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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.


And ... We're Back

Big sigh of relief.
I met today with my principal and the "concerned" parent.  Turns out that it was nothing like I feared; nothing about this place at all.  So, as of tonight, I have pulled the curtains open and thrown the doors wide again.

We are all fine.

T is recovering well from her surgery -- even the drain has finally healed up.  She is gaining strength, and starting to show signs of the little bitty thing she's likely to get to be by the end of this year.

Medication and supplement changes that we've made for Tom seem to have helped to stabilize and improve His mood again, and He seems willing to begin to consider what might be good for the next passage in His life.

My school year has started well, crazy parent type notwithstanding, and except for the BRUTAL heat, I am really enjoying my kids and classes.  I have a couple of youngsters that are clearly going to turn into my special projects for the year.  All the rest of them -- they are just going to be a daily pleasure and delight.  At least that is what I hope at this point.  My youngest, least capable math students; those that really do not "speak" math fluently, seem, in spite of that reality, to be curious, willing, and brave.  I can work with that!

I have made a couple of interesting personal discoveries in the last few weeks, and I am working to understand and incorporate what I've learned.  I want to discuss that here, too -- just not like this; not tacked onto the end of this "Hi, remember me?" post.

So, another day.  For now, I am just glad to be back in the land of the visible and living again.



A Time of Privacy

Publication is a self-invasion of privacy. ~~ Marshall McLuhan ~~

I wrote this on the evening of August 21:
We have been in "private" mode since last Sunday. I am hopeful that, in the next few days, the fears that spurred us to that decision will subside and we'll be able to open the curtains and the doors and let our friends and followers back into our story.

I know, from my own experiences with blog friends over the years, that when blogs suddenly vanish or become "invitation only," there is a sense of loss and confusion.  Most often, when that happens suddenly, it causes me to wonder and worry.  "What must have happened?" is an entirely reasonable and understandable question...

In our situation, the decision to make this blog private was based in security fears, and was intended, from the beginning to be a temporary measure.  The suddenness of that decision was not optimal in terms of the anxiety likely to be felt by our readership, but it did feel necessary in terms of the situation we were faced with.

Without getting too explicit, the outline of what happened is this:  Shortly after I started back to school, during the week of preparatory meetings and events, and before the students returned, I received an email from a parent of one of my students.  She expressed unspecified concerns that she wanted to discuss with the school principal and me, and asked for a meeting.  Initially, I assumed it had to do with something school related, perhaps with something about the previous school year, or maybe something that happened during the summer.  I really had no idea what she wanted.  My principal told me that he would contact her and set up a meeting, and I went on about the business of preparing for the start of school.  Sometime in the middle of the night last Saturday, I began to fuss about the possibility that this mother had somehow stumbled onto this blog, connected it to me, and was about to expose the whole business, and end my career.  I worried for some long, dark hours, and by Sunday morning, I told the rest of the family that I thought it would be prudent to "hide" this blog until things got sorted out.  That would at least give me some degree of plausible deniability if the worst happened.  And so it was that I changed our settings so that no one could just call this blog up without my knowing about it.  The opening of school craziness has occupied both the principal and me until now.  We have not yetmanaged to meet with the concerned mother and -- her worries remain opaque to me.  The days tick by, and I am still quite worried, but then simultaneously mostly convinced that it will be alright in time.

So we will, hopefully, be back soon.  Thank you to all who wrote and expressed concern.  It is nice to know that people care.  We are all doing fine.  Just choosing to "hide" for a short while until all of the scary threats pass us by.



Security Concerns

I have some concerns about the security here.
It is probably nothing, but I am on "alert."
We are fine, and will likely be back soon.
For now, I am taking this blog private.

See you soon, I hope.


Summer Vacation

The summer vacation is coming to a close.  As a teacher, I have about 75 days off during these warm summer months.  It is a time that I use to recharge, reorganize, and plan for the next year.  It has also been the time when Tom and I usually reconnect after the stresses and constraints of the school year.  I look forward to the summer break, and I believe that He does, too.

Of course, I always set myself up with a cart load of summer projects to get accomplished.  Always on that list are things like clean the garage, catch up with the filing, clean the refrigerator, polish the cupboards, etc. In addition, this summer, I was hoping to paint the inside of my condo.  I had the colors all picked, and I figured I'd just chunk away at the work, one wall at a time, until it was all fresh and new again.

Too, coming into this summer break, we all knew that we were facing the hurdles of T's surgery.  The doctors led us to anticipate that being very difficult, with a long and complicated recovery.  So, we were mentally prepared for a medically intense summer.

As it has turned out, this summer has been much different than what I planned, or expected.

The best part of all of it has been the relative ease with which T came through her surgery.  Her recovery, while slow as we might expect from this kind of surgery, has been pretty smooth.  She is reintroducing various foods, one by one.  Most of what she is able to eat at this point is still pretty soft, and we do have to focus on proteins, but so far, so good.

I'll be right up front, and tell you that I have made almost no progress on that list of projects.  To be sure, there has been NO painting going on.  Some of that has to do with a pervasive exhaustion that has settled over our family.  I just haven't had much energy, and I seem to be able to sleep, and sleep, and sleep.  He and I have gotten into a pattern of staying up late, walking well into the wee hours of the morning, and then sleeping until the very late morning.  I have enough of the Puritan in my background to feel just a tad guilty about that, but I also know enough to really listen to my body, and take advantage of the easy days of summer to catch up and take care of myself.

The other side of the summer story is that He and I have dragged ourselves through this summer, feeling our way along and trying to figure out how we might relate to one another on this side of all that has happened. It has been a quiet sort of passage.  We've spent a lot of time together, but often that is time in the grip of silence (sometimes companionable, and sometimes simply empty).  We have held hands.  We have cuddled.  We have rubbed and stroked and hugged one another.  For much of this summer, it has seemed to be necessary to just touch and hold on.

We have, mostly, managed to not growl and snap at each other.  We had one difficult day at the beginning of this last week, but for the most part, we have been pretty gentle with each other.

We are still learning how to live this life we have been given.  Maybe that "still" isn't even really accurate.  It really does seem that we are maybe just beginning to make sense of all of it; finally healed enough to begin to try and sort through what is left, and figure out the way forward.

We've made some big discoveries:

We've learned that Tom has a genetic anomaly called MTHFR (and yes, we do tend to refer to that as "motherfucker.").  This is, apparently, a pretty common set of genetic polymorphisms.  From what we've read, there may be anywhere from 10% to 40% of the population of the US who have some form of this defective set of alleles.  There are several variations,  but only two have been studied very thoroughly.  The short version of what we've discovered about this is that this abnormality interferes with the body's ability to process B-vitamins and folic acid through a process called methylation.  People with MTHFR issues may be processing the B-vitamin complex at only 10%-60% efficiency. It leads to a build up of something called homocysteine in the blood; a condition called hyperhomocysteinemia. There are a number of issues related to all of that, but chief among them are cardiovascular problems, depression, alcoholism, diabetes, kidney and liver issues, anemia, migraine, arthritis, dementia, infertility, ... and on and on and on.  Knowing about the presence of this genetic anomaly gives us some context for the long arc of His history that brought us to this point.  It also gives us a solid handle on a way to intervene in the continuing and seemingly intractable depression that He deals with; has perhaps always dealt with. The prescription supplement, Deplin, that provides the L-methylfolate that His body cannot produce effectively helps to support the production and metabolic processing of the neurotransmitters that help to regulate mood and anxiety.  The trick is that dosing with Deplin is tricky.  We've had to do some "wiggling around" to get it in the right range.  I am thinking we are finally there -- I hope.

His post traumatic stress disorder continues to present challenges.  It is an unpredictable factor in our days and nights.  He can have very good stretches of time during which He feels well and balanced, and life seems pretty good, and then something triggers the PTSD and He falls into a spiral of uncontrollable nightmares, hyper-vigilance, vivid and unwelcome memories, distancing from relationship, mistrust, guilt, and depression.  The layers of His trauma can be a confound as we never know whether He is reacting to traumatic events from His childhood, or from the more recent events of two and a half years ago.  To make everything more complex, I struggle with my own trauma issues, rooted in an abusive childhood, too.  When He gets going, His responses to His own fears can smash right into my tender places, tripping me over into fear and anxiety.  With that going on, we are likely to fall into a nasty feedback loop where we are helpless to support each other.  We can be a thorough-going mess in the middle of all of that.

One hopeful development has come from an unexpected quarter.  I had a parent of one of my students recommend a book earlier in the summer.  She and her husband adopted three children (siblings) from two different orphanages in Ukraine about four years ago.  The oldest boy was about 16 when they first brought them all to the states, and as soon as he turned 18, he headed back to Ukraine.  The younger two, who are now in 7th and 8th grade, have a variety of challenges and issues.  Both struggle with English, although they have made remarkable progress, and surely speak better English than I do Russian.  The older one, who I'll call Alex, has a very difficult history.  As a six-year-old, he was present when his addicted mother (who worked as a prostitute in order to obtain drugs) was murdered by a "client."  Alex and his younger sister were sent to separate orphanages.  I do not know all of the horrors of the orphanage where he lived for years before being adopted, but I imagine it was far from an ideal, nurturing environment.  He has lots of behaviors related to that trauma history and has been diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder.  These parents have struggled valiantly to provide a loving and nurturing home for these children, but it has been an uphill battle.  This book suggests an entirely new, love-based approach to dealing with attachment-
challenged children, and dispenses with the more traditional therapeutic view that advises parents to remain in firm control by the use of logic and consequences.  I feel sure that the methods in this book will help me help Alex and his sister in my classroom, but on a more personal level, the approaches the authors suggest seem applicable within the relationship between Tom and I.  I have mourned the connection that we used to have, and cannot seem to re-establish.  It does seem to me that there is some parallel between an impediment to intimate connection and what is, classically, an attachment disorder.  I am hoping that learning and practicing the sorts of responses outlined in this book can soothe the two of us through the scary places, and help us avoid the spiral into anger and fear that so trips us up.  So there is work to do, but at least I have some idea how to begin.

We've also begun to find some sort of comfort level around our more "switchy" dynamic.  Probably, I am the one who has struggled more with that.  I keep wondering what this new pattern of relating means for who I am.  I cannot seem to turn off the little niggling voice that pokes at me and chants, "not wife, not slave, not wife, not slave, not wife, not slave...," and yes, I do realize that is just silly.  I still struggle with the questions, and there do not seem to be any answers.  If I can let go of feeling like I need to have some sort of definitive identity with regard to that part of our life, and just relax into things, then it turns out that He and I can switch back and forth and spank and get spanked depending on who is where "head wise."  I think it is harder to talk about it here.  There are way more reactions to consider in the back and forth of mutual switching, but it seems to work for us at this point, and it is one of the places where we feel sort of light and playful.  So that is good.

I have one more day, and then it is back to the classroom.  I hope I am ready. It wasn't the summer I would have asked for, but I suspect it might turn out to be a summer that let us do a lot of work that will take us into the next part of our lives together.  That would be worth a lot more than all the painting I might have done -- and what the heck, I can always paint a bit at a time as the year progresses.



More Patio Pictures -- for sin :-)

Sin asked to see what the hanging planters look like now that the plants have grown...  It is pretty wild and scraggly looking, but here you go:


And What Else is Happening?

Lest anyone think that the House of Heron has ONLY  been hanging out at the hospital, let me remind you that things were "hanging" on my patio this summer...

Well, that was back in May, and this is the first weekend in August.  Days and days of faithful watering and regular feedings have begun to yield a harvest.  I have tomatoes from tiny, dark, cherry tomatoes to HUGE big heirloom monsters that weigh close to a pound.  We sliced up one of those big, beauties to put on sandwiches tonight, and it was ... so..... tomato-y.  Wow!

I know it isn't exciting to anyone else, but...