House of Pain
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
This weekend was moving day. Holy fuck me running, Batman. I haven't slept since Thursday. We were too wound up and nervous to sleep Friday, so gave up trying and went to Denny's. Then we were at it on Saturday, packing and loading the largest U-Haul available. We crammed that shit slap to the rafters and still needed to make another trip.
The really fun part came in trying to park the truck at the new place. I tried it one way, and then another. We tried to park that thing literally until 8am. It just wasn't happening thanks to The Inconvenient Tree.
The Inconvenient Tree was juuuuust low enough on it's secondary bough that to try to squeeze past it to line up with the front door threatened catastrophe. Eventually, I couldn't move another inch, so gave up and just dragged the mattress and bedding inside to try to sleep.
The next morning, Easter, the fellas showed up to put the master bathtub in. It's half done, but for now, it's ok. They helped get the appliances in, only slightly damaging them and the house.
Then we went to dinner at Dad's. I mentioned the Inconvenient Tree, and Dad went and retrieved the electric chainsaw. It was almost dark by the time we got back to the new place, but the truck needed emptied, time was eunning short, and we had more shit to get.
I hopped out of the car, grabbed the chainsaw, plugged it in, and just whaled on that tree. Well, maybe not whaled. I examined it, studied it, and determined that some restraint was called for. I found the perfect place to trim off, and in the dark, cut the offending limb off.
I got the truck perfectly lined up and docked in one pass with that Inconvenient Limb off of the now No Longer Inconvenient Tree.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
There's a couple things in today's post.
First thing, we're moving this weekend. It's going to be wet and miserable, but dammit. It's time to peel this bandaid off and just get it over with.
The second thing is about pain. Like, I got a cortisone shot in my left knee. It was not hurting, but the knee stopped crunching and popping, so I could half walk quietly.
Until yesterday. Holy Crow. It's still quiet, but fuck if it doesn't hurt like a bitch with every step. It's a sharp, stabby pain that lasts for a second, but makes that knee buckle. I've wrapped it in ace bandages until I can get a brace tomorrow, but it doesn't help all that much. If this is going to be the reaction my knee has to a shot, I'm done with the shot. If it's just coincidental, then OK. Meanwhile, insert disappointed pouty face here, ya know?
So, to sum up: we're moving this weekend, but it's gonna be extra sucky with a bum knee and cold, wet weather.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Carl has gotten hired on at the main paper mill. He starts May 14. He was one of two hired from a pool of about 60 qualified applicants. I am very proud of him.
However. It's gonna suck, bigtime. The first 30 days over there will be a pay cut by half of what he is making now. He will be working "shift work" which will be a shifting schedule that will be difficult to adjust to.
The good news is that he will retain his seniority and benefits, and there will be much more room for advancement. He had reached the highest pinnacle at the box plant without becoming management (which is lower pay, fewer benefits, and no job security with such a high turn over rate, none of the guys ever bother to learn their names).
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
I kept the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. He was unconcerned with my calf since whatever happened didn't happen while running. My knees, on the other hand, are quite arthritic. So, he sent me for an MRI of the left knee to see what can be done.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover I have already met my deductible for the year, so the MRI was zero out of pocket. I have a follow up next Tuesday to find out where I go from here.
Monday, April 7, 2014
A miracle occurred in Yulee yesterday: my landlord called me to meet him at the hardware store with a list of what's left to purchase to finish the trailer.
He couldn't get everything this week, but did get quite a bit. He said he was humbled by how hard we've worked to get this thing done, and the creative ways we've turned expensive things into affordable things.
With that boost to our desire to finish, we spent the day Sunday working our butts off. I only managed to get a gallon of primer up, but that covered the master bedroom and most of the kitchen. There was much prepping done, and then painting. It would have gone faster if I hadn't murdered my Really Nice paintbrush with oil paint. The El Cheapo paintbrush required frequent cleanings to settle the bristles, and it didn't like holding onto the paint, nor spreading it once it accepted the paint. Then there was the rickety.ad hell step ladder, seemingly designed to cause as much foot and leg pain ad possible.
When I finally called it quits, I was so hurting I could barely move without wishing my legs and shoulders would just fall off and get it over with already. I was feeling marginally better this morning, but held off doing any more work.
Tomorrow, I get to see an orthopedic surgeon. I don't know what to expect, other than getting told I'm fat and out of shape and to just expect aches and pains as I age, even ones that make me scream in agony.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
I had a moment to spare this afternoon, so I went and checked on the new floor paint.
Miraculously, the paint dried where there was still glue on the floor. I think the warm, dry weather helped, plus an additional month of weathering the surface.
Unfortunately, I won't have time until this weekend to put more paint down, but at least I know it'll dry.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
I tried to see the doctor today. Turns out, the medical credit card doesn't cover co-pays.
I am thinking long and hard about even getting what amounts to an annoyance at this point seen to. Yes, it hurts, but not so much that I'm crying or wishing my leg would fall off. Sure thing, it's weird, but it'll mostly bear my weight.
It's not a threat to my life or livelihood, so why spend upwards of $500+ on an annoyance? To be honest, now that the swelling is down, I feel completely silly for having sought medical attention at all. Not the emergency room, since the original symptoms were identical to thrombosis, which can be life threatening.
Just any fuss made after the all clear was given seems wasteful, somehow.
I made another appointment for next Tuesday, which I promised Carl I would keep. I didn't promise I would follow through with anything that is going to cost more money and more hardship for this family, though, because I won't.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
I just made an actual doctor's appointment using an actual insurance card for an actual problem that might get actually solved.
No Urgent Care, emergency room, minute clinic, but a real doctor's office.
I feel like a member of society instead of One of The Unfortunate without access to healthcare.
Even though my coverage isn't a direct result of the ACA, thank you, Mr. Obama.
So. I have been Very Busy. I get the 7am to whenever the fuck my sister gets there pm shift helping Dad out. Well, Tuesday I was getting paper towels out of the closet when I felt (and heard) a sickening snap in my left leg. Oh fuck me, the pain.
I sat down for a minute wishing my leg would just fall right off, then I was back at it, but with a limp.
I had No Idea, Whatsoever, what got hurt, how, or why my leg suddenly decided it hates me. The place feels bruised, and hot, and swollen. My skin is red and tight. The whole area is tender to the touch. The horrible possibilities of what this could be were thrombosis, cellulitis, termites, torn ligament, ruptured muscle.... Any of which would have necessitated that I sit the hell down for a couple of weeks.
I decided to trot my butt (with heavy encouragement from Carl) to the emergency room.
There were sonagrams, xrays, blood tests, and urinalisis (not pregnant).
No blood clots, cellulitis, torn muscles. Apparently, I have a cyst behind my knee that burst, is leaking, or something that is forcing loads of fluid into my calf muscle.
I am going to follow up with an orthopedic doctor to get more details and a treatment plan.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
As mentioned before, my Dad had back surgery on Thursday. He was unprepared for the excruciating pain that comes with recovery from such a surgery, even the minimally invasive style that alters as little as is necessary to achieve the results of an open surgery.
Everything from Dad's waist down is malfunctioning. He has a foley catheter to drain his bladder. His legs hurt in new places, and are too weak to support his weight. The pain medication and muscle relaxers are taking the edge off, while leaving him drugged and nearly incoherent.
It feels wrong to see the man I thought was the strongest human alive, ever, to be dependant. His once wiry muscles are losing their tone. His dark mat of curly body hair is grey. Pain illicits tears from his eyes.
I am stronger than my father now. It doesn't seem right. My parents were supposed to be immortal. Stronger, smarter, better than me, forever. They were not meant to pass from my life, but stay and guide me always.
He'll recover from this surgery, with less pain and weakness than he had before it. Seeing tears of pain and infirmity roll down Dad's cheeks broke my world.
Friday, March 21, 2014
So, Dad had way overdue back surgery yesterday. As is par for the course, things didn't go exactly to plan, and he needed to stay overnight. He was supposed to come home this evening, but he didn't feel confident that he didn't still need more intensive minding than he would get at home. I agreed with him. My sister didn't. The doctor and nursing staff agreed with us, that if it gave Dad peace of mind, he should stay at least another night.
Meanwhile, just today, I have driven 170 miles (there and back twice) just to reassure the old man that I do know exactly which neighborhood of hell he's tap dancing.through, and it'll be two weeks before he stops questioning the marvels of modern science.
My sister seems to think he should have been doing cartwheels out the door this afternoon. I'm impressed he actually wanted to sit in a chair for as long as he did.
In a way related, in that I'm including it in the same entry, the guy I hired to fix the plumbing and wiring at the new place is anxious to get paid since his monthly pension has been spent up.
And now, to sort and gather and load into the car about 15 hefty loads of laundry.
Today's success is I didn't once get lost nor misdirected going to nor coming home from the hospital.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I took a nap this afternoon, and had a dream.
In this dream, Carl and I found and bought a giant old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, but convenient to everything.
So, we're moving into the house, Jessica is choosing her bedroom, and it's just generally a beautiful day. The house needed some work, of course. It had sat empty for a long time. It smelled of old plaster and cedar. The plumbing fixtures were so outdated they were fashionable again, made of brass over porcelain sinks and claw footed tubs.
The floors were a rich, solid, full cut heart pine, worn to a warm glow from more than a century of people living, loving, and laughing in this rambling home. The ceilings soared a full 12 feet and were clad in stamped copper sheets with plaster dials where light fixtures hung from the ceilings.
As we settled in to our home, we discovered two rooms that had been walled off, full of antiques and dust. Strangely, we had acquired the original building blueprints, and those two rooms were exed through. The attic had also been walled off.
Once we got up there, we discovered a full studio style apartment, fully furnished in 1950s chic, but strangely clean. It seriously looked like the previous tenants had just left for work that morning, instead of more than six decades ago.
I woke up just as we were checking out the cellar, which was also full of abandoned antiques in superb condition except for the thick layer of dust on everything.
The good things that happened today are:
Didn't over sleep
Carl had an interview for a transfer from the box plant to the main mill. He feels it went well. We'll know sometime in April.
This isn't a gratitude list. It's a motivational list so I can acknowledge the day's successes instead of just wallowing in self pity.
An example of how negatively I see myself would be our progress on the new place. What I see is all of the things not done yet. Some of it is about a lack of time, but mostly it's about a lack of money. Carl likes to point out how far we've come, and how little we have left to go. We could even, if pressed, move in this weekend. It would be mildly awkward trying to finish painting with our stuff in the way, but it could be done.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
As it has been raining and damp since Sunday evening, nothing has been done at the new place. As Dad is having back surgery Thursday, nothing will get done for a while as I'm expected to care for Dad as he recovers.
I have noticed a thing about my journal lately. Yeah, I'm back posting more, but it's all bitching. And it's all about how broke I am, or how slow things are going towards us moving into the new place.
There seems to be nothing good going on. Every time I turn around, there's another thing going wrong that I am either helpless to fix, or fixing the issue causes other things to become a minor crisis.
Like laundry. If we had done what I wanted to do months ago, laundry would just be another chore. Instead, laundry has become an expensive time sink to the tune of $40+/week, for three+ hours at a time, using machines that inconsiderate people with their own machines at home use to wash their lice-ridden children's bedding, spreading the bugs to people who have to use those machines.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
It amazes me how much of a difference paint can make in a space.
I got two coats of regular wall paint up in the kitchen/livingroom. Completely by accident, we perfectly matched the original paint color. It's not exactly what I was going for, but it looks good, smells better. With the new lumber and paint, it smells like a new house. It doesn't look new, but it doesn't look scary anymore.
I got an early start to my day after more sleep than I've had at a single stretch for months (about 4.5 hours or so).
I remembered Dad mentioning wanting to finally put the crates of xmas decorations back into the garage, so as I was restless, and everyone was sleeping, I jetted over to his house to do so. He was surprised to see me, but glad I was there to motivate him into finishing organising his workshop.
So, we did that, then I played real life Jenga fitting all of the bins and crates and boxes into as small a space as possible. I was done by noon and came home to everyone still sleeping. Lucky bastards.
I got everyone up and at 'em, waited F O R E V E R for them to eat lunch, get dressed, showered, bathroomed, etc.
We finally made it to the new place by nearly three. Carl puttered around a bit, got some panelling over a couple of destroyed walls.
I tidied up to make room in the kitchen/livingroom to start painting. I emptied a whole gallon of primer on the walls. There are some spots that took several coats to try to hide the graffiti. I had previously scrubbed and sanded the "bad" spots and didn't expect to have as hard a time getting rid of the marks.
Some will have to be plastered over, including the drawing that had been complety removed previously. The hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up when that drawing, and another one that I didn't know existed. Nothing quite like painting over a blank wall just to watch as a demented, grinning stick figure appears that wasn't there before my eyes.
Friday, March 14, 2014
or- Adventures had by home improvement newbies.
So, where I left off yesterday, I had no running water. Fine, we could shower over at the new place with some minor adjustments to the tub area of Jessica's bathroom.
And then Carl had to work until 3am, which I didn't find out until after midnight, after I had already arrived to pick him up from work at 11pm. Joy.
So, I left to go do the things to the tub, hang a shower curtain, etc etc. At this point, I was ready to just move into the new place, finished or not, damn the consequences, full speed ahead.
I got Carl at nearly 4am, and we needed to eat, so we tried to grab some McD's, only to be informed they were cash only after waiting 20 minutes+ by the menu board. Fine. More Whataburger.
We came home, ate, gathered toiletries and pajamas and towels, and headed to the new place. Did I mention it was 35 degrees inside the house?
We took turns showering, and brought about 10 gallons of nearly potable water home for flushing and face/hand washing. The time was 6:46am when we crashed into bed.
And then I was up and at 'em at 8:30am to go do the light housekeeping I do to pay my phone bill. Dude, I looked and felt like death warmed over and left in the sun to dry.
Dad to the rescue! While I was doing my thing, Dad was looking up the prices of a new pump. I didn't ask if I could borrow the about $200+ I was going to need to make the purchase, but he volunteered to loan me the cash.
I got the less than brilliant idea that I should try to repair the pump, so went in search of the needed parts. The parts were over $100! For another $100, I got a new pump and tge plumbing parts needed to install it, without the uncertainty of the planned fix not being all that needed fixed. Oh, and much less effort to get it done, as well.
And so, here we are, with running water, a new pump, and no progress on the new place. Until tomorrow.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
We didn't do any work today, which is fine.
Seems the universe wants to punish my human frailty, though. The pump at the place we're stuck in until the other place is done is broken and needs replaced. No one wants to spend the money to fix it, as we're not officially anyone's tenants.
So. Our options are: spend my last $179 fixing it myself, or move into the other place before it's finished. If it was just cosmetic concerns over there, I would bite the bullet and just move already. Neither bathroom is complete. One has a shower/tub and a toilet, but no wall. The other just has a toilet. The kitchen isn't finished, but does have a working sink. We could spend the next three days working until we dropped and get more done, but that won't happen.
I am going to have to have a Come to Jesus Meeting with Carl about his lack of effort. He's put some work in, but getting him out of the house is like pulling hen's teeth.
If I just had about $500 more dollars right now, the last things we need for the house and to live on until payday would happen this weekend (including a moving truck and groceries).
Damn the luck.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Yesterday involved painting the master bathroom floor and applying the second coat to the bonus room floor. A Stench was discovered. Apparently Mrs. Rat found.the poison and died from it in the wall, which had just been patched.
We went by for a bit this afternoon, and the stink was gone. We did some tidying up, I washed out some rags for reuse, and discovered the sink leaks like a sieve.
I got a brilliant idea. Ya know those power tools we don't own? The ones that would make this job go faster? There is a pawn shop around the corner from the new place, so we checked it out on our way to take Carl to work. Wouldn't you know it? They happened to have a circular saw in working order for $25. We bought it, and will get more power tools as the $$ becomes available.
Monday, March 10, 2014
So, Mike and Company showed up to do some work after all. Once all accounts were settled, I had to call off any further work due to their (reasonable) demands to be paid daily. I have half as much money as we'll need just to scrape by until next payday (Friday a week from this coming Friday).
They got almost all of the plumbing hooked up. Now I just need two bathroom vanities and the faucets for each, two tub surrounds, green board/bathroom drywall, and about 10 more gallons of paint. Oh, and a countertop for the other half of the kitchen cabinets. And a shower head for the master bath. Base boards and crown molding can be done piecemeal as we have the funds.
I did finish (I hope) painting the master bathroom walls. I'll know tomorrow when I go to paint the floors that I can get done.
This project has sucked all of our resources dry, and has left me frustrated and exhausted. There are battles left to fight in reclaiming this space for habitation. We will prevail.
We have to.
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