Saturday, December 31, 2011

Scrambled Brain

1. Since I continue to spend most of my time sitting around with my foot up (when I'm not being tormented by the Physical Therapists at Strive Physical Therapy in Marlton), I continue to play numerous games of Words with Friends on Facebook. The tally at the moment is 20 games open, 10 games finished in the last 4 days, which include 1 win, 1 tie and the other 8 losses. But I've never played Scrabble before, so I'm learning.

2. We have been working hard Marshall has been working hard on our Christmas letter for 2011 and you can read it right here.

3. Marshall bought a new hard drive for Borg (our DVR/server for all our video and audio data) over the weekend and was able to get it working again on Monday morning. I think Miranda watched Nick Jr., as live television (which is unusual for us) from 11 am until 7 pm. Yes, we are tv addicts. But we only watch good television, like Doctor Who and The Backyardigans. Yeah, yeah; excuses, excuses.

4. I hope to have my year end review of movies and preview of the best 2012 has to offer sometime in the next week.

5. We are making the switch to Comcast Digital television and phone on Monday, throwing Vonage and Directv by the wayside and getting a serious visual upgrade. We got a great deal from this very kind and immensely persuasive Comcast salesman who was going by, knocking on doors. If you want his name, let me know.

6. We enjoyed company for dinner on Tuesday night. The Baumann brothers 3 along with Kate White came over for roast beast, bringing with them cherry pie and lots of laughter. A good time was had by all.

7. I was able to persuade Marshall to watch Doctor Who some with me on Wednesday night, so we're finally now at the half-way point in Series 6. We might actually be caught up again before Series 7 starts in late 2012.

And here's Jen.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Technological Carnage

1. So the latest crisis is that our wonderful, magnificent, does-everything-in-the-universe-home-made DVR exploded early yesterday morning (about 1 am). On the day before the children are off from school and home for vacation, we have no access to any of our videos, recordings or even live TV. Almost a terrabyte of data is inaccessible and may be completely gone. Needless to say, we are a little down about this.

We do have a lot of DVD's in the shed that can be brought inside and I'm sure I can find the DVD drive that's somewhere in the laundry room and hook it up to a laptop or two so we can watch a few movies (currently, my mother's laptop is serving as a DVD player for Miranda) but this is a little disheartening. The crises are starting to stack up on each other; we don't quite have a chance to recover from one when the next one knocks us flat.

So, on this weekend of Christmas when we're supposed to be celebrating the birth of Christ and enjoying our time with family, Marshall will be trying to resurrect Borg (the name of the server) and I will be trying to help while distracting the children. If you think of us, pray for patience and that new hardware and software will speed up the process considerably.

2. On a lighter note, I have started playing Words with Friends on Facebook. Apparently, I'm having a hard time amusing myself in the evening hours without all those television shows to watch so I have opened 12 different games, at present, looking for someone to help me pass the time and do something slightly intellectual. Of course, I'm also working my way through all the FreeCell games, starting at 1 and am now on game #530. I haven't beat all of them without help, though. Apparently, someone has the time to post all of the solutions to every single FreeCell game online. And I thought I had too much free time.

3. I picked up a great book at the library this week and read the first half on Wednesday night, Flirting with Pride & Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick Lit Masterpiece, edited by Jennifer Crusie and Glenn Yeffeth. It's just scholarly enough to be interesting without being dry and boring.

4. There were a whole bunch of new movie trailers released this week, and all of them look good:

5. Somehow, in the next few weeks, I would really like to go to the movies, but with my sprained ankle, the most uncomfortable position is sitting. I need to have my leg extended and my foot up to be comfortable. I would prefer not to wait for video for all of these:
No Dragon tattoos for me; I watched the Swedish movie earlier this year and that was a enough Stieg Larsson-induced trauma for my life, thank you very much.

6. If you have access to a television tonight, and the BBC America channel, you can watch the debut of my favorite Radio Show, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I'm sure I will find a way to watch it online over the weekend, somehow.

7. I have pretty much been in a bad mood since I sprained my ankle. Even though my physical therapist told me on Wednesday that I am making good progress with my ankle, driving is still pretty painful, so I'm planning not to do that all weekend. It feels like a catastrophe avalanche on our household. So, please, pray for us and pray especially for my attitude. I've not been the best person to be around lately.

And here's Jen. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Have No Pithy Title in Mind Except, "Ow"

1. So I went to see the doctor last Saturday morning to have my ankle looked at and he very correctly diagnosed a small tear in my Achilles and sent me off for Physical Therapy. And no driving. So I have now spent most of the last 10 days lying around with my foot up, feeling silly. I mean, what kind of stay at home mother spends most of her day sitting around and not doing the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, etc. Certainly, we've had plenty of help and meals cooked by friends and such but I'm going to be in PT for 6-12 weeks, healing slowly. And driving only occasionally and carefully. This was not how I was planning to spend my winter. Especially with a husband still recovering from shoulder surgery. Whine, whine, whine!

2. At least I'm getting caught up on my reading. In the last 2 weeks, I've read The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan and am now anxiously awaiting the next books in both of his series; his cliff-hangers are just cruel. I also went to the library yesterday and picked up 4 short novels by Jennifer Cruisie (Getting Rid of Bradley, Strange Bedpersons, The Cinderella Deal and Anyone But You) and I've finished all the the last half of the last book.

3. I've also been working my way through the DVR. At the beginning of the week, I had 13 episodes of The Mentalist to watch and now I have that almost by half. I've also watched the first 3 episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day and don't hate it enough to completely throw it away, yet, but I'm close. Rex is such an unsympathetic character; it's like the writers are trying to recreate Owen from the first season but they forgot all the clever ways they made Owen fascinating and impossible to hate. And I miss Ianto more than I thought I would. The Americanization of Torchwood has not impressed me. But it was certainly profitable for its creators.

4.I found this fascinating article on Hitfix last week, by Drew McWeeny who I loved to read on AintitCool for years. He writes about how dramatically our era's movies are influenced by the world of fan fiction.

5. I'm going to spend most of the time in the next week that I'm not reclining with the foot in the air making and parceling out fudge, which we gives to teachers, aides, church buddies and neighbors. When you count up the number of people who work with our children, it's a lot of fudge. At least 20 lbs worth. Still, it's a good way to say thank you to the many people without whose help we wouldn't survive.

6. I like my Physical Therapist and his office and staff. It's a fun kind of place. Of course, the exercises they invent for me are a lot harder than they look, but it is a pleasant place. So, if you are in need, Strive Physical Therapy in Marlton gets my seal of approval. With their help, I am determined to get better, because all this sitting around, when I don't want to, is just ridiculous!

7. All those movies I was going to see this month? Yeah, I don't expect that to happen. I can't sit anywhere comfortably without having my leg extended and my foot up, which just won't work for a movie theatre. Ah, dang.

And here's Jen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

But the Week Was Going So Well....

"One woe doth tread upon another's heel, / So fast they follow" Hamlet IV.vii.180-1

1. The week was going so well, Marshall was recovering nicely, things were starting to get back to normal when I slipped on the kitchen floor on Tuesday afternoon and twisted my ankle. My right ankle, the one I need for driving! It seems to be my Achilles tendon and it feels just fine as long as it's wrapped up and I'm lying around, doing nothing. In case you're forgotten, my husband had shoulder surgery last week so he can't drive either and I have to youngish, high maintenance children and it's December! I have been Big Miss Grumpy Pants ever since. (Miranda is Little Miss Grumpy Pants, on a bad day, so it seems only fitting that I should be a bigger version.)

2. So I ditched the last session of Bible study Wednesday morning, my YMT meeting Wednesday night but made it to a MOPS DGL meeting at church this morning because my aunt drove me to and from. This is already extremely annoying. I am the kind of person who does things and runs errands and gets all kinds of things together (like the 3 million plates of fudge I need to start giving out next week to all of Alex and Miranda's numerous helpers at church and school) and I can't do any of it. It's made me really not fun to be with the last couple of days. Thankfully, Marshall is a patient person.

3. Marshall is doing tremendously better. The weekend was tough but he did start feeling better in leaps and bounds after that. Thank you for your prayers.

4. And he thinks he's found a replacement car in Passaic, NJ, which is more than an hour north of us. He went to see it yesterday and if the dealership fix a couple of problems with it, he plans to purchase it next week.

5. The children are having a tough week as well, so it's been good that my aunt's been here since Wednesday. Alex dropped the old iPhone that was serving as a game console for him on Monday morning and shattered the screen which means it's dead, permanently, and he's having a hard time coping with the consequences of his actions. We plan to replace it at Christmas, thanks to my parents, with another old iPhone, but still, disappointment and frustration and anxiety bubbled up out of him Tuesday night and he went on a rampage; it took Marshall about an hour to calm him down again. Poor woozle. Sometimes life is just hard and coping with our feelings is difficult.

Miranda's been in trouble in her class like 5 days out of 6 now so we're drawing up a new plan of incentives for her. Her teacher is just awesome and has a plan, bless her.

6. Dirty Jobs is back next week! Mike Rowe is one of those people I'd really love to invite over for dinner or to stay with us for a week. He's just cool. Really cool.

7. Our life, for 2011, has been living one crisis to the next and I really want it to end! Nice, boring, catch up time. I mean, the piles of stuff in my bedroom are getting ridiculous! I thought these were the things I'd be doing with my mom after she arrived last month, not just another crisis on top of the last 10 that we have to try not to drown in, again!. I was back to my favorite song of a couple of years ago, "Work" by Jars of Clay: "I have no fear of drowning / It's the breathing that's taking all this work." 

Okay, enough whining. I need to go write Christmas cards, something I can do SITTING DOWN. Here's Jen.

Friday, December 2, 2011

When In Doubt, Quote from The Princess Bride

1. This is the passage I'm thinking of:
Fezzik:     How long do we have to wait, before if we know the miracle 

Inigo:      Your guess is as good as mine.

Westley:    I'll beat you two apart! I'll take you both together!

Fezzik:     I guess not very long.

Westley:    Why won't my arms move?

Fezzik:     You've been mostly dead all day.

Inigo:      We had Miracle Max make a pill to bring you back.

Westley:    Who are you? Are we enemies? Why am I on this wall? Where's 

Inigo:      Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup 
            is marry Humperdinck in little less than half an hour, so all we 
            have to do is get in, break up the wedding, steal the princess, 
            make our escape, after I kill Count Rugen.

Westley:    That doesn't leave much time for dilly-dallying.

Fezzik:     You just wiggled your finger! That's wonderful!

Westley:    I've always been a quick healer. What are our liabilities?

Inigo:      There is but one working castle gate. And it is guarded by... 
            sixty men.

Westley:    And our assets?

Inigo:      Your brains, Fezzik's strength, my steel.

Westley:    That's it? Impossible. If I had a month to plan, maybe I could 
            come up with something, but this...

Fezzik:     You just shook your head! That doesn't make you happy?

Westley:    My brains, your strength, and his steel against sixty men, and 
            you think a little head jiggle is supposed to make me happy? 
            Hmmmm? I mean, if we only had a wheelbarrow, that would be 

Inigo:      Where did we put that wheelbarrow the albino had?

Fezzik:     With the albino, I think.

Westley:    Why didn't you list that among our assets in the first place? 
            What I wouldn't give for a holocaust cloak.

Inigo:      There we cannot help you.

Fezzik:     Would this do?

Inigo:      Where did you get that?

Fezzik:     At Miracle Max's. It fit so nice, he said I could keep it.

Westley:    All right, all right. Come on, help me up. Now I'll need a 
            sword eventually.

Inigo:      Why? You can't even lift one.

Westley:    True, but that's hardly common knowledge, is it? Thank you. 
            Now, there may be problems once we're inside.

Inigo:      I'll say. Namely, how do I find the Count? Once I do, how 
            do I find you again? Once I find you again, how do I escape?

Fezzik:     Don't pester him. He's had a hard day.

Inigo:      Right. Right. Sorry.

I could go on but then we'd all have to just sit down and watch the movie again. Suffice to say, it was a busy week. I will do my best to summarize sufficiently for those of my readers who haven't seen the daily updates on Facebook or haven't been otherwise informed.

2. So, the surgery to repair Marshall's shattered clavicle was on Wednesday. The orthopedic office we were referred to by the hospital was closed for Thanksgiving and the day after last week, so when we finally got in touch with them on Monday, they had to order blood work and an EKG to be done Tuesday morning so the surgery could be scheduled Wednesday.

3. On Monday, the pain medication that Marshall had been prescribed finally started making him sick, so he gave up on that and switched to over the counter stuff until the surgery, being sure that his doctor prescribed something else for afterwards. Keeping all these pills and dosages and times to take them straight has been my job. Now I know why I never went into nursing. (Well, the fact that I faint--really and truly faint--at the sight of blood doesn't help, either.)

4. God has been helping me to get things done ahead of time. I had all my Thanksgiving cards done and in the mail two days before the accident. I finished all of the December birthday cards for YG in mid-November. I raked leaves on Sunday after church, not knowing the pick-up would be two days ago (our township doesn't always notify our neighborhood of when to expect them; they just show up and start removing whatever leaves they find near the curb). And God has been reminding me of all the things that still need doing, emails to write, cards to send, clothes to wash.

5. Wednesday would not have been possible without the help of our parents. Marshall's mother accompanied me to the surgical center and waited with me, for 8 hours, until they released him. (We arrived at the office at 10 am, as instructed, and the surgery started about 1 pm; he was in recovery after 4.) She kept Marshall's father in the loop by phone and he informed other family members of our progress. My parents took charge of the kids, put Miranda on the bus and got both of them off, as well as preparing dinner for us. Then they put the kids to bed while I ran out to the pharmacy for Marshall's meds, which took forever to fill. Yeah, I know, everyone's fussy about narcotics now.

6. Since then I've been keeping Marshall fed and medicated, helped him readjust his apparatus and continued to put ice in his cryo shoulder pad cooler (I can't find an appropriate picture, sorry, but the thing eats 20 lbs of ice a day, keeping cool water continuously moving over his shoulder which reduces the swelling and speeds up the healing process). Like an infant, he gets me up twice in the middle of the night for a snack and more ice, but I've been able to go back to sleep afterwards. He hasn't slept much since the surgery, but hopefully that will change this weekend.

7. We still haven't found a replacement car for him, though. He usually takes several months to research and settle on a new (used) car and compressing the process into a much shorter amount of time is a little stressful on both of us. I'm sure I'll be test driving several cars for him next week (something he knows I hate doing, but we don't have other options) because we need it like yesterday.

Bonus 8. I know many of you have been praying for us every since his accident 10 days ago--thank you! Without your prayers, I don't think we could have coped. Please keep praying for a reduction in Marshall's pain, for finding a new car and for the kids, who, so far, are coping remarkable well. Poor Alex, though, can sense things are just wrong and he doesn't like it. Miranda understands a lot better what's happening, but Alex can just feel the stress in the air and it upset him. Having my parents here and my aunt and uncle (who are visiting for a couple of days) has helped tremendously.

About a month ago, Marshall and I were reflecting on our year and he said everyone gets a pass for 2011. Like 2006 (the year Alex was diagnosed with autism and Miranda was born), it's been one hard thing after another and we just want to see the end of it and start fresh. Now that's doubly true.

And here's Jen