The Joy of Home-ownership #1,542

So, I hope everyone had a great weekend. I took an impromptu Friday off last week and tackled household tasks. It was awesome. Luffy thinks I’m not right in the head (who uses a personal day to tackle lawn work?!). So Friday was great; Saturday was not so great. It started out on the wrong foot with a killer hangover thanks to copious amounts of alcohol and a very, very late night out Friday, complicated by the fact that I teach an exercise class at 8:15. Yes, that’s 8:15am. My cardinal rule is that I can either drink or stay out late the night before a class, but never both. Drunk me was not as concerned with this rule (tomorrow’s class is future Belle’s problem, obviously).

Anyway, I managed to teach a great class and came home to what can only be described as the scent of death hanging over my kitchen. Luffy had just taken out the recyclables when he first noticed the smell. He shot Jasmine a glare, blaming her for the offensive odor, but I was pretty sure she hadn’t pooped in the kitchen. I opened a window, thinking it was the lingering eau de garbage.

However, fifteen minutes later, the smell still hadn’t dissipated. If anything, it had gotten stronger. Luffy retreated to the living room while I started trying to track down the smell. Imagine, if you will, me sniffing around our kitchen, trying to follow my nose to the source (I channeled my inner bloodhound for this endeavor). Every time I thought I had it cornered (“the smell is definitely coming from this area”), it seemed to move. I took both the trash can and the recycling can to the backyard for cleaning. I threw away miscellaneous boxes that had been sitting around for months. I sniffed at my potted succulents and ivy. I sniffed around the back of every cabinet. We pulled out our fridge and I cleaned beneath it. I extricated approximately 400 assorted cat toys from the bottom of the fridge, as well as two wine corks, four plastic safety wrap things, and one more cat toy (“Jasmine, I did not pull all of these out just so you can chase them under here again!”). I mopped the floors and washed the baseboards. I sniffed at the back of the microwave, oven, and dishwasher. I opened almost every container of food in our house, in both the pantry and fridge. I spent over an hour crawling all over my kitchen.

You guys, I still have no idea what or where that smell came from. Another joy of home-ownership: mysterious smells of decay. Eventually, it dissipated. By Saturday evening, we only caught occasional whiffs and by Sunday it was almost completely gone. Our kitchen is usable again, but for a few hours there I thought we’d have abandon it completely.

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More on poison ivy

As I mentioned yesterday, I appear to be highly allergic to poison ivy and have somehow come in contact with the foliage. I blame my neighbor for allowing their side of the fence to become overgrown with grapevine (and other assorted varieties of vine apparently). About three weeks ago, I’d had enough of the aggressive plant after I discovered that several particularly hardy vines had made it up and over the fence, across our backyard, through several hedges, and were now attacking the driveway. I spent a couple satisfying hours yanking and hacking and tossing the vines away. Success! I also promptly showered off (a clue!).

The next week, I noticed that a large bunch of vines had somehow made their way down the fence again. Perhaps they’d come loose and simply fallen or maybe the demon plant had launched a new attack on my yard. Regardless, I promptly chopped down the offending vines and went about my day. I did not shower off (a clue!).

A week after that, I noticed my first angry red patch. I thought it was an ant bite or something. When I realized it was more of a blister than a bite, and that more were popping up, I wracked my brain trying to find what I was allergic to. I hadn’t switched laundry detergents or soaps or any of the usual allergic-reaction suspects. In fact, the only new thing in my house was a set of curtains. Surely I couldn’t be allergic to that, could I? After some more googling, I realized these blisters and itchy, scaly patches of red looked an awful lot like poison ivy rashes.

For a week, I self-medicated with Benadryl cream and Cortizone cream. It was actually working pretty well, especially while I was at work (minimal arm movement + freezing cold office helps keep the itching at bay). However, by the start of the second week, with a new wave of blisters coming in, I finally went to my doctor. She confirmed the poison ivy diagnosis in seconds and prescribed a prescription strength steroid cream.

I am still finding new blisters almost every day. Earlier in the week, I thought I was re-exposing myself in my own house. This triggered a massive cleaning crusade. Nothing was safe. Everything from our comforter to our kitchen towels went through the wash. Even Jasmine did not escape the Great Cleaning of 2015 (much to her displeasure), though I assure you that she was hand-washed. After all that, new blisters still appeared and I was losing my mind trying to figure out what was causing them. That’s when I found out that the blisters and rash can appear anywhere from four hours to three WEEKS after the initial exposure. So it’s entirely possible that the fresh blisters on my legs came from a brush against the ivy TWO WHOLE WEEKS ago. Couple that with the fact that the blisters and rash take two to three weeks to clear up, and you’re looking at almost two whole months of itching and redness and medicinal creams to try and clear up this reaction.

I so was not kidding about that haz-mat decontamination shower yesterday. In fact, I’m thinking of having one installed when we have our floors redone.

Updates Galore!

So it’s been a while since I posted. WordPress tells me 14 days, to be exact, but, in my defense, every post I’ve thought about has been a repeat:

Womb – still empty

Period – still missing

Ovulation – still missing

Flooring project – still TBD

So yeah. No posts. But now it’s been too long, and I must! Enough random things and/or small updates have occurred that I can string them together to create a full-length(ish) post!


Update 1 (re:womb/period/ovulation – let’s just knock out the whole bunch): Not good news on this front. It’s been 93 94 days since my last period. I am not pregnant. I haven’t even ovulated. My BBT remains constant and there is absolutely no sign of my next period. The thing about this is, to try to get pregnant, you actually have to be having periods. And I have not. So we have not even been able to try. And that kind of hurts a bit. Thanks good-for-nothing ovaries. I appreciate feeling like a sub-par female.

This past weekend I had an event thing. Back when I purchased the tickets (which would be last July), I thought I’d be pregnant by the time the event rolled around. Part of me thought I’d be hugely, ridiculously, nine-months pregnant which would be hilarious considering the thing centered around exercise. Then we ran into issues when I came off the pill (read: my period never showed up) and I realized there might be a bit more to getting pregnant than having a thoroughly well-laid out plan. After that, I thought I’d at least be pregnant at the thing. Like six months, maybe three? Eh, pregnant. Of course, I was not. I have already come to terms with it and was fine. However, there were several ladies who were very pregnant and my companions commented on them and how adorable they were and how they loved to see pregnant mommas at events like these. I enthusiastically agreed and nodded along as a little knife twisted in my heart, but I was mostly fine.

I’ve talked to my primary care doctor and she has assured me that I can see my gynecologist any time because yes, not having a period for three months actually is a legit problem. And a very kind midwife that I know sent me a lot of information on the next steps. Which was helpful, but also depressing because (SPOILER ALERT), none of it was very positive. There were terms like anovulation, and polycystic ovary syndrome, and premature ovarian failure. Lots of fun words.

I’ve decided to hold off on a visit to the GYN until September, which is when my yearly appointment is due. And also after Luffy and I get back from Cancun because priorities. I am also holding on to the naive hope that everything just magically comes together and starts working.


Update 2 (re: flooring): This has not been a fun project. Last we heard, I was very optimistic about two companies coming out to give me estimates. They came, they measured, they did not give me estimates. Boo.

You see, we already have some sort of wood-type product in our dining room. It’s lovely, but it’s also several years old which means that it’s had plenty of time to fade and show wear and become a unique color. And those two companies were HIGHLY concerned about matching it. They kept going on and on about how challenging it would be to match it and wouldn’t I prefer to just rip it all up! I kept telling them that I didn’t mind non-matching flooring and had accepted it and was fine with just coordinated. But no! Both companies left without giving me an estimate because they wanted me to go find my own materials first.

So fine. I did. But then I got sticker-shock at the prices and you want how much for some crappy laminate! Then I found a great little place that also came out to give me an actual, for real estimate. And then got more sticker-shock when they gave me a quote that was over double what Luffy and I originally thought this project would cost. Double!!

We finally got an estimate from a different company (yes the fourth company to come out and measure – always with the measuring), that is much more in our price range (although, also still higher than what we originally thought it would be). We will most likely go with them. However, my co-worker is also doing a flooring project and recommended his company and so now I’m thinking of getting yet another estimate so that I will have three real, actual estimates to compare. Anyway, we’ll probably have new floors by Christmas. Hopefully.


Update 3: Two words. Poison Ivy. In my backyard. I advise you to never underestimate the stupid little plant. I first noticed the bumps two Fridays ago. I had it mostly under control with OTC creams and ice. Then, I somehow re-exposed myself over the weekend (on my bedspread I think! Because I did not go back outside. No way.). Even worse, these new bumps are even larger and itchier than most of the original, which puts me back to square one on the whole recovery process. Did you know that it takes 2-3 weeks to get rid of the skin blisters and rashes? Did you know that the oil (that causes the reaction) can hang around on clothes and furniture and even pets?  Did you know that the poisonous ivy can indeed hang around in harmless ivy like grapevine? Do yourselves a favor and make sure you wash up after dealing with plants in general. Actually, scratch that, you should probably just go through one of those haz-mat decontamination washes every time you come indoors.


So you see – three things have happened in the past 14 days. No wonder I didn’t post. But now you’re all caught up, lucky you. Until next time!

Home Improvement Projects!

I don’t know about you, but I always find it daunting to start a home project – even a small one. I put it off for months and months until I somehow find the motivation to tackle it. Guys, today is that day. Er – actually, Monday was that day.

You see, last November, we had a pipe burst underneath the foundation. We noticed water in the living room around 9pm on a Saturday evening (why do these things never happen during business hours???). We handled it like seasoned pros though, shutting off the water main, pulling up the carpet ourselves and cutting out the (sopping) wet padding, renting blowers to dry everything out. No emergency flood  people needed – although I am so, so grateful we were home when it happened or it would have been a lot worse. And I am even more grateful that it happened when it did because we were going out of town on the following Tuesday to visit my parents for Thanksgiving (imagine coming home to multiple days worth of flooding!).

Anyway, turned out to be a leak underneath the living room floor (another blessing since the flooring there would already need to be replaced). Long story short, they jack-hammered through the foundation in our living room. We just pulled the carpet over to cover the foundation and told ourselves we’d look into putting down hard wood floors like we wanted to when we bought the house. And that was seven months ago. Props for procrastination!

This past Monday though, I finally got the motivation to start sifting through flooring companies and scheduled three consultations/estimates. Yay! Today I have two of the three consultations scheduled and I’m beginning to get more excited about this project. New floors! Woo!

Uncharted Territory

[Also known as I am really terrible with the puns, #sorrynotsorry… ]

So! Day 74 and counting! After some chatting through online forums, I was referred to the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler and, after picking it up at my local library, was introduced to the world of cycle charting. Yesterday, I purchased a basal body thermometer and officially started my first chart this morning. Obviously, charting probably won’t help much on this cycle (hello 74 days!), but I’m hoping that it will help in the future. Especially since it can (hopefully!) answer the question of if I’m even ovulating or not.

Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes. I find the book fascinating (I’m about halfway through) and, although I’m reading it with a grain of salt, I do relate to a lot of what Ms. Weschler is describing. Interestingly enough, I looked into charting, albeit briefly, back when I first went off birth control. I dismissed it though as being too hippy and flower-child-esque – plus who wants to take their temperature every morning! However, the more I read, the more I can relate to it as just another tool in trying to understand my cycles and what’s happening with my body. And I’m getting up every morning to use an ovulation test, might as well stick a thermometer in my mouth first.

One thing I’ve learned from the book is how delicate the menstruation cycle is for some women (like myself, I think). I know I for one always took it for granted, especially on the pill. 28 days. Like clockwork! And magic! I knew that, even without the pill, the “normal” cycle length was still 28-30 days. What I didn’t realize was just how much our daily lives can impact the cycle. Our diets, routines, sleeping habits, alcohol consumption, stress factors – everything. It makes me appreciate just how incredible the human body actually is. I mean, there are literally billions of people in the world and, for every single one of them, the stars had to align and everything had to go right.


Luffy has been incredibly kind and helpful during all of this. Figuring out my body has become a sort of hobby of mine and he’s been very patient as I chatter excitedly to him. Even though he’s ready and wants a baby just as much as me, he takes each negative in stride and reminds me to cherish our time together, while it’s just the two of us. Meanwhile, certain members of our household (coughJasminecough), have not been as supportive. To be fair though, the counter is her domain and she can toss off any item as she sees fit (at least, that’s what I tell myself as I’m retrieving my thermometer from the floor yet again).

Limbo

Ugh… that about sums up how I feel right now. Without going seriously into TMI territory, suffice it to say that my body is not cooperating with our plans for a baby. I’m in what’s known as the “two week wait,” or 2WW for short. For the uninitiated, that’s the period between ovulation and menstruation, or the waiting period to find out whether you’re pregnant. The thing is though, I’ve already surpassed my weird 2ww window (which is actually only about nine days) and I don’t have anything to show for it. No positive pregnancy test, no period, nothing. I’m caught between the two and I have no way of knowing. And it sucks. Not just because I might not be pregnant, but also because now it’s making me wonder if I even ovulated. With no period on the horizon, what if the positive ovulation test was just a fluke. What if this cycle is going to go well beyond the already lengthy 72 days it’s at now?

Last year, when Luffy and I and our families visited China, we did a hike in Hong Kong. It was a two hour hike over a mountain to get to a beautiful secluded beach. Luffy had done a leg of it before, but we decided to hike a different trail to get back. When we set out, we thought it would be shorter than the two hour hike in. Unfortunately, the trails aren’t as clearly documented as they could and, at the two hour mark with no village in sight, we were beginning to get concerned. I remember hiking along, each of us becoming more and more weary. We had eaten a small lunch at the beach and had some snacks, but no real food. Our water was slowly dwindling. Our feet hurt. I was sunburned. Morale was waning. And then, over the next hill, a street! A bus stop!! Salvation!!

Looking back, the second leg only took us about two and half hours and was actually an easier hike as far as elevation and terrain goes. I told Luffy that, had we to do it over again, I would gladly take that path. The bad only came from not knowing when we would reach the end point. That’s exactly how I feel now. I have no idea when my next period will come. It could be in a couple of hours or days or weeks. I wish I could know.

And so, I’m in a strange place. Do I continue taking pointless pregnancy tests each morning, even when each negative starts to weigh a bit heavier on my heart? Do I resume ovulation testing in case two weeks ago was a fluke? Do I stop testing all-together and just hope that my cycle resets soon? I have no idea; I just want out of this place.