2011 in 12 Sentences

HERE’S HOPING FOR A BETTER 2012

old house

January 2011, I’m so damn cold, I can’t get warm.

February 2011, I’m still so friggin cold and I hate the ice.

March 2011, Weeping because my son is graduating High School

April 2011, Stress in the family, college stress, grandma stress, she feels poorly

May 2011, A two-week vacation in Spain with my husband, heaven (except for the pick pocketing incident)

June 2011, My son graduates, more tears, but he got into a good college and he is happy, he works at his old camp, away the whole summer.

July 2011, Husband and I are stressed because daughter is not working

August 2011 Husband breaks Achilles tendon, needs surgery, I drive alone to bring son to college. We plan for a new kitchen and instead our house falls apart, termites, carpenter acts, wood rot, deception. We have to move and share one room with daughter and dog in a hotel. (For over 3 months.) Daughter starts to look at colleges. Husband is out of commission for over three months, on crutches.

September 2011 It cost us financially, emotionally and physically, we are all depressed.

October 2011 My birthday sucked, August September, October sucked, most friends forgot about us, broken promises, “out of sight, out of mind?”

November 2011 Life still sucks.

December 2011 Still in hotel for first half of the month, back home in second half. No money for Christmas presents. The house is still a construction site; but at least we’re home. Gratitude and love for those who helped us and invited us, never will be forgotten.

Can’t wait to say good-bye to 2011.

Can you blame me?!

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Home, Sweet, Allergic, Home

Drywall

We’re keeping a friendly distance from each other, now that we are home and back from the one room we shared in the hotel. Two parents, one teenage daughter and our dog. I think the dog, Callie, misses the ginger snaps that she got lovingly from the lobby of the hotel by her admirers. I bought ginger snaps but she doesn’t have the same lust for them as she did when one of her loyal servants held up a treat and told her to “sit.”

Yesterday, my husband was on the computer as I was trying to sleep and so I reminded him, ever so gently, that we were home now and we really could spread out a little, hint hint.  You get used to something you have done every day for over three months. He finally moved from the bed and went to his office, it’s all a matter of habit.

I can’t find anything in the house, no coffee makers, sponges, clean towels, clothes, sheets. We still use plastic utensils because we have no idea where our knives and forks and spoons are vacationing. We have a new bathtub that I believe I am too short to use. No, seriously. For my Fibromyalagia and chronic pain we ordered a bathtub with jets, like a jacuzzi. The problem is I am so stiff and sore so often, I can barely lift my leg to get into the tub. I see a step stool in my future, like the one I had as a baby, it was painted a bright red and had a painting of a bunny on it. It’s name of course was, Bunny. I see a new Bunny in my not too distant future.

I’m overwhelmed with tiredness, trying to do things I need to do. “Pace yourself” my friends will say but I just shake my head and point to this teeny house with clutter in every room and I don’t see how I can rest and relax with the sheer amount of work ahead. Twenty loads of laundry await me, no, now it’s twenty-two. I need to unload books and papers, clothing and pretty much everything we all own.

The worst part of all is this is that the WORK IS NOT FINISHED. After we paid a large amount of money to have the house cleaned professionally by industrial cleaners from all the toxic chemicals that were sprayed to destroy termites and carpenter ants, the contractor and his helpers neglected to tell us that the work would still go on for several weeks. WTH?  Why on earth did we pay money for a clean house when I am sneezing and wheezing from the piles of sawdust and sheet rock leftovers ALL OVER THE HOUSE?

I’m tired, I better go to sleep. Work starts, at 8am every morning, including Saturdays. The buzz saw seemingly goes straight through my head, that is how I awaken to another new day. I’ll celebrate when they start to paint. In the meantime, I miss my friends at the hotel; I was lucky to run into one of them today at my favorite store, Target. That felt more like home, than home does.  To all the people who were so genuinely nice to us when we were displaced: Wags and Whiskers, Marina and Mike, Dana and Bill, Stephanie at Dr. Kaufman’s Office, my friends at the Holiday Inn, especially, Ashley and Leanne, and Anthony, we say THANK YOU SO MUCH. It’s amazing what you learn about your friends and neighbors when times are really tough AND what unexpected treasures you find in the people with the extra kind hearts; thanks also to the Sterns who welcomed us back with a bottle of wine! It meant so much to us.

Warm wishes for a Happy Holiday Season!

Do You See Me?

English: Lady Lake, Fla., February 6, 2007 -- ...

I have nothing to write about; I feel empty like the new wooden cabinets in our kitchen, bare without plates and mugs nestled inside them. There’s nothing to do but tiptoe amongst vicious looking tools, a saw with its huge blade on the floor, assorted screws on the wood and carpet. I am not scared for myself but for my dog. ‘What if she walked on it?’ I seethe. I am trying to make progress and doing very little. It’s hard to feel at home with the workers fixing things or re-doing things. The house is always dirty even though we paid quite a lot of money for the industrial cleaning crew. As soon as I clean something, it becomes dirty again.The floor is slippery in places from wood floor shavings or tiny pieces of sawdust and wood that get stuck in the soles of my red, swollen feet.

I’m wandering around in circles, green plastic spoon in my hand, eating bright red pomegranate seeds. Back and forth, upstairs and down, I can’t find anything. Every room is filled with garbage bags and suitcases that don’t belong there. I need to shovel out my son’s bed from his room before he comes home for Christmas break. Whenever I find something I want, I lose it again.

Found objects are playing hide and seek with me, once found, now forgotten. I never liked that game, it’s the element of surprise, any element of surprise, really that scares me. The quick motions of a darting gray mouse, a bat swooping dangerously low, somebody coming at me from behind, I have been known to scream as if a murder was taking place in my room. It’s called the startle reflex and I correlate it with my being six weeks premature and in a hospital for over four weeks. Of course, I despise surprises.

We may have moved in too early as odd as that sounds. We’re in the way of the people working here, the old refrigerator covered by the blue tarp is now our lawn ornament. I had hoped someone would want it and take it away but no one came and the contractor will move it away on his truck. A good deed gone sour.

We have no curtains, we are using black garbage bags on our windows. I can’t cook or bake yet because the kitchen is not clean and there are no clean surfaces; the guys are finishing things in every room, all the time.  Our old oven sits silently, resentfully, among other new shiny items. The dishwasher has pretty blue lights, like that of a bluebird, that make me happy. I don’t have to look at garbage anymore or smell its rotten odor, there’s a garbage can built-in to the cabinet. The wooden cabinets have handles that I picked and I love them, when I look at them they seem to smile back at me.

I am back in our cozy home; how could I still feel lost?

I don’t know the answer.

9 And A Half Minutes

Shark

For those of you who are new to my blog (welcome)  I want you to know that I occasionally write a blog post called 9 and a half minutes. It’s basically a shorter, nicer version of Andy Rooney on 60 minutes. I do complain, wonder, question and kvetch ( to be disgruntled or complain) but not in an insolent, condescending way. In no particular order here are today’s topics:

My one true love is the ocean, now I am concerned with sharks and jellyfish and scary biting fish. Now people are dying because they swam in the lake. Did I hear correctly that the news said “brain eating amoeba”in the same sentence? I love water, a pool has lots of chlorine and to me, it is not as much fun. Soon just soaking in a tub will be off-limits.

I can no longer watch the news because it puts me in a depression or I feel hyped up with craziness and worry. There are too many atrocious things happening: bombs, terrorists, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, tragic accidents, cancer and hundreds of thousands of other diseases. There are perfectly innocent and beautiful sick children, children who die from one second to the next with no explanation. What kind of fair is that? I know someone whose son, age 6, passed away and they still haven’t gotten the autopsy report and it’s been three months. That is just plain wrong.

I am cranky, disgusted and fat. My chronic pain illness is getting worse and it’s an effort for me to get out of bed, walk downstairs and feel stiff and in pain all the time. I’m getting worse, not better. Doctors are putting chronic pain patients in chronic hell because now doctors don’t write out a prescription for medication WHEN YOU ARE SUFFERING AND NEED IT. Dear Doctors: we have no intention or interest of becoming drug addicts, we just want medication when we hurt so much we want to scream and throw plates at the walls. I know a doctor who prescribes vicodin by the mouthful but when it doesn’t help and the patient would prefer something less strong, he won’t do it. Does that make any sense?

What’s next? Going out in the sun of course can produce melanoma. Sitting inside during the winter can produce SAD, (Seasonal Affective Disorder) that makes you depressed. Go out for a walk, just be careful that there are no bears in the neighborhood or coyotes who swoop our precious little dogs and eat them for dessert. I will not let my dog become a wolf’s brownie.

Lastly, my baby tooth (I know, I know) has a chip and a cavity and will eventually have to be replaced with some expensive artificial tooth, I miss Gray’s Anatomy and I don’t think I will ever get over losing Oprah in her time slot. I actually miss Oprah too much to even try watching OWN. I’m trying to eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate bu, to me,t there is no comparison and it is a complete stretch. Meanwhile mosquitos are french kissing my skin and I am scratching at my arms in desperation looking like a coke addict.

Tomorrow the workers come back with their little demolition derby and our four-day respite will be over. It’s Sunday night and I have always hated Sunday nights. I need to love my dinner on Sunday nights which includes dessert. When we came home tonight I was eagerly looking forward to tasting the cake batter ice cream that I bought for the family. There was none left, my son ate it all today. So much for a pleasant Sunday night, I’m already dreading Monday. Truly.

Our Dirty, Shameful Secret

Description: This image shows a Carpenter ant ...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m coming out of the closet to explain my bad mood of late, my stress, tension, anger, depression and exhaustion. The big reveal: (drum roll please..)  CARPENTER ANTS. Yes, sad but true and I can’t keep this shameful secret to myself anymore.  I need help and support. What I really need is the Extreme Home Makeover crew AND the most adorable and beloved style/designer cutie- patootie, Nate Berkus.  I also need Oprah for moral support and the understanding of these life lessons.

We have a truckload full of carpenter ants. A friggin’ marching army carrying weapons of mass destruction.( At least I have proof.) What started as an exciting renovation for the kitchen has become the project from HELL.

The renovation is on hold until we completely rebuild and tear out the kitchen, bathroom and part of the basement. For now. We won’t know about the upstairs officially until they tear that apart too.

Basically, our family life (what family life?) stinks right now. We’re minus a bathroom, a family room, a kitchen and part of the basement. The only relative good news is that our son is leaving for college this week and he will escape the constant noise and demolition. The rest of us, my husband, daughter and I (plus the dog) are not that lucky. We are stuck here. When someone suggested moving into a rented apartment for three months, I laughed. The money pit can only go so far, folks. Our daughter will be going to college next fall.

The kitchen renovation project  (PCA: pre- carpenter ants ) was going to last 4-6 weeks and cost a set amount of money.  Now, we are talking a minimum of at least three months and A LOT more money.  This was NOT in the budget. That said, our cozy little home, my bastion of sanity, love and serenity has been destroyed. The gosh-darn ants have eaten their way down the stairs like starving people dining at a free smorgasbord. Oh and before you ask, yes, we did have a company come in and spray year-round to prevent the little suckers. There is no guarantee so please don’t ask. I feel used, stupid, resentful (no comment)  and violated.

My once beloved cozy cottage looks like a crime scene and the amount of money that is draining from our savings is practically enough to stabilize the economy. My husband talked me into this kitchen renovation and now it has become a major project, MAJOR. If we had known now what we did when we bought the house…..well, I can’t go there. My emotions have ranged from fury to laughing hysterically, depression, anger and annoyance and resentment.  It’s no wonder I am in a vicious flare up of Fibromyalgia, and TMJ and daily, throbbing headaches. Every day brings bad news, more things to fix and more money to spend.

The only thing I try to remember is to keep this in perspective. It is annoying and depressing and draining, financially $$$$, physically and emotionally but we are not in a Radiology Department waiting for ominous test results; in other words, it’s not life- threatening.  I’m rolling with the (expensive) punches because basically, I have no choice.  Is this a catastrophe? Yes, I mean No! It’s an annoyance and a lot of money down the um, drain, pipes, frame, tube?  I’m taking it one day at a time; one very costly, day at a time. There is no other way.

My Favorite Place to Read and Write

Starbucks Mug

Image by Schtumple via Flickr

I Don’t Have To Go Far….

Sigh. My BED. Lying down on my stomach, sideways, across the bed is my favorite place to read and write. It is really an uncomfortable position for anyone who has Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain like I do but I continue to do it. It helps me think. My elbow joints are always tender and they throb in pain and I do know it’s partly my fault but it probably won’t change my guilty habit unless I am forced to medically. My other place on my bed is using a 1970’s brown cushion pillow with back support that I have had since college. It’s true, I still use it and it has those silly arms and it looks horrible, but it still feels good. We refer to it, at home, as “the brown thing.”  My husband insists it’s called a television pillow. Okay.

I have gone to the library on many occasions to write but got distracted by the silence. Since our kitchen is being demolished soon so we can renovate it,  my peaceful haven on my bed will be unthinkable for two months. I will be surrounded by dust and noise, LOUD noise, and there will be no relief at home. That is when I will head back to the library because I will be seeking the silence that troubled me before.

However, I am determined to bring my computer to Starbucks next week to see if I get inspired. It’s a good excuse to people-watch and treat myself to a nice cup of coffee in a mug instead of the take-away paper kind. I have a feeling I will be surrounded by young moms and toddlers, I was young once and did that too. It’s worth a shot. Perhaps a double.

P.S.I’m not thrilled that my favorite reading and especially writing spot is my bed but it does come in handy during those long, arduous, winter months.

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