Too many thoughts, too little time.

One Month Later


We bought our house! We’ve lived here month now. It rained the first 9 days we were here, we got the edges of a hurricane. So, no damage, just an annoying misting rain that made it very difficult to move our things from storage to our house.




I love my porch, I pretty much live out there. And, the day we bought the house, my father-in-law gave us his old truck, which has come in super handy.


We also got some new furniture, I love  my living room. I think it is so pretty.

I really love living down here. I was a bit unsure at first, we’re really in the middle no where, and it takes a really long time to get anywhere. Where I lived before, the grocery store was with in walking distance. If you wanted to visit some one 15 miles away, it took 15-20 minutes. Here, 15 miles quickly turns into 30-45 minutes. We live in a housing addition, but everyone has huge yard. The kids have made about a dozen friends, which is pretty good when you consider they don’t even go to school.

I’m not sure I can claim any friends yet, but I’m meeting people. I’m not just waiting for people to show up at my door. I joined a couple meet-up groups and went to one meeting so far. The people seemed nice. Also took the kids to a fall festival at a church just down the road, mat people there too.

Brad is home about 50-75% of the time now. It’s taken some adjusting, but it’s nice. While we didn’t move for his job, it was actually great for his job. They are trying to go more regional, and the Atlanta area has been neglected for years because no one was here.


Brad has had a coworker over who happened to be in town. I have 3 friends coming down for Thanksgiving. The boys’ dad came down and stayed the weekend. It went surprisingly well, he and the kids were either out having fun, or chilling out in the basement watching movies and eating pizza.

I’m loving the weather here. Last year, in Indiana, it had snowed a couple times by now. I’m wearing shorts right now, and perfectly comfortable. The Halloween forecast is sunny and 75. The kids and I try to do something fun on Wednesdays. The area is beautiful, so the Wednesday fun has tended to be hiking. We’ve found streams and creaks and waterfalls. Yesterday we walked around a 175 yr old cemetery. There are historical places and markers pretty much everywhere you look. The curvy roads with the leaves changing are gorgeous.






I won’t pretend everything is perfect, I actually really dislike how long it takes to get anywhere. The library system here is really disappointing. We get crappy internet and pay a lot for it. The nearest grocery store is horrible. I’d rather drive 30 miles to the next one. Traffic can be horrible, yesterday we were the car immediately following an accident where 3 semis turned a mini van into a compact car, on the interstate, at 70 miles an hour. I slammed on the brakes and hit my hazard lights while yelling “I’m stopped! I’m stopped! I’m stopped!” Fortunately/Unfortunately, the kids were focused on the accident in front of us, and not the semi I was watching in my review mirror, praying he’d stop in time. He swerved. I sat there, trying to get my wits back, thinking “oh no, lets go. Let’s go home, were it isn’t 5 lanes of traffic, going 65, and people honking and still speeding past this”

Getting used to Brad being home has been difficult as well. I think, partially because he spent so long telling me it would never happen. Then, he doesn’t have a real schedule. One week he was home all week. Last week he worked in Missouri Mon-Tues. Home wed-fri, but went in to work at a hospital in Atlanta on Friday. This week he was in Louisiana Monday and Tuesday and will finish out the week in California. I have no idea where he is next week. I’m not even sure he knows. No more set schedule.

I miss the convenience of where I used to live. I miss the lack of traffic. I miss people who talked and didn’t make “Haralson and Carrolton” sound like they were the exact same word. I miss the library. I miss the gym. But, I know you can’t have everything, and overall I like it much better here.




6 More Days

Next Tuesday we are moving to Atlanta. Well, that area. We’ll actually live in a small town outside of it. We should close on our house on the 25th. We’ll live with Aussie’s dad for the week between houses. We close on the Indiana house on the 18th.

I went to say bye to my parents. And, it was…unemotional. I really felt like I did when I saw my Zumba instructor at the mall yesterday. “Hey, I wanted to say bye! Maybe I’ll see you around sometime.” My mom talked about her 3 new grandchildren quite a bit, and I didn’t think much about it.

I also went to see my brother, he and I get along pretty ok. His girlfriend just had a baby. That’s one of the new grandkids. And, I held the baby and we chatted. He hugged me as I left. But again, I didn’t feel anything.

As we drove home, I thought about it some more. I think I figured it out. I’ve never been their “sister”. I’ve been their babysitter.  When you have that many kids, you can’t have them all the same age and raise them together. It was made more apparent while I held my brother’s baby. I’m closer to my mother’s age than I am these new kids. My mom is only 18 yrs older than me. I’m 30 yrs older than my 3 new nephews and niece. I’m over 20 yrs older than some of my siblings. I think I’m 21 yrs older than my brother’s fiance. I have 3 siblings who all had babies over the last 8 months. And, those kids will grow up together and play together and stuff. My 12 yr old doesn’t care much about the newborns.

It was weird to just see/feel the disconnect.

Also, it’s been weird to see what I get emotional about. Saying good-bye to family? Whatever. When my best friend Ann called crying, to tell me she had to fill out the paperwork for her son for school this year, and they asked for an emergency contact and she realized she shouldn’t list me anymore. Then I cried too. She and I have been listing each other for years now, she’s single and her kids’ fathers aren’t involved at all. And for me and my kids, I don’t trust my family, my husband is out of state 75% of the time. When it comes to the kids, their father is out of state 75% of the time. So, we’ve always listed each other.

I think what I’m most sad about in regards to my family is letting go of the potential to have a family. I was raised that having a huge family was so great and we’d be so close, and always have someone around to help, etc. That’s not how it worked. We aren’t close. They all are. But, I’m “controversial”, and like “to stir up trouble”, and “cause problems” and I “refuse to let go of the past” I’m also “bitter” I also “I’m better than everyone”. Why? Because I don’t agree with them on religion or politics. Because I try to see things from all sides, and am willing to be wrong sometimes. Because I assume people are like me, and want to gain knowledge. I’m not telling you info because I think I’m better. I’m telling you because you didn’t state anything from this perspective, perhaps you hadn’t heard it. They are willing to tolerate me, as long as I am not me. As long as I become a silent shell, and nod a lot. That doesn’t make us a close family.

When I complained growing up, it was always met with “wait until you are older, you’ll appreciate it! You’ll always have help, there will always be somebody around.” I’m older. All but the 2 babies are adults now. 7 siblings who can drive. I have to pack up a 1200 sq ft home in one shot and move it 600+ miles away. Not ONE person has offered to help, not even a half-hearted “let me know if i can help”. Holding newborns and saying “look at me, helping!” is more fun than packing boxes in 95 degree temps with 90% humidity.  My sister went to the hospital last week, apparently she had heartburn. So, she had multiple people lined up to help when she got home so she could nap because she doesn’t feel well.

Brad has been double over in pain, almost crying, barely eating, since Friday because a tooth he broke long ago has finally decided to let him know he really needs to get it fixed, and over the holiday weekend he couldn’t do anything. So, I left him at the dentist, waiting to get squeezed in at some point today so they can pull his tooth. I’m having a flare up, with means, I work like crazy for 3 hours, then can barely move for 3 more.

But, we’ll get it done. it will be ok. Plus, I like the narrative of Brad and I against the world.  In 10 yrs, we’ll talk about our move to GA and laugh about the comedy of errors and he’ll tell the story of my aggressive moving timeline and exaggerate it, I’ll have to remind him, it worked, didn’t it?

And, I will try to stop being sad, or wistful, about what should have been, what could have been.

The Worst

There are about 90 different MS symptoms. I don’t think there are many, if any, people who have them all, all the time. They come and go. My left foot drops, the signal to pull my foot up when I take a step isn’t getting through. That’s happened for a long time. I don’t think about it much, though it’s probably why I trip so often. My left side goes numb, but, again, it’s not a big deal. Annoying? Sure. But, that’s about it.

You know what bothers me the most? What makes me cry?

The cognitive stuff.

If I were a beauty queen, who had been disfigured in a house fire…it would be insanely hard to look in the mirror every morning.

If I were a sports star, partially paralyzed in a car accident…it would be really hard to no longer be able to grab the ball thrown at me.

If I were loved for my millions, and lost it all over night…it would be awfully difficult to swallow my pride and pay for the McDonalds in quarters.

I’m smart. That’s been my thing.  It’s been easy for me. My sister loves to introduce us; “I’m Evil Sister, I’m the pretty one. This is Baby sister, she’s the nicest. And this is Katie, she’s smart.”

And, I’m not anymore. I’m not smart, I’m not talented, I’m not super pretty, I’m not that nice of a person, I idon’thave this great bubbly, outgoing personality. I was smart. But, I’m not anymore.

Brad says I am. He says my brain is just having trouble. Couldn’t anyone say that, if that’s the case?

I don’t feel smart when I can’t say the word “California”. When I have to call coffee “that warm drink, with the caffeine.”

I don’t feel smart when I get stuck on a word, when I sound like a broken record, when I sit there for what feels like minutes, but is probably only seconds saying “Well, after dinner, I was gonna go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, g-g-g-g-g-g-o, go…” and I have to stop and retry “After we eat I wanted to stop by the store.”

It’s been more than a handful of times that I’ve cried in the shower because I can’t remember how to wash my hair. And, even if I could, I can’t remember if I’ve already done it or not.

When trying to explain long division, for the 800th time to my son, and I can’t find the words,let alone remember how many times 9 goes in to 54.

I told Brad, it’s like the knowledge is there. It used to just be in file cabinets. I’d walk to the carefully labeled drawer, and pull out what I needed to know, and I was smart. Now? There is a tornado in my brain. Everything is swirling around, too fast to really see it. I grab for the first file card I find. If I’m lucky it’s what I need, but odds are against it. And, even if it does happen to be one I need, I have to read it quick, otherwise it gets sucked right back out of my hand.

I wake up in the morning, and the words I need are swirling, and the to do list, and the meal plan, and the “please remember”s, are all swirling. Right along with “Hey, don’t put paper by the stove, you’ll set it on fire.”,”don’t grab the hot pan, I know you can’t feel it, but you’ll get burned anyway”, “Don’t be mean to him, he loves you”, “your tooth brush is the purple one”. Those things used to be written, in big letters, where I could see them all the time. And, now, they are just swirling. One big mass, that I can’t make sense of.

I fake it pretty well, I guess. But I know how hard it is.

So, today, I’m just gonna sit, and watch it all swirl.

And, tomorrow, I’ll keep grabbing cards, and trying to be smart again.



Pit Bulls and Apartments


I’m looking at apartments. A lot allow pets. A good portion of those have breed and size restrictions. The size thing, I can kind of, sort of understand. But, I feel like maybe they should have kid restrictions too, because my 108 pound 9 year old jumps and clomps around far more than my 57 pound dog.

I live in a nice neighborhood. Lots of families, lots of dogs. The people directly behind us have 3 Chihuahuas. Those damn dogs have bitten my kids more times than I care to count. If we walk into our back yard, they growl.They used to run over and try to bite us, luckily the owners now have a fence. And, every time, Cassie runs over, picks up the dog, pets it, smothers is in kisses, laughs about how they “think they are vicious big dog” and takes them in the house. When is is nice out, and the windows are open, like now, you hear those dogs bark, ALL.DAY.LONG.

Two houses down is crazy lady. She has 3 dogs. I don’t know what they are. They are white, and really fuzzy and probably 30 pounds. She lets them out in the fenced yard all day. And they bark. Non-stop. Morning till night. She’s had animal care and control called on her more than once.

At the end of the culdesac is 4 dogs, in 4 houses. The two itty bitty dogs growl and bark nonstop. There is a pit bull. She barks when I walk by with Trixie. Not usually when I’m by myself though. I’ve never heard her any other time. The 4th house has a beagle. That is tied out, and runs, full speed, at who ever passes by. He pulled his tether out of the ground once, while Brad and I walked by. And he was growling like crazy. Then, he attacked Brad. Tore his hand up. I can carry on…the puggle that tried to bite Trixie when it broke free, and it’s neighbor, the little bitty terrier that, was never mean (even when it broke free), but both those dogs bark all the time. There is a gigantic…Akita? Maybe? Who barks when we pass. That’s it. He lives in a house with a fenced yard. This fence is the most laughable fence ever. But, he stays. The man with the labrodoodle, I see him out walking when I am. His dog is quiet the whole time. There is a family with a boxer, that is so well trained, they tell her to sit as we walk by and she does. Doesn’t move a muscle or make a sound.

I see a woman out quite often when I walk Trixie. She has 2 pit bulls. The dogs never make noise. The walk nicely on a leash. But, when we see each other, she waves me ahead, while she takes a few steps back, or a different route all together, with the explanation her dogs don’t do well with other dogs.

So, what is the score here? 11 loud, annoying (and often mean) dogs that would be allowed. A labrodoodle, who might make it on breed but not size. And, 6 large, quiet,well behaved dogs who wouldn’t be allowed.

I always hear that pit bulls are bad because if they bite they will cause so much damage. By that logic, we should ban SUVs as well, because if they hit another car they will cause so much damage. and, you are far more likely to die, or be severely harmed by an SUV than by a pit bull.

I was nervous about Trixie, you hear so much bad about them. When was she going to flip and kill us in our sleep? I started doing research. My ex has a blood hound. This dog makes Trixie look like a baby. He is SO big, and SO lazy and laid back. I’ve watched a lab play tug of war with his ears and him sleep through it. Blood Hounds were the original “dangerous killing machines”.

I looked at the deaths that have been caused by pit bulls. As far as I’ve found, not ONE has been by a lone, female, spayed, family pet. I don’t have the research in front of me, but I don’t think any of them have been caused by a lone, neutered, male, family pet either. A VAST majority have been intact males. Often in groups of two or more. The “pets” involved are usually owned by a family. And, kept on chains in the back yard.

Trixie loves tug of war and gets aggressive while trying to win. But, never mean. Once, she got something off the floor…a grape? an M&M? something she wasn’t supposed to have. I said “Trixie! No!” and I rushed over, pulled her jaw open and took the food away. I still have all my fingers. I’ve been trying to get her to hold a piece of food on her nose. Sometimes, she gets over eager and takes it too soon. I haven’t let her have it. Again, still have all my fingers. We’ve taken her on 11 hour car rides and she doesn’t make a sound. She’s stayed in hotels…again, she is silent. When walking down the halls etc. she is perfectly behaved. We got in the elevator once with a man taking breakfast up to his room. Bacon, sausage, eggs. She sat and waited for our floor. I don’t remember what happened, but,she jumped up on Brad, and she got Brad’s wrist in her mouth. You should have seen this dog try to figure out how to get down, without falling, or closing her mouth. Her worst habit is she jumps on people to kiss them when they walk through the door. Adults that visit are used to it. She knocks over a lot of 3 year olds. I have strange kids come up to me CONSTANTLY when we have her out. Always asking to pet her. I always say they can. And, she just licks.

There are a lot of bad owners. And, unfortunately, the bad owners have bad dogs. Often, aggressive dogs. But, I think a lot of the good owners, who have aggressive breeds, or even just big breeds, are anal about how they behave. We know our dogs won’t get too many chances. We KNOW the damage they can cause, and we don’t actually want other people to get hurt. When the dog nips, we don’t laugh and say “awww, she thinks she is protecting me!” If we know the dog has tendency to be mean to other dogs, we don’t let them around other dogs. We take steps back off the trail to let the other dogs pass. We use a muzzle. We make the dog sit, before we let the random 4 yr old come up to pet.

Unfortunately, we are stuck until people pick a new breed to hate. Maybe we don’t get an apartment, we end up renting a house. I just wish people judged the dog on how they act, not what they are. Trixie has all her shots. She’s never shown aggression towards people. She is fixed. She is quiet. We take her out with us all the time. When places have outdoor seating, we take that, and she comes along. She sits by the table, and waits for scraps. That’s it. If we could bring her to meet the owner/manager/whatever, I don’t think we’d have any problems getting a place. But, instead, there is a blanket ban. And, that sucks.


I stepped on the scale this morning. 198.6.

The last time I weighed that I was 18 and had just had a baby. I steadily gained for the next 5 years or so. Getting to about 275.  I kicked out my ex and lost about 25 pounds pretty easily. But, without working on it, my body seems pretty content to stay at 250. When I met Brad I was 225 or so, I was working out a lot at the time, eating like crap though.

Then, we settled into that new relationship rut. You know, where you want to sit on the sofa and stare at each other. Of course I didn’t go to the gym, what if I missed time with him? Because I hadn’t changed my eating habits, the Mountain Dew and the milk shakes quickly caught back up, and I was 250 at our wedding. I was really unhappy with that. So, I started over. Made little progress over the next 8 months.

I got my fitbit for our first anniversary, and then I really started trying. The first year was great, I lost a lot, quickly. The second year, I felt like it was 1 step forward and 2 steps back. I felt like I wasn’t losing any weight. I was, but it was the same 5 pounds over and over. But, i decided if I had to work THAT hard to not gain 5 pounds I sure couldn’t give up, otherwise I’d balloon up in no time. A broken foot, mouth surgery, and an MS diagnosis and I still tried to lose weight.

The MS thing scared me. And, it isn’t a weight related disease. But, I realized, I fall a lot, did I really want to be 300 pounds and flailing around in the parking lot because I’d fallen and couldn’t get back up? Did I want to sit on the scooter thing at the store on days I can’t walk and have people think “You wouldn’t be so fat if you just walked around the store”? Did I want my husband to need help when I needed picked up? No, to all of those.

So, I amped up my efforts in Jan.

I’ve lost 25 pounds since the beginning of the year. I now weigh less than my driver’s license says I do.

I’ve lost 52 pounds total, so far.

I’m the smallest I’ve ever been as an adult.

This is the smallest my husband or kids have ever seen me.

I bought clothes in the children’s department recently.

My husband picks me up and carries me around for fun.

I had to change my eating habits, because I can’t exercise every day. I try, but if I overdo it, I’ll pay for it.

Yesterday, I went out for lunch with my aunt, who is very overweight. She recently lost about 25 pounds as well, but, that still leaves her very heavy. We walked in to the restaurant, and she walked so slow. We ate, and eventually left. We walked up to pay, but there was a line, so, we just stood still for several minutes. Then we left, we walked from the register to the handicapped parking. When we sat down in the car, she was out of breath.

That made me really sad for her. She has struggled with her weight the whole time I’ve been alive. She’s had health problems because of it. As we drove back to my house, I realized, again, I have the same genetics. I’m not somebody who will every be “naturally” thin. I really am a string of bad choices and lazy days away from 350 pounds. And I’m short! It won’t take much for me to be bigger around than I am up and down! I thought losing 50 pounds was hard, I don’t want to have to face losing 250. I don’t want diabetes. I don’t want to walk that slowly (though, life is a bitch, because no matter how much weight I’ve lost, on bad days, guess what? I walk that slowly.)

So, I came home, and I threw my left overs in the trash, and made a healthy dinner. Though, I was proud of even having left overs.

I Did It

I think of my siblings in 3 groups. I am the oldest. Then next 5 I think of like siblings. The next two are mine. I raised those kids while my mother took 6 hour shopping trips, 3 hour naps, and the rest of the day was 7th Heaven marathons. While I love the youngest 2, they are always my kids’ friends.

But those 2 older teenagers. I was there helping to teach them to walk. I was listening to them practice reading. I was taking them out for lunch and tucking them in and reading bedtime stories. I was the one pulling Hulk from under my bed when dad would yell and scare him and he’d hide.

I haven’t spoken to my parents since July.

This morning, Hulk came by with Skillet tickets. He wants to take the boys, and hang out for awhile.

This afternoon the doorbell rang, I opened it to see Bane (he is awesome at Halloween lol). I grabbed to hug him he smiled “I got my license Kate.”

People asked me so many times why I didn’t cut my parents out of my life sooner. They are why. I remember telling my first husband. I just needed them to grow up enough to remember me. To decide they wanted a relationship with me.

I did it. They do. They remember me. They want to see me. Nobody is making them come over.

I did it.


spread wings

March is Multiple Sclerosis awareness month.

I’m definitely aware of it now. I completely over did it this week. 5 hr drives Monday and Wednesday. Hiking, gym, and hot tub on Tuesday. I tried to eat well, but I couldn’t as well as usual, and didn’t drink enough water. Today I’m too tired to do much of anything. It is usually my grocery shopping day, and I just don’t have the energy.

The weird thing about the “Awareness” is, I don’t even know what people should do. Breast cancer awareness, ok, you look for lumps and family history. A lot of the awareness stuff is pay attention. But MS? Are you normal, only more so? I mean, do you trip and fall? Well, how often? How badly? Are you ever fatigued? Are you more fatigued than other people, whose body you are not in? Is your normal different than everyone else?How do you know? If you answered yes to anything, you might have a disease, or you might be normal.

Let me say this then…MS is invisible. I look normal. It is a stupid disease that makes me feel like a fraud.

Most the time, I’m fine. I will get dressed up in sky high heels and a skirt and do my make up to go out for dinner with my husband, often. And, other times, I will be in yoga pants, because everything else hurts to wear. I will be in hiking boots, because they keep my foot from dragging when I walk.

Sometimes, I can be in the gym for 2 hours straight. Other times, I need my cane to walk into the grocery store.

I managed to graduate college while unknowingly having this, but, I can’t put together sentences other times. Simple ones. I point a lot.

Sometimes just regular life is too much. If you try to talk to me, while i’m cooking, while i have the music on, while the kids are playing a video game, while the dishwasher and washing machine are running, while the dog is barking, I will pretty much shut down. Want to see me unable to form a sentence? That’s a good time to try to make me.

Sometimes, I have to tell my husband his arm around my shoulders is too much, it hurts too much, can he please stop trying to touch me?

I know going to the comedy club (or, well, anything that ends in “club”) is going to be too much for me. So, my best friend no, every time she invites me out, and feel guilty, because I am fine with my regular day.

It means turning down a girl’s weekend in Vegas, because, I don’t really know the other 3 girls going, and I don’t want to spoil everyone else’s fun by walking slow, by falling over, by needing a nap. I know my best friend would be understanding, but, it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else.

At the risk of TMI, I go numb, a lot. Especially my left side. It isn’t really even a big deal to me anymore, I’m used to it. But, it is really hard to tell your husband “I love you, I love being with you, I will, but, tonight, I won’t be able to feel sex.”

I am so randomly good, then bad, that I don’t want to tell people anything. I don’t want to explain why I am well enough to do *this* thing that I want, but not well enough to do *that* thing, that they want. That is where the feeling like a fraud comes in. Last week, I walked around the giant mall with the kids, we we went to look at some cars for fun, I cleaned the house, I did Zumba, I was on my feet all day. We put the kids to bed. Brad wanted to go to the store, for a couple things. I told him I wanted to go with him, but I had crashed. Every step I took felt like I had cement blocks tied to my shoes. I could only go if he’d push me around in a wheel chair. If not, I needed to sleep and we’d go in the morning.

Yesterday, I needed my cane. But, the dog doesn’t walk well with my cane. We had to pack to leave the hotel, and she was going nuts and pulling, etc. So, I had my cane when we went to breakfast, but, knowing Trixie would end up hurting me and pulling me off balance later, I walked without it. I CAN walk without it.I really can. But, I stumble, and I lose my balance (on the bad days) So, breakfast, I need a cane. an hour later, I’m walking a pit bull and loading my car up, with luggage, without a cane.

None of these are even complaints, it is what it is, and I know it and deal with it. This is my life, and looks can be deceiving. But, I’m telling you all this because I have heard “why can you do *this* but not *that*?” I’ve seen the little woman,  climb out of the big truck, in the handicapped space at the store and heard “Don’t look handicapped to me.”, I’ve made fun of the people (in my head) cruising for the closest space at the gym, and now I understand. walking is exhausting, but, the modified gym classes, or the pool are ok. If you save your energy for them.

So, just be aware, not all disabilities are obvious.

I read somewhere it takes someone with MS 5 times more energy to do something, than it does someone without. So, yes, I was awesome, until about 1pm. And, then I used up all my energy for the day. But, somedays I will do better.


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