Thursday, April 28, 2011

Had a Taste of You, Threw Up All Night

Of course my body would let me down right before we're due to leave for vacation! I seem to always get sick or hurt right before I head back home- last year I was sick from a wicked spider bite and the year before that I could hardly walk through the airport after stepping on a bee. This year my ears are hurting, my head is killing me and I'm either nauseous or vomiting. It started yesterday morning, but I thought it'd go away once I got up and moving for the day so I drove up to the mall near work to get a few last minute gifts for people back home but I soon realized that the waves of nausea were not going away and with my head pounding, there was no way I could put up with talking to anyone on the phone, let alone people screaming at me. I was also feeling really, really spacey and had trouble concentrating. I knew it would look really bad to have a day off right before my month long vacation, but I called in sick anyway and headed to the medical center located near the mall. Other than noting my headache and nausea, the doctor was not interested in my medical history at all and within 2 minutes told me my problem was tension headaches and sent me off with a prescription for muscle relaxers. I knew that this probably wasn't the right answer, but I had my doctor's note for work, so I went home to sleep and hoped I'd wake up feeling better. Instead, I woke up feeling even worse and went out in to the backyard to sit in the cold air. That didn't help so I threw up in some bushes. That didn't help either so I took a shower and sat under the hot water for awhile. That didn't help so I drank some tea. That didn't help because I threw up again. Then I had some gingerale. Then I threw up again, then again until there was nothing left to throw up. I thought once it was all out of me, I'd start to feel better but the nausea stayed with me all night and I've still got it (although to a lesser extent, thank god) as has my headache. MOTH suggested that maybe it was vertigo that was causing my headache and nausea. I was a little unsteady on my feet yesterday but didn't have the spins, but it got me thinking that I have been having trouble with my ears the past couple of weeks so maybe that is throwing off my equilibrium a bit. Sure enough, this morning when I woke up, both ears were sore and through the night I couldn't get comfortable lying on either one of them. Luckily, the medical center I normally go to had an appointment open for this morning so I'm heading out the door for that now. Fingers crossed I just need some ear drops and maybe they'll throw in some anti-nausea medicine for good measure, too. Don't know if I'll work today, especially since my ears are so sensitive and my headset doesn't seem to help that, but I will go in physically to the office so that if nothing else, they can see how crappy I actually look and know that I'm not faking being sick right before I go away on vacation. I'd trade being on the phones for the afternoon for the way I'm feeling right now in a heartbeat! So wish me luck that this all gets cleared up by flight time tomorrow and wish me safe travels. I'll update again from Kauai!

Monday, April 25, 2011

One More Day to Leave it All Behind To Go Where You Have Never Even Tried

So welcome back to the roller coaster that is my mind and my emotions. Today you find me in a good mood and my spirits high. I am on the final day of a 5 day long weekend and I only have 3 more days left at work before I am off for a whole month!

MOTH Dude and I have spent the weekend cleaning, doing laundry, gardening, visiting friends and family and catching up on much needed sleep and our favorite TV shows.

We are both nearly giddy at the thought of our upcoming travel plans! Saturday we are having a van pick us up and then we are off to SYD to catch our JetStar flight to Honolulu. We arrive at about 6:30am Saturday morning where we will head through customs and then catch a flight to Kauai where we will meet up with my Mom and Dad. From there we will head to our favorite condo ever (see image above, it's called Whalers Cove and it's in Poipu) and spend 8 days snorkeling, tanning, stand up paddle boarding, and hanging out.

After that we head to San Francisco for a few days where we plan on walking over the GG Bridge again, eating at our favorite restaurants, doing some shopping, meeting with a potential wedding photographer, and hitting up an SF Giants baseball game-MOTH's first ever!

After San Francisco, we will head down to Santa Cruz to hang out, visit potential wedding spots, meet our wedding coordinator, hang with some of my parents' really fun and nice neighbors, beach walk, meet other potential wedding vendors, and eat at all of our favorite places. Bun and Markie may also come up for a visit so we can show them around and so that they can finally experience staying in the awesome pool house at Mom and Dad's.

We are also planning on a very quick road trip down to Orange County to meet with our other potential wedding photographers, as well as to visit my Gma and ask my Godfather to be our wedding officiant!

We have so much to do in the three weeks we will be back in California and I really want to get as much wedding stuff nailed down as possible because it may be the last time we/MOTH Dude will be there before the wedding (eeeek!). I'm sure we will be coming back from our trip as worn out as when we left, but in a good way. I can't wait to meet all the people who are potentially going to make our wedding day so special. I also can't wait to see how much all of this is going to cost us. I am sure we are in for some sticker shock!

I really wish Nae could be with us in Kauai and for wedding planning since she's my Maid of Honor (or as I like to call her, the Maid of Horror since she thinks I'm going to be a bridezilla, haha), but she is swamped with tracking sharks and working on her dissertation so I am hoping that MOTH Dude and I (or at least I) can get back at Christmas time when she is planning on a visit.

In other news, my sister who is not really my sister, aka the Camp Counselor is going to be watching the pets while we are in Kauai. She is then leaving with her real family for a trip to Australia the day after we get in to Santa Cruz and as (bad) luck would have it, she'll be arriving back to the U.S. on the day that MOTH and I arrive back to Sydney! I can't believe the timing of it!

Stay tuned for all the exciting (at least to me) updates and photos.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

And I'm Sure the View from Heaven Beats the Hell Out of Mine Here...You Won't Be Coming Back and I Didn't Get to Say Good Bye

Very late last night/early this morning, MOTH and I got in from hanging out with our friends for the last time before we leave for the States. He had a little bit of work he wanted to finish and I wasn't tired so I decided to look at one of my wedding websites. In one of the real wedding posts, a girl had on a dress I liked so I clicked on the link to the shop where she bought it and this song came on:

I hadn't heard it in years, but it immediately reminded me of my 8th grade graduation because it was the song we walked in and out of the church to. For whatever reason it got me thinking about my friend Noah and I hadn't really thought of him in months so I tried to google his name because it used to bring up a picture of him from right before he died. Whoever used to have the picture on their blog, must have taken it down or closed their blog because it didn't come up this time so I did a general search of Noah's name and as soon as I saw the first link related to him I burst out crying. I was so freaked out because the text from the link said Noah Oct 3 1984-April 17 2002-9 years ago today! I couldn't believe the coincidence or the timing of it all. I also couldn't believe that it had been 9 whole years since we lost him.

MOTH and I stayed up even later, just lying in bed and talking about Noah and a friend MOTH had who died under similar circumstances when he was 13, and about all that lost potential and wondering what our friends would be like today had they made it to 29 and 26, rather than ending it all at 14 and 17. I still count April 18 2002 as one of the worst days of my life and even though the shock of the coincidence from this morning has left me a bit sad today, I feel like I am finally moving on from his death. The wound is no longer so fresh and raw. While I hate his decision, I realize he didn't make it in a rational or sane state of mind, and I think that I have finally accepted it and that he is gone.

Although it has taken me a long time to get to this point and it is a good place to be, now I feel a bit scared. Scared because I'm afraid of forgetting him. Scared because I'm getting older and he'll forever be 17. Scared because I'm moving forward, while he let himself get stuck in a moment. Scared because if I'm starting to forget him, who else is forgetting him or has forgotten him already? I guess I needn't be scared, though, because even if I don't think about him as often as I used to, it doesn't mean I don't love him any less than I did then and I'll always hold a piece of him in my heart. And although I totally don't believe in that kind of stuff, maybe he is looking out for me somehow and gave me a little subconscious poke that brought him in to my mind today, on this particular day of all days?

I'll leave you with a video and the lyrics to a song I used to listen to on repeat right after he died:

Yellowcard "View from Heaven"

I'm just so tired
Won't you sing me to sleep
And fly through my dreams
So I can hitch a ride with you tonight
And get away from this place
Have a new name and face
I just ain't the same without you in my life

Late night drives, all alone in my car
I can't help but start
Singing lines from all our favorite songs
And melodies in the air
Singin' life just ain't fair
Sometimes I still just can't believe you're gone

And I'm sure the view from heaven
Beats the hell out of mine here
And if we all believe in heaven,
Maybe we'll make it through one more year
Down here

Feel your fire,
When its cold in my heart
And things sorta start
Remindin' me of my last night with you
I only need one more day
Just one more chance to say
I wish that I had gone up with you too

And I'm sure the view from heaven
Beats the hell out of mine here
And if we all believe in heaven
Maybe we'll make it through one more year
Down here
You won't be comin' back
And I didn't get to say goodbye (goodbye)
I really wish I got to say goodbye

And I'm sure the view from heaven
Beats the hell out of mine here
And if we all believe in heaven
Maybe we'll make it through one more year
I hope that all is well in heaven (well in heaven)
Cuz it's all shot to hell down here (we need you)
I hope that I find you in heaven
Cuz I'm so...
Lost without you down here

You won't be coming back
And I didn't get to say goodbye (goodbye)
I really wish I got to say gooooodbye

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wearing Your Black Eye Like a Badge of Honor

(Or: Is This the Way a Toy Feels When Its Batteries Run Dry?)

Today during a guest presentation at work, the speaker told our group that overseas Australia is known as the fight capital of the world..."If you want to go to a country and get beat up, go to Australia" is what he said news programs in other countries report about Australi to which I was very emphatically (and internally) nodding my head. He later wrapped up his talk by bringing it full circle back to this idea that Aus is a perpetual fight club by saying, "Other countries who think that of us are crazy. We are about being good mates to each other....blah blah blah....built of each other.....blah blah blah, mates." And I was thinking, "I think the foreign news stories have got it right about it here," but of course you can't say that as the only non-Aussie in the room!

For all the shit I get from Australians about our lack of gun control in America, I can honestly say I've never felt as unsafe in my life as I have living here and no one I know back home even owns a gun. Granted, I lived in a lot nicer neighborhoods than I do here, but even walking around big cities in the States I felt a lot safer than I do here in my home in Australia.

Before living here I guess I didn't realize the polite segregation that still happens in our society back home. There you have your ghettos, your working class neighborhoods, your middle class neighborhoods, and your upper middle class and then rich neighborhoods. I don't know if city planners here are just dumb or what, but you can have a decent middle class neighborhood and then someone will decide it's an awesome idea to stick a group of housing commission homes (Aus' version of the ghetto) or some kind of pub/club on the corner so you can never just have a safe, quiet neighborhood.

MOTH Dude and I currently live in a neighborhood I'd describe as working class with the immediate houses around us occupied by families and senior citizens. We could afford to live somewhere nicer, but we're saving for the wedding and just saving, in general, for the future so we don't have to buy a place in a neighborhood like the one we are in now. And really with housing commission blocks everywhere it doesn't seem like there are a ton of "nice" neighborhoods for us to move in to anyway. We could spend $100-$200 more per week (that's how rent is paid here, by the way-still find that strange) and we'd be having the same problems we are having now. I should know, my parents' paid a lot of rent money when I was living in a nice place in Newcastle during college and I was still woken up most weekends by people fighting in the street.

This past week I've had to call the cops twice and also heard a horrific story about an incident that happened to one of MOTH Dude's Uncle's friends. Last Friday night, MOTH stayed back at work to have drinks with coworkers so I was home alone and watching a movie in bed, when at about 11, I heard a couple arguing in the street. When I first moved to Australia, it would've been something I would've really tensed up over but now it's kind of a common occurrence so I kept watching my movie, figuring they'd move on. A few minutes later I could tell that the couple had moved in to the little park across the street from us and I heard the girl yell, "Ow, stop, you're hurting me!" so I paused my movie to listen to what was going on and the girl continued to yell this a few more times so I decided to call the cops in case the girl was really getting hurt. I heard her boyfriend tell her, "I'll pull you by your f*ing hair if I have to" and it sounded like that was what he was doing. I spoke to the cops, but at that point it sounded like the couple was moving on. The dispatcher said she'd still have officers come check the park to make sure everything was ok there. I waited 10 minutes at the front door and they never showed up. I looked out the window any time a car drove passed for the next 30 minutes...still no cops! Glad the girl wasn't getting totally beat up in the park or she would have been in serious trouble. It also made me angry because it was obvious that none of my neighbors had called the cops to report the incident, either, even though they were all home, including the family who lives directly next to the park where the girl's screams were coming from.

Tuesday night we ended up having a late night since I got dinner going later than usual and it took longer to make than it should have and we decided to watch a movie while we ate dinner which finished later than we had expected. So by the time we checked emails, MOTH did dishes, and I got settled in to bed to read for a few minutes and he jumped in the shower so he wouldn't have to before his 4:15 leave time in the morning, it was after 11. At some point a car pulled up, but I just assumed it was our neighbor pulling in to his driveway which is right next to our bedroom window and that he must be saying good bye to some friends. They talked on and on and on and I thought, "Alright, Dude, it's nearly 11:30 on a Tuesday night, wrap it up" but then when I really started listening the voices didn't sound like they were coming from behind my head, they sounded like they were coming from directly in front of our bedroom windows. I got up and went to our front room and peaked out of the windows and there was a station wagon with a bunch of guys standing around it, blocking our driveway. Out of all the places to park on the street, they didn't pull over in front of the park or the vacant block/nature strip next to our house or even properly in front of our house, they parked across the end of our driveway. Something about it creeped me out and I turned on the porch light so the guys got the hint, like, "Hey, we're in here, you can shut up and leave now" and they did get in their car, but then they just sat out there in the dark. I went in to the bathroom and told MOTH about them and when he got out he went to the front and peaked out, too. We turned off all the lights to try and hint at them again that we were there and were wanting to sleep, but the car just sat there and we were like, "Are these guys the dumbest/loudest burglars alive or what?" MOTH Dude decided to go out to our laundry room and make sure it was locked up and I sat on our bed waiting for him to come back in. As soon as he got out of the back door, the doors of the car opened and I heard people walking around in our front yard. I started to panic about them going in to the backyard where MOTH was but I couldn't move. Luckily, MOTH came back in and said as he was locking up, he saw the guys walking up the vacant block all the way down to the end of it where there is nothing, but easy access in to our backyard so I said, "Okay, I'm calling the cops." So for the second time in four days, I put in an emergency call and the dispatcher said she'd have someone out here quickly. We waited 5 minutes, heard the guys throw some cans and stuff on our lawn and then their car started up and they pulled away. I started to feel like an idiot for being paranoid and called the dispatch back and they said they would cancel the call out. For the next hour, every little cricket chirp or bat screech had me sitting up in bed and looking out the window to make sure no one was out there. When MOTH's alarm went off at 3:45, I had already been lying awake for nearly 20 minutes. As it got light, I was able to get about an hour's sleep before my own alarm went off. Not a fun way to spend a night and I was a zombie at work on Wednesday.

To just pull up to someone's house and block their driveway when the whole street is wide open and full of regular spots to pull in to is just weird to me. As a teenager, I'd sometimes pull over with a friend to have a chat in front of a random house, but it was always in a spot in front of the house, not blocking anyone's driveway and we hardly ever got out of the car so the people inside the house would not be woken up by us.

Finally, the last concerning incident happened Sunday night: Before we got in to bed, MOTH said, "Oh by the way, Uncle B's friend left the local club the other night to walk his friend, who had had too much to drink, back to his house which was only about 300 feet from the club when people started harassing them from a car. They must have yelled something back and 3 people (including a girl) jumped out of the car and immediately knocked the drunk guy out and proceeded to beat and stab Uncle B's friend. He is now in a medically induced coma." The club they were walking home from is about 2 miles from our house and is in a really quiet neighborhood. I was shocked and felt sick to my stomach. Luckily, two women came out and stopped the attack and managed to get the license plate of the car and all 3 people who were a part of it are now in jail. The police think this attack is linked to another one that happened about 5 miles in the opposite direction from our house a few weeks back where a guy was walking home from another club and a car randomly pulled over and beat him with a metal bar. These people were just out cruising, purposely looking for people to hurt.

WTF?!!? I feel like at least at home if I got shot it would be because I walked in to the middle of a gang showdown or in front of a deer a hunter was about to take down, but here I am hearing about random, violent attacks like that one more and more often. I'm starting to get really paranoid. I'm afraid to go out in to our laundry room which is right outside the back door at night, even though MOTH has just installed a flood light for me. Every bump in the dark has me immediately awake and on edge waiting for someone to break in and hurt us, especially since for awhile we were having problems with people stealing stuff out of our laundry room or I'd go out there and notice something random was out of order or that the toilet in there had been used. So creepy to think someone was out there walking around our house while we were asleep!

My fears (however unfounded they may be) coupled with the stress I am feeling from work and my general blues from not seeing my sister in over a year and my parents in nearly a year have caused me to start compulsively picking at my arms in an attempt to comfort and soothe myself, something I haven't done to this degree since I was about 14 years old. My arms have multiple gaping, and in some cases, infected holes on them. I know they look awful and I know I should stop, but I haven't been able to. I've finally decided to cover the spots with bandaids and wear long sleeves so I can't get at them through the day. I still find myself unable to stop picking tiny little bumps I think I see on my shoulders before bed, though, but at least my arms are starting to heal. MOTH was getting really, really worried about me and honestly, I was starting to get worried about me, too.

I think I just need a breather. I need to get out of Aus for awhile. I need to see my family. I need to get away from customers telling me I'm incompetent or a f*ing asshole because they don't like the privacy laws I have to follow in dealing with their or their husband's or their grandma's accounts. I need to get a solid month's worth of quality sleep in a place where I can fall in to a deep sleep comfortably. I need to just get away with MOTH Dude and have some fun, rather than be like roomies who see each other at the end of a long day for an hour before passing out, which is how I feel our weeks are going right now.

I'm not sure what the solution will be once I get back here, but, for my sanity's sake, there may need to be some changes put in to place. Every day I wish the solution could be moving back to California, but that is not an option at this point so I'll just need to do a better job of sucking it up.

I also know this post has me coming off timid and weak and probably a smidge (or more?) crazy, but I'm exhausted and beat down to my core and beyond caring right now.

Four weeks from tomorrow I will be in Kauai and as I stated as my Facebook status the other day: "Hoping the next month will fly by and I'll magically wake up in a jacuzzi in Kauai with a mai tai in hand, hanging with my parents and Moth Dude."

Here's hoping for nicer, saner things to blog about soon...