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Monday, April 25, 2016

Spring

I really love spring.  It's such a beautiful time of year and it's so nice to have everything looking so lovely and feeling so nice outside.  We had a gorgeous weekend of weather aside from some rain on Saturday, and hey, rain is part of spring!

I picked up my new nightstand this weekend, which is so nice to have.  My nightstand from my apartment didn't work with BF's bedroom set because it was espresso instead of black, so I finally found a black nightstand that works well enough for the set.  BF didn't plan ahead for the future and buy two when he bought his bedroom set years back.  ;-)  It's such an improvement over the crappy black table/stand I have been using for over a year.  I got it all organized and it's a small piece of happy for me.

I got to do a little spring shopping this weekend, also.  I got a new work bag, as the handle of my old one ripped.  :-/  I had a hard time finding one that fit the bill I wanted, as I wanted something water-resistant, as the interim bag I'd been using is not, and on rainy days that's a bummer.  I found the new bag at Marshalls for a whole $20!  I also got a pair of shorts and several cute shirts, so that was a nice way to spend a couple hours yesterday afternoon.

It was a good weekend spent with BF and J.  We cooked meals together, we watched a movie, we ran a slew of errands.  I went to the gym both saturday and sunday (!!!) and felt better about not going Thursday & Friday.  I'm trying to go more often, and I was so proud of myself for going Sunday-Wednesday until that point.

We're less than three weeks out from our Omaha trip now.  It looks like we'll be spending the night with my brother and his wife one night and now possibly one night in a hotel downtown near where the relatives are staying.  We thought it would be nice if we all stayed down there so we could stay out later with the family without having to worry about driving back late.  It's just an idea at this point, but it sounds kind of fun to me.  :-)  Selfishly, I also relish the opportunity to sleep in any bed that is not the bed in my bedroom at my mom's house.  It's one million years old and NOT comfortable.  So this would be a definite improvement, even if we have to pay for it!

My ex-H got married a couple of weekends ago.  I saw lots of FB pics and it looked really lovely, as it was on the beach in Mexico.  I'm really happy for him and happy that he was able to get his family out there for the occasion.  Still can't believe he beat me to re-marriage, LOL.

This week is Staff Appreciation week at work, so that's nice.  It breaks up the usual monotony as we have a staff luncheon tomorrow and an all personnel luncheon on Wednesday, plus some kind of afternoon snack event on Thursday.  I'll take anything that distracts from the usual work day grind. My supervisor is on vacation until Thursday, so that's also nice!

Weather is going to be gorgeous today, so I'm planning for an escape over lunch.  Must take advantage before it cools down some later this week.  Rain predicted for tomorrow so that inside planned lunch is sounding better and better.

Finished a good book recently, "The Elementals".  It was described as a gothic horror novel and I really enjoyed it.  Started two different Kindle books and not wholly enthralled by either.  I have two actual books to read as well that I got in Omaha last time.  Hopeful that one of them grabs my interest.

Anyway, that's all I know today.  Happy Monday, if there is such a thing!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Grandfather

I've been MIA for a couple of weeks, but with good reason.  My grandfather passed away the morning of Friday, April 8th.  We all knew it was coming, and he was certainly ready to go.  He went in his sleep that morning and at that point it was honestly a gift.

I flew home to Omaha Sunday and was there until Thursday.  The funeral was Tuesday and I got the chance to spend some time with my family.  The wayward brother was there for almost everything, including the funeral, which was nice, I guess, although weird.  We spent some time going through my grandfather's house, but the project was much bigger than that and will be happening in my absence as well.

It's strange.  Living so far away makes it seem almost not real because I didn't talk to him or see him every day.  But I think about it every day.

I'm doing pretty well.  I take a lot of comfort in the fact that I got to see him in what was probably his last really good few days.  We talked, we laughed, and we made a few final memories for the books. The funeral service was really lovely, and I even managed to get up and read something I'd written without too much struggle until the end.

I came back to work on the Friday after I returned to begin to dig out of the hole of work waiting for me, and then got a weekend to really settle back in.  This week has been work and gym and BF and life stuff and intermittent conversations with various family members about the things left behind to take care of.  I'll be back in Omaha in three weeks with BF, and I'm looking forward to it.

Our family reunion is moving forward as planned, and we think it will be a lovely way to celebrate my grandfather's life and legacy, as he placed so much value on family connections and laughter.

One thing I did realize throughout all of this is that while it was nice to have my wayward brother around again, I don't need it anymore.  I have very low (realistic) expectations of his presence in my life going forward, and that's OK.  The most important thing is that he was there to spend time with my grandfather in the last weeks of his life, and my grandfather left this earth knowing that some bridges were being re-built, no matter how shaky.  Maybe my brothers will keep in touch, I'm not sure.  I don't expect the same on my end, perhaps because of the distance?  Either way, I'm glad we all proved that we could come together for my grandfather to celebrate his life and mourn his passing together.  It's something.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

April Showers

This is one gloomy Thursday, but it is a Thursday nonetheless.  I'll take it!  This week has felt really long.  I'm sure that can be partially attributed to all of the ups and downs with my grandfather.  As an update, family visits yesterday were mostly comprised of watching him sleep.  My brother went over lunch and said he slept pretty much the whole time, as they'd given him something for sleep mid morning.  My mom went last night and said again he slept most of the time, though he did wake a few times briefly to chat.  She said it was very calm and quiet.  I guess at this point sleeping is better. He got Ativan overnight again because of anxiety again.  I can only imagine how mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted he is these days.

Today is one of those days where I would rather be at home in comfy clothes lounging with my cats and enjoying the rain from a warm inside space.  Work is not a great stand in.  Today or tomorrow they're finally locking down the internet to block all the fun places you can go online and will be monitoring everything else.  They warned us it was coming last summer, so I guess we should be grateful it took them this long to implement.  Thank goodness for smart phones!

Nothing noteworthy on the schedule tonight.  Maybe the gym, cooking dinner at home with BF, the usual week night jam.  No big plans for the weekend either.  We have J for the full weekend.  We may go see a movie, I'm sure we'll run a couple of errands.  The weather is supposed to be fairly lousy so that's no help!  We may get a few errant snowflakes on Saturday morning, which is just depressing.

Still reading "The Elementals" and actually really enjoying it.  I'm still not quite halfway in, but I like the atmosphere of the book and look forward to reading it each evening on my commute home.  I'll admit there's not been a lot of action thusfar, but I feel like it's building to something and it's not boring me yet!

I gambled and made plans for next Friday night with my gf, A.  We are doing a manicure and haircut, respectively, at our salon after work and then going out for dinner and drinks after in DC.  Nothing too wild and crazy, but it will still be fun.  :-)  I've been hesitant to make many plans the last few days because of things with my grandfather, but I figure that whatever will be, will be, and none of my plans are set in stone.  One day at a time, blah blah blah.  :-)

Crossing fingers that Friday comes quickly.....

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Download

I apologize in advance for this post.  I feel guilty for bringing it here, however, I feel like I'm walking under a dark cloud since last night and I need to download the information somewhere to not carry it around by myself all day.  This stemmed from a late night conversation I had with my mom about my grandfather, and BF was asleep by the time I got off the phone.  I'll tell him about it later, but I just wasn't ready to tell him last night and there was zero time this morning. I thought about messaging a couple of different people about it, but have changed my mind.  It's my brother's 3 year wedding anniversary, so I didn't want to bring it up with him even though he's already aware of it.  I was going to message my ex-H because he was always very close to my grandfather and still writes him notes and the like.  But he's getting married in a week and a half and I didn't want to make him sad about it. I've thought about messaging my other brother, but I just don't know.

My mom standardly sends an update email each evening around the same time about my grandfather and how he was doing that day during her visit.  However, I didn't get one last night, which made me suspect it didn't go well, so eventually I emailed her to ask.  She wrote back and told me that it was an awful visit, he went berserk and it was just really terrible.  She didn't offer details, but instead told me to call if I wanted to know more, so I did.

Basically her visit started out fairly normally.  They were talking and things were OK, but not great. However, at some point "a switch flipped" and he was suddenly very angry.  I can't remember everything she told me, as it was all kind of an overwhelming blur.  It started with him asking if she got his letter.  She asked what letter and he told her he'd written letters to everyone.  She told him no, she hadn't gotten anything and asked what the letter said.  He told her he'd asked everyone to meet there (at the hospice house) that night. She asked why and he said "because I'm going to die tonight". She told him, no, he wasn't going to die and he told her that actually, he thought he'd died last night. At some point he also asked her how the previous night had gone, and my mom asked what he meant. He told her that he had died the night before and wanted to know how it went.

Anyway, when she told him he wasn't going to die he got frustrated and said that Bob (his older brother who is currently in a nursing home in Illinois suffering from Alzheimers) was supposed to be there, too.  My mom was of course very confused, but the conversation went on.  She said that he kept telling her he was in hell, this was hell, this was torture and he got very agitated.  He was yelling for help, but she didn't know why.  She tried to calm him down by taking his hand and talking to him. She asked what he wanted or needed.  He told her, very coldly and clearly, "I.WANT.TO.DIE."  She told him that while it was hard for her, it was OK for him to go if he was ready.  He then looked down at her hand and asked, "Why are you holding my hand?"  Keep in mind that basically everything he said after the switch flip was full of venom and anger.

He also told her at various times, "I'm dead", asked her why she was just sitting there.  She asked what she was supposed to be doing and he said, "I can't believe you're just sitting there doing nothing."  She again asked what she was supposed to be doing and he told her, "GO GET THE ATIVAN", but then added, "But it's not like they're going to give it to you.  They won't give it to you." She asked if he was upset with her for something and he told her no, he was mad at himself. She reminded him it was not his fault that he's sick, but it made no difference.  Finally my mom got a nurse and they gave him Ativan and Morphine.  It doesn't sound like it was very long before he was drugged up enough to calm down.

The whole thing sounded HORRIFYING.  As my mom was relaying this to me, still sounding shell-shocked and exhausted, I had this really unnerving idea of it being like The Exorcist, or someone possessed by a personality not their own. My grandfather doesn't yell.  He doesn't speak like that to people.  It wasn't him.  But he was saying all of these things and my mom kept talking about how disgusted he looked and how angry he sounded.  She also said she hadn't heard his voice that strong and clear in WEEKS.

Luckily, my mom called my stepdad at some point to tell him what was going on, and though she told him not to come to the hospice, he did.  I'm grateful that he was there for her because I truly can't imagine how upsetting this was.  The hospice nurse told her this is a very common part of the process, however upsetting it is.  My mom asked if this meant the end was near, and the nurse told her that in some cases this can last weeks, and in others it goes faster.  They really just don't know.

My mom very guiltily told me that she wants him to go, to end his suffering, and I had to assure her over and over that she shouldn't feel guilty about that.  He's ready to go.  I think that he's told us that nicely and calmly, but that he is getting frustrated that he's still here when he doesn't want to be, and this outburst, part of the process or not, was definitely his subconscious speaking out.  He's angry at his body for not letting him rest.  I reminded my mom that dying is what he wants, and that it will be a relief to him, and so it's OK for us to want him to have that relief.

They put him in adult diapers this week because he's too weak to go to the bathroom on his own. One last indignity if he's aware of it.  My mom said he's barely eaten, even less than before lately.  She said she had to look away the other day when they sat him up in bed and she saw how truly gaunt he has become. Yesterday he told her he'd had a couple of bites of applesauce, things like that.  For a whole day.  He's refusing meds, but they're apparently not a huge deal to not take considering his condition.  He's having more and more hallucinations or false memories.  There are the things like asking people to look behind doors that aren't there, but there are also just the smaller things like him telling my mom that my previously MIA brother was harping on other brother about setting up a monthly lunch on the one day when they ended up at the hospice together.  I know it sounds like a reasonable thing for normal people, but I would bet $100 that didn't happen on either side.  We just don't know what to believe anymore.

The idea of this lasting weeks makes me ill.  He will just get more gaunt, more incoherent, more helpless.  I am not a religious person, but I am wishing for his freedom from his pain and misery.  I want him to go be with my grandma finally.  He is done here.

My mom said that aside from not wanting him to go today (she doesn't want the day of his death to forever coincide with my brother's wedding anniversary), she's ready for him to go when it's time. My uncle and aunt are coming Saturday afternoon, and my mom said that at this point, she's not even sure she wants them to see him like this.  It's bad.  She also said that she's glad I came when I did because I got three good visits and only one bad one while I was there, and my visit was overall positive.  But he turned a corner for the worse only a few days later, and last night was definitely a new low point.

It feels awful to wish for a family member to leave this earth.  But this is no life anymore, not in any form my grandfather would have wanted.  He's here against his will at this point and is more than ready to move on.  I hope it comes soon, and I hope it comes quickly, the way he said he wanted it. He's been through enough.

Again, I apologize for this post.  I don't want to bring everyone down with me, but I just needed to share this somewhere this morning for my own sanity.  Any good thoughts or prayers or whatever you can offer would be appreciated.





Monday, April 4, 2016

little pieces

When I was home a couple of weeks ago, my mom gave me a pair of earrings that belonged to my grandma.  After she passed away several years ago, we went through a lot of her jewelry and took the pieces we liked at my grandfather's behest.  But he kept some of her more favorite pieces behind, and I guess they recently re-surfaced.  He still has her fine jewelry at his house, hidden somewhere from what I hear, but this was a second wave, I guess.

The earrings are simple:  silver hoops.  In the first pass, I took several items, but most were not day to day wearable.  I have a bracelet that I wear on occasion, but the hook closure makes me nervous that I'll lose it, so I'm choosy about when to don it.  It always made me a little sad that I didn't have something that I could wear more often.  Luckily, these silver hoops fit that bill.  They are simple, classic and lovely.  Each time I wear them it's a happy reminder that at one time in her life my grandmother wore them, too.  :-)

My grandfather is doing OK.  I guess? I really don't know how to assess these things anymore.  I get daily updates from my mom, plus updates each time one of my brothers visits.  They are wildly varying.  Last week it seemed like he had a lot of "good" days.  He ate a little more, he was chatty, more alert.  My mom seemed to be harboring this secret hope that he was getting better.  However, he's been difficult the last couple of days.  Saturday she got there to find that he'd refused everything - a bath, getting dressed, his meds, food, etc.  During her visit, she managed to get him to do all of these things.  I guess he tolerated it OK and told her she was relentless.  Yesterday she went and he was sleepy and grumpy.  He told her no to everything, including food, and that he wasn't budging. My mom sounded pretty discouraged.  Add to this that on friday I basically got three different messages telling me he was not having a good day.  He was pretty out of it (before his daily meds, but could have been an Ativan hangover from the night previous) and kept telling my brother and the nurse to look behind doors where there were no doors.  Weird.  I know hallucinations are part of this process, but it's just so strange to hear these things knowing how clear headed he is most of the time.

My uncle and his wife are coming in this weekend from CA to visit.  I'm glad my uncle will get to see his dad again, as for a time there I was afraid he would miss it.  Right now I don't have a good sense as to how long my grandfather will be sticking around.  My answer in this moment is very different than what I thought while visiting, and could be very different by tomorrow.  None of us really know. Part of me wonders if my grandfather is sticking around to see his son one more time before he goes, but another part of me thinks maybe this is just another visit and that he could be around for our family reunion and LOTS of visits in mid-May.  I don't know if that's totally delusional, totally reasonable or somewhere in between.

And now for a totally illogical, tactless transition onto other subjects...

Weekend was pretty good.  Friday weather was gorgeous despite forecasts of storms.  It was 80 and beautiful.  We had dinner at a local spot and ate outside on the patio.  Then Saturday rolled around and the weather was gross.  It rained for most of the day and then got really windy that night.  I'm talking 60 mph gusts.  It was pretty scary to listen to!  Our power went out around 2 am and woke us up.  Unfortunately, a smoke alarm also decided it was low on battery, so BF had to replace the battery to stop the beeping.  Then, at 5:30 am the alarm went off even though it wasn't ON.  Thanks, battery backup!  BF couldn't get it turned off and went to remove the battery, but it was beneath a screw top panel, so he was down in the garage rummaging for a tiny screwdriver and muttering lots of curse words at the time.  It was a disastrous night of "sleep".  The morning was very chilly in the house, but luckily the power came back on about 9:30 or 10 am.

Reading and Writing:  Trying to do more of it.  As I mentioned before, I've had a very hard time finding a book to keep my interest lately.  I started a book called "The Elementals", which was originally published in maybe 1981, but re-released recently.  It's classified as a gothic horror novel. I'm very early into it, but enjoying it.  Writing:  I've got desire, but no motivation.  I carry around blank books/notebooks hoping inspiration strikes, but I'm not putting any real effort into it.  Must try to rectify that.

I'm definitely getting restless waiting on spring.  Today's weather is decent at the moment, but it's supposed to rain later.  The rest of the week is a crapfest temp wise and rain wise, and the weekend looks chilly AGAIN.  I'm so ready for real spring, though I am glad things are at least greening up outside.  I want to go to baseball games and on walks and eat meals outside and not worry about only doing these things every few days when it's nice for a day.  Hopefully it's not far off.

Ex-H has his wedding in less than two weeks in Mexico.  It's weird.  They already got legally married a couple of weeks ago at a courthouse.  I'm fuzzy on why, but that's the fact of the matter.  It's weird that he has a wife again.  It's even more weird that on April 16th he'll have another wedding, a nicer one than ours (we were broke babies when we got married!) and that all of his same family that saw us get married will be watching him get married to someone else.  I'm very happy for him, but it's also very surreal.  Secretly, or not so secretly, since I told him as much, I can't believe he's beating me to it!  I always figured it would be me first.  Life is weird!

I have my last session with a trainer tonight.  It's the replacement trainer (boo).  Nice kid, but he's like 12 and I don't mesh as well with his style.  I'm glad it's the last one, but I'm dreading it.  Last time I about died from the workout he put me through.  I cancelled last monday because it was such a crap day, but now I just want to get it over with.  :-/  I also hate telling people I won't be continuing with them because I don't want them to feel bad, but in the end I don't care and I won't be continuing LOL. I know enough to do this on my own, it's just a matter of finding the time and motivation.  If only those were easier to find!

I guess I've rambled on long enough today.  Silly Monday.  I need a nap!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Something else

Because I don't want to just write about my grandfather and all that depressing business every day, I'm going to write about something else.  Debt, and making it disappear.  I sure know how to pick interesting subjects, no???

Yes, folks, this is your latest installment of Bluemoon's Debt Banishment Plan!

Just sent another chunk of money to one of my two remaining credit cards.  It took the balance below $1K and this is so weirdly thrilling to me.  I am SO CLOSE to being debt free that I can taste it!  By the end of April, doing things conservatively, I would have my debt down to $310.  Seriously. THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS.  My original debt be gone date was May 15th, but honestly?  I think I could probably make it happen by April 30 if I really want to!  I can definitely be a little more thrifty so I have a smidge more money to send the way of a credit card.

April 15th will be exciting for me because I will pay off the worst credit card I had, the one that had a maxed out balance of $7000 a year ago.  Yes, $7K on just one card.  I know, I know.  But I'm not ashamed to admit it anymore since that balance is down to under $600 right now!  It will be GONE April 15 and then I will just have the one card with the lowest interest rate and a totally reasonable balance to pay off on the next check or two.  It feels AHH-MAY-ZING.

Even on my May 15th check I will be able to take a chunk of money and put it into savings because the remaining debt I may have will be so low that I'll still have money left.  I've got such big plans for this momentous day of freedom, be it April 30 or May 15.  I'm going to do a happy dance, then find out how to increase my retirement contributions from their current piddly amount and then increase my life insurance policy.  That's what we call adulting!!  ;-)

These things have been very important to my grandfather recently.  He is trying to make sure that we all have these things in place, and I'm so glad that I'll be able to rectify the places I'm lacking very soon.  I'll get those things in order and then re-evaluate my budget to determine how much I want to go into savings on each paycheck.  I cannot wait to see that account grow!  I didn't have a savings at all until the last year or two.  I have been very lucky to receive very generous bonuses from my employer that have helped to give me a small savings cushion.  It has been nice to have, but it will be even better to have a real, growing savings account instead of one that gets an influx of money each January and then nothing thereafter.  ;-)  I've felt guilty in the last couple of years particularly for not putting money into savings each month, but ultimately I decided that it was more important to pay off the debt than to focus on saving.  I had my small cushion of money saved, but I've been all about sending my extra bucks to those evil creditors who like to charge all that interest!

Beyond this, I will also set a date on my calendar for about 2 months from when my debt is gone to do a real, true credit score check-up.  I know it may not be fully updated at that point,but it should be a good enough indicator.  I am insanely proud of myself for this effort in the last year.  I am still astonished at how far I've come and how quickly.  It was a slow process in many ways, and it's definitely faster to accrue debt than to pay it off, but I've been surprised to find how addictive it can be to pay the debt off.  The more you pay off, the faster it decreases, and it's such a nice thing to witness!

I'm so ready to close that chapter of my life and move forward.  I'm ready to be that adult who puts money into savings each paycheck, uses a credit card and pays it off monthly to maintain a good credit score, contributes smartly to a 401K and has a great credit score and ability to make good financial choices.  I'm THISCLOSE.  :-)


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ups and Downs

So my visit home was as good as can be expected.  Things are what they are - my grandfather is in hospice.  He's lost a ton of weight.  He barely eats. He has good days and bad.  He's getting a lot of morphine to help with his breathing, sleeping pills every night, and has had both a hallucination the other week and a paranoid episode Friday night.  His mind is pretty sharp most of the time, but it's hard to understand him at times because his mouth is so dry that it's hard to talk.

I'm really glad I got to see him and spend time with him. I saw both good visits and bad visits during my brief stay.  I got to hear some more of his stories, see him laugh, hear him tell jokes.  Those things are a gift.  The rest is hard.  He's skin and bones basically.  He can't move without assistance.

I get daily updates from my family on how he's doing.  It's hard, too.  Monday, not good.  Tuesday, good.  Today, not great.

It's hard to not be there.  It's hard to be there.  I wake up every day afraid that I'll have a message with bad news.  My mom has already told me that she will wait until morning to call me if anything happens because a middle of the night call wouldn't do me any good.  I couldn't get there any faster.

In the meantime I'm here, doing all the normal things I can.  Monday was awful.  I camped out in my office with the door closed all day.  I was short tempered and sad and cried multiple times behind closed doors.  Yesterday was marginally better.  Today the same, marginally better again.  I'm trying to focus on the things I have going on here while continuing to get the updates from the family.  I'm trying to not play the guessing game of how long he'll be around.

One day we were there he really thought he was going to die that day and kept telling us that.  That day, when pressed by my mom, the hospice nurse speculated he had a few days to a week.  Later that weekend when he was doing better my mom decided that she felt he had longer than that.

My mom tends to spin things more positively when the day is not terrible.  I trust her version of things less than those of my brothers.  Oh yeah, I'm talking to the self-imposed exile brother via LinkedIn, pretty much solely about my grandfather.  The past is the past right now as far as I'm concerned, and I'm just glad he's been visiting my grandfather.

Today both brothers ended up there at the same time.  One brother gave me his take (Grandfather not feeling great.  Hadn't eaten anything again yet that day.  Had medicine for breathing, hard to hear when he talks, but he was clear headed.)  Other brother supposed to also update me, but we'll see. Mom will go tonight and will also update.  So many updates.  So much information that just jerks you in one direction only to jerk you in another a few hours later.  I both want and dread the updates. The bad updates are really upsetting, and the "good" updates feel so fleeting and like they are just the calm before the storm.

This weekend my grandfather told my brother and I that he hoped he went quickly.  He actually said, "I hope I go like this" and snapped his fingers weakly.  I hope he does, too, whenever it happens.  His body is tired, he's ready to go be with my grandma.  He's ready.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Read All About It

Today is my Thursday.  I leave (real) Thursday afternoon for Omaha until Sunday.  I'm going to see my grandfather, and I have to be honest...I'm dreading it.  I spoke with my brother yesterday and things sound pretty grim.  I guess he had some hallucination on Thursday, and beyond that, he's barely eating and is under 100 lbs.  He told my mom the other day that he's ready to go be with my grandma, and he's told others that he's tired and ready to go.  My mom reminded him that I would be there Thursday and my uncle and aunt (his son) would be here April 9.  He said he would rather us not see him this way and instead remember him as a healthier version of himself.  It's ridiculously sad and I have been warned by both my mom and brother of how different he looks even since Christmas.

Work is a drag this week.  I'm not super focused and there's just too much going on.  BF and I had a big, stupid fight on Sunday and it really screwed over my Monday.  We talked some last night (started out unproductive, ended on a slightly better note), but we have some things to work out in the coming days.  I think that situation is just exacerbated by everything going on with my grandfather, and also next week is the anniversary of BF's dad's death.  On top of that, my GYN called today and I had yet another abnormal PAP test.  I have to go in for my one millionth (approximately) colposcopy next Wednesday because of the low grade cells that pop every time almost.  Life is just really hard sometimes.

I'm not getting enough sleep, which isn't helping.  In the middle of the BF drama last night I went and had my first session with my new trainer since my other one left.  Nice guy, but not the same.  I will likely do as planned and finish out my last session Monday and then wrap up the personal training and go forward on my own.  He had me doing push ups (which I LOATHE) and kettle bell swings (which were actually not bad).  I was dying, though.  Inadequate sleep, almost nothing to eat all day, emotionally drained.  Not ideal.

I am really going to try to get to bed earlier tonight.  We'll see if I'm successful.  I just want to go home and hang out with my cats (integration of new boy with the existing two is going very well) and J.  It's hard to have any issues with BF going on right now because I need him right now.  He's available to me, but I'm a little standoffish because of the argument and it's going to take some time for me to feel normal again.  It's hard to focus on dealing with that on top of everything else, and I honestly think the time away in Omaha will be a good thing.  I have no time to get any clarity on anything here, there's just too much swirling in my brain.

The irony of all of this is that stress, lack of sleep, poor diet are all things that can contribute to my abnormal test results, while those same results often trigger more of those reactions.  It's a challenge to remember to take care of myself when I just feel like sleeping.  Woke up with a migraine and am not surprised after all the crying, tiredness and inadequate eating of yesterday.  Sigh.

I need an escape.  I haven't read a book that really intrigued me in months.  I'm half reading two books right now that are both meh to me.  The first is "Fates and Furies", which I really wanted to love.  It's OK, but I don't ever look forward to reading it.  I want to finish it, but I've legitimately been reading it off and on (mostly off) for over a month and I'm not making a ton of progress.  The other is "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler, which is a mixed bag.  Some of the chapters are pretty enjoyable, while the ones that chronicle her improv days (over and over, in detail) are skim worthy to me after the first such section.  It's not proven to be a laugh out loud book for me at all yet either.

Does anyone have any recommendations for books that you found incredibly engrossing, awesome, don't want to put it down lately?  I need something to focus on that actually gets my interest, especially since I have some flights coming up.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ring like on your finger

As I've mentioned, BF and I have been discussing engagement and marriage more and more often recently.  We've had a few separate conversations about the ring, initially sparked by my ex-H's purchase of an insanely expensive ring for his fiancee.  I assured BF I did NOT want something crazy like that and he said "That's good to know!!!" and we both had a chuckle over it.

We've discussed the idea of me picking out my own ring, though I still feel a bit disappointed at that notion.  Yes, it means I definitely get something I like, but it does take away the surprise element. We've also talked about going to look at rings so he gets an idea of what I like and my ring size, as well as him just getting help on a ring from either my mom, my gf, A or J.  J has offered to let me show her some ideas of what I would like and to assist BF when the time comes.

Herein lies my question.  I definitely do not want BF breaking the bank on a ring.  I feel a bit older and wiser this time around and know that I'd rather invest money into a house or a vacation or something that we can both enjoy.  When I got married to ex-H, he bought me a ring set that was way more expensive than we could afford.  It was beautiful, but beyond our means.  Now I'm in a much better situation financially, but I still don't want to go overboard.  I have pretty simple tastes.  I loved my old engagement ring, but the band I had to get was matched to the engagement ring and thusly had a row of diamonds on it.  OK, but I wanted just a plain platinum band and ALWAYS felt that the wedding band was too much for my tastes.

So, when it comes to engagement rings, how do I decide what price range to focus in on?  I will fully disclose that I'm definitely keeping it under $2K, and really am thinking more in the $1K-$1500 range.  This definitely limits me in many ways.  I'm bound to end up with a smaller diamond, a lower end diamond.  Again...how much do I care?  I've had friends chide me when I say that I'd be fine with a $1K ring, and one who said, "As long as he doesn't buy it at Kay Jewelers or something".  Again, I didn't really get that.  Yes, Kay is a chain jewelry store with super cheesy commercials and a jingle that makes me want to poke my eyes out.  But the jewelry is pretty (for the most part).

I've done my research and the jewelry at places like Kay is definitely not as high of quality.  Lower clarity and color on the diamonds, all that jazz.  I'm here to ask the questions:

Will I even notice that much?

Does it matter?

If I'm OK with a simple $1K engagement ring from Kay Jewelers or Bluenile or wherever, does it really matter what anyone else thinks?  Is there a real, solid reason that I should avoid this price range or these sellers or anything else?

I feel a burden in picking things out myself because I am definitely setting the expectation financially with my ideas, and I don't want to come across greedy or materialistic, because I'm not!  I'm 37 years old, but I will fully admit that when I look at a simple, cheap e-ring (some I've liked are $800 or something), I really like some of them, but then I have that moment..

The diamond is really small (half a carat or less)...will people think BF is cheap or that we're poor?  I really rather loathe that little part of me, but I admit it's there.  I have the part of me that says, "I like what I like, who cares!" and then the smaller, but still there part that worries about what it will say to everyone else.

For the record, I'm not being that nutter girl off looking at engagement rings before engagement is even on the table.  This is something I've discussed with BF and he's encouraged the idea of letting him or others know what I would like, so this is a sane and reasonable discussion to be having.  ;-)

Any thoughts, specific or generalized, on the subject would be greatly appreciated!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I cried more than once yesterday, and other random musings

Jeez louise, I am a ball of hormones this week.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you I cried probably three different times yesterday, and teared up again just now when writing a thank you message to my now former trainer.  Oh, how lovely it is to be a cliched girl.  :-D

Life is good.  Truly.  :-)  I am a pretty happy Bluemoon right now!  Spring is lurking and I'm loving it.  Even the cooler days are better than winter, so I'll take it.  I love occasional days for light jackets, open windows and walks around the neighborhood or over lunch.  It just makes everything seem brighter and happier.

I'm madly in love with the newly adopted cat.  R is a big ball of love and cuddles.  He is so sweet and I'm so glad we were able to give him a good home.  His owner was sick and had to give up her three cats, including R.  She brought some of his old toys and his food bowl to the woman who was going to foster him (but never had the chance since he got adopted so quickly).  That woman contacted us to see if we wanted those things and we said definitely.  I think it will be nice for him to have some things from his previous home.  She said the owner was so torn about having to give them up and doing this made her feel better.  I'm happy to do what I can to help his past life live on in our home.

I can't wait to introduce him to our other cats.  Everyone is so curious about one another.  We're trying to switch out beds and blankets to familiarize everyone with all the smells and giving treats on either side of the door to create a positive association with one another.  One of our cats has spent most of her free time since we got R sitting vigil outside the door, and they've taken to occasionally pawing at each other under that space, or sniffing at one another through that crevice.  I'm taking that as a positive!

Beyond that, my trainer is officially done being my trainer.  He originally planned to finish out the month with me, as he recently moved and his schedule was just no longer permitting of the PT job in addition to his regular job.  However, I found out last night that he got laid off last week (the week AFTER he just bought a new house with his wife and three kids), and I was so sad for him!  He filed for unemployment while he job hunts, but working part time at the gym only hurt him on that front, so he stopped our sessions after last night.  We worked with the gym's new trainer shadowing us and he will take over next week for my remaining sessions.  I doubt I'll renew after that, but I guess we'll see how it goes.  New trainer is nice, but I'm not sure I'll ever find anyone as positive, encouraging and lovely as the other.  He was such an amazing motivator.

In other news, a couple of weekends ago marked one year since I moved in with BF.  Craziness!  I came home that Friday night to a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of tulips (my favorite!) and a card from both BF and J.  It was such a nice surprise and made me feel so loved.  This past weekend we went out for appetizers before our firepit dinner of turkey sausages on a stick and s'mores.  ;-)  While out to eat the subject of engagement came up, and I was surprised how gamely BF entertained the convo with J. She was listing off meaningful places he could propose, and he was even joining in.  We joked about going looking for rings, and J volunteered to get an idea of what I liked and my size so that when the time comes, she can help him pick.

I had joked the previous week that we needed to get married by mid-April since my ex-H is getting re-married then.  I'm still weirded out by the notion that once that happens there will be another person with his last name.  I kept my married last name because I identified with it more personally and professionally, but have always said I'll change it when I re-marry.  BF said that if we did that I'd lose out on the time of being engaged, and that he wanted the proposal to be special for me.  I reminded him that I don't need anything crazy or complicated and that the most important thing for me was to be with him.

Yesterday he face-timed with his family to show them the new kitty (it was his telework day), and apparently his sister and mom were asking him when we were going to get engaged and when we would get married.  He told me about this when I got home and I asked why they were suddenly asking...was it because we adopted a "kid"?  :-p  He said no, they were just asking and assured him that they wouldn't say anything to me about the convo.  He told them that it was nothing we hadn't already discussed, LOL.

I reminded him that it's just the thing people do, asking about things like this after a certain point of time.  He's previously expressed the sentiment that these kinds of things make it seem like we've been dating for an eternity and that he's slow to propose.  I assured him that's not the case and that he's fine (at this point, HA!).  I do think he's been caught off guard with how much it's come up lately, and not only from J.

In many ways I think it's a good thing for him to be reminded that we have, in fact, been together long enough to merit engagement.  We have been together for over two years, we've lived together for a year, we just adopted a pet together to add to our menagerie, his kid loves me.  She told him again this weekend that her friends and family keep asking when we are going to get married and that they all want us to get married, including her mom and her mom's mom (whom they live with).  J told me this weekend that her grandma really likes me even though we've only met once.  I'm sure she likes that J likes me so much, and that I've probably balanced things out in some ways  when it comes to BF and his dynamic with J's mom.  I really get along with her and it makes things so easy! Anyway, it will happen when the time is right, but ultimately it feels really good to know that everyone in our lives supports it so much!

What else, what else?  A week from Thursday I leave for Omaha.  I have to say I'm looking forward to the trip home.  I'm a little nervous about seeing my grandfather, as I know he's deteriorated a fair amount since I was home for Christmas, but it will be good for me to see him.  I'm also looking forward to seeing the rest of my family in a non-holiday, non-crazed situation.  The next visit will be in May for the family reunion and that trip is always a whirlwind!  I'm bummed I'll miss out on the R bonding and integration time, though.

J is planning to spend most of her spring break next week with us.  We're going to start the cat integration this weekend, and continue it into next week.  Hopefully a week of supervised time together will lead to everything being good to go the following week for them to all be left alone together!  I'm also glad J will be around to keep BF company for awhile while I'm in Omaha.

One last item of note....I made a large credit card payment Friday (tax refund) and am making another one today (pay day!). After those two payments, the higher interest credit card will be down under $1K, which is AMAZING.  That means that card will be fully gone and paid off by April 15th and I'll be down to the last card, which has a super low interest rate and a really reasonable balance. I am getting so excited about the notion of being debt-free the closer it gets!  I can almost taste the sweet freedom of ZERO CREDIT CARD DEBT!!!  I am going to be doing the biggest blogger happy dance on that day.  :-)

Time to wrap up this novel of a post.  Happy tuesday to all!  :-)