Sunday, June 18, 2017

Reconnecting with a Dear Friend

Eleven years ago, I stopped seeing my therapist - and yesterday, I started again.  It was just like old times - and I gave her the 15 minute summary of the last eleven years - primarily focused on events with H. since it's him that has prompted me to add back a third party objective listener - to only me.

She was able to see me at 8:30 yesterday and I was thrilled to have a Saturday appointment.  It's at least 3.5 hours out of a day and that's pretty hard to do on a work day.  We've booked again for four weeks from yesterday - she's leaving for Europe this week and four weeks feels about right.

The drive to/from Hayward (our old home town) was easy and not too long on an early Saturday and I arrived with time to procure an iced tea and easily refresh my memory on the 'where's' of Hayward.

I came to a startling realization this past couple weeks:  H. is me 30 years ago.  He's having some pretty serious emotional and mental health issues - and like I did at his age, he's doing a good amount of 'tamping down' everything.  Trying his best to appear 'normal' - like everything's fine.  Which only makes all the insanely absurd, stupid things that have happened (and keep happening) even harder to deal with.  Turns out?  He's not that 'ok' at all and he is finally coming out of a long, long battle with a lot of conditions that have necessitated him to see professionals and take medications to manage it all. Sounds familiar - right?  Except unlike me, he isn't functioning much at all - and it's a constant struggle these days for every.little.thing.

Upon realizing that I've been threatening repeatedly to kick an emotionally fragile person out into the streets, I told him 'as long as we have a roof, you have a roof'.  And I meant it.  He cried.  Relief just swept over him.

Relief did not exactly sweep over me - because again, this could be a while and while I am OK with it, it's still frickin' hard having him here.  The same issues crop up - lack of communication; failure to get the initiative to do the simplest thing.  And the manipulation continues.  He misinterprets conversations and then relays a wrong conversation to the other parent which allows him to do whatever it is he intended to do in the first place...and this pattern repeats over and over.  He doesn't connect the two conversations and the mispresentations - I'm really coming to understand that he isn't connecting much of anything.  And it's easy to think he's just some kind of pathological liar or a complete and total flake - but I think it's all a lot more complicated than any of those complexly simple answers.

So we work on being (more) patient and I work on not beating myself up about how hard I've been on him - and kicking myself for not understanding that surely all the ridiculously stupid things that have transpired with him were related to a condition (several conditions, actually) vs. choices he's making. Yes, choices are a part of it - his conditions don't absolve him from responsibility - but connecting the dots of cause and effect is not a natural thing for him - and it may never be.

While it's all a little raw and new and fresh, it's also been a relief to be able to finally 'get' what in the hell is up with him.  Now we just have to work on what do we do to help him.  And for now, the biggest thing we can do is to take off the pressure of having him leave.

Oddly, while he was opening up to us for the first time in a long time - he credits his medications with kicking in so that (he says) he's finally able to be verbal vs. just plodding through every day 'hoping it's better than yesterday - really just trying to get through another day realizing that I'm not getting through it well at all' - he brought up the opportunity to get in on a 3 bedroom house rental that would be around $500 a month.  I sort of did a 'stop for a minute' - when did you moving out somewhere enter back in 'cuz we just confirmed you don't have to worry about that anymore.  Not to mention that he has no way to contribute the $500 a month on his own and we've said 'no' to doing that.  We could - we could afford it - by giving up saving much in any given month - but we're not doing it.

Those odd 'jumps' are the things that make my head hurt - and make me (again) question his motives.

Speaking of head hurts - as I was sitting with J. last night binge watching Season 3 of "Alone".....we totally missed Season 3 and have no idea how that happened - only realized it when we started watching Season 4 and Googled the show and realized 'hey, here's contestants we've never seen before that aren't in Season 4  - my head felt weird.  Sort of hard to describe - not pain, really - but a sensation of 'heaviness' and weirdness.  I thought for a moment 'am I having some kind of TIA?' and I almost said to J. 'something is wrong with my head'.  Around midnight last night, that strange feeling had grown into a monstrous headache - so, so bad, I once again thought 'hmmm...should I get to a hospital'.  But a couple hours later, I started throwing up and realized it was most likely a migraine.  It manifested itself with that weird feeling (an aura but not visual) and went into high gear.  Up all night so, so sick until there was nothing left to toss and then just dry heaves.  J. brought me some Excedrin (I had taken Tylenol in the night but tossed it shortly after) and I curled up in a ball and did not move an inch, praying I could keep it down long enough for it to absorb.  And an hour later, I was feeling better.  Still headachy but I was able to sit up and not throw up for the first time all night.  I've been down stairs for about 1/2 the day (still in my PJs) and ate some saltines with light peanut butter and jelly and drank a couple 8oz cans of regular, sugary Coke - my go to stomach soother from days of morning sickness.

I have a friend at work who's been out a lot with migraines and I've been gently nudging her on 'you've got to identify your triggers - once you know what sets it off, you can often preempt it before it starts'.  I have no idea what triggered mine 'cuz I haven't had one like that in over 12 years (at least). I did take a long nap yesterday so maybe that amount of sleep was just too much - who knows?  I rarely nap so....and I sure won't risk napping again anytime soon.

I'm relieved because I have a board meeting tomorrow night and if I had been suffering from flu, I'd be toying with missing the day tomorrow - and as it stands now, I think I will make it.  J. is going to make me a hamburger and tater tots for dinner and I'm going to head to bed super early tonight.  I'll keep the bucket and wet wash cloth nearby just in case but I'm pretty sure I'm over the worst of it. The makers of Excedrin are miracle workers, in my opinion.

The hotel-like safe we ordered arrived so we have to figure out where to put it - then set it - then fill it.  This time next week, we'll be in Reno - can't wait.

And we applied for the Safe Traveler Global Entry designation to (hopefully) make our travel easier. Guarantees TSA precheck (so no taking off shoes, etc.) and should make clearing customs easier as well.  We're world travelers so we're acting like it!

Happy Father's Day to the only person on this earth I can imagine parenting with.  Thanks for all you did for me today, sweetie.  You are simply the best - and our kids are very blessed to call you Dad.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Major Jackpot

No, not mine.  But after stopping in the bathroom upon arrival, I headed to my favorite machines - just in time to see a lady hit the Major - $4900!  And it was her birthday.  She must play a lot because within a couple minutes, the executive casino host (I got a look at his badge) approached and said 'Hi [insert her name]!  I noticed you were here so I just loaded $250 in free play on your card.  And now I see you hit a big jackpot!'.

I sort of wonder if he somehow flipped a switch and that made her hit the Major?  'cuz I know that can be done.  (Remember when I won the free play in Jackson and it was one massive jackpot after another until the free play was gone - maybe I never wrote about it - but I'm sure that was 'magic' free play.  I've also been at Thunder Valley when a high roller told the host 'I'm not winning' and he said 'let's see what I can do about that'.  And that bank of machine started hitting like crazy - and thankfully, I was still on it!).

I was happy for her but disappointed to see that jackpot reset to $1,000.  But I did pretty well - came home with 50% more than went with so that's a great thing.  It was a really fun day - and I hit a jackpot mid day and brought most of it home - enough to pay for part of the London tickets.  Though thankfully, it's going to fun money.  Didn't hit the Thunder Strike but now could go up again next weekend if it hasn't hit by then.

On the way home, I drove in the most terrifying rain storm ever.  I have NEVER in my life seen so much water - including a 'cloud dump' which dumped so much water at once, my windshield was completely covered.  I couldn't see ANYTHING for several terrifying seconds - and I've never experienced anything like it.  HUGE rain with thunder and lightening.  I thought about trying to pull over and wait it out but everyone slowed way down (thank goodness) and we inched our way through.

R. and H. are 'home' - and we're not sure why since she officially has her own apartment as of today. While I imagine they are both exhausted, I'm not sure why they're spending the night here?  Her kids are in Texas with their dad for ten days so she is going to get the place ready - guess she has 9 days stretching out in front of her so why rush.  (She and H. are very similar in their 'whenever' approach to things).

I'm still a little shocked that we made a fairly spur of the moment decision about going to Europe in October - but we did and we are!  We'd been toying with it for a couple days - and on the way to Costco, I told J. 'I think we should get the airline tickets and then reserve the rooms in London and Paris - we can reserve them to be paid when we are there vs. in advance - the extra expense is sort of like what we would pay for an insurance policy to guard against unforeseen circumstances.  The airline will let us change the ticket (for a fee) so if something comes up, we can regroup and won't have to forfeit the hotel expense.

We're staying at the same place we stayed in London when we went on our Groupon trip a few years ago - in Kensington.  And in Paris, we're staying at our 'place' - the Mayfair Hotel across from The Tuileries.  The Paris hotel is more expensive and I'm sure we could have found something less expensive - but as J. said 'it's what we know'.  It's in a very central location within walking distance of the Musee d'Orsay, the Louvre and other nearby fun places - including the six story department store!!  I'm planning to take an empty suitcase just in case - and we will do laundry the  last night in London before we head to Paris so we can pack a little lighter.

Time to head upstairs and get ready for bed.  I'm tired.  White knuckle driving in a torrential atmospheric river of a downpour is exhausting.


Kew Gardens, Here We Come!

Two tickets to London and hotels in London and Paris are booked!  We are super excited...though for the first time ever, I hesitated ever so slightly when it came time to click 'book' on the British Airways site.  These are scary times we live in and it did give me pause.  But then J. reminded 'we could just as easily be killed by a drunk driver so...'.  When our time is up, it is up.  Period.  And we're not letting fear stop us from going and doing.  So come mid-October, here we go!

So top of my list in London is visiting the Kew Gardens to see the 'human beehive' installation - a large metallic bee hive sculpture that uses lights to represent the bee activity.  I can't wait to see it after reading about it since it was first installed a year or so ago.

J. and I trekked to Costco together - $375 later we were home.  The lady at the check out counter knows him - only this time, he had to tell her 'cart and all this on the belt'.  (He usually just arranges everything in the cart and they scan and he's done).  I said 'he brought me - I'm the stuff on the belt'. Some of which we will be taking back.  I buy things to see the fit and when they don't fit, they get returned.

R. moves into her new apartment today so we haven't seen H. all weekend.  There's a lot of drama again with H. and I'm struggling with myself - waffling between warm, supportive understanding and pissed off fed up rage.  There's not much in between.  I know I shouldn't be that way but there's just so many things that are just so ridiculous.  Hard to be supportive of someone who's lied to your face repeatedly for months.

I think I'm going to enjoy a day at Thunder Valley chasing the Thunder Strike jackpot - it's a pretty day for a drive and I'm ready to WIN BIG!!  (Come on karma - come on!).

Friday, June 09, 2017

30 of 31

Working all those days in May paid off - here it is the Friday before the first round of budget meetings (next week) and I'm off!  My boss graciously offered to let me skip the 'retreats' - most were school site subject matter and while I'm always interested and appreciate hearing about how it goes at the sites and what things come up for a principal, having those commitments off my calendar made a huge difference.  Everything is done, we have an official 'tentative' budget and we're winding down.

It's after 12:30PM and I'm still in my PJ's so yay!

The weather is odd - rain (sprinkles), bursts of sun but mostly cloudy.  I can't decide how to dress..so I haven't.  (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!).

On a whim, I checked out British Air this morning and snared us two round trip tix from SFO to Heathrow in October - Premium Economy! - for under $2600.  That's not the cheapest fair we could have - we could fly coach for 1/2 that - but as I've stated before, Premium Economy is a splurge we feel is well worth it for long haul flights.  Now we're just working on hotels.  I paid $20 to hold the air reservations to give us three more days to confirm - and we're doing our usual 'round and round' discussions as we try to plan.

First, we fret about returning to London and Paris (our current plan) because we've been there, done that.  There's so many other wonderful places - we keep going to the same place.  But the truth is, we love both so much and there's plenty of things we haven't done or seen in each - so why not go back? And yes, there are places I plan to revisit for sure - but I feel more adventurous and braver with each trip because I have been there, done that to some extent.

Then we start to reserve hotels and realize to get the best price, we have to book and pay now - and all the 'what ifs' enter in - what if we can't make the trip for some reason - and we're out thousands of dollars for hotels?  What if we have a health event or some other catastrophic life event.  So we should reserve the rooms and not pay - which can add hundreds of dollars to the cost.  Prepaying is a huge savings but it's risky.

J. checks out the travel agent website we've used before - only they won't just book hotels.  Flights have to be included - and the hotels they suggest are far from where we like to stay - in unknown areas way out of the way of where we've stayed before - which eliminates the comfort factor of 'been there, done that'.

So we're back to deciding how to book and I think we will end up getting the rooms reserved and pay more for not paying now.

And then we get to the 'how to pay for it all'.  All things considered, we're pretty careful with our money and are officially 'at that age' where you think carefully about what you have and how long it will last.  These discussions often leave me fretful and frustrating - because honestly, I could work another 11 years and therefore, we could most certainly open up the coffers easily enough -

We want to travel now while we're both able (physically) and that window is getting tighter by the year.  And while I am still working, which covers the majority of our fixed expenses like our home, etc. - why not travel?  But we would still need to dip into savings quite a bit for this trip which would be hitting our budget not too far before the next cruise and Disney trip in March, 2018, hit - nice problem to have, I realize...but that's a lot of cash to exit the coffers in a short time frame.

I often think as I slog away long days - especially in May which is the hardest month of my year - 'it's all worth it to have a great job that I enjoy and pays well'....but I still get nervous about the money.

I think we're going to DO IT.  And then we can start making lists of things we want to see and do.  I want to go to the Kew Royal Garden FOR SURE...that's my 'must do' in London (OH and the Princess Diana memorial fountain which was closed last time we were there) and return to the Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris - maybe every day.  (Probably not but I might!).

We went to The Gallo Center last night for "Pippin!".  It was an interesting show.  A 'modernized' version and since we've never seen the 'original', we have nothing to compare it to.  The humor was more sexual and baudy than I expected and we both noticed lots of young people in attendance so I wondered if their parents knew what they were getting into.  It was a good show and I'm glad we saw it - but it wouldn't be one I would book to see again.

I was doubly glad to be off this morning 'cuz we got home late and took a little time to unwind before we headed up to bed and a 5:30AM alarm would have really been hard if I'd needed to get into work today.

Guess I'd better drag myself in to the shower and get dressed.  I want to get to Target today - it's the season of graduations, weddings and our niece purchased her first home so we want to send her a housewarming gift.  And a few other toiletry items.  Will also gas up my car at Costco....because I may venture to Thunder Valley on Sunday -

I love lazy, carefree days - and I love having budget done.  For now.  A lot to do for planning purposes but at least it's done.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Finally Friday

The budget is 'done' - meaning it's in the system, balanced.  Multi-year projections are documented.  Met with my boss on Thursday to go over things and politely said 'um, no - we're not going to make those changes now'.  I did agree to make a quick, easy change - but making massive budget reductions in advance of presenting our status?  No.  Not going to do that.  We've known we'd need to make some reductions and we will - that process will be my next huge project.  Yay.  It's never ending.

I took yesterday 'off' though I did head in early to be there for a breakfast birthday celebration - for me!  Fresh bagels, fresh fruit and cupcakes!  Great way to start the day and I headed out about an hour later full!  Stopped for iced tea and the bank and then headed out for a day of casino hopping.

I had a fun filled day and played long and hard all day.  Didn't come home with much but...it was a birthday celebration and so I played my heart out.

I returned to Jackson Rancheria - haven't played there in over a year...and I have to say that going back, it felt like home.  Thunder Valley assaults your senses when you enter - it's jammed full of noise and lights and loudness.  Jackson feels welcoming.  It's quieter, more serene and the staff is super kind and friendly.  I headed to my favorite machines to find them full and people waiting for a chance to get on them.  So I wandered and played other things...couldn't find Lock It Link anywhere so tried a new row of machines - pretty fun and hit a lot of small minis and minors that kept me playing.  I finally found a casino person and asked 'do you have Lock it Link anywhere?' and she looked it up - sure enough!  They were right behind where I played the other 'new' machines - dang it!  I'd rather have put more money into Lock it Link - but oh well.  I played and did OK and should have left mid-way through - but it was really fun to just play.

I also started at Black Oak and while it is a pretty drive, it's not my favorite place to play.  The staff is grumpy.  But the drive between Black Oak (in Tuloumne) and Jackson is super pretty - windy, country back roads.

It was a lovely day - and I needed it.

I'm hoping to get to brunch with H. today - he's been working hard on cleaning the entire family room tile floor grout - R. returns from Arizona tomorrow and he's missed her.  I hope to be able to just chat with him - there's hardly any opportunities for that lately.  It's a hard transition for a mom - he's with her and the 'big' things in his life are shared with her.  Though it's complicated because he lives with us...(and technically, so does she until her apartment is ready on June 10th) so he's still here and I still want to know things -

I'm going to work a bit this afternoon just to keep plowing through.  We have Admin Retreat scheduled for three mornings this coming week and though my boss has assured me I 'only need to attend for part of it' (based on topic), it will still put a crimp in the time I have available to keep working through budget.  There's tons of supplemental forms yet to do and I need to work on a Power Point presentation as well.

Hoping (maybe) to be off tomorrow to celebrate my 57th!  On the downhill side towards 60. Geez...time goes so fast....


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Day Before He Turns 24

H. told J. 'I think Mom forgot my birthday'.  J. asked him 'why do you think that?'  and added 'you came out of her womb, H..  Trust me, she hasn't forgotten'.

I hadn't forgotten.  I just never see him these days - we are ships passing in the night.  I texted him this afternoon with a cheery 'H!  You are 24 tomorrow!  What do you want for your birthday?'

He called me (later) to tell me that he and R. (yes, a new member of the 'family' albeit vicariously) had a chance to head to Tahoe tonight and return Friday.  Their friends are in a timeshare for a week but R. is heading to Arizona with her family on Saturday (for a week) so she has to get back.  They were heading to H.'s school so he could take the final he has tomorrow - they apparently have a testing zone for students who can't make it at the time scheduled - so he went to take tomorrow's final today.  I hope this goes OK.  Otherwise, he just blew off a final.

We gave him a generous gift of birthday money - not an insane amount but enough for some fun in Tahoe and then reminded him to save enough to buy a PS4 game he wants.  The amount we gave is 'it' - no other gifts will be procured.  I asked if he wanted a cake over the weekend and he suggested we bake some cookies - I think I can wedge that in.

I worked all weekend and most of the day Monday on budget stuff and felt reasonably good - but Tuesday and today were filled with a bunch of other 'stuff' - and I dove back in to budget late this afternoon and realized just how much I still have to do - so tomorrow and Friday (and all weekend long - including the holiday) are very likely going to be filled with more budget stuff.  Oh well.  I'm hoping I may be able to place myself in lock down mode tomorrow to plow through - but there are always interruptions.

I don't feel nearly as exhausted as I remember feeling last year so that's good.  Maybe my morning vitamin and CoQ10 are helping - I feel like they are.  I've been raving about CoQ10 - such a huge difference in my energy level, focus and concentration.  Huge, huge improvement in all - good thing 'cuz I need it.

So J. and I are empty nesters for the next 48 hours or so...feels nice to not be 'on edge' about who's here; who's staying for the night; who's arriving late.  This morning when I came downstairs, I went to the kitchen and got my coffee going - then rushed to take Chloe out.  I kept hearing something...couldn't figure out what it was - someone had been downstairs within 40 minutes before and started a load of laundry.  It's just a weird vibe these days - we honestly rarely see H. and when we do?  He's rushing back up to the Love Shack.

Hopefully this time next month, she will be in her own apartment and at least she won't be spending the night here all the time.  Or at least I hope not.  I think we will set that expectation - not that I'd mind on occasion?  But not every night.

We can't wait to be empty nesters again -

Survivor finale is on so I'll sign off for now.



Saturday, May 20, 2017

We Knew it Was Coming

I spent a nice morning at home and headed to the office mid-morning.  Making good and steady progress on the budget and little by little, it's coming together.  There are a lot of moving parts and I just do one thing at a time and as I think of more things to do or double-triple check, I jot them in a notebook.  Things get highlighted as they are done and one by one, things come off the list.  I hope to be combining my five models into one model early next week and then it will be some final checking and tying to our District's LCAP plan and then on to the State software and all the associated reports along with the 18 pages of detailed assumptions.  Followed by a memo and Power Point to explain it all.  Yikes..that's  a lot.  No wonder I'm tired!

We received notice from the DMV today that H.'s license is suspended effective mid-June.  We're not surprised.  His 'trial by declaration' didn't go in his favor so with that point added, he lost his driving privileges for six months.

He doesn't know yet - J. let him take his car to go to the lab and get blood work - and also help R. (his girlfriend) continue to move things to storage and get out of her (now sold) home.  He hasn't been in touch since he left and frankly, we have no idea where he is.  That's a familiar theme lately.  The two of them disappear for hours on end - no word where they are; when they'll be back.  Or he says when they'll be back only that doesn't happen.  It's the same shit all over again only the difference is there's another person involved.  I often feel like she encourages him to be non-communicative - somehow convincing him he doesn't have to report in to the people he lives with who have supported him six years past the point where we legally have to.

He turns 24 on Thursday....hard to believe.

Earlier this week, QVC phoned asking to speak with me.  I was inclined to just not take the call, but I did.  Good thing.  They let me know that though my last purchase with them was in 2014 (a recliner chair we have by the pool), someone had tried to use my email address to access my account - clearly trying to 'guess' my password.  They cancelled the account to prevent further attempts...which is fine 'cuz QVC isn't something I do much.

Makes me nervous.  I asked J. 'do I cancel that email address?' (Which I've had since we were married and use a lot).  He said 'no, you're email is everywhere....they couldn't get in because they didn't have your password.  I DO think I will be looking at all the accounts where that email is used and either changing the logon to be non-email and/or beefing up my passwords.

J. and I just watched "The Accountant" - we had seen it on the cruise (sort of) - didn't really sit down and watch it but had it on while we were in our cabin.  Today, we watched it and read a synopsis online to help us figure it all out.  Fascinating movie - very complex - I think I want to watch it again now that we've read about it more and have the characters a little more figured out.

Time to head up to bed - get a good night's sleep.  J. is playing music at church tomorrow - I'll do what I did this morning:  linger over an extra cup of coffee; piddle around the homestead a bit and then head out for some more budget work.

I feel pretty good about the budget which only leads me to think 'I must be forgetting a ton of stuff'.


Reconnecting with a Dear Friend

Eleven years ago, I stopped seeing my therapist - and yesterday, I started again.  It was just like old times - and I gave her the 15 minute...