Friday, February 28, 2014

Gas disappearing from my car?

Today is the last day of February, and guess how much money was spent on gas for my car? It was $65!!! That is the most we have ever spent on gas for this car in one month.

As the needle on the car’s gas gauge kept going down to “E,” I started to get suspicious that maybe there was something wrong. The car has about 25 miles per gallon. It could not be using up gas THAT quickly! I worried that maybe there was something damaged that caused a gas leak, or something.

I brought this to my husband’s attention after putting gas in the tank YET AGAIN and he looked at the car. Turns out the car was low on coolant and, according to what I was told, this was why the engine burned up more of the gas.

After he looked at the car and fixed the problem, I once again kept my eye on that needle as I drove the car. Thankfully, two days later, the car hasn’t run out of gas again. I guess that means that the problem is fixed. Yay! Glad that’s over with. But I’ll still keep am eye on things with the car, just in case anything else turns up. (And make sure the car has enough coolant!)

I did a bit of research on this and found out that two other things that can cause this to happen are a dirty fuel system or a defective fuel gauge sender.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Going through a LEEP

Towards the end of last year, my annual Pap revealed that I had cervical dysplasia. This is an accumulation of abnormal cells on the cervix which can, if not treated, lead to cervical cancer. This was a result of my having the HPV (the doctor said I’d probably had HPV for a long time). Treatment for this condition is a called a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). During this procedure, the doctor removes the abnormal cells from the cervix. There is no guarantee this will prevent a recurrence – in fact, a recurrence of the HPV could happen, and there are alternative treatments available for when that time comes.

After I did my own research on the LEEP, I freaked out because it looked so invasive and even a little painful. I took this situation to Facebook, where my family and friends came together to offer support, encouragement and ideas. Some of them even shared their own stories of similar procedures. This really helped a lot. I went and got a second opinion, as one suggested, and received the same medical advice. I looked into alternative treatments and did A LOT of soul searching on this whole thing. (It’s scary when you have to go through something that LOOKS like it will hurt and you can’t really know what to expect.) I even talked with someone who has gone through this, too. I talked with my husband, as well.

And all the while, I had a reminder hanging over me: If I did not treat this thing, I’ll have cancer. So it was either go through with this thing and face the laser or go through chemotherapy!

I was a little disappointed that going through with the LEEP meant that I could not have more children all too soon (I had hoped to have at least one more), but I let that go in the end. I am just grateful for the two children I DO have. (My doctor said it takes 2 years for the cervix to heal completely from a LEEP. Future pregnancies are not advised because the cervix would not be able to close all the way and the baby would likely end up being born pre-term.) 

So I decided to go through with it. Just get it over with.

During the week of the procedure, however, I was starting to stress out. I was really nervous, stressed and just really uncomfortable about it. I tried to distract myself with wrapping up some last-minute business but was not able to get some things done in time. So I spent the rest of the week just enjoying things and connecting with people. Watching movies, playing with the kids and reading. But as the day drew closer, I got REALLY stressed all over again. And again, I hit Facebook. Again, friends and family offered their support and encouragement. One of them even brought a bit of humor to the table.
(Thank you so much, guys! You are awesome! Love you all!) On the day of the procedure, I was actually in a good mood. I totally had a “let’s DO this!” attitude about what lay ahead. (I really believe the Facebook purge is what did it. I had to get that stuff OUT of my system. Thank God I have such understanding and supportive family and friends!! Their comments really helped a lot.) I guess it helped that something funny happened that morning and I kept chuckling about it later on. It just lightened the mood!

At my appointment, the interpreter, nurse and doctor were in a preppy mood, too. The doctor even made a joke about the machine she would be using.

Now, I had thought all this time that the procedure would hurt. But you know what? It didn’t. The procedure itself DID NOT HURT. It was when the doc used the speculum on me and gave me the shot for the local anesthetic that hurt. (Well, in the first instance, she readjusted it and it was just uncomfortable.) But it did not hurt at all. It actually felt a little strange. The anesthetic made me a little dazed and shaky, but other than that, it was not entirely terrible.

After it was over with, though, THAT was the ordeal. I was a little shaky until the anesthetic wore off (and I’m glad my husband was able to drive me home). I was also a little clumsy if I tried to walk around or do things. It was better for me to just stay in bed and rest. There was some pain, but Tylenol helped take care of that pain. The next day I was a little disoriented and slow (I had this whole ‘My God, what HAPPENED to me??’ kinda feeling), but the pain was not as severe.

And today, two days after the procedure, I feel normal again. Well, mostly normal. I still need to take it easy for a couple of weeks and go slow until the area they worked on is completely healed (2 weeks), but other than that, I am coherent and have more energy again. I still have this whole “I survived a LEEP! Yay!” kinda feeling, and the Very Big Thing is that I feel soooo much better that I don’t have to worry about cervical cancer anymore. Well, for now, anyway. That is such a huge weight off of my shoulders. If there is a recurrence, we’ll deal with it in that time. But for now, I’m celebrating missing the Cancer Bullet.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More school incidents

This evening, I had Jennifer pleading to me to email her teacher about something that happened today at school. I was okay about doing that, but I also had to email a reply to Jesse's teacher, because something had happened to him at school, too, that I had to take care of as well. Yep, both kids had stuff going on at school I had to get involved with.

I did email Jen’s teacher this evening, as well as the school’s registrar about something else that happened today. (Ack! Why does it always have to be more than one thing??!!) But I also emailed Jesse’s teacher, too. 

To start off with, Jesse was bullied by a boy in his class yesterday. The kid punched Jesse in the chest! We were really upset about this, but when he told me that his teacher did nothing after he told her about it, I thought, That doesn’t sound right. Bullying is a Big Deal and I firmly believe any student who bullies another, let alone by using violence, should be disciplined. (Bullying is a touchy subject for me, because I’ve been bullied for years in the past.) So I contacted his teacher via email and she explained the situation. We talked with Jesse again this evening and his teacher is going to get on this tomorrow when he gets to school.

Then there was what happened with Jennifer. First, her progress report arrived by mail today and I almost fainted when I saw she got an “F” in Math. OMG!! I freaked. And I was livid, too. Her dad was also upset. Later he talked with Jennifer about it, and I noticed Jennifer saying she was trying to do the work and that she got confused. Jennifer is in Advanced Math and I was starting to think maybe she should not be in Advanced Math anymore. I talked with my husband about that idea and he talked to Jennifer but she doesn’t want to change her Math class. Well, she logged in at the school website later and, actually, her grade for Math was a B+. We were confused about that and her dad suggested she check in with the school to confirm that is indeed her grade.

The other thing I had to email her school about was because a teacher had taken something from her in class and had not given it back. Jennifer is creating a piece of art for a friend at school and she was showing it to him in class to ask him if the color was okay. The teacher saw this and had Jennifer hand it over. She was really upset about that because she has worked on it for 3 days. I told Jen I’d email the teacher but, at the same time, I reminded her that that was what teachers DO! Save that stuff for AFTER or BEFORE the class. Not during class. So I sent that email off tonight, as well.

I only hope both of those things get resolved and I also hope both kids learned something from their incidents.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Some good and some bad

Yesterday was not exactly a great day, because a lot of things just went Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. (Sidenote: I HATE TECHNOLOGY!!!) But a few things went right. That’s what made me think that maybe yesterday was not a total loss. And I’m thinking the same thing again today, because some things went wrong but some things went right.

I saw my bestie today. Yay! She is an awesome friend. And I’m glad I went into her house today because she’s made some dramatic changes and it just looks AWESOME. But it was raining like hell today. When I went into her house, I was all like, “It’s raining cats and dogs out there!” And I was out in that rain when I went to the store later to buy bottled water. I got soaked! (Ah, life in the Northwest.)

Oh, something funny happened on the way to my friend’s house. I had to pull over because a cop was coming. When that cop car passed us by like ZOOM!, it went soooo fast that the car shook! I freaked out and was all like, “Jesus Christ on a pogo stick!” That’s the first time I have ever said that in front of Jennifer and she almost bust a gut laughing. Then she said, “I have to draw a pic of that later.”

Another good thing is that we have a cover for the Parenting Pauses book. Woo-hoo! I love the cover! The picture that made the cut is one of my favorites. I felt bad for my friend because the publisher could not use any of the pictures she took, but I am just glad a cover was created all the same. (And that experience right there made me think that it’s time to get a better camera!)

Jesse woke up last night feeling sick and ended up vomiting then having a fever. We’re really concerned about him. It seems like he’s caught the stomach flu that’s been going around. We changed his diet today and made sure he got some rest. Fortunately, he’s feeling a little better this evening, but we’ll keep an eye on him.

But I organized my bookmarks on the computer today. And got lots of housework done. Good stuff!

Didn’t do too much writing today but that’s only because I’m busy with manuscript edits.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A new direction

For a few months now, I have been babysitting for a friend. Part of this job requires some training in childcare. After I looked over what I had to go through and read about certain requirements, I decided that if I am going to go through with this, I’m going to go all the way. And that’s going to mean a new line of work for me in the future.

I have to take some classes in order to receive certification and become a registered childcare provider. After I take all these classes and complete the training, I will become a Certified Childcare Provider.

Wow. You would think it was just a simple babysitting job! But, ya know, I’m starting to think maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this is the new path I must take in life.

For a long time, I have not been happy with the mediocre success my writing life has achieved. Of course I wanted to go higher and achieve more, but after 20 years as a working writer, that has NOT happened. I mean, I have to face facts: I will not reach the goal I want to achieve as a freelance writer, an author or even a poet. (I do still want to go into scriptwriting someday, but the time is not right.) So maybe I will have better success with another job, even if it’s in childcare.

Admittedly, I am nervous about going into this line of work, because I am deaf and have burn scars and I KNOW how kids can be with those kinds of things. But the child I am babysitting has been truly amazing and she has actually taken on my being deaf as an opportunity to learn sign language so we can communicate better. Believe me, she’s an awesome kid. And that gives me hope. Maybe other children will be that accepting, as well.

So, yes, I’m going to take all the required classes, become a CCP and become registered with the state to be a licensed childcare provider. In fact, I took the first class today. It went so well, I am ready to take the others, too!

We’ll see where this new journey will lead me.