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March 2006

LAF - Living Appendix Free

It's hard to believe it's been a year since I founded LAF - Living Appendix Free

It was an ordinary Wednesday morning. Well, ordinary except that I woke from my sleep at 4 am with a stabbing pain in my abdomen. Acknowledging my tendency toward drama (the same one that had me rushing to the ER with what I was sure was a brain aneurysm, when really it was my first migraine)I decided to wait it out. Until 8:01 when I called the doctor's office in the worst pain of my life. "Maybe it's a virus," the triage nurse suggested. "Give us a call if it gets worse."

"Uh-uh. I'm going to need an appointment right away." I was already on my way to the doctor's when I called Niki who I'd seen study body diagrams all through college. The early hour of my phone call was her tip-off that something was wrong. Then there was this line of questioning:

"Hey Nik - where's your spleen?"

"Left, upper quadrant."

"Where's your appendix?"

"Right, lower quadrant - why are you asking me this?" 

Still, I was stunned when there was a surgeon called in for consult. And even more so when I heard I would be having surgery that afternoon. I had shower invitations to mail, a bachelorette party to plan, all my articles for the Home & Garden tab were due, there was no way I had time for surgery. But, my body disagreed.

"Why are you crying?" The surgeon asked. He honestly seemed bewildered.

"Um, because I came in with a stomach ache and now I'm going to the hospital, and I'm here alone and ... "
"You didn't have an ordinary stomachae, it's acute appendicitis and we need to get the appendix out before it ruptures." This was followed by a little more crying as our Q&A session came to a close. I called the high school and left Matt a message with someone I later learned was a student aide:

Surgery_message_3 Message was condensed to: Wife. Surgery. Hospital.

Matt beat me home. I had to stop at the library to return my library books. He had my bag packed for me and we were off for a miserable ride to the hospital. I'll spare the details of the hospital experience for another day. It was horrible. I may never eat Jello again for as long as I live.

My new least favorite holiday

So, I have a new least favorite holiday - Valentine's Day. This year I showed up at school with my cute Valentine shirt. Next year I'll know better. Next year I'll be in black. Or, better yet, I'll call in sick in advance. I was fighting another cold and I swear to God Tuesday sent me over the edge. I was the world's worst Valentine to Matt. Maybe not the world's worst, I didn't break up with him or anything, but I was pretty damn lame.

I'll spare you the details, but to sum up: my day started with a little boy ushered into the office because he puked (the chunky I-just-ate-breakfast kind) all over himself. The day ended with a call on the radio asking for help getting a BM cleaned up in the after-hours bathroom. Yeah. Good stuff. It was the stuff in the middle that really drove me out of my mind though, the over-the-top deliveries, meant as gestures of love, to kids. I understand someone wanting to do something sweet for their child. Take them out of a milkshake. This is a school, and I'm not your delivery boy. But those are things you can't say, so it comes out like this: "Sure, I'll stop what I'm doing and deliver all of these flower arrangements to all four of your children." Maybe there's no love in my heart. If that had happened a few times, fine. But you would not believe how out of control, over the top it was. I did, however, get some very adorable valentines.

Matt sent me an email during the day that said "Happy Valentine's Day - even though we're not Catholic." Which made me laugh at a perfect time.

Oh, yeah, if you and your spouse agree not to get each other anything for Valentine's day, have a back up, just in case, so you don't feel like a complete jerk when you come home to find a series of thoughtful gestures made by your Valentine. I came home (late) to Matt making dinner and a card and rose bush ... and my favorite part, after seeing the change jar ransacked on the counter, he slipped five dollars in there for me to find the next morning. So, even if I don't love the holiday itself, I adore my husband who is my favorite person on the planet and I'm so happy he's my partner in love and life! You're the best, babe.

Tardy Ms. Hardy

Technically my shift starts at 8. But, it's not a shift kind of job. The first few weeks at the school I was coming in at quarter till and feeling totally overwhelmd by the immediate rush of "here's my lunch money Mrs. Hardy" and "so and so missed the bus but we're on the way" and "Matt S. hit me." And on and on. It took awhile to discover that if I come in just a tiny bit earlier ( and use the back door)  there's a moment of quiet before the dam breaks. I've also learned that if I leave my house by 7:35 a.m., my chances for a good morning are significantly improved. If I leave at 7:38, I get stuck behind a school bus and have to smile and wave as I follow the bus up Hwy 47 all the way to school. Friday I woke up at 7:30. My first big decision of the day: make up or coffee? Coffee. Definitely coffee. I stayed up for ER on Thursday, and I now believe that kids are like animals. They sense weakness. I scooted into work just before the first bell rang, latte in hand. It just doesn't look good when the person handing out tardy slips is late.

Operation get organized ... may actually happen this time

So last Monday I got an email from YaYa asking if I'm going to take the scrapbooking organizational class that night. I really wanted to but had too many reasons not to. I meant to email her back but it was the end of the day before I knew it. Then Amy called to say she signed up at the last minute and asked if I'm sure I don't want to do it. And then, with half an hour before the class starts, I call to see if there's any more room in the class. The owner says I'm already signed up ...  Only during the first session do I realize that it is a 12 week long class because it's a 12-step program for the organizationally challenged to allow us to better enjoy our scrapbooking space and time - and to actually get some pages made!!! And there is homework. And I have to show before pictures of my scrapbook space. You don't know how hard I had to restrain myself from cleaning up just a little before taking these pictures:Office_2

Desk Office  This is my office ... so proud ... Office_3

For the first week's assignment we have to take pictures of how we store our paper. Yeah. Here's a little visual for ya:

Paper_storage Paper_storage_2 Paper_storage_3 Paper_storage_4 So why do I have FOUR pictures for paper storage?! Because it's not all in one happy, organized space. The only reason I'm posting these pics is because of the promise of the After pictures when I'm done with organizational bootcamp!

Matt and I have had so many arguments over this one space, the disaster that is the my office, mostly because of how self-conscious I am about it because it's the last thing I get to - read that - never get to. So I'm actually really excited about finally doing something about it after years and years of writing: "Organize office" on my list of things to do.

Through thick and thin ...

Kim_nat_malibu_1Kim is one of the true blue people in my life. Our friendship bloomed in middle school when I moved to Gig Harbor and solidified in high school as we double dated, had Jean Luq coffee sessions at John's and remained friends through the drama that is being in high school.

KimnatgraduationGraduation, 1994


We've shared a lot of adventures together ... ski trips, San Juans, Malibu, Canada and the most dangerous feat of all: being roommates in college. Since our friendship survived that, I think we're set for life. Our lives are so different now, Kim is a mother of three adorable kids and is brave enough to home school her school-aged girls - but when we pick up the phone and catch up, it's like we're up in her loft with nothing but time for each other. Those phone calls don't happen as often as either of us would like, but the Thelma & Louise soundtrack plays in the background of my memories, always. Kim is an awesome cook - she was creative in the kitchen in high school and I was lucky enough to get in on many of her tasty treats! She's an artist, scrapbooker, amazing photographer and a tried and true friend.


Even on our most exhausted evenings, Matt and I do a quick rundown of the day's highlights - good, bad or indifferent,  just a little check in at the end of the day - sort of a barometer ... or a measure of one shot, or two, in the day's end highball.

So, to sum up, here's my day's highlights - the morning started with a little chaos when I got word that one of our kids was seen around campus but didn't come to class. I called his mom, who was surprised to hear he wasn't at school. I called and left a message at the kid's house. When the machine came on, I suggested he pick up the phone, or I'd have to call his mom's cell. Shortly after that, he called me back to let me know he was home sick and that I didn't need to bother calling his mom. Elementary school, folks.

Throughout the day was the usual chaos that is a grade school, understaffed, office and then the day ended, seriously minutes before the bell rang, with a transformer blowing, setting off a chain of events that involved a smoking heater, rumors of a fire, fire trucks, evacuation of the high school, rerouting of busses, angry parents wondering why children aren't on busses and why we didn't personally call to notify them ... pandemonium.

Two shots in my drink tonight, thank you.

Overheard: The morning's flag-saluters were 2nd graders. One voice rose above them all:

"One nation, under Guard, indivisible with liberty and all." Out of the mouths of babes!