Friday, August 27, 2010

Why I think my house was temporarily haunted and/or I need more medication and/or an electrician

I know that I promised a long time ago to tell you why I think my house may be haunted but I’m lazy I got busy doing super important things that only I can do so it was super important that I do them.

OK. So a few weeks ago I’m all minding my own ever loving business (shut up! I can to mind my own business) and the dog, Pete, starts just freaking the heck out. He’s all barking at the wall and staring at something that was apparently moving up and down that I couldn’t see. He spent the next few days periodically leaping up and growling at various bits of thin air and running out of the room.

Then one night, we were all totally asleep. Pete was in our room because of the odd nothings he had been barking at and/or because he loves to cuddle with me. Around 2:30ish every single smoke alarm in our house went off at the exact same time. We have 7 of them. And a carbon monoxide detector which I insist on having after that one time my apartment complex caught on fire and my cat passed out and Luke yelled at me when I called him in the early morning hours and woke him up because I personally wasn’t on fire. Apparently, being personally on fire is the determining factor in when-to-call-your-boyfriend-during-a-pre-dawn-crisis. They all were going off. At once.

I poked Luke and/or smacked him in the head because like I said before, he’s not so good with the being woken up in the early hours of the morning and I patiently explained to him that all of the smoke alarms were going off. He stared at me for a couple minutes before finally comprehending what I said and rolled out of bed to check it out. I wasn’t too panicked because I didn’t smell any smoke and also I take lots of drugs to make me not panic. Almost as soon as he got out of bed, it all stopped. So he stood there a moment. And came back to bed. As he lay down…they all freaking started going off at the same time again.

Now it was a little weird. This time it lasted about 30-45 seconds and stopped. Then a few minutes later it happened again. All of them at once sounding their alarms for a minute or so and then stopping. Over and over. Luke was out of bed by this time and walking through the house checking each alarm and trying to make them stop. I was cuddled in the bed with Pete. So, Luke decides to sit in the living room and wait until the alarms start up again. He sat. And sat. And sat. And waited. And waited and waited and sat and cursed a little and sat some more. Then he decided that it was over and came back to bed. As soon as we hit the pillows and turned off the lamps, all the smoke alarms went off at the same time again! At that point I informed Luke that our house was, in fact, haunted because Pete told me so and Luke informed the smoke alarms and/or pesky ghost of what I presume to be someone's cranky boyfriend who was awakened early in the morning to cut that crap out. And it stopped. And it has never happened again.

Also, sometimes things are not where I left them, but I have OCD. I absent-mindedly move things around all the time while touching and counting so it could just be that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This Thursday I am thankful for my newfound spiritual enlightenment. And also extra long yoga pants. Which is simply a coincidental correlation and not the actual cause of enlightenment. Maybe.

Okay. So in case you are new here or haven’t been paying attention, let me give you the summarized version of the past several months. Don’t freak out. It’s not that long…OK. So Luke and I got called out at our church home of 20+ years for being inappropriate. Well, actually me. I was “inappropriate.” Yeah, whatever its probably true. So this turned into some hurtful things being said and done and lots of things coming to light such as I was no longer allowed to teach because I am a woman. And there were some eye opening moments regarding how this particular denomination views and treats mental illness. Well, slap my butt and call me Nancy if I wasn’t going to do something about it.

So we started studying. And praying. And reading. And discussing. And visiting different churches of the same denomination. But it still wasn’t working for us. We just could not agree with some very serious tenants of this particular denomination, and running to a new church wasn’t making it any different. Something was off. Something was wrong. It was time to step up and do what we always tried to teach other adults to do; we had to put actions with our words. And what was right for us was NOT being in that denomination anymore. (and please do not misunderstand me…this was the right decision for us…God will let you know what is right for you)

And there we found ourselves in a Methodist church. And it just clicked. From the first minute, it made sense. Now be aware that this was a very serious transition for us and we studied every last scrap of information we could get our hands on and prayed on it like our lives depended on it. And it all made sense. And it felt right and real and Biblical and strong. And suddenly the anger and the hurt and the bitterness that I held because we felt so unjustly “kicked out” and because we just couldn't justify our beliefs with theirs anymore was just gone. OK, God. I get it. That wasn’t right for us anymore. And you needed to kick us right in the butt to move our sorry selves outta there. But maybe next time could you leave out all the hurt feelings part, God. Cause that still sucks.

And there it is. You are caught up to the present. I must say that the last 2 years of living as a diagnosed OCD sufferer have changed my entire spiritual attitude. Some days suck and some are OK, but the important thing for me is to always stay honest. Or too honest as some might say. Jesus didn’t come to teach us all how to judge and create unrealistic rules and discriminate and lie to ourselves and to each other (which is too bad because I was a pro at that). He came to teach us the Truth. And how to Love. Honestly.

Also, this week I got the most seriously awesome yoga pants with a 36 inch inseam. This is a big deal. This is my first pair of yoga pants that aren’t unintentional capris. EVER. I got gray ones and black ones and have worn one or the other for the last 4 days. Yeah. In public. They are that awesome. Also, Yoga is about the best thing that ever happened to me since Jesus. I’m all about the mind and body in harmony lately. But that is a story for another day…

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thankful How-the-crap-did-I-get-so-lucky Thursday

It wasn’t that I had a particularly fabulous week, but yesterday all my stars must have aligned or something. Or maybe the universe was just giving me a little boost after all the crap that has happened lately. Because yesterday was a good day. It was Thankful Thursday after all.

1) Blog award

Let’s just start right out of the gate with this one. Because it is awesomeness in a lot of ways. My blog won an award. Yep. I was freaking awarded. “2010 Top 40 Anxiety Blogs”. This kind of made my day even. I started blogging simply to get my crap outta my head. Getting diagnosed with “moderate to severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder with Panic and Agoraphobia” will do that to you. Put crap in your head I mean. The fact that other people read and respond is so far beyond my comprehension. The fact that strangers all over the place understand and support and make me laugh is very much cool. Being able to share information about the disorder and give a face and a voice to something that is otherwise misunderstood and scary is awesome. Then to be recognized and have a cool badge to display is just frickin’ making my ego so big that you can never stop me now! But the best best best thing of all about getting recognized is being able to say “How do ya like them inappropriate apples blog haters!! Suck on that for a while! Huzzah!”

2) Way more money than I thought for something that I would’ve done for free

I’m a pianist and a singer. I have a music degree. Which basically means that if I weren’t married I would be a waitress at a restaurant in very close proximity to my teeny little apartment. But since my man brings in the dollars I get to teach music to private students, play at weddings and accompany. So this year I am accompanying a high school in several of their choirs. My dear good friend is the choral director and I guess I don’t suck too bad because she keeps hiring me to play for stuff. Anyhow, this year I was totally content to make a certain, albeit modest, amount of money for my time. Honestly, its super fun and I get to keep my mad piano skills polished and every now and then a high school kid calls me a MILF which is totally flattering in that creepy pervy high school kid kind of way. And yesterday she calls me and is all “Guess what. We’re not going to pay you what I thought we were.” And I was like “Meh. It’s cool. I’ll still do it anyway” And she was all “yeah, that’s because we are going to pay you like a milliondy-two times more.” And I was all “@%^&$” and then…

3) 30 percent off at old navy with free shipping

…I went to I had gotten an email earlier that day offering me all kinds of sales but I had no dollars. Now I was gonna have dollars! Old navy/Gap/Banana Republic is like a mecca for tall women. Like really tall 6 footers like me. I’m just gonna say 36 inch inseam Yoga Pants on sale for 7 bucks. It was my own personal Nirvana. And they shipped today. I love the internet.

4) The first day of school

My kids are in school! Praise the Lord Jesus because we were all about to murder each other. God love them but after 2 and a half months of constant togetherness I was really about to crack. I finally just gave up any attempt at cleaning my house because as someone once put it (and a honestly cannot remember who and I so wish I did so I could give them their credit) “Cleaning your house when you have kids is like trying to brush your teeth while chewing a candy bar.” But now they are in school!! Luke and I had a peaceful breakfast and then later I totally thought about cleaning my house. It’s much easier to think about cleaning when I have peace and quiet.

So yeah. That’s my week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stuff that is rattling around in my brain and thinly veiled answers to questions you may not have known you asked

OK, so you know how I started blogging to clear my head and give a voice to all the crazy in there so it wouldn’t get all mucked up just swirling around in my brain and start making me misbehave? Well, in the name of that, I’m going to get a few things out there. Really it’s like science. And don’t act like you didn’t just go “Science!” in your head. Or possibly out loud.

First things first; I’m still working out OCD day by day. Recently, I have been fairly stressed. So I’ve had some “episodes”. I’ve been particularly concerned with counting. I’m not one of those I-need-everything-to-be-in-alignment types. I’m one of those I-don’t-give-a-rat’s-fat-if-its-lined-up-or-not-just-make-the-frick-sure-that-there-are-good-numbers! So there’s that. But I am getting really good at recognizing the onsets before I have a total freakout. And that’s good, right? I pretty much have decided that I’m going to be comfortable in my own skin even if my skin sometimes gets all crawly because I need to touch something. That being said…

It has recently been brought to my attention that I am a woman. Holy crap, right?! But (at the risk of divulging too much information) not only am I a woman, but it turns out that some folks believe that disqualifies me from certain positions of authority/education/teaching/sharing/general leadership of specific collections of (religious) people. Let me get all Voltaire here and say that I disagree with that sentiment but defend the right for them to think it. (Although Voltaire probably didn’t even say that. I think it was actually some chick…) At first I was all “What?!” and then Luke was all “Pills, Woman. Pills” and then it was all floaty and warm and better.

But since they have the right to feel how they must, I have the right to pick my happy self right up and walk away. I do have the responsibility to continue to be myself, and study and learn and speak and ask questions and share and listen and empathize and offend and surprise and grow. I have the opportunity to learn from my husband and to teach him as well. I have the desire to use my big ‘ol mouth to make people aware of whatever I think needs awareness (in a respectful and only slightly noisy way) regardless of whether or not those people are male or female or dog or cat. And guess what else. God knows I’m a girl. That fact didn’t slip past Him. Plus even if it did, I talk about my girl parts enough for Him to be reminded pretty quickly.

Part Two: It turns out that there are some people who don’t really agree with how Luke and I do things. Again; you can disagree all you want. That’s the cool thing about religious freedom. Specifically, Luke and I have some pretty solid philosophies that run our marriage that some folks thought weren't cool. In fact, we wrote a book/Bible study about staying together. And until a few months ago we had the great honor of sharing it with other couples. 

We pretty much decided a long time ago that if we were gonna try to use our feelings to keep us married then we were darn well screwed because my feelings are all wrapped up in chemical imbalances and medications. Here’s the gist: We want to stay married. We choose to be in love. I know that sometimes we might not like each other but I still decide to love him. And lucky for me, he decided that too or I’d be up a creek. But it’s really hard to stay married it seems. So we created a list of things we can do to protect our relationship. Why not protect a relationship that is so valuable? You insure your car and your house, right? We call it “The Playbook”. Basically don’t ride alone with someone opposite sex, don’t socially hang out alone with someone opposite sex, all passwords to all electronic devices/accounts are known, and that sort of thing.(It’s quite lengthy) “But it sounds so skeevy and distrusting and all that.” I know, right? Because that’s totally what I thought at first too. But for real it works. We also do this thing we call “The Policy of Brutal Honesty” which is exactly what it sounds like. We are a team. So he can’t help me if I don’t tell him where I’m at. I can’t be on his team if I don’t know what’s going on. Even crappy stuff. We try to create “a safe environment for truth” which means I’m gonna tell you everything and you are allowed to be mad/glad/hurt/amused/seriously disappointed or whatever but we are still on the same team. If he dropped a brick every time I unpacked one of my crazy boxes, it would get really hard to feel safe telling him. And we really really believe in this method among with several other things we wrote about. But not everyone does. So there it is.

Agree or disagree or just come back later when there are funnier things happening. I just wanted to get it out there. I feel better. Time for a nap.

No. Just...No.

OK, lady at the pool. I get it. You are a strong and proud woman. You rock your 6 foot tall body and I more than anybody respect that. However...I do not want to see your vagina. My vagina I am totally okay with. But I don’t show it to people! Well…OK I show it to people sometimes. But those people are limited to medical professionals, my husband, and occasionally the accidental neighbor or two. I’m even cool with you talking about it. I mean, let’s all call up Eve Ensler and tell her all about it. But I DO NOT want to see it. However, lady at the pool, you have given me no choice but to see it. You see, when you wear a swimsuit bottom that is possibly a G-string that you have on backwards, I can’t protect my innocence. So…yeah.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Water. But with electrolytes. It's like water of the future but RIGHT NOW!

It’s thankful Thursday! For real this time. On a THURSDAY! I know, right? What?! On time?! So let’s do this before I get distracted by something shiny.

I have discovered Smart Water. It’s like the best thing ever; Water category. It’s water but with electrolytes. Get it? So it’s smarter than regular non-electrolyte water. Also it has no taste which seems counter intuitive but water should not be tasty in my opinion. Luke has a differing opinion of the Smart Water.

Me at Walgreens: Hey. Hold on. I’m gonna grab some Smart Water before we go.
Luke: You’re gonna grab a what now?
Me: Smart Water.
Luke: I don’t like where this is going. Is this like from a commercial or something? You’d buy anything off a commercial.
Me: No. Gawh. Shut up. The Pedipaws would have worked if not for our stupid easily aroused dog. And I need those Snuggies. This is water. That makes you awesome and hydrated with electrolytes and it’s vapor distilled. Like a freaking cloud in a bottle, Luke!
Luke: Woman! No. You know how I feel about bottled water. We are not paying 2 bucks when you can go home and get water for free. No. Huh-uh. That’s dumb.
Me: A) You are mean. B) The water at home isn’t free, we pay the city for it so suck on that buttmuffin and C) did you hear me?! Electrolytes! Like Gatorade but not tasting like pee! You know how I always get dehydrated and pass out? This will cure me! It’s for my freaking health you heartless weasel!
Luke: You exhaust me.
Me: But I’m pretty.

Also this week I am thankful for Jersey Shore. Um. Best. Show. Ever. And even better…my husband loves it too. It’s like our weekly bonding session. Seriously, Jersey Shore is like the reason we are still married. Well, that and I’m pretty. If ever I feel my self esteem dipping into the danger zone, all I need to do is remind myself that I am NOT anything like the kids on Jersey Shore. I know that people say that Southern accents make you sound dumb, but honestly I don’t care if they all earn multiple Ph.D’s, they will perpetually sound like complete ignorant boneheads. And I love it. I especially like to hear Luke try and use that accent. Because it is terrible. And I love it.

I am thankful that my husband has my back. For real. He’ll cut you. Or call you a name. Or pee on you. Or make fun of your beverage. He’s pretty hard core.

I am thankful this week that I went shopping and made phone calls and went to a party at a place I’ve never been with people I’ve never met and did all those hard-for-me-to-do things without totally freaking out. I am awesome. Providing that I regularly take my medication.

That’s me for the week. What’s on your list?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Aside from the being in love with him part, I'm gonna keep my husband because I don't know how to find a new one. And it's cool because we've talked about this.

OK. So I plan on being married to my husband for a long time. I mean, it’s been almost 9 years of marriage which is no easy task. We’ve worked hard at it and we are proud of our marriage. We will stay married because we love each other and we are best friends and we have great kids and all that, but mostly we decided that we never want to break up because we have no idea how to date.

We were only piddly little 12 year olds when we first met. 5 years as best friends later and one really weird night, and we ended up kissing; which in high school terms meant he was my “boyfriend”. We carried on as ususal hanging out, and going to movies and dinner and whatnot. There wasn’t really a “date” or whatever. So we would just be absolutely totally screwed in an adult dating world.

The scenario: Asking for the date

Who asks for a date? Do people call it a date anymore? Is there some super secret new code language for it or something? Once in high school (before Luke was my boyfriend) a boy called and asked me to hang out with him. I invited other people to hang out with us. I didn’t realize until the next day that that was supposed to be a date. Like, what if, some man is all “Do you want to go have dinner and drinks” and I’m like “Sure! Let me call my sister and my friends and get my kids dressed and we will all meet you there!” Am I allowed to ask men out now that women are all empowered? But then do I pay for it? Do I pay for it anyway even if I don’t ask? Is it uncouth to request Taco Bell?

The scenario: First date conversation

I would really suck at date conversation. Like at what point do I go “Oh yeah and I have a raging case of mental illness requiring you to be a 24/7 support system and also I don’t have insurance to pay for my drug cocktail so I’m going to need to get on yours right away and don’t be alarmed if I start repeating things or touching things and could you please say/touch/move that word/object/article of clothing for me because I might have a panic attack soon. I’ll make you a list of the words you CAN’T say in my presence and no tapping or clicking noises. Also, a good portion of my skull is held together by metal rods causing extensive nerve damage which makes me drool unknowingly and quite often. Aaaaaannnddd…also, how do you feel about the use of the word “vagina” because I pretty much talk about it at least once a day if not more often. Oh…and I have 4 siblings but they are not all related to each other…I’ll get you a chart drawn up. I’ll just laminate it and put it with your word list. One last thing, me and my dog like to spoon at night. But tell me about you…”

The scenario: The end of the first date…

OK…I’ll just put it out there…Are you supposed to sleep with someone who buys you dinner? Or just let them run the bases a bit? When do I share the “OCD intimacy rules”? because there are a few…

The scenario: Facebook status-ing

At what point are you dating? Do you have to ask permission first before you change the relationship part? Why doesn’t facebook have a “So and So is now Angela’s ‘Safe person’” category? Or do they have a “This Guy is now the ‘Potential Step-Father’ to Angela’s kids”? Or maybe "Angela is no longer in a relationship with that weird guy who smelled like too much cologne and motor oil."

So yeah…I’m just gonna stay married. It’s just easier.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Maybe I'll start a "me" fanclub

I don’t have anything weird or funny that happened today. But still it feels like it has been an important day. It feels like a day that I would not have had two years ago or 4 years ago or definitely not 10 years ago. I stood up for myself. And I feel really good about it.

My voice didn’t shake and my heart didn’t race and my hands didn’t sweat and I felt really really in control. I accurately relayed information and laid out step by step how I had been misrepresented and I had a coherent request for rectifying that situation and I intelligently explained my actions without ever apologizing for them. Because being myself does not require an apology.

And that is awesome.

I realized just today how far I have come in accepting myself. And not only that, I really like myself. I like my words and my actions and my entire process. I stood up for the mental illness community today. Because I am a person with mental illness. And that is OK. It’s hard sometimes…but it’s OK. God made me this way. He’s aware of it. And He’s also aware that I have a blog. I don’t keep it from Him.

It’s been a good day. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Things that happened at the public pool including why I can never look at a toliet the same way again

A) The creepiest/awesomest tattoo in history.

OK. This guy is totally normal looking from the front. Mid-30’s, a little bald, comfortable belly, two cute little girls in matching swimsuits. Totally non-threatening. And then he turns around. And has a full back tat of a zombie Virgin Mary. Are you getting this?! I’m talking neck to butt crack to each shoulder. ZOMBIE VIRGIN MARY. It had like rotting teeth and skeletal eye sockets and the glowing halo and cross and bullet holes in her head. I honestly tried to snap a picture but he had already caught me staring at him several times and gesticulating wildly to the people I was with. He was onto me. And if he can do that to the Virgin Mary, I don’t really want to know what would be in store for me.

B) How I was violated by a toilet

I am not a bathroom novice. In fact, I am quite experienced at toilet usage and bladder evacuation. Toliet and I have always had a really great relationship. Which is why the following event really surprised me.

I guess the fact that I was at the public pool should be clue number 1. FYI: I’ve been getting really awesome at being at the pool with my kids by myself. We got this pass that lets us get in early before all the “regular” people get there. We pretty much bail when it opens to the public. But…tiny victories, right? Anyhow…back to the bathroom…I’m settled in quite well and peeing like a virtual pro. And then, the toilet seat detaches from the bowl and bucks me off into the stall where I hit the paper thing and bruise my arm. But before scarring my body, newly liberated toliet lid must first ram itself into my girl bits like an overexcited gynecologist giving his first pap smear. This resulted in some unfortunate bruising and seriously interfered with my ability to walk normally. Then, of course, I had to explain to my husband why I had said bruising and wobbly walking as to avoid him thinking anything untoward was taking place at the public pool. Basically I told him that I was date raped by the toilet. Because honestly, toilet, no means no.

By the time we left later that afternoon, there was an enormous sign reading “BROKEN” and the door was duct taped closed. Thanks for the warning Parks and Rec.

Random bonus story C)

This did not take place at the public pool but is still fairly funny and slightly disturbing. Also it is awesome because the fact that I can write down the following events is an OCD victory. I have trouble saying/thinking/writing various words/activities/phrases and this is stuffed full of them.

Lily: (at the pet store looking at kittens) Can we take one of those kittens home? They are so beautiful and precious.
Me: No. Your daddy doesn’t want cats in our house.
Lily: Ok…Well…Can we just get one when we dies then?
Me: ?!?!?!?

Later at home after I told Luke about this little event and forcing myself to utter certain words aloud for the sake of a good story although later I had to do so serious ritual to fix it as I will be doing as soon as I post this if I actually post…

Luke: Hey, Grace, I heard that you and your sister are trying to get rid of me so you can get a cat.
Grace: No that was Lily.
Luke: So she must not like having me around.
Grace: No. She just really likes cats. She likes cats more than having you around.
Luke: Well that’s nice. What about you?
Grace: I like cats even more than Lily.