Friday, July 28, 2006

Air Travel Adventure Time Again! Or, Why I Love Summer Travel

Monday I left for Chicago, and naturally there were some delays. I was pleased, however, to only arrive in Chicago about an hour and a half later than scheduled. Since there were several conferences in town that week, I stayed at a hotel I don't usually stay at, but I might pick it again. It was an Embassy Suites (fridge! microwave! separate living room!) across the street from a big, nice grocery store and about half-way between Navy Pier and The Good Part of Michigan Ave. It was also only about an 8-9 block walk from the office and 2 blocks from the best italian restaurant downtown, and that's a fact!! (in my opinion). Guaranteed!! (not a guarantee). If you're ever in Chicago, check out Volare at the corner of Grand and Santa Clara. Good prices, terrific service, great food, loud and crowded. Get a reservation.

The plan was to fly home Thursday evening after class, arrive in Raleigh a bit before midnight, work Friday, and fly to Austin after work on Friday afternoon. Then I'd spend a fabulous weekend in Austin with family and friends, and fly home on Monday at the crotch of dawn and go straight to work.

But O'Hare had other plans. I should have suspected something was up when I never received notification that my first-class upgrade request went through. When I arrived at the airport, the airline had annouced that my flight home was cancelled and there was no way to get me home that night. They offered to put me on standby for a flight the next morning, but there were LOTS of people already on that stnadby list, so my chances weren't great. I decided it would be easy enough to work from the Austin office on Friday, so I asked to be rebooked on a flight directly to Austin. I could just wash a few things and buy some more things when I got there, since all I had were 2 workout outfits and 3 business dresses.

The Austin flight was full. I was 3rd on the standby list. No one on standby made it onto the plane, including the poor guy who had left India 30 hours before and was trying to get home to Austin.

Then I made friends with the nicest lady at O'Hare, Yolanda. She had been rebooked for a Houston flight, planning to rent a car, drive, and get to Austin around 3am. I asked if she wanted company, and she said sure, so we teamed up to rent a car from Houston to Austin, and everything was working out. Until the Houston flight cancelled. By this time, of course, every flight out of O'Hare was cancelled, so there were somewhere around 100000 people with nowhere to go, and the hotels were filling up fast. Yolanda and I managed to reserve the last room at a Doubletree in the distant suburbs and get rebooked for flights to Dallas and then to Austin the next day (there was no way to get to Raleigh in time to make the flight from Raleigh to Austin, so it was really the only choice). After waiting over an hour for a cab, we got to the Doubletree around 11:30 and they rolled out the red carpet for us-- cookies, free breakfast coupons, replacement deodorant, the whole 9.

After a 6am wake up call, we caught a limo to Midway airport, I left my cell phone in the car, and spent 35 minutes trying to explain to the gate agent why I was going to Austin from Midway airport when I had been scheduled to go from O'Hare to Raleigh the night before, and making sure I still had a ticket from Austin to Raleigh at the end of the weekend. This was, clearly, too much to comprehend. After several false starts and nearly having my Austin-Raleigh reservation cancelled, they FINALLY figured out that, yes, I had to get to Austin today even though I didn't go to Raleigh yesterday and I had to get back to Raleigh Monday even though I didn't go to Raleigh today and that these had been, in fact, two separate itineraries even though I didn't go to Raleigh yesterday and that yes, I really was supposed to be flying out of Midway airport this morning even though I was supposed to fly out of O'Hare last night to go to Raleigh and that I really did have to get to Austin today even though I was supposed to go to Raleigh last night and I definitely had to be confirmed on a flight home to Raleigh in a few days even though I didn't go to Raleigh yesterday.

Anyway, now I'm here. My cell phone arrived in the mail at my house yesterday and the sweet Polish lady who drove the limo will get a nice, generous tip in the mail from me, and I'm absolutely having the time of my life with all my aunts, girl cousins, sister-in-law, brother, dear friends, and mom. My twinkies (brief backstory: there are 4 siblings in my mom's generation, and each had one and only one daughter, so the 4 of us are the Twinkies-- more like sisters than cousins) threw a baby shower for me, mom and her sisters made wonderful food, we had a fantastic party, and IHPE has had a TON of attention. I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend. SNG is home missing out on the estrogen-fest, but I think he'd have enjoyed himself in spite of all the "ooh"ing and "aah"ing over bibs, onesies, pacifiers, little dresses, and two gorgeous hand-knitted blankets.

Gosh, what else to say? I will fill in with a few pictures later, but for now I just wanted to vent about the crazy travel adventure and dish over the wonderful weekend that followed.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cankles and Other Fun Stuff-- Prenatal Whining Warning

On Monday I went in for my 30-week visit and used the opportunity to raise some heck about the superfluous shot-in-the-behind and get a copy of my complete medical records. If you or someone you know is expecting, I'd suggest that they get a copy of at least their most recent ultrasound and basic bloodwork results from the Ob chart. That way, if they ever need medical care outside of normal office hours, especially away from home, they won't have to wait for the provider to track down records before providing medical attention. This was a suggestion made to me by the doctor in Michigan, and I think she had a really good point. So we got my records, SNG scanned them into a PDF, and I've got it stored on the memory stick that lives on my work badge. And good timing, with three more trips to go before I'm grounded.

FYI, the MI doctor said that the things they most needed to know were whether I had gestational diabetes, my blood type, and whether I had a previa placenta (if I said that right-- it's where the placenta sits really low and can be a little troublesome). Anything more is lagniappe.

While I was at my doc on Monday, he asked whether I'd had any bleeding gums, swelling in the extremities, etc. I was so proud that I've had no bleeding gums, and the only swelling I've had was my ankles when we drove home from Michigan-- and 20 hours in the car with make ANYONE's ankles swell up.

I spoke too soon. By the time I got back to my office, my right ankle had doubled! I had a cankle! Just one! And it was so uncomfortable!

I decided that it could have been caused by a lot of things, including eating too much sugar, not drinking enough water (that's unlikely- I drink a lot of water), sitting at my desk too much (better go home from work, aww shucks!) and not elevating my feet enough.

I spent Monday and Tuesday with my foot elevated, and sleeping with 5 pillows at night (head, front support, back support, under feet, and squeezed in my arms). It didn't help. I had still been walking and doing water aerobics, but that didn't help much. Then yesterday afternoon I switched to tennis shoes at work, and cut out sugar for the whole day. Today the cankle is gone, replaced by my a normal ankle again. We'll see how long that lasts. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I made it to 30 weeks without swelling feet, and even still it's just one ankle. A lot of women start getting swelling in 2nd trimester.

Today I visited my dentist, who was pleased with the status of my teeth and gums. He agreed that not visiting the dentist while pregnant will cause you to have a 3-headed baby, but also suggested that if I didn't like my job, I could quit and take the 3-headed baby on tour. We'd make a fortune. But, alas, I have visited the dentist, so no circus babies for us. Sorry, SNG. It could've been our big chance at fame.

What else? Next week I'm teaching in Chicago. I want to figure out a way to teach in tennis shoes. Maybe if I stay behind the desk the entire time? After Chicago I leave almost immediately for a long weekend in Austin with all the girls. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm almost a week late in posting about the trip. We got home from vacation last Monday night, but it's been nutty at work ever since.

The Marquette trip was fantastic. I've posted some pictures here. The pics might load a little slowly, and for that I apologize. Just open it in a new window and let it load in the background, you know?

Hey, remember that Rhogam shot I told you about? You know, the shot-in-the-tooshie that cost me $134.14, that my insurance company first said they wouldn't cover, and then said they'd cover but with a $60 co-pay? Yeah, that one. Well, it's a funny story...

While on vacation, for reasons unrelated to this post, I had to pay a little visit to a doctor in Marquette (no big deal, everything is fine) and since it was after hours and my doctor's office was closed, they requested my records from the hospital back home. Bla bla bla, I mentioned in passing to the doctor that I'd had a Rhogam shot the Friday before, and she screwed up her eyes and asked, "Why did you have a Rhogam shot? It says here that you are O-positive!"

Long story short, after a few calls to the doctor back home, it turns out that I am NOT Rh-negative, and did not, in fact, need a Rhogam shot in my bootie, putting me out at least $60 and a half day of work. Somebody had transcribed the results of my blood-typing incorrectly at some point and it came back to bite me in the butt at 28 weeks.


Grr. Grrrrrr grr. Grr. Blood will flow in the streets of Raleigh! Heads will roll! Do not mess with the pregnant lady!

Well, not really. I'm sort of over it now. No harm was done in having the shot unnecessarily, the doctor's office is going to reimburse me for the whole thing, and I won't sue them or anything. But I will consider leaving burning bags of doggie-poop on their doorsteps.

In other news, we are in the midst of a dog-sitting marathon. We've got Dianaverse's dog Daisy for 2 weeks, and Peace & Fuzzy's dog DOTi for a 4-day weekend. And, The Goofch has been sick with a case of pancreatitis for the past week or so. It's a puke-tastic fun-a-thon around old Camp Windy Woods, let me tell you. We're cooking chicken and rice for The Goofch, since it's all he can keep down. At least he has a good selection of buddies to play with and keep his mind off the bellyaches.

On Friday, some colleagues threw us a baby shower at work, and it was SO MUCH FUN. I just love showers and parties, and of course the pressies are lots of fun, too. We got some terrific baby furniture, travel stuff, clothes, blankets, and some handmade things that are so pretty, I'm not sure I can stand to ever let a baby spit-up onto them. This kid is going to be outfitted in style. Mostly I appreciated all the well-wishes and nice words from my friends at work. I've said it before, but it's true: I work with the most terrific people I could ever hope for.

Not much else going on, except that it's hot and muggy all the time, and it feels worse to me because of this big heating pad attached to my torso. Still walking or biking every day, but I've cut out the lunchtime activity. It's just too miserable. I've taken to walking with a frozen water bottle and holding it to my neck, head, arms, belly, back,...

When, oh when will autumn come?!