Long-ass life update

Brian has completely left babyhood and has entered toddlerville. He’s the big T-W-O now! He has tantrums, gets into all sorts of trouble, and tries to do please-let-me-have-my-way, puppy dog eyes. When it doesn’t work, he laughs sheepishly. So adorable. He watches Blues Clues, loves bubbles and drawing. He loves his blankets, but isn’t really into stuffed animals. At the end of the day, his feet stink-eww, the number one sign that he isn’t a baby anymore. He can say: ball, bubble, apple, moon, car, and sign more. That one sign was a huge wahoo! moment for us. Mostly he just points vigorously. Apparently I have watched too much Prison Break while Brian is around, because he sneaks into the dishwasher for a butter knife and then proceeds to slip it into the window casing. Silly kid. He is a great helper and assists with the dishes, laundry, and putting trash in the trash can. I know he will grow out of this soon, so I am taking advantage of it. I can’t put dishes into the dish washer when he is around though, because he keeps trying to “help” me by putting the dirty dishes away and then he cries in frustration. So I just wait until bedtime and then procrastinate doing them anyway. Heh.\
Max is a kid, no longer a baby or a toddler. A real kid. At six, he is one of the smartest people I know. (Which, I only know like four people, so take that for what it is worth.) He is very creative and lovable and tall and funny. He started soccer this Spring. He has been really enjoying it, but is really bad at it. I read somewhere there is a Fall league; I am going to sign him up for it too. I also want to get him into karate. Maybe take it with him, as a mom/son bonding activity. I don’t want to hit or kick blocks of wood though. Hmm, do you think he’d be embarrassed to take karate with me?\
Kindergarten finishes up in 2 weeks, then I am enrolling Max in summer camp. They have all sorts of cool activities and field trips planned. It sounds like a lot of fun. So only 2 more weeks of Max only having half-days away from me. Soon he’ll be spending as much time away from the home as he does at home, awake. Eep! I still have things to tell him: don’t eat before you swim, always wear sunscreen, and it’s okay to use some phrases ironically like “raise the roof” but when in doubt just don’t. Speaking of talks, I was giving Max a refresher about people not seeing/touching/showing private parts and penises and Max was all, “I know, Mom” with an eye-roll tone-of-voice.\
I am a mom of two real kids now. They interact like real people. I even have to seperate them sometimes! It’s odd and cool, at the same time.\
I am at home, as usual. Now that Brian is officially no longer a baby, I have been looking into doing some volunteer work. The local shelter doesn’t need any help right now. Isn’t that just bizarre and, I suppose, a good thing? The Red Cross is currently at the top of my list, but I am not sure what to do with Brian. I think I may have to put this off for a few more years. I can’t find a daycare place that will let me do a half-day. Their definition of part time is all day Tuesday and Thursday. Eh. I guess I could go that route, and then just pick up Brian early. We’ll see. Money is meant to be spent, right?\
I am also looking into joining a gym, one that has daycare attached. That way, I can sit in the locker room for an hour each morning and have some peace. Ha! I am going to make Kevin come with me. Ideally, I’d like someplace with an indoor track, but they seem to be in short supply.\
My biggest dream right now is to spend 24 hours in bed with Kevin, only getting up to answer the door for takeout and for the bathroom. I have been trying to finagle this for over a year now, since I stopped nursing Brian, but so far no luck. We’ll lie in bed together, watch movies, eat takeout, listen to music, take a nap, talk, and it will be marvelous. Ahhh. Doesn’t that sound nice?\
My BFF was telling me that a lot of her friends are constantly fighting with their husbands. I said “I’m not.” She said, “I know. You don’t have to convince me of that because I know.” Isn’t that a great compliment? I am not sure how or why I got so lucky with Kevin. We have a great marriage and I am so thankful for him. Maybe because we are sometimes laid-back about the same things (how to spend money, the house) and other times only one of us really cares about other things (where to vacation, what kind of car to buy). Whatever, it works. Viva la KevandJen!\
Most of my tv watching happens between 6am-10am when I am awake but don’t want to be and the brain isn’t functioning yet. Thank heavens for Tivo, so I don’t have to watch The Today Show. Tivo is also how I am able to provide you such witty and purposeful tv commentary like I sometimes do. I know you are all appreciative even if you don’t comment. Jerks. Hey, there is a new show starting in a couple of weeks called Wind Fall. I expect it to be bad, but since this is summer hiatus, I will take anything.\
Kevin has started traveling for work again. He didn’t finish his physical therapy before the travels kicked up. I am not sure whether he will start it again or not. He is supposed to be home most of the summer, so maybe that is something he will look into. He has been really busy, happy, and successful with work. So busy in fact, we haven’t had the time to buy the new-to-us car we’ve decided to get. Sad, isn’t it? Yea, I don’t know what else is going on with him. Read his blog to the right <———— to learn more. 🙂

The Crippled Conference

I was really looking forward to SxSW this year. I’m moderating a panel I’m really excited about. I get to see all of my south-by pals, go to amazing panels and eat good food. It was a good plan, until I went to pick up the rental car and rolled my ankle turning to talk to someone. I don’t know if it’s bad or not. I don’t know if it’s just a mild sprain (which is what I thought it was the first time), something serious, or nothing at all. It’s the first time I’ve tweaked it since surgery, and I’m freaked out. It’s swelling more than usual, which may be normal because I’m doing more walking. It hurts, which also may be normal with all the walking.\
What do it all mean? It means I’m not doing a bunch of stuff at night, and I’ve already skipped one keynote so I can ice and shock it (yes, the home electrocution kit made the journey). It means I’m missing out on a bunch of stuff, and that makes me sad. I had to skip out after dinner last night to ice myself into oblivion. Have you ever had ice directly on your skin to the point that it burns, till your skin turns red?\
Yes, I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I’m still having a good time. I’m still extremely excited about my panel. I’m still ecstatic to hang out with my pals and meet new people. I’m excited about other peoples’ panels. My favorites so far have been Creating Passionate Users (see the blog) and How To Be A Web Design Superhero from Andy Clarke and Andy Budd. Both were very well done, and I got a lot out of them (now, I totally need to redo I Am Alpha). I am in complete envy of the Andies slides. They were the best slides I’ve ever seen, and I don’t normally like slides. If you were there, you know what I mean. If you weren’t, imagine a comic book as a presentation and then throw in some complimentary motion, and that it fits perfectly with the tone and timing of the panel. Yep, they were that good. It makes my poor little s5 slides look a little anemic. But, I’m not a designer, and I think the content is good, so we’ll go with them and see what happens. You can even get the slides yourself!\
If you see me hobbling around, please say hi. I would love to meet you. Also, please come to our panel Tuesday morning at 10!! We’re in the “big room” according to the mini-schedule, and it would be kind of embarrassing if no one showed up.

Two Whole Days And Long Pants

Enough about I Am Alpha (for now, anyway), this is about my foot, and I know you can’t read enough about my stupid foot. I spent Wednesday and Thursday walking around in normal shoes and doing OK. I even wore long pants on Thursday for the first time in seven months! There were some pangs and general discomfort, but no outright pain. This morning, though, my foot was a rock: stiff, kinda purple, painful and pretty much not hearing any requests for shoe wearing other than driving to and from physical therapy. So, I’m back in the boot today, snug in its warm fleece embrace and remembering why I hate it so much.\
Tomorrow? I’m going back to shoes, and we’ll see how it goes.

Progressive Progress

A couple updates from the weekend (and the end of last week) before I get back to work:\
I am now a member of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee. I joined officially last week. I’m still not sure what all that means other than attending committee meetings and brushing up on Robert’s Rules Of Order, but it feels good to be more involved in the process.\
In ankle news, I wore a “regular” shoe all morning after physical therapy. I broke down around 1 and put the Velcro Nightmare back on, but I was walking around in a matching pair of hiking boots for a good three or four hours there. Progress, baby, progress.\
Yes, now, back to writing javascript and longing for CSS.\
update: Wearing a regular shoe for the first half of the day was a really bad idea.

Little Steps On A Little Leg

I went to see Dr. Ankle yesterday, and he says to me after playing with my foot, “Yep, everything’s still intact, that’s good.” Yeah, I made a face.\
I’m allowed to wear normal shoes for a grand total of 15-30 minutes a day and have four more weeks of physical therapy. I see Dr. Ankle in six weeks and he says by then, I should be walking full-time in regular shoes, but should keep the Velcro Terror around “just in case”.\
I had to walk out of there and try to find the silver lining. I’d built yesterday up to be the day I went back to being “normal”. Yes, it was unrealistic because my right calf is still about the size of my forearm, but it was there. I thought that was the end of having to wear shorts even though it’s 30 degrees outside (jeans and other long pants rip the velcro straps right off), the end of wearing it all day every day no matter what I’m doing or where I’m walking.

Some Days

a picture of a sunken ship - actually under the water!\
Some days, it feels like I’m going through life under water.\
But in other news, I go to the doctor bright and early Monday morning and find out if I can finally wear a normal shoe on my right foot. It will have been over six months since I started wearing either the Velcro Nightmare, a cast, a post-op splint/wrap/ace combo, an ace bandage or the Strappy Terror.\
My physical therapist did my “report card” that I have to take to Dr. Wilson on Monday, and my range of motion is greatly improved, and I took my first real steps on Friday morning outside of the boot. Not much pain, just a little tightness, and some swelling.\
Oh, and I am now the proud owner of the home version of the electrocution machine they hook me up to after every visit. I think I’m going to see if I can make Max smile…

Physical Therapy Works

Yes, physical therapy works, but boy does it suck! Three days a week, I go in to get beat up by tiny friendly women with the souls of medieval torturers. It takes about two hours each time as I go from heat and prodding to never-ending exercises to freezing and electrocution. But, I can see progress. I now have a hint of a calf muscle, and I got rid of the crutch on Saturday!!\
Believe it, I am now crutch free. I can drive. I am almost back to where I was in September with the boot and walking. Unfortunately, I have a pronounced limp and by the end of the day, my ankle throbs and my knee is on fire.\
This all has a purpose. In January, Jen and I are going to Austin, and then comes a trip to Northern California, NYC, the big W3C shindig in France, and then back to Austin for SxSW. I need to be walking without the boot for those, and able to walk without a lot of pain. In order to be out of the boot by January, I figure I need to be able to walk in the boot without crutches about now, even though it’s pretty uncomfortable.\
It’s good to have goals, and it’s good to be able to see an end to all of this, even if it’s still a little ways off.

SxSW 2006 and Ankle Update

It’s still four months away, but I started trying to get all the AOL folks going to 2006’s interactive festival organized. I started a wiki page with our travel details, where we’re staying, things to do that I believe are happening next year (like Break Bread With Brad, Kick!, 20×2, etc) and other tips for attending the conference.\
I did the same thing for February’s W3C meeting in France.\
I think I’m tired of being stuck on the couch.\
And speaking of, I started physical therapy this week. Starting Monday, I have three appointments a week of electric stimulation (shock the monkey where I’m the monkey!), strengthening, stretching and pain. I would be upset, but I think I’ve found the perfect place for me. They’re funny, and not into torture. The folks I went to for my knee five years ago had no empathy at all. These guys were showing me their scars and we were comparing “war stories” of our various injuries. It felt like a fraternity of the wounded, which is really what physical therapy should be. It’s a bunch of broken people trying to put their weak, busted bodies back together. Empathy should be there every step of the way, and at this place, it obviously is.\
I can also finally see the big bone on the inside of my ankle! The swelling’s finally gone down enough to show the end of the tibia, which is progress! There’s still a lot of swelling farther down and on the bottom of my foot (which is fun!), but seeing that bone is cool.

Wobbling Progress

I walked this morning without crutches (in the big black boot). It wasn’t graceful. There was no striding. There was gamely gimping in mincing little steps. There was some pain and now there is some being worn-outedness. But, there was walking! This is progress. I’ve been on crutches for a month now, and just toddling around the kitchen making a sandwich felt like freedom. There as no carrying bits of things in pockets or under my chin. I was able to carry things with two hands!\
I’m hoping that by Wednesday or Thursday, I’ll be able to go back into the office, even if it’s with one crutch. I’m tired of not seeing the people I work with and calling into meetings. I’m most effective face to face and “local”. This remote stuff is a pain.\
But, I think it’s crutches and ice for the rest of the day. There’s progress, baby!