Worst. Christmas. Ever.

I feel like I need to try to sum up Christmas somehow, before the year is over. Only I’m not sure where to start. Be warned that I’m writing this under the influence of MANY over-the-counter cold medications. So. Just saying.

Dave’s been here for the past couple of weeks, and we had a pretty well planned-out agreement of how we’d divide up Christmas. I’d take the girls on Christmas Eve because that’s when we do most of the big stuff in my family (we go to church, have a big meal, etc.). And then after the Santa chaos died down on Christmas morning, I’d hand them off to Dave and they’d have a second Santa thing at his place and spend Christmas Day and night with him. Easy enough, right?

(cue foreboding…)

Last Friday (the 21st), while the kids were with Dave and I was happily in my PJs catching up on movies on my DVR, I started to notice that I felt a little weird. My throat felt scratchy. I shrugged it off as me being paranoid since one of the movies I had just watched was Contagion. Power of suggestion, whatever. I went to bed.

I woke up on Saturday and realized that no, I was really sick. Things got progressively worse.

Sunday, I ended up at a walk-in after-hours clinic.

Them: “Did you get a flu shot this year?”
Me: “Umm… I forgot. But I remembered get both of my kids theirs, so that kinda counts as me being a responsible adult, right?”
Them: “Yeah, not really. You have the flu. Go home and go to bed. Here, take this inhaler to help you breathe.”

The girls were with me on Sunday night, and I knew I was in over my head. My family stepped up and kept them at my parents’ house (since my brother and sister were also there to help). I quarantined myself to my house and tried to sleep it off.

Monday was Christmas Eve, and I spent most of the day sick and miserable. My family missed church services because of me, and my mom and sister made Christmas dinner (which is normally my thing). I also realized that our house was in no condition for any visits from Santa Claus. It was a mess, and there was no way I could get it ready in my current state. I told Catie (since Lucy doesn’t understand the Santa thing yet) that I had texted Santa and that he was going to bring her presents to her Mimi & Pop-Pop’s house instead of ours. I got them to bed at my parents’ house for the 2nd night in a row, barely managed to stay conscious long enough to set up the Santa layout at my parents’ house, then drove home and collapsed.

Christmas morning, I dragged myself out of bed before sunrise and got to my parents’ house at 6 a.m. so I’d be there when the girls woke up. They had a great time, and there are pictures of their beautiful happy faces, but they’re on my mom’s camera. I’ll get them someday. I basically lay on the couch having fever sweats while they opened their presents.

I barely managed to hand them off to Dave later on Christmas morning, then I immediately went to bed. Later that day, my fever spiked up to nearly 104, and I was… out of it. Somehow I called my mom, and she and my brother found me on the kitchen floor with my face pressed up against the refrigerator. Which in my head made sense, because my skin felt like it was on fire, and the fridge was cool. My brother picked me up and they got me to the car and off to the ER we went.

Oh, right, here’s the one picture I posted on Christmas Day. How unbelievably joyous, am I right?

Merry Christmas to me.

Chest X-ray and bloodwork showed… yep. Really, really bad case of the flu. They loaded me up with fluids (because I was dehydrated) and pain meds (which I was incredibly grateful for, until the rebound headache kicked in), and then they sent me home.

Btw, if you can avoid going to the ER on Christmas Day? I highly recommend that you do so. It’s not a happy place to be.

All that to say… I’m kind of ok-ish now. The flu part (fever, aches, etc.), that’s all gone, but the cough got worse and turned into a sinus infection/bronchitis combo. And of course, I am now unable to say that I have bronchitis without thinking of Sweet Brown.


Ain’t nobody got time for dat, indeed.

I have to say, Dave has helped out a lot with the kids while I’ve been out of commission. And yeah, ok, he’s the dad, that’s what dads are supposed to do, but whatever. Credit where it’s due. They’ve had so much fun with him over the past couple of weeks, and for that, I am grateful.

And my family just… damn. I don’t even know how I’ll ever be able to thank them enough. I mean, because of their help, we managed to keep the girls’ lives as normal as possible through all of this, and they’re FINE. Better than fine. Catie decreed that it was the “Best! Christmas! Ever!” Which is funny since that’s exactly what she said last year. And they’ve thought that getting to have sleepovers at their grandparents’ house – with bonus aunt and uncles included – was just an awesome treat. So they’ve had a blast.

As for me, I’m waiting for these antibiotics to kick in aaaaaany minute now, and 2012 can just see itself on out the door, thankyouverymuch.

Liquid Lessons Learned

I did the liquid diet for 5 days.

I also lost 10 pounds in 5 days.

(Yes, I know that’s mostly water weight. I’m hoping actual pounds lost is two. Even that might be optimistic, I don’t know.)

I have also decided, as of the piece of whole wheat toast that I broke down and ate this afternoon, that I am officially DONE with this whole liquid diet experiment.

It was interesting, and I learned a lot about myself – mainly, that I do have more willpower than I ever gave myself credit for, and that it is possible for me to feed the kids without nabbing a bite of their stuff for myself. It’s hard as hell, but I can do it. And hopefully if I can continue to do it long enough, it will eventually become a habit.

I learned how very little it takes for me to actually start to feel satisfied, and that I need to listen to my body cues and pay closer attention to that, to help me control my portions. I think the diet books call that “mindful eating.” The whole idea of putting down your fork in between bites, not eating in front of the TV or computer (damn, that one is HARD for me), that kind of thing. So I’m going to continue to work on that.

And I learned how much better I feel when I’m not full of salty junk food and when I’m really well-hydrated. (Probably TMI, but OMG y’all, the peeing this week. It has been INSANE.) I thought I was drinking a lot of water before, but I learned that I need way more water than I’ve been having. I’ll keep up with that too.

So, hopefully, even though the liquid diet is over, this will be a good launching point for me, and I can keep some of the momentum and continue to lose weight. We’ll see, anyway.

Fingers crossed.

past the halfway point

I’m on day 4 of the liquid diet. How’s it going, you might ask? Well, let’s see…

* Day 1 – Hey, this isn’t so bad!

* Day 2 – Holy crap, somebody is going to die before this week is over.

* Day 2.5, part 1 – I cracked. And let me tell you, that was the most delicious handful of baby carrots I have ever eaten in my entire life.

* Day 2.5, part 2 – I’ve decided that negative-calorie foods (meaning raw celery, plain lettuce, etc. – things that burn more calories in chewing/digesting them than they contain in them) just don’t count. Because OMG, I NEED TO CHEW SOMETHING.

* Day 3 – Major headache, I’m guessing from carb/sugar withdrawal. It sucks.

* Day 3.5 (last night) – The combination of sleep deprivation (thanks to Lucy’s current sinus infection), the aforementioned headache, and the lack of food turned me into a Rage Monster. And that was when I almost hit Lucy.

It was bedtime, and she was crying and kept climbing out of her bed instead of going to sleep, which is not all that abnormal really, but for some reason it just pushed me over the edge. I don’t remember the last time I was that angry. I wanted to hit her. I wanted to throw her down the stairs. I wanted her to just… disappear. For that one moment, I hated my baby.

Instead of doing any of the horrible things in my head, I closed her bedroom door and walked away, and I left her to scream for a while. I essentially put myself in a time-out. I felt sick and my hands were shaking. I texted Greis (who is doing this liquid diet in solidarity with me this week because she is the most awesome friend ever), and I took some deep breaths and tried to calm myself down. Then I went back and got Lucy and gave her a bottle, and she was asleep about two minutes later.

And even though I know that that wasn’t really me, that it was just a lot of external factors overwhelming me, I still haven’t quite forgiven myself for the things that went through my head last night.

* Day 4 – So far I’m ok. Got the kids off to school this morning, no meltdowns or anything. This morning, I weighed myself and I was at a number I haven’t weighed in well over a year. (Yes, I know it’s mostly water weight, but I’ll take it.)

It occurs to me that I’ve made it over halfway already, and I’m grateful for that. I’m not sure if I’ll make it all the way through Saturday, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

Next time the Rage Monster shows up, though, I may have to just bite the bullet and give her some damn carbs already. Because I really don’t want to feel like that ever again.

wondering if vodka qualifies for a liquid diet…

I was debating whether or not to talk about this here, and I decided that not talking about it makes it seem like something I’m ashamed of, so here goes.

I think it’s kind of public knowledge at this point, but I had gastric bypass surgery over ten years ago. (Btw, if you go look at that entry, all of the picture links are broken and I’m not sure where the original files are to try to fix them. I’ll work on that someday.)

I lost about 100 pounds from surgery. It absolutely changed my life and I don’t regret it for one second. But in the past 10 years, I’ve had two pregnancies and a relatively traumatic divorce (hello, several months of post-partum depression/anxiety combined with eating my feelings!). As of today, I’ve regained a little over 30 of the 100 pounds that I lost. I reached a number on the scale that made me panic. I think we all have THAT number in our heads, and it varies for each person, but it’s your own personal “HOLY CRAP!” number. In my case, that panic led me to set up an appointment with a bariatric surgeon.

They ran a lot of tests on me, and found that the space between my pouch (surgically-reduced stomach) and my small intestine has expanded. So, basically, when I eat, everything empties out of my stomach immediately, which is why I’m constantly hungry. And constantly eating. Bad cycle.

So, I could theoretically have what they call a “revision” of my surgery – where they go back in and reduce everything back down to its original post-surgery size. And I’m pretty sure my insurance would cover it. But that also means, you know, HAVING SURGERY. Which was not a big deal when I was 26 and single. But at this point, with two kids who need me to be on my game around the clock, the whole idea of “recovery time” makes it seem like an impossible thing to even consider.

The surgeon I met with suggested that I try a liquid diet for a week. The idea is to sort of hit a “reset” button on my appetite, and to try to kick-start my metabolism. I knew I couldn’t do that over Thanksgiving, so I started it today.

I have no idea what the outcome will be from this, and I’m terrified of failing, but I’m giving it a shot.

So, you know, if I seem a whole lot grumpier and more sensitive than normal for the next week? Well, now you’ll know why.

on Valentine's Day

I was in a little bit of a funk yesterday.

This is the first Valentine’s Day that I’ve been single since 2004. Eight years is a pretty long time.

Also, exactly one year ago (on Valentine’s Day eve) was when Dave first announced that he wanted to split up. I was pregnant with Lucy at the time. So I guess you could say that I now have sort of a sour taste in my mouth about Valentine’s Day. It was never a huge deal to me to begin with, really, but that’s a pretty bad association to have with this particular holiday.

I completely forgot about the Valentine’s Day party at daycare today, so I ended up filling out Catie’s Valentine’s Day cards for her at 10 p.m., after both girls were in bed. Those kids are getting the most slapdash, thrown-together Valentine’s Day treats ever. Seriously, I used Ziploc sandwich bags filled with candy and stickers with the kids’ names on them. I figured that when you’re 4 or 5 years old, you only really care about the candy, not the card, right?

Still, that seems like the lamest Valentine’s Day goodie bag ever. It felt like a huge “mom FAIL” moment, even though I know Catie doesn’t care.

So, yeah, I was bumming pretty hard yesterday.

Then I got some messages from Guy #3. I need to call him something else because the other two guys are really out of the picture now. Oh screw it, his name is Matt. I’m not posting his last name, and there are enough Matts and Matthews in the world that I doubt anyone searching for him is going to stumble upon this blog post by accident.

So, yeah, emails from Matt. He managed to steam up my inbox pretty well. (Note: that is not a euphemism. He’s still in another time zone.) My day was brightened up considerably, as pathetic as that may sound.

And then, this morning, Catie brought me a flower for Valentine’s Day. Sure, it was a fake flower that we already had in the house, but still. I thought that was really sweet.

So, you know, maybe it’s not so bad after all.

Still…

someecards.com - My Valentine runs on batteries.

Sigh. Yeah. Sad but true.

ring around the (germy) rosey

First, Catie got sick.

Then, on Saturday night, when we had our girls’ night out, some internal instinct told me not to drink anything with alcohol in it. I felt tired, headache-y, and run-down, and I knew that drinking would make me feel a lot worse, so I didn’t. Not a big deal, I figured I was just tired.

Sunday, I woke up full-on sick. (Side note to all of the ladies who were with me on Saturday night: I apologize if you caught my germs!)

This virus has now taken out both me and Lucy. (And let me tell you, taking care of a sick baby when you feel like death yourself? Not fun.) We’re both coughing and congested. Lucy decided to throw in some fever and diarrhea just for good measure, which was enough to get me to haul her off to the pediatrician’s office.

Sick Lucy is trying her hardest not to act sick.
She’s trying her best to still be a sweet and happy baby in spite of it all. “Miserable” is not this child’s baseline personality, to say the least.

Lucy was deemed fine – no ear infection (my main concern), just a really nasty virus.

Today, my dad woke up sick. And my mom said she feels like she’s coming down with something, too. And so it continues.

2012 is not getting off to the best start. I know it’s just winter and the stupid dry air in the furnace and the germs at daycare and all of that. But I will be really happy when The Plague has left our house.

Until then, I need to go buy some more DayQuil. I’m chugging that stuff like there’s no tomorrow.

New Year's meme for 2011

Well, this is probably going to be depressing, but it seems to be my annual tradition…

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Got separated. Hired a divorce attorney. A lot of other things I’d rather not remember.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I just checked last year’s meme, and this was my resolution:

Sometime in late spring/early summer, I plan to deliver a happy, healthy, preferably human baby. Let’s see how it goes!

So, yeah. I did that. Yay me! I didn’t make any other resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
ME! Plus about a hundred or so other friends and family members.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my dad’s cousin (sort of like an uncle to me). He was a very sweet man, and he’ll be very missed.

5. What countries did you visit?
Huh. I’m not even sure if I left the state of North Carolina this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Stability. Calmness. Serenity. Less drama. Two kids who sleep through the night in their own damn beds. Little things.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 31st – Lucy was born.
August 9th – Dave and I separated.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I went from a temp employee at my job to a permanent employee in February. That was a pretty big deal at the time.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My marriage. Enough said.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major, no.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Technically my health insurance paid for it, but I’m going to say it was the epidural when I had Lucy.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mom. I hope that my kids grow up and know that 35 years from now, if they need me, they can call me and I’ll drop everything to be there for them. If that ends up being true, I’ll consider myself a successful parent.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I refuse to answer this for legal purposes. If you know the inside scoop on my life, you can probably guess.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare. Lawyers.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The arrival of Lucy. The sale of my house.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Most stuff by Bruno Mars. For this reason.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Most definitely sadder. But optimistic because I know it’s temporary.
b) thinner or fatter? Well, I’m not pregnant anymore, so I guess I’m thinner.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer. So much poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Traveling. Reading books. Doing fun stuff with my girls.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Moping. Yelling. Crying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home with Catie, Lucy, my parents, and my siblings. It was really nice.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
No. Sort of the opposite, in fact.

Unless you count falling in love with your kids, because…

And then the little one noticed my camera.

My god, yes. Them.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Not sure I had one. Probably Hoarders.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
See question 13 – no comment.

24. What was the best book you read?
I don’t think I finished a single book that I started this year.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Piano Guys. Who knew I’d ever have an obsession with the cello?

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
My parents moved here. We sold our house. I found a rental house for me and the girls.

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
A sense of closure.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I’m suddenly completely blank. Did I see any movies this year that weren’t animated? I mean, I took Catie to see “Gnomeo and Juliet” and “Rio,” but those aren’t on my list of fine quality films, so… yeah. I don’t know.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35. I don’t think we did anything since I was pregnant and miserable.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my marriage hadn’t fallen apart, that would’ve been nice.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Total lack of fashion, all functional. I’m working on fixing that, though. I bought some cute boots as a Christmas gift to myself, and my goal is to try to take the time to make myself feel cute, because I feel a lot better about myself when I do.

32. What kept you sane?
It’s probably bad to answer this question with Lexapro, but… yes. Lexapro.

Also, my friends and family who let me vent whenever I needed to. Y’all know who you are. And you’re awesome.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I will admit that I have a huge crush on Matt Paxton, the extreme cleaning guy on Hoarders. Because I love the idea of a man who knows how to clean up after himself. That Corey dude isn’t too shabby either.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Probably the Amendment 26 vote in Mississippi. It’s my home state and I still get worked up about a lot of political issues there. This is one of the few times one of their elections turned out the way it should have.

35. Who did you miss?
I missed my Grandmother a lot this year. She’s Lucy’s namesake, and sometimes I look at my two girls and think about how much she would have adored them. She died 15 years ago, and I still miss her. My sister and I wore some of her jewelry to church on Christmas Eve this year.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
My new friend Tanya, another single mom at Catie’s daycare, who has been an invaluable resource to me over the past few months. It helps to have a friend who’s been through all of this stuff before, and survived to tell the tale.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Sometimes the people you thought you knew the best, turn out to be complete strangers to you.

Also, I can survive a lot more than I ever thought I could. Who knew?

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“Soap and water
Take the day from my hand,
Scrub the salt from my stinging skin,
Slip me loose of this wedding band.”
— Suzanne Vega, “Soap and Water”

(Yeah. I told you this was going to be depressing. Sorry.)

So, happy new year everybody. Let’s hope 2012 is far, far better than 2011.