Monday, January 26, 2009

The sun is shining

I can't overstate how happy sunny days are when you're plowing through a PNW winter. You can actually see how vivid the green is in the forests around you and the mountains-- ah you can appreciate the white capped peaks when you can see the mountain ranges spread out in the distance. Generally, an open winter sky also means you're freezing your butt off, but it's a fair trade off.

I must admit, I don't mind temperate weather at all. I have acclimated to the summer temperatures and the winter is warmer, actually, than the cold bits of a Charleston winter. The fog and drama of the climate here is actually more than ok with me because it's changeable. I enjoy departures from the routine and the PNW delivers. Except-- when it's grey for too long. Then THAT becomes mundane. So I don't require a sunny winter, by any means. But I love the sunny days.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Needs / Wants-- the Tao of Bar Stools

Part of my foray into voluntary simplicity has been to use a heavy hand where it pertains to the defining line between needs and wants. I slide it a little farther toward "need" on the scale and try to go without. While I have some sparking examples of failure, generally it's been working to keep the net household intake in check. But there are some things I have gone without for far too long. I am about ready to snap.

Bar Stools.

I WANT bar stools. It offends me that my youngest never sat at the counter as a toddler while I baked cookies or muffins, like his big sibs. That he couldn't sit happily on a perch while I cooked and he ate a snack. I loved my bar stools. They were readily available and plentiful in Charleston, so I left them when we moved out here. Who knew, that like chicken, bar stools were valued like gold in Washington? I've been idly looking for inexpensive bar stools (15 ea at MAX) for four years. Not on craigslist, not on freecycle, not at yard sales. Do people here not use them or do they just covet them too much? Do they use them until they are worn into obsolescence?

I have to have them. Am I going to have to pay for them?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I watched the Inauguration with my Grandma

We were on the phone, she in her den, me in mine. I could hear her television from the East Coast, and I counted at least a 4 second delay of the live broadcast here on the West Coast. It was time enough for the producers to add extra graphics, apparently, as they did during Aretha Franklin's song. Grandmomma just saw lots of panning shots of the 4 million people gathered there, while we got to see location shots of Americam countryside interspersed with the teary faces.

I think it's cool we were able to watch it together. There's my big, meaningful post. "I think it's cool." Gah. I am writing like a 4th grader lately.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Don't have much to update

I have been spending a lot of time lately waiting. Waiting for invitations, waiting for free time, waiting for the allergy test results, waiting for packages to arrive. Just a lot of waiting. I don't do confused and I don't do well with waiting. I need those packages to finish projects. I need the allergy results to know what our next steps will be with G-girl. I feel somewhat stalled.

But that's not entirely accurate, either.

Life is moving forward-- we're keeping in good touch with our friends, we've started classes again at the Y and the theater. I'm better organized in the hall of learning (school room) and my new supplements regimen is helping out. I have experienced a huge reconnection in my personal life and that has occupied a good chunk of my time as well. I am finishing up the scanner job that got pushed aside with all the snowy festivities. I am enjoying it, but it takes TIME. Time you'd think I would have with all this waiting.

P-daddy is playing house-husband while I do this stuff and in other ways, sit on my butt. So I guess at the end of it, I am actually very busy, yet I still don't have much to update. Perhaps it's not my daily life that lacks the spark, but my inner muse. I suppose I can wait for it, too, to come back.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So we had the appointment

D-meister stayed over at some very nice friends' home so we could leave for our early morning appointment on time. P-daddy stayed home so we could go as a family and so he could hear everything firsthand.

This new allergist has a markedly different personality from our first guy in Charleston. That alone brought some comfort. He seems kind, and sure enough of his place in the universe that he doesn't have to prove how awesome he is. The other guy was indeed extremely competent, but he had the urge to let everyone know it.


We gave him copies of the last 7 years' blood tests and he agreed with me that a skin test would be inappropriate for G-girl. When he saw N-man's timidity, he thought they wouldn't be the best idea for him either. He also thinks that N-man and I share some weirdo missing skin element that makes our skin tear up so easily, and that this factor, not necessarily an allergy, is causing the eczema.

They don't do blood draws in that office though, so we had to go downstairs to wait for a lab to actually find a phlebotomist. Apparently the tech on site had to leave, so they were pulling in someone from another lab. After a 45 minute wait, the kids were finally able to go back.

G-girl is really optimistic about this whole endeavor and has done heavy coaching of her brother. He's been terrified of getting his blood drawn. No matter how many times we described --and minimized-- it to him, I think he still envisioned some Jack the Ripper slitting his wrists. Add in the approaching-lunchtime hunger and the 45 minute wait, he was hard to get in the chair.

He finally relented when I let him sit on my lap for the draw. At 6.

We will know in a few days what the results are, and what our next steps are to be.

Friday, January 09, 2009

So the testing is on Monday

I am sitting here thinking morbid thoughts and having wistful daydreams all at once. I hadn't been a mother very long when someone looked me in the eye, understanding that my husband and I weren't GETTING it and said "she very well may DIE." There was more to the sentence, certainly, but the punch line was what grabbed out attention. And changed our world. We view people differently, P-daddy and I. We trust very few people with our children and we trust no one initially. Food allergy is such a STUPID thing. Everyone understands allergies to pollen or dust or even medications. But something as mundane and pervasive as food-- the very substance which sustains us? A great many people, even in this modern day and age, just don't comprehend that even after careful explanation. Couple the ingestion allergy with skin and airborne sensitivity and you become accustomed to the exasperated, doubtful looks on people's faces when you say, "No she can't even be around it."

It's an exquisite torture, wondering at the potential for a very different life for my daughter and her family. Like worrying at a loose tooth with your tongue as a child, the fascination of the sharp new sensation outweighs the pain you're inflicting on yourself. I don't want to think about it. But it's been there, every hour, for two weeks.

We had a great day today-- visiting with two other families, watching kids enjoy each other with nary a conflict, even though the kids ranged in age from 13 years to 18 months. I wish I could just wallow in the afterglow of that, but this afternoon I got the "your appointment is Monday remember your paperwork" call with which so many of us are so familiar. You don't forget this dance, no matter how many months or years pass. We've had to wait so long because the allergy medicine we use for G-girl needs ten days to fully exit her system.

We went to Olympia last week and G-girl reacted to a cat, of all things. She got that bright spot of hives on her cheeks, the watery eyes and the sniffles. I was actually encouraged by it-- much to the confused chagrin of our hostess who had tried so hard to keep the cat dander down. She is still reacting to stuff. She was reacting-- I wasn't crazy! She does that! And it encouraged me, in retrospect, that I hadn't seen so much as a speck when she ate the peanut butter cup.

I have had people ask me whether it was even a peanut butter cup at all, including my husband. I don't perceive the question as a slant on my judgment, but a remark on the incredulity of the situation. I did dig the wrapper out of the trash and read it, even saving it for my friend to read, and later, my husband when he asked. After all, I'd gone trash diving to find the wrapper myself. I understood.

So on Monday, we go in. I have asked for blood draws for both G and N. He's actually had the more recent, violent reactions. I hope that this new allergist will respect what we have to say, and won't go for the skin testing route first. I hope for a nice clean RAST panel for both of them and a nice set of printouts to provide some insight on the situation.

And maybe a little support from my cyberfriends. It's easier sometimes, just sometimes, to read words and not faces. I want my head to stop throbbing.