Since it's the last day of May (and I think, a Friday? I lose track now.)... I thought it would be fun to recap some really awesome things that happened this month.
1. My last day of working, perhaps forever, was May 1st. I didn't know that it was my last day but after talking to my disability attorney yesterday, it sounds like it benefits me most if I don't work at all. It's not something I've quite wrapped my mind around yet. I just keep waking up every morning and don't go to work. It's like we never said goodbye.
2. We spent ten days at the mountain house (eleven?) and for the first time it felt like home, not a vacation. I am very happy there.
3. I am having such a great time with my mom. We weren't always close so I'm extra appreciative of the time we have together now.
4. When I left Riverdale a week and a half ago I was very sick, sick to the point where I thought I would never feel better. Yet... I do! I think when you get knocked to the ground in the prime (?) of life with a injury/illness that won't ever go away, you stop believing that healing will ever come for anything. It did, though.
5. My sister-in-law has a new job that was a massive answer to prayer for her and it came at a perfect time and I think it's really cool how God works things out like that. We had a really good visit on Memorial Day. I'm always glad for uninterrupted time with her and it's far too rare.
6. My brother has gone to "deepest, darkest Africa" on an evangelistic mission. Growing up in a Southern Baptist church we were immersed in learning about missions and the different ways that missionaries help others. It's cool that my brother actually gets called to serve in that way, even if my niece Jamie says, "does God have to call him EVERY year???"
7. I'm digging back into my genealogy research. I got burned out and didn't do much with it over the past few months. Then it was time to renew my subscription and I had to really think about the investment I'm making with ancestry.com and whether or not it's worth it. It still is. In the grand scheme of things I don't go out to eat or to the movies or take vacations. This is what I do for entertainment and that makes it justifiable budget-wise.
8. I bought two new dresses from zulily.com and a really cute hoodie that goes well with the dresses. It's very lightweight material and very silky and soft. I've worn one of the dresses three times this week because, heck, who cares? I have washed in between wearings, so no fears of poor hygiene.
9. I also shaved my legs this week which shouldn't be notable or blogworthy but alas, it is.
10. I am loving my Nook that I got for my birthday. At the mountain house we only have two tvs (I know, first world problems, right?) so instead of watching tv until I fall asleep, I've been reading myself to sleep and I've greatly enjoyed it. So far I've nabbed a lot of free books off the Barnes & Noble website and I've bought two books: Bloom, by Kelle Hampton (a mommy of a child with Down Syndrome) and Tim Tebow's autobiography with a gift certificate I got for Mothers Day. I would never have bought a Nook/Kindle for myself but now I can't imagine NOT having one.
11. Cherries are in season and I love them, even if they are crazy expensive. Why is it that we think nothing of plunking down $5 for a Big Mac and fries but cringe at the thought of $5 a pound for something healthy like cherries?
12. My mom thinks I need to join match.com. That got such a severe eye-roll from me that I saw the back of my brain. Thank you, I'm fine. If I wanted a man, I'd have one. Or four. It's not about finding someone, it's about WANTING to find someone. And I don't.
13. We watched half of last year's season of Food Network Star yesterday. It's on again today and I'm not interested. The new season starts this week and I'm sorta neutral on it.
14. In case you were wondering, I'm still using the tank of gas that we put in my car on April 6th. Does gas spoil? When I say that I don't go anywhere, it's no exaggeration, even if I do have a tendency to exaggerate, 99.9% of the time. And that was an exaggeration.
15. Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the day my parents met. Awwwww.... this is why my mother doesn't understand why match.com is not interesting to me. Al Gore had not even invented the internet yet when my parents met.
16. On our next trip to the mountains (next week) we are taking Stubby the three legged wondercat with us. This will be a permanent relocation for him. He will howl the entire way. He is unable to do stairs so we will make him comfortable in my basement suite and hope that Austin will keep him alive when I'm not there. Which won't be often. If you see our little red wagon dragging north on the Connector next week with three dogs and two cats, please don't honk. In fact, just pretend like you don't recognize us.
17. I have a big deal meeting (over the phone) with my disability attorney on Monday morning. This will be to complete all my paperwork for my claim. I have to have a ton of a lot of information, including the names and addresses of all the places I've worked in the past fifteen years which is going to require a lot of research this weekend. I have to avoid my usual tendency to procrastinate because I guarantee you, I will end up setting the alarm for 5am on Monday to finish what I didn't do this weekend.
18. I need to stop biting my fingernails.
19. Mom, Pop, Cody and Marquee are going to O'Charley's for dinner. I'm opting out/dog-sitting. Their service is slow and their chairs hurt my back. It's no fun for me at all. Plus, I'm a bit out of sorts from driving today even though it was a quick and uneventful drive.
20. Austin had two friends spend the night last night and the three of them loaded the car for us today, which was helpful. Lily, our big old dog, decided she was riding shotgun and she would NOT move out of the front seat. Mom had to literally pick her up, all 75 pounds of her, and she snarled and barked and got all hacked off (the dog, not Mom). She got over herself within the first ten miles.
21. I've been on Jodi Arias blackout since last week. I know the jury has done some interviews and I refuse to watch them. They're dead to me now. They had their chance. I'm grateful that they found her guilty but geez.... that girl needs to fry.
22. Our favorite meal at the mountain house is... anybody want to guess? Ok, I'll give you some hints, neither me nor my mom really WANTS to cook and she never WANTS to eat... none of us like to clean the kitchen... and so, our go to meal is .... frozen pizza. Sad, right? I made tabbouleh yesterday and it was really good and not really intended to be our meal but it worked. I made a huge meal on Sunday. Pop made pork chops on Monday. We had frozen chicken enchiladas one night. Otherwise... frozen pizza.
23. I'm watching How I Met Your Mother reruns just because there's nothing else on that I want to watch and SURPRISE! An episode that I haven't seen yet! Only I didn't realize it until halfway through the episode so there's still a half of an episode that I haven't seen.
24. I did a load of laundry last night and brought the whole load home with me today. I didn't need to, there are plenty of clothes here but I was afraid that I would want something that I didn't have. Even though I've worn this same maxi-dress three days out of the last week. Maybe four. And we all know that today's maxi-dress is yesterday's muumuu.
25. Figs and home grown tomatoes will soon be in season. I am dying for some broiled figs with goat cheese and a tomato sandwich on white bread with a lot of mayonaise and black pepper! I forgot to eat lunch today. I ate a bowl of cookie crisp cereal about half an hour ago and this morning I ate a donut that Austin and his friends bought. Obviously my body is craving real food.
26. And watermelon. Mmm! Cold watermelon with salt. Watermelon and basil! Ok. Enough about food.
27. When do the Tony awards come on? That's usually early June, isn't it? Yay! Something to look forward to!
28. Big Brother starts earlier this year! Back to the "only two tv's" first world problem... I've been teaching my mom about the shows I watch, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, The Five... and when we saw and advertisement about Big Brother she said, "I guess I'll be watching that too...". Yep. Unless you go fishing.
29. Oscar the dog loves to go fishing. He sits on the dock... eyes peeled to the water... and when mom reels in a fish he goes nuts! At least, this is what I hear. I don't go down to the dock because... it's a dock. And I'm not "outdoorsy". And it's at the bottom of a steep incline which kills my back. The other day Austin had to jump in because my mom "overcasted" and lost her rod. I'm halfway afraid that Austin is going to come down with one of those flesh eating diseases that people get when they swim in lakes and rivers. But he saved the fishin' pole, that's what counts, right?
30. Little Trouble Kitty is so bummed to be back to the boring ranch house instead of his big house with stairs and lots of windows. He even climbed back inside his carrier... like it's a time machine or teleporter or something.
31. I think that in the future I will look back on this season of life... as a 45 year old single, empty nested woman, living in her parents' basement/converted garage, wearing the same maxi-dress and hoodie and the side braid that seems to be my go-to hairstyle lately... and I will treasure these days. Despite the uncertainty of the disability thing, despite the pain, despite the whole hermit lifestyle, for some reason, these really feel like good ole days.
Hope you had a great May! Love and hugs!
Friday, May 31, 2013
Since it's the last day of May (and I think, a Friday? I lose track now.)... I thought it would be fun to recap some really awesome things that happened this month.
Posted by Heather at 3:42 PM
Thursday, May 30, 2013
OH, those crazy ancestors! I came across this colorful character this evening during my research. It seems that my 10th great-grandfather on my mom's side had his house torched for giving testimony in the Salem Witch Trials. Just a few (lots) of details about him. For the book I will one day write telling the story of the people who came before me.
Matthias Button Sr
Birth: about 1607
Death: 13 August 1672 -- Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
Birth about 1607 Baptism 11 October 1607 (Age 0-9 months) Harrold, , Bedfordshire, England
Source: Parish records of Harrold
Immigration On ship Abigail w/Gov. John Endicott's party 6 September 1628 (Age 20-21) Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Latitude: N42.5224 Longitude: W70.8958
Lettyce (unknown) 27 Marriage about 1639 (Age 31-32)
Joane (unknown) - 28 Marriage between 1648 and 1649 (Age 40-42)
Ann Teagle - Marriage 9 June 1663 (Age 55-56)
Elizabeth Wheeler -
Notes He came as an immigrant to America from England with Governor John Endicott, on ship Abigail, landing at Salem, MA September 6, 1628.
Some early writer recorded Matthias as a Dutchman. This is evidently an error; the man does not indicate a Holland nativity, and the foregoing records show his baptism in England, and probable English birth.
He may have gone to Holland just previous to coming to America, and possibly married his first wife Lettyce there; we do not find any record of his first marriage.
He must have been about 20 when he landed in America.
His stay in Salem was brief; he soon removed to Boston, where he is found among the earliest settlers. He identified himself with the First Church of England sometime previous to 1633, and there at least two of his children were baptized.
He removed thence to Ipswich, where he was a commoner in 1641
and thence in 1646 to Haverhill, where he died.
Mr. Button evidently inherited the spirit of adventure as history tells us that those who came with Governor John Endicott were gentlemen and their families who came to better their impaired fortunes, and enjoy the peace of religious liberty.
It is not known whether he brought his wife Lettyce with him or not. As no record of their marriage has been found, it is presumed that she came with him.
The group that arrived in Salem were in an exhausted condition when they landed. Many were sick and weak of limb. They brought with them cannon and small arms for their protection from Indians. While some of them were acting as scouts in the wilderness, they overheard or observed some Indians planning for the entire destruction of the colonists. They prepared to meet them and with great effort got out and planted their cannon so as to command their projected approach. When the main body of the Indians was located, they fired the cannon and frightened the Indians so they scattered like sheep.
Matthias Button is spoken of in this incident of the first landing as one of the few colonists who were able to get and man the big gun, so nearly exhausted were they from sickness and from want of food. He was spoken of as a hale and hearty man.
His stay in Salem was brief; he soon removed to Boston in 1633, where he is found among the earliest settlers.
He identified himself with the First Church of England and was admitted with wife January 26, 1633, and there at least two of his children were baptized.
He then moved to Ipswich, Mass., prior to 1639, where he was a commoner in 1641
and then, in 1646, to Haverhill, Mass., where he resided until his death.
Rev. Cobbett says Mr. Button died at Haverhill in 1672 at a great age.
According to our records, if he was baptized in infancy, as was customary, he was about 65 years of age when he died. In 1650,
Mr. Button's estate was assessed at £60.
Mr. Button had a long siege of sickness in his family. He lost children and his first three wives died. The last died from fright and exposure while sick in bed due to the burning of their dwelling by an implacable and unrelenting personal enemy who caused him no end of trouble for several years.
Probably the chief cause of the emnity of this man, John Godfrey, was due to the fact that Mr. Button, with Edward Yeomans and others, were witnesses against him when he was arrested on complaint of Job Tyler and John Remington on suspicion of Witchcraft and tried in the court of Boston in March, 1665.
In the Essex County Court Records, we find "Matthias Button, Haverhill, vs. John Godfrey; For the burning of my house, and my goods that was in it and the cause of my wife's death, and running away as soon as he had done it June 10, 1669." The jury find for the plaintiff £238.2s damages and costs.
Mr. Button had several grants of land in and near Haverhill, as shown by the public records. He had many hindrances in his acquisition of property; he had a prolonged siege of sickness himself, besides the here-in-before mentioned sickness and death of children, and the sickness of his third wife and her death following the burning of his dwelling by John Godfrey and the litigation that followed.
From court records we learn that a thatched house belonging to Matthias Button in 1671, and situated near the present home of Thomas West, one mile north east of the village of Haverhill was burned; this is of interest in showing the style of roofthat was used on some of the housed in those days.
The estate of Matthias Button Sr was inventoried by Henry Kingsbury andRobert Swan, March 9, 1673 at £99:11s:8d. Source: Button Families of America
Note In 1628 the Abigail arrived at a new community in Massachusetts by the name of Naum Kieg. She carried with her the first official governor of the Massachusetts Colony Jon Endecott and his wife. She also carried the charter for the colony. When they arrived, they found roughly 30 of the Cape Anne people living there, and essentially took over. The community was renamed to Salem and the Cape Anne folks were ignored. They complained to the king and eventually received their due. The Cape Anne folks were not puritans as were the Abigail people. There was friction. Source: List of Ships that Brought Many of our Ancestors to America in the Early 17th Century
Note The ship Abigail set sail from Weymouth in Dorsetshire, England, in June of 1628, under Henry Gaudens, master. It arrived at Salem, Massachusetts on Sept. 6. This is the ship that brought Governor John Endicott. In addition to John and his wife, Anna, other ship passengers included:
Note On 20th June 1628 the ship Abigail set sail from Weymouth with many Dorset emigrants bound for New England. Under Henry Gauden, the master, they arrived in Salem, Massachusetts on 6th September. This particular passage was important as it carried the new government for the London Plantation. The governor was John Endicott.
Passengers known to be on board the Abigail from Weymouth 1628 - John Endicott - Mrs Anna Endicott (wife of John) - Charles Gott of Cambridge, England - Richard Brackenbury of Folke or Holnest, Dorset - William Brackenbury of Folke or Holnest, Dorset - Hugh Laskin of Childhay, Dorset - Mrs Laskin - Edith Laskin - Lawrence Leach, possibly from Ash, Martock, Somerset - Roger Morey of Drimpton, Dorset - John Elford of Chetnole, Dorset - Thomas Pucker of Upcerne, Dorset - Captain Richard Davenport - Mathias Button - Humphrey Woodberry with his father - Ralph Sprague of Upwey (son of Edward) - Richard Sprague (brother of Ralph) - William Sprague (brother of Ralph and Richard)
Posted by Heather at 8:27 PM
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Oscar the dachshund thinks it's his job to guard us. He barks at every animal, person or vehicle that goes by our house. There are only about a half dozen houses past us so there's not much traffic that goes by. People do walk by occasionally and we have a few dogs that roam the neighborhood. This morning we saw a deer, the first one we've seen. Oscar can't see out the window unless he climbs up on the back of the couch... and I think he looks hilarious when he does (although I could do without the barking).
We finally got a mailbox so we stopped to check for mail on our way out.
We drove through Wendy's to get lunch for Austin and frosty's for me and the girls... and then back home to rest and recover.
Tomorrow I've got to get some paperwork taken care of and run to town to close out my P O Box. Other than that... it's a peaceful week in the mountains...
Love and hugs, y'all!
Posted by Heather at 3:45 PM
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Yesterday I was messaging with my sister-in-law about plans to spend some time with my nieces this upcoming week and she asked, "how long will you be up here?" and the answer is: I don't know. I just can't think of a reason to go back to Riverdale. I'm home. More than any time in the last eleven months, I feel like I'm at home here in the mountains. It's beautiful. The weather is perfect. We're comfortable and relaxed and have plenty of room to stretch out and... I just love it here.
In the absence of any drama to share... I thought I'd share a few photos showing what's new at the mountain house.
We have curtains in the kitchen window. We didn't really miss them but Mama hung them up yesterday and it just makes it feel so much more like home.
I've thought about making my bedroom on the top floor because the bedrooms there are huuuuuge but I very much love the view from the bottom floor and having my own exit and then there's this nifty porch swing looking at the lake...
No idea when we're going back to the Southside of town where there's traffic and crime and where you don't dare go out after dark.
Right now I'm pretty content right where I am.
Hope you're having a great weekend and enjoying a little patch of sunshine and a happy place.
Love and hugs, y'all!
Posted by Heather at 12:04 PM
Friday, May 24, 2013
After my last oh-so-dramatic blog entry about death and family and all those other wisdoms gained via fever, chills and general unwell-ness, I'm back to my usual excellent mediocrity.
We came to the mountain house on Tuesday and although I can't say that the drive was one hundred percent uneventful as I was still battling dizziness and nausea and a killer headache, it was much easier than I would have thought, even one day before. It may not be true for everyone but for me, these mountains are always good for whatever ails me. There is peace and quiet and beauty in the things that God made. The neighbors are more than shouting distance. Well, mostly. Sound does travel across the lake fairly well. There is no traffic, although there will be over the weekend, for certain, as this is a tourist area and holiday weekends draw tourists like picnics draw ants. It's just a big space with a lot of grace.
I was still somewhat shaky yesterday but I convinced mama to ride into town with me. I'm a homebody, no way to deny it, but my mama is way more homebody than me. And I just think that to really appreciate living here, you need to know where you're living. So we packed up Oscar the Less-than-Sociable-Dachshund and went into Helen.
For those who aren't from the Southeastern United States - Helen, Georgia is a little town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains that sometime around the time I was born was transformed from a wide spot in the road to a cute little Bavarian tourist town. It's pretty mountains views and a Fest Hall and putt putt and your usual tourist activities. To live here is to have a sort of love/hate relationship with tourists. It's so beautiful here, we want to share but it stinks that you can't go into Helen on a weekend day between May and December and it take less than an hour of bumper to bumper traffic. The economy of this area depends heavily on those tourists, though, so you learn to enjoy things during the week.
Neither me nor mama nor Oscar was up to the usual tourist task of wandering through stores... so I just drove through and pointed out the important things to help give her a frame of reference. She now knows where Betty's Grocery Store is and how to get to the Dollar General and that Fritchey's (spelling) Market is ok but not as good as Loganberry Farm but you have to be sure to ask the folks at Fritchey's where they got their tomatoes because otherwise you're just paying more for the same stuff they have in the grocery store. She now knows important things like how to get from the church to La Cabana and/or North Georgia Barbeque. She knows that Hofer House has great corned beef hash but you don't go at 7am because they don't open that early and because that's where we spotted a huge bear early one Saturday. She's learning that the highway numbers are not how people give directions here - for instance - coming home from Helen we took Alt. 75 to Hwy 384 but anybody living here would tell you we took Helen Highway to Duncan Bridge Road.
After a short tourist trip, we came back to the house so that Oscar could bark at the wind and Mama could rest and I could nurse another migraine. We opened the windows and enjoyed the fresh air and the sounds of frogs and crickets instead of sirens and rap music. We watched Les Miserables - Cody and Marquee gave me a copy of it for my birthday and I had held off on watching it until we could see it here, on the big tv. Mama didn't really know the story so I had to fill in the blanks for her as it went along but I love sharing from my knowledge and passion of musical theatre so it was fun. We went to sleep to the sound of pouring rain.
Except. Well. Neither of us is sleeping much and what sleep we get has been poor quality. She's detoxing from a sleep medication and my sleep medication has stopped working altogether. So we sit up until 2 or 3 or later and sleep until we decide not to - or the dogs have to pee - whichever comes first. We've tried napping but it's hard to do. Sleep is the time where your cells are repaired and muscles regenerate or something like that. So, as my doctors have explained to me, whatever damage you've done to your body during the day should be repaired as you sleep... and if you don't sleep... things don't get repaired. So we're both a quart low on rest which meant that we didn't make it to the girls' ball games this evening and it also means we're not likely to make it to the school for honors day tomorrow. I would apologize but it's so shallow... "I'm sorry that my body doesn't work right" ... "I'm sorry that I have the kind of pain that you can't even possibly comprehend and I pray you never will be able to".
Today we made a big grocery trip in town. I helped mama get her Ingles Advantage Card and helped her find things in the store and read prices and stuff that was too small for her to see. Her vision never really improved after her last surgery and it has deteriorated significantly lately. Even something as simple as reading the instructions on the back of the frozen pizza box... nearly impossible... so I read things for her and drive her around and she totes things for me and pays for stuff and we're having a great time.
The next thing on our agenda is to go to Loganberry Heritage Farm and get some asparagus and whatever else is in season or draws our eye. I've got some okra already but I don't think it's local. And since I've been sick I've been craving juice like crazy so I may see what is available at the farm.
The weeks just pass, you know? And somewhere in the back of my mind is the thought that "I should be doing something..." because I've either been in school or working for nearly all of my life. This whole... wide open calendar thing is still very foreign to me. I'm just glad that this week, at least so far, it has been happy and relatively productive.
There are still good times to be had.
Hope you are all well and loved and having lots of good times!
Happy Long Weekend!
Posted by Heather at 12:18 AM
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Living with my parents has brought me back to the first real sense of security that I've had in a long time. From the time I was an 18 year old bride, I've had some measure of financial burden on me and the majority of that time, it was mostly on *just* me. And it wasn't just that the burden was on me... despite my efforts to live frugally, things just happened along the way ... poor decisions... failure to plan... feeding three teenage boys... kept me constantly behind the 8 ball. It was a burden that kept me on edge. I always had something looming over my head, something that was going to be cut off or taken away... and at the risk of sounding like I'm taking advantage of my current situation... I am so grateful that my parents have room for me and are willing to let me live with them.
Whatever you may have thought moving in with you parents would be like, I can tell you... it's not that bad. We tend, as a rule, to be relatively non-confrontational people so there is rarely any weeping or gnashing of teeth. We're polite southerners... we prefer the pout and pray method of fixing our loved ones who have gone astray. "Dear Lord, I just ask that you give Heather the strength she needs to do the dishes after supper tonight. We know Lord that she has struggled mightily and we are believing in you for divine intervention and that our daughter will be healed of her inability to clean a dadblamed dish." Amen.
My dad. has been a hard working man his whole life. He has worked for the same company for 46 years and despite fathering five children and becoming the proud Pop to twelve or thirteen grandchildren during that time, and playing church softball and bowling and now keeping up with the Old cronies at the golf course.. and leading music at their church and taking care of grandma's financial affairs and maintaining the old homestead, the rental house/love nest next door and the mountain house... he has always done it all and probably will go at that same break-neck pace until he hears the trumpet blow and so on.
My mother had an in home daycare while we were growing up and she was dependable and consistent and really loved the children she cared for. She kept a clean house, even hanging clothes on the line every day until we finally got a clothes dryer when I was 16. (Trust me, I remember this, having had three brothers who were cloth diapered when cloth diapering wasn't trendy, and having been the one who had the chore to bring the clothes in off the line after school everyday.) We didn't take vacations. We didn't go out to eat. I didn't wear Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. They both worked awful hard all their lives (so far). They made a lot of sacrifices that have made things easier for them (and me) in our older years. They have been my safety net over the years but never more than now.
My adult years, the years of carrying this huge financial responsibility to raise three young men into something I wasn't - and couldn't be - good and Godly men - were difficult. I had to rely so heavily on a Higher Power for basic things that you just couldn't imagine. Praying that the water wouldn't be cut off before my paycheck cleared. Praying that God would put people in our path that would help me to mold my children into the men I hoped they would be. Praying that I would be strong enough to work enough to keep a job and to be able to provide for us until the children were grown. Praying I never had to knock the sense out of any of them hard enough to leave proof. By fate or faith, you can decide for yourself but in my heart I've always held tightly to the notion that a benevolent God provided for us. He came across for us in a big way and I always felt like the down payment on that blessing was made in the generations that came before me.
When you start with a foundation of faith and you build it up surrounded by folks who live by example and each day live an example of giving it all you've got, its hard to be a have not. Even beyond family, I can't even begin to list the people who have stood in the gap for me and my kids and done the things that I couldn't do: the Godly men who not only taught my kids the Word of God but modeled a righteous life for my kids, the hardworking men who taught my boys the basic skills that men should know, the men who supported me emotionally and financially and who counseled me when I was unsure and had my back when I was unsteady. I was (and am) surrounded by a great number of people who, for whatever reason, loved me and loved my kids enough to pour a little of their lives into ours.
Somewhere along the way my kids absorbed skills like knowing how to maintain their vehicles, things I wouldn't have ever been able to do. Last night Cody replaced my parents' mailbox that had given up the ghost and I watched thinking, "how does he know how to do that?".
Living apart from Austin over most of the past year has been difficult and many times I have had to trust God to provide for him and God has not let us down. I'm certain he has done things and done without things that are outside of my desire for his life but he is growing wiser and more mature. Last weekend he helped Pop with some work that needed to be done with the Homeowners Association in maintaining the dam at the lake. Pop was proud of him... and I'm proud of him. When we got here today, things here at Gant Hacienda Norte were bearable but we're going to have to go on a dish and towel recon mission. Austin needs a bit more supervision that has been applied lately.
For that matter, on Mother's Day, Ryan was able to fix dinner for us all - and not just hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill (although that would have been fine) he prepared a wonderful meal for us. I'm a good cook but he didn't learn that from me. Again, it was someone who stood in the gap imparting wisdom and knowledge - or perhaps it was a natural curiosity and desire to learn that had geared Ryan to develop his culinary skills - either way, knowing how wise, mature, self-sufficient and hard working he is just makes my heart swell with pride.
I got really sick this weekend, sicker than I can ever remember being. I can't remember being that weak and that distraught and that uncomfortable or in that much pain ever. And considering what a Sobby Sally I've been over the past few years, that's saying a lot. I woke up yesterday morning thinking that there was nothing left to do except dial 9-1-1 and know that my medical debt that I've been chipping away at over the past year was going to balloon out of control. I started to pray. I'll be honest with you, I've sort of accepted my lot in life as far as this disability is concerned. Not bitter, mind you, because no matter what my circumstances may be, I am safe and secure and I am not alone. I don't even care if it sounds weird to live with your parents because I know that this is what fits for this season in my life - in our lives - right now. So I've been praying in a non-chalant attitude of, "eh... it is what it is".
I've got to admit, it is depressing to not be able to even go out for dinner because of pain. I've just quietly accepted that I am where He intended for me to be and I've just stopped asking for anything different. Yet when I started to pray yesterday, that complacency dissipated and I started out rather demanding and... well, whiny. I checked myself ... and thought about how I wanted to approach my Deity... and I thought about the night before when I laid in the bed, too weak to move and how my parents asked what I wanted, asked how they could help and whatever I asked... they did it. At that time it was a glass of sprite and some gatorade... but they did it. There were several times during the course of those rough days that they asked what they could do... and I love that model of Christian parenting because with that in mind, I told God what I needed. I needed to be a completely different person. I needed to be restored to health. We don't have to get into the whole COPD, degenerative disc disease, nerve damage, granulomatic issues, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and all those other new friends of mine.
I just wanted, Jesus, if you please, to be strong enough to eat, to stop having the sweats and chills and vicious nausea and seeing things run through my body so fast that they didn't even have time to get warm. I've adapted to being practically shut in. I'm still on that same tank of gas that I put in my car on April 6th. It was like... what precious little I have left... I couldn't let that go too.
Slowly, a plan started developing in my mind. (let's call it divine intervention.) I forced myself to eat half of a banana so that I could take the medication that keeps my heart rate steady (because the tachycardia was really getting to me). Once that got settled, I took some pain medicine. I got an ice pack and tried to stop the muscle spasms I was having from being off the meds I have to take every day of my life for the muscle spasms in my back and hips and legs. When you take thirty eleven different medications everyday to be able to function and then go off of them cold turkey because you can't keep things in your body, you get real sickly, real quickly.
Well, to make the long story not quite as long, within an hour my strength did start to return. I took it slow, had a popsicle, a quarter of a pb sandwich, a little yogurt... just a bite here and there to test it. I am still sort of sensitive to heat and light and my eyes are still swimming when I read too long... I've battled a headache for the past two days but I'm much, much better and I'm grateful... for parents who modeled faith and determination... who taught me how to ask for help by giving me the confidence to know that they would hear and respond to my needs and who extend grace in amounts that are beyond what we deserve... I'm so grateful to stand in need and even though that brief interlude with feeling like I'd been doing quaaludes (just guessing, I never have) put my misery in context for me.
If you're still with me... here's the takeaway:
Bad stuff is gonna happen.
Sometimes that bad stuff will get worse.
Take stock of who is around you.
Place your trust where it belongs.
Don't be afraid to ask.
Don't be ashamed to ask.
And be grateful. I am so grateful to be back to the normal pain level.
We've got this.
Posted by Heather at 12:13 AM
Friday, May 17, 2013
Happy Friday, friends and family!
I see we've made it through another week... although I truly can't tell one day from another other than judging what time Pop goes to play golf (morning = weekend, late afternoon = weekday).
My newly officially disabled self and my newly retired mom are mostly just caretakers of the zoo and rarely do anything worthy of makeup... although I have been trying to at least not stay in pajamas all day long.
I'm mostly dependent on screen time for entertainment and fall a little more in love with my tv, computer and nook every day. I'm particularly enjoying www.bookbub.com so that I can download my free books. I got a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble for Mothers Day but I haven't made a purchase yet. Nor have I actually read a book on my nook. I've mostly just used it to play sudoku.
I also got a really lovely potted flowering plant which, fortunately, my mom knows how to care for. The green thumb skipped a generation... and although my parents are excellent at growing things in the dirt... and my eldest has a major gardening project underway for this Summer... I can barely keep dirt alive.
The roses are in bloom here and I will take photos before they die off, I promise. My mom has made a hobby of filling my teapots with cut roses and it's really lovely and brightens up my room quite a bit. I have a collection of teapots and teacups and saucers. I might not have mentioned this. It's one of those things that I assume everyone knows about me.
It's been a rather boring week and the pain has gotten worse, despite not working (or doing anything much, really.)
Occasionally, just for a jolt of adrenaline, I play, "how long will it take to start getting disability?" and balance that out with a fun game of "how long until I run out of money?". And then I sigh and realize that I have very little control over either.
Cody and Marquee left for Disney World yesterday and I am super jealous. Realistically, there is no way I could manage a trip to a theme park. Heck, I could barely stand the pain of walking through Dollar General to pick up red hots this morning. I just so wish I had the resources of money, time, energy to do fun things like Disney. Or going out to eat. Or anything.
Consequently, we have Sammy duty for the weekend which feels like any other day because Sammy stays with us when his Mommy and Daddy are at work or school or the store or out to eat or whatever. I brought Sammy's bed in my room but he wanted to sleep with Mawmaw and Oscar on the couch instead. It's a good thing that Cody and Marquee's latest doggie adoption fell though because frankly, I don't think my mom could fit another animal on the couch with her.
On Monday my mom and I are headed to the mountain house for an undecided amount of time. Neither of us has any obligation to be at the house in Riverdale other than ... nope. I can't think of anything. There is that one shipment I'm expecting from zulily but other than that... free as a bird.
The only real conflict for me, the only thing that keeps me from being at the mountain house full time is that my nest is in Riverdale... tv, recliner, etc. And the fact that it works best for me to be where mom and dad are because I can't do much in the way of keeping house and running errands. Mom misses Pop when they're apart and Pop has another seven months before he retires and has quite a few obligations at church. So I'm just sort of doing what Mom does and trying not to worry or stress over anything long term. I'm trying to let this just be a sabbatical season.
The flip side of the coin is that while I'm sort of in limbo, my youngest is sort of in limbo and I very much need to be where he is so that I can help him get where he needs to be both literally and figuratively. He needs to learn to drive, get his license, get a job, get some kind of education or job training. Many, many things that I need to help him do, buying groceries, for instance, don't get done while I'm a hundred miles away from him. Fortunately Pop was able to go up and help him out this week and Mom and I will be up as needed in the foreseeable future so hopefully we won't have another "my kid is starving to death" crisis.
I've gotta say.... we had a huge dinner Sunday night that my eldest put together... it was incredible, he's an amazing cook. And then eldest and middle and daughter in law bought me a totally scrumptious chocolate cream pie + whipped cream and I could barely eat a bite of any of it - dinner or dessert, choked by guilt that my other child was hungry. Yes, it was his fault in that he did a poor job of managing his resources and refused assistance last Friday when Pop offered to come up. It's that tough love thing... mothers are never good at watching their kids face the consequences for their actions.
Anyways... he has food now and I've been back to my usual "I know better" diet of Little Debbies and red hots and pretty much 90% sugar.
So this is all the fun that is happening in my life right now. Hope yours has been more/better.
Love and hugs, y'all.
Posted by Heather at 2:30 PM
Monday, May 13, 2013
Today is my first Monday of my "retirement".
Although we know the road ahead to a confirmed, legitimate, compensated disability is a long and winding one...
For the first time in a very long time, I'm waking up to a Monday that doesn't include work or the need to find work.
I'm not really sure how to process it, how to be someone who doesn't work or raise kids or do something, somewhere.
But that's who I am now.
I feel a little bit guilty for not being able to hang on longer
And I feel a little bit of pride for fighting the fight as long as I could.
I believe that the first day of the week is Sunday, at least that's how it should be.
Yet we all feel like things reset on Monday... and we all feel the weight of a long week ahead on Monday.
Well. Not me. Not any more.
Despite being reduced to zero income, I feel incredibly at peace.
Peace that comes from trusting in a Heavenly Father who has never let me fail...
And an earthly father who does the same.
And a mama who, despite her own pain, always does what she can to help me manage mine.
So... with all of that said... with so many of you heading to the office or taking care of the responsibility of a home and children... and for those of you who do all of that and much, much more, let's find a few Reasons to Love Monday!
1. I'm not sleeping well - 3 or 4 hours a night at most - but at least, if I'm sleepy, I can grab a nap during the day.
2. We had a really social and a more-stressful-than-it-should have been Sunday. We have declared today to be Pajama Monday.. the hair is already in a ponytail and I'm ready to lounge. (continue lounging, as the case would be).
3. For the first time in a long time my eldest was in the State of Georgia on Mother's Day. He had a business trip in Athens which is about an hour and a half away. He came and hung out and watched the Braves game (my two oldest boys are HUGE Braves fans!) and cooked this amazing dinner for us - blackened tilapia and linguine with garlic lemon butter sauce and tomatoes. It was SOOOO good!
4. The boys went to Walmart and picked up a chocolate creme pie and cool whip for dessert. I was too stuffed from dinner so I've got that still waiting for me!
5. Pop is going up to check on Austin after work. There is a lot of frustration/confusion/aggravation with the situation of him being up at the mountain house alone with no job, no car - and truly, no way to get to a job- and his questionable ability to manage the household on his own. On Friday he told Pop he had enough food to make it until their next trip to the mountains (the 18th of the month) and then by yesterday he said he was out of food. The truth is that he REALLY isn't mature enough to be self-sufficient. Up until a week ago even though he had not been under the same roof as me, he was at least living with others who were slightly more experienced at managing things. So... being a mom - a mom who doesn't have a durn thing to do but also who is struggling with mobility - I sent out a call for help which resulted in an accident and a lot of frustration which made me feel really guilty that my child was causing stress and frustration and guilty that I had not been able to sufficiently prepare him for adulthood or motivate him to do what he should do. I feel so guilty that like, literally, there is property damage from someone trying to take care of my kid which, of course, as a mother feels like it should be my responsibility and mine only. So instead of golfing today, Pop is checking on Austin and making sure he's set until Saturday when Pop and Mawmaw will be up there for the homeowner's association work day... and from then until next Monday when we plan to head to the mountain house for an extended period of time and hopefully get that kid to work.
6. Now that Marquee is out of school for the summer and doesn't need a ride... and mom is retired... and I'm no longer working... we have all the freedom in the world to be here or the mountain house or wherever, as needed. I love that sense of freedom. I wish I felt like doing something.
7. It's Monday which means that the CSPAN series on First Ladies is on tonight. I think there's also a new episode of How I Met Your Mother. It's a great day to be a couch potato!
8. My brother came by to visit on Saturday and I managed to sit in a normal chair for almost an hour and visit with him.
9. My sister-in-law is starting a new job this week and I am so proud of her!
10. Cody and Marquee are leaving for Disney on Thursday. They are celebrating her college graduation (even though she has one more semester) and her parents' 25th anniversary and her grandparents' 50th anniversary and Cody's big promotion at work.
11. Marquee made the Deans List again - all A's!
Little Kitty is laying somewhere between the arm of the chair and my left hip and the side of the laptop and keeps adding random characters to my blog entry so I guess it's best for me to wrap this up and ... do nothing.
And so friends... whether you're working or resting... here's hoping you're able to find a few Reasons to Love Monday! Love and hugs!
Posted by Heather at 8:40 AM
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Alert the media! I left the house today!
Actually, I just drove the half mile or so to the Krispy Kreme and bought doughnut holes and coffee for me and mom.
Pop made ham and cheese toast for us for breakfast but I really just wanted strong coffee and sugar.
I hope that doesn't make me seem ungrateful.
My Sunday morning KK run is pretty much the only consistent outing right now.
Would you believe that we filled my car up in Cleveland on April 6th and I'm still on that same tank of gas?
I have more than a quarter of a tank left.
To be truthful, we took another car on my last trip and I drove another car to work once.
Other than that... same tank, one month and six days.
I just renewed my pay-as-you-go phone aka my po' phone.
Every month I get a package that is unlimited texts and 240 talk minutes.
When I renewed today I had 228 minutes left for the month.
Yes, I talked on my cell phone 12 minutes this month.
But... I guess if you don't leave the house you always have a land line available.
I really just keep the cell phone for emergencies.
We don't use the landline at the mountain house much because we got the cheapest possible plan on it.
Which means that we pay by the minute on it but don't pay for incoming calls or 9-1-1.
We were sad to find out that a former neighbor passed away on Friday at age 64.
They lived first in the house facing Valley Hill Road, the smaller one.
And then moved to the one next door on the corner of Valley Hill and Sherwood Dr.
When we were kids we would get to their first house by climbing fences and going through the neighbor's yard.
Then when they moved to the corner house we just walked up the street.
You could do those kind of things back then.
Neighbors didn't mind if you went through their yard.
You didn't have to worry about walking to your friend's house.
Those houses have been vacant for years, fences torn down, weeds taking over the yards.
I grew up in a modest little neighborhood of brick ranch houses, most with three bedrooms and one bath.
Moms didn't work. Most families only had one car.
It was a simple life and some times I wished to have a two story house and my own bathroom and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and things that a lot of kids at school had.
I didn't realize then how blessed I was to have two parents who loved each other and dinner at the kitchen table every night.
I was 8 when we moved here.
Anyways... Jeff and Shannon lost their dad on Friday and they buried him on Saturday.
My brother Jim drove down to go to the funeral.
He's good like that.
I usually avoid all activities that require sitting for an unknown quantity of time but I try to attend funerals and weddings and holidays as much as possible.
I missed this one, though.
I've been in so much pain lately that even funerals and weddings and holidays are not doable.
My brother has back pain, too, and ironically has that same extra vertebra that I have.
None of my doctors has been able to say if that's the reason that my back problems started so young and progressed so quickly.
None can say if any of this has a genetic component.
Bubba has never been obese or pregnant and has always stayed relatively active so I imagine his spine hasn't faced as much adversity as mine has.
He's also very tall, taller than me by more than a foot.
It has been said that the kids who grew up around here were exposed to jet fuel being dumped on the way to the Atlanta Airport, which is just a few miles from here.
There seems to be an unusual amount of my classmates who have had cancer or auto-immune problems.
My mom says that she wants to see if she has that extra vertebra, too but then if she does I could blame my back problems on her, assuming that it's genetic.
I told her that I was going to blame her anyways.
Mother's Day makes me both nostalgic and grateful.
My mom and I didn't always have a good relationship.
Fighting the same battle with pain drew us closer and I'm so glad to spend every day with her.
Now that I don't have a work schedule to consider, I could be at the mountain house full time.
But I depend on my mom for things and she depends on me.
We each have bad days (and nights) occasionally.
I'm not physically able to maintain a household on my own any more.
She's uncomfortable driving sometimes.
So for now, I'm pretty much staying close to mom.
However, Austin is now out of food at the mountain house so somebody is going to have to go up there and take him some food.
Just trying to figure out what makes the most sense and factor in mom's root canal on Wednesday (where she may need someone to help with the dogs because there are thirty-eleven trips to let them in and out every day)...
And someone needs to be here to dogsit Sammy when Cody and Marquee go to Disney Thursday - ???.
And I can't drive up and back on two days back to back because of my back.
And on Saturday it's "Dam Day" for the homeowners association where we (as in other people, not me) do cleanup and repairs for the dam that makes the lake that we (as in my parents and other people) own.
So I pretty much would have to leave today to go up there and be back early Wednesday...
And then turn around and go back up there for Dam Day or be here with four dogs so mom and dad can go to Dam Day.
But almost definitely I want to be up there more.
We (as in my parents) have lived in the house on Sherwood Dr for 37 years but the mountains are home to me.
I feel like I would get out more if I were up there.
I don't know. It's too much to think about.
So y'all up there in White County, if you want to stop by the mountain house with a few packages of ramen, that would be awesome.
My eldest just called... he's actually in the State of Georgia today so he's going to be able to come see his mommy on Mother's Day!
I love it when things like that work out.
And if you look at my facebook page you will see that Cody says I'm the best mommy ever.
I probably am.
And that's what's happening today.
Love and hugs, y'all.
Posted by Heather at 12:41 PM
Thursday, May 9, 2013
After two years and four months of trying to tough it out... I have finally filed for disability.
Effective immediately I am on an extended - perhaps permanent - leave of absence.
I will fill in occasionally at the office if I'm able. All of my licenses and agreements will stay active.
But unless there is a marked improvement in my condition, I will not be working regularly.
I am using a disability attorney who was recommended to me by a former neighbor.
They file all the paperwork and represent me at any hearings.
They are very particular in which cases they take on and have a 97% success rate.
Their fee is 25% of my initial payout, which would be for the amount owed from the time I file to the time it's approved.
A maximum of $6,000.
It won't be that much, I'm sure, but even so, I feel the price is worth it.
If I'm not approved, I don't pay anything.
I feel fairly certain that this is the best way to go.
I am anxious but relieved.
As much as I have loved working in this agency, I have truly been suffering.
Suffering to the point of having extreme anxiety whenever I had to go into work.
Even when I was just working a very short time.
So I talked with my Office Manager today and she feels like this is best.
They have been so good to me... and really bolstered my self-confidence.
If I had never worked again after ... well, y'all know... I would have always lived with the feeling that I was a failure.
Having received such great validation and appreciation from them over these past nine months has restored my belief in my abilities.
It's so simple to extend compassion in a work environment.
No matter how little I was able to work, they always appreciated my efforts.
Being physically hampered doesn't mean that someone isn't trying.
So that's that.
I have enough money to take care of my doctor bills and medication and car insurance for a few months.
After that I'll be passing the hat.
I'm going to try to increase my blog traffic enough to be able to get some of the major ad deals.
For that they want to see that you have several hundred followers and x number of blog hits a month.
I'm not sure what x is equal to, have to research that further.
There are people who are making tens of thousands of dollars a month by blogging.
I don't ever see THAT happening but I would be happy to be able to cover my basic expenses.
I was thinking about what kind of blogger I am... so that I could plug into that community and increase my traffic.
Are there any empty nested/single/disabled/living with parents blog groups out there?
Are there people out there who are interested in this process?
What drives my blog traffic?
People who know me in real life?
People who have read my blog for so long that they have to know the rest of the story?
The same kind of people who slow down to see a car wreck?
Whatever the case, thanks for stopping by, for caring what happens to me.
I'll keep you posted.
Please say nice things but not too nice because I might get weepy.
I'm borderline weepy just from reaching this *milestone*.
It helps that I have known for two years that this was going to happen eventually.
So here we are.
Thanks for being here with me.
Love and hugs, y'all.
Posted by Heather at 12:40 PM