What I’m Up To

Finally! The last day of 21 for 31. Awesomely enough, Tricia is RIGHT NOW having a little brother for Georgia, and I could not be more thrilled.  What a well behaved young man, to let his mom get in 31 of her posts and then decide to arrive!

Later on today Eli and I are going to take a walk in the rain, because last year at this time he couldn’t walk and this year at this time we are totally going to stomp in some puddles, which is one of the main reasons I had a kid to begin with, so we could walk in the rain and stomp in puddles on a day when the air seems somehow lit, just right, by all the yellow leaves on the ground.

And later I hope to finally get my salted caramel hot chocolate and then I am going to go “borrow” some osage oranges from the side of the road to pile decoratively around my house.  I heard these babies are going for $12 a pop in the big city.  Maybe I should plant an osage orange tree in my yard and go into business.

If things get really crazy I might hunt down some white house paint and paint the front porch trim.  And hopefully I will get to the Alameda Flea Market on Sunday but man, San Francisco and her crappy crappy weather is a pain in my ass.  Mr. E is from Michigan and he melts in the rain and despite all my reassurance regarding “Oregon Sunshine” I think he is worried that Eli also inherited his rain melting properties and so if it rains we aren’t going.  Instead we’ll lounge around the house hopped up on anti depressants (kidding, kidding) and left over halloween candy and I plan on investing in a large large bottle of (gluten free!) Maker’s Mark, just for kicks.

Here’s my meal plan for the next two weeks, since some of you expressed some interest.  Recipes where I have them are linked.

1.  Soba noodle salad with tofu or chicken

2. Crab if they have it with twice baked potatoes, or else shrimp of some kind, probably in lettuce cups with twice baked potatoes.

3. Some white fish something or other and almond green beans and brown rice pilaf

4. Pasta Fagioli soup, in my cast iron pot instead of a crock pot.

5.  turkey sausage, red sauce, peppers, chard, over polenta

6.  Turkey kefta with zuchinni

7.  Fajitas

8. Garlic and mustard glazed chicken, spinach salad, yam fries

9.  bbq chicken drumsticks, baked beans, cole slaw

10.  Napa cabbage salad

11.  Veggie lasagna sans noodles

12.  Gluten free gnocchi, big green salad

13.  Home made pizza (with gluten free crust)

14. Breakfast for dinner (gluten free pancakes, fruit salad, bacon).

Breakfast and Lunch Ideas:

irish oatmeal/poached egg on gf bread/yogurt and fruit/grapefruit

onigiri/tomato soup/salads/rice crackers and cottage cheese and an apple/tuna/avocado and toast and hummus/marinated salad/butternut squash soup/an egg cooked in tomato sauce with spinach

I am also going to attempt some gf lemon bars and some salted caramels, or else some caramel sauce to pour over ice cream or baked apples.

Unfortunately They Haven’t Yet Invented a Cure for Bitch Itis

I would like you all to know that Mr. E just called his mother to report that I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a severe case of Bitchitis.


Anyway, I did go, although the internet steered me wrong and google gave me the wrong address and I was briefly lost and oh my god the anxiety.  I almost died, literally, the stress was ridiculous.

But it was good. I don’t know if I feel better yet, per se, and it wasn’t exactly like being welcomed into the warm arms of my grandmother, or anything, but the anxiety heart attack I had in the waiting room is over, and I feel enormously enormously enormously relieved.  Now there is a name to the crazy (hint: it’s not bitchitis) and it is not just something I should get over already like a normal reasonable functioning member of society. It isn’t my fault and it isn’t something I can fix on my own if I just try a little harder. It still sucks, but at least I have a plan.  Having a plan really helps.

In two weeks I’m going back to check on things and see about the anxiety, after we get the depression and the rage sorted out.

Thank you, again, to all of you.  Of course I can’t be sure, but I will always believe that if I hadn’t had to post something every day, if I hadn’t had this blog, if I hadn’t been forced to tell a truth I couldn’t take back in a public forum that couldn’t be ignored, if I hadn’t had so many of you tell me so well that you had been there too and that you had my back and that you were there for me, well, I don’t know that I ever would have been able to do this hard thing I had to do, to dig myself out of this pit and ask for help.  I am, and will always remain, eternally grateful.

All day long today and when I was sitting in the doctor’s office and my heart was beating out of my chest and I was trying not to cry or vomit, the same words kept running through my head, something one of my family members sent to me in an email last week, where she said that she was brave and strong when she was at her weakest.  Today, I didn’t feel brave and strong.  I felt weak.  But those words ran through my head, and I told myself that even though it didn’t feel that way, that even though it felt like I might die of nervous, that the fact that I was doing it, doing it anyway, doing it at all, made it true.  Today, I was at my weakest, and I was brave and strong.

Mental Health Day

This morning I am being extra nice to myself. I made myself an entire pot of coffee, even though I should only drink a cup, and I added sugar to it and some of Eli’s whole milk, which I don’t normally do. I made the good slow cooking irish oatmeal and I let myself put brown sugar on it.  I’m letting Eli eat A & D ointment, even though I should take it away, because it’s keeping him quiet and I just can’t deal with the whining right now.  I’m still in my pajamas and I’m reading blogs instead of playing matchbox cars and taking out the trash.

My doctors appointment is this afternoon and yes I am aware that I am making waaaaaaaay too big of a deal about this, but the whole situation is making me want to hurl every time I think about it.  And I would like to once again register a formal complaint – what a sucky system!  Forcing anxious people to attend anxious making appointments in order to get help with their anxiety!  That’s just flawed design, that’s what that is.  Don’t even get me started on the ramifications of insurance on all this.

Actually, do get me started, because I have something I want to say about insurance and the mental health thing.  Because for a long while Mr. E and I had great health insurance and then at his last job we had terrible insurance, insurance that was so bad that it very quickly put us in rather a lot of debt, insurance so bad that it cost us almost $12,000 to have a baby, insurance so bad that we’d tell people our coverage limit ($1000) and they’d gasp, insurance so bad that we didn’t even realize how bad it was until the bills started coming, and after that terrible terrible insurance which I am very certain many people in this country would give their right arm to have, well.  I will NEVER EVER EVER EVER take good health insurance for granted ever again and every time I have to deal with the insurance we have now, the wonderful, amazing covers everything insurance, every single time I go to the doctor or make an appointment or write out a check for a co pay I say a little prayer of thanks and let me tell you that if you don’t have bad health insurance, you just don’t get it.  But I am here to tell you that you CAN have a PhD and gainful employment and work two jobs and be a smart successful regular old not on welfare American and have ONE child and ONE spouse and no major medical problems and your bad health insurance which is the only health insurance your job offers can sink you into insane amounts of debt in a heartbeat, for things like having a baby or going to the doctor for stitches and if you’ve never been in that place you may not know how scary and stressful and horrible it is.  But I would beg of you to imagine, for a second, what you would do if you had shitty health insurance and then became overwhelmed with crushing anxiety and could find no other out of it other than going to the doctor and yet you could not afford to do so.  If I had sunk into this depression last year, I would have had to simply suck it up and deal.  We would not have been able to afford to send me to the doctor.  Think about that when you vote.  Think about the people, just like me, just the same, except that I got lucky, and they didn’t, and now I get to go to the doctor and they don’t.   Do we really want a health insurance system that runs on luck?

Regardless, I am now terrified that I have written down the time wrong or that I’ll forget my checkbook or my phone won’t work or that the phone call I missed yesterday from my doctor was her calling because my appoimtment was actually Wednesday or god knows what and trust me when I say this is just the kind of thing I would so screw up.  Gah.  I can feel my blood pressure rising at the mere thought of all of this.

Anyway, I just have to get through this afternoon and then there is a salted caramel hot chocolate waiting for me on the other side, and then I have nothing anxious making until Eli’s next doctor appointment in November.  Assuming I can stop my obsessive worrying over the election, the impending cancellation of Lipstick Jungle, and what color I should paint the dining room.

House To Do List November 2008

This is a little bit of a cop out post that I am writing because for two more days I have to write SOMETHING every day oh god please let it end.

Anyway, I have been feeling quite down in the dumpish lately regarding progress on house things, and it helped me immensely to go back to the House To Do list I wrote out in June or July or whenever we started this god forsaken house fix up process. We have done so many more things than I realized! Progress has certainly been made.  And here’s the new list of stuff I’d like to get done and hopefully when I look back on it in four months, I will be thrilled with all the progress made once again.

Also, not to get all Pollyanna on you, but here’s something I realized today.  In addition to feeling happy after I realized that we actually have gotten so much stuff done, I also realized that I could either mope around all pathetic woe is me because my budget for house stuff is a drop in the bucket compared to all the work that needs doing and all the furniture that needs buying, or I can just look around and do what I can do, now.  For example, we have big big plans for a gorgeous back yard and an expansive deck that becomes a second outdoor living room, but until we save the 10K that might cost, I can sweep the crappy back porch we do have.  I may not have the tropical outdoor oasis I dream of, and I might not be able to afford much more than a few fall bulbs right at the moment, but today I spent three hours sweeping and raking and doing what I could do, today, and my backyard looks so amazingly better, it’s not even funny.

So that’s my motto now, at least for the moment.  Not to obsess about all the stuff we need and can’t afford, and all the things I want to do and can’t find the budget for.  But to figure out what I can do now that might make a difference, and to do it.

Also, here’s a list of the EIGHTY things we have left to do before we can buy another house and start all over again :).  And I totally don’t expect anyone to read this, really, this is just for my own reference.

1. Paint the white trim around the front of the house.

2. Plant fall bulbs (lilies and tulips and daffodils and peonies) and fall trees.

3. Plant dinner plate dahlias (spring) and roses along the side of the house.

4. Have asian pear tree removed, plant something else.

5.  Add gravel and edging to side yard and back yard.  Plant succulents in side yard, add palms, flax, and two trees.  Add bench and Bauer garden orb.

6.  Tear down and rebuild carport.

7. Add bike hooks to back yard.

8.  Metal trash cans for pet food in backyard.

9.  Tear down back steps, add deck and patio furniture and landscaping to backyard.

10. Add cafe lights to back patio.

11.  Hot Tub ? 🙂

12.  Hang Detroit picture over fireplace.

13. Remove hideous fireplace marble and mantle, replace with tile and white surround.

14. Add white “built in” bookshelves to the living room.

15.  White flat screen tv and speakers.

16.  Fix living room window.

17.  Window boxes to the front of the house

18. Nice (not plastic) hanging baskets.

19. New front door, new front screen door, new back screen door, paint them red.

20. New couch cushions in pink.

21. New chairs for living room.

22. New ottoman for living room, upholster.

23. New plant table, living room.

24. Paint living room

25.  Build magazine shelves

26. Hall table. New hall closet door.

27. Refinish floors.

28. Add peace tile and Container Store linen box to the front hallway.

29. Reframe “Hello Fabulous” in the front hallway.

30.  Glass bell jar and fern for front table

31. Bowl of skeleton keys and minnow trap, front hallway.

32. Umbrella stand – front hallway.

33. Paint bedroom, add stencil, frame white Finnish bird prints, hang over stencil, buy and hang mirror, buy storage bench for sweaters, buy small area rug, hang birch branch over dresser, find large vase and wooden tray for the dresser.

34.  Hang locker baskets.

35. Artwork over desk

36. Paint dining room. Replace chandelier. Print and frame and hang black and whites. Reframe poster and find prints for walls. Buy two more dining room chairs and Flor Coir Tiles.

37.  Two rugs for living room.

38. Repaint bathroom, replace bathroom ceiling fixture, add teak bathmat, buy galvanized IKEA storage bins, pedestal sink.

39.  Buy rock doormat.

40.  Buy white tablecloth and pudding mold for Thanksgiving dinner flower arrangement.

41. Replace flatware.

42. Replace hallway fixture.

43. Cover thermostat.

44. Plant flowering vines up against outside walls.

45.  California pottery collection/terrarium

46.  new doorknobs

47. new switchplates

48. Kitchen: new counters, slate floors, wood counters, white cabinets, built in trash can, wall mounted microwave, and tile backsplash.

49.  Eli’s room: bunk beds, new bedding, and long dresser to use as changing table.

50.  more cereal bowls.

51.  find a vintage alarm clock that doesn’t tick insanely loudly.

52.  buy a bingo cage

53.  buy a perpetual calendar for my desk.

54. Beeswax votive candles

55. Candlesticks

56.  Buy a shredder, a new toaster, and some more plastic placemats.

57.  Hang wooden elephant head.

58.  buy coasters

59.  Add a chair rail to the dining room?

60. Frame prints.

61.  Big Red Letter E

62. Desk lamp

63.  Pottery barn stool in the corner of the dining room

64. Printed tape and new curtain hardware

65. Order “Your Story” print

66.  Make a bird mobile for dining room

67.  Christmas decorations – garland and votives

68.  Anthropologie bird wall art

69. Grand Canyon wall canvas for living room

70.  Buy a carpet steamer and clean Eli’s carpet

71.  Add a stainless metal bulletin board to the kitchen

72.  New lampshade for lamp in living room

73.  Order a quilt for our bed

74.  Steal some osage oranges

75.  add crown molding?

76.  Gas stove

77.  Buy some old fashioned style fans

78.  tree stump table

79. Fix the back gate

80. Fix the leak in the kitchen pipe.

Eighty? Seriously, eighty? I’m exhausted just reading this list.

Peace out – E.

Mean Mommy

The sinking black cloud of depression has lifted, only to be replaced by a constantly about to boil over sense of irritation.  Occasionally it does indeed boil over, and I am filled with a wretched seething anger that scares the sht out of me.  The kind of anger where I tell myself that maybe if I was not the only one to empty the trash or change the cat litter or load the dishwasher or recycle beer cans or pick up discarded swedish fish wrappers then maybe when I found my husbands sunglasses where he left them on my desk I wouldn’t have the urge to take them out into the front yard and stomp them to smithereens.  Yeah.   Sounds fun, eh?

I feel tired and funny and shaky and odd and I can’t breathe right.  Like I haven’t eaten in days, only I just ate tuna salad and an apple.

I am going to the doctor on Thursday, which is good, because I think I might choose depressed over the boiling rage I’m feeling now.

I had a bright side, but now I can’t remember it.  Oh, the bright side.   Senor Pants just outgrew a huge pile of clothes, so that’s good.  I’ve got a saved episode of One Tree Hill to watch, although Jennie did send me an email last night about it entitled simply SO OVER IT so I’m keeping my hopes low :).   The chandelier I wanted at Pottery Barn sold out yesterday, discouragingly, but I found a (most likely shoddily mass produced in China) exact duplicate on ebay for one quarter of the price, so that’s nice.  I enjoy saving money on my shoddily produced goods.  Eli has started going to bed at 8 oclock with a minimum of screaming, thank freaking lord, and tonight is the opening game of the new NBA season and the Blazers play the Lakers and it’s on TV and everything.

So there are some good things happening.  I just wish I didn’t feel so out of breath all the time. I have no idea if it’s related to my mental state but I really really really feel like I can’t breathe.  So bizarre.  I suppose this is what happens when you wonder if you should get some kind of help for 17 years. Eventually your body has no choice but to really really really shout “yes” in your face.  Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Not on the bright side, there is also this.  This morning Eli woke up before Mr. E left the house and so Mr. E brought him into our bed, where I was still asleep.  And then he had to leave to go to work and Eli lost his shit for about fifteen minutes, and most of the time I don’t care that I am not the favorite, most of the time I don’t care that I am obviously not the fun one and most of the time I am ok with the fact that everything I do is not a game and I am just not wired with fun oozing out my fingertips, that bathtime with me is about getting clean and not about laughing it up, and most of the time I remember that when Senor Pants is sick or hurt or sad I am the one that he wants every single time but this morning, this morning when my son sobbed hysterically at being left with me instead of his father, that just sucked.  Throughout this whole experience I have somehow been protected from feeling like a bad mother, and now I feel that too.

Last week I thought things were going better and I probably didn’t even  realy need a doctor’s appointment.  Not crying every minute felt like major progress.  This week I feel like I want to kill EVERYONE and if I have to be the one to take out an overflowing kitchen trash bag one more time I seriously just might.

Hallway Before

Every home improvement project needs a good before picture, right?

Here’s the before shot of the hallway.  I should have taken a true before picture – I just ripped up the nasty vinyl flooring that had been laid on top of the floor, but you can see it in all of its hideousness in the last picture.

The wood floors are pretty beat up, obvs, and were apparently painted white at some time, but I am surprisingly not that concerned about that.  I would choose authentically beat up floors, with scars and marks and painterely bits and all of that over brand new floors any day.  This house is almost a hundred years old and to me the floors are the soul of the house – they hold the story of all that happened here before.  Little kids have been playing in this entry way since 1935 –  how cool is that?

This room will eventually also get a new light fixture, a new closet door made of actual wood, a new front door 1. made of actual wood 2. not hung upside down and 3. that is an actual exterior door.  We’re also going to add a wooden screen door (I hate that metal screen door with the fire of a thousand suns) and then paint both the front door and the screen door “sparkling garnet”.  And hopefully some day I’ll find a hall table that I like and can fill with trinketry.  We’re painting the walls yellow, and we’re also going to try to find some vintage doorknobs for the closet and front door.  I’m going to reframe my “Hello Fabulous” cards and hang a Peace Tile I found on Etsy.

Those blue tape marks on the wall are the heights of various hall tables I’ve been considering.  That bit of yellow on the wall is not the paint color we’ve chosen.  Neither are any of the paint swatches stuck on the wall.  Hee.

I also just realized it’s totally idiotic to refinish the floors before we paint.  So I guess that’s step one.  Yes?

I feel tired already.

I bet your floors are looking pretty good right about now, eh?

I Hope You Enjoy My Old IKEA Napkins

It’s dark outside right now – I had six boxes of stuff, a large trash bag full of clothes, and a barbecue sitting out, waiting for the Salvation Army to pick it up tomorrow morning.  I had it out now because they come by early and I didn’t want to get up at 6 am to drag a bunch of boxes out to the front of my house. And now it’s all been stolen, everything except the barbecue.

Or maybe it’s not stealing if I set it out there? But there’s no free sign on it, and I certainly wouldn’t drive up to someone’s house in the dark and throw unmarked boxes in my trunk, quickly, and then speed away.

We told the first two people who tried to take our stuff that it was for the Salvation Army, but with the last guy, it’s dark and I was just sick of it, and something about his weird furtive quick grabbing just grossed me out and made me want nothing to do with it.

I don’t know, is that weird to do, or am I overreacting?

It goes along with a weird creepy desperate vibe things have had lately.  We live in a “good” area, but next to a “bad ish” area, and on Thursday mornings, trash day, hordes of people comb through the recycling and the trash up and down the street. It’s just…weird.  It used to be one guy and I thought “oh, good for him, he’s making money however he can” and now it’s traveling hordes of guys and it’s weird.

Also, I feel like a jerk – the Salvation Army truck will come tomorrow and I’ll have to tell them that I had a donation, but it all got stolen in a matter of hours.

Makes me glad I have a dog.