Monday, March 5, 2012

FAST TIMES AT MADISON HIGH: An Update On The Latest Happenins In The Madison/Graham Hizzle


Howdy, people. This is my "every once in a while" literary puke onto my blog about how life is going around the Madison/Graham house. Some of you are probably like, "Whitney! You're a Facebook junkie! We see 900 status updates per month! We don't need to know anymore!" Whelp...if you feel this way, I am sorry. However, you're the one on my blog, SO YOU WILL LISTEN TO EVERYTHING I HAVE TO SAY!!! Or just click the X in the corner and bail. See if I care. Wait! I do care. Ok...maybe only a little. I figure the only people who read this type of update are people who are genuinely interested in my life. Or for people who want more dirt on me so they can be like, "OMG, Becky. Look at that blog. It is so big...". Big? Ok, that was a stretch. However, my blog is getting kind of big. According to my stats I have at least 3 views on my blog from Macedonia, one from Turkey, and 2 from Saudi Arabia today. I'm frickin' huge! Taking the world by storm one blog post at a time!

I'm full of crap. I was just making that stuff up. I realize I'm a small jelly bean in a sea of Jelly Bellies as far as the blogging world goes. But I really did get three hits from Macedonia today. **HOLLA!* Now where's a map so I can remind myself where Macedonia is? Oh!...there it is.

Some of you probably read my blog yesterday--the one where I was popping off about finances and our nation's corrupt welfare system. I am kind of cranky because of tax season. Not just because of the tax penalty I get this year, but also because the IRS loves to rake me over the coals annually for working all of my extra shifts. I really should try to be more of a slacker. I'd actually be rewarded for all of my lack of effort. 

I am glad that I have a trip booked to Kauai in the next couple of weeks. I think I'm going to make it mandatory to take one of my annual vacations during tax season every year. That way at least I can get all sorts of PO'd at the IRS while simultaneously sipping pina coladas.

So where to start!?? Tristan and I broke up last fall/early winter (probably both). I think it was our 7,289th breakup since we started dating in January of 2009. I'm sure there's a whole slew of people in the 49th state who would like to peg this as a good indicator of the future of our relationship spiraling down the toilet faster than a roll of Charmin bath tissue in the hands of a toddler, but **BIG SHRUG**. The 3,000 mile distance has nearly killed us REPETITIVELY during this relationship. Somehow we have managed to survive. However... **drum roll please**

HE'S MOVING DOWN HERE! No, I didn't threaten him. This was actually his idea. He told me in December that he would be moving to Colorado, and he'll be here on March 11th! I'm excited. However, I'm nervous. I don't know why I'm nervous. After all, he was one of my best friends in college, we've known each other for 14+ years, and dated for 3+ of those years.

Great News!!!:  Tristan is able to keep his job up in Palmer, Alaska, upon his move to Colorado. He is a mechanical engineer up there, and he designs machines from the ground up that blast the airplane tire rubber off of runways and aircraft carriers. This isn't ALL he does, but kind of the gist. He designs a lot of machines, actually. His main thing though is that he takes big manly vehicles, breaks them, designs vacuum/suction/hydro powered blaster thingymabobbers, and then somehow makes them into machines that blast the holy living snot out of airline tire rubber from where planes touchdown. He has designed/built for Anchorage International Airport, and the Navy. Do you like my awesome, super technical description of what he does? He's a very smart man. If I tried to do what he does you would end up with a SuperSoaker attached to a Kia Optima. Then I'd be fired. However, I don't know that he can help deliver babies like I can...

I am still working in Labor and Delivery at the hospital. I still pick up a couple of shifts per month on the cardiac/telemetry unit as well. This has two purposes. The first is that it what helps to pay for all the fun things I do in my life, as well as feed my savings account. The second is that it helps me keep up nursing skills that I might otherwise lose in labor and delivery. I love my job in labor and delivery. Every delivery is different, and exciting. I love going back to the OR for C-sections. I love that I am always learning new things. I like going back over to the cardiac unit because it allows me to keep up on my EKG certification by having almost all of my patients on heart monitors, and I deal with problems affecting every body system, perform periodic wound care, and just see a whole host of things I don't see on the labor deck. It's stuff I would lose if I didn't actually experience it every once in a while.

Still loving my house that I moved back into last July. It is the same house I lived in after my divorce. I had to downsize for two years while I was undergoing surgery, but it feels good to be back in the place I love! 4 bedrooms/3 baths with gorgeous mountain views. It gives my family the space that we need to function without wanting to poke each other's eyeballs out (though we continue to threaten one another from time to time, regardless...).

**Our Hizzle**

Tristan just (mostly) finished his house that he was building up in Alaska. We will likely be flying up to Palmer, Alaska, in May or June to finish everything up. It's a great house! We actually designed it together while I was in the hospital undergoing my surgeries during the end of 2009 and into 2010. He has 4 acres of property up there that are on a hilltop. The property looks out over a beautiful mountain range. He put huge windows in the front of the house so this view could be taken in. It's a lovely 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 3 car garage home that is located in between Palmer and Wasilla, Alaska (AKA Sarah Palinville). And can't see Russia from there.

This is how his house looked the last time I saw it:

Can't wait to see it the next time! He is actually all moved over there now, and there is flooring, bathrooms, a kitchen, carpet, hardwoods, etc! It is going to be a big surprise for me to see! :)


Paige: Paige is 20 now. She is attending Red Rocks Community College to get her pre-reqs out of the way before heading to CSU. She wants to be a book editor. She is working full time at Wendy's, and seems to be liking her job. She has a good sense of humor about most things, and is a ton of fun to be around. I love going out to lunch with her, catching up on gossip, new men she is dating, and then telling her how stupid most men are after breakups (sorry for you not-so-stupid men). Paige is looking forward to our trip to Kauai, and is also taking a road trip to Vegas with a few of her gal pals this spring break. She's a happy camper.

Beau: **SIGH** Don't know where to start with this one. He still doesn't like his mom. We went head-to-head after my trip to Maui last summer. I had just moved into my new house. He was supposed to be with my parents during that time. However, he ended up at my place. He wouldn't return anyone's phone calls. Nobody knew where he was. Long story short-- he completely trashed my place. I came home to find the biggest frat/sorority party ever thrown in my new, clean home. I had a few things to say about this (as you can imagine). He hasn't spoken to me since. Well that's not true--he hasn't spoken to me NICELY since. He missed Christmas and his birthday with me this year. It's been sad and frustrating, but must be those growing pains that every other parent in the world experiences. He did graduate from highschool, and turned 18 in December. He feels like he should take on the world by himself at this time, and blames me for every bad thing that's ever happened to him. I think this is how Dr. Phil got his day job. Hopefully he'll come around over time. It's frutrating and heartbreaking. :(

**Beau with me**

**Beau in a play up in Conifer**

Chloe: Chloe is now 9 years old! She's the tallest person in all of 4th grade! If this kid doesn't stop growing I'm going to have to get a place that has larger vaulted ceilings! She won her school spelling bee last year (in third grade), and this year came in second! She went to the area bee both times, and did great this year! She plays basketball and soccer. She started taking piano lessons, and is doing a great job at playing. She also continues to be a great artist, and a great writer (her pen name is Hope Sprites)!

Emma: Emma is my firecracker in a bottle. I've got my work cut out with this kid. She has all the sass of her mom, and her older sister. However, it manifests itself in the form of a 9 year old. Can we say, "precocious"? Cuz that's what she is. She is a ton of fun to be around, but there are days where I can't handle some of the huge doses of EMMA that she deals out. She does make me laugh though. Today I looked at my phone and under my Google search it said, "I love cheese". I asked the kids, "Who Googled "I love cheese?"" Emma said, "I did!" I asked her WHY? She said, "Because I love it!" LOL! See what I deal with every day? It was hilarious. Maybe you had to be there, but I guess I was expecting a different answer. She continues to play basketball and soccer. She is also doing very well in school. She's a great kid.

I continue to paint. I love it. I like coming up with new ways to make things pop off canvas. I love painting in bright colors, and most of you know that my main theme in painting revolves all around my love for Hawaii. I've managed to set up a great website for my online art gallery
 and my sales are going well! I've done custom orders, and had a ton of fun with it. It's very relaxing for me!

I'm feeling much better after having major surgery in both 2009, and 2010! After thinking I was going to die for nearly a year after being so sick, losing so much blood, and literally being gray in color, I AM FEELING GREAT! Not 100% yet, but much, MUCH better! I was actually able to start running outside again after my surgery. Most of you know I'm an avid trail runner. I can't wait to hit Red Rocks this spring/summer, and tear it up!

I finally let the cat out of the bag on a recent blog that I had my entire colon removed in October of 2009, and had my final reconstructive surgery in January of 2010. I am not shy about it EVER when I'm talking to people, so I figured, "Why not just announce it to the world that I'm a freak of nature now?" LOL! True. I talk to a lot of people who are now, or once were afflicted with the same disease I had (ulcerative colitis--autoimmune disease where the immune system of the body literally attacks the lining of the colon for no apparent reason, and rips patches of tissue out of it, or "ulcerates" it). I remember feeling very alone when I had it--no one talked about it! It was hard to find a ton of information on it, let alone personal stories. Then people started coming out of the woodwork after I started being not-so-shy about it anymore. It's been great to help others who I know have the same condition, and to let them know that they do have other alternatives besides harmful medications that only "suppress" the condition (and some of the meds are super harmful). Even though losing a major piece of my GI tract seems extreme and super scary, it's been a blessing to not have to deal with the disease anymore. Having the surgery to get rid of the stupid thing (my colon) was way better than having the disease ever was. The recovery takes years--I'm still on the path. Each day is better and better. Every year that passes I say, "WOW!!! This is SO much better than last year!". My doc told me it would be that way. No surprise!

Some of you know that because of the intense medication I took during my illness that it messed with my heart, and sent me in and out of ventricular tachycardia--a deadly rhythm that can lead to cardiac arrest. After all of my GI surgeries I ended up in the cardiac cath lab having my heart laser ablated so I wouldn't peace out due to the ventricular tachycardia. I am proud to report that I have had no issues since my cardiac laser ablation. It is such a blessing. It's also nice not to have my heart pounding out of my chest!

Here is a picture of me with Chloe right after my initial surgery--my complete colectomy. It didn't look so hot. This was October of 2009.

And here is a picture of Tristan and me at Seven Sacred Pools in Hana on Maui. This was taken in August of 2010--not too long after all three of my surgeries (10 months after!). It felt so good to be able to lead a "normal" life again!!!


We're headed back to Hawaii!!! March 23 we will touch down in Kauai! I CANNOT WAIT! This will be my third trip to Hawaii since my surgery. We are going to tear it up on our surfboards and boogie boards!!! Stay tuned for all the pics!

To sum everything up, it has been a blessed few years. At times I was certain I would lose my mind, or my life. However, I thank God for the blessings he has bestowed upon me and my family, and for the opportunity to live life to the fullest.


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