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Just As Things Go Up, They Also Go Down

ThermometerMost of you know that starting on February 1st, Beautiful started working from home with me. Things were really tight because February absolutely sucked on the income front. We had to take out of savings to pay our obligations and I was feeling like a one-income failure, mainly because January rocked so hard that I was sure we could do this on one income.


March started out okay, but just okay. Beautiful was still quite concerned about how it was going to work because it wasn’t going to just be enough to make our bills for the month, we also needed to put money back into savings. We had a $3,000 hospital bill  (for our annual out-of-pocket max) from my surgery to pay and both taxes for 2010 and our 1st quarter estimated taxes were looming. This is why a $1,000 emergency fund is laughable for us – we really need to be on top of things to not sink, and she does an absolutely fabulous job keeping us afloat. She is succeeding where I failed for many years. She is my better half.

We started getting testy with each other because we were both stressing out, and I was beginning to consider her working part-time to create a buffer just to reduce the stress, even if we didn’t need the money from here on out. I was really torn because her allergies would make most jobs so difficult, she’d be more tired because just the housework is a fair amount of labor, and all of that would be risking having the same thing: a stressed and cranky wife. It would be a method of last resort.

After our 2nd or 3rd week of having a tense lunch, we finally worked it all out. The issue for me was that she was bringing it up at almost every meal. Sometimes we were spending precious work time just endlessly discussing our situation and never doing anything to improve it. That is a big red flag to anyone who is doing it. Stop it and start looking for ways to actually make things better. Here is how we did it.

I am a very big goals guy. I’m also very visual. I like me some good-looking food, a good-looking house, and I’ve got me a great-looking woman. So we came up with the idea around March 15th, when we were merely “on track” for paying the bills for the month, to make a thermometer on our whiteboard to mark our revenue. She ended up making it $1,500 higher than what we needed. She said it was an accident, but I think she wanted to dangle a carrot in front of me. Well, it turns out that I blew the thermometer up on Thursday the 30th.

We stopped discussing money, which freed up time. I would come down for lunch, maybe talk about my day, and go back upstairs to work some more. Her main job regarding our goal, to put it one way, was to stay out of my way until we had cleared the rough sea. We were in a crises and made some tough decisions, but now that March is over and we are back in calmer water, we are very glad we took such a tough approach and we grew stronger for it. Thursday, I was able to purchase an expensive piece of software for the business and I’m already putting it to use for clients. We just have to have faith that our needs will be met by working hard, working ethically, and sticking to our plan.


During this time, my health was going the other way. After reading all of that, is it any wonder, really? I’m actually surprised I’m this well. Stress takes me down to nothing, often a shell of a man. I lose sleep, my appetite, my cheery demeanor, and even my drive if I get desperate. Thankfully I had a positive drive, but the stress still took its toll on my body. It targets my immune system, so what was being kept at bay with my meds tends to take over. My dry cough that made it very hard to give a sample at clinic 3 months ago is now producing with every cough. Every cough is more frequent and longer. We sill find out Monday if I’ll be starting IVs or not.

It’s a very good thing that I was so healthy before this so that it isn’t to the point of wasting away. I just need to get better so I am around to provide.

Nasal polyp

Nasal polyp

We both went to my ENT yesterday for a 1-month follow-up to his concern about my headaches, which basically feel like small nuclear blasts in my head. I’m constantly on narcotics for the pain. It gets to where I can’t concentrate on the screen or the project at hand from either the stabbing, throbbing, or pressure. This was the first time Beautiful has ever sat in on a cleaning. She stopped my grosser of the two videos I’ve posted, so she asked Dr. Tabor if it would bother him if she had to get up and leave after he started. Of course it wouldn’t affect such a professional as himself, so we began with a flexible endoscope. She was fascinated as he showed her on the screen what he was looking at and what we were up against regarding my frontal sinuses. I have a small polyp blocking one of the entrances and both were sealed shut. I’ve always wondered what a polyp looks like – considering that I’ve had dozens by now – and Dr. Tabor has the equipment to show me. I’ll post the videos this week, but here is a sneak peek.

He proceeded with the straight, hi-def scope to clean me out because I’m also complaining about a nasty smell from the infection that drives me nuts every day. I saw Beautiful look down a couple of times, but she watched for the most part. I was very proud of her! It was great to let her into that part of my life (finally!), since the ENT is the doctor I see the most.


We are in agreement that, while my headaches may be caused by migraines, the only way to be able to tell is to open up a huge highway into my frontal sinuses by drilling out some bone to account for the swelling and CF-related tissues that close in around the natural opening. We discussed doing it immediately so I could be all better by the time I left at the end of the month to attend a conference in Chicago, but he wants to ensure I get a proper amount of post-op appointments. This also eliminated the beginning of May, also, because we leave for California for a week. So, we will schedule the surgery for the first week or so of June.

I just hope I can wait that long.


  1. Sorry to hear that you have been having a tough time Jesse but well done on smashing that thermometer! That visual obviously works for you! I really don’t know how you do it with those headaches – I get debilitated by severe headaches infrequent though they are for me. You are such a positive person and I have faith that you can get through to June – you’ve got this far!
    Louise Edington
    Finding YOUR Freedom

    • Thanks Louise. Doing what I do is a point of pride… until I remember that it’s pride before the fall. We just scheduled my surgery, but I suppose you saw that on Facebook already.

      Having understanding clients like yourself sure makes my job easier, knowing I won’t be cut off because I might need to take some time off any any moment to take care of things. It’s a real blessing.

  2. Hey Jesse,

    I read this two days ago and meant to comment but I got distracted. I had to smile when I read this, and my heart swelled. I truly admire your strength and convictions. You have such character in the face of what life throws at you, and though you may be physically small in form, you are truly a bigger man than the biggest linebacker (This sounds ridiculously cheesy, I know)
    Beautiful and I are lucky to have such great, caring husbands. I know things will work out soon for you…and I hope that you receive all of the holy guidance you need to work out the big decision/topic in the works.


    • Cheesy indeed, but *very* much appreciated and taken to heart. I’ve been blessed with a good perspective that a lot of CFers miss out on for any number of reasons. It wasn’t the easiest growing up, but I made it and learned from the good and the bad.

  3. You seem to be the least ‘up & down person’ I know. I would say you’re rather a person without low gears. Having Beautiful to balance you out is perfect, a gift that (as I’m sure you are well aware) will sometimes frustrate you to your wits end, but always keep you on track. Here’s to a successful marriage!

    • I know a friend who physically gags over the phrase “they complete me,” but I’d challenge anyone to see our relationship any other way. I may be a whole person without her, but it’s just a fraction of the person we are as a team. It’s a mess when we’re both down and like a someone dropped a match in a fireworks factory when we’re both up, but neither of those come along too, too often… just often enough.

      From what I’ve read, you two have adjusted pretty well to your news that was only 13 months ago. I’d expect that news if we could experience it, so I can’t imagine receiving that news – I can only try.