You know, when I decided to start a lifestyle blog, I had every intention of keeping up with it. Here’s what I thought it would be:
I’m going to post lots of crafts and recipes and homemaking tips! My friends love what I do, and I’m sure others will too!
Best of intentions.
In turn, the past 5 months have been full of one major thing or another, most of them bad, others pretty cool. So today I got to thinking, instead of letting people believe I have it all together (some of my closest friends are even fooled into thinking that), let’s get real. I don’t have it all together. I am barely dog paddling at this point. So let’s see how “real” I am now. I am willing to bet that I’ll have more readers relate to this post than any other post I have made or will make in the future.
We determined that we needed a bigger house to advance into our next stage of life. We wanted to move his mother in with us to get her out of her crummy apartment complex. We were looking to rent, but found the perfect house to buy. It was a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom mobile home (a Palm Harbor, to be exact, and was top of the line back in 1998) that had a solid foundation on 5 beautifully wooded acres surrounded by horse pasture.
The downside was the previous tenants were idiots. They tore up the flooring, the trim, etc. It was mostly cosmetic. The big issue was that it was infested with German roaches. If you’ve ever had them you can sympathize because you understand my plight. If you’ve never had them, thank your lucky stars and count your blessings. As soon as we signed the papers, I was treating and scrubbing it every single day until it was decent for us to move in. On top of that, we inherited a flock of 10 chickens from the previous tenants, so I was learning as much as I could in a short period of time.
We moved in! The vast majority of June was spent unpacking and setting up the house. We had a pretty massive family issue happen at the end of June leading into July, but it was dealt with despite the stress. We were still so in awe of this little hunk of land we could call our own. I loved having fresh eggs and being with my chickens and tending the garden that had also been left for us. Meanwhile, Mr. Cozy Cottage and friends were busy clearing out all the trash piles from the previous people. 3 car trailers full of random trash (including a car door!)…
We began construction on the new chicken coop while our son was up visiting. I was extremely excited.
We had an awesome housewarming party with all of our friends. Everyone showed up and was extremely happy for us!
I went into a kind of funk around my birthday. 1 year closer to 30. Ew. Mr. Cozy Cottage did surprise me, however, with a beautiful pair of cameo stud earrings and a PS3, which I had requested more as a household thing than for myself, so that it would be easier to watch TV (we don’t have cable, only Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime).
We were big into wedding planning, which was only 2 months away. It was going to be in Leesburg, GA, at my parents’ homestead, so we drove down to make reservations and pay deposits. The day after we left, we get a horrible call that all of my chickens were attacked and killed by a fox. We had a good friend of ours go out to the house to take care of their carcasses. I cried for a week. This was just the beginning of the crap that we were about to face. At the end of August, Mr. Cozy Cottage ended up with what we thought at first was something he ate that made him sick. By day 3, we thought maybe a stomach flu, but no one else was sick. After a full week, I hauled his butt kicking and screaming to the minute clinic. The doctor there couldn’t give us a definite, but mentioned that we “might want to go the the hospital” because his lymph nodes felt very large. We – as in Mr. Cozy Cottage, his mother, and myself – debated this for a full freaking day. We did even go once, but the wait was too long and he was feeling better. By the next day he was feeling worse again, so we took him back in. Mind you, this second trip to the ER occurred on our 2 year anniversary.
They did a full gambit of tests, including blood tests and a CT scan. His hemoglobin came back at a 7 (it’s supposed to be at 15-16). He had NO iron. The CT scan came back with a shadow on one of his testicles. So they transferred him to the bigger hospital and admitted him. I was terrified, and he was too. We were both trying not to show our worry and fear to each other, holding on to each other. The doctor’s prepared us for the possibility of cancer, sent in an oncologist, and ran even more tests. I drove home that night a lost it. The ugly crying. You know the kind where you’re loud, you’ve got snot coming out of your nose, tears getting everything wet. It was bad. His mother was out of town visiting family, and because we had dogs still at home that would freak and likely destroy the house, I had no choice but to leave him overnight at the hospital. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We have never spent a night apart since we’d been together, leastwise on our anniversary. I went back and forth between the house and the hospital several times over the next couple of days to tend to both my husband and the household responsibilities. I’d pump myself full of coffee, put on my most waterproof makeup, and make sure I was wearing my game face. I didn’t even need makeup remover by the time I went to bed; I’d cried it all off after leaving the hospital. It turned out that he did not, in fact, have cancer. We were both relieved. But the oncologist in the hospital that became our most favorite doctor ever, was also a hematologist, so he decided to take our case since his hemoglobin was at a 6.3 by the time we left. We were scheduled to follow up with him withing the week, and we got two iron infusions while in the hospital. They simply sucked some iron into a syringe of saline and stuck it in him. It didn’t even occur to me that it could have been the wrong way to do it.
Are you tired yet? Because we were, and he was in a severe amount of pain. We went to his follow up and expressed concern for his left arm (the one the infusion was in). It was swollen, it was hot to the touch, and the veins were extremely hard. He immediately – and as calmly as he could, though he was in a panic too – sent us across the street to the hospital’s radiology department to get a scan. The ultrasound confirmed what we all thought: DVT. He had a blood clot in his left forearm. They were coming down on us too about being on blood thinners and being hospitalized for observation, sending Mr. Cozy Cottage into a near panic attack. Of course, being diagnosed with anxiety, I was about to have one myself, but I couldn’t. I had to be strong for him. Our doctor saved the day when he called the radiology department directly asking them where his patients were and told them to send us back to him. He brought us immediately back to the exam room and gave us a minute to calm down when I explained to him what had happened. He prescribed bloodthinners, explained the situation calmly (unlike the radiology department), and told us what to be on the lookout for and how to care for it. We scheduled his iron infusions for the following weeks. Now during all of this, I was making my wedding dress. Like, hand stitching lace, sewing on buttons, the whole 9 yards (literally).
And we even had the discussion of whether or not to postpone the ceremony, but decided it would be too difficult to call everyone and explain the situation since the invitations had already gone out. His next two iron infusions were done the right way. We went into the chemo room, which is an oddly cheerful place full of smiling faces and accommodating nurses. It took 4 nurses and 12 sticks before we finally found a nurse who found veins by feel and not by sight, since you can’t see them due to the tattoos. We ask for this same nurse every time we go in, and she has yet to fail us.
Our ceremony was on October 8, and it was a beautifully warm day. The only problem was the gnats and the fact that our top tier on the cake was kind of melted. Our whole crew of friends showed up in their best, along with our most beloved family members. It was a wonderful day.
We decided to postpone the honeymoon, however. Going out of town made us nervous after the medical issues from before, so we decided to spend it in town with our friends that we don’t see often. We went for long motorcycle rides and took a day trip to Atlanta to visit with friends who made us an amazing meal and filled our hearts with laughter and joy.
There wasn’t much adjustment to be done to married life, but we were just happy that we had made it through. Our family issue from June/July popped back up, adding a bit of stress to the situation, but, again, we dealt with it and moved on. At the end of the month, our son turned 18.
We got a cat. Let me rephrase that. Mr. Cozy Cottage got a cat. He was standing on the front porch of the tattoo shop where he works when a little orange tabby kitten walked up to him, rubbing on his legs, talking to him with pitiful little meows, and purring when he picked her up. I called him to tell him I was on my way with his dinner, and he asked me if I wanted her. Just to let you know, we had already had the cat discussion. He said no. So getting this cat was NOT my fault. I repeat, NOT my fault. But I knew we were keeping her when he said, “She picked me.” Crap. I actually understand that statement and I can’t argue with it. I dropped off his dinner and came home with the cat. Her litter box was a foil pan with cheap litter, and he picked up a bag of kitten food on the way home. He named her Knucklehead, after the name of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. She’s loud and obnoxious, so the name fit.
We also hosted our first holiday on Thanksgiving, inviting our friends who otherwise wouldn’t have a good holiday to our home for some cheer. We feasted and had an amazing time.
This month brought more iron infusions. Yay. But by this point we were pros and everyone knew us by name. They really do love us there, and we love them. The are the realest, most genuine medical professionals I’ve ever met in my life. We finished those the week before Christmas and should be good on them for at least 2 years. Yay!!
Our doctor wanted him to get a colonoscopy, and Mr. Cozy Cottage mentioned that he wouldn’t mind getting the hemorrhoid surgery out of the way while we were at it. The doctor made the consultation appointment for January, and we enjoyed the rest of our holidays.
It seems like January went on forever. I got a call on New Year’s Day that my best friend’s father had passed away. The very next day, my hometown was hit with brutal storms and tornadoes that knocked out power for weeks. During that time, we experienced our coldest weekend of the year, and I felt horrible knowing there were people there that couldn’t even keep warm. We had Mr. Cozy Cottage’s consultation the first week, the colonoscopy on the second week, and the surgery the following Thursday. Let me tell you, I do not like that doctor one bit! He is rude, arrogant, and it apparently transfers down to his demeaning staff. And since the surgery, we have had complications (bladder retention) requiring 3 ER visits, 2 catheters, a different pain medication, an antibiotic, and a muscle relaxer for his bladder. They are common complications, but it would have been nice to know that it was a pretty definite occurrence before it happened. We ended up at a urologist last Wednesday to have the catheter removed. Y’all, I’ve never been so happy to see someone pee in my entire life. It was hard not to do the Snoopy dance all the way to the parking lot. We celebrated with frozen yogurt. Yeah, we really lived it up. But my heart was in two places. I love taking care of him, but another part of me was in my hometown of Albany, GA. On the Sunday after his surgery and just before his 3rd ER visit, they were ravaged by tornadoes again. My parents are fine, as are my family and friends, but the place where my father works was destroyed, along with several homes. I’m heartbroken and desperately want to be there to help, but my place is here with him.
Mr. Cozy Cottage was finally able to go back to work last Friday for the first time in over a week. He was still in pain from the surgery, but it was mild compared to the pain he was in over the weekend. He has more doctor’s appointments for February, and then maybe we can move on and find some bit of normalcy in our lives again. I am back to cleaning the house since he can do a lot more than he could, paying bills, making phone calls…basically, handling business at the homestead.
From now on, my posts are going to be this level of real. I hate not posting because people may find it dull, uninteresting, or it doesn’t fit in the realm of “crafty”. You wanna know what homemaking is? This is it. It is doing the housework, taking care of the critters, paying bills, running a billion errands, handling situations that arise, and being ready to carry on with all of that while tending to a loved one who cannot tend to themselves. It’s hoping and praying that your friends understand why you can’t talk to them. It’s mixing a vodka and Sprite and falling asleep half way through. It’s ER visits, and random critters showing up at your house (oh yeah, we have another new cat), busted pipes. THAT is homemaking. Don’t let the internet fool you into thinking you have to be crafty all the time, always put together, the house always clean, dinner always on the table… Sometimes it’s all you can do to do what you need to do.
Thank y’all for reading and understanding, and I appreciate those of you who have stuck with me while I try to figure out this blog thing in the middle of all of this. I hope to be able to post more, and that I’ll find some new crafty things for you to do.