So mad I could scream!

I’m trying to be thankful here.

I have a warm place to lay my head.

My girls are safe and mostly healthy.

I have a job that I love.

I got to witness a wedding today.

blah blah blah

Today, I’m just mad.

Without getting specific about the current situation I’m just going to rant a little. I’m apologizing in advance.

I’m sorry you didn’t want to do YOUR job. Apparently the fact that you actually have to WORK is a little much for you. It’s ok. I get it. Things happen and sometimes doing your job isn’t fun. I’m sure it’s not fun at all when you get called on it for being to lazy to actually DO your job and it costs your company money that could have been avoided with a simple phone call. How unfortunate for you that you got woke up early this morning by an irate person. Oh yeah, that irate person was ME. How sad for you that you got called on the carpet when you said “Well, I can’t do that” when in fact “that” is exactly what your job is all about.

I expect I will be known in your memory as the thorn in your side that almost (and potentially will) cost you your job. You know what? I truly hope your don’t lose your source of income over this but I hope that you learned something here. And no, I wasn’t kidding when I told you where I work. Your mistake could have cost me MY job!

::end rant::

My birthday is in a few weeks. I’m so done with 40.

I miss her

Mom and I 2013

Mom and I 2013

Today marks the 4 month anniversary of my mom passing away. This morning my sister reminded me that this means that for 4 months Mom hasn’t been in any pain. She’s right. It also means it’s been 4 months since I last held her hand and told her I loved her.

Adjusting to this new reality without my mom has been really hard. Mom died on May 16th. On July 17th I put Beauty on a bus to Idaho. I’ve seen her exactly one time since then and that was a month ago at our family reunion. (That epic adventure will be told in a future post) A few weeks ago I met a friend for coffee and we ended up sitting and talking for 4 hours. Before we even got out of the car I made the comment “My mom died and 2 months later, almost to the day, I put my daughter on a bus.” My friend looked at me and just totally got what I was saying. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “So it feels like you lost your mom AND your daughter.”

She was exactly right.

I know Beauty is safe and doing well and really needs to be where she is right now but I miss her so much. We have always had a very close relationship, something that I’m sure most single parents can understand. The bond we have is something like the bond I had with my mom. My dad died when I was 12 and from then on it was just Mom and I against the world. Well, that’s the way it has pretty much always been with Beauty and I. Us against the world. She has been my rock more times than I care to admit. She was there by my side as I held my mother’s hand and told her I loved her for the last time. She was there when I had to call the doctor because I was having an anxiety attack and thought I was going to die. She was with me when we had a service locally for all of the friends and family that couldn’t make it to the second service. She was with me when we drove all night to get to my sisters for the final service and graveside memorial. She was with me a month ago when I had to tell my mom’s sisters about the last week of my mother’s life. She was right there with me holding my hand and making sure I was okay.

Today is the day that I grieve for my mom and remember the amazing life she had. She made me who I am today and I can only hope that I’ve done half as good a job with my girls.

After Mom died a friend posted something on my Facebook that I struggle to remember every day. She told me to keep my chin up and a smile on my face so my Mama can see my beautiful face as she looks down from Heaven.

I love you Mom and I’ll see you later.

I love you Beauty and I’m so proud of you for the amazing young woman you have become. I’m so glad God made me your mom.

I love this girl!!!

I love this girl!!!

I remember

9114People everywhere are remembering the day our world changed. On that fateful day 12 years ago I remember exactly where I was.

At the time I was working in a call center for a cell phone company. We hadn’t heard much when I received a call from a woman whose phone automatically transferred her to my department. The woman on the phone that day was frantic. She was a stewardess for United Airlines. She was trying to reach her friends and co-workers. She was supposed to be on one of those planes.

Twelve years later I don’t remember her name but I’ll never forget her voice.

Shortly thereafter we received word that if we wanted to leave work we could go and not face any attendance infractions. 21-month-old MiniMe was in daycare and 7-year-old Beauty was in her second grade class at school. I chose to leave. I knew there was nothing I could do and thankfully I didn’t personally know anyone who was killed that day but I needed to gather my children close and keep them as safe as I knew how. I picked up the girls and we went home. Thankfully they were young enough that they didn’t understand at the time what was going on. I struggled to answer Beauty’s questions in a way that she would understand.

Twelve years later they have learned to live in our post 9/11 world.

I have relatives who have served in the military and a nephew who is a civilian firefighter in Afghanistan. There’s a local family who lost a son a few years ago. We live in a small community and the day he was brought home everything stopped. The motorcade from the airport to the high school gym where his memorial service was held was one of the most amazingly heart wrenching things I’ve ever experienced. Beauty and I were on the freeway and every overpass was filled with people. The fence along side the freeway was filled with flags.  Cars pulled over to the side of the road to show respect for this fallen soldier who was one of our own. I was one of those cars.

I am thankful every day for the men and women in uniform who work so hard to make sure that our world is safe. Whether it’s a military uniform or our firefighters, EMTs, police and sheriffs, all of them are working together to make sure that we in this country are safe.

For this, I thank you.

My response to the Daily Prompt

Mamma Mia

I was 13 and totally rockin' the mullet!

I was 14 and totally rockin’ the mullet!

That’s my mom and I. I was 14 years old. It was about a year after my dad died. We were still having lots of struggles in our relationship. When Dad was alive he was the calming influence between us. I’ve mentioned before that I was totally a daddy’s girl. When he died there was no longer anyone there to calm things down between us. We had lots and lots of struggles. I’m sorry Mom! I get it now!

I am the youngest of 5. My oldest sister has kids older than me. The next to the youngest was 12 when I was born. I was basically like a second family for my parents and when I was younger it was almost like being an only child. Well, until my sister and my niece moved in with us. My niece is 6 months (and 4 days!) older than me and we fought like sisters. We lived in a 2 story house and she and I shared a bedroom upstairs. We were always falling down the stairs. One particular morning we were both coming down for breakfast and each had a glass of water in hand. She went first and fell and didn’t spill a drop. I wasn’t so lucky. By the time I hit the bottom my glass was empty and I was soaked. One year I got a Slinky for Christmas. We were trying to get it to work like the commercials said it did when Mom/Grandma decided to come show us. Mom became a human Slinky. 😦 Of course at the time we thought it was super funny because we did it all the time. Now that I’m about the age she was when that happened, I’m so very sorry we laughed. I’ve fallen down a couple of stairs recently and it’s not funny anymore.

Shortly before we moved from my little hometown to the county where I currently live, Mom had surgery. It was a huge change for all of us and Mom couldn’t do much at all. When we got here she was stuck in bed for weeks. Not the easiest way to start our new life but she did what she had to do and we all survived. When my dad died we were all thrown into grief, heartache and chaos. I can’t imagine how difficult things were for her. She showed amazing amounts of strength and kept our family together during the most difficult time of our lives.

During my teenage years we had daily struggles. Now that I have teenagers myself, I don’t think I can ever apologize enough to my amazing mother. I love you mom! I moved out when I was 19 and now that I have a 19-year-old myself, I understand how scared my mom must have been for me. But she always let me know that she loved me and was there for me even if she didn’t agree with my choices. I learned a lot from her.

Now that Mom is older and her health is failing, I realize how grateful I am to still have her in my life. We may not always agree on things but I know that she loves me unconditionally and I am so glad God chose her to be my mom.

I love you Mom and I hope your day is amazing!

Mom and I 2013

Mom and I 2013

Living with RA

Mt Baker (2)

This picture has nothing to do with RA but this weekend we got to house sit for my brother and sister-in-law. This picture was taken from the back yard. Beauty took it early Sunday morning. She spent the night with us and woke up early. She grabbed my phone and took this picture. It was a great surprise when I woke up. One of the local coffee shops is having a photo contest and it was suggested that I submit this for it. I did but got an email back saying they needed a higher resolution copy. Unfortunately, I don’t have one. Oh well, I like the picture anyway. Those of you who are Facebook friends have already seen it but I just love it so thought I’d share here too!

I’ve mentioned before that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was diagnosed in February 2006. I had spent a year with what I called “The Amazing Traveling Pulled Muscle”! I was at the doctor nearly once a week with pain in a different location every time. The first was my right shoulder. My brother, Beauty and I made a quick trip for my uncle’s memorial service. A very quick trip. We were gone a total of 20 hours and about 15 of that was spent driving. I went to work the next day and couldn’t lift my right arm. My shoulder felt like someone was stabbing me with a red hot poker right in my shoulder joint. Any movement at all was excruciatingly painful. That was the first time I went to the doctor and was told “You have a pulled muscle. Here, have some narcotics!” They didn’t work. Three days later I was sitting at work and watched my left hand swell up and turn red. My left arm started hurting as well. You may recall that my dad died when I was 12? He had a massive heart attack. My mom? She’s had 3 open heart surgeries and a mild heart attack. Pain radiating down my left arm? You can bet I headed for the ER. Interestingly enough they didn’t even check anything with my heart! They ended up telling me “You have a pulled muscle” and giving me more narcotics. Really? And we wonder why so many people are addicted to pain pills???

Over the course of the next year, like I said, I was at the doctor multiple times only to be told that I had a pulled muscle. Finally after doing some research on my own I called and asked for a referral to a Rheumatologist. I ended up going in to my doctor’s office but saw a different doctor who FINALLY ordered lab work! Yes, I had been in this much pain for a year and my doctor never even did any labs! The very last time I saw the man who kept blowing off my very real pain he actually said to me “I got you in here on an emergency appointment. I don’t have time for this.”!!! Needless to say, that was the very last time I saw him. He’s still practicing. He’s even in the same office my girls and I still go to. But I’ve made it VERY clear that none of us will EVER see him again. I would rather take my chances at spending 12 hours in the ER than see him again. Lucky for us we now have an AMAZING primary doctor who actually listens and seems to genuinely care about what is going on with us. I was able to get in with a Rheumatologist that I really like. He understands that I haven’t had insurance for the last couple of years so he works with me for my appointments. He also has been instrumental in helping me get the most expensive of my medications ($2400 a month?!?!?) for no cost.

Now, 6 years after my initial diagnosis and 7 years after the onset of my symptoms, my life is mostly normal. Yeah, I have to take it easy some days and the cold generally hurts. Now that I’ve been on this most recent medication my flares are not as frequent (maybe 1 a month unless I completely overdo it) and aren’t nearly as severe as they were. When this first started I didn’t know how I could live my life with this horrible disease. Now I know I just do. Yes, it’s still horrible but I’ve learned that my body has certain limitations and as long as I remember that, I do ok. I have been blessed with a great job where it’s not overly stressful on me (which causes flares really bad!) and it’s physically not a difficult job. My last job before this was at a big box store and I walked 6-8 miles every single day.

Interestingly enough when I started writing this I was feeling great. This morning I woke up and could barely open my mouth because I’m having a flare in my jaw. Let me just tell you how much fun THAT is! If you have ever suffered from TMJ this is pretty similar. I can’t open my mouth all the way and I can’t bite down all the way. Makes eating interesting for sure! Today was the busiest day of the week at work and all I wanted was to take a nap! That’s what happens when I take my meds before work. Luckily I don’t get all of the common side effects associated with Chemo medicine, mostly because I take such a low dose. I just put a reminder in my phone to take meds on Friday night or Saturday morning so this doesn’t happen again. We’ll see how that works…

I’m a grown-up?

My last post was wondering where the pause button for life is at. Well, I still haven’t found it and life has gotten even more crazy. A quick re-cap of the last month or so:

  • Like I mentioned in my last post, my co-worker “retired suddenly” and I stepped up offered to help with whatever I could. Ok, let me explain something here. I have a college degree. (Yay me!) That college degree was focused more in the medical office field. The office I work in now? I work for a lawyer whose primary practice is estate planning.  Absolutely NOTHING to do with medical of any kind! I pretty much said to my boss, “Look, I have no clue what I’m doing but if you want to teach me, I’m willing to learn. Just please be patient with me.” My boss isn’t really known for her patience and the learning curve has been incredibly steep but I think I’m doing ok. If the last bonus I got is any indication then I’m doing pretty darn great actually! And I’m now full-time which is always a plus!
  • In the last couple of weeks I have apparently become the legal assistant rather than just the receptionist (not that there’s anything wrong with that job!). The other day my co-worker addressed me as my bosses assistant to a client and I kind of freaked out (not in front of the client of course!). It was the first time I’ve heard her refer to me as that and it just hit me that this is a seriously grown-up job…AND SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT ME! Ok, deep breaths… I can do this!
  • Because of the type of work I am now doing I am thinking about the future and putting some things in place so if anything was to happen to me, my kids will be taken care of. Another seriously grown-up thing!
  • Beauty is no longer living with me. She has made some difficult choices recently and while I don’t agree with most of them, she is 19 and is learning to be responsible for herself. I just pray that she makes it through this and will someday have good advice to give to her children.
  • MiniMe is adjusting to not having her big sister at home. Most days it’s hard but we’re finding our new normal.

All in all, the first few months of 40 have been incredibly busy but mostly satisfying and I think I’m okay with it.