Archive of ‘HolyCrap’ category

Aaaaand Cancer? – Part 2

“Erin?”
The nurse stood at the end of the waiting room.
I kissed Bear and walked towards a giant set of wooden double-doors.
“We’re going to have you put on a nice cotton shirt and then you can have a seat here by the magazines,” the nurse said as she pointed towards a dressing room and then towards a little waiting room right next door. I put on the cotton shirt and, she was right, it was very nice. Soft.

I walked into the next waiting room with three or four other women, also in nice cotton shirts. One woman was in a lot of pain, as if she’d been in a car accident. She kept moving and groaning and complaining. I felt badly I couldn’t comfort her.
“Diane?”
A woman smiled and stood up. She looked like she was on her lunch break from work.
“Marie?”
Another woman set down a magazine and hurriedly moved towards the next door.
No names for a while. I looked around at the new women coming in and sitting down, wondering if any of them were as scared as me.
“Erin?”
I stood up and tried not to cry as the nurse opened the door for me. She was young, probably my age or younger, and had a very kind smile. “Have you had a mammogram before?” she asked me as she waved her arm towards the room on the right. My eyes filled up with tears.
“No.”
“Oh, no, are you nervous?”
“Terrified.”
She looked at my chart. She set it down and looked into my eyes. “We are going to pray this is a cyst. It happens a lot and that’s what we’re going to pray this is, ok?”
“Ok,” I said.

urlPeople have described mammograms to be before. They told me it’s incredibly painful, smashing your boob between two plates until it’s flatter than you knew was physically possible. But as the nurse moved both boobs in and out and around these plates, climbing under me and reaching over me, nothing hurt. I am still unsure if this was because I was so scared of cancer or because the nature of mammograms has been greatly improved since the 1980s…

“All done!”
“Do I have cancer?” I knew she couldn’t answer me. I felt dumb after I asked.
“We’re going to send this to the radiologist right now who will read it and then let us know if we need to take pictures from other angles. Then he’ll read it to you right away, ok?”
“Ok.”

She walked me back to the waiting room and, within about 10 minutes…
“Erin?”
OMG I’m about to find out if I have cancer…

A new nurse held my chart and the door. “We’re just going to grab one more picture, ok?”
Oh God, they see it and it’s bad and now they need to know how bad…
“Ok.”
“This is normal, ok? We like to be safe.”
I lifted my left arm and prepared for her to take my left boob into her hand like a hamburger, when she said, “No, other one! He needs another picture of the right one.”
“The right one? Are you sure? The lump is in my left one.”
“Yep! I’m sure. It’s the right one.”
Great. Now I have cancer in both boobs…how does this get worse?
Again, she slid below and behind me, positioning my right boob, only this time she smooshed my nipped into the plate by pointing it to the ground and smashing the top plate over me. It didn’t hurt, but it was fairly humiliating to know my boob could even go in that direction.
“All set. Back to that waiting room in case we need more pictures, ok?”
“Can someone call my husband when it’s time to learn the results?”
“Oh yes, we absolutely will…”

Back to the waiting room. A whole new group of women in nice, cotton shirts sat waiting for their turn. Now I had no idea whether the next move would be door #1, more pictures, or door #2, results.

I sat there for almost 20 minutes. No magazine. No iPhone. 20 minutes of thinking.

“Erin?”
A nurse called my name from a second door on the other side of the room.
Door #2.
Results.
I stood up.
“Where is my husband?”
“He’s on his way right now!”
My hands…no…my entire arms were shaking. I was repeating, Please, God. Please, God. Please, God… in my head. I saw Bear come walking down the hall with a big smile on his face. Does he already know the results? Why is he smiling?
“Everything is ok, babe,” he whispered as we walked into a small room with my boobs pictured on a big screen.
“The doctor will be right in!” the nurse said cheerfully.
I stared at them. My boobs. Is that a tumor? Or that? Which one is a milk duct? Do I still have those?
“Do you see anything?” I asked Bear.
“No,” he replied.

“Hellooo, I’m Dr. Barker.” He was short and didn’t make a lot of eye contact. I think his shirt was plaid.
“Hi.” I sat up onto the edge of my seat, holding myself back from flinging my entire body into his and begging him to tell me I was OK.
“So, where did you feel the lump?”
“I…It was here. In my boob,” I pointed and stumbled over my words.
“And you found it or your gynecologist found it?”
“I did. Well, she did. I thought she was feeling something else and then she felt that…”
“Ok I see…Well, what I see here is a deer with long horns and a small puppy eating flowers next to a few grass seeds and a soda machine only containing diet coke and pretzel products. When we move to the left we can feel the car spin and the glass in the drivers’ side window crack and crash and then a strange scraping sound leads to a loud boom before the skidding stops…”

That’s probably not what he said.

But that’s what I heard.

None of it made sense. I stared at him. He stared at me. I wanted to scream, “DO I FUCKING HAVE CANCER OR NOT?”
Bear touched my shoulder.
I looked at him.
“Did you hear him?” he asked me.
“Yes, but I didn’t understand.”
“You’re ok,” Bear said.
I looked back at the doctor. “I’m ok?”
“I see nothing to be concerned about. We’ll keep these pictures on file and in six months, let’s do this again. Then we’ll go back to an as-needed schedule. Sound good?”
“Yes,” I said. I felt numb but happy but mostly numb.

I don’t have cancer. Today, I don’t have cancer. 

“You can go get dressed and we’ll send you these pictures in one to two weeks. And we’ll contact your gynecologist’s office with an update. Have a great day!”

And like that, it was over. I was wearing a nice, cotton shirt in a little room with my boobs on a screen and my husband with the flu.

And I don’t have cancer…

 

Get to the Point

6a0133f49a611c970b01676676aae1970bAuthor Mary Karr gave an interview recently about raising her son after having a hellacious, salacious, fuck-all-acious childhood and young adulthood of her own. Her poignant and straight-forward parenting methods included remaining honest about her early years, before she got sober and started writing, and it plucked about 5 of my strings at once. She said to her son when he turned 13, “You’re gonna want to drink and have sex and do drugs. I want you NOT to drink and have sex and do drugs. You’re gonna continue to want to do those things and I’m gonna continue to try to prevent your doing them. That’s just what we’re engaged in. Let’s not make it personal. Let’s not make it, like, that I’m a bad person or you’re a bad person. Let’s just make it that’s what I’m doing and that’s what you’re doing.”

Stop. Right. There.

This is how I communicate. This is how I believe all people should communicate (because I’m a human with an ego and so everyone should be like me): with facts. Not with emotions and not with assumptions, but with facts.
Fact: You will want to drink.
Fact: I won’t want you to, so I will try to prevent you from drinking.
She outlined the battle that she and her son might or might not engage in throughout his teenage years and didn’t attach anything personal to it. It somehow takes the power out of it, the mystery out of it. Here’s what is going to happen!
She also decided that she would not take other people’s actions personally, specifically her own flesh and blood. She would not assume he would begin drinking because he didn’t like or respect her. She didn’t guess which nights he may or may not drink, nor did she tell him how much it “hurt” her when he did get busted with beers. There was no attachment to personal feelings of self-worth in her mother-son relationship. There was great love, there was ardent protection, and there was passionate grace. But no personalization. (She stayed in her own lane.)
Then she said something even better…
“He told me, ‘You don’t understand. You’re crazy, you think that because you had a problem I’m gonna have a problem…’ And I told him, ‘Look, it doesn’t matter. I busted you with beers, ergo, you no longer have a car. It’s just the rule.’ I didn’t get angry about it, I was just drawing a line.”
(BTW: We should all be using “ergo” in at least once sentence a day.)
What if all communication in life could be this simple?! No drama, no over-the-top sentiments…just…facts. This leads to that.
You don’t show up for me when I need you in our friendship? You don’t get to be my friend anymore.
You smart off to your superiors? You don’t get to have a job anymore.
You spend your money on shoes and coffee? You don’t get to have lights on inside your house.
Our life doesn’t require this much discussion or this many feelings if we choose to live simply. Our life doesn’t require this much OVERTHINKING! Stop thinking and list the facts, and you might be surprised how much clearer your next steps can be.

Ergo.

This blog.

BYYYYYE MONEEEEEY!!!!

money-flying-awayA month ago I discovered a big pile of water in my garage. We determined it was coming from the wall in the corner that contains the hot water, AC unit, and washer/dryer just on the other side of the wall. It took three contractors, one leak inspector, and a water mitigation company to determine that it was the air conditioning unit backing up.
A week ago, when everything was “fixed”, my mother and I turned on my washing machine and, as soon as the water began to empty out of it, water began pouring out of the exposed pipe in the wall.
“Oh. The drain pipe in the wall has a leak in it…”
All these people appear to have completely overlooked the BIGGEST PIPE IN THE WALL NEAREST TO THE PILE OF WATER.
I had to call a plumber to fix the pipe and now we have to pay to have the wall put back together. Bear’s truck went into the shop for routine maintenance last week and it came out with a nearly $1,000 bill. My dog ate my $500 bite guard. My car insurance is due. Quarterly taxes are due. Oh, and I’m trying to plan a wedding…
Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who has a job, whose partner has a (GOOD!) job, and who still looks at the bank account and thinks, Will I ever be able to retire to the Caribbean at this rate?! We are so, so, so, so blessed! We have a house! We have cars! We have health insurance! And yet, I get so incredibly frustrated that we’re not finding a surplus at the end of each month because LIFE KEEPS HAPPENING!!!
Then, I watched Cheryl Strayed on Super Soul Sunday.
Did you know that on the way to her first appearance on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Cheryl Strayed purchased a new outfit at the thrift shop nearby? Why did she do that? Because her and her husband’s rent check bounced that month.
Her book, Wild, was already on the New York Time’s Best Seller list. It took her two years to write it. Her husband was a documentary filmmaker. They’d been married a solid amount of time with two kids and they often had to sell books to the used book store to buy groceries.

SHE ADMITTED ALL THIS OUT LOUD.

Like everything else, I look around and figured everyone else has it figured out. We bought a modest house, we only have one car payment, we don’t have debt (aside from my student loans, which can suck it). I just assume that we are the only ones who SHOULD be able to go on vacation once a month and can’t. But Cheryl Strayed bounced her rent check. She wrote a best selling book and still had to wait almost a year to see anything from that big win. And it took YEARS and YEARS before THAT of her writing consistently and trying to get published and being broke and doing things for free. And here I’m getting impatient…

So we’ll rebuild the damn laundry room and get the truck fixed. I had new impressions of my teeth done last week for my bite guard (yes, I tried the little plastic ones from Walgreens, they didn’t work). I paid my car insurance and my taxes and my cell phone bill, Bear paid the rest of our bills and our surprise bills and made sure our kids were taken care of with food and new shoes because WHY DO THEIR FEET KEEP GROWING, and I sold some stuff in our house so I didn’t have to worry about taking myself to dinner on Friday. And I’ll just keep trusting that eventually life will slow down for a month or two and we will be able to set money aside, treat ourselves, treat our kids, and relax.

At least I’m saving money on all that alcohol…

Don’t It Always Seem to Go…

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That’s my dryer, Doyle. In the living room. Waiting to go back to his home…

It’s been three weeks since I’ve used my washer and dryer. In our old house, my washer was in the garage. This meant I had to scale sharp tools, random rusty nails, and piles of cornhole bags in order wash our underwear. It’s was a perilous event 2-3 times a week. I have a scar, an actual scar, from tripping over an open cooler and stabbing my ankle with a pointy piece of wood…just trying to do a load of towels.

But in December, when we bought our dream home, it came with…a laundry room. A real-life, inside my house, laundry room. We put up shelves, hooks, places to hang things. All of it inside, no OSHA certification required. We bought a BRAND NEW washer and dryer on Black Friday and after a few mild plumbing issues, I began to wash everything anytime I wanted to without fear or physical injury or mental breakdown.

Until. The leak of 2016.

First, it was a plumbing leak. Then the plumber said there was mold in the wall so he couldn’t fix the leak until the mold was treated. A company has had fans and air scrubbers and dehumidifies on our property for a week and a half. They covered my beautiful laundry room in plastic. Like Dexter. That company said it was the AC unit leaking. The AC guy came and said no, the AC line is fine. Another plumber came back and reconfirmed it was the AC, but only after tearing my walls in my precious laundry room apart and removing all the insulation. The fans are still here. Some mold guy came and tested the air today. Oh, and the homeowners insurance still doesn’t really seem to return my calls anymore.

During this mess, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…a little place called Fluff and Fold. Have you heard of this miracle business? All you do is bring your dirty laundry in a big basket and then…they wash it. They wash it for you. And when I trusted Bear after he assured me it was safe and cleanly and worth the money ($.65/pound), I did it. I dropped off our clothes. It cost about $20, and I had to pay up front. I got a little nervous when they told me it would take 2 days. A lot can happen in 2 days. But I left my favorite tank top, Abe’s favorite tshirt, and all of Bear’s socks at the Fluff and Fold.
Two days later…
All of my clothes. All of them. Clean. Smell-good. Folded by category. And placed in CLEAR PLASTIC BAGS. My underwear was in perfect squares. My life…changed.
Fluff and Fold.
It’s everything.
I called Bear and suggested we consider selling the washer and dryer altogether and just using the Fluff and Fold once a week. Forever. He has suggested this is not a great idea…

So here I sit, my second load of laundry at the Fluff and Fold, holes in my walls, a perfectly functioning AC unit, no leaking pipes, fans running. When does this end? I can’t say.
Also, I ate most of a chocolate cake tonight.

Requesting a Transfer

On Monday I noticed a puddle of water next to the air handler in our garage. We have a home warranty company, so I called them and a plumber came out on Wednesday.
The plumber said it’s not a pipe that’s leaking. It’s the air handler itself. And, worse…the wall is wet.

THAT MEANS MOLD.

And no one can touch mold or go within 500 feet of mold or TALK ABOUT MOLD.
He told me to call my home owners’ insurance company, get a water damage claim, and then call a water mitigation specialist. He knew one. He gave me the guy’s number. I called him. His Indian name is Rolls Eyes All the Time.
I called my home owners insurance and got a claim number. Rolls Eyes got here early this morning and set up fans, dehumidifiers, and air scrubbers. How does one scrub the air? ONE DOESN’T. But don’t tell Rolls Eyes that. He’s just roll his eyes. Rolls Eyes told me it would take about 4 days to dry out the walls and that he’d see me on Monday, but in the mean time, he found the leak. The AC handler had a clog, so the condensation wasn’t draining out. “Easy fix,” Rolls Eyes told me. He also told me the home owners’ insurance pays him directly and I didn’t need to worry about it.
Awesome.
I called the AC guy. He comes out Monday, too. Perfect.

PERFECT.

Then the home owners’ insurance desk adjuster called me. Do you know what a desk adjuster is? It’s a person who tells you what’s wrong with your house without actually seeing it and then telling you they probably won’t cover it. The entire job description is, “Scare People.” This particular home owners’ insurance desk adjuster lady, whose Indian name is Nice But Not Really, assured me everything would be taken care of just before telling me she wasn’t sure everything would be taken care of and that I TOTALLY SCREWED UP by calling Rolls Eyes.
She also told me the walls would have to be dried, the leak fixed, and the walls rebuilt. REBUILT. TWO WALLS HAVE TO BE REBUILT. I actually said to Nice But Not Really, “You’re not making me feel better at all.”
Nice But Not Really informed me she would be sending her OWN water mitigation people out to basically affirm that this guy was not doing what he was supposed to be doing so she could refuse to pay him.
In the mean time, I still had four fans, a dehumidifier, and an air scrubber.

I called the Good Guy. The Good Guy is who helped is the broker who got us our home owners’ insurance policy. He’s a REALLY good guy. When I told him what was going on, he calmly assured me that everything was going to be ok. He told me to keep him updated but not to worry. It would all be fine.

SEE GUYS?! IT’LL ALL BE FINE!

Then Nice But Not Nice called me back to tell me Rolls Eyes’ prices were outrageous and they wouldn’t pay him.

EVERYTHING IS NOT FINE.

It was at that point that I told Nice But Not Nice that she was going to have to figure this out because I couldn’t deal with it all anymore. I didn’t know who was telling the truth and who was lying and it didn’t matter because I just needed the leak fixed and the wall rebuilt and that was the end of the whole story.
Nice But Not Nice didn’t really have much more to say to me except that her water mitigation person would be out at dinner time. Which is just SUCH a time way to spend dinner.

The new water mit people (there were 3) were called Points All Our Fingers. They walked in and before anything else they started pointing at everything Rolls Eyes had done and commenting on how wrong it was.
“Oh, look. An Air Scrubber? Ha. Right.”
“Do you see this? A humidifier? Geeeeez.”
“This fan! This fan isn’t even right!”
Points Fingers were in and around my house for an HOUR measuring walls, taking pictures, and pointing their fingers. It felt like I was the uncool kid who accidentally ended up in the Student Council meeting. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Listen. What’s going to happen is you’re going to go to the insurance company, you’re going to tell them I’m overpaying for Rolls Eyes, then they won’t pay him but instead they’ll pay you because you work for them. Amiright?”
“No!” Points Fingers insisted. “Not at all! We care about you the customer and we want to know that this job is being done right!”
“Right, ok. Whatever. Look. Don’t screw me here, OK? I’m just a home owner being honest and trying to do the right thing.”
“Yes! Of course, and we want to help,” Points Fingers agreed.

As I sat on the couch tonight, fans running right along side the thoughts in my head, I realized…this is my lesson. It’s my lesson over and over and over again. Tons of things outside of my control happen and then I have to sit back and not try to fix it all at once in one day. I have to RELEASE CONTROL.
I did not release control today. I failed and it sucked.
Life is my teacher and today I hate my teacher. I’m putting in a request for a transfer.

Who Did You Vote For?

I literally couldn’t care less who you voted for. I just wanted to get your attention and then completely distract you from the primaries tonight.
I haven’t been bloggin’ too much lately because my blogging time has been taken up by something else…

…book writing time.

That’s right.
A few months ago I started feeling the urge to write a book. But every time I sat down to write, a new story starting coming out. The whole point of the book changed weekly, and while I do believe eventually a book will reveal itself if you continue writing, I started getting frustrated.

On one particular day I sat down to finish one story and as it turned into another one, I gave up and wrote a to-do list. Bear was gone for the day so i was determined to finish the list.
Go through my closet and bring my clothes to a consignment shop.
Go through Abe’s closet and bring them to a kid’s consignment and then buy him some new shorts.
Get my eye brows waxed.
FORGET WRITING. I’M GOING TO GET SHIT DONE.
I packed my car full of clothes and started for the first consignment shop. It was lovely, one I hadn’t been to before, and maybe even a little snooty.
“Hi! I have a car full of clothes and I was wondering how you consign?”
The woman behind the counter was…better than me. Automatically. The look on her face. Her hair. Her accessories. Everything was better than me. So I smiled REAL big.
“We don’t buy on Saturdays. There’s a sign on the door. You can read it.”
Yeah. I can read.
It.
“Oh no! I have a huge bag of clothes in the car!”
“Yeah. Soooorrrry about that.”
No you’re not.
All I wanted was to get through this to-do list. So before I drove to the kids’ consignment store, I called them to be sure they were open.
They were, but there was a two-hour wait to sell clothes. What should I do with these two hours…
Write the book?

NO!

No, no. No. I’m going to consign these clothes. I’m going to get my eyebrows waxed. I am going to do these things and not write today!!
As I made this announcement to myself, in my own head, I looked up at the sign in the shopping center and saw…a new kids’ consignment shop sign! RIGHT THERE IN THE PLAZA! It was opening TODAY and I could go sell Abe’s old clothes IMMEDIATELY and then I could buy him SHORTS and then I could get my eyebrows waxed! YES!
I drove across the giant plaza to the new kids’ consignment shop.
I walked in and there was a huge sign. “Not yet open for sale.” But I was INSIDE the store, so i figured there must be someone here. There must be some way I could buy something. WHY IS NOTHING WORKING?
Just then, a woman walked out.
“Oh hi! We’re not open for business yet. We’re still stocking our shelves.”
“Ohhh. Darn. The door was open so I thought you were consigning…”
“I can still buy clothes! Do you have clothes to sell?”
“I do! And toys!”
“Great!”
“Great!”
GREAT!!!
I went to my car and lugged two baby bath tubs, a swing, and a garbage bag full of clothes to her counter. I filled out far too much paperwork. I waited a very long time looking at clothes I couldn’t buy. But that’s OK! I was checking something off the list!!!
“Ma’am? I’m all set!”
Now, at the kids’ consignment store I usually go to, they pour over my stuff, they take about 50% of it, offer me VERY little money, and then I donate the rest to Goodwill. At this consignment store…
“We did find one pair of pants we are willing to accept. These other pants, they have some threading at the hems. And these shirts all have a little bit of fading, this one seems to have dirt on it. This baby tub is dirty and would need to be cleaned before we could consider it, and the swing is very faded.”
“Ok. So…you don’t clean anything? Here? At the consignment store?”
“We just don’t have the time or the manpower to clean everything as it arrives, you know?”
“Oh. Ok. And, so, out of all this, you want one pair of pants?”
“Yes.”
“You don’t want the tub because…Can you wipe it out? I mean I could go wipe it out?”
“If you want to completely clean and sanitize it, we could buy it.”
“Ahhhhh ok.”
“And I can offer you $2 for these pants.”
It was EVERTHING in my power not to turn around and leave all my stuff in her store and drive away. But I didn’t. I picked it all up, along with my $2, and hauled it back to my car. I shoved it into the back seat, along with ALL my clothes I was trying to sell. All that was left was to get my eyebrows waxed.
I drove to my favorite little waxing salon and…you guessed it. The chick that does my brows was on vacation.
I officially completed NONE of my to-do list and my book was shouting at me. WRITE ME! WRITE ME! I drove to Goodwill and dumped everything out of my car in defeat. Next door to the Goodwill was a Starbucks, so I walked over and got an iced green tea and a protein snack. I sat down. Three people around me were sitting down.
And writing.
FIIIIIIIINE-UH.
I walked back to my car, got my laptop, and sat down in Starbucks to write.
For four hours.

This stupid book is screaming at me to write it, and I have no idea what it is yet. But I’m going to keep writing to see if eventually it comes together into something interesting other people might want to read. It might take years. But I’ll finish the darn thing. And I’ll publish it. And then all of you can say, “I remember when she wrote that blog about voting…”

You Pick

You may have read a few weeks back about my son’s recent diagnosis of ADHD. The joke around the house now is that he puts the “H” in the ADHD. (It’s not a great joke…) We’re feeling confident about how much more we understand about ADHD, and how we can help him here at home. Now the issue is helping him at school…
Late last year we started the process applying to schools in our city. Abraham will be blessed in going to a private school and there are PLENTY to choose from. Little did I know the process of choosing a private school would feel like trying to get my 5-year-old into college…
1. We started with a smaller private school in a wealthy suburb. The school hosted a small open house for parents. I arrived to a fully-gated, entirely fenced, un-enterable school. I really appreciated the safety measure, but it took me 15 minutes to figure out how to get in. Once in, a huge room set the scene for a long and rather ceremonious series of speeches about how wonderful the school was. I sat there thinking about how I could improve their technique and presentation-style. A quick tour of a working classroom revealed…perfectly manicured children…I started checking my zipper. My skin started itching. I couldn’t wait to escape. Which I couldn’t…because as soon as I inconspicuously left the classroom, I hit the never-ending face and had to find an administrator to help me get back out.
2. The next school tour was very personal. And very long. Two hours long. I walked nearly every classroom of this school with the tour guide and while I didn’t have any trouble getting in, I couldn’t get out of the tour unnoticed. There were only 3 of us. Want to know something about the 4th grade science class? I could tell you. Want to know about the K-3 musical instruments closet? I’ll show you where it is…It was a lovely school, but felt a little antiquated. I wasn’t sure it was right.
3. The following week I toured a big, fancy, everybody-wants-in school. I was impressed. The school felt like a mini Country Club sub-division. Classrooms were small houses. Placed on the river, the scenery was stunning. Tennis courts, Swimming pools. Movie stars. And as we entered the classrooms, I felt rather at home! Then I started picturing Abraham in some of the classrooms…and that made me nervous. I imagined him jumping up, being fidgety, grabbing toys or pencils…come to think of it, where are the toys? I wasn’t sure Abe could even get into this school, but I’d come to learn that it would be a long process.
4. Finally, a fourth school. This one felt kind, loving, nurturing, and transparent. I walked in to a little sign in the office that said, “Welcome, Erin!” and a name tag for my tour. It was a short but informative tour, the classrooms that were filled with playful little kids, a playground covered in colorful students.The teachers were kind, but focused on the task at hand, and to top it all off…the musical theatre program was in FULL SWING!!! I loved this school, and we applied right away.
In order to apply for schools 3, Abe had to be privately tested by a school psychologist. Then he had to come on a separate day for a classroom observation. He was put in a classroom with other possible students and given a lesson…for an hour. Abraham can’t focus more than 5 minutes, let alone an hour. I was fairly certain this would be the end of our stay in the fancy school.
Applying for school 4 was easier: one Saturday morning observation while I sat in the library listening to their school strategies. It was comfortable, it was easy, and Abe loved it. I was praying he got into this one!

My guess was that he would likely get into at least one school, and that would help us make our decision. Both good schools.
This week we found out…he got into both schools.
After all that visiting, applying, testing, and observing, we’re now left with a decision! Is it a great place to be? Yes. But lord…now the decision about his future lies in my hands. And frankly I’m so nervous, I’m about to just flip a coin! Or better yet…you pick!

Click Here To Find Out if I’m Pregnant

Awwww, See? You care about whether or not I have a baby, too! How sweet.

About a year ago, someone asked me if Bear and I were going to have a baby together. Like it’s as easy as grabbing a handle of almond milk from Whole Foods. At the time I gave it a firm N-O and probably swigged directly from a bottle of whiskey.
Then…my cousin had a baby girl.
Then…a girlfriend got pregnant.
Then my other cousin…
I did everything in my power to keep my cool, but all I could think about was a little girl staring up at Bear and whispering, “Daddy?” My ovaries were in OVERDRIVE writing the stories of my future-daughter and I could not find a way to slap the pencils out of their hands. So, I began to consider the possibility of having a baby with Bear. “We’ll have a baby together, but only if it’s a girl!” I joked with our friends secretly knowing for certain I was going to get pregnant and it was going to be a girl.
WE WERE HAVING A GIRL!

 

SOMEDAY!

 

Add a few months to the timeline and I decided to ask Bear if he wanted a baby. Specifically the baby girl I was planning to have. It felt like the right time to take him opinion into consideration…
“Sure. I would never say ‘no’ to a baby with you,” he responded.
There. Perfect. I want a baby girl and Bear wants one, too. Maybe not at desperately as I want one, but enough for him to say that he wouldn’t say no, so…
I waffled back and forth on nearly a daily basis and then…I remembered something. It took me time, a special diet, and a fertility specialist to get pregnant with Abraham. Was I willing to go through all of that again? Admittedly I’ve been much more “regular” since having Abe, so there’s no telling. I might actually be far more fertile than I was in my 20s. It happens! But bottom line, did I want to go back to the specialists and turn into a human pin cushion? No. No, I did not.
On birth control for years, it occurred to me one morning: I’ll just stop taking birth control.
It was the perfect plan. If God wanted me to get pregnant, I would. And if He didn’t, he would hit me with the same issues I had the first go-round. I didn’t even have to MAKE the decision! God would make it for me! THIS IS PERFECT!!!
By December of 2015, I planned to stop taking “the pill” in January and let things ride. We have four bedrooms now. What could possibly go wrong?
Back story: My two cousins and I all had babies within three months of each other, and one had twins. So we currently have four 5-year-olds in the family. Add to that the fact that they each went on to have one more. So we also have two 1-year-olds. 1915355_10154451027909829_7822553141325325037_n
Bear and I went home with Abraham for New Years Eve to see my fam. I was SO excited for all the cousins to be together. Three boys and one girl in the older category, two gorgeous little girls in the younger category. My first mission? To hold one of the baby girls. Forever.

1724020_10153134710256017_6022965351641469677_nAs soon as we walked in I picked up the youngest cousin and she giggled. She smiled. She even snuggled me. My ovaries were in overdrive, and that little band from the NicodermCQ commercials set up on the coffee table and started singing, “I just want to celebrate…” Bear watched me falling more and more in love with this little person and, admittedly, didn’t bat an eye. I think the thought of a little girl melted his heart just the tiniest bit, right at the edges. This all felt more and more right.
As the day went on, the cousins got restless. Hungry. A little snotty. One started to cry. Another kinda punched the other one. But the little ones. Oh, they were so delightful. So sweet. And when one of them started crying, I asked what could be wrong?
“She’s had an ear infection for like a month. She hasn’t slept. Neither have we,” my cousin responded.
“Oh, I thought you meant mine,” my other cousin responded. “She’s fussy, too. Everyone always said the third ‘surprise’ baby is supposed to be the easy baby. Not the case…”
“No?” I asked. “She’s not easy? Doesn’t she sleep?”
“She did for a while. Not anymore,” my other cousin said. I started to look at my other cousin. Like, really look at her. She was…exhausted. Disheveled. I wasn’t sure she’d showered….lately.
I started to take a step back and look at the whole scene. Everyone was tired. They were sick of each other. Of course they handed their babies to me when I walked in. I was rested. And dressed. And awake. And I was excited to see their babies.
I kept my spirits up, but I started wondering if maybe another baby was not a great idea. I must have said the words “another baby” out loud, because…
“Another baby?” my cousin asked.
“Baby?” her husband asked. And then, while washing a bottle in the sink with his hands, his eyes laser-beamed straight into mine, and with the seriousness of an FBI agent, quietly and without emotion he uttered, “Don’t have a baby. Never have a baby. Don’t. Don’t have more kids.” I wasn’t sure if he was secretly calling out for help or if this was truly just a dark and genuine warning. I stared back into his eyes for several seconds, our gaze locked while he continued washing the bottle without moving his head. Eventually I think I nervously looked away, or maybe Bear offered me a leftover Christmas cookie. Either way, message received.
Message. Received.
Later on that evening during dinner with four 5-year-olds and two 1-year-olds, someone off-handedly asked if Bear and I wanted kids, “NO.”
I might have interrupted the question with my answer.
“No, huh?” Bear chuckled.
Somehow I think Bear always knows when I’m about to make a bad decision, but also knows that I’ll figure it out before I actually do damage, so he’s mainly just spending our time together waiting for me realize what I’m about to do.
“No, I don’t think so,” I said. “We really enjoy our freedom. And sleep. And…life. Together.”

So, no. I am not pregnant. And unless there is a real act of God, it is unlikely that I will be. If I could get pregnant, be pregnant, have the baby, and then hire a full-time nanny and night-nurse, I would DEFINITELY have another one. But until that is a position that can be filled by someone who is paid in legos, it’s unlikely.

A Surprise (The Bad Kind)

A lot…a very, very lot…has happened since we closed on our house two weeks ago.

I’ve been pretty quiet because, as you’d imagine, life was busy that first week. Daily runs to Lowe’s, packing, moving, unpacking, ordering things we realized we needed, putting furniture together, hanging shelves and pictures…you get it. And through it all Bear and I looked at each other and smiled: “We’re never moving again.”
But one week and one day after closing, I got a call from the very Bear I love so well. It was not a call I’d expected to receive or one that I would wish on most of my worse enemies (some of them are pretty bad, though).
Bear was unexpectedly laid off from his job.
No warning. No head’s up. No consideration for the fact that they knew we’ve been in the process of buying a house for two months. Just, “Sorry. Overhead. Budget cuts.” And because it’s a family-owned business, and Bear isn’t a member of the family, he was the first to go.
My world for the past week has been a series of lows and lower lows, as he now re-enters the world of “Here’s my resume”. I’ve done my best to be strong and supportive for him as we face the unknown, but usually that’s his role in our relationship. I’m just not very good at it. When I look at him and tell him everything will be ok, it usually ends up with me crying in his lap. But I’d say, overall, we’ve done a fairly good job as a couple of keeping our chins up and smiling at each other as we continue hanging pictures and putting bunk beds together. Bear is the hardest working, most driven person I know. Obviously, he’s smiling because he knows something better is in the works.
And about those, “don’t worry, something better will happen” and “God has a plan” messages I’ve gotten from loved ones, friends, family members (hell even the LAWN guy told us that “everything will turn around if we just believe” during a conversation I had to have with him about unhiring him until Bear had another job), I feel appreciative that so many people believe in us.

I also feel like walking through the streets of Jacksonville flipping everybody the bird.

So there it is. I don’t know what else to say except that I haven’t been blogging because there hasn’t been much to say. I could tell you about the bamboo silverware tray I purchased for the kitchen drawer. I could easily have blogged an entire series about electricians, contractors, and construction workers. There’s so much to tell you about my new shower and how incredible it is from top to bottom… but none of it feels very “front and center” right now. None feel honest. The truth is that everything is happening with an undertone of, “We don’t know what’s going to happen…” And there’s only so many times I can type that.
So if you pray, pray for clarity. If you think good thoughts, think about an employed Bear. If you believe in energy, then send us some abundance and action. If you light candles, throw cards, diffuse oils, meditate, or eat flowers, then do it once for us. If you just shake your head and think, “Man, that sucks”, then I’ll know you’re uncomfortable with all those other things but you’re on our side. So thank you.

An Open Letter to the Women in my Zumba Class

zumba-superstarDear Women in my Zumba Class,

I see you.

You, the one in the front who has OBVIOUSLY been doing this for a while. You know all the moves. You even look pretty good with your dancing. You’re the one I follow because I know that even if you don’t look SUPER cool, you won’t steer me wrong between right and left…

You, the one next to me. You’re exhausted. I am, too. You know the moves, but you can’t even move your lead feet anymore to stomp out the rhythm. And everytime the song is over, you throw your hands at the front of the room and walk away like you’re going to leave but you settle on a sip of water and some curse words near the back of the room. I feel you.

You. You’re at least 70. You have no idea what “the crunk” is or what the bleeped words in all the songs are. You swing your hips and you shake it like a rumpshaker and you don’t apologize for a single second of it. I love you.

You. You’re 19. You think you’re in a club. You can do all the moves and you add your own flair. Look, we’re all very happy for you and your youngness. That’s just great. No belly-fat. Beautiful tight skin. Excellent control of your hips. Do us a favor. Stand near the back row so we don’t have to watch you do duck lips in the mirror while you twerk. Thanks.

You, the one with no idea what is going on. Right means left and left means right to you. You kick when we’re squatting and you punch when we’re all leaving because the class is over now. You’re darling and you’re trying and I support you 100%. Try to get near the corner of the room, though, because we’re tired enough doing the dance moves let alone trying to avoid your cyclone of a body.

You, the one who literally makes up her own dance for the entire hour of class, I salute you. The instructions are always: do what you can do and when you can’t keep up, just keep moving. You move every part of your body simultaneously while smiling and it’s AWESOME. I love watching you when I’m lost during a dance move because you give me permission to use all 8 of my spider legs to attempt to salsa.

I salute each and every one of you for being here, for moving your bodies, for taking care of yourselves. We are all in this together, ladies.
Except for you, 19-year-old. You’re making us feel bad about ourselves.

Sincerely,
Erin

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