Archive | August, 2013

The Post I Owed you on Monday

This week, man. This week has been so insane that I wake up each morning thinking, Oh, God. We’re still doing this, huh? Only twelve more years.

And then I realize, Oh, only twelve more years with THIS one. We had ANOTHER baby because we’re SO SMART.

The Good News:

Tony LOVES school.

His teacher – by a twist of fate – is someone I’ve known for a LONG time, also a mom of boys, and is getting back into the teaching field.

This is the school I attended when I was younger, a school that specializes in the arts, and it’s just been surreal to have him there. Not only do a lot of my community theatre friends now teach there, but I saw no less than four folks who attended with me there with their kids on orientation.

The school’s theme this year is Clues, which means that lesson plans and school events will be centered around exploration and deduction.

And super cute costumes.

The Really Goosebumpy News:

When I was little, I had a toy called Happy Apple. I actually vividly remember this toy, although it was boxed up and deemed “too young” for me probably during a move. When Tony was born, Mom mourned that he didn’t have Happy Apple to play with.

Like, seriously, we heard about the lack of Happy Apple for five years.

When Vinnie was expected, Mom finally put her foot down and demanded that all the toy boxes be brought down from the attic and unpacked, because we’ve clearly missed the window of Happy Apple with Tony, but we will not deprive TWO children! And lo, all the boxes were brought down, but there was not a Happy Apple to be found and my mother remained heartbroken and inconsolable.

We walked into for Tony’s Kindergarten orientation and..

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. (I actually firmly believe it was my grandmother, making sure we would 1) know all would be okay and 2) SHUT UP ABOUT THE DAMN APPLE ALREADY.)

Upon posting this picture on Instagram, it became evident that everyone in my generation had said Happy Apple. Maybe they came home as a prize from the hospital?

The Was-Bad-News-But-Is-Okay-Now News:

Last Wednesday, my (new!) van started acting strangely. Well, to be fair, it had been doing it off and on for about a month, but more off than on and you know how that goes. But last Wednesday, I was lucky to coast into the garage before it finally sputtered to a sad, Chryslery death.

Thursday, it went into the shop.

And until yesterday, we’ve been operating with ONE CAR.

Which means that everyone has been rising at the crack of dawn and loading up so I can get to work by 6:30, and then boys are dropped off one by one at their respective places, and then we repeat every afternoon.

WE ARE ALL TIRED OF SEEING EACHOTHER.

And the service place which held my van hostage wasn’t very forthcoming about 1) the issue, 2) the timeline or 3) who I should yell at next. My mom was very sweet and let me use her car once I finally declared (late Tuesday) that I was just failing at all the things. And yesterday, we finally got my van back to the house.

(Best news: ALL UNDER WARRANTY.)

The Baby News:

He’s fine. Still cute. Still exhausting.

He visited the doctor last week for his shots, and he’s only 11 lbs. Tony was easily over 12 lbs by 6 weeks, so I keep feeling like this baby is SO FOREIGN. Long and skinny, we have some 6 month outfits that are still a little snug around the crotch.

He smiles a lot and kind of giggles, but is still not driving yet or even LOOKING for a job. Slacker baby.

Also, he loves his big brothers, who both adore him as well. His “hugest brother” – as named by Tony, who prefers to be the exclusive “big brother” – is particularly smitten with him.

And the baby doesn’t even hold it against him that we never, ever manage to call him the right name on the first try. (Sometimes even the second try.)

I’m sorry: WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?

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Run, Fat Girl, Run

My good friend and inspiration Kim wrote a great piece yesterday about confidence and how it can screw with our heads. I thought about it a lot, because I’d had the same experience just the Monday prior.

In spring of 2012, I did something that scared the bejeezus out of me and registered for a group running class. Although I had “casually” run since 2009, running with other people was something I was terrified of. I was worried I’d be judged, or worse, I’d bring other people’s runs down. I am a slow runner. I don’t run marathons or ultras or even a 5K at a good pace. I figured I wasn’t cut out for running with other people.

Against my better judgement, I started the class. Our first run was – NOT EVEN KIDDING – in sleet. If that doesn’t prepare you for running with other people, nothing else will.

As you may recall, I ended up LOVING that class. I loved the people, I made great friends, and I felt like a runner. I felt like a runner because I ran. Didn’t matter how fast, or how long, or with how many people. If I laced up my shoes and got out the door, I was A Runner.

And then I got knocked up.

I stopped running because 1) I was pregnant and tired and 2) the month before said knocking up, I had come down with a double-ear infection and bronchitis, so I hadn’t run much then either. And through my pregnancy, I gained 60+ lbs.

I know there are the precious few whose bodies snap back to perfect condition within a few weeks of giving birth, but I am not among them. My body clings to pregnancy fat like .. well, like I cling to warm Krispie Kreme donuts. Realizing that I’m not even the spry 27 year old that I was last time, I decided to start from Square One. I registered for another running class.

To be fair, this class had a safety net. The coaches are my old running buddies, women that are incredibly strong and I admire them beyond words. Many of the mentors are my running buddies. I even knew a couple of my friends were signing up for the class.

But I was SO TERRIFIED.

I knew that I would not show up as The Runner from 2012. I knew that I carried LOTS of extra weight, and in the torture that is biology, of course it’s not distributed evenly across my body. I basically resemble a Weeble.

And if I was slow before? Sheesh.

But what Kim’s post reminded me of was a time when I saw a lady running down by a busy thoroughfare. Bryan and I were carting the kids somewhere and I was staring at her. He told me to stop staring. She was older than me, and my size or heavier. And she was struggling.

What Bryan didn’t realize was that I wasn’t staring out of disgust or annoyance or anything negative. I was so FREAKING PROUD of her. I wanted to high five her SO BADLY. It was every bit of restraint within my system not to roll down my window and shout some encouragement her way. She did not look like an ultra-marathon runner, but my God, she was out there. Running.

So I went last Monday. I was late getting there, so I literally had to catch up with the group. And running? OH MY GOD. My feet are like lead. My legs are heavy and weak. Trying to breathe was a losing battle. But I ran. Dude, I was A Runner. Again.

I’ve taken to spending 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day in our gym at work, on the treadmill. I don’t run – I am trying to avoid breaking a sweat – but I walk a little more than half a mile on a steep incline. I’m going to get there again.

Running is my therapy, and MY GOD, I am so glad to get back on that couch.

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Some Stuff I’ve Bought Lately: Back in the Saddle Again Version

Dude, seriously, I’ve bought more than a few things since the last time I’ve written one of these, but I can’t keep up with anything any more. I’m exaggerating (slightly), but in truth I am a little scatterbrained. So this post? Is going to be a mish-mash of stuff. Just grab the saddle horn and hang on, partner.

(Sidenote, and one of my favorite parenting stories ever: When Tony was, like, two or something he had watched a tv show that featured cowboys. We don’t know how he got the phrasing mixed up, but when we all sat down to dinner that night – all, meaning extended family and all – he proudly looked around and offered, “HOWDY, FUCKERS!” Which was mortifying at the time, but my GOD if it doesn’t make me keel over with laughter even to this day.)

(He meant PARTNERS.)

On to the list.

We don’t have a The Body Shop anywhere around these parts, but we did have a clothing store called Body Shop when I was growing up and MAN, they sold some skank clothes, so I spent many years thinking the two stores were one and the same. It wasn’t until a year or so ago that I realized that Oh! People like the bath products, not the skank clothes! That makes a lot more sense. Someone had a bottle of this hand lotion in our bathroom at work, and I became addicted to the sandalwoody scent. Now it’s one of the more luxurious parts of my day, since Philosophy has been bought out by Coty and their lotions don’t have much fragrance any more.

So my old running shoes are REALLY old – almost two years old – so a new pair of shoes were required when I started running again. My trusty Mizunos had (unfortunately!) been retired, so I was heartbroken. They had just the right amount of stability without being ridiculously clunky. Someone suggested checking eBay, and sure enough! A new pair of Mizuno Nirvanas were at my door. I had forgotten how amazing new running shoes feel, and man, running is a lot easier on my old, fat joints now.

Speaking of old, fat joints, let me introduce you to my new best friend. Our company does a yearly fitness incentive where if we complete a certain amount of activity, we’re given a gift card at the end of contest. This year, they began integration with the FitBit Flex, and I LOVE THIS THING. It’s water resistant, so you can wear it 24/7, even in the shower. It tracks your steps and activity level when you’re awake, and tracks your sleep quality when you sleep. It has great mobile apps so I can see where I am throughout the day on my iPhone. I haven’t lost 30 lbs or anything YET, but I love seeing how I’m doing on my daily goals. The only drawback I’ve found is that it will trigger “sleep mode” when I’m burping the baby.

Okay, your turn: do you love your hairdryer? Would you recommend it to me? Mine is .. well, it’s smoking a bit and makes this buzzing sound when I turn it on and also it shorts the bathroom circuit out. So I think I may need a new one. Soon.

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On the Timeshare of Medicine

When Bryan and I were getting married, we debated what to do for our honeymoon. We were both very young (.. okay, we weren’t, really. Not in Alabama, anyway) and very poor (this part is 100% true) and so we decided to not take a honeymoon until we could really afford it.

Well, I decided this. Bryan was adamant that we take a honeymoon because he believed it would start the marriage off in a negative way to not have one. So we settled on going to Gatlinburg, TN. I had never been, but he had “summered’ up there every year as a child and had fond memories of feeding the bears in the Smokey Mountains.

(I kid you not. He fed the bears.)

Anyway, there was this weird thing about Gatlinburg. The town is basically a mecca of kitschy, touristy places. There’s a strip where you have an old timey picture taken and visit eight different Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums, and you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting a pancake house. (Pancakes? you’re saying, and I know. I don’t know why pancakes.) On this strip, you’ll be CONSTANTLY approached by folks who will offer you tons of goodies for sitting through their pitch. And I mean – REAL good stuff.

We were poor and hungry, and we had no itinerary, so we were like, “Sure. Why the hell not?” So for tickets to the Ripley’s Aquarium (which is still my hands-down favorite aquarium in the south), a $100 Visa gift card, and tickets to a local show, we took a bus to a convention center to learn about timeshares.

We were shuffled in a room with tons of other folks, where mediocre refreshments were served. We listened to the head of marketing speak about this wonderful opportunity we were being given, and we sat through a video that sang the praises of the timeshare model. But act now!, they warned. We have limited slots available.

We had to fill out a card that basically gave us boxes to check if we were interested (deposit required ASAP), or if we wanted them to contact us later, or if we weren’t interested. And if you checked that last box, they’d send over a second level salesman to try and convince you otherwise. Bryan and I straight up laughed at both salesmen. Um, we rent. Do you think we’d pay for a house we can use for one week when we don’t even own a home for the other 51 weeks?

Our basic answer – to any question – was thusly: “No. Can we get our gift card now?”

The aquarium was awesome and we had a helluva meal with that gift card.

****

Bryan and I and all of the boys see a local family doctor whom we LOVE. Seriously. His practice is amazing and he’s been more than accommodating to our family. He had a large family himself and has been through every situation I could ever ask advice about. So when the practice sent us a letter asking us to attend a meeting – at a posh, local golf clubhouse – we wondered what was up.

Because we now have a gaggle of children, I attended alone.. but the venue was far from empty.

We were shuffled in a room with tons of other folks, where mediocre refreshments were served. Our doctor kicked off the meeting, announcing his pending retirement. And then he used the words “concierge medicine”, and my heart sank. The remaining two doctors in the practice got up and spoke about how they believed this was the best decision for the practice. Then the head of the concierge transition company – a third party vendor – stood. We listened to the head of marketing speak about this wonderful opportunity we were being given, and we sat through a video that sang the praises of the timeshare model. But act now!, they warned. We have limited slots available.

If you care about your family’s health, this time share is for you.

We had to fill out a card that basically gave us boxes to check if we were interested (deposit required ASAP), or if we wanted them to contact us later, or if we weren’t interested.

To be clear: if my doctor was remaining with the practice, I would probably sign up without hesitation, even with the $1800/person annual fee. (Kids are free with a paid adult.) But he’s not. And the other doctors may be fine, but I don’t know them.

The practice is moving to a concierge-hybrid system, meaning that the 7,000 patients have the opportunity to take the coveted 300 concierge slots. If you choose to remain “traditional”, you’re still welcome.

BUT.

Of the 8 hour scheduling day, four hours will be reserved for concierge patients ONLY. The other 6900 folks fight over the other four hours of doctor availability.

I already see signs of this taking effect, as my newborn son wasn’t able to get ANY vaccinations until August 16th, when he will be 2.5 months old. I was frustrated when I called for that appointment (back in early July) because COME ON, right?

Has anyone had experience with a concierge model in their family practice? If so, was yours concierge ONLY or did you go hybrid? I’m looking for experiences to gauge if I’m willing to shell out the $3600 a year to remain there .. you know, on top of my insurance premiums.

I love my doctor so much and am heartbroken that he’s leaving. But the snake oil salesman flavor of the meeting and transition leaves me cautious. Thoughts?

 

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