Yes, that is fast expanding foam insulation in my hair

Matt and I were at risk of losing vacation days if we didn’t start taking some. So we decided to take some time off and take care of some things around the house.  You know all those projects we dream up but never finish?

Our staycation started with the easy stuff.  About five years ago, we bought a new chandelier on clearance when a local store was going out of business.  Only the reason that it still sat in a box five years later is because of the location — the top of our vaulted stairwell.  Matt insisted this would be easy if we rented some scaffolding. So we found some at a local tool rental, but it took us an ungodly amount of time to put it together. Once assembled, we couldn’t help but notice how unstable it seemed.  After talking through our options, I decided I was brave enough to climb up and change the fixture if Matt could talk me though it. As we worked, Matt put pressure on the scaffolding to try to keep it steady. That of course brought is to our first lesson of the week: Make sure you have all the equipment needed.  As this thing shook back and forth, and Matt attempted to keep it stable, his eyes fell on a warning label plastered across one of the support structures. It read, “Do not use without cross beam supports in place.” Cross beams? We don’t have any crossbeams!

With some balance and luck, we were able to exchange the light fixture and repainted the entire stairwell and adjoining hallway.  We added sandbags to the scaffolding, which helped a tremendous amount.

See our before and after below:

Now that we had some success behind us, we moved into a bigger project…the laundry room.

When we moved into the house, we had some blindingly ugly stripped wallpaper lining the very small room. We took that off years ago (very distracting) and it sat looking like this (except more cluttered) for the last several years.

The plan was to replace the vinyl flooring with tile, remove an outdated cabinet, put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and add some open shelving.  We barely started when we learned our second lesson: There will always be surprises. We pealed up the existing linoleum to find a second layer of ugly flooring. Pealing that up, we found an extra layer if plywood and the biggest surprise, wood rot. It is about now I realize that I’m going to be doing laundry at the nearby laundromat, because this is not going to be a quick fix.  Lots of demolition and investigation later, I came to the conclusion that things could be a lot worse, but the fixes needed extend beyond our skill sets.  Consult with professionals when in over your head.  I get on the phone and tried to find someone to come out and help repair the sub floor and wall supports so that we could get back to our project.

Luckily for us, we found a super nice guy who came out the next day and spent 12 or so hours fixing things. 

So now we have a quality sub floor and some new drywall, but are still many days away from being able to wash our clothing. We go back to work on Monday, and may need to start turning our clothing inside out.   Apologies if when we start to stink.

Three issues of People Magazine later…

I met with the neurologist.

My MRI came back normal.  My blood work was good except for a low B12 level. So more vitamins for me.

It turns out, I’ve not taken my prescription early enough In the day when I get a headache.  When I did take them, I didn’t feel like they helped at all.

And I learned that the prescription that the clinic at work gave me is actually outlawed in most countries.

He gave me three other prescriptions to try to identify what is the most effective. I’ll go back in a couple months to report back.

The good news of course is that…

He he.

Awkward moments in management

True story. As soon as I think I’ve seen everything…

  • John types too loud.  Can you do something about that?
  • What kind of rating are you giving me this year?
  • I have this hemroid creme that I have to carry with me everywhere…
  • I’m in severe intestinal distress, can I go home?
  • Our cubes are old.  Can we get new ones?
  • Bob smells. Can you tell him to take a shower?
  • Sorry I’m late… I was on the toilet all morning.
  • You showed up on security’s radar. Were you looking at adult content on your work computer?
  • Can I “work from home” to watch the World Cup game?

No evidence of electrical instability 

Hello there.

Last week I went back the the neurologist for my EMG.  They actually performed two different tests, neither one being very pleasant.

The first consisted of this super nice nurse giving me electric shocks all over my arms.  First she took a pen and drew out different measurements on my hands, arms, and shoulders.  Then she used those measurements to determine where to trigger electrical signals.  At first it was pretty mild. It felt like what happens when you shock yourself on a doorknob. Then I saw her crank it up and watch my arms flail about.

For the second test, the doctor stuck little needles in my muscles. He told me to relax and the flex.  The cool thing was that the needles were somehow connected to the audio system in the examination room.  So when I flexed, I could HEAR my muscles contracting.

At the end of all these tests it was determined that I had “no evidence of electrical instability”.

Abnormal reflexes, sleep disorders, and headaches

well, I bit the bullet and went to the doctor.  I found myself feeling really anxious.  I don’t like going to the doctor.

First I went to the on-site clinic.  She agreed my the number and severity of my headaches was unacceptable and gave me some prescription pain killers.  She also referred me to a neurologist.  

So I met with the neurologist.  He asked me a lot of questions, analyzed my posture, asked me to walk across the room, tested my reflexes, and examined my neck and shoulders.  He rambled on to the nurse practitioner about things I couldn’t quite catch:  Something about my spine, then some muscle in my neck, and finally abnormally low reflexes in my arms.

He suggested I may even have a slight sleep disorder and that might be contributing to my migraines.  Then he gave me a lot of homework.

  1. Take a new 2nd prescription next time I get a bad migraine
  2. Keep a sleep journal
  3. Get more sleep and sleep on my back
  4. Keep a headache journal
  5. Get an MRI of my head and neck
  6. Get lots of blood work
  7. Get an EMG
  8. Come back for a follow up appointment to review the results

So, I’ve been going to bed early.  That part is nice but I don’t like falling asleep on my back.

I was nervous about the MRIs. Am I allowed to look around? Apparently I’m supposed to keep that to a minimum.  So, I figured I would find something on the ceiling of the mri machine to stare at.  It will look just like what it does on “Grey’s Anatomy” right?  So the nurse sends me in, and I immediately notice two things.  One is that the ceiling is only a few inches from my face. So I really can’t look anywhere very far.  Two, is that there is nothing to stare at. The ceiling is just one flat piece of white plastic.  So that made the next two hours fun. No moving, and trying to ignore every itch.


we are going through another reorg at work.  I’m getting another team of about 10 people.  I need to do a bunch of work in the strategy space to further enable governed access to data.

My plate is already full.  Now… how can I find a replacement for my special project?

bad morning

I woke up this morning with another migraine. I forced myself to take some aspirin and eat some breakfast, which I immediately threw up.

I’ve never vomited from a migraine before.

I think it’s time to see a doctor.

Surprise giggles

i found myself chasing Harvey around the living room.   Not because he did something he shouldn’t have, but because he wanted to be chased.  We ran from the living room to the dining room, to the kitchen, where I dove a bit to catch him.  I did catch him… as I fell to the floor and uncontrollably broke out in little-school-girl giggles.  It was nice.


please stop

I am not well.
Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling great. I toughed it out and went to work. I should have left earlier. By the time I left my head was pounding and I felt nauseated.

I get what I think are migraines from time to time, but it has been awhile since I’ve gotten one this bad. Unfortunately for me, I was far from home and had to concentrate extra hard on not getting into an accident.

I was very relieved to get home. I walked in the door and told Matt that I think I might puke. I usually try to sleep off my migraines, so I went upstairs and crawled into bed. Matt got a cold wash cloth for my forehead. I tried to sleep, but I was not successful. After a couple hours, the pounding had not improved so I knew we needed to try something else. Water. Maybe I’m dehydrated? Food. I forced myself to eat even though I was not hungry. More pills. Why didn’t they work the first time? Nothing seemed to be working. I tried putting an ice pack on the back of my neck. Cold. Very cold. I had Matt put pressure on the acupressure points in my hand. Maybe I need to go to the doctor? Just think of all the lights and movement required to do that.

I sat as still as I could… hydrated, fed, iced, and pressured. Eventually, the pain dulled and I was able to get some sleep.

This morning, I could still feel it. Dull, but there. Just waiting to ramp back up if I start moving around or look at something bright. There is no way I’m leaving this house today until I know it is gone.

Go away migraine. Go away.

Life and Death

I don’t have a great memory, but certain moments stick in my mind.  The year was 1989. I was enjoying the company of my cousins in what I think must have been a break room in a funeral home.  Our grandmother had just died from cancer.  Even as a child, the break room seemed small, just large enough to house a small table and a few chairs.  One wall was covered in wallpaper while the other wall, a half wall, sported wood spindles separating this room from the hallway.  My cousins and I were crowded inside while the grown ups mourned with each member of the visitation line in the next room.  We were playing that wooden peg game…do you know what I’m taking about?  The one where you jump pegs until only one is left.

I hadn’t thought about that moment in years, until yesterday.  Yesterday, I met up with the same cousins for the same reason.  Only this time we were burying someone from the next generation, one of our parents.  This time, it was my mom’s sister.   I am not sure where the time went. It seems too soon.  While all the cousins are grown, there are no grandkids to play games in the next room.  There is no sudden feeling of adulthood that tells you how to deal with things or what to say.  I suppose it is like everything else in life that you never feel ready for.