October

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Hello blogging world. It’s been months. Sorry about that. Again with the not keeping up stuff. I suck. SO, I’m finally read to talk. Maybe. Doesn’t matter because I have to talk. Type. You get it. If you don’t want nitty gritty details of the inner workings of the female body….mine specifically….close the window and don’t read any further. Also, buckle up, this is going to be a long one.

These last two months have been a whirlwind. September was suicide awareness month. Despite that, my husband and I both lost friends to suicide. It was a trying month for both of us. I made a difficult trip home to say goodbye to a friend I’d had for 20 years. It’s difficult to come to the realization that I’ll never again see his face or hear his voice. I’ve called his voicemail 2 dozen times just to get that last dose, but it doesn’t seem to help. For that reason, I quit calling his phone. My first night back in SC, living on base, 10pm was hard. At 10 PM they play TAPS over the loud speaker. It broke my heart hearing that for the first time since my friend’s funeral. It still breaks my heart a little every time, but it’s getting better. Recently I watched the Finn-centric episode of Glee and realized just how angry I was at my friend for doing what he did. The thing is, I have a deeper understanding for depression so I know what that feels like. I know the hopelessness and feeling like that is your only way out of a shitty situation that you are forced to call “life”. On that note, it does get better. I’m living proof that it gets better. Happiness is out there for you. It’s difficult to see it and only gets more difficult if you leave yourself untreated whether by medication or counseling. I promise, though, it does get better.

Now, onto October. On top of being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s also Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness month.

I’ve been struggling with this for the last 6 months. Struggling on whether or not to actually write this or to just let it be. Especially this month. It has been in the back of my mind since October 1st, and I think it’s time to tell my story. Some of you that know me may know it, but for those of you who don’t let’s start from the beginning.

Back in February, I sat down with my hubby and told him that I wanted to come off birth control. After talking to my doctor he told me basically what I already knew…that it would take 6 months to a year for my body to regulate and for me to get pregnant, especially since I’d been on some form of birth control for the past 8 years. I told him I wanted to give my body a fighting chance to get regular so we could jump aboard the baby-making train when the time came. We were both comfortable with this decision and intended on using protection until the time came. February was to be my last pill pack. The way the pills were set up, I had short cycles. Week 1 was ovulation, Weeks 2 and 3 were nothing and Week 4 was shark week.

At work, we had a floorset near the beginning of March. After which, I had an unusually difficult time getting back on a normal sleep schedule. I had started developing migraines and I didn’t have much of an appetite. Not that I was getting sick, I just flat out wasn’t hungry. After doctor googling myself (because that’s what us anxiety ridden folk do), I chalked it up to just my body regulating hormones and weening itself off of birth control. A week and a half passed like this. Unable to sleep, unable to stay asleep, oversleeping, feeling utterly exhausted, and migraines. I was chatting with my mother and she asked how I was doing. I told her “Good except for this damn headache that won’t go away and the fact that I can’t sleep.” She laughed and jokingly said “maybe you’re pregnant.” I told her “Jesus mom…I’m not pregnant. I JUST came off birth control.” She laughed again said she knew and was just teasing me, but then followed it up with “The only thing that tipped me off about your sister was a headache. Well, that and a missing period…but mostly the headache.” I repeated myself insisting I wasn’t pregnant, she laughed again, our conversation went on as normal.

By week 2 with the constant migraine and sleeping issues, I had began to develop a little nausea. I also noticed that I was eating candy. I don’t generally eat candy unless it’s shark week. Again, I thought “nah…It must be PMS”. At 2 and a half weeks I went grocery shopping and my mother’s words and contagious laughter popped up in my head “maybe you’re pregnant”. I remembered the intimacy and the ovulation that started the next day. As I walked down the aisle with all the feminine products I laughed quietly to myself and thought “I’ll get a test anyway. I know I’m not, but screw it.” I went about my business and finished my grocery shopping.

I got home and unwrapped the pink stick, peed, and went about my duty of unloading groceries. When I had finished, I went back into the bathroom to throw the stick away and noticed not one, but TWO lines. I began to panic. “What the FUCK!?” I said out loud. I sent a picture to my friend that works in the clinic and she called me immediately. We discussed the candy, the headaches, the recent feeling of nausea, the trouble sleeping. I texted my husband and told him “Maybe I”m seeing things. I mean it’s pretty faint, but it’s there” He told me to leave it on the counter and he’d look at it when he got home. I was at work by the time he got home and he texted me saying “I don’t know why you thought you didn’t see two lines. It’s definitely there”. I came home, saw what he saw, two dark pink lines. Holy. Fuck.

That following Saturday, I tested again. It came up negative. We both breathed deep and decided that a test at the clinic was the only way to solve this. I made an appointment for April 1st. If I was pregnant, I initially found out at 2 1/2 weeks. I hadn’t even missed my period yet. That’s early. That’s crazy early. Possible, but early. Over the weekend I had worked myself up to it being a big fat NO. I went in, had my blood drawn, and they sent to me to the exam room, and told me to undress for my yearly exam. The doctor came in three separate times. First to ask me how late I was, “Only a few days at this point.” Second to ask me my symptoms, “Craving for candy, inability to sleep, migraines, and more recently nausea and tender breasts.” The third time she came in, she told me to get dressed because there was no need to do the yearly exam. I started to get angry. I thought she was just putting this off. As I got dressed I thought “she must have a reasonable explanation for this.” After I was dressed, a child started to cry in the room next to me, and I lost it. I pulled myself together just in time for her to walk in the room.

“So the test came back positive…”

“Yeah,” I said, thinking she was asking a question and not making a statement. “I had a positive and a negative home test.”

“No, honey. I mean the blood test here came back positive. You’re pregnant.”

“What?”

“you’re….pregnant…?”

“What the fuck!?”

“yep”

“Is this just some really cruel April Fool’s joke?”

*laughter* “No, it’s not. Do you want to see it?

“uh, Yeah…Can I?”

*grabs paper* “See there where it shows the test?”

“yes”

*points* “Right here where it says positive next to that number?”

“Yeah.”

“that’s the result.”

I started sobbing and just repeating “oh. my god.” and “holy fuck” and “wow…” I finally told her “I can’t be more than 3 weeks. That’s early to find out, right?” she agreed with me. I repeated my three phrases over again, she gave me tissues, asked me if these were happy tears, I nodded. I told her I had JUST come off birth control. I told he the date of the last pill I took. She laughed and called me Fertile Myrtle. Congratulated me and gave me script for prenatal vitamins. She referred me to a doctor that in a previous post I referred to as The Devil Clinic.

I rushed out to The Children’s place and bought a pink onesie and a blue onesie. I set up a display on the kitchen table for my husband to see when he came home for lunch. We laughed and cried. It was a strange moment filled with a lot of “Wow” and “huh” and “oh my god we made a baby”.

I received the referral and called The Devil Clinic. They initially refused to see me because I told them I had a pretty good idea of when I conceived but I wasn’t entirely sure. They said that since I wasn’t sure they didn’t want to see me for another 3 1/2 weeks. This being our first child, I didn’t know any better and just agreed to it. Over the next few weeks, my symptoms intensified. An attachment grew. We started planning things. We traded in the Camaro for a Subaru. We plotted how we were going to tell people. The more my symptoms intensified the more we began to wonder if perhaps I was further along than I actually was, but figured we’d find out at my first appointment. Meanwhile, under the impression I might be further along than that, we started to tell a few people.

One day I woke up feeling like utter shit. I curled up on the couch and watched TV, waiting to leave for work. I went to the bathroom and noticed some spotting. I knew spotting was normal, but this being my first pregnancy, I got scared. I sat on the couch wondering if I should call. I had a cramp, nothing intense, nothing more than the usual pregnancy cramps I had been experiencing. It didn’t raise any major flags in my mind until I passed a small clot. Tiny actually, but it still scared the shit out of me. So I called The Devil Clinic. I explained that my appointment wasn’t for another week, but that I was concerned. They cleared room for me on the schedule and got me in.

I went in, peed in a cup, they took vitals, and that my friends, was the beginning of a downhill slope. We sat in the exam room patiently waiting the doctor’s arrival, when a nurse came in. She asked me when my last menstrual cycle was and I told her. To which she responded with a cold “Well, I’m not sure why you thought you were pregnant because your test came back negative.”

I froze. For a second, I swore my heart quit beating. I told her “Uh, because I had a positive test.” She said “Was it a home test? Some times those things can be faulty” I came back with “It was a home test and a BLOOD test thank you. I am pregnant.” She came at me “Well, you’re not so I’m not sure what to tell you. Maybe something got screwed up? Should we proceed with a PAP smear?” I struggled to find words until I eventually started sobbing. This fucking woman had the nerve to tell me I was lying. My husband sat in the corner, silent. The nurse came over patted me on the knee exactly three times, stepped back and crossed her arms and asked again if we’d like to proceed with the yearly exam. I glared at her. Then she suggested that I continue to take the prenatal vitamins anyway even though I wasn’t pregnant, and according to her, never had been pregnant. I asked her to explain why I had been experiencing pregnancy symptoms if I never had been pregnant and told her if she was sitting there telling me I wasn’t pregnant, then I wasn’t going to be taking the horse pill that was my prenatal vitamin any longer. She suggested that I made the symptoms up in my mind and my period was just late. She told me that even thought I was never pregnant that taking prenatal vitamins is a good thing to be doing anyway especially if we were trying. She wanted to talk to us about options on what we can do to conceive. I looked at her, still sobbing and said “Are you really wanting to talk to me about conceiving right after you told me I lost my child!?” She said again I had never been pregnant and suggested for the third time that we do the PAP Smear. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?” I yelled. With that she said “well maybe I should give you guys some time. Let me know when you’re ready to do your yearly exam.” She left the room. My husband held me. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t stop shaking, and I couldn’t stop crying. This wasn’t happening. I didn’t make this shit up. There’s no reason a blood test would come back positive unless I was pregnant.

I had my husband call my work and tell them I wasn’t coming in. He came back in and was followed by the nurse who asked, again, “So are we ready to do the Pap Smear then?” I looked at her and said “NO! We’re leaving. I need to leave. I can’t be here anymore.” She patted me on the arm and said “We’ll just write this off as a nurse’s visit. Just keep trying. You’ll get pregnant eventually.” My husband supported my walking all the way out. Once we reached the curb outside I collapsed. He lit a cigarette for me and we sat on the curb. I sobbed “I want to go home. HOME home. I can’t….I can’t be here.” When we got home, I had the support of a few friends who came and brought me booze. I kept a brave face until they left, but once the door shut behind TF, I sobbed all over again.

Over the next few weeks I went through a shit storm with the Devil Clinic suggesting that I made the pregnancy up, telling me I wasted their time by doing an ultrasound, refusing to give me results of tests, lying to me, and lying to my PCM. Only one doctor through that entire experience there ever questioned what was going on. Sadly, I never saw her face again to follow up with her. The whole visit with her all she kept saying was that the timeline didn’t make sense and neither did my results.  Still, she never shared my results with me. The day after my initial visit, I spiked a fever, I called my on base clinic and they suggested I see the civilian clinic. When I called them, however, they wanted nothing to do with me and told me I was probably just getting sick or it was the stress of the situation. Again, with this being my first pregnancy, I didn’t know that a fever could mean infection and I should go to the ER. So, I took their word for it and sat it out. Later that day, my PCM called me back and asked me how my fever was doing. I told her it was about the same but I took some Tylenol and had called the OB. The following day I got 4 calls asking me about how my ER visit went. I was confused. I didn’t go to the ER. No one told me to go to the ER. I didn’t know I was supposed to. My PCM and her nurse were LIVID. My PCM called me 3 days in a row to check on me to make sure my fever had broken and I wasn’t sick, but I never heard back from the OB about the fever at all. In fact it was never mentioned in my notes that I had called, and it was never mentioned that I said I had a fever. The only visit that was mentioned was when I went in three days after the bleeding started and the doctor did a physical exam. They didn’t notate in there that it was a physical exam to make sure everything was okay. They only notated that it was a routine PAP smear. There was nothing in there about our discussion on the doctor’s or my confusion. There were no notes about my negative urine test but blood test that showed hCG still in my system. We had to dig for that information. It wasn’t anything neither I or my PCM or new OB knew about until a month and a half later.

During the ultrasound visit, the tech kept saying things like “I think I see…” and when I said “what?” she said “oh nevermind.” She asked me if anyone had shared test results with me and when I told her no one had she offered to tell me. I said “Yes, please do.” She took one look at the paper, said “hm” and then never told me. I asked three more times and each time she changed the subject. In my mind all I can think is that they were covering their asses. The originally told me I wasn’t pregnant, only to find out that I still had hCG in my system so did everything they could to cover up their mistake instead of admitting to it. The day of the ultrasound I had just gone to the clinic on base per the request of my PCM to get blood drawn since the civilian clinic wasn’t communicating with them.  After the ultra sound was finished, which I still don’t know the results of, whether she found anything in there or not, the tech told me to go get blood drawn there. We told her no because we wouldn’t ever be returning to the clinic. Her demeanor immediately turned sour and she told us that we had just wasted her time. She shoved some papers at us and told us to check out.

I finally got into the OB/GYN I wanted, and we went over everything start to finish. He was utterly baffled and completely disgusted by the way I was treated at The Devil Clinic. We discovered that by the time they had taken a urine sample from me, I had started miscarrying, making my pregnancy non-viable and an overall negative on their scale when they ran a qualitative test. Had they taken the time to do a quantitative hCG count on my urine instead of a qualitative, they would have seen that I still had hCG in my system. Instead, they didn’t want to deal with anyone that couldn’t give them business so they were as cold as possible to me. When I had my blood drawn at The Devil Clinic, they did quantitative, but never shared my results.  My new OB/GYN was able to get down to reality of it and figure out what exactly was going on. I had a missed miscarriage. The fetus had probably stopped developing a week prior to the bleeding. That was when my symptoms started to get less and less. I asked him why I would still be having headaches and tender breasts. He told me that it’s still the hormone in my system screwing with my body and we just had to wait it out. He dug out the results of my blood test that my PCM took the week of my ultrasound and discovered my level was at a 3 that week. He took a blood sample in his office and it was at a 0. His anger and that of my PCM at the situation matched my outrage. How dare they tell me I was never pregnant? How dare they tell me I made it up? She vowed never to refer someone to that clinic again.

The whole mess finally sorted itself out. We discovered I was 6 1/2 to 7 weeks pregnant when I miscarried, which under normal circumstances is about the time women usually find out they are pregnant. My (current) OB/GYN was amazed that I found out as early as I did, but said it wasn’t impossible. The bad part about that was that if I hadn’t taken the test, I would have probably never known I was pregnant and would have just chalked it up to a late period because I was coming off of birth control. Conversely he congratulated me on being so in-tune with my body so that the next time I were to get pregnant, I would (ideally) know right away. We discussed the fact that fertility is obviously not something that we have to worry about because obviously I can get pregnant. (By the way…I got pregnant after 4 days with no birth control). We discussed previous diagnoses of PCOS and endometriosis and how these may cause problems. We talked about the RhoGAM shot and when that needs to be given. Lastly we talked about how we needn’t worry about this miscarriage until or IF it happens for a second or third time. I was able to go home for 2 weeks. I spent most of my time with my friends and paid little to no attention to my family. For that, I feel like an asshole. When I first had the opportunity to speak with my father, I explained to him the reason I came home was because I wanted it to stop hurting. I came home because I felt like I was suffocating. There was and still is an empty room in my house that was once plotted to be a nursery and I could barely walk up the stairs without wanting to set that room on fire. I needed to see my friends, and I needed to heal.

For a week I was practically catatonic and emotionally broken. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t go more than 30 minutes without breaking down in tears. I blamed myself repeatedly even though I knew and know it wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t help but think “what if I had done this instead of this” about every little thing. No amount of comfort in the world could or can bring my baby back. Even sitting here typing this now makes me teary eyed. I would have been due in December, within days of our anniversary. Sometimes I have to tell myself that it was probably for the best. That there was and has to be a reason it happened, but that doesn’t make it hurt less. It wasn’t just me that lost a child that day, it was my husband too. He made himself be so strong for me and I will forever be grateful for that. He shouldn’t have had that sitting on his shoulders, but he did. I also feel the need to thank my wonderful co-workers. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful support system at work.

If there was anything to be learned from this, it was that we were a lot more ready for parenthood than we originally thought. The thought of being responsible for another human being is terrifying, but in that exact moment of finding out he was going to be a father, the joy on my husband’s face was undeniable.

In reality it wasn’t necessary to tell my story, and I’m aware of that. The reason I did it, though, was to give myself a little extra closure to a situation that still sucks every once in a while, and because it is the month for pregnancy, infant, and child loss awareness. I guess I’m also hoping my story may help someone else somewhere out there in their healing process as well. Six months later, my life continues and I’m doing quite well, my husband is doing well, and our life has returned to normal. It’s been a trying couple of months, but I’ve come to the realization that loss does happen regardless of what point you are in your life.

In regards to both situations of loss, I’ll say again that it does get better. It may take some time, the road will be rough, you’ll encounter stupidity and ignorance, but there are positive circumstances waiting for you on the other side. You just have to take it one day at a time.

Edit: A week after the miscarriage we ordered Chinese food and my fortune was this:

fortune

That night the hubby called his father to tell him what happened, and his father said the same thing without knowing what I had just pulled out of my fortune cookie. It brought me some comfort. It’s still hanging on our fridge

Ashley Furniture makes my head hurt…

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About a year and a half ago when my husband and I entered the great state of South Carolina, we purchased our first pieces of furniture and began to get settled. We needed living room furniture and a dining room table. We already knew what living room furniture we wanted and where to get it, so we headed on over to Ashley Furniture. Within minutes we had our furniture picked out and ready to purchase. The man who helped us was awesomely helpful. We opened a line of credit, signed papers, and we were on our way. We had made a down payment and got away with a pretty sweet deal on our new pieces.  We asked several times if our down payment was covering not only that but the delivery as well and we were informed, nay REASSURED, that it was. They told us they’d call when the furniture came in, which would be in less than a week, and we could set up a delivery date.

A week and a half went by and still no furniture and no call. I called them in confusion and asked if it was just taking longer than normal or what was going on. During said phone conversation, an irritated woman told me we hadn’t paid the $376 needed for delivery. To which I told her “Uh….yeah we did. We shouldn’t owe anything.” She began to argue with me about this not being true. Urged me to check my paperwork even after I had told her that we were reassured everything had been paid for, and then told me after we forfeited the $376 we could then have our furniture. After hanging up the phone, I located the papers and found there, on the bottom of the receipt “Due before delivery: $376.00″. What. The. Fuck. Irritated as balls on a hot summer day, I made my way to store, expressed my anger (which was ignored and waved off like I was lying), handed over the money, and set up a day. They told me that the Furniture would be there between 8am-10am the day of delivery and no later.

Delivery day came! YAY! Furniture! I was sick of sitting and eating on an air mattress. 10am came and went, along with 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm. It wasn’t until 4:30pm that they actually showed up. THEN the delivery guys decided to pull a joke on me and say that they didn’t have a couch for us. They were only told to deliver a table and chairs. The anger in me began to boil to the surface and I felt my face turn a bright shade of red. He saw the anger and immediately regretted the joke. He apologized before I could say a word and told me he was kidding. I calmed down. It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t know that we had been duped out of another almost $400, he didn’t know the store told me they would be prompt with the delivery, and he didn’t know the hassle the card company gave us after paying off our debt. They were nice men. They gave us our furniture. I signed for receipt of delivery, and they were on their merry way.

Jump forward a few months, one overzealous puppy, a new house, and a couple of accidents later, we visit the Ashley Furniture Homestore from which we purchased our furniture to ask how much repairs would be for a snag in the leather and a broken zipper. The woman at customer service typed in our information and said “Well you have a protection plan so it shouldn’t be a problem.” I was caught off guard. We never purchased a protection plan. We were not offered a protection plan. I’m confused. I’m irritated AGAIN, but I’ll take it. She gave us the number for the protection center and sent us on our way, saying that no matter the incident, no matter the time, no matter the date it would be repaired. On the drive home we talked about how no one had offered this to us, how we didn’t know we had it, how I was a little miffed that we were charged for one and didn’t know it, but that we were thankful since our couch looks like we picked up off the street.

A few things happened that set back my call to the protection center, but I finally made the call, eager to get my couch either repaired or replaced. I explained to the woman what happened, when it happened, and what I was told. To which her response was to first sigh and then say “No. You weren’t told that.” I argued back “well, *uncomfortable laugh* actually, I was.” “no, You weren’t,” she responded. “When we went in there to ask about repairs we were given this number and told that no matter the date or incident our furniture would be repaired. So….I want it repaired. I have a protection plan.” “It only works for 30 days after the incident, so we can’t do anything for you,” she said. I then asked her what the purpose was for us owning a protection plan that we knew NOTHING ABOUT if it wasn’t going to do anything for us. She told me to review my paper work that clearly states we only have 30 days to report it. I told her we had no paperwork to which she said “Yes you do. It was given to you. It’s not my fault you lost it.” I hung up on her.

After an angry, semi-vague rant (that they deleted from their wall) on Facebook about how they run a dirty business and lie to their customers then do nothing to help them when a problem actually does arise, I became engaged in an email exchange with one of their executives. I told him the whole story start to where I was at that point. He also was adamant that we had paperwork in reference to the protection plan and that we knew we purchased it. He even went so far as to send me scans of the documents signed saying that I signed for a protection plan. Here’s the catch, my signature and initials were not next to anything that would have me accepting a protection plan EXCEPT for an “N/A” not in my hand writing next to a line that said “I have been offered a protection plan and have declined.” I wrote him back saying that maybe it was partially my fault for not reading all 30 lines that I initialed by, but how can he actually condone his employees selling a $500+ plan to customers without the customer’s knowledge. I explained that I went through every last bit of paperwork from every delivery made when we first moved here and found NOTHING regarding a protection plan. I told him that if he could provide me with paperwork that had MY SIGNATURE on it accept it, I would admit defeat and own up to my forgetfulness. He responded by sending me another attachment saying “As you can clearly see on page 3, your signature is at the bottom of the page.” I opened the attachment, read each page carefully (twice), and saw no signature. I stared at page 3 for 15 minutes thinking maybe I had missed something and my initials were hiding somewhere on the page. Nope. So I sent page three back to him and said “Where exactly is my signature? All I see here is terms and conditions of the protection plan. This is not paperwork citing my signature for acceptance of the “protection plan.” As I’ve said before, we’re pissed off with this company for the lies and dirty business. If you’re telling me that I have to pay out of pocket for repairs on my couch after being a sold a protection plan without my knowledge, it’s not happening. We will take our business elsewhere.” Less than 2 hours later I got a one sentence reply “I’ve contacted Montage, and we’ll take care of the repairs free of charge.”

Fast forward another month. We’ve received our parts….kind of. First, they sent it to the wrong address, so while on vacation, I get a phone call from a guy that lives at our old address telling me he has some sort of fabric sitting in his living room that he’s pretty sure belongs to us. (*facepalm* I gave them our new address…but whatever…) I told him my husband would be by to pick up the stuff later in the week. So, we have the leather, now we’re just waiting on the cushion cover for the chaise lounge. Two weeks later we get another package. I’m excited because I can finally call and get this over with. I open the package, and it’s cushion covers for the two smaller cushions. A week later we haven’t received another package so I call the number back and ask. (Now we’re caught up to today) The following conversation ensues:

Me: Hi! My name is Kelley L. I’ve received two packages from you guys for repairs to my couch but I think I got the wrong stuff…or maybe there’s another package on its way. *she gets my information again and types it in*

Rep: Okay Mrs. L, What seems to be the issue?

Me: well When we had discussed it, the only thing that needed fixing was the leather part on the front bottom side of the couch to repair a tear, and the zipper on the chaise lounge because it’s busted. We received the leather but not the cushion cover for the chaise lounge. We received cushion covers for the two smaller cushions.

Rep: *typing* Okay so are you ready to set up the appointment to have someone come repair the sectional?

Me: Well, we can. I have the leather part that needs to be done, but I’m curious if we have another package on the way.

Rep: So you’ve received all your parts then?

Me: No. We still need the cushion cover for the chaise lounge.

Rep: *Typing* Okay *typing* So what is wrong with the chaise lounge.

Me: The zipper is busted. Completely broken. And the fabric tore where it broke.

Rep: So we need to replace the underside of the chaise lounge? The dust cover. Got it.

Me: The what?

Rep: The dust cover. What’s covering the springs.

Me: No. No, no, no. The cushion cover. The cover for the cushion. The piece that covers the cushion. The microsuede CUSHION COVER. The zipper is broke and the fabric is tearing.

Rep: Oh! So you have your pieces then I see. Let’s set up an appointment.

Me: No! I don’t have all the pieces. I’m missing the cushion cover to the chaise lounge. I have cushion covers to the other two cushions on the couch, which I think were sent by accident, but we DO NOT HAVE the cushion cover for the long part of the couch. The chaise lounge. *silence* We need the cover for the chaise lounge or a zipper to repair it!

Rep: OOOOOOOH! Okay. *typing* Let me put that order in and we’ll have your parts out to you. Once you receive the last part give us a call back and we’ll set up that appointment for you.

Okay, first of all notice she said *PARTS*. Parts. Plural. Like more than one. Secondly, why do I need a cushion cover before they come repair the leather on my couch? Also, I had to give them our new address for the third time. Until I get this package in the mail I’ll just be sitting here wondering if she actually got it right. I’m waiting for it to show up in either the wrong color or for them to send me two more cushion covers for the smaller cushions. Thirdly, if you say the word “cushions” enough it starts to sound weird. Lastly, I know this is being taken care of the best way they apparently know how, and holy fucking problems, Batman! Remind me not to buy furniture from Ashley ever again…

A versatile blogger and the adventures that ensue

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So after I wrote about my T.A.R.D.I.S. messenger bag I got a comment from a Miss Cymbria Wood nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award (nominees please click said link for rules). Thank you, Cymbria! I’m not quite sure what to do or what this means, but I’m assuming it’s not quite as glamorous as The Oscars.  Still, I’m flattered. Flattered to know that people read my rantings, random thoughts, and scribbles about my crafts. My blog is all over the place, but in my head filled with randomness it makes sense.

Rules state that I have to nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the next round. I thought, “Oy…I don’t even follow 15 people. That’s probably not good for my personal reader karma. I should get on that.” So, obviously, some research was needed. I needed to find some awesomeness hiding in some blogs that I didn’t even know existed. Now naturally, I am going to nominate my dear friend RenaExperimental WiferyA Crayon Eating Dinosaur, a blog that made my that outlook on the hubster deploying a little betterthis girl, whom I now love because she’s hilarious and her projects are awesome, A Nerd in The Kitchen, (because who doesn’t love that combination? I mean, really. Cooking AND nerding? come on…), Gen Y girl needs to be mentioned too, she has some neat ideas, since I love me some crafting, Knit The Hell OutInaccurate and Unreliable (heh heh…nice title), my friend Tiff and her brave battle on the way to babyAbsurdity always has some fun reads, Stuff I Had To Put SomewhereFibromy-Awesome hits close to home, I like what she says, The Middlest Sister in an adventure in paper comics about her childhood, and finally, Thoughts Appear.

Next on the list, I need to tell my nominator 7 things about myself…lord…I don’t know if I know 7 things about myself. I mean I do, because…I’m me…but…what do I say? What to say…what to say….

1. Hipsters piss me off. Seriously. They piss me off. The other day, for example, this girl comes through my line and as I’m ringing her up, a song by Modest Mouse comes on. This girl is 20 years old, she’s dressed VERY nicely, carrying a Coach purse and shopping bag, and has an iPhone. I then hear her say, “I used to listen to Modest Mouse, like, back in high school,” I looked at her quizzically thinking “So like 2 years ago?” and she continues to say “But now they’re, like, too main stream for me.” Um, excuse me, but, and correct me if I’m wrong here, Modest Mouse is the most non-mainstream thing about this entire sequence. I think we have some Pretentiousil in the back. Perhaps I could could recommend you take some so you can stop acting like a douche. It’s not just that though. It’s pretty much everything. Like the belt around the tiny waist of a girl with a TERRIBLE hair cut that I saw one day. The hair cut I could have forgiven because we’ve all gotten bad haircuts that we thought looked awesome, but then I saw the belt. The belt had the word “SWAG” written all over it. I wanted to knock her on the floor and scold her like a dog. “NO! NO! BAD TEENAGER! NO!!!!!”

moving on….

2. OMG I LOVE LOST! Still? Yes, still. I was actually just talking to my oldest sissy about this last night. I’m pretty positive I’ve watched all the seasons from start to finish 4 times….or more. I’m currently doing the same with Doctor Who (new Who not classic Who.) It becomes this whole different level of nerding that seems almost foreign. On another note, my hubby and I discussed last night, after I realized how excited I got talking about Once Upon A Time, about “what he did to me.” Which we decided he did nothing to me but give me “new avenues of expression” for the nerd that always lived inside me.

3. I kind of dig video games. I played the occasional video game before we met. It was usually something Mario oriented. After we got married, he introduced me to how awesome(ly frustrating) video games are. I started playing God of War, Silent Hill, Fable (not so impressed with that one), Mortal Kombat, and a few others. I’ve been a bad gamer recently, though. I’ve been much to preoccupied with crafting.

4. I advocate for a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, eating well, etc. However, I do have my moments, for example; I broke my foot and haven’t been to the gym in a month and a half, or done anything active. I know I could do weights (the machines not the free weights) but I just haven’t gone. I also have my moments that I eat nothing but junk all day and feel like a fake for preaching about healthy living. Also, I smoke…which makes me feel equally guilty. Smoking is not only disgusting, but it’s bad for your health. I want to quit, but it hasn’t happened. I’ll get there.

5. I get along REALLY well with my family…which is apparently weird to some people. I mean REALLY WELL. We’re the type of family that will turn Groundhog Day into a family gathering. Our Christmases consist of the following schedule: Christmas eve we get together and start making cinnamon rolls. We watch movies, play games, eat chili, play games, watch more movies, go to Mass, watch another movie, play more games, go to bed. Christmas Day our day starts at 7 or 8 AM, we eat cinnamon rolls, have coffee, open stockings, open presents, drink more coffee (and maybe have another cinnamon roll), explore our presents, play games, prepare dinner/lunch, play games, eat, play games, eat some more, pay more games, watch a movie, play games again. </end day> We will take any chance we get to make the dumbest holiday a huge family get together. A lot of people don’t quite understand why, I can’t explain it. We’re just really close. We like each other a lot.

6. My husband is awesome, and anyone that doesn’t enjoy his company is insane. He can be immature, but he’s a boy. Boys are supposed to be immature sometimes, but he’s a fun kind of immature. Even when he does things that annoy the hell out of me, I look back on it and think “that was kind of funny.” It’s pretty cool being married to your best friend. For our story, if you wish, you can read it here or here.

and finally:

7. I like to think I can make allthethings, but I get discouraged easily. However, as you could see from my awesome T.A.R.D.I.S bag, I was successful with that. I have so many ideas running through my brain on things I want to make, but I haven’t started half of them. I want to, though. Some day perhaps I will. I also like to think I can manage 1,259,756,896,432,679 projects at the same time…I can’t. My ADD starts running rampant and I get confused.

So that’s me. Or a little bit of me, anyway. Thanks again! And to my nominees, have fun!

Peace out, bitches.

The Girl and her T.A.R.D.I.S. (and a sewing machine)

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So, earlier this month, I signed up for Doctor Who (almost) 50th Anniversary gift exchange on Reddit. For a couple weeks I struggled to come up with some sort of idea for what to get my lucky match. When I retrieved my match, I had a brilliant idea to make a T.A.R.D.I.S. messenger bag. I did some research, tried to figure out how to do this especially since this would be the first time I used my sewing machine. A friend of mine sent me a link to this messenger bag. I was super stoked about it. The following is the story of that adventure and the nerve wrecking sewing that followed (and of course the lucky results).

intrigued

So naturally, with any project, you start off with a little alcohol. I saw this at the shoppette, and thought “I want a pina colada, and don’t want to put forth a whole lot of effort. I’ll give this a shot.”

gross

Oh. My. God. That was a bad idea. Whoever invented this shit should be ashamed of themselves. (I’m talking to you, Bethenny Frankel. Seriously. Don’t even go there. It’s awful.)

hopefully this helps

We had some pineapple juice, so I added that in hopes that it helped at least a little.

thats better

It did. Now that I’m equipped with some alcohol, it’s time to begin.

how I wanted it to look

This is how I wanted it to look, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to make that happen. I had 4 more sketches, and had my expectations too high. (Side note, that’s now how it turned out)

supplies

It was at this point that I started to freak out. How THE FUCK am I going to do this? Seriously…How? What made me think I could do this? I stared at my supplies and the computer screen for almost 30 minutes before I got up the courage to start working on it. I unfolded and refolded fabric, examined the ribbon with such intensity it was as if I had never seen ribbon before, and I began to wonder if I was missing something. Then I figured if I didn’t start now, I would never start it and I would be forced to buy something for this person…which I didn’t want to do. Mostly because I would have to admit to defeat and return everything I bought after spending an hour in Wal-Mart trying to pick everything out with the aid of the kindly craft section worker…or whatever they call themselves. Employees. Thats the right word. Yeah.

So, I started.

that took an hour

Well that only took an hour. Seriously. It took a fucking hour to cut the blue fabric, cut and place the white fabric, and cut and place the ribbon. I hadn’t even started sewing yet and I was already annoyed. Must. Keep. Going. Also, the idea of a messenger bag freaked me out, so I switched to a sling tote.

my little helper

Then, as I was cutting the second piece (which I was already concerned about seeing as it took me an hour to finish the first one) Teemo decided he’d help me. Yep. He jumped in my lap and put himself in that position right when I reached to grab the scissors after I measured out the second piece. Thanks, Teemo. You’re an asshole.

so far so good

Thirty scary minutes later, (yes it took me 30 minutes to sew on three ribbons…give me a break it’s my first time using my sewing machine) I got this far. So far so good. *Deep breath* moving on.

yay

Oh mylanta I DID IT!!!!!!! One window done. That’s what’s up. (That was my legitimate reaction to finishing this one…six inch…window. I hadn’t even gotten to the hard part yet.)

oops

HAHAHA!!! Oops…Guess I’ll have to cut more ribbons…oh well…Whatever. It’ll be covered up.

it's working

When I moved on to the second window, got the ribbons placed, this is how it looked, but this is how I felt. (watch the video. It’s worth it…and it’s only 4 seconds)

finished windows

Let’s jump ahead a bit. Both windows are finished on both sides, and I’m 100% satisfied. The second set of windows looks immensely better than the first set of windows, but at that point I kind of knew what I was doing.

perhaps I should shorten it

Here, I’m starting to wonder if I should shorten it. It seemed rather large. Although, I did cut it to be bigger anyway because I wanted a BIG bag, except now I was thinking it was too big.

Screw it. Let’s just keep on moving.

pleating 2

The original pattern called for some pleating. I was unsure if I actually wanted pleating, but I figured “what the hell…I’ll do it anyway.”

pleating

Well that worked out a lot better than I thought it would. Let’s sew the pieces together. (again my “maybe this is too big. Maybe I should shorten it” thoughts reappeared)

coming together

Woot! Woot! YAY!

shit...thats big

This is my “oh my! I hope that’s not too big!” face (p.s. That’s what she said)

Side note: For the rest of this project, I worried that it was too large and that I wouldn’t be able to shorten it. I did, however, manage to shorten it twice, by flipping it inside out, taking it to the sewing machine (on the bottom of course) and cutting off the excess.

skirt

At this point I started to get tired, and texted my sissy a picture titled “and this is what it looks like if I wear it as a skirt!” Yeah…It was that big… I decided to call it quits for the night. It was after all really late…(this was also Day 2 of the project.) But before I went to bed, I realized I didn’t have black fabric for the “Police Public Call Box” sign and went in search for something in my closet or office that was black that I could repurpose.

repurposing

I found this. It’s not what you think, but exactly what you think. Yes, it is a french maid costume, BUT it’s a Magenta costume. I’m not a dirty mistress…don’t worry. Anyway, my only concern is that the black fabric is velvet…and stretchy. Whatever. I’ll use it. Also, at this point in the project, I realized how easy this had become and how all my worries were stupid.

Day three, I stared at my project and began speculating that I really could still turn it into a messenger bag. The size was there, the opening, while slightly smaller because of the pleating, was still 17in. I had successfully shortened it in length (first shortening) and it looked a lot better. I fiddled around with the idea that I could easily make a flap and sew it on after I took out a few stitches. I hadn’t put the band on top to create the hem, and I’m PRETTY SURE I could make it work. Plus, I’m almost positive I would have to attach the strap and flap before I did the liner. I put that on hold while I made a pocket for the inside so I could stew about it a little longer. After the pocket was finished I cut out some pieces for the flap.

omg it worked

I measured the bag top to bottom and added an inch, then cut out some white and blue fabric for the flap. With the wrong sides facing I sewed the two pieces together save for a few stitches at the corner so I could flip it right side out, finished stitching the sides together, then attached it. It worked, which was exciting for me, but at the same time I then realized that after sewing the two pieces together, then sewing it to the bag, I should have allowed myself at least 4 more inches for the flap to reach top to bottom. It still serves it’s function so that’s fine. I proceeded to move on to liner. I turned the bag inside out and traced the bag on the white fabric. I cut that out and sewed the pocket on one side, then sewed the two pieces to the bag (one on each side).

omfg a strap!

I then attached the strap…which, as I already said, should have done BEFORE the liner (and forgot to do), but no worries, it’s still fine. And it’s hitting the length I wanted.

yay! a flap

Front view after the strap and flap are attached.

almost finished 4

Under the flap

almost finished 3

The back view

almost finished 2

Inside

I then discovered a conundrum. I hadn’t attached the black fabric to the front. I should have done that before I created the flap. I should have sewn the black fabric to the blue, THEN attached the white and THEN attach to the bag. But I didn’t do that, so I’d have to improvise.

how the fuck...

Okay, so after I attached the black fabric and the ribbon to the flap, I began to cut out my paper stencil. The stencil was too big, and I tried 4 different colors of markers, a disappearing ink marker, and using my sewing machine for embroidering. NOTHING worked on that fabric. I spent the rest of that day, and the following day trying to figure it out while I worked on a few finishing touches. I have no clue how to do this. I also tried stitching inside the stencil and that didn’t work.

Then, last night one of my friends, let’s call her Ravenous…she might appreciate that, came over and we brainstormed. At first she thought I could cross stitch the letters. We tried it on white fabric with just the “P” and then realized how much work that would take and how little time I had left. We tried tracing the letters with the chalk, and it still didn’t work. Then, I had an epiphany. I bought iron-on adhesive fabric. DUH! Holy shit. Everything would have been solved HOURS ago if I had just remembered that I bought iron-on adhesive. FINALLY!

We ironed the white fabric to the iron-on paper, I used the stencil to trace the letters backwards, cut the letters out using my Exact-O Knife, and put them in place.

almost finished 1

Utter. Satisfaction. now, I just needed to do some final touches to the flap, cut off some stray strings, and voila! Relief is in sight.

finished front

The finished front.

finished back

The finished back

Finished 1

The finished inside (well under the flap at least.)

a piece of me

I left a piece of myself on the strap.

what it looks like on a short person

And this is what it looks like on a short person (aka me.)

I am so damn pleased with myself. I am SURE that I could make another one, and if anyone wants one, I may charge only because of the supplies and the time it took to make it. I want so badly to keep it for myself, but know that I can’t. I am now afraid that if I give it to this girl she won’t like it. I just hope she understands the effort I put into it and appreciates it for it’s usefulness and originality. Honestly, It could probably be used as a laptop bag because of the opening being 17 in’ wide. It’s about 20 in’ deep and has a large inside pocket. Also, in my finishing touches, I shortened the bag again. But I did that while Ravenous and I were trying to figure out the lettering. We decided it would be more like a messenger bag, and pull the whole thing together if I flattened the bottom. Plus, for this being my first project with the sewing machine, for creating something from nothing, and only using the tutorial once to get measurements for the fabric (which I ignored anyway), I’m pretty fucking proud of myself. On top of all that, I only spent about $10-$12 total for everything, and I am absolutely convinced I would have never found anything that awesome for that amount of money if I had bought her something.

I’m going to go bask in my awesomeness for a little while longer before I have to go to work. YAY! Who has two thumbs and is awesome? THIS GIRL.

Holy. Shit.

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It has been 2 months since my last post. I’m slacking. I know. Don’t rub it in.

It has been a whirlwind of bullshit the last two months, and I’m going to try to be as vague as humanly possible on the topic so bear with me, and I pray that you get the general idea. Right now, I’m here to talk about Tricare (kind of), and how much I hate it (kind of).

Yeah, I know, it’s free healthcare and I shouldn’t complain, but holy mother of God I am irritated. Not to mention the shit storm we went through with a civilian clinic.

This whole situation is something I just want to be done with, and I feel like Tricare is making it as difficult as they possibly can. Do I think they’re doing it on purpose? No. But are they being assholes? Yes. We’re in a position where extra stress is not needed, and they’re adding extra stress. Maybe they’re not and it’s just my anxiety level, but I’m getting pissed. My hubby says I get upset easily, and he’s probably right. I’ll be the first to admit (kind of…sometimes…not all the time) that my anxiety level is higher than it needs to be on a regular basis.

We put up with a civilian clinic that first treated me like I was making stuff up and I was crazy, then lied to us, then withheld information from me, then lied to my PCM, then lied to me again, and finally by the last appointment refused to tell us anything about anything because we were “wasting their time” since we informed them this would be the last appointment we would EVER have with them. I still don’t know, and as far as I know, my PCM still doesn’t know the results of the last test that was done. That’s a whole other story.

Tricare, in the midst of this clusterfuck, changed my PCM. My new PCM, which I was unaware at the time he was my new PCM because he told me he WASN’T when I asked “Are you my new PCM? Am I not with her anymore? Am I your patient now”, returned a phone call stating that my current physician was backed up and he was picking up the slack for the day. I briefly explained to him the reason for my call, he then called me back and said “We want you to get reevaluated.” Me thinking “we” meant my PCM and whoeverthefuck this guy was that I was talking to, agreed with him. We fought over who I wanted my referral to go out to with him telling me I already had a referral for a The Devil Clinic, and then he wanted to send me somewhere else I had never heard of, for about 10 minutes until he finally said “Okay we’ll send you to (the place I said I wanted to go).” He told me once I got the referral, I wouldn’t need anything, no records, just call them and set up an appointment and we’ll figure out what the fuck is going on. Maybe not in those words, but those were the words in MY head. The dude barely speaks English (which…whatever), I couldn’t understand him (okay…a problem), and he couldn’t understand me (bigger problem), but by the end of the conversation I was confident he’d send the referral to the right place, and everything was normal.

The next day, I got a letter in the mail stating that this guy, who I had asked if he was my new PCM and he told me “No”, actually is my new PCM. So, already the trust between us was broken. He knew damn well I was his patient and told me I wasn’t. I called Tricare and said I was uncomfortable with having my Family Health Physician, aka someone I was going to be talking about my vagina to, as a male and I wanted my first PCM back. She told me it may not be possible, but would try all she could to get me back on this woman’s service. She initially told me I had to go into the base clinic and talk to Tricare there, but then said “You know what, I’m going to save you that hassle and just do it from here. If it doesn’t go through, go talk to Tricare on base, but we’ll try to get you taken care of.”

Again, relief came. FINALLY something is working for me. I got away from The Devil Clinic, I got my PCM back, and I got a referral for the place I wanted to go to. By that weekend, I had my referral. While I was running errands, I decided, “You know what. I’m going to take a break, sit in my car, open this referral and call that number.” So I did. I dialed the number. “Hello! This is The Clinic I Didn’t Want, This is Jennifer.” Silence on my end. “Hello?” I said “I’m sorry what was that?” thinking I didn’t hear her right. “Oh that’s fine. This is The Clinic I Didn’t Want. This is Jennifer” I said “Huh….can you hold on a second” She said “Uh….yeah.” I check the paper. Sure as shit, right up there in left hand corner of the paper was The Clinic I Didn’t Want and their address. “I’m sorry this isn’t The Clinic I Wanted?” She said “No ma’am this is The Clinic I Didn’t Want”

“Hm. Okay. Well. I have a referral for you guys and I need to get in for an appointment to get reevaluated.”
“Well we need your doctor’s approval and all of your medical records from The Devil Clinic as well”
“Oh well my doctor told me all I needed was to bring you the referral and I wouldn’t need anything else”
She laughs “People keep telling us that their doctor has told them that and I don’t know why, but we do in fact need the records from your base doctor and we need the records from The Devil Clinic. After we receive those, the doctor here will take a look at them, assess whether or not you actually need to be reevaluated, and if you do we’ll schedule the appointment for two weeks out. Unless we don’t see a medical need for you to be reevaluated, you probably won’t see us. Just have The Devil Clinic and your base doctor fax over the information and we’ll go from there.”
“yeah, but thisiseverythingthathappened and he said I needed to be reevaluated”
“I understand that ma’am, but we can’t help you until you fax that information to us and even after that’s done, you’re looking at about a week and a half to two weeks before we can get you in.” I said “Okay”  and tried not to get upset with her. She wasn’t short with me. She was actually quite pleasant. Not irritated with me, but irritated that people kept calling expecting to get in because their doctor told them they didn’t need anything but the referral, when in actuality they needed SO MUCH MORE than that.

I got off the phone and was seething the rest of the day. What the actual fuck. Seriously? I told this guy I didn’t want to be seen at this place because I had never heard of it and had no idea how to even get to West Ashley. I asked around with some friends and none of them had heard of the clinic. I thought “okay, maybe I’ll give it a shot. Anywhere has to be better than The Devil Clinic,” until one of my friends said “absolutely not. Call them back and say ‘I got this referral when I specifically requested somewhere else and fought with my PCM for 10 minutes about it. I do NOT want to go there.'” Then the hubby told me “You being a female, you have the right to request a female doctor and you have the right to request what outside clinic you go to. Call Tricare NOW.” He retrieved the phone number for me.

Whilst talking to Tricare, I found out that my PCM had not been changed back to my previous one. I requested the change again and told them that I just felt more comfortable having her so I didn’t have to explain the situation to 4 new people including a man that has no insight on the workings of female body parts. That I would just feel better if I only had to explain it to the civilian doctor and his/her nurse and that was it. That I at least wanted a female doctor so that my doctor had a deeper understanding of how the female body works. Also, that I really liked the doctor I had before anyway. He told me “Go into the Tricare office tomorrow and talk to them directly. Fill out paperwork and we’ll get that straightened out.” Then we discussed the referral, and got that straightened out.

This (the above paragraph) all happened a little more than a week ago. I still haven’t received the referral, but I did as instructed and went into the Tricare office to request a PCM change. Their records still showed me as having the male doctor. I was informed that my previous PCM was full, so they gave me someone else. That was effective immediately. AWESOME! Totes satisfied.

TODAY I just received a letter stating that my PCM changed (back) to my first doctor. YAY! Then I read on. “Effective April 30″. “Oh good lord! SERIOUSLY!?” I said aloud, as I vigorously dialed the Tricare number. Turns out, records never showed that I switched from 1st PCM to 2nd PCM back to 1st PCM. My records just showed that I went from 1st PCM to 2nd PCM to 3rd PCM. BUT the Tricare office is showing that I went 1st to 2nd to 1st to 3rd. Oy…my head hurts.

I’m definitely going in there tomorrow and getting this straightened out. I keep getting the run around and I really just want it to be settled. If I can’t have my first PCM back, that’s fine, I’m comfortable with PCM 3, but seriously? Get your shit straightened out.

The stuff with the referrals was all the 2nd PCM’s fault. I’m blaming him 100% for not listening to me and for flat out lying to me. Someone somewhere up there hates me right now and I’m not sure what I did exactly to piss him/her off, but it has to stop soon, right? I learned my lesson, maybe…kind of…though I’m not sure what I did to piss him/her off…I get it. I did something. Let’s all move on from this and call it a lesson learned.

Seriously.

Knock it off.

Chapter 5

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I move in and out of consciousness. Deep growls are intermittent with high-pitched, terrified screams of a child. I can feel myself being dragged and a familiar voice whispers “Stay with me. We’re almost there.” The fiery pain in my side is the only thing keeping me half awake. I feel the warm blood trickling down my side. I lift my head enough to see Emma trying fight and bite with every step we take. Though blurred, I can recognize enough of my surroundings to see the barren wasteland that I passed on my way earlier.

After what seemed like only seconds, I am lying on a cold floor while three people work hastily above me. I feel a needle pierce my flesh and my skin stretching to pull shut. A scream escapes my tired body, but I hear no noise.

“Give her something!” I hear

“What? What the fuck do you think we have that I can give her, huh?”

“S…stop” I whisper. “Just…let me sleep” And I’m out again.

_________________________________________________________

When my eyes open, the world around me is blurry. When it comes into focus, I notice the sky is a swirling bright blue with wispy clouds. I’m wearing a deep blue, knee-length dress, with a small-flowered print on the bust.

My husband lies next to me on the emerald-green field, staring at the sky. A child plays in the distance. I sit up, and run my fingers through the delicate grass. “Emma!” I call after the girl. I lean back onto my arm and turn my head towards my husband. He smooths some hair out of my face and gives me a gentle kiss. The girl comes running up, but when I look at her, I’m confused. My husband fades out, the world turns gray and desolate, and a fear rises in me. I can feel a painful tingle work its way up from my toes and centralize to a spot on the right side of my abdomen. Emma looms over me, her eyes glowing as she cackles.

I’m thrust back into reality. I’m sweating. A hand on each shoulder and one on my chest push me back onto the bed with force. “Slow down. It’s okay.” I adjust and realize that my husband is standing over me. “You’re okay, we stitched you up. We put the girl in a room by herself until we could get some answers.”

“You want an answer? She tried to fucking kill me.”

“You’re still a little loopy. We’ve been crushing some pain killers up and putting them in the soup we’ve been feeding you. Now that the wound is healing, I thought it best we let you wake up and manage the pain yourself. Give it some time. Maybe a few hours, and let yourself get out of the haze and we’ll see how you manage walking around.” The deep voice was unfamiliar. I turned my head to see a tall man with dark hair and bright green eyes standing in the corner of the room. The symmetry in his face was unbelievable. His athletic build, pale skin, and stone chiseled features gave him an Adonis-like complex, though everything about him screamed “I could kill you if I wanted.” Upon surveying him, I noticed a faded tattoo peeking out through the V he ripped into the collar of his t-shirt, and a gold band on a chain around his neck. His eyes burned into me, waiting for a response. All I could do was stare. “Name’s Anton. Your crew stumbled across me at the pharmacy. I was looking for drugs, they were looking for food. Seemed we could help each other out after he”, Anton nodded at my husband, “came in screaming about you taking a blade to the stomach. Barely missed your kidney. You’re a lucky lady”

I shot my husband a wary look. “As far as we know he checks out.”

“They don’t let me go very far without someone poking a rifle in my back,” Anton glared at him. “Come on. Let’s give her some time to wake up.”

My husband kissed me on the forehead, squeezed my hand, and they both walked out of the room. When the door shut, I gave myself a few minutes to become more aware of my surroundings, and made sure they weren’t coming back in. I spotted my pants on the floor in the corner adjacent to where Anton was standing. I slowly sat up and swung my legs over the side of the bed. Ignoring the throbbing sting in my midsection, I pulled on my pants and checked the side pocket for the small hunting knife I usually carried with me. Gone. I looked around and caught the glimmer of something on the floor. A piece of broken glass from a mirror that used to hang on the wall. I picked it up and headed out towards the door.

I knew they had to be holding her somewhere close. This wasn’t a very big building. As I exit the room, I finally realize that I’m not wearing a shirt. Respectfully, they left my bra on, but the only other thing covering my skin was the bandage below my rib cage. I didn’t much care at this point. I walked silently through the hall in search for a sign of where this girl might be hidden away.

As I pass a room, I heard a scratching noise. I take a couple of steps back and see a small hand reaching under the door. My eyes narrow, my face tenses with animosity, and I reach for the door knob. Her fingers run along my toes, and a jerk my foot back. In one swift motion, I throw the door open, her body is flown against the wall, and I have her pinned to the floor with the shard against her neck. As she struggles, I yell “Don’t you fucking move!” She snaps at me and laughs. I punch her square in the nose, but this just provokes her. “Poor little Emma. Helpless and alone? No one is going to fall for that anymore.”

Three pairs of footsteps come bounding down the hall. My distraction gives Emma the advantage and she thrusts me backwards. My husband, father, and Anton come hurdling towards us. My father grabs Emma, and my husband and Anton pull me away. I see Emma struggling in my father’s grasp. My husband holds me down while Anton leaps over to Emma and stabs a needle into her thigh. She falls limp in my father’s arms. He pushes her off to the side and she moans slightly.

“What the hell is the matter with you?” My husband yells at me. “Jesus! You’re bleeding again.”

I look down to see the bandage that was dry is now dripping with blood. “It would have been worth it if you assholes hadn’t stopped me!” They stare blankly at me. “I could give a shit less. There is something wrong with that girl! She shouldn’t be roaming around here. She’s one of them!”

Anton walks over to me and picks me up off the floor. My husband and father sit there, still panting. I dust my pants off. “Come on, let’s go stitch you back up.” I follow Anton back to the room I was sleeping in, and sit on the bed. “What happened that would make you want to kill a child?” he asked while gathering the needle and thread.

“That’s no child.” I responded. “Did you look at her eyes?” He shook his head. “Amber. Like the rest of them. She fooled me into thinking that she was alone, frightened, and an orphan. She’s the one that stabbed me. She’s one of them. Different somehow, but one of them. We can’t have her here. We need to take care of her. If you three hadn’t barged into that room the way you did, I would have solved that problem. You had to be a hero though didn’t you.” I shake my head.

“Oh. I’m the hero?” He sits next to me on the bed. “Meanwhile, you think you can solve our zombie problem on your own.” He pushes the needle through my skin.

“Fuck, man! I don’t get numbing or anything?”

“Not after the stupid shit you just pulled in there.” I roll my eyes and look away, but he continues, “Listen. I agree with you. She’s nothing but trouble. I didn’t believe a word that came out of that…thing’s mouth. Well, what little did come out of her mouth. She doesn’t speak too well, but damn it, she’s fast. Strong, too. One person in your group is holding this whole process up, otherwise she’d be dead for good, by now.” I grit my teeth and moan with discomfort. “One more stitch and we’re done.”

“Who’s holding up the group?”

“Hm?

“Who’s holding up the group from killing this thing? I can take care of it, I just need to know who.”

“Doesn’t matter. Just sit tight and I’ll go make sure that girl is confined.”

“Just tell me who it is.” Anton is silent. His hand reaches up to his mouth and he rests his elbows on his knees. “Anton. Please. Help me out.” Nothing. “Fine,” I say as I stand up, “I’ll figure it out myself.”

“God damn, you’re stubborn.”

I find a tank top on the floor and pull it on. “Well I figured, a guy like you that only looks out for himself would want to get rid of this thing as much as I do, but maybe you have another motive. Another angle. You see one of my sisters or something, you think you might like her, want to take her with you and repopulate the world. Who knows. I know your type.” I pull my boots on while he sits in silence, clearly contemplating something.

As I reach the door, he finally opens his mouth. “Your husband.”

“Excuse me?” I turn around to face him. “Say that again.”

“Your husband is the one holding us up. Maybe your oldest sister a little too, but not nearly as much as your other half.”

I look away, close my eyes, and take a deep breath. “I’ll handle it.” I say with a hint of fury. I walk out of the room and head down the hallway with a purpose. If anything was certain at this point in time, it was that I know I was going to punch him until he was out cold.

How to fuck up a perfectly simple layered cake in some very easy steps

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So today is the birthday of one of my friends. I brainstormed with another friend and found a recipe for a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.

Here’s the cake recipe:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups chocolate syrup
1/2 cup water

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with chocolate syrup and water. Beat until combined.

Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Here’s the recipe for the frosting:

2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Cream together butter and peanut butter. Add powdered sugar slowly and mix on low speed. Add salt, vanilla, and whipping cream.

Okay so now…HOW TO FUCK UP TWO PERFECTLY SIMPLE RECIPES

1. Prepare the batter as directed. Taste test (because that’s what you do) and find an eggshell. Dig it out and spend 10-15 more minutes stirring the batter to make sure you didn’t miss any other ones.

2. Separate batter into two round cake pans and see a pile of spilled flour mixture on the counter. Realize it’s a big enough pile of flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt that it could make a difference in how the cake turns out. Your counter is clean so scoop that shit up and separate it into the two cake pans and stir it into the batter.

3. Put the pans in the oven only to realize that you didn’t flour the pans.

4. Freak out for 33 minutes until the oven beeps. Take the pans out of the oven, and run a knife along the edge of the pan and feel okay about how easily they came off the sides.

5. Get really pissed off when you flip the pan upside down and the first cake comes half out of the pan and the other half stays in the pan.

6. Start screaming cuss words when you flip the other pan upside down and the edge of the other cake stays in the pan while the rest falls out.

7. Tell yourself it’s your fault because you took them out too soon, and you didn’t flour the pan, open a beer say “Fuck this fucking shit cake” and go have a cigarette.

8. Give yourself some time away to let the cakes cool (but mostly so you don’t throw them away) and go run some errands. When you come back, start the frosting.

9. Realize your whipping cream is bad, almost vomit at the smell, yell “mother fucker” really loud, and gag while dumping it down the drain.

10. Substitute the whipping cream for milk and compensate by adding more powdered sugar, meanwhile not being entirely certain if that’s actually going to help.

11. Stare longingly at the piece of shit sitting on the plate and pray to god the half-assed attempt at frosting doesn’t make the cake break apart more, but instead hope that it holds it together.

12. Feel a little satisfied that the frosting spread relatively easy and retrieve the other layer for the cake. Flip the whole thing over, but when you lift the plate off the cake, obviously, fucking comes with it. Retrieve your frosting spatula and pray to God that the cake will come off of the plate without breaking more. It does…chill the fuck out and carry on.

13. Throw some frosting on the top and spread that deliciousness around. Since that worked out pretty well, start spreading that shit on the sides. Since you’re not a cake decorator, it’s not going to look pretty no matter how much frosting you put on there.

14. Jesus! Did you not hear me? You’re not a cake decorator! Quick trying to do fancy shit you’re just going to fuck it up! SERIOUSLY! STOP! STOP!!!!!

15. Add more frosting to cover up your mistakes. Add twice as much on the spot where the cake broke apart and hope it looks even.

16. OMG! Did you not hear me the first fucking time!? Quit trying that professional shit you saw on Pinterest, smooth it out and just leave it! YOU HEAR ME? Leave. It.

17. Put it in the fridge and hope it doesn’t melt or fall apart.

Thank you for joining in on today’s lesson of How To Fuck Up A Perfectly Simple Layered Cake. Hopefully you won’t have to tune in for How To Fuck Up Eggs With Ricotta And Chives, because seriously, if I fuck up scrambled eggs tonight, then there is something wrong with me.

The Pep Talk To End All Pep Talks

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How awful is it that it’s nearly 9 am on my day off and I set my alarm? Maybe that’s not bad, but I have too much to do today, and I knew I had to get up. I need to give myself a serious talking to.

I need to get moving. Shower, audition, feed dogs, clean house, stamp and address envelopes, call card companies and change my address, cook dinner. The end. Instead, I’m sitting on the couch, slowly drinking my delicious, hot cup of coffee and typing.

When we first got here, the house was clean, dinner was made every night and it was not an issue. Since I started working, I’ve been slacking a bit. I shouldn’t. It’s not like I’m incapable, and since I’m not working full time, I feel as though it’s my duty to get these things completed. I do expect help, but I am going to have 5 days off soon. That happens often. So why is it so hard for me to get motivated to clean?

Let me clarify that our house isn’t DIRTY. It’s cluttered, and much like the hubby this annoys me. There’s no reason for that. Everything has a place, and with this new house, it’s not like we’re lacking for space to put things. We have these friends, and went over to their house for dinner the other night. Their house always seems to be clean. Like damn near perfect kind of clean. After supper R and I joined forces and cleaned up the kitchen while the boys chit-chatted at the table and little J was putting pajamas on. In that moment, I had a sort of awakening. Their house is always clean because this happens every day. The constant act of picking up and putting away, scrubbing and drying, loading and unloading, sweeping up the mess and putting it in the trash.

It has to be a learned action. I would greatly enjoy to bring that to the table. Except right now, our table has clutter that would suggest we’re hoarders. dirty-house-2
Okay so that’s not our kitchen table, and not our house. Our house isn’t that cluttered nor do I ever wish for it to be, but that’s how it feels. It’s mostly just mail, the hubby’s homework, and a few things that haven’t been put up from the move yet. The thing is though, that’s pretty much how I grew up. The house would get so cluttered with everyone’s stuff, their backpacks, coats, purses, homework, mail, etc, until someone got pissed off and there was a fight about not being able to find something and then we’d all power clean. The house would stay clean for about a week until it went back to the same clutter accumulation, and we’d start the cycle all over again. All I can say is at least our house wasn’t dirty and growing mold. There’s a difference between “Our house is a mess” and “Our house is dirty.”

It can’t be that hard though. They say it takes a week to learn a habit and 3 weeks to break it. Is it that or am I just not the wifey I thought I was? I’d like to think I’m a good wifey and that we, not just I, need to learn to declutter every time we come home. I’ve gotten pretty good about putting my purse up when I get home from wherever, as opposed to leaving it lie on the kitchen table.

On top of which, we discovered yesterday that both of us were out of money until Friday, and coincidentally out of cigarettes. Perhaps this behavior can be learned while I attempt to quit smoking so I don’t eat everything in the house to satisfy my hand-to-mouth action I get with smoking.

Hopefully, starting today, I can get my little butt in gear and start making a change we can actually see around here instead of inviting people into my house and saying “sorry  our house is a mess.”

Though really, it can’t be that hard right? If I do it, the hubby is sure to follow suit right?

Also…

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My husband thinks I post negative shit all time, so here’s a couple of pictures to make you go “aw” and maybe laugh a little

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his was a christmas present from my sissy.. The most amazing cookie jar ever

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uddling puppies

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ere’s Sophisticat taking a snooze

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nd lastly here’s one of the most awesome wedding pictures you will ever see

Enjoy

No one ever said I was a lady…and apparently my clothes say I’m not.

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That seems to be a regular comment for me, but a few comments have made me wonder. Just today, a grandmother came in looking for an outfit for her twin granddaughters that were turning 14. I suggested a few things; some graphic t-shirts, some new shorts, a graphic hoodie, or a couple of tank tops that were buy one get one half off. She looked at me and gave me a simple “Girls wear things like that? Ladies shouldn’t wear jeans and t-shirts. I was hoping to get something more along the lines of a blouse or a skirt.” She then gave me a once-over and said “Oh, I see,” and left it at that. Today I am wearing some jeans I bought at the store, a bright yellow layering tank top, and a heather gray t-shirt to go over it. Apparently that’s not what “ladies” wear.

Does it make me any less of a woman that I’m wearing jeans a t-shirt? Does it make me less of a lady? I know I’m not the most well behaved, my posture isn’t perfect, and my colorful vocabulary leaves something to be desired for some people, particularly my father, sorry Daddy. Why exactly does that mean I can’t be considered a lady, though? Why does that mean that I can’t be treated with the same respect that lady demanded? We can’t all be raised in money, with expensive clothes, and have someone standing over us making sure the book on our head stays straight.

I always joke whenever I belch that that’s why my husband married me. Again, it’s an unladylike behavior, but my husband doesn’t view me as any less of a woman because of it. Though at the same time I feel like I am trying to justify my actions. I probably could act a little more feminine, but that’s never been me. I’ve never been the type to have an air about me that suggest that I’m anything I’m not.

Conversely, I also helped a woman looking for an ensemble for her daughter. She asked what I liked and what I thought was cute. I showed her a few outfits and she laughed at me in a “you’re such a silly girl” kind of way. She then told me that her daughter is more into clothes that were form fitting (at the time I was wearing some fitted jeans, a tank top, a sweater…all purchased from that store) and layered. I smiled and said that the outfit I was currently wearing was layered. She giggled again and then said “well, but my daughter is 24.” I laughed and said “I’m 25. We just have different styles is all, but I can help you find something for her.” I picked out a few other items, after which she decided that I wasn’t the best option to help her find an outfit for her daughter who was less than a year younger than because in her words I dress too old for my age and I need to think about redoing my wardrobe all together.

I understand that different people have different ideas about style, but how do I attract two very different types of…lack of a better word…attacks? How is it that just because I don’t wear a skirt and blouse every day I’m not a lady, but since I don’t wear tight clothing, reveal my midriff, and wear a low cut shirt I dress too old for my age? Why do I need to adhere to a certain set of rules of dressing myself to be perceived as a woman?

I quite like my casual, girly style, and it irritates the shit out of me that that there is such a pressure on women to fit a certain stereotype. It sucks to admit it, but even though we’ve come far as a society, there still is a pressure on women to look and act a certain way or we won’t be accepted by the rest of our peers. I won’t apologize for not dressing a certain way because that’s not who I am. I don’t need to dress in revealing clothes to have confidence and I don’t need to wear something skin tight to get people to look at me. I think I’m pretty. I have confidence, and that’s enough.

I suppose I’m worked up about it because the pressure that mainstream media has put on us pisses me off. We feed images to little girls and sell clothes to them to make them look older than they are. We rarely allow our kids to find their own style, but instead dress them the way we see fit. I’m guilty, to an extent, of this, or at least of dreaming this. Of having a little girl and putting her in pretty dress, cute t-shirts, and adorable skirts, but I have enough sense that if my (future) daughter were to tell me she didn’t like it, I would help her find her style.

Your style is just that, YOUR style and it is, in essence, part of your identity. You shouldn’t have to go from one end of the crazy spectrum to the other. I like to think I’m in the comfortable middle somewhere. I can look like a girly-girl when need be, but I do have my moments when I want to wear something a little sexy. Maybe my wardrobe does suck, but it wasn’t until recently that anyone has said “You need to redo your wardrobe”. The thing is, not much has changed about my style since we moved here other than finding things that weren’t quite as heavy.

I’m beyond baffled. I say, find your own style. Don’t adhere to a certain image to tell you how to dress. Don’t be a cookie cutter Barbie, and don’t be a lady if that’s not you. Me? I’m gonna go bang my head against a wall a few times and try to understand these women.

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