Sunday, April 25, 2010

I am thankful. Promise. And I think that there needs to be an official unit of measurement to quantify levels of awesome. We could name it after me. Just throwing that out as an option.

You know how you are just moving right along with your life just trying to take things one day at a time and then you have one of those weeks where you are all “Crap. Didn’t see that one coming. I’m going to get in bed and stay there for a few days.” And you know how when that happens you don’t necessarily keep up with the things you meant to do or should do or wanted to do? And you know how I like to be thankful on Thursdays? OK. Well sorry about that. The week kind of caught me. Hang in here with me and I’ll get some of that thankfulness in right now.

Let me give you a brief setup; my uterus has overstayed her welcome and will be relocating to a home somewhere outside of my body in the next few days. She’s a little too much of a party-er. I’ve got a lot more to say about that (and so does my uterus) but not now and not today. I promise it’ll be really good when I get to it. Also this week I find myself in situations where I feel like I am being judged or criticized. No need for long winded explanation; the point is that things like that have this tendency to knock me down way farther than they should. And then OCD is all lurky and waiting around the corner and shows up just when I think I might try to get back up and OCD taunts and pushes and pulls my hair and calls me fat. Then I end up spending time touching and checking and clearing thoughts in my head. And that is very exhausting.

The thankful part is that my husband thinks I am awesome regardless of who may think I am quantifiably un-awesome. Also, he is pretty good at deciphering crazy code and can understand why I kick up the checking and repeating a few notches. I am also thankful that he is extremely patient with me and the variety of voices that comprise my internal organs. He listens patiently as uterus and ovary and spleen and kidney talk and talk. Who is lucky enough to have a husband that talks to your ovary? Me, that’s who.

I am thankful for good people who let me ask questions and never get startled no matter what comes out of my mouth. Sometimes my mouth takes off without permission. But I am pretty sure that these good people still find some of the awesomeness in there somewhere. I am thankful for these same good people who experience OCD and panic along side me. Sometimes it is really freaky and scary but sometimes it’s really funny too. Also, I appreciate their sensitivity to the reality of OCD. I am thankful for their quantifiable levels of awesome.

I am thankful for silly things that make me laugh. Because laughing is seriously like my most favorite thing to do. Also I am thankful for little things like black fingernail polish and big earrings and good books and burritos and cute shoes and candles and all those little things that make me comfortable.

I am going to be picking up and dusting off now. I’ve got a few steps to climb back up.

The picture is at the end. It's not pretty.

Grrrr. I am pretty much attached to my phone at all times. I do all of my email, facebook, Google reader, iPod, metronome, Yoga, tuning, research, calling, browsing, game playing, movie watching, crochet organizing, and grocery lists on my phone. The only thing I don’t do is blog and that isn’t because I can’t, its just that the silly little toch screen keyboard can’t handle my speed, wit, or sheer volume of words. The predictive text is always telling me that I probably need to be typing words like crucible and syphilis and lycanthropic and dysentery because apparently those are the kind of words I use a lot.

After I got my iPhone and Luke got his iPhone, he convinced me that we didn’t even need a home phone line anymore. It took a few weeks, but finally I was on board with the iPhones being our only method of communication. Sometimes I find myself trying to touch the screen on my TV to zoom in or I realize that I am holding my hand in the shape of my iPhone when there is no iPhone there. Honestly, I recognize the addiction. Which is why when I dropped the phone…it was pretty much life altering.

The first drop, in the parking lot at church, did minor damage. It took a big chunk out of the side and popped the cover a little but I banged on it for a minute and all was well. Then the second time I dropped it, approximately 4 minutes later, it took a pretty serious yet satisfyingly symmetric chunk of plastic out of the other side. Only this time my service screwed up and my screen kept telling me that there was no sim card. I reset the phone approximately 140 times give or take, prayed fervently for it to regain function and was finally rewarded with a working phone. Big sigh of relief and off we go.

The third time I dropped it…OK I seriously think that there was some sort of malfunction with the gravitational pull that night. I think I am going to do some research with NASA or the weather center or something because I could not have possibly be responsible for dropping my phone that many times without some sort of bizarre alien interference. Anyhow, it was like it was moving in slow motion. It found this perfectly horizontal glass down trajectory. When it hit the ground it made this noise like when you stomp on the glass at a Jewish wedding, except without all the celebrating. I may or may not have uttered a curse word in the church parking lot but I did it inside my mouth with my mouth totally closed so I think it doesn’t count. I did a little deep breathing and picked up the phone to find the most horrible and beautiful tangle of cracks and fissures and crystalline fragments in concentric circles. It was like art. Except for this art was a terrible reminder of my inability to maintain a firm grip on inanimate objects. Stupid art.

It actually still worked. It’s just that I couldn’t tip the phone or all the glass bits would fall out. Luke was out that night playing kickball so I decided that the best plan of attack was to simply wait until he got home and then just sort of ease him into the bad news. That was my plan. But when he actually came marching through the door after kickball that night our conversation was more like:

Luke: Dangityouarenotgoingtobelievethis! I cannot believe that my phone has stopped working.
Me: Hey so…wait. What?
Luke: My stupid phone has stopped working! It got all wet and now I am going to be out 200 bucks getting a new one.
Me: Well…crap.
Luke: I know! Crap!
Me: No…I mean…deep breaths OK?
Luke: Woman what did you do?
Me: Just…here
Luke: **** Well, we can’t afford 2 new phones. I’m going to call AT&T to see what they can do but if they try to make us pay full price for new iPhones then we are just going to switch companies and buy cheap phones.
Me: You shut your mouth liar! Don’t even joke about that! I need my iPod you monster! I don’t even have a CD player in my car, you don’t get to take my iPod!!
Luke: Well aren’t you just roughing it little miss dark ages. No CD or iPod?! The next thing you know you’ll be resorting to banging rocks together to make music.
Me: Shut it. I need my iPod. For the relaxing.
Luke: Ooo. Rock make sound.
Me: I’m not listening to you…lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala
Luke: Sound loud when bang rock on head many time.
Me: You are an evil person. You know that right?

Later that night I spent some time with packing tape and sheer tenacity and managed to mummify my shattered screen while still maintaining some of the touch capability. I still don’t have the new phone. I’ve been functioning through cracks for about 2 weeks now. It’s kind of like a dare now. How long can I use the phone before it actually falls to pieces? But I will be getting a new phone soon. God love my husband for making good choices.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It ain't fiction just a natural fact...We go together cause opposites attract.

I did this thing. I don’t really want to make a big deal out of it because then it becomes like this actual big deal. In my previous experience with OCD and big things, I’ve discovered that when I make it a big thing it turns into this two steps forward two steps back thing. And not in the awesome Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat kinda way. It seems like as soon as I accomplish some big thing, I think about it and think about it and then I analyze every aspect of it. Then I find all of the places that it could have gone wrong and how lucky I was for things not going wrong and I decide that I should never ever do that again because I’ve already used up all my odds of things working out.

So I drove a 4 hour drive all by myself. Highway driving. And I went into gas stations (safe ones) by myself. And I stayed all alone and went to new places with no safe person. And I drove 4 hours home 3 days later. What?! But it’s NOT a big thing. Right? You know, because normal adult people do stuff like that all the time. If it starts becoming this big thing, then I will remember that it took a lot of work, ritual, practice, visualizing, etc. for me to be able to do this.

The funny part was that I never panicked. Not once. But when I arrived after the first leg of driving, my body pretty much was all “OK, can I relax now?” And I slept for like 12 hours. The same thing happened on the return trip. It’s like all that energy and anxiety and OCD balled all up a hid out somewhere and then once everything was clear it was like “Surprise! Here I am!” Don’t get me wrong, there was OCD. But controllable. If you can control that kind of thing. I touched and repeated and whatnot but also I kept breathing and kept my eyes open. Mostly.

Anyhow, I did that. It was no big thing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday: The Baby E edition

This (tardy) episode of thankful Thursday is going to be a little different. This Thankful Thursday there is one thing that trumps all the other things to be thankful for this week. And the reason for being super thankful: She is here! Who is she? She is Baby E and we have been waiting for her for a long time.

Are you thinking “Holy crap woman! Did you and Luke have a baby or adopt a baby or steal a baby out of a stroller because that totally seems like something you nutbags might do? Do I need to call the police?!” No, Luke and I did not acquire any additional children. But my dear and wonderful friend Robin (previously know as Bulls-Eye) did. Of course, all babies are a reason to be thankful. But Baby E had her own plans for making her way into this world.

Many years ago Luke and I met Chris and Robin. Our husbands soon discovered their mutual love for golf, being nerdy, and defeating all manner of Junior high boys at Xbox games involving guns and shooting and headsets. Robin and I bonded over a love of books, music, the struggle to find extra tall pants, and having husbands who sometimes broke into spontaneous dance-offs. She taught me how to shop, how to dress so that I felt good about myself, and how NOT to wear a fanny pack even if you might get pick-pocketed. She works in a fast-paced corporate environment and always has a beautifully impeccable home is the best hostess. I work from home as a flighty musician and often have unidentified substances on my walls and serve people on paper plates that don’t match. But it doesn’t matter. She’s the person who sat me down and forced me to recognize that I was having a mental breakdown. She encouraged the therapy and medication. She drove me all over God’s green earth when I was panicking. And I crocheted her blankets. We developed a friendship that has lasted through all kinds of things including moving out of state, various episodes of mental illness (that was my contribution thank-you-very-much) and a heartbreaking struggle with infertility.

Infertility to me was totally foreign. I mean honestly our first attempt at pregnancy resulted in a baby almost exactly 39 weeks later. The next baby came despite our best efforts NOT to get pregnant. Luke decided to get the big V at 27 so that we wouldn’t have any more surprises. Infertility was the opposite of our problem. But then…it was 3 months then 6 months then the visit to the doctor for them. It was painful procedures and broken hearts and tears and prayers and longing for the baby that they wanted. I didn’t know how to be the right kind of friend. So I just prayed and did my best. Luke and I waited and hoped while in the mean time our babies became toddlers, the pre-schoolers, the started Kindergarten (and also did a bang load of damage to Robin’s lovely wall of picture frames one weekend).

So, all this to say, I am thrilled and humbled to announce on this Thankful Thursday that she is HERE!! Baby E, who is the spitting image of her daddy is here and in the arms of her mama who has been waiting for her for a long long time. I know that she will be loved and spoiled and challenging and hilarious and smart and beautiful. Maybe she will be tall like her mama and I can help her find the best places to find pants. Maybe she’ll be a musician like her daddy and I can play piano with her. Maybe she will break into spontaneous dance-offs. Whatever she will be, she is here and she is precious. Congratulation Chris and Robin!!!! We love you guys!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If you thought the first birth story was bad, don't even attempt to read this one. May cause gagging.

So the birth of my first child…Well, I put it out there. Love it or hate it. Every word of it was true. But the good news (bad news depending on your perspective?) is that the second baby was way more exciting.

It started with a startlingly positive pregnancy test when Grace was only 7 months old. I was literally just figuring out how not to get poop all over myself every time I changed a diaper and had only just begun getting multiple hours of sleep in a row. The positive pregnancy test wasn’t exactly on my agenda. But mad props to my husband for breaking the barrier so soon. Nice work babe. I may or may not have had a hysterical freak out that lasted approximately 12 hours. But then I calmed down, took a few more tests to confirm and definitely got excited. I mean, if ever any situation proved that God is the boss of me, this pretty much did it.

The pregnancy itself was normal albeit much more challenging considering the baby I already had, the moving into a new house, and the car accident we had at 36 weeks pregnant which included a 16 year old kid and his irate dad, Grace in a Halloween costume, a Native American woman screaming curses into our window but in a good way, and a trip to the hospital for my pregnant self. But that is another story for another day.

The time came for my dear child to be forced from her uterine sanctuary via labor inducing drugs. The drugs were necessary because my body decided to go ahead and play like it was ready for the dear girl to come on out but then wouldn’t actually let her out. It was like somehow my uterus knew that this was its last hurrah and was all “I’ll show you! Just try and get this baby out. Bwahahahahaha!” So I was all “Shut it uterus. Except don’t actually shut it because I am done with the pregnant. Open up and let that baby out!”

We started the drugs in the wee hours of the morning. I knew that this labor would be different. You see, I’m kind of a speedy girl when it comes to getting out the babies. My first one was only 4 hours start to finish. I told my nurse that they better go on and get that blessed anesthesiologist on in here. Note: The fog outside was so thick that the outside of our window appeared as though someone had built a cinderblock wall to trap us in. So my nurse informs me that I have lots of time and they’ll call her when I’m in a more established pattern of labor. She would pay for this delay later. Another note: My nurse was actually someone that I knew. But not knew well enough to be all “Hi! How are you?” More like “Let’s just both pretend we don’t know each other since we are just mild acquaintances and you are about to out your hands all up in my whatnot.”

Suddenly I felt as though my guts were actually melting from the inside out. You know how people are all “Oh my I’m having a contraction. Breathe breathe breathe. Ah there now it’s passed. –two minutes later- oh golly gee whiz there’s another contraction announcing the eminent arrival of my precious little bundle of sunshine and rainbows”? OK…well I wasn’t like that. It was more like the one contraction started and continued to try and kill me without one second of relief for approximately the next 90 minutes. And I was more like “Holy crap and mother of a freaking goat! I’m dying!! I will not survive this! Why did you do this to me you horrible horrible man?! Blaarrrrgggghhhhhaahghghghhhh!!!!” This was the point where he handed me his hand to squeeze. So I did. And he actually looked at me and says “Ow! You’re hurting me!” Oh you foolish foolish man. I shall now show you what real pain feels like.

After about 30 minutes of my caterwauling, my nurse decided that maybe it would be a good idea to go ahead and call that drug doctor. When she returned from her call, my dad decided it would be a good idea for my nurse and I to be forcibly re-introduced. “Hey, I hear that the two of you went to high school together! What a funny way to meet up again, right?” So thanks for that dad. And now it’s time for her to get all up in my girl parts again. It was about this time that the worst news ever reached my torture chamber. The drug doc was stuck in traffic on account of the cartoonishly thick fog. Perfect. So now I have been in agonizing pain for approximately an hour.

30 minutes later she finally showed up. God love her. She got me all sterilized even while I screamed at her for being late and intentionally creating the fog in an attempt to make me suffer. She poked me in the spine with that big ‘ol needle. It slipped and made my whole body tweak, so that was a fun bonus and then it was done. Except there was no medicine. Why? Because it was too late and my child had decided to go ahead and come on out. Perfect. All the fun of a stabbing and none of benefits.

My doctor hadn’t even arrived at the hospital yet so my newly awkward nurse began frantically settling me into the old familiar launch pad with the help of about 4 other people who were there to physically restrain me. They had me up and open to God and everybody while I continued to thrash and scream and accuse them of trying to kill me. One poor dear put an oxygen mask on my face which I promptly grabbed and threw at her saying “I know what you are trying to do! You are not going to suffocate me! Aaggghhhhhh!” Somebody somewhere thought it would be a good idea to slip me a shot of Demoral since I couldn’t have the magic epidural. This quieted me down just long enough for this to happen. Let me set the stage: Nurse that I went to high school with has me all settled in and up. This is when she places her hands on my uplifted knees and leans in to talk to me…

Nurse: OK honey, here’s what will happen. You are ready to push as soon as the doctor gets here which should be any minute.
Nurse: But your water hasn’t broken yet, so the first thing he will do when he gets in here is break your water and then you will start pushing.
Me: Hold on…something’s happening…

*pop, sploooooooosh, sharp gasp*

Yep. Not only did my water just break, it exploded. Directly onto my nurse. Everywhere. She was soaked head to toe including her hair, her shoes, and *gulp* her mouth. There was this moment of absolute silence in the room as she stood there dripping. It could have only been a second. I might have been several minutes. And then I looked right at her and said…

Sorry. Did I get ‘ya?

There were other things that happened, but honestly…where can you go after that? Also, let this be a lesson: Don’t deny me pain management or I will, in fact, get you.

My blog is One year old! And I don't even need to pretend to be OK with the let-them-eat-the-cake-with-their-hands-because-its-sooooooo-adorable thing.

First of all, thank you so so much for the responses to my post about scrupulosity. I appreciate all of the comments and emails whether you agree or disagree with me. Thank you so much for your honesty, understanding, and for productive conversation. This blog has become a place for me to be myself. Sometimes you may like what I say, sometimes you may not, and sometimes you may be all “What the crap?!” As always, I love your questions, comments, stories, opinions, honesty, and candor. If you ever have something you feel you want to tell me or share with me, please don’t hesitate.

The last year has revolutionized the way that I view myself and taught me to no longer be fearful of what others think of me. I have reached a point where I listen to God for my answers and convictions and I no longer allow myself to be thrown into a guilt pit because of the opinions of human people. I burned up a lot of energy pretending to be someone else for a long time. The fact the people actually read what goes on in my twisty mind and still call themselves my friend is a majorly awesome deal. Because I am aware that I may be slightly different then other people and that maybe my mouth and my brain and my inner filter aren’t exactly the social norm. You know, just a little.

This isn’t to say that God doesn’t use people to talk to me. Every now and then He sends me a little sucker punch through someone else’s words. I’m just saying that I am learning to tell the difference between really being in tune with God versus allowing other people to tell me how I feel about myself or how my relationship with Jesus is.

“So why the weird philosophical rambling you nerd? I’m here for a boob story! Or something involving talking body parts!” I heard this pastor on the radio this morning. A woman pastor even. Normally I would breeze right past radio preaching on the low end of the dial because I’m not interested in sending them money or snake handling. But (as God would have it) she was all (and I very loosely paraphrase): Remember that time when David had depression? I bet that sucked for Him. And he vented about because you need to vent and be honest about problems. Otherwise how can people know that God is working on you, right? But then while you are venting and dealing and waging battles in your crazy head, you can be a blessing to others at the same time. So acknowledge your struggle and then go bless somebody.” Word, sister.

So maybe, just maybe, by being candid and attempting to be humorous, and always honest I am being a blessing? I believe that writing has offered me the opportunity to be real. Good or bad, love me or hate me, offended or amused, funny or idiotic, crazy or sane. I believe that God lets me make other people laugh because its good for us. I know that Jesus thinks all kinds of stuff is funny. So its probably OK to untwist your panties now and then and laugh about things. I believe the last year has introduced me to amazing people who have incredible stories that have changed my life. And on that note, please take the time to check out a couple of completely awesome people whose blogs challenge, inspire, entertain, and bless me even through their own struggles.

Our Life
Okay City
I'm A Mom. I Have OCD
Lamebook (just for fun)

Friday, April 9, 2010

I can't believe this actually worked. Wait, yes I can. Because I am awesome.

Hey! Guess what! Remember how that one time I decided to become an activist and then I got un-followed and it almost totally shook my resolve to get involved in activism? OK, well I was contacted by the Executive VP of Communications for MTV. Yep. It happened. It totally happened.

I got this email from her and she wants to have a sit-down talk. Well, you know, like over the phone because there is no way I’m traveling anywhere. So I am definitely going to follow up on that. In case you have forgotten, click here to find out the whole story.

Thanks to everyone who has participated by writing/calling/emailing the MTV staff. We can still keep this going! I feel like a freaking cheerleader here! Come on!! Woohoo! I don’t think I have ever exclamation pointed so many things. I’m exhausted. Thanks for your help. I’ll be back soon with My Birth Story #2.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Scrupulosity. Yep I'm going there.

Thanks to the courage of several other OCD bloggers who have written about this recently, I have decided to open a little window into an area of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Or as Luke would say “I’m going to unpack one of my crazy boxes.” It’s a very real, very powerful, and very misunderstood part of this crazy life of scary thoughts, ruminations, compulsions and urges and such. It’s called Scrupulosity. And it sucks.

OK. How to explain it…? This is a special mental affliction that as far as I know (and fellow OCDers correct me if I’m wrong) really only gets at Christian/Jewish/Muslim/otherwise religious people. I’m going to focus on it from a Christian perspective because that’s what I am. It is a horrible series of ruminating thoughts, unwanted blasphemous tendencies, excessive religious ritual, and guilt. It is your brain attacking you at the core of your faith. It is exhausting. And it is confusing. And it scares everyone involved. Which is why nobody wants to talk about it. But who am I to shy away from things that make people uncomfortable? That’s just kinda what I do.

The worst part of scrupulosity is the misconception that we are doing this to ourselves. It is the idea held by the rest of the church community that you have somehow “lost your faith” or my personal favorite “allowed the devil to get a foothold”. This somehow implies that we brought this torture on ourselves and that we should in that same way be able to pray hard enough or repent our deepest darkest sins that we are hiding and make it all go away and the only reason it hasn’t gone away is because we OCD sufferers are stubborn and resistant and generally need to be stronger Christians. Let’s look at why that theory is not only wrong but also crushing to people who are already suffering under the weight of this illness. Imagine getting diagnosed with cancer or diabetes or breaking your leg. No one within the church is going to tell you that its your fault for bringing it on yourself. They aren’t going to tell you that in order to heal the diabetes or broken bone you just need to pray harder and repent more and leave it at that. At least I hope they don’t. We don’t tell people with Alzheimer’s to quit messing around so that they can regain mental function. Which is exactly why telling mentally ill persons, ESPECIALLY those under the stress of scrupulosity, that it is somehow our fault for lack of faith or strong Christian practice. Actually, that kind of makes it worse for us. Way the heck worse.

The only way I know to really make this make sense is to just tell you about my experiences. Long before I was ever a diagnosed Obsessive-Compulsive, I started having a recurring thought in my head. It eventually became a particular sentence. It was a horribly blasphemous and completely disturbing sentence. And the voice in my head would repeat that sentence over and over and over and over. Over several months the frequency and intensity became so severe that I would make myself sick over this uncontrollable thought in my brain. I knew that I did not believe what I was repeating in my head, but I could not make it stop. So then I needed to find a way to counteract the high level of anxiety and discomfort this repetition was giving me. Every time the voice would start in with the sentence, I would loudly (either in my head or outloud) speak the opposite of this blasphemy. There were times when it was physically exhausting to try and push the voice away. It took all of my physical energy to overpower the voice sometimes leaving me out of breath and sweaty. And then it would just come back again anyway. I could not comprehend why I was constantly thinking this horrible thing. I started to believe that I was a horrible and blasphemous person and that somewhere deep down I must not actually be saved. Then the sentence picked up steam and turned into pictures and other phrases and words and ideas that flooded my brain nonstop. Half of my day was spent trying to turn it off and the other half was trying to beg God for forgiveness because obviously I must be a damned soul.

My other experience with scrupulous behavior began very innocently. I made a habit of praying for my husband as he walked out the door each morning. Slowly, and somewhere at a place I will never be able to pinpoint, this sincere prayer turned into ritual. The ritual was performed because if I did not pray for my husband then God would punish me by hurting him. I came to fully believe that the only thing keeping him alive were my prayers. Only my prayers had become chants that could go on for hours. All conditions had to be perfect. If I tried to do the prayer and had a “bad vibe” or “bad thought” or “it just felt wrong” I had to stop and do it again. This was the point where I would call my husband just to check and make sure that I didn’t kill him. (FYI: writing out those words is also a HUGE improvement. I couldn’t say it out loud or write it down for years.) I would call and call and call and call until he answered. I would become hysterical if he didn’t answer after the first few attempts. It got to where I was calling him approximately 40-50 times a day. He had reached a point where no matter what important client meeting or appointment he was in, he would immediately excuse himself to answer my call and help me calm down. After a while he didn’t even say hello. He just said “I’m here. I’m OK.” The prayer ritual continued to degenerate into creating the exactly correct mental, physical, and emotional context for the prayers otherwise they wouldn’t work and I would be responsible. I hated the urges I had to do this. I hated the disruptions of my life. I hated everything about this process but I couldn’t stop.

Now I am medicated. Now I am in the process of turning off the fake religious bondage that my mind creates. The challenge is still maintaining a real faith while walking that line between reality and fantasy. It is unbearably confusing and internal and affects you at your deepest levels of vulnerability. The good news for me is that I don’t doubt my Christianity. In fact, I feel better connected. The fact that our minds are so unbelievably complex that they can even behave this way tells me that my brain wasn’t the result of lucky coincidences. It was created all the way down to the deepest chemical and electronic communication systems in my body. And if God made it, then he understands programming problems in it. And He also knows how to surround me with the right people to help sort it all out.

My point, if I must have one, is this; as a church we NEED to develop a better understanding of the challenges of mental illness. We need to recognize that actual causes and have an open dialogue about the challenges and effects of these disorders. We need to stop being so quick seek out a sin or shortcoming of the sufferer. We need to be careful as a church to be a support system and not an additional complication.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. I would love to answer any questions or comments you have if I can.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How my first child was born. I'm not even making this up. And this was the less crazy one.

A while back I put out the request for anyone reading this blog to suggest topics to me serious or otherwise. It was requested that I share with you the events surrounding the birth of my children. Having my first child wasn’t so much an atypical experience at least as far as I know. I mean, there were contractions and epidurals and summer Olympics and nurses and pushing and my placenta. On a plate. Up in the air. Like it was a friggin’ trophy or John the Baptist’s head or something.

My dear husband had decided that he absolutely did not want to sit in the front row for the birth of his first child and the execution of his wife’s vagina. It was a good choice. A reasonable choice. It was not how it ended up happening. You see, we had a very um…pushy nurse who wanted nothing more than for me to get that dang baby out so she could go have a smoke. As she wrested my legs into the launch apparatus, Luke carefully positioned himself by my head. He was all ready to go with his “Push!” and “You’re doing a great job!” Until he touched the blue paper. Don’t ever touch the blue paper. It’s sterile. And they don’t want your cooties all over it. When Luke touched the paper, Smokey the Wondernurse had a flipping breakdown, yelled at him, and told him to go stand in the corner. Yes, that’s right…the corner.

Well, this simply would not do for my OB.

OB: What are you doing over there, Luke? We’re about to start pushing! (Personal commentary: He wasn’t about to push anything. I meanwhile had an entire human in my vag tubes.)
Luke: This is where she told me to stand.
OB: No! You don’t want to miss this. You come right on over here and stand next to me.
Luke: No.
OB: Come on son!
Luke: Seriously, I’ll just be in the way or something. I’m good over here.
OB: Over here. NOW.
Luke: OK.

It must have been fascinating/horrifying down (up?) there because suddenly his eyes were about plate sized and he seemed to have lost the ability to blink. Or breathe. So I did what anyone in my situation would do…I laughed at him and started pushing. Suddenly he was swaying a little. And there was some paleness. I don’t know what’s going on because seriously people, epidurals are like the best thing to happen ever. Afterwards, Luke filled me in on what had happened. According to him, his inner monologue went something like this:

Ok. Crap. I didn’t want to stand here but her doctor is a little frightening. Ok…peeking…Holy mother of rabid monkey children!! Look away! Look away you fool! My eyes seem to be broken! Must..think…happy…non mucousy thoughts…ewewewewewewewewewew…blood and mucous and hair? Mother of frick! That is a head trying to break through that. It’s not going to fit! Wait…scissors? What does he need sciss…Oh…oh…OOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!!! Everything fading…turning black…don’t pass out…why can’t I stop looking?!

If you are still asking yourself what the scissors were for then let me just say it like this. You know how you buy a sweatshirt or something and the neck hole is really small and it’s really tight around your neck so you cut the hole to make it big enough…? Yeah, get it?

So after all that, we had ourselves a baby. Then we had ourselves a placenta. Which apparently we were supposed to be admiring or something judging by its prominent display as I mentioned earlier. But what is cut must then become un-cut. I still have the epidural so I’m still cool. OB goes ahead and starts in with the stitches. By this time Luke has managed to extricate himself from the splash zone and move off to the side. OB stitches and stitches and stitches. Then he stops. He looks at Luke and I am not making up one word of this says “I’m sewing her up nice and tight to make your sexual intercourse more enjoyable. *gives a bloody thumbs up*”

Thank you, doc. Just…thanks.

Cadbury Vs. Jesus. Oh just read it already.

There is this commercial that runs during Easter. It’s all these animals with bunny ears on and trying lay eggs or whatever but then of course by the end we find out that only the Easter Bunny can lay chocolate eggs with liquid inside that people want to actually eat. Then they say “Nobody knows Easter better than Cadbury.” And I thought to myself “I bet Jesus would have a different opinion.” So then my head started spinning (insert the mental illness joke here) and I thought to myself “How could you settle once and for all who actually knows Easter better?” and then I thought “Um…duh. Easter face-off” and then I told Luke.

Me: I bet Jesus knows more about Easter than Cadbury Easter bunnies.
Luke: Oh, crap. *squinty eyes and rubbing forehead* OK. I’m going to ask you to explain that against my better judgement.
Me: I’m just saying that Cadbury claims to be the Easter experts but I bet that Jesus is probably a better judge of Easter.
Luke: What?
Me: It’s just that like, Easter is all about Cadbury liquid-eggs and marshmallows and reptilian bunnies, you know because of the egg laying, and I just don’t get how they can be all ‘We’re the best at Easter. Look at us with our chocolate things with unidentifiable liquid centers’ and they don’t even give Jesus a chance to like…represent His side of it.
Luke: Woman. You make me tired.
Me: I think that if Jesus and Cadbury had a debate officiated by a current member of modern society it would be like this:

Moderator: Cadbury, how do you represent Easter?
Cadbury: Well as everyone knows, Easter is about chocolate and bunny eggs and sunshine and dresses and smiles. We have the best selection of semi-decent quality chocolate and liquid candies as well as moderately priced smiles.
Moderator: Oh that’s good. That’s good. And how about you, Jesus? What do you bring to the table for Easter?
Jesus: Well, I died for your sins and then I came back to life and fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament thereby allowing all people into Heaven.
Moderator: OK…but no candy? Hmmm *write write write* Cadbury what is the history of Easter?
Cadbury: It all began in a long time ago when in 1971 Cadbury created our famous egg. And as you know eggs are quintessentially Easter. Providing that they are laid by a bunny. Easter is all about giving gifts and eating candy and celebrating gifts and candy.
Moderator: That is just so fascinating. Jesus, can you add anything to that impeccable recount of Easter history?
Jesus: Well, yeah. I am God come to earth as man to provide the ultimate sacrifice for everyone. Including you and Mr. Cadbury over here. I love you so I took on the sins of the world, died on a cross, and defeated death on the third day by rising again. That’s pretty much what Easter commemorates.
Moderator: Right. Got it. But no tasty treats or presents for me? OK. Cadbury, why the eggs and the egg hiding?
Cadbury: Because we want YOU to have fun and for it to be all about YOU. The magical Easter bunny magically hides the tasty chocolate eggs as a symbol of springtime and fun and playing and smiles and magic. Remember, Cadbury loves you and wants you to have tasty treats and fun.
Moderator: Oh, I love magic and fun. I just do. I love it. Jesus, what do you have that represents Easter?
Jesus: The empty grave, the cross, the resurrection, you know just to name a few things.
Moderator: Oh sorry Jesus. Nope. We would have accepted chocolate crosses as an answer there. Or possibly chocolate Jesus’. Do you have those?
Jesus: *exasperated sigh*

Ok, so I mean you get what I’m saying right? If you don’t, then take a second to untwist your panties and take a few deep breaths. I love a peanut butter egg just as much as the next guy and yes I did buy my kids Easter gifts. I’m just sayin…the chocolate crosses kind of crossed the line for me this year. Yes. I actually saw chocolate crosses with nails and everything. At freaking Wal-mart. Because that’s probably what Jesus had in mind while He was on the cross. He was hoping that someday we would celebrate with chocolate crosses and nails from Wal-Mart.

Happy Late Easter!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Seriously! Quit distracting me, unicorns!

I have all these posts in progress. It's really good stuff I promise (if I do say so myself and usually I do). But you know how you have up days and down days? I had a run of down days THEN once I got to the up days all of my housework had piled up on me THEN I had to motivate myself to do all that because I just hate doing it and THEN I got distracted by some totally funny stuff on Youtube and THEN Luke was all "what the crap are you watching" and I'm all "It's unicorns! But I think this one may be from Jersey because I've been to Jersey that one time and that's how they talk plus I love Jersey Shore and either way this crap is funny" and THEN it was Easter and THEN I was online shopping and playing Words with Friends. So...I'm kinda behind. But here's what I have in progress:
1) Nobody knows Easter than Cadbury...except Jesus
2) MTV Exec response-KEEP WRITING TO THEM!
3) My birth story-Yeah this one is gonna be good
4) My practice drive
5) Telephones and OCD and Me
6) Luke's Life Policies

So I'm working on it. Be patient. Be don't unfollow me. please.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I have those days where I don’t feel very thankful.

In fact, I feel like going to bed and watching the ID network or the National Geographic channel all day. I love that crap. I just don’t think that I have the energy to be thankful and happy with Punky Brewster effervescence and all that. I would rather be all “Man, this sucks and that sucks and this over here totally blows and I could really do without that guy.”

So I guess the point of Thankful Thursday (or Friday or Saturday) is to be all thankful anyway. Even when I feel like I’m forcing it. Because there is always something to be freaking happy about. Feel free to steal that sentiment, Hallmark. And as much as I hate to admit it…it actually helps to be thankful. So, I shall drag myself away from forensic examinations and be all positive for a few minutes.

My husband kicks butt. He is awesome. I like him a whole bunch. He thinks I’m funny. Or at least if he doesn’t think I am funny, he knows when I need him to laugh anyway. And he always tells things to me straight and doesn’t screw around about stuff. And he is quite hilarious himself. He's not afraid to make a booty joke followed by a grammar joke. And that's another thing...his impeccable grammar and spelling. Also, he's a great tipper at resaurants.

Sometimes if you say something stupid (well, not ME because I never say stupid things) he does this thing he calls the “aggressive laugh.” It is really demoralizing. Unless he does it to someone else. Then it is freaking hilarious. He practiced it for months until he got it perfect. It was kind of frightening for a while.

I like to play this game called Guerilla Bathroom Ninja. It’s where I jump out and take pictures of him when he is coming out of the bathroom. It’s so much fun. For me. And he laughs. Because I’m a weirdo.

He lets me get super cute new shoes and dresses and purses and stuff whenever we can. He looks and them and goes “Wow. That’s so cute.” And then he takes me places so I can dress up and wear 5 inch heels. He gets that I feel good about myself when I feel like I look good. So I like him for that.

He has energy like a freaking Junior high kid. He’s always playing a sport on some kind of team or pick-up game or something. It is seriously fascinating. He let’s me work at a job I love even though it’s time consuming and doesn’t make us a whole lot of money. He listens to all the students and me talking about the students and comes to recitals and sits through my own performances. But he’s still not allowed to hear me practice. Not ever.

I think that he gets me. And I’m a tough nut to crack. And once you get inside the circle of trust with me, there isn’t any going back. You can’t un-see some of the crap that’s in my head. So I am 100% thankful for Luke. My crazy, funny, fiercely truthful,eternally patient, kind, Christian husband. You rock my face baby.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Because We're Cavetts

Since I’m all motherly and whatnot, I am trying to teach my kids not to be total wolverines and instead to actually be polite and helpful and all that. One of my hot buttons is having my kids say “Ma’am” and “Sir” to all grown-ups at all times. So like if I were to say “Did you light this on fire?” they would say “Yes Ma’am” or if I said “Are you responsible for chopping that section of hair off the dog?” they would say “No Ma’am” and I would say “I don’t believe that the dog cut his own hair so somebody is not telling the truth. Are you sure it wasn’t you?” And they would say “Um….no…Ma’am?”

We had trouble with the gender of the Ma’ams and Sirs for a while. Luke was Ma’am for a long time. I just let that go because honestly that crap is funny. Then for a while he was “Ma’am-I-mean-sir…right? Because you’re a boy, right dad?” Also, questioning his gender is funny crap. So this is the conversation that we had one afternoon:

Me: Would you please help me with these cookies?
Grace: Yes…I mean Yes Ma’am. Sorry I forgot the Ma’am.
Me: Well thank you for remembering.
Grace: Why don’t other kids say Ma’am and Sir?
Me: That’s just a rule we have at this house. We are going to be respectful of adults no matter what other kids do.
Grace: OK. I can do that. But why us?
Me: Because we’re Cavetts.
Grace: I get it. We’re polite because we’re Cavetts. And Cavetts are better than everyone else.
Me: Nice.

Just another day at the Cavetts

So you know how you are making excellent progress in managing OCD and limiting the number of checks and manipulations and clearing negative thoughts? You know how the OCD causes intense fear of hurting people places or things through not being diligent enough with the checking and mental clearing and manipulating things, but you are making good progress and have even been able to leave the house without unplugging everything or spending an hour checking everything that could possibly be dangerous? And THEN after all that…you know how your kids set the microwave on fire and try to handle it themselves effectively setting you back about a year of therapy and requiring lots of additional wine medication?

OK. Let me go back to the beginning.

Monday afternoon I am teaching a piano lesson at my house. I teach lots of piano lessons and lots of voice lessons and my kids are always making themselves snacks and playing outside and watching TV and generally behave themselves like semi-decent moderately civilized little children. Luke gets home anywhere between morning and afternoon and he holds it down pretty well during lessons too. So anyway, this particular day my last two lessons had both canceled because of sickness so I was on my last lesson of the day. I had been teaching for about 2 hours and Luke wasn’t home so the natives were all restless and wanted a snack. One of them (I’m not sure which one because they kind of start to blend together sometimes) pops in and says “Hey can we have popcorn” I tell her (Grace? Lily?) sure because they have microwave popcorn at least once a day while I am teaching and there has never been a microwave popcorn incident up to this point so why would I think differently now. I gave my permission quickly and then sent her (Grace? Lily?) on her way because I needed to get started with the student.

We were all involved with our piano lesson with about 5 minutes left when Grace (I’m sure it was Grace this time) comes pounding on the studio door yelling “There’s smoke everywhere! There’s smoke everywhere!” In case you’ve never had kids or OCD, that is not something you want to hear. Ever. I may or may not have cursed as I flung open the studio door, promptly banging it into the blasted file cabinet because the file cabinet is so huge and I don’t have anywhere else to put it because every square inch of that studio is full of music and equipment and coffee cups that I swear I'm going to clean up yet somehow continue to stack up, and thick swirly smoke starts filling up the room. So…not ideal.

I leave my student at the piano and make my way through the smoky hall into the smokier living room and feel along the wall to find myself in the smoky kitchen. Where smoke is still pouring out of the microwave. Seriously, the smoke is burning my throat and I notice that Grace’s eyes are all red and swollen. OK, so I am trying to on the spot assess what has happened/is happening but I am seriously not able to draw conclusions yet. At first, I thought that the microwave was on fire judging by the clue of smoke pouring out of it. So of course I right away put the dog out because, you know, I didn’t want him breathing the smoke and all. Safety first. But Grace is still by my side and now and is adamantly blaming Lily for the smoke. Which reminded me that I was not entirely sure where Lily was. But the dog was OK, so you know…safety first.

I located Lily in the playroom completely unconcerned by the entire event. Back to the kitchen, I focused my attention on the microwave which still was producing an alarming amount of smoke, except that it wasn’t actually alarming because not one of our freaking smoke alarms went off. Seriously can’t see in front of my face but the smoke alarms are all “No, it’s cool. Nothing to worry about here. We’ll let you know if the batteries ever get low at 3am though. We are totally on top of low batteries.” Anyhow, I finally got close enough to the open microwave to notice that A) there was approximately 53 minutes left on the cook timer. B) There were burn marks all over the inside C) Smoke was still coming from somewhere and D) There wasn’t anything actually in the microwave.

Me: Grace, what was in here? *cough cough*
Grace: Popcorn. *eyes water cough cough*
Me: Well where is the popcorn now?
Grace: Lily burned it.
Me: OK. But where is it.
Grace: I opened up the microwave and took it out and threw it in the trash.
Me: OK…what?
Grace: I opened up the…
Me: I heard you, but how are you not burned? Is that what happened to your eyes?
Grace: Yeah, smoke came out.
Me: Wait…Oh crap! Was it still on fire when you put it in the trash?!
Grace: It was just like…sparky.
Me: Holy mother frick of crap on a stick…OK. It’s OK. There’s only this black brick thing in here. Was this the popcorn?
Grace: Yep.

So I went ahead and stuck that outside too just in case in burst into some kind of barrel fire and started attracting cold homeless people because aren’t they always congregating around barrel fires? And I had enough to worry about. Once I was pretty sure that nothing was actually currently on fire and all children were accounted for, I dismissed my piano student who seemed to think that nothing was out of the ordinary and was not in the least bit phased. This is a slightly frightening commentary about the general chaotic nature of my house, but also not at all surprising.

I finally managed to herd all children and one dog outside into the backyard where the air quality was significantly better. I opened all the windows and turned on the vents and all that crap. Once we were outside, I set about trying to get a straight story about how the microwave came to ruin and the house almost burned down.

Me: So what exactly happened?
Grace: Lily did it.
Me: Lily, did you do it?
Lily: Yep.
Me: OK, what did you do? Exactly.
Grace: She burned up the popcorn. But I helped her.
Me: So you did it then?
Grace: No. Uuggghh…it was Lily. Are you listening?
Lily: Yep. It was me.
Me: Was there fire?
Grace: Yes. And sparking. And smoke.
Me: And your solution to the fire was to…
Grace: Open the microwave and take out the bag.
Lily: Yep.
Me: But you decided not to come get me for help?
Grace: No. Because I didn’t do it. Lily did.
Lily: Yep. I did it.
Me: Exactly what did you do?!
Grace: She burned the popcorn. But I helped her.
Me: Arrrgggghhh!!!!

Eventually, I gave up with the investigation and went inside to check the air quality. It sucked. No breathing was going to be happening in there. There was smoke still wisping from the microwave and smoke had even made it into the depths of our closet. I made the executive decision to collect the children and head to McDonalds. Luke was unavailable due to his being at rowing practice. Yes. Rowing practice. That’s an entirely other post.

I used McDonalds nuggets to continue to pry a story from my kids. Here’s my final report as I can figure: Lily wants to make microwave popcorn. Grace usually makes the popcorn because there is an enormous button on the microwave that says “Popcorn”. You press it and it makes the popcorn. It shuts off when the popcorn is done. Only this time, my ever so thoughtful child (Grace) wanted to boost the confidence of her little sister (Lily) by letting her make the popcorn all by herself. So Lily placed the popcorn, closed the door, and started the timer for approximately 100 minutes. Always the sharer, she allowed her kindly big sister to press start…thus starting the chain of events that led to a smoked out house, toxic air quality, a black brick in my trash, a mildly concerned piano student, and a house that henceforth has smelled of the worst parts of the State Fair.

Case closed. Solution proposed: no more microwave popcorn. Let them find something else to destroy next time.