Monday, April 28, 2008

Balancing Act

MEN!!!! I swear, for the most part I get along with them pretty damned good, but there are times that I could just pinch their wee heads off (the ones atop their shoulders...get yer mind outta the gutter).

On March 28th, our house burnt. Not as in slightly smoked and mildly charred, I mean lost most everything, well done, floors with huge burn holes in them burnt. Long story short, I guess according to the insurance guy, lightning hit our roof and started a fire in the rafters. We found a few things salvageable but for the most part most everything was lost. Kids clothes, toys, beds, tv's, computer, washer and dryer, fireplace, dvd players, video games, books *POOF* fried to a crisp. It's gut wrenching to say the least when you start to make that list of personal property for the insurance claim. With the month I've had, I HAD to double my anxiety meds and do all of this very slowly to say the least. Daniel is getting pretty huffy with me, but he's got a choice, either I do it slow and right, or I do it fast, screw it up, and end up flipping out completely and having to possibly be hospitalized. In all honesty, that hospitalization is sounding pretty damn good after tonight.

The scene: Here at the office, we work out of the same office, overlapping shifts

Topic: The bank account

Instigator: Daniel

Aggravated and majorly stressed and pissed off: Yours truly

Out in the firebay I was talking to my cousin on the phone. Her and her Mom are coming down at the end of the week to pick up my recently widowed Grandfather to take him back to Iowa. I had no more than wrapped up my conversation with her, and standing in the doorway was Daniel...

"WTH is going on with the bank account?"

"What do you mean?"

"Last week I put in both our paychecks which was about $XX, and then we had that loan proceed check which was $XX, and by last Saturday we only had $XX left. Why is it when we have money in the bank account it gets spent that fast?"

Well before I could answer, the office phone rang much to his great fortune and his great dismay all at the same time. I don't think he realized how postal I was about to go on him. Ya I've spent quite a bit of $$ in the last month, but need clothes, we need groceries, things need to be replaced in general. Ok maybe I didn't HAVE to have the new sewing/embroidery machine we bought (but in my defense, it was marked down to half price on clearance AND I made him come with me so it's not like he didn't know I bought it or anything), or the computer I got off Ebay (there again, another great deal that he knew about) and a few other small things I picked up here and there. Then again he didn't HAVE to buy a riding lawn mower/garden tractor, and fork out God knows how much to his kids. Also, again, I haven't finished the personal property list and that will be a pretty healthy check in it's own right. Which I'm pretty sure he's gonna try to appropriate funds from for stuff HE wants as well. I'm not against that, but dammit all, I don't bitch at him for what he spends, so I kind of expect the same courtesy. I also don't expect to get my ass chewed for replacing things we need to run our household on a daily basis.

I know he's trying to quit chewing tobacco, his slipped disk hurts him all the time, and add on top of that the stress that having kids around (esp teenagers) creates, and it can make for a very cranky person. I'm trying to keep all that in my mind when I have to deal with his outbursts, but I would also expect that he would keep in mind that I'M the one having to deal with the insurance company, do all the listing, the constant reminder of what I once had, I don't anymore, dealing with kids stuff, and working 60 hrs a week lately all while trying to keep my sanity.

I don't know what the answer is, or if there even is one, but the closest I can see is going back to separate accounts. This just overwhelmingly reminds me why I chose to do that months ago anyways. I thought maybe we could get along during this crisis and what it would do to our bank account but forget that, it's just not going to happen.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What the hell is the matter with me?!?

Ok as I have mentioned between me and my Dh we have 6 kids. A classic blended family of mine, his, and ours. In the last month we have became grandparents which is just awesome to say the least.

I don't know what the hell is going on with me but the stray baby thoughts have been invading me! My Dh has 3 girls, and I think he was slightly hoping for a boy with our daughter. I wanted another boy too as we have way too much estrogen flowing through our house anyways. Now with the addition of our grandson to our family, the thoughts of giving my Dh the boy he's always wanted start straying into my head. I really don't want another child in all honesty but this thought just keeps creeping in my head.

ARGH, I really think I am loosing it now...

Going home...

In the last 6 months I have been home twice which is more than I've been home in the last 10 years. They say home is where your heart is, and apparently my "home" is in Northern Iowa. To me, my home is where my family is and that's where most of my family I still claim is. While I love Southern Missouri for it's mild climate and awesome geography, a large part of me longs for the cold winters, steamy summers, corn and soybean fields and hog confinements (shut up, I know I'm weird). Everytime I have to leave to come back to Missouri, I feel a heartache that I can only describe as akin to loosing a member of my family. The further south I get, the more my heart aches.

As I mentioned, this was my second trip home in the last 6 months. Unfortunately, it has been deaths of family members that was the reason for my trip home. I was home in October and I never remember Northern Iowa being that mild in October. Of course it rained most of the time I was home and was chilly but no more so than here in Southern Missouri. The second trip was at the end of March for almost a week, and the weather was a bit screwy, but nice nonetheless. It wasn't overly warm as to be expected and one night we got almost 3 inches of snow, but it wasn't freezing either. It was windy and sunny most days (I damn near blew over a few times when we did the interment of my beloved Gramma for crying out loud) but not too bad temperature wise.

Of course, my aforementioned family doesn't help matters much either. Apparently I'm a favorite cousin/neice/granddaughter and they have no bones about telling me that and how they wish I would move home. I have wanted to move home for years, but there are a few things that hold me back. First of which being my kids. We have 6 (no that's not a typo) between the two of us. His, mine, and ours respectively, and while 2 of them are over the age of 18, one of them is on probation for a bunch of stupid shit he pulled over the last 5 years, and the other just had a baby. The the other kids are 16, 14, 12, and 5. Now the 5 year old is our daughter so there would be no problem there. The 16 yr old is his daughter from his last marriage and the 14 & 12 year old are my kids from my previous marriage. Not too sure how their "other" parents would take it us moving them 550 miles from them. Of course we really don't care too much as long as a judge would permit them to move with us. The ex's can bite us as they made our lives hell for several years and while we're not bitter (ok maybe just a lil bitter but there again, that's another post) we also don't feel that we owe them anything for the shit they gave us. Second thing that holds me back is my parents, particularly my Dad. He will be 68 this fall and I'm not sure when it will come to the point where he will have to be looked after. I have promised him that I will take care of him in his old age as I don't trust his signifigant other to do so. My Dad moved us down here to get away from the cold so I'm pretty sure he's not going to want to move back to Iowa in his old age. That leaves me moving back here, and I don't want to have to uproot that many times. Of course me being the stubborn ass I can be would probably give him the option of a nursing home or moving home with me but I don't want it to come to that. My Mom is slowly loosing her mind and the farther away I can get from her, the better off I feel I am. I would take care of her if I HAVE to, but since I have a little brother, I've about made up my mind HE can do it. I have done it since before I was in high school, he can take his turn in this family responsiblity crap. Third of all, me and Dh have lived here most of our lives. We have invaluble ties to the community, our friends, and immaculate reputations. If we were to get let go from our jobs today, we'd have 5 offers by the end of the week, guaranteed. To loose that feeling of community, of security is unsettling to say the least. I'm sure we can make those ties again at home, but my main fear is that my Dh is 49 years old, no high school education even though he is talented in many areas, and his shoulders and upper back are giving him fits. In short, what will he do for work? I know he would find something but living up there is much more expensive than here. I have some college credits, but I'm not sure I can make enough to support a family of 9. The kids will work, but I don't feel right about having to expect them to help support the rest of the family. *SIGH* Not to mention, uprooting my kids during high school and from all their friends they've had all their lives. So many considerations for what seems like such a simple decision.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Me? A Gramma?? At 32???

Yup, yup, and OMG yup! Ok some of you are probably thinking "What the hell?!?" but there IS a logical explanation to me being a Gramma at 32. I am a step gramma for one thing. Daniel is 17 years older than I am, and his oldest daughter is 18 now (yes the lil one's momma). So no, my 12 year old daughter, or my 5 year old daughter have not started reproducing exceptionally early (though much to my 5 year old's dismay, she now believes she needs to have a girl to keep her nephew company **SIGH**).

Now my relationship with my oldest stepdaughter is rocky. She lived with us for a couple of years, and she pulled quite a few stunts that ended with me looking like a butcher block from the backside. I vowed to keep her at bay until she recognized what she did was wrong, and apologized for that. Know what? That's kinda out the window now. I'm not sure I have forgiven her for all the grief she caused me and her father, but I am speaking to her some now. Not much mind you, but some, and I guess that's progress. I can't and won't say I trust her, because I don't. She IS still her Mother's daughter, and I have to stay guarded to that. We are in the middle of a custody battle with her and her younger sister's mother for custody of her younger sister. I refuse to jeopardize that in an "effort" to see if I can trust the oldest daughter. The younger one doesn't want to live with her Mother, and I won't be the one to screw up and be the reason she has to. Furthermore, I know if I am not careful, she will yank that baby away from me and at this point in time, I just don't think I could take that. I have lost alot in the last few weeks, I refuse to let my big mouth get the best of me and give her reason to hurt me again. I am remaining civil and friendly to her (even to the point of having her Dad tell her if she needs/wants to move home (ie back in with us) she can, my Grandson's father is a gigantic walking dick, need I say more?).

As for my Grandson **insert colossal grin** he's a small bundle of joy. Ya I know, it's not very creative, but it's the truth. Such tiny little fingers and toes, and a cry that well it's more a squeak to me as I have a 5 year old that throws screaming hissy fits more often than I would like to admit. I forgot just how teeny tiny their lil fingers and toes were till I clipped his fingernails and toenails the other night when they were over. His parents were scared to, afraid they would cut one off. Daniel was scared shitless she'd let her Mother do it, as I guess with one of the girls she DID cut the tip of one of their fingers off trimming their fingernails once. Dgs's (dear grandson) Dad was at work, and his Mom was in the other room watching a movie with the rest of the kids, and I was watching over the lil guy. He fell asleep to me rocking him to sleep as I played the Wii (tell you anything about what kinda Mom/Gramma I am? :D). After he fell into a sound slumber cradled in my lap, I unswaddled him and gave him a manicure and pedicure, complete with filing of all the sharp little edges, that would leave any modern starlet in the dust. It's been a long time since I have done that, and to be totally honest... I don't miss it a bit. It's one thing to do it to my dgs, but I don't want to do the Mommy thing again. I have 3 children of my own, and 3 stepchildren. I've had my fill to say the least. I love all my children, but I tell them regularly the only reason I don't strangle them some days is I want to be old and grey and surrounded by grandchildren on my back deck as I sit in my rocking chair. My 14 year old son laughs at me when I say this, but I don't think he realizes just how much I mean that.

After my own Gramma passing on St Patrick's Day, this little guy was what I needed to pull me out of the depths of my despair. I got the call that she was in labor the following Thursday, but convinced that she was going to not let me be a part of this baby's life, I dismissed it. A part of me desperately hoped that she wouldn't do that, but the rest of me was fully convinced she would. I got the call just shortly after midnight Friday morning from Daniel that I was a gramma. I was estatatic, but I was leaving the following day to go to Iowa for my Gramma's funeral. I silently cursed the timing, but was thankful at the same time. I needed a diversion, good or bad, from the reality of what had happened. I fell asleep a happy woman that morning. I didn't sleep long as I needed to go do some errands, and while I was gone, Daniel called me. They were bringing the baby over to the house before I went to to work that night. Shocked me to the core when he informed me "so you can see him...they know you have to leave tomorrow, and know your dying to see the lil fella.". I could have fainted right there in Wal-Mart parking lot. I didn't though, but I was in a serious daze after he told me that. I hurried up and did what I had to do and scurried home. I had planned to take a nap before work after I got home, but that was impossible not knowing when they were going to be there. I got partially ready for work and paced the floor waiting for them. Daniel just laughed at my apprehension, but when I growled at him to quit bugging me, he scurried out the door as he knew my nerves were shot. They finally arrived and I stole the car seat and put it on my computer chair (and I let NOBODY sit in my chair, it's MINE), and uncovered him. He was so tiny, so perfect, and *GASP* she was gonna let me be GRAMMA! I took a few pictures then I had to get him out of that contraption. As I took him out, I noticed how light he was. Now a 7 pound baby is a "normal" size baby, but considering my "baby" now weighs 50 pounds, it was kinda a shock. He cuddled right up to me and promptly fell asleep. I walked around, beaming a smile that would put the sun to shame, holding my grandson. After a bit he became fussy, and we went straight to the rocking chair. I swaddled him back up after I had him all cuddled up to me and we rocked. Quietly, gently, we rocked. It seemed like time stopped. Amazing how one so teeny could wipe away all my pain. Tears flowed again, but instead of heartbreak, they were tears of joy as I prayed to God that I was as wonderful a Gramma as the one I had just lost was to me.

Saturday, the next day, they came out again before I left. I lost 2 hours of prime traveling time due to having to cuddle with dgs, but it was a well spent 2 hours. We laid on my bed a good portion of that, him wide awake, and me just babbling to him. What I said, I can't honestly recall to be honest, but I'm sure it was ok with him. He made funny faces at me, and I just watched, cuddled, kissed, hugged, and loved on him as I was going to be gone for at least a week. Again I cursed the timing, but knew I had to go. I tried to convince his parents that they needed a break, to let me take him with but go figure, they refused. They were sure I was going to smuggle him out in my suitcase so as I finished packing they kept an eagle's watch on me. As I waited for my youngest step daughter to pack to go with me, and the guys to pack the trunk of the car, we again went to the rocking chair. Time stopped again for me as I watched him sleep and give his binky a through workout. Little did I know that would be our last time to rock in that rocking chair.

As I made that long trip home for my Gramma's funeral, something struck me. While I had lost my Gramma, I had in turn gained a Grandson. Was that God's way of taking the sting away from the pain I was feeling over my loss? His way of showing me that he takes nothing away from us without giving us something just as precious? I will never know the answer to that I'm sure, but I have learned a lesson through all of this to be sure. Never EVER take anyone special in your life for granted, for they can be taken away in a blink of an eye.

The best way I can describe my Gramma's influence on me is akin to Simba and Mufasa in The Lion King. As a child, I followed my Gramma every opportunity I was given to. As an adult, I looked to her for guidance. Now that she's gone, I still feel her with me, a silent yet powerful guiding hand in my life. I look up at the stars when doubts and questions fill my mind, and think "How would Gramma have handled it? What would Gramma do?". Somewhere deep in me, I know the answers, and when I follow them, I feel an overwhelming sense of peace and serenity. I want my Grandson (and all my subsequent grandbabies) to see my Gramma in me. I want them to learn from me the way I learned from her. I want them to love me just as deeply as I love her. That is my hope, my dream, my goal for the future.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


As you have read, my beloved Gramma had to have surgery not to long ago. She was doing wonderfully, been moved from the rehab wing at the hospital to the nursing home to do less intensive rehab. Grampa had been going to stay with her during the days and leaving before dark as he can't drive after dark due to having strokes that has affected his vision. Things were going as well as could be expected. Her doctors, nurses, and therapists were astounded with her progress and were talking like she might possibly be out of there weeks earlier than expected. We were thrilled. We had a scare come march 14th. Gramma was found in her nursing home bed, unresponsive, staring at the ceiling. Come to find out, her blood oxygen level had dropped to the low 80's causing it. They transported her to the local hospital, where they began running tests as the question remained, What caused the drop in her blood oxygen?. I called the hospital inquiring as to what was going on.... No pneumonia, as they had done chest xrays, they had pulled blood for a complete battery of tests but no results yet. Then I asked the question that was nagging at me. Had they checked for the possibility of a blood clot? The nurse politely told me the Dr hadn't yet, and I felt my anxiety level rise as I KNEW with her type of orthopedic surgery, clots were a constant concern. Then I asked if they were planning ultrasounds or whatever they needed to do to check for clots, and the nurse kindly told me not as far as she saw on the chart. I was rapidly becoming pissed off and didn't want to take it out on the nurse so I bid her goodnight and requested that if anything came up that they call me as well as my Aunt K. Then I called my Aunt K to see if she had found out anything different and she told me no and thought it was odd too that no sonograms had been ordered on Gramma's legs. We couldn't reach the Dr so Aunt K told me she'd get ahold of him in the morning and we went about our nightly routine.

The next few days I called intermittently to bug the Dr, nurses, Grampa, Aunt K, and occasionally spoke to Gramma. She seemed to be gaining strength again and the prognosis was hopeful. I was getting irritated at the Dr as I was really concerned about the possibility of a clot, but I couldn't sway him to do the damned ultrasound. Now I wish I'd went down and kicked his ass, but that's beside the point now.

Sunday Gramma had another disoriented spell, and so I called into work just in case something came up and I had to make a flying trip down to Arkansas. I live almost 2 hrs away but I can make it down in an hour and a half if need be. They brought her outta it again and everything allegedly was "ok".

Monday I called down to the hospital and I talked to Gramma. She sounded as chipper and as wonderful as could be. She was looking forward to getting back to the nursing home to finish up her rehab and get home and back to "jitterbugging". We chatted for a good 45 minutes. Thank God I told her how much I loved her that day before I hung up the phone as it would be the last time I ever talked to my beloved Gramma.

I hung out around the house the rest of the day, the Irish woman in me wishing my corned beef would hurry up and cook, then resisting the urge to eat it before everyone got home that night for supper. About 7:30 my phone rang, it was my Aunt K to ask me where my Dad was as his fiancee' had been back in the hospital. I told her I didn't know and asked why. Just her tone of voice had already made my heart drop, my anxiety level rise, and my stomach twist into a Celtic knot. That's when she told me Gramma had passed about 15 minutes before. She also quickly brought up the fact that Dad maybe driving from the hospital home and she didn't want to tell him the news if that was the case. I totally agreed and told her to let me hunt him down and tell him, I knew how hard it was going to hit Daddy.

I called Jane and she told me Dad was at home and I told her about Gramma. I also told her to not call and tell him as I wanted to be there when he found out. She agreed that he shouldn't be alone and we got off the phone.

Daniel insisted on driving me as it was raining and cold. I think he knew I had kind of pushed the reality of the situation to the back of my mind. I was more worried about Daddy's reaction and so I was repressing my own sadness. (Damn that man knows me better than I thought) He also was intuitive enough to know it would hit in that hour drive to my Dad's house and he was frightened of the implications that brought along with it. He was right again. It was a quiet trip for the most part. I kept telling him I was glad it was short and sweet as they had told my Aunt K that she passed quickly, and felt no pain. I'm not sure who's benefit that was for or why I kept repeating it but I did. I occasionally cried, but they were short quiet spells as well. We were 15 minutes from my Dad's house when Dad called me on my cell phone asking where I was at. I told him on my way to his house and asked him why. Grampa had called Dad asking if he could ride with him up home to the funeral. UGH, I hadn't wanted Dad to find out by phone, but I should have thought to call Grampa and tell him not to call Dad till I got down there. Hindsight is always 20/20.

We got to my Dad's and Dad was doing much better than expected. We made and received some phone calls, chit chatted, and after a few hours we headed home.

The ride home was more chit chat about how well Dad seemed to be holding up, when the funeral may be as the following weekend was Easter, and Daniel asking me how I was. I told him fine, and I think at that point I honestly believed it.

It was well after midnight after we got home, and Daniel had to work early the next morning so he headed off to bed. He told me if I needed anything to wake him, and scooted off to bed. I wandered aimlessly around the house for a bit and sheer exhaustion hit me after I got on the computer for a few minutes. I took my before bed meds, and scooted off to bed myself.

As I laid down on my pillow, which I have had since I was a child when Gramma told me it had been her pillow as a child and I begged her for it. Gramma thought I was crazy as she put it "CHRISSY....that pillow is older than I am....MY Grandmother made that before I was even born I'm sure! You don't need that ratty old thing, if you need a pillow I have much better ones in the main house." I insisted to Gramma that was EXACTLY why I wanted it, it was a family heirloom. Again she smiled, shook her head and told me to go ahead and drag that ratty old feather pillow home with me. I was 9 when she gave me that pillow. I have slept with it just about every night since. My only separation from that pillow was when I was in the hospital having babies. I take that back, I did take it to the hospital for the birth of my youngest daughter. Gramma took great delight in that as my youngest daughter is a namesake baby. She was named after her father's mother, and I gave her Gramma's first name as her middle name. I shall have to post another blog about that another time.

Anyways, as I laid down on me and Gramma's pillow that night, it hit me. My Gramma was gone. No more long phone calls, no more admonishments from her for my sassiness to Daniel, no more chuckles at all of us picking on each other, no more lunches, no more hugs, kisses and loves back and forth... I went to bed at 1am, the last time I remember being able to see the clock was almost 4am(not sure what time it was, I had cried so much my vision was blurred), and mine and Gramma's pillow was soaked. I fell asleep in a fitful non restful sleep that was interrupted with me waking up to even more tears, prayers thanking God that Gramma was home with him and that he let her physical body go fast and painlessly, and more prayers to give me and my family strength to deal with what lay ahead for us in the next few weeks.

Start at the beginning...

The last few weeks have been a complete blur. My mind is swimming in so many different directions that it's hard to tell up from down, left from right, back from front. I know people say "Start from the beginning, leave nothing out". Hmpfh, easy for them to say. In a nutshell in the last few weeks I have lost my beloved Gramma (March 17th, St Patricks Day, I'd like to know where the hell my share of the luck of the Irish was this year), became a Grandmother myself the following Saturday morning (YAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOO), and while I was home in Northern Iowa for Gramma's funeral, my house burnt to the ground. So to start at the beginning with all that floating around is going to be a tad difficult for me. I will do this in bits and pieces, as I can bear to as it's all still very raw for me, but I HAVE to get it out of my brain. It's throwing a monkey wrench in the cogs upstairs, and heaven's knows, I have enough skeletons doing that already.