Anxiety

A couple of weeks ago, I told Paul that once the kids leave home I will worry less. With less stress and anxiety, I would stop taking my medication for acid re-flux.

As a child, I lived with a constant stomachache. Sometimes it was a dull ache and sometimes it was a sharp fiery burn. I had a lot of nausea. I had it down to a science how much food I could eat to just feel okay. My parents never took me in and after awhile it became normal to me.

My autistic brother Matt also had stomach issues. He did a lot of gagging with his tourette’s. There were times that he even threw up at the table between the acid re-flux and tourette’s. It was not unusual for him not be able to keep his breakfast down and barely make it to the bathroom in time. There was a period of time that his valve between his stomach and intestines closed and he wasn’t able to keep any food down at all. He was very sick and almost died before the doctors figured out what the problem was and surgically corrected it.

As you can imagine, my stomachaches were ignored. It wasn’t until I was over 40 that I went to the doctor because of it because I was in a lot of pain. I probably had an ulcer. The doctor put me on 1 Prilosec a day and when that didn’t take care of my stomachache, I was put on 2 a day. It’s been a couple of years now.

I’ve always attributed my stomachaches to stress which I believe greatly aggravates it. Although there may be a genetic component to it since multiple family members have similar issues.

Childhood was the most stressful period of my life to date. Not only was my autistic brother violent towards me on a regular basis, he also had some very serious medical concerns as well. My dad was abusive. It was no wonder I had stomachaches.

It wasn’t all that long after I left my childhood home that I had a family of my own. Having 3 little children was stressful. I didn’t get a lot of help from either Paul’s or my family. I had a lot of stomachaches.

Then I helped my husband run a business while having three teenagers. I had a lot of stomachaches.

I am no longer running a business. One of my children has moved out and soon will another. Maybe I wouldn’t worry so much if I wasn’t always stressed out.

Then Paul said something interesting. Alissa, you will always have anxiety. You will just find something else to worry about. I thought of this as I reread my old journals. They were filled with anxieties and worries.

Sometimes I feel so full of anxiety for no apparent reason at all. I feel like something bad is going to happen and for some reason it is my fault. I felt that way a lot as a kid. If I wasn’t hyper-vigilant enough and missed the signs that my brother was going to attack someone, then it was my fault because I didn’t stop it. But the truth is that sometimes no matter what I did or didn’t do, I couldn’t have stopped it. The truth also is that I have lived my whole life with an anxiety disorder.

What makes me think that someday it is just going to go away when it was always there? The smartest thing that I can do is accept the cards I have been given and play them as best as I can.

I can’t relax. I get a lot done.

I worry. I care too much.

I have useless nervous energy. Running burns it off and makes me feel human.

I feel anxiety. I can help others by understanding their struggle.

I try to control things I can’t. I’m not to blame for things outside of my control. I realize that now.

Doing rituals made me feel safe when I wasn’t.

Isn’t overthinking better than not thinking at all?

I have the solution for every what if scenario whirling around my head.

I have to run back home to make sure I turned off the coffee pot. Got a keurig.

I’m not saying that I am no longer anxious. I just learned to live with it.

I have many fears. But I won’t let that stop me because I learned over time how to manage it to my advantage.

I learned to cope. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to function without it. Strange because most people would think that I couldn’t function with it.

 

Hot cross runs

This weekend marks the second anniversary of my first race, a 1ok. I started running races 0ne month before I turned 40. Since then I have run two 5k’s, three 10k’s, one half, and two fulls. I remember that first race very well. I was terrified, not just by all of the people in the race, but by all of the spectators as well. My knees felt wobbly. I was running on rubber chicken legs which wasn’t exactly the kind of rubber I wanted to burn! I felt like running away from the race course, but there were too many people to make my escape. So I concentrated on running as fast as I could and finished in a little over 50 minutes.

The following year, I tried to beat my time from the first 10k. I missed that goal by 45 seconds. My acid reflux was acting up last year to the point where I was quite uncomfortable. I thought that maybe this will be the year for a PR. Tomorrow when I run my 10k, we are expecting temps in the 80’s with high humidity and full sun. This will be the hottest running conditions that I have had to race in. But I am still going to try my hardest even though I think I am being a bit foolish to do so. I foresee this being a big PRoblem with a capital PR.

When I ran the marathon in May, it was the hottest day of the year so far. I don’t do very well under those conditions. We have had only one hot day since the marathon, otherwise it has been cool. Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 90’s. We typically only reach that temperature a couple of times in the summer. No one will be ready for that kind of heat. I received an email yesterday warning of the heat urging people along the race route to put out sprinklers and to be on the look out for collapsing runners. Plus they are going to set up extra water stations and provide ice.

I will not be running this race alone. Lisa, Paul, and Angel’s boyfriend will be running it too. Lisa got a highly coveted position in corral 1. She finished her first 10k in under 50 minutes. She also completed her first marathon last year in a little over 4 hours which may have been a reason why my expectations were so high. We used to be running partners. She was always better though. Then she moved to Florida. She started working full-time, didn’t run as much, and spent the weekends at the beach. She gained 15 lbs and hasn’t been able to run over 2 miles without stopping. She doesn’t have the confidence that she can be where she once was.

Then there is my husband Paul. He has been running before I even started but never went beyond a 10k. He runs for fun not competitively like Lisa and I. Don’t get me wrong though, he is very tough. He created quite a stir in the neighborhood because for the first couple of years he was a barefoot runner. Yes, it’s true, he ran on the country roads with rocks and glass without anything on his feet at all. Crazy!

He would come home from a run with feet that looked like ground hamburger. He developed rough callouses that scratched holes into the sheets at night. After every run, he had to bandage his bloody feet. Then something happened, the bottom of his feet became tough as leather. I could never do that. I can’t stand being barefoot.

Everywhere we went, people would come up and ask him why he ran barefoot. Some even offered to buy him shoes. Eventually, he ended up buying a pair of minimalist shoes. He has had them for years and they never seem to wear out. It became harder to recondition his feet after every winter.

Angel’s boyfriend signed up for the run last night minutes before the race registration closed. Someone told him that they didn’t think he would be able to do it. So he signed up. He hasn’t trained at all but spends many hours in the gym working out. One time he ran over 30 miles in a day for fun without spending tons of money and getting a “free” banana. Over the summer he is a 2nd shift worker, so I told him he could come after work and sleep on the couch since he lives a lot further away from the race than the rest of us. (I was also worried that he might oversleep the carpool.)

Then this afternoon my son called me to tell me that there was a slight problem with his plans tonight. We had this whole carpooling thing worked out with a group of moms. Alex and some of his buddies got a ride to stay over at a friends house to do some gaming. Then another friend’s mom was going to hand the baton over to me. I was going to take the boys and drop them off at a birthday party tonight at 8. Then another mom was going to pick them up at 11:30 PM to have them home by midnight. Guess what? The last mom in the relay backed out last minute. Thanks a lot! The responsible parents always get stuck with all of the work!!

My son wanted me to pick the boys up at 11:30 and have all 3 of his friends spend the night. That would add the grand total of teenagers in my house to 7 spending the night tonight. Fat chance!

I told him that I would pick him up no later than 10:30 to be home by 11 PM and only one friend could stay overnight as earlier agreed upon. So I guess I won’t be getting my 8 hours of beauty sleep tonight. I will somehow have to manage to wake up at 5:30 AM after having 5 teens in the house. I am really feeling angry at the mom for backing out last minute!

Who has a party for their 15 year old until 11:30 PM anyway?? Crazy!!

We’ll see what tomorrow brings for us. Against my better judgment, I am going to try for a PR. I will not beat myself up if I don’t get it. It will be really hot out, I won’t get any sleep, and all this stress is giving me a stomach ache. Thankfully, it is only a 10k.

 

Bear with me

I had to take the last couple of days off from writing. I still haven’t been feeling all that well. The stomach ailment that I had last week set my acid reflux into over drive. I have been feeling very nauseous as well. I finally broke down today and called the doctor’s office. I was so afraid that I would need to be scoped, instead I was prescribed some anti-nausea meds. Hopefully that will help. 

I have been downright crabby at home, not just because I haven’t been feeling well. Everyone is sick of hearing about it around here. 

Bear with me!

This past weekend, Angel had her last choir concert. It is finally starting to sink in that she will be graduating soon. I have been mopey and crying about this fact off and on over the past couple of days now. I told you I am a mess!

Bear with me!

This weekend is the marathon. I finally have some sliver of hope that I will be able to run it. Maybe I will be feeling better!?! The last couple of days, I did run really fast to the bathroom though. It has almost been 2 weeks since my last run. Tapering down is never a good thing for me. When I can’t run, I get pretty psycho. Yesterday, I was so moody and angry that I broke down and took the dog for a walk. 

Bear with me! Or just say screw it and be a bear with me!

A little down

I think I am depressed. 

One of the signs of depression is losing interest in hobbies. What if you just can’t do the things you enjoy anymore?? 

If I spend too much time at work, type a lot (write), shuffle cards, or work jigsaw puzzles my carpal tunnel acts up. My hands ache. I need to wear a brace. If I exercise with weights, sometimes I can’t grasp them. Several times a week my hands just let go of items and I drop them. I’ve dropped my phone several times. Lately, I’ve dropped containers of foundation or eye shadow shattering them into powder so I have to throw them out. I have problems opening lids on jars. 

Sometimes my acid reflux gives me a hoarse voice and sore throat which makes it very difficult for me to sing, another hobby of mine.

I have enjoyed running and competing in races, but now my knee hurts so much that I might have to cut back or stop altogether. 

It seems like everything that I really enjoy doing to deal with my stress is being taken away from me. 

I feel depressed that my daughter will be graduating from high school in a few days. She is a lot like me. We have so much in common and have become close friends. Now she will be moving several hours away and starting a new life without me. I am happy for her, just sad for me.

My relationship with my other two kids sucks. My son is currently failing all of his core classes. He is angry at us or depressed when we give him consequences. The hard part is that he has a brilliant mind, but is too lazy and unorganized to put any effort into his studies. I have no control over this. My youngest daughter and I have nothing in common at all. She takes pride in annoying me and arguing with everything that I say.

Work is stressful. Running our own business, having employees, and demanding customers takes a lot of energy.

My mother-in-law has terminal lung cancer and at best has a few months to live. 

I am starting to see my own parents age in new ways that worry me.

Every organization that we belong to thinks that they are the only organization that we belong to. Everybody wants our time, our money, a life blood commitment. 

My husband and I have both been irritable and stressed these last couple of months. I honestly don’t know how much more of this we can take. Instead of people helping us through these difficult times, they drain us of whatever we have left.

So, yeah, I guess I am feeling a little down. 

  

Knee deep

I bet you have been sitting at the edge of your seat waiting to hear how my knee is holding up. Today is the first day this week that I went out for a run. The marathon is two and a half weeks away. I braced myself for the run. Literally. I was able to run 6 miles today without stopping. However, my endurance wasn’t the greatest and it wasn’t completely pain free either. I think the tight brace changes how I run. I feel like I am running on a wooden peg. But the run did go better than the run last week. Yeah, baby steps, I know.

Friday night Paul and I spent the evening at the store getting my prescription drugs and looking at braces. Admitting this, I feel old. I am getting old. I am 41. There now you don’t have to go to previous posts to try to find my age to see if I am really old or not. Well, you could go back and read previous posts if you want to. Lol.

The reason why I was seen out drug storing Friday night was that I had some time to kill while Alex was taking his behind the wheel driver’s ed class. Why did I sign him up to drive on a Friday night?? Well, I called to make his monthly appointment at the end of the month. Why? Because I felt embarrassed to call and set up the appointment any earlier. The previous month my son was late for his driving time. They had to call me and ask me where he was. It kills me be late, although he could care less.

It has been a week and a half of doubling my acid reflux meds. The first few days were pretty bad. I think being stressed out about it made it act up more. But I am finally starting to feel a lot better. Maybe I’ll be able to run my races pain free this summer, well as far as my stomach is concerned anyway.

Today I decided to run wearing my old shoes. I was wearing in new shoes when I ran 18 miles and my knee started hurting. Just to be on the safe side, I decided that maybe my new running shoes were to blame for all the difficulties I have been running into.

I also decided to wear the new wireless ear buds that my daughter bought me for Christmas. They hook up to bluetooth on my phone so I don’t have to trip over wires. The only problem is that I have tiny years. Most babies are born with bigger ears than I have. I have met one other person that has smaller ears than me. It has been a source of vanity for me for many years, until now that is. The ear buds were too big to fit into my ears. Back to being wired I guess. 

At this point, I feel like I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t as far as the marathon goes. I don’t know if I will be able to handle it physically if I run the marathon. I don’t know if I will be able to handle it emotionally if I don’t. I don’t think I will be able to run the race without knee pain. But the knee pain isn’t bad enough for me to drop out especially after months of training. Right now I am praying that if it is not meant to be then it won’t happen.

The only things stopping me now would be the stomach flu or a high fever. A death in the family. Possible, but not wished for. Or the race could be cancelled for severe storms. One year they did cancel the race because the heat index was incredibly high and people were dropping like flies. However, we have had a really cool spring so a freak snowstorm would be more likely.

All I know for sure right now is that I am in this knee deep.

Feeling my age

Today it started. I am starting to feel old.

I had my yearly physical today. This year I didn’t even need blood work, pap, or mammogram. Easy breezy, right??  I have always had low blood pressure and cholesterol. I have the cholesterol levels of a runner. So does my dad, but he never ran. So I don’t think my heart will be failing me anytime soon. My blood work was so good last year that they didn’t even bother checking it this year. 

The doctor asked if my parents were still living. That was one of the scariest questions she asked.

One little thing that I didn’t tell you about my 18 mile run on Saturday was that my knee started hurting again. My endurance was great. I didn’t have to stop and walk. But with endurance and speed comes knee pain for me. It was the same pain that I felt during my first marathon, just not as bad. Besides wearing my knee brace, there is not a lot that I can do. I am worried about the marathon next month. I can clearly see the writing on the wall. The doctor asked me how badly I wanted knee replacement surgery. I told myself and her that if I have knee pain with this marathon, this will be my last. 

I feel like my body is failing me. 

Then I was hoping to decrease my acid reflux meds and instead my dose was doubled. Apparently after treatment I was not supposed to have any acid reflux break through at all. Supposedly, I should not have to take massive doses of Tums and liquid antacid on top of Prilosec. So she doubled my dose and said that if I am still having symptoms in 6 weeks that I will have to be scoped. 

I don’t want to take medicine. I don’t want to get old. I want to have some control over my body. I don’t want my body to control me.

299.00 Infantile Autism, paragraph 2a

Update on family system: Matt lives at home with his father, mother, and 3 siblings. Father had previously been employed with his family. This was a source of dissatisfaction for him. Consequently, in August of 1983, dad quit working for his uncle and now works 1-2 days a week and has a shop in his basement. He has taken over a major role in organizing the household and in taking over childcare responsibilities. Mother has increased her workload outside of the house. Older sister, Alyssa, born in 1974; it is reported that her grades have dropped and shown some variability. Alyssa is going from the 4th grade to the 5th grade and will be 10 next week. During 1 period of this last year, classes the she usually got B’s in dropped to D’s then improved. Then another class that she usually got a B in she got an F in. It is also reported that Alyssa is showing periodic signs of apathy, depression, having streaks of “I don’t care.” The family reports that these are rather continuous throughout the school year. She is having some sleep disruption and complaining of bone and muscle pains. She has, in the last year, gained only from 59 to 61 or 62 lbs. She is picky and won’t eat.

First of all, I want to say that the doctor spelled my name wrong. Apparently, paragraph 2 is almost all about me. It is a rather lengthy paragraph, I am not sure if this is good or bad. I think bad because with the exception of Matt, my other 2 brothers have a paragraph that is as long as this half paragraph combined. Oh brother!

The paragraph opens discussing my dad’s dissatisfaction of working at the family business. It wasn’t a good fit for him. Being the only child born out of the four siblings, there was probably an enormous amount of pressure on him to take over the family business someday. My dad was not very driven or motivated to work. He worked for awhile at a small town Radio Shack fixing electronics part-time. After awhile he lost this job. I think the store closed. 

My dad also fixed electronics in the house. People would randomly stop by and drop off radios, TV’s, and VCR’s for him to fix. He took these broken things apart on the kitchen table. Sometimes a small section of the table would be unusable for months. Sometimes I think that is why Matt had a fixation on taking apart my radios. He saw dad do it. If you were lucky, my dad would have your electronics fixed in a year. By that time most of the people forgot he was fixing them and replaced it.   

My dad had the opportunity to take a really good job at one time. When interviewed they asked him if he wanted to travel and if he was motivated to climb the ladder. My dad said no. My mom was upset that my dad lacked the desire to provide for his family. She often called him lazy. The last company he worked for, he was the only employee. When his boss retired, he did too. He has been retired about 15 years now. Most of the time he worked part-time. The last couple years of his employment, he worked a couple of days a month. This always upset my mother. Then it got to the point where his skills were just as outdated as the VCR’s he used to fix. 

Another unusual situation was that my mom was the main breadwinner. That didn’t happen often in my day. She had more education than my dad. She had more earning potential. At 67, she is still working full-time. She is hoping to work as long as she can. I remember her always putting in long hours. When she is not working, she is working. I don’t remember my dad organizing the household and taking on childcare responsibilities like the report says. He rarely cooked. He never did housework or laundry. He never helped me with my homework. My mom worked full-time, taking on all of the childcare, cooking, and laundry responsibilities. We always had a messy house. My mom simply did not have the time to clean it. I was in charge of dishes and laundry, strangely enough the chores I feel most comfortable with now.  

Yes, my grades did slip. I was never a straight A student. With all of the chaos happening at home and at school with Matt, I could not concentrate. Could you blame me? My mom took away my dolls for one semester in attempts to motivate me to get better grades. 

Yes, I was depressed in grade school. I really didn’t give a shit. I was struggling to make it through what I was dealing with. No one cared about me. So, why should I care? I remember feeling that way.

Yes, I had issues with insomnia. If I wasn’t too upset before falling asleep, I fell asleep just fine. But then in the middle of the night I would be wide awake for hours. It was the only quiet time and I spent it worrying. I did have  leg cramps often. Since my brothers were allergic to milk, it may have been due to calcium deficiency since we did not drink milk or have much dairy in our house. If I get leg cramps at night now, it has to do more with being a little dehydrated. My mom said it was growing pains. Who knows? Maybe it was. 

I really like the comment of me being picky, not eating, or gaining weight. Well, duh! I had constant stomach aches as a kid. I recognize it now as acid reflux. There were long periods of time that I barely ate. That is because every time I ate I had bad stomach aches. Even now if I am under a lot of stress, I quit eating. My mom threatened to take me to the doctor continuously, but never did. I wish she would have. Instead I was forced to sit at the table until I ate. Being stubborn, I would sit at the table until bedtime and not eat. Once I was forced to eat and threw up. I really wish I would have been taken in. Being the “normal” child with a severely disabled sibling, unless I was bleeding or something was broken my needs got ignored. That was the reality of living with a sibling who was always a squeaky wheel.  

299.00 Infantile Autism, paragraph 1

Matt is an 8 year 4 month old Caucasian male who is being re-evaluated with a number of concerns. In the past, Matt has been diagnosed as infantile autism. In addition, there are concerns about Matt having a lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity. These have previously never been confirmed by lab testing. There are concerns that in school Matt is not making enough academic progress. There are concerns about weight gain. There have been multiple changes in the family system recently and a number of the children are showing signs of stress related to the change. Finally, Matt and I think at least 2 other siblings have extensive histories of periodic failure to thrive…There is also a family history of people who have had similar GI history….The genetic and functional implications of these historical problems have never been fully explored and are of great concern to the family…..

Okay, it looks like we are going to start things off lightly by talking about my family history of GI problems. My dad and grandpa have had several ulcers. I vaguely remember my grandpa and Aunt Grace drinking out of the antacid bottle. I remember Aunt Grace drinking it before going to bed at night. It probably would not surprise you too much to find out that 3 out of us 4 siblings have issues with acid re-flux, myself included. My brother that doesn’t have acid re-flux also has other stomach ailments. 

Back in 1984, when this psych eval was written, my mom got into the organic food kick. It was hard to come by in our area. By this time she removed all unhealthy foods from our diet including macaroni and cheese, sugary foods, and anything containing artificial colors or sweetners. Our diet was very bland. Oftentimes, my mom would make two separate meals for the family due to Matt’s dietary restrictions. She would place Matt’s food in separate containers and label them Matt. We knew better then to eat his food, although my dad would do it just to piss off my mom. Matt’s food was not allowed to come in contact with our food in any way because this would cause contamination. 

At dinner time is when most of the fights occurred in our house. It was the time that the family was all together. My dad would come home from work at 6 PM sharp to dinner on the table. I remember the thud of his tool box hitting the floor as he walked in the door. My dad generally complained about the food my mom served. “What is this, dog shit?” My brothers Matt and Luke had to be tied to their chairs for supper because they were too hyperactive to sit down unless they were tied down. They couldn’t sit quietly either. My parents would fight. My dad would bang his fist on the table then leave to eat in the other room. Eventually, he didn’t come to the table with us at all. He just came home, turned on the TV, and ate in the living room by himself.  

Matt’s issues went far beyond the normal acid re-flux. He had a failure to thrive. He could eat twice as much as the rest of us and lose weight. My mom always said while I was growing up that he had a metabolic disorder where he could not absorb nutrients. His acid re-flux caused him to gag, choke, cough, and belch loudly at the table. It was enough to make people lose their appetite. At times, he would even throw up at the table. I remember hearing that one of the first few times that Luke brought his future wife home, Matt threw up at the table. He also made other noises while eating that most would find disconcerting like chewing with his mouth open, smacking his lips, and scraping his fork against his plate making a nails on chalkboard sound. He was also a messy eater. He got food all over the table, on his clothes, and on the floor. He needed all of his food cut for him. 

We were not allowed to have napkins at the table. Matt was hypersensitive to toilet paper, tissues, and napkins. If someone would bring a napkin to the table he would gag and they would be asked to put it away. 

He would also drink a tremendous amount of water and tea a day. I have never seen someone drink as many liquids as he does. At times my mom would have to tell him that he is drinking too much. He is constantly thirsty. 

Sitting next to him at the table was hard to stomach. No one wanted to sit by him. In Matt’s late teen years, the gagging and choking got worse. He threw up first thing in the morning and then sometimes after eating. He never made it into the toilet so my mom had to scrub the bathroom floor sometimes several times a day. Then he started to throw up on a daily basis. Then it was several times a day. My mom kept a filled scrub bucket in the bathroom. At 5’7″, Matt barely weighed 100 lbs before this happened. After he started throwing up on a daily basis, Matt lost an additional 20 to 25 lbs. My mother thought he was going to die.

Matt was also very energetic at this time. He would rock back and forth every night to get to sleep. During the day he would do what looked like jogging in place while flapping his hands together. It took a long time to find out what was wrong with his stomach.

Matt’s doctor ended up finding out that Matt’s pyloric valve closed. From what I know, this valve opens to empty the stomach contents into the intestinal track. Matt’s valve was not opening to empty his stomach which is why he was throwing up. He was essentially starving himself. The doctor went in to force the valve back open. Thankfully, after that he started gaining back weight. Although, he would still throw up at times when he was anxious or agitated.

Looking at him now, you would never guess that he struggled with this. Now he has the middle age family gut. He still gags a lot while eating, but it is so much better now. We are the same height. For the first time in his life he weighs more than I do. 

These were just some of the struggles we faced associated with eating in particular.

 

Mouse house

I remember as a little girl whenever someone in my family got a big box, they brought it over for me to play in. My grandma called the box a mouse house. I colored my little house and grandma would cut holes in the box to make windows and doors to peak out of. For a brief period in my adult life, I had a real life mouse house.

Last month my son participated in his first science fair at the high school. He presented a project on the different types of bombs. You might think that this would be an interesting project, but it wasn’t. I mean, he couldn’t make a project and test it at the school like other kids did. His project consisted of magazine picture cut outs and a lot of writing. Other kids had projects that included experiments with sound waves, catapults, ice cream made out of different ingredients, the effects of caffeine on sport performance, etc..

On a side note, my personal favorite this year was the one that tested the effectiveness of acid reflux products on reducing stomach acid. The girl said that the least effective products were harmless and that the most effective were harmful. She said that the most effective products cause organ failure. She said that if you suffer from acid reflux, it will kill you. Great! Another thing to worry about. I never imagined that my stomach acid would get me in the end. Lol. I really hope that girl doesn’t decide to become a doctor.

The science fair brought back memories of Angel’s first couple of science fairs. For her second year, Angel did an experiment on 3 white mice. She started to bring her mice home on weekends. She didn’t want them to end up being snake food after the science fair. She wanted to keep them as pets.

Now the science classroom housed the mice and one more animal, a 3 legged cat. One weekend the door to the room that contained the mice was not shut tight. By Monday, there was an all out mouse massacre. Angel’s mice were the only mice to survive for the science fair since she brought them home. After the science fair was over, she convinced us to keep the mice. She was going to keep them in a cage in her room so our cat would not get them.

I would like to say that she never had a mouse in her room before, but she did. A few years previous there was a tear on the bottom of our screen door. When another dog came into our yard, our dog totally tore through our screen door leaving a big gap. If we left the sliding door open, we had ourselves a redneck pet door. It worked well for awhile with the pets letting themselves in and out as they pleased, until the day our cat brought a live mouse in our house. We screamed as our cat ran with the mouse into the girls bedroom and dropped it there. Eventually Paul was able to catch and release the mouse outdoors. That was the end of our pet door.

Right after Angel brought the mice home, two of them died. The last mouse lived a couple more months. I called him Roady which was short for rodent. He didn’t care for me that much at first. He bit my finger a couple of times until I decided that I was going to try to win him over. I started hand feeding him wax worms and other little delicacies to the point that he was happy to see me.

We ended up buying him a little hamster ball so he could explore the house. He did escape his cage a couple of times. We found him bundled up in Angel’s basket of yarn. He liked the yarn so much that we put it near his cage so he could pull it in and make a little nest. That little mouse made a sweet pet. It really changed my viewpoint on the less desirable creatures of creation.

Surviving the time change

My mom said earlier in the week that the risk of having a stroke or heart attack increases significantly for those 65 and older two days after the time change. My mom said she was planning on having the heart attack and my dad was planning on the stroke. Or maybe it was the other way around. Nevertheless, they survived another time change and it looks like you have too.

Last Sunday, my mom invited my family to her church for a chili meal. Before the meal, we all went to church with her and Matt. We didn’t fit into one pew, so Paul and Alex sat in the pew in front of us. During the prayer time, Matt announced loudly that he needed to use the bathroom. He kept saying it over and over until my mom nodded yes. Then she rolled her eyes and smiled at me. Matt will be Matt. When Matt got back from the bathroom, he sat down next to Paul in the pew ahead of the one that he was previously sitting in. After a few minutes, he looked at Paul and did a double take. He shook his head in shock and disapproval. Then he got up and sat down in his original spot.

After church, we headed to the chili meal. Matt has a special diet, so my mom brought his food to microwave. When she heated up his meal, it blew a fuse and the lights went out along with the power to the slow cookers. Whoops!

I am not crazy about chili. I like the flavor, but it really upsets my stomach sometimes. It didn’t help that on my second spoonful I almost ate some hair that I found in my soup. I did eat it though, albeit rather slowly.

Then we went back to my parents house. My dad was sitting on the couch in his shirt and underwear. He had a blanket slightly draped over his legs. Remember earlier when I said that I don’t embarrass easily? I just had to find a guy that would be able to tolerate my eccentric family. Of course, I was expected to return the favor.

My dad is a hard core pessimist. His common words of wisdom are shit happens and life’s a bitch then you die. Paul’s mom is a hard core optimist. She told the kids that when she retired she would buy them a swimming pool and spend time with them. It doesn’t seem to matter if the cup is half empty or not, neither one of them lives in reality.

My dad does have a few redeeming traits though. He has a great sense of humor which is one of the few traits that he seemed to pass down to me.

My dad was complaining about having a virus on his new laptop. Apparently he received an email from a deceased friend. He had to click on it to see what kind of message was being sent over from the dead. Then my mom clicked on the email too. I said that she probably didn’t even know that the guy was dead. She didn’t.

We spent a lot of time laughing at my dad’s story of his computer virus. He gets so worked up about technology issues. He even called the anti-virus software. They told him that he probably had a virus. He over the top thanked them for being so helpful. We briefly talked about getting together to smash our computers with bats. Now wouldn’t that be a smashing party??

They may have gotten a virus, but at least they survived the time change.