The Mondayest Monday to ever Monday. And a Toilet Squirrel.

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I am having one of those days that absolutely everything pisses me off. And I do mean everything. There’s a spider over the sink. I was pissed that he decided to occupy a spot in my house. Then I wondered if I could catch him before Mancandy or Mini candy decided to kill him. Instantaneously I was livid that they would consider killing Fred (he was now named and had a back story without any actual thought on my part). Fun fact, I could not catch Fred as he hasn’t realized I’m a friend. Which, yes, just made me angrier.

The little owl soap dispenser in my bathroom (clearance find at Walmart) keeps oozing soap onto the owls head and turning into greenish-yellow sappy goop. This caused great angst. As did the spots on the mirror I forgot to clean yesterday.

My dog slurping up food, neighbors mowing, people at work existing, the bus driver being snarky, traffic (this one is a legit gripe), student loan debt, being fat, everyone who’s skinny, the fuzzy bathmats I forgot in the dryer, the lamps we have on the tables beside our bed (they’re little lantern style lamps but the glass top instead of shade means they burn your eyes out), the desire to write when I’m angry, being angry, other people for not being angry, anyone else who’s angry, people who want primates as pets, plastic straws in turtle noses, pansies for not lasting all summer, etc.

This day was full of misinformation, sassy people, sweat, and anger. So much anger. I dislike these moods, anger is not my default setting. But, after writing and erasing a bunch, I think it’s my self-defense mechanism. I’ve been easing back into using facebook because I want to ease back into being more involved with rescue. Not on anything near the level I was, I’m not ready for that, but something. I’m excited about a potential opportunity to give back more. I’m excited about programs at work that encourage volunteering and giving back. I was gearing myself up to the uphill battle for progress at work and the fruition of all the plans and patience. I’m ready to try and do more than just exist.

But, being on facebook means the onslaught of suffering and sadness that made me leave. It means the ugliness surrounding the gun debate. All the hate and nastiness people dump into the internet. Along with the pictures of what people can do to animals and each other and pleas for help I can’t give. That old hopeless, dull ache came right back. I don’t think I’m actually angry. I think I’m sad. And it took years to stop being sad all the time. I don’t want to go back to it.

So I’m not sure how to do it. Being sad isn’t funny. The anger is ridiculous and can be amusing, but the sad, hopeless undercurrent isn’t. That’s just where I’m at. But, I’ll borrow some funny from my boss (his antics are the things of legend and we’ve talked about doing a podcast before and I so wish he would because the world needs to know of his ridiculousness.)

He recently moved into a home that has areas needing renovation. One area is the bathroom that was added onto the master suite. The room needs major work on the roof and is basically barricaded off until they have a chance to deal with it.

One day Boss and Lady Boss are in their room. They notice noises coming from the bathroom. The bathroom that is sealed. So. Being the type of guy who investigates weird and or creepy noises, Boss slowly opens the bathroom door. At first, nothing seems amiss. And then, from the toilet, there’s movement. A squirrel slowly pokes his head up over the rim of the toilet and looks at Boss. Boss blinks and looks back. Boss slowly closes the door and tells Lady Boss they have a toilet squirrel.

It was decided that the toilet squirrel couldn’t remain a guest in their bathroom. The Kid Bosses, Lady Boss, and Boss all geared up with gloves, a fishing net, (I’m imagining little kids running around with tennis rackets yelling about toilet squirrels), etc. However, squirrels are fast and humans are less so. It was an enclosed space with little room to maneuver. Unless you are a squirrel. It took a long while with a lot of effort (and bruising I imagine) from the humans. The squirrel was caught. And placed outside. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it likely ran right back into the house and cowered in its toilet. But imagining him with a net in a small space trying to avoid the germ-carrying toilet squirrel brings me much joy. I hope it does the same for you.

Next episode of stories I stole from my boss: the poop snake.

Swamp Monster Sunday

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As a certified swamp monster, I have funky skin and features and…well….I’m just an odd duck. So, the fact I have – in my mid-thirties mind you – fallen in love with makeup (especially colorful eyeshadow) is just the weirdest damn thing ever and mildly embarrassing.

I work for the state of TN and as such, I’m supposed to look like a professional human. Swamp monsters with colorful sparkly glitter smeared all over their faces are not encouraged. So, I bought a few really bright, really fun palettes with all these dazzling awesome colors…and have absolutely no reason to smear them all over my face. It’s been bugging me. I’m too old for this; I don’t even know what I’m doing or how to apply makeup, but I am right this moment resisting the urge to buy a palette of nothing but yellow eye shadow. Do I EVER wear that color? No. Would it likely make me look jaundiced and even less attractive? Likely. But my brain has never been a fan of logic, so I just want it. Here’s a picture of it (That I stole from ColourPop’s website. Not sure if I’m allowed to do that, blogging rules are not well explained, but it’s free advertising and I own nothing of value….so let’s just cross our fingers and hope).

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As part of the swamp monster package, I am also the owner of a weird body. It’s overly large, pale, ungainly, and uncoordinated.  I have been telling myself I’d lose weight (and become hot in the process….which is COMPLETELY different from losing weight….but I digress) since around the first time I heard someone refer to someone else as fat. My earliest memories are disliking how much bigger I was than the other kids, I towered over them and outweighed them and had to wear a training bra at like…6. Since my weird body decided to malfunction regularly and I go to various specialists quite often, my endocrinologist is extremely interested in things like…my BMI, my proportions, my insulin levels, my exercise routine (I lied and said I had one of those), etc. I really do want to be healthy. So, I actually have to get an exercise routine (ick). And maintain it. And not eat my feelings. And other people’s feelings.

So. I tell you all of that to tell you that I woke up intending to do none of the things I have done today. I woke up and just wanted coffee. That’s it. But, once I got up and got moving, I wanted to puzzle. Mancandy and I are working on a puzzle because we’re old and that’s what old, boring, antisocial people do. We puzzle and we drink coffee (our version of drinking and knowing things).

Mancandy was not in a puzzling mood. I found that annoying, but it’s hard to motivate someone to puzzle.

“Please come sit with me and be as frustrated and annoyed with 87616814 pieces of cardboard that have various portions of leaves that are all the same color.”

Though he did not want to puzzle at that exact moment, he claimed he would want to puzzle soon. That statement made zero sense to me, but I shrugged and tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my beautiful precious time off. I thought of all my pretty, shiny, colorful eye shadows just sitting here while I slather myself in boring colors day in and day out. I decided to play.

The Blue Moon palette was the first thing I saw, so it’s what I decided to smear upon my face hole flaps.

Blue moon

I meant to take a picture to show you how unskilled I am at this. But, I didn’t. I’m going to insert a picture from Pinterest showing what this might look like were I talented. It’s not at all what it looked like, but whatever. It’s my story. Enjoy this much better representation of blue eyeshadow. This is not me (so obviously not me that it’s funny to write it, but please don’t sue me if this IS you, because I’m super jealous and also I don’t have anything worth suing to take).

BM Look

Instead, I went downstairs and announced extremely loudly, “I’m blue and bold, bitches, lets puzzle!”

I found this to be a funny statement. I usually crack myself up. Unfortunately, I had not looked to be sure Mancandy was awake. He was not. But he jolted awake at my declaration and restrained what looked like a fairly strong urge to throttle me. He also looked at my face, which was 1/3 bright blue, and just said: “oh my”. I felt like I should probably be offended by this, but chose not to be. Mostly because he says stuff that could be insulting all the time and I don’t have the time it would take to be offended.

We puzzled for a while. I got 5 pieces into the puzzle and felt remarkably accomplished. Set low goals and you’ll never be disappointed, my friends. We decided we should move the elliptical machine my boss gave us (yay boss!) into the air-conditioned part of the house. As obviously that was the only thing holding me back. So we did. And then he announced he was going to mow.

I hate that moment. I feel like I should do something equally horrible, but I don’t want to do any horrible things. So I declared I would work out. While he mowed. And then I realized I’d said it out loud, the elliptical was inside, and I actually had to do it now. Dread set in.

So I worked out. Put on a sports bra and athletic shoes and everything. I don’t understand these people that say, oh yes, the endorphins, it is a rush, working out is fun, blah blah. I apparently don’t possess endorphins. I spent every single minute of the time I spent on the elliptical screaming internally that I was not allowed to stop yet.

Fun fact, the elliptical is third hand and I am grateful to have it, but it squeaks like you’re skinning something alive. So the longer I worked out, the louder and more aggressive the skinning of the thing became. The cats were horrified. They may be scarred for life. The dog equated skinning alive with thunderstorms and fireworks and started panting and stress whining as if to duet the shrieking machine. So the entire time I’m on the damn thing the dog is singing along to this really annoying shriek squeak, and the cats are running around trying to escape the demonic noise but unable to find a place to do so.

Within 4 seconds I was drenched in sweat. Not just a little glisten, no ma’am and/or sir! I take sweating seriously. So my shirt is stuck to me and my sparkly blue face now has rivulets of blue running down it and on down my neck. It looked like I was painting some sort of river scene across my face, but in my typical “enthusiasm makes up for lack of talent” way. I stopped when I was pretty sure I’d just have to fall sideways off of the machine because I had jelly for legs and was gasping so hard I thought I might pass out. Probably 4 minutes in. No, it was more than that, but not as long as it should have been.

I sat down on the tile floor (likely leaving an impressive butt outline in sweat) to cool my rumpus and contemplated puking. When that didn’t sound like fun anymore I got up and started up the stairs. That was a mistake as I likely can’t go back down now. I’ll just live up here. Please fling food up occasionally. This will be my new diet plan.

I shambled my sweaty, miserable, gasping, slightly nauseous self into the bathroom. Stripped down. Turned on the shower. Turned around to set my hair tie down by the sink and accidentally looked into the mirror.

I looked like I’d eaten a smurf alive…aggressively….in a very messy fashion. My hair was plastered to my sweaty skull and there was blue smeared all over my face. I don’t even know how it was possible to be that gross, but I managed.

A shower has never been so lovely. And now I have to look forward to doing that same thing over and over and over until I’m less horrible at it. Dying young is kind of looking mildly appealing. But that doctor will get to hear all about the “exercise routine” I’m working on.

Just need some W-D 40. Or the cats may not survive it any better than I do.

 

Medications and Plagues sent by God.

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Dramatic title, I know, but I’m feeling dramatic today.

This won’t apply or resonate with everyone, but in case you are struggling with Atopic Dermatitis, Eczema, Eucresa, steroids, or Dupixent, I figured I’d throw my personal experience into the mix and maybe give someone a heads up or a “you’re totes normal” for moral support.

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is something a lot of people struggle with, but for the most severe cases it often starts in childhood. I am lucky that that was not the case for me. I had a severe flare up in high school that was treated and went into remission for years. It wasn’t even diagnosed as eczema. Many years later I worked in a lab setting and had to wear latex gloves. My hands started to react and I was diagnosed with eczema, told to avoid latex, and given steroids that took care of the issue. Lately, I had a couple small spots that wouldn’t heal and those small spots suddenly led to a large flare up.  So I went back to the doctor (under the impression this was not a big deal and the fix would be simple and quick). I was put on prednisone and Eucrisa. Due to the history they suggested Dupixent. I still had no idea how bad it could be. There was a mix up with the Dupixent prescription and I went off the prednisone. The flare-up was like a literal fire that has been given a strong wind to stoke it. My entire body flared, the only portion of me that didn’t have some sort of lesion was my feet. There was no sleeping, showers were a misery, I wore black to hide the fact most of my body was raw and bloody and it soaked through my clothes regularly, and I battled what I’m guessing was situational depression. I was absolutely miserable and had no relief, it was a constant horrible sensation.

Since that time I’ve done quite a bit of research and have fought multiple battles with the doctor’s office. I don’t know why my experience with atopic dermatitis has been atypical, and I still have no idea what my triggers are (aside from gloves which I do not come into contact with anymore). I have been giving myself injections of Dupixent for about 2 months now and while I’m by no means in full remission, I was able to wean myself off of the steroids and use Eucrisa only in my worst problem areas.

I do have side effects with Dupixent and have been blundering through trying to find ways to cope. Today I’m actually home instead of at work because my side effects are too severe to go in. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. Now, as with any medication, not everyone will have side effects, and if you do they may not be the same as mine. But if you do have side effects, and you’re looking for relief, hopefully, some of these tips will help.

  • Eye irritation (conjunctivitis, pink eye, etc.). Some people have this to a severe degree but mine has been limited to a couple days after the injection thus far. The optometrist recommended Refresh Advance eye drops and gel drops. Eye drops at least 4 times a day and gel drops before bed as they make your vision fuzzy. Both are otc. They’re magic.
  • Skin irritation around the eyes (especially eyelids and under eye areas). This area is never going to go back to normal, I’m pretty sure. The skin stays extremely swollen and looks kind of like elephant skin. The crease in my eyelids breaks open occasionally and that’s always a good look. The skin goes from weepy and oozy to dry and crusty. It does not look attractive. I have come to love Vanicream. Walgreens has a pound tub of it with a pump. I smear that on until I can’t open my eyes and let it soak in. I stopped using Eucrisa in that area because the burning had become so severe I just can’t deal with it anymore. And I’m not a wimp, I don’t mind a little stinging, but this would take my breath away and make me want to vomit. So I’m sticking with Vanicream.
  • Headaches behind the eyes. These aren’t migraine strength but have the tendency to turn into migraines if I don’t deal with them quickly. I’m an Excedrin migraine girl, even with normal headaches, but any sort of pain med would probably work.
  • Irritation of my lips. The corners of my mouth split open, kind of like the joker. While this would happen with eczema it seems the Dupixent makes it impossible to clear it up completely.
  • General blah feeling. It goes away within a few days and isn’t a deal breaker. Honestly, despite not enjoying these side effects, none of them are deal breakers. Things were so bad before I’ll take whatever.

 

Other useful items: Cetaphil facial soaps, creams, etc. These aren’t quite thick enough for the irritation I have going right now but they’re lovely under makeup and as a maintenance item. Masks you can stick in the fridge or microwave feel fantastic. The optometrist recommended the heated one to increase oil production into the tears you naturally produce, and the cooling feeling is delightful on the angry tissue around my eyes. Despite Youtube recommendations, most dermatologists don’t recommend elimination diets as it is rarely a food reaction causing the flare-ups.

It’s scary that there are so few options to deal with severe flare-ups, especially when I don’t know why it happened. I don’t want this to be my new normal, but I’m trying to roll with the punches and not let it affect my mood/outlook. If you have experienced any of this feel free to weigh in. It helps to know you aren’t alone.