My Progress!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I guess it's fitting...

since I'm counting on 2010 being the year of changes for me (it's either put up or shut up as far as I'm concerned), Erik is making changes of his own. Apparently tonight, on what would have been our 15th anniversary, he has his first date with a guy. He's trying to pass it off as a casual get together with an old friend, but I could just tell by the look on his face and the "casual" way he tried to make it sound that there is more to it than that. His friend is gay...he's gay...there will most likely be beer or some other hard(no pun intended) beverages involved, they are watching a movie together at this guy's do you guys think this sounds?

He knows I've been somewhat depressed over our "anniversary" coming up, I really can't tell you why. I did fairly well last year...I almost forgot it was our anniversary (which is hard to do when you do something stupid like get married on new year's eve), but this year has been hard. Maybe because it was always kind of a milestone in our heads. We used to talk in terms of how far from 40 we were....we'd be married 15 years, Tanner would be almost 15 years old...etc. It was always so hard to fathom what our life would look like at 40. I can guarantee you I never thought it would look like this.

Anyway, him having his first date shouldn't really matter much. It isn't as if I would have wanted this marriage anymore if he stayed celibate for the rest of his life. Why then do I feel physically ill every time I think about him taking this next step?

I just talked to him about it and supposedly it isn't a date. Just two gay guys getting together for a movie and an introduction to World of Warcraft. A friend of mine on the SSN list I'm on said the following which got me laughing:

"2 gay guys, alone, watching a movie over NYE? No party? No Celebration? No Dancing? Sounds like a damn date to me. Either that or an incredibly sad night."

Hehe, thanks Kev. Whatever this is what it is. I guess it is better than having us two home together trying to avoid the elephant in the room (and I don't mean ME for once ;)

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Update

I apologize that I'm so late in updating how Christmas went. It went about as well as Christmas can go when you have to work. I was able to get a few minutes away from the phones to go watch Tanner open his gifts. He was thrilled with what little we were able to get for him. He was most thrilled with what his Papa got for him (a new ocarina with music books and a ipod shuffle). We got him several new Zelda books in this series he is reading...they are more like graphic novels,a book that teaches him to draw zelda and a new sketch pad with pencils. We also had a few stocking stuffers for him (kiss playing cards, zelda mints, and of course lots and lots of candy!

I got erik a new cook book by Ina Garten (we actually refer to her as 'Gina lol). He has some mad crush on her and had asked for one of her cookbooks. Can't wait for him to try out a few of her recipes. He actually made this chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes the other day. I thought it was ok but Tanner said it was HORRIBLE lol. No worrying about dad's feelings hehe. He has made some other stuff from her that turned out really good though. I also picked him up David Sedaris' new book. I was amazed at how freaking tiny it was!!

I got my beautiful flowers a few days before Christmas and of course Tanner's gift :) It turned out to be this little decorative thing that says "FAMILY" on it. It actually is very pretty and goes with our current decor very well. A lot of our colors are kind of tuscany type colors (burnt oranges, deep burgandies, browns, etc) and his gift matches everything perfectly. We found a place of honor for it atop our entertainment center, but we still have to take a picture with it. I'll post that as soon as we get it taken.

Erik and Tanner spent most of the days with his family at my sister in laws. It sounded like they had fun. My youngest nephew is so cute and from the pics, I can't believe how much the other two have grown! Childhood passes so fast :(

Uggh, I just finished this post and lost about half of it due to a blogger error :S In a nutshell, I detailed how I had torn a tendon in my left calf on Christmas day. I finally went to the doctor later that night and learned that it was some kind of vestigial tendon or something that only a certain percentage of the population even has. It usually POPS when someone who hasn't been active in a while overdoes it. Unfortunately, I didn't have a cool story about how my injury occurred. Basically I was standing at my kitchen counter fixing breakfast...lame! I have been trying to challenge myself over the last month...making myself stand for longer periods, not use the chair in the kitchen at the first sign of fatigue...that sort of thing. That morning, I could feel my calf muscle tightening up, but kept thinking i would stand for just a few seconds soon as I finished a certain task...then I took a step and POW...I felt and heard something POP in my calf. It was incredibly painful and made walking difficult of course.

The doctor gave me some muscle relaxers and pain pills and we discussed bariatric surgery. I can't remember how much I've actually gone into it on here, but this is something I've looked into in the past. I got as far as trying to lose the weight for the surgery and then it all fell apart...I can't really remember what caused it. In truth, I was afraid of having the surgery and probably latched on to the first excuse NOT to have it done. Well, after talking with this doctor, i think I've decided to check into it again. It is certainly something I'll be exploring here in the next few months. I just realize that I'm at a point where it may just be impossible to really get the ball rolling in the other direction on my own anymore. I seem to encounter injuries and other obstacles trying to make the smallest changes and its frustrating.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve News

To celebrate my magically transformed attitude just in time for Christmas, I've decided to give semi-hourly updates. I'm starting this a bit late, but so far this is what I've recorded. I hope to record in real time from here on out:

8:00 AM: I'm working. Most of my customers are traveling and calling me for crazy requests like finding two alabama jersies in size L #8 along rt 231. Also have one co-worker hard at work tracking Santa along his route. He is currently in Japan.

10:00AM: Ok, so Tanner is so fricken' cute about what he "bought" at his school Christmas fair for us. He told me last night that it is "very beautiful" and he wants to set up the tripod and camera so that he can get a picture of Erik and I holding it. Remember when you got/made something for your parents and were SURE it was the absolute perfect gift? For was a pair of purple plastic heart grandmother tried to talk me out of them, but I remember thinking they were the most beautiful thing in the world and that my mom was going to LOVE them lol.

11:00AM: I have officially asked to get off early today. Looks like I'm first in the running yay! We'll see if they actually let me go. Tanner is napping and Erik is cleaning the kitchen in preparation of more cake baking and cookie making later tonight. Nothing like waiting until the last minute right? I guess it saved us from eating it all before it could be given away.

12:00PM: Tanner wants fudge for lunch. We offered a Lean Cuisine or Peanut butter sandwich with a small fudge chaser. He opted to take a nap instead.

1:20PM: Tanner is awake and demanding fudge. He won't take "Lean Cuisine" for an answer...stay tuned.

1:30PM: It's official, Tanner has declared a christmas eve hunger strike unless we give into his demands for a fudge only diet. We are currently in negotiations and hope to arrive at a settlement before things get too crazy.

2:49PM: Yay! I get off about an hour and a half early! On an entirely different subject...I peeked at my feedjit info and I'm always sorry. eta: I took out those particular phrases because it just dawned on me that actually putting those phrases in my blog is going to make it more likely for these freaks to find it.

5:25PM: Sorry I haven't updated in a few hours. I've been working on some layouts for my niece's christmas present. In the past few hours, Tanner has taken another nap since his dad and I are apparently boring the daylights out of him. Erik has reported that he dreamed he was at a Janet Jackson concert last night and she got tired and asked Erik to finish her concert. I told him that was the gayest dream he'd ever described to me. We've also spent quite a bit of our time listening to the worst Christmas station ever yet had the best time singing each song in the loungiest lizardiest style we could. We are having a sort of unspoken contest to see who can sing the cheesiest. So far, I think I'm winning

5:50PM: I just asked Erik if he could go get more coke. His answer: "Michelle, look at me:


I'm in the mood for cowbell...NO I can NOT go out for more coke!" That got a chuckle out of me lol.

7:40: watching White Christmas with Tanner. He needs a serious attitude readjustment. I think it is partly due to fudge withdrawal. I tried to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" with him; we made it as far as the pharmacy scene before he collapsed in a fit of tears. I think he is scarred for life. my work as a mother is done. guess I'll check out for today. Hope you all have a peaceful Christmas Eve and a lovely and safe Christmas day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Still working on perspective

I haven't posted much lately because, to be quite honest...I've been indulging in a little holiday blues. I say indulging because sometimes, I really think you have to work harder at being unhappy than being happy. I must get something out of making myself miserable right? Otherwise I'd be doing more to make the changes I need to make and I've basically spent the last year going nowhere..literally. Ok, but this is me kind of getting drawn back into the wallowing so let's move on shall we?

I mentioned in my last post that this holiday season has been rough on me. I honestly don't know what my problem is. Maybe its because I expected to be somewhere else on my life's journey by now. I've spent the entire year passing all those goal weights I optimistically put on my google calendar only to find myself unchanged as each date came and went.

It isn't just about the weight. It has a lot to do with how empty my life is. Nothing has changed there either. Sometimes I think I stay away from the blog because I have nothing new to say. My days are pretty predictable and boring. I don't get out much, I don't have a life really beyond the walls of my home and I have only myself to blame. Something as simple as taking a trip to the store or even to the doctor takes prior planning to make sure I can handle the walk, won't have to wait long, etc.

There have been other things on my mind too. My upcoming 15 year anniversary with Erik, minor family drama, issues with friends...I think it all just kind of came to a head just in time for Christmas. So, I've spent most of the holidays seriously depressed and kind of just had the attitude of "Let's get this over with."

Yesterday, I slept until 11:00AM, woke up and spent about four hours with Tanner and Erik, then went back to bed when Erik took Tanner to a Dr's appointment. I woke up when they got home and intended on helping with Christmas cookies, but we got one batch made and I went to bed early (around 7:00PM). I don't know what happened between then and the time I woke up, but I woke up with this new perspective that kind of came out of nowhere.

I have been trying to count my blessings, but to be quite honest...all it really did was make me feel like crap for being unable to pull myself out of this depression. I actually prayed about it last night...and I don't pray often anymore...and this morning...instant clarity. I realized that I have spent the last several weeks mooning over what used to be...the family Christmases with my exciting it used to be to have my cousins there, my grandmother's house all decorated. My uncle and mom and later his wife playing pinochle until all hours while I watched tv or played video games with my cousins in the other room. It wasn't the Cleavers by any stretch of the imagination, but it was what made Christmas special to me. For many years, this was the only time I saw most of my family.

I've also thought about the extended family my mom built for us through her many friendships. The rounds we used to make on Thanksgiving,Christmas and New Years and how much fun it was to see everyone and remember old times. I lost touch with many of these people after she passed away.

So, I let myself get mired in what I didn't have anymore, but this morning I woke up and realized that I was LIVING as if I had much less than that. Because I was sleeping all the time and letting the depression kick my ass, I wasn't able to enjoy what I HAVE: a son who relies on ME to make sure HE has childhood memories to think back on. A husband who, despite all of our very non-traditional marital issues, loves me and cares about me. These were the people I was ignoring while I nursed and nurtured (?) this depression. They might have well not even existed for all the time I was devoting to mourning what no longer is. I was ignoring what was right in front of my face. Shame on me :(

Erik walked by my office today, after he and Tanner got back from the store and I stopped him to apologize. I knew he'd been worried about me and doing his best to make me feel better. I apologized for being so self indulgent and told him that I think I had finally realized what it meant to count your isn't just a simple listing of things one by is embracing and truly cherishing those things in our life that mean the most to us and not taking them for granted. It means taking time NOW to recognize them and experience them. Why is it so hard to just enjoy what IS and not what used to be or what might be in the future?

Later, when I got a break at work, I went downstairs to get some lunch and there on the island in our kitchen was a bouquet of my favorite flowers in a crystal vase. How awesome are they? Yeah, I'm feeling pretty blessed :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. I'm looking forward to spending the rest of the year working on my perspective and attacking 2010 with a vengeance! I'll be setting new goals and making plans and hopefully, I'll make some progress. xx

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Monday, December 14, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life?

Ok, I just had a God moment I think. I’ve been mulling things over since my last post. If you read my blog with any regularity, you have probably noticed a few patterns. First, I’ve had some crappy things happen to me. Second, I’m sometimes willing to take an honest look at myself and how I’ve managed to get to where I am today. Third, I just LOVE to pull out the violin every couple of posts and whine and complain and throw a grand ol’ pity party for myself. It is kind of a warped little dance I’ve been doing all year. I think the great thing about my blogging is that there is PROOF out there now; proof that I can’t ignore when it’s convenient. Proof that shows me that yes, while I have made some progress in some areas over the last decade or two…I still have a lot to learn. There is still a LOT of room for growth…and I’m not just talking about my weight. We all know that my weight is a symptom of much BIGGER struggle I have going on in my head.

The other day, I read a friend’s blog. She never fails to put a smile on my face, whether I’m reading her blog or chatting with her via msn. It is kind of ironic honestly, because as funny as she is…there have been many times in the time I’ve known her that she hasn’t always told me what I wanted to hear. We work together and when things between Erik and I started to go south, she was the one that really helped strip my blinders off. She helped me see all the excuses I was making for him and for myself and was relentless in forcing me to see things as they really WERE and not the way I was trying to imagine them to be. Until recently (when I gave her a link to my blog) I don’t think she had ANY idea about the extent of my weight problem and I was really ashamed to share the link with her. I even asked her not to read it until I was ready and as far as I know, she honored that request (I gave her the ok a few months ago). She hasn’t really said anything about the blog or about the realization that I am a ginormous fatty(we don’t work together as often as we used to so maybe it’s because of that…I find it hard to believe she would hold back if she truly had something to say ;) . To be honest, I wasn’t so embarrassed about her learning how much I weighed, seeing actual pictures, or reviewing my gargantuan measurements. I was ashamed because she was going to see my overwhelming and pathetic penchant for wallowing in my problems. Now I say she hasn’t really said anything about my blog, but today I think she told me just what I needed to hear…more on this later.

As ashamed as I am about my weight, I am truly probably more ashamed that I will turn 40 next year and while I may have moments where I can recognize my own part or responsibility in where I am at today, I haven’t quite figured out how to USE these realizations to move me PAST my problems; which brings me to this recent post of hers. I would encourage you to go read it for yourself, but here’s a little synopsis: Basically, she wrote about “It’s a Wonderful Life” and how she’s always had a problem watching it; not because it was sappy and at times saccharine, but mainly because, in typical Tammy fashion, she saw things in it that many other people missed: the fact that George had an awful lot to do with his current situation. George made decisions and choices throughout his life and those choices set him, as much as any circumstances outside of his control, on the path that led him to where we see him at the beginning of the movie. I read that and immediately felt the bright glaring spotlight of shame focused on my own glaring culpability in my current situation.

The weight is easy. I’m fat because ultimately, I make choices about what I’m going to or not going to put in my mouth and most of the time, I choose poorly. I also choose to not go to the gym or even do little things around the house that might slowly begin to build my strength up. Granted, I have a lot of crap in my head that often defeats me, but ultimately…the responsibility is on me. I choose to give into it all. I allow it to overwhelm me and defeat me. Even that is a decision I make.

Let’s talk about some other decisions I’ve made that have gotten me to where I am. First, I fell in love with Erik. I knew from the beginning that something wasn’t quite right. It took us two years (as good friends) with subtle and most times not so subtle chasing on my part to land him. That probably should have been my first clue. Once we were together, there were plenty of other signs that I chose to ignore. Regardless of anything Erik did in this situation, I made many decisions and really almost “forced” our relationship in a direction it wasn’t going in naturally. I didn’t get pregnant on purpose, but since we all know Tanner wasn’t immaculately conceived, I think we can agree that I should accept my part in creating him.

The financial problems we have encountered have also largely been due to our own choices. Yes, we have had oodles and oodles of medical bills and other unexpected things come up, I’m fairly certain that if we hadn’t been living way beyond our means for quite some time, things wouldn’t be quite as desperate as they are now. We would have been in trouble, but I think we could have dug our way out by now.

So yes, in many ways, my life sucks, but ultimately I think the thing that sucks the most is that I have to cope with the fact that I am the biggest reason it sucks; not erik, or Tanner, or my mom dying or whatever else I latch on to periodically to distract myself from the reality of my situation.

So these are things I’ve been mulling over since reading Tammy’s post. Flash forward to today…I get a call from my grandfather (hi papa :). He called to tell me he was sending money for Tanner’s Christmas, we talked about his upcoming wedding next March and how I was going to try to get Tanner and I up there around that time and somehow we ended up talking about my blog. Basically, he mentioned that he had read my last pity party (my words, not his) and felt like he needed to remark on some common threads or patterns he’s seen in the weave of my blog over the last year. I’m sure you can guess what they were. He acknowledged that while I can at times have moments of crystal clear self realization where I am open to accepting my part in the way my life has turned out…I also have many moments where I slip back into these periods of stagnation which keeps me stuck in this warped little static cha-cha you’ve watched me do all year. There can’t be any real growth because every time I take one step forward, I lose ground again. I set goals and then almost immediately lose sight of them and fall back into old patterns…the same old patterns that got me right to where I am today. Here is where I could come up with a bunch of excuses WHY I lose ground, but come on…you’ve heard them all before and in the end, you and I both know they are irrelevant. If I want to change my circumstances, I am the only one with the power to do that.

In the end, I thanked my grandfather for his advice, we said our goodbyes and, pondering the last bit of our conversation, went to check my email and there…like a period at the end of that conversation with my grandfather was Tammy’s comment on my last blog. You can go read it for yourself, but once again…I had to smile. I don’t know if it is God or fate or what, but someone or something is definitely trying to slap me upside the head this morning. Thanks Papa and Tammy for giving me the swift kick I needed. Here’s hoping I can keep my eye on the prize this next year and actually make some progress towards my goals.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

The scale is calling me

It's been calling me for a week. I know where it is. It isn't difficult to get to, but somehow I keep forgetting to pull it out and step on it. Part of me is worried I'm going to get the big "E" which means "EEEEEK you are too damn fat for this scale, please exit the platform." I have a feeling I may have gained some weight in the last few weeks. I feel like I have. I've been fighting a depression the last month or so and while I've made some gains emotionally, I think I've been resorting to old habits to cope with the depression.

The holidays pretty much suck for me nowdays. I lost my mom on Thanksgiving back in 2002 so every year I have to cope with that anniversary. Add to that the fact that I have NO family around me (outside of Tanner and Erik's family) and the holidays overall just seem like a non-event anymore. I feel bad, because Tanner gets shortchanged too. Our house is too small for a real tree so we have this sad little charlie brown Christmas tree on a coffee table downstairs. We haven't even bothered decorating it. I also have my 15th wedding anniversary coming up this New Years Eve. Both Erik and I really stopped counting our anniversaries back in 2008 since that is when we officially decided we were splitting up. The only reason we are still married really is because we are too poor to get a divorce.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about my grief over my marriage resurfacing and how difficult it was to understand it because I knew that I would never take Erik back and ...just for the record...I'm pretty sure Erik has NO plans on trying to come back (to the marriage...he lives with us, but you's complicated lol) 20 years of wondering why I was never enough for him was quite enough for me thanks. We have a much better relationship now that all that pressure is off to keep a fake marriage going while ignoring the elephant (which wasn't ME btw!) in the room.

In talking to my friend yesterday, I realized that what I think I was grieving most about was that I really didn't have a chance to fight for my marriage. The fact that he is gay means there is absolutely nothing I could have done to save my marriage (short of growing a new appendage and taking steroids to get the kind of physique he is apparently attracted to). When I was thinner, I just thought I wasn't good enough of a person for him...and even though I was in fairly good shape, I always felt like the "fat girl" so I guess I probably still blamed how I looked even then. As I gained weight, our relationship actually improved; probably because I wasn't pressing him for sex or getting upset at the lack of physical affection he failed to show or initiate.

I don't want you to think that Erik was a jerk. He wasn't and he isn't. He is a really great guy who made all the wrong decisions for the right reasons. He was trying to live the life he felt was moral. The life his family wanted for him. He got me pregnant trying to convince himself he was straight and then married me because it was the right thing to do. He was always a great father and a great friend, but I realize he was never really a husband to me. Not in the way that separates a great friend from a great husband. I'm not just talking sex here...I'm talking about the fact that I realized the other day that I have never had a man look in my eyes, tell me he loves me, and MEAN it the same way I MEAN it. I've never had a man be just as happy to be with me as I was to be with him. I've never known THAT kind of love and I sometimes wonder if I ever will.

Of course it could be a lot worse. For the time that we were married, I had a man that I enjoyed being around, was a great father, good provider for the most part and yes....he did love me, still loves me...just more of the brother/sister kind of love and not the passionate sort. I know many other couples who have that passion, but every other aspect of their marriage sucks! All in all, if I had to chose between the two, I'd probably choose Erik all over again even knowing what I know now. Of course, if I had ever had the choice between Erik and a happy and healthy relationship with a straight man, I would have chosen the straight man hands down and kept Erik as my fabulous gay best friend.

Tanner, in his uncanny ability to pick up on my emotional state, broke my heart the other day. Erik calls him from work on his lunch break and out of absolutely NOWHERE, Tanner gets on the phone with him and says "I don't want you to break up." Not knowing what he was referring to, Erik said "What do you mean you don't want what to break?" Tanner said "I don't want you to break up with mommy" and started to cry :( Wahhhhh I have no idea where it came from, we haven't talked about anything like this recently and hadn't prior to him talking to Erik that evening. Erik did a great job of reassuring Tanner that we would always be there for him no matter what happened between Erik and I, that he would never have to choose between us, etc. In the end, Tanner was somewhat satisfied, but I think it was hard for both Erik and I to see him struggling with the concept.

Ok, well guess this is proof that blogging helps because I think I'm in a much better frame of mind at the end of this post than I was at the beginning. Someone recently told me to count my blessings when I asked how to get through a rough holiday season. It seems so obvious doesn't it? Almost cliche, but when I read her suggestion it really did help. Instead of focusing on what I don't have this holiday season, count my blessings...Tanner is doing great in his new placement at school, Erik has a new job he loves, I have good friends around me and great blogging buddies who put up with my sporadic posting style.

Btw, I am very grateful to those of you who still read and comment despite my obvious neglect (both in posting and commenting and reading your blogs). In the past week, just getting a comment now and then actually helped me pull my but out of bed on my days off so that I could get a few things accomplished around the house.

One more update: the craft fair didn't happen. I spent weeks upon weeks preparing for it then the morning of, Erik got sick and the friend that was going with me had a domestic issue and I couldn't manage getting there and setting up on my own. I probably should have tried, but to be honest....I was scared....scared because I didn't know how far I was going to have to walk, could I unload the car by myself without having a heart attack. If I did manage it, was I going to be in any shape at the end of the day to pack everything back up, etc. For some reason, the person that could muster up the courage to carry a folding chair through Hobby Lobby took a holiday that morning. I stayed home rather than expose myself to some embarrassment at not being able to manage it on my own. This probably triggered the following week's depression to because it is yet another time my weight has limited my independence :(

Ok, enough of that! I was on my way to ending this on a positive note and I still am dammit! There is a Christmas party at Tanner's big brother's church tonight and he invited all of us. As usual, part of me doesn't want to go for all the reasons I didn't go to the craft fair, but I may force myself to go anyway. I'm sure it will be fine and I'll enjoy spending some time with Tanner OUTSIDE the darn house.

I'll let you know if courage wins out over cowardice tomorrow.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shopping and the poor man's wheelchair

So some of you might wonder how I'm managing shopping if I can't even cook an entire meal without a chair in the kitchen. I am still amazed at how easily it was to go from kick boxing to my current state. When all you have to do is roll out of bed and take a 5 second walk to your office and that is about the extent of the activity you get for the day, is it any wonder I can even muster up the strength to roll out of bed? To say I am out of shape just doesn't even do justice to how SERIOUSLY out of shape I truly am. Every time I have the least little problem health-wise, I'm reminded how close I am to becoming completely bedridden. Just one little mishap or illness can erode what little strength I have left and possibly compromise my mobility to the extent that I WON'T even be able to roll out of bed any longer.

So, with this in mind, I made a drastic and humiliating decision. I am going to have to start reclaiming some of the things Erik started doing...first, because I was working too much to do them myself (running errands, grocery shopping, taking Tanner to doctor's appointments, etc), then later because I no longer had the strength to do them myself. The situation was snowballing on me and I realized that it wasn't going to take much more before I couldn't even do the things I was doing now...that's scary. If you've ever wondered (like a thinner me used to wonder) exactly *how* an extremely obese person gets blog should answer your question. It starts slowly. You gain weight over time and gradually you start adjusting your life and activities to accommodate that weight gain. At first, you start waiting for a parking spot closer to the entrance of the store, leave earlier to get a closer spot at work. When you go grocery shopping, you stop doing the once every week or so shopping and start shopping in more manageable bites of time that won't require you to be on your feet an hour or longer or require you walking the entire store. You start using the elevator instead of the stairs. Before you know it, this reduction in activity means you lose bits of muscle mass which makes mobility and physical activity even more difficult. The lack of activity contributes to your weight gain which makes everything more difficult. Before you know it, you discover internet need to leave the house at all for that. You go through the drive through at the drug store pharmacy vs. walking in. And so on, and so see the vicious cycle here.

If you happen to have problems with depression (like I do) that only exacerbates your problems as you likely will spend most of your free time sleeping. The more weight you gain, the more mobility you lose, the more depressed you get. Again, vicious cycle.

The problem I was faced with was I going to attempt these outings without getting myself into a situation that I might have a problem getting out of. How was I going to go to the store, walk from my car into the store, walk around the store browsing products AND stand at the check out line long enough to pay for my items and then walk back to my car? Sounds like a simple outing to most of you. For me, it might as well be climbing mount everest. I finally came up with a solution. Yes, I get funny looks, yes it is somewhat humiliating (it would probably be incredibly humiliating for most of you, but when you weigh what I weigh, the bar for what sort of humiliating situations you can endure definitely gets raised. What I did was load a folding chair in the backseat of the car. When I got to the store, I threw the folding chair into a cart and walked until I really needed to sit down. I tried to last as long as I could which quite honestly, wasn't all that long. We are talking way under 5 minutes at a time on my feet. Usually my cue to break out the poor man's wheelchair was about the time my back started aching, knees started trembling, calves get the picture. Pretty much, if I knew the next step was going to possibly endanger anyone who might be unfortunate enough to share the aisle with me should I fall, I sat down. A few clerks gave me funny looks when I whipped out the chair. Some customers tried to act as if it was the most normal thing in the world to carry a folding chair under your arm while you shop and avoided my gaze. In all honesty, they probably could have cared less lol...they were probably more interested in their own crafting pursuits to worry about the morbidly obese woman taking a crafting break in the middle of aisle 12. Yes, it was a bit embarrassing, but I was proud of myself for getting out there despite my limitations. I have to start somewhere.

I suppose I could have used one of their wheelchairs or hopped on the motorized chairs they have at some stores, but to me...that is only one more step towards immobility. Right now...that is MY "waiting for a closer parking spot" or giving up another errand to erik. If I accept my current limitations then I'm only setting myself up for the next step...becoming completely immobile and I refuse to accept that. I may not have made much progress this year where my weight is concerned. I've actually lost about 30 lbs in total which is progress I suppose seeing as I've managed to gain about 25 lbs a year for the last 10 years. I'll take what I can get :)

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm still here

I know I've been a very bad blogger. I'm definitely not going to be on Santa's good list of bloggers this year. Only coal in the cyber stocking for me :( I apologize though. I have just been very busy trying to get ready for this craft fair while working two jobs. Believe it or not, I am *just* now getting over the problem I had with the cyst that took forever to heal. I seriously never thought it would finally close completely but this past week it did. I am going to get back into the doctor just to make sure it is all ok, but it feels 100% better so I'm optimistic.

I meant to get on yesterday, but I actually ended up out shopping with my friend Shannon. YES! I actually got out of this house for the third or fourth time this month can you believe it? I wore makeup and everything see


We had to go to hobby lobby to get some stuff so that I could finish a twilight calendar I've been working on. I'll post some pictures when I get it far, I really love how it's turning out and I'm not even a big fan of twilight.

You can see a few other things I've been working on at my etsy shop. I haven't uploaded much because I want to take most of it with me to the craft fair. Even with all I've finished, I still won't have much to actually sell, but I'm going to have some examples of my work, so at least I'll get my name out there a bit.

I'm still working on my website, but feel free to take a look and let me know what you think.

Erik recently got another job so that is the BIG news at our house lately. I've been begging him to get a second job for a while, but for various reasons, it just kept getting put off. I had a mini nervous breakdown the day he was contacted about this most recent job. He hadn't been good about changing out the filters in our A/C so when it stopped working, we called the landlord to fix it. Landlord realized it wasn't working because of the clogged filters. Landlord sends us a bill for $125.00. I was going through quite a bit at work and when he came in to tell me about the bill we got, I told him that I was done. I can't handle shouldering a majority of our financial needs anymore. I was tired of never being able to save any money because I was the only one that ever had the money to pay for tanner's school clothes or hearing aid repairs, etc. I literally packed up shop in the middle of the day and crawled back into bed. The next day, he got this incredible new job working as a Deaf Support Specialist (lucky for him lol...I finally told him that if he didn't get it, he was going to have to flip burgers somewhere, find something!!) So far, he loves it. I can't wait until we have more money rolling in though.

It will be nice to not have to live paycheck to paycheck. Honestly... it was getting to the point where our paychecks (due to various things) weren't even enough to pay our bills. He had missed a bunch of work at his main job due to stuff going on with Tanner, me being sick, etc so we had at least two pay periods where he didn't really bring home anything. My job has slowed way down and since most of my pay is commission, it meant that my paychecks were almost half what they should have been. It has been a looooooooooooooooooooong time since we've really had something good happen for us I almost forgot what it was like to be optimistic lol. Now, I'm budgeting and trying to prioritize how we are going to get ourselves out of this financial mess we are currently in. Keep your fingers crossed for us :)

Tanner is doing SO well at school. He's enjoying himself, making new friends, loves his teachers. That is some pretty awesome news for us too considering how the year started off. We were able to cancel our contract with the lawyers (which they were nice enough to do for us) which saved us $750.00.

I haven't weighed myself, but I don't feel like I've gained. I probably haven't lost, but I'm definitely getting more active lately. It is just what most would consider ADL's, but for me, it is activity that I haven't incorporated into my routine for quite some time. Believe me, if you aren't used to standing on your feet for periods of time, a trip to the store is quite an outing for you. I'm also working on strengthening right now, doing squats a few times a day and other exercises to strengthen my legs. I'm working on standing for longer periods when I do stuff around the house (cooking, cleaning). If we can take care of a few things financially, we hope to take Tanner to Disneyland some time next year and if I can't go on the rides because of my weight, I want to at least be able to walk as much as I want without the problems I have to endure now. So, that is my motivation at the moment...long term that is. Right now, I'd like to just be able to take over other stuff Erik's been doing like grocery shopping. It's probably crazy, but I really miss going to the grocery store. I love to cook and I really miss not being able to pick out everything myself. I guess we'll see...I've said this (or something like it) before. I guess I just need to keep plugging away...maybe eventually I'll get my butt in gear and make some progress.

How is everyone else doing? I need to catch up on my blog reading, I'm way behind!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Papa, this one is for you!

NOTE: ugggh, I've hung on to this stupid post for days meaning to bring my scrapbook up and scan a pic of my grandfather, but you can see where that has gotten me. Now my update needs an update. I figured I'd post this and try to get a picture for it later

I spoke with my grandfather over the weekend and he kind of chewed my rear end about not posting much lately. Believe me, you don't want him annoyed with ya, so I figured I better post something pronto ;) That is him in the picture btw. He was a cutie wasn't he? Consider him your eye candy for today ;)

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been busy with work. I work my fulltime job, a part time job and in whatever other time I have, I’ve been trying to get ready for a small craft fair this December as well as trying to get my website up and running. Honestly, I’m finding that it is difficult to really carve out enough time to get much done, but I’ve discovered that I can actually do my second job from my scrapdesk (when it isn’t too busy) and work on stuff in between “service requests” with my part time job. I still can’t quite manage to get as much done as I would like though.

I also haven’t posted as much because in addition to being fairly busy with work, I have had some health issues (what’s new there?) that have had me to and from the doctor 3-4 times in the last two weeks. For once, I won’t disgust you with all the gory details, but I have a wound that is taking it’s sweet time to heal. I initially tried using Neosporin on it and based on what my doctor said….Neosporin is worthless and unless you own stock in the company, should never be used. The wound was not in good shape to begin with and about two days into caring for it, I decided that maybe I should use Neosporin to speed the healing. Two days later, this wound was MUCH worse than it had been originally so I went to the doctor at GREAT urging from Erik. They had to actually had to do a minor little surgical procedure while I was there because they were concerned I had a pocket of infection below the actual wound so I’ve been going back every couple of days to have them look at it, been on anti-biotics, etc. It’s been fun, let me tell ya!

I also have an allergy to the adhesive used in medical tape or bandages so I started developing secondary “burns” in the area around the actual wound itself. At times, I felt like those hurt worse than the wound we were trying to treat. They honestly do feel like a burn. The good news is that the wound seems to finally be on the mend, but I can’t believe it is taking so long to get better.

Of course, a bit part of the reason it is taking so long is my weight. It is on the underside of my stomach and was most likely caused by a brief effort to get back on my treadmill. I hadn’t mentioned it on the blog or even to erik because I feel like I’ve said I was going to get going with it how many times over the past several months and nothing has happened. I figured if I actually had something to report, I’d let you know then! I only managed a few days and then developed this cyst. They are hereditary (people in my family get them whether they are skinny or fat) but they can be brought on by friction, etc. So, apparently the friction of my lovely stomach rubbing against my clothes caused the mother of all cysts. Luckily I don’t get them as often as my mom used to, but when I do they are awful. This one was particularly bad; probably one of the worst I’ve ever had. The doctor said that the location may get hypoxic too because it is on a part of my stomach that probably doesn’t get oxygenated due to my weight.

Anyway, it looks like its on the mend, but I have to wait until it is completely healed before I can try walking again. Until then, I’ve been doing periodic squats and just getting more overall daily activity just going to the doctor’s appointments, going to shop a bit at the scrap store, etc. I know its sad that I count stuff like that as an increase in activity, but it really is. I went to the scrap store a week ago and spent about 10-15 minutes on my feet before I had to sit down. Really, I needed to sit down within about 5 minutes, but I was too ashamed to walk back to the crop room that soon so I forced myself to walk a few aisles and then went and rested. Later that night I could feel it in my legs, etc. It felt like I’d actually gone and done a workout, but I suppose I’m in such poor shape that it probably was a workout for my poor body.

I don’t know where my rock bottom is, but I have a feeling I’m getting close. Last year about this time I was having a problem with my knee and this issue with this cyst/wound has kind of made me feel the same way. By rock bottom, I don’t mean depression really. I’ve actually been in rather good spirits despite the health issues, but when something like this happens, I see how little it takes to knock me right on my ass again. When I was having issues with my knee, I realized how easily it would be for me to wind up bedridden. With this cyst, I’m realizing how difficult it can be to turn things around…to get walking and start moving this snowball in the other freaking direction. It is a scary place to be, but let’s face it…I probably need the crap scared out of me more often. It might keep me motivated.

I’ve had oodles of stress at work that I will probably go into in another blog so while I’m not going insane with the eating, the last few days especially have found me finding some comfort in food. Luckily they aren’t binges, it is just a cookie here and there mostly…walmart has these cookies in their bakery that I think are infused with crack because as soon as I start to get overwhelmed with stress I get the urge for a fix lol. Sometimes I’m able to satisfy the urge with a healthier choice, but yesterday was a banner day stress wise so I asked erik (he’d probably say it was more like begging) to go get a few when he went for some other items we needed. I had tried everything else to to take the edge off …a 55 calorie beer, a small mini Hershey bar from Tanner’s Halloween stash, but my body was craving those darn cookies…what is up with that? How do you guys handle cravings like that when you are stressed to the gills? When you can’t really take a walk or whatever to help cope with the stress? I even tried deep breathing, etc. Anyway, have to get back to work (actually took me two days to write this entry because it’s been a madhouse at work).

There you go Papa! This entry should keep you busy for a while. BTW, I want you to start your own blog! I think I’m just going to ride your butt until you get one going ;) I want to hear more stories like the one you shared with me over the phone the other day. For my readers….my grandfather was a mohawk sportin’ hellion in his younger years. I’m almost afraid to hear what other stories he has rattling around in his closet lol.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Just a boring update !

Hey guys, I'm still alive. I apologize for not updating in a while, but I've been busy getting some stuff together for a few craft fairs I'm going to be participating in. I'll try to get some pictures up of what I've been working on so that you can see!

Things have been going pretty good for us at Chez "V". Tanner has aclimated to his new (old) placement at school and hasn't been suspended once so we are counting that as a major victory. He has been CONSUMED with his favorite holiday (Halloween) as always and can barely stand the few days he has to wait for it to come lol. I don't even understand what he is planning on being exactly...some kind of warrior. All I know is he needed a new "weapon" to add to his fake weapon arsenal in order to complete the look. Again, I'll try and get some pics and post them for you guys.

I haven't actually been dieting, but I've been less obsessed with food and eating more like a regular person since I've had so many other things to keep me busy. The scrapbooking is a great way to distract myself from food, but sometimes I have to remind myself to eat OR I wind up binging on something unhealthy. I haven't weighed, mainly because I have no idea where Erik keeps putting the scale lol. I know all I have to do is ask, but he's currently going through all of our crap to start trying his hand at ebaying.

I've been working on my website too, but haven't gotten much done and its been difficult to find a balance between trying to get some of the technical stuff done (website, business cards, etc) with actually getting stuff together that I can sell. I'm excited to show you guys what I've been working on though. It's been fun.

Well, Tanner should be walking through the door any second now so I better get dinner going. I hope to be able to share a more meaningful update over the next few days. I've had lots on my mind....this time of year always does it to me.

Hope all is well with you guys xx!
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

National Coming Out Day

I have been busy this weekend getting an album together for an auction that will benefit the Straight Spouse Network. It is the 10th anniversary of our annual get together in Florida. I had hoped to go myself, but you know what my finances are like at the moment and if I had any money at all I’d be taking Tanner to visit my grandfather. That doesn’t look like it is going to happen anytime soon either :(

It is kind of ironic that the album I’m working on will benefit SSN and is the first real scrapbooking project I’ve worked on since disclosure (learning that my husband was gay). When I was packing up my stuff to move out on my own with Tanner, I knew I wouldn’t be pulling out my scrapbooking supplies anytime soon. At the time, I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to work on my own albums again. The thought of looking through all of our family photos and trying to scrap happier times (when I thought the biggest problem in our marriage was my weight) just crippled me with grief.

To be honest, going through some of the boxes has brought up some of those old feelings again…the feeling of loss, the realization that while I may eventually meet someone else and maybe even get married, I will never know what it is like to grow old with the person I started my adult life with. The good thing is, even though they brought a few tears, the feelings are mere echoes of what they once were. There is still grief, but there is acceptance as well. There is also gratitude that I have been able to forge a relationship with my husband (we are still technically married) that, in many ways, is better than what it was when we were living as man and wife. I suppose it’s because he is finally able to be 100% (or as close to 100% as anyone can ever really get) honest with me.

This year will mark our 15th anniversary; our anniversary is December 31st, but of course we really don’t celebrate it anymore. I think if we were ever asked, we would probably say we were “married” for 13 years instead of whatever it will be when we finally make it legal.

Erik has commented several times that he is concerned that his living here is holding me back. I really don’t know if it is or not. There is a certain level of comfort that comes with having a companion here with me if nothing else. I thought about it the other day…If I didn’t have him here, would I be trying harder to get myself back into shape for the eventuality that I might put myself back “out there?” I mean, I’m definitely a lot more comfortable being my own company than I was when I was in my 20’s, but I wonder if I would be as satisfied if I had to spend every evening on my own. I really can’t answer that question.

At the moment, I have absolutely no desire to date; I don’t even miss sex. I am guessing that this may be partly because of the meds I’m on and partly because I don’t feel the least bit sexy. As I’ve said before, I really don’t want to get involved with anyone else until Tanner is at least 18. Both Erik and I have more than enough on our plate to be worrying about trying to cultivate and nurture a new relationship.

Anyway, back to the album I’m working on. The auction is going to be held one of the first nights of the get together and it is going to be fellow str8s bidding on the items. I decided to make an album that someone could use to hold pictures from the actual gathering and will title it “Familee.” We use the word “Familee” to describe those of us who have found our way to the SSN. Upon disclosure, many of us feel incredibly isolated and alone. Many times our spouses are still in the closet which means we have a hard time reaching out to our “real” family. We are essentially forced to walk into our spouse’s closet, and close the door behind us. When we emerge, we have to don the same mask our spouse has worn their entire life. We have to smile and act as if there is nothing wrong even as we feel what was once a stable foundation crumbling beneath our feet. When we find SSN, we are embraced by others who have walked our path, shared our journey, felt our pain and it truly is like coming home. I have met some of the most wonderful people through the Straight Spouse Network. Many of them, including Amity Buxton herself (the author of the book “The Other Side of the Closet” and founder of the SSN) called me personally to talk me through the darkest hours. Others reached out in other ways supporting me in ways my family and friends couldn’t. I honestly don’t think I would have come through it all as well as I have without them or SSN.

At the moment, SSN is struggling financially. I know many of you probably have your own charities you support and if you are anything like me, you are struggling to donate at all this year, but I wanted to note a few ways you could painlessly support the SSN and encourage the wonderful work they do every single day for people like myself. You can help support SSN by using Goodsearch and designating them as your charity. If you purchase from Amazon, visit their website, page all the way down to the bottom and click through to Amazon. Any order you place through their link will contribute money to their fundraising efforts. You can also use igive in much the same way. If you have an older vehicle that isn’t going to bring much at trade in, consider donating it (link also on the SSN website) and request that the proceeds go to SSN.

Today is National Coming Out day. If you are in the closet please consider coming out to your friends and family. You owe it to yourself and to those that love or will love you in the future to be honest; with them and with yourself. If you know someone in the closet, be the support they need as they take those first frightening steps out of the darkness.

Thanks for reading xx

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Thursday, October 8, 2009


I bet that title kind of scared you knowing my penchant for sharing topics that fall into the topic of TMDIH (too much damn information honey). Lucky for you, I decided that I'd double post today and share the pics of my last day at the salon. This was a few weeks ago, but I keep promising and not following through and i was feeling kinda guilty for the bitchfest that was my last post so here you go:


I think I look just like jennifer anniston in the next one don't you think so?


Then I have to turn around :P


Tada! It wasn't what I was really going for, but it could have turned out much worse. Anything was an improvement on the mop I walked into the salon with.


Quick update on a break at work! I’ve been pretty busy the last couple of days with the ARD at Tanner’s school and everything else. The ARD overall went well I guess, but for some reason, Erik let Tanner take a nap just before we were supposed to go (I can’t fault him too much though…T’s meds make him sleepy so sometimes it’s difficult to keep him up). Because we couldn’t wake him up without creating a HUGE problem for ourselves, (he was likely to be in a mood that would make the meeting almost impossible) we elected that I would stay home with him and attend by phone.

Erik called shortly after arriving to let me know that our advocate wasn’t there AND they couldn’t find a speaker phone that would allow me to attend the meeting; both unacceptable problems which meant we would likely be forced to reschedule the meeting which meant Tanner was going to be out of school even longer. I hung up to call our advocate, simultaneously logging into Erik’s email to see if he had even notified her of the meeting…he hadn’t GRRRRR. I get our advocate on the phone and explain what was going on and she said she could attend by phone, but I explained that the last I heard, they didn’t have a speaker phone for her or I to attend…she agreed that was completely unacceptable. In the meantime, I have Erik calling me back and we are going round and round about what happened, why the advocate wasn’t notified, the school found a phone, the phone doesn’t work, the school found another phone, etc. It was NUTS. Just what we needed, more stress!

We finally got everyone on speaker phone and two hours later we ironed out a new placement that essentially puts Tanner back where he was last year. Half day at a school for children with ED (emotional disturbance) and half day at a school for children with severe developmental delays. Neither one is really a good fit for Tanner in terms of his abilities and diagnoses, but it is where he experienced the most success. At the latter school, he has teachers and students he is familiar with and will most likely be in their classes again and at the ED school, he will have different teachers but similar students which will help. All in all, both schools are much more familiar with Tanner and understand better how to work with him. Later, when I was talking to an old teacher of his, she commented that she wanted SO much to get in touch with us after learning all the trouble Tanner was having, but was told that she had to let this new school try to sort it out. Again, frustrating for her and frustrating for me, because I think the focus should be on the student and what is best for HIM and not worrying about stepping on another school’s “toes” but oh well.

He did well yesterday, but this morning was a bit of a nightmare getting him off to school. I overheard most of what was going on between he and Erik downstairs and it sounded like he wasn’t excited to be going back to the ED school. In reality, I think he was upset that Erik wasn’t taking him to school like yesterday since they got the bus set up. It is a change in routine and he wasn’t all that excited about riding the bus to school. Erik ultimately got him on the bus and we haven’t had a phone call from the school yet so I’m praying this is one of those odd times when he loses it at home and then goes on to have a great day at school. I don’t know why it happens like that, but very often, if he has a great morning with us, he has a miserable day at school.

Uggh, spoke too soon. Erik had to bring Tanner home, but this time because he needs an immunization. We’ve been trying for weeks to figure out how to get him immunized. Apparently to get immunized in TX you need to be A: on welfare or B: Independently wealthy. If you aren’t one of those two, you are going to have to spend HOURS trying to find A: a doctor in your network with private stock that can squeeze him in between all the Medicaid patients or B: be prepared to pay at least $70.00 for the shot DESPITE paying hundreds of dollars each month to insure your family. Apparently, it costs more to do the insurance paperwork when a doctor administers a shot (often costing more than the actual shot itself) so most doctors choose NOT to give immunizations to insured patients. This means that, even though we are insured, we are FORCED to pay for the shot or lie about being insured and wait in a line out the proverbial wazoo (as you can imagine…not easy when you have a kid with a low frustration tolerance) to get a free shot.

A few hours have passed since Erik was forced to bring Tanner home from school because he didn’t have the shot and apparently the nurse at his old school bent over backwards to let the new school know we hadn’t been able to update this shot yet. When Erik went to the old school, she gave him this look like he was lying about the difficulties we’ve had trying to find someone that can immunize Tanner without costing us an arm and a leg. Erik told her that we had left several messages at various clinics throughout our city and NOBODY was returning our phone calls. We’ve been trying for TWO weeks to find someone to give him this stupid shot. She grabbed her list, plopped down and started calling the same clinics only to discover busy signals or voicemails (just like we told her). She eventually gave up and told Erik “You are just going to have to take him in.” Erik reminded her that they have lines out the door of the clinic and asked her how he was supposed to make Tanner wait patiently for god knows how long to get a shot…hell we couldn’t get him to wait in a line that long if there was a lifetime supply of chocolate at the end much less some overworked nurse with a hypodermic needle with his name on it. What universe has this nurse been living in for the last month; certainly not the universe where Tanner got suspended from her school four times in the past month.

I feel sorry for Tanner, because Erik is at his absolute LIMIT of patience. I’M at my absolute limit and I’m not the one that’s been running my ass between two schools all day trying to get this crap sorted out. I honestly don’t know what to do at this point.

Ok, apparently it is going to cost us $70.00 to get the damn shot ANYWHERE and then we will have to submit the claim on our own. Why did it take 2 weeks and multiple phone calls to arrive at this information?? Guess I’ll have to chop down that last money tree in our back yard and shake the last few coins free so we can get him immunized so that he can FINALLY go back to school. Geez, I don’t get why he couldn’t keep going anway…the shot is for tetanus. It isn’t like he’s going to catch or give that to anyone without the shot.

After spending years trying to get Tanner additional health coverage through Medicaid or some kind of help for all the additional medical bills we incur (because health insurance doesn’t pay for hearing aids ya’ll) on a yearly basis and being turned down time and time again for making just OVER the limit, is it any wonder why I sometimes consider having both Erik and I quit our jobs so that we can go on the public dole and live the easy life where healthcare is free, your monthly food budget is as easy as a card swipe away, and subsidized housing allows you to spend YOUR money on the Cadillac in the driveway. I mean seriously…why are we trying so hard anyway? Where is the incentive to get out there and work hard and make something of yourself if it means you are just going to have to work 10 times harder to keep your nose above water?

Truthfully, we have investigated what sort of assistance we could get because it is getting more and more difficult for Erik to work and we’ve had to try to figure out how we would make ends meet if Erik is forced to quit his job. The thought of getting assistance truly turns my stomach though. I have just never been the type of person to say “Ok, I’m fine with never striving for something better, I’m perfectly happy letting someone else pay my bills for me.” That just is NOT me. I didn’t spend years getting an education so that I could take a handout. Unfortunately, we see that in order to get Tanner the kinds of help and services he needs, that is probably the way it will have to go. If it doesn’t happen now, it probably will when he turns 18. I’m guessing that Erik will probably get his own place at that point and have Tanner move in with him so that they can qualify for SSI and other types of assistance…mainly the additional health benefits since insurance mental health policies are crap. Anyway sorry for another long drawn out bitch session. I hate being in this position, it sucks!

P.S. LOL Erik just came in and I quickly scrolled through this post to show him how long it was and he noticed I started it out with “Ok, Quick update!” Sorry…I lied :P

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Rainy Days and Sundays always get me down

Just a quick note to let you know I’m still hanging in there. Tanner has NOT enjoyed his punishment which was pretty much restriction to his room for the last week. We have an ARD this Tuesday so keeping my fingers crossed about that. If I can find the emotional energy, I’ll try to blog a bit more about some of the stuff that’s been going through my mind the last week or so.

I haven’t weighed myself recently, but I haven’t been following any sort of a diet. There has been lots of comfort food sessions, but no real binges. We’ve eaten out more than I would have liked, but mainly because we are just so physically and mentally exhausted having Tanner at home 24/7 it is about the only way we can “comfort” ourselves. We also haven’t really had the energy to get to the store and shop.

Just today I decided I am going to get my ass on the treadmill no matter what it takes. Even if I’m only on it for 5 minutes, my goal right now is to get my strength up. If I’m not watching my diet as closely, I’m going to force myself on that damn thing at least once a day. I’m still extremely stressed out and I don’t know that I can commit to strict diet and exercise regime, but I refuse to do NOTHING because I know that I will just stagnate here until I hit rock bottom again which could be months from now. At least if I’m getting on that treadmill every day, my head is still somewhat in the game so to speak. I know that’s pretty lame, but that’s all I got in me at the moment.

Thanks for all the support with all the stuff going on with Tanner. It’s frustrating because we see this stretching out into the limitless future and have no idea what it means for tanner or for us. How am I going to reach this kid? I’ve spent his entire life trying to reach him. I know that he does CHOOSE to modify his behavior in certain circumstances, but it’s when he is really IN the moment he just can’t think rationally. We have always had high expectations about his behavior, but maybe we’ve insulated him too much? I don’t know what it’s going to take. Perhaps I can’t guard against the inevitable (him winding up in juvenile or worse). Some would say I may need to start facing facts and come to terms with what will probably happen, but it feels too much like I’m giving up on my son…on the future I want for him and giving into the future I see coming at us at full speed. I almost feel like the day that I give in and accept that life for him is the day I will truly just GIVE UP. I’ve lost my mom, most of my family, the only man I’ve ever loved, my dreams of growing old with someone, my dreams of building a family of my own. If I lose Tanner, I’ve lost it all. I know people have dealt with worse and recovered, but some days, I just don’t think I can take another loss. Today, while the rain beats on the dirty windows of my dumplex (really, its rather nice for a duplex lol), it just feels hopeless.

The fact that its freaking raining like a beast in San Antonio hasn’t helped my mood. For the most part, I’ve managed to stay “up” and have kept my sense of humor, but as most of you know…this blog is where I try to take my mask off and be “real.” Sometimes, you get the strong Michelle ready for anything and other days you get the Michelle who is struggling to make it through one more day. At least I haven’t had too many days like this lately.

Anyway, thanks for reading my ramblings. Hopefully, you are enjoying the tail end of your weekend wherever you are! xxx

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

My life: An ongoing analysis of the Soap Opera

Note: The picture above is not of the Campus Cop described in this post...I just thought it was funny.

I’m so OVERDUE, I know, but hopefully when I explain you will understand. I have been extremely busy trying to keep my kiddo out of trouble (and failing miserably I might add). I’ve also been very busy going off my diet which is obviously a great reason for not updating a blog dedicated to my big fat arse. I’ve also spent some time working on getting some of my scrapbooking stuff in order. In my spare time, I’ve also been trying to make my eHarmony profile as unattractive as possible so I will stop getting people trying to communicate with me while simultaneously coping with the fact that my husband is possibly engaging in his first bit of same sex flirting. So, let’s start from the top shall we?

1. The life and times of Tanner: my son was just suspended for the FOURTH time yesterday. He was also suspended earlier this week (Monday) for getting upset and leaving school. He just walked home with his poor aid following behind him. Fortunately for the aid, we don’t live but half a mile from school. While this was GREAT exercise for Tanner, it isn’t necessarily how I would normally encourage him to increase his activity level so we grounded him to his room until he could return to school yesterday. We realize from a historical perspective that groundings typically have about the same effect as any other type of traditional behavior modification where Tanner is concerned…the fact that we continue to have the same issues proves they DON’T work; if only it were that easy guys. We continue to ground him though because he has to have some kind of consequence and frankly, we are at a loss of what to do anymore.

We returned him to school yesterday after attending a meeting with his teacher with high hopes that he would at least make it through the day. One of the other stipulations we placed on our expectations for future behavior is NO MORE xbox or wii during the week (ever). His ability to play them on the weekends is directly correlated with his ability to make it through the week without being suspended. Again, we employ a traditional consequence without any real expectation it is going to have much impact when the going really gets rough at school. When that switch gets flipped in Tanner’s head, he just doesn’t rationalize or generalize these consequences to his behavior “in the moment.”

By lunchtime, we received a phone call from the school. Currently, we have developed a Pavlovian response to the phone ringing while Tanner is at school. Immediately upon hearing the ring, our stomach knots up, we look at caller ID and pray to see the sweet sight of one of the creditors currently hounding us; when we do…instant relief, but no such luck…it’s the school. As we fight back the rising bile in our throat, we are treated to the judgmental timbre of the Campus Cop’s lovely baritone explaining that they have been working for the past half hour to calm Tanner down. Apparently, Tanner was agitated this morning and while on the computer, tried to visit a game site instead of work on the educational stuff his teacher had set up for him. The new aid reached over and “x’d” out the browser he had opened which of course caused Tanner to slam the tip of his pencil into the keyboard in a rage.

One note about Tanner: When he is already agitated, such a drastic move is tantamount to lighting the fuse of a very volatile stick of dynamite. Of course, when someone new is getting to know him, you can imagine there is a bit of a learning curve and I’m afraid the aid found out just how quickly we can jump the rails while on this curve.

After his attempted keyboardicide, he announced he was going home and this led to them chasing him around the school for a while until he calmed down (read: got too out of breath/tired) enough to go with the campus cop. Erik headed to school to pick him up and after having the situation explained to him, was treated to a “lecture” by the campus cop (said lecture was directed at Tanner, but most assuredly meant for us as well) who informed him that if this behavior continued, he WOULD take him downtown where he WOULD put him in juvenile detention and his parents WOULD NOT be able to save him. Not only does this imply that said parents (hi there, *waves* we’re standing right here  ) have spent their lifetime trying to “save” a delinquent rather than employing any REAL parenting methods thus producing a child with the problems Tanner has, but it also assumes that we haven’t actually explained this to Tanner 50 gazillion times in the past. It also assumes that it will have some impact on Tanner. (um, hi *waves* me again…shitty parent: I know you know this but obviously don’t care, but just for the sake of argument, I think it might help to remind you that he has multiple diagnoses in addition to organic brain damage and while I don’t take learned behavior and choice completely out of the equation…he simply doesn’t have the ability to process this information the way most kids do so what you are saying…I can almost guarantee you…will have absolutely NO effect) to which Wonder Cop says “Oh, he KNOWS” with the look that says “ wake up and smell the handcuffs deluded parents…your kid is a waste of space.”

Campus Cop is apparently done bestowing the wisdom he has gained by his almost 1.5 hrs with our kiddo (cumulative time spent with Tanner over the last month). Who knew? Apparently that is ALL he needed to completely figure our kid out. Where was he 13 years ago when all this started; when I had an 18 month old biting himself, bashing his head against various objects and experiencing rages over relatively minor setbacks like putting his juice in the blue cup instead of the red one or (behavior that is IDENTICAL to the behavior we see today, although somewhat improved).

Silly me, I’ve wasted all my time reading every single parenting book on the market, seeking the health of multiple doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and other health professionals, going through numerous different types of medications (both for kid and parent), praying daily (and sometimes hourly) for God to either heal my kid or give me the strength I needed to parent him, etc etc. I could literally go on for hours about all the time I’ve apparently wasted trying to help my kid when the answer was so simple…I just needed Campus Cop to come to my rescue and threaten my child with a lifetime of incarceration. Needless to say, I’m anxious to see if this works! Of course we’ve warned Tanner about this ourselves and he HAS actually been arrested (at age 11) and taken down in the back of a squad car, fingerprinted, mugshotted, the whole nine yards, but maybe Campus Cops have magical powers I’m not aware of that succeed where other methods fail. I’ll keep you guys posted.

In the meantime, we wait to see if the school is going to press charges as it is a misdemeanor offense to destroy school property. I don’t expect them to, but needless to say…Tanner is out of school until we go back to ARD. I had a long conversation with the special ed “person” at the school about my opinion of this Campus Cop and mentioned that it might be helpful to have him sit down with Tanner’s medical file before offering anymore parenting gems, but indicated that I didn’t really expect it to make much of a difference where he was concerned. He’s obviously made up his mind about Tanner based on his limited interaction and he, my friends, is “EXHIBIT A” when it comes to analyzing why our juvie centers and prisons are made up primarily of children and adults with special needs. It is so much easier to make the obvious assumption that they are bad seeds with crappy parents than to actually sit down and try to understand what is going on in their lives/bodies/minds so that you can actually HELP them.

Oh well, I know I’m repeating myself at this point. I guess I’ll continue this post tomorrow where we will resume an accounting for what I’ve been up to whilst not posting. I promise more soap-opera-like goodness is in store because in our household…when it rains it pours like a sonofab****. I will actually have a few good things to talk about so it might be fun, for the novelty if nothing else…as always…thanks for reading xx

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Friday, September 25, 2009

On my own and Dorkin' out with my bad self

I got off work this afternoon and had the house all to myself. I grabbed my favorite CD of the moment, (I'm actually still listening to it, this song is playing at the moment LOVE IT!) ran downstairs, put it on our old Bose system and started dancing like a fool. Good lord, if you don't know what a 400+ lb woman looks like dancing, count yourself lucky! I'm sure it was horrendous, but I had fun and burned a few calories in the process. I only lasted a few songs, but it was a heck of a lot more fun than getting on the treadmill and I decided that I'm going to have to do that more often!

I then got busy sorting out some boxes Erik pulled out of one of our closets. I'm busy trying to get all my scrapbooking stuff out and organized (which I am miserable at...the organizing, not the scrapbooking). I decided that I was going to start trying to get some business doing custom scrapbooks. I've made several for other people in the past. The last one I made I charged close to $1000.00 for. I think you guys will enjoy the name I came up with for the business; well actually a good friend of mine came up with it, but it was my idea :) I'll tell you all more about it as I move along. Right now I'm trying to get some kind of a website up without having to pay someone to do it for me. I can barely do the HTML for this blog much less put a website together so I can't speak for how it's going to look when I'm done. I don't expect to make $1000.00 off every album, but I think I might be able to get enough business to help pay our legal bills at the least. Any little bit will help and this is something I really miss. I'm going to try to get some stuff together so that I can do a craft fair here in town this November. I have very little time to do it, but I think I could make a little bit of money at the event and get my name out there as well. I'm just looking forward to getting back into something I really enjoy. Another good thing about scrapbooking is that I FORGET to eat when I'm working, so thats a great side effect.

I have another post I'll be making in regards to some of the stuff I came across while going through the boxes. It was full of a hodgepodge of memories and as you can imagine, I found myself laughing at some, crying at others. Some things caught me by surprise...I guess because I thought I had moved on in so many ways; guess there are some things that never lose their ability to tug at your heart strings.

Erik and Tanner got home shortly as I was finishing up and I took a break to get up and dance with Tanner. I think he thought I'd lost my mind, but he was laughing right along with me. I went to "spin" him and, after going through boxes of mementos of his babyhood was, struck by the fact that I had to almost stand on tippy toe to allow him to make it under my arm :( I found myself experiencing happiness and sadness simultaneously as I realized how he really isn't my "little" boy any longer.

Speaking of Tanner, his speech language pathologist emailed me today to tell me what they were working on in his group speech therapy and took the time to include the following tidbit:

"Also, I wanted to tell you something positive that happened in one of his previous sessions. I was asking the students to all read a sentence at a time of a news report. One of the other students was very shy
about reading out loud. Tanner asked if he could help her, and even
asked to switch seats with me so he could be next to her to point out
the words. He was very patient with her and such a good helper!"

He's always been like that; such a nurturing and thoughtful kiddo. After my last post, I wanted to share that because it shows what he's really like. When I used to count my blessings, the fact that I had many lovely moments like that with him were always at the top of my list. I always felt as if they were God's way of giving me a window into his soul when I found myself getting overwhelmed by his challenges. I know many parents of children like Tanner often struggle to maintain a positive relationship with their children. It can be so easy to get lost in all the negative. I'm still so very thankful that I have MANY wonderful memories with him and I'm sure many more to come.

What else? Oh! I almost forgot. After weeks of going up and down within the same 2-3 lbs. I've decided to just go back to low fat eating. I don't know what I was doing wrong, but I just couldn't get past that plateau and I really shouldn't be plateauing a week into my diet which is about when the plateau started. So, I won't be weighing myself this week, because I expect to see some fall out from going from one WOE to another and I don't want to bum myself out.

Speaking of...I haven't eaten since breakfast (I know, not good either) and I'm actually feeling REAL hunger so I think I'm going to go and grab something to eat. Maybe I'll take advantage of the quiet (Tanner is with his Big Brother and Erik is out with a friend) to have another private dork out session! Today was a good day :)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If you don't have something nice to say...

NOTE: most of this is bitchy and depressing Michelle. If you come for the laughs, skip to the bottom :)
So I kept saying I’d blog when I had something nice to say. Today I figured I better just blog. This is probably going to be one long rambling vent, but what’s new?

Let’s start with the fact that I am back up to 440 after finally making it back town to 436. Why? No clue. Outside of about 4 tortilla chips I had when we went with Tanner’s lawyer to lunch after the hearing, I have not gone off the diet at all. The Mexican place we go to often has whole grain tortillas that I’ve probably been enjoying a little too often, but I called them today after weighing myself to see what the carb count was; Supposedly its 3g. I don’t know if that is before or after fiber or if it’s even accurate. Let’s face it, they can tell me whatever they want really. Outside of that and a few low carb beers now and then, I honestly can’t tell you what might be doing me in. I haven’t felt like I’m in ketosis though since making the tortillas more of a staple in my diet so I’m going to just discard those and see how I do.

Erik and Tanner made a concerted effort to support me in low carbing by actually eating low carb, but then erik got sick a few days ago and I think it was maybe easier for him to throw in the towel. I can’t blame him really, I’ve thrown in the towel on a diet for less. Tanner hasn’t been especially pleasant to be around and he can be difficult to handle on a good day. When you are not feeling good, the last thing you want to do is argue with him about what he’s going to eat. I just told Erik that we can’t have him low carbing with one regular/low fat meal a day or his body will never get into ketosis which will mean him eating low carb occasionally is really just feeding him a high fat diet. He will gain weight unless we have him on a low carb diet all the time.

We’ll see what he does when he’s feeling better though…I really don’t think Erik wants to be on a low carb diet. He still acts completely puzzled about what he can and can’t eat and honestly, sometimes it just irritates me because I know he hasn’t googled “low carb” or tried to figure it out on his own. I’ve sent him direct LINKS to information and based on his questions and other things he “thinks” it’s ok to eat, he hasn’t read them. This is the first time he’s put this much effort into changing over to a low carb eating plan so I’m going to give him the credit and hope that he gets back on the wagon with me when he’s feeling better. I really do think he wants to support me as much as he can.

We had the hearing on Monday and will meet again in a month to see how the new options go with Tanner. We basically moved him into the AI classes (where most of the deaf kids are) to see if that helps. I’m kind of excited for him because I know he will pick up more signing and I think it’s important for him to be around other kids with hearing loss. I can’t tell you how glad I was when I walked into that hearing with our advocate. I’ve been to many many many ARDs in his educational life, but something about this one was intimidating. The man who was running the disciplinary hearing was an ass. It wasn’t so much what he said, but how he said it. He definitely didn’t care what was in Tanner’s medical file and had already decided that whatever was in there didn’t matter. He pronounced Tanner guilty and recommended 30 days in the alternative school which is basically the school equivalent to “jail.” I was very glad to have the advocate with us even if it meant we had to pull $300 out of our ass.

See, this is a dirty little secret I’ll clue you in on. Eventually, most of these kids wind up in jail. They spend their childhood ignoring them, passing them around in school, putting band-aids on things until the kid moves on and becomes somebody else’s problem. There is very little help for you when your child has mental illness or brain injury. If they were visibly sick and miserable, maybe we could make a commercial to solicit the help they and we, as parents, need. You know, something along the lines of St Jude’s or one of those “Feed the Children” ads; the sort of ads that reach into your gut and stay with you unless you pick up the phone to give a few bucks. We all know that’s really the only way we can get back on with our lives…give and forget.

Unfortunately, I don’t think our children would elicit the same response. If we invited a film crew into our home, they wouldn’t see a child who was weak and lethargic, fighting for survival. They would see children completely out of control through no fault of their own; trying to cope in a world that is inexplicably 100 times harder for them to live in than it is for anyone else, but of course it wouldn’t LOOK like that. They might see the parents struggling to hang on to their own sanity, struggling to make it through one . more . day…sometimes just trying to make it to the next hour. They’d probably shut off their televisions around the time they saw my son banging his head into our ceramic tiled entry way as hard as he possibly could after what had already been a full-day meltdown. If they weren’t around to witness that, they sure wouldn’t see me crying my heart out in the shower and dreaming about a myriad of ways I could just end it all. When you have all your hopes and dreams crushed and then the world continues to heap more shit on you, it’s very hard to “keep on keepin’ on”; especially when you know you really just have more of the same to look forward to tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and the day after…

Oh no, people turn off their TV’s for stuff like this; either that, or they tune in in droves, but only if it’s billed as “reality” programming. Then they can point fingers and wince and thank their lucky stars their kids are “normal.” They don’t like it if we try to get them to sympathize with us; oh no, because mental illness and these types of behavior disorders are one of the last great taboos. It’s why most of our children are filling the juvenile detention centers and prisons of the nation and the other half are walking the streets lost and homeless.

So, what happens to these kids when they are too old for the schools? We incarcerate them of course. It is supposedly much more cost effective to funnel them into the criminal justice system than actually PAY for the mental health care they need or the ongoing support they need. If you don’t believe me, read this .

In Texas, something like 75% of children in the Juvenile Justice system have special needs. If you really want to know what life is like when you are struggling to survive every day with a child like this (not to mention the actual child who is simply struggling to live their life the best they can with the very crappy hand they were dealt), read this too . The first paragraph basically sums up our lives for the last decade or more:

“The tragedies of school violence around the nation have alerted all of us to the risks our children face. While national consciousness of the pressures our kids confront has been raised, I worry that the enormous difficulties that children with serious mental illnesses and their families confront day in and day out, year in and year out, are being overlooked. The results of this survey of families with youngsters with disabling mental disorders show without question the barriers these families face just to obtain basic and necessary medical treatment. NAMI's survey reveals the struggles these families must endure to get essential education for their children and much-needed supports for the whole family. As the title rightly states, so many of these families are on the brink of survival. The suffering that this report gives voice to deeply saddens and outrages me, not only because these are the voices of mothers and fathers who must try to comprehend why their loved one, their child, has a brain disorder, but because they find themselves all too often having to fight for every shred of medical attention, school system support, and acceptance from their neighbors and friends. In the face of this struggle, they confront the unimaginable but all-too-real risks of family dissolution, financial bankruptcy,
wrongful imprisonment of their child, and even the prospect of having to give up custody of their child just to get him or her treatment.”

I’m sorry to be going on and on about this. I really hadn’t planned on getting on my soapbox. Believe me I had LOADS more I was going to bitch about in this blog. Perhaps it was having a creditor who is calling me every 15 minutes, all day long for God knows what bill immediately following the week my car is repossessed sprinkled with bits from the email I just got from our educational lawyers saying that they’d be happy to go on representing us; we just have to pay them $750.00 on top of the $300.00 we already owe them which effectively exhausts all money I had set aside to file bankruptcy. Sometimes, I honestly feel like I’m the ONLY person that even thinks about where all this money is going to come from and I am about to freaking SNAP. Of course we are going to find a way to pay them. This is our child we are talking about. This is his futureand unfortunately the government only cares about helping you out financially if you squeeze out a few more kids. If you are sensible and stop when it's obvious the one child you have birthed is going to be quite enough to keep you busy for one lifetime….well then you have to sort it out yourself. So, yes…I will work more hours, take on another job. Put off that trip to my grandfather’s, forget about taking the vacation I hoped I’d be able to take for my 40th. Once again, anything I might have been looking forward to will die a rather slow death and I’ll find a way to keep on, keepin’ on…because what choice do I have?

Needless to say, I went back on my regular dosage of crazy meds today. I don’t know if the way I’m feeling is the normal reaction to all of this CRAP (lord knows I should honestly be immune…this IS my NORMAL for the last 15 years), the dieting, or the reduction in my depression meds. All I know is that the meds are the ONLY thing I can do anything about.

And here I am apologizing because my life sucks. Apologizing for inflicting it on whomever might read this. WHY? I guess I may be guilty of some of the same prejudice I assume is in the rest of the population when it comes to mental illness. Somewhere deep inside I am ashamed of my own battles with depression and my son’s battle with ….well EVERYTHING really.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to use this as an excuse to fall off the wagon; even though I’m not losing a darn thing. At least not today. I DO have a few things going on at the moment that are positive and maybe I’ll feel like posting about them later in the week. For now, let me cheer you up with this humorous exchange between Tanner and Erik upon Tanner’s arrival from school yesterday. Hopefully it will help tide you over until I can work on the next Tales from the Scale.

Tanner gets home: “Hi dad! What are you doing home?”
Erik: “Oh, I’m not feeling good, how was school?”
Tanner digging in his backpack for something: “Oh ok, a girl gave me this today…” handing Erik a piece of paper that’s been folded over and over again. Looking at it, he sees that it says “Boyfrined” (sic)
Erik: hmm, “Who is this from Tanner?”
Tanner: “I don’t know, some girl at school.”
Opening it up, erik sees that it says the following:

Name: Tanner
I love you. Give Hug?
Yes or No

(For the record, “yes” was circled for him.)

Erik: “you don’t know her name?”
Tanner: I think it was “lisa?”
Erik: The note says “Jennifer”
Tanner: “yeah, that’s it. She wants me to be her boyfriend. I told her I’d be her friend, but she said ‘NO BOYFRIEND.’”
Erik: “So what did you say?”
Tanner: Shrugging, “I said sure.”
Erik: under his breath so only I can hear “Sounds like our love story ;)”

I would have smacked him if I hadn’t been thinking the SAME DAMN THING right at that moment LOL! No matter how shitty life is for us, I’m very thankful that we can make each other laugh; even if we are laughing at ourselves. I seriously think we would have lost our damn minds long ago if not for that. Maybe that’s why we ended up together.

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