One Year Ago

I’ve made it through January.  I did a lot of reflecting over what’s happened to me, my relationships, and my health over the past twelve months.  I realized I have made a lot of progress despite not reaching all of the personal goals I set for myself.  The biggest improvement in the past year is getting treatment for my pinched nerve.  I never talked about the bad things about being stuck in bed for months.  Thinking about them brings back awful memories and I am thankful for my mother and spouse for putting up with me.  I think it is important for me to discuss the bad things because I know no matter how bad things (true or not) may be for me right now, I have been through rougher times.

I specifically remember the first week without help from my mom was hell.  It’s not that my spouse wasn’t supportive, but he’s never been a good “nurse,” and I’m fine with that.  I was hungry and there wasn’t much food in the house so he went next door to find that Burger King had closed unexpectedly.  He then called me from the grocery store so I could name things that would be easy for me to make while he was at work.  Surprise: I couldn’t even get strength to boil water for the ramen cups.

For nearly four months, my mom took my place and did everything around the house.  She cooked, cleaned, drove my spouse to and from work, shopped for food.  She also did a lot of the embarrassing things that I once assisted people with.  I was reluctant to use the bathroom because sitting was painful and her constant reminders to get up possibly prevented a ton of UTIs.  I couldn’t wipe myself properly after using the bathroom.  Thank the heavens for Mirena because I wouldn’t want to deal with my super long and heavy periods.  I couldn’t bathe or brush my teeth over a sink.  The only decent shower(s) I had was (were) just before surgery dates and even though the feeling afterwards felt amazing, the experience itself was not.  Since I never sat up, my hair turned into a huge rat’s nest.  My mom wasn’t great at keeping up with my hair.  That wasn’t her fault.  I remember she was de-tangling my hair and she was about ready to give up.  I looked at myself in the mirror and was ready to say goodbye to my hair.  That is, until she was able to de-tangle it successfully.

I had little choice in what to eat or drink.  I lost at least 40 pounds in muscle mass.  My mom made sure I was taking my medication and tried to keep me pacified and drugged up by doctor’s orders as best as she could.  (I’m happy to say I haven’t had any opioids since late April.)  The only social interaction I had was with a former friend.  (Please don’t ask me about this; I don’t want to talk about it right now.)  I spent all day, every day, binge watching TV on the iPad because I couldn’t see the TV in bed while maintaining a comfortable position.  (It’s only been a few months since I’ve been able to get back to my normal sleeping position without the need for six pillows.)  My sleep schedule was all over the place.  My spouse was forced to sleep on the couch for weeks, possibly months.  I can’t even remember at this point.

I had a lot of shame.  Interesting, really.  I had a distorted view because somehow I was too young or not disabled enough to not require help, even though I desperately needed it.

Fast forward to today.  What good comes from this self-discussion?  I got through that shit and know I can overcome it again should it happen again.  I was un-medicated, mentally, during that time.  I had a plan to exit this world.  I’m glad I didn’t because I’ve finally found a purpose in life.  It was in front of me this entire time and I didn’t realize it until a few weeks ago.  It feels strange to be nearly back to normal life schedule, with a few changes made so I can reach my personal goals.  When I was on the couch and got up and was in excruciating pain, I freaked out.  It was the worst pain I’ve been in since I had relief and all the bad memories started coming back, I started to panic.  I hopped to the bed and laid down.  Thankfully the pain went away after a few minutes and I’ve decided the couch is no longer a friendly place for me to sit or lie down.

The other day my friend asks me what I think of the new abortion law in New York.  I haven’t been keeping up with the news so I asked him to tell me about it.  To make a long story short, this very random question, out of the blue, lead to something I didn’t even know I needed — an “intelligent” discussion.  This was much more than an “agree to disagree,” conversation.  We spent about two hours talking about politics and more importantly, how each of us has had a profound influence on each other.  Something seen as trivial to an outsider is monumental to each of us.  That’s when I said I was dealing with my own problem and I was given suggestions on how to handle the situation.  Sometimes the best solution to a problem is very simple, to do absolutely nothing, but the majority of the time discussion and communication is the solution.

The Move

Let’s count them: the number of times I’ve moved since I met my spouse.

1. I “moved” from my parents’ house to his apartment shortly after we were dating.  You know, the move that starts with keeping a toothbrush and a few necessities at your significant other’s place.  One way to his heart was through my cooking so I hit up the local thrift store and purchased some tools required for cooking that he didn’t own.  Eventually I just stopped sleeping my parents’ house and lived exclusively at his apartment.

2. The first day of my job at Target HQ, we moved from the apartment to a condo he purchased.  By this time, my parents realized I was in a serious relationship and decided it was time to purchase my own vehicle.  After working for a few months, my dad co-signed a loan for my Vue.

3. Pre-2008 happened.  My now spouse ended up in financially hard times and was forced into foreclosure.  I am thankful for my parents letting us live in their basement.  This was right before we were married, and one of the most stressful moments of our relationship.  The job I took at Target HQ was third shift and taking my now spouse to job interviews and work was stressful on my sleeping patterns.  Not to mention there wasn’t much privacy (and thank goodness my uncle was not in the picture at the time).

4. In late 2010 job prospects were not so great for my spouse, so he was invited to live with “friends” in North Carolina.  We didn’t really discuss it in detail so I let him move for what I thought would be a temporary length of time.  My reasoning at the time was that I didn’t think he would find work.  He did, and  moved into an apartment he found in North Carolina in early 2011.  The non-discussion is what made me have deep feelings of resentment that I recently dealt with.  (Resentment, I swallowed that pill and waited for him to die.)

5. Living in the city came with some drawbacks.  It seemed like guns would go off at the same time each week, even being heard in the background of one of the podcasts my spouse regularly records.  We decided to move to the other side of the state line, where crime rates were much lower, but came at the cost of a longer commute due to suburban sprawl.

6. We moved from one apartment community to another since the owners decided to nickel and dime for everything.  Greedy fuckers.

7. Here we are now, back in the city limits proper.  It puts my spouse much closer to work.

Seven moves in twelve years.  Can we be done for a while?

This community seems to be pretty descent.  There’s no major crime, just the petty stuff like vandalism and property theft.  Renter’s insurance went down, to my surprise.  There is a grocery store across the road, Amazon has same-day delivery, food delivery from GrubHub and DoorDash is available here, and perhaps what sealed the deal for my spouse was the availability of fiber.  (No monopoly either — three providers to choose from, which we chose Google.  We live in a “fiberhood.”)

A few nuisances I have found with the apartment unit so far include drafty windows (hopefully solved with curtains); deep tubs (I stubbed my foot getting in and while deep is nice, I need the width too); child-height toilets (I got used to the extra few inches in the last apartment); the island in the kitchen has no power outlets, forcing me to make toast or use whatever appliance on either side of the stove; and the cabinet space above the fridge is literally unusable (I can’t reach the handle to open it, let alone grab anything that would be put up there).

I love being on the first floor.  The perk there is hardwood-style flooring throughout, except for the bedrooms.  The kitchen is newly renovated.  All the appliances are stainless steel, the countertops are granite, and the walls have a glass tile backsplash.  I love the undermounted sink; it makes cleaning the counters a breeze.  Not to mention, I can actually fit a roasting pan in the sink and wash it all in one go.  There’s a disposal in the sink and the dishwasher isn’t a piece of crap.  The top rack is deep enough to hold glasses all while being able to close the dishwasher properly.  The outdoor patio is large enough to buy a table and chairs and still have room to be comfortable.  The decks above are solid concrete so no need to worry about neighbors watering their plants!  And the best thing?  There’s only one apartment touching our walls, and it’s above us!

We haven’t been here for not even three nights and these are the love-hates I’ve found so far.  There’s still a lot to unpack and there’s still a lot of time to pass before I feel like this place will looked “lived in.”  The move went smoothly and I’m happy for it being done with.

Annual Vacation

Wednesday 8/22

I woke up at 4:30 AM so I could catch an Uber to the airport.  Thankfully for me, I was able to find one at an early hour and got to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  The last time I tried to get to the airport at an early hour, I was unsuccessful and had to take a taxi.  The prices between Uber and the taxi are not far off anymore since the taxi companies offer the flat rate which works in my favor since I am a bit out of town.  The new terminal at the airport has opened and it is very large and open.  It houses each airline except for American.  The flight was uneventful.  On the second leg from BNA to STL a woman and her companion animal sat next to me.  The dog was well behaved to my surprise.

Thursday 8/23

The first day of the Minnesota State Fair was on Thursday.  My mom and I left the house at 5:30 AM to ensure a close parking spot.  When we arrived outside the gates, cars were lined down the street waiting for the parking lots to be open.  My mom said she had not seen it that busy ever.  Once we parked and got her scooter out of the van, we meandered through the fair to get a breakfast of mini donuts.  The donuts were not as good this year as in the past and I was disappointed.  It started to get busy before the buildings opened at 9:00 AM and my anxiety had started to bother me.  I was tired from travelling the previous day, so when my mom went to use the restroom, I parked myself in the corner of a building and put my head down.  I was woken up by a man who asked me if I was alright.  I told him that I was resting my eyes.  He apologized but I thanked him for being a concerned citizen.  My mom and I shared a foot long hot dog with onions and fried avocados.  The fried avocado bites were not as good as last year and both my mom and I were disappointed with them.  My mom and I each got onion rings because they’re too good to share!  I also got walleye and fried cheese ravioli.  Although I didn’t eat much, I ate enough fried food for the week.  My mom’s scooter was not holding a charged so we left at 10:30 AM.

Sunday 8/26

I drove my spouse all through the state so he could see relatives.  I didn’t exactly enjoy myself and I felt like I could have done better things with my time, but I didn’t hate it either.  First we stopped to visit his father and ex-wife.  His ex-wife pulled me aside and we had some “girl talk time” while my spouse and his father hopefully had a nice visit and conversation.  My spouse and I then went to the area steakhouse and had lunch before visiting his grandmother.  His grandma was surprised to see us and it felt nice to see her smile!  We then drove to visit his younger brother and his wife and two children.  After that we visited his step brother.  We spent the majority of the time speaking to his wife.  His step brother forgot to tell his wife we were coming because she answered the door and was puzzled for us to be there.  Visiting his step brother was a complete waste of time because he was on his computer the entire time.  And here I was, thinking I was addicted to my computer …  We got home late and I was upset because I couldn’t have what I wanted for dinner because they closed before we got home.

Monday 8/27

My parents and I went to the fair today.  I ate a hot dog, cheese curds, and chocolate chip cookies.  I was in a really foul mood from the weekend and tried my best to show a positive attitude.

Tuesday 8/28

My mom surprised me by taking me to the gun club to learn how to shoot a pistol.  The enjoyed the training and found it informative.  I didn’t have a chance at the simulator because the person who used it before me broke it.  (My mom broke it.)  We went to the range in two groups and had a visual demonstration on how to fill the magazine and I guess I did it wrong because the instructor said, “That’s one way to do it.”  (???)  My turn came and I had a very hard time believing I didn’t have enough strength in my hand to pull the trigger, but nothing happened.  The instructor did something, used two of my ten rounds, it worked and I was no longer frustrated.

Wednesday 8/29

I met two new people today and I enjoyed spending time with them!  We went out for dinner at a steakhouse.  Once I got home and found out the aunt I was supposed to visit on Sunday passed away.  Birthday celebration is turning into a celebration of life.  I felt pretty shitty since I made joke about how old she is not knowing she had already passed.  I had a Skype meeting with a few mutual online friends to discuss memories of my best friend who passed away six years ago.  I shed many tears.

Friday 8/31

I am sick today.  I woke up with a stuffy nose.  I thought it was because I cried a bit last night, but my nose was still stuffy.  I developed a low-grade fever and spent the majority of the day in bed.

Sunday 9/2

I went to my great aunt’s funeral today.

Monday 9/3

Today was a great day until my spouse got home and couldn’t find Pepper.  He took Pepper to the emergency vet clinic.  The decision was made to put Pepper down.

Tuesday 9/4

I didn’t have an appetite today and I was depressed.  I cried a lot today.