and have been unable to do much of anything since then.  The world is a very frustrating place at the moment.  The dr. at the urgent care center was beyond rude and awful.  He said my foot didn’t “present” like a fracture, so he was sure it wasn’t broken.  I was 100% positive that it was; I both heard and felt the stupid bone snap.  And when he came back in to say “Oops, guess I was wrong!” he told me I’d have to take crutches, despite my informing him that I could not use them.  I mean, really, I’m there carrying an o2 tank… how do you really think I’m going to carry o2 and walk on crutches?  And this is discounting the fact that the chronic pain I deal with is right in the spot where crutches hit under my arm and there’s no way that I’m going to be able to manage on crutches.  But he insisted that’s all they had to offer, and so I had to take them.  I crawled to my desk chair when I got home, which my daughter pushed out to the curb because it’s on wheels.  And then the kids wheeled me inside.

They told me I’d need an ortho, but failed to give me a referral, so I just had to start calling Monday morning.  Thankfully a local dude was able to get me in Monday afternoon, and I did at least get good news in that I don’t need surgery or pins (most likely).  He ordered a wheelchair, which I’m supposed to be bound to for the next three weeks.  Today is Friday, and I’m still waiting for that wheelchair to show up.  Thankfully, someone had a walker that I borrowed and I’ve been able to get around the house with that.  But I haven’t been able to cook, take care of boys, or go anywhere except for from bed to bathroom and back for about a week now.  Almost.  I have strict instructions to not bear weight on said foot, and this is quite laughable to me.  I couldn’t even if I wanted to – resting it on the floor still elicits cringes and swearing.

My 9yo did a really great job of taking care of me those early days, when it hurt to move.  He cooked for us, took care of his little brother, got me whatever I needed, and was just generally awesome. That is about the only awesome thing going on around here though.  Sept. has really really sucked so far, and I really and truly hope it improves sometime in the near future.  I’ve had enough, world!

Just returned from a few weeks’ worth of travel, and I am not at all pleased with the mess I’ve returned to.  Not one iota.  I am unsure where to begin.

I think I shall start with the red tape shenanigans that encompass the social services of this country.  Or at least my county.  I was due for recertification for food stamps and medicaid, and this process should be quite simple.  They are supposed to call me and complete a phone interview, assuming nothing has changed on my case since this time last year, and that takes less than 30 minutes and things just continue on the way they were.  However!  i “missed” my phone interview, according to them, and as such I must be punished!  I did not miss my phone interview, for the record, they called the wrong number.  I followed the necessary steps and went online and officially changed my phone number, but somehow that did not get communicated to the office and so they called my old, nonexistent number and were unable to reach me.  Duh.  When no one called at the allotted time, I knew what was up and I called them.  It was no big deal, I got a real live and helpful person on the first try, and she asked for my correct phone number and rescheduled the interview.  The new time came and went, and no call, and so I called the office again to see what happened.

For TWO DAYS I tried to get through to the stupid DJFS office, and each time it was an 8 minute process of dialing and choosing the appropriate option and selecting things to get to the “I need to speak to a case worker” option, only to have it ring and a recording answer that would say “We’re sorry.  All our agents are currently busy assisting other customers.  Please try again during regular business hours, which are …..” (note I was calling during regular business hours).  I started at 8 one morning just to try to get in first (the recording said 8 to 9 was the least busy time) and that didn’t work either.  Finally, at like 9:30 of the second day, I got a live person.  Turns out that the nice and helpful person had written down (or typed in) a “6” instead of a “5” for one of the digits of my phone number, but they swore this was somehow my fault.  As if I’d tell them the wrong digit just for shits and giggles?  I dunno.  Anyway, they set it up again for the following day, and the following day finally got me a phone interview.  PHEW!  Just 3 days shy of the end of the month!

They did not inform me, however, that I’d been too slow and my benefits for Sept. were already cut.  So I went to get food, and had only $3 in food stamps.  Bummer, eh?  That’s not the worst though.  I thought (mistakenly, apparently) that kids’ medicaid had a grace period and couldn’t/wouldn’t get cut off immediately.  So I was really quite shocked when I went to get my kids’ meds and they wanted $180 for them.  Wow.  Well, I gathered up the documentation the DJFS office said they were waiting for, took it there in person and cried and said we had no food and that my kids couldn’t get their meds (the meds part is true, we have food and aren’t starving so no one worry about us) until they got it fixed, and I was informed that they are allowed to take up to 10 business days to process paperwork.  So it may be not this next week but the following week.  something like three weeks into Sept., then we can have food and meds again. Sigh.  And somehow this is all my fault.

So, I dealt with all that (well, as much as possible, the rest is just waiting) and now am dealing with my lovely, oh so functional apartment.  They came while I was away and installed new cabinets.  Yay!  RIght?  They are so nice, and the counter tops are awesome.  However, they took the contents of my kitchen and stacked them haphazardly in the next room and we couldn’t even walk through when we got home.  Now, my sister (also my aide worker) came the very next morning to fix it and put stuff away, but some of it had to be done that night (like sweeping the floors so it would be safe to walk through) and was left to the boys and me.  I did not appreciate that one bit.  BUT! The kicker(s) here?  I have no drawers!  No kitchen drawers!  Who in the world installs a new kitchen without drawers?  I have no place for my utensils!  And yes, I could put them in pitchers or something on the counter (and that’s where they are at the moment) but I have all of three counter tops – one has a microwave, one has a toaster oven, toaster, and crockpot, and the third is about six inches wide and holds the blender.  I’ve also lost cabinet space because they took out the ones beneath the sink to be ADA compliant (much better than just taking the doors off).

It’s so fucking disheartening.  I saw pictures before I came home, but they looked nice in photos!  I was excited to come home to a nice, new kitchen.  The stove is new, the fridge is new, and now finally new cabinets and such too.  Yay!  And to come home to that mess?  And then notice that oh, not only do I not have drawers? They also reinstalled the broken sink that was fixed with duct tape.  No, I’m not kidding.  They also lowered all the upper cabinets by 6″ or so (ADA compliance again) and didn’t paint, so the walls look like shit.  And the floors look like shit but those are due to be replaced any day now so I could have overlooked those if that were it.  Together?  It looks like a pile of shit, with nice cabinets and counters!  I guess I am too poor and do not deserve anything more.  It’s okay, I will sit here with my $3 worth of ramen noodles and just be happy to have a kitchen I suppose.  I am grateful, but not grateful or humble enough apparently.

And then I got new glasses and I swear they got the prescription wrong.  I wore them and had a headache so bad yesterday I could not get out of bed.  Not the migraine type (I’ve had those in the past) but more of the tension, throbbing kind.  Last night, I dug out an old pair of contact lenses and put those in, and this morning I’m quite fine after one round of ibuprofen.  It’s bummer, as I need to not wear contacts for a few weeks while I put these drops in for my new dx of glaucoma, but I suppose I will do my best to remember to take them out at night and do the drops and wait 15 minutes and put them back in.  I don’t like wearing glasses anyway, as I can’t see in the bright sunshine without sunglasses.  Just another thing that was disappointing and not going my way.

That said, I am due for some crap to go my way, don’t you think?  We went to the annual back to school picnic for our virtual school today, which should have counted as one of the face-to-face meetings for each of the boys’ teachers.  Except, the park was super busy and there were no signs indicating which shelter was the one we were looking for, and no one bothered to inform us, and I was out of breath as it was and not about to go walking shelter to shelter asking if we were at the right one yet.  To make a long story short, we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the park by ourselves, but we will have to do other face-to-face meetings with the teachers now.

I think I will just hide here in my crappy apartment until further notice.

On a trip!

Seems the majority of the month of August was spent traveling!  I had good news from BUD, and so didn’t feel the need to whine about it immediately.  Next appt. medically speaking is not until mid-Sept. and that’s with my new PCP.  I’m terribly nervous about starting up with someone new again, but I had little choice since I’m not willing to drive to D.C. for my old doc.  At any rate, I’m back on Amtrak tonight, heading back to Chicago where I will hopefully be able to pick up WIlma and the boys and head home.  Wilma has some issues, and jf has had a few weeks to work on them, and yet… he texted today to let me know that since it’s Labor Day weekend he is unable to find anyone TODAY to fix said issues and hopes that maybe probably someone might call him back in the morning so he can take it in.  While he’s due at Union Station to pick me up.

I have to admit I’m a bit nervous by his lack of communication since then, as I really do have to be back in Ohio by Tues. afternoon at the latest.  MY case manager is due at my house Wed. morning, not to mention that if I don’t show up and pay my rent I’m going to have eviction proceedings started.  It’s due today, but I have 4 days’ grace to get it there.  There’s no one to call, and no one working there since K got fired, so I really really need to get back.  Ah well, leaving here via train in a few hours and looking forward to my boys, if sad to be leaving bff again.  I do love that I’ve been able to bookend her summer this year and she got a little bonus “me” time, and I’m extra happy that I discovered Amtrak that runs from jf to bff for cheap!  Wooohoooo!

And with that, I’m off on another Mommy Adventure ™.  Wish me luck!

 

In the land of never-nod

I feel as though I have two modes of operation: either I sleep constantly and uncontrollably, or I don’t sleep at all.  There seems to be little that I can do to change this fact or alter the amount of sleep I get in any one particular night.  It’s quite frustrating I must say.  At the moment I’m at Jerkface’s place in Chicago, and all the boys are sleeping soundly and of course I’m wide awake watching old reruns of Andy Griffith on Netflix and knitting things that don’t take much in the way of concentration.  Is there no happy medium?  When I’m in sleep-mode I can (and have!) fall asleep just about anywhere or any time or in any position with any number of things going on all around me.  It’s really not a natural tired or sleepiness.  It’s an overwhelming, must-close-my-eyes-right-this-second, passing out as though I’m nodding off drunk kind of tired.  And when it hits, there is really little to do except nap it out.  Sometimes a 20 minute session of “quiet time” with eyes closed is enough to do the trick.  Sometimes, not so much.

The worrisome thing about this, of course, is the driving.  I happen to be driving quite frequently, and I worry that I’ll nod off behind the wheel (Because it really is that uncontrollable).  So far it’s only hit me once or twice while on the road, and just pulling over at a gas station or similar and walking around for 20 minutes or so was enough to break the spell.  Once I had to stop multiple times, as I thought I’d gotten past it and pulled back onto the interstate only to find myself drifting again.  I pulled off at the very next exit and walked around some more, but what if it hits me like this one of the times that I’m driving and I can’t shake it?  I’ll have to get a hotel so I can nap safely with the kids? Of course I would if that’s what I had to do, but I would much rather get to the bottom of it and FIX the stupid problem if possible.

Doesn’t seem to matter if I’ve had 2 hours or 20 hours of sleep the day before. Doesn’t seem to matter if I have 20mg or 2mg of percocet.  I always have caffeine, in the form of Mountain Dew, so it’s unlikely that’s the incriminating variable.  I don’t honestly know, but I wish I could predict it and swap it out for nights like this when I can and should be sleeping but instead sit awake at 4:30 a.m. while the rest of the house sleeps.  Tonight’s I’m pretty sure I’m onto, however, as I have bumped up the prednisone for travel and that typically makes me a jittery jumpity mess when trying to lie still.  Kind of a necessity for sleep, for the most part.  That’s not always a guarantee (sometimes I can sleep even all jacked up on mega-pred) but if I’m not sleeping and I’m all jittery and it’s been travel time? Chances are that the prednisone is at least partially to blame.

On that note, I’m here in stinky Chicago which I love to complain about, but I’m so excited that D! is gonna be here tomorrow!  WOOOHOOOOO!  I’m sure that is also adding to my jitters and adrenaline, as I’m so psyched up while I’m anxiously awaiting the D! family arrival.  We have a couple of days of hanging out and swimming and fun before she’s off for further easterly adventures and I’m back to Ohio for BUD.

Hopefully I’ll be able to stay awake through her visit tomorrow.  😀

GeoAdventures

It’s difficult to find time to write with a house full of kidlets!  I guess I’d rather be experiencing life than bemoaning the fact that I don’t have anything to do or anyone to do it with, or perhaps the lack of funds or energy or motivation or all the other things that keep me online and inside most days.  So, for that I am thankful and will just have to do chunky blogging, write it down as I have time.  So much to catch up on, but I’ll start here and go backwards and who knows when or if I’ll ever get caught up.  Such is the nature of life I suppose.

This weekend, my eldest and his girlfriend spent the weekend here and it was great to hang out and just be together for a while.  They were having some issues at my mom’s house (imagine that!) and they were ready to move out on Friday.  I really don’t have room for more people here, but would never turn them away, so I said they could stay here if they submitted an application for their own place as soon as they got here (there are empties here still) and worked on finding local jobs.  Thankfully by the time they actually *got* here, she had a job in Mom’s town and he had his stipend from school for the quarter so they were much happier than they’d been earlier in the day and were willing to stick it out there a while longer.  They only needed a break for the weekend, which I’m happy to provide.

Sunday we decided to go Geocaching, which generally typically means some sort of Mommy Adventure ™.  I don’t think we’ve ever gone geocaching without some kind of interesting detour.  My boys all know this, and prepare accordingly, but this was the girlfriend’s first experience in Mommy Adventuring.  Would you believe she actually criticized my driving?  To my face even!  That may have been instigated by the backward trip down a gravel/grass drive that was precariously close to a rather deep ditch.  And a tree.  But it was fine, until the tires didn’t catch on the gravel and we kept sliding backward despite the fact that the brakes were mashed to the floor.  And even then, it was still just a *little* scary for like, one millisecond, and then it was fine again.  Sheesh, some people have no faith.

We did find some really cool spots.  An old train tunnel, rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a brakeman who was killed there in the 1930s.  A tiny cemetery with three anonymous graves, along with an abandoned house with all the belongings still in place.  As if a family just walked away without taking a thing, and never returning.  Baby shoes, cereal, calendars on the wall… spooky, and weird.  I love a good mystery.  There were a few abandoned cars there as well, and an old trailer.  A couple of really old, really out of the way cemeteries.  Makes me wonder what the stories are of the people who are buried there.  Or alternatively, as was the case with a couple of the ones this weekend, the stories of the ones who are *not* buried there.  Like a husband and wife plot, with the husband’s name and dates of birth/death, but the wife’s plot has only her name and DOB (as if she’s still alive but it’s been waaaaaay too many years for that to be the case).  Everyone has a story, right?

Anyway, have a ton of pics to upload from the weekend as soon as I figure out where I’m going to put them.  And that was my very exciting weekend adventure, pretty much.  This week we’re on to fair food and king’s island again, and maybe some Soak City and swimming.  Then Chicago, back to Ohio, BUD visit, eye dr., KY for the kids, back to Chicago, off to NY, back to Chicago, and back to Ohio!  Whew!  I’d better go get rested up.