Why I’m A Germ Nazi, or Please Don’t Make Me Cry Again

Dunno who created this meme. But I owe that person a beer. (If you know who made it, lemme know so I can give 'em credit!)

I love celebrations.  I love my friends.  I love when the two combine (what, you never sit down in your TV room and snarf cookies because it’s Twinkie Tuesday?)

So now that my 50th is right around the corner (read: November), I’m amazed, blessed and happy as hell that a friend volunteered to throw me a birthday shindig.  Up in my ‘hood.  AND PEOPLE ARE COMING.  I’m beyond gobsmacked.  My friends really are the best.

One thing: no kids allowed.  Why?  Because November is in cold & flu season + I’m immunosuppressed/immunocompromised. I don’t want to 1) end up in the ICU, 2) lose my kidney transplant, or 3) all of the above.  But though I assume that everyone invited — folks I’ve known for years — understand my plight, almost immediately after the event was posted someone commented “hey, why didn’t you invited [insert kids here]? They’re awesome!”

Um.  Okay.  Perhaps I’ve never been very clear.  So here goes.

  • I’m sorry that I’ve never been very forceful about my illness, and the problems/accommodations surrounding it.  I’m still embarrassed by it, mostly because I have an ex-husband that for 14 years told me that I wasn’t good enough/would never find or keep friends/would never find or keep another man (true so far!)/would never get anyone to understand me because I’m broken thanks to my illness.  That embarrassment and lack of ability to get real without crying is something I’m still working on.  29 years and counting.
  • I cry about this.  A lot.  Every time I have to change plans, cancel plans, figure out who I can hang out with during what time of the year (hooray flu season!  Not.), and/or find out that I can’t make something I’ve been dying to get to because I’m either sick or exhausted?  I cry.  Every.  Single.  Time.  So when someone brings up something — oh, say “why aren’t you inviting kids?” when the invitation says please leave ’em at home and you know that I’m chronically ill — I cry.  Again.  And I can’t get that comment out of my head.  EVER.  Again, I’m working on that.
  • If I do spend time with someone who’s sick, there’s a 90% chance I’ll be sick.  That includes “I’ve just been sick, but I’m on cold medicine!”, “I’ve been sick for two weeks, I’m sure I’m not contagious now!” and “I’ll just talk to you from three feet away, that’ll work!” So please, please, PLEASE bear with me, and don’t think I’m a dick for asking if you’re sick before we hang out.  I’m simply trying to stay alive.  Yes, that sounds dire, but it’s the truth.  After spending time in the ICU for pneumonia and having doctors tell me “next time you get this sick, you may not recover”?  I’m testy.  I apologize.
  • I try my best to lay out my whole “chronically ill, immunosuppressed, I get sick easily” thing, but I probably don’t do it well enough to let it sink in.  Probably because while I have no problem telling everyone all about the stupid minutiae of my day, I have a very hard time discussing anything as deep as my illnesses
  • Having a kidney transplant for almost three decades gives you more than a respite from dialysis.  It’s given me high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypokalimia, skin cancer, thyroid cancer, issues with short-term memory, and a few other things.  So while yes, you may know someone who is a star athlete, or who has 4 wonderful kids and a kickass job as an attorney/brain surgeon/restaurateur, and has been rockin’ the transplant?  Every one of us is different.  That was me 15 years ago, at least with the kickass job. That’s not me now.  And I’m still heartbroken that I can’t do what I love anymore.
  • Forgive me for being testy, or getting quiet after the discussion goes on and on about how I really could do so much more/make money/find a job if I simply thought about it.  I love you very much for those ideas, but I’ve thought ’em to death years ago.  I was also a handicap placement coordinator back in the day.  And I had to retire on disability when I realized that even I couldn’t find anything I could do after my illness decided to take over completely.
  • I love you.  I really do.  Please love me back.  And understand that this illness sucks…but hopefully you don’t think I do.

So yeah, I deleted that comment, took a deep breath, and sat down to write this.  This rambles, but rather than sitting on this post for months and then deleting it, I’d rather just put it out there.

Chronic illness sucks.  Chronically ill people try their best not to.  And we hurt like hell when we’re called out on our problems.  Questions, comments, concerns?  Ask your local chronically ill chick or dude.  We’d be happy to help you sort things out.  Oh, and read up on Spoon Theory.  That shit’s brilliant.

UPDATE: btw, I freaking love kids. They get me. Because I have the brain (and attention span) of a sugared up 5-year-old. Come summer, you can’t keep me away from kidlings. Let’s go watch My Little Pony!


Pictures of February

Because I’m too lazy to do much of anything else.  Seems I’ve re-herniated my L4/L5, so I’m on “light duty” for 3 months.  Thought I was better yesterday, but today’s haircut & shopping left me achy.  And scared; I hate the idea of another surgery.  Positive, happy opening paragraph!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to, beside drinking. Wine, spine; it’s gotta help because they rhyme.  I’m a genius!

Cats: tussling to the extreme?

I love Tippi. I love Manny.

They’re kinda meh about each other.

Strike that. Manny loves him some Tippi, but Tippi can’t stand Manny. Jealousy to the extreme. Manny tries to snuggle… Tippi moves. Manny tries to get on the bed with her… Tippi moves. (Unless it’s cold. Then she’s alright with it.)

But what worries me is the fighting. No  not fighting. Tussling. Manny tries to play, and Tippi hisses and attacks as if her life depends upon it. Then, when I break it up, she pounces on Manny. So it’s a mock battle that always seems to get out of control, Tippi hissing, Manny cornering her, yada yada. Tippi has had scars from their tussling: a scratched nose here, a scab behind her ear there.

This week I noticed Manny had gunk in his right eye. It got worse. I called the V. E. T. He and I went in today, and the vet said Manny’s right eye had been punctured. There’s a small but definite scratch, with a deeper “pit” in the center. Exactly like what a sharp claw would make. Antibiotic eye goo every 4 hours + oral antibiotics every 12, for 5 days, and fingers crossed it doesn’t ulcerate. Because I’d hate for him to lose an eye, and I don’t have that kind of money.

I hate the idea of declawing  but right now? If it’s that, or cats going blind? I’ll take the former.

Meanwhile, Manny is in the Swamp Room, hiding behind the washing machine. Which I have running hard and fast, as Manny pooped on himself on the way home. Much cleaning/shearing/forgiveness purring ensued.

Gads. As much as I love them both, I think I bit off much more than I can chew adopting two kitties. Don’t tell anyone I said that.

(FYI, Tippi is now thisclose to me. Claiming ownership I’m assuming, as she knows full well that I spent the afternoon with Manny.)

BTW, I stripped the sofa cushion to wash too. Whee!

I make jewelry things!

Well, at least I have one 2014 new year’s resolution that I’m still working on. Go me!

Granted, it’s a fun one. So it’s not like I’d be likely to shove it off. Jewellery making!

I’ve mentioned that I’ve done the chainmaille thing. But I’ve been practicing punching out “blanks” of copper, bronze, and “nickel silver” (aka Not Silver, just copper with enough nickel to make it silvery. Wordplay!)

I’m also practicing metal stamping onto said blanks, drilling holes (to attach cords, or other things) and then polishing the bleepus outta ’em. It’s grimy – polishing wheels and flexshafts are dusty and/or gritty work – but I’m having a blast. And I’m trying to remember that I’m just learning, it’s not going to be perfect, not for awhile at least…

Today’s finished practice piece? An ode to Tippi & Manny:


I’m kinda digging it.

The polishing grit turned the letters dark. I can easily scrub it out with an old toothbrush (jewellery protip – save those old brushes you can’t use anymore! After a good soak in rubbing alcohol or somesuch, they’re perfect for metal &  lapidary cleanup!) but I don’t think I will.

Takes my mind off the branch hanging over my house that needs to come down…and all the branches on my roof that a repairman told my neighbor about. Ones that are putting pressure on my roof. Dammit! Yet another reason I’m dying for roof access… I’d take care of that myself if I could. But nobody wants me to scale a 40′ ladder. Srsly.

Bye bye, moneies!

Pre-Christmas catch up.

Yep. Things have been hectic. And since this is a blog that nobody reads (except for you, and you’re awesome), I allowed myself a bit of a hiatus.

Plus, with all the other stuff going on – Real Life and all that – I couldn’t come up with anything interesting. Or if I did, I turned it into such a big post (in my cluttered mind) that the mere thought of posting exhausted me.

So, from now on? I’ll be brief. I’ll treat this blog like Tumblr meets Twitter on Instagram. Because it was only ever supposed to be a house diary, so let’s keep it fun, informative, and throw in a rant every now and then, okay?

Well, today may ramble. Because for some reason I’m not feeling Christmasy this year. Oh, I couldn’t wait to pop up the yearly Chez Cochon Chrismukwanzyulekkah decor. It’s just that in the last few weeks, I’ve been having a touch of the Blue Christmas.

Not that I’m missing anyone in particular. I’m just missing the idea of having someone. Which is weird, because I’ve never had anyone to start with:

* parental units adopted me, and treated me like an object, like a car. Something you’re supposed to have, that you show off to people every so often so you fit in. Never once was I held, or told I was loved. Ever. And I was a pretty damm sickly kid.
* ex-hub: “I didn’t want to marry you. I just didn’t want you to leave.” Yay.
* ex-bf: really good person in there, but how can you love someone you’re ashamed of? So, as I was never good enough for him romantically in his eyes? Yeah, nup. Again with the butkus.

Aaaaaaand that’s as close as I’ve ever come to love, aside from friendship. Now, normally I suck it up. It is what it is. But for some reason – perhaps hitting the final year of my 40s – I’m unable to drop it.

Add in the exhausting bits of house stuff, and the debt I racked up last year after everything went boink? I’m too emotionally stressed out to deal with locking away the sorrow.

Hopefully things will be better after the new year, after the holidays swing outta town for another 12 months.

And hopefully I don’t kill the air plants I just got. They survive on mist & air, yet I wonder if it’ll be like the Sea Monkeys back in the day…

Good stuff this year?

* I now know how to make chainmaille earrings.
* and stamp silver and copper
* and make my own jewelry blanks
* made two hideous but strangely appealing paintings at Pub & Paints
* started the process to regrade my backyard (read: planning in my head) and plant native species to help with the backyard flooding.
* fixed the rusting, wobbly front rail! (Okay, so my neighbor did all the work. But it’s done!)
* installed the kitchen garbage disposal! (Okay, so my friend did all the work. But it’s done!)

I may just take out an equity loan, and wrap up the current debt with a few things that need to be done here. (Pull down the cute but not code back stairs & put up stairs to code, have an above oven microwave wired and installed….) That may help me feel like I’m not floundering around all alone. Or at least will take off some of the stress…for new, but manageable stress. She said hopefully. I hate the idea of more debt, but at this point? Time to woman the fuck up.

Tis the season tho, so Merry Christmas, from my strange house and hearth!


Small things

Spring. Well, til the 21st at least. It’s the time when everything is kinda wee. Case in point? These berries. Cute, right?


I’m guessing I could have bigger berries, but as I don’t use much fertilizer (or any pesticides)? Yeah, they are what they are.

You want more tiny? I got your tiny right here. On the screen door.


So small! And don’t worry, I moved him from the door to the pansies. Safety first.

I should should be pulling out the grout in my upstairs bathroom. But after my nephew jumped on me & hung on for what seemed like forever (but was probably a minute), my right leg is twingy and a little numb. I’ma rest. Because this will require more than a passing bit of elbow grease:



DIY disasters: fuzzy nipples?

Easter with a lost voice can suck. Plenty of rest, sure. But I missed hanging out with the nieces and nephew.

So? Time to destroy the house!

I decided that I had had enough of the rusty water coming out of the upstairs bathroom tub tap. Google said it’d be easy to pop the spout, so I did. Horror ensued.


Apparently, that pipe is galvanised steel, rather than copper or brass. Problem? Steel rusts. Ergo, tons of ick. All in my water. Eeeeew!

BTW, that pipe sticking out, that you screw/stick the spout on? It’s a nipple. Of course. #themoreyouknow

So, after freaking out about how much it could cost, I decided to have a look at the pipes. I gently opened up the drywall behind the spout….

So very gently.

Anyway, after that drywall bloodbath, I finally found the pipes noticed that the switch was attached by brass fittings! Yaaaaay brass!

Brass is the bestest.

So, trying my luck, I went lower and peeked at the pipes leading to the spout. Aaaaaaand….

Looks like it’s just screwed on!

Fingers crossed that it’s an easy, “unscrew the old, screw on the new”. And that it’s the same dealio downstairs as well….

Either way, I’ma get a professional in. Because better safe than sorry.