Can't I Just Wear Shorts & a T-Shirt?

I've avoided it for as long as possible. But now it is inevitable. I MUST purchase a new swimsuit. Or 5.

I dread swimsuit season. I don't know what it is. Well, yes I do. I am just not comfortable with running around with perfect strangers wearing next to nothing. I like to be covered up. Even in my own home, I usually have a blanket wrapped around me. Some may say that it is a security blanket to wrap around my insecurity. And they would probably be right.

Usually the entire time I am in a swimsuit I am just worried. I can't enjoy myself because I am constantly worried about what might be showing that shouldn't be. What might be popping out that should stay always stay in. Then there are the dreaded tan lines. I spent enough years getting the most awesome farmer's tan lines from shinguards that I absolutely abhor tan lines of any kind.

Not to mention that recently (and recently, I mean in the past few years), I have discovered I am pretty allergic to the sun/heat/combo. I break out in rashes, usually all over my back and chest. Yes, it's soooooo attractive.

And then, the last couple of times we have been to the beach (and nice beaches, I might add - Mexico, Jamaica), I have always had "medical incidents" arise that make my bikini bod ever so less attractive.

Take Mexico. Went to a really nice resort on the western side of Mexico in Ixtapa. Gorgeous beaches. Great food. Good weather. (Oh, but did I mention that the particular week we went Ixtapa was hosting Mexico's youth national baseball playoffs and our resort was headquarters?... umm yeah - incredibly romantic with literally 1600 youth running around like maniacs. We complained and got our own private cabana, but still).

Apparently the sand bugs took a liking to me, so my legs and arms were covered in horrendous bites and little welts. Cute, right? Then came the mysterious "bite" (or infection or combination of the 2). Started on my knee, spread down my leg and encircled my calf. Matt likened it to "undercooked bacon". Yummy. Even the resident Mexican Naval doctor didn't know what it was. But it was Day 2 of our vacation and I was told to "stay out of the sun and surf" for the remainder of the trip. Ummmm, sir, we have 5 days left. So I stayed hidden under our private cabana umbrella courtesy of manager of the hotel, in a swimsuit but got zero sun. So basically, I went home, pasty white as when I arrived, except for the reddish/brown growth on my leg. Attractive. We all know that ANYTHING looks better tan than it does white - - so I am sure I was a real beauty in my swimsuit on that trip.

So, for a lot of reasons I don't care for swimsuits. I've actually owned one swimsuit I liked. It had a ruffle. And it was blue & white. And I was like 3. Pudgy bellies were cute then.

The other night I got online and started "swimsuit shopping". That's right - not even going to head into the flourescent hell that is a department store dressing room. Only Heidi Klum looks good in those & I'm pretty sure those lights could magnify her minute cellulite.

I think (wish, hope, pray) that I found some cute ones at VS & J Crew. Please, God. Let them fit. That's all I care about at this point. And please let their arrival coincide with my next airbrush tan appointment (see above: allergic to sun so no tanning beds for me) so they actually look semi-acceptable.

I have one goal out of our vacation this year. I would really like to take a picture in my swimsuit on the beach. The last pic I have like that was Spring Break '99 & it should be burned. Before that, I had to have been about 14 in the Bahamas with my 'rents. I want one good pic of me in a swimsuit because after that it is "baby-making" time and with crossed fingers my belly will be swollen and ready to pop this time next year and my bikini days will be over.

And I will not cry about that :)


Signs of Life...

Finally - signs of life around our neighborhood!!! A little background so you can understand how big this is for us...

When we first purchased our house over 3 years, there was NOTHING out here. Nary a grocery store, gas station, drug store, restaurant, drive-thru, N.O.T.H.I.N.G. The nearest grocery was about 10-12 miles away (and while they were off of roads you can go 60mph on - that's still a lot of miles for some milk and non-fat yogurt). And just forget it if you were low on gas - I'm not proud to say that I have run out of gas 3 times since I've lived here (but seriously - isn't the light is just a "warning" ?- it shouldn't be an immediate pull over now, you idiot type thing).

Now I do realize that for most people, this would not be a major inconvenience. In fact, some people may like living in more remote areas and taking a Sunday afternoon scenic drive to the grocery.

Me, not so much.

I grew up in Suburbia Dallas remember? Plano, the land of cement & shopping. I loved that land. I am comfortable with that land. I miss that land. Did I just actually say that? Oooooh - I take it back.

I was within one mile of everything I needed. It was fantastic. When my friends and I felt like rebels, we would walk all the way to the store & buy pounds of candy and come home (yes, friends, I was a TERROR in middle school. Most kids would be sneaking out to go drink or something, I was sneaking out to purchase a sugar high.)

Well, but there was that time when we took out my parent's car at 15 years old and went "joy-riding" all over Plano....hmmmmm

But really, how far did we need to go in our little joyride? (read: 1991 Olds Cutlass Supreme Convertible. It doesn't get much sweeter than that. Did I mention it had maroon leather interior? Don't be jealous.) Everything we needed was right there.

College was the same deal - Baton Rouge had everything close by. Need your nails done? Go 1 mile. Need a tan? Go one mile. Need liquor, I mean soft drinks, go 1 mile to the nearest Circle K.

Spoiled, I know. Slidell was the epitome of living close to everything - I mean, I worked, worked out, grocery-shopped, and did pretty much everything else in 1 square mile. It was awesome.

Except when I wanted Chili's. And then that little bugger was a 25 minute haul for chips & salsa.

So needless to say, I was a little bit put out when we moved here. I loved my house but man, I didn't feel like I was in civilization. Sign of a true suburban girl. Sigh.

Well, now we have signs of life.

About a year ago, we finally got our Sonic & a Shipley's in the neighborhood.

I didn't stop smiling for a week after the Sonic opened. My moods are tremendously improved by large Sonic diet cokes. Shipley's...well, I could really care less about the Shipley's - although I do think it's amusing to drive by in the afternoon and see who is getting a freaking donut at 5pm. I mean, c'mon - donuts is your first stop after a hard's day of work?? blech! What happened to normal happy hours? It's been a long time now since I've been to an after-work happy hour (you know, considering I work for a church now and all - they don't look too kindly upon that thing). But what I do recall of happy hour locales ---Shipley's was never at the top of the list.

And then I always think it's funny to watch people walk from my neighborhood to the Shipley's and grab a large box of donuts and a dozen donut holes and walk home, eating them hand over fist. Well, at least they tried to get some exercise.

I really shouldn't judge about that though. My gym is literally a block away now & I jump in my car and DRIVE there only to get there and run my butt off (literally, trying to run my butt off) and then hop in my car and drive home again. That's pretty pathetic... but hello?? have you been outside recently??? It's like 800 degrees. I don't want to sweat before I get to the gym. Geez.

Anyway, like I was saying, we have signs of life. For 3 months now, I have been watching with bated breath the Walgreens going in down the street. Progress has been turtle-slow. But maybe that's b/c I have watched it's progress with an eagle eye, checking it out for new additions every morning. I thought we were getting close when they put out the bike racks in one day, but alas, that was just false hopes. However, today I was driving home and my heart leapt with joy at the sign of a truck actually unloading products! I saw the Pantene & Nice 'n Easy boxes with my own 2 eyes. No more 20 mile drives to get milk or a prescription filled! Or to buy candy.

And that's just the beginning, folks. In case that's not exciting enough for you - we have a Kroger coming in. And not just an ordinary Kroger. But a Kroger Marketplace. Awww yeah! And yesterday I saw a sign for Tico's Taco Grill & Bar "Coming Soon". ACE Hardware will be making an appearance sometime this fall, the new vet's office just opened & we have a pizza parlor (does anyone call it a pizza parlor anymore??). Oh, and 3 banks. Would have been 4, but apparently Wachovia gave up on their building.

Just think of the opportunities we will have now: I can walk my dog to the vet, go get a work-out in, get my obligatory post work-out Sonic diet coke, then go blow the whole workout at Tico's Tacos, grab a donut for dessert for good measure, walk across the street to Walgreens to get antacids to protect my delicate esophagus from Tico's and the jelly-filled donut, make sure I night-deposit my paycheck so my payment to the vet doesn't bounce, pick up the dog, probably hit Sonic again, and then walk home.

Oh, the life I will lead.

But who am I kidding?

I'm not going to walk.

You just know I'm going to drive that square mile.


A Daddy & His Baby Girl

Well, to be honest with you - this is a post I've been thinking about all week. Obviously this weekend is Father's Day & while I think about my dad every day, he has been on my mind a lot more the past few days. It seems like every few hours I get another solicitation email for Father's Day presents & I remember the fun I used to have getting my dad the "perfect" gift. He was always difficult to buy for once I got older b/c it seemed he always had almost everything he needed.

Ties? no go - he was retired so those were only worn a few times a year, if that.

Golf accessories? - nope - the man had more golf balls, tees, shirts, club gear than any human being could possibly use.

Bbq utensils? - not really, he just really wasn't into the latest gadget/trend for the bbq. He had his good 'ole grill (and I mean, really OLD) that he loved and could fix the best steak & hamburgers without the use of anything fancy dancy. And oh, man - those steaks. Melt in your mouth. He would go to a speciality meat shop to get just the right cuts of meat and spared no expense. Nothing I loved more in the summer than a "Daddy Steak" or "Daddy Burger", with just a baked potato and fresh tomatoes from the garden. ohhh, there I go again, rambling...

Anyway, he really didn't need or want for anything. I think he was just as happy getting a card or a phone call or just spending the day with us. But that never stopped me in my pursuit for the great gift. Funny now that I don't remember what "great gifts" I got him all those years.

But I do remember our last Father's Day together.

That year (in 2006), we went out to some friends' lakehouse on Lake Travis in Austin. The best part - we were all there. My brother, Blaine, my hubby, my mom. We spent the Saturday just relaxing out on their porch (where my dad was happy to just sit and watch everyone else drink copious amounts of alcohol while he just quietly sipped on his water!). That night we had great food & great company and just good quality time.

The next day (Sunday), we all went out to eat to this fun restaurant right on the lake. What I sadly recall is what a POOR mood I was in: I don't know if I was tired or what, but I just remember being nasty. I think I was having a "fat day" and proceeded to take it out on whoever was in my path. But Dad, being the dad he was, just pretty much brushed it off and loved me anyway.

We had to take a boat to get there & we were worried how rough it would be on dad's back - but he was always a trooper & if he was in pain, none of us knew it. That's just the way he rolled. When we got there, there was a huge expanse of steps you had to climb just to get from the boat up to restaurant area. For even the healthiest person, it was quite the climb. For Dad, it was darn near impossible because of his leg & back pain. But again, he made it (although we did throw him in a golf cart when we got to the top!) - and again, no complaints.

I remember talking to him on the way up there (I was always very protective of him and not wanting him to hurt) and I remember him proudly telling me how much weight he had lost recently and how he had no desire to go back to his heavier days. He was looking fabulous & trim - pretty darn good for a 62 year old for sure. He had been eating more healthfully & it obviously was working (Later, I would conclude that while the healthful eating was helping, more than likely it was the deadly cancer that was starting to affect his body but he just had no outward signs yet. That's the crazy thing about cancer - he looked the best he had in years right up until his diagnosis - which was only 3 months after that trip to Austin)

We had a great meal at the restaurant and for the first time in years, we took family pictures. Honestly, once we got older, the only family pictures we would take would be at Christmas (and even then it was just usually Blaine & myself and later, Matt) and maybe weddings. But for some odd reason, we actually had our camera and took several shots of the 5 of us - and a couple of Dad with his kiddos (man, I would post them, but they are now proudly hanging in my mom's house - this was before I was "hip" to the digital thing). I remember we laughed a lot and the 5 of us just kind of kept to ourselves down at the end of the table. Good times.

When we left to head back to H-town, Dad did what he always did whenever I would leave. He would give me a big, powerful hug & then whisper in my ear "Go treat yourselves to dinner or something nice" and then slide some bills into my hand. It didn't matter that I was married & out of the house - but he always wanted to take care of his "baby girl". It was his thing and his tradition. And the funny thing was, he always tried to make it seem like a surprise (when we both knew it was coming!) and he would ALWAYS try to hide it from my mom. Not sure why - but then it became kind of a running joke, cause my mom always knew. I obviously didn't love him because he gave me money - it wasn't about that - it was his generous heart and his desire to spoil his little girl --- he just never wanted me to "want" for anything.

And I never did. He was an amazing provider - and always took care of his kids above all else. He sacrificed so much for us. And he sacrificed quietly. It was only many, many years later that I found out just how many jobs he had turned down and offers of increasingly upper-level positions he had forgone because he did not want to uproot his family or spend longer hours away from home more than he had to. He wanted to be at the soccer games, baseball games, and all of our other various activities. Dad could always be found on the sidelines, quietly sitting in his chair with his UT cup of water beside him, and his crossword puzzle in hand.

Yes, I said crossworld puzzle.

The man was obsessed.

He did crosswords everywhere - restaurants, soccer games, on vacation, anywhere & anytime.

Some may look at that as maybe he wasn't being attentive or not fully involved. But he was. And his presence was what was mostly desired. Every once in awhile he would look up from his crossword puzzle, peer over his glasses, and deliver some cutting, sarcastic one-liner just so we would know he was listening.

Man, those one-liners. My dad was so clever and funny. He could toss those out so casually, and then just wait for the reaction. I remember my stomach just aching from laughing so hard. He wasn't a man of a whole lot of words. It's not like he just enjoyed hours and hours of conversation. He was comfortable with silence & secure in that. But his dry wit would just slay us all.

The best was Thanksgivings at our house, when we would have over The Whitehill's (Ed was Dad's best friend & probably knew him better than almost anyone). Dad would spend all night smoking the turkey to absolute perfection. He never said anything, but you just knew that he was so proud to get it "just right". He found the most delight in making others happy (and full!). We would finally sit down to eat and without fail, Dad would deliver sarcastic remark after remark, until eventually most of us were just crying hysterical laughter tears. Dad and Ed always had a great, easy banter between them and they would go back & forth until we were all rolling. And then Janice would always ask Dad to tell them same story every year and do it "in that voice". I can't really re-create the voice or the story on here b/c I will say that it wasn't exactly "PC" but always hysterical.

I literally could go on & on with dozens and dozens of stories about Dad. He was liked by so many, respected by all, and deeply loved by us. At his funeral, I heard the most amazing stories about Dad - the things he would do for others, the kindness he showed, the humor he exhuded. And most of the time, they were stories we had never heard. Dad was not one to brag about his generous spirit and was always incredibly humble.

I think the thing Dad was most proud of in his life was his family. We were everything to him. And he would have done anything, and often did, for us. He loved powerfully. Never would we get off the phone, leave the house, or kiss good bye without getting an "I love you". He was not afraid to share that with us at all. We were a tight-knit clan who always did everything together. I rarely recall my parents going out on a lot of dates by themselves and leaving us with sitters. Or going on vacation and leaving the kids behind. Some experts these days may say that it is unhealthy to do that, that couples need "couples" time and all of that. But my parents had an agreement - once the kids came, as much as possible, it was going to the 4 of us. Always. And my parent's marriage didn't suffer because of it - if anything it was stronger because of the mutual desire to raise their family intact. And I'd like to think he enjoyed us kids and wanted to hang with us:)

I'm pretty sure, even with all of the horrible things we did along the years, he found immense pleasure in seeing us grow up and become young adults. Young adults who hopefully made him proud on most days. My biggest fear was to disappoint my dad - not because I was scared of punishment or anything like that. But because, his respect meant everything to me and to lose that would have devestated me. He was my rock. My quiet, steady & stoic rock. And I was his "baby girl", just as I was on the day I was born and still am today at age 29.

So now today, I hope that he is looking down from his perch and seeing his two children who are happily married and well-adjusted adults - and he is smiling. And probably cutting jokes with Jesus at the same time.

Love you, Daddy! Today and always. Happy Father's Day...

Dad & me at an "Indian Princesses" campout - he was "Thundercloud", I was "Princess Raindrop" and my brother was "Lightning Bolt". Good times at the Y :)

Dad and me on my wedding day. Tough day for him to give away his little girl. But he did it in style, and delivered one of the funniest & memorable wedding toasts ever. To this day, when people talk about my wedding or even just talk about Dad, they are always like "I will never forget that toast at your wedding...."


All About Max

Well, to be honest with you -- this week is kinda slow. Boss is out of town on a mission trip, I worked most of the day Sunday, so my workload isn't too heavy this week. That's a good thing & bad thing. But mostly bad because I hate being bored during the day -- it's not like I can just walk down the hall and have "water-cooler" talk with my co-workers or something.

It's just me & the dog. And he's not incredibly interactive. Thus the boredom that ensues. To make it worse, Matt left today for a last minute trip to Louisiana for work --- he's only gone one night ---but when you don't socialize all day & then your nights are filled with silence, well yuck!

Speaking of the dog, I don't think I've put a picture of Max on here, so here's a cute one!

This is pretty much his pose throughout the day. Being the king of the house, he is allowed on almost every piece of furniture in the house, save for one leather chair & ottoman in our library that we humans don't even sit on.

Max & I are tight buds now that I am home all day. Wherever I go, he goes. He just loves to be near people & in fact, is currently snoring loudly right next to my feet on the floor in the office. That's right, the floor. He is usually allowed on the bed but since I have been terrible about getting some paperwork organized, the bed is covered in "work stuff". So he has had to resign himself to the floor lately. He is so mistreated, huh?

Max, Mommy is going to try to finish up her "important" work (read: finish blog & update facebook), so she can clean it off for you to lay on, ok?

So how did we manage to get such an awesome dog? Here's Max's story:

We adopted him from a shelter in New Orleans just 6 days before Katrina hit. When we picked him out, we pretty much just shamefully went on his looks. We didn't care about his brain or intelligence. Or his personality. Or his sense of humor. We just cared that he was adorable, ha :)

He had this sweet Lab-like face with this thin, lithe body - really, he almost looked like a puppy, but he was fully-grown at 39lbs, well under the fighting weight of my parent's labs who easily weighed in at about 90-100lbs.

At the time, Matt & I lived in a condo/duplex arrangement just outside NOLA with just a tiny yard and no fence, so we really couldn't have a large dog. But we didn't want a little yippy thing either. (No offense to those owners of little Taco Bell-type dogs that you can throw in your purse - but I just don't get that! What's the point of a rat on a leash??) So, Maxie-size was perfect. And he was cute as a button. We filled out the appropriate paperwork, paid our nominal fee & trotted Max out of that hell-hole with his tattered rope-leash.

Like any good parents, we immediately headed for PetsMart to outfit our precious new baby. We got him a bright red leash & collar ensemble, plus all sorts of toys, bones, pillows, accessories. Matt made me stop short of getting him a little outfit - hey, I wanted the little guy to be comfortable! He was new to us, what if he was shy about being naked? ha.

It was at PetsMart when we first realized we had a little problem. See, when we picked him out, the shelter told us all about him & why a 2 year old seemingly healthy dog had been dropped off at such a place. The backstory supposedly was as simple as this: the family loved their dog but felt they couldn't give him the attention he deserved, so they wanted him to be with a loving family where he could be loved on.


We believed that one for about 2 seconds. Until we saw him literally shrink at the sight of people at PetsMart. The dog was scared to death. Now, one could argue that he was in new surroundings, overwhelmed by a car ride, and having attention obnoxiously lavished upon him from his thrilled "parents'. Could be. But then we saw another side of him. A vicious, ugly side.

He would just ferociously snap at people who came to close to him. And I mean, scary snap. Like break-the-skin snap.

Uh oh. What had we gotten ourselves into? For that first week, we pretty much kept to ourselves & tried to love on our dog. To his former owners' credit (or maybe because Maxie is just so darn smart), he was already housebroken. So at least we didn't have to worry about that.

What we did have to worry about was his behavior. I remember taking him to the vet that first week and even the vet was scared of him. He actually recommended a tranquilizer next time I dared to bring him in. And he didn't make a much better impression on the receptionist, especially when he decided to relieve himself (#2 style) right in the middle of the waiting room.

But the thing was, he was sooooo sweet to Matt and I. Mostly. But if we moved too quickly around him, he would either snap at us or immediately cower.

And then it became evident. Our dog was not just severely neglected. He was tremendously abused. And Matt & I were way out of our league.

Unfortunately, 6 days later, Katrina whammed the gulf coast & our little condo on Howze Beach Rd. With no home to return to & only an apartment in Baton Rouge that did not allow dogs over 15lbs, we were forced to leave Max with my parents for a good 7 months until we figured out the "next" in our lives.

I am sure they were thrilled. They already had 2 massive dogs who were a handful unto themselves, and then you throw in our dog - well, that's just seemingly a recipe for disaster. But they never complained. They just took in their new houseguest and made the best of the situation, just like everyone else was doing.

Now, at this point, my dad was retired so he pretty much was full-time dog caretaker, outside of his regular duties of being a "Real Househusband of Collin County". And man, did he love on those dogs... if Daddy had a hamburger, the dogs had a hamburger. If Daddy laid on the couch, the dogs laid on the couch, all 200 lbs. of them. They had their routine down to a science. No doubt that Max threw a wrench in all of that. My little 39lb terror would pick fights with the "big dogs" & cause them all to get thrown outside for the rest of the day. When Dad had a friend visit one day (and even though he had warned that friend!), Mr. Ed moved too quickly for Max's liking & was promptly bitten. Yikes.

I wish I could say that I was a concerned parent & called the "foster family" (ie: my parents) all the time to get Max updates. But the truth was, I was so wrapped up in recovering from that damn storm, I almost forgot we had a dog. It was just so bizarre - when we finally got back to TX that year for the holidays, "our" dog did not even really know us. Sad.

After a couple more trips back home and finally emerging from my post-storm coma, I started to see these HUGE changes in Max. He was becoming socialized. He wasn't snapping at people. He was lovable, even snuggling with Mom in her chair or at Dad's feet while he lay on the couch. He still would pick a fight with the big dogs, but instead of it being 100% aggression and aggravation, it was mostly for play.

By April of '06, we were ready to take back our dog - we finally had a new house in Houston with a yard that was just waiting for Mr. Max. So one long weekend, we went to pick him up from the 'rents and drove him back "home". And the dog that came back with us was all-together loving and well-behaved. So who was the instigator of this enormous change in my dog?

My dad. The guy who feared he would get attached to Max, so for the first couple of months wouldn't even let the dog on the couch with him. He didn't want to fall in love only to have to let him go one day. But fall in love he did. And he saw the good in Max & worked with him constantly to socialize him & break him of his nasty habit of biting his friends, amongst other things. He loved and loved and loved on that dog & Max is a legacy of that love.

I don't even think I realized how strong their bond was until we would bring him home for holidays and Max would see Dad and totally freak out, his little body shaking with excitement. When my parents came to visit us in our new digs, Dad would sit on the couch & Max would suddenly turn into a lap dog & plop himself firmly on top of my dad. Now, my dad was a man of few words at times, but he would just melt when he would talk to Max. Just start cooing in this sweet voice. I know. My dad "cooed". Hard to believe.

Now, whenever we have company, we no longer have to worry about Max attacking our guests. In fact, he just loves people & wants to be as close to the action as possible. We'll be in the middle of a deep bible study discussion and he'll just leap into the middle of the couch so he can be petted by almost perfect strangers. Most of the time our guests leave the house just loving Max & can't believe how great of a dog he is. And Matt and I just look at each other with a knowing smile, "man, you should have seen him 3 years ago...". He's also my great protector - I honestly sleep soundly when Matt is gone because of that dog. I pay $30 a month for alarm home monitoring when really all I need is one little black dog. (While he doesn't bite or snap anymore, he gets awfully excited when the doorbell rings and my usually mute dog lets loose on the barking, all while running full-tilt at the door - only to usually hit the tile floor and skid his way right into our front door. I have witnessed many a solicitor hear that sound & literally leap the 3' hedge in our yard to escape from the "beast" behind the door. Meanwhile I chuckle to myself & pet my little security system and then give him a treat. ha. I definitely encourage that behavior! )

And no credit is due to us. All credit to the foster parents who took him in. And a foster dad who showed us love can trump all and even conquer a past of abuse & neglect.


Suburban Life & Strife

Aunt Edna's Chocolate Cake - $10/slice seems pretty steep until you see the "slice" - not so much a slice as it is an entire cake. And worth evern darn penny.

Ok - so I'll start this post out by saying - while being true suburbanites (if that's a word) we do occasionally leave the confines of our comfy community neighborhood associations and venture into the H-town nightlife. Last night we had the wonderful opportunity to hang out with our friends Katie & Ryan (who actually started out as friends of my brother, and I only knew Ryan as "Cooper") but have now become some of our favorite couples to go out with. Mostly because they are the same speed as us. Read: have dinner, have dessert, in bed by 11:00pm :) Wouldn't have it any other way...

This is Katie - one of the sweetest people I have met here - and genuinely a good person & so much fun to hang out with. There is no shortage of laughter or fun and we never run out of things to talk about. Too fun! (She's also a fellow Tri-Delt alum - she was UT & I was LSU - but that's just an added bonus). Anyways, we hit up the Blue Fish House first which basically is just this really cool, ecletic, sushi dive bar if there is such a thing. You pretty much sit on top of your fellow diners - but we paid no attention & I am sure they just LOVED our obnoxious laughter and conversation :) ha. As an added bonus, Ryan & Matt get along really well - so while Katie & I chat away, they seem to have no shortage of conversation. It's the best. So after stuffing ourselves with dumplings and copious amounts of sushi (although it's never enough 3 hours later, cause I am always starving again!) - we headed to the Chocolate Bar.

And oh. and my.

Heaven on earth.

No low fat/yogurt options here, folks. Just straight up fatty deliciousness - and worth every calorie. (oh and I did ask about low-fat options & I think the guy behind the counter just about died laughing at me - and then proceeded to mash 3 full scoops into my single-serve.

And did I eat almost every bite?

You bet.

That doesn't even account for the MASSIVE "slice" of chocolate cake we all shared. It was the size of an entire plate - laying down. Ridiculous.

But did we all manage to shove it down?

Absolutely. God Bless chocolate (I think there was some dark chocolate in there so I did feel a little better knowing I got an intake of some rich antioxidants)

Anyway - after a "wild night" of sushi & chocolate heaven, we headed back to the 'burbs. In bed by the end of Conan, and unconscious by the start of Jimmy Fallon. (and yes, that is how I judge the lateness of my nights now.)

So, this morning I woke up - slight pounding in the head - could be attributed to chocolate overload or the allergies that descend on Houston - either way, not feeling fab-o. But I had struck a deal with my boss to work today (he's leaving for a mission trip tomorrow & needed some admin help) so I took a few hours (or actually most of the day off Friday) to work today.

I worked a little bit on some extraneous work stuff I needed to catch up on & then headed out to take care of the tasks he needed -- he made it sound like it was going to be all this work - but really was just some copying & stapling & collating (glamorous, right?!) and the worst part was being in the big "church" on the 3rd floor with 95 degree heat and no AC. So I finished it up rather quickly (and felt rather guilty about my somewhat lax day on Friday) but, hey, he offered, right?

With some time to kill and knowing we weren't going out to dinner again tonight -- hey, we already had our dinner in the big city last night, remember??! - I headed to the hell-on-earth that is HEB.

Now, normally I heart HEB.

When they first opened, I was just so darn excited not to have to drive miles and miles just to go to an overpriced Randall's or Kroger -- to be fair - they both can have good deals but I just am too busy (read: lazy) to look for them on a consistent basis. Plus, HEB can just be exciting! (If you are in the right mood) Especially on the weekends - when they have free samples on every corner & all sorts of deliciousness to try.

And yes, this is where my true suburban colors start to show - when I post about a grocery store. Sad, isn't it?

The trip started off great - I had to return my Chi - it had been malfunctioning for about a week now, getting hot, then turning off, then heating back up, then turning off again - not good timing with Houston/humidity-hell summer upon us. My hair CANNOT be without some sort of straightening device.

And yes, I bought my Chi from HEB - that's right, friends - my HEB is a "super marketplace" or something like that - meaning you can get everything from cds, to movies to books to, that's right, Chi's. Luckily, my hubby has had some sort of good influence on me b/c I actually saved the receipt from the purchase and the original box - go figure - I normally would have tossed it but even I know you don't throw that stuff away for a $100 hair straightening device that they will replace with a brandnew one should it malfunction. So, I took care of the return and could not have been more pleased.

And then I went about my grocery shopping.

Actually, let's call it dodging.

Because all I did was dodge. Dodge in & out of aisles. Leave my cart and literally dodge into the "herb" area just to grasp what hopefully was cilantro (who can tell - it all looks like parsley & people were bearing down on me - but today was my lucky today & the cilantro was confirmed as I mixed it in with my guac tonight).
Anyway, I dodged people. I dodged children. I dodged every vendor hawking every ethnicity of food. I dodged a vendor even selling a non-alcoholic mojioto (really, what's the point??? Why waste the calories for no buzz?).

You've heard the average American family has 2.2 kids + dog.

In Katy, I believe it is at least 3.5 kids + pure obnoxiousness. And they were all at HEB.

My ovaries even started to throb. I felt like they were saying, "Meagan, don't let us become part of this madness, please.... don't let us be one of THOSE kids."

I know, I'm terrible.

I want kids. I do. I just don't want kids like that.

In my head, Matt & I have the most perfect kids known to man - polite, quiet, respectful, adored by all - I know we are in for a shocking reality jolt (hopefully) a few years from now - but one can still dream.

Well, after my exhaustive dodging and trying to break through hordes of people to find just the exact right brand & type of yogurt for Matty (I was informed this week that apparently the last few months I have been purchasing the more custard variety when really the more creamy & smooth variety is preferred - and you call me high maintenance??), I finally made it to check-out, where gratefully due to the summer influx of returning collegiates - there is no shortage of checkers. Whew, I was done within minutes.

And out to the parking lot.

Where it really gets fun.

I almost got hit by a car just walking out there (Lady (oh geez, did I just call myself a "lady".. I mean "girl", "young woman", anything but lady!!!) with basket should always trump car when in a grocery store parking lot - seriously!!!)

Find my car in the blazing 98 degree heat (high noon in H-town) - and start unloading and unloading and unloading. Somehow a quick trip to HEB to return said Chi & "pick up a few yogurts & milk" turned into a $100 shopping adventure - but hey, I have a brand new type of salsa to try. And I saved a $1.00 on an 8pk of paper towels. Oh, and $1.00 on green beans. Thanks to in-store coups. (See Lisa, I do coupon it!!... sort of.)

And then I saw the lurker.

Just waiting for me to unload so she could take my spot. It should be duly noted that my spot was not even that amazing. We're not talking front-row & even in a centralized area. But the lurker was fixated on my spot. And she was determined.

But so was I. To get my basket unloaded and organized just right in my car (bread away from large pack of diet cokes, etc). And then I had to return my cart. I am a HUGE cart returner. I am a firm believer in karma when it comes to cart returning. And I think anyone who doesn't return their cart (unless they are seriously physically handicapped - in which they probably shouldn't even try to brave HEB - or they are having actual labor pains in the parking lot), should be forced to don the tacky fluorescent vest for a day of hard labor pushing carts. Seriously, it isn't a hard thing to do. And while I can be lazy in many facets of my everyday life, cart-returning isn't one of them.

So I returned my cart & hopped back in my car - only to see another flipping cart angling itself toward my front right hand bumper.

UGHH. The injustice. The laziness. Shall I continue??

Jump out of car again. Lurker still waiting for my spot. C'mon, lady. You could have been inside the madness that is HEB already.

Out of pure spite for the lurker & feeling harrassed from the cart barrage and the endless dodging for the past half hour, I purposefully took the cart and primly returned it to the farthest cart return I could see.

I am evil. and terrible. I know.

And yet the lurker waited.

Jumped back into the car, fiddled around, found my proper radio station, casually put on my sunglasses, adjusted the mirrors, the whole works. And not only was the lurker still waiting, but she had inched up making it darn near impossible for me to reverse without hitting her. Lovely.

Finally, I had enough fun playing with the lurker, inched into reverse - and kept her inching all the way back down the parking lot until I was 200% sure that my car was straight and clear of all other vehicles before I finally put it in forward.

Whew - almost home-free, away from the madness. But then you have to get out of the lot, right? Whoever designed the parking lots & exits at this shopping center should be shot - there are pretty much only 2 ways in & 2 ways out unless you want to take a tour of the Seven Meadows neighborhood, which I was not in the mood to do. I mean, they have cops that are patrolling the entrances and exits - when they should be doing important thing like eating donuts - and instead my taxpayer money is paying for them to direct traffic b/c of the mind-numbing idiot brains of the developers.

You can probably guess by now that again, even with the patrol officer support - I was almost swiped, not once but twice by impatient drivers - all on their cell phones of course.

Oh, and did I mention that I have the most glamorous suburban life???

And apparently I was so wiped out by my shopping trip and sugar overload from the night before that I collapsed into a 4 1/2 hr coma yesterday afternoon. Well deserved, I'd say.


A Shared Love

So when my friend Lisa came in town & we had an opportunity to do a little shopping, we hit up Ann Taylor Loft - one of my favorites. A favorite b/c it has pretty inexpensive stuff, cute little summer dresses & lots of little tops that are perfect for hot & humid H-town weekends. It's the not the fanciest or the most trendy stuff out there - but then again, I am not a real fancy or trendy-type girl. More of a classic dresser I would say - when I am not spending my days in ball caps and running shorts.

Anyways, the one thing I purchased was this really cute sundress - in totally not my usual colors (I am more of a black than a brown person) but it was so cozy & comfortable (plus it has that extra breathing room for the "just in case preggers belly" that most of my purchases recently have been based on. So when hubby and I had our date night last weekend, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to break it out. See below.

(and please excuse my hair in these past couple of posts - I am in DESPERATE need of a new style/cut & color but my hairstylist had surgery & is out for at least the next month so it's ponytail city for me. But it's also an opportunity for me to finally try to grow out my hair - at least my poor bang decision of last summer is finally starting to reverse itself so things could be worse. Miss Becky, hope you are feeling better & hurry back SOON!!!)
So imagine my surprise when we got home from said date night - I popped open my People mag & saw this picture (and yes, I do realize that I said I wasn't going to read anymore articles about them, but does looking at pictures count?) I immediately looked down & compared. Yup, that's Kate wearing the latest Ann Taylor Loft fashion. And in fact, a lot of her pics as of recently are resembling my purchases from there.

Yikes! Haven't decided how I feel about this yet. I guess it's cool that apparently she has millions and apparently still somewhat shops on a budget. I'm pretty bummed b/c she ummm, how do I say this - definitely fills out the upper portion of the dress better than I do (well 9 years ago I would have kicked her butt - but that's a whole other story for a whole other blog!) and she's wayyyyy tan. Hmm, but maybe too tan? Or maybe I am just jealous because I am stark white this summer.
But the thing is - I've decided recently I am not a fan. The more I watched old re-runs of the show & saw how she treated just about everyone including her husband - well, yuck!!
So, now that we dress the same - if I start giving "love taps" to Matt (ie: slapping the crap out of my husband in what she calls an affectionate matter) or eating strictly organic or freaking out on every spilled crumb - someone please stop me!!!


Never thought...

Never thought I would be this blessed.

Never thought I would be so loved.

Never thought I would laugh so hard.

Never thought I could love so much.

As little girls we all dream of our handsome prince & wonder...Who is he going to be? What will he look like? What will our wedding be like? What will it be like to be married to him? Where will we live? What will we do? How many kids will we have?

Well, I know the answer to most of these questions now.

His name is Matt. (or Matthew - but that's reserved for his parents & family - he's always been Matt to me -- well, except when I am annoyed or angry at him :) and then it's more MATTHEW!!!!!)

He is very handsome with a fabulous smile with wonderful creases and a slight dimple in his chin. Every day when I look at him - I wonder how I got so lucky. How he can see me when I first wake up & hair running wild (and I mean, WILD) - and sometimes having slept in a masque with my glasses on - and still say, "Good morning, beautiful." is beyond me. I think he needs a stronger contacts prescription to be honest with you.

Our wedding weekend was wonderful - basked in love, laughter, innocence, family, friends, dancing, poignancy, tears, memorable toasts, fabulous cakes, parties, humor, champagne, sweet sweet memories.

To be married to him: Well, that's been an adventure to say the least. Sometimes, I want to jump inside that enormous head of his (both in size & brain capacity - and I am not being mean, I have a HUGE head, too - only size wise though!) - and see what is really going on in there. He is just one of the most randomly funny people I have ever met. Often he'll say something and I'll just look at him, like, "What??". Keeps me on my toes. He's also one of the smartest people I know. But his brains are no match for his heart. He is filled with compassion & such a tender spirit. He loves without boundary. His love for God & his willingness and excitement to serve Him is such an inspiration to me and to many.

I still learn new things about him each day. For example, tonight I learned that when he has a thought in his head & needs to refocus his attention to something else, he mentally visualizes a door shutting & locking in one part of his brain and sees himself opening a new door for the new thoughts. WHAT?!? Only an engineer does that, that's all I will say. To "compartmentalize" is I think what they call it. Or something really geeky like that.

Looking back on the past 6 years or so - I know now that all those twists and turns we took a couple of years ago were helping to prepare us for what was coming. The whole baby thing. And this "whole baby thing" will prepare our hearts and strengthen us even more for the inevitable future challenges that lay ahead. I can say with almost 100% certainity had we found out about this infertility situation before the "character building" we survived, we probably wouldn't have made it. But God knows what He is doing. We just have to make ourselves available to let Him do it. That's the hard part for sure. Breaking, emptying yourself, being so desperate...it's intensely painful and let's be honest, not a whole lot of fun. But wow, the rewards are tremendous.

We don't have all the answers. We still get it wrong some days. We act unloving when we should show love. We are disrespectful when we should show respect. We can still exchange ugly words that we don't mean in the heat of battle. We are not always the couple God intended us to be.

But we keep trying. Trying to get it right. Every day our marriage is a choice. We choose to love one another, to respect one another, to pray for one another, to support one another. Today I chose love, tomorrow I will choose love, so it goes to the next and the next and the next.

"Not that I have already obtained all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:12-14).

That's one of my favorite scriptures for just life in general - and perfectly suited for our marriage. We forgive, we forge ahead, and always keep our eyes focused on God. We can't fail if we do that.

I pray more than anything that one day (soon!) I can answer that last question, "how many kids will we have?" But that's not in my control. Yikes, I hate that!!! But I am giving it to God this time. I haven't done so hot when I've tried to handle things on my own.

But of course, how precious would it be to have a little Matty running around? That's what I want more than anything. To see my husband being a father. Cause he would be fabulous. I just know it.


Under Strict Doctor's Orders...

So yesterday Matt & I had a follow-up visit with my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist -- see, I'm even learning the abbreviations of my new vocabulary!)...anyways, the visit was to discuss Tuesday's procedure and how everything looked and his thoughts, etc.

I actually got kind of anxious about it - having this hysterscopy was really the last "leg", if you will, of this marathon of testing to get ready just to start invitro. I have this horrible habit of playing out worst-case scenarios in my mind (over and over and over) so that way if it actually happens, I figure it won't be so bad because I've "mentally" prepared for it. Yeah, it's kind of compulsive and slightly disturbing, at least to me.

So I had already (in my head) pictured him telling me that the large polyp was cancerous - even though there is less than a 1% chance of that little scenario; or that something else was amiss and not good for baby (uhh, remember he had JUST told me on Tuesday that everything minus the polyp and cyst looked great...but what if he was lying b/c he didn't want to upset an already emotional patient right after she was coming out of a drug haze??); and there were a couple of others but I'll spare you the psychosis that is my brain...

Well, Dr. H was pretty busy yesterday (granted we did have just about the last appt of the day & you know those are always guaranteed to be running late - but thanks to Katy contstruction, I was about 10 minutes late myself) & the waiting room was pretty full. So of course, me being the people-watcher I am, found it fascinating to look around and try to guess why the people were there - there were the kind of obvious ones (let's just say more "mature" couples) but infertility isn't something you can easily pick out. That's what I have learned about this whole thing: infertility doesn't know race, economic status, gender, etc - we come from all walks of life with all different types of stories.

I will say most of the time I feel kind of funny in that waiting room - like I don't belong. Maybe because I never imagined I would be there -- I don't know why I thought I would be so special - it could happen to anyone. And also because I know people must see ME and think, whoa, "what's the 18 year old doing in here?" (I look young, like really young, for my age (29) - and I don't help the situation by usually wearing a baseball cap & work out clothes with very little make-up when I go to my appointments. I know, I know - one day I will appreciate it but right now it's just annoying).

Now, let me just preface this next story by saying I have the most supportive & loving husband in the world; he has done everything that has been asked of him, all sorts of bloodwork, multiple "samples", the works. And he has done it (mostly) with a smile on his face. And with very little complaining.

So I chalk up this next incident to simply just being a guy, whatever that means.

So, we are sitting there & I am people-watching and making a list for my very important trip to Target, and the doctor is running late (it's now about 4:20ish & our appt was at 4:00) - Matt & I are chatting and then suddenly he says,

"Well, would it be okay if I left you at 4:45pm if we aren't done yet?"

My head spun around like the freaking exorcist, and I said "WHAT?" (really, probably too loudly for the somewhat confined area we were in)

"Well, my hair cut is at 6:00 with Miss Becky & I don't know how long it is going to take me to get to Sugar Land at this time of day." (And this was all said with the innocence of a 5 year old with an impish smile on his face)

And then he saw my face.

And then he realized the ooops.

He knows me well enough that I have spun enough crazy scenarios in my head to have already turned myself into a dying cancer patient unable to ever bear children and leaving my husband a widower at the ripe age of 30.

So he tried to backtrack but too late... I was off and running.

"If you even think you are going to leave early to go get a flipping haircut, you have lost your ever-loving mind," I angrily whispered (and somehow my vocab when I am pissed reverts back to phrases my mom would say, thus "the ever-loving" reference). "Did you forget that I just had surgery & that we are about to find out the results of this little fun waterboarding procedure & plan out our schedule if all goes well."

And that's all it took. One amazing thing about my husband is that he is able to say "sorry" faster than anyone I know. He has absolutely zero problem with admitting fault and, even better, when he says "Sorry", he actually means it. Me, on the other hand, not so quick to apologize even when I know I'm the one who screwed up - and even when I say sorry, I don't always truly mean it. I'm terrible.

So, he quickly apologizes, says he doesn't know what he was thinking & grabs my hand and squeezes it tenderly (nice move, Matt!). And crisis averted.

Seriously, guys -- what is with you and your heads???

I give you all this nonsense babble before because for all I had built this appointment up to be - and imagining it would take hours - all took place in about 10 minutes - and that's only b/c I had about a zillion more questions to ask the doctor for reassurrances, clarifications, etc (and he LOVES me for that, ha!)

Basically, we are under "strict doctor's orders" to do whatever it takes to de-stress this summer and START MAKING BABIES (well, the lab will be making the babies but whatever) IN SEPTEMBER!!! YAY!!!

Yup, we have the all-clear. Everything looks good - all my "stuff" is the right shape in all the right places, and my "cavity" (Dr. H's term for uterus) is completely clear and beautiful - well, he didn't say beautiful but I did.

So here we go! We could start whenever at this point but Matt & I feel like we need to take one last vacay before all the madness begins and so after summer seems appropriate. Honestly, if you know me at all, you know that I would start tomorrow - I absolutely HATE to wait on anything - but if God has taught me anything during these last 13-14 mos of testing is that patience is a good thing and impulsivity isn't always the best option.

I left that appointment on such a high. Now, we have a plan. I've always said that I can deal with it, just as long as I know what I am facing. And now, I know what I am facing. Thank you, God.

I know that everything that will happen once we officially kick this thing off won't be easy. I'm probably not going to feel stellar. My body will become bruised & beaten by the multiple injections. My stomach will probably bloat out to my fat pant size. My hormones will be off the charts. Matt will probably want to strangle me at some point.

And it may not even work.

But I can't think of that right now. All I can think of is that our amazing God is giving us a shot to turn our "coupledom" into a little family of three...or four...or well, forget it, I'm not counting higher than that. I refuse to be octo-mom. Or even quad-mom! ha.

But there's a chance. And a good one at that. 75-80% that we will get preggers the first time. I'll take them odds. Sure beats 0%.


Mr. & Mrs. Dugan Visit H-Town

So this past weekend we had the awesome privilege of hosting Adam & Lisa - our great friends from Dallas! Since we've lived in Houston, I don't think we've had anyone other than family come and stay with us - why is that? I'm thinking it's b/c Houston isn't just the hotbed of activity and who would want to leave the relative comfortable humidity levels of Austin/Dallas/etc & visit the sauna that is our city. I don't blame them.

But anyways, Adam & Lisa dropped off their beautiful girls at Lisa's parents (a HUGE thank you btw to Mr. & Mrs. Brooks for watching them ALL weekend so we could spend adult time!) and made their way down here.

They were able to leave the traffic that is Dallas rush-hour a little early so we were able to go out to eat with them to Lupe's Tortillas - a fantastic place with the most amazing, you guessed it, tortillas! We went to the original one - which is 10x better than the newer one in Sugar Land and had cocktails, dinner and shared laughs until well after 10:30pm. (Oh and Lupe's actually CLOSES at 10pm on a Friday night, what is that all about?? We actually shut it down).

Here's us at Lupe's - post-dinner/happy & full :)

After dinner, we headed back to our place where Adam & Matt headed straight to the video games & Lisa and I headed straight for girl-talk :) It was awesome. As much as I love Houston and all my friends here, there is something about connecting with your friends who have known you for years (and I mean YEARS - at least 16 at last count - since 6th grade!). So Lis has seen me through all sorts of stages, the awkward teenage years, the crazier college years, the married years (in fact - she & Adam basically introduced Matt & I - but that's a whole other story for a whole other blog). But she has been a ROCK to me, especially this past year as we've been going through all of our fertility stuff and I am so thankful for her friendship.

Side Note: In this picture I look preggers. I am in fact, NOT! It's the dress. Everything I buy now has a flowy feel to it for the "just in case"!

Saturday we decided to make it a "girls day" - the boys went to go shoot guns and be manly & we went in for pedicures, lady's lunch & some shopping. But we were very responsible & only got 1 or 2 things each - seriously! Then it was nap-time (I had been fighting a horrible infection for a couple of days so I was worn out!)
After naptime, we decided to hit up this neat place down in the Montrose area called Vincent & Nino's - it's actually a collection of 3 different Italian places to eat it & it was delicious. I think our waiter was a little frustrated with us b/c we barely took time to stop talking to actually order but we were not in a hurry! Nothing I hate more than feeling rushed through a nice dinner like I am at Chili's (Unless I am at Chili's and then they should be as speedy as possible! ha!) Lisa won the prize for best dinner though - she stepped out there and got the sea bass special and it was spectacular.
After we finished dinner & harrassing other patrons to take endless amounts of photos of us, we finally headed home and where to next --- you guessed it - Sonic!!! Seriously, would we take our friends to any other higher class establishment. This time, since we had indulged in a couple of pretty large dinners and a few cocktails, we decided to hit up the "lighter side" of Sonic that is their bite-size candy $1.00 Sundaes. Apparently, it's what Lisa orders her daughter Grace when she goes to Sonic. I really didn't realize just how tiny it would be - seriously, it could have been a $.50 sundae. But that's where I think Americans have portion control all out of whack because honestly after I finished that tiny little ice cream delight, I was.... satisfied! Imagine that! Satisfied and not overly stuffed - what a concept! Anyways, we of course wrapped up the evening talking some more & watching the boys play Guitar Hero (or was that in the afternoon they played that? I can't remember). Then bedtime.
Woke up the next morning & Lisa went for her second jog of the weekend - what a trooper! Had I not been all stuffy & coughing I would have joined her (or at least I say that - I am not an early morning runner - but all props to her). Matt had to leave to go help set up church so then I got showered extra early so we could all hang some more. Lisa and I believe carried on a 15-20 minute conversation about hair & straightening & cutting techniques. I believe Adam just rolled his eyes while he sat on the couch :) Girls will be girls! Anyways, then it was finally time for them to depart and for me to get my behind to church.

Thanks for coming to visit, y'all! It was a GREAT weekend - and as far as I am concerned, needs to be a yearly tradition - if we can bribe your parents to keep the kiddos. Or who knows, maybe in 2 years, I'll have my own and then you can just bring the whole tribe & we can have a CRAZY weekend of toddler fun :) Love you guys & thanks for your friendship!


One Step Closer to "Petri"

So this morning, Matt & I continued our journey towards becoming parents and the creation of "Petri" (Petri is the name we have coined our kid/embryo/mass of cells we hope to have implanted in the fall -- I have used the term so much that my pastor/boss is even calling "it" that and has sworn he will slip during his/her baby dedication and call him Petri for life!)

Anyways, this a.m. was the "Hysteroscopy" - basically where they pump you full of water and stick a camera where no camera belongs to look at your uterus and cervix and all that fun stuff to make sure you have a happy little place to plant Petri in. They also check out to make sure you don't have anything weirdo growing in there, like fibroids or polyps, etc.

It's as much fun as it sounds, folks.

Meaning not much fun at all.

They have to put you completely under (well, thank God for that b/c I sure want to be in "lala land" when cameras and water are involved in that area for sure) - but the whole thing only takes about 20-30 minutes, so by 11:00am we were thankfully heading home. (Heading home, minus one large polyp that was blocking my "sweet spot" and had to be cut out & one drained cyst - a little more action than I was expecting honestly -- I'll find out more details on Thurs but bottom-line from the doc was everything else looked great and hospitable and was all the right shape and even "pretty" - for a uterus. I think they send the polyp to pathology just in case, but it's highly improbable that it was anything more than extra endometrial tissue that had built up - who knew?!)

I really really really try not to complain about all this stuff we have to do to prepare for this invitro - I do realize how lucky & blessed we are to be able to consider this so I don't want to be ungrateful and whiny about the process. But.....that being said - I have 2, I believe, very complaint-worthy things:

1. I HATE when doctors and nurses become so accustomed to doing routine procedures that they just assume that everyone reacts the same as them & think it's no big deal. I love my doctor, but really, I was about to pop him one when he told me for the fourth time this morning, "Look, Meagan - this isn't a huge deal - it will be over before you know it & you'll be fine" Ok, so I appreciate his attempt to comfort but seriously. My daily activities don't generally include a camera waterboarding in my uterus. So don't tell me that it isn't a huge deal.

2. I had the worst, and I mean the worst, pre-surgical/intake nurse EVER!!!!! She had called yesterday to go over the procedure with me and I swear I had to prompt her on the questions for her to ask. Here's a brief rundown of our phone convo yesterday:

Eleanor: (in creeky old-woman voice): Is this Meagan?

Me: Yes, it is. Can I help you?

Ellie: Yes, I was calling to remind you of your procedure tomorrow at 9am.

Me: Umm, did you say 9am? It was supposed to be 8am so I could be the first one (yes, I'm a brat and I wanted the first appt)

Ellie: Well, we, you know, ummmmm, well we decided to change it. Ok, so 9am.

**Then I swear the woman was about to hang up like she was confirming my haircut and highlight with Miss Becky or something!!!

Me: Uh, don't you want to tell me a little bit about the pre-surgical instructions, that kind of thing?

Ellie: Oh yeah, don't eat or drink after midnight.


Me: Is that it?

Ellie: Yes, pretty much.

Me: Well, would you care to know if I am allergic to any medicines or foods? Or what medications I take daily? Or if I have been sick in the last 2 weeks? Or if I have any physical restrictions?

(Ok, seriously - this isn't my first rodeo. I have been through this crap more times than I can count & I'm allergic to so many meds that I make Matt carry a medical bracelet with him with my allergies listed, just in case.)

Ellie: (stammering) well, yes, actually we would like to know all of that....

So anyways, we painfully make it through the rest of the conversation with me prompting and spelling medicines and respelling and respelling and respelling until I am sure Ellie has got it.

Matt calls after I get off the phone with her and I let loose on him about the obvious flunky receptionist they had call me for my pre-op stuff. Cause there's no way that lady was a nurse.

Fast forward 7:50am, Tuesday morning.

I barely have made it through the door and handed over my drivers license and insurance card to the receptionist when this woman with an eerily familiar screechy voice bangs through the waiting room (very very nice waiting room by the way - they must make lots and lots of babies). And she's looking for me. And she's in scrubs. With a stethoscope.


So she barely gives me enough time to get my cards back in my wallet before she is literally dragging me back to the pre-op area, throwing forms at me the whole way and gets impatient that I actually want to read them. Ummm, excuse me, but if there is a chance that something goes wrong and I have to have a hysterectomy or something, I want to make sure that I have crossed all my t's and dotted all my i's.
Call me crazy.

She just keeps trying to get me to initial boxes and sign here- all the while shoving a themometer down my throat, while simultaneously taking my blood pressure.

I'm all about efficiency but this was ridiculous. She kept saying I could finish the forms later (when the heck is later?? When I am drugged out of my mind??) but that I needed to get changed so she could start the IV. She basically shoved me in the bathroom, no joke. and then she couldn't understand why my blood pressure was so high so she kept tightening and re-tightening the cuff until my arm was bright purple and every vein was standing out and I had the resemblance of a body builder's arm that has shot up the 'roids one too many times.

So after shooting death looks at Matt (do something, say something for crying out loud!) - she tries to get the iv started. Tries being the operative word. Look, I have great veins. Perfect for IVs. Trust me, I know.

Ellie couldn't get it until the 3rd attempt.

Matt made some comment about last time he got his blood drawn he could barely feel it.

I then of course had to shoot Matt another death look - because we all know that those baby needles they take just a little blood from is NOTHING compared to the monster that is an IV needle.

So none of this is leading to anything fantastic and the whole time I am just praying that she never steps foot in any of the operating rooms. Or worse yet, never steps anywhere close to where they will be harvesting my eggs and future children.

So Ellie starts asking me my history and hands me a bracelet to snap on. Which of course is missing "Ceclor". A major antibiotic that I am HIGHLY allergic to. So I point it out. And she has the gaul to tell me, "You're not allergic to that. You didn't tell me that yesterday." The heck I didn't. I can recite my allergies frontward/backward/sideways/standing on my head.

So we actually argue back and forth about me being allergic to it and she concedes and adds it to my bracelet. Then I notice that she is has misspelled another antibiotic on my bracelet, Biaxin. She has spelled it "Vioxin". Now, I don't know what that is but I know what Biaxin is and I know what Biaxin does to me. It's not pretty. I don't care to recreate the experience anytime soon.

So again, I have to point that out. And she accused ME of not telling her how to spell it, even though I repeated it at least 4 times yesterday, even using "B" as in BOY.

I wasn't saying "VOY". C'mon, Ellie!!!

So while the Ellster is in the midst of changing/modifying and hopefully fixing the rest of the mistakes on my charts, she casually says something about the antibiotics that are currently dripping into my IV. (I had stupidly assumed it was saline which is what they usually start with)



If Ellie didn't "remember" that I was allergic to Ceclor and didn't spell Biaxin correctly, what the heck is going into my arm?????

I start freaking out - I'm like, "what is the drug going into me right now? What is the name of it? Tell me. Tell me right now"

Ellie couldn't answer the question.

She literally couldn't remember.

She had to look through the trash to find the remnant of the package.

Are you freaking serious????

I thought Matt was going to jump out of his chair - finally the boy had a visceral reaction (for those of you who don't know, I have the least confrontational husband on the entire planet).

After a major freak-out moment, they finally got it straightened out and brought the "head nurse" in to verify the meds and that I wasn't allergic to it.

It obviously freaked the Ellster out too b/c she grabbed my bag full of clothes, shoveled the rest of her paperwork in her arms and hi-tailed it out of my room.

At least it kept me distracted for the next 20 minutes while I waited for my "la la" land drugs b/c all I could do was say over and over again "If she even gets next to me, talks to me, comes close to my uterus/cervix/ovaries/eggs, I will go postal".

Needless to say, I have a very important phone call to make tomorrow morning to the head of nursing at the Houston Fertility Institute. Poor Ellster needs to start peering at the "want ads", I'm afraid.

In all fairness, the rest of the nurses, anesthiologist (sp?), my doctors and the rest of the staff could not have been more professional and wonderful. The facilities are top-notch and state-of-the-art. I would not even consider them if I didn't truly believe they were the best in Houston, with the best labs, research, results and people. These are my future offspring we are talking about.

I'm just trying to figure out how the Ellster slipped past them.