Friday, June 15, 2007

Grrr. Arrrrrgh.

So I mentioned that I tore out the poison ivy last week, hmm? I expected a problems, so I attempted to dress for the occasion, including gloves and plastic bags over my arms. Sadly, I still managed to get 4 very small spots of ivy rash on my right arm.

I've been dutifully applying some special ivy gel on it (calamine does nothing for me) as directed all week, and covering the spots loosely with bandaids to keep me from bumping them on stuff.

Sooooo. Guess who is apparently allergic to the adhesive they use in bandaids? And has bright red bandaid-shaped welts on her arms for three days after they get removed?? And who pretty much looks like an extra for Resident Evil? (from the right elbow on down, anyway)

And the ivy's trying to resprout. This is war.

Nothing much in the way of hilarity for the rest of the week, I'm afraid. Jacob was sick with a virus and has not been sleeping or eating well, plus he's teething again. Unfortunately, he's tried teething on me and I have a tiny bite on my shoulder that looks like the world's smallest vampire had a nosh.

We're all ready for the weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Scenes From a Day

Calling in to the pediatrician's office about the baby's fever of 102:

appointment nurse: and is he complaining of stiffness in his neck?
me: He's 11 months old... he doesn't act like its stiff.
AN: but is he complaining?
me: he's 11 months old, he's not that verbal yet.
AN: So he's not complaining of a stiff neck?
me: Ma'am. He's 11 months old. He can say DUCK. What the hell???
AN: So.... that's no?

Monday, June 11, 2007

So about that BRAIN problem there...

The OTHER reason I've been slow to return to blogging...

I think I mentioned some time ago that I'd been having some neurological problems? Right. They started appearing not too long after my pancreas declared itself a Sovereign Nation and began its saber-rattling (stoooopid organ.)...

Anyway. The whole pancreas thing gets a little annoying but I can tolerate it just about all of the time. But the brain issues... that was worrisome.

Liiiiike calling my husband by the wrong name, which I have never, ever, EVER done. Worse? Calling him by my exhusband's name and we've been split for 17 years.

Or moments of utter and complete disorientation. Absolutely, positively not knowing where I was. Falling down stairs, tripping over nothing, walking into walls, slurring my speech, stuttering, losing words, insane memory problems, dropping things because I couldn't feel them in my hand... etc etc & lather, rinse, repeat.

Now certainly all of this is symptomatic of Momnesia (what Pregmentia turns into) Or a drunken stupor. In fact, someone at work finally came out and asked me if I was drinking, and I most definitely was NOT. (but at that point, I was about ready to start!)

I asked my doctors a few times if they thought it could be related to the pancreas problems, since it started about the same time that the pancreatic revolt became a noticeable problem.

Apparently the idea that I might have the audacity to start wondering about coincidences was laughable. They didn't think it could be the issue, thereby launching me on a 6 month campaign of blood tests, CT scans, MRIs, you name it, it got tested. We determined that I don't have cancer, I have a perfectly functional thyroid, I don't have hydrocephalus, I don't have lupus, I don't have a vitamin B deficiency, I DO have a lesion on my brain but its absolutely inconsequential and almost definitely from any one of a dozen good knocks I've taken on the ol' coconut in my days....

then they referred me to a neurologist.

And it was about that time that I decided I was going to have to give up the pumping for my son... I was sick all the time, the supply was dropping and he was perfectly happy with the formula we were supplementing with. I'd really wanted to make it a year but it just wasn't working that way... and so, three weeks before my appointment with the neurologist, I stopped.

And butter my butt and call me a biscuit.

What do you think happened??

I started to get better.

I kept my appointment and what a freaking waste of my time THAT was. That man? Was an ass. A HUGE ass. An entirely insulting, patronizing, undescended testicle of a man. He accused me, pretty much, of making the entire thing up. And the only thing that hauled him up short was the discovery that my gastroenterologist happened to be someone he knew.

I'll spare you the ugly details. I'm still pissed as hell weeks later and am drafting an official complaint, which he will certainly receive a copy of, certified mail.

And then after three weeks of noticeable improvement, I asked my gastroenterologist if he thought that the breastfeeding, combined with the malabsorption issue I have from the pancreatic insufficiency, meant that I just wasn't getting what **I** needed to function?

"Absolutely!" he told me, "I think you hit it right on the head."

And I was all agog. I've heard that phrase before and wondered how it felt... well now I know. Because how freaking ironic, really. My determined effort to feed my son with my own body was actually kicking my own ass. And all those tests, all this time...

and the solution was as simple as a can of Isomil.*

But the silver lining? I got my first grilled cheese sammich in a long long time. And it was awwwwwesome.

* please note that I take no particular position on the formula/breast-feeding debate - its a PERSONAL choice. I wanted to breast feed. That was MY choice. And then I couldn't nurse anyway and had to pump. Still my choice. And now that we've had to switch over? He's healthy, he's happy, he's well-fed. That's all I need. The odds of anyone else having the exact same set of circumstances and timing as to cause this to repeat? Right. About the same odds as my life getting less weird.

Gardening... like putting out Timed-Release Neighbor Bait

Or something.

I've now met a good number of our neighbors... weeks after we actually moved in. At first, I was far too busy unpacking to notice that no one was really speaking to us (except to tell us they were putting in a fence).

But eventually I noticed that the neighborhood wasn't exactly brimming with welcome. Oh, they weren't lobbing molotov cocktails at the door or anything, don't get me wrong. But it was definitely a bit more distant than I'd expected.

Or at least... it was until I'd sunk some cash and considerable effort into reclaiming the side garden from the wilds. I love gardening and I'd been horrified at the significant neglect. There were saplings growing out of the azaleas that were clearly 5 years old or more. One of the rhododendrons was brown and crunchy, and I had a poison ivy TREE overwhelming the other one. Plus, the weeds came to my nose. I live in a suburb - a busy one at that - and I saw no reason to let that garden continue to well.... FESTER. Armed with shovels, rakes and various sharp implements, I tore into it. (literally)

Ok... see the light green bushy stuff there at the top right? sort of below the tree leaves... yeah. That. That's part of the poison ivy.

On my third weekend of Operation Weedkiller, I reached a point where I could lay some garden cloth in one section and put in some astilbe, hosta and impatiens. A thin layer of mulch on the new plants gave the illusion that I'd gotten much more accomplished than I really had. Let's face it, sometimes we need that illusion. It was starting to get a little overwhelming and I was desperate for results.

And whaddya know. As cars were pulling up to the stop sign (I'm on a corner lot), people were calling out to me:
"Hey looks great!"
"Oh, that's so wonderful!"
"Looking good!"
"Thank you SO MUCH!"

Thank you? Huh??? That one threw me for a loop. And then, people on walks began to stop and engage me in conversation and I began to piece things together.

They knew we were renters. (the horror) Ah but wait... it seems that since the owner began renting this house out, its been getting trashed. And when they move out, the owner has to fix it back up... and this last time, the property got to be an eyesore. And since this is a busy street, it seems EVERYone knew about the blue house on the corner.... I believe it. I've found all kinds of messed up nonsense in and around the property that bespeaks "not my house so I don't care". Now I don't know these people, but I know what they've managed to do to this house and it ain't pretty. Call me bitchy, but if you go through life breaking everything you touch and refusing to do anything about it? That's just trashy.

So when the neighbors saw the For Rent sign go down, they all figured they were getting another renter who wouldn't care what the place looked like. So they didn't bother coming to meet us.... until they saw me busting my ass. Later that night, I called my husband, who was visiting his mom and told him I'd apparently bought us significant neighborhood goodwill through sweat equity. Every week I do a little more, and every week, more people come to talk to me. It's hysterical. (and a little gratifying).

I figure I've got about another month's worth of work on the main garden... maybe by then I'll have figured out what to do about the sad state of the hedges in the front. I've put some flower boxes on the deck... two of kitchen herbs, one of lavendar and two of red geraniums. Plus, I've got two huge pots of tomatoes started and am anticipating fried green tomatoes...

This weekend saw the removal of the poison ivy. It took me THREE HOURS and it filled up four black lawn trash bags. Good gravy. Then I dug out more weeks, cut down the rest of the saplings that weren't in plain sight and set out some purple echinacea, some black-eyed susans and some asiatic lilies. I want to get more of the echinacea & black-eyed susans... plus some red-hot pokers if I can find them and maybe some spirea. Also more impatiens. I'd LOVE to put in some peonies but am not sure how well they'd do.
My rhododrendon appears to have shrunk! Actually, the ivy had extended a good 18 inches above the poor shrub.

One of the nice things about this garden is that part is full sun and part is shade, so I can have both a sun and a shade garden.

In other news, Jacob has decided the new house is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous. He crawls lightning-fast now and figured out stairs this weekend. (whimper) He also now greets random strangers with a hand flung wide and "HI!". And he has learned the word "Duck".

I've got most of the house pulled together, artwork hung on the walls and the new oven was installed this weekend. They had to special order it because of the size (sigh) so I was ovenless for all this time. I promptly got up on sunday and made buttermilk biscuits and a blackberry cobbler and I think my husband thought he'd died and gone to heaven. I was mildly annoyed... I often cook a Sunday breakfast. It shouldn't have been some kind of shock.

Oh, and we have a patch of four-leafed clovers just off the deck. It does nothing for my brand of luck, however, because I have been finding the darned things where ever I go, all my life.