Saturday, August 17, 2013

Another day..... and it is time to face one's demons.

Well, it is Saturday and I am two days into taking new medication for "Major Depression / Anxiety / PTSD"

I'll quote Penny from her facebook post to give an idea as to what the past 2 days have been like (she posted the below yesterday morning):
Good morning my FB friends and family!!! I hope today is a blessed day for everyone. Today is a good day, I feel wonderful!! I'm so proud of my hubby, I went with him yesterday to his appointment at the Health Clinic, and he has committed to going to some therapy classes for his depression. A step towards some healing and moving forward for him, and I couldn't be more proud! Steinar is a very proud man who's used to being the strong hold in our family so this is HUGE for him to decide to finally do it. I so look forward to seeing my man in a place where he can start engaging with his extended family and just "live" life again. God bless him.
It was a Godsend that Steinar was able to get into the clinic right away yesterday, there was a cancelation right when we got there to make an appointment, so he got to see the counselor yesterday instead of waiting a month! He was given prescriptions for his depression as well and started on them last night. That was ALL GOD's hands baby!!!
It was also a learning and humbling experience for me, one would think that I live with him, he's my husband so I should be expected to realize what he's going through. But yesterday sitting there listening to him talk to the counselor, made me realize I wasn't being fair to him at all. To be honest I thought he was just feeling sorry for himself a lot, but I was so wrong!!! Steinar is really affected by his depression much worse then I thought. I know God will heal him and get him through his struggles, and it will take some time, but I am grateful that God opened my eyes so that I can be here for him 100% and with compassion and understanding. Praise God.
So, Penny saw me "raw" for the first time in a very long time (as there isn't anything I didn't share with the Psychiatrist - I shared the good, the bad, and the ugly). The below isn't a pity party, it is me in the raw explaining just how difficult it is to live life nowadays.

I have found that many hold me to a standard that they themselves do not meet (and instead of just tolerating those people, I have learned over time to keep them at arms length). For certain, I am no longer interacting with certain people for various reasons, but mainly when they hurt me in such a way that I choose to step away from them (and I have found that type of action is pretty much a result of my childhood experiences). The last person who told me how much they hated me due to actions I have allegedly done in the past (actions interpreted by them as unforgivable) are themselves no better than whom they judge (that person for example being an alcoholic plus enabler of others and while still choosing to interact with others who are far worse than I allegedly am only they ignore the issue with the other person as there are children involved) - essentially a Hypocrite in my eyes and a person unwilling to accept people for who they are at face value.

As a matter of fact, she tends to expect one to hear what she has to say, but she refuses to listen / read what the accused respond with ("do as I say, not as I do"). After claiming to "forgive me" and yet asking me to let her know when I am coming an hour ahead of time so she won't have to be there, this person's last words to me last month were: "So, the truth is finally starting to emerge and people that you think you have fooled are starting to see through your act. Karma is a real bitch and from what I can see that you are going through, it is biting you in the ass and maybe sometimes you get what you deserve. I know you will delete this or not allow it to post so that your 'church family' doesn't see it and know what the 'real' Steinar is like...but that's okay. So long as you and I are perfectly clear on this situation".  Simply astounding (and to be honest, one wonders how she would react if people knew her for who she really was). Also, her definition of "people" is quite curious since I only know a couple of people who thinks like she does.

The thing is, I don't have an agenda to show people who she really is as that is not what is important in life to a Christian (so what is her goal for doing so regarding me?). Considering she also doesn't go to Church, just what does she think people do regarding sharing with others at one's church? And to state "I know you will delete this or not allow it to post" as if my actions are dependent on her goading me is certainly evidence of an agenda. For a Christian, not a very Christian viewpoint and one whom I feel I should no longer associate with (as this person certainly has their own agenda instead of just accepting a person for who they are). The fact that she never wants anyone in my family to acknowledge her birthday, their anniversary, visit her in the hospital, or interact with this family for any period of time (but opens her household to her own family) speaks volumes.

Regarding my issues as of late, one has to know what transpired in order to understand why I put up barriers (and why Penny wrote what she did). The older children in my family grew up in an abusive household and are the children of an alcoholic. If you haven't dealt with that, you can only imagine what it was like regarding seeing one's mother hit time and time again (and also that male role model seeing women on the side and exposing one's children to that). When I hear the song "My father was a rolling stone, wherever he lay his hat, was his home"..... I think of my father (and they are not happy thoughts). He stopped drinking after my sister was born, but the abuser never left (as he got older, he was unable to hit us anymore so the abuse became more mental over time). Either way, I learned over time that if I kept chaos at arms length.... I was able to survive the episode (and that my loved ones would not have to witness the chaos like I had to when I was growing up). Over time, these became "boundaries".  My definition of boundaries are that which I hyperlinked to.

Considering how much has happened to both myself, my wife, my children, and my extended family..... and the fact that ever since my mother passed - I have no real "close" family anymore (the only family I have are either in NY and they have a lot to deal with themselves or are still are over 5,000 miles away in a different country) - it is no wonder that my coping skills have withered during the past 4 years. It has been my church friends who have kept me from going over the edge (that and my growing relationship with God). I have a lot of growing to do in that regard but I cannot imagine just where we'd be without our Church and God.

For over 20 years - having a disabled step-son is difficulty enough, a child being molested and with having no real justice for her, fighting an ex-wife who's single goal is excluding the father and his family and using every means to make things difficult (with her wanting to be subsidized the entire time for her decisions), plus having a disabled wife who was shot and subsequently injured on the job while the government denies benefits, and then having worked myself hard with no real backup for my duties for many years while still being responsible for everything (and ensuring everyone I am responsible for is taken care of at the same time).... and then when I face unemployment, I make too much money to get help from almost all governmental entities and I have to fight with every ounce of ability to get something that I have earned while working for over 35 years while paying taxes and paying child support (and doing everything I am supposed to do). And then some people questioning my reaching out for help (and the methods in which I have done so)......

Essentially, Penny got a glimpse of the stress / responsibility that I am under...... and 2 days ago, I feel I was finally acknowledged that I am a human being and I was allowed to be "broken" and in need of fixing (and that it will take her help and others to help me mend). It is an absolutely incredible feeling to have someone in your corner and when she sat down with me and said "I understand", my heart melted. Absolutely, I need to be there for her, but it is nice to know she is there for me also. =)   I am a very proud man and we have worked very hard for what we have. In order to survive the past 18 months, I have used all of my knowledge at horse trading to keep our heads above water and I am almost out of solutions. To see what we built falling apart is not an easy thing to deal with.... and to see my wife almost die and there was nothing I could do but pray.... and now my wife is undergoing multiple surgeries to stay ahead of the cancer (and watching chemo eat away at her).... all I can do now is seek help spiritually and via medical professionals. It has always been on my shoulders (and a lot of that is my fault), now we will see if I can change my coping skills in order for things to get better all around me. Penny and Travis need me now more than ever.......

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Baby steps..... coming up to Penny's cystoscopy.

So Penny's cystoscopy  is coming up soon (on September 9th), and we are cautiously optimistic. She is not showing any evident signs of blood in her urine, so that is a positive. She is showing signs of low grade fevers tho (along with lethargy and thinning hair) so we hope that is just a result of the chemo and that such symptoms will slowly go away. I will be getting the trailer ready next week for the weekend of the procedure so I have a place to stay at Illinois Beach (and so we can enjoy Illinois Beach together for our 22nd wedding anniversary). We are hoping that we'll get access to "our tree" at the Beach so we can enjoy God's playground (we are very enamored with that location).

I will be stopping by the Psychiatrist's office in McHenry this afternoon (I was referred to one last week). Apparently, since my "Vetcare" is considered Medicaid, there are very few options out there regarding Physicians who accept that Medicaid.... so my trip today is to initiate treatment (but I will have to wait over a month to see the Psychiatrist himself). So, I will be living an example of the future regarding Governmental Medical care such as ACA/Obamacare... so it is a good thing I am only dealing with Anxiety and Depression instead of something more serious.

Now that the Shed is finished, I can concentrate on clearing out the garage (as soon as the latest gout attack on my right foot subsides). Plus, I've been applying for multiple jobs online and I am seeing more out there along the lines of what I do, so I am hopeful that something will become available soon. This week is a beautiful week weather wise (low 70's. low humidity) so Penny and I will be taking advantage of "Shangri-La" later this afternoon and listen to the water feature while enjoying a liquid beverage. And then tonight, Travis and I get to see 'Da bears and we will watch with interest whether their Offense finds consistency.   =)


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Well, the Shed is FINALLY painted (and we did it with the help of a family friend). =)

It took TWO years, but the Shed is finally completely painted!!!!!  WOOHOO!!!!  =)

Now we just have to install the maroon shutters (that we got 2 years ago).
This is the before picture (a few weeks ago).

A family friend's son came over to paint the upper part of the Shed (he used a power paint sprayer that Penny received from her father a couple of months ago). It took about 2 hours, but the paint went on pretty cleanly (and we gave him $50.00 for his effort). We normally would have done it ourselves, but Penny cannot climb ladders anymore due to her had knees and back (and I can't climb ladders anymore due to my gout), so this has been needing to be done for a while now. Very frustrating when one used to do everything up to a couple of years ago.......

Our Insurance Company's independent inspector also came over around 3 pm as well and inspected our home regarding our claim. He confirmed we do have a 30 year roof, but both it and the garage have "Organic" shingles.... and the shingles on the house are disintegrating quickly (especially on the south and west sides of the home). The roof was installed in 2002/2003 by the previous owner,  and 2003 is when they stopped being sold. Lucky us. Apparently there was a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of  this type of shingle and we didn't know about it as we weren't told we had an Organic Shingled roof. So now we are on pins and needles waiting to hear the decision of our Insurance Company within 2 to 10 days. Also, the hail damage is inconsistent (so we don't know if the siding will be dealt with in addition to the roof issue). Ugh........

We'll try to keep positive about it, but dealing with home repair issues gets very frustrating the older one gets.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tomorrow, we will finish painting the shed..... after starting on it 2 years ago...

It has only taken 2 years for us to get this done (d'oh). A family friend has "volunteered" to help as it is the 2nd floor gable area that still needs to be painted (and Penny and I are no longer able to climb a ladder without major pain).

We are exited to finally get this task complete (and we will be giving the volunteer a stipend for helping us).

One thing that happens when dealing with adversity that we learned from my mother's battle with Cancer, things that one used to be able to do basically goes by the wayside when dealing with the treatment along with the paperwork plus the physical weakness associated with it. It hasn't helped that my gout has gotten worse either during the past 18 months.

With adversity, comes the inevitable inability to get physical things done. We are so ready to downsize, I can't even begin to describe how happy we'd be at a condo or mobile home park (where the mowing is minimal or non existent along with home repair). We are 5 years away from being able to be allowed into an over 55 mobile home park, and I for one am looking forward to the possibility.

In the interim, we have a bunch of things to get done and are quickly running out of Summer in which to get them done (so we are hopeful that we will feel good enough to actively clean out the garage and have enough days without rain to make that so. 

Well, that didn't work out that well. The Mitsubishi dealership can't do a thing about our situation.

We had to deal with our Insurance Company today regarding the Hail/Wind damage to our home (and the claim that we had to open to deal with the roof leak due to the shingle damage, the escalating shingle problem on the west side of the roof plus the damage to our porch windows which we had to replace). This will be at least a 4 week process (we hated to file a claim as our deductible will certainly make things even harder on us, but after the contractor looked over the home... it is evident we need to initiate repairs before the house gets any worse... especially before winter). The Insurance Company will be sending an independent contractor (rightfully so), I just hope that they are realistic regarding the issues noted by our contractor.

I emailed the Mitsubishi dealership at about 4 am this morning (with pictures of the 2006 Uplander attached to it). As I was working outside this afternoon along with taking some items back to Menards, I had received no response to my email. So I went to see them this afternoon.

Not only did they indicate that they "can't" contact Mitsubishi Credit for us, but the amount offered for the Uplander was a horrendous $2,000.00 (despite estimating Private Party worth as $5,500.00 and trade in value as $3.500.00). Apparently, dealerships now go by auto action prices (funny thing, a 2004 Pontiac Montana with 96,000 miles, 2 rear drum brakes, and some rust is on their lot for $5,995.00). That being the case, the 2006 is almost mint condition and should go on their lot for at least $6,500.00. I think the auto dealerships are so desperate for profit, that they had gone "mad" and lost all sense of what could even be construed as fairness (and are no longer capable of compromise in the effort to exploit na├»ve people). To be sure, we will never be purchasing a new or used vehicle from a dealership ever again (this only reinforced my opinion of them). I wasn't expecting them to be able to resolve our issues, but I was at least hoping they would be reasonable with us (being long term customers of theirs). An absurd thought in hindsight.......

So we sat down with a family friend tonight and we discussed the Auto Auction idea (we should know more by tomorrow night if that is even viable... she will be getting with a few different dealerships she knows to see if there are.... options). I also have to contact a 3rd party negotiating company to discuss our handing over the Mitsubishi so tomorrow is a very important day in dealing with that final financial albatross.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Travis and I went on a little adventure..... and picked up the Chevy Uplander. =)

So Travis and I went for a trip yesterday to trade vehicles (the Chrysler Sebring Convertible for a Chevy Uplander) and the other gentleman and I met at the halfway point (Plymouth, Indiana). Of course, Interstate 90 was a parking lot so it took us longer to get there than I had originally anticipated. We met the other owner and his wife. He admitted the Sebring looked/ran better than he was anticipating so they seemed very happy with the trade (I must admit, it was sparkling in the evening light and looked awesome.... but my throbbing right foot from the drive reiterated the fact we cannot use the vehicle anymore due to how low it rides and how uncomfortable my legs are in such a setup). Travis and I enjoyed the endless fields of corn and how beautiful the Midwest is in August and did a lot of talking (we caught up talking about many things, which was enjoyable).

The upside is that this transaction only cost $15.00 (for the gas I put into the Sebring to get to Indiana), that's it. There are a couple items with the van that I will need to address over the next couple of days (I need to have a rear passenger tire replaced as it is cupping on one side of the tire and the front dash cup holder needs to be reinstalled correctly.... I will work on those tomorrow), but otherwise... the van is in fantastic condition (as can be seen by the photos below). It cleaned up very nicely today at the $3 car wash (and the armor-all cleaned up the tires very nicely also).  Now, I will be taking it to the Mitsubishi dealership tomorrow afternoon and seeing if they will take the 2006 Uplander plus the 2011 Outlander to eliminate our loan that is left on the Outlander (we owe $32k and it is worth around $24k... so the difference is about $8k that we need to make up for... which I hope the Uplander will do). Much prayer will be needed in this endeavor.... as it will be a true miracle should we be successful. If we pull this off, the only major monthly payment we will have will be the mortgage (the Town and Country is $204 a month which is still affordable considering how well the vehicle runs).