Friday, September 26, 2014

The Birthday Package Is in the Mail

Katelyn's birthday is a week from Saturday.
I mailed her package yesterday.
I'm grateful that she is in a place where I don't have to plan weeks
ahead just to make sure I get the package
in the mail soon enough.
I had a couple of thoughts as I was mailing her birthday package.
First, she should be one well-dressed missionary.
I realized that I have purchased her more clothes in the last 6 months
than I have in...well ever, I think.
That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.
Is it bad that I wanted to give her birthday outfit a "trial run"
before I mailed it down to her?
Of course I didn't.
But I was tempted.
I can't wait for her to come home so we can share all of those
awesome clothes.
The next thought I had was "Holy cow, I can't believe she is going to be 21!"
Seriously rocking my world just a bit.
I don't recall having these bits of panic when she turned 20.
Why is 21 a whole different story?
Could it be another stark reminder that I, too, am getting older?
Do I just live in denial on my birthday
and only realize the passing of time
when my children have birthdays?
Whatever it is...
21 seems to be a slap to the face.

Monday, September 22, 2014


The kids did not want to come to school today.
Their parents made them come any way.
That meant a constant stream of
"I feel ick"
"I'm super sick"
Was seen in the health room all day.
"No fever, no vomiting. Now back to class," said I.
You can do it.
Just give it a try.
"Okay fine," said the students,
"But you know this may not be prudent."
"What if I barf?"
"What if I faint?"
All seemed to have a further complaint.
But back to class they went.
Not to be re-sent.
The day finished without further ills.
I hope tomorrow won't bring this type of thrills.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Whoa Dude

I had a minor medical procedure (it was a uterine ablation) yesterday.
I had the option of being put fully under or being mildly sedated.
I hate being fully put under.
That means they have to put down an endotracheal tube.
That means I always wake up with a sore throat and hoarse voice.
So I chose to be mildly sedated.
Whoa, dude.
The mild sedation included one hydrocodone, one Xanax, and one anti-nausea med.
Oh and a shot in the butt of Tordol.
The doctor gave me the medications about 40 minutes prior to the procedure.
When they brought me back, I was alert and awake.
The doctor was a wee bit surprised.
I had warned him that for whatever reason one hydrocodone doesn't ever seem to work.
He said "You're all of 90 pounds, I'm not giving you any more."
I said OK.
I can remember him starting the procedure.
He talked about the speculum.
He said I might feel some needle pokes.
I did.
He asked if I wanted him to adjust the monitor so I could watch.
I said I could see the monitor OK.
And that is the last memory I have of all of yesterday.
I don't remember how I got dressed after the procedure.
I don't remember talking with my mom, who is the one who came to get me.
I don't know if I said thank-you to her.
So, thanks Mom. Sorry if I didn't say it yesterday.
I  don't remember eating yesterday.
I don't remember Carson coming home.
I don't remember asking Dave anything.
But this morning, Dave replayed, in words, what yesterday was like.
He said every time I talked, I would talk louder than usual.
You know I'm a loud talker so that must have been horrible for him.
He said I was on "repeat" cycle with several questions...
"Did I eat?"
"Is Carson home?"
"Where is Carson?"
"Is your truck done?'
Carson said when I saw his new shoes I said in a very slow, but loud voice
"Dude, those are sooo cool"
Today I am feeling much better.
So far, no pain or cramping.
Grateful for that since that means no need for pain meds.
The boys got the heck out of dodge and went fishing.
I think they were afraid to be with me a whole day if I had to be on pain meds again.
The only things that I seemed to be bothered by are nausea and a headache.
Those might be related to the drugs from yesterday.
At one point I texted my friend "better living through pharmaceuticals".
Now that I am back to my old self, I don't believe that.
 I hate not being able to remember yesterday.
But it sounds like I created some interesting memories for Dave and Carson.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Week in Review

Monday was Labor Day and a nice to day to just chill, enjoy the sun and get caught up on a few things. I had planned on doing some back-to-work shopping at the big Labor Day sales, but I put myself (and Dave) on a buying moratorium. I have this crazy dream to pay off our house by the end of 2015 and to do so means a bit of purse-string tightening and better accounting of where the dollars are going. Being a two-income household has lulled us into a bit of laziness about carefully managing our money. I don't think we are completely frivolous, but there certainly have been times when we could have been more intentional about a purchase.

Anyway, back to the week in review...

Tuesday was officially my first day of work for the school year. It was a crazy, hectic day. I'm trying to start the school year off invigorated and excited to be doing what I am doing. But I spent a lot of Tuesday doing stuff that I don't enjoy...PAPERWORK! And by paperwork I mean care plans. Lots and lots of care plans. Actually making up the care plans isn't what I dislike. It is all of the copying and distributing that is tedious and time-consuming. Fortunately this year I had extra clerical support to get all of that done. I kept that gal busy from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. with nothing but copying and distributing care plans. Crazy, right?! Just so glad it wasn't me doing all of that copying.

Wednesday was the kiddos first day back to school. It was a rainy, grey day but that didn't seem to dampen many kids' spirits. Pretty much all the ones that I saw were all spiffed up and excited to be at school. That night Dave asked me if I had seen any kids. Sadly, I had not because I was still working on care plans and paperwork. There are some parents out there who just can't seem to get their children's medication and doctor's orders in prior to back-to-school night. I find that beyond frustrating. They have all summer to get the paperwork filled out. But it's the same story every year. I should be used to it after 13 years as a school nurse.

Tuesday and Wednesday reminded me that I need to get in the habit of planning a lunch and dinner. Many of my colleagues just do a quick drive-thru meal for lunch or dinner, but with all of my stupid food allergies that doesn't really work for me. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday a little bit hungry at work because I had failed to plan. Fortunately, Dave had customers in town on those nights so the fact that I hadn't planned anything for dinner was easily overlooked.

I still didn't have lunch planned on Thursday or Friday, but at least it is now on my radar and I'll do better next week. My biggest problem is that I think eating is a hassle in general and hate trying to plan on what to eat.

Thursday was the return of regular season football and guess who showed up at home to watch the Seahawks. Yep, Carson did. He and a buddy from the wrestling team borrowed a vehicle from one of Carson's roommates and drove home so they could watch the football game. It was a bit of surprise when he came in through the garage door, said "Hey Ma, I'm here to watch the game" and then plunked himself down on the couch. And as soon as the game was over, he kissed me on the forehead and headed back to school. But he did head back to school with instructions from his dad not to borrow his roommate's car anymore.

And then it was Friday, which thankfully was quiet and uneventful. Dave and I made a small Costco run after I got home from work. Carson (he comes home on weekends) worked on homework and rested. And that was Friday.

The boys have been gone most of the day today enjoying one last summer hurrah. The new elder's quorum president invited them to go waterskiing and wake surfing. I finished up laundry and enjoyed a day by myself. I did walk down to get my car after dropping it off this morning to get new tires put on it. I estimated that it would take me about 40 minutes to walk the 2.12 miles. I beat my estimation by 10 minutes. It took my only 30 minutes to walk. Not sure if I should be proud of a 15 min/mile for walking but I did work up a bit of a sweat.

So that's it; our week (well my week mostly) in review.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School 2014

Today was the first back to school for me. The kids return to school tomorrow. Sadly, I do not have any children at home to take the traditional "first day of school" picture.

I do have this picture that Carson sent me last week on his first day of school...
Isn't that the most special first day of school picture you have ever seen?

Monday, August 25, 2014


I remember reading that word, "processing", as the only caption on a friend's picture of her son as she dropped him off at the airport to begin his missionary service. I remember trying to picture what it would be like to be in the "processing" state.

I found that word an exact description of how I felt yesterday.

Dave and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary yesterday by dropping Carson off at college. It wasn't too hard to process or believe that we have been married 24 years. But what is strange is this new phase of life that we find ourselves in. The phase where, if you have done the parenting job correctly, your children are now permanently out of the house. Yes, the kids will return for visits, school breaks, and in Carson's case, every weekend for food and laundry, but that's all. It's weird and I am processing.

But we didn't look too concerned yesterday when I snapped this selfie as we were waiting for Carson to finish his check-in procedure at the dorms

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spokane to Sandpoint 2014: The Race Report

Wow what an adventure!

The adventure started back in May as I was walking through the Bloomsday trade show. I happened to walk by the Spokane to Sandpoint booth just as the video clip of Totally Tubular (my team last year) was playing on the TV. Memories of the fun times had with that team flooded my mind. I was sad that we couldn't get the team together for this year's S2S, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from running this year's race. So, next thing I know, I am signing up as a "runner looking for a team."

As I was signing up, I didn't actually think there was much of a chance of a team asking me to join their team. Boy was I wrong. About a week later I was contacted by Art, a guy from Issaquah whose team was looking for a runner. My first response was "Ack! what have I done? I don't randomly sign up to run with people I don't know. What was I thinking?" But then I decided "what the heck" and e-mailed Art a series of questions that I hoped would help me decide if I would be a good fit for the team.

These are the questions I asked:
  1. Are you in it for the competition or to have fun?
  2. What are the ages of the other teammates?
  3. Female to male ratio?
  4. What are the paces of the other racers?
  5. Previous relay race experience?
Art was a good sport and answered the questions right away. After I received his response, decided I would be a good fit, and verified that US Department of Awesomeness was registered with the S2S, I mailed in my check and it was on. I was now a member of US Department of Awesomeness. I have to admit that I was still a bit nervous about fitting in with the team, especially since I wouldn't meet them until the night before. But when they walked into the restaurant looking like this
I knew that I was on a team that didn't take itself too seriously and the race was going to be a lot of fun.

So Friday morning I assume my familiar position of "navigator in Van 1"and are our adventure begins. First adventurous moment at the starting line, a guy on another team, who happens to be wearing the same Speedo that the little dude on our shirts is wearing (red, white, blue striped with stars). I will spare you the picture that we took with him at the starting line. I'm still trying to recover from that scarring moment. Next starting line adventure moment, our first runner sees that people are lining up at the starting line so she goes over and as the race gun goes off she starts with the group. But wait! It's only 8 o'clock and our start time is 8:30. We finally get her attention after about a minute to tell her that she has started too early. Talk about a buzz kill, but fortunately she was able to psych herself back up and was ready to rock it when the 8:30 gun went off.

I was runner number 2 and had an 8 mile run. My run was 5 miles of a gentle grade as I finished coming off Mt. Spokane and then 3 miles of mostly flat. That last 5k felt incredibly long and hard. It was a little warm and muggy, but I think the hardest part was just hitting flat ground after running down hill. I managed a 8:07 pace for the 8 miles, but I certainly was glad to reach the exchange point and hand off the baton to the runner 3.

Things stayed pretty adventure-free until runner 4 was about a mile from his exchange point. We were already there waiting for him to come in. We had passed in on the road and he was looking good. His pace was nice and even and he was passing runners. So, as those runners that he had passed began to come in and still no Art, I was beginning to wonder what had happened. Next thing we know, Art is behind us, in the parking lot, saying "Here I am and here's the baton". What?! Some time after we passed him, he had a horrible cramp in his calf and couldn't hardly walk. He was fortunate that another team's van was happening by and could pick him up and bring him to the exchange point.

Runner 5 was off and an adventure-free run. The baton is passed to runner 6 and we think "yes, the home stretch". Now, since I have been in Van 1 on my previous two S2S experiences, I knew that runner 6 had to veer off the road and run a trail across some empty acreage. I had our van stop to make sure she made the trail turn-off; no problems there. We then proceeded to the lane where the trail ends. It's a good thing we stopped because another adventure was about to occur.

The trail T's into a dirt road. For some reason the race organizers did not mark which way to turn off of the trail. Going to the left goes up a hill and is the wrong way. However, going to the right looks like the wrong way because there is a gate across the dirt road and it would be easy to decide there was no way through, although there is a small trail along side the gate.

Our runner was closing distance to the runner ahead of her and just watching that lead runner. We were watching from the end of the lane (about 400 yards away) and cheering her on. But then we had to change our cheers to yelling "Come back! Turn around!" because the lead runner had turned to the left instead of the right and our runner followed right behind her. We continued to yell and caught the attention of a couple of runners who were behind our runner. They also tried to yell up the hill to get our runner and the other runner to turn around. Our runner had slowed down because she thought she had heard us yelling "Turn around, wrong way" but she wasn't sure until she heard the closer runners yelling the same thing. Oiy! She wound up running about an extra 400 yards because of this adventure. (We never did see the lead runner turn around so we have no idea how long it was before she realized she was going the wrong direction).

Finally we make it to the first major exchange and happily hand off the baton to Van 2. Yay! Now time for food, shower, and rest. Or so we thought. We have gone about 5 miles down the road when we receive a phone call from Van 2 asking us to meet them at their next exchange point. They have picked up a stray dog and want us to take care of it. Seriously, people?! We are in a race and you pick up a stray dog? I have to admit that I was a bit annoyed at this disruption in my plan on what Van 1 should be doing. In fairness to Van 2, they thought we could just take the dog back to the major exchange point because Spokanimal was there collecting pet supplies and offering kittens for adoption.

Unfortunately, Spokanimal no longer has animal control licensing so all lost/stray animals must be taken to SCRAPS out in Spokane Valley. So here we go. Instead of heading to my house for a shower, food and rest we are taking this lost dog 30 miles from his home to SCRAPS. It takes about 30 minutes at SCRAPS because the intake officer couldn't decide if the dog was a schnauzer or a wire-haired fox terrier. It was eventually decided that it was a fox terrier and after we received a case number (Art was very concerned about the dog and wasn't ready to leave him without knowing how to find out if the dog made it home), we were on our way again. We made a stop at the grocery store and then eventually made it to my house. I ate and took a shower and was NOT the hostess with the mostest at this point in time. I told people where the bathroom was, had food set out, and then pretty much let them fend for themselves as I took care of myself.

About an hour later it was time to head to the next major exchange point so we could start our second set of run legs. Now, the one good thing about having all of the extra travel time in the van as we were dealing with the dog, was we had time to figure out how we were going to accommodate Art, the runner who could no longer run. It was decided that I would run legs 14 and 15 which would give me just a little over 6 miles. Julie (runner number 3) traded places with Lori (runner number 6) and Lori ran Art's leg 16. Whew, craziness. Of course, Art was super bummed that he couldn't run and probably a bit annoyed at his team for insisting that he sit this one out, but as one of my teammates said "We have to save Art from himself."

Since my leg was going through a section of the Centennial Trail that isn't far from Liberty Lake I had asked a couple of my running friends to join me. Jen was able to join me for Leg 14, which was 3.3 miles. It was so nice to run with her and catch up since we haven't run together all summer. Our original plan was to run 8:45's but once I found out I was running double the distance I asked her to help me keep the pace at about 9's. We hit the exchange point for Leg 15 right about 9's. Dave was able to join me for Leg 15, a 2.8 leg. I finished the whole 6.1 miles in 58 minutes. Initially I was not happy about my final pace (which worked out to be about 9:50), but I later realized that I had stopped for about 1:30 between the two legs to put on my lights, reflective vest and get a few swallows of water to wash down my Gu.

The rest of this set of exchanges was again, adventure-free. We met up with Van 2 in Coeur d'Alene and passed off the baton again. And then we were off to our sleeping place at the next major exchange at Timberlake High School.

This was the first time that I had experienced sleeping at the major exchange point. I was spoiled in my previous S2S races to have a house to crash out and a bed to sleep in. I missed the bed, but what I mostly missed was the dark and quiet. Sleeping in the school with 100 racers was not so quiet although it was dark. I will need to remember an eye mask and ear plugs if I find myself in a race situation like this again. We arrived at Timberlake at about 11:30 and got the wake-up call about 3 a.m. I wish I could say that I got some sleep but mostly I was just lying still with my eyes closed.

Van 2 arrived at the exchange at about 3:30 a.m. and Kristen (runner 1) was off. The rest of us spent a few moments chatting with Van 2 and planning on how to tackle the rest of the race. Art was feeling better, but we were facing our toughest legs yet. He probably wouldn't be able to run the tough 9 mile run that he was scheduled to run. Van 2 was feeling bad that we were facing such a tough situation so it was decided that they would take our final 9.4 miles (giving them 7 legs for the final stretch and us 5; up until this point it had been 6 and 6). That proved to be a very serendipitous decision for our next adventure was just up the road.

We decided we better get on the road and check on Kristen. It was pitch black and the highway doesn't have a very large shoulder. As we are driving we see a runner down. It is clear that the runner is hurt and can't get up. When we get closer we see that it is Kristen. She has stepped off the lip of the shoulder and twisted her ankle quite badly. Ugh. She is almost a mile into her 6 mile run but it is clear that she is done. Art gets his wish. He is going to get to run after all. He finishes up her leg without incident or further cramping and passes the baton on to me for my final 6.01 miles.

Now you might think this would be my worst leg, but it wasn't. I was running in my element. It was early (about 4:30 a.m). It was cool (about 60 degrees). And I had runners to chase after. I passed my first runner after about 5 minutes. That gave me a little confidence boost. I kept my eyes on the blinking red lights on runners ahead of me and just fell into "the zone." It took me another mile or so to pass the next runner. After I passed that runner I could see in the distance a glowing green light. I was like a moth pulled to the flame and that green light beckoned me to come catch it. It took me almost 3 miles to catch that light. But with a little under a mile left I almost caught the lady running with the green light. I say almost because once I was upon her shoulder, she started running again. I said in my mind, with a smirky smile, "That's fine. You go ahead a run. I've been watching you run/walk for the last mile so I know this burst won't last long." And I was right; about 100 yards later she was walking again. This time she didn't have any juice left to start running as I grew close so I was able to pass her. Because I had been so focused on passing that runner I hadn't realized how close to the finish I was and before I knew it I was at the exchange point. I slapped that wrist baton onto Julie and did a little happy dance because I was DONE! I felt a little guilty for being so jubilant about being finished but honestly, I couldn't help it. After running 20 miles in under 24 hours I was happy to say "I'm done" I think running 20 miles this way is more difficult running 20 miles straight for marathon training. It's the starting and stopping, the sitting in a van, and the not stretching that makes it so hard and makes my muscles so stiff.

The rest of our race was adventure-free. We finished about hour slower than our projected finish time, but considering all of the adversity we faced we were pleased with how we did. Would I run S2S again with US Department of Awesomeness? Absolutely. But next year I want to be in Van 2.
Van 1 couldn't let me leave without a group hug

US Department of Awesomeness: still smiling at the end