Thursday’s Thingies

Okay, I have a better name for my silly Thursday posts.

This week, this made me chuckle. A childless family car decal.

You can purchase them here. They also have a bunch of Dr. Who and Star Wars decals for any of you who like those things.

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I think it would be funny to have a dad and mom with their pockets turned inside out with the kids and animals trailing along behind. That would be our family.

Happy Thursday!

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sympathy for my illness?

mass ignorance

growing

excusing behaviors

artfully side-steping

contradictions

hidden insults

defeat

head hung low

no longer defiant

one voice is a whisper

no more strength

a whisper too meek

defenseless

i whisper no more

who cares anyway

as stupid can’t be fixed

so it goes with empathy

Like my poem? Yeah, well I’m redirecting a few things around my minuscule section of the internet. I’ve gone through this before. I’ve listed the reasons why I blog.

My hope was to use my voice to help reduce the stigma of mental illness. It’s hard to write about depression while trying to move beyond it toward recovery. I hoped that I would inspire some to understand, get help, to know they aren’t alone.

I realized I have accomplished my goal. I reached one person. My husband. In my world, that’s all that matters. He has a much better understanding of what is going on in my head than I could articulate.

So, I need a bit of time to find my voice again. Not much will change, I just want to avoid the topic of depression. I want to show that I live and find beauty in spite of myself. If any notice I’m MIA for a while, I’m either in Nowhere, Missouri or I’m getting my crap together.

I’ve changed the title of my blog because I have been brain damaged by my kids. :D

I can’t stop the jokes or insensitive remarks about mental illness, I can only control how I react to them. Lately, I haven’t exactly done a stellar job because I’ve been too wrapped up in how I was instead of where I am today.

What I’m saying, instead of talking (writing), I’m going to show through my words that I am living a normal life, and it is possible. I’m discovering that the best way to do this is by example.

However, don’t expect a Ms. Yippy Skippy Happy Pants sort of blog. I have some pearls of wisdom, but since I’m so transparent, showing only one side of me would be hard to keep up with. After all, I’m human….some days just aren’t fun whether you suffer from mental illness or are normal.

 

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Life is too serious to daydream

The following is what has made me smile in the last couple of days:

  • I had so much fun spying on the garbage collectors today. Thankfully, the company that picks up our trash/recycling, isn’t the company that picks up recycling and throws it in with the regular trash. Good, I won’t have to make a phone call today.

  • a baby in its carrier doing baby things while his mom unloaded her grocery cart. The wash of nostalgia also made me smile.

  • my husband and I went out to eat last night and we weren’t one of those couples who sit and not talk to each other. Our conversation wasn’t exclusive to our kid’s shenanigans either.

  • my husband not believing me when I told him we had been to the hardware store 13 times just for our shower remodel. (I’m keeping track)

I have been nominated for The Daydreamer Award, by Sue at It Goes On. Many thanks to you, Sue. I’m not going to go through the process laid out by the award, but I accept the award bestowed upon me, and I thought it would be a great topic for a blog post.

My mind wanders far too much. However, it doesn’t wander to a daydream necessarily. I really don’t allow myself that pleasure and I need to correct that.

Sue wanted to read what my dream of a perfect day would be like.

So here ya go…

It’s morning in the Smoky Mountains. Our just-the-right-softness bed faces a huge picture window overlooking the mountains covered in low, smoky clouds.

I stretch my arms and toddle–old lady style–to the kitchen of our cozy log cabin to make a cup of coffee. On the way to the porch, I grab a smooshy blanket to snuggle under while I drink my coffee. I perch myself on one of the oversized rocking chairs. My husband accompanies me, settling into the chair to my right. We gently rock our chairs companionably, as we listen to the sounds of the mountains. Since I’m daydreaming, he would have a smooshy blanket, barefoot, and in his pajamas like I am—instead of being fully dressed. He would also have a large cup of coffee.

The clouds tease us with glimpses of the sun as my mind begins to come alive after sipping the best brewed cup of coffee in all the land.

We decide to take a walk through the forest. Because I’m still daydreaming, I wouldn’t change clothing — I would continue to be barefoot and in my jammies. However, the coffee has been replaced with my camera. My husband carrying a basket full of surprise delights that he prepared himself.

Squirrels, birds, raccoon, and deer surround us as we meander our way through the bug-free forest. We chance upon a black bear that stopped to look at us as we passed. In fact, the bear poses for a photo which later lands me a first place ribbon in The Photographer of the Universe competition. (may as well dream big)

Catching glimpses of the sun, we sit alongside a creek. Sitting in silence, my dad joins us for a while on his way to his special spot in heaven. The sun gently warms us as we lunch on the food my husband has prepared.

I hugged my dad before he said “lots-of-lumbago”—his particular way of saying ‘see you later’ in Spanish–¡Hasta luego! Returning to our cabin we spend the afternoon putting together a puzzle and chatting about unimportant topics. We have nothing to fix, nothing to worry about, no place to be—except right there, putting together a puzzle.

In the evening we hop into our Jaguar XJ-whatever, and drive down the mountainside to the small village at the base.

The only restaurant in the village has a quaint cottage-like appearance with gas lanterns framing the entrance. As we enter the restaurant, our noses are treated to the most delectable aromas. Our faces glow in the candlelight, as we take our seats near the window overlooking the river. For dinner I choose the ice cream entree while my husband dines on some dead deer.

We share our dreams, and my fear of everything drifts away with the river.

After dinner we return to our cabin with a perfect Lager beer–which happens to be Yuengling these days–and build a fire in the pit.

The crackling of the fire compliments the clink of our beer bottles while we make a toast ourselves, as the remnants of the sun surrenders to the moon.

**some of this is actually true, but I’m not divulging anything. :D

***and I don’t claim to be a writer, I’m just daydreaming. :D

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DIY Projects With Your Spouse – Shower and Tub Surround Demolition

Once all the research is performed regarding how to tackle your DIY job, gather all your safety equipment and the proper tools.

In our case, we were given recommendations but ignored the advice.

I originally thought we could reuse the tiles. The tool pictured below is what I started with.  It’s a grout scraper/grinder. My original plan was to painstakingly go around each tile grinding down the grout lines and gently pry off each tile off.

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After grinding down a couple of grout lines I tried my wimpy picture hanging hammer and pry bar.  I gently went about my task, but all I managed to do was to chip off pieces of tile.

Brilliant idea number 1—fail.

Along with a little whining on my part, we decided reusing the tile wouldn’t be possible and moved onto the big hammer.

Oh what fun it was to smash the wall and watch the pieces fall to the floor.

The floor was the last to be demolished. Not learning my lesson from the walls, I started with a chisel and a maul. Doh-dee-doh……

Brilliant idea number 2—fail.

6K2A2432Pfft….I ended the job with this—my new favorite tool—the sledge hammer. That floor was toast in a matter of minutes. :D

Other than knitting, this was the most cathartic activity I have participated in.

Our next step was to even out the wall studs so that the backer board would be even when installed. During my research, I learned this was an important step in order to achieve a well done tile job.

The previous not-used-in-showers-anymore-sheet-rock was attached to the studs with a few screws and Liquid Nails (construction adhesive). We had to remove the hardened Liquid Nails to even out the studs.

6K2A2425I started with my 5-in-one–another favorite tool. The removal of hardened Liquid Nails was another time consuming, difficult task. I hurt myself many times. This tool wasn’t exactly a poor choice, but there were easier ways of removing the hardened construction adhesive.

I graduated to using the hairdryer to warm the Liquid Nails along with my 5-in-one. That went a little better, but remained time consuming. My research suggested using a hand wood planer. My husband convinced me we didn’t have that much to remove, so he thought that I needed the puny tool pictured below. It’s a cheap hand wood planer—not exactly what I had in mind, and it didn’t look like the pictures from the book of our expert.

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Ahem.

Brilliant idea number 3—fail.

I gave up and let my husband have a go. I retired to the couch with a headache and back spasms. During this time, my husband returned to the hardware store twice. One trip he came back with a power hand wood planer—funny.

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The walls are even and we are now ready for installation—finally.

We are using the ‘Traditional Method’ of installing a shower pan. All the conflicting information I gathered, and received from Dave at the hardware store, this one made the most sense to us.

We have begun to build the shower pan. Tin snips are required to cut the metal mesh to place in the bottom of the shower so that the mud will get a good grip. However, just as everything else, I cut the metal mesh with wire cutters. eye roll

Brilliant idea number 4—fail.

I do have a handy tip that I learned from my husband. To avoid the cords of power tools connected to extension cords from becoming unplugged at the most inconvenient time, do this. Always use the proper type of extension cord, I don’t think the wimpy ones should be used with a power tool. Remember–if the tool is not in use, unplug it and keep the cord out of your way.

6K2A2418So far, our marriage is still intact. We have quibbled over one issue. It had something to do with my husband not trusting me when I told him something–he just had to ask Dave at the hardware store who left us more confused, and me more frustrated.

In the future, we agreed to walk through the hardware store like we know what we’re doing and to tell all the little helpers that we know what we’re looking for.

I will blog about our rookie step by step, but we did begin building our shower pan. It didn’t work so I tore it up. Our shower now looks like this. Because we used the proper materials for the pan, this one had to be chiseled out—the sledge hammer didn’t work.6K2A2453

Apparently, we–meaning I–have a little motivation problem.

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Banana Pies are a few of my favorite things

  • limited edition Krispy Kreme glazed banana pie. I bought one. I ate it. Scandalously.

  • a life size Betty Boop mannequin wearing a prison striped outfit in the style preferred by Ms. Boop, standing on the porch of a cute, cottage-looking building. I finally found out that it is the place of the Bail Bondsman.

  • the bluebird sitting on the deck rail—picture taken through the window–good thing it’s Spring, our windows are in need of cleaning.

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These made me smile–once I discovered what type of place Betty was luring customers to, I found myself snaughling.

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more little cheer

These made me smile:

  • the blossoms on our pear tree, the daffodils, and the forsythia (thanks for reminding me to look, Amy—did I use the comma appropriately? Wait, don’t tell me and let me live happily in punctuation ignorance)

  • the cute squirrel who insists on eating the buds off our pear tree

  • the way one of my special cats can shake his head and then act as if he is off balance—which he probably is

  • the way my husband laughs over a commercial he finds hysterical—we have no clue what the commercial is advertising

  • the thought of getting to use the sledge hammer again

  • some of the assertiveness I had in my 20s and 30s is now returning and there are some companies who aren’t going to like it because I’ve learned how to be assertive without getting mad or sounding aggressive

  • looking forward to spying on the garbage man on Monday to see if the company that picks up our garbage is the same company I saw pitching recycling in the same truck as the garbage—I don’t flatten boxes and clean out containers for them to be trashed :D

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It’s the little things…

Changing the way I have been fearing that one catastrophe that will butt-kick me into the pit of depression is helping. Depression, along with the intense anxiety of returning to that world of despair, is something I have to manage—and that I shall. I realize it will take some time and more work, but I haven’t given up.

The following made me smile:

  • The lady in the parking lot at Dr. Chill’s who gave me two big thumbs up after watching me do the back and forth turn-the handle a bit,  back and forth-turn the handle a bit more thing with my car in order to maneuver out of the parking lot.

  • We’re empty nesters again. I shouldn’t be so overjoyed about this, but I am. It means forward progress for my son, and we have two less cats.

  • Hand lotion. Recommendations for wearing gloves during a housing remodel shouldn’t really be ignored.

  • My husband placing my slipper back over my heel while I was spreading mud in the shower pan we’re replacing. Apparently, slippers aren’t any better than bare feet while remodeling.

  • Learning to say no and not caring what someone else will think.

  • Bengay.

 

 

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Dialysis days with my sister

**To some, this may sound repetitive, some of it is…..

My younger sister was told in March 2012 that she was in end-stage heart failure and end-stage kidney failure. Her doctor talked to her about a machine that would help her heart pump (LVAD–I think was what she was referring to?). He also told her she would need a heart/kidney transplant, and the LVAD would buy her some time. A double transplantation of heart/kidney isn’t performed many places, but I did my obsessive Google research and was ready to take her off to where she needed to go.

With tears welling in my eyes, I talked to my doctor about donating one of my kidneys, but at the time it was less than a year after my cancer diagnosis/surgery–wouldn’t you know–a person who has had cancer can’t be a donor unless they have been 5-years cancer free.

After her doctor gave her — and us — much hope, it all came down to the fact that her health was too poor and she wouldn’t be considered a candidate for the LVAD or for the heart/kidney transplant. She couldn’t even make it on the kidney transplant list because her heart wouldn’t have survived the surgery. Her doctor told her it was just a matter of time.

She died in March 2013.

During that year, we talked a lot about life. We talked about her mental state and what it was like to know that her days were limited. I was so fortunate to spend time with her during her dialysis appointments (4 times a week for 4+ hours each time) during a visit to the Seattle area. You know, she was working full-time as well. She was going to go to work the day she died, but she didn’t wake up.

Her words, it is what it is, will always stay with me whether I recall them when I need them or not.

My youngest sister has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for over 30 years. She is in constant pain, but she lives in spite of her disease. She can’t control her progressive disease, therefore—it is what it is.

Chronic anxiety and depression is something I have been fighting against. For me, there isn’t a cure—just management. I will have bad spells and I have to tell myself it is what it is instead of being mad at myself for being depressed again. I have to ride it out the best way I know how, which is usually through humor. Dr. Chill is one smart cookie and has given me the tools and the insight I need to endure.

it is what it is

 

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Smiles XII – plus thoughts my brain is gnawing on

  • I filled the bird feeder for the finches and another feeder with food that the woodpeckers and cardinals love. I have enjoyed their visits, and so have the cats.

You know what? That’s all I found yesterday because my mind is occupied with something Dr. Chill said to me, and jokes about mental illness.

I know that I have a chronic problem with depression. I thought I had accepted the fact that this was my life. Since I have delusions that I am a warrior :D I thought I could conquer that black dog nipping at my ankles. I told Dr. Chill how frustrated and mad I was by wasting time being depressed. Her statement/kind of question I have been pondering—maybe this is a part of you that you have to accept. The last puzzle piece to the acceptance of myself. I have to accept it because swimming against the tide is exhausting. I could use the time to be more compassionate toward myself, and move along.

The second…you know those silly tests on Facebook about discovering your hippie name, which Beatle you are, what’s your hillbilly name, and such? The other day I saw one that asked to take the test to see how Bipolar you were.

Another was a statement….Your complete lack of responsibility for a situation you created, leads me to believe you might be mentally unhinged. (Of course this one was a hidden message regarding President Obama–ignoring the fact that we have an obstructionist Congress)

In my opinion, racism, bigotry, ignorance—and I will have to add lack of compassion and empathy, is passed down from parent to child. Maybe peers or personal experiences play a roll, but where do our peers learn this ugliness–from their parents.

….and yet my long-time friends (yes, they know I’m a sufferer) totally disregard my feelings, or those of other sufferers because the joke is funny to them.

Depression, mental illness in any form, and anxiety are not funny. Mental pain and despair is just not funny. Even though they are ignorant, I wouldn’t wish the experience of depression on anyone so that they would finally get it.

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Smiles XI – a fraction of the humor at the dreadful Walmart

The following made me smile:

  • the three people and the one lovely lady who let me know I dropped my paper towels–the lady meeting me half way to bring them to me.

  • my lack of attention and pitching a mini inner fit because the key fob wasn’t working on the car I was trying to open. Then I realized it was a Lexus—I don’t drive a Lexus.

  • sitting on the back stairs with my arm around Booglie (the mastiff), as she kept trying to pull away. Apparently, she doesn’t like public displays of attention. I kept my arm around her anyway.

  • our oldest son telling me that the meatloaf I make is one of is one of his favorites—thanks again to Betty Crocker.

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