Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hell in a handbasket

This last month, I've faced a very ill husband, increased job duties, a hurricane, and most recently a vicious cold/sinus infection. How do I do it?

Well, I have a bad habit of the martyr syndrome. Drop everything; don't take any time for myself, gee, why am I getting depressed?

It's a classic setup for caregiver burnout ( I'm trying to be vigilant in preventing it, but Ron has no one but me. I have to prevent burnout because Ron has no one but me.

What am I doing?
  • I have a small, easy knitting project by the bed. I love the colors of the varegated yarn. I do one row every time I go to bed.
  • MP3 player. Right now I'm listening to "Blessed be the Name of the Lord" - I've also cranked a lot of Skillet too.
  • I'm working on a large knitting project for myself. The last time I did that was 1994. I take it everywhere. It's nearly done. It makes me happy.
  • I've been craving beef recently, not canned but fresh cooked beef. I bought a pound of stew meat. I'll cook it in the crock-pot tonight and have delicious simmered beef. Ron can't eat it, it'll probably depress him somewhat, but I need to eat nourishing foods. I won't feel sorry for it, either.
  • I have the weekend off, I'm doing things I love, not things "I have to do".
  • Don't feel responsible for Ron's moods/conditions. He's sick. It's awful. I let him vent and tell him I wish I could help, but I don't allow myself to feel responsible.
  • Talk to family and friends. If I try to do the Atlas thing and carry all this on my own, I will drop it in a spectacular and unforgettable manner.
  • Take my medication faithfully, along with vitamins and supplements as needed.
  • Try to rest every day if possible - nap.

So, when things are going to hell in a handbasket, don't be suprised to find me eating peanuts, watching a zombie movie, and knitting. It's the best thing I can do!


One of the things I'm doing is listening to music. Specifically,Skillet. I have "Comatose" on repeat right now.

Here are the lyrics:
I hate feeling like this
I'm so tired of trying to fight this
I'm asleep and all I dream of
Is waking to You
Tell me that You will listen
You're touch is what i'm missing
And the more I hide I realize I'm slowly losing You
ComatoseI'll never wake up without an overdose of You
I don't wanna live,
I dont wanna breathe
'Les I feel you next to me
You take the pain I feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
I don't wanna sleep,
I don't wanna dream
'Cause my dreams don't comfort me
The way You make me feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
I hate living without You
Dead wrong to ever doubt You
But my demons lay in waiting
Tempting me away
Oh how I adore YouOh how I thirst for You
Oh how I need You
I'll never wake up without an overdose of You
I don't wanna live, I dont wanna breathe
'Les I feel You next to me
You take the pain I feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
I don't wanna sleep,
I don't wanna dream
'Cause my dreams don't comfort me
The way you make me feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
Breathing life
Waking up
My eyes open up
I'll never wake up without an overdose of You
I don't wanna live,
I dont wanna breathe
'Les I feel You next to me
You take the pain I feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
I don't wanna sleep, I don't wanna dream
'Cause my dreams don't comfort me
The way You make me feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
Oh how I adore You
Waking up to You never felt so real
Oh how I thirst for You
Waking up to You never felt so real
Oh how I adore You
The way You make me feel
Waking up to You never felt so real

Saturday, September 20, 2008

POD envy

I wondered what I'd write about after going through a big, bad, category 2 hurricane. Not much to say about the storm, really. Big gusts of wind, rain, no flooding thank you Jesus, all done. Wait for utilities and transportation to come back online.

Since I have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I can't drive. I'm incapable of processing the infomation I'd need to drive safely, so I don't drive. My husband is blind, he can't drive. We depend on public transportation.

Normally, I'm fine with that. I meet fascinating people, see interesting sights, and get plenty of motivation to stick to my low-carb diet. So far I've lost just under 46 pounds. That's a lot of lard!

I don't usually see myself as limited or disabled in any way. I've got a good life and I enjoy it. I can provide my husband with the care he needs, help him run his business, and take care of my adorable 2 cats.

However, after the storm. No paratransit service unless you were a dialysis patient, which I'm not, thank you Jesus.

FEMA came along and set up PODS (points of distribution) all over Houston. All you had to do was hop in your car, drive to the location, and they'd give you a case of MRE's, a case of bottled water, and a bag or two of ice. Very nice. If you can drive.

Everytime I'd see those centers on TV, I'd be overcome with a bitter sense of resentment. Why me? Why can't I drive? Why do I have to go and spend a hundred dollars on food that other people are getting for free? I had to bust my butt to go to Walmart, buy the food, bring it home, and make sure the codes are OK to eat.

[I'm going to digress for a moment and mention that eating my low-carb canned foods that I selected and purchased, I lost 4 pounds after the hurricane.] That's worth some money right there.

I saw some MRE's at work. To be honest, they were loaded with carbohydrate. That might be fine for Ron, but I need low-carb foods to function. Would I even want an MRE if someone gave it to me? Probably not, I'd rather get a case of Turkey Spam (another post).

I was smart enough to prepare so I didn't need to go to a POD. I have been disappointed the last few days, very few people have the supplies to go even a week, much less two, without electricity. Today I had a driver ask me if I thought he could get food stamps because he has no food at home. The only other prepared person I know in Houston is my aunt. She's got food.

So, I've still got a mild case of POD envy. But I'm sitting in a remarkably undamaged house, surrounded by other homes that didn't fare as well. I didn't lose anything except some leftovers I had in the fridge. I even SAVED money because I coudln't spend my pay for almost a week after I got paid.

I guess you can say POD envy is the only illness I picked up after the storm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane kit product reviews

OK, I'm back up and running now. I've got running water (and a boil order, but at least I can bathe), electricity (cold food! laundry!), phone and internet.

As I disgustedly tossed out a few items, I thought "Other people should know these items SUCK". Other items were quite useful and bear mentioning

The good
1. RCA Pearl MP3 player. Excellent tunes for the worst of the storm, AND an excellent FM reciever. As I discarded 2 radios that either got lousy reception, or ate batteries for breakfast, I was consistently impressed with the excellent quality of my MP3 player.
2. Rayovac Heavy Duty and Alkaline brand batteries. They lasted forever and were well worth the money spent. I was very impressed with their performance in my LED lantern, I didn't have to change the batteries for 4 days.
3. Discovery brand 1 led lantern. It cost less than $10 at the camping store. It runs on 4 D cell batteries and it was very efficient. I was able to knit by its' light when it was pitch black outside.
4. Dynamo wind up lantern and 2 flashlights. I got these years ago and they performed quite well. It was very handy to use them, just pick it up, wind, and turn it on. Since they run on "elbow grease" I didn't have to worry about using up my batteries. By the time a few days had passed, I was preferentially using these to my battery operated models.
5. Frozen 2 liter bottles of tap water. These worked great! They were still icy 1 day after all my ice cubes melted. Easy and virtually free. Save some empty 2 liter bottles, fill with water, and freeze.
6. Contractor garbage bags. I could have used them in many ways. I had a cracked 5 gallon bucket, for instance. I was able to use a contractor bag to line it, saving 5 gallons of water. Also very handy for debris pickup.
7. Bleach. I need this to sanitize my water, which is not drinkable. I am using it to make a sanitizer bath for the dishes after I wash them. If we'd had flood damage, I'd use it to mop.
8. Extra cat food. Boy, I'd have been screwed if I'd forgotten. It was nice to look at the empty food bowl this morning and know I had plenty more.
9. Ice chest - Rubbermaid, excellent. Kept everything frosty. It has a retractable handle and two wheels. Easy to use and does the job well. I am happy I spent $30 or so on it, it paid off.

The Ugly
It's not the fault of the items, but I just didn't like them.
1. Pretty much any small, battery operated radio (save the one in my MP3 player). They were a huge hassle and ate up batteries at an alarming rate.
2. Dorcy 4 D lamp. It blinded me when I'd turn it on and I could never get the light to fall where I needed it. They ate batteries about twice as fast as my LED lamp. I'm not throwing them out but I'm never buying another one and I don't reccomend them.
3. Battery operated TV. Oh, this was the most annoying. It didn't tune properly. It ate batteries at an alarming rate. Even the FM tuner was lousy. Save your money; or better yet, put it towards an RCA Pearl MP3 player. It has a great tuner.
4. Foam ice chest. Leaked water all over my floor. AGGGH.

I'm Buying These:
1. Plastic egg case for "camping". My paper egg crates began collapsing from the melting ice. Very messy. I am getting some of these egg things. I saw them but I didn't see why they'd be useful. Now, I know.

2. Plastic sheeting. If we'd had roof damage, I'd want this.

That's it for now! I'll do some food reviews later, too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunker Down

I am getting so sick of this phrase.

"We're all hunkered down now." Poor Ed Emmet. He had no idea the monster he was creating when he first used the phrase a few days ago.

Big gusts now and then. We've lost power once, came back on almost instantly. I lost internet once but it came back in a minute or two.

I'm thirsty and figuring out what to drink. I think I'll get into my disaster kit sodas and have a diet decaf.

Rock you like a Hurricane

It's overcast and the wind is picking up. 12 hours before landfall.

I cleaned out the tub and filled all my empty pop bottles with water. I stuffed as many as possible in the fridge. I'm in the process of cooking up the raw meat and freezing it. Ron asked me to wait on the chicken until later.

I've got 30 gallons, plus 5, plus probably 5 more bottled, plus the whole bathtub. I think we're good in the water department. Oh, yeah, and my 5 gallon mopping the floor bucket is going for "toilet flush" water. Just in case. We did call our utility district and their pumps run on electricity, no backups. Ack.

My hands are shaking, but I'm taking my pills. God knows I have plenty of them! I'm going to try to take a nap.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something bad WILL happen

That's my motto: Something bad will happen. You can search my blog for "Disaster Kit" entries. Suffice to say, I have a fairly extensive disaster kit, especially given my budget. It's a nice feeling to have when a hurricane's about to make a direct hit on your city.

Ron and I each have a small, battery operated fan. I actually have two. We've got our music players and extra batteries. A battery operated TV. I've got flashlights and battery operated lanterns. Batteries to power all of the above and then some. Hand crank radios and flashlights. Small battery operated radios.

Food: I've got loads of canned food, easily enough for a month. Lidded, 5-gallon buckets for storing water. Ron's got plenty of shakes because I always assume a hurricane's headed our way. I told him on Tuesday, "Assume this will get us, what do you need?" and we went and got it. Plenty of shakes. I needed more pills so we got them.

My computer's playing a steel drum version of "Peanut Vendor". Now it's segued into "Strong Tower"by Kutless. Excellent.

Food, water, medication. Cat food. Did I mention running out to buy cat food even though I had a migraine? Well, I did, and when I went to Walmart I bought more num-nums (canned cat food).

I'm glad I invested all my time and energy into my disaster kit.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Goal 1 - Walmart size 12; 9-6-08

I'm in shock today.

Let me explain. Today was a fairly normal day. Get up, go to work. Worked hard. Went to Walmart, something I never do on a Saturday but Ron needed more shakes. The only palatable foods to him are Atkins Shakes, Strawberry and Dark Chocolate flavors.

He wanted to look at boom boxes. We did. Then I got his shakes and we checked out.

Now it's my turn. I noticed the waistband of my size 14's was getting fairly baggy, and the back pocket turns itself inside out when I take my work keys out. Time to at least try on a pair of 12's. I figured, maybe they won't fit.

I did not expect them to fit in a way where I could wear them in public. I didn't.

The first pair performed as expected. I developed a disgusting "muffin top" of fat pushed over the waistband. YUCK. Discard pile.

Then I tried on the bootcut. Oh. My. They fit like a dream. They have a little bit of stretch, in addition to the 98% cotton. I hate synthetic fibers. Anyway, the wash was cute, I even liked the embroidery on the back pockets.

I bought them, of course. Since I'm in a Walmart 12 now it begged the question of what about the other 30 pounds I have to lose? I'm going to go down more sizes. The bermuda shjorts were on clearance. I love these shorts. So, I bought myself a pair of the 10's and the 8's.

I haven't been an 8 since high school. And I'm seriously considering buying a 6 maybe if they have any left the next time I go back?

Wow. This is a huge reality adjustment. I never thought I'd be wearing a size 12 at 185 pounds. Much less that I'd be wearing one less than 6 months after starting Atkins, and taking 3 medications that cause weight gain. I'm still in shock.


Friday, September 5, 2008

What do I want for my birthday?

It's a good question. This is probably one of the only years in my life where I've been properly medicated. I can't think of much.

Here're a few random ideas:
  • Purple 100% cotton tops (no polos, please) in 14-10 size range.
  • Long, 100% cotton nightgowns with short sleeves or sleeveless, in 12-14 size range. I'm not a PJ gal.
  • Gift card for so I can buy tunes (like $10 or so).
  • Rose or Jasmine-y Bubble bath
  • Can't think of anything else except maybe Walmart card for $20 or so - I could use it to buy jeans as I drop sizes.

That's it!

185.5 - Popeye's

I lost another pound! It's great to see that I can still lose weight while under a lot of stress.

Ron still says all his food tastes terrible. He can, at least, drink some of the Atkins Shakes. He says the dark chocolate and strawberry flavors are "good". That's HUGE for him. Everything else tastes so horrible he can barely gag down a bite or two.

Yesterday I realized - yet again - how horribly this antibiotic has affected him. He could barely pull his cart, much less load it (so I loaded and pulled the cart). He seems 20 years older. It's scary for me, I had hoped he'd be more vigorous by now. He's so weak. We can't even walk as fast as we used to. He can only move pretty slowly, gripping my elbow as I support him.

But I tell myself it's a matter of time. I'm still going to love him, no matter what. Heck, he came back from the dead for me! When he died at the scene of the accident, God showed him a scene that happened 2.5 years later. I was sitting in an examining room and my doctor was telling me I had to be put in a mental hospital because I was depressed. I was begging her not to do it. Ron said it made him very angry and he was yelling "She's not that bad! Leave her alone!" God told him, "This will happen to Heather. Do you want to stay here or go back (to living)?"

Ron elected to return. How can I show him any less love and devotion? Oh, and the doctor didn't hospitalize me. I was diagnosed, that day, with the bipolar disorder. I got an awesome doctor and the medication I need to have a good life and marriage. Ron takes care of me. I never worry about the utilities, my cell phone, or the mortgage payment. He's a wonderful boss - the best I've ever had, and a fantastic husband. He's a good father to the cats.

I'm going to be there for him. He's debilitated, but he's not beaten. Neither am I.

We're planning his celebration meal for when he can taste his food properly again. He wants to go to Popeyes and get their beans and rice. You got it, hun. I even told him I'll go anytime, in a taxi, if he'd like.

It's the least I can do.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Newest Downloads

I bought Ron "Still the One" by Orleans and downloaded it to his MP3 player. It's kind of our song.

These aren't in order, just the order they went to my MP3 player:
1. "Whiskey You're the Devil" - Clancy Brothers - great song for someone with FAS
2. "Wherever we Go" - Newsboys (Christian)
3. "Praise you in this storm" - Casting Crowns - also Christian
4. "Newsboys Mega Mix" - Christian
5. "Savior" - Skillet (Christian Metal)
6. "Never Alone" - Barlow Girl
7. "Paradise City" - Gun's N Roses - not Christian
8. "Strong Tower" - Kutless - Christian
9. "Cheri Desis Potpourri Congo" - by Spirit of the Serengeti - lots of happy native music
10. "Ainda Que" - Afro - cool steel drum percussion and flute
11. "Sofa" by Spirit of the Serengeti - lots of cool percussion, singing, flute.

That's it for today!

Make it a good one.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Heather Cleans

I'm about to start picking up around the house. I thought it might be fun to share as I go along.

11:02 - began hunt for large plastic garbage bags.
11:03 - not under sink. Lint rolled some white cat hair on black sofa
11:04 - found contractor bags by back sliding glass door.
11:05-11:13 - updated blog, emptied trash can by my chair, found lunch-box cooler by my chair - returned to top of fridge, replaced cold packs in freezer. Collected several empty aluminum cans, placed into recycling bag.
11:14 - found 5 more cans in computer room, placed into "can bag".
11:15-18 - Found dirty dish under couch, put in sink. Picked up several empty Walmart bags and placed in "bag-bag" inside pantry. Discovered "Bathroom Cleaner"/Roach killer under couch. Returned to bathroom. Began to lint-roll cat hair off of couch.
11:19 - updated blog
11:20-11:24 - Lint-rolled white cat hair off black couch. Used 14 sheets. Returned lint-roller to "home" in organizer pocket. Took lunch out of freezer to thaw. Thirsty, got soda.
11:25 - updated blog
11:26-11:31 - Discovered bag of mail on floor. Sorted and placed "Ron's mail" in ever-growing tote bag.
11:32 - updated blog.
11:33 - 11:39 - Husband woke up. Discussed possibility of shaving cat.
11:40-11:49 - continued talking to husband while sweeping front entryway and kitchen.
11:50-11:58 - picked up 6 "cat plates" off floor (disposable plates I use for feeding wet food), swept the remaining tiled areas (hall, dining area). Cleaned off dusty soles of feet.
11:59-12:06 - Identified song for husband, chatted with husband, hunted up Pinalen cleanser (behind bathroom trash can) and mop (located in bedroom closet).
12:07 - 12:38- - Cooked and ate lunch. 7 strips of crispy bacon, 2 ounces cream cheese, salad. Ate while watching "The Closer".
12:39- 12:52 - Mopped tile floors. White cat came home, saw mop in action, fled in terror.

That's it for today.

About my day

I woke up with a headache.  Agh.  I was worried it might morph into a migraine, but the Excedrin killed it.  Good thing, because I forgot to...