Friday, August 26, 2011

My fabulous vacation (don't hate me)

We just got back from our annual beach vacation. Let me start by saying that as a stay at home mom it was less of a vacation and more of a relocation of my regular job. Kind of like if your job moved to a big new building right on the beach. With a basketball court and a hot tub. But you had the total chaos of having to move all the things in your office and now the network is down and you can't find the file you desperately need and the fax machine isn't working and you still have all your regular hum drum work tasks and stresses.

Regardless, it was fabulous. But before you start hating me and my vacation, and thinking to yourself *wow, she is a total bitch for rubbing it in our faces*, I should clarify that what qualifies as fabulous by my standards in all likelihood would be considered a total debacle by anyone else. But my bar is low. Really low. So I can employ an adjective that designates it as a success without a trace of irony.

For starters, it took ten years to get to the beach. This was not made easier by the fact that 20 minutes into the trip my son was already asking how much longer until we get to the beach? I also have come to despise the little clock on the GPS that tells you the estimated time you will reach your destination. And that sinking feeling you get in your stomach as that time gets pushed out further and further as you sit in traffic that isn't moving. Or may even be moving backwards. And toward the very end of the journey it took us an hour to go 10 miles. I could have walked from Norfolk to Duck faster. It sure would have been more peaceful. My children were fighting so fiercely and with such malice that I turned around in my seat and started beating them with the 15 stuffed animals they insisted on bringing. Don't worry, I wasn't driving.

But the drive was fabulous. I made my automotive captives watch Free to Be You and Me, and they let me sing at the top of my lungs without asking me to stop. And then they watched Annie, and I got to sing along to that as well. And they were pretty entertained by seeing mom flip out to the point where I lost my grip on rationality and beat them with a stuffed seal and shark. And they begged me to do it again and they couldn't stop laughing.

Finally we reached the beach and the weather was perfect. I woke up early the next morning and enjoyed a cup of coffee while watching the sun rise. Then I got dressed for a long anticipated run. I had been abstaining for almost two weeks while recovering from my injury and was giddy at the thought of getting out there again. And I had a really cute new running skirt and headband. So I started running and felt okay, and less than a quarter mile in there was a big pop in the tendon and the leg felt like someone had set it on fire. Which isn't a good thing. So I limped home and for the next four days couldn't walk very well and had to shuffle up and down stairs sideways, like a crab. But a happy crab because the weather was awesome and I could sit in my chair in the sand and sun and read my book. And then another. And another. And the entire current issue of Vanity Fair. Fabulous.

So the next day I decided to try riding my bike. Since it is flat at the beach I didn't have to expend a lot of leg strength there was no pain. I rode about 15 miles and was feeling great when I got back to the beach house. And then I braked in front of my kids and husband who were outside playing basketball. And my feet got caught in the clips. And I fell over. Hard. And my shoe flew off. And my right leg (not the one previously injured by the running the day before) was scraped to hell. Blood everywhere. And I just laid there for a bit because the pain in my non-scraped up leg makes it hard to bend it and stand up from a laying position. But I didn't break anything and the bike was okay. And I was wearing a really cute biking outfit. And once you injure one leg running so you can't bend it and scrape the hell out of the other biking you receive a free pass to sit in your beach chair the entire day. Fabulous.

Later in the week I came down with a terrible cold that required me to stay in bed for a while longer. Yes, I was sick. But I got to And because it was vacation my husband was around to take care of the kids. Fabulous.

And then on Thursday we had to evacuate the beach due to the hurricane. And I had many people offer words of consolation about having to cut our vacation short. But I wasn't too upset because two years ago when we were at the beach it rained six out of the seven days. On this vacation we had six straight days of sun. So I was winning even with the evacuation. Fabulous. 

Our drive home took 8 hours. Partly because of traffic, partly because the kids needed to stop every two hours because they were hungry, or had to go to the bathroom. Or both. But on this leg of our journey they watched The Sound of Music, one of my favorite movies of all time. And I got to listen in as my daughter expounded on all the best parts to her brother. And hear the delight in her voice as she sang all the songs. Fabulous.

So yes, a sane person would say my vacation, or *relocation* as I prefer to refer to it, was an unmitigated disaster. But I prefer to refer to it as simply fabulous.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pain is for sissies but it really hurts

I am no Tiger Woods. No, I'm not referring to the current version of Tiger Woods. I am talking about the June 2008 Tiger Woods. You remember him, he was the guy who won the US Open that year. And he did it missing a ligament in his leg, and had two stress fractures in his tibia. And every time he swung that club you could read the excruciating pain on his face and it made you cringe. It turns out I don't have that level of tolerance for pain. While it may not surprise you that my pain tolerance is not on par with a world class athlete, I am so stubborn and so clueless that it came as news to me.

Recently I injured myself. I can't say I did it while running. It actually happened because of all my running. I was really hoping one of the side effects of all this running would be to lose some weight, but I got this instead. I have piriformis syndrome which literally translates to *a pain in my ass*. This would be funny if it didn't screw up my running so badly. And hurt. Did I mention it hurts? But only if I run. The rational person would just stop running. But I am not rational, I am stubborn and apparently not very bright and think that these types of problems, and pain, will go away if I use my strong will. And just keep running because the pain will realize that it can't win. I have a very strong will, but as it turns out, not strong enough to overcome white hot pain shooting down my leg when I move it. I know, I am a wimp.

When it first happened I took a few days off from running and eventually I could walk again. So I went running. And then had another few days of not being able to walk. And then I saw a chiropractor who diagnosed me has started treating me with this really cool A.R.T therapy - just like my running hero, Kara Goucher uses when she gets injured. He let me know the good news was that I could technically run on it if I chose. Then he told me the bad news was that my brain would cry uncle due to the pain, and there would be pain. And it would be bad. And I blew this off because I have an inner bully/idiot that told me that the brain is just a mamby-pamby sissy and I should just put on my big girl running pants and go. So I set out to do 10 miles last weekend. And it went something like this:

Miles 1-4: la la la, the leg is a bit stiff but all is good
Miles 5: the leg is slightly tender but I am not alarmed
Mile 6: the leg is starting to hurt. this is slightly less fun
Mile 7: I am in excruciating pain and there are tears in my eyes
Miles 8,9,10: walking with intermittent attempts at running that looked more like a hobble/limp with my injured leg kind of being dragged behind me.

I was getting looks of alarm from other people on the running path. I think I saw some people wince just watching my pathetic struggle to run.

I wasn't able to walk again for a few days after that. Today I went back to the chiropractor and recounted my 10 mile run. What he said was: wow, you attempted a 10 mile run with your injury. What his face said was: you moron. And since I am really clueless I then proceeded to tell him how I was going to try to run 4 or 5 miles tomorrow to see how it goes, and then on Saturday would probably do 12 miles. Again, his expression said: moron. Or maybe it was a look of pity that anyone could be that clueless. At any rate he gently suggested that I try 3 miles for  awhile and see how that goes. And by the way, perhaps when I do build back up to longer runs I may want to do short loops around the avoid having to walk 3 miles back to my car if the pain gets to be too much. And all I could think was that no one came by and picked Tiger up in a golf cart. I am the worst.patient.ever.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I hate you August

I am convinced that the days of August are not really dog days so much as they are dog years. Meaning that each one seems to last 7 times as long as it should. Many times in August I will pause for a moment in the afternoon and think to myself, good god, is it *still* only Wednesday? Only to discover it is actually Tuesday and that instead of just standing still, time has managed to move backwards.  This morning was particularly bad. 

Our current schedule dictates that we need to leave the house by 8:20 to get my daughter to camp. My children got up at 7:45 and were dressed and downstairs by 7:50. So far so good. By 7:55 they were in an all-out brawl over legos. We are talking screaming, hitting, kicking. All before breakfast. Over legos. Of which we easily own enough for every man, woman and child in our town to construct their own small city should they all decide to stop by at the same time. But oh no, clearly not enough for my kids to maintain some civility and, god forbid, share. And by the way, what the hell are you two doing playing legos when you have less than half an hour to eat breakfast, brush hair, teeth, apply sunscreen and bug spray, search for inevitable random item you want to bring to camp today, figure out where you left your shoes and still have the 20 minutes you apparently need to put on a pair of socks? So it's not just me, August is also taking a toll on my children. 

My husband gets to blissfully go to work each morning. Every other month of the year he is generally a Monday through Friday schedule kind of guy. Rarely does his job spill over into our weekend. But once it's August he suddenly has critical, urgent work things to take care of on the weekends. In fact, now that I think about it, he only comes home long enough to sleep, shower and change clothes. And even then he makes sure to avoid eye contact and speak in a low, soothing voice to try and keep me calm. But unfortunately this doesn't work most of the time, and instead he gets the wife-whose-head-spins-around-360-degrees-ala-the-exorcist as soon as he dares to walk through the door each evening. And don't bother to ask him if I am exaggerating because he will just get a stricken look on his face and ask you what you've heard. 

By August I have abandoned all pretense of trying to be *fun mommy* or *creative mommy*, or even *sane mommy*. Instead I just do whatever it takes to get through the day. Our motto becomes *just hanging on until fall arrives*. The pool has become boring. We have done enough arts and crafts to open our own gallery. It's hot. It's buggy. Even the television is crying uncle. So I'm just going to go lay down for a long nap and hope that when I wake up it will be Thursday. Or at least Wednesday evening. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Raindrops on roses

So there I was, merrily going along training for my marathon. Despite the ridiculously hot weather things were going well. I had a minor glitch with the whole breathing thing and my asthma when it got hot, humid, and the air quality turned toxic, but I persevered. Last weekend I completed 15 miles and didn't feel like I was going to die. And then I got injured. I have no idea how, or really what the injury is. It's somewhere on the back on my leg, behind the knee-ish, in the calf-ish, maybe the hamstring-ish area. All I know is it's tender and there were two whole days where I couldn't climb stairs and walked like I had a peg leg. This made me very depressed. And frustrated. And discouraged. But then I read a Facebook post from one of my favorite people and she was expressing delight over her new bathroom faucets. One of her friends commented on how our priorities change as we get older. Ha ha. And it got me thinking that if I am going to get over this problem mentally I need to do some work on changing my outlook. Because dammit, new bathroom faucets are exciting. And if I think really hard I bet I can come up with my own *a few of my favorite things* and then I won't feel so bad. So here is a list of things that make me happy, in no particular order.

1. Wearing my Lilly Pulitzer. How can you not smile when you are wearing an explosion of pink? And even better, when people squint at you and you can practically hear them thinking how loud your ensemble is.

2. My little espresso maker. So much goodness in such a small, mess-free machine. I am practically weeping with happiness just thinking about the next time we are together.

3. Frye boots. It may not be a time of year that I can wear them, but just knowing they are there makes me smile.

4. The knowledge that one day it will be fall. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day. So it's out there. Somewhere.

5. Freshly laundered sheets.

6. New school supplies. No, not because it means my children are going back to school in a month (tick tock...). But because I am a huge geek and love new pens. And binders. And lined notebooks that I have no use for. And I like to line them up neatly on my desk. Because I'm a nerd that way.

7. The morning. While I would not describe myself as a *morning person* I love the morning. I get up before 6am, have coffee in peace and quiet and for a brief period of time can envision a fabulous day where I am the mommy I want to be.

8. My son's sarcasm. I would never admit this to him because it's so inappropriate most of the time. But holy cow, it is hilarious. It's as though there was a 6 year old male version of me. Well done Charlie, but perhaps you could use that on others instead of your mommy.

9. The mail. I have no idea why, but I look forward to getting the mail each day. There is no reason to. I am not expecting anything exciting, just a bunch of junk and some bills. But somehow there is this part of me that can't wait to see what the postal carrier brings. So if you really want to give me a pick me up send me something. Anything. Except your bills.

10. Photos of my children. I love looking at pictures of my kids, even ones from a week ago. In the picture no one is picking on anyone, or kicking them, or yelling at them. The pictures are quiet and it's just them.

11. And no list of my favorite things would be complete without including Burn Notice. Michael Westen if I hadn't already found the perfect man and married him we totally would be together.