Tuesday, December 27, 2011

You're not gonna die.

Well, as they say about the best laid plans...they get screwed up. Or something like that. (Sorry, John Steinbeck.)

Our holidays plans were just that: best laid. And screwed up.

Midget got hit with a moderate case of the flu Thursday night and spent all night Thursday curled up in bed or hovering over the toilet. Friday morning, I sent Hubs and Big Man off to my in-laws so at least they could enjoy the holiday festivities (and so they, too, wouldn't get sick). I wasn't worried about myself because I never get sick, save a sniffle here or there. My immunity is top-drawer, so I don't get too worked up about being exposed. We got through Friday fairly well and by the time 8pm rolled around, Midget was able to keep down solid food and was on the mend. Fortunately for her, she didn't run a fever for more than a couple hours and wasn't hit with worse symptoms.

Then came Saturday.

And the end of my health as I knew it.

I will save you the graphic play-by-play, but to say that I was sick is the mildest understatement of the year. I haven't been that sick since 2006. It's now Tuesday and I'm still running a low-grade fever. Because I don't get sick very often, I forget the longevity of illnesses and what's serious and what isn't. Also, if I don't have to take meds, I won't. I believe in letting the body heal itself when it comes to illness, so unless I'm absolutely miserable, I won't take anything.

Fortunately for me, I have great friends to keep me grounded. The following series of texts took place Saturday night between my bestie and me:

Me: I'm gonna take some Tylenol.  If I can't get this fever to go down, I need you to take me to the hospital.
AM: *blink* How freakin' high is it?!
Me: It's over 102° now. I'm most worried about dehydration.

(Keep in mind, I took a bath, drank a LOT of water and used cold compresses for the prior four hours, trying to get the fever to come down naturally.)

AM: Oh. No need to panic yet til it hits over 104 but drink water or suck on ice cubes.
Me: I'm trying but its not doing any good.
AM: Is this the first dose of Tylenol?
Me: Yes.
AM: K. Keep me posted.

A half hour later (Tylenol, ice, cold compresses and water).

Me: Gonna try to sleep. Fever's 101

Shortly before 2:30 a.m.:

Me: Still 101. Dunno why it's not coming down more. Tylenol, ice chips & water.
AM: Mel...its only been an hour since you took the Tylenol.
Me: Two.
AM: It was only an hour since you told me.
Me: How long does it take?
AM: Depends, but 101 is nothing. 106, on the other hand. Well, that's when it's time to talk hospital. Keep taking fluids and try cold compresses on your forehead and the back of your neck.
Me: (dying) K. I'm sorry for being paranoid. I don't get fevers very often.
AM: (no doubt, sighing loudly and rolling her eyes) LOL Its okay love.
Me: My normal temp runs at 96.8, not 98.6 like most people, so my 101 is everyone else's 103.
AM: Rabbit's had chronic fever syndrome since she was a baby, so I'm a little more lax when it comes to fevers.
Me: Big Man did too.
AM: Then you should know you're not gonna die. (I sense more eye rolling.)

God bless her for putting up with my paranoid ass.

But, just as she predicted, I didn't die. I still feel pretty rough (thanks to that fever I still can't shake), but I did, in fact, live.

And...I got to watch my Celtics play on Christmas day. Not that I could actually focus on the game, but I heard Marv Alpert's voice, so that counts for something, right?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas, New Year's and other random crap

After a blow-out about Christmas gift exchanges and my annual "Dooooo I haaaaave toooo?" argument with my hubby, I've settled into dealing with Christmas. The tree is up, about half the presents have been bought and I've heard "Feliz Navidad" approximately 14,472,903,562 times since Thanksgiving. Ho, ho, ho and a fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la to you, too.

We're still deciding what to do for New Year's eve. It may end up being just us and Dick Cla...oh, wait, Ryan Seacrest took his job, didn't he? Anyway...I was supposed to be in New York for New Year's this year, so I'm a bit bitter right now. Don't mind me.

The NBA finally pulled their heads out of their asses and the season opener for the Celtics is when? You guessed it. Christmas Day. I won't be watching it. Why? Because joy and merriment abounds, people. *eyeroll* But, you can bet, I will have my basketball watchin' ass planted in front of the TV for every other game this season.

My recipe blog has taken a hit this last month. Between allergies, stress, depression and a heapload of don't-give-a-shit-if-you-eat-Chef-Boyardee-for-the-rest-of-your-lifeness, I just haven't had the creativity to come up with new recipes lately. I've pulled some old ones out of the archives, but other than a cake mix cookie recipe and one for Mexican Lasagna, I haven't been cooking much this month.

Since depression has been kicking my ass this holiday season, I've decided that now's as good a time as any to get back to the gym. My body has been feeling the results the last year or so of me not going and honestly, it can't take much more. I haven't been sleeping right, eating right or even functioning normally for quite a while and something's gotta change. So...it might as well be my waistline, right? January will see me back in the gym. Let's see if I can't get back down to that size 14 I worked so hard to get to in 2009. (I'll go lower, but that's my goal for right now.) Roughly, that means about 40-50lbs. I've done it before and I'll do it again. Sadly, it also means giving up soda. And sweet tea. And most everything else I love to eat, but if it means not wanting to kill the people I live with, then it'll be worth it. (I'm sure they'd agree.)

I've been trying to disengage from things that get me too riled up, so I'll refrain from commenting on our national debt, teachers/coaches who have inappropriate contact with students, ex-husbands, junior high kids who make my daughter cry and people who abuse animals, kids or the elderly.

This disengaging thing SUCKS.

Monday, December 5, 2011

UPDATE: No, I'm not with PETA but...

In following Jen Lancaster on Twitter and Facebook, I've been made more aware of the unfair treatment of pit bulls and other dog breeds who society looks down upon. I've met Jen's dogs, Libby, Maisy and Loki. They're the most darling, loving, enthusiastic animals on the planet. Seriously. My dog Lucky may be smarter (hehehe) but Jen's three dogs are awesome! So when I see petitions like this one regarding a policy proposing the killing of specific breeds that are brought to a shelter in Fayetteville, North Carolina, I get absolutely outraged.

Let me state clearly that I'm a cat person. I've always loved cats, always will love cats, but I will also always be an advocate for the fair and ethical treatment of all pets - dogs, hamsters, lizards, pigs, birds (especially birds), etc. Cruelty is unacceptable when it comes to these animals who we've adopted out of love and a desire to share our lives with. I hate seeing dogs tied up outside. I don't like seeing dirty aquariums or cages. I come absolutely un-fucking-glued when I see someone yelling at or beating an animal of any kind. 

When Jen brought this petition to my attention earlier today, I didn't hesitate to act upon it. Aside from signing the petition, I also sent a letter to each of the members of the council as well as the mayor of Fayetteville, NC. They will meet in less than an hour to decide the fate of these animals. What will you do to help?


To whom it concerns,

I come to you today with a plea to oppose the policy you will be discussing at tonight's council meeting regarding a new kill policy on certain breeds of dogs at the animal shelter(s) in Cumberland County. The policy suggests that certain breeds of dogs considered "vicious" be killed without being given a chance to be adopted -- dogs that have not personally shown aggression, but because of their breeds, people are being (falsely) told they're dangerous and should be put to death.

I was born into a family with a German Shepherd. There are pictures of me riding this dog when I was just a toddler. His name was Omar. I was thirteen when that dog died and I wept as though he'd been my own brother. He was protective, but gentle. Omar knew only how to love.

When my son was two and my daughter was just a few months old, we adopted a Siberian Husky puppy. He was black and white with bright blue eyes. Dakota slept in my son's bed with him at night, played in the snow with him and the neighbor kids and was the first to step between my children and I when they got into trouble. Not to snap or bark at me, but to detract the attention from them onto himself. He literally cried when they cried.

My sister owned a pit bull who was very much the same way. When my children were put in time outs, Chance sat with them, facing the corner and looking as scolded as they did. When he got into trouble for piddling on a carpet or chewing up a shoe, he knew he was in trouble and would put HIMSELF into time-out.

The fact of the matter is, I've been bitten by dogs before - Jack Russell terriers, cocker spaniels and dacshunds. I would trust a full-blooded pit bull, husky, doberman or rott before I'd leave my child alone with a cocker spaniel or a terrier. The point is ALL dogs can be dangerous if given the right circumstances. It depends on how they were trained and in what environments they've been raised.

The breeds listed in the proposed policy change aren't bad breeds. They shouldn't be judged by what other dogs of the same type have done. That makes as much sense as saying anyone who lives in Harlem should be shot upon sight - not because they're a specific threat, but because everybody "knows" ALL residents of Harlem are dangerous criminals who rape, murder and pillage. Ridiculous (not to mention unconstitional) to make those assumptions!

Are there bad dogs? Yes. Is there an over population of dogs? Yes. But killing a specific breed of dog isn't going to make those problems go away.

Instead, I would encourage the shelter teach classes (an excellent opportunity to raise funds for the shelter and the county) on how to train dogs. In fact, make the class mandatory for anyone choosing to adopt an animal from the shelter. Education is so important when it comes to owning a pet.

By approving the policy set forth tonight, Fayetteville isn't teaching anyone anything except how to be afraid and intolerant. And in a country when fear and intolerance runs rampant enough, is this really what needs to happen?


 My brother and me with Omar

Our Great Dane, Dalton 
(who would share his food and water bucket with the cats)

Dakota, our husky

My sister's dog Chance (look at that face!?)

Our voices were heard and the animals will continue to have the same chances all other animals at this shelter have to be adopted. WE WON! This update from the Fayetteville Observer clears up some mistakes we were told in the wording of the petition and describes how the meeting went down last night. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and forwarded the links to others. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Grow up!

In an email exchange the other day with a family member, I was told I needed to "grow up." Apparently, the person doesn't think that the way I approach life is mature enough...grown up enough...that for whatever reason my choices in life are wrong.

To that, I say:

Sorry. It had to be done.

When I was six years old, my biological father was killed by a drunk driver. Six. Years. Old.
When I was twelve, my mother was diagnosed with cancer.
At thirteen, my step-father left my mother without any warning.
A year later when I was fourteen, my mother's cancer returned.
I was fifteen when my mother died.
I miscarried a baby at the age of eighteen.
When I was twenty, I delivered my son 2½ months early. We both nearly died that day.
At twenty-five, I was a single mom with two kids trying to make ends meet without screwing up all our lives.

You want to talk about being grown up? Let's talk. 

Being grown up means not using your misfortunes or mistakes as excuses for not doing the right thing. It means drying your eyes, standing up straight and carrying the hell on. And you save the tears for later, because rising to the occasion with dignity and grace is more important than getting sympathy. It means that even when you want to throw in the towel and have someone else take care of you for once, you trudge on...oftentimes without support from family or friends - not that you don't have them, but because they just don't know what to say. Being grown up sometimes means you have to bury your own pain because dealing with it hurts worse than pretending it doesn't exist. It means that when you've got hungry mouths to feed, you do what's necessary to quiet those tummies. Being a grown up doesn't mean you get to rely on drugs or alcohol to smooth out the edges, nor does it mean abandoning the people who depend on you most. It means you forgive those who have hurt you and those you disagree with and you put yourself in their shoes for just a few moments and look at life from their perspective. It means you move past the anger and bitterness, not because you necessarily want to, but because it's the right thing to do. It means not holding grudges or keeping someone hostage in or from a relationship with someone else. It means you give of yourself until it hurts because that's what you do for the people you love. And for those who love you back.

Being a grown up means that when you've done all these things and the opportunity comes along to have fun, you take it. You take it because you didn't have that chance at six. Or twelve. Or fifteen. Or eighteen. Or even twenty-five. You take it because finally, for once in your life, you've done what you had to do and you refuse to let someone else make you feel guilty for enjoying your life and all the fun you have living it. You take it because you're tired of being told to "grow up" when you know damn well you did so thirty years ago. And not because someone told you to, but because you had no other choice.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

So...when we gettin' married?

Meet my husband.

He and I met online before meeting people online was cool. In fact, in 1999, it was pretty damn scary still. You didn't know what kind of psycho you could end up with. Fortunately, I was less scary than the other psychos who answered his personals ad. Go me!

We had an insanely brief courtship. We met in August and just a few weeks later, as I came out of the bathroom wearing purple leggings and my stupid orange sweatshirt (yes, the one I wear in 90% of my Bubbletweets), he proposed to me.

"So. When we gettin' married?"

I laughed at him. 

Keep in mind, I'd been separated from my ex-husband for several months when we met, but had only been officially divorced six days when we had our first date. Marriage was not what I set out for when I responded to his email.

I asked him if he was kidding. He insisted he wasn't. I kept giggling, but when I saw the light drain from his eyes, I knew he was serious. This man wanted to marry me! Me and my kids (who were 2 and 4 at the time). Me, my kids and my insane family. Me, my kids, my insane family and an ex-husband who would be none-too-thrilled with the idea of me marrying someone within a year of my divorce. This guy was either amazeballs or a complete idiot.

I thought quickly and decided that in case it was the first option, I should say yes and we were married two months later.

Over the course of the last twelve years, I've given him a lot of guff over his spontaneous and less-than-romantic marriage proposal. A LOT. And, he's taken it in good stride, God bless him. 

Tonight, I showed him the link to this story about man who proposed to his girlfriend and had their proposal secretly photographed then gave her a framed photo of that magical moment on their wedding day. I thought it was the sweetest thing I'd ever seen. Hubs, however, looked at me and with the saddest look on his face, said, "I wish I'd put more thought into your proposal."

It made me think back to how I would have liked to have been proposed to. Would there have been a horse-drawn carriage? Perhaps candlelight and soft music? Skywriting with an airplane or on a billboard at a ballpark? 


It would have been me coming out of the bathroom wearing that stupid orange sweatshirt and him catching me so totally off-guard that I laughed at the absurdity of it all. Anything more romantic wouldn't have been the real him. And the real him is who I fell in love with all those years ago. 

And I'd still say "yes."

(Author's note: By the way, it WAS the first option: he's totally amazeballs. He puts up with my endless array of shit on a daily basis, after all.)

P.S. Dear Hubby, this does not get you off the hook for not bringing in the Christmas decorations from the shed while I was gone last week or for snoring every. single. night. of the last twelve years. But it does mean I'll stop giving you shit about your corny proposal. I love you.)

P.P.S. Regardless of what you've heard on television, NO. I am not leaving you for Dane Cook.