Simplify. Seems simple. It isn’t really…

What’s the big deal about simplifying your life and home?  Why is there an increasing interest in this?  Why is it so doggone hard?  Well, it’s not thaaaat bad.  Unless you live with other folks that aren’t on the same page as you, the same thought process, the same goals.

I’m at that stage in life where I want to start downsizing.  Have you seen all the shows and articles and web sites related to tiny housing?  When my hubby and I (we just had our 16th anniversary, by the way–woohoo!!!) first got married, I moved into his 680 square foot house.  Tiny.  We were there before tiny was cool!  I wasn’t sure how to combine our two households effectively and beautifully, but persevered.  By the time we hit our first anniversary, I loved our little house.  It was cozy. It was complete.  It was welcoming.  It was adorable.  But then we found out a wee one was on his way!  No place to put a crib, another dresser/changing table, toys, etc.  So we thought.  We moved into a house nearly twice the size–1200 square feet.  Whew.  Room to breathe.  We were no longer always together no matter what room we were in, including when one was in the bathroom.  (We had plenty of conversations through the door.)  But I found that it wasn’t as convenient when I had a question or needed something.  And there was always something that needed cleaning.  And we bought a lot more stuff, which required maintenance.  Or additional stuff.  But then we wanted to move to a better school district.

Next house–1,964 square feet, plus footage that’s not included.  We’re always hollering from one end of the house to the other, for stoopid things, like where is…, do you want…, when is…, are you ready?  Bothers me.  I don’t like that we yell, but what’s worse is not understanding what the other person said.  Then you have to get clarification, either by moving to where they are, or yelling, “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”  “I DIDN’T HEAR YOU–WHAT??”  “SAY AGAIN??”  We usually don’t hang out in the same room either, which saddens me immensely.  This is something we’re working on as we slowly simplify and get back to what is important. We’ve got a finished basement, which isn’t part of that square footage because there isn’t an egress window (a window big enough to get out through if there’s an emergency.)  Enormous family room (which is hubby’s favorite room,) a guest bedroom, and a half bath with sink and toilet.  There are also two BIG spaces that are storage space.  You know what that means?  We’ve gotten more STUFF; it all needs weeding out.  Last week I went through a container looking for our wedding books and pictures.  Found a bunch of newspapers in there that had no purpose that I could see. Recycle!!  Felt so good!  Made me want to discard more.  But I didn’t as I had other things to clean, maintain, buy, plan for, plan around…

When I talk with hubby and son about moving, there’s always a disconnect.  They sure don’t want smaller.  But they don’t get frustrated when looking for something.  They just ask me.  I’ll find it if I don’t already know where the item is.  And they don’t clean, much.  Or do the little maintenance, much.  Staying home with my synthetic fragrance sensitivity, I have become the cleaning lady.  And fixer.  In fact, just this morning, my dearest hubby asked why the living room touch up paint was on the counter with spackle and a brush.  Well, hmmm.  There are touch-ups to do.  Ah.

Yes.  I want to down size.  I love cozy.  Hubby loves space.  Lots and lots of space.  My favorite room in the house is the smallest at 10′ by 10′.  He gets claustrophobic in there.  It’s wonderfully cozy with a comfy couch (guest bed,) open bookshelf, small desk, small printer cabinet, a skinny wire and basket chest, and a tiny wrought iron garden table by the couch to set your beverage on. Very cozy, but not crowded.

Here’s a funny–hubby wants a smaller yard, as he dislikes yard work.  And I want more garden space to grow our own food.  I’d love to have chickens and goats too.  (Not possible in our current neighborhood.  We can’t even put up a clothesline or basketball hoop!)  We’ve currently got two pear trees, two apple trees, and a concord grape arbor that the previous owners put in.  We’ve added two blueberry bushes and a good sized raised bed for vegetables.  All of this on 1/3 of an acre!  I see room for more raised beds, but my guys want to be able to throw the football or baseball around a few times a year. We have a HUGE park a few miles from here. Their very valid point is when the urge strikes, they don’t want to have to drive.  Ok.

My biggest challenge with simplification is the part about getting rid of the stuff.  It amazes me how things become valuable when I’m purging.  We’re gathering garage sale goodies together, and have a good amount.  But there could be more!!!  And the whole recycling thing is hard–do we REALLY need this?  Can’t I just take a picture?  Can’t we make a copy and put it in our cloud?  One friend tells me I should just do it.  But that’s a violation of their opinion, isn’t it?  Guilt prevails.  But so shall I.  I WILL prevail at simplifying our lives and home.  I do want to say that all three of us are getting better at making do with what we’ve got.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.   And upcycling by reusing something in a different way than what it was originally intended for.  Yep–getting there.  It certainly is a process, and we Know that happiness is the journey, not the destination.  So, as I go down memory lane with the items that have accumulated over the years, I send you

Warm wishes on Your journey!
Nance

Advertisements

The Latest Moments as Time Flies By

Goodness, I’ve let the trials and tribulations of life get in my way.  It’s been ages since I’ve written about anything.  It’s cold, still some snow on the ground, we had carpeting issues in the house, and there are changes at my church that are weakening my connection and therefore the support I’ve relied upon while I go through my life change due to my severe sensitivity to synthetic fragrance chemicals.  Oh, and I tried going dairy free, and cut back on gluten as well, thinking it might help with my fragrance sensitivity, but this just made me feel deprived.   But hey–only two more weeks till spring! Even though this seems like it’s been a long winter, it also feels like “wow! it’s almost over already!!”  I recently read an explanation of why time flies by as you get older.  Wish I could give credit for this, but I read so many things (love that internet!) that I can’t remember what site I saw it on.  If you know, would you let me know?

The article, that I’m soooo ad libbing, talked about being a little kid, and how when you’re 5 or 10 years old, a month is a long time.  Remember how summer break seemed to last forever and you were actually glad to be going back to school because you were so bored?  If not, you had a lot of planned events in your life!  I didn’t.  My summers consisted of pretty much just gardening and housework, riding my bike and playing with the neighbor kids, running through the sprinklers and reading books.  Oh, and the 2 week vacation that I could hardly wait to get home from because we drove everywhere for a gazillion hours, and I couldn’t read or I’d get carsick.  No portable DVD players back then.  And very little TV time either, when we were home, because there wasn’t much to watch.  No world wide web either.  Ok,  I’m talking about back in the dark ages.

So here’s the thought process:  Around age 35, time starts getting away from you.  When you’re 55, that month zooms by quickly.  When you’re 75, I hear it zooms past seemingly in the blink of an eye.  Here’s the rationale–it’s all in regards to ratios.  When you’re 5, a month is 1/60 of your entire existence outside your mother’s womb.  When you’re 35, that month is 1/420 of your life, 55 = 1/660 of you being here, and so on.  As you get older, that month is just a drop in a really big measuring cup, if you’re lucky enough to live a long time.  We’re also busier living our lives, as we get older.  Have you noticed?  There are more and more things that you need to do, want to do, get asked to do, asked to participate in, expected to participate in…  When I read this article (source?????) it all seemed so logical.  Clarity hit.  And that helped me not stress as much about how time flies by.  Suddenly, that flitting time thing is just part of life, something to keep in mind and work around, but not worry about.  I’ve been semi-housebound for over a year, and was beating myself up about how I haven’t “accomplished” much of anything.  Other than reconnecting with my creative side as well as nature, making a stronger home base, finding out who my true friends are, discovering healthier alternatives in our synthetic (fake) world, working on getting healthier and fit, and getting caught up on my sleep.  Well, that’s a lot when you break it down!

I’ve officially begun disability retirement.  That’s what they call it when you can’t teach anymore due to health issue.  So odd, to have only taught for 10 years, but be retired.  For over a year, I was without my income in our two income household.  Thank goodness we had decent savings and retirement accounts to draw from.  It was scary for a while, watching new withdrawals occurring from those accounts for every day living.  We cut back where we were willing, always thinking this was going to miraculously improve and I could go back to work.  It really rearranged my thought process about what we really needed to buy.  I discovered how wasteful I/we had been living, even though I thought we were frugal.  I’m thinking maybe I was supposed to learn that lesson, that my comfort isn’t so dependent upon the newest, best, tastiest.  I’m discovering less costly ways to do stuff–mercy, we frittered away a lot over the years!!  And now that I’m “retired,” we can breathe a bit easier, be a bit less stressed about money, yet utilize the skills of living more simply.

My liaison at the school system retirement program said the supervisor didn’t hesitate signing my request, as I had many doctors confirming my status and my “story” was so sad.  Wow–my story is sad according to a supervisor with authority who’s seen it all.  This actually helped me a lot, because I recognized that the sadness of this saga wasn’t just in my head, like a pity party.  It’s for real.   You know, it’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that the sophomore girls who intentionally sprayed my classroom to make me have a allergic reactions so they wouldn’t have to do homework (!) or take tests (!) or take finals (!) were never brought to the light, and will always know that they caused a life altering health issue in my life.  Do you think they’ll remember with the glee that I saw other students boast about “breaking” a teacher??  Bet they will.  Maybe not all of them, but most of them.  Here’s something–there’s another plan for me that I don’t know about yet.  Still opening up to find out what that is…

All those moments really do matter as they’re pieces of the whole.  And Happiness IS the Journey, not the Destination, after all.  (One of my mantras that I keep forgetting about, ironically!!  So my framed version is now sitting next to my desk, eye level.)  Remember this as you wonder where your time goes.  And remember to do the important stuff in life, not just the time wasters.

2015-03-05 Happiness is the Journey 001

With warm wishes on your journey,

Nance

 

Fall, From My Viewpoint

2014-10-18 Fall Beauty IV and Beads 006

Fall.  What a glorious season.  Friends tell me this season makes them melancholy because it’s the “death” season.  ohmygoodness–what a beautiful way to go!  Stunning colors everywhere.  I sincerely think this was one of the most gorgeous falls I’ve witnessed.  I mean STUNNING.

2014-10-21 Fall Beauty 2014 III 009

This lone leaf caught my eye and touched my soul.  It’s not very large, compared to most of the leaves, but my eye was caught by the intensity of the vivid coloring as it hid amongst the other leaves that hadn’t found their final burst of color before falling to carpet the ground.

Not only did they carpet the ground, but there was also a warm orange glow coming through the windows in the room next to this Sugar Maple.  Yes, a glorious fall…

2014-10-26 Fall Beauty 2014 II 007

This angel is wonderfully precious, as it strokes a tiny bird with love and kindness, and is also incredibly special.  It was my mother’s day present from my preschool son, who recently turned 14.  He and I wandered through garden centers, looking for just the right little statue.  And here it is, ten years later, surrounded by the splendor of fall, still emanating the gentle spirit I see in my son.

Rather than feeling melancholy, I’m inspired to enjoy the season.  Time for sweaters, and stews and soups and snuggles in front of the fireplace… And don’t forget the baking!  Even though many of the trees are now bare, some trees are continuing to be colorful, and some, like my pear tree, still have green leaves.  This reminds me that things happen when they’re supposed to, not when we expect it.  I’ve still got the hyper-sensitivity to fragrance, still learning how to cope in this artificially scented world, and still don’t know what my “purpose” is now that I can’t teach high school.  Someday I’ll be privy to this information.  In the meantime, my job is to be open to the journey, enjoying the stunning beauty in this world.  And to remember that the moments matter.

2014-10-26 Fall beauty 2014 001

With warm wishes on your journey,

Nance

 

Toxic “Beauty” Products

I received this incredible post from mindbodygreen.com with a video from EWG, (Environmental Working Group,) that’s right up my alley concerning chemicals in products we use on our bodies.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14369/why-beauty-products-are-toxic-what-you-can-do-about-it-heather-white.html

I hope this helps improve the awareness of how insane the situation is that we’re in the middle of.  Watch, get informed and pass the word.

With warm wishes on your journey,

Nance

 

 

A Loss Unexpected, Part II

In my previous post, “A Loss Unexpected, Part I,” I shared a growing sense of loss, that I need to figure out what’s been lost, and how to recreate myself to alleviate the losses.  I mentioned I’ve lost the hugely important ability to be easily social, and have lost the bubbly person, the one who always has a smile. She’s gone away and I want to find her again.  But wait–there’s more!

I didn’t sign my contract for next school year–I’m no longer employed.  It’s official.  Not only have a lost employment by choice, but I just lost my chosen profession, at my chosen high school.  This school is a challenging school to teach at because many of the students live lives I cannot even imagine, they don’t have parental support that they desperately need, and many come from severely low-income homes.  My class room provided a safe haven, I gave them unconditional love, and I impacted many young people’s lives in a positive way, creating a ripple effect of goodness and love.  Except for the few who chose to ruin the “nice” teacher.  Over the past ten years of teaching there, I honestly can’t tell you how many kids told me they came to school just so they could see me, visiting between classes if I didn’t teach them that day, coming back after their semester was over… just to see me and feel loved.  Loved just because they are who they are.  Honestly, they were my babies, waking me up at night as I’d worry about them, thinking about ways I could help.  They’d share life issues, learning problems, all sorts of challenges and frustrations with me… I was their school mom.  I’ve lost that feeling of usefulness.  I’m also a burden financially–I don’t have income, but cost money to “operate.”  That’s pretty heavy too.

I’ve also lost the luxury of being known as a hugger–I can’t hug most people anymore because of their clothes detergent, dryer sheets, shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, deodorant, lotion, self-tanning product, perfume, or cologne.  And I am a hugger.  This is a huge loss in my life, not being able to hug people.  Those students I was talking about that would find me usually needed a hug too.  But now I can’t.  I see former students, as I live in the district I taught in, and we automatically and gleefully head towards each other to share a hug until I remember I can’t.  It’s always a shock.  Still.  Our world is overly perfumed with artificial scents.  Essential oils don’t seem to bother me a bit; it’s the fake ones, created in labs, and there are 1000’s of them, so I can’t be treated for just a few with allergy shots.

Friends and family are actually apprehensive to be around me because they worry if some new product they’re using will cause a reaction.  A dear friend asked if the gum she had in her car was ok, because it was artificially flavored.  That seemed fine–apparently food scents don’t hit me the same way as smell-good scents.  But to realize that people feel uneasy being around me is rather devastating.  I’m a people person, forced to be a semi-hermit. My mother in-law let me know that she bought some unscented shampoo for everyone coming to the family reunion to use.  Bless her heart.  Shampoo is actually low on my list of triggers.  If I’m in the vicinity after a shower was taken with a trigger shampoo, then yes, bad news.  But there are so many things in our world today!!  My vets office is almost too fragrant.  We’ll see how that goes today when I take the two pups for their shots. If it’s bad, they’ve already said they’ll bring the dogs out to me and I can wait in my car.  We had to change my son’s dentist because they wouldn’t stop using plug-in air fresheners.  Here’s something they didn’t apparently believe; if you’ve used it in the past week, and haven’t fully aired out the space, it’s probably still in the air and on the cushions and in the carpet, particles getting sent back into the air as people sit and walk, for me to have reactions with. I’m unable to go into fragrant stores, have to avoid aisles of, and sometimes the aisles next to, the detergents and scented cleaners and air fresheners. Think about this the next time you go into a store.

This challenge is almost unfathomable.  No wonder I’m feeling loss.  And fear and dread and constant apprehension.  Will it get better?

tbc

A Loss Unexpected, Part I

I’ve been feeling a growing sense of loss.  And sadness, fear, discouragement…  That’s SO not me!  I’m the sunshine in the crowd, the one with the life and energy, the sometimes irritatingly always-happy-person, the bubbly one.  Well, my bubble burst, so now I need to move forward.  To do that, I need to figure out where I lost that part of me, why I lost it, and what to recreate OR create to feel whole again.

My health issues have kept me mostly housebound for the past six months.  I have a hyper-sensitivity to unknown chemicals in fragrances due to being bombarded in three of the classes I taught in high school.  Just a few girls, but no one would come forward to say who was doing it, as there’s a great deal of bullying that goes on. According to the kids who shared their concern about it and wished they could help, they told me the perpetrators thought it was funny to watch me have an allergic reaction; huge itchy, burning, raised, red hives on my face, and eventually my eyes would burn, itch and start to swell.  They hoped I would have to miss school, because !!! everyone knows that when you have a sub, you don’t have to do anything and can’t be held responsible for learning anything.  Therefore, you don’t have any tests, and ultimately don’t have to take a final.  Wrong. Administration didn’t back me when I asked for support in November of last year, in a way that I thought would be effective.  I had asked if I could send a letter, (approved by the lead principal,) to my student’s parents about the seriousness of the situation with severe repercussions (which would have to be done by administration,) if additional fragrance misuse was done.  Also, I wanted to post signs in the hallway and in my classroom stating they were Fragrance Free Zones.  Admin’s response was that I needed to tell them which classes were doing this, and principals would come and “catch them.”  If I couldn’t catch them, how would they?  Doesn’t that make it even more of a game?  I’d already told them what class periods were doing this to me.  I never followed up with any more requests.  Why bother?  I posted signs myself.  But that made things worse.  It was now a deliberate assault that I was unable to prove.  But I’m experiencing the aftermath–the inability to be in most public places.

I haven’t taught since the middle of January.  I’ve been on FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act,) so no paycheck, but at least I had health insurance.  The human resources department extended my FMLA  until the end of the year, because we’d hoped for miraculous results with the shots of Xolair.  It’s oh-my-goodness expensive, has to be given every four weeks, and is preventative, not curative.  No such luck.  As of this past Monday, I still have negative reactions to good smelling people.  An odd outcome is how often people take offense that I’m allergic to something they use that smells nice.  It’s not at all personal, yet people often act as if it is.  I know they didn’t do this to attack me.  But an offense is done toward them, unintentionally.  And if you knew me, that’s the last thing I want to have happen.  It hurts me that people don’t understand I’m not attacking them, but what makes them smell good is extremely dangerous for me, possibly deadly.  Not by choice. Trust me.  I’ve lost the freedom to go anywhere at any old time because there might be someone who smells good.  I have to decline parties/gatherings/functions where there might be people who smell nice.  Isn’t that insane??  I’ve lost the “me” who is social.  And I’m SOCIAL.  As in Butterfly.

There’s more that I’ve lost.  I can only think about this for a little while at a time because this is so huge, trying to figure out the new me.  At 53.  Hey, that rhymes.  tbc…

Ends and Beginnings, All Mixed Together

What I am writing today is based of free writing/unlocking the mind for 20 minutes.  I’m supposed to post even if it’s not done.  Just free write.  My head actually needs this.  There’s so much change going on in my immediate life.  Hubby started a new job today!  It’s his biggest one yet (senior executive chef for a huge hospital,) and he’s so excited about it. It’s really cool to watch this happening to him/us.  🙂

I went to lunch with my former co-workers as it was their last lunch out for the school year and I was asked to join them.  Bittersweet feelings–I feel like I was missed, yet haven’t had contact with them hardly at all during my 5 1/2 months away for my fragrance hyper-sensitivity.  They DID respect my sensitivity and were as fragrance free as possible so they could hug me.  And THAT was awesome.  Made me realize that this job is REALLY over. ohmygoodness.  This is so hard.  😦  Three others in the department are also leaving; one transferred to another school in the district, one got a promotion to administration and one is moving back to her hometown to teach there.  Out of 8, four are leaving.  That’s a lot of upheaval.  My immediate supervisory principal is retiring this year as well, so it’s going to be crazy-nuts next school year.  

This past Saturday, I attending a going away party for a family at my church that’s moving to Washington D.C.  In their household, the eldest daughter graduated high school, the other daughter finished middle school and starts high school in the fall, the dad turns 50 in a few days, the mom got the fabulous job in D.C., but has to uproot the family from the family homestead where she personally grew up and has always lived, leaving friends and family behind.  It was hard, because I was just getting to know them and their wonderful selves. But we’re assured we have a place to stay when we head to D.C.!! 

On Sunday, my minister, the only one I can call “mine” as an adult, gave his last sermon at our church because he and wife are moving from Missouri to Florida, so he can minister at another church.  This was a hard choice for him, but he feels like he’s taken the congregation as far as he can, and now wants to bring another congregation to their best levels. I thought ministers stayed until they retired or died, once they found a place that felt like home. I actually feel betrayed.  Happy for them, yet betrayed.  He’s WHY I’ve stayed at this church.  If there were guests in the pulpit, I seldom attended, because I like HIS sermons.  Not happy. This is hard too. 

I went to the doctor today about my broken foot, fearing that I’d get the news that I need surgery. Well… we don’t know and I have to wear my boot for another 3 weeks.  However, I can put more weight on it, in fact need to, to strengthen it.  CRAP.  It’s springtime, almost summer.  I have yard work and gardening and house projects that I wanted/needed to do before the hellish heat waves arrive.  Hubby and son are tired of being my minions.  Understandable, but I wish they actually knew how much I do NOT ask them to do!!  hahaha!! The news about the foot is ok, but sure isn’t what I was hoping for.  ah well.  The Universe has some sort of plan for me.

AHHHH–timer went off.  There’s still more in my head!  And I sure don’t feel like I made any profound statements.  lol 

100 days of happy

I signed up today to do a photographic “happy” memoire over the next 100 days. On the website, it states that only 71% of participants succeed. They don’t have enough time is the main reason. In our extremely busy lives, we forget to be HAPPY. Or we don’t have time to note that we’re HAPPY. How sad is that???!!!???

I’ve been feeling pretty low lately. There really are legitimate reasons. Hubby is looking for a replacement job since his employer lost their contract; having broken my foot 1 1/2 weeks ago, I’m wondering if I also damaged the tendon (which will then require surgery;) still trying to come to terms with my uber hyper-sensitivity to fragrance. OH — and I resigned from teaching next year, by not signing the contract. Maaaan, what a hard decision. Even though teaching is becoming more and more challenging, the threat of violence hang over our heads the whole time we’re there, and the fear of more fragrance assaults that could literally kill me, I procrastinated with my final decision until the day the contract was due. And I still didn’t notify my principal until the next day because I just didn’t want to finalize it.

With all of this going on, a friend informed me that she was signing up for this challenge of showing/finding/honoring 100 days of happy. She’s a pretty happy soul, in my estimation; life seems to be going well, she’s young and healthy. Well, heck–if Kendra is going to do this, me too!!

I like the idea that by consciously thinking about what is making us happy, we become happier, more appreciative of what’s in our life, filling our minds and hearts with gratitude. As Kendra said, can’t hurt!

Today, one of my big moments of happy came from my 4-legged daughter, Gracie Jane. She’s a spazzo, crazy, joy-filled dog. Can you see her smile? Hard not to be happy with a creature who’d never had a home until ours, is so thankful when you come back to the pack that she smothers you in kisses and talks about how much she missed you. Watch it–she’ll jump up and give a kiss on lips if you’re not watching–she’s part border collie and jumps like she’s got springs in her feet! If we humans kiss on the lips, why can’t she? I mean, we’re all family aren’t we? Yeah. no. I almost lost my cookies one time when she even got her tongue in. blech. I do love her. But no French-kissing from a dog. nope. But, she sure knows how to make me feel happy!

Gracie Jane

Gracie Jane

What was your happy moment today?

With warm wishes on your journey,
Nance

 

All Natural Air Fresheners

Love the Organic Gardening website. With my fragrance and chemical hyper-sensitivity, this was a great article. Toward the end, there are also some alternative home cleaning “recipes” that I plan to try. Anyone have a good window cleaning formula? Just click on the link below and you’ll be taken right to the site and article. Happy reading!!

http://www.organicgardening.com/living/6-weird-all-natural-air-fresheners?page=0,0

With warm wishes for your journey,
Nance

Sweet Gum Balls Are My Enemy.

Ok, so I broke my left foot by stepping on sweet gum balls from a sweet gum tree in a park.  With thousands of people around me. Seriously, thousands.

Hubby and I went on an official date on Friday for the first time in, jeepers, 4, 5 months. There’s a new food truck Friday event at a local park.  Well, new to us.  We were so excited to (a) go on a genuine date, (b) finally be experiencing the food truck rage in real life, not just watching it on tv, (c) be outside enjoying the gorgeous spring weather, (d) be surrounded by so many cool, hip people that were just there enjoying themselves, eating great food, drinking good beverages, and listening to fabulous music provided with no cover charge.  It was excellent.  HUGE queues at each food truck.  Hubby’s back was still achy from doing too much heavy lifting and yard work the previous weekend.  I kindly offered to go to the beverage tent to get us something to wet our whistles while he held our spot.  He asked if I was sure, since I’d be exposing myself to possible fragrances that had the potential to make my fragrance sensitivity rear it’s ugly head.  I was feeling brave and said sure, heading off with a smile and on a mission.

LOADS of sweet gum balls littered the uneven grounds of the park.  Remember that I said there were thousands of people there?  It was seriously challenging getting through the crowd, while keeping an eye on said gum balls and uneven ground.  I looked up to scope out the best way to the beverage tents.  Oooops—a small shallow channel, filled with those damn hard, rolly, pokey sweet gum balls missed my observation skills which I’ve honed over the years due to skinny ankles that like to get twisted as I walk. And in I stepped.  As my foot twisted with excruciating pain, I thought I heard some snaps or cracks.  But surely that was just the gum balls.  (nope.)

Here’s an amazing feat; I DIDN’T FALL!  Instead I grabbed the arm of a lovely young woman who looked at me with great shock.  I realized how hard I’d grabbed her, let go, and almost fell from the pain I was experiencing.  I apologized for grabbing her and she told me to “just hang on!  Just hang on until you don’t need me!!”  I KNOW this young woman has bruises in the shape of my fingers on her upper arm.  But she was more worried about me and was smiling and sending good juju as I grimaced in pain.  A young man was on the other side of me, asking if I’d broken my foot. “I don’t know yet,” I responded through clenched teeth.  “Can you step on it?” “I don’t know yet–let me work through the pain first.”  Some deep breathing, calming thoughts… yes, I could put weight on it, but not fully.  He offered his shoulder to hold on to.  He asked where I was going; my response was that I WAS going to get beverages, but now needed to head back to my husband.  I introduced myself, and he said his name was Tim.  His partner gazed at me as if, “Man, it happened again!”  Sorry, dude!  Sure glad Tim was there!

We headed to my hubby, who looked amazed that I was hobbling and hanging on to a muscular, handsome man’s shoulder.  I explained what happened and how Tim came to my rescue and how I just wanted to go home.  Nope, no hospital for me!  Surely I couldn’t walk on it if I’d broke it.  I sat on a bench where a man and his wife were taking a break between eating at different trucks.  He jumped up so I could put my foot up even though I said I didn’t need that much room.  They stayed with me almost the whole time it took Hubby to go to the other side of the park to get the car and then maneuver through the traffic and crowds to find me.  They seriously were trying to comfort me with stories and finding commonalities and other stuff to get my mind off the pain.  But a little voice in my head said I’d broken the bone extension off.  Nah.  Surely, I just sprained it.  But… Bone extension, you ask??

Three summers ago, I was headed out to the garage, excited to be taking our son to his first swim lesson of the year, to be followed by a poolside bbq at a friend’s house. I looked back over my shoulder into the kitchen to make sure I had gotten everything, misjudged the one and only step down to the cement garage floor, turned my foot sideways as I landed and heard the bone snap in my foot.  A-Go-Nee.  wowza pain.  Holy guacamole.  ER dr. said it was the cleanest break he’d ever seen, showing that I had really strong bones.  He couldn’t have CUT it that cleanly.  Yep, I’m from Wisconsin; land of the dairy cow.  I’m a certifiable cheesehead.  Made perfect sense.  Well, here’s the problem.  My strong bone healed beautifully.  However, it made too much bone.  I had an extension of bone sticking out the side of my foot like a little spur.  Had to get rid of some shoes that hit that spot and was told I could have it trimmed down if things became too painful.   Got on with life, always knowing immediately if a shoe would be work or not.  That’s the little tip I just had an inkling that I had broken off.  I couldn’t feel it through all of the swelling, but there was a LOT of swelling.

All weekend I had wrapped my foot, iced it, elevated it, didn’t do so good with resting it, and went to my podiatrist yesterday just to make sure I was ok.  I could walk on it.  BUT there it was on the x-ray, just a bit away from the bigger bone. Dr. wasn’t too concerned about that little piece of bone.  He’s worried about the tendon that attaches right at that point.  One of two major tendons in the foot.  Holy crappola.  I’m now wearing a boot cast, using two crutches, not allowed to walk on it, for three long weeks.  I’ll go back after those three weeks to see if there’s tendon damage, meaning surgery.  ohmygoodness.  Just because of stupid sweet gum balls.  Yep, I really hate sweet gum trees, even though they’re so pretty in the fall.  Their seeds suck.