Sunday, April 27, 2014

Procrastinated OCD

So, Procrastination and OCD are two things I'm really good at. A while back I bought a couple bedroom organizer things, and as soon as they came... they sat in their boxes in my living room for a couple weeks. Or so. The boy has been asking me to go through and toss out a lot of old stuff. I oblige from time to time, when I have time to clean stuff. One of the things I put off for quite some time was my makeup/body spray/lotion/hair stuff collection. Sigh, until last night, Mr. Bill Apollo managed to knock over the entire contents [mess] from the top of my cabinet while chasing... well, I assume it was a bug, but it could have been nothing. You know how cats are. I took that as a sign that--deep breath--it was time. Since half of my stuff was strewn across the bedroom floor already, I might as well condense before I put away. Which also meant... putting laundry away where it belongs, moving the now-empty bookshelf into the living room, putting the extra random pile of books into the bookshelf, emptying and moving the first cabinet, throwing half the old stuff out, organizing and putting the rest of the stuff away, and attempting to build the new cabinet that... now I have no clue what I'm going to put in it since I guess I didn't have quite as much 'stuff' as I thought I did. Here are the results!

I LOVE organizing! I mean, when it strikes me. If I HAVE to, then it's just no good. Everything is so pretty to me! I hope I can keep it nice for a while. Organizers inside of organizers. MMMMM-hm. Much better. Now if I could just get rid of all the boxes this stuff came in... 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Got that Dutes...

or for the lay person, Duty. Meaning, I sit around on the ship and wait for things to break and-or catch on fire. Best way to ruin a weekend, if you want my opinion. But I'm trying not to get up on a soapbox here.

I took this picture halfway through cleaning the wall behind the bed.
Aside from wasting most of today, I did have a fairly productive Saturday. My buddy recommended to me the Mr. Clean 'Magic Eraser' and I don't know whether to thank him or hate him... oh, the grossness that came off my walls. So, walls are clean, kitchen is clean, living room tidied but still cluttered, bathroom is cleaned, bedroom is somewhat picked up and I made the bed [but it got slept in again], burnt out light bulbs replaced, and I cleaned the fish tank. Like REALLY cleaned it. Like scooped out the lil fishies and scrubbed that thing. I feel like I did more, but I guess that was really all.

Getting excited for potential moving. Getting scared about getting a 'real job' again. Very much appreciating how wonderful my life has become, even with the military still clutching at my soul, but having someone around who appreciates you and cares about you is a big help. Especially when you can play Cards Against Humanity together and die laughing at the same things. Extensive irony, much? And a 'bad day' culminates with a bottle of the best wine ever and bringing home Diablo 3 on Xbox.

 Obligatory 'cat in a box' pic. If you aren't familiar with Maru, spend a couple minutes [or hours, if you get sucked in] looking him up on youtube. Mr. Bill Apollo is on his way to becoming the American Maru. He hates collars but loves the harness, loves boxes, and will fetch mousies. He's only about six months old right now and already almost as big as Miss Z. So he'll be pretty ginormous one day. Don't mind the geeky mess behind him... boys will be boys.  

PS, upcoming dates to be excited about:
[asap]: Still need to see Captain America
23 April: Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks
16 May: Godzilla hits theatres
23 May: new X-Men movie in theatres

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I wish you would take your radio to bathe with you...

-hippity hop-

So, as it turns out I did not have a ginormous hangover after the show, for my birthday, but as I mentioned here recently, the CD player in my car pooped out. That combination of events led me to researching car audio. I found a neat little adapter for $40 on Amazon, but that still requires a lot of de- and re-assembly of my car. Plus, no instant gratification, which I live for. So, after doing more research and a quick chat with some friends via FB, I wandered over to Best Buy. Again, chatting ensues, mostly with their audio installer. Surprise, he doesn't laugh at me or even really look shocked when I say, "Well, I'd love to, but I'm kind of broke so I think I'm going to install it myself... I work with TV distribution and electronics anyways, so I don't think I can mess it up too bad..." I finally decide on a single-DIN data-only receiver, open box, for about $60. It's bluetooth capable, but they didn't have the mic so the nice guy gave me 10% off on top of the open box price. When he told me how you install the BT mic's, I decided I don't care for ripping off every piece of trim on the driver's side of my car, I can live with out it, so long as it streams music from my phone. Which it totally does.

So, if you ever wanted to know what the inside of a Toyota Celica's dash looks like... Here ya go. With a bit of help from some Spanish-speaking dude on YouTube, I managed to do this all by myself! Okay not entirely all by myself. The connector kit I'd bought had quick-release connections, but no spades, so I had to use the crimpy kind to connect all the wiring [tee hee, pardon my girl jargon]. Unfortunately, my hands are shot, so I had to have Mr. Man-Hands take care of that part. After flipping the stereo around about three times, unclipping and reclipping the wires because I got excited and didn't really pay attention to what I was doing, it was testing time. And guess what? IT WORKED. Yes, as a female, I was able to remove and install my own car stereo, 95% all by myself. Hooray! I don't know if I just think I have something to prove or what, but being productive, especially in ways like this, really brings me a lot of satisfaction.

Afterwards, I retreated to the kitchen to make fantastical magic spaghetti for dinner. Electrician and chef... whew, I know one lucky Italian boy. Like I said back on Hab Team... "Look, I know how to use power tools, and I'm not bad in the kitchen, either!"

Saturday, April 12, 2014

[sigh of relief]

Say it with me now kids,
Nice, huh?

One of the best quotables I have ever heard came at the close of my yoga class. I'm paraphrasing here, but, our sweetheart of an instructor tells us, "I used to think that letting go was a bad thing. Until one day, someone explained it to me in the right way--Letting go is just another way of making room for the right thing." Okay, I really screwed it up this time, but you get the point. Suffice to say... for the second time in less than six months, I am having to let go of something. This time I am much more eager to let go, and I do truly believe it will be for the better. The last time it was scary; and don't get me wrong I am still terrified of this one, but I have a lot more confidence this time around. 

Remember my couple posts about how the military measures body fat wrong? How pear-shaped girls are at a major disadvantage? Well, as I expected, I failed my weigh-in again. That's my third strike on weight, so I'll be getting administratively discharged eventually. The conflict comes in because with my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, I should have actually gotten a medical board started--basically, a medical discharge, because FMS is a disqualifying condition. Of course, the military is just as corrupt as any Mafia in films... they're going to try to save some money instead of taking care of a former servicemember. They're going to push for the admin discharge, of course, but they are underestimating me. I've still got some fight in me yet, and unfortunately for them, I'm a smart cookie. I can do research. I have been up to my eyeballs in regulations and instructions regarding both of these issues. My conclusion is this: One way or another, I will be out of the military in a couple months. I'd prefer it to be on medical grounds, but it looks like even if they push the admin discharge, I might have a fighting chance at making the medical stick. And if not, it should still count as an honorable discharge, which means HELLOOOOOO, GI BILL. Mama's goin back to school! I've also already gotten one voicemail about a telecommunications job, which is basically what I've been doing in the military. 

I'm very excited to be a civilian again and have my freedom back. I'm looking forward to taking a bit of time off to square things away--like getting my whole house cleaned up, relaxing and taking care of myself, things like that. I'm also already thinking about petty things like how I'm going to dye my hair and what piercings I can get while still remaining employable. I'm not going to say the military hasn't changed me. And I'm not going to imply that some of it hasn't been for the better. But the ways in which it has changed me... Well, I'm not really getting the opportunity to work on those things in a way that benefits me. Like running and doing yoga, de-stressing, meditating, things of that nature. Self Care. Life is all about self-care, and really all the military is doing is wearing me down. Things are certainly easier since the 160 lb rock was lifted off my shoulders and I have someone to walk beside me instead, but as I've found the past couple of weeks, I can't blame that rock for all my stress and misery. Cutting him out of my life was a big first step, and it helped a lot, but it wasn't the total cure. Now that the weigh-in's are over, and I have relief, I'm not starving myself and beating myself up mentally for every calorie I consume... I feel a million times better. Sure I still have a fight on my hands, and I still have to play the game until I get out officially; but seriously, my emotional state is much better now. 

In other news, last night we went to go see MSI in Seattle. And since I know someone in particular is going to read this, pardon the change in context.... 
I seriously cannot express verbally how much it meant to me to have you by my side. I know that wasn't probably great for you, but I appreciate how much effort you put in to showing me you care. I can only guess at how last night affected you, but I really had a great time and I hope it wasn't too bad for you too. Seriously. You know I am always amazed by the contrast between what my life has become and the life I had before, and that was just one more illustration of it. Words are important, but so are actions. Always & forever. 

Crafting and plants have somewhat fallen by the wayside with me trying to do so much research and fitness, just trying to scrape by, but I expect soon I'll be picking them back up. In ironic news, as soon as my car was completely paid off--a seven year feat with the killing blow landed by my Karma--it starts crapping out! No kidding, out of the blue my CD player stopped working. And of course there's lots of maintenance that needs doing... but it may mean replacing a lot of parts. Tires, breaks, tuneup are all top of the list. But anyways. I do believe I've run out of things to say......

Sunday, April 6, 2014

All Over the Map

...not literally, although I have done that too. This past week I've been pretty stressed out, and as such my mind is all over the place. Call it ADD if you must, but writing usually helps me tease things out. So. Where to begin? A few of my ramblings tie together, so let's just go down the rabbit hole and see what we can find.

Ah. I've been oscillating much this year on whether or not to reenlist when my contract is up--March of next year. But as another PFA cycle draws nigh--super nigh--that choice may be out of my hands. I've struggled with my weight for years, not that strangers looking at me would always be able to tell. It's very difficult to practice good body-love when you've got superiors and regulations and organizations breathing down your neck essentially calling you fat... especially when there is zero regard to the diversity of the human form. Look, I never have "looked" my weight, except to the most practiced eye. I carry it well. But when the US government determines that no matter what, any female with a height of 5'3" should weigh less than 152... well, it really beats up on you. I haven't weighed 152 since I was probably 14 or 15 years old. Yes, it's true that they can measure us based on our body composition, but again, that's using a pretty outdated system that favors people with big necks. Sadly, I have a lovely neck and a huge pile of junk in the trunk. While some important people in my life certainly appreciate this, they are not the ones determining whether I pass or fail this weigh-in. I've been extreme dieting and running and hot yoga almost every day, and haven't lost a damn thing. I need to shave off about two inches [in less than a week!] to make this. Everyone keeps telling me it's possible, but so far I have seen zero progress. What I really need to hear right now is something along the lines of, "Do your best, and whatever happens, you'll figure it out. Pass or fail, you'll be okay." After doing some research on regulations regarding 3x failures, I have discovered:

  1. They have 30 days from the end of the command's cycle to notify me in writing
  2. The AdSep [administrative seperation] process is supposed to take less than 15 days, BUT
  3. Part of discharge involves an exit physical--more on why that is important later.
  4. AdSep for PFA failures is generally still an Honorable discharge
  5. Worst case scenario, General Under Honorable Conditions discharge does not disqualify you from receiving GI Bill benefits, provided you meet other criteria. IE, since I have crossed my three year line, I would receive 100% of my GI Bill benefits.
Now, the reason why that exit physical is important. I've also been battling pain off and on for a couple years now. I didn't have much trouble with it until I was in the military. My back maybe ached a little more than 'normal', but as a whole all my aches and pains were within reason. My right hand was the first to go in a serious, noticeable manner. I've been in and out of medical since October of 2013, including referrals to an orthopedist and a neurologist--with all tests and x-rays coming back mostly unremarkable. I say mostly, because the symptoms do slightly point towards carpal/ulnar tunnel issues. After that, I don't even know where to begin. I've had such a plethora of overlapping, off and on symptoms that it's really hard to pinpoint exactly what was going on at what time. But the guarantee is, most of it was after I joined the military. That's when everything started to snowball. Medical blew me off to the point where I went to the ER and walked out with muscle relaxers to unlock my back. I've had x-rays on my feet to no avail, despite the fact that you can obviously see the bunions and toe deformations that are starting. I've been actively monitoring mental health since last year, including in-patient and out-patient treatments, medications, and again, tests out the wazoo. Thyroid, Metabolic, liver panels; Auto-immune screening; all normal. The only thing that ever showed up was a Vitamin D deficiency... and come on, this is WA and I generally work inside. No big surprise there. After getting denied for a sleep study--which my supervisor requested, since I was consistently late to work--I demanded more tests. More tests.

I am a doctor's worst nightmare--a well educated patient. I know how to do research, and I am not afraid to correct them. I started tracking my pain. A 'normal' person shouldn't have multiple pain entries on every single day for months at a time. So, finally, it took me almost breaking down in front of my regular Doc to get a referral to a Rheumatologist. My appointment was this past week. My intake started with an intern, who echoed my main Doc--"Well, I don't really think these issues are all connected," but then again, he's not the specialist. After the Major came in and asked me a few more questions and poked and prodded various parts of my body, he says, "That's good enough for me. You have Fibromyalgia." To be fair, this was an idea my main Doc had been tossing around for a while, much to my resistance, but for some reason all of the doctors on our ship are very conservative when it comes to diagnoses and treatments. Very annoying for us patients.

Now, this diagnosis is frustrating and ironic for me for reasons that I will not get into. However, I do think it fits. And although I'm not 100% sold on this, the more research I do, the more I consider it to be legitimate and valid. When I met someone with a very extreme case last year, it was difficult for me to take her seriously. Now, I don't doubt that she legitimately had a problem, and a large part of that problem was FM... But I guess my beef was with how she handled it. She was a martyr and a crusader. She was the kind of person who wore her issues on her sleeve and made a big deal about them. And I try very hard not to be that way. Yes, I am in nearly daily pain. The thing is, I've lived this way for so long that my perception of pain is skewed. I was raised to always be strong and push through, be determined, and never let anything get in the way of your expectations--and others' expectations of you. So I've taught myself how to ignore things like minor pain, discomfort, and emotions, for the most part. And perhaps since I am taking care of other issues--mostly mental health and relationship wise--other things are starting to become much more clear. The more the emotional pain heals, the more the physical pain manifests. There does seem to be a link between FM and PTSD, which I'm still reading up on and developing my own theories--not on a widespread or general basis of course, but directly relating to myself.

So, really, why is this important? Well. If I don't end up passing my weigh in, which seems likely, I have an official diagnosis on my record that is highly recommended for VA/DoD disability screening. I'm not exactly clear on which of the two would take precedence here, but even if they AdSep me immediately without a medical hold to sort out those issues, I can at least know that my health problems are documented and I can fight--and it might be a very long fight--for disability benefits. I hate to say that because it makes me feel like a leech. But before the military, I at least thought I was a healthy, well-adjusted individual. I guess Ms. S was right when she warned me long ago, "The military will change you, and you don't even know how until you're looking back." 

I guess this is what's weighing most heavily on my mind this week. I'm having issues with motivation and clear thinking [see: FibroFog, perhaps]. The running I've been doing has prompted me to irrationally sign up for The Oatmeal's "Beat the Blerch" 10k... and I haven't even run a 5k yet. I figured that would be some good motivation to keep running. And hopefully I can make it to a 5k before then--it's in September so I have some time. I still don't really know what I was thinking on that one, but I'm kind of glad I did.

In other--cute--news, we have taught the kitten, Mr. Bill Apollo, to FETCH. That's damn right. My cat fetches mousies. I'll wrap this up with a picture of him being adorable with his favorite mouse.

PS. I have been commissioned by a good friend for a specific blogging. I have not forgotten, but like we discussed, that one will take more research and preparation that just my stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Expect some nerdy stuff sometime this month. Shout out to Mr. Brown for egging me on, and always being a thinker at heart.