Okay, It Didn’t All Suck

The weekend was another stressful one, and yesterday got off to a real rough start. But there were some good things that happened.

1. Saturday, the girls finally unwrapped their gifts from Aunt J, and those flashlights with Halloween-themed lenses saved my sanity that morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Aunt J. I actually have an excuse to lock my children in a dark room now — they ask me to!

2. I made the executive decision on Saturday to not use my kitchen for the rest of the weekend. Fortunately, I had Bocktown gift certificates thanks to ClumberKim, and through some Twitter activity, she and I even made arrangements to meet for dinner, with the children. Dan was also able to join us. It was probably the highlight of my weekend.

I called Bocktown to find out what the wait was like on Saturday around 5 p.m. I was going to have some hungry kids in tow, and all the coloring books in the world would not stop a meltdown if a significant wait was involved. Since it was not terribly busy and we would be there in about 20 minutes, the kind staff set aside a table for seven (with two booster chairs) for us. The hostess with whom I spoke told me they didn’t normally do call-ahead seating, which I know to be true, but I was grateful they made an exception for us.

The children got along like a house on fire (I’m not sure why this colloquialism connotes a positive thing, but so be it). Eleanor and Kate peaceably shared finger puppets; Oliver and Flora checked out baseball scores on Kim’s iPhone (well, Oliver used the phone while Flora looked on); they also shared coloring books and markers. We adults were able to converse with minimum interruptions, and although Bocktown does not have a kids’ menu per se (which is not a sin), they were more than willing to accommodate us with extra plates to divide up meals. The whole table shared the pretzels and beer cheese appetizer — the crowd favorite by far — and my girls had the cheese ravioli.

Halfway through her third cheese ravioli, Flora declared, “This is better than a toy store!” As I was busy inhaling the portabello sandwich, I could do no more than nod to agree with her.

Someone else noticed how well-behaved the four children were during the meal, and complimented us on it as they were leaving! Yes! This is a huge parental victory, and Kim, Dan, and I all deserved it.

3. Kate is starting to pee regularly in the potty. She even asked to go to the bathroom at Bocktown. Dan was holding her in his lap at the time, and he said, “You can just go pee in your diaper.” I was like, “No, no, no! I’ll take her! If she wants to use the potty, she’s going to use the potty!” Kate is well on her way to earning lots of M&Ms.

4. My Sunday trip to Costco was nearly short circuited by the fact that I forgot the coupons. I was so frustrated! It was apparently excellent customer service weekend, because when I mentioned something to the cashier, she said she could give me credit for the products anyway. I said, “But I didn’t grab any of them because I didn’t have the coupon book!” She checked her line, and checked my list. She sent another employee for four of things I wanted, and went for the diapers herself. She was an angel, saving me another trip up to The Pointe. And a few bucks.

5. Monday was salvaged by Starbucks coffee and a pumpkin scone, the Vegetarian Times one of my co-workers left on my desk, and the fact that my husband went to Flora’s school to pick out a picture package and give them money. I had called him sobbing from the car. I didn’t call him because I wanted him to solve the problem; he made that call on his own. I just called him, really, because I wanted a hug. Unfortunately, I had to settle for the scone.

I’ll collect on that hug later, babe.


Saturday morning I was negotiating my way through my atrociously messy office when I tried to step over something, and failed spectacularly.

As my heel came down on the corner of the milk crate (don’t ask) with the weight of my body behind it, a chain reaction took place. It was like when you stub your finger — hard — only with my leg being stubbed into my back. The pain was instant and unbelievable. The muscles in the middle of my back seized up tighter than a Marine’s first haircut. I managed to get into the living room before I collapsed to the floor.

I lay there barely able to breathe and in so much pain I couldn’t even writhe in pain. I heard my four-year-old say solemnly above me, “I think she’s gonna die.”

I had not ruled out the possibility.

DearDR heard my cries, and came downstairs at top speed to see what had happened. As he put it later, “The only time I’ve heard you make sounds like that was when you were in labor.”

Once he determined that I was not going to die, but I certainly wasn’t going to move under my own power for a bit, he said, “This is Jesus’ way of telling us we have to clean the office.”

I eventually made it to the couch. A phone consultation with Dr. Sis was not encouraging. “It sounds like a compression fracture,” she told me. “You should probably get to an emergency room for an X-ray.”

Now considering everything else that was going on at The Compound, and that DearDR was heading out to see his Saturday patients and visit his father, this was going to require some amazing logistical luck. Additionally, I wasn’t supposed to be icing my back on the couch: I had grocery shopping to do, two birthday parties, and then a grown-up party with some Twitter people to get to. I didn’t have time for a bloody compression fracture and X-ray.

After another half-an-hour, I made it up onto my feet and discovered that walking was possible. I called Dr. Sis back.

“I can walk,” I said.

“Does it hurt more when you’re standing?”


“Okay, it’s probably not a compression fracture.” She gave me a couple other symptoms to look for in case it was a disc issue (among them, increasing pain during the day), and advocated for me to go to a chiropractor as soon as I could (which I plan to do). She was moving to Wilmington, North Carolina, that very day and offered to stop in Pittsburgh on her way out of Erie. I told her to call when she was leaving; if I could, I was still planning to make it out of the house. (We did end up missing each other as I was already at a b-day party when she would have been in the ‘burgh. Well, she tried, and I am grateful.)

I missed one of the birthday parties (Happy Birthday, Alex! You’re even cuter at 2!), but made it to the second one (one of Monkey’s day school friends). After the girls and I got home, I turned them over to the babysitter, and gingerly freshened up for the Pizza-Off. We got there incredibly late (considering the party started at 3 p.m., and we didn’t make it until 7), but Uncle Crappy had saved some pizza for us, and there was still beer to be had. We had a lovely night, which, considering how the day had started, was a big relief.

Two days later, my back is still tender, and stiffens up if I stay in one position too long. If it gets too achy, ibuprophen helps. I am going to see a chiropractor this week. Which I am sincerely hoping is much less eventful than last.