Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The excitement is neverending (or why does this $hit happen on my watch?!!?)

So Monday night/Tuesday morning around 12:20am I hear an alarm of some sort shrieking.  Like could wake the deaf old lady 4 miles away kind of loud.  I jump up to see what the bloody hell is going on.  It's not the fire alarm so at this point I'm kind of asking myself "wtf?!!?".  It was the carbon monoxide alarm.  I immediately open 2 doors and the screens.  I scream for Princess Bear (PB) to get dressed and get dressed myself.  I then call the fire department non emergency number.  I ask that they do not use the lights and sirens if at all possibly.  I go check on PB again who obviously thought it was morning and we'd overslept because she was dressing in her school uniform.  I tell her that it doesn't matter what she wears.  She needs to grab her winter coat, hat, gloves and a scarf while I find a leash for the dog.  Our dog is the sweetest dog in the world...once she knows you're "OK".  Until then she isn't afraid to use a growl or two to tell you to back off.  She is a lab pit mix and I didn't want there to be an issue with the firefighters.  It took them about 15 or 20 minutes to get to our house.  Our house is a dead end.  The street dead ends into a field.  On the other side of the field is a fire department.  As I knew she would the dog put on her tough girl bark growl routine for a minute until she was sure everything was ok.  The firefighters then walked around the house concentrating mostly on the basement where the furnace is.  Nothing was triggering there carbon monoxide monitors even though mine was still shrieking.  After thoroughly checking out everything they decided it must be a faulty alarm.  WTF?!!!?  Are you kidding me?  One of the firefighters was telling me that the alarms actually do expire and it is a good idea to replace them every 3 or 4 years.  Good info to have!  OH!  I also found out that the firefighters across the field from our house had been called out for a fire so the next closest station were the ones that responded.  I felt somewhat better then about the wait time!

So by the time they left it was close to 1am and PB was WIRED and ready for action.  She was all "Let's turn on Netflix and watch some movies!".  I was all...where is some good wine and I want to finish watching the episode of Castle I DVRd earlier.  We hit on a compromise of we'd all sleep in the family with the pets but no movies for her.  As it was she still didn't fall out until after 2 am.  I also posted on Facebook what happened and immediately someone asked if the firemen were hot.  Um lets see we had one middle aged woman and a young boy next door type.  Once I could find a bit of humor in the situation I was a bit bummed.  Isn't it a prerequisite that all firefighters have to be smokin' hot? 

Since I am so kind I won't deny you any eye candy!
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Friends are the family we choose

I'm sure you've seen or heard quotes just like these:

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I think these statements are so very true in so many ways.  Since my home life was so dysfunctional growing up my friends especially those that I was close to were such a safe haven.  I've been doing a lot of thinking about friendship(s) lately for a few different reasons.  One being the last post I did about Princess Bear's (PBs) biological father.  It always brings to mind my former best friend.  Jess & I were best friend's for 22 years before. 22 years before I just couldn't carry on with the friendship for the sake of what it had been.  That was several years ago (more than 5 if you really need a gauge). 

 One of the first things that she did that really, really didn't sit well with me and sat in the back of my head for a long time happened after PB's first major surgery.  At 7 1/2 months old PB had major reconstructive surgery on her skull.  We're talking about over 7 hours of surgery on a baby.  Her skull was opened from ear to ear.  I'm giving you this background not to gross you out or anything but to let you know how very serious this surgery was.  It didn't go without complications.  Her dura was ripped during the surgery.  (to find out what the dura is read HERE).  The first patch did not take.  Luckily since the surgery was so long they released the first patch wasn't ok and were able to fix it while she was still in surgery.  After that the first few days of recovery went relatively well, all things considered.  Then on the 4th day PB spiked a fever out of nowhere.  Well ok not out of nowhere when you think about what she'd been through.  It was just that she'd been doing well for a few days and each day that passes the risk for infection decreases a bit.  While PB was in surgery and recovery the main way I was keeping those who loved us appraised of the situation was by changing the outgoing message on my cell phone and trying to do an email update from her Caring Bridge site when I felt it was ok to leave her room for a few minutes.  At the point when PB started running her temp and not responding to the appropriate drugs and antibiotics very quickly 2 of my 3 best friends were going to make the drive up from Peoria.  We're talking a 3 hour drive just to they could spend a few minutes with us.  I was so touched but told them it really wasn't necessary.  I promised to keep them in the loop and they were ok with that too.  After 2 touch and go days PB was just dandy!  

What I found out after we got home from Chicago and the surgery is that Jessi and her best guy friend who was very close friends with PB's bio dad had tried contacting him to tell him what was going on with PB.  Now you have to understand that when things with PB's father and I fell about it did it quickly and completely.  There was no more friendship there and no desire to be in each others lives and he had no desire to be a parent to PB.  Can you imagine how completely horrified I was to learn that they were trying to bring him into the circle on what was happening with PB?  He hadn't been there for any of the previous hospital stays (and although she was only 7 1/2 months old there were previous hospital stays), he hadn't been there anytime she aspirated and scared the holy hell out of me, he hadn't been there any of the times her apena/heart monitor when off in the middle of the night scaring the hell out of me.  Yet, Jess and Chris somehow though he deserved to be privy to what was going on with her when things were really dicey.  REALLY????!!!!???   REALLY????!!!!???  Oh hell no!  First off all those rights were gone at his request.  Second of all if I really wanted him to know there were ways I could reach out to him.  So to say that I was incredibly angry that someone so close to me would consider doing something like that would be putting it mildly. 

 I do wonder if that was the beginning of the end of the friendship.  Through the next 6 years there were lots of other ups and downs and space between us before I'd finally had enough to make that break.  It still in ways breaks my heart because we had been so close for so long but on the flip side of it I know it was absolutely the right decision.  At the point where she wasn't accepting me and my choices much less being a good friend in so many other ways it was time for the friendship to dissolve.  I know without a doubt looking at how my life has changed and her life has changed since the end of our friendship that it would have happened anyway.  It's not like I can look at it and say "Damn I miss her and the friendship.  Maybe I should try to reconnect".  Rather it's "Damn I miss her friendship and those good times.  So I'll give thanks for those and know that the friendship fulfilled it's purpose and it was time for it to be done".  I can still hate that it happened but fully acknowledge that it had to happen. 

The most important thing I walked away with from the friendship ending was the knowledge of what I really need from the people in my life and those that I call friend.  It was a bitch of a lesson but what's the old saying?  If you learned from it, it was worth it? 

 Lesson learned.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


I gave birth to Princess Bear (PB) in June 2003.  She for all intents and purposes has never seen her biological father (we passed him once shopping at Walmart when she was about 10 months old....I don't think that counts).  As far as she's concerned she doesn't have a father.  Her conclusion not mine.  She's never once asked me about him and I've never brought him up.  If you ask her who her family is she says "Momma, Boaby (grandma), Dzadza (grandpa), Aunt Kate, Uncle Larry & the boys (her cousins).  She's completely ok with this being the extent of family for her.  At this point I am too.  When she was younger and so sick and I was always working on complete exhaustion there were moments I would have given anything for her father to step up to the plate.  Now I'm just very glad he's stayed away.  None of that in and out bullshit that some dads do.  There are no questions and PB things life is just peachy this way. 

I'm sure you're asking yourself what the heck I'm even babbling about.  When I told PBs father I was pregnant we were still together.  His reaction was awful.  I'll leave it at that.  We broke things off soon after.  He did assure me that he would always pay child support and help out financially.  The child support order we are working under is one that was filed in court in 2007.  In the years since although I know he must have gotten raises along the way I never went after him for more money.  I was just happy that he was staying out of the picture and not complicating things for PB.  I was ok with the status quo.  Then in January he started playing screw around with his child support payments by shorting them.  Not a lot.  Enough to fill my gas tank but not a ton.  The first time I let it fly thinking ok not a big deal.  The second time I called the state disbursement unit to ask what the heck was going on.  They said they'd look into.  The third short payment as well as none of the money he shorted on payments had me saying "Screw you buddy!".  I requested a redetermination.  The state usually tries to do this on every 2 or 3 years but I didn't feel the need to go after her father.  Don't get me wrong.  The money would have helped and he did indeed promise to pay his fair share.  I just didn't want to be a bitch about it.  After 6 weeks of trying to fly under the radar though I'd had enough.  It's redetermination time.  I'm sure he's going off about how unfair I am.  Yeah, so unfair that you've been working under the same court order for almost 8 years.  I would love to be a fly on the wall when this does go to court! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Road trip!

This past weekend my mom was on a complete warpath trying to start too many projects at once, get too many things done and nothing was really getting accomplished.  She was in a completely foul mood and being a total tyrant.  It was not a happy Saturday.  The only bright spot was that my sister brought my youngest nephew over for a visit.  That kid is a pistol!  He's making my sister very gray and I'm loving watching it happen!  After his visit my mom was right back on the crazy train.  This happens periodically.  We all try to cope the best we can and hope like hell she fizzles out soon.  My mom has never ever been able to control her temper.  It doesn't help when my dad gets pissed and pokes the bear.  Really dude?  Not the smartest move.  So that is kind of how Saturday played out.  As a result I didn't look at my phone at all.  I had actually silenced it since there's no point in trying to converse with anyone when there is a completely crazy woman screaming like a banshee.  Late afternoon my mom's cell phone rang and she decided to ignore it since in her mind no one calls it without calling the house first unless it's a volunteer group she works with.  She often forgets that is the first number my sister tries as well as family in Chicago.  She didn't check her phone.  An hour or so later I was in the basement switching laundry and frankly taking my own sweet time since it was quiet.  I grabbed my cell with the idea of playing a few rounds of Trivia Crack.  I see there's a missed call and it's from one of my Aunts.  My Aunt doesn't call me often.  If she wants to talk she'll text or facebook messenger me to call her when I have time.  All of a sudden I remember the phone call my mom blew off earlier and get a sinking feeling.  I came up from the basement (no trivia crack for me dammit!) and tell my mom that my Aunt called and that she needs to check her cell.  Sure enough my Aunt had called her too.  So there my dad and I sit waiting to see what is going  on as my mom calls my Aunt back. Now my dad comes from a very big family.  He's the oldest of 6 kids, 5 of whom are still alive, I'm the oldest of my grandmother's 16 grandchildren, there are 6 great grands at this point and my grandmother was one of 5 and my dad has a slew of cousins.  We're able to tell from the questions my mom is asking that it is about one of my great Aunts in a nursing home.  The report was that my Great Aunt Celia whom I was very close to before her dementia set in has leukemia.  Some of the Doctors are saying she has a couple of weeks to a month or so.  The hospice nurse on the other hand thought it is more likely a matter of days.  Wtf!  How does someone have leukemia so advanced that they might just have a few days to live without knowing it before that?  Without missing a beat I look at my mom and ask when we're going to Chicago to see Aunt Celia.  Now my dad doesn't deal with stuff like this well and he started getting funky.  My mom and I decided that we'd drive up with Princess Bear (PB) the next day.  My mom wouldn't have to take any time off of work and PB wouldn't miss school or I wouldn't have to find someone to watch her after school if just my mom and I went.  We did call my sister to let her know.  Both my sister and I lived with Aunt Celia at different points in time.  Me when I first moved to the Chicago area before my apartment was ready to move into.  My sister before she was leaving Chicago to return to Peoria after her lease was done but before her contract was up.  Coming from a big Catholic family it was quite scandalous that I was unmarried and remain so after having PB.  Aunt Celia was the driving force in getting the family in line.  I found out this weekend that she was very pregnant with her first daughter before she got married.  She knew what I needed and didn't need from the family and shit and guilt were on the don't need list.  My dad did get himself together enough to join us as did my sister.

Now the actual trip up there was enough to make me want to get out of the car and call any one of my aunts to come pick me up.  My sister had entered the nursing home address incorrectly in her GPS system.  Thank G-d for Audible!  My sister does not have the ability to gracefully deal with changes in plans.  As it turned out we only wound up losing 40 minutes of travel time.  Not bad all things considered.  Didn't matter my sister turned into the worse bitchy version of herself and I wanted to throat punch her.  She was being awful to my parents (thought that was my job....per them!) as if they had something to do with her entering the info incorrectly.   I could discuss the trip home but frankly I don't want to relive it!  My mom did let me know as soon as we got home that we were driving her car when we have to go in next month for a baby shower.  She didn't want to deal with my sister, her GPS or schedule.  Sounds good to me!

When we did get to the nursing home my dad's cousin was there with Aunt Celia.  Turns out that Aunt Celia had told another one of my dad's cousins that had come in from Wisconsin that we'd already been there and left.  So my dad was bummed about missing a cousin he doesn't get to see often.  My great Aunt was pretty out of it and very tired.  We went to a visiting room/ rec room to visit.  It was pretty empty.  Only a few other residents.  As soon as we all got settled at a table my great Aunt started taking off.  She's in a wheelchair but can use her feet to navigate pretty damn well.  Actually they have a little tracking bracelet on her ankle.  Turns out that Aunt Celia goes roaming with great regularity!  For most of the visit she seemed very out of it and almost like she was sleeping but every once in awhile she'd have the amazing moments of clarity.  Her daughter said it was much more than she'd had in months.   When PB started talking to her about our gardening plans for this summer Aunt Cel perked right up and started asking what we were planting and telling us about her garden.  In her last home within a mile or so of O'Hare she still maintained a garden until a few summers ago.  She used to grow the best tasting green beans!  It was hard seeing Aunt Cel in such a state.  She was such a smart, funny lady and to see her like this was sad.

We wound up staying for almost 2 hours.  It was so wonderful when she had the moments she was really with it.  It was also nice for PB to spend some time with an older family member and hear the rest of us sharing family stories.  With all of my dad's family being in the Chicago land area she doesn't have that very often.  Since my side of the family is all she'll ever know I'm always thankful when we get the chance for a good visit.  It's also always interesting to hear old family stories.  My grandmother turned down my grandfather's marriage proposal twice before she finally said yes.  She figured that he probably wasn't going to ask again so she better say yes if she wanted to start a family.  My grandmother told me that story several times.  It came up the other day and my sister had no idea.  Like I said I'd never heard that Aunt Celia was pregnant when she got married.   This would have been in the late 40's.  Very scandalous back then to be sure!  They lied to their oldest about their wedding date for years!  I'm just glad that we got to visit and share a few laughs.  It's always nice to have memories like that to hold on to.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Man I hate it when I don't have my computer!

Seriously!  It feels as though I'm missing something rather significant!  On the flip side there was nothing horribly wrong and it was free to fix.   I so love my computer guru friend Mike! As things go it wasn't a bad time to focus on other stuff.  Princess Bear (PB) had her first appointment with her new GI Dr.  He seems like a nice enough guy.  Very kid friendly.  He did have me a bit concerned when he wanted to test her for gluten intolerance/ celiac disease.  I've actually discussed with my mom that most people in my family show almost textbook signs of it.  So last week after getting a ton of blood sucked for that and a few other tests the results came back today.   No gluten intolerance and/or celiac disease!  I know in the scheme of things it really isn't that big of a deal but my kid is a carb queen and would not have liked the dietary changes that would have been necessary.  It also s turns out that she has no new food allergies which is a plus!  Next month we need to go back twice for tests that are rather long (4 hours each).  They are checking for lactose malabsorption and fructose malabsorption.  Fun and games.  PB's excited about missing 2 days of school and watching Netflix on my phone.  I wonder if she realizes that my phone probably doesn't have 4 hours of battery time on it?  Time to find the Mophie!

As for me I'm doing ok.  My ankle is still jacked 30 different ways.  The good news is that the xray showed no hairline fractures!  It did show a very messed up swollen tendon.  The Dr told me to expect at least 6 months of PT when I start.  Fun and games I tell you! 

I could babble some more but I really want to go check out all the blogs I haven't in almost a week!  Withdrawal I tell you! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Just a bit of this and that

There really hasn't been too much going on here lately.  My dad and Princess Bear (PB) were both sick from Friday morning through the weekend.  They had some stomach bug.  It wasn't too awful but PBs GI system isn't recovered completely from the illeus so she wasn't a happy camper.  It was interesting to see how much sleep can happen when there is no one around pushing an agenda.

On Saturday my mom decided she wanted to go for a mini road trip.  She just wanted to get out and shop.  At first her plan was to go to Galesburg which is about 45 minutes from here.  She decided that she didn't want to go that far just in case my dad or daughter got sicker or needed something.  I get the reasoning but I must say I was bummed.  I love going to Galesburg and haven't done it in a very long time.  Seminary street has some amazing shopping.  Instead we went to Washington to just putz around in the shops around the town square.  It was nice and we spent several hours being bums.  I'm not sure if would have stayed away that long but PB threw an unholy fit about me leaving her.  Whenever she does that it just makes me inclined to stay out a bit longer.

Sunday I woke up for the 2nd time in 3 days with a bad headache.  I made it through church.  I then came home and took some meds and laid down for awhile.  I was praying it wouldn't go into a full blown migraine.  It was bad enough as it was but I got lucky- thank G-d!  Then my mom wanted to go back to Washington.  Her favorite Mom & Pop grocery store is there and we'd run out of a few things.  My mom is one of those people that doesn't do sick well.   It's just not her personality.  The only person she even tries for is my daughter.  When my sister and I got sick when we were little we'd call for my dad.  He was the one to change sheets if we got sick or bring us 7up if our stomach hurt.  So I think 2 days of my dad and PB sick was enough to make her want to run away....repeatedly!

There was a downside to running away.  Ever since our vacation to Florida I've been saying something was wrong with my foot and ankle.  My dad said it was swollen so I had a Dr's appointment for this past Monday.  Well after walking around for quite awhile on Saturday not only did my foot and ankle hurt but everything clear up to my hip did and my knee was way swollen.  Several years ago I twisted the same ankle big time.  As in the Dr told me I would have been better off breaking it.  Instead I did a lot of tissue damage and some of it in spite of a lot of PT was never quite ok.   This picture was taken 4 or 5 days after the initial injury several years ago.  That means some of the swelling had already gone down.

Looked awesome, huh?  

 It seems as though I've done a good job re injuring it.   The Dr ordered Xrays just to make sure there wasn't a hairline fracture.  I start PT again in 3 weeks.  Why in 3 weeks?  The Dr. wants me to have it wrapped and elevated just to see if that helps.  Dude- she has kids too so doesn't she get that there is no real rest or elevation happening?  She did say that last time the ortho wanted to operate to see if that would help some of the muscles and tendons that had been stretched and twisted and did I want to consider surgery now.  Um, let me think about that for a sec.  Nope!  I think we'll try PT for a few months along with some lovely little drugs to take at the end of the day.  I'm not a big surgery person.

On the whole hospital/hospitalist fiasco it's literally becoming a game of who can pass the buck.  The hospitalist still insists that he saw PB on the first day of her hospitalization.  Funny how I was with her unless I had to go to the bathroom which only happened twice and my daughter has no recollection of him coming into her room.  I finally called his boss whom I've known for several years and said that he was flat out lying.  I did have a great conversation with her and we've come up with a plan so I never have to deal with this Dr. again for any other hospitalizations that PB may have in the future.  That's definitely good news for PB but not any other kids and families that have to deal with this jack wagon.  I'm not entirely done fighting this.  I just don't know how much further up the flag pole I can fly this. 

Oh, something very exciting, to me, almost happened yesterday.  I was listening to the Glenn Beck show on the radio.  I adore Glenn Beck.  They were discussing the Chris Kyle movie (which I see a post on in this blogs near future).   I called in and was actually on hold to talk with him.  I was SOOOOOOOO excited.  Total case of  idol worship going on.  After being on hold for over 20 minutes I had to hang up because of my Dr's appointment.  How disappointing! 

So that's the news and excitement in this neck of the woods.  Hope things are good with you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Life plods along

I've been working on getting all my ducks in a row so I can respond to the people that did the inquiry on the Dr. I filed the complaint about.  Fun and games.  I did get a copy of Princess Bears (PB) records for the hospital stay.   Nowhere in the report did I see anything saying that anyone but a resident saw her the 1st day she was admitted.  That's a good sign for me to keep fighting this.

Her Dr's office and I are still trying to deal with the GI problems that PB is having from the ileus.  She'll be fine and dandy for a few days and then just have a horrid stomach ache.  It kills me to see my baby in so much pain.  The patient case manager at her pediatricians office is trying to get her into a new GI Dr.  I think I also need to see her pediatrician.  In looking at her records from the hospital stay there are several tests that were either high or low.  I don't want to borrow trouble but I don't want something to fall through the cracks either. 

In our school district every three years in addition to an IEP a big formal round of tests are done to see how every child receiving special education services is doing.  The first few times the kids are little.  3, 6 and 9 years old.  This year PB is going to be 12 and it gets a bit more dicey. Do I want them to still work on an academic approach or start focusing on life skills.  The next one at 15 PB will be the first time that PB has say in what is going on.  Part of this every three years battery of tests is meeting with the Social Worker from the District that is assigned to PB.  Last time the woman and I butted heads.   She didn't like one of the requests I made.  Every year I will grant them permission to do whatever testing they need included standardized IQ testing.  Then I make them crazy by not letting them include her IQ score in any of the paper work.  It's not that I don't want to face the facts.  By all means of testing my daughter is developmentally delayed and I know it.  My problem is that I still want her teachers to push her.  I don't want them to make her miserable but I do want her limits tested.  She can't grow if she isn't pushed.  SO, I don't want any teacher to get a preconceived idea of what PB is capable of based on a test score.  I want it do be determined by the work they do with her.  It really pissed off the social worker last time.  This time she was much better about it since she does see where I'm coming from.  I went into this meeting very unsure of how things would go.  Turns out I was worried for nothing.  She was really wonderful about everything and also gave me a lot of information about local resources I didn't know about.  She had information about  an upcoming 4H event where the kids get to participate in 4 different classes for $10.  There are 32 classes to pick from.  PB picked crochet, dog care and grooming, cupcake decorating and how to build a birdhouse.  Can't beat that for $10!

I was super stoked about the announcement of Luke Bryan's upcoming tour.  If he'd play a stadium show in Chicago PB would have been over the moon since Florida Georgia Line are playing the stadium dates.  Alas, no stadium tour in Chi town.   I did try to convince my mom that we could turn PBs birthday into a Nashville weekend and in addition to the concert go to the Louisville Zoo and the Louisville Slugger museum.  Only problem is by June and July Nashville can be pretty darn hot and why risk all that money only to have a chance that PB could overheat?  That also took the St. Louis concerts out of the running.  Then I saw that he's playing 2 shows at the United Center in Chicago.  I love the United Center.  They serve super yummy Bob Chinns Mai Tais there.  Well, they used to.  I've been to Bulls games at the United Center when Michael Jordan was still playing.  I've been to some awesome concerts like U2 at the United Center.  Fun times.  So, I started looking at the Chicago dates and rolling it around in my head whether my child missing 1.5 days of school for a concert was something I could justify.  Then a wonderful idea struck.  PB is supposed to do her yearly trip to Shriners in September.  Bet I could just nicely ask if she could do it the end of October and bam!  Excused absences from school!!!!  So tomorrow I'm going to be calling Shriners and hoping like all get out that I can schedule her visit then! 

So that's pretty much the story here.  I was considering covering the SotU address but really how many times and ways can I say that Barak Obama is a complete idiot before its just redundant?  Then there's the whole deflategate deal.  That one really pisses me off.  I was really hoping for a Seattle vs Indianapolis Super Bowl.  Mostly because I really hate the Packers and I'm no big fan of the Pats.  I think Belichick is a complete a$$hat that needs to be banned from coaching and Tom Brady needs to take a long walk off a short pier.  After some thought though I decided not to broach the Deflategate fiasco! :)  (ok not in depth!).