Monday, July 31, 2017

Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, and a Bunion

So my stupid left foot has been hurting for, oh, probably about six months.

When I told the podiatrist I finally saw last week how long it’s been hurting I may have even said, “Oh, only about five or six months.” He actually laughed and said, “Only? That’s about five or six months too long.”

I think I love this guy. At the very least, I almost cried in his office when he acknowledged that the weird bump on the outside left foot is not normal and that I do indeed have something wrong with it.

These last few months have been very much about me feeling like a big baby. Alyssa has been telling me for months to see a doctor. Olivia has, well, been being Olivia and Tom, well, I think he things I’m a whiny baby. He would never actually say that, though. But yes, I do tend to be whiny when I’m hurting, which is why I’ve been whiny for the past five or six months.

Anyway! I finally saw a doctor. Well, let me back up just a little. I saw my regular family doctor three weeks ago. He didn’t want to do an x-ray because, as he said, if I did end up at a foot doctor, that doctor would want very specific images of my foot. Dr. S wasn’t sure what those images would be and he’s not one to order unnecessary radiation. I like that about him. Instead, he gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and said that if that worked to ease the pain in the outside of my foot and my heel (and yes, sometimes my bunion) I could take the anti-inflammatory for the rest of my life.

Uh, no. I don’t want to do that. That’s a downhill slope. First you start with an anti-inflammatory; then you start taking meds for hypertension. Then there is something else and before you know it, you’re taking twelve pills a day. No thank you. I’d like to put that off for as long as I can.

So after x-rays to determine if there were any breaks in my foot that were causing the sometimes breath-taking pain, it was determined that I have tendonitis in the outer left of my left foot. I also have a lovely plantar fasciitis going on with the heel of the same stupid foot. And to add icing to the cake that is my ridiculous left foot, I have a lovely bunion going on too.

Now, obviously, that bunion is no big surprise. I mean, that dude has been growing for years. I think I noticed it first in my late twenties. It’s a genetic thing. My aunts on my dad’s side all had bunions. I think Olivia will end up with them too. Sorry for the crap genes, kid. I was kid of the eighties and nineties. I work giant, comfy shoes. My bunion is not the result of fancy, pointy-toed shoes. But really, the cause doesn’t matter because it’s there all the same.

The good news about the bunion is that at this point, there is very little internal damage. However, the damage is going to accumulate over the coming years if we don’t go in and straighten out the big toe. So yes, the doctor is recommending surgery.

Surgery will mean two weeks of being off my feet complete and then six more weeks in a boot, with doctor’s order to sit frequently while at work. Yay!!

For now, we’re treating the tendonitis with a brace that provides extra stability to my ankle and the outside of my foot. I have a knobby ball I’m supposed to roll on my foot to stretch the tendons and relax my arch. They want me to wear custom-made orthotics too. We’re waiting to hear back from insurance on that one.

I go back in two weeks to review how the treatment of the tendonitis is going. At that point, I plan to discuss surgery options and hopefully just get it scheduled. If we’re going to do this, we need to do it now, before my place of employment closes at the end of December and I hopefully start a new job in January. I need to get it done while I have the insurance and the ability to take two weeks off work.

So yes, there’s a lot going on right now.

Oh, look, it's my stupid feet. That left one there is causing more trouble than it's worth.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Facts vs Opinions

When I said that I don’t have a lot of strong opinions in my last post, what I meant is that I don’t argue with people about opinions.

I mean, what’s the point? We all have an opinion and usually it’s not right or wrong, it’s just our opinion. I mean, my opinion that Dean Cain is the best Clark Kent of all time is no more right or wrong than someone else's opinion that Ben Affleck is the best Batman of all time (he's, really, he just isn't.)

But facts? I’ll argue those…when I know I’m right.

It drives Alyssa crazy that I won’t argue with her (or anyone) if I don’t know, 100%, that I’m right.

Remember that time my step-dad tried to tell me that he had the universal donor blood type and then declared that his type is O positive? I simply couldn’t let that erroneous information stand without correcting it. I mean, there were other people in the room. My children, for example, who weren’t actually paying attention but might have taken in that information and filed it away to be used at some point and it was WRONG.

I gently corrected him, saying that the universal donor for red blood cells is actually O negative. He got a little huffy and when I explained about rH factors, he shut down and declared, “Well, O positive used to be the universal donor.”

Again…no. I mean, science and biology don’t change. So I had to argue with him. He hates being wrong but dude, don’t argue if you don’t know you’re right. Just saying.

On Wednesday night, Tom asked what I’d fed Olivia. He was a bit surprised that she hadn’t had some of the left over lasagna. I told him I’d fed her some of that the night before and she’d specifically asked for something different the next night. I mean, give the girl a break, she’d had lasagna Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. She deserved a break.

When I said that I’d fed her lasagna the night before, Tom interjected, “You mean, I fed it to her.”

I blinked at him for a second and said, “No, I fed her last night.”

He started to argue and I pointed out, “You fed her the night before last, which was Monday night, while I took Lyss to the school for marching band practice. Last night was Tuesday. I fed Liv.”

He gave it some thought, realized I was right and let it go.

Dude! You have been with me for 16 years. Have you not learned that I do not argue if I don’t know I’m right?

And honestly, it wasn’t even an argument. It was me saying something, him trying to say I was wrong, me proving I was right and us both moving on.

Alyssa so badly wants me to insist on something and then be proven wrong. Oh, dear sweet child. As if.

All this is not to say that I’m always right. I’m not. In fact, that’s why I don’t argue very often. If I have even the slightest doubt, I don’t argue.

But how fun it is when I do prove I’m right. That’s right, I gloat. I can’t help it. I’m not all that proud of my status as a gloater, but I’m probably not going to work all that hard to change it either. You’ve been warned.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Tale of Two Dish Soaps

My husband has an opinion about most things. I don’t say this as a criticism, just as a fact of his personality.

I do not actually have an opinion on most things. Most things just aren’t important enough for me to think about deeply enough to have a firm opinion.

Dish soap, though…let’s just say that I’ve been buying Dawn dish soap for years because my opinion of it is that it cleans better than other, lesser dish soaps.

My husband, however, likes a bargain. His favorite store of all time is Aldi. He loves buying bread and milk and ice cream there. And most recently, he discovered Aldi has sells dish soap. And because Dawn was on my list to buy that week (this was probably a month ago) he bought Aldi’s apple-scented dish soap.

He was so proud of himself. He declared that he’s saved a bunch of dollars because the price of Dawn is so much more than the price of the green off-brand soap.

Sure. Okay. Whatever. I didn’t say anything. I just used up what was left in the bottle of Dawn I had under the sink and then moved on to the green soap.

I never once mentioned how awful that soap was. I didn’t tell my husband about how much more soap I felt I had to use to get a decent amount of suds when washing the dishes. I didn’t tell him that I often felt like the dishes needed extra scrubbing because the soap didn’t quite cut the grease the way Dawn did.

Because, see, even when I have an opinion, I don’t necessarily feel the need to share it if it feels like sharing it might come across as a criticism of a member of my family. I love my family more than I love my opinions.

And, this is the best part, I knew that if I was patient, Tom’s greasy hands would figure out on their own how much better Dawn is than the other stuff.

This past weekend while I was at the grocery store with my handy dandy list, I saw that my dear husband had added something to the list. He’d written in all caps “DAWN DISH SOAP”.

I smiled. I did not cackle. I may have gloated a little but I was so happy to be buying a new bottle of Dawn that I just accepted my own wisdom with grace and went about my day. Okay, wait. I did tell my mom this story because I needed someone (other than my three readers out there (you know who you are)) to know that my patience had paid off. I hadn’t had to fight about the dish soap. I didn’t have to shove my opinion of the dish soap down my husband’s throat. I waited and the grease and oil he works with daily made my case for me.

I used the last of the green, apple-scented soap last night and was so happy to throw that bottle away. Tonight the dishes will be washed with Dawn and I couldn’t be happier. We tried the other soap, learned it didn’t work and for that, Tom couldn’t be happier. I’m calling it a win/win situation.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Water Park on a Tuesday

This past Tuesday, my mom and I took the girls and the boy (aka, Jax, Olivia’s best friend) to a water park that opened near us. By near, I mean it’s about twenty miles away; which is WAY closer than Cedar Point, the amusement park we usually go to during the summer.

This the first summer that Black Beard’s Bay is open and when we first go there, I was skeptical. I mean, sure it looked kind of cool but also small and maybe boring? But once we got into the park, explored t the splash pad, saw the slides, took a gander at the pool and exclaimed over the hot tub, we were all excited for the day ahead of us.

Olivia was quite scared of the waterslides at first. They weren’t all that high but they were twisty and she couldn’t see where she was going.

The lifeguard was awesome in that she let me and Olivia go down one of the slides together so that O could get a feel for what it was like. After that, there was no stopping that girl. She went down those slides more often and we could count in the five hours we were at the park.

Alyssa and Jaxon managed to find other kids to have a ‘water war’ with. There were water guns and a cannon that shot water at passersby.

The pool was three and a half feet deep, which is perfect for our kiddos. Deep enough for Jaxon to cannon ball to his heart’s content and for Olivia to jump in over and over again and not so deep that we had to worry it was ever over their heads.

Going on a Tuesday was perfect. There were other families there but not so many that it felt crowded and no one ever had to wait to go down a slide.

All in all, it was definitely worth the $16/person to get in for the day. The fresh air, the sunshine, the exercise we all got was worth the price of admission.

Watching my sweet Livie, a girl some doctors predicted would never walk climb those stairs, jump into that pool, swim and laugh and run with her sister and her cousin, that too, was worth the price of admission.

Monday, July 17, 2017

These Girls

I apologized to Alyssa the other night.

Why? Well, let me tell you.

While we were at the family reunion a couple of weeks ago, I was telling a story. I don’t even remember the story now, only that Alyssa was part of it. And during the story, I said something about her rolling her eyes or sighing. Something that portrayed her in a less than flattering light.

She was right there and she protested, saying she hadn’t done or said whatever it was that I’d said she’d done or said.

I thought about it for about a week and realized that while I fully confess to being the queen of hyperbole I need to turn in my crown when it comes to telling stories about Lyss. Especially when she’s right there. It’s not fair to me to tell a story and exaggerate some of the features of that story if it makes Lyss look bad. She is such a great kid and she deserves for me to tell stories that show how great she is, not how she’s a ‘typical teenager.’ Because really, she’s not all that typical.

So I told her all that and apologized if I’d ever made her feel bad when I was telling stories. I promised her that my stories will be more true-to-life and less exaggerated for effect, especially when she’s the star of those stories.

Livie, on the other hand, is still a my mercy.

Except with that girl, I don’t usually have to exaggerate to make the stories more interesting/funny/whatever.

Alyssa marched with her high school marching band in the Bean Days parade this weekend in Montpelier, Ohio. The parade started at 1:00pm. We got there at about 12:10 to try and get a good seat. Seats being on the sidewalk along Main Street. We got a decent spot under a tree across from the Circle K gas station. Once we were settled, my mom held our spot while Liv and I went to the gas station for refreshments and a potty break. (Ha! Alyssa hates it when I use the word “potty”. She insists that if a person doesn’t have a child three or younger, using the word “potty” is unnecessary. She’s prefer we say we’ve got to waz than say we have to use the potty. Whatever. P.S. No exaggeration here!)

Once we made our way back we settled in and waited. And waited and waited and waited. The parade didn’t actually make it past our post until 1:20. Alyssa’s band was the third to the last group to march by. That happened at 2:10.

Olivia managed to gather quite the loot of candy even though Jaxon wasn’t there to be her gatherer. She managed to rouse herself maybe three times to move from her perch under the tree to the road (maybe four feet away) to pick up a couple of suckers that had been tossed her way. But the rest of the time the people in the parade literally tossed candy into her lap. I mean, what? When we attend the 4th of July parade in Angola, kids are just about knocking each other over to get to the candy and the boys next to us acted like there was an invisible fence between them and Olivia. When the candy was on her side, those boys acted like it didn’t exist. It was weird.

Finally, once the band marched by (I got video!! Wheeee!) we gathered up the root beer stained quilt (Thanks, Liv.) and my mom’s chair and headed back to the car.

We’d walked maybe ten feet when Olivia deadpanned, “Well, that was…fun.”

Then she laughed at her own joke and opened another DumDum.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Calming Down

Last Sunday was a busy day. I woke up before Olivia (unheard of on a weekend morning) and started getting things ready for the family reunion.

I needed to cut up the Rice Krispie treats. Squares, simple, non-watermelon squares, thank you so much. I put all the ingredients for the green bean casserole on the counter to be mixed and baked just before we left for the park so it would still be warm when we got there.

As is usual when I’m not in my bed when Olivia wakes up, her first stop was to Alyssa’s room to ask her sleeping sister if she knows where I am. Alyssa mumbled at Liv to go downstairs and LOOK for me but Olivia decided to muddle around Lyss’s room for a bit, making a bit of a mess on Lyss’s bed.

The day progressed, we went to the reunion, came home and collapsed on the couch due to too much socializing and being outside in the heat all day.

We scrounged up dinner – HOT DOGS FOR ALL!! – and then settled in to watch Big Brother. It’s a guilty pleasure, I do not apologize.

When it was over, I announced that I had to go to bed since I had to work. Alyssa declared, “Oh, yeah, we still need to change the sheets on my bed.”

I probably groaned. I know I made some sound of defeat.

Alyssa then said, “Calm down, Mom. I can change the sheets myself.”

And the sun came out at 9pm on a Sunday night. The stars aligned, the angels sang and I realized with near-glee that I have a child who is of an age where she can change the damned sheets herself.

I might have hugged that child.

She laughed and said, “Thanks for not getting mad at me for telling you to calm down.”

I told her, “I’m just too happy about you being able to change your own sheets to be mad about that.”

Honestly, I’ve wondered in the past year or so if I’m doing Lyss any favors by doing most of the household chores myself. I worried about sending an eighteen year old off to college without any basic skills like laundry, making a bed, cleaning a toilet.

And look at that, she knows how to make a bed. She’s been doing dishes all summer. And I know she can run a vacuum cleaner like a champ. Now we’ll work on those toilet cleaning skills and I’ll be able to send her off to college with a clear conscience.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

It Was a Good Run

Someone else finally offered to take over the office of president of my husband’s family reunion committee. Tom’s been president for at least eight years and it felt like a LONG eight years. Just saying.

See, when he was president, that made me the ‘first lady.’

Trust me it’s not nearly as glamourous as it sounds. Basically, it meant that I had to go shopping at the dollar store (we have several in the area, some don’t actually only charge a dollar for everything in the store. It also meant that I felt (self-inflicted for sure) pressure to take more food choices than anyone else and I also felt like I needed to be creative in my food choices. Last year I made Rice Krispie treats that looked like watermelon slices. They were adorable but they were also more work than Rice Krispy treats should be.

It was a good run. I think Tom actually enjoyed his years of presidency. When he asked if there was anyone interested in taking over, on young (ish?) man asked, “What does the president do?”

Tom said, “Tell everyone else what to do.”

At that, the question asker was sold, a mock-vote was held and a new president took office.

We handed over the gift bags we’ve been using for a couple of years and Tom told the new president that he (Tom) will arrive at next year’s reunion early to help him (the new fearless leader) figure out what needs to be done and the whole exchange of office went smoothly.

And!! Next year I will make brownies with peanut butter M&Ms and green bean casserole. What? We’re in the freaking Midwest, it’s what we take to carry-ins.

On a more serious note, I think reunions are really for the older generation. The fellow that took over the presidency of the reunion committee is probably in his early thirties. I’m terrible with ages but that’s what I’m guessing. Last year was this guy’s first reunion in years. It was, sadly, his dad’s last. He father passed away in December.

The new president and his girlfriend are expecting their first child in September. And so the world turns. One generation dies and the next one is born. I think that the new president is feeling his own mortality a little bit from losing his father and expecting his son.

This is, obviously, speculation on my part but most of the attendees of this reunion each year are either very young or quite old. The very young are forced to come by their parents/grandparents and the very old come because, hey, they might not be around to do so next year. Those between the ages of, say 18 and 30 tend to be off living life and don’t have as much time or give as much thought to visiting with distant relatives once a year. But then they lose their parents and their babies are born and suddenly, family takes on a whole new meaning.

Out with the old (president) and in with the new! I wish the new first lady much luck.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Filling the Cup

Olivia enjoys drinking cold water. She much prefers her water to be refrigerated for several hours before drinking. We keep a gallon of water in the fridge and refill her cup all day long using that water.

But in the evenings, when she’s had her last drink of water, Tom or I (or sometimes Alyssa if I ask her REALLY nicely) will refill Liv’s cup directly from the kitchen faucet and place it in the refrigerator so it can sit overnight and chill for her morning consumption.

She obviously gets this preference for icy cold water from her dad because I much prefer my water to be closer to a tepid temperature. In fact, you can just go ahead call me Amy Farrah Fowler because my drink of choice is tepid tap water. I fill a bottle with water each morning when I get to work and it’s warmed nicely to room temperature by the time I get to each lunch. I CAN drink cold water but I’d rather not.

Anyway, back to Olivia and her nightly cup of water. The water is in a cup that has a lid because, duh, we’re no stupid around here.

The night before last, I suggested that she refill her own cup from the faucet. I mean, the child is ten and a half years old. She’s almost five feet tall (in fact, she might actually BE five feet tall, we haven’t measured her in a while.) and she can very easily reach the faucet.

I took the lid off her cup and made her refill the cup at the faucet. Then I put the lid back on and had her put it in the refrigerator. Note, I used the word ‘made’ because she was reluctant to take on this responsibility. That’s Olivia. She much prefers to let others do for her. Whenever anyone suggests that she do something for herself, she responds with shock and indignation. Fold her own underwear? Feed herself a chicken nugget? Where do we come up with the outrageous demands of the poor precious snowflake? Don’t we realize how fragile and delicate she is?

Yeah. No, she filled that cup herself.

Last night she tried to hand me her cup and I pointed to the kitchen. “You can fill it yourself,” I informed her.

She huffed and sighed and retreated to the kitchen. She returned a couple of seconds later with her cup, saying, “I can’t get the lid off.”

Okay. So yes, she has weak hands. I’ll give her that. I took the lid off and handed it and the empty cup back to her.

She wanted to know, “Why can’t you just fill it?”

“Because you’re big enough to do it yourself,” I told her, returning my gaze to the television where a riveting episode of Big Brother was being aired.

She sighed again but returned to the kitchen, filled the cup, replaced the lid and put the filled, lidded cup back in the fridge.

She can do so much more than she wants to do. She can do so much more than we require of her. But we’re getting there; one annoying chore at a time.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


It’s Tom’s birthday! Go Tom!!

He’s not big on celebrations. I mean, duh, he’s a DUDE, so he has to act all tough and pretend that he doesn’t like it when we make a fuss of him. But we do it anyway, because, hello, birthday!! We love birthdays. We, of course, being me and Alyssa, and Olivia. And Tom’s great about making our birthdays special so he deserves the same, whether he enjoys the fuss or not. Pssst…I think he kind of likes it even though he threatened to turn off his phone this morning so none of the older kids could call him. I told him not to be a birthday Scrooge.

But sometimes I think it’s just for show. He doesn’t like to make a big deal but he seems to appreciate it when the girls and I do it for him.

So we got him a few little gifts. I bought a cheesecake because it’s his favorite and we’re going to have a nice, low key celebration for our favorite guy.

We’re lucky to have him and I think he knows that we know it.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


The reality of having a child with special needs is that they (usually) continue to grow in a typical manner even if they are immature for their age. Their bodies don’t know or care that their minds aren’t ready for things like puberty, menstruation, shaving legs, etc.

So while a child might be mentally/emotionally seven years old, if their body is older, well, you guessed it. That child will still reach puberty at the typical age.

I’m sure it’s obvious by now that someone in our house, the someone who had 5p- syndrome, started her period. I don’t want to name names because she deserves a little privacy but this isn’t so much about her as it is about me and how I, her mother, am dealing with this new, ahem, development.

Because let’s just get this part out of the way…she’s fine. She’s all in with this whole having a period thing. I mean, it’s just one more thing that makes her more like her sister, and what could be better than that.

But I have to confess that it’s more work the second time around than it was when the first girl hit this part of her life.

We’re rolling with it because, duh, that’s what you do. And let’s face it, she’s VERY high functioning. If I had to say how 5p- really effects Olivia is that’s it’s made her emotionally and socially immature. But we’ve got this.

I guess the whole reason I’m even writing about it is because I know that parents find this site when they’ve first received a diagnosis of 5p- syndrome and they’re terrified. They’re grieving the baby they thought they were having. They worry that their child will never be ‘normal’.

And okay, yeah. So none of us would ever call Olivia normal. But only because she’s extraordinary. Sure, I helped her a lot this weekend but I let her do the ‘work’ of dealing with this new issue. I asked her if she thought she needed to change each time she went to the bathroom. I showed her how to use the pads, showed her how to take them out and wrap them up to throw them away.

But I did all this with Alyssa too.

This is all a part of growing up. Special needs hasn’t stopped that from happening and honestly, I’m grateful for that. I want her to grow up and have as ‘normal’ a life as possible. I mean, don’t we all want that for our kids?

Okay, so I wish we’d have a couple more years before dealing with this but…we don’t. So we’re dealing. And hey, it’s better now, during the summer, than, say, October, when she’s in school. At least we’ll get a couple of months of practice before heading back to school and having even one more thing to worry about on top of grades and homework and ‘friends’ and gym class (which she hates.)

So yeah, focusing on the positive here.