Friday, June 27, 2008

Checking in

Still here, just in the midst of summer busy-ness.  I home-school, so my kids are home all day every day, just like in the summer.  So why do I feel our lives are so much more crazed now when we actually have less we have to get done?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Yesterday we joined a pool for the summer.  Oh, a third of the summer is already gone, you say?  Yes, yes, but we love to swim and want to use it for as long as we're able.  So yesterday we joined and zipped up for a swim.  Closed.  Closed because a small child unloaded in the pool what should have been done in a toilet or, more appropriately given what happened, the swim diaper this child apparently should have been wearing but wasn't.  Closed for sanitization.  And today?  Today it's cloudy with almost certain prognosis of thunderstorms shortly.  Figures.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Temporary Basement Fix

This last rainfall solidified, at least in my mind, big-time basement renovations were going to have to wait.  Maybe forever.  Who puts up drywall and lays carpet in an area that leaks when it rains?

But I had to do something.  The ugly, dreary paneling was getting to me.

So, after the rainfall and before the clean-up, I painted.  A bright, cheery yellow.  And the kids helped me paint, which was fun.

Yes, yes, I need an after picture.  Yet here I sit on my sofa with a cup of coffee that is both the perfect temperature and the right combination of coffee and cream.  Oh, and all three kids are still asleep.  So no, I will not go snap a picture just now.  Blame laziness, blame selfishness, say what you like, but I am not moving from this spot just yet.  Later. I'll take an after picture later.

I won't say that I love it down there now, but I like it much, much more than I did before.  It certainly is bright and cheerful now and, besides dry, what else can a homeowner ask for?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day: Go Brew Crew!

Joe's Father's Day request?  Attending a Brewer's game.  With all three kids.  For me, it was an unhappy prospect.  Don't get me wrong, I like baseball and I like the Brewers, but three kids with all their squirminess and complaints baking out in the hot sun for three hours?  It sounded horrid, to be perfectly frank.  But Father's Day isn't about me, so tickets were bought to a 1:05 game to see the Brewers meet the Minnesota Twins in the last of a three-game series.

And boy oh boy was it fun!

First off, and least important, it was an exciting game which the Brewers ended up winning 4-2.  

But more importantly the kids thought it was great.  Our seats were way out in left field, really close to Bernie's home run slide (which he did whiz down after Mike Cameron's home run).  See him there, right outside of his dugout?

Here's our view of the field.  Ryan Braun is at bat in this picture.

Here's the happy daddy enjoying the game with his brood.  See that Hank has his glove on?  He was convinced he needed to be ready for the entire game for a wayward ball headed our way (none ever did).

After the thrilling victory and lots of yelling, cheering and, yes, even some jeering, the kids were invited onto the field to run the bases (as they are after most Sunday afternoon games).  Madeleine dutifully followed the rules and ran as fast as she could around all four bases, passing her brother close to second base.  And Hank?  He ran slowly, savoring the experience and even tried sliding into second (sliding is against the rules).  After a quick admonishment from a staff person sporting a Brew Crew Event T-shirt, he was back on his way (he's sliding in this picture, and Madeleine is just behind him).

At some point during the eighth inning Elisabeth managed to tune out the yelling and cheering and fell asleep.  After holding her while waiting in line to run the bases for quite some time, I turned her over to Joe to snap a picture of the little girl sleeping through her first Brewer's game.

All five of us crashed when we got home after eating a supper of leftovers and dozing during a chapter of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Still though, fun, fun day.  A new Father's Day tradition, perhaps? 

Friday, June 13, 2008

Last Day of School

Madeleine and I had her last day home-schooling earlier this week which I will blog about at some point.

But today was Hank's day. Today was his last day of school. My little guy was excited because, let's face it, what kid isn't excited about endless days of hotness, swimming and friends laid out before them? So Hank is excited that school is over. But he's sad too. He loved his teacher and he bonded with a lot of kids in his class and enjoyed the constant playtime (he dismissed any carpet gathering time or time spent at his table as "boring").

Right now excited/sad Hank is outside playing with the neighborhood brood (we just hit twenty-three kids on our block last Saturday!) but just a few short hours ago he was running up the sidewalk to the K4 doors (he's wearing a blue backpack).

And, then, just a few short hours after that, he comes charging out of the K4 doors for the last time (see the kid with a mile-wide grin on his face who's sticking his head up like an ostrich? That's Hank).

And that's it. Summer vacation has begun!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rain Update

The basement seems to have dried up in most spots, thankfully. To put things in perspective, the local middle school is closed because of flooding and numerous local houses that have never experienced water in their basements had trouble during this last storm. These were extreme circumstances.

But, there's more rain in the forecast today, but tomorrow looks sunny so far. And, from what I hear, the violent storms producing the flash flooding and tornados are over. At least for now.

Long term I don't know what we're going to do. The drain tiles and palmer valve should take care of the wetness problem, just apparently not when we get 2.5 inches of rain per hour which is very, very unusual. I suspect we'll start with some regrading and mud-jacking the driveway in some suspicious spots. My answer Saturday night while moving the contents of our basement to higher ground and cleaning up gross messes was just to chuck it all and move. But given the reports I'm hearing of wet basements abounding, I think that's a pretty extreme reaction.

I'm in clean-up mode today. Throwing out old carpet remnants that lined my laundry room floor and washing rugs from the family room. After the basement is cleaned up and normalcy is returned to our chaotic house then we can start mulling over long term solutions.

Some good news: Elisabeth is feeling better. Completely recovered, I'd say. Oh, and we had the most delicious sandwiches ever last night. I'll share the recipe later today. YUM!

UPDATE: This is mere moments from our home. See why I feel thankful the damage wasn't worse?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring, an old man is snoring...

I don't usually like to use my blog for whining, but today I'm going to make an exception.

Last night it rained. Buckets and buckets of rain. So much rain, in fact, that interstates were shut down and basements got much wetter than ours. But oh, our basement. Our formerly fixed and dry basement was soaked. We're talking standing water eeeeeeverywhere. But guess what? It's supposed to keep raining here until Wednesday. WEDNESDAY! And today is Sunday. Then we're going to have a day of reprieve, and then, yep, you guessed it- MORE RAIN!

Then, the frosting on the cake: guess what else happened this morning? Elisabeth is sick! YAY! Yes, throwing up, making messes kind of sick. Only problem is that my washing machine is in-- wait for it-- the basement. The very same basement that I have to wade through to get to my washing machine that I can't use because the laundry sink is alternating as a catchall for wet rugs and pillows at the moment.

I'm sorry for whining. While watching the news it appears others got hit a lot harder than we did, but it's my blog so I'm going to whine about stuff that affects me. At least for today.

Oh, and Big Brown lost yesterday. I was so hoping for a Triple Crown winner. *Sigh*

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hey, On-Line Shoppers

Before you buy something on-line next time trying googling the name of the store you're buying something from along with "coupon codes." I've done this the last few times I ordered something and more often than not there's been some code out there that has worked for my order. Sometimes it's free shipping, sometimes it's a certain percentage off but, no matter what it was, it always (save one time) saved me money.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Doctor and Running Updates

Some of you may still be wondering about my vague post a few months back about the lack of responsiveness of my primary care doctor. The even more observant may have noted my lack of running posts.

OK, the lack of running posts. Last summer I curiously noticed that when I woke in the morning my feet felt weird. When I would step out of bed the bottoms of my feet felt tingly, almost as if many tiny little pins were pricking my feet. But it would go away as I started to move around and I didn't give it too much thought. I'm just getting older, I told myself.

And then I started running last October. At first, as I said, I felt great. I was sore after my runs, but as an inexperienced runner, I felt this was somewhat normal. I can't quite pinpoint when my joints started aching to the point where I was sore in my knees, shoulders and hips when I woke and whenever I would kneel down or walk more than just a few blocks or anything, really. Again, I sort of attributed to aging. Yes, yes, I know I'm quite young, so feeling signs of "aging" at my age sounds absurd, but I really felt fine and couldn't think of another reasonable explanation. I'm also not a person that goes to the doctor often; I go for my annual physicals, but that's about it. And I certainly wasn't about to go with vague symptoms that I wasn't able to describe well. Plus, I never felt that bad and, as I said, I figured it was normal to a degree. And then there was the exhaustion. All parents with young kids are tired, right? So it had to be normal that I felt like I was ready to collapse by 7 p.m. I felt like a failure that, gradually, I just felt too tired to go running at night anymore, which was a really bitter pill to swallow because I really, really enjoyed the time alone. And, as it turned out, I really liked running. But I just couldn't do it, and I felt like a lazy sloth. A lazy sloth who'd started something challenging and quit.

Then in March I had my regular physical. When my doctor asked me how I was feeling I said fine. Yes, honestly. And at 9 a.m., which is when my appointment was, I did feel fine. At least, relatively speaking compared to how I felt at 9 p.m. most days. But my doctor felt something suspicious in my thyroid. I hate the word goiter, but that was the word she used. Later, it would turn out my thyroid numbers from my blood test were abnormal as well. My doctor referred my for a thyroid ultrasound which showed enough suspicious growth that my primary doctor referred me to an endocrinologist who specializes in thyroid issues. Dr. Drobny, the endocrinologist my primary doctor referred me to, took forever to get in to see and, I will say, after castigating Dr. Reeder, my primary care doctor, in my last post, she was dutiful in calling consistently until she was sure I had made an appointment with Dr. Drobny and was following up on my thyroid ultrasound, which Dr. Reeder sounded sufficiently worried about (and thanks to my cousin H for the suggestion of calling Dr Reeder's nurse; I did that and she has been extremely responsive and proactive on my behalf. Great tip, so thanks!).

Anyway, I finally got into see Dr. Drobny a few weeks ago and she is wonderful. She is relaxed and I never once got the impression she was in a hurry, even though I know she's booked beyond belief. But best of all, I could tell she was abreast of current thyroid research (something I stupidly thought all doctors just did; you know, staying abreast of current developments as part of their job).

The growth on my thyroid is small at this point. Dr. Drobny is going to keep an eye on it, and we'll do another ultrasound in a few months, but she doesn't want to biopsy it yet. If it is thyroid cancer, which she doesn't think it is, it's completely treatable when found early and she felt completely comfortable waiting six months to see if it was even necessary to biopsy it. In the meantime, she ran a bunch of blood tests and it appears, based on the results that came back, that I have Hashimoto's disease, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and prevents the thyroid from producing the hormones it's supposed to produce which, in turn, manage and regulate many of your body's regular functions.

The bottom line is this: I received, and filled, a prescription for Synthroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone, and I feel fantastic again. Actually, I probably just feel normal, but after months of feeling absurdly tired and sore, it feels fantastic to just feel normal. I spent the weekend gardening, which would have killed me a month ago, but Saturday evening I just felt the plain ol' amount of tired someone would feel after a day in the sun digging and lifting and pulling and things. Most of all I feel so, so thankful. Good health is nothing to grow complacent about, and I know I never will again. I was making decisions about social activities based on how exhausted I thought it might make me feel which, at my age, is so beyond ridiculous that I feel absurd even typing it. But no more. Now I feel like every other young other with small, exuberant children: tired, but nothing a cup of coffee can't cure.

So, thankfully, that is it. Other than more frequent doctor visits and taking medication, that should be the end of the story and, hopefully, clear up any lingering questions readers might have had.