My Progress!

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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