Dealing with the aftermath

Well folks hurricane Michael kicked our ever lovin’ asses. This event was by far the most horrifying thing I’ve ever experienced. My hubby said it was scarier than war (he was a Marine in his younger years), a statement like that really brings home the gravity of the situation, I know it did for me.

After everything passed we sat in our cars, made brief trips into what used to be our home to collect important items. My boy being every bit as sentimental as myself went back in for the photo albums. Lance and I made trips in to use the bathroom and grab belongings that we would need to get through when we get a hotel room.

While walking through the wreckage that was our home brought many, many tears to my already swollen eyes. So many questions filling my head, like are we going to rebuild? Should we call it a day and rent or is it salvageable?

My neighbor Ken came over took a look around and said it was a total loss. Ken works with Insurance companies and has many years experience in rehabbing properties. I was glad he shot from the hip.

Now at least I have some direction without holding out useless hope. I still don’t know where to begin with this whole process, but I’ll make a go of it. First thing is to call the insurance co after we get a hold of our families.

Cell reception is a no-go, we’re positive both our families are sick with worry. Lance received a txt from his daughter Marci. She was panicked because she couldn’t get a hold of him. We both felt terrible he couldn’t respond. My phone wasn’t receiving any type of signal.

I had promised my mom I’d call her as soon as it was over, but was unable. To top it off her 87th birthday is on 10/12. I never miss the chance to call her to wish her the best of birthdays. I’m pretty sure last year was the first and only time since she became my mom that I’ve missed a birthday. That was only because I was really sick and my MS was kicking my butt. I just know she’ll be waiting for my call, and worrying.

My mom and my sissy are the two I’m desperate to get a hold of. I know if I can get a hold of them they’ll get a hold of everyone else.

As the day progressed and alerts came through about a mandatory curfew, I thought to myself. How the hell are we getting alerts about a curfew and boil water notices and not able to call our families?

With trees and power lines down it was painfully evident that we couldn’t go anywhere. We couldn’t go in the house for any length of time because of water everywhere and the ceiling falling in.

We opted to just sit in our cars with the pets, we really didn’t opt but had no other choice. Our neighbor Ken and his wife came over with sandwiches and chips for us. We were thankful for their generosity. They really are the kindest people. Those are not the neighbors I’m referencing when I say I hate my neighbors. 😂

As we sat in our cars and night fell upon us the reality of everything set in. We are essentially homeless at this point. I was so afraid to go back in the house after dark I wound up having to pee in my front yard. Had I been able to go to the side yard I would have, but that’s where the majority of our roof landed. Between my cane and leaning against the car I was able to hold myself up for a moment to urinate without wetting my clothes.

As I squatted and leaned on the car to urinate I had to chuckle to myself. I pride myself on being well put together and behaving somewhat like a lady. These extraordinary events pulled any pride I had in me out. I was taken down a notch pissing in my front yard. It was dark so I don’t think anyone saw, but to be honest I really didn’t care.

While the evening progressed and I was able to breath again with the storm passing nerve pain set in at an unbelievable level. Nerve pain can really throw you for a loop, it feels as though my skin pure hurts. Not like flu-like skin hurting but worse.

There was no sleep to be had for this gal. The pain is mind boggling and every time I started to drift off I was startled awake with the irrational thought that I would die as I slept. I wound up getting a total of about 1/2 hr sleep. David slept in his car and Lance was able to get a couple of hours, I sat there thinking about how lucky we had been to escape unharmed.

So now my hubby is going to feed the pups, who by the way have been excellent animals. They went with the flow the whole way through. I’m a proud pet momma.

The sun is rising and we have the gift of another day. I’m tired and in pain, but still thankful, and yes God is good every day. I’ll say it til my dying day.

I’m going to leave everyone with a thought, be thankful for everything and everyone in your life. They’re a gift and can be taken away at any moment. My husband and boys have been spared and if that isn’t the best gift ever, I don’t know what is.

Thanks for reading the ramblings of a tired old gal ❤️

The devastation from hurricane Michael

I have to say I am more thankful for God’s great mercy than I have ever been in my entire life. To say I have been through many, many trying times in my life would be an understatement.

The loss of a husband, sisters, both parents and grandmother have if anything, leathered my skin. I’m far from thin skinned in regards to life and loss of life. I’ve dealt with it more times than anyone should. The one thing I’ve always held on to was the faith I was raised with. My mom taught me at a fairly young age that God can and will see us through everything and anything. I’m good in the thought that everything is in Gods control. Life, death the whole shabang.

With my faith being what it is, I have always looked at it ( mortality) as if the person that had passed had fulfilled their duties on earth. I believe we all do a service in life. Some good and some not so good, but when we part here it’s because our little part in this great big world is done. The term resting easy always reminds me of that. It’s as if to say their job was done and they are now they’re resting easy.

I’ve also looked at my own life in the same fashion. Thinking ok, when I go I’ll be ok with it because my job here will be done. Mission accomplished! I hope when my part here is done, people can look back and think I made a positive impact in this ugly world we live in.

I still feel that way to a certain degree, but today made me cling to everything and everyone a little bit harder. I felt my part was unfinished, making me desperate to make it through.

I felt fairly prepared for the storm heading our way. After all my boy David dressed us up with plenty of supplies (because the stores near me ran out). We had been also able to get some things ourselves. Dog food, cat food etc.

I felt pretty good about things going in. I had been through several hurricanes in the past. The worst being Opal, just an FYI Opal was NOTHING in comparison to Michael. This was something that had never hit this area ever!

Lance and I were hunkered down and ready to ride out the storm with our pups and the boys if they wished to come. Neither wanted to, I think we may bore them. Lol. That’s ok, I never wanted to HAVE to hang out with my Da either.

Jake said he was fine and the area he was not in a flood zone. , I said ok, you’re grown. Luckily, I was not in a flood zone. David on the other hand was in zone C. Not good at all!!

I called, txted and even implored his brother to talk sense into him. Jake said “mom I told him, I hope he changes his mind, because he does NOT need to stay in his house”. I agreed, but with David being almost 30 I can’t very well “TELL” him a damn thing.

Sweet David blew us both off, but thankfully around 2AM Wednesday David came walking in, with even more supplies. Lance and I were sleeping on the couch when we heard the door. I got up and was so very happy I could have cried.

They wound up doing a mandatory evacuation in his neighborhood. I was grateful as any momma could be to have been to have her kid safe.

We slept off and on, David sleeping in Jakes old room and Lance and I on the couch ready to do whatever if things got crazy earlier than anticipated

I’d have to say around 10-11 AM things started to get even more worrisome. The news outlets advising that the storm would be a high 4-5 cat hurricane. With winds up to 145 MPH, btw they topped out with gusts up to 175.

I thought there’s no way in hell that would happen. You all know the optimist I am. Even in the face of danger I’m going to, if anything pretend the glass is half full. It wasn’t, but I put forth the effort. If anything I’m proud of that.

Around 1 pm the wind clocked in out of the North. Sinuses started clogging as did my ears. Dizziness was unnerving, but what was more unnerving would be the sound of wind whipping around under my roof but inside the ceiling. It felt like it was pretty quick, when in reality it took several hours of us moving from room to room as we could hear the roof peeling back.

My brand new roof was toast. If that wasn’t bad enough it started pouring rain inside the house. That didn’t worry me as much as when we could see the sky through our kitchen ceiling through a gaping 5×6 hole.

During all of this commotion I was rattled to the core. My beloved old house being torn apart. The house I raised my boys in, the house my husband died in, the house my new husband and I decided to start our life together in….gone.

With all of those emotions going on we had still been going from room to room trying to escape the wreckage of our beloved home.

I was crying the whole time, I was crying out to God to please save us, keep us and protect us. I was crying out to God to please make sure my Jakey boy was ok and to protect him.

I was so thankful my David made it back home, but those two are a matching set. I literally NEED them both, them and my hubby keep me going. They literally are the legs I walk on. Lance was a rock today, between him and David I was able to deal. Not well mind you, but deal all the same.

The thought of losing one of them would quite literally be the end of me. After the roof blew off we went to an exterior room off of the garage. It has its own entrance leading into the house and into our laundry room.

We stayed there literally 15 min before more hell arrived. Lance opened the attic access panel and literally the wind was sucking the air out of the room. I’m not 💯 sure but I think there was a tornado touching down in the area. The suction was incredible.

Lance and David said we need to leave the house. I was crippled with fear I didn’t want to go. It was horribly scary inside but it was even scarier outside. The wind was insane. They decided we needed to go to the cars. I said I’m not going unless the dogs go, and go they did. We got all my pups and we headed out the kitchen door under the carport where the cars had been parked. We got them all in the car with the exception of Vivi who decided to hide.

Picture it Lance, me, David and 3 75+lbs dogs all sitting in mine and Lances Cadillac. We wound up waiting out the worst of it in my CTS, then David took Sampson and sat in his car. That was worrisome as well. My porch was ripped clear off the house and David’s car was right next to it.

I was scared to death the carport would fall on both cars killing the whole lot of us.

Finally the winds died down enough and Lance had David move his car and Lance moved our car just on the off chance the carport collapsed. Luckily it didn’t, about an hour after that David put in to go check on his brother who was about 15 min away walking distance.

I was worried to death and not wanting him to go, but I also wanted to make sure Jake was ok. Before leaving Lance and David went back into the house with the roof caving in in the living room, spare room and kitchen and found the cat. GO David!!!! He was quite the hero coming out to the car where I sat, Vivi clinging to him and handed her to me. She was in Jakes bedroom ( which is now hers) perfectly fine. The only two rooms on the house that didn’t suffer roof damage was Vivi’s bedroom and the bathroom.

The whole time David was worried about everyone else. He went and checked on the Daniels (my step daughters in laws)and then headed off to Jake and to his best friends (Chases) brothers home to make sure they were ok.

David wound up returning with Jake and Jakes best friend Ray. Jake came running to me, both of us choked up. He said “Mom I’m so sorry about the house”. He knows how I’d always loved it so.

So I think the house is a complete loss, does this break my heart? Very much so, but the fact that God saw us through, unscathed is a gift. I truly don’t think without Gods great mercy we would have made it out of there.

All I could say is I have 17 or 18 yrs (can’t remember which) in that house full of wonderful moments, filled with a lot of love and a boat load of tears. I always say everything for a reason, I’m sure there are good things coming.

Now for a new chapter in mine and the hubbies life, this will be a fresh start. We’re going to get through and still enjoy every day that we’re given. Without Lance,David and Jake along with my wonderful pets I don’t know what I’d do. Don’t get me wrong they all piss me off on occasion, but we’re a tight group.

I told Lance and David if my faith has ever faltered its renewed after today’s events. I can still say God is great every single day., even on a day like today.

I thank God I was raised the way I was. Without the foundation that I had, I surely would have fallen to pieces. Thanks to my mom in times of crisis I turn to God for strength and courage.

I wrote this the night of the hurricane while trying to sleep in my car with Lance, the pups and the cat. It wasn’t fun but we’re all alive so my glass is STILL half full.

The calm before the storm,fun stuff….NOT

As most of you know I live on the gulf coast. Panama City to be exact. It’s a really chill beach community. We are known to get hurricanes or tropical depressions every year. Some years are better than others.

I remember first coming to this sleepy little town from NYC and thinking holy shit, this is like a vacay every day. It’s relaxed and everyone treated me with Southern hospitality. I LOVED it!!!!!

About five months after we got here hurricane Opal hit. Holy crap I was scared. I had a 3 yr old and a 6 yr old at the time and was truly concerned for our safety. That was a hell of a storm. Turned out to be a Cat4. Luckily my sister was here and guided me through it. I was a NY’er through and through. I had absolutely no clue what a REAL hurricane was.

Since then I’ve been through many storms, after that one we haven’t had any that neared Opal’s severity. At least until now that is. The weather people (sometimes inaccurate) are saying this may be worse than Opal. I truly hope they’re wrong.

During Opal I wasn’t sick. I was healthy and considerably younger, although with my boys grown, at least I don’t have to run behind little ones. I do still worry about them constantly. I suppose a mommas job is never done.

So back to the hurricane heading this way, his name is Michael and he has the fine folks of Bay county acting like the world is ending.  I’m not saying they don’t have a right to be concerned, but the whole vibe of this area has gotten a bit hostile. Kind of reminds me of Black Friday shopping. Everyone’s pissed off and ill tempered, as well as driving like lunatics. I keep thinking, Come on folks we’re all used to this; let’s act like we have good sense. It is worrisome that this may be worse than Opal, but if anything, MS has taught me that I can deal with just about anything.

Yesterday the hubby and I went shopping for supplies. Shelves were bare, but we got some supplies. Later in the day my son David called telling me not to worry, he had me covered, and did he ever. Lance, I and the pups are hunkered down.

With having Multiple Sclerosis for the past 14 years, I am very, very familiar with how my body can act the fool when bad weather has arrived. Here’s a link regarding preparedness I thought you all might find useful:  Weather preparedness

So while we’re bracing for this shit show of a storm, I have my hair up and pearl earrings on. I’ll let you all know how it goes. Wish me luck and say a prayer

Keep in mind every day is a special day

Most of you know of my peaks and Valleys with MS. To say I have ups and downs would be an understatement. Not looking for pity just stating the facts. Sometimes when dealing with a chronic illness such as MS it can be easy to lose ones self.

Over the last 14 years I have had times where my illness was very much at the forefront of my existence. Where I have kind of stood in the shadows waiting for a better day to come. Just an FYI; sometimes you have to force that better day.

It occurred to me the other day when I decided to start blogging about fashion that I had recently let shit slip. I have been putting limited effort into my appearance. I hadn’t even been wearing my dearly loved pearls.

For anyone looking for a classic look, pearls would be a go to. I have pricey pearls as well as not-so-pricey pearls. You can really go either way with it and it’s still a great look.

A lot of women are afraid to sport them because they are seen as dressy. This is NOT true!!!! I have worn pearls with casual dresses as well as jeans and shorts.

Why do we save things for a special occasion? Every single day is a gift AND a special occasion. Every day that we wake up should be celebrated.

Am I saying wear your best accessories to the gym? No I’m not, they would get sweaty and you would look silly. I am saying wear them when you can.

In the past I’ve worn my pearl earrings on the golf course.

I’ve worn them going to dinner with the hubby or hanging out with my boys.

I’ve even worn them in the hospital.

I know, it may seem a bit ridiculous, but even while having plasmapheresis I wanted to be me. I always try to stay true to myself. Some days are harder than others, but there is no more special occasion than being alive.

I remember my Oma (grandma) saying she was saving certain things for a special occasion. Why do that? It seems to me, folks wind up not celebrating their life while they’re here. Meanwhile, they’re keeping certain articles in pristine condition only to hand them down after they pass.

I’m not handing anything down that I haven’t truly enjoyed. Sorry…not really.

So while the hubby and I didn’t do anything earth-shattering yesterday and I wasn’t dressed to the nines, I had on my pearls. It was a fun day and I felt good about myself wearing them.

While this disease can get the better of us every now and again, as well as be ugly and down right gross at times, we should still celebrate our life. All the while, appreciating the gift we’ve been given . Wishing everyone a fantastic Monday.

The inmates are running the Asylum

You guys all know I have three dogs and a cat. I had four but old Mr.Wiggles had to be put down. He was nearing seventeen and in a lot of pain. Kind of like me tired and in pain.

While it broke my heart to have to do it,  I finally acted like an adult and had my sweet boy put down. That was almost three weeks ago. I haven’t written about it until now, because to be quite honest it still brings tears to my eyes.

You see that pup wasn’t just the family dog, he was my deceased husbands dog. I know it’s silly but in my head he was a tie to my dearly departed. Having to put him down was hard on me as well as my boys. We all took it hard but my eldest seemed to really be overwhelmed with grief. I think if the truth be known he was grieving his step dad Bob.

Sometimes adulting is just plain hard. My boys were willing to do whatever and pay whatever to keep that old boy going. I was going along to get along, I was letting them make a decision that really wasn’t up to them. I finally got the courage up to do the deed. In the past Bob handled such matters, it was nice not having to deal with those things. The last day before putting Mr. Wiggles down I thought, what would Bob do?

Then it came to me like a flash of light. I thought to myself, there’s no way in hell he would allow for this boy to go through this. I called the boys and told them I was putting Wiggles down, I followed that statement up with if Bob was alive he wouldn’t go for this dragging things out nonsense. He would have loaded the old boy up and handled it with no questions asked. He was that kind of man and now it was my turn to be that kind of woman.

End result was Wiggles drifted away peacefully with me and my boys there. Knowing he was loved like family. I truly hope when it’s my time I go as peacefully as he did.

Now I’m left with the three amigos and the cat. All of you know how near and dear I hold my furry children, but damn it can a girl get a break every now and again?

This morning was crazy in my house. I had a rough night filled with nerve pain and spasticity, leaving old Al cranky and very tired.

My hubby tended all of them, letting me sleep in. I wound up having to take pain meds as well as MMJ last night. That was no bueno, I hate taking that much medication, but sometimes shit (MS) just gets stupid.

I woke to dingy Daisy (I only call her that when I’m not happy with her), barking like it was mid day – it wasn’t – and Vivi kneading my shoulder.

Did this make for a happy Al? NOPE!

I do have to say Hamm and Sampson had been perfect gentlemen.

They’re all fantastic animals, all doing a specific job. Hamm and Sampson are the protectors. Daisy is my service dog fetching my phone and worrying over me like a nursemaid. The cat? Well she’s a cat and will NOT conform. She always has a look on her face like she’s running the show but letting me think I do. To be honest I think they all run things and have Lance and I beautifully trained.

On that note I’m going to get my happy arse out of bed and try and get on with the gettin’ on. My hubby is in the kitchen being the Sunday DJ, Playing this little dittty. He totally knows how to get me up. Happy Sunday folks. Blessings from my family to yours.

Following fashion rules and feeling good about yourself

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I awoke this morning with a haze in my head and noodles for legs. Did I do anything to earn that feeling? Did I over do it yesterday? Absolutely not, the biggest thing I did was decide to start talking about fashion in this blog.

Sometimes MS can just be that way, some days we are semi human, moving about like everyone else. Other days we’re spent before our feet even touch the floor.

Today is one of those days. Today I didn’t tend my pups, but instead laid in bed. Lance took care of them. He’s a good man, picking up the slack when I’m a spent beotch.

Afterward we laid in bed drinking coffee and reading the headlines. Eventually Lance decided to do more trim work on the house and I attempted to get up and get moving.

At around 9:00 am I called my eldest. Today is our every two week pedicure date. I LIVE for this little luxury he treats me to. I mention to him that I’m going with white on my toes. He says NOOOO it’s fall. I tell my boy I am absolutely doing white.

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While I do follow some fashion rules, like dress your age , and never wear something you’ve worn as a teen after turning 30. I don’t follow the whole not wearing white in the winter months rule. I’ve always thought that was silly to limit yourself because of the time of year.

Another rule I find to be silly is the sequins only at night. I love throwing bling into an outfit regardless of what time it is. Some rules were just made to be broken. So by golly, I’m going to break them.

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My thinking is if I like it, it makes me feel good, and I’m comfortable with it, then damn it, I’m going to do it!

Comfort is always a big consideration for me. Take today for instance. I have a chill about me. While it’s well into the 80’s, I have goose bumps and shiver every now and again. My plan for an outfit today included Bermuda shorts, white sleeveless t-shirt with a long sleeve denim shirt on top and white flip flops to show off my pedicure.

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The layers of this outfit will allow for the changes my body will go through during the course of the day. The denim shirt will keep me warm enough and the sleeveless shirt for when I get too warm. After all it is 87 degrees outside and I don’t want to get over heated, which adds to fatigue.

My big tip for this entry is if you suffer with heat/cold intolerance, be prepared. For some reason dr’s tend to concentrate on heat intolerance, even though there are a bunch of us that suffer with cold intolerance as well. Those with body temp issues have to think ahead. My other tip would be wear what makes you feel good. But always…I beg of you always make sure clothes are age appropriate. You don’t have to show off your goodies to still be seen as attractive the older you get.

Now that I’m home and in my comfy attire, I’m going to perch on my couch like I do when having a day like today.

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Wishing you all a fantastic weekend!

Self perception, disability and fashion

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I’ve talked about Chronic illness in my blog quite a bit. Ive talked about the fatigue, the blurred vision, the drop foot as well as constipation I’ve dealt with while having Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve talked about my progression in going from RRMS to SPMS. I have touched gently on the blow to self esteem some suffer with when dealing with this hideous disease.

While I’ve shared some very personal experiences that I have gone through, I don”t think I really delved into how much of a mind f*ck it can be. In all honesty it can be quite the roller coaster ride if you let it get the best of you.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you guys that I haven’t cried my eyes out on occasion as my disease has progressed, because I have more than once. I admit my own perception of myself has been negative at times. Not being able to go and do as you once did can be crushing. Having people stare at your cane or when you have to use a scooter to get around the grocery store can really deplete your sense of self worth. Not to mention the countless times I’ve shuffled around the house wearing my cheetah slippers and bathrobe with my hair pulled up in the crazy side ponytail.

After all there are times my skin feels like it’s on fire from nerve pain which makes the thought of putting on clothes a no go. I have nerve pain that touches the soul at times, but even on those days, I’ve beat myself up over not looking my best.

I’m reminded of something my youngest has told me over and over again when I’ve shared something negative. He’s said “Mom don’t even put that in the air”. I have to say when he’s told me that it’s always put things in perspective. In other words don’t give that negativity power.

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This gives me pause for thought, why do we hold ourselves to such self deprecation? We should never be our own worst critic, but instead we should build ourselves up.

In my group I always tell my members I’m their cheerleader. If anything, I want them to know that when they don’t have the strength to cheer themselves on, I’ll do it for them. We all have insecurities, especially when dealing with a debilitating disease; but we’re all rockstars in our own way. I’ve heard MS referred to as the snow flake disease, because everyones disease is different. While I can still walk with the use of a cane, I know that some can’t. On the same note, while I need a cane or have had to use a walker in the past, some have never had to experience that.

I remember when first having to use a cane some 12 or so years ago, I made it my mission to have a fabulous selection of canes to choose from. The first one I got was from a medical supply company. Needless to say it was less than fashionable. It was adjustable and just plain ugly. I remember thinking well this isn’t very vogue. I was embarrassed to use it. Since then I started ordering my canes on line. I have a bunch of them now, including one that’s a sword cane. It was given to me by a dear friend who was the assistant chief at the police department I dispatched for. It’s one of my favy canes, but I really don’t use it because the weight of the sword inside is enough to throw my already bad balance off kilter. I have to say being a crip isn’t the best situation, but if I have to I’ll be a fabulous crip.

My point to this is we’re all beautiful and all have a gift to give others, if anything just with our presence. I read in a meme once that said ” I’m not chronically ill, I’m chronically fabulous” We should all have that mind set, because we are ALL chronically fabulous. If anything, chronic illness mixed with disability is not for the faint of heart.