Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back home (154.2)

We made it back from Florida on Monday.  Our flight out of Orlando was at 7:10am and we were in our house by 9:30am (with the change from EST back to CST, we gained an hour, the flight is only 90 minutes, and the drive from the airport is 45 minutes).  

I was awake at 3:15am, and it was a long, long day. The kids were troopers & are great travelers, but we were all wiped out.  We watched the last three Harry Potter movies when we got home. I had the beginnings of a migraine by 1pm (not enough sleep, too much TV).  I took a maxalt by 5pm and was asleep by 8pm.  

I went to work on Tuesday at 10am and worked yesterday until 8pm. I was a zombie most of the day, and had very little appetite. I just didn't feel well all day and wanted to be home.  Vacation afters.

The last two days have not been easy.  I'm still tired and feel out of sorts. We are slowly making our way through laundry.  Mark is helping a lot and I'm just dealing with the mess.  I'm still sleep deprived and adjusting to getting back to normal. 

Kids were home by themselves yesterday, which was a little rough at times on them, and not ideal but we don't have better options.  They are with my sister today, which will be fun because she's taking them to a movie & to feed the ducks (it's in the upper 70s here, gorgeous weather).  

There are only three & a half weeks till school starts; Sophie has one week of camp next week, & Luke will be with my mom.  Then two weeks of just the two of them at home or with my mom.  I wish school started earlier.  I don't want to put them in camps, they don't want to go to camps, but they don't want to be home alone with each other all the time either. There isn't an easy solution. We all just have to deal & make the best of it at this point.

I'm very thankful I didn't gain weight over vacation.  We walked a ton and I never made horrendous food choices and never stuffed myself, so vacation weight gain wasn't really a huge concern, other than the water weight from salty restaurant foods.   

It was a great trip, I'm glad we did it.  I would do some things differently, like not go to Clearwater (although I'm glad we went, because Luke met a boy from Scotland there who he has facetimed & traded addresses with, and hopefully will stay in contact with, and that's really cool), but we probably won't go back there (way over crowded).  New Smyrna was awesome and the hotel was wonderful (Best Western), and that will be our go-to place for the Atlantic coast.  Universal's Diagon Alley is a MUST for Harry Potter fans, but wait a year or so to go. 

10 days is a long vacation, but it's better to be ready to go home than to get to the end of vacation and be regretting having to leave.  We were all ready to come home. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Florida report

Just had to let you all know we got to go to Diagon Alley the day
before it officially opened and didn't have to do the 5 am insanity.
It was awesome.

When we went to Hogsmeade on July 7, we bought Luke a wand right away,
and the girl helping him told us that the Hogwarts Express train was
running and Diagon Alley was open. Unofficially, and the ride
Gringotts wasn't running, but we could go on over.

It was just word of mouth so it was busy but less so than Hogsmeade.
We got right into Olivanders, the wand shop and did the wand ceremony
experience, which can often be hours and hours of waiting.

We spent about 4 hours there and saw all the shops and sights. It's
totally immersive, just like being in Diagon Alley. Incredible.

July 8 we got up early and went to Hogsmeade at 8 am for early park
entry for hotel guests (hour before general admission). It was crazy
busy. We did the castle and rode the ride (which terrified Luke, no
more rides for him). We didn't last long--very sunny and very crowded.
We headed back to the hotel around 12:30.

Luke and Mark went swimming in the hotel pool, which was huge, and
Sophie and I took naps. Later Mark and I took turns going back to the
parks and rode a few rides ourselves. I rode a couple of roller
coasters which was fun.

Yesterday we did Diagon Alley at 7 am (hotel early park admission) and
got in line for Gringotts by 7:30. This ride has been plagued by
breakdowns and it suffered a few yesterday morning. When we got in
line we were in for a 210 min wait. We had 2 breakdowns added to that.
We finally rode it at 11:10.

That sounds like a long wait, and it was, but we talked and laughed
and were never in the sun and there are amazing things to look at
along the line that are part of the story (once you get into
Gringotts--which was after we'd been waiting about 2 hours).

I'd prepared to wait. I'd brought snacks and water. I bought more
water when we broke down the first time. I took Luke and myself to the
bathroom when we broke down the second time. Since Luke didn't ride,
we did child swap (one parent rides while other parent sits with the
kid in a waiting room) and he earned money for waiting it out, which
yes is bribery but it kept him happy and it made us happy.

Was it worth it? Omg. Yes. Best ride ever. We aren't amusement park
people. But we are movie people. And we love Harry Potter. And this
ride is like being inside of a movie. I seriously was tearing up at
the end, it was so incredibly beautiful and astounding what the
engineers have created with this ride. It's a roller coaster that is
on a turn table that's inside a 3D (really, 4D because there are heat
and wind and water affects) holographic movie.

And the energy of every person on the ride was joyful and happy
because you were only there if you were a hard core fan. Applause
every time a train left and every time a train arrived. It was a once
in a lifetime experience. Except for Sophie, who got to ride it twice
since we do child swap and she rides with each parent. Lucky girl.

Luke in the child swap room was happy because they had a movie reel
playing of the two movie scenes of HP in Gringotts. And we'd all been
wanting to watch HP movies since we got to Universal, and he was the
first one of us to get to.

We stayed in DA for a few more hours to revisit a few shops again,
making sure the kids did everything they wanted and not rushing them
out. We may never come back, or if we do it will be years, so we wrung
out every drop. They did it all and we left.

We rode the Simpsons ride, ate at Mel's Diner, left in the sprinkling
rain, walked back to the hotel, got our luggage, an drove to the Gulf.

Now we're at Clearwater Beach, getting ready to go relax on the calm
shore of the gulf (I'm waiting for my turn in the shower).

Much different here from the Atlantic. This is our first time in
Clearwater and we don't yet know our way around so we have a lot of
exploring to do. Hopefully we'll find a lot of shells.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer (155.4)

Last week & this week the college required mandatory overtime because the school as a whole was behind on financial aid packaging of continuing students, so even though our campus was on schedule--and even though I only handle new students and don't have anything to do with continuing students--I worked 45.5 hours last week and will work 45-46 hours this week. 

And since we close early on Fridays, and last Friday I left at 1:30 to pick up Sophie from sleep-a-way camp, I've been putting in 9-10 hour days. 

It's been nuts. 

Work is good, though.  I still really love it.  This is the first time in weeks it has slowed down enough during the work day for me to spend a much time doing non-work stuff at work.  (I work until 7 tonight, it's almost 5:30, and I'm pretty fried.)  So I thought I better post an update. 

Summer has been crazy busy.  June is the month of camps. Every week is something different.  I have it coordinated down to a science.  Thankfully work is flexible enough that when they were in acting camp together a couple weeks ago, I could drop them off at 8:45 and be at work before 9 (camp is 10 minutes from home, and school is 5 minutes from camp).  Then I'd spend my lunch hour picking them up at 3 pm, taking them home, getting them settled with a snack or whatever, and then going back to work until 6 or 7pm (on the nights I worked late, which is twice a week on a regular basis).  

Last week Sophie was at sleep-a-way camp and Luke was at Puppet Theater camp at the acting studio (so same morning schedule as above, except Mark or mom picked up Luke at 3pm since he can't stay by himself). 

This week they are together at an outdoorsy-type camp at a local historic site, and Sophie is a counselor-in-training (which means she has to work with the little kids & it is WORK).  I drop them off at 8:15 and am at work by 8:30.  Camp is 3 minutes from the house and 15 minutes from work. Monday Mark picked them up (I worked till 7), Tuesday they went home with friends and I picked them up there at 6:15, today & tomorrow I pick them up on my lunch hour & come back to work until 7,  Friday I'm off at 3.  No need for help from my mom this week. 

Mark helps when he can, but honestly it's not worth it to depend on him to pick them up.  He never knows what the market or clients are going to do, so only in rare instances, like Monday, do I bother to ask for him to get involved.  

Next week they are home together & doing nothing. They are ready for a break  & will enjoy being couch potatoes for a few days.  My mom might come get them and take them to my sister's house with my niece to go swimming at their pool.  

Sophie has one more week of camp as a counselor in late July (mom will keep Luke), and then it's back to school on August 11.  The rest of the weeks they are home together (I pay Sophie babysitting $--she's 13 now) or my mom will keep them. 

We leave on July 4th for vacation for 10 days. We're flying on a direct flight to Orlando, Florida. There's a close by airport that has great deals on flights (although they get you on baggage costs--I have to pack very carefully!). Vacation is....
New Smyrna Beach for 3 nights

Universal Studios Orlando for 3 days/2 nights--get this! They delayed opening Diagon Alley (Harry Potter World, for you Muggles) until July 8.  We check into the hotel July 7--that has been the plan since I booked the vacation last spring. It is pure luck we are going to be there on the opening day.  We are staying on property.  We will be able to get into the Wizarding World, and I assume Diagon Alley, an hour before the general public, along with the rest of the hotel guests, our first morning there.  Yes, it will be insanely busy, I'm sure.  But as Sophie said, it will be Epic. We are telling the kids to keep their expectations low.  What happens, happens.  We are getting 3 day tickets and will do what we get to do & expect it to be insane.  

Clearwater Beach for 4 nights

Our approach to vacation has always been--keep planning to a minimum and keep expectations low.  Then everyone is happy with whatever comes.  So we have hotels booked, a car rented, and tickets for the Studios bought, and that's it.  Plus all we really want to do is hang out at the beach.   Hopefully I'll have more time next week to research stuff in the areas we are staying but if I don't, then we'll figure it out when we get there. 

I'm planning to ship a box of sunscreen & other liquids like shampoos & stuff to the hotel via priority mail, this Friday.  I'm packing us this weekend as much as possible.  Since the kids are home next week, hopefully they'll hang out in PJs & I won't have much to wash, haha. 

So, now onto ME!

LOVE the new medicine.  Topamax (generic) is a good thing for me. It seems to have mellowed me out enough that I feel like it's doing what it's supposed to but I don't feel medicated.  I'm not depressed, I'm not a zombie, I'm not like the guy in "Office Space" after he gets hypnotized and doesn't care about anything anymore (although how I wish that were possible to get in a legal prescription pill and still be able to function on a daily basis).  I still am sometimes uptight and stressed, and am still ME, but the edge isn't there like it used to be.  At least that's what it seems like anyway. 

After about a month on 50mg, things seemed to level out.  When I went up to 100 mg almost a month ago, I barely noticed the increase. So I guess that's good.  

The weird side affects have pretty much gone away except for the metallic taste in my mouth, and I drink a ton of water, which I've always done anyway but this makes me drink even more.  I don't have a foggy brain--I don't lose words anymore. My appetite is normal, although I'd say it has helped take away some of the obsessive thinking about food, which is makes sense since it has helped take away some of my obsessive thinking in general--which is the point of me taking it in the first place. I can't drink soda at all b/c of the metallic taste thing.  If I sit still and am calm (which, let's face it, is rare) I sometimes get a small, pleasant buzzy, tingly feeling over my body.  I don't really know how to describe this.  I don't feel it unless my mind and body are completely relaxed and not all the time.  I'm sure it has to do with how the chemical is reacting in my brain, but I haven't had time to research it to see how other people experience or describe it.  Anyway, if you've taken it maybe you know what I'm talking about.  It's not a bad thing.  It's just different. 

I take Wellbutrin XL 150 mg (generic) in the morning.  It's working OK now too.  I rarely take xanax, only if I'm really stressed and hormonal.  I'm still not eating desserts (has been almost 2 years since I've had a dessert) and rarely overeat and don't binge.

I am still going to OA meetings, although I'm not working my steps like I need to.  I haven't started running again either.  Both of those things make me sad.   But seriously, I don't know how to fit them into my life right now.  I also still work for Mark on the weekends a couple times a month, although he is doing almost everything himself now.  There's just not much spare time anymore.  I figure I'm doing the best I can and I'm not beating myself up about any of it.  It is what it is. 

One thing I have to share where I simplified my life.  One day I was driving Sophie to school and I chipped a nail.  I got all ticked off and mad, and when she asked what was wrong I told her, and she said that seemed like a silly thing to get upset over.  And I said "Well, I spend a lot of time on my nails!"  And I HEARD myself. Really heard myself. I spend. a. lot. of. time. on. my. nails.  So guess what?  I stopped painting my nails. Now I just keep cuticles trimmed and keep them cut short (I always kept them short anyway--I have to b/c I type so much), with a clear coat of polish.  I take the clear coat off on the weekend and start fresh, and usually put on another coat of clear in the middle of the week.  I found a Sally Hansen strengthener I like that seems to be keeping them from peeling.  It's such a small change, but it's made a big difference in simplifying my life. 

OK, that's enough for now.  I gotta go get some work done before I clock out. 

Thank you so much to all of you who are still coming here to read my barely existent blog!  :)  Hope you're having a great summer. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

6 months post op pic

Here's the X-ray from Sophie's 6 month visit. The one on the left is
most recent. The lower curve looks great.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Random string of updates (157.2)

School's out tomorrow.  Luke & Sophie both finished the year with straight A's. 

The summer is planned out as far as kids go, and it's going to be packed.  God help me. 

Sophie turns 13 on Sunday!  God help me. :)

We had her 6 month check up in St Louis on Monday.  Rods & screws look great.  Spine is in same place, lower curve looks like it may have even improved, to our untrained eyes (I'll post a pic later).  We learned it takes a full FIVE YEARS before the rods are fully fused to her bones.  So she has to be careful of impact movements for the next 4.5 years.  Not just the next 6 months.  After one year, they are 30% fused.  No trampolines, no jumping in pools, no bounce houses, no water parks, no roller skates.  Lucky the girl isn't sporty, or there'd be lots more "no's."

I walked 10 miles last Saturday in a race I signed up for months ago, then didn't train for, but promised my best friend Amy I'd do with her any way.  We had gorgeous weather, so we just decided what the heck.  I was thrilled and grateful my 44 y.o. body didn't rebel against walking 10 miles.  We were the next to last finishers.  They published the participants names and places in the paper.  That was humbling (and I won't do it again). 

I've been taking new meds for almost 3 weeks. Wellbutrin 150 mg (back on) in the morning and topamax 50 mg (new) at night (both generic).  The topamax is to quiet the voices (not the crazy kind, my own) in my head and settle down the intrusive thoughts.  I'm not so much depressed as anxiety and crazy ridden. I just want my brain to slow the hell down.  It seems to be helping. 

I had some weird side affects, esp at first, like numb spots in my face and tingling hands, but no hair loss and no memory loss (although sometimes I do lose a word or two, but seriously, it's no worse than normal!  I "lose" words all the time... I've complained for years I have early alzheimers).  It gives my mouth a metallic taste, so food is sometimes less appealing--this is not a bad side affect, in my opinion, at least for the time being.  

Life is OK right now.  So stinking much going on, and I've got a lot of overwhelming LIFE issues to deal with (who doesn't?) but I'm just trying to take them a day at a time.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

April update

I'm sorry it's been so long.  I have been swamped at work and have very little free time to write.  And after work I spend as little time as possible on my phone and I never get on my laptop (can't tell you the last time I checked Facebook--I've pretty much unplugged).  40 hours a week on the computer at work is more than enough, even thought it's all work and very little play. 

Work is going really well for me.  I passed my certification test on April 7 (aced it--93/100).  I feel like I'm making a contribution to people's lives.  We had our spring graduation ceremony Friday, and I gave the benediction, which I got lots of compliments on.  I didn't know any of the students, but it was still really special to be on stage in graduation regalia (all the staff and instructors wear gowns and hoods and sit on stage with the graduates) and be part of the event.  I now can add graduations to funerals and weddings as places I always cry. 

We are wrapping up the school year--only 4 weeks left.  I'm planning summer camps and all that.  Kids should have a good mix of having fun at theater camp and one other camp (which is outdoors) and being lazy bums at home.  Sophie will watch Luke for a lot of the time they are just home, with my mom hopefully keeping them a day or two to break it up.  

Luke's had terrible allergy issues.  He has missed a few days of school, because he can't sleep at night.  I washed everything in his room and that has helped keep his night time reactions down. Started giving him claritin at night instead of morning (and REAL claritin, not generic--I talked to one mom who said generic doesn't work for her son or husband, and by golly, the brand name stuff is making a difference) and he's using his qvar inhaler twice a day again.  He started back up on ADHD meds, and this one so far is just right for him. He can focus but it's not shutting him down. 

Sophie is doing very well.  A's and one B (math) in school and her back is doing great.  We go to St Louis for her 6 month (!!) check up on May 19.  Cannot believe it's been almost 6 months.  She turns 13 (!!!) on May 25.  

Mark is doing really well at work by himself, although he says it does get lonely without me.  The other three guys there are connected at the hip, and for whatever reason they don't include Mark in anything.  It was like that since before I left, but he just feels it more with me gone.  At home, has has taken over a huge amount of chores--he almost always does the kids' laundry and towels every weekend.  He grocery shops for himself.  He keeps us stocked on grilled chicken and beef (he buys, grills, and freezes).  He takes the recycles out to the big bin outside.  My working 40 hours a week isn't an issue at all, with him picking up all these chores. 

My depression has gotten better, although I still don't feel out of the woods.  I'm going to see the nurse practitioner Friday to talk about new meds.  

I'm still going to OA, but not working my program as I should be.  I'm on the 4th step, and haven't done anything with it yet.  I've gained some weight--I was 160 this weekend.  I'm not eating desserts, but I eat too many refined foods and am still not running, so I've gained.  I can still wear my clothes, though, thankfully. 

We're planning a trip to Florida in July.  It's been 3 years since our last big vacation.  Kids are excited. I'm nervous that it's going to cost too much, just hoping Mark can make enough extra to cover it.  We have our plane tickets already ($960 for four of us from Owensboro, KY, flying direct to Orlando-Sanford on Allegiant--that cost includes 2 checked bags and 2 carry on bags, which isn't much for a 10 day trip, so I'm going to have to pack smart!).  We are going to New Smyrna beach (Atlantic side) on 7/4, then going to Orlando to Universal Studios (Harry Potter world) for two days, then going to Clearwater Beach (Gulf side) for the rest of the trip.  So lots of relaxation.  We may try to go down to the Kennedy Space Center when we're in New Smyrna, since it's close.  Other than that and Universal, it's all beach time.   I'd welcome your input if any of you have been to these places. 

That's all I have time for today. Thanks for thinking of me!  Hugs to you all. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Anniversary weekend

We're in Louisville this weekend celebrating our 19th wedding
anniversary. We drove over yesterday and are going home this
afternoon.

Pic below is a pic of the picture our server at Morton's took. They
put the photo in a paper Morton's frame and wrote Happy Anniversary in
silver pen on the inside.

Morton's is right around the corner from our hotel--21c, a hotel/art
museum that is made up of 5 converted tobacco and bourbon warehouses
from the late 1800s. There are exposed thick wood beams and brick
walls everywhere. The art is all 21st Century--lots of photographs and
weird sculptures...I prefer the Impressionists, but it's still cool to
be around all this culture.

It was our most expensive meal ever. I joked that we had a $100 dinner
and got a $150 photograph. Yes it was stupidly expensive--but totally
worth it. Neither of us can remember when the last time was that we
went out of town just the two of us. It felt nice to splurge and spend
time and money on ourselves for a change.

I've been in a funk the last 2-3 weeks. The endlessly cold weather
(one or two nice days is simply not enough) has been a factor. Plus I
think my Meds are now working against my brain chemistry. I'm weaning
off them, giving my brain a little holiday. Hoping it will reset then
I'll start them again when I can feel the depression coming back. I've
weaned off several times before and recognize what's going on. I
already feel a bit better.

Work is crazy busy, both for me and Mark. I love my job but it can be
overwhelming some days and I'm fried when I get home.

Kids are great.

Sophie's play The Little Mermaid was last weekend. She had a small
part, no lines, one short solo singing part, and was part of the
chorus for a lot of scenes. It was amazing to see her on stage,
considering her surgery was 4 months ago. She got A's and one B (math)
on her report card. She's happy and has great friends.

Luke got straight As on his report card. He is still going to acting
class each week. We took him to see a psychologist for his ADHD Meds a
couple weeks ago, because they were impacting his emotions very
negatively. Doc switched him to a different med, which didn't last as
long and after 5 days made him see a big bug on the floor that wasn't
there. Hallucinations are a side affect. So he's off that. His
pediatrician wrote a script for a third, but we haven't given it to
him. He's been off Meds for 6 school days and his grades are still
great and his teacher hasn't noticed any abnormal behaviors. And we
have our happy, spirited, funny boy back! He had been having major
anxiety and some OCD issues and was really sad and lethargic at night
and even on weekends when we would not give him medicine. Keeping our
fingers crossed he can manage school without medication.

Spring break for kids is this week. I'm working. Mark might take a day
off. Sophie is going to watch Luke a few days and they might be with
my mom one day. The kids actually do pretty well together at home, and
Sophie likes saving her babysitting money.

So we are on our way to brunch and then back home. Life is pretty
normal and fairly stable. Which are great things.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All is well (157)

I really have nothing new to report.  Which is awesome.  Normal is awesome.  Here are the random stats of my life right now.

Work is great, although I'm working a lot.  Last Saturday I worked at the college from 10 - 2, then went to "the office" from 3 - 6:30.  So the only day I had off was Sunday, and it was a busy day filled with church, taking Sophie & her friends to the mall, and having a friend over for Luke.  It was a good weekend, just full.

Sophie's doing great.  Has really adapted to living with her restrictions.  She has straight As so far this quarter.  She's in a play (no speaking role, just singing).  She goes to youth group at church every Sunday night with her friends.  So pleased with how she's doing.

Luke also has straight As. I mentioned his Math genius last time.  His teacher wrote a note on his last math assignment "show your work."  He's doing math in his head.  Smart little bugger.

We are taking him to see a psychologist in March.  When I told his pediatrician (well, his nurse, who told the doctor) about Luke's extreme reactions to disappointments, he referred us to a psych.  I plan to have him tested for ADHD, so we know all the aspects of how his brain works. He's actually gotten better the last couple of days, because I've been restricting his screen time and enforcing it, so he's getting used to it.  When he's tired or hungry is the worst time for him.  So I'm being more careful about what I ask of him then.  I send healthy snacks (grapes, broccoli, z bars) to daycare with him so he's not starving when I pick him up after 5.  He never eats day care snacks, so it's no wonder he was a beast at the end of the day.  His ADHD medicine kills his appetite in the afternoons, so he doesn't want to eat much anyway.

I still get a little thrill every time I pull out my insurance card for doctor's appointments.  Did I tell you yet that our old insurance approved the appeal for Sophie's surgery, and everything is paying in network?  That was huge.  I got a call from the hospital last month, saying we had an outstanding balance of $26,000.  Thank God I was able to tell them we won the appeal and they should be reprocessing as in network!

I'm so ready for spring.  I'm starting to get the itch to get outside and run again.  The past few days have been warm and the runners are out in force.  Makes me jealous.  Which is a good sign that I WANT to be outside pounding the asphalt.

Mark is doing great at work.  He also has stepped up at home. When I work on Saturdays, he does all the laundry.  He keeps up with the dishwasher when I work till 7 on Monday and Wednesday.  We really are closer than we have been in a long time.  He's relieved he has a happy, not-stressed-out-about-money-anymore wife.  We celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary next month!

I absolutely love my boss and my job and the college.  I'm meeting with students regularly, which is really great and I enjoy a lot. There's a steep learning curve and I have to ask a lot of questions.  The other financial aid analyst is a huge help to me and generous with her time.  I'm swamped every day right now, and that's OK.  Keeps things challenging and makes the days go fast.

I've even been able to get every Tuesday afternoon off to take the kids to acting class (both of them take acting lessons).  It was just too hard for Mark to get away from the office at 3:15.  He even forgot one Tuesday and Luke missed class (Mark was so upset with himself and felt horrible; Luke was sweet and understanding about it, which I was proud of him for). When I work Saturdays (avg of 2 a month), I'm off Tuesday at noon.  When I don't, I'm off at 3:30p.  My boss was totally fine with it, as long as I get in 40 hours a week.  How awesome is that! 

The Princess Half Marathon is this Sunday.   My friends are going again, and of course I'm not.  It's good that I didn't sign up--couldn't have gone anyway with the new job.  But I'm a little heart sick not to be part of it.  I really want to go next year.  They think it's the last year they are going to go.  A couple girls are going to try to do the Coast to Coast challenge, which is a race in Florida and a race in California in the same year.  They are sisters in law, and their husbands co-own a company together, and they have a ton of money, and neither work outside the home, so they can do that.  I won't be going to CA for a race unless we win the lottery (and that's impossible b/c I don't play the lottery :).

Happy almost spring time!  May all your snow melt this month.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Busy (156.6)

I have been meaning to post all week. Sorry for the delay.

Life is good. I love my job. Love love love. Started meeting with
students last week. Also started working till 7 on Monday and
Wednesday. And I've been swamped. Getting there early and working over
part of lunch some days. I punch an online time clock so I'm donating
some time, but not because I have to, just so I feel prepared. (I
still haven't mastered the time clock. I worked an hour and a half
overtime because I planned on a 7 hour Friday but took an 8 hour
vacation day. And sometimes I get extra time if I clock in 5 or 6
minutes early.)

I was in Indy two days week before last. Leave for Indy tomorrow at
4:45 am for four days of advanced training. Then done with training
till March. (Not driving up tonight because of the Super Bowl. Go
Broncos!)

I took Sophie to St Louis on Friday (great memory Vickie) for her 2
month post op check. She's doing great, doctor said. Her spine has
settled some. The lower curve is slightly more pronounced (I
think--it's hard to tell) now than last month. She was 5'2 3/4" tall
on Friday. After surgery we measured her at 5'3 1/4". Must be normal
because the surgeon didn't say anything about it.

He also said no scar cream; young skin repairs enough on its own. He
has 3 years post op pics on his website and scars are barely visible,
so I'm sure hers will be really faded by the time she's in high
school.

She can start swimming in two more months. No jumping in pool. She
still won't be able to bend to pick things up until 1 year. I thought
it was 6 months. She can apparently bend a little more in 6 months but
not fully. We go back on May 30, and will find out her range of motion
then. Summer camp and another play in summer--so hopefully she'll be
able to move more.

She's in the March play, which started rehearsals two weeks ago. She's
sore after but it's tolerable. They know her restrictions and she's
good about not doing what she shouldn't so not worried about her.

Lest you think I only have one child....Luke is amazing. He started
acting class again in January. He is scary smart. He scored "advanced"
on his recent Dibels tests (reading/comprehension). He never misses a
math problem. Never. And we don't practice math facts at home. This
kid was doing simple multiplication in preschool. Thank God for ADHD
medicine. It's really allowed his mind to excel.

Mark has adjusted to working on his own. Clients have responded
positively. Soon as they hear it's because of insurance, they get it.
And then usually get side tracked complaining about Obamacare. He's
really stepped up and is dealing with things well. Although he's
working a ton and gets stressed a lot. I worked 6.5 hours at the
office yesterday. So a 48 hour week for me last week. Mark did the
kids' laundry and grilled four pounds of meat while I worked. He's
stepping up at home too.

Still no exercise. Bloody cold weather makes me want to hibernate.
Food's been ok. Not stellar but not horrible. Still going to OA
meetings Monday night although I get there 10 minutes late because I
work till 7 now.

So that's pretty much everything. Basically things are really good
and we're all healthy and I cannot complain. I've come a long way in
the past month.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Work travel

I'm in Indy for training. Got here last night at 10pm CST (Indy is EST
but I'm CST). Slept fine, got about 7 hours sleep.

Training today was fascinating! Financial aid is complicated stuff.
And I love it so far.

Building on my previous "what's in my desk" post, here's another
positive life change.

In the past when I've traveled alone for work, I'd spend a ton of time
finding the best food I could. Looking for restaurants. Eating foods I
didn't usually eat at home. Ordering room service at night, if it was
available.

I justified every sugary bite I put in my mouth. I deserved fancy
desserts and decadent breakfasts and expensive dinners. I was alone,
on the road, working like a dog! Of course I deserved to eat whatever
I wanted.

Not anymore.

This morning I had breakfast at the hotel's complimentary buffet--a
hard boiled egg and small bagel with small tub of cream cheese (no
peanut butter available) and coffee.

In the training room is a basket of mini chocolate candies. I had no
desire for them. None. Before I'd have eaten a few pieces then
obsessed about how to get more without anyone noticing how much I
took.

Having my brain free from sugar as well as free of the obsessive
thoughts is a wonderful thing.

They ordered lunch in for us. I got a salad that was healthy and tasty.

For dinner I drove to the mall downtown and went to Panera. I was
alone and didn't want to do Fancy by myself. I will do fancy at some
point, prob PF Changs, if I can get the other two girls from out of
town to go with me.

Point is--this trip isn't centered around food. I'm alone, but I don't
need food as my companion any more.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

What's in my desk (157.2)

So today as I was pulling a bottle of water out of my desk drawer at
work, and I had a mini epiphany.

I used to store chocolate bars in my desk. Now I have water bottles.

Why water stored in my desk? I don't drink tap water (the amount I
drink a day gives me a headache and makes me tired. Researched this
years ago, and it's probably the copper and whatever trace minerals
and junk are in tap water). And the college doesn't have a water
filter (old office has state of the art fancy shmancy filter and was
fine; Britta isn't strong enough) and I only have one clean canteen
that I bring filled from home. So I have a case of water bottles in
the large bottom drawer of my desk.

A little over a year ago, I never, ever went without having a Hershey
bar or three stashed in my desk. Every afternoon was chocolate break
time. Now I have green tea in the afternoon.

In my desk, along with the green tea and water, I also have a box of
"weight-loss" oatmeal (more protein, less sugar) and a bottle of
cinnamon for the oatmeal. A jar of peanut butter in the fridge. And I
bring my lunch everyday.

Yes I still have work to do to get where I want to be physically. And
I will always be a sugar addict. But today I feel good about the
changes I have made since last October when I went to my first OA
meeting.

Sunday I leave for Indy for 4 days of financial aid training. I drive
home Thursday night. Only working 2 hours next Friday since the drive
time counts as 6 hours of work. Then we're off for MLK day, then back
to Indy for two more days of training that week. I'll go again the
first week of March for 3 days of advanced training. And on Jan 31 I
am taking Sophie to St Louis (day trip) to see Dr Bridwell for a check
up.

I love hotels. I love to learn. So as long as Mark and the kids keep
it together this will all be fine. And they have been apart for me for
days at a time before--Florida half marathons--so I know they'll be
fine.

Best news--I now have employer-sponsored health insurance!! 30 days
employment today and I'm a card carrying United Health insurance
member. I swear, I'm so stinking proud and excited of that thing. I
want to frame my temporary card and hang it on the wall.

Friday, December 27, 2013

End of the year (155.4)

This morning as I weighed myself, and I realized I pretty much ended up the year where I started.  Jan. 1, 2013, I weighed 157.2. Today I weighed 155.4.  My low for the year was 148.4 on April 4.  I hit the upper 140's in March, bounced around 149-151 through mid June, then slowly gained a few pounds and have been bouncing around 155 since October.

I am so much more comfortable in my skin and clothes in the 148 range.  It's crazy how much difference 7 pounds makes.  In the old TOPS days, we'd say 1 pound is 4 sticks of butter. So I guess if you think of 7 pounds as 28 sticks of butter, then yeah, 7 pounds can make a big difference.  At around 148, size 8s are comfy.  At 155, size 8s are iffy and I'm really more a size 10 (new Levi's I bought are 10s, they fit well, not tight, but not loose).  Medium tops fit at either weight, but definitely more comfy at a lower weight.

And while the scale is the same, I'm afraid my body mass is not.  I haven't run or exercised significantly since the half marathon in February.  I have no muscle tone.  My legs used to look pretty good, and now they don't.  I have old woman knees.  I hate it.

So what to do about it? 

My new workplace (which I still love) is having a fitness challenge starting in January.  Normally I hate these types of things, but I'm not going to NOT participate, being the new kid.  So I will and I will make it worthwhile.  We will be judged on weight, body fat %, and activity points.  We get a point for exercising for 20 or more minutes (we can earn one point per day, basically--we don't get more points if we exercise over 20 minutes).  I really don't care if I win.  I'm not competitive against anyone but myself.

I am toying with the idea of doing what Vickie did when she first started losing weight--if she was watching TV, she was on the treadmill.  TV isn't my issue--it's books.  I got a new Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas (LOVE!) but I am a book junkie and books are my TV.  I lay around way too much at night, and end up snacking when I shouldn't be, and vegging out and escaping.  Basically, my body is slowly turning to mush every night. 

It will be simple to read on the TM--the Paperwhite has a built in light and a touch screen, so I don't have to find a button to turn the page, just touch the screen anywhere. But will it be easy to get home, put on yoga pants and a sports bra instead of PJs, take care of kids and housework for two hours and then get on the TM?  Easy just ain't getting it done. I'm going to have to work.

I can feel my age creeping up on me, the less active I am.  And seeing my aunts and mom and grandmother all together on Christmas Eve just emphasized what I'm going to look like in 5, 20, 40 years, if I don't start and continue to work my muscles and keep my weight in line.
 
2013 was a crazy year.  When have I (or any of us) NOT had a crazy year?  The last half of the year especially has been intense.  I'm praying 2014 is somewhat calmer, but I'm sure it will have it's share of worries, stresses, and pain.  And I want to be ready for it, mentally and physically.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Before and after X-rays

Here's the pic of X-rays from yesterday.

The upper curve went from 56 to 20 degrees, which is a success. Spines
never get completely straight in this surgery. Even though there are
no rods in the lumbar spine, it straightened out some too.

She can go back to school Jan 2, after break. She's still on lortab,
about 2 pills a day (1/2 5mg tablet, with 1 reg strength Tylenol, 4
times a day). She's bored at home and misses her friends. There are
only so many craft projects a girl can do. But she's almost half way
through and Christmas will be fun so she'll make it.

Even though we have issues with insurance, we wouldn't have gone
anywhere else. Dr Bridwell is one of the top surgeons in this field.
Everything I read about this surgery said the number one factor for
success is the skill of the surgeon. There was immense comfort in
being 100% confident in her surgeon and the hospital.

These are amazing, aren't they?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week 2 (155.8)

First week was great. Love the people here. It's a slow time of year
so not a lot going on. Thursday is new student orientation and it
will be busy. I'm in charge of the online bookstore so I will have
some real work soon.

I worked at the Office (I'll refer to my part time job as Mark's
assistant as the Office) last Friday (off work at school at 2:30) and
last night. Not too crazy yet. I really think it's going to be fine.

Mark is struggling with the adjustment some but it's mostly the idea
of me not being there, not the work so much, that's the issue.
Although he is working more hours, but he needed to be there more
anyway.

He and Sophie are in St Louis now for her follow up appointment with the nurse.

I have to file an appeal with the freaking insurance company because,
despite the website saying the hospital is in-network, providers
outside Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio are out-of-network. Nowhere can I
find this listed in the member info. It's a big fat mess and makes me
mad. I did everything I was supposed to--that the insurance company
instructs you to do to see if a provider is in-network--and now I have
to jump through hoops to file the appeal and pray that if it doesn't
get approved, the hospital will not charge us the tens of thousands of
dollars that insurance calls "above the customary allowance."

One more thing to deal with. Perfect time of year for it too. Not.

Ok so rant over. Lots of presents still to buy. Planning to do it all
online, except for stocking stuffers. Cannot believe we have only a
week left.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

New Normal (154.8)

Tomorrow I start my new job.  I was looking at my schedule for next week and realized (again) it's been 8 years since I've worked a 40 hour week.  I'm more than a little intimidated by the idea.

And it's not just the time at work.  It's all the things I did during the day when I was self employed that I now have to do after work hours, like opening our mail, paying bills, making appointments for haircuts or the doctor, calling the insurance company when there have been issues (I still have to deal with our insurance claiming the Children's Hospital is out of network), talking to my mom or friends, talking with my husband, sitting in front of my SAD light (this one worries me--I have to get up 30-45 min early, and early mornings & me don't go together, yet).  The smart thing to do would be to go to bed early, get up early, do the household bills & computer stuff while using my SAD light (like I am now).

It's going to be an intense new normal for a while.

But then I remind myself that millions of women work 40 hours a week and manage to someone get everything else done.  They may be frazzled, crazy, out of control women some days, and I know I will be too, but they manage. 

I've spent the last few days getting my house ready for the New Normal. I cleaned out our kitchen closet, which housed the kids craft projects and school supplies--4 shelves of stuff that has accumulated over the past several years since the last time I cleaned it out.  I filled 4 big garbage bags and put everything in bins (as opposed to cardboard boxes or shopping bags); now we can get to what we need easily and all the junk is gone.

That allowed me space to move my scrapbook supplies--of which there is a ridiculous abundance--to the top shelf and off my desk in the front room.  I mourned the incomplete albums and photos I haven't done anything with while I relocated them.  I have no idea when I'll get pictures sorted and put in albums.  Someday.... (code for never).  And now I have a desk ready to take care of all the household stuff at home instead of at work.  It took me all day Friday and was totally worth it.

I keep telling myself, the busier and more active I am, the busier and more active I'll be.  An object in motion stays in motion. I have no idea when I'll fit in exercise.  I haven't fit it in for months.  Now when will I do it? 

Just like with Sophie's surgery, the anticipation is probably way worse than the reality will be.  So many unknowns, and I don't do well with unknowns.

Sophie is doing incredibly well.  Everyday is better.  She can get in & out of bed and in & out of the car without hurting herself.  She can do everything herself except pick things up off the floor (she uses her feet a lot and tries, though).  She met with her homebound teacher twice last week.  Since the first several rough days at home, it has been fairly smooth and easy.

Thursday's follow up visit to St Louis was cancelled.  We were 20 minutes out of town when the nurse called & said the sleet and ice had already started and we should probably turn around.  I wanted to just go ahead and risk it, but my wise husband told me to turn around.  Glad he did.  Getting there probably would have been fine, but coming home would have meant driving through a wintry mix the entire way. 

So Tuesday, Mark is taking Sophie to the appointment.  This does not sit well, but I have no choice.  Can't very well ask for a day off on my second day of a new job.  I will make a list of questions, prep him on how to get to the office, and let it go.  It will be fine.

It's all going to be fine.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

A week after surgery

Sophie is doing incredibly well. Beyond my hopes. It's remarkable.
Everyday has been a big leap forward.

She's basically completely self sufficient now, with the exception of
tasks that involve bending over, which aren't a lot, and carrying or
lifting anything over 10 pounds. She still has pain and is taking
Meds, but can go for longer periods without them. She even went to
the craft store yesterday with Mark to get supplies to keep her busy.
Remarkable.

I've been ok food wise, but haven't left the house since we got home.
I've read three books and watched Christmas movies with the family.
It's been necessary to do a lot of nothing, to recoup from the
hospital.

Out friends have brought us dinner every other day. It's been a life
saver. Mark has been cleaning the kitchen and spending time with both
kids, totally engaged. Which is good since I've been mostly checked
out.

I didn't gain any weight the week of the surgery. Weighed 154.4
yesterday. I ate a lot of starchy comfort food at the hospital but
never dessert and not between meals.

I'm teaching Sunday school in the morning and will get back to normal
chorea tomorrow. I'm not officially working this coming week, but will
need to go into the office a few hours. Mom will stay with Sophie
while I'm gone.

New job starts in a little over a week. I'm nervous. Not thinking
about it much yet. Trying not to worry and just deal with today.

I'm so incredibly thankful it has gone so well. We go to St. Louis
Thursday to see the surgeons nurse for a follow up and X-rays.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sophie this morning with flowers

Her friends sent flowers. She looks really good for having had surgery
less than a week ago.

First day home.

It was a rough transition yesterday from hospital to home. Getting in
and out of the car was brutal (we took my Mom's Dodge crossover car,
since it has a 3rd row--seat pretty high and I didn't bring a stool to
help her get in). I brought a twin sized foam mattress pad and folded
it lengthwise to put under her in the car. At least that worked. But
getting in and out hurt her horribly. We were supposed to stop 3 times
and let her walk. We stopped once because the wind was cold and
strong. Once was too much. It hurt her worse than if she'd just sat
for 3 hours and got out at home, even if that would have made her
extra stiff.

Finding the right place to sit when we got home was impossible. She
has to be straight up and down or lying flat or on her side. We tried
sitting and lying on the couch--firm cushions on bottom but soft back,
and even with pillow behind her it didn't work. I didn't think of
using our rocking chair until this morning.

Her bed is fine and even though it's high off the floor (step stool I
have is too high), she figured out how to scoot without hurting too
much. She slept all night -- lots of pain Meds still.

She's been on and is still on sennakot S and miralax. Still
waiting..... I know it's something to be careful of. We may have to
use a suppository soon.

We borrowed a bed side toilet from my grandma. Also a very smart thing.

This morning I figured out how to use our rocking chair, by wrapping a
section of the foam mattress pad around the back cushion. It's the
correct up-right angle and has arms. And put it in front of our side
table by the couch, which keeps the chair from moving. She can get up
and down by herself.

She can lie in our bed and watch tv. She can't lie on the couch yet.
Still too sore and muscles dodgy to adjust on it easily.

Reading is hard because of the pain Meds making her eyes not focus
well so no reading yet. She's already bored and it's only day 1 at
home. But it's only day 1. She'll keep healing and be able to do more
soon.

Luke went to school today. So it's just been Sophie and me. We've done
ok today.

I'm tired and haven't even taken a shower. Very fried and feeling the
stress let down, semi-depressed. Worried how things will work when I
start the new job Dec 9. Praying she's mostly ok by then.

Friend is bringing dinner tonight and another friend bringing dinner
tomorrow. Our friends set up a meal train and are bringing dinner
every other day for 2 weeks. My mom went grocery shopping for us last
night.

That's about all I can write for now. Happy thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

St Louis Tuesday

We're going home this afternoon! She still needs a sponge bath and
hair washed and a few other things, so a few more hours.

She's doing amazingly well. The pain doc said she's the best patient
she's seen in a long time, as far as how quickly she's recovered and
her general attitude.

Busy so have to go. But great news today.

Monday, November 25, 2013

St Louis Monday

Progress already today. 


Sophie sat up again and stood for the first time for the surgeon at 6 am. She later sat in a chair for 30 min. 


She walked with her PT's help to and from her door. 


She ate French toast for breakfast, her first food since last Wednesday. 


Her drains are out (she had 3 to drain away excess blood), catheter is out, dressings removed, no more IV bags--she's now completely unattached to anything.  


It is still very painful to move. The pain team has been tweaking her Meds and they have a schedule that will hopefully manage it well enough (can't take all the pain away). 


She has a lot of work ahead of her but she's doing amazingly well. Ever the trooper. 


Doubt that we leave tomorrow. My guess is Wednesday at the earliest. Depends on her ability to walk on her own and her bowel movements. 


I slept at the House last night. Rough evening with my mom. Her behaviors are frequently examples of those I hate in myself, and having her here is a learning experience for me on how not to behave. 


She chose to stay at the House with Luke this morning, which was a great idea because we needed a break from each other (although she would never admit she needs a break from anything, or needs anything at all--one of the things that I'm tired of, her martyr attitude). They are riding the shuttle to hospital late this afternoon. 


Sophie will be standing and walking today. Lots of work and it will probably be a tough day. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

St Louis Sunday

Still in ICU but expect to move this afternoon. All her numbers look
good. She sat up this morning with help from PT and nurse. It was very
painful but she did great. We're waiting for orders so she can start
clear liquids. She's only had ice chips and water and is asking for
food, which is a good sign but has to go slow.

I was the only one in the room when she sat up. I was stoic and
contained, because she doesn't need me freaking out, but after she
fell asleep I had a little breakdown. There's a reason I don't cry
when the crisis is happening. When I start it's hard to stop.

BIL got in last night at 1:30 am. Good he's here. She's been awake
talking with us for the last hour+. She's off the dilaudid (which was
the pain med in her button) and has a 12 hour pain pill and a 3 hour
pain pill, as well as a muscle relaxer. I think the change in Meds is
helping her stay awake.

Here's a pic. She looks so good! It's a relief to see her like this.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

St Louis Saturday

Everything's still ok. Her blood pressure dropped last night. They
gave her Meds to bring it up. Weaning her off them now. When her
pressure is stable the PT will have her stand up. We can't move out of
ICU until pressure is stable. They said BP dropping is normal for her
type of surgery.

We do get to be with her all the time, ever since she was in recovery
after surgery. Even Luke can see her in ICU. She has her own ICU room
which is awesome.

Mark stayed in ICU last night. He did sleep some. He'll nap today.
Mom, Luke, and I went back to the House and we were all in bed before
9:30. I took a Xanax and slept until 7 am. Feeling good.

My brother in law is flying in tonight from Colorado to visit. It's a
surprise but welcome. He's good with Luke. It will be good for
Mark--they are very close. Jeff and Mark and Luke will stay at the
House tonight, and mom and I will sleep at the hospital. We plan to
trade off every night.

I know it's going to be rough when they start moving her. So some
difficult times ahead. I'll update as often as I can.