Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Seriously Dude?

Every morning , on my way to work, I drop B off at the high school.  We stop on our way to school and pick up his best friend, Chris.  B usually drives, since he's working towards a license in the spring.

This morning, Chris got into the back seat and said, "Dude! Where were you last night?  Why weren't you at rehearsal?"

"Dude!  Seriously? Rehearsal?" my mildly sleepy son repeated.

"Dude!" Chris admonished him, "Band practice!  Seriously!  For the concert tonight?  Where were you?"

"Dude!" said B, "I thought that was next week.  Oh crap!  Mom, we seriously have a concert tonight!"

I sighed as I recalled the old Rosanne Barr bit about some animals eating their young.  "What time do you need to be there tonight?" I asked them.


"I dunno, Dude," Chris said.  "We'll check at school today.  Prolly around 6:30."

"I hope Mr. P isn't too pissed off at me for missing rehearsal, Dude," said B.

"Dude, he was like asking me where you were and stuff, and I was like I dunno Dude."

As B pulled up to the school, I asked them, "Can either of you use a sentence without DUDE in it?"

"Have a good day, Dude," my son told me with a self-satisfied smirk.  Apparently the answer to that question would be no, they can't.

(Please insert clever transition of subject here.  I can't think of one.}

If you Google Rheumatoid Arthritis (go ahead, you know you want to), you will get all kinds of crap, some very helpful information (mostly from the Mayo Clinic), lots of great blogs, and then a lot of propaganda-like misinformation from people who want to sell you supplements. The whole goal is managing your RA.  In fact, most of the articles you read are about how rheumatoid arthritis is managed.

I would like to know how one actually gets to the point of managing one's RA.  Mine is currently managing me, and I don't have it nearly as rough as some of the RA bloggers I read.  I can barely walk most of the time, and it hurts like hell when I do.  I smile and pretend I'm fine because it's too hard to explain to the other 300 people in our office who look at me strangely as I limp away.  But my hands, while stiff and swollen, still work.  I am still able to type fairly well, talk on the phone, attend meetings, and generally work all day even though I'm thoroughly and completely crispy fried to a crackly crunch at the end of it.  How long can I keep doing this?  I feel quite out of control with the physical manifestations of this disease.  RA decides how long it takes me to get ready in the morning.  It decides how early I go to bed at night.  It decides what's for dinner and even who is going to cook it.  RA decides if I'm going to attend a meeting or cancel it and reschedule and do that again four times before my boss thinks I'm avoiding a project.  RA stabs at me while in those meetings as it will jab me tonight at my son's band concert.  It will also decide if  I should sleep tonight and how well.  When and how do I get to the point of managing it instead of the other way around?

I know, I know.  It's a process.  I hear that a lot.  I'm just not enlightened enough for the "mindful journey" my lovely Buddhist daughter tells me this disease can be for me.  Have you ever tried to sit still and meditate when you're in a great deal of pain?  I know they say it can help, but it's hard for me to clear my mind of the "Ouch, oh crap, ouch," mantra that takes over the rest of my day.  I don't want to be mindful of my pain, thank you.  I'd rather have mindless oblivion, but I'm not going to get that while trying to function all day.  Dude!  Seriously?  How does this get managed?  My doc has been trying.  The meds are supposed to be kicking in.  But they aren't yet.

And my husband just let me know that he's going to leave work a couple of hours early and get a nap before the band concert.  He's really tired.  Dude!  Seriously?  I can't do that.  I am resentful and jealous as hell that he can not only leave work merely because he feels like napping, but that he's healthy and doesn't need one anywhere near as badly as I do right now.  See?  Failing at marriage #2...

Dude.  Seriously.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Creepy or just the age he's at?

My husband and I had a little talk with my son last night about the fine line between pining for a former love and being a stalker.  He's still upset that the Singing Valentine he'd sent to a former girlfriend through the school choir last week wasn't a hit.  He said she's been really friendly again lately and he'd like to have her back, but she appears to have a current boyfriend who was less than enthusiastic about B's very public attempt to win her back.  Fortunately, no students were harmed in the making of this drama. It seems, though, that B had approached her again at school yesterday and told her she was the only one for him, and she told him he was sweet, but needed to leave her alone.  He doesn't want to leave her alone.  He wanted help winning her over again.  "Please mom, what do girls really want?"

Oh my.

To begin with, I don't really know much about teenage boys.  I wasn't one.  And I have a sister.  No brothers.   Plus I was one of those annoying girls who giggled too much and made a complete idiot of herself when cute boys tried to talk to her.  Girls today seem to be much better at negotiating relationships on their own terms, I'll give them that.  But what do girls want at that age?  Social standing, mostly.  They want the cutest boyfriend, lots of attention, decent grades and pretty things.  They want to feel important.  But they don't want a guy they've rejected chasing them around making them feel guilty or weird and they certainly don't want him drawing negative attention to them.

This girl is the one he went to Homecoming with more than a year ago and on whom he has had a crush for a very long time.  Well, more than a year, which is an eternity in teenager years.  It's a bit too much of a crush, though.  I gently explained to him that he needs to move on from the hurt that this girl caused him and find another girl.  He reminded me of the disastrous summer relationship that was supposed to help him move on but turned out to be Way Too Much when said replacement girl told him after a couple of weeks that all of her other current boyfriends bought her jewelry.  He was smart enough to recognize that particular racket when he saw it, which is a good sign.  But he went back to missing the first girl who had a name I've only ever heard used on TV as a stripper's stage name.

Mind you, B's dad has officially stalked me, broken into my home, and been charged with domestic violence in our not-distant-enough past.  Thus, any sign of obsessiveness in our son makes me rather nervous.  I knew that attempting to discuss this with his father would result in undesirable drama, so that wasn't an option.

Really Great Guy Husband to the rescue!  I am so glad I married this man.  (At least today.  He'll piss me off some time soon and I'll wonder what I was thinking, but for the most part, he's Really Great.)  He sat down next to me and said to B, "Dude, where do you find all these girls with stripper names anyway?  I would have killed for a girl like that in high school!"  I looked at him sharply.  "Oh...um...just saying..." he corrected himself.  "Anyhow, B, it looks like there are LOTS of girls with stripper names in your high school.  You're in serious danger of looking completely lame if you keep following this one around.  You don't want to be that guy that everyone in the cafeteria points to and whispers about because his ex-girlfriend's parents had to get a restraining order.  That stuff is going to be really hard to live down at school.  Plus you never want law enforcement involved in your life."

B looked from RGG to me and sighed.  He mumbled something about the fact that he truly loved this young woman with the stripper name and always would.

"Well, of course!" my husband agreed.  "You always have a soft spot for your first love.  But it's the one that winds up being your LAST love that really counts.  I had to marry the wrong woman and go through a lot of crap before I found your mom.  It may take you a while to find the right one.  Just dedicate yourself to having a really great search.  Have some fun with it!  Plan on getting married around 30.  That's a logical time to settle down.  In the meanwhile, date all the girls you can!  Get to know them.  Figure out what you like and don't like in a girl and warn them that you aren't planning to get married until you're way old.  Then they'll try to get you to change your mind. It will work like a charm."

B seemed slightly cheered at that prospect and began discussing a girl from band and the relative merits of the trumpet, at which point I wandered off to let the guy talk really commence.

Think any of this will hold the stalker tendencies at bay?  Or will he turn out to be scary like his dad?  Only time will tell.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Ok, here comes the bitching about rheumatoid arthritis.  Don't say you weren't warned.  (This doesn't require advice or sympathy, and heaven help you if you try to offer it.  Just understand.  I just need to get this off my chest because everyone else is tired my moping and groaning.)

This whole diagnosis is really craptacular.  I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't this.  I knew a little bit about RA prior to getting that life sentence, but nothing like I know now.  I thought it would get better once it was diagnosed and treated.  Silly me!  I genuinely like the rheumatologist I've got.  He's sharp, he's kind, and he's not the least bit condescending.  He's also not FIXING it, and I really wanted him to.  I don't think he's failing me.  I just don't think my expectations were realistic.  My personal medical experience prior to all the crap that led up to this diagnosis consisted of giving birth twice without drugs and the usual flu/cold type stuff.  I was totally unprepared for constant pain that only appears to be getting worse rather than better with treatment.  He said it would take a while for the methotrexate to kick in, and that I needed to be patient.  OK, I've done that for several months.  I also started taking prescription NSAIDS.  When it gets really bad, I go on a burst of prednisone that slows down the needle-like stabs in my joints, but doesn't stop them altogether.  My hands are getting MORE stiff rather than less.  The pain that started out in the knuckles of my feet has spread upward into the small bones and ankles.  Do you know how many bones we have in our feet?  I'm pretty sure each and every one of those tiny joints is now flaring.  My feet are incredibly ugly, not that they were ever attractive.  They're feet, after all.  But is this really necessary?

I blame myself.  Yes, I know they don't know what causes RA or how to cure it, but I must have done something to deserve this, right?  I didn't eat the right things, and I overeat.  I don't exercise enough.  I did too many stupid drugs in college that had probably been sprayed with atrazine.  I didn't say my prayers every night.  I was often a smartass as a kid, and I was rude to my parents.  I didn't appreciate better health when I had it. I did something six or seven lifetimes back that has me getting keel-hauled on the wheel of Samsara.  I wrote a bad check once, but it was an accident, and I paid the bank fees.  Or maybe I'm just possessed by demons.  Whatever the fuck it is, I'm truly sorry now.  Could the universe just accept my apology so that we can move on?  I am not the sort of person who is made stronger by terrible trials.  (Is anyone really, or do we just say that in a lame attempt to comfort ourselves and one another?)   I know I'm not made stronger by adversity.  I'm made a bit more cynical perhaps.  Sometimes I can even find some really dark humor in it all, but I don't need further character building.  I don't freaking have the strength or character required to deal with rheumatoid arthritis.  UNCLE!  I give!  I've had enough NOW LET ME UP!

Still not working, is it?  Sigh.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What fresh hell is this?

Once upon a time, I was a blogger.  If you go into the WayBack Machine and look for snowballinhell.net from 2003 through 2007, you'll find samples of some of my old posts.  I was blogging about my court/custody battles with my ex-husband, being a single working mom, and posting pictures of my knitting.  I was also working at a job I loved.  I had a small but deeply disturbed following of friends, fellow bloggers, and random people who stumbled across me on the internet.  If you knew me then, please say hi by one method or another.  If you know my real identity, please continue to keep it secret because I'm still massively paranoid.  Some things never change, do they?

So what am I doing here?  Great question, and one I've been trying to figure out my entire life. I guess what I'm doing here is exactly that.  I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing here.  I'm also trying to figure out a way to write this re-introductory post without sounding like one of those tacky annual Christmas letters you get from relatives who only contact you to impress you with the knowledge that they had the foresight to take a Santa hat for each member of the family when they went to the Bahamas so that they could put that photo on the card.

I used to spend a lot of time bitching blogging about my ex-husband and the crappy ways in which he manipulated our son, who was in elementary school at the time.  That kid (known only as B for Boy here in the blog world) is now a sophomore in high school trying to pass math so that he can get the good student insurance discount and get his driver's license.  His much older sister (known as G, obviously enough) is in a master's program at an expensive private university for Buddhists and beat poets.  (Yes, you and Google can probably figure that one out without much help.)  It wasn't anywhere near the places I thought she'd be going with her life and it's still baffling me a bit.  You'll see posts about that, I'm sure.

While I will probably still throw out the infrequent rant about X and his Evil Minion, he's causing far fewer issues these days.  Not that he's given up being a pain in the ass.  It's just that B is old enough to make his own decisions regarding visitation, and there's very little of it these days.

I remarried about three years ago, so there's a new husband who will probably provide plenty of blog fodder because all relationships can be difficult to navigate, and I'm a well documented failure at marriage.  In general, he's a Really Great Guy, but don't be surprised if you hear something about him from time to time.  That's also why I won't blog about my job.  I semi-loathe my job.  But I desperately need said job to pay bills, so there will be very little bitching about work here even though it is an untapped diamond mine of gems for blogging.

I'm very politically opinionated, although I am certainly not a political blogger. If I begin to discuss anything political, you will notice that my left knee begins to jerk and my heart begins to bleed.  I am a liberal.  Feel free to disagree with me, but remember that I am also the totalitarian queen of my own blog and might delete your right-wing crap in the comments section if I find is particularly intrusive.

You probably won't see much knitting anymore.  Oh, I still knit.  Just not nearly as frequently as I used to.  Yes, I do miss it, but I have less control over certain activities than I used to.  Knitting is just one of them.  You see, I began struggling with some health weirdness a while back and a misdiagnosis (thank you LabCorp, you idiots) turned out to be rheumatoid arthritis.  It sucks more than you can possibly realize unless you've got it.  There are some tremendous blogs out there that cover RA far better than I could ever hope to.  I'm not here to inform you about the disease or even crusade for more awareness, although that's an excellent thing.  I'm here to bitch about my personal experience with RA, and I will probably do a lot of it!  No, it's not a fatal disease, but it's chronic and I'm finding out just what that really means.

As a warning, I do not seek advice!  No, my self-absorbed attention whoring here is entirely for my own benefit.  If it entertains you or informs you, that's really great and I'm truly thrilled. I've made some great friends by blogging in the past and hope to make more.