Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wow....

Nothing since June... what a slacker I've been!! LOL

I've gotten 3 courses behind me towards my MBA, and now I'm taking an extended break -- until after the holidays. My work schedule is insane these days because one of the other doctors has another full time job and our schedules are subject to her availability. Fair?? Hell, no! Especially since she just joined us in July when Dr. S. left. But, it is what it is... and my "options" are somewhat limited.

Baby Girl has officially entered the dimension of the "Terrible Twos" and there are days that I think we'd like to return her from whence she came! She knows just when to coo "Sowwy, Mommy" or "Lub You", so she's still here!

The daycare shut down permanently this past Friday, which is completely inconvenient. Daycares are few and far between down here in the land of the old folks, so right now I'm paying T (her "teacher" from the daycare who is now unemployed, as of Friday) to keep her. We'll see how that goes...

Nothing much else that I can report. Guess that's why I haven't posted anything in four months, huh??

Thursday, June 24, 2010

We're rounding the final curve

This morning was our second (and final) exam for this course; we weren't given our actually grades, just a "go" or "no go". All that matters is that I've passed (not that I expected otherwise; as B reminded me, exams in the militar are aimed at a 8th to 10th grade level...). At any rate, it's nice to have that behind me.

A half day of lecture tomorrow - as if any of us will be paying attention - then practice for graduation and outprocessing details - and we'll be D-O-N-E, done. I fly home Saturday night after graduation and I'm ready to go home! I heard Baby Girl's voice the other night on the telephone and it really stung - I miss her SO much!!

I'm exhausted - I don't sleep well away from home and the mental stimulation here is intense. Very interesting, but intense. I may have mentioned before, but I'm fascinated by the way that the course content (the non Army-specific stuff) has run right alongside my management course. We've addressed many of the same topics these last two weeks. Guess it just validates the usefulness of what I'm learning and, as I told B the other night, a leader is a leader, regardless of who or what s/he is leading. Right?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wow, wow, wow

I've been a slacker!! Two months and not a single post!! Well, my defense is that I've been busy as hell, and that's the truth.

What has changed?? Truthfully, not much... I'm finding that working the night shift, while it still has definite advantages, is beginning to wear on me. I don't do as well with the little naps for extended periods. This is something that I think I'll have to give serious consideration in the not-too-distant future.

Right now, I'm in San Antonio for my AT; this year I'm in Captain's Career - it's an officer leadership course. Very different stuff that anything I've had to do before - but I'm struggling through. As always, Baby Girl and B are both sick; not sure exactly why, but they get sick every time I go out of town - maybe it's stress related? This trip, the A/C also went out briefly, which was way not cool as the daytime highs have been upper 90's plus humidity. Thankfully it turned out to be just a capacitor, so B was able to get that repaired in short order.

My sister has done a "me" and is getting married rather precipitously. We're going to Myrtle Beach for that the middle of next month. I met my BIL-to-be for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I will say that, from what I can tell, he is EXACTLY her type!! He seems to be a really nice guy, and she seems happy, which is the important thing! Our mother is dealing with it, well, likely only she can! She vascillates between planning and lecturing, but that's just her way.

I think that's the Cliff's Notes to what's been going on -- I will make every attempt to update more frequently, but no promises.... LOL

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh, I've been so sick....

sicker than I can remember being in a long, long time!! I think it was a combination of things... I did a run of working night shifts - 13 out of 14 days!! - over the Easter holidays and we were busy, busy, busy. I think at some point I figured out that I averaged about 5 hours of sleep per night for those 2 weeks, which wouldn't have been so bad had it been 5 consecutive hours... but only once or twice during that entire time was I able to sleep for more than 2 hours uninterrupted.

I got off work on a Friday morning and that evening had to head to Columbia for drill; of course, that means early days and I had to take my APFT on Saturday because I was asked to be a grader for the unit APFT which was Sunday morning. Now, somehow, and I have no idea how this happened given my exhausted state, but I am crediting the 3 weeks of P90X with the results, I managed my BEST PT score ever!! Not stellar by any means, but for ME, it was great! I hadn't run in over 2 weeks, and I cut 2 full minutes off my run time!! Maybe it was the location, maybe it was the cool air, maybe it was the stupid Ke$ha song that I couldn't get out of my head ("wake up in the morning feeling like P'Diddy, I got my glasses, I'm out the door, I'm gonna hit this city..." - enough to make anyone run like hell, huh??) -- not too far off from my "max" scores, so now I have a new (and maybe even attainable) goal - I'd like to score 300 on the test in October!

At any rate, by Sunday afternoon, I was starting to cough and the congestion was settling in; by Tuesday, it hit full force and I hardly got out of bed all day. Wednesday was as bad too, but I had to do surgery at CCAH so I had to suck it up. Thursday I had a little reprieve - the cough seemed to be more superficial - which was nice since B had his septoplasty and lower turbinate remodeling surgery; Friday, however, the cough had moved back into my chest. I had to work on Saturday - my parents came down to watch Baby Girl because B wasn't up to it (he's hardly gotten out of bed since the surgery -- I'm sure it hurt, but he's really being a baby... I mean, this is DAY 5 and he's still just lying in the bed and watching TV all day!! Ok, ok... that's enough...) - anyway, I nearly drove myself NUTS with the continuous coughing!! At the end of my shift, I was trying to finish up what I had started but the case was WAY more complicated than originally anticipated and finally, at 10pm, I just said "screw it" and left anyway -- I hated to do it, but I was sick as hell, was 14 hours into a 12 hours shift with an hour drive to get home and I just didn't care who I pissed off at that point.

Funny, but with the illness, what bothered me the most was missing a week of P90X!!! LOL How's THAT for strange?? For me, anyway... I did my Yoga X on Monday, and was going to attempt the Core Synergistics on Tuesday when B called me out for being "an idiot" and told me to get back into bed!! He was right of course! I did Core Synergistics tonight and there's NO way I could have done it last week!! LOL Of course, me being me, I was going to try to "make it all up", but was just so very sick that I finally gave in and decided to just postpone everything for one week. So, yesterday, I started back up with week 4. It feels good to be back on track again and I hope that I don't have any more interruptions! Now I have to get back to running!!

We're still struggling with Elvis - I did take him to work and did bloodwork/xrays, the whole 9 yards... couldn't find anything specific, really... possible medium sized tumor in his chest, but it was unclear... and nothing to be done about it anyway. I keep feeding him whatever he might eat - tonight he had meatballs and Italian sausage and some bread - drives Herbie crazy!! He's down to 41 lbs, which was a shocker to me!! I guess I thought that he'd still be over 50 :( Looks like 2010 will be his last year here... but I don't want to think about that right now.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My poor Elvis

seems determined to starve himself to death, and there doesn't seem to be much that I can do about it...

He has gotten so terribly thin - I can count his ribs from across the room, even with his thick coat. He has difficulty getting up and down, especially when stairs are involved, but nothing too unusual given the advanced state of his hip dysplasia and subsequent DJD. He doesn't seem to FEEL bad... there's no vomiting or drooling involved - he just doesn't have an appetite.

I stopped even trying to feed him dog food weeks ago - he really hasn't voluntarily eaten dog food since my parents were here in February - and then, it was mixed half and half with a hamburger/rice mixture that mom cooked for him.

These days, we're down to hot dogs and lunch meat, sometimes he'll eat pasta or rice - occasionally he'll eat steak, though he'll even turn THAT down at times!! Don't you know that it drives Herbie NUTS!! LOL Part of the problem we have is that he will rarely eat the same things twice in a row - so we have to try to switch it up every day. He's the ultimate nightmare picky eater!! It's been a real challenge... but, despite his current condition, I just can't bring myself to put him to sleep when he's still fairly active, and very interactive. So, we just take it day by day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How time flies...

It's been 3 weeks since I last posted... time has really flown by!! The Saab is very nice - WELL worth the money I paid! And it drives quite nicely, too. I've been taking it to work, or anywhere that I'm going to have to drive much distance. Though, I DID take the Audi to drill as it's a MUCH more comfortable and luxurious vehicle for the longer drives! LOL

I had all of the little chips and scratches touched up on the Audi - only cost $100 because the car really was in amazing shape when we got it. We're going to have the Saab done as well... it's a 2001 model and there are many more "stone chips", so the front and rear bumpers practically have to be repainted - it's going to run about $250, but even putting that into the car, it was a true bargain! I had a Sirius radio installed in the Saab because not having it was making me crazy... I've had satellite radio for so many years, I don't know how people manage without it! Oh, yeah - almost forgot - I managed to crack the windshield last week on the way to F'ville... I have had the most horrendous luck with car glass this year!! A sport bike coming TOWARDS me threw up a rock and hit the edge of the windscreen, putting a deep chip in it - I worked a night shift, followed by a day shift, and when I came out of work Wednesday afternoon, there was an 8" crack across the driver's side of the windshield! Damn it!!

I picked up the new puppy when I got back from drill - Patrick is in love with her. I realized a couple of weeks ago that it's been over 11 years since I've had to deal with a puppy - Elvis was the last puppy I had!! - and this housebreaking stuff SUCKS rocks!! Patrick takes care of her when he's here, but I have to deal with her during school hours and when he's at his dad's. I can't wait 'til she gets a little older and isn't so time consumptive! She's absolutely adorable, though, and a great snuggler!

I got both the boys' rooms cleaned out - took bags of Good Will donations and garbage out of each of them - they still look like they were hit by whirlwinds somehow, but it's better. I need to go through the rest of the house, desperately, and throw out the excess stuff. God knows we have oodles of crap we don't use!! I tend to do my best cleaning when I move, though, and I'm hoping that we can do that this summer - there are a bunch of things that will have to come together to make that happen - it's definitely doable, but not a guarantee, so keep your fingers crossed. I'm doing what I can to make it come to pass!

I started P90X today - and I hurt like hell already!! Chris just finished his first 90 days and he looks amazing!! He dropped nearly 50 lbs and is virtually fat-free at this point - even his face is very chiseled looking. He told me that he had to stop running because he was losing too much weight and couldn't eat enough to keep the weight on! Wish I had that problem! I don't expect, of course, to have the same results that he did since he's 22 years younger than me, and male to boot - but I imagine that I should be able to firm up and drop the 12-15 lbs that I still seem to be hanging on to since the fertility drugs. I've drastically modified my eating also, cutting way back on carbs (NO breads, pastas, etc.), no more deserts/sweets, high protein, lots and lots of veggies and water, water, water. I did well on this before, but decided to allow myself a "cheat day" which turned into a "cheat week" - so this has to be an "all or nothing" -- I don't have enough self-discipline to do it any other way.

I have another APFT in 3 weeks - I'm just praying that I'm "ready" - I helped administer the last one, 2 mos ago, and 3 of the 4 soldiers I was grading failed it... I do NOT intend to fail, though I'm not overly worried that I will. I'm still running, and now that I've added the P90X, that should help me get ready - I think I did 60 or 70 push ups today alone!! MSG G asked me to be a grader for the unit-wide test in April, so I have to take my test on Saturday, as the rest of the unit will be taking it on Sunday. I actually prefer it as there will be fewer people taking the test. As long as I don't come in dead last (and don't fail), I'll be fine!

B is finally having his deviated septum repaired; Baby Girl has brought home so many bugs and he can't kick the sinus infections because the deviation prevents his sinus from draining - so he's finally agreed to have the surgery. Hopefully it will also decrease or stop his snoring! We'll see...

I've decided to go with laser hair removal as I'm just sick and tired of shaving... I've talked to several people who have had it done and are very pleased with the results - and I've actually got a consult tomorrow, in F'ville, at the place where one of my friends currently get her laser zaps - they're going to have me fill out some paperwork and do a couple of test spots - if all goes well, then I can have my first treatment next week. It's actually much more affordable than I imagined; it's $1000 for 6 treatments (spaced 5-6 weeks apart) and that price includes any additional touch-up sessions later if necessary. I had checked with Sona Med Spa for their prices also, and they wanted just over $2000 for 6 sessions and then additional sessions were available at half price or something like that. Of course, at that price they could well afford to offer a discount, and they are currently having a BOGO package special or offering 40% off a single package - still seems like the F'ville place is a better deal - AND it's an OB/GYN's office that has an aesthetician, AND I have a personal referral for this location... WIN - WIN - WIN!!

Anyway, that shoudl about catch me up to the current goings-on; as always, I will TRY to stay more current... but no promises!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I bought another car

I realized suddenly that I drive nearly 100 miles each day that I work... it's no wonder that I can rack up so many miles on a car!! It became important to me, then, to find a "beater" that I can use to offset the usage of my much beloved Audi. And so I bought a Saab. I don't remember the model year, but it's got about 60K miles on it - and luckily, Saab's are another make of car that can go for 150K miles. Of course, it's beyond my abilities, it seems, to find a car locally... this one's in Philly.

B is going to fly up on Wednesday to pick it up for me. We're paying cash, and not trading in anything, so it will be infinitely less stressful than the Audi's purchase. It stands to reason that I have to work all week, so Doo will be going to spend the night at her Mimi's house Wednesday and I'll pick her up when I get off work Thursday morning.

Middle Child's only "requirement" for a vehicle is that it NOT be a Prius. Why, you ask?? Because apparently some comedian made a comment that a Prius conveys the message "I'm gay"... LOL Teenagers...

I told B about the puppy today - I had gone to PetsMart and bought a little bed, some bowls, puppy food, a harness and leash and some little puppy toys - naturally he wondered what they were for... he took it rather well I would say... simply made a "hmmm" noise and raised his eyebrows. But that was it. Then again, I DID ask him 6 weeks ago if I could have a mini dachshund and he said "yes"... Perhaps he hoped I was joking?? I'm going Wednesday to vaccinate and deworm them all, then I'll pick Moka up on Monday after I get back from drill. Little Man is SO excited!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Home at last, home at last!!

We were up and out early this morning, headed to the airport shortly after 8am. We were leaving from different sides of the airport, so we parted ways fairly early :(

The flights were uneventful, though they were long and uncomfortable. I was fortunate enough to get a bulkhead seat on the flight out of Vegas and that was wonderful... I really do enjoy the additional leg room. My flight out of Atlanta was on a tiny, weeny regional jet and, while the gentleman next to me was small enough to do so, he just refused to stay in his own seat... it was arms and elbows and feet and knees... God, I HATE it when people take up some of MY space... I paid just as much (or more) for this damned ticket as they did; what gives them the right to take up MY space?? (Strangely enough, we're sitting here watching Bill Maher right now, and he's got Wanda Sykes on there - and they were just discussing "fat people on planes" - same theory... taking up MY space)

At any rate, I landed in Raleigh about 30 minutes after B and we met up at the ticketing desk; we proceeded down to baggage claim to retrieve our luggage (I took all the bags with me this time, because being on military orders makes them ALL free) -- and -- can you guess?? NO BAGS!!

So, again I have to find the Delta baggage office and report my bags as missing... Seems that they were left behind in Atlanta and would be arriving on the 10pm flight. Uh, huh... B says it's 'cause I argued with the desk clerk at the Delta counter last Saturday and she has flagged my name in the system! LOL Supposedly the luggage will be delivered tomorrow morning... let me say it again -- DELTA SUCKS!!

It's nice, nice, nice to be home and I can't wait to see Baby Girl tomorrow!! It was great to see the boys tonight! I've missed them, too! The baby chins are adorable - there's one male and one female; Middle Child wants to keep the one that's almost (but not quite) white - thankfully she's the female! The little guy is the same beige that Misty and Slippers are - hopefully we'll be able to sell him in a couple of months. We do NOT need any more chins!!

Little Man's puppy will be ready the first week of March and he's anxious to get her. I'm not too excited to have to housebreak a dog again, but, I guess you do what you have to do. Elvis is continuing to lose weight, despite our best efforts... he's still moving around well and seems happy enough, so we keep on keepin' on. Herbie is doing very well on his reconstructed knee and is pretty much bearing full weight, which is GREAT! Doesn't seem like his diet has done much good, but we'll keep trying. I'd hate for him to blow out the other knee!!

Well, time to get some rest; it's nearly 11pm here, so my brain thinks it's almost 8pm, but Baby Girl will be up early, early, so I need to sleep while I can!!

Our final night in Vegas

Let me start by saying that the Criss Angel show was NOT worth the money we paid for the tickets. It's in a fairly small theatre, and we bought level 2 seating (there are a total of 5 levels); everybody seems to get a 35% discount -- military, anyone staying at the Luxor, anyone who texts a certain number to get a code... pretty much everyone! So, we ended up spending ONLY $150 for the pair of tickets... The show is billed as Criss Angel - Cirque du Soleil - which was a bit misleading. There are characters in the show that dance around, but I'd hardly say that it's on par with Cirque!! He also wasted a fair amount of time with the dramatic crap, and did very few illusions - so it was a bit disappointing. B and I decided that we'll just stick to watching him on TV if we're interested... we prefer the "street magic" and he really did none of that in the show.

On the flip side, last night we went to see Phantom. It's my all time very favorite show - I love, love, love Andrew Lloyd Weber, but Phantom is my favorite of all of his productions... I've seen it probably a dozen times in the last 15 years, on Broadway and several different travelling companies. With the single exception of the Broadway production, this one at the Venetian was the best I've ever seen. Again, it's in a fairly small theatre (considering that some of the venues I've gone to to see Phantom are huge arenas...) so there aren't really any bad seats. I didn't want to miss the chandelier effect (if you've seen Phantom, then you know what I'm talking about), so I bought tickets in row P (got a discount code online so I paid $250 for the pair), which was about 13 rows back from the stage - we actually ended up being directly underneath the chandelier, and it was quite dramatic when it fell!! Next time, because YES, I will go see it again, I'm thinking row E... I want a clearer view of the actors faces. In my opinion, it was money WELL spent!!

We had stopped in a little bar in the Venetian for a drink before the show, and since the prices were more reasonable that we'd experienced elsewhere, we went back after the production for more. The lounge show was a pretty good band who did a 70's rock show, which was bangin' so we sat there for hours, singing along and drinking!! Drinking a bit too much, I would say!! I had a Creamsicle Martini before Phantom, and 3 Margaritas after, and you could say that I was a bit drunk by the time we finally left the bar.... We walked down the strip to the Denny's for breakfast... haven't had a drunken breakfast in a long, long time! We walked a little farther and I managed to find the spray paint guys and bought a black and white picture that I'm going to frame and give to First Born.

We hopped in a cab to get back to the Luxor and crashed hard... I woke up this morning at 3am with a terrific headache. I drank a bottle of water, since I had no pain relievers (won't make THAT mistake again) and went back to bed. My headache eased a little bit, enough to let me sleep until about 7am. I felt better after a shower, and even better when my sweet husband brought me some Tylenol after his usual morning coffee run!!

So, when I was feeling a bit more human, we walked (again) to the Mirage for the buffet; we took a cab back because we were worn out!! All this walking is killing both of us! LOL I went to lectures all afternoon and then we checked out the Shark Tank, which was pretty nifty... they had a large, low corner aquarium in there that B seems to think we could duplicate for a few thousand dollars - in a Carolina room in our new house or something of the sort - that would be awesome :) Personally I thought that we should build something more like the 1.6+ million gallon aquarium with the shipwreck that you walk through, and use it as our living room/den, but he seems to think that would be out of our budget - LOL!!

This evening, we spent some time in the casino - B gave me $2 in a penny slot machine and I turned it into $14 (a happy, happy time) which I then lost in another machine. All told, I went through about $30 and B spent about $30 also - I think we lost less than $100 total this whole week, so it was mostly a success. The next time we come to Vegas, I'm going to bring a set amount of disposable cash that is to be "blown" in the casinos just for fun... I really had fun tonight playing the penny slots because you can play quite a while when you're only betting $.30/spin!! It would have been fun to toss in $60 or so, but I just wasn't mentally prepared to do that this time around! I'm too cheap, I guess!! LOL

I talked to Middle Child a couple of times today - he transferred Binki to my friend for cremation, and was content with that - he chose a little white urn and is going to get a lock of fur to keep as well. I need to get him some type of engraved locket to attach to the urn that can hold the fur for him. I know he will need to learn to let go, but I also think he should develop that on his own terms. On a good note, he did some internet reserach (usually that makes me cringe, but I pray that he has enough sense to at least ASK me if he finds questionable advice) and read that he should put contact lens solution on the baby chin's eyes -- and lo and behold, the eyes are now open!! I guess they were stuck with some schmoo from the birthing process, and the solution dissolved it -- that makes sense. Whatever the case, I am thankful that the little critter seems to be okay. His/her brother/sister is doing well also, according to all reports.

It's been a good trip, but a little too long for my tastes. I don't like being away from Baby Girl this long, and anything more than 3 or 4 days is too much for any vacation in my opinion. I guess my lack of tolerance has come with my age, but as much as I enjoy travelling, I just prefer to be at home!!

For a while now, my tentative plan is to take First Born to Vegas for his 21st birthday next year - he loves the numbers and statistics involved in gambling, and I think it would be fun to stay 2 or 3 nights in one of the swankier hotels up the strip and give him a lump sum of cash to wager. If he wants to bring his girlfriend along, we'll have to delay through the summer until she turns 21, but that's alright, too. I'll leave that decision up to him.

As much as B dislikes the Vegas experience, he told me today that he can see coming back for a veterinary conerence, especially if we can get the Army to pay for it again. It's a great conference, really... lots and lots of interesting lectures. I attended a bunch of practice management sessions this time around, and really got some fascinating information that I think will be of use to me in the not-so-distant future... but more about that later.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So much to do and so little time!!

Last night's "plan" was to go to the House of Blues for cheap beer and half priced appetizers... instead we decided to take a walk down the strip before we got too inebriated or tired to do it. We walked all the way from the Luxor to the Wynn -- for those who may be unfamiliar with the Vegas strip, let me assure you that it is a LONG WAY!! We stopped at the Bellagio to see the fountain show and at the Mirage for the Volcano show; and we walked through the Wynn, just to see how "the other half lives". LOL

We ended up stopping at Casino Royale for $1 margaritas and Michelob beer and ate $1.99 footlong hot dogs in the back of the casino. After the pricey lunch we had, we had to cut corners somewhere!!

There are so many little things along the strip that are absolutely facinating... we came across a booth with a guy creating incredible pictures using common Walmart spray paint. I can't begin to imagine what this guy saw in his head, but what he creates is amazing... I told B that we HAVE to go back because I fully intend to buy at least one of his pictures.

We were pretty much dragging by the time we got back; all told, we were out for nearly 5 hours, most of it we spent walking - we sat at the casino for probably 20 minutes, but that's about it. It was good exercise, if nothing else.

Today, I slept in again, then we went to the Mirage for the lunch buffet - cheaper (about $20pp) and much better food... I went to lectures this afternoon and met B "after hours" at the House of Blues - tonight we did the cheap beer and half priced appetizers for dinner!! We have tickets for the 9:30 Cris Angel/Cirque du Soleil show tonight which hopefully will be worth the $150 he spent for the tickets... I also bought tickets for tomorrow's Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian and I'm REALLY looking forward to that, as Phantom is my favorite show of ALL time!!

On a sad note, Little Man called me, crying, this morning... he went into Middle Child's room to check on the chinchillas and found Binki dead :( Middle Child is understandably upset... he liked Twinkle okay, but just loved Binki. I told him that he can keep one or both of the new twins - he wants the albino, but says that its eyes don't seem to be open yet, which is likely a problem as they are fairly precocious critters, but today I told him that a blind chin will still be fine, and he agrees... he wants to have Binki cremated, so I gave him a number to call for that... when it rains, it pours, huh???

Monday, February 15, 2010

I did finally make it to Vegas

Yesterday was a terribly long day... I developed a migraine-caliber headache around midnight on Saturday, so I slept very poorly - I got up early yesterday morning and went ahead to the airport, out of boredom more than anything else. It turned out to be in my favor because my original flight was late and I would have missed my connection out of Atlanta. So, I was put onto an earlier flight out of Greensboro and spent a little extra tine in Atlanta, but at the end of the day, I deplaned in Vegas and that's the important thing. Of course, things just don't seem to be going my way in general these days, so I wasn't totally surprised to find that my luggage didn't make it onto my flight... It did finally arrive at about 4 am :( Delta sucks!!

The Luxor (where our room is) and the Mandalay Bay (where the conference is) are connected by a shopping mall of sorts, so I can actually go from one to the other without going outside. Of course, each hotel has a huge casino, and the complex is like a small city... you never actually have to leave!! There are shops and shows and a dozen or more restaurants right here!! It's amazing...

We ate at the China Grill last night (inside MB) - I had a mango martini which was yummy (I'd never had a designer martini before, just a "real" vodka one that was gross... might as well have just taken a slug from the Grey Goose bottle!!)!! We got the "tasting menu" for dinner, which was $59pp but it was more food than we could eat and included things like lobster pancakes, Shanghai sirloin, wasabi mashed potatoes, crispy spinach and "bananas in a box" for desert - it was a full 6 course meal... We splurged a bit, but justified it in the name of V-day!

Today I slept in then we went to the MB buffet for brunch - the food was pretty good but not spectacular for $24pp. Tonite we're going cheap -- happy hour at The House of Blues, for $2 beers and 1/2 priced appetizers!! Gotta save where we can!

We're going to try to go to the Cris Angel/Cirque du Soleil show here, and I'd like to see Phantom at the Versailles; B wants to try the buffet at the Mirage also -- that's my baby... always thinking about food!! LOL

Total change of subject, but Patrick called today to tell me that Twinkle had twins and apparently that are both alive... *sigh*. What am I going to do with those chinchillas?!?


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Today has totally sucked!!

Today was the start of our mini vacation... my first trip to Vegas!! And - technically - the Western Veterinary Conference, but that's secondary or tertiary at this point-LOL

We has some snow last night but nothing major... work was hell and I got less than 2 hours of down time so I was already exhausted, but I figured I could sleep on the plane. I rushed home, finished packing and got a shower - and we were off!!

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare; since I'm flying on orders and can take luggage for free, I was planning on checking all the bags and leaving B just his computer to carry onboard. Since we weren't flying the same airline - I was on Delta, B on Continental - and we weren't even leaving from the same terminal, B dropped me off with the bags and went to park the car. Since we were early, he planned to come meet up with me after parking the car.

The first thing I discovered when I attempted to check the bags is that both of my flights were cancelled, and I was directed to get into an extremely long line to try to get redirected. I called B and told him to check on HIS flight before he came back to meet me.

He showed up about 15 minutes later with the news that he seemed to be okay... I called Carlson to see if they could get me a different flight, B called Continental to see if he could get me onto his flight. Continental told B that his flights were totally booked -- so you can imagine how pissed he was when his flight backed away from the gate with half the seats unoccupied!! But that's another story... Carlson couldn't get me out before 6pm tomorrow so I stayed in the line for the Delta counter, hoping for a better deal... silly me.

Eventually, B had to leave me - because the flights seemed to be cancelled arbitrarily, I was concerned about whether or not he would be able to switch to a flight later in the day, or even tomorrow, so I sent him on his original flight. Nearly 2 hours later I was finally at the desk and the ticket agent informs me that I have been rebooked on a flight to Vegas on --- wait for it --- TUESDAY!! WTF?!? I not-so-calmly explain to her that I am on orders and as of 0800 tomorrow, legally speaking, I will be AWOL. Tuesday was totally unacceptable.

She hemmed and hawed but I refused to give in and she grudgingly put me on a flight leaving at 11:30am tomorrow -- OUT OF GREENSBORO!! Now here's another problem!! Greensboro is an hour and a half away... I can drive my car there, but my return flight is to RDU... so, what then?? I asked her how I am supposed to make this work when I have no car to transfer over... and she told me it was my problem. As was the dilemma of what to do with myself tonite. "It's the weather, ma'am; we have to make arrangements to take care of ourselves". I really HATE it when someone uses the familiar like that, AS IF they are in the same situation and can empathize!! She was very rude and really pissed me off (in case you hadn't picked up on that already). The only good thing she did was to refer me to the USO Club... of course, it was in the other terminal and I had to walk over there with all the luggage, but the volunteers were really great... I was so furious by the time I got over there that I was crying, and they gave me a drink and the ladies hugged me... They kept my luggage while I went down to the Southwest counter to see if they could help me.

The agent at Sourhwest was fantastic and tried her hardest... she did find me a flight this afternoon to Baltimore, but it would still involve an overnight on my dime plus a very real possibility that I would NOT be able to recoup the $700 for the ticket. In the end, I decided to rent a car, drive to G'boro, get a room and get some sleep!! I've had approximately 5 hours of sleep since 6:30am on Thurs (something like 56 hours ago) and I'm just whipped!!

Back up to the USO Club I went, where one of the volunteers called around until she found me a rental car... I guess with so many flights cancelled, everyone is renting cars... She had to call around to find me one!! I got the shuttle over to Avis and picked up a real POS Hyundai, sub-compact and absolutely bottom of the line, but still somehow cost me $80!!! Don't you just love it?

I finally made it to Greensboro, though I felt I was really fading there at the end, and am checked into the airport Marriott... the hotel and the room are really nice, even if they DO charge $.49/min for Internet... guess it's TV tonight for me!! LOL. The room cost about the same as the freakin' car! Room service has been ordered, including a Foster's, and I'm chillin'. I don't think I'll last much longer tonight.

I need to keep reminding myself that tomorrow HAS to be better!! It just HAS to be!!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's been a long time

since I've posted anything; not that nothing has been happening - more that I just have lacked the energy to make the effort to write anything down :(

We lost Fifi on February 2nd; it's no secret that she and I only tolerated each other; the younger boys were even getting tired of having to deal with her constant messes - and I had noticed, the last time First Born was down here, he excluded her for the most part, very unusual for him as he and Fifi had this strange mutual adoration going on - every bit as intense as the dislike she and I shared, but a totally opposite emotion.

The boys were at their dad's; B was out somewhere; I was fighting over the phone with the idiot salesman at the Audi dealership in NY -- I finally hung up on his (for the second time) and decided to let the dogs out as Elvis was pacing around the kitchen and the clack-clack-clack of his claws on the flooring was driving me bonkers. I called Fifi, she didn't come - not surprising as we've felt for some time that her hearing was significantly impaired. I called again, and again nothing. She was curled up in her usual spot - between the sofa and coffee table in the living room - I prodded her gently with my toe (yes, it WAS gentle because, despite the fact that I didn't adore her, she would bite if the prod was anything BUT gentle!)... suffice it to say that she was something less than pliable at that point. I have no idea exactly when it happened; she was lying there when I got home that morning, but I let her be because she had already peed and pooped on the floor in my absence, so I saw no reason to make her go outside. I did some things around the house, including cleaning up her mess, took a shower and then got on the phone with the guy in NY... the rest, I've already talked about.

I packed her up into a box until I could talk to First Born and see what his desire was for her remains. He elected to have her cremated so I called a guy that used to work with me at AUC - he owns a crematorium. He met me the next morning to gather her body; the cremains will be returned to Chris in about 2 weeks. Chris also asked for her leather "Biker Bitch" vest and her doggles. I found her Harley hat and a good picture of her in the leather attire, perched on the seat of J's Harley - I have those gathered up for him. He was very upset, obviously - and his FB status the next day said something to the effect that he was at work, desperately trying not to think about his dog.

For my part, I feel like shit about it. As I've already said, it's no secret that we didn't like eachother, but now that's she's gone, I don't feel the relief that I expected - I feel guilty - for not pampering her, for harsh discipline, for whatever... even though she didn't like me, I feel bad for not trying harder...

And, Elvis, who I have had since he was about 8 weeks old, and who is now about 12-1/2, is slowly wasting away in front of my eyes, and there is nothing that I can do about it. He has totally lost his appetite and I struggle daily to get any food into him. He's eating 2-3 times per week at this point and getting thinner daily. I'm very worried about him starving to death, but I will say that his attitude is good he's still relatively active; about "normal" for him with his hip dysplasia. He is just a bag of bones wearing a fur coat at this point and I'm very frustrated and confused... B and I are leaving on Saturday and will be gone for a week - my parents are coming down to watch Baby Girl; with my mother just having lost her mother last month, she's not in any state emotionally speaking, to have to deal with Elvis' condition. It would tear her to pieces to have to make the decision to euthanize him in my absence. So, I am considering, if I cannot find something, anything, that he will eat at least once a day, euthanizing him before I leave this weekend. I don't want to... truly I don't; just the idea brings tears to my eyes; but at the same time, I really don't want to allow him to or watch him starve to death, which is where we're currently headed.

We've tried just about everything... we've totally abandoned his dry dog food; the canned food interested him for a week or so, but he won't eat it any more. I've bought the natural stuff as well as several varieties of stuff that looks like it would be appropriate for human consumption. He will eat, small amounts, at least once, but then turns away from it the next time it's offered. We've tried cooking for him, with the same results. I guess it's just getting to be his "time" but it sure is hard to make that call!!

For now, I'm going to take a nap; I've got some type of bug - started right after I got the damned H1N1 vaccine - not sure if there's any correlation, but I was not the only one in my unit to have this trouble. I've come across several people who seemed to get the flu after getting the flu vaccine!! This is why I didn't want the stupid vaccine in the first place!! Oh, well...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It was twenty years ago today...

that I became a mother for the first time. I was fairly young, though I certainly felt that I was "all grown up". I was 12 days past my Christmas Day due date, retaining an unbelievable amount of water, and just plain miserable. For three days, at the direction of my doctor, I had been calling in to the hospital to see if they could induce me; the first two days, I was told they were too busy... on January 6th, I was finally told to come in. I showered and dressed in one of the few things that I could still fit into - a sorority sweatsuit from my time at Florida State - and my sneakers which I could no longer even tie over my chubby edematous feet.

My body was showing no signs of going into labor spontaneously, so I was hooked up to a pitocin drip around noon. All day and into the evening this continued... yet my body wasn't responding well - I was dilating very slowly. Finally, at 10pm, the decision was made to stop the drip, move me onto the OB floor for the evening and restart the next day.

Of course, things don't always go as planned, especially where I'm concerned. Though they stopped the drip and gave me sleeping pills, my labor continued and progressed; I was up all night in agony - First Born was facing front and I had terrible back labor. At 5am, I convinced the nurse that I NEEDED an epidural so they called for the anesthesiologist. The contractions were so intense and so close together that it was difficult for me to remain motionless during the procedure - and I worried that I would be paralyzed because I failed to hold still (this was before I went to vet school, and I had very little medical knowledge).

The epidural was heavenly, for a little while - I watched the monitor recording the strength of the contractions that I could no longer feel... but shortly, the tubing slipped out and the anesthetic wore off - and again I could feel everything. The nurse called the anesthetist back in and he placed a second epidural, but it didn't seem to function properly. I could still feel the contractions but I couldn't move my legs at all (?!?); very strange for me.

Finally, finally, I was "complete" and they wheeled me down the hall to the delivery room (this was before the days of birthing centers - with First Born, I started out in a labor room, was moved to a delivery room for the birth, and then taken upstairs to the OB hall for recovery). They only allowed two people to go into the delivery room with me - my husband and my sister - and they both had to change into sterile clothing. I was so very tired at this point - I had been in labor for nearly 24 hours - AND I'd been given sleeping pills; most of the time in delivery is a blur, but I do remember that I was covered in sterile drapes and the doctor kept telling me to keep my hands under the drapes, which was driving me nuts for some reason.

At 12:33pm, after pushing a half dozen times, I delivered First Born -- 13 days late. He weighed in at 8 lbs, 9 oz... a big boy!! He was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

I grew up a lot in the next year - I had to. I was married, but I was still a single mother - my husband at the time was of the opinion that the house and children were a woman's burden, despite the fact that I also worked a full time job. Might be part of the reason that that marriage didn't last...

Fast forward 7 years, and lo and behold, I'm back in the hospital giving birth AGAIN!! I was 12 days past my Christmas Day due date with son #3 at my OB visit on Monday; my doctor told me that induction was inevitable and asked me to pick a date. It was the 6th; First Born had asked me NOT to have the baby on HIS birthday (LOL), so we chose the 8th for the induction. I was to report to the hospital on Wednesday at 6am.

Of course, things don't always work out the way we want them to... and I went into labor on my own that night about 10:30pm. By 3am, we were headed for the hospital as the contractions were less than 7 minutes apart. At 6:30am, the doctor delivered Little Man (strangely enough, it was also HER birthday!!) - he weighed a whopping 9 lbs, 10 oz!!

First Born has grown into such a wonderful man - truthfully, it's hard for me to think of him as a man... though he's nearly as old today as I was when he was born, he'll always be MY baby. He is strong and flexing his wings as he becomes more and more independent, yet when he comes home, he's my little boy again. I see less and less of him, which I suppose is the natural order of things - he prefers the company of his girlfriend to that of his mother, and I try to remember when I felt that way myself. It's nothing personal; he's just growing up.

Little Man still has some growing and maturing to do, but his heart is as big as the sky; he is such a loving and thoughtful soul, and so sensitive that I worry for the hurt he endures at the hands of his brothers and other thoughtless people. I know that I can't protect him from that, but I still try as he's my baby.

Today my boys turned 20 and 13; they are brilliant, loving, caring, sensitive, thoughtful children and every day I feel blessed because truly they have taught me as much as I have taught them over the years. I believe that I am a much better person because of my children, as I strive each day to be "good enough" to be their mother. I'm far from perfect and I have failed them in little ways at times, but I guess that's part of being human.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My grandmother passed away last night

and I am terribly sad, not that that is so unexpected... and not that her death was really unexpected either. But,she was always such a vital, vibrant woman - it's almost inconceivable to me that she is permanently and forever gone from this earth.

If I look at is objectively, I know that she (and by extension, we) were blessed as I honestly cannot remember a time in my 42 years that my grandmother was ill, except for the last 7 months of her life. Now, I'm sure that she had her share of colds or had the flu here and again, but she lived to the ripe old age of 91-1/2 years old and her only chronic affliction was mild arthritis. She was still very active, travelling yearly with my mother, taking care of her household, enjoying her life, even though she had slowed down a little bit these last few years.

It still doesn't feel "real" to me. I'm not used to seeing her all that often, and to be honest, I was a less-than-perfect granddaughter as I also failed to call her as often as I should have. I think that it will really hit me next December, as I have spent every single Christmas in the last 42 years with her.

The last 7 months have been difficult for my grandmother. The surgery was very hard on her and left her wanting to die. But, gradually, as she recovered and gained strength, she began to feel more positive and began to get back to her life. It seems that, just as sht had resumed a relatively "normal" activity level - though she still seemed very weak and frail to me, almost as if she had aged greatly overnight - there was a set back... wevere inflammation of her GI tract that left her very uncomfortable. Her appetite decreased again, and my uncle and mother had to begin administering the morphine to try and ease her pain. On the third night of this, my uncle and his girlfriend sat up in my grandmother's room as she slept because she was breathing very shallowly - her hands were cyanotic, my uncle tells me, and he was very worried about her. Finally, he woke her and gave her anotherh dose of morphine - and as the drug entered her system, her breathing eased and leveled out and the color returned to her hands... they felt comfortable enough to leave her and go to bed themselves as it was getting late.

They had set up, some time ago, a baby monitor so that my uncle could listen for and care for my grandmother at night... my uncle says that approximately 10 minutes after he retired to his own bedroom, my grandmother just stopped breathing... and she was gone.

He called my mother shortly after midnight and she went to the house; as there was nothing to be done, M and I weren't called until this morning.

I am grateful that she is at peace; I am grateful that she did not suffer for long; I am confident that she is in a much better place tonight; but my heart is broken and I miss her.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to 2010!!

OMG! I can't believe it's another new year!! We spent New Year's up in Philly - took Baby Girl and hopped on a plane (she's no more fond of planes than she is of cars, unfortunately!)

We flew up on Wednesday (the 30th) and were in Philly by noon; we got some hoagies from a real sh!thole of a place - B assured me that they are the best hoagies in Philly - and they WERE really good (and huge)!! We ate them at Uncle B's shop while having a little visit. Baby Girl warmed right up to him again and was soon crawling up in his lap for snuggles!! He was absolutely tickled pink.

We stayed at one of the downtown (Center City) hotels - on the 24th floor... It snowed Wednesday night which Baby Girl thought was wonderful. Thursday, we went to the Benjamin Franklin Institute, which was really neat - I'd never been there before - lot of hands on stuff for Baby Girl, even though she was a bit young to appreciate most of it. We kind of caught the early fireworks on New Year's Eve (I say "kind of" 'cause we were stuck in traffic...) and then ate dinner at a tiny, but very authentic place down in Chinatown.

I woke up sick on Friday... not as bad as B and Baby Girl have been, but just feeling "puny" - we watched the beginning of the Mummer's Parade on the TV while Baby Girl was napping, then bundled up and went down into town. We couldn't get to any of the places that the string bands were performing, but we did get to see the elaborate costumes - Baby Girl watched intently! The parade wasn't progressing in a very "normal" manner - there were huge, huge gaps between the bands - sometimes more than 15 mins - and after a while, B declared that "this sucks" and we went back to the hotel. For all the bundling that we did, poor Baby Girl was freezing - she refused to let me cover or warm her hands and I worried that she might never warm up, even though it wasn't really ALL that cold outside - it was in the low 40's I think - but, still, she's so little!!

We had to get up at an unreasonable hour this morning to get to the airport; our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:40am, but the check in line for Southwest was truly ridiculous (took us about an hour to get through), so they delayed take off to wait for all the stragglers - we didn't actually leave until nearly 8:30... despite the fact that they allow more than ample time required to physically fly, we were late getting into RDU - we stopped in Raleigh at an iHop for breakfast and Baby Girl gobbled down a huge portion of cheesy eggs!! Despite the continually running nose, she seems to be feeling MUCH better.

I tried to pick the dogs up this afternoon, but B had failed to mention that the kennel was closing at noon today - he says that he didn't see the huge sign that was prominently displayed on the door... I think he just didn't bother to read it... either way, now they're stuck until Monday, with no medication and without their own food, and it's going to cost me an extra $80, so I'm none too happy. B did apologize for not seeing the sign, IF it was there when he dropped off the dogs on Wednesday... whatcha gonna do??