Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The first rule of Blog Club

Okay, so I've never seen that movie (or any Brad Pitt movie, for that matter), but it seemed fitting. My personal rule of blogging about events is that I don't blog about things out of order. Like day three of the California trip? It got screwed in a Blogger fiasco and I never reposted it because then the trip report would be OUT of order. (in reviewing to find that link, it looks like day four disappeared, too) That can't happen, right?

Tonight, I'm getting over that. I've got blog fodder here, several days worth. I still need to blog about Sea World, because hey, you need to know about it. We've got some wineandfoodies stuff to do, too, but I'm going to blog about Monday before Saturday. I know, I live such a dangerous life.

I have to say, it was Monday here, but still Sunday in California, but I'll count it in the Monday stuff. I got a call from Bawb at 2:10am. His lovely wife, Maria, gave birth to their son, Caleb, a mere 20 minutes prior. Now that I have a new phone, Donna was kind enough to message me a picture of the handsome child. Good work! If I am allowed, I'll share a picture or two of the spawn of Bawb (so totally joking here, but that is classic Bawb humor, folks)

Monday in our house of insanity means we must prepare for cub scouts. Yay! Tonight's meeting was one of the pack variety. This is where we gather 50 or so hyperactive boys and make them sit for an hour (or more) to listen to announcements, watch skits, get awards and sing a song. This was the first one we'd attended for this pack and I continue to be impressed with how much energy there is from the leadership. More on that later.

Each month, the meetings are themed. This month's theme was "Down on the Farm". For the meeting there was a 'dads and lads' cake bake. This is a scouting thing that is done some time during the year (our old pack did it for Blue and Gold banquet). Basically, dad and son must plan and bake a cake without any female assistance.

For some families that may be a huge undertaking. In our house, it's status quo for the men to be in the kitchen. The rules were pretty simple. Cakes had to follow the 'down on the farm' theme. All components of the cake had to be edible. Finally, they'd be judged on "USDA Approved" (most unique), "Grade A" (best design) and "Udderly Delicious" (most yummy looking). Anyone who knows us knows that we take these types of events seriously. (Hello? Frederick County fair and baked goods?)

Initially, Chef Jr was going to make his strawberry heaven cake but soon rethought the logistics of it and how it would fit the theme. He came up with a "Carrot Cake." Underneath the Carrot exterior lies Alton Brown's recipe for 18 Carrot Cake. Yum. (Not my mom's recipe, but still really delicious) If the votes were for taste, this one would be a contender.
Oh, and the top? Frosting dipped pretzels. The frosting itself was far too soft to pipe onto the tray.

Gameboy was the one we were worried about. His imagination is in that brain of his, but he hides it from everyone. We've had glimpses before, but when assigned a task like this one, he chokes. He'll need prompting from one of us, as he doesn't seem to share any original ideas. This time, though, he came up with an excellent concept all on his own. He wanted to make a pumpkin patch cake.

The idea sounded easy enough to me. Buy those candy corn pumpkins and they could pipe green icing over chocolate frosting. Ed's idea was to include a fence and a scarecrow. Logistics prevailed: a scarecrow probably would have taken longer to make than the cake and the pumpkin patch. No funky pans were needed. Their end result was this:

The top rail of that fence was held in place with chocolate frosting. The one rail askew was done to give it an artistic touch. Getting this cake three miles down the road intact was something we worried about, but this picture was taken AT the church after we arrived, and no repairs were neccessary.

The meeting began, and like I said, it was the first one we attended with this new pack. Ed was confused when the Wolfs went up for their awards: Yellow Neckerchiefs meant we should see Chef Jr. Oops, we've got a Blue sportin' Bear now. The boys were true to form, they'd get restless.

Then an amazing thing would happen: one of the leaders would get up on stage with the cub master and distract the boys back into attention (stomping good time meant everyone stamped their feet, snappin instead of clappin, mosquito slaps, etc). These leaders are what every pack needs. It was quite fun to see what they'd come up with. (I'll have to break down and ask for the words to the 'announcements' song that the boys do-it is way too funny, something about it's a horrible way to die)

The final tally was announced on our popcorn sales. We beat the goal by 45 dollars. I have to thank Jane, Mom and Donna for adding sales this week. We had an extra sheet, asked more people to buy and it helped us to have a dunk tank for the leaders in January and a trip to the Kennedy Space Center for the boys. Yay!

After all the activities and awards, the time came to announce the cake winners. There was an independent judge. She had numbers in front of the cakes-no names. Her choices would not be boys known to her. The third prize USDA approved went to an attractive cake, Grade A's design was a pig in a farm yard and then the drumroll for the first prize. I notice the judge in front of Gameboy's cake and she was picking it up! I nudge Ed to point across the room at the judge bringing his cake up as they announced Gameboy's name as the 1st place winner!

It's a simple award, yes, but hey, he got to see the fruits of his imagination. I don't know if anyone in the pack realizes what a hard thing it is for him to do. He got a huge belt, a la the WWE, a ribbon and a spoon. Part of the event was to be a cake raffle at the end. The boys were all told they could not bring their own cake home.

As the winner, Gameboy got to choose any cake he wanted to bring home from the 40 entries. We saw the look on his face we knew so well: he was overwhelmed, but in a good way. I get out of my chair and go across the room, to find that he picked his cake already. He chose his brother's cake to take home. It's got dye, he knows it's got dye and yet he was insistent that he was bringing THIS cake home.

I asked him if he was sure and his response "I didn't want Chef to be sad that we didn't have his cake." In the space of five minutes, the kid sees the rewards of his imagination AND he shows a rare display of empathy and compassion. I was happy for the win, but PROUD of the reason behind his choice. This just drives home to me why we keep him in scouting-the life lessons that just naturally seem part of this environment.

Fortunately, the cake Chef Jr got to bring home has minimal dyed frosting on the borders, so Gameboy will get to enjoy it. When we got home, he got to sample a portion of Chef's cake that had been left behind without the dye on it.

Most days, we feel like failures as parents because it seems as though what we are saying is ignored by our kids. Some days, we are lucky to see the lessons we teach our children come back to us. When they happen, it give us the opportunity to share them. That really is the first rule of Blog Club (even if they're out of order!)

Monday, October 29, 2007

New toys


Our new phones arrived a little while ago. You know I have no life when this is the highlight of my day. That said, now begins the fun of porting over my contact list. This is not easy when my old phone's display does not light up!

Make life easier for me and call me, please?! There's about 8 numbers in there now, and I think those of you know who you are. Suffice to say, half of the contact list in the old phone probably won't make it to the new one.

Oh and if you wanted to buy popcorn, but didn't get around to it-nows a good time to call me. We have to turn the second sheet in tonight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Writing things off, the Golden Rule edition

I just finished writing an emotionally draining email and pressed the 'send' button. It has essentially put into words what I had done a while ago. I wrote off a friendship. I'd been hurt horribly by the one sided nature of this friendship. The other party did not know my true feelings, though. She had made it easy, by not communicating with me.

Then I got an email that was obviously BCCed to me. I didn't even rate a personal email to tell me of her plans to attend an event here in Florida. That was the final straw, I had to put my feelings out there, to either invite her back into my life or write her off. I chose the latter.

It's not an easy thing to do, to write off a friendship. Some people have as many friendships as there are seashells on a beach. I'm different, I can tell you each friend's birthday because I don't have so many. What I lack in quantity of friends has more than been made up in the quality of those friendships.

What ultimately made me write it off? The other person's lack of following the Golden Rule.
Yeah, you've all heard of it, but do you know what the Golden Rule is?

"The Golden Rule" is a fundamental
moral principle which simply means "treat others as you would like to be treated." It is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights.

I really don't think the person I wrote off really thought about the net result of her actions. The write off probably caused me more pain than it ever will her.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Like sands through the hourglass, so comes the update on my leg

Another day, another visit to the (NEW) offices for my doctor. Once again, I get a confirmation of the appointment with the ever important "Your doctor has MOVED since your last appointment" message. Each time I so wish it wasn't automated , so I could say "Oh, really? They change offices EVERY week?"

It's almost like all those Clear Channel radio stations here in Tampa, the NEW Tampa Bay's best country US103.5, the NEW 107.3 the Eagle, the NEW 101.5 The Point. They've all been new since I moved here OVER THREE YEARS AGO! The radio stations don't have an excuse for calling themselves new for over three years, the doctor's office can be forgiven that the 2 month old building is not new to me.

Nurse M had a death in the family, so my appointment was reshuffled to another member of the vascular team. The young lady checking me in says that I've never seen Dr. B (according to the records-which are wrong), so I get the patient medical history form to fill out. Oh, and princess watch 2007 is still on: she wasn't there again.

I sit down and try my best to write in small and legible handwriting, because we all know my medical history cannot be contained on one small sheet. There's a line for father, a line for mother, two lines for siblings and two lines for children. Hmmmm, how can I fit 7 siblings and their extensive medical issues into two lines?

The form is completed with the feeling that one might get from finishing the New York Marathon (though not this year, I think it was cancelled). Triumph reigns, I got it done before Nurse D comes to claim me from the waiting room. I almost wanted to do circuits around the waiting room to the Olympic Theme, a la Stephen Banks. Alas, the effort was for naught-they saw there was already one in my file.

While in the waiting room (strains of the Olympic theme running through my head post form completion), I pick up a magazine that actually relates to me. Golf Shoe Tassel Daily just isn't my speed, but Neurology Now definitely is. Even better than finding a magazine with interesting articles was finding an insert that I could get my very own subscription to this very magazine. Woohoo. In short order, I was whisked away to yet another examining room on the third floor. Eight visits, seven different rooms. Will I see every one of those examining rooms before the year is out?

Today's room was right next to the brand new bank of computers the staff uses. This meant I got to see everyone working this afternoon, as they used the antibacterial gel dispenser right outside the door or came into the room in search of wayward medical supplies. Pleasant folks, though, they all excused themselves and apologized for interrupting my reading of the other copy of Neurology Now I found in the examination room.

I was glad to hear I was seeing Dr. B. The resident I saw last week was good, but worried me with the offhand comment about MRSA and dispensing of more Cipro like it were Pez. I am not fond of giving out antibiotics for the sake of it-that's part of the reason why MRSA is such an health care concern. I'd rather save the antibiotics for when I really have an infection.

A short wait ensued. Instead of Dr. B, I met with the third ARNP of the vascular group, Nurse L. I think there will be a blog entry soon extolling the virtues of nurses in general and the ARNP/NP in particular. This was the first time I met her, but I got a comprehensive visit.

We discussed my concerns. First order of business: Do I have MRSA, or is the resident filling me up with medication that five years down the road will be useless due to over prescription? Nurse L says I can stop taking it, with instructions for what I should look for that would cause her to put me back on the medication. Big sigh of relief here, and a cheer for her not laughing at my desire to avoid antibiotics.

Next order of business: The insurance carrier stopped my STD coverage 10/20. They want my medical records from Dr. J from 9/1 on. I explain to Nurse L that they probably should send my records starting from the first of the year. I feel that sending just September and October's records won't show enough causal information of the ulcers and RSD. I also share with Nurse L my theory on why the RSD is to the degree that it is. Nurse L agreed with my cause and effect scenario of the Unna Boot being shoved into a shoe, while not directly causing this issue, certainly making it far worse.


This leads into a discussion of the RSD, what my employer's requirements are and what I cannot comply with. My employers are superficial and will not allow me to wear Crocs, despite the two doctor's notes I've provided. I've blogged about it before. The regional said she wanted them gon, but it's never been put in writing that the Crocs are not acceptable footwear. Nurse L thinks that they should be forced to put it in writing and came up with a plan for that.

She asked me my opinion of how the healing is coming along. I tell her what's better (size and location of the wounds then and now, dry skin, red and tender flaking skin is shrinking in size) and what is not (RSD tenderness affects more of the foot, the pins and needles sensation on the top of the foot is now constant, I can't tolerate anything touching the foot except a compression stocking). This month, I have made a huge leap in physiological improvement, but not neurological improvement.

Nurse L asks me what I would like her to send to the insurance company and how long I think I should be out. She states her opinion that the *earliest* she'd send me back is November 19th. This would be only if they made accommodation for me to wear Crocs or a mule type shoe. She further comments that she only wants me on my feet for four hours a day. I feel as if my retail career is nearing an end, because I just can't physically do it if they won't allow the shoes and allow me time off my feet during the day.

It was once again a meeting with a professional who had empathy for my situation and agreed with what I saw happening. I still feel like someone's going to tell me I'm a wimp, that I should suck it up. Instead, they're all agreeing that the SSDI is the right move for me to be making. Nurse L opined that I should be making plans for Long Term Disability, based on her experience with patients who have worked in retail. When I told her of my desire to return to school for an education degree, she was yet another cheerleader of that plan.

I almost wanted to hug her on the way out, the woman just had such a positive and nurturing vibe. Even when sharing her thoughts that my 22 year career isn't good for my health anymore. She passes me off to Nurse D with a good luck and asked that I keep her posted on my progress. Nurse D seems to be on the 'keep Suzanne out of work and healthy' bandwagon, as she wanted to make my appointment for one month from today! Sweetie, I'd love that, but I don't think the insurance company or my job would like that!

With all of this stuff swimming in my head, I ventured over to work to break the news. I don't visit this part of town when I'm not working, so they hadn't seen me in a month. I got very warm welcomes and hugs from everyone. I miss them, they are a really good bunch of people.

I went back to the office to find my boss conducting a new hire orientation. She and I pop into the office and I shoot straight. Straight being "I really don't know where I stand, but at this time, they're telling me November 19th".

My next step is to leave Nurse M a voice mail and ask her to tell me what I should do. Honestly, if I'm not cleared to go back to work soon, I need to stay out until after the first of the year. This is only fair to my employer. By doing so, this allows my DM to authorize someone to fill my position through the holidays. I'm okay with that, and they NEED that. I really didn't think that the RSD would take the turn it has. I want to make them happy, but I am not going to risk my health for a job anymore. Okay, you can all stop cheering and sit down now, I know it took a very long time for me to get my sanity on the health front.

I spent almost three hours at the store, talking to my boss and catching up on emails. In well over two hours on the computer, I only got through 16 days worth of store emails. This is a necessity if I am coming back before the holidays. They won't be able to spare a day in the midst of holiday preparations for me to sit and read through the information. I'll probably do this again one day next week.

Next, I went to the stockroom to look at the holiday items that have not made it to the sales floor yet (Giggles, we need to talk!) and then walked through my department. I had a man look at me, come over as if to ask me a question, then turned and walked away when he saw my casual attire. I asked what I could help him with, thoroughly confusing him!

One of the employees that started two days before my leave came up to me to ask procedural and stock questions (my boss was otherwise occupied). This is funny to me-I haven't been here for four weeks, you know this, and you want me to tell you what's in stock? Me being me, I refrain from laughing at her and bring her to the computer.

I was able to show her some ways to check inventory on the registers that no one had shared with her (ancient chinese secret, or something like that). This prompted a light bulb moment for me. I had heard my name mentioned to the new hires during their orientation that they were to ask me about any cash register or operational concerns! I guess it's the natural teacher in me-I've got a lot of patience in showing people how our system works.

A guest approached me for a question on something, the boss still on the phone with another guest and sales person assisting another guest. I dove right in and did what I could, going back to the stock room just to be sure that we hadn't added the item she was looking for in the time I've been away. I offered suggestions for retailers that might have her specific need, and that's when she noticed my handbag and keys right where she'd stopped me. She apologized. What? For me looking like I have a clue? No worries, lady!

So today answered questions, but there are more questions unanswered. All I know is that I'm doing what my NP's tell me to do. Especially Nurse L, who insisted I go back to school.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween's a coming

For weeks, Chef Jr has been so excited about Halloween's approach. He's like this every year, but this is the year that he's articulated just how much he LOVES Halloween. It's his favorite holiday because people give you candy. That's my boy.

This year, he'll be a bad guy. He originally chose Draco Malfoy and was convinced that I'd bleach his hair for one night. I had people telling me it was a good idea, and that I could buzz his hair afterwards. I'm glad he changed his mind, because his hair is just beginning to show a wave once again-I was not thrilled with possibly cutting it shorter. He'll be Jango Fett, the bounty hunter seen in Star Wars, Episode 3. Gameboy, in a nod to what he's been told for years, will be Harry Potter. He looks like him, though the hair isn't quite that unruly for now. These costumes turn my thoughts to Halloween in years past .

Our first flash of Chef Jr's stubbornness was when he was 2 years old. I'd bought him an adorable Peter Pan costume from work, and his brother was going to be Buzz Lightyear (for the second of his three years as Buzz). We'd dressed Gameboy in his costume and Chef Jr insisted "I Buzz Yightyear! I Buzz Yightyear!!" The meltdown was averted when we put him in his Buzz Lightyear pajamas for our rounds of the neighborhood. Every time Gameboy was greeted with "Hey, it's Buzz Lightyear", Chef Jr would respond with "I Buzz" and point to the picture on the middle of the pajama/space ranger suit HE was wearing.

The following Halloween, he still wanted to be Buzz, and he got the art of charming diversion down to a science. He'd say "Trick or Treat" ever so adorably while his hand was already in the candy bowl, taking whatever treat he wanted. Of course, that megawatt smile had them mesmerized and he got tons of candy. (that they both were dressed in official Buzz costumes ensured that the larger Buzz got plenty of candy of his own)

That's not to say his brother hasn't had his share of costume switcheroos. I snagged a Bear in the Big Blue House costume at a time when Gameboy still watched the show daily (it had been returned to the store in June, so I got it dirt cheap). I brought it home and asked him if he'd wear it. Then when Halloween neared, he decided he wanted to be Mike Wazowski instead. I have to say, the Mike Wazowski is probably the cutest costume either boy has ever worn.

Another time, I picked up the completely authentic Prince Phillip costume the day after Halloween, then in June he said he didn't like the costume. I sold it on eBay, only to have him decide in September that he wanted to be Prince Phillip. The rub was that the Prince Phillip costume offered that year didn't resemble what he wore in Sleeping Beauty. He liked it, as it had faux chain mail and he got a sword. That's all that really matters.

As for me, the earliest Halloween I remember clearly is when I was 5. I remember Mom scrambling to go to Woolworth's to get me one of those costumes in a box with the mask that makes your breath feel really hot, so that I could attend a party at the Rockville Centre Recreation Center with my siblings. It was unseasonably warm that year and I was wearing a t shirt and shorts under the (probably flammable) costume, very unusual for late October in NY. It was my first time bobbing for apples and we kids were all running around, laughing and carrying on. There was NO sense of order to that party.

The following year, we were in our new home in Merrick. As we had a new house, Mom had bought new sheets and Giggles and I were ghosts. The costumes were made from the old sheeets, with holes cut out for our eyes and mouths. We went up one of the blocks in our neighborhood and I grew bored of the slow pace of our group and started trick or treating ahead, down the other side of the street.

When I got home, my pillowcase was full of goodies. I think the older siblings LOVED me , Giggles and Socrates for all that candy we brought in. My loot never seemed to last more than a day back then. I think it went to their drug induced munchies.

The following year, somehow, Mom let us throw a Halloween party. That was cool. We bobbed for apples, had popcorn and the like. She even got window decorations-a scarecrow and a witch with poseable arms. (I think Mom was a closet Halloween fan). I don't remember my costume, but I do remember most of the festivities taking place on the back patio after sunset.

The first costume I remember coming up with and creating on my own was a martian when I was in fifth grade. I took my Girl scout bodysuit, tights and beret and expanded on it. Yellow yarn was fashioned into a long braid and hair and I wrote "Boluka po Boulon" in my interpretation of how a Martian would write "Trick or Treat" on the bag I collected my loot in.

Being a short kid had advantages, I continued to trick or treat until I hit high school. In high school, I was a member of the school's drama group. Our first play of the year would always fall around Halloween weekend. During the run of the show, one night's cast party would become a HUGE costume party. I was the only sophomore to rake in a prize for my Nestle crunch bar costume. Guess learning how to sew by osmosis has its advantages!

Well, twenty plus years later, I still like to dress up. Somehow, I suspect that Chef Jr will probably do the same. He'll cite his parents as being the bad influence. Do you think I should warn him that you've gotta buy double the candy because you can't control the urge to sample what you bought? I mean, we have to make sure no one feels the selections are horrible, right?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

To avoid November being the month of MeMes, I'm getting it out of my system now

Who wins, Mars or Venus?

Found this quiz on another blog. Thanks, Mandy. Oh, my kids would laugh because you're Bill and Mandy-I just caught that!

1. Who is your man?...... Ed
2. How long have you been married?....... 10 years
3. How long dated?...... We dated for 3 years, would have been married sooner if not for bozo the ex
4. How old is your man?...... 43
5. Who eats more? ..... Him
6. Who said "I love you" first? ...... Him.
7. Who is taller?...... Him, but only 2 inches.
8. Who sings better?...... We'll both say 'me', so I guess this is a draw
9. Who is smarter? ....... I think he'll be mad at my answer, but he is darn smart. I'm smarter. :)
10. Whose temper is worse?...... His. Definitely his. (though when I get mad, look out)
11. Who does the laundry?...... He does more of it, but if we both worked the same amount of hours, it'd be 50/50.
12. Who takes out the garbage?...... 75/25 in his favor
13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?..... If you're looking at it? Me.
14. Who pays the bills?...... Me
15. Who is better with the computer?...... I am not even going to begin to say I know more. He builds them for a HOBBY, what does that tell you?
16. Who mows the lawn?..... (Damn. Who wrote this quiz, some dude hoping to make his wife feel like shit?) He does.
17. Who cooks dinner?..... Depends on my work shift, but we both can.
18. Who drives when you are together?...... Mostly me, because I've got the newer (thus reliable) car.
19. Who pays when you go out?..... Me, because I've got the debit card. Now he's got one too, so that will change.
20. Who is most stubborn?...... Both, but probably me.
21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?...... Me. I am hardly ever wrong, though.
22. Whose parents do you see the most?...... (the jerk who wrote this still has both parents. Nice.) His. Mine have both passed, and my crazy life keeps me from seeing my stepdad as often as I'd like.
23. Who kissed who first?....... Good question. I'd say that's a draw.
24. Who asked who out?...... I asked him. Would you let a guy who listened to you cry on the phone for three hours get away?
25. Who proposed?..... He did.
26. Who is more sensitive?....... Him.
27. Who has more friends?...... Me, and he'll bitch about that if you let him.
28. Who has more siblings?...... I was raised Catholic, you have to ask?
29. Who wears the pants in the family?...... Me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Camping We Will Go (again)


After my doctor's appointment on Friday, we loaded up the Jeep and headed down the road for our first camping trip with our new cub scout pack. This new pack camps every month except December, which the menfolk are all very happy about, Ed probably the happiest. Camping with my leg is always an interesting experience, and this trip was no exception, but we'll get to that later.

The campsite was less than an hour from our house in the still rural part of our county. It was not wilderness camping, in that we had bathrooms and showers available. We didn't have cushy amenities, either, so it was somewhere between the Lakeland speedway and Fort Wilderness trips of last year.

Thunderstorms rolled through at home prior to our departure, which made me glad that we didn't rush down there. We got there around 5pm and could not find the campsite within the park. We found the RVs, then we tried another area and found a Blazer stuck in some sugar sand (later found out it was one of the other refugees from our old pack). We went on a dirt road loop that made it look like we were headed into the wilds.

Finally, we went back by the RVs and saw the tents over in a field to the north. Aha! We decide to set up on one side near Gameboy's den leader and another family. The rest of the pack set up in an L manner, and we were off the end of the L.

The bugs were snacking on us and it was hot (97) while setting up. Oh, and no shade to be found this time. Once we had the tent up, we went to put up the canopy that we never used last year, but found poles and tarp but no guide lines. Bah, no shade for us. By 7pm, both Ed and I were cranky and tired. My RSD was hating me and making its presence known with authority. Somehow, the various biters found a way to bite through that compression stocking. Due to the layout of the showers, there was no way for me to change the dressing while camping. I was stuck with the lousy stocking for the weekend.

I started making dinner, which we ate in the dark. Hash browns and Mojo Chicken. I got the marinade right, but the acid in the marinade isn't as effective as my usual marinade-so it didn't give much flavor. Lesson learned, it needs at least 24 hours to sink in.

By this time, I was miserable. Scratching and scratching, hot, RSD in overdrive. I told Ed I was going to lay down. Thankfully, he did not complain about this-I think he knew better. It was about 8pm and still over 90 degrees. I got on the air mattress and lay still. Twenty minutes later, I was starting to feel like I could cope. The kids actually laid down, too. Weird, considering they fight the 8:30 bedtime at home!

As I cooked, Ed had dish duty and off he went to the sinks. By the time he got in the tent, Gameboy was asleep. Chef Jr, though, can't tolerate a lot of noise or activity around him when he's going to sleep. It took him a while, since there were still kids playing outside. Ed gets in the tent and we discuss whether we should leave. He wasn't doing so hot at this point, either.

There's a lot of work involved in setting and breaking camp. To me, it's a waste to do it for one night, or in this case, a few hours. We both agreed we'd see how things went. Personally, if I didn't sleep, I was going to bail. I think Ed had the same opinion. Let's see what the morning brings was our decision.

Overnight, it rained. Good lord, did it rain! The heavens opened up several times. Ed got up to go use the restrooms after one round of thunderstorms, and gets back in the tent to hear roosters crowing. They were off in the distance, but he and Chef Jr heard 5 of them. Fortunately, they weren't close enough to keep them from going back to sleep.

That rain made all the difference for me. It cooled things off and we had a nice cloud cover for most of the day. It stayed in the mid 80's throughout the day. This is where the camping gets good.

We enjoy a nice breakfast of pancakes and sausage and have our opening ceremonies. There's fishing, Ultimate frisbee, or a hike, then family time for lunch. In the afternoon, the Rain Gutter Regatta and a 20 foot sundae extravaganza. Family time after this, then after dinner, a campfire. Not too many activities, this is just right for relaxation.

Ed sets off with Gameboy for fishing, Chef goes to play Ultimate and I go to the Wal Mart a mile up the road for some more ice and some sauces for the sundae (as that's what we seem to be missing from the table o' toppings!). When I get back, Chef wants to go fishing, which Ed and Gameboy had just returned from. I take him down to the lake and he has fun for well over an hour, casting from various points. He catches nothing, but enjoys the time. There were several turtles in the lake, and they provided great amusement for the boys fishing.

Lunch consisted of some grilled hot dogs. Alas, I didn't bring the beans. Shoot me, we never discussed the whole menu, so the side was some chex mix. After this was the Rain Gutter Regatta.

We have an advantage here. Our pack last year had one. The lesson was that you don't over sand your boat. If the front is too small, the boat dips down and doesn't move well. It wasn't run for prizes, just for the fun of it. Gameboy lost his first heat and decided that he wasn't going to participate anymore-he got quite upset. Chef Jr., on the other hand, was winning all of his heats EXCEPT when he went head to head against the other boy from our old pack who knew the tricks of the trade. Chef Jr was quite proud that he won against 4 of 5 competitors.

I decided to take Gameboy's boat to challenge Chef Jr. You have to propel these boats by blowing on them. Dumb move for the asthmatic, don't you think? Yeah, it was. But after blowing the first time and my boat tipped over, it wasn't going to go well. It's hard to blow and propel a boat while you're laughing. Everyone was laughing at this point, because that boat was going BACKWARDS, while he'd already gotten to the end of the course. I sure was lightheaded and dizzy for the effort, but it made the kid happy and provided tons of amusement for everyone there.

The last race of the day was the Assistant Cub Master against Gameboy's den leader. They're prepping and dogging each other and get ready, get set, and den leader pulls out a battery operated fan to propel his boat. Hilarious! (hmmm, I've gotta remember that one for next year!)

Once the race was over, we adults emptied the gutters(actually 6" pvc tubing cut in half)and covered them with foil. Then we filled and topped the vanilla ice cream with all sorts of goodies. It looked so delicious. The kids were allowed to come back, given spoons and they went to town on it. Gameboy ate a reasonable amount before stopping, and Chef Jr had to be told enough was enough. I think he would have eaten until there was none left! As it was, he later complained that his stomach hurt!

After cleaning up from the event, we had more family time and I decided that a nap would be good. It was nice to lay down. Near our tent, some of the boy scouts from associated troop had set up a screen room (they hid their tent in the woods) and were playing guitars and singing. Rather pleasant, it was like having someone sing lullabyes while I was resting.

An aside: Our old pack never had interaction with the associated boy scout troop, except for the arrow of light ceremony. Here, the boys assist with each of the cub dens and WANT to camp with the cub scouts. Pretty cool, and they're good kids to boot. I went over to them to compliment them for the music and they were worried that I'd complain because it was Christian music. No way-anything but Rap makes for good listening.

We had dinner and the kids played some more. We brought our FRS radios to keep track of the wandering Chef Jr. Once he got the hang of if, we heard a lot of "I love you, mom" out of it. I'm glad we're finally using the things. I'd bought them for WDW use, then we both got cell phones.

Around 8ish, the campfire began. I brought over all the fixings for S'mores, but didn't have sticks or implements for marshmallow roasting. One of the other parents came to the rescue and this was great. Ed and I had a good assembly line going, putting marshmallows on the campfire forks, opening chocolate bars (mmm special dark s'mores) and assembling sandwiches around the toasted marshmallows for the kids. I had one and they are way too sweet to me. The marshmallow or the chocolate is fine, but together, way too sweet. I think we found our niche with this pack!

Then some sprinkles from the sky happened, and we get back to the tent and everything inside before the rain really came down. Unlike the previous night, we only left the camp stove out. Unlike the previous night, it wasn't thunderstorms, just a steady rain until just before sunrise.

This means we have to stick around to allow things to dry off. None of us are complaining about this, though. We have a nice closing ceremony, with the boy scouts performing "Indescribable", the song they'd been playing the night before. Very pleasant. We cook breakfast, then start breaking camp. The day looks like it'll be a hot one.

We're on the road by 11am, and we're not the last out. We skip the interstate for the ride home and enjoy having the windows rolled down.

Once home, it's nice that there's a designated closet for the camping gear. It was relatively quick work to put things away.

The net result of the weekend: we can handle anything camping throws at us. If the RSD flares, just let me deal with it. We need more sunscreen, as I got a pretty bad burn on my chest and Ed's head is blistered. Ed needs a hat at all times when camping. We need to talk about the camping menu before leaving.

Next trip is in three weeks. What bites is that the current plan is for me to go back to work that week, so if there's camping, it'll probably be the three of them without me. Bummer.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Busy with life providing blog fodder...(squeamish shouldn't look)

Okay, there will be several posts in a short period of time to make up for the dearth of entries this past week.

Friday, I had a follow up with Nurse M. Only she's out of town with a family emergency. I got one of the new residents instead. Nice doctor. He looked at the wound and seemed perplexed, and Nurse D and I had to tell him that this looked really good! We should have had pictures from back in December in the file to show him. Alas, there were the ones from I think April, where I still had two wounds.

He put another Oasis on it, and we decided (well, really Nurse D did) that I would not be wrapped again, so as to prevent this:

Nice ripples on the leg, don't you think? This is what is the bane of an RSD sufferer's existence. Nurse D knows that the odds are great that a boot will accordian and do this to me. Then it presses on the three nerves on the top of the foot (the deep peroneal, the medial dorsal cutaneous, and the intermediate dorsal cutaneous) and causes more flare ups. Such fun, and an anatomy lesson for my faithful readers, too.

I got the new oasis, a funky dressing over it and then we put my regular compression stocking over it. I have several of these in varying strengths. Of course, the one I had on had lots of runs and holes in it, but it went back on my foot.

I was put on a course of Cippro when the Oasis went on, as that's the treatment protocol. It probably would have been penicillin, but I'm allergic. Then again, maybe not. Anyway, the resident brings up MRSA (whaaaaa? ) and puts me on another round of Cippro. Okay, that one was new to me-I have it? In talking to Ed about it, he thinks they're just being proactive about preventing me from contracting it.

I'm told to follow up in a week with Nurse M, but that got changed a little while ago, as she is out of town. The insurance carrier is probably not thrilled. I knew I wouldn't get released for work, and now they're pulling my medical records from Dr. J. The rep handling my case sounded disturbed when I said I'm on another round of Cippro for fear of/possible case of MRSA. Good.

Oh, and I never did see Princess. Wonder what's up with that. Did she get in trouble over my snafu? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gone but not forgotten

Today would have been my Mom's 76th birthday. Above is a picture taken about a year before she passed away, by a friend of hers from the Village. It was rare to see her without a smile on her face and that was the comment he made with the email this came in.

Two years have passed, but not a day goes by that I don't think of picking up the phone or getting in the car and heading over to visit. They say each sibling gets a different parent and I would agree with that. Of the eight of us, my life mirrored my mom's in several ways. The older I got, the more in tune I became with my mom, because life had dealt us some of the same experiences. It was flattering that when I moved down here, she was disappointed that I wasn't looking for a house in St. Pete.

Do you ever say "Oh my God, I'm becoming/sound like my mother?" Most women say it as if this is a bad thing. Me? I revel in it, even before she passed away. I say hello the same way and get the same comments about having a positive attitude despite having every reason to be grumpy and miserable. I am thankful that the DNA tipped towards Mom on that front, that the mom I got taught me to have the sunny disposition.

In honor of Mom, the eternal optimist, I did something I normally don't do. I bought a scratch off, daily 3 and 4 number tickets and a Lotto ticket for tonight. My opinion has always been that this is throwing my hard earned income down the toilet. I'm not enough of a dreamer to think that I'll win. Mom was. The scratch off won me another ticket, but the second was winless. The three and four numbers were both a bust. In about 10 minutes, we'll see if I can catch Mom's dream. For a few hours, I can dream big. Why not? It's what Mom would have done.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday

After closing the bar (yippee!) on Saturday night, you would think that I’d be tired and ready for sleep soon after arriving back at Donna’s place. Nope, I ended up staying awake until 4am. She, on the other hand, was quite tipsy after three drinks and retired to bed soon after coming home.

Donna woke me up at 10am, the time we originally planned to depart for the shuttle to the Jags game. Oops! While she ran for some coffee, I got ready and off to the shuttle we went.

The stadium apparently has extremely limited parking. So, JTA (Jax Transit Authority) has shuttles to the stadium for ten bucks a head. When you consider that parking is 20 bucks and there was no guarantee that we’d find handicapped spots, it made more sense. Once we got off the shuttle, it made even more sense. What a madhouse!

The last football game I attended was in 1986. Ed, the ex and I all worked for Hess gas stations and Leon Hess, in an unusual bit of generosity, gave each of the surrounding metro area stations complimentary tickets to a pre season game. In years past, they were hard to come by.

That year, between the two stations we staffed, we had SIXTEEN tickets and only three of us went (with me offering to my dad, the ex’s dad and people I hadn’t talked to in ages-still no dice). Giants Stadium was sparsely populated and as a result, not a good baseline for an NFL football experience.

This game was blacked out, but we were among a lot of people trying to get to our seats before kickoff (the shuttle was quick-we got there about 25 minutes before game time) From our vantage point, it appeared to be 60-7o% occupied, though we could not see the section above us. Donna did well-Crown Royal Club seats on the 30 yard line just below the boxes.

I have more than a passing knowledge of football, though these days, my watching is limited to the Super Bowl. Many a Sunday growing up, the TV would be tuned to a game, any game. Dad was a big time sports fan. Donna, on the other hand, only knew that each team had to get the ball to one of the end zones. It was harder for her to differentiate, as both sides had the Jaguars logo.

Hilarity ensued when I tried to explain the finer points of the game. The first penalty called, she commented that now Jacksonville has a power play advantage (that’s my girl, bring up the hockey!). She knew this wasn’t the right sport, but once I started explaining the down system, I lost her forever. Her eyes started to glaze over and she opted to look at the score boards. Sorry, Donna, yet another surprise for you!

The game was a rout of the Houston Texans, but it was extremely exciting nonetheless. One of the best plays of the game happened while she was in the restroom. Jacksonville had possession, 2nd down and 6 yards to go. Smith took the ball for a 81 yard touchdown. Donna came back out from the club area to hear the fireworks that the team sets off whenever they score a touchdown.

With five minutes left on the clock, we opted to head out of the park towards the shuttles. I’ve got the walker and wanted to beat the inconsiderate jerks that would crush me (look for another blog entry on that later). The team was up by nearly thirty points, there was no way Houston was coming back from it. Apparently, this is par for the course for them, as evidenced by the many “Houston, you have a problem” banners we saw.

Anyone planning on an NFL game better bring the deep pockets. Even though the tickets were compliments of Donna’s employer, parking would have been 20 bucks (the shuttle was). The burger, hot dog and two sodas were $25.00. They were tasty, but yikes! I saw some really appealing alcoholic beverage that was Jaguars teal, but I am sure that bad boy cost about 15 bucks.

We got down to ground level and off the elevator to find the crowd streaming out of the stadium. Fortunately, it was not a long wait for the shuttle and the first stop was the lot we were parked in. The ride back was in the company of Donna’s coworker Anthony and his friend. Nice guy. During the ride, both Donna and I notice that we’ve got some color (for us fair skinned girls, the color would be RED). I’ve got a farmer’s tan in the shape of the appropriately colored teal shirt I wore today. Those of you up north, don’t be hatin’ that we get sunburned at a football game!

Some down time was in order, so we went back to her place to veg for a while. Dinner was a quiet meal at Dave and Buster’s. While waiting for our meals, we look to the TV screens above the square bar and notice that they do not give the score for the game that finished three hours ago! What’s up with that? Fortunately, we did not prolong my jealousy that she’s got a D&B nearby and I don’t, we just had the meal and headed out for an early bedtime.

I am so glad I spent the extra day. The game was fantastic, the dinner yummy and the time spent with my best buddy was priceless. I wanted to drag her on the train with me. Now it’s her turn to visit us. If Amtrak allowed pets, I’d say it’d be the perfect way for her to get here-nice and relaxing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Girl Time!

The rest of the journey via train went well. Unlike Ed, I enjoy that mode of travel.

Friday night, we went and got dinner at a local Greek restaurant. Since I tend to talk about local joints and food, Donna was of the mind that I wasn't interested in eating at a chain restaurant. I'm happy either way, and the ultimate choice of Greek was a good one. I had a dish I've never had before, similar to moussaka, but without the potato. Delish!

Saturday morning, it was over to the salon for Donna's day of pampering. She got a very cute new haircut and color, then we both had our nails done. (Dark plum for me and a coral-y pink for her) Then lunch, vegging and leftovers for dinner.

Our evening plans consisted of visiting friends of hers that just opened a new bar, with the restaurant portion opening next month. Sharky's Place is just south of Jax (over the damn bridge) in Orange Park. We head over and I get to meet Susan and Tony, friends of Donna's for a long time.

They've got a nice place, and the experience to make the place a success. IMO, the only reason why bars ever close is crappy hours or crappy management. Both Susan AND Tony have many years of experience in management, bookkeeping and hospitality. They've got their niche, marketing and business plan well thought out. Both are prepared to pound the pavement in the community to drum up lunch business for the restaurant.

The bar will be filled up once the word gets out. Tony's a Harley owner, so he's up for any poker run or charity ride that would like to use Sharky's Place as a stop along the runs. The band playing this past Saturday night was AWESOME. Busted and the Confused. Lead singer has a very versatile voice, equally adept at singing Eddie Vedder, Allman Brothers, 38 Special and Kiss! (Buster had a laugh when I said he's got the right voice for "Brandy", though!) Bass player is Banner Thomas, one of the originating members of Molly Hatchett and the dude can rock! From our vantage point, we could not see the drummer. Before we got there, apparently there was some issue with the guitarist and he was fired (talk about interesting-sorry we missed it), but they got someone in there on short notice.

When we got there, the band was in a set break, but they got up on stage and the guitar player looked like my friend Jeff pre weight loss. Here's to seeing a band jamming and grooving and just generally rocking a place out. At one point, due to the size of the crowd, we were all calling out requests, and Buster was joking that it was 'band karaoke'. Good times.

We relieved years gone by with a twist. Usually, Donna was the designated driver, but this time, she got to enjoy the lovely beverages while I stuck to the Cokes. We closed the place down at 2am, but the band and the company was so good that it felt like we'd just walked in. My hat's off to Susan and Tony, I suspect that the next time I walk into the place, it'll be wall to wall people.

With an early wake up to go to the game, we try to head to bed soon after arriving back at Casa de Comet. Donna packed it in before 3am, alas, I'm not so lucky.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My weekend ahead

It's Friday evening, and I’m currently sitting in a club car on an Amtrak train, en route to Donna’s. For roughly what I’d pay in gas and about an hour and a half’s extra travel time, I’ll arrive in Jacksonville relaxed and ready for the weekend ahead.

Taking the train is probably one of my favorite forms of travel. It’s decidedly more laid back, and you aren’t looked upon unfavorably if you wander the train(like the evil death stares you get from flight attendants when you do all that you can to prevent a repeat DVT by walking the cabin). Check in is only a half hour before departure, unlike the two hours the TSA now recommends for air travel. Without fail, all of my trips on Amtrak has netted friendly staff and congenial traveling companions. Your mileage may vary (ask Ed).

Even better, if I want to write (like now), I can find a plug for the laptop and feed the urge to write. Though I notice that the laptop is starting to show wear and tear from being dragged hither and yon. It looks like I dropped in on the front left corner in attaching the bag to my rolling suitcase today. Bummer.

Donna and I have both been looking forward to this weekend. She’s had some stressful months and let’s be honest, the scales are definitely tipped towards the male persuasion in my house. Sometimes you just need girl time.

To whit: since I’ve been home, my nails have grown. A lot. I meant to take a picture earlier this week of the historic occasion of having ten long nails. Giggles is probably laughing at this news, as she inherited mom’s lovely strong nails. Mine shred at the base frequently, probably because I’m not at all dainty (nor is Giggles, for that matter)

If I mentioned going to get a manicure at home, it’d be a solo excursion. In my opinion, that’s the type of thing that you need someone else to accompany you, to share in the experience, to gossip and chit chat. Alas, two of those way too soft for their own good nails have broken. Still, the prospect of having another girl go with me to a nail salon is just too good to pass up. I’m thinking a nice bright pink.

The weekend isn’t going to be all frou frou stuff, though. Donna won some tickets to a Jaguars game, something that’s great for an adrenaline junkie who can’t create her own adrenaline filled activities anymore. Though Chef Jr seems shocked that mom knows anything about football.

His rationalization for this is that I must watch the games when everyone else in the house is sleeping. Most nights find me sleeping on the couch (thank you, RSD). He painted a humorous picture of me waiting until I hear three snoring males and I pop on the TV to whatever channel shows NFL games 24/7.

So, this will the two of us back to our college days and spending time shopping, eating and clubbing. Time marches on, but one thing stays the same-the want of time hanging out with your best girlfriend. No matter what we do, I’ll love every minute of it!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Your attention please...

That last blog entry has surpassed my previous posting record in a year. Those of you who complain I don't write enough, ahem, I still have 11 weeks to go.

You may now resume your regularly scheduled surfing...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Stooopidity and medical updates

Monday morning, I had another appointment with my Nurse Practitioner to check the Oasis and re wrap my leg. We got the kids off to school and hightailed it across to Tampa, arriving five minutes before my scheduled appointment time. (small miracle, given the unpredictable Tampa traffic patterns)

First, a little info about the reception staff at the Physician's group. I am a familiar face to them now, since I have been there at least once a week since December. Most of the ladies are pleasant, including the receptionist formerly known as the grumpy battle axe (rfkatgba), who is now positively chipper when checking me in. (I think that wonderful week where I was there FIVE times won her over). All but one of these ladies have been there at least the three years that I've been a patient with the practice. There is one young lady who started there about three months ago who treats patients as an interruption of her day. Even those who are cordial and polite get the "I am the princess" attitude from this person. She is the one who checked me in for this visit.

When I checked in, I said "I'm here to see M." If you brought up my appointment and saw:
1. I'm scheduled in the ultrasound lab (not M's area)
2. You haven't seen anyone from the lab this morning
3. My file sat there for more than 20 minutes without being picked up (their service protocol)
4. Everyone else emptied out of the waiting area, even those arriving more than a half hour after me
You should question someone to find out what the story was? Yeah, me too.

After I sat there for an hour, Nurse D commented "how come I don't have you on my list?"when she came to collect a patient who'd arrived 30 minutes after me, I went up to "princess" and asked why was I still sitting there. She informs me that my appointment is for an ultrasound, and no one has come out from there yet (duh? wouldn't that give YOU a clue. Yeah, me too).

I tell her my 9:00am (it's now after 10) appointment is with M. She gets snippy with me, telling me that M will come in to the ultrasound to check on me. I politely explain that there is no reason to do an U/S on a skin graft(and she implies I don't know what I am talking about, I am SCHEDULED for one, therefore I am getting one). I further relate that the substitute nurse scheduling it last week seemed a little clueless about things, that M told sub to schedule me to see M today. I related my thought that the sub didn't enter me properly (a thought reinforced by the state of chaos that the sub had caused at that nurse's station last Monday!)

Princess tells me to sit down and that someone would come get me. Toots, they haven't come out in an hour, what makes you think they'll come out now? At this point, the other receptionist (the rfkatgba*) notices that "Hey, she's been here a very long time" and intercedes on my behalf as soon as I sat down in the waiting area again.

She asks Princess why I haven't been brought back to see M yet (knowing that 95% of the time that this is the purpose of my presence). Princess responds rather annoyed that I am there for an ultrasound. This merits the comment "Have you even seen anyone from ultrasound? She got a skin graft, we don't U/S those? What does her appointment say?" All very good questions, don't you think? Yeah, me too.

I'm sitting in the waiting area, stewing and making snarky comments about Princess to Ed while rfkatba* continues to interrogate. Finally, rfkatba* looks at my records herself and sees that yes, I am scheduled for an ultrasound ACROSS TOWN! Duh, Princess! Rfkatba* give her a load of grief, most of which I miss because I get a phone call from my corporate rep about my disability claim (talk about timing, as I am in the doctor's office!). Princess comes up to Ed, since I am on the phone, and makes some lame apology about not realizing that I was scheduled across town and that I am supposed to see Nurse M (no shit, sherlock) and that they'll bring me back as soon as there's a room.

Princess leaves the reception desk for whatever reason and the remaining ladies go into a tirade about her mistake, with rfkatba* vehemently taking up the case for me. I know why I'm there and tell her why I am there, yet she blew me off. Apparently, I am not the first patient to whom she's acted in this manner when she's screwed up, but to not notice that I was scheduled elsewhere was a huge mistake.

I suspect she got in some big time trouble. Serves her right, because I ended up sitting there for 90 minutes. There should be compensation, I tell ya, because all the magazines in that waiting room SUCKED. Road and Track, Car and Driver, Golf Digest, Men's blah blah blah, Even more Men's blah blah blah, Digestive Ailments Anonymous and a year old Time magazine. Out of desperation, I read that outdated Time magazine to see how well they prognosticate (not very well, my friends).

Nurse D comes and gets me, and brings us back to the exam room and SHE apologizes for the screwup. She commented to M that I was out in the waiting room about the same time that I was asking Princess questions. It's at this point that M gets a lightbulb moment.

Everyone she'd seen last Monday was supposed to have follow up visits today, yet her schedule was extremely light. Perhaps they all got scheduled wrong, too. The difference is that those people probably listened to the automated phone call reminding (insert mispronounced name here) that you have an appointment at University Center. Those people probably said "wait a minute, I don't have an appointment there!" They canceled their appointments, not realizing that it was supposed to be with M. Oops. We told Nurse D she can't go on vacation anymore, ha ha, because this is what happens.

Nurse M tells us she'll be back in a moment and Nurse D trusts me enough with the big nasty scissors to cut off the wrap (she is on crutches, yet another reason why we told her she can't go on vacation ever again!) While waiting, Ed feels sorry for me and hands me a six month old copy of US magazine that was sitting on the chair next to his. It was funny to see how wrong their prognostications on Britney, Paris, Lindsay and the like were! We'll leave that for the other bloggers, though.

(and you're all thinking 'darn, that sure sounds more interesting than this,' I've roped you into reading about ME, not them. ha ha. Yes, I am snarky and have no audience for it since I'm not at work. Poor Ed)

The exam goes well. The wound finally stops looking like some gross thing you wish you hadn't tuned into on the Discovery Health channel now. You know, that bowel surgery that is burned onto your closed eyelids for days, maybe weeks? No, now it looks like a healing road rash wound. It's got some liquid coming out of it, which M can't decide if it is due to infection or is colored that way because of the Oasis dressing.

What does this mean? More wonderful medication for me. This time it's Cippro (that anthrax curing antibiotic), but at least it is free from our favorite supermarket chain. Here I thought they didn't like me because they were handing out free Penicillin, to which I am allergic. I guess they like me, they really like me, because they gave me free medicine (and returned Barnie's Santa's White Christmas Ice Cream)

I noticed that M has a tendency for a light touch on the leg wraps. Silly me, I comment on this and in the spirit of 'more aggressive treatment', she wraps my leg with a venegence. Here I sit, very early Friday morning, and I'm having a devil of a time with sleeping from this thing giving me the Arnold Schwartzenegger bear hug. I'm toughing this damn thing out, though, because I want this wound to heal, people. I'll even put up with the awesome RSD flare if it means the stupid wound will be gone when I go back for my next visit.

Oh, yeah. I go back out to schedule my next appointment and rfkatgba* is the one to check me out. I thank her for advocating for me when Princess wouldn't listen and she rolls her eyes about that one. She opens my file to find a ICD9 form with a receipt attached. Puzzling, since I've already got one of those from when Princess checks me in. I fish mine out of my bag to show her. Princess shows back to the desk and tells me she had to reenter my payment, because she had charged me for getting the U/S. That explains that receipt-but a post it note on it would have probably been a good idea, don't you think? Yeah, me too.

Princess apologizes profusely for her mistake. Not the sincere kind, the "OMG I totally F'ed up and I'm in a world of trouble but I better make nice before this woman calls the boss and demands they fire me" kind of apology. Ahh, fear, I can smell it. That's good. I won't do that, but it means she will double, triple and quadruple check that she's got everything right if I am standing in front of her. Too bad it doesn't mean she'll do it for everyone else, but I'll take one small step for my rights.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The dinner table

I've been blogging for two years now, and one of the things I mentioned early on was the comment that was made on a message board I belong to. It countered the "should we have more kids?" debate with another question. "If you look around the dinner table, is somebody missing?"

I've posed that to friends since I've heard it. I find my table is just fine. If it wasn't, I'd be in trouble, because the shop is closed. I know that question was, in part, what motivated Joyce and Tim to have their adorable Princess A last November. Some colleagues have shared this question with others, to varying degrees of additions to families.

Well, another friend has decided that there is someone missing. However, her path is a little different. She's a single mom of two adorable boys and longs for a girl. She's using the magic of AI and a donor to hopefully bring a little more estrogen into the household. This same donor was responsible for her adorable three year old coming into her life.

Please think good thoughts for my friend T. She deserves the chance to dress a little girl in pink. Also, my Irish superstitious self suspects that if two members of our little online home are pregnant, than the third who is trying (through Assisted Reproductive Methods) will get the charm and a baby, too.

So far, everyone I know of asking this question has jumped from two to three kids. I suspect that all of them are cursing me for posing the question when all three gang up on them!

How about you? Are YOU missing someone when you look around the dinner table?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Popcorn time!

We have two boys. When Chef Jr made his appearance in the world, I thought I'd never experience helping my child sell cookies each winter. I was shown a different path. He wanted to join Cub Scouts and loves being one. Girl Scouts sell cookies, and they are known for it. Cub Scouts sell POPCORN. Boy, do they sell popcorn!

Chef Jr embraced the 'show and sell' events we participated in last year. This is where the pack sets up a table outside a local business (when allowed). The scouts ask the patrons entering or exiting if they'd like to buy popcorn to support scouting. Chef Jr showed us that he is a natural salesperson. One of these events was at a Cracker Barrel. He approached a man and gave a very convincing sales pitch, who came up and introduced himself to be the owner of the nearby RV dealership. He told me he would love to have Chef Jr. on his sales team! (oh and he bought the caramel corn).

As we are in a digital age, the boys now get a code for those family and friends who wish to purchase, but don't live nearby. If you'd like to purchase from Chef Jr, just email me and I'll give you the code.

For those not in the know about the popcorn, let me fill you in. Until the year before we joined, we were clueless, too. A friend sent us a can of the caramel corn as part of a Christmas basket. We were all hooked, it was the best we'd ever had out of a can (Fishers is the only other corn I put on the same level). It is truly crack in a can. This year, I'm going to be smarter and buy the case (6 cans) of the caramel corn, as the two we got just weren't enough. I am also considering some as teacher gifts.

If you order online, the shipping is included in the prices. Some of the more popular things that available:
Microwave Popcorn in Unbelievable Butter, Butter Light and Kettle Corn. They come in cases of 15. Something to note is that they don't contain Diacetyl flavorings, the cause of 'popcorn lung'. There's a great variety pack if you can't choose one.

Caramel corn (crack corn, folks. it is so good). This comes in cases of 26 oz and 11 oz. The 11 oz make great gifts, but the 26 oz will win friends and influence people if you give them as gifts. Open one, and you'll decide to screw giving them away!

There's also a big tin of cheese corn. We had a bag of it in the house, but normally can't, due to Gameboy's allergies. It's good, too. Now I know you can get tins cheaper around the holidays, but does that help support scouting?

I think we're going door to door this weekend. Thanks to the internet, I don't have to call everyone, I just told you.!

If you would like to see the samplings and then make a decision, the website is here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Can I get a big round of applause for my alma mater

I got the answer I was hoping for from Nassau Community today. They have decided to allow me to complete my last six credits via CLEP exams! Woohoo! The last two requirements are math and social science.

The courses I've chosen are Algebra and American Government. I'm not too worried about reviewing the government materials, but I'm not sure how much material the Algebra exam covers. It's funny, most people thought algebra was a waste, but I found it useful. I still calculate percentages on a daily basis(is over of = x over 100) AND I could figure out my mortgage payment by using P=IRT. SohCahToa is the one area where I think I need a refresher.

Ms. Donnelly, remember how you were flabbergasted at my 96 on the Math regents? Let's see if I can do that on the college level and get this degree!

Listen up, the 75% of my readers...

who complain I don't write often enough!

November is National Blog Posting Month, inspired by National Novel Writing Month. I had a momentary lapse of reason and decided to join NaBloPoMo.

Mark your calendars, a post a day for a month. Can you stand it?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Choosing colors for the pedicure...

Today was my first visit to nurse M since going out on disability. It was neat to see the new office building the professional offices were moved to. (Note to USF: everything is very BLAH, let them put up some touches of personality)

M looked at my wound and wondered if it'd been getting any better. It's not infected and I'm able to debride it fairly easily, though this week has been a bear in the RSD department. I've been experiencing a ton of constant stinging and episodes of sharp stabbing pains. Lots of fun.

Last night, we took a dip in the gulf (blog entry to appear later), and I decided not to put a new dressing on the leg if it was only going to be taken off today. As a result, it scabbed up. M was wondering if the wound bed was healthy enough for a new treatment, a skin graft dressing. It was my opinion that it was fine underneath.

She got a bath out for me to soak, and while I waited (Ed with me today), I commented to him that I felt like I was getting a pedicure and I should ask her what color I get to choose from for the polish! As is typical, we got some humor out of my pain.

Once the wound was soaked and debrided (lots of fun, let me tell you), I was up on the exam table and under the spotlight-literally. M told me that there were two reps of the company that makes the graft dressing (Oasis?-have to check this one) outside the exam room. She'd told them about my case and wanted to know if they could come in and see. If my case can help them learn, certainly.

The dressing went on and another boot, similar to the Unna Boot went on my leg. M asked if the Unna Boots hurt, I think for the benefit of those two reps. I explained that the first day was difficult, because the flexion of the foot made the dressing rub against the wound. I also commented that now that I was not at work, we could be more aggressive with the treatments.
I explained that I have been on painkillers since December, and normally I don't need them more than 48 hours post op, figuring they need to hear what an average patient's situation may be like.

I asked Nurse M what timetable she had for my disability, since we never established one. She was frank in telling me "with you, I can never figure things out." My allergies and other complications have definitely thrown her some curve balls. Now that I am out, I know that I must wait and see.

Something else popped into my head, though. Ed was looking at the lonely poster in the exam room about the V-nex procedure, a method used to close off veins. The 'before' pictures look like my leg NOW, however, I've had my saphenous vein stripped. This procedure is supposed to be the alternative to a vein stripping.

This made me think of the valve replacement we've discussed. Should I do this now that I am already out on disability? I will probably be doing some research and asking Dr. J some questions about it. Why not kill two birds with one stone while I'm on medical leave, as I've been told it has to be done eventually.

Time (and internet research) will tell...