Friday, September 30, 2011


Okie dokie. Where were we?

Well, I haven't been able to blog because I've had to take my computer in to work and leave it there for a few days. FINALLY taking that P.O.S. Vista operating system off and replacing it with Windows 7 in an effort to get it ready for a work-from-home scenario. There are just too many programs that won't run on Vista for me to even try to keep using that system.

So Windows 7 was installed yesterday, but we had to completely wipe my hard drive to do it. Good thing I backed everything up on an external drive last weekend. Well, everything except iTunes. Rats! I have an older iTunes back up, so I'm hoping I won't lose my entire music library. Because that would just suck. Now we need to set up the VPN client and add other software. I'm hoping to bring the computer home for the weekend.

On the health front, lots of squishing, smashing, poking, and prodding on Tuesday for the mammogram and colposcopy. You know, I think a mammogram is a rite of passage. You don't need to have one if nothing is wrong until you're 40, then it's a recommended part of health maintenance. Let's just say I'm beginning to feel like a mature woman. But I don't think I ventured into the "woman of a certain age" territory just yet.

I received the mammo results today—all clear. Now just waiting on the colposcopy. Can I just say that procedure is a bitch! I'm very thankful I took a sick day on Tuesday because I was out of commission after that appointment due to severe cramping. Oh, and my doctor has put me on restricted activity—no strenuous exercise, no heavy lifting, and no nookie—pretty much until I get the fibroids taken care of. Which means Scoob is going to be stuck doing most of the loading and unloading for the move since he seems to classify anything over 8 oz. as "heavy" when I'm lifting it.

On the heart attack front, I got a bill for the first doctor visit that started all this—$565!


Okay, if an office visit with my primary care doctor for a routine physical was $565, what are all the other things (ultrasound, blood work, GYN appointment, mammogram, colposcopy) going to be? I was fully prepared to spend hours in automated voicemail hell yesterday trying to get to the bottom of it. Amazingly, I got a human on my first try. And 15 minutes later I was told to disregard the bill. Apparently it hadn't been submitted to my insurance company. Whew!

On the furry front, Scoob and I were talking over the weekend about logistics with the cats and decided to get a harness and leash for each of them. Tank seems to love his harness, but (of course) Dozer hates it. The plan is to keep them harnessed for the move and while they're in the car, we'll attach their leashes to a seatbelt. This way they can get out of their carriers, move around, use the litter box, and just be more comfortable and we won't have to worry about one of them bolting from the car when we open a door.

We did a test run on Sunday, and it went pretty well. Though I'm not sure if that's because they settled into it, or because we gave them a "calming" kitty treat about 30 minutes before putting them in the car. Heh. I do still need to call the vet and get a prescription for kitty tranqs. You know, just in case.

More pictures of the house coming soon, once I get my computer back at home. But the builder notified us that Parade judging happened today, and the Parade of Homes begins tomorrow. She also told us that each of the 6 judges (2 groups of 3) selects a special feature for each house. It looks like one group selected the front entry and elevation of the house as the special feature, while the other group selected the kitchen and laundry area.

To be honest, leading up to this, I didn't much care what other people or the judges thought of how we were building the house, because we're building it for us, not them. But I will say that every time someone comments on how much they like the kitchen, it makes me feel good. Because that kitchen is all me. Scoob let me know if there was something he absolutely didn't like, but other than that, I chose every single thing and feature in there. I took a leap away from traditional with that rock wall. Even though I liked it, it felt like a big design gamble while we were making our selections and convincing the builder and  others that yes, this really was what I wanted to do. Now that the house is complete, it's validating to hear that other people are appreciative of my vision.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Well, I finally managed to get on my computer at home only to spend the last 5 hours trying to sync my phone to iTunes. And still trying. I've managed to reset the phone to factory settings, but still can't seem to get it to synch. Bah!

So, I told my boss last week. About the surgery and about the move. Long story short, I get to keep my job! Just waiting on the final sign off from HR tomorrow then my boss will issue an announcement.

And as my boss so kindly pointed out, my last day in the office is barely over 2 weeks away! Cripes! So I've been spending a good chunk of my time at work creating redundancies and backing information up off my hard drive to the servers at work. Might should do those things on the home computer too. (Practicing my Carolina lingo there.)

Also, the certificate of occupancy was issued on the house, so it's ready to move in!

On the health front, I've found a doctor in North Carolina and have my first appointment set up for a couple days after we get there. So that felt good to cross off my To Do list, though I still need to book a moving truck. I know!

I'm trying to find out what the patient responsibility will be on this procedure from my insurance company, but I feel like I'm spinning my wheels, so that may just have to wait. I'll be spending next Tuesday bouncing from doctor to doctor here—mammogram in the morning followed by a biopsy and then back to the GYN to gather my medical records and get a scrip for pain. I cannot for the life of me figure out why this wasn't called in after the last appointment, but over-the-counter ibuprofen and naproxen are not cutting it anymore.

Grrrr. Phone is still not cooperating. Well, I can't decide if its the phone or iTunes. I may have to install a new version of iTunes and try again. Fluffernutter! What should have taken 15 minutes is going to keep me up all night. I guess that'll teach me to synch it more regularly.

In the meantime, we got more pictures! These are from a few weeks ago, but the photographer just put them online.

The front room with the finished fireplace.

The front door. First time I've really gotten a good look at it.

Laundry/mud room entry from the garage, looking into the kitchen.
(I see appliances!)

Stainless farmhouse sink and our first look at the rock wall.

Kitchen island with a view.

Wide view of the kitchen from the front room.

The appliances that caused so much trouble.

First peek at the landscaping. That's the kousa dogwood.

Red maple on the right and crape myrtle on the corner of the house.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


So, I went to the gynecologist this morning and her recommendation is surgery, and since I still want to try and have children, it will need to be an open abdominal surgery instead of a hysterectomy. Since surgery is needed, whether here or in NC, the question becomes more about timing.

The first available surgery date they have is Oct. 4. Minimum 4–6 week recovery time (though I would be cleared for driving at 4 weeks). That would put us driving cross-country and listing the condo for sale in early November. Not too bad. That's really only a 2–3 week delay to what we were planning anyhow.

But then the doctor started talking about follow-up—she had the strong opinion that the doctor ordering or performing the surgery should also be the doctor following up on the surgery and determining whether or not it was successful.

I hadn't really thought of that. My mind has been on action—Cut. Sew. Go! Not on ongoing maintenance.

Crap I feel old today. And I feel totally betrayed by my body.

Never mind the fact that I've completely mentally glossed over recuperation and what the reality of that is. It's not just a few days off from work. It's 2 weeks of doing absolutely nothing before I'll even want to walk again. And 4–6 weeks total of being mostly immobile and relying on Scoob's prowess in the kitchen.

4–6 weeks of earbuds jammed into my ears to block/drown out the neighborhood cacophony with no means for escape.

4–6 weeks of reading the same 2 books over and over because all the others are packed away in the garage. (And let's face it, those steamy scenes start to lose their potency after a few reads.)

4–6 weeks of psychologically pacing the floor while we're miserable in CA when we could be settling in in NC.

All inconveniences, to be sure, but given that this is not an emergency procedure I think it's worth waiting until after the move so that the doctor following up on me has been involved from the pre-surgery stage and so that I can recuperate in a more permanent and calm environment. I'll still need to rely on Scoob in the kitchen, but at least I'll be able to relax in my own bed instead of worrying about how soon we need to get it packed on a truck. And I won't be tempted to push myself to do too much too quickly. Well, I'll still be tempted; I'll just have fewer opportunities.

So, from now until then, my doctor and I will be working on pain management. Well, that and one more test. My pap came back abnormal (This is a surprise? Hello, there's a 5.7 cm growth on my uterus.), so now I need a to have a biopsy. My sister summed it up best—"that just sounds like lame sauce with a side of what-the-f*ck." (Sorry grandma.) I love my sis. Though it is unfortunate because this is now my favorite phrase and it's not one you can just whip out at the office.

And, speaking of the office, tomorrow is the big day. We're 4 weeks from our move and I finally get come clean with my boss and tell him we're moving. I doubt he'll be able to tell me tomorrow whether or not I can keep my job. He'll have to kick it up to his boss, who'll probably have to kick it up to corporate. I certainly wasn't anticipating all this other stuff to be happening at the same time. But it is. And we'll deal with it.

If I'm not able to keep my job (and my health insurance)? Well, we'll deal with that, too, if it happens. I can always go on COBRA, or Scoob and I can go find the nearest judge and make our 9-plus–year relationship official in the eyes of the state so I can get coverage through his health plan. Romantic, no?

(I'm sure this is precisely what anti-gay marriage campaigns are trying to preserve when they're talking about the sanctity of marriage. People get married for all sorts of reasons; it's the bonds between people, married or not, that are sacred.)

Friday, September 9, 2011


Oh. My. I so feel like I’m being tested.

I feel like I’ve been doing okay with juggling all the things that have been going on since we decided to build our home last November. But I gotta tell ya’, this last week has got me just about ready to drop everything and go live in a cave.

In addition to the friendship blow up last week (which now seems to be on hold, I don’t know), it’s also the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. As you may know if you read my older blog, 9/11 was the day my previous partner was diagnosed with leukemia and our worlds turned upside down. He didn’t survive. So generally, the week leading up to 9/11 is an emotional time for me.

Add to that my recent (as in just found out this morning) heath issues and I’m ready to go hide out in a cave. With some chocolate. And maybe a case of wine.

So, last Friday I started feeling some abdominal pain but didn’t think much of it as I was also ready to ovulate. You see, for the last year/year-and-a-half, I’ve experienced some cramping with ovulation and didn’t think much of it. After all, muscles must be contracting in order to move the egg down the fallopian tubes, right?

So Saturday, the pain was a bit worse. And Sunday, a bit more worse. By Monday I couldn’t bend over to pick something up off the floor, tie my shoes, or lean forward to wash my face over the sink without pain. I was pretty useless. So I made a doctor appointment for Wednesday. Turns out I was also due for my physical and pap, so we did those too. I figured I might as well take care of it before we move since I’ll still need to find a new doctor once we get to North Carolina.

I discussed the pain with my doctor, which was followed by a lot of external prodding. Not a ton of pain; but tender in spots. Then the pap. The speculum hurt so much I nearly kicked my doctor in the head. The came the pelvic exam. Oh cripes, I just about hit the ceiling from the pain. My doctor ordered an ultrasound, which I did yesterday. And I got the results this morning.

I have a 5.7 cm uterine fibroid (tumor) in my uterus. It doesn’t appear to be cancerous, and I have an appointment with a gynecologist on Tuesday to discuss treatment options. Though, given the size (quite large I’m told) surgery will probably be necessary.

So here’s the thing. I looked up the symptoms and guess what? I’ve been complaining about various symptoms for several years.

  • Heavier menstrual bleeding (contributing to anemia and fatigue, which may also help explain my fainting spells in early August) (Yeah. I know I didn’t say anything about it here when it happened, but I lost consciousness 3 times in 1 evening. Very weird. I don't think I've ever fainted before.)
  • Feelings of fullness and pressure in the pelvic area
  • Constipation
  • Backache
  • Painful intercourse
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Enlargement of the lower abdomen (well hell, no wonder I can’t get my tummy to shrink at all and it always looks like I’m about 4 months pregnant)

Some of these symptoms seemed to clear up on their own and my doctors (I’ve had 3 different health plans over the past 5–6 years) didn’t investigate further. In fact, I’ve been upset with my current doctor because that seems to be her approach, “These things tend to resolve themselves. Let’s wait and see.”

But I will say this for her, when she finished the exam on Wednesday, she believed my pain and told me unconditionally that she would get to the bottom of it. No more wait and see, though at that point she was thinking ovarian cyst. I only wish she could have linked the symptoms together sooner.

Anyhow, so now there’s this to cope with during an already stressed out time. I honestly didn’t think I had room for more, but I guess we all do what we have to do, rise to the occasion, persevere (or preserve, ☺), and all that.

I’ve been planning to tell my boss about the move next Wednesday—one month before we move—but now I’m wondering what this health issue is going to do to our timeline. If I have to have surgery I feel like I should do it here with my doctors rather than rushing to find a new doctor there who doesn’t know me or my history at all.

Or, what if I don't get to keep my job with the move and I don't have health insurance at all? Okay, that's a scary thought. Scoob and I may have to rush things and go ahead and get married. (Yes, I know we've been engaged for years, so "rushing" probably isn't the right word, but we haven't planned anything yet, so in that sense it's rushing.) Then there’s the timing of the surgery. Can we schedule it before the move? What’s the recuperation time?

And then again, I don’t have all the information yet, and I won’t until I meet with the gynecologist on Tuesday. So I’m really just pointlessly spinning the little hamster wheels in my brain. Until I know more, all I can do is tuck it away and try to maintain.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


It's train weekend at the farm again. I know this happens every Labor Day weekend, but it still seems to come around far too often. Unfortunately, we've got lots to do in the house, so escape is not an option.  Can't wait until we're in our new home where the most bothersome sound is likely to be a noisy bluejay or woodpecker.

On the other hand, friendships in North Carolina seem to be dissolving. In a bad way. And I'm not looking forward to moving into the emotional quagmire it seems to be degrading into. Our friends are under the impression that we've said or done something to intentionally hurt them, but will not tell us what it is that we've said or done.

I can't help but think that, since I went to NC by myself this last trip, it's really got more to do with something I said or did. I don't think I did anything hurtful. Neither one of us wants to deny outright any wrong doing because it's always possible that something was said without thinking, someone took something the wrong way, blew it out of proportion, or took something out of context. And if one of us did say or do something, we'd like the opportunity to own up to it and know what we're apologizing for. But without knowing it's next to impossible to set things right.

Anyhow, this friendship sort of blew up in our faces this weekend, and Scoob and I spent most of yesterday trying to get to the bottom of it only to be meet with vitriol and vague statements about what we've supposedly done. I know it's bothering Scoob, though he's not one to wear his emotions on his sleeve. As for me, it was just within this past year that I began to feel comfortable enough around these people to feel they could be friends to me as well as Scoob. And it's killing me to think I may have said or done something to ruin what has been a 20+-year friendship for Scoob. But the way things are progressing, I can only assume they don't want to set things right and just want to wash their hands of us.

While this friendship isn't the reason we're moving, it was this friendship that helped us discover North Carolina in the first place. It was also this friendship that kept us from feeling like we were moving to a place where we didn't know anyone. Most of the people we've met during our visits were through these friends, and I can't help but think that now we're not only moving to a place where we know no one, but that we're also moving to a place where people will have a poor opinion of us before we even get there due to the fallout from this friendship. I know I'm assuming the worst; that's what I do. But I sincerely hope that is not the case.

So enough of that. If they don't want to tell us exactly what's wrong, there's no way to fix it, and honestly, we've got enough things to stress about right now—we've still got last details for the house, coordinating the sale of the condo, our jobs, and the actual packing and moving to contend with. It's not that this friendship isn't important to us, but we're having a difficult enough time taking care of each other through all this and keeping our relationship strong; we've only got so much energy and can only spread ourselves so thin. Even so, I was up most of the night worrying about it. It's just such an ugly feeling and I don't have room for it.

So, yeah, enough of that. We meet with the real estate agents again on Friday and started taking photos for the pre-launch on the condo sale. I think they got some really good shots, but they'll probably take more photos once we've moved out. With the furniture gone, the place will look much larger.

There was some discussion about listing the condo now, but I absolutely do not want to show the condo while we're still living in it—there's no way we could show it in it's best light with us trying to pack at the same time; it will only be obvious to a potential buyer that the unit does not have enough storage optrions. So the agents will send out an "available soon" listing to other agents in the area to begin generating interest but won't put it on the MLS listings until we're out.

If they get an interested and bank-approved party from the pre-launch, we'll gladly let them in to see the interior. But once the MLS listing goes out, the house needs to available for anyone who wants to view it. I just don't want to have to let everyone in at this point; there's enough stress already, we don't need to also be living on the edge, ready to grabs the cats and vacate the premesis on a moment's notice so people can see the condo.

We still haven't decided what price to list the condo at. We'd like to get as much money as we can back out of the sale, but we also want to sell it quickly so we're not paying mortgage on an empty house. There was another unit in our complex that was under contract for a good sum, which would have raised the market value for our unit as well, but something happened and the unit is back on the market. Our agents are coming over this afternoon and we'll go look at the unit with them to see what our competition is.

That said, I should probably gulp down the last of my morning coffee and get ready. I just need to tuck away whatever stress and anxiety I'm feeling about our friendship in NC so we can take care of what we need to take care of here. Prayers and general good vibes are greatly appreciated.