Lens caps & Lollipops

cameras and food, daily things, photoshop and everything in between

When life gives you lemons… — September 8, 2015

When life gives you lemons…

When life gives you lemons, go find that bitch and punch her in the face, or drown her in the lemonade you made with them, either way kick that bitch’s ass!

So what is my lemon you ask?  Cancer.  Cancer is my lemon.  It seems to be everywhere, doesn’t matter how healthy or unhealthy you are, or how fit you are, or what you do, or eat, some thing will surely give you cancer.

When my grandmother was diagnosed 3 years ago, it was devastating. She meant the world to me, and I never could have imagined a world without her in it.  But here I am, living each day, always thinking about her and always missing her dearly.

Her photograph hangs on the wall behind my computer so I see her every time I sit here to type.  I miss her.  It was quick, painful and exhausting.  She was gone before any of us were able to really comprehend the situation.  There is still a void that lays in my heart, open and raw that I am not sure will ever heal.

Last year we lost another dear friend to his 3 year battle with cancer.  He was a strong, fit, athletic man, who ate well and loved everyone he met.  His life was just snatched away in an instant, and then there were two.

About a month ago my mother called me with some very upsetting and unexpected news, that my stepfather had some lumps in his side and they were going for a pet scan the next week.  That week came and went, the scan was done and they met with the drs.  It was indeed cancer, but not just in his side but his lung, liver, brain and bones.  It is clear that the cancer has most certainly metastasized.  They have started chemo treatments but the doctors don’t seem very hopeful.

This raw, black void is growing.  It is becoming a deep dark hole of depression and hopelessness.  It is becoming harder and harder to look on the bright side of things.  I hate cancer, I hate it with every ounce of my being.  I feel childish even saying things like that, but its true.  I hate it, I wish it never was, I wish there was a cure.

I could go on for days about all the things I wish, but it would be pointless because they never will be.  This void will just continue to grow and grow as the people I love get sucked down into it.

What I posted about the other day, about being an adult, I don’t like this either.  I don’t like feeling like this, I don’t like knowing the things I know, I don’t like being in this loop.  I want to be a kid again, oblivious to all of this.  I want to stop crying all the time.

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Picture TIME!! — September 7, 2015

Picture TIME!!

Well the hubs and I finally got our anniversary photo done, a month late.  We always, ALWAYS take it the day of our anniversary, we are usually dressed pretty reasonably, and look some what acceptable for photos.  Last year we sat outside on the lawn for over an our, with a tripod, a wireless remote and sweat running down … everything.  The dog wanted no part of the photo taking, looking at the camera or being anywhere near it.  You would think that constant lenses in your face since 8 weeks old that he would be used to it, but he hates it little bit more each and every time.

Anyway, after trying to wrangle the dog, and then trying to get him back across the road to the house without anyone getting hit by a car we got it done.  It took a few tries, I forget how other people don’t know how to work my big fancy camera with the 17mm-70mm lens, so its big and heavy. I got it all set up and it was literally point and shoot, but clearly that really wasn’t the case.  But after a few tries she got it, after about 10 photos I looked them over while we were still out there and deemed at least one of them worthy of the frame on our wall.  So without further a-due….4th Anniversary-1

You know your not a kid anymore when… — September 3, 2015

You know your not a kid anymore when…

I’ve been noticing some things lately that are starting to make me really feel like an adult, and I don’t like it!!  I long for the days of “mom pays for everything”, bills.. what are bills?  Car payments, rent, groceries, utilities, insurance… who really wants to deal with all that crap, no one.

You know you are not a kid any more when…

The only mail you get is bills

You plan your  whole life around paydays

Paydays are glorious

Any dinner that you don’t have to make yourself is a good dinner

Grocery shopping is considered “me time”

You are, literally, what you eat, that cheeseburger is going straight to your buns.

Cankles are real

When buying clothing or shoes comfort outweighs style, most of the time.  I’m not saying that I have a drawer full of elastic waistband slacks, but I do love me some yoga pants or athletic capris (the fancy name for spandex pants).

Weekends are no longer for just sitting around playing, there are things that need doing.. and someone needs to do them.

Chores are no longer the punishment, they are the norm.

There are not magical fairies that come in the night to wash and fold your laundry, or vacuums the floors, i wish, I would pay those bitches big time to clean my house.

Periods suck, sorry guys this one is for the ladies.  Bleed for 5-7 days a month for half your life and you would be dams sick of it too. Periods suck, pads suck, tampons suck, hormones suck, headaches suck… generally life just sucks for like a week.  That is 12 weeks a year, we spend 1/6 of the year bleeding.  We also make humans, which is a lot of work.. so the least you could do for your lady is change those diapers.

On the lady subject, boob suck.  They really do.  I’m going to get real here for a minute, so skip this if you don’t want to hear about all the gross things about boobs.  Big boobs suck.  “Epic boob sweat” is a thing, its real, and it sucks!  I work in a kitchen, I hate the neck strap on the aprons but I can’t wear the aprons with the strap folded down because of the epic boob sweat, a big giant sweat spot that spreads from one side to the other right under your boobs.  Lovely right?  That isn’t the worst.  In the summer time when it is super hot and humid for weeks say hello to skin infections, rashes, itching, prescription powders, anti chafing cream.. and a never ending supply of clean dry bras.  On a  less disgusting note if you are bigger than a D cup good luck finding a  bra that 1) isn’t white, black or nude  2) Is remotely attractive  3) doesn’t look like something your grandmother should have burned years ago, and finally 4) that fits.  Good luck.  Of all the people that should be able to buy bras somewhere other than online, and be able to try things on is us DDD+ ladies.  What on earth could an A or B cup need to try anything on, everything fits.  One of my biggest struggles in life has been bras, they are ridiculously over priced and I can only ever find my size online.  That sucks!

There comes a point where you are not “hip” anymore, you are just the sad older lady who is trying way to hard to not be old.

Heels are more likely to break your leg than the shoe.

Orthopedic anything seems like a good idea

Coffee, there must be coffee before anything else, just COFFEE!!

You start getting Sir or Mame…. not ok.  Unless you are at a restaurant with you family and then they ask you if you would like a children’s menu.. I’m 31, this has happened to me three times in the past year.. not cool.  I know I’m short but seriously?!

Kids have no idea what the 80’s were really like, no that is not the era with poodle skirts or swing dancing.  That is the era of Cindy Lauper, leg warmers, jazzercise, epic hair bands, the dawn of video games, Atari – can you even imagine giving a 14 year old an Atari, a joystick and ONE button, that is all you get!!

Everything starts to hurt, at one point or another, for absolutely no reason at all.

IBS is real, that is all.

Your on a first name basis with most of the doctors and nurses at your local Primary care office, or considered a “regular”.

You go to the doctors more than the bar.

Getting “shitfaced” is no longer in your rolodex for weekend activities.

Wine is more appealing that Schnapps of any kind.

Your actually trying to get pregnant, instead of avoiding it like it is the Black Plague.

The idea of a crying baby, sleepless nights, breastfeeding, diaper changing and 18 years of no sleep actually sounds like a good idea.

You feel the need to offer parenting advice… but know enough not to.

Metamucil, tums and pepto are normal grocery items.

You walk into a room, forget what you went in there for, then forget what you were doing before you went to do whatever you forgot in the first place.

If you don’t write it down, it never happened, its not real, it doesn’t exist, it is not going to happen, and you have forgotten all about it

All the things your parents used to say or tell you makes so much sense now.

You start saying the things your parents said to you when you were a kid, and now you sound just like them

When you have to ask a 14 year old about some tech thing you don’t understand

When it is easier to ask a kid to do something than actually do it yourself, that is also a short person problem.

An all nighter is staying up until 11… wait thats not right.. an all nighter is something that no longer exists in your life.  With the exception of kids, if you have kids you never get sleep anyway so pulling an all nighter is literally every night, it sort of just cancels itself out

Music, uhh, music is huge.  Kanye is NOT a musician, I know it is all subjective but what is music really?  There is a range of tone and blah blah blah, I’m sorry talking into an auto-tuner does not a musician make.  Bieber is a little asshole that needs an attitude check, Nikki – put some clothes on and stop shaking your enormous everything in my face – my anaconda don’t want none.  I enjoy most pop music today, but there really isn’t anything that comes close to CCR, Floyd, any classic rock really.. back when music consisted of instruments and not a sound board, and singing and actual talent.  But to each their own.

Well this is pretty good start to all the thing that make me feel like an adult, I’m sure there will be more to come…

The many joys of a new car… — September 1, 2015

The many joys of a new car…

Oh the joys of purchasing a new car.  I would like to say however that the sales team at the Nissan dealership we use are very VERY nice people, not pushy and not your typical care salesmen.  They don’t try to sell you shit you don’t need, or shit that is clearly never going to be of any use at all.  They are just nice people there that work hard to get you a car for the price you can afford.

  That being said, yesterday we went to see what they had for Rogues, we have been looking at them since before we leased the care we have at this moment.  I don’t know why we ended up going with a sedan instead but we did. Silly mistake.  Don’t get  be wrong, this car has served us well, it is a good size for everything we need it to be, it is just very low to the ground, and lower to the ground means harder to get my pedal in when I need to drive.

The pedal slides into two slots and then a pin drops to lock it into place, to do all this you must literally get under the dash between the seat and the steering wheel and one handedly get this to all magically match up.  Easier said that done right? Well it doesn’t really sound easy at all, in fact many -10 degree mornings this past winter I was out in the ice and snow and my knees trying to get the frozen pin to drop so I could drive myself to work.  Very frustrating, and even more so because I all but frost bit my knees on the ice.  No fun.

So you can see that this pedal, while essential to my independence, can be a huge pain in the ass.  So we are getting the rogue, it is higher and I hopefully won’t be spending any cold winter mornings on my knee trying to just get the car to work so I can get to my job.  Lets all hope that for a moment…. Ok, done.

So while installing the pedal may seem simple to me, and anyone else that has never had to actually install said pedal, it is becoming a huge pain in my ass.  There are two places in Vermont/New Hampshire that install said devices.  (it is a liability thing, you need to have a certified technician install these things just in case there were ever an accident you would know ti wasn’t due to faulty mechanics on the device).  My entire family works for one school or another in the area, we run on school schedule, my calendar is the school calendar, we vacation when the kids vacation. Weekends are sacred to us, that is family time, that is get all the shit you need to get done on the weekend, time.

I get my days all figured out, see when my husband can take a day and drive me over to get that done only to find out they don’t do installations on the weekends.  Can’t you make an acception?  of course not.  So I made the appointment, called my husband, he is already booked that day and I didn’t see it on the calendar.  So i called back, rebooked for the other location, called my husband, that one is too far away he doesn’t want to use that one… ok, I’m sure he said that more than once but my brain tucked that helpful piece of information way far in the back.  So I called and left a message on the voice mail, and the guy calls me back while we are on our way to pick up the new car, we finally manage to get a date, a time and a location that works before my phone lost service, because yes there are still places that don’t get cell service.  I’m not really sure why my husband ever lets me schedule things, I always end up having to call them back when he gets home,  clearly I am not capable of properly scheduling events.  He always insists I do it when he is at work, you know, during the day when other people are at work.  Anyway, that isn’t the point here.

When I eventually get to talk to the right person at Ride Away to find out what I need to do and how much it will be I think I almost lost my jaw it dropped so hard.  I have a pedal along with the plate it snaps into and all the other hardware, but it is getting old, still in perfect working condition but they won’t reinstall equip older than 10yrs, I’ve got a few left.  Curious I asked how much it would be for a new pedal, $995, what in holy hell, are you serious?  that is just the part, not the $110/hr labor fee.  So I think we will be using the old one for now, and look into replacing it down the line when it is necessary.maxresdefault The installation itself takes about 4-5 hours, so that is 4-5 hours sitting in the waiting room, which is no different than any other garage/service center waiting room, boring.

I was hoping that we would be close enough to go spend some of the day with our cousin but she would have to drive an hour out of her way to get us and then the hour back, its just silly.  What a pain in the ass this is.

Its annoying because it means that I will NEVER be able to test drive a car before I buy it, that is super annoying.  Hearing everyone say how great it is, how smooth the drive is, how much power it has, yup, yup, yup, got it.  That is the hardest part for me, I can’t even test the pedals because they won’t be in the same place when the pedal is in.  Just one more way my two “good” feet screw me again.

Now it is a waiting game, I have to wait about a month before I can even drive our car,  torture.  It is going to be a long month of everyone else driving me around. Oh well.  I guess that is life, its my life, you would think that I would be used to it by now, but I’m not.  Well here is to hoping that I won’t be out on my hands and knees in the dead of winter fighting with this darn thing…

My two “good” feet… — August 31, 2015

My two “good” feet…

I was born in a small down in southern Vermont, the quintessential “small town America” type of place.  We didn’t have a General Store, but we did have a pay phone, things get real when you get a pay phone in the center of town.  Out tiny town consisted of an elementary school, a church, a fire house and a community hall where all of our graduations and celebrations from wedding receptions to birthday parties. Outside the community hall there was a giant Maple tree which was probably at least 3 feet wide at the base and over 100 years old.  The road we built around it, it was part of the town, it was THE landmark.  One day they just cut that fucker right down…bullshit, I tell you.  All the kids would walk down to the common tree, it was the thing to do at the time, and then it was just gone and a new road was built over the spot.  But that is not the point of the story here, kind of though I guess, meaning good things don’t always last.

Growing up my mom was the town baby sitter, essentially.  There were 13 kids including my sister and myself that she would watch all summer, and after school during the year.  It was pretty great to have kids your age around when you live in a town where the closest neighbor is NOT in walking distance.  I remember those days so fondly, my cousin and I were like two peas in a pod, attached at the hip and never apart.  We did everything together and when we weren’t at my house we were at hers.  She was and still is like a sister to me.

Those were the days when mom told you to “go play in traffic” or “go play in the street” which really consisted of a tiny dirt road with maybe two neighbors that lived past our house so really never much traffic at all.  We were always filthy, covered in dirt and grass stains.  Our feet were black from not wearing shoes for days and constantly running though the swamp and dirt pile, yes there was a dirt pile, not a sand box, that would have involved buying actual sand, instead there was just a pile of dirt, clearly meant for something aside from our amusement but it was there so we played the shit out of it.

We were always outside, always.  I had the most epic tan one could ever hope for, surprising that none of us ever got skin cancer, knock on wood, those were the days before “wear sun block or you will die immediately of skin cancer”.  Those were the days of, “lets take the baby oil out and get a tan”  or just lay on the lawn and bake in the sun like a couple of fried eggs.  It was great to be a kid in the 80’s, great I tell you.

If we could do it without shoes, we did, if we could do it in our swim suits we did, if we could get away with out washing our faces or the dirt off our hands we would.  We didn’t care, we didn’t give a shit that we looked like a bunch of dirty grubs, we just didn’t care.  There were no video games to play, nothing better to do in the house, everything fun to do was outside.  Inside was the punishment, you didn’t want to be inside, ever.

When the two of us got chicken pox in the summer of 1988 it was torture, we were banished to the pull out couch, all day, inside, away from everyone else.  The upside to that was we got spaghettios instead of PB&J, aside from that though, it was torture.  I had the pox on my eye lids, in my mouth, up my nose, between my toes, EVERYWHERE, it was no fun at all, but I would have still rather have been outside.

We were those kids that hated shoes, didn’t wear them unless we had to, and by had to I mean school and in the store, but you better believe they were off in the car until we got there.  I could have spent my whole life in a pair of flip flops if we didn’t get so much god damn snow here.  Seriously, feet were not meant to be crammed into pointy shoes.

I never played sports, it just wasn’t my thing, but my cousin and I still spent all of our time outside even in high school.  I would go to her house and we would ride horses or 4 wheelers and just tear ass around the fields and down the road, because it was small town america and lets be honest there were no cars and never any cops to yell at us.  We would ride our wheelers down the road  to the hunting camp her stepfather had in the woods, which really as just a pop-up camper on blocks.  We would sit in there and shoot the shit and play cards and just mess around being teenage girls.  We never did anything questionable or anything could have gotten us into any trouble with anyone, we mostly talked about boys and how stupid they were being.

When we were at my house we would walk or ride our bikes to town, not the center of our town, but the next one over were there WAS a general store, and that is where all they boys were.  We would go get chips and a sobe and then go home.  When we weren’t doing that we were playing in the pond of running up in the woods.  Nothing really ever scared us, we weren’t afraid that anyone was ever going to kidnap us or kill us somewhere up in the woods.  No one was going to offer us drugs or pressure us into anything we didn’t want to do, it was all pretty safe, that or we were just really REALLY nieve .

As a kid and a young adult I was always moving, always walking, running or hiking and I never ever even thought twice about it.  I had survived a life saving liver transplant at 15, which barely slowed me down.  I was down about 9 months but after that I was back to my old left doing stupid things and getting hurt.  Rolling 4 wheelers, falling out of trees, jumping off the 2 seater swing, snowmobiling through the woods not on a trail, which I know now is much more dangerous than we all thought at the time, building a luge and sledding down it with those stupid plastic saucer sleds- again thought the woods, with never a care in the world, ironically no one ever really got seriously injured.  One of us may or may not have run over their own leg while riding the very 4 wheeler that ran it over..  I won’t name any names, but who ever it was had a sweet tire tread bruise for weeks.  Battle wounds, just battle wounds.

But like I said, we never thought anything about what we did, or how we did it, we just did things.  When I was 24 I came down with a case of meningitis, which if you don’t know could very quickly kill you, or cause serious brain damage, you could lose limbs, be paralyzed, it is an infection in your spinal fluid which surrounds your brain and your spinal cord so you can imagine how quickly that could go south.  Needless to say I lost the use of my right side, the ability to talk, recall words, remember the days of the week, the alphabet, who to write my name, I couldn’t hold a pen or a fork in my hand, my whole right leg and foot were all but useless and I had the worst case of double vision it was like quadruple vision.  It was serious.  It was bad.

After 24 years of running and being outside, barefoot and hiking, all of that was gone.  I left the hospital after two weeks in a wheelchair, yay me, not!  It was depressing, I just couldn’t walk, I didn’t know why, I couldn’t remember 5 minutes ago so how was I going to remember why the hell I was in that chair.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever been though in my life and I have been thought the gamut with the transplant.

It was quite a shock when I finally realized that this could very well be the way I spend the rest of my life.  But I wasn’t really willing to accept that,  I worked hard in physical, occupational, and speech therapy to get where I am today,  but it has been a rough, rough road. I had left the hospital mid June and by the next May I was down to a cane, after months of a walker, nothing makes you feel more useless than a walker, you can’t carry anything.  A cane was a great achievement and I was very proud of that.  The state had revoked my license, i had a handicap tag, and I needed someone to drive me to PT twice a week for 18 months.  That was fun… NOT!  At 24 the last thing you really want to be is dependent on someone else for EVERYTHING.  It was belittling, it was depressing, it just made me down right angry sometimes.  I couldn’t run, or hike, I couldn’t get on a 4 wheeler, shit I could barely walk.

Ever single step I took took great concentration, it wasn’t as easy as just one foot in front of the other.  It was literally shift your weight to the left foot, try to balance long enough to use you quad to lift the dead weight of your lower leg and make sure you lift it enough to get your foot up off the ground, then try to move it forward without catching it on the ground, and then step down and uncurl your toes so your aren’t walking ON them, and then shift your weight to the right at much as possible and then step with the left foot as quickly as you can.  That was just one step.  That was my new ONE step.  Imagine a whole day of that.  One tiny rock could throw me off and I would take a digger and smash up my hands and knees and face.  I went down like a pile of bricks, no control over any part of my body, no control of my reflexes, nothing, I just went down.  It was hell.  It was a nightmare.  I kept waiting to wake up and be fine, to just get up one day and be able to run again, so far that has been a no go, I can keep dreaming but its likely not NEVER happen.

In the past 7 years there has been more swearing that ever before, more bruises, more cuts and scrapes, more PT, more back pain, knee surgery, back surgery, surgical removal of gravel from my hands, broken toes and more botox that any hollywood house wife could ever imagine, and all in my foot.

When I am sitting everything is totally normal, for the most part, but when I walk I get the stares, the looks, and the questions.  I work with kids, so there is a constant state of “what did you do to your leg?”  and how do you explain that shit to a 7 year old?  even the 14 year olds don’t really understand.  Brain infection, brain damage, nerve to leg no workie, foot no workie- I walk funny.  And no it doesn’t really hurt, for the most part.  It hurts more on the inside knowing that all the things I did as a kid are long gone, and I’ll likely not be on a horse any time soon, or zipping around a field on a 4 wheeler.  Its not just my leg, its my balance, my equilibrium, I can’t even shake my head without getting dizzy.

I gained full use of my right side except for my lower right leg and foot.  Google “drop foot” that is me, and its not fun.

But I can see straight and hold a pen and a fork, no more eating with my hands, and do most anything that doesn’t involve my feet or legs.  Walking for most people is a natural thing, its automatic, you don’t even think about it.  I think about every single step I take, every single muscle that has to fire to get my leg and foot to move just right to take a step and I need to constantly look at my steps to be sure I don’t trip over the tiniest of rocks or sticks.  I no longer have two good feet.  I have one good foot and one mediocre, temperamental, botox filled foot that has a mind of its own.  It’s fucking awesome.  (note the sarcasm)

While all of this sucks and I wish things were different I do know that it could all be much worse, I could still be in that wheelchair or dead, so I know I am lucky to at least have what I have and I make due every day.  Its just not as easy or care free as it was 8 years ago.  Everything now is just harder, more complicated and takes 5 times longer,  I guess that is just how life goes sometimes. Sometimes you get your two good feet, and sometimes you don’t.

Happy National Dog Day!! — August 27, 2015

Happy National Dog Day!!

National Dog Day,  there is a day for everything!!

I think this whole summer has been Diesel’s “day”.  It has been a pretty great summer here in New England.  Aside from the humidity it really hasn’t been too bad.  We didn’t get a whole month of rain like other years, and it hasn’t been SUPER dry.  Over all it has been a pretty enjoyable summer. 

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As you can see, it has been a pretty rough summer for some of us.  The couch is such a hard place to sleep and hog all the pillows.  We also never give him the steak, ever.  Generally I make him go lay down but I had to snap a photo of this face.

We have two blankets that he is allowed to sleep on, on the couch, and then we have two that are people blankets, like this teal one.  He is pretty sure that ALL blankets are his and that he is a 8 lb Chihuahua, not the case.

Also if his head isn’t on the pillow you can bet that his butt is hogging it.  “Oh did you want to use this pillow?  too bad. I can’t quite see out the window without so you will have to go find your own.”

He is totally not spoiled at all, never ever.  We really don’t give him table scraps, he tries really hard, but I don’t like cleaning up dog puke so, no scraps for him.

Anyway, I hope that everyone is having or HAD a great summer.  Happy Dog Day!

Atlantic City and other stuff… — July 1, 2015

Atlantic City and other stuff…

Atlantic City was amazing.  I only say that because it is rare that I leave the state of Vermont, well I do but not to go very far.  It was a busy week, getting everything ready and packed up to go, and I mean PACKED.  My husband always asks why I have to pack so many shirts for two days.  Well because I may not want to wear the only two I packed, and I hate not wearing what I want to be comfortable.  I think that there are others out there that would agree with me on this one.  I also pack extra of everything else, you never know when you will need an extra pair of underpants.  So we stuffed out rolling duffle bag to capacity and then just a little bit more and shoved the whole thing in the car.

We went with the company of my husband’s parents who I just love,  I don’t have the mean mother in law that you see in the movies, she is the opposite of everything a psycho, bat shit crazy mother in law.  So they had packed the same luggage and heaved that in as well, along with a cooler with drinks, two bags of snacks, a few “carry ons”, only to realize that there was no longer room for me to put the third row seat up, because of my recent back surgery I needed to be able to lay down if I needed to.  Oops.  With a little rearranging we were able to make a nice cozy space for me to sit or lay.

 Just enough room for a 6 hour ride.  So the journey to Atlantic City began.  I slept for some of it, mostly through Massachusetts and Connecticut, states that I have been to before and were not that much different than Vermont.  Trees, hills, houses, buildings, normal town or city stuff.
There wasn’t really anything too crazy about the ride, it wasn’t like we were driving through the mid west, and everything was straight and flat and… corn.  No it was normal, green “small” town america.

We went over the G.W. bridge which was pretty exciting, we don’t have crazy bridges like that in Vermont, we still use those crazy covered bridges made of wood. The G.W. was pretty neat though, moderately terrifying when you really think about it but other wise, pretty amazing.

It was a pretty boring ride to say the least, but it went by quickly and before we knew it we were finally in Jersey.   I guess I can’t say that I’ve never been to Jersey before, I have, in middle school we went to Six Flags, but I’m pretty sure I was busy making out with my boyfriend in the back of the bus… and yes MAKING OUT was all we were doing.  Back at that time teen pregnancy wasn’t an issue because we were smart enough to know better, at least I was anyway.  Small town America, where everyone know everyone and I was pretty sure my mother would have kicked my ass so hard google wouldn’t have been able to find me,  with words, she was really good at putting the fear of god in me, and I’m not a religious person.

Anyway, back on track here, Atlantic City, there it was in all its glory.  It was not at all what I had pictured in my head.  Let me put this into perspective for you, have you ever seen Empire Records?  That was my one and only go to movie, I watched the shit out of that movie.  I watched it when it was on tv, I actually had the VHS which I watched so much it got all sketchy and the VCR tried to eat it a few times.  I upgraded to the DVD and got the sound track, I could have performed the whole movie word for word if you had asked.  But anyway, the opening scene of the movie Lucas is put in charge of cashing out the store and taking the money the the bank only to find out the store is getting sold, so he takes the money to Atlantic City and gambles it, wins big and then loses it all.  I’m sure now that they had perhaps over glorified Atlantic City and made it look much like Vegas, or what I assume Vegas looks like.  Anyway that was what I had in my head, not what was really there.

Don’t get me wrong, it was great, I had a great time and I would totally go back, but this trip seemed to be becoming a comedy of errors.  When we arrived at our hotel it was beautiful inside, black sparkly tile and columns, intricate designs in the floors with the tile, black leather benches, black velvet ropes, it was gorgeous.  So we go to check in and the rooms aren’t ready, so they said they would call us when it was ready.  We booked two King rooms.

  

We went to the bar for a drink, I ordered my sprite and then the call came, room is ready!!  So I chugged my sprite just as fast as I could through my straw like a lady and then we were off to collect our keys and go see what our room looked like.  On the way to the room I tripped and fell, carpet – flip flops- bum leg,  so there we are in the middle of the hall trying to beat the bell boy to the room, stuck in the middle of the hall laughing so hard I couldn’t get back up.  Let me put this into perspective, once I’m down, I’m down.  My husband has to help me back up, after I position my feet just right usually with my hands, and then he can pull me up, but when I’m laughing, I’m dead weight and there is no getting up when I’m dead weight.  i’m like a wet noodle, I just lose all control over my legs.  So there we were, he is telling me to stop laughing, which only made me laugh harder but eventually got my shit together enough to stand back up and walk the rest of the way to the room.  The hallways reminded me of the titanic, I’m not sure why but they did.  Our room was really nice, It had this amazing bed and two bathrooms which I think was the best part.

After we got settled and the in-laws got their room we get  a text saying its not the room they booked.  So we hoof it up to the 11th floor to their room which was two double beds, and one super amazing bathroom – I guess its one or the other.  Nice bed or nice bathroom.  So They had to call down and get a new room, that was the beginning of the comedy of errors.

After we all got settled in our correctly booked rooms we headed down to find some dinner.  I could have settled for almost anything, but we grabbed some pizza from the food court in the casino and then made a game plan for the remainder of the night.  The guys were going to go gamble, and us girls were going to go to Haagen-Daz for ice cream and waffle cones.

As we enjoyed out ice cream we ventured though the casino to the boardwalk, it sounded like a great plan, ice cream on the boardwalk, how could you go wrong with that.. pretty easy, one word, lightning.  Yup we got all the way to the boardwalk after 6 hours in the car, almost 3 hours getting rooms and dinner to finally walk all the way to the boardwalk to find a huge storm letting loose.  So just like I do with every other ice cream I get, I had to take a photo of the ice cream on the boardwalk, in the rain, praying to god that I didn’t get hit by lightning.

 So after my first boardwalk experience we went back to the rooms, and settled down to watch our shows.  Being the tech geek my husband is he was prepared with he iPad and netflix all set up to finish up season 2 of Orange is the new Black and some other shows that I may or may not have fallen asleep during.

The next morning we got up, showered and dressed, ready for the day and praying that it would not rain.  After my fall in the hallway I opted for my tried and true, always comfortable go to flip flops and out the door we went.

I’m not sure how many times I fell on the boardwalk, but it was the same thing every single time.  I hold my husbands hand with my right hand, so when my toe would catch a board just right, down I went.  As I fell my husband would brace his body so I wouldn’t fall, but I did every time, my whole body would swing around and land right on my left hip.  Time after time.  Let me just reiterate,  I had back surgery a month ago, falling was the last thing I wanted to do.  It was inevitable though, the botox I get in my leg to relax the muscles that otherwise point my foot downward, thank you meningitis.  Needless to say I went home with a really nice purple parting gift.

Lets not make that one too big, you can see how big my hand is in comparison to the giant purple bruise on my hip.  We walked  and walked so much that day, 5 miles worth of walking the boardwalk.  It was a blast, minus my injury.  Its a good thing I don’t wear short shorts.  Haha.  We did do some fun stuff, we went to the Ripley’s Museum, my husband had a blast in there.

    
  

Yup, I was not going home without documenting that I do intact exist.  Every other time I am the one behind the camera and I am almost NEVER in photos.  But here I am ladies and gentlemen, chilling with Optimus Prime and Captain Jack.  Did I mention it was 90+ degrees out and tropical humidity?  It was, I was pretty sure I was going to die of heat stroke there for a few minutes but some rest in the shade, a gatorade and and new dress seemed to fix that.

It was a really nice vacation, my husband and I had saved our money all year, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about money on vacation.  It was a real treat to want something and just be able to buy it right there, without making sure my debit card will work, not that it has ever been a problem before, but student loans have our budget pretty tight most of the time.  Damn student loans, I could go on for days about that, but that is a whole other beast that I may or may not post about at a later date.  This is a vacation post and thus I will not even mention Stupid god damn evil evil evil spawn of satan student loan companies.  Ok, I’m done now.

We spent the whole day on the boardwalk, after which we went to the room to relax a bit and then we had a family dinner planned at Margaritaville, yes we do love us some Margaritaville! It was a great dinner and just what everyone needed.

After dinner it was back out to the boardwalk, we had to see it at night!  Which if you know me, dark is dangerous.  My last fall of the night was almost back to the hotel, and I fell so hard, I think it was the last straw and what actually caused the giant bruise.  It was rather embarrassing.  I fell right in front of a whole group of 20 somethings, all girls, a whole pack of them and I think every single one screamed “OMG!! are you ok??!!”  yup, Im fine.  Seriously happens all the time.  But before I could even open my mouth to answer my husband had my hand and one of the girls was behind me trying to scoop me up off the boardwalk.  I don’t mind it when people see me fall, I don’t mind when they ask me if I’m ok, but when they start helping it gets embarrassing.  They have no idea why I fell, that my foot is ridiculous 90% of the time and that It really wasn’t just me being clumsy or drunk.

All in all though it was a wonderful vacation with my husband and the family.  I won’t bore you with more pictures of me standing in front of things, or bruises.  The one whole day we spent there was worth it, 12 hours in the car, worth it, sweating my ass off and almost breaking a hip, worth every single painfully embarrassing moment.

Oh Blog, how I have missed you, but…. — June 19, 2015

Oh Blog, how I have missed you, but….

I know it’s been a while since I posted last, I think it was in the throws of some wicked pain from surgery and most likely I was pretty drugged when I wrote it.  In any case, I’m BACK baby!  For a few minutes anyway.  I have been out of work for almost a month, the first two weeks were pretty rough but now I feel like I should be doing something, and I want to do something, but doctors orders were “even if you think you can, DON’T”  so not back to work for me just yet.  I can at least move with out a considerable amount of pain and that is better than it was before surgery so they must have done something right.

I can’t wait for the day when I don’t have to take pain killers of any kind because my back feels like someone is twisting it until I break in two.  I am also enjoying the fact that my feet are not falling asleep every five seconds, thats wonderful.  So I go back to see the surgeon for the 2nd of three follow up appointments tomorrow and all is looking and feeling well.  My back is healing, I no longer feel like I am going to rip myself open, so that is a plus.  I think it is going to go great and I am hoping to get the go ahead and get back to work.  I obviously won’t be able to lift anything for a while longer but for now I will settle for asking for help and at least getting out of the house and getting paid for it too.

So while I have been home twiddling my thumbs I started thinking about my family history, you know you see all those Ancestry.com commercials,  “I didn’t think anything was going to happen but then I typed in my grandmothers name and a leaf, I got a leaf”.  Yup, that is how they get you, I got sucked in, and its true, after a few times you just can’t wait to see what that little leaf will reveal about your past generations.  So in my little adventure into family history I realized that my dear grandmother was VERY into this sort of thing and that is what she did with all her free time, minus ancestry.com though, which just seems crazy to me now.

So I was asking my mother about some of my history on her side and she mentioned that she had some of grams papers from when she passed.  So after about a week of constantly texting my mother who is VERY new to texting and still writes “Okay” I think she got sick of looking everything up and offered to send me the stuff that she had.  I took her up on the offer and when I went to pick it up it was not just an envelope, or a manilla folder, not a couple of folders or files, it was a whole god damn TOTE of files and folders and even a red floppy disc labeled “Reunion Pictures” I can’t even begin to think about how old that is and I can’t even look at it even if I wanted to, damn you Apple for making such high tech machines.  So after an entire day of looking though endless lists and files, folders and hand written family trees I am spent.  I am so tired, my brain hurts and now its time to say good night to all of this craziness.  Tomorrow I have my appointment, and I get pampered at the salon and then Tuesday we leave for Atlantic City, which is very exciting for me, I’ve never been there but I know I will need my rest.  So I may post some photos from my travels, in the next week or so.

Good night blog world.

I’m NOT crazy, I swear! Seriously though… — June 4, 2015

I’m NOT crazy, I swear! Seriously though…

A bit over a month ago, after months of extreme pain from a  seriously persistant horrendously herniated disc, my doctor prescribed a wonderful drug called Lyrica.  Now I’ve had the same herniated disc since at least 2011, that was the earliest MRI I had, but the pain started in high school circa 2000’s. When I was young, I looked healthy and I was only a teenager, certainly nothing serious could be wrong with me. One doctor, who was short and stout and about 100lbs over weight, told me my back pain was a result of my weight.  I was 16, 5’1″ and 120 pounds at the most, hardly overweight.  “Maybe if you just lose some weight it will get better…”  I was a D cup, 25 pounds of boob, at least, maybe, I don’t know how much a boob weighs.  I bet google could tell me… Anyway, I had physical therapy in high school for the same pain, and this very same pain has persisted until now, almost 20 years later and its only gotten worse.

In November of last year I fell in my kitchen, backwards, with a  large skillet with two handles and full of chicken and sauce.  I burned my forearm on the edge of the pan, and the palm of my hand when my instincts told me to just grab it and don’t let it spill.  Thank you instincts for that, next time tell me to grab the handle not the pan.  Ouch.  On top of all that the molten sauce had splattered all over me and chicken was strewn about the kitchen floor.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, I had landed squarely on my lower back with a fair amount of weight falling recklessly behind, like a train derailing and spewing it’s contents everywhere.  It hurt, it hurt bad, but I brushed it off and went on my merry way.  Cleaned up the kitchen, “shouted” out the grease stains on my clothes and iced my burns.  For a month as my burns healed my back persisted to get worse and worse.  My thigh and butt cheek were getting all tingly, then it was down to my knee, then my shin and finally all the way to my toes.  I couldn’t take it anymore, my feet were falling asleep while I was standing at work and pins and needles when i sat, I was done, I made an appointment and went to see my doc.

This time was different, because I had fallen, and because my doc was afraid there was a hairline fracture or something he sent me for an MRI.  No fracture, no pieces floating around, nothing really suspicious, just that good ole disc being a pain in my ass, literally.  I did two rounds of steriods, that was awesome, I was a delight to be around both times but it only helped as long as I was taking them, as soon as I stopped the pain got worse again.  I was referred to the Pain clinic at my local hospital.  This time  was different, he prescribed Lyrica, something I had never tried.

  The first week was kind of crazy, I felt crazy, I felt like I was acting crazy, I’m not really sure if I was acting crazy or not, but I sure felt it.  I felt like I had diarrhea of the mouth and things were just falling out that I would normally not really say, or that I was just rambling on and on and on… and on.. and then on some more.  I felt like i was forgetting something constantly, I hate that feeling.  Like “oh shit, and I supposed to be at work today?!”  I hate that feeling.  But amazingly my pain was subsiding.  The numbness was going away and the pin and needles were less and less painful.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still an enormous amount of pain, but i was less than when i started. At the end of the second week my husband and I were discussing if the side effects out weighed the relief or not.  Was it worth the crabbiness, the forgetfulness, the crazy talk, the nigh sweats, the day sweats, the constant sweat, the dry mouth, the shaky hands and the weight gain.  Was it all worth it to have less pain?  Was it really?  Yes.  It hasn’t been easy though.

I am a little over a month in now and I have the dreaded “Lyrica brain”, the “I forgot what I had for breakfast” brain, the “I forgot today was actually wednesday and I had a drs appointment and I forgot to set an alarm to wake me up, so I got up 15 minutes before my appointment and put clean underpants on, a clean bra, clean sweat pants and a nice big comfy shirt only to realize it was indeed wednesday,I did have a drs appointment and I should probably go change and brush my teeth and try to look like a have way decent human being if I was going to leave the house” brain.  Its awesome.  I forget things almost immediately.  My husband “can you put a trash bag in the bedroom trash can?”

Me “yup, i’m headed to the laundry room now to get my laundry from the dryer, Ill grab a bag while I’m in there.”

Me, 2 hours later, on the computer doing something stupid and mindless, probably on Facebook or something, (I can’t remember)

My husband “did you get the bag?”

Me “Shit, no… I also didn’t get my laundry like I said I was going to do..”

That my friends is Lyrica brain.

I had to make 200 cupcakes at work yesterday, I can not tell you how many times I had to check, and recheck, and check again and then for a fourth or fifth or sixth time how many god damn eggs I needed.  It would have taken me twice as long if our intern wasn’t measuring everything out while I was mixing it all together and watching the paddle of the giant industrial size mixer go around and around and around.  The paddle scrapes the left side of the bowl ever so slightly, it must be dented or something…Yea that is what I got out of yesterday’s adventure. 

      

Ouch, that f-ing HURT! —

Ouch, that f-ing HURT!

So after almost 20 years of dealing with back pain, it’s a family thing, I did it, I had surgery and it really really fudging hurt. 

 I was worried, as anyone would be when facing any kind of surgery, but this was back surgery, someone would literally be digging around millimeters from my spinal cord, that is terrifying.  I’ve had a liver transplant and knee surgery, but this was by far the scariest.  My wonderful husband kept saying, it will be fine, you will be fine, it’s not going to hurt as much as you think it will.  Seriously?!  Its back surgery, of course it’s going to hurt, and its going to hurt like a mother…. well you know.

So I only had about a month of waiting, they managed to schedule me fairly quickly, but when your feet fall asleep every single time you sit down, I was glad it wasn’t pushed out further.  The waiting was the worst part, the not knowing what to expect, the expecting the worst and going through everything that could go wrong.  Finding myself thinking about how life might be with two bad legs, I already have partial paralysis in my right ankle and foot, and f-ing up my good leg would be unfortunate.

The day finally came, I showered with the disgusting soap I was instructed to use,  found some comfy sweats, gathered my phone and iPad, the chargers, some gum and made my way to the car.  The hour-long drive to the hospital was agonizing, I tried to make conversation with my mother in law, who I love dearly, but there was no taking my mind of the impending surgery.

I was totally prepared with my sports bra and comfy underpants, nothing metal, my wedding ring sitting neatly on my dresser at home, but no, when I got there I was handed a paper gown and a pair of rubber treaded socks and told to strip down, NOTHING was to be worn under the gown, not even a sports bra.  I don’t know about any of you but I really don’t care for going without underpants, never mind trying to get back into bed with a paper gown, without your ass hanging out or ripping the whole gown in half.  It was a challenge to say the least.

I got there at 8, by 8:30 I was in my super fashionable gown and ready to wait another 4 hours for surgery, ready to watch a couple of episodes of True Blood, season 6 gets pretty crazy, but there was none of that.  Surgery was at 9 and they were very prompt there, which is good I guess.  Before I knew it there was an IV in my arm, and they were giving me the good drugs, the let’s go play with unicorns on rainbows drugs, it was happy time and I didn’t give a shit that I had no underpants on anymore.

After a few minutes I swear Hagrid from Harry Potter walked into my room, or maybe it was just a giant bearded man nurse that was hilarious.  He was here with the OR nurse to take me down to surgery, so there I went, fittingly on my unicorn rainbow adventure with Hagrid.  He always was my favorite character. 

 Before I knew it, it was over,  I was awake and I was still feeling pretty good. Those drugs are the bomb, thank you 1990’s slang for making a comeback in my head.  I was like really, your done, it doesn’t hurt at all, well maybe a little bit, but yea this is going to be a breeze. I was out of there before I knew it, into the car and on my way home.  It all seemed so not painful, so deceiving not painful.  That night I iced my back like it was a $10,000 bottle of champagne, and all was good.  The next day was a completely different story.

You know when you get a Charley horse in your leg?  multiply that by a million and then add a donkey punch and you will have what I was feeling the next day, all day, ALL day.  It started out pretty mellow, totally tolerable muscle spasms in my lower back when ever I tried to move my legs.  It got increasingly worse as the day went on, until it was spasming every single time I moved anything.  It started to look like the exorcist in my bedroom,  it was like “look mom I can do a back bend, I can touch my feet to the back of my head”.  It hurt beyond any hurt you can even imagine.  Ok, well maybe child-birth is worse, but at least you get something out of it when it’s over.  I’m not sure my husband really understood the gravity of the whole situation until I turned my head to say something and then my body went into devil possession / exorcist mode and I was crying and the more I cried the more it spasmed.  It was all kinds of bad news.  So I did what anyone would do, I called the drs office to see if there was possibly anything else they could drug me with and just make it stop.

Valium, Valium is what they were supposed to give me before I left the hospital, I was supposed to have it on hand to take at home just in case I needed it.  That would have been excellent information about 36 hours ago.  So off to the pharmacy my husband went, returned with the Valium and I have never slept better in my life.  I’m not sure it even had time to reach my actual stomach to dissolve before I was asleep.  It was AMAZING.  Well I was still in pain, lots of pain and with that pain went great embarrassment, out the window went my dignity and ended with no shame.  You really get to see what a person is made of when they have to heave your ass up off the toilet and pull your pants up for you because it is all you can do to hold your own self upright, not once, or twice, the entire day, again and again.  I am not the kind of person that goes to the bathroom with my husband or anyone for that matter in the bathroom.  I don’t pee with the door open and I don’t even like it when you stand out side, but this was different, there was no getting around the fact that I just could not find the strength though all the pain to pull myself up.  I apologized over and over, I felt terrible because I’m 31, my husband should not have to pull my pants up for me.

That was the peak of the pain, it was the mount fucking Everest of pain and there was no way I was getting over it without the help of my family, and maybe some really good drugs.  Day 3 was better than day 2 but only because the spasms had stopped, but the pain, the tightness and feeling that my back was somehow going to pull apart into two every time I sat, that was still there.  My whole back started to feel like I got kicked by a horse, about 9 times, every time my love handles giggled it hurt, I felt like I should have had an almost purple bruise across my entire back from my shoulders down to the crack of my ass, but it was just a few little spots the size of a half dollar on each side of the incision.  Weird.  I have more a  bruise from the first attempt at the IV than from the actual back surgery, so strange.

It is now day 8, a week and one day post op and things are slowly getting better and better. I don’t feel like my back is going to split in two, but it still feels tight.  I can’t bend over, I can’t squat down, I can’t turn or twist but I can get my own ass up off the toilet and pull my own pants up so that in itself is an improvement.  I still need a cane, just to take the pressure off my back when I walk, other wise it pinches and I wouldn’t be walking anywhere if it hurt like that.

I have my first post op doctors appointment in two days and I am expecting good things.  I don’t have any stitches or staples to take out, they glued me up like a broken tea cup and put some tape over it.  I am excited to see what they say, I feel like I am recovering pretty quickly, I’m not sure if that is to be expected.  I’m over the hump, and its all downhill from here.  My fingers are crossed that two months from now when I am all healed and there is no more swelling that this surgery will not have been for nothing.  I really really hope that it relieves the back pain I have been dealing with since high school.