First Real Paycheck

Posted by Shelley on Mar 23, 2009 in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley

I just found the stub to my first real paycheck from 1994. You know, the one you get after you graduate from college and are off of mom and dad’s payroll. Of course, I am certain there were still some things mom and dad covered. Like, I lived with them for a about year until I got married. Thank goodness. Because after it netted down from the $833.33 gross pay I got $601.86 every two weeks. It was not that much, especially after I am totally honest with you about this. Believe me, I’m laughing all the way through this post.

Around $1,200 a month… I imagine mom and dad felt great deal of relief when they realized I was officially paying for “something”! Are you ready? Here is what my somethings were:

( I would so give anything for this not to be the case but it is written in a ledger book from 1994, so I know it’s real)
that would be the credit cards, oh me, oh my.

Next are things that don’t me feel quite like I blew everything on whatever I bought at those department stores:
Cel Phone (yes, mom and dad immediately gave me that bill!)
Gold’s Gym (I go to church now in the same building that used to be this gym, WEIRD!!!)
Gas (wish I knew what it was going for back in 1994)
Dry Cleaning (sales job necessity)

Now this next catergory is priceless. It is called “specialty stuff.” Again, I so wish I were kidding but here it is in black and white. I never used red b/c to be honest, I didn’t understand what being in the red was until here recently.
Deanna’s Wedding
Michelle’s Wedding
My wedding: video and pictures
Stamps (to pay all those bills I am sure)
Furniture (what????)
Road Trips
AU Football
Home Decor (what home, I was living with mom and dad??)
Makeup/Clothes (what was I buying at Parisian?)
Car maintenance (a long story, but at least mom and dad covered my insurance til I got hitched)

this gets better, my cat had her VERY OWN CATEGORY!
friend (have not a clue what this meant)

okay, in an effort to project myself into the future I think I added this for some food for thought:

And just a side note: when Mike and I got married (14 years ago this week) we got so many duplicates of gifts, like china, crystal, etc. that I had over $800 worth of returns at Rich’s. They just credited it to my card to pay it off. Seriously.

So much of the messes I have gotten myself into make complete sense now!



Posted by Shelley on Mar 20, 2009 in Mike, Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley

We went to an unexpected funeral today. I say that because now-a-days you can sometimes know “how long” you’ve got. Me and Mike decided that would be the best way… having the time to say what needs to be said and being with those you love the most would be the way to go. Instead, many times it is a tragic event, one that is not so expected and certainly no one, regardless of the circumstances is ready to bury a loved one. Especially someone who is a wife, daughter, granddaughter and only 33 years old.

This family has really been through it. And Mike has been one of David’s dearest friends for years… long before me (which does make it a LONG time ago!) So, it was appropriate for Mike to sing today and David chose “It is Well.” Even with the flood emotions going on I can tell you that Mike nailed it. I am so proud of him.

Before the funeral began I had a chance just to sit there. Just me. On the pew. And I heard hymn after hymn being played on the piano (by Mike’s mom, nonetheless!) How beautiful she played. It seems like these days I never hear those hymns anymore because we sort of go to a lively church with lively music (no, it’s not charismatic but closer to it than any Baptist church I’ve been in!) Thanks to many, many sermons and church services throughout my life I knew every word to every hymn and I was just a-singing in my brain. And that lively excitement started to inch it’s way in as I wanted to yell, “Hallelujah” when the preacher started his portion of the funeral. Don’t worry. I didn’t. But my brain did.

And dadgum it, I never cried. Wanted to, but it’s just not physically possible. So, I think God just knows me well enough to know that I need to lift my hands and jump around a little because nobody cries when they’re at a party! I just have to think somewhere on the other side of this life there must be a party and I’m just getting to experience that joy while I’m in the here and now. How about that?

After reflecting a bit today I’m just going to stop feeling bad about yesterday and worrying about tomorrow. It’s time to turn everyday into a party and be joyful for what we’ve got! I’ve got today and that is really all that matters.



Posted by Shelley on Mar 18, 2009 in Uncensored Shelley

Honesty is different from transparency. And I have a feeling if I were really honest I might have more readers. We shall see.


Random Saturday Morning Thoughts

Posted by Shelley on Mar 14, 2009 in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley

These thoughts are from my life this past week. I am going to do this as fast as possible. Ready, set, GO!!!!

1) I saw Slumdog Millionaire last night. It was so original, definitely the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. The way the writers took the events of this guy’s life and began weaving a golden thread through it so it all connected, (even the bad stuff) was just downright clever.

2) I read recently that someone with autoimmune problems had not only cut out wheat, but also ANY grains, including corn, etc. She said she felt great and had gotten her problems all under control. I was explaining this to my mom and Canon overheard her. It might just be my next step in trying to get off all this medication!!!

3) So, Canon wants to grow up and re-open all the Food World grocery stores that have shut down around here. Not sure where he came up with this idea but he’s all about it. Having heard my conversation with mom about no/wheat/gluten/grains he said, “Mom, I am going to open Food World and have no wheat in it. Only fruits and vegetables all the way to the top.” I think that might be the sweetest thing he’s ever said to me.

4) Competition is the one thing I’ve seen that makes us step up. A healthy dose of competition forces us to make an honest effort.

5) I’m probably more excited about being out for spring break than the kids are (no HW!!!!!!!!!)!

6) Your real personality, intentions and motivations really do come out on the internet.

7) Blogging is done for two reasons: the first, an audience. the second, yourself. I do it for the second reason. Which means I overanalyze everything I put on here and act like an editor more than a writer. I think the reason why goes back to number 6.

8) Every now and then it is so worth it to have a birthday party for a doll. We have eaten off of pink plates all week in honor of Barbie.

In addition to all this random stuff, I think I am trying to see exactly just how dirty my car can become before I ever wash it again. That goes for the inside and out! It has been my observation that both the car and the house can not and will not be clean at the same time. It is virtually impossible. Maybe this means my house will become a spotless oasis!


The Sjogren’s Club

Posted by Shelley on Mar 12, 2009 in Autoimmune Conditions, Uncensored Shelley

Of all the opportunities I’ve had in my life this is the one club I did not want to join! But I am in… really in. Like, I’ve pledged and been initiated for a long time now.

Here’s what I can tell you: Sjogren’s Syndrome (SjS)is a progressive autoimmune disease. It would be considered a connective tissue disease, sort of a cousin to Lupus or Rheumatiod Arthritis. SjS is a chronic disorder that causes insufficient moisture production in certain glands of the body. Basically, my normally protective immune system has decided to attack my moisture-producing glands, mostly my salivary and tear producing glands. It doesn’t necessarily sound like much and to many folks diagnosed with this condition it ends there. But according to the Cleveland Clinic website there are many more symptoms associated with the disease and guess what! They are all part of my membership in this club!

To get in the club, one must have dry eyes. This is the hallmark characteristic of SjS. My extremely dry eyes were confirmed by the opthamologist at UAB here recently when the Schirmer’s Test showed no tear production. I could’ve told them that. I thought that when I stopped crying it was a sign of maturity. The real deal is I have virtually no tears and I get a headache and feel like throwing up when I need to cry. Now I use Restasis, which initiates a little bit of moisture. I still don’t have many tears but I can look at a computer screen for a little bit longer.

To secure your spot in the Sjogren’s Club one must possess an extremely dry mouth and throat. This causes difficulty in chewing and swallowing, plus a decreased sense of taste and dry cough. It does nothing for my appetite! Again, up until recently, I thought it was normal. But I always wondered why I was constantly thirsty, even after drinking half my weight in water! Increasing my water intake helps but honestly, I have been thirsty for so long it really doesn’t bother me as much as the rest of the perks associated with my membership, which would be the following: extreme fatigue and joint pain. There is so much to address in these two things alone that I will save it for another post.

Now that I’ve researched it a bit more, my other symptoms fall into the “not so common” features of SjS. Irritation of the nerves in the arms, hands, legs or feet (neuropathy), feelings of numbness and tingling, easy bruising, fever and this lovely rash, which is my secondary automimmune condition (yes, I have two) known as vasculitis (inflammation of my blood vessels). Now, I’m not only a member of the club, I am like one of the top officers.

SjS is chronic and never really “goes away”, my doctors and I just try to manage it so that I am more comfortable. Vasculitis can go into remission. When it’s not in remission it’s called a flare. I am still looking for the manual on instructions for this part of the membership. Vasculitis associated with SjS is not common. It’s almost like I am in two clubs. Two for one!

I’ve kept this lighthearted and sort of sarcastic because when I decide to explain more about autoimmune disorders in further posts it may not be as funny. This whole thing has really cramped my style and no, I’m not dying, but sometimes I feel like it. You probably agree with me, that everybody’s got some membership to some club, whether it’s the your big toe hurts club or the chemotherapy club, or whatever in between. Life in this broken garden has some (joint) pain, (mental or physical) exhaustion and (non-existent) tears. It makes me even more grateful for the new body I’m going to get one day! That will be in the Heaven Club :) .


T-minus 4 weeks and counting…

Posted by Shelley on Mar 2, 2009 in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley, kids

Some time last week Melodi was complaining about everything she didn’t want to do. We had all been making our lists on Facebook and I had a brainstorm…“Melodi, write down all the things you ARE looking forward to!” She said, “Like a list?” And I immediately knew she was all over it. If Melodi were on Facebook, there would be no list of 25 or 57 or 103 things she would not complete. She’s always got an answer for everything!

She closed her door and appears later with a envelope marked “Mom”. I opened it and there was a list there that I could’ve written when I was 9 years old. Made me stop and think. She’ll be 10 in less than 4 weeks and around this time every year I get a little sad. Now we’re into the double digits! In five years she’ll be… 15! Instead of being sad this time I am rather on a mission. Now is the time for being the best kind of mother I can be to her during this phase of her life. Because as most us girls can attest to, there is plenty up ahead and over this hill. Or maybe I should say mountain?

It’s all about love/hate and the silly, serious, or strong emotions that no young teenage girl knows what to do with. Those battles among friends will hurt but probably not as much as the ones she’ll fight with the opposite sex. She might decide to journal her thoughts rather than talk to me about them. And if she does decide to talk, then I had better be ready! The “it’s complicated” part of life is on the horizon. So much of what she decides to do now will affect her for the rest of her life. I am not sure where I’m going with this, but if you’re reading this far into my post then it probably makes sense to you.

So, here’s her list. The 9 year old list.

Looking Forward To:
1) Going to swim
2) Playing with friends
3) Being a vet/teacher/lawyer (I only wanted to be Barbie when I grew up- ha!)
4) Getting Molly to have puppies
5) Summer
6) Any break such as spring break
7) Having kids
8) Getting married
9) Getting a hamster (funny how that comes right after marriage!)
10) Going to sleep
11) Going to Heaven
12) Learn about God
13) Seeing Uncle Tim’s adopted kid

And on the back – Not looking forward to:
School Homework any pets dying
School Homework
School Homework
School Homework
School Homework

Guess I need to make a new list too. The “what I learned that I can teach her list”… maybe after she blows out the candles…

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