Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stop the drama!

Mmmmmmkay, so just before we went to the beach, Clay gave me a black eye. Then, after a (blissfully uneventful) week on vacation, I came back home and had emergency gallbladder surgery. That was quite enough excitement for me, but apparently the universe disagreed.

The week after my surgery, I get a call at work from our daycare. Seems Clay was reaching/climbing up to the top of his cubby to get something, and the whole thing fell over on him. Seems he has a big gash in his head. (Turned out to be on the back of his scalp, but I was imagining it right in the center of his forehead at the time.) Seems he will probably need stitches.


Gulp. I hurry over to the daycare, calling the pediatrician's office on the way to see if sewing up a head is something they can do at the office. (It is. Seriously?) Get to little man, get him to the doctor's office, then physically HOLD him still while they put four STAPLES in his scalp. (Apparently, staples hold the scalp together better than stitches. Who knew? I'm learning all kinds of things I don't care to be informed about.) It was special.

Mom and dad were kind enough to keep him for a couple of days, until the wound wasn't so sore and raw. (Ick.) Back to daycare he went the following week.

And did I mention the following week? HOW could I have forgotten? On the way in to work, I got a big ugly flat tire on the Interstate. It was burning up hot outside, and I was wearing a dress with a full skirt. I called hubs, who didn't pick up his phone. Then I called my boss to let him know I'd be late.

My boss was all, "So you didn't actually TALK to Brian? You left him a message? Don't worry. I'm on my way. I can put the spare on in, like, 10 minutes."

Little did the poor man remember that NOTHING involving me takes 10 minutes.

He gets there, jacks up the car a bit, and it rolls. (We were on a bit of an incline.) So, we inch the car up a bit to get on level ground (probably shredding what's left of the tire). Then, he jacks the car up again, puts the spare on, and lowers the jack. We are sweating like pigs. It is a sad state of affairs, people in the computer.

I'm trying to "help," in my anemic way, and in the meantime, every 18-wheeler whizzing past is blowing my skirt to kingdom come. (I'm still convinced that half of I-55 saw my panties that morning.)

Guess what? Spare's out of air. Blankety-blank-blank.

By this time, hubs is there, and he luckily has some fix-a-flat. We fill the spare with air, take it to the shop, then go back to work. Picked the car back up on the way home.

Needless to say, I'm really, REALLY hoping that this week is drama-free.

Party on.

A little more than a week post-op, we had little man's birthday party. Every year since he's been born, I have pulled out all the stops and thrown a huge birthday party for him at home. Year 1: big election-year theme party. Year 2: a rootin' tootin' cowboy party. Year 3: the luau to end all luaus.

The only problem? By year 4, little people have their own ideas about what they want their party to be. I was gearing up for a huge backyard circus party with a pony, a clown, and a cotton candy machine, but Clay insisted on a party at Pump It Up. And, well, considering I was barely off the operating table, it ended up being a good idea. (Looking back on it, I have no idea how I would have been able to clean up after that pony.)

All in all, I probably spent about the same amount I would have on a blow-out home party, but 1.) I didn't have to clean up the house before the party, 2.) I didn't have to clean up the house after the party, 3.) I didn't have to decorate, and 4.) I didn't have to cook. Worked out pretty well.

Scenes from the day are below. What a little cutie!






Monday, July 04, 2011

She's got a ticket to ride . . .

It's official. I've sent the passports off to be renewed (and Brian has already gotten his back), and we bought the airline tickets shortly before we left for the beach. Hubs and I are going to Rome - ALONE - in the spring! Woo hoo!!

You may already know that before booger was born, hubs and I traveled to Europe a few times. Since little man came on the scene, I haven't felt comfortable being that far away from him. But by next spring, he'll almost be FIVE, so I think it's time for hubs and I to continue our treks overseas.

I've bought a few guidebooks, and so far, here's what I'm interested in seeing:
Colosseum
Roman Forum
Pantheon
National Museum of Rome
Borghese Gallery
Vatican Museum
St. Peter's Basilica
Capolitine Museum
Appian Way/Catacombs
Trevi Fountain
Baths of Diocletian
Cappuccin Crypt

Plus, maybe a day trip to Tivoli to see Hadrian's Villa OR maybe to Pompeii or Ostia Antica.

Still left to do: book an apartment, buy advance passes for top attractions, and learn a little Italian. Woo hoo! Rome, here we come!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Never a dull moment at the Bradshaw house . . .

Ever since we got back from the beach, I've been having some stomach troubles. On Saturday (the day we came home), I was hurting a bit. I told myself, "Well, Nicole. You are just getting too old to eat and drink like that. Time to suck it up and admit you aren't 20 anymore."

But in the ensuing days, even light, healthy meals were causing me pain. And on Thursday night, after I got Clay home from the salon, I was in so much pain that I knew this was something more than indigestion. It got to the point that, though I felt foolish, I had to ask hubs to take me to the emergency room. (Dad was kind enough to meet us up there to pick up little man.)

After lots of questions and an ultrasound, I was told that I had gallstones. Lots of them. And that if I wanted the pain to stop, I needed to have my gallbladder removed post-haste.

I couldn't believe it. I eat a pretty healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, all that good stuff. The doctors and nurses kept telling me that we really don't know what causes gallstones and that gallbladder removal is a very common surgery for them to perform. (One nurse said they even call it their "blue light special," because they do so many of them.)

So, the next morning found me getting prepped for laproscopic surgery. By mid-morning, I was in the O.R, and by about 2 p.m., I was waking up from anesthesia. I was back home by 7 p.m., held together with stitches and surgical glue.

The whole thing was just wild, and it happened so fast. I'm a bit sore, but all in all, I seem to be recovering well. The doctor told me I'd need to take a week off work, but I'm not sure that'll be the case. I could definitely see myself going in for some half days, at least, next week. (Just can't drive if I have the pain meds in my system.) According to the doctors, you don't even need your gallbladder to live. The body adjusts once it's removed, and you apparently never notice it's gone.

So, now I'm the same Nicole I was, minus one pesky gallbladder. Nuts, ain't it?

Adventures in hair care

On Wednesday night, after Clay had his bath, he was puttering around in the bathroom. Brian and I noticed he was awfully quiet in there. When we checked on him, we discovered that he'd been cutting his own hair. And not just a strand or two in the back.

There was a patch in the very center of his forehead that he'd cut right down to the scalp. I gasped as I saw him, and he immediately said, "I'm sorry, mama." (At least the boy knows when he's done wrong.)

I didn't want to make it any worse, so we scheduled a salon appointment for Thursday night to see if anything could be done to correct the damage. When I ask Miss Kathy (our hairdresser) if she could salvage anything, she shook her head sadly. "We're pretty much gonna have to buzz this one." Dangit. Clay has such pretty hair, and I love the style of it.

At first, Clay thought the trimmers were really fun, then he happened to catch a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror. I don't think he was prepared for how different he'd look. He cried a little and said, "I want my hair back!" I felt like the devil.

However, one sucker and a couple of pep talks later, he was telling me he liked it. And I notice now that he's mentioning some of the same positives I talked up (it's cooler for summer, easier to wash, hey - it might even make you faster in the pool!) when he's telling others about his cool new 'do.

Before:




After:


Tasty reads.

While at the beach, I had the chance to devour two food-centered books that I think nearly anyone could enjoy. The first one (my fave among the two) was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. The book had been recommended by a friend, as well as O Magazine, and it was actually released last summer.

Rose Edelstein's life is trucking along just fine, until her ninth birthday. Around that time, she begins being able to taste emotions in her food. Whether the person preparing her meals is angry, rushed, sad, happy, unfulfilled - Rose can eat one bite and know. This magical gift, of course, tells Rose much more than she wants to know about her mom, dad, and other adults in her life. As she grows older, Rose learns to cope with and eventually embrace her gift, while also discovering the she isn't the only member of her family with special skills.

I thought this was a great, original novel. Bender does a admirable job taking things that seem impossible and making them absolutely believable. It's also a delight to watch Rose's eventual triumph unfold.

I also read The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. In this book, chef Lillian holds a cooking class at her restaurant once a month. The book tells the story not only of Lillian, but of each of her students. Each one is dealing with different problems and joys in their lives, and each one is taking the class for a different reason.

As the story progresses, I realized that the essential ingredients were actually the students and the impacts they have on one another throughout the book. This tome is not as complex as the first one, but made for a perfect beach read. Plus, the descriptions of food were divine.