Hurricane Irene, you pain me!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who would have thought a Category 1 hurricane would cause me so much grief! I know I shouldn’t worry about my vacation; I should be thinking of those who are struggling after Hurricane Irene, and I do. I hope everybody is alive and well and that the damage is minimal. But I have to figure out what we are going to do on the last two days of our trip. At this point I have 3 hotels reserved for the same night; hopefully I can narrow it down to 2 before we leave on Sunday. One of the hotels is in Kitty Hawk, NC which is on the northern end of the Outer Banks. I watched a news report from WRAL (Raleigh station) that showed that a lot of the businesses were open and begging people to come back. I can see why they lost a busy summer weekend. They live for summer visitors so they want to recover quickly. I’ve been trying to get a hold of that hotel and see if they are up and running as well because that can eliminate my backup hotel in Elizabeth City, NC. That would leave me with two hotels, the one in Kitty Hawk, which cross my fingers is open, and the one on Hatteras Island. Based on all the information about the breaches along NC Hwy. 12 (the only road), I’m pretty sure there is no way we can reach the hotel. That is of course unless they setup a ferry by the time we need to get there. That would be cool, but if the place is damaged what good would that be? I can’t get a hold of that place either which doesn’t surprise me, I’m not sure if they even have power yet. I have a feeling we are going to be making some important decisions in the middle of our trip. AH Dilemmas!!!!

As with most trips, this one is ever changing. If I didn’t have enough stress trying to figure out the last couple of days, I had the bright idea of checking the Baltimore Orioles schedule. And sure they have a day game one of the days we are in Ocean City, MD. It’s only a 2:30 drive to Baltimore; the game is at 1:05 and the tickets are cheap. So of course my mind is churning. We could make it to yet another MLB Ballpark. But do I really want to drive all the way to Baltimore and all the way back? It is vacation and you are supposed to relax, right? But then again it is a “Kim” trip which means go…go…go…

Hurricane Irene Tour

Sunday, August 28, 2011

As I mentioned on Facebook, we leave for the Mid-Atlantic a week from today. I'm now renaming the trip the Hurricane Irene Tour since we will be in all the areas affected by Hurricane Irene. I was checking out the photos of damage on because for once I actually care about a hurricane. The photo above is Cape Hatteras, NC. We will be there (hopefully) in just under 2 weeks. This is the last stop before we fly home. The road looks missing. Hum...

If you are interested in the rest of the Hurricane Irene Tour click here.

State Fair time!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Every year we go to the MN State Fair on opening day. And this year was no exception. What a great event if you can get past the fact you pay money to get in and then just pay even more money for food that almost certainly will be on a stick.

I think I've been to state fair almost ever year of my life except for the year we got married and some in my childhood. I can honestly say it would feel weird not going.

Anyways we meet Greg, Celeste and Evelyn after work and rode the bus. It is really the only way to go. We started out walking through the Miracle of Birth building were you can seriously see animals give birth! We saw some chicks hatch. Then ate various food items like the famous cheese curds, corn on the cob and Ephinany diner...their last year! Eric is sad :-(

We went through other buildings and while walking through the craft building Eric got separated from us...well when I found him, he had knitting needles in his hand and he was learning how to KNIT! The old lady was very excited to teach Eric. I did a few rows too. After that we got our Sweet Martha cookies and head for the all you can drink milk booth. We rounded out the night walking through the barns, seeing beautiful cows, sheep and horses and icky pigs. Another great MN state fair experience. :)

8 years ago...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It is hard to believe that 8 years ago today Eric lost his freedom. In that time we have done a lot. Traveled a ton, welcomed five Godchildren, raised Swirl the mighty cat and bought a house in the entertainment capital of the Twin Cities...Shakopee. Now granted it hasn't been all fun and games. We lost my Grandma in 2003, Eric's Grandma Likens in 2004 and my Dad in 2006. And of course the occasionally blow up with thrown food. From carrots to french fries, from grapes to M&Ms...what can I say I abuse food. But all in all it has been great. Hopefully Eric will say the same. Happy Anniversary Eric!

2 Museums, 2 Towers & 2 Games in 2 Days

Monday, August 22, 2011

We had a crazy whirlwind weekend in the windy city. Get it? It’s a pun. Ha ha. So we flew to Chicago after work on Friday, getting into Chicago at 7pm. We hit the ground running. First stop, drop off our stuff at the hotel and hop on the bus to Navy Pier. We ate some hot dogs at the Chicago Hotdog stand. Eric had a Dallas dog (Chili, Onions and Cheese) and I had a Green Bay dog (Cheddar cheese). Pathetic I know! Next we went on the Famous Ferris Wheel and got some nice shots of Chicago and finished the night off with some mini golf.

Saturday was no stop action. We did a walking tour of the “Loop” and checking out the famous sculptures. We made our way to the Magnificent Mile to see the new Marilyn Monroe Sculpture. Chicagoans hate it. Ha ha. This is when the rain started to fall and soon it was down pouring. We took refuge in a Walgreens. Their umbrella stand was a hot spot! Once the rain sort of let up, we took a bus to Art Institute to check out the Impressionism gallery. We didn’t see every painting but we saw quite a bit. After that we went to Wrigley Field for the Cubs game. It is such a dump but it historic so that makes it ok. It is cool to think of all the baseball greats that have played there and the human run score board is way cool. We stuck around for the 7th inning stretch and then beat the crowds back to Chicago. First stop on the way back into town was the John Hancock Building. It’s the 3rd tallest in Chicago. They have an observation deck on the 93rd floor. Amazingly there were no lines!! We took the elevator up and what an awesome view. Loved it! We got some nice pictures of Lake Michigan and the skyline. Next stop Willis Tower on the other side of town. This place was nice but I like John Hancock much better. The lines were ridiculously long. Thankfully we had the Chicago CityPass which entitled us to skip the lines. Awesome! We took in the view, which wasn’t as great as John Hancock’s view but it was still nice. We noticed that the lights were on at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox. We were shocked to find out they were actually home! That night we bought tickets for Sunday’s game. Anyways, we made our way back down and hopped on a bus back the Navy Pier for the 9:30pm fireworks cruise. Well it wasn’t exactly what I expected and it was a bit steep in price. I probably wouldn’t do that again. We basically paid money to see fireworks from the Lake as opposed to just on the Pier itself…same view just $50 more. Lame! Next time I’m doing the Chicago River Architecture tour. It sounds cool. We got back to our hotel pretty late.

Sunday was another packed day, but not as crazy as Saturday. We started out the morning at the Shedd Aquarium. All I can say is way overrated. Yes it was nice, yes we got to see Beluga whales but is just another aquarium. I think the Aquarium at the Mall of America is cooler… I know *gasp!* But it was included in our CityPass so we took advantage of it. Again thankfully we had the pass the lines were awful. Those poor people! The line was seriously a quarter mile long at least. Ick! After that we went to U.S. Cellular Field for the White Sox game. It was an ok stadium. Not the nicest one, actually it ranks down near the bottom with Miller Park. Eric wanted a Jim Thome White Sox shirt. I went into the Custom T-shirt Shop and asked them if they could make one. The guy at the counter seriously said, “Who is Jim Thome?” My response, “Are you serious?” The dude says, “Is he a current player? Minor league? Retired?” My response, “You don’t know who Jim Thome is? The guy that played for you guys for years? The guy who just hit his 600th HR? Wow!” The dude says, “When did he play for us?” Me, “Like 2 years ago!” To quote Dylan, “Typical Chicago sports fan. Clueless.”

We got home about 9:30pm last night. All in all, it was another great get away weekend.

Mobile blogging

I'm excited to do mobile blogging...ha sorry for you

Bingo, Root Beer barrels and cakes

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yesterday was my hometown parish’s annual Saints Peter and Paul Fall Festival. It was another beautiful day for the event. I don’t think I have ever missed it. It almost seems like that would be a sin to miss it. Mike, Danielle and I dropped off the cake, pies and tickets early in the morning. Nancy, Greg and Dylan came up and we all (except Mike) went back up to play some games and try and win some stuff and of course stand in line for the awesome dinner. First stop, sucker pull for cakes, if your sucker has a pink bottom you win! I think we spent about $40 to win a cake, well actually 2 cakes and tons of Dumb-Dumb suckers. We didn’t have good luck this year but next year we have a strategy. Next we tried our luck on Roll out the Barrel (root beer barrels wrapped in aluminum foil, get a number you win). Didn’t really have any luck there either. After that Danielle, Eric and I stood in line for the awesome take out dinner. We saw the usually suspects in line, my friend Sandy; my classmate, Tracy, former co-worker Jane etc… We usually do take out because the dinners are so huge we share them. After devouring our dinners at Mom’s house it’s time to go back up for the Bingo. (if you’re counting this is my third trip to the festival so far). 3 hours of Bingo. I get sick of it but my mom sits there for the entire time. We had to laugh yesterday she was playing her Bingo card AND doing pull tabs. She didn’t win at Bingo but she won over $25 on pull tabs. I on the other hand won Bingo. Woot Woot $33!! Greg, Nancy’s boyfriend, was very lucky on the Roll out the Barrel. He won a bike! Apparently, Nancy needed a new bike too! Sweet! Eric got his annual strawberry shake from the dairy booth and we had our annual popcorn. Like I said we have this event down pat. After bingo we went back to Mom’s to pack our stuff, including our 2 cakes and Dumb-Dumb suckers, and head back to the festival for the Polka dance. (that would be 4 trips to the festival). It is such a busy day, but so much fun. Next year, Eric and I are going to take Monday off so we can stay for the entire Polka dance and drawings. It is seriously an all day affair from 8am with dropping off pies to 9pm the end of the dance and drawing.

Also this weekend, Friday was a cook out at Mike’s house. Mom’s sisters, Grace and Bev, came down. That was fun. Best sweet corn, yum! Saturday we played cards ALL DAY and then I had my class reunion. It was ok. Not that exciting. The food was good though.

Update on Eric: He is back to eating normal again. He hasn’t taken any pain meds since leaving the hospital and overall isn’t in any pain. He bounced back quickly. He actually went to work on Friday! Still can’t lift for 3 more weeks.

He's home! He's Home!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

He's home! He's Home!!! Eric was discharged at a little past 4:00 pm today. Yippee! It is so nice to be home again. We've upgraded his food to oatmeal and milk. He is feeling pretty good. He hasn't had to have any pain meds. He is lounging around, watching TV.

Green Gorilla

So far so good today. Eric hasn't had any pain meds since I last wrote. He had a restful night; they left him alone all night. Today he finally had some tomato soup and pudding. He has started on more solid food, moving away from just liquids. We did a bunch of walking too. Eric found a friend on one of our walks...the giant green gorilla. Somebody brought him out of the Family Lounge into the hallway. This is the same gorilla that became Evelyn's enemy the night before. Greg, Celeste and Evelyn came to visit last night. They brought me some Chips Ahoy! because the night before i was craving chocolate chip cookies. I ate over half of the bag already. Ugh...there goes the diet. There really isn't much for me to do here except sit, watch TV, surf the internet and eat. Hopefully we get out of here soon.

Ambulance Ride

Monday, August 8, 2011

Well Eric had been feeling fine this morning with no pain. At 10:00 we went to Abbott Northwestern in an ambulance for his ERCP. He was in good spirits when we were going over there and before the surgery with no pain. The procedure was very short, only about 40 minutes. And they got the stones out so he should be good. But the procedure put him on his belly where all his incisions are located. So he came back very sore. During the procedure I went to the ncafeteria for some lunch. The cafeteria at this large hospital was a Mc Donald's...Seriously???? That is crazy. So much for healthy eating. We got another ride back to St. Francis in Shakopee for the evening. The driver of the ambulance used to be in upper management with Aliana and worked part time as an paramedic. He left his upper managment job to be a full time paramedic. He said he hated all the BS and wanted to do something else. Anyways, Eric still has pain and it is starting to get worse. They have given him two doses of morphine and it isn't helping. The nurse said that if doesn't get better he would have to call the doctor. Not cool. Hopefully he will feel better soon. It looks like he is napping hopefully that is a good sign.

Eric's Episode

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Yesterday's awesome day was followed by today...a not so awesome day. At about 2am I woke up and Eric wasn't in bed. I went down stairs and he was sitting the coach, not feeling so good. He told me to go back to bed. At 3:30am he woke me up and said I had to take him to the ER. So to the hospital we go, thank GOD we have an ER/Hospital in Shakopee. So they pumped him full of antibiotics and morphine. They did an ultrasound and drew some blood. Long story short he was suffering from gallstones, inflamed gallbladder and pancreatitis. They admitted him into the hospital with intention of emergency surgery first thing this morning. So by 11am he was on the operating table. It was so lonely in the waiting room. The area is so dead as there aren't many surgeries on the weekends so I was the only there. I also didn't bring the most appropriate reading material. I'm reading Anderson Cooper's book A memoir of war, disasters and survival. The chapters I was reading were about people dying, surgery in third world countries and the suffering of people. I was thinking it was rather macabre considering what was going on around me. The surgery went well, instant results. Eric pain basically vanished. He and I will have to compare our war wounds when he is all healed. Unfortunately, though, he isn't home yet. Some of the pesky gallstones escaped into his bile duct. SO, we are still in hospital for tonight as they are transporting him to Abbott in Minneapolis tomorrow for an ERCP...basically another remove the stones that got away. As a result of that procedure, he will need to stay tomorrow night as well. So we still have some time before we are "out of the woods." I'm camping out in his room tonight at his request. I'm not sure when we'll get back to work. Hopefully they will release him Tuesday morning so I can get back Tuesday for at least a half day, but for sure by Wednesday. I'll keep it posted

A great day for a picnic

What a beautiful day for a picnic! We (Greg, Celeste, Evelyn, Eric and I) met DJ, Beth, Abbie, Ethan and Danielle at Flandrau State Park today in New Ulm, MN for a picnic. It was a great summer day and Flandrau is one of the nicest state parks in Minnesota. Among other things, the park has a nice sand bottom pool. Evelyn loves the water, by the end of the day she was walking out up to her chin with no fear!

I have gone running 2 more times since Monday night. Both times I ran all but the first 2 minutes (warm up). I'm not really a runner but I am getting faster each time I go out so that is good. Also it is getting easier for me...I never thought I'd say running 2 miles is easy. I was going to run tonight but it didn't happen. Actually I'm pretty lucky, I had my shoes on and was ready to go out the door when I changed my mind....good thing because 15 minutes later it started storming...I would have been over a mile away from home and would have been stuck in it. Phew!

I took some awesome pictures of the lightening (click here). I love storms! It was thundering pretty good too so with Shakopee Derby Days' Fireworks show at the same time as the lightening was flashing and thunder was booming made for a cool surround sound effect. Well Eric just went up to bed. That is a sign I've stayed up way too late, he never beats me to bed. Good night all!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I can’t believe it is August already. Where has the summer gone? Labor Day is only 33 days away…then the summer is gone…so depressing!

What a busy weekend we had. Eric came downtown for lunch on Friday for his birthday. It was so nice to see him in the middle of the day. After lunch we walked around downtown before I made my way back to work. Friday night we went to Houlihan’s for dinner with Danielle, Greg, Celeste and Evelyn. The food was great! We also got Eric a DQ Ice Cream cake. I think he had a good day. I gave him a Doctor Who Tardis Cookie jar that makes the sound of the Tardis taking off whenever you shut the lid. Very cool new toy!

Saturday morning Danielle and I woke up early to make our baked goods for Julifest, our annual festival at Church of St. Mark. Danielle made the Special K bar (her first time every attempting it) and I made an apple pie with pretty lattice top. The old ladies at church were really impressed with the pie.

Mike and Mom came up in the late morning and Greg and Celeste came over too. Celeste and I made Dalek cupcakes for Eric, a continuation of Eric’s birthday. They are cute but Eric was critiquing them…we didn’t ma ke them perfectly! We spent the afternoon betting on the ponies at Canterbury Park, what fun! After that we went to the Julifest Polka Mass (brings back memories) and then we had some food in the tent. Mom got her favorite German potato salad. Eric and I had to work Adult games from 8:30pm to 11pm. Sticking with the theme of the day we did the racing horses. We made a ton of money for the church.

Sunday we went back to Julifest for lunch and Mom and Mike went home. We spent the afternoon at Valleyfair with Danielle, enjoying the waterpark. There were a ton of Manitoba people there. After we cooled off at Valleyfair we went back to Julifest for the end of the silent auction. We won the Twin’s Scott Baker signed baseball. Awesome!

Last night we went to dinner at Wildfire for Celeste’s birthday. It was good. I really enjoyed the steak.

I decided last night at 9pm to start running again. The humidity finally lifted (for a little while) and I went on a 2.2 mile run. The shocking thing is I haven’t gone out for a fun in almost 8 months so it was amazing that I ran most of the 2.2 miles! I only walked for 4 minutes, 2 of which were my warm up. I was very happy with myself. I guess we will see if I continue this trend….

It is two months after my unfortunate accident in Montgomery, AL. I still relive it over and over again in my head. Hopefully someday I can move on. The reason I bring it up is I had the chance to drive my mom’s awesome new car this past weekend. I’m in love with it, I want one for myself.