Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Diary of a Residency Widow: Who you gonna call?

Last night, at 1:45am I was woken by the shrill piercing sound of an alarm. Still grogy I fumbled with the buttons on my alarm clock thinking that had to be the source of the noise even though the sound wasn't right for my alarm clock. When that didn't stop the sound I fumbled around with anything else on my nightstand that my sleepy brain thought might be the source. Again nothing worked. By this time I was becoming more alert and my brain was trying to figure out what the sound could be.

What produces an ear splitting, heart pounding tone unexpectedly in the middle of the night? The smoke detector, I concluded. I didn't smell any smoke though so I assumed it was just a dying battery. I ran down the stairs and furiously tried to get the detector off the wall, knocking down our pull-up bar and freaking out the dog in the process. I took out the battery and...the sound continued.

Could it be the other smoke alarm I wondered? That thought confused me though as the other smoke alarm hadn't had power to it for over a year. Had something happened to the wiring that resurrected the hard wired deamon smoke detector from the dead? Frantic to try anything to get the alarm to stop I grabbed the mop, raced back up the stairs and proceeded to whack the ill placed detector, located above the second step before the landing just out of reach to normal human arms (Where's Inspector Gadget when you need him?), like a pinata until it crashed to the ground and...the sound continued.

Frustrated and with panic levels rising I decided that I needed to narrow down what area of the house the sound was coming from. I ran to the kitchen and rumaged through the drawer to find the keys to the lock on our breaker box, then one at a time I started flipping switches.
Upstairs? = not it
Downstairs? = not it
Kitchen? = not it
Lighting? = not it
Washer / Dryer? = not it
Smoke? = definitely not it

I was out of ideas, on the verge of crying and my house was still screaming. So I did what any other 28 year old married woman would do. I called my mommy. Normally I would have called my husband but at that time he would either A) be busy with patients or B) be trying to catch a few winks of sleep in his 30 hour shift. I didn't think it was fair to disrupt his sleep when really there wouldn't be anything he could do, and he didn't need to worry about me freaking out at home alone.

"Hello?" mom mumbled.
"Mom, I need help," I stumbled trying to hold it together and not freak her out. I gave her a quick rundown of what was happening. "Can you hear that?"
"Hear what?" she replied.
Surprised that she couldn't hear the chaos in my house I moved around a bit trying to find a better sound sample for her, and as I did something amazing happened. I narrowed in on the source of the noise. And the culprit was...

A $2 kitchen timer with a dying battery.

Who knew that much noise could come from something so small? Apparently the manufacturers felt that the demise of the timer's battery was an urgent matter worthy of a household emergency. Afterall HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN THE COOKIES ARE DONE!?! Or how will we be able to time the dog's bathroom break? Here we've been spending time and energy educating people on the importance of checking their smoke detectors when kitchen timers was the real epidemic.

I thanked my mom for listening, appologized for waking her up, turned all the power back on, took Buster out to go to the bathroom as all the excitement got his bladder going, and then dragged myself back to bed about 20 minutes after the whole ordeal orginally began. It felt more like an hour.

This was the second time that day in which my parents had come to my rescue. Several hours earlier my dad came by my house to help me with our new washer. The installers had hooked the hoses up wrong and what should have been a cold water rinse was a hot water rinse and vice versa. I had spent an hour working through this on my own yet my girly arms couldn't move the machine nor could I get the couplings loosened. Thanks to a great dad we got it fixed and working properly.

I guess morally of the story is if you're going to be a residency widow it helps to have people you can lean on nearby... and don't forget to check your kitchen timers people!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Diary of a Residency Widow: Bring Me a Dream

Dear Mr. Sandman-
We need to talk. Over the years we have had a fairly good relationship, much better than your counterpart Mr. Alarm-Clock. I look forward to your nightly visits, yet lately on nights when my dear husband is away on call you've been consistently tardy. Don't you know it is rude to leave a lady waiting? 1am on a weeknight is unacceptable and unsustainable on a regular basis, afterall I have a dog that likes to get up early and a job to get to in the morning. Please don't tell me that you're like Santa Clause and won't come by until everyone in the family is tucked safely in bed before you come. I don't buy it and I know that you visit Buster regularly when he's home alone. We never had this problem during the years before I got married so I didn't think it would be an issue now. I'll cut you some slack since there is always going to be an adjustment period when it come to new things but I hope it is short lived or we have a long three years ahead of us. I would appreciate if you rectify this situation sooner rather than later.

Sweet Dreams,
The Residency Widow

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tales from Residency: I am Woman Hear Me Roar

The intern year of residency is a trying time defined by sleep deprivation and feelings of inadequacy as they encounter new situations whilst becoming comfortable with the new level of responsibility that rests on their shoulders. They go to work each day not knowing what the shift will bring. However, one thing is for sure...they will come away with some great stories.

Nate's first stop on the intern road was obstetrics at Maricopa County Hospital. He's had to pick up a number of spanish words and phrases that they don't teach you in High School but he's on his way to fulfilling his quota of delivered babies. After one delivery they asked the father if he would like to cut the cord but apparently he wasn't quite comfortable with the idea and respectfully declined. The attending then turned to the mother and asked if she would like to instead. She emphatically responded, "HECK YES," took the scissors, bent forward and cut her own cord. Now that's the strength of a woman; taking matters into her own hands when her husband was too squeamish to do so.

I guess I still have some work to do since I still look to my husband to kill any bugs in the house.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cooties and Cupid

We've been teaching most of our Sunbeam class since they were two going on three-years-old. In the early days they didn't seem to care about the differences between boys and girls, or if they did it didn't affect them. Sure the girls would gravitate towards playing with dolls and ponies while the boys constructed guns from Lego blocks or zoomed cars across the room but they weren't bothered to be together. Lately we've sensed a change in the winds.

Our Sunbeam class is mostly boys, which on any given Sunday can mean that the girls are out numbered 4 (or sometimes even 6) to 1. Now once upon a time this wouldn't have been a problem but lately I'm hearing more complaints from the girls such as "I don't want to be the only girl," or "I don't want to sit next to a boy." One week we got lucky and had 3 girls in class. Trying to capitalize on this rarity, Nate had them sit next to each other, which proceeded to backfire as they morphed into their own little group in another world making it next to impossible to grab their attention.

On the flip side the boys, or at least most of them, are becoming more interested in the girls. A while ago I wrote about our first little Romeo, and his romanticsism is spreading. Recently one little guy, we'll refer to him as I.A., was helping us set up the classroom he started telling us about his girlfriend. When I asked him what was his girlfriend's name was, he responded, "um, um, um...[long pause]...I don't know." He has also previously mentioned in sharing time how when he gets big he wants to have a girlfriend. Not to forget the day that little girl H. joined our class he told her she was really pretty and asked her if she would come over to his house and be his girlfriend.

Little girl H has quickly become the boys favorite as they all want to sit by her. She's cute, and sweet, and blonde. Not to sound like a bitter brunette but I find it funny that even at 4 years old, the blonde gets the most attention. Her first day in our class the little boy sitting next to me leaned over and asked me what her name was. I told him her name and he then turned to her and said, "H I love you, you're my friend."

They may come on a little strong but I think it sweet how unabashed they are about their feelings. The girls on the other hand....well, maybe one day Dr. Nate will have to give everyone their cootie shot.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

School's Out Forever!

June 4, 2010 marked a day that was almost 8 years in the making. On June 4, 2010 Nate graduated medical school and officially became a doctor. Wooohooo!

While I missed out on the majority of his med school journey, sitting in the crowd, I was filled with pride at all the hard work and time he dedicated to this achievement. I waited patiently to capture this much anticipated event... unfortunately my timing was just a bit too good and I snapped my picture at the same time as the school photographer's flash went off. Bummer.

Luckily I was able to get this one of Nate being hooded.

With oaths taken and the speeches over, the new class of doctors was lead out of the auditorium by pipers.

The next day we all celebrated Dr. Nate at a bbq pool party at my parent's house. And what graduation party would be complete without a cannonball competition.

Although graduation may be over, Nate still isn't quite accustomed to his newly earned status and after years of telling people he's not a doctor yet it hasn't completely sunk in as a reality yet. I guess old habits are hard to break.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How much is that doggie in the window?

About a month ago we said goodbye to our old family dog Yoda. As Nate and I helped my family look at listings for new furry friends Nate mentioned how he had thought about getting a dog for us to keep me company while he's gone. So after a couple weeks of thinking and looking we found this little guy.

Buster is a little beagle mix, though the jury is still out on what his mix might be. Votes have been cast for, terrier (i.e. Jack Russell), chihuahua, and pug. What ever he is, he's just dang cute and sweet. Buster was rescued by Beagles of Arizona Rescue Club from the pound since he was on the euthanasia list for being so frightened there. I can't say that I blame him, I would be too. His foster mom thought that maybe he had gotten away from his previous owners and no one came to find him. Alas their loss is our gain.

So far he's been settling in pretty well at his new home though he was our little shadow for the first couple days. He is surprisingly mellow, and very little seems to phase him; not the vacuum or the doorbell, or fireworks, or the the bunch of nieces/nephews who wanted to pet him, make him do tricks and give him treats. Though he was worn out afterwards and fell asleep after being home for five minutes.

The only things that do get him really worked up are walks (because he LOVES going for walks) and other dogs that he sees on walks presumably because he wants to go be friends (according to Nate).

He loves to cuddle and keeps trying to join us up on the couch or in bed, but we're working on that. Sunday night after playing with the nieces and nephews, I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed when Nate knocked on the door.

"Is Buster in there with you?"

"No...can't you find him?"


"Is he in his crate?"


"Is he on the spare bed?"


"Well he has to be somewhere in here."

I called his name and a few seconds later I heard his tags jingling only to see his little head pop out from under our bed. I guess if he couldn't get on the bed, he would instead go under it.

We're looking forward to having fun with this little guy for many years to come.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ode to a House Husband

Over the early course of our marriage, Nate and I haven't completely stuck the typical gender roles. I've been his Sugar Momma working to bring home the bacon and for the last six weeks after finishing up med school Nate has filled in as a full time house husband. He's really spoiled me.

I came home to some tasty treats including homemade soft pretzels.

He took care of projects around the house such as building shelves to better organize our extra closet space and re-planted our herb garden.

He cleaned the house, made trips to the bank, and I don't think I had to hardly step foot in a grocery store. He even had a short stint as babysitter for our nephew, Luke, when my mother-in-law had to go out of town. After a couple weeks I was struggling to find things for him to do.

I wasn't a complete slave driver though as he managed to find time to have some fun as well. He read at least 5 books, made 4 trips to the lake, 1 trip down the Salt River, went on 1 cruise, and 1 weekend camping where he caught a personal record of 14 fish.

Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of his fish but we did get one of this whopper that I caught. The fish were definitely bitting that weekend as I also caught a personal best of 10 fish...and one dead crawdad.

As he goes off to begin his long days of residency I hope that he will fondly remember these past few weeks. While he has spoiled me in more ways than one, I have enjoyed the chance to spend so much time with my dear house-husband. He has set the bar high when the day finally comes that we switch roles and I take over as a house wife. I just hope I'll be up for the task.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 7: On the good ship Lib-er-ty

On the final day aboard our fun ship we sailed across the ocean back to Miami. So since our last day was on the ship, I thought I'd reflect on our experiences on the ship away from the ports of call. This was our very first cruise and it's true that cruising is a great way to travel.
I definitely recommend getting a balcony room if possible. I had originally thought we would just do an interior room to save some money, and then we found the great deal we got on our balcony. I think it probably ruined me for any future cruises.

This is the view from our level of the ship, all the way down to the main floor. In our research before booking we found that many people recommended being in a room on a high floor toward the middle of the ship. I have to say this seemed pretty accurate too as we didn't feel or hear much during the night.

Would we choose Carnival again? Probably. Since it was our first cruise I don't have anything else to compare it too but they have a lot of activities and try to make your time on the ship lots of fun. One prime example of this was The Fun Hop. The cruise director kept talking up the Fun Hop as the "can't miss event" and "one of the funnest things you could do on the ship." I hate to say it but he was right. The Fun Hop was a series of team competitions that took place in various spots on the ship after dinner the night of my birthday. The whole ship was divided into teams depending on what floor your room was on. We were part of the BLUE. I was a bit skeptical about doing it but figured we could at least check it out. Well once the blue war paint went on we were all in. With the rest of the blue team, Nate and I karakoed, then we all made our way to the casino where we learned your not-so-typical line dances and watched a few of our men do a butt shaking competition, then we made our way to the night club for a dance off, and then we ended up on the main deck with the rest of the ship where we did a huge team conga line, and danced the electric slide with a couple hundred of our closest cruise mates. All the while we roamed the halls chanting war cries of "Blue there it is" (to the toon of whoop there it is) and "Olie, olie, olie! Blue, Blue, Blue!" We ended the night hoarse and with only these pictures because we were so busy having fun.

Dinner time was also fun as our waiters sang and danced for us.

And how can I forget the towel animals. We eagerly awaited coming back to our room to see what creation awaited us. It was fun to try and guess what they had made out of a few towels. Some of them I'm still not quite sure about.

Then there's the question about sea sickness. Did I get sea sick? Yes and no. I did really good for the first 2 days and then things started to move a bit more when we got into the open water and away from the shore. I'm glad that we took motion sickness patches with us just in case, then again I don't have the strongest stomach and Nate did just fine. The thing they don't warn you about is when you get off the ship. I was not prepared to continue moving for a good 4-6 days after we got home. Apparently it's fairly common and some jokingly call it Post Cruise Stress Disorder that lasts until you go on your next cruise. Thankfully I'm all better now, and we would definitely do it all again.

Day 6: Darlin' it's better down where it's wetter

Our final port of call was Grand Turk which is part of the Turks and Caicos. The island apparently isn't as grand as its name would lead you to believe. With the Carnival Liberty's 3,300 passengers and 1,000 crew we out numbered the island's 4,000 inhabitants. Our cruise director, Noonan, informed us that the island could be ours to over throw if we wanted to. So imagine what it must have been like on a day when not one but two cruise ships rolled into town. For a period of 6 hours, Grand Turk tripled its population.

Since Grand Turk has a reputation of great snorkeling, including a 7,000 foot drop off, we decided this would be a great place to take a peak at what goes on under the sea. In typical male fashion, Nate really wanted to take our snorkeling to the next level. Why just snorkel the old fashioned way when you can POWER SNORKEL? So equipped with our snorkel gear and our personal propellers (with top speeds of 3 mph), we got to devotin' some full time to floatin' under the sea.

Such wonderful things surround you, what more are you lookin' for?

Down here all the fish is happy, as off the waves they roll.

We got no troubles, life is the bubbles, under the sea.

With our handy propellers we were able to cover a lot of ground during our trip. Some people in our group, however, were questionable drivers and kept bumping into us or getting in the way. On the way back in we passed over a big bed of these prickly fellers.

Sea urchins! As we past over them I kept pulling my knees up to avoid grazing them. Our dinner friends weren't quite as lucky as Steve somehow ended up stepping on one. In typical island fashion, after Jill had spent 10 minutes trying to pull them out of the bottom of his foot, our guide said, "No worries mon, just leave 'em alone and they'll come out on their own in a few days." Somehow we weren't completely convinced or comforted by that but there wasn't anything else to do.

After snorkeling, with not much available within walking distance to see, we found a spot on the beach. All that power had left Nate tuckered out. Out in the sun they slave away? I guess not.

Back aboard the ship we hunkered down for our last day at sea as we made our way back to Miami.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 5: Feliz Cumple Anos

The fifth day of our cruise fell on my birthday and we spent the day in Puerto Rico. For my Puerto Rican birthday we wandered through Old San Juan visiting the forts and doing a little bit of shopping. In all I think we walked about 5 miles all over the city.

At the recommendation of my aunt who loves Puerto Rico, our first stop was to El Morro. El Morro is a cool old fort, with great views of the ocean, which was originally built to guard the entrance to San Juan Bay and defend Puerto Rico against enemies at sea.

The fort had just a few stairs, and no elevator.

Wandering around the fort put Nate in a swashbuckling mood.

That was later over come by his lazy surfer side.

One of the things I enjoyed most about Old San Juan was the architecture. Each building had it's own character and vibrant colors were every where. It makes the cookie cutter stucco homes seem a bit boring back home.

We loved our day in Puerto Rico but it was just too short to see everything Puerto Rico had to offer. One day I hope we get to go back.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 4: Up Where the Air is Clear

After a day at sea, we woke up in the Virgin Islands. St. Thomas to be exact. Here we signed up to do something I've wanted to try for years. PARASAILING!!! As we waited for our scheduled departure we decided to browse some of the shops nearby in search of a sun hat for me. How about this one? Just a wee bit understated don't you think? We need something a bit bigger.

Then it was time to make our way to the boat for our parasailing trip. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous. Our trip was a tandem ride so Nate and I got to ride together, and what do you know we were the first one's up.

The part I had been most worried about was how it was going to feel as we lifted off. I half expected my stomach to end up in my feet but I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was as the parachute just smoothly took us into the air.

The views of the water and the island were beautiful. While the boat bounced along the choppy seas below we floated in the air and took in the sites around us.

Then it was time to come down.It was a great ride and I can finally check that one off my bucket list.

After parasailing we made our way downtown to do a little shopping. Then with a few hours to spare we decided to grab a taxi cab and go to the beach. At the recommendation of our parasailing guide, we instructed the cab driver to take us to Sapphire Beach versus Meagan's Bay which is apparently more popular with the tourists. Our parasailing guru had assured us that it wasn't really any farther than Meagan's, maybe a 15 minute cab ride. A half hour later we arrived at Sapphire Beach after getting a nice scenic ride of the island.

We enjoyed playing at Sapphire Beach but as the minutes ticked by, my anxiety about missing the ship grew as we were much farther away than we had originally anticipated. With about an hour to spare we caught a taxi to take us back to the pier.

Our cab driver, while willing, was obviously not thrilled about taking 2 people all the way across the island and he tried flagging down a few other cabs to see if he could find someone else to take us. The first cab was packed full, the second empty, the third was just right...sort of. While the third cab (which actually turned out to be a tour group) looked pretty full, he managed to convince the driver/guide, Sunny, to squeeze us in. Literally. On separate rows, sandwiched between several cushiony ladies, Nate and I prepared for one crazy ride. At speeds of probably up to 50 miles per hour, Sunny zipped through the rolling, and winding two lane mountain road that circled the island. With no seat belts and no real doors on the cab, we all gripped the rails in front of us. White knuckles all around, and we all gasped as he narrowly missed pedestrians. Then came the traffic jam. We sat and waited as time ticked by. After what seemed like forever, Sunny had waited long enough and proceeded to do a 6 point u-turn to turn the big cab/bus around on the two lane mountain road to go the other direction. Free of the bonds of traffic, Sunny zoomed the other direction. "I've never got anyone back late yet," he assured over the speaker. "He's been driving like this all day," said the lady seated next to me. Somehow that didn't make me any less nervous. Sure enough we made it to the ship in one piece and no pedestrians harmed with about fifteen minutes to spare. Plus we came away with a ride equally as memorable as our one earlier in the sky. Nate attests that he's been on some roller coasters that weren't nearly as exciting as Sunny's drive. So if you ever make it to St. Thomas and are looking for a good tour, check out Sunny Liston. It will be an experience you'll never forget.