Friday, June 15, 2018

What time is it?*

When I saw Hamilton on Broadway last summer I knew I wanted my kids to see it too. The story, the cast, the music—they needed to have that experience.

Because it was coming to DC, I knew they would have that change. I also knew that it would be a really tough ticket to get and so I began scheming about how to get seats. The tactic I ended up with was season tickets for Alex and me and a rotating schedule of friends.

The bonus to this tactic is that Alex and I (and said rotating schedule of friends) got/get to see a bunch of other great shows at the Kennedy Center as well. In fact, we liked it so much that we renewed our subscription for next year (although we're shaking off the friends).

*takes a moment to acknowledge my complete and utter privilege here*

June 13 was the night for us. I had been looking forward to it for months. I'd even specifically scheduled my knee surgery to ensure my best theater experience. By the time Katie, Jack, and I drove down to the Kennedy Center to meet Alex I think they were happy it was finally time if only to get me to shut the hell up about how excited I was. (Quinn is going in September. He needs more of a one-on-one experience.)

Me, Katie, and Jack in front of the Hamilton poster
You guys, I'm not the only one. There was pretty much a line to take photos in front of the poster.
The show was fantastic. I even think the elderly couple sitting in front of me who reviewed their printed out Wikipedia page about the musical during intermission enjoyed it. (OMG, I love those people. So funny.)

I was so excited to see Jack and Katie's response to the show. Katie had been obsessed with the soundtrack for a while, but Jack had only heard parts of it, although he loves it and was excited to go to the show. In fact, if we're in the car and my kids are arguing with each other, I put on the soundtrack and everyone shuts up. It's one of my most foolproof parenting strategies.

They LOVED it. Jack has a tough time at long, stimulating events like this and Hamilton is LONG. But it held him. He got it. I was beyond proud of that kid. Katie of course loved it. In fact, there was only one time when I evidently laughed too loud that she got pulled away enough from it to lean over and whisper, "Mom, that was really loud."

Moms are always embarrassing.

And we're nice too. I could have leaned over near the end when all I heard was her snuffling to tell her that she was really loud, but I didn't. Although I was pretty encased in my own emotions by that time too.

Alex had steadfastly refused to listen to the soundtrack prior to the show, but he really liked it too. Mr. Stoic even cried at the end. It'll get you, that show. He's agreed to listen to the soundtrack all the way through on his commute so he can get some of the finer points of the lyrics that maybe he missed because of all my loud guffawing.

Alex drove home by himself because he'd come straight from work so I don't know how his trip was, but the kids and I glowed all the way home. I gotta tell you, those two children are pretty incredible. I'm really lucky to have them. It felt so good to share with them something that is so important to me and have them so truly appreciate it. It felt really connecting. Also, my car stopped for candy bars on the way home, so I obviously won "best car trip home."

We saw the show on its second night here, so I'm looking forward to seeing all of my local friends who got tickets taking their own photos in front of that poster and getting to experience the show. I'm so excited for all of you who are still living your pre-Hamilton lives—you're going to love it!

If you don't get to see the show, maybe you will enjoy this "got milk?" commercial from way back that I always think about when I think of the show.



* Showtime.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Knee Bone is Connected to the Gunk Blob

I am happy to report that my knee surgery was definitely the right decision and my recovery has been like butterflies and unicorns. I couldn't be happier. In fact, I am so delighted by how this went that I kinda want to have arthroscopic surgery on all my joints to improve them. That wouldn't be weird, would it?

My surgery was Friday May 25 at about 1pm, which was a bummer because I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything until afterward. Food isn't such a big deal, but it turns out that I am a fan of liquids. I was actively resentful when I got to the surgical center and there was a water fountain right there in the waiting room. Also, they made me pee for a pregnancy test (negative, thank the good lord!), which was no easy task considering it had been 12 hours since I'd ingested water.

Weirdly (according to Alex), I wasn't nervous about the surgery. I mean, it's not like I was performing it. I was just hopeful that I wouldn't say anything embarrassing while sedated, but otherwise I felt pretty chill about the whole thing.

Alex, on the other hand, was extremely concerned about them operating on the correct knee. He was aghast to hear that I wasn't drawing a big arrow and the words "THIS KNEE. THIS KNEE RIGHT HERE," on the knee they were fixing. I figured if they operated on the wrong knee, there was probably plenty wrong in there for them to fix, so it'd actually be not that bad.

In turns out, however, that apparently enough doctors have operated on enough wrong limbs that there is now a whole procedure in place to make sure that mistake isn't made, meaning the doctor used a single-use marker to sign the intended target of surgery.

My knee in a bandage with an ice pack on top and my doctor's initials on my leg.
I took this the day after surgery. I don't think that ice pack was doing much through the 26 layers of bandage.
 Alex hung out with me before surgery and took a picture "so we have one last photo of you."

Me in a hospital gown and hair net in a bed in the surgery center.
Alex has probably three photos of me on his phone and this is one of them.
As I suspected it would be, surgery was easy, fun, and took only about 10 seconds from my perspective. Then they gave me animal crackers, Percocet, and wheeled me out to my car. Altogether it was a pretty good deal.

My doctor had told me that I should take a week off of work, which I did. I was prepared to spend that entire first weekend in deep recuperation mode, but my body recovered much easier than I expected. I did nap for much of the afternoon after surgery, but felt pretty good otherwise. I was more tired than anything. I only had to use crutches for a day or two and didn't have a lot of pain. Short bursts of energy on my part, however, led to multi-hour naps. People tell me that's because my knee was doing a lot of work inside my leg healing, so I didn't feel too bad. Plus I'd given myself permission to laze around for a week, although if I were to do this again, I don't know that I would take that long. I got so bored I cleaned my kids' rooms. I live a charmed life. I'm really lucky.

[knockonwoodknockonwoodknockonwood]

Alex had told me that the doctor told him the surgery went well but didn't give me many details. When I went to my follow-up appointment with my orthopedist, he told me ("now that you're more coherent") that my knees were much older than I was. I don't know whether to feel pleased for me or outraged for my knees.

He also told me that even more impactful than the meniscus tear was all the "gunk" in my knee bones. He showed me lots of photos of said gunk before and after his cleaning it up. There was also a ligament caught on something that he freed up—or something to that effect; honestly the details of what happened inside there is not that super relevant to my life. I mostly care that I can use the knee again.

I'm almost three weeks post surgery now and I'm feeling great. Apparently being physically active prior to surgery results in a significantly easier recovery. I've started what will hopefully be about four weeks of physical therapy although the PT told me that I can't run until I can do a one-legged squat, so apparently I'm never going to be allowed to run again.

I've been enjoying PT. It's like a not-hard personal training session that ends with, in my case, an ice wrap that acts very similar to a blood pressure cuff wrapped around my knee that squeezes and releases for ten minutes. It's my new favorite thing in the world.

Except for getting to exercise again. I can't run yet, but I am back on my (newish) spin cycle (trying not to be a Peloton nerd, but OMG LOVE) and loving getting to work my body again.

In sum: Surgery > delightful Percocet > napping > deciding I love Percocet too much to keep using it > feeling pretty recovered > living a gunk-free life > yay!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Upside Down

Long time no speak, friends! I hope you're well. I had my knee surgery and am well on the mend and I very much want to tell you about it, but something else came up and I think it is important that we discuss it first.

off-brand PopTart, frosting side up

That picture up there is of a Pop Tart. Well, not a real Pop Tart, but some organic off-brand version of it. And, no, we're not debating whether brown sugar cinnamon is the best/only flavor worth eating, because that's just common knowledge.

What we are here to talk about today is how you would put that thing in your mouth. Now, when it comes to things like this breakfast pastry or bread sticks with Parmesan cheese on top, or a bite of food with frosting on it, I will always eat it delicious side down so that the frosting/cheese/brown sugar comes directly in contact with my tongue.

I gave this piece of advice to Katie when we were sharing bread sticks the other day and her reaction was suitable considering the life-changing nature of the knowledge.

Coasting off of my success with imparting knowledge to Katie and newly armed with the information that not everyone had thought of this, I decided to tell Alex in case this was new information that I could help him with.

Alex immediately made the utterly ridiculous claim of, “I don’t like to eat things upside down,” even though he'd ever tried it.

Now I turn to you to prove my point.

Do you eat your food upside down?

If no, is it because it never occurred to you until this moment?

Now that you are aware of this, will you always eat top-delicious food upside down?

Or, are you like Alex and completely uninterested in living your best life?

I'm confident that you all will see reason. And before you ask: No, I wouldn't eat something absurd like pizza upside down. Now you're just being ludicrous.