Really, Karma?

Thursday evening, leading into Friday…

 Wanted to go for a walk yesterday evening “before the rain storms came in.”  Opened the front door, saw it was already raining.  Shut the door, changed into pajamas, and surrendered for the day.   

 Woke up for my routine 1:30am bathroom visit.  Fell back to sleep.  

 Woke up at 3am to enjoy the thunder and torrential rain beating on the house.  Fell back to sleep. 

 Woke up at 3:15 when HG turns on his ipad to look at the weather forecast and hear him bitching that it only rains on his days off or on weekends.  Fell back to sleep. 

 Woke up for my routine 4am bathroom visit.  Walked through a puddle of icy water in the hallway.  While wearing socks.   HG hears my not so quiet utterance of “fuuuuuuck” and comes to investigate, blaming me for spilling water.  Until something plops on his head.

 According to the roofing repair estimate, Santa will be bringing us a new underlayment and sealer (basically, a new roof for half the house) for Christmas.

  

In other, non-Grinchy news, I baked Christmas cookies (out of guilt, when HG mournfully mentioned the dearth of sugar cookies in our pantry). Finished my holiday shopping. Mailed boxes to Boston and Columbus.  Took a half-day from work on Friday.  May repeat such wanton behavior tomorrow.  Went to church this morning.  Going to meet friends for lunch today.  Then, home for a much-needed, much-deserved pre-Christmas nap. 

 

Today’s RfL:  no more rain forecast for the next 10 days…plenty of time to get the roofing repair contractors out here on January 2.  

 

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An everlasting gobstopper update

Conversation from this morning:

HG:  I got two alerts from UPS about deliveries today. What’s coming from Cigna?

Me: Our complimentary, electric double-breast pump.

HG:  Sounds…fun.  And what’s coming from someone in Hodgskin, Illinois?

Me:  That’s the Katespade distribution center.

HG:  You ordered another purse?

Me: Technically, I ordered the baby her first handbag.

HG:  *long pause*   Tell me you’re kidding.

Me:  It’s  a diaper bag.

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Song stuck in my head today:  the Oompa Loompa choruses from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. 

Gum chewing’s fine every once in a while. It stops you from smoking and brightens (whitens?) your smile.

But it’s repulsive, revolting and wrong – chewing and chewing All. Day. Long.

The way that a cow does…

Oompa loompa, doompity doo,  given good manners, you will go far.

You will live in happiness too, Like the Oompa Loompa doompity doo.

 

I haven’t seen this movie in years. YEARS.  I have no idea how or why these refrains popped in my head yesterday.

 

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Kim’s semi-homemade chicken pot pies

 

½ c butter or margarine

1c finely diced onion

1 c diced celery

1 c diced carrots

2 cloves minced garlic

1 rotisserie chicken (remove skin and bones, “shred” meat into  chunks)

1 c corn kernels ( I had frozen corn on hand)

1 / 4 c flour (I used whole wheat)

3 c chicken broth

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp poultry seasoning

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp ground pepper

Salt, if you think it needs it

1 sheet puff pastry

4 ramekins that can fit about 2c liquid

 

In a large sauté pan, melt butter.  Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook until the onions are clear and the celery is semi-soft.  Add chicken and corn, and stir. Sprinkle flour on top of chicken, and stir into the mix.   Once combined, add the chicken broth and simmer for 10 minutes until thick and bubbly. Stir in herbs/spices.  Taste it – it may need salt.  (I used Swanson’s regular chicken broth, which was salty enough.)

Turn off the stove, and let the mixture cool for 15 min.  Ladle into your four ramekins.  Let cool another 10 min.  Preheat oven to 375 deg.

Take your puff pastry sheet and cut into four squares. (If you’re feeling fancy, cut into strips to make a lattice crust.)   Press pastry on top of ramekin, sealing along the rims.  (I didn’t use eggwash or anything – just pressed it against the rim to seal the top.)  Poke a hole in the middle of each sheet to let steam out.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet, and put in the oven for 20 minutes.  When the top is evenly brown, they’re done. Remove from the oven and let them sit for 5 – 10 minutes (filling will be nuclear-hot and won’t “set” if you eat right away).

 

It was chilly in Phoenix this week.  I had delusions of grandeur and wanted to make a Guinness Beef Stew for Sunday dinner, but I also knew time would be a constraint.  Hair appointment at noon, errands to run, etc., would not leave me enough time to get home to start, cook, and serve by our habitual 6pm suppertime. So, I opted for another comfort food choice – chicken pot pie. Although I have an adventurous palate, my culinary tastes can run toward the plebian.  I like mac and cheese from a box. Meatloaf. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. 

Mom and Dad would occasionally trot out the frozen Banquet pot pies for dinner, and I remember both liking and hating them.  Liking them from a nostalgia standpoint, and the fun of having your “own” pie. Hating them for the weirdly manufactured taste they all had.  Whether beef or chicken or turkey, they all tasted the same.

A few years back, HG had mentioned his grandmother would make “chicken pie” for supper – chicken and gravy in a crust. No vegetables.  Since his palate is stuck somewhere between kindergarten and first grade for development, I knew any modifications I made would have to be mild.

My first pot pie attempt was following a recipe from Pillsbury, which called for Pillsbury pie crust, chicken, cream of chicken soup, and frozen veggies.  Voila – I’d successfully re-created Banquet’s pies, in a nine-inch version.  It was eaten…grudgingly. 

Second attempt was from cooking.com, which let me use frozen pie crust dough, but had me making my own gravy, with cream and butter. Add your fillings.  It tasted good, but was very runny.  The big pie version didn’t work well – nothing “set.”   I made it another time, in individual ramekins, but it came out more like chicken soup, with a pie crust “dumpling” on top.

Third attempt was truly the charm.  The recipe above was culled from allrecipes.com and a food blogger’s site (a hodge podge of both).  Originally, the filling was the same, but had no bottom crust, and biscuit dough on the top.  (Yes, I used the canned biscuits.)  When the “big” pie didn’t work well, I used the individual ones, and it came out great.  

Now, being more carb-conscious about meals, biscuit dough was out.  (40 carbs in a Pillsbury grand! Oh, simple carbs, how I miss you.)  Puff pastry, however, 20g per serving (1/4 sheet = 1 serving.)  That’s not the total carb count for the dish, but still pretty reasonable. 

After dinner, HG looked at the other two ramekins.  “What’re you going to do with those?” he asked. “I was going to freeze them for another dinner some other time. Why?”   “Can I have one for lunch tomorrow?”  was his response.  Any time leftovers are voluntarily requested is a good sign.

That alone made the entire weekend RfL roster.

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 Positives for the weekend:  all Christmas decorations are up, all presents are wrapped, and boxes are ready to be shipped to Ohio and Massachusetts.  We put up the new blinds in the nursery. Hair color/cut/style  was fabulous. My stylist bought me some baby presents. I went to Krista’s for Kora’s birthday party.  I got more than 5 hours of sleep Friday night and Saturday night.  Felt food, and had lots of energy.

Not so positives for the weekend:  ASU football lost. My cellphone died and the free replacement “reconditioned” phone from tmobile leaves much to be desired.  In addition to the constant, stabbing pain in my left breast, I also developed a toothache. A bring-tears-to-your-eyes-when-sipping-hot-liquids kind of toothache. Yes, it made me cry. Even better news – I can use an antibacterial mouthwash to try to clear up whatever’s going on, but can’t take any oral antibiotics, can’t get an xray, and if I did have to have a dental procedure, I’d be limited to lidocaine and Tylenol for pain management.     I’m just a walking bundle of neurons firing off pain sensors these days.

We had another ultrasound last week – the 28 wk benchmark. Last week was actually week 29, but Thanksgiving scheduling couldn’t make it work on the actual week.  Jellybean is progressing nicely – at the 53rd percentile for growth, which puts her dead-average. Never thought I’d cheer for  any child of mine to be merely average, but I’m ecstatic.  She weighs 3lb right now, and OB and ultrasound tech both estimate, if growth patterns continue, she’ll be a tad under 6lb when she arrives.   Which means baby belly will be doubling between now and February.  Awesome.

She was even less cooperative in this ultrasound, not wanting to sit still for the tech to get shots of vital organs, etc.  Through a series of yoga poses, we finally got all the info we needed, but for someone who usually doesn’t move around a lot in the morning, she was being a giant pain.

No more shaking of fists at the cameras, but she did literally turn her back to us multiple times.  No talk-to-the-hand…she merely flipped away.  

As of last Thursday, she is situated sideways, with her head by my right kidney, and legs still sticking straight out, toward the left.  What I keep thinking are “kicks” are actually baby somersaults and punches.  Another ultrasound will be scheduled for January, and by then, we need her to start migrating “down.”  If not, I get yet another referral to yet another specialist who can help coax baby into position for eventual labor and delivery.  (If she remains passive-aggressive and sideways, I’m all but guaranteed a c-section. )

I also had a followup with my OB immediately after the ultrasound.  Reviewed the recent bloodwork (I’m healthy! Heart and kidneys work great!  A1c below 5. Blood pressure actually 110/78!).  Talked about appointments for the next ten weeks.  I can expect to have at least one doctor’s visit a week, if not two.  One with Dr L, and then meet with the diabetes nurse practitioner on the “flip” weeks.   In January, I’ll be scheduled for another ultrasound, a non-stress test for mom, a non-stress test for baby, and then yet one more ultrasound. There will also be two more rounds of bloodwork between now and Valentine’s day. 

How awesome it is that I’ve hit my out of pocket max for 2013…and how not awesome that it resets 1/1/14. 

It will be a busy couple days at work, until Thursday.  I anticipate Thursday being a slow day.  All the more so because I’m scheduled to be off on Friday.  (Which may or may not be occupied with a dentist visit, if this toothache doesn’t go away.)  No special occasion, other than burning through some use-it-or-lose-it time.

Today’s RfL:  cooler weather has settled in, making it feel a little more “Christmassy” around here. It may inspire some baking.

Quiet in here

While I may have succumbed to the litany of common and not-so-common pregnancy side effects, I had been mercifully spared heartburn, hemorrhoids, crazy dreams, hot flashes, dry skin, and stretch marks. 

Until last night, when I had a series of bizarre dreams, one of which involved my dating the character Andre from the football show, “The League.”  And until today, when I had a crippling bout of heartburn that had me popping Tums like tic-tacs.  C’mon Karma, haven’t we had enough fun?

Eleven weeks…eleven weeks left.

It was so incredibly lovely to have Friday off as a designated company holiday. Although I didn’t do a whole lot with the gift of time, I enjoyed not having to go to work for it. Just splendid. 

Thanksgiving Day was very low key.  I made a bacon-spinach dip and a berry/fruit salad to bring to Mom and Dad’s for dinner.  Mike, Angela, and Julia were also in attendance.  Copious amounts of wine consumed by everyone, except me and Julia (my excellent excuse? Pregnancy. Hers?  She’s 7.)  Dinner, dessert, football, family stories, home by 9pm.

Black Friday, HG went golfing.  I finally rolled out of bed at 9:30.  Took down the autumn decorations, and brought out the Christmas moose, garlands, and linens (everything except the tree, ornaments, and outside lights).  Spent most of the day getting the house in Christmassy mode.   Friday evening, we went to Dana’s house for her post-Turkey-Recovery barbecue.  Saw lots of former coworkers from The Bank, including Braveheart (who barely made eye contact with me the whole night, although his wife spent most of the evening chatting to me about my pregnancy).   Good to catch up on gossip, and good to reaffirm that I’m happy not to be working there.

Saturday, HG went golfing.  I had not slept well the night before, and didn’t fall asleep until sunrise.  I finally rolled out of bed at 11am.  While I was sleeping, HG brought in the Christmas tree. I assembled it and “fluffed” the branches, but didn’t put on any ornaments.  Tested all the lights (success).   Then, I spent the early afternoon putting the lights on the outside of the house.  We’re all blingy-festive now.   In the evening, HG and I went to the hockey game. Coyotes got blown out by the Blackhawks.  But severe beating notwithstanding, it was fun to go to a game.   

We went out to dinner before the game.  When we go out to eat, I’m always very conscious of what to order, ensuring I have the proper balance/count of protein, carbs, and fat.  Saturday, I was just in “I don’t care” mode.  Had a dinner salad, and a dozen chicken wings (unbreaded, but with a “sweet heat” sauce).   I stole some of HG’s fries, and one of his regular, breaded wings (honey hot).  Two hours after dinner, my glucose reading was 45.  Throwing additional caution to the wind, we went for frozen yogurt. Fasting glucose the next morning? 66.    Okay then!  Not understanding the rhyme, rhythm, or sense of it all. If it even makes sense.

Sunday, we were lazy.  Stayed in bed, reading the paper until 10.  Got up, ate breakfast, and watched the morning football games. Put ornaments on the tree. I did not put all my ornaments on the tree – roughly half.  This reduction was deliberate.  I didn’t feel like unwrapping everything. I also don’t know what I’ll feel like in January, and the less I put up now, the less I take down when I’m 4 weeks further and 4 weeks fatter.

Today was a strange one at work.  While not “busy,” I had some minor things to take care of.  And a not-so-minor employee termination to handle.  The manager led the conversation, and I was there for the benefits portion and to serve as a witness. This particular employee is one that worries me a tad. We didn’t know how he’d react.  The reaction was one of spooky-calm, which is more disturbing to me than emotional displays.  The good news is that he wasn’t surprised by the news. The bad news is that he’s clearly pissed.  

The rest of the week should be more quiet/busy, with no terminations on the horizon. I have a few open requisitions to try to close out by year’s end.   Hopefully I can make a dent in resumes tomorrow.

Sun Sounds tomorrow evening.  On Saturday, I’m going to Krista’s house, for her daughter’s birthday party.  I don’t expect to linger long. Looking at the evite list, I won’t know anyone there. I have the most excellent excuse of “pregnant, can’t linger, must get off my feet.”  I’m somewhat disappointed that the first time I heard from Krista in two months was a mass-invitation.

I’m almost done Christmas shopping. Still need gifts for Carrie, Scott, and their kids. Need to send flowers to Roxanne for her birthday.  Need to get HG a couple new shirts.  Other than that, je suis finis.  My goal is to mail the box to Ohio by this weekend.  I have “my” stuff for HG’s family wrapped and in another box. He’ll have to round out the stack with the appropriate gift cards, and get that mailed off as well.

Next week should be busier at work. Performance calibration sessions & stacked rankings start. I’m also scheduled to take next Friday off (the day after HG’s birthday).  If it all gets done, I’ll take the day. 

Our belatedly scheduled 28 wk ultrasound is this Thursday, followed immediately by another doctor’s appointment. Next week, an appointment with the perinatologist.  The week after that, another visit to the OB.  And thus sets the pattern from now until Valentine’s Day.   Or so I’m told.

 

Today’s RfL: Got HG to grudgingly admit the Christmas decorations look nice.  For a guy who feels holiday decorations shouldn’t go up until 12/13 (after his birthday), this was a huge concession. 

 

 

 

A month’s hiatus – mood not markedly improved

Things I’ve googled in the past 30 days:

Antenatal depression

Treatments for prenatal depression

Prescription Deplin

Prescription Metformin

Alternatives to Tylenol

OTC painkillers third trimester pregnancy

Severe breast pain third trimester

Blocked milk duct third trimester

Kick count app

Normal kick count fetal movement

Today is Monday, November 25. I’ve been pregnant for 27 weeks and 4 days, with 13 weeks and 4 days left (or 87 days until my due date).  As my doctor reminds me, this is a guesstimate and not a hard confirmation.  Got it, Doc, got it.

The past month has not been fun.  In addition to losing our beloved companion, HG has now inherited a weepy, puffy spouse, full of bitching, misery, and sleep deprivation.  Whomever said pregnancy is a blessing LIES.  Certainly, the outcome may very well be worth it, but this has been an absolute HELL. While I’m the first to say “Never say never,” it will take some damn good drugs and post-partum amnesia to get me to consider doing this again.  And I haven’t even gone through labor yet.

Bitching aside – baby is doing well, no issues, developmental delays, etc, and at last ultrasound, all looked according to plan. Next ultrasound is scheduled for 12/5.  After that, I get to go for one every two weeks until I deliver. 

Back to bitching… Ultrasound appointment every two weeks.  And a doctor’s appointment every two weeks.  As well as appointments with the gestational diabetes neonatology specialist every two weeks.  In some rare instances, I can actually double up and hit my OB at the same time as the neonatologist, but mostly, that means at least one doctor’s appointment a week between now and February.  And that doesn’t count visits to labs for blood draws. 

HG and I received a flood of sympathy cards after Dozer passed away.  I didn’t realize it until later, but Dozer died ON THE EXACT SAME DAY we put Daveydog down in 2009.  TO THE DAY.  There’s something terribly unlucky for our family’s pets in late October.   I know losing Dozer hit all the harder because he really had become “our” dog, not just mine.  He was also our “only child” for 4 years.  And while Davey was a beloved family pet, Dozer had external fans.  I didn’t share anything on facebook about Dozer.  (In fact, it’s only recently I shared baby news there.)  However, word did get out to friends and family .  We received a letter of condolence from the hospital (where we hadn’t volunteered for a couple years!) and a donation made in his name to the Humane Society.     Just when I think I’m all cried out over it, I’ll run across a tennis ball that rolled under a dresser or see a photo stuck in the pages of a book, and it’ll start the waterworks all over again.

There have been lots of contentious family things going on, which haven’t eased the stress levels any.  Mom and dad have issues (you can say that again, Kim!).  Danny and Margaux don’t help much.  I’m trying to maintain some neutral distance, but it’s not always easy being Switzerland.  

Work has been fine. Great, in fact.  But busy.  We went through a round of layoffs, and I’m helping a couple other facilities work through theirs.  I also recently learned that my absolutely awesome boss will be losing her job when NewCo splits into two companies next spring.  She’ll still have a job, but she’s moving to NEW NewCo, and I’m staying with Original NewCo.  Her team will be inheriting a new boss.

While no specific name yet, rumor has it that we’ll be reporting to Barry.  I’ve met Barry on a couple different occasions.  In fact, when I flew to Corporate for my interview, we had a great discussion.  I’m not too worried about reporting to him.  Except for two things.  One,  he doesn’t have any idea that I’m going out on a non-job-protected LOA in February (yet).  Two, I have a shit-tastic track record  with inherited managers.  While it takes me little time to build a rapport with my original manager, replacements usually end up pushing me in a bad way.  (Evidence:  CAP – Mark then Donna. County – Cathy then CD.  BLC – Dana then AMBer.  TheBank – Dana then VHPR.) 

IS IT ME, Karma? 

Again, something I can’t worry about, and this one isn’t eating me up at all.

Speaking of eating.

The gestational diabetes/blood sugar thing IS one thing that’s been tearing me up. A lot.  Adding to my overall anxiety levels.   Dr L wanted me to go back to the original perinatologist HG and I met with in August, but I refused.  The man was horrible, the office was in the ghetto, and he refused to listen to me.  No, no, no.  This time, Dr L scheduled an appointment for me with the LPN at his practice, who specializes in diabetes education and gestational diabetes.    Our initial meeting went much better than any of my other doctors’ visits. 

Within 24 hours, I was off the glyburide  and onto metformin. This had the IMMEDIATE benefit of changing the temperamental, no-rhyme-or-reason swings of blood sugars and put me into the range of “normal” readings. Same diet, same exercise, new scrip. And voila. Better.  There is still the very good possibility I’ll end up on insulin, but we’ll try to prolong that for as long as possible.  As long as readings stay where they are, we’re good.

She also wrote me a scrip for Deplin, which is a high-dosage folic acid supplement. It can not only help as a prenatal dietary supplement, but help minimize side effects from metformin.  Oh, it’s also a naturopathic depression/anxiety option.   Because I am a very good candidate for having prenatal anxiety. 

YOU THINK?

Two weeks into it, and I have not noticed a lick of difference regarding stress or anxiety.  I still have trouble sleeping at night. I’m still weepy over weird, unpredictable things.  (Like not being able to thread a needle or dropping a bottle of shampoo in the shower.) 

HG and I finished our “Prepared Childbirth” classes.  We’re now prepared.  (And the entire world starts laughing with us.)  We still need to schedule a tour of the hospital, and can schedule an optional breastfeeding class.  I’ll probably do that in January.  I haven’t wanted to do a THING related to my breasts.  Breast tenderness has been an ongoing issue this entire pregnancy, but the past 3 days have been horrible. To the point I actually called Dr L, and went in for a non-scheduled appointment.   Only one breast, mind you. But a stabbing, searing pain.  Like a Charlie horse, with a knife. Driving into your sensitive girly regions. Constantly.  And nothing makes the sharp pain go away.

Guess who can add “blocked milk duct” to the list of fun shit?    Thank you, colostrum-to-be.

Oh, and other than ice packs, warm compresses, and massage, you can’t do a damn thing about it?  (Tylenol never has and never will work for me.  Advil has always been my OTC analgesic of choice, but that’s on the OMG YOUR KID WILL BE BORN WITH ONE LUNG AND FOURTEEN TOES banned meds list, so I’m SOL.

In the “hmm, you may be right about the antenatal depression thing” sentiments, I have had zero interest in thinking about the nursery.  I haven’t wanted to “pick a theme,” select curtains, order a rocking chair, or think about decorating.  I did buy a crib linens set and select a chair JUST TO SHUT UP MY MOM and selected new blinds and drapes JUST TO SHUT UP MY HUSBAND, but it was begrudgingly done.   I’ll post photos of everything once washed, assembled, etc. 

Further evidence that I’ve been on a mood spiral? I haven’t been reading much.  Reading has become such a “chore,” and that’s what drove me to actually taking the Deplin.  When I’m not interested in reading? Something’s wrong.   I’m still not back to what I’d consider “normal.”  And yes, I realize that “normal” is in the eyes of the beholder, particularly for myself.  But still, I just want to feel that “normal” baseline again, and I’m still in the fog.

Let’s flash forward to the present.

Thanksgiving is at Mom and Dad’s.   Unlike many a Corey Thanksgiving, this one will be relatively “dry.”   Train-wreck Jen is coming, and Mom and Dad feel weird about serving booze in front of her. Table wine is the exception.  We’re not sure if this is Jen’s holiday with the kids, so it could be her…or her plus three.  Mike and Angela are coming, with Julia.  Uncle Charlie was neither invited or discussed.  Dad’s off the sauce because he’s battling a severe cold. And I’m on the wagon at least until spring.  No fun tales of more liquor than food. Which should make for a subdued day.

I was assigned to bring a fruit plate. Who brings a fruit plate to Thanksgiving???  I’m also making baked artichoke dip to bring, just to have something to munch on during the inevitable “is the turkey done yet? No, I don’t think so” delay.

For the first time in seven years, I have Black Friday off as a dedicated holiday.  That’s one thing that’s strange cause for elation. I have zero interest in hitting any of the sales, but I’m tickled to actually have the day to spend as I damn well see fit.  Packing up the autumn decorations and getting out the Christmas stuff.  HG and I have been invited to Dana’s house for her annual post-Thanksgiving recovery barbecue. Saturday, we have tickets to a hockey game. 

Sunday starts the “Twelve Days of HG” – the annual countdown to his birthday. Over the years, this has evolved into a present-a-day series that always starts with a Lego advent calendar.  (The next five days are all little things, like rolls of lifesavers or chocolates.)  I have a few more Lego-ish items for him.  And on his actual birthday, I will be giving him a new iPad Air.  He’s had an original ipad for a few years, and it’s time for an upgrade. One with a camera would be nice.  The baby can inherit his old one. 

If all goes according to plan at work (there’s that word again…plan…), I am taking Friday 12/13 off, and HG and I may go out of town.  If we don’t go out of town, we’ll attend the NewCo Christmas party.  Which means I potentially only have 2 more “full” workweeks for 2013.  We’re closed  Dec 24 – 26, and I’m taking Jan 3rd off.  Then, we have the final six week countdown until baby.

I wondered if I’d feel better, having done some writing.  The answer is, “No, not really.”  We’ll see if that assessment changes later tonight. As much as I’m viewing this as a chore now, it’s a healthy habit I need to get back into.  That whole “normal” thing.   Now, it’s time to go load up on the ice packs and warm compresses, and practice my pain-management breathing techniques.

Dr Lamaze?  Can suck it.

 

Today’s RfL: have accomplished a crazy-ton of things at work. Nice to see the accomplishments stack up before the end of the year.

 

 

 

Sad day

Photo: "Oh...you're back from your errands? No one stole the sofa while you were gone. I watched it for you."

Our beautiful boy died today.

Prognosis – Dark. Mood – Darker.

I wanted to write this earlier in the week, but I was just too tired. 

Wednesday, HG dropped Dozer off for his MRI.  The appointment was 9am.  He would be under general anesthesia (to ensure he didn’t move during the procedure) for an hour.  The plan was for me go to into work super-early to attend my 6am meetings (screw you, Eastern timezone), and then leave at 3pm to meet HG at the neuro specialist to pick up the dog and hear the results.  I told HG to call me when he got into work. 

HG called me at 10am, sounding nearly destroyed. This is the first time he’s ever had to drop the dog off for a procedure without me.  He said that Dozer initially refused to leave the lobby without him, and then started to whine when HG tried to leave.   HG said he got all choked up, leaving his buddy.

I knew then it was going to be a very long day.

We both arrived at the neuro clinic at 3:30, but had to wait an HOUR until the neuro resident could come speak with us.  I  understand, it’s a busy clinic, and we’re not the only patients. But you couldn’t bring our dog out to us while we sat in the exam room?   HG looked just as rough as he’d sounded on the phone. His eyes were red and bloodshot, and he sounded sniffly. 

Perhaps it is my constant glass-half-empty viewpoint that prepared me, but when the doctor shared the news, I was more mentally ready than HG to hear it.  Dozer has a nerve sheath tumor on his brachial nerve that has invaded the spinal cord. The tumor is growing at a pace that has constricted nerve and cord, which explains the sudden and severe limp.  He’s compensating for it well, and the doctor is surprised by how much movement he has, given the size and placement of the tumor.

The good news is that Dozer’s in no pain. Other than the limitations of movement, which clearly frustrate him, he’s not hurting.  These types of tumors are usually very fast-moving and progressive, and often outpace pain.     The bad news is that there’s no interventions possible at this point.  Not surgical, not pharmacological.  We can keep upping the prednisone to see if we can slow its growth, but it’ll just slow, not stop.  And Dozer’s not handling the pred very well. 

Endgame?   The tumor will grow. It will continue to compress the spinal cord, and will eventually start to impact both front legs.  He will get to the point where he will be unable to stand and walk.  That could take months, or it could take weeks.  We started noticing the problem in late August. It could have been developing for years, and there’s no way we would have known, without regular and routine MRIs.  But long term, Dozer will probably not be around to meet the new baby.

The vet acknowledged it will be a hard decision because Dozer remains a happy and optimistic dog. Ultimately, it will be up to me and to HG to make the choices.  After some further discussion, we have decided to stop issuing the prednisone.  We’ll finish up the latest course of thyroid meds.  And then, we’ll spoil the dog rotten for the time we have left.

I cried at the vet’s office, but tried to keep it in check. I managed to do that until we got home, when HG and I both had a good sob.  This is the absolute worst part of having a pet.  I’ve been down this road before, but this is the first time for HG.  Certainly, family pets, but never “his own” dog. And it hit hard.

I asked the neuro specialist for a referral or contact for a vet who will make house calls when that time is needed.  We’re done with stressful road trips for Dozer.  I have a brochure sitting on my desk for “Happy Endings Euthanasia,” a name that makes me snicker due to the inappropriate irony.

Until we need to dial that number… we will continue with our day to day. Spoiling the dog rotten.  Case in point – HG was working from home Friday. When I got out of the shower, he had left the house. To go to Dunkin Donuts to buy munchkins. Because that dog wanted them for breakfast. 

The dog can have all the munchkins he wants, but carbs are still forbidden fruit for me. (Pun probably intended.)

Despite exercising each night, careful monitoring of my food, and taking my meds, my glucose levels were all over the map for the past three days.  I’m sure stress couldn’t factor into those numbers *at all* (heavy on the sarcasm). My OB had given me the very unhelpful advice of avoiding stress to keep things in check.  Fat chance, doc.

Work is soothing and quiet, and allows me to move in a pleasant routine. Got several emails from employees today, thanking me for taking time to explain benefits offerings, to help clarify the difference between HSA and FSA, to define deductibles and co-pays and out-of-pocket limits.  All terms I’m familiar with, but your average high school graduate probably isn’t.  One mechanic later told me that, in his 10 years with Newco, this is the first time anyone from HR has explained benefits to the group.  That made me kind of sad.   I know Newco’s HR philosophy is a little different from most – higher level business function, and you aren’t supposed to spend a lot of day-to-day doing hand-holding – but it still is sad that interacting with and educating employees wasn’t a focus.

I jokingly told him to send my boss an email to that effect.  This morning, he did.

Speaking of bosses, Wednesday was Bosses’ Day.  I have no direct reports, so no gifts forthcoming.  Last year, my team bought me a calendar, balloons, and flowers. It was sweet. This year, I sent an eCard to my boss, with a picture of a chocolate cake. Inside, it said “Virtual Cake – Paleo Diet Approved.”  I also wrote a quick note of appreciation.    Love my boss…she wrote back, “is this a real holiday? Why am I at work???” 

I talked with Dana last night. We haven’t talked in ages, and had been trading voicemails back and forth. Finally caught her in the evening (while out for my 2 mile walk/sanity refresh).  Life at The Bank continues to be just as fun as ever.  And I’m all the more grateful to be out of there and at NewCo, where the worst part of my day is dealing with DOT drug testing compliance forms, and not dealing with temperamental vice presidents and incentive-defrauding tellers.

Over the lunch hour yesterday, I went to a smaller branch of The Bank to close out my savings account. I only used this particular savings account to buy movie tickets, use at the cafeteria lunch register, etc.  I had forgotten all about it, until I got a statement in the mail with a $5 inactivity fee on it.   Oh, thanks for the reminder!  Went over to close the account.  I’d also dragged my feet a bit, wondering if I’d run into any tellers or bankers who might recognize me. Fortunately, I was assisted by a very new teller, and the account was drained/closed. 

I did get several of the new $100 bills.  They look like play money, with a pretty hologram ribbon/strip on the front. I will either use my cash windfall to buy new boots, or save to purchase HG’s birthday gift. He has had an iPad for the past 4 years, and because it’s one of the originals and not an iPad 2, he can’t continue to upgrade, etc.  He’d never buy himself one, but I’m leaning toward getting him the slickest edition.  The old version can then become “the baby’s ipad.”

Today, HG is going golfing. I will either spend the remainder of the morning lounging on the patio and reading horrible chick lit,  OR go do a little retail therapy at the mall. I’ve started my Christmas lists, but haven’t made any purchases.  Perhaps this will inspire me.   This evening, we’re going out to dinner with the ‘rents. Sunday is reserved for lunch with Shelli, and an afternoon of washing the walls in the nursery, to prep for painting. 

Next weekend, HG and I are overnighting at a local resort, courtesy of his company (golf retreat for their management – I’m going to get a massage and facial at the spa while he hobnobs).  Dad will be staying at our house that night to keep an eye on the dog.  The following weekend, we’ll be slapping paint on the nursery walls.  Must hasten to complete it before HG’s parents come in for a visit.

IF they come.   Bob has been having some issues related to his eye again. Depending on what’s going on, he may not be able to fly.  If that happens, their trip is postponed.  However, I’ll still take two days off of work, just to have the mental health days.   Also to get my semiannual dental cleaning fit in (had to reschedule due to our prenatal classes starting 10/28). 

 

Today’s reason for living:  We haven’t had to turn on the air conditioning in 2 weeks.  Temps are in the 80s for highs, and 60s for lows.  This kind of weather almost makes up for our unbearably brutal summers.   Almost. 

Maintaining the status quo

Song stuck in my head today: “Don’t drop that thun thun thun,” – Finatticz

You’ll notice I’m never stuck with a graceful earworm like Carmina Burana or a scherzo by Rimsky-Korsakov. It’s usually ghetto-punk hiphop that displays my woeful taste in morning-commute music.  Hey… Sirius Morning Mashup?  Or CNN Morning Joe?   Some days, you need more pop and less politics.

 

Today is October 15. There is less than one week until my birthday.  I did not realize how far into October we were until my mother pressed me (again) for my birthday gift list and for Christmas ideas for me and for HG.  Birthday?  Oh, that’s *later*.  I’m still puzzling through insurance deductibles, co-pays, open enrollment for next year, registering for baby gifts, figuring out the dog’s myriad health appointments.  Birthday?  Pshewww…that’s weeks away.

Only, it isn’t.  It’s NEXT WEEK.  How could I have nearly forgotten my own birthday?

Then again, I also nearly forgot the date of my own wedding when buying 2010 hockey tickets.  I’m a fine one to talk. I’d blame “pregnancy brain,” but I can’t blame the Jellybean for my casual preoccupation with other crap.  My birthday?  Irrelevant in the big scheme of things.

HG and I had a nice weekend.  Busy, but nice.  Spent more time with paint samples for the nursery. I learned that HG does not like the color green. I am adamant that the room not be painted pink or purple, and was leaning more toward a tealish/turquoiseish shade.  However, most HG pooh-poohed as “too green.”  After an exasperating round of “WTH is wrong with green?” I finally charmed out of him that he has a mental association with green rooms and elementary school classes.  No matter what shade, it’s education-industrial. Okay, point taken. (Which also explains his snide commentary whenever I wear my green cardigan sweater. Mental note:  not that I’ll be wearing it any time soon, but throw away green lace camisole nighty.)

Mom and Dad were in Chicago, at my cousin’s wedding. I’m really sorry HG and I couldn’t attend. But it just wouldn’t have worked out, work-wise, or doggy-health-wise.  It was better for us to be at home, and I could live vicariously stalk family on Facebook.   My cousin and his wife had a really cute reception idea. When you looked at the seating chart for your table assignment, you were assigned to tables named by family weddings. For example, there was the “Mr & Mrs HG DiPesto” table, with a picture from our wedding on the centerpiece.   I asked Margaux to swipe a placecard for me. She and Danny were (naturally) at the table featuring their own wedding.   I think the bride’s family were mostly relegated to “our” spot.  I think it was a super-sweet idea, and I would’ve loved to have seen it in person.

Plus, they used an awesome black-and-white photo of me and HG from our reception, one I happen to love.  Good choice, Kev.

With Mom and Dad out of town, we watched Vladdy all weekend. I think he’s finally used to our house and our routines.  Even HG grudgingly admitted that Vladdy is “Okay.”  I liked having a long-distance walking buddy again, even if only for the short term. 

Dozer is on a very limited physical regimen now.  He was swimming every day, but the pool water is down below 70 now, and it’s too chilly for HG to go in.  Which means no dog laps.   Dozer can comfortably walk to the end of the street and back, but he is dragging his left front paw pretty badly now, and I am worried he’ll abrade the fur and skin off of it.

We did take him for the neuro consult on Saturday. I knew this but, HG apparently didn’t – it was a CONSULT, and no real diagnostics were done.  However, this was probably the most comprehensive physical exam I’ve ever seen the dog put through.  The neuro specialist watched him walk, sit, roll around in the grass, asked me to jog with him, etc.  Not only is he showing neuro weakness in the left front, but left rear leg as well (which we didn’t notice).   Dozer has limited reflexive movement in either leg on the left side.  The neuro recommended an MRI.  The MRI can tell us if it is a nerve sheath tumor, a brachial nerve tumor, or possibly a compressed or herniated cervical disk.  

The compressed/herniated disk would be the best diagnosis and “easiest” repair, if you will.  For a tumor, the options typically include amputation of the limb. However, for a dog of his size, age, and general physical condition (arthritis in the back legs), I would not consider amputation surgery.  Other options may include localized radiation or chemo, but that would most likely only stop the tumor’s growth, and would not reinstate mobility or “cure” him.

MRI is now scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday).  I was tallying vet receipts last night.  Between January and Saturday, all things totaled, including vet appointments/specialist referrals/prescription drug coverages, we’ve hit $6,000+.  Now, we get to add a $2700 MRI on top of it.  Too bad the dog can’t be claimed as a dependent for tax purposes.  

We’ll see what the MRI has to say.  I want desperately to hang my hat on the herniated disk outcome, but I have a very sick feeling it is a tumor. That will greatly limit our options.

The next time you think about getting a pet, think long and hard about the future expenses.  Granted, the ROI has been huge, but I still am having a difficult time choking down the $2700 MRI.  (HG joked we should’ve taken Dozer with us for the ultrasound and bargained for a 2-for-1 special. I wish that could be the case!)

Other than that…

Got my flu shot today. I get one every year, so this is nothing special.  HG got his at work last week. He hasn’t had one in a few years, and I had to bully him to sign up for one this year.  He got a horrible cold one winter, and thinks the flu shot gave it to him. At the time, he said he never (Ever!) got colds, so it had to be the flu, and had to be from the flu shot.  However, he’s since been leveled with two or three cough/colds that aren’t the flu, and I think he’s learned the difference. 

The “it’s for the good of the baby” guilt worked great.

I’ve been leading Open Enrollment open-house sessions for employees at work. I actually like explaining benefits stuff – it’s a nice change from the shades-of-weird elements of my job and move to something very black-and-white.   However, it’s also nice to leave it well and truly behind me after a week, and move on to other things.  Such is the benefit of being a “generalist” in role, and not a specialist.

Had my first involuntary separation at Newco today – an employee’s random drug screen came back positive for narcotics.  Per our policy and FAA guidelines, it’s an automatic ticket to the exit.  Reviewed with Legal (as we’re supposed to do for all involuntary separations), and got the snottiest response from the labor law attorney of, “why are you calling? Why not just fire him?”  Uhhh, because you beat into us that ALL separations go through your office, no matter how “common sensical” they are?)

It was a pretty calm meeting.  Reviewed the results with the associate. He didn’t deny it, but also said that this wasn’t his fault.  I didn’t ask for clarification beyond that.  Walked through COBRA information, final pay, collected his badge.  Shook his hand, and he left.  But darn, I was hoping to go at least 6 months before having to fire someone.  

First time a positive drug screen has come back for our location in more than 7 years.  Lucky me.

Sun Sounds tonight – nice to have the quiet 2 hours.  Dog’s MRI Wednesday.  Working late Thursday for an evening Open Enrollment open house session.  Friday, HG and I may be going to the state fair (free tickets).  Saturday, we’ll have dinner with the ‘rents for my birthday.  Sunday, I’m having lunch with Shelli and Kim.  That should keep me occupied and out of trouble for the next 7 calendar days. 

Provided no more DOT random test results come back positive.

Today’s RfL:  Got my free flu shot at work – all drugged up and compliant.

 

 

It’s a … lady anarchist

shaking fist

 

HG and I went for our 20 week ultrasound on Friday.  There, we got the official confirmation of the following items:

  • The jellybean inside a water balloon looks more like a “real” baby now
  • Jellybean is definitely a girl
  • Jellybean does not like to stay still
  • Jellybean does not adhere to the traditional “fetal” position and spent the better part of 30 minutes sprawled out
  • Jellybean is meeting all standards for growth and development, with no anomalies

The technician had a difficult time getting some readings, as Baby kept moving around.  HG finally got the visual of what I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks.  And it’s W-E-I-R-D.  Not painful, but definitely weird. 

We got a DVD souvenir, and roughly 50 black and white “stills.”  This one made me snicker, as it looks like the baby is shaking her fist at the ultrasound tech, as if to say, “Really?  C’mon!  Let a girl swim in peace!”   There are several more where the baby has her legs straight out (which made it easy for the tech to capture femur-length measurements), but crossed at the ankles.  Modesty, even in the womb.     Baby eventually uncrossed legs for a split second, only to deliver a series of scissor kicks, and go right back to crossed-leg stance.  

I asked how long she’ll be able to spend her time spread-eagled like that before she “assumes the position,” so to speak.  The tech laughed, and said, “as long as she can.”   Awesome.  

I feel Jellybean move most of all when I’m quiet.  If I’m moving around or doing a lot of talking, I either don’t notice it, or she’s lulled to sleep. But right now, she’s doing the can-can, and awaiting our evening snack.   Tomorrow, I have my belated Week 20 checkin with Dr L.   HG and I start our “Prepared Childbirth” classes at the end of the month.  (Not the Lamaze versions, since I was adamant about checking any box that talked about the options of painkillers.  Sorry, kiddo…your mom takes valium for dental work.  There WILL be drugs involved in this process. It’s a given.) 

No progress made on names, other than to generate the list of aunts’, cousins’, and other female family names that will be used to rule things out.   It’s up to 100 rows in Excel.  

That’s the only exciting news from the baby front. 

On the dog front…Dozer had his bloodwork rechecked to confirm the thyroid meds are helping. He is down to 95#, which we can’t necessarily correlate to the drug. It may also be due to wasted muscle, rapidly disappearing from his left foreleg.  He not only walks with a limp, but drags his paw.  He IS feeling better though, and has energy.  Still struggling to hop up on the sofa, bed, or walk up the ramp into the car, but he’s showing interest in doing so.  Just needs a boost.     

The $200 consult with the orthopedic specialist told us nothing.  The radiographs and CT didn’t show anything useful, and there’s no skeletal or osteo/structural reason for the limp.  Now, a new referral for a canine neurologist and an ultrasound/MRI this Saturday.  Yes, we’re already anticipating a $1000+ vet bill for that one.   While we’re interested to know what’s going on, pathologically, I am not sure HG or I are prepared to do anything with the verdict.  Dr Google (who’s such a helpful and not-frightening-at-all source….heavy on the sarcasm) tells us that it’s likely a brachial nerve tumor.  They’re not malignant, but grow quickly, and usually necessitate amputation of the limb.    

The dog’s 11.5 years old.  Amputation won’t be an option.  But maybe we can find out some palliative care measures or even rule out scary tumor diagnoses.  

Dad’s birthday was Friday.  We bought him a new laptop for his gift.  When Danny called me to consult on gift ideas, I suggested a gift card to Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics, to complement the new hardware.  They sent him a $25 gift card.  (I know, I know…thought that counts and all that jazz.  But REALLY?  Oh ye of the douchebag “we now live in Bexley” set, sending your dad a $25 giftcard?  Maybe he’s planning to supplement with another gift when they see mom and dad in Chicago this weekend…but I doubt it.) 

Mom’s…still crazy.   Right now, the roller coaster is on an upswing, and she’s been applying for holiday jobs at Barnes and Noble and Changing Hands. When I have time/energy/desire, I’ll have to write out the saga of August, September, and thus far into October.  I really am not in the mood to dwell on her insanity.

They’re coming over to the house Thursday to watch the football game (we get the NFL channel, they don’t) and to drop off Vladdy before they leave Friday morning.  I’m sad to miss Kevin and Katie’s wedding, but with the dog, we really can’t leave him home alone, and I don’t feel too positively about a petsitter.  

Nothing else interesting to report.  Today’s RfL:  feeling pretty good these days, enough to get out for bike rides or long walks.  The weather is gorgeous in the evenings. 

Happy Sunday

It was a really good weekend.  Managed to catch up on all the household chores I’d put off, managed to get a nap in on Saturday AND on Sunday, watched football, read a few books, and got Mom off my back bought nursery furniture.  The last one really irked me, as I still think it’s early to be shopping for cribs and whatnot. The Baby Bargains book Krista and Carrie heartily endorsed did say to order furniture expecting a 6 – 10 wk lag time between ordering and delivery.   After a lot of internet comparisons, I took mom to Buy Buy Baby. 

While I’m still annoyed at the sheer commercialism by the store and its name, I do like the fact that Bed Bath and Beyond coupons are valid there.  The only catch is, unlike BB&B, the coupons cannot be expired.  Fortunately, being the BB&B coupon hoarder that I am, I had a stack of current ones, which allowed a 20% discount per furniture piece selected.   Mom can sleep now, knowing her future grandchild has a crib, a dresser, and a nightstand. There’s even a conversion kit coming, so we can turn the crib into a “big girl/boy” bed when the time comes.

Baby Appleseed Stratford collection, just in case you’re wondering.

Still to purchase: crib mattress, rocking chair, lamp, shelves or bookcase.  The furniture purchase also came with something called “white glove” service.  A $50 service fee gets everything delivered to the house, and gets everything assembled for me.   By the way, there’s no return policy on baby furniture.

The crib, dresser, and nightstand will be delivered next Saturday.  Just like my wedding dress…order way in advance…and it’s ready instantly.  Not stellar, considering we were trying to empty that room out before we paint.    I also have to go to Carrie’s to pick up two pack and plays, and a baby-gym, and then to Krista’s to get a Bumbo seat, a swing, a high chair, and sacks of baby clothing.

We got a baby present from HG’s parents this weekend – an adorable bear from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.  Doreen’s note said they had bought the bear a while ago, in anticipation of having a grandchild in the future.  The receipt on the bottom said it was purchased January 2010, months before our wedding.  That’s advance planning/hope.  It’s a cute and fuzzy bear.

By the time they come out, I should be fully wearing maternity gear.  Right now, I’m still fitting into most pre-pregnancy clothes (although anything size 10 is a goner).  However, I’m leaning more toward wearing stretchy knit dresses without belts, and definitely no cotton blouses with buttons (because HELLO cleavage).  It’s only a matter of time before I make the transition from “she may be fat” to “she’s definitely pregnant,” at least in the gossip chain at work.

I told my boss a couple weeks ago, but didn’t break the news to Larry until last week.  Waiting for the right timing and conversational opening. I knew what the likely reaction was, and I wasn’t wrong.  ”Congratulations,” followed quickly by, “Oh shit – really?”   He was very stoic when I offered the same explanation I’d given my boss. I realize I’m not eligible for any leaves of absence, and I want what’s best for plant operations. Possible courses of action could include starting the search for my replacement in the fall/winter, hiring a contractor to fill in for me while I’m out, floating other HR managers in from other locations on a rotational basis.

Larry’s next question was, “You’re coming back, aren’t you?”  I said that returning was certainly my plan, I really like the job/company/team, but I also want to emphasize I understand business goes on.  ”As long as you’re coming back,” he said.

So that’s that.  It’s “real” at work now.  I”m not planning to make any other announcements to the rest of the leadership team. I’ll see what Larry does with the information.

 

To answer my mom’s ever-present question, no, nothing seems “real” quite yet.  Sure, I’ve had lots of doctors’ visits.  Lots of bloodwork.  Lots of nice EOBs from Cigna, letting me know more bills for my share are in the works.  (Sidenote – WTF is it with medical providers and super-slow billing? Just got a bill for $22 for labwork done IN JULY.)  I don’t think it’ll be really “real” to me until I can start feeling baby externally.

Oh, I feel baby moving internally. A lot.  It took me a while to figure out that what was going on was probably baby related and not “oh, I had a warm diet coke” or “maybe I’m just hungry” kind of stomach rumbling.  As I explained to HG, it feels a lot like what would happen if you managed to swallow a handful of poprocks, and they started bursting in your stomach. It’s not painful, it’s just…unusual.

What’s still painful is pregnancy-boobage. When I started this little adventure in May, I was 160#, and a standard 36B.  Flash forward five months, and I’m only at 165#, but a 38C.  CEE. And there’s still “room to grow,” so to speak.  My chest hurts in what can only be described as growing pains.   I mentioned before that I can no longer wear button-down shirts.  Because I’m afraid that the buttons won’t stay put and would shoot off the shirt with the velocity of an angry bb gun.

That’s enough pregnancy-dwelling for the day. I was off the hook for all doctors’ appointments for most of October.  It was nice to finally hear I’m “stable,” and don’t need to be observed for a month.

But the parade of medical appointments renews in earnest this week.   Tuesday, HG and I are taking Dozer to a consultation with an osteopathic specialist for an ultrasound on his left shoulder.  Still limping, muscle degradation, and nothing on the xrays to say why.     Friday afternoon is the 20 week ultrasound, which will answer the “Boy or Girl” question definitively.  And next Tuesday is my next appointment with Dr L.    Other than the weird, unpredictable waves of exhaustion and the aforementioned breast pain, I’m feeling pretty good.

Today’s RfL:  it was a great weekend.  Accomplished lots, caught up on rest.

“You’re killing me, Smalls”

 

The title references a quote said to me once on Friday by our IT Manager, overheard on a FoodTV show on Sunday, and quoted to me again by our Payroll guru today.   It’s a line from the movie The Sandlot, usually used to express frustration when the other person says something particularly stupid…or causes pain for the other person. 

Example:  I messed up a hire date for a new employee.  Had to send an email to helpdesk and our payroll division in India to get it repaired.  CC’d the IT manager here.  He’d already set up the new hire with the wrong start date.  Okay, I own that one.     But the payroll manager one was not my fault, and I was merely the messenger.  I was tempted to post back one of my favorite Dilbert cartoons:

But discretion reigns supreme, and as the HR person, I should set the standard for decorum and professionalism.

“Should” being the operative word there.

 It was a good weekend.  I don’t remember doing a whole lot.  Took the dog to the vet on Saturday for another blood draw.  His T4 Thyroid levels have dropped a mere tenth (down to 1.3).  The normal range is anywhere from 1 – 4, but 1.3 is pretty low.  With his overall lethargy and changes in hair/coat, the vet thinks he’s definitely borderline hypothyroid, and will eventually drop even further.  We started a regimen of thyroid meds – one pill, twice a day, lowest dose.  We’ll go back in another month for another blood draw to confirm everything’s OK and see if the medication is having its desired effect.

We also talked about his worsening arthritis/stiff gait.  Part of it may be related to the developing thyroid issues, but the other part may simply be that the Rimadyl is no longer as effective as it once was.  We’re changing to Deramaxx, and a higher dosage.  Give that 2 weeks, and if no improvements, then consider other NSAIDs and possible supplementation with narcotics.  Last resort would be steroids, but I am very wary of ongoing steroid use in the long-term. 

The good news is that the thyroid medication is dirt-cheap, AND we can get it filled at human pharmacies for the $4 generic pricing at Kroger. The bad news is that any savings will be eaten up by the Deramaxx, which is easily twice as expensive as Rimadyl. 

We also got a 10-day course of antibiotics to deal with a skin rash issue (part of the thyroid problems).  That brings the dog’s daily pill count up to double-digits.

AM regimen:  one glucosamine supplement, one Omega 3 supplement, one antibiotic, one Deramaxx, one thyroid.  PM regimen:  one glucosamine, one Omega 3, one antibiotic, one thyroid, and one multivitamin. Add an 11th pill if it’s heartworm time. (Once a month though.)

Still beats the daily insulin shots that Davey required.  I’m just glad Dozer’s a good pill-taker.  Typically, you can just hand him the tablet and he’ll gulp it down.  (Except the amoxicillin – those need to be laced with peanut butter or wrapped in pepperoni to make them palatable.)

Saturday afternoon, HG and I went to see “The End of the World.”  Save yourselves the money and time. Not as funny as we’d thought (we liked “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead”); this had some giggle-worthy moments, but not enough for complete redemption.   Somehow, I was prepared for the “aliens taking over the world” plotline, but HG missed that, and was caught by surprise.

Sunday, I did a couple loads of laundry and went to the hair salon.  One of the relatively few pregnancy perks has been much thicker hair. It’s not growing faster, but I have lots more volume.  My stylist was very complimentary.   Same shade, just a trim, no obvious changes.  The first question my adorable stylist asked was, “So – boy or girl?”  “That’s what I’d like to know!” was my retort.  Three weeks away from a definitive answer, I suppose.

I have another doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Monday morning, I went to the lab for yet another “routine blood draw.”  The phlebotomist and I are close enough to exchange Christmas cards now. Or will be, at this rate.  For the first time ever, I was asked to complete a patient satisfaction survey.  Poor timing on their part, as it was yet another example of why appointment times are completely irrelevant to Sonora Quest.  Made the appointment for 7:30.  Came in – lobby was e-m-p-t-y.  According to the sign-in sheet, there was only one person ahead of me on the schedule, and s/he was scheduled at 7am, and not in the lobby.  Didn’t get called back until EIGHT O’CLOCK. 

I know, I know. Yet another thing to not get worked up about.  But I think we’ve all established I’m a control freak who hates running late for things.  And that unnecessary delay (my perception, anyway) made me late for work.  Not that I can ever be “late,” because I’m salaried.  But I hatehatehate tapdancing into the building when the bulk of employees are there. 

 I came in late to work Tuesday and today. However, I was technically “working” from home, starting with  conference calls at 8:00am.  EASTERN.  (Timezones? Daylight Savings?  Suck it.)   Following the 5:00 – 6:30 calls, I had more from 7:00 – 8:00.   THEN, I finished getting ready, and went into work. My goal was to be there by 8:45, thus giving me 10 minutes to get my bearings and prepare for the 9am senior management meeting AND the 9am interview with a lead mechanic candidate.

 Tomorrow is another late arrival – doctor’s appointment at 8am.  I’m trying very hard not to be too obvious about my comings and goings, but it’s hard to keep a low profile.

 It’s also going to be hard to hide the little secret soon.  Size 10 things no longer button.  Size 12 things are OK, but some longer skirts/dresses are a little tight around the midsection.  It’s only a matter of time before someone makes a joking pregnancy remark.  (Remember – I work in an office that’s 90% men…who work in coveralls.)

 With that in mind, I finally manned up, and scheduled a 1×1 with my boss to talk about “planning/staffing concerns for Mesa OD in 2014” for Thursday afternoon.  The premise of the meeting is to brief her on some issues that may impact our long-range planning discussion to be held at the end of the month.

 Understatement of the year, perhaps.

 In other fun events… Bob and Doreen are coming for a visit in November. It’ll be a shorter visit – arrive late Thursday night, depart early Tuesday morning.  HG will take that Friday and Monday off, but I’ll be working.  I have some time left for 2013 and was originally thinking of rolling it over for 2014. However, in light of recent cost-savings initiatives, we’re encouraged to NOT roll over vacay. That leaves me four or five days for the year.  I may take the Monday and Friday of Christmas week (we get 24/25/26 as holidays) and new year’s eve off.  That’s three days right there. I had thought about a day in October for the Chicago wedding, but that’s off the table.  I’ll plug and play the other days somewhere, I’m sure.

Even if I don’t take the days off, I’m sure HG will have more than enough to do with his parents without needing me.  I’m sure the alone time without me would be welcomed.

 Today’s RfL:  We’ve had three straight days of rain and stormy weather, which means our temperatures have been hovering in the 80s.    The humidity levels are bordering on disgusting, but it’s tolerable to be outside.  Been taking the dog for short walks, and went for long bike rides last night and tonight.