Sunday, February 28, 2010

The good, the bad and the tired

The bad:

My Weight Watchers coach will be angry if she hears about Friday or Saturday night.
More importantly, that damn scale she travels will be angry...
Billy Mays is both dead and untrustworthy: the Mighty Putty did NOT work.
Team Reed had technical difficulties, which meant no TV or Internet for most of the day.
We've lost one of the most fun members of the Bickel clan -- my Uncle Ed has left the Alzheimer's behind for what I hope is an afterlife full of fishing all day and shooting off fireworks all night.

The good:

I am coma-free. Still a little tender in the jaw area, but it's like a new life. Yea!
I had a date night with Lynda on Friday and had a fun night out.
I hosted Bunco Saturday and had a marvelous, wonderful time with silly friends.
My friend Jeph is in love and happy.
My Uncle Ed is in a better place.
My kitchen floor is no longer sticky with spilled wine and shards of glass.
I have a fun lunch date where I might deliver the last of the GS cookies on Thursday.
Jeff and Ali had lots of bonding time this weekend -- good times from both accounts.
Ali and I took a nice long nap today -- can't remember the last time I did that.
Team Reed had technical difficulties, which meant no TV or Internet for most of the day.

The tired:

I'm too tired to think of a fun post. Maybe next week...

Happy March!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vicodin coma

I spent the last 5.5 days in a Vicodin coma, brought on my tooth pain I ignored until I couldn't stand it anymore. Actually, the first couple of days was in a Tylenol-3 with codeine-coma, but in any event, I was incapacitated.

10 things I learned while in a Vicodin coma:

1. The next time I have a glimmer of tooth pain, I'm heading to Dr. Marshall. I will not stop for red lights or pedestrians. I will park on the street and demand he see me Right Now.

2. As soon as Dr. Marshall thinks the words "root canal" I will drive straight to Dr. John Slavens. I will not stop for red lights or pedestrians. I will park on the street and beg for him to see me Right Now.

3. If a parental figure is curled into a ball fighting not to scream with pain, praying to every God ever mentioned to stop the pain, the offspring of said parent will poke you and ask in a quivering voice, "Mommy, are you dead?"

4. You can read books in the odd 20 minutes or so of clarity that comes between pill feedings, but you won't remember any of them.

5. You can watch TV, but it's best not to lest those infommercials seem like a good deal. Of course by the time you drag yourself out of bed, find your purse, then your wallet, then your credit card, the pain or the coma will be back and you won't place the order anyway. So I guess you can watch TV; just don't have your credit card handy.

6. Your husband can tell you all sorts of lovely secrets or berate you nonstop and you won't care. You won't even see his lips move, let alone know what he's saying.

7. You can try to respond to email but you won't be able to form complete sentences or come close to proper grammar.

8. You can try to talk to your friends, professional peers and colleagues, but you'll just scare them when you sound like Courtney Love or Lindsay Lohan anytime past midnight. Remember the adage about it being better to keep quiet and have folks wonder if you're stupid than to open your mouth and prove it. In this case, you have the coma as a defense, but you're better off just crawling into a ball and shunning everyone.

9. When you do emerge from the house to go for the root canal, don't bother trying to make yourself look human. You're not human. You've been suffering and sweating and cursing for what seems like years. Your only obligation is to be clean. The good doctor is going to stick a rubber dam across your mouth and focus on a tooth. His staff will be nice, but they just need the paperwork filled out and signed with something close to legible. And if you have to go to the pharmacy, please. They've seen worse than you, and you won't be holding a handgun. Well I can't speak for all of you, but you won't likely need the handgun. You can pretty up later. When the pain wrinkles have relaxed and you can talk again.

10. You will lose weight. However, a little-known side effect of Vicodin is constipation. So while you might register a weight loss, you're still packin' (if you know what I mean.) Once you stop taking the little white pills of salvation, you might have an exit wound the size of Alaska, but you won't mind -- and if you're lucky the pain won't be so much to send you back to the Vicodin wagon.

To sum up:

If you have tooth pain, find a dentist in a hurry. You're risking your child's peace of mind and your marriage.

If you need a great dentist and you're anywhere close to Indy, Dr. William K. Marshall is your man. I love him. So does Ali. I don't know that Jeff would feel comfortable professing his love, but he thinks Dr. Marshall is just swell.

(I thought I couldn't love a dentist more than I love Dr. Marshall, but to be fair, Dr. John Slavens is an endodontist. So I don't have to choose. If you ever need a root canal, he's your man. I personally hope to never see him again. In an official capacity, of course. But I don't want to see anyone else for this particular need. I would drive from six states away to see him. Of course I'd kill people along the way because I'd be in another Vicodin coma, but you get my point.

I'd write more but now I have to post great reports on the good doctors on Angie's List...I guess that's No. 11. If you have good dental health care providers, talk 'em up. I have had a few enemies in my time. On none of them (OK, maybe a couple) would I wish this pain.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


"Hey, Mom. I know two really bad words," Alison tells me the other day while we were sitting on the couch in the front room.

"Really?" I say. "What are they?"

"Well the first one is A-S-S, and I know what it means."

"Oh yeah? What does it mean?"

"It means 'mutton head?"

"Huh. Really? What's a mutton head?"

"You know. Someone really dumb."

"OK. That's right. It also means a donkey, you know. Sometimes it's not really a bad word at all," I said.

"Wanna know the other word?"


"Ferk," she said, eyes wide, staring straight at me, gasping just a little at her own bravado to utter such a terrible word.

My first thought was, "How does Alison know about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, aka the FERC?" (Once a utility nerd, always a utility nerd, and Jeff is still in the biz, you know.)

Then I thought again. "Oh, Fu@K. She doesn't know how to pronounce it!"

"Uh, where did you hear that word, honey?"

"They're both in the dictionary, Mom," she said. "But I don't know what 'ferk' means. What does it mean?"

Now, I have a strict policy of telling Ali the truth when she asks a question. Amy Tokash still hasn't quite forgiven me for telling her and then her telling Jenna how babies really escape the womb.

For about two seconds, I debated telling her the correct pronunciation and the definition of the word I thought she meant. I thought about context and the many different ways that particular word can be used to convey a point.

After a third second, I tried for, "Well that's a really bad word. You don't ever need to use it."

"But what's it mean?" she asked. "I really want to know."

I think I passed out. I don't remember what I told her, but it wasn't the total truth.

Hell, for all I know she was talking about federal energy policy, climate change and the need for safe nuclear power. That's what I'm telling myself anyway....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Romance is in the Air

Alison and I were chatting the other day about what I should get Jeff for our 12th wedding anniversary. We were getting no where as we headed to the Fashion Mall.

We batted around suggestions that ranged from candy to cufflinks to new artwork, and I'd been thinking about a new briefcase. I reminded her that he'd liked the Red Sox jersey we got him for his birthday once.

"Nah. Clothes are boring," she said.

She suggested a new baseball for his collection. She's gotten him a pink Red Sox ball and others from the Children's museum and I think Alex gave him one from a space museum. We have some some Governor O'Bannon's office from various championship teams and he has some signed by players. I'm pretty sure he has enough baseballs.

"How about a pedicure?" I said.

"Sure! Let's go!" she exclaimed.

"For Dad," I said.

"Oh," she said. "I thought you meant us. Nah. I don't think Dad would like that at all."

We ended up with Godiva chocolate and an authentic guacamole mortar and pestle. While the quacamole thing didn't reek of romance, it is a gift that he'll love pulling out for guests. He's a big fan of the guacamole but we rarely make it from scratch. And avacados don't break the Weight Watchers bank like the other package does, so it's good all around.

Ever one to out-vamp me, Jeff started things off with a cymbidium orchid and calla lily bouquet. He replaced a silver chain I'd broken a while ago so I can wear a little silver heart he got me one year. And he surprised me with a replacement copy of a book from my favorite author. I'd loaned it out but it's been lost in the wind ever since. So now my collection is complete again.

On Valentine's Eve, we had dinner with friends, one of whom was fighting for her life not long ago. We are thrilled that she's making it through the illness and we jumped at the chance to have them (and her mother from Australia) over for dinner. Her mom is an absolute hoot, and they were all very sweet to Ali. She was in the middle of decorating sugar cookies for Jeff and me, and she told our guests all about our anniversary.

They all seemed a little shocked that we were having dinner with them rather than out for a romantic celebration. I've been thinking that over since last night. And as sappy as it sounds, Jeff and I celebrate our life a lot as it is, and sharing with friends (and meeting a new one) just adds to the fun.

I think everyone occasionally wonders what their life might have been like had they made different choices or had different opportunities. I'm pretty sure I'd be living alone in a broken-down trailer with 17 cats and an addiction problem somewhere in the backwoods of Indiana had Jeff not come along.

If you don't understand that he truly does save me from myself a little bit every day, you don't really know us very well. I'm grateful every day for him, for Alison, and for the friends and family who keep me going.

So Happy Valentine's Day! Celebrate it however makes you happiest. (and then do it again a little bit more every day of the year...)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm a little bit country; they're a little bit rock-n-roll

I don't generally turn to 8-year-olds for movie advice, but this weekend, Jenna Louise Tokash did me right. We scored a sleepover with her on Friday and then convinced her father (yes, I totally took advantage of Drew's busy soccer schedule and Amy being on the town with her Hobart girls) to let us have her on Saturday, too.

Our ATT Uverse has been acting up lately, and on Friday night, it died. That meant we didn't have TV or Internet service. Happily, our phones worked, but the technician couldn't come until Sunday morning.

The girls are both addicted to Sponge Bob, and Alison was anxious to show Jenna all her Web sites and play the Wii, so I knew we could be looking at a grim night. So I did my best to tire them out. We started Saturday out with an hour of gymnastics (they wore their leotards until bedtime), blew the last of Alison's Climb Time Christsmas gift certificate with an hour and a half on the rocks and then I sent them out into the 6-inches of snow that had fallen Friday night.

They dragged out both the Easy Bake Oven and the Girl's Gourmet Cake Maker, along with the Pixo's deluxe edition.

As the day wound down, I was musing about what we could do later and Jenna suggested Avatar -- "The best movie EVER!" I was a little suprised she'd seen it -- it didn't sound like something she'd see, but Ali thought she'd like it, too. Problem solved, I thought. Even if it were scary, the chances that they'd fall asleep in the dark theater were good.

Neither fell asleep, although we had moments (even though she'd seen it before) when the girls grabbed on to one of us. It's a great movie, though -- well worth the admission.

Jenna was a treat all weekend. She sided with me way more than the little red head. At one point I informed them that Jenna was quick becoming my favorite daughter.

But then I remember the ride home from Springhill Elementary School. I was tooling along 86th Street, thinking about all the great fun we'd soon be having and humming along with Jason Aldean.

"Um, Miss Cheryl," comes a voice from the brunette in the back seat.

"Yes, Jenna?"

"What kind of music is that?"

Before I could answer, this from her back seat companion: "Ugh. It's country music."

"Miss Cheryl?"

"Yes, Jenna?"

"I hate country music."

I kept my cool and advised Jenna that she had been brainwashed by her rock-n-roll mother.

"Jenna," says Ali, not even trying to be subtle. "I have to listen to this EVERY day!"

They spent the rest of the ride home talking about how great rock-n-roll is and how how hip-hop is a close second.

Despite their lack of love for country music, I still showed the little brats a good time. I made them do their spelling homework, but I let them stay in their pjs until Tom finally made me give Jenna back.

I miss seeing that little girl. It was a fun weekend.

Now our attention is turning to Miami and our plans for another Colts Super Bowl Win. Go Colts!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I just don't understand...

So last week, I hit the beach. Well, the pool, actually. The point is that I was on vacation in Southern Florida for four days with a group not known for their ability to just say no to alcohol.

I did OK, although I never found the work out room. I did walk to breakfast, so that should count for something. And I stayed up late, so there had to be some extra activity points in there somewhere.

I managed to avoid the dessert tray the entire time. But I had my first ever sake bomb the first night out (that's a shot of sake in a glass of beer.) I followed that up with a double shot of tequila. And there may have been beer.

The next day, I decided that it would have simply been rude to reject the champagne that came poolside.

There was just no excuse for diving into the sour cream Lay's. Or the Doritos. But my boss force fed me the cookies. Really. He did. Oh, and there may have been mac-n-cheese at the Pro Bowl tailgate party. And beer. There was beer. But I should have earned at least one activity point for my stellar performance in the Tippy Cup Olympics.

So all in all, it was not my best Weight Watchers weekend. Compare it to the previous week where I worked out at least four times (at an hour a pop) AND I didn't go over my points. At all. That week, you may recally, I gained 0.2 pounds.

Last week? Know what happened last week? I lost that 0.2 pounds.

How is this right? I'm WEAK. The lesson I want to take away is that I can drink to excess, hang out by the pool and be none the worse off.

The lesson I should take is that I was darn lucky. That the intern worked some magic. That the scale is off. That I dreamed the whole thing. I just don't know.

But I have a plan.

I'm going to pretend it's Week 1 and just start all over. If I'm good and I still gain weight next Wednesday, I'm going to IHOP. Have you seen those new commercials about all-you-can-eat pancakes?