Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thurston Howell III in Drag

At least that's how I feel when I go to the gym.

Right now I'm trying to regain a little bit of strength and muscle tone in the aftermath of over six months of mrsa and lots of laying around. The problem being that the gym here is more problematic than the gym when I was a young single gal in Louisiana.

In the old days I'd show up, slam through the Nautilus machines at a frenetic pace. Not stopping to talk to anyone, no socializing, no getting all fancied up. Get 'er done!

Here at our 'wellness center' connected to the hospital in our tiny town populated with rural recondite rednecks and locals that thrive on knowing everyone elses business in glorious detail going to work out can be a minefield of weirdness.

This is the only gym I've ever seen where flocks of older ladies show up in full makeup, done hair and perfect outfits to work out?!? This really puzzles me because I've always just shown up in workout gear not caring how nuts my hair looks and definitely not wearing mascara, lipstick or foundation at all. It's very puzzling, and that's without my asthma reacting to any colognes.

One of the other things I struggle with is that I hate working out. Everything hurts or protests in my body, I'm sweating and inwardly swearing. It's just never been any fun for me. I know there are folks out there that love it. I am not one of them.

Consequently I'm not in the mood to 'chat' or socialize. I just want to get through my version of the Bataan Death March and go home. No small talk, no eye contact, no deep philosophical discussions or local gossip.

Which is a huge problem because many of those frou-froued up ladies live to flag others down and flap their jaws. It's the reason I dropped my aqua yoga class unceremoniously, because one of the ladies would not shut up, kept yapping in a class that is supposed to be largely silent and meditative.

Add in the fact that some of the members of my former church attend this gym and that some of the older gentlemen there are on the prowl for female companionship and it can really get tense.

Lately I've affected what I call my Thurston Howell III in Drag routine. When I'm working out I had my resting bitch face thing going on strongly, hoping I'm giving off unfriendly 'Do not bother me with your petty blathering' vibes, looking down at the few that invade my workout space with a mien that I hope says, 'Why are you bothering me you filthy urchin?'

If one of them attempts to hold a conversation with me I then just say something inane like 'How very quaint/interesting/droll/sweet/intriguing' and I power on past without breaking my stride.

I know it's rude, but this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I just don't have the time to stay all day at the gym and let Chatty Cathys monopolize my time.

Yesterday and today I ended up staying in the pool over twenty minutes longer than I ever intended because of my snotty gym introverted nature. Both days one of the most obnoxious ladies from my old church tried to flag me down in the pool, both times I proclaimed in my best Thurston Howell III imitation that I was busy with my workout and moved past her, both times she said she'd catch up with me in the locker room. I stayed in the pool way longer than it would take her to groom and leave.

For me this is one of the biggest changes in how I handle life. I have boundaries now and I protect them zealously. There is nothing in this world that could tempt me into engaging with this lady from my old church because I know she either wants to a) boast about herself and her righteousness, b) issue to come to our version of Jesus, c) gossip about someone, likely the recently deceased lady, d) ask for my phone number yet again so she can send me a personal word of prophesy each week from Jesus. Nope. Nope. Nope....

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Senior Citizen Problems

Been busy, between Father's Day, getting together with the kids, and being nagged into a shopping trip with my old pal Joanie. Most it's good, some of it isn't, like Jim having a dust up with one of the former board members of the HOA who is hurtling personal insults when called on violating town and HOA building codes.

The other drag involves something going on with my Maw In Law. Five or six years ago when MIL contracted pneumonia down in Louisiana and almost died Jim was with her for three weeks at the hospital and later the nursing home. While taking care of her he discovered that she was spending huge sums at Publishers Clearing House and every scammy charity you could imagine. After his brother took over her long term care and moved her to a Texas retirement home he also discovered that their mother was spending large amounts on silly things. He cut off her access to money, taking over her checking account, paying her bills, taking away her credit cards.

My MIL has complained about this off and on to me since then, complaining that Jim's brother will not allow her to have cash, a check book or credit card. I've always told her that Jim's brother is doing this to protect her and to trust him.

At least until this Christmas from Hell we spent with her in Texas. There was lots of things that came out and Jim and I decided to try and move her here, to Virginia, to a nearby beautiful luxurious retirement community five minutes from our house. Predictably Jim's brother was furious, talking the MIL out of the move. It didn't exactly ease any of the hard feelings from Christmas in anyone.

Since then I've discussed what happened with my therapist and she had both a tentative diagnosis for the sister in law's problems and some suggestions on handling things moving forward. Jim has reached out to his brother and they have managed to talk weekly and take tentative steps to rebuild something of a relationship. I have followed my therapist Elise suggestions, I have stepped aside from the brother in law and I've gone completely 'no contact' with the sister in law while still staying in touch with my Maw in Law.  I even have an action plan for when my 94 year old Maw In Law passes, it involves saying the least possible words in the dullest possible fashion to the sister in law and sticking close to my mother. I owe her nothing and I refuse to either provide he with drama fodder or play her games. Boundaries are awesome!

But here's the problem. In the last week we've been getting a series of emails from the Maw in Law. She's getting increasingly agitated that Jim's brother refuses to allow her to have any cash and will not allow her to walk the roughly 200 feet from her retirement home to a nearby CVS or Walgreens to buy things. Now she's demanding the money and the emails are getting kind of crazy and hostile.

I get why the BIL is not wanting her to just jaunt over to the drug store with pockets of cash. She has decided she has IBS and wants to buy drugs to stop that, yet doesn't seem to understand that if she's taking Miralax daily and having diarrhea that she just needs to stop the Miralax.

Pointed out to Jim yesterday how unlikely it was that she would be able to get her hands on anything strong enough to do any real damage to herself or even likely to interact with the few meds she's on.

It's sad that she's not allowed to touch any of her money at all. The BIL has financial power of attorney over all her funds and he steadfastly refuses to allow her a penny of pocket money. Upon hearing this my mother has sent my Maw in Law an odd twenty for bingo. I get that BIL doesn't want her to fritter away her money on otc drugs or get rich quick schemes and that she has been experiencing some senility, but my heart breaks for her. I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be to have someone else so completely in control over every aspect of your life with no say so from you.

I'm contemplating having my mother or someone else call the Elder Abuse hotline in that area just to have them check into the situation because this is all ringing a warning bell for me. I don't dare do it myself because I never wish to give the SIL anything else to hold against me for her long list of my offenses, stuff like I pounded on the trunk of our car and yelled at Jim to pop the trunk and other things I have no memory of at all. And I know I'm not going senile....

This is a woman, my Maw in Law, who has only been wonderful to me during the past thirty years I've been married to her son. The whole hideous control freaking nature of this entire thing is just reinforcing my idea that my sister in law is responsible for all this tight control as part of the sick thing she has going on.

Jim is talking again about moving Maw in Law here. I hope he can pull it off. There has to be a middle way that makes everyone happy. I don't get why allowing this woman a few dollars cash in her pocket and allowing her to walk a few feet to the store is such an awful thing.

Friday, June 17, 2016

When It Looks Like One Thing, But Morphs Into Something Else

The title seems to be the theme of my life this week, a week punctuated with asthma to the point where I've been laying in bed watching lots of bad television like the "Revenge of the Nerds IV" movie and "Cops".

One episode of "Cops" I saw is a perfect illustration of my life at the moment. The officers showed up for what seemed like a routine pick up of someone high as a kite and attempting to expose himself to minors. By the time the long episode was over Mr. High Flasher had kicked out the window of the police cruiser, made a break for it, managed to piss and crap himself and break one of the officer's nose. Not expected at all. Neither has much of anything in the past few days.

I'm trying to regain a little strength by going to the gym daily and walking around the current pool. Unfortunately I am being stymied the last few days by someone else there. A little silver haired lady in the pool that literally reeks of some perfume that spells instant asthma for me. Each time I've rushed up to the counter at the gym using my portable nebulizer just to break the episode enough so I can get home in one piece the manager has gone to her and pointed out the 'no perfume' signs in the locker rooms. The lady has been so horrid about it, fighting with the managers and telling them she'll do what she damn well pleases.

It's frustrating because this is not a matter of her choice slightly inconveniencing me, it's impacting my ability to use a public facility I pay a big membership fee to access. Today I'm going two hours early to try and head her off at the pass.

Yesterday afternoon also went about like this. I decided to go to a new salon and have the horrible haircut the Jesus-shouter gave me six weeks ago corrected to something I can style. Big BIG mistake. No witnessing, just a stylist that completely ignored the photo of how I had my hair in a long messy pixie bob to my chin three years ago and proceeded to give me a short pixie above my ears. She ignored my telling her over and over again that she was cutting it way too short. I did the usual full salon package and she tried to upsell me on a complete facial waxing package instead of doing what I asked and just threading my eyebrows. She tried to plus sell by mentioning my slight I usually keep it groomed off upper lip hair.

Oh no bitch! I'm not going to buy more products because you are pushing 'mustache' removal. I'm just going to get more and more pissed off.

This is possibly one of the few times I've come out of the salon/spa more tense than I went in. I let the stylist know I hated my hairdo and she'd failed to listen to anything I said about the style or length. Thankfully it's just hair and hair grows back. But damn, nothing is going according to plan or usual patterns. What's going on here?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Still Alive, But a Tiny Bit Worse For the Wear

So I am still alive, I just have been incredibly busy with life and No Longer Quivering. We seem to be lurching from scandal to scandal at NLQ this year, a couple of scandals involving 'Girls Are Like Apples' and marry them off young Von Ohlman followed by the Hate Songs of one Pastor Steven Anderson after the terrorist attack in Orlando this last week.

I still haven't answered many emails going back months now. I still have issues using my right hand well or for very long. I use the time mostly to do NLQ posting/editing things, not replying to people. My bad, I suck.

Yes, I have mrsa again, but my last five bouts have occurred somewhere on my head, my eyes, my mouth, my face and now up my nose and all into my sinuses. More doctors visits and more meds. I am getting used to constant yeast infections and feeling like crap.

I had a birthday recently and we went out of town, down to Virginia Beach. I needed that badly.

Been busy with handmade items that people have ordered and some of those sample quilts for the shop. Put in the garden, trying to trim down my closet to clothes that actually fit. I've lost enough weight that I had to give most everything in the closet to charity. Still have a ways to go to get to goal but now wearing regular non-fat lady sizes. All by eating healthy. I did this even while sick. Knowing I started this borderline diabetic also helped. I have to do this. The less body I have the less oxygen I must take in, so in the long run this will be good for the asthma too, not to mention the back problems and fallen arches of my feet. I still freaking hate exercising.

Making Costa Rica moving plans for the Fall. Very likely Jim will have a position teaching English. Already planning what to bring and got Jim to agree to hiring a maid/cook. I'm going to be still doing NLQ but spending more time at the beach and quilting than I do now.

One thing I've started doing for NLQ that was slightly nerve wracking is that I started doing live Facebook videos, reading aloud Von Ohlman's horrible marriage match making book 'What are you Doing?' I was so stiff and flummoxed during the first video but by last night's I was much more relaxed courtesy of TEQUILA! I turned the reading into something of a drinking game. Every single time Vaughn had a character hint at sex without using a proper term for it I did a mini-tequila shot mixed with a squirt of lime juice on camera. I'd been thinking about a couple of tequila shots a day after reading on an AMA-related website that researchers had discovered that daily tequila, one or two, causes people with fluctuating blood sugars to stabilize. Yeah, like I need a reason to gulp down tequila shots! I like it a lot.

By yesterday I needed to get tipsy. My ex friend with cervical cancer passed away. She spent the first three weeks after her diagnosis lurking from herbals and prayers healing ministry places, one to another, seeking a cure. The last few weeks of her life she was finally in a good hospice providing nursing home and surrounded by her family. Right where she needed to be all along.

The downside of her passing is all the crying on my shoulder some of those ugly evil women from my old church did. I got a lot of calls, but it wasn't too bad. No one was blaming her for her death, it was more women shook up that someone they knew well died a few days before her 56 birthday. I was able to provide a little comfort, and that's good, even if it's emotionally draining.

Now I'm off to the gym to trudge around the current pool and try to regain a bit more strength again.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Raw Nerves

I don't quite know what's going on with me right now. The asthma is hellish again, I'm not even bothering to wait for a full blown attack either. Once I feel my oxygen levels tanking, or go into that feisty I Hate Everyone And Everything Is Pissing Me Off mode I have started to immediately push my meds before the attack starts. Hoping this heads off a few. Recognizing the beginning and heading it off seems like a better way to deal than waiting for the attack to happen.

But I found myself yesterday in tears after a stop light encounter on the edge of town. Yesterday I started my errands with a fun thing so I shouldn't have been crying, I went to the local train depot and watched the heritage steam engine N&W 611. Yes, I went railfanning in the morning.

 The Norfolk & Western steam locomotive making its way into our town for a run back to the place it's stored in between being hauled out to show off for heritage runs. Built in Roanoke, and run through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountains through the years. A rare sighting. Coal burning.

This was sort of foolish for me to do, I have had some pretty serious attacks after being within a mile or so of a coal-burning electrical plant. I guess this might have been the thing to cause me to go into that awful pre-asthma state. I didn't think about the fact that I was going to be breathing in coal dust particles until much later.

That was the nice part of the day, before it got too hot. Standing in the sunshine, talking with folks while we waited for a piece of history to roll past. I ended up meeting a neighbor I didn't know, and meeting the parents of a young man I know very well.

It was on the way home from getting prescriptions filled and picking up a few things at the Mennonite store that I encountered a local man begging for money at the stop light. I was perhaps about six cars back, too far back to read much of his sign asking for money and saying he could not find a job. He looked like a young man, longish hair, lean form wearing blue jeans and a tee shirt as the day started to heat up from a pleasant morning to a hot humid lunch time.

I don't know why, but there was something about him, and many of those asking for money by the side of the road, that gets to me. I can only look at these down and out folks and wonder how they ended up in this place. Just starting imagining what led to the side of the road sometimes gets me started, makes me realize anew how fragile that illusion of safety actually is. Makes me unhappy with myself that earlier in the day I was busy judging a man pushing a toddler in a stroller in the 7/11 while he bought enough beer to get very hammered and a pile of smokes. Yeah, I was mentally Judgy McJudge over those smokes and beer. I should know better. I should know this could just as easily be myself or those I love.

At the long light I started fishing through my wallet awkwardly, keeping an eye on the light because this is a high traffic and high speed intersection. Not a good place to set up to ask for money. When I handed off the cash I could see I was very mistaken, he wasn't young, he was middle aged, around 40. I could finally see his sign, which read he had been out of work since the furniture factory in town closed. That was five years ago.

Ended up in the parking lot of the grocery store, weeping for this guy and others I know. Realized later this was just about the time my asthma was starting to give me the first few symptoms that it was approaching.

Hate feeling like this.




Sunday, June 05, 2016

Fitty Six

So I had my 56th birthday last Thursday. It was, um, interesting.

First of all I decided to book a cheap hotel room down in Virginia Beach for the night. For many years I've tried to always be down there on my actual birthday. If it's a day trip the routine is swimming, body surfing, boogie boarding and fifty dollar hotdogs. We used to always joke that foot long hot dogs, cokes and banana splits for the four of us ran a good fifty bucks. They do. Beach prices.

If we spent the night there then I always go out and do some sort of surfing at midnight, alone or with whoever is there. However I haven't 'real' surfed much since my asthma went crazy ten years ago. So I settle for a short board or boogie board now. No standing and immediately falling down from my very crappy balance issues. Must get a paddle board and try that.

Right after I finished booking a hotel room online the day before Jim got home from his immersion Spanish classes at the nearby university and wanted to take me out for Chinese food. What I didn't count on is that he invited a couple from our old church that we're still friendly with. I was very unpleased by that surprise.

Why? This is the same woman who I love but has told me that we must get demon deliverance ministry in the aftermath of Jim's firing from his part time job last month. She also was so incredibly judgmental and unpleasant during our October beach vacation to me every time we were alone I wasn't sure we could still be friends. She lectured me continually about how my position updating NLQ was sinful.

Fuck. That. Noise!  After our experience ten years ago with deliverance ministry and lots of exit therapy I see how childish and stupid the idea of demons lurking everywhere is. We humans screw up enough on our own and shoot our own toes off so that there's no real need for an evil boogieman to mess with us. The ultimate evil is many times us. I know I routinely enough screw up that I don't need to blame it on some demons when it's caused by my own fear, ignorance, stupidity, greed, insert your favorite venial sin here.

The lunch went well but I took a relaxant as soon as I realized Jim had planned this 'surprise' for me and I downed a couple of glasses of wine with my lunch. I was on tenterhooks all during the meal waiting for the judgmentalism to come out to play.

The next day we went to the beach and the weatherman was seriously wrong. It was supposed to be sunny and warm, but the closer we got to the beach the foggier it got. In all my trips to Va. Beach, week long trips, day trips and overnighters (a pile since it's a mere 2.5 hours from home) I've never once seen fog like this. That first night I lay in the bed watching the fog slide away under the street lights like a natural lava lamp. Took a ton of photographs.

The hotel had seen better days, but that was alright. It was cheap, it was close enough to look at the ocean from the balcony and it was clean. I'm usually a stickler over hotel rooms being well appointed and maintained... except at the beach because I rarely do more than just sleep in the room. I'm going to keep this place in mind for the next time I go back because the suites have full kitchens. I'm willing to overlook torn edges on the carpeting and various flaws for clean sheets with no bedbugs and a full kitchen.

Jim gave me a book on raising orchids as a birthday present, which is almost comical because when I worked at the international florist all the calls on orchid care were funneled to me. I've raised them for years. But I have learned a thing or two from the book.

Hit my favorite lady's clothing store at the beach for more clothes in regular sizes and we had some pretty fabulous meals down there. The only thing that worked out to be something of a drag is that we went to a massage spa that Jim loves down there. We got massages at the same time in the same room. Heard that they used 'Young Living' oils, which is a drag because I tend to react rather violently asthmatic to their scented oils. That was part of the problem with the house in San Marcos over the holidays, the entire house had been cleaned with Young Living scented oils. I told the masseuse that I cannot handle any of their scented oils so she used an unscented oil on me.

It was fine at first, but four hours later I was in agony, my skin was covered with angry red welts, and I was wheezing some. Yes, I am apparently allergic to their product, no matter how they try to claim on their website that if you break out it's from 'detoxification'. Nope, I had a full blown horrible allergic reaction that required a ton of meds to turn off. I'm still having asthma and hyper sensitivity in the wake of the oil use and still scrubbing to get it off my clothing and skin.

Even in my old fundy days I never really bought the premise that using essential oils was the main way to health. My ex friend dying of a cancer that might have been treatable in the early stages who has only used essential oils for health kind of caps my thoughts on this. If you want to use essential oils because you think you benefit from them or they smell pretty you should. But to throw aside regular checkups and claim the oil is going to cure all your ills is pretty naive.

The massage was nice, but rather disappointing. But then again I was measuring it, and every other massage I've had since with the one in Costa Rica where the masseuse walked on my back and pulled my arms at the same time. I've discovered than when I get a massage I want the hardest thing possible. I told this young gal to hurt me, make it hurt so good, but she just timidly rubbed me. If I don't hurt when you're done I know that in a few days I will no have received much benefit from the pummeling. I like hard intense medical massages for my back. This was not that.

Maybe I'm turning into a raving masochist in my old age?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

One Piece of Cake, Two Weird Incidents

Well we made it through my son's birthday without ugly words or family infighting. I could tell my daughter is still very hurt and angry with my husband but no one misbehaved. I ended up spending my afternoon making the most delicious chocolate cake from scratch, too bad my cake decorating skillz are somewhere between crack head and epilepsy sufferer. At least it tasted very yummy.

But while I was alone in the house baking yesterday afternoon I had two big frights. I think the time has come to finally install some sort of security system along with video surveillance. The first incident happened when I was crossing the hallway and saw that someone was fiddling very hard with the doorknob on the front door. Cell phone in hand I tiptoed to the window, peeked out and saw a younger black man trying to get in. I opened the window a crack and asked him what he wanted and he ran.

This was around 11 am, in our quiet supposedly 'safe' neighborhood in the suburbs. That's pretty ballsy to try and see if you can get in with cars in the driveway in broad daylight.

The second thing was even stranger. Our large city-issued trash can is right up next to the house. When you open the lid it makes a distinctive sound, when you close the can it's a heavy thump. About 90 minutes after the doorknob incident I heard the garbage can being opened and closed. I opened the door thinking that it was Jim. Frequently when he arrives back home he tosses whatever trash is in his car into the can before coming into the house. What I saw was Donald Trump's nightmare, a Hispanic man looking into my mostly empty trashcan. Again, I asked what he was doing and he ran off into the direction of the neighborhood behind ours.

The neighborhood behind ours is all three story McMansions that made up the most foreclosed upon subdivision in all of Virginia during the housing market crash. Now many of the large houses are rentals snapped up by investors for small prices and the landlords have illegally divided up the floors of the homes into apartments. One family in the basement, another on the ground floor and two others on floors two and three. When we first moved here twenty six years ago that was all open pasture and cows.

Two years ago when the drunken Mexican broke into our house as I sat on the sofa we installed dead bolts. Now I think it is time for something more.

One of my friends says this is because the economy hasn't recovered like the government and media claims and there's more desperation and home robberies. That could be, but I'm no longer getting desperate guys showing up on my doorstep asking for any type of work that needs doing, like mowing or cleaning the gutters.

That was so sad, because most of the time I had nothing that needed doing so I was sending them on their way with whatever money I had in my wallet, usually twenty or thirty bucks and a bag of groceries from my Costco horde. Hungry families, homes lost and rampant unemployment.