Spending Energy Wisely

By now, most people have heard of Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory. Essentially, it’s the idea that you have a finite amount of energy to expend throughout the day, and you must budget your energy expenses accordingly. This is especially true for folks struggling with issues like fatigue and depression among others. Every little thing that neuro-typical people take for granted, like getting out of bed, showering, etc., cost a little bit of energy, aka a spoon. Bigger things, like dealing with people at work, going to the store, etc., those cost several spoons.

I think the theory should be updated.  It’s like a mana or energy bar in one of those mobile games.  Every action in game costs energy, some actions cost more energy than others.  And once you run out of energy, you’ve got to log out for a while, and wait – sometimes an hour, sometimes a day.  Just like each game has different time limits and whatnot, each person is different. For some, a good night will refill that energy bar, but if we don’t get enough good, quality sleep, it’s like going back to the game before the energy bar is refilled. Yea, you can play, but won’t be able to do nearly as much as you would have if you got a full refill.

Maybe it’s a stupid analogy, but it works for me.  Anyway.  Point is, even though I can see the light at the end of my tunnel, I still need to budget my energy usage, because depression is like a permanent energy debuff. When everyone else is starting the game with 100%, I might be at 75% or lower.


Welp. It’s been a while. But since I’ve always said that blogging is cheaper than therapy, here I am. Back again.

I can feel the downward spiral stating. Starting. Who am I kidding? I’m a good way down that spiral already. Only thing keeping me from hitting rock bottom again is the meds. The last few weeks have been just a blur of . . . I don’t even know, just blah & empty emotionless zombie-mode. Hubby tried telling me for weeks that Thanksgiving was almost here & I needed to plan. I just kept thinking, I got time. Then suddenly I no longer had time. I should have felt pressured & stressed, but honestly. I just didn’t give a damn

I forgot to do so much that I normally do for Thanksgiving. But oh well. Then the next day, while most people in this country are out shopping trying to bag a great deal, my family has the annual Tree Day tradition. We drag out all the Christmas stuff & decorate the house. This year, while setting up the tree, I finally feIt something, for the first time in weeks. One of the songs in the Muppet Family Christmas triggered all the feels all at once. There was sadness because I miss my Dad & this was his favorite time of year. Then the realization that this year is the 20th anniversary of the loss of my first baby. All of that was quickly followed by an over whelming sense of guilt. Guilt because I hadn’t realized that sooner. Guilt over all the traditional things I’d forgotten to do for my family this year. Then it was like my brain decided, “Oh, you like emotion? Have some more, in fact, have all of the sadness & guilt you can handle.”

Then, as quickly as it came on, it all went away. I was left with a feeling of depression. This morning, I could feel myself spiraling downward. I’m allowed to double-up on my meds when I feel like this, so that’s what I’ve done. I’ve also talked things out withe my husband. He’s amazing.

Anyway I know this is a bad time of year for me. All the angel days combined with the holidays has always been a trigger. Throw in the gloomy weather activating my arthritis & SAD (seasonal affective disorder), & I’m just a hot mess of depression & numbness. But you know what they say, knowing is half the battle. Hopefully, with a lot of prayer, medications, & support from my family & friends, I’ll get through this sooner rather than later.

Just a Pain in my ….. Hip.

princessbride-painI try not to complain very often…  but today… I hurt.

Pain in my right hip is at an all time high time. Vicodin barely takes the edge off, and only if I keep the joint straight. As soon as I sit down or bend my hip in any way, Ouch times a thousand.

But I can’t just stand all day because of the pain in my feet.  Seriously…  it feels like I am walking around with a tiny, sharp rock just under my heels all day.  But there is nothing there – no bone spurs, nothing.

lionking-pain-in-lifeI also can’t lay on my left hip, or that will start hurting in a matter of minutes.  And I can’t lay on my back for an extended period or my back pain flares up.  Which leaves me with the only position that even remotely relieves my hip pain — kneeling on my left knee on the dining room chair with my right leg extended straight out, while leaning over the table, resting my elbows on the table.  But even this position is not the best, as it’s causing my shoulder pain & knee pain to flare up – but hey, at least in this position my hip isn’t trying to murder me.

The one phrase that always comes to mind in times like this is from one of my favorite movies, Long Kiss Goodnight.

“Life is pain. Get used to it!”

So because I’m very cranky, despite the Vicodin, I’m going to do something I haven’t done here in a long, long time.  I’m going to Fling Dishes.

Things to Fling:

  • Maryland Homeschool Law. It was much easier & less paperwork intensive to homeschool in Virginia.
  • Obamacare & Maryland Health Connection. Because Obamacare is the driving force behind my husband’s hours being cut.  Also, since mom lost her job, I’ve been going around and around in circles with the numbnuts at the Maryland version of Ocare, trying to get her some healthcare covereage.  We finally had to go to Social Services in person.  But now I’ve got to ’round and ’round with the idiots again to make any changes needed to her coverage.
  • Stairs & Hills. Because Ouch.  Like seriously.  Ouch.
  • My children’s bad or apathetic attitudes toward school. Because. Pretty sure every teacher in America, whether you teach public, private or home school, has had to deal with this.
  • The distinct lack of Caffeine Free Diet Dr Pepper at every store in a 20 mile radius. Because this is my soda, yet it is no where to be found locally. And yes.  I know this is totally a #FirstWorldProblem, but I’m tired & cranky.

LifeIsPainAs always, a list of things to fling must be followed by a list of things not to fling, just to give me better perspective.  So here goes.

Things To Keep:

  • My kids. Because even though they wear me down, they are the awesomest kids in the whole, wide world.
  • My mom. Because when I’m having the worst day ever, she shows up with a peanut butter-y treat and a hug to make it all better.
  • My Husband. Because he keeps sane when I feel like I’m spiraling out of control.  He’s my rock, and he does so much around the house trying to keep things clean and maintained.  Also, he randomly brings me Reeces just because he loves me.  And the best part – he does laundry! Because God is my witness, I can never remember to swap the loads over.  Plus, in our new/old home, laundry = stairs, and stairs are the bane of my existence.
  • The Lego Movie. Because Everything is Awesome.  DUH!

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 4.

If you aren’t caught up yet, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 – then come back here.  I’ll wait.

While we were waiting to hear from our lender not just about approving the sale, but also about how much of the deficiency we would have to pay back, we got a call from my Uncle.  He sent us a check to help with moving expenses and let me know that the final settlement from my Grandmother’s estate would be coming through in a few days.  Wouldn’t you know it, the settlement check covered the truck rental exactly.  Yet another blessing from God, we had the money to move, without drawing more out of our meager savings.

Tony put in a transfer request at work.  In yet another blessing, one of the two stores he requested responded within the hour that they were desperately in need of a furniture guy, and when was the earliest he could get there? We were planning to move the second weekend of May, but knew there was a lot of repair work to be done once we got there, so we gave the start date of June 1.  It was accepted and our plans continued to move along so smoothly that it could only be the hand of God.

Then we got the letter from the lender, about 5 days early.  Not only had they approved the sale of the home, but they had also completely forgiven the deficiency!  It was a miracle from the Lord!  We had become only the second client of Advance Short Sale Service to have the deficiency forgiven by our particular lender. We would be walking away from the house debt free.  Let me say that again.  DEBT. FREE.

I cried when we got that news, or I would have if crying didn’t give me a migraine. It was such a relief, like a 50 pound weight being lifted off your back after you’ve carried it uphill for weeks on end.

We got word that Closing wouldn’t actually happen until the end of May, but proceeded with our plans because we had already lined everything up, and mom had already gotten a couple of guys from the church to help us unpack the truck.  Thing was, we couldn’t schedule the utilities to be shut off.  Instead, the buyer agreed to switch the utilities into his name, meaning we would NOT have to pay disconnect fees, & he wouldn’t have to pay connection fees.  Win for both of us, so of course we said yes.

In the end, we made our way to my mom’s house, and spent a few weeks making it home.  There’s still some work to be done, but we continue to be blessed. With the move, we gained an amazing church that support special needs kids amazingly well, and really listens to the kids and the families.  The store management has already recognized my husband’s hard work and has taken steps to get him the maximum hours allowed.  We also got much closer to my middle sister and her kids, who love to play with their cousins.  Mom got a membership to the local pool, so the kids are finally learning to swim.  And in the midst of it all, I had a problem with my website, and a good friend who works for my new hosting company, Arvixe, looked out for me and moved my site to a better server.

Throughout this whole process, everything went so smoothly, and all of the pieces just clicked into place so easily. It could only be the Hand of God, directing us, and leading us all along the way.  While the living situation isn’t the most ideal, and it was hard to lose the home we had poured our blood, sweat, and tears into for seven years, there is no doubt in my mind that we are right where God wants us for whatever reason.  There is no other explanation for the shower of blessings that got us here.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped us and prayed for us throughout this whole ordeal.  God is amazing, and He can work miracles. He did for us many times over.

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 3.

Quick recap – we were losing the house & almost broke, but we had a place to go and a great realtor who we trusted.  However, we had no showings, a poor housing market, and a bad economy.  But the blessings God had in store for us were just beginning.

Original image from West U Methodist's website.

Have you tithed this week?

One day in late March, a discussion about tithing broke out on my Facebook Debate Club group. While defending the practice to a young man who thought it was all a scam, it dawned on me.  When was the last time we’d tithed? See, we weren’t physically attending church due to various sensory issues and work schedules.  However, we continued to “attend” by watching sermons and tithing online.  We’d usually tithe a few weeks at a time, so I asked Tony to check.  Turned out, we were overdue.  Tony logged in and paid up our tithe right away.

About a week later, we got the phone call we’d been waiting for! Finally, a showing! Considering the house down the road hadn’t had a showing in months, this was great news! I didn’t want to get too excited, but still, a showing!  Two days later, we had three showings in one day.  That night, we had three offers! It was a miracle!

The best offer was for a few thousand more than the appraised price of the house, but the buyer wanted us to pay closing costs.  We weren’t financially able to do so, despite the hefty tax refund that had just come through.  So, at the advice of our realtor, we sent a counter-offer. The buyer would get the house at the appraised cost & pay closing. The total came out to about a thousand more than the buyer had offered.  Then we waited.

Malachi 3:10

Malachi 3:10

The buyer accepted our offer.  Now we just had to wait for our lender to approve the sale, and find out if they would come after us for the $80,000 difference. We had been informed that our particular lender had a reputation for demanding repayment of the difference. This was concerning because there was no way we’d be able to help mom with our part of the bills, pay off the difference, and save anything to try to get back on our feet.  The guys at Advance Short Sale Service warned us that they’d only had one other client with our lender who’d had the difference forgiven.  The most they’d been able to get from our lender was 50% off the difference. So while we prayed for the best, we prepared for the worst, and waited to hear from the lender.

The buyer had asked to close in just two weeks. We still hadn’t heard from the lender, but time was running out to get a truck rented.  So we once again stepped out on faith.  We rented the truck and made final preparations to move to mom’s house on the second Friday in May. God had already poured out so many blessings on me and my family, but He wasn’t done yet.

Stay tuned for Part 4.

Read the whole story:

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 2.

our VA Home  It wasn’t easy to face the fact that we would be losing our home.  Believe me, I fought it.  I begged the mortgage company to reconsider, I applied for work to try to help make ends meet.  The more I fought it, the more anxious and upset I became.  So I prayed.  We prayed then discussed it, and decided to stop trying to fight it.  We decided on a Short Sale, and made plans to move into my mom’s house with her & my sister & brother-in-law.  The instant we came to that decision, a sense of peace filled me.  It was such a relief after weeks of fighting the inevitable. I know we were blessed to have a place to go, but the blessings didn’t end there.

We needed a realtor, and fast.  I knew the woman who had sold us the house was no longer a realtor, but we figured she’d know someone we could trust.  Laurie Wagner had been amazing when she helped us find the house, and really trusted her.  A quick google search found her new contact information, and phone call later we had a referral.

Buck Heffernan was an answer to prayer.  A former Navy guy, and a solid Christian, he had such a calming influence from the moment he stepped in the door.  He let us know what we would need and who we would need to talk to to make this happen. He was a God-send. If you are in the market for a realtor in the Hampton Roads area, I highly recommend Mr. Heffernan.

Thing was, the housing market in our neighborhood was dismal. Not much had sold in the past 2 years, and there were houses on the market for over a year.  We needed to sell quickly.  It wasn’t looking good.  Then the state government enacted the tolls, and the city council made noises about raising the water rates again and other market-killing moves, and it seemed like all hope was lost.  But despite that, I just knew the house would sell.  I felt like we’d be out by the end of April – an impossibility considering the market and the amount of hoops and paperwork we had ahead of us, but still, I just had this peace about the whole thing.  So we put the house on the market and stepped out on faith.

February passed, and no showings.  March was almost over without a showing.  I started to doubt just a little.  I started thinking, maybe June? Hopefully? We kept praying, and trusting God to make this happen.  I researched truck rentals and started packing boxes.  The books were first.  We use LibraryThing to catalog our large book collection, so I used that to mark which books were in what box.  Before long, most of the books and everything else we could live without was packed up. Now there wasn’t much to do but wait.

We’d already been blessed with a place to go and a realtor with connections to make this happen.  But with no showings, things were looking bleak. On top of that, our mortgage hit the 7-year mark and our payment increased. Would the blessings continue?  Was this a test of my faith? Stay tuned for part 3.

Read the whole story:
Part 1

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 1.

What a difference 6 months can make.

Found online somewhereIn January, we were informed by our mortgage company that despite all of our best efforts to reduce our bills to the lowest possible, cut our spending down to nothing but the necessities, and do everything we were supposed to do…  the economy had taken it’s toll on our finances.  We were given two options:  Wait it out until our bank accounts were completely dry and our credit wrecked then go into foreclosure, or we could try a short sale.  (If you don’t know what a short sale is, check out this YouTube video, I’ll wait.)

What a lousy choice. Either way, we would be losing our home.  It had been our home for 7 years, the longest we’d been in one spot in our entire 15 years of marriage!  This was not easy to hear.

For what it’s worth, I meant it when I said we had done everything we were supposed to do. We had worked hard and paid off both cars while the military was providing housing.  When we paid off a car, the payment went into a separate bank account so we could “pay ourselves” and build up a nice savings account.  Our credit was excellent.  We paid off our credit card every month and were never late with a bill payment.  We even planned well when we bought the house, so that our mortgage payment would equal what we knew DH’s military retirement check would be – that way the mortgage would always be paid.  DH got a full-time job at JCP when he retired from the military, and we continued to save what we could.  When JCP started to decline fast under Ron Johnson, DH was a casualty.  He got laid off from his full-time position.  We immediately took measures to cut our bills to the barest minimum possible.  Then several Obamacare regulations kicked in, including the one that effectively reduced part-time hours to 29 a week instead of 39.  DH was able to find a part-time job with Big Lots, thanks to a good friend.  But you can’t support a family of five on 29 hours a week.  So we cut every penny out of the budget that we could, and started enforcing strict energy & water usage rules.  Then the City Council raised our property taxes and our water bill by 10%.

We filed a hardship packet with our lender, and in the process spoke to two different credit counselors & walked them through our budget.  Both were blown away by how tight we’d managed to make our budget, and neither could find a single thing to cut or reduce any further.  We were done for.  We’d already burned through so much of that nice savings accounts, we would be lucky to make it another 6 months.

I can already hear you asking, “But, where’s the blessing in this? You’ve lost your home, you’re pretty much broke, how is this good?”  Stay tuned for part 2.

Hell Week.

Oy vey.

Really, it started last Saturday, when I had a migraine, but could take anything because DH was out rebuilding the deck & someone needed to be coherent enough to keep the kids fed and occupied while he worked. Guess who that was? Yup. He finally realized I was struggling when he wanted me to go to Lowes around 5pm for a piece of wood, and I couldn’t think.  That’s when he decided to pack it up for the day.

Sunday was ok. Headache was gone, but DH was still out working on the deck. I about cried watching BigBoy help his daddy. It was so cool to watch – GeekBoy has never cared for helping with projects like this because of the noise of the power tools & hammer, etc.  Sunday night I took my laptop keyboard apart trying to fix it. Didn’t work. It’s still fubar.

Monday – Diva was in rare form, started screaming at me before we even had breakfast.  Then GeekBoy had a bit of a breakdown because Diva’s Vision Therapy was two hours instead of the usual 1.  BigBoy’s head started to hurt Monday night.

Tuesday – Diva again woke up screaming at anyone who looked in her general direction. BigBoy complained his head hurt, but it didn’t seem to slow him down.  It was rainy, and everyone seemed to be on each other nerves. And I don’t know what happened, but somehow I messed up my back.

Wed – Errand day. Started off just ok, until I got the younger two to Walmart & the sunlight hit BigBoy in the face for the first time. He about barfed, and jumped into my arms to hide his neck.  My back screamed in protest, but wasn’t much I could do, my 6 yr now had a full-blown migraine. So Errand day got changed. We finished at Walmart, went home and took BigBoy to the doc later that day.  They gave him Motrin.  GeekBoy flipped out again, because our day got changed unexpectedly.  I was so worn out by dinner time, DH took us out to the local buffet.  Kids were good, GeekBoy had 3rds – I swear he’s growing again.  Then when everyone but BigBoy was done, Geek started to flip out because he wanted to leave right then, so DH wound up taking the big two to the car while I waited for BigBoy to finish.  Then I carried BigBoy out to the car with his head under my jacket to block the sun.

Thursday – For the first day all week, Diva didn’t wake up screaming.  Instead, the kids have been playing together sooooo well, I haven’t wanted to mess with it.  However, the bees started dive bombing anyone who walked out either the front or back doors, so much for playing outside. *sigh*  Then the kids told me there were a bunch of bees by the swing set. Get out there with my can of raid to find yea, there are bees, but more importantly, the Wool Carder Bees are so busy fighting each other for territory, they hadn’t noticed the wasp. Go to spray the wasp only to run out of spray. Seems I only had enough spray to piss the damn thing off. So I take off running across the yard, something I do NOT do (run, that is), and I tripped.  Fell on my face, but my knees took the brunt of the fall.  The bees must have noticed the wasp at that point and chased him off, because he was gone when I got up.  Of course, now my knees are really sore, and I can barely walk around.  *sigh* and because the bees have use trapped inside, the kids are starting to fuss at each other.

I swear. There is not enough chocolate in the world to get me through this week.  I’m just so tired…. physically & mentally. I’m exhausted.  Is this week over yet?

I Am Talented.

Some of ya’ll may have seen on my FB yesterday that I somehow FUBARd my foot again…  I was just walking through the yard when I suddenly could not bear weight and it hurt soooo bad!

So I went to see my podiatrist today.  He’s says I’m talented.  Seems everything I’m feeling fits right along with someone who has popped/detached their Plantar Fascia… It does happen, but it’s very rare that someone can actually pop their plantar fascia….  BUT! Good news is — Mine feels intact.  Xrays showed no broken bones, so he figures I probably have a small tear in my Fascia….  Fun times!!!

So now… just as soccer season starts…. I’m in an Immobilizing Boot for at least 4 weeks.  *sigh*  I was supposed to be the 5 yr old’s substitute coach next year, but since I’m not mobile, I’ve had to back out.  BigBoy is sad, and wishes I never had foot pain… Me too kid. Me too kid. 🙁  I’m still Team Mom for GeekBoy’s team tho.  And on the plus side, it’s a walking boot…  so I should be able to put weight on it soon….  FUBAR'd Foot

I’m just so frustrated.  There are days when I feel trapped in my own body….  I’m like my folk’s old 1982 Pontiac station wagon.  The day they traded it in, the engine ran beautifully…  but the body was rusting away, the shocks were one bump away from denigrating, if you rolled down the windows, u’d have to take apart the door to get them back up…. The door handle on the back fell off. the passenger door handle was broken, someone had jammed a screwdriver into the back lock trying to break into it…. point is… that thing was a wreck! but the engine ran so beautifully, it purred.  There are days I feel like that….  Like I’m a 33 yr old woman trapped in a 63 yr old body….

Anyway… I gave in and bought a cane last Wednesday – I’d been having problems with that same foot at night ever since the surgery…..  so…  yea.  I’m trying to get myself off the crutches and use the cane.  Hopefully I’ll feel better soon.

Meanwhile, I haz a sad.  I can’t even play soccer with the boys in the backyard.  I feel so freaking old. It’s not fair. /pity party

one week later.

Daily Meds

My Modded Med Box

So…  yea.  I’ve been on the Celexa for one week.  Dude. The difference is amazing.  It’s like my life has been a huge wavelength, and I’ve been riding the wave this whole time.  But now, I’m finally on that median line.  My emotions are under control!  I can function!

Even more awesome, the current dosage seems to be perfect for me.  I’m not a total zombie, but I’m not out of control either.  Proof positive, for me anyway, that God knew I needed this medicine – I have not had any side effects!  Woo!

Now, we have had our share of trouble.  Mostly though it’s due to kids who are conditioned to not respond until mom hits “that point”.  But we are working on listening & obeying Mom without waiting for the yelling.

Speaking of yelling, I’m excited to share – I haven’t yelled at anyone in a week!  WOO!  Can I get an AMEN??  Dude!  Thank you dear Jesus for making people who were smart enough to make this wonderful medicine.  I am finally becoming the mom I always wanted to be!  Oh, it’s so awesome.

So yea…  the meds are working great.  *S*