Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Christmas Spirit

It's no secret that I love Christmas.  

I really do.  I get that from my mom.  My mom loved Christmas. She always made it so special for us, both as kids and adults, up to the age of 25 when I lost her. 

This year I was especially excited about Christmas, because after two years I had my own place again, after feeling like I never would.  

I started shopping in September.  

I put my tree up before thanskgiving(gasp!). 

 We put a bazillion lights on our tiny house. 

I hand made all of my Christmas cards this year. 

Then it seems like I hit a wall.  I had a fire lit under me to get everything done ahead of schedule, and this week the fire fizzled out.  

Addressing cards is not my favorite part of sending Christmas cards, and I only got half of them done. 

There is a half made wreath sitting on the floor near my tree that I just never found the energy to finish. 

Suddenly I am realizing that I have a few more gifts to buy, with time(and pay checks) running out to buy them, especially because I need to buy online.  

My job gets a little more stressful each day, as we get closer to the New Year and people want to come in before their deductibles re-set(not gonna happen).  People take their frustrations out on me.   

Watching the kid's Christmas shows(like I do every year) brings on a feeling of melancholy when I realize we will never get to watch them with our own children.  I cried watching Charlie Brown Christmas.  Linus' speech always gets me at the end.  

Even the Christmas songs that I love(that we have playing at work full time now) are making me feel a little sad this week.  It's only Tuesday!

I'm still not sleeping and am so tired.  I have some kind of bacterial infection in my eyes and they are red and they hurt.  I'm having to leave work early two days in a row to see two different doctors about it, using PTO that I've been saving for the week I'm taking off at Christmas.  I never have been able to catch up from all of the PTO I used for the accident, then a couple of sick days after that.  The eye drops that were prescribed to help cost $127 because our insurance started over and I have a deductible.  I'm praying the eye doctor tomorrow has some samples I can use.  Otherwise I'm not sure how I'm going to swing that.  

I need some dental work done and it simply isn't in the budget right now.  Like, not at all.  I'm hoping I get some money back on my taxes this year. It's no fun having pain in your mouth when you eat.  Why does dental work cost the price of a down payment on a car? It's ridiculous.  I don't have dental insurance.  I also don't have $2,000.   It's insane.   

My accident case is coming to the point that we are going to submit a demand package from the insurance company any day now.  I'm nervous about that.  I'm worried that they won't offer to pay us enough money to cover all of my expenses, plus enough to pay the lawyer and physical therapy bills and all of this will have been for nothing.   I'm nervous we will have to go to trial(not likely, but I worry about it anyway).  I'm a worrier.  

I guess what I'm saying is that at this point in the holiday season I'm feeling a little down and stressed out.  I think that's pretty normal.  But it's still no fun to experience those feelings. 

Maybe what I need is a hot bath and a glass of wine. Maybe I need to chill out and not be so hard on myself whenever I feel blue.  


Hopefully I can get back into the Christmas spirit soon.  

I have 16 days to get my mojo back.  Only 13 days to get through until I'll have a whole week off. 

Friday, December 05, 2014

Tis' The Season






Oh blog, how I have neglected you.  I have the best intentions of writing every two weeks but it doesn't happen.  The time will come when I roll up the carpet and retire the blog. It might be soon, I have a feeling.  

But alas, not yet, because here I am.  

Christmas is upon us.  

Christmas, people! How the heck did that happen?

Halloween and thanksgiving gone, just like that. Poof.  

That's how I've been feeling lately.  Like I close my eyes and another month has gone by. Sometimes I feel like I'm sleeping my way through life.  

Work and sleep.   That's how it seems.  Truly.  

I've been exhausted.  My thyroid has been low for months.  I'm only just feeling the effects of the medication adjustment.  Why is the thyroid so hard to regulate?

So yeah, cue me sleeping on my lunch break in my car every day, and barely managing to get out of bed on the weekends again.  

That and I can't get used to sleeping alone with joe working the graveyard shift.  All of my single friends tell me I'll get used to it(and even like it!), but so far that isn't the case.  I still toss and turn on the nights I'm alone. Yawn.   

Our kitty Leeloo is getting bigger and she's a crack up.  She makes us laugh every day.  I've never considered myself a cat person but I sure do love my Leeloo kitty.  
At first she didn't look twice at the Christmas tree, but yesterday I caught her trying to untie the tree from the valance.  I tied it up thinking for sure she was going to climb it.  Thankfully she hasn't tried that yet.  

Knock on wood.  

Isn't she sweet and innocent looking?  Yeah right. She's destroying our house.  





For the first time in 15 years we stayed home for thanksgiving.   Joe's job had already agreed to give him Christmas off, so we knew he would be working for thanksgiving, and that was ok.  A week off at Christmas at a business that is open 24 hours a day is a gift.  We are so grateful.  

So we stayed home for thanksgiving.  Joe was gone at night and slept most of the days, so it was a quiet thanksgiving, which was exactly what I needed. I cooked a lovely meal.  Roasted chicken(I'm not really a turkey person), homemade mashed potatoes, Carmelized brussel sprouts with bacon and bleu cheese(to die for).  Plus roasted sweet potatoes and rolls.  So.   Good.  

I can cook when I want to.  It's not something I enjoy doing, but I am a pretty good cook if I put my mind to it.  

I spent the next three days doing absolutely nothing, and it was heavenly.  I cleaned. I slept.  I read a whole book.  I slept.  I put up our Christmas lights. I slept.  

Seeing any pattern there? So tired.  

I'm nearing the end of my physical therapy treatment from the accident.   While I feel 95% better, I do still occasionally have some neck pain.  I am choosing to continue care once a week for the next three months(out of pocket), but according to the attorney they can only treat me a certain amount of time based on the amount of damage done to the car.  I think it's ridiculous but it is what it is.  

Next week we will meet with the attorney and come up with a monetary figure that we feel covers the expenses the accident caused, along with pain and suffering.  If the insurance company doesn't counter with an amount we feel is fair, we will move forward with litigation.  

I'm out thousands of dollars from this accident.  Lost wages, multiple rental cars, the tow yard fee.  Not to mention the emotional toll this has taken on me.  I'm still very gun shy in the car as a driver and have even become a nervous passenger.  It makes Joe nuts. Sometimes I just close my eyes so certain things won't freak me out.  I obviously only do that when joe is driving. Most of the time.   Lol.  


I'm so ready for this to come to an end though.   It has consumed almost five months of my life and I'm ready to be done with it. 

Sometimes I will drive joe to and from work on the weekends when he works days so I can have the car.  We always stop and admire the view on our way home.  Lake Elsinore is very pretty at night.  


I'm excited to enjoy the rest of the holiday season.   I'm actually very prepared this year.  I'm almost done shopping.  I'm going to wrap this weekend.  The tree has been up since before thanksgiving(don't judge me!).  The lights went up on the outside last weekend, with more going up this weekend.   I've got a bit of a Christmas light obsession.   This is only half of them. 
The halls are decked and I'm loving it.  



I handmade all of my Christmas cards this year and those will be going out next week.  

I just love Christmas and having my own place again makes it a million times better.  This is the happiest I have been in a very long time.  

I'm very grateful.   

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Whine

Car accidents suck. 

Like they really, really suck.  

I never imagined how this was going to affect my life.  

Every aspect of my life.  

It's affecting my job because I have to leave early three times a week to go to physical therapy.  
THREE times a week.  More than half my (work) week.  And I have to go for three months!

That puts me home at seven or seven thirty, depending on whether I have to go to the store or run an errand.  

I'm so tired.  


I'm tired of being in pain.  This will probably sound stupid but I didn't know I would still be in so much pain.  My back and neck hurt all of the time.  I thought I would be over that at four weeks post accident.  Physical therapy has been working but I've only been four times and it's slow going.  

I did have a massage last night and it was lovely.  I did feel better after that.  

It's affecting my weekends because I can't DO anything and I end up laying around.  I'm so sad to be missing the dragon boat practices.   It wouldn't have worked out anyway, with joe working Saturday nights, because he would be sleeping on Sunday but I could have gone alone.  I miss it. 

I can't ride.   I miss that.   I haven't even been to see the horses in forever.  

Joe and I are working opposite shifts right now.  He's working 9:30 pm(right when I'm getting ready for bed) to 5:30 am, which puts him home around 6:00 and I'm getting ready to go to work.  

Thankfully we still get to have dinner together.  Otherwise we wouldn't see each other at all. Other than that,  from the sharing a rental car standpoint it's the perfect schedule.  

Still having to use a rental because my only working car broke down two weeks after my "new" car was in an accident.  When it rains it pours.  

My car is still not fixed.  It's beyond ridiculous.   I had to pay for the first week of the rental car myself and now the ins company doesn't want to pay for more than a few days of the new one because my car should have been fixed by now.  

Ummm......Ya think?! In order for that to happen everyone would have to get their heads out of their you know what's.  The attorney.  The ins co.  The repair shop.  None of this has gone as it should have, from the very beginning.  

I really can't take much more of this.  

Now I'm coming down with a cold and I feel crummy, which is probably what prompted this whiny post in the first place.   

I'm going to bed with a cup of tea and copious amounts of Vicks.  

I'll feel better in the morning.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Instant change

Photos of the actual route I drive  to/from work every day.  


You know that saying "your life can change in an instant"?


I've always heard it said but I never thought much about it.  

Then on a Tuesday morning about three weeks ago I was on my way to work.  I was cruising down the mountain with Kenny Chesney playing on the radio.  I may or may not have been singing.  Loudly. 

A pretty typical morning for me.  

I had just gotten to the bottom, past the "dangerous" part of the drive.  A nice flat straightaway.  I had come to one of the only two stop lights on my route.  

So there I am sitting a a stoplight, on my way to work, listening to the radio when I look in my rear view mirror and see someone coming up behind me.  Fast. 

Next thing I know 

BAM.  

I remember that was the last thought that went through my mind before  impact. 

 "Gosh he's going fast". 

Then BAM.  

Then nothing but pain. 

As far as I could tell, he never even braked.  

I sat stunned in my car for a few minutes. At least that's what I'm told.  That I sat in my car sobbing for about five minutes before pulling over to the side and getting out.  The driver of the car that hit me said he had to knock on my window several times before I responded to him.  

I remember I was covered in liquid. I didn't know what it was.  At first I thought I was bleeding.  Then I thought it had come from the air bag.  Except the air bag didn't go off.  Turns out it was a cup of coffee I had in the cup holder.  It literally exploded.  It was all over me, the windshield, the roof of the car.   Everywhere.  

The rest is a complete blur.  Waiting for the police. Giving them all of my information. Two hysterical phone calls, one to my boss and the other to my sister.    Calling a tow truck.   Waiting for joe to come get me to take me to the hospital.  

The hospital is a blur too.  Waiting(and waiting and waiting) for the doctor.  X-rays.  They asked me if I would like my pain meds before having the X-rays taken. The X-ray technician was already there to get me, and the doctor still hadn't approved the pain meds and I didn't want to make him wait so I went ahead and got the X-rays before the pain meds.  

Here's a little tip.  ALWAYS get the pain meds before you have any tests done.  

After the pain meds nothing but a haze of people coming and going asking lots of questions. 

Joe driving me home and going right to bed and staying there for three days, drowsy from pain meds that made me so sick I opted for the pain over taking them. 

 All a blur.  

Did I mention the pain? X-rays showed nothing broken, just severe  whiplash.  

Just?  Did he say *just* severe whiplash?

There's nothing "just" about the pain I was in. Nor about the pain I've been in ever since.  

I'm in pain when I wake up.  I'm in pain when I'm at work.  Some nights I'm in pain while I sleep.  

Thankfully I sit all day at work and they gave me a headset to wear while I'm on the phone.  

I never anticipated how much this would impact my life.  It has consumed the last three weeks of my life. 
 
Lost wages.  

Doctor's appts.  

Pain.  

Constant throbbing pain.

Emotional distress, as I lay awake at night wondering how I'm going to pay for all of the extra expenses that have come up because of this accident.   

My worst nightmare had come true.  Being the  only wage earner in my home, and unable to work.  

I blew through all of my PTO and couldn't afford to take time unpaid.  So I went back to work.  And it was hard. It has been hard.  

More stress as my old car, and currently my only working car broke down on Thursday, leaving us with no car at all.   

An even worse nightmare.  Having no way to get to work.  

I wake every morning praying for the strength to get through the day, the week, until the weekend when I can lay in bed all day on muscle relaxants and heating pads.  Because that's all I have done for the last three weekends.  

Sleeping.  Laying in bed. Muscle relaxants.  Heating pads.  Tylenol, which helps only minimally, since I can't take anything else due to the kidney disease.  

I've had to pull out of the dragon boat practices and race in October.  I'm so sad.  

I can't ride. Hike.  I can't do much of anything physical at all.  

I've moved from being sad to just plain pissed off.  

My life turned upside down because some kid wasn't  paying attention.  He says he wasn't texting but I don't believe that for a second.  You don't ram into someone else stopped at a stoplight and claim you never saw them unless you are seriously distracted, with your eyes off the road.  

I call bullshit on that one.  

I've hired an attorney.  I don't have the time or energy to deal with this on my own. And I have to be sure all of the expenses I've incurred are reimbursed.  

I'm not a sue happy person. In fact, I've never been involved in a lawsuit before. I know it's a long hard road when you go that route rather than settling with the ins company.  

I'm ok with that. 

I start physical therapy on Monday.  I hope it helps relieve some of the pain.  

I have a rental car now.  I hope my old car doesn't cost too much money to fix. I hope my "new" car is fixed sooner rather than later.  It's been above a hundred degrees here and my old escape has no air conditioning.  

I'm ready for my life to go back to normal.   

Your life really can change in an instant.  


I know things could have been so much worse.  I'm alive, with minor injuries and my car is fixable.  It's just thrown a wrench in my routine. But overall. I know I'm very lucky.  

Sunday, September 07, 2014

On a roll

I'm on a blogging role.   I miss blogging.  I'm sad that it's gone by the wayside to fb, instagram and a hundred other forms of social media.  I've been blogging for nine years(!)  It's hard to walk away from that. At least for me. So I'll keep blogging.  Long after people stop reading.  

Living in the woods is a dream come true.  I love coming home at night.  Weekends are my favorite time, especially in the evenings.  I love nothing more than sitting out on my deck and listening to the crickets.   Some night are really loud and I try not to think about the actual number of crickets it takes to make such a sound and where they are all hiding.  Lol



We know there are mountain lions around, but I haven't really seen any critters out and about.  There is a skunk that comes out in the evenings.  The other morning I found this on our porch.  Evidence of some raccoons that got into some trash I left out on the porch(bad, I know). They had a little feast out there.  

We haven't been hiking that much, only taking walks around the campground.  We've caught some impressive sunsets and full moons in the last couple of months


I have a few flower boxes going on my deck but not much of a garden.  I need to make some covered boxes to grow vegetables.   We get very little full sun. Our entire property is covered in oak trees.   I've never been much of a gardener, but I can't seem to find many vegetables that grow in shade.  I tried some tomatoes in one of those topsy turvy planters that hang upside down that I got at Big Lots for .99 cents. It has produced a tomato.  One.  Tomato.   Isn't it beautiful?  Lol.  I'm not exactly sure when I should pick it. It looks pretty ripe right now.  Anyone have any experience with growing vegetables in a mostly shaded place?  I guess I'm late to the party.  Are there vegetables you can grow in the fall?  Must google. 


Speaking of fall. I couldn't help myself and put a few fall decorations out.  I didn't put out the witch hat shown below yet.  I'm not that crazy.  Although I was talking to joe today about where to put the Christmas tree.    :).  Hey people, it's coming!  Might as well be prepared.   

Ok I'm a little crazy because I did make some halloween cards. I was bored.  

Every morning when I leave for work this is what I see. Leeloo comes to the window and cries.  Breaks my heart. She loves her momma.   




It's been hot.  Unbearably hot.  Joe snapped this in Lake Elsinore when he went to pick up my medications this afternoon.  Thankfully it's about 8-10 degrees cooler where I live but 100 degrees is still too hot for this southern CA girl.  I'm ready for fall!






Our newest family member

So I mentioned at Fourth of July that my Sees-ter talked us into taking one of the kittens she was fostering.  

I was very hesitant at first. I've never really considered myself a cat person. I'm more of a dog person. We did have a cat, for about 14 years and I loved her but she wasn't very affectionate.  She was an outside cat and came inside mostly to eat and be harassed by the dogs and then left to go back outside. She was sweet but I never  thought I would have another cat.  

I wasn't convinced I wanted one but we couldn't get a dog just yet and I was missing having an animal(besides a snake-yuck!) in our house. 

So we decided on a kitten.  We wanted a black kitten but after looking at several shelters there weren't any available.  

Then my Sees-ter called and said she was going to be fostering a litter of kittens and I should rescue one of those.  I told her I'd think about it.  

But when we visited her and got a look at them I fell in love. It's a kitten.  A sweet little baby kitten.  Who could resist that?  Not me apparently.  They sure are cute!

We had our choice of any of them but one of the gray ones, who Grace had already claimed.  
I loved the tabby on the right but it was a boy and joe wanted a girl. That left one of the two orange ones, or the other gray one. The other gray one was very shy so we didn't choose her. Out of the two orange ones, one of them was very sweet, but not that smart.  She was always missing feeding time because she wouldn't come when she was called. She seemed to be in her own little world.  Joe said she wasn't the brightest bulb in the pack. He vetoed her even though Lisa said she was very sweet, because he wanted a "smart cat". 

Ummm.....okay.  So we chose the other orange one(not sure which one in that picture)

We had to wait until she got older and spayed, so we left her at Lisa's and waited until she brought her to us a month later.  

Finally they brought her to us. She settled right in.  We named her Leeloo after a character in Joe's favorite movie(The Fifth  Element) who had flaming red/orange hair.  It fits her. 

I never anticipated how much joy she would bring to us.  There's nothing like having a baby kitten purring on your lap, or chest as she prefers.  

She's so much fun!  And I swear she thinks she's a dog. She has to go everywhere I go.  If I'm in the bathroom, she's in the bathroom. When I go to bed and lock her out of the  bedroom(because she jumps on my head and that's not conducive to sleep), she's crying at the door to come in. 
I've become one of those people whose house is full of cat stuff.  Scratching posts, cardboard boxes, felt mice filled with catnip.  Our dog never had this many toys.  I'm sure a cat tree will come next.  



She's so nosy too.  When I'm wetting my hair in the shower or putting on makeup she has to be right. There.  Seeing what I'm doing.  So funny. 

Now I see where the phrase "the curiosity killed the cat" comes from.  She's into everything!

My sister told me about this app on the iPad for cats so of course I had to try it. Much to my shock she loves it.  I've never seen anything like it.  



She actually plays the game and taps the bugs or the fish when they come on the screen! It's trippy. It came to the point where if she was sitting on my lap and I was doing something else, she would tap the screen on the ipad until I put on her game. I can't figure out how to put videos here but it's hilarious.  

Oh, and I taught her to play fetch. I've never seen a cat play fetch before.  

Joe says she's a genius. Doesn't everyone think that about their kid?  Lol. 

One thing I wasn't expecting  was the damage she might do to our place. Holy heck she's destroying the place!  The couch, the screen, the drapes. She's like a Tasmanian devil.
There goes our deposit!  Oh well. She's not doing any more damage than a puppy would do and we still plan on getting one of those soon(ish). 

This is not cool.  


But she's adorable when she's asleep!  Lol.   
Sometimes she sleeps in the strangest positions. 


We sure do love our Leeloo.