Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I love presents..

No, really, I do. I mean, I REALLY love presents. Not just getting them either, I love giving them, wrapping them, receiving them, watching others give and receive them, etc. etc. I just love presents. One of the reasons I couldn't get into the holiday spirit this year was because I had decided, for many reasons, to simplify my life and give out only gift cards. I do credit this decision for saving my sanity, I needed things to be simple since I am THAT close to a mental break, but it still kinda deflated the whole joyfulness thing (although, I think the recipients of my gift cards were rather pleased).
Personally, I do enjoy the gift card, I like having the power to go choose the things I want for myself, but what I love even more is receiving something that someone else picked out just for me. Just knowing someone spent time thinking of something they thought I would like makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Once I have been given a gift, I will always remember who gave it to me and I will think of that person when I am using/wearing/looking at the gift...(see I can be deep and meaningful)
I am sure I place too much importance on what a gift says about my relationship with the giver, but at least I acknowledge that! This year, however, my love affair with presents has left me a little befuddled. For the most part, the gift giving/receiving went as planned, and I got some very thoughtful gifts for which I am grateful, (I can't say the gifts I gave were thoughtful because although gift cards are many things, thoughtful is not one of them). But, at one of the family Christmas gift exchanges I attended, I received two gifts that left me scratching my head.
The first was a box of sugar-free chocolate covered almonds. To me, this gift says many things which are not limited too:
1. When we stopped at Walgreens, on the way here, this was all they had left.
2. Hey, you're so fat, we thought you could possibly be diabetic so we went with the sugar free.
3. We hate you.

The second gift I got was a pair of tarnished, silver earrings that look like giant insect wings. Maybe a dragonfly, I just don't know. This gift says so much, like:
1. Your face is so hideous I thought you could distract people with a giant pair of wings hanging from your ears.
2. I bought this for someone else, years ago, and forgot to give it to them, so SCORE for you.
3. I don't think enough of you to even try to hide the fact these earrings have been sitting in the back of a closet for years. The tarnish will come off easily and you will be so purdy.
4. This will look so good while you're petting your 32 cats.
5. I hate you.

I hate to seem ungrateful and there is a decent chance that no one saw the amused indifference on my face. I mean, a gift is a gift and I am happy just to be thought of...I'm just not sure I want to know what people are thinking when they think of me...
I guess I'll go drown myself in a box sugar-free chocolate covered almonds, I have some of those you know!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Watching it go up in smoke...

Well, Christmas is two days away, and honestly, it couldn't feel less like the holidays around here. I'm pretty much hating that other people are happy and joyful right now, and I'm hating myself for not being able to make it all ok for my kids. I hate that they may look back at this Christmas and remember nothing but SUCK!!!
What had happened was...
My husband has had a bad back for most of our relationship. His back will go out, and then it will get better. That is just the way it has been for the last 11 years or so. So, when his back went out this summer I really didn't get too concerned. The problem is that his back is still 'out' and it has been about 5 months.
Right before Thanksgiving, her decided to cash in his 3 months of short term disability to focus on physical therapy and try to get better. One of the great things about his job, and there are many great things, is the fabulous benefits. He gets 3 months of fully paid leave, then his pay goes down to 65%. The 65% thing is scary, but we could manage it for awhile...
He has seen SEVERAL doctors, neurologist, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons and now a pain management Dr. and they have almost all said the same thing, patience and physical therapy. We recently went to a Dr. who is recommending ALIF surgery, also known as spinal fusion, on the two 'bad' discs he has. This is major scary surgery and we've had a 2nd opinion with a Dr. who thinks he should wait it out a bit, but my husband is fixated. He is thinking this surgery is going to 'fix' him. This is despite the fact that both the first opinion and 2nd opinion are telling him that there is no way to tell if it will be the fix or not. We don't even know if the insurance would pay for it, so it is possible that it may NEVER happen anyway...
The real problem is...
My husband is not working. There is also no way to predict when he will be able to get back to work. His job is only guaranteed for 6 months, after that they do not have to give him his spot back. If he continues with the PT he can go back as soon as he feels good enough. If he has the surgery it is at least a 3 month recoup. period. His drop dead date is May 11th. which seems so far off, but really it isn't. It is ironic because he found out he had the job on March 11. He began on April 11th, so it just seems appropriate that he could lose the job on May 11th.
Here's the thing...
He LOVES his job. It really defines him in a lot of ways. I cannot even make myself imagine him without it for sooooooo many reasons. First of all he makes good money. Money we depend on, money we have based major life decisions on money we NEED to get by. I know money isn't everything, but it is definitely something!!!! And the benefits, he could have comparable benefits if he stays in the same industry, but it scares me shitless to think we could lose everything this company does for our lives. I mean we pay $120/month for awesome health insurance for the entire family, who gets that???? It is a shift work job, but that really works for our family. My husband has so much more time with the kids than he would otherwise. He is so close with our 4 year old because they spend all his off days together, he's off 6 months out of the year... He's almost always available to go to their school or to get them in the afternoon, etc. etc. There are drawbacks to the shift work, but for us, the benefits far outweigh them.
When it comes down to it, I know that no job is more important than his health and happiness. I get that. I want him to feel good and be capable of the life he wants more than anything else, BUT I am SCARED. I am scared that we depend on his back to support us because I make less than half of what he makes, and now we may lose everything. There is no plan B. I can't stop crying and stressing and worrying. I watch his every move to see if he looks better or worse. I study his facial expression for any sign of hope that he is improving and on the days he isn't I can hardly take it. When I am clear headed I can rationalize that even if he loses this job, he is still very capable of finding another good one where he will be happy, assuming that he gets better...BUT what if he never gets better? Then what?