Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Housewifery: Month 1 (& Trip Home Part 2)

Previously on Housewifery...

Flying cross-country with a large growth in your abdomen is not the most comfortable way to travel... I've had problems sitting for long periods of time for many years, mostly due to the fact that my legs are pretty long and most modes of transportation (other than First Class of course) are not set up for anyone taller than about 5'2".

When flying from Augusta (we have a small airport here) I either end up going by way of Augusta, GA to Charlotte, NC to Phoenix, AZ to Portland or Augusta, GA to Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX to Portland.

I actually prefer going through DFW for two reasons, one is that the longest leg of the trip ("long leg" ha ha ha) is only about 3.5 hours as opposed to 4.5, and DFW has a Red Mango. When I flew home in October 2010 I tasted Red Mango frozen yogurt and consequently had to have frozen yogurt a few times a week once I got back to GA. There's a few places here in town that are good - not quite Red Mango good, but good enough!

Anyway... In planning this very last-minute trip to Portland, I decided to keep it a secret from my best friend back home, Monica. She had just had a baby and we had talked a couple of days previously when I told her I wouldn't probably be able to visit for at least a month.

I attempted this deception with the help of a couple of friends and thought I was terribly clever. Of course, I have a terribly BIG MOUTH and couldn't just say nothing, so I said silly things on facebook that made everyone curious and posted silly pictures (friends suggested captions like "Where Bees Get Their Haircuts" and "'re in an elevator - mind the gap!") that would only make sense if you knew where I was.

Of course, Monica is no dummy and figured the whole thing out before I ever got on the plane in Augusta. I had arranged a dinner at the couple's house where I was supposed to surprise Monica. I could tell immediately when she saw me that she knew, because her "surprised" face was total crap.

She was still happy to see me, and it was awesome to get to hold Baby Kennedy.

Dinner was of Middle Eastern inspiration and we enjoyed freshly made falafel, tabbouleh, tzatziki, salad and some quite good store-purchased hummus, baba ganoush and pita. Several other friends joined the festivities and it was great to get caught up with them.

During this evening we remarked on Kennedy's hair (she was born with quite a bit) as it likes to stick straight up unless it's pretty heavily coated with something... giving rise to the nickname "Baby Hedgehog".

I worked with Mom on Wednesday and Thursday during most of the day, and Friday morning.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Housewifery: Month 1 (& Trip Home Part 1)

My first month as a housewife went like a tornado! Fast and furious and chaotic!

I had one week at home that went perfectly as planned: menu plan, house cleaning, etc. I spent some good time outside and enjoyed a book and coffee every morning, planted some flowers in the back yard, got the front door looking cute...

Then on Sunday of my second week it all went to heck!

My mom works for the Portland Public Schools District in their Nutrition Services department. Mom has always been a computer whiz, and her current role involves troubleshooting a software upgrade that the entire school district uses to order the food for the cafeterias.

This may sound like a simple thing, but it is a HUGE task with many parts and several things literally were lost in translation from the old system to the new system, causing her HOURS of tracking down problems and fixing them, in addition to notifying the software company of various bugs so they could be fixed on THEIR end.

I had called Mom on Sunday (3/27) to catch up, and after filling her in with my first week at home, she said she had planned to call me anyway. She was overwhelmed at work and desperately in need of help. Would I be willing to fly out and spend a few days helping her if she paid for my plane ticket? FREE TRIP HOME? Are you kidding? Of COURSE!

I asked when she was thinking and she said "Tuesday". I asked "THIS Tuesday? As in two days from now?" and she assured me it was that immediate. I conferred briefly with HusBean and then told her I'd see if I could find a ticket. As we were out and about headed to lunch I went online with my phone to Priceline and managed to find a round-trip ticket from Augusta to Portland for that Tuesday for about $600 with taxes and fees. That's a pretty good price for a 2-day lead time.

I decided that since I don't have a work schedule to be concerned about I would stay a bit longer and scheduled my return ticket for April 12th (our 3-year anniversary).

I immediately started notifying friends and family in the Portland area of my imminent arrival and asked if anyone needed sauce... Within 24 hours I had presold $200 worth of sauce and had to cut off the orders because I didn't have any more room in my TWO suitcases AND we were out of bottles!

I carefully distributed my clothes and sauce (88lbs worth) between the two suitcases and my two carryons, and boarded the small plane in Augusta on Tuesday afternoon. I flew first to Charlotte, NC and caught a connection to Phoenix, AZ. From Phoenix I flew directly to Portland, arriving about 20 minutes early at 10:40p.

Mom and Lou picked me up - this was fortunate because it was pretty tough moving ALL of my luggage by myself. I gave Mom the light stuff and I dragged the two (wheeled!) suitcases.

With me and all of my belongings safely crammed in the car, we headed home to Clackamas.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Always Check The Handle...

It's a lovely morning here in Georgia... the sun is coming up, it's a very comfortable 68F outside..

And it's a damn good thing it's 68F outside because I just had to break into my house wearing rather skimpy pajamas.

I was up before my HusBean this morning, reading a skunk blog and snuggling with The Chou and Stinkerbell on the couch. Once HusBean was ready to head to work I decided to 1. be a good vendor and put my latest shipment of hot sauce out on the front porch for pickup and 2. be a good housewife and drag the garbage can back up the driveway from the curb.

I pulled the front door shut behind me (just to make sure no little furry people with skilled paws could open it) as HusBean was getting into his car.

I waved goodbye like a good loving housewife and then tried to open the front door. The handle is locked. I said a few choice words and ran out into the street waving and jumping up and down, hoping HusBean would be taking a last loving glance in his rear-view mirror.

Not so much.

Since Buster had just been out, I took a chance that the back door would be unlocked - made my way through the gate into the back yard and tried the back door. Knob unlocked, but door deadbolted.

As I peered through the glass I could see Buster (poor old deaf thing) waiting at the front door for me to come back in.

The cats were lined up on the back of the couch watching me for entertainment.

I tried the dining room windows. One is already screenless (a similar mishap a couple of years ago) and is now ALWAYS locked. The other window had been open last night to let some of the habanero-air out of the kitchen, but before destroying the screen I looked at the locks (each window has two) and verified that one was unlocked, but the other was not.

I considered knocking on the neighbors door and asking to use their phone, but then remembered that the living room window had also been open last night.

I visually verified that it was unlocked and proceeded to use a handy herb-stake (thanks Pier 1!) to wedge out the screen.

By this point Minx was QUITE interested in my antics and was there at the window ready to give me a helping-paw.

I think I may use some of my GA state tax refund today at Home Depot to find some replacement screens.

Oh yes, and a bathroom door... But that's a story for another day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Proceed at your own risk: medical terminology and women's health abound.

I haven't spoken here much about HusBean and I's desire to have children. The short version is that we want them and haven't had any success yet.

When we moved to GA, we selected a GP Dr. that had been a fertility specialist in her home country. My first visit to her was in spring of 2009 and was a pelvic/pap exam. I mentioned our history (2.5 years at this time) of attempting to get pregnant and she recommended a few things and said that it seemed like my uterus might be tilted.

When you aren't on birth control, there is no reminder to have your yearly exam because there is no need for a prescription for said birth control. Consequently I hadn't had another exam and when I needed an updated prescription for something else the computer pointed out that I was long overdue.

I scheduled my exam for January 27th. Immediately upon starting the exam my Dr. (hereafter referred to as "Dr. D" commented that there was "definitely" something "in there" and it felt like a fibroid. She finished the remainder of the exam and scheduled me for an ultrasound on January 31st.

Between the two appointments I started doing some research to learn about uterine fibroids. I also called my mom and she reminded me that she had a hysterectomy at age 41 for the same thing. Between her stories and my research I started realizing that I had been suffering from symptoms caused by the fibroid for quite awhile and just ignoring them because I'm good at ignoring pain.

Starting in November I had started having sciatic and hip pain that was pretty severe, I figured that I had pulled something while moving furniture. I have also had to urinate much more frequently in the last six months, and intercourse had been QUITE painful for over a year.

At the ultrasound appointment, the tech measured the fibroid and told me it was 7.5cm x 10.3 cm. I asked what the plan was and the tech said that Dr. D would be contacting me to make a plan.

I waited until January 4th (Friday, the ultrasound had been that Monday) and hadn't heard anything, so I called and spoke to Dr. D. She said "We'll just watch it for now until you become 'really' uncomfortable".

I got angry. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and had been able to work through my symptoms when I didn't realize there was an issue. The problem is that once I was aware, the pain and discomfort was magnified and I realized that my periods during the previous year had been VERY painful, especially the last three - I would double over at work and have to go home early.

Just because I HAD lived with it I didn't think it was fair to CONTINUE to live with it! She offered to prescribe some pain meds for my periods and left it at that.

I discussed my feelings with my Mom, my HusBean, my coworkers, and female relatives with similar issues. I decided to get a second opinion.

Dr. S was recommended to me and I managed to get an appointment with her right away. We talked in her office and she agreed right away that the fibroid needs to come out, even commenting that my "belly" that is visible is BECAUSE of the fibroid.

She wanted to do an exam, and upon completing the exam had me stay and do another ultrasound. THIS ultrasound showed that the fibroid is actually 10.5cm by 11.3cm.

We scheduled pre-op and surgery dates, which have had to be postponed because HusBean's job changed and we ended up not having insurance between 3/16 and 4/1.

All of this is a major factor in my being burned-out physically and emotionally at work.

I emailed our new insurance card to Dr. S' office today and am hoping to hear back for a rescheduled set of appointments soon!

Friday, April 08, 2011


I am far overdue to post, so I will do a quick summation and then follow up with a more fleshed-out version later.

I am currently in Portland, OR - arrived on Tuesday 3/29 and am heading home on Tuesday 4/12 (also HusBean and I's 3rd wedding anniversary).

I was originally supposed to have a myomectomy (like a c-section for removing uterine fibroids - I've got a BIG one) on 3/29 but HusBean's job changed and we ended up without insurance between 3/16 and 4/1. Now I have to re-submit proof of insurance to my dr. so they can reschedule.

It is good to be spending time in my hometown and seeing friends and family at a much less rushed pace than my previous visits, I have taken some fun pictures and eaten tons of great food - I intend to do restaurant reviews over on the food blog and tell some of the stories about things I found in my garage in Vancouver that I forgot about.

The worst part about the fibroid (go to wikipedia if you can stomach it) is that it is similar to being pregnant in a day-to-day way: there is constant pressure on my bladder and I have constant sciatic/pinched nerve pain.

Also, periods are ATROCIOUS, (I'm saying that in spite of a pretty high pain tolerance.) Consequently I currently feel like I'm being stabbed in interesting places and am going to take a nap.

This is one of the things that helped motivate me to quit my job, which I will expound upon at a future time when I'm sure my former employer can't take back any of my pay.