Posted in Family

This is your chance to start off the New Year with a good deed…

The fire at my parent’s house 12/27/2016

As I wrote about a few days ago, 2 days after Christmas my parent’s house caught on fire. The fire was started in one of the bedrooms by an electric blanket and spread to the surrounding rooms. It took less 3 minutes from the time my dad woke up to fire on top of his feet to the fire being fully involved, but everyone made it out of the house safely. The fire department responded within 3 minutes but it took about an hour for them to get the fire under control. About half the house was gutted by fire and the rest suffered severe smoke and water damage. The house is currently uninhabitable. 
The house was built by my great great grandfather after he immigrated from Italy. Including myself, 5 generations have lived in that house. 

The house was insured, but with it being such an old house and with the damage being so significant the repairs and replacements of things that were lost is going to be very costly.

I have set up an online donation fund to help my parents be able to afford to rebuild the house right and make it a much safer place for them to live. No amount is too small to make a difference. If you can’t afford to donate right now, you can help by sharing the link to the donation fund or reblogging this post. Thank you.

https://www.youcaring.com/fredcarradojr-727036

Posted in Blogging, Family, Writing Challenges

My parent’s house caught on fire…

Tuesday night was a very scary night. One of my Facebook friends alerted me to the fact that there was a fire reported near my parents house. I live all the way across the country, so I frantically called whatever numbers I could to try reach my parents and eventually reached them at my grandparent’s house next door.

It was my parents house that was on fire. My dad had gone to bed with the electric blanket on and woke up a couple hours later to find the foot of the bed on fire. He spent the night in the hospital for smoke inhalation and minor burns from trying to knock down the flames, but everyone made it out.

The fire spread from the bedroom to the surrounding rooms, and the firefighters had to knock down internal walls to fight the fire. Most of the windows are busted out and there are holes in the roof from venting the smoke and flames. The part of the house near the bedroom has been destroyed by the fire, and the rest of the house has severe smoke and water damage.

The house is uninhabitable.

My parents and brother are staying with my grandparents next door for now. The house is insured, so they have already started talking with the insurance company. Once they hear back from the insurance adjuster the rebuilding process will begin.

Posted in Blogging, Family, Mental Health, Relationships, Stay at Home Wife

Lonely by design…

A few days ago on Facebook Ra was talking about how she wanted to write a post about loneliness and asked if any of us had written posts on the subject. I’m not sure if I have written a post about it before, but it got me thinking about the way I’ve got my life set up.

I started writing a post early yesterday morning but ended up trashing it. Then I read Holly’s post on the subject of loneliness and decided to give mine another try.

My husband and I live hundreds of miles away from all of our friends and family. We originally lived in Connecticut but moved all the way out to Utah a little more than 12 years ago. All of the friends that we’ve made out here have been through my husband’s work. Those friendships can be hard to keep up though because I don’t socialize. I’m 100% an introvert. We now literally live right across the street from where my husband and his co-workers/friends work and I have still yet to actually invite my husband’s coworker/ friend that I’ve made via Facebook over on her way home from work. It’s not that I don’t want to see her, but the thought of inviting someone over causes anxiety for me. The nice thing is that she can totally relate, because she deals with anxiety herself.

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I do not have a job. I haven’t had a job since the beginning of my marriage almost 14 years ago. I’ve tried to work before, but it never ends well. My anxiety, bipolar disorder or panic disorder always end up causing me to leave all my jobs. I am extremely lucky that my husband is able to support us both.

So, I don’t socialize and I don’t work outside the home for the sake of my mental health, add to that that I also hate talking on the phone and that leaves social media, texting, email and interacting on blogs as my ways to connect with other people.

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Only sometimes even that is too much. Sometimes I go full hermit mode and drop off the face of the earth for a while.

But none of this is loneliness, this is how I’ve set up my life to survive since I have not received treatment for any of my mental health issues for over a decade. And because I’m an introvert and generally don’t really like people. It may not look healthy to you, but I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I ever did on medications.

The loneliness comes in when I come back to social media or my blog and no one’s around anymore. The people who used to read and comment on my blog aren’t there anymore. I can’t blame them, I’m the one who went radio silence for months.
So I try to reach out to other bloggers, I make a conscious effort to actually comment on their posts instead of my usual “liking and lurking” but I feel awkward and like I don’t belong. I feel like an outsider among the blogging friends/family. I feel like no one actually wants me there, but they’re too polite to tell me that I just don’t fit in anymore because I’ve fallen into the blogging black hole one too many times.
It’s nothing that anyone says or does, and I know it’s all in my head. I’m just very socially awkward and never know how to go about the whole “making friends” thing.

Especially since on some level I feel like I don’t deserve any friends anyway, because I know I’m just going to disappear again in the future at some point.

And that is a very lonely feeling.

Posted in Apartment Living, Family, Marriage

Last weekend’s mantra: it’s all just stuff…

This past weekend Curtis and I went through every item that we own.

Every. Single. Item.

Why Do I Own All Of The Things

We spent the entire weekend going through it all and deciding what we were keeping, what we were donating and what was trash. Our rule was if we aren’t actually using it or going to use it, we could not keep it. If it would only continue to be stored in a box and take up space that we aren’t going to have, there was no reason to keep it.

No matter what it was.

I kept repeating to myself that’s it’s all just stuff and if we don’t have an actual use for it we don’t need to keep it. Which led to some brutal decisions and emotional moments.

Curtis spent a lot of time building with Lego when he was growing up and had 4 boxes of original Lego from the 80’s that we had been lugging with us every time we’ve moved, including when we moved across the country from Connecticut to Utah. We’ve found somewhere to store them every time that we have moved, but this time we are moving into a much smaller apartment and just couldn’t figure out where we might have room to store them. Since they haven’t actually been used in years, after some discussion Curtis decided to go ahead and donate them. Which kind of broke my heart for him because I never expected him to decide to give them up.

We had already scanned all of our pictures, so all of our photo albums went in the trash. All of them, including our wedding albums. We never look at the physical pictures anyway, so it wasn’t all that hard of a decision, but I did feel kind of guilty about it. I’m just hoping that someone isn’t going to “rescue” them from the trash and try to return them to us. I felt like we should have included a note in the trash bag letting people know that they were thrown away on purpose because we made digital copies.

We took pictures of all of the things that we were not going to be able to keep so that it wasn’t like we were completely getting rid of them.

I kept one small doll that my great grandma made, but had to decide to donate a doll that my grandmother made and a doll that I helped my grandmother and aunt make because I simply will not have the space to store them.

I had to make the guilt inducing decision to throw away the cake topper that was used at both my wedding and my parent’s wedding because it was falling apart. The other cake topper that was used at our wedding, the utensils we used to cut our wedding cakes and the glasses that we used for the toasts at our wedding are all being donated.

All of our Halloween and Christmas decorations are being donated. I haven’t decorated in years and will have no space to store them. We took a picture of each individual decoration before sticking it in the donate pile.

All of my yarn and all of my beading supplies are being donated because they take up way too much space. Most of the artwork that we had done over the years that we were never likely to display anywhere again was gotten rid of or donated after we made absolutely that we got pictures of all of them.

There is a pile of stuff waiting to be donated in our garage that probably takes up about the same amount of floor space as the size of what our new living room will be. We have a picture of it, but it’s Curtis’ phone at work with him, so I can’t share it here.

It was a much more emotional project than I thought it would be, but overall I’m mostly just relieved to be getting rid of all of that stuff. We are much more likely to be able to fit in our new apartment now and the stuff that we are donating or that we trashed is all stuff that we will not have to pack into a moving truck. Which makes the thought of this move a lot less overwhelming.

Go Minimal

Posted in Blogging, Family, Marriage, Relationships

No longer anonymous…

When I started this blog a few years ago I didn’t start out as anonymous. I let people on Facebook know that I had a blog and had my posts automatically shared on Facebook when I posted them. But, to my knowledge, not many people I actually knew were reading my blog and I wanted to start writing about things that were going to be easier to write about if no one knew who I was, so I decided to unlink my blog from Facebook. I went completely anonymous. No photos of myself, no names, only vague references to where I lived.

And then as I made friends via my blog I slowly started to give out bits and pieces of information about who I was and where I lived. I let people know that I lived in Northern Utah, in the Salt Lake Valley. That before that I lived in a little town on the Connecticut shoreline where I grew up. I slowly started to post pictures of myself, first without showing my face and then no longer hiding my face. I even changed my user pic to an actual picture of me.

The one thing that I have not done is let people know my real name. But as I have made friends on here and have started to connect with them via my personal Facebook page I have realized that eventually some of my other friends and family are going to figure out that I have a blog. And while that used to worry me because I fear judgement from them for the opinions and life choices that I discuss on this blog, I find that I no longer care as much if they might disapprove. I will be 33 years old on the very last day of November. I have been married to my husband, Curtis, (also known as unremarkable man) for 13 years and living on the other side of the country from most of my friends and family for over 11 years. In other words, I’m grown ass woman, and while I will always appreciate input and support from my friends and family, their opinion on how I choose to live my life doesn’t really matter.

Don't be afraid to rock the boat

I don’t need anyone’s approval or permission to live my truth. And if anyone decides to voice their displeasure with my life choices, just know that one of my life choices is that I don’t need to have negativity in my life. You are allowed to have your opinions, but there is no reason why I need to hear about those opinions unless I have specifically asked for them.

WhatYouThinkOfYourself

My life choices are not up for debate.

I have recently come back to blogging after taking a break from it for almost a year. I spruced up my blog layout. And I have decided that I’m tired of hiding. This is my space to write about what I want, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.

My name is Charlene Perry.

Posted in Family, Hairstyles, Relationships, Shaved Head

I shaved my head and people freaked out…

I made the decision to shave my head a couple of days ago and posted a picture of the result on Facebook.

9-10-2015

I knew that people were going to be surprised by just how short I went, just the year before I had hair down past my hips.

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But I had been slowly cutting it shorter and shorter over the past year, and had recently cut it to about a 1/2 inch long so I didn’t think that it was really all that drastic or sudden of a change.

I got a lot of positive feedback, along with some somewhat neutral, possibly negative feedback. A guy friend of mine commented that he’s “had that same haircut!” He happens to have long hair now, so my response was “And I’ve had your current hairstyle before!”

And then I got a message asking me if I was “doing alright” “because few women shave their heads.”

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Which honestly pissed me off.

A woman deciding to shave her head is not a sign of mental illness.

Then my grandmother straight out asked me in a comment on my picture if I was fighting cancer.

Oh No She Didn't Just Say That

To which I asked her if she seriously thought that I wouldn’t let everyone know that I was if that was what was going on.

Not every woman who shaves her head is sick. Some women shave their heads because they like the way they look with short hair.

I was then meant to feel guilty about my decision because “some women would do almost anything to have such beautiful hair.”

It’s not like I permanently cut off my hair. If I stop cutting it, it’ll grow back.

Also, I am in no way obligated to wear my hair long simply because other people find it pretty.

WhatYouThinkOfYourself

Think of it this way: My husband cuts his hair just as short as mine all the time and nobody cares. Because he’s a guy.

But when a woman, such as myself, decides to shave her head it’s a big deal and some people decide that she must be ill in some way (either physically or mentally) because “why would a woman shave her head?”

Warning Reflections in Mirror Distorted

“Because she felt like it” is a perfectly acceptable answer to that question by the way.

There is absolutely no reason why a woman can’t style her hair any damn way she wants, including deciding to shave it all off. Women don’t need long hair to still be feminine.

And the only reason why it should be a big deal is because of how awesome she looks with her new hairstyle.

Too Busy Being Awesome

And if “bald is beautiful” is only true to you if that person has cut their hair off for health reasons, if you are offended by the thought of women shaving their heads simply because they want to, I suggest that you may never have really meant it in the first place. Other women who are healthy deciding to shave their heads in no way takes away from the courageousness of women who had less choice in the matter.

Women are beautiful. Period. Hair length has nothing to with it.

judging defines you

Posted in Cat Mom, Family, Food

Emergency vet visits…

A week ago today I came out of my bedroom to find a very sick cat. My cat, Teddy Bear, had very recently picked up the habit of getting into the small trash can in our living room and leaving the plastic hard candy wrappers that he found there strewn about the living room. After he was done licking them, and apparently in one case actually eating one of them. We discovered that he had actually eaten one of them when it came back up a couple of Sundays ago. We kept an eye on him and he seemed fine the rest of the day and the day after. But last Tuesday he was definitely not fine anymore. He had been sick several times, had no interest in food whatsoever and was extremely lethargic. My husband and I had no money to bring him into the vet, but we couldn’t not bring him, so we scrambled and figured out where we could get some money to pay for transportation and called our vet. Only to find out that it was too late in the day for them to see him and be refered to a 24 hour emergency vet clinic. More money that we didn’t have was required for them to even look at him, but we had to do something, so we brought him down there. Because we couldn’t afford the treatment that they were reccomending, all they could tell us was that he was a very sick cat that might have a foreign body blockage, but without the proper tests (that we couldn’t afford to pay for) they couldn’t tell us for sure what was wrong with him. They gave him some fluids and an anti-emetic in the hopes that it would be enough to keep him alive until we could get him to our vet in the morning and sent him home with us. They stressed that he might not make it through the night.
He made it through the night though and, after a sleepless night, we rushed him into our vet. They took him back and told us they’d call us through out the day as they knew more. We spent the first few hours after dropping him off worrying about the fact that if it was a foreign body blockage, we could not afford the surgery he would need. And then after receiving a call from the vet telling us that they didn’t think he’d need surgery we spent the rest of the day worrying about the fact that we were told that his liver and gallbladder were failing and we weren’t sure why or if he’d make it through it because he’s a 12 year old cat.
A plan was made for him to stay until closing receiving fluids and meds that day and then we’d pick him up, take him home and keep a close eye on him overnight and then bring him back when they opened the following morning to get more fluids and meds through out the day again. And hope that he would then be well enough to stay home with us after that because we absolutely could not afford for them to do anything more than that.
When we picked him up Wednesday night he growled from the moment they brought him into the exam room till we put him in the car. Not ideal, seeing as he never behaves like that, but at least he was alert. He actually ate some food that night and continued to improve throughout the day Thursday while he was at the vet.  When we picked him up Thursday night his bloodwork showed that his liver and gallbladder we’re functioning much better than before. They sent him home with a couple of antibiotics and liver protectant of some kind. Luckily the liver protectant is something that they want him to take, but it isn’t absolutely necessary that he takes it. Because it’s a huge pill, and he can’t swallow it. He chokes on it instead. We tried crushing it up and mixing it into his wet food, but the pill smells horrible and he ended up just not eating most of his food that day. So the liver protectant pill is a no go.

As of today, he is pretty much back to his normal self.

We don’t know exactly what happened, but we have a theory that some of those candy wrappers that he was pulling out of the trash can and licking (or swallowing…) may have still had some bits of candy on them. His system just couldn’t handle it and his liver and gallbladder started to shut down. The IV fluids helped flush his system though, and now he is doing better.

Needless to say, hard candy wrappers no longer get thrown away in our living room trash can…