Friday, November 28, 2014

Take off your glasses!

I dated a few boys before I met Ron.  I "liked" another boy at church. 

Their mothers all said the same thing, I "Had a cute figure" - "cute" being synonymous with "flat", I suppose.  Little did they know I'd end up here. 

So, we'd go on a date.  The first date I recall - a trip to the ice cream parlor about a mile from my home.  We walked from my house. 

John (the boy I was dating, he was far more into me than I was him), wanted to get a shake, or a malt.  With two straws, for me and my girl.  So far, so good. 

We each loaded up a straw and started working on the beverage.  He gazed at me adoringly as I squirmed awkwardly (I was about 12). 

"Heather" he sighed.  "Take off your glasses.  I want to see your eyes!" 

They're the same eyes, I thought.  I was also worried because I knew my eyeglasses were very expensive.  John reached for them.  I stopped him and took the glasses off, terrified I would break them. 

My Dad had always told me "Never take them off unless you are bathing or sleeping."  I positioned the glasses as safely as I could, away from both John and the edge of the table.  He stared at me adoringly. 

"Oh, that's so much better.  I can see you now!"  I felt so awkward.  Me, without glasses, isn't me. 

If I ever date again, I would not let a man do that.  Either you understand I am my glasses, or you move on.  

It wasn't just John.  Years later, manic, I began dating a guy with serious rage issues.  He was an angry schitzophrenic.  I didn't know any of that at the time, but sure enough, he wanted me to take my glasses off every minute we spent together. 

When I found out about his rage issues, I begged God to help me get out of this.  As you may know, a stalker at my Dad's workplace nearly cost him his life.  I was terrified of stalkers. 

I knew the guy smoked.  He had been wanting me to hang out in the smoking area with him, and to begin smoking. 

"Get judgemental about the smoking" God let me know "He'll dump you".  I did and he did. 

Whew. 

Then of course I met Ron.  He could care less about my glasses.  He was clever, though. 

I don't know if your local mall has the little photo booth.  My local mall did.  So, on one of our first dates, Ron and I went to the mall. 

"I want a picture of you" Ron said endearingly.  "I want to carry it in my wallet"  OK.  We took photos.  (The small, terrible quality photo in my slide show - that's it).  He took them home. 

Then he called his friends and asked them to come over.  How did she look?  Was she cute? 

They told him I was "cute" - there's that word again.  He called me, pleased, and told me I had passed inspection. 

Really!  A blind guy worried his girlfriend might be a dog?  But Ron is very charming when he puts his mind to it. 

Ron, of course, looked a lot like a terror suspect.  I didn't care.  Looks have never been important to me, as long as he's clean and his hair brushed. 

I groom myself, keep myself presentable, but you'll never catch me primping.  I brush my hair, brush my teeth, shower, hair tie, and that's it. 

When I got my new glasses, everyone said they were "cute".  I agree. They are much better on my face. 

Happily, I only have to take them off when I shower, or sleep. 

Both

Well, I had a nice average mood for a day or so.  That was nice.

I wouldn't wish my illness on anyone, not even the guy who ran over Ron.

I slept reasonably late last night.  #8 had a party, some music, but not super loud.  I could sleep even without the earplugs.

I hope to practice wearing the earplugs, when I don't need them, so they are familiar and comfortable when I do need them.  That's the theory at least.  They are fantastic at noise blocking (about 40 dB).  I took them out last night and heard some bass - I didn't think they would work that well.

I just hope to get used to them.  Right now the earplugs feel "funny" and "invasive".  Isn't it nice to read about me actually addressing the problem, rather than ranting about the neighbors?

I did my God Time and headed off to work.  Or so I hoped.  The guy who picked us up scares me.

He reminded me a lot of this guy , the one who almost broke my legs back in June.  Thank God, He still has His hand on me.

Today's guy just makes me really uncomfortable because I worry about his cognitive.  He is very old.  He has been driving a long time.  So what?

Years ago he was in an accident, and as part of it had various head scans.  "They told me I had a stroke a while back" he informed me.  I wonder if the company knows.  He also has a severe tremor in his hands, which I find concerning.  He repeats himself, asking questions, and kept trying to tell me we have "always" taken a different route to work.

When we got Ron loaded today, he shoved the chair at me and told me to "take it back in the house".  I told him, Ron needs this.  We have to take it.  "No he doesn't." and tried to argue with me.  "He can only walk 3 feet without the chair" I told him "How is he going to work?" 

Then he refused to tie it down until I insisted, and told him a new wheelchair would cost him over $500.  

We take the Beltway to JFK.  Always.  When I told him that he said "Oh, a new shortcut!  You don't go the old way anymore?"  I was really alarmed.  We have always traveled that route.  God only knows what he considered "the old way".

I should have had him take Aldine Bender - my go-to when I am deeply concerned about the driver's ability. 

Like I said, the last time I had a guy like this I considered calling the company.  I didn't and he had a wreck.  Do I call?

I'm going to think about it for a while.  I don't intend to file a formal complaint, but I would like to suggest safety follow him for a few days.

If he's doing OK, no harm.  If he's as bad as he seemed, they will catch him and take him off the road.

But I don't want to get him fired.

[sigh]

So, we got to work, very late (the guy was an hour late picking us up).  I stocked snacks, wiping out the last of my inventory.  Ron worked on drinks.

Due to a few mistakes, some machines were very full and needed minimal stocking.

Once I finished the stocking, I helped Ron.  I mailed the school tax (about $300), and a personal thing.  I helped various customers.

I put out several small Christmas trees on top of the vending machines, and took down my fall stuff.  I didn't have time to do up Ron's wheelchair but I hope to do that tomorrow.

We did inventories.  Mine was easy: I need everything.  Ron needs 10 cases of drinks.  I will be VERY busy tomorrow.

You know how some couples have "Our song"?

Well, our business has a song.






I'm the "brawn" of course.  :P

Of course, we don't care about money.  We live very simply and just want to a roof over our heads and a quiet place to sleep.

If God blesses us, we'll use it wisely and do what we can to bless others.

So.  Tomorrow will be truck day.   That entailed clearing off the two handcarts loaded with soda, from our last shopping trip.  I'll remind you here I have 34 square feet of floor space, in my stockroom.  If it can't fit along the wall or on the 2 racks, it has to go on the handcarts.

I managed to get it all stowed.   "There goes the pumpkin pie!" I cheerfully informed a customer, as I labored.  "I just burned it off!"

He just grinned.  They're used to me.

I also wore my santa hat.  People seemed to like it.

It's hard enough working during the holidays - they have a very high pressure job.  They need some fun.  Really delicious, affordable, treats, and fun.  I aim to provide both.  

A lot about hormones

Well.  Interesting today. 

As you know, I decided since the majority of my headaches were hormonal, I would take a hormonal approach.  I increased my intake of soy foods and began taking some phytoestrogens (plant estrogens).  They work as an estrogen, with far fewer side effects. 

Traditional estrogen is made from the urine of caged, pregnant, horses.  That's not something I want to endorse, even if I felt such a product would be beneficial. 

Traditional estrogens have plenty of health concerns, phytoestrogens do not. 

At any rate, for as long as I can remember, I have had horrific headaches all week, leading up to the day of my cycle.  The day my cycle starts I got an even worse migraine, if possible.  Hideous. 

This has been going on for years, at least as long as the hot flashes, etc.  I have blamed all of this on "medication".  However, I'm concluding it might be hormonal after all. 

"Hormones" - seems like such a cop-out, something a weak woman would use to explain emotional behavior.  Or, as I saw more than once, an excuse a woman might use to get the day off.   "I have terrible cramps, I have to go home" - and the male boss, alarmed, consents. 

They'd always crow about it the next day as I viewed them with internal disgust.  I always thought "using" your uterus like that was a cheap and manipulative shot. 

As you know, I have heavy cycles, but I make that work anyway.  I thought it was funny recently when the other blind vendor accidentally wandered into our area and nearly opened my tampon container!  We would have had a good laugh, as I offered him one. 

As it was, when he asked, I said "Girl things" in an ominous tone.  He dropped it like it bit him and scampered away!  

Anyway, I thought, I clearly have some hormonal components.  When my estrogen is lowest (the week before, and especially the day of cycle), I have horrible headaches.  Why not try to build that up with some plant estrogens? 

It would either work, or not.  The extracts come from a yam, and a bean.  Pretty darned safe.  I would get some benefit just from eating certain foods I liked anyway.  If it worked.  

I began my campaign this week.  I got this, and this.  I take one capsule of each, every morning.  I got soy milk, and soy flour for baking (haven't done the baking yet but the soy milk is pretty good).  I'm eating more of my soy nut butter (fake peanut butter - real peanuts are a migraine trigger and a possible allergen). 

Results?  No headaches, not even today (when I started my cycle!).  Impressive!  Even better, while I still have hot flashes they seem to be more subdued.  Considering many remedies take months to work, I'm truly impressed with the results I got in just a few days. 

I'm glad I went this route. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Weapon

Well, I had a good day. 

Ron stayed home, I went.  I had a lot of fun and took my evening meds with dinner. 

They hit me pretty hard (the meds, not the family!) about 15 minutes later.  This was the general dizzy sensation.  At least I could still think. 

My uncle was a little worried, but I told him it's just the price tag and I really am OK with it.  I am.  I have to be. 

I have a horrible illness that wants me dead.  I have one weapon: medication.  I'd damned well better use it. 

Every Day

Today we all, like, have to do the Thanksgiving post. 

Well, I try to be thankful every day.  I'm trying, when I wake up, to just lie in bed thanking God for various things.  Not just my house but all the working systems in my house.  All the cats I've known. The good times with Ron, and how the bad times make me stronger. 

My illness, and the empathy I hope it has given me.  God choosing to use me for Bible Handouts - because anyone can do it. 

Every day, not just one. 

My life...

M., happy to do it.  I also put up a FB request (and will continue every week or so) for "a friend" with your circumstances. 

I think I made a good call yesterday.  Ron and I got up very early and went to Walmart.  While there, I thought about the probable holiday racket I might encounter the next month or so. 

I saw a pair of corkscrew earplugs.  They cost about $2.50, I think.  What the heck, I thought.  Why not? 

I have discovered the silicone ones fall out and get stuck in my hair, with some real pain on removal.  The foam ones pop out, sometimes. 

Yes, I follow the directions. 

So, I got it.  Then, actually.  I got 2 pair in the package.  I also bought some lights for Ron's wheelchair (Christmas, white and colored), and plenty of batteries to run the works. 

We came home, did the Bible Handout, came home.  Ron had been in a pretty awful mood all day, running everything down, moping, negativity, etc. 

It's funny, because I consider that "not bad".  "Bad" is active attacks on me, verbal abuse, yelling. 

Sad. 

I know Ron has depression.  Who wouldn't?  I also know Ron would be helped tremendously by some antidepressants, maybe an SSRI, maybe something else.  They'd be cheap and oh so worth it.  But he refuses to consider medication.  His answer was taking a single Wellbutrin one day, saying "It didn't work" and then concluding no antidepressant would help. 

I know I did a bad, doing that.  I was desperate.  I did tell Doc. 

I also think his drinking would be helped by the addition of an antidepressant.  Once his chemicals start righting, I venture, I hope, he would find more joy in life, and not in a bottle.  Work on building up his faith and his marriage, in that order. 

Right now the bottle is the only thing that makes him happy.  That, and eating. 

So, yesterday, we went out to eat.  For once, I was not queasy.  I didn't have a headache, either. 

So I had a pulled pork, which had a nice amount of nicely smoked meat.  It was very tender and good.  I'd get it again. 

Ron got his usual, a huge brisket plate with double cucumber salad.  He adores cucumber salad, the only vegetable item he consumes. 

We had a rather long wait on our ride, but we made it home. 

I went to bed pretty early, because I wanted to sleep in and get as much sleep as I could while I could.  We are getting into make it or break it season, and I don't think I'll have a lot of leisurely sleep ins, the next month. 

Ron was playing his talking book very loudly.  I asked him to turn it down, and he did. 

However, my music-on-the-weekend neighbor, I think the one who goes to work at 3:30 AM, was playing some music.  It wasn't super loud but it was noticeable. 

I felt a little bad about #6 and the new baby, but then I remembered their usual parties. 

On my part, I'm a very quiet neighbor.  We were the ones with a sloppy yard, but we have a yard guy now.  I stay on my side of the fence.  I very seldom even access the side of my house on the zero property line. 

When the ride comes in the morning, sometimes the drivers (who all seem to be moderately hearing impaired) have the dispatch radios up at a pretty high volume.  When they do that, I ask them to turn it down so we don't disturb #6. 

The Bible says to do good, to those who offend you.  So, I do what I can, when I can, and do my best to make sure I'm the kind of neighbor I would want. 

Even if it's the night after one of their parties.  Especially then. 

So, I just put in the earplugs.  One, people are entitled to a life and music is a part of that.  As long as it's not shaking my walls, or one of those godforsaken mexican polkas, I'm OK with a little background.  Two, I couldn't exactly call the police on them.  It wasn't that loud.  Three, sometimes I have trouble sleeping even when it's quiet.  Four, I could sleep in today. 

The earplugs worked great.  I slept for a while, and when I woke up the noise was gone.  I took out the earplugs (which are an adjustment process) and went back to bed.  I never did get a cat in the bed but slept pretty well anyway. 

When I woke up, Ron was playing loud music on headphones while he slept.  I was about done sleeping anyway. 

I have applied to join a stroke caregiver support group.  Sometimes I need someone else to say "He's not really being an @sshole, it's just the stroke."  Or say, yeah, he's being rude.  Someone who does understand. 

We'll see. 

I reminded myself he has a lot of issues right now.  Ron's a lot like a baby in that I don't want to wake hm up, ever.  I only do that if I have just baked something he likes.  Like I said, eating. 

Eggshells.  Not as bad as it has been in the past, but one day I think I'll look back and go "My life really sucked". 

I got up, shower, God Time.  I thought about making something for Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's, but ran out of energy.  I'll pick up the front room and clean the toilet, instead. 

I'll let you know how it went.  It should be fun. 

Ron wants to mope.  Well, I can't stop him.  Whoever shows up to give me a ride can try to cajole him, if they want.  If he wants to come I'll take care of him. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another Handout

I think the seminal moment of today's handout would be me, "chasing" the "Big, Scary, Black man" around the median, laughing as I brandished a couple of Bibles at him. He slowed down, I went over, and he pulled off slowly. I began to jog next to him, digging in my bag for some Bibles. He started laughing, and went around the turnaround. So did I, also laughing. "I'm gonna catch you!"
He "let" me catch him and took a couple New Testaments.

I couldn't work my usual spot today. Ron and I encountered several people, also clad in orange safety vests, panhandling "for charity" on every median at the intersection.

[Bad Word]

I scratched my head for a minute and looked in both directions. South wasn't good. So I went north, about half a block, and found myself at the median turnaround point.

I "could" have worked my usual spot, but I didn't want the panhandlers shoving their buckets at the recipients. I also noticed any bills were going straight into pockets. I knew I'd have a lot of grief and I aim to do my job without drama, if possible.

As it turned out, it worked great. The cars could see the panhandlers a mile off (they were not homeless, but hired by the "charity" to beg), so they didn't stop at the light. Instead, they all stopped right next to me.

Plus I had all the turnaround traffic, which accounted for quite a few Bibles.

First I had a family, father and kids, 5 total. They had to wait a minute to get over (they were walking) but they did and I gave them each a Bible.

I had another young man, who took a whole Bible, but liked the New Testaments so much he asked if he could get some "to pass out tomorrow, to my family" - I told him absolutely. He walked off with 8 total.

I had a lot of singles, and a few doubles. At one point I smelled marijuana very strongly.

The people didn't know what to make of me. Some people were outright glaring, but I mainly got a lot of befuddlement and a tremendous amount of double-takes. One white guy almost drove off the road, he kept turning his head and gaping at us as he drove off.

I secretly hoped he'd come back, but he didn't.

I had plenty of young guys walk by, come over, and grab a Bible. They seemed to really appreciate my efforts.

One guy came up and brought me drinks. This happens frequently, in that "horrible bad neighborhood". I was able to give him a couple of New Testaments.  Four Gatorades.  Those aren't cheap at gas station prices! 

I had a Spanish father come by and get Bibles for his family, and some guys in cars.

Ron found it funny - I'd ask "English or Spanish?" and one guy told me "English!" adamantly - but he was Latino. "I don't care what they take" I told Ron "As long as they read it."

I let everyone know I was praying for them, and they were happy to hear it.

I was observed by some young men at an apartment complex, surrounded in an iron fence and barbed wire. They had no trouble climbing it, though.

I've been working the neighborhood for a little over 2 years now, they know me pretty well. I'm harmless.

I had a couple I think came back, and like I said, plenty of people who stopped going the wrong way to get a Bible.

One guy held up a couple of fingers as he idled in the far right lane. As soon as I could, I bolted over and made his delivery.

All in all, a good handout. I had some contractors, black, who seemed very touched to find me working. I was and am delighted to give them Bibles. God sent me to everyone, not an elite group.

Well, they're MINE but that's all. Since they are "mine" I pray for them daily and minister to them no matter what.

Today I had an encounter - a driver was screaming at me about young black men. I told him 90% are murdered "by their own". He said if the black community terrorized enough people and did enough damage, society would "have to fix the problem".

I told him "Only God can fix this."

Which is why I hand out Bibles - they have the answer, to everything.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The wince

Long term readers know I occasionally become upset by "the man who ran over my husband" - henceforth I will call him The Maimer, 'cause he put Ron in a wheelchair. 

Work is hiring.  They have been conducting a lot of interviews lately.  They bring the applicants in the front door and sit them in the hall (step one, I have no idea what happens afterward).  They ran out of chairs, so they took the chairs out of the front breakroom, tended by the other vendor. 

I won't be telling them that.  So, the "regulars" had nowhere to sit.  Every break area has it's regulars.  The Maimer is a regular in the front breakroom, usually. 

As I stocked, I reminded myself I'd see him; to anticipate it, so I could act instead of reacting. 

You can imagine how I feel, seeing him walk around ablebodied. 

It's ironic, because God enabled me to forgive the officer who stole Ron's money, falsified the accident report, lied about a witness, had Ron walking into the street backwards, and when I confronted him on that version of events - blamed me for the accident because Ron traveled alone, as he always did.  I had a lot of issues.

I'm still working on complete neutrality when I see The Maimer.  I have a long way to go.  But generally speaking, I am past the sobbing/wanting to mutilate him stage when I do see him.  Generally.

Generally I battle the impulse to shout at him and tell him he ruined our lives, I hope he's happy driving his nice new truck, etc.  Like I said, I'm working on it.

I reminded myself I would likely see him (especially, as it turns out, the custodians took advantage of the vacant room to wax the floor).  Sure enough, I did.

He carried a cup of our coffee as he left the area.  He paused, looking at Ron in his wheelchair.  Winced.  I turned my head because I was probably glaring at him, and I knew God didn't want that.  I heard him say Hi to Ron and Ron give a cheerful reply.

This is going to sound awful, and like I said I have a lot of work towards forgiveness.  But that wince at seeing Ron in the wheelchair did a lot for me, today.   

After the door closed, I told Ron, who shrugged it off.

"He didn't buy a snack?" Ron asked. 

"No" I replied.  "I was stocking and he knows I'm a little growly."