Getting There

Ugh. How has it almost been a month since I posted last? I’ve been having such issue doing anything that isn’t vegging out on the couch watching marathons of Criminal Minds or L&O: Criminal Intent. Moving around, sitting at the computer, pretty much everything just exhausts me. Work is the worst. I come home and I’m wiped. Cleaning? HA HA! Not happening… zzzzz.

I worked at Macy’s last night for the first time in over a month and I came home absolutely beat. I worked all day at my main job and then that one for only three hours. Still, my body acts like I’m back to being my out of shape, forty pounds heavier self. It’s sad. All that exercise and everything for nothing. I huff and puff trying to keep up with the husband’s quick pace these days.

I’m fifteen weeks along now. Things are improving, albeit is slowly. I’m still not gaining any weight, but the baby is growing. Our anatomy scan is scheduled for June 11th. I’m crossing my fingers for all good news. I’m still pretty ambivalent and cranky about everything, but that’s my modus operandi for life. You’ll rarely find me excited or bouncing around about anything. Pity my future children; I’m a big sour puss.

We went to Pennsylvania last weekend and that was nice, though I didn’t see my mum at all. You’d think that having a grandchild on the way would suddenly make one re-evaluate their current lifestyle, but no. I’ve stopped caring. I’ve got bigger things in life to focus on now. It’s not my job to take care of my parents. Amazing that it’s taken me around twenty-eight years to become okay with that little fact.

The gnawing hunger is probably the worst part of this whole pregnancy thing. I’m still suffering extreme food aversion, but no one has told the tapeworm currently residing in my womb that. I’m hungry all the time. I ate an entire bag of cheese curls in ten minutes at work. My coworkers were laughing. It was not a pretty sight. I’ll be so happy when I can snack better and actually eat things. I’m still surviving mainly off smoothies and one of the three things I can eat. Unfortunately, none of them are very filling at all.

While the hunger might be the worst part, the headaches from tiredness or sitting up too long come in at a close second. I was never really someone who suffered headaches. It’s probably because I refused to medicate them. I’d just let them subside naturally and so I think they just gave up. That’s not the case now. Any sort of prolonged activity or sitting up (like I’m doing now) and especially focusing on things results in headaches located in weird parts of my skull. It’s annoying.

I don’t tell the husband about most of my symptoms, because he’s a worrier. I was having some typical things happening last night that tends to happen when pregnant people spend three hours standing, walking, and whatnot. He was ready to take me to the ER. I had to continually tell him that it’s only a huge issue if it’s bright red or you’re cramping. I was having neither issue other than I was tired and wanted to lie the fuck down.

This baby can also decide it likes chocolate at any time. I’m tired of chocolate tasting like used coffee grounds.

We leave for Arizona this coming weekend. I am not prepared.

A Good Weekend

This weekend was mostly low-key for being a holiday weekend.  I remember a few years ago, when Memorial Day was a big deal.  It was the kick-off the camping season and so it was always one of our longest weekend spent camping and boating.  I remember getting excited for it when I was young and in school and even when I was past the days of school.  This time of a year is kind of a downer for me because of that.  Those days are over, forever.

We were originally just going to hang out at the in-laws’ house on Sunday and Monday.  They’ve had the pool opened for a week or so now, but it had to warm up before we could use it.  We got to their house, got some lunch, and were just relaxing when we saw a child on their porch.  They live kind of out in the country, so random children showing up on the porch isn’t something that happens a lot.  My mother-in-law calmly went out onto the porch.

It was my husband’s aunt, uncle, and his two cousins.  They came by two years ago for Memorial Day.  That was the last time we saw them, I think.  They live two hours away with the rest of his family.  Anyway, they were coming to celebrate the holiday.  Some prior warning would have been nice!  I tried on all my swimsuits and they’re all ill-fitting.  My boobs are just a bit too big to have no support.  So, I put on the one I have that covers the most and still manages to fit okay (if we tie it really, really tightly, which hurts; I had a red mark on my neck afterwards) and we headed out to the pool with the kids.

To be honest, my husband did most of the playing.  I’m past the years of my hair getting wet.  There used to be a day when you couldn’t keep me from going underwater and doing wicked jumps off the deck, but those days are over.  So, I let him play with the kids while I took pictures.  When I did eventually get in with them… my hair got wet.  Sigh.

There was plenty of beating one another with fun noodles and chasing around.  Unfortunately, these are the cousins that aren’t very well disciplined at all, so there was also plenty of screaming and crying.  The girl has a tendency to antagonize the boy and then he puts her into a choke hold and she gets angry.  Fun times!

It’s mystifying to me how little my husband sees his cousins.  I grew up with my cousins, they were a part of not just every summer, but every season ever.  My youngest cousin was always my constant companion, but the other ones were in the background, too.  They were just a little older than us.  Still, my husband rarely ever sees these two cousins at all.  It’s weird to me.  They love him, though.

All in all, it was a fun day.  We had a grilled lunch, my husband got to see his uncle (who he was incredibly close to before his uncle got married), and I got to see family spending time together on a holiday.

On Monday, we headed back to the in-laws’ again.  This time, it was definitely more low-key.  We got plenty of sun and floating in.  My hair still managed to get wet, though.  I wanted to test out the new camera and I was throwing water around.  At one point, I slipped and nearly went completely under.  The husband missed catching that on the camera, thankfully.

We got some really cool photos, though.  I love the patterns that the water makes.  There’s also one picture where I’m jumping up and the water is surrounding me like a cool movie effect.  I love this camera, it’s amazing!

It was definitely a good start to the summer.  It’s hard to believe that in little over a month, we’ll be off to Key West and then, at the end of July… it’s off to Maui!  I still need to get my new State ID for that, sigh.  So much to do, so little time…

A Day of Rest

This was taken with the old camera's macro mode.

Sundays have become our ‘day of rest.’  I’m usually working Saturdays, which means so is the husband.  Having a second job isn’t bad and it’s even better when you get to decide your hours.  I was so relieved when they finally, finally took me off seasonal and put me back on flex.  Working seasonal meant long hours, all weekend.  It’s nice to have those moments of rest back.  I’ll begrudge it once the first job ends, but for now, I’m going to enjoy it.

All of the hard work is worth it–I finally got my camera.  It seems kind of surreal.  I never really thought that I’d have it.  It was like this unobtainable thing I could consistently strive for.  I do that a lot, I pick out things that I have almost zero chance of getting and then put them in my sights.  It gives me something to keep me going, even when things get really, really tough.  Living with the issues I have is never easy, for anyone, so it’s my own way of setting a goal.  I have others to replace this one, but I’m still kind of caught off-guard by it.

The thing that gets me the most is that while I saved up the majority, the last two hundred dollars came from my grandparents.  I spoke to my grandma the week before last (I call her every week) and she asked me how my camera fund was going.  I told her how much I had and how I was a little short because my dad never gave me my Christmas present (money) and neither did my mother-in-law (money again.)  Which is fine, I learned a long time ago to not rely on my dad for much and my mother-in-law is forgetful, not malicious.  I just figured I’d keep putting tiny bits of my paycheck and eventually, it would all add up.  My grandma asked if I wanted her to send me the money I had left.  I said absolutely not and that if she did, I’d go up there and kick her butt.  She relented after that and I thought that would be the end of it.  We continued talking awhile and eventually, she had to go.

Fast forward to last week and it’s Tuesday.  I had called my grandma earlier in the day, before the husband came home, and everything was fine and normal.  My husband brings up the mail as he comes through the door and asks me what this tiny card is, it’s from my grandma.  I sighed, long and hard.  I knew exactly what it was.  It was a little card filled with love and money; not the kind of money intended to buy the reciprocation of love, but the kind that is just there because there is love shared.  I could have cried when I opened it.  I probably would have, had my husband not been staring at me the entire time.  I can’t even find the words to describe what I felt at that moment.

I wanted to give it back, I desperately wanted them to have it.  I didn’t need it, I could eventually save the money up and I had never intended for them to send the money.  But they did and I know that they would never take it back, that arguing with them would only hurt them.  I waited a bit until I could get my emotions under control before I called my grandma.  I jokingly yelled at her and told her I was going to come up there and kick her butt.  She laughed and told me that it was my pap’s idea, so I’d better go after him.

After we had ended our conversation the other week, my pap had walked out into the kitchen.  He only overheard bits and asked if I needed money.  My grandma said no, just that I was short for my camera and still working towards it.  They didn’t mention it again until well after dinner, when my pap said, out of nowhere, ‘do you want to send her the money?’

So, I have my camera, thanks to my grandparents.  It’s so strange.  The situation is one that I can’t really explain, it was something you’d have to watch unfold.  My parents were present and they tried, they really tried, but even then, my grandparents were who I went to.  They are the ones I lean on.  Both of my parents realize this, to varying degrees.  When something bad happens to me, I want them.  Nothing erases terrible things like hugging my grandma.  I feel bad about it, but I had no choice as a child.  It’s difficult to explain without painting my parents badly and I don’t want to do that, they weren’t bad.  They didn’t neglect or abuse me, I love them unconditionally… they were just kids… and kids can’t raise kids.  In our society, at least,  it just doesn’t work.

This was taken with the new camera, Canon EOS Rebel T2i.

When I can’t put things to proper word, I ramble.  So, instead, I’ll just end by saying that I cannot wait to go home in March and share this gift with my grandparents.  I love that my grandma’s reasoning for the money was that ‘I like to take pictures.’  I do like to take pictures and I love that they know it’s a hobby of mine, one that I am intensely passionate about.  I still remember arguing with my grandpa over the merits of a well-taken photo.  I prefer more obscure, artistic methods while he is more point-blank and conventional with his approaches.  I love that we share this and I love that someone in my family recognizes one of my true hobbies without me throwing it in their faces and making it obvious.

Why can’t it be March yet?

PANIC! It snowed.

When I first moved here, I often complained about the lack of actual seasons aside from “hot,” “slightly less hot,” and “holy God where did all the moisture in my body go?”  That was when we lived with the in-laws in their weird little ‘tropical’ tri-state area of HELL.  That entire area is strangely tropical and we do not know why.  Something with wind patterns and fluctuation and all sorts of other, smarty-pants words meteorologists use to confuse us.

Well, the past two winters have been quite snow-filled.  What was once just a season of rain with a tiny bit of mild, gone the next day snow fall, has been toppled with snow, snow, snow.  We’ve had four major systems move through here in less than two month’s time!  Not all of them have hit us, specifically, but the mountains are suffering hard right now.  The horrible picture above was taken as we left work yesterday (we were walking and not stopping as the snow was quite heavy).  The ground was clear when we arrived at 8am.  It only took two hours of wet, sticky snow to get the ground covered.  Of course, because it was so wet and heavy, power outages EVERYWHERE!  Unfortunately, our building has a back-up generator.  Lame.

Seriously, though… every has been freaking out anytime the news so much as mentions snow.  Even worse, ice.  Snow + ice = ARMAGEDDON!  When I first moved down here, I figured that this state was used to snow.  I mean, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are Appalachian bros, right?  Wrong.  I’m sure the folks who live out in the middle of nowhere are a bit more resilient… but the majority of West Virginia lives in cities.  It’s such a task explaining this to my family!  Essentially, West Virginia has a LOT of hugely huge mountains that you can’t live on.  So, everyone clusters along the river or what valleys they can find.  There are four major areas in this state… and a bunch of smaller, dependent places.  If you look at a map, all of these big places are on the borders of other states.  Ha, go figure on that one.  There are also the completely disconnected from everything communities out in the hills.

Also, fun fact, if you want to see the horrors of mountain top removal, come visit West Virginia.  It’s gorgeous, I tell you.  Who doesn’t want some sludge?  Mm, good.  We have to look at one every time we leave for Pennsylvania and it makes me boil with rage.  My husband has considered going the long way around in an effort to be spared the next hour of my ecological hippie ranting.

Anyway, it’s like stepping into the Twilight Zone.  Where I grew up, snow was something that happened… a lot.  I remember digging my way out of our front door.  I remember having a small, child-sized snow shovel when I was little so I could help my dad.  I remember getting two weeks worth of snow days every school year (I didn’t start home schooling until 8th grade) and being thrilled when the rare case came up where we didn’t use them all and we were out of school before mid-June!  Imagine my shock when my husband said they always got out in May.  May?  MAY? That is unheard of where I come from.  I remember the time when we had that huuuge Blizzard and we were scared we’d be in school until JULY!

So, when everyone around me is freaking out, I’m looking at like, three inches of snow and trying not to laugh.  I am surrounded by ridiculous people and sometimes I love to call my family back home to make fun of them.  It’s what we do.  I have to get revenge on my husband teasing me for never saying the ‘G’ at the end of any word ending in -ing.  Like, instead of reading, I’m readin’.  It only happens when I’m comfortable enough with people to let my Pennsylvania Dutch shine.  I don’t know why my area does this, but we do.  We don’t have time to waste on silly G’s are the end of a sentence, damn it!  At least I can say color properly!

Anyway, it’s been snowing a lot here and probably will continue to do so, just like it did last year.  My mother-in-law will call us, every single time, and say “we’re gonna get some snow” like snow is the equivalent of a small pox outbreak.  Every school will call off, before it even starts snowing.  We will probably get like, two inches.  There will be twenty bajillion wrecks on the interstate because stupid people can’t drive in the morning.  The news will talk about “black ice”.  Walmart and every grocery store will run out of milk, bread, and eggs.

As for me?  I’ll be hanging out, enjoying the lovely view from my computer room window.  The mountains look awesome with heavy, wet snow on all the trees.  It’s my favorite.

Just look at those twiggy little trees.  They look ugly all dead and dormant, but pile some snow on them and they’re a masterpiece.  I wanted to try and get some macro pictures, but the husband refused to cooperate and so I only got this, outside of our apartment building.

Oh, and my closet is now gloriously clean and organized.  I have never had a closet this clean and organized.  I am hoping I can keep this trend up, because it’s cut down my time to get dressed in the morning exponentially.  I am not a morning person.  I was one of those kids who wore their clothes to bed in an effort to get up later for school.  Ha.

Yes, that is my wedding dress in the back. No, it has not been properly stored or packaged.

This is what our walk-in closet looks like.  It has a floor!  It has a glorious, clean floor!  Of course, the husband’s side is pretty sparse and I cut off the top parts.  His side has all of our ridiculously large suitcases and shoulder bags; mine has shoe boxes and shoes thrown willy-nilly.  Oops.

I actually sorted my closet, too.  All the stuff on the left side of the shoe container is the stuff I can wear to my secondary workplace, which requires black as a main color.  All the stuff to the right is all my other stuff.  I don’t need that stuff sorted, I know it by looking at it, but black tends to blend together and finding something for work when you’ve only got twenty minutes to get ready?  A pain.  Now that problem is solved.

I love my little coordinated containers.  I already had the two brown ones from Walmart, so they don’t completely match, but oh well.  The green ones are from Target.  We had to go back and get more because I ran out the first time.  Now there are two spare ones hanging out in there–a little basket and a large container.

The large blue tupperware stores our off-season clothes and unused stuff in large, vacuum sealed, space bags.

The two brown, Walmart baskets I got awhile back.  I originally got the one with the lid for my questionable items and my swimsuits.  Well, I had to throw a bunch of stuff out, so now it just holds my questionable items.  The big basket was never used, but now it stores all my hoodies.  I.  Love.  Hoodies.  I wear them almost everyday I work at my main job, because I work in a full lab space with acid and fancy clothes + acid = not allowed, even if I never touch it.  Not quite sure how jeans are any better.

The green containers with leaves (at least, I think they look like leaves) have my bras and my sleepy items.  Why do I have so many bras?  I have about ten, but some are C’s and others are D’s because my boobs can’t settle on a size.  I also have to rotate them due to elastic wearing down.  It’s a busty lady thing.  I can’t imagine what people with truly huge boobs do.  Yikes.  The empty container on top will be used for whatever.

The thin container has my swimsuits and the empty basket will, again, be used for whatever.  The large green basket has all my tights and hosiery.  Welcome to working for a pretending-to-be-classy department store!  Also, I cannot stand wearing ‘career’ pants or nicer dresses/skirts of any kind without hosiery on.  It looks tacky without it and I can’t understand why people continue to do it.  Maybe because they have prettier, less bruised (and transparently pasty) legs than I do.

The bedroom is fully cleaned and now all that waits is the computer room… which will be a long, arduous process because I’m making my husband in charge of it.  He takes forever to do anything, which is why I don’t typically let him clean.  It’s happening, though, albeit it slowly.  I even made him a list.

A Mission of Cleanliness

The state of the apartment has been driving me crazy for awhile now.  It’s been bitter ass cold around here, so that meant I didn’t have a whole lot of motivation.  Couple in all the issues involving work and you pretty much had two useless lumps of nothing occupying a space that was continually getting messier and messier.  My husband does not come from a clean house.  My mother-in-law will make you think he does, but he doesn’t.  As for me, I was expected to do chores and the like growing up, but my bedroom was my castle.  My parents didn’t give a hoot about it… provided I didn’t try to grow anything disgusting in there.  All in all, though, we are not dirty people.  My husband does not carry–completely–the habits of his parents; he likes things to be neat and orderly, he just doesn’t always have the attention span to accomplish it.

My husband… the genius with severe ADHD.  Ooh, shiny!  It’s a constant battle, it really is.

Since we both had off this weekend, I decided we were going to do some serious cleaning.  Not just scrubbing, I mean gutting out the closets and really giving the fairly large dumpster outside a good workout.  I decided it would be Sunday.  On Saturday, we would have a nice day of shopping and taking the father-in-law out for his birthday dinner (which was Thursday).  So, we woke up fairly early (for us) on Saturday and got ready to brave the cold.  I finally, finally managed to get the husband to go to Corridor G so I could pace the aisles of Petsmart and coo over the cute, adoptable critters.

My husband hates and refuses to drive anywhere near Corridor G.  It’s a large expanse of road littered with huge shopping plazas.  It’s the go-to shopping place of people for miles.  It’s a nightmare at Christmas time, you can wait at a stoplight for upwards of an hour.  On off-days, though, it’s a fairly reasonable destination; my husband is just obstinate and traffic of any kind except the ‘familiar’ kind makes him nervous.

We had a nice time there, bought way too much stuff for our animals, and then headed towards the mall.  We do not go to the mall located in our city.  We hate that mall.  I’m sure the people here like it, but then again, they also like living here, so there you go.  Instead, we go to the mall we’re comfortable and familiar with (and also one not likely to be in the newspaper the following Monday.)  So, we arrive, we eat lunch, do some light browsing and shopping… then it’s off to Target to buy storage supplies!  We meet the in-laws, see an awesome winter sunset (see above picture), buy them dinner, part ways, and then we’re off to Walmart for more supplies (and groceries.)

Fast-forward to the next day and I’m forced to realize the mess I’ve gotten myself into.  I made a list to try and give both of us an idea of where to begin.  I like lists, I function better with lists, and it turns out the husband does, too.  So, we consulted our list, pulled up our sleeves, and dove in.  It was six or more endless hours of nonstop cleaning action.  We’re still not done, I’ve got to finish the bedroom tomorrow and he has to finish the computer room clutter… but all in all… we did good.  In some ways, it looks like it did when we moved in.

I’ll get to that another time, though.  Let’s go back to what the place looked like before.  The first thing the husband did was tackle the refrigerator.  This might seem like an odd man job, but he’s made for it.  He’s done it randomly, twice, in the depths of the night when unable to sleep.  So, he got nominated to do it again.  He didn’t just clear the bad food, he emptied it completely, yanked out the racks, and cleaned that sucker good.  Only… now instead of being so full there’s no room, you can hear the echoes of your breathing off the big, empty walls.  It looks like we didn’t buy any groceries at all!  Yikes!  I forgot to take a before picture… whoops.

Note the band aid. I did that late in 2009, before getting my new pair.

Meanwhile, I was tackling the bathroom.  While I was clearing out the very large closet, I found a stockpile of glasses and assorted cases.  Why had I felt the need to keep these I am unsure… but they were every pair of glasses I had owned since I stopped wearing contacts full-time when I was fourteen or so.  I kept one of the cases, because it’s a nice, hard case and just threw the rest away, along with the glasses.  I told my husband I had no idea I had bought so many ‘designer’ glasses.  When I was that young, I had no idea about most of that stuff.  It now makes sense why my dad always groaned when it came time to buy me a new pair of frames.

After we finished our separate areas, we went for the bedroom as a team.  I didn’t take any before pictures of the closet… but you couldn’t see the walls or the floor.  It was overrun with every manner of clothing you could think of!  The space bags were tossed aside, partially full and completely unsealed.  It was a disaster.  The bedroom itself wasn’t exactly a pillar of cleanliness, either.

Clothes, everywhere!  I have so many clothes I do not have places for them.  It’s because I went through this phase when I moved down here where I bought everything I wanted without thought or consequence.  This mess is even after donating three bags worth of clothes last summer, some of them still with tags on them!  This time, though, I was serious.  I gutted everything.  I now have around five bags worth of stuff to send to charity.  My mother-in-law is going to crap herself when she sees it!  I’m horrified by it, to be honest with you.  I never saw myself as a clothes hoarder, but I guess I am.

Along with not having room for way too many clothes comes the fact that you have so many clothes, you don’t know what to wear.  I would throw things on the floor or the bed in an attempt to assemble an outfit.  These clothes would just build up in piles on the floor.  Anytime I come home from work, I’m so exhausted I just strip down, throw my dress clothes on the dresser, and pull out the comfy pants/t-shirt combo.  It got to the point where you could barely see the mirror on the dresser!

There’s also the suitcase from Christmas still on the floor, still with clothes on it!  What you can’t see are the shoddy looking piles around it.  The clothes are clean, they’ve just been thrown on the bed because I needed the basket and then shuffled off the bed at nighttime.  If I don’t prioritize putting away clothes, it never happens.

There’s a shot of the bedroom in-progress.  The closet has already been gutted (thus the blue Tupperware now once again filled with sealed space bags) and all the clothes on the bed are waiting to be folded and put away.  The rest are all going to charity.  I had tried to put them in bags, but ran out of room.  They turned into this huge pile on my husband’s side of the bed and on the floor.  I’ll be washing them tomorrow.  Let’s hope the poor old washer is up for it…

You can see some of my organizing things in this shot.  I have a lot of hoodies, so I got a big, open basket to put them in.  I also bought these cute little storage bins from Target (need to get more, actually) for my loose items like bras, sleepwear, and hosiery (working where I do, you have a LOT of tights/hose/etc.)

The bedroom actually looks better than the above picture now, with the closet completely sorted and cleaner than it’s ever been!  There’s also a lot more room now that I finally got rid of 50% of what was in there.  Most of it was old career stuff I’ll never fit into again.

And this, this is our living room.  We were piling all the trash and boxes, trying to get them ready to go out the door.  All our storage containers/etc we bought the night before were also hiding out in here.  Needless to say, Loki was very confused.  I’m pretty sure he thought we were moving!

I’m still in awe at all the stuff we’ve cleared out.  The computer room still needs some serious TLC, but the husband did a good job consolidating some more of his boxes.

This was the list I put on my husband’s ancient whiteboard.  He drew the Trogdor and all of that, because he is a smart ass and he thinks that he is hilarious.  He is, but it’s best not to tell him that… his ego is much too big already.

Whew.  It’s been a long, long day and I’m exhausted.  Time to go enjoy the husband’s company and rest up.  I’ve still got some serious cleaning to do tomorrow.