Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Time is My Favorite!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas! I did. I love this time of year. I start listening to Christmas music right after Halloween. I can't get enough! I love the weather (when it's actually cold) and just everything about this time of year.

I live in the South so this year for our tacky sweater party, it was so hot and humid, we had to have the air conditioner on all night. We didn't want our guests passing out from the heat! But it cooled off the next night, so we had a good, cold Christmas :)

I know that not everyone feels this way about the holidays. I feel like it is my mission to make everyone I meet to love it as much as I do. That doesn't always work, but I try. There was one year, at Christmas time, I was very much alone. I had just gotten divorced and was living far away from most of my family. I had my aunt who lived near me, but she had grandkids to make happy and it was just a very lonely time for me. I remember calling one of my brothers ( I have five) and crying. And he lived the farthest away from me! I also tried to go to a nursing home to volunteer. I thought maybe I could cheer up someone else and it would cheer me up. That is not what happened. It made me so sad that all these folks were alone that I just felt even worse. At that time, I thought, I'd be alone forever.

That was the only and last Christmas that I felt that way. Thank God! I know how blessed I am to have my brother and my husband in my life.

And I am so thankful for every one in my and my husband's family! We are never alone, unless we want to be. And oh my gosh, the food! I think we start eating and celebrating a week before Christmas day and we don't stop until January 2nd!

First, we have a lunch at one of his grandparents' home with his dad's side of the family. A few days later we eat Christmas eve with my family. And then, Christmas day, we eat breakfast at his parents and a few hours later, when the first inkiling of not being stuffed goes away, we eat lunch. I'm sure I gained a whole turkey this year. I'm not counting in pounds, I'm going to use dishes. I gained 1 turkey, 2 yams, and 4 rolls in about 5 days. Thank goodness I got new clothes :)

And y'all, I tried, I tried to not get angry with my brother, I really did try! Let's start with the first dinner at the grandparents' house. There were a lot of people, a lot. And it seemed to me, there was less food than normal and I thought, this will never feed all of us. So I get my plate and start picking a few items and I get just enough for a few bites. I look over at Brother's plate and he is piling the food on! I was so embarrassed. Everyone was making sure there was enough left for the next person, not Brother, he was gonna eat! So then he wants seconds.....always, right?! I asked him to please make sure everyone had gotten 1 plate before he started on # 2. There was no food left. So he got dessert instead.

As bad as I didn't want to, Christmas day, when he got his plate, I whispered to him to please make sure everyone had a 1st plate before he got seconds. He said he was only a little hungry so just 1 plate should do him. I would hope so! It was piled so high I could barely see his face!

I don't know if he thinks he is going to starve to death or what, but I truly wish he would not feel that way. He's never gone hungry since he's lived with me. And as long as I am breathing, he won't. But I just can't seem to convince him of it. Pray for me y'all!

We all ate a lot or at least a lot of times, LOL! Whew! I'm pretty sure I could live the next 3 days from all the eating we've done in the past 3 days.

We aren't done yet - we still have a thing to go to this weekend and then New Year's Day we've got to eat our cabbage and black eyed peas! I'd better go do some sit-ups :)

Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

In-Laws and Old People

A week and a half before Thanksgiving my mother in law said she wasn't getting enough attention so she had a heart attack. I know, she isn't funny, but that was actually what she said to me as they rolled her out of surgery and into the hospital hallway. Of course, that's the second thing she said; first she said she's ready for a baby NOW. As in a grandchild...from me. And after her - not funny - joke, she began telling me of someone she knows who is taking invitro. Um, yea, I got it - you're ready for another grandchild. Shouldn't you be in recovery or something? Or at the very least, shouldn't you be tired? Worried about breathing and living another day? No? No, you're a mother in law. I say it with so much love, but I'm thinking she needs to get her priorities in order!

Two days before Thanksgiving my husband calls and asks if I want to meet his mom and granddaddy for lunch. Sure I do, I love lunch! He says to meet them at Pizza Hut...Pizza Hut, as in greasy, not healthy pizza. At this point I'm only going to fuss at my maw in law for not following doctor's orders about a better diet. And fuss I did! At least she knows I love her. She tells me the doctor said it wasn't caused by what she ate. I say, "He meant what you ate that day! Not like what you've eaten EVER!" And I said some other things. And I'm still in the family, so that's good.

Cut to Saturday after Thanksgiving. We have yet another dinner and eat just as much or more than we did on Thursday. It's a lazy afternoon and all night I just have this sad feeling that I can't shake.

Sunday morning about 7 my mom calls hysterical. My grandfather was bleeding and passing out and he's at the hospital. This is not good at all! I start crying and freaking out and then I remember how overly dramatic my mother is. So I make some phone calls and find out that my grandpa is not doing well at all. I wake up my husband and brother and tell them to pack bags. I have to go to the office and do some work to catch up from the holiday, in case we have to stay a few days. When I get back, asses in car, ready to go!

During our 4 hour drive to north Louisiana every terrible outcome imaginable goes through my mind. By the time we get there Grandpa is doing better, he's even being aggravating and sexist! That's my grandpa! :-) We visit for about 4 hours and realize he's going to be ok, they even said he could go home on Monday. So we head back home - another 4 hour trip.

How lucky am I to have a husband that just does this. I mean, the man hates long car trips! But he loves me enough to drive 4 hours, visit 4 hours, and drive back 4 hours just to give me peace of mind. I am SO lucky and blessed! And my brother does not like hospitals or being around a lot of people. But all I had to do was tell him what was going on and he got in the car and went to the hospital with us. He is my hero!

My grandfather ends up having to stay in the hospital a few more days. He got to go home yesterday and I couldn't get through to talk to him. The phone lines are acting crazy, but he is home so I am happy. But I told him on Tuesday, if they didn't let him out, I would break him outta there!

Between heart attacks, Thanksgiving, and the old man (that's what I call him, lovingly), I'm tired! I mean wore out! And next week starts graduation and Christmas celebrations around our house. I'm going to need some serious R&R! Let's hope Santa remembers the spa gift card this year!

All that to say this: Tell everyone in your life how much you love them and what they mean to you, as often as possible. You really never know when they may be gone....or when they're going to scare the crap out of you and make you think they're on their way out of this life!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Mysteriously Sticky Laundry Detergent

We use Tide laundry detergent to wash our clothes. Sometimes if I get a coupon I will get a cheaper detergent and let Brother use it. He likes to have his own things and this is another way to sort of give him individuality. It's not a big deal to many people, but to him it means a lot.

Well, we already know that I like things a certain way, right? And I like things clean and tidy. Call it what you like - OCD, spoiled, or just one of those people who likes everything their way - it doesn't bother me. I am who I am.

And you'd think after living with me for the first 15 years of my life and then the most recent 4 years, someone would know how I like things done. This is not so! When I was a teenager, I had a lot of tiny figurines that I'd collected for years. They were all set out nice and pretty on my big dresser. They were in the spots I liked them in. And my brother would come in and move everything just a little to the right or left to see if I noticed. My mom would tell him not to do it, that I would know and I would get mad. He did it anyway because he was my older brother and had an obligation to aggravate me....I'm assuming. I'd come home and I'd know and there'd be a knock down drag out because he touched my stuff.

Now that I'm older I'm not that bad. I'm not. Really! Okay, maybe I am. Anyways, I don't like my laundry detergent to leak down or make sticky streaks on the side of the detergent bottle. This is normal, right?

I've mentioned this a time or two. If any detergent gets on the side of the bottle when I'm putting it in the washing machine, I wipe it off. It's simple, takes only a minute, and makes me happy. But does anyone else care? Apparently not.

For about three weeks I have noticed detergent getting sticky and gunky on the side of my Tide bottle. So I asked again to my husband and brother, "Will you please wipe it off?" Neither of them have used this detergent they say. They have been using the cheaper one, to get it empty. Ok, so no one but me is using this detergent. I'm OCD and clean the bottle after every use, yet it's gross? That doesn't sound right.

So, I get mad and start yelling, "Well start locking all the doors during the day! Stay in the kitchen area to make sure no one gets in! Because apparently someone is coming in just to use our detergent and washing their clothes! And they're leaving Tide all running down the side of my bottle."

I don't know what makes me more mad - that someone is lying or that the bottle has gross streaks on the side. It's equal really!

Please, for the love of all things good and clean, please, wipe your detergent bottles people!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What If I'm Taken??

I've lived on my own for a lot of my life. I've never had trouble sleeping in a house by myself or been scared someone would come in and rob or hurt me. And I've lived in some pretty shady places. Now that I'm married and we have a home, all of a sudden I have a fear of being outside our house at night alone. It's crazy, I know! We have a huge yard that's fenced in. No one is getting in or out of that yard without a lot of noise and probably broken bones. It's so dark everywhere except right on our porch, that they would either run into 1 of a zillion pine trees we have in the yard or they'll fall into a hole that our old dog dug. (We gave the dog away because she is literally a bitch and chewed all the screen off my porch...and she smells and shed, and you know me - it's all disgusting)

I know all this and I still make either my husband or my brother walk outside with me at night. Now Brother doesn't mind, but Husband, oh he gets a little aggravated. He calls me scared-y cat. He asked why I think someone is coming to get me. My answer - Because I'm special and awesome? I don't know. He says I have to get over this fear, no one is going to get me. . Why don't I believe him? Where did this fear come from all of a sudden? It's so weird. But I still think I hear stuff when I'm out there alone and then I bang on the back door window and make one of them come outside. It's kind of funny but kind of not.

One night I heard someone in the yard. Now I realize it was in the yard behind our house, but still. I yelled, "Hello?" And then I didn't hear anything. Husband asked me later, "What are you gonna do if someone says hello back?" Um, run and yell and probably break my leg trying to get in the house. Or maybe even have a freaking heart attack from fear. Duh.

Then one night I walked out there and heard a noise to my left. I look over expecting to see the Grim Reaper or something and it was a cat. A stinking cat (not ours) sliding down a tree. It was just like in a cartoon, with the claws holding on for dear life and the cats eyes as big as saucers. So after, I jumped back in the house and told my husband what happened, he laughed and still had to come outside with me. So, it turned out not to be as funny since he had to go out with me after that.

But, what if I get taken? I don't "cook", not really. (Experimenting with Pinterest recipes on my brother and husband don't count as cooking.) I don't wash men's clothes. I like to sleep a lot. I do like to clean but I really doubt a kidnapper will keep me around just to clean the house. And if I was taken and they tried to make me cook for them or wash their clothes, well I'd just get highly pissed off and probably go all crazy Mexican girl on them. And hopefully they would drop me back off at my house.

So, I have issues. Don't we all? I'm going to try and work on these fears and push through. And maybe by the end of this year, I can walk outside by myself at night and not have a mini-heart attack at every sound. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where Is Help When It's Needed?

This week I am a little discouraged and very sad. Let me start by telling you about the awesome care we received while living in Louisiana.

Brother got all the medication he needed on time, every time. He had monthly meetings with the doctor. And he had weekly meetings with his counselor. And once the counselor got Brother's thoughts on things, I was usually asked to come in to talk about how things were going. I felt like they truly cared about helping all of us cope with the mental illness that we were living with.

Once, when I didn't know Brother had stopped taking his meds, he called the police. His illness and his imagination had gotten a hold of his thoughts and he was afraid. He knew who his counselor was and luckily he told the police his name. The police called the counselor who then called me and let me know what was going on. It was a holiday weekend and he told me to get Brother back on his meds and he set up appointments for both of us the very next day that they were open.

It was scary for me, I can't imagine what it was like for Brother. But we made it through with very little damage to our relationship and that was a relief. It could have been so much worse. He could have run away and I'd never see him again. He could have been arrested and not treated or put into a hospital - which is his #1 fear.

Like I said, we made it through and now we do make sure he takes his meds. We do the best we can with the services we receive. But lately, it just isn't enough.

Now I'll tell you about the treatment we've received since moving to Mississippi.

First, we thought he'd have sort of an adult day care to go to for people just like him. With the government cuts to the mental health system, this service was shutdown the month we moved here. I was no longer a part of the counseling, even though I live with him. His counseling was cut to maybe once a month, his doctor visits, once every two to three months.

Also, his diagnosis was changed from paranoid schizophrenia to schizoaffective disorder...without my knowledge. Now while they are very similar, I still know Brother to be very paranoid. And they do treat these basically the same, but the way most people think of it is different: schizoaffective disorder (as I understand it) has to do more with moods and paranoid schizophrenia has to do more with genetics. Like I said, this is as I understand it. I may be wrong. I'd like for someone to tell me if I am.

Then we were moved to a different clinic when we bought a home out of the city limits. Our first visit there I was asked to come inside with the counselor for his intake. I confirmed our address and phone number and such. Then the counselor said something that broke my heart. She said "The previous doctor noted that a few months ago you were having suicidal thoughts. Is this correct?" I was shocked! I hadn't heard this. I had no idea my brother, whom I lived with, whom I love very much had thought of taking his life. Why didn't I know this?! Why didn't the doctor contact me immediately? Am I wrong to think that as his primary care giver, I should know if he is this sad?!

And that was the last time I know of that he had longer than a five minute conversation with his "counselor". It's been over a year since this meeting.

I called once, about six months ago. I left a message for her, asking for counseling. Telling her that he seemed sad and more than normal paranoid. I left my number and name. I've never received a call back about this.

We have been days before, just worrying if he will get his meds refilled before they run out. This in itself is so scary. Especially since we went through the police call situation.

So, I want to find him better doctors and an actual counselor. I called another mental health clinic in our area. First she asked what insurance he has. I told her only Medicare. They don't accept Medicare. I asked if we could pay cash. The answer was no. If a patient has insurance, they MUST use it, but since they don't accept what he has, the answer is no. I asked if this new "Obamacare" insurance was an option. What if I got him a different kind of insurance through the marketplace, would he be able to come to you then? "No, I'm sorry. We can't help you." Although, she did give me a student counseling number at the local college, so I guess that was some help.

Now let's talk about the shootings and killings going on all over our country. Have you read the articles? Do you know that several of the people asked for mental health help weeks or months before doing these terrible things?

The elderly, military, and mentally ill in our country have the lowest form of medical insurance (in my opinion) and these are the people who need it the most. What if we helped them before they made terrible decisions and killed others or hurt themselves? What if we didn't shoot them and kill them before we knew what is going on in their minds? What if we actually took care of these people and prevented mass killings?

In my experience with mental illness these are the only ways you can get help, real help: You have to be extremely wealthy, or You have to be homeless and very poor, or You have to have a specific type of insurance.

What does this say to these people who ask for help and never get it? The answer: No, I'm sorry. We can't help you.

I am so sad and heart broken that my brother doesn't get the care and treatment he deserves and needs. But we are some of the lucky ones - we have a roof over our heads, food to eat, and love. There are many out there who do not have this much.

Please if you know someone who needs help, please, please help them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

I'm No Betty Crocker, but.....

Last night's dinner menu was simple...or should've been. I had thawed a pound of hamburger meat for my version of Spanish rice. Which is just the Rice a Roni Spanish rice with hamburger meat and Garlic and Onion flavored diced tomatoes. Sounds simple, right? Evidently not for me.

I decided to have corn as a side, put that on the stove and went about taking all the steps of making the rice as directed.

30 minutes later I fix my plate, Hubby gets his plate, and Brother gets his 1st plate. The first bite I'm thinking this doesn't taste right. I tell Hubby, "This needs salt. It's not salty enough." He says he doesn't need any then goes into the kitchen and brings it back anyway. It's because I'm hard-headed, he says, and he knew I really wanted salt on mine. I asked him if the rice tasted funny and he said that something was different but he didn't know what it was. "That's strange." was all he said after that.

So I pour the salt on my plate, mix my corn with my rice, and eat. It was not good folks. And one plate of it was all I could manage, but that's good because, you know - the diet. I hear Brother in there rattling around the stove and when I go put my plate in the dishwasher he's fixing another plateful. I asked him if he was getting seconds and he said no, that was his third plate.

Third plate! Of this stuff that doesn't even taste good?! He said he was still hungry and it tasted good. He is so full of crap y'all. I'm sorry, I love him and I could be wrong for getting mad. But you just have to know him and live with him to understand. The boy acts like he's starving to death everyday...all the time. And I know he isn't. It's all in his mind. I try to understand, but it's just so hard when I come home the day after grocery shopping and all his snacks and lunch food and drinks are missing everything except the last bite or last sip. Yes, like children do, leave the last bite or last sip just so they can say, "I didn't eat it all. I didn't drink it all." And that's exactly what he says when I ask how an entire gallon of juice is all but gone after a few hours.

So, back to my story about the rice. We all managed to eat it. They didn't complain because they both know I am looking for any reason to never cook again anyway. I get up this morning and get ready for work. Go into the kitchen to make my coffee and I see this small brown seasoning packet on the counter. It hasn't been opened, there's no writing on it to tell what seasoning it is. I pick it up and turn it over looking for anything that will let me know what it is. And then it happens - DUH, that's what comes in the Rice a Roni box. Yea, I forgot the seasoning and now I know why dinner tasted like soft cardboard.

I'm no Betty Crocker, but my cooking skills were really getting pretty good. But no, I'm an idiot. Right there on the box, literally spelled out: Slowly stir in water and special seasonings. Special Seasonings. Special as in the only thing in this box with the slightest taste.

So I write on the packet what it is, who knows maybe one day I'll get a box that's missing it's seasoning packet. And I place it in the bowl with all my other packet seasonings. Then I write a note to Hubby telling him I should be fired from cooking from now on.

He told me this morning that it made him laugh, but I don't see a pink slip.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Teeth, Drugs, and Conspiracy Theories

It's very early for me to be awake on this Saturday morning! I've already been on the back porch drinking coffee. And either my neighbor behind me is already in his swimming pool or the squirrels are bathing - I should probably let someone know about that.

I'm up early today because yesterday I was drugged all day and took a nap. Couldn't sleep well last night but I made myself stay in the bed until 6:30.

About the drugs - All of my wisdom teeth came in when I was about 15 (thank God the old wives tale isn't true, or I wouldn't be here now!) So in the tiny, rinky-dink little town where I grew up there was like one dentist about 15 miles away. I went to this old fart and he apparently cut out the wrong teeth.  My wisdom teeth came on through and a few years back (during my wild child stage) I had a tongue ring. You accidentally bite down on those suckers a few times, and eventually they will break some teeth! I had one tooth in front that I had fixed a few years ago. Then last year I started having trouble with one of my top wisdom teeth. It broke and half of it came out, and I decided I'd better get the other half out. So I went to a dental surgeon - they have fancy titles, I just don't know what it is. Mr. Surgeon told me I'd need a "good" vein so I could be put under a "light" sedation. I was not happy - I'm afraid of needles AND I'd never been under sedation, like EVER. But I'm an adult and these things have to be done, right?

I made it out alive and I am very happy about that!! I prayed the whole way to lala land. I do remember that. I don't remember much from the dentists office to home but my husband tells me, I'm quite the conspiracy theorist even when I'm drugged. I'm a little different than most, I'm one of those who isn't TOTALLY convinced we went to the moon back when they said we did, Elvis was alive and not inside his coffin, and Tupac was living in Egypt after his "death". See, told ya, I'm a weird-o.

So, back to the drugs. Hubby tells me that I said, "They didn't even do anything. I could hear them talking the whole time." He tried to convince me they indeed took a tooth out. I said, "Nuhuh, watch, when I get home, I'm going to take this gauze out and my tooth is still going to be there." I don't remember saying this, but knowing myself as I do, I'm sure I probably did say that and a little more he isn't telling me.

So, I guess me drugged is about the same as me not drugged. I'm still my funny self, I just don't remember it. I'm going to say no to drugs for the rest of my life. Because if you know me, you know that I like to remember being the funniest person in the room :-)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Weekend featuring Special K Cereal

Yea, so it's the weekend. The weekends are good for sleeping late, dining out, and currently, Saints football (Who Dat!?).

Apparently, it's also for eating an entire box of Special K cereal...the kind with chocolate chunks. Now, I bought this cereal because I'm a woman on an on-going, everlasting, diet. And I like to eat cereal because I think it makes me healthier, right? "What did you have for dinner last night?" "Oh, I had cereal, the diet kind. You?" "I had pasta, veggies, and baked chicken." "Oh I'm eating too healthy these days for all that food!" This is what I I get fatter by the hour.

So, anyways, I usually have kid cereal for my brother but he ran out this week. The only cereal in the house was 2 boxes of my Special K - chocolate and the berry kind. Saturday morning I told him to eat a bowl of my cereal for breakfast. He said he didn't know he could (we have issues with yours, mine, and ours). I told him, no, it's fine, go on and eat some. It's a new box and I've had about a third of a bowl, I just wanted to try it out. It was so good! And really filled me up until lunch time.

My husband and I go to town to look at the Halloween stores for stuff. Not really for Halloween costumes, but for accessories for my comic-con costume for January. See, told you we're nerds. Any who, we're gone until the afternoon. Brother says he had "some" cereal for breakfast, then left over chicken nuggets and a bowl of soup for lunch. I bought him McDonald's for his dinner since hubby and I were going out. All is right in the world, right?

Sunday morning - I wake up with a strong craving for this chocolate-y cereal that is so healthy for me but not until after I've had a cup of coffee. I drink the coffee, go to the cabinet and pull out a very light feeling cereal box. I'm thinking, "Dang, it really is light! Must be healthy." I go to look inside (see I do this because I have issues with bugs. I don't like them at all. I check my pillows at night too. I'm sure we'll get into that.) So what do I see in this box?? It's almost ALL gone! "Some" cereal to Brother is like "all of it" to me. Yes, he ate almost an entire box of cereal Saturday. We've talked about it since and I explained to him, he eats every couple of hours, 1 bowl of cereal, surely, is enough until he eats again, right? I'd think so but we'll see how my Special K berry cereal holds up to the little chat.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Little About Me

So, it's been on my mind lately to start a blog about what it's like to be newly married and taking care of a sibling with mental illness. I have started this a couple of times before and never kept it going. Let's see if I can commit this time around!

I'm currently 32, a newly wed, a home-owner, and a sister to an adult with mental illness. I love my life, I truly do! I'm happy, I'm a nerd (who's in love with another nerd), and I love my brother. It's tough though - living with someone who hides all his feelings and thoughts. Especially because his thoughts could be dangerous for his well being and possibly ours. But we make it through, just like everyone else. :-) 

The hubs and I are working on making our first padawan. We hope to get pregnant within the year. Wish us luck!!

I have a new job that I really enjoy. It helps that I'm mostly alone in the office, as I'm not what you would call a "people person". I like people, just not very many, and not for long periods of time. Yea, I'm that girl.

My husband has a great job! He has the proverbial nerd job. I'll let you guess at that ;-)  He's happy and he makes me happy. Everyday he treats me as if he is falling deeper in love with me, isn't that awesome!

So....this is my 1st post, let's hope you like it and I keep them comin'!