About Amy

I am a stay at home mom to two kids, Kamryn and Rory. They are pretty much the coolest kids ever. I love not working, but have noticed that my brain seems to work a little slower than it used to. I'm constantly looking for some stimulation - flashing lights or pretty colors possibly even a craft or two. I try to incorporate humor in my everyday life because you can find humor in everything...yes, everything, it's all in the timing. I have been known to get myself into some interesting situations and I can almost always come out laughing in the end. If you can't laugh at yourself, you have no business laughing at anyone else. I'm not good at censoring myself so I tend to write like I speak. If you are curious what that is like, just know that my daughter referred to our cat, Shmoopy (RIP 1996-2009) as "That Fucking Cat" for pretty much her entire 2nd year of life. I tend to think I am right a lot. And truth be told, I am right a lot. The saying "I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong." isn't just a funny quip, but is kind of my mantra. It's easy to be right when you only spout off about things you know about. Therefore, I tend to stay away from topics involving politics, religion and global warming. My hope is that you have learned something from me by stopping by. I try to find the simplest solution to common everyday problems from cooking to potty training to working out. I'll share my experiences regardless of how embarrassing, humorous or graphic they may be to help you simplify your day. If nothing else, I'm usually good for a laugh. Thanks for stopping by!

So Long 2016

I never know when I’ll get the urge to post, but when it hits, I feel I have to take advantage…even if it’s at 11:30pm on New Years Eve.

So here I sit, wrapped in a faux pashmina, slippers on my feet, glass of pinot at my side, Rory sleeping in his bed and Kamryn writing up a business plan for her “Balloon Messages”.  Honestly, a great idea about sending your loved ones messages in a balloon. She’s currently charging $0.06, but I’m encouraging her to charge about 100% more.

2016 has been a shit year for me.  I feel like I deserve to be selfish. If you know me, you know that my husband, Ryan, passed in August.  That would be more than enough to make this a shit year, but no.  More shit has happened.  A friend and neighbor, Todd, also passed this year and left his wife and two young daughters.  Friends of friends have passed and more have had strokes, cancer diagnosis and former classmates have had other ailments that are atypical for people in our age bracket.

I want to be optimistic for 2017.  I really, really do, but  if you know me, you know I’m a very devout Democrat and I am saddened, dismayed and scared about the next 4 years.  I can’t say much more than that.  I was feeling hopeless, but I do feel like it’s my chance to change how I operate on a day to day basis.  I was watching the news 2 days ago and saw a story about a local woman who was attacked, her jewelry (wedding ring) was stolen along with all of her money and she was assaulted.  There is a Go Fund Me  account set up for her.  If you can, help her out, please do.  I don’t know her, but she needs help and when I needed help this year, I had many, many people at the ready to help me.  I want everyone to have that.  Every living person deserves that.

In 2017 I have decided to count my blessings.  I am beyond blessed.  Things that I used to take advantage of, I will be appreciative of.  I will be thankful for all of my friends and family.  I will be grateful for the roof over my head and the food on my table.  I will try not to complain about the broken dishwasher or leaky gutters.  I won’t wince at the emails that schedule conflicting activities for my kids.  When I get asked if I can help out, I’ll smile and say, “Yes!” when I can instead of scrambling for an excuse not to.  You can do it too.  I’ll fail at times…I know I will.  I won’t always say “yes” because some days I just can’t.

Some days I cry all the way to work because I miss Ryan.  Other days I want to lock myself in my room because everything seems like just too much to take.  Then there are days when I tell my kids how funny, caring and loving their dad was and I’m happy I get the chance to do that.  And on another day, I reminisce about my childhood and my carefree days playing in the creek with my best friend, Sara.   Sometimes, I sing at the top of my lungs…just because I can.  In 40 years, I have had more good than bad and I am thankful for that.

So 2017…bring it.  I got this.

 

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Happy Halloween?

My favorite time of year is upon us once again.  I so enjoy Halloween that I often think of costume possibilities throughout the year.  Usually those ideas are so fantastic that I make a mental note that I must start organizing and preparing for the costume no later than the last day of July.  Soon, I’m staring down October 30th on the calendar and my kids end up with crappy store-bought costumes.

At least that is what happened this year.  Last year, we successfully pulled off the Scooby-Doo gang (sans Scooby).

Halloween 2011

And this year I have a mermaid who has already lost 40% of the sequins on her skirt and a pirate who is actually wearing a buccaneer costume that is being held together with safety pins.  I am a boring old witch whose hat won’t stay on her head and tights that claim to be one-size-fits-all, but the crotch is only slightly higher than my knees.  I’m pretty sure Ryan won’t be making any attempt at a costume at all.

I’m declaring right now that I will never buy a store bought costume again.  It’s not so much the cost because I guarantee I spend way more on my homemade costumes than I do on the store bought ones, but I just like the fact that they can be relied upon to hold up through multiple wears.  I also like to get pieces that can be worn on non-Halloween days.  Kamryn wore the little purple dress all the time and I intended to wear the orange sweater, but the neck is just a bit too tight around the neck.

Now that I have established that our costumes don’t even meet mediocre standards, I had a couple of other disappointments today.  The first came when I took Rory to school this morning.  I checked him in only to see a sign that said a water pipe had burst and because of no running water, school was cancelled.  They had a parade planned for the kids, which all the kids participated in, but then they were sent home.  Ugh.Normally, Rory not having school would be a bit of a disappointment because it means I don’t get my 3 hours of “me” time.  But today, my “me” time was lost anyway due to Kamryn’s Halloween party, which Rory would now be accompanying me.

I am the room mom for Kamryn’s class this year which means I am in charge of organizing the class parties.  With the help of Pinterest and numerous websites, there is no shortage of ideas for crafts, games and snacks for kids.  It’s the execution that counts.  Overall, the party went fairly well.  We played games, made spider cookies, made some bat crafts and listened to some music. The letdown came when I told Rory we had to leave.

He threw a fit of all fits.  Screaming, crying, hitting, etc.  It took absolutely every ounce of self control I had not to throw him over my shoulder, haul him out of school and pass him off to the next parent that drove up.  We got in the car and I expressed my extreme disappointment in his behavior to which he yelled, “I WANT MY BINKY!”

The minute we got in the house, I told him to take off his costume and go to bed.  He did.  Two hours later, I had to wake him to pick Kamryn up from school.  I guess someone was a little tired.  It was then that I noticed a very creepy and ghostly image around the pumpkins that we carved on Sunday.

Moldy Witch

Out went the pumpkins.

The only thing I wanted to do was sit down and watch a good 60’s or 70’s horror movie like Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, Amityville Horror or The Exorcist.  There is something about the movies set in those decades that are always just a little bit creepier to me.  Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any of those movies – not even on AMC and I was left watching My Idiot Brother. 

Once we got home from picking Kamryn up from school, Kamryn declared today the best Halloween ever and we haven’t even gone trick or treating yet.  Rory is singing “Trick or treat!  Smell my feet!  Please I can have something yummy?”  And I am watching A Haunting, one of my favorite shows with terrible acting and horrible special effects, but a great narrator’s voice.

More Cowbell

I have been driving Ryan’s car to work every morning and I listen to all of his presets except the sports radio stations that take up a whopping 8 of 24 spots!  I’m sure that isn’t surprising to anyone that knows Ryan.  The rest are basically classic rock and jam band stations.  Anyway, it makes me feel like that is the time when Ryan can “talk” to me.

Ryan and I met in 2000 and when you know someone for 16 years, marry them, have some kids, move back and forth across the country a couple of times and go through some fairly traumatic events together, you learn things about one another that no other relationship will ever rival.  I miss Ryan a lot so I constantly look for signs from him and a lot of that comes through music.  I was listening to Elvis’s, Always On My Mind the other day and I thought, “Oh wouldn’t that be something if on my way to work, I heard that song.”  I switched over to Elvis Radio and guess what?  Nope, it wasn’t Always On My Mind it was C.C. Rider which is much more Ryan.  This was the only Elvis song he would sing.  Ever.  This is what I mean by him “talking” to me.

Last night, I was double checking with Kamryn regarding her Halloween costume.  She had said she wanted to be the Grim Reaper and in light of recent events, I thought it may be a little too…oh what’s the word?  Not good.  She has always been a lover of the macabre when it comes to Halloween and she had made this decision before Ryan passed, but I was just hoping she would change her mind.  She is still set on being Father Time so I began my Pinterest search for costume making ideas and each pin I came across was saved with a cringe and a sigh.

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Today I got in the car and what song was playing?  (Don’t Fear) The Reaper.  OK, Ryan, I get it.  It made me smile and chuckle a little.  I know some are reading this and saying, “Amy, that’s just a coincidence.” and I would agree.  It is. A coincidence is defined by a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time and I would say this was quite striking.  What I’m saying is, you can call it what you will and I’ll get from it what I need.  I need it to be Ryan telling me to “Calm the fuck down, it’s not a big deal.”

The song also brought up another memory that made me laugh and it wasn’t the memorable Will Ferrell SNL skit.  Ryan ran a half marathon in Des Moines in 2007 and included in the swag bag was a cowbell for the fans to clang as the runners ran by or for your 1 year old to become obsessed with and refuse to put down.  Kamryn loved that cowbell.  One night, shortly after the race, Ryan asked me to please hide it from her because it was constant, clanging cowbell in our house.  I turned to him and said, “It’s from your race.”  Meaning, it’s your fault we have it so you hide it!  He gave me a very puzzled look and replied, “What do you mean?  We’re both white!”  I laughed for a good hour after that and it still makes me giggle.

Happy 40th Birthday, Ryan

Ahhhhhh….FUCK!  I was watching the Today Show this morning and Matt Lauer said he considered swearing a lazy form of communication because the speaker isn’t attempting to find a more creative way to express themselves.  Well, Matt, sometimes there isn’t a more creative word.  Sometimes the mother of all swear words expresses my sentiment exactly how it needs to be expressed.

One month and 2 days ago was the worst day of my life.  Ryan, my husband of 13 years, passed away and today would have been his 40th birthday.  The man who gave me (albeit with a little of my help) two of the most wonderful children.  We had our rough patches. Every marriage does, but we knew how to be parents and we were good at it together and apart.  Ryan was an amazing dad.  There isn’t a better way to put it.  He loved his children more than anything.

Ryan and I weren’t living together when he passed.  It’s shocking how fast any differences we had, vanished when I received that horrible phone call on August 18th.  All I could think of was how my children lost their father, I lost my best friend and the one person who truly knew me better than anyone else.

I keep thinking of cleaning out his condo and the one, unopened bag of Goldfish crackers I found.  Yes, he had other food, but it was that sole bag of crackers that continues to break my heart in two.  Not more than a week before Ryan passed away, Rory was at his house, swimming.  Ryan texted me that Rory was ready to come home because he didn’t “have good enough snacks”.  That was the last time Rory had been there and Ryan had gone out to get those Goldfish for the next time that he came over.  I brought those crackers home and I listened from the living room as the kids ate them in the kitchen.  Not knowing their dad had bought those for them.  I cried silent tears as they happily munched their snack.

I was anxious about today.  I had no idea how it was going to effect me.  The fact that Ryan died a month before his 40th birthday isn’t lost on me.  I am 2 months older than Ryan and every year between July 29th and September 20th, there were a lot of jabs about me being his “Old Lady”.  And now he’s permanently stickin’ it to me! (That’s a George Costanza reference for those keeping track.)

One thing that Ryan wouldn’t have wanted is for me, the kids, his family, or his friends to wallow around and mourn him.  I know this because when his dad died in October of 2009, we talked a lot about what we would want when we passed.  In some ways, I am most grateful for those conversations because I know what he wanted and I know how he felt about death and dying.  We joked a lot that I would be the first to go because of the whole kidney failure thing.  It’s funny how you can joke about that stuff when you’re in your 30’s. I think I felt more invincible in my 30’s than I did as a teenager.  I don’t feel that way anymore.

So on this 20th day of September, I am thankful for me and Ryan’s friends far and wide for the texts, the cards, the cakes, the balloon, the flowers, the messages, the hugs and the friendship.  I’m thankful for his family for being my connection to Ryan and for holding on to more memories to share with our children.  I am thankful for my family for always considering Ryan part of our family even before “he put a ring on it”.  I’m thankful for Ryan’s lifelong friends for continuing to send me text messages and sharing their memories with me.  But I’m most thankful for Kamryn and Rory.  Those kids are our greatest accomplishment and the pain I feel that Ryan won’t walk our beautiful daughter down the aisle on her wedding day or see Rory’s face when he becomes a father himself is unimaginable.

I like to imagine that Ryan is looking down on us from the star that Rory and I picked out.  That he smiles when I laugh, he shakes his head when Rory is doing something Rory-like and he’s showing his proud dad face when Kamryn brings home that perfect report card.  Our love for you will never end and we will always feel your love from above.

 

 

5 Days Out

The time has arrived for some updates.  This week has been much easier than I ever imagined.  While I can’t say that it was completely pain free – far from it, but it was not nearly as bad as I was preparing for.  I may have a bit higher pain tolerance than someone who has never had an operation.  I had 4 very invasive stomach surgeries in the last 7 years where my stomach muscles were cut each and every time.  That is where the pain is – at least in my experience.

In this procedure, my stomach muscles weren’t cut, but sewed tighter together.  That caused some pain, but not like when they are cut.  The actual incision area is completely numb.  Actually, I’m numb from my newly placed belly button down to my hip joints.  I was told that may stay that way which doesn’t really matter too much to me – I don’t think I have had much feeling in my lower abdomen since 2006.

Yesterday I went in for my follow up appointment and to have the two Jackson-Pratt drains removed.  I was dreading the removal not because I was afraid it was going to hurt, but having things pulled out of your body just isn’t a whole helluva a lot of fun.  Also, I had a pretty good idea that the tube for the drains were about a foot long and threaded up through my abdomen.  *Insert gag here*

I was pretty nauseous yesterday from the pain medication and the antibiotics I was taking so by the time I got to my appointment, I was dreading the drain removal even more.  I was terrified that I was going to throw up and tear open my incision in the process.  No, not afraid of puking all over my doctor’s office – that’s why they have the tile floors. 

My doctor removed my girdle, aka the sausage casing, and that was the most liberating feeling I have felt in the last 5 days.  I got a good look at what was going on underneath there and I have to say, I’m very happy – even with all the swelling.  There wasn’t any bruising that I could see and the incision is so thin, I can’t even imagine what it will look like in a year.  She replaced all of my little band-aids from the liposuction incisions, cleaned the dried blood from my belly button and replaced the tape covering the tummy tuck incision.  Once that was complete, it was time to remove the two drains.  The tubes were stitched into two small incisions right below my tummy tuck incision.  I was instructed to take a deep breath and let it out – she would pull the tube out on the exhale.  I took a deep breath, covered my face with my hands and let out a loud exhale.  I was afraid of hearing the removal as well as feeling it.  One down, one to go.  Deep breath in….and…whoooooooooooooooosh.  Second drain out!  Not bad at all.  She covered the two holes with some antibacterial ointment and a bandage and then squeezed me back into another girdle.

Dr. S told me to expect some drainage from the tube sites, which I do have.  Once I got home, I was beat.  It was the most I had moved in 4 days and I was exhausted.  After a few hours, I started to feel a bit feverish.  I am no stranger to infection – I have had countless overnight stays in the hospital due to infection where I needed IV antibiotics that they ended up needing to put an IV in my foot because my veins in my hands and arms were shot.  I know that a fever is the first sign and I was not pleased.  I called my doctor to let her know and she assured me that she didn’t see any infection, but thought the fever was probably due to me doing so much and not being used to it.  Well, as it turns out, she may have been right.  After a couple of hours, the fever was gone. 

Today was my first shower since Monday morning and it has made a world of difference.  The only real pain I have is in my thighs – it feels like I went on a really hard uphill run. My back is the other source of pain.  I am not a back sleeper and that’s all I have been doing for the last 4 nights and it has caught up to me.  I may attempt to sleep on my side tonight. 

After my shower, I took a couple of pictures.  For the Truebies out there – it looks like I have Hep V because that purple marker won’t come off my skin and I can’t scrub.  The bruises finally surfaced on my thighs today too.  It looks like I got beat and kind of feels like that if I touch them.  I only posted the side view – I’ll do a front view with the next shower – the picture was just a little too revealing for me to put it out there on the interwebs.

 

I Have No Belly!

I’m a bit late in my post-op post due to my realization that I am not allowed to sit up straight for some time. I must remain in a hunched position while standing and at a 45° angle while laying down. The latter makes it difficult for me to sleep, thus the 1:30am posting from my phone.

Preparation for my surgery started shortly after 6:00am. After a brief search for a suitable vein for my IV, I was covered with warm blankets and a “Bear Huggie” which distributed warm air all over my body. My doctor came in and sectioned off my soon to be gone parts with a purple marker before wheeling me in to the operating room promptly at 7:00. I was given a “margarita” injection and before I even had the chance to enjoy it, it was lights out.

I awoke at around 11:30 and immediately felt pain in my upper abdomen. Not horrible pain, but definite discomfort. A nurse was close by and gave me Percocet as well as fentanyl in my IV. Needless to say, that pretty much took care of that. I snacked on a few saltines and ginger ale and before I knew it, it was time to go home. I had a momentary stint of nausea, but made it home vomit free.

I am wrapped in what can best be described as a black sausage casing with a strategically placed opening. The casing is not to be removed for a few days which means no showers and no hair washing.

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My doctor called me around 3:00 and after I told her what I had been up to since arriving home, she informed me I wasn’t taking enough pain medication. Unfortunately, the Percocet is making me extremely nauseous and the best way to prevent that is to eat. I have forced down a bag a pretzels, two pudding cups, two jello cups and 1/2 a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Kamryn and Rory made me get well cards and Kamryn may have a future at Hallmark.

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Overall, the pain isn’t that bad. It’s far less than previous surgeries I have had and I don’t anticipate needing to be on the pain meds for too long. My legs started hurting after I got up for the first time, but even that is fairly manageable. Tomorrow my doctor is making a house call to see how I’m doing and hopefully, I’ll get a glimpse at what’s under my black suit. And hopefully it’s a nice birthday present.

Apologies for the choppy writing – I took a couple pain pills and flowing paragraphs are escaping me.

Hello Old Friend

It has been well over a year since I sat in front of my computer and vigorously typed out a blog post.  I started out with such dedication and then committed to a full year of daily posts only to throw my hands up in the air after 9 1/2 months and now, here I am again. 

I have had a few people ask me why I don’t blog anymore and my response lies somewhere between a shoulder shrug and a lengthy explanation of it starting to consume my life.  I had actually started blogging because in the background of my daily life, there was something occurring that only my close friends and family knew about and one day…one glorious day…all would be revealed.

Well, that day finally came, it was actually quite anti-climatic and not surprisingly, colors aren’t more vibrant, the sun doesn’t shine brighter and I’m not floating on my own bed of happiness.  To make a five year long story short, I settled a medical malpractice lawsuit for an undisclosed amount of money.  Am I rich?  Monetarily, no.  Am I happy with the outcome?  Meh…I guess.  I’m just glad it’s over.  Do I have anything else to say about it?  Not really. 

After the birth of Rory, 5 1/2 years ago, I had countless complications that resulted in countless corrective surgeries and leaving countless scars all over my body, but mostly on my stomach.  I vowed that once I could afford it, I would have one final surgery to remove all the scar tissue and unsightly scars that I was left with.  Well, with the settlement of my lawsuit, that day has arrived and much sooner than I originally anticipated.

I had gone in for a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon on Wednesday, July 23rd and discussed what I was unhappy with about my body.  I was told I was a perfect candidate for a mini tummy tuck.  I already knew that because off and on over the last 5 years I had perused numerous before and after photos of other women who had similar “situations” with their abdomens.  My doctor asked me when I wanted to have the surgery and I jokingly asked her if she could fit me in that afternoon.  She said it would most likely not be schedule for about 4 weeks.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to work for me and her receptionist said she would see how soon it could be scheduled.  To my surprise, I received a call later that afternoon saying they could fit me in on the 28th as long as I could come in the next day to do my pre-op appointment. 

July 28th, the day before my 38th birthday, I will be going under the knife…hopefully for the very last time.  I will be having a mini tummy tuck and liposuction on my thighs  – I figured since I was already there, why not throw in (or out) a little fat removal?  While I’m not scared to have this done, I am a little nervous and a lot excited. 

So why the blog post?  I want to document the process.  I have told a handful of people and the most common reaction is, “I’m jealous!”  I know everyone that has any kind of procedure done has a different experience, but I’ll share exactly what it was like for me.  It will also save me from having to tell the same story over and over again. It will also serve as a reminder of how painful surgery is in case I get some kind of plastic surgery obsession.  I have heard people say it’s like a tattoo…you can’t get just one. 

The process started yesterday when I went to pick up all of my supplies: my prescriptions that I’ll need after the surgery, a shirt that buttons up in the front (not easy to find), extra pillows, pudding, soup,  jello, Gatorade, ice packs, and hard candy.  Today consists of washing all of my bed linens so they are clean and fresh after I take my 13 step antibacterial shower tonight and another one tomorrow morning.

And finally.  I debated this in my mind a lot before I decided to do it.  What would be the point of me writing about having cosmetic surgery if I didn’t show you the before picture?  I figured a link would be better than inserting a picture.  It’s not something that everyone wants to see.

There you have it.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s, drug induced, post-op post.  It’s sure to be fun filled with maybe some gory pictures!!