Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wedding update

A few nights ago we had some spare time. So we decided to get some wedding stuff done. Cody found our venue for the reception and out ceremony venue's been picked out for ages. In less than one single hour the other night he found both the catering company we're going to use as well as our photographer. Cody: 3 Me: 0

Also our invitations are now designed. Cody and I collaborated well on this. They're going to be so pretty. We'll have about 65 of them to make, which won't be too bad. Since we're having an online RSVP system, we won't need to design RSVP cards. Literally only one person on our guest list doesn't use a computer. I'm not sure what else we'll really need to include. Invitation, card with information about our website (which will also be on our save-the-date cards which we've ordered and have already), but what else? No registry cards. We refuse a registry at all.

Also my wedding ring has been ordered and is on the way, and Cody's ring has been picked out and we need to get it taken care of. It's going to be a custom-made piece. Mine is a curved band since a straight one won't go well with my ring. It's 18kt gold, which should look find with my engagement ring (14kt), and has diamonds about halfway around.

We've also decided on "flowers." Why in quotes? Well, we're not using flowers. We have something else in mind instead. But I'll share that later!

Cody also asked his groomsmen, though there's one more he's considering. I've had my bridesmaids decided (and asked) for several weeks.

So within a short time, just a little spare time during this busy busy week, we got quite a lot done.

Charlotte met her other grandma

Well this last week has been extremely busy. Last Saturday I spoke with my mom, and her disability appeal was this past Monday. So I said to Cody that I wanted to be there to testify on her behalf. I'm a big believer that if someone pays into a system to be there when they need it, then that person should get it when it's needed. My mom has a pseudocyst that is large enough that its sprouted its own cyst and they're wrapping around and strangling her organs. She's going to die without surgery. This isn't a condition that she could have caused.

So on Monday morning, we woke up at the asscrack of dawn, well, before. 3am. We were out the door at 4am to drive hundreds of miles to Fresno. Got great gas mileage. Took 3/4 of a tank to drive 250 miles. Anyway my mom's ride was late, so she didn't get there on time, but it's being rescheduled. Thank the gods she got a judge that was understanding.

It was alarming seeing her. The cysts are so big that they're visible. Seriously alarming. Even if we could find a private insurance company to cover her, I wouldn't trust them to not deny her surgery. We've got to get her on Medicare or Medi-Cal (Medicaid).

Anyway she got to meet her first and only grandchild. Charlotte was well-behaved and Grandma Angel (my mom's name is Angel) was obviously smitten. Charlotte was thrilled to see her grandma, and seemed to somehow know her. I really want my mom to get well.

We went to lunch and Charlotte was fascinated with spoons. She tries eating whatever anyone else is eating. So we got her a spoon for her to play with and she kept jabbing it into her mouth.

Friday, May 14, 2010


When I was a kid, I had hamsters. My first one, Princess, was a standard golden Syrian. She was the first pet who was mine, all mine, and I spent every dollar I could get my hands on for treats and toys and more cages. I loved those S.A.M. cages that connect with tubes. I did extra chores, used all my birthday money, for her. I think, in retrospect, I got more money for chores than I should have, but think that was probably because my parents knew I was going to spend it all on taking care of my hamster, and wanted to do it all on my own. When she died, I was devastated. Just so completely crushed. It was the worst day of my life until that point. My dad, bless 'im, tried cheering my up by surprising me with another hamster, but Princess the 2nd just wasn't the same. And then there was Buddy, my first teddy bear, a grey one, then Caramel, a caramel-colored teddy bear I nicknamed Carrie, and Bridgette, a teddy bear with a marking pattern like a light standard Syrian. Bridgette died when I was 12, right before I was diagnosed with colitis.

I've been wanting another hamster for a while, but the timing never felt right. Last Thursday we were at the pet store, day after I got out of the hospital, to get Emma a new collar. Her leather one was three years old and getting really nasty. I was hobbling around the pet store and saw the little mice. Charlotte was fascinated by the frogs. I saw a calico fancy hamster in a cage by herself, and the lady said she's been there a while and wasn't so friendly. Catch-22. She wasn't so friendly because she'd been there a while, about six months, and wasn't getting a home because she wasn't nice. But I was smitten. All she needed was a bit of time. I put my hand in the cage and let her sniff me, and gave her some raisins, and within a few minutes, she was letting me pet her head.

Cody and I went home, and I couldn't stop thinking about her. So the next day, Cody got her for me. As he said, for Mother's Day I get to be 12 again and pick up from where I left off when things in life were good. :)

She lets me pick her up here and there now, though I haven't taken her far outside her cage, a good-sized 3-story cage. She loves the tops of strawberries and kale. She's warming up to me nicely, and Cody's warming up to her too. He's never had a rodent in the house that wasn't a mouse coming in from outside. He likes her. :)

She looks like a ball of vanilla ice cream with a splotch of butterscotch and some chocolate syrup. The little brown scattered markings on her face look like nuts. All she needs is a cherry on top, so I named her Cherry. :) These pictures are from Friday, her first day home.

Charlotte's getting to be so big! Wednesday she weighed in at 14lb14oz. I did go to the mamas' group I've been missing out on while being sick. Cody brought her in for me, and I got some help when I needed it. She gets up on all fours and crawls, but crawling goes slow for her. So she'll push up an all fours and project herself forward and onto her tummy, giving an "ooh! ooh!" sound each time she lands. It's so cute. The other mamas were surprised at how mobile she is. She's not even six months and yet has no problem rolling all over the place and propelling herself wherever she wants to go. It's not going to be much longer until she's walking on her own. She can walk pretty well when holding onto hands. In these ways, she's growing up so much. I wish she'd slow down. No matter how big she's getting though or how advanced her progress is, it's not hard to be fully reminded of what a baby she really still is when she nurses, and then falls asleep on a boob-pillow. These are from last night:

This is one from my point of view. Look at how sweetly her pretty pink lips are, and how thick her lashes are! Her forehead birthmark is getting so light that it's easy to overlook it sometimes, and the one on the back of her neck and head is so faint compared to when she was born. The one on the back of her neck and head was pretty big and dark. These marks going away is a visual reminder that time is going on and she's growing up. It seems like it's only going to be a very short time before she's grown up and moving out. *sad face*

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Still tired and sore

Typical recovery is 4-6 weeks. I'm doing a lot better, still sore and achy though. Tomorrow I'm going to work a bit on a wedding gown. I need to do a little catch-up before my client comes over for a fitting on Thursday. Thankfully I work 3-4 weeks into big, time-sentitive projects for things like this, a cushion of time. So between having the flu and then surgery, I'm only a tiny bit behind, not far enough that I can't get caught up in the next few days. Thankfully she's understanding about pushing her fitting back. Her wedding's still a far way off, so she's cool with waiting an additional week.

You know that feeling you get when you're getting sick, like impending doom like your body knows you're getting sick, even if your head doesn't fully realize it? That's how every single day was for me. Since having my gall bladder out, I haven't had that feeling. I wonder if my depression and fear of the world, like something bad was always about to happen, wasn't somehow related to my gall stones making me constantly sick. Several times this year alone I've had a lot of pain, the same type of pain I had that led to me going to the ER, only not quite as severe. Close at times, but not quite there.

The staples have come out, and I'm having a hard time. I didn't have to see it when the staples were in. Cody took care of it all for me, did the dressings and cleaned it. I never once looked at it. I have since then, and am just really not taking it so well. I already feel like a disfigured freak. Now I have a new scar that looks like a 6"-gash in my side. It was estimated at 5", but it looks like 6" to me. Plus the 1"-long incision where the lap was attempted, and the 1/2"-spot where the Jackson-Pratt drain was. The main incision feels glued to my lower rib. The skin near my lower left rib can move around. On my right side, it doesn't move. It's stuck there. The skin above it is poofy, and the incision sinks in. It's visible through clothing right now, and it's easy to see that I'm no longer symmetrical. I hope it evens out. Right now my self-esteem is taking a battering. I just can't see these scars at battle-scars or anything. I see them as ugly, and, by extension, I see myself as ugly. The one spot on my body I was actually starting to like was the spot just under my ribs, and now that spot on me is ruined.

Even though the weather is getting warm, I'm wearing heavy clothing to try hiding this disfigurement. I don't want anyone to be able to see it. I can't stand up straight yet without feeling like the skin is pulling, so I also feel like my ability to move right is crippled. If it weren't for having such an ugly scar and not being able to stand up, I'd be feeling pretty good right about now. Hell, I could put up with not being able to stand straight because I know that I'll get back to doing so within few weeks, just a bit of gradual stretching. It's the scar. I don't know if that'll flatten out and the skin regain an ability to move or not.

I'm very glad that we're in California for this. All states are required to have a family medical leave program where employees can take a minimum amount of time off from work to care for sick family (there are few exceptions, like very tiny businesses and such, that couldn't realistically go for 6 weeks, or 12 weeks, or whatever it is, without replacing the employee). But California started this first, and went a step further. It's paid time, paid for through taxes eligible employees pay. It's 65% of the highest pay from the previous year, tax-free at the state level. So Cody's able to be home with me without much of an income loss. Between what taxes are usually taken out and what he'll get, the difference is pretty small, maybe 10%. Usually employees don't get the money right on their next payday, but things really happened perfectly for it. On a Friday we got our money back from the state (remember that wrongful garnishment? we got that money back, and it was more than a month's pay), and then the next day our car was fixed, and the next morning I was in the hospital. So we got a financial cushion just in time to not have to worry. With what he hasn't had to spend on gas getting to and from work, we haven't had to touch any of our savings though, so we still have all that money banked, and it's looking possible that it won't need to be touched. It's so nice not having to worry about money for once, to feel secure.

The other night I didn't feel so secure. I woke up because I thought I heard something, looked at the wall by the door in our bedroom, saw a tall shadow, thought Cody was up, laid my head back down and looked to the left, saw Cody in bed, and started screaming. If someone was at the foot of the bed, and Cody was in bed.... It ended up being a trick of the light or something, but it was terrifying thinking someone was in our room. I was thrashing about panicking, frightening Cody while I was at it, trying to figure out how to get Charlotte and Cody and myself out the window before the person-who-wasn't-there could hurt us. In retrospect, I should have realized that the dogs wouldn't have been quiet. They've become so protective since Charlotte's been born. If there's anyone on the other side of the door, they'll growl and bark, fur standing. If there's someone on the other side of the fence they can't investigate, they growl and bark, fur standing. While they're pansy-dogs when they know there's no danger, they growl and bark at strangers, letting them know not to come near us. If someone was outside the window or the door to our room, they'd have alerted us. No one could get in without us being woken up first. And we are in a town with so little crime that people still talk with disbelief about a small string of vandalism early last summer, some teens slashing some tires. Heh, I come from a place where hearing about a murder in town didn't faze me, and yet this small, peaceful beach town scares me. I think it's because I don't know where the crime congregates. Up north, I knew the parts of town to stay out of, where crime happened. But here, it's all fair game as far as I know.

I'm about to head to bed now. I'm tired, Charlotte's sleeping, and Cody's playing a video game. But since I'm yawning, bedtime now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Long time, no update

This almost always means I've been sick. Sure enough...

I got the flu really bad for a few weeks. Throwing up a lot, non-stop fever for about 10 days straight, up as high as 101.6, which may not seem that high, but I usually run 97.7, so that's like 102.6 for people who run the average of 98.6. Remember that 98.6 i average, and that some people will be cooler and some warmer.

I was also stressed because our car sprung a head gasket leak. Since it's a Sebring with a V-6, it's got two head gaskets. So a head gasket job x 2. Luckily it was minor enough that a sealant worked. We got that done on Saturday for about 15% of the cost of brand new gaskets. Perfect timing.

That was done just in time for me to miss the rally for midwives I'd been looking forward to. Midwifery and birth choices is a passion for me. This is the first rally I've missed. I also missed my first Wednesday mama group last week because of being sick. So I especially wanted to make it to the rally, and then the Red Tent birth event on Sunday.

I finally was on the upswing and was going to miss the rally, so we decided that, since we hadn't gone out in a while and got our money back from the state (remember the garnishment I said was in error? we got that money back - they'd taken about 50% more than they claimed we owed, but we got it all back), to go to the Santa Barbara Zoo and I got a season pass. I can go back as many times as I want and take a guest with me each time and free parking! So it's basically a season pass for the two only one person has to be the same each time for $65 (so I can take Cody's mom, for instance) versus two named individual passes for $100. Charlotte's young enough that she doesn't count and so there's no admission on her.

She wasn't interested in the birds, which doesn't surprise me. She sees tropical and exotic birds at her great-grandma's house all the time. So the Amazons were nothing new to her. Elephants, gorillas, etc., she saw. We'll go back soon. I feel deeply for the gorillas. They know they're penned, unlike a lot of the animals there. I believe they are completely aware that their habitat isn't their natural one. The looks in their eyes says it all. We saw giraffes and snow leopards and snakes and even some nasty bugs.

Charlotte fell asleep in my arms, so we decided to go. It's not like we can't got back...for free. :)

However I was none too thrilled that he set my iPhone down on a bench and presumed I saw it. Now I don't have an iPhone. Luckily I had just backed up all my data to my computer, so nothing's lost. The new 4G comes out soon, so I'll be getting an upgrade after all.

We got home and I suddenly felt intense hunger pains. Not pangs, but pain. It was odd. We went to Vons to get some fried chicken strips and jo-jos (these fried potato wedge things), and I started to feel violently hungry. Only eating did nothing to help. It wouldn't even stay down.

I'm not going to type up what's happened since then because >>>Cody already did<<<. Just head on to his blog to read it. I ended up in emergency surgery. I'm in the hospital right now with the worst hospital roommate in the world. She just started yelling at the aid for coming in to take our vitals. "How's a body supposed to get a full 8 hours if you idiots keep coming in here?" Only worse. Then bitched about the aid wanting to use the arm she didn't want used acting like the aid should have read her mind, then bitched that she'd need to roll to her back to get to the one she said could be used. Only worse. I get it that it's annoying, but FFS, Lady, you're here because you claim a small quarter-sized bruise from a car accident is going to kill you!! You're free to sign out, Bitch. You're the one who kept insisting they keep you to observe the bruise. Don't like what being in a hospital entails? Then LEAVE.

When the poor aid went to leave, I caught her eye, hitched my thumb toward Ms. Bitch, and made the "crazy" sign with my pointer finger. The aid nodded in agreement. This bitch has also yelled at the nurse because the IV she insisted on started beeping because of a kink in the cord. I don't think there's anyone she hasn't yelled at. While video chatting with Cody earlier, he heard her going off on the evening nurse.

Methinks someone's pissy because being in a minor accident (from her own description - she was in a big SUV and the driver clipped another car) isn't going to lead to a big payday or something.

Anyway I hurt and need to go to the bathroom again. They've got me pumped full of a crazy amount of saline, plus I always feel like general crap after a blood transfusion, which I had to have.