Monday, August 27, 2007

Hooray, we had company...

Friday was awesome. Joyce, Tim and their brood spent quite a bit of time at our abode, woohoo! We spent the morning decluttering the living room, making it safe for the smallest child to crawl around. However, she stuck close to mama and the toys she encountered were brought in by the other kids.

Fun? OMG, yes. Gameboy and Chef Jr were quite enamored of the young lady visiting-as usual. Gameboy usually ignores girls, but this one and another young lady they met at WDW. It's rather cute to see him trying to flirt. :) Chef Jr was equally fascinated by the baby girl. "She's so small" was heard from him several times and he'd asked if he had been that small. Yessirree, kiddo.

It was clear that the older four kids were having a blast, running around using various noisy toys and giggling. And giggling. Just for good measure, they ran around and giggled some more. That is one of the best sounds in the world-hearing happy kids giggling.

I think I've mentioned that Joyce and Tim were reintroduced at our wedding, and they married two years after us (tomorrow is their 8th anniversary-Happy Anniversary, guys!). Ed's known Tim since they were 3 and I've known Joyce since I was 13, thanks to Socrates. She and I became friends when I was 15 and we attended the same school. Long time friends.

Tim has a sarcastic streak that rivals Ed's, so he proceeded to crack me up all evening. Joyce and I are on the phone several times a week, so it's just an extension of our talking. At one point, Tim commented that I have to blog about having visitors. We're ahead of ya, dude. :)

I bought items to make dinner, but just didn't feel like doing it, so we went out to Cody's. Tim didn't catch the name and kept saying we were going to Joey's, which caused all of us to ask him where that restaurant was, lol. Still haven't found Joey's, Tim. Ed couldn't come up with a different locale for dinner and is of the mind that we go to Cody's too much.

About Cody's: the place is extremely kid friendly, the menu has a variety of really good food, Joyce isn't stuck with a bunch of chicken on the menu and hey, you can throw peanut shells on the floor. Tim offered the opinion that it was like Ground Round. Yeah, but I think the steaks are better here. The din is enough that five kids making noise is not going to stand out. Joyce and Tim treated-THANK YOU! (oh yeah, Gameboy hid under his bed with that burger the next morning!)

We went over to check them into their hotel and both Ed and I figured they were going to pack it in, even though we didn't want them to. It was a pleasant surprise that they just dropped their stuff and came back to our place, where we popped in a movie of the guest's choice (Mickey's Magical Christmas). We adults spent more time talking (and laughing).

When the movie was over, so was the visit. Bummer. If money were no object, we'd live near them (and Giggles). They headed out to their hotel and the kids were sent off to bed. I don't know about Ed, but I thought the house was too quiet afterwards. I missed the giggling.

If one of us wins the lotto (or if the prize patrol ever finds our house-they need a GPS dammit), I think a vacation condo on LI is in order, so we can have more quality time like Friday night. Thanks for coming over!

So, who's next? The house is clean...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Geeked

As a tech minded individual, I was seriously geeked by the iPhone. However, as buggy as new technology is, I know better than to get one. (Besides, the wallet won't allow for it)

So, as always, one must look for alternatives, and this is what we found....(thanks, Ed)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRKIDdIaFyE&NR=1

If you are a techie, do yourself a favor and refrain from consuming liquid beverages while viewing it. Those of you who are not techies will find it amusing, too. The ending kinda reminds me the old days at Babbages.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Potpourri for 100, Alex

Little bits of this and that for a Friday morning...

Yet again, one child is up and raring to go when his alarm clock goes off. Chef Jr willingly heads to bed each night and is glad to get up in the morning. Gameboy, well he complains he doesn't want to go to bed, fights sleep and then does NOT want to get up. Even the extra hour's sleep doesn't help. Some things will never change...

My car, once again, is annoying me. The VW dealer has been working without success on my iPod jack since November. I love their service department except for one thing. If a part has to be ordered, they don't follow up. Witness the touch up paint, also ordered in November. I have a limited edition color-the paint has been sitting in service since then-no one called on that, either. Last night, I picked up my fixed car. The jack doesn't stay in the plug, so one channel cuts out. I was told it was my plug, so I went to Best Buy for a new one and had the same problem.

Sleep! As mysteriously as it appeared, the insomnia might be gone. I am actually sleeping more than 5 hours at a time. The past two weeks, most nights get me a normal night's sleep. It's amazing how much difference this makes. On the pain front, though, the RSD is being more obnoxious. Nearly constant stinging pain, and quite a few episodes of stabbing.

Remember that burning pain I had with the Unna Boot last month? The one that drove me to call the nurse line? It's back, and there is nothing compressing on the foot or tarsal nerve to cause this. I made the appointment with the neurologist. Mainly to see what my options are besides a nerve block, but to see whether the current symptoms are part of the RSD (or something else)

I have to make this observation: when you establish a good rapport with your doctor or nurse practitioner, they'll bend the rules for you a bit. Instead of having to call the appointment line now, I call Nurse M and leave a voice mail. Beats 20 minutes on hold. I need more Acticoat. I called to make an appointment, she and Dr. B are out of town on Monday and she told me to pop in anyway and tell them that Nurse D has some paperwork for me. She'll take me back to take pictures of the leg and give me some more dressings.

OK, back to cleaning...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Visitors!!!

As of last month, we've lived in Florida for three years. Prior to our migration south, we frequently heard "you'll get lots of visitors." Well, folks, that hasn't quite happened.

Let's tally, shall we? Donna's been here a lot, but then, she is already a Floridian, so she probably is of the mind that SHE is finally getting visitors! I've had three siblings to my house, but they didn't come down here on vacations. An internet message group buddy has become a friend as a result of visiting another person's house, and then he and his wife came out here to see what my builder's handiwork looked like. Jill and her mom stayed at our rental, and Jill has been here, but then, she's a Floridian, too, so that doesn't quite count. Not exactly a long list, is it?

It's not for a lack of extending invites. I've invited several people (some more than others) and have heard more than my share of excuses. I also realized that one friendship was only based on me coming over to WDW and when my free admission dried up, so did the friendship. I gave up extending invites when she came down to WDW every couple of months. Eventually, I gave up on the rest of it, too.

Tomorrow, we'll have visitors. Yay! Joyce, Tim and family are on their way over after spending a week at the Happiest Place on Earth. It'll be great to see them again. The house, however, is not exactly kid friendly, since my two are prone to leaving legos strewn all over the place.

Guess I better get ready-company is coming!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Homework!

The kids started school, and the first night means one thing for parents: Homework. Two schools worth of Code of Conduct, Syllabuses and Bus Rules! Yay, gotta love that!

Chef Junior's teacher is shaping up to be the most creative that we've seen for either child. She sent home a blank white bag (similar to the one she gave the kids). He was instructed to decorate the outside with his name and pictures that show things that are important to him. The inside was to be filled with three or four things that are special to him-to show WHO he is. (Gotta love this: she said no video games unless you plan on growing up to make them-she would have gotten a kick out of Gameboy)

We talked about his choices and the bag ended up being filled with LOTs of pictures. Pictures showing him camping and traveling (he loves to travel), pictures of him at the beach in California, making his favorite meal (with recipe) and a patch from cooking school. Cub scout stickers.

I love how she made a craft project the homework. It got him to really think, much more than an essay ever could. Now that's right up my alley, the creative thing-I don't think Ed would have enjoyed this one as much. It is really looking like she is a non linear teacher, and she'll have them use critical thought instead of rote dittos and reading. Kind of like my favorite elementary teacher who had a piano in the classroom and had us singing every day. (I still remember those songs, btw)

Gameboy seems to have the right placement, thank God. Two teachers are instructing him for four subjects in a block, and two other teachers take over for math and science. They have a point system in place, and it has five levels. The reward is to go to mainstream classes when you're consistently at level 5. This is wise.

As he gets older, Gameboy notices more and more that he is different, and he's trying in his own awkward way to be like his peers. That's where I think scouting has helped him. Once he sees the other students going to different classes each period, it may spur him to work on the behaviors.

Last night, he had one page of homework, in which he filled in the blanks regarding the class Code of Conduct. Later on, he had a meltdown about his restriction from games (He'd stolen his brother's gameboy and was hiding under the bed and playing it). I used that page as a springboard. Do you touch other people's possesions? Are you respecting mom or dad when you disobey? What does good behavior bring you? A brainstorm struck: we copied the homework assignment and I'll be retyping it as house rules and placing it on the fridge.

He's reaching out in other ways. I know he feels affection and love (though to what degree, I'll never know). He sees that his brother is sometimes OVERLY affectionate and is very generous with the hugs and kisses. Chef Jr insists on some 'snuggle time' every night before bed.

In the past week, Gameboy has come up and told me he loves me unprompted and allowed me to kiss his cheek. Last night, HE asked for some snuggle time. It's awkward and uncomfortable (he's 90 pounds and solid), but I would never say no to something like this. He is out of his element school wise, and is attempting to balance himself with things that he knows comforts others. It seemed to calm him, and for once, I didn't hear him playing with stuff in his room for hours after bedtime.

I find myself stopping to think about how his mind works a lot more lately. Middle school can be the catalyst for GOOD change in him-but I've got to put myself in his shoes and think like an 11 year old, like an aspie and like a kid who wants to fit in. In that respect, there's going to be a lot of homework for me this year.

It's probably good that I do blog, as this is all practical information that I will use when I become a teacher. Not if, but WHEN. A plus of going back to school now is that I've got two teachers right in the house to help me learn!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Peace and quiet after the insanity

My lovely and hectic weekend resulted in me falling asleep before I could gather all the boy's items for school today. When Ed walked in the door at 6:30am, I woke up.

It's much nicer to have staggered start times for them. Chef Jr uses an alarm clock and came into the living room at 6:55, ready to go for the day. While he dressed and brushed his teeth, I got his backpack and lunch together. Unfortunately, I realized that he was missing a few minor things on the supply list-darn it Staples, ya let me down with YOUR list! ;)

Chef Jr was dropped off at school at 7:30, while Ed got Gameboy up and ready. His bag had everything he needed. In fact, Staples insisted he needed two expensive items that he didn't! Guess it's a good thing I ignored the other three expensive items they'd mentioned, huh? (No smart drives for any grades at the middle school, btw)

Gameboy's bus arrived at the front door at 8:15. I was a little concerned: the bus driver called MY cell, Ed's cell AND Jane (our emergency contact). Hello? The emergency contact is NOT neccessary when you're trying to coordinate pick up times! However, all seems fine with her. Gameboy is her first pickup.

No sooner did he get on the bus that we realized that he did not get his morning meds. Yikes! We waited a few minutes, then drove up to the school to drop off his Strattera and give him both morning meds. We got there a half hour before he did. Have to say, we walked around the campus and it appears that there are a bunch of kids who have an issue of some sort. We also saw a kid who towered over the two of us (at the oldest, he's an entering 8th grader!).

Since were were out, we went over to Staples to return the 30 bucks of supplies we didn't need and to Target for supplies we did. A quick breakfast at Einstein and then back home. Ed went to bed and the house was quiet! Woohoo!

Now, onto the task of cleaning up a summer's worth of debris accumulated throughout the house. The kids have this annoying need to bring their toys out to watch TV or play video games, so the house is littered with legos (ouch), cars (ouch), and other small, pointy parts (even more ouch). We'll have visitors later this week and any sort of small item is getting cleaned up or thrown out.

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The eighth dwarf

That would be me. Hello, I'm Clumsy, the dwarf Walt forgot. I did a face plant today, on the sidewalk outside of the store. In the park, not 100 feet from where I fell down the stairs a few weeks ago (oh yeah, finger still hurts-thank you for asking).

This time, I:
-Spilled the Dunkin Donuts iced coffee that I'd only had three sips of prior to leaving my car
-dumped the box of four muffins that I was bringing in for my fellow coworkers and I to have while we prepped for the class
-got the shirt I ironed and carried in on a hanger (so it'd look crisp for the class I was teaching) dirty and wrinkled
-landed HARD on my right knee, banging it up bad. It's turning purple and is skinned.

Thankfully, I did not rip the dress pants I was wearing. Some people sitting nearby come to my aid and ask me if I want to sit down for a few minutes. Well, I didn't have a few minutes-I needed to get into that store over yonder! They graciously helped me collect my stuff. Frankly, I was so embarrassed, I didn't look up at anyone as I thanked them for their help in getting my stuff together.

Into work I go, and the coworker who was there for the last episode of Clumsy is freaked out that I fell AGAIN. I am not happy about it, either. Just too much being sick on my day off and too much pushing myself that I fall when I get there.

Insult to injury, I was 'spinny' again today. When I'm very tired, very stressed or in a lot of pain, the room rotates between 16 and 33 1/3 RPM. It is so much fun to be me, don't you think?

At least the class went awesome. After the close inspection of the pavement today, I figured I paid the karma bill big time and was due for it. The products I was demonstrating are ones I love (and drool over daily) and I want in my home.

Now, the smart part of Clumsy is going to make some appointments. The overdue checkups with the Rheumatologist and GP to make my paper trail for SSDI. I also think I should follow up with the neurologist, to figure out other options-and see if this falling down is also part of the RSD. (and if I can't get the fargin nerve block, should I get the air cast/boot thingy?)

Do you think Disney will take another dwarf on the payroll? I just need to sit down before I prove how Clumsy I am. The normal, the kids are going back to school happy dance that most parents do the first day of school? So not happening here, folks-it probably would land me in the doctor's office!

(and we never did eat those muffins. I forgot to bring them home, too! Darn-now I want a coffee cake muffin)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

School time approaches!

Last night, both Gameboy and Chef Junior had back to school nights at their respective schools. We had some monkey wrenches in attending each.

First up, Gameboy's IEP placed him at a middle school other than the one nearest our home. However, while the IEP put him there, nothing in the system indicated he would go there. Thankfully, I was pretty insistent that he see the school BEFORE the BTS, because 1200 other students on campus at the same time pretty much would ensure that he would get very little out of the exercise. Doing my best to prepare them, I created a narrative about the Gameboy. It details his diagnoses, what triggers his meltdowns, what his likes and dislikes are, information to prepare them about this wonderful and frustrating person in their charge.

We showed up at the school Wednesday morning and I had to enroll him. Yep, filled out all this paperwork. Afterwards, the very nice, capable and friendly social worker that I'd met at Gameboy's IEP meeting last spring (Ms. M) took us around campus. She's a lovely young lady-I like her a lot. We saw the various buildings: the gym, the DEES wing that he'll probably spend a lot of his time, the science classrooms, the six grade wing and the media center.

We met one of the aides and then the principal-who informed Gameboy that the incident reports she found in his file were not going to be tolerated here. Hmmm, let's see if she makes an impression that we as parents have been unable to do in 11.4 years! Ms. M suggested we come back for BTS, perhaps his schedule would be in the system by Thursday night.

Thursday afternoon, I call Ed. Pick a kid or pick a school, I'll take the other kid to the other school. I arrive home at ten till 6 and see the parking lot for Chef Jr's school is already filling up for the open house. In years past, you would go, each teacher would be in their room and you could go introduce your child. Perhaps you could get a syllabus or supply list beyond what each grade had published. If you were really lucky, you might avoid one parent hogging the teacher's ear the whole time you were in the room. Snacks were served in the cafeteria, and tables were set up for various groups (scouts, pta, fundraisers, etc).

Thinking this would be the case, we decided to go as a family. Alas, this was the year for a change. The principal decided to have an assembly in the cafeteria, in which every teacher was introduced prior to opening up the classrooms. We sat for 25 minutes and didn't meet Chef's teacher-the whole time we were worried about missing Gameboy's BTS down the road. We decided to duck out before the end of the assembly.

Then we drove down to the middle school, where there is NO parking. Overflow is directed on to the field behind the school, but the way some idiots parked left more than half the field inaccessible to others coming in. I'd thought we'd have a long walk and even talked of using the walker (bad leg day all around for me). We had to come out of that parking and lucked into someone leaving closer to the school.

Once parked, we go over to the office and find that Gameboy is still not scheduled here. We know where his one teacher's classroom is (the one that last year's teacher raved about-she created the program he attended in elementary school). Yay, we meet his teacher. Boo, she looks to be about six months pregnant. I am happy for her-but I know how this kid is with ANY change and hate for him to bond with her and lose her so soon into a school year!

She suggests coming in at 11 today. If he's got a schedule, great. If not, she can sit down with us and the Assistant Principal and carve one out. Her thinking is that if he doesn't have one, we'll be able to custom fit his schedule with the best teachers for him (silver lining, I must admit). We leave her classroom and go over to the science classrooms. This is Gameboy's favorite subject, and it'd be good to meet the teachers.

I'll interject here that this is NOT what we expected after his IEP. We'd been under the impression that he'd be in a contained class with pull outs only for a modified gym class, lunch and English. It's looking more like he'll be in the holy hell of 8 periods of non stop transitions with the general population in classes of 20-25 other bodies making far too much noise for his liking. Oh, crap. There would be an aide, but not a one to one, just one that would help all the ESE kids. What happens if one has a meltdown?

I think Ed and I both had our issues with this last night, and while exhaustion gave me a good nights rest, the dreams were not pleasant.

11am found us back at the middle school. Ms. M, Ms. Mc(the ESE teacher) and the AP sat in a conference room with our family and convened our own mini IEP meeting today. We're asked about Gameboy, what are his issues? He's got Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, OCD, ODD, SID, and probably anxiety, too (trust me, if he doesn't, a year of middle school will cause it!).

We're asked what his challenges are, how he did on the tests. 3s, 4s and 5s on the FCATs-to them, he's clearly an advanced student. Woah folks, emotionally, he's not. Put him in the advanced classes and he'll disrupt his peers. We would love nothing more than to have him there, but that's just not fair to the rest of the class-and is a recipe for the kid to get picked on more than I'm sure he already does.

Ed and I explain enough for them to decide that the original plan of contained classes with pull outs is the best plan for our child. Their goal is admirable, as they want to get him out into the general population. They tell us that the students of this school are very forgiving: it appears to be a magnet of sorts for a range of ESE kids.

I sure hope what they tell us is really the case with hormonal kids, that they really don't pick on the ESE students. Knowing what classes he loves (and excels in), they'll probably look to motivate him out into those classes. It would be incredible to get the child to be in an advanced science class. He has a lot of knowledge he can share with his peers on that front.

Monday doesn't scare me as much as it did when I woke up this morning.

On the other child front, he was quite worried that he didn't meet HIS teacher last night. This afternoon, Ed took him over to the elementary school and I think it was better for Chef Jr that he went today. His teacher gave him a bag with "Tips for 3rd Grade Success", which we can all learn from. The bag contained the following items, with this note by way of explanation:
In this kit are some reminders to help you be a success in my 3rd grade class. You will find:
An eraser to remind you that it is OKAY to make mistakes-that's the best way to learn!

A pencil to remind you that there are still many wonderful things that we are going to learn in class together this year.

A rubber band to remind you to stretch and grow as a learner.

A crayon to remind you to color your world brightly every day.

A band-aid to remind you to help heal any classmate's hurt feelings.

A smiley sticker to remind you that every day is a new day and to come in with a new, positive attitude!

Some gum to remind you that we all stick together and always help each other out!

Candy hugs and kisses to remind you that you are loved by many people, here and at home.

A lifesaver is to remind you that you can come to me anytime you need help with something or just want to talk or anytime you just need anything!

Welcome to the third grade! I know you are going to bring a lot of PRIDE to our class! I can't wait to get to know you! Ms. E

This is the coolest back to school thing I have ever seen.

Last year, after the poor fit with his second grade teacher (they are too similar to each other), we voiced our concerns to the principal. He had said he had the perfect teacher for Chef Jr this year-the same teacher that was suggested by Gameboy's teacher. They both said she's very organized, has a way of sharing her passion for learning and getting the kids fired up to do their best. He talked non stop about getting this bag to me tonight.

All in all, being an involved parent pays off. Older child looks to now have the placement he needs (instead of going the first few weeks and it going abysmally) and younger son has a teacher that is a good fit. Cross your fingers...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Florida State Bird

Do you know what it is? Well, if you're a smartypants, you'll say it's the Mockingbird. If you didn't know, now you know it when Jeopardy gets around to state birds. If you're a wiseass (like Liz and many residents of this state), you will say its the palmetto bug. What is known as a Palmetto bug south of the Mason Dixon is otherwise known as a cockroach down here.

A fact of life here is bugs and critters. Don't move here if you're a wuss about them. For instance, I was over at the in laws recently, swimming in the pool and playing catch with younger son. He threw the ball to me and when I caught it behind my shoulder, I felt something else. It was a snake-a foot long, green snake. I got out of the pool, got the skimmer, caught the thing and threw it over the fence into the school yard. No screaming. No freaking.

Yesterday, I got a frantic phone call at 11:30pm. It was Jill, and she was FLIPPING OUT because she saw a palmetto bug in her kitchen. She bought her first home here last November, but she's lived in Florida off and on much longer than I have. You'd think that she'd be used to the darn things.

I don't know what I was supposed to do OVER THE PHONE, because I sure as heck wasn't wasting 10 bucks in gas and another 3 in tolls to go over there and rescue her from a bug (yes, the drive to Lakeland costs that much, folks). She was talking of abandoning the house because she couldn't sleep with this bug in there. My comment was that the house was chock full of bugs that she couldn't see! Was I moral support? Not really, because all my suggestions weren't working or she was too scared to try.

Bug Spray? She'd have to pass the bug to get it. Smash it with a shoe? Well, my intent was that she walk over and put the shoe over the bug, instead she threw a couple. Not as effective. How about a book? None big enough. Phone Book? Not sure where that is. I didn't want to suggest the myriad DVDs she had behind her-even though DVD cases are perfect for bug squashing (big and flat). Because the shoes had been thrown in the general vicinity of the bug, she said she wouldn't wear them again. I'd hate to see a DVD suffer that fate, too.

She was disappointed that the cats (4 of them) weren't aiding her in the quest to get rid of the bug. I offered the opinion that if she was screaming (and she was) you can bet the cats were thinking "She's a lot bigger than me and she's freaked out-time for little old me to hide!" She didn't like that one. Hey, I've never owned a cat, but I think I summed up their thought processes pretty good, don't you?

After about 20 minutes of this, with me searching the internet to see if there were any 24 hour exterminators in Lakeland (that would be a big No), we got off the phone. My stomach did not like that phone call, as I was doing everything I could not to laugh at her, as the laughing HURT.

A little while later, I got an IM. She got the bug out of the house. She'd put a bag on the floor near the stove, somehow got the bug in there *note to bug-when lady screams, HIDE* and pushed it out onto her lanai with a broomstick. Now she won't use the lanai, because the bug was out there.

Moral of the story: If you're scared of bugs, get an exterminator, carry bug spray with you at all times and don't call me. I'll be laughing my butt off at you. I'm a horrible friend, because I won't drive twenty eight miles to rescue you from the Florida State Bird.

Okay, so now you're wondering, is there anything that I freak out about? The initial sight of a mouse will get a shriek out of me, but then it's all about what can I catch the darn thing in so I can put it outside. Bugs, on the other hand, I'm all about the squashing.

Yet another thing where I am soooo not a princess about...

Rotten luck

Lately, it seems like my day off is spent...BEING SICK. Yesterday was no exception. I woke up fine, but by 2pm, I was dealing with a stiff neck. My stomach didn't feel quite right, not queasy, but not right, either.

As the day went on, a headache emerged. Then, right about the time Ed left for work, I felt feverish. A check on that front found a fever of 102. Nice.

I tossed and turned after going to bed at 9:15 (got the kids to bed, then put myself to bed). Had some weird dreams, and the phone rang a few times. I ignored it.

Today, the residual effect is that my stomach feels like a rock. All it has consumed is some chicken noodle soup and a comfort and OJ. It hurts to laugh, and I've had some phone calls that have really made me hurt today. I'll blog about one of those tomorrow.

Why, oh why are my days off wasted on being sick?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Frustrated

I find Blogger frustrating. There are things I'd like to blog about, but can't, due to the fact that I can't filter who reads entries. It's all out there for everyone to read.

Normally, I don't mind that. I'm not one for keeping secrets, as you all know. Yeah, I keep YOUR secrets, but I don't have many myself. On some family issues, I blogged, I edited to what I was told was much more diplomatic and STILL the parties involved got highly offended. (Perhaps because I don't really offer tea and sympathy on that front) As a result, I find that the stresses of the situation can't be blogged about. This kind of defeats one of the purposes of the blog-therapy. Thankfully, Ed, Joyce and to an extent, Giggles have been listening to what would have been blog entries.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

changing the pointer

So, I decided I want to change the blogger address to the blog. Something not tied to the screen name and email I use elsewhere. In that regard, I'll send an email out on Monday to let everyone know that it'll change. I'm hoping that I'll be able to get Suzannadanna, but if I don't, look to www.wineandfoodies.blogspot.com on Monday for a link back to this blog.

You can resume your previously scheduled surfing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

No meds, what fun THIS can be!

Last Monday, I visited with Nurse M. During the visit, she commented that she had to call in my script for Hydrocodone to Target. I heard it, processed it and didn't comment. Then, on Thursday, I looked at my pills and realized that I'd probably run out sometime over the weekend. I called Chez Target and found that no, they didn't have anything waiting for me.

Friday am, I started calling Nurse M and got a busy signal. This is most unusual, the way the hospital's phone system is set up, if a practitioner is on the phone, the call is immediately routed to voice mail. Throughout the day, I kept calling. Finally, later in the afternoon, I call the main number for the Physician's Group, only to find the building had been struck by lightning and the power was out!

Okay, I'll stretch the meds to get me until Monday morning, as I'm off. I stretched out the doses and split a few pills. I called Sunday night and Monday. It is NOT typical for her to ignore a phone call. Last night, I left her a message-then another this afternoon. In the interim, I ran out of meds. Oh, the fun of no meds. Yes, I do take the edge off of the pain, but without them? My leg burns and feels as if there are some lead weights on it. The numb, tingly feeling is still here, even after getting meds at 7pm tonight. Wonder how long it'll take for that to stop.

The lightning strike scrambled the voice mail system. I guess that my messages are in limbo somewhere.

In other news, the Case Manager left me a message last night and I called her back today. Alas, she can't help me with my request to have the deductible waived. She did direct me to another number where perhaps someone could assist me, but that was not the case. No discussion, they won't waive it. I relayed this to Nurse M when she and I spoke this afternoon. She got mad-FOR ME. She'll be drafting a letter, Dr. J will do the same and they'll be calling the case manager and faxing their letters. I will make another appointment with my neurologist to see what other options we might have and perhaps I can enlist him in the letter writing cause. Couldn't hurt to ask, right?

I guess the bright spot is that I do have the case manager's last name AND phone number now. Let's see if she can be helpful down the road...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

17 months, continued

Continuing the post of the other day, otherwise I will go ballistic (insert long story I won't be able to post here...)


We left off with Liz and I waiting for a table at Le Cellier and both of us deciding that the kid's steak looked like a good choice. We are soon taken back to a table. The restaurant is set up as the different provinces of Canada, and we are in New Brunswick. Woohoo, New Brunswick looks over what used to be the cafeteria queue when I first visited the restaurant in 1984.

Our server, Courtney (or was that Natalie? good old Disney nametag confusion) was great. When we first told her of our small appetites and desire to get the steaks from the kids menu, we could see the gears turning in her head. Both of us being former CMs, we reassured the young lady that we tip on adult entree prices. So we ordered medium rare steaks and I chose the healthy options (the veggies and fruit) and Liz the not so healthy. Seeing Liz's birthday pin, Courtney wishes her a Happy Birthday, and I mention that mine was last week. She asks me where my Birthday pin was. Next thing I know, I've got a pin. Cool deal!

One of the choices with the kids meal is some of their incredible Beer Cheese Soup and the bread sticks. Since I am without the family, the smaller portion makes sense-it will leave room for the rest of the meal. (Younger son tends to be a soup poacher, meaning I never get a full bowl, anyway) Liz grabs the pretzel bread stick, splits it in two and hands me a piece. Nope, I am not a fan of pretzels, I am all about that sourdough stick, though. Really, the only way I like pretzels is soft with some good brown mustard.

We enjoy talking and dining, though the heat really has done a number on Liz-she barely ate her meal. The steaks were tender and perfectly medium rare, I had no difficulty finishing mine, and I made a good dent in the harcot verts and carrots that accompanied my meal. We'd been talking wines, and the next thing I know, Liz has ordered two glasses of the Inniskillin Ice Wine. Sweet! With the wine, Courtney has also brought us a birthday Chocolate Mousse to share. She apparently is not familiar with how much ice wine to pour, we get way more than we should have. Great meal, great dessert and a lot of a really delicious wine. Nice.

(something to know about the Inniskillin...it starts very sweet, but has a light, dry finish. I'd had a sample at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival a couple of years ago-two sips for 4 bucks. Nope, Ice wine is NOT cheap)

We depart the restaurant and head over to see the movie "O, Canada". While waiting for the movie, the CMs ask trivia questions. I guessed the population of Canada to be 30 million, which earned me an "Honorary Canadian" pin. (the correct answer is 32 million). I have to say that it was very pleasant this time around to sit while viewing-the companion chair definitely helped here.

We leave the movie and head back into the thick, humid air. I think it was just a little too much for Liz. I've had three years to get use to the heat, she's had a few days. We walk over towards England (I know, we can walk on water, right?) and things do not improve. At this time, Liz makes the decision to head back to her room. She asks if I want to head over there, but my thought was that if she's not feeling well, she'll probably want to take a nap. We part ways at the international gateway and I head over to France for my favorite show in the World Showcase.

I have just missed the showing of "Impressions de France", so I while away the time looking around. Aurora is in the courtyard where I found Belle and Beast on my last visit to Epcot (last year). I get in line for a picture, get kids who assume I am not in line so they run past me when its my turn and then get birthday wishes and a picture with Sleeping Beauty. One of the CMs wishes me a happy birthday and directs me to stow the chair en francais. Too bad I only managed a year and a half of Madame Boucai's class (a/k/a Madame Sadist).

This 18 minute movie is a perfect postcard of France. My phone rings one of the pieces used in the presentation, "Aquarium"from Sant Saen's "Carnival of the Animals." Strangely enough, the phone RINGS at exactly that segment-about a half second off from the film. The average person couldn't tell, so it seemed to surprise the woman nearest me when I dug the phone out to silence it and it was in sync!

Afterwards, on my walk around the WS, I see Jasmine and the Genie, Belle and Beast and Dopey and Snow White. At the American Adventure, I decide to tempt fate and go in to see the show. I fell asleep the first time I saw it, so we have yet to bring the boys to see it. Once again, the CMs are helpful in getting me where I need to go and extending birthday wishes. Those needing special assistance enter the auditorium before the rest of the audience, which besides me includes a grandfather and grandson and another man on a scooter. My phone rings, and it's Ed. We talk very briefly, and once off the phone, the grandson asks WHERE DID YOU GET THAT RING TONE? It ends up that Impressions is his favorite and he'd love to have the same ring. I told him the name of the piece and hopefully, he tracked it down.

Now, why didn't I silence the phone? I dropped the phone last month and can't see the darn display, so I figure I could just silence quickly when the need arises.

The CM that had led us into the auditorium extends birthday wishes to me from in front of the audience, lol. Then, I finally watch the "American Adventure" without falling asleep. However, the montage of famous Americans at the end gets me a bit misty-JFK, MLK, Jim Henson, Johnny Carson. Great people who made a difference. Back out into the heat and around the World Showcase. It's slow going, since the companion style chair is not meant to be used as a walker and my ankle is not in any shape to be rushed.

The next stop on the journey is in Norway at Maelstrom. It feels strange to ride this one without the family, and this time of year, you don't get the die hards who recite the dialogue along with the narrator (or the trolls). Nope, most of the voyagers on this boat probably have not experienced the trolls before, based on the reactions to them. Since it'd been a while, I sat down to watch the movie on Norway-but 15 minutes later, it *still* hadn't started (usually, you wait 5 minutes *at most* from the time the doors to the theatre open till it begins), so off I went.

Since last I'd been here, the attraction in Mexico had a revamp. El Rio Del Tiempo had not changed since the park opened in 1982-yep, saw the same thing as on my first trip in '84. Now, the Three Cabelleros are the stars of the attraction. Physically, there has only been one change to the ride, a carousel at the end has been removed and a stage replaced it. The new version is cute. At one point, there is a Donald pinata, and the thought crossed my mind that the Imagineers probably picked it up at the nearest Party City.

Next up, Test Track. I'm waved through to the Fastpass entrance and here the CM's really impress. The young lady handling the queues waves me into the single rider room. The way this room works is that these people are used to fill up a ride vehicle. Each vehicle has 6 seats. If there is a party of two riding together, then a person is taken from the single rider queue to complete their row.

I expected a long wait, so I open up the chair and sit down. I'm not there more than a couple of minutes before a CM (Nicholas, I think) comes to find me and bring me out of the room. I was prepared to wait, so this was a most pleasant surprise. He brings me out to the front most loading area and takes the chair. He tells me that it will be waiting for me as soon as I exit the ride-and it was.

Then, it's decision time. Do I venture over to Mission Space? I decide to skip it, opting to visit Mousegears and Ice Station Cool. I'd forgotten that they revamped the Ice Station early last year. Fortunately, they still carry the Watermelon Soda, Smart. It'd be great if Coca Cola saw fit to release that one here-it is soooooo good. I still had my kid cup from lunch (and my light up Tinkerbell, too!), so I filled it up. Then, I headed outside to enjoy the Innoventions music and some of the soda. After a couple of sips, inspiration strikes. I saved the rest of the drink to bring back to Ed, as he misses this place (and soda) as much as I do.

About 10 after 6, I bid farewell to the park and head for home. It was a great day. Too brief in some respects and probably a bit too long in others (physically).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

17 months...

It has been 17 months since I last set foot in a Florida Disney Park. (11 months since I've been in any Disney park). For a self professed Disney fanatic, the drought has been very hard. However, I don't see Ed MacMahon and the Prize Patrol showing up with the money for annual passes for my family.

Yesterday, I went to Epcot. One of my online friends, Liz, was here because her significant other, Greg, is at a convention at WDW. We made plans for months to meet and of course, Liz being equally enamored of all things Disney, only a Disney park would do (despite my asking Sea World?). It was my choice, and I chose Epcot.

As is typical, we played our phone tag for days. Finally, we got things coordinated on Thursday night. I told her I'd be there between 9 and 10 and could stay until 6 or 6:30, since Ed had to work (boo). We talked of my leg issues and the most recent injury and she said she'd push the companion chair.

We were on the phone as I was approaching Auburndale-she was at the Magic Kingdom. My timeframe was 40 minutes, allowing for a stop at my credit union to pay for the parking (my word-TEN DOLLARS!). I parked in handicapped, pulled the companion chair out of the trunk and wheeled it up to the very crowded security checkpoint. I was there all of a minute before my cell rang and it was Liz, just off the monorail right above me. Two minutes later, she was there and ordering me into the chair.

Bags checked and determined to be harmless, off we went to Guest Relations to get my Guest Assistance Card and ticket for the day. Liz laments to me that Spaceship Earth is down for rehab, so there would be no trip through time today. The stupid wand that was there for far too long is finally being removed. Yippee.

Liz was having issues with the heat, as would anyone not a Florida resident. It's hot and sticky these days. I am used to that, she is not. We make a stop at Art of Disney to look around and cool her off. Mind you, this is one of the stops Ed and I made every time we were in Epcot. I didn't spend as much time looking as I normally do, but it was nice to see some artwork of new characters-a giclee of Lucy with the lampost in Narnia, for instance. After five minutes, Liz was suitably cooled off. The whole time we were in there, the CM was on the phone and didn't help a soul. This despite the store full of people (20 or so guests, folks)

Onward. We head over to see Nemo at the Seas. Not 'the Living Seas', but 'the Seas". The queue for the old seacab ride is still being used, it has been rehabbed into a seafront style with rough hewn wooden floors and pilings. I loked the effect. At the top of the windy queue, instead of being herded into a large screening area, we continue on in the queue. Disney strikes again with the never ending line. I hadn't noticed the fastpass entrance.

Once on the ride, I have to say wow. They used the old Sea Cab track with vehicles similar to what is used on haunted mansion. The premise is that everyone from the movie is looking for Nemo and you take a tour through the Great Barrier Reef. Well done, it's a combination of animatronics and animation. I especially liked the incorporation of those huge tanks of fish with some animation. Peach at the end had me cracking up, too.

At the beginning, I heard what is supposed to be Marlin speaking and commented "That isn't Albert Brooks, that sounds like the voice of Goofy" Liz now thinks I am more of a freak than I am, because I recognize the voices. Just so you know, my kids can do it, too (witness one of them saying "did Kaa swallow Pooh?" during a viewing of The Jungle Book.

What's the next stop? Soarin, of course. We leave the chair at the top of the pavillion and head down the escalator. This is probably a good move from the standpoint that the one elevator in the building is usually backed up with people, but the queue for Soarin is like walking from New York to Pennsylvania! Usually, walking doesn't hurt, just the standing still. Today, well, the walking is slow going. We both enjoy the ride, Liz gets to see the hidden mickey and hey, I recognize that the aircraft carrier is in San Diego and the I5 approach toe Disneyland.

Afterwards, we decide to head over to Canada and see if we can get a table at Le Cellier. That free dining thing makes it difficult for day guests or those staying at other resorts to get a table at the sit downs. We're in luck and while waiting, we talk of small appetites and the kids menu. Each of the countries has a dish that's somewhat 'theirs' along with the boring kid stuff. Le Cellier's is a steak, and considering how delicious their steak is, we both go with it.

to be continued later...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Adding insult to injury

Things never are simple or easy for me. Witness this week:

Monday found me at the doctor's office again. Nurse M decided no more Unna Boots, since they contribute to the RSD flares. Yeah, when the boss won't let me wear the Crocs. Then take an already tender and sensitive foot and put it in another Unna Boot and it's a recipe for trouble. She's right, the boot is a bad idea.

She wrapped me up with Acticoat and a gauze wrap. Acticoat is an antimicrobial dressing made of silver. I asked why it works and she didn't know. I do know that I had to rewrap at 36 hours and the wound looked the best it has in a while. I rewrapped using gauze and an ace wrap.

We talked about getting the disability thing started. I asked what I needed to do and she said I should contact them, they'll interview me and then contact her and she'll take care of the rest. It wasn't until several hours later that I realized that she mean Social Security, not my employee health plan. After digesting that for a bit, I realize that I should try for both. If I am determined to be eligible for SSI, well there's my sign to go back to school full time.

Then Tuesday came. It was raining. That hasn't happened much and was welcome weather. I head off to work and around 9:20, leave to go to the bank. We have a rule that no one can be in the store without a manager, so the person working with me goes into the coffee shop. I slipped a little on the wet bricks and commented to her to be careful, that the bricks are slippery.

Bank duties completed, I park my car and come down the stairs from the parking garage. I slip and fall down about 4 or 5 steps. My left leg looked like I was 'en pointe' and I land HARD on my right forearm and wrist. Two employees witness the whole thing and I see one's face imprinted on my eyeballs-she looked horrified. They ran out to me, one taking my bag and the other helping me down the stairs.

At first inspection, the leg didn't seem too bad. I guess since I really use the vicodin to take the edge off pain, rather than attempt to obliterate it, it wouldn't make too much difference. The arm hurt considerably, even with pain meds. I didn't seek medical attention, since it seemed pointless. Spend more of what I don't have to be told I bruised myself? I don't think so.

Yesterday, one of my coworkers suggested something I hadn't thought to do. Let the management company know of my fall and fill out an inicident report. I'm not the litigious sort, but this way, they'll cover any doctor bills incurred in having things checked out. At least it was me and not a sue happy patron. I'm glad she did mention it, but I'm trying to figure out when I'm going to get my butt to a doctor.

The foot has some trauma around where the top of the foot meets the ankle. Those muscles are not accustomed to going in that direction as I never was a ballerina. Yeah, I know, I'm so graceful that this suprises everyone, right? The arm looks bad, but not as bad as I thought it might. There's a 4" bruise parallel to the radius and a bruise on the corner of the wrist. Things are a little stiff.

I'll update once I see a doctor. I had plans to go over to WDW to finally meet Liz in the flesh tomorrow, but that may be the only chance I get to go to the doctor this week. I suppose I should call her and find out when she's flying out. It would be stupid to put off the doctor even though I want to see her. I also should call Nurse M and see if she's got an ortho guy she'd recommend, since I'm more concerned about the wrist than the ankle. I've walked on a severe sprain and minor sprains before and this is nothing like it, so I'm pretty sure that's okay-just uncomfortable.

Only me. I have to make things worse than they already are.