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Surprising the Family

Life is good right now, even though my dad nearly ruined our surprise trip home. I was so angry at him for that, and I still haven’t quite forgiven him! My mom, as always, is super late on wrapping presents and she was freaking out over not having wrapped my little brother’s gifts (he’s 25, but mentally challenged, and still believes in Santa Claus…or as he affectionately calls him, “Ho-Ho”) I offered to take him to my husband’s house and play games and watch movies so she could get them wrapped woot I got out of wrapping presents. I tried to show him the Wii U, but his caregiver gave him Despicable Me for Christmas and he has been carrying it around the rest of the day, he even brought it to the dinner table with us, and he wanted to watch it. So we watched that instead and it was really cute, I’ve never actually seen the movie, just clips here and there. He passed out near the end of the movie and I got a cute picture of him and sent it to her (and she returned with a picture of her labrador-sized dog hiding in the dryer because of the thunderstorms we’ve been getting daily).

We found out the two days before we left that my dad was coming down from Atlanta for the weekend and would be leaving Sunday morning and we wouldn’t get in until Sunday night. I didn’t want him to get upset if we didn’t at least try to see him, so I had to let him in on the secret. He had to work Monday so he couldn’t extend his trip, but he promised he wouldn’t tell my mom or sister we were coming in. He dropped my brother off in the morning and told both of them that “they would be very happy by the end of the day.” My mom said he was acting giddier than she had ever seen him before. Now my sister’s freaking smart and my mom is pretty darn clever too so I was pissed about him saying ANYTHING that could give us away, and of course they started to wonder. My mom thought she was getting Edible Arrangements delivered, and my sister wondered briefly if we were coming in. By the evening when nothing else had showed up, my mom started wondering if we were coming in too. THANKS DAD. Ugh!

I just had to take a break from writing because Ben woke up and wanted to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I taught him well.

Our surprises didn’t go exactly as planned but they still went great and I’m really happy about them! My brother goes to a work program for disabled adults from 9am until 3pm and his caregiver keeps him from 3pm until 5pm so my mom can work or just get some time to herself. We wanted to meet him at his work program, surprise him, and then give the caregiver the day off and meet my mom at the mall at 5pm (where they meet to drop him off and pick him up and say, “Oh, hey, surprise, F couldn’t make it so we thought we’d bring your turkey butt to you instead.” His program is pretty far away, and his caregiver lives close to it, so the mall is a good half way point for everyone to meet at.) Well, we showed up at the day program and my mom’s car was in the parking lot! She must have gotten off work early. It was sprinkling as we walked up, and typical for Florida, it started pouring within seconds. We couldn’t find the door (the program is in a strip mall with multiple spaces as theirs, but only one door remains unlocked and we didn’t remember which one it was) so we’re running, trying to get out of the pouring rain, and we come across three people all by themselves in a room. It just happens to be my mom, brother, and his caregiver. We bang on the window, my mom’s mouth literally falls open, and the caregiver lets us in because Mom was too shocked to move. Hugs and laughs and surprised stares were given, and it was declared a success!

My sister teaches Zumba and her class is Tuesday night, so I thought it would be fun to sneak into the class shortly after it began and then just start dancing as if I belonged there. But she called my mom Monday afternoon and told her she was really sick with a fever and had another teacher take over her class. Bummer. I didn’t want to wait until Christmas day to surprise her, so after we found out she was feeling better Tuesday afternoon we showed up at her apartment and yelled, “SURPRISE!” It was still nice but I wish I could have done my original plan.

And now I’m just sitting here, enjoying reliving my childhood watching Harry Potter with my brother, and hoping my mom calls us soon. Not for me, I love spending time with Ben, but as soon as the sun went down he has been obsessed with Ho-Ho and worrying he is going to miss him. As soon as we pulled in Robert’s neighborhood, he was asking, “Ho-Ho?” (No, buddy, it’s only 7 o’clock and Ho-Ho isn’t even near us yet, he’s delivering presents to other children on the other side of the world). As soon as he woke up from his nap, he panicked and said rapidly, “Ho-Ho? Ho-Ho?” (No, not yet, you were only asleep for 30 minutes. I promise I won’t let you sleep through Christmas.) He still asks me occasionally and I keep having to remind him that it’s not time yet. He won’t be at peace until he is home in his bed. It was hard to get in the Christmas spirit before we arrived, but it’s wonderful to see the spirit still alive in my brother’s world. He will never outgrow his childhood wonder and love of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Since we still have a few days of it left and my husband is Jewish, I wish everyone a very happy Hanukkah, a very merry Christmas, a happy Kwanzaa, and a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!

Edit: Oops, my husband was informed wrong and we don’t have a few days left of Hanukkah, it ended Christmas Eve. That shows how much we know about our own holidays!

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On The Road: The Musical

I’d like to start this off by saying I really hate long car trips. I love surprises and my family, though, and we decided to surprise our families by coming home for Christmas. It’s about a 16 hour drive. I talked to my mom earlier while we were driving and casually white lied, “Oh, yeah, we’re just on our way to Wal-Mart to buy some last minute gifts,” while we were driving through Louisiana. We were late as usual getting on the road (today’s driving doesn’t technically count, what matters is how early we get on the road tomorrow and how fast we drive) and wanted to say good-bye to our new good friends two houses down. We’re both passive, shy people so the conversation went something like this:

Friend: Did you give your house keys to Robert’s sergeant?

Me: No, we didn’t think about that…we’re not going to be gone long so we didn’t think to give our keys to anyone…

Friend: I could keep an eye on your house if you want…I mean if you don’t mind…

Me: Oh, of course, I trust you with our house, I just don’t want to leave that responsibility on you, I don’t want you to think I expect you to take care of it or anything…

Friend: (Laughs) Well, really, what is there to do if I have your keys?

Me: (Shrugs) I guess if our house catches on fire, you can let the firemen in?

So then hugs were given, good-byes and “See You Next Year”s were said, and we were on the road. I thought writing down the funny things we were saying or observing would be a fun way to pass the time and make for a good post, and then I thought it might be even funnier to list them as if they were a soundtrack to our magical, fun, amazing time on the road. And then the list was getting really long (and we’re not even halfway done with the trip sadly) so I thought it was more like a musical than a short little soundtrack. So, without further adieu, here are some disturbing interesting songs to drive to:

(Disc One)

Track 1: It’s Not Funny To Ask If We’re There Yet When I Just Backed The Car Out Of The Driveway

Track 2: The Center Console Is A Great Make-shift Doggy Barrier

Track 3: This Is Not A Singalong Song (You’re Not Elsa)

Track 4: I Wish We Brought The Doggy Sleepy Time Pills*

Track 5: I Wish We Brought The Wifey Sleepy Time Pills

Track 6: It’s Not Polite To Flick Off Traffic

Track 7: If You’re Happy and You Know It, Use Your Damn Blinker

Track 8: Do You Want Me To Drive? (Please Say No)

Track 9: Party Rock Anthem Is NOT Our Road Trip Anthem

Track 10: At Least Our Traffic Mates Are Amused By Your “Dancing”

Track 11: The Immaturity Song (We Snickered at Kickapoo Road)

Track 12: The Perverted Song (Is That Billiards Club’s Name Seriously Slick Willies? What’s Wrong With Houston?)

Track 13: The T.M.I. Song (My Back Is Very Appreciative Of The Car’s Seat Warmers)

Track 14: Voices In My Head a.k.a The Multi-Tasking Song (My Phone Is on Double-Duty as a GPS and Music Player)

Track 15: My Robot Voice (As I Mimic The GPS Lady and Remind You to Turn Left in Three Quarters of a Mile)

Track 16: No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No (Washington Avenue, Washington Avenue, WASHINGTON AVENUE)

Track 17: Now We’re On I-10 East (The GPS Needs To Come To Grips With The Fact That We Didn’t Take Washington Avenue)

Track 18: It’s Still Not Funny To Ask If We’re There Yet (We’re Still in Texas)

Track 19: Simon Says Stay In Your Own Lane

Track 20: Ring-a-round-a-boulevard (We Missed Our Exit, The GPS Is Confused As Heck, And Is Now Taking Us In Circles)

Track 21: I’m Hot, Put The Dogs In The Back Seat (You Have The Whole Car, Why Do You Want To Squish Together On My Lap?)

Track 22: I’m Cold, Give Me A Dog (Or Two)

And now that we’re here, I will not say “I told you so” to my husband, I will instead list a Bonus Track.

Bonus Track: I Told You To Book The Hotel in Mississippi or Alabama (Now We Have To Drive 10 Hours Tomorrow)

It’s always easier to do the bulk of the driving on the first day, I think.

*Note: I was worried about making people angry or upset because of the doggy “sleepy pills” thing, it was a joke! Our little girl Luna has separation anxiety and her vet recommended we give her and Cricket a natural relaxer to help them not to stress on our 10-hour flight home this past summer. They were both happy, relaxed, and content on our flight home, which was also great for our stress levels. My husband just gets a kick out of calling them “sleepy time pills”. I got a song because I wouldn’t stop singing (horribly off-key, I might add). Thank you! And if you have any fun songs to add, please share them!

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“If your furniture, appliances, and other inanimate objects at home had feelings and emotions, to which item would you owe the biggest apology?”

I’m sorry but as soon as I saw this particular daily prompt I literally laughed out loud. I thought it was an awesome and humorous question to ask, and even though it was posted earlier this month, I really wanted to answer it.

I would owe quite a few items apologies. I guess I could say my floor deserves the biggest apology because I allow everyone to walk all over it, but I know that’s not what the prompt is talking about. The Wii U gets a lot of hate from both my husband and I, he doesn’t like it because it’s a childish console and not as great as the Xbox or Playstation, I’m angry at it because I expected better games to be out for it by now, it’s been a huge disappointment. But we still use it for Netflix and Hulu so it’s not completely neglected. My washer gets a lot of hate for all the issues we’ve had with it, but when it’s working it does a good job of washing our clothes and I’m appreciative of some of the flaws it has, like the lid lock doesn’t work. I sometimes like to watch the clothes agitate and spin (to make sure they’re really getting clean) and I don’t want a modest washer that won’t let me peek at it while it’s working.

The prompt doesn’t mention if they have sight or other senses, but if they did, I definitely owe the stuffed animals on our headboard the biggest apology of all, for reasons that I’m sure are obvious.

But I need to narrow it down to one, and that is pretty tough. I’ve wronged plenty of inanimate objects in my life and I owe them all restitution.  I guess since living here I really should apologize to our gas stove. I hate it, I don’t like it, I prefer electric. And my mom is famous for making innocent things seem dreadful and full of danger and just generally thinking of the worst case scenario and she was panicked for me upon learning our new house had a gas stove. I love you, but, really Mom? We have detectors to make sure it’s not leaking gas, and I know this is an issue our housing office takes seriously so I don’t think they would let us live in a house with defective gas lines or stoves. I can sleep soundly at night, not worrying over a murderous stove on the first floor (even though it certainly has motive for killing us). My friend who lives next door has a fancier stove than ours, so that also brought a new thing to hate about it. It doesn’t tell us when it’s pre-heated and it doesn’t have a digital display or controls which I miss about our last house’s oven. The tray underneath that is suppose to be used to store our baking pans is too small and narrow to fit anything but our tiniest pizza pan, and I learned the hard way I can’t even store that under there because the heat from the stove burned it black.

So, gas stove, I am sorry I hate you so much. I’m sorry that my hands slip and sometimes your oven door slams shut. I’m sorry that when I burned my arm as I pulled a tray of chicken out of you, that I cursed you and then promptly dropped said tray on top of you. I’m sorry that we seriously considered dragging you out to the shed and replacing you with an electric stove of our choosing, and that the only reason we didn’t is because we don’t know how to replace a gas stove and we didn’t want to risk doing it incorrectly and leaking your fuel everywhere. I’m sorry I judge you based on your looks because you’re not a very pretty stove. I’m sorry I couldn’t get use to your smell for weeks, so I avoided using you as much as possible. I do thank you for making our dinner most nights, and for boiling the sweet tea I love to drink, even if it takes you nearly twice as long as our last stove to bring things to a boil.

Was that not a very good apology? I’m sorry I’m not more sorry. You are, after all, an inanimate object and I don’t feel that bad about hating you because I know we only have to deal with you for three years, and then you will be someone else’s problem. Or joy. I know a lot of people prefer gas stoves, and I’m sorry I’m not one of them.

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Seriously?

I just want the record to show that on this, the day of December 12, 2014, gas prices are $1.97 where I live.

ONE. DOLLAR. NINETY. SEVEN. CENTS.

Please also let the record show that I was nearly on empty this morning, less than a quarter tank, and filled my car to the brim with gas at a DIFFERENT gas station, a few hours before prices dropped.

I paid $2.20.

Head, meet desk.

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I Might Need That Swimsuit After All

When I said I wanted to go swimming, I didn’t mean in my own HOUSE!

I hate my washer. Can I make a new hate list? I’d reaaaally like to make a new hate list. My washer would be at the top of the list. Actually it would probably be just the whole list. I can think of a bunch of reasons why I hate my washing machine.

One of my dogs puked on my couch (thanks, whichever one of you jerks it was) and I cleaned it up with a washcloth. It was gross so I wanted to wash it right away, by itself. In HOT water, of course. I don’t use hot water that much. Our washer is defective, has been ever since we brought the piece of junk home. You have to turn on the hot water hose every time you use it and turn it off when the washer’s done filling up, because some sensor in the washer is broken and it doesn’t send whatever signal it needs to send to tell the water to stop flowing once it starts agitating. I guess it could be worse, at least it’s not the cold water tab, which we use a LOT more. So I start my one-item load of laundry, and decide while I’m over in the kitchen area, let’s sweep all those leaves off our side door patio. While I’m doing that, I hear my husband come home and go over to greet him. He’s talking to my friend! Yay! I start to talk too, of course, and we carry on and be goofs and be merry. Then we disperse to get out of the cold, and the rain sprinkles that are starting to come down. We were talking for over an hour.

I forgot to turn the hot water off.

My kitchen is flooded, and I’m wading in water up to my ankles. I grab the mop and start pushing it out the side door (at least that is very handy, I don’t know what I would have done if we didn’t have a door to just push all this water out of). I ask my husband to grab the broom and help me. He does for a little while, and then decides to sit on the counter and watch me work. He says I need to stop forgetting to turn the hot water off. One, I rarely use the hot water so I’m not use to remembering to turn it off, two, this is only the second time this has happened! Oh yeah, I’ve flooded the kitchen before…but it was only for about 10 minutes until I remembered, not over an hour! Oh, wait, while I’m numbering things, three, who is the real scatter brain in this family? Who couldn’t leave post a few days ago because he forgot where he put his wallet, containing ALL our credit cards, our joint bank debit card, and both of his IDs? Who also lost, along with his wallet, his house keys so I had to come rescue him? Who loses his phone every other day, but when I try and call it to help him find it, it’s on silent? Yeah, mister, HUSH.

Last week, my husband was brewing beer. He had been working on it for three hours, beer brewing is a very time-consuming hobby. My extremely intelligent husband went to pour the still boiling hot concoction into a 5-gallon glass carafe. The glass bottom literally melted off. There is beer (and not the good, watered down, ready to drink beer, the concentrated hops, malt, yeast, and various-other-beer-ingredients beer) ALL over the kitchen. We use every towel in our house to clean it up, and then comes the fun part. STICKY. Stickiness everywhere. Stickiness so sticky we actually get a leg workout walking in the kitchen. My husband says, “Ooohh, yeah, I’ve heard this is the worst stickiness to deal with…worse than soda AND beer put together. Probably even worse then melted lollipop stickiness.” So I start mopping. I dip in the bucket, mop, rinse the sticky out in the sink, dip in bucket, repeat. Kitchen is still sticky. I dump the water and try again. I repeat this three times, and give up. Floor is still slightly sticky. I repeat this procedure over three days. Floor is almost tolerable (I am pretty obsessive about my floors being clean, I love to wear socks, and I despise stepping in wet/sticky spots). Anyhow, I promise I’m going somewhere with this story!

I would like to end on a positive note, and list a few reasons why it’s not the end of the world that I flooded my kitchen AGAIN with the devil washer:

1) MY FLOORS AREN’T STICKY ANYMORE! YAY! There was bleach in that load, granted extremely watered down, but still bleach. I think it helped. Why couldn’t I have flooded the kitchen the same afternoon of the beer spilling incident? I will have to remember this “trick” the next time my husband brews beer.

2) The house smells REALLY good. I love my laundry detergent.

3) My dogs didn’t stalk me into the kitchen to beg for food (I wasn’t even eating anything, but they think I was, because people only go into the kitchen to eat, of course) because they don’t like to get their paws wet.

4) While we were socializing, my husband kept putting the broom in the mud and then shaking it at me because he knew I wouldn’t like it, and it would make me run away from him (I was wearing a white skirt, gimme a break!) I wasn’t looking forward to hosing it off, so since we had to use it to sweep out our flood, it’s now clean and I don’t have to hose it down. And it smells good too. And I was able to exact my revenge on my him later by dancing around crazily to Cotton Eye Joe, which he hates.

5) Ummm…my floors aren’t sticky? I am VERY happy about that!

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Clever Title

I think I did an “oops” the other day…maybe? Referring to my list of things I hate, I think I said something stupid and now I’m obsessing over it, over, and over, and over, and wondering if I said too much. I feel shy. Was it an annoying blog post? I hope not. I was just so very happy and relieved over how well everything went and feeling quite proud of myself but with no one (besides my husband who was being annoying, though I do love him dearly) to talk with. I wanted to share my happiness and tell it somewhere. But only one other person knows about my fears, I don’t like to talk about them because it’s a very vulnerable side of myself I rarely show.

My husband has been in crazy moods lately and I’m not complaining because it is a welcome change from the grumpiness he was exuding shortly after we moved here in August. He will randomly yell, “MEEHHH,” as he rounds corners, grab the dog and make her dance (poor thing looks like she just wants someone to rescue her when he does this, and I come to her aid and shoo him away to pester something else), and perch (yes, perch) on the couch making weird faces while I raise my eyebrow until I can’t hold it in any longer and burst out laughing at him, which is always the purpose of this weirdness. He just loves to make people laugh, any means necessary. I am glad he is in such a good mood lately, but I can’t help but be curious as to why.

Meanwhile, I just have an urge to go swimming. I long to dive into the water and float (I like to float, I am good at floating) and think about life and ponder deep things. Just lose myself in the water. We have a pool right next door to our house, really only like 100 feet away. We can see it from our backyard and every window facing west. In the summer, we could hear the children screaming gleefully as they slid down the slide. The lifeguards would take turns whooping and hollering as they concocted different contraptions out of pool cleaning tools and use the diving board to jump through or across them, once school started and the pool patronage slowed down significantly. They laughed and told me it was “training” and when I asked the female lifeguard who was watching them from a distance, she said no, they were engineers and were just bored of their mind with nothing to do, no one’s life to guard. I was the only one there several times and it was great to not share the lanes. I bump into things when I space out and float and I always feel really bad when I bump into someone.

One friendly lifeguard tried teaching me how to dive but I would always chicken out right as I got near the water and plug my nose, or belly flop, or flail aimlessly in the air until I hit the water. I think one time I actually did it, from the tall diving board, but for the life of me I couldn’t recreate it. I was a one-dive wonder. I asked my husband if he could dive, and he scoffed and said, “Of COURSE I can, I was a lifeguard for the boy scouts,” but he hates swimming nowadays. It was so incredibly fun and I miss those few weeks before the pool closed for the season.

I wish Abrams would finish their damn renovations already. It is the biggest gym on post and they have the only indoor pool in the area, plus it doesn’t hurt that it’s five minutes up the road. I like things that are close, people drive like idiots here and I’ve nearly been ran off the road several times so I don’t like to venture out when there’s a lot of traffic, and the only times there’s not traffic are between the hours of 2am and 5am. When we arrived, their website said renovations complete in September. By the end of August, their website said complete in October. Then November. Then December. Now they’re saying it’s January but forgive me if I don’t go and hunt down my swimsuit and dig out my goggles. Some of the PX employees are saying it will probably be done after the new PX is built, and that’s scheduled to open in March. Blah. By the time these renovations are done the outdoor pools will be open again and I won’t need to go there at all. Stupid gym.

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I Survived

Today started out like any normal, average day. I woke up, who, who, who let the dogs out, plop in front of the TV to eat my usual bowl of cereal (Fruity Pebbles this morning…if I’m feeling daring, it might be Apple Jacks or cinnamon-flavored Life). What comes after depends on my schedule. And seeing as how I’m not yet in school or working, I felt like that should be go to the gym. So I start looking for our combination lock (I was going to shower after getting all sweaty and didn’t want anyone stealing my shampoo) and my phone rings. It’s my sweet friend Paulina wondering if I’d like to take a walk around my neighborhood. Sure, that would be a great way to kill THREE birds with one stone, my dogs get a walk so they’re complacent when I venture out later, I get exercise, and I get human interaction. The 2.5 -mile walk is great and feels like a good prequel to my elliptical workout later. Paulina invites me to her house for lunch, but on the way to get pizza for the guys, her husband calls and says they’re going on lunch shifts and he’s not sure when his is, so don’t buy the pizza yet. We go to her house and watch 30 Days (pretty interesting, never heard of it or seen it before but I was very into it), and my husband calls me. Typical for him, he has lost his house keys and is locked out of the house. I ask him to come pick me up and I will let him in. He calls me back 15 minutes later, I ask him if he’s outside waiting for me, and he says no, he can’t find any of his IDs (military or driver’s license) so he can’t leave post for fear of incurring gate guard wrath. I’m not actually sure what they would do, but I’ve been told I don’t want to find out. Paulina kindly offers to drive me back home even though this includes wrangling an extremely active 2-year-old back into his car seat. I feel terrible about this but she is sweet and doesn’t seem to mind. So nothing exciting going on yet, we get home, I let the husband into the house so he can grab a bite to eat before heading back to work, and I start again preparing myself to go to the gym. I really am glad I didn’t get to eat pizza because I’m trying to be on a diet and pizza would kind of ruin that.

But all day long, ever since Friday night (when I couldn’t call), I’ve had a nagging feeling going on in the back of my mind. Something I’ve tried to wish away, or ignore, but it won’t leave me alone. I made up excuses for why I didn’t do it yesterday. You should call. Make that appointment. You feel terrible and in pain and you’re grumpy and your husband can’t even touch you there anymore, something that you use to enjoy. The weather is cold and it hurts even more which makes you grumpier. CALL. Don’t panic, chances are nothing is at all wrong, but wouldn’t it be nice to be like those other girls and take your bra off after a long day? CALL DAMMIT. If you really want to be a pussy, you know it will take a minimum of two weeks until they can see you and you can cancel the appointment if you chicken out. Wuss.

So, hands trembling, I call. The lady on the other line is grumpy (they always are, it is a common complaint here that the appointment line people are unfriendly) and I hate to tell her what is wrong with such a grumpy voice, but after I meekly spill it, something actually changes in her voice and she gets kinder. She says they can actually see me today if I’m okay with another provider. I’ve only seen my assigned provider once (for a refill on my acne prescription that wouldn’t carry over from Germany even though it is the same health system and they can see that I was prescribed it before and I had 2 refills left) so I’m okay with that, as long as it’s a girl. I am terrified of men. She tells me she’s not sure, the first name is “Courtney” but that doesn’t mean 100% that it’s a woman. Something has gotten into me today and I feel braver and stronger than I normally do (I blame this on the weather, it was a beautiful day and beautiful days make me happy, and perhaps a certain blog post I read recently gave me an extra push) so I say yes, please, I would like that appointment, I can be there in an hour and a half. I know I can say no thank you, please schedule it for a later day, but I know today I feel stronger than normal and if I wait, I will probably cancel it. I would rather do it now than fret about it for weeks.

We hang up.

I freak out.

I run upstairs, and throw myself dramatically on my bed (before a quick pat down to make sure my sweet little dog hasn’t burrowed himself in the blankets as he does multiple times a day), and scream in my head, What did I just agree to do? My heart is pounding and I call my husband. I tell him I know it’s sudden, but can he possibly get some time off work today because I called and they can see me today, but I’m really scared and I want him to come. My voice cracks. I hate myself for this. Quit acting like a baby. He says he will try, but he is assigned to truck-guarding duty and doubts he will be able to get out of it. But he will try.

I take a shower, since I am not going to the gym right now like I had hoped to be. I turn on Pandora and try to dance a little bit because I had a dance party in the shower the other day and it was fun and made me laugh at myself and maybe it will cheer me up today. As if it’s spiting me, Pandora plays melancholy songs that do little for my nerves.

I dress half-way. Run downstairs because my underwear is sitting on top of the dryer, it was washed two days ago but I am too lazy to carry it upstairs. I mousse my hair. I can’t find my brown shoes, so I run upstairs to look for them. They’re not there. I come back down, remember I kicked them under our ottoman when my friend texted and asked if she could come over really quick and I didn’t want her to see my mess. But wait. I forgot my bunny rabbit. I run back upstairs, grab her, and a necklace too. Come BACK down. At least I’m getting a little bit of cardio this way. I hate stairs. I want a one story house. All my friends and family (except my mom) prefer two story homes so I feel mostly alone in this, but I hate the going up and down multiple times a day. Today I don’t mind it as much because the running up and down wears me out a little so I’m not as wound up and anxious.

Check my phone. Can Bumblebee come? No text, no call.

Grab my DS. Maybe they will leave me sitting in the waiting room until closing time and I get to breath a sigh of relief and go home. Might as well have something to do for the next three hours.

Drive. Put Frozen soundtrack on in the car to try and settle my nerves. Feel anger that they are fictional characters and don’t have to worry about things like health exams and PTSD. Wow. Maybe I really do need therapy.

Arrive. My health clinic is five minutes up the road, I could walk there if I was so inclined. Today I’m not. The parking lot is packed. Check my phone again, no husband. I text him to tell him I’m there already so if he’s able, he can just meet me there instead of going home to fetch me. (He always forgets you gotta be there 15 minutes early and I like to be on time. It’s 1403 and my appointment is at 1420.)

Stuff bunny in reusable shopping bag in car so I don’t look like a weirdo as I walk in clutching a stuffed animal.

First sound I hear, baby is SCREECHING. Blood curdling screeching. Be thankful my husband hasn’t arrived yet because he can’t stand kids and this would make him irritable. I love kids but am not in the mood today and it stresses me out even more.

Check in. Receptionists are talking to each other and for the most part ignoring the obviously terrified girl in front of them. Good. Ignore me. Sign in the incorrect patient (just like my school looked up the incorrect student when I was standing right in front of them and told me I didn’t take a biology class I know I had and tried to tell me I couldn’t register for the class I was trying to register for, because said biology class was a pre-requisite) so I can pretend that I’m somewhere else and play my DS until five. 

They smile and hand back my ID card, tell me to have a seat in the waiting room. I try and get far away from the screeching child. Pull out my DS but I can’t focus on it. Another child, older by the sound of his voice, starts screaming, worse than the infant when I first came in. Sigh. Be annoyed. Then feel bad for being irritable, maybe this child is getting his shots and they hurt. I hated shots as a child, I tried to hide in the bathroom at the clinic one time until my mom came in and dragged me out. Now needles don’t bother me. I would take 100 shots over what was about to happen. Hey kid, wanna trade places?

I try and play my game again. Kid is still screeching. I can’t focus. I fold it, put it away, pull out my phone instead, check it. Nothing from my husband. While I’m at it, put my phone on silent. How embarrassing would it be if while I was back there, my phone suddenly went, “Blossom, commander and leader, Bubbles, she is the joy and laughter, Buttercup, she’s the toughest fighter, Powerpuffs save the day…”

I always put my phone on silent for important things like this. I forgot one time, during a therapy session, and my husband called me to see if he could still come, 20 minutes into my session. I scrambled to get to my phone, shut it off, apologize over and over and over about it being turned on, my therapist says it’s okay. HER phone rings. She is annoyed, but has to answer it. It’s the receptionist. I hear, “No, he’s late. He can’t come in. It’s his own fault he was late to his wife’s appointment,” and hangs up. Back to me. I am sad. I wish he could come in, he is my rock and makes difficult things easier to bare. But I dare not ask my therapist after she has made her ruling, I don’t want to seem rude. Later I find out his sergeant was being a dick and wouldn’t let him leave until he helped the other soldiers put away all their equipment, even though he told him over and over the past few days and that morning that his wife had an appointment that afternoon. It wasn’t his fault he was late. I don’t think she liked him. He said off the wall things and she raised her eyebrows at him many times. She seemed happier on the days he didn’t come.

Anyway, back to the present. I’m staring aimlessly at the phone because if I don’t, I will get lost in my head and my thoughts and probably won’t make it back out. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Please don’t call me back, please don’t call me back, please don’t call me back, please don’t…

Kindly-looking nurse comes out and calls my name. Fuck. Too late to run away now. She leads me to a room where there’s another nurse. I am instantly alarmed. I have never been in a room with TWO nurses. What did I do wrong? Did they read my medical records from my past clinic? Oh my God they’re going to hold me down and—

My blood pressure is high. It is never high, and I know why it’s high today. She says she will check it again after the other nurse is done asking me questions. They are both kind and I relax a little. I will be a good nurse like them. I will make patients feel better and be kind to them when they are terrified and I will smile and be friendly and I will be good at my job. I hope. Then the bad thoughts. If this terrifies you so much, what makes you think you will be a good nurse? You disgust me. Go work at the Gap for the rest of your life you worthless human being, you don’t belong in the field of medicine.

Second time with the blood pressure check. It’s better now. I’m glad.

One nurse stays there, one walks me to another room. She bends over to open one of the drawers in the examining table. Hey, hey, what are you doing in there, I’ve never seen anyone go in there before and you’re making me nervous because I don’t know what you’re going to pull out. Is it legal for doctors to shackle their patients to the table? I really wish I knew if my doctor was a male or female but I am too terrified to talk or ask any questions. I hope I don’t seem rude but I just can’t get my mouth to move or my brain to string together letters to make words.

It’s a paper shirt. Oh. I don’t like that, but at least it’s not chains. She pulls the curtain and asks if I have any questions. I finally find my voice. I’m sorry but is it okay if I don’t wear that? You see, if I wear that without a bra, the fabric will be excruciatingly torturous…

She looks guilty and like she feels bad. *I* feel bad just for asking. She didn’t even think about that even after she asked all those questions. No, of course not. It’s there if I want it but not a necessity. Any other questions? Okay, push the red button when you’re ready. Hmm,  that’s handy. Good thinking.

I take my bunny out of the reusable shopping bag, I need her now. I hope the doctor doesn’t think poorly of me. I change. I sit on the table. I pray, still, that maybe no one will come. Maybe they will forget I’m in that room and I fall asleep and the next thing I know it’s nine o’ clock at night and I get to go home, try again another day. Maybe when I’m thirty.

My heart is racing. I feel sick. I know it’s just nerves but that doesn’t make the queasy feeling in my stomach go away. Please, please, if someone does come for me, take your time so I have time to breath and mentally calm myself down. I don’t want to have a panic attack when you walk in the room. And if you’re a male, I’m sorry, but I probably will have a panic attack. It’s not your fault, it’s mine.

I clutch my bunny to my chest to help the nausea. I can’t even look around out of fear (and I’m normally very curious), I just stare blankly straight ahead at a white wall. I start to feel over-whelmed. I curl into a ball to stop the tears.

Small sigh. I feel a little bit better. Curling into a ball always makes me feel better. My husband knows this all too well, I did it all the time when we were still dating.

In what felt like seconds but was really about 10 minutes, knock knock. Hello Mrs. Walk?

Oh thank God. That’s a female voice. That’s also a very sweet sounding female voice. I like sweet.

I tentatively stick my head up just in time for her to come around the curtain. Did I really make it in time? Did she see me in my ball? Oh my God, she thinks I’m crazy and she hates me already…….and wait. I can’t see it, but I can FEEL I have crazy hair. Stupid ball-curling tendencies.

I pat it down out of nerves. If she saw me in my ball, she didn’t say anything. I am thankful for that. She’s wearing a white coat and I feel more nervous and anxious. But she looks like a kind lady so I am grateful.

She has a look on her face I can’t place, but for the life of me I’m trying to figure it out. Sympathy? Pity? I don’t know. But it’s not a negative face. I can’t deal with a negative face. She asks me questions about my period, my current birth control (none I got cut off, we use condoms now), my previous birth controls. Please don’t ask my most feared question, the one that would make me clam up and look at my lap, too fearful to talk anymore. I don’t want to lie anymore because that’s what bad girls do and I want desperately to be a good girl, but I am fearful of your response if I tell you the truth. The shackles thing is all in my head, right?

She doesn’t.

She also doesn’t look at or ask about my bunny, still wrapped tightly in my arms pulled to my chest. I am really appreciate of that because I am embarrassed I need it but it helps so very much, you have no idea how much it helps. Please, please don’t hate me. I am always worried people hate me or that I am an inconvenience. I’m sorry I’m so scared of you, I want to explain, tell you why, but I can’t find my voice and even if I could, my brain is so scrambled right now I wouldn’t be able to string the words together to tell you. I wish I had my shirt on while we talk.

I feel like my voice is tiny and shaky, but I answer the questions as best as I can with a foggy thought-racing mind that doesn’t want to function right now. Brain don’t fail me now. 

It’s time. I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and lay down. Don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry. You’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay. Don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry–

These two sentences go around and around and around in my mind, give me something to focus on. But hey, it’s not that bad. My eyes are still closed tightly shut. I think about opening them. I relax slightly. It really isn’t that bad. Hey wait a second…I wince. That didn’t feel good. She pauses. I open my eyes half way. What is that look on her face? I can’t figure it out. Please don’t feel bad, I know you’re trying to help me and I appreciate it even though I don’t say it. Trust me, I’ve felt worse, and you’re being incredibly gentle. I like you. Can you be my new doctor?

Time for the other side. I wince a lot more on this side and she apologizes a lot and I wish I could tell her how I feel, please don’t apologize, I’m the one who feels bad for wincing so much, you’re a nice, good doctor and thank you for being so caring. Do you know how many mean and terrible doctors I’ve seen? I feel comfortable with you even though it doesn’t look like it. This is as comfortable as I get in this situation.

And just like that, we’re done. I can’t help but smile inside. I DID IT. And I don’t feel like hurting myself like the last time something similar happened. I’m not proud of that, but it happened and I can’t deny it.

She smiles and says I seem perfectly healthy, no lumps. This time my sigh of relief is audible and I smile outside. I am so thankful to be healthy! But do I drink a lot of caffeine? (I drink about two tea bags worth of caffeine a day. I tried to wean myself off it completely but got horrible migraines. I mix decaf tea bags with as little caffeinated tea bags as I can.) She felt tiny cyst-like things that are common with heavy caffeine use (forgive my memory, I was still in my foggy state of mind and don’t remember exactly what she called them) and she knows I am having incredible pain and sensitivity and she wants to help me feel better, she wants me to get an ultrasound. I’m nervous. I’ve only had an ultrasound once, on my stomach. That lady wasn’t nice and I was scared of her. I don’t want to do it again, on such a private body part, even though I know that lady won’t be here to do it and I could possibly end up with a very nice person. I am really nervous again. My smile fades. Her next recommendation scares me even more. If she can’t figure out what it is with the ultrasound, she wants to refer me to a gynecologist. I’ve never seen a specialist for anything and this one is very scary to me, but I will say that lately my fear of them has gone down significantly and that makes me feel better about this potential visit. There are still things I’m not brave enough to do yet, even though I need to do them. PTSD is a bitch and there’s no one-size-fits-all cure.

I get a nice little card with the numbers to radiology on it and when my next appointment is. My doctor wants me to come back to see her three days after my ultrasound, even though she’s not my assigned doctor (that makes me very happy because she knows me now and I like her very much and want to come back to her and not someone new).

I drive home. I am smiling. I feel very relieved, very happy, and if I do say so myself, very proud. This is something that terrified the living crap out of me and I did it, and I did it without crying (something I shamefully do a lot of when I’m scared), and I did it without wanting to harm myself afterwards.

I don’t have much of an appetite, but that’s okay. I’m trying to lose weight after all.

My husband comes home after many hours (it felt like forever), and wants to know how it went. He apologizes for not coming, but I understand how last minute it was and how important his job is. But I don’t want to tell him because I know that look on his face and he will tease me and I’m not in the mood to be teased. How’d the boobie check go?

I want to punch him just for wording it like that. My face turns red and I tell him it went VERY well, thank YOU very much.

He grins at me. He says he’s proud of me because he knows that was a big step. He says, what about the next big step?

I glare at him. Don’t go there. But I am glad he is acting a little more mature now. Then he ruins it.

Did you let them touch your bajingle?

I seriously want to throw something at him right now. Maybe one of his combat boots, those things weigh a ton. He can see the murderous look in my eye because I hate when he talks about it so callously like that, and he skips out of the kitchen and starts begging for food from a safe distance.

I’m still not hungry. And I’m angry at him now and don’t want to cook for him. Plus I forgot to go grocery shopping since everything happened so fast today.

My bunny and I go sit on the couch and open my DS. I’m still carrying her around, for the rest of the day anyway. Tomorrow I will be back to normal and she will stay on my headboard where she belongs. I start to feel nervous again and I don’t understand why, I’ve felt fine the rest of the day, save for feeling rather introverted and not wanting to interact with anyone except my husband (who has now lost that exception). Within seconds, my Luna is curled up in my lap, and my Cricket snuggles up to my side. My nervousness melts away. My dogs really do help a lot with my anxiety. I am thankful for them too.