Friday, May 23, 2008


When I left for work this morning, our front yard looked like this...

And when I came home this afternoon...voila!

A huge change!

Stunning actually - even though I knew it was coming. To actually see the difference was amazing.

So what brought about this change? Just our hatred of trees? Hardly. We love trees. We chose to live with woods behind our house so we could see lots and lots of trees. But not too long ago, this happened...

We woke up one morning to find a rather tall tree had fallen across our back yard. Fortunatly, even though it fell toward the house, it was in the very back of the yard so it didn't reach anywhere close to the house. The only damage done was a few divots in the grass and a couple of azalea bushes got a little crunched.

But it made us think a little bit about all the really large trees that were very close to the house. In many cases, they had quite large branches that hung over the house. And we decided it was time to bring in an arborist and see what trees had damage or disease that might weaken them...and what trees were simply overgrown and in need of some pruning.

We'll have two days of work done in order to get it all done. And they really brought in the big stuff...

The bucket truck for the tall stuff...

The tractor for pushing trees, pulling tree trunks, carrying limbs, etc...

And what self-respecting tree guy would show up without a seriously powerful chipper...

On Tuesday they'll return to do a lot more work in the back yard (with me taking some photos, of course!). But for now, we have a couple of days to get used to our front yard...which just seems so much more sunny and open!

(Yes, all the pics are clickable if you feel the need to see the work a bit better)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Enough is enough

I don't mind a commercial that is creative, funny, and somehow entertaining. I know they don't come along very often, but when they do, I don't mind watching. I even enjoy them a second time...maybe a third time. But they grow old pretty quickly.

That is not the case with commercials that are bad, annoying, or poorly done. Late night TV is filled with the locally produced commercials with bad grammar, bad lighting, and really dumb appeals.

But not all annoying commercials are local. If you watched enough TV in the last few months, you've no doubt seen the commercial for the babybaby CD. You know the one...

Oh Amanda
Oh Amanda
My baby baby girl

A CD with 6 songs...customized with your baby's name. I've heard this annoying commercial approximately 92 million times. Or at least it seems that bad. The song is annoying. The repetitiveness of the commercial is annoying. Even when they change it up and sing to Emily, it is still annoying.

And if I understand correctly, if you lay down your money, you basically get the same song 6 times - 3 with various verses and 3 instrumental versions. Does anyone really need 6 versions of this same song??? Please, I think not.

If you've bought the CD for your kid, good for you. I've got no problem with the CD. Well, not too much. But I won't get into that here. But the has to stop!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Squeezing in the fun

I know my recent posts make it sound as if our life has become one crisis after another with nothing in between except grief, sadness, trauma and paperwork. And it is true that some days start to feel a bit like that! But we've done our best to squeeze in some "together" time and make sure we were remembering to enjoy our life.

A few weeks back, my wife and I traveled up to Northampton, MA to one of our favorite little clubs to have some dinner and to see The Wailin' Jennys, a folk group from Canada. These three women - plus one new group member, a guy they referred to as "the new jenny" - are just incredible. Between the four of them, they played at least 10 or so instruments throughout the show, entertained the crowd with plenty of charm and humor, and offered up some of their most popular songs. It was a really fun evening.

But we didn't want to keep all the fun to ourselves. So we also took the entire family to see Cirque du Soleil. This is the third time their touring show has made a stop in CT. We went to see them the first time, nearly four years ago, and all five of us were blown away! So there have been steady requests from the kids to see them again. And trust me, when you can get three teens too all agree that one thing is good, you don't take that lightly! So we were thrilled to have the opportunity to see them again.

If you seen Cirque, you know what they are like. If you've not seen them, words won't really describe it. And if you've seen them on Bravo, you know what they are about, but seeing them on TV does not do justice to just how incredible they are. While the tickets are a bit pricey, there isn't a bad seat in the tent. Yes, they really do perform in a tent. But once you are inside, it really doesn't feel like a tent. And the seats wrap around about 75% of the stage so every seat is close and has an excellent view.

And the performance itself is mesmerizing. Every aspect - the clowns, the lighting, the music, the gymnastics, the dance, the storyline - everything has been pulled together by what I believe are some of the most creative people around. One minute we were laughing as clowns raced through the audience and the next we were holding our breath as men performed on the wheel of death.

The kids loved it. We loved it. And the requests to see the next touring show have already begun.

So we've certainly had our tough moments over the past few months, but we've squeezed in some laughs and some good times when we've had the opportunity. And that time together has been especially nice as we've worked our way back to normal.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Fact or Fiction

Saturday was a good day of recovery for my wife - Ms NFMC (thanks for the alias, May!). But on the heels of one good day of recovery at home, she had a night of restlessness and nausea and vomiting. She was unable to keep down any food, any liquid, any of her medications.

And it was green. Like pea soup green.

So we looked on our list of "Call the doctor if any of these are present". This list had been kindly provided by the hospital when we left on Friday. There were about ten things on the list. She had three. Extreme nausea. Vomiting. Green vomit.

So the call was made. And guess what they told us to do???

You guessed it - return the emergency room - the place where it all began last Wednesday morning. The triage wait was very short. Nothing else on Sunday was short. We were in that tiny room in the ER for eight hours.

Eight is a very big number when you are bored out of your freaking mind! There is NOTHING to do in ER. Not one single magazine. No Sports Illustrated. No National Geographic. Hell, I would have been happy with Women's Day! But nope, nothing to read.

And no food or beverage. We left home about 8AM on Sunday morning. No coffee. No breakfast. And they would not let me bring in a soda or a snack. Nothing. Oh sure, I could go to the cafeteria and eat. But I could easily return to find my wife gone to some test with no idea what really happened to her. So I stuck around.

But I did eventually entertain myself. For example, when I took my wife's heart monitor off - that little thing they clip on your finger to monitor your pulse (heck, she was sleeping by then, she didn't know), I found out that my pulse was about two beats per minute faster than her pulse. And that little gizmo also monitors the level of oxygen in the blood. Don't ask me how, some sort of medical techno magic. But however it works, my rate was again about two higher than her rate. But we were both in the upper 90's - which apparently is good. But what was a little concerning about their magic technology was that the sheet had an oxygen content of about 60. Really? Hmmmm.

Oh, and those little stretchy things they wrap around your arm tourniquet-style to make the vein pop up for an IV...well those little suckers will really fly across the room if you pull back on them really good.

But enough about me and my fun. This is about my wife, huh? Cause she was the one laying on the bed. And since she went in reporting massive vomiting, they immediately gave her an anti-nausea medication. It stopped the urge almost immediately. And then, since she had been awake all night, she fell asleep and slept for most of the eight hours we were there.

And if they solved the problem right away, why did we stay so long? Well it wasn't cause the food was good! Apparently they wanted to figure out why she was throwing up. Picky, picky. So she slept...and periodically had someone take an x-ray or do an ultrasound or take a blood sample.

And the result of all that? They don't know! Their guess (gee, isn't it nice when the doctor only has a theory?!?!) is that she had a reaction to one of the anti-surgery medications they gave her. But did they change any of those? Nope. Just gave her some anti-nausea medication to take at home and sent us on our way.

After eight hours. I did say it took eight hours, right?

And today? She seems just fine. No throwing up. No pain from the surgery. Still sleepy from the medications. But basically it seems like the recovery is back on track.

Now...which parts of this story are fact and which are fiction?

Sadly, all of it is fact.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Put down the pins...

...and step away from the voodoo doll!

I'm starting to feel cursed! I mean, I just wrote last Friday about the on-going trauma to our little family. But we were bouncing back. And we bounced all the way to Wednesday morning about 3AM. That was when my wife woke me up due to her severe pain. We were off to the emergency room for a little visit by 4AM. And after a series of blood tests, ultrasounds, and 92 different interns and residents poking on her until she practically screamed and then asking "does that hurt?" was 1PM and they carried her off to surgery.

By the time I saw her again around 5, she was missing a gall bladder. But in so much less pain! Those little incisions were so much less painful than a gall bladder that was infected and engorged.

They kept her at the hospital until noon today...just monitoring lingering infection and pain, but she is home now and seriously medicated.

And the highlight of the whole ordeal (aside from her obvious improvement in health) was Son18 giving me a call at the hospital yesterday just to ask..."So when they took out her gall bladder, what did they do with it? Do they just have a big garbage can full of body parts?"

Whatever can they have, it now has one more seriously infected gall bladder. Better in the can than in my wife!