Archive | March, 2011

Perspective

30 Mar

I have a co-worker who had the same surgery with the same surgeon earlier this year. He swung by my office to wish me luck tomorrow. Then he said, “I wasn’t sure if I should tell you this, but it was the worst pain of my life.”

My stomach sank a bit. As mobile and good as I’ve been feeling, I have to admit I have questioned why I’m putting myself through this. But my gut tells me to get it fixed now, instead of dealing with issues in the future when I’m older and may not have as good of insurance.

I shared my co-worker’s statement with my mother and my BFF Amber. They both had the same response, “well, he has never been through child birth.”

Which is true. As I mentioned before, my preparations for surgery around the house have felt much like nesting, but this time, I don’t have a newborn to take care of while I’m recovering from surgery. I’ll have my Mom in town for 17 days, which is a very comforting thought. Even though I’m an adult and a mother myself, the first person I call when I’m feeling under the weather is my Mom. I’m so glad she’ll be here to help me navigate my initial recovery.

See you on the other side!

Nesting

28 Mar

I felt like I was nesting this weekend. It felt much like the preparations I did before the babies were born, trying to cram in all the laundry, cleaning and FUN that I could before my surgery on Thursday.

Saturday, after making pancakes for the family, we headed to the gym. I worked out for an hour with the kids in the daycare, and my bad knee felt felt SO good. I was doing many exercises I hadn’t been able to do since before the surgery… Oh, to go from that back to full on gimpy is going to SUCK.

Anyway, when I was done, I got the kids out of the daycare and took them swimming. We then went to a pottery painting place, as Little Miss was dead set on wanting to make something for Grandma, who arrives on Wednesday to help with the sugery aftermath. (Need I say how challenging it is to have a 20 month old in a place filled with breakable ceramics? Especially after he found the ceramic baseball?!)

We came home, took a nap, and then got the kids to my brother’s house so that JB and I could have a date night (thank you to my brother and sister in law!). We dined on sushi, and it was lovely to be able to sit at the sushi bar and not have to worry about my baby stabbing himself or other people with chopsticks.

On Sunday, our big outing was to the circus. It was kind of a let down, but I do think the kids enjoyed it. Little Man wore his tuxedo onesie (thank you, Aunt Claire), and Little Miss wore a dress and her dress coat… Of course they managed to spill an entire red snow cone all over their fancy attire. Oh well!

In the midst of all of that, I did about 7 loads of laundry, got it all put away, and made a pot of chili to help with dinners this week. Phew… Keep your fingers crossed for me as I go under the knife later this week!

Splat

23 Mar

An executive decision was made to take down my flash mob. All that work gone down the drain. Yesterday had to be the second worst day of my career… Second only to getting laid off. Allow me some silence for a few days as I pick myself up again and try to dust myself off.

FLASH MOB

21 Mar

Six months ago, I had this crazy idea that my work should stage a flash mob. I spent hours putting together the strategy, and sold it to my on-site leadership, and we submitted to a Corporate Vice President, who gave me funding.

The plan was to hold a flash mob at a ski resort. Microsoft Licensing and Microsoft Student partnered up with the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, Moment Skis and Sentury Snowboards to create a mob that was a true community event. After six months of planning, everything was ready.

Microsoft Licensing sponsored the Take the Lake Competition at Alpine Meadows, which was planned during college spring break. We had pictured the flash mob going down on a balmy Spring day outdoors in the middle of a huge crowd watching the rail jam competition.
Mother Nature had different plans for us. She sent us a blizzard in which Alpine received 54 inches of snow over the three days of the Take The Lake competition.

Months of planning and preparation had gone into both the competition, Microsoft’s presence at the competition, as well as the flash mob. We had people and equipment that had been flown into town just for the weekend, including a team of professional videographers. We decided the show must go on.
On Thursday, the plans for our two outdoor tents were moved inside, and we moved forward with plans for the flash mob. On Friday, people started getting wind of the forecast, and my Windows Phone lit up with texts, emails, and calls from people backing out of the flash mob.

On Friday night, we had a rehearsal at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. We had 25 dancers show up, with a large group of UNR Dance Co-op dancers, who offered to teach the dance, and representatives from dance schools from Reno all the way to South Lake Tahoe. The rehearsal went well, but we knew 25 people wouldn’t make an impressive flash mob.

We had partnered with the Alpine Meadows Ski Foundation, offering them raffle prizes for a fundraiser in exchange for 100 dancers from the Alpine Meadows Ski Teams. In the weeks leading up to the event, we had 115 people committed to the flash mob from the ski teams. The day before the flash mob, our contact at the ski teams said she didn’t think people would want to participate because of the snow. We told them that we were carrying on as planned, and still needed their help.

We had a rehearsal scheduled for 7:30am at the Alpine Meadows Lodge on Saturday, the day of the flash mob. A team of three Microsoft Licensing employees left Reno at 5:30am to drive through the blizzard to the lodge. We initially had one family of four turn up to the rehearsal.

Due to avalanche control, the road into the resort was shut down, and everyone was restricted to the lodge. We tried to recruit the people trapped in the lodge with us to the flash mob, but no one was interested. At 8am the day of the flash mob, it was looking doomed.

Our team of videographers showed up for the rehearsal in a Chevy Cavalier, not the ideal car for the weather conditions. After the rehearsal, they said they were headed back to the lodge in Tahoe City to get their equipment. At this time, roads between Alpine and Tahoe City were not an easy task for a vehicle without four wheel drive or chains.

It was an unbelievable rally as we tried to gather dancers. The head coach for the ski teams approached us and said he would have ski teams come to us to learn the dance throughout the day as they came in for shelter from the storm. Jennifer Mizzi, a MSLI Intern (and dance minor) led dance training all day in a secret room in the lodge.

People spent 3 hours on the road driving in blizzard conditions from Reno and Carson City to Alpine Meadows for this event. The entire day, we tried to see if the weather would ease up for us to execute the flash mob outside at the rail jam, but it never did. All day, we worried if the videographer would make it back in time for the flash mob. Thankfully, they did.

In an effort to show the weather conditions on the video, we had the UNR dancers go outside, and we signaled them when to enter the lodge dancing. One of the dancers was put in charge of the Reno Tahoe Big Horn mascot, RT. We had the Windows mascot, Buddy, inside the lodge fending off the kids that were swarming him before the flash mob began.

At 4pm, the flash mob was scheduled to start, but the videographer was getting his team of 12 in place still. We fretted over scantily clad dancers in 80s apparel shivering in the hurricane force winds and blinding snow. At 4:10, everyone was ready, and the music was pumped into the lodge, while people planted all throughout the lodge and the dancers streaming into the lodge all got up and started dancing to the Microsoft song “I’m a PC for Life.”

Unfortunately, RT the Bighorn was left out in the storm, and only realized she had been left when she was the only person left outside the lodge, and found her way inside with limited visibility from the head to join in the festivities.

We ended up having around 125 people participating in the flash mob. During the chorus, all of the participants shouted “I’m a PC for Life”, which echoed off of the high ceilings of the lodge. Considering mere hours before we had feared the flash mob would consist of 10 people, it was truly an amazing feat.
This flash mob was an entire community coming together. We had children, dancers, ski team members, coaches and parents, employees and their families and friends. Our mission was to promote local products and the Reno Tahoe area. We did that in one of the most powerful storms of the year, pooling resources and making new friends.

Thank you to everyone for braving the storm and making this happen.

Quote of the Day

15 Mar

I love Tina Fey. Check out this quote:

“Kids are definitely the boss of you. Anyone who will barge into the room while you are on the commode is the boss of you. And when you explain to them that you’re on the commode and that they should leave but they don’t? That’s a high-level boss.”

Taken from this article. That is SO true!

You’re Driving Me INSANE

14 Mar

Isn’t it lovely how kids repeat the things we adults say?! This weekend, while in the locker room at the pool, my daughter says loudly to me, “you’re driving me INSANE.”

“Little girls shouldn’t say that.” I responded.

She then asks, “what does that mean?”

In my head, I’m thinking you know when you’re running around like a crazy person in our house making your brother scream over and over and over? That drives me INSANE.

I had to tone it down a bit and tell her that when she acts really silly and doesn’t follow my rules, it makes me feel a little insane.

I know I shouldn’t use those words, but sometimes living with two little ones can be a bit like Chinese water torture, as they keep irritating you with an endless stream of little transgressions until you JUST CAN’T HANDLE IT ANYMORE. That is the point I usually tell my daughter she is driving me insane.

Oops. What can I say? I’m only human!

Someday She Will Learn

11 Mar

I’ve been tired this week. My days have been starting at 6am, where I hop on the bike and do some PT, then get the kids fed, lunches packed, and then get Little Miss to school and me to work. My lunch breaks are spent at PT, and after work, I get both kids, make dinner, put them to bed, and then do more PT. I finish this routine at 10:30 many nights.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping as well, and my daughter has been picking the early mornings as a time to test her limits with me.

Oh, sister, that is not a wise idea.

I am not a morning person. I generally wake up in a good mood, though. But take this morning, for instance, when I made Little Miss what she requested for breakfast, and after I get it on the table, she changes her mind and collapses in the kitchen when I refuse to make her another breakfast, I get a bit testy.

I set the kitchen timer for a minute, and said if she wasn’t eating her breakfast by the time that timer went off, I was taking away her brand new doll.

“I don’t care, Rapunzel is my favorite anyway,” she says haughtily.

In my early morning fog of sleep deprivation and looking at 14 hours of constant activity, my approach was no-nonsense.

“OK, I’ll take away all of your dolls for 2 days.”

“Two days isn’t that long,” she responds. Some day she will learn not to mess with me. I then marched upstairs, put all of her dolls in a garbage bag, and told her they’d be gone for a week.

Of course, all hell broke loose. All before 7am. By the time I arrive to work, I’m harried, on my third cup of coffee, and thinking my childless and single co-workers have NO IDEA of the hurculean efforts it took for me to get to work by 8:30. NO IDEA.

What Would You Do?

10 Mar

My doctor’s physician assistant said she wouldn’t schedule my surgery until after I had my second (really third, but who is counting?) opinion yesterday.

I had the appointment, and really liked this doctor, who is also an avid skier and an open water swimmer. He was actually going into how my skiing technique would change, and gave advice on how I could change my swimming stroke to help my shoulder. I really liked that. He also said I should totally have the surgery.

I’m thinking I’ll have my previous doctor do the surgery, mainly because I’ve heard several word of mouth recommendations from him, and none from the second doctor. I wish I had more data to make a more informed decision, but there really isn’t much on the Internet regarding Ortho docs in Reno.

Anyway, I called yesterday right after my appointment to schedule my surgery. Of course, I had to leave a voicemail. The woman finally called me back today on my cell phone. And where was I?!

On the toilet.

I was torn… I didn’t want to be one of THOSE people talking on the phone in a public toilet, but I also had been waiting to schedule this surgery for over a week.

I opted to call right after I got done in the ladies room, which last literally 2 minutes. Of course my returned call went to voicemail. And here we are, over an hour later without a returned call.

Would you have answered that call?! I’m thinking now perhaps I should have…

Drama Queen Strikes Again

8 Mar

Little Miss has had the stomach flu twice in the past month. She has been complaining of a tummy ache for much of the time in between, and that’s one of those things I never know is real or contrived.

This morning, I found her laying in bed with the light on, reading. She usually gets up to harass her brother, so this was different. She immediately started complaining of a tummy ache. After I fed her breakfast (yogurt, toast, and ginger tea — the tummy ache solution in my house), she curled up in front of the fire place under a blanket. Her eyes were dull, and she didn’t smile or interact with her brother. I really thought she was sick.

Even though I had been up since 6 rocking my spin bike (rocking is a very relative term for this gimpy momma), I hauled out my computer and decided I’d be working from home with her.

Although I was a bit suspicious. I put out a few pieces of bait to see if she’d bite.

“You know, if you stay home today, you’re not going to be allowed to watch any movies.”

She didn’t bite at that. Just said OK.

“And if you start running around the house, I’m going to take you straight to school.”

She said OK.

I set up shop on my laptop beside her in front of the fire, and about 20 minutes later, I thought I might know what was behind all of this tummy aching.

“Is this about the girl at school who has been bossing you around?”

She nodded.

“If I talk to your teachers about it, will you go to school?”

She nodded.

Bingo. If only that didn’t make me an hour late to work! Turns out there is this kindergartner that has been trying to play “Queen and Servant” with Little Miss, and every time, she makes Little Miss the servant, bossing her around. And my daughter, who isn’t horribly compliant at home, succumbs to this girls’ every wish.

So, I packed her up and took her to school, coaching her the entire drive there on how she should just tell this girl she doesn’t want to play with her.

“Who is the boss of you, Little Miss?”

“I am,” she muttered very unconvincingly.

I need to get this girl into drama. She has a natural talent for it.

Random Thoughts For A Monday

7 Mar

Well, hello, there. Just back from physical therapy, where my measurements are getting closer and closer to being surgery ready. That is, if I am doing surgery. I get a third opinion on Wednesday, but the more I think about this, the more I think I should just get this darn knee taken care of now, while I’m young and have insurance with zero deductables (because we all know that will soon be a thing of the past).

This weekend’s big accomplishment was setting up the spin bike I purchased last week. After much debating (as I wanted it in the house, and the hubby didn’t), it is set up in the garage. It is a huge win for me, though, as I rode that thing three times yesterday. Each time, riding the bike loosens my knee up and makes me feel a lot better. I even got myself out of bed 10 minutes early today to start the day on the bike. Our poor elderly dog looked a bit grumpy that I interrupted his sleep, but I found it was more effective at waking me up than caffeine.

While at pysical therapy today, there are two 10 minute static stretches I do, and I whipped out my super cool Windows Phone 7 to keep me entertained. I tried out the recently downloaded Kindle app, and was thrilled to be able to pick up the book I started reading yesterday on my Kindle and continue reading. That got me thinking to how much technology has changed in a short period of time! It’s nice to know I have my arsenal of Kindle books in my pocket at all times, in case I get stuck somewhere waiting.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to report. I’m waiting with baited breath for Wednesday’s appointment so that I can see what this doctor has to say. Perhaps we should start a betting pool on what I end up doing.

Thankful to Be Alive

2 Mar

Last week, I found out that a mother of one of Little Miss’ friends at preschool died unexpectedly of a heart attack. I didn’t know the woman, but the news really floored me. You don’t expect someone my age to die of a heart attack, and my heart breaks when I think of all that she’s going to miss in her daughter’s life, and how much her daughter will miss knowing her mother.

My Mom used to tell me growing up that “a daughter needs her mother.” I never really thought much about that comment, but now that I have a daughter of my own, I see from a different perspective and agree with her whole heartedly. One of my many prayers each night is that God will let our little family lead long, healthy lives together. But there is definitely a special bond between a mother and a daughter, and there are so many things that I think a father just wouldn’t think about or have sensitivity. I mean how can a man understand the crazy emotions during puberty, or what it feels like to be on the outside of the popular girl clique? Or how challenging prom dress shopping can be?

I also think how no one would love my children as I do. There is a bond you just can’t replace when you grow someone in your belly, nurture them as a newborn, and watch them blossom into the children that you are. The idea of me not being able to finish raising them is a devastating thought, so I try to focus on how I can try to lead a long, healthy life.

My heart breaks for that entire family. The day I heard the news, I hugged my kids so tight, thankful that I am able to pick my kids up each night. I’ll take a bum knee any day over missing out on a single day with my kids.

Perhaps I Should Consult a Magic 8 Ball Instead

1 Mar

I went to the doctor today expecting a cut and dry appointment where we scheduled my surgery. My knee has been getting better each day, with more mobility and less pain. I expected a checkered flag for surgery.

That is until my doctor threw me a curve ball by saying, “well, you may not need to have surgery.”

Yes, the MRI shows my ACL is torn. But usually, that means knees are really wobbly. Mine is stiff, which is probably a result from immobilization for 3 weeks. He says I COULD be one of those 20% of people who get by just fine without fixing the ACL.

I told him I don’t want to be wondering if my knee will hold as I’m standing at the top of a double diamond ski run.

But it MIGHT be fine, he tells me.

Well, crap. The idea of NOT having surgery is definitely attractive. Each day, as I feel my knee getting a little more mobile and a little more normal, I cringe at the idea of having to start over after surgery. But I think I cringe more at the idea of having my knee give out while skiing and doing even more damage. I want to be back to my normal self so that I can keep up with my kids as they start doing sports at being more active.

So, I guess we’re going to schedule the surgery, but he’s leaving room for possibility of canceling that surgery at my pre-op appointment. And in the mean time, I scheduled to get a THIRD opinion, because everyone seems to have a different opinion on this injury.

If I do get the surgery, the next decision is how to fix the tendon. Should we just do a cadaver tendon? Or a bundle of a cadaver tendon plus a graft from my hamstring? My doctor said this: “if you want to just ski blue runs next year and only half days at a time, then you can get away with the cadaver tendon. If you want to go out and hit a powder day really hard, then you should do the bundle.” Of course, having the bundle means slicing a piece of my hamstring out, and in turn having more pain to deal with, and a bit longer on crutches.

This is so hard. I wish someone would just look into the future for me and tell me the right thing to do. I’m not a doctor, yet I’m the one who will make this final decision.