Friday, March 30, 2007

Sucked into a Jerry Springer Episode (VERY LONG)

The past week has been chock a block with scouting drama. Truth is certainly stranger than fiction and I've got plenty of strange truth to share, folks.

When last you heard from me, it was the night of the Order of the Arrow ceremony and the revelation "Oops, sorry, you are NOT going to be the leader" from the pissy leader to be. I was furious, and vented my anger at the Cubmaster, . He told me that he really needed people like me and Ed and requested that one of us take on the den that he had led (he can't do both). I blogged about that part. I also sent him an email right after blogging to apologize for my behavior.

Tuesday night, Pack Meeting. Committee Chair makes an announcement that there will be a meeting for all the leaders after the pack meeting. The meeting starts with her crying, stating that she's been told people were saying she's lazy and disorganized and she was upset, because she pours her heart and soul into what she does (I agree with this assessment-she loves scouting and it shows). Her son has just moved up into Boy Scouts and she will stay on one more year. She doesn't have to, but she didn't want the person who will replace her to experience what she did-the job was dumped in her lap. She also says she will leave NOW if the infighting doesn't stop.

She also goes around the room, asking what roles each person will have in the pack next year, conveniently skipping over the role I was asked to take. She then turns to me and asks (a little snippy, but I digress) "What are YOU doing next year?". I reply that I'd been asked to be the Webelos 1 leader, however, had I known that she was seeking someone to take over Committee Chair, I would have waited, as I feel that job is something I could do very well and would like to do. Cubmaster looks at me and very excitedly says "You would?"

The meeting continues with her asking people to speak about what's bothering them-no one really does. She adjourns it and Ed and Cubmaster leave to take flags back to the storage room. She is pounced by all the other leaders at a table on the other side of the meeting room. It was as if I wasn't sitting in the room. Snippets were overheard "If she's committee chair, I'm leaving" and things of that nature. Okay, I can take my butt somewhere else.

I decide I have had enough of the Suzanne bashfest and go outside and wait for Ed and cubmaster. I tell the cubmaster that I am sorry to be the cause of so much drama and that I will leave. I don't want him to lose leaders because they don't want me around. He tells me adamantly that he needs good people like me and Ed.

Do I stick around and do the job, knowing that people are going to leave, but not knowing why? For the life of me, I cannot fathom what the heck is going on. I get home and write another apology email. This time, it's to the Committee Chair. In it, I say that I'm sorry she's getting a lot of grief over me and that I am sorry that even after she said she didn't want to hear any complaining, it's obvious they pounced her to complain some more. (Good listening skills on their part, eh?)

I tell her what happened last Friday night and why I was pissed, that I was asked to be LEADER and common courtesy should have been to email me when they'd changed their minds. I thought that was the issue. I told her that I probably should leave and I gather the door wouldn't hit me in the ass on the way out.

Wednesday evening, I get home and find this email. The ONLY EDITS I have made to this thing are to star out the names, this is it exactly as written:

Well sue I just wanted to tell you a far things that I heard from others that you feel **** and I are unorganized and you running your moth to other is unacceptable because is your son not passing over and you did not do that **** and I did and one of the rule of the pack is loyalty and you do not have that so as far as am concern you have no business beaning a den leader or are committee leader am not sure who you think your dealing with but I well not stand by and let this happen if you have something to say bad about me **** or are troop you need to come to use not outsiders. are troop works as a family and if you can not agree maybe you might went to look in too another den

love *****

Holy runon email, Batman! Yes, she had the audacity to put 'love' at the end!

Things become crystal clear. Remember that training class I blogged about? The one that I was so excited about, because I got so many good ideas? Well, another member of the pack was also in that training class, her son is a year younger than my son. In talking to the trainer, I'd mentioned that I was excited that get things organized before the year begins, because we had a disorganized den with the leaders not being there the first two months. God's honest truth-they were more concerned about going with their son to football practice than leading the den. It WAS disorganized, because it'd be me and another parent and our sons and we'd be asking what the heck we were supposed to do.

So, this other leader twisted my words into me bashing them and that's why she was all pissy with me last Friday night. She also apparently said that I bashed our committee chair. So, here I was, devastated and crying. I called a neutral party (another leader) and got his input. He felt I should ignore them and that my first draft of a reply was too inflammatory. This is the final draft and what I sent-with a BCC to the cubmaster.


*****,

I have a hard time reading an email such as yours and finding love at the bottom.

You complain of me talking to others, however, until this email you have said nothing to me.

The facts: I commented in leadership training that for the first two months of this year, my son's den did not have consistant leadership and that led to it being disorganized at the beginning of the year. My son is the only child to have been there all year-he has only missed one week, when we were on vacation. I have been there all but three meetings the entire year. There were times when it'd be two boys, two parents and no leader-and no idea of what we were supposed to be doing.

If there are no leaders for the first two months, how organized are things going to be? I was not trash talking you. I never even mentioned your names or who I was talking about, I was stating my opinion, In fact, the only person in the room who would know who I was talking about was ****. At that, I never was nasty or snide-I was merely stating the fact that there was no organization because no one was there! When you and/or **** WERE there, things were fine. When you weren't, no one knew what we were supposed to be doing.

If you don't believe me about what was said, feel free to email the trainer who ran the class-I am sure he'd be happy to tell you his opinion of what I said. If you'd like his email, I'll give it to you. **** also has it, it's in the materials he gave out. .

Loyalty means that when you have an issue with someone, you address it with them. I had no problems with you or ****, other the lack of appearances at the beginning of the year. If I had, I assure you, I would have said something to you. We're also supposed to be teaching our kids about keeping our promises, so how was I supposed to answer my 7 year old's questions on why he was there but his leader wasn't?

The reason why I got so mad on Friday is because you and **** had a conversation about what was going to happen next year and you didn't contact me, nor did you come to me when you heard that I supposedly was trashing the two of you. How hard is it to call or email me? If you really would not stand by and let this happen, then come to the source. Friday night was the perfect time to speak to me if you had a problem. Why didn't you?

Yes, I am thinking of going to another pack, but ***** has asked me and Ed to stick around. Why have I considered leaving? Because I heard the snide comments made at that table while I sat IN the room. Why do I consider staying? Because ***** says he needs me and Ed-and he's always impressed me with his honesty. At this time, I have decided to do whatever ***** asks me to do.

I agree 100% with the comment you made that you need to come to us, not outsiders. It works both ways-you should have come to me with your concerns.

Suzanne


I sent it out, slept poorly and was troubled by it all day yesterday. I can't change the way I am, and I really care about what others think of me. The diatribe she sent me was CCed to the Committee Chair, so I wondered whether my apology email had been passed on to her, prompting the vitriol at me.

Yesterday was report card pickup day at school. We went to meet with older son's teacher first. He has made some incredible strides and won three awards this quarter. After meeting with her, we stopped in at the school book fair that was about to close, so he could pick out his reward for his report card. We ran into the Cubmaster. We talked about that oh so lovely email and he repeats that he wants me and Ed. I asked if he's prepared to lose half of the leadership over it. He was of the mind that if he's going to lose them, they weren't worth having. He repeated that he needs good people, and that's what he thinks we are (Awwww). Okay, I feel better about this whole thing.

It gets better. I get home and find an email from the Committee Chair in reply to my apology. She's been away from the computer for a few days because she was dealing with a family crisis. She apologizes to ME for the behavior of the others (as if she had anything to do with it) and says the same thing the cubmaster has-that the pack needs me.

So, I'm staying. Part of what upset me so was that these are the people I liked and enjoyed being around-and it looks like I will. The Jerry Springer participants? That remains to be seen. I suspect we'll lose the two who were leading younger son's den, because the one who sent the email is petty and spiteful like that. Her companion will leave because she'll make home life hard for her if she doesn't.

The one who started all this up? If she sticks around I will be sure that I don't say diddly with her in earshot-good OR bad.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sacrifices

As I kid, I don't know when I learned my first lesson in making sacrifices to please others. I don't think I had to make that many when I was little.

Our younger son has had to make quite a few for being so young. He didn't bargain to have an older brother with special needs, but he has one. This means that foods he'd like, activities he'd like to do and places he'd like to go all go through the test of "Can my brother do this/have this?" Far too many times, the answer is no. To his credit, he may be upset, but he doesn't complain too much. He just realizes its part and parcel of our lives.

Scouting is something he rallied for big time. He REALLY wanted to do it, and wasn't going to be swayed by the argument that his brother couldn't do it. To his credit, he even got his brother excited about it. I honestly thought it would be HIS activity, but his big brother proved me wrong. While not as gung ho, he does look forward to Tuesday nights and works just as hard on his requirements.

Scouting means family time. For younger son, it means one on one mom time. He's my 'mush' and worships mommy. I know this won't last forever, so I do what I can now. Tuesday nights have meant he does an activity with me.

We had a ceremony for the Webelos tonight who are moving up into Boy Scouts. Older son fully completed all the requirements, however, we requested that he wait a year. While he's made great strides in maturity this year, he's not quite ready to be in a boy-lead group. The one year may make all the difference and it may not mean anything, BUT we're going to give it a try.

Ed is the assistant leader of the Webelos 2 this year and played a big part in conducting the ceremony, so we all went to this ceremony to support the three boys moving up. To our surprise, older son was included in the ceremony-and given a compass to signify that he will be leading the other Webelos to the Arrow of Light next year.

While preparations for the ceremony were happening, I was there with Ed, the boys, our Cubmaster, the former cubmaster and the Webelos den leader. Some of the conversation was about my recently completed leader training. I'd asked about some software (Scout tracker) and talked of some ideas I had for son's den next year.

However, after the ceremony, which some of the leaders and kids attended, I come to find something that upset me. As I said, the leader of younger son's den expressed interest in swapping roles next year-I'd be leader and she'd be committee member. She and her spouse (who sporadically participates in our group) decided instead that spouse would lead, I'd assist and she'd be committee member. WHAT? No, this was NOT the conversation we had at any time. In fact, when they came into our room with the flyer for me to take my leader training class, the conversation came up yet again that I'd lead next year.

I spoke with the Cubmaster and made no bones about the fact that I was furious. Had I known this would be the case, I would have sent Ed for his neccessary training last week. Cubmaster stated he needed a Webelos 1 leader next year. If Ed didn't have to be with older son, he'd do it-but at this stage of the game, one of us should be there to reign him in.

After I calmed down (a little-I'm still pissed), I had a conversation with son. He wasn't happy with the change in plans, but once again, he's making the sacrifice. The activity that was supposed to be for him *with* me isn't going to be.

It's probably better this way. I don't want my personal disgust with the situation to create tension in a room with the two other people. However, it does cause them an issue. At the beginning of this year, they weren't the most reliable people and failed to show up for several weeks on end. Additionally, one of them often decides she 'doesn't feel like' being there-and she's the one who will lead next year. That's no longer an option, as den meetings are supposed to always be 'two deep' with leaders.

I'm proud of my son. He made yet another sacrifice and did it without complaining, even though it was obvious how he felt. I need to let go of my anger and disappointment-because I enjoyed having 'our time' as much as he did. I doubt the two leaders realize how much sacrifice he already makes in his life and that he made another one tonight.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

It has clicked

When Amy kept recruiting me to come work for her employer, I kept resisiting. I told her to contact me when the sister company was hiring-since I had a much better knowledge of the products they sell. Not that I didn't like where she was, just wasn't as familiar.

The past four months have really been a learning experience. I love the products, but there are so many to learn about. The management style is like no other specialty retailer-we have five floor managers and a staff that's nearly triple what I've ever had before. It's been an uphill experience. I'm used to being the best, knowing anything and everything. At Disney, I'd been nicknamed "Miss SOP", because I could recite the SOP's backwards and forwards. To not know it all is HARD.

I'm finally getting it. I've always been a frustrated artist-what I see in my head never translated to whatever medium I'd try to use. This is different-my ideas are good ones and what I get to do with the design is well recieved. The down side is that this is making me extremely antsy to get all the damn walls in the house painted. I want color NOW! We have the paint to do every room except the "Mary Poppins room" and to repaint older son's room red.

Back to the work thing. A couple of days, I'd cry-I felt like I was letting them down when I made a mistake. My boss is awesome,very direct, and she'll tell me when I'm screwing up. On the other hand, she's free with the praise when it's deserved. She made a comment a couple of months ago that she knows if she addresses something with me, it won't happen again.

Finally, I feel like I've turned a corner. It's sinking in-and I'm getting used to being a very different manager. In most specialty retailers, the payroll given requires managers to be very hands on and to do it all. Sometimes it'd drive you to insanity, because there weren't enough hours in a day to complete the task lists (without staying off the clock, that is). Now, I really MANAGE and direct others in their tasks. In slow times, I'll do those tasks as well, but there's now enough staff to really be able to see the big picture and delegate assignments.

The regional visit must have been the catalyst. I knew that I brought up some valid points and she loved them. As a result, I feel better about what I do and I'm not beating myself up on the mistakes I make. They are happening far less frequently. The regional wanted to know how long my boss had known me before I worked there, probably thinking that I was a former colleague.

I was told she was rather surprised that no one (other than Amy at the other store) knew me prior to me interviewing. The rapport and support we give each other as a team was praised-and it came off that we knew each other very well. The best I can explain it is that the GM and I are cut from the same cloth. We joke about it often-the type A perfectionists.

I still have a lot to learn, but now I feel like I've got a handle on the job. I've done several complicated special orders and they've been perfect. I'm calmer when I'm the manager in charge, because I finally have accepted that I don't have to do it all.

It must show-the boss keeps talking about it and praising my work.

How long before I DO know it all? :P

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Juggling kids

This week is one that challenges parents without daycare, like us. The boys have school break. Fortunately, I was able to shuffle around my schedule and work four closing shifts to coincide with Ed's work schedule. His job altered his schedule a bit-he leaves at noon this week.

Yesterday was one of our days off together for the week. We took advantage of it by heading over to Busch Gardens for a few hours. Once again, I will state that the Gold Passport was a great purchase. Especially since we can have a small amount deducted from our checking account each month, as opposed to having over a thousand dollars to purchase APs for WDW. That is just not happening anytime soon.

This was only our third trip over there as a family, though Ed and I went without the boys, and I've taken older son solo. As such, we did things we haven't tried yet. Heck, on days that I'm off and everyone else is occupied, I should just go over by myself for a couple of hours. The lines were decent, other than Rhino Rally. As long as I keep moving, the leg (now encased in an Unna Boot) is not too bad.

I found the best trick ever this time around. As I am temporarily without a debit card, I left my handbag in the trunk, opting only to bring my phone, keys and our passes. Each time the boys bugged me for something (older son kept asking for sodas, younger son for toys), I'd ask how I could buy it without any money. Hmmm, they couldn't fight that one! I think I should do that all the time, lol.

On the way out, like at Sea World, we were asked to complete a survey. Sure, no problem. Last time, free waters. This time, the boys got pencils and we got a magnet. Decent trade for spending five minutes telling the gentleman that we enjoy visiting their park. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Trained cub scout leader!

I forget who said it. There I was, in the hospital with a newborn baby boy. Among the congratulatory phone calls and visits, someone made the comment that the world should look out, because here comes a Den Mom. I am a type A through and through, and my need to run things has always been apparent-so for one of my friends or family members to say that wasn't that much of a stretch.

Well, older son ended up having special needs and not being cub scout material. Or so I thought.

My younger son got a flyer for a cub scout meeting in his backpack last year and bugged me incessantly. "Can we go? I wanna be a cub scout, will you take me?" He's the child that definitely struck me as being a scout. We went to the meeting, only to find there were 4 boys (two were mine) and it was a meeting to begin a new pack. Nope, sorry, I will be happy to help out, but I do not have the time to devote to getting a new pack growing. After a few attempts to connect with the packs close to home, we promised him that we'd seek out a different pack at the beginning of this school year.

Back to school night this year was our meeting with destiny. I ran into a woman in a scout uniform and discovered that there was a booth in the cafeteria for us to meet up with the Pack. A week later, we sat in the cafeteria and officially joined. Younger son was very excited. As is typical these days, older son decided to tag along for the ride-our younger son is definitely the trailblazer for these things.

We started the journey and while it hasn't gone exactly the way we expected, we're all happy with the way things have panned out. Younger son's leader didn't show up for several weeks. I was approached to lead the den-and I agreed. Instead, the leader did show up and I took the committee member role, basically making sure that there was always an adult leader at the meetings (save for the week we went to California, we've missed nothing). Ed was thrust into a similar role with older son's den-they needed a second.

Our tendency with older son's issues was to hole up and not go and do things socially, lest he have one of his come to Jesus holy terror meltdowns. In this pack, however, there's another Aspie. They're used to this behavior. It's a non issue-and to be honest, I feel that his behavior has improved noticeably this year. Anyway, this year Ed went with older son and I would participate with younger son in the dens. The leader in my group was good with some activities, then I'd pick up with the arts and crafts stuff-just not her forte.

A month ago, she made the comment that I really should lead the den next year. The reason she wasn't there as much at the beginning of the year is that her son participates in football. He will probably do that again. As much as she's focused on 'her boys', she knows that not being there isn't fair to them. At the camping trip last week, I asked her if she was serious about switching roles next year. She was.

Tuesday night, meeting time. The Pack committee chair comes to me with a flyer for leader training. Alas, Ed and I both can't go, but my Saturday morning off quickly gets filled up with this class. :)

The first hour was spent with seven other new leaders from various packs around the area. One of the men has a daughter a year younger and wanted to know if the Girl Scouts were structured the same way. I could answer that one, lol. He found it odd that BSA encourages the whole family, but Girl Scouts can only have female leaders. He's right, the cub scouts really fosters activities for the whole family. Witness the camping trips we're taking.

Then we broke out into leader specific training. One group was for Wolf and Bear leaders. The man running it was full of great ideas. Basically, his philosophy is that you make it interesting so that the boys are afraid of missing a week. Something our pack doesn't do is the "Progress towards Ranks". These are beads that the boys earn weekly until they hit the next level. He also has patches for the various activities. They can be found all over the internet for about a buck a patch. If the boys know that if they do the activity, they'll get the patch, then they'll be there.

It was a great class, and now I'm looking forward to next year to get these things happening. It was well worth the time and the money to now have a 'trained' patch to put on my yet to be purchased uniform. To say that son is happy with this development would be an understatement.

We're all scouts now!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Water, water everywhere...

Weight has been an issue for me my whole adult life. As a youngster, I was the stringbean who could eat anything and everything. It didn't set me up with the best eating habits. Once I started college, I gained that freshman 15 and eventually the sophmore 15 because I wasn't constantly at the Rec with my dad, swimming while he worked out.

When I moved to Maryland, eating became something of a solace and I quickly mushroomed to a size 16. For a long time, I yo-yo'ed, losing weight to get into my wedding dress and then back up again. My dad at one point made the statement "If you're eating so much, you've got to ask yourself, what's eating you?" At the time, probably the abusive relationship that I didn't see as one.

The ex left, and surprise, I lost 40 pounds in two months thanks to the anxiety diet. For the most part, other than the pregnancies, I hovered around a size 8 or size 10. When I started working for Disney, I was a size 8 and nursing younger son. Once I stopped nursing, I resumed drinking the diet sodas and kept the weight off. Then I found out I was allergic to Nutrasweet.

Instead of just cutting out soda, I switched from diet to regular and gained 50 pounds in six months. When we moved to Florida, the stress from Ed not working that I bottled up added another 20-25 pounds. I didn't (and don't) like being the only one with a full time job-the lack of a safety net and savings account stresses me out, and I'm a stress eater.

When I started managing the meal prep place, and interesting change came about. I wasn't eating out, wasn't eating fast food and at home, we were eating healthier foods. The nearly 60 hour weeks running my butt around all day and only eating the meals I made without all the crap added to it contributed to me losing weight. The recent health issues and RSD have also contributed to the weight loss, despite what everyone's told me about the various RSD meds.


The appetite has gotten much smaller along the way, a byproduct of managing the meal prep place. Look at Ed's plate and mine, and I'm probably eating a child size portion. I'm respecting that-all I've done is reduce the portion size of what I eat, not necessarily what I eat, and the weight is coming off.

The downfall of my life has always been the soda. I love it, I'll drink it all day long. If I could consume Fresca nonstop, I surely would. It's made with Nutrasweet, meaning I can't have it. I loved the taste and it didn't have all those nasty calories.

I made a promise to myself that March 1st, I'd cut back to one soda a day. It wasn't going to be easy-as I said, I love the stuff. I'm now 15 days in and I'm finding it's easier than I thought it would be. On the camping trip, we had only soda and Kool aid to drink. We had a gallon jug of water, but it was room temp (I want water that's ice cold). Sooo, I drank soda and wasn't satisfied by it. Sunday, we got home and I proceeded to have tons of ice water to make up for it. Craved it, even.

To further help me along, the coke machine at work had a surprising change-the cans went from 50 to 75 cents while I was off. That was a sign that I should get a cup from the water cooler instead.

It'll be interesting to see what happens when I can add exercise to the mix, but the changes have been noticeable. First the diet, now the water. Gimme some water, man, I'm thirsty.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Life's weird coincidences

My sister, who is new to the internet, has a habit of sending me forwards. Most of them I've seen before, sometimes not. Seems like anytime someone gets a a computer this happens, so I'm used to it. It's happened a lot over the 18 years since I first got online (remember Prodigy? I was BRKN98A, lol). If it's something that's relevant, I clean up all the junk and send the forward along. I used to go hard on the newbie, now I realize that it must be a stage of getting comfortable with the internet and emailing.

Last week, she sent one of those forwards that spoke to me. It was about religion, church and inviting God into our busy lives. No, I don't have a church home, but would like one. That said, I believe that we do not have to have be at a church to have a relationship with God. The church home we'd found in Maryland-it was probably a once in a lifetime deal.

I did clean that email up and sent it along to a few people in the netscape email address book that I thought would appreciate it. One of those was my ex husband's sister. We have emailed off and on since she's been online (around '00 or so). She's good people, far better than most of her family. She was very supportive of me when her brother was a jerk.

I've thought about her a lot over the past year and a half. Her older brother passed away last May, then six weeks later, her dad. As my ex is not the type to pitch in and help, I was sure she was burdened with all the work that's involved in having a schizophrenic mother who denies she's anything more than depressed. Last month, I'd dropped her a line when I'd found her mom's name on NY's unclaimed funds registry. She popped one back, telling me that the family home was up for sale, her mom was in a nursing home and the two kids are in college and doing well.

After sending this forwarded mail, I got an email back. "Do you believe? Do you attend church?" She was/is born again, so I responded with the truth, that I DO believe, but haven't found a church home since moving to Florida. I haven't taken the time to visit the MCC in Tampa yet-it's not high on the priority list.

I got another response. She had a mental break, heck a life break. Who wouldn't after dealing with all she's had to: two deaths in six weeks and tangling with red tape in getting Medicaid to cover her mom's nursing home care. She lost her job (at her church) over it and left her husband for a couple of months due to stress. She also hasn't attended church since December.

She also reveal something quite interesting. Her husband of 20 years was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome last year. This makes a lot of sense to me. I know from being around him for 9 years that yeah, he definitely could be on the spectrum. Not to the degree that my son is, though. Amazing to have something pointed out to you when you now have intimate knowledge of it and see something you never did before. Much like looking at an MC Escher painting and having someone else tell you what they see-and it's different from your interpretation.

In the past year, she's been through what we have, the whole grief process. She's finally reached acceptance of it. Mary appears to have the same mantra we do "you can't change it, so you just work with it." Hearing this news gives me more hope-this man has worked hard and provided for his family for many years without help or knowing what it is that made him different. My son knows and has the tools to do something about it. Someday, he'll choose to use them.

Once again, Mary has been a support for me-and this time, she didn't even know it. No, you don't have to pass this one on to ten people you know.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The camping thing...

...it was FUN.

Yeah, I know, several of you witnessed 'the camping trip from Hell', the one that I came back from and GAVE AWAY MY CAMPING GEAR. Oh, the horror. The tent, the cooking gear, everything but the sleeping bags.

Well, a funny thing happens when you have kids. You do things to make them happy. Sometimes you do things you absolutely swore you would never, ever do again. Like camping.

Last October, we ventured forth with new gear, old gear and the idea that the weekend would be lots of fun. It wasn't exactly that: 95 degree temps, no shade to be found and two porta potties for about 150 people isn't exactly the way to get me to commit to camping again. However, there was enough fun between the sunburn and the heat headache that I agreed to another try. Even looked forward to it, imagine that!

This time, the trip had enough interest for me. Fort Wilderness. It's Disney-what's not to like? Toilets, running water and showers-saves my sanitation gene from the heebie jeebies, check. A pool? Now we're talking-haven't been in one for ages! Add my three menfolk and I'm in. Better yet, add the scouts and other adults and the kids are happy and Ed and I won't go crazy.

So, we didn't get too early a start. I didn't get my butt motivated because I had no key to the car loaded up. Additionally, Gameboy needed his meds, but they weren't going to arrive at Target until 2. Ed got out of work late, too. Once he got home, we load up and head out for the ever important cash-and I send him and Gameboy over to WDW. Chef Jr and I end up hanging around Target for a bit while the meds were culled from the pharmacy's delivery.

Its a good thing we were delayed. Ed calls me as I'm about to pull out of the parking lot and informs me we forgot the sleeping bags. This made me happy that we decided to take both vehicles over! I stop at the house and grab them. The delays meant Ed and Gameboy got the tent and air mattresses prepped. Chef Jr and I arrived just after sunset with the sleeping bags, food and clothing. Another parent had finished their dinner of beef stew and had plenty left over, so they bequeathed it to us. It was good, basic, filling and saved us from eating grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Ed said it reminded it of his mom's. We get the kids bedded down fairly easily and soon after, we pack it in. I worried about the air mattress and not getting sleep-but I did sleep fairly well.

Saturday morning dawns with the perfect weather that was promised in the forecast. Younger son's den has committed to planning, preparing and cleaning up a meal cooked outdoors. We had a breakfast that was heavy on the proteins. :) The cleanup, well, most of the parents got roped into that.

Then, various activities ensued-the kids went fishing and saw some gators. During family time, we ventured over to the trading post and swam. We came back and vegged for a bit-I even found time to catch a nap. The evening's activities included a cookout, a flag retirement ceremony (IMO, there were far too many flags being retired at one time-we each put in about 7 or 8 stripes-and this was about 25 people participating) and s'mores were cooked around the campfire.

Fort Wilderness is large, very large. As such, they rent out golf carts for campers to use. A few people in our pack got them. One of the boys wanted to see the electrical water pageant, as did Chef Jr. Keys were tossed to me-ended up going with another leader and three boys. It was pretty neat, but I gave the driving duties to her-I've never driven a golf cart! Ed was a bit miffed that I went off without him, but when I called him to see if he wanted to go, he was involved in an activity.

Back to bed-yes, I slept for another night on an air matress without the leg screaming in agony. Morning came far too early for my liking, though. It was time to head out. I'm still trying to figure out why it seems like we don't have enough stuff when we get to the campsite, but it seems like we have way too much crap when we're trying to load it up in the cars.

We don't have any scout camping trips on tap, but it appears our family is unanimous in wanting another trip. It's almost getting too warm around here to go-guess we better figure that out soon.

Friday, March 09, 2007

A camping we will go, a camping we will go, but first, the usual leg update...

Today is the day we head over to WDW for the long awaited scout camping trip. It was easy to get the boys off to school the past few days-any protests of going to school were met with "you want to go camping?" and voila, no more problems. :) One problem is that I am supposed to pack Ed's car up and run some errands, but I don't have the key!

The leg is slowly improving, but you know hives, they don't just disappear. It'll probably be another week before they're gone. I'm torn between putting the next Unna boot on now (I was given the supplies) or waiting until the hives are gone. If I do that, then I might squeeze in some swimming this weekend. Tough choices.

I have a call in to Nurse M, as the Lyrica scrip was written for me to take a pill in the morning and another at night, but I'm taking four pills a day now. As much as I knocked it at first, I have to say the Lyrica IS making a difference on the RSD. It's not as good as the Neurontin, but the occasional missed doses have proven that it is working. Kinda like the Vicodin taking the edge off the pain, but not wiping it out completely.

Now that she'll be calling about the scrip, I'll ask her opinion on the Unna Boot. I'd rather watch the hive situation than cover it up-and I suspect she'll be thinking the same thing. I appreciate the partnership with the vascular staff. Here, like with my orthopedist back in Maryland, I'm included in all the decision making. The best way to explain it is that I'm treated as a peer, not a subordinate. Does that make sense?

The funny part is that one of the reception staff is extremely grumpy. She grumps at everyone-Ed had even commented about it on one of the visits prior to one of the vein strips. Now, I walk in and while I'm not her best bud, she will be very nice. When I went in after the hive incident, she looked at me waiting in line and commented over "Suzanne, you were just here", confused. I said 'Hives' and she responds with "oh NO". She now carries on conversations when checking me in, instead of bitching about my various late payments, lol.

Oh yeah, Regional visited my store last night. The pre-visit preparations neccessitated me working 38 hours in 4 days. Now I won't be using the personal day to go on the camping trip. The best part? As with the blog, I am not shy in real life. The Regional doesn't intimidate me-in fact, she's a very warm person and easy to talk to. Conversations came up about the very lame music we use-and I told her I would love to plug my iPod in for store play. I'll be emailing her the party playlists I used at the old job to use as suggestions for new stuff to the Powers That Be.

Then we were talking about the retail market being soft and what can we do to drive business. I brought up how at Bath and Body Works, we had client books and the concept could be used well. I gave several examples-and she asked me if I'd spoken to our Chairman. She had the same conversation with him last week, and he mentioned the idea, too. The look I got from my boss spoke volumes-looks like I'll be implementing that one. We spoke of how our location was perfect for this type of thing, but our top volume stores are way too busy to keep up with a client book.

Later, I mentioned a frustration of mine. At Disney, I knew names, knew the kids names, favorite characters and sometimes, birthdays. Here, I don't know names, and IMO, that's key to fostering repeat business. Her face lit up at that mention, and told us how she's got many fugly purses because of a shop owner that greets her by name, and tells her she needs a splash of color in her wardrobe (she lives in head to toe black). She spent way too much money on a bright orange purse because the owner knew her name and encouraged her to let a little color in!

It was rather funny and cool at the same time-the things I've observed that are different here are the things that the bigwigs are also noticing but haven't really put a plan in action to do yet. I left before the visit was complete, but I felt like it was good for the whole store and that I did my part to offer ways to make business happen. :)

So, now onto the camping. I can say we're all looking forward to it. It'll be nicer than the last camping trip, and that one was HOT, but fun. This time, we've got bathrooms and showers and lots of trees around us to keep us comfy. Temps in the 80's-far better than the 95 that we reached last time. We'll also have that pool-and I know at the very least, three members of the family will enjoy it. If I'm going back into the Unna Boot, I may well sit poolside with one leg in the water.

Cross your fingers that I sleep on the air mattress. If there's room, I may take the cabana chairs to attempt sleeping if the air mattress is not successful. If not, I think I'll be roaming the campground at night!

There's an hour left until two very excited campers arrive home from school...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

update on the leg

Hives. What a lovely thing to deal with. Let's see, the medical allergy list now looks like this:
Penicillin
Indocin
Cortisone
Hydrocortisone
Percocet
Iodine
surgical adhesives
benzyl alcohol (used in injectible medications)
Neurontin
Calamine lotion (contains iodine)
hibbaclens

Do you get the feeling that my medic alert bracelet is going to be pretty big? Yes, we have further proof that I*am* a freak.

I'm looking on the bright side here, at least I didn't suffer through the Unna boot until the 14th, the original date it was coming off. I called Dr. J's office promptly Friday am and told them I was on my way. Nurse D fit me in as soon as she could-and apologized, saying that the hydrocortisone was her thought to prevent the itching that everyone complains about with the Unna boots. I go back on Monday and get to shell out another 20 dollar copay. Basically, they didn't do anything on Friday for the 20 dollar copay-they just looked at the leg to see where we stood. I think I should balk at paying the 20 on Monday. I'm going broke on these copays!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Warning: you will laugh so hard you won't breathe!

Possibly the funniest link I've been given in a long time...

www.cavemanscrib.com


Have tissues handy-you'll laugh so hard you WILL cry!

Unna Boot from Hell...

Another 1am entry. This is getting so freakin old. I would love nothing more than to have a normal health issue with normal treatment and no complications. However, this is me we're talking about, so things will NEVER be that way.

To whit:
I had my follow up with Dr. J yesterday morning to have the Unna boot reapplied after he looked at the progress with my wounds. Unfortunately, he did not get to see them immediately after the first boot was taken off-they were dry and looked good. The six days in the boot made them noticeably shallower. Dr. K's nurse dressed the wounds in Xeroform, a moist dressing I'd been using. It made the wounds look 'soupy', as Dr. J so aptly described it.

Fortunately, he listened to my description of what my ankle looked like upon removal of the boot. We discussed the visit with Dr. K and decided to go with another Unna Boot, with a change in two weeks. It was also decided that I'd be given dressings to reapply them myself (with some assistance) once I have the opportunity to get into a warm pool and/or Watsu massage.

In the past, removal of the Unna Boot was followed by a bath in Hibbaclens and a new boot would be applied. However, we think I'm allergic to the Hibbaclens and that's noted in my file. Instead, Nurse D slathered my leg in Hydrocortisone cream and applied the boot. She did not wrap it as high as the other nurse, nor as tight, as she knows that many patients have issues with the leg swelling after the wrap. She also suggests I take some Benedryl if the leg feels itchy-this is also common.

I head to work (5 minutes away) and things seem okay. I'm itchy, but nothing horrible at this point. Once home, I took a Benedryl and actually got sleepy pretty quick. Six hours of sleep ensued and I got up, got the kids ready for school and took more painkillers and Benedryl.

The Benedryl must have really packed a wallop, because after it should have worn off, I became itchy again, but was extremely tired. This led me to think that taking some at work would be a BAD idea. At work, I am itchy, itchy, itchy. It was rather annoying. The dressing is not too tight, but I'm doing everything I can to scratch or manipulate the boot. At one point, I decide to cut the boot down two inches-still covering the part of the leg that is atrophied and well above the ankle wounds. Relief did not come from this alteration.

Once home, I take my painkillers and Lyrica and feeling slightly sleepy, try go get to sleep at 11:45. Nope, I now have shooting and stabbing pains like before I'd been given the gabapentin or lyrica (which makes me realize that I forgot my lunch dose today-aha, they ARE doing something). I ask Ed to do some nerve distraction by rubbing on my leg and foot and this makes things worse.

I decide that I'm cutting the boot off. Nurse D had said to call if I need a boot change, heck, just COME IN and they'd squeeze me in w/o an appointment. I decide that this itching is out of hand and I'll head over there on my way into work. As I don't have any moist dressing, I opt to cut around the zinc gauze and I'd tape that to the wounds.

My lovely leg is covered in hives. These didn't show up at first and Ed didn't even feel them, but I said give it a couple of minutes as the leg had been wrapped snugly. Yep, two minutes later and he could feel them. A few more and they could be seen.

So, here I sit, waiting for the Benedryl to bring sleep and take away the itchiness. I also took some pictures to show how unlikely it is that I'll ever get a job as a leg model.

The plans for the morning prior to work are now scrubbed. I was headed over to the tax collector's office with the form that Dr. J gave me for a handicapped placard. I asked him if I should consider one, seeing as this leg isn't healing all that quick-seems he kept meaning to mention it, too. Once I bring that to them, I'll have a temporary hang tag and if when it expires, I'm not any better, I get a permanent one. I'm not proud anymore.

UPDATE-since this is the post that gets all the Google hits for "Unna Boot picture", I've added the picture from another post to this one, so that you can see what one looks like right after it is applied