Sunday, September 30, 2012

Late Night with Looseyfur

At this point, I should be hosting some kind of night-time talk show from my bedroom. Last night I could not fall asleep until 4:45 a.m. The night before was 2:30 a.m. In my every day life, I usually fall into bed at 9:30 p.m. and am wiped out from my day. Since I'm all sedentary... I'm not tired, until I am. Not even Melatonin helps.

I did get out on Saturday to a neighborhood BBQ. I wasn't there very long because crutches are exhausting, but it was really nice to see our friends. I came back early, but MacTroll and X-man ended up staying until almost 11:30 a.m. It was like a fall version of New Year's.

As it turns out, the whole neighborhood appears to be having some kind of health fun. I had my cast and crutches. Another neighbor broke her foot that morning going down the stairs and was in a walking cast and had crutches. I also have a friend who is due with her third baby boy in October, who is ready not to be pregnant any more.

I also got to be social today with my friend Tiff and from Libbygirl. It was nice to FaceTime with her this evening. Her new school sounds like it's going well, and I'm so happy for them.

On Oct. 10, my Dad is going to be here to take me to my next podiatry appointment. I'm not sure if my cast will last that long. Between you and me, it already feels loose, but I just got it five days ago. I'm getting very eager to get to the "movable" part of my recovery.

Sitting around on my ass is just not for me. But I keep telling myself to take it one day at a time. It's all a girl can do right? Mostly, I've been lying here suppressing the want to jump up and go for a run. My usual workout schedule is 60 minutes of cardio 4-5 days a week. So I'm going crazy just sitting here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stupid Guilt

For the last two nights two voles have been scratching at the basement window well window. They've eaten all of the weeds growing in the vicinity. And last night... one of them died. The other is now currently curled up next to the dead one, just like I imagine they would be snuggled together in the middle of the night for warmth.

I get that they're vermin. That it's the circle of life. That I'm not really equipped right now to take a tiny escape ladder and free them. But I hate it. The way I hate the idea of hunting.

I had a terrible time sleeping last night, which makes me want to just take a long nap. But I also get that if I make it to 8 p.m. tonight I'll be able to try to get back on a schedule where I'm asleep by 10:30 p.m.
I also need to shower. Maybe I'll feel more like myself afterwards.

But right now, I feel really terrible about the tiny, dead fuzzy thing outside the window... and the doom awaiting his friend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Medicine and a Movie

As it turns out, Dr. Kluesner removed 1/2 of my staples today. The nurse also recasted me (It's Green!), which was much less painful than last time, although, I think they really mean for this cast to stay on for two more weeks and then the rest of the staples will be removed, because she put the new cast on pretty tight. So I'm back on the ice bottles. But I didn't almost pass out this time. So you know -- that's good.

I pre-ordered The Avengers and got it from iTunes yesterday, so we had a family movie night. I started the movie after Loki's arrival, because I deemed that part too scary for X-man. But liked the rest of the movie. There is a time in the war where the team starts to look like they're getting beat, so he got worried. But then they came out on top. The hulk, not surprisingly, was his favorite character by the end. I felt the same way when I saw the movie the first time.

But I hadn't seen any of the other Marvel movies besides the two Iron Man's before this one came out. I still haven't seen the prior two Hulk movies. But I did see Thor (which was awful) and I watched Captain America (which I really kind of liked) and let X-man see. And Black Widow does deserve a movie of her own.

I know he's old school. But he appeals to my altruistic side. He's classy and polite. I also guess that I missed that the reason Dr. Banner became Dr. Banner was that he was trying to use gamma rays to replicate the serum that made Captain, Captain.

Yes, I am a geek.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Notes from the Bed

Tomorrow, I'm going in to see Dr. Kluesner a few days early. The swelling of my foot has gone down significantly and I have some freedom to move my leg in my cast. This also might be some muscle atrophy. So, they'll probably recast me a few days early tomorrow, and I'll find out if this adjusts when they take out the staples. I am completely off the ugly oxycodone, and outside of the occasional bee-like sting when a staple in my leg snags on the gauze on my leg, I'm in relatively no pain. I still ice every 90 minutes, but I'm not sitting here with ice under my knee all the time to keep the swelling down.

I also know I'm coming around because I paid bills today, typed of the library board minutes for the meeting next Tuesday, that I plan to go to (thanks to a ride from a fellow board member) and went through my inbox. It also feels nice because it's clean sheet day. Hey, you have to take your good times any way you can get them.

So in the good column, besides clean sheet day (which happens every 3 days), also is the amount of food the neighbors have been handing over to MacTroll and X-man. It's very helpful. Thank you. MacTroll, although a wonderful cook, isn't great on the day to day menu. He's more of a "I like to cook for 20" kind of guy. He's an extraverted entertainer.

I've also almost bit it trying to sit on the toilet about a half dozen times. Clearly, I needed more Bosu ball stabilization work on my left leg before I got the cast on. :-) I'll have to remedy that issue when I'm out of it.

Also good is the care package from my SIL in Baltimore. She always knows enough to send good chocolate. :-) And X-man and I have been playing the "Hang Woman" game. X-man was fascinated by the idea that it was an introduction to "coding." He's big into ninjas and secret agents. And he now knows in order to crack codes, he's got to keep working on spelling. He hates writing, so the game also helped with that. Each of the alphabet letters is covered by that silver stuff you scratch off when you play lotto. So he gets to scratch away my letters as I guess them and write them in the space.

My Mom also taught him how to play bejeweled (the zen version with no time clock or end in sight). So he comes down and we play that together.

KTDID came by yesterday for a visit. She was here for six hours and I don't think between her and MacTroll that I'd laughed that hard in a long time.

I also have plenty of fuzzy visitors.

I also finished watching the first four seasons of Mad Men and the first three seasons of White Collar on Netflix. LL recommended White Collar to me because it wasn't too cerebral and my past love of another USA Network show. And I have to admit I like it and not just because Matt Bomer is ever so pretty (even though, I'm pretty sure I could just sit in a room and watch him move and be quite content). It makes me laugh and I like how the writer actually writes women who are very different and smart and capable. It did more for me than Hunger Games did...

Tomorrow, MacTroll's parents are coming while we go to the doctor because X-man has the day off of school and MacTroll has to get some work done.

I think once the staples come out, I'll be okay to travel more. So don't be surprised if you see me driving one of those fancy motorized carts at the store! I'm actually kind of excited about that. Maybe I'll take a trip to Target. But staples need to come out first!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Each year X-man's school has one fundraiser. The students ask for contributions to the PTA. In exchange the students attend and complete a 3k run/walk. If they reach a particular goal, the principal and assistant principal promise to do something -- crazy.

In prior years, Principal Scott has eaten crickets, shaved his head, been duct taped to a wall and had pies thrown in his face, and this year he (and assistant principal Ms. Magrini) agreed to be slimed with a concoction of vanilla pudding mixed with heavy food coloring.

In addition, the top two fundraisers from each grade were welcome to come up and put small whipped cream pies into the faces of other teachers.

X-man was very excited because one of his teachers volunteered to be a pie recipient. And since X-man got to throw a pie in Mr. Scott's face last year, and a pie into the face of a camp counselor at family camp when he was 4, he has become quite the fan of whipped cream pie throwing.

The whole school came together for the assembly last Friday. I wasn't there, so MacTroll took photos for me. He also said the kids raised over $9,000 (their goal was $8,500) so they were definitely sliming the principal. The donation sheet said the PTA was using the money for an accessible basketball hoop to be used during recess. There are all kinds of them in the gym, but the two outdoors near the playground don't look adjustable, so this makes sense to me, since all kinds of children attend Carrie Busey.

X-man got to pie Ms. Retallick and slim Mr. Scott. Plus, it was pizza day at school. So, you know, it's pretty much his favorite school day ever.

For the most part, this year is going very well. He's gotten terrific notes every day he's attended school, except for the half day. (I'm not sure how he got five tally marks/resets in the three hours he was there, but we chalked it up to having a bad day.) His teachers have had very nice things to say about him. And he is very comfortable in the daily regimen (despite how grouchy he is coming down to breakfast).

I'm really relieved that he's doing so well and likes it so much.

In other news, I took a field trip upstairs this weekend. I sat in our big chair in the living room for an hour with my foot up on the armrest and watched Big Jack play Wii with X-man. I also looked through the pile of catalogs that had accumulated on my desk and tossed them into the recycling. I know that is almost productive, right?

Don't kill me. But I've started Christmas Shopping. :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Six Year Old Lip

MacTroll's been in charge of everything for a week, and today he looked like he was going to take someone's head off. The boys weren't home much between going to therapy, getting Culver's for dinner and then attending X-man's open house at his school. But when they got home, X-man was exhausted. He ran downstairs to say hi and talk about things and then when MacTroll was at the top of the stairs, X-man ran over and kneeled on step number two. Then his brain must have told him to sit, because he leaned back and fell down two steps onto his butt. He falls a lot when he's tired, except usually it's off the giant sofa or the dinner chair.

MacTroll let him watch TV for a minute while he talked to me. And then I asked if X-man had done his homework yet.

MacTroll went upstairs to do some dishes and facilitate homework and bed time. And X-man protested. He said a bunch of words that I'm sure, if we were in an episode of Mad Men and MacTroll was Betty Draper, would have gotten X-man slapped across the kisser. (It was something equating the idea that his father could go upstairs and kill himself before X-man was going to go up to go to bed. Instead he was going to be defiant and watch TV. -- Not a surprise that he didn't get his way.)

I only heard MacTroll raise his voice once today when he was trying to get X-man out the door on time for the open house. But there has been a lot of groaning. And it's been a full day.

Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday, and at least the business stuff can take a backseat. But I think I'll lay low.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today's Joys

Today I got to spend a lot of time with X-man after school. It was really nice. He grabbed a snack when he returned from the Mathman and came down and talked to me for an hour. Getting a six year old to sit still for anything that doesn't guarantee to blow up or have a screen on it is kind of a big deal, and it made me miss him like crazy.

He told me about his day. He told me about worries. He got really worked up when he told me that his art teacher told him Van Gogh died a different way than the ways the news and wikipedia reported. (He insists she said that he was shot by accident by a child. I said that the assumption was that he had killed himself, but that they had never found the gun. There are similar conflicting reports about the ear cutting off business, but he said his art teacher never told him about that. So, um, I did. You never know if she said all this and he didn't hear (or comprehend) or if she read a book about the various other theories (that a fight with Paul Gauguin, who was an awesome fencer, eventually lead to his ear being cut off) and he only focused in on one. Sometimes his facts are just a bit off. And the idea that someone he looks up to as "knowing" things could be wrong makes him very nervous. But it was a good talk.

Also a topic of conversation was entering the Lego Exposition at the Orpheum Children's Museum this weekend. He had to finish it to turn it in tomorrow (since he'll be downtown for therapy anyway). So he went upstairs with MacTroll tonight. MacTroll sat down and built his own creation, while X-man told a story and then whipped up a vehicle to go along with his story. I think we're going to need to start taking photos of each creation and the words he uses and making them into books. They're so detailed and amazing. It reminds me of when he turned three and us telling him stories at night about his favorite heroes became us telling joint stories and then each of us telling stories. God, I wonder if he remembers that year of progression. It was awesome. I doubt it though because he learned about Van Gogh at pre-school (including the ear) and had no memory of it. But I'm glad that I do.

Anyway, if it's a gross day, or you have a child that really likes Legos, the exhibit is from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Orpheum. Children can drop off entries into the exhibit ($5 per entry). Each child gets a prize and is entered with other children his or her age. Plus, there's a raffle that you don't have to stick around for at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

In other lovely news, I woke up from a long morning nap at 11 a.m. today. I felt pretty terrible, but I got up and got into the shower by myself. I purchased a shower chair and this awkward cast cover in order to do it, but I felt better doing something out of bed. And well, I'm not a fan of being stinky, so I'm in there at least every other day. Who knew that taking a shower by the time you get everything ready could be so exhausting. Well, that and I almost fell over holding on to one crutch while brushing my hair. The cast cover worked really well, but it's a strange thing to pull on. I sat down on the chair with my right leg out of the shower (it's not comfortable to fit in the small basement bathtub, and feels better kind of "up"). And then I washed. MacTroll had gone out and purchased a shower head with a sprayer on it, which has helped a lot, too.

When I got out of the shower, Maya was at the top of the stairs Meowing. I texted up to MacTroll an order for lunch after I got back to bed and set myself up with a clean, XL men's t-shirt (Save Ferris!) and a new ice bottle under my knee (if you ice the knee, it carries the cool blood down to your ankle to help with swelling, since you can't get any ice through the thickness of the cast).

Turns out, since she spent the evening with me yesterday, she wanted to do it again. She laid with me all afternoon. She's a total purr monster.

I'm only really taking the pain meds when I need to sleep, which I think is good. It's impossible to get comfortable, but I do my best.

My hope is that tomorrow, maybe I can do some online banking and write some thank you notes to the totally appreciated and unexpected meals that have been coming to our doors. It's really been helping MacTroll out a lot.

He's been doing really well taking care of me. I wish I was better company for him though.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

And the stir crazy starts...

If you know me or you're a frequent reader, you know that I am not a person who sits still. And though I enjoy the rare days when I get to stay in my pajamas all day and snuggle with my boys and my fuzzes or when I get away by myself for a few days each year, I'm not a person who often finds comfort in lying about.

I'm restless. I have no idea how to sit still. It's one of the reasons I've always liked working with little kids. They move -- until they collapse at nap time -- they recharge with a purpose and then are up and ready to live life to the fullest.

It's now a complete five days after my surgery. This is the longest I can ever remember being "sick." Usually by now I'd have beaten the flu or pneumonia or gotten over strep throat.

But I still have 4 weeks left to my non-weight bearing status, and I talk to people about 30-60 minutes a day. I don't get many things done because the pain meds make it hard to focus. So I've been watching a lot of Netflix. I'm almost finished with Seasons 1-4 of Mad Men. I'm not even excited about the show. It's just something new, and if I fall asleep, I don't feel like I miss much.

Tonight, Lily opened the back door. X-man noticed and shut it and then immediately told MacTroll and I. While X-man was in the shower, MacTroll went on a cat count. Clawdio was missing.

I kept hearing this noise of a cat on plastic, so I thought he might have snuck down and crawled under my bed in the basement. I called MacTroll down, but he wasn't there. Then after he left, I heard the noise again, and I remembered how in our old house, if Clawdio managed to sneak out, he'd stand under the porch directly under the open door where I was calling for him meowing. He wanted me to take him in, but I couldn't reach him because he was under the porch. He had to walk out from underneath it to get back inside.

So I looked out my basement window, and I swore I heard cat paws on plastic. He had been lying on top of the plastic covering staring at me. I sent MacTroll out for him. But the elderly black cat ran past the door and the other way. At this point, MacTroll is getting frustrated, because he knows Clawdio only like me.

So, I crawled on my hands and knees up the stairs with one crutch. I pulled myself to the back door on my butt and I called. But there was nothing. I insisted the cat was in the raspberry bush. MacTroll felt differently. "He's black. He's scared. And it's Dark. But he's there. Trust me."

Five minutes later, he saw him and flushed him out. Clawdio ran, but Lily chased him rather than herded him around the back of the hot tub. I managed to get Lily into the house and then I stood on one leg while Clawdio ran back to the lighted plastic covering over the basement window well. He let out a meow of defeat and MacTroll scooped him into his arms.

Then I started going back down to the basement. By the time I got down there my left glutes were sore from standing on one leg and my right quad was sore from heaving around the cast.

A dilemma, that had I been healthy, would have taken three minutes and maybe me getting a couple small scrapes from a raspberry bush.

My child doesn't come down to say goodnight any more. I eat most of my meals alone. I've gotten a couple nice visitors and calls. But I don't know how to answer the "How are you feeling?" question. Sometimes it hurts like hell. Sometimes it's just annoying. And sometimes, I've been asleep for so long, my brain can't process how it feels.

I know bed rest isn't easy for anyone. I've always crossed my fingers and hoped to avoid it. But now I'm stuck with it, so I better try to make the best of it.

One thing's for sure. I'm not going to crawl back upstairs for a while, so I hope that all the cats stay inside.

Monday, September 17, 2012


I had my post-op appointment with Dr. Kluesner at 10 a.m today. I was feeling pretty good about my crutch abilities until I got to the front door of Christie (we parked at a spot next to the handicap spots so it wasn't too far away from the door). Then there was an older gentleman there to greet us and he offered a wheel chair, and to my surprise, I took it. And now I'm glad I did.

We were welcomed to our appointment and I popped out of the wheelchair and into the exam chair. One of the nurses asked me health-related questions like what kind of drugs I was on (see how they repeat that no matter how many times you see them). Except that they left off one of the two drugs that I have a problem with, which is weird because I'd been in that office six time to see him and it's always been on it, although the second time, I had to fix it because they'd written down Iodine instead of Codeine. The nurse (she was new) immediately freaked out that I'd had a drug problem and hadn't told anyone before surgery. When I said that it was on the list for every prior appointment and that it was on the list that I gave both Carle and Kluesner's offices (that they repeated back to me) several times the prior week, she just went silent.

Then another nurse came in and started cutting off my splint. She left the last bit of cloth for the doctor to do, because I guess some people pass out.

I'm not a terribly squeamish person. Blood doesn't bother me. Needles don't bother me. But for some reason, I always thought that when I was getting a shot, I shouldn't watch. So I look away when they take blood or I get a flu shot. But today, I was reclined while they cut the heavy splint off and I didn't look. But I had MacTroll take photos.  you an a see that I did a pretty good job of keeping the swelling down. My little toes look like sausages, but that the incision's pretty long. Still, I don't think I look too crazy.

The close up reveals many, many staples. He had to restructure both my peroneal tendons, remove my extra bone and he ended up finding that I had two ligaments that were totally torn and had to sew them back together. He took (or had someone take) pictures of my surgery. I think when I go back in two weeks, I'll see if he'll share them with me. I'm kind of curious about what it looked like in there versus what I've seen on the Internet.

The doctor pulled out my drain, which was an odd feeling. There's this tube hanging out of your body, and so I breathed in and when I exhaled, he quickly pulled a few inches of tubing out. He put pressure on it to stop any bleeding and then it was done. But there was kind of this "zip" feeling during the pull and a slight burn, as things inside my leg that I'm not used to feeling actually touched a foreign object inside my skin.

The hard part about this appointment was actually the casting. The nurse raised the chair and had me dangle my legs off of it. This was the first time besides going to the bathroom and my two quick shower chair situations, where I had my leg below my heart. She moved my foot back so that my knee and my ankle were both in a 90-degree angle so she could cast. Everything in my leg just got tightened. And it protested. It didn't hurt, it just felt like it couldn't move any further, but then it did. Suddenly, I got really hot and lightheaded. I told the new nurse, and she ran and got me a cool rag to put on my head and a glass of water to drink.

I leaned against the chair back sideways for support while the nurse wrapped my leg as quickly as possible. I chose a blue cast. Then I chilled out in the office until I felt like I wasn't going to pass out. I'm not sure if it was the feeling of getting my foot pushed to its limits, that I hadn't really been upright in a half of a week or being high on the pain meds that did it, but it was a bit disconcerting.

Overall, I've been kind of drugged a lot for the pain. I'm still supposed to remain on bed rest with my foot up to control the swelling for four. It was been nice that my aunt and uncle came over and brought dinner last night. KTDID has been over twice. I feel like a normal person when she's around. She makes me laugh and always has such good stories. A woman on the library board sent me a little get well book to read today, which was also very sweet. But mostly, it's been me watching Mad Men and rotating my leg a bit so it "cooks" evenly. :-)

Hopefully, MacTroll will run out and get a sharpie so any visitors can swing on down to the basement and sign my cast. I've never had one before. This is new to me. Although, I think we'll avoid putting any pressure on the outside of my leg near the incision. The cast is not as cushy as the splint, which is good in that it's not as bulky to haul around on the crutches, but bad in that any misplaced touching near the tender side is uber painful and makes me jump or shout (as MacTroll found out when we got home and I was trying to maneuver it out of the back seat effectively and touched it against a metal bit on the back of the driver's seat.)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

This is my Big, Big Foot

I reported for surgery at 6:10 a.m. at the Carle Surgery Center. They immediately gave MacTroll a number and a pager. The number would let him track where I was (pre-op, surgery, recovery, when the doctor would be coming to see him, etc.) on a big screen TV. The pager was for when he could come see me. 

I believe that nurses and medical assistants make or break your stay when it comes to health care, and the staff there was very, very nice. The first thing they did was have me undergo my second pregnancy test of the week because apparently there have been people who have popped up pregnant between their pre-op appointment and their surgery, but I'm getting used to how repetitive things are just to catch when people aren't getting their stories straight. By surgery date, I'd also realized when they got to the drug list to just say, "I'm only taking my iron and Vitamin D supplements. I stopped taking everything else a week ago."It was the fourth time in the last week, I'd been asked those questions and it goes faster than running through each individual med I might "sometimes" be on like Claritin or Exedrin Migraine, etc. 

I got undressed and into my hospital gown. I had chosen to wear an elastic wasted band skirt and a tank top with a built-in bra that day to make life after surgery easier. And it was a good choice, but you'll see why in a minute.

I met the anesthesiologist, Dr. Mendenhall. He asked if I had any questions or concerns. I told him that I didn't get sick the last time I had anesthesia, so I hope I wouldn't this time. They gave me some anti-nausea meds in my IV just in case. They also gave me an antibiotic. I did mention to the nurse that I got really cold, like to the point of my teeth chattering and my body shaking, when I woke up last time. 

Dr. Kluesner came in and met MacTroll. Then he had me repeat to him what work he was going to be doing on my foot that day. (He said he knew, but he needs me to tell him to be sure I understood what the procedure included.) I go through the items we had listed the week before and he seemed pleased that I understood what was going to happen so well. He marked up my leg and signed it. He expected the surgery to take two hours. 

Then they wheeled me down the hall into surgery. Kluesner was already there setting some things up. I transferred from the gurney onto the operating table. He asked me who was taking care of X-man today and I told him KTDID. Then they put a mask on my face and three breaths later I was pretty much out cold. 

I woke up to another nurse at my side in recovery. She was talking to me very gently. I could hear a little boy on the other side of the curtain waking up from his procedure. He was very sweet and happy with the nurses, and he was making me smile. My nurse got me some crackers and some water and then my teeth started chattering, so she blew up this giant plastic blanket of hot air over my body. I ate another cracker and then I fell asleep again. I was kind of in and out of it. And she'd ask me to tell me how my pain was and encourage me to eat another cracker and help me drink some water. I was at a 7-8 for a while after I woke up, so I got some morphine when the oral stuff wasn't enough. 

At 12:10 p.m., MacTroll got to come see me. My surgery had taken longer than they thought because the damage was worse than the MRI showed, and my muscle in my leg had moved into the area where the tendons were supposed to be, so the doc had to not only cut away scar tissue and recreate both my tendons, but he also had to cut away some muscle. MacTroll said the incision was longer, too. But Kluesner said everything came together well, so he expected me to have an excellent, but slow recovery. 

MacTroll helped me get dressed. This is what is on my leg and there's no size pants that I own or underwear that would allow this massive foot to go through the leg hole, so you know -- I went commando, no problem. 

The "Loosey" room in the basement is working out great. I had trouble getting up the one step in the garage to get into the house, so I just turned around, put down my crutches and skooched on my butt while dragging my leg along the floor from the garage to the basement stairs. Then I slowly skooched down the stairs. When I got to the bottom, I used the railing to pull myself up on my good leg, because hopping down those stairs would have been painful. 

Mactroll handed me the crutches and I made it to the bed with my wedge pillow, put up my leg, put a ice pack behind my knee (it cools the blood that then goes down to your ankle) and then took my pain pills. That plastic bulb on the top in the picture is drainage. MacTroll is draining it into a hospital-provided measuring cup and then writing down what's coming out of my leg. 

I want to thank Allison for loaning me her mini fridge. It's come in very handy. I also want to thank Janet from the library for bringing us lasagna dinner last night, and to Meghan for dropping off the awesome get well present this a.m. Chocolates and Fozzie Bear mugs are always welcome. It's also very nice that our neighbors have been offering to help by setting up play dates with X-man. My mom is here this weekend so the boys can go to Orchard Days and jump on inflatables, while I rest. But I want to give a big thanks to MacTroll and again to KTDID for taking such incredible care of me and X-man yesterday. 

I have no mobility right now. It hurts to get up and crutch my way over to the bathroom and back. Plus, I'm a little dizzy on the crutches because of the pain meds. But I think I'm getting it down. I'll be kind of in this haze for two weeks or so. If my blogging is sporadic, you'll know why. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


When I walked into the dorm room across the hall from mine during my freshman year of college (18 years ago), I did not expect to meet my best friend, especially when she took one look at me, raised her eyebrows in annoyance and didn't acknowledge my presence.

I will admit, I did look something like Blossom in linen overalls back in the day. 

I took the annoyed look personally and turned to leave the room figuring I would have to meet other people on my floor to make friends,when I spied a poster for a band that MacTroll's friend was in. I turned and asked whose "Neptunes" poster it was, and KTDID perked up. She also had a friend in the three-boy band. And her mood lightened considerably. Turns out, she wasn't all bad ass and evil, she was terribly homesick. We've been friends ever since. 

X-man has never known her as anything besides "Aunt KT." And although we're not sure he really understands that she's not related by blood, we do know that he understands she is related in all the ways that actually matter. 

And so he gets that when his Mom goes under the knife, Aunt KT is going to take him to school. She's going to pick him up. She's going to make sure that his life continues like normal, even when he feels like it's upside down. 

You can't thank a person enough for that kind of love. But I am grateful for it. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Circle of Soccer

Well, it's finally happened. I've become a soccer mom. Someone order me a minivan...

X-man decided this spring that he's too old for Little Gym (except maybe for Parents' Night Out, he says because he likes to play on the equipment). We got a flyer last fall for some place called Soccer Planet, an indoor soccer field/facility in North Urbana, that has non-competitive soccer classes and play for kids ages 3-9. I filed it into the back of my mind as something to do during the winter months.

We had signed X-man up for intro to Flag Football at the Savoy Rec Center, but apparently we were the only ones, so it got canceled. But X-man wanted to play a sport, so I brought up the fact that Soccer Planet was having an open house on Saturday afternoon.

And, like everything, it was like pulling teeth to get him out of the house to actually go. But then when we got there and he got to spend 20 minutes playing an organized game with other 5-7 year olds who hadn't played soccer before, he was in heaven.

So we signed up for the Saturday class called Big Feet for 5-6 year olds who hadn't played soccer before. He got a uniform and everything. His first day is this Saturday and it runs for 12 weeks.

I didn't start playing until after second or third grade. I'm kind of happy he wants to try a team adventure. He does so many things by himself (swim lessons, Mathman, therapy, etc.) that some team-based interaction would be a good thing to check out.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Grumble, grumble, health care

I guess the real doozy of U.S. Healthcare is that for as expensive as it is, you'd hope it would run like a fine oiled machine. But it doesn't. It's pretty repetitive and wasteful.

For example, the hospital that my surgeon is doing my procedure in next week called. It's the same hospital system as my primary care provider -- the one I have had since 2003. 

Turns out that the physical I had wasn't within 30 days, and even though my primary said that doing everything then was fine, the surgical aspect of her hospital disagreed. 

So, I get this nice woman on the phone. And she's not exactly clear, but she's very serious. She starts asking me all kinds of medical history questions -- questions that are on file already with her hospital from the 10 years of medical records she has in her hands. 

What's worse, is she has to ask things like my husband's name. It's like there's no carry over of information from place to place and it's 2012. 

My favorite health question was, "Do you have any swelling in your hands or feet?"
"Yes, in my right foot."
"Does your surgeon know this?"
"It's the reason he's operating."
"Uuuuhhhh, ohhhh! Wait, isn't the surgery your left foot?"

Now I sat with my doctor for 30 minutes this week while he carefully wrote out the surgical instruction of what and where he was going to do things. He had to fill it out twice. Once for his medical clinic and once for the surgery center. I had to sign both of them. I know what they said. 

I read somewhere that I should take sharpie and write on my left foot, "No!" I thought it was odd. Now I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a bad idea. 

Plus, she said that I failed to get a check up before surgery. I had to explain to her that my primary had messed up, not me. Then she said I'd have to see some random doctor for it. And I had to correct her that I have an appointment with my primary on Monday at 9. She didn't believe me. So she looked it up -- and yes, I had the appointment. Sigh.

My doctor gave me a list of things I cannot take within 7 days of the surgery. They included NSAIDs, aspirin, fish oil or Omega 3 supplements and any diabetic medication. He said I was fine to continue taking my Vitamin D, iron and multivitamin, as well as the fiber I sometimes have to take to help out with the iron supplement situation. 

Apparently, the hospital has blackballed my fiber. And I totally am going to ask the doctor why when I get in there. Are they afraid I'm going to "be regular" on the table for the less than 3-hour surgery? 

Then she said, "And I guess because of your age, you don't have a power of attorney for your health care or a living will."

"Actually, yes, I do. I've had them since I was 28." 

"Who has your POA?"
"My husband."
"I'm sorry, what was his name again?" 

It's just all very odd -- and annoying.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Right Appendage and Running the Halls

This is the last week before I have surgery on my peroneal brevis and peroneal longus tendons in my right ankle and foot a week from Thursday. I am not allowed to take any over the counter anti-inflammatories this whole week, so I'm going to be in a bit of pain. It'll be me and the ice pack hanging out on the sofa with my foot elevated -- a lot. It'll be good practice for the stupid amount of pain I'll be in when my foot swells up to the size of a basketball post surgery. Dr. Google sucks for things like this. Yes, I know what to expect, but I'm really not looking forward to the first week or so post surgery. I did, however, drop off the prescription for seven days worth of pain pills at the pharmacy today.

The rule is, and I promised my soul to Dr. Kluesner that I wouldn't break it, is that for two weeks, my foot is to be elevated above my heart except 1) when I go to the bathroom, 2) when I go to take a shower and 3) when I'm in the car going to my post operative appointments. So, I'll be stranded in my basement for two weeks. If you want to come on over and watch some TV with me or chat, feel free. We'll be in the pet-free, kid-free basement, which will be like my own private apartment until I'm off of crutches, which will be at least 4 1/2 weeks after the surgery. (4 days with a splint, 2 weeks in first hard cast, then suture removal and then 2 more weeks in another hard cast, followed by an air cast -- which I may or may not be able to stumble around in, it depends on the healing.)

But I'm kind of excited and -- dare I write it -- hopeful. Will this surgery finally end the 16-month ordeal? I mean, I can't even call it "the broken foot 2012" because it spilled over into a two-year period.

But I am also very nervous. Going into surgery is a bit like having to hire a lawyer. You always feel like you're in deep doo doo when you have to use their services.

On the other hand, it means I'm probably 97-ish days from getting in a running shoe again and maybe actually running (very slowly with lots of intervals). And holy cow have I missed that hour. Walking, though I like that alone time, just doesn't get the chemical rush in the brain that running does.

Plus, X-man has picked up a bit of the running bug lately. His favorite times to run are a) when he's having a squirt gun fight or b) when he sees striped carpets. (No lie!)

I bought new hallway rugs from last week. They're long and striped and cover the hardwood floor on our second floor. As soon as I got them in place, X-man started sprinting up and down the hallway between his bathroom and our bedroom.

Yesterday, while I was getting dressed for my Library Board meeting, X-man ran up and down the hall four times. After the fourth time, he pumped his fist in the air and said, "Yeah! I did it!"

My kid doesn't wear a watch, so he wasn't worried about time. I wanted to ask what he was celebrating, because it probably comes with some bit of enlightenment like, "I out ran a bear!", but I didn't want to ruin the moment with my stupid questions.

Let's see if he's as excited about running the 3k at school on Sept. 22nd. Last year they offered a 1k for kindergarteners and first graders, so he might decide to stay with his own age group, particularly since he did pretty okay in the standings among little people. Mostly, I just want him to enjoy the running and give a crap about the times. But that took me until I was injured to really understand, so you know, he's got 30 more years to "get" that lesson.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I have been feeling really tired today. I'm not quite sure why (maybe it's because I only got five and a half hours of sleep last night after getting nine every night for the last week). But I managed to call three people today by their wrong names and look like a total moron.

My husband assures me that he's done this before, too. His solution is just to never call anyone by their names.

It got worse, when on the walk home, my child then called two of his friends by the wrong name (Isaac instead of Isiah and calling the second brother by the first brother's name).

I apologized each time, because I am so sorry. I have no idea why my brain is on shuffle. But it is, especially because one was a person I hadn't talked to in a while and now they probably think I'm the biggest bitch ever because I couldn't get their name right. Sigh.

I also went in for my pre-op appointment this morning with Dr. Kluesner. He was wonderful, but his staff had a few mix ups regarding getting my labs from my doctor (which I had done several weeks ago and they messed up where I elected to have my surgery done, which changed the time from afternoon to early morning). But Kluesner was awesome going over everything.

For the first two weeks I am basically on bed rest. I am not to let my foot go lower than my heart except to go to the bathroom and to get food. He repeated it twice because he knows I have trouble sitting still. He's probably right to be worried about it. I know I am.

I get to have a hard cast the Monday after surgery, and then another hard cast two weeks after that after he takes the stitches out. If things are looking better, I get an air cast. But it'll be 10 weeks before he sends me to physical therapy, which basically means 10 weeks of a whole lot of nothing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Roots and Recycling

Country Arbors came today and planted our two new Kentucky Coffee Trees. After watching Gingko 12" saplings try to grow for five years with very minimal success (they were 18"), I was very happy to have them. Plus, with the maple borer working it's way through the neighborhood, I was happy not to have chosen a Maple. The maple in the back is taking enough of a pounding. Poor thing.

I left as they were starting to hand dig the holes. I had to pick up the book drop for Tolono Public Library and then I had a series of stops to get rid of kid crap. The first was to go pick up a coat tree that I bought and used with my Clownfish classroom last year. It's a beautiful coat tree, but I don't have much use for it at home, and I'm not going to use it in California. So I took it and X-man's Melissa and Doug kitchen that he got for his third birthday to All Things Kids in Champaign. I hadn't been there in well over a year. (The last time I was there, I was reselling the Haba push car that X-man learned to walk on. I held on to it because I was being all emotional about it. Plus, I took his diaper changer.) As it turns out, I had over $100 on my account. I always figured if something sold they'd send me a check after 60 days or something, I guess I must have shopped there more back in the day and never really got sent a check because I'd recycle my credit into new purchases. After failing to sell three things on Craigslist, I just decided the drop off method worked a lot better for me.

But if you're looking for one of these things, I dropped them off today. They're in good condition, too. Except the timer on the kitchen was broken from so much use.

Because we're getting new carpet in the basement, we needed some space in the storage room to move the basement furniture for tomorrow. KTDID came over last night and went through some boxes that have been in our house since she lived here. As it turns out, she had a lot of paper shredding to do -- and I realized that I hadn't been keeping up on my own shredding of financial documents, so she and I sat on the floor of the storage room last night shredding and shredding. 7 full dumps of a giant shredder later, we were done. She managed to get her stuff from 8 boxes to 4, and I managed to keep my financial records in a decent filing situation (each year is in a plastic tub that is labeled and on the metal shelves).

But the garbage guy probably hated me this morning. Because we had our three blue bins full (because we didn't put out garbage last week before we went to Maine), our office paper bucket next to my desk was out, a box full of papers that didn't need to be shredded was out and then the six bags of shred. And we had a full garbage can from cleaning out the basement.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Man, I Don't Know, Who Made My Life Easier

So the other day in my blow-by-blow of Family camp, I mentioned Bill Baird. A drug rep from the 1960's who had a woman die in front of him after trying to give herself an abortion (She was already the mother of eight children) with a coat hanger. Because she was single at the time, no birth control was available to her. It was against the law to distribute it to her. In fact, Mr. Baird went to jail many times for handing out contraceptives to unmarried people. (A great example to me that not all people who go to prison are there for "bad" reasons.)

In my 21st century brain, that just doesn't make any sense to me. And in 1963, it didn't make much sense to Mr. Baird, either. His name is on three different pieces of legislation that make it safe and legal for all women to tend to their bodies regarding reproduction, and he and his wife run the Pro-Choice League.

He's also done amazing work in trying to bridge the gap between people who live their lives under strict religious doctrine so that both sides can at least respect their differences.

I said in my blog I was writing a thank you note... and I did. I totally stalked Mr. Baird online and sent him an e-mail. He answered back today. It was very sweet, and I'm glad I did it. Mr. Baird is now 80 years old, and he's spent his lifetime working to help obtain reproductive rights for women and I am grateful for him.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Positively Trying

I've been feeling like I'm taking one step forward and two steps back when it comes to various life issues lately. It's nothing major. It's little stuff and it's annoying.

For example, while we were gone an e-mail came out from school about after school clubs. X-man sees the Mathman on Wednesdays in September and if he likes it, he'll continue. On Thursdays he sees his behavioral therapist to work on his anxiety issues. He knew they had clubs last year but didn't want to really be a part of any of them. But he asked about them this year (mostly he wanted to know if there would be an at-school Lego club, because he found out they have them in California). When the e-mail came out, it announced that clubs were available for children in first through fifth grade.

They had some copy troubles at school, so the parent organizer said we could request a permission slip via e-mail, if they didn't come home in folders on Friday. Since we were gone, I just went ahead and asked for an electronic version for the American Sign Language Class. The permission slip came via e-mail -- and it turned out that there was an error and the club was the only one NOT available to first graders. Now I have a sad panda on my hands, because he wanted to learn to communicate better with the kids at his school. I told him I'd get a book at the library and we'd learn a bit of sign language together. And I totally understand the teacher's concern that first grader's aren't great spellers yet, so it makes it hard to teach children the alphabet to sign and then how to spell words. So I'm not frustrated.

It's just that we seem to come up with this kind of thing a lot, where I do some research on something, get the information, tell X-man what I think the right information is and then when it turns out there's been some kind of typo or mistake on the other end, and then I have to do a lot of work rebuilding his confidence and convincing him that the world is not against him because something didn't work out that he was excited about. And I get that it's annoying, when say, a camp counselor calls your mother and tells her what group you'll be in the next morning and with what counselor, but then you show up and the information is totally wrong, because there were two X-men at the camp and they read the wrong line when they called.

It's just the way life is. People make mistakes. But to a six-year-old with an anxiety issue, it's a mess. Sometimes I wonder if this is why I'm so particular about certain things. Did I used to get this bent out of shape when I was a kid and that's why I have plan A through M for everything? Just so that I could get used to the disappointment and them make lemonade 13 different ways to keep a positive outlook so that I don't become an Eeyore?

Speaking of positive planning, I have two more exciting things happening this week to the house. We're getting new basement carpeting and new carpeting in the upstairs guest room. The two new Kentucky Coffee Trees that I ordered come to get planted on Tuesday.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

To Maine and Back in 7 days

The family just got off the plane and ate some Subway. We had a fabulous trip out to Maine for Family Camp. We started our journey with a successful short flight from CMI to ORD and then had a 3-hour layover in which we ate lunch at the Macaroni Grill, played for an hour at the play place and then spent 30 minutes in the H/K Admirals Club. Here X-man built himself a stool to match the girl's next to him and watched the Disney Channel in the Kids Room. When we got there they were playing Phineas and Ferb, but then something pre-teen girl related came on and X-man worked to try and relate... :-)

On the way out we stayed the night at the Liberty Hotel because our plane got in late in the afternoon on Saturday and camp didn't start until Sunday at 3 p.m.

At first I was like, "Whatever. Isn't everything in New England named after liberty?" Then we got there and suddenly MacTroll and I said, "Oooohhh yeaaaahhhh."We had read somewhere about this hotel. It's a remodeled prison! The prison held famous people like Malcolm X and Bill Baird (who if you ever were unmarried and had sex using contraceptives you should write a thank you letter to -- he helped give you that privilege. I'm writing mine now.).

It's a beautiful hotel that X-man was totally enchanted with. He loved that Clink, the restaurant, (the bar is called Alibi) had the original iron doors. MacTroll and I thought it was cute that the "privacy" signs had original jailhouse keys tied to a piece of thin material that said, "Solitary."

Plus, it had a lovely view of the city and the Tube.

We ended up going to bed early and getting up to walk down the street to Finagle a Bagel, which had another unexpected element to it... the bagel cutter. It's kind of hard to see here. But if you see the worker in the middle, in front of him is actually a spinning circular saw. They put the bagels down spaced a bit apart on that conveyer belt (where the staff is in the distance) and it takes it down the line. When the bagel reaches the saw it saws it in half and THROWS the bagel pieces down to that shiny metal block at the end that drops them into a medal bucket for the lady in the green shirt to prepare. Safe for allergies -- no. Super cool for a six year old who ran back and forth between the basket and the saw blade -- YES!

Then we got in the car and we drove up to Portland, Maine. It's a very boring drive that takes you up Highway 1 to 295, which isn't the loveliest of highways. There are lots of tolls. On the way though, MacTroll stopped in New Hampshire (which is a very short part of 95) in order to pick up alcohol sales tax free for the adult "Happy Hours" at family camp.

When we arrived in Portland, we ate at Silly's, which had tripled its space since were were there two years ago. This time, we ate out on the porch. The boys enjoyed milkshakes and sandwiches while I had a Buffalo Tofu salad.

After our bellies were full, we had some time, so we drove toward the water. There on the point just a bit north of the Old Port were some memorials and some historical markers.

It had warmed up and so MacTroll asked X-man if it was okay to put the top down on the Chrysler Convertible we got from Hertz. (We use MacTroll's travel points a lot for family travel so our flights, car and hotels were "free".) He looked adorable as the sun hit his head, even if we had to take some of our bags out of the back and put them in the seat next to him for the drive up to Kingsley Pines family camp.

I didn't take very many "scenic" photos of camp, so you don't really get an idea of what it looks like. For that I apologize. But basically, you drive in from the little town of Raymond on a long entry way that passes by a soccer field and a climbing wall and a high ropes course and a baseball diamond. Then you come into the center of camp next to the office and the lodge and the tennis court and basketball court. I am standing on the porch of the lodge (which is the game playing room and where adult happy hours usually take place) looking down on my favorite tree. It's a giant oak that shades all of the picnic tables where you eat each meal. If it's really storming, you eat inside the cafeteria, but that's boring. I'd much rather eat and overlook the lake.

I know a lot of people grew up with crappy camp food experiences (oh boy, was my Girl Scout experience one of those). But food at Kingsley Pines is pretty awesome. And if there's anything you're not thrilled with there is a killer salad bar at lunch and dinner, a lovely yogurt parfait bar and a cereal bar at breakfast and peanut butter and jelly is offered all day long. MacTroll really likes the eggs to order in the breakfast. George, the chef/cook, makes a damn good omelet. 

X-man developed a love for "oversized" games this time at camp. They had oversized everything. Chess was his favorite, not because he wanted to play "real chess" but because he liked to have pretend war with the characters. The bigger kids didn't understand his distress about playing chess -- the game. But I sat down played his version of war with him, and this is what I love about my kid. One team, knocked over the other team in a long drawn out war. And then two pawns, from different families fell in love and wanted their families to act better and get along and not hurt each other. At first the families feuded (like a 6-year-old version of Romeo and Juliet) but then the queens were swapping gardening stories and the bishops were marrying knights from different families and then all the pieces were mixed up all over the board and life -- was better than it was when it began with one kingdom on one side and one on the other side staring each other down. He took a mess and brought about peace.

Other "giant" game versions included JENGA (Holy cow, you could hear that mother fall from everywhere in camp), Connect Four and the program director was working on creating Scrabble (no lie). I told her about the giant Monopoly game in San José, just in case she wanted to check it out and rob them of their "world's largest" standing.

This is a photo of the waterfront from the sand volleyball court/ping pong area, where I spent most of my time at camp. :-) You see the big white thing in the distance. That's called the iceberg. It has climbing grips on one side. You climb up it and then you either jump or slide down the other side. To the left of it is the water trampoline with three different apparatuses attached to it. One is the big yellow log that you're supposed to run out to the end on. The other is a "walk the plank" log that you climb up and then try to get to the end of (it's about 6 feet up out of the water on the end) and in the back is the "blob." A small say 50 lb child crawls out carefully to the end and sits on a dot looking forward. Then a 180 lb mother or father jumps on a dot near the water trampoline and propels the small child out 10 feet or so into the water before the mother/father falls into the lake two. It is my most favorite item out there, and we did it a lot (all wearing life jackets, of course). I do want to note that on day 4, X-man made it all the way to the top of the iceberg BY HIMSELF. He STOOD UP (which most Dads admit they're too chicken to do, because it's really pretty high) and shouted, "I'm king of the world!" before he slid down the other side. No, he's never seen the movie, but it was pretty awesome. He was the only one in the 6-7 year old group to make it up there on their own during family camp this year.

They had some new things for us to try this year, because we actually had some wind! So MacTroll went out and learned how to windsurf. He's the one in the front learning how to stand up with Mark, one of the counselors, giving him the run down. Later, just so you know, the wind kicked up and pulled the sail over... with MacTroll on top of it, and he broke the mast in two. He didn't go out and try that again. But he did do an afternoon of sailing a sunfish. X-man and I learned how to paddleboard in less windy conditions, which was a lot of fun, particularly if you use a very stable windsurf board as your base. :-) It doesn't turn quite as well as an actual paddle board, but you are less likely to fall off. 


Each night from 5-6 p.m. the kids would have their "happy hour" with smoothies and a special snack down at the "Field of Dreams" while the adults did this... Not so bad, right? You could also sign up to take a "booze" cruise around the lake in the speedboat. 

Our accomodations included a rustic cabin that had electricity, a small, but warm shower, his and her sinks and two toilets. It's a cabin that usually has the 8-year-old girls in it for summer camp. So there were 10 bunkbeds and two counselor beds. MacTroll and I slept in the two counselor beds. This was mine. 

There was open water front with about 10 lifeguards for the kids to go out on the blob (without parents), if they wanted to. As the week went on, they scheduled other things during this time. For example, each age group had an assigned time (if the kids were 8 and up) to go tubing or out on the water banana. On Wednesday, it was the grown ups turn. So MacTroll and I both wanted to go. It was nice to know we could go out on the tubes and leave X-man behind and know he was watched over not just by the guards, but also by the parents that were there. It was also cool because rather than blobbing it, he decided to take part in the GIANT FOAM slip and slide the entire time. Seriously, he spent from 3:15-4:30 going up and down the hill. 

Each night at family camp they have a family activity after dinner. The first night was a "Never ever have I" night with a list of activities kids and adults might never have done. Here X-man "Never ever have I been a jedi master" uses the force to noodle joust. He also did a live version of Angry Birds, had a "snow ball" fight in August and made a duct tape wallet. 

The next night we had a trivia contest. X-man could have cared less, even though he totally could have answered a lot of the questions related to cartoons and Disney. As it turns out our table was made up of three families and one young counselor from Scotland. We won the trivia contest and each family got $20 worth of ice cream at the local ice cream place, the Mosquito. Since we were in Maine, MacTroll and I both got Moose Tracks ice cream. X-man told the guy he was last there two years ago and got strawberry, but couldn't remember how it tasted, so he tried it again.

The following night was a casino night. Here X-man bets on his elephant in the "horse races." He won and had a good time. MacTroll ruled the blackjack table. I wasn't excited about gambling, so I went and sat with a bunch of moms in front of a campfire. It was nice, because, honestly, besides one other mother, I never saw any of the other moms. The daily activities are broken down so that the kids go to sessions with kids their own ages. Sessions are one hour long and there are three of them through out the day. There are also four parent sessions EACH hour. So at 9:10 a.m. you could choose between volleyball, ceramics, yoga, mountain biking. And then at 10:10 a.m. you could choose between tennis, jewelry making, water skiing and sailing, etc. And I guess besides one other Mom, I never chose the same things as the other women because it was basically me and the Dads all week long. But it was nice to chat with them at the campfire.

It was also nice to see this happen. We don't get a lot of quality time with MacTroll given his travel schedule. So it was heartwarming to see in Maine.

During the last night at camp, we had a steak and lobster dinner cookout. X-man and MacTroll had their steak fix. X-man played with a leftover lobster claw, as he had when he was 4, but wouldn't go near the actual cooked lobster. The veggie options, which had been outstanding all week, had eggplant in it (I'm not a fan) so I had a giant salad and some corn on the cob. After we ate, we had Carnival Night. Here MacTroll shows Counselor Colin how to cover a big red dot in recycled Cds. Such a smarty pants. 

X-man totally sunk a shot worth 50 points at the "skeeball" table.

Then he took on Mikel from Spain in the arm wrestling competition while Mark totally kicked MacTroll's butt (all while Mark casually ate some cotton candy). 

If you're wondering what I did, I played volleyball every morning. I was 3-1 when I left. Then I sometimes played tennis or MacTroll and I took a canoe out into the lake or I went paddleboarding by myself. One day we had to go to Wal-mart and get a single thing of Tide to do laundry (machines were available for free) because X-man kept jumping into the lake whenever they were down at the docks in his full clothes. By Wednesday, I'd just figured out to put us all into our swim suits and forget underwear. MacTroll also did some rock climbing. And during the afternoon adults sessions, I will admit -- I sometimes freaking napped. It was awesome!

X-man already is asking if he can go there for a 2-week sleepaway camp when he's 8. Because then he gets to pick his activities for the sessions versus getting assigned to them. He said pottery was fine, but he doesn't like crafts. He also did tennis, tie dye, sailing, canoeing, boating, Nuke 'em, Gaga ball and made shaker bag ice cream. He really wants to do fencing, archery and ride the banana tube, but you have to be 8 to do all that. (By the way, the funniest thing all week was me getting on the "check your pants" round tube with MacTroll leaving four dads in their mid thirties to mid forties to get on that banana together. Four grown men on a giant banana tube being pulled behind a ski boat is really, really funny, especially when they look -- unsure about it.)

I told X-man we'd be going back for family camp again when he's in third grade. And then we'd talk about sleep away camp. What's nice is that by then... he'll have already been there three times, and he'll know where everything is and what to do. It was already really cool that some of the counselors were the same as when we were there two years ago (particularly my volleyball buddies David and Danimal). 

After our last breakfast at camp, we got in the car and drove back to Portland. There were no "free" flights available on Friday, so we decided we'd spend some time in Maine and take a "free" flight out on Saturday morning. We took X-man to the children's museum which was good for 2-3 hours worth of play. Here he makes a robotic arm try to pick up things in one basket and put them in another. 

Every children's museum has a grocery aisle, but do all of them have LOBSTER?

Outside was a pirate ship, that I'm pretty sure used to just be another lobster ship (there's one inside the museum, too). But they raised a Jolly Roger on it (which the kids could take up and down themselves) and put a "brig" in underneath. X-man found a couple of boys to go plundering with. But here, he's catching some lobster dinner for them in the red bucket. 

And, as always, a photo of my child looking smashingly ADORABLE in a firefighter uniform. Seriously.

And that was our vacation in a nutshell. The flight back this morning from Boston was uneventful, thankfully. We didn't get caught up in any weather at O'Hare (which is a first this summer). Now X-man is happy to be playing with his toys and the cats are snuggling up to us like they remember us. We had a wonderful new petsitter this week. Her name is Martha McFarland. And I'm happy to pass out her info to anyone. She lives in Savoy, but takes care of pets in the C-U area and is $12 for a 30-minute visit. Plus, she comes highly recommended by several staff members at Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Urbana. She had to come twice a day to help medicate Maya and give her an evening force feeding, and I think our girl is back to being her totally fuzzy, curvy girl self.

Now to get on with the holiday weekend by doing a LOT of laundry.