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When life gives you pink eye, make pink lemonade.

5 Apr

So you know how things never quite pan out how you envisioned them.  Yeah, well that’s the definition of Carol Trader.  I don’t think I’ve pulled anything off quite how I meant for it to be.  And I’m talking the small things, the haphazard moments that make you go “really?!”, not the life-altering atrocities or the as luck would have it happenstances.  Matter of fact, the very definition of haphazard

1. disorganized, unsystematic, careless, slapdash, helter-skelter.

is pretty much the very definition of me.  Most of the time I really do just kinda fumble my way through things and try to just. get it. done.  But even when I try to be careful and meticulous it always backfires and I just end up sitting at the head of a table caving in under a heap of mess.

So my girl, Jan is having her third baby, but first baby girl.  I’m so excited!  I thought to myself, “Carol, you kind of sucked at the Maid of Honor thing for her.  You know, like when you left the bachelorette party that you had planned for her (DC 101 Chili Cookoff concert then bar hopping) to go grab a car to meet up for bar hopping… but then your husband, who picked you and your friend Renee up in his police cruiser to go grab Renee’s car ended up in a haphazard car chase while you and Renee were in the backseat… which was kinda time-consuming and left Renee skittish and no one wanting to drive anywhere afterwards.  (Also, as it turns out, I think one of the girls was roofied while bar hopping without us, later that night.  Though she ended up being fine, it was scary, to say the least.  Yep, that’s me-  Friend of the Year!)  Or like, when the time came for you to give a speech at her wedding reception, but you had to to tell the DJ that you were haphazardly chickening out due to speech anxiety and you had your speech printed and framed for her instead.”  Yeah, I’m that Maid of Honor.  So, I owe her and something like a surprise baby shower might be an awesome way to show her how much I love her.

I sent Jan’s husband a text to see if a baby shower was already in the making, first.  He said that a neighbor threw a tiny neighborhood Baby Sprinkle for their last baby, Baker, so I asked for the neighbor’s name and number and quickly went to work on a surprise shower.  While waiting for a guest list and confirmation from the neighbor, Jan’s mom beat me to the punch and I received a shower invitation in the mail.  Crap!  But all wasn’t lost, Jan’s mom’s shower was being held on the shore an hour and a half away from Jan’s local friends & neighbors, so I thought we could still pull it off.  Jan’s neighbor thought it would be best to ask Jan if she was cool with it first, so no surprise, but the shower was still a go.  Yay!  I set to pinning things to make for the shower and sent out the digital invite.  I made the bunnies for the cupcakes the night before and woke up early to bake.

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The cupcakes turned out adorable and we loaded the gifts, cupcakes and girls in the van (they would play with Jan’s boys, while I attended the shower).  Things were going well, until I turned to hand Tess a juicebox to drink during our ride and noticed that the eye that looked a bit irritated when she woke up was looking more like pink eye.  Crap!  Crap!  When we arrived at Jan’s neighbor’s house, I pulled Jan aside and said that it was looking like Tess had pink eye and that I didn’t feel comfortable staying and letting her play with Jan’s boys.  Mike took the girls to the neighborhood park, so that I could unpack the cupcakes, drop off the baby’s gifts and give Jan a hug.  Boo!  And that was that.  The carefully planned – I’m going to make up for being a horrible Maid of Honor – solo- surprise- shower that ended up being a second, non-surprise, Sprinkle that I wasn’t even able to attend.  I don’t mean that quite as negatively as it sounds because everything turned out just perfect, I’m just harping on the somewhat hilarity that it was not quite how I had envisioned it would go down on my end.  Jan’s mother’s shower was fabulous (Thank goodness I was in attendence).  And in the few minutes that I was at the Sprinkle, it looked as though Jan was having a great time and that was all that mattered, whether I was able to stay or not the ultimate goal was achieved.

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On the way home, we passed Great Falls Park and since we had a surprising amount of time to kill that day, I asked Mike to stop.  The weather was perfect to take the girls on a small hike down a Great Falls trail, so we took the time to stop and enjoy our pink-eye-filled life.  And though even the Great Falls hike was a haphazard family outing, sometimes haphazard is… *sigh*… kinda nice.  Not what I envisioned for the day, but still nice.  When life gives you pink eye, make pink lemoade.

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P.S. We made the right decision about not letting Tess stay and play.  It turned out that she had viral pink eye, which apparently is more contagious than bacterial and there is no treatment.  You just have to wait it out.  Thankfully, it was short lived.  2 days later, she is well and on the mend.

When life gives you lemons…

13 Mar

… laugh at the little things.

Last week, I started feeling pretty awful.  Lymph nodes began flaring again, chest inflammation, irritability… blah, blah, blah, so I closed down my Etsy shop.  Just in time, as luck would have it!  Leila had also been sick with a virus for over a week.  She was coughing non-stop, but it was productive and her doctor listened to her chest several times and said she had normal breathing sounds, so not to worry.  She began vomiting mucous, but my doctor said again, not to worry, she would be fine.  After 5 days of her vomiting mucous and gasping for air, I had had enough and asked Michael to take her to urgent care.  I would stay behind with the little ones because they had their own congestion issues and I didn’t want the petri dish of a hospital make matters worse.  At urgent care they took xrays and noted something, but they weren’t quite sure what it was, they recommended a ct scan, which would have to be ordered by her doctor the next day, started her on antibiotics, and sent her home.  She had coughing spells and difficulty breathing throughout the night.  After we sent Jax off to school in the morning, I told Mike not to wait for her doctor’s office to open and to just take her to the ER, where they could run a ct scan.  I paced with worry while the little ones slept and when Mike called me a few hours later to ask me if she could have been exposed to TB and I could hear her in a fit to catch her breath in the background, I had had enough!  Still without a license and not wanting to expose my neighbors’ kids to whatever my children had, I asked a dear friend to drive me and the kids to the ER.  Like a scene out of Terms of Endearment, I hovered over her, fussed over her condition at the nursing desk, got her a warm blanket, tissues, more meds, begged for the doctor to come talk to me immediately… I was a mess.  They performed new xrays and though there was a discrepancy, they were sure that her lungs were ok.  They ran a TB test and started her on a stronger antibiotic.  The nursing staff stood by my side and comforted me, while they explained for nearly an hour why she was doing much better than she sounded.  They were so very kind to me.  We went home and 2 days later, I decided to get out of the house for a bit and drove everyone to the local pharmacy to get some more meds for our at home infirmary.

And guess what???  While at the pharmacy (obviously, because it was the only place we had been within 48 hours), Tess picked up the dreaded stomach bug.  Oy vey!  I stayed by her side and woke up with her every 15-30 minutes and washed and rewashed blankets and sheets and pjs.  While doing one load of laundry, I asked Mike if he could watch Tess as I had just put her in the bathtub.  She had an “incident” in the bathtub, which Mike tried to swipe down the drain.  The “incident” resulted in him contracting the stomach bug, himself!  Woo hoo!  And within 24 hours, I came down with it, as well.

As the 3 of us laid in a king sized bed, taking turns in the bathroom and changing runny diapers, I heard faint giggles coming from Tess.  In the quiet of the night, I listened as Mike snored over and over again and with each bear like growl a tiny toddler laugh followed.  Though I had just hovered over the commode and I was destined to return in nearly 30 minutes, and I felt like a bus had hit me, AND had one of the most stressful weeks, since Phoebe’s surgeries… I let out a giggle too each time… after Tess would giggle… after Mike would snore.  It’s the little things, or the little people, rather that just make life spectacular, even when it’s rotten.

F you and your postpartum

15 Apr

Where did I leave off? After hemorrhaging with Tess and then going into a super-mega-hyperthyroid phase, I was put on medications to lower my thyroid levels. Months later I never felt any improvement, but my levels had normalized. I was told I was euthyroid, that it was probably just postpartum thyroiditis and that my continued symptoms were due to postpartum depression. I glared at that doctor long and hard and upon her asking me “why does that upset you? Why are you rolling your eyes?”, I stormed out of her office. Now, I know to her that probably only confirmed her postpartum theory, but I knew she was wrong and didn’t want to waste another minute humoring her lazy theory. Many months, many doctors, and thousands of dollars later it would turn out that she was very, very wrong, indeed! I will not bore you with the details of my symptoms and how many tears I cried at the feet of countless doctors, in this post. Maybe when I’m not as weak I will be able to tie in some humor to these stories and blog in flashback mode. Today, I’m just going to go straight to it… The Diagnosis
In October of 2012, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Not one of the 3 endocrinologists that I had seen before then even bothered to test me for it. It wasn’t until my ophthalmologist said, in jest, that I sounded like I had an autoimmune disorder and maybe I should see a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist tested my thyroid antibodies and the were quite elevated. TPO antibodies are supposed to be 1000 (fact: they were higher than the testing range, so we actually don’t even know the exact level) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies were 1843, supposed to be <35. Apparently, my immune system had decided to attack my thyroid. Great, let’s treat it! Au contraire! Hashimoto’s remains untreated by most doctors, no matter the extent of the patient’s symptoms. After much research and dozens more doctors, it came to my doctor’s attention that my blood calcium kept coming back high. Some doctors ignored it, but a new endocrinologist wanted to see if my parathyroid was causing the problem. During a lengthy 5 hour radiology scan, they found a small tumor, so yet another diagnosis: hyperparathyroidism. Great, let’s do something about it! Au contraire! The tumor is still small so they want to do more scans in a month. Frustrated I sought the help of a holistic doctor to get a prescription for natural thyroid medication. While reading over my lab results to prepare for the appt, I noticed that my Lyme lab said negative, yet I tested positive for the P23 Bb antibody band. So I researched some more and discovered that because of CDC regulations my test was a false negative! The specific band that I tested positive for would ONLY be present if indeed I was infected with the Lyme virus! Guess what? I did some more digging and it has been documented that Lyme disease can, in fact, cause Hashimoto’s disorder. Holy hell!
Great, let’s do something about it! Au contraire, again! Because of CDC regulations the only way you can get treated for chronic (long time infected) Lyme is by finding a Lyme Literate MD. They are extremely hard to find, as they don’t advertise thanks to CDC and they don’t take insurance for the very same reason. Yay! In the USA it is easier to get a prescription for OxyContin to feed an addition than it is to get a life saving antibiotic! Insane!
I am finally going to see an LLMD today, but I was able to talk the holistic md into prescribing me antibiotics in the meantime. I recently had a mammogram because of my chronic large axiallary lymph nodes. The doctor went over the images with me. She and her assistant stared at the images of my nodes in amazement. She told me that the texture is not indicative of lymphoma or carcinoma of the breasts. I smiled and said “yay, that’s good news!” She didn’t seemed relieved in the slightest though. Her face was rather concerned and said that I have some sort of chronic systemic infection. She requested that my doctors test me for tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, Lyme, bartonella, and other infectious diseases. Great! Here we go again!

the Moneypit

16 Mar

So, you know how I used to write about fly poop and our terrible problem with ants (our ongoing terrible problem with ants) and my friends the spiders (Whom, normally, I detest because they give me such a horrible case of the willies [seriously, I dry heave when I’m in the pet store and accidentally walk past the tarantula terrariums and catch a glimpse of them… even just their picture near the glass enclosure and *bleh bleh booleh*… I’m done!]) because they eat the ants and that’s awesome… the cheapest exterminator in the world.  And you know how I mentioned that we had to pay $3000 to get our front yard excavated and pipes replaced.  Well, I forgot to mention another giant expense last year that dealt with the insect kind.  We had to pay $1000 for a pest control man to come out and drill holes in our foundation, the entire perimeter of the house, and load the holes with pesticide because we had an outbreak of termites.  The insurance company didn’t cover the $3000 bill to replace the sewage pipes clogged with tree roots because the pipes were outside the house and they “only cover things that go wrong inside the house” [rebuttal:  we once had a pipe in our master bath that had a pinhole in it and was leaking.  When you have a pinhole leak coming from a pipe in a wall, you notice puddles on the floor near the wall.  After determining that none of the children are peeing in said floor (resorting to the “sniff” test… which is loads of fun) and that they are not pouring water in said floor (resorting to the “if you are lying, you’re going in time-out” test), you then have to cut out the wall to figure out exactly what is leaking within it.  So, water damage + wall removal and repair + an unseen-by-the-naked-eye-hole in a pipe and repair = expensive.  When we called the insurance company they refused to reimburse us for any expenses because the hole-in-pipe issue was considered “ongoing”.  Meaning, if it had to leak long enough within the wall to show up as a puddle in the floor than it wasn’t spontaneous and therefore ongoing and therefore “We just want to take your money while you get screwed up the *ss.  We are basically overpaid legal pimps!” *cough* Bullsh*t! *cough* In conclusion, they don’t cover pipes located outside the house, nor do they cover pipes within walls.  If I ever buy another home it will be full of exposed pipes. Maybe it’ll start a new fad.]  The insurance company also refused to aid us with our $1000 termite control bill.  I forget what their excuse was for that.  When I say “do you cover…” and they say “NO” the rest of their conversation with me just trails into some sort of Charlie Brown’s teacher “wah wah wah”.

Anywho, so the termites came back.  And… surprise... control or damage caused by termites is still not covered under our homeowners insurance.  The last time, they were nibbling away on the frame of our front door.  This time, they are coming up through the floor around the pipes to our water heater.  (Yes, around the pipes… irony, is a permanent fixture in my life.)  So, guess what? Because the termites are coming up from an area that wasn’t treated by the termite man (just shy of 12 months ago) our guarantee that we’d be termite free was invalid.  We are only guaranteed to be termite free in the areas around our now swiss-cheese-like foundation.  The termite man is coming tomorrow to drill a new hole in our utility room in hopes that will rid us of them for good.  Now, if while drilling holes around the pipes to our water heater, the termite man hits a pipe and causes a major “Old Faithful”-like geyser from a newly busted pipe, do you think the termite man or the  insurance company will cover that?  Neither, you say? Damn them!  I imagine claim adjusters, buy the hundreds, sitting in cubicles in purple suits and feathered hats, cackling “Nooooo”‘s over the phone, while flicking through giant wads of cash.

Wings of Fancy

23 Jun

Originally posted- June 23, 2009

We went to “Wings of Fancy” again this year.
Some highlights:
Mike criticized my driving the entire way there, but after I voiced my complaint on the matter, the drive home was much more peaceful.Jaxon complained about how hot it was…
Mike complained about how hot it was…
I complained about how hot it was…

To summarize… It was HOT!

Leila ran here… I yelled her name there… Leila ran there… I yelled here name here… rinse and repeat…
I yelled Leila’s name about 1,349 times!


(Leila in mid-run…)


(Leila did a lot of pointing again this year…)


(They let her hold a recently-deceased butterfly…)

Phoebe watched the butterflies.  I kept wondering what she must be thinking as she watched them fly around her by the hundreds.


(She quite possibly was thinking that my hair was more colorful than the butterflies… tomorrow’s agenda: 1. dye hair 2. dye hair 3. find a moment to DYE HAIR!!!)

This year I did not get yelled at by staff for getting the butterflies to crawl on me… they were happy to land on me all on their own!

(Photos of me in mid-speech… ummm… not so flattering…)


(watching butterflies emerge from their cocoons)


Mike caught this butterfly flying by…

It’s a bug-eat-bug world…

24 Jul

This is a continuation of this entry where I discover that flies poop. I had no idea!
Originally posted- July 24, 2007

It’s a bug-eat-bug world…

…in here!

We moved the computer desk away from the wall today, so that I could paint over the blue wall behind it and lo and behold there was….a gianormous mass of skeletonized bugs accompanied by one, and I assume, very happy spider.

Normally I’m arachnophobic, but as much as I detest ants and flies these days, I’m finding a new-found respect for my nemesis-killing spider-friend. I was pretty grossed out to think that our home could provide such a feast for this spider. I mean, it’s not like we’re disgusting pigs…well…we’re not wild boars, anyway. To think of all of the hard-earned money that I’ve spent on liquid ant bait, ant traps, ant pellets that you shake around the entire perimeter of the house, and Windex to swipe multiple-a-day fly guts off of our windows…what a waste, when all I had to do was hire a few good spiders to do the job. In the meantime, I will try to train the spider (evidentially he is already under contract with me) to jump at the flies as they head for the front window.

…Aaaannnnnd…JUMP!!! Damnit, you have to be faster next time! You have eight legs, use them all! Now concentrate…you want the fly…you REALLY want the fly!

This has to work because…

…the fly pooh must stop!!!! (Never mind the doggy drool and the kiddie sized ice cream hand-prints also located on the windowsill. Honestly, I don’t know what attracts the flies here), but it’s the little black dots…the pooh…that I now detest more than anything in the world!!! I swear I can hear little fly laughter every time pooh dots are laid in my house! tee-he-heee-tee-he-he-hee

SSSSSMACK!!!!!! *maniacal cackling*


Yippee-ki-ay, mother f***er!!! Who’s laughing now b**tch?!  Bring it!!! (Maybe, I should cut back on the Die Hard movie marathons I’ve been watching at home lately.)

D’ya see that, spider? You gotta be quick like that…now, let’s try it again…………Aaaaannnnd JUMP!

Corn pickin’, tick checkin’, jolly good time!

17 Jul

originally posted July 17, 2007

Soooo, we went to the shore again this weekend.  The truck NEVER broke down.  Thank you, God!  However, the ride was still borderline nightmarish as Jax and Leila got the new Spongebob Squarepants “Best Day Ever” CD and I had to listen to it over and over and over and over…..It was not the “Best Ride Ever”.  Mike and I spent a lot of time painting the “little” house (every once in a while catching each other humming/singing “it’s the best day ever….” and going over to various family members’ houses to mooch some meals out of them.

Several phone calls to our realtor on the shore were made, as we apologized over and over again for wasting her time, yet again, because we, yet again, didn’t end up with a solid contract on a house.  Though she was very pleasant and understanding, I would love to hear how she talks about us when we are out of earshot.  The phrases she uses to describe us to others probably contain many profanities and metaphors resembling toilet bowl contents.

We then installed a ceiling fan in the “little” house and rode to pick the kids up, who had spent the day with Grammi, and hope that she had dinner waiting for us.  She did and we invited ourselves to stay.  Yes, everyone is really looking forward to our final move to the shore.  We expect to soon see exterior lights go off as we pull into driveways, kinda like what people do on Halloween to unwanted trick-or-treaters.  Grammi will be sitting in a dark house yelling to us at the doorstep “Go away, there’s no candy here!” Anyway, she fed us today!  She lives on some property on her parents’ farm and told us to ride in the truck to the sweet corn field and go pick as many ears as we wanted.  SWEET! I’ve never been corn picking before and found myself very unprepared in my shorts and sleeveless shirt.

OUCH!!  Damnit, bugs!  Mike, the grass is ITCHY!  OUCH, what the hell was that!!!  Mike, are there snakes in here?!  I swear to God if I see one snake your going to have to go find me a spare pair of underwear!!!

So we got our corn, my drawers were still fresh and clean, and the corn, by the way, is the best friggin’ corn I’ve ever eaten in my life!  We get back to Grammi’s house and I’m itching so bad that I immediately go to the bathroom and start washing every inch of exposed skin as best I can in her sink.  HUGE mistake!!! Not only was I itching from bug bites, but from the grass which had made tiny cuts on me from head to toe.  Hence, soap in tiny little cuts = an intense feeling of full body razor burn!!  What FUN!!!

Note to self: buy super awesome corn from Mike’s uncle’s produce stand at the edge of farm; prepicked = totally worth paying for otherwise, free corn.

Oh, yeah….and there was this fabulous deer tick on my inner thigh that had to be pried off.  I felt like Eva Gabor in Green Acres (come on, you’ve seen it on Nick-at-Nite or TVland before).  Farm livin’ is the life for me!

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