Thursday, February 28, 2013

how to prepare for a major surgery {a guide}

I need one more surgery in connection with all of the brouhaha from last summer. And it is a whopper. Ten to twelve hours on the operating table and a recovery time of 8-12 weeks. How DOES one prepare to be a little, or a lot, out of commission for so long when managing a busy family and a job? In particular, what is the most efficient way to spend the final week before surgery? Here's a guide.


Get traditional pre-childbirth/miscellaneous surgical procedure pedicure with eldest daughter. Because every other part of you might look like hell warmed over, but at least your feet can look good. So far, things are right on track.


Learn that Girl Scouts stepping stone project that you were organizing back in November, but which had sort of died on the vine due to bad weather and lack of interest, has been resurrected. Haul 160 pounds of concrete in a wheelbarrow to the back of the library and mix/pour/bedazzle concrete with ten 8 year old girls.

Realize with troop leader that the decorative stones are not really sticking to the concrete. Go back home and google "stepping stone decorative stones not sticking to concrete" and similar searches highly unlikely to yield any helpful hits. Try random searches that seem to make some sense to your non-stone mason brain like "clear drying outdoor epoxy" and "mortar" and then spend an hour or so wading through home and garden and DIY forums that are discussing things that are not remotely relevant to your problem.


Ask school nurse to check daughter's head because she's been itching, but you don't see anything in there. Learn from school nurse that kid has lice. Learn that other kid has lice too. Go to CVS to buy Rid, spend entire day shampooing/nitpicking/bagging up stuffed animals and pillows, washing and vacuuming. Oldest daughter is completely distraught, youngest daughter proclaims this to be "the best day ever!!" Do not want to leave this problem for the grandparents, so make appointment with a professional lice removal salon for the next day.


Spend the day at Nit Wits with the girls. Learn a whole lot about lice from these kind women, who went into the lice removal business when their own families were hit with it. They say that their lives are divided into "pre-lice" and "post-lice" and they will never be the same. You are one of them now. Watch them work and think that they could pretty much charge you any amount of money and you will happily pay it to them; you feel it so strongly that you have to remind yourself not to say it out loud. Also think that NO WONDER lice is so rampant in elementary schools, as the Rid did absolutely no good whatsoever, and there is absolutely NO WAY that the average untrained parent can do what these women are doing. The grandparents take the kids later in the afternoon and you spend the next 6 hours doing this:

Fun fact: lice can only survive off a head for 24 hours. Therefore, should this ever happen to us again (and with God as my witness, I will devote my life to seeing that it does not) I plan to get the infected person(s) treated and then move out of the house for the next couple of days. It would be a whole lot less work! That night, David comments that a few days in the hospital might be a nice break from vacuuming and stepping over stuffed lawn and leaf bags. Friends start texting to ask if I'm ready for the surgery:


Realize that Sally's Beauty Supply has quadruple charged you for the Barbicide you purchased yesterday:

I could be lining up a ride to the soccer game for Elizabeth, or drafting a list (spreadsheet?) of the kids' weekend activities/social events to help the grandparents, or running into the office for the first time all week to turn off my computer and say "hey, see ya in 6 weeks!" OR I could go get my $27 bucks back from Sally's Beauty Supply. I do the latter.


I had lunch with Elizabeth's class (I'd chosen this date to cover the class for teacher time out way back at orientation), ran into the office for a bit, and then drove to the surgeon's office for the final pre-op appointment. On my way into his parking lot, I ran over a curb:

Luckily the appointment only lasted 15 minutes, so David had plenty of time to change the tire, follow me to the gas station to get air in the (also flat) spare, follow me to Goodyear to get three new tires (I mean, we were there anyway!), and make it home in plenty of time to collect the girls to go to their school open house!

I think I'm ready.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

where football is king

This is probably something that only a nerd like me would find funny. At work earlier today, I had to figure out something about the effect of receiver sales (i.e., sales of property by a court-appointed receiver). Now there are obviously specialized databases for conducting legal research, but sometimes when I'm just beginning to research something I'll start with a quick, broad google search. It's free, and sometimes I'll hit on an article or case that really helps get the ball rolling. So anyway, I googled "receiver sales alabama:"

And every. single. hit. involved wide receivers on the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.

First I thought that maybe I was just stupid to think that Google's algorithms would possibly connect the word "receiver" to "receiver of property" as opposed to "wide" -- but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed that the inclusion of the word "sales" (rather than, say,"yards" or "quarterback") immediately following "receiver" really should have helped point them in the right direction. So out of idle curiosity, I decided to substitute "California" for "Alabama" to see what happened:

Just as I suspected. In Alabama, football reigns supreme (or at least more supreme than property sales by court-appointed receivers) -- as God intended it! I guess I'll be sticking to Westlaw for this project.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sweetheart dance

Last night was the Girl Scouts' Annual Father Daughter Sweetheart Dance, and since David was out of town, my dad graciously agreed to escort Elizabeth. I made Elizabeth put on a wet(ish) cardigan so I could snap a photo before I lost the daylight:

{It wasn't really wet, just a tad damp, as it hadn't quite finished its time in the dryer yet, but it was still wet enough to cause the generational "she's going to catch pneumonia!!!" "no she's not -- I need this picture!!" argument with my mom.}

After we finished drying the sweater, Dad took Elizabeth to Nothing But Noodles. Elizabeth always wants to go to Nothing But Noodles but I never want to take her because it pains me to spend $6 on a plate of buttered noodles that I could make for 38 cents (that's sort of the problem with all restaurants, but it's somehow much worse with Nothing But Noodles). Dad said that she had the mac and cheese and then asked for a second plate of mac and cheese (he got it for her) so I guess she made the most of that precious Nothing But Noodles time.

They had a great time at the dance. Elizabeth told my dad ahead of time that the food at the dance was always outstanding, so I'm not sure what he was expecting, but he said later that the cookies and popcorn were really good. :-) He also said that he couldn't believe how wild these girls are -- they were all just running in random directions, and he was shocked that there weren't more collisions. Yes -- kids today are completely insane, especially when they get together in large groups and there is not a teacher present. I'm pretty sure that when I was a Girl Scout our parents would not have allowed that kind of behavior. But everyone is happy and healthy, so we embrace the craziness.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kids' marathon '13

It wouldn't be Kids' Marathon day without sub-arctic temperatures (okay so it was 38 degrees at the starting time, but here in Alabama we perceive that to feel like more like 8 degrees). This was Jacob's last year to run it (sad face) and Caroline's first. I ran with Caroline (well, it wasn't running so much as sprinting all out for about 40 yards, then walking, then spotting a friend and hugging/accidentally tackling each other, then sprinting again, etc.) They were rewarded at the finish line with blue powerade and a medal. Another one in the books!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The rant worked!!

Here is my latest first world problem: after getting lazy and taking photos mainly with my phone for the better part of the year, I decided start using a real camera again. But the photo processing program that I use with my camera (Adobe Lightroom) would not work. It looked like there was some glitch during installation? It appeared that it was corrupted. And as usual in these situations, I was completely helpless. It wouldn't let me uninstall the program. It wouldn't let me reinstall it over the corrupted program. Every time I tried to mess with it I would walk away defeated and frustrated. I spent the past two weeks getting mentally prepared to call Adobe (I hate talking on phone, especially when the conversation involves technical problems). So today poor Heather walked into my office right when I was ripe for a Lightroom breakdown.

C: I just want technology to bleeping work. Is that really so much to ask? I just want to turn it on and have it work. Do you know the only time a piece of technology actually worked for me out of the box? With some $12 replacement universal headphones I got for the car DVD player. And I nearly keeled over from the shock of them working. I didn't have to configure them, or find a code in the manual, or call customer support. I put in the batteries, turned them on, and they just worked! That's what I want to happen. I don't want to clear caches. I don't want to run a memory test. I don't want to have to uninstall things in a secret magical order or dig around for hidden temporary files that might contain the one .msi file that I need to make it all work. I just want to take pictures!

H: Here's what I think you need to do. I think you need to pour yourself a glass of wine. Then set the timer for 1 hour -- you can just hang up if it's not going well -- and call Adobe.

I decided to take Heather's advice, but thought that I'd try to uninstall/reinstall Lightroom one more time before calling. And lo! It worked! So I finally got to process a few photos I took when my cutie pie nephew and niece visited last month.

Alex takes his tractor driving seriously:

Emma just hung around being adorable:

Ringing the train bell never gets old:

David and Caroline waiting for the train:

Elizabeth acting goofy:

Best attempt at a group shot:

Their visited extended into the week, so on Monday we sent the big kids to school and I had Alex and Emma allllllll to myself (Diane and Sal were there, of course, but I didn't have to share A&E with their cousins!)