Just a Drop in the Bucket

Drops in buckets.  This week has been full of drops.  Lack of drops and celebrating drops. Drops, whether you realize it or not, DO, impact your quality of life, good and bad.

Last Friday Steve had a lovely ablation.  I won’t go into details, but it involved the part of the body that you sit on. Yeah, and then Part 2 involved the part of the body that expels what we all refer to as #1.  Needless to say, when both #1 and #2 are compromised, life basically stops in its tracks (or there is a lot of painful moaning).  I’m grateful to say, we made it through the weekend and both organs that control #1 and #2 are functioning properly again.  Thank God. Let’s refer back to drops.  Drops are important.  Drops do impact you for the good or the bad.

My ablation had a much different recovery trajectory. (Thank God!)  In the video link, this patient received treatment from the same device, Minerva, that I received mine.  My gynecologist, Samuel Kassar, used this on me, for the first time with another gynecologist, nurses, and the Minerva representative present.(Yes, I was the guinea pig, I feel so sad for guinea pigs, why would people do experiments on guinea pigs? They’re so cute.) I was a teaching tool and was grateful to be completely anesthetized during the procedure.  When he told me there were going to be other people watching the procedure, I said, “Well, I’m glad I won’t be awake for that.”  He said, “Fair enough.”   (Can I get an amen from all the ladies in the room?) If you have heavy menstrual cycles that are teetering out of control and inhibiting your quality of life (for me this was extremely heavy days that made it so I needed to rush to the bathroom, which was a challenge when I only have a bathroom break during recess time.  I can’t just leave my class full of students alone. Duh. So I’d have to bleed out and hope I have a change of clothes or a sweater to cover myself the rest of the day.)  The anemia was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The exhaustion of not being able to retain my iron levels, made me seek a solution.  Birth control pills and an IUD involved side effects and foreign objects in my body that I wasn’t willing to introduce.  A hysterectomy was too extreme and involved other hormonal side effects.  The D&C ablation seemed like the best option for me at this point in my life.  This particular dropping has significantly impacted me & I’m grateful the drops in the bucket will be basically nil from now on.

In the middle of drafting this post, I found out that our 13-year-old water heater could not be repaired without ongoing problems.  So, we were advised to get a new one.  What’s another $1000, when you’ve spent almost $90,000 over the past couple months?  Just a drop in the bucket, yo.  Drop in the bucket.

The thing is, I could be really angry about this whole hellish-home-investigation-solar- panel-construction chapter, and believe me, I’ve had my moments.  However, when I look at the bigger picture, the fact that I live in one of the richest and most financially stable places in the world, it’s hard to complain.  We may not have as much equity in our home as we had hoped at this point in time, but our house is going to value at over $530,000. (WHAT? Yeah, that’s SoCal.  Location. Location. Location.) Really, considering we bought our house in 1999, for $159,000, I think it’s a pretty darn good increase in value over 18 years.  Also, considering we had NO IDEA what we were doing when we bought this our first and only house, it has turned out to be a good investment.  Although we have been tormented by some stupid-ass decisions, i.e. not getting proper permits back in 2005.  (Live and learn from us people.  GET PERMITS! It will come back to bite you later.  It will. Or maybe it won’t.  Or maybe it will.)

Hopefully, we’ll look back at this time of our lives and say it was just a drop in the bucket. It feels a little like the chunks of rusted parts in the picture below.  These rusted parts separated from the inside of the water heater.  But now, we’ve got a new and improved water heater.  Hopefully, this is a foreshadowing of good to come.

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.


Gastric Bypass Update:

I’m not supposed to lift or exercise for 2 weeks after the ablation.  This freaks me out a little because I’m a bit rigid with my routine.  I don’t think I’ll fully abide by the doc’s advice.  (SHHHH!) Really, I’ll stay away from the heavy lifting (hard considering I need to clean up my classroom, “Uh kids, want to help in my classroom?”) and walk as much as I can this week to work up to my daily quota of steps.

Yellow Cards, Crashing, & Reasons to Celebrate

The best part of a good story is the unexpected, the anticipation, except when involves your final inspection of your house after 2 years of drama.  I kinda wanted the final inspection to go smoothly, without a hitch. Not exactly.

Steve: “Where are the yellow cards?”  He (our contractor) was looking for these cards that we haven’t SEEN, EVER.  The inspector was set to arrive in 15 minutes and we were supposed to magically make these yellow cards appear.

Me:  Over the phone with Steve, “What yellow cards? I have no idea what you’re talking about.  I haven’t seen ANY yellow cards.” At work and helpless to look through papers, Steve was going to have to look for it.   (Apparently, there are these UBER (not the car-driving service) important cards that need to be initialed and/ or signed at every inspection point.  Since Steve and I have not been home at any of the inspection visits, we’ve never seen these yellow cards or know they existed.)  

To our horror, relief, shakes-of-the-head, and what the hells??, the yellow cards were found in a dusty box of papers that had other construction-related plans and items in it. Steve thought it might be important, and kept it. (Brilliant man.) F to the Y, we have literally purged like a couple dumpsters worth of junk and gone through over 50 boxes. Fortunately, the yellow cards were in a dirty box that didn’t end up at the dump.  This post would be turning out extremely differently, and it gives me a lump in my throat just thinking about the yellow cards getting thrown out.  Can you imagine?  The infamous yellow cards.  The cards that hold a bit of ink in all the right places.  The cards that make it so we can move on from this grueling chapter of our lives.  The cards that make it so we are legal.  We have legalized our bedroom.  We are legit because of these yellow cards.  (By the way, they’re not cards, when I think cards, I think smaller.  For the record, these are 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of cardstock, not cards.  But whatever.  Semantics.  Words do help clarify, and the word ‘cards’ was throwin’ me off.)  Here they are:

So when I got home, crashing happened.  I was so tired, like all of the emotions flooded me from this extensive valley we’ve been in.  That photo, below, is me, sleeping off the final inspection hangover.  I’m lovely & sexy, right?  Pillow over head, mouth agape, dead-to-the-world with my cat atop to comfort me (or himself). (We call him Flubbs, because he basically conforms to whatever surface he’s on.  He flubbs his body down constantly, always right in the middle of a walkway.  He decided that I needed to be flubbed during my nap.)  

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Just after my nap, Jules came over to congratulate us on the final inspection news!  How sweet, right?  Friends. It’s really been so amazing having the support of our friends and family through this mess.  I guess that’s really what life’s about right?  Thanks, Jules, for recognizing this milestone.  And thanks to all of you who have prayed, listened, and loved us through this.  I feel like I can breathe a little more deeply today.

Until next Friday. Love you loves.


Gastric Bypass Update:

Summer— having an off kilter schedule can be harder for me.  I hate to say it, but I thrive on routine.  I do better when I’m busy, because I’m a boredom eater.  I eat to fill space and time.  If I’m busy, I don’t think about eating as much, so having too much time off can be bad for me, in the eating department.  I’m also a grazer.  I don’t like to sit down and eat.  I eat on the go while I’m moving.  Apparently, this is bad, because it’s not intentional.  You’re supposed to sit and think only of what you’re eating and enjoy the textures and tastes of your food.  That’s what my nutritionist Lori said.

Yeah, I don’t do that.  I’ve tried.  I feel kinda creepy. So, I basically still inhale my food, just less of it.  Confession.  There you go.

And word to the wise.  If you are a snacker, don’t buy the Boom Chicka Pop Kettle Corn.  It’s so good you will not be able to stop eating it.  Only buy it for parties, if you must.  It’s just, wrong, in a purple bag. And oh, so right.

Vaping Dude, New Rooms, A Famous Unicorn & The Disaster

Yesterday, staring at the crashing waves, I was reminded of the power of the ocean, and the power of romance.  Vaping Dude, stood, feet planted in the sand directly in front of MY view of the waves at Crystal Cove.  Yes, I could have moved, but if you saw how much crap we’d just lugged a mile, you’d know why I wasn’t going to move.  Vaping Dude and his lover stood embracing for maybe ten LONG-ass minutes, not just smooching, but sucking-face, as I like to call it.  It was like bedroom-sucking-face, the kind of kissing that really needs to be in the bedroom and not on a beach at 3:30 in the afternoon with children present.  I mean, Lawd have MERcy! This was an appropriate time to yell, “Get a room, people!” if there ever was a time.  (I couldn’t stop staring.  It was like a makeout train wreck.) After the love making session and subsequent falls from the crashing waves, they sat down on the beach adjacent to me, upwind. Yeah, you guessed it, I was downwind from the strawberry-scented vaping puffs (Silas guessed cotton candy-scented)  that glided past every few seconds because after that kind of love making, you gotta have a smoke.  One of the other women nearby and downwind of Vaping Dude, decided to move her stuff to another more suitable location and would periodically shoot daggers at him with her eyes as he continued to puff regularly and laugh with his love, completely obvious to the rest of the people on the beach.  But you already guessed the obliviousness.  The point of this?  Basically, just don’t.  Don’t vape and kiss on the beach, like that.  Don’t. That’s my bit of advice for you this week.  There you go.  Happy to help.

Now, on to the haps this summer.  We’re officially on the 10th week after construction began.  We have gotten all our junk put away that was stored in the POD since April. We’re feeling settled again like our home is a home again.  Here’s the progress, in my own words:

 

Famous last words:

“Now, we just have to pay for it.”

On another note, summer school has been so great.  I love deciding what I am teaching for enrichment. I bought a ton of clay (I get reimbursed! Yay!) and have just let my students be creative. (What, creativity? That’s a thing at school?) I’m using an app called Lego Movie Maker which has been really easy for them to navigate.  I have about 70 students rotating through a 4 hour day.  They are loving learning about stop motion animation and I am loving just teaching ONE subject every day.  It’s amazing. Maybe I should teach middle or high school?  Nope.  (Those kids are older, and they have attitudes and boyfriends who they might KISS on the beach.  Ew.)

I have no idea why this Unicorn is famous, but it’s awesome.

 

The Disaster:

I mean, if you got eaten by a giant snake, it would be a DISaStER!

This is just two of the 25 stop motions creations this week. Pretty great, right?

Now you know why I’m tired.

I napped two hours today, just so I could write my blog tonight.

I hope you read it.

Until next Friday. Love you loves.


Gastric Bypass Update:

I just keep on walkin’.  I try for 5 days a week, 10,000 steps.  Most weeks I make that goal.

I’ve been eatin’ like crap and buying WAY too much fast food because I don’t want to cook for the family.  It’s too hot, yo. I’ve got to make a menu cook at home this week because it’s too expensive to feed a family of 5 (+2 friends), every day.  We’re the “Hang Out” house.  That’s good and expensive. 🙂 Rice and beans for the rest of the month!  Not.  I can dream.  They just want to keep eating, darn it.  What’s wrong with them?

Seven, Eight, Lay them Straight

One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door.  Five, six, pick up sticks. Seven, eight, lay them straight.  Nine, ten, a big fat hen!  Week seven, last week, I was completely and utterly stuck.  I couldn’t move.  I was paralyzed by clutter in every direction. Construction was mostly completed, but we still weren’t sure if we could move back into the rooms. Once our contractor gave us the A-Ok to move back into the rooms, I didn’t know where to begin.  I just stood there in a 360-motion, catatonic, staring at three months of messes in all directions.

Fortunately, friends came to the rescue (thanks, Jeff and Josh!) and helped us unload that huge storage POD, and move the larger items back into the bedroom.  Then I went to my happy place for all my storage needs—IKEA and spent a boatload of money on adorable Kallax storage boxes for my Expedit cube storage shelf.  (Expedit is now called Kallax, in case you were wondering.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, ignore this and watch this video because it’s funny and there are a gazillion puns like this going around in our house regularly.)

Steve kept telling me to push through, that we could make it happen, one box at a time.  He was right. Now we’re almost to the end of week eight, and I feel like we are ‘laying them straight’.   Things have come together. (Bookshelves, room dividers, desk, chairs, and storage boxes.  Thank God for the Makita. I love you Makita. I love me some power tools and yes, I am a female. Breakin’ stereotypes over here on Baseline.  Doin’ my part, friends, doin’ my part.)  We have gotten rid of bags of clothes, furniture, and other items we didn’t need, like tie-dying dyes that the neighbor happily received, a storage cabinet and bunk beds that our other neighbors acquired, free of charge.  (We love our neighbors, even more, when they take our junk. Won’t you be my neighbor? <<You just sang that in Mr. Roger’s voice, I know you did.>>. It’s okay to admit it.)  It really does feel good to purge.  Are you with me?  If you haven’t started purging, start with one shelf, one cabinet, or one drawer. Baby steps. From What about Bob?, Bill Murray’s character says, “One little step at a time and I can do anything!”  Best advice for decluttering, physically and emotionally.  Best.

Taking that first few steps over to the first box is one of the hardest parts for me.  Getting started is a major hurdle. I did as Bob said.  I baby-stepped.  I am ALMOST walking through this decluttered house, safely.  (BTW, Steve did try a few of those IKEA puns while we were shopping, and I said, naturally, on cue, just like the girlfriend, Donna, in the video, “STOOOOPPPPP!”)

End of Week 7 excitement in this next video.  This is just after we moved our furniture back into the room.  I know my face is super freaky in this video.  The lighting makes me look ultra creepy.  Ultra. (Click bait.)

 

 

 

Now the Big Fat Hen, is the Big Fat Debt we have to pay off as a result of all this construction.

I’m actually going to make you…wait for it.

Wait for it.

I’m going to show you week 8 & 9 once we’re fully completed unloading all of the boxes and getting this house back into working order.  I’ve had to wait, so I’m going to make you wait.

We bought Boy a chair from IKEA and had him assemble it on his own tonight.  It’s like a Big-Boy Lego set.

This just happened: “It does not work at all. There’s all this extra crap. There was no instructions to use this! It was not in the instructions! Nowhere in the instructions!  I almost dropped this on my foot. I’m 100% sure they messed it up. I haven’t completely figured out the screws because the screws are jacked up.” (Awesome IKEA furniture rant from a newbie.  Don’t you love it? …..I’m a bad mom for logging this in my blog.  I couldn’t help it.  I did pay him 5 bucks to assemble my desk chair also, so I’m not SO bad. Parenting guilt.  He got much better at the assembly on my chair, on his 2nd try. Yes, I’m a bad mom.)

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.


Gastric Bypass Update:

Still walking.

My foot hurts from walking.  I think that’s why.

I’m going to get a tennis ball and roll out the ache in the bottom of my foot.

I’m hoping that helps because I have to keep walking.

Just like I kept unpacking those boxes, I’m going to keep on walkin’.

In case you didn’t hear it the first 3 times, I’m going to keep walkin’.

Steve had an appointment early this morning and I had to bring him home, so while I was waiting, I walked an Arcadia neighborhood.  I’ve learned to fit in the walks whenever I can.  It’s workin’ for me.

Now, I think we all need to rewatch What About Bob?  There you go, homework.

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Summer homework.  I am a teacher after all.

 

 

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful

This title line was from a Heather Locklear hair color commercial in the 80s and 90s, I think.   My house is talking to you.  My house is looking more and more beautiful, (and right, it should, after this intense make-over.)

It’s disturbing how, after you start to fix one thing, you start to notice how there are 5,000 other things that need to be fixed.  (Here’s how the thought process goes, “Oh, I need to order blinds for the sliding glass door and the new window in the studio.” “Ooooh, I hate the blinds in the rest of the house, maybe we should get those replaced too.” “I mean, we can’t live with substandard blinds in the living room.”  Insert the Wayan brothers’ voices from White Chicks, “Omg, if I have to look at that dreadful broken screen on the door one more time, I think I might have a BF!”)  

So, back to my house, the crew is painting now, and I’m not sure I love, love, love the color of the house, but if I think of it as a shout out to the 1950’s, this new paint job fits the house.  It’s like the house was sayin’, “Take me back! I want to be what I was at my origin, paired with a sock hop, poodle skirt, and Rock Around the Clock playin’ in the background.”  My house is happy.

Week 6, at the beginning:

Week 6: Later in the week

It’s not all done yet, but we’re getting much closer.  One of the main lessons I’ve learned is, when you don’t think things are ever going to work out, they do.  They may not work out as you expect, but they’ll work out, and you adapt.

I’m thinkin’ this house might be a metaphor for life.

Life is beautiful.

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.


Gastric Bypass Update:

I ate totally crappy this week & didn’t exercise as much.  It may have been that trip to Vegas that threw me off kilter a bit.  All that to say, taking a few days off to Vegilax was a good thing.  Now, back on the exercise bandwagon again via walking laps at Raging Waters today!

The Way to This Girl’s Heart…

The way to this girl’s heart…is through potatoes.

I love potatoes in any form.  Hash browns, french fries, scalloped, mashed, maybe the only way I don’t love them is raw.  But my mama has been known to munch on a raw potato when she’s cuttin’ them up.  Whilst enjoying some cheesy potatoes this week, I was taken back to an episode of Freaky Eaters, “When I eat cheesy potatoes, it instantly puts a smile on my face.”  Yes, definitely, but thank God I didn’t get stuck there at age four.  I do love variety.  (I can’t imagine a cheesy potato prison. Watch this, a woman in a cheesy potato prison for 30 years.  Wow.  There are limitations to loving something.  You with me?)

 

 

The way to this girl’s heart…is through claw machines.  Yeah, that’s what I said, claw machines.  If you aren’t familiar with a claw machine, here you go:

And yes, I was at Walmart. **Unashamed.  I totally want to be like this guy.  Summer goals.  I have goals, people, goals.  Best quote: “These two seem so gettable.”  I totally think that when I’m trying for the panda in the corner.  There is strategy here, for realz. I don’t play team sports, I’m an individual sport kinda girl.  I play the claw machine, yo. Oh my garsh!  (The next video that shows after this one is a Claw Science video.  Wha?  Yeah, Claw Science.  I’m totes on that. More summer goals. By the way, I WON that pig on my first try.  Then I got greedy and spent $3.50 more trying to win a panda.)

The way to this girl’s heart…is through happy endings.  I love the end of the school year because it’s the END.  We get to start over.  (There’s a thing called summer, that we still get to have as ADULTS! We, teachers, deserve it because we encounter over 25 students ALL DAY & live through it.  Some days are HARD, especially at the end of the year.)  Summer is awesome.  This, I look forward to. Even though I’m teaching summer school, I’m still THRILLED that it’s summer.  (Thrilled. Did you hear me?  Thrilled!  I mean, I got to watch the Comey stream on my laptop and fall asleep midweek!  Soap operas and naps on a Wednesday?  This is the life.)

Listen to the song by Weezer because I’m telling you to.

 

Speaking of the end, it’s close.  The near-ending to this unreal construction solar panel debacle is such a huge relief.   We’re going to be ready for the final inspection by next week.  What?????  Hard to believe.  Once that’s done, I will be so relieved.  (If you pray, please ask the LAWD for grace during our final inspection.   We would love for our inspector— Code Enforcement Officer, to not scrutinize the rest of our house when he comes in to observe the fire and carbon monoxide detectors.  He is trained to find something wrong.)  

 

 

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.


Gastric Bypass Update:

I’ve gotten more exercise over the past few weeks than I have in years!  My stamina has picked up and I’ve gotten over 11,000 steps many days over the past few weeks.

Let’s get real.  Here’s what I still struggle with…body image.  This is of a different sort, now that I’m thinner: my wrinkles, imperfect teeth, sagging skin on my legs and belly. Then I think, I COULD do a lot of reconstructive surgery, get lifted or enhanced boobs like so many other American women.  But I’m kinda like, no. Not gonna do it.  Why?  It’s a rabbit hole for me.  (Plus the entire budget that I could have spent on my body, I spent on my house.  Lol.)  So, y’all can deal, or not, with my gap, crazy teeth, and saggin’ skin.   If I make you uncomfortable, you can always stop reading and stop watching.  I’m here to remind you that imperfections are legitimately human.  I love you.  Deal.  I have to…

 

 

Break on Through to the Other Side

Little is struggling with breaking through to the other side. Middle School. It’s scary.  I told her a story about how, when I was 9, I moved from Arkansas to Texas. That was just before 4th grade.  I didn’t tell her this, but that was one of the hardest times of my life. Moving from my best friend, Nell, and moving to an unfamiliar Christian school where my memories are filled with the brown and yellow uniforms. (Who decides that brown and pale yellow will be THE colors of the school.  Can you say drab?  It’s the color of #1 and #2.  Just sayin’.)

This is our wall this week. The wall of our bedroom:

Week 4, Day 1

Week 4, Day 2

Week 4, Day 4   When Something Ends Up Where it Shouldn’t Be…

If you’re like me, everything relates to a song.  This one came to mind this week. Flashback to The Doors in 1967.  I’m looking forward to breaking through to the other side of this nightmare.   You with me?

Speaking of breaking through to the other side, in better news, I have been given the job that I applied for last week. I will be working with students who struggle with reading throughout grades K-5.  The bonus is, I get to stay at the school I love with people I love.  I don’t think I’m supposed to say I love people at work, but I’m going to say it anyway. Shout out to my CYP peeps!

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.


Gastric Bypass Update:

I’m reflecting on the fact that, had this set of circumstances happened to me over a year ago, I likely would not have coped the same way.  I would have coped with this stress by eating and eating to mask my feelings.  I’m grateful that I have stronger & healthier coping skills now.  I am walking instead of eating.  This seems like a simple substitution, but it took me YEARS to finally put this into practice.  I never thought I’d be here, over 90 pounds lighter and coping differently. I thought I was a hopeless cause.  Losing weight was for other people, not me.

Now about the colored featured image, I Can Do Hard Things. I think it’s evident that after the past few years, that I can do hard things and not only survive, but thrive.

You can too.