Thursday, 31 July 2014

10 awesome things about working in vineyards...

1. We don't work in the rain.  Except for when we do.  But mostly we don't.  Which means sometimes we get late starts and early finishes, which is a little awesome.  Not so much for the bank account, but awesome for every other reason.  As I write this we are on hold until some rain clears. 

2.  The scenery.  Stunning.  Here is an old pic.  All my new pics are on my phone so I will have to learn how to get those here some other time.

3.  I can listen to my ipod.  All day if I want.  I listen to music, but mostly podcasts.  History podcasts are my favourite.  I am nearly finished with my third time through Mike Duncan's History of Rome (my fav).  I also listen to the British History Podcast, History of Byzantium, History of Hannibal, and a few others.  So I can learn something new while I work.  Best of all, no customer service stuff involved.  All my other jobs involved being nice to people.

4.  Language.  I can swear.  I have to watch it in front of vineyard owners, and some of the older coworkers who don't like too much swearing, but I can still slip the f-bomb when I have the urge to.  I haven't done it yet, but telling a coworker to fuck off when they are pissing you off will not get you fired here.

5.  Vitamin D.  Unlimited.  And free sunscreen, which I need from about mid October to mid March. 

6.  Calorie burning work.  Mostly summer work, walking up and down hills.  Winter work is a bit less physical.

7.  Flexibility.  Except for during harvest time, it is very easy to take time off.  And even during harvest time it is still possible.  And overtime can be worked on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays, if you want to make up some hours or pack on a massive work week.

8.  Wine.  I get wine.  Usually just at Christmas time, but sometimes at other times.  And discounts if I want to buy any.  This isn't too much of a perk for me because I don't really like wine all that much (I'd rather have beer), but it is still an awesome part of the job.

9.  For about 2 months out of the year, if I am hungry between breaks, I can eat some fruit.  And I have never had any of effects of eating too many grapes.  Which is good because one of the negative things about working in a vineyard is the toilet situation.  Or lack there of.

10.  Meeting new people from different countries and backgrounds.  Lots of seasonal workers come from overseas, which provides an excellent opportunity to learn how to swear in different languages. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Vaginal Spelunking, Ebola, and Carlos Danger...

I got an email from my sister.  She sporadically emails me, usually to tell me she nearly pooed her pants because of the absurd lack of public toilets.  This time it was because of the Ebola outbreak.  She asks "Is it weird that Ebola reminds me of you?"  In all honesty, I couldn't say yes because Ebola reminds me of her too.  Mostly because we read "The Hot Zone" years and years ago and it freaked us out hardcore.  Scary, scary shit.  But also because we like to make up exotic illness complaints to make our boring colds sound more exciting.  So the weekend of the early miscarriage (or chemical pregnancy...pick your poison either way it sucks donkeys) when I skyped home and my mom was over at my sisters, I decided to tell them about it.  Naturally I told them I had Ebola.  My sister said "That's nice," and carried on cooking.  Mom laughed at me, until I insisted I was bleeding my guts out into the toilet.  Then she asked what was wrong, and was probably more upset about it than I was.  She told me later she even cried for me (when I laughed at her she said "not ugly sobs, just tears!").  Anyway, maybe that is why my sis was thinking of me when she saw headlines on tv about the Ebola outbreak.  She enquired after my lady parts and sent them happy thoughts.  Which was nice.  I sent her a detailed response about my cervical mucous and how my lady parts are very busy this close to ovulation.  Didn't phase her at all, so I think I lost this one-up-manship.  Damn.

But speaking of my lady parts (which will probably dominate this blog whenever I am not talking about my either way a pussyblog...damn, I should have used that name!)...the horror of all horrors, one of my worst fears ever happened during my last visit from my evil auntie Flo.  I lost the string.  To the tampon.  And it's not like it had been in long enough that it could be dislodged by a black pepper powered sneeze.  Five frenzied minutes of digging around finally produced the damn thing.  Somehow the string had looped over the top of the bastard.  They should have a warning about early morning insertions...

Maybe this is just me, but around CD6 as the last of the spotting is occurring, I start getting sex dreams.  In all honesty, I mostly dream about my husband, which is kind of cool.  Sometimes the dream bonk involves some non-real person that my brain just sort of invents.  But  Sometimes my dreams are a little freaky.  Here are a few from the past: on the (?) side, I have had two sex dreams about Hawkeye Pierce.  From MASH.  Not Alan Alda as he is now (cuz that would move this thing up a notch to extra freaky), but Hawkeye.  So not bad, but a little weird considering my age.  A bit with a viking man that my brain concocted...while Putin looked on.  I blame the news for this one.  And the top of my "what the fuck" pile...bonking away with the husband...and all of a sudden he morphs into Carlos Danger aka Anthony Weiner.

There is no hope for me.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

I need a screw, or, my screw is loose. Both, really.

"I need a screw."  That is what I rather loudly told my 60 year old boss this morning.  He giggled like a school girl and made me repeat the request louder.  I had been thinking about telling him I needed a good screw.  Or that my screw was loose.  My electric pruners have crapped out on me.  The little screw loosens and tightens at will, causing me to adjust it every five minutes, and in doing so, I have stripped it.  So I threw my toys out of the cot yesterday and decided to go manual.  And to start telling both bosses repeatedly, through text messages, phone calls, surprise visits on their doorsteps, messages to their wives, whatever, that "I need a screw."  Pruning lasts close to 5 months.  We are not half way through, and I don't have the hand strength to prune manually for the rest of it.  So far a day and a half without the electrics, my hands and arms aren't really feeling too bad.  But soon  my arms will go dead at night (they will fall asleep and wake me up, basically) and I will be unable to pick up a coffee cup for about the first 20 minutes of my day.  Hopefully, I will soon have a screw.  In both ways really, because today is CD5 and Aunt Flo is in retreat and will hopefully be gone by tomorrow night.

I saw the doc today, and got not only a referral to get my potentially endo-clad uterus and other parts checked out by a gyno, but got a payload of pain pills.  Voltaren, Codeine, and Panadol.  I take 2 a day of the first and supplement as needed with the other two when Aunt Flo is being particularly heinous.  The ibuprofen I usually take don't work unless I take a lot.  As in take 3, when the pain is still there an hour later, take another, and then repeat again if the pain doesn't go away, and if it does, wait 4 hours from the first does and take 2 more.  Not so good for my kidneys I guess. 

The doc was nice and asked how last month went, so I told her.  With emphasis on the pain.  The whole thing was a bit awkward with the student doctor, a young Indian man, sitting there nodding rather enthusiastically.  Poor guy.  I tried not to get too descriptive.  But mostly I was embarrassed and off my game, hence the tears.  Dammit.  I would like to hope that this is the last time that happens to me in an exam room.  Probably won't be. 

I started back with my running today after a 2 week hiatus.  5 minute walk with a 22 minute jog.  The plan is to jog every day for at least 20 minutes at first, and increase it as I can.  Longer jogs on the weekend, or maybe hikes into the mountains (which the Moose has been pushing for...he wants to get up into the snow!).  And no more beers, snacky processed naughty foods, flavoured coffee sachets, and I will cut back on bread.  10 kilos in 3 months is the goal...but more would be better.  I need to get my BMI under 32. 

On the bright side, I now have a stack of pain pills which could come in handy if I don't get that screw in my electric pruners replaced.

First post, a bit of an intro, and my violent Auntie Flo

(I wrote this yesterday but didn't get a chance to run a spell check, so I posted today.  Probably still with spelling errors, grammar errors and errors of all sorts.)

Hello.  My name is Tiggy and I appear to be sub-fertile.  Possibly infertile.  But I haven't been diagnosed yet, and my name isn't actually Tiggy.  But Tiggy is a nickname I do answer to, along with Tig, Honey Tig, and a myriad of other tiger related pet names.  Why tigers?  Well, I am a crazy cat lady (even though I only have 2), and basically my husband gave me the nickname when I leaped through the air growling ferociously to pounce upon him and tickle the shit outta him.  Cuz that's how I roll.  Anyway...where was I?  Ah yes, traitorous lady parts.  Perhaps.  Might as well start from the beginning.

I was one of those unfortunate souls to get my period just before I turned 10.  10!!!!  Not fair.  By 14 I was put on the pill to regulate the monster after missing too many school days and complaining non-stop about cramps.  I was careful with taking it when I was a little older  Very careful.  I was not going to be the girl to get preggers in high school.  In fact, I didn't think I would ever want children.  Babies terrified me.  I successfully avoided pregnancy, graduated high school and university, moved overseas and got married to husband #1.  Still wasn't interested in children, and could not imagine raising them with husband #1 (oh the dramas that would have ensued...<shudder>).  I divorced husband #1 and met my Moose, the nickname for #2...because he is a mouse.  He opens boxes or bags of food, ie crackers, eats them and leaves the empty box in the pantry.  Just like a mouse.  And mouse=Moose.  Naturally.  It's called science.  With my Moose things are different.  Life is good.  I am happy.  I can see us raising a brood of whatever you get when you cross a Moose with a Tig.  Unfortunately it seems like we may need the intervention of science to make that happen.

In May of 2013, I could no longer ignore the biological clock (31 years old then) or the sudden presence of babies and preggos everywhere.  Moose and I decided to give it a go.  I went off the pill, terrified of horrendous visits from a violent Aunt Flo, but figuring she wouldn't be pestering me for long.  Of course I would get pregnant right away.  Because of these child-bearing hips.  Seriously.  Those ancient sculptures of earth goddess mother types might as well have been modelled after me.  And my extended family is numerous.  There used to be jokes about the little paper cups in my grandma's kitchen.  I was always careful to avoid them.  I went to the doc to get a check up.  I am immune to rubella.  I got my first ever flu shot.  I was told if I didn't get preggers in a year or so to come back.  I was also told to lose a few pounds.  Which I did.  Anyhoodle...the first cycle I was certain we had succeeded.  I had burn-y itchy boobs.  I could smell the spice aisle at the supermarket from several aisles away.  But no positive pregnancy test, and my period came a few days late.  Perhaps a chemical pregnancy.  Perhaps my stupid brain tricking me into thinking there were symptoms where there were none.  Because google.  And then...nothing.  Aunt Flo came along every month, right on schedule, because my lady parts are nothing if not punctual.  After a few months I decided not to worry, to relax and just sort of let it happen.  We bonked around the time I figured I was ovulating.  Aunt Flo arrived to kick me in the uterus.  Repeat the next month.

Finally around March of 2014 I decided to get my ass in gear and head to the doc.  That and sudden and unexplainable pain in the lower right part of my pelvis (the kind which would stick around for over 6 weeks), with no connection whatsoever to Aunt Flo.  I talked to the doc, who got me on the waiting list for a pelvic ultrasound, as she thought I had a cyst.  Endometriosis runs in my family (well, a few aunts have had it), and is something I have discussed with the doc before.  As regarding the lack of any buns in the oven, well...I was told I would need to lose 10-15 kilos to qualify for publicly funded diagnosis/treatment.  Bugger.  The weight that I had lost the previous year had come back with interest after a 3 week holiday back home (the US), and I hadn't really bothered about shaking it off.  Because of course I would get pregnant naturally!!!  The hips!!!  Must be there for a reason!  Ultrasound revealed no cysts and that my organs were all present and accounted for.  Ovaries were cyst free and one had a lovely follicle on it.  Endometrial lining seemed on track for where it should be.  Of course, by the time I got in for the ultrasound, the pain was mostly gone, and it was suggested perhaps that it was a grumbling appendix or something with the bowel.  It was something grumbly alright.

I started running on a couch to 5k program in April.  Now, I don't have a sedentary job.  I work outside in a vineyard.  40-60 hours a week of manual labour.  Some days are more manual than others, but the crew I work with does a lot of the more physically demanding jobs.  I am overweight.  Technically morbidly obese by BMI standards.  But I am strong, and surprisingly fit.  I can hike up a 1,000m mountain.  I can walk all day at work (up and down really steep hills on some days).  I can roll massive nets along the ground, hoist rocks, lift heavy buckets all day.  Now I can run for half an hour without stopping to walk.  Still morbidly obese according to BMI.  And that is what the doctors go off of.  So...ok...momentarily lost in my long story...back on track.  I need to lose some weight to get my free/much cheaper medical intervention.  Did I want to go that route?  If I had to.  So did I have to?  Maybe.  So best find out a little bit about what I might be getting myself into.  So, I spent a few months reading up on everything I can find in regards to infertility.  I read possibly hundreds of blogs, all these different journeys, some which end happily, others in heart break, many still continuing.  I start to wonder if I could do these things.  Can I handle the drugs?  Would IUIs work for us, or would we end up having to go IVF?  How long will all this take?  How many failed cycles until I give up?  Research.  I want to know what is going to happen before it does (yes, I often read the last page of a book first, or read spoilers online before watching a show.  Don't judge.).  It was time to take a more active role in this whole getting pregnant business.  I started BBT charting and turns out I enjoy that a lot.  I love watching the chart develop, analysing every dip and rise and reminding myself that the daily change matters less than the overall patterns.  And yes, I ovulate.  Or so far I have every chart.  Which I knew anyway.  Regular cycles.  28 days on average.  Light pain halfway through it at ovulation time.

So I was surprised in June when one Monday at work I began to feel odd.  I had cramps the Saturday night before, and expected the evil bitch on Sunday.  I stocked up on supplies.  When she arrived I was going to start this blog.  But she didn't arrive on Sunday.  Maybe she was waiting to ruin the start of the work week.  She has been known to punch me in the uterus on Mondays before, out of spite and the fact that I don't often have the greatest access to the cleanest facilities in a vineyard.  But by Monday afternoon, no sign.  Officially late.  And I was stupid.  I mean really, really stupid.  As in I would forget what someone said at the start of the conversation and at the end have to be reminded of it.  I was tired.  I wanted to lie down in a sea of fluffy white down comforters and sleep for days.  And not in a depressed sort of way.  And the boobs...holy athlete's foot-boobage.  Burn-y as sin.  I peed on a stick when I got home.  And got a very, very faint positive.  There was much dancing and jubilation.  Pregnancy websites.  I read Alpha Mom's pregnancy guide, I looked at strollers and onsies, at creative ways to announce it (not that we would just yet, of course).  By Thursday, however, my pee sticks were still only faint lines.  Shouldn't they get darker?  So I made an appointment.  Saw my doc, who was happy, but a bit perplexed at my very faint line on her more sensitive test.  So we did a blood test and the results would be in on Friday.

Ah, Friday.  My stupid was gone.  My boobs barely hurt.  I spotted a tiny bit in the morning.  And the call came.  My hCG was only at 6.  Barely enough to register pregnant.  The doc was still hopeful.  I was not.  I knew.  And then I bled a bit more.  And then at 2am HOLYSHITMYFUCKINGUTERUSISGOINGTOEXPLODE cramps.  And it started.  An entire weekend of on again off again rolling cramps and bleeding.  Lots and lots of bleeding.  Like Aunt Flo's hoary old bitch of a mother.  I never bled through a pad, of course, because I only seemed to bleed into the toilet.  Of course I pretty much lived on the toilet for 3 days.  I didn't want to eat anything and felt just like shit.  Bugger.  I called in sick to work on Monday.  Monday night my supervisor called.  He had been sick on Monday with the stomach bug that was making its way around work, and wanted to know how the day had gone.  I told him I didn't know, I had called in sick, and I did tell him what happened, because I know he won't say a word about it to anyone else.  Which is not true about most of the other people I work with.  I kind of wanted to point out that while we both spent the weekend on our respective toilets, I won the shitty award.  Well, perhaps he won the shitty award literally speaking, but I think I won full stop.  Another two days of light bleeding wrapped that up.  

Naturally the next week I found out that a former co-worker's wife is expecting.  Sigh. 

And this cycle...nothing.  Aunt Flo arrived on time, though a last few days temp spike in my BBT chart had me hopeful.  Light bleeding the first two days for a change.  And a punch to the feckin uterus on Monday that nearly had me in tears from the pain.  Dammit.  In frustration I made an appt with the doc for tomorrow, more to deal with my cramps than anything.  I want to discuss endo further, and hear what she thinks about my chances with a lap...and if she thinks maybe no, or I should wait and do it when I have lost weight and gotten the referral, well, then I want drugs.  Some serious drugs.  I wanna punch Aunt Flo in her feckin face. 

PS I have seriously no idea how to do this blogging thing.  I will be whiney, I will complain.  I will hopefully entertain and be funny.  I will maybe even help someone.  Maybe make some friends who are going through the same craptastic journey.  Maybe I will get pregnant on my own.  Maybe not.  But this will be a place for me to gather my thoughts, hopefully get used to some healthy writing habits, and perhaps force myself to be accountable regarding my physical health.  And since I really don't like showing emotions EVER, perhaps a place where I can share, and cry the ugly tears, and not have anyone see me.  Oh, and I will probably post a million pics of my adorable cats.

PPS I have nothing against dogs.  We just have a tiny house and a tiny section, and two very different ideas of what kind of dogs we would want.  The cats now rule the house, and they don't want any dogs around.  Except Molly (neighbour's dog).  She's allowed.