Uprooting (of several kinds)

So it turns out we’re moving out of here by the 1st. That’s about 7 days. A week is both an agonizingly long time, and seriously not enough time at all. Both of these things are entirely the fault of Curtis’ work schedule, as usual, because it means that 90% of the packing and cleaning needs to be done either by myself or during the few hours a day that Curtis is home (which is almost none).
We ended up getting the really lovely, large townhouse within the big family community – the one we’d applied for a few months ago – but it was a bit of a weird set-up to getting it that led to it and the whole thing left us feeling a little confused and really rushed. In the end it’s alright because this place is really awesome and the move isn’t that far, so even if we’re not completely, perfectly, packed up by the 1st we can always just throw the ‘hanging around’ shit in bags and boxes and drive it the 8 minutes over to the new place. That’s the wonderful thing about in-town moving, you don’t have to pack every last crumb up and hope it all fits because that’s the one and only chance you have to make it work. I swear to God I will never, ever move across a province or country or anything like that ever again. I fucking swear. At least, not without many thousands of dollars to spend on a moving company who can do all the hard work for me.

So anyway, the good parts: this community of townhomes has about 100 or more families, mostly with school-aged kids. This is something I’m really looking forward to, because it means I can kick the kids outside and off of screen time and they can actually make other friends their own ages and have lots of space to run around and play with them. They have often complained about the lack of other “their age” kids on this block, as there’s really only a few. Kiddy-corner to us is a family with two little boys, but they’re about 4 and 5 and too young for the Elders to really enjoy playing with. At the very end of the road is a girl and her little brother, roughly the same age as the Elders, but they out-class us by about five million dollars and Tempest is at the point in her life where that’s becoming an issue… Finally, next door are two girls who are 1 and 3, which means they’re way too young for the Elders to want to spend much time with them apart from using them for some bounce time (they have a large trampoline in their backyard). Tempest seemed to legitimately enjoy playing with the girls every so often, and that was okay for a while, up until the point when my kids had this sort of epic hyperactive insanity freak-out right outside our front door where they were screaming at the top of their lungs in the most humiliating, upsetting way… and the father of the girls walked out of his back door and just stood there watching us as I helplessly yelled at them to act more appropriately. All the while he’s just glaring menacingly and crossing his arms and shaking his head like we we’re (or I am) the scum of the fucking earth. Tempest has not been over to play since that incident. So there’s that.

… All the more reason why it’d be nice to be one of 100 families, with lots of varieties of kids, who come in all shapes and sizes and levels of loudness that neighbours who have no children over the age of 3 won’t judge to be inappropriate when they have of their mandatory weekly weird freak-outs.
Coincidentally, this is also why it’s hard to be friends with people who have only one child under the age of 3: it’s really just impossible to relate to them.

In this new community, a single property manager oversees everyone, but she reports to the larger management company that apparently runs a number of these town home communities… or something. I’m not really sure how it all works, but I do know that when you give the property manager lady the application she faxes it up to the higher-ups and they’re the ones that approve it – she really doesn’t get much of a say, if any at all. Once she gets notice of approval or denial, she calls the applicant and lets them know the answer.
So after we put in our (first) application in the end of June or whenever that was, we waited what we felt was a bit far past the cursory waiting time and called her back (roughly two weeks, adding an extra week for introvert paranoia) to check in on the status. All we ever heard was that it was either “processing”, or that it would be “checked on”, so we assumed that this shit just takes time. But after another few weeks of silence I was beginning to freak the fuck out, and my anxious paranoia was starting to creep in and making me believe that we’d been rejected because of something crazy that current/crazy landlady had said during the reference check and they just didn’t want to tell us. Though, when I thought about that logically I know it didn’t make any sense: given the size and history of the community, it would be completely expected that they’d dealt with rejecting much, MUCH worse applicants than a large family with a weirdo landlord… it wouldn’t be that big a deal to just tell us we were denied, right? I consoled my fears by saying it was just my paranoia talking. It’s not that hard to say, “Sorry you’ve been denied”. I continued to tell myself it was just the normal processing time.
Meanwhile, we were crawling through housing ads and setting up a lot of viewings, but everything we found was either way too far away or would be a significant downsize for our family and end up being more trouble than its worth.

Still not hearing anything, still pouring over housing ads, we were now in the first week of September – we found an ad that looked alright and set up a viewing for a house literally three blocks from us. It seemed to be a pretty good deal: the price was right (a $150 savings from our current rent), it allowed pets, was right in-between the kids’ schools… but it was a third smaller than this place. There were three bedrooms (we have four in this place), only one floor and everything was considerably tighter. We could get into it by October 15th and maybe even save some money (though, in retrospect, this was probably not true as the place had oil heat and that’s pricey as all fuck), but we had serious reservations on the size and condition of the place by comparison to where we were now. There was a lot of dirt in corners, and it looked like it might have been recovering from a black mold problem – something I’m highly allergic to – and that is not something I want to try and deal with over the winter.
After viewing it we came home and discussed it at length, comparing it to the town home we were still hoping to get in, in spite of the weird lack of communication. In the end, even when we considered the vengeance rent increase that current/crazy landlady was instituting on October 1st, it kinda made more sense to just stick it out until something better was found. I mean, if we’re going to move, we should at least make it count so we don’t have to do this all over again in 6-12 months.
We’re ‘settle down for the long term’ people, not ‘move the fuck all over the place’ people. We’ve got three kids and a disability: moving isn’t exactly something we can make into a fun hobby.

I polled friends and family for additional input and in the end we decided to stay here for now and instead focus our efforts on getting into the townhouse community. The property manager had told us that the community had somewhere around a 20% turnover rate per year, so there was a pretty good chance that there would be regular vacancies available to (re)apply for, and those homes really were the ideal size and living conditions for a family like ours. Especially considering that in the next few years we’ll probably need even more space as Tempest gets into her teen years, Zephyra and Xan may need their own spaces, etc.

Finally, we did manage to connect to the property manager about the June application… but not until around September 10th or so. So we were already way past the first of the month when we could reasonably give notice and start planning for an October 1st move. She (Barb) told us that apparently we’d left one space blank on our original paperwork, and rather than just rejecting us or telling us about the mistake, the higher-ups had just placed the whole thing on the side of a desk somewhere for over two months (having never actually made any formal decision on it) so no one had any idea what the fuck was going on and could give her – nor us – any real answers about the status. So… that’s awesome. At the very least I got the reassurance that my crazy paranoid theories about crazy/current landlady were nothing more than my own crazy paranoia.

As luck would have it Barb had another vacancy and it was actually right next door to the unit we’d applied for originally! Fucking awesome! I set up an appointment to go look at the unit the next day, though the whole thing was a bit unnecessary since I’d viewed three units previously and I knew what they all looked like as the whole complex was pretty cookie-cutter. I mean they all had the same layout as the townhouses my dad and I lived in when I was something like 15 – in a completely different city – except it had a third floor (basement) with extra rooms, so clearly this was a common layout for contractors at that time. I really didn’t need the tour, it was really just a paperwork thing.
The unit she ended up showing me was completely torn apart: floors and walls all over the place, renovation junk everywhere – overall a huge mess.. All the appliances were gone, lots of holes in the walls, carpet was half ripped-up… but since we’d toured the other identical units a few months earlier we didn’t mind. Barb explained that this unit was being completely refurbished: everything was either leaving or changing, right down to the walls. The end result meant that the rent was a touch higher (meaning we won’t save any money off our current, non-vengeance-raise rent) but we get the bonus of completely new floors, new carpet, new appliances, new bathroom, new kitchen, brand new washer and dryer for free, new everything! And that’s pretty fucking kickass if you ask me!

I was obviously happy with the tour, so I took the new application home so that Curtis could sign it after he came home with work (near midnight) and I immediately left messages with current/crazy landlady to let her know that we may have a chance on a place and we’ll keep her updated about what’s going on with the application. I knew from previous conversations that she wanted to dramatically renovate the place and wanted us out because of that – she’s made that pretty clear – so I knew she’d be happy about us giving notice, but I figured we should give her by-the-book updates on our current situation just in case she wants to pull any bullshit.
As it so happens, current/crazy landlady called back that very night (claiming she had no idea when the messages were left… don’t know wtf was with that) and was really, really nice on the phone. And I mean really nice. Weird nice.
She was sympathetic, understanding, and kind as she asked if we were totally sure we wanted to move out on our own volition and not simply because, “I was bothering you… because I totally was” she explained.
I told her very honestly that it was a combination of several things: the weird bothering, the raise in rent, the fact that we really did need a bit more space for our growing family and this place had that… she seemed very insistent on us being totally clear that we wanted to move for reasons other than her. I told her again that it was a combination of things.
“But you would move on your own accord without me bothering you, right?”
“Well… probably, yeah. We’re getting bigger and need more space, and the rent is too high. I understand if you need to raise the rent–” I said honestly, I know this area can demand far more money than we are paying and she can very easily get a lot more than we’re giving her, “–but it’s not something we can afford. So we have to move for all of these reasons.”
She seemed very happy with that. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with her, but she was being very nice through the phone call so for now that’s all I care about at that moment. At least she’s not being creepy and weird. I’m never really sure with her… at least nowadays, that is. For years and years she was a great, fantastic landlady. I mean yeah she’s a bit odd but not in any way that affected us. It wasn’t until these last few months that’s suddenly been really strange and rude. I have no idea what happened in her life that made her this way, and I hope (legitimately, I mean I’m not a total asshole) that it’s just her being pressured into something and not a dramatic personality change that could indicate serious problems or something. She’s a single mom and her ex is a huge asshole so I don’t wish any ill on her, I just really wish I could understand her motivations.

Curtis and I turned in the application the next day and the property manager went over it with us to ensure we didn’t have any blank spots this time, then told us that we would get an answer back in 24 hours to see if we can move in on October 1st. Meaning we’d have less than 24 days to give notice and move out. So that was an interesting turn.
We went home and immediately called current/crazy landlady, left another message, letting her know that this rush was rather unexpected and that if it’s a big problem for her we can reapply for next month instead. She called back that night, still just as cordial, saying that we’d find a way to compromise and she had no intention of charging us any money because she knows we can’t afford it. I told her I’d bring up the idea of pushing it to the 15th with the property manager when she called about the application status, and would let her know how it went. The next day current/crazy landlady called again and said that it actually worked better to go on the 1st, that way she could get the house on the market before the late season (November/December) when the rental lull is bad enough that it’s difficult to get your units occupied.
She got a bit weird at the mention of a damage deposit, but also said that she really didn’t want to go to court and would rather find a solution we’re both okay with. I don’t want to go to court either, but I’m fairly certain our reasons are different: we don’t want to deal with the stress and delay, while she just doesn’t want to go back because she knows she’ll lose again.

I’m happy to play nice with her as long as she plays nice with us, and I’m happy to give her double what a six inch carpet patch is worth out of good faith… but I’m not going to pay for her to replace an entire 10+ year old carpet simply because, in her words, “The patch might look weird and I don’t like that”.
In the end we’re not actually responsible for it at all, we’re just being nice. If we went to court we could easily show that it wasn’t our cat that did the damage, and we weren’t even the tenants occupying that space when the damage was done, reported and waved off. My mother was signed on as a separate tenant than us, living in the upstairs suite, and she had reported it to crazy landlady. At the time she’d said it was no big deal because she’d planned on taking up the carpet anyway after we all left. Too bad we didn’t get that in writing at the time… we all still thought she was a buddy.

Pro-tip: your landlord is never, ever your buddy.

Anyway. I told crazy/current landlady, truthfully, that my father is a well-respected contractor with something like 35+ years experience and can give damage assessments as well as find all the uber awesome deals on things like carpet or paint or whatever. She bristled at this at first, which makes me suspect, but by the end of the conversation she seemed open to it.
So far she says a modified “30 day” notice (with notes about a mutual agreement between both parties regarding leaving earlier) isn’t necessary… which makes me think it is absolutely necessary because if we have to take the damage deposit to court she’ll pretend we fucked her over. I mean we could always pretend she fucked us over too, but I’d feel really wrong about lying in court in spite of it all. You’d think the she’d get that the paperwork would protect her from us being crappy to her as well… or maybe she just realizes we didn’t lie in court last time so we’re not likely to do it if we go again. It’s too bad we’re not shittier people, because sometimes that seems like it really would make life easier. Negating the horrible karma damage, that is.

I’ll be so relieved when this stress is all over. It’s making me so exhausted, I can’t sleep, I’m getting horrific and violent nightmares from the stress and the increased pain… it’s awful and I hate it. I just want to be moved and done and not worry about this shit ever again.
In the meantime we’re selling almost everything we can live without in order to raise enough money for a security deposit as we anticipate having to fight over getting most of this one back (let alone in time to pay it when we move in). Anyone need a baby bassinet, flawless Maytag washer and dryer set or a crib? I’m not sure how we acquired these things (save for the w/d set), but we certainly don’t need them.

(If you follow [ my Tumblr ] you already saw this part, so you can skip it.)

Last week I finally got dental surgery to fix my HG-destroyed teeth. When one vomits 10-30x a day for 9 straight months, and make the mistake of brushing your teeth after every incident, you completely destroy your tooth enamel. My back teeth, particularly along the back gum line where (and forgive me for this) stomach acid tends to build up during particularly awful HG attacks, were starting to crumble. When I saw the specialist last year he said that I’d taken surprisingly good care of my teeth in spite of all this, and the damage was not as severe as he would have thought… but still, considering the repair, my problems with certain anesthesias, intolerance to adrenaline, phobia, cost (dental office costs, hospital is free), potential need for extractions and so on; it was recommended that the procedure/s be done under general anesthesia.
So I signed all the consent forms and he said he’d get back to me with a hospital date. Usually getting the surgery date is not the part that takes a while, it’s getting to see a specialist. I’ve never had it take more than a month and a half to get a surgical date (usually very quickly for more serious incidents, but obviously this wasn’t an emergency and could be pushed under the more needy patients).

However, that was over a year ago and I seriously do not understand what took this guy so long to get his shit together. I finally got the call about having a date only about two weeks prior, which meant we had to scramble to schedule Curtis the time off to take care of me that day and get mom to pick up the Elders from school and watch them until we got home.

On the day of the procedure Curtis went into work for a few hours to get as much prep done as possible, and we drove out around noon. Hospitals scare the ever-loving fuck out of me, for obvious reasons, and I was really proud of myself for how well I was doing while I waited. My anxiety was a constant background noise, but it wasn’t overwhelming. When I had to be separated from Curtis it got a little worse, but I was still controlling it. Just before I went in a third year resident pulled me aside and asked me about 20 minutes worth of questions about my medical history and various diagnoses and so on, and he had enough of a sense of humour about it that it kept me distracted, though I’m not entirely sure he understood that methadone treatment can also used to treat acute, chronic pain because he did not seem to believe me when I said ‘no’ to the “illegal substances” question.

I stayed calm right up until we got into the operating room and they started hooking me up. As soon as I heard my (rapidly increasing) heartbeat on the monitor, everything became completely overwhelming. All of the cesarean and Jericho stuff came over me like a tsunami of post-traumatic panic and I felt really ill.
I closed my eyes and tried to stay calm with deep breathing, listening to everyone scurry about and hook up all the machines, but clearly I wasn’t doing that great a job because after a moment a doctor came over to me and remarked, “All the colour just drained out of your hands and face. Your hands are really, really pale… are you doing okay?”. At that point I couldn’t hold it together and just burst into tears.
The nurse next to me looked very sympathetic, so I told her, “The last time I was in an operating room, my son died”.
I literally didn’t explain any further than that, and it’s like she instinctively knew that there was more to it than grief and guilt. She immediately came close and started talking me through my panic, saying things like, “You’re safe in here, we have lots of people making sure you’re safe and nothing will happen to your body, we’re just going to fix your teeth and that’s all, no one is going to do anything else. You’ll wake up in recovery in just a few minutes and you’ll be completely fine. I’ll be right here.” I felt like she must have had special training for PTSD survivors because these are very similar to things my therapist would say during heavy sessions.
The nurse continued to give me the most wonderful emotional (and physical) support over the next few minutes. She never left my side. She was stroking my hair (well, hair net anyway), holding my hands, helping prepare me for every single touch, keeping my body and mind distracted (coaxing me to wiggle my toes during IV insertion, keeping me focused on her face when the anaesthesia was taking effect and I absolutely lost my shit, etc). She didn’t leave my side until after I was out, and it made a huge difference for me. Nurses like her are amazing and wonderful, and I’m so grateful for her taking that time to help me through in spite of the fact that the procedure was so minor.

I know I was dreaming through the anesthesia but I don’t recall any of the imagery; only that I was panicky and frightened throughout. When I woke up in recovery the pain was really something I was not prepared for. They ended up extracting a couple of teeth and stitching up my jaw (I have insanely long, curved roots on my teeth and they’re nasty fuckers to get out). I had one extraction about ten years ago and it literally didn’t hurt at all following the actual pulling out part. I never even needed a Tylenol. So this amount of pain took me by surprise. It’s been nearly a week and I’m still really hurting, and the whole side of my face is still bright green from bruising. But the worst – THE WORST – is the taste of the dissolving stitches. I mean seriously what the fuck it’s 2013 is there a reason why these have to taste like rotting flesh? Oh my god. It makes me want to throw up, it’s so disgusting. I haven’t let Curtis kiss me since the surgery because I’m too afraid that all he’ll be able to think about is sucking zombie face. I know I will.

Before I left the hospital they pumped me full of about 25g or mg or ml or whatever of morphine, and made comments about my very high tolerance for both the anesthesia and for pain medication (which I warned them about well in advance). Then the doctor came over and told me that since I was already a pain patient, I didn’t need any additional meds for treatment since I can just take my own, and he sent me home with a prescription pad that said, “take ibuprofen”.
LC pointed out later how ridiculous that all sounds: your tolerance for meds is insanely high and we recognize you’re in terrible pain, here’s 5x the amount of morphine that most people take, but I’m sure ibuprofen will be fine once you get home.
This happens a lot with pain patients. The hospitals can never seem to get this shit right. The thing is, I do have breakthrough medication at home… but that’s all it’s for: breakthrough pain. My breakthrough prescription is not designed to be taken regularly, on a constant basis in order to treat the pain of recovering from surgery. For one because I would build up a tolerance to it and it would fuck up everything, and secondly because I simply don’t have enough in my script for that. I would run out in like a week.

While typing this a huge section of thread came out of my jaw and I spit it into my hand. ARGGHHHDFDFFLJJJJDGBBBBBLLPPPTTTT. SO GROSS. JESUS.

I’ve felt like total ass since the surgery not just because of the pain but also because I’m completely fucking exhausted. The stress of moving, the stress of having a really horrible flare-up a week prior to that which made me really realize I have an autoimmune disease for the first time in my life, the stress of cleaning and organizing and worrying about money because moving is always expensive no matter how much you cut costs. Last night I had a constant stream of violent, gory nightmares that involved horrific things like giant sharp sticks stuck inside my cat, people being murdered, or witnessing a uterine prolapse and all sorts of weird terrible shit that ended up terrifying me enough to keep me awake most of the night. This tends to happen when I get stressed out enough that my pain gets bad, and it’s really fucking annoying. This kind of thing makes me wish I could take sleeping pills (I’ve tried in the past, but they never work for me).

As an interesting and slightly disturbing fact, the dentist told me that apparently I’m part shark. Not only have I grown several extra wisdom teeth in my adult life (3-4 behind my existing ones, that have fully grown in without issue as my mouth/jaw are huge and have tons of space), and having another wisdom tooth grow in the place of the one I had extracted ten years ago, apparently the two I just had removed last week will likely grow back. He said that I have a secondary set of all my wisdom teeth just sitting up there waiting. They aren’t causing any problems and there doesn’t appear to be any risk of impaction or complication later on… they’re just quietly sitting up there waiting for the space to open up.

So this means I’m up to 38-40 teeth. For comparison, there are 32 in a normal adult mouth.

Moar random photos!

We had Tempest’s “Ten” Doctor Who party on August 31st. Curtis and I stayed up the night before watching the Star Trek reboots, drinking rum and drawing on paper bags while the last of the foodstuffs and goodies were sorted. Despite a poor turn-out (out of 12 people who said they would come, only like 4 showed up), I’m really happy with the decor: it was super adorable. When LC arrived she even drew up a “pin the eyestalk on the Dalek” game.

Adipose marshmallows: the fat just walks away!

Tardis goody bags.

Tardis cake! This was so amazing in so many ways. Seriously, how beautiful did this turn out to be?

There’s a little Adipose hitchhiker on it, too. About a quarter of the Adipose marshmallow people had their limbs “glued” on (using icing sugar paste) in a state of climbing or running so I could pose them around the table, in other dishes of food, climbing on cups, etc.

This was the only photo I got of the actual party, just as Tempest was preparing to ‘blow out’ the candles. Well, sparklers anyway.

I didn’t get any photos of the festivities because for one it was way too busy, and because I was too tired to get all my shit out at that point. LC and kids stayed overnight so the kids could get their party on for the next 24 hours. After the rest of the kids went home, everyone went outside and turned the hose on to enjoy one of the last hot weekends of the year. Z was out there completely naked, everyone else was in their clothes or underpants, spraying and screaming and getting completely soaked to the bone. They passed out pretty good as soon as they came inside; it was kind of wonderful to see them actually find something to occupy them for hours at a time that didn’t involve screens.

Speaking of screens: everyone watching Adventure Time the morning after.

The first (and last) time that all three kids will take a bath together. The mess was atrocious.

Our last family outing of the season was down at the potholes (rivers and large pools for swimming). As we were heading out to find a good spot, Xan discovered this awesome hollowed out tree.

Z and Curtis swimming.

We were there for something like four hours and the kids had an amazing time swimming and playing. Tempest is a pretty good swimmer but Xan can’t do much else but float at this point, so we stayed very close to him. His lack of aquatic skill didn’t exactly deter him though: he was often wading up to his neck and we were constantly reminding him to not go in that deep without physically holding on to one of us.
Zephyra, on the other hand, pretty much hated being in the water. She’d wade in the tiny shallows that were no deeper than her knees and play with the rocks and stuff, but I could NOT get her to float or play with us in the deeper parts. Every time I tried to play with her she’d scream about her bum feeling cold and try to climb up my chest and stand on my neck. It was amusing to the other people standing around, but not particularly fun for me.

A couple of days after that, my friend Lauren came into town with her daughter Frankie who is close to Xan’s age. They haven’t seen each other since they were babies, so this was their first memorable meeting.
Shortly after this photo was taken, Frankie whispered to her mum that Xan was going to make excellent husband material and she most definitely had a crush on him. Then he gave her a kiss and she pretended to swoon for the rest of the afternoon. It was adorable.

Xan’s new haircut request for school, and his ridiculously awkward camera face because I could not get him to just look normal for me for JUST ONE FRAME.

He almost went with a Pugsley Adam’s haircut (ie. buzzed everywhere but the bangs) but ended up with the mohawk instead. It was a huge hit when he went back to school and he’s received endless compliments about it.

Links of the Day:
Girls with anorexia show characteristics of autism – This is kind of fascinating. While the similarities aren’t huge, there is enough of an overlap to consider that many girls with anorexia may have mild autism, and it opens up new avenues for treatment.
How I survived a plane crash – I came onto this story the other night while Wikipedia jumping, and it is truly fascinating. In 1971 lightning struck a plane flying over Peru and it crashed in the middle of the rainforest. Only one person survived: a 17 year old girl, who was thrown out of the plane still buckled into her seat, and awoke in a canopy with moderate injuries and still able to walk. She was separated from the wreckage and the rest of the casualties, including her mother, and ended up trekking ten days through the jungle before finding civilization and rescue.
Why I stopped being a grammar snob – As a recovering grammar snob, this resonated with me… especially because it makes some REALLY GOOD POINTS about classism and the multitude of different “english”s being spoken out there.
NICU program gives parents charge of baby’s care cuts stress – I think this is a no-brainer for anyone who has ever had a baby in the NICU. Still, it’s fucking wonderful that this is finally happening and I hope it spreads quickly because the results are amazing. “There was a 25 per cent improvement in weight gain of the babies who were looked after by the parents. Breastfeeding rates doubled from 40-something per cent to over 80 per cent. Infection rates fell from 11 per cent in the nurse group to zero in the parent group. Treatment errors dropped by 25 per cent. Parental satisfaction went up, parental stress went down.”



Leave a Reply