Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Some Days...

Sick kids, a headache, crummy weather.

I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Book Club Tonight

Tonight was organizing night. We planned the year. We all have a month.

And all of those fabulous recommendations helped tremendously. So many, many thanks for those.

For my month we/I chose Population 485, Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time by Michael Perry. We thought it sounded like a hoot. And we were trying to get variety.

Although, now my list of books to read has grown substantially. So now I must find the time to read, read, read. And still keep up on my blogs. And parent. And teach. And be a spouse. Hmmmm. I need more hours.

The other book, that happened to be on someone else's list, was Suite Francaise by Irene Somebody Whose Name I Cannot Remember, Pronounce or Spell.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Am I Going to Have to Pay for Law School?

Tonight at dinner, I may have glimpsed the future. A few nights ago we watched the movie Underdog. Cute movie, too many references to butts and poo. Now it has become a topic of conversation, especially with sweetE.

We are sitting down to eat. SweetE, who is three, starts talking about dogs eating their own poo. Not exactly the kind of dinner conversation that I fancy.

Me: sweetE, we don't talk about that at the table.

Gets quiet. He gets down from his chair and walks over to the wall three steps away.

sweetE: I'm not at the table now.

And proceeds to continues to talk about dogs eating poo.

Me: We don't talk about that when other people are eating.

Topic ceases. He couldn't come up with a loophole for that one.

But at three, he realized that all he had to do was move. And he would be doing what I asked and what he wanted at the same time! At three!!

Must learn to be very specific. This is not the first example of his ability to find loopholes. He has the makings of an attorney. At three.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fun Monday - The Bedside Table

AOJthelurchers hosts our Fun Monday fun this week. The assignment -- Continuing in the spirit of "being interested in people", I would like to know, or see, what's on, in or under your bedside table! So open those draws and bare your soul to us! Is there anything special there that has a story or a memory that you can tell us about? Books that you keep there to delve into from time to time? Trinkets that you don't know where else to put? Let's see!

My bedside table was recently moved and cleaned, but not by me. Ducky got a hold of it and right now it looks good. In the war we are currently waging, Ducky rearranged the room and got rid of a lot of clutter. He put most of my clutter in that box under the table. I'm not sure what is in there and I'm not going to look until I can deal with it.

The items on top of my table. My light, touch activated. My alarm clock that wakes me up to ocean sounds. I only use it when I absolutely have to. Sleepy the bear, my mother's day gift from the boys last year. They picked her, stuffed her and dressed her in a robe and bunny slippers. She is wearing the one and only item that I have knitted. A blue tube scarf. Very soft.

In my drawer, I have a heat pack, it smells good and looks good too. A sleep mask and peppermint chapstick. And the tooth pillow. It is in my drawer for safe keeping. Now whenever sweetP loses a tooth, I give him the pillow, he puts his tooth in the little pocket and puts it under his pillow. The tooth fairy thanks me. It makes finding the tooth easy and keeps the money safe. I made it for him a few weeks ago when he lost his first tooth.

I usually have a book on there, but I just finished one. I am choosing from the stack of books in my messy room to see what I will read next. Now if you looked at the top of my dresser, that is another story. It is currently stacked with clothes that need to be put away. Maybe tonight before I go to bed. Maybe not. We'll see.

Ordinary Days

So after my problematic Thursday, life has returned to the ordinary.

Yesterday, we did ordinary things. The boys went to the dentist. SweetE for the first time. And he did pretty well. He let them make his teeth shiny. He sort of let them take x-rays. His teeth were announced to be in good shape. SweetP went for his second visit ever. After the first visit three years ago, some time needed to pass. He barely let them look. But this time, it went swimmingly. And the dentist thinks that if his teeth come in straight, he won't need braces! Yippee. We have been thinking that there was no way we were going to avoid that.

We put together an Indiana Jones Lego set. Three of us took a nap together on the couch. We watched a movie. I got one set of papers graded.

It was an ordinary day and it was fabulous.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It Poured!

When I wrote that I missed the rain, I should have been more specific. Because today it poured. Problems. Today my life lived up to my blog title.

I started by waking up at 4:30 and not being able to go back to sleep. Silver lining, at 6:20, sweetP wakes up and we create static electricity in bed together. For about twenty minutes he rubbed the flannel sheets and the blanket together and watched the "quiet fireworks."

At 9:30, Ducky calls with a banking problem. So I try to fix it, but I don't have access or authorization. It is a joint account. I'm supposed to have access. Ducky gets to finish fixing it tomorrow. I try to log into online banking at another bank and manage to lock myself out. I can't remember the answer to one of the 80 security questions that I have answered. They politely, hook me back up.

My students cannot stop talking. Nothing seems to work. Rewards, punishments, humor, encouragement, crankiness. Nothing.

My projector died last week. And the replacement came in today. So I spent all of my afterschool time getting it hooked up and getting the broken one boxed up.

5 pm was the highlight of my day. A massage. But I was so tense that we couldn't get to many of my 2000 parts. She focused on my migraine points. Which is great, but I am not totally relaxed like I usually am.

I ordered one of my favorite meals to be picked up on the way home. It is from a restaurant in our old neighborhood and I don't get it very often. So I picked it up and it smelled great all the way home. And then I started to eat it. Someone clearly wasn't paying attention when they added the garlic. It was almost to the point where I couldn't eat it. I like a light garlic flavor. Not bruiser garlic flavor. So I am no longer craving my chicken & broccoli calzone with no onions.

SweetE has been complaining all day, off and on, that he doesn't feel good. So I put him to bed and hoped for a miraculous recovery. Tomorrow is a busy day. He is supposed to go next door to play while I go volunteer at sweetP's school. Then I have a conference with sweetP's teachers. SweetP's best friend is supposed to come over for a play date.

And at 9:30 pm, sweetE starts crying. His crying during the night only means one thing. Vomit. And he had, all over himself. So now he is upset and he has to take a quick shower. His sheets, blankets and pillow all need to be washed. All of his stuffed friends survived unscathed.

I get his bed made and him tucked back in. And head off to wash the sheets. Why is there water on the floor under the washer? Why, tonight of all nights. When I have vomity sheets and a soaked pillow. Why, why, why? 10 pm we are investigating the washer. The leak is coming from the hose in the back. I bought the really good hoses that are guaranteed not to split. So it is the connection. Home Depot is closed. If we need a new washer, we are not getting it tonight. The hose comes off and it is leaking because the screen is filled with bits of our disintegrating hot water heater.

Yippee, we can still wash the sheets tonight. Boo, the hot water moved up the list of things that must get done. I was hoping it wouldn't go kablooey until we could afford a tankless, instant hot water heater.

Putting the doors back on the laundry closet is a challenge. And they don't close right, but it is late and we no longer care. The doors for the laundry closet move higher up the list too.

So I am off to check off assignments. So we can let parents know if their little angel is staying on top of things or should spend the weekend doing homework.

The misadventures of adulthood. In living color.

SweetE woke up and seems to have made a full recovery. Oh, happy day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Miss the Rain

I never thought I would utter that phrase. But walking home from taking sweetP to school this morning my face hurt it was so cold. I'm sure I am more sensitive because of the potential frostbite I talked about here. And I realized, that when it rains it is warmer. I really like warmer.

I would really be in trouble if I lived in the Midwest. I would then drive sweetP the three blocks to school. Which I don't believe in, but my aversion to cold supersedes my green, environmental, frugal side. If I had my way I would hibernate over the winter. Or at least become a hermit.

The photo is me a few weeks ago after making the same trip home. Everything below the rain coat was wet. Soaked, really.

SweetE has it made. He gets to stay in his jammies. I put on his coat, hat, mittens and slippers. Then he get wrapped in a blanket in the stroller. The water proof cover goes over the top to keep out rain, wind and cold. He is snug as can be in there. Most of the time I wish I could trade places with him.

The rest of the time I can pretty well deal with it. But cold mornings are torture. It is 25 degrees out right now, so I know I will be experiencing another dose of BRRRRR in the morning.

Where Are They Now?

It is the odds and ends show. What happened to some of those ponderings of the last month or so.

Darth Fishy, Bobba Fishy and Shelton are doing great.They are perfectly happy in their little tank. Shelton is great at playing hide and seek. That little snail is hard to find.

Velcro is eating California Natural dog food these days. Thanks Laurie! His tummy is definitely happier. He is less gassy and that makes his humans happier. And his skin is looking better. Not completely better, but better.

We are winning the battle of the dust mites. Alice runs most days. All extra stuff has been removed. Ducky has not had a problem with coughing in almost a month. And he snores less. Yeah! That should mean that I am sleeping better, but I'm not. And now I can't blame him.

I haven't worked as much on finishing things as I had hoped, but progress has been made. So, we'll call it a success anyway.

I still haven't chosen any books to recommend to my book club. We had to postpone. So I'll be working on that before next Tuesday. Thanks for all those suggestions.

My grand plan to drink water lasted all of that one day. I just can't remember. And I was chastised by my new doctor. And I ate chocolate and peanuts without a milk chaser. Am I making a new time bomb as I speak? Will I live to regret not trying harder? Probably.

I also realized my posts are much longer now than they were in the beginning. I sort of feel that they aren't as well crafted either. Is it possible to get worse at something if you do it more?

New fodder tomorrow. I hope.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

To Finish!

My goal is to finish things. And so far this year I have only finished one small project that was started before the new year. I am keeping a running tally on the side bar. So technically the year is already a success. But the list is still so long.

Last week, sweetP lost his first tooth. And I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to finally make the official tooth fairy pillow. So that the "tooth fairy" would not have to dig around under the pillow to find that little tooth. To do that I had to use my room. And I got so frustrated. You have to watch where you walk. There was about 36 square inches of work space on my table.

So Saturday night, I decided to do something about it. And I cleaned off the table. And now the only things on it are my sewing machine, my tool vase, my cutting mat and a lamp. That is it. I can create there now. Yippee! It is a wonderful thing.

However, lest you think that all is well, the rest of the room is still the pit of despair. So I cannot add organize my room to the done list. At least not yet. The patch of carpet that is visible grew. I think what I need now is an industrial shredder. I have utility statements from two houses ago. And the to be fixed pile is quite substantial. But at least now I have a space to work. I am feeling moderately accomplished.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fun Monday

Vicki is our illustrious host for this weeks anniversary Fun Monday. Here's the assignment. For those of you who did NOT post a picture of your view from your front door, then your assignment is to post a view from your front door. To do this you stand in your doorway looking outside and take a picture. That simple. We (I) want to see what you see when you look out your front door.

For those of you who DID post your view, link back to that post you posted a year ago, and then re-list your very first post ever. We want to see how far you've come baby! Also, if you can, post the comments you received on that post.

So I had to wait until it was daylight to capture my neighbors yard.

Our neighbor has a beautiful yard. She is out there in all kinds of weather working on it. She has some kind of plant addiction. The upside of that, she gives up the plants that she has pulled from her yard. Our landscaping costs have been close to zero. And our yard gets more beautiful.

Most of the time.

Our front lawn has been invaded. By biodegradable packing peanuts. Ducky dumped them on the lawn, at my suggestion. It was raining at the time. I didn't realize he would do it in the very front yard, I assumed the side yard. I thought it would continue to rain and melt them away. But it has been dry from that moment on. It makes people look at our yard funny. Its bound to rain sooner or later and then our lawn will look normal again.

My first post was short. And no one knew about my blog, so it had no comments. But it got this whole crazy thing started.

Time to document my life...
So here I am, up too late as usual, and deciding it is time to begin to document my life. Already obsessing about punctuation and stumped for what to say. There is something about journaling that causes instant writers block. As soon as a professor would say they wanted a reflection paper, I would cringe and begin to panic. Not to say that I can't or don't obsess and reflect with the best of them, just not on paper.

So time to turn over a new leaf and try to document the mundane, the zany, the adventures and misadventures of my life.

So a fun holiday Monday to you!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Coping Mechanism

Before my parents were supposed to visit we were trying to finish up a few things around the house. We were out shopping for a lamp for the living room and we stumbled across the zen frog.

The frog made me laugh. The frog made the boys laugh. The frog made Ducky laugh. The frog had to come home with us. I figured that if nothing else, it would make me laugh, and it would remind me to relax.

The frog now resides on the bureau in our upstairs landing. On a round, black placemat that resembles a lily pad. And he makes me smile every time I walk by. Tonight, sweetP was sitting on the floor impersonating the zen frog. And I laughed some more.

He is fun and I like him. And while it is unlike most things that I buy, he speaks to me. Now if only he could catch flies too...

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Water Battle

Ever since I first got pregnant with sweetP, I have vowed to drink more water. And then I had my first stone during my first trimester of that pregnancy. And I vowed to drink more water. And did I? No.

It was even harder in those days. I was working at a high school with a block schedule, 90 minutes with students. Then five minutes before the next block started. I was geographically as far from a bathroom as you could get. With the increase in bathroom visits that naturally come with pregnancy, the last thing I wanted to do was try to fit in more trips. The teacher next door agreed to watch my students if I really needed to go, but I didn't want to be asking all the time. I was a new teacher and the principal already didn't like me. The last thing I wanted was to get caught in the halls during class.

So I assumed that when I had sweetP, the danger was over. It was a one time thing. But, everyone knows that nursing moms need to drink plenty of water. Did I? I tried, but fell back into old habits. And when sweetP was 7 months old, I had another stone. It was big, it was highly unpleasant. It took 15 days to pass. I spent sweetP's first Christmas in the ER. There is video of me in the morning, already in pain, opening gifts. I held out as long as I could before going to the ER. At least he was little and doesn't remember.

Did I learn to drink more water? Nope. I tried again. Then when I got pregnant with sweetE, I assumed that I would get a stone. No stone! When I was nursing sweetE, I assumed I would get a stone. No stone! I spent almost two years expecting it. And it didn't happen. So I assumed that I wouldn't get one again. Every now and then I would get a twinge in my back and think, oh no. But it didn't happen. Until last weekend.

So for seven years, I have had every intention of drinking more water. It made my new years resolution list most of those years. But I don't.

And here is what I have figured out. I have documented that I am not that interested in eating here. The same seems to be true for drinking. It is just not something I think about. It will be eleven in the morning and I will suddenly realize that I haven't had anything to eat or drink yet. I rarely feel hungry or thirsty. I just don't think about it.

What I do drink, I sip. I am a slow eater and a slow drinker. Also known as a cheap date. When you eat and drink slowly you consume less. Restaurants make a killing on me because I rarely get refills on bottomless drinks. I often pick up my usual (16 oz., single, nonfat, decaf, vanilla latte) on my way in to work at about 11:45. I am usually still working on it when I leave at about 4:30. Thank goodness for travel mugs. Drinking too fast makes me feel ill.

Then there is the whole intimidation factor. That big, old bottle of water is a lot to look at. It seems like I never make any progress and then I get discouraged. I don't enjoy water in the first place and then to see how much I should be drinking. Ugh.

I have packets of Crystal Light and sugarfree Koolaid. But do they have to add dye? My favorite is tropical punch. Do I want a Koolaid mustache like I am still five years old. Straws are not long enough to reach the bottom and still come out the top.

So here is my new plan. I tried it today with some success. I have a cute little mug that holds six ounces. A doable quantity to drink in one sitting for someone like me. So whenever I thought about it today, I went down, filled it up and drank it on the spot. Instant gratification. Today, I think I have drunk five of them. 30 ounces. More water than I usually manage in a week.

So we'll see what happens. Can I stick with it? Even some of the time? Time will tell.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sweet Relief - The Final Installment

It's six am and we all stagger to bed. I don't know what time the boys wake up. I wake up at ten to that familiar feeling. I head downstairs to reload. Ducky is asleep on the couch and the boys don't notice me. I head back up to bed and wait for the medicine to kick in. About 10:15 our lovely neighbor comes over to apologize for not hearing us. I hear all this while still hoping for relief. It doesn't seem to be coming. I head downstairs. I whine, just a little. I am ready to go off the deep end. We decide that we will head back to the ER. Without the boys. They will go next door.

It is now 11 am and we are back in the car. As we approach neighboring suburbia, the pain eases. By the time we enter neighboring suburbia it is gone. Turn the car around and head back home.

After we get home, I get proof. Proof that the pain is over. A stone in the little strainer that they gave me Thursday night in the ER. 61 hours from start to finish. Sweet relief. I still plan to take Monday off. I have not eaten anything since Thursday dinner. My stomach is still queasy from all the pain, the pain pills, the stress. I head in to work for an hour to get everything ready for my substitute. Joys of teaching, you can't take a day off without at least an hour of planning, usually two or three hours.

But my back still hurts. Maybe there was more than one stone. By this time I am too tired to care.

Monday, rest, recover, do laundry. Talk to Urology.

"We need to schedule an appointment. I have x, y and z open. Are you still having pain?"

"Yes. X, who is the doctor. The stone has passed."

"Did you collect it? And it is Dr. R."

"Yes. I want to see someone else."

"Well that changes things. We won't need to see you."

"Okay." Not wanting to try to fit a doctors appointment in to the week.

Later, my doctors office called. My doctor is currently on maternity leave. (Please let her come back, she is so fabulous. I miss her.) So, I get to talk to the advice nurse from her office.

"We have a message here that you were in the ER over the weekend.?

"Yes, the stone has passed but I still have pain and ......." As I fill them in on how I am feeling, what my complaints are and so on. They decide that I need to see Urology after all. So Urology calls me back. The very same person, at the end of a very long day. She is scheduled to go home in three minutes. After a little back and forth, she schedules me with Dr. R.

I gently and ever so politely remind her I don't want to see Dr. R. What else have you got? I hear the tapping of keys. She comes back with 8:30 with Dr. S.

Okay, even though that is way too early. Will I like Dr. S? She assures me that everyone does and that he usually ends up on the best of lists. Excellent.

Next up, scramble to find people willing to take my children so they don't have to come with me. Done. Thanks again, lovely neighbor.

Long story, not so short. Dr. S lived up to his rave reviews. He labeled me a chronic problem stone former. He worded it much better than that. Wants to run some tests to see why I form stones. Wants to see me in a year to see if any new timebombs have developed. Let me know that the residual pain should be gone by the end of the week. Told me they would be very liberal with pain meds should I have another stone. And agreed that the stone looked like a nasty one. It had a hook, like a fishing hook, complete with barb on the end. Gave me a short list of don'ts and only one do.

"The solution to pollution is dilution." Drink more water.

So today, my back feels better. It is just in need of a massage. I was supposed to get one last Thursday night, but my friend and masseuse got strep. My stomach is mostly better. And I am slowly getting caught up on life.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Continuing Stone Saga

So Friday is a blur. Ducky takes sweetP to school. Then goes to pick up my prescription. And comes home with 10 pills. 10 pills! Like that is going to be enough. I have done this before. The last time it took 15 days to pass. 10 pills.

But Friday passes quickly enough. I spend the majority of the day on the couch watching tv, my little sweetE cuddled in next to me. Ducky picks up sweetP at school and brings him home and heads back to work. He's self-employed. Flexible, but not completely. He gets home at five and I go to bed. And sleep until midnight, when knock-knock, guess who. Mr. Stone is on the move again. I down a pain pill, curl up on the couch and hope that I can go back to sleep. That my family can continue to sleep. And it works. An hour later, I head back to bed. Every four hours I wake up, reload, and go back to sleep. I sleep for 15 hours. Better.

Saturday. Ducky takes sweetE to exchange the DVR. If I am living on the couch, watching tv, the DVR better be working. I am feeling okay, drugged but livable. The plan, go to Urgent Care and get a refill. So off we go. I get dropped at the door, all the boys go to get some lunch. I'll call when I'm done. I have the routine down.

"I have a stone."

"Are you having pain now?"

"No, not for the last hour."

"Do you think it has passed?"

"I want to say yes, but I don't think so."

"Okay, head down to the lab. We'll need a sample."


So the very nice Urgent Care doctor was a little surprised that the very nice ER doctor didn't get a scan, x-ray or anything. Me too. And agreed with me that 10 pills is not enough. Even if most stones pass in 48 hours. She orders a CT scan. But, the CT scanner is on the other side of town. But I am willing, I want to know if it is gone, if it had friends and how much more I will suffer.

So off we go. I have really good kids. They complained very little about all of this time spent in the car and in waiting rooms. I haven't felt pain for 3 hours. Yahoo! I get my scan, we head home. To await the doctor's call. The scan was sent across town in another direction for analysis and then they call the doctor who then calls me.

There is only one stone. It is stopped at a junction. Dang. It's not over. But I am feeling pretty good all things considered. I do a load of laundry, get the kids to bed, grade a set of papers, watch a little tv. And just as I am thinking of going to bed. Wouldn't you know. 1 am. Pain pill. Walk, breathe, walk, breathe, cuss, walk, breathe. Not helping. An hour later. Still not working.

"Sweetie, I'm sorry, I want to die. We have to go again." I feel horrible, why can't this happen at two in the afternoon. Nope 2 am. He gets up, gets dressed, goes next door. I had been chastised for not asking for help. knock, knock. Nothing. Comes home. ring, ring. Nothing. Our neighbors were very tired. Pack up the boys. In the van. Off we go.

Next mistake. Go to the other ER. The one where I have seen the same doctor all three other times. The one where they take a scan. The one where they give me good pain medication that works and makes me very sleepy. The one that at 3 am on Sunday morning is very busy. With the derelicts of society. And everybody else.

As soon as I walk in, they tell me I chose a bad night. I didn't realize how bad. I get into triage. Where they determine that my life is not in imminent danger and put me on the list. My pain is back at an eight. And I feel like I could vomit any moment. I ask if my favorite ER doctor is there. Yes, no, he just left. Damn. The last time I saw him, I was his most frequent customer. I was hoping to add to the tally and keep my status. It was not meant to be.

I head out to the waiting room to wait. And wait. And wait. While listening to repeated vomiting by the person with alcohol poisoning. Listen to the two WWII vets share swap stories. See the guy who fell out of his car because he was not wearing his seatbelt (missed most of the story on that one.). Saw the guy who was in a fight. And on and on for two and a half hours. In the waiting room in massive amounts of pain. Periodically shuffling up to the desk to see if I was any closer to relief. Offering to sit in a wheelchair in the hall if they would just hook me up to a drip.

At one point, I began to hurt where I think my appendix is. I thought, that would be great. Appendicitis and a stone. At least I am in the right place. Maybe. I wonder if that would have moved me up the list?

They felt bad for me. But I don't think I ever got any closer to getting in. Ducky called the other ER, they were not as busy. We decide to go there. There are still six people in front of me. Two and a half hours. In agony in front of total strangers. My sweetP got up about every 10 minutes to come give me a hug, for the entire time. Ducky had sweetE on his lap sleeping most of it. They have me sign a Refusal of Treatment form. I wasn't refusing treatment, I was refusing to wait. I have since been informed by my attorney to never sign those.

We get in the car, and head across town. On the way there, the pain slows. And almost stops. Just take me home. It is almost 6 am. Get home. Put boys to bed. Climb in bed. Sunday morning.

Last installment tomorrow. Drink water.

That lovely picture is microphotography of a Calcium Oxalate kidney stone. Amazing how something that looks that cool can be so painful.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Now Where Was I?

So the doctor wrote up my list of goodies. And I waited and waited. In agony. It took 45 minutes from the time I walked in before I was hooked up. Now that may not actually be that long in medical/ER time, but at level 8-9 pain, that is forever. And the kicker, Morphine doesn't really work for me. It only brought me down to a four. I could at least now lie still in pain. So when they come in to check on me, I tell them that I still hurt. And I didn't get any warm blankets either. And I was too hooked up to stuff to really use the blankets that I had. And Ducky was out in the waiting room with sleepy boys.

So they ordered up another round of Morphine. I remembered later that my earlier experience with Morphine was remarkably similar. Two years ago when I was having Gall stone attacks. Lucky me. I should have been a geologist with all of my experience with stones.

The second round of Morphine worked. But, they asked me to drink water to make sure that the Zofran worked to keep me from being nauseous. It did. But, then my stomach ramped up to a level 8 pain. A pain that caused me to sit and convulse. It was almost instantaneous. And it was right in the middle of shift change. Splendid. So Bailey, my less of a best friend, told me to breathe through it. Sure, gotta use that lamaze stuff somewhere.

I am not a whiner, or a complainer, I suffer through the pain. I am stoic and don't show how much it hurts. I am stubborn that way. When I finally break down and hit the call button, it means something. So someone, don't know who, shows up to ask what is wrong.

"Well, my pain is now a nine, it is worse, can we please fix it." I don't know if I ever told them that I don't use ten. I am too afraid that if I do, it will get worse. There is no 11 on their scale. So the most I will say is 9.5. And I was there. My legs were jerking and my breathing was shallow and rapid and suddenly unconsciousness looked mighty appealing. Not the kind where you stop breathing. I am fond of breathing. Just the kind where you stop knowing the amount of pain you are in.

So Bailey, comes in, sits me up and it helps a little. And so I continue to breathe and it gets better. And I am abandoned again. And then I make my next mistake. I take another sip of water. BAM! It's back. Oh, help me. In many ways I was glad that Ducky wasn't there. He is wonderful and I love him, but I hate when he sees me in pain. He sits there and watches me with this look of worry. And panic. And worry. And then I feel guilty. So at least I was not feeling guilty.

So when I am checked up on again. I tell them I can't drink. It makes me hurt. BAD. Very Bad. So what do I get, but a GI Cocktail. Not a fun little fruity drink with an umbrella. No, I am not that lucky. A chalky, minty, anestheticy concoction that the mere thought of consuming makes me want to gag. Visions of my 4th grade stomach x-ray come flooding back. And I have to chug it. Because it will make it hard to swallow. Are they trying to kill me? I sip my beverages. Part of why I am in this mess. Sippers do not drink as much as chuggers.

So I chug it. And it is nasty. And I don't know if it helped. I didn't drink anything else after that. So my doctor is checking out for the night. And checks me out too. I think I might live. And I don't have to work the next day. Ducky has taken the boys out to the van to sleep. They sleep better in their car seats than in the waiting room. And we brought blankets. So I head out to check out. And then they want money. Remember I only brought my medical card, my list of medicines and my cell. Just vital info. No ID, no credit card. Sorry, you will have to bill me.

I head out to the lobby doors to get a signal. They have excellent signal blockers in there. Call Ducky, he pulls around and I get in. And we go home. And crawl in bed. SweetP can be late for school. Ducky has already left messages canceling appointments. We go to sleep.

And that brings us to Friday morning. The adventure continues tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Still To Be Continued...

The medical drama shall be continued tomorrow. I have to go to bed. I have to get up early, get sweetP off to school (early) and sweetE next door so I can drive across town in rush hour traffic and get checked out by a new doctor. I fired the last one. He lacked bed side manner and a personality. And I couldn't spell his name. I could, however, pronounce it. But I hope I like the new guy better, he comes with rave reviews.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fun Monday

Today's Fun Monday is hosted by ann. The assignment: I want to hear about a web site that's changed your life. A web site that you can't live without. A web site whose inventor you'd like to see win a McArthur Genius Grant.

While I can't actually say that a website has changed my life, there are a few have wormed their way into my existence and haven't left yet. Blogs not included.

The first is my daily fix of comedy. It is the first website I visit every single day. It makes me laugh and often relates to life as I know it. Different players, different dramas, same basic premise.

I generally check it out here.

The second site is one that I stumbled upon a while back. I am not a participant, but I like the ideals and sometimes try to choose some items to work on. This site emphasizes kindness, awareness and consciousness. All lofty goals, and movement towards them is a win-win. My current goal is to remember to bring my reusable shopping bag in with me, so I don't get more plastic bags.

Go check them out here.

Tomorrow I will continue the weekend saga. But until then, know that I am feeling better and appreciated all good thoughts, wishes, hugs, etc. that were sent my way. May I never repeat that weekend. The parents would have been preferable.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Visit Canceled

How to cancel a visit from the parents in two easy steps.

1. Go to the Emergency Room at 11:30 pm on the night before they come.

2. Next morning, have hubby call parents and tell them they can't come.

Thursday night is moving right along. We get the kiddos into bed. I head off to Target to buy toilet paper and whatever other goodies I can find. That store is dangerous. Within five minutes of getting home, I start feeling not so good. I go into denial. It cannot be the most painful thing I have ever experienced. Not again. And no, I don't mean childbirth. Both of mine were c-sections anyway.

So I putter around. I get in pj's. I tell Ducky I'll be up in a little bit. I call the advice nurse. Advice nurse advises I head to ER. Because I can no longer sit still, stand still or talk without whimpering.

"Honey, you need to take me to the ER." Grumble, grumble. He gets the boys up. Drags them down to the car. Tucks them in. Meanwhile, I losing my dinner. Grab the blah bucket, let's go.

Whimper, whine, breathe, whimper, moan. We get there, I get out and stagger in to the check in desk. Both arms are tingling and I am faint, white as a ghost, and shaking. And then I see the sign that asks for photo ID. I did not bring photo id. I brought my medical card, my list of medicines and dosages (thanks RC), and me. That is all I brought.

This is my fourth trip to an ER in my entire life. And a different ER. And this one does not impress me. I, however, am as polite as can be. While the front desk people, that never stop reclining, slowly enter my info and are just about to ask me to go sit and wait, the lovely triage nurse sees how I am suffering and swoops in to save me. She takes me right back and gets my vitals. New fact for the day. My pulse go down when I am in pain. I have never seen my pulse be that low. 74 to my usual 100-110 bpm. No wonder my arms are tingly and I am light headed.

And can you believe I had to go all the way back out into the waiting room to give a urine sample. They didn't have a stinkin' bathroom in the back. I leave my coat with the family and go to head back, nope, have a seat. Remember I cannot sit or stand still. And I am so white, that I think I have gone transparent.

Finally. A room. I get introduced to my new best friend. Christine. Still being very polite, I am given a gown and a heated blanket. And am left to change. That damn gown had snaps and they hadn't been snapped. Do you have any idea how hard it is to snap together a gown when your pain level is an 8 or 9? So I am suited up, ready for an IV and pain meds. Please hurry with the pain meds. While I wait, I realize that I am going to be sick. Not realizing there is a toilet on the other side of the door, I lose the remainder of my dinner into the sink. Now the rooms stinks. Badly.

"Hello Dr., so sorry about the smell." I literally meet the doctor by apologizing. For the remainder of my stay, my door is open to help the smell. The doctor asks what the problem is.

"Well, I seem to have a kidney stone."

"Oh, have you had them before."

"Yes, twice."

"What do they usually do for you."

"Pain meds, nausea meds, fluids. And then they send me home with Percocet."

"Sounds good. We'll get started with some Morphine, Zofran, something else I had never heard of and a bag of fluids."

To Be Continued when I stop hurting.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

About My Family

So let me clear up a few things about my family. Today we shall stick with the parental units.

We'll start with Dad. Dad is a gruff guy, lacks tact, but is very smart. He can always figure out how to do something if given a chance. He is from a very large depression era South Dakota farm family. His mother spent her entire reproductive years doing just that. He left school early and I think always regretted it. He is a blue collar man.

Growing up, he didn't really ever come to my school programs or piano recitals. But for quite a while I was still Daddy's little girl. Eventually I grew up too much and I don't think he knew how to relate to me at all. I even stopped speaking to him for three months in high school. Then, sometime after Ducky and I started dated, but before we got married, dad had a little accident. That landed him on life flight and then ICU.

That little near death experience did wonders for Dad's attitude. After that he started to tell me he loved me. He started giving hugs. He generally figured out how to show he cared. To this day, Dad shows an interest. If he hasn't heard from me in a while he will call just to see how we are. He asks about the boys. He interacts with the boys when he sees them. He sends them money for their college fund. He is the only Grandpa they've got so I am glad that he makes an effort. So you can see why his visit expiration is two days. He has redeemable qualities.

He does complain a lot, but it is mostly about my mother. When I was in second grade, they separated and filed for divorce. I got a puppy (Woofie) and then they got back together. For the sake of the children. Boy was that a mistake. That makes about 28 years of making each other and everyone around them miserable. They were not my model of marriage. Quite the opposite.

Which brings us to my mother. My mother was raised in town and then on a hobby farm. She was the oldest of two. I think my grandparents and her grandparents doted on her a lot because there had been a stillbirth before her. Her sister came along about 5 years later. And I don't think my mother ever got over it. My aunt has bite marks to this day from my mother biting her.

My mother was a teacher until I was four. Then she was a stay at home mom. Except we realized later that she stayed home more for the horses than for us kids. I was only allowed to do activities that my mother wanted to do. Except piano, my grandma wanted me to do that. She bought me a piano and paid for lessons. Sadly I quit after six years, I was too busy doing the things my mother wanted.

We have nothing in common. When I got married we moved away. We would come back to visit about once a month. The visits slowly diminished over time. For a while I would call weekly, and that diminished too. I got tired of being the only one making any effort. My mother has not been to see us since sweetE was a month old. Well over three years ago. She has traveled all over the west to do horse things. But when asked to come visit, she can't travel. She only does what she wants. Just as she always has. And I have given up. I try not to let it bother me. That I and my children are that unimportant to her. I no longer let her make me feel guilty for not calling or visiting more than once a year. I just remind that road travel both ways. She hurumphs and walks off every time.

So the main reason I am dreading the weekend is because of my mother. No amount of effort is enough. No act of kindness appreciated. No good deed unpunished. I am the way I am partly because of her. I am a perfectionist because nothing was ever good enough. I am not a risk-taker because she made me afraid to fail. I am a better mother because she taught me what not to do. I hug my children at least 10 times a day. I tell them I love them at least that often. I cheer them on and cheer them up. They will never doubt that I love them.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Welcome Mat

It is time to reluctantly roll out the welcome mat. The parental units are coming in on Friday. My parents rare visits stress me out. A lot. I have a shaky relationship with them at best. Any visit with my parents has an expiration date. My mother's visit expiration date is about an hour after the visit starts. My dad I can handle for about two days. So what am I going to do this weekend.

My dad called a few weeks ago to ask a favor. My family only calls when they want something. Highly irritating. My cousin, who is old enough to be my father, is getting married. And apparently my parents want to go. Remember back in October when I told the previous wedding saga. My mom did not want to go to my brother's wedding. Granted it was his third, but he is still her son. And the hands down favorite. However, she is willing to go to my cousin's wedding and it is his second. I have not asked the sis-in-law how she feels about that.

So my parents do not drive anymore, except in the town where they live. We are all thankful for that. But that means that I, as the lucky one who lives in the hub gets to play chauffeur. Dang. My parents are coming in on the bus on Friday. However, they have not told me which one they are coming in on and where they want to be picked up. Which means I either call them to get the info or hope I choose wisely. If I chance it, I will hear about it the entire weekend if I choose poorly. So I will call them tomorrow.

I have never in my entire life done anything that my mother is proud of. She always found a way that I could have done better and told me exactly what was lacking. She never tells me that she loves me. She shows no interest in my children, her only blood grandchildren. She does not interact with them at all. And that is what bothers me the most. She nagged for years about grandkids. She shows no interest in me. Her mother was my very favorite person in the world, and they are so very different. So to say that I am dreading this visit is an understatement. I must pick up my Ambien so I don't stay awake all night fretting about everything that I will be doing wrong.

They are staying until Sunday afternoon. They cannot entertain themselves. They complain about everything. And they are allergic to everything. Earth, wind and fire. I am not kidding or exaggerating. Granted 95% is in their heads, but what do I know. If I eat cherries, I could die. The kind where you stop breathing, so long, see you at the pearly gates kind of dead. If they have an ache or a pain, they ate something they were allergic to. And they are dying in agony and we all get to hear it play by play. It has nothing to do with their age, weight, fitness levels or anything else. It all relates to what they ate. The fact that they are in their 70's, obese, get no exercise and have never taken particularly good care of themselves would not cause any aches and pains. It is only what they ate! And it changes by the year. "Oh, you can eat wheat now, super! But you can't have eggs, that's too bad." Granted the allergies only apply if it is convenient for them. If they want something, they eat it anyway.

Saturday is the big event. The event that I would not have been invited to except I am the chauffeur. So while Ducky and the boys go off and do something fun, I get to babysit my parents. And no matter what I do, I will hear through the grapevine what I didn't do or say and provide. I hate the dutiful daughter role. I can't plan an outing because they are both in such bad shape that no walking can be included.

The weekend looks like this: Spend two hours picking them up and bringing them back to the house on Friday. Sit like bumps on logs the rest of the night. Saturday, sit like bumps until it is time to spend two hours on the way to the wedding. Hang out at wedding with people I don't know for who knows how long. Spend two hours in the car on the way home. Sit like bumps. Sunday, sit like bumps. Spend two hours in the car dropping them off and then coming home to collapse from exhaustion from holding it together all weekend. And I will have to drive the van because they will not be able to get in the back of my bug and because I will have the boys and the bug only seats four.

Yes, I know I am whining, but there is no way this can end happily. Help me....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


My book group is meeting next week to set up a schedule for the year. We are all supposed to bring names of books that we want to read. I have a list on a sticky that I jotted down when something sounded interesting. But I don't really know anything about them.

So, if any of my dear blog buddies has a book that should not be missed, tell me. Please. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind. (I should at least be interested in the book that I am suggesting after all.) I am not a big fan of the classics, mostly because I don't like flowery language, I want it to get to the point already. I am not a big fan of sci-fi/fantasy, I like them to at least have the illusion of plausibility. Otherwise, I'm open.

Help me. If you love a book. Tell me what it is and why it is sooooo fabulous. Thanks!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Velcro's Name & Other Velcro Facts

Velcro came with a name. It was Rowdy Roger. It just didn't fit. We got him from a lovely older couple who had retired. They had decided that they wanted to go live on a boat and didn't think that Rowdy would like it. He has rarely been rowdy in his entire life. He has moments when he does the Corgi Zoom, but he is pretty mellow as far as dogs go. So that is how we came to get him at 7 months old. Housebroken, toy trained (he wasn't allowed to play with fuzzy toys because of their grandkids stuffed animals) and completely lovable.

By the time I came home from work the next day my brother, Toad, and Ducky had named him Velcro. I was a bit miffed that the naming discussion happened before I got home, but the name worked. Whenever you would get up to do something, he stuck to you. He moved from room to room with you. As the years have passed, he does that less and less. But his hair sticks with you no matter where you go. Beware wearing black pants and sitting on the floor.

As for those ears, we call them his satellite dishes. If there is a cat or dog outside, he knows it and announces it. Burglars at 2 am, not so much. The fall after sweetP was born, I was up at 2am getting medicine for a migraine. I noticed flash lights on the French doors. The doors that led out to the deck. The deck up off the ground. That had a gate to keep it enclosed. Someone was on our deck. Two someones.

So I run back to our bedroom and "Ducky, Ducky!!! There is someone on the deck!" Velcro is sleeping. Ducky gets up and runs to the door. Do not do this. Keep your doors locked and call 911. He opens the door and yells at them. He grabs the big flashlight and runs after them in his barefeet. Do not do this. Just call 911. Velcro continues to sleep.

Turns out a guy ran from a traffic stop up the road and it was the sheriffs department on the deck looking for him. And they momentarily thought they had their man when Ducky ran out their. I repeat, just call 911. Unless you want six guns trained on you ready to shoot.

Velcro finally woke up when Ducky came back in. And then he just grumbled that his sleep was disturbed before going back to sleep. Now if they had knocked or rung the bell, the whole neighborhood would have known about it. He has a very ferocious bark if the burglar is polite enough to knock or ring the bell. But if you are a cat, look out.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fun Monday!

Today's Fun Monday is hosted by Lisa's Chaos. And our assignment is...Let’s meet your pets. I think most of us have at least one pet and I would like to see your fluffy or scaly pal. If you don’t have a camera you can tell us about him/her/them. If you don’t have a pet tell us about a pet you had or a pet you want. If for some weird reason you hate all animals we want to know why gosh-dang-it.

I have had pets as long as I can remember.

My first real pet was Woofie aka Captain. But I called him Woofie. He was a Shetland Sheep Dog. I got him in second grade. My parents were getting a divorce. My mom thought I could use a dog (rather than a dad apparently). In the end the divorce didn't go through, but I still got to keep the dog. He slept with me. He would play fetch for hours, with a tennis ball, a pine cone or a stick, it didn't matter. We lived on a farm and he would get burrs and all other kinds of stuff stuck in his fur. He had to be brushed a lot. He was much friendlier than most shelties and much smaller. I loved him. He got killed by a Great Dane when he was ten. He was wooing his girlfriend next door. The Great Dane had the same idea. And Woofie had small dog syndrome. He was the best dog a girl could have had.

Then I went to college and had to wait years before I could have another pet. We got Velcro when he was 7 months old. He is a Welsh Pembroke Corgi. He is very hairy (he fills multiple trash cans at the groomer) and big for his breed. He is the family dog, but really he is mine. He just turned eleven. I gave his whole story on his birthday. He is spoiled rotten. He even has his own stocking. We promised him that he would be the only furry animal we would get. After being demoted twice by children, it is the least we can do.

Eventually, I would like to get a Welsh Terrier. But I hope that is many years in the future. We would like to keep Velcro around for while longer.

Friday, January 4, 2008

A New Year's Resolution After All

I have decided today to make one New Year's Resolution. This is going to be the year that I FINISH. I am going to finish all those projects that I have already started. I will finish the boys favorites books for 2007. I will finish the family yearbook for 2006 and 2007. I will finish sweetE's quilt. I will finish the stairs. I will finish the guest room. I will finish organizing my room. I will finish all the other little projects that I have started.

I will try to work every day towards finishing something. Even if I only spend 5 minutes, I will be 5 minutes closer to finishing something. And if at the end of the year, I have only finished one thing, then my year will be a success. My to do list will be one thing shorter. I hope that I finish a few more than that.

Today, I finished paying bills that should have already been paid. Now they are. I also finished fixing sweetE's jammies where the seam came undone. I'm on a roll.

To Finishing things!

I finished grading all the papers that have been sitting in a heap all break. I am now officially caught up on grading. I hope to grade anything I collect the day I collect it. And then only have late papers to do over the weekend.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Many Virtues of Alice

Alice joined the family almost two years ago for my birthday. And I have loved her ever since. There was the great naming debate. Ducky wanted to name her Rosie (Jetsons), I wanted Alice (Brady Bunch) and there was also the consideration of Robbie (robot). Since it was my birthday present, I won. Alice the first took a header down the stairs. Her cliff detectors let her down. I now put a virtual wall at the top of the stairs to prevent any further mishaps. Alice the second, ate some bad lint or something and had to be sent back to her homeland (factory). And now we have Alice the third. And she has been doing splendidly for about a year and a half. iRobot's customer service is superb.

We thought at first that she would replace our Hoover. But if you live in anything bigger than an apartment, she really is a supplementary vacuum. The whole having to recharge herself takes a while and if you really want to get the whole house clean, that is a problem. She can get to places that regular vacuums can't without major redocration. She drives under beds, couches and tables. She is also willing to commit to much lengthier cleaning adventures than I am. And I am always amazed at what she picks up. At first we tested her by running her every day in one room. And it took about three weeks before she stopped filling her bin. Yuck! And we did vacuum in there with the upright before we got her, fairly regularly. She makes the carpet fluffier over time.

The best thing about Alice. Velcro is not afraid of her. He is deathly afraid of vacuums. When he was a puppy, he was kind of scared of the vacuum. Then my brother, Toad, decided that he should vacuum him to get out his loose fur. And scared poor puppy Velcro nearly to death. He has not been the same since. It has been ten years. Velcro will scurry out of the room as far as he can get when I get the vacuum out. But Alice, she can be running in the same room and he will just continue his nap without batting an eye. She will run into him and he is only mildly disgruntled. He just gets up and moves.

If I were to go back in time and buy Alice again (and I would) I would upgrade to the scheduler model. Then every day at noon she would start herself and clean and then dock herself again when she was done. She and Dyson get along great. I am off to go start her for her daily run. I forgot earlier.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Battle has Begun

Since September Ducky has had a cough. A shake the house, wake the neighbors kind of cough. And he can do it in his sleep without waking up. I wake up. And then can't go to sleep again.

So just before Christmas, he went to the allergist. And found out that he has a rather severe allergy to dust mites. Ewww. Not something I care to think about. And while I don't claim to have the cleanest house, it is not bad either. So we have started a war against the dust mite. There are no plans for eradication, annihilation or elimination. We know that that would be hopeless. Instead we are opting for a noticeable reduction in their numbers. We have washed bedding and curtains, wiped down blinds and chairs, dusted moldings and furniture.

But the thing that is going to win the war? Alice, the Roomba vacuum. She is fabulous. She goes under the bed and the dresser. She gets in the nooks and crannies. She covers the whole floor about seven times. And I am always amazed at what she picks up. We are running her daily in our bedroom. And it is working.

We are attacking other parts of the house too. I have also vacuumed the chairs and couches downstairs. But you spend so much time in bed, that the bedroom is the front line in the war. And Alice is the general.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Quest for Dog Food

Velcro is a sensitive dog. His feeling get hurt easily. His skin gets irritated easily. His tummy gets upset easily. He is just a sensitive dog.

We have been giving him the same kind and brand of dog food since we got him. A few years ago we switched to the senior formula. He was getting a bit chubby and much less energetic. And in many regards it has been great. He has lost weight. He has a waist again. He bounces and runs again. He comes upstairs again. All pluses. But now he gets hot spots.

Every time he starts to get better and his body gets used to the food, they change the formula a little bit. And we start over. Plus he gets what we refer to as poopy butt. Do you know how unpleasant it is to step on a turdlet in bare feet? When he is upset or his food changes we have to check his pants before we can let him in the house.

So I decided that I would find him a new food. One with fewer ingredients and less stuff that isn't important. What dog needs food coloring anyway? They are more interested in smell and taste, not color. I don't care what color it is. I just want a food that makes Velcro happy, his tummy happy and his skin happy.

So I went to the pet store. And I read the labels on over 20 different kinds of dog food for senior or weight control. There was not a bag on those shelves that had fewer than 30 ingredients. Most of those ingredients I couldn't pronounce. It would just be easier if they listed the ingredients in two parts. One part would read what the main food items were. The other would list the additives and what they really were. Like, crushed oyster shells for calcium. I was in there for an hour. When I make my own food I try to limit the ingredients to five, definitely no more than ten. After reading all those labels and knowing I needed to come home with something. A hungry Velcro is a tripping hazard. He clings underfoot until you feed him. And he is the perfect tripping height. I ended up with one that says it is for sensitive skin and sensitive stomachs.

He loves it. He is more of a tripping hazard than usual. He is spinning in his excitement to eat. So far it seems to be agreeing with his tummy. It will take awhile before we can tell if it is helping his skin. He looks guilty when I catch him licking or chewing his hot spots. Poor guy, I just don't want him to be itchy.

Next stop on the dog food quest will be the natural pet store. But we still have half a bag and we'll see what happens in the mean time. Any suggestions on dog food that is easy on sensitive doggies will be gladly accepted.