Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dear. . .

Dear Motorcyclist,
I am a good driver. I swear.  And I promise I always look out for motorcycles. Really.  I just didn't realize that when we both began to merge into the right lane to pass the white mini van that you would accelerate so quickly to cut me off.  I am sorry I almost hit you.  I didn't realize you wanted to go faster than the speed limit right then.
My apologies.

Dear Woman in the Enormous White SUV,
When you came whipping into the parking lot do you think you could slow down a bit and look for the smaller cars that are already in the process of parking?  We all know how busy the time right before the start of Mass can be.  I really am sorry that my correcting my car, backing into the space, made you have to stop momentarily.  Did you really find it necessary to show you displeasure in being held up for 20 seconds by "flipping" me off Italian style?  That sure was an ugly gesture on your part and the look on your face scared me.
To be honest I didn't really feel up to going into church at that point knowing you would be sitting among us. I was pretty downhearted by then so I turned my car around and drove home.  In tears
I will pray for you at a different Mass today.
And watch for you in the future when I am in the church parking lot.
With God's love,

Dear Tadpoles,
Sorry I haven't been around, posting or leaving comments lately.  Not much to write without repeating myself . I haven't even put that many miles on Oscar [only 150 since the last time I posted about it] but I can safely say I am still among the living.
I hope y'all are enjoying the beautiful fall weather, good health and happiness.
See ya' on the flipside. [I don't know what or when that flipside will be heehee, but....]
Love always,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Observations While Shopping

Retailers -

When the cash register freezes during my transaction last week, it's a fluke and all I need is apology and for my credit card to be charged ONCE.
When the cash register freezes again during my transaction this week it tells me you need to update your equipment and I want more than an apology to ever shop in your store again.  I like your store, but I do not have time for it to be fixed twice and for you to refund my credit card twice.  It takes a few days for the credit to appear in my account.  You have over 10 cash registers in your store. These were just two of them.
Sorry, but we won't be back Sears.

Tell your sales associates that the proper greeting is "Hello" or "Hello, how are you today?" or even "Hello, did you find everything okay?" NOT snatching my purchases out of my hands, ringing them up and pointing at the screen for the total.  Don't allow them to say "This is NOT returnable. Do  you understand this isn't returnable? Because it's not." and not say anything else.  Also, they don't have to wish me a nice day, but a simple "Thank you" would be appropriate.  Our purchases are what keeps the doors open, right?  I am so tired of going through the entire checkout process without the employee ever uttering a word to me.

I do not speak Pashto, Farsi, Chinese, Vietnamese or Spanish.  When I ask a question in English I shouldn't need another employee to translate. I need the answer in English. I would hope that the first requirement of any applicant would be fluency in English.  Notice I said "fluency" - not "proficiency", not "a passing understanding and an ability to nod their head or shrug" - FLUENCY.  Everyone should be able to work if they want to, but they must  have the skills necessary to do the job.  When the signage, literature and receipts are all written in English your associates must be able to speak it to work there.

If I am standing there, ready to buy your goods and services I will walk out the minute your associate takes a personal phone call/text. If he/she answers the store phone and instead of putting them on hold/transferring the call proceeds to try to assist the person on the phone.  I understand they are required to answer the store phone, but  I am standing, right there, cash in hand, ready to buy.  I am a real customer.  Their friends/babysitter/Mom/boyfriend or the person who may/may not buy from you are not as valuable to your business right that moment as I am.

Mothers -
Mothering 101 - True fact - Mothers can differentiate their child's cries.  There are six types of crying: Tired, Hungry, Dirty Diaper, Pain, Fear and Brat.

For example:
Your shopping is not as important as the well being of your baby, toddler or young child.
If your child cries because he is hungry you have three options.  1. Take him home and feed him, 2. Feed him a bottle 3. Breast feed him. Make any of these happen before you try on your 8th pair of jeggings.  I can promise you he will stop crying.  I can't be so sure the jeggings are going to be so happy.

If your child cries because she is tired?  Take her home for a nap. There is no second option. Remove her from the mall and take her home.  The mall is no place for a baby to get a good nap and you can find a new hat with matching purse for Aunt Bitsy's 85th birthday another day.  But your child needs a nap. In the car or at home. Now.

And if your child is purposefully crying because he doesn't want to be in the mall, [And you all know this cry Waaaaah [pause 1,2,,3] Waaaaah  [pause 1,2,3] Waaaah [pause 1,2,3] TAKE HIM HOME.  He is not going to stop crying until he gets his way.  You have taught spoiled him and he knows that the higher the decibel level the better chance he will get what he wants..  He will pass out from the effort before he gives up getting out of the mall.  The dressing room in JCPennys is NOT the time to begin being a parent and start enforcing rules.  Saying soothingly "No, no Timmy. No, no."  doesn't cut it. Trust me.  We could hear it not working.  Just because you are behind a closed dressing room door the 7 women in line can still hear you telling him no over his screeching and I can assure you they ARE whispering about you.  I can hear them through my door.  When one of the waiting husbands whispered "screaming lil' f*cker" under his breath all the other mothers giggled.  No, none of us has been there before and no we didn't feel your pain. Do you know why?  We either shopped without our children or removed them before they got to that stage. We took them home.  Sometimes other people's quality of life does take precedence over  lil' Timmy's right to exercise his lungs and our patience. Got it?

Helicopter parent:
When the cute teenage girl puts her arms around her boyfriend's waist and kisses him on the cheek it does not give you the right to turn around and say, sternly, "Enough with the PDA you two.  There are young children present."  First off - your son is 8 or 9 years old. He can certainly handle an innocent kiss between teenagers.  Secondly - you embarrassed your son.  I hope you aren't his room Mom at school too. Or did they ban you in 1st grade?  Finally - did you really think for one second I wasn't going to put my arms around my husband and give him a kiss on the cheek too?  I have no idea who crushed your spirit along the way lady, but over parenting isn't going to bring it back.  And you are darn lucky the only thing you gave me was a dirty look.  Good for you for keeping your mouth closed.  The teenagers high fived me on the way out btw. :D

Parenting fail:
When your child skips happily along with another Mom, Dad and their three daughters right out of JCPenny's, making it half way down the mall is NOT the time to notice he is gone.  It is also NOT the time to scream at the poor little guy for wandering off.  You're scaring him. He is 2, maybe 3 years old.  He cannot quite grasp the concept of strangers yet, especially when other little kids are around.  He did nothing wrong. He just thought he had made new friends and they were having fun.  Kids do that.  Instead, someone should have been yelling at you to watch your own kid and not lose track of him while in housewares.  SHOPPING IS NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR CHILD.  If this kid, heaven forbid, had gone missing we would have seen a tearful Mother on TV last night saying "But I only turned my back for a second and he was gone."  It was a lot longer than that before she noticed he was missing and all because she was so engrossed in shopping. Sigh. And people wonder why....

These all occurred in one day [except for my first purchase at Sears a week ago], at 3 stores.  I had $400 to spend on new clothes and shoes.  The new summer wardrobe I bought isn't going to cut it with the cold weather moving in so I really need an all new [to me] winter fall/winter wardrobe. [It's a fun problem to have. I know. :D]

I spent $105.63.  I got some great deals for Pooldad [1 polo shirt, 1 dress short sleeved shirt, 1 long sleeved dress shirt, 1 argyle sweater, 1 pair of khakis and 4 pair of shorts - $95.45. YAY!] and a black blazer, fully lined, for $10.18. It was 80% off.  It will be a great Christmas present for Squirrel. Double YAY!

I still have $294.37 without one new thing in my closet.  I wasn't even looking for bargains. I was ::gasp:: willing to pay full price just to have something to wear.  I even considered shopping online but I can't be sure of what size I am without trying on the clothes.  I suppose this means I will have to brave the stores again. Sigh.

Will someone please go shopping for me?  I promise to throw in "hazardous duty" pay if you like.  Ear plugs included. ::wink::

Have a great week Tadpoles.  We'll see you on the flipside. . . if I survive the shops. heehee

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Side Effects to Write Home About

Do you ever watch the commercials for prescription medicines and laugh at the lengthy disclaimers regarding side effects?  You know the ones, they go on for about 2 minutes, listing every possible thing that could go wrong if you take the newest "wonder drug".  An announcer intones in an ominous voice "Side effects may include nausea, vomittiing, dizzyness, the hair of your dog to fall out.....OR DEATH."  Death always makes me laugh the most because honestly?  Who in their right mind is going to take a drug, any drug, if DEATH is a possible side effect? Doesn't the kind of, sort of defeat the purpose of taking the drug in the first place?

I write this post because although I have experienced mild side effects to some medications I have to take - does anyone remember the anti nausea medication that actually made me throw up? - yeah,  like that, but nothing so severe that it would force me to stop a drug because of it.

Until Lyrica. Wow.  And this post will explain where the heck I have actually been for the past week.  I know y'all thought I was out toolin' around in Oscar, when all I have been trying to do is rid my system of that drug.

The Lyrica was prescribed to me, along with morphine, to treat my rheumatoid arthritis. I wrote about it a few posts back saying it was a wonder drug combination and I was pain free for the first time in over 4 years.  I had actually forgotten what it was to not feel pain 24/7 but the Lyrica worked. And worked so well.  I was justifiably excited that the doctor had found a drug I was able to take with all my other meds/health concerns and it WORKED.

Until the side effects started.  Now, being a good patient I read all the literature I could regarding Lyrica to educate myself to the pros and cons of taking it.  Sleepiness I could handle, nausea was no problem as I am an old pro at that and included was depression, but since I don't have a history of depression I knew I would be fine. And in all of those area I was.

The one side effect I never read about or was warned against? Nightmares.  Not your run of the mill, "oh I woke up that was a bad dream, hold me honey" type nightmares. No, no, no.  These were full on, thrashing the sheets, flailing at the air, screeching out loud WHILE asleep, waking up, shaking uncontrollably, in a cold sweat and a "where the hell am I" type of nightmares.  I had one nightmare that was so severe I had to call Pooldad to come home from work.  I could not stop shaking and crying.  Everytime I thought about that nightmare I started to cry.  And if you think that doesn't sound a bit like me? You are SO right.

These nightmares were so vivid, so scary, SO something I had never experienced before I knew it had to do with the Lyrica.  I went online and lo' and behold - it IS a side effect, but it isn't listed in the legal disclaimers provided by the company that makes the drug.  What is especially frightening is that I was on the lowest dose that a person can take in a day while I this was happening.

Although you are supposed to wean yourself off the drug slowly to avoid yet MORE side effects I hadn't been on it long enough to care about that, figuring nothing was going to be worse than what I had experienced. I stopped taking it immediately.  I had three more of those vicious dreams, afraid I would never want to sleep again, before they blessedly stopped. I told Pooldad I would live in pain for the rest of my life before I ever fell asleep knowing those nightmares were coming.

So, here I sit. My trusty bottle of morphine and me.  The morphine doesn't even begin to touch the pain so I don't take it.  It is an addictive narcotic.  If it worked I would absolutely take it but I don't need it's side effects with no relief.

I am not complaining, honest - nor am I bad mouthing Lyrica. It works miracles for a lot of people and I am happy it is on the market.  I wish it had worked for me without that side effect, but I am sure once I get to my RA appointment we will figure something out.

In the meantime I am marking the days off my calendar, praying that November 7th gets here soon. :)

I am still zipping around in Oscar. Love my car! And now I must be off because I have to take him to the dealership to get a few things taken care of.

It's going to be a great day y'all.  Keep smiling and we'll see ya' on the flipside.

ETA at 11 pm - Was anyone going to point out the glaring typo I had in the title? "Sid effects"?  sidE

Monday, September 10, 2012


I have been a pretty neglectful blogger lately haven't I? No excuses really, but it may or may not have something to do with the 1,268 miles I put on Oscar the last two weeks. heehee

We even sleep in it:
I kid, I kid. 
We were testing out how comfortable the seats were in a fully reclined position.  I am happy to report that it is very comfortable and I am sure we could catch a nap at a rest stop on a long trip if necessary. It really is a neat car Tadpoles. I just love it.

We have been to Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and Gordonsville Virginia.  We also drove 180 miles round trip Saturday night to Cockeysville, MD during a storm so severe it knocked out power along most of the route.  We even lost power before we left.  Ever tried to style your hair in the dark? :D

It was for a very dear friend's wedding.  All I can say he really IS one of dearest friends and thank goodness for GPS.  GPS is so cool. I am so glad it is feature on Oscar. I have never had it before but it sure does give me [and Pooldad] peace of mind that it is there.  And hands free calling is fun!  When I voice activate it and call Pooldad he answers the phone with a different greeting each time.  Yesterday when I called he said "Thank you for choosing Burger King. Would you like fries or onion rings with your meal today."  Never a dull moment.  I can't wait to see how he does tomorrow.  Heck, I drive around just to call him for a giggle. ::wink::

So yes, busy, busy.

A week ago I was "hired" for my first paid job baking.  How exciting is that?  I put "hired" in quotes because it was our next door neighbor who asked me to make 32 cupcakes for her son's football team.  I had given her one on her birthday and she liked it so much she said she would pay me to do it for her.  I told her I didn't want to be paid but she could pay for the supplies.  She loved what I did so much she paid me $40!!! For a couple dozen cupcakes. WOO HOO!

Even better - I had found a baker's rack on Craigslist earlier in the week and we had made an appointment to go see it the same night I delivered the cupcakes.  The woman selling it said she had forgotten to mention they only took cash so she would cut the price to .....::drumroll::  $40!!!

I had been searching for one for a long time.  I really needed it because I have so much baking STUFF and every time someone cleaned the kitchen I would have to search high and low for different utensils.  And all the different flavors, flours, oils - I REALLLLLY needed something like this - and this one is perfect.  It is solid iron and it is soldered not screwed together so it is really sturdy and of nice quality.  I am kind of proud of myself for being able to pay my own money for something I wanted and needed without dipping into savings or bill money.  I know that sounds goofy to a lot of you, but I have been so unproductive for so long I have to keep from pinching myself that I actually DID that.  YAY!

Also, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all the great wishes on my pain free days. :D  I could feel your smiles from here. [You don't think being free of pain and mobile has anything to do with me being away from blogging do you? Naaaah! giggle]  When the doctor prescribed the meds he also ordered a oodles of blood tests.  We received the results on Friday and thankfully it ruled out a lot of things [Lyme and West Nile for example] and my blood counts for the things we monitor closely every month are looking better than ever, YIPPEE!, but [always a but, always] my Rheumatoid Factor is 4x what it is considered normal.  It explains so much [the pain, the inability to sleep, etc.] but it doesn't explain why they didn't test for this before, especially considering my other health concerns.  Thank goodness I now have a doctor that is on the ball and actually listens. I am going to a new rheumatologist this week. She was referred by my doctor so I hope she is better than some of the others I have been treated by in the past.  Y'know - I betcha' that someone, somewhere has tested me for Rheumatoid Arthritis but those results got buried or forgotten under the piles of everything else.  Ah well-the condition may/might/will/is supposed to get worse, but at least now it has a name and a plan of treatment that may/might/is supposed to/I hope will enable me to improve my "quality of life". YAY! [Doesn't "quality of life" sound so serious? It does to me.]  It's all good Tadpoles. ALL GOOD!

Hey!  Speaking of Tadpoles - we had a visitor at dinner tonight that made me think of y'all.  I am so sorry I didn't get a pic' because it was the absolute smallest green frog we have ever seen.  He just hopped in through the back door to say hi!  Which was weird because our back door is off our stairless deck on the SECOND floor of our home. heehee  Forget the deck and no stairs for a minute, I couldn't figure out how he made it over the threshold on the back door. He was smaller than a quarter and barely bigger than a nickel so we have no idea how he made it up there.  Wallene caught him and tossed him outside before the dog had a snack.  She is crazy for frogs. And I do mean CRAZY [the dog not Wallene :D]

I hope those are enough tidbits to entertain you until I get back here again.  I have made an effort to keep up on my reading and commenting on your blogs - so I AM still around - I just get too tired before I can get around to composing something here.

My eyelids are getting droopy, so I will say see ya' on the flipside and leave you with a picture trio from the wedding this weekend. Enjoy your week!

Hugs from the pond, Skippy

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Didn't Leave

Although it looks like I am walking off...
 BOO! I'm right here.  Flashing y'all. giggle
That is the path from the golf course up to our family's home in the country.
[Told ya' it was pretty. :)]
Earlier in the evening Wallene saw this Momma and her two babies eating on the 9th green, which is basically our back yard in the country.
 The Momma was fully aware of Wallene and her camera. . .and was not too keen on my baby's proximity.
 The Momma began stamping her feet and giving little snorts while her babies looked on. . .
 Then she started towards Wallene.  Momma meant business. . .
RUN Wallene! RUN!!
So. . .if you can't tell - we went to the country for the weekend.

We did have fun plans in town this weekend but had to cancel them [BOOO!] because at the last minute we had to go visit the Squirrel in Harrisonburg.  Since the country house is midpoint between home and school we spent the weekend there.  You know me. Any excuse to go and relax.  Besides - we had to test out Oscar's highway prowess.  I am happy to report he does great!  Around town the first tank of gas worked out to be 33 mpg, but I haven't done the math on highway miles.  I do know that I am glad that we had him this weekend because we drove almost 400 miles and gas is 3.70 in the boondocks where we were.  That is up .55 cents in less than a month.

On the pain front I can simply say "Pain?  What pain?" And I am completely serious.  I had forgotten what it was not to be in constant pain and thought it was just something I would have to live with for the rest of my life.  Not exactly ideal but I figured I am pretty lucky [okay, okay A LOT lucky] to be among the living that I would just compensate and work my days/activities around the pain.  When I went to see my primary care doctor last week for a routine check up he asked what I was doing about the pain and I told him.  He didn't like my plan, especially since I wasn't sleeping either, so he talked to me about certain options.  I was in his office for almost an hour talking with him - he is that concerned and caring.  I am so glad we found him.  Anyway we finally decided on a daily drug that doesn't hurt my heart or mess with my liver and kidneys and a drug to take on top of that if the pain is especially severe.  The funny thing about these two drugs is they have opposite side effects - one causes drowsiness and an increase in appetite [studies show people put on a lot of weight while taking it] and the other one [which I have taken before] wires me up and kills my appetite.  They counter act eachother nicely.  I am not starving but I am not hungry either - so I remind myself to eat and that is good, but the first drug is winning a bit in the sleepy/wired war.  Since I don't take the second drug all the time I find myself super drowsy when I am sitting down.  Standing up I am fine [again with the standing up!], but at the computer or riding in the car I could doze off in a sec'. Same with bed.  If I lay down I can be asleep before Pooldad and that is unheard of in this house. heehee  Of course I won't drive while on the drug or until it settles itself out in my body, but if I take it and get a nap then I am not drowsy - so then I can drive.  I can't begin to explain the difference in my world this past week.  Not being in pain has shown me just how much pain I was in and how much I took for granted the simple acts of standing up, sitting down and laying in bed nevermind bending my arms or trying to grip a jar or a pencil.  The family doesn't know what to do with me. giggle  I think they might suggest I start doing laundry or something. Booo!

Today is Wallene's 15th birthday. YAY!  As is the rule in our house - if it is your birthday you get your pick of dinner and "cake".  Wallene, being Wallene, has taken it to another level.  She has requested the following:

  • cinnamon rolls for breakfast
  • cupcakes topped with butter cream icing and a chocolate/white chocolate chip cookie for her Clubhouse class [it's like Homeroom]
  • her sandwich rolled in a fresh made tortilla and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert
  • chocolate/chocolate snack cake for the Mellophone section of marching band [her instrument]
  • Shepard's pie with tortillas for dinner
  • Lemon merigune pie for her "cake"
I know darn well she can't eat a piece of each of the sweets today - she'd be sick - but I know she wants to share her birthday with all her friends, so I am baking my fool head off this morning.  I have the cookies, cupcakes and tortillas done.  The dough is raising for the cinnamon rolls and when I get off of here I will make the snack cake.  Dinner and the pie will be made this afternoon when I am done shopping for her birthday.
In the most fun news yet - and I promise to tell you all about it later - but I got my first PAID gig for baking last week. So unexpected but exciting all the same.
Have a wonderful Tuesday Tadpoles. It's all good - and if it isn't all that great right now? Just remember - it will get better. I promise.

Hugs from the pond! Skip