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See how long-winded and ranty I get when I talk about him? That in itself explains everything really.

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On Sunday we were subjected to another round of the emotional blackmail that the kids’ school uses to bleed us dry. Last year we declined to take part in the inaugural “we’ll frame your kid’s artwork and charge you $20 to take it home” art show but last year we didn’t have an easily heartbroken 6-year-old at school. Poss wasn’t thrilled about us not buying her handiwork but, because she is a big girl, she understood. There is no way on Earth we would be able to get Skunky (the child who wakes up in tears at 3am due to some random slight that occurred a month ago) to understand. We also couldn’t try to trick Skunky into thinking we’d just forgotten about the whole thing, Poss was singing with the choir to open the new school hall at this year’s art show so we had to go – and then we had to shell out $40 for both kids’ art.

To be fair, they were both lovely and we had fun watching Poss sing and oohing and ahhing over everyone’s art.

Skunky’s rainbow fish, or rainbow whale to be exact. Whales are an obsession he’s maintained since he was three. He’s got staying power.

Poss’ Mama and baby bird. I loved Skunky’s response to this, once he’d wrung from me the desired compliment (that I loved his best), he gushed about how beautiful he thought it was. I agree, she’s always been an obsessive crafter, our Poss. I can imagine how many hours she spent getting each piece of paper placed correctly, just as she did when she was four. She used to spend hours making sure the pages of her colouring book were coloured in perfect detail and inside the lines, no short attention span on that girl. You can almost see in my blurry photo that she’s included a darling caterpillar on a branch.

The big kids had spent the previous night at their Father’s house, this after he called Beefy (not me you’ll note*) to insist that he be allocated a weekend once a month for each of the kids so that he could spend time with them separately. I had to explain to Beefy (who would’ve realised eventually but is not to good at thinking on his feet) that neither child would be ordered to spend a specific weekend with their father at this stage of the game (about to be 13 & 16 respectively). Moron’s imagined that they don’t want to spend time together and that’s at the root of their refusal to go, because it’s not as though they live together  or anything. Stupidity abounds over there. As expected the kids were unimpressed with his demands and also promptly agreed to go over for the night, TOGETHER. He doesn’t seem to get that:

a) This is their home, where their things and their respective caves of solitude are

b) They now have social lives, social lives that happen on the spur of the moment. He lives miles away and both of the kids have friends within walking distance here

c) They often can’t really be bothered with his house. The stepmother, who can be lovely and hellish in equal measure, and the fact that he and the stepmother do not seem to understand social cues very well make it a difficult place to be. Teenagers (or tweens) can be very “meh” about things, not because they don’t care (although often they don’t) but mostly because they can’t be bothered, Moron and The Stepmother don’t seem to grasp this. The kids have been taken home from a restaurant because Rhu didn’t seem appreciative enough that they were out for tea, he didn’t even say anything (in actual fact he just had a headache). The Stepmother threw a tantrum and insisted they all leave without eating. In essence they have never treated the kids like people, rather they are little monsters to be controlled and cajoled. The Stepmother has a short fuse and it is very, very easy to upset her, to the point that she screams and cries. Moron tried to force Rhu to give her a present, kiss her and tell her he loved her to make up for cracking a joke about a cake she made. Mama’s can’t afford such thin skin, and in any case it was really a joke, Rhu likes her and wasn’t trying to be mean. Anyway, they just can’t relax there, they have to be on guard and they’ll only subject themselves to that so much – now that they really have a choice.

d) They are nearly 13 and 16 respectively. They have not lived with him since they were not quite 2 and 4. During the intervening years he has breezed in and out of their lives (mostly out) sometimes not contacting them for (many) months at a time and when he has been in he has caused them both great distress at times. We used to get Rhubarb home from his fortnightly visits in such a state, he was out of sorts for a week after each visit, tears and tantrums, tears and tantrums. We would work to get him on an even keel again only to send him kicking and screaming back to them again. It broke my heart over and over. Moron either believes he can magic a strong relationship out of his arse or he believes that he already has one with his kids and I am being all evil and chaining them to their rooms and refusing to allow them visits. Probably both. He is not a man with a firm sense of reality. He cannot, for the life of him, understand why the kids won’t have their friends at his house or have birthday parties there, he thinks it is because I’ve been badmouthing him. He’s given the kids both talks about ignoring my relentless bashing of him, which they thought was hilarious. I didn’t agree. He even managed to imagine he could hear me saying nasty things about him to the kids whilst he was on the phone to Beefy (because that’s totally a likely behaviour for me to indulge in).

Anyway, the kids are soldiering on and will visit him as they see fit, which has been the arrangement ever since we came back from the UK over three years ago. They shall remain completely ignorant of his carry-on in the background because that’s the way we’ve always kept it but in the meantime I might go gray with stress, oh hang on, already happened. As you were.

*A while ago Beefy stopped me from talking to him, mostly to spare me the stress but also a little bit because I sometimes lose my shit when I talk to him, just a touch. He does not inspire my zen. Moron has caught on to this over time and doesn’t ever contact me directly now. That in itself has brought about some “ishoooos” but that’s another post entirely.

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Blanket, boobs, beef, Beefcake and a birthday

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On Saturday, the in-laws offered to babysit so that we could have a day to ourselves. We planned a day of spending my birthday money capped of with a lovely dinner out to celebrate my birthday early (I turned 34 on Monday).

The shopping was a bit of a necessity as my recent weight loss has left me sadly short on clothing. I have been buying things here and there, I even bought a decent pair of jeans a few months ago – way too tight as I figured I’d shrink into them. Shrink into them I did, unfortunately, I also shrank out of them. They’ve gone from skinny jeans to baggy jeans that fall down when I put them on. It’s pretty much the same story with all of my clothes – and bras.

My boobs have been hit hard.

I hate the thought of spending more money on clothes that I might shrink out of but I have to have something to wear so I had no choice, really. No choice but to spend money on myself, poor me.

I prepared by giving Beefy strict instructions to monitor my size choices. As I’ve gotten smaller, my brain has not been able to keep up. The size I wear now is about the smallest I’ve been since having kids. In my mind though, I am a couple of sizes bigger and I automatically grab things that are too big. When I look in the mirror, what I see doesn’t match up with the sizes that I fit into.

Way to be weird brain.

Anyway, Saturday was fantastic, we spent hours shopping and my body didn’t start playing up badly until the very end. Shopping without even one child, what can I say? I had forgotten shopping could be like that. I don’t get out alone much, I need Beefy there just in case* so that usually means at least one child. If it wasn’t for the fact that we can’t afford for me to develop a hardcore shopping habit, I’d be hitting the grandparents up for a lot more babysitting.

I bought what felt like millions of things for myself. All for me! I’d like to be able to say it went against the grain or some such but in fact it was remarkably easy.

Luckily, there were plenty of sales on so I could replenish my wardrobe with a few cheap tops plus one or two nice things (and a bra that was labelled “first bra” but the less said about that the better). A dress to wear to dinner (I never wear dresses so it was a personal favour to Beefy), and the crowning glory of my purchases. A sarape, which I just had to google the name of – I call it “my blanket”. Basically, it’s a poncho that’s not joined in the middle. I’d just finished trying on a hooded poncho (don’t judge me!), something that had taken my fancy once I was in full shopping frenzy, when I walked past the rack that held the sarape. It was instant love, giddy, swoon-worthy love. I know it might be a bit unusual but I am determined to honour my love and wear it whenever possible. It is black and therefore goes with everything.

It’s a bit like this one:

Image from here.

I wore it to the school pick up today. It was freezing and it really was just like wearing a nice warm blanket. I was a bit worried about looking silly but then I remembered that I like feeling warm. I will try to remember to get a photo of myself in mine tomorrow, I look awesome.

Anyway, after shopping there was just enough time for a bath (A BATH ALONE!), getting dressed and heading to dinner. I wore my new dress and my blanket.

We are lucky enough to live very close to a great restaurant strip and literally two minutes away is a place that we love. We’ve only been able to afford it once before but it made a big impression. There’s something about it that I find instantly relaxing. Actually, I know what it is, the lighting is low and unlike many restaurants, it’s lovely and quiet. Quiet, bliss.

Also, the food is to die for. We had the chateaubriand, meltingly tender and rare with a bearnaise that was mindblowing. Again, bliss.

About halfway through dinner I mentioned to Beefy that it would be lovely if we didn’t have to race to pick up the kids after we ate. It was then that I realised that I really, really didn’t want to drive the half an  hour each way to get them. It only took a minute to convince Beefy that they would love it and he was on the phone to the in-laws. Our poor kids, we hadn’t packed them p.j.’s or anything but at that point I could have cared less really. I know, I’m a terrible mother.

And so it was that Gecko had her first ever night away from us. We were a bit sentimental about it for just the teeniest nanosecond and then we finished our bottle of wine and forgot all about them. Actually, we were enjoying ourselves so much that it took us a while to realise that it would be her first night away from us.

We probably should have gone out and done something really exciting but it felt pretty wonderful to just come home to a quiet house and watch some movies in bed.

We spend time alone maybe once or twice a year** but Saturday made me realise we have to try and do it a bit more often. We love being with our kids but the mental break was unbelievably restful and it was less than 24 hours! We’re going to aim for a few hours every couple of months, I don’t care if we pack some sandwiches and go for a drive, it’s going to happen.

In the end, getting to spend time with my husband was better than the shopping or the steak (okay, maybe not better than the steak). I feel pretty lucky that we enjoy each other’s company that much.

 

 

* Just in case I hurt myself. Like the time that we were shopping a while back and I wandered off to try and find tights for Gecko. I bent down to look at the sizes on one of the lower racks and “clunk” out went my left hip. I was stuck there, muscles spasming wildly, in too much pain to even yell out for Beefy. I eventually managed to hop and drag myself close enough to where he was so that he could hear me and it was all okay. Still, it was horrible enough that I don’t risk it now.

** Not according to Poss. She’s nearly 13 but she’s going through a phase of wanting to be really close to us. When I told her that she would be going to her grandparent’s for the day, so that Daddy and I could spend time together and go shopping, she asserted that we spend heaps of time together. She was most insulted that we would want MORE. I mean, Beefy only works until 2am most nights, that leaves us the five and a half hours between then and the time Beefy gets up in the morning to get everyone ready for school. You’ve got to laugh really.

Ponies, meltdowns, zombies and meh

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Gecko’s birthday went well. Our friends came and made me relax a bit and everyone got along and also left at reasonable times so it was quite the success. It has taken me all friggin’ week to recover. This is the first evening that I’ve felt able to type a post and I’ll probably pay for it tomorrow. Whatever, it’s to be expected given that my body doesn’t know the meaning of the word co-operative.

But what, I hear you ask, of the pony cake? I’m sure everyone’s just been dying to see how it went. I have to say, it can be a tricky thing to explain to someone else that those two mixing bowls and one loaf tin will make an awesome pony. Beefy couldn’t picture it (or more to the point had a waaaay better way of doing it) but as I am the cake person in these here parts it really didn’t matter that he lacked any vision whatsoever. Naturally, I was right.

So, ta da!

Ah yes, these shots were taken on my phone and are a wee bit blurry. Trust me though, Pinky Pie looks best with a bit of soft focus. If you cover the eyes, which Beefy may have had to physically prevent me from retouching as guests were arriving, I think her overall body shape bears a reasonable resemblance to a pony toy.

I was quite pleased with myself. It’s taken fifteen years and four children but I am getting to the point where I wouldn’t be too ashamed to invite those other than close friends and family to one of my cake’s kids’ birthday parties. Which is a good thing because Skunky is turning 6 really soon and he wants a few friends at his party.

Oh, yeah, can I just have a bit of a moan please? Skunky and I were discussing cake ideas and we were talking things like whale sharks and narwhals (his favourite things) and I was happy. Then he decided maybe he should have a zombie cake (let’s not even discuss where he got that idea from). I just about had him convinced that the fish and whales would be a more suitable theme if he’s having school friends when in comes Beefy and tells him that a zombie cake would be awesome, thereby undoing all of my good work.

The man has no clue, seriously. Firstly, I don’t want to make a zombie cake*, and secondly, I stand by my statement that it might not be appropriate for school friends. I know that it’s likely that most of his friends would love it but I also know that some parents might not think it’s right for a 6-year-old’s birthday. Also thirdly, just grrraaaahh.

Beefy’s not one for caring what people think but I’m just not willing to host a zombie themed party for a six-year-old. It’s going to be so much fun convincing him that whale sharks are way cooler than zombies. The likely outcome is that he’ll choose the zombie cake over the school friends, which will leave me feeling guilty. Again, grrrrrraaaahh.

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I know that everyone talks about the terrible twos and, well, Gecko has always had a knack for combining unbearable sweetness and cute with tantrums that are terrible to behold but what about three? I’m trying to cut her some slack because she was so ill with the flu recently but our days this week have just been one long meltdown after the other.

She gets all caught up about tiny things like, for example, flushing the toilet herself and if you make an error she has to reenact the whole sequence of events. Today she had to sit on the toilet again and became hysterical when she couldn’t manage another poo. If you have helped her into her jumper she might become enraged at the last second and undress herself completely, screaming and crying all the while, and then redo her whole outfit. She is definitely the most pernickety and volatile of all our children and three doesn’t seem to agree with her. Poor Beefy did something wrong while putting her in her car seat yesterday and had to endure screaming throughout the entire school pickup. He thinks it’s funny and didn’t mind the stares but she completely exhausts me. I keep chanting, “it’s a phase, it’s a phase” under my breath as  I step over her writhing body to get to the fridge.

If it isn’t enough that I have to deal with a full-blown meltdown machine, there’s the teenager. He’s really lucky that I try to respect his privacy here because there are some things that would make for killer blog posts. Honestly, he’s fifteen and a half, I’m sure you can imagine.

Rhubarb’s getting to the pointy end of his schooling now and the school are making a huge effort to impress upon all of the kids that study is not to be taken lightly any more. He’s lucky to be the kind of kid who can put in very little effort and pull reasonable grades but his relaxed attitude has got him into some trouble recently. His home group teacher tolerates no lateness at all. I agree with her but I also think it’s a bit excessive to be on the phone with me fifteen minutes after school starts to find out where he is. Anyway, he’s getting there with the punctuality thing but it’s taking a lot of discussion to get through to him that he has to take things really seriously now.

It’s only a few weeks until he’ll be choosing his subjects for next year and they in turn dictate which uni courses he’ll be able to choose. He’s had to talk his math’s teacher into recommending him for “good maths”, she was going to decline on the basis that he’s not serious enough until she reviewed his test scores and saw that he does really well despite his apparent lack of dedication. He had to promise her that he’ll take it seriously.  It’s heavy. Cue Moronic Ex-Husband’s interference.

MEH wants to take both kids on a skiing trip two weeks into term three. Poss has declined but Rhubarb loves to ski and is really excited. We had a nasty row about it last week. I just think it’s not a great idea for him to miss a week of school. MEH wouldn’t have a clue what’s happening at school, he’s pretty much as uninvolved in the kids’ lives as they come so it hasn’t even occurred to him that it might be an issue. So, I’ve got Rhu with his heart set on going, MEH with no clue and Beefy who thinks it’s probably okay and it’ll be Rhu’s last chance to go before school’s finished. I understand that school holidays will be too expensive but I’m just sure that they’ll be piling on the work at that stage. I’m the one who’ll have to arrange it with the school and make sure he keeps up to date. Am I just being a difficult old lady here?

Please tell me it’s not just me that thinks this is a crazy idea?

I am trying to be reasonable. It’s possible that I find it slightly annoying that Mr “my income is way less than $20,000 a year so that I don’t have to pay proper child support” is having trouble choosing which new car to take on his annual ski trip. I really am trying to not let that colour my judgement but I guess I’m struggling. We could take what he’s spending on this trip and use it to buy things the kids actually need. It makes me grumpy. Before anyone mentions making him pay more. I just want to add that a) it would be very difficult as he is self-employed and works in an industry that sees him paid mostly in cash  and b) there are several other reasons why this isn’t the best option for us. Doesn’t stop me from being grumpy about it though.

So, please give me some perspective. All of my friends and family will agree with me because they have a lot of experience with MEH that colours their judgement so unbiased opinions would be most welcome.

I need to find a way to post more often because every time I post now it ends up being uber, mammoth, mega ramble post. Sorry about that.

*Actually, that’s not true, I’d love to try making a zombie cake but not for the 6-year-old’s school friends, I think I’ll have to try it for Beefy now.

Just ticking along, hopefully, I think

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What is it with me and the temptation to just pull away from everything that makes me happy when I’m having trouble?

I stop blogging first. Fair enough, when you’re going through “stuff” sometimes you just need to keep yourself to yourself*. The next thing to go is reading other people’s posts – I don’t want to comment because that would be like talking to people and we all know that’s the last thing that will help when things are going wrong in your life. So, no commenting means no reading because if I read I will want to comment and I can’t even wrap my head around what other people are doing right now so really it’s best if I just leave my feedreader right alone. Now, because I can’t read blogs, it’s better not open my laptop because if I do I will read blogs. I mean, that’s what the internet’s for, right? I can’t imagine what else people might use the internet for (with the exception of obsessive googling of course, but I can do that from my phone or Beefy’s my ipad. Also, I can’t email bloggy people, even those who have specifically offered their shoulder to cry on. Not because I’d have to open the laptop but because that falls into the category of INTERACTION.

Before you know it I’m just collapsing in on myself from all sides, making myself small so that nobody can see me. If they can’t see me they won’t try to interact with me. It all works really well. Awesomely, in fact, if you want to lose your mind.

I’m not sure why I need to learn this lesson over and over again. I need to blog and I need to interact.

I’m pretty pleased with myself though, I actually talked to my very dearest soul-mate friend about “things” and before you think that’s easy, it’s not. When I dropped out of my career 6 years ago to have Skunky she kept working. She now has a million and five things (including Ph.D- can you tell I’m proud of her?) happening and lives far, far away and between my four kids and her two and everything else, we have to schedule getting together (or even a long phone call) with military precision. When you add in my strong tendency to keep things to myself it’s really something to be proud of.

Then I got forced, literally forced, to be on the laptop. Beefy put a new operating system on for me and after a couple of false starts I LOVE IT. It’s all bright and shiny and new and he didn’t set anything up for me so that I could play and put things the way I want them and, and I can make it pretty. And it’s cool. And pretty. So I have to blog now because I can only play with it for so long. I have a short attention span.

Anyway, things are ever so slowly getting a bit better. It’s still not wonderful but I can go whole days without crying (much) and I can now believe that we might eventually return to the normal state of things at some point.

I’m not sure how things are going with my badly behaved and ornery body. The new pain med seems to be helping a bit but we will have to up the dose if I am ever going to function. I bent down for five minutes or so to pull a couple of weeds out of the vege patch on Friday and something in my back (pelvis) went “clunk”, which spelled three days of not being able to walk (really, Beefy had to carry me to the toilet, not fun). I keep saying to my Rheum and GP that things will click in and out and cause surrounding muscles to spasm. Everyone acknowledges that my body does things it shouldn’t but they don’t seem to be able to process how much the muscles spasming all over the place contribute to pain. You just can’t mask that sort of pain, you have to stop the muscles from spasming.

I feel like I’m at a dead-end. I know we’re not quite there with understanding what’s going on with the bod but I can’t seem to push them to see that too.

We went back and checked my diary to see of there’s any pattern to things. Every month just before my period I put my back out, that can’t be a coincidence, can it? I read something the other day that said that the increased relaxin levels in women at that time of the month can cause problems for those that have had pelvic instability during pregnancy. I’m wondering how much difference it might have made if I had seen that orthopaedic surgeon at a different time.

Maybe I just overanalyse anything. I can’t help it, I’m just looking for something that will make everything make sense.

Somebody needs to put me in a google-free environment so I don’t keep searching for answers. It’s an obsession.

Finally, thank you to everyone who contacted me, either privately or through comments. I’m sorry I didn’t get back to people, I just couldn’t, I’m sure you understand.

* Yes, I’m aware that I did blog about it. That particular post is gone now, for the time being, maybe. That’s probably wrong or not sharing things warts and all, not being truthful, whatever. I can’t bear to have it looking me in the eye when I come here.

Oh dear, what will mother say!

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We’ve been having a rough time financially lately. It’s a combination of the cost of all of my medications and Beefy’s greatly decreased income (he gets paid in pounds so our income has gone down A LOT in the last couple of years). We’re fine, it’s just that we have to plan really carefully how we spend our money and we have to limit buying nice things. To get my forearm tattoo I sold a heap of my clothes and things on Ebay. It was the only way I could feel okay about spending the money and it was something I had been looking forward to for so long. It was a real boost to my mental health (I know that permanently and painfully marking your skin might seem a strange way to do that but there you have it).

I am sure that many, many people are in exactly the same situation as we are, it makes it really special when we can buy something purely indulgent. Today we were able to pay off a layby that has been going for a while. It was mostly boring things, P.J.s for the little kids, some shoes, socks for one of the bigger kids, a dirty clothes bin for us (ours disintegrated a few months ago) and some towels. It was so fun though, to open up those packages. I had forgotten exactly what we had bought and the kids were so excited to get some new things.

Beefy got a coffee machine that he had been wanting for ages. I can manage about one cup of coffee a week (if that) so I think he’s a bit disappointed that he can’t experiment and serve me cup after cup. He’ll be rattling about the house for the next month on a caffeine high. He doesn’t do things in moderation. I got four lovely bright green mugs to add to our assorted chipped ones. They’re gorgeous, vibrant green (my favourite colour) with different patterns on them.

After we picked up our things we had to duck in to the supermarket to grab some emergency food (our cupboard was bare and the shopping order doesn’t get delivered until tomorrow evening). I walked ahead with the small children and started the shopping, capitalising on the time I am able to be upright. Poss caught up with us and it took me a few minutes to realise that Beefy wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

Now, he had mentioned something about getting his ears pierced and I really hadn’t taken him seriously. AT. ALL.

When I met Beefy he was unscathed by tattoos or piercings. I vaguely remember him saying something about keeping his body pure. Needless to say I soon corrupted him. To commemorate our wedding we had a very small design of a girl and a boy dancing together inked on our upper arms. It beautifully complimented his mother’s anger at not being allowed to control the wedding. I was taking him away from her AND I had ruined her child’s skin, she was thrilled*. Later we got another matching design. His on the centre of his chest, mine on my rib cage. Tattoos are addictive. I don’t want to be covered in them but I love all of mine (I have five now) and they are, for the most part, easy to conceal if I don’t want to show them off. I think they are beautiful.

Beefy would like to have more tattoos but he has never really wanted any body piercings. I have my tongue done and I sometimes wear a nose ring. I pierced my own eyebrow with a safety-pin but I let that one heal over, I don’t wear my navel ring any more either. Really, you would never know to look at me that I had any piercings or tattoos at all. The tongue stud is actually quite hard to notice during an everyday interaction. I have to open my mouth quite wide for anyone to see it and I don’t do that when I speak.

So, back to what I was saying. I continued on with the shopping and a little while later he appeared with BOTH EARS PIERCED. I am not opposed to this look on men. I quite like it actually but I was surprised that he did it on such a whim. It is becoming more common to see a man with both ears done but Beefy said the woman doing the piercing asked repeatedly if he was sure he wanted it.

I can’t wait to see how his mother reacts. I know she let him have one ear done in the eighties when he was in the midst of a nasty Mr T bogan phase (ginger mullet and all- the horror!). I think she’s just as likely to pretend she doesn’t mind it. She tries very hard to be the cool mother who’s down with the young people. If you watch closely you can see her squirming though. Not that I enjoy that sort of thing, you know, payback and all of that, me? Never…..

I know, I am irretrievably evil.

*It’s quite funny actually, there is not one photo of her smiling during the wedding ceremony or reception. She maintained a determinedly disgruntled scowl throughout.

Holding Pattern

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Oh, how I wish I could come here and say that I have turned a corner. That the massive injection of steroids I had last Monday or the four week course of pred did it’s job and my body is now taking the hint and laying down weapons, stopping it’s vicious unprovoked attack.

I wake up every morning and try to lay for a moment and run through what’s going on in my body. Check each joint, how are the pain levels, Ali? The answer is always the same. It’s like waking up to the roar of a furnace blasting my entire body with white-hot pain.

We go through the routine. I call Beefy (who has already been up for ages and taken the kids to school, usually) and he gets my morning dose of pain meds, gets my breakfast, heats my eleventy million rice filled socks and giant pillowcase (also fetching children’s tights wrist bands) in the microwave so that we can try and get some of the muscle spasm under control and I get some pain relief while I wait for the meds to kick in.

I make a deal with myself that I have to eat x amount of whatever breakfast is and them I’m allowed to stop. I have almost no appetite. All eating is a bargain I make with myself. You have to eat enough to keep going, Ali.

Beefy tells me: “Look how much you ate! Well done.”

We laugh but my smile is tight. The laughter hurts.

I saw a different GP in the practice a couple of weeks ago when my back had some sort of drastic muscle spasm attack that left me in unprecedented pain. She prescribed muscle relaxants that help SOOOOOOOOO much. My GP is really against me taking them. She keeps asking me if I have.

“They are addictive you know”.

“Only occasionally”, I say. This is mostly true. Yesterday was a terrible day, I had three yesterday. Three is half the maximum dose as prescribed but three is three too many for my GP. They just help soooo much. Sometimes I just need the relief. I feel guilty.

I am just making my life bearable from moment to moment.

Still don’t know about bone scan results. I can’t imagine that they will show nothing. How is that even possible when I feel so awful? It is possible though. If anyone is going to end up with useless bone scan results it will be me.

I read up about the anti-depressant the PMU want me to take. It is not indicated (even off-label) for my condition. It is indicated for osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain caused by diabetes, anxiety and depression. Rheumatoid arthritis? No.

I read studies and reports from patients. They report very little help with pain and terrible, crippling side-effects. Even those prescribed it for depression who have had some success say it was a nightmare in lots of ways. To cap it off, there are apparently months of relentless, horrific withdrawals when you try to come off it.

Why would the PMU think it would be a good idea for me to try this drug if they are so concerned about my being addicted to pain meds?

They are moronic arseholes.

There can be no other explanation.

I had left myself open to the idea of trying it at some point but now I know that I will definitely not try it. Some of the patient reports said they had been off it for months and were still suffering. They said they were scared they would never feel normal again. There is nothing any doctor could say now to make me try it. I will not take the risk.

I am waiting to here back from the Rheum. I hope she has something else to try.

I am just waiting.

Baby, can you light some incense so I won't be able to smell your feet and the dog's farts so much?

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There is something seriously wrong with our dog. She has the most horrendous gas at the moment. Honestly. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Even when she’s in the next room it drifts in and wraps itself around your face like a suffocatingly warm, stinky scarf. And it stays. Her farts have unparalleled staying power. By the time one dissipates, another has wafted in to take it’s gag-making place.

On the upside, I am a marginally better this week. A bit less nauseous, a bit more energy. I have been able to clean a bit so we are not knee-deep in our own filth. It feels good to be able to muster up the mental energy to plan an activity (such as cleaning the kitchen and putting on a load of washing) and then still have the energy to actually get off my arse and do it. I’ve actually been able to manage pretty much all of the housework, not just one day but every day. I am still sleeping a bit too much – today Beefcake woke me at *ahem* 1pm (how embarrassing) but a couple of weeks ago I would still not have had the energy to get out of bed and do anything after that mammoth sleeping effort. Today I even went to the shops! Small victories people. It is a great comfort to begin to feel that I am coming back to myself, I was beginning to doubt that I was in this shell at all.

Unsurprisingly, my idea of going back to work and reclaiming my career has been put on the back burner. I can’t imagine that I will be able to manage that in the very near future. I have mixed feelings about that. The lazy, insecure part of me is relieved. I will not have to challenge myself. I will not have to test myself against the expectations of my profession and be found lacking. I will not have to try (and fail). Another part of me feels frustrated, caged, angry that I can not go out there and do what I want. There are other multitudes of thoughts and emotions. I am glad to be staying at home with my babies a while longer and I feel lucky to be able to do that. I feel a failure for having not tried harder to go back to work – has the self-sabotaging part of my embraced this being unwell too readily?

Oh my god. What on earth would possess me to think all that shite let alone write it down here for other people to read? I need to learn to just go with the flow. That’s what Beefcake would say.Unfortunately, the flow this evening consists of dog and husband smells swirling around me in a miasma of disgusting. I’m not joking, Beefcake just got so fed up with the smell of his own feet he took his socks outside and I can hear him washing his feet.

Anyway, I’ve decided I am going to try to rejoin the human race again. I have neglected all of my friends. There are people who I have been ignoring completely. I am going to have to suck up to several of my friends for forgiveness. I’m having people over tomorrow, providing I can get the house aired out enough. Nobody should have to suffer through what I’m currently being punished with. There is not enough incense in the world.