Archive for August, 2011

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Devastated

August 25, 2011

Seriously, that is how I am feeling.

I could not have been more excited about the pending vacation.  I couldn’t think about or talk about anything else for quite some time.

I was especially excited after last year’s mess, thanks to work schedules.

We’d carefully crafted our plans:  a night (tomorrow night) in Ocean City, Maryland, which is about 8 hours into the 12 hour drive to the Outer Banks.  We planned to leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow, and get there in the afternoon, to allow for time on the boardwalk, a swim in the pool, maybe even a dip in the ocean.  Because our hotel is steps from the ocean.

On Saturday – which is check-in day for the house we rented – we would slowly drive down Highway 12 in the Outer Banks, stop and see some of the towns on the way, check out the sand dunes that Jen suggested (kites are on the packing list!), and generally enjoy the sites until check-in time.

Then we would sit on the beach.  For 7 days.  We had menus planned (the girls kept saying “we don’t want to do anything or go anywhere, we just want to rest!”).  A couple of sights to see (because who listens to their kids’ demands?). A thousand books to read (seriously, my iTunes and Kindle spending limit was exceeded, to say the least.)

Then, the news bulletins started to come out:

Irene Slamming Bahamas; Outer Banks, Northeast Next in Line

Okay, yeah.  So that is, in fact, where we’re going.

Being as obsessive as I am, I started to monitor the reports very, very closely.  I know every change in track, every possibility.

Yesterday, they thought that the hurricane was veering east, and that the Outer Banks would be “brushed” (which would still be significant), but that it would then head into the ocean again before hitting New England.

A lot of hand-wringing ensued on my part, while WD kept saying, “oh, don’t stress, let’s just wait and see.”  I may or may not have snapped at him about the lack of control I have over my stress levels.  I don’t make a decision to stress.  It just happens.

We’d been watching the reports for some time, watching as some parts of the Outer Banks started their evacuations, but still seeing the bulletin on our rental service’s site:

If you are due to check in this weekend, keep your plans intact and monitor these reports. There may be a delay in getting down here, but we think you’ll enjoy the outstanding weather which usually follows a storm.

Pretty optimistic.

We decided, while the hurricane was veering east, to book at second night in Ocean City.  We knew there was some risk, but we also knew that if Ocean City evacuated, we’d have no loss, as we wouldn’t be charged.  We had considered (a) staying home for a while, and (b) heading inland instead.  But since the hurricane was due to hit at home, too, we thought that would add to our delay.  In a scenario where the Outer Banks are hit, they flood, the waters recede, we would get to our house as soon as allowed.  However, if we were in New England, being slammed by the hurricane, we wouldn’t want to get on the road.  So the closer we were, the better.  We didn’t really want to go somewhere inland, because, well, we think inland is boring.

So I called the hotel in Ocean City, they said, “eh, the hurricane isn’t coming here, you’ll be fine.  And we won’t evacuate unless it gets really bad.”  So I booked a second night.

One hour later, the hurricane center changed its forecasts.  The hurricane shifted west.  Ocean City was in its sights.

But fine, still, right?  So maybe they’ll make us leave that second night, we would survive the drama of moving inland for a different place to stay.

But today, the forecast is even more dire.  So much so that this is the new status:

Ocean City, Md., asks visitors to postpone trips until Irene passes

And what else?  Oh yeah, Ocean City started evacuations.  First is their student-workers, next are tourists & visitors.

So it looks like that hotel reservation is awash.

Which is maybe fine, because a production scheduled to go out tomorrow at work isn’t coming together as it should be, and I’m panicking about how I can possibly be absent tomorrow.

Delightful.

I think I may cry.  And I’m not a crier.

 

 

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Out of Town Guest

August 22, 2011

Last week, Lemon was in the Middle of the Country with the Ex.  On Saturday, they flew together into Boston.  He’s here to spend time with Mouse, who really wasn’t interested in heading out to his house on her own.

Mouse & I picked them up from the airport.

Seeing him – every time – is stressful.  I know he appraises my appearance, and is smug about the fact that I have weight to lose.  He used to say so every time, until I snapped his head off, “You have lost the right to comment on my appearance!” I also do not know how we will get along.  If he will be cool, rude, warm … what?

He was pretty cool (as in chilly, not as in …. a cool dude).  But not rude.  We drove to my friend’s house where he was staying.  I went in with him and the girls to make sure everything was in order.  We were pretty reserved in our conversation.  I drove him and the girls to the restaurant they chose for dinner.  During that short drive, we relaxed a little, had more conversation.  I dropped them off and went home, and WD and I went out to dinner.

The girls came home at 8.  A little puzzled about why he sent them home that early.  But we had fun watching a couple of Gilmore Girls episodes.  I asked Lemon, “do you have plans with him for tomorrow?”  She said, “I guess, but I was kind of hoping to have a sleepover with some friends.”  I told her we’d figure it out with him.  If he was going to be done hanging out with the kids at 8, she could probably get together with friends at that point.  Then I asked Mouse, “did you make plans for the morning?”  And she said, “Daddy said if we’re having breakfast, he doesn’t want to invite himself over, but it could be nice.”

I checked in with WD – is he willing?  Willing, yes.  Enthusiastic, not quite.  So I went back to the girls, “do you want him to come for breakfast!”  “Yes!!”   Clear answer.  I asked them for a time and a menu, and texted the invite.

“French Toast, 11 a.m.” (sleepy-head girls).

I had evening plans.  And was thinking of cooking.  And baking.  Figured the Ex would take the girls out – wouldn’t be so eager to stick around.  Maybe gone by noon?

Try 4:30.

I ordered pizza for my company, instead of cooking.  I bought cakes at Trader Joe’s, instead of baking.

In the meantime, the Ex and I talked about the people we both knew.  The places we’d both been.  Some memories about the girls when they were small.  The moves we made.  Etc.

My friends came by at 6ish, the crowd ended up larger than anticipated.  We had fun.  Ate pizza, drank beer & wine.  A friend & I arranged for her husband – who is entering the Ex’s field – to talk to Ex.  So the Ex brought the girls back at 9ish, and hung out while my friends and I played Mah Jongg.  I was betrayed by my friends, when they laughed at his stupid jokes.

The boys talked.  The party left.  The Ex did not.

Not until 1 a.m.

This conversation, from 10:30 to 1 a.m., was a bit more …. intense.

We talked about What Happened.  The divorce – the crumble of our marriage.  The ignorant children we were at the time.

He was … very decent.  He accepted responsibility, didn’t point fingers.  Not sure there was an all-out apology, but there was definite acceptance of responsibility.  There were compliments toward the girls, and the job I’ve done with them.  Sharing of regrets and disappointments.

Neither of us said (or thought) that we wished we were still together.  That’s not what it was about.  Even with us both being a lot more mature, thoughtful, careful, and fully-formed adults, we aren’t the right people for each other.  We are both a lot happier with the people we are with.  And who knows – if we were together, still, we may not have ever been able to become the mature, thoughtful, careful, fully-formed adults we are today.

So, that was intense.

I wonder how long until our next argument?  😉

 

 

 

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Some kind of sick joke

August 22, 2011

I mean, seriously?  We’re due to check into our house in Coastal North Carolina between 2 and 6 p.m. on Saturday.

[please don’t evacuate; please don’t evacuate; please don’t evacuate]

 

 

 

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My Baby’s First Job

August 18, 2011

Last night, I went out with a friend after work.  I came out of the restaurant to a slew of text messages from both Lemon and WD (I’m sure if Mouse had her phone with her at camp, she’d be on that list).  WD was confused as to my whereabouts, because while he knew I was out, and he knew we’d agreed that we could eat late and that I didn’t need to rush, he didn’t quite expect me to be out until 8:30 or so.  We ended up with a 9 p.m. dinner.

Lemon’s texts were a barrage of questions.

Earlier in the day, I had received an email from a friend asking about Lemon’s availability to help out with a summer camp next week.  I told Lemon about it and said, “you should email her.” Lemon’s response consisted of the following texts:

1.  What does she need me to do??!

2.  What are the hours??

3.  How much will I get paid?

4.  Hello?  Mom??!  Where are you?

5.  MOM???!!!!

My hackles were raised, and I was feeling irritable that god forbid I am not on top of the texts the moment I get them. And I snippily responded, “I told you that YOU should email her, and YOU should ask these questions.  I’m not your agent.”

Then I thought about it (as my selfish irritation faded), and I realized – she’s never done this before.  She doesn’t know how.  While there is probably some unit in some class somewhere in high school that will talk about the basics of employment and functioning in the business world, it doesn’t come until later.

So I retraced my steps, apologized for snapping, and offered to walk through the process with her.  She said, “oh, would you, please?”  I told her that some questions are appropriate at the outset, but that she should wait for the employer to raise money first.  I drafted an email for her that essentially read like a cover letter.  “I heard you’re hiring … What an exciting opportunity … here’s my experience and my skill set … I’m available to discuss at your convenience.”

I think it was a pretty good email.  I sent it to her and she tweaked it so it was more like her (and less like me), and sent it off.  They are meeting on Sunday.

In the end, I think she did learn something through the experience (something in addition to “my mother can be such a bitch!”).

And, also, she may make some serious $$.  She’s saving for her very own digital slr camera, and this could give her a decent start.

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Foggy-Headed

August 17, 2011

Yeah, I’ve been quiet.

The girls have been in & out, but mostly out.  And work has remained slow.  Most of my peeps are out of town visiting this island or that country, or maybe some other part of this country.  I feel listless, and a little bit pointless.

Mouse has been at camp since last weekend – she comes home this Saturday.  I’m looking forward to seeing her, but it’s a little odd in that once she gets home, we have to go to the airport to pick up not only Lemon, but also the Ex.

Having him in town, or even intersecting with my life, is never my favorite. Lemon is with him now, and already, it’s impossible to speak to him without there being some sort of crossed wire or subtle dig.  It’s just not-fun.  I say, “Lemon had more stress than anticipated about flying alone, there were tears.  She’ll love a big hug on your end.”  His response, “I always hug them when they get off the plane.”  The assumption that everything *I* say is a subtle dig bothers me, too.  Because it’s not.

This past weekend, WD and I saw three movies.  Friday night, we saw Lincoln Lawyer, in our living room.  On Saturday, I went running and then met my running partner for a shopping outing, and while we were out, we realized we were both free that night.  So we thought “movie night!” All four of us (both couples) brainstormed movie choices.  We had every movie known to man on the list (in the theater).  Independent films, documentaries, etc.  Consensus could not be reached.  Where did we end up?  Captain America.  I was entertained, nonetheless.

Then on Sunday, WD and I brought Lemon to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Two days; two big dumb movies (as we refer to them).

My vacation is in 8 days.  I think I can tread water through this funk knowing that’s around the bend.  Then, school starts and life gets back to normal.  Hopefully, once the deadness of August in New England passes, work will pick up again after Labor Day, too.

And that’s all I’ve got for now.

Off for drinks with a colleague who is also bouncing off the walls.

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Summer is for Spit

August 10, 2011

When I was a kid/teen, my summers were not very social.  We lived in a relatively rural town, and our house was particularly out of the way.  I spent most of my summers at home, at our pool in our yard.

I hung out with my sister.

My sister and I had a very hot & cold relationship growing up.  We were capable of kicking, scratching, slapping, but also squeezing together into a twin bed, singing along to the radio at the top of our lungs, and playing with each other’s hair while watching t.v.

We grew up in a raised ranch.  Our bedrooms were in the “downstairs” which was really a basement, but raised just enough so we had full windows.  Down there with us was the laundry room, and our bathroom.  Our parents’ bedroom was upstairs on the opposite end of the house.  So when they went to bed at 10 or whatever, they really had no clue what we were doing downstairs.

The summer that I’m thinking of now was the summer after my freshman year.  This makes sense, because neither myself nor my friends had driver’s licenses yet, so I hadn’t progressed to the summers of hanging out at friends’ pools at night, and doing other things that didn’t require a ride from my parents.  If I was going into my Sophomore year, sis must have been going into … [trying to do the math] … 7th grade. So she was close to Mouse’s age, and I was Lemon’s age.  Sis and I have a little more space between us than my girls do, but it was still close.

This is what we were doing while my parents were sleeping:  We were listening to my Cyndi Lauper (True Colors) tape -over and over and over.  We had a special affinity for Iko Iko.  And we were playing the card game spit.

Of course, I was winning pretty frequently (yeah, she’d dispute that).  There were lots of charges of cheating.  Many decks of cards were thrown.  Sometimes into the other sister’s face.  With force.  Sometimes we were able to move on and start a new game, sometimes the throwing of the cards resulted in both of our doors closed and a lonely rest of the night (since we were conditioned to going to sleep at 2 a.m., there were several hours to fill).

But it remained a favorite game for years.

Last night, Lemon and I played Spit.  After she cried uncle on endless episodes of Twin Peaks. (I like the show, mom, but I’m sick of sitting in the dark watching television!)  Before we turned to the old standby, she taught me a couple of other games she picked up on her trip to Canada.  They were fine, but I wasn’t winning.  When she offered spit as an option, I took her up on it.

I was a little fuzzy on the rules, but I caught on quick.  It’s like riding a bike.  There was one step that I wasn’t remembering and she told me:

This is how you originally taught us, and it’s the way you played with Auntie J, but when you were teaching us, we were young, and we couldn’t win, so you modified the rules so we could win.  Now let’s go back to the right way.

Aww, I said, I was a good mom!  And my crowning achievement of the summer is her response:

Well, duh.  Can we play now?  

And I won.  And she was frustrated (in a fun way), and made a big mess of the cards on the living room floor.  Neither of us would clean it up, because I claim (rightfully so) that loser has to clean up, and she (ridiculously) claimed that the winner had to clean up.  Pfft.

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My [stupid] left foot

August 10, 2011

Story time!

Back in March of 2002, I went on one of my first real “dates” with WD.  I was 6 months’ separated/divorced, and venturing out.  The girls were with their father for the weekend, and WD and I made a day of it.  We went to China Town, we went to the SFMOMA to see a Chagall exhibit, and we went to see the first Lord of the Rings movie.

While we were at the SFMOMA, I kind of … fell.  Down the center staircase.  It was bad.  I hurt my foot and ankle.  To say the least.

After being unable to walk for the rest of the weekend, I went to the doctor on the following Monday.  He took an x-ray, and sent me on my way, saying everything was fine.  It was a sprain.

Following the Incident, my ankle spent a lot of time being sore.  Not only was it sore, but it was ridiculously prone to twisting.  The weather would affect it.  It was yucky.

Sometime after I started working here, at this firm, I started to have pain in other parts of my foot.  In particular, in my big toe joints.  First it felt like I had to crack the knuckle but couldn’t – then it started to just hurt all the time.  Especially when wearing high heeled shoes.

It did not hurt when I was wearing flats or sneakers.  Didn’t hurt when I exercised – only when I wore heels.

I eventually went to a podiatrist.  In early 2009.  He took x-rays of my ankle and prodded at my toes.  He said that the doctor in California was wrong, I did break some of the bones in my ankle back in 2002.  He said the toe joints were probably bone spurs, and I should have surgery to remove floating bone chips in my ankle and to saw off the bone spurs.  He said I’d probably need 2 weeks out of work for each foot, and he didn’t recommend doing them at the same time.  I went home and pouted.  How the heck was I going to get 2 weeks off from work twice, 6 months apart?

And I decided it didn’t actually hurt all that much, after all.

But that summer, the pain increased significantly, especially in my left toe joint.

So I went back.  He decided to actually x-ray the toe joints.  Oooh, big bone spurs.  Yeah, you need surgery.

I scheduled the surgery for Christmas-time.  Work traditionally slows down during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and 2009 was a year that the Ex was scheduled to have the girls for the holiday, so I could recuperate without affecting their vacation-time.

Because these things always happen when I try to anticipate scheduling needs at work, I ended up prepping for a trial during the end of 2009, and the time off was a hell of a lot less than convenient.  I went through with the surgery, and still believe that the time off that week affected my position on that trial team.

Also, the Ex and his second wife announced a pregnancy, with a December due date.  Meaning the girls would not be going there for the holiday.

But at this point, my toe joints were so painful, every time I thought about putting off the surgery, I had to think about not being able to walk.  The trial we were prepping for was going to be in a courthouse that was in walking distance from the office, and I could not imaging walking there and back at least once a day (and as it turned out, us associates did it several times a day, sometimes running in our heels to grab the notes off the partner’s desk that he had accidentally left behind).

So I had surgery on December 21st.  It was fine.  I had no complications.  I was back at work within 2 weeks, in a surgery shoe for a couple of days, but then back to pretty-much-normal.

I was less than thrilled with the way the scars ended up healing, but it is not a big deal.

Earlier this year, I was pretty surprised to realize that when I wore heels, my left toe joint was hurting.  I thought maybe I needed to stretch it out a bit more.  But then, over time, a lump started to appear on the joint.  At least as of this May, I started to think that my bone spur was back.*  So with a sigh of frustration, I started shopping for flats.  Because come on  – I can’t have surgery every two years.  That’s just ridiculous.

A couple of weeks ago, my mother came to visit.  She saw my bare foot and exclaimed with horror at the lump on my toe.  “If you don’t do something about that, you won’t be able to wear ANY shoes!”

For some reason, her reaction made me think I had to do something other than buy more shoes.

I talked to a podiatrist I know, because I was irritated with my past doctor.  He said I shouldn’t be irritated, and I should go back.  He said it did look like something was going on – whether it was scar tissue or more bone spurring, he couldn’t be sure without an xray, and it would be best to have it looked at by the person who remembers the surgery.

Yesterday, I went back.  When I first saw the doctor, he looked and poked and prodded.  Said there was definitely something there, said my range of motion was great, and sent me to get an xray.  When I came back from xray, he saw me again.  He brought with him the xrays from October of 2009, when my pain pushed me over the edge to saying yes to surgery, from 12/22/09, immediately post op, and from yesterday.  Before surgery – big bone spur, decent joint.  After surgery – no bone spur, decent joint. Yesterday – new (smaller) bone spur, bad joint looking arthritic.  Twenty months later.

This is kind of how my foot looks:

I told him that I was very surprised.  That after surgery, he did tell me that they may come back, but I was thinking 10-15 years, not 10-15 months.  He said he was also surprised, and he never would have anticipated a rebuilding of the spur so quickly.  He said he thinks that my foot bone that leads to my big toe is slightly elevated, and that it’s causing the odd angle that is creating the spurs.  He wants to do another surgery.

A yucky surgery.

He wants to go in to my foot and saw through that foot bone and take a piece out of it, and then put screws in it to keep it together, shortened, and thereby stop the rubbing and the joint degeneration.  He said the recuperation time will be longer – it will be 8 weeks before I can resume complete normal activity, and 4 weeks in a surgery shoe.

My eyes popped out of my head.

So we talked about the fact that there’s no rush.  I can continue as I am until the pain becomes unbearable.  In order to keep it from growing further in the meantime (and therefore hurting more), he suggested that I wear flats instead of heels, take anti-inflammatories when it hurts and ice it if it swells, and that I choose exercise that is less impactful than running.

Now I have 2 doctors telling me not to run.

First of all, I’m still ignoring them on the running.  The first doctor who told me not to run was my primary care physician, based on my complaints of back pain.  Well, I didn’t stop, and the back pain went away on its own.  So there.

Second of all, I will continue my transition to flats.  While grumbling.

Third of all, I will get a second opinion.  My podiatrist-friend gave me another name, and I will go there and see what he thinks.

In the meantime, I am frustrated, and I hate my foot.

[the right foot, by the way, is perfect, except for the scars from the 12/09 surgery.]

 

* Bone spur is not a bunion — it’s a much easier surgery, and is a build up of a bone that occurs when bones rub together where they’re not supposed to.  This website has a pretty good explanation of the problem, the surgery I had, and even the surgery that the doctor is recommending.  Be warned:  there are a couple nasty pictures of an open foot during surgery.