This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today Sucks

Today totally sucks. 

I am finally starting to feel a little better after my daughter brought home a nasty stomach bug last week and the day started out normal enough. Unfortunately, whatever joy being able to eat again might bring is overclouded by the fact that my dog, Cooper, is sick.

Cooper is a Tibetan Spaniel. He was born February 5th, 2001 -- exactly 9 months before my oldest son. He just turned 12 years old and now I may lose him.

He doesn't seem sick.

Last month, he had some bleeding from his butt.  We thought that the groomers may have nicked him with the clippers.  Then he had another incident, and we thought it may have been hemorrhoids.  The bleeding was fairly minimal, and it always stopped.  This morning, I let him out to do his business, and when he came in there was blood everywhere.  I called the vet and took him almost immediately.  I was thinking hemorrhoids again, or maybe an infected anal gland.  It was neither of those. 

It is a mass, and a fine needle biopsy showed malignant cells. 

He has an anal carcinoma -- a cancerous mass on his butt.  It has ruptured.  Our vet here doesn't know that she can get it all so she is referring us to a veterinary surgical center in Tennessee -- 2 hours away.  I called and they said that their surgeries START at $2,000 so it will definitely be more than that.  After that, he may need chemo.  They will not know if it has spread until they remove the mass, biopsy it, and know what to look for.  If it has spread, then the chances that he will survive are slim. 

I am heartbroken.  I love our dog.  My husband loves our dog.  My kids love our dog.  I want to do what is best for him, but the cost and pain that may be involved in this treatment has me questioning what the best thing for our family is. 

I know what I would tell someone who was faced with this decision -- I would tell them that 12 years for a dog is a good life.  I would tell them that he wouldn't want to suffer through a surgery and possible chemo when he may not survive.  I would tell them that the money involved is too much when the outcome is not guaranteed to be a longer or better life.  I would tell them that it would be better to let him go peacefully and cherish the memory of him than to spend thousands of dollars and have him endure the pain of surgery and recovery.

That is what I would tell a friend who was faced with this decision. 

For their pet.

But this is MY dog.

Other than the bleeding, he shows no signs of being sick.  He seems pretty happy and not in any pain.  It doesn't seem life threatening.  But the bleeding won't stop.  The vet tried silver nitrate, but it didn't last.  My car looked like a crime scene after the ride home. I had to put a diaper on him when we got home. 

And as bad as it makes me sound, I don't know if I can spend the money.  We are closing on our house in a little over a month and we don't really have thousands of dollars to spare.  I hate to say that out loud (or type it) but it is the truth.  Spending the money on this surgery would not prevent the closing on the house, but it would seriously deplete our emergency fund and we do not know what any follow up treatment would cost.  Do I put the financial security of our family at risk?  My head says no, but my heart says yes.  Cooper IS part of our family. 

I am heartsick over this and I don't want to make this decision. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Don't Have A Valentine

 It's Valentines Day.  Now, if you are a hopeless romantic who will spend your day being showered with cards, chocolates, flowers, and candlelit dinners -- well, lucky you, but you might want to stop reading.  I love romantic overtures as much as the next girl, but over the years, my concept of romance has changed to accommodate my romantically challenged husband and my life with 4 kids.

Today, I was supposed to get up to get the kids ready at 5:45.  I loathe getting up early.  So my loving husband gave me a great gift for Valentines Day -- he told me to turn off my alarm.  I didn't go back to sleep, exactly, but I was warm, cozy, and dozing while the morning was handled without me.  That was awesome and I felt loved.

Yesterday, we took all 4 kids to the doctor and my husband went with us to help.  He had gotten them ready for school yesterday too because it was his day off.  (While at the doctor's office, I realized that the 6 year old was wearing her pajamas under her clothes.  Dad didn't know to make sure that she took off her PJ's before she got dressed.)  So here all 6 of us sit in this small exam room, and my kids are being my kids.  Dad isn't used to the chaos.  He looks at me wide eyed and says something like "You usually do this all by yourself?  This is nuts."  It felt good to be justified.  It was a touch of my brand of romance -- my husband's way of saying "I am in awe of all that you do."  Again, I felt loved.

I have been working over the past 2 weeks on a lot of freelance stuff.  I tend to go at something new with reckless abandon when I get into it, and this new job is no different.  It is truly, the perfect job for me because I don't have to get dressed or wear makeup, I don't have to pay for childcare, and I can do what I love and get paid.  Because I love it, I have a tendency to use tunnel vision.  I can block out the laundry and the dishes and the clutter because I am doing what I want and there is a tangible, financial reward for it.  My loving husband has helped me out by taking on some of the housework.  He has vacuumed, swept, and mopped; he has done laundry and taken care of the kids; and he even cooked dinner last night.  It has been a big help, but more than that -- he knows that I am enjoying the work and that I feel really good about being able to contribute financially.  We have had several big, unexpected, expenses in the past month.  Ordinarily, I could only help face those types of problems by figuring out how to cut costs and usually, there was nothing that could be done.  We needed tires -- nearly $600.  We've been sick and had sick kids which translates to medical bills -- nearly $300 in ER, doctors, and medicines.  We don't do credit.  Before I started working freelance, it would have taken months to make up the deficit.  We would have gone without tires for a little longer, paid for the medical bills as we could, when we could, and may have even had to borrow from my parents to keep up.  It is empowering for me to be able to actively contribute.  It is a power I haven't had in years.  And my husband has helped make it possible by stepping up more than usual so that I don't feel like I have abandoned the stuff around the house.  THAT is romantic -- empowering your spouse, helping them feel important and needed, showing them that they are needed, that you appreciate them, and that you love them by making what they want possible. 

Maybe after my check comes next week, I will go hit the clearance aisle at Target and get some chocolate.  Maybe this weekend, when the Valentines flowers are marked down, I'll grab a bunch for 1/4 of the price of what they are going for today.  But I don't need or want chocolates and roses (especially not on February 14th when they are double priced). I don't want gold or diamonds -- I have 4 steel belted "rings" keeping me and my kids safe on my van. I would love a day at a spa, but I have 4 kids who were able to have visits to the pediatrician when they needed it, and that is infinitely better. 

I don't have a Valentine.  I have a husband and a partner.  He supports me, he puts up with me, and he shows his love for me and our kids every day of the year. And I would not trade him for the world. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Am Obsessing

I am obsessing.  This has recently become my new hobby.  It is not very productive.  In fact I can point to ZERO things that have been accomplished by my obsessing.  I can, however, gesture nonchalantly at the 4 hampers full of laundry that need folding, the sink full of dishes, and the 2 1/2 bathrooms that need cleaning (again), and a myriad of other things that are piling up around me as I obsess over things that I have no control over.

So what has me all distracted and discombobulated?  Several different things.

First, there is this whole freelance job.  I am loving it, don't get me wrong -- I am enjoying learning about the law a little bit and it has been great having a job that involves writing and an actual paycheck.  I send completed work via email as I finish it and invoice every Friday.  I have not heard from my "boss" since last Friday morning.  I have sent an invoice and 10 completed assignments since then (3 on Friday and 7 more on Monday).  It is Tuesday afternoon.  So I sit here, with no new assignments, wondering if I did something wrong.  I know that they recently lost an office assistant and keep telling myself logically that they are very busy and she just hasn't had time to get back with me.  But then I wonder if it was the invoice.  We had agreed that rather than a nickle a word or something like that, I would do the assignments based on a per page price.  It is a scale that increases by $10 every half a page and we originally thought that we'd never have anything more than 2 or 2 1/2 pages.  One of the blogs that she had me write for their site ended up being 4 pages long.  I charged it on the invoice following the scale we had agreed on, but it was a lot.  It should not matter.  She asked for a blog on a certain subject and I wrote it and it took more than 2,000 words.  And it is good.  But because we had never discussed anything that long, I am all nervous.  I feel like I should email her and ask if everything is okay, and then I think "Suck it up.  You're an adult so quit acting like some whiny middle-schooler that needs affirmation that everything is okay or constant accolades about how well she's doing."  I was assigned a new project that involves rewriting a bunch of content already on their website, but I cannot start on it until she approves the sample I sent her.  So I don't have anything new to work on to keep me distracted.  I have had constant work since mid-January and now it feels weird to NOT be writing.  So I keep hitting "Send/Receive All" on my email.  Sigh.  Still nothing.  When she responds is beyond my control.

Then there is an issue on Facebook.  See, they went public last year and from what I can tell, all that really means is that it now sucks for all of us using it.  My Facebook page for my blog has almost 3,500 fans, but only 5-10% of my fans get to see what I post because Facebook really wants us to pay to promote our posts.  Now, if I were Wal-mart or some other business who was using Facebook to promote my business, I would totally understand paying to post.  But I am not a business.  I am a blogger.  No one pays me to blog.  I don't sell anything.  I don't make any money from having a humor page on Facebook, I just do it for fun.  And 3,500 people have said "Hey, we like your sense of humor.  We want to see what you have to say."  Facecrook has decided that I need to pay if I want more than 200 of them to see a post.  Even if I were to pay to promote a post (which I won't) what that would mean is that a bunch of people who DIDN'T say they wanted to see my stuff would also see it.  Facebook would use some confusing algorithm to determine who's feed to put it in.  I don't want to spam people.  I just want MY fans to see my posts.  Facebook is beyond my control.

Related to the Facebook thing, is the contest thing.  Last year, I was in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Funniest Mom Blogs contest and I placed #16.  I felt really good about the recognition and the company that I was in (even if the top 10 or so had THOUSANDS more votes than me).  This year, however, the competition is very stiff.  I am currently #49.  Most of the top 30 or so blogs have more than 25,000 followers on their Facebook pages, and some have more than 50,000.  If Facebook shares their plea for votes with 10% of their page, and 10% do it, then they have 500 votes per day.  If I do the same, I have 35 votes.  I cannot compete.  I follow some of those blogs and they are good.  But that is them and I am me.  I WANT to be that popular, but I don't want to not be me.  I want my blog to be honest about who I am, and right now it is.  I don't cuss (at least not much or often), I don't blog about sex, I share real world stuff that happens in my life in the same way I would tell my mom or my friends about it.  If people like my blog then great, and if they don't....oh well.  I cannot change who I am to be more popular (I tried that in my teens and it did not suit me).  I also do not like to beg for votes.  I know that some pages do that, but "Vote for me! Me! MEEEEE!!!!" is not really my thing.  So I am obsessing over the fact that my blog is not as well received.  I cannot control what people like, and I cannot make people vote for me.

Finally, there is my youngest daughter.  She is having trouble with stuff at school.  She's in kindergarten, and cannot read yet.  She is having trouble grasping reading and writing concepts.  I have been worried about her most of her life because she sees the world so differently than everyone else, but I always assumed that when it came to academics, she'd be able to do everything.  She really is so very smart.  I thought her problems would all be social and they're not.  I cannot change who she is (and I'd never want to!) and I don't know how to "speak her language" when it comes to helping her with school work.  Sigh (again).

The truth is, I never obsess over the stuff that I CAN control, just the stuff that I cannot.  If I could control everything the world would be a much happier place.  Well, at least it would be for me.  Everyone else would have to adapt. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

How Rude

I have lots of pet peeves.  Well, at least more than the average person.  I seem to have encountered a large portion of them today because I am supposed to be working on website content for my freelance job, but I am still fuming from the various levels of human stupidity that I encountered today and can't focus.  Listing ALL of my pet peeves would be a virtual impossibility, so lets just list the three that I encountered today in my brief outing since they all fit under one pet peeve category: People who think that the rules don't apply to them.

Before I even got out of my neighborhood, I met my first pair of morons.  The school had called and I had to go get the youngest girl because they were pretty sure that she had pink eye.  There is one road out of my neighborhood and as I was on my way out when I had to stop.  Two minivans stopped side by side with the 2 women laughing and talking to each other with their windows open.  I figured that they'd see me and move along.  Nope.  One of them indicated that I drive around them with a wave of her arm.  Um....where exactly?  Up onto the sidewalk and through someones yard?  It took more than 3 minutes for them to reluctantly move along and the one who drove past me gave me a dirty look.  Like it was my fault that they decided to share their General Foods International Coffee moment in the middle of the road. 

Got to the school, picked up my kid, and still had about 40 minutes to kill before her doctor appointment.  I decided to go ahead and go by the bank to deposit my latest check from freelance work, but with 2 kids in tow we opted for the drive up window.  After all, it was just a simple deposit.  Unfortunately, I am the only one who believes that the drive up window should be just for simple transactions.  I am fairly certain that the person in front of me was applying for a loan.  The plastic cylinder shuttled back and forth between her and the teller at least 7 times.  Each time it went back or forth there were lengthy conversations over the intercom and at one point the woman pulled out a stack of papers and read something to the teller.  If you have to consult paperwork and send the plastic cylinder back and forth over and over, then you should have gone inside.  (Of course, this was the only lane open and by the time I realized that there was a complex negotiation or something going on, there were cars piled up behind me and I couldn't leave).  We barely made it to the doctor's office in time.

Finally at the doctor's office and get signed in and take our seats in the "Sick Child" waiting area.  The kids were watching a movie and I was playing a game on my phone.  There was a mom with her kids also sitting in the sick area and her kids were covered in snot and coughing.  I felt horrible for them because they just looked miserable. And then one of them realized that there was a different movie playing in the "Well Child" waiting area.  She started whining.  Then throwing an all out hissy fit right there in the floor of the doctor's office.  I figured that the mom was getting up to address the child's acting out.  I figured wrong.  (Now, I live in Alabama.  The accent depicted in the next sentence is not an insult, it is exactly how she sounded.)  She said "C'mon then.  Get yore stuff an' let's go on over thar."  And then she took her obviously sick kids into the well area!!  I was appalled.  I went to the sliding glass window to tell the office staff.  They looked at me like I was nuts and then said that they would tell the office manager.  When we were called back they were still there spreading their germs onto everything from the plastic chairs to the Highlights magazines.  I could not believe that the other parents (who were all clutching their children in their laps) didn't say something to the mom or at least to the staff.  I was the only one who complained.  I will be investing in some purse size Lysol spray to douse the area next time we are there since the staff obviously doesn't enforce the quarantined areas. 

In this age of entitlement, no one has any common courtesy anymore.  The idea of treating others the way that you want to be treated may not be dead, but it is certainly on the decline.  To quote a popular Facebook meme: "We have reached a point in our society where everyone has a right but no one has a responsibility."  Seriously.  How rude.