Sick Day

It’s Wednesday, and I am siiiiiiiick. I’ve spent the day alternating between flopping on the couch, flopping on my bed, and stalking Meredith Salenger and Patton Oswalt’s wedding photos on Instagram. I intended to bill some time but I just canNOT. Everything hurts too much to think deeply. I did make this honey mustard slow cooker chicken and this jambalaya, wash and fold two loads of laundry, and emptied and refilled the dishwasher, but really those small chores were sprinkled throughout the day and really just an excuse to get up out of the bed a second and see if my head really does hurt this bad. (Yes, it does).  Everything is tender, nose is drippy, throat sore, and my joints ache. I caught this from my secretary, who had it at the end of last week and through the weekend. She did go home once it hit bad, but not early enough to spare me. Blerg for illnesses.

Although quite ill, I did manage to do my home physical therapy exercise. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, but I’ve had back trouble for years that has slowly gotten worse – it’s gone from a twinge now and again to constant back pain and sciatica down the left leg, wrapping around now to the front of my left hip and basically making life terrible.  Long time readers will recall I broke the transverse process of my L-4 vertebra in July 2011  – just a few weeks before my sister’s wedding.  I’m told that in the course of healing, my muscles got into a weird symbiosis with each other, where the muscles surrounding the break stopped engaging to protect me from the pain of yanking on the broken place, and the others stepped up and worked a little harder to keep me upright. And they never really stopped doing that, leading to extremely weak muscles and loose ligaments in my low back and rigid, tight muscles and overly tight ligaments up in the mid to low spinal area. The physical therapist, who I saw for the first time yesterday, pushed on parts and pulled on parts and tested my legs (determining that my left leg is significantly weaker than my right, due to the sciatica), and gave me some very tight, tiny exercises to do to focus on loosening the death grip of the strong muscles, and building up the weak ones. So it’s misery, I’m here to tell you. I can barely be upright, everything hurts – independently of the illness making everything hurt. But that’s unavoidable, I guess, so I’ll soldier on.  This conservative treatment should take care of it, so I won’t need surgery or anything major.  A few months of torturous (and very expensive) PT will hopefully make me right as rain.

Everything else is humming along. The boys are doing well in school, doing well in piano lessons, enjoying Cub Scouts, etc. Craig’s daycare teacher from last year is getting married in a couple of weeks and has asked if I would bring him to see the ceremony, which is so darling.  Fingers crossed he’s a good boy – he loves Ms. Megan to pieces, and I could see him dashing down the aisle to get a hug and kiss at an inopportune moment. We’ve been invited to the ceremony only (totally fine with me), so hopefully  he can keep it together for the twenty minutes that he has to.

The job is fine also – I enjoy the work, I enjoy the folks I work with, and I’ve gotten used to the number of hours now. We have been able to hire a cleaner who comes biweekly, and we’ve got a small savings account together now, so those are two things that this new job has bought that have had a major impact on my happiness and sense of security.  It has its moments, like any job, but as a sixth year I’ve reached the point where I am no longer stressed to the max about it.

Thanksgiving next week. The year flew by, didn’t it? Wishing a lovely holiday season to you and yours.

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It’s Been a Minute

I’ve just returned from a business trip to Manhattan. I had to wake at 3:45 am on Sunday to catch my 5 am flight, which was fairly miserable. Even worse – upon arrival, I learned that my firm travel service had failed to arrange for early check-in, so while I was permitted to dump my bags at the desk, I had no room to go to for about five hours. I had flown on the same flight as another brand new associate, so we made the best of it and strolled through Manhattan a while, then had a long leisurely lunch at a diner (shocking Mike Pence, I’m sure). My colleague got married a couple of months ago, a couple of weeks after he took the bar, so I asked for every detail and got to know all about him and his lovely wife.  After brunch, it started to rain, and so we squelched back to the hotel and waited in the lobby until our rooms were available.

That evening, I went to a fantastic Indian meal with friends in town, and billed some time in the hotel that evening. The next three days were workdays, but I did manage to squeeze in an early morning visit to see friends and their new baby in their 28th floor apartment just off Park Ave, which was wonderful. I also did a quick shopping trip through Times Square one evening – it was frigid and raining, which made it less-than-fun, but I got some birthday and Christmas gifts, and tried to enjoy it despite the miserable weather. After that, the firm sent us to a large, 5 course meal at a great little Italian place, and I had some good conversation and got to know the group well.  The flight home was extremely turbulent, but I managed to bill several hours, and got home midnight-ish. The next day was a full one at work, but I did manage to go to the ortho and get my back looked at. He was very impressed with my flexibility (“I can tell you do yoga!”), and after some x-rays and manipulation, he prescribed physical therapy for now. I also bought a standing desk, and after using it a couple of days it’s made a huge difference. It’s convertible, so I can spend time sitting and standing – hopefully it helps. I’d given up running for one month to see if that helped my back. It did not, but I gained (NO JOKE) 9 pounds. Bad idea to give up running around Halloween. So hopefully the PT, standing desk, and continued yoga will get me up and running (literally) again.  It took me almost a year to lose 10 pounds, and one month to gain it all back. Grrrrr thyroid grrrrr.

Just generally, between travel, work projects, and going to aaaaaall the doctors before our deductible re-sets in January, October through early November was a wildly busy month.  This weekend half the clan went on a Boy Scout campout, leaving me behind with a very stressed out Craig, who has Ireland trip PTSD and always worries that Daddy and Brudders have gone for weeks on end, instead of just one night. However, campout aside, the weekend was much more tame – they were only gone one night – and so of course I have used that time to rearrange all of the kitchen cabinets and pantry. Now there is a place for everything and, for the time being, everything is in its place. I’ve also managed to bill about five hours, pre-make some chicken fajita soup, and go to church for the first time in weeks. It’s good to be back in a routine – though we’re traveling for Thanksgiving, and then comes the madness of December. At least I enter the holiday season with a pantry that’s organized as all heck.

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve got to run to Costco, so I’ll wind up this little update with our meal plan. I’ve eaten out a lot lately due to travel, so it’s nice to be home and cooking again!

  • Chicken fajita soup. Made this yesterday, except instead of cream of chicken soup I used cream of mushroom, and instead of salsa I used Rotel (this is because I had the latter items, but not the former items, on hand). We’ll eat it later this week and see if it’s terrible or what!
  • Pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans.
  • Balsamic chicken salad with lemon quinoa
  • Jambalaya
  • Meatball subs – I’ve got some delicious frozen meatballs and pasta sauce – add bread and provolone and you’ve got yourself a good sammie.

Now that I can stand more at work, I should be more inclined to write here more often. (When you sit at a computer all day, you don’t want to sit a computer ANY MORE once you get home, believe me.) We shall see – I intended to do NaBloPoMo this November (stands for National Blog Posting Month), but didn’t remember until November 7th, so there went that plan. Maybe I’ll have my own personal NaBloPoMo in January . . .

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Paying bills, reading the news, watching College Game Day, spilling cheesy eggs all over the laptop keyboard. These are the trappings of an eleventh anniversary.

We are doing nothing, because we spent money on other (fun) things this month and we’re temporarily broke, and also we really did it up fly for our tenth anniversary. And that’s fine. Last year (literally one full year ago) I bought him a piece of art for our anniversary, which has been apparently sitting on our floor for a FULL YEAR waiting to be framed. Perhaps next month, after we get paid again, I’ll frame it as a belated 11th year anniversary gift and we will hang it somewhere. Eh. No rush. CLEARLY.

Last weekend I had a wonderful visit from some far-flung professional friends. We covered just about every inch of the French Quarter, and ate our weight in pastries and John Besh goodies. Also, they’re all moms, so naturally everything that needed to be done to keep the weekend afloat got done without us even communicating to each other about who would do what. A team of moms could really run most everything in the world better than it’s currently being run, I’m here to tell you.

Then the real world came crashing back. It was an emotionally difficult week for reasons entirely un-marriage related. I have a pro bono client in trouble, whose realistic and overwhelming anxieties I had to soothe, while being unable to do anything constructive for her. (Family Law and Public Interest Law folks – I salute you. I could not carry these people’s burdens as a matter of course, day in and day out.) And there was other family stuff plus work stuff this week, none of it interesting or juicy, all of it inappropriate for a public blog, but all of it requiring some emotional heavy lifting. Each of these individual problems is relatively minor and easily absorbed one at a time, but literally about five separate things came to a head in a space of a couple of days and zoinks. I’m flagging a bit.

I would love to go for a long run – that always helps clear the head – but my bones, you guys. Is everyone else at age forty-ish just feeling musculo-skeletal misery like I am? Is it possible I am reaching an age when I can no longer do a 7 mile run because of my back? That can’t be right – I see 80 year olds running marathons. I’m going to my PCP and getting a referral to a back doctor. The lower back pain has started wrapping around to the front of my hips, to the point where I find myself holding my breath and clenching because it hurts so much, especially after a long day at my computer. I always do some yoga before and after a run to keep stretched, but there may be some other stretches, exercises, etc. I can do to deal with this better. For all I know I’m exacerbating the issue by continuing to run the way I do, and it would go away if I had different posture or shoes or something. We’ll see. I’ve been to a billion doctors lately – checking thyroid, dermatologist, routine one year well check, etc. I haven’t seen a dentist in two years but it seems like I take time off to go to a doctor at least twice a month, for one minor thing or another. Nevertheless, I’ve just gotta make time for my teeth and my back.

Could this BE anymore boring?  The Reluctant Grownup Gets Old, should be my new blog title.  And I’m not even yet 40! The children have aged me before my time. Yes. Let’s blame it on them.

So let’s abandon this whine, plan the week’s meals, and then get up away from a screen and go for a (gentle, non-stressing, orthopaedic shoe involved) walk outside.  This week’s meal planning must include a serious amount of vegetables. We ran out of frozen veg – my go-to towards the end of each week once we’ve eaten the fresh stuff – and so I haven’t had a vegetable in DAYS.

That’ll do us for the week. Let’s hope it’s a less difficult one, eh?





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Autumn in NOLA

At last, we have modestly autumnal weather. Our back doors and windows are flung open, the boys are shirtless, playing Legos at the kitchen table. The Prof is paying bills, I’m writing briefs.  All together in a happy jumble. (Don’t worry, I’m sure some sibling will spark a fight with some other sibling shortly and destroy the peace, but for now I’ll enjoy that they’re getting along.)

I wrote that paragraph yesterday. I was interrupted by something, and never came back to it. Also, it warmed up to blazing hot again, which really irritated me. After a fairly decent start to the Saturday, I was irritable most of the day. Partly weather, partly some Mean Girls stuff at work, partly a somewhat poorly planned day peppered with short obligations spaced just far enough apart that I felt like I spent most of the day waiting for the next short thing. No flow. The Prof was gone much of the day for his annual Mardi Gras Krewe kickoff party, which was totally fine but it meant I had to take all three boys to Costco with me, which was a crowded, chaotic nightmare. They did not listen at all, it was seriously so crowded we could barely move, and I hadn’t made a list beforehand which made it sort of distracting and lots of backtracking to get things I’d forgotten. At one point, Liam ran full speed ahead with a giant cart full of stuff, right over Craig’s leg. Craig started screaming, Jack whacked Liam on the arm as a punishment (NOT OK, kid), and then Liam sat down and started crying, and Jack began defending his unwelcomed and inappropriate disciplining of his brother. We were quite the spectacle. Fun times.

Anyhow. I did run three miles in the evening, which was still too hot but helped with the grumpiness, and I got a good night’s sleep. Today should be better. I do have to finish a brief today, and ferry children to various birthday parties, and of course church in the morning. I also planned to make some of the week’s meals. How many hours are there in a day?

I am excited about this week’s meals. It should cool down somewhat, and for me fall is my favorite season of the year for cooking. While spring and summer are for fresh, crisp vegetables and stone fruit, it’s often too hot to feel like eating and thinking up dishes is a bit of a challenge. But fall and wintertime means slow simmered soups, pot pie and chili, chicken thighs crisped in the pan, bubbling casseroles, winter greens like chard and collards, biscuits and warm French bread.

So this week’s meals will be along those lines. I stocked up on meat and staples at Costco yesterday, as we’d sort of emptied out the cupboards and freezer recently. Back in the saddle:

Happy first day of October . . .

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Family Game Night and Other Pleasantries

I’ve had several insane weeks in a row at work – mostly because there was a bit of a snafu re: overstaffing. There is a central staffing office but several folks put my on pitches without notifying the staffing office, and when they got awarded to us, I suddenly was on a billion cases. Since then, several have settled, which helps. A couple are in a lull right now. The leader of my practice group told me Friday that I was under no circumstances to bill this weekend, or she would take me off some cases to make sure I was able to get adequate rest. So I haven’t billed a minute!

Instead, we did family game night on Friday, per the Prof’s request. It was a good request. Typically I use my Friday Evening Exhaustion as an excuse to veg out with my phone on the couch for a million hours and do an easy dinner, shoving the kids in front of the tv/video games for a little break. But because I was sort of forced to, I put the screens away and got out the games with the boys. And it turned out that Screen Free Family Time was not too exhausting – we did have to manage the 3 yo’s careless destruction of the game board on occasion, and working out who would play which game with whom was something of a chore. But we got out checkers and a game called Pirate vs. Pirate, while Craig tinkered around with Marble Run.  And a merry time was had by all, though we played the games laying on the hardwood floor and the Prof and I both were a bit creaky in the joints when we finally got up.

(Speaking of hardwood floor – we want to get some area rugs, and I think finally we are in a position to afford some reasonable ones – as in hundreds of dollars, not thousands. Any recs?  How do we decide how big it should be? How do we make sure that the living room rug doesn’t clash with the dining room rug, since it’s really just one big room? I’m very nervous about this rug-buying process. WHAT IF I GET IT WRONG AND I’M STUCK WITH A RUG I HATE. This would be . . . ok not the worst thing ever, but for some reason it gives me anxiety.)

(Speaking of buying things – I did finally buy the handbag I promised myself after getting this new job! And it was on clearance from Macy’s, and my mama got me a gift card for my birthday, so I only paid $45 for it! It’s not this one exactly, but close – same color, same designer, same general price, slightly more pursey and less totey than this, if you get what I mean. I love it.)

Saturday I did a 5.5 mile run (I was on track for 7 miles but it turned out to be 9000 degrees and I wilted a little more quickly), then took the boys to a birthday party, then took a nap. Saturday night I made the halibut dish (it was excellent – I made it with cod bc I couldn’t find halibut, and we had it with couscous which were perfect.)  I read a book a while, then went to bed early.

And now it’s today, Sunday. We have Boy Scouts and another birthday party today, and I am going to work a tiny smidge because I have to give a presentation to about 300 lawyers on Tuesday and I haven’t even STARTED working on it. It’s only about 20 minutes, though, and I can get our marketing department to make my power point slides look pretty, so not terribly stressful. I may take another nap. La di da.

As for meal planning – the neverending chore that I mostly love but sometimes don’t – here are the plans for the week. I never got around to the tuna casserole or the Korean beef  bowl last week – we had a leftovers night and a macaroni and cheese night because the week was so busy, plus I made a brisket because Trader Joe’s brisket is so reasonable.  So those two dishes from last week remain on this week’s list.

  • Korean bowl
  • tuna casserole – tuna, cream of mushroom soup, egg noodles, plus oregano and breadcrumbs on top. Simple, cheap.
  • sausage and pasta bake – I have sausage, pasta, and pasta sauce – sounds good to me!
  • This Thai carrot soup

That’s all I’m putting on the menu this week. We’ve got leftover brisket and may make burritos with that, we’ve got frozen soups in the freezer – we can put something together for the other nights.

Here’s hoping for a week that’s tame enough for more family game nights. 😉

Posted in Bitchin in the Kitchen, Domestic Bliss, Lawyerin' | 2 Comments