Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ten Things I Learned After Slamming My Thumb in the Elantra Door

If you ever slam your finger in the door and your nail is turning purple and it feels like your finger is going to explode from the throbbing pain (also medically known as subungual hematoma):

1) Don't let anyone see you cry or frown, because they'll just call you a pansy [or tell you to suck it up] for bitching about a finger... even though you've survived boot camp, given birth, and jump out of airplanes for a hobby.

2) Be careful with accepting screws from strangers to use to drill into your nail to relieve the pressure, even though after hours of excruciating pain, drilling and squeezing out blood is about the only thing that makes sense. Don't let your spouse drill it either, I found they tend to be a little more forthcoming with ignoring your pain signals.

3) Just smile and try your hardest not to growl when everyone hovers around your black nail and say things like "your nail's gonna fall off" or "everyone's done it" because they're probably just trying to be polite by seeming concerned.

4) The top segments of your finger–the miscreants that got in the way of that car door–won't stop throbbing for at least 2 hours. And then it'll start to tingle in a horribly painful way for another couple of hours after that, more if you managed to break/fracture it. And then any time you bump them or brush against anything, a new shot of pain goes through you and you go about your day looking constipated and mad at the world.

5) You could go to the emergency room, wait 4 hours to get an xray and then have a resident-in-training tell you to take an aspirin and sleep it off. OR you could do what I did and walked to the nearest pharmacy for a splint, tape and a bottle of extra strength tylenol.

6) When you're in that much pain and are willing to try alternate treatments, be prepared for any unknown allergic reactions. After a long day of uncomfort, I took a nurse's advice to soak my hand in Epsom Salt (appears to be a natural remedy here in West Virginia), which I only found (the hard way) that I'm allergic to sulphur. So I spent the whole night itching and discovering hives on my face and neck. It's a good thing I didn't opt to take a bath in it or I might've just made that trip to the emergency room anyway.

7) You will learn quickly how much you take your thumb for granted when you can't even do simple tasks like squeezing the shampoo bottle, turning the ignition on, writing a check for daycare, or buttoning/unbuttoning your pants: which can make things really awkward in the bathroom (be extra careful not to stumble in a porter potty like I did).

8) You become thankful that you don't play the guitar for a living. But you also wish your job didn't entail so much time on the keyboard and mouse. The rest of the fingers just have to work double-time.

9) 2-year-olds don't quite get the concept of mommy having a "boo-boo", but they do give the BEST healing kisses.

10) Don't ask anyone to play thumb war, even if you are just kidding.

PS. One of the hidden perks of working with the Dept of Health is that it's easy to "run into" people who will give you free medical advice. I showed my finger to an RN and she said it doesn't "look" broken since it's not crooked, but the swelling might suggest that I fractured the tip of the bone (which I'm very familiar with), in which case they can't do anything for you but immobilize it anyway. Prescription: Ice it every 20 minutes and take motrin. Ha. Saved a 4-hour trip to the ER.

Splinting doesn't sound like a bad idea at all either, especially since my right hand keeps forgetting NOT to use my thumb for the space bar.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Farewell Bob

Bob the Fish passed away peacefully and went to heaven on Wednesday, October 3, 2007. He died of natural causes.

He was 2 1/2 years old, and a Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta Splenden).

Although very little is known about Bob's early months, there have been rumours of his involvement in international espionage as an aquatic courier, and an illegal smuggler in the borders of Mexico. He lived in Southern California where he was adopted as the "centerpiece master" for a gorgeous wedding reception. He later on moved to West Virginia to be with his family.

Bob was an adventurous finned fellow who enjoyed taking cross-country trips and swimming in figure-8's. His favorite pastime was staring at himself in the reflection of his 2-gallon tank and wiggling to the tune of the spinning dishwasher.

He is survived by his loving family, Anne, Mike, and Ethan.

Bob, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but you are one and unique. You will be missed!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Our Angel on the Ground

Here's our angel waiting on the ground while mommy and daddy fly...

Ethan's getting his own lessons for the perfect "freefalling arch"...

When Finlays Fly

This blog is exactly a month late, mostly because we've been waiting for our jump photos to come in (and partly because I haven't had much time to). But our photos/videos finally came in today... and I just had to share!

Rewind to September 1: We did out first jump (yes, I said first) to celebrate our 2-year wedding anniversary. There's nothing more romantic than checking insurance benefits and custody sections on our wills before renouncing our love to a camera strapped on someone's helmet. Mike decided to surprise me, so I didn't actually know we were skydiving until we got to the drop zone (maybe he thought I was going to chicken out?)

I watched the video, got a couple of lessons from my jumpmaster Phil and got strapped into a harness. I thought about calling my mom, but decided to hold off until after I landed so I could at least say "Don't worry, I'm alive".

I started to get a little anxious watching my altimeter on the long way up--

4,000 feet....

6,000 feet...

9,000 feet... civilization only kept getting smaller.

Then at 11,000 feet, my videographer Jay swung that door open and for a split second, a tiny hint of "oh shit" hit me like a bag of rocks and stepping out off that perfectly good plane seemed crazier than it did from ground level. I took a nice, cold breath of air, staggered to the door attached to Phil, and took the plunge... freefalling for 60 seconds at 120 miles per hour. The wind noise was deafening and I was on complete sensory overload, but I remember making sure I don't forget give the camera a thumbs up. Hell yeah, I was flying and there's no other feeling like it. It’s exciting, exhilarating, daring, nervy, demanding – better than any other kind of rush I've ever had.

Freefalling from 11,000 feet above the ground...

This ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just after our chute deployed....

LOVE the shot of the plane in the back...

Mike's freefall...

Spectacular views...

At around 6,000 feet, Phil led my hand to the knob and I pulled the chute (saving both our lives). The deceleration slammed us on our straps and we soard for another 5 minutes or so before landing. Phil tried to let me stir, but with over 300 lbs and a canopy big enough to carry a duo, I pretty much just sat back, enjoyed the ride and lifted my feet when it was time to touch down.

We're blaming the adrenaline rush for the cheesy thumbs ups...

Fast forward to this past Saturday: Mike and I made our first static line jumps --where as soon as we jumped off the plane, our chutes automatically opened. We spent the first half of the day being force fed information about skydiving: how to open my chute, how to tell if I have a good canopy, how to identify a bad one, what to do if one of the 13 different things that can go wrong goes wrong, how to fly it, how to find the landing spot, how to land it, and how to anticipate and prepare for a bad landing. After a couple hours of ground class, not really sure if I got it all or not, we were on a plane again.... but this time, going solo.

Jump #2 wasn't as friendly to me as the first though. While I managed to stir the canopy back to the airport and landed without broken bones, I did hit a small snag spinning out of the plane and came home with a nasty ropeburn (from the strap of the chute) as a souveneir. They did say there were risks, right? ;)

My little boo boo...

But as you'd probably guessed, it wouldn't be my last. We're hoping to be licensed skydivers by the time we move back to California. How's that for a couple's activity? :)

My mom thinks we should've taken up ballroom dancing instead...... on one of our last conversations, she said "You're the craziest mom I know", which I'll gladly take as a huge compliment.


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