Saturday, August 30, 2008

Is It Time To Make A Change?

What I did today....My latest creation....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Good, The Bad.

David began his inprocessing paperwork for his new job yesterday. That's very excited given that he's ready to be there and not in his present work situation. His actual start date won't be for another 1.5 weeks, but it's nice to know that his paperwork is out of the way. Part of the paperwork included the health insurance application.

The good thing is that his coverage will be awesome. It's a 90/10 plan meaning very little out of pocket and he'll meet his deductible fast. There's a prescription plan along with dental/vision coverage too. Another thing is that he doesn't have to wait 90 days for coverage. It's starts the next calendar month after beginning his job.

The bad thing is that, by law, if your spouse's primary insurance is and HSA, they cannot provide any secondary coverage. And given their ruling that the spouse must take any coverage through their own work, that's where I'm at. I have an HSA through work so I cannot qualify for any of David's awesome new coverage. I had a feeling that's the way it was going to be given everything that was told to us last week and the small bit of research I performed. I'm jealous but I must be happy that at least one of us has good medical coverage.

I'm not sure what my next course of action will be. I think I will look into individual coverage but having already been through that during our time period after the military and before our medical coverage went into effect afterwards, it's not going to be too promising. Where you "make out" is with larger businesses/corporations with the groups rates.

On the upside the money I have in our HSA account will be all "mine" and I won't have to worry about having to split it between 2 people if something were to occur. So technically I have more of a buffer than previously since it's only to cover one person and not 2. Just trying to look at the bright side of things.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yep, It's About That Time

I'm Back!

I believe the old Heidi is back. Don't know if that's a good thing or not....

Most everyone knows that I attempted to treat my depression and anxiety for the past 4-5 months through medication. Previous to my speaking with the doctor I had tried various other options over the past several years. Exercising, positive thinking, and mental exercises. I finally decided to speak to someone on the subject and was finally lead to medication. I was hesitant to take anything but I told myself it wasn't a sign of weakness but strength acknowledging I had a definite issue. I went into the situation with a positive outlook. Being open-minded with no real expectations. I just went with the flow. As stated in previous posts I've been on several medications and finally settled on Zoloft. I thought I had the answer with Zoloft. I had no adverse immediate reactions and after several weeks in I was feeling GOOD. Positive yet laid back.

The weird thing was this "good", laid back feeling continued to increase to the point where I wasn't too comfortable. I had never had the sensation of being so chill. To get things done I'd have to keep mentally telling myself to, "Go pay pills. You need to run. Cleaning needs to be done." Basically daily things needed to be done, yet I could never get enough fire under my butt to get it done. Eventually it'd get done but I felt as though I was failing and losing my edge. Knowing that, I told myself, "It's okay. Let your body go and do what it needs to do." It scared me, but I attempted let things fall into place.

As time went on my running fell to shit. I couldn't get myself up in the mornings to run. The alarm would go off, I'd turn it off and tell myself, "I'll run tomorrow," reset the alarm and sleep for another hour. I did this knowing full well that more than likely I'd do the same thing again tomorrow. I recognized my actions but it was as though I couldn't change them because my mind wouldn't allow me. It was almost as though I was in denial. And when I did go on a run I felt slow. Now mind you, we all know I'm slow to begin with, but the medication made me slip to an even slower pace. I didn't feel good before, during, or after my runs. Nothing like a little negative reinforcement to make me not want to run the next day. At first I thought this was all because of finishing my training for the half marathon. You know, you reach your climax and then all of the sudden it's done. For the longest time I told myself that's what my problem was, but deep down I knew it wasn't the issue.

In addition, I found myself very tired being on the medication. It wasn't like I was exhausted and walking on a cloud the entire time, but if I had a moment to close my eyes, I would. Whew, and my dreams...I've always been a dreamer and can remember my dreams but being on the medication led to vivid dreams where I could remember every little detail and oftentimes they were confrontational with people that are in my life. Dreams are cool and all but I like to get a good sleep every once in awhile and I definitely didn't dig fighting with people all night. Not cool.

Finally I found that my memory was totally shot. I've always had a super memory. Most people that know me would say that I'm a person that can rattle off almost any situation throughout my life. Stories, where I was when I saw/heard something, and stupid non-important stuff. I was to the point where I couldn't remember what I had done the previous day. Coworkers would as me about a case and I'd say, "I didn't do that...." I'd then look at the chart and see that yes, I did perform an injection, or whatever it may have been. And lastly, I could be holding a conversation with someone and couldn't remember from one moment to the next what point I was trying to get across. I don't know too many work situations where this wouldn't be an issue but these were symptoms that I felt compromised my situation to a point which was unacceptable given I'm constantly communicating with clients and dealing with a variety of medications, from preparing to administering.

So I decided to begin weaning myself off of the medication. I cut my dose in half and had no issues the first several days. Then on one day my schedule changed where I totally forgot to take my medication along with my other vitamins, etc. This happened 3 days in a row. By the 3rd day I figured since I had weaned myself off of the medication and had now been off of it for 3 days I'd be fine.That's when the real hell began. I began having this "trailing" sensation with my eyes/mind. I'd move my eyes and it was as if they had to catch up. I also became sensitive to any noises and light changes. Small changes seemed extreme in my mind. That came and went and by the 3rd day of being off of the medication, as if the trailing wasn't enough I started having almost a dizzy feeling. Any little move would throw me off balance. And then the nausea kicked in. I never vomited, but man oh man did I want to. The last symptom that came about was my ears/hearing being muffled. It wasn't constantly but it'd come and go randomly for seconds at a time. I had the physical sensation of my eardrums moving, which having my increased reaction to sensations, was not comfortable one bit. All of these symptoms totally threw me for a loop. I figured I was just having withdrawal from the medication but it truly scared the shit out of me wondering if I had some other problem(s) going on. The sensations left me feeling like I had low blood sugar so I'd eat but then the nausea would kick in hard core. I attempted to keep my normal day to day activities but finally came to the point where I know I needed to take some time off of work. And attempting to run during all of this was going on was a feat in itself. I hadn't felt that bad on runs since I started running. My heart and lungs hurt like you wouldn't believe. My legs cramped up. I could only finish about 1.5 miles and then had to walk almost the rest of my 3 mile route. I was totally bummed. I even got to the point when I checked my blood sugar on the glucometer to verify I wasn't having severe highs and lows. The readings proved to be normal so this confirmed I was definitely having some withdrawal issues. I just wanted them to end and hoped it'd come soon.

After having over a week's time of issues my symptoms began to lift on Monday afternoon. What a relief. By Tuesday morning I had my zest back to life. I literally hoped out of bed ready to run and beat David out the door. To top it off my run was flippin' awesome! And even better, today's run proved to be another great run. I'm so happy to be back.

Of course this leaves me with my depression/bi-polar issues. I'm not sure what my gameplan is but at this point I had to decide the lesser of two evils and my choice was to get off the medication and try to find my happy medium in another way. But at this point I'm lovin' having the old Heidi back.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Edy's Vanilla*ology

David and I took the Edy's Vanilla*ology Quiz to find out what vanilla we are. I thought it got us right on. Try it out and see what you get.

Mine-Score: Vanilla Bean with a kick. You're a real go-getter!

Nothing slips by you because you’re on your game at all times. You know what’s right and what needs to be done and you take charge to make sure it happens.

When it comes to vanilla ice cream, the perfectionist in you demands that it taste exactly like vanilla ought to taste. If it doesn’t have the obvious presence of real vanilla, it won’t pass your test.

Your vanilla is Edy's Vanilla Bean. You’re most likely to swap spoons with other Vanilla Bean lovers or entertaining Vanilla enthusiasts.

Wait a minute, are you Monica Geller from Friends? Or maybe Alan from Two and a Half Men?

David-Score-A Vanilla Triple Threat! You're a flavor enthusiast

You’re as detail-oriented as you are carefree. You’re as daring as you are safe and secure. Long story short, you’re a tough nut to crack. Shrouded in mystery, you seem to be good at anything you undertake and equally capable of wearing a number of different hats. Be careful not to stretch yourself too thin by chasing goals at opposite ends of the spectrum.

One thing is clear. You love your vanilla ice cream. In fact, you’re not really sure which one you love most. Seek help immediately in a freezer aisle near you.

As far as romance goes, the world is your oyster. But be wary of flavor enthusiasts. One of you needs to have a definite direction or you will both be lost.

You rank right up there with Grace from Will & Grace and Sandy Cohen from The O.C.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My How Things Change

While David and I were at breakfast this morning we were carrying on general conversation. Our conversation was lead in the direction of the Olympics as we were talking about them coming to an end. As we talked I said, "It's overrated." Of course I was joking as I'm a huge fan of the Olympics and athletes/athletics in general. My comment came from the fact that I watched almost no Olympics this time. I caught glimpses here and there including both ends of the marathons, Dara Torres, and Michael Phelps' 8th medal, but it was nothing like 4 years ago. 4 years ago we were right in the middle of our move from New Orleans (NOLA) to Detroit. I was living with Justin and Cass as we got settled into our new house while David finished his time in NOLA. We watched the Olympics non-stop and were glued to the tv. I was the type that would look up the results and still watch the playback in primetime that evening. It didn't make a difference. This year was total opposite. I'd look up the results and be content with that. Being part of the "analyzing family" I couldn't help but analyze the situation. Number 1-the timing was off. It definitely helped that there were on opposites of us (12 hours) but I could only catch things that happened early in their days as I was not able or willing to stay up late. And Number 2, which is where this post is heading, the bottom line is I don't watch hardly any tv anymore.

I was never a huge sitcom person but I watched tv pretty regularly. As a kid I could remember watching Roseanne, 90210, Saved By The Bell, Home Improvement, Friends, etc. on a weekly basis. As time moved on I was hooked on "reality tv." I'd watch Real World, Big Brother, Survivor, and Amazing Race. I still watched these 4 years ago. However, as time has moved on I find myself watching less and less tv. Not sure really why. I can't say it's a waste of my time because I'm now instead on the computer. I guess I just don't want to get tied down into a show. That and they have so many shows that are the same now, and those don't interest me. The CSI-type, mystery, fake medical....you know what I'm talking about. It's not really my genre, not to mention the storyline repeats itself from week to week. Different people, different situations, but the same progression. And in general, you can only repeat topics so much in sitcoms.

Looking back to when our tv died last year, if I was single, living alone, I wouldn't have bought another tv. And the only real reasons we keep cable is for the computer and sports. A few years ago I couldn't understand how people could live without cable tv. Now I do. My how things change.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

HSAs Suck

Over 2 years ago my company went to an HSA (Health Savings Account) for insurance. We're such a small company that getting affordable coverage is quite hard. They figured this was the best way to go. For those of you who aren't familiar with HSAs I'll sum it up for you: You pay a monthly premium that says, "I have insurance." That money doesn't go anywhere but to the insurance company. You keep nothing of it. You then pay over and above that to put money into your account for medical use. You have a wide variety of things you can use the money on from doctor's visits to buying OTC meds at the grocery store. You have no co-pays and pay for everything at cost. However, most doctors have a contract of some sort with the insurance company. Let's say they usually charge $150 for an office call. They'll submit that claim to the insurance and receive a letter back stating that they can only charge $90 due to their contract. You then receive a bill in the mail for the $90 that you have to pay. The idea is that you pay it with your HSA account, of course if you even have that in the account. HSAs have a high ass deductible...something like $3,000 per person per year. $5,000 per family per year. So basically what you want to do is put enough money into the account to at least cover your deductible. Of course financially you can only afford to put a certain amount away and with ongoing medical expenses it's darn near impossible to put enough money into the account to even cover your deductible. And since you don't have a co-pay you pay whatever the pharmacy wants to sell your medication for. For instance, I'm on birth control (no surprise) and I have to pay whatever they sell it for. I get no "breaks." Thankfully I found a company that has off brand birth control prescriptions. At $54 for a 90 day supply it's a heck of a lot more than a payment of $25 for 90 day supply. At the same time it's better than paying $100 per month for a pack, and given my coverage that's what I'd have to pay if I hadn't found this company. The "good" thing about HSAs are that they cover wellness visits 100%. Like when I go in for my annual exam and pap I pay nothing. But those circumstances are few and far between in the scheme of things. The point of HSAs is that you take hold of your insurance spending and price things around to see what's best before acting. That's all well and good but most doctor's can't give you that information until they see you and submit a claim to the insurance. Also the "good" thing is that it's "your" money. It's a form of retirement fund that you can cash out at a certain age. So given that, you try not to spend it because you want to save as much of it as possible. At least that's my thinking.

So that's the hell of HSAs in a nutshell. Hopefully I didn't lose too many of you. So that leaves me where I am. I personally have medical situations which I haven't addressed because I can't afford them. Of course anytime I bring them up my co-workers will say, "you need to take responsibility of your medical problems. You're young now, but could have some serious medical issues that you're not having treat." And the best thing....they say, "The doctor will just bill you." Now why in the hell would I want to have a bill hanging over my head. The bottom line is that it's a catch 22. I treat my problems and have huge bills or I just deal with the discomfort. In addition, anytime I go into the doctor 9 times out of 10 I don't feel like my issues are addressed and if they are it means it will cost A LOT more money.

I've had a nagging abdominal pain for the past 2 years. It's on and off so it's hard to catch it when it's going on. I went to the doctor and he couldn't palpate a thing. He ordered an ultrasound and a urinalysis with culture and sensitivity. I had the urinalysis performed and never received a call back. Finally, I called and come to find out it was negative. Yeah, would've been nice to get a phone call. And as for the ultrasound they couldn't get me in for a month. By the time the appointment came around I didn't have the symptoms. In addition, at $500+ a pop I couldn't see myself having it performed, especially since I had no symptoms at the time. So I'm back at square one. I have the abdominal pain on and off and it hasn't been dealt with.

Another situation...As everyone knows I've been on an anti-depressant. It took 3 medications to get me to be able to even handle the one I ended up on. I thought things were going great until recently I was having severe memory lose and having trouble connecting my thoughts. In the profession I'm in, this is unacceptable. So that coupled with the monthly fee of $30 for the medication I decided to wean myself off of it. So in another situation I'm back to square one. Now most people would say, "go to your doctor and see what they say." That's all well and good but every time I step foot in the door it costs me $90+ dollars. And given that this time the medication worked, but didn't, he'll recommend me going to another doctor to speak to someone for a more confirmed diagnosis. What does that mean? More money. I'll be put on another medication which means, more money. Money that I really don't have. Yes, I have money in our HSA but at this point it doesn't even cover our deductible so Heaven forbid anything seriously wrong would happen. I try to keep David's other lose knee far from my mind. At any moment it could go and we wouldn't be able to afford to fix it due to our shitty insurance.

And at this point I cannot put any additional money into it than I'm already providing. I'm already paying $150 twice a month to cover David's premium and for money to be placed into the HSA. Add onto that taxes and my placing money into my IRA I have approximately $350 taken out twice a month. That doesn't leave us with much.

The situation is utterly ridiculous. In my opinion it'd almost be best not to even have insurance. If I didn't have insurance I wouldn't go to the doctor. I have insurance now and don;t go to the doctor, but am losing money on the situation. The thing is, this is nothing new to those dealing with HSAs. Anywhere you look you see problems with the current state of the US health insurance problem. And I don't see the problems being addressed anytime soon.

I was hoping our situation would soon change since David got the job with the school system. It looks like he'll have awesome coverage. As for me, according to the school system, if my job offers insurance I have to take it as my primary. I can then add David's insurance as my secondary. So whatever my primary doesn't cover the secondary will. But given I have an HSA, technically it "covers everything," even though it doesn't cover shit, a secondary insurance will probably be a waste of money. So before doing my research it looks like the HSA's going to screw the pooch again. Big surprise. Only time and research will tell, but in our current state it doesn't take much to reduce me to tears just looking at it, seeing that more than likely my situation won't change.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Good Looking Boy

As stated in previous posts Spencer's fit into our family real well. I was able to get some pictures while he was playing outside tonight with Viking and Lily. Boy does he love to run. It will only last for a minute or two and then he's done. But it's really a hoot! Viking chases after him while Lily tries to keep up. You can't help but laugh.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Job

Most of you don't know but David's been a substitute janitor for the Sandusky City Schools since last winter/spring. He attended the boiler class in hopes of working his way up the ladder to becoming a licensed boiler somewhere in the area. He completed the class but now has to log 600 hours on a boiler before taking the certification exam. During the summer months subs aren't needed so he didn't hear anything. That was until last week.

Last week the supervisor notified David that he had a permanent position available. David hopped on it and it looks like David's going to be making a career jump in the coming weeks. To begin, he'll start as a basic janitor. The supervisor doesn't see him staying there long, as a "level 2" position will be opening in October. This is just the chance for him to get David into the system full-time. He sees David progressing quickly and wants to provide the time for David to log as many hours on the boilers as possible in hopes of getting him certified ASAP. Ultimately he wants to see David as a fireman, the highest level, at one of the schools. There are a decent amount of boiler operators retiring in the near future and he needs replacements.

David will start with a pay cut but after becoming a level 2 his salary will increase tremendously. In addition, the benefits will be a hell of a lot better than what we have now. HSA's suck! The supervisor told David to take as long as he needs at his old job before starting with the schools. This is an interesting scenario. We want David to stay at his old job mainly for the income, which would close the gap between the starting pay rate with the schools and the promotion to a level 2. But we don't want him to lose the opportunity with the schools (they say his position is set but you just never know). So we're unsure at this time what the gameplan is. Maybe 2 jobs at the same time. Who knows. But it looks like another life changing moment in our lives. We just like to keep you on your toes!

Passport Update

Ever since I found out our passports were lost a manual search has been being performed. Basically the individual at the USPS was working as a liason between myself and the US Passport Agency. She'd keep me posted on anything going on, mostly just to give me condfidence that something was actually happening and they weren't yanking my chain. I received another phone call yesterday. The USPS worker wanted to verify our address. After a week's manual search our passport applications are still MIA. Back to square one. We are to receive a letter today stating that we need to re-apply. We cannot do anything until we receive the letter, but she was just giving us the heads up so we could get the ball moving again on our end. Ah well. We had already picked up a certified letter of David's name change and David took care of getting certified birth certificates for both of us. And at the beginning of this fiasco I filled out new applications. Of course we never used those so I held on to them, so it's one less this we have to do. According to the USPS worker she understands that the letter states some fees are going to be waved. We will still have to pay the $75 fee for each passport but this application fee via the USPS will be waved and we will be reimbursed for our expenses (1st application fee, certified name change letter, birth certificates). In addition, our passports will be expedited at no charge. That's what I'm talking about. We better get something here. So as of this moment we're waiting in the wings ready to jump for when we receive the letter.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Spencer Can Run!

Spencer was cleared for full activity after his pelvic radiographs Friday. The boy can run!!

video

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Updates

Looking at the calendar I can't believe we're already in August for the year 2008. It's true that time moves faster when you get older.

Yesterday was Spencer's 1 month anniversary of joining our family. He has made himself right at home. And even after a few rough spots in the adjustment period it's gone quite smooth and we're glad we made the decision to not only adopt a greyhound, but chose Spencer to adopt. Actually, it's more like he chose us.

I figured I'd also update you on a couple other things. I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for 2 months now. It's still going well with no real glitches. As with anything it's easy to be an unhealthy vegetarian, but I think I'm doing well. Think about it, you could be a vegetarian and eat potato chips all day. Not good. I believe I allow myself a decently well-rounded diet. I can't remember the last time we even had fast food. It's not like I have many choices if we were to go there so we just don't. I had my first craving 2 weeks ago. It was for a Whopper with cheese. I definitely knew it was truly a want considering I haven't had BK in over 2 years. While in Michigan we ate there a couple times and every time I felt sick afterwards. It didn't take long for us to avoid going there. My other craving was rice krispie treats. But considering marshmallows have gelatin, a no-no, I avoided them. Come to find out that they do have vegan marshmallows and marshmallow treats. I'm gonna have to buy some of those. So that's going well, which I'm very happy with.

It's also been 4 months since I've been on Zoloft. I believe I can say that it does work. My anxiety and compulsiveness has been taken down several notches. The downside is that I see that my compulsiveness is lowered and I try to fight it with no success. My body's not used to letting things slide so my mind gets torn. For instance, running. I know I should run and want to run but I find myself saying, "Oh I'll do it later..." Same thing we accomplishing simple tasks like cleaning or reading. In addition my memory seems shot. I'm not kidding when I say I can sit down at the computer determined to look something up, a different thought enters my mind for 1 second and I can't remember what I had wanted to look up. This is quite scary to me as I've always had an awesome memory and can recall any detail when asked. And sometimes I'll even do this when I'm talking. My mind wanders and I find it hard to put my thoughts together to make a sentence. And these past 2 things (less compulsiveness and memory) combine sometimes. I'm a list maker so I always have 1 to 2 lists going at all times. Previously this was an obsessive thing and something I really didn't need. Now I do need it for memory but since my compulsiveness is gone I find myself either forgetting or putting off making a list. I could also sleep all day if my schedule allowed me. I do attribute some of this to being worked into the ground while at work. I'm throughly exhausted by the time I step foot in the door. So I wasn't surprised that when I sat down to read at 7 last night I ended up falling asleep on the couch for 2 hours and then slept through the night. I awoke at 5am today and I could definitely hit the hay right now if I could. I've always been a dreamer. I also tend to remember my dreams. However, since being on the medication my dreams haven't ceased and have only become more vivid and realistic. To the point where I'm always waking up saying, "Did that really happen?" Not to mention, I can recall every detail in them. Why's my memory so good with the dreams and not the rest of my life? So I guess what I'm saying is that there are trade-offs to the medication. It's do what it's supposed to be doing but I'm not sure if I necessarily like it. I guess I need to determine if I want to have a good memory and be compulsive or have a poor memory and be laid back. I guess I can't have my cake and eat it too. But damn, I love cake.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Passport Fiasco

How my morning started yesterday....

Given our upcoming cruise David and I applied for our first passports on June 14th. We don't leave for our trip until September 27th so we figured we'd be way in the clear. I've continued to see if our checks cleared and nothing went through. Time kept passing but everyone said to give it time. I was patient but as time keeps closing in I've become quite uncomfortable. Approximately 2 weeks ago I signed up for email notification when they start to process our applications. I never heard anything so come Monday morning I called 1st thing. The US Passport office couldn't find that our applications were received. I then called the post office, where we applied, to see what the deal was. They said that they sent them in via certified mail and that they received confirmation with signature that they were received. So the circle begins. I kept calling each agency to see what I should do. Basically what it came down to was that we should re-apply. That means another $25 for each processing fee. Then I realized, "Wait, they have our birth certificates! Son of a...." Next I started to research how to get certified birth certificates. I found we could go to the health department and for $20 each get a new certified copy. Then, I realized that David's name was changed in 1995 meaning we'd have to get some sort of certified letter verifying his name change. Next call, the probate court. A certified copy of that piece of paper was only $1. I was also unsure as to whether expedite the application process. If we were to do so it'd be another $60 each. The normal application time turnaround is 4 weeks, but I'm not 100% sure I'd believe it. So in order to re-apply we'd be putting another $91 to $211, which in my opinion shouldn't be our responsibility. Needless to say I had a bit of a freak out as all of this was going down. I couldn't believe this had happened. Actually, I could. Given our last vacation was almost pure hell, in our eyes, I'm not going to lie and say that I have no fears something will go wrong on this one.

I continued making phone calls through out the morning trying to find where our applications are. Basically they're in limbo. The USPS doesn't have them and has confirmation that they were delivered and the US Passport office states they don't have any record of them whatsoever. The woman at the post office stepped up to look into it personally. I guess awhile back the same thing happened and the individual took it all the way to our state representative, Marcy Kaptur. The woman ended up getting all fees waived and thereafter all mailings had to be done by certified/confirmation letters. We were the first ones to have this happened after the new protocol. So the lady at the post office made a few phone calls and then got back to me. At the point they're doing a manual search for our applications. It could take a few days but we should find out something at some point. That still left us unsure as to whether to re-apply but at this point we decided to sit tight and hope for the best.

Something else to consider is identity theft. Our birth certificates and SSN's are out there and could get into anyone's hands. We'll have to keep our eyes on our credit reports. More than likely they have found their way into a pile on someone's desk. Wishful thinking? Maybe.

During all of this I made a million phone calls including one to my mom. She couldn't believe what happened either and just reassured me everything was going to be fine. I got off the phone with her and soon after received another call from her. She stated that a coworker said passports are required just yet for cruising to the caribbean. We figured it wasn't true but we'd give it a whirl. I called Royal Caribbean and stated my situation. The representative went on to say that the man was correct. Passports are NOT required. Due to the influx in passport applications they have extended the requirment deadline til June 2009. In addition, I also got this in writing via their website. It states that they highly recommend a passport but a certified birthe certificate and picture ID will do. Whew! A million pounds fell off of my shoulders. Of course we still want our passports but if push came to shove and we didn't receive them we'd be able to get certified birth certificates for our trip.

What a whirlwind of a morning.

We're hoping this is the first and last fiasco of our upcoming trip. I can only imagine Jerry, Diana, Justin, Cassie, Mom, and Dad reading this and saying their prayers. Really, it's going to be an awesome trip. I promise!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Time For A She Did

It's been awhile since I've posted a She Did award. So long that the last time I posted about it, it was the first time ever "presenting" the She Did award. I think it's time for another one....

This She Did Award is being presented to Susan Veliz-Henry, aka Sita, Seeter, Elma. About a year ago, or even over a year ago, Sita wanted to try something new. She's been drawn to massage and massotherapy for as long as I've known. She's always had a knack for it and could give some relaxing massages just using her own personal research. Well, the time came and she decided it was time to go back to school to become licensed. School's never really easy for all that many people, but add on to that a long hiatus from school, a slightly older brain, and working a normal job, it's quite a challenge. It was a trying time for her in a multitude of ways but she persevered and overcame any obstacle presented to her. Sita's now finished with her courses and will take a short break. After that she'll apply to a refresher course to prep for her Ohio board exam that is held in December. She's an awesome mother-in-law and an amazing massotherapist. If anyone needs a good massage give her a holler!

With that being said, I applaud you Sita and am truly proud of all of your hardwork. You believed you could go back to school, complete your course work, and graduate, so you did! Rock on!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mr. And Mrs. Randy Hammons

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with friends celebrating the marriage of Randy and Shannon. It was a beautiful wedding and a ton of fun. I'm still getting used to the camera so it was great to be able to test the waters a bit with it. Be sure to check out the other photos from the big day. Congratulations Randy and Shannon!!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Parvo Sucks

It's parvo season. This time is never fun. It means vomit, diarrhea, disinfect, and repeat at work. In addition you deal with dying animals and people that don't have money to treat the animals. It's such a tough time. This year isn't any easier and if anything the strain is more virulent. On average we're seeing 3-4 cases a day and that doesn't even include those that call in and don't make an appointment. We're constantly dealing with individuals that are calling thinking their pet has been poisoned. Of course they haven't been poisoned. It's parvo. People aren't getting their puppies vaccinated and oftentimes when they do, they give one vaccination...not enough to provide enough immunity. It definitely takes an emotional toll on us. You know you want to provide for the pet but 9 times out of 10 the people don't have money. Just as with human children, it seems that the ones that shouldn't or can't afford to reproduce also have the most dogs and don't take proper care of them. So you're between a rock and a hard place. You try to go through the motions and not try to identify too much with the pet or you'll just crumble. On the other hand there's no denying that you need to help the poor things. You even have the thoughts of, "maybe the pet will be better off in the long run if they do pass." Horrible, I know. But so true. Then, dealing with the humans you wonder if they honestly don't know what they're doing or if they are plain ignorant. The people come in crying saying, "They're like our child." Of course they are, but don't you get your children vaccinated? As with everything it's trying to find the happy medium. Go to work, do my job, have compassion (but not too much), and go home.

So, FYI...parvo is VERY bad here in Sandusky. If you have a puppy that's not vaccinated, get it vaccinated ASAP. If you have an adult dog that's not current on vaccinations, get it vaccinated ASAP. Even adult dogs that are current on the vaccination can run the risk of contracting the disease. Of course this is rare but all vaccinations aren't 100%. And even if they were to contract the disease the severity will be much less. Parvo sucks but it's a preventable disease.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Proud To Claim The Title

In October 2000 David signed an 8 year contract with the United State Marine Corps. This October, 2008, his contract will be completed. It seemed appropriate that he signify the end of a long journey. After years of thinking about it David finally went and received his first tattoo. He went with USMC.

Life in the Marine Corps wasn't always easy. During his time while serving he dealt with many hardships and left the service with bitter feelings toward the Marine Corps. After having time away from the service and assessing the situation he realized that the resentment was towards higher ranking individuals and some peers, not the Marine Corps. All in all it was a process that he had to go through and there's no denying that his experiences helped mold him into who he is today. And although he had times when he thought he wasn't proud to be a Marine he can stand today and say that he is, and will always be, proud to be a Marine. OohRah!



Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Surgery For Lily

Hopefully the start of the morning doesn't signify how the rest of the day's going to be. I woke up at 5:30 to find that we over slept. I knew that I set the alarm for 5am to go running. And I'm a triple plus checker when it comes to alarms. I was baffled by what happened. I reset it for 6am and had a last half hour of restless sleep. At 5:59 I went to turn off the alarm and it started vibrating. Ohhhh, I forgot to turn the sound on before going to bed last night. I'm an idiot and totally bummed that we had another day of no running. Yesterday we didn't run since we were up later on Sunday waiting for a phone call from Sita and Alpa saying they are safe and sound on American soil after their vacation. So the day isn't starting out so well.

It's a nervous day for me. Our little Lily's going under anesthesia to have some work done. To begin, she has a hernia. She's had it for awhile and we've kept an eye on it. However, she had some IBD issues a couple weeks ago and was straining to defecate, which made the hernia larger. So it's time to repair that. In addition, while she's under it's best to have her teeth cleaned. That will definitely call for an extraction or two seeing that one is discolored and knowing her dental history. I administer anesthesia on a daily basis and the protocol doesn't change with your own pet, however my mommy mode has kicked in and I'm generally nervous. Not to mention, I hate inflicting pain on her. She'll of course have a good dose of morphine and an NSAID, but she's such a fragile girl at only 6 lbs. I know she'll never be a mama's girl (she's definitely a daddy's girl) but I hate the feeling that she resents me since I'm the one always putting her through stressful/painful situations. I know most anyone reading this will think I'm crazy and say, "She's just a dog," but she's our dog and as close to a child as we'll ever have. So if you have a moment Lily would appreciate any positive energy sent her way today.

It is currently 2:05 pm and Lily has been out of surgery for approximately 1 hour. There were no complications with surgery. Her hernia's been repaired, teeth have been cleaned, and she had 2 extractions. She's recovering nicely and Mommy's not doing too bad either =).

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Amazing Evolution Of David

As most of you know from previous posts David has had some big physical changes over the past year. Through our running, working out, and watching what we're eating he's at his healthiest lowest weight ever, 165 lbs. The previous lowest was 169 lbs during boot camp, while he was literally being starved. Of course we've noticed the obvious changes with having to purchase new clothes including everything from jeans to skivvies. But you seem to overlook the picture as a whole because we see each other everyday. However, mom brought to our attention that she was looking through our Flickr pictures, both old and new, and was amazed at David's transformation. So much so that she didn't even recognize him at one point. It sounded crazy but we decided to take a look ourselves. Holy crap! We couldn't believe it. It truly amazed us. Wow. I just had to do some before and after pictures:




We were at our heaviest when we lived in Michigan. David at 270 lbs and me at 140 lbs. We don't even have pictures of ourselves during that time. Thank God.

When we got married I weighed 115 lbs, so obviously I had put on a few pounds myself through the past several years. I never considered myself huge but my weight was at a constant increase, moving in a direction I didn't want to go. Thankfully I caught it when I did and it's now in check.

I think it's pretty safe to say that David and I are out of our running funk, where we don't want to get up in the morning. It will never be easy but it's getting better and the pictures sealed the deal knowing it's what we have to do to stay where we're at. Don't get me wrong it's hard, but definitely worth the payoff.