Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Surgery Update & more

My 1030am Wednesday, Nov 23rd surgery was rescheduled to 11am. When we got there at 1045a, the nurse told me that the doc actually took less time with the other surgery he'd had that morning so I could have come earlier... Regardless, I got Ace settled with my tablet while I filled out some more paperwork, signed some more papers, and was taken back. Since it's a private surgery center & clinic (clinic is on the first floor, surgery on the second floor), there were only five people on staff -- two nurses, the doctor, the anesthesiologist, and the receptionist. The recovery room has two "waiting/guest" chairs and two reclining chairs, which is where they started my IV, I got introduced to "Dr Sleepy" (lol), two nurses asked me the same questions about my history, and Dr F. walked me through the surgery specifics. I walked (assisted, as I was dragging my IV with me) to the surgery room, got settled... and woke up almost 3 hrs later back in the recovery room.
It took a while before I was able to focus on anything, let alone get dressed & walk well enough to get back to the parking lot, so the doc came in a couple times to chit chat, the nurses talked to me a bit, and Ace kept me company while I came out of the anesthesia. We literally didn't get home until after 6p, so I was glad Princess didn't have anything scheduled after school that day. I spent the next few hours on the couch, not really focusing on the t.v., ate half a small container of yogurt, and Ace helped me to bed at 945p (after the nausea got so bad, I actually threw up). He woke me every two hours to take meds (switching off on the different meds), assisted me to the bathroom as needed, and he rested on the couch so as to not disturb my sleep with his possible snoring. The first few days were mostly resting/chillin' on the couch, and sleeping fully clothed in bed on my back (not the most comfortable way to sleep, btw).
Day two was Thanksgiving and I definitely did NOT feel like doing anything related to that, so I had some light fare throughout the day (none of it came back up, thankfully), and Dr. F even called to check on me; giving me his cell phone number in case I needed him over the holiday weekend. I spent most of the day watching t.v., a movie, FaceBooking, and playing Words With Friends... and was in bed by 10p. On day three, I woke up feeling like I got punched in the gut, but the nausea was a lot lighter and I had a bit more of an appetite. T brought my mini-Little to pick up Princess & the food we made for mom's Friday Feast (I had made my fudge Wednesday morning, and Princess made my GB Casserole Thursday night), and Ace & I watched a couple movies. She brought leftovers when T & bigger Little returned her around 6p. I was hungry by then, so she made me a little plate.
Saturday, we watched the Civil War (Oregon State Beavers vs University of Oregon Ducks); Beavers won (happy face; I chose them this year) and the Ducks coach got fired (sad face), and my uterus came in the mail (thanks to my BFF). We also did our traditional Thanksgiving meal (albeit, a bit smaller than is the norm, since there were only three of us). We watched another movie (we've watched a LOT of movies over the last couple weeks, too... thanks, Redbox!), and Princess made lemon bars for me. The two of them did a big chunk of the Santamas decorations, too, since I couldn't help. She also did all the laundry that weekend and this past weekend, which really helped.
By Sunday, I had weaned myself down to two Percocet per day, but was still on the rest of the meds. Hiccups, laughing, and coughing all hurt (similar to when I had my C-section 17+ years ago), deep breaths hurt, one of my five incisions was starting to itch and was bruised, and I needed another sponge bath (I got shaky when upright for too long, but couldn't lift my legs well enough to get into our soaker tub for a bath). Princess was kind enough to use her dry shampoo & brush my hair for me, as well. I got myself out of bed without assistance for the first time on Monday morning, but relied on Princess to make my mocha all the rest of that week. She made sure Ace was up before she left for school, as well, but for the most part, I didn't need as much help. I *did* still require assistance to get up & down (couch, toilet, bed, etc).
Tuesday, I was able to take a full shower. It took longer, and I had to split up the steps, but I did it! What they say is true; you really don't know how good you've got it until it's gone. At the one week mark, I felt well enough to start on Santamas cards (just finished yesterday) & wean down to one Percocet (at night before bed). I also felt ok about being left alone for a while (Ace went out to run a few errands) for the first time since surgery! Thursday & Friday, I redid Princess's nails (gel rebalance on Thursday, color & stamping on Friday) due to (1) her time constraints and (2) my energy & ability to sit for short periods of time. And, Saturday, I felt up for some errands (I wasn't driving, though); as long as he pushed the cart and remembered to walk slower than normal. I totally rested when we got home, too. My goal was to be completely off the Percocet by this day, too, because I had brunch plans Sunday. Mission: Accomplished! Princess & I were able to join my mother at her club for brunch; with only minor discomfort. So far, we've gone out three times over the last few days (gotta space it out, still). This past Monday, I also had it in me to get a few little things done around the house, including wrapping the few gifts I've already bought, another shower (normal amount of time this round), a little baking, and I made the bed without assistance (although that stretching is still uncomfortable).
Today makes the two week mark. I removed my butterfly bandages this morning, and am basically at 90%. I still have trouble with the stretching/reaching, and occasionally get pain twinges, but I'm down to two IB Rx per day and am off everything else. I will definitely be ready to go back to work next week, although that first day, I'm bringing Princess with me so she can carry my work bag up the stairs and help me put up Santamas decorations. I am on a strict "do not lift anything over 20lbs until mid-January" rule; doc's orders! My work bag, with my lamp & stuff in it, is at least 40lbs.

For those interested in the G-fam update, I have a little one -- I saw some pics from their Thanksgiving celebration at Gaston's aunt K's house. Not sure if/when Wildebeest was served with the divorce papers, but it had to have happened by now... so I'm hoping the fact the KC, her oldest daughter (k.c., as well, btw; we'll use lower case letters for her), Gaston, and his two young daughters were all there means Wildebeest is cooperating (I hadn't seen/heard of any co-mingling up until this point). Ooooorrrr, she didn't know until she saw pics (she's "friends" with a few members of the G-fam, so she had to have seen the pics posted on FB, as I did). My hope for that whole brood now is that the divorce comes quickly so that Gaston & KC's wedding date won't have to be moved, and they can all co-parent successfully (as Gaston & I were unable to, due to Wildebeest's interference).

Monday, November 21, 2016

Princess's Birthday and another update

Princess turned 17y on Nov 6th... and again, it hit me; she's only a year away from being a legal adult. We started the week with a shopping trip (she wanted some clothes, shoes, and misc school & bedroom stuff) and lunch at Panera on the 5th. She had a show the afternoon of her birthday (not sure if I mentioned that, along with her SM duties with the school play, she also was running the back and doing tech for a show put on by one of our local theatre groups). While she was gone, though, another stray dog showed up in our backyard. I found the fence down; that must have been how he got in.

He is a lab, fully intact, so I was concerned that he & Elvis would have a scuffle, but no; they just sniffed at each other for a bit, then got some water, and I sent my dogs inside while I calmly coaxed him into the leash I was holding. I went to the Hopkins' home first, but I was pretty sure their lab is black; this one was dark brown. Chatted with them for a bit while their great-granddaughters gave the dog a bunch of treats, then took him to the renters across from me. He does belong to them, so they thanked me, and I left. When Princess got home, we went to Juan Colorado for dinner. When we got home, we had cake (she asked for, and got, chocolate zucchini cake... her favorite right now) and opened gifts (tee from Papa, money/checks, candy, gift cards, a new set of towels, and a few other things).

A few days after her birthday, she got in more volunteer hours for her Yearbook class by helping to run the table during conferences. I've stopped going to those, as she is a great student (solid 3.75 GPA every year, so far), and I feel conferences are for those children/parents who are younger &/or having a hard time. I feel it is a waste of my, and the teachers', time to just have them tell me how awesome she is (I know; we're very lucky). The following day, she, KP, and KVC spent a few hours together at KVC's house. It had been a few months since they'd seen each other, so this was nice. They made cookies, had dinner, giggled, and just hung out. Oh, and Princess finally gave KVC her birthday gift (only seven months late... LMAO!). She bought it before her birthday; just kept forgetting to give it to her!

Anyway, other things going on -- Ace got denied Life Insurance due to his "chronic pain & migraines" (what a load of shit, btw... those are no reason to deny someone!), so we decided to just put a little money each month into an interest-earning account, and when he's employed again, hopefully there will be a company plan he can get (that's what he had at Intel; too bad we couldn't continue that one when he left). He also, due to my impending surgery & recovery, he has decided to delay his job search until after the beginning of the year... unless he decides to go back to school for a couple terms. He's thinking of updating his CAD knowledge by taking some classes at PCC Winter & Spring terms. From a purely financial standpoint, we're fine; he hasn't even touched his unemployment yet and I'm currently bringing in roughly what he was making when we first met.

Speaking of my surgery, for those who weren't aware, I have been diagnosed with Adenomyosis. Because of that, insurance had zero issues covering a hysterectomy for me. This has been a long time coming, and I'm very excited about it. The biggest downside is the three weeks I have to take off work (although, Dr. R said I could go back at two weeks if I feel I'm ready, but to take it slow & easy). After the first few days of pain, discomfort, extreme tiredness, I will probably be bored out of my skull. I am bummed I have to miss Friday Feast at my mother's this year, but (A) T will pick up & bring back Princess, so she doesn't have to miss out, and (B) they promised to bring me leftovers. I promised to make a small batch of fudge (which I'll probably do tomorrow evening) and my famous green bean casserole (not hard to throw together, but if I'm not up to it Thursday night, Princess can make it), as well. I also have some shows saved up on my DVR, a few things on Netflix I want to see, and a list of movies we can rent. I can either download books onto my reader or go to the library (if I'm up for it), as well.

Last but certainly not least, I have a couple of updates on the Wildebeest, et al (oh, I've decide to nickname MG "Gaston"... from Beauty & The Beast, Gaston always struck me as outwardly confident & charismatic/charming, but inwardly lacking confidence about who he really is. I don't know much about KC, yet, though, to give her a nickname, so we'll stick with KC for now). About a month & a half ago, Gaston & KC got engaged. Last week, I found out he FINALLY filed for divorce from Wildebeest. I'm assuming she has yet to be served because she hasn't gone more completely off the deep end of reality than she already was (her birthday post to Gaston was the most pathetic one, yet... but nothing unexpected). The best news, though? Gaston & KC moved into the SAME APARTMENT COMPLEX that he & Wildebeest lived in (twice, with a year in Colorado in-between) many years ago (the house they were renting in Aloha just sold again, too, which is interesting). They've been remodeled, and there is a new bunch of homes in the area, but I find that absolutely hilarious... Looking forward to another update after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Life, Revisted

WHEW! I have a few things on my mind these days and it's been months since I blogged so here it goes:

We finished out the summer with a couple more concerts and hiking adventures. We also bought a kayak (or is it a canoe? I can't keep them straight...) and took it out for a maiden voyage along a local part of the Tualatin River. Our garden is doing well; we've removed a lot of the summer blooms, but replanted carrots, radishes, lettuce, arugula, peas, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, and spinach. Those are spring & fall plants, and so far, so good. We haven't been on the bike much, though. We tried to get out a couple times, but life/pain always seems to get in the way.

As mentioned, we did end up getting life insurance (well, mine is active; we're still waiting for approval of Ace's). We are going to be in the market for a new medical insurance plan, however; our Cobra runs out at the end of next month. We've warned the kids, as the older two are still covered by ours, and we've all taken care of everything we need to, with a couple exceptions. Squeeks hasn't fit in her annual Well-Woman check, Princess & I have dentist appts at the end of this month, and I am in the middle of deciding which route to go as far as my "evil baby-making parts" are concerned. Do I try a stronger/long-term hormonal method or do I go completely permanent? There are pros & cons to both; and I'm running out of time to make that decision. I'm hoping the ultrasound will help me lean one way or the other... Ace is supportive no matter which route I go, which will make recovery that much easier on me.

Our older kids are doing well; Squeeks is living with her mother again, paying a small amount of rent, and just working. She has a couple ideas about her future, and is hoping to get into a particular internship either this Fall or in the Spring that will further that end. She went back east a month or so ago for a friend's wedding, and was able to join us for The Lion King performance. GamerBoy started the next series of classes he needs for his planned career. He said one of his classes is a bit difficult, but there *is* tutoring available if he needs it. His roommate situation has changed a bit, but he was able to work out a new arrangement that works for both of them. He's also decided to start working out; UofO has a full gym available to all students at no charge, so he just has to make time.

And then there's Princess. She is taking two IB classes as well as one college prep class, is a member of four clubs (National Honor Society, Drama Club, Gay Straight Alliance, and the newly-created Feminist Club), and has started rehearsals for the first play (as she did last year, she is co-stage managing with her best friend). There is actual homework this year (not hard, just time-consuming), as well; her junior year will probably be the most labor-intensive of her high school years. She's also starting to plan for college -- last Friday, while she was in Ashland with family for their annual trip, she & my mother signed up for an official tour of Southern Oregon University ("Mom, did you know SOU has an ASL program?!??!" Yes, I did.). This week, she is taking the PSAT. And, we'll be signing up for a couple more college tours at some point this year. Who knows what her educational future holds? My job is to give her options and make sure she makes an educated decision as to what/where is the best fit for her.

Wildebeest is *STILL* pining over MG (I think he needs a nickname... I'm going to think on that one). She's still posting pics & status messages about their wedding anniversaries, his birthday, "family" activities (& by that, I mean the younger girls' cheer events that they both attend; using the opportunity to promote the idea that they're still together...hahaha), etc (but also, interestingly, how he's "cheating" on her & "destroying" their kids)... I'm sure there'll be another "Happy Birthday"/love message when he turns 39y next month. Here's something interesting, as well... seems she's not involved in Pass It On anymore. Probably still a consignor; maybe even volunteers to work/run shifts, but she's no longer listed on the website as the Volunteer Coordinator. Wonder if her PIO friends know she hasn't been with MG for almost three years (probably not; she does like to lie about that, and other things). On a related note, even though he probably won't see this, I'd like to wish MG & KC a huge CONGRATULATIONS on their recent engagement! Now all he has to do is take care of that pesky divorce...

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer, So Far...

Summer's been... well, summer-like. I've been working more than normal, Ace is still unemployed (just enjoying being home, cooking, taking care of the garden, and having no employment responsibilities right now), and Princess is hanging out quite a bit (she did end up with an accumulative 3.75 GPA for the year; 6 A's and 2 B's, both semesters). We've decided to hold off on driver's ed (she's just not ready; she will renew her permit in December and we'll continue to offer her the keys as she's comfortable), have taken a few more exploratory drives, went on a couple more hikes, got our Life Insurance figured out (did you know USAA, among others, will send a medical rep to your house to take your blood & urine sample!??! Awesome.), and have had all of Ace's distributions paid out.

Because of time, I am now three and a half episodes behind in my friend's online nail show, and have yet to work on my online class. I'm going to try to get caught up on the show by end of summer, but will wait until Ace finds a job to work on the class. The two older kids are doing well; just working as much as they can right now. Princess did her trip to Ashland and another trip to Utah; both were enjoyable for her, but I think she enjoyed Ashland more. When she got home, she shared stories of how much "adulting" she did there, and is considering adding SOU to her list of possible colleges.

Since she returned from Utah, she's been at home with us a lot, but has also joined me at work (sometimes even working for me doing dusting, reorganizing, etc), hung out with some friends, and had a very productive meeting with her theatre friends & their new teacher. Six of them met up with Ms. S at a local coffee shop and were there for over three hours, discussing their ideas for plays, more student involvement, more community involvement, and more. They have plans to meet again before school starts.

A few weeks ago, I realized her passport expires toward the end of September, so last week, we took all her old paperwork (with her birth name), new paperwork (with her adopted name), adoption/name change court documents, old passport, and a new/adult passport application (at 16y, you're an "adult" in that you can affirm to your own identity without permission from both parents) to the passport office (which, we found, had moved... but not too far). The woman behind the counter (who happened to be the mother of one of Princess's old cheer teammates) was subbing for the guy who usually works there while he was on his lunch break, and she wasn't sure she did it right... Luckily, the guy came back from lunch as she was finishing up, and corrected a couple things. So, now we wait 4-6 weeks (not that we're going anywhere out of the USA any time soon).

Two weeks ago, I was sideswiped on my way into work. Seems the 16yo driving the Volvo that hit me (as well as rear-ended a work van) fell asleep (admitted to us, as well as the Beaverton police officer). This was kind of a cluster this time around; for the first time, USAA told me to go to Kadel's for the "initial estimate" (um, fishy much?), but of course, I can *take* it anywhere to get fixed. After I sent in the two estimates, USAA then distributed a check to me in the amount of the (much lower) Kadel's estimate. I sent my adjuster a message about "why", and never got an answer, so I called and spoke to the other adjuster who had been contributing to my online communication. I then called my shop and told Steve what happened. He asked that I email him the Kadel's estimate, and he would look it over, talk to USAA, and call me back. The next morning, he said that we will start will the Kadel's list and submit supplement requests as they fix more stuff (seems Kadel's missed quite a few things... ugh); no additional funds out of my own pocket. Anyway, I go in to our usual shop tomorrow; car rental will meet me there, as I will need a rental while the shop has my car.

The three of us went to the Washington County Fair to see Gabriel Iglesias (aka: FLUFFY!), and wander the fair. We got some fair food, visited the animals, really enjoyed the concert, and ran into Princess's cousin, N.G.! Hugs, kisses, and a quick catch-up was all we had time for, but it was nice to see him. Next up is The Lion King with Squeeks...

Lastly, I don't want to get into details, but there is an "issue" going on within my family (no, no one cheated, and no, no one's pregnant). Ace, MK, & I are fine; we are strong & will get through this, but for those who are so inclined -- if you wish to send some good vibes, that would be appreciated. For the time being, this does affect how often we're all online, so if you need to reach me quickly, text my cell phone.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Family Update

Ace has now been unemployed for a month and a half. He has yet to have a migraine (although there have been a couple days where it would have taken that turn had he not thwarted it with meds & a nap). He now regularly gets up no later than 7am, no alarm. He has taken a few more webinars and has a phone meeting with his case worker next week. The LinkedIn page and his resume are as tweaked as he can make them (yes, I "red-penned" them, at his request). He still doesn't know what he wants to do, but the antsiness has kicked in (lol), so he's started to look. His child support for Squeeks has been officially terminated and canceled. Our medical has been switched to Cobra. We're still waiting for the last couple of distributions, and he still has to figure out where we want to move the life insurance to (they have a company or we can move it to our own; we'll probably move it to USAA).
As for us as a couple, having him home has been 99% good (the 1% is only because I have to tell him "I'm in class" when I need to get some computering done - I watch a daily webcast about goings on in the nail industry, and I joined an online educational website that is subscription based). We have started hiking together (three so far; two more in the near future are planned... Princess will accompany us on some, as will the dogs), we finished the garden (All three of us are involved, btw; tomatoes have babies, the radishes have been harvested, the herbs have all been used on a regular basis but are now bolting, and everything else is growing well; it's just a waiting game), and he's made dinner almost every night ("earning his keep", he jokingly said). We have also taken a couple of exploratory drives and have found camping, fishing, and scenic areas not too far from home, and not crowded at all. Now, we just have to get back on the bike... stupid rain. :)
GamerBoy passed his second attempt at his Calculus class, and has been accepted into UofO's Business School, starting in the Fall. His original roommate moved out and he found what seem to be a good fit in a young couple. He is no longer at the cleaning service company, but is getting more hours (& enjoying) at a janitorial company instead. He also was granted some financial aid (now based on his own income level), which won't cover all his school expenses, but is a lot better than covering out of his own pocket. Ace has a Father's Day date coming up with him next week.
Squeeks, as I mentioned, is no longer getting child support (per Oregon statutes). She turned 21y a few days ago, and finished her Associate's Degree at MHCC. To celebrate both, her mother took her to Vegas (oh, and her grandparents flew her to their island home a few weeks ago)! She got a second job, online order runner for Fred Meyer, and got a call from an event services company she worked for last summer to ocassionally staff at fairs, concerts, etc. So, until she figures out what career path she wants, these three jobs should keep her fairly busy, and should bulk up her savings account (if she's careful). To assist with that, she moved back in with her mother; Maleficent is only charging her half of what she was paying at her other house, and that includes food, etc.
Princess finishes her sophomore year (this Thurs is their last day) on the Honor Roll again (of course... gotta maintain Honor Roll to stay in the NHS). Currently, without her Finals grades in the system, she is running 6 A's and two B's. One B is 86% and the other is 89%, so she's hoping to bump those up to A's. This year, she co-stage managed four school plays (unfortunately, her beloved drama teacher/director has been offered his old job back and he'll be leaving next month; I hope next year's is just as awesome), and worked for a multitude of outside companies (who were able to rent the H.S.'s auditorium for their own productions) doing backstage assistance (costume changing, makeup assistance, curtain, etc).
She was an active member of NHS (including putting in more volunteer hours than was required) & GSA (both of which will continue through). In a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, she & KP even "got married" at the GSA booth during their end of year carnival. Anyway, regardless of her final grades, she's worked so very hard this year; with my brother's assistance, we are gifting her a tablet of her own. She has some fun summer plans coming quickly, as well. Last weekend, I took her to get her brows redone. This Thursday afternoon, she has a hair redo appointment. Monday, she leaves for a Theatre trip to Ashland. The Sunday after that, she leaves for a humanitarian trip to Utah (and is bringing THREE friends). That's just June...
I tried to get her into the driver's ed program through PCC, but for some unknown reason, they are not offering any this summer, so I am now looking into doing a similar program through a private company. She is not "gung-ho" about driving, so I am not pushing; we only gently nudge as we go somewhere not too far, and are able to stay on local roads for now (no way is she ready for highways yet). Driving is a personal thing, and I'd much rather her be comfortable and earn her hours slowly, than us pushing her too hard, making her get her license, and her ending up in an accident because she wasn't ready. She knows that if she doesn't have her license by the time her permit expires, the renewal is on her, and she's okay with that. And, she started working for me at my salon, doing cleaning, organizing, answering my phone, etc... She will continue to join me at work about once a week, as she is available, and earn herself a little extra spending cash.

From what I've been told/observed, she is still pining for MG... well... online, publicly, at least. But, she also recently bragged about kicking ass in court, so I find that interesting. You either want to be with him or you don't. At this point, I'm not sure why she'd still want to; some people are just a "glutton for punishment", I suppose. I know he took his girlfriend to Washington to meet more of his family and join in on a new-house celebration weekend. I know K.C. has been wearing a ring on her left ring finger (not real gold/diamond, but still possibly an engagement or promise ring). I know Wildebeest has more than one job, has added volunteering at the Curvy Chic sale (I've already warned my friends to watch out for her this Fall), lives near the Aloha INTEL, and has cut ties with practically ALL the Gonzo clan, claiming that they are not worthy of spending time with her daughters (more honestly, she's just pissed that his family is treating her & KC the same way they treated me & her so many years ago... what comes around goes around, huh, Wildebeest?). I'm actually suprised the divorce isn't done yet... What are you waiting for?!?!? MG, if you're reading this, just do it. You will be happier, KC will be happier, and JG will get over it. Let her play the martyr if she wants; don't let her bring down your happiness.

Friday, May 13, 2016

My New Guns...

Two weeks ago, after 23 years with the company, Ace was one of almost 1000 people who left Intel. To clarify, he did NOT get fired; he took what they call a Separation Package (had he been fired, there would have been no compensation). This package includes keeping his company cell phone (they terminated the contract a week later, but we can wipe it & sell it or use it ourselves), a choice of COBRA coverage, a lump sum (a large chunk of weeks, base salary) of his pay, job search assistance, and more. He is eligible for unemployment. His sick & vacation days will also be cashed out and he will be able to transfer our life insurance policies and his 401K. Of course, we also have been smart with our own money; we have no outstanding debts, no mortgage, etc... and have roughly 18 months worth of living expenses in a savings account (not counting my new car fund, which we're still planning on buying... some time this Fall, I think).

When he got home, he floundered a bit; not knowing what to do with himself. After I made us lunch, though, he goes, "Let's get some work done," and proceeded to make a lot of sawdust (in case you missed that post, we've been building a nice raised garden bed for vegetables). The photo of sawdust I took was posted on his Facebook page with, "How I spent my first day no longer working for Intel." Since then, he's worked on his LinkedIn page, his resume, and has had two meetings with the job search people. He has four webinars he's signed up for for next week, as well. While he's not sure what he wants to do, yet, we are financially able for him to take some time to figure it out.

He's been sleeping better, hasn't had a migraine, and is in a good mood all the time. Since he left Intel, we've also done something with the garden bed every day. He is down two pants sizes and his upper arms are super-defined. I am more defined all over and can actually see results in my own upper arms as well. As of today, the box is 1/3 full of the soil mix. Ace's plan while I'm at work is to get more of it from the pile in the front yard to the box in the back. Since he's sore from yesterday's work (we all are), he may or may not get it done. If needed, once it cools off this evening, I'll go out & work, as well. Once it's done, we'll be ready for plant starters!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Rant #2 - #5, of 5 -- All At Once

I was going to address these individually, but figured I could make it one blog post, since each thing I have to say is short...

2. Gender Roles

3. Trans Community

4. Weight Issues

5. FaceBook posts

2. Why do we still judge others based on religious beliefs? Why do we try to make laws based on those? Where did our country take a huge wrong turn, and try to put everything discriminatory under the "Religious Freedom" umbrella? Your rights end when they infringe upon others' rights. Period. End of sentence. You want to be a stay at home mom or dad? Cool. You want to wear a dress? Ok. You want to let your kids play with the pink Legos? Whatever. But, the minute you try to tell me *I* need to stay home, wear a dress, and that pink Legos are only for girls is the minute we're going to have a problem.

3. Dear Trans community -- I not only bought five of the "I'll Go With You" buttons; I will *actually* go with you; you just have to ask. Find me in the Portland Oregon area; I'll have the button proudly pinned on my purse. And, I *will* go with you. also, I do nails for living... you are welcome in my salon. Dear transphobic people -- you're not actually "phobic"; that word means "fear of..." Or, maybe you are. Uneducated people are usually fearful of all they don't know. But, more likely, you're just an asshole.

4. Why is "fat shaming" a thing? Why is this like one of the only "societally acceptable" discriminations still deemed ok by the majority of people? Don't sit there and tell me you're "only concerned for their health... or their children..." or whatever. Bullshit. You are being rude, condescending, and judgmental for no other reason that you're a bully. You do it because it makes you feel superior. You're a child in an adult's clothing, and my teenager is a better person than you are. Shame on you!

5. I post things that interest me, articles calling out the racist/discriminatory/anti-woman rhetoric, stuff I did/will do that day, upcoming events, and more. It is MY page to post what I want to on. I have the ability to share, post, comment, "like", or scroll past other people's posts. You, too, have the same ability to share, post, comment, "like", and scroll without commenting. When doing so, please remember that Golden Rule most of us grew up knowing (although, by the looks of some people's posts, they apparently don't *remember* what it means). If you don't agree, scroll on past!

How about this -- STOP JUDGING OTHERS!! Oh, while I'm at it -- I will not only NOT say the Pledge of Allegiance, I won't even stand for it... and neither will my daughter if she doesn't want to. AND YOU CAN'T MAKE US! (Side note - I've made a conscious effort recently to not even "like" posts I deem sexist, even if you are posting it all in jest, or to poke a little fun. I'm going to continue down my path of equality, humanism, and feminism... whether you like it or not.)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy Anniversary to us, and some good advice...

I found this article back in December, 2015... but saved it to post today. Today is my and Ace's 12th wedding anniversary. Believe me, it's not all wine & roses (I don't even like roses). We've had some shit thrown at us: both of us were married before, to some not-so-good people. Both of us had children in those past relationships; that makes things harder. Both of us had our own ideas of how to run the house, not necessarily the same ideas. BUT, we were together two and a half years before we got married and we talked about everything... yes, everything. So, after you read that article I posted above, come back here, and see my own personal touch to those bits --

1. Why am I in THIS relationship? Do you respect and admire everything this person stands for and do they make you want to contribute to their happiness? Or are the comforts of the relationship, such as finances or other conveniences, the reason why you’re together? Are you afraid of being alone? Be sure that the person you choose to spend your life with is not a crutch. Ace and I are equal partners in everything we do. He may make more money than I do, but every dollar is still "ours". We make decisions together, or at least support decisions made independently (always with the family in mind). We are more happy & complete together. We may not agree on everything (really, who does?) but we do respect each other's opinions.
2. Do I really trust this partner? Trust is a solid foundation. Honestly answer this question and if it’s a ‘no,’ decide whether that trust can be formed or rebuilt. Without it, the relationship is doomed. My ex-husband cheated on me multiple times, with more than one person; it was only the last one (Wildebeest) that he ended up marrying... and he still cheated on her later. Some part of me knew he stepped out on me, but I refused to believe it for a while. I lied to myself about it. But, I knew. Before we got married, he accused me of cheating; I know now that was the epitome of the term "deflection". He used to say stuff like, "I trust you, but I don't trust..." whoever I was with (co-workers, certain family members, some friends, etc). Guess what? That's a false statement, and you are lying to yourself if you think it's not. You can't honestly say that you trust the person you love if you think they'll be easily influenced when they're around certain other people. I trust Ace; with everything I have. It doesn't matter who's he with or where he goes. And, he trusts me.
3. Do you want to share your finances together or have separate accounts? One of the leading causes of divorce is money problems. Make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to finances. To make things more complicated, there are unexpected variables you should be aware of like divorce that could affect how you sort through the business of who gets to keep what. We have separate accounts; always have, probably always will. It was easier to do it this way, in the beginning anyway, because we both had potential financial issues with each of our respective exes. Now, the exes are out of the picture, but it's been this way for so long, why change it? It works for us. I *will* say two things that have changed in our financial arena -- (a) We had wills done a few years ago (which we modified when Ace adopted Princess), and I added him to the house at that time. Too much of a pain in the ass for him to keep it if I hadn't, and something happened to me. (b) We opened *one* joint account; the money is there only for me to pay house bills while waiting for his will to be probated, if he dies first. I don't believe it's necessary to HAVE joint accounts; it's only important that you agree on how to handle your household & personal finances.
4. Is for better or worse making me better or worse? Are you celebrating each other’s successes or resentful of them? If you’re intimidated by their success and not supportive because you’re envious, you’re breeding competition. You should be team members, not rivals. No additional notes needed. :)
5. Am I a parent or a partner? Pampering someone you love is one thing. But make sure the relationship doesn’t go in the direction of being parental towards your mate. It’s going to be awkward when you feel like you’re raising a husband and you start resenting him. Punishment is far from romantic, unless spanking is a practice meant for other purposes. If you feel your husband acts like a child, why are you married to him? Marriage should be an equal partnership, not one parenting the other. Perhaps your relationship should be reevaluated if you feel he's more like a child and less like a husband...
6. Do you both want to have kids? This is a huge deal breaker if you don’t share the same desires. Make sure you discuss your options carefully. You don’t want to bring a child into a broken home. No kids is better than ones raised in an uphappy home, so make sure you're on the same page with this one BEFORE you start a family (or don't start one; I'm all about you having the choice). In our case, Ace & I both had kids before we got together, so the discussion wasn't "should we have kids?"; it was "should we have another kid?" We went back and forth for a couple years, but in the end, decided we'd rather give what we had (emotionally) to the three existing ones.
7. What am I doing to hold us back? Let go of your ego and figure out what the problem is. Is it fixable? Could you show signs that you care by admitting to mistakes and be willing to change? In our case; the answer to the first part of this one is "nothing". Neither of us hold the other one back. We are both completely free to do whatever we wish; we just happen to always choose things that strengthen the family, not weaken it.
8. Am I happy in this relationship? Disagreements and occasional fighting may rear its ugly head. But if they’re frequent, ask yourself if it’s worth working through with communication, given that your partner is compliant. Counseling should not be ruled out if necessary. Never use marriage as a band-aid to repair a relationship in the hopes that matters will resolve themselves in time. Couples are bound to disagree sometimes. Disagreements are not the problem; the problem is the disrespect and unwillingness to come to an agreement of some sort. You don't have to agree on everything, but if you can't come to a compromise, just agree to disagree and move on.
9. Am I feeling trapped? Are you staying in the relationship out of obligation? Or do you constantly look for a way out? Sure, relationships are an investment. But are you invested in the time you put in as a couple, or are you invested in your partner? One thing I hear often -- "We're staying together for the sake of the children." Ridiculous. Your children are better off with two happy, separated, parents than they'll ever be with two unhappy, together, ones. Aside from that, you need to weigh the good and bad; the good should ALWAYS outweigh the bad. If it doesn't, you need to rethink being together.
10. What happens when you agree or disagree with each other? Are you willing to compromise? It shouldn’t always be about MY way, even though you might be correct. But coming up with OUR way is the better solution. See #8.
11. Are we looking in the same direction? It’s easy to be elusive when it comes to topics of marriage, religion and children when you’re in love. You shouldn’t think those topics will be discussed at a more “convenient” time. When you procrastinate having these discussions until after tying the knot, it may suddenly occur to you that the other person doesn’t share the same important values, and that you really don’t know each other at all. I love this one. I see the most ridiculous relationship advice sometimes... one of which is "don't talk about your exes." I actually think it's healthy to do so; especially if you can look at those past relationships as learning tools. Figure out what went wrong helps you grow as a person. I believe in discussing everything, including religion, parenting methods, financials (credit score, existing debt, how to split bills, what kind of money you make, etc) early on... and keep discussing. I have a feeling that religion is at least a small part of what split up my ex and Wildebeest; he was an atheist when I met him & married him. She "encouraged" (I used the word lightly, and with a rolling of my eyes) him to join her at her "non-denominational" church. For whatever reason, he pretended to be a believer until they officially split. NEVER pretend to believe something you don't. If your beliefs (religious, financial, parenting, etc) are not the same as your potential future partner's, I would advise you to question the relationship. I'm not saying you CAN'T be happy, but not agreeing on these life qualities makes life a whole lot more difficult; not just for you, but also for any children you may have.
12. Are we growing together? Do you still embody the essence of who you are as an individual while also being able to share passions together? My husband & I have a lot of things in common... but not everything. And, that's perfect for us. I get to be the real me, he gets to be the real him, we get to enjoy our time apart pursuing things we, individually, find fun... and still make time to spend time *together*.
13. Are you ready to put this person’s needs above your wants? It’s all about the give and take, especially in the first years of marriage. Can you put off a trip to Mexico until she pays off her student loans? Be prepared to make certain sacrifices. Needs should almost *always* come before wants. Case in point - when my husband's mother passed away, she left him & his sister quite a bit. His portion was, of course, his to do with as he chose. He *chose* to pay off "our" debts -- the house, the cars, the credit cards, the student loans, etc. He didn't *have* do that; he could have taken a vacation, bought a boat, or a new motorcycle, or any other number of things. But, he chose to put his family and our needs first. He chose to settle our debts so we could all move forward together.
14. What is my gut telling me? Your instincts are usually right. Don’t suppress them. I should have listened to my gut when I began questioning my first husband... and his mistress-turned wife-now estranged. I knew they were having an affair, but had a hard time being honest with myself about it until it almost slapped me in the face. With Ace, I have none of that. In our now 12 years of marriage, never have I ever felt mistrust.
15. Where is this going? While the present could be wonderful, there should eventually be a plan for the future of the relationship. Are you making life decisions together and setting goals? Our future is together, and we plan accordingly. We plan to have grandkids (eventually). We plan to move, probably. We plan to retire, hopefully before we're dead. ;) Whatever it holds, it will be together, and we work regularly to make sure that is always at the forefront for both of us.
16. Can we have fun together? If tasks like running errands together make you enjoy each other’s companionship, you’re probably in good shape. You don’t want to be that couple at a restaurant that doesn’t acknowledge each other, and all you hear are utensils scraping the plate. HAHA. This is so important. Even after all this time, we still make each other smile, laugh, roll our eyes, and we truly enjoy each other's company. We even run errands together most Mondays because it's guaranteed time.
17. Can we have fun apart? Don’t be defined by the person you’re with. Can you enjoy time alone without feeling obligations to each other? He still occasionally goes to a concert or a friend's or on a motorcycle ride... alone. I still hang out with my friends or certain members of my family, without him. Some time apart is perfectly healthy.
18. Is this relationship balanced? Are you both making equal compromises? Or does he/she take a mile when you give an inch? Yes, yes, no. A balanced, fair, and equal relationship makes for a happy relationship.
19. Does my partner have my back? Do you support each other as loyal teammates with or without each other’s presence? Every damned day, no matter what.
20. Could you spend the rest of your life with this person if they become incapacitated? Sometimes, unfortunate things will happen when life takes an unexpected turn. As an example, if a car accident happens and one of you becomes paralyzed or lose a limb, would you be willing to stick by each other’s side for the rest of your lives? Without a doubt, yes. When we had our motorcycle accident, I spent months taking care of Ace, our daughter, and the house. He just couldn't do it. He felt horrible not being able to do his part, but (I reminded him many many times) he physically could NOT do them, so I did. That's what true partnership is. He's truly got my back... and I've got his. We are a team, equal partners, and equal parents; I wouldn't have it any other way.

There are no wrong answers. But just make sure they’re the right answers for you. Here's to the rest of our lifetime...

Thursday, March 31, 2016


I've gotten new subscribers lately, so I thought I'd take a minute and "introduce" myself and my feelings on certain topics, so you, my readers, will know what you've gotten yourself into here. Lol... Let's start with what I have in the INTRO section on my FaceBook page.

1. Atheist - This one *should* be simple, but people get this confused so here's some clarification. I believe there IS NO "GOD"; plain & simple, you'd think, right? Apparently not. A lot of people get atheism confused with Paganism (basically, one with nature), Satanism (not necessarily belief in the Christian idea of Satan; more like the belief in self), &/or Agnosticism (neither believes nor disbelieves in a god). Others fully believe the religion of "The Flying Spaghetti Monster" is a real thing. I suppose technically it is, but it's more just around to poke fun and make a point about the ridiculous nature of religion, in general. As an atheist, I do share some of the beliefs of these other (similar) outlooks, but do not consider myself one of any of them. The *only* thing that can be said about atheists, as a whole group, is that we do not believe in any god. Everything else is individualized.

2. Humanist - Basically, everyone has value... EVERYONE. Your worth in this world has nothing to do with your race, your size, your gender, your job, or anything else. Equality among everyone is a goal, and I actively work to make sure I do my part to push that. I cannot understand anyone who ISN'T claiming, and actively working toward, real humanism.

3. Feminist - Simply put, dictionary definition: "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes". That's it. Again, should be a simple concept, but a lot of people seem to think it's synonomous with "man hater" or think we want to be better than men. Nope. Equality of the sexes/genders (yes, there's a difference), people; that's it! Eliminating the assumed patriarchy in the workplace, home, and everywhere else is a side effect... and so worth it! That said, I have also seen some women (mostly young, mostly undereducated) say stuff to the effect of "we don't need feminism, we can already XXXX". Um, that's because of feminism, and yes, we still need it. Also overheard, "I don't need feminism; I want to be a stay at home mom" (or some other thing with a wrongly perceived lower value). That's cool; no one said you couldn't be both. Feminism says you *can* be a stay at home mom if you want, and a man can stay at home too... and be equally valued! Feminism says you can be an engineer, a teacher, a hairdresser, or anything else... and it shouldn't matter what gender you are!! What matters is that, no matter what your gender, you are paid the same and treated the same.

4. LGBTQ+ Ally - This one takes a bit more to explain to people, sometimes. First, let me educate you, in case you aren't aware: Gender is a spectrum; it's not just boys and girls. Not everyone understands, or agrees with, this statement, but it's a fact. Second, being supportive of someone doesn't mean I *am* one. When I mentioned to a friend that my daughter is (for the second year) in her high school's GSA (Gay Straight Alliance -- all spectrum awareness & support, btw), she asked me if my daugher was gay... Um, no; not that it would matter if she was, but why the assumption? I'm a animal lover, too; that doesn't make me a dog. So, I support equal treatment IN EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. This includes, but is not limited to, using whatever bathroom you want to, and getting married to whomever you want to (as long as there is legal consent on both sides).

5. Pro-Gun - Contrary to those who think I'm "gun crazy" or "a gun nut", I do believe there should be *some* regulation. However, I can argue all day about the laws currently in place & are being introduced; most of them redundant and which do absolutely nothing to protect anyone. "Gun-free zones"?!? More accurate -- "Criminal-friendly zones!" Ugh. If I *can* legally carry, I *WILL* legally carry. I am licenced in as many states as I can currently be so (somewhere around 40, I think, without looking it up), I avoid places I can't legally carry, if I can (like restaurants, stores, etc... that have signs up), and we regularly practice (yup, even the teenaged daughter; she prefers the shotguns, btw). If you don't want to carry, that's fine... but don't you dare tell me that *I CAN'T*!

6. Pro-Choice - Lots of terms going around the 'net about this... and lot of misinformation. Let's clear it up, shall we? Pro-choice is simply the belief that everyone gets to make the reproductive choice for themselves which works best for their own lives. The terms pro-birth, pro-life (HA! no, you're not), pro-abortion, and more get thrown around, but in all honesty, just like religion, YOU get to make the decision for YOU, I get to make the decision for ME, my DAUGHTERS get to make the decision for THEMSELVES, etc. I don't care if you agree with abortions, or think all women who have them are evil/sluts/should be punished/get what's coming to them... IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!! Side note - 2nd & 3rd trimester abortions are rare, but more necessary than ever; they are due to medical anomalies, not because the pregnant woman "forgot" to go have an abortion... stop that stupid rhetoric; it's not true. Oh, and adoption is only an alternative to GIVING BIRTH, not an alternative for being pregnant. So, please stop using those guilt tactics; they're not working.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Woooowwww... Thanks for the laugh!

Got a little bit of funny update on the Wildebeest recently...

First -- I *thought*, based on a post she made on her FB page a couple weeks ago, that she was maybe starting to realize her part in all that's now happening to her, and was starting to maybe feel a tiny built guilty about what she did not only to me, but also to my daughter. This is what she posted -- " "The word contrition comes from the Latin contritus (the same root for the word contrite), and literally means “crushed to pieces.” The contrite person has had their once haughty and prideful ego completely crushed under the tremendous weight of guilt and shame. Such a person has “hit bottom” (as 12-step program adherents are wont to say) not only because they can no longer bear the thought of how badly their actions hurt others but also because of their deep realization of how their usual way of doing things has resulted in abject personal failure. That’s why the contrite person is first and foremost a broken person. And, by definition, only by acknowledging personal defeat can a person become potentially open to reconstructing their life on very different terms. It’s been said many times, but it’s profoundly psychologically true. One cannot begin a new life without laying to rest one’s old self." " But then -- I hear she's still pining for MG... ugh. Come on, Wildebeest; let him go. Let IT go. Let go of your belief that you & MG are still supposed to be together. He's done with you; he's been done for quite some time. You'd consider a polygamist relationship with him??! Really? Desperation, much? Oh, and do you honestly believe that "it wasn't cheating when" you slept with him within our marriage, because *I* was (supposedly) cheating on him?!?! HAHAHAA!!! Believe whatever you want, of course, but it's not true. Not that it's any of your business, but in the five years we were together prior to our wedding, I slept with NO ONE ELSE; in the years during our marriage, I slept with NO ONE ELSE until we were officially split, I'd filed for divorce, and he was already with you. I am so glad my wonderful daughter & I are away from you and your crazy... She deserves, and has, so much better than a ridiculous, petty, vindictive, and obviously still jealous woman.

**EDIT** I realize that I should have worded that a little bit different. Since MG and I had a roughly one year break in 1996, there were other boyfriends during that time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Family Update #2 -- The Kids

Gamer Boy -- Maybe I should start calling him "Gamer Man"!?!? I mean, he *is* 23 1/2y now... Anyway, we got a little life update Sunday, when we all converged upon my in-laws' house in Salem. He, too, is on Spring Break; new term starts next Monday. He'll be taking three classes, but has condensed them to two days and a Friday morning. That leaves the rest of his days to work. He found a second job doing janitorial services (have I mentioned his super-clean tendancies?), which goes perfectly with his housekeeping job, and of course, puts more money back into his savings (you know... the one he's using to pay for school since his financial aid doesn't go through 'til Fall term?). Plus, he's probably going to take Summer term off (he hasn't decided for sure, yet); if that happens, he can get even more hours/money saved. He also stated that his roommate may be accepting a job up here, so if he moves out, GB will either keep the apartment and see about finding another roommate or look into taking a one-bedroom in the same complex. He's literally right across from the big mall down there, and the bus to campus stops in front in 15m intervals... so he's not using his truck much. On a not-so-good note, he's been having a lot of trouble sleeping and staying awake in class... doc thinks it may be a thyroid issue, but it may not be so he's scheduling some testing and has a sleep study he'll be participating in. Hopefully, they can figure it out; we're a little concerned.

Squeeks -- Not much to update yet... Ace was supposed to have coffee/visit with her yesterday but had to cancel. Will update when we have something to share. ;)

Princess -- Oh my, has she been busy. We've been (very slowly, because she's still anxious) working on her driving. We haven't gone very far, but are up to 14hrs now. We got her a safety magnet that says something about "I'm still learning; have patience" on it; that seems to help. It sits on the rear driver's side of the car, and I know people see it and back off a bit. If I take her with me when I go to Washington in May, she can probably drive a chunk of the way there & back, too. I've tried getting her into driver's ed, but the first time, she wasn't emotionally ready, and the second & third time, the class was full within a day (she's currently on the waiting list for the one that starts in a couple weeks, but it's not looking good to get in). If she doesn't get in to this one, Summer schedule has more to choose from. If KP gets a few more hours in, they can take the class together, which will make the "outside of class time" hours they're supposed to do a bit easier to arrange, since they do so much together. She's also been working with KP as stage managers for their school plays. The girls did SM'ing for the Winter play (Urinetown), and were in the middle of working on one of the two Spring plays (they were originally doing Complete Works of Shakespeare; Abridged & Updated) when NE (director) asked them to assist Amy in also doing Tempest. Apparently, Amy's co-stage manager had to drop out. So, Princess & KP are at school 'til 7p every Monday through Friday. If there is homework to be done, she brings her laptop and leaves it in NE's office during school. NE promised me no weekend rehearsals (and I'd already warned him about the possibility of driver's ed), but he didn't promise no tech days (like Monday; they were painting set pieces from noon to 530p)... although those are not a requirement, so missing Tuesday and part of Thursday for beauty appointments is no big deal. Starting to figure out Summer plans - there's a trip to Ashland scheduled the week after school lets out (with her drama teacher/director, and some other students, plus a couple chaperones) to see some plays and explore the city, another trip to Utah (this is still tentative) with KP & Mimi packing emergency kits for third world countries, a concert in Ridgefield in August with her "fam" (her close girlfriend group), GrandCamp, possibly another (out of the country? maybe...) trip with Mimi, and we're starting to think of a family trip at some point this summer.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Family Update #1 -- Ace & I

I noticed that the last time I updated was around Santamas... so, here ya go!

(1) We've finally started working on our yard plans! First up is the raised garden beds. We started by designing it on the computer. We then marked and used string & garden flags to visualize the space outside. We dug down a few inches, got the dirt (mud... haha) leveled as best as we could, then used landscape pins to put some pvc-coated mesh (longer lasting in our wet climate) wire down (to keep the moles, etc out; thanks, Amanda, for the suggestion!). After that was finished, we went out "rock hunting" to figure out what kind of crushed rock and what kind of border rocks we wanted. We found rectangular border stones at Lowe's, and bought eight of them for now; those were placed edge-to-edge perpendicular to each other to form the corners of the whole area. Ace & Princess spent 15 minutes making sure those were level (ish). Our next step is to get 3/4" minus and 3/4" clean; the minus will be put down, tamped down, and leveled, then we'll put a layer of landscaping fabric down, get more of the bordering stones to finish the border, make sure those are level, then build the squared "U" shaped beds, place that & level, and put a layer of the clean down. It will hold the landscaping fabric down, be a better pathway around the beds, and will help hold the beds in place a bit. When that is done, all we have left is dirt & seeds...
(2) Our 10y old tv (a 60" Sony rear projection we got for an excellent price from Crutchfield, btw) crapped out about three weeks ago. We've been pricing and comparing tvs for the last year or so, anyway, because we knew this one would go out eventually and Ace likes to spend a long time researching (hence the reason it took us two years to get the yard started). It was about 10pm, and it just went black. The little LED on the base blinked off then on -green-, then off then on -red- nine times; repeat. Ace looked it up; nine in a row is a fan. Ok... there are three fans in there, so we turned it around and tried to turn it on. Figured out it's the fan near the lamp bulb. The following day, we moved the 48" from our room (where it's not being used, anyway) out to the living room, to hold us over 'til we could fix the big one or get a new one.
We figured, "It already doesn't work; what's worse case if we try to fix it? That it *still* doesn't work? We can part it out, then." A few days later, after he'd had the chance to find some videos, we watched one very detailed one together. He asked, "Think we can do this?" I said, "I'm feeling 80% confident." So, we opened her up. Now, keep in mind that the inside of a tv is basically a computer... and my husband has built all of our desktops (plus a bunch before we were together). He also has a degree in Electrical Engineering (one of his three degrees). So, one afternoon, we took it mostly apart - screen off, speaker off, metal plate off, projector lamp covered (to protect from dust), plastic housing off, lamp out, wires disconnected, one of the circuit boards off... now, how do we get to the fan housing? Unscrewed a bunch of stuff, took a bunch of pics of our progress while we had the video up and paused, and we got the housing out. It was really dusty so Ace took it out to the garage and used the air compressor on it. We then put it back in, put it back together up to, but not including, the speaker wires. Turned it on; same error. UGH!
At this point, Ace was irritated, and we'd already settled on a tv (a 70" Vizio 4K model that got super high ratings) so we got that ordered from Costco and he started dinner. About half hour later, he said, "BABE! Come here." So I went into the kitchen. He said, "What if the speakers need to be connected for it to work?" I said, "A continuous loop? It's possible." After dinner, we plugged in the speakers and turned it on again. WOO HOO; IT WORKED!
So, we put the big one back in the living room and the smaller one into the spare room. Ace then said to me, "It's not too late to cancel the Costco order..." I said no; figuring we could sell this one. I was ready for the newer one, anyway. Good thing I did, because a few hours later, it went black again. This time, the fan wouldn't move at all. Ok, then; perhaps the fan's motor was bad. We priced them out and found that for less than $20, we could get a new fan. If, after we fix it again, the tv worked, we could sell it for $200-$250. If it doesn't work, it would be worth maybe half that in parts. Totally worth the price of the fan. So, we ordered the fan and switched out the tvs again.
The following day, while I worked, Ace decided to don his "lovely" Tyvex suit and crawl under the house. He split the cable line and ran the phone line in there, so we can actually use the DVR that's in there, as well as hook up the phone line to the 3-In-One (printer, copier, fax). He has to fax his medical stuff in every six months for his leave, and if the power ever goes out, we may need it for a wired phone (we have a grey one in the garage).
The fan showed up about 3 days later, but we didn't get to it until earlier this week. It was so much easier to take apart the the third time! We were able to replace the fan and put it mostly together in less than three hours. However, when we went to test it out again (yes, the speaker wires WERE connected this time), we got a *six* flashing red LED light error message. Hmmmmm... Ace looked that up, laughed, and said, "Duh." When I asked, he goes, "We forgot to put the lamp back in." HAHAHAH! Ok, then. That done, we turned it on again, and it works fine. YAY! He then connected it to the DVR, the VCR/DVD player we still own, and the computer. He's been playing regular video games, Rock Smith, stuff off Steam, using Netflix, FaceBook, and the DVR for a couple random shows... if it's still in good working order this weekend, we'll put it up for sale (it's a great tv, but way too big for that room); the 48" will go back in there once the 60" is sold.
(3) During all of this, we've been on the phone three times, and chat once, with Frontier -- our DVRs are old (currently one is watch-only, the other records; we can watch/record only up to two shows at a time, and the recordable one is only 180G), the aux/battery back up for the internet went out (we're currently using our house back up, temporarily), our bill was way too high & kept rising, and the speed tests proved we weren't getting the speed we were paying for. They fixed our bill, we're getting upgraded DVRs (two at 500G each, watch/record up to six at a time), a new Aux box for the internet, they sent a new battery, and the upload/download speeds (which now match) are even a bit higher than the number on our new plan... for $100+ savings/month from our last few bills.
(4) After the garden/beds are done, we're planning on putting in a compost bin and redoing our gates. (A) We're trying to figure out what kind of compost bin we want and what type of base we need for it, and (B) We're starting to finalize plans for the two gates -- the one to the left of my garage will be a single panel wood or composite swing style, and the one to the right of my house will be a double open, to allow for vehicle access. Not sure yet if the panels will swing in, out, or both...
(5) We've been able to hit up multiple concerts and shows lately... the last one was Shinedown at the Roseland last week. Standing room only, but great view and not packed up in the "over 21y" area. We also stopped for pie at Shari's before going home. Next up is Jeff Dunham, then 2Cellos. Also, our 12th wedding anniversary is coming up in a few weeks. ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Seven Tenets...

I recently unfriended and blocked a fellow nail tech... Not because of anything nail related, but because of her answer to this question (posed by a fellow nail tech): "If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be?" Her answer was "Atheists, because they are the worst evil in this world..." Um, what?!? Of all the things wrong with this world, THAT'S what you chose?!? Ugh...

The only thing that can be said of *ALL* atheists is that we DO NOT believe in any god... that's it. Everything else is separate and individualized. You saying "All atheists..." is the same as me saying "All Christians..." I actually say that I am an atheist, a humanist, a feminist, and so much more. That being said, I am a huge fan of what the Satanic Temple stands for (please check out their website for more information; yes, even you Christians... because most of you have been misled as to what that is, and continue to be fearful of them).

Interesting & informative article... and a reminder that the Satanic Temple DOES NOT WORSHIP SATAN!

And, if you don't want to read the whole article, here are the seven tenets mentioned --

1. — One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
2. — The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
3. — One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
4. — The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
5. — Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
6. — People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
7. — Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

I have no idea why some religious people are afraid of this "Religion" (obviously, they have not done their homework on it); it's much better than the rules most other faiths try to push... and hey, no threats of eternal damnation (man-made creation as that is).

Friday, January 22, 2016

Once Again... I Heart Karma

At what point does "adultery" become "his/her new relationship" and it's time to give up your emotional and legal attachments? I suppose there isn't a definitive answer; it's a choice we all have to make for ourselves. For me, it was within just a few months - from the day I realized MG was sleeping with the Wildebeest until the day I filed for divorce was less than three months. I went through some of those "Stages of Grief" you hear about a lot. In fact, I'm pretty sure I went through all of them... but I got to "acceptance" fairly quickly; probably faster than the average. Some people never get to that stage, and live their whole lives stuck in "anger", or even stage #1 - "denial".

It's one thing to try to get him back; keeping hope alive, for a little while anyway, is admirable. But, when you turn it all into a martyr complex, others start to wonder if you're completely delusional. Even worse? When you don't see that what is happening to you is EXACTLY what you did to someone else. When you were the mistress, it was "fine" because, as you saw it, you were "meant to be". But, now that he has another woman in his life, he's "cheating" on you? And, you're mad that his family is welcoming her? Why are you surprised? They did the same with you...

Refusing to get on with your own life, especially after so much time has passed & he *obviously* doesn't want you back, doesn't make you a "good wife" or even a "godly wife"; it makes you delusional. I *did* minor in psychology in college, so I do have quite a lot of education on the subject, and I'm fairly certain you have Delusional Disorder. The longer you live in your delusions, the harder it is to get out of them. You can lie to your friends, your family, even to yourself... but deep down, you know the truth is that he's not coming back. HE's moved on and has found happiness with someone else. I truly worry for you and your children... mostly your children, for you have brought this on yourself.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Warning... Rant Ahead (#1 of 5)

I was going to rant about all five topics in the same blog post, but decided they each should get their own...
Let's start with Planned Parenthood/Abortion -- First, I want to reiterate that abortions (a) are only a tiny percentage of what *some* Planned Parenthoods actually do, and most PP clinics are only medical health centers, (b) abortions are provided at other medical establishments, but cost a whole lot more, and (c) are COMPLETELY LEGAL, whether *you* agree with it or not (this is where that word CHOICE comes in... my choice to do what is best for me and your choice to do what is best for you). That said, here's a story I want you to think about and remember when you start thinking you need to bitch about PP. When I was 18yo, my employer at the time (Safeway) covered medical insurance for full time employees. Full time, at that time, was considered 40hrs. Since I was a new college student, I worked closer to 30hrs... no medical insurance for me. I was in that grey area where I made too much money to qualify for state assisted insurance but couldn't get traditional insurance; everything came out of my pocket.
So, I found places to take care of my health (eye doc, dentist, and Planned Parenthood) that would take payments based on my income (called "sliding scale cash payments"). I ended up using Planned Parenthood for the next 6 years (when I *intentionally, with PP's help* got pregnant with Princess, they helped get me on state assisted insurance, which I then qualified for) and after I gave birth, I continued to use them until 2004 (because even then, it was difficult to find a "regular doctor" who would take state medical coverage), when I got married for the second time and we got onto Ace's insurance plan. During the course of my (roughly) 10 years with them, I was able to get: complete physicals, pap smears, heart monitoring (I have a small murmur), nutritional advice, low-cost (*NOT FREE*) birth control pills, STD testing, colposcopy/biopsies (two or three of those, because of the results of my STD testing), and two pregnancy tests. NOT ONCE did anyone make me, or even try to make me, have an abortion... not ONCE! If I hadn't have used PP, I would be dead, or at least infertile, and my beautiful daughter, whom you all know and love, would never have been born. Planned Parenthood *literally* helped me PLAN my own PARENTHOOD! Of course, times have changed; medical insurance is now a legal requirement, although you KNOW a lot of people still don't have any; the fine they have to pay is cheaper than an insurance plan would cost them...
Contrary to uneducated belief, having insurance is not the same as having places to USE such insurance -- that is a constant comment I see... "But, insurance is required! Why do we need Planned Parenthood?". Because having insurance IS NOT THE SAME THING as having a place to USE that insurance, and some people still don't have insurance! Planned Parenthood not only accepts all insurance plans, but it also accepts those who don't have any (unlike your local doctor's office); you can pay based on your income (or lack thereof)... *VERY FEW* traditional doctor's offices will allow you to pay that way. One more thought on the subject - Please stop using the rhetoric about how "a lot" of women use abortions "as a form of birth control". While I will acknowledge that there are a small (tiny, really) minority who do, most of those do so only because hormonal birth control will make them sick or kill them.
That aside, no one I know, and very few if you want to play the percentage game, "use abortion as birth control" (and, even if they did, why does it matter so much to you?!?!). The majority of women who have an abortion either (a) can't afford a child, so the cost of an abortion is worth it (without insurance, they will cost between $300-$700... no one does that on a regular basis if they don't have to), (b) doesn't want a child and does not want to carry a child (her decision, not yours), or (c) wanted that child but the child will not have a good quality of life (may even die before natural birth or soon after). Regardless of *why* someone gets one, it is my belief that it is none of YOUR business unless YOU are the pregnant one. And, to be honest, even if all PP did was abortions, I'd still support them because IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS WHO GETS ONE OR WHY! Now, shut up and keep your ill-informed opinions to yourself.

**edit/add** I forgot to say, on a related note, STOP THE SLUT-SHAMING! No, a woman should not be told to "keep her legs shut", "you play you pay", or any of the other victim-blaming or slut-shaming verbage some people still think it's perfectly acceptable to use. Why, when it LITERALLY "takes two to tango" (except in a rape situation - obviously we need to put the blame solely on the RAPIST in that situation) would you ever blame or victimize ONE person but not the other?!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Rest of Santamas...

December 25th - After Ace got home from work, we had scalloped potatoes w/ham for dinner, and we opened our gifts to/from each other. My favorite was my custom Ducks jersey. It's black & silver, has my last name on the back, and #22 for my birthday date. Princess said her favorite was all the new clothes, and Ace said it was a tie between his new 'Papa' tee-shirt and the tablet I got for him.

December 26th - Ace worked the whole day and I worked the first half of the day, then Princess & I got our weekly chores done and watched a movie. When Ace got home, we opened our stockings. Princess was the only one with a winning lottery ticket.

December 27th - I watched the Titans game, then we packed up and went south... We met up with our son at Ace's sister's (& her husband's) house in Salem. We visited, gave GB his birthday gifts, opened our Santamas gifts to each other, and had dinner at Chang's (GB's choice). Squeeks was not able to join us; she was so sick, she lost her voice.

Dec 31/Jan 1 - I am no longer a "stay-up-past-midnight" person (because I *am* a "can't-sleep-in-past-7a" person), so we watched "Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve w/Ryan Seacrest", which was live from NYC, starting at 8pm. There were some good musical performances (Princess was amused that I knew most of the words to "her" songs), but at 9p (midnight on the east coast), Ryan and crew did not show the ball dropping (you could hear the crowd counting down in the background, though, so I assume the east coast *did* see it), so I flipped to the live feed on CNN for a few minutes. I then flipped back to ABC, watched a few more performances, and went to bed. Ace made it until a few minutes before midnight (and we were both awakened by the neighborhood fireworks), and I heard Princess go to bed at 1215a. I got my nails redone Jan 1, too.

Jan 3 - I was supposed to have lunch and exchange gifts with my bff, but with the snow/ice/wind all over the metro area, her driving down from Vancouver, & the fact that she doesn't have 4WD, we rescheduled. We were also supposed to meet up with Squeeks at her house in Troutdale, but we decided to reschedule that, as well. We spent the day doing very little... although I did get Princess' nails done.

Jan 4 - Snow/Ice day called at school (and Ace & I don't work Mondays), and I was supposed to have an oil change & tire swap (regular for Winter ones), which I rescheduled, so we took Santamas down, got groceries, and did some general cleaning.

Jan 5 - Icy morning, so 2hr delay at Princess' school; she slept in and I had a quiet morning where I finally got started on a new calendar for my studio. Both my clients rescheduled (they both live in icier/hillier areas than I do), so Ace & I ran a few errands and I got his nails redone.

Jan 7 - After work, I got my car appointment taken care of, then we all went up to Troutdale. Squeeks had the day off work (because she has a longer day at school), so we all went to dinner then exchanged the rest of our gifts at her house. It's been a few months since we'd been able to spend any time with her, so all the catch-up was good. She has her school plan in place, she loves her new car, work is going well, BF is no longer.

Jan 10 - Finally got to have lunch & exchange gifts with my bff. WHEW! Lots of catch-up, but she forgot my presents! She loved hers, though (lots of Hello Kitty stuff and a game she wanted), and will deliver mine to my work next week.

Only 350 days 'til the next Santamas...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Parental Boundaries

I joined a group a few months ago on FB, dedicated to being a stepmom. For the most part, I love the group. As a seasoned SM, I feel I can contribute a lot to the newer SMs on the page. But there are a few things that have come up that irritate me, some of which are just plain wrong (and some of the ladies give BAD advice).
1. SM posted about taking kids to the doctor... made a funny observation that she takes both BKs and SKs to the doctor, and when asked if she was the mom (last doc appt, she took her own bio daughter), she had to think about which kid she had with her, and got a funny look from the nurse. Some of the comments advised her to just say yes; "they're all our kids, no matter who gave birth to them". While that is, on an emotional level, true, it is *not* true on a legal and biological level... and can get you into trouble with the judge. Case in point -- Princess was with MG & Wildebeest for MG's weekend parenting time. She had a rash, or a cough, or something (this was like 12 or 13 years ago, I think... so I don't remember exactly what was wrong with her), so Wildebeest took her to their local branch of the clinic system we were part of at the time. She "swears" she told them she was SM and "they must have mistakenly put 'mom' in the paperwork" (which, like so much of what's come out of her mouth over the years, turned out to be a lie). Long story short - I had to pay my attorney to send the doc's office proof that *I* was Princess' mother so that they would forward those records to her regular doctor.
2. Woman posted about an email she got from her ex's new wife, stating that the wife will now be doing "all communication with you, so you don't take advantage of him, and if you don't like it, we'll just take it to court and make it legal so you have no choice." Um, first of all, apparently BD has had nothing to do with DD for over three years; their last court appearance (which is what facilitated the nastygram from the new SM) was only redoing the child support. BM barely has contact with BD as it is; wtf is up with SM's attitude? And, second, in most circumstances, that wouldn't fly. SMs will only rarely be granted legal input into the child's life, the circumstances would have to be dire, and the process that would lead to that would be long, tedious, and very expensive (and involve attorneys, judges, and the overrun court system), not to mention that unless BM is proven unfit, SM will never win that one. However, that said, my advice to her was this - "You have two choices: ignore her & ONLY communicate with your ex, in writing & keep it business-like in tone (*you* can actually make this legal, if you want to push it... I did), or let her, but remember that *he* is legally responsible for everything she says/does." Starting with a nastygram from Wildebeest fairly early in their (now-failed) relationship, I got a multitude of emails, and a few texts and even letters, claiming that they were meant to be, that I was a horrible mother & wife, that she'll always be a better wife & mother than I was/am, that he only married me because he was settling, that I *tricked* him into getting pregnant, that she was in charge and everything that was communicated to me went through her, & so much more/worse. This, as you can imagine, only caused more problems... MG's refusal to tell her to back off, allowing her to continue her manipulation of situations & him, himself, are what led to MG losing all parenting time and eventually signing off on Princess' adoption by Ace.
3. This claim - "I love them like my own." or "I love them the same." No, you don't. You love them "as if they were..." your own, and you "love them equally". Don't let semantics fool you; these are different things. If you are completely honest with yourself and others, you would admit that it is impossible to love your step kids the same as you do your own, and none of your children (step, bio, adopted, whatever) are the same, so you cannot love them the same. And, maybe (speaking as the BM here for a minute), if you approached your new role and the BM of your SKs this way, instead of with anger, resentment, and the "I'm better than you" attitude, you and BM would get along much better. As a SM, I did everything I could to establish a good working relationship with my SKs' BM. I even tried to make it clear, in writing, that it was not my intention to replace her; only to assist Ace in raising them in our home (not my fault she's most likely bipolar and has behavioral disorder, among other things; she found a way to spin just about everything I said... which is why I stopped communicating with her at all; not my job/role). Step parents have to remember that, although they may not *like* the bio parents, or how they are raising their kids, those *ARE* their kids, not yours. Your role should only be one of support, secondary to the bios' roles.
4. SMs' general insistance that parenting time refers to "OUR" time with the child... Um, no. It's called "Parenting Time" for a reason; it's TIME for the bio-PARENT to spend with their child. Many statements like "Our parenting time order states..." or "Our custody arrangement is..." have come up. But, no... it is your HUSBAND'S parenting time order, your HUSBAND'S custody arrangement, etc. Again, we know you love your SKs as if they were your own, but they are not, and very little will change that. I am not stating that you can't do things as a family, but LEGALLY, it is not your time or time for your other kids; it is specifically worded that way in court orders on purpose.
5. The question of how old your SKs are and what they call you has come up a few times... some SMs even ask if it's okay that their SKs call them "mom/mommy". My response is always that it depends on your role, if BM is involved at all, and how old the kid is. When your house is not the primary one, the child(ren) has a BM that is involved, and the child(ren) is not of an age where they can understand certain things, no. This is completely unacceptable. It is (again) your role to SUPPORT, not TAKE OVER, the bio parents' position. Be the adult, and tell the child no. Gently correct... every time. In my case, when my SKs slipped & called me "Mama", I'd simply smile, say my name, & let them finish their thought. Wildebeest, on the other hand, not only did NOT correct Princess, but she insisted (forced) Princess call her "Mommy" and me "Mommy D***" while she was in their care. Allowing your young & impressionable SKs to call you and their BM both "mommy" is confusing and inappropriate. One side note to keep in mind, as well, is the "what if?" part... Second marriages have an even higher rate of divorce than do first marriages. If your first one didn't work out, what makes you think your second one is going to? Ours is 14+ years old, and we still acknowledge the possibility (although slim) that we could end up divorced. I know a lot of SMs (and SFs for that matter) truly believe that the second marriage is "the one". And, truly, it might be (my own stepmom and my dad have been happily married for 34 years!). But, as in MG & the Wildebeest's marriage, they sometimes don't work out, and you need to think about the children if & when that happens. Allowing a small child to call you "mom/mommy" when you aren't sets them up for potential emotional problems if/when you & their bio parent split up. Princess stopped most contact with MG when she was 8 years old, so that wasn't an issue for her... but can you imagine what she'd be going through if she was at all attached to Wildebeest "like a mom"?!?!

I guess the general advice here would be -- your stepchildren are not your children. I know you love them, but you CAN NOT legally (in most circumstances) make any decisions for them. I know some of you don't like it, but the BIO mom and BIO dad *must* be able to communicate without you in the middle. If they can't, hire a professional mediator. Most states have laws in place for free mediation for domestic issues. In my personal circumstances, I think life would have been a whole lot different had MG told Wildebeest to just back off, and done all the co-parenting with me.