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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Judy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Week

This week was the perfect storm of maladies for me. It all started a little over a week ago when a bump on my leg took on an otherworldly appearance in the form of an angry, red, boil-like-ready-to-burst skin volcano. After urging from Mark and Mom Shiao all weekend to go to Urgent Care, I decided to wait it out and see my regular doctor on Monday (by which time the "boil" had begun to drain and was already feeling better). According to Dr. Sorge, my affliction was not a boil but a soft tissue infection in my leg often caused by bacteria or a staph infection; I have no idea what set it off.

So, after a course of antibiotics and heat for the last week, my leg is looking decidedly better. The rest of my body, though, is having its own challenges. My loving son was kind enough to pass on his cold, complete with constant sneezing, a non-productive cough, and a low-grade fever thrown in, which I've been battling in earnest since Wednesday. Today is Saturday, and I'm still not feeling very energetic or strong. I'm pretty sure it's not the H1N1 virus since there has not been a lot of the other symptoms, but it's been enough to keep me in the house and on the couch all week (as if i needed another reason to take a nap).

And today I'd better get that nap, for tonight we will be overrun by ghouls, princesses and monsters. Now, if I could only get up the energy to carve that pumpkin!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Head of the Fish: Worst Case Scenario

On Saturday evening we returned from a day of torrential rain, 40 degree temperatures and a hellish day of rowing in Saratoga. The forecast had called for rain and chilly weather all day, but it turned out to be a dangerous rowing day with many of the kids suffering from borderline hypothermia, and even one of the Fairport kids going to the hospital. The coaches do talk a lot about dressing in layers, in spandex, in gortex, yada yada, but the kids were quickly soaked through all their layers from the relentless rain and puddles of mud (with a couple of thunder bolts thrown in for good measure).

When Cam came off the water after racing his eight-boat, he could barely walk and he, along with his teammates, were shivering uncontrollably. Luckily the coaches had the good judgement to pull Fairport out of the race by 11:30am, and we were on our way back home by 2pm after a quick lunch.

Needless to say, we did not make it to Vermont. Once I saw the problems with the weather situation at the regatta, I didn't feel comfortable leaving the kids.

On a brighter note, for the races the kids did complete, Annalisse's boat came in 4th out of 18, losing to the 3rd place boat by just three seconds, and Cam's boat came in 9th out of 20. Not a bad showing for a very bad day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Consellation Prize

Today we head to Saratoga for yet another regatta. This is a "big one," featuring upwards of 800 boats, and is the second-to-last regatta for the fall racing season (the last one is the "Pull the Plug" regatta in Pittsford). We're keeping our fingers crossed that the kids will come away with a medal, but this one is really competitive so we're just hoping they have fun.

As a consellation prize for having to forgo my sanity-restoring yearly trip to Vermont this fall, Mark and I are going to sneak away from the regatta after the kids' morning races are finished and spend some time in Manchester, Vermont, which is about an hour from Saratoga. Even though the day is calling for rain, I'm sure the quick trip and a nice, leisurely lunch will offset the fact that we didn't spend time in the Green Mountain State this fall.

Who's with me?!

Monday, October 19, 2009

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

A couple of articles have creeped up lately under various headings such as 4/10 or 10-4, which refers to the idea that many businesses are considering (and some have transitioned) to a work week of four 10-hour days. If only my job would or could do something like that (I'd have the added benefit of only having to work a 35 hour week, or four 9-hour days)! This article highlights the example of the switch by government employees for the State of Utah, and outlines the expected savings in electricity and heat for the business, and gas for the employees.

My employer would likely never consider this since we are a very service-oriented place (less visits would most likely result in less enrolled students), and we actual have students who live on-campus, so we need to keep things up and running all week long. Our main respite is the week between Christmas and New Years, when we do actually close down for a week or so (except for my office, where several employees still go in to handle the volumes of applications we get during that time).

I don't think it's any secret that Mark and I love our free time, whether it be vacation or just a weekend. So, it goes without saying that we would fully embrace the idea of a four-hour work week, even if it meant being totally dead for that extra day since the work days would be so long. I think as energy and gas prices (and the price of things in general) continues to rise, though, we will see an increase in the 10-4 idea.

Indeed, and idea whose time has come!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday to "MY OLD MAN" on his 48th birthday!! Pretty soon I'll have to turn him in for a newer model! Unfortunately, the kids will both be at a sleepover tonight, so we'll probably have to go out for Indian since they don't like it. Then, who knows? Maybe I'll try to stay up past 9pm. The sky's the limit!!

Have a great one, Mark!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I'll take a Gold and two Bronze, Please

Congrats to Annalisse and Cameron on their great showing at the Head of the Genesee 5K Regatta in Rochester yesterday. Annalissse earned a bronze for her 4-boat, and a GOLD(!) for her 8-boat. In her words, "she almost cried!", but I think there were tears (no "almost" about it) for her and her rowers after many regattas of disappointments. Cam earned his second bronze* (in their second regatta this season) for coxing his eight to third place (out of six) after a challenging course during which they "caught two crabs**." Great job, kids!!

*This post contains no pictures of Cam with his medal since it is fundamentally uncool to pose for pictures for your mother when you're 16.

**Crab - A rowing error where the rower is unable to timely remove or release the oar blade from the water and the oar blade acts as a brake on the boat until it is removed from the water. This results in slowing the boat down. A severe crab can even eject a rower out of the shell or make the boat capsize (unlikely except in small boats). Occasionally, in a severe crab, the oar handle will knock the rower flat and end up behind him/her, in which case it is referred to as an 'over-the-head crab.'

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Never Ending List

The other really exciting thing that happened on Monday, besides the never-ending 14th birthday celebration, was that our Turkish (well, techinically it's Iranian) rug arrived by way of Mom/Mark transport from Dave and Mandy's place in Virginia. The renovation project that started in February is coming along nicely. Now that the rug is in place, all we need to do is get new furniture (HA!). There are still a couple of loose ends to be tied up (as reflected by "the list" on the refridgerator). The "list" contains such compelling ($$) items as:
  • shutters for the upstairs bathroom and Cam's room
  • new shower fixture
  • new bathroom cabinet handles
  • drywall repair and paint side entrance
  • and, of course, new furniture (couch and chair)
On next year's list you'll find:

  • new sewer pipes in basement
  • remove wallpaper and paint the backroom (Mark's cave)
  • paint Annalisse's room
And possibly, next year if we can swing it:
  • remove wallpaper and paint the downstairs bathroom
  • tile for downstairs bathroom
  • new vanity
  • new toilet
  • new tub (maybe...)
On a distant, future year's list you'll find:
  • seal (or replace) driveway
  • home theatre system (TV mounted above fireplace and wireless remote for all equipment)
  • paint the outside of the house
  • new porch
  • new front steps
Then, when we win the lottery:

  • new garage
  • a new kitchen!
Whew! I'm still waiting for that pot of gold to drop into our yard. I'd better get outside and look for the rainbow!

(Apologies for the less-than-stellar pictures. I can't seem to locate my camera [but am pretty sure I know who might have it - ANNALISSE!], so I will post better pictures of the rug later.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Birthday Girl

Happy 14th birthday today to my "baby," Annalisse!! We've gone from parties at home to parties at Build-a-Bear to birthday sleepovers, and yesterday it was a "dress up dinner out" for A. and her friends at Boccaccini's. After crew today, the celebrations will continue with a family pizza party. Her greatest gift so far? Two snuggies from her friends. She's now a member of the Cult of Snuggie. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

800 Miles in Five Days

Yesterday I returned from a week of travel back-and-forth and back-and-forth across Western and Southwestern New York State as a visited eight graduate fairs recruiting for our programs. While it's tiring to pack and repack, and lug my stuff from one fair to another, it's a lot of fun meeting prospective students from other colleges and reconnecting with colleagues (over dinner is the funnest time of all!). The main thing that kept me entertained during long hours in the car (and the inevitable extra time spent driving around since I get lost A LOT), was listening to NPR, and all the great programming they have on during the day and at night.

When I'm going for a long distance, or will be visiting a lot of schools in a short time, I usually rent a car. This time I was "fortunate" enough to score a PT Cruiser. When I heard that was the car I was getting, my first question was, "Do you have anything else?" They are the UGLIEST cars and I hoped no one would recognize me driving it. I felt like Michael Scott in The Office.

The highlight of my trip was on Sunday night, when I checked into The Old Library Inn Bed & Breakfast in Olean. When I called to confirm my reservation, the Inn Keeper let me know that I was one of two guests for the night, and also told me that they (the Inn Keepers) stay "off premises." Okay....I wasn't sure how to feel about that. I had never stayed at a B&B where the Inn Keeper was not present. But, I overcame my reservations (no pun intended) and arrived to a beautiful, old (1895) house that was very much in the style of The Capitol Hill Mansion Inn (where we stayed in Denver). By the time I came back to my room after a great dinner at a Bistro 188 (a "nice" dinner was not easy to find in Olean, which seemed to close down on Sunday nights), I returned to my room and was still the only car in the lot.

Realizing that I was the only guest (so far) in that big house was a little disconcerting and sort of scary. But, I told myself to BUCK UP and act my age (39 and holding), and was soon drifting off for a fitful night's sleep during which I commanded myself to keep my eyes closed. All in all, it was a great place to stay with a delicious breakfast, and I feel like I grew up a little more that night as I faced my irrational fears of staying alone (which I wasn't because I was joined by a young Rabbi at breakfast)!

It was great to get home to the laundry and the dishwasher and the...wait! Take me back to the hotel life where someone cleans my room every night and does the laundry!