Thursday, November 29, 2007

New House, New Job, etcetera, etcetera...

A complete, up-to-the-minute update would take me a couple of days to write and would take you way too long to read. As a compromise, I will give a brief update of a lot of the goings on here in Casa de los Guzstiltsmans.

Here are a few before and after photos of our new house. We officially moved in last weekend and have been wading through the aftermath ever since.

Here is the dining room before we moved in:

And here it is now:

The living room with a couple of our belongings in it:

The living room now:

And this is where I've been hanging out every night:

Yes, it looks like a moving truck vomited everywhere in the house, but at least we're here and the walkways are opening up.

Zack is finally in treatment. It's been five or more weeks since this process began and he's been up and down with the idea. He doesn't think he needs treatment but I keep trying to explain to him that it's not just drug rehab--it's also behavior modification. It's learning new ways to deal with stress and learning how to prioritize his responsibilities and desires. He doesn't see that skipping school to get stoned with his friends is a problem--he doesn't think education is a big deal. I told him to try telling that to some kids on other countries who would give anything to be able to go to school, but can't.

He doesn't listen.

I have to stop expecting him to.

But it's official...he lives with us. He has his own room and everything! My first born child is back in my arms...sort of.

My mom is having surgery today. Her body seems to be organizing a mutiny and each little faction is waiting for their uprising.

Last week she had surgery to repair her arm. Recall this post in which I described her car accident. I took her to the surgery center to have the pins put in her arm on Monday and spent the night with her. I came home Tuesday for a job interview and to get my family so we could go back down to Seattle to give mom and her partner (Chuck) a Thanksgiving feast. I received a call from Chuck early Wednesday morning saying that mom had been readmitted to the hospital late Tuesday night because of pain ostensibly stemming from inflammation of small pouches on her colon known as diverticula. She had been through it before and recognized the signs.

Upon arrival at the emergency room, with mom writhing and screaming in pain, they were treated poorly by a nurse who decided that mom was "faking it." This nurse even had the audacity to comment that mom started "really playing it up" when Chuck re-entered the room after ducking out to have a smoke. Mom was denied pain meds and treated like a prescription pill addict.

Finally, a doctor ordered a CT scan and confirmed that mom was having an episode of diverticulitis. Nurse Ratchet then understood that mom is not a raving lunatic and gave her a healthy dose of dilaudid and admitted for inpatient services. The doctor was very close to operating right away and removing her entire colon. However, he decided to be prudent about surgery, and opted instead to boost her up on anti-biotics to eliminate the infection and reduce inflammation. The next course of action would be a colonoscopy to make sure that the rest of her colon is healthy and then remove her sigmoid colon. The sigmoid colon is the lowest part of the large intestine, extending from the distal end of the descending colon to the rectum. It gets its name from the "S" shape it makes as it winds toward the exit. Mom had her colonoscopy yesterday and everything looked great. I just received a call a moment ago from Chuck that mom is heading into surgery right now. It's 12:30 in the afternoon. Please be thinking of her.

Last but not least, I received a phone call on Monday this week from the company I interviewed with last Tuesday and they offered me the job! I am now an administrative assistant for a company that assists developmentally disabled adults find jobs and housing and teaches them skills for managing their lives. It pays well and had medical benefits as well as paid sick and vacation time. I start Monday. I am so excited!

So there you have it. A (not-so) brief update. Hope you've enjoyed it.

I love you, mommy.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Fall Photoblog

I thought I'd share some photos from our fall so far. Enjoy!

Jeremyah had so much fun playing football this year. It was his first season. They only won one game but I don't think I saw any of the kids getting upset over not winning. They just had a great time, which I think is wonderful!

Here are Meadow, Jaden, and James (Hubby) walking to the field for one of Jeremyah's games.

Jeremyah is the one in the camo shorts running toward the kid with the ball. Click on the pic to enlarge it.

My smiley boy

Almost the whole team on the big day that they won! Jeremyah is the kid kneeling with his arms in the air.

This kid is a fast runner!

This is the Japanese Maple outside our door that I'm going to miss so much when we move. It is so beautiful in the summer and fall when it becomes vibrantly green and then changes to blood red.

This is Ruby sitting on the front walk. I love the contrast in color between the fallen maple leaves and Ruby.

Here is Jaden, Meadow, Denali, and Jeremyah getting pumpkins after Jeremyah's last football game.

I hope everyone's fall is going well. This upcoming holiday season is a difficult one for some. I am wishing you all warmth and love during the holidaze. Please be smart--don't drink and drive, remember to hug the ones you love and shower love on those who are less fortunate.

"...I wish you shelter from the storm, a cozy fire to keep you warm; most of all, when snowflakes fall, I wish you love." -Frank Sinatra

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

9-10 Centimeters and Progressing

Sometimes transition takes so long but sometimes you get a break right before or in the middle of it.

I think I'm in the middle of the break.

I think if I posted more often then I wouldn't be writing these long, involved posts.

The treatment center I took my son to did not keep him. During the orientation they decided that he has increased levels of certain traits that aren't conducive to their program and that he needs a more intensive program.

The night before we left the treatment center my mom got into a car accident. She is okay but she is pretty badly hurt with a broken right arm (quite impressive, really--compound fractures of both the radius and the ulna); bruised sternum, clavicle and ribs (from the seatbelt); and contusions to the entire left side of her head. I don't know that I've ever seen a shiner like hers, and the whole side of her head is swollen. Her major concern is how ugly she thinks she looks but I told her that the vision of her standing there (standing!) talking to me following a wreck like that is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, and I really mean that mom--I don't know what I'd do if you were hurt worse, or even worse. Her car is totalled; her body is healing. Mom's boyfriend received a bruised spleen (not ruptured) and some muscle straining from dragging my screaming mommy out of the wreckage through the passenger side door because the driver's side door was crunched in and unable to open. His body is also healing and I'm so thankful that he was there with her. He really shouldn't have pulled her out of the car because she could have had serious back or neck injuries, but thankfully she didn't. She also commented that she felt like she would have had a heart attack if he hadn't pulled her out because she was in a complete panic and feeling the most claustrophobic she's ever felt (which is saying a lot).

So Zack and I went to mom's for a few days after leaving the center to take care of mom and her boyfriend. However, after five days being gone from my hubby and younger children, I was itching to get home. So we headed out and got home on halloween in time to go trick-or-treating.

We went to a neighborhood that we go to regularly for Hallows Eve festivities. The people who live there get very into the spirit of things and decorate heavily as well as role-play!

Here is our dressed-up group for this year:
(R-L) Melanie, not sure; Jaden, Batman; Meadow, superstar; Caleb, Ninja; Michael, punk rock skeletor (my own title); Denali, poor wizard student; Zack, not sure; Jeremyah, scary; Josiah, Grim Reaper.

My three monsters: Meadow, Zack, Jeremyah.

It's a JJ Batman!

In the days following, I had a pretty major emotional breakdown. I haven't had a period since the end of July and I can just feel the hormones building up in my body, almost, it seems, to toxicity. Add this to the intense stress I've been feeling regarding my significant change in circumstances and there is a recipe for disaster. Luckily, I have a very supportive group of friends and they held my hand through it. I'm now coming out the other side relatively intact.

Since Hubby and I have decided to take Zack on, my employment endeavors have shifted. I need to find a full-time regular job so I will not be able to do the birth assisting gig. I am hoping to still be able to do doula work occasionally but it will be very limited.

The main reason I have to find full-time employment is that we have to move. We had to find a house with enough space to fit all of us comfortably (i.e. Zack not sleeping on the couch, etc.). We found a beautiful house at the very top of our price range and have signed a lease. Things will be tight for a while until I begin working but I am so excited about our new house. Here are some photos.

The entryway:

The living room

The dining room

The kitchen

I look around and am in disbelief that we will be living in this house. It's simply amazing. There are four bedrooms with two and a half bathrooms plus a two-car garage. The "master" bathroom has a giant jetted tub, which is the cat's meow for me. I love taking baths but am too big to fit in a standard sized tub.
It almost feels sinful to live in a house like this. Sometimes I think we should just all cram into a shack and use the extra money to feed hungry kids. The truth is, we'll be able to feed hungry kids as well as pay our bills. And also to settle some old debts.
So there you have it.