Yesterday when I was lying on a table having my feet and back and scalp rubbed, I started thinking about all the spa experiences that I’ve had. Some were great, others, well, not so much.

My first real spa experience was at Disney World (cuz where else?). We had planned a whirlwind trip to fill out a contract with the DVC offices. Or that was our excuse anyway. Alexis was ten months old. I think we made it to the parks one day out of the 4 that we were there. But one of those afternoons was scheduled for me. Chris splurged and bought me a spa package lasting from late morning until early evening. I was a bit nervous about it because I was still nursing Alexis at the time, and I didn’t know if she – or my boobs – could make it for 5 whole hours.

Overall, it was a great experience. There was a massage (not a new treat), a reflexology massage, and a facial. Probably something else as well, but I can’t remember. I don’t really remember the massage, but the foot rub… OMG. This was pure heaven. I actually fell asleep.

I hated the facial. It was the longest, most boring torture I had ever endured, but then again, maybe my boobs were bursting and I really wanted to get back to my family. 90 minutes is WAY too long for a facial. I didn’t realize this for several years and avoided all facials until last September when I won one on a cruise (Yes, a Disney cruise – don’t you know me yet?). Grudgingly I scheduled my appointment. The experience itself was actually quite pleasant. I didn’t feel like my face had been rubbed off this time, but my “free” facial ended up costing me about $200 in products. Products I felt like I had to buy because the spa technician told me I was getting wrinkles around my eyes. Now, I’m generally mistaken for much younger than I really am, so this was a huge blow to my ego. I guess she really knew how to sell a product (or 5).

On that same cruise Chris and I had scheduled a couples cabana beach massage on Disney’s private island. It might just be me, but I really don’t get the point of a couples massage. However, I went along with it for his sake. Besides, how bad could a massage be? BAD. Really, really bad. Chris got the cute tiny girl who could probably put dents in steel I-beams with her fingers, and I got the wimpy new girl who had a cold. I actually caught her wiping her nose with one hand while she massaged with the other one. I think I left feeling worse than when I got there because I was so stressed about the potential boogers on me.

By far, my best spa experiences have been at the Woodhouse Spa in Austin (blasphemy! It’s not Disney owned). I’ve been there several times alone, once a quarter my two best friends and I go for pedicures, and a few times I’ve dragged my mom (like yesterday). The whole environment is so soothing. And the robes have got to be the softest things I’ve ever touched.

Yesterday’s treatments were good. I started with that 45 minutes foot rub I mentioned, then moved on to Swedish massage. Mom and I both agreed that the only really odd experience was the scalp massage. It starts with something similar to Chinese water torture, only here they use oil, and they rub your hands and feet while it’s dripping on you. Unfortunately, the hand and foot rub does not counteract the drip, drip, dripping on the forehead. I must say I was very relieved when that was over.

Perhaps in the coming year, I’ll have the guts (and the money) to try a new spa in Austin. There are a couple of destination spas in town, but they’re so expensive I have a hard time justifying it. In the meantime, I think I’ll stick with Reflexology and Egyptian pedicures.

froghead.jpgI don’t know what it is, but every time I get sick, it’s on a weekend when Chris is in SA doing his guard drill. This weekend was no different. He infects me with his disgusting hacking wet cough and heads off to defend the country. So, I’m at home, first with just a little tickle in the back of my throat. I figure it’s due to the molds being so eff-ing high, so I continued to go about my day. By nightfall, I’m was feeling really crappy, and figured I’ve infected everyone I’ve come in contact with. After Alexis passes out from such a busy day, I stayed up for a bit and watched TV/knitted (damn sweater is FINALLY on track).

About 11 pm, I check the medicine cabinet for some leftover cough syrup. Score!! Hydromet from LAST Christmas when I had the Cough. Never mind that it’s been expired for nearly a year. I down a couple teaspoons and head off to bed. About a half hour later, I’m hanging on to the bowl of the toilet gasping for air as I knelt there and offered up my tortilla soup to the porcelain gods. Back to bed. Of course, now I’m coughing again, and I’m pretty sure all the drugs I just took are somewhere on their way to a lake with 3-eyed fish. At least they won’t be coughing, pregnant fish with RLS. Lucky them.

Sunday wasn’t much better. I coughed and coughed and coughed, but at least I had the foresight not to take anymore year old, EXPIRED codiene products. Whenever I’m sick, Alexis gets to do and eat pretty much whatever she wants because as I lay dieing in bed, she bugs me incessantly. Mommy, can I have… Mommy, can I play… YES, SURE, DO WHATEVER. Go play with knives, swim in the pool unsupervised, drink some bleach but just LET ME SLEEP!

By 2 o’clock, I’ve had a couple of broken hours of sleep and I feel like the worst mommy of the year. I called my mom in tears and she offered to come get Alexis. So after a quick temper tantrum about “I’m going to miss you sooo much mommy”, Alex agrees to go play at grandma’s if she can play “trash can”. (This is apparently when my mother stuffs her into a sleeping bag and carries her around like a bag of trash – She never played games like that with US… She would just tickle us until we gasped with our last choking breath “I love you sweet, beautiful mommy.” And yes, I do that to Alexis, too.)

When Chris brought her home later that evening, I was, at least in a better mood, if not sicker than before. My sweet (beautiful) Chris makes me dinner and tea and tucks me into bed by 7:45.

So here I am on Monday morning, when I am SUPPOSED to be having two glorious days to myself while Chris is at work, and Alexis is at school. Hell, I even have appointments at the spa. Will I enjoy them? I’ll probably be hacking up nasty snot balls during the whole thing. I really pity the masseuses who are stuck with me today. I suspect I’ll infect them as well. But what do I care? I get to have a 45 minute foot rub.


A picture!!! I finished the ripple blanket about a week ago. It’s so soft and snuggly. Both Chris and Alexis are trying to claim it as their own. Alexis is dragging it up and down the stairs and getting even more golden retriever fur on it. (I’m sure there is a good amount *IN* it)

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Alex helped me pick the colors, and I really really like them. And in order to keep them sort of random, she also would pick the next color as I got near the end of a row. Though, to be fair, Chris helped with that after she went to bed.

I think I figured out that this sucker is made from FOUR (yes FOUR) pounds of yarn. It’s heavy. Anyway, at least that sucker is out of my system.

Last night I finally got the bottom ribbing and a few rows of stockingette stitch done on my sweater. Only like 14 inches to go until I get to the fun part. Sigh… at least I can do it anywhere and mostly without looking. I’d better get more movies from netflix.

But man, I’ve got an issue, cuz the sweater is the second project in a row that I’ve done with “cheap” yarn from Michael’s. I’m SO not a synthetic fiber kind of girl. I’m actually a fiber snob. I want hand dyed stuff for fabric, embroidery floss, and yarn. I need to drag myself to the new yarn store. Especially since the sewing room has SO much more room in it to hold yarn and stuff.

Really, I swear I’ll take pictures of the room someday. When it’s perfect. Bwa-ha-ha-ha.

And go over to yarnbar and checkout Susan’s super cool knitted robot. (And about a million other cool projects she and Gina come up with)

If you’re not in the mood for a super boring post, stop here. If, however, you want to hear me complain about my day, by all means, keep reading. Most of it won’t make sense out of context, but since when do I make sense. I don’t even have the energy to complain well. And I can’t find any relevant or even just plain good, photos to show you.

So I was knitting along on this new sweater I was starting for myself, when I realize that it’s twisted. So I decide to “untwist” it by moving it to another set of needles and then back. Um, DUH it was a circle, and twisted (think mobius strip except with more than 1/2 twist) Now I have 2 inches of sweater that I have to pull out because it’s so damn twisted. (I went searching for a picture of this… apparently I am the ONLY MORON ON THE PLANET WHO HAS DONE THIS!!!) And did I mention this would be the THIRD time I frogged it? Grrrr.

The morning started with me *edited*…. Honestly, I’m not TRYING to be difficult. I’m just scatterbrained like my mother. It’s GENETIC, ok?

Then I call my mom (yes, the scatterbrained one, whom I aspire to be like, dammit!) when I’m on the way to pick up Alexis to see if I can come get the video camera when I’m done. I needed the camera because her very first school program was today, and Chris couldn’t make it because he’s taking a class that’s on Tuesday nights. When I pick up Alexis she informs me that she got in trouble again in class (she was in trouble yesterday, too). AUGH!

We head to get the camera, and as I’m pulling into my mother’s neighborhood, she calls and asks if I’m coming. I tell her I’ll be there in just a couple of minutes, but my step father is in the background barking because he is hungry and wants to go eat. JESUS!

Anyway, at least the show was super cute. Alexis was a bit nervous at the beginning, and had to pee so bad at the end that she was dancing, but in the middle she did great. I hope the video is good, and I hope I can steal stills from it.

So, crappy day, but ended up good, and I have nothing interesting to say.

As I’ve been reading the Dooce archives this past week, I’ve been reminded of my own struggles with chronic depression. So, I’ve decided to tell you the whole long story of what happened in the last couple of months or so.

In late July, we had a huge family crisis. I’m not going to say what it is, because it’s not really my thing to tell, but it was the thing that caused Chris and I to head to therapy. My mom’s reaction to that was “be careful, sometimes those therapists will ruin your marriage”. We weren’t too worried about this, but we were cautious going in. We both knew that we wanted the relationship to work, and to do that we needed to learn to communicate.

I’ve been depressed and on meds for it for most of the last 17 years. Until very recently, the only time I was drug free was when I was pregnant, and the 17 months I was nursing. So I know myself, and I know that I need to be medicated to be tolerable to myself, and to others.

About two weeks after we started seeing the therapist (whom we both loved, BTW), I made the incredibly stupid decision to change my medication. I’d been on this particular drug at a moderately high dose for over a year, and I was so damn tired all the time. My doctor and I went through everything we could think of before dropping the meds and nothing came back positive or worked at all. So we decided to switch to a drug that I’ve never taken before because it is contraindicated for people with a history of seizures. But it’s been a really long time since I had a seizure (knock wood), and there was never a reason found for me to have them. So I was willing to take the risk, as this is a drug that works very, very well for my mother and brother.

My doctor wanted me to wean off my current meds, and then see what it was like to be drug free for a bit. I was to call him when I felt I needed to be prescribed the new med. The plan was to wean to half of my current dose each week. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy because as always, I had done my research. I knew I was going to feel horrible physically, but I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming depression that would take hold of me. By the time I was off the old meds, I was feeling so shitty that I was working from home 3 days a week, just to spare my co-workers my irritability.

The feelings of worthlessness, and fatigue, and hopelessness engulfed me. I couldn’t drive my car without thinking about driving it into a ditch. The only thing in the world that kept me going was my daughter. There was no way I could bear for her to grow up without a mommy.

I called the doctor for the new medication, and started it the next day. I knew it was going to take some time to start working so I also went to visit the acupuncturist. Now, I’m usually a skeptic, but the first time I went, she put a needle in my “happy” spot, and I smiled for like 10 days. I almost *never* smile (not because I’m unhappy, just because I don’t smile). So I thought she could help.

She did help. For 24-48 hours after I would see her, I would feel BETTER. I could bear life, go to work, joke with my co-workers (who really are the greatest bunch of guys ever). But in the end the depression was stronger so I called in the big guns and found a psychiatrist. (I always read that as Pee-Sigh-Kye-A-Trist — thanks Animanics)

When I called the office, the had to ask me some questions and see if I really qualified to be seen. WTF? I almost started bawling on the phone. The next day they called me back to make an appointment… two weeks later! I thought I was going to die. I didn’t think I could handle another 2 weeks.

Amazingly, the next day, the three week mark after starting the new drug, I felt better. It could have been the drug, it could have been the weight of the world lifting off my shoulders because I *was* going to do something. I don’t know. I don’t care. It was a huge relief. By no means was I “all better”, but at least I could cope.

When I finally got to the Pee-sychatrist, I told him all of the stuff going on, and he was awesome. He wasn’t the kind that says “tell me how that makes you feeeeeel”. He even encouraged me to go back to school if that’s what I wanted. He told me that if I wanted to be the nurse or doctor, that I would probably be MORE sought out because I have a background other than medicine. THAT surprised me.

Oh, yeah, and he doubled my dose of meds. This was an experiment. If I was feeling better on this med, could I feel “all better” if we doubled it? Awesomely, he just told me to double my pills instead of prescribing the higher dose single pill. That way, if I needed or wanted to, I could drop back to my old dose.

The first several weeks were pretty awful physically. My stomach hurt so badly. I really couldn’t eat much, but I was forcing some food down.

(I’ve always had an issue with food. Whenever I would go out anywhere I would think, “where can I get something to eat or drink?”. I would count the minutes between meals. I couldn’t pass a cookie or a doughnut or almost anything in the office without eating one – or more. This, of course, lead to a few extra pounds. Twenty or so. I’d been trying very hard for the last six months to lose those pounds. I weighed and measured and wrote down and counted the calories of EVERYTHING I ate. Yes even the two cheerios that fell on the counter when I was making breakfast for Alexis. I had been eating 1500 calories per day, and swimming a mile and a half every day all summer and I GAINED weight. WTF?)

All of a sudden, I wasn’t thinking about food anymore. I could actually work through lunch and not really notice. I wasn’t getting in my car and trying to figure out where the nearest coffee shop was on my way. I wasn’t looking longingly at the crap on the table at work.

I lost 10 lbs pretty quickly. (Again, knock virtual wood) I have hope that I’ll lose the other 10 and finally fit back into the 15 pairs of too small jeans or so in my closet. (I already made it into 2 and now one of them is too big)

So all of this long story is just to say that changing the meds has made me happy. I feel GOOD. I haven’t felt this way in, well, ever. I have energy, I have spirit. I have a libido! Chris and I are doing well, at least *I* think so. Sure the stress of life gets me down a bit, but being up more than down is so much different than what I have ever experienced.

I have hope.

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