The Colonoscopy Experiment

The Colonoscopy Experiment – November 21, 2019

So I’ve learned that when one turns 50, there are a few things one must do. After you have dealt with the weirdness that is the realization that you have lived halfway to 100 (that is a kick in the knickers), it is time to take stock and pay attention to the doctor’s suggestions at your “well” visit.

This year in addition to being lectured about that pesky 5 pounds I still need to shed, and the vitamin D I should be taking on a regular basis, my doctor recommended that I schedule a colonoscopy before the end of the year. Truth be told I really did not even know exactly what this mysterious test was all about. I kept mistakenly referring to it as a colostomy, which, it turns out, is a very different thing altogether. I got the referral and made the appointment for the end of November and it seemed very far away. In the meantime I was seeking feedback from friends and coworkers about this procedure. The basic summary from everyone was as follows: the procedure is not bad at all – what sucks is the prep. End stop. No more specific information was shared. What does not even mean?! Now, I know this is a rather, *ahem*, personal matter, but inquiring minds want to know – what’s the scoop? Give me the 411 on what sucks so bad about the prep? When I pressed people, they still didn’t really share much with me. I don’t know if they smelled my fear, or they had repressed their experience so much that they actually didn’t remember it anymore – like having a baby, or what, but no one was forthcoming with the gory details. This is where I come in!! I am going to do you a solid (so to speak) and give you the straight “poop” (tee-hee) about my experience. Think of it as a public service announcement. I know everyone is different, but at least this will give you one example of how it could go for you if you have not yet had the pleasure. If you are squeamish and/or just don’t care to know the details about my bowls, turn back now. I have no judgement, but you are forewarned.

As my date got closer I began to get more anxious about this procedure. I decided to try to detach from it by thinking about it as a scientific experiment. I decided to track my experience in order to share it with others (and also to distract myself from it)! I kept thinking, I can do this, right? I had a baby! I ran a marathon! All I have to do is drink stuff and go poop. Seems simple. Did I mention I hate being hungry, I get nauseous easily and am not good with anesthetic?

I got the appointment confirmation call on Monday saying my procedure was at 11am and I was to be there at 10:15am. The worst thing was I could not have coffee on Thursday morning!  Ugh. But, turns out, that was not the worst thing…
The instructions said I was to follow a low-residue diet on Monday and Tuesday. This meant no raw fruits and vegetables except for bananas. I had to eat stuff like white bread, white rice, chicken and canned vegetables and avoid things with fiber (which is lots of what I eat!) I suppose the reason for this is so the “prep” day is less dramatic than t would be if you had lots of fiber rich stuff in your system. Here is what I ate on Monday: Breakfast – 2 pieces of white toast, with peanut butter, coffee with almond milk. Lunch – 2 slices of white toast, can of tuna fish with a bit of miracle whip, banana. Dinner – white rice bowl with baked chicken, green beans and soy sauce. Snack at night – 2 pieces of white toast with peanut butter. On Tuesday: Breakfast – 2 pieces of white toast topped with banana slices, coffee with almond milk. Lunch – 2 slices of white toast, 3 scrambled eggs and 2 babybel cheese wedges, banana. Dinner – white rice bowl with baked chicken, green beans and soy sauce. Snack at night – 2 pieces of white toast with peanut butter and some honey drizzle. I felt just okay on Monday and Tuesday.  I went to work as normal. I found myself really ready for every meal and looking around for snacks during the 3pm – 5pm hours.  I wasn’t that hungry at night, but it was just the idea that I had a couple days of not eating ahead of me so I wanted to “stock up”!  Also, I just wanted a bit of sweet. I just do not do well with a deprivation type of situation. However, I did it!

On Wednesday (the day before the procedure) I had to follow a clear liquid diet. In the morning I started with a ½ cup black coffee.  Yes, black coffee was on the list for the day! I did not want to drink the whole thing on an empty stomach so half a cup did the job. I started feeling a bit hungry by 8:30am (let’s face it, I wake up hungry. I’m definitely not one of those “I lost track of time and worked through lunch” type of people) so I started with apple juice. I took a shower and began to find things to distract myself. By lunch I had gone through 3 big glasses of apple juice and about a half a season of Atypical on Netflix. I sat at the table with my bowl full of orange jello for lunch. Not bad. I had Mike get the “prep” medicine ready for me when he was home for lunch so it could get cold. It was a jug that held 4 liters of fluid. Ugh. The powder medicine was already in it and you were to add water and the flavor packets that came with it. You could alternatively use Crystal Light, if desired. Yes, it was desired. I had to start drinking the prep stuff at 6pm. The rest of the afternoon I focused on a project on the computer and had some carbonated water.

6pm finally came and I shooed Mike and Zach out of the house to get Chipotle. I didn’t want to see that food in front of me. I got the prep out of the fridge and got ready to drink my first 8 oz of stuff. I had to drink an 8 ounce glass of the stuff every 10 minutes until 2 liters was gone. The second half was then the job for the next day, starting at 6am. I got it out and got out the measuring cup, but I could not get the stinkin’ cap off! It was one of those “push down and turn” things, but it was not happening. I tried everything for like 5 minutes. At this point I was sweating, my arms were sore and I was swearing like a sailor. Remember I was hangry times 1000. I called Mike at Chipotle and asked them to get their food to go so they could come home and help me get this blasted thing open! Meanwhile I was texting a friend asking for help. That string of texts is pretty hilarious. I was seriously thinking this was a sign that I wasn’t supposed to do this and was ready to throw the whole jug outside when the cap suddenly finally came off as Mike and Zach were walking in the door, Chipotle bags in hand.

Game on! I drank the first 8 oz like a champ. The drink tasted like a thick, saltier version of Chrystal Light’s – like its diluted, lower-calorie cousin. Not my favorite, but not a big deal. I set the timer for 10 minutes and began the process. By the time I was halfway through my 8 glasses the drink was getting a bit old. I started adding more time to the timer – 15 minutes instead of 10. By glass #7 I was on the struggle bus. It wasn’t the taste exactly, but the shear volume of fluid I was consuming. Halfway through glass #7 I gagged and yukked a bit in the kitchen sink. There was nothing really to come up except for that good, old orange jello. Twenty minutes later I successfully consumed my last glass for the night with minimal gagging. I sloshed over to the couch, feeling very full and bloated and waited for the magic to happen. And waited. And waited. I had finished my prep at 8:37pm and the instructions said bowel activity should start 1-2 hours from the start of drinking the prep. Um, nope. At this point, I was so uncomfortably full and wondering if this stuff was going to work for me. I had peed here and there, but no action anywhere else. I had some gurgling and tooting, but nada in the poop department. Finally at 9:40pm – 3 1/2 hours after starting the prep all systems were go and the medicine did its thing. I was going to keep track of the number of bathroom visits, but the truth is I couldn’t really keep track. It was so strange, however, because it wasn’t like any other type of diarrhea I’ve ever had. There was no pain or cramping and after the first couple of times it was just liquid. It was like I was peeing from my butt, but I wasn’t sick. So strange. I was relieved that the medicine was working and relieved to finally get rid of a lot of this liquid! I finally felt clear to go to bed around 11:30pm.

On Thursday I got up at 5:45am to begin the second half of the prep. I was to consume the second 2 liters of stuff by 8am. This time the bowls were more consistent and I was less bloated and uncomfortable. It was still gross and got to be too much by glass #5, but I pressed on with minimal gagging. I did have one accident in my jammies that morning (yuck) which prompted me to bring a second pair of clothes and a towel to sit on to drive the 30 minutes to the hospital. Thankfully I did not need it! We arrived on time to the hospital where I proceeded to use the bathroom 3 more times while we were waiting in the lobby. At this point there was no poop to speak of. There was just yellow liquid, but it was coming out of my butt. Such a weird sensation. Hey, I forewarned you!

I got ready for the procedure, met the anesthesiologist and the doctor. I was most concerned about getting sick from the anesthetic, but the doc reassured me that I should be fine since it was just a twilight level of stuff. Next thing I knew I was waking up and I immediately felt alert and fine, but just really cold. After being in recovery a bit the doc informed me that she found one small, 3 mm, polyp and removed it. She would send it to the lab and depending on what type of polyp it was I would have to come back in either 5 years or 10 years. Fine by me – even if it is 5 years, that is still a long time! I felt good that at least the polyp was out of me and that now it can’t grow into anything bad! That is the whole reason why these things are recommended to be done as preventative thing. I’m a believer, for sure! Yes, it was gross, a bit uncomfortable and a bit inconvenient, but well worth it! I’m thankful to be able to have this sort of preventative care and good insurance to support it. Check this off the turning 50 list! Now, about that Shingles shot…

I Blame Disney!

So I need to rant about the weather. I know, I know, you are probably tired of it too. But in order to avoid the risk of “sucking the life” out of my husband (as he so warmly referred to my “observations” this morning) by ranting to him again about how much I hate winter, I decided to find solace in my blog. So here is your fair warning to switch to read something else. Still there? Great!

So, I do have good news! I have found someone to blame for this never-ending tundra that we have been experiencing this winter in northeast Ohio. Walt Disney. Yes, the man himself. I submit to you that it is not a coincidence that the hit movie, “Frozen” was released just before the onslaught of this snow and cold season was upon us. The movie was released on Nov 27, 2013 and that very same weekend Eastern Ohio and Northeast PA was blanketed by our first snowfall between 3 – 7 inches and up to 17 inches in some areas in PA. Coincidence? I think not!

Allow me to share a description on the IMDb site for the movie, “Frozen” – “Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.”

Maybe it is just me, but does anyone else feel “trapped in eternal winter”?! I mean, does this sound familiar to anyone else? Bueller? And while some may say, “Hey, this is just winter in northeast Ohio – finally a real winter” I would like to say to them: HOGWASH!! As of Feb 5 winter 2013-2014 was deemed one of the snowiest winters in Cleveland with 53 inches and counting.

And another thing…what part of crazy negative 25 below windchill, bone-chilling, colder than Alaska temperatures is a part of “regular winter”?! By Feb 17 of this year Cleveland set a 30-year record with its 10th sub-zero day. That does not sound like a “regular” winter to me. Not one bit.

No. I submit to you that are living out the movie “Frozen” in our real lives. And by the way, I LOVED the movie! I’m actually obsessed with the movie and even more with the soundtrack. Who knew the sweet story with the awesome Scandinavian characters, wonderful pro-woman and pro-sister message would be the scapegoat for our very own never ending snowglobe hell we are now seemingly trapped in! Well, enough is enough I say. Rather than standing in line to slap a snowman to express our winter blues I think we all should look up anyone we can find named Elsa and give her a big smooch so we can finally break this winter spell once and for all! Hey, it is worth a shot, right? Because I don’t want to build a snowman. And maybe for the first time in forever we could see the grass!!! Or maybe, on second thought, I should just “let it go”…

Making Memories from Medical Mishaps

Okay, so maybe I got a little carried away with my alliteration in my title this time. But, like I’ve said, it is my blog and I’ll be corny if I want to!! It will all make sense – trust me!

We had the pleasure of having my in-laws, Shirley and Rich, in town with us this weekend. In a relatively short period of time (Sat through Sun), we had 3 (things always happen in 3’s right?) medical mishaps (“epic fails” as Zach would probably describe them) happen in our household. At the end of the weekend Shirley joked that they probably would never be invited back!! Thankfully everything worked out and we could laugh by the end of the visit, but it was a little bit stressful going through it!! I was going to call this a “do-over” weekend, but then realized we were lucky for what didn’t happen, so I prefer just thinking about it as making memories.

Let me ‘splain…

Episode One:
Grandma and Grandpa brought some cool, hard-core, walkie-talkies for Zachary in case he would like them. Uh, yes, he totally loved them!! So Zach and Grandma went outside for a walk to really try out the range of those babies! One went one way and one went the other way.

Well, pretty soon Zach gets a call from Grandma, “Zach – I fell!”

Zach responds, “What? Hold on, I’ll be right there!”

Zach sprints to the find Grandma and says, “Can you move everything okay?”

Grandma had a scraped knee and her hand was hurting quite a bit, but didn’t break the skin. They got home okay and we watched her hand get swollen and more painful during the day. By the afternoon, we all agreed that she should get it checked out just to be sure. Thankfully she got her hand checked out and it was just badly bruised. She got a splint to keep it still, but in true Shirley form she still helped me more than she probably should have!! We kidded her that she looked like the guy from the movie Happy Gilmore! Crisis averted – whew!! (oh, I should mention that while the three of them were at the ER I was having my own drama with “Henry the Hunter” who determined it was definitely deer season (see the most recent blog post before this one if you are confused).

Episode Two:
Of course the next situation drama involves the dog. We were moving some books and photo albums upstairs so the gate was left open. On one of my trips upstairs I noticed a ripped up plastic lunch baggie and random pills broken up all around it. It didn’t take me long to realize that the dumb dog had gotten into Gma and Gpa’s medication!!! It is not like it was on the floor – it was on the dresser! But when the beast gets his mind on something…it usually happens. I was panicked…again! We determined that he had eaten 4 gummy adult multivitamins (that was probably what attracted him I’m guessing), 1/4 of a slow niacin pill and 1/4 of a blood pressure pill. Of course this happened on a Sunday so we couldn’t get a hold of our usual vet. After consulting with an emergency vet we determined we would just watch him and see. Thankfully (again), he was fine. And fortified with all the essential vitamins and minerals, I might add!

Episode Three:
Zachary was invited to go with a friend and his family on a boat outing at WestBranch Park after church. They were going to go tubing and Zach was stoked! They would be home by dinner time. Zach called us at the end of the afternoon and said they were heading home and that he “hurt his toe”. The mom met me at the door and explained that Zach was getting into the boat at the end of the day and bumped his toe and cut it open. She bandaged it up, but said it might need a stitch. Seriously?! We took him upstairs right away to assess the toe in question. We determined that it was not serious enough to get seen by the doc. Thankfully! Crisis averted for the third time!!

So, yes, our weekend was drama filled, but really so much better than it could have been! So, I’m grateful for the humor we were able to bring to our mishaps and for the memories we could make together. Oh, and Shirley and Rich, the answer to your question about being able to come visit again? Of course!! That is, as long as you BYOFAK (bring your own first aid kit)!!!! 🙂

TLC – The “Learning” Channel??!!

Okay, they have crossed the line! Just when you think reality tv has used EVERY possible idea out there, another absolutely absurd and wild show comes on. When I heard about the latest addition to the “learning” channel, Breaking Amish I had to say something (that is after I laughed hysterically in disbelief). I mean we all know that reality television is totally exploitive, but now even someone’s religion is on stage to be mocked and dissected?! And also, how does this channel get away with calling itself the “learning channel” anyways??!! I wanted to know so I did some research and thought I would share.

According to Wikipedia, the most reliable source out there: The Learning Channel, once referred to as “a place for learning minds” was founded in 1972 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and NASA as an informative/instructional network focused on providing real education through the medium of TV; it was distributed at no cost by NASA satellite. It was privatized in 1980 and was then named the Appalachian Community Service Network. In November 1980 this name was changed to “The Learning Channel”, which was subsequently shortened to “TLC.” The channel mostly featured documentary content pertaining to nature, science, history, current events, medicine, technology, cooking, home improvement and other information-based topics. These are often agreed to have been more focused, more technical, and of a more academic nature than the content that was being broadcast at the time on its rival, The Discovery Channel.

Perhaps due to poor ratings from a narrow target audience, TLC began to explore new avenues starting in the mid 1990s, deemphasizing educational material in favor of entertainment. In 1998, the channel began to distance itself from its original name “The Learning Channel”, and instead began to advertise itself only as “TLC”. (AHA!!) During the period of 1999–2001, there was a huge shift in programming, with most programming geared towards reality-drama and interior design shows. The huge success of shows like Trading Spaces, Junkyard Wars, A Wedding Story and A Baby Story exemplified this new shift in programming towards more mass-appeal shows. On March 27, 2006, the network launched a new look and promotional campaign, dropping the “Life Unscripted” tag and going with the new theme, “Live and learn”, trying to turn around the network’s reliance on decorating shows and reality TV programming. As part of the new campaign the channel’s original name, The Learning Channel, has returned to occasional usage in promotions. The new theme also plays on life lessons.

In early March 2008, TLC launched a slightly refreshed look and promotional campaign, alongside a new slogan: “Life surprises”. This new slogan came as TLC began to shift even more to personal stories, with a shift away from the once-dominating home improvement shows. Programs focused on family life became the core of the channel. Jon & Kate Plus 8 (UGH) which by 2008 was the highest-rated program on TLC,and Little People, Big World were joined by 17 Kids and Counting (which became 18 Kids and Counting and then 19 Kids and Counting), and Table for 12 in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Cut to 2012. What are the most popular shows running on TLC now? Let’s review them in groupings:

Wedding/Romance
This seems to be the largest category with 8 shows! All are about weddings or wedding dresses except for one – the last one about princes follows the 4 members of international royalty as they look for love in the US. I will admit I have never watched any of the shows in this category. Maybe because after you have been married for 14 years you are sort of over it. And the secret princes thing? Yeah, that is just dumb. Plus, what is the obsession with the gypsies??

  • Say Yes to the Dress
  • Brides of Beverly Hills
  • Four Weddings
  • My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
  • Randy to the Rescue
  • My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
  • I Found the Gown
  • Secret Princes

Unique Families
Another strong category with 7 shows! I am happy/embarrassed to admit that I’ve seen at least part if not all of at least one episode of 5 of these. I think they all deserve a little snip-it about each one.

  • 19 Kids and Counting – Oh, the Duggars. Hey, no matter what you think about them you have to give some props to a woman who has spent 15.8 years of her life withchild! Ugh.
  • Breaking Amish – Just when you thought there were no new ideas left, TLC found one!
  • Sister Wives – I’m not gonna lie, I don’t get it. Any of it.
  • Little People, Big World – Kind of a sweet show actually about a family where the mom and dad and one son are little.
  • Abby and Brittany – Just watched a preview video about this tonight…these sisters are conjoined twins and the show follows their lives.
  • Little Couple – Another show about a little couple.
  • United Bates of America – Another show about a family with about 100 kids.

Baby/Pregnancy – Oh, yes A Baby Story! I remember watching this when I was on maternity leave….10 years ago! I enjoyed it then, but have not watched it since. Again, my youngest is 10 so I’m over it. As far as the “A Conception Story” business? Um…not sure I want to see that – I know how it works. And a show about women who do not know they were about to give birth until the baby was crowing in a rest-stop bathroom? I don’t think so.

  • A Conception Story
  • A Baby Story
  • I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant

Exploiting Kids

  • Toddlers & Tiaras – Okay, this is just sick and disturbing! I remember watching one episode in which a grown woman (in her 30’s since the category was age 16 or older) was competing against 16-year-olds for her “crown”. Wow.
  • Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo – I still have not watched this and I’m not about to start now. You can’t make me!

Food

  • Cake Boss – Seen it a couple times – people get too mad about baked goods.
  • DC Cupcakes – Never seen it, but I think cupcakes in general are overrated

Psychological Issues/Drama
Okay, these shows are just downright disturbing about real people with real problems. I think they should funnel the money they use to produce these shows to actually help these people instead.

  • Hoarding (Buried Alive)
  • My Strange Addiction
  • My Crazy Obsession

“Extreme” Stuff
I’ll admit these are sort of interesting and there might be some nuggets to learn how to save money nestled in this edu-tainment!

  • Extreme Couponing
  • Extreme Cheapskates

Fashion/Real Estate

  • What Not to Wear – I’ll admit it – I do like this show! Stacy and Clinton usually have awesome ideas to help people look and feel better about themselves and I can’t really dis that!
  • Bling it On – Never seen it, but apparently the gypsies are involved again.
  • Four Houses – Trading Spaces, revisited.

Misc Weird
I had to create a miscellaneous catory for weird stuff for the rest of these. I have only seen one of these…

  • Little Shop of Gypsies – again with the gypsies? What is this obsession?!
  • (Strange) Sex – Hmmmm
  • Virgin Diaries – Seriously?
  • Long Island Medium – Okay, this woman is frickin’ amazing! I’ve seen bits and peices of this show and it is pretty unbelievable.

So there you have it, friends. Most of the line-up for “The Learning Channel” in 2012. Now even though I used a critical eye to judge this line-up, let me be clear. Aside from the exploiting children and the psychological issues categories, most of the other shows may have some redeeming entertainment value in them. But, let’s not pretend it is about learning and let’s call it what it is: “The Entertainment Channel”. And we can leave the education to the more high brow channels like the History Channel, for example, where you can learn all about the Mayans and the 2012 Apocalypse or the live Mermaids (oh, wait a minute…).

Oh well, I guess not all channels can teach us things.  I’m going to sign off now to go watch my favorite television show on yet another high brow channel – American Movie Classics (AMC) – “The Walking Dead”.  Don’t judge! I swear it is about the character development!!!

“The Password is…”

So I’ve decided there are too many passwords in life. I mean, I can understand having one or two, but the amount of passwords necessary in my life has gotten out of control. How many do you have? Do you have any idea? I recently have had to compile a cheat sheet of them for my work accounts which is secretly stashed in my desk somewhere. Yes, it has come to this. Bu the worst of it is that once I start to really remember my passwords, there are some programs that make you change it every few months (yes, I know. It is a security measure.) The kicker is that you can’t reuse the password you had before – any of the passwords you used before!! Now I realize that the term necessaryis a subjective term, but you be the judge. I was curious about how many passwords I actually had so I made list. Here is the list of items I currently have passwords for in my life:

1. ATM card
2. Bank account on line
3. Facebook
4. Log-in home computer
5. Email – home account
6. Log-in work computer
7. Email – work email at desk
8. Email – work email remotely
9. Gmail – another random calendar I maintain
10. Banner (financial system)
11. R25 – event scheduling system
12. Administrator Leave form
13. JCU Catering ordering system
14. Blackboard
15. WordPress – website for work
16. WordPress – website for personal
17. Wufoo – form creator website
18. LoboLink – website for student orgs
19. Office email account
20. Spotify
21. MyFitnessPal
22. Weight Watchers
23. Work listserve
24. P-card reconciliation website
25. Evite – okay, I rarely use this anymore!
26. Twitter – okay, so I never use this

So there it is. There is the list. Twenty-six sets combinations of letters and numbers, capitals and small letters that are supposed to be burned in my memory – until they have to change. And I’m sure that some or most of my passwords would be deemed “weak” or “not strong enough” by the password security guards out there. But, what can I say? Math was never my strong suit and I shouldn’t need a degree in calculus to either create or remember a complex “pass phrase” just to conduct my everyday business. I do not need this stress! How does my list compare to yours? Shorter, I hope. Longer?? I would like to suggest that we just use our thumb or fingerprints as a pass code to all our secure accounts. Doesn’t that work for Tom Cruise in all the Mission Impossible movies?! I mean come on, how hard would it be? If we can put a man on the moon…

The Beast vs. Batman

Well the Caped Crusader has finally met his match in the case of the Beast vs. Batman. As you know we have had numerous security breaches in the past and thankfully they have all been near misses with no loss of life. That record is broken. I came home yesterday to a report of another security breach and this time, I’m sorry to say…it was fatal. Henry made it through not only one (the gate by the stairs), but two (Zach’s closet) secure areas to seek out and destroy his latest victim. Poor fella didn’t even see it coming. I was not able to obtain photos of the actual crime scene as I was told that the scene was just too gruesome for the average reader – white stuffing everywhere. The cleaning crew processed the scene swiftly, but the full investigation is still pending. I obtained this unofficial photo taken by an anonymous photographer allegedly taken during the autopsy.

Services will be held as soon as the family (Zach) is able to make the proper arrangements. Monday is garbage day so hopefully the grieving process does not last longer than the weekend!

May you rest in peace, Dark Night. And Mr. Lion, I would start sleeping with one eye open, my friend!

Long Leap Day for Lisa

So after yesterday’s experience I’m really glad that Leap Day only comes around every 4 years. It started out great! We had a great last session at the conference I attended and I even won a gift card…score!

We made good time getting to the airport, through security and on the plane. Our plane was to leave at 12:30 and our plan was to get lunch when we landed in Philly because we had a 2 hour layover before heading onto Akron. Best laid plans, right? Just as we were going to take off, the pilot announced over the PA system that we were going to have a 90 minute delay because of weather in Philly and would not be leaving until 2pm. They told us we could feel free to leave the airplane, but stay close in case they were cleared to leave any earlier. My colleague and I decided to get off and grab some lunch at the Legal Seafood restaurant that we noticed right up from our gate. We left our bags stowed in the overhead compartments as the plane was really full and we didn’t need to take them with us. We decided to play it safe and get our lunch to go and eat it right near the gate so we didn’t miss anything (you know like our plane taking off!). My lunch was phenomenal…so much so that I even took a picture of it!

As we sat and talked and enjoyed our lunch we watched the big line of people waiting in line at our gate. When we were finished around 1:20 we decided to head over to our gate to see if we could board again yet. We arrived at our gate to find it weirdly empty. I thought to myself, what happened to the line? There was no one working the counter so I asked someone sitting near it if he was waiting to board. He said no and that the plane had already left. I immediately started arguing with him saying that no, our plane was delayed until 2pm! I shut up after I looked outside and saw nothing attached to that accordion hatch. Our airplane was gone. Gulp. Crap. And then I added, “son of a biscuit” when I remembered that our stuff was on the airplane!

We put the luggage out of our minds for a moment while we quickly found someone at a gate to help find us another flight to Philly, but we were out of luck. Because of the weather all the flights into Philly had long delays – that would make us definitely miss our connecting flight to Akron. Thankfully we were rerouted south to DC on a 2pm flight and then a 7:40 flight to Akron. So all was not lost. We just felt really silly and stupid for making this mistake. As it turns out we were eating lunch one gate down from our actual gate after all! That line of people was from another flight to Philly. Duh!

Feeling stupid, but grateful we boarded the DC flight. We were delayed again a bit because of de-icing so that was fun. Plus I found myself in a middle seat in between a dude who reaked of alcohol and a dude that reaked of bad breath. I’m taking dragon, could kill someone, simple chronic halletosis! I learned the hard way after asking one question that I needed to cease and desist any further communication with my fine seat mates. And…sleeping.

To make a long day story short-er, we arrived in DC fine and began our wait for our home flight at 7:40. But of course it had to still get more complicated. Around 6pm we noticed that the moniter now said our flight was delayed until 9:13. Seriously?! Yep. More waiting…and shopping! We decided to take advantage of a sweet sale on fleece jackets at the airport store…since our coats were on another flight anyways!

Hey, I think we look pretty good for traveling all day long!!

We eventually landed at 10:55pm…almost exactly 12 hours since we left our hotel in Boston. Almost like clockwork we checked we baggage lost and found and learned that our baggage was indeed lost, and not found. Of course at that time of nite the lost and found in Philly was closed so we would have to wait til the morning to follow up on that. I began listing all the things that were packed in my bag and two important things stuck out – my glasses and my running shoes!!! Fortunately my bag was labeled with my name and address, but unfortunately it was not tagged in the system since it was not checked. It was like rubbing salt in our wounds every time we had to explain to another airport staff person why and how we had become separated from our unmarked luggage. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I finally got home at midnight and was in bed by 12:30am.

So, how was your leap day?

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Henry biting off your nose…”

Okay, folks you cannot make this stuff up…

Now I have had my house decorated for Christmas pretty much since the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This includes our four stockings hanging from the mantel. Here is a picture…

I originally had a stocking in the shape of a paw hanging too, but since it was a) Homer’s stocking, our former canine friend, and b) too small for the beast, I decided to look for a Henry-sized stocking. Fortunately, I found a cute one at Target with a dog head on top and the rest was made out of Santa hat material. So I proudly hung up the new one for Henry with no worries as he had managed to coexist with the other four stockings since Thanksgiving weekend.

Yeah.

Cut to last Sunday. I was at church when this picture appeared on my phone…

and a message, “Henry found his stocking…”

I’m not sure why I’m ever surprised, but I was. Someone asked me, “oh, did he smell doggie treats in it or something?” Nope. It was new. Emphasis on was…PAST TENSE! So after playing just one round of Sesame Street’s game “one of these things is not like the other”, I determined that the one thing different about Henry’s stocking from all of the others is that his has (well, actually had) a face. That has to be it! I’m living with a vicious canine predator. Can’t you tell??!!

I mean this is too friggin’ funny. I’d love to know what goes on in that big block head of his. Does he just believe that nothing else with a face (the humans excluded, I hope) can coexist in his domicile? Or is he just creeped out that we have stuffed things with faces? Or is it just some weird hunting instinct??! We may never know, but we continue to be entertained almost daily!!!

Dogs Have Nine Lives Too!

Life is stranger (and funnier than fiction). That is so true.

Take the case of green puppy for example.

I should explain who green puppy is. Green puppy known by that very descriptive and creative name is Zach’s very favorite stuffed friend. He received him as a gift when he was born along with many other stuffed friends, but for whatever reason green puppy stood out as the fave from day 1. I have pictures of Zach sleeping with him as just a little guy. Green puppy fits in his arm just so that Zach is able to carry him around like an extra appendage and still do other things with both hands. Needless to say green puppy has an elevated place in the Ramsey family pecking order of stuffed friends. This is important background information for the reader to know before I tell you that he had a very close encounter with the large canine in our house a few weeks ago. As I have shared Henry has a taste for stuffed animals for reasons that we still have not yet uncovered. (We are saving up for doggie therapy). Well, green puppy barely escaped with his life with one eye and some innards removed. All I remember hearing that day was, “Nooooooooo, not GREEN PUPPY!!!!!!!!” and then finding this…

Zach did not want me to write about this incident at the time it happened. As I was taking this picture to blog about the incident, Zach kept saying, “It is not funny!” I agreed that it was not funny. To that he responded, “but you are going to make it funny!” We quarantined his remains and I promised Zach that a) I would not blog about it (at least not then) and b) we would fix him (read: hopefully grandma could fix him since mommy doesn’t sew). So finally I remembered to ask grandma to help perform surgery on green puppy a few days ago. He was safely delivered to grandma in a Heinen’s bag. Just as we had hoped and prayed grandma was able to successfully perform surgery on him, provide him with a new prosthetic eye, additional stuffing and a bath to boot. Green puppy was healed! Hallelujah! Here he is in all his fixed glory!

All is well.
Well, almost.

As grandma was telling me yesterday that she delivered a fixed green puppy back to our house, a seed of worry began to grow in my tummy.

“Where did you put him”, I asked?

“Just on the counter in the kitchen”, she said naively.

Gulp. Oh, no, not the kitchen counter, I thought! The kitchen counter: the serving table for Henry’s every whim or insatiable appetite. Thankfully I arrived home to find green puppy safely in his Heinen’s bag on the kitchen counter. Whew! I went upstairs for about 5 minutes to grab some laundry and came down to find the Heinen’s bag missing from the counter!!! Zach and Mike had just arrived home so we all began frantically looking for green puppy. The Heinen’s bag was chewed almost beyond recognition all along the basement stairs. We were filled with dread as we went downstairs just knowing we might not be ready for what we might find. But we couldn’t find him anywhere. No green puppy! We broadened our search to include the entire house, but I started to accept the unthinkable. Henry has just eaten green puppy, like completely! New prosthetic eye and all!! Just as we were at our wits end and beginning the grief process, and Zach was ready to beat the dog, Mike proclaimed his find. Green puppy was behind the couch in the basement, unscathed and in one piece!!!!!!!! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!!!!! The only conclusion we could draw from this narrow escape is that in his violent shaking of his prey, Henry must have flung his victim behind the couch and then could not retrieve him to finish the job. Praise God!

Green Puppy is currently residing in a safe house while his hermetically sealed protective case is being designed and prepared. Contributions to Henry’s therapy fund can be made at the following website: www.mydogiscrazy.org.

I Fought the Law and the Law Won

Yes. Yes. Yes. It has happened again. I have had yet another brush with the law – on Veterans Day. Okay, stop laughing. Before you start judging/lecturing me, let me explain. I did not get pulled over for speeding. I got pulled over for making a right turn. Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? I should probably add that there is a sign by the intersection that says, “no right turn from 7am – 6pm”. But wait, there is more…

Here is the scenario. I was heading over to an event on campus, but since there was construction I could not drive through campus to get to my destination. So, I made the first right turn I could to make my way down a regular road to the building I needed. Sure enough an unmarked car immediately pulled me over and gave me a ticket. No warning…just a ticket. I tried to explain that I hadn’t seen the great big sign indicating I couldn’t make a right turn, but the cop was not buying it. Either that or he saw my recent driving record and decided that I was a menace to society and needed to be stopped.

So, after I cooled off after a couple of days I called about the amount of the fine and I could almost hear my jaw hit the floor. Are you sitting down? $210 dollars. Yes, two hundred and ten dollars! Seriously?!! For a wrong turn onto a road?! I have since learned that the aforementioned sign has been present for 11 years because of a law that got passed as a result of community members complaints about students driving down that road (that has about 5 houses on it). Apparently just recently the city is cracking down on violators. All of this I would have known had I read the issue of the Carroll News that was published the day before my transgression. Yes, the irony is just too much to bear. And get this – my colleague warned me the morning of the day I got my ticket that she had recently gotten pulled over after making that same turn. Oh, and don’t worry – she only got a warning. Okay, now you can laugh.

But you want to know the very best part of this whole story??! While turning right onto this road is against the law and is equal to making a pact with Satan himself, you CAN turn left onto said road. So in order to comply with the law and be good citizens, JCU people coming from campus simply make a U-turn and turn left. Yes, that sounds like a much safer alternative.

Epilogue: I submitted a letter to the court asking for the judge to waive the fee because of all kinds of good reasons. They called me back and explained that I would need to submit a fee in order for the judge to review my case which may result in a pre-trial hearing with more fees. In the end I could pay a bunch of court costs and still have to pay the original ticket fine too. Um, yeah, totally not worth it. So, yeah, I’ll be submitting my $210 to the fine court of Shaker Heights this week. Merry Christmas to me. If you want to read more about this riveting story, you can read the Carroll News article that I missed here.