Monday, February 27, 2012

It's like a roller coaster around here...

I was about to write a post about how I'd gotten over this whole lawyer shenanigans.  I was going to tell you that yes it sucked - but the truth is it was the surprise and hurt factor that were the most ... um ... hurtful. 

I was going to tell you that had we known the cost before we might've still done it because we want to make sure this is done right the first time. That I never have to do this again, and having a lawyer do it is kind of an insurance policy.

But then I had to pay the lawyer. And now the reflex to punch is coming on a bit strong again.

This is most certainly confounded by the fact that I just got a bill for the anesthesiologist from surgery who for coming in and saying "hello, how are you?" charged me $94...True story.

 So in light of all this grouchiness. I thought just maybe I could take some time to be grateful...

My Top Five Things to be Grateful for on this Monday.

5.  The heatwave broke today with some delightful rain and chilly breezes! I LOVE IT.
4. Green plums - I've never had a green plum before and it was delightful.
3. The stash of reese's peanut butter cups that Inspector Climate brought back from the US with him.
2. For bits of home. Channel One has started playing Whose Line is it Anyway on Monday nights. Wayne, Colin, Ryan, Laura Hall. They're like family.
1.  My job - I like going to work on Monday mornings. I like the people I work with, and I love what I'm doing. And after what seems like years of unemployment, I can't be more grateful for anything.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I feel swindled...and that makes me feel like punching someone in the face lawyer I won't name names.

I wrote a post about the lemon tree earlier today? It was a simpler time then. And I had more money in my bank account.

Earlier today I wanted to write a post about how happy I've been this week.  I quite enjoy my new job even though I feel exhausted at the end of every day and am frequently so busy that on my way home from work I realise I desperately have to go to the bathroom. You know, because I was so busy I forgot to go during work hours - this is sad, but the truth.

I was going to write about how bright life was and how much our little lemon tree has grown - and I with it.

I don't feel that now. My jaw is tight with anger and my eyes are puffy from crying. Inspector Climate and I had a meeting with my lawyer today. I've always said good things about my lawyer. See, we're trying to get my spouse visa in quickly so that all those tests I did in September - November (medical, finger prints, Australian police check) are still valid and maybe just maybe if the immigration gods are smiling down on us, I won't have to take them again.

And so Inspector Climate has been working on all the parts of this visa while I've been recovering.  He wrote our love story (5-10 pages); my lawyer asked to bring in copies of all joint statements, marriage certificate, travel itineraries, two letters that have been certified by people saying that we're in a real relationship, copies of greeting cards that people sent through. Of course when we got there the legal aid was all "did you bring the originals?"...Hilarious, no said I. When we talked you just said copies.  My jaw was already tensing.

But the real pain. The pain of bad decision making on my part. The pain that hurts so acutely that even writing this makes my eyes tear up, my fingers bang louder on the keys, and my nose start to run...that came when we started talking about the invoice.

I had a meeting with my lawyer two and a half weeks ago to discuss everything I needed for this visa (this is where the aforementioned copies come in).  And I asked him several times to talk to me about how much it was going to cost.

Conversations that went like this...

Me: I know the visa costs $$$$ and so if we use you in total it will be $$$$ + $$$.

Lawyer: No...Not that much. Only $$$$.

Me: So, how much will it cost me in total.

Lawyer: if we do it for you it will cost $$$$.

Me: So, I'm looking at $$$$ if you do it for me in total?

Lawyer: Yeah, something like $$$$.

Can you see where I'm going with this. We went around and around talking about the price.  Me asking in TOTAL how much the visa and his help would cost to lodge my spouse visa.

So today when the invoice came in and it was 2 x $$$$. You can imagine my surprise. The cost of this whole thing was DOUBLE than what we'd been talking about. DOUBLE. What the fuck?

Are you kidding me?

I see now what he was saying. He was telling me what the total of his fees would be outside of the cost of visa itself. I get that now. But that was never explained. And when I said TOTAL. I meant the motherflipping total.

The money I've spent today could've been a trip to Vietnam. Inspector Climate and I say all the time that puppies are expensive? Well, I am sure this would have been the maintenance of a puppy for at least a couple of years. It was two years of yoga passes.

I feel...betrayed. Who doesn't invoice things BEFORE they start doing the work. Who doesn't invoice THE FUCKING TOTAL...

We didn't know what to do and sat in their meeting room, I can't speak for Inspector Climate, but as I held back tears, I felt like a child in a grown up world trying to understand something I'm not old enough or capable enough of comprehending.

I'm so angry with myself that I didn't ask to see things in writing first. That I didn't ask more. Press harder.  

And now, on top of this hurt. This feeling of being completely swindled, I have to go back in next week with all the originals of the documents...Just thinking about it makes me stabby.

Is it just me or is BRIGHT around here?

First of all, I just got on instagram. I don't really understand it all completely ... but come find me ... I'm unsurprisingly Decoybetty.

Second of all - This is our lemon tree.  We bought it nearly a year ago - and goodness has it grown.  It has recently flourished with healthy leaves and thick(er) trunk (that's what she said?) (sorry, I couldn't help myself).


I still say hello to the lemon tree when I walk by it on the way to and from our apartment.  Hello pretty lemon tree!

How are you?

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm being controlling..."no you're not" YES I AM..."no".... YES I AM!

I've been suffering from some severe control issues in the past week.  Mostly involving how Inspector Climate cooks things in the kitchen.

I've written it before and I'll write it again (and again and again), Inspector Climate is a novice in the kitchen, he needs supervision and asks constant questions.  All of which doesn't really matter when he cooks sometimes or when I was recovering and I really really couldn't help him. I was happy to relinquish control of the kitchen.  Because what is hotter than a man who cooks? Nothing, nothing is hotter (that's a lie. A man with puppy lying at his feet while he cooks...ooh ooh a man with a lion cub sitting on his head with a puppy at his, what were we talking about?)

But now, I feel like I should be well enough to take walks, grocery shop, stand up for more than 8 minutes at a time. I should be strong enough to reach for a pan that's on the top shelf.  Of course, I'm not. Healing takes time - and while theoretically I get that. I do. In practice, it's a big ole bitch.

And so, I snap at Inspector Climate that he is doing it wrong and use that exasperated tone of voice that couples use when they've been asked the same question a floppity jillion times.

Then, I feel awful. So awful I cry and I apologise and make promises to myself that this guy that I adore so completely should never be treated like that again.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

That's the funny thing about recovery (and I don't mean funny ha ha) - well about most things in life these days - they're all so segregated. We see specialists for "lady bits" problems and specialists for stomach problems and specialists for our hair and our teeth and our eyes and our toes and ... whose the specialist who realises that all those things are connected. And that just maybe a problem in one area will cause heaps of problems in others?

Would you believe that I have a point to all this? I feel horrible for the way I've treated Inspector Climate and I've told him so time and time again, and luckily he loves me even when I'm horrible.  But I feel quite horrible about the way I've treated myself in this recovery too - I promised myself I'd "Letgive" this year - particularly about Jorge - and I'm not living up to my end of bargain.  Why would I think that physical recovery would not be accompanied by some emotional recovery? Foolish.

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sending all my loving to you!

I don't normally do 'collections posts' of things I love. Mostly because there are only so many ways to declare love for food processors without people thinking you're whack.  But today I thought I'd give it a red hot go...Let's talk about a few of my favourite things:

First up...
via here
For a 'getting married' gift, my great aunt gave Inspector Climate and I mugs from Anthropologie. The above is the one she gave me and man does this mug make tea taste delicious. It's big enough for my hands to wrap lovingly around it to get all the warmth from the tea and quite pretty, no?

We also like to eat/drink smoothies out of them with a spoon.

Which brings me to my next favourite thing:

via here
Rocket ship mold popsicles  (BPA free of course).  I bought these as a birthday gift for Inspector Climate last year. We love them. We like to make berry smoothies and then freeze the leftovers into popsicles. They make an excellent healthy snack on hot days!  Holy Moses, I adore them - I do wish they were slightly less phallic - but I guess that's just part of the package (I had to) when one buys rocket ship popsicles.

And you didn't think we were going to get out of this without talking about yoga pants did you? Did you? Naive people. So, for Christmas I left my love for Patagonia Rhythm pants behind - they changed the material they make them with and I'm not a fan.  And got some Inner Waves pants instead...behold (and I apologise for the strange picture. The pants are fab, the website is not so much):

Via here
These are incredible yoga pants, they don't ride up in the thigh/buttock area (no one wants wedgies or camel toe during yoga...), they're soft, and most of all they're tight but not too tight so I feel comfortable wandering them around the market after yoga without feeling self conscious about people staring at my non-existent ass. 

I think it goes without saying but none of these items were sponsored (although get in touch soon inner waves - I'll wear your yoga pants any time).

What are you loving?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Let's Stay Together (There's an Al Green song for every occasion)

It's been a week since surgery and I finally am starting to feel more like myself.  On Saturday we took a walk that would normally takes me about 9 minutes; I had to stop and sit on benches twice on the way.  And then slept for 13 hours.

But today, I put my underoos on all by myself - do you know how much stomach muscles are used in putting on undies? Heaps.

There are moments from the past week that I would not like to forget - no matter how unpleasant or scary. Moments of undeniably kindness and moments of ridiculousness (this goes without saying).

Monday night as I prepared for surgery, I had to take bowel prep. Have you ever prepared your bowel?  I'd only heard horror stories of how uncomfortable it is, how bad the stuff tastes, etc etc. And I won't tell you it was akin to a sunset walk in Vanuatu - I'm not a liar. But it was not nearly as horrible as it could of been, I mean you're drinking something that is supposed to give you the shits, it's not going to taste like a soy chai latte. But the hardest part of bowel prep is the waiting....the waiting for it to start. I finished drinking the stuff at 7:20 (lemon and ginger flavoured my ass), and didn't start with the um...bowel cleansing...until 11 - which if you know anything about me is several hours past my bed time.

And I'm sorry for the two males who read my blog...but this must be said. I started holiday on Tuesday morning. Jorge couldn't just let me win the war without a few more battles.  And so, as I put on the backless gown - they gave me throw away hospital granny panties. The sex appeal was undeniable and Inspector Climate and I had a good laugh as I pranced around our curtained off hospital room in a backless gown and jumbo sized undies.

I don't really want to remember the look of fear and sorrow and pain on Inspector Climate's face as he spread the sheet over me in the hospital bed.  Shit got real, yo.  I cried. We held hands as they put this giant heater on me (called the Bare Hugger). And I waited.

Until I didn't. Those doctors wait for no one. When they're ready. They're ready. With a quick kiss from Inspector Climate I was wheeled off through doors and hallways (to be honest, they could have brought me anywhere as they took away my glasses and I could see...nothing).

I asked the Anesthesiologist if  a lot of people say funny things when they're coming out of anesthesia - but apparently they say the funniest stuff when they're going under. Like the one guy who said "I have sex with men in public in St Kilda" as he drifted to unconsciousness.   As he finished the punchline of his story, the nurse told me to take a few deep breaths and then I was gone.

I woke up in pain. The nurse gave me more pain killers and then I slept. I couldn't keep my eyes open. Inspector Climate appeared beside me and stayed there. The doctor stopped by twice.  I asked to sit up hoping I'd be able to stay awake long enough to tell Inspector Climate that I loved him, but I'm not sure I ever said the words as I'd drifted off to sleep again (and again and again).  I asked for my glasses hoping that if I could see, I'd stay awake. I slept.

Once we got home I slept more - I slept the day away. I heard Inspector Climate on the phone saying "I thought it would be much harder taking care of her, but all she does is sleep."

Today is Valentine's Day - a day in which is like any other in Inspector Climate's and my relationship except on Valentine's day we celebrate by buying a gift that we need. This year's is a slotted spatula (which probably is the traditional Valentine's gift for your first Valentine's as a married couple...I'm not 100% on that though).

I really got the best gift of all though - I caught me a man who takes care of me when I'm at my worst, makes me laugh 'til it hurts (which to be fair is easy when you have stomach surgery), and  slept on the floor because I was worried that in his sleeping shenanigans he'd hit me in the stomach in my sleep (this is sadly not an irrational fear as a few nights before he slapped me in the face because he thought I had bugs on my head). A guy who still loved me even when I wore gauze-like jumbo sized granny panties.  If that ain't the real thing, I don't know what is.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Just Flying to the Moon. No Big deal.

I started writing this post last weekend as I prepared for surgery.

I often feel the need to justify things that don't quite feel right to me.  Like I need to kind of make these items seem insignificant to myself and others in hopes that if we rush past we won't realise that all these things have a fairly dramatic impact on Future-Decoybetty.  It has something to do with my not meeting my own and others expectations as well.

"Mom, I'm just applying for permanent residency, so you know, I can stay if I want to"

"Oh, that was just a short term job working with a small not for profit"

"He broke up with me on facebook, but we'd only dated for a few months"

"It's just day surgery."

"I don't want to have kids because..."

"I got a great job, but it's only for few a months"

(Probably my all time favourite of these justifications was in a physics class in college.  The professor was a bit annoyed with us because we weren't getting some simple concept and finally said "REALLY, it's not like this is ROCKET SCIENCE...well, actually, that part here...that's rocket science.")
And even as I'm doing it, I want to gobble the justifications back into my mouth as they seem to be bubbling out of it.  Because all these things didn't need to be justified or belittled.

It was a short term job where I learned some new skills and propelled me into the position I have now (which B T Dubs, I have not once applied this "justify" language to when I tell people about the new job).  The relationship was crap.  No matter how crap, it's still a horrible thing to do to a person.  Sure it's fairly routine surgery, but man it scares the living bejesus out of me. And while I tell myself it pretty natural to feel scared everyone else around me seems to continue to put this in the "it's a not a big deal" box.

So, here I am recovering from just day surgery.  And lo, it is taking way longer than I expected it too. All those "Justs" and "Onlys" and "Becauses" made it seem like this was insignificant, however here I sit for days I've struggled to sit up and lie down (seriously, did you know you use your abs for that?!). I have three holes, albeit small ones (there I go again) that cut straight through my abdominal wall, and not only did I have my 4 x 3 cm endo growth (bygones Jorge) - I had several smaller ones which were removed and several adhesions which include my left ovary being stuck underneath my uterus and to my pelvic wall (How? Why?) that were fixed.  Why did I think I'd be recovered by now?

Inspector Climate is taking fantastic care of me.  He doles out the drugs, he makes sure I drink water, the day after surgery he helped me go the bathroom (humiliating), and is my biggest cheer leader for whatever new achievement I make each day (today it is sitting up with my computer on my lap).

I've missed you, I have more stories to tell from surgery, but have you been?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Dessert Day # 3 - A celebration of Nutella.

I'm not feeling particularly well. A combination of Jorge being a jerkface, emotional distress about the week ahead, and coming down off the sugar high from all the nutella that was consumer today (ie A LOT).

So, I'm going to keep this short on the words and heavy on the pictures. One, I had another fantastic time cooking with Melbourne on my mind - who you should congratulate because she's the 20 Something Blogger featured blogger of the month!

Anyway, we decided to make this Nutella Cake and this Nutella Pound Cake (lesson: two cakes is always better than one cake.  This is basic math 2>1.)

Check out our drool worthy goods:

This is what we started with...Oh yeah.

Hazelnut Nutella Cake - naturally gluten free and rich and delicious.

I'm not a giant chocolate cake lover. I don't know what it is though, but ganache (a sexy word, no?) oozing down the side of a cake just does it for me. You know?

Ooooooh, yeah, baby.

The pound cake....well, look. It wouldn't be dessert day without some...minor set backs. Note to self, use baking paper next time...But this cake is DIVINE.  You basically take a tub of nutella and swirl it through your basic pound cake. Cut me off a slice of that.

For those of you keeping track at home (and I imagine you are with bated breath) these two recipes make number 14 and 15 on my life list)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Remember that time I got my visa and we all rejoiced?

Do you remember it?  I remember it like it was...oh, I don't know two days ago

Well, the joy hasn't completely evaporated.  But today, after another delightful visit with my mumbling lawyer (honestly, if he would just not talk under his breath, I might understand what the hell is going on).  I'm applying for a spouse visa. A visa that will put me on a slightly quicker track to permanent residency.  And to answer some of your questions in the comments of the post linked to above: No, nothing is really being transferred from one visa to the next. It's like starting from scratch but because of where I am in the process now, it should be hopefully a bit quicker. My lawyer is hoping for 3-4 months with the longest estimates at nine months...However, it has been known to take much longer.

(Seriously, I really like my lawyer and he has been nothing but nice to me besides a few lawyer like things that look, it's in their genes or if you need an immigration lawyer in Australia I'd love to hook you up with him).

So, anyway, yeah.  I have about 5000 forms to fill out and papers to write (including as Inspector Climate has dubbed it "Our Romantic Novel Love Story" which will be filled with tid bits like how we met, photos of trips we've been on, stories of meeting the parents, and we'll probably mention getting married.). Screen shots of emails sent, and proof of all the joint accounts we have.  Fabulous.  The good news is the more quickly we do it the less likely I'll have to take any tests again!!

On top of that, on the market for a new phone plan (Hello smart phone, we shall finally meet! And then I could tweet...OUTSIDE OF MY HOME) - except that apparently because my visa is only 18 months they won't give me a 24 month plan.  So instead I'll have to pay tons more per month for a 12 month plan.

The truth, the real truth and nothing but the truth so help me God puppies is that I can now count the days before I got under the knife and it scares me.  I know it's just routine surgery. And that tons of women have this surgery everyday who are all fine (and so courageous. You go ladies). And that I'll be fine.   I know I'll be fine.  But I can't help but be scared - and hurt when people tell me "oh, but it's only day surgery. It's not a big deal."

You'll probably get one more post with Jorge still growing inside me. But then, after that I'll be Jorge free.  Bonus: You might get some drugged up Decoybetty posts - I've never been drugged up! 

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

It's only taken 27 months to achieve, but man it feels good.

At the end of 2009, I started the process of applying for a General Skilled Migration visa.  This started with making appointments for things like taking an English Test (I passed!) and getting a medical done (You won't believe this, but I STILL don't have TB). 

Months ticked by. Years even.  And then nearly two years after I started the process, I got an email from my lawyer saying "they need you to re-do all those tests..."  And so for the last six months, I have had my medical test done again, I had that lovely four month period of total frustration involved with getting fingerprints which led to getting engaged and married within a few months of each other.

I originally got my finger prints done on 9 November 2011, and decided that I'd immediately make an appointment to have them done again, since it takes months to book in.  The Next booking was for February 9, 2012.  That felt so far away, I was sure that the FBI would contact me prior to the date.

Once we got back from America, I checked our mail religiously hoping beyond hope that the envelope a self addressed would be sitting there in my mail box. I was totally panicky, what if it doesn't come! What if I didn't fill in the paperwork properly, or what if they can't use the weird voucher I bought at the post office to mail the results back to me! WHAT IF I'M A CRIMINAL.

I started wondering how I was going to make it to the appointment two days after surgery. Was I going to be able to get there? Could I afford NOT going if I didn't hear from the FBI? Would I have to be one of those lame people who takes a taxi two blocks?

On January 27th, 2012 I went to yoga - a normal Friday morning thing I do.  I checked the mailbox and there sitting by itself was a nondescript envelope.  I opened it up and there it was.  A simple letter declaring that (who would a thunk it) I have no criminal record in the US.

I emailed my lawyer asking him if I should bring in the document or could scan it to him. And got an out-of-office reply saying that he wouldn't be in again until Monday.  And so, I went around spending the rest of my Friday like I always do, puttering around the internet, packing halfheartedly for our weekend getaway.  I of course made time for my "I'm not a crim/I got the FBI letter" dance.

This was interrupted by my mobile ringing and someone at my lawyer's office telling me I URGENTLY needed to get my FBI results to the lawyer's IMMEDIATELY. IMMEDIATELY, people.

There was no time to lose, I threw some toiletries into my backpack, grabbed the letter and rushed to the city.

This guy didn't know I had received them that day. What would have happened if I hadn't?

Anyway, I guess I expected that weeks or months from now, I'd get a call saying "oh yeah, your visa is approved." So imagine my surprise when I was at work yesterday, sitting at my desk, typing away and my phone rang and it lawyer's office. And somehow, my caseworker was able to approve my visa in a day and a half.  And just like that it was over.

I'm now the proud recipient of a visa. Of course, on Friday I'll start my application for a spouse visa, but for the next two days I have one more thing ticked off my list. 

Visa: check.