Saturday, February 25, 2006

Thank You

I received my weekly van fundraising update from Bob's sister today and there are some names no one recognizes. I just wanted to say thank you just in case these people are from this blog. So thank you to Michael Olson, Willaim and La Rae Anderson, and to the gang at Fitness Alternatives. We appreciate your kindness and generosity more than I can express in writing here.

The rest of you that sent in contributions will be getting a personal thank you card mailed to your snail mail address. Thanks to you too!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Just One More

I have to say that I like my boss. It's weird because before she was my boss she was a co-worker and a friend. She's still a friend but she's also my boss. Sometimes the dynamic is weird but mostly, she is awesome. She was also taking CE with me. It was kind of weird sitting next to my boss during CE, but it was also nice getting some time with her outside of the office.

We had lunch together yesterday and today. We agreed that every time we take a CE class, we end up leaving with fear that we are underinsured, under prepared, and our IRAs are underfunded. We also talked about our families. She has a 14 month old daughter, a husband, a mom who has leukemia, and other concerns. Her father died 2 years ago. I have Bob and the fear that family planning may not be as important as retirement planning. But we are going to go ahead with it anyway.

Earlier in the week we had a team meeting and the point was made that we can no longer make appointments for lunch hours and they are getting a little particular on how we take PTO. My boss knows we've been trying to have a baby for some time. She has a good friend going through similar things and we often compare notes. I told her my physician referred me to an RE and the only time I could get in was at 10am or 2pm. They schedule new patients at specific times in the day and not during early morning or later evening hours. I told her I know it's in the middle of the day, but I could reschedule for later in the year when I have more PTO saved up and after tax season.

She was super sweet and kind and generous and almost made me cry. She said the lunch time appointment ban was for the phone team and not so much for us. She said I could come in early, leave at 9:30 and be back by 11:30 and be OK. It was a huge relief to hear that. I was worried I would have to put off these appointments because of work and now I know that as long as I don't abuse the kindness shown me, I won't have to put anything off.

Concerning how I feel about starting all of this, I have to say I am...not scared, but definitely nervous. As I wrote in an email to a friend, I am nervous about what they will find. I am nervous about what they won't find. I am nervous they will find it's my body that is defective and how I'll feel about that. I am nervous they will find it's male factor and how I'll feel about that. I am nervous that after tests and drugs and more trying nothing will happen. I am nervous something will happen and it will end up with me pregnant with multiples. I am nervous that this will affect our already tenuous grasp on spontaneous sex. And I hate how procreation and sex are the same act. Why can't they be separate?

Putting a Plan in Place

daisy and maisey on the couch
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
This is as close as our cats will get to one another...persnickity pair.

So today was another day of CE. It was a good day, though somewhat long. I did do better with the keeping of my eyes open. But I have a heck of a weight on my shoulders.

Things I learned: The biggest obsticle in retirement planning is the 2 person, 30 year retirement. By not planning, that's no plan. And planning for poverty in retirement is no planning at all. Not only that, but you have to take so many things into consideration when planning for retirement; expenses, debt, insurance, health care costs, long term care, estate/will/trust, taxes, etc. You also want to make sure that you not only have an income stream but also growth from the money that's not being spent. Plus, Bob and I have some special considerations regarding his health and disability.

During one of our breaks I started chatting with one of the other students. Over the course of our discussion it came out that she is the personal banker to the woman who runs the non-profit that is helping us raise the funds we need to buy Bob's van. Is that clear enough? Small world! It also came up that her husband is the man whose motorcycle accident stopped traffic on a North metro highway for hours last fall. He's alive and back to work but not back to 100%.

Another thing that keeps coming back to me every time I take CE is that I still don't know much about my parents' retirements plan. Do they have a financial advisor or attorney? Where are their important documents? Do they have life insurance? Long term care insurance? Are their assets protected? Arg! Who likes to talk about that stuff? No one, but it has to be done. Too many times we have clients that call in 5, 8, 10 years after a family member died with an old policy wanting to know if it's still good.

Anyway, make a plan. It's a start.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

In The Intrest Of Equal Tme

Licky Cat
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
This is Daisy and she would like me to post her picture in the interest of equal time. She thinks I've posted too many photos of Maisey and now that Honor has entered the picture she is afraid she will be forgotten entirely.

Today and tomorrow I have the distinct honor of participating in continuing education for work. The class I am taking is on planning and maintaining estates and retirements. Of course now I am all freaked out that we are not saving enough and will end up in poverty in retirement. I chatted with the teacher for a time and think it wouldn't be a bad thing to consult a financial advisor. This also makes me think we shouldn't be trying to have kids or planning a family. Instead we should be socking every spare cent away for retirement because we have a completely different scenerio than most people. For one, I'm the primary wage earner. Also, Bob's MD, related health issues, and needed durable medical equipment. Not to mention the eventual need for long term or home health care for him. If we add kids to the mix, we will never make ends meet, I don't think. These classes always scare me.

The class is interesting but for whatever reason, the minute the teacher starts talking my eyes get so heavy. The room is not hot, in fact it's a little on the cool side. But I cannot keep my eyes open. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Today was all about fixed and variable annuities. Tomorrow is all about estates, trusts, and wills. Whoot.

Oh, I will say, what is the deal with the rudeness of people? OK, I am the first to admit that I was fidgity O'fidgeter today and probably super annoying to the people behind and next to me. However, at least I wasn't listening to a conference call or my voicemail via my cell phone during class like some people I could point to. No lie. What is up with that?

So we heard back from Bob's life insurance company. They denied our claim because they are claiming Bob's total disability was a pre-existing condition. We are going to appeal and Bob is looking into disability attorneys. This is a rider he was paying for for over 10 years. He may have had MD his whole life, but it wasn't diagnosed nor did it render him disabled until 2002. So, that was kind of sucky. Not to mention that the only reason we found this rider in the first place was because I had taken an insurance class through work and came home and combed over all our policies. Bah.

I made the most delicious meal tonight. It's a Simply To The Table meal. It was thai peanut chicken and oh man it was good. There are leftovers but they won't last for long. Tomorrow is roast and potatoes.

Bob heard from the service dog place. Honor is his. Now he just has to set up his training schedule. For 8-10 sessions he will go there to train and then he should be able to bring her home. Yay!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Meet Honor

Thank you all for your help with my layout. I cut some things out of a couple entries and now it's fixed! Yay! You guys are the best!

So I went to the doctor today. But before I share that story, let me tell you about Bob's day. He met his future service dog. That's her pictured above. Her name is Honor and she's a black shepherd. She's a year and a half and she has been living with cats at her trainer's house. She is a beauty isn't she? Bob met three dogs today. He met Honor, a male black lab, and a male golden lab. He said of all the dogs, he felt the best about Honor. The male black lab was hyper and too energetic. The golden lab was too laid back, mello, and lazy. But Honor was just right. He is going to call the center tomorrow to tell them that he has definitely made his mind up to choose Honor. Actually, Bob said his favorite dog came in later. Someone brought in a goldenpoo as a brand new recruit and Bob fell in love. The only problem is this dog isn't ready to go out to anyone yet and she wouldn't grow to be big enough for his needs. But that little goldenpoo stole his heart right out. Anyway, Bob really likes Honor. He did say that he was hoping for a shepherd or a heeler and he got his shepherd. Yay!

It sounds like he will go to the center 8-10 times and train with Honor before he is able to bring her home. That sounds fine. He is so excited. Not only that but he really likes this place and felt right at home there. He really wants to work/volunteer for them and do what he can to raise funds for them. They are a non-profit and only charge $10 for the dogs. Everything else comes from donations, grants, and fundraising. If you are looking for a good place plug into for volunteerism and donations, we HIGHLY recommend MN Hearing and Service Dogs.

So, my doctor's appointment. I met with my regular physician and she was awesome. She said they would check my insurance and then match me to a couple of reproductive endocrinologists that accept my insurance. She named two she thought would be good. One is a man in Maple Grove and one is a woman in Minneapolis. She said they would most likely do a test where they inject dye into my uterus to see if my fallopian tubes are blocked. If they look OK and everything else looks OK with both me and Bob, then most likely they will put me on Clomid so that when I ovulate, 2-6 eggs are released instead of just 1. I'm not sure if I want the Clomid though. That's too far down the line to think about right now though. My doctor's referral specialist is going to call me tomorrow with the referral. While I'm waiting on that, I am going to call the UofM clinics and make an appointment for Bob to meet with the reproductive specialist and the genetics counselor. So, it's an appointment at a time and a day at a time.

Finally, I want to bring up something that I don't really want to talk about. The other day someone asked me about my weight loss and how that's going. The truth is, it's not. I've not lost a pound in over 6 months. And if the weigh in at the doctor's office is any indication, I've not only NOT lost weight, I've gained. It's so hard to admit this here. I feel like a failure. I went into this knowing that the surgery was a tool. Just a tool and I needed to learn to use the tool in a way that ensures the best possible outcome which is to lose weight and get healthy. I started out OK. But somewhere along the line, my lifetime of bad eating habits and my penchant for turning to food for comfort and emotional placation got the best of me. This is NOT good. I am looking forward to having Honor come home so I have a reason to get outside and MOVE again. I am looking forward towards keeping trying to have a baby so I have a reason to lay off the caffiene and sugar again. Why oh why can I not have been one of the lucky ones who dumps after eating sugar? Why did I go back to drinking soda? Why can I not stop? Why could I not work through these food issues that first year so it wouldn 't be so hard now?

Look...this is hard enough to admit. So I respectively ask that no one say anything about it in my comments section. These issues have emcompased a lifetime and won't go away with just a comment from you. Thanks for understanding. Posted by Picasa

Cat in a Sink

This is the fearless crabby tabby in our bathroom sink. Doesn't it look like she is trying to stop herself from going down the drain? She is actually yawning in this shot. Her teeth are crazy sharp and long...she's a little saber tooth girl. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 17, 2006

Wishing I was in Florida Right Now!

This is the cat we call the crabby tabby.

I can’t believe it is Friday already. This week just flew by and I can’t think why. Nothing of any real interest happened. Next week is the week I am looking forward to.

Last night I went to a Southern Living @ Home party at my boss’s house. I like my boss and I LOVE her baby girl. Plus it’s always good to get together with work people outside of work. I like SL@H stuff. I have quite a bit of it because another friend of mine sells it. I ended up ordering a butter dish, a wrought iron cookbook holder, and a slow cooker cookbook. The only thing I don’t like is having to wait for my order. I did like snuggling with my boss’s daughter and another friend’s little boy though. They are both one and hilarious in their new found independence.

Work has been getting busy now that it’s nearing the end of February and coming up upon tax and IRA season. It definitely makes the days go by faster, but I am leaving work on my desk at the end of the day and that’s not something I like to do. The most frustrating thing about work right now is the lack of communication between the phone team and the processors. The phone team tells our bankers how to make annuity deposits and fill out their paperwork, but I am getting paperwork that is wrong and missing deposits. When I get back to the bankers, they say that they didn’t know how to do whatever it was so they called the phone team for instructions. Arg! So we are having a team meeting first thing Monday morning in hopes of getting everyone on the same page. I hope it works because our work increases 10 fold with the approach of tax day.

Also next week we get fed. Because of the team meeting, they will be feeding us breakfast. Then, as a thank you for our hard work, we are being treated to lunch as well. One of our insurance companies is treating us to lunch on Wednesday as well. Thursday and Friday I will be at Continuing Education to keep my insurance license current.

This weekend we have nothing planned other than to hunker in, stay warm in light of the frigid, below zero temps we’ve been experiencing. I do need to clean our apartment and do a little homework, but other than that, this is a weekend for snuggling, reading, finishing some homework, and sleeping in.

The biggest news of course is that Tuesday is the day Bob is matched with his service dog. But I have my own appointment that day. I finally place the call to my physician’s office. I told the scheduler that my doctor wanted to see me if I hadn’t gotten pregnant in 6 months and it’s been 8 and I’m not pregnant. So, it begins. I know my doctor will just meet with me, ask some questions, and probably send me to someone else. I don’t expect answers to my questions on Tuesday. However, I wonder if I should expect answers to my questions at all. So many who struggle with infertility have gone to doctor after doctor, had test after test and still their questions remain unanswered. So, we will see what happens. This is probably one of those things that I just need to take a step at a time, a day at a time. Not so great if you are an impatient person such as I am. I feel better about finally going forward in this though. It’s been 4 years of trying and not getting pregnant. At least this way I feel as if I am doing something about it. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

When February Becomes My New Favorite Month

I got a call from MN Service and Hearing Dogs.  They want to meet with Bob next Tuesday at 2 in order to match him with his service dog!  They said they would have 2 or 3 dogs on site and hope one of them sticks.  Bob is so excited!  We watched the Westminster dog show last night and had a lot of fun watching the herding group and oohing and ahhing over the German shepherd, Aussie Blue, and Aussie Shepherd.  Cant believe the bull terrier won best in show.  She was a cutie, but not as beautiful as the golden retriever, the Old English sheepdog, or the Scottish deer hound.  Humph.  I am a little nervous about introducing the new dog to the cats, but I think it will be OK given the cats reaction to the dog that came by for the initial meeting.  Still, I dont want a pair of nervous Nellies pooping and peeing all over the apartment because they are upset over the new addition.

I heard back from the life insurance company today.  They wont approve the rider because, according to Bobs medical records, his disability seems to have been a pre-existing condition even though it wasnt diagnosed until he was 40 years old.  I talked to the head claims specialist and even though his disability did not result in unemployment and wheelchair confinement until well after his 40th birthday, they see doctors notes on how issues of MD have cropped up in his medical records since he was 17 and they wont allow us to use the rider.  So, theyve denied our claim.  The good news is, at least the policy is still enforce and in effect.  We go back to paying monthly premiums, sans said rider, and will have insurance should Bob pass.  Not the news we were hoping for, but its good to get this finally figured out.

Last night was nice.  We were going to go out and use one of the restaurant gift cards we had laying around.  But Tuesdays are hard on me after long Mondays, so I voted we stay in, order a pizza, and go to bed early.  We did stay in. We did order a pizza.  We did not go to bed early, but we did go to bed.  Also, Papa Johns online ordering system is the best thing since sliced pizza.  I placed the order and in 20 minutes we had a hot pizza made to our specifications at our door.  Yum yum.

Next week is going to go by so fast.  Monday starts off the week with an all team morning meeting. We havent had one of those in years.  I end the week with 2 days of continuing education to keep my insurance license current.  So Thursday and Friday I will not be in the office but will be learning more about insurance.  What fun.  Then that weekend is the weekend my parents are coming to town to help my grandma move.  So, yay.

Have you ever thought about what it is about you that makes people like or dislike you?  I often wonder how it is that my husband can love me.  He even loves me when Im crabby, impatient, short tempered, selfish, moody, and difficult.  How can he love me so completely, so fully, and so well when there are times I dont like myself?  Yet I feel the same way about him.  Today I called him and asked him to help me with something.  I got a less than enthusiastic response.  He continued to whine and whimper and complain until I was about to tell him to forget it.  I almost lost it because the thing I needed help with was something I was doing for him.  But I let it go and reminded myself that he lives in constant pain and has a right to whine and complain a bit.  Later on he called me to apologize and said he was sorry for treating me so crappy especially when all I was trying to do was help him out.  I love him so much.  I often wonder how I got so lucky to find such a man.  Some people may think that the Muscular Dystrophy would be a ticket out of the marriage.  I am not one of those people.  No one has ever loved me so completely, so fully, and as unconditionally as Bob has.  Its been the greatest gift to discover that even though Im not perfect and can be difficult to live with, Im not unlovable.  Who knew?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

Does anyone know how I can fix my website so that the sidebar doesnt keep sliding all the way down to the bottom of the page?  How can I keep it at the top no matter how I post?  Help?  Anyone?  Thanks.

I had a new class last night.  I am now in Publication Design and it seems there is more homework but it still in the difficulty range of my last class which is to saynot difficult at all.  My final homework for my last class, Image Design for Documents, was to 1.) Add text to a photo, 2.) Fix/enhance a scratched and blemished photo, and 3.) Cut and paste a head onto someone elses body.  Hard, hard, difficult homework, no?  My first quiz in my new class last night was such that I got a 10/10.  I wont get too big headed though because then I tend to get loopy and make simple mistakes.  Speaking of which, the gentleman I tend to have friction with in class got a 7/10 on his quiz.  The reason we have friction is because he tends to act as though everything comes easy to him and when one of us women post on our message board that something is difficult for us, he does not commiserate…instead, he tends to post how easy it was for him.  Last night we all had to log into our class list and enroll electronically.  We had all done this with relative ease and simplicity, except for friction guy.  He said he was not allowed access to the electronic site and that he would have to email the computer guru at school and ask for help.  While watching him try to enroll, we noticed that instead of clicking enroll, he was clicking something altogether different.  It really helps if you stop, read directions, and dont just go madly clicking away.  Anyway, I am enjoying this time of easy peasy classes.

So, the van fundraiser.  We are about $8,000 away from the purchase price of the van.  Then we still need money to pay for the taxes, tabs, and registration.  We have two months to get there and Im not really worried, but it is a shame to get so close and still not reach goal.  What I dont understand is how other journalists can seek out and raise money from everything for diabetic supplies to debt repayment and we barely scratch the surface to get Bob his freedom and mobility restored.  Im not bitter, just struggling with the dichotomy

What am I frustrated with today?  Why thank you for asking.  I am not frustrated with Valentine’s Day.  I like it.  Its been around for many more years than Hallmark, so its not one of you made up Hallmark holidays.  And its a good day to celebrate love in all its forms; parental, familial, friendship, sensual, sexual, etc.  Why can we not make it also a day about treating your fellow man better and looking out for the needs of others before the needs of yourself?  For instance, is it too much to ask that if you are getting onto the elevator that you stand a few inches away from the door and wait maybe 10 seconds before lumbering past the door?  There are some people that would like to exit said elevator and its hard to get off if 2-3 large men are fighting to be the first ones on.  Also, when parking at the mall, is it too much to ask that you just park where ever you see a spot be it far or close?  I did not enjoy sitting behind the large SUV on Saturday afternoon while they waited for someone to return to their car. Bob and I were trying to get to the handicapped spots up close but had to sit behind a gigantic truck in the middle of the lane.  They just sat there waiting for someone to return to a closely parked vehicle.  In the meantime, all the people who parked way in the back had already entered the mall and were toasty warm and shopping.  Can we please return to the practice of good manners and kindness towards your fellow man?  I think Valentines Day is as good a day as any to start.  Join me, wont you?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Just Filling Time Until Grey's Anatomy Comes On

The picture you see above is my very first Photoshopped photo. I took both photos but the dolphin one was just of the dolphin and the one with the kids was just of the kids looking at the dolphin tank. In Image Creation class last week, I learned how to crop and paste photos. I also learned how to smudge, clone, burn, and other fun stuff in order to make bolder, better, greater photos. Go me! Photoshop is my new best friend.

The walk yesterday was OK. At Ridgedale, where Bob and I were to walk, we were joined by 3 others and got about $550 in contributions. In total, we raised almost $8,000 with this fundraiser. It's not as much as we had hoped, but now we are 2/3 of the way to the van and we have almost exactally 2 months to raise the rest.

After the walk, we joined Bob and one of his sisters and one of his brothers and their families at a church Valentine's day dinner. It was a very nice event. The group put on the dinner and served the meal to raise money for a summer missions trip. The dinner was mexican in motif. The appetizer was chips and con queso. There was a salad and the main course was "mexican" chicken, a cheese quesidilla, and refried beans. Dessert was a delish puffed pastry with cream and raspberry filling. Yum. After dinner, we had a group picture taken and then a photo of just me and Bob. I like the group photo of all of us, but I look like a big fat blob in the one of me and Bob. Blech.

Bob and I exchanged Valentine's gifts already. I couldn't wait. His gift to me was Godiva chocolates. My gift to him consisted of chocolate, underwear, candles, and a coupon for food and love...not necessarily in that order. We hope to have dinner out on Tuesday night.

We got our federal tax return on Friday. It's mostly gone because we had a bunch of bills to pay. However, we did splurge on a juicer for Bob. Last year's tax return went towards my laptop for school. At that time I promised Bob that this year's tax return could be spent however he wanted to spend it. He wanted to pay bills and buy a juicer. The only way Bob will eat fruit is in juice. It's a good way for him to get his vitamins and eat nutritiously. We should get it in about a week or so. He's so excited. I hope I made a good decision on the juicer I eventually bought.

My grandma is moving here at the end of the month. I am so excited about this. She will be about 2 miles from our place so we can see her whenever we want and have her for dinner. My parents will be here that weekend to help her move so I will get to see them too. Yippeeeee!

I have waited all weekend for Grey's Anatomy. Filling time until my favorite TV show starts. It's so good. Are you watching? If not, you should.

Happy Birthday Kathy! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Winter Is Back

It is snowing here and that is causing all sorts of traffic havoc. Apparently because its so cold, the snow is falling, melting on the well-traveled roads, and then freezing. Traffic is at a stand still in some areas. It is days like these that make me glad I live 2 miles away and dont have to brave our fabulous freeway system.

I feel much better today. Finally. Although right after lunch I felt like I hit a wall and needed to take a nap. However, I braved it through and feel better again. I am very snarfy and mucous-y though. I went through one small box of Kleenex in one day and my nose is raw from blowing it, even though we use the tissues with lotion.

Bob is still not feeling 100%. I think he may be lactose intolerant or have IBS. He eats dairy and his tummy just rumbles and cramps. He has bathroom issues anyway because of the morphine he takes for pain. Its not known for the loosening of the bowels. Poor guy.

Still no word from the Life Insurance Company. I will be bringing the phone numbers with me to work tomorrow and calling every and anyone during my breaks. They have not heard the last from me.

We also have not yet received our federal tax refund in our account. It only took 3 days to get our state refund. Its been 9 business days and we should see it any day now, I would suspect. I may have Bob call our tax guy just to see if there is any hold up. We could use the cash.

Speaking of cash, anyone have any good Valentines day ideas for men? I have LOTS of ideas for Bob for me, but none for me for him. Leave me a comment if you have an idea.

Speaking of good gift ideas, one of our local liquor stores is selling wine scented candles. They come in Merlot, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and others. Doesnt that sound like fun? If you live in the area, check out Haskells Liquor Stores.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

3 More Days Until The Walk For Wheels

This is the van that we are trying to raise money for in our Walk for Wheels. We are about a third of the way there and just need about $12,000 more to make it. Please consider sponsoring our walk so my husband Bob is able to stay mobile and independent. He has lost so much in the last 3 years since being diagnosed with FSH MD and being confined to a power wheelchair. He's lost his job, his sense of purpose, much of his regular muscle function, and his feelings of provision and manliness. He would just like to be able to go fishing when he wants to go fishing instead of making it a huge production. He would like to be able to just jump in the car and go...anywhere. He would like to visit his friends in the nursing home. He would like to have a little freedom back. Don't we all take this for granted just a little bit? ***********************************
Yup, still sick. I went into work today but only lasted until 1:30. I came home and immediately went to bed where I slept for 4 hours. Then I got up and watched The Grammy’s and Lost and then more of The Grammy’s. I lead an exciting life, no? I hate being sick. HATE!

Oh, I forgot to make mention of how I stood up for me and Bob on the phone the other day. Some back story: Before he met and married me, Bob took out a life insurance policy. This was quite fortuitous since after his diagnosis, he would not qualify for the type of policy he has, or if he did, he would have to pay quite a bit more than he's had to pay for this one. After I got my insurance license, I was looking over all our policies to make sure we were as covered as we needed to be. While looking into Bob's life insurance policy, I noticed a rider that stated if Bob ended up disabled, his life insurance company would pay his premiums. So we started the process to enforce the rider. It's been over a year now and not only are they NOT paying his premiums; they are taking money from his policy to pay it while we wait in limbo. Cut to Monday while I was home sick. I am sick of the run around we've been getting from this particular insurance company. I called the claims rep and got voicemail and left a somewhat terse message that I would get them whatever information they are still looking for this week if only they would contact me and let me know what they are still waiting for. I never heard back.

In the meantime, once Bob got up and I filled him in on my terse phone call, he got all up in arms and became kind of feisty himself. He called his independent insurance agent and told him he had 2 weeks to resolve this or we would go to the news stations and lawyers. While Bob was out getting the mail, his insurance agent called back to say that they were still waiting for health records from the physician Bob saw the very first time it was suspected he MAY have MD. I told this agent that that doctor no longer practices medicine in our state and didn't do anything except send Bob to the neurologist who DID diagnose the MD and I know for a FACT that those medical records have been sent to the insurance company. He said he would check on that and call back later. Haven't heard from him since. I need to call the claims rep back tomorrow. I will NOT let this rest. It's been far too long and they are robbing Bob, me, and our future dependents and I will NOT stand for it any longer. Hell hath no fury like a woman waiting for her husband's insurance company to PAY UP ALREADY!

OK back to the Grammy’s...what the hell happened to Tom Hanks? Why is he sporting a mullet?I like this song by Bruce Springsteen. Oh! What was up with the opening song? Is there really a "virtual" hip hop group called The Gorillaz? Weird. I am old. And yet Madonna, the pop music icon from my high school days was right there on stage singing with them. She is old. When she is 62, will she be singing during the Super Bowl half time show to everyone's snide comments about how she is older than dirt and will need a walker during her next tour? I hope so. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I'm Still S-i-i-i-ic-c-c-c-k-k-k-k

I am still sick. However, I went to work today. Everyone in my office works while sick. If you take a PTO day as a sick day, there is a subtle peer pressure influence that says you are a sissy. And yet there were a couple of people who told me to just go home. Neither of those people was my boss or her boss, so I toughed it out and stayed. Even when I was shivering and felt freezing. Even when I put on my down winter coat and extra long scarf and was still shivering. Even when I could barely keep my eyes open or my nasal passages unplugged. So today I played hurt and it was the longest day ever.

Even still, I kept my appointment at Simply to the Table to make this month’s meals ‘O plenty. And a funny thing happened. As I made our meals and talked and bantered with Colleen and Holly, I began to feel better. Laughter (and good food) is truly the best medicine.

This month’s offerings are favorites from previous months. Holly calls the menu, “February Favorites”. So this month we have Pesto chicken pizza, mushroom twice bakes, beef and barley stew, apricot pork shoulder, ranchy chicken and noodles, turkey alfredo, smothered chicken, and two others I can’t remember right now. Hee. Tomorrow night we are having the ranchy chicken. If I haven’t said it before (and even if I have) I LOVE Simply To The Table. I have to admit that before I went back, I checked out a couple of other make and take places and am happy that I stuck with STTT. The others don’t offer as many meals (9) and charge almost $40 more. So, yay me!

Saturday is our walk. We have to raise a little over $12,000 still in order to have enough money to get the van, pay the taxes, and order the tabs. It seems like a lot, but we have already raised about a third of the total. Please consider sponsoring us.

Bob got a call from the lawyer who issued the subpoena and he doesn’t have to appear in court at all. The guy plead guilty and it’s all said and done. That very weird chapter in our lives is over.

My nose is so stuffy right now. I hope it doesn’t keep me awake. What might keep me awake is the memory of the horrible dreams I had last night. I dreamt that I was enamored of a man I loathe. In my dream we had sex and were a “couple” and yet in real life I can’t stand this guy. In fact, I haven’t seen or thought about him for years and then all of a sudden he pops up in my dreams. What is that all about?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Home Sick...Not Homesick

The sore throat I woke up to on Saturday turned into a full blown flu/cold type thing on Sunday. I slept as late as the cats would let me, which turned out to be about 10. I got annoyed with their constant crying and fiddling with things on my dresser so I got up and went to the living room couch to lie down. I felt like crap with a capital C. But I got to watch Say Anything, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, and The Breakfast Club, so Wheee.

I did make a run to the pharmacy for some supplies. It turns out I used my last pad the night before so I needed more of those. While there, I picked up some more cough drops, a box of soft tissues, a box of real juice pops, some 7-Up and cranberry juice. I'm si-i-i-i-i-c-c-c-k. *cough*.

I did manage to clean out the cat boxes even while feeling crappy. Poor health is no excuse for poor cat box management. The kitties, they like a clean cat box. As is evident the MINUTE I am finished cleaning, they fight over the right for the first pee in the clean cat box.

I did manage to drink my fluids and suck on my juice pops during the day. I watched a lot of bad TV and caught up on some journal reading. At 5, we ordered Papa John's pizza via the web. My confirmation email stated the wait could be as long as 90 minutes, but we had a hot pizza made to our specifications within 25 minutes. Score!

Bob and I attempted to watch the Superbowl, but not having a vested interest, we failed. He went to the store to see his buddies and I channel surfed until Grey's Anatomy came on. What a show! I can't believe it's a 2-parter. I hate those.

I didn't go into to work today seeing as how I feel all kinds of crappy and got about 20 minutes of total sleep due to the consuptive coughing I did all night. I do have to go to class tonight which is kind of hypocritical, but I've already missed one in this series and I can't miss another or I have to take the whole series over. Not that it would be bad. This is the easiest class I've had yet. The homework for today was to save 6 photos into 2 different formats with specs given to us by our prof. The whole thing took me less than 5 minutes. Cake! Still, it would be a shame to have to repeat a class I could do in my sleep. So today's schedule is to rest until it's time to go to class, go to class, come home from class, sleep.

Although, I do admit I have a hard time resting on a work day. I look around at the dishes that need to be done, the floor that needs vacuuming, the mail I need to get out, the phone calls I should make, and I think that I can do these things. That I SHOULD do these things because they need to be done. I am home and I can do them. Except if I start to do all these things then I get tired out and feel crappier yet. Why can I not shut off the guilt? I'm not playing hookey. I am sick as evidenced by my 101 fever, chills I can't shake, and wheezing. But I still think that I should do stuff around the house in order to feel better for "just lying around". Well, at least I can make phone calls and get the mail out. That doesn't require me to move from my indented spot on the sofa.

We found out today that Bob will most likely be getting matched with a dog on the week of the 20th! Yay! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Winter Wine Down

This was our view once we arrived at the Water Street Inn in Stillwater for the MDA Winter Wine Down fundraiser. This is the lift bridge over the St. Croix River. Pretty, no?

I didn't sleep too well last night. I developed a sore throat and fluid in my ears. I woke up earlier than I would have liked and hoped I would/could take a nap later on, but that didn't happen. I mostly just hung out today. I didn't even shower until after 3 when I HAD to get ready for the MDA thing. It was nice to just have a mellow day of resting.

Bob and I really enjoyed ourselves at the Wine Down. We were supposed to be volunteers but they had that covered, so we were free to just hang out and enjoy ourselves. We mingled and chatted and ate and of course drank wine. I had one of the best wines ever from MGM Liquor Warehouse. It was a white wine from Italy called a Cappriccio? I think. Anyway, it was yummy.

They had a game called the Wine Pull. All the bottles of wine were covered up and for $10, you chose a bottle that could be worth as much as $200. I bought 2 chances. The guy ahead of me pulled 2 Rieslings which are my all time favorites. I told him I would swap with him if I pulled something he liked. He agreed and I told him he could pull for me. He pulled a deep red that he really liked so I told him to keep it and put my name on one of the Rieslings. Then he pulled my second one for me and it was something I had never heard of before...a Sangiovese. He said it was similar to a white zin, which I liked, so I kept it.

Later on, this same guy won the Heads of Tails game. I went to congratulate him and he said he had to come clean. The first wine he pulled for me was probably worth $90 to $100. He said he would trade me back if I wanted. I said no. I wasn't a wine snob, I only know what I like and what I don't and I don't like the deep reds. I told him he should keep it and enjoy it. he was so excited.

We met the Jr. MDA Goodwill Ambassador and his family and other wonderful people. I chatted with one of the MDA staff and said we always have such a good time at these events and meet such amazing think we probably wouldn't if Bob didn't have MD. Not that it's what we wanted, but since he does, at least we get good friendships out of it.

If you want to see what all the fuss is about, check out my Flickr badge and plan to come next year. The wine is amazing, the food is fabulous, there is live music, an auction, and lots of great people. All for a wonderful cause.

Speaking of wonderful causes, don't forget to sponsor me and Bob on our Walk for Wheels next Saturday. Scroll down for the address to send the check or click my paypal button to send cash or credit. Thanks! Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 03, 2006

The War Inside Me

This post poses some personal questions. I am trying to get a handle on what I am feeling about going month after month without getting pregnant. In fleshing this out, I talk frankly of some personal things. If this doesn’t appeal to you or if it offends you…by all means…close your browser and move on. Thanks.

How do we know if we are infertile? What is the road to that title? How does one get started? How is it diagnosed and determined?

I got my period today. Again. Man, I just can't tell you how much I had hoped of conceiving on our vacation in Florida. We were relaxed, mellow, and energetic. It should have happened. But it didn't.

So I was thinking. Do I call my doctor's office and say, "Please put me through the paces."? Is there a protocol? I don’t know where to start. Bob has the phone number of a genetics physician at the U hospital, but he is also trying to get rescheduled to see the surgeon that is supposed to fix his hernia. It’s been bothering him and seems to have grown. He can only handle one medical issue at a time.

Anyway, I was hoping that one or many of you may have had some experience and can point me down the path. What do I do next? What do I say when I call my doctor’s office? Should I be calling a specialist or do I start at my primary care physician’s office and then ask for a referral? What tests do I ask for? What should I expect? What should I ask?

I admit that I am scared. I am scared that they will test me and find that I am indeed infertile. Or that they will test Bob and find he is sterile. But having answers is definitely better than going on month after month wondering why I am not getting pregnant. Especially when I am ovulating regularly and having regular periods. Odd thing is, my period has come a day earlier than expected last month and this month. So is my cycle changing to a 27 day cycle or is this just a fluke? How can I have so many questions about my own body and its functions?

I still feel like a failure. How hard is it to get pregnant? It’s as easy as tab A fitting into slot B. Chart your cycle, find your fertile time, stick tab A into slot B, and TADA! You should be pregnant. Not so for me. 16 years of womanhood only to fail at the one thing my body was made to do…conceive, create, and sustain a life. I guess that’s three things.

I know it’s not my fault…at least in my head I know. It’s another thing to know it in my heart. It’s also another thing not to blame God. This is a struggle for me because of my faith. My faith says that nothing it impossible for God. My faith says that God’s timing is perfect. My faith says that all things happen for a reason. My faith says that there is a time and season for everything. My head says I know that what I read in the Bible is true. My heart says God has forsaken me, that he has left me, and that he is playing a game with me. Why else would he plant this deep, abiding longing for children inside me and then deny me the one thing I truly want? It’s a constant war inside me. What the head knows versus what the heart says. My faith versus my gut. I’m hoping that when it all comes out in the wash, my faith wins out over my gut because with faith comes hope. And sometimes the hope is all I have to hang on to.

Brokeback Kitchen

Last night I prepped the dish I have to bring to tonight’s work potluck party at my boss’s house. I was looking for a hotdish/casserole that I could make with the ingredients I had in my pantry. I found a recipe from Emeril called Cowboy Casserole. Conjures up images of just chucking ingredients into a cast iron skillet doesn’t it? Forget that. This dish took me two hours to prep! I don’t know what cowboys Emeril has been hanging out with, but they must be very type A and bring their gourmet fondue set on the cattle drive. Sheesh! This hotdish better taste good because I put a lot of work into it.

Bob is so cute. Last night he asked me if I really wanted him to come to the work party. I told him I not only wanted him to come, I needed him to come. Then I asked him why he asked. He said that to him, it seems as if taking him anywhere without the electric chair would be a lot of work. If he is walking (which he really shouldn’t and can’t for too long.), I have to wait for him because his gait is so slow. If we are using the push chair, I have to put it in the truck and get it out of the truck, not to mention pushing him around. Then while at the event or where ever we are, I have to get a plate of food for him if it’s serve yourself and walk him to the bathroom so he doesn’t fall when he needs to go. He said if it were him, he would just like to go alone and not have to hassle with all the care. I stared at him and said, “If our roles were reversed, you would rather me stay home?” He said, no…that’s not what he meant. He meant it just seemed like a lot of work for an evening out. I asked him if he had ever heard me complain or voice a negative though about “caring” for him while we were out. He admitted he hadn’t. I said that he never will because none of it is a burden to me. I am so glad when he CAN go out with me that I love doing whatever I can to ensure his safety and comfort. It never even occurred to me to think of caring for Bob as a burden or to wish he would stay home so I could “enjoy” myself. I enjoy myself when he is with me.

Our state tax return has already hit our bank account. E-filing is certainly the way to go when you have a refund coming. What a nice surprise to check on the bank account and see a larger number than previously expected. Our federal refund should show any day as well. Once it does, we are getting a juicer for Bob. Anyone have any recommendations? I found a couple on the web that look good, but if anyone has one they have been using and loving, feel free to leave a comment.

Well we certainly have been tossed back into the frigid arms of winter. This morning it took me 20 minutes to chisel my way into my car and clear my windows. There was a layer of ice at least a half inch think covering everything. The roads weren’t so bad. I drove slowly and carefully though…especially after the 180 I did on Monday at the first stop sign out my driveway. Also, the air is much colder than it’s been in over a month. At least it’s sunny. I think I can handle cold as long as it’s sunny.

Tomorrow is the MDA Winter Wine Down in Stillwater. Please join us if you are looking for a break in the bleak mid-winter and want to enjoy some yummy wine, a quaint locale, and some fabulous companionship. Things kick off at 6pm.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Happy Groundhog Day

The potluck was a resounding success. I made the most amazing soup. I always make something I’ve never tried before and make my co-workers my guinea pigs. I found a recipe on called Taco Soup. It’s mostly just tomatoes, ground beef, beans, and seasonings. Then it’s served over Fritos and topped with cheese and sour cream. So. Good! I had many, many requests for the recipe. It was easy to just direct everyone to the website and have them type in Taco Soup in the search field and click on the Paula Dean recipe. I modified it to suit my own tastes, though. I substituted black beans for the red kidney beans. I did not add any olives or green onions or chives. I also did not use the stewed tomatoes but did put in 2 cans of Mexican style diced tomatoes. Still, everyone seemed to like it. The potluck was well attended and we raised over $1000 towards the van for Bob! Our potlucks usually raise a quarter of that…sometimes not quite half that, but never have we raised so much. We are truly humbled and blessed.

How’s this for getting into my head regarding my attitude towards food? I was walking down the hallway at work yesterday and passed a co-worker I haven’t seen in quite a long time. We stopped to chat. He asked how I was, I said I was fine and then asked how he was. He said he wasn’t so fine, but would make it. I made my patented clucking sympathy sounds and then said, “There are sandwiches in the break room fridge…did you know that?” He said he would go check them out. Yet, how weird was it that when I heard he was down, my first reaction was to offer him food? Eat for comfort much? Sheesh!

This morning was so beautiful. It was cold, but the sun was out and everything was so bright and shiny and brand new. I wished I had walked to work today, cold or no cold. I think when we get our tax return, instead of buying all new clothes with my assigned allotment; I will go and get outfitted with warm walking clothes so I can walk to work on cold winter days. I need some kind of water resistant shoe, some lined pants and/or long underwear type thing, a hat and/or ear muffs, and warm socks. I’ve been told of a sporting goods store in Minneapolis that specializes in marathon wear and it was recommended that I check them out. So, I will.

Tomorrow night is my department “holiday” party at my boss’s house. I am looking forward to it as we rarely get a chance to socialize outside the four walls of our office. I am brining a dish called Cowboy Casserole. I hope it goes over as well as the taco soup did at yesterday’s potluck. Then, Saturday is the Winter Wine Down for MDA. Bob and I are running a game that should be fun. Plus…wine! If you live in the Twin Cities area, like wine, like quaint river-side towns, and have $45 to give to a worthy cause, please come to Stillwater for the MDA Winter Wine Down from 6-10 on Saturday. Sunday is the Super Bowl, but I doubt we will do more than have it on as background noise.