The furniture did make it to Philly. The unloading was more expertly done than the loading. The German chest:

The NYC murphy bed which needs to be anchored to the wall/floor and will be done another time.

The Taiwanese table with glass top. I’m happy the furniture is back with the original owners and I think Bob and Katherine are happy to have the furniture back. We’ve been, in Rockville, unfurling the house back into our “empty nest” configuration – with Vince gone and all this extra furniture gone. Our house is still full and needs more decluttering, but I think I got over 1,000 pounds out of the house this weekend.

Jeremy took ground transit for the first time in over 18 months. First the train to DC.

And then the Metro with his new comfy behind the head KN95 masks.

I was at the hospital yesterday. Somehow, the night charge nurse, managed to keep full nurse staffing on kind of an empty floor (both of our techs called out – that was the reason) and so I had three patients for like 80% of the day. When she handed me the assignment, she’s like – it’s Christmas today. A dream. I got all of my online training done for the new software implementing in October during my shift. That is going to be a mess. I found out that a couple of nurses are doing local COVID contracts – 8 week contract for three shifts a week for $3900 per week. That’s $1,300 a shift. That is a lot of $ and I’m curious to hear how the experience is. You know when you work on a covid unit, most everyone is a travel nurse and so no one there really is friends with each other – you go to work and no one says hello to you and you gotta take care of folks who decided to not get vaccinated. I think the $3900 is reasonable and pretty much what it takes to get someone to work on that unit. Everyone is in/out to make their money and go home.

on the moooove.

Money is just flying out of the house. September is the season for that. Totally expected for me, a little unexpected for Vince. He’s moving into an apartment and needs to buy all the things – pots, sheets, shower curtains, cleaning supplies, food, etc – and I had told him we’d cover those starting expenses, but that he will soon need to budget. He called me slightly upset from the parking lot of the Davis Target and said, I feel so bad, I spent so much money! I didn’t know it would add up to hundreds of dollars. (Haven’t we all said that at the Target checkout line?) I said, it’s a lot of money, but it’s always a lot of money to move into your own place. And now you know, when you move yourself, how much $ it is to just start out. He said – I spent like a more than a week’s worth of my work at Camp JCC. I need to learn to budget.

We moved the murphy bed and the german chest and the taiwanese table to Philly to my in-laws house. For the moving out, we hired some movers and there were hiccups, but it all eventually got into the U-haul. Jeremy drove up to Philly last night and spent the night there.

Look at this photo: All I can see is how grey my hair is and what the hell is going on with my mullet? I’m still sporting pandemic hair. I haven’t gotten my hair cut by a professional in years now.

Edda vs seizures.

Yesterday, the leftovers of Ida made it to Maryland and MCPS closed down two hours early. But even before that, Edda’s school had no power and no AC and was sent home earlier. So I had her as my officemate for most of the day.

Edda’s seizures held steady (meaning none) all summer on 1000 BID Keppra and 600 mg am and 900 mg pm of Trileptal. So once summer camp was over, we wanted to wean her off of Keppra and we did it 250 mg BID per week, so that would have taken us 4 weeks, but we made it only three until her seizures came back (2 in two days about 2 days after the dose lowering change) at a dose of 250 BID Keppra. So all of us sighed and ramped back up to 500 mg BID Keppra. So we are holding steady at that dose. Though it’s hard to really tell, I thought as we were lowering the dose that Edda was laughing and enjoying herself more. But I have a feeling we are right on the edge of seizure control. She’s doing lots of weird eyebrow things which are a precursor seizure activity. But we’ll hold at 500 mg and see how it goes. We celebrated (ha!) by buying a hospital grade pill crusher. We had been mortar and pestle-ing the pills in something meant to crush herbs I think and leaving little circle indentations in our dining room table every time we crush the pills, but now we are resigned to forever crushing pills, so I bought the medical grade one.

Vince moved into a very nice apartment yesterday (brand new, own bedroom, dishwasher (?!)) and met his roommate’s family. We got to FaceTime with him and meet his roommate. He spent time emptying his storage unit and settling into his room. Today is grocery shopping.

Vince is in Davis.

I picked Edda up early from after care and we left the house at 4 pm to take Vince to Dulles for his 7 pm flight to Sacramento. We picked a cheap, late flight because Vince, as per usual, flipped his schedule upside down last week – though he did cheerfully make every dinner with us, which was what was agreed to when I knew he’d flip his schedule.

We brought Charlotte the dog with us because her mom lives close to Dulles and is back from vacation so we were going to do the dog exchange at the cell lot there. Charlotte seems to love cars, so was very excited to be going on a trip.

He considered this look “emo” – though to me, it looks very college kid. The doc martens, the blue hair. He said he thought he packed 180 pounds of luggage – no fees, it all got on the plane. We dropped him off at the curb, anticipating a flight to Chicago, a tight layover, a flight to Sac, an Uber ride to campus with late check in at the Hyatt on campus.

He humored me with a selfie.

We drove to the cell lot to reunite Charlotte with Vickey and wait for Vince to check in and clear security. With both missions complete, we drove back to Maryland. On the way home, Jeremy complimented me and said – you and Vince didn’t fight all summer! I know it wasn’t easy for you. I replied – actually, it was easier than I thought it would be, I was proud of him for working all summer at a job that was a lot of work and he cared a lot about it. The fighting is mostly my fault. Vince is a good kid with a good head on his shoulders and many talents. Though he does almost everything differently than I would do them. He likes things fluid, last minute, and is generally not afraid of failing and trying again. I’m the opposite – more rigid, prepared and want to get things right the first time. And, because I’m me, I think the way that I do things is the best way. So the fighting results from trying to urge him to do the things he’s doing my way instead of his way. But Jeremy reminds me, you have to see him as one of your patients or your best friend’s kid – if you wouldn’t say it to them, you shouldn’t say it to Vince. This is a hard thing for me. It’s not that I don’t tell my patients to change their lives, I do. The alcoholic who comes in for the 4th time in 6 months to detox and he tells me that he really wants to quit for his girls and I tell him he can do it, just keep trying even if you fail, just keep going. Or the patient who gets plastic surgery in a hotel room and ends up with an infection, I try to suggest that maybe that wasn’t a wise decision and, while there the nothing wrong with plastic surgery, maybe saving $ a paying at a reputable place would have been a better approach. And as for my friend’s kids, these days I just relish in their accomplishments and their thoughtfulness / kindness and can see them work through complicated stuff with grace that goes beyond their years. Which is all the same things I see in Vince. He made all his connections and made it to the hotel. May the force be with him. May the force be with all of us.

Edda’s first day.

Yesterday was Edda’s first day back at school. We eagerly awaited the bus at 7:15 am. It was 15 minutes late – but no worries. We had Charlotte the dog on the lookout for it.

I met the driver and the bus aide and we had a wheelchair lift malfunction which took 20 min to resolve, but we did it! You see the little kid on the next lawn? That kids loves school buses and makes special morning trips to see Edda’s bus. So sweet! Last year in a stroller, this year, walking.

I think there are supposed to be five kids on the bus, but the other kids aren’t taking the bus (at least not now) so Edda has this all to herself. An enormous bus and two employees. I think Edda naps during the ride. OK, and I’m wearing my favorite pandemic sweatshirt which was a gift from a friend and I love it even though it really is a crazy thing.

And there she goes. We are grateful for her team at school. We are grateful for her after school team as well. This is Edda’s first senior year. She gets to go to school until she’s 21. I try to not think too hard about what her senior year would have been like without Rett because it’s a fantasy. I have a college classmate who worked in the Obama white house who recently posted on FB that she made one million miles on an airline and the flight crew personally thanked her for her loyalty and I wonder, could that have been me? Would I wanted that to have been me? That is a fantasy too. Sometimes I feel the two are tied, Edda’s diagnosis and my ambitions – I sometimes think that Edda’s disability allowed me to live the life I was meant to live and I’m a much, much better person. But, that’s crazy too because I would have given up all the self-awareness I gained in less than a heartbeat for Edda to not have Rett Syndrome. I would gladly reverted back to my more self-centered and less compassionate person for Edda to be applying for colleges now, haha, I wouldn’t even know what I was missing. One million airline miles and the ear of the president. I don’t know if I could have done that. Jeremy calculated it to be 150 cross-country round trip flights. If I did one trip every week, it would have taken me three years. I don’t think I would have had that in me. Now I just want to eat, read, sleep, place random games on my phone, watch the kids grow up, walk with my friends, take care of my family. I hardly ever want to travel anywhere. Which I guess is good because, you know, we are still in a pandemic even though the NYT is putting it below the fold now.

51st and 23rd.

hi loves, we celebrated my parents’ 51st and our 23rd wedding anniversary on Saturday. Jeremy and I had wanted to get married on my parents’ anniversary – August 22nd, but there was a scheduling conflict, so we picked the week after on the 29th. To this day, I get confused on whether our anniversary is the 28th or the 29th, so I always take my parents anniversary on the 22nd and add 7 to it – that’s how I remember it. 29th!!

My parents, who in non-pandemic times, would love love love to go to a fancy restaurant, are are unwilling to eat publicly indoors, agreed to a surf and turf dinner at our house. Jeremy got the best steaks at Whole Foods, I got a cake from a nice Bakery. We made a cheese plate (everyone loves blue, we should just forgo the other kinds)>

We got fresh Maryland crabs from our local seafood place a mile from my house. I’ve always wondered about that place, but have never gone. It’s most famous for shipping crab all over the country, but they do have crabs to buy locally which was unclear from the website. We called on Friday and they said call on Saturday morning to place the order and then on Saturday morning we called and they said to call later at 3pm because that’s when the crabs will be delivered. So we called at 3 pm and got some crabs. That was more complicated than I thought it should be, but maybe it made it more exciting?

My mother loves the crabs. I remember as a kid, crabs were a special, but semi-frequent thing. I would stand on a stool in front of the sink and kind of tease the crabs with chopsticks and then we would steam them and serve them on a newspaper covered table and hammer them to bits and pieces.

Vince got to steam them and we got to pour Old Bay into the pot (Old Bay was not a childhood steamed crab memory – only when I grew up did I understand Old Bay was a Maryland thing with crabs. The life of an immigrant kid with no internet access.)

And who has newspapers to cover the table? No one. Dad got some old paper they use to wrap dishes in to move them.

This is a good photo of my parents, but I had to be silly and do rabbit ears. Jeremy looks good in this photo too. Forgive me.

Isabella, Charlotte, masks.

Isabella is Edda’s camp JCC counselor and we hired her to help us out a few days a week in August. She is a rising senior just like Edda. We are hoping to have her come to the house to hang out with Edda about once a month during the school year. After care camp for Edda is happening and I’m grateful to report they are going to have all the kids and employees vaccinated. We don’t yet have a person to help out in the evenings, we are looking for someone – I need to get on that. It’s not dire, but it would be helpful.

Charlotte is keeping us on our toes. She is sometimes a mystery dog. She’s a little scared of Vince with his loud manner, but they are learning to love each other.

Prepping for the autumn flights with new face masks with elastics that go behind the head and not around the ears.

Nursing – continued.

I’ve been at EPIC training at the hospital the past week. EPIC is a new computer software which is going to replace our existing software. It controls everything – medications, pharmacy, transport, admission, discharge, doctor order’s, bed management, nursing assignments, recording billing charges, running codes, blood administration/blood bank, lab etc. etc. I like it better than our existing software, but it’s going to take me a while to get used to it. I struggle with our computer system, I’m not the smoothest user of it.

I’m thinking about the next block of time in my life professionally – meaning the nursing half of me. I think I want to get an NP and do palliative care. I probably should work as a hospice nurse for a bit, then go back to school and then I could be an NP. And then transition over to teaching in the classroom. That should take me 20 years. I started the first phase of nursing in the fall of 2009 and I consider it pretty much done now in the fall of 2021. That’s 12 years. If I’m lucky, I’ll get two more 10 year blocks. Fingers crossed.

Enchiladas & new paces.

Vince made Sunday night dinner last week. He decided to make tamales which sent him to a local Mexican market to get the dried corn husks. They were delicious! He had a vegetarian version and a pork version.

I helped fold them (we watched youtube videos for tips on technique). Does every culture have a meal where everyone gets together and forms an assembly line and you make/tie/fold ingredients together? It felt like a dumpling line, only not Asian.

So I ran my long run this past week in the fancy, carbon plated shoes. Here’s the difference in times:

On August 8th with my regular running shoes, I did an 8 mile run – 1 mile warm up and then 7 miles at my long run pace:

11:22 / 9:54 / 9:47 / 9:32 / 9:40 / 9:38 / 9:30 / 9:23

On August 21st with the fancy running shoes, I did a 7 mile run – 2 mile warm up and then 5 mile tempo-ish

11:15 / 10:34 / 9:26 / 9:04 / 8:49 / 9:12 / 9:13

Hahaha. Funfunfun.

Blue hair.

Vince dyed his hair blue yesterday and tried to dye Charlotte’s hair. It was very tempting for Vince, but we held firm. No hair on the dog is blue.

Once it dried, it did turn Vince’s hair a vibrant blue. He tried doing this mid summer, but it didn’t keep. He was in the pool everyday and it made it fade pretty quickly.

We had a nice dinner last night with Nat and Ning et al.