Category Archives: Home Life

Process of Recovery…Part 1

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So the number one thing I do in my life when I’m coping with or recovering from a difficult situation is ‘I use my words.’

I talk.

I vent.

I write.

I haven’t written regularly in a very long time, and much of the past five years, I haven’t written more than a brief blip about politics or religion here and there, whether on this blog or Facebook. I’ve written a little about the reality of what it was like to take care of my quadriplegic brother, but between not wanting to dwell on something I was still struggling daily with, and feeling like I was indulging in a damn pity party or fishing for compliments, I mostly decided to lay low.

I used to write compulsively when i was depressed, but something about the combination of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion prevented me from being able to string together a coherent paragraph about my life, and while putting thoughts into the ether used to help me process and get over whatever emotional turmoil I was going through, writing about taking care of Jeremi mostly made me feel trapped.

And alone.

And miserable.

Truth is, I love my brother, and that never stopped, even during the most difficult days, but an equally valid, yet far more difficult truth to write about and admit, is that I absolutely hated taking care of him.

And maybe that’s the crux of why I haven’t written much about it. It’s hard to admit that in spite of the fact that I chose to take care of him, I hated and resented it almost every single day. And eventually, I resented Jeremi as well.

The truth is, I’m not some spectacular example of self-sacrificial love.  I never wanted to move back to this town to take care of him. I never wanted him to live with me. I never wanted to have to be the main person responsible for his care.

Steve had always dreamed of having J live with us later, but I never did. I grew up feeling like a horrible person because I used to hide out in the kitchen or bathroom eating snacks, because I knew if I went into the living room where J was, he’d want some of whatever I was eating, too, and he was likely to drool on me or bite me or choke and spit or vomit all over me, and I hated all of that.

I hated being stuck at home, of never going on a family vacation, never going anywhere as a family because it was so much work to take J with us that it was just easier for one able-bodied person to stay in the house with him, and everyone else to go on outings alone.

It sucks to love someone and resent them at the same time. I grew up feeling like a selfish, hateful, resentful human being. I grew up feeling guilty every day of my life because there was always something I resented that happened.

I felt like I never got quite what I needed because J took so much of the energy my parents had that there just wasn’t much left over for me. As a young child, too young to understand what was really going on, I just felt like he was the ‘favorite’ because he got most of what they had to give.

And all of that was before I was 12.

So fast forward 25 years and there he was. Sick and dying.  My parents were also not in the best health and would have killed themselves trying to take care of him, and in my eyes, the only option was for me to uproot my family and take care of him.

But I didn’t want to.

Because I knew.

I knew there would never be enough help. I knew we were on our own, and that I wasn’t going to be able to do it all. I knew I was going to be miserable.  But I couldn’t see a way out.  I knew that if I said no, I really would be that awful girl who’d hidden out in the bathroom so she wouldn’t have to feed her brother a damn snack, except this time, he would die because of my selfishness.

Even knowing what I know now, having lived five years taking care of him and wishing most days I wasn’t, even having nearly destroyed my mental and physical health, and because of it, endangering the well-being of my family, even knowing that the best choice for Jeremi’s health was not the best for mine or that of my family…I’m still not sure I could say no if I had to choose again.

Because the guilt of that little girl is still there, and stronger than ever, thanks to the constant reminder of the past five years that I still can’t take care of  him without feeling resentment, anger, and self loathing for feeling resentment and anger.

He’s moved out now. He’s happy, healthy and safe, and I am SO glad that is true.

But I’m not.

I’m exhausted and broken, and I’d love nothing more than to  run away to Costa Rica and pretend, even if it’s just for a short time, that I have no obligations or responsibilities to anyone but myself.

I don’t know how to process 30 year old self-inflicted wounds, and I don’t know how not to hate the fact that I absolutely do not ever want to be the primary caregiver of another adult again as long as I live.

 

And here’s where the processing begins.

The truths is, if I had to do it all over again, if I had to make the same choice today that I made five years ago…

I would say no.

That little girl who hid out in the bathroom was a child.

It wasn’t her responsibility to take care of a brother who couldn’t take care of himself.  We shouldn’t have had to be alone in the house in the first place.

Now understand me here. I’m not placing blame.

My parents did the only thing they could given the resources that were available at the time, and there are no good options in a situation like that.

But as the child who lived through it, I had a lot on my shoulders that I wasn’t equipped to handle, and that I never should have had to deal with in the first place.

I wasn’t a villain. And I was exactly as selfish as every other human in the history of mankind was at that age. I was certainly no more selfish, and probably a little less so.

Five years ago, it wasn’t my responsibility to nurse J back to health. I didn’t have to do it.

And had I been thinking clearly, I would have taken a more objective look at what my kids were going to have to go through.

They’ve lived the same life for the past five years that I had for my entire childhood and adolescence.

On some deep psychological level, I think I was trying to make up for what I believed were wrongs I had committed against Jeremi.

And I was trying to do what I’d been taught from a very early age: when it comes to family, you do what you gotta do. You make the sacrifices necessary to support family, even if it means destroying yourself in the process.

But when you have kids who depend on you, who rely on you to be the safe landing spot when they have a problem or crisis, who depend on you to help them know how much they mean to you, sacrificing your own health and happiness means that you also sacrifice their safe landing spot.

My parents did the best they could to support both of their kids, but the truth is, two people just don’t have enough energy and personal resources to support two kids’ physical and emotional needs when one requires most of their energy just to keep him alive.

It wasn’t that they were inadequate, it was that the load was too big for anyone.

And that’s the thing I didn’t realize until I lived it.  My parents pushed past physical and mental exhaustion and burnout for decades because it was their child and there wasn’t anyone else to do it.

Steve and I did the same thing, but J wasn’t my child. I already had three kids, and they were taking up everything I had just on their own.  I never had enough to give to J without sacrificing what my family needed from me, but I didn’t realize it until I was falling apart.

I’ve broken myself, physically and emotionally, and I’m working on picking up the pieces and starting again.   I’ve learned some valuable lessons, but man, sometimes I wish I could learn things without having to go through hell in the process.

So the process has begun.

Wish me luck.

Straws and Camels

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Back in April, I wrote a post about why the thought of Mitt Romney as president scared the living hell out of me.  I talked about the Paul Ryan budget, how it slashes social safety net programs, and how, if enacted, would essentially make what I do here with J impossible.

You may have noticed that Paul Ryan is now the Republican candidate for Vice President.  While there are at least five instances of Mitt Romney supporting and agreeing completely with the Ryan budget, there is also video of him saying that he has his own budget that isn’t the same as Ryan’s.  At this point, nobody really knows what the hell Mitt Romney actually stands for, but last night, former President Bill Clinton spoke at length about the Republican ticket and their budget policies.

He reminded everyone that the Ryan budget will not only change Medicare to a voucher system for everyone under 55, he brought up something else that no one has really been talking about. It also cuts Medicaid spending by 1/3.

Clinton stated, and the fact checkers have verified, that two-thirds of Medicaid spending goes toward nursing home care for the elderly and people with disabilities and serious illnesses.

The money my husband and I get paid for taking care of my brother comes directly from the Medicaid Waiver program. His medical equipment, including his electric wheelchair and communication device, as well as the Chux, adult briefs, catheter supplies, and co-pays for medical services and medications that Medicare doesn’t cover also come directly from the Medicaid program.

In my April post, I gave a lot of details about the costs associated with taking care of J.  About 3/4 of the money we get paid working with J goes directly toward the expenses of taking care of him. Our added costs for housing, utilities, monthly fuel bills, insurance, medical care, travel expenses, cleaning supplies, and other out-of-pocket expenses for J’s needs amount to well over $1000 a month.

When you figure in how much it would cost us to pay out-of-pocket for medical equipment, medical supplies, and medications, the costs are astronomical.  There is absolutely no way we could come close to covering the extra $1000 we already pay per month if it wasn’t for Medicaid.  Trying to pay for the other stuff is a sick joke.

From the time I was a child, one of the most important values my parents instilled in me was that we take care of our family, no matter what the cost.  My dad took over the family farm before I was born, and shared the income equally with his parents and brother, in spite of the fact that he did the vast majority of the work.  He’s an excellent farmer, but it wasn’t exactly his dream job.  He sacrificed his own dreams to make sure his family was taken care of.

My mother paid for my grandma’s medications and helped her out financially for years, and when Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, Mom took her into her own home and did her best to take care of her for two years until dealing with the strain became impossible. She wrecked her own health in the process.

So three and a half years ago when J became critically ill, my husband and I uprooted our family and moved 180 miles back home to take care of him.

We were faced with a choice between putting J in a nursing home, letting my parents try to take care of him themselves, in spite of the fact that they were both in their 60s and had health issues of their own, or moving back to take care of him ourselves.

So we moved.

I’ve written pretty extensively about some of the difficulties we’ve had, so I won’t go into it much here, except to say that it’s been hard. Trying to raise our three kids and take care of J, who was critically ill for the first year we lived here is the most difficult thing we’ve ever done. In fact, it was impossible to meet everyone’s needs. My kids were pretty much on their own, even though I was in the house, my marriage was put way on the back burner, and my own needs didn’t even figure into the equation for a long time.

It’s still a constant struggle to try to find a balance when there’s just too much to be done and not enough me to go around.  A lot of the time, we’re just treading water, hoping we don’t drown.

Which leads me back to the Romney/Ryan ticket and politics. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are both pretty open about wanting to cut Medicaid and other entitlements. Ryan has talked about privatizing Social Security [another benefit that J gets, without which, we would have to pay for his food, personal care items, clothing, etc. out-of-pocket as well].

Basically, privatizing Social Security would mean giving SS money to the banks to invest as they see fit and try to grow the fund.  We all remember what happened when the banks were given access to the money we had in commercial banks and allowed to use it for investment banking, right? In eight years, they managed to tank our entire economy.

Back in April, I basically bled all over my keyboard and wrote one of the most difficult posts of my entire life. It also signaled my official ‘coming out’ as a liberal to my family and friends, most of whom were, and still are, staunch conservatives.

Admitting to the people I loved most that I could no longer pretend to be something I wasn’t, in spite of the fact that all of them had passionately conservative political views, was not easy, to say the least.  In fact, if I’d been able to quiet my conscience and continue to lie about it, it may very well have made my life easier, at least for the time being.

But at that point, I’d been hiding my spiritual, emotional, and political journey from almost everyone for years, and eventually, it just became too much. It felt like I was betraying myself and more importantly, my kids, by not speaking out and telling the truth.

I’ve always insisted that the one thing we ALWAYS do in our family is tell the truth.  Honesty is so important to me that when my kids were little, I couldn’t even bring myself to tell them that Santa Claus was real because it wasn’t true.

I know that seems ridiculous, but for me, being lied to is the worst kind of betrayal, and under no circumstances was I going to do that to my babies. I don’t always give them every detail, but it’s always been a policy in our house that if the kids ask a question, I will give them an honest answer, no matter what.

Well, eventually, I realized that I was hiding a lot of myself from the people around me. I was always honest with Steve, and he stood by me and listened to me through all my struggles to figure out exactly what I believe and why.

I joined Facebook after we moved to take care of J in order to try to keep in touch with our friends in St. Joe, so it made sense to me that since cyberspace was the only place I could really go, I could tell the truth about my life on Facebook.

Well, it turned out you’re not actually supposed to talk about real stuff on Facebook. I suspect a better name for it might be ‘Maskbook’ or ‘Fakebook’ but whatever.  Part of the transformation I underwent during that time included tearing away every mask I’d ever put on and learning to just be me. The real me.

I figured if I was going to teach my kids what it means to be honest, I needed to be honest with myself first, and then with everyone else.

Yeah, well. First and foremost, I’ve always been a dreamer.

One of the things I love most, and happen to be relatively good at is writing. I’ve been writing regularly through online journaling for eight years or so now. A lot of the stuff I write is crap, but some of it is good enough that when I go back and read it later, it doesn’t even seem like I wrote it.

I suspect this may end up being crap, but oh well.

I think initially, I used Facebook instead of the blog because I’d kind of burnt myself out on blogging.  I also liked that there’s no counter on Facebook. Unless someone comments or hits the like button, you never know if anyone saw it or not. When you know people are reading your words, and you know how many, you tend to gauge ‘success’ by the number of hits.

So why am I back on the blog?  Well, I’ve pretty much outworn my welcome on Facebook. It’s an election year, and I have some political opinions that are less than mainstream in my group of friends. I knew that going in, which is why I was so scared of posting about politics in the first place.  It wasn’t so much that I wanted to piss everyone off, it was just that I felt like I’d spent so many years contorting myself into the person others expected me to be, I’d forgotten who I was.

And once I found myself again, the most amazing thing happened. I actually liked me! Go figure. :-/

So, I began testing the waters and posting some opinions, and then I waited to see if people would leave my friends list in droves. For a while, they did.  On the one hand, I get it. Everyone has preferences, and some people hate politics or stories about poop, so naturally, some people were going to leave.

It still kinda hurts, but I do understand. The times when I really had a hard time with the whole ‘Facebook De-Friending Drama’ is when someone would post a disagreement on my wall about something I’d posted and get irate when I defended myself. When you have an argument with someone, it takes longer than a day to forget about the disagreement, and when your friends list gets one number smaller, well, it’s pretty easy to figure out that someone got pissed and left.

I’ve always had issues with people storming off angry, so even on something as goofy as a Facebook Fight, it feels like unfinished business. It also reminds me of Jr. High, and when the people leaving in a huff are people you once respected as a mentor and friend, well, it’s a little harder not to take that personally.

I don’t mind debating, in fact, it’s something I enjoy immensely when it’s done properly.  I love writing, and I love research, so learning things and sharing what I’ve learned is something that feels like flying to me. I enjoy having my opinions challenged, and I love it when people bring up points I hadn’t thought of and basically give me something else to study.

I don’t mind being wrong any more than anyone else does. It’s embarrassing sometimes, but the older I get the more I realize just how little I know about the world, so it’s a lot easier now than it was when I was younger.

One of the things I don’t deal well with, though, is when someone quotes a ‘fact’ that is demonstrably untrue and then refuses to admit that their statement has been thoroughly debunked. This is not how debating is supposed to work.

Everyone is biased, and a lot of people aren’t above using some spin, including me, but I do not deliberately quote lies and call them truth.

Ever.

And when someone else does, it makes me irate.

And now we’re back to Romney/Ryan.  Romney and Ryan have both been caught in outright lies.  These aren’t your typical bias, distortions or spin, these are straight up bullshit fairy tales worthy of the National Inquirer.

The blatant, shameless dishonesty that has been exhibited by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan just in the past couple of weeks would have been more than enough for me to either refuse to vote at all or switch parties if I was still a staunch Republican like the rest of my family.

However, even without the lies, there’s the fact of the Ryan Budget and what it does to Medicaid and Medicare.  I am not lying or even exaggerating when I tell you that if J were to lose 1/3 of the money he gets for all the care he needs, we would not be able to afford to take care of him.

J’s life, and our lives, would end as we know it.  We would lose our house. We would not be able to afford utilities or decent food. J has to have Ensure because he can’t chew, and his food cost per month is at least $200.00. On Steve’s income alone, our food budget for the five of us was about $300.00 a month.  So without Medicaid, either J would go hungry or we would.

The house we could afford on Steve’s income alone in St. Joe was a tiny three bedroom, one bath house that was a whopping 927 square feet.  We couldn’t begin to fit J and all of his stuff into that house with the rest of us.

This is real.  If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win the election in November, and if their plan to cut Medicaid goes forward, they will be sentencing my family to a life of  poverty. They will greatly shorten J’s lifespan, and they will put us in a position where we have to choose between taking care of J and taking care of our kids.

I am a mother first.

One of the things that has been so disheartening for me is how a few of my own relatives have reacted to my becoming a Democrat.  The reactions have ranged from disappointment, to anger, to condescending arrogance, to accusations of being a Communist [now conveniently called ‘socialism’].

I’ve had to deal with being attacked personally, first on my Facebook wall, and then when I refused to be cowed on my own page, on their news feeds as rants and random Facebook memes that include how stupid and evil ‘liberals’ are.

I never dreamed I’d be a black sheep in my family, considering I’m a stable, happily married mother of three, who is also taking care of her adult quadriplegic brother, but here I am.

To find out that some of my own family values hearing what they want to hear and believing lies just because they back up their own ideas has been beyond infuriating to me.

To realize that people in my own family will vote for a man in November who will sentence me to an even more impossible life than the one I’m currently living is heartbreaking.

To know that some of the people in my family would rather hate President Obama based on nothing more than lies and spin from the worst news network in the history of television fills me with white-hot rage.

And I guess this is why I’m writing this one last [potential] Facebook political post, and why I’m finally talking about the people in my very own family who have treated me with less compassion, understanding, and mercy than I would expect from a stranger.

Some of the same people who showed me that when family needs you, you do whatever you have to do to make sure they’re taken care of, the people I’ve respected and loved since I was a child, are the people who now refuse to listen to me, accuse me of being a communist, treat me like I’m an idiot unworthy of anything but contempt, and in November, they will vote for a man who will choose to enact a budget that will very likely end my life, the life of my family, and the life of my brother as we’ve known it.

I know it’s crass to air dirty laundry on the Internet, and if I choose to post this on Facebook, I may very well burn some bridges with people I’ve loved all my life, but this is my reality.  This is the anxiety, stress, and agonizing pain I live with every day.  The people I believed would always be there for me have already shut me out, whether they realize it or not.  Stubbornness and the need to be ‘right’ has taken precedence over any willingness to understand me and where I’m coming from.

People always say to ‘vote your conscience’ which is often a way to tell people to vote against abortion.  Well, that’s your right, of course. But when you go defend the unborn, keep in mind that the candidates who would outlaw abortion are the very same people who believe that the life of my entire family is not worthy of consideration.  That is the real choice you face.

So Now.

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Well, I’m better than I was the other day, and I wanted to say so because really, who wants their online journal to be nothing but whining?  Mostly whining is okay, though, because this is where I go to write in order to get stuff off my chest so I can move on.  Yeah, it’s demented that I need to do this in a public forum, but I think I’m probably a closet exhibitionist or something.  Can’t help it.

And really, it doesn’t matter much anymore because I’ve neglected this blog long enough that if I ever had any regular readers, they stopped coming a long time ago.  I keep leaving it here, though, because I always imagine eventually I’ll hit another word well and need to put them somewhere, so why not here?

I gotta say, though.  Jeremi is at work [yay!  He missed yesterday because of lots and lots of shit.  He had an accident right before the bus got here, and then spent the day in bed.  Which sucks for me because it means I’m stuck in the house.]  The bad thing about having to get up early to make sure J gets to work, though, is that I am SO not a morning person.  I hate mornings.  I would boycott them if I had a choice.  I’d much rather stay up late and sleep late.

Which sucks doubly, because no matter what I do, I end up staying up late regardless of what time I need to get up, and how much sleep I’ve had in the last few days.  It’s ridiculous, really.  If I stay up all day today, I still won’t be able to sleep before midnight [and probably not until 1 or 2].  But I’m suffering from lack of sleep, because I got up at 6:00 AM this morning and only got about four hours of sleep.  I can do that for a couple of days, but by the third day, the alarm doesn’t wake me up anymore.

If I take a nap, though, I’ll sleep until noon or after [because even though I’m exhausted right now, it will take me a while to fall asleep, and then I’ll have fifteen interruptions or so because the kids will need stuff].  And after I’ve slept for a while, I’ll get up and drink coffee again, and by the time I’ve showered and gotten ready for the day, Jeremi will be home from work.  This is how my day goes.  Now, if I hadn’t had to get up this morning, I’d get up about 9 or 10AM and be ready to go by, say, noon, and then I’d have three hours to do whatever I want.

That’s the goal, I think.  I need to figure out how to hire someone to do mornings.  It’s simply not working for me to do them.

But now I gotta take a nap.  See there.  Therapy.  I figured out what I need to do.  Now all I gotta do is figure out HOW to do it.  Heehee.  I think I’ll talk to J’s caseworker and see if he can help.

Hmph

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so I’m sitting here, thinking, damn, I should write something.  I’ve got so much pent-up stress, maybe i need the relief of venting a little.  taking care of jeremi 24/7 kinda sucks.  I’m sick of getting stuff for him and putting him to bed and feeding him and cleaning up shit and puke and piss and mucus.  I didn’t WANT to do this to begin with.  I decided to because the alternative was too horrible to contemplate, but now, here we are, a year into it, and I’m thinking, damn.  this is getting OLD.  only twenty or thirty years to go!

I dunno.  I think I’m just abnormally stressed out and I’ll be better in a few days.  steve’s working nights, and that always makes for a rough time for me.  he’s gone all night and sleeps all day, so I don’t get to see him, and i also don’t get much [if any] help with J or the kids. 

having people come in and help clean and bathe Jeremi started out being a good thing, because frankly, i feel like shit most of the time and all the laundry and dishes get away from me pretty quickly.  it only takes a day or two for things to get out of hand, which is too quickly for me to keep up.

I can’t figure out if I’m just lazy or if there’s some kind of horrible exhaustion thing or depression thing or what the hell is going on, all i know is that i know the things I should be doing, but i don’t have the energy [or motivation if i’m just a lazy fucker] to do them.  this is one of those times I’d like to run away.  not from steve or the kids, just my responsibilities and the inconveniences. 

I’m tired and I need some peace.  I don’t like jeremi very much anymore.  mostly, he annoys the shit out of me.  I’m feeling pulled in all directions again, and no one is getting what they need.  I sat in here and played computer games all day in an attempt to distance myself from everything.  didn’t work, though.  I couldn’t leave the house because Shaya isn’t here, and i wanted to get out today…actually, i needed it, desperately.

I guess maybe I should just go to bed and things will look better in the morning.  they generally do.  yeah, maybe that’s what I’ll do.

Searching For Feet.

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So somehow, I’ve lost my momentum on this blog and never quite gotten it back.  I haven’t been writing at all, except for e-mails, in months now, and lately I’ve been thinking that it’s time to start again.  This is something that kind of comes and goes, I guess.  I’ve been thinking about other things and busy with cleaning and organizing my house, and getting ready to home school next year, but as I get stuff organized and start feeling better about how the house is being run, writing comes back.

I guess maybe I’ve been cleaning for another reason, besides home school, eh?  I dunno. It’s a bit odd to be me sometimes.  I haven’t been doing much in the way of reading or studying, but it’s like the stuff I learned before is coming to fruition in my life anyway.  I’ve always felt like a schmuck when it comes to housecleaning, and I’ve always felt like it was something I should be better at because it’s better for me and my family if we always have clean clothes and home cooked food, but I often fall short of that goal.

I still do, because I get tired easily, and I often feel sick, but instead of feeling guilty, I just wait it out and do what’s absolutely necessary until I feel up to working my butt off again.  Since we’ve worked on the kids’ rooms, they’re more able to clean up after themselves, which is a great bonus, and I taught Shaya how to load and unload the dishwasher, so she can do that when I’m feeling crappy.  Now, we’re going to work on laundry!

I guess it’s kind of tacky to make the kids do housework, at least from one point of view, but this is kind of a home school before home school starts project.  They need to be able to clean up after themselves [something I never learned until I was a grownup, and something that Steve would tell you I’m still not the best at] in order to become effective adults.  Especially Matt, because he has my distractable tendencies, and forgets what he’s supposed to be doing, so his cleanup process takes a lot more supervision and energy to maintain.

So anyway, I’ve been thinking about writing again, in the midst of all this upheaval and organization.  I got a course by Holly Lisle online, called How to Think Sideways, and I started it back in the beginning, but at the time, I was only able to download one lesson a week, and sometimes I get on a roll, and don’t want to stop once I get going, so it was messing up my rhythm.

It’s all downloaded and complete now, so I think I’m going to start up with it again, and see where it takes me.  I did the first five or six weeks back when it started, and I was already having a great increase in my creativity, and getting in touch with my ‘muse’ so I’m looking forward to starting up again.

I was thinking about posting my progress here, and maybe starting a free write at the beginning of my sessions on the blog, so God willing, I’ll be posting more often here.  Seems like I should be doing something with it since it’s still here and easy to use, eh?

Come fall, I’ll have home school news to post, so that should be fun.  I’ve decided to use Seton Home School curriculum because it’s fully planned out for you.  When I home schooled Shaya before, we couldn’t afford a curriculum, so I did it with no idea of what I was doing, and no help, and Shaya’s education was far from complete because of it.  At the time, I would never have used Seton, because it’s Roman Catholic, but since I’m Orthodox now, RC isn’t quite as offensive to me as when I was protestant.  Makes sense, since the Protestant movement came out of Roman Catholicism, and so you get a lot of ‘Romeaphobia’ in protestant circles.

I’ve learned that while Luther was right to protest some of the things he disagreed with, the path that some of the others took after he opened the can of worms that became the Reformation, was anything but good.  It’s kind of a sad thing, from one perspective, because of the shattering of the Church, and yet, a lot of good has come from the Reformation, too.  So I dunno.  I said all that to say that I’ll be using a Catholic home school curriculum, which also happens to be one of the most complete, and cheapest on the market, so it’s a double whammy!

I think Steve’s mom is a little worried about me using RC material, but in the end, I decided that it would be easier to filter through Catholic teachings than Protestant teachings, even though they’re both two sides of the same coin.  There isn’t a curriculum available that’s Orthodox, so I gotta make do with what I got, you know?

I’ll be supplementing with Orthodox books, too, though.  So hopefully, it will work out and my kids will get a well-rounded education.  I think it will be good, because I can learn with my kids, and that’s kind of exciting, you know?

So about writing.  Even though I’ve taken quite a detour on my quest to write books, I think I might be ready to stretch my brain in that direction again.  I have a hard time finding balance for some reason.  It’s like I only have enough capacity to focus on one, or at the most, two, areas of my life at a time, so when I’m doing one thing, like cleaning and organizing,  everything else takes a back seat.  I’ve always been that way, and I’ve tried at various times in my life to be wider in my focus, I can’t seem to master it.

I’m hoping that with home school, it will enable me to be a better, more involved parent [my kids are pretty self-sufficient, and they’ll find stuff to do without bothering me, which is great, but it lets me be lazy in interacting with them, so I don’t pay enough attention to them] and then after we’re done with school, I’ll be able to focus on writing and not feel guilty because I will have spent a good portion of the day with the kids.

I’m also going to be teaching them how to cook, clean, and do laundry, which is necessary for them, and will be a great help to me.  We’ll be taking weekly trips to the library, and Seton has curriculum for PE, music, and art.  I’m also planning to grow a garden this spring, and the kids will be helping with that, too.  I think they’ll enjoy it.  They all like being outside [well, Matt would rather be inside, but I think he’ll like watching stuff grow because he’s got a scientific, hands-on learning style].

Well, Michaela just came to me and said, “I want some bwead, an some appewbuttew on my bwead.”  She loves apple butter.  So I’d better go.  I’ve got other stuff that needs to be done, too, but God willing, I’ll write more on here tomorrow!

Ten Minutes and Counting

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Okay, ten minutes to blog.  I have no topic, so this is a free write.  Heh.  Prepare yourself for some aimless rambling.

I’m feeling pretty crappy this past week or so.  I started a new writing course by Holly Lisle [Think Sideways] and the first couple of days, I was doing great, and then my energy level plummeted and now I’m struggling to stay awake until bedtime.  Bummer.  So I’m not getting much done right now.  Hence the ten minutes of blogging time.  I figure if I write for ten minutes a day, my blog will start getting some action [and she’s been woefully neglected in the past year or so] and maybe I can get my ‘creative juices’ flowing again, too.

So today, I don’t feel much like writing.  I’ve been doing a book study at church on two books, the first one was called Redemption, and the second one is called Remember.  It’s a series about a Christian family and their struggles.  I fully expected the books to be horribly written, as only Christian fiction can be, but it’s been surprisingly bearable to read.  Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley wrote them.  There are some plugs for Smalley’s marriage enrichment seminars and some of his other teaching stuff, but the stories are fairly interesting [if somewhat predictable].

Tomorrow is the last night for the study. To be honest, the main reason I agreed to join the group was so I can learn some of the ladies’ names.  I don’t have them all yet, because the group was quite a bit bigger than I had anticipated, but I have gotten a chance to get to know some of the people a little better, so all in all, I’d say the book study was a success.

Shaya is at my mom and dad’s for a couple of weeks, and then my mom has surgery for a massive hernia on her abdomen on August 6th, so we’ll be going to KC for that, and then the whole family will go to my parents’ house for the week of the State Fair.  Steve is working at the fair again this year, so he’ll be in Sedalia, while the kids, dogs, and I stay with my parents.

I don’t know how conducive having all of us underfoot will be for my mom’s recovery, but maybe we’ll be a good distraction from any pain she might have.  HA!  I’m a little nervous about mom’s surgery, since the last one was such a nightmare [and a supposedly ‘minor’ surgery.  hmph!].  I don’t think she’s taking care of herself still, so who knows how this will turn out.  Ugh.

Hey!  That’s the end of my ten minutes!  Woo hoo!  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.  If I get on a roll, I may extend the time eventually, but for now, this is it.

Flu Sucks

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Ugh.  Matthew started running a fever on Sunday morning.  By Monday morning, Steve had it.  Late Monday morning, Michaela had it.  She cried and said she felt like she had a fever.  She did.  She asked to go to the doctor.  I took her.  Doc said we all had influenza, the wicked killer kind that everyone is getting.

He gave Steve and me samples of Tamiflu, and gave me scripts for all three kids, even though Shaya wasn’t sick yet, and neither was I.  Our prescription plan sucks ass [$100 deductible per person in the family, with no family maximum.  For those of you who are bad at math, or don’t know how many people we have in our family, that’s $500 deductible a year.  Heh.  We can’t afford that, but whatever.].  The co-pay after the deductible is supposed to be that we pay 40% but that doesn’t happen every time.  It’s only certain drugs, and naturally, my family sometimes needs meds that aren’t covered [non-formulary, whatever the fuck that means…I think it means they’re cheap bastards, but that’s just MHO].

So anyway, the bill for Tamiflu for just my kids?  $200.  If he hadn’t had samples, I couldn’t have gotten Steve’s and my prescriptions filled.  That shit’s expensive!  And I honestly don’t know if it did anything, but whatever.

Tuesday morning, Shaya was sick.  I took care of everyone in the house.  By Tuesday evening, Steve was coherent again, as was Matthew.  Michaela was getting better, too.  Shaya was still dying [she and Michaela threw up with this stuff, Matt had diarrhea and coughed his head off, and Steve was mostly coughing and aching bad enough that he just lay there and moaned most of Tuesday..so not fun for me]

Wednesday evening, after everyone was mostly recovered [except Shaya] the adventure began for me.  Aches, pains, some coughing, a little nausea, and today, diarrhea.  Let it be known that I hurt like hell, but refused to moan.  I even got up in the middle of the night to get my own medicine [it’s easier that way, trust me].

Steven is almost perfect as a husband.  His reaction to his own illnesses takes away a couple of ‘perfection points.’  There are a couple of other things that drive me nuts [like why the hell has he been watching Walker, Texas Ranger lately?  I think he does it to torture me.  That definitely shaves off a couple more points!] but I didn’t come here to tell you this!  The Walker thing is actually cute, even though it reaches new levels of annoying [is Chuck Norris the world’s WORST actor or what?!?] And everyone is looking pretty shitty through these flu-dimmed eyes of mine.  So don’t take it personally, Stevie.  You know how much I love you! [and I did say, truthfully, that he’s almost perfect.  Way better than I ever thought of being, which I am currently proving by bitching, eh?].

I’ve been thinking for a while about writing a post, but damn.  All I want to do is be a bitch and gripe about stuff.  I’ve got snark, sarcasm, and meanness coming out my ears, and rather than plague you nice people with it, I’m going to sigh and sign off for now.

See you soon, I hope!