Oh Yeah – We Moved…

And it only took 4 months, roughly.  Yikes!  Obviously the move itself didn’t take that long, but unlike a lot of people, we didn’t sell our house prior to purchasing a new home.  So not only did we need to move but also had to make renovations to our old house so we could get it listed.  I thought this whole process would take 6-8 weeks, tops!  Boy, was I ever in for a rude awakening!

I feel I could now easily write the screenplay for “National Lampoon Moving Day”!  I’d love to tell you about all of the crazy things adding up that made it painfully hilarious but it would never begin to fit in a blog post.

Sure, we had everything moved to the new place within 2 days; well…most of it.  So, okay – we had moved “most” everything to the new place within 2 days.  We decided to leave a few furniture pieces behind for staging, once we were ready to list.  For now, it was just in the way; which was one of the biggest reasons we decided to buy then sell, so we weren’t trying to work around furniture.  But hey, at least we weren’t living there anymore!  We also left a lot of tools and contents of the garage since we would need them while working on the house.

So, my point is – the initial move went pretty smooth and rather quickly considering the square footage and family members being moved.  This is the point where I started getting cocky, I started thinking I was a genius at this whole organizing a move thing (you can start to see the whole National Lampoon theme starting).

Next came unpacking, that lovely task of trying to figure out where everything goes in the new place.  Unfortunately, we ended up just putting stuff away wherever it would fit (evidence of that is our pantry – it is still chaos right now).

There was no time for decorating or even basic organizing.  We skipped over this in order to quickly switch gears and focus our attention to renovating the old house, so we could get it on the market ASAP.  However, just like packing and moving, I underestimated how time-consuming, tedious and hair-pulling frustrating this would be.

First item on the list, the entire interior of the house was to be painted.  Our realtor’s colleague recommended a man who had just started his own painting business, so of course I ended up hired him (I’m still pretty cocky obviously.)  Well, he ended up being a nightmare of a contractor, an excuse for a human being really.  Needless to say, my confidence began to waiver at times after that – when I could intermittently see through the fury storm brewing in my gut.

This contractor experience is one of the aforementioned “crazy things” that drove me to the brink of insanity (I understand Clark so much better now).  I still can’t talk about it or even write about it in detail without wanting to throat punch someone (namely the contractor) so for now, you’ll have to imagine how bad it was.

Please for the love of renovations everywhere! – If you’re going to hire a contractor to come into your home, even if it’s just painting, do your research.  Learn from my mistake arrogance – please – and devour the information in these links.

*after you’re done reading this…DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT CLICK AWAY YET…you’re half way there*

HIRING A CONTRACTOR

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE HIRING A CONTRACTOR

BUYER BEWARE OF UNLICENSED HANDMAN: CODENAME “UNCLE BOB”

After the house interior was completely re-painted (if you can call what he did painting), we moved to the floors.  The house is a 4-bedroom, 2,200 sq. ft. home and we replaced all the flooring except the 3 bedrooms upstairs.  There were no issues with the new flooring being installed, thank goodness.  I don’t know if anyone would have been able to pull me back from the crazy cliff edge had there been issues.  That marked the end of the contractors.  The rest of the remodel was up to us, which was just terrifying to me at this point!  Terrifying not only because I was not as confident as I was in the beginning, but also because somehow it seemed the house had grown in size since we had moved out.  It’s amazing how that happens.

We ended up installing new upper cabinets in the kitchen because apparently not everyone appreciates floating shelves.  This is quite ironic because a few years earlier, we ripped out the upper cabinets to install the floating shelves we were now taking down.  Someone shoot me now!

We also tackled the task of “resurfacing” the countertops.  Before we started the remodel, I was just as confident in my countertop resurfacing abilities as Donald Trump is in his ability to build his wall.  That was before all the chaos, now I was beginning to doubt if I could determine the difference between a nail and a screw!  I wonder how President Trump is feeling now?  Nonetheless, we pushed ahead and it turned out pretty good.  It was definitely an improvement and I was happy with that, improvement.  I previously had envisioned a “miraculous transformation” but really, it’s a kitchen countertop, there’s isn’t anything miraculous about it.

Next, we had to tackle all the “minor things” that needed to be done  – new light fixtures, door knobs, vent covers, outlet covers and switch plate covers, etc.  It doesn’t sound like a lot until you have screwdriver in hand trying to unscrew and then screw back in 84 little screws just to replace switch plate covers.  Not to mention, beforehand, walking through the house trying to figure out what type and how many of each type you need – it was a pain and required multiple trips to Menards!

I hate to bring him up again, but remember the horrible painting contractor?  We also had to do a lot of painting to fix what he had started.  I mean this man was recommended by our realtor’s colleague, so I thought he was “safe”…lesson learned, only hire licensed, reputable contractors.  Will you pay more to hire a licensed professional?  Yes, most definitely but it will be worth it.  It will cost you so more in the end if you hire the bargain handy-man and with that, I hop down off my soap box.

At this point, can’t you just imagine the sequel…”National Lampoon Home Remodel”?  To avoid the same mistakes I made, just ask yourself, what would Clark do?…and then do the exact opposite.

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Finally, around the beginning of November we finished!  Of course we did, it was time for the holidays!  As I mentioned before, when we moved we simply unpacked and didn’t take the time to make the house “ours” yet.  So, I took what very little time we had before the holidays to do just that.  I dove head first into decorating the house first Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  It was fun, exciting and exhausting!  Nonetheless, I was truly grateful to have everyone over for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I absolutely love the holidays because it’s the one time of the year that everyone makes the time to get together and it is so much fun and makes me so happy having everyone together.

Our old house went on the market on November 23rd, right before Thanksgiving and within 3 weeks – we had an offer!  The good news is that it is in negotiations.  The bad news is that it is still in negotiations!  I hate to keep bringing up previously mentioned items (welcome to how the last 4 months has been for us) – but remember when I said we were done with contractors…I lied.  The home inspection turned up a few minor things that needed to be done and quite honestly, we probably could have handled most of them but at this point, we were done with home improvements, so we called in a reputable plumber to tackle the entire list for us.

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While we have spent most of the last 4 months remodeling (whining) and making minor repairs (complaining) to our old house, we were extremely lucky to have an accepted offer within the first 3 weeks of listing.  Since then, we have been able to turn our full attention to our current home and start putting our personal touches on it, after putting away the Christmas décor of course.  Obviously, I have also had a little time to sit and write (exhibit a: this post).

I know I promised you guys some Moving Tips and Tricks for Spoonies and I still intend to share them with you, I just didn’t want this post to turn into a novel – right now it’s just a short story…and hopefully not too boring!

Thanks for all your support guys!  I truly appreciate the emails and comments.

You mean more to me then you’ll ever know!

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ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE TO END LUPUS 

Here are some suggested Tweets you can share! Make sure you’re posting everyday of your challenge to show your progress!!

SUGGESTED TWEETS 

I am giving up _____ for 14 days and donating to the Lupus Foundation of America, join me: http://www.crowdrise.com/Cut-it-out! #iCutitOut
Show your support and fund lupus research, take the Cut it Out challenge for 14 days! http://www.crowdrise.com/Cut-it-out 

Let’s make it so the only thing people with lupus have to cut out of their lives is the disease itself! #iCutitOut http://bit.ly/icutitout

Skip the coffee, put down the cake, shut off the TV – Cut it Out for 14 days and show your support for lupus http://www.crowdrise.com/Cut-it-out

SUGGESTED FACEBOOK POSTS

Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat. Its health effects can range from a skin rash to a heart attack. I am making a small sacrifice by giving up ____ for 14 days and donating to the Lupus Foundation of America. Please consider making a small sacrifice and join the challenge at http://www.crowdrise.com/Cut-it-out.

Every day is a battle for people with lupus. In order to be able to manage their disease, they are forced to cut things out of their lives. In 14 days, what Americans spend, consume, and drink adds up. If we each make one small sacrifice, we can make a difference in the lives of people battling with lupus every day. I am cutting out ____ , join the challenge! #iCutitOut http://bit.ly/icutitout

Small sacrifices can make a big difference. I am taking the Cut it Out Challenge so that the only thing people with lupus have to cut out of their lives is the disease itself! http://www.crowdrise.com/Cut-it-out

WE ARE MOVING!!

Well my lovelies…my prayer has been answered!  Not that prayer, I still have autoimmune diseases – the one about wanting to move!! 

I am so incredibly happy we have found a house after just a few weeks of searching.  Of course, I have been looking much longer than John has, I have been looking at houses for months actually.  He just caught up to my house hunting about six weeks ago and I was astounded by how quickly we were able to find a house we both love!  Finding it was pretty easy, we went to the open house just 3 days after it went on the market.  We typically would go to a few open houses on Sunday afternoons anyway.  Actually getting it was an entirely different ordeal.  There were multiple offers, but in the end, our offer got us this pretty piece of real estate.

House Front Best Pic
Front of the house, coming in the driveway

 

We were thinking of going smaller since we currently live in a 2,200 square foot house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  Reason being, the kids are moving out one by one and our youngest, who is 17 years old is the only one left at home.  So we really didn’t see the need for 4 bedrooms anymore.

Obviously, you can tell by the pictures, we didn’t get a smaller house, it is 3,300 square feet.  We did end up losing a bedroom but got an additional 2 half baths and an entire full finished basement.  We also went from a half-acre lot to 2.7 acres with woods…in the city!!  That’s crazy and amazing!  All that is missing is a lake!  Just kidding…kind of…I don’t think they’d let us dig that big of a “pond”, would they?

House Garage and Bushes.png
Side-loading garage with an extra parking pad off to the right.  That room next to the garage there has a door leading to a walk-in attic above the garage.  That will be nice to store holiday decorations and cushions for outdoor seating in the winter.

 

As you can tell, I am extremely excited!  I cannot wait to put our own touches and personal stamp on it by changing a few things over time but this place is truly a dream come true for us.  The finishes are builder grade type quality, but the bones and feel of the house are amazing and you couldn’t ask for a better location, land or layout – and that is what truly matters!

I’m sure over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting more pictures and writing about our “adventure” of trying to move all of our stuff that we’ve accumulated over the past decade.  Also, trying to move with our two dogs and all of our reptiles and snakes (bet you forgot about all those little guys didn’t you?).  I’ve moved quite a bit in my 44 years here on earth, so I am hoping it goes fairly smoothly but I’ve never had to move while dealing with a chronic illness or chronic pain.  Let me tell you, packing up all of our crap is already taking it’s toll.  So this should be interesting…stay tuned!  Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out…

Why I’m a Racist…

He speaks from the heart and speaks for me as well.
I find myself often open-mouthed in front of my laptop at the rude, hateful remarks made my a lot of people on the subject of racism.
Slavery wasn’t 400 years ago, it was 140 years ago…that’s great grandparents and their parents lifetime. Do you think that families’ thoughts, behaviors and beliefs just magically disappeared after a generation? Think again. It’s better than it was then…but not by much!

beyondtheglasswall

IMG_3037I am a white american male. I’m married to a beautiful blond-haired green-eyed woman and have two amazing blond-haired blue-eyed boys. I was a blond-haired blue-eyed child who grew up in suburban New Jersey in a solid family with a mother, a father, a brother and two dogs. I lived a life marked by opportunity and forgiveness; and while I may not have always had “much”, I have always had the benefit of the doubt. I was raised to treat everyone equally, regardless of race, or any other demographic for that matter. And while my town may have been predominantly white, I certainly didn’t grow up isolated from other races and cultures. But even with the upbringing and exposure I was blessed with, I’m probably still a racist. I don’t mean racist like a hate filled bigot who dehumanizes and devalues the lives of others based on skin color. I…

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Apologies, Excuses and Ramblings

So I am sitting here once again in front of my laptop with my coffee (also with my phone opened to Pokémon Go, only level 3 currently) beating myself up for not posting more regularly.  I know as a semi-well-rounded woman in her 40’s that I have every right to be pissed off at myself.  That is what makes it worse.  You know when you brow beat yourself knowing that you had way too high of expectations to begin with, that you shouldn’t be mad at yourself, but yet you’re kicking your own ass anyway?  Yeah, well this isn’t one of those times.

Then of course comes the excuses…I need quiet to be able to focus on writing (no, I really do)!  Quiet in my house is a joke!  Even if I’m home alone, my little darling Shih Tzu thinks that it his sole purpose in life to bark at anything that moves!  Then you have the flares…I have had so many flares lately, I should be fucking glowing bright red and sat along side the road!  I used to love summer but now I just dread it.  I live for spring and fall…those are the only two seasons that somewhat give me a break.  Sometimes winter if I don’t venture outside for weeks at a time – which I have done!

Bella & Bear

Going back to my Shih Tzu for a minute, he thinks he is this big furious bear (which he is appropriately named Bear) but the minute you light off a firework, you’d think he was going to have a heart attack!  He shivers and pants and won’t leave my side or my lap for anything!  If I do have to leave the house, I have to have one of the kids watch him so he doesn’t die while I’m gone.  He also freaks out if you have a certain ringtone or clip your nails or run the vacuum, but fireworks are really the only thing that makes him shake and pant.  So for the week leading up to the 4th of July and the week after, I am pretty busy holding a Shih Tzu like a baby – forget about writing!

We also have Bella our bulldog, but nothing gets to her except getting a bath.  She really doesn’t enjoy those at all!  And food, if there is food around, she will whine until you give her some.  It’s quite comical actually, that is until she’s been doing it for a half an hour.  She’s quite persistent!  Here’s a little video of her doing just that… Bella Being A Big Baby

Then of course, we have the kids who are always coming and going.  Between the two of us, John and I have 5 kids – all from previous relationships/marriages.  We are one boy shy of a Brady Bunch!  He has a daughter who is 24 and a son who is 19.  I have two daughters, 22 and 19 and a son who is 17.  The three youngest live at home with us full-time, so we have two 19-year-olds and a 17-year-old coming and going every day.  That’s enough to make your head spin, but I love it – most of the time!

TOP LEFT: Connor & Cameron (John & my sons)  MIDDLE LEFT: Courtney & Cameron (My youngest daughter & son)  BOTTOM LEFT: Becky & Courtney (My oldest & youngest daughter)  TOP RIGHT: Austin & Samantha (John’s son & her boyfriend)  BOTTOM RIGHT: Becky & Zack (My oldest daughter & her boyfriend)

So as you can see, even though I can’t work anymore…there is hardly a dull moment around here.  This isn’t even including the reptile collection that we have that require attention daily.  Yep, we have snakes and reptiles too!  I’ll have to post about them another time.  I am getting a bit drained from trying to get this out today – because I promised myself I would!  So, hopefully you can all forgive me and continue to hang out and look for more random posts from me.  Don’t forget to subscribe, follow, stalk me online, whatever you have to do – so when I kick myself in the butt again, you don’t miss it!

 

Breaking and Being Okay

Let’s be honest here, the truly worst part about having a chronic illness is how it can break you at times.  I mean it breaks you literally, physically, mentally and emotionally…totally breaks you.  The crazy thing about that is, you can go through so much day in and day out and be pretty okay, considering.  Somehow you manage to get through it all. 

Then one day, when caught off guard, a moment of flared up pain can unleash so much raw emotion and silent struggle that has been protected so carefully, that it literally takes your breath away and chokes you, forcing you to just lay there bawling, leaving a messy mixture of snot and tears running down your face, choking on air and pride while you curse yourself for allowing anyone to see that.  That is, if anyone did. 

And if someone did happen to witness your little breaking moment, even if they’re being super supportive and a shoulder to cry on, offering a roll of paper towels because you’re beyond tissues; you’re determined more than ever that you’re okay!  You’re fine!  You just had a moment of weakness and it’s passed.  You’ve just had a flare up and it’ll be okay…really.

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See, here’s another crazy thing about this… If someone wasn’t in the room when that raw emotion and silent struggle comes pouring out of you in a rare moment of weakness…you lay there, cursing yourself wishing someone was there!  Anyone, so maybe someone would understand just a little of how your chronic pain is affecting you or maybe they could just hold you for a little while you lay there and sob.  You know there’s really no possible way for them to understand, but it’d be nice to have a shoulder for a little while. 

But you also know that shoulder or no shoulder, you will pick yourself up, get that roll of paper towels and be okay another day because that’s what we do.  We have our moments where we have to let it out but once in awhile, it is really nice to know that others are there on the floor, on the bed, on the couch, with us because they understand and have been where we are.

If you ever need a virtual shoulder…you know where to find me!

I’m Going To Post Regularly…My Second Biggest Lie

Well it’s only been five months since my last post, not nine months like the time before that.  Hell, you would’ve thought I went on Maternity Leave or something!  Hopefully this decrease in time becomes a trend and the gap in between my posts continue to decrease. One can only hope, well hope and actually work toward this goal!

I can’t believe I left you guys on such a cliffhanger in my last post though… How horrible of me!  But instead of dwelling on that, Let’s Recap, where did I leave off in my world of limited spoons?  Oh yes, my MRI/uterine mass and John’s accident at the Christmas party!

First on the list…

While having an MRI done on my lumbar spine they discovered a “mass” on my uterus.  I was then promptly sent for a pap and vaginal exam and after that scheduled for an ultrasound/consult because they suspected uterine/cervical cancer.  After experiencing a cervical biopsy without any anesthesia at all (which I don’t recommend by the way), it turns out I don’t have uterine or cervical cancer, thank goodness!

They did however do an endometrial ablation because the lining of my uterus was abnormally thick.  This procedure aims to destroy the lining by using scalding hot water to burn the lining of your uterus and at the very least, makes it very thin if it’s abnormally thick like mine, sounds fun right?  Not really, but it isn’t as horrible as it sounds.  I was very grateful that I was under general anesthesia for this procedure however!

A few days of horrific cramping at home after and that is about it for recovery.  You do have to deal with the aftermath of attempting to destroy the lining of your uterus however, and it is not pretty!  Weeks, yes…I said weeks of a period-like state (I can’t really describe it here and you really wouldn’t want me to) and then you pray to whatever higher power you believe in that you don’t have to deal with Aunt Flow ever again.  Well, my higher power must think that I suck because I still get a friendly visit from my Aunt but she doesn’t stay as long and isn’t nearly so obnoxious anymore.  So maybe I only suck a little bit.

Next on the list…

John, my boyfriend, had collapsed at a Christmas party with no warning.  He had been drinking but was not heavily intoxicated. We were actually getting ready to call an Uber when he collapsed.  He actually collapsed twice.  As most men, it was because he was stubborn.  The first time he collapsed, he regained consciousness pretty quickly and wanted to stand up.  We all advised against it, but here’s where the stubbornness kicked in and he stood up anyway.  You guessed it, he went right back down, like a sack of potatoes actually.

Anyway, he ended up with bleeding in the subarachnoid space, which is the area between the brain and tissues that cover the brain, like a small aneurism.  That’s some pretty scary stuff and after two days and countless tests, they didn’t have any answers for us.  They didn’t know if the fall caused the bleeding, by hitting his head twice, which I highly doubt.  He was fine, talking one minute, paused, his eyes rolled in back of his head and down he went!

The good news is that if it was a small aneurism that caused him to lose consciousness and the bleeding, it didn’t leave any residual effects or damage that they could find; and they did 3 CT scans in 2 days.  So we were cautiously sent home with a very long list of instructions.

Since the original incident, he hasn’t had another episode and all the cardiologists and neurologists have released him to his full range of activities including driving.  They even did a series of sleep studies on him at home.  I didn’t know they could do that!  This, I guess is the difference between having insurance and not having insurance.

So yeah, I think that brings everything up to speed from where I left you poor guys hanging a long five months ago!!  Jesus, what is wrong with me!?  And not one of you lovely people left me a nasty message during that time.  Those who did send me a message were concerned about how John was doing and how I was, not one nasty message about why there were no recent posts.  You guys are the best really!  What did I do to deserve such amazing readers?…you’re really the best!

I can promise you I have been working on some new stuff for the blog – and no, it’s not just the boring “what is going on in my life” stuff.  So keep watching and I’m sure to be ranting and raving or singing praises about something soon!!


LATEST NEWS: My youngest daughter that started her first year of college at Indiana University in the fall is now home for the summer! YAY!