I just spent nearly fifteen minutes typing out a paragraph full of things that I need to accomplish in the next twelve days. It was terribly boring, as it contained phrases like “write script for field trip” and “recycling event” and “dog vacation?”. Anyway, after reading through that 3,293 word paragraph and barely being able to stay awake, I decided to triple click and delete. Your time matters to me.
Why twelve days? In twelve days, a local man will be slicing into me (like one would slice into an Easter ham, except no spiral slicing—just three one-inch-wide gashes, so nothing like an Easter ham at all, really) and pulling out my uterus and my right ovary. He also said something about stitches in my vagina, but I’m not sure how he finished that thought because I was too busy rocking back and forth in my paper gown and screaming out the lyrics to Madeleine.
Anyway. Surgery. Two weeks from today. I’ll be in the hospital overnight, and I’ve heard the recovery goes anywhere from two to four weeks, but a lot of it depends on the amount of endometriosis, and there’s so much stuff to do between now and then, and hardly any of it involves eating good food and laughing about good times. (And by Good Times, I didn’t mean the show, but after typing it, I now have the theme song in my head. And you can have it, too.)
Quick thought: Because we’re hoping to move, we decided to not take piano lessons this summer. Writing that e-mail made me feel sad. I’ve had to write four sad e-mails in the past few days, and sad e-mails they say so much, Elton John.
We went to six open houses last weekend. I really need to stop looking for the perfect house, because the rest of my family is starting to become a bit discouraged with my habit of barely walking through the front door of a house before inhaling deeply and saying, “No. This is not our house.”
I’ve said, “This could be our house.” only two times in the past month. The first house was the house I told you about a few weeks ago. (It’s actually still on the market and I look at it every single day.) The second house was one we saw last weekend. The current owner is a builder of guitars and tables and all sorts of other wooden things and the house was incredible, except for the fact that a highway is being built less than 500 feet away from the back yard fence.
Walking through houses where people are currently living is such a weird thing. Last Sunday we met a dog named Mike, we almost lifted the lid from a slow cooker to stir the little smokies, we cringed at the sight of dirty toothbrushes, and we screamed and ran for our lives when we came across this face in a master bedroom.
We’ll be meeting with a realtor this week to see what we need to do to get our house ready. I’m really hoping she doesn’t mention the word that starts with a P and ends with Aint, because the thought of that makes me want to just say, “This could be our house. Forever.”
As we pack up our house, we sometimes find ourselves sitting criss-cross apple sauce (it is no longer called Indian style) on the basement floor and visiting the memories that spark us as we uncover our forgotten treasures.
Jeff: Wait a second. Isn’t that the swimsuit Meredith wore when she took baby swim lessons?
Me: It is. Check it out. This is the wool jacket I wore to that idiot girl’s farewell happy hour. Do you remember her?
Jeff: I do. Do you use these Pyrex lids?
Me: No. Donate them. I remember you actually LIKED the idiot girl, but I saw her as someone who probably had bugs swarming around her privates. Also, she pronounced your one-syllable name as two syllables, and I’ll never forgive her for that.
Jeff: Okay. Here’s a bag of make-up that looks really old. And sticky.
Me: Old and sticky like that vermin habitat of an idiot girl! Toss it. I hold in my hand three letters from friends. Two of the friends have passed away, and the other drove a really bright purple truck and adopted a great dog named Patty Fla-Fla. What does it MEAN?!
Jeff: Do we need all of these plastic glitter pumpkins?
Me: Can they be recycled? LONDON AIMEE MANN CONCERT TICKETS FROM 2002! We ate curry that night and I drank my first and final Red Bull!
We found many things in the basement, but these are noteworthy: Two of my favorite cardigans from the early 90s (I’m keeping them, even though I haven’t worn them in over 11 years.), a bunch of dried up baby bottle nipples (My kids never drank from bottles. Little weirdos. Why do I have so many nipples? Heh.), 84,922 strands of Christmas lights that no longer work (The Christmas spirit makes me feel hopeful. Perhaps someday I’ll plug them in and they’ll work. Like Carol Brady when she was able to sing on Christmas morning after not being able to use her voice for DAYS!), cold medicine that expired in 1998 (We moved here in 2003. That cold medicine should never have entered this house. Also, sometime I’ll tell you the story about how I met a potential meth addict last night.), and Meredith’s basket of soap and candles that she carried when she was two (She enjoyed sharing smells with us. Tone soap was her favorite.).
We did not find any money. And that’s a bummer, because buying a house is EXPENSIVE, Dave Ramsey.
Something huge happened last night at Fluid Pudding.
After thinking about it for a few weeks, I decided to remove the ads from my sidebar. I believe I started running ads in something like 2007, and of course I made that date up, but it may or may not be correct. It seems correct. Anyway: No more. For now. (I tend to make all of my decisions on a For Now basis. It allows me room to wiggle.)
Announcement: Please know that I contacted Birkenstock a few years back and told them that I would have their logo tattooed onto my thigh if they would give me a lifetime supply of shoes. Being that I’m still wearing the Birkenstock sandals that I bought back in 1999, a lifetime of Birkenstocks is probably just four or five pairs. (I refuse to live forever.) They thought the idea was funny, but then the crickets began to chirp. In other words, you do NOT have to be afraid that I’m going to start belching up a bunch of sponsored posts, because I really have no idea how to sell myself.
“Hi there. My name is Angela Pudding and I really love doughnuts and I volunteer to teach the world how to stay healthy yet eat a lot of doughnuts if you give me a fresh doughnut every day for the next five years.”
See what I mean? I’m not good at this.
Also, my last name isn’t really Pudding. It’s Downing. And unless we’re friends on Facebook, you didn’t know that. When I started this website back in 2001, privacy was a huge deal. Now that I’m ditching the ads and packing up boxes and having my lady parts ripped out through my belly button, I no longer feel the need to keep a bag over my head. All bras into the fire.
If there are any boys in the room, please know that I’m keeping this clean, and by “keeping this clean” I am not referring to any of my parts. “Keeping this clean” means that you will be able to read the following words without wincing. Hopefully. Because, come on. We are adults here.
Brief history: The gynecologist I had seen for nearly 20 years hinted that we reached an impasse last October when I refused to let her shoot drugs into my system that would throw me into a chemically-induced menopause. The new gynecologist I met with in November refuses to see me (despite my crazy ovulation pain), and has done nothing more than toss Vicodin prescription paper airplanes into my face when I call to ask for an appointment.
My general practitioner listened to all of my woes, scheduled a colonoscopy for kicks, and said, “I think you should meet my friend Dr. Patty.”
(Please know that her name isn’t really Patty. BUT, I used to have a neighbor named Patty who had a daughter who shares a name with my doctor’s friend. I’m asking YOU who’s on first. That’s the man’s name. That’s who’s name? YES.)
Anyway, Dr. Patty’s first appointment was six weeks out, so I waited fairly patiently. Today was the day.
After taking my blood pressure (120/70!) and establishing that I’m sane, the nurse told me to keep my clothes on for Dr. Patty. I was very relieved to hear this, because I had forgotten to pack socks in my bag. (That’s a thing with me. Always carry socks when you’re going to the doctor. Nobody wants to see your feet. Not even yours.)
Dr. Patty entered the room and I immediately liked her the way that I immediately liked my migraine doctor. She’s calm. Nice. Probably does yoga, but I really have no idea.
After pulling out my crazy 3 x 5 card onto which I had written every single detail about the past 12 months,* Dr. Patty said the words I’ve been waiting to hear.
“Okay. You’re a skinny white girl who doesn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs. Your vital signs are all normal. In other words, there’s really no need for me to say, ‘Why don’t you try X, Y, or Z and see if that helps?’. I think you have endometriosis and what you’re describing to me points toward you having endometriosis spread out in weird places.”
She then went on to say this:
“We can throw more pills at you, but people have been throwing pills at you for over a year now. I normally don’t jump to this, but, have you considered any surgical options?”
Me: I love you.
Dr. Patty: Excuse me?
Me: My sister had the same stuff going on a few years back, and she had a hysterectomy. She said it’s the best decision she’s ever made.**
Dr. Patty: Perfect. Even more of a reason to consider it. If someone genetically similar to you had a similar issue and it was fixed, I’m leaning toward a repeat.
She then went on to say that although she knows that she’s a very good surgeon, she would like for my surgery to be performed by someone who specializes in endometriosis.
Dr. Patty: If I get in there and things look really bad, I’m obviously going to do my best to clear it up. If he gets in there and things are really bad, it’s just another day in the life for him.
(She then had me take off my pants, and I didn’t want to because I FORGOT MY SOCKS. And she said, “Every day of my life is filled with periods and feet. Don’t even think about it.”)
All of this to say: I have a consultation with an endometrial specialist next week, and I couldn’t be happier. (Please know that I’ve been through more than you know in the past year when it comes to gynecologic issues. In other words, I’m turning off comments on this one.)
*When I say that I wrote every detail about the past 12 months on a 3×5 card, please know that I’m just referring to my lady part details. There’s nothing on that card about me choosing a favorite ink color for my fountain pen (ochre!). Also, it says nothing about how I’ve been practicing different spinning techniques (like from the fold!).
**When I say that a hysterectomy is the best decision my sister has ever made, please know that I’m once again speaking gynecologically. My sister is pretty much full of outstanding decisions.
Had I remembered to take socks this morning, I would have taken these. I finished the first one SIX YEARS AGO. I finished the second one last week.
(Yes. I just put those socks up to clear your head of everything else we just talked about. SOCKS! Blue ones!)
This morning I dropped the kids off at school and then realized that I didn’t want to go back home. I drove around for nearly an hour just listening to my iPod and staring at the stripes on the road and eating a doughnut. (There are four grocery stores with fresh baked doughnuts on the street where I was driving, and although I was able to drive past #1 and #2 while feeling strongly about my doughnut-free stance, by the time I got to #3 I was feeling the long john monkey tingling on my back. I caved at #4.)
When I returned to my car, I decided to make a right instead of a left out of the parking lot, which put me on a road I don’t remember ever being on (it’s called Mason, locals), and my favorite cover of Creep came on. I tried to sing along, and pretty soon my eyes were watering. (Part of it may have been because I can’t hit the high notes. The other part may be something else entirely.)
It wasn’t long before I déjà vu’d myself back to a Target parking lot in Nashville, Tennessee. I had driven to the Target back in 2000 to purchase an electric griddle for pancakes, but Radiohead’s OK Computer was playing and “Exit Music (For a Film)” came on and it was snowing and perfect and instead of going in for my griddle, I sat in my little green Nissan and sobbed until I looked like Alice Cooper.
You know me better than most people know me. (And that’s weird, because most of you really have no idea what I smell like. Here. I’ll tell you. Toast! I smell like toast. More wheat than white.) I’ve always been upfront with the fact that I share only 17% of my stuff at Fluid Pudding. I’m now going to give you a 3% gift. That’s right. I’m going to open up a bit more so that you’re in on 20% of my business.
What did you just say? Oh. You’re welcome.
3%: In the past three years, three different doctors have tried to prescribe (at least) three different daily medications that call themselves things like anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety agents and/or muscle relaxers. When I pick up the prescription, here is what I do: I take one of the pills, and if it makes me feel weird or off, I immediately throw the rest away. Because these things aren’t needed for me to LIVE, they’re just needed for me to apply a bit of coping fuzz. BUT, I don’t need permanent fuzz. I need REMOVABLE fuzz. Like a coping fuzz vest. (Two nights ago I found myself at a restaurant with a delicate and fragile (perhaps birdlike?) woman who was wearing a black feather vest. I don’t think the decision to wear that vest had anything to do with her inability to cope without the aid of feathers. I think it had everything to do with wanting to look a little more like Elton John. And for that, I suppose I salute her.)
When I was going to school in Columbia, Missouri, my coping fuzz vest came in the form of My Bloody Valentine.
(That song? I could listen to that song 24 hours each day forever.)
I have 80 reasons for needing a coping fuzz vest right now. (These 80 reasons are part of the 80% that I’ll keep in my pocket.) The good news? I’m seeing a new doctor on Monday. (When your regular doctor makes a habit of throwing Vicodin your way, you know it’s time to find a new doctor. Unless you like Vicodin! No hate to the Vicodin fans! I’m not here to hurt anyone’s feelings.) Anyway, the following line items appear on my list of conversation points:
3. Migraine food triggers (warm bread, alcohol, red foods, chocolate)
4. Fuzzy coping vest
Always End On A Happy Note: I spoke to our new realtor this afternoon, and she is amazing and I’ve been packing boxes. (Oddly enough, I’m wearing a fleece vest right now. Not quite fuzzy enough, but it’ll do.)
On Sunday morning, I cleaned the kitchen. I wiped down every surface and put everything in its place and threw a bunch of stuff away and took old cookbooks downstairs, and suddenly our kitchen looked (and smelled) really good.
Meanwhile, Jeff and the girls bagged up shoes that no longer fit and clothing that no longer works and stuffed animals that always seem to take up too much space, and suddenly we were able to see parts of the floor that we haven’t seen in years.
At 1:00, Jeff announced that he knew of a few open houses that he thought we should look at. (At which he thought we should look.)
When we moved into our house (exactly eleven years ago), we promised ourselves that we would stay for five years. Two years later, Harper moved in. And then five years passed and Meredith was in kindergarten and Harp was in preschool and let’s watch TV instead of packing stuff up. Six MORE years have passed, and we’re cramped. Our house isn’t a bad house, but the girls would love to have their own rooms and I would love to have a table in the kitchen and although we really like a few of our neighbors, we wouldn’t miss the others.
We’ve spent the past year lazily looking at open houses, and none of them sparked us. Ah, but then Sunday came around and we drove to a house on a street that has Winter in the name. (You know that winter is my favorite, right?) We pulled up to the house and I said, “Oh, wow. This is our house.”
When we walked in, the realtor introduced herself to us, and asked us to either take off our shoes or put on the booties. I was so excited that I took off my shoes AND put on booties and then I tripped on the bootie elastic and lost my balance and tried to look cooler than I am but failed, so I started laughing like an awkward lady because that’s EXACTLY WHAT I AM.
When we first walked into our current house (about eleven years and a month ago), we said, “This will do.”
When we walked into the winter house, we fell in love. (Honestly, the only thing missing is a fenced-in back yard.) It’s weird, because it’s in our price range, has FOUR bedrooms plus a finished basement and room for a table in the kitchen along with a bar where I can have meaningful talks with the girls as I cook amazing dinners and they snack on fresh veggie sticks. It has an office for Jeff. It has space where I can sit at my spinning wheel and look out the window. It has something called a Florida room where Jeff and I can read the paper and talk about smart people things like science and indie films.
This is an actual photograph taken after I hugged the tree in the yard and said something like, “That bathtub in the master bathroom is where I want to take a bath. Tonight.”
I spent the rest of the evening on Sunday eating dump cake and burrito bowls and singing love songs to the house.
Yesterday afternoon I met a friend for lunch. Because I’m sort of unpredictable and not the best at managing time, I ended up being an hour early. (The restaurant is less than a half hour away from my house. I have no idea why I do the things I do.) Anyway, as I sat in my car and listened to the radio, I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. It was the winter house realtor. She could tell that I loved the house and she wants to come over to OUR house and I’m not even going to worry about punctuation right now because the whole conversation went just this quickly and the house we live in needs to be ready for her to see in less than two weeks and we’re meeting with a lender soon and I’ve made arrangements to get boxes and this weekend we’re going to rent a storage facility and yesterday I told our principal that I won’t be signing up for committees next year because: We’re moving.
Let me be clear: The house we fell in love with (also known as the house with which we fell in love) will sell very quickly, and most likely not to us. BUT, we’re finally taking the steps. And there WILL be other houses that are hopefully just as perfect for us.
I’m taking pictures off of the walls and boxing up everything that we don’t use on a daily basis and we’re hoping to be in a new place before the next school year starts. This is no longer just a thing we talk about before we change the channel over to The Amazing Race. This has become a verb. Stay tuned.
Okay. I could visit Fluid Pudding every day and tell you about the things that are tugging at my heart. I’ve done it a few times in the past, and a few people have stepped up to say, “Hey! I want to help with that!” and suddenly we have a Thing and we accomplish a goal that surprises a stranger in an amazing way and that’s one of the reasons why I just renewed Fluid Pudding for another two years. (The other reason is that I want to start challenging myself to actually WRITE again, and I’m giving myself two years to see what I can do.) Anyway, I really (really) enjoy all of you. (Even you back there.) I think we make a good team. (Funny: I accidentally just typed “I think we make a good time.” And I do!)
Here’s the scoop: A friend of mine works in animal rescue. She introduced us to Scout nearly three years ago, and because I think she’s smart and funny and resourceful and amazingly generous with her time and money when it comes to animals, I always want to help her in any way that I can. She was recently contacted by someone who wasn’t necessarily concerned about a dog, but was VERY concerned about this dog’s family. Chevy (the dog) had a weird accident while playing fetch two years ago, and the stick went through his mouth. He had surgery to correct the problem, but his jaws locked up after the surgery. His family has been told that it will take six to eight thousand dollars to correct the problem. In the meantime, because his family can’t afford the surgery, they’ve been taking extreme measures to help Chevy get food into his mouth. Meanwhile, although Chevy is an AMAZING dog who is well-trained and loves his family like crazy, he is not thriving. He needs the surgery.
A (very good) veterinarian met Chevy and is willing to cut the cost of the surgery down to $1,000. With that said, Chevy needs the surgery as soon as possible. The family scheduled the surgery for next Thursday, but they’re still having a very hard time coming up with the cash. That’s where my friend stepped in and asked for donations on Facebook. A few people donated. I put the story on my Facebook wall and immediately heard from another friend who said, “Get a Go Fund Me! I can pass the word to my friends! We can do this!”
Long story short: I took my friend’s photo of the dog along with her words and put it on a Go Fund Me site. Within an hour, we had over $300 for Chevy. This morning I woke up to find that we now have $475. In other words, we’re halfway there.
Please consider visiting the page and donating so that Chevy’s surgery is covered.
Also, please know that I still dig you even if you don’t donate. As I said before, it isn’t often that I throw this stuff out there, but when I do, we always seem to band together to make good things happen.
I hope your weekend is the best one.
Edited to add: You guys. We did it. $1,000 so Chevy can open his mouth and his family can get back on the road to normal. This is what it’s all about. Thank you.
I pulled something in my right knee pit, and it’s making me pain. The Fitbit will be sitting on my bedside table until I can dance without wincing. (Side note: Jeff and I are participating in the voluntary Fitbit Force recall because the skin on his arm is rotting off. We’ve been wearing our Forces around the clock since December, and the rotting of his skin started last week. I’m not rotting, but I’m also not willing to wait for a rot. I now have a Fitbit Zip, and you really don’t care, do you? It’s LIME GREEN!)
One of our tomato plants just reached up and touched my finger. (I am not on any medication, because I’m pretending to be one of those people who never takes medication. I actually sort of AM one of those people, if you don’t count the weird birth control pill I take every night despite the fact that I had a tubal ligation many moons ago. Migraine/ovulation prevention! I’ll be meeting my new gynecologist on April 7th!)
This morning the girls and I watched a terrible pet incident that involved two separate attacks and that’s all I can say until I’m able to talk to the neighbor whose dog was injured. The police need to be called, and I need to know if she’s going to do it or if I have to. Meredith is REALLY hoping the neighbor lady calls, because MY call could affect HER social life. Oceans of obscurity! I’ll keep you updated. (Unless I can’t.)
After getting my feathers ruffled by the canine kerfluffle (feel free to use that phrase in your songs, Tori Amos), I took the girls to the library (SPRING BREAK! It is ON!) to see if any of their reserved books were ready. On the way in, a woman with a clipboard asked if I am a registered voter. Two things: 1. I AM a registered voter. 2. I recognize this lady as someone who is always carrying a clipboard and asking me to sign things that I don’t like. (We are VERY different politically, the clipboard lady and me.) Anyway, I lied to her and told her that I’m not a registered voter, because it’s easier than telling her that I don’t have a spine. She looked at me, shook her head, and did the whole, “Mmmm, mmm, mmm.” thing to indicate how disgusted she was.
Me (after returning to the car empty-handed): Girls, it feels as if the past few years have provided me with constant tests, and I often feel that I’m failing.
Harper: Can I get gum at the store?
Me: Yes. Also, I need a fresh start. I need to get away for a bit. I’m starting to not like who I am. I need to explore. Try yoga at a reputable yoga studio. Go back to Pilates. Stare at a wall.
Meredith: Why did you write Piano on the grocery list?
Me: I have no idea. Perhaps the word Piano is a metaphor for me having 88 things going on at once and my synapses are no longer able to fire effectively.
Meredith: Do you think you meant to write Pizza? Like, for dinner?
One more thing. I just looked out the window and it’s snowing, which feels like a gift. One more snow. It’s all I ever need. (Along with a box of hair color and a cure for this knee pit thing.)
If someone told me that I had to walk around smelling like a specific food for the rest of my days, I would choose to smell like gingerbread cookies. Oranges would also be on my top five list of I Have to Smell Like This Food possibilities. Green bean casserole.
Honesty: Show me a person who thinks I’m mean and I’ll show you a person who has no idea. (And by saying they Have No Idea, I’m not saying, “I’m MORE MEAN THAN YOU THINK! I’M JUST GETTING STARTED BEING MEAN!” By saying you Have No Idea, I’m actually saying, “I’m not mean. Really. Despite what you think you think.”)
Last week I edited a chapter about delusions. While reading it, I was able to visualize actual people (and sometimes those people were me!) who fit some of the descriptions in the book. A few days ago I edited a chapter about sleep disorders, and I was quickly able to diagnose myself with maladies I probably don’t actually have. Yesterday I edited Sexual Disorders. Green bean casserole.)
I have potatoes and carrots and celery and garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes and veggie broth simmering in the Crock pot right now with curry and coriander and garlic. Add that to the list of foods I might want to exude.
Last night I had a dream during which a man in a red velvet hat approached me in a castle and asked me to spell loo-be-doo. I smiled confidently and said, “l-e-a-u-x-b-e-d-e-u-x.” He frowned and said, “No. It’s just l-o-o-b-e-d-o-o.” I think this means that I try to add unnecessary details. I should stop cleaning my house and just get that goofy realtor over here.
Baked apples with cinnamon and brown sugar. Add that to the list.
Due to circumstances that I won’t get into, my kids have been unable to text their friends for nearly two weeks. As a result, they have been pleasant—much more pleasant than they are when they’re looking at me over the top of an electronic device. Instead of sending thirty tiny cartoon elephant pictures to friends they see every day at school, they’re talking to each other. They’re reading. They’re doing science experiments. They would not agree with me when I say this, but: This has been a very good thing. Until we figure out some parameters, they will continue to be unable to text. I’m in no hurry to figure out parameters.
Eleven days ago, we planted 20 tomato seeds. As of RIGHT NOW, 19 of them have sprouted and have turned toward the sun. It’s time to plan the garden. We will have tomatoes, basil, peppers, radishes, lettuce, and what else? What else should I grow this year? The people who lived in the house before us grew sweet potatoes and grapes. I’m not sure I’m ready for sweet potatoes and grapes. I’m also not ready to remove the cartoon teacup curtains those people hung in our basement. We moved in exactly eleven years ago. Cartoon teacup curtains. Honestly.
Semi-related: Developments are taking place on Project: I Want To Move. Last weekend we were told about a great house. We drove over to it and verified that it was a great house. I CALLED A REALTOR, which is something I’ve never done before. 24 hours later, the realtor called back and told me that the house had been sold. Anyway, because of this, I’ve been bagging up clothes and eating lots of banana chips and thinking that I may invite the realtor into our house sometime in the next month so she can tell us exactly what we need to do to get ready. I’ve been talking about moving forever. Now I’m actually making phone calls. This is a good first step.
Okay. I know that winners never quit and quitters never win, but we’ve decided to let Meredith quit the violin before the end of the violin session. I don’t want to talk about it.
Oh! So, do you remember two paragraphs up how I was going on about how I want to move? As I type this very line, ten kids from the middle and high school track teams are practicing drills on my street and it’s one of the most heartwarming things I’ve seen. If the marching band shows up, all hope is lost.
Once again, I’m reminded that someone once declared blog entries to not be interesting without a photo. (Not that I believe a photo would really help this schlock. Honestly. I either need more time or more adventures or another month of writing every day.)
This morning I found my Superhero necklace. I bought it for myself as a reward for reading a Fluid Pudding entry in front of something like 500 people at BlogHer.
The audience looked like this.
That was back when I was marking up my face with eyeliner and stuffing marshmallows into my mouth and actually going to conferences and staying out late and talking to people and showing my elbows in public.
Things were much more interesting then. Girl, you know it’s true.