Thursday, October 29, 2015

Making Your Happy

I know I've said this before, but I'm not sure where I've said it. I hate this house. When we chose to move back to OK I told Bryan I will live anywhere but the Broadway house. It's been in the family forever, I know all of its problems and issues, and I don't want any part of it.

I didn't get my way. When I got a house for my birthday in 2011 I got the Broadway house. With it's bad plumbing, bad roof, and too few rooms. But I chose to be grateful and make the best of it for the time being because it was so much better than the 3 bedroom apartment/duplex we rented in UT. The rental options in Duncan were too few, and I liked the idea of being closer to Bryan's mom in  the nursing home so the kids could visit her regularly. I figured I could make it work until we could get into something better.

If you've followed our journey out here at all, you know that we've had some incredible financial speed bumps. Just as we start to get our sea legs we're either hit with a major expense or job loss. The idea Bryan had always held onto that his Class A CDL driver's license always meant he could get work fell apart. We've had stretches of unemployment and under employment. Periods where I had to work out of the house, at times to the detriment of the family, and then my personal health crisis, which is now in its 90th day. I pray you never know how awful it is to be faced with bills and expenses and be physically unable to do one. Single. Thing. about them.

Over time, we've revisited the idea of staying in or moving from this house. In the mean time several things have happened--the mice invasion of 2014, the roof fail of 2015, buying the lot next door and taking down the drug shed. Most of the kids choosing to go to school in Duncan. The cars. Ugh. Not all of them have been bad, you see. And, right now, we are owners of this house paid in full.

But it's still awful. It's going to take at least $20k to get it in proper order, so that the bedrooms don't rain and the bathroom floor doesn't cave in. And that's nothing to do with the cosmetics of the house, my coffin-sized master bathroom or the face that 90% of the property's fencing won't hold anything in or out. I've joked to my friends the best thing we can do is to bulldoze the property and start over.

Of course, that's not in the cards. Yesterday Bryan again revisited staying in this house. Now that we own it outright, we can get a loan and do the much needed repairs. Yes, that would mean a mortgage, but the other option is to piece together the money to do the repairs over time. Sure, in 2 years we'd have the roof fixed and the bathroom floor redone--but the repairs can't wait two years. It's an ox in the mire situation, and has to be fixed asap. So that means a mortgage. That means staying in this house until we've paid it off. If we're careful that could be ten years, but more likely 15.

When faced with the idea that we were staying in this house because we had no other option, I felt myself shatter. Our lives are in Duncan--jobs, school, church, doctor, dentist, etc. Our cars are not up to endless commuting back and forth. They're both about to die, and we haven't been able to do needed repairs on them all year. The most pressing part of the repairs this house needed I didn't even know about in the summer. I had no idea it had gotten that bad.

So I was faced with an impossible situation--the realization that I was stuck for an indeterminable period of time in a house I despise. Without the option to move, I was left with only two choices. I could either immerse myself in bitterness and regret for the things I can't have, or CHOOSE to make the best of a bad situation. I'm not going to lie. Tears were shed. And I recognize it's a process. But I am choosing my happy. I begged Bryan to be patient with  me as I process and come to terms with this change. It's not easy, but I refuse to live my life in bitterness and regret.

And, if I can truly make the most of it, then maybe I can finally make this house my own.

Christmas Lists

I have two things on my mind today, so I'm probably going to waste all my writing minutes on blog posts. (I learned last week I can write for about 1200 words before it hurts to much to go on)

Because we spent so much time this year unemployed and job hunting, Bryan has come up with a pretty ingenious method for getting the Christmas shopping done. It's not going to be a big Christmas, but we've gone light before, and Brandon can't even think of anything he wants. I told him we'll probably have more to add to his list once he gets his mission call, and until then I'm okay with waiting.

But we asked the other 4 kids to come up with wish lists for Christmas this week, so we can get started on the acquisition part of the exercise. Every year we do this, and every single time I'm humbled and amazed by my children.

The twins took all evening, brainstormed together, and could barely come up with much of anything. Though the things that made the list were pretty practical, and some just for fun.

My Rose came up with the longest list. She never has had a shortage of things she wants, you know? But I like long lists because they give us plenty of options.

My youngest, of course, made me cry. Her list starts with an English to German dictionary (what 11 yr old asks for that?!) and ends with a miracle. Among the other things she listed are help for stress and a gallon of milk all her own. Mind you, when it comes to food that's the only place where we haven't had to scrimp and take shortcuts. These kids have no shortage of food. But she misses chicken thighs and lettuce (lettuce goes fast and Bryan doesn't always think to buy it) and wants a gallon of milk she can put her name on. We had a long conversation about the stress thing. I know most of her stress is self inflicted, like mine, but that doesn't lessen the impact any. And we're going to talk more. It's been a rough year for her, for all of us. People who never experience stretches of time with no income really can't understand the emotional damage it can do. And I hate it most because it impacts my kids in ways I can't always control or mitigate.

So, in a nutshell, even when life is all uphill and blind cliffs my kids are awesome. I love them so much, they teach me every day and I'm so glad to be their mom.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


I have none.

I guess it's better to take to this blog to gripe than to post it all over Facebook. I had a long post all typed out and I realized I don't want to sound whiney. But, seriously, I am SO over this stupid concussion recovery.

My mom had a rather stunning epiphany regarding my condition that I hadn't considered. She'd gone to the temple last week, and had been praying about relief for me from my pain. As she sat pondering it occurred to her that without the pain, I'd be doing all the things--shopping, dr/dentist appts for the kids, work, etc. In the long run, not resting and relieving my brain would cause more damage than I did when I hit my head on the counter.

Because duh. Of course I would. I would do all the things. If I was physically able you can be darn sure I wouldn't be sitting here and letting everybody do things for me. And what damage would I cause to myself? What further injury?

Do you realize that means the PAIN IS A GOOD THING?

It helps me recognize my limitations. It, of course, took my mom saying it until I realized it. I've just been griping about how limited I am right now. Grumble. Mumble. Grr.

Think about it like having a pulled muscle in your arm. You have to rest it. You have to be careful with how much you extend it. Naturally you want to use it, need to use it, but you have to be patient with your recovery because, if you push, you can cause more damage than your initial injury.

The problem is that resting my mind is basically resting my entire self. And after two months of being down, my muscles are starting to atrophy. I'm becoming weaker. We've been talking to my Dr about my moving more--taking it easy, of course, but working on rebuilding my strength. Because, right now, today, if I went to work I'd never make it. Maybe I'd last an hour if I moved slowly.

So yesterday I walked 3/4 of a mile. And it was hard, but I was being careful. I went three laps around the track After the second lap I felt like I could go on, but in the middle of the third lap I was done. I finished it because I was equidistant from the entrance either way. Today, not wanting to lose the ground I'd gained physically, I got on the treadmill and went a half mile. It was hard. My head started aching about a third of the way in, but I wanted to do at least a half mile because that's hardly anything.. I've walked 4, 5 miles in a day. Over 20 miles a week. A half mile in a day?

Yeah, no. Right now my head is pounding, the pain is not responding to my medication, the computer hurts (why am I typing this long thing if it's hurting me? I dunno. I just want to get it off my chest). I'm nauseated because of the pain.. I feel pretty much how I did in the days after my injury.

And that's ridiculously frustrating all by itself because I want to BE BETTER NOW. I know, and you know, that patience is not my best quality. But, seriously?

Okay. I'm done.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nobody's Looking

I sneak over here sometimes when nobody's looking to express my thoughts in peace. I know I'm safe because this blog has hardly any traffic, and I really love the people who do visit.

Where to begin? I'm still down, in month TWO, with this stupid concussion recovery. Improvement is happening, by degrees, but just when I realize something is better I get slammed down by something that's not.

For instance: The week before last I had a couple of good, almost pain free days. I started getting excited. Maybe I could start rejoining the living world again. Just to test my recovery level I tried to go a day without pain meds. It took me over three days to recover, and I only lasted till noon without them. The week that followed that one was the sharpest reality check I've experienced to date--full of pain, forgetfulness, and horrible bouts of dizziness. I've had a few real scares of falling, and I'm telling you nothing scares me more right now than hitting my head again.

So last week was awful. But toward the end I started feeling a little better. Sunday night we got a surprise visit from some friends who happened to be in the neighborhood. I was feeling pretty good, but the more the conversation progressed (my kids were there and there was a lot of talking over one another in an animated fashion) the harder it was for me to bear. By the time they left my head was pounding and I went to bed almost immediately. (**super important--I so very, very much appreciated their stopping by I don't want you to think I'm upset that they did. Even with what it cost me in the long run)

If I can't handle a conversation of 6 people in the room together, what happens if I try to go back to work?

I know I'm not there yet. The idea of driving still terrifies me. I can't focus on more than one or two things at a time and that's just not safe behavior for a driver. And I stress out easier, too, than I used to. Than I normally would.

I can't even tell you how disheartening it is to be two months into this recovery and still have so much more to go. I have guilt for not working, for making my family pitch in and do my part, for missing out on incredible and fun community events. And, ya know, let's not forget how much weight I've put on and how awful that makes me feel.

So, yes. In a nutshell, I'm sick of being sick. I'm tired of not having control over my pain, my balance, or how much longer I'm going to put all of you through this crap. I'm more than aggravated by the tremors in my hands. You'd think, if I couldn't go back to work yet, I'd be able to make better use of my time by writing. But no. My hands tremor so badly some days I can't even do a blog post. (currently taking advantage of a less tremor-y moment so I can get this out, but my forearms are aching with the effort to keep my fingers in line)

I want my life back. I'm fighting a veritable bear of depression right now, and I don't know when it's going to get better. I am trying to keep upbeat, but the longer my symptoms persist the harder that becomes.