Life

Vancity Buzz Feature – Love At Ikea

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Laura recently wrote a piece for Vancity Buzz’s ‘Single In Vancouver (Worst Dating Stories)’ column, and her piece was featured on the site today!
Click here to read Laura’s story (Love At Ikea) on Vancity Buzz!

About Vancity Buzz:
Since 2008, Vancity Buzz has been engaging readers with content that highlights the culture, people and developments of our beautiful city of Vancouver. Our content is fresh, reliable and informative. Our aim is to keep Vancouverites connected to the city’s pulse.

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Life

Oh No He Didn’t! (Chapter of Wayne – Part 2)

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As promised after our first meeting at the pub that night, Wayne did call me and we planned a date. We set up a time and place and decided on sushi and a movie. Don’t even ask me what movie we went to see, I can’t remember. Doesn’t matter. However, what I do clearly remember is I definitely was no where near being ready to jump into dating, let alone a relationship. I wasn’t over my ex husband (of 20 years) by a long shot. Hmmmm… let’s call my ex husband, Damian. Yes, Damian. It’s a very ‘Harlequin Romance‘ kinda name don’t ya think?  It’s my story, I can assign whatever name I choose. Anyways,  if you asked me at the time I’d say ‘hell ya I’m over him!’  But hell no I wasn’t! I admit it. Apparently for every 5 years you are with someone, it takes approximately 1 year to ‘get over‘ them. So I was with Damian for 20 years… well, that’s 5 fricking years of waiting to get over him! I ain’t got time for that!
Of course I wasn’t over my ex husband. Hell, I’m not sure I’ll ever be completely over him. Us Virgo’s are known to become very loyally attached to those we give our hearts to and tend to want to hang on forever. It’s hard to let go. Real hard.

So, almost a year after separating from my husband and having gone on numerous online dating meet and greets, I naively jump in and start dating Wayne. Immediately I’m comparing every little thing Wayne does to that of my ex husband. I mean everything. The way he speaks to the server (very telling you know?)  the way he eats his food, how many drinks he consumed in such a short time frame(don’t think I didn’t notice), the way he puts way too much sushi in his mouth at once. (Hello!)
All of these teenie tiny signs combined equals one great, big Red Flag.
My girlfriends at the time would say I constantly compare, compare, compare. They’re all like, ‘You’re not being fair to Wayne. Stop comparing, everyone’s different.’ On and on. I was just simply pointing out that Damian did things a certain way. And ehm, well, Wayne doesn’t. That’s all. Chill.

I clearly remember sitting across from Wayne at the sushi restaurant and thinking, I’m not completely attracted to him in that way. I mean, he was attractive yes, but something wasn’t quite right. I remember on our first date being uncomfortable when dinner was over and the waitress brought the bill. He kinda just continued letting it sit there, between us. It got very uncomfortable. It felt like he was waiting for me to take care of it. Or maybe it was all in my mind. But no, I don’t think so. From previous posts you know I do have some issues with that. Completely out of touch with the times and rules of dating. Who pays? What’s the dating etiquette? I figure if you get asked out on a first date, the man should pay, no? What the hell do I know? Red flag #2 because ‘who pays’ later became an issue in our relationship.
An issue because guess who ended up always paying?
Yours truly.

Wayne and I had been dating for a couple of months. Like clock work, every Friday night you could guarantee a party at his place. Now this wasn’t a problem for me initially. Remember, I had been solely a wife and mother for the past 20 years, so it almost seemed like I was making up for lost party time in a sense. I was with my ex husband since I was 18 so I missed the whole partying and going out stage. Wayne and I had so much fun. I have since realized that we had the most fun when we were drinking.  It’s not like we didn’t have fun without alcohol, but let’s just say we had more fun with alcohol. And for me, 2 glasses of red wine and I’m so there. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, total wussy light weight. Or cheap date, whichever.

The alcohol was a good thing and a bad thing. Good in that when both of us were intoxicated, we let many potential spats slip by. Bad because the ones that didn’t slip by were ridiculous and typically made no sense what so ever. Obviously the communication between two drunk people can sometimes get construed and not make any bloody sense. We would then proceed to beat that particular subject up to no avail. It would end badly with one of us stomping off and locking them self in the bedroom and crash. In the morning either we forgot what we were actually arguing about or continue the argument. However, my fighting/disagreeing/arguing style typically consisted of just shutting down and giving him the good ol’ silent treatment. I know how much men love that. Oh yea. You can imagine how well that worked out. I have to say that method was all I’d ever done in my marriage so that’s what I naturally turned to. Wayne couldn’t tolerate that at all and would insist we talk it out.  He would always say that I put up walls, and I swear to God if I heard him say one more time “Oh, there’s them walls you put up!” I’m pretty certain I was gonna lose my mind.
Looking back, I think know those walls were actually me not being totally into him or allowing myself to be into him. Whichever. I’m always a contradiction. Thing is I was a confused mess, I liked him a lot, but I didn’t. He wasn’t Damian. That was perfectly clear.

Wayne was the only guy I knew who actually wanted to dance with me, all of the time. Even when friends were around. He didn’t care. I loved that he would take my hand and lead me to the dance floor or to the middle of the living room and waltz with me. That was something I remember my parents doing plenty of times when my sister and I were growing up. They would dance and talk all night long, I loved that aspect of their marriage. I told Wayne that too. He knew how special that was to me. Those kinds of moments are so simple yet last forever in your memories. I only hope that when I do find ‘the one‘ we will be able to share that as well. I love that closeness.

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I don’t know exactly what it was, but there was always something that felt a little off with my feelings towards Wayne. Like when we would be out at friends homes, a pub, or anywhere around other people and alcohol, I would become uptight and nervous. I would be embarrassed at the things he would say, the unpredictability of what he might say. The way he would act after a number of beers. Almost confrontational with anyone he might be talking with. But afterwards when we would go home and we were alone, it would all be okay. I’m going to go ahead and say that typically the more alcohol between us the better things were. Not completely ideal. He was an up tight kind of guy, and I can be an uptight kind of girl (no shit).  Not the greatest combo. But with alcohol he was less uptight and I became more attracted to that guy. The drunk guy was ‘fun relaxed guy’, that’s the guy I liked best unfortunately. He was completely focused on me, treating me like a princess and I would forget all about any inappropriate behavior he had displayed earlier. This became a routine in our relationship. The times we were by ourselves it was different. It was better. So eventually without even realizing what I was doing I would make excuses up for us to stay in, not have people over.  Instead insisting we stay at home together, alone. I would tell him I’m dealing with people all day long, I’d rather just spend the evening alone, together. He rarely disagreed, ever. Instead we started sharing amazing Friday nights at home alone. He loved to cook and was a fabulous cook, I’d sip red wine while assisting him. By assisting I mean watching. You know, keeping him company in the kitchen.
We would put the music on, have drinks, dance and talk all night long. I loved it.

We were only seeing each other once a week, twice at most, and that would usually be Friday nights. Saturday nights he would play poker with the guys. Religiously. I didn’t mind at all except if for some reason or another we couldn’t see each other on the Friday night and he wouldn’t give up poker on Saturday night to spend it with me. You know what they say? He’s just not that into you! If he was, well, he surely would choose spending time with me over poker at least some of the time.  Well, I hadn’t read He’s Just Not That Into You yet so I was not getting it. Plus I was so damn needy then. Couldn’t stand being single, alone, lonely, always wanting to be with someone. Coincidentally he was that someone at that time.

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That was until one particular Saturday night while he was at poker and we were texting each other back and forth. I sensed something was off.  He finally tells me, via text, that his on again-off again ex girlfriend he dated before me wanted to get back together. Turns out the friends house he plays poker at was the ex girlfriend’s brother. Ahhh, perfect. She wanted to give it another try. Uhh… okay? Well, that’s very unexpected. I remember being completely shocked.  Not heart broken, just shocked. No one likes rejection.

He’s breaking up with me? pffft! Isn’t that ironic?

Laura xo

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Life

Love At A Pub

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Let’s go back in time. Not necessarily a better time, just another time of days gone by in my dating journey. Let’s talk about ‘Wayne’. Not his real name. Obviously.

Wayne, Wayne, Wayne. Sigh. Where shall I begin? At the beginning? Yes. Alrighty then. Let’s do that shall we?

I’ve made mention of him on a previous post which you can see here. He was the first guy I actually had a relationship with after my marriage. I had plenty of meet and greets and dates with other men before him. But Wayne was the first guy that I ended up being in an exclusive long term relationship with. Not just once but twice. Yes, two different times during 6 years. First time we dated for a couple of years (on and off-should’ve been off) and the second time for a year. Apparently I never learnt any lessons the first time. Our relationship the first time around consisted of excessive partying, too much alcohol (way too often) and the eventual admittance of cocaine use on his part. No, I’m not perfect either. Looking back I was just a tad bit, shall we say, desperate?  Let’s not forget needy and clingy. Sounds like a perfect match doesn’t it? A real dream team.

I was out with my only single girlfriend at the time. She took me to a pub she had previously been to and she thought I’d like it and feel comfortable there. I did really enjoy it. We had been out numerous times before and I immediately noticed a problem. We found it rather tricky finding an establishment for our age group. At that time we were both in our late 30’s. I might as well of been in my late 90’s because that’s how old I felt. Completely out of place being single after spending 20 years being part of a duo.  I was so inexperienced, so green. I’m sure it was mostly in my head but it didn’t help matters when some places had patrons that were maybe a whole 21 years old or others had the complete opposite, 60+ year olds.

On this night I wasn’t particularly in the mood to go out. But, unlike what my fore mentioned friend likes to do all too often, I did not bail on her. We got to the pub a little late so it was already pretty packed and barely any seats available. We managed to find a couple stools at the end of the bar (not my preference) but close to the dance floor. However, this location was perfect because there’s nothing better then watching drunk people dance. This specific night I was grateful I had the dance crowd to keep myself entertained. My friend had gone MIA. Was off on her merry way dancing with some guy who finally got up enough liquid courage to sander over and ask her to dance. Yea, don’t think I didn’t notice. I’m kinda like a hawk when it comes to people watching. I can usually figure out who’s fighting with who, who’s eyeing someone, who shouldn’t be eyeing someone and who gets caught by their significant other eyeing someone. Oh yea. I rock at that shit. I can read relationship dynamics just by peoples body language, mannerisms and actions. Don’t even have to be in ear’s distance to hear what they’re saying and I know what’s going on. That alone could’ve kept me quite content all night long. Well that and the various hopeful suitors who would come and ask me to dance, to which I politely declined. I know, I know!  What a big party pooper. Whatever. I just wasn’t feeling it that particular night. Trust me, this girl has no problem shaking her boot-ay when the mood strikes my fancy. Yea, I still got it.

I just wasn’t into it. That is until Wayne made his way over to me. ‘You know what they say about sitting at the edge of the bar?’ he says to me out of the blue. Hmmmm? I glance over and decide, okay, he’s attractive and his aura isn’t that of being a dick so, alright, I’ll bite. ‘I don’t know. What do they say?’ I coyly respond. He smiles and extends his hand and introduces himself. ‘What? You don’t know what it means when someone sits at the edge of the bar?’ Ahhh, no I don’t. I’ve been hibrinating for the past 20 years I silently think to myself. Any new dating rules that have occurred during the past 20 years, well, I’m totally not up to date to say the least. He proceeds to tell me it’s code for letting others know you are available. Oh, well then, I’ve picked the right spot haven’t I? I still don’t even know if that’s true. I’m so gullible at times. Anyone know if that’s true or not? Please share!

So right off the bat I got a good feeling about him. No alter ego at play, no cheesy stories, no feelings that this guy was a big time player. So, I allowed him to continue conversation with me. When I’m not interested I tend to be short with conversation. Maybe even a little rude I’ve been told, but I don’t see the point in making small talk when there is zero interest. Wayne was very witty and humorous. I like that alot. The live band that was playing went on their 2nd intermission and the DJ started his show with a dance mix of the biggest hit song of that summer, Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back. Well the crowd piled onto the dance floor and everyone was totally into the party mode by this point.  Wayne takes my hand and leads me onto the dance floor. It’s weird that I even remember the exact song, because I barely even remember the band that night. Isn’t it strange when our brain just remembers certain details and specific facts? Now even after 5 years, every single time I hear that song, I think about Wayne, and that night. Music is like the sound track to our lives. A specific song can bring you right back in time instantly. Music and fragrance do the same for me. I can remember every single perfume I used to wear at different times in life. Who I was with, what was going on, specific feelings. Good and bad. Some songs I can’t even bare to listen to and some perfumes I refuse to wear. Some really great songs and fragrances have completely been ruined for me. Damn them jerks!

Song after song, we continued on the dance floor dancing, having the best time. As the night was coming to an end my girlfriend, aka lame-o wing woman, finally made her way over to me. Ahhh, how very sweet of you to remember me, I’m thinking. We make introductions to each others uh, new…’guys’ and make some small talk. ‘Do you guys want to come over for a few drinks? Some friends are all coming back to my place.’ Wayne says. Extending the invitation to my girlfriend and her new friend…guy…friend. I was actually into the invitation, especially being in a group setting, why not? Continue the laughs and good times. Until my girlfriend excuses us and grabs my arm, basically pulls me aside and says we shouldn’t go. Ah, what? Why the hell not? I haven’t been to a party, well, other then my kids birthday parties in literally aeons. And we all know that’s the truth. That night I was feeling flirty and 21 29 again! Up for some fun. My girlfriend continued telling me all of the reasons why we shouldn’t go. We don’t know them, never been to his house, what if they’re psychos? All very valid, but really? That’s why women have instinct, and mine was saying Wayne was totally fine. Her’s must’ve been telling her something different because she just wasn’t into his invite at all.  So of course, being the good friend I am, I obliged and told Wayne I unfortunately had to decline tonight but he had my number and could use it.

Turns out my girlfriend really wasn’t into her ‘friend/guy/one night only dance partner’ hence why the desperate attempt to keep us from further hanging out with them. Interesting how she vanishes to appease herself and dance the night away when it’s to her benefit. Ironic there’s no reciprocation for me when the situation arises? Pffft. Isn’t there some girlfriend being a good wing woman code of ethics thing? I’m pretty sure there was one when I used to go out way, long ago…back in the day. Oh, what do I know. I’m 38 now, ancient.

In any event, Wayne and I went our separate ways that night. I was barely home when I received a text from him. He said how great it was meeting me and if he could call me this week so we could set up a date. Why yes, I am completely into that. In fact, I am looking forward to it.

Sounds pretty promising doesn’t it? Funny how things start so great and then as time carries on shit happens. Before you know it you’ve found yourself in love (or was it love? Jury’s still out on that one) and messed up with a man who’s life includes parties, excessive drinking, an eventual admittance to a cocaine problem, head games, jealousy, co-dependancy, and just plain effed up-ness. But I knew he loved me like crazy, and me being just out of a 20 year relationship, well, I had my own issues. I just added to that craziness. Yeah, it only got worse as we went along.

Hopefully as I write through these experiences with the jumbled up mess that’s crammed in my head, I will make some sort of sense of it all. It’s all about the journey and hopefully taking lessons away from them.

This chapter (the story of Wayne) has just begun.

Laura xo

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Life

What Is Your Soul’s Purpose?

Do you know what your true purpose is? I mean, really truly know. How many of you get up everyday and are totally thrilled with what you’re doing with your life? You can’t wait to wake up, sleeping is basically keeping you from doing what you love to do. The reason I ask is because I’ve never felt that way… completely. Which is a big reason why I absolutely love, love, love hearing peoples stories. I mean, love it. Could listen to them all day long. Literally. It’s also another reason why I soooo love reading all of your blogs! image

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed doing certain things in my life. I’ve just never had that true feeling of pure contentment of loving what I’m doing with my life. I’m speaking from a career standpoint of fulfillment. I have always been envious of peers and friends who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life essentially since they were a child growing up. They seemed to have their life map all worked out at such a young age and then continued on the required path to get there. I remember friends saying they were going to be a fireman, accountant or a nurse and that’s exactly what they ended up being. How the hell? I was fascinated and would try desperately to be a part of that group. The group who always just knew what they were meant to do. I never wanted to be a nurse or an accountant. Boring. No offence to all of the nurses and accountants out there! You guys rock! It just wasn’t for me. image

I grew up wanting to be a singer. Yep, a singer. I know, right. Odd ball. I always alternated between wanting to be a singer/entertainer, author (like Daniel Steele) or an actress on a soap opera (at 12 I decided I’d be on All My Children) It was the only one we were able to watch on the one channel we had. Small town girl here.

Like who wants to be a damn singer/entertainer for real? Okay, wait a second… let me answer that. In this reality fame generation EVERYONE and their dog wants to be a singer or entertainer. Hence why millions and millions of people audition for American Idol type tv shows. But let me just remind you, when I was growing up no one I knew ever said ‘I want to be singer, screw college!’ Not one person. I grew up in a small town in Ontario. No traffic lights small town, so to dream that big was unheard of and frankly was laughed off as being a silly unattainable idea. Small town mentality?

I used to perform for family gatherings and neighbours. I could belt out a mean Loretta Lynn song or pretend I was a female Johnny Cash. My parents were big influences as they always listened to country music and still do. Gotta love some Conway Twitty. When I got way older (like 10) and seen Blondie perform on American Bandstand I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I wanted to be her. I was obsessed. Never seen anything like her. A beautiful girl being a kick ass rock star!  Fricking amazing. Then it was Pat Benetar. Years later, Madonna. I know, dream big if you’re gonna dream.

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My parents never completely discouraged me, in fact when we eventually moved to a larger town (one with a traffic light) they bought me a guitar and hired a vocal coach but that’s about it as far as the resources being available at that time. There was no social media then, no information to guide us, dead ends.  That and the fact I was constantly conflicted by what I truly felt I wanted to do and what I felt I was expected to do with my life.  Could’ve been all in my own mind. Who knows? I’m like a walking mix of contradiction, worried about what people think of me one minute then not give a damn the next.  Hate raisins, but like them in bran muffins. Things like that. Messed up.  Plus I’m one of those type A Virgo types.  I completely annoy myself at times. Always searching and needing answers to things, creating more questions for myself, never ends. Where the hell is the off button? Spent most of my life being a big time people pleaser. Trust me, I’m a work in progress. Getting better now and learning to just say ‘Hell No!’ when the situation requires. God I love Oprah and her advice…     image

Good book btw.

It’s just a matter of life circumstances and things happening the way they’re supposed to. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  I guess if I had truly wanted to attain that dream of being a singer/entertainer I would’ve packed up and moved to Nashville or Hollywood. Instead, at 18 years old I met my now ex husband and got married at 20 and had kids. (very small town mentality) Choices. It’s all about choices. I always knew I wanted kids so that was never a hesitation or a hard choice for me to make. That was probably the one and only thing in my life I knew I wanted. Oddly enough I never even liked kids (other peoples kids) but always knew I wanted my own. Again, major contradiction.  However, having children so young (kids having kids) does make it more challenging to accomplish certain things. Not impossible, just more of a challenge. I love the comic Louis C.K. he’s brilliantly funny and he jokes that having kids ruins your life and crushes your dreams. Now I tell my kids that. He has a point. Maybe I should just blame my kids? image

Even after I was married, had our son at 22 and was going to college at night, I still had that desire to be close/involved in music. By then we had moved out here to the west coast (Vancouver). I found a vocal coach and worked with her for a couple of years. I still had some hope in the back of my mind that maybe, just maybe one day I will do something with it.  Don’t ask me what? It just made me feel better. See, always a contradiction mixed in with the that damn people pleaser disease… another fine example: Going to college for Marketing & Business = what people expected of me vs. vocal lessons = what I wanted. Life has a way of moving along, things change, situations arise and you are left to hang on and make the best of it. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I sometimes think I’ve done too much making excuses in the past. I’m also working on that. It’s on my list. Long damn list.

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I’m over the could’ve, should’ve, would’ve been a singer/entertainer days but I’m still searching for that fulfillment. I have at least figured out through out the years that I need creativity in some form or another. And even though blogging is new, I feel a great sense of satisfaction already. There is so much more to come for our blog! Finding complete fulfillment is a work in progress, but isn’t that true of everyone at least to some degree?  Isn’t that what this journey is all about? Discovering?  Growing? Finding our true purpose? Seeking what truly fulfills us?  I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Can I? So many questions Laura!

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I believe once you get on the right track, listen to your instincts, you will eventually get to your personal destination. Whatever form that may be for you. For some (uh, yes, myself) that road has a little more hills, twists and turns. Thing is to keep going, learn a lesson or million two and keep following that road to your own personal version of destiny. What are your dreams? Your desires? Are you living your soul’s purpose?

Laura xo

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Life

General Hospital: Real Life Edition (Renal Failure)

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After thinking it over, I figured maybe sharing a little bit of background about myself would be good. I sometimes find it difficult to open up and speak completely free of myself. Which is ironic since that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to start a blog. An outlet for feelings, sharing my life experiences good and bad in hopes of some self discovery and connecting with others who may relate in some way. Our life journey is all about self discovery and sharing. Answering all of those questions in life as we go along. With me being the classic Virgo type A personality, I am forever trying to figure things out and put answers to all of those ‘why’ questions. Quite the big feat. I know. Wish me luck with that.

I’ve mentioned a bizillion times already that I’m divorced. I make no secret about that.
So that automatically places me in the ever popular ‘dating after divorce‘ category which is oh so fun. To make things just a tad more fun, I’m also in the over 40 category. Awesome.
Anddd, for good measure I should throw in the fact that I also have health issues. Chronic serious health issues.
Well, doesn’t that sound just peachy?

So today I thought I’d share a bit about my life changing medical journey. If my sharing helps even one person out there in even the tiniest way, to know they’re not alone in their experience, then I am a happy girl. No one should feel like they’re the only one going through a challenging time.

I had renal failure aka kidney failure (kidney disease) at the young age of 27. I was completely healthy and it was completely unexpected (aren’t most diseases unexpected?)
Even after I had been to my doctor 3xs in a 10 day span, had also seen a kidney nephrologist regularly for a year straight for kidney stones, neither of them found a thing wrong with me.  What’s ironic is when I finally couldn’t take one more day feeling as awful as I was, I had zero strength left, my urine was pure red and I was now vomiting blood, the Dr’s still never diagnosed me. Instead they sent me on my way with a smile and a prescription for iron pills. Said I was anemic.
I don’t know, is it only me that finds that weird?
But…you know … Doctor knows best right?
Okay, allow me to just insert here… always, always, always get a 2nd (or in my case a 3rd) opinion when you feel somethings not right. Always trust your gut. You know you like nobody’s business.

At that point just the thought of walking just a few feet and thinking about the energy it would require made my eyes well up with tears. I knew something was terribly wrong. With my husband working out of town I called my parents to come and care for my kids and had my sister take me to the Emergency.
The first ER Doctor that night told my sister she could pick me up in the morning saying, ‘She’s only anemic, we’ll give her some iron and fluids and she’ll be good as new in the morning and you can pick her up and take her home.
Alrighty then, I thought. Give me the damn iron and fluids and let’s get this show on the road already. He made it sound so simple and easy that I almost felt guilty for taking up a bed.

Well, for some reason during shift change in the middle of the night, one of the new Dr’s went over my file and decided to run a few more tests. That’s when he discovered it wasn’t a simple case of lack of iron and fluids, instead it was a complicated case of barely being alive, my kidneys had 5% function left.
Doctors said at that time I was the youngest and the sickest they’ve seen come into the hospital in that condition. Repeatedly the doctors commented on how rare that was. Being told I was rare sorta became a commonality. I learnt pretty fast that if my doctors were stumped by a medical complication they would be like, ‘Well, this doesn’t happen very often, its extremely rare.’ Oh yes, I am a lucky one.

I think when they finally diagnosed me accurately in the ER that night the Dr. said something like, ‘In approximately 4 more days undiagnosed you would’ve dropped dead.’
Well, I don’t think he used the words ‘dropped dead‘ exactly, instead he muddled out long multi syllable medical terms.  I’m sorry but at some point I went into shock and wasn’t able to make sense of a bloody word he was saying.

Doesn’t matter how it’s worded to you, the only thought you have running wild in your head in that moment is ‘Am I going to die?’ On continuous rotation in my brain. ‘Am I going to die?’ Over and over.
He ordered me a valium stat.
He must’ve observed I was looking at him but my mind had already checked into crazy town.

I was immediately transported to a better equipped hospital 30 minutes away. I was admitted and then settled in for an unpredicted 4 month stay. I actually thought I’d only be in for a couple of days, get some medicine, feel better, get cured and be on my merry way. I should’ve known I was going to be in for the long haul when they flew my husband home that day and said he better make plans to be close to home and the hospital.

My kidneys had been failing for some time (undiagnosed) and we had to start planning our course of action. First they tried consistently to reach the Nephrologist that was caring for me for the past year to get my medical charts forwarded.
A few days go by and what happens..? Nothing! The Nephrologist has gone MIA and my file is no where to be found? Uhhh, yes, that is rare.  Although I prefer to call it suspicious and odd. Can you say ‘law suit?’ No, we didn’t either. Maybe we should’ve and in hindsight we were told we should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. But we didn’t have the time to waste and frankly I was too damn ill and fighting for my life to even realize the implications of any of it.

Sooooo….we forge ahead and the plan becomes:
a) first and foremost…keep me alive (obvious yes)
b) get me healthy and stable
c) start me on dialysis when strong enough
d) get me on the transplant waiting list asap, but can’t be put on list until health is stable…so back to (a) and repeat.

Each week that passed I’d be hoping that would be my last.
Staying in the hospital 4 months is a long damn time. That’s like 16 weeks. Just imagine that in hours. In hospital time thats like a zillion hours. I’m not even kidding.
This was no club med. And you have to remember that’s back when there were no laptops, ipods, or internet. Nothing. I had books, crosswords and magazines for the times I was well enough to even open my eyes long enough to read. My parents paid top dollar to rent a barely there television with cable to help aid in me not going completely stir crazy whilst fighting for my life. God I love my parents to the moon and back for so, so, so many reasons, and having that wee little tv was at times a life saver. Well, let’s not get crazy here, no tv was gonna save my life.

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So began the actual process of saving my life. They needed to start dialysis which involved a tube injected through my neck/chest. This was a temporary system to do the job that my kidneys were no longer doing until I became healthy and stable enough to choose my preferred dialysis method. This was basically a choice of tubes in my arm or in my abdomen. Neither sounded appealing to me but apparently neither wasn’t an option when the main goal is to survive.
This temporary IV in the neck method would always get infected and was extremely sensitive while I was hooked up to the dialysis machine causing the machine to beep. A nurse had to constantly come and adjust the tube or the way I was laying which in turn created more stress on me which made the damn machine continue to beep even more. I can’t tell you how much I dreaded getting wheeled down to the dialysis ward every two days and dealing with that whole process.

If dealing with that wasn’t quite enough I was also struggling with extreme uncontrollable hypertension and unexplained fevers. Dr’s were constantly experimenting with numerous meds to stabilize both with little to no luck. They would say how ‘rare’ it was that I wasn’t responding to any of the med cocktails they tried. So as they struggled to find the ‘rare girl‘ something that worked I continued to get excruciating migraines caused by  it. The kind where you think your head might possibly explode. It was like health dominos, one thing lead to another.

I lost count of how many times they had to shoot me up with heavy doses of morphine or demoral. Went from excruciating head pain to amazing instant relief.  Can you say awesomeness!  I was immediately transported and floating way up high onto a big, soft, dreamy, fluffy, heavenly cloud. Sa-weeet-ness. Now I don’t want to promote drug use here, but let me just say, drugs were awesome.

To add to my growing list of health mysteries and weirdness that seemed to surround me while I was trapped living in the hospital, I also experienced strange random undiagnosed viruses. Sure why not? Bring it on.
A couple of times my hospital room had to be quarantined off and only Dr’s of Rare Infectious Diseases were allowed in. They entered my room wearing heavy duty masks and protective suits which in itself is very, very  odd to see. At times I was heavily drugged up from procedures and it was the strangest thing seeing them standing there talking to me all dressed in their gear. Felt like I was in a movie or maybe an episode of Breaking Bad. Don’t you think our lives are like movies and we’ve got starring roles in them? Don’t ask, I don’t know why my brain thinks the way it does. My brain somehow always includes some version of fantasy into reality.

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I was onto them doctors and their terms for me… ‘Special one’= Rare = Virus = No explanation = Got nothin. Yes, my doctors started referring to me as ‘the special one’. I knew it was because I was a difficult medical mystery but to make myself feel better, I decided to take it as flattery. Like I am special. Ha. Hey, if it helps to get me through some of my most challenging days, then a girl’s gotta do what girl’s gotta do.
Of course any kind of flattery will get me every time.  Even in my darkest days. It could be the reason I had some motivation during some of my best bad days to at least put some mascara on. You just never know when Dr. McDreamy might stroll into my room, our eyes meet, the world stops, birds sing and we fall madly, deeply in love. Run away and live happily ever after. The end.

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Yes, yes I was married then, but this is my life story. I can write it the way I want.
Wouldn’t that be sweet? Change the outcome of your life depending on how you write your own story? Oh wait a second. We do write our own story with the choices we make everyday. Anyways…

During my extended hospital stay I lost tons of weight, which would typically delight me any other time.
The Dr’s finally stopped trying to force me to eat that awesome hospital food and started giving me protein shakes. Don’t get excited, they tasted like complete shit for real. I vomited daily after drinking them. Eventually I couldn’t stomach one more shake. One day I sent a note along with the daily menu to the kitchen explaining that they should stop sending any shakes or heavy food to my room as I couldn’t bear it going to waste. I asked if it wouldn’t be a bother could they please send me a little bit of fruit and juice instead.
Every single day after that the kitchen would send me fruit and juices along with little notes of encouragement.
I became pen pals with the hospital kitchen staff replying daily with thank you’s and my appreciation..always signing off with my trademark smiley face.
Everyday I’d look forward to receiving their notes. It’s funny how the little things can mean so much in times of despair. I try to remember that now in everyday life. We seem to take for granted the littlest things, yet when taken away from us they are all we dream about.

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I eventually became so weak from malnutrition, medication complications, and the fact I was basically dying a little bit everyday from the kidney disease.

I ended up receiving 8 blood transfusions at different times during my stay. The craziest experience ever. I went from literally feeling like I was on my death bed (well, I guess I kinda was) to having a transfusion and feeling myself come back to life. Does that sound weird because it sounds weird to say it?
My parents were with me and at one point they said it looked like they could literally see the colour reappearing in my face and a sparkle return in my eyes. Like how fricking amazing is that?
So remember people, blood… it’s in you to give. It saves lives.

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The neck dialysis method probably gave me the most challenges and was the biggest pain in my neck.
Okay, that was lame.  But seriously, it really sucked big time. Besides the dozens of problems and complications it created it was not very efficient. At one point I almost drowned. Part of the job of doing dialysis is to take off some of the fluid that gets accumulated. Well, you guessed it, something ‘rare’ happened and my lungs filled up with an overload of fluid and I was struggling to breath. And I’m putting it mildly. Let’s just say my family was called to the hospital immediately.  I ended up in ICU for a few days for that little mishap but it all turned out okay. It seemed that my health would take one step forward and two or ten steps back.  It seemed to go on and on and on. Always the struggle. Always the fight. I remember people saying to me ‘You’re so strong! How do you do it?’  I would say you just do. Period. Anyone put in a critical situation to fight for their life, fights. There’s no magic. It’s all within.  Believe. And I’m not even religious, it’s just human spirit and will power. Funny thing was I don’t know if I was incredibly naive or infinitely positive or both but I never thought about losing this battle to live. Be here for my kids. Raise them and watch them grow. Share their lives. I stay positive. That doesn’t mean I never shed a tear or never get scared. I’ve cried buckets and I’ve been more scared then I can say.

Having been in the hospital for that duration I witnessed plenty of pain, suffering and death. I realized people were experiencing much bigger challenges then I and people were dying from diseases. It puts you into reality mode real quick. Puts everything into perspective big time. I had hope for a future, a second chance at living. I held onto to that hope every single day. Anyone who has experienced a medical challenge knows what I’m saying, it changes your life forever. You get what’s important in life, and what’s not.

When I was finally discharged I had to go on dialysis. That is a whole other topic. But after a long 2 years everyone in my family was tested as a possible kidney donation match. The most amazing rare thing happened. My mother ended up being a match. What’s really rare is she was a good match. Typically parents don’t match well, so in this case I was thrilled to hear the word rare. My mother and I went in for our kidney transplant on September 25, 1995. So ultimately she gave life to me twice. I am here solely because of her in every way. There are no words to describe how that feels. How much love I have for her. Beyond anything verbal.

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Having gone through this experience has forever changed me. I still have so many unanswered questions in life that I’m trying to answer. I still have plenty of health challenges even with a kidney transplant. But one thing is for certain, I am grateful for each and everyday I have been given. So let’s not sweat the small stuff for real, and truly appreciate the little things. Life is short, all the more reason to live the life you truly desire.

Oh and guess what? Rare is a good thing.

Til next time

Laura xo

http://www.kidney.ca   www.transplant.bc.ca    www.kidney.org

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Life

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past

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I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I still have my profile up on a paid dating site. However, I have not actually been out on any dates in literally months.
I know what you’re thinking… why the hell not?

Well, I’ll tell you why not. I just haven’t come across anyone who I’ve really had complete interest in. Now don’t get me wrong, I have been asked plenty. Men still come a callin. That’s not the problem. I still got it. I think.

Problem is, I seem to have come to a place of having set some pretty high standards for any would be callers.
Potential dates. Future boyfriends. Possible husband. You get the picture.

For the past few months I have been going with the flow of these incredibly high standards I have created.  But now thinking it over, I have to tell ya, I am becoming slightly concerned with my own feelings regarding this whole new philosophy and my increasingly comfortable lack of interest or effort.

I mean, have I gone and set the potential mate/date standard bar so damn high that no one will ever realistically qualify? Have I just become so complacent and nonchalant about dating that I now prefer to sit back and let possible ‘awesome guys‘ slip through the intense high standard cracks I’ve built? (My mother seems to think so.)

Anyways, let me give you my answer to that.
Nope, I don’t think I have. Well, not completely anyways.
I tend to think that because I’ve had so much experience with dating trials and tribulations since my divorce, I have come to a place of just not wanting to deal with anymore bullshit. No more Mr. Wrongs of any sort. No more Mr. Maybe’s or Mr. What Ifs. Not even second chances and/or excuses for their short comings. No more wasting time. I can’t tell you how over all of that shit I am. Therefore, yes siree, my bar is set damn high now.

So now I have chosen to sit back and take the minimal effort approach of waiting until the absolute Mr Right (for me) strolls into town and makes himself known to me. Howdy cowboy.
In choosing this method I now have no choice but to do some rehashing of tales gone by.
Yes, by the lack of having any new dates to blog about I’m resorting to reminiscing and reliving all of my previous dating stories. But I’m opting to think of it as therapeutic journaling for myself (and for anyone else who is just trying to figure things out as well.)
I can’t be the only one out there trying to figure out this debacle of a dating world we’re living in. Can I?

Hellooo??? Anyone?

That’s where blogging comes in.
Basically, I’m going to share all (or many) of my past dating experiences since my divorce.
Perhaps, on paper (blog) I’ll be able to make some sense of these dating experiences which are now a complete jumbled up mess in my mind.
Possibly I’ll uncover any poor dating patterns I possess (fairly positive I may have just one or two) or I may discover I’m in need of some real deep therapeutic professional help. Let’s hope it’s not the latter.  Not that there’s anything wrong with professional therapy. I highly recommend it. I just know if it gets to that point, well, I could be there for so, so long. And for so many reasons.
I just don’t have the time for that.

So let me just start at the beginning. Well, (the after my separation/divorce…6 years ago beginning.)  My marriage and divorce stories will all be told in due time. I swear.

In an effort to get the history of guys/dates straight for you (and for me) I am going to write out a summary of sorts. Guest starring roles of men who have made more then one appearance in my life.
I have had plenty of ‘meet and greets’ in between my semi relationships/long term relationships that I won’t include on this list. I’ll save that for yet another list. That’s gonna be real fun!

Bare with me.

Okay, let’s start:

#1. The Hydro Guy (we’ll call him Enrique)

– 36 years old
– Total mutual chemistry, I mean total
– Met on a online dating site (at this point I’m still debating whether free or paid dating sites make any difference)
– Divorced father of 2 younger children, was married 10 years
– Really really good looking…I mean, really, good looking (albeit kinda short but whatever)

He eventually went running in the opposite direction after a couple of months of casual dating saying he knew he was the first guy I’ve dated after my divorce and knew he’d be my mandatory rebound guy. Although I disagreed then, he was probably right.
Such a pity. I really liked him.
Ironically a month ago his profile showed up on my ‘top matches’ of a dating site… hmmm, we’re both single again. How completely depressing.

#2. The Tradesman Guy (we’ll call him Mark)

– 38 years old
– Total mutual chemistry
– Met on a free online dating site
– Father of a young daughter, never married
– Light haired which I’m typically not into, but I found him oh so very nice
– Not sure he was completely over his baby’s mama yet

He was confusing in that he was totally into me, made it very obvious yet seemed hesitant to get too serious… I’m only guessing here, but it could have to do with the previous point.

#3. The Rock Star (we’ll call him Ross)

– 32yrs old
– Total mutual chemistry, like I think I’m in love at first look kind of chemistry
– Met on a free online dating site
– Father of a young daughter, never married

First night we met we closed down the coffee shop, sat outside on a park bench until the late hours of the summer night, said goodbye, than half an hour later he called and we both got in our cars and met each other half way at a local McDonalds, sat in the parking lot and talked for 3 more hours.
He asked me one day what I would do… follow my life long dream or stay for a possible true love?
I had to say goodbye and set him free while he toured the world.
You know the saying? Set him free, if he comes back he was meant to be. Or something like that.
Well, he never came back.
I could’ve fallen head over heels, I still smile when I think of him.

#4. The Semi-Retired Sales Guy (we’ll call him Kevin)

– 42yrs old
– Total mutual chemistry
– Met on a free online dating site
– Father of 2 older sons, was married for 12 years

He wined and dined me, always VIP at numerous restaurants and clubs.
Something always seemed a bit off, like he was with holding some top secret information from me.
I probably came on way too strong and my neediness at that time was pathetic. His feelings for me went from very hot to super cold seemingly over night. After a couple of months he disappeared. I became obsessive and my ‘previously cheated on PI instinct‘ kicked into overdrive and I finally tracked him down.
He acted like an a**hole and I acted like a crazy bitch.
Yeah, that ended badly.

#5. The Entertainment Guy (we’ll call him Shawn)

– 39yrs old
– Met on a free online dating site (yes, seems to be a pattern)
– Never married and no kids

Found out he was close friends with members of a very well known ‘bike club’ but not an actual member of this well known ‘bike club’. Made me kinda like him a little bit more.
Bad boy attraction. I’m so gullible hey?
Took me to a lot of concerts and shows, always VIP, made him even more attractive to me.
Liked to treat me well, I became too serious too soon, he got scared and ran after a few months.
Hmmm… am I detecting a pattern here?

#6. The Young Guy (Ray – I’ve made mention of him in previous posts)

– 26yrs old
– Total and complete mutual chemistry
– Met on a free online dating site

He keeps making appearances in my life to this day… literally, I got a text from him earlier this evening.
I still can’t put my finger on what we shared/share…when I figure it out I’ll let you know.
You can read more about our background – Play On Playa part 1 & 2.

#7. The Sales Guy (We’ll call him Wayne)

– 35 years old
– More chemistry on his part, I had equal chemistry for him when I had red wine (don’t judge)
– Met at a pub (now that’s different)
– Never married, no kids

Our story is a little more complicated and was one of my 2 longer relationships I’ve been in since my divorce.
We dated 2 separate times, first time was 6 years ago for 2yrs (on and off) and the second time was a year and a half ago for approximately a year.
Our first time around was a messed up affair involving his drinking and eventual admittance to heavy cocaine use mixed along with my dire clinginess/neediness/fear of being alone-ness.
Yeah, not a good mix-ness.
Ended badly with him being a cold hearted  a**hole, threatening to call the cops when I turned into a crazy bitch outside his door demanding the return of my precious bag of makeup. Okay, okay, looking back my reaction was just a wee bit over the top.
If that isn’t reason enough to never see someone ever again don’t ask me what the hell I was thinking actually getting back into a relationship with him again three years later!
Ummm… slightly desperate maybe?
Yep, round two. But I can explain in future posts. Really…I can!
Our second time around (2yrs ago) ended a year ago with me breaking his heart and then him refusing to speak one word to me since.

#8. The Unemployed (rich parents) Mama’s Boy (lets call him Ron)

– 34yrs old
– Met on a free online dating site
– Never married, no kids

I fell head over frickin heels for him, in a great big way.
He treated me like a princess, bought me gifts, now I’m the least materialistic person but it sure was a nice change being spoiled.
We had a 3 year relationship, on and off (mostly on but should’ve been off) with the last year of it being long distance.
Our love story turned into a tale of lies, hurt and deception on his part.
Funny enough he now lives across the country and I still get regular messages from him.
Regardless of the pain he caused I loved this guy to the moon… hmmm, anyone know of a good therapist?

Well I think that about covers it. Mostly.
Writing this list I remembered other guys I had went out with just a time or two. That I’ll save for yet another list. That will be oh so fun!

Til next time,
Laura xo

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Life

“Acoustic Guitars Are Not Rock N Roll” Whattt?

I know all of you are dying to know. Did I renew my online dating subscription or didn’t I?
You must be losing sleep wondering what I ended up doing.
So not to keep you all in deep suspense any longer you should know that I did end up renewing my online dating subscription. Well, that’s not entirely true. I just didn’t cancel on time so it automatically renews. That system is either very efficient or sneaky, depends how you look at it.
I knew perfectly well that my account was up for renewal on August 22nd and the days leading up to it I would look at my messages with that subtle flutter of hope that something would surprise me. That there’s one message waiting for me… gonna change my life. I know, I’m being extreme. I’m tired, it’s been a long, stressful kind of day. Work was umm, interesting. But let me get back to my work thing in a minute.

I purposely let my online dating subscription renew with the justification, ya just never know what will happen. Having more options is always a good thing, so that’s what I’m going with for now. However, I have seen a huge transition in my whole outlook on dating since my divorce. I was discussing it over sushi with a girlfriend last week, she has already gone through that ‘dating transition’ after her divorce so she related completely which is so awesome to have that validation from someone who gets exactly what you’re talking about!
I think I might have given the impression on this blog that made it seem like I don’t get any messages on the dating site, that no one shows interest, or sends me winks and clicks the ‘they’re interested button’ when my profile pops up on their screen. That I go on zero dates, poor, poor me. I’m not that pathetic, yet.
I should clarify, I do get plenty of messages (just none that interest me, you ladies know what I’m talking about here), have been on more meet and greets and dates then I care to remember (mostly) and now I simply feel different about the whole process.
The thing is I am not trying to fill that ‘being a couple’ void anymore. I am more focused on me, myself, figuring out who I really am on my own. And guess what? I am content on doing exactly that. I’m pretty damn impressed with myself too. Oh hell yeah I am! It’s like my own personal achievement, some sort of self realization that I finally see. I’m a late bloomer, what can I say!
I do have to say that since my online profile was renewed yesterday, for some strange reason my email sorta blew up yesterday and today with an unusual amount of messages and winks (who doesn’t appreciate a wink right?) Hmmm, not sure what that means or why there’s so many? A sign of encouragement from the dating site gods, like way to not give up Laura! orkeep up the positive awesome attitude, good things are coming!’ Not too sure what it means. Probably nothing at all. I tend to make up fantasy reasons for things, love the mystery ya know?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Let me finish by giving you the brief run down on my less then stellar, stressful day at work.
Let me just say that I was to have a big important meeting with a big important person, (aren’t they all so important?) Anyhow, busy busy busy with prepping and organizing and I pretty much felt totally confident with my overall presentation. Now long story short, I had a theme for this event and that was to represent rock and roll and a particular rock star. His picture was plastered everywhere and on my main display among many rock and roll themed items, I had displayed an actual guitar. My boss pulled me aside 15 minutes before the main ‘important’ person was to show and proceeded to tell me that the acoustic guitar was not rock and roll.

Ummm…what?!

She firmly argued her view, and even went on to say that acoustic guitars make her think of classical music, not rock n roll.
And she was completely, 100% dead serious. She drilled me for at least 15 minutes as to how I think the guitar fits into the theme. I have been to probably hundreds of music concerts and shows (plenty of rock and roll shows) and I’m pretty sure they use guitars of all sorts. Electric and acoustic. Heck violins are even used in some rock bands.

I was totally taken aback and frankly confused at the questioning. It didn’t make one bit of sense to me yet she was sitting there looking at me like I was not making one bit of sense to her.
I stood my ground and defended the good graces of all things rock and roll and said I disagree with you!
When it comes to certain things in life, a girl’s just gotta stand up for what she believes in.

ImageDave Grohl of Foo Fighters

Til next time,
Laura xo

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