When I was young, I knew I wanted to have a family. Also being young, I didn’t have the patience or the sense to wait for the right guy to come along. So like the foolish young girl I was, I decided to start a family with a lifelong guy friend. Once I was pregnant, we got married – he and I both thought it was the right thing to do. It went alright for the first couple of years. Andy was born, and we were doing quite well. Well enough that we thought it was a good idea to try again for another baby. I got pregnant again immediately. About 6 months into my second pregnancy is when our relationship fell apart. The kids’ dad and I split up and I started dating someone else almost right away (as went most of my relationships from then on). Once my second baby, Evan, was born, I was pregnant again from the new boyfriend within a couple months. The new boyfriend was not happy, denied paternity, and disappeared, never to be heard from again. So here I was, headed to being a single mom of 3. Andy and Evan’s dad was around off and on, some for me, some for the kids. He claimed my third, Cory, as his own as well. But as noble as that sounds, it still didn’t make him a good dad to the boys.
Over time, I dated a few guys that were in my life for long enough to be in the boys’ lives as well. A couple of them seemed to be good guys, but more often than not, they didn’t relate to my boys well at all. Nothing ever worked out. That’s where the guilt comes into this post.
I have tremendous guilt now for all the wrong decisions I made not only as a woman, but mostly as a mom. The majority of these guys should never have met my boys, if any of them. My self-esteem during those times was the lowest it’s ever been in my life, and my personal boundaries were severely lacking. The guys didn’t treat me right, and had no respect for my parenting or connection to my kiddos, as most of them had no children of their own. By dating them, I allowed them to take a lot of my attention, when more should have been focused on the kids. That is something I regret more than anything else in my life. I cannot allow myself to sit and dwell on it too much or depression takes over.
As anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows, there is a happy ending to that. Jarrod and I found each other! Our immediate connection, and knowing we were meant to be together, changed my whole outlook and perspective on being in a relationship. He and I both have kids we hold as high priority, so we know what each other needs to do to be a good parent… and we respect each other for it. We give each other the space to spend time with our kids, while maintaining an excellent balance so we have our own time together as well. It has been very fulfilling for us both.
Jarrod and I have had many discussions about adding to our family, and how lucky our next child(ren) will be to have two parents who have both made unfortunate mistakes, but have learned enough to know how to keep the family together. And while the guilt from my past mistakes remains for my current boys, I know I will not repeat those mistakes.
The baby I carry now, and any future children Jarrod and I may have, will be very lucky kids. They will have 2 parents who love each other endlessly, and whose home will never be broken. For for that I have eternal gratitude.
I could razzle dazzle you with all manner of linguistic gymnastics to explain why I haven’t written a new blog in literally months, but it would just be an elaborate smokescreen, you see, to obscure the truth, which is that I was simply too lazy to write one. There has no been shortage of things to write about, as you will soon see, and in fact the sheer volume of goings-on around here is proving a little overwhelming; it’s been so long since I’ve written anything, and so much has transpired in the meantime, that I’m not altogether sure how to tackle this thing. I guess we’ll figure it out, or not, together.
I’m going to try to keep this particular post contained more or less to one subject, because otherwise it’s doomed to become an unwieldy, lumbering behemoth. Besides, there are many things, good and not so good, happening around here, all of which are worthy of their own post. Throwing too much into this one would just dilute their individual significance. I know better than to promise anything with regards to how frequently I’m going to write new posts, but I will say that I INTEND to write more often, and give all these things the attention they deserve. For now, I’m sure you will be delighted to know that the subject of this one will be the loose, dangly collection of objects I carry around with me wherever I go: my testicles.
You see, on the way back from Colorado (where we got married, you’ll remember), Shauna and I discussed at length what it would be like to have kids together. It really just amounted to a fun conversation to help pass the time during the long car ride; after all, we had both had the necessary procedures to prevent us from ever being able to have more kids. In order for us to have kids together, it would involve both of us having surgeries to reverse those procedures, which would involve a lot of money, travel, and recovery time…at the end of which we would have diminished odds of actually conceiving, anyway. We ended the conversation by basically saying sure, it would be awesome to have kids together, but we simply met each other too late in life for that to happen. The subject didn’t really come up again until this spring, when we were laying in bed and one or the other of us said something, and the other one said something back, and next thing you know we were on a plane to North Carolina to get Shauna’s tubes untied.
We scheduled my vasectomy reversal at a clinic (brilliantly named “The Reversal Clinic”) in the town of Muskogee, Oklahoma – a town immortalized in the classic song “Okie From Muskogee” by Merle Haggard. Because of my love for this song, I had high hopes that we were headed for a town where even squares can have a ball; where they still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse, and where white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all. Instead, we drove into this shithole town during one of the most vicious rainstorms I’ve seen in all my born days, and the only bad thing about that is that the whole town didn’t get washed out to sea in the process. There were so many things to dislike about the city of Muskogee, OK that for me to dig too deep into it would threaten to overtake this entire post, but suffice it to say that, you know, maybe don’t go there. Unless you want a cheap vasectomy reversal.
Anyway, my surgery was done by one Dr. Wilson, who was kind of a weird guy, and in fact the whole experience was kind of weird. Shauna and I walked into the clinic to find not a single soul to greet us, but instead a note saying someone would be with us soon. Eventually Dr. Wilson showed up, got me checked in, then retreated to the back to put on scrubs and get the procedure underway. This seemingly one-man operation did not immediately feel me with confidence that my nards were about to literally be in the hands of a qualified professional, but I decided to go with the flow because YOLO, I guess. I was awake for the procedure (a local anesthetic was used to numb the area) and Shauna was allowed to be in the room with me. From her vantage point she was able to see a lot of what was going on (I, thankfully, could not). Fortunately she has a healthy curiosity and interest in such things and the sight of my scrotum flayed open like a butterflied pork chop didn’t gross her out. The whole thing took about 90 minutes or so, and then we were on our way. Dr. Wilson, I salute you, wherever you may be.
We stopped at a pharmacy to pick up a couple prescriptions, and then went to the bed and breakfast where we were to spend the night. It was good, not great; by Muskogee standards it was probably the Ritz, but Shauna and I are from Newton, IA where perfection is demanded and bullshit of any kind is NEVER tolerated. The next morning we got on the road and headed home. The recommended healing time before attempting “relations” was two weeks, and I don’t mind telling you that we have stuck unyieldingly to that medical advice, being the responsible adults that we are and whatnot. We’re both realistic about our expectations…and to be sure, they are tempered a bit by other things going on, particularly health issues that Shauna is currently dealing with. Now that I’m more or less healed, I can absolutely say that I am incredibly happy that Shauna and I went through all of this. It was pretty overwhelming at times (the general tone of this post doesn’t really let you know some of the actual anguish we had to go through to make all of this happen, but as they say, we laugh so that we don’t cry). I’m glad it’s all done, I’m beyond excited to be able to have another kid (or kids), and there is no one on Earth who I’d rather go on this journey with. Shauna…you are amazing.
Earlier this week I had my tubal reversal follow-up appointment with the doctor I chose to be my OBGYN here in our hometown, Dr. Johnson. He’s new to the clinic, and has quite a lot of experience in his field.
To back up a little bit, I did have a consultation with him before my tubal reversal. I wanted to get a check up with a doctor and discuss my overall health and age in regards to going through another pregnancy or more. He informed me at that time that a tubal reversal is not a simple surgery that I will have an easy time finding a doctor for (he didn’t know I was looking into Dr. Monteith yet), and that it wasn’t cheap. He recommended I look into in vitro instead. He also said that natural fertility decreases after age 35, and even more after 40… And that there is a risk with pregnancy after c-section (which I’ve had 2), no matter how long it had been. That the scar tissue can cause a problem with placenta attachment, and even embryo attachment. He wasn’t necessarily discouraging me from being pregnant, but he was laying out all the risks for me, which is exactly what I wanted. No nonsense. I told him I was already looking into a specialist to reverse my tubal, and he wished me good luck.
To Jarrod and I went to North Carolina, as I’ve already written about. We had a fantastic experience with Dr. Monteith at A Personal Choice, and he sent my surgical records and after-care instructions to Dr. Johnson.
Then, as I was saying, I had my follow-up with Dr. Johnson this week. He took all of Dr. Monteith’s instructions very seriously, which I’m very pleased with. Said everything was very thorough, and read to me exactly what I am to do when I get a positive pregnancy test. Which is: get in to see him as soon as possible, start getting regular blood draws to check my hormone levels, and when they are high enough have an ultrasound to check for proper implantation of the embryo. From then on, take care of myself and prepare for a baby!
Jarrod’s vasectomy reversal is scheduled for May 16th, so it won’t be long at all now! He will post about his experience when it’s all said and done. We’ve heard different things about how it will go afterwards. Some people say it could take months for his sperm count to climb up to impregnation levels. Some people say he has the chance at getting me pregnant right away. But Jarrod and I both agree – it will happen when it happens. We aren’t concerning ourselves with following a calendar or stressing out over any of it. We both believe we will conceive soon enough. If, after a year or so, nothing has happened yet, we will talk to the doctor about testing. At this point, I think we would deny any fertility treatments if it came to that. But that’s so far into the future right now… we figure we will cross that bridge if and when we come to it.
You might think that the life of a blogger is a non-stop series of sexy, celebrity-attended parties, a virtual whirlwind of drug and alcohol-fueled insanity that even famed raconteur Hunter S. Thompson might call excessive. And you’d be right about that. Nevertheless, sometimes we are called upon to do actual work, and be “responsible”. And there has been a lot of that nonsense lately, which not only makes it hard to find the time and energy to write a blog post, but also tends to make life a little tedious…which, in turn, causes tempers to flare, motivation to dwindle, and attitudes and moods to turn to crap. This time of year doesn’t help, either. Winter shouldn’t even be a thing; the only thing that winter accomplishes is to make you appreciate summer a little more, which is a pretty substantial accomplishment considering summer also really, really sucks. Really. Sucks. And don’t trust anyone who tries to tell you that it doesn’t. (The views of Jarrod are not necessarily those of HesseLane or its subsidiaries).
But all is not lost. Even though life, work, the very seasons of the planet upon which we live may all be trying to to rip out your soul, crumple it up and cram it into the nearest rubbish bin, you can still maintain your insanity by taking a more whimsical approach to the nightmarish hellscape we’re forced from birth to navigate and finding things to be amused by. For example, I don’t really enjoy working; not just my job in particular, but ANY job. In general, I can think of many, many thousands of things I’d rather be doing than working. What I need is for someone to just send me large sums of money every so often, with no expectation that I’m ever going to provide any service to them in exchange for it. Yeah, that’s what I need.
But until someone sees fit to do that, I have to work. And since I do, it’s pretty helpful that I work with Shauna. Not only do we work together, but he have practically the same schedules. Sometimes that isn’t a good thing (more on that never). Usually it IS a good thing, and here’s why: we make each other laugh. I’m one of those people who is constantly finding things amusing but rarely laughs out loud. If I had a nickel for everytime I’ve typed “lol” and actually lol’d, I’d have, oh, about zero dollars and zero cents. However, Shauna makes me laugh till I cry, and she does it pretty effortlessly. From day one, she’s just kind of instinctively known what my sense of humor is and is able to tap into it…and I think the reason she has such an easy time with that is because it pretty seamlessly matches up with her own sense of humor. Never does this particular connection between us come in more handy than when we’re at work, a place neither of us really want to be and which can sometimes put us both in a crappy mood. Just the other night we were at work, and for some reason we began talking about cooking apple pies in the fryer. Shauna escalated the absurdity of the conversation a little, and then I did, and then she did again, and soon were talking about dumping a whole box of apple pies in the fryer and then fishing them out with the baskets. In that moment the zaniness of it all made me laugh uncontrollably, until tears were streaming down my face. And it occured to me that I was getting paid to stand there and laugh myself silly. Which I found myself very ok with.
Recently we were sitting in our bedroom when my youngest daughter Willow wandered in. She was wearing leggings, and the tag on the back was annoying her; she wanted to know if I would cut the tag off. A lot of times, you can just yank those tags off without the need for scissors or anything; they’re designed to just be ripped off. So I grabbed the tag and attempted to dispose of it once and for all. Unfortunately, it was attached a bit more securely than I had given it credit for, and, rather than ripping the tag off, I lifted Willow completely off the ground, giving her an ultrawedgie in the process. The tag finally came off, but brought a giant chunk of the fabric from the butt of her leggings with it. As I sat there in bed holding the tag with the lonely piece of fabric attached to it, and looking at the gaping hole in the butt of the leggings (big enough for Willows entire butt to fit through), I could have been annoyed that I had just ruined a perfectly good article of clothing. But Shauna was laughing hysterically, as was Willow, and at that point, what could I do? I laughed, gentle reader…I laughed. And that’s all I’m saying.
How can people live such fake lives? They wake up in the morning, paint on makeup, bathe in perfume or cologne, put on uncomfortable, restrictive clothing just to appear a certain way, slap a fake smile on their face, leave their sterile house, hop into a shiny, fancy car, and go about their day. Everyone they encounter that dresses and behaves the same as them, they are fake-friendly with. Everyone they perceive as above them, they brown-nose. Everyone they perceive as below them they sneer at and ridicule.
In groups they laugh loudly and act as though they own the place in which they sit. Each trying to prove to the others that they have a good life and make good money. In their world, no one else could possibly understand or live up to the way they attempt to keep up with each other. There’s no consideration. There’s no empathy. There’s no true joy. Just competition. And possession.
Why? Just why?
Myself and my family may not have a ton of money, a mound of debt for things to prove we’re better than others, or brand name shiny “things.” But I don’t want that. I love my life of honesty. I love my genuine, opinionated, down-to-earth, honest self. I love that I tell people what I think. I love that I don’t feel obligated to paint on a happy face every day. I love that my life is not a competition to me, with my peers. I love that I comfortably and freely exercise my right to self-expression. And I love that I’m raising my kiddos to do the same. Furthermore, I love finding like-minded people because they are some of the most fun and interesting people I’ve ever known!
I can’t imagine living a life of fake smiles and dinner parties, overly high mortgages and designer belongings. It’s so stuffy, boring…ordinary.
I love being unique, colorful and full of adventure. It’s the only way I could imagine a life worth living.
A lot has been going on lately with the kiddos. It’s hard for Jarrod and I both to work and be away because the kids are starting to learn they can do whatever they want while we aren’t here, and they won’t have repercussions until we get home. And even worse, there’s often nothing we can do about the stuff they get into while we are at work, because it’s already said and done and there’s nothing to be stopped anymore. Not only that, but some of the kids have been fighting a lot worse, and the “punishments” used to stop that fighting makes even the innocent kids (in that situation) pay the price for the mistakes of the not-so-innocent. As they are all too old for babysitters, and we couldn’t afford one if we wanted to go that route, it’s looking more and more like I need to find a job I can do from home. Or more than one job. Anything really, just to put me back at home for more supervision and direction than what the kiddos are getting now.
Not only is this all about the family issues… but the hip issues I have are getting so much worse. I don’t know if its the changes in the weather, or if its just the passing and time and the deterioration of my hip joints. But I cannot stand and walk for more than a couple hours at a time without being in agony and needing an extensively long break to recover. When I do stand and walk for a full work day, I am nearly in tears by the time I go home for the day, and often times I cannot even sleep due to the pain in my hips.
In the quest to find solutions to make money from home possible, I have looked into direct sales (along with other ideas) to see if there’s a product I can stand behind…and we have a winner! PINK ZEBRA it is!
It all smells amazing, is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and I love and use the sprinkles myself, I LOVE them! So I’d love to be able to pass that on to you, dear readers! I know how annoying and repetitive direct sales advertising can be, so you won’t see any SPAM from me on this blog, I promise. The only way you will get info after this post is to follow me as follows:
**NOTE 4/24/18** I am no longer attempting to sell Pink Zebra products. It was a dead end for me as no one was buying.
I’ll put a link to any current parties I have going on in the sidebar of this website. Please check in from time to time so I don’t have to post about it all the time.
Shoot me an email at email@example.com to stay in the loop about when I have sales and parties. I’d love to gain some loyal, regular customers.
You can follow my Pink Zebra Independent Consultant Facebook Page to stay up to date on the most current deals and news, along with parties and sales as they become available. https://www.facebook.com/pzhippielady/
For me, 2017 started in a very stressful, dark way. The photos I posted of the party with my friends is only what I put out there. It was not the whole truth of the night… not even remotely. You see, I was in an abusive relationship. I had made it clear I wanted to spend that time with the guy I was seeing, but when he refused, I decided to spend time with my friends. So in return, he was blowing up my phone with absurd, wildly inaccurate accusations, insults, and shaming for enjoying a night without him, and more so, a night with people other than him. I was miserable. And yet I allowed it to continue.
A month later, in February, I lost the job I loved as a Veterinary Assistant. I had finally been able to get to the cause for my chronic hip pain, and a diagnosis of a permanent and progressive condition (hip dysplsia) was enough for my boss to fire me. Legal? Probly not. It was discrimination for a disability. Especially since I had requested a very reasonable and possible accommodation and was refused. But the fact was, I couldn’t do the job the same anymore. I couldn’t be on my feet for 8 hours, and so I was let go to pursue other avenues.
At the end March I had my first skin removal surgery, my Panniculectomy, followed by a 6-week recovery period. During my healing process I was actively looking for a job, including attending several interviews. All I could really find where I didn’t have to be on my feet all day was office work. Tele-sales, mostly. I interviewed at 3 or 4 different places and none of them offered me a job, saying I needed direct sales experience. After just so long, and so many refusals, I started widening my options. I started applying at places I’d have to stand but could be accommodated. Pizza Hut was one of those places. I figured being a delivery driver, not only would I be able to sit (driving) most of the time, but I could also be outside, and not have to stay in a stuffy building day after day.
In June I was hired by Pizza Hut as a driver, which is where I’m still working today. It’s a fun, laid-back atmosphere most days. The management isn’t too strict, and the majority of the customers are pretty chill. I definitely have the flexibility to accommodate the hip pain and still earn a paycheck, and that’s what matters to me.
In July, after months of persuading him, I was allowed to go to the Freedom Rally with the guy I was seeing. The rally itself was a blast, but it was then I finally realized I needed to get away. Why it took me nearly a year for that to actually click in my head, I’m not sure. But it was then that it did. I deeply enjoyed the weekend – the atmosphere, the bikes, the concerts, and everything else the rally had to offer. But I knew that when the weekend was over, it was time to start planning the end of that relationship. It took me a few weeks to finally build up the nerve to do it because I knew he would be very harsh, loud, threatening, and insulting…. but one night in August I told him it was over, and that he needed to move out. It was a very dramatic 3-4 days, but once all of his stuff was moved out, I was free to be myself again, and my boys were free to be themselves again. A big sigh of relief.
The next day, I confessed my attraction to a co-worker of mine…. one I had been talking to and building a very strong friendship with. That co-worker just happened to be Jarrod – so as you can see, that turned out well! 🙂 In less than 10 days of non-stop texting and spending every waking moment together (which was a lot because we couldn’t shut up long enough to sleep much), we ran off to Colorado and got married. Our families and friends really didn’t get it, and they likely still don’t, but we both KNEW within the first 48 hours that we were meant to be together. We’ve never been so sure of anything in our lives.
When we got back from Colorado, I had another skin removal surgery. This time a revision of my Panniculectomy and a breast reduction. And then Jarrod and his 3 daughters moved in with me and my 3 sons. Over the last 4 months its been an interesting set of challenges blending our families. And though there will likely always be some sort of “us vs. them” mentality between the boys and the girls, it is certain all 6 of the kids can see the love and respect Jarrod and I have for one another, and that has brought about a level of acceptance that has made everyone settle in pretty well.
Our families have now celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas together. Blended. Successfully, with very little opposition. No big arguments. No family feuds. And now we are about to end 2017, and begin 2018 together. A new year. New challenges and goals. A new chapter.
The year started off dark and hopeless, and has ended completely the opposite – bright and hopeful! My family has doubled in size, and the man I am sharing my life with is my best friend. We laugh together, dream together, complain about the same stuff together, plan for our future together, and spend every waking (and sleeping) moment by each other’s side. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Other happenings in 2017:
– Surgery on my back to remove a lump
– Traveled to St. Augustine, FL, and back home north through Ohio and back west to Iowa, hitting 14 states en route.
– Attended a Pop Evil Concert
– Got my voodoo doll tattoo (by Barron @ Hot Rod’s in Newton, IA)
– Moved back to Newton out of Otley
– My friend Amber got veeery sick, but then got better after a couple months.
– I had a Panniculectomy (tummy tuck)
– Attended a Highly Suspect concert
– Attended a Def Leppart / Tesla / Poison concert
– Threw Andy a birthday party – age 15!
– Attended a Stone Sour concert
– Got hired at Pizza Hut
– Attended the Freedom Rally
– Threw Evan a birthday party – age 13!
– Took the boys to Adventureland
– Set off our own fireworks legally on the 4th of July
– Threw a birthday party for Cory – age 12!
– Witnessed a solar eclipse.
– Ended a very bad relationship.
– Attended the Rocky Horror Picture Show reunion
– Traveled to Colorado and saw the Rockies for the first time AND…
– Fell madly in love and got married to the best man ever!
– Became a grandma!
– I had a Panniculectomy revision (tummy tuck again), and a breast reduction
– Went to Chicago with Jarrod for an entire weekend for RiotFest
– Also in Chicago, visited the Gallagher house (Shameless)
– Got matching tattoos with Jarrod
– Started dreadlocks
– Took Evan to his first concert to see Hollywood Undead
– Got a Halloween tattoo (and so did Jarrod)
– Took all the kids trick-or-treating
– Went to a Highly Suspect concert again. 🙂
– Hosting a very LARGE family Thanksgiving
– Attended a Seether concert
– Spent weeks planning Christmas gifts for the family and making the purchases.
– Started this joint blog with my dear hubby
– Celebrated not only one, but TWO successful Christmases with our whole family
– I got my lip pierced twice (snakebites)
– And finally…. NYE at home with the family!