Seriously. Seriously??

So today I was informed that my brother is of the opinion that I feel like his wedding is something I’m not excited about, and I’m more concerned with my own life that I’m not excited for him.  That I feel the wedding is something to be wedged into an available weekend in my life.  Um, I’m sorry, but WTF?  This fucking wedding has consumed all waking hours of my non-work life for the last few months I feel like.  It’s not even MY wedding.  My friends are so tired of hearing me talk about it I’m sure.

I have done the save the date cards.  I have bought eight dresses to wear as a bridesmaid only to return them ALL.  I have another five that arrived today that I need to try on.  I spent a few weeks working on the gift with my mother’s help for the last bridal shower.  I have an engagement party this weekend–outside, in the sleet no less–followed by a bridal party excursion to Kings Dominion so we can ‘get to know one another’.  Next weekend is the bachelorette weekend, which I am SO over as something I wouldn’t have done when I was 21, much less 38.  The weekend was chosen because it is the same weekend as another shower.  Oh, and while we’re at it, the other bridesmaids have decided to throw a surprise shower for Carrie that weekend.  A naughty lingerie shower.  Which I am enough of an old fart to admit that I don’t enjoy them.  Plus, ew.  This is my baby brother we’re talking about.  I’m pretty sure my future SIL isn’t wearing a chastity belt (or if she does, that’s kinky stuff between her and my brother), still there is an ick factor.  That doesn’t count the six hours I spent yesterday coming up with the monogram design for the hotel gift bags to show mom today, and once I get paper tomorrow I have to make 60 of them.  Oh, and let’s throw in prepping for the rehearsal dinner and the photo station, the wedding itself, the brunch afterwards, and oh yeah I STILL HAVE TO FIND A FREAKING DRESS.  And playing the sister-therapist role as my father is his usual prick-of-a-self, along with his wife, and insults and offends Drew by not coming to a single blasted event.  So he vents to me.  And I can’t say “what’d you expect, that is what he has done since before we were born”, instead I have to be sister-therapist. Then you throw in Thanksgiving and the usual family drama that makes me want to move somewhere around Boulder every year this time. . . .

But I digress, for after all I evidently am only thinking about myself.  And to a point that is true–I’m thinking about myself to the point that I am working my ass off so that I can PAY for all this stuff, for if I don’t work I don’t get paid, and god knows the showers alone are bankrupting me.  I am thinking about myself to the point that I am trying to find a freaking black dress that conforms to the “tea length, must have some sort of sleeves, no additional ornamentation, no sparkles” rules that I was given (side rant: there’s something to be said for the hated bridesmaid dress.  They pick it out, you buy it, you probably hate it, you never wear it again.  End of story.)  I am thinking of myself in that this wedding is three days that I have to take off work, and therefore not get paid, right at Christmas.  I am thinking of myself in that I have a house that needs to be cleaned with a snow shovel at this point to clear a path through each room because I am not home enough to clean.

Yeah, I feel really fucking selfish, you asshole.

And maybe just a bit bitter.

I am a bad granddaughter

I still have three of my four grandparents living, all into their 80s.  And one of them, my maternal grandmother, is the most negative person you’ve ever met.  She hates everything.  She doesn’t like anything.  But the entire world has to stop so that she can get what she wants when she wants.   It’s a huge catch 22 and it’s irritating as all hell.

And tomorrow I’m on duty.

She likes bottled water.  Claims the tap water (which was rated very high and tastes just fine) makes her sick.  Fine, that’s her preference.  But she complains about the fact that she has no water for SIX WEEKS and then gets upset that I haven’t offered to get it for her.  But the process of getting water is more than that.  It means she expects to be treated to lunch, must be taken shopping, then taken to Costco where I can lift the bottles into the cart and then take them upstairs to her apartment.

I know it’s little and trivial, but it is something I’m not looking forward to doing tomorrow.  Mainly because I cannot handle a day of snide talking and hateful attitudes.  I have worked very hard to cut out that kind of negativity among my friends and the people I hang out with, only it’s not possible to do that with family.  I wish it were sometimes, but it makes me a horrible granddaughter.

Wish me luck in the AM!

Generation Gap

I had half a post put together for tonight with Olympic moments, but didn’t get to finish it.  So I guess that will have to wait until after the closing ceremonies.  The reason it didn’t get finished is tonight, after choir, I had an impromptu meeting that took an hour and then I had to drive to Midlothian and work on my parents virus-infected computer for two hours.  I am now exhausted.

While I am thrilled that my mother/step-father and grandmother have email and love to use it, I think that someone needs to invent the fisher-price equivalent of computers for seniors.  Every thing that pops up, they click on.  Every thing they see, they install.  Which means I have to spend hours trying to clean up the system.  Tonight I didn’t even finish.  After over two hours I said sayonara and took off to come home, because I am beat!

Night all!

The Curse of Family Blessings

Longevity runs in my family.  It is something that I know I should be thankful for, although I didn’t see it that way all the time when I was a kid.  I grew up with all four of my grandparents living and within an hour’s drive of my childhood home.  I even had three great-grandparents on my father’s side, with the great-grandmothers passing away when I was 13 (she was 100 1/2) and 20 (she was 88).  After my parents divorced, we spent a lot of time with my mother’s parents who lived on the opposite side of town.  I saw my father’s parents, who live in Charlottesville, several times a year as well.  It was the status quo.  I was in college before I truly recognized that some people are not as fortunate–a friend of mine had spent the summer with his grandmother in California and had a miserable time because it was the first time he’d seen her in ten years.  I thought that was odd.  Didn’t everyone have a close family that got on each other’s nerves like we did?  And not just grandparents–there was a whole slew of great-aunts and great-uncles as well that were surrogate grandparents as well. Continue reading

Thoughts on Father’s Day

Sunday was Father’s Day.

In the past, my family has not made a big deal out of Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. Both of my parents have birthdays within a week of their respective holidays so we always celebrated the birthdays and went about our usual Sunday business on the parental holiday. We gave cards, but that was about all. It was never a big deal.

This year, my father mentioned that he would be going to Charlottesville to see his parents. I thought it might be nice if I joined them as well, and we could spend a few hours visiting together.

I went to church as usual that morning, then was a leader in kids church, getting out around 1 o’clock. I then hit the road. And on the way up there I was trying to remember the last time I saw my father on Father’s Day proper. As a kid I would spend summers with him, but would usually get there a day or two after Father’s Day. As an adult I usually tried to see him between his birthday and the holiday, killing two birds with one stone so to speak. And then I remembered the last time I saw my father on Father’s Day. Continue reading

The Youngest Of Us Gets Hitched

Tonight I attended a wedding. There was a time about ten or so years ago when they were common. My friend C and I used to go to them together–he was my regular wedding date. Every two or three weeksP1020848 there was another, and we just had a blast. It’s amazing what can happen when there is no obligation to your date . . . you relax, have fun, and enjoy yourself.

In the last several years, though, the weddings have changed. They’re still fun, though I usually attend alone. Much easier. But they’re bigger hooplahs now. Not quite as easy and breezy but still very fun, and usually more personal. Best friends, family, etc.

Tonight was the wedding of my youngest cousin. She has been with the guy since she was about 15, and is almost 23. She looked absolutely beautiful, but it cracked me up because they were already acting like a couple that had been married for years. In essence, of course, they have–she’s been with him longer than I’ve lived in any singular location.

It’s a weird thing with my cousin. I love her dearly, but when she was about 10 their family moved about two hours away. Her family didn’t visit often, so I really don’t know her like I did when she was a kid and lived close by. Therefore the wedding reception was spent with the immediate family–parents, brother/girlfriend, other aunt/uncle, and the bride’s father/stepmother. They now live in Texas, so I haven’t seen him since my grandfather’s funeral three years ago.

I think that was the best part. I’m thrilled for my cousin, pleased for her mother/stepfather who were happy, and so on, but it was spending a few seconds with my uncle that made it memorable. Continue reading

Utterly Exhausted

I know it is not a fair assessment to make, but sometimes my family, my life, utterly exhausts me.

I feel guilty for even saying that, seeing as how I am currently unemployed and I do not have major obligations. Yet I am sitting here, wiped out, and it’s due to my insane life.

I’m rambling, I know, but there you go. I don’t respond to mental ping-pong very well. I thought when I kicked the last guy out of the house that it wouldn’t be as bad. Instead I have become an unwilling piece of sports equipment among the females on the maternal side.

Just last week I had to drop everything for (yet another) venting session. I understand venting, I’m a big fan of it. This blog wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for venting. Yet the big crisis turned out to be nothing more than a disagreement over who was going to be taking a pair of pants to the hospital.

Sweatpants! Big crisis!!!

More like monster migraine.

When is the age that we are deemed ‘too old’ to do this sort of thing?

So last night my brother came home for the weekend.  We are very close, but we haven’t seen each other much in the last six months.  He only lives 120 miles away, but with logistics, jobs, and the cost of gas it has been a bit difficult to get together.  I realize this is common as you grow older, but at the same time it’s a bit sad as I love my brother, he is my best friend.

Anyway, last night he came home.  We had actually planned to meet last weekend at a nearby theme park to enjoy their Halloween theme, but the weather was abysmal.  So after I got off work (yes!  I’m employed!  It’s a temp gig, but at least it’s full time with benefits.  Took a 30% pay cut, but it was the only thing I could get for now! Back to our regular story…) Continue reading

Am I a Second-Cousin Now or a First-Cousin-Once-Removed?

I still have a hard time believing my cousins N&S are parents, but how cute is this little guy?  He was born today and weighed 8 pounds 13 ounces.

Here’s the irony–yesterday was the family reunion for those on my maternal grandmother’s side of the family, hosted by my mother.  My mother’s sister is now one of the proud grandmothers of this beautiful child.  Of the five cousins, N is the first to become a parent, and I couldn’t be happier for them.  And doesn’t S look fantastic for someone who had given birth less than 10 hours prior to the photo???

The reunion last night was fun as well.  We only had about 16 or so show up, but once again we met a relative we had never heard of before.  The “new guy” last year brought his 5 year old daughter, and after a few moments of shyness she was a doll.  It also turned into a surprise birthday party for my nana, who will be 80 in a few weeks.  Since the majority of the family will be out of town we figured this would be the perfect time to celebrate.  After way too much food, the 3rd annual reunion came to an end.  It has been nice to be able to get together while everyone is alive in this family, as frequently the only time the majority of us get together is when a family member has passed away.

Today was also father’s day, so my mom, brother, and I went with my step-father to the local AAA team’s ball game.  Fun, but as we were with a bunch of people I work with it was a bit odd.

But hey, what a father’s day gift for my cousin–he’s a daddy!!!!

Thoughts are all messed up today

Here’s an email I sent out earlier this afternoon. I am making this post private, just for me, as I’m still trying to adjust and comprehend what all this means. . .

As expected, the test results from mom’s medical exams came back today. There’s a whole lot of a good news/bad news situation.

Per her email, the good news is that she is not in the hospital; the CT scan shows that she does, in fact, have a brain; and that “get this – I’d lost 10 pounds! I sure don’t know where!” (every little thing is worth celebrating, right?).

The bad news is that the treatment didn’t work. It appears to have had no effect on the mass behind her left eye which is now 1 1/2″ across. She said that it looks like it completely fills up the orbit, but so far the doctor feels that it isn’t affecting her optic nerve and that somehow the nerve might be protected (good news?). We’re not quite sure how. She goes back to the ocular cavity specialist in two weeks so we’ll see what she has to say at that time.

Good news: white blood cell count (today) is better than it’s been in a long while, which means she has no infection and does not have MRSA. Or this could simply be . . .

. . . Bad news: With her white blood count so low she still cannot fight the infection that she has had for months. Not sure if it is cellulitis or not as the doctor has conflicting views on it. Bottom line is that the infected area is a big red ball between the nephrostomies, in the center of her back, the size of her fist, and extremely painful. She hasn’t gotten the cultures back which will tell exactly what kind of infection it is and the meds to take. Obviously, the meds she has been on for the last three months are not right as they have not worked. The doctor got her an appointment with the nephrologist next week to take a look at it (much faster than if she called herself), and hopefully he can have some sort of insight. She gets the results of her creatinine tests back tomorrow, hopefully, so she will find out then if a hospital stay is mandatory.

Good news: (?) About two weeks ago, in one of the random searches online for additional information, I found a website for a nonprofit group that focuses on Histiocytosis and Histiocytosis related diseases (mom has three of the eight listed diseases, all considered very rare by NORD–the National Organization for Rare Disorders). They are starting a registry for ECD, and have a private blog that serves as an online support group for those afflicted with any of the disorders. I shared this info with mom, so she could join, and mom found the name of a doctor at Johns Hopkins. She has applied there before and was denied because the disease was too rare, but now that this guy is on staff her doctor is going to try to get her in to see him. Reading the site, there are some people that have tried chemo just as she did four years ago but none of them have seen any improvement. Hopefully this guy at John Hopkins will be able to give her doc some suggestions. She will find out next week if she should continue the interferon treatments anyway, as it is the only thing that has shown any promise. Even though it hasn’t worked for her, it might slow the progression of the disease at least. The Anderson Clinic in Houston has reports that show it is the only known treatment for the disorder, rather than treating the symptoms, so if she is allowed to continue with it there might be some sort of positive feedback even if it doesn’t target the mass behind her eye. She did find that there are four more people that have it currently, bringing the total to eight living, including two more women–they thought that she was the only female.

At the risk of sounding selfish, I was kind of hit hard by all of this news this afternoon. I cannot even imagine how mom felt. We had prayed, wished, hoped, and dreamed that this was the answer we had been searching for over the last eight years and it feels like a big red X just got stamped over it all. Lord knows my mother has found immense strength that I never saw growing up, as she has done more and tolerated more in the last few years than anyone could ever imagine and still gets out of bed in the morning. Granted, lately it’s with massive doses of painkillers so that she can get out of bed, but hey–whatever it takes to get going. I don’t really know what to say to you guys, other than the support is most certainly felt, appreciated, and sometimes what keeps her/Tom/Drew/me going when dealing with this. We have prayed for a treatment, a cure, pain relief, strength, tolerance, understanding, grace, and patience–yet sometimes like today you get the feeling that you’re still not getting it quite right as you haven’t learned the lesson that God is intending for you to learn. So I guess I need to pray for more understanding.

Well, that’s the diatribe for today, thanks to all for the support. Janice, I bcc’d the names you had from bells/small group on this, so you don’t need to forward.


I am in pain.

So today was part deux of my father’s visit. While I felt for him, he didn’t sleep well last night, I slept like a rock. We worked for another three hours this AM, trimming hedges, power washing a bit more, and then cutting down tree number two. He left to meet a friend around 1145 for lunch, and I cleaned up in the house a bit more. Once he came back to change clothes, load the trailer, and hit the road about two hours later, I climbed in the hammock with a book.

I lasted about fifteen minutes before I fell asleep.

I think I took a three hour nap. Woke up and then read a good 270 pages of a book. Then I tried to get out of the hammock.

Big mistake.

My calves are used to wearing 3-4 inch heels every day to work. I can walk in them until the cows come home. The last two days I have been wearing gardening crocks, and now my calves feel like they are about to pop in half. I am in so much pain it isn’t even funny.

But it was worth it. I cannot believe the difference washing made on my deck, patio, and chairs. And I have a ton of stuff done, then once I buy weed killer and a patio sealer I can finish up.

Tomorrow, I’m not doing a lick of work in the yard. I have a torturous eye doctors appointment in the morning, then I’m seeing the new Indiana Jones flick with friends. Nothing beats a day full of doing nothing!!!

Daddy-do list

So today I’m not working, and my father, that blessed man, came down to help me out around the house.  We’ve power washed 7/8 of it, cut down a tree, cut the grass, fixed my car, rehung siding, and have another list for tomorrow.  Bless his heart, I bet he didn’t think he’d get into all this when he retired.  But heaven knows I’m thankful.

I mean, come on, I clean the patio all the time.  And while powerwashing it I swear I saw penicillin growing!

So I took him out to dinner to say thanks.  It’s the least I could do.

I’m tired, sore, and content, and we get to start all over again tomorrow!!!!!

Celebrate while Mourning

In 1977, my family moved from the only house that I had remembered into a new one. Immediately our neighbors, L&D, became like family to us. And when he came along, their son C did as well. Through the divorce of my parents to the troubled teen years, L was there for my mom to lean on and for my brother and I to run to when needed. Mom remarried in the early ’90’s and moved five miles down the road, then a year later L&D moved five STATES down the road when they relocated to Naples, Florida.

Today after church I went to the funeral home to pay my respects to L, whose mother passed away on Thursday morning. D could not make the trip as he is horribly ill, too frail to make the journey due to chemo, but L&C came up for the funeral. Continue reading

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day, so for all you moms out there, I hope you had a good one. I managed to spend it with two of the women in my life, my mom and my nana. We didn’t do anything special, just hung out. After church this morning (which was a great sermon on parenting, by the way, given by the head pastor’s wife) I came home and changed clothes before picking up nana. What cracked me up was I was still in a contemplative mood after church, and from the second she got in my car at 115 to the moment I dropped her off at 745 she would not stop going on and on about whatever. But that’s okay, how many people get to have their grandparents live to see 80, and I’m very fortunate in that all 4 of mine did.

So we went to mom’s and basically just chilled. Mom wanted to play dominoes all afternoon so that’s what we did (I kicked butt!). Then we were going to grill steaks and have dinner, but the torrential rains put the kebosh on that and we ended up with a veggie dinner. Then I came home.

So I spent a nice, pleasant afternoon with my mom and my nana for Mother’s Day. What did you do?

Chaos Theory

I spent a large portion of my childhood trying to make sure that everyone in the family was happy. Or at least it feels that way sometimes. Can’t spend too much time with dad, mom gets hurt. Dad gets annoyed because we want to be with mom for the weekend. Mom gets upset because all she wants for Christmas is everyone to be together (difficult to manage with 2 kids, 2 step kids, 2 sons in law, 3 step grandchildren, jobs, life, and oh yeah dad’s family too). I frequently felt like I had two adding machines in my head that had to have an equal total at all times.

As I have gotten older, that feeling of making sure everyone is happy hasn’t gone away. My mother, however, has taken a different, passive aggressive approach, now telling me that “I pull this crap every year and she’s tired of it”. No, I don’t pull this crap every year. I feel this way every year, have ever since I was about seven. Holidays, Graduations, Birthdays, you name it. Continue reading