Monday, June 27, 2016

Drama llama rama #MicroblogMonday

*Actually this is kinda full length. Tl;dr Ugh avoiding being dramatic while establishing safe boundaries is wicked hard and I am flailing struggling.

Have you read the Llama llama, something drama books? My girls have the whole collection. We read one a night for the better part of a year. Now naturally any time there is drama, I frame it in llama terms. In my head and under my breath when my very dramatically maybe divorcing patients are in the pharmacy, I recite a line or two. "Llama llama, relationship drama..."

In this llama-filled context, I often remind myself not to be a drama llama. It is really wicked hard. My extended family is trying my patience and making me cry because I am left out again (like always?). On my mom's side, the family business is celebrating a big round number of years. I'm the only one who never worked there because after I applied twice and didn't get hired, I gave up and decided my uncle was a weasel face and the struggle wasn't worth the drama. We weren't invited to the celebration by my uncle or anyone. If the expectation was that my mom would invite us, that's just codependent silliness and avoiding communicating directly. She's a space case enough of the time that we are lucky my cousin mentioned it in passing so I inquired further or we might have heard nothing about it at all until someone was upset we weren't there. It would have been my fault we weren't there too.

On the spouse's family side, we are expecting our first nephew (or surprise niece) soon. I figured that, since the family tradition is baby showers where you meet the baby, I ought to start planning that in the next few weeks. Last week a cousin sent out baby shower invitations for a few weeks from now. I don't really know what to say, but I sobbed for a good long while. Context: the last wedding in the family was in 2009 and there's been one occasion that might have required a baby shower but was complicated by a very long nicu stay and one of twins dying, the other coming home during flu lock-down season's start. I thought about a shower but was swamped with rotations so didn't make time for it. I'll have to apologize eventually, but I'd cry too much right now. Anyway it isn't like there's a drama-free way to say "I am super upset at being excluded even if you're intending to be helpful because I work too much and live too far away. Not consulting me hurt and now I don't have enough notice to even attend. Do you think I like being cut off? This was the only way to pay the bills when it counted and fear won." Furthermore I'd always imagined this would be the redeeming baby shower, the one I would enjoy because I got to help plan it so we could skip triggers and there'd be a baby around to change the subject if things got too complex. Bah. Expectations, ruining things again. Maybe. See? I half expect to see some wool growing into my eyes and my hands turning to hooves because somehow I have become a drama llama.

How do you avoid drama? How do you manage expectations while still preventing yourself from being hurt by expecting nothing?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Buying ban

We decided that, in light of our goal to declutter our lives and the house, we will buy nothing we don't eat or use to clean until December aside from sweatshirts for the girls to wear on vacation, tennis shoes for me, work pants for my spouse if there's work to go with it (we all have zero pairs/fitting sweatshirts, respectively), and the repairs on my shoes starting July 1st. We left our entertainment budget alone so we will probably buy some digital books but that's mostly to prevent library overdue fees. No clothes, no house doodads, no new furniture to replace the recliner we recently ditched, no shoes, no physical books, no toys. So far it has been a challenge to shift my thinking away from "what do we need?" toward "how can we solve that problem with no new things?" and I'm not so sure this will ever be simple. Maybe in a few months? 

We have narrowed our new car options down to only two so we can start planning for how to afford it. We don't yet have a timeline for a new car purchase though. I have been drooling over houses and accepting that we have another year or two before we can buy a place of our own. This is mostly because we would rather buy land than a place in town. Here if we bought a house, our mortgage would be a third of what we are paying in rent for a house like we'd want to downsize to, about 25% less if we bought this very house in a very nice neighborhood. Our landlord would like us to buy this place but I'm thinking there's no way we would want it. It's old and the wiring is incredibly lousy and the place is huge. We have 4 bedrooms and use 2 on a regular basis, a third maybe twice a week. The basement is a mess of terrifying wires wandering around aimlessly, ventilation taped together, and a permanent puddle. I like the deck and the front porch and I like the idea of the garage (currently full of junk and the freezer) but otherwise there's not much to recommend it. (Yep, I recognize this is the exact opposite of housing on the coastal cities where nobody can afford to buy. Here there are no decent rentals and a glut of houses for sale, many foreclosures that are next to free, and so many grand old houses nobody can afford to keep up, much like this one. Our landlord bought it for a song, sold it on contract for deed, they quit paying after a few months, trashed the place, then our landlord recruited some fools to flip it and six weeks later, we moved in with the painted floor still tacky.)

Did I mention the decluttering? We are decluttering in a massive way. So far we have removed a recliner, 7 boxes of stuff, and moved most of the kitchen contents downstairs to a shelf (which is now full). In a few months we will reevaluate the stuff that moved downstairs and probably get rid of much of it. I'm pretty sure we aren't going to try to sell any of our things, just going to donate them and leave them on the curb and be done with the clutter. It is lovely to get all the dishes in the dishwasher at once. The downsize could be permanent. I never imagined it could be so freeing to have fewer things. Next week the goal is to dispose of our dresser. This means purging clothes and relocating them to the drawers under the bed that aren't assembled yet but that's an exciting prospect. Less mess! Less mess to be made by far less laundry and general stuff!

At first it felt counter-productive to downsize our stuff while not buying new things because WHAT IF WE NEED THAT?!?! Now I think it makes sense to absolutely downsize. We planned to add hooks to the front entryway for the girls' coats and backpacks. Now that we can't buy them we either need to find those we bought earlier and lost or find something to trade someone for them. If we are still desperate for a solution in September, we will reevaluate and maybe coax someone who wants to get the girls new things to get fancy hooks for them. I'm really excited to find out what life is like with less stuff to get in the way. #whoneedsit

Monday, June 20, 2016

Rabbit hole #MicroblogMondays

I work down the street from both a women's health clinic and a pediatrics and OB/gyn clinic. I never have time off. Logically if we ever get pregnant, I need a provider and it makes sense it be someone right down the street. (And if we ever get to the "have a baby" part of pregnancy, I would turn up at the hospital in the next town over because the one here is not somewhere I'm willing to be a patient, but really, it doesn't matter to me who catches the baby.) I've now been twice and it was HARD. It is way too easy to be judgmental about the 30 year old with 6 kids and I need to knock it off. It's very reasonable for it to hit me that we will never have 3 children under 5 and it's all right to have it hurt some but I have to try to keep myself in some kind of sensible headspace. So far, nope. Maybe it's time to reconsider this whole comical idea of a third child. Maybe those babies who might have been haunt me more than I thought.

Last night I took my first metf.ormin and prenatal vitamin. It felt like I stood on the high dive platform and looked way down to those pills in my hand, and like I might drown if I jumped. I did it anyway.

#MicroblogMonday Myths

I grew up in the sticks on a farm. Until I was in my 20s and lived in the city, I was sure that fireflies and ice cream trucks existed only in movies. Now they are everywhere and it still startles me.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


My favorite part of my job is hospice. This puts me in a tiny minority of pharmacists and healthcare providers. Almost all of healthcare is busily striving to extend life at any cost. Hospice is focused on letting people die with dignity and comfort. My hospice patients are one of two sorts: admitted with months and months left to live or only hours, maybe a day at most. I wish it were always the former sort of patient so families could have the time for healing and the patient wouldn't get more futile treatments. Friday we admitted the latter sort of patient and Sunday the patient needed more pain medicine because the patient surprised us all by surviving that long. The whole family was there with the patient when I walked in, drinking coffee and eating the cookies I've seen at every death vigil in a facility, yet nobody seemed to be tasting any of it. There's something transcendent about a good death where the family gathers to support the dying person one last time, then is together to lean on each other for support after the death.

My spouse and I are probably unusual in that we have told our girls exactly how we want our end of life care to look, where we want our memorial stone to be, and that we want to be cremated. We have told my sibling and my parents as well. My in-laws laughed and then hid when we tried to start that conversation. If I could have one wish, it would be that everyone considered their death and told their loved ones what treatments they want and don't want. We should all get that good death, surrounded by loved ones, with no more pain. May we all be so fortunate.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Miracles and disappointment #MicroblogMonday

Awesome news: Remember last summer when I was dizzy and had all that physical therapy? I went from "can't really walk" to human in 6 weeks after being dropped just so. About ten years ago I bought a bike, a really nice one, hoping to embrace the biking my spouse loves so. I quickly discovered that my balance on the thing was awful and I kept crashing. After maybe twice with nearly broken bones, I parked the thing and ignored it. Last fall I thought it might be time to see if my newly better balance would improve my bike riding so I asked my spouse to take it in for a tune up. 4 weeks ago I insisted we order a bike rack and haul both bikes in to be tuned up, 2.5 weeks ago they actually went in, and yesterday we picked them up. I tested out my bike riding the block to the car and had ZERO balance problems. Victory! 

Less awesome news: We didn't have the chance to have the Kid's birthday party near the actual day because of spring break and health shenanigans, so we rescheduled it. After a few weeks of debating inviting a few versus her entire class and all 4 neighborhood friends who aren't classmates, we went whole hog and invited everyone. An elaborate Mars cake was constructed for the Ready Go party, games planned, house prepared. Nobody came. The Kid invited her stuffed animals and they played musical chairs in the living room. Nobody cried during the party but it was close for three of us. Her friend whose party was the same day but an hour earlier gave her a present though. I didn't think it was possible for me to feel worse than I had before about uprooting the Kid for my career and I was wrong.