Monday, April 30, 2012

You can lead a horse to water

Over the years, it's been something I've suggested. Something I've very carefully demonstrated - with pictures! Something I've begged and pleaded about. Something I've incentivized as best I could.

And every time I was shot down.

But now, now that B is the one paying the cable bill, he thinks we need to "do something" about our cable expenses. Never mind that he refused to cancel it when we were close to choosing cable or groceries. Never mind that the suck on our monthly income far exceeds the cable's monthly entertainment value. Never mind that we can get much of the same, mind numbing crap high-caliber programming streaming on Netflix for $8 a month ($16, if we want to get all fancy and get DVDs, too). And especially never mind that I've been telling him this for at least five years.

When it affects his wallet, suddenly it matters. I wouldn't be surprised if he calls and cancels it tomorrow without hesitation.

Raising husbands is a thankless job (and one that you don't get if you marry wisely, ladies!). Just remember, you can't make 'em drink.*

*It's highly unlikely the second half of my saying is true in the context of wives making husbands drink. I'm certain that I make mine drink on a daily basis.

Monday, April 23, 2012

She's no baker, folks!

Voice Over Man:  On tonight's episode of "Cupcake Catastrophes," we travel to the kitchen of Emily, a poor, misguided mother who's trying to make cute cupcakes for her younger son's second birthday. Let's watch as she learns valuable lessons such as...

Emily:  I really should have spent the extra dollar or two for bigger frosting bags...

Emily:  What do you mean Wal-Mart doesn't sell frosting tips anymore??? Where else am I supposed to get a star tip at 9:00 PM?

Emily:  Wow, when the bag says "Do not fill above this line," it really means it.

Voice Over Man:  Let's watch from the beginning.

Emily:  After R's first birthday disaster, my mommy guilt is strong. Even though I know the kid will never know the difference, I feel like I have to make it up to him in baked goods.

Voice Over Man:  To assuage her guilt, Emily decides R's birthday cupcakes should be more than your standard frosting-slapped-on-a-cupcake cupcakes. They should be something that will awe both the daycare ladies and the people at her business meeting the morning of R's birthday.

Using her minimal cake-decorating knowledge, Emily begins by making the frosting.

Emily:  I wanted to do cute, star-tip swirls on R's cupcakes. It's a simple technique, but makes it look like I put real effort into my baking. I know canned frosting needs to be thickened - I learned that from W's first birthday, so adding some powdered sugar was my first step. I figured I could throw in a little vanilla for some extra flavor.

Where the agony all began.
Emily:  I went with yellow. Pretty much only because I had some of the good yellow food coloring left over from W's second birthday cake. I accidentally added a little bit too much vanilla, which made the flavor a bit...off... Luckily, I learned that a little almond extract can help offset weirdo-vanilla flavor!

Voice Over Man:  It only gets worse from here.

Emily:  I found out late the night before R's birthday that my star tip frosting thingy was MIA. I sent B to the store to buy me a new one, but the only store open and accessible that late no longer sells the tips I needed! Luckily, I had brand new frosting bags with a bottom opening that seemed about the right size to make cute frosting swirls. I didn't really need the fancy grooves!

Voice Over Man:  Oh, yes, she did.

Emily:  The frosting didn't come out of the bag quite as thick as I was hoping, but the coils still looked ok. Sort of...

Voice Over Man:  I believe the good people of Cake Wrecks would call these "poo swirls." Yellow, formula-fed-baby-poo swirls.


Appetizing, amirite?
Emily:  I was surprised at how quickly I managed to frost all of the cupcakes. Other than stopping ever third cupcake to wipe cascades of frosting off the back of my hand (from the overfilled frosting back, naturally), it was a cinch. And I frosted 47 cupcakes in less time than it took B to wrap three birthday presents!

No, that's not Christmas paper...I have no idea what you're talking about.
Voice Over Man:  No one would ever be able to guess you did them so quickly, Em. *Snort*

Emily:  I wasn't entirely pleased with the finished product, but I figure a bunch of 18-month to five-year-old kids won't mind, as long as they're being pumped full of sugar. And I'm hoping the adults at my meeting in the morning are either blind or so under-caffeinated that they don't even notice how hideous the food they're putting in their mouths looks.

If nothing else, this was a learning experience. Hey, maybe next year instead of relying on leftover ideas, supplies, and techniques from his older brother's (unintentionally way better planned and executed) birthdays, I can give R an idea all his own.

And, really, as long as this guy happily smears one of these all over his face tomorrow, the work was all worth it.

Hey, that's why I picked yellow! It's the same color as his boot/lovey!
Voice Over Man:  That's all for tonight's episode of "Cupcake Catastrophes." Join us next week for the hilarity that ensues when Jim tries to make the cupcakes for his daughter's bat mitzvah. Goodnight, and may your cupcakes be ever non-catastrophic.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Snippets from my week

My goal is to have this finished before B gets home from class. I have roughly 28 minutes. Here are some bullets:
  • The ill-advised discontinuation of my sleeping pill lasted a whole two days. I was so exhausted by Monday night that I caved. I can't live on two or three hours a night like I used to. Sleep deprivation is a skill. You can't go from solid amounts of sleep to two hours a night. You've gotta build up to that level.

  • I'm super excited about the current CDP exchange. I have some good ideas for my recipient, and I'm excited to go shopping.

  • Speaking of CDPs, I owe a bunch of thank yous. I'm almost out of presents, so if you sent me something, please assume that I've opened it and liked it (I have yet to open a CDP I didn't like) and am very grateful for it. I'll personally thank you soon. Promise.

  • I hear and read fairly often from women who say no mother ever regrets their decision to have a child. I know for a fact that is both statistically impossible and also untrue.

  • I have a whole bunch of adult decisions I need to be making, and I don't wanna. Making adult decisions and being responsible for myself sucks.

  • I got screwed out of an awesome toy storage thingy on craigslist today. I was displeased.

  • I realized why no one can ever convince kids that being a grown up isn't totally awesome:  Darwinism. What kid would want to give up naps, recess, summers off, and cartoons if they really knew what being an adult meant? So to perpetuate itself, our species' young have developed a brain part that doesn't let them see what adulthood entails beyond staying up as late as you want, eating whatever you want, and watching whatever you want TV.

  • It's possible I'm a bit medicine-loopy right now. Let's all forget the previous bullet ever happened.

  • Does anyone else ever think stoplights are conspiring against them? No? Just me, then, huh? Ok, moving on.

  • I need to quit 16 and Pregnant. Not only do have major anxiety spikes during every labor and birth scene and minor random anxiety spikes any time after the birth, but these kids are so DUMB! I get so mad at their idiocy and refusal to believe that having a kid might actually be hard, and - GASP - all of the adults telling them so are RIGHT. Your mom is not out to get you, random pregnant teen. She is merely trying to get you to understand the full extent of the situation you're getting yourself into.

  • Also, the girl last night who didn't buy Plan B after the condom broke because it was $50? BABIES COST WAY MORE THAN FIFTY BUCKS! Even the most teenagey of teenagers would know that, right? RIGHT? A simple cost-benefit analysis there would have saved her a whole lot of time and effort and interaction with the highest baby daddy I've ever seen on that show.

  • We're getting a new dishwasher. Bosch and KitchenAid seem to the be most recommended brands so far, with Kenmore being a no-no. Anyone have suggestions or tips for dishwasher shopping?

  • I finally finished my 101 things list. I'll post it soon.
And, time! Off to go pretend to be a good wife.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

(Un)Medicate me

I mentioned in my last post that I briefly considered stopping all of my meds because I'm so fed up with my mental health care and my doctors and my seeming lack of appropriate response to EVERYTHING I'm put on. I also mentioned that I quickly dismissed the idea.

But since Wednesday, the idea has stuck in the back of my mind, poking at me whenever I get a quiet moment. I started really considering the idea of being unmedicated. I mean, I was mostly fine-ish long, long ago before I got pregnant. Maybe the medicines are part of the problem and I'd be fine without them.

I've done some research on weaning. I fought with myself over taking my morning pill. I actually quit taking my sleeping pill (woooooo, rebound insomnia!). I figure, if I do this, I'll go one med at a time until I'm off all of them, and the sleeping pill seemed like the easiest one to stop. We'll see if I feel that way after not sleeping for a few weeks days.

It's just not normal for a 29-year-old woman to be on this much medication. I feel like I've hit the point of over-saturation, and stuff just isn't working any more. I'm currently on five daily prescriptions, two as-needed, and four supplements. It's too much.

I think I'm going to start trying some more supplements/natural stuff to get me back to something resembling normal. I'm considering getting tested for food intolerances to see if those might be causing systemic irritation that's manifesting as depression and anxiety. Hell, if someone told me standing on my head, naked, in a blizzard would fix me, I'd probably do it.

The funny part about all this? I'm thinking about quitting my medications right in the middle of some bad, bad days. Part of the reason is my honeymoon period with my newest med is apparently over. (Am I the only one this happens to? New meds seem to work for a few months, then - BAM - I'm back where I was.) What's the point of putting all this crap into my body if it's not doing me any good?

For everyone who thinks this is a terrible idea (I'm assuming that's everyone reading), I have a counseling appointment tomorrow, and I'm going to discuss this with my therapist. I can already picture her face. I also know she's going to tell me the same thing she did when I asked if she thought I had bipolar II - I'm so desperate for something to fix me, I'll grasp at any straw that might give me a quicker or easier fix. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that was the gist of it.

It's true, though. My current "solutions" are not quick. They are not easy. And they don't seem to be doing much good. I feel like quitting all medicines can't be much more terrible than what I've got going. At best, I'll be fine and feel normal. At worst, I end up offing myself. Both solutions take care of the problem.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ready to throw in the towel

Oh, look. I've got my angry eyes on again.

You know, I am so fed up with my mental health and mental healthcare. I was so irritated about all of it this afternoon that I decided I'm weaning myself off all my meds. All of them.

Luckily for anyone and everyone who has any contact with me - real or virtual - I got over that particular snit fairly quickly.

The thing I'm most annoyed with is my failure to get some sort of balance. Nothing seems to be working like it's supposed to. My depression gets a bit better, but my anxiety skyrockets. Nothing touches the anxiety, which is generally fairly low-level and manageable, though always present. But when it's not low-level and manageable, it's really not.

My psychiatrist - who I see because he's the one my therapist would choose for her own psychiatrist - is hard to read. I feel like nothing I say gets through to him, or that he thinks I'm making things up. My therapist (who always seems to be right) assures me that he's the best of the two or three good psychiatrists in the area, but I'm starting to doubt. The dude who's supposed to be fixing my crazy shouldn't be the one making me feel crazier, right?

I hate being out of control of my healthcare. I especially hate it when there seems to be no good reason for the way things are being done and no good explanation for why other things aren't being done.

I'm just sick of it. But I resisted the urge to flush my nightly handful of (approximately 11) pills down the toilet tonight. You'll thank me for that later.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The simple things

Despite any evidence to the contrary, I feel like I'm a girl with fairly simple needs. Here, in its entirety, is the list of things I need to make me a happy woman:

  • A husband who does the dishes (and the other household chores he agreed to take on) and throws his dirty laundry down to the basement rather than leaving it in a pile beside his recliner.

  • Mornings where neither child is contentious, cranky, crying, or uncooperative.

  • A solid eight to 10 hours of sleep a night.

  • A magic student loan fairy who flies by and erases all of my student loan debt and/or grants me a job that pays significantly more than my current one. (A massive raise at my current job would also be wholly acceptable.)

Just a few simple things, really. And I have exactly none of them.

How did my life go so utterly, horribly wrong?

Friday, April 6, 2012

My bum's semi-versary

Today marks six months since I had my tailbone removed. Six looooong months. And guess what? My butt STILL hurts! It's definitely getting better, but the pain is still there and I'm still stuck with my lovely butt donut (that has been worn completely ragged, but that I refuse to replace because I refuse to believe that I'm going to use the current one to death, despite all the evidence to the contrary). I saw the orthopedist Wednesday, and he was just as bummed as I am (maybe more so) that I'm not totally better yet. He gave me another prescription for an anti-inflammatory and wants to see me in six more weeks.

So now I guess we start hoping that seven-and-a-half months is all it takes for me to finish healing. *Sigh*

P.S. If anyone has any tips on getting your stupid, slow-healing body to get with the program and heal itself faster, I would love to hear them. At this point, I'm up for anything (traditional medicine, homeopathy, witch doctory, whatever).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Purse-life balance

I have a new theory. (Brace yourselves; it's profound.) The state of a woman's purse directly correlates to the state of her personal life.

A couple of years ago, a peek into my purse would have revealed a wallet with all its cards in their places, cash organized by denomination, all facing the same direction; checkbooks with up-to-date registers; receipts organized and tucked away; some chapstick; my phone; and very little else floating around.

That same look into my purse these days would reveal something more like this: [er, uh, I'm not sure the picture will actually show up where it's supposed to...]

See the difference? When I was (mostly) in control of my life, I was also in control of my person. As my life spiraled out of control, my purse grew into more and more of a disaster.

Honestly, no matter how often I clean and organize my purse, it reverts to the above-pictured disaster in less than 24 hour. Sadly, it's telling of the chaos in my personal life.

But. I'm finally taking some major steps toward calming the life chaos. It's still going to be a long, looooong time before things totally settle down, but I've finally done a few things that will slow down the runaway train my life has become over the past two-ish years. And, if I'm really lucky, my big steps will also translate into a neater purse.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tonight I am angry*

Tonight I am angry.

I'm angry about always being the scapegoat.

I'm angry that I'm always the one taking the blame for things that are not entirely my fault.

I'm angry that it's always - and only - my fault.

I'm angry at and about my body and my mind.

I'm angry my efforts never seem to matter.

I'm angry that I can't live up to my own expectations.

I'm angry. I am just.so.angry.

* By "angry" I mean, of course, that I logically should be angry - and I am angry in my brain - but I can't, you know, actually feel angry. Behold the miracle of modern psychiatric medicine!