Monday, May 31, 2010

A Nasty Migraine

I had a nasty migraine today. Ugh.

First, though, I was awakened at 12:30 AM by the dreaded "proud meow" and terrified squeaking. I knew that was bad. Bubba had brought something in through the pet door.

I checked it out and determined that he'd brought a mouse into the bathroom. It stared up at me, pleading. Being the kind woman I am I locked the cat in the bathroom with him and ordered him to "Finish it".

I hunted around the house for a mouse trap, to no avail. I went back into the bedroom.

We have a gap under the bathroom door due to previous homeowner repairs. Tropical Storm Allison ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_Tropical_Storm_Allison_in_Texas ) caused some damage to our home (40 inches of rain in one night will do that), and the previous guy planed about 3/4 of an inch off the bottom of the door.

I heard the squeaking again, and saw the poor little thing dragging itself into my bedroom. I herded it into the open, away from the good hidey-holes. It looked up, pleadingly, with its little beady eyes. Squeak.

I got a 5-gallon bucket with a lid. I got a 9x11 inch piece of cardboard, and scooped up the mouse and put him in the bucket. I made sure I wouldn't get his/her tail and put the lid on. Then I unlocked the burglar bars and put him/her in the backyard. I left the cat door locked.

Bubba woke me up at 3 AM demanding to go out, I figured mousie had hidden by then, so I did.

I woke up again when my alarm went off. I did my shower, God time, and got ready. Ron wanted a trip to the other grocery store, to get pineapple. We did that but by the time I got home my head was killing me so I laid down.

UGH. Migraines.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thanks to Bible Gateway (http://www.biblegateway.com/) and the nice people at NIV.

Matthew 20
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard 1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' 5So they went.
"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'
7" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered. "He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'
8"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'
9"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'
13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'
16"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Ron and I were talking about this: God's talking about those of us who get saved (Thank you!) at various times in our lives. He was complaining that it didn't seem "fair" to him that the workers at the end of the day, got the same wage as the guys who got hired at sunrise.

"Why are you complaining?" I laughed, "I got hired at sunrise, YOU got hired at noon! You had decades more fun sinning!" He agreed.

Ron got saved at about age 30, I never asked him the date. I got saved at age 8. My mother got saved 2 weeks before she died.

I'm glad we're all getting a paycheck! Remember, if you're breathing it is NOT TOO LATE!

Green Chili Stew

Ron has proclaimed the Green Chili Stew delicious. I was too queasy to eat.

Crockpot Green Chili Stew with Pork Neckbones
1.5-2 pounds pork neckbones
1, 15 oz can, tomatoes with peppers - medium hot (mild is good for the mild types)
3 T chopped and seeded Poblano or other mild pepper (optional if not a spicy person)
1 t chopped garlic, or 1 clove
1/4 t chili powder
1/8 t ground oregano
1/8 t ground cumin

I used a 2 quart crockpot. Put in the garlic, add the meat. Pour in the tomatoes and then add the peppers and spices to the top. Cook at least 6 hours (this could go up to 12, it had so much liquid) on Low heat.

You will know it's done when the meat falls off the bone. Remove bones (duh!) before serving.

Ron quote "I could eat this every week. Please tell me we have more." He was delighted to hear it makes about 3 cups cooked.

This would be good over rice if you eat it, lots of delicious broth.

More Endless Fatigue - I want to leave a trail of Bibles everywhere I go

It's odd to complain about fatigue, I think, in the same breath as the word "Mania". I am. I'm manic, and utterly exhausted. The mania's well controlled, I can go hours by myself without talking to anyone, I'm listening to people, and I still have money left from this week's budget, AFTER the trip to Foodtown and Walmart.

Some of that goes to Ron: he bought me a Crock-pot today, and helped out with the purchase of Driver Candy. Our trips were an odd combination of hysterical pickups and excellent trips.

Our first ride, to Walmart, was over an hour late. He got a Bible, of course. I got Ron in the kiddie cart and off we went. I got, literally, ziplocks and the Crock-pot. Happily, it had been "Rollback"ed to $9 instead of the $11 they were asking. I'm cheap, and a clutterer. I am reluctant to add an appliance unless I'm certain I'll use it. Ron actually bought the toaster and the toaster oven. The only appliances I bought were the blender (when I was on a smoothie kick several years ago) and the Crock-pot.

I told Ron I needed to go to Walmart first; once I had the crock-pot in hand I would buy the slow-cooking meats. I've come to the conclusion, for me, it's an absolute necessity. Of course, since there's only 2 of us and a cat, the 2 quart works fine.

Ron prefers TV dinners; he praises my cooking and eats it on occasion, but prefers the simplicity of fixing his own TV dinner. He does eat the burritos regularly; I make them from scratch, wrap, and freeze them. He always has one thawing in the fridge and eats at least part of one every day. He has other frozen things I've cooked, but doesn't really eat them.

I had the Crock-pot. Yay. I had the ziplocks. Ron wanted the Banquet Chicken Fried Beef Steak Dinners. He tried one last night and loved it; it actually has a decent amount of nutrients. He also wanted "The Mexican", an "El Charrito Beef Enchilada" dinner, or two. We got them and went to checkout. Ron gave me his debit card; I told him I had "my" stuff up on the conveyor belt. He asked me how much it cost, I told him "About $10".

He told me to ring it all up together on the debit card. Yay! I got a bunless breakfast (egg, cheese, and bacon) and our ride arrived.

Ron had mentioned that perhaps we should take the bus to Foodtown. It wouldn't have been difficult. I understood he had been forced to cancel the Foodtown trip and we'd be taking the bus.

As I told a driver today "I want to leave a trail of Bibles and candy everywhere I go." He liked it and I did my best to live up to that. I like handing out things to other customers; one guy on the frozen dinner aisle was staring intently into the freezer case. He could hear Ron and I kidding around and I know he got a good look at Ron while I was reading off TV dinner titles.

I put Ron's stuff in the cart as the thanked me. Then God laid it on me to give this guy a Bible. He looked like a very angry, ignorant man. I always ask God to direct me, and "as ordered" I took out a certain Bible and put it into his cart. "I'd love to give you this!" I smiled and then left. He didn't throw it at me or yell, so I guess he'll keep it.

I handed out a bunch of stuff waiting in lines, to other customers. Handed out stuff to other passengers in the vehicles, and ALWAYS to the drivers.

We got home, a straight trip! Nice! I figured, like I said, that we would be taking the bus. Imagine my surprise, when, one cab in the driveway (our dropoff guy) another pulls up in the street! Surprise! Ron had FIXED the trips (Well, Metrolift did at Ron's request).

I put up the frozen in the freezer and off we went to Foodtown. I sat Ron down on "his" bench, "His" spot. I got my cart and candy and off I went. Veggies... not much that grabbed me. I do like the white pattypan squash so I got one, and I got some cucumbers because those are good anytime, and on sale.

I was primarily interested in the meat. I found a nice pot roast for about $5, purchased and insane quantity of cube steaks (I am a cube steak junkie and could happily eat one every night) for $9, and developed a massive craving for some pork neckbones.

Ron teases me because neckbones are considered food for poor, ignorant, country folk. When he tells the drivers I like neckbones, they always double-take. I found some great ones for $2. I snatched them like I was fighting for them and stuffed them in my cart.

I got the usual mind-boggling quantity of Diet Dr Pepper, a pastry for the driver, and a few miscellaneous things for Ron. His favorite part of the Foodtown outings - the bowl of fruit salad. As I put all my stuff on the conveyor belt, I saw the cab outside. EEek!

Amusingly, it was the guy who had dropped us off! I'd given him a Diet Dr Pepper, and he got to help load them all up! The pastry was a big hit, too. I can't imagine a life [grinning] where I'm not going around spoiling people rotten.

We came home and I eyeballed the food. I decided to make some green chili stew with the neckbones. If it's good, I'll post it. Ron's pretty excited and says it smells good.

I took a nap once I'd put up the food. Oh, I am so miserably queasy, dizzy, and tired right now. Just the thought of food is revolting.

I'm glad God is able to use me - He always gives me what I need when I'm out doing His work. I know it's Him, in me, that makes me strong.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Remember Heather?

Today was almost a cliche: Memorial Day, car wrecks. Ron and I are fine, [sniff] we ride with professional drivers. However, we saw several accidents, and one of them was bad enough that they had half of the freeway blocked, waiting on the helicopter, as the firemen feverishly worked to free some poor victim.

It wouldn't be a bad way to go, assuming I went fairly quickly. I just dread the thought of LINGERING. Of course, I would have dreaded the thought of marriage to someone with all Ron's physical issues. Just the thought of alcohol issues would have sent me into permanent celibacy. I would have dreaded the thought of going through my life with brain damage, always feeling like everyone else got the joke; but me. Watching other people get in their cars and drive somewhere, whenever they felt like it, while I had to wait on my bus (assuming it even RAN that day). Mental illness? Severe mental illness? The thought of that would have had me committing suicide. So, I know I'm a lot stronger than I think; I would just hate to have it TESTED like that.

Today had some pretty standard trips. Sam's Club, so I could get Driver Candy. Work, so we could stock all our new merchandise. Let's not forget the lunchtime outing Ron planned. One of my least-favorite restaraunts, it lives in my head under the dreaded NOT A GOOD VALUE heading. I would have rather gotten a couple of value burgers, had he asked. [shrug] One good thing about us having our issues, we're pretty good at compromise. I had a secret bag of peanuts because I don't find the meals very filling.

Anyway, it was late getting us to Sam's, and early picking us up. I got Ron his Tylenol (Sad that he gets the giant bottles you see and wonder "Who would ever take that many painkillers? What a lousy life!"), and some apple danish pastries for work. He had given me the personal debit card. I never use that unless he tells me to put something on it. I selected my Driver Candy, about $25 worth. I accidentally rang THAT under the debit, so I paid for the other stuff with "my" cash. I had the cash in my hand to repay him when I told Ron. Ron said it was OK. He likes that I please the drivers when I hand it out. He knows it's not for me, it's for others, and deep down inside he wants to please God.

So, I was ahead about $15 on Driver Candy. I went back because I had forgotten the BUBBLE GUM. I got a big bucket of wrapped gum, the good brand. Our ride was early and the driver laughed when I told him it was for Driver Candy. He immediately knew what I meant, and had made a comment about cutting out sugar so I gave him a bag of sugarfree. I need to bag up more of that.

We got to work early and I did it all. We stuffed the vending machines, unloaded most of the pallet. I brought a microfiber t-shirt and hung it up, so I can change when I'm doing heavy labor. I hate sweating up a t-shirt. I took out the dumpster. Busy.

Ron decided he just wanted to eat his leftovers from yesterday's meal, and go home. So he called to change it. But Metrolift wouldn't let us keep the same driver, they reassigned us a different one, and she was going to be later.

Riding with her, I saw the first of several car wrecks. We rode together for maybe an hour and 45 minutes, just to get home (a 20 minute trip). We had to go to the far reaches of the service area and then pick someone up, then drive him even farther (he got a Bible too). While she unloaded him, I ran into Starbucks. Yay. Drinks all around (she didn't really like the white chocolate mocha frappuccino I picked for her). She was more into the gum; so I gave her a couple handfuls out of the new bucket I almost didn't go back for!

We passed wreck after wreck, all the way home. [shudder] Thank you for safe transportation, Lord. I always send up a prayer for the FAMILY. Based on my own experience the backbiting and attacks start the day of the accident. Not to mention the personal doubts and waiting, endless waiting for news. The look on the doctor's face when it isn't good... and they don't know how to tell you. That sad look they get when you tell them you still have hope.

Thank God I had CAUSE. Anyway, on to more cheerful topics, the giant sack of candy and I rode all around Houston for a while.

Ron was having God issues today, a lot of talking today. I believe he loves God, but doesn't completely trust him. Me, I had to completely surrender the whole life, if you could call it that, at a young age (13) because I could not carry my burdens alone. I would have been "Remember, Heather, the girl who killed herself?"

[Oh, interesting. Ron just came in and told me he wants to get baptized.]

I should have had a pretty happy early life. I lived in a beautiful home, plenty of food to eat, my own room. [Ron is calling the pastor of the small church I've been eyeing.] I had a loving adoptive mother and siblings I liked, most of the time. [laugh]

So much pain! I had so much pain in my spirit. I had bad thoughts, they are so hard to articulate. I didn't always perceive reality correctly; and a lot of people thought I was just kidding around or exaggerating. I did have a tendency to exaggerate and tell stories for attention. Me.

So, it's tough. Now, at least one of the step-sibs was playing head games with me, on top of my mental illness. That continued until the day I moved out but God holds EACH of us accountable. God has an accounting of injustices, He will repay (Hebrews 10:30). Me? I let it go.

I got saved at age 8. I found a lot of comfort in God. For me, dependability is very important. I would be happy to marry the most boring guy in the world (I figured I would, actually), as long as he was dependable. You don't get any more Reliable than the Lord of the Universe. He is the same always, full of love, mercy, and compassion for all of us, His children. I knew I needed HIM from a young age. That's the nice thing about a neglectful early life. :)

Then I began to develop even more severe depressions. I would get a little hyper now and then, always had a slightly distorted reality and wierd thoughts in my head, but these were BAD. So bad, they literally had to shove me in the shower. So bad, they had to sit and make sure I ate. So bad, I couldn't even tell one day from another and could find NO JOY in life.

I am a very joyful person, that is a gift from God. The fact that I could find no joy in life is the worst part of the depression. [shudder]

I was in such torment. I had a bully at school. Scott Dallas. I wonder what he's up to now. I wasn't exactly busting my tail to read "How to Win Friends and Influence People", either. Richard Farley went to my Dad's office, at ESL, and shot the place up. This was 1989. You can google it.

Pretty traumatic, especially when you're already deeply depressed. It wasn't just that, but things kept getting worse and worse. They decided to put me on Prozac. I ALREADY felt like I lived in the Twilight Zone - I always had. It just got worse.

In 2004, the FDA issued a warning, antidepressants may increase the risk of suicide in kids and teens. You betcha. Within a few weeks, I became obsessed with suicide. I couldn't get the thought of ending my life out of my head. Interestingly, I don't have that problem with Wellbutrin.

I even went to the extent of planning it. I was a member of the library club. I would go to school early and go into a storeroom. I would overdose on my antidepressant and hide in the stockroom. It would take them a while to find me. I planned my final note, something along the lines of "I can't take it anymore".

April 5, 1989. The night before I laid in bed and begged God for help. I told him "I can't take it anymore. I don't want this life. If You don't want me to do this, please help me." I surrender.

I literally cast my life on Him. I did not want to be the boss of my life. I wanted my life, as it was, to end.

It did. I had a dream. God wrapped me in His love, and let me know what I endured was absolutely necessary. He needed me, ALIVE. He needed me to do His work. He had created me for this, with all of my problems, because they uniquely suited me for the job. I was in school, and no matter how bad things were they'd never be that horrible again. Things would get better, I would have a joyful life full of love and caring. I would manage my illness and control the demons in my head. THINGS WOULD GET BETTER; BUT I NEEDED HELP.

He told me what to do. The next day, I went to the school office and handed my bottle of antidepressants to Mr C, the guidance counselor. His eyes bugged out, especially when I told him my plans. He did not let me leave the office. He left and began making phone calls. I just sat there like a dead lump of meat, until my father and the ambulance showed up to take me to the mental hospital.

I didn't get out for a month. I was telling Ron tonight, I feel God can use me because I SURRENDER to Him on a regular basis, just like I did when I was 13. I KNOW I don't want a life without God at the wheel.

If I have a secret: that's it. I surrender to God. God is the boss of me. I do what I'm told and I ask Him to guide me. It's not about me, it's about Him, furthering His work.

To paraphrase, one day I hope to find I've done my duty well.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Both Sacks of Bibles

It's the kind of day where I can get really bitter and resentful, or laugh and count my blessings. I'm choosing the latter.

A lot of great things happened today! I got 90 New Testaments, on sale. They were beautifully packed and easy to carry. I also got a whole box of tracts - in perfect condition. Many times my boxes of tracts look as though they've been mauled. Bubba brought home a "gift" - a fledgling mockingbird, but it was still fine and healthy when I got home - it is fine outside now. I had EXCELLENT Metrolift trips, an abundance of wonderful diet caffinated beverages, and a delicious lunch date with my husband. I handed out lots of Driver Candy. I had at least 2 people really excited that I gave them a Bible!

I didn't sleep well last night, and even if I had I didn't get enough sleep. I got up, did most of my God Time (yes to prayer, didn't finish all the devotionals but did do the Bible Study). It was all about God sustaining us. [laugh]

I got to work at 4:15 - we had a wonderful ride. He was the first guy to get excited about the Bible. The other vendor called; the deliveryman was there. I went out on the dock with one of our new checks. I see one pallet. Now, this delivery is the REASON I got up at 2 AM. The truck is stuffed full of pallets, except for the one sitting on the dock. I take one look at it and realize it belongs to the other vendor. I look inside the truck. Nothing that's ours.

We have a problem. The driver says he doesn't have my pallet. I explain, not very patiently, that I am not paying for their delivery, the check he sees in my hand is for MY delivery. [laugh] Which isn't there. The fun part for me: I was there on time, but the food wasn't. The other vendor didn't show up for an hour, and her food was there.

Ron starts making phone calls. Everyone's playing dumb. [snort]. I do what I can. I can't do snacks, or "receiving", so let's help Ron make some money! I do food machines. I do soda machines. I am very productive considering I have horrible empty coils in my snack machines.

The company finally calls Ron: our order will arrive at 12. We had an 8:30 pickup to go out to breakfast. We take it. While out, we are near the Bible Bookstore, I have a sale coupon, and I have 75 New Testaments on hold. After eating, I dart out to the store.

Normally they pack my Bibles in a cardboard box. Today, they had them in two beautiful handle bags. Evenly balanced. Thank you Jesus. I give them my "Praise the Lord" candy bags - the scripture booklet is all about praising God, plus candy. I pay for my 90 New Testaments and hoof it back to the restaurant, where I've left Ron. It's over 90 degrees, hot, sunny, and humid. Boy, was I glad I wore my microfiber running t-shirt. The heat reflects back up off the parking lots I crossed.

I get back there and the driver can't find us, but eventually does and gets us back to work. Delivery at 12, right. I got the pallet jack and a check. Nothing.

At 1, he's "One stop away", so I go out on the dock. By this time I have seen people from all 3 shifts. I wait out on the hot, noisy, nowhere to sit with my throbbing feet dock. Ron and I realize we will not make the 1:30 pickup, so I ask him to "Put it on hold" (we call and then they put us in request for a ride), but he thought I told him to wait another hour.

He finally shows at 2:10. I was so happy to see him, I pretended to beg for the delivery and began loudly praising Jesus. I checked in the order, thinking I have plenty of time.

The woman who doesn't drive due to brain damage, has to bring the pallet through the building and park it in my stockroom off to one side, in a way that I can get the forks out from underneath it and give it back to the other vendor, who was very insistent I return it. It is supposed to be shared property, but tell them that. [shrug]

Ron comes in when I'm trying to get the pallet through the door (hard!) and tells me the ride is outside, waiting. Leaving in a few minutes if we're not there. No PRESSURE! Some fast talk to Jesus, a couple more attempts, and Praise God it's done!

Ron made it a wheelchair trip to go home. He's in the chair holding both sacks of Bibles. [laugh] I roll him out there. The driver says not enough room for two "ambulatories" someone has to ride in the chair. I am not in the mood to be squeezed up against some stranger so I offer.

Ron thinks I'm being "nice" - I'm not. Purely selfish reasons. I want space and room to stretch out my legs. They roll me, in the chair, in the back and the tie-down begins. Let me tell you, the cab could ROLL over and I would be fine, after that setup.

We got a straight trip home, PRAISE GOD. I got home and found a live mockingbird in the house, let it out. I also got my box of tracts to go with my New Testaments. I have dinner already cooked in the fridge. [big sigh]

I am GLAD today is over. I am such a vending geek I made Ron make a trip for tomorrow so I can put all my new junk food into the snack machines, then Ron wants to go out to lunch. But first, a trip to Sam's Club to get more Driver Candy.

WHEW.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"No Such Account"

Tuesday, during my Day Out, I went to my local bank and made my deposit. I gave them "The Deposit you can Eat!" with Scripture booklets; they asked me if I wanted to continue my overdraft protection. I said no thanks, I'd rather they just decline any overdraft transaction. Last year my overdraft protection ran up some nasty fees when my account got hacked.

After finishing, as I was headed out, I got an irate phone call from the sandwich guy. A problem with the check. DECLINED. "No Such Account". Overdraft charges.

Oh, crap. I immediately knew 1. The guy had to call Ron direct (which I arranged) and 2. It was the fault of the new checks.

We get checks every now and then. They are always the larger size, the kind that tear down the left side, and they all say "Ron Smith, DBA Our Business" Ron had ordered some new ones, and to put it gently, the phone clerk seemed a little - dim, to Ron.

When the checks arrived, they did not say "Ron Smith DBA". They just had "Company Name". They were smaller, and tore across the top. Not only that, they had completely incorrect account routing number!

Since we got the checks, we have made checks out to:
The other blind vendor
Donut guy
Sandwich guy
DR PEPPER!

Oh, what a royal screw up. Our only consolation; we hadn't made out one of these fake checks to Sales Tax. Sandwich guy came by today and we gave him cash to cover the check, plus the $10 overdraft charge. Ron was kidding with the guy's boss: "So, we'll write you a GOOD check Tuesday" "Good! I'll send you some GOOD food, then!" [snorting with laughter]

Yes, it was my fault, partly. I did not read the account number off to Ron. However, in my defense, I have never needed to do so in 10 years of business! Things have changed - now.

So, Ron called our bank (different from my bank), and they fixed it. Tear up the fake checks. Very, very sorry. Express delivery of new, correct, checks. [rolleyes] We've been dealing with THAT mess all week.

Today, we got the new checks (inspected and OK) so I felt OK sharing this. What a mess!

I went to bed at around 9, knowing I had to be up at 4. I couldn't fall asleep (I had caffeine too late in the day), so I tossed and turned for a while. I finally dropped off.

I woke up in the middle of the night with intense itching in the sole of one foot. Apparently a fire ant or mosquito got me. I like to sleep with a foot outside the covers, on occasion. It must have looked like a nice buffet. I scratched it miserably for a few minutes, moaning in discomfort, and went back to sleep.

When I woke up I hit the snooze twice, got up, God time, Shower, and started doing up some Bibles. I ran out of time. I took what I had with me. Ron and I did some witnessing to the driver, who was very interested. I gave him a Bible.

Ron ended up as a sandwich in the backseat, between two fellows with developmental issues. I was glad I was in the FRONT. I see Ron as more gallant because, even if offered "The Good seat" , he will always insist I take the front. I had an unfortunate experience with a guy, sores all over his arms, pressed up against me in a cab. I had short sleeves and really wondered if I was going to catch anything.

God has shown me, it's very easy to demonize someone. It would be so easy to only look for ugly things in Ron; but he has a lot of wonderful attributes, too. If we have to ride around in a minivan, thank God he is the generous type, who is content being wedged in between two strangers while I ride in comfort up front.

Got to work, did the pull, GOT PAID! Dealt with Sandwich guy and Milk Lady - she got cash. Did the milk pulled out bad codes, did an inventory, cleaned off the last of the Dr Pepper pallet, and called in our junk food delivery for tomorrow (about $630).

We met up with Chuck, went to the bank, and then the mall. We ate lunch at the food court. I ran and got my favorite Spanish candy. I have been eyeing their green apple candy - it's chewy - for a while. I finally decided to get it. I'm very pleased with my selection.

I handed out lots of Bibles and candy everywhere I went. [laugh] That's how you'll know me from the alien clone. The alien won't have any Bibles, and will hate Diet Dr Pepper.

I found it funny. I don't know who they were with; but two guys dressed alike (not Mormons), handing out books. One guy kept coughing - allergies. I hunted up the Bible that had the honey candy in it (I tried that - yummy). I gave it to him, "I've got something for YOU, and this candy will really help your throat." He took it. The other guy says "That's a Bible, man." I offered him one and he acted like I'd started stripping right there in the middle of the food court. "Uh. No."

[shrug] I prayed for everyone at the mall, not to be deluded by any fake God (I did this silently, of course) and then we left. Came home, new checks on the door, and naptime. Oh, 2 hours of sleep. Bubba cat on the bed. Good times.

Now all I have to do is cook up some meat tonight. Tomorrow I get up at 2-ish and go to work. Get the delivery, unload it, stock it, help Ron. Then some breakfast and Starbucks, and home. :)

Oh, and Ron inflated the lobster and beach ball. Everyone LOVES them. :) Wait till I put up the palm tree door poster (designed to go on doors). I'd also gotten a patriotic bow I put on the stockroom, too.

I'm glad I can be myself at work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Junk Food Pallet

I got a little crisp last night, but the aloe gel helped a lot.

Last night, God put it on me to do up 10 (English) Bibles, and some Gospels of John. I like to think I'm obedient so I did them up, thinking, "Wednesday is going to be a busy day for the Bibles".

I slept pretty well, woke up tired as usual. We went to Burger King. Ron likes the rib promotion they are doing and found them delicious. I ate a rib, thought it was good. Foodtown would call them "Riblets".

I had one, massive backpack stuffed with Jesus. I handed out several at Burger King. All the drivers got a Bible. Other passengers got Bibles, and a lady at the Blood Center got some Spanish driver candy. I wore my Jesus Saves/ USA tshirt.

We had a good trip from Burger King to the Blood Center. I find it funny, I am beginning to associate one with the other. If I'm eating at Burger King, I must be getting ready for a needle! [snort] Really, I think Burger King and I immediately envision a needle in my arm.

Speaking of the needle, I did not get stuck because my iron sucked. Only 36. It is a lot harder than I would have guessed, to keep up my iron levels! I love sausage, horrible low iron - 2% of my daily value. Peanuts, same thing. Even an egg only has 4%. I guess I will be eating regular red meat for dinner every night; I'm not sure what kind of iron-rich breakfast I can do. I take a multi with iron, and iron tablets. Agh.

Ron and I determined that the next time he donates, it will be regular red blood, and I'll do components - ie machine. I am happy to do that and the techs agreed I am a much better candidate.

So, there we are ready to go at the Blood Bank 20 minutes after we got dropped off. The dispatcher was very nice and fixed our pickup. We went off to Starbucks.

Now we are at Starbucks and no pickup for 2 hours. They can't fix that one.

Hmmmm. Ron had $9, I had $2. Ron mentioned taking the bus. We always carry our disabled bus cards.

I told him I was sure I could get him home, at least to the entrance of the subdivision. I wasn't sure if he could walk the blocks to our home, but, worst case scenario I could certainly find him a safe place to sit while I went home and got the wheelchair.

We decided to do it. I take 3 buses on an average day out. Occasionally I take a fourth. The two we'd need to get home run frequently; I've often sat and watched 3-4 "18" buses go by as I waiiiiited on Metrolift. We went out to the 18 bus stop. It had seating. I find the bum-guard ones very sad - they have metal arches across the bench to prevent "bums" from sleeping on them.

We had a wait of about 15 minutes. I gave a Bible to a lady waiting with us. The bus came, we got on, no problem. We got off and walked to the other bus stop. The other bus was already pulling away from the stop. I knew we were going to miss the connecting bus, but I didn't want to run with Ron. He would have fallen or twisted an ankle, and he has a metal rod running from his ankle to right knee. In the bone.

So, I told the 18 driver "We are going to miss that and wait on the next one". We did just that. It got a little warm, but it wasn't too bad. I even had a couple of Diet Dr Peppers. The home bus came along.

We rode to the subdivision. Another guy got off with us, but went ahead. Good. I have noticed more "fishy" guys in the "thug" apparel getting off and cutting through the subdivision. I find that a little bothersome. I can see why a lot of Houstonians say "It's not a good neighborhood if it's on a bus line". You may get "imports".

But really, can he commit mayhem if he's a bus rider? [snort] Here, let me mug you and go wait at the bus stop. [laugh] There he is Officer! [snort] No, thanks.

Anyway, the kid went fast. Ron kept asking me if I "minded" if he got tired, had to stop and wait for me to get his wheelchair. I kept saying I didn't, then I finally teased him. "Oh, I mind a lot! I am going to make you PAY AND PAY for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, buddy! How dare you ask your wife for assistance?" He started laughing and pretending to beg my "forgiveness".

I mean really, I am terrified of any kind of bill or thing, because I am always losing them and getting nasty cutoff notices in the mail That's why I'd seriously consider an all bills paid setup if we didn't have the house. Once the water got cut off when Ron was in the hospital. UGH. I hate bill paying.

I am glad Ron takes care of it all; and I feel we take care of each other.

Ron did fine. He got a little strained at the end. I don't think he would have made it more than 2-3 additional blocks, but he did fine. Tomorrow, we get the milk delivery and I call in the junk food pallet delivery.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Harry, the inflatable lobster

Yesterday, after my nap, I went out and did some yardwork. I cut the grass, trimmed the tree, mowed the tree trimmings and added them to the compost pile. Whew! By the time I finished, I was STARVING.

I had some sirloin tip steaks I had to cook anyway, so I threw one in the skillet and began cooking it. It finished, and I put it on a plate. As I walked across the room, the doorbell rang. It's after 8.

I live in a large city. A large city has a lot of crime, and it's often commented on the local news site "How could anyone be dumb enough to open their door to a stranger?" I've always resolved not to be that person.

The guy SAID he had a pizza, but I hadn't ordered one! I was very skeptical and made him read the address. I went and told Ron "Some jerk's at the door saying he has our pizza!"

Ron jumps up WAIT! HE ordered the pizza, to surprise me! I chased the guy down, wearing my ugly bathrobe, and he came back. Ron paid him and gave me "my" pizza. I ate the top off the entire thing, and my steak, and I was happy. I was hungry.

I got up this morning - slept well last night, and got up. I wasted a little time loafing around with a romance novel, but got down to my work. I had my God Time, and did up some candy and Bibles. I handed out every single one. If I really LISTEN, it always ends up with me giving it all away with no more opportunities.

Ron and I went to our favorite restaurant. We each got a good breakfast, and I handed out that candy they like so much. I figure, and God's verified, that I've saturated them with plenty of Bibles and stuff, so I don't worry so much about evangelizing. I just gave them a couple boxes of candy. Very popular.

I forgot my cell phone, AND my list. AGH. Ron gave me his cell phone. I waited outside for the ride, and when she pulled up I gave her a grin and a cheerful wave. I got Ron and brought him out. The driver scolded me about drinking a soda "In this heat!" and ordered me to drink 3 bottles of water today. [grin]

I gave her a Bible - I gave most of mine away on Metrolift today. Thank you for using me, Lord! She was delighted. Ron called me later and said she had nothing but nice things to say about me all the way home. I gave Ron a hug and headed off.

He went home, and I went to the Christian bookstore. I wanted some more Spanish tracts if I could get them (they didn't have 'em). I ended up getting 18 New Testaments - heavy! I got some soda, and even a couple bottles of water. I drank one. [shrug] I'm not a big water-drinker.

I headed off to Walmart and made my deposit. The tellers sure liked "The deposit you can eat!" [grin]. Like I said, I'm glad God can use me. I headed off again and had a long wait.

One of my regular bus drivers had told me he lost his route, to the #6 guy in the program. The driver's number reflects their seniority. #6 could bump any driver except 1-5. He wanted this route, and he got it. He also got a Bible! They're always so surprised, but he said thank you and meant it.

I went to the other Christian bookstore (noting a theme here). I found a lovely t-shirt that has JESUS SAVES and USA (from the end of Jesus and beginning of Saves) in red. It is awesome. Patriotic and Bible-thumpy. I love my "In God I trust".

In the VBS section, I found an awesome inflatable lobster. I like having inflatables at work. They store well, have a lot of volume when inflated, and add some real life to the vending machines. The inflatable Santa was very popular during Christmas.

I had a stuffed toy monkey hanging on the stockroom door; someone stole him. I can't imagine what kind of day they were having, to steal a stuffed toy off our door! May I never have a similar day, Lord.

Then they made me take down my poster at work, because it was on the wall. Agh. I had another poster on a stockroom door, I was allowed to trim it. UGH. I DID get "them" to agree that the doors are mine, and so are the tops of the vending machines. I had some cutout flowers I put on the machines - cardboard flowers that look like hibiscus. I want a tropical escape theme.

When I saw the inflatable lobster, I knew I had to get him. He is adorable and will look so cute on top of the soda machine! I checked it with Ron, he was fine. He was teasing me about it pinching him. I named the lobster Harry.

I was thrilled, I walked off with my t-shirt and inflatable lobster. Then I went to Favorite Dollar. They have a lot of tropical luau type things. I found a cool door poster that looks like palm trees. I found an inflatable beach ball - excellent, and some plastic leis I plan to hang on the stockroom door. They are 6 for $1 - I can afford to lose them if the thief comes back. [snort] What kind of life do they have to steal a toy from a blind man and his crazy wife? [snort]

Then I went to Starbucks. I had my usual. It wasn't my usual but they remember my drink. Ha! Not many women walking in and ordering steamed heavy whipping cream, and bragging about low cholesterol.

I made a run to a good grocery store and got Ron another bag of cut pineapple. I haven't told him, but pineapple is the best thing ever for inflammatory conditions. It is full of enzymes that reduce inflammation. He adores the fruit and needs to eat more fruit and veggies anyway. I am always happy to get him something he enjoys, and had a small cold bag and a few ice packs in with my stuff today.

I got Ron his stuff and remembered, happily, that I needed sandwich baggies. I got them. My home route is pretty frequent so I had a short wait.

It was hot today, but I was fine. I am really glad I'm off the Lexapro and all SSRI's - I'm far better able to tolerate the heat. I can lug a huge sack of Bibles and candy around, with half a dozen bottled drinks. I could not have done that last year!

God really used me today. Things like, rearranging things in my bag. I put my hand on a New Testament, someone walks up. I hand it to them and they take it happily. The guy standing behind me in line, a couple of places. Always happy to get it. The cashiers. :) Bus drivers.

I really AM "The Bible Lady".

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quality

Once you read todays' other post, you'll know why I didn't get a good amount of sleep last night. As I lay in bed at 8-something last night, facing a 2-something wakeup, I asked God to please grant me a good quality of sleep. He is very gracious and always obliges. I may crash and get incredibly stupid right after work, but I generally manage well while I"m at work. God is good!

God obliged. I dropped off, got a decent quality of sleep, and woke up at my appointed time. I've figured out I feel "hungry" if I miss my God time so I always make time for Him.

I got up, did my time, and ate. Our ride was early, but I was ready. Ron often scolds me about "making the driver wait" but he's the slow one. I choose to laugh.

I guess that could be my whole life attitude: I choose to laugh.

We rode around and picked up a diabetic in horrible shape. She couldn't even walk. Yike. I thought long and hard about that when I was looking at the pastry case at Starbuck's. I figure God puts them into my life for a reason.

Speaking of God, I hardly handed anything out. It only takes one, though.

I got all the deliveries and did the heavy lifting for Ron. At this point and time, he realizes he needs me to do that for him. I don't mind. I can use the exercise. God has given me a strong, healthy, body. I respect it and appreciate it.

I did it all, snacks, food, soda, put up the deliveries after stocking them, etc. The machines looked great when we left. I really love what I do, I'm fortunate.

When our ride pulled up, I opened the front passenger side. I was taken aback. It looked DIFFERENT. Turns out it was one of the new, Toyota, cabs. It was very nice. The seats have more room, and even the middle back seat has a shoulder belt. What a great idea. I generally sit in the front passenger seat, and Ron sits behind me (easier to get out when we get home). I was very complimentarly, sincerely so, and the driver loved it.

Ron has said that some drivers get upset when he rides along, they like me that much. Nice! I want to shine God's love out on everyone.

It wasn't a straight trip, but we had a nice ride to the Starbucks. He even came back later and took us home! I took Ron to a takeout place next to the Starbucks. By the time we came in, they had my "steamer' fixed up and waiting on the counter.

Sometimes people wonder why "You pay so much for coffee". The way I see it, I'm not paying for coffee (which I hate anyway), I'm paying for them having my drink on the counter when they see me coming. :) We finished our drinks (without asking, I KNEW they would not be allowed in the very new vehicle), and went home.

I got a few things ready for tomorrow, and went to bed. I slept about 2 hours, catching up on last nights' missed sleep. I'm having my fun now, then I'll go out and mow. When I'm done, I have delicious raw meats in the fridge - I'll cook some up and eat them for dinner. Yum.

I love a nice chunk of meat for dinner. I plan to have a pork chop and a cube steak for dinner, along with some microwaved veggies.

Change jar - Starting a War!

I got a great idea from World Missionary Press. They had a program where you could get a change jar from them, fill it up, cash it in, and send them the cash. I thought that was a great idea. I have a big change jar, an old protien powder jar. I put all my change into it at the end of every day, unless I am going to Foodtown - then I save a few quarters and dimes for the soda machine.

I got a small Pringles can (and I wonder why I gained back some weight!) and put half my change into it every night. The rest went into the other jar. A few times I tried to give Ron change from a transaction, a dollar or two, and he'd tell me to keep it. I would, and put the single into the jar.

I filled up the Pringles can and counted it last night. $37.65. Not bad! We occasionally do change deposits at our bank, and have giant ziplock style bags. We can put in either mixed or single change (all dimes). I plan to donate half each to World Missionary Press, and Grace and Truth. That's a LOT of scripture booklets and tracts, and no financial pain for me! [The "big" change jar is my new washer money - I figure by the time I need a new washing machine, and I only need a basic model, I will have the money accumulated.]

I feel strongly that Jesus does not want us to brag about what we're doing for Him, especially as regards money. However, it's such an easy, and fun, idea I had to share it. I'm glad He can use me. I make my little deposit tomorrow.

Last night was "interesting". The kid next door has a big, nice, new pickup truck. We'll call him Blue. Blue has some issues with authority figures. From what I can ascertain, he MUST share a bedroom with 2 little brothers, at least 10 years younger than him. His sister and her baby have another room, and the parents have the last room. Yike! That would make ANYONE cranky, especially since the baby is still a toddler and you have diaper and crying all night issues.

The first time I met Blue, he was climbing over Ron's hand-built gate. Not a good start! No real problems for years. Then, last week, he started parking in front of our house. We put a note on the driver's side door, asking him nicely to park somewhere else. Ron has nerve disease, very painful to walk, need the space for OUR ride. He obliged.

His Dad is a very gregarious type. I tend to be more introverted around neighbors, worried about coming off wrong [ha!]. Anyway, I was going to check the mail a few days ago and Blue and Dad are outside. Dad says "Hey, howya doing?" I said great, and made a point of looking at Blue and thanking him.

Years ago, when we first moved in, the homeowners psychotic wife came banging on the door, shouting about the cat. He was looking at her. I had to make him stop; if I didn't she would kill him. She got angry if he looked at her from inside the house, so there was no way I could please her. I ended up getting pretty heated (she was threatening to kill my baby!) and telling her, killing my pet is FELONY animal cruelty, and if he got so much as a hairball I'd charge her with it. I also said I'd call the principal - yes she was a teacher! Ron was horrified, and kept begging me to calm down (remember, unmedicated too).

She stopped threatening the cat. She began parking in front of the house. I asked her, as politely as possible, to move. She said no. It culminated one day when she had completely blocked the street access. A big Metro van pulled up. The doorway is on the side. Ron was staggering down the driveway, and the vehicle had pulled up so far he was in the neighbor's yard (no access due to the car in front of our house). SHE came out. She asked the DRIVER if she needed to move, the driver said no. Ron, in the meantime, is staggering down the driveway, looking as bad as he is.

SHE starts yelling that I "Need to help him". I turned and said, "Do you see how hard you're making it for him? He could just walk right down the driveway but NO YOU HAVE TO PARK IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE WHEN YOU HAVE A HUGE, EMPTY DRIVEWAY!" At this point, Ron stumbled on the edge of the curb. I yelled "If he falls, IT'S YOUR FAULT! I HOPE THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT!" She started yelling back as I walked away, but she never did it again. [ooh! I STILL get mad thinking about it six years later!]

In fact, Bubba brought home ANOTHER cat, and I added Frosty to the family. I am sure me getting another cat was the last straw for them. Ron was absolutely horrified, again. He said I was going to "start a war".

I don't know that I could have handled it any better, even medicated. I get very upset when I see people threatening those I love. Ron is absolutely horrified I will say the wrong thing, enrage a neighbor, and "We'll have to move". You have to grasp this before I tell you what's next.

So, Blue, the young guy next door, has a nice new truck with some really BAD speakers. I mean, these are the kind you can hear the bass throughout the whole subdivision. I'm not inclined to complain if it's a reasonable hour, but Ron's the "dour, glaring" type. He'll go out, sit on the porch, and give what I call "The Evil Blind Eye". The kid usually turns it down. This is ongoing, small issue really.

I have a new standard, if they are not parking in front of the house, invading my property, or threatening to kill the cat they are OK. [shrug] Medicated, I am a pretty relaxed and mellow person.

Last night, I went to bed around 6:30. I had to get up at 2:30 this morning. About 10 minutes later, here comes the bass. I start laughing - of course. It is too early for a "normal" request to turn it down or a call to the police. I have seen, if Ron doesn't react, Blue turns it down pretty quick. His sister probably yells at him if he wakes up the baby.

Ron, apparently, had some alcohol onboard. He was outraged. I heard him stomping up to the front of the house. He was cursing. "Ron," I told him "Don't curse him out. If you have to talk to him just ask him to turn it down." Remember all Ron's stuff about "Don't start a war" [snorting]

I don't know WHAT was said, but I kid you not, in my bedroom in the back of the house I heard two angry male voices shouting at each other, Ron cursing loudly, and then, as he came in the house he shouted "Yo Mama!" I was a little offended at that one. I have met the mother, she is a nice lady. Ay yi yi.

Of course Blue immediately turned down the stereo. [/sarcasm] No, he turned it UP. Ron called the police, going outside as he did so, and yelling. Blue turns it down. Ron comes inside again, slamming the door. AGH. Blue drove off after a while, then came home an hour later with the tunes cranked high. [laughing]

So, I ask, with eyebrow raised, what happened to Don't start a war? [pained groan] Alcohol makes us so much WISER, doesn't it?

Now, see, the way I'd handle it. "Oh, he likes Rap. Let's burn him a Gospel Rap CD. Then I will be able to listen to cool tunes on the speakers."

Now, I face an incredibly awkward encounter at some point in the next couple days. I will tell them the truth, Ron has a head injury and drinking problem. I will apologize.

That's all I can do. YIKE!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Feeling unreal

Today, I'm pretty strongly affected by my medication. I woke up feeling exhausted; got horribly sick-feeling for about 5 minutes after taking my medication, got to a nice baseline mood, and then crashed. Right now I'm feeling unreal - it's called "Depersonalization Disorder". I feel like "Me" is completely disconnected from my body. I can make my body work, but I feel like they aren't my experiences.

My ears are ringing off and on, so I know I'm at a good lithium level. I feel like reality is denser than normal, it's harder to move and think. I'm not up or down, which is good. All I want to do is go to bed and sleep.

I will try to take a nap, and hopefully that will help. I will remind myself of the torment of demons in my head and the ghastly life-sucking depressions. I will remind myself how people used to turn around and leave the room when they saw me coming.

Ron is pestering me to do things, but I told him no. I'm just not up for it now.

Second-guessing

My illness comes with a lot of second-guessing and inquiry. Something about my Fetal Alcohol Syndrome affects my "thermostat". I really have to ASK myself, "Am I hot?" I just realized, I felt very warm just now, and took off my heavy bathrobe. I feel a thousand times better, but I didn't have an overwhelming sense of heat, just a gradual discomfort that worsened.

Sometimes I think my moods can be a lot like that. I have managed this mania fairly well. I've been pretty talkative, but I'm able to shut up. Minimal eye-rolling from Ron. I feel very kindly.

Over the last few days, I have noticed an overwhelming fatigue. All I want to do is sleep! I'm beginning to wonder if I'm starting to cycle depressed.

I've had a great, mild, monthlong mania. I used to only go 2 weeks, and more intense. I like the newer one, it's a lot smoother for everyone. I'm not wound up and I don't have a flock of thoughts flapping around in my head. I'm not hostile, paranoid, or delusional.

I'm about due for a depression. I don't like them, I hate them pretty intensely. They suck all my joy out of life. One of my devotionals basically said "Well, then, that makes you appreciate the good times that much more!" Yeah, but I don't LIKE it.

So, I'll be watching my mood. If I start noticing the lack of interest - just what it sounds like - nothing is fun anymore, then I'll have to jump on that depression and drag out the things I love list. I'll make myself go out and do things, even feeling like crap. I usually have a good time anyway.

I'm glad I am already committed to donating platelets and plasma on Wednesday; I wouldn't skip that unless I got ill. Besides, the poor man was literally BEGGING.

I also have the evangelism to keep me busy. I plan to order some more tracts today and get another case of Bibles after I get paid.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Wing Grew

When Ron had his accident and effectively lost the use of one arm and leg, I immediately thought of a poem I'd read in school.

"A Man ----- Nina Cassian
While fighting for his country, he lost an arm
and was suddenly afraid:
'From now on, I shall only be able to do things by halves.
I shall reap half a harvest.
I shall be able to play either the tune
or the accompaniment on the piano,
but never both parts together.
I shall be able to bang with only one fist on doors, and worst of all
I shall only be able to half hold my love close to me.
There will be things I cannot do at all,
applaud for example, at shows where everyone applauds.'
From that moment on, he set himself to do
everything with twice as much enthusiasm.
And where the arm had been torn away a wing grew.


Very, very true. That's how I look at my life, too. I don't have everything "normal" does, but I have many things it doesn't.

"Left the Road"

We had another fatal car accident in Houston. The car "left the road", someone died. That happens fairly regularly. Cars leave the road, people die.

It would be easy, at times, to hate God for allowing me to be born crippled. And then sticking me with mental illness on top of brain damage? Horrible, you'd think.

I have never been in a serious car accident, ever. I've been in 3 fender-benders only. Two of them on Metrolift. The worst problem I ever had after an accident was an urgent need for a bathroom, as we waited on the "supervisor" to come out and investigate. After the last accident, Ron was the one who needed the bathroom, and we were in a strange subdivision with the other driver trying to get me to "fix" her cellphone (turned off for non-payment). Odd, but not dangerous.

Every driver I've known has a car wreck story, where they thought they were about to die. Some were badly injured. Some of them admit "It was my fault". They were driving too fast, or distracted. They didn't get new tires and had a blowout.

Because we can't drive, my husband and I get to meet fascinating professional drivers. We had a guy who immigrated from Nigeria, or some other West African country, today. They never want to talk about "Back home". We had a Latino driver who's a die-hard Santana fan. We had a "real" cab - which meant a very stylish ride in a Chrysler 300. Ooooh. I felt spoiled!

I teased another guy - it was his first time picking us up - he was very apologetic that it wasn't a straight trip. "Give me my candy back!" I demanded with a grin. "How dare you abuse me this way?!" [snort]

I like that my medication allows me to have a healthy sense of humor. The drivers are not always appreciated. I know it just about fried my brain, to work a 12-hour day. They do it several times a week.

God can use our dependence on public transportation to reach a lot of drivers and fellow passengers. I often hear that a Bible I gave a driver ended up in someone else's hands. Good! I am happy to do it. I can only do it by having my "baggage", and a husband who can barely get himself to the bathroom.

We've never "left the road" and God willing, we won't, because we're both "crippled".

Friday, May 21, 2010

In God I trust

Today I got an approving nod from a man who read the "In God I trust" message on my t-shirt. I do, absolutely. I really believe my disabilities have been a gift; fostering complete dependence on God. Hell is being away from God.

This hasn't been an easy week; but I never have easy weeks. God took me down today with a migraine. My husband had to go to the hospital.

This world does not frighten me. It does not. God has carried me through the worst and smiled with me during the best.

Many people have well-kept homes. I don't. A lot of people think that God can be put into a little box labeled "My faith". My faith is everywhere in my life. Oh, it's at work. And look! I found some in my finances too! [grin] You get the idea.

My faith is my life. Sometimes my husband rants bitterly about God's "unfairness" and worries he'll cause me to lose my faith. Nope.

I can't imagine a life without a couple hundred New Testaments lying around my home, standing on the corner with my Free Bibles sign, and my routine of bagging up the Driver Candy. I can't imagine walking out of the house without a big sack of New Testaments and Driver Candy hanging off my shoulder. I can't imagine a life where everyone I meet doesn't know I'm with Jesus. I can't imagine a life without my Gospel Rap and Gospel Metal. My shoeboxes full of tracts, and praying over the candy as I bag it up.

I can't imagine a life without Prayer time, and Ron's inevitable interruption of same. The routines that focus on God and doing His will. Praying for good communication everyday, and the people who did me wrong. Getting up early to do it, and getting it in before bedtime no matter how late.

I like wondering what "my" missionary's up to, and wondering how fast that stack of "free" New Testaments I put out at work will vanish. I'm glad I'm with Jesus.

It really boggles me that He loves me and values time spent together. I always think God could do better than me. I feel like I'm the last-stringer, forgetting that God needs me absolutely the way I am.

It looks like God will have me handing out more Bibles on the corner. It's always an honor. I am sure He will put the dates, time, and quantity in my head. Earlier morning is better, otherwise I have competition from the "homeless and hungry" - ie the obese living in the residential hotels.

In God I trust. I wonder what He'll have me doing next.

Welcome to the machine

I got a call from the Blood Center yesterday. I suspect, now that they know they can get "components" from me, they will never have me do a regular donation again. They called, desperate for platelets. I am happy to oblige. By Wednesday I will be ready, and it doesn't take much out of me at all. Why not spend a day off on a machine, when I don't have a lot of spare cash anyway? I replace the platelets in a couple of days anyway - it takes a month to replace red blood cells.

Yesterday, after we got home, I took a good nap. I slept about 4 hours and woke up. Ron wanted to get the muscle relaxants. Chuck offered to help us run errands, and Ron stayed at home. We had a hot date at the fast food place after we dropped off Ron's prescription.

I finally figured out what is going on with my Walmart pharmacy. They send the order out to the warehouse to be filled. I had odd-looking bags with my name on them. Inside the bags were the mega-bottles I've grown to love.

It's an odd thing to say, but it would be torture to with-hold my pills. I told Ron, it's like only being able to see as long as I take them. He really liked the analogy. I got them all, 3 months worth for $90. Pretty good deal in my book. I worry "reform" will make them far less affordable one day.

Ron said I could spend $20 on myself. I spent less than that (I was at the Walmart). Since I had transportation, I got 10, two-liter bottles of generic soda. A 12--pack of the "good" soda; Cherry Cola Diet Rite. Some AA batteries for a dollar. I forget what else, but I had fun. I liked, that even slightly manic, I had no DESIRE to spend more. I was completely satisfied with my purchases.

Ron's Neurontin and Flexaril were ready, so I picked up all the pills - I looked like a drug addict's dream come true. Almost a dozen nice rattly bottles of medication.

I found some combo-packs of chips. I got a couple for work.

I had, literally, a shopping cart full of soda. I had a good time, paid up and came home.

I was really tired, so after I put everything up I went to bed around 5 PM. I woke up about 12 hours later. Headache. I took a nice hot shower hoping to relax it away.

I tried taking my lithium with a couple of hot dogs. I mean, it's meat. It should work. Meat or fruit always works for the lithium Even cheese works - if I eat an ounce or so.

Violent nausea. I had a rather pukey feeling ride to work. Ron was feeling a "call" to evangelize and was telling the driver all about Jesus. The driver is a pretty devout Muslim, but very nice and open to hearing what Ron said. I stocked everything, snacks weren't too bad.

I had another down vending machine; so I fixed it. Many times I just need to check a connection, reboot, and it's fine. Today, eating a bad bill apparently killed Snack 3. I removed the offender and rebooted. Happy now.

Ron wasn't bad... he was able to do all his stocking. He says the Flexaril really helped.

By the time we left my head was pretty bad. I told Ron I had to go home. I was miserable. I took a Phenergan and really wondered if I'd be able to keep it down. Fortunately, I did.

I went home and curled up in a ball with my ice bag, filled by Ron. I feel just completely exhausted.

Tomorrow will be a better day, even though I have to go back to work. I need to buy some candy, and then stock it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We're home now. He is eating a Kolache and some pineapple. Doc doesn't really know what was wrong, but says it won't kill him.

I gave him the advice about the Neurontin (wink).

I am thrilled I was able to mobile blog using my admittedly old cell phone. :)
Pulled muscle. both going home. pray 4 fast good cab!
Ron in xray. still hurting. got pain meds - non-narcotics. asking god for an accurate diagnosis.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waiting. i am a vending geek, checked all the vending machines!
We're going to the hospital. Awful to sit there listening to him suffer - glad we will treat this.

I love my He-man

He-man was a big hit when I was a kid in the early 80's. My little brother and I used to fight over cartoons, he loved He-Man. He-man was a very macho fellow, a prince of the realm. He fought the bad guy, Skeletor. He would shout "I. HAVE. THE. POWER!" and raise his sword. Lightning would hit the sword and transform the meek and mild prince into He-man.

I suspect my sweet husband may have been channeling He-man the other day when he lifted a case of water. Either that or "I'm tired of taking so many pills". He's in a lot of (back) pain right now, groaning occasionally. But he has the power, and refuses to see a doctor. He has been able to get to the bathroom and all. He is not hurting all the time, just when he moves.

We went to work. The urgent care clinic near work has been closed, he elected to proceed with our day as planned. After work, we went to Starbucks. He went home and went to bed, as usual. If he's home, he's lying in bed.

I decided to have a Day Out. Of course I felt guilty but I recalled what the Nurses' Aide had told me: "One day a week, and DON'T YOU FEEL GUILTY. You NEED TO DO THIS - EVERY WEEK!"

So, I went to the import store and bought some fantastic new incense. I am in love with the lavender. It is so delightful. I'm burning a stick right now. I got my haircut. I went to the Christian bookstore and looked around a few other stores.

It was really hot, sunny, and muggy. I got sweaty but guess what? I didn't get sick. The Wellbutrin may cause hot flashes and sweating attacks (I don't think I sweat as much during my half marathon, as I did at work today), but I can tolerate the heat. Oh, I'd get so sick in the heat taking SSRI antidepressants (Prozac as a teen, then Lexapro as an adult). I considered buying a dozen colorful bandanas, but restrained myself.

I've got a good, well-managed mania. I missed a bus, and one of my bus drivers lost his route (he was outbid by another driver with more seniority). I roasted like a turnip out in the heat. But I had a blast.

I even went to a grocery store on my way home and picked up a few disaster kit foods. Some canned roast beef and canned chicken. I will get mighty sick of tuna if that's the only meat in my pantry! I had a ton of fun. I carried home my treasures on the bus and stored them properly.

So, if Ron wakes me up in the middle of the night, screaming - I can just pick up my hospital bag and go. My fun tank is full.

I hate taking Ron to the hospital

God help me, I just dread it when Ron says he is having some kind of issue that may mean a trip to the hospital. I ask him if he's certain. I am discouraging about going to the hospital.

I just dread it. Not because I think he'll get worse and die, but I just hate the whole hospital routine. The automated IV pump alarms always going off every 3 minutes; the pulse oxygen thing that will never stay on his finger - more alarms. The endless medical history questions. Endless testing.

Occasionally, the "Nothing's wrong with you" speech that really pushes my button. If nothing was wrong, we would have stayed home. I've had doctors tell me "Peripheral Neuropathy as a result of taking Bactrim is extremely rare." Well, we're just LUCKY then. Trust me, within hours of taking Bactrim, it developed. It was sudden, acute, and severe.

The single time I ended up in the hospital, and the many times I went to the ER for severe migraines and abdominal pain issues, I was happy to take the cell phone and call Ron at home. I'm happy giving updates. Ron, though, is pretty messed up! I "always" stay with him if he's in the hospital.

I really hope we don't end up there tonight. Fortunately, a nice urgent care clinic right near work. If Ron doesn't improve/gets worse we will take him there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Meeting Polly

Today we met my aunt Polly at the Ikea. It's a ways from my house, so we knew we'd have a long ride. In fact, we rode an hour to get there. Ron brought his MP3 player, and we got permission to plug it into the Metrolift cab's speakers. We listened to loud classic rock, the driver singing along, as we went down the road. I sure have some interesting memories!

We pulled up about the same time she did. We went in, I got Ron a wheelchair, and we had breakfast. Then we went shopping. I got a lovely new bathrobe, a twin sized bedspead ($7) I plan to use as a slipcover for my loveseat (Bubba can be pukey, and loves to sleep there, so I want a "catcher" that isn't too precious), and a nifty egg slicer. I have been telling myself for a while, the next time I found a good egg slicer at a decent price, I was buying it. This one even minces the egg, even better. I attempted to buy a flat sheet but ended up with a fitted. Feeling kind of dumb on that, we'll need to go back.

My aunt had a good time looking around, picked up some dishtowels, and a few brochures on storage systems. That was it. She loves blue, and spent time looking at all the pretty blue things.

Like a small toddler, I am irresistably drawn to bright colors. My new bathrobe is a WAKE UP HEATHER shade of yellow that rivals a Yellow Cab.

I could tell Ron was having a bad nerve day. He was in pain, and trying not to show it. He had cut back on his Neurontin doses, a bad idea apparently. It's odd for me to realize my new reality involves asking Ron if it's OK to touch him, before doing so. If I don't ask, I have elicted sharp gasps of pain. I don't want to hurt him, ever. I was pretty angry about that for a while but eventually it becomes part of normal. Of course I always ask Ron before touching him. No, I never slide my arm around his waist or back. No, I never touch him on the back. Ron would rather be flogged than get a massage; it's about the same sensation.

I am glad, and have absolutely no regrets, over the INSANE amount of foot massages I gave Ron in the hospital all those years ago. His feet are extremely sensitive to touch now. I have many happy memories of holding one of his flat feet in my hand and listening to happy sounds of joy as I massaged away. I doubt I will ever be able to do that again.

As my Dad says, "You never know when the window will close on certain activities. You had better do it now while you can." Sadly, this comes from a nearly 70 year old man, in far better shape than my husband!

I was pretty miserably queasy all day, did my best not to show it. At the worst, I ate some peanuts. What is it with peanuts? The immediately quash the nausea.

I'm sure glad I figured that out, I forgot my ginger root today. That would have been a very harsh ride home!

The One

It's been my experience in life; at certain points I just knew something was right for me. As a child, I knew I wanted Jesus - no doubts at all. When I met Ron, it scared me, how right he was. On the surface we had nothing in common, and yet we're coming up on 18 years of marriage. We still have great love and affection for each other.

The first time we went to work together - I knew it was "home" for us. It was difficult and challenging, but you couldn't pay me a million dollars to leave that location. I love it, and I just KNEW it was right.

The same with the house; as soon as Ron and I walked in we knew it was home. We wanted another bathroom, the house was a loud shade of orange; but we knew it was home.

I have had a very old bathrobe for several years now. I bought it secondhand at a thrift store after Ron's accident. It was a pretty rose color, long and rather old. It cost me a few dollars. I just knew it was the bathrobe for me. I love that bathrobe, even though the back collar is a mass of frayed strings, it's stained, and I'm literally wearing holes in it. When I'm sick or tired, it's like a big hug waiting for me after my shower or bath.

I've needed to replace it, but nothing was ever right. I wanted the One.

Today, at Ikea, I found it. It's extremely bright yellow, hooded, and extra-large. It's long and warm and perfect. It only cost $20, but that wouldn't have mattered. I took one look at it and knew I'd found My Bathrobe. The One.

I still plan to keep the old pink one in reserve for "That Time" and illness, when I might mess up "Sunny", my new loud, yellow bathrobe.

Monday, May 17, 2010

On hoarding

I will need to go to bed soon so I'll keep this short.

I watched an episode of "Hoarders" recently. I found it telling.

I have pretty strong hoarding tendencies. Part of it is environmental, I feel. I lost 2/3 of my family when I was 3. I had a very unstable early childhood, no real privacy as a teen, etc. One of my only defenses against "home invasions" as a teen was the clutter. "They" had a much harder time finding whatever it was they were after, if I had crap all over the place.

Then of course you have the actual physical differences. Because of my FAS, I have a terrible time with categorizing and organizing things. I have brain damage and I really feel it in those regards. Picking up an item, say the concordance by my foot. Is it a book or is it a Bible thing? Where would it go?

With a lot of determination and practice, I can say "It goes on the red bookcase in my computer room" because I have a Bible bookcase. Bibles for donation either reside in a corner of this room, or on my bookcase in the living room. My tracts, scripture booklets, and Driver Candy all go in a corner of the living room/bookcase.

I generally have a bag of trash and a donate bag going at the same time. I pick up when I think about it, not very often. Most times, I would be OK with someone coming into my home. Today, for instance. 98% of my books were on the bookcase. Trash was all in the trash bag. Yes, I had dirty dishes in the sink but they didn't have an odor (the answer is yes, things have gotten that bad on occasion).

When I'm manic, I have trouble focusing on tasks. When I'm depressed, I have no desire or motivation.

For me, the hardest part was getting into the habit of classifying things. "This is a washcloth" and then going to the "So it goes on the rack, on the bookcase I have in the bathroom." I had to get into the habit of giving it a category, and then finding a place for that category. I have a bookcase in pretty much every room of the house, except my bedroom and Ron's room. All common areas have a bookcase. In the bathroom, it holds extra towels, washcloths, toilet paper, and the usual bathroom accoutrements. I have all my cleaning supplies in a large bucket next to the toilet.

In my bedroom, I'd say the biggest problem area would be bedding. If one were to scroll back to October 2007 blog entries, you'd know I have a block under my bedframe, propping it up. You'd know WHY. That "fix" costs me several square feet of storage - if I had a new bedframe I would definitely have my bedding in under-bed boxes. I don't want to seem spiteful or vengeful, so I make do. Unless I'm thinking about organization and my bedroom, I don't mind at all.

I have a yarn problem. I have boxes of the stuff out in the garage. Today, I actually threw away some leftovers and unwanted yarn. Really, Salvation Army does not want the stuff. I need to go through and save one kitchen garbage bag (13 gallons) worth of the stuff, and eliminate the rest. I also need to round up all the knit/crochet/craft stuff, figure out a place, and store it. Where do I put embroidery scissors? And my crochet hooks? I don't know, yet.

I also have a hard time, occasionally, with recognizing trash as such and getting rid of it. I don't need old junk mail sitting around! Ron helped me develop a "can bag, bottle bag" system where I can toss my empty aluminum cans, and empty plastic soda bottles. Sadly, we don't have recycling here; but I do have a guy who comes by and is happy to take the cans. We leave them on the porch.

I do my best, adding new categories and trying to ruthlessly prune out the unwanted stuff. Asking constantly, "Do I really want this?"

Hopefully, I won't end up on TV. Clutter really enrages Ron; but he makes a very strong effort not to react. I don't do this for him, but for me. I want to be proud of my home.

Good Days/Bad Days

Yesterday was a Good Day. It had been a slightly annoying weekend. One neighbor kept parking in front of our house. Another had a loud party.

However, the party animal made sure OUR party animal, Bubba-cat, had a nice sized rib off the BBQ. I hope it was a gift! Bubba WAS raised in the alley. I felt very kindly towards them after that.

The other neighbor issue was addressed by a note from Ron, stating a few facts about his inability to walk due to painful nerve disease and the need for free parking space in front of our home for paratransit. I had a hard time with that; I wanted to "get out the hatchet" (my old nickname, Heather the Hatchet, was, you could say, earned) and go off on the kid. I prayed about it repeatedly (I just KNEW the whole time the Devil was trying to push my button, too) and said, "OK, Ron's an adult, it's Ron's problem, really. Let Ron manage it." He had a logical sequence: Leave a note on the car. Then talk to the parents. It wasn't necessary. The kid understood and how could he refuse?

Yesterday we didn't have any trips. I didn't really want to go anywhere when Ron asked, and then he slept past the scheduling deadline. We woke up; I had a horrible headache. I have decided I don't have to tell Ron every bad thing in detail. If he asks, I will answer honestly without a lot of drama and detail. But if he doesn't ask I will act as though everything is OK.

Horrible headache, I took some Excedrin and a nice hot shower. They worked. Thanks to the caffeine in the excedrin, I had tons of energy too. So when Ron said "Hey, let's take the wheelchair and have a Day Out!" I said "Sure!"

I put on a microfiber t-shirt, plenty of sunscreen, bermuda shorts, and sunscreen. I wear Bermuda shorts for several reasons, the primary probably being the fact that every Metrolift yellow cab has fabric seats. The fabric seats are stained with various fluids. I don't want bare skin on that. Also, modesty issues. I don't feel comfortable flashing a lot of thigh as I sit down. I have only ever had professionals but I did feel a little awkward talking about God, and 6 inches of thigh sticking out under my skort hem. So it's Bermudas, unless God leads me to wear something else. I'm glad I can wear what I want and not that horrible getup they endure in the Middle East.

I donned a good pair of sneakers. I have been very happy with my Walmart sneakers. They have cute shoes, in the Men's wide sizes. I have to wear a Men's Wide, because I have a large circumfrence on my feet. My feet are about 9 inches in circumfrence, and about 9 inches long. Odd. Anyway, my feet are happy in these shoes. Ron bought me one pair, and I got the other for less than $20.

Ron jumped in the wheelchair and we rolled off down the road. People seem to find us "cute".

We got to the bus stop and waited. I made sure Ron was under the tree. We are in summer mode and it's in the 90's most days, sunny, and humid. We caught the transfer and got a couple of sodas at "My" gas station. We waited a bit, and caught the other one. I handed out some Driver Candy.

We got off and I pushed Ron under an overpass. It had quite the accretion of pigeon poop. It was moist and sticky after the rain, and got stuck on the wheels of the wheelchair. EEEEEEW. I kept rolling him through grass, gravel, etc, trying to get it off.

We checked out a few restaurants and I read him some menus. My sister called and I parked Ron, sat down on the curb, and chattered away. Ron complimented my listening skills after I hung up. :) I would like to be a decent listener at least. We finished, and we decided to go to "Bob's".

We love "Bob's" - we found it on another Day Out on the bus, with the wheelchair. We rolled in, checked out the menu, and decided to eat. They offer a good variety for both of us. We have taken others to Bob's.

We rolled in and saw Lee, our favorite waiter. He is addicted to some of the spicy Spanish candy I hand out - Pulparindo - a tamarind/chili pepper fruit roll up type of candy. You could not pay me to eat one. Anyway, everytime I go I end up handing out tons of driver candy and Bibles. In fact, I saw Lee pull a New Testament out of a hidey-hole, and show it to another server, pointing at me, as he ate some new candy I'd just given him. Fun!

We ate. The Wellbutrin has me pretty queasy so I saved half my food for Ron to eat later. Then we went off to Starbucks. I had one of my "things" and handed out a little more candy. Ron called a cab to get home, it was a great guy we both liked.

I got to bed at a decent hour but had a hard time dropping off. Got up early, did some of my Bible Study and prayer time. I did bag up tons of candy and several more Bibles. Our ride came; we were taking the wheelchair today.

I understand it upsets the drivers, because they like us, when they see that Ron "needs" a wheelchair more now. When they go "What? You need a wheelchair now?" I generally either react with "The sex was so excellent it put Ron in the wheelchair" or "Yeah, nerve disease, real bummer... blah blah". Sad truth, he has gotten a lot worse in the last couple years. It is awful to hear him coughing from the Neurontin and to know I can't even thump him on the back without causing him pain. Some people greet Ron with an affectionate thump on the back; oh, he wishes they WOULDN'T.

I have gotten in the habit of asking if I can hug him or cuddle; a lot of times he says no, he is too sensitive. It's like all the nerve endings are alive and electrified, especially in his back, waist, and feet. Occasionally he says it's OK, he has just taken his medication and feels OK.

So, the drivers hate to see Ron "worse". I know they gossip, that's fine. Hopefully the word will get out that he isn't really up for any walking these days. I tell them, he can walk, it's just extremely painful.

We had about an hour's ride to work. We had to go WAY out of our way to pick up a guy who kept making romantic overtures towards the driver, and kept asking me who I was every 3 minutes. [blink] I was glad I had gotten the front seat. If I covet anything, it is the "good" front passenger seat in the Metrolift cab. Ron sits behind me.

We got to work, I pushed Ron in, using good old Ironsides the travel chair. Ron transferred to his work wheelchair - never in a million years would I have dreamed my blind, stroke victim, nerve-diseased husband would get into his work wheelchair.... but he did. We did our stocking. Candy did well in my snack machines, I had to buy more.

I helped Ron, like I always do. Deliveries, fetching stuff for him, putting things away, and an exciting time mashing up old cardboard in the stockroom and cramming it into our dumpster. Finally, time to go.

We went out, me pushing Ron in the chair, and our ride was already there. We know her well, she is a sweetie.

We had a pretty straight trip to the mall and looked around. I went to the Dollar Store and got my Pulparindo. I plan to bring Lee his own 24-count box of the stuff. At those prices, I can afford to be generous. I gave a Bible to the owner, who was obviously Muslim. He was very nice about taking it. If I feel led to do it, they always are.

Ron checked his lotto tickets. We got some food, looked around a little, and left. Time to go. The lady who picked us up was the one who'd dropped us off at work.

"Are you OK? You look like you're about to pass out, Heather!" I felt like it, too. Medication was whalloping me. I don't know why, but I just felt very disconnected, thick, dizzy, and lightheaded. It persisted for most of the day.

She took us to Sam's Club - we needed some merchandise. I was considering the purchase of some driver candy. It was really crazy busy. I finally decided, we will go back soon. I will get the candy then.

I had my hands full with two flats of pastries, 2 giant cubes of Mountain Dew soda, and some assorted candy for work. The driver who picked us up is very nice.

We had a straight trip home, and I pretty much went right to bed. I still feel really lightheaded, goofy. Like I could go right back to bed and sleep a while. You would think I'd feel this way after donating blood, I never do. I think the medication is just smacking me today.

Today, I remind myself: I have a serious illness. When Hot Legs, the other vendor, heard me coming, he didn't shut and lock himself in his stockroom like he used to do. He sought me out. His wife smiled at me when she saw me. People walked towards me, instead of away from me. And Ron smiled from his wheelchair.

Nothing is more important than controlling my illness; I never allow myself to forget.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

... As we forgive...

Before I start on this topic; Ron and I have actually been doing very well. This isn't really regarding him.

I feel it's important to practice forgiveness in my daily life. For one, I cannot forgive in my own power. Nope, like most of humanity, I am just a hater at heart. If I call any names - hater I think is the worst. *I* can't and don't want to forgive anyone!

Some people were actually not that difficult to forgive. I mean, I'd think I would still be battling. My mother - she drank while pregnant and maimed me for life. If I hadn't known her, hadn't seen her sob with regret everytime she had to say goodbye, if I didn't know, down to my soul, that she would have never chosen to hurt me; I'd still be hating her.

It's impossible for me to hate someone I see as a fell0w-victim. She was a slave to alcohol - she never got free. When she had finally gotten her life together she ended up watching her infant son die of an illness. I can't imagine the torment of watching him on all the machines, having to accept that he was dead. She could never shake loose of the alcohol after that - and unfortunately for my brain - I was NEXT, not previous.

God allowed her to apologize the night she died. I felt her spirit, saw her, as I slept. She came to me, radiating an absolute nova of love and regret. She asked my forgiveness for damaging me, and I knew in my soul she would have never chosen to hurt me. Of course I forgave her; and now I know she is comfortable in Jesus' arms. She knows I understand, on a cellular level, her love for me.

Another easy example is Thug Boy - the kid who mugged me several months ago. It would be easy to hate him, even easier to hate his entire race. After all, it was not a freckle-faced blonde kids who stole my lawnmower out of the garage with me watching, vandalized my home, attempted to steal my cell phone, did a drive-by BB gun shooting, and mugged me at the bus stop. Nope, they all fit a profile of ignorance.

I actually feel sorry for them. I mean, think of it. The whole culture they have is steeped in ignorance. My own husband, who grew up in what can only be termed a "ghetto", told me that kids were often beat up for "trying to act white" if they showed any love of learning and education. Read a book for pleasure? In the neighborhood? Not unless you wanted to be beaten.

They also have the whole "Baby's Father" concept, one I find absolutely abhorrent. It may be a very big deal to know the identity of your father. Do they have any positive memories of time spent with Dad? They probably didn't grow up, like I did, with Dad right there in the household working overtime to support his stay-at-home-wife. They didn't have relatives coming over and saying "Oh, look, you walk just like your father!" They may have just had a sucession of Mommy's lovers coming through. There's a good chance some of those kids don't know, or couldn't pick their fathers out of a lineup. That's awful. It is very difficult for any young man to grow up without a strong male role model in his life.

Compare that to my life. My parents read to me every night, and answered every question I had. I was only disciplined if I screwed up.

Now, Thug Boy had every opportunity in life. His teeth were white and straight, he'd obviously had expensive orthodontic work done. He was well-nourished and not a bad looking kid. He had healthy skin, expensive clothes, and sneakers that cost me a week's pay. His "associate" was even better dressed and they had a getaway car.

I don't have a car. [snort] So you know he had plenty of opportunities in his life - ones he was choosing, at the time he mugged me, to waste on a gang. But I can't help but think being raised in today's Black Culture - the one that glorifies the baggy pants he wore and the thug lifestyle he emulated, to be a factor.

If he were arrested and I had the opportunity to press charges, I would do so. I absolutely believe he will pay for his crimes, one way or the other. I'm very glad he chose me instead of another victim. I am very glad I gave him a beating, when I found out afterward he had stolen an old man's lapdog and struck a neighbor child.

Do I hate him? No, I feel more annoyance when I think of him wasting the good life he'd been given, on chasing after the thug ghetto lifestyle. I feel like he's stupidly wasting his life.

So I pray for him, and the other wanna be "thugs" who attempted to victimize us.

For other people, I have a much harder time with forgiveness. Most of them hurt Ron, but the police officer who said such horrible, hateful things to me - blaming ME for Ron's accident because he had walked to work alone (as he had for 30 years) - forgiveness is a long time coming. He's one of those "Only because I am born again and have the Holy Spirit in my life can I even THINK about trying to forgive you" types. How dare he?

The fact that he had Ron's backpack, and all the contents EXCEPT the cash I needed to live on... makes it even more difficult. I really believe he stole that money. Yes, God provided for me. More than he stole. But he robbed my husband as he lay bleeding to death in the road. Ooooh. That makes me boil.

God will repay; I cling to that. I pray for him more out of a sense of duty - I need to ask God to be with this man, and to put forgiveness and love in my heart. It's a good thing God is in control: if He asked me whether to let that man into heaven, I'd probably say no. But it's not for me to decide: God knows what led him to that and God sees the good in him, and loves him and DIED for him, even. So I pray, dutifully, wondering if I will ever really let it go.

People hurt me when I was younger; not understanding my disabilities. It took me a while to get to seeing their point of view: Whatever I try to do for Heather, it's wrong. She just gets worse. Of course that would be tremendously frustrating, and I can accept, understand, and forgive. I had to read an article, actually, on the difficulties of caregiving for a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, before I could actually type out "I forgive you".

I'm glad I did. Ron's family has been more challenging. They had some caregiving experiences gone wrong - assuming if they helped someone a large inheritance would be theirs. Not only did they get completely burned out, they got "screwed" when the will was read. With that fresh in their minds, here's Ron with a truly horrible prognosis.

Of course they wanted to run. I can accept and understand that. I can accept and understand that I frightened them with my zeal. I was mentally ill; unmedicated, (undiagnosed) and acting like it. Even when Ron and I tried to tell them I was "different" we were met with hostile rejection.

They were terrified I would fail him and they'd be stuck with him, burned out and used up. I can accept that.

They wanted the easy solution: Ron in a nursing home. I can accept that. None of them had very much free time for caregiving. They were all living paycheck to paycheck. They wanted what was easy and for them, "free". I can accept that.

I have a more difficult time with the whole "Sneaking around Heather's back, having the insiders club planning things for Ron, with no input from Heather. Treating her badly and excusing it with 'Well, she loves him, she'll take it if she wants to be with him." I have obvious difficulties with the time I was kidnapped and taken somewhere against my will, on a day when I had a training scheduled with his physical therapist.

But, we were all under a lot of stress,weren't we? I stayed for it all, it's obvious they could afford to take me for granted. Only God and I know how close I came to saying "Fine, if I have no input in how Ron's going to live the rest of his life you can have him. I'll just walk out of his life like YOU want to do and stick you with him. You can have him and good luck." Ron, literally, begged me not to leave him. He knew how close I was to the brink. He held me with his good arm as I broke down sobbing, terrified I would "Fail" him somehow. He told me I could never do that, because I loved him.

Fortunately, he has "forgotten" that day. It is not the proudest moment of my marriage, let me tell you! I can forgive that. Hell, even I almost lost it.

They were always very concerned with appearances, but God set things up in such a way that they showed their true colors to the hospital staff - uninvolved, uninterested, and unmotivated to help. When the rubber hit the road, when I finally decided I could trust them; they failed us.

After the kidnapping incident, Ron told his brother "If you can't treat Heather with the respect due my wife I never want to hear from you again!" He never did; even after "apologizing" months later for "Anything either of us may have done". Watching Ron's face as he hung up from those phone calls, his face etched with pain - not so easy to forgive.

He begged for anything - a scrap of conversation here and there - completely throwing aside his pride. "Why are you talking funny?" his sister asked one day. She thought it was funny to mock his speech. Funny. Yeah, let's laugh at YOU after YOU have a massive head injury, stroke, and spend 3 weeks in ICU.

That had me wanting to sharpen up my hatchet. His brother had an even uglier, more hateful attitude. He just simply ignored every message Ron sent, until his wife "accidentally" called him one day, talked briefly about nothing, and hung up - an obvious "He was supposed to be a carrot, how with it IS he?"

His parents refused to come to our wedding - that hurt him. I have a hard time with that, but Ron is adamant the siblings must have made them "choose". Well, the invitation said "Share their joy as they exchange vows". We invited the people who could - not many, as it turned out. I only wanted loving people who loved us; I did get my wish. The last thing I wanted was a lot of ____ family drama.

Personally, I'm glad they're not in my life. They were very controlling and as far as I could tell, completely unsympathetic. Good riddance, I say... but I see Ron hurting sometimes and know they hurt him badly. They failed him.

So, they're on my prayer list. I ask God to put his love in my heart, to lead them to Him. I know nothing I do will impact their possible salvation; but He's laid it on me to pray. So I will, and do.

Some days I don't like it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

You're not doing me a favor!

Today I went to my Walmart, again. Today, again, they said they didn't have my medication available, even though (like last time) I had my husband call in the prescription personally and verify it was available. Last time, it was over a WEEK before they were able to supply me with lithium - a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder.

What's the big deal? I need mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics. They are all generics. They are not narcotic, addictive, or "stimulating" in any way; unless getting nauseous fires your engine.

My doctor, like MANY, does it in a 3 month supply to save me money. I see people getting huge bottles of medication all the time. They never get an attitude with my husband when he gets his Neurontin.

So why is it such a BFD to get me a 90 count antipsychotic and a 180 count lithium? The lithium is cheap and generic. So is the antipsychotic.

They act like I'm asking the impossible when I show up for my refill - even AFTER I called and ensured they had it. I had to wait in one line, then the trainee says "Oh, there's a problem!" and sends me to wait in another line. I wait in that line and they say we never called - even though I know she talked to him.

Then it's back into line, later on, because they still say they can fill it THAT DAY. "Don't worry, we'll fix you up." I get back to the head of the line, again (this is a good time to mention that I rely on public transit, and I have to be ready when ordered or I will lose my ride home), just to deal with an attitudinal pharmacist "You need to give us more notice! Are you OUT?" I was tempted to tell her yes, and watch the scramble. Legally, they cannot send me out of there without my medication if I'm out.

I listen to the same old tired line about they can give me a few tablets, but not my whole prescription. They also overcharge for these few tablets. I said no, I want all of it, at once. I told them I would be back Monday - that gives them 3 whole days to find me my medication.

But this is it. I have HAD it with their attitudes. You're not doing me a favor by getting me my medication; you're doing your JOB. Start doing it!

After I get my refill, I am switching to another pharmacy. I cannot and will not use a pharmacy that continues to play availability games with my mood stabilizer and antipsychotic.

I can't fix what's wrong with him.

I slept OK, once I got to sleep, and woke up right about the time of my alarm clock.  It hadn't been set properly, apparently.  I got ...