I Was In Crazy Motion

I am the freaking bomb. Some of Ron’s major complaints about home improvement are that I: 1) don’t use what I have, and just go buy more stuff; 2) that I rarely finish projects; and 3) that it costs too much. The bedroom/bathroom reno project is where I am proving him wrong. So far, I’ve spent less than $1000, and that is on two rooms…and includes buying a new bed. We still have another $500 of vanity and toilet to buy, but seriously, $1500 to renovate a hideous and non-functional bathroom and a fugly bedroom? No complaining allowed on this one!

Of course, there has been a lot of creativity involved. For one thing, our medicine cabinet is a 36 inch kitchen cabinet that was sunk into the wall. It’s great that it is deep and the shelves are adjustable and it holds a lot of crap. However, it just had a thin piece of plywood across the top and bottom, with a giant gap/crack between the plywood and cabinet. To top it off, there were no mirrors on the doors. There isn’t any electricty near the sink right now, either. The previous owners had taken out the linen closet, installed another kitchen cabinet with a tile counter into the closet recess, added a light, a mirror, and an outlet. This was great for blowdrying one’s hair. It was not so great for Ron shaving, or someone brushing their teeth. Unfortunately, custom cut mirrors are extremely pricey. I tried buying a cheap mirror that goes on the back of a door ($5) and cutting it with a glass cutter, which almost worked. The problem was that the back of the mirror was covered in glued on paper; the glass wouldn’t crack correctly. I tried scraping off the paper, but it scraped off the silvering, too. I had to abandon that non-solution.

Instead, I went to the local dollar store, and bought six 8×11 mirrors (including the cheap plastic frame). I knew the measurements of the cabinet, but I wasn’t sure how big the mirror really was inside the frame; was it covered, held in with glazer pins, or glued on? Turns out they were held in with glazer pins (those little black things that you bend back and forth to keep the back of a picture frame on). Luck of all lucks, they fit in the cabinet perfectly when I turned them landscape and stacked them one above the other. They are too narrow, but some trim will fix that, so that doesn’t bother me. Yes, there are seams where the mirrors meet, but it’s not too shabby. I even got to implement a recently learned skill; I attached the mirrors with Kwik Seal Plus (kinda like Liquid Nails). Will had shown me how to use the Liquid Nails, but he used it all. I rummaged in the shed and found the Kwik Seal, slathered it on the backs of the mirrors, then held the mirrors in place with blue painters tape overnight. I also used a caulk gun (another new skill) and sealed up all the cracks on the cabinet. I have a little sanding to do, but it’s going to look awesome. I already had everything in the shed (no telling how old that Kwik Seal is) except for the mirrors. Six mirrors; cost: $6

A month ago, I bought an Ikea white scroll iron bed with a foam mattress for $100 off craigslist. It didn’t get put together until night before last. I knew the mattress was a little thin, so I had already bought a fiberbed topper for it, and figured that would make it fine. Uhm, no. Ron came in, laid down on it, and pronounced it horrible. Crap. That meant I needed to either get a mattress set in two days, or figure out some other solution.

It’s hard to find a clean mattress set on craigslist, but with it being near the beginning of the semester, college students have their stuff listed, so there were about 15 listings that I called on. However, most of them are around $100, drastically increasing the cost of the room. Not to mention I would need to find someone with a truck who could help me pick them up. Even worse, no one was returning my emails or calls, or the few that did said their set was gone. Crap again. So this morning, I stood in the doorway and stared at the bed; in my line of sight was also the bare cushions to my Lillberg sofa/loveseat/chair set. My sofa is way too big for the living room, and the Lillberg set, while great if you have pets, is more than a little hard on the ass. I’ve wanted to get rid of it, and I’ve had it on craigslist for a while, but it is still lurking. While it does break down to substantially flat, the cushions take up a lot of room. Out of curiousity (and desperation), I took the covers off all the sofa cushions and laid them out on the bed slats. I had to get a fourth seat back because they are smaller, but three bottoms and four backs made a pretty decent “mattress.” I covered the whole thing with a green king sized sheet that matches the duvet set that I’m reusing in there (the one I love that Ron hates…how can anyone hate Anthropology???), then put the mattress and fiberbed on top of that. Awesome! It’s still somewhat firm, but definitely better than it was. Bed saved, sofa placement solved (flat in the shed!); cost: $0.

The corner window problem was a quick and easy fix. Because the two windows meet in the corner, there isn’t room for a finial on one of the curtain rods. Rummaged in the shed again in my hardware hoard and found a flat, 2 inch washer and a screw that just happened to fit perfectly into the rod. I put the curtains back on (after the rod had fallen for the fifth millionth time in a week), put the rod in the brackets, and Yay! it stayed put. I already had the curtains, rods, and the washer; cost: $0.

I’m sure the rooms will evolve (and there are a few more creative solutions that I’ll write about later), but in the meantime, I’ve pretty much only used things that were already in the house, most of which weren’t being used at all. I even dug out a folding screen with 15 8×10 photo frames, and figured Aubrey can fill them up with her artwork. It brightens up the corner nicely! Matt had wanted it ages ago, but after I bought it, he decided he didn’t want it, so it had just been sitting in the closet.

I’ve been working for half hour increments, then resting, and writing while I rest. Time to get back to work. Stay tuned for more ways to use cheap junk your husband wanted you to throw away!

“When something goes right, oh it’s likely to lose me. It’s apt to confuse me, it’s such an unusual sight. I can’t get used to something so right.”

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When Evening Falls So Hard

Just when you think you know who you are, where your life is going, what it’s going to look like, it doesn’t turn out that way at all. Life happens, which tends to throw a curveball at, well…life. Or, as Stephen King once said, “Sometimes, they come back.”

Much as Ron expected and I refused to acknowledge, our baby bird was a little too young to be pushed out of the nest quite yet. Take one emotionally young for her age, chronologically young for her grade, and a still-recovering-from-a-bad-breakup-fragile girl and throw her 2000 miles from home and you have a recipe for a tremendous success, or one hell of a disaster. In our case, we’re somewhere in between. I say we, because although Aubrey is her own person, this is a whole family situation.

Our solution is to keep her home for the next 8 months and see where she is in the fall. Ron wanted her to defer in the first place, but I was adamant. He was sure she wasn’t going to take her meds on time (she didn’t), wouldn’t wake up on time (she didn’t), wouldn’t get enough sleep (she didn’t) and would shut down (she did). I had hoped that she would get a glimpse of this wonderful, perfect life (that apparently only exists in my head, because mean girls are everywhere), and it would snap her into doing all the things she would need to do (it didn’t).

Essentially, we have to start over. We re-parent, but differently. In bed by 11pm. Up by 9am. Meds twice a day, period, no matter what time they are taken. Curfew, job, exercise, routine, routine, routine. This is nearly impossible for me. I have no concept of “routine” and neither do my children. I’m not sure if it is nature or nurture, or medical; does the fibromyalgia cause the sleep disturbances that cause us to be up all night, or is the fibro the effect and the lack of sleep the cause? Not even doctors can answer that one yet. Either way, it makes for great difficulty in planning for the next day. However, if I want my daughter to be successful, that means I have to re-parent myself, too. Routine, routine, routine. So far, I’m failing miserably, but she’s not here at the moment, so I have another week to get it figured out.

This is the downside to sending your incredibly brilliant child to an incredibly easy high school. She skated with way too much ease, and learned absolutely none of the academic discipline to be successful at an incredibly difficult college. I am exactly the same; I absorb knowledge from any and all sources, which enables me to fake my way through a lot of things. Aubrey is an observational learner, watching like a hawk, and remembering details with an accuracy that I once enjoyed and now just envy from afar.

For the next eight months, Aubrey is going to set aside serious school and work on herself, with a lot of pushing from me. I hate to play the “my house, my rules” card, but there it is. I’ve mandated that she see a counselor to work on some of the self-esteem issues that cropped up this fall, and I have some therapy tricks up my sleeve, as well. At the same time, though, she needs to figure out what she really wants, not what she thinks I want. Because there is no way to ever change the fact that we speak in stereo, think the same things at the same time, and can have entire conversations with our eyebrows, for her, differentiation takes a different tactic. She has to figure out how to be different from me beyond that, and it will be hard for her, especially with me being only ten feet away.

The one thing I could get out of her is that she said she’s terrified of me. When I told my friends about it, they agreed that I’m extremely intimidating. When all one speaks is fluent sarcasm, I can see how that could be intimidating, but geez, if I never strangled Matt with all the stupid shit that he did, I think Aub’s pretty safe. What I cannot (and never have been able to) get her to see is that nothing she says or does is going to make me love her any less. It’s the things she doesn’t say that piss me off no end. I want answers, and when I don’t get them, sarcasm becomes a sharp sword. Yes, there are issues that I will also have to work on; I’m just glad that I’ve made progress in other areas, so I can emotionally afford to set those things aside now and do this work instead.

So, we are now in a two bedroom, one bathroom house, bought because we thought we would only have a child for a few months out of the year. Our water heater holds enough hot water for half a shower for half a person. Our dryer just died. Our dishwasher doesn’t. We are halfway through renovating the bathroom, and redecorating a bedroom, so our house looks like an episode of “Hoarders”. In other words, it is nearly impossible for just two people to live in here. Somehow, we have to squeeze in a third? What sucks for Aubrey is that my plan for what will now be her bedroom is not really her taste. I have been dying for a shabby chic room, with all the furniture painted in white, aqua, pink, and cream. Aubrey hates painted furniture and despises most pink. All of her decor is French, fashion, and butterflies. It will be a true test of my decorating skills if I can pull this off somehow.

Fortunately, Aubrey and I are nothing if not incredibly creative. Will has taught me some awesome skills and the secret of “Liquid Nails,” which means no nail gun necessary for doing things like wainscoting and molding. My thought is to flip this house. We can put almost no money into it and get all of our money back out, and find a house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms…and a place for a freaking dining room table.

Ron says no fucking way. He hates home renovation. I pointed out that he doesn’t do ANY of it, other than installing ceiling fans and changing outlets and switches from beige to white. He says it’s still annoying. I’m looking at the piles of stuff everywhere, and I do have to agree. I’d much rather renovate a house I’m not living in. Financially, it’s impossible for us. Instead, we have to navigate the 16 inch pathways and just hope to God that nothing catches fire. Let’s not forget that it takes me four times longer to do anything than it does a normal person. It took me two weeks to paint the bedroom, and that was with a huge amount of help from Will. I’m on week two of texturing the micro-bathroom. At least I’ve got the texturing technique figured out, which is saving me a fortune in not having to pay someone, but it kills my arm and shoulder, so I can only work in small chunks of time.

I have to say that a huge part of me is happy that Aub will be home, just as much as there is a part of me that is disappointed for her. I wanted her to have all of these huge opportunities and live away from home. Somehow, she’s going to have to make her own huge opportunities while living at home, at least for a while. No matter what though, we are going to get through all of this together, as a family. No one in our house has to do anything alone; we lean on each other, although Aubrey has a difficult time doing that. I can only hope that this year, she receives the same gifts that I did last year; healing, the ability to forgive, the ability to ask for help, and the ability to accept that she is loved.

Aubrey has everything that I did not have at her age, and none of the things that I did. She’s not pregnant and not in an abusive relationship. She has a ton of support; from Leigh, who is driving her across the country to bring her and her stuff home; from Will, who wants to be “the cool uncle” that she can talk to; from Rico, who sees things from her perspective, and is able to communicate that to me; from Mara, who will go out of her way to help Aubrey find hers; from Ron, who is always the voice of reason; from Matt, who got her old job back for her; and from me, who will dive in front of a bus, take a bullet, and kick the ass of anyone who dares to say a damn thing about her being home.

Yeah, she has some troubled waters to traverse over the next few months, but we’ll get there.

“When you’re weary, feeling small, when tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all. I’m on your side. Oh, when times get rough and friends just can’t be found, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down. When you’re down and out, when you’re on the street, when evening falls so hard, I will comfort you. I’ll take your part. Oh, when darkness comes and pain is all around, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down. Sail on silver girl, sail on by. Your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way. See how they shine? Oh, if you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind, like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind.”

Some Say I’ll Be Better Without You

It takes a lot for me to let someone inside my heart. Few people have succeeded, other than my husband and children. Not quite a year ago, Isaac left our lives, and I thought that was a pain that would never be repeated. I was so incredibly wrong.

I lost one of my best friends yesterday. One minute, he was in the car, irritating the fuck out of me, and the next, we were on the phone and then he hung up on me. The loss of our friendship signified by the sound of a single click. My heart hurts today. I love him like a brother in this family of friends that I have made. I have watched him do a lot of really stupid shit, but I’ve loved him anyway; I’m not sure if it was in spite of or because of…more likely a little bit of both. However, his latest choice is something I cannot stand by and watch. In all honesty, there is no room for me in his life anymore.

I will miss his laughter, his ADD babbling, his bright and bubbly personality. I will miss how he would randomly grab my hand and start twirling me into a dance. I will miss singing old country and western songs at the top of our lungs. I will miss the fun he brought into my life. Although there are a few things I will not miss, in general, he was one of the best friends a girl could have.

We had just decided to go into business together. Yesterday, both of my male bff’s and I spent the afternoon looking at houses. We had planned to buy an old house that needed work, fix it up, sell it, then do it again. I was so excited, because not only has this been my dream since I was 15, but I was going to do it with people I love. My friend would be the CEO and my husband would be the CFO since he’s an accountant. I would be the project manager, something I could do from my bed on the days that I’m stuck in it. My other male bff is a realtor, so we even had the buying and selling covered. We planned to rehab only homes in historic districts, so we would know that at least OUR house was done correctly, as original as possible, but fresh and updated.

Even as we came up with our business plan, as I researched how to incorporate an LLC, as we came up with a really cool DBA name, as we looked at houses and considered each one, I knew in the depths of my heart that it would never happen. Ever the optimist, I moved forward just as though everything would go as planned, but the pessimist in me kept it in check. I didn’t think it would implode before it ever got started; financially, I know I should be relieved…emotionally, I’m devastated.

So today, Aubrey is showering me with lemon cupcakes and Milky Way Midnights. We are spending the day in bed, watching old episodes of Leverage, after which we will move on to Fringe. I’m incredibly grateful that she’s here. She understands the loss of a friend in the moment it takes a phone to click, a heart to beat, a heart to break.

I wish him the best. I truly, honestly do. I want nothing more than for him to be happy, whether that is with or without me in his life, or he in mine. I hope with all my heart that this latest choice is everything he wants it to be. That doesn’t mean I won’t grieve the loss of him, his friendship, and our dream business. As a mutual friend said, it’s not the end of the world, which I know is true. But it’s still an end.

“But they don’t know you like I do, or at least the sides I thought I knew.”

 

Such A Cozy Room

 Now that the holidays are over, and our organizer had us to the point where we could move (I say had, as in past tense), I decided it was a great time to redecorate the entire house. No, really, I mean the ENTIRE house, inside and out. Will came over and walked me through what was possible, what was smart, and what was insane. Although I don’t agree 100% with everything he said (dammit, that furnace should NOT be in the kitchen!!), it did help Ron and I come to a lot of compromise. Yes, somehow, Will pulled off a miracle.

One of Ron’s main complaints is my constantly overdoing it, which means I end up exhausted, start multiple projects, and never finish anything. Will and Ron made me agree to only choose one project at a time. Of course, my HGTV-washed brain looks at every room and sees 1000 projects that I want to do, and I want to do them ALL RIGHT NOW! How do I choose one at a time??

At first, I thought I would finish off my office. It’s mostly organized, with just a few boxes to go through. Of course, Aub’s been staying in there, so that makes finishing that room pretty much impossible. Besides, even being unfinished, that room is definitely liveable. No, that room will have to wait at least until Aubrey goes back to school.

Then I thought about which room I really hate the most. The kitchen is pretty awful, but no room in (or out) of the house compares to the laundry room. No thousand words can describe exactly how hideous this room is; this requires a picture (or three).

Easter egg? No, the door.

Green, yellow, blue, orange...and don't forget the purple door!

Check out that texture!

I know it looks like a basket-carrying bunny puked. What you can’t see in the picture is the 12-inch blade ceiling fans about two inches from the wall. Not only is it tiny, it’s jammed against the wall. In other words, it is useless. And then there’s the bizarre, unexplainable block of wood that’s screwed into the green wall.

I wish I could say they only used these colors in the laundry room, but that purple, blue, and yellow are the trim all around the outside of the house. Will says the number one thing we need to do is repaint the outside of the house. Finally, something we ALL agreed on. Even so, I’m not crazy enough to paint the entire outside of the house by myself. However, I could handle this tiny little room.

Instead, craigslist intervened. Have you ever read, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”? This is something of a cross between that and a really bad case of “while I’m at it, might as wells”, except it starts with finding the perfect bed; a Leirvik full size bed including the mattress and slats for $100. It was exactly what I’ve been looking for to put in the second bedroom. If I’m going to put the bed in the second bedroom, I have to take out the loveseat and dresser. If I’m going to take out the loveseat and dresser, I might as well switch out Ron’s desk that he hates with the Expedit cubbies and desk that are currently in my office. If I’m going to switch out Ron’s desk, that means the bookcases might as well go. If I’m going to take out the bookcases and switch out Ron’s desk, well then, I might as well paint and put in the quarter-round molding. If I’m going to paint the walls, I might as well paint the ceiling. If I’m going to paint the ceiling, I might as well switch out the ceiling fan with something that doesn’t have a case of the uglies.

See how this works? What seems like a simple project (putting up the bed) becomes as complicated as the Taj Mahal. However, everything in this room is cosmetic except for installing quarter round and the ceiling fan. And it would be kinda nice to have one room entirely done. So I decided to put off the laundry room, and instead I am focusing on the second bedroom. The first day landed me in bed for the next day, and I know that’s how this will go. The important thing is that Ron’s computer (and our internet connection) must remain useable, for however long it takes for me to finish this room. I only have Aubrey for three more weeks, so I have to take advantage of her handiness at such things as cleaning the crud from all around the baseboards and the tops of the door jams.

The part that sucks is I will finally have the house completely the way I want it just in time to put it on the market; the difference between this house and the last house is that this time, I’m not waiting for an impending sale before doing all the honey-dos. I’d like to live in it for at least a little while with it looking like a home, not just a house. We’ll see how it goes.

“Our house is a very very very fine house, with two cats in the yard…”

We Drank A Toast To Now

On New Year’s Eve, I started out writing a very different kind of post than what I am writing now. It was typical, smarmy resolution stuff, and honestly, do you really want to read more of that? No, I didn’t think so.

Instead, halfway through writing the smarm, my husband came in and we started talking. He asked what I was writing about. I told him, and said I wasn’t really happy with it, because it didn’t really say anything new, and my life is so different than it was a year ago, both good and bad. Somehow the conversation turned to our marriage, and relationships in general.

I’m not sure if it’s an advantage or not, but this is my third marriage, Ron’s first. I have a lot more relationship experience, so I know what makes a good one and what makes a bad one. I told him that this year, I felt happy that I had made friends who meet my emotional needs in all the ways that he doesn’t, but that I didn’t mean that in a bad way. He said he felt I was rationalizing our relationship.

I am the queen of rationalization, and I’m the first to admit it. However, I stopped for a moment or two and really examined my feelings. First off, the fact that I’m even able to really examine my feelings is pretty damned impressive. I spent most of my life telling myself that I felt the exact opposite of what I truly felt, so to have the ability to be vulnerable to my own self-examination is remarkable. I probed at it gently, then more seriously, and concluded that no, I was not rationalizing at all.

In all honesty, I am happily married. Ron is unsure of what he thinks and feels. Our life together has been crazy from the beginning. We started out in the usual romantic fashion of, “I’ve never loved anyone the way I’ve loved you,” and “We’re so perfect together.” Now THAT was rationalization. What was really going on in my head was, “Holy crap, I jumped into my second marriage way too quickly, how stupid was that?” Ron’s thoughts were more along the lines of, “Gee, this seems like a great idea!” He didn’t get far enough past that to realize that he was leaping head first into a shallow pool full of giant rocks of Carolyn Crazy. Here was a man who spent almost all of his time alone yet he moved across the country into insta-family; he never expected to have kids, or really even a relationship, and suddenly he had a fiancé, a little girl, and a teenage boy.

Shortly after we moved in together, my fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis symptoms really flared, and I went from being the main breadwinner to not being able to walk, talk, or do any other normal marriage things. But as Ron said, he has always done his duties, or at least, what he perceives as his duty. I’m secure enough now though to admit that most of our relationship was based on obligation at that time. I know there were so many days that Ron dreaded coming home to see me in the same clothes, in the same spot, because I was too exhausted or in too much pain to move.

Fibromyalgia takes a huge toll on relationships, especially for whoever ends up being the caregiver. It is exhausting and depressing to have to continually care for someone who doesn’t have the energy to care for themselves. I couldn’t cook, clean, or even really leave the house, and the worst part was no one could tell us what was wrong with me.

I always say that the Universe communicates with me through the internet. Yeah, that definitely sounds crazy, but honestly, if it weren’t for some random web browsing one afternoon that led me to an article on interstitial cystitis, there is no telling how long it would have been before I was diagnosed. That IC diagnosis eventually led me to my fibromyalgia diagnosis. All thanks to the internet, and the ICA website, which provides a phenomenal amount of information, including clinical trials.

I couldn’t find a doctor who would listen to me, including my doctor of 17 years. I went back to the internet and found that Pfizer had a clinical trial for Lyrica going on in San Antonio with one of the top fibromyalgia researchers in the world. When I went for the trial screening, I had my first tender point exam, and nearly went through the roof. The pain was unimaginable, but I was incredibly happy. Finally, someone was telling me what was wrong; not only did he diagnose me, but he had solutions.

Between hydroxyzine, Lyrica, and a slew of other drugs, I’ve slowly gotten to the point where I have good days and bad days, and on the good days, I can function like a normal person. The problem is that I pay for those good days with the bad ones. A walk along the river with a friend landed me in bed the entire next day, and I could not move without pain.

Besides the caregiving, fibromyalgia can make intimacy nearly impossible. Add in the IC and it really was impossible. Throw all my uterine problems into the mix and suddenly, my intimate relationship with my husband was essentially non-existent.

So last night, as my husband and I talked, he voiced all the normal resentment that goes along with being a caregiver, but also the resentment of being a husband whose wife is minimally functional. Fortunately, a lot of things have changed lately, so we have reason to hope that this year, life is going to be a whole lot better.

For one thing, I was granted Social Security Disability. What a tremendous financial relief! Finally, after seven years, I have income of my own. Ron doesn’t have to feel quite so trapped. Neither do I. Financial contribution to a marriage isn’t a deal breaker, but it does help to make a person feel like they are bringing something to the table. That extra money means I’ve been able to hire help around here, which at the moment consists of my professional organizer, but once everything is in place, it will mean a regular housekeeper.

Another phenomenal difference is, of course, the removal of my uterus. I feel more free without all the anemia and constant abdominal pain. I still have abdominal pain from my IC, but that pain comes and goes, whereas the other pain was incessant.

On top of all that, my meds are better. Because I am highly allergic to most anti-depressants, I was trapped in endless depression, which only made my fibromyalgia worse. Thanks to my sleep doctor diagnosing me with Irregular Sleep/Wake Rhythm Disorder, my regular doctor was able to prescribe Nuvigil for me. Whoa. What a life-altering drug! Although technically it is derived from amphetamines, it doesn’t have the side effects that the old school amphetamines have. More importantly, it works on dopamine, a neurotransmitter  in which I am apparently deficient. It also has a little effect on seratonin and norepinephrine, but that’s so minor, it doesn’t make me violently ill like an anti-depressant does. Suddenly, I have a med that helps me stay awake, focus, and brings me out of the depths of my depression.

Last year brought other obvious changes; we’re now childless (most of the time) and our mortgage payment was cut in half because we moved to a different neighborhood after Aubrey graduated. That’s one less person that Ron has to take care of (driving around, picking up, dropping off), and a huge financial weight off our shoulders. We will finally be able to get out of all the debt that was accumulated while we lived in a house that we couldn’t really afford once I was no longer able to work, not to mention the debt accumulated by all of Aubrey’s and my medical expenses. Aubrey also has fibromyalgia, however, hers is much better managed than my own. While she is fully functional, it takes a lot of meds, vitamins and supplements, as well as a gluten free diet to keep her at that level. That’s all expensive stuff, and it adds up fast.

Back to last night’s conversation. As I said, Ron is unsure of his feelings, which is completely understandable, but I was able to help him realize that our life together is on a reset. This is not the same life we had 10 years ago, when we first started living together. I’m still a pool full of giant rocks of crazy, but there are areas that are marked for safe swimming. We have a lot of freedom without children in the house. Our financial situation has changed dramatically. We’re slowly getting out of debt, and we can finally get someone who can help to cut Ron some slack. And although I still have fibromyalgia, IC, IBS, sacroiliac joint pain, and I’m exhausted most days, I feel substantially better than I did even three years ago.

After hours of talking, we agreed that this year is going to be different. We are both going to ask for the things that we need. He is going to try harder to see things from my point of view, and I will try harder to see his. We are going to spend more time together, and he is going to hold me more often. I am going to do my best to feel my best; I will swim at least three days a week, eat more vegetables, take my meds on time. We are going to get a housekeeper/home helper, and try to stay organized. We are going to work hard on paying down our debt. And while this might sound a little wild and crazy, I’m going to decorate the house the way that *I* want, and Ron isn’t going to complain about it. He always says that he doesn’t care, but then questions every furniture choice and paint color. This year, I am going to remind him constantly that he doesn’t care (it’s part of the asking for the things I need bit). This year will be less about Ron and less about Carolyn, and more about Ron and Carolyn.

While those are not quite the resolutions that I had in mind last night when I sat down to write this, I think they are better. Oh, I still have a few normal resolutions; to spend more time with friends, continue to develop and maintain meaningful relationships, get all A’s in my online classes, crochet more, and write write write!…you know, the somewhat attainable ones.

With that, I wish you a Happy New Year, happy relationships, great joys, just enough sadness to help you to appreciate the joy when you have it, and lots of love. A year ago, I had two followers. Now I have 36. I love all 36 of you, friends both real and virtual. It means the world to me that for whatever crazy reason, you want to read what I have to say. I’ll do my best to not disappoint!

“We drank a toast to innocence, we drank a toast to time, reliving in our eloquence another auld lang syne…”