Saturday, September 27, 2014

How To See Your Doctor

The other day I had an issue come up. A medical issue. A "lady" issue. Something of a sensitive nature. And without going into details, I decided that I should probably make an appointment to see my OB/GYN.

So Friday morning I picked up the phone and called. This wasn't an easy decision to make because I'm not 100% sure where I stand on health insurance, and also any time I take off from work I don't get paid for. Also, I'm trying to do a great job at work so they will hire me, and that doesn't happen when you're in a doctor's waiting room.

When I was a kid, my mom would pick up the phone and dial for the doctor's office, and the doctor would get on the phone. "Hi Fred!" she'd say. "It's Jean. Another one of the kids is complaining of a sore throat." Then our doctor would say, "Probably caught the strep. I'll call in a prescription for that one, and may as well do the other two, also. They'll probably get it sooner or later."

I got the scheduling lady who listened to my brief description and made me an appointment. "With Dr. B. at ten fifty in Derry," she said. "I'm sorry," I said. "Did you say ten fifty? As in ten five zero? In Derry?" And she said,"Yes, ten five zero, ten fifty, in Derry."

And ten I left for work, happy that my issue would be taken care of.

At ten thirty I left work and drove tot he office. I walked in and gave my name. "Oh, Kathleen," a pretty blonde nurse said. "You're actually scheduled to see Dr. B. at 10:50 in the Bedford office."

Now I've been here before. I can't remember if I blogged about it, but this spring I actually went to the Derry office to see my General Practitioner and it turned out I was supposed to be in a different office. But since then I've been careful. Very careful.

"No," I said. "The lady said Derry. I know she said Derry."

I don't know what I expected. Maybe some sort of acknowledgement that I was not the one at fault, and since they messed up, to just let me have a 10:50 appointment?

"Would you like me to see what the rest of the day looks like in Bedford?" the pretty blonde nurse asked.

"I can't go to Bedford," I said. "I have to get back to work."

"You can wait here and see if we can fit you in later?" she said.

I stood there looking at her. I was actually struggling not to cry, because I was embarrassed, mostly because all the office people and the other people in the waiting room were obviously so embarrassed for me.

"Do you know how long?" I asked.

"We don't," she said.

I opened my eyes wider. "Time frame?" I asked. "Twenty minutes? An hour? Three hours?"

I waited for an hour and then walked out, heading back to work. Before I left I let the pretty blonde nurse know I was leaving and would try again on Monday, three days later. "She really did say Derry," I said as I walked out, holding back tears. Because I could hear them talking about me as I sat in the waiting room, feeling sorry for me, or laughing, or rolling their eyes because I was one of THOSE people who couldn't keep office locations straight.

When I got home there was a message on my home machine from the scheduling lady, apparently left five minutes after I hung up the phone and dashed off to work. "Your appointment will be with Dr. B in Bedford, so she'll see you at 10:50 in Bedford," she said by way of correction. Too bad I work until five.

This morning I got an email from the office.

The last time I'd been in for a regular visit, I had signed up for some online system the office had adopted. But I'd never used it. This one was telling me I had a message.

I was curious to see if it would be something personal. Maybe someone saying they were sorry for the confusion.

I was at karate, on my phone, but I didn't have anything else to do, so I clicked the link in the email to try and sign myself in.

I did a quick search of my email and found the one from the same service that provided me with my user ID.

Then I tried clicking the link. The link opened up a webpage asking me how I wanted to sign in. Google? Yahoo? Facebook? (why would anyone use Facebook for medical records?)

I tried Google. Because I have a google account.

But Google did not want to let me in, because Google had no idea who I was, even though I used the correct password.

I got an email. It was from Google. "We think your account was being hacked! Someone tried to log in! If it wasn't you, please change your password!"

Only it was me, and the email didn't say what to do if it WAS me and they still wouldn't let me in.

I gave up and waited until I got home.

At home I was finally able to find a way in without google.

I found that I had an unpaid bill. I found an email saying congratulations for signing up. I found that they'd downloaded all of my visits onto this system. And I found that they said I had two cancelled appointments from Friday. As though I'd simply just cancelled them. One from 11:10 in the office I had been sitting in, until 11:30.

I still have my medical issue, by the way. And I have to go back on Monday. I hate them.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I Would Like Some Wine

I don't really think that title needs any further elaboration, do you?

It's self explanatory.

But I shall not, because I have self control. And because I need to get up in the morning. And because I'm too darn tired to drag myself out to whatever store one goes to and purchase said wine.

Of course, I also want ice cream.

Ice cream is also full of calories. If I had ice cream, I would also feel guilty, same as the wine. I wouldn't get drunk, though. Which is a plus. Or a drawback, depending on how you look at it. Still, Ice cream is tasty and wonderful and maybe I could talk myself into going to the store for that.

Then again, as long as I'm going out anyway, and as long as I'm at the store... well, the wine is Right There. I could pick up a bottle, as I'm out anyway. A bottle of something dry, to pair with the ice cream.

So now I've gone from being strong and healthy and all denying the bad stuff and eating cucumber slices to having wine and ice cream.

But I don't care because at least I'm happy. And slightly drunk.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Now is the time...

This has happened to me several times over the past few weeks.

I makes plans to meet someone. Could be anyone. An old friend, a friend from church, a date, just a person. Usually a person.

As the meeting time approaches I might get a wee bit... not excited, exactly. Lifted? What you feel when you're looking forward to something, but it's not Christmas. What is that word? Anticipation? Buoyant? You get the idea. The point is I don't get out much, and these meetings are a welcome break.

And then, the day before, or the morning of, or an hour or two before, the other person will cancel.

The other person isn't being mean or malicious. Something else has come up, something that makes meeting with me inconvenient, or uncomfortable, or downright impossible. "I'm so sorry!" the person will say. "When can we reschedule? When's the next time I can see you?"

And this is why they are selling calendars for 2015 already. For people like me.

"What are you doing six weeks from now?" I ask.

I know, I'm booking so far ahead. I must have such a social life.


Wait, no.

No, I don't.

The truth is my free time is so, so limited and rare that it runs out quickly. I mean, I have a weekend free every 2 weeks. That's 2 nights every 2 weeks that I am able to spend as I wish. Yes, I get a floating night during the week, and that night is usually Wednesdays. But Wednesdays is choir night, and nobody dares take that away from me.

So 2 nights every 2 weeks.

"Why don't you get a sitter?" some people might ask.

Well, in some cases I have, and I've shelled out the $40 it takes to go right from work to dinner and then drive home. But seriously, sitters are expensive. And my kids need pants.

The sad part is, I find myself home alone on these nights more often than not, and during vast portions of the day. I end up feeling lonely and depressed. "I should have made plans," I tell myself. And then I remember - I did!

The stupid part is, I spend a lot of time feeling guilty for being so difficult to make plans with. "I'm so sorry!" I say. "I know, I'm so difficult!" But hell, I'm not going to Yoga all week long. I'm not hard to meet with because I'm going to the gym, or getting my nails done. I've got my kids, for crying out loud! I shouldn't be feeling guilty! I'm not the one changing plans last minute!

The thing is, a lot of the time I don't try to make plans with people because I feel like I've already got them. And then the person cancels and I'm alone eating cereal out of the box and watching reruns of The Mindy Project.

What I should be doing is making tons and tons of plans. I should make plans with everybody! And then, an hour or two beforehand, I won't care if someone cancels. "I was going to have to back out, anyway," I can say. "I have all these other things planned." And  then I'll take a look at all the remaining possibilities and make my choice, and cancel on everyone else.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Sunday Afternoon

I am always doing freakin' laundry.

If you want to know what I did at any given moment during any weekend, it's laundry. We really don't need to go into any more detail.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Return Of Winter

The nights are coming earlier and earlier, and lasting longer and longer each morning.

The leaves are very gradually changing colors, blushing yellow and orange.

And the cold is creeping into the house at night, reminding me that the storm windows need pulling down.

To keep heating bills down, and myself warm, I spent last winter wearing my bathrobe to bed. It was an accident at first, but I was so cozy I just kept doing it.

Last night was the first night I did it this year. It's getting colder.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Know Thyself

I found this recipe for Baked Butternut Squash & Gouda Tortellini.

It looked so yummy. I immediately thought to myself, "I want to make that."

I don't cook as much as I used to. For one, food is expensive. At least good food is expensive. Also, it takes time to cook. Time is something I don't have. Boys are in bed at 8pm. I get home from work a little after 5pm. Squeeze in to those three hours some karate, homework, baths, and any quality time I spend with the boys that day, and what's left is about five minutes. Not long enough to make a five course meal.

I promise myself one recipe a week. One night a week I can try something new, or make something "fancy" that takes more than fifteen minutes.

This past week it was the butternut squash tortellini.

I started cooking and I had all the optimism in the world.

This brings me to my point... there is a huge difference between wanting to COOK something, and just wanting to EAT it.

I overcooked the squash. I almost missed the vegetable stock entirely. I didn't measure the cheese. I almost forgot the onion. Halfway through the process Nick walked in and crumpled his face up. "You know nobody's going to EAT that, right?"

I made it anyway.

I made huge mess that I needed to clean up. The end result was a completely different color than the picture. I still ate it, mind you. The boys refused, but I didn't really think they would, anyway.

Like I said, a huge different between wanting to COOK it, to actually slice, roast, sautee, puree, etc. and just wanting to order it off of the menu. "That looks good!" I say to myself. "I want to make that!"

But I don't want to make it. I don't want to actually make it at all. I want to eat it. I want to order it. I want to enjoy it, and I want to not slave over it and struggle with it and have it come out with half the ingredients and the wrong color.

I felt like I learned something about myself. It's not that I don't like to cook. Under the right circumstances, I do. When it's not so stressful. When I have adventurous tasters. When I have time and don't feel rushed. THEN I like to cook. Not when I have 40 minutes for a recipe that says it takes 40 minutes (it lies) and the kitchen just got clean.

I will never cook again, I say.

24 hours later I'm flipping through Facebook and run across this: White Beans With Kale. I'm not even 100% sure what polenta is.

And I thought - Wow. I want to make this.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What's For Lunch

I wasn't going to eat at all.

I wasn't going to eat lunch because the numbers on the scale have been creeping ever upward and today reached a high I haven't been since I was pregnant. Or shortly after I was pregnant. I'm despairing because I haven't stopped working out. I haven't been eating outrageously. And over the past few days I have been making a bit of an effort.

Anyway, I got home from church and realized that, even though I didn't want to eat, there were three small humans in the car I was legally obligated to feed. "What do you want for lunch?" I asked. I thought I could throw something quick their way and then do chores. "I have leftover spaghetti from the other day..."
The boys all stayed silent, their disapproval radiating silently in my direction.
"Or I can make you guys some PBJs"
"I hate those," said Nick.
"Well, I'm not making you three different lunches," I said...

I made three different lunches.
Only Andy wanted a PBJ, and he would have nothing else. Nathan wanted a leftover hamburger, and Nicholas refused to eat anything except for pizza.

I was angry and cranky and hungry and touching a lot of food.

What made it worse was Gunther licking the floor beneath me to catch every molecule of food.

I ended up eating more than half of a frozen pizza.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Screen Time

When I was a kid, I would wake up early in the morning and go down to watch TV. Sometimes I would be so early, the station hadn't come on yet. You remember that? When there would just be a barcode up with maybe a line of odd code on the bottom? Because people back then didn't usually stay up all night watching TV. Not yet.

Screen time was TV. My mother made an effort to control it. We could watch only certain shows (Sesame Street, Electric Company, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rodgers...) And then all heck broke loose. We discovered cable. We watched hours of stupid cartoons on Saturdays, starting with the Smurfs, the Snorks, Spaceghost, the Shirt Tales...  And my mother made a declaration. Only 1 hour of TV a day.
Mind you, we were only allowed to watch during the weekends, anyway, so...

I thought it was horribly unfair. My friends were playing V out on the playground, and knew exactly who the people were in Miami Vice. I was doomed.

Fast Forward to yesterday when a therapist was lecturing me on limiting screen time for the boys. She told me about 9-year-olds addicted to porn. She went on about desensitizing young men to the act of killing. And then she brought up the fact that all 3 of my boys had been terrified of a certain video game a friend of theirs had shown them.

I admit. She is right. I don't know anything about what the boys do on their screens. I mean, it is So BORING. I really don't want to know. But I cant just pretend that none of them had trouble sleeping the night after that stupid game walked into my home. Or that the internet is a safe place for children.

So, I made some changes.

It was hard, because the schools now assign homework Every Night that must be done on a computer.

The thing is, playing one spelling game can then lead to "I was just checking this thing out..." and before you know it they're all watching YouTube.

I made the boys give me everything. DSs, Laptops, tablets. I took the Wii U controllers and the remotes for the TV. And I put them in a basket in my room.

When it is time for screen time, I will let them choose a device. I will set a timer. And when it's over, then it's over.

Homework that involves the computer will wait until I get home to supervise.

I know it seems unfair. I know it seems a bit insane. But I guess it's just my effort to regain a little control over the situation. I'll have to see how it works out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A List

Here's a list of things I forgot to do today, and so will do now, after I write this post:

Sign Nate up for Travel Basketball (Am I crazy? Probably)

Pay Homeowner's Insurance (which is overdue)

Set out Nate's homework for tomorrow night (because if I don't, the only thing he'll do is the bit on the computer.)

do my nails. (OK, who am I kidding. It's just easier to walk around with claws on my fingers and toes than do my nails at this point.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Oh, Laundry

I get you clean, but you sit down on the counter for days.

I hate you, laundry.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Off Schedule

It rained, and heavily, as soon as I got home, about 4:30.

It rained and thundered and the wind blew. The sky became dark.

I headed upstairs to send an email before starting to clean the house.

And then I fell asleep.

I woke at 7pm.

The sky was dark for real, the rain had stopped. And I declared it too late for chores.

Things are so different when I don't have the boys.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

How To Break A Habit

Something was caught on the back of my tongue.

It was something hard and scratchy. It felt kind of like a popcorn kernel skin, only I couldn't remember the last time I'd eaten popcorn.

It was so annoying. It scratched every single time I swallowed. I drank a lot of water, ate bread, ate ice cream, even! (oh the sacrifice!) But nothing worked. It moved down my throat a bit, but didn't go away.

This lasted for hours.

It lasted through dinner, dishes, bath time, and stories. It even lasted until I climbed into bed, when finally I told myself there must be something, SOMEthing I could do. Made my way to the bathroom, where I turned on all the lights, held a flashlight on one hand, and a pair of tweezers in the other.

I felt with my finger where it was, and then reached back with the tweezers and began blindly trying to pluck it out.

Now, I realize at this point that I might have appeared slightly insane. No, my actions were not entirely logical, nor even safe. I was stabbing myself in the back of the throat with tweezers. But the little thing caught in my throat was driving me mad!

And then I caught it.

I pulled out the tweezers and looked at what had been driving me crazy.

A fingernail.

It was a fingernail.

And I thought, I really need to stop biting my nails.

The thing is, it felt so good to get it out, I was positively gleeful with relief.

I still haven't stopped biting my nails.

I have more motivation to stop, but this sort of habit isn't something I think about before I dot it. I just find myself with my teeth biting my fingers.

Friday, September 05, 2014

I Can't Sleep

I can't sleep.

Know what sucks?


Not so much while it's happening. If you're just there, in bed, reading, it's not too bad.

But the next morning? It's hard getting up.

Or maybe it's not hard. Maybe it's fine. But then after lunch it's like someone dropped a sand bag on your head.



Thursday, September 04, 2014


It's official.

All three boys now have homework.

None of them like to do it.

Right now, the boys are at Steve's, and there is an unfinished assignment on the kitchen table, due tomorrow.

I told the boy it should all be done yesterday, and was assured I was being ridiculous.

This would be slightly easier if the boys didn't have to be wrestled into their chairs to complete this stuff.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Shoo, Fly

We have flies.

Not just one or two flies, buzzing about the place.

I mean we'll turn around to the sliding glass doors, and ten to fifteen flies will be hanging around in the corner, swapping stories of the old neighborhood and maybe drinking beers.

I flip out. I open the door. I shoo them all outside with a dishtowel. I kill the ones that won't leave. And ten minutes later... more flies.

I think it's because I left trash in the garage for over three weeks. I just couldn't find time to take it to the dump. Or maybe something died in the walls. It's got to be one of those.

In any case, I'm done with flies. I hate them. I hate everything about them. Worse than ladybugs.

That's the official slogan.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Do The Things I Have To Do

I have to clean my house.

I have to go grocery shopping.

I have to do laundry.

I have to sort thought my personal papers so I can find things when I need them.

I have to clear the space in the kitchen designated as "Homework / Craft Area" so that there is actually space there.

I have to get desks for the boys.

I don't want to do any of this. I don't want to think about any of this. I would like to stay in bed and watch the Amazon Pilots that are out. I would like for someone to bring me coffee and a croissant in bed.

But In stead I need to get up. I need to do those things. But before I do those things I need to feed my children, feed the pets, give the cat his insulin and his thyroid pill. I need to wash the dishes I didn't wash last night (broken dishwasher.)

I need to run.

I'm going for a run.

Not quite a day-long movie marathon with croissant and coffee, but at least I'll be moving. I have this visual image of depression building up in my system, like rust in the pipes, plaque in the veins. It sits there and hardens and the more there is the harder it gets to actually move around or get the right water pressure.

If I get up now, after two days of sitting around feeling sorry for myself and over eating take out, shortbread cookies, and white whine, it's going to feel horrible. Two days ago, I could have jumped on the treadmill and avoided all of this.

But if I do this now, it will be so much easier than if I keep dragging my feet until Tuesday. I need this. I need this run to work the grit of 'depressed' out of my system and get some normalcy back.

If I jump on the treadmill, cleaning my house will be easier.

If I run 3 miles, grocery shopping will feel better.

If my blood flows faster and my heart beats stronger it will clean out the junk sitting in my mind, and I will be able to look at the pile of jump sitting on the hutch in the kitchen without feeling an overwhelming sense of despair. Maybe I'll even be able to make sense of it so the boys can sit at the table and do their homework.

Until their desks get here.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Name That Feeling

I really have tried to keep the boys in touch with their emotions. Maybe I haven't. Or maybe I've done such a good job that Andy actually didn't feel nervous the first day of first grade.

Or maybe it's just that he watched too much of that scary Freaky Five Friday thing with his brothers and was too scared to go to sleep, so he was awake with me until 11pm, folding laundry, and then spent the rest of the night sleeping diagonally in my bed. And on the first day of school he was so tired he couldn't muster up any nerves at all.