Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Story of Maxwell . . .

The story of Maxwell begins on Christmas Eve while Buzz was shoveling a neighbor's walk. Andi (our erstwhile college student neighbor, home for the holidays) called me over to to see the puppy she was watching. And Maxwell, the cute little bugger, plodded up to me licked me a few times, then inadvertently scratched my face with his paws. With that, I went back to shoveling, the scratches stopped bleeding and that was that. . . or so I thought.

Onto Christmas evening when Sidetrack and I attended our neighbor's annual dessert reception. When the topic of the puppy arose, Andi made a call to her friend, and the next guest to arrive was Maxwell.

Apparently, Andi's friend found the little guy wandering the streets of Coralville on Dec. 15th. She placed calls to the police, the dog pound and local shelters... but after 10 days, no one called to claim the pooch. Unfortunately, Andi's friend was/is in no position to have a pet (19 years old, working 60 hours a week, living in an un(pet)friendly apartment).

And so with minimal debate or discussion, and long sappy, droopy, pleading (translation: can we PLLEEEAAASSSEEE keep him?) looks from Sidetrack, I buckled under the weight of holiday spirit. A day later... Maxwell entered our lives permanently.

He's a Blue Heeler mix, about 8-9 weeks old and healthy. Koko almost ate him, Tootsie is annoyed but tolerant, and Truman is curious from a healthy (safe) distance. And so this new chapter begins.

2nd Annual Chi-town Blitz

For the second year in a row, I managed to survive a quick Chicago blitz with the delinquents. We arrived on Tuesday at 4:00 and stayed right downtown. After a brief stroll up Michigan Ave., we dined at Dick's Last Resort where food was decent and service was obnoxious.

After dinner we meandered back to the hotel (along the Chicago River) for a night of cards (Euchre), and a Hawkeye Insight Bowl victory!!!

Breakfast at the West Egg (at Columbus and Ontario) followed by a morning at the Shedd Aquarium. It was a blast to see the fish and water related animals.
We then zipped up to Evanston for a quick walk around on the Northwestern Campus, and a fly-by visit to Uncle Murph's

We grabbed some burgers at "Five Guy Burgers and Fries", then hit the road back to Iowa City. Next Year we're thinking about visiting the Art Institute. That will be another adventure, I'm sure. Cheers!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

It has been an eventful year. The details of most of these events are captured in various posts on this blog, so I won't clobber you with details. We entered 2010 with two homes (mortgages) and we exit with one. THAT has been a welcome relief.

Chalupa had a curved spine and now it's straight. THAT has been a welcome relief.

Somehow along the line we picked up a small retail/manufacturing businesses, Woofables, a gourmet dog biscuit company. This will remain a curious distraction.
We started this year never having traveled to California as a family. Now we can check that adventure off the list.

And one more item [BREAKING NEWS] We started the year with two dogs and a cat (a few fish too), and as of this post,... we're adding another four legged critter to the chaos. Tonight, at 10:00, Max will be delivered. He was found stray... abandoned. We have no clue how old he is, be the best guess is that he's about 4 months. We guess he's part Saint and part mutt. We guess that we've lost our minds. A neighbor found him and he's been visiting a few houses to find a home, and somehow ours seemed right. Kids will find out when they wake up tomorrow. Life as we know it, just got a little bit more interesting.
Here we see Big Dawg on Christmas day... taking a shot of snow to the face. Salute!

At the end of it all, we have our health, we have our friends, we have our shared adventures, we have our faith, and we have each other. We really can't ask for more than that, for these are the things we are thankful for.

We wish all of our friends a Merry Christmas, and wonderful New Year full of laughter, great adventures, wonderful moments with friends and family, safety, warmth, love and happiness.

Cheers to one and all! - The Taylors!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

As tradition would have it, we decorate the house to help celebrate birthdays. Here is what Big Dawg has been able to enjoy for a few days. What you can't see in this picture is the living room which is an eclectic mix of Christmas decorations (tree, lights, etc...) and birthday ballonapalooza. It's all quite spectacular.

So this weekend we turn the corner and make the final push into the holiday weekend. Sidetrack and I are finishing grades for the semester, and the shop is hitting full stride for the last second biscuit buyers (and our growing online efforts), and work is winding down for the season.

Speaking of work, we postponed the start of the the Exec MBA program in Des Moines. We'll crank it up in May rather than January. We simply didn't attract enough students to make it worth while for the University and the participating students. It's a bit of a set back, but should have positive results in the long run.

Kids are all jacked up about having two weeks off of school. We may take a day or two and drive into Chicago to enjoy the lights and sounds and chaos. It all depends on the weather and timing. We'll see. Until then... balloons for everyone!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nerd and Birthday, Coincidence?

Eight years ago today, Mr. BD Big Dawg dropped into our lives in T triple shock fashion:

1. Labor was all of 22 minutes (no time to really get mentally ready)
2. When he arrived, He was a HE... not a SHE (unusual for us after three girls)
3. And he came in weighing 9 lb 13 oz (the rest of the brood was around the 7 lb mark).

Thankfully the triple shock has worn off and we're kind of getting used to having this heathen around. I think we'll keep him.
On the other hand... there is Chalupa. I am not sure when themed days began in school, but I can say it was after my time. Spirit Days were about it for us. But now they have pajama day, dress up day, sports day and (as Chalupa aptly demonstrates) Nerd Day.

With role models like this... I'm not sure BD Big Dawg stands a chance.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Seasonal Blowhards

Every holiday season, the University of Iowa Tuba Band performs holiday music on the steps of the Old Capitol. This year's event was held Friday afternoon, December 10. The weather could not have been much better. It was 48 degrees and sunny. The whimsy of the Tubas added a wonderful tone to this year's growing holiday spirit.
Unfortunately, the weather was short lived. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the next 24 hours. We can expect at least 3 - 5 inches of snow and sustained winds of 35 - 40 miles an hour, with gusts reaching 55 - 60 miles per hour. Lovely, huh?

From one blow hard to another... this blows.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Freezing Up

This is the view of the Iowa River looking north from the Hancher foot bridge. That's the Park Road bridge at the top of this picture. During the floods of 2008, water was well over the top of that bridge. So as you can image, the foot bridge from where this picture was taken, was inaccessible.

Anyway, this is my walk to work every morning. It's about a half a mile, up hill (true) to campus. This particular morning it was about nine degrees, and you can see the river is beginning to freeze.

Years ago (prior to 1960's), before the Coraville Damn was constructed, the river moved much slower and froze more substantially. Fred Kent, a local photo historian, took pictures of people (many people) skating on the river. But the flow is too strong for any safe crossings on foot or skate.

At this this time of year, the eagles take refuge along the river banks. Last year during a noon-time run, I counted no fewer than 19 eagles along the river. It's quite spectacular. And it's common to see an eagle sitting in a tree or flying overhead as I make this water crossing every morning during the winter. So with the constant view of river and eagles, there is always something good to be found in Iowa City, despite the frigid winter conditions.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Big Dawg (below) is ready to roll into the wild winter weather. Our first "significant" snow (less than an inch) fell last night. Still, it's a welcome holiday sight. Now we must mentally prepare not to see grass for 3 more months.
We have some elderly neighbors who previously had their walk and driveway shoveled by other neighbor kids. Unfortunately, those "kids" have graduated HS and are long gone. So the Taylor kids have been approached for this honorable duty. This could mean some early mornings and late evenings of shoveling the white stuff. This morning was the first test. Thankfully, it was only a sweep job, but a healthy pre-cursor for things (inches, perhaps feet?) to come. If successful, this could be a very valuable learning experience in community service and good neighborliness. If unsuccessful, it could mean several more doses of ibuprophen for yours truly.

I fear this picture of Marpy, Peanut, Chalupa, Sidetrack and Big Dawg is evidence of their training and preparation for snow shoveling etc... This does not bode well for me. These couch potatoes have taken root for the winter, I'm afraid their work-effort is dormant until we see green grass again. Ugh! Winterized.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Beaner, Tootsie and Big Dawg are hanging out on the couch prior to gobbling some Turkey. Of course Toots is not allowed on the couch, but over time, she has softened the ire from Sidetrack and she's now sort of accepted as another potato to the crop of couch potatoes that grow from time to time.

Beaner has been a terrific oldest sister for Big Dawg. She recently completed reading the 4th Harry Potter book to him and will soon undertake the 5th in the series of 7. He really enjoys her reading and she is getting very good at it. The ability to read from a text is a wonderful skill to have... to be sure.
Thanksgiving at our house was typically warm and intimate (see pic below). JoAnn joined us again this year and we thoroughly enjoyed the food and company. I braved the weather to get the outside decorations up on trees, bushes and in the yard. It's no Clark Griswald work of art, but sufficient enough for our quiet little street.
And so it goes, the holiday season is in full swing. The shop is open on Sundays 12 - 5:00 and we've extended our hours to 6:00 p.m. during the week. The holiday biscuits are out and the radio plays seasonal tunes for customers to enjoy. It's all fun but a lot of work. Everyone pitches in. We're still trying to figure out what we intend to do for taking days off to celebrate Christmas and New Years.

We'll return to Minneapolis for the New Year's jump in the hole. This year I'll be joined by a foreign exchange student living with my in-laws, and maybe Crazy Pete. Chalupa, because of her back surgery will be on the sidelines this year and will have to wait a year to become a Baracuda.... I become a Baracuda II. One jump closer towards the Shark Robe!

Hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful T-Giving and are sliding into a fantastic holiday season. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranky Contraption

So at dinner last night, I made a simple goulash comprised of egg noodles, carrots, celery, a little bit of onion, some bits of green pepper, pork and a few spices. Trust me, this was nothing fancy.
But you can tell by the look on Big Dawg's face, that he was in no mood for this food. Chalupa, on the other hand, seemed quite amused by her brother's sour expression, and was even more amused that I was taking this picture (which of course made BD even more ticked off). Well it turns out that maybe the cooking wasn't all that bad. Perhaps there was something else that rattled BD's cage.
And what do you suppose that might be? As you can see (above), Big Dawg was fitted with this contraption (headgear) to adjust his teeth and jaw for future braces and manipulation. If you look closely, there are rubber bands that attach to hardware on the upper part of his mouth. All I know is that if I had to wear this contraption at night, I'd be cranky too.

Meanwhile, Chalupa turned her attention to Tootsie (below) who seemed more deserving of her frivolity and sense of humor. But after closer inspection.... even Tootsie looks a bit annoyed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas Cactus is in Full Bloom

Does this mean the holidays are just around the corner. Wasn't the 4th of July just yesterday? . The reality of owning a retail business is starting to hit home. We are now open on Sundays for the holidays and we're going to discuss expanding our hours to 6:00 p.m. not just 5:30. This also means that we will be unwitting participants in the day after Thanksgiving retail insanity.

According to our records, the store moved 600 pounds of dog treats last year. To date, we have a little more than 200 lbs made. Fire up the ovens, full steam ahead.

In other news, there will be a shift in teaching next Spring. Sidetrack will move over to an Entrepreneurial Marketing Class (Wednesday nights), and I will start teaching Strategic e-Commerce for Entrepreneurs (Tuesday nights). I will miss working with the business students on their writing, communications and ethics, but I won't miss the few students who are only there because it's a required class. It will also be nice to have Thursday's free for many reasons.

We were joined this weekend by Marpy, our 4th daughter. Her folks are at Colgate, visiting her brother. Always fun to have her around. She fits in nicely with all her "sisters", and because she puts the teenaged girl headcount to an even number... she becomes the great equalizer and peace-makers.

All of this activity with the shop, with teaching, and with my day job, has limited my running. The break is nice, but I'd sure love to get out for a long one from time-to-time. Sidetrack is in no better spot. Her primary client (consulting) has two busy times of a year, we are in the middle of one of those two windows of chaos. So, between her work, the shop and teaching... she hasn't been able to swim much as of late. With all this inactivity, we might gain some weight!!!

Speaking of weight, Chalupa's school nurses have been in regular contact with us about her weight. They seem to imply that she is either malnurished, neglected, or has an eating disorder. I gently suggested that she is simply the product of her scrawny parents who they have never seen or met.

The week ahead will be out of control until about Thursday. And so it goes...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Reindeer were the order of the day. Beaner, Brinz (brother out-law), Peanut and Chalupa was cranking out a batch for the upcoming holiday season.
We are sliding into a holiday mode. Discussions of Thanksgiving have begun, and a schedule of days off for kids is on the calendar. It was 70 degrees today, so it's very hard to get our heads around holidays when it feels like summer.

There are days when I think we bit off more than we can chew. Today, is one of them.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Hard to Believe

No snow yet, but it's a matter of time. Here are some snowmen biscuits we have dressed up and ready to go when the snow finally hits and the holiday season goes into full swing. I confess, these are pretty cool.
Tomorrow is Sidetrack's birthday, so we will gather round the table, sing happy birthday and enjoy a quiet meal with family. Seems like this (a quiet meal with family) is getting tougher and tougher to do.
Thankfully, the bulk of athletic activities become dormant for a few months. Soccer is over for Peanut, and Chalupa is on the DL. Big Dawg will play indoor soccer, but he only practices once a week. Piano and guitar lessons are about it. It's all good.

During the insanity of September and October, one of our nephews (Zach, 23) passed away unexpectedly. There was a small quiet local service and it was left that family would come out to visit when the dust settled. So this past weekend, Sidetrack when to visiting her sister and nephew in Poughkeepsie, NY. It was a nice visit, and life is beginning to move forward in a "new normal" kind of way.

Never an easy time, but always a time to reflect on the family, friends and things that are most important to us. And so we move on. Sidetrack has returned, the hostage situation has ended, and no travel plans are scheduled until December.... (aside from the occasional trip to Des Moines for work).

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." [F. Scott. Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby]... looking ever forward to our futures with a spirit of optimism and grace... and a distinct sense of purpose AND humor.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monkey Has Corrected me

For fear that some of you may set your clocks back this weekend because you read it hear first (below this post - too lazy to make the link), it is the FIRST weekend in November. Not this weekend. Thank you Monkey Man for that critical correction.

I must wait one more week for an hour of sleep.

Hey... a quick shout out to my friend Carole T. Thanks for the really bad jokes! I have several friends who will never let me tell them a joke again. LOVE IT!!!

Comings and Goings

Just back from Vancouver where I attended an Exec MBA conference where colleagues share best practices and ideas to keep our education relative and "industry" sustainable. It was thought-provoking.

Unfortunately time and weather did not permit much (any) sight seeing beyond a 5 mile jog one evening. I jogged 'til I got lost, then turned around and jogged to find my way back. Wet and cold, but not near as windy as what blew across our nation's mid-section. My return was delayed by about two hours, but I did arrive home.

Chaos at home was well in hand. But tomorrow (Friday) a.m., Sidetrack takes of for a long weekend with her sisters in NY (Poughkeepsie). It should be a long overdue get-together of just the gals. Meanwhile back on the home front we'll have soccer, pumpkin carving, MSU tailgate, dog-biscuit baking (of course), and trick-or-treating. The fun never stops.

Lookin' forward to setting our clocks back this weekend. One more hour of sleep sounds delightful!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

As the Fog Begins to Clear

ByFriday, all financial and property dealings will be "perfected", and life as the Taylor's know it, will assume a regular cadence of "new normal". Here is a summary of the past six weeks in bullet form:
  • Almost sold a house in Mankato (after 30 months)
  • Began refinancing our house in IC to secure a stronger financial position (and help pay for the sale of our house up north)
  • Made arrangements for a new roof on the house in Mankato
  • Finally sold the house in Mankato ... new roof now part of the offer
  • Ran a Marathon (Fox Cities)
  • Had a child (Chalupa) undergo spinal fusion surgery, spent 6 days in the hosptial.
  • Ran another marathon (Twin Cities)
  • Purchased a small business, Woofables
  • Had a daughter get her Driver's License
  • Closed the financing on the IC Home
  • Maintained day jobs
  • Maintained our teaching schedules
  • Maintained cross country (running and coaching), tennis, soccer and piano schedules
  • And last but not least... think we lost our sanity!
Whew. I am certain the next six weeks won't be so crazy, and you'll be pleased to know we've requested a dose of sanity for Christmas. Make no mistake, 2010 has been one of the most adventurous years of our "modern" lives. Good thing we wear seat belts!

Monday, October 11, 2010

October in Full Swing

Sidetrack attended a Doggie Trinket show in Chicago this past weekend. She will place her orders today and we'll effectively own more trinkets for sale this holiday season. She and I are focusing Woofables efforts on hand made, quality products that match our core business philosphy and efforts (top quality dog biscuits). If you would have asked me at any point up until July, if I'd ever own a dog biscuit "interest"... I would have laughed. An axiom to the old saying might be ... he (or she) who laughs last... cries most.

Sidetrack is taking the lead on this, and her hands are full between the store, her consulting and teaching. Somehow she muddles through. But between the two of us... it's a flurry of activity... all the time. We're not sure what we would do if the pace ever slowed down. We'll enjoy it while we can. There are plenty of people who'd love the opportunity, and believe me, we are thankful on a daily basis for the chaos we enjoy (most of the time).

Chalupa returns to school full time. The scar on her back is every bit as impressive as it is scary. Just in time for Halloween.

Peanut is thriving at recreational soccer, but she is hinting at making a return to competitive soccer. She has a head of confidence, but may not quite be ready for the rough and tumble of competition. This aspect of ISC (Iowa Soccer Club) has not changed since she left.

Beaner is driving! This is good news for the other two taxi drivers. Now we have to figure out where all the gas went, and wonder why the gages are now mysteriously on empty everytime we get into the car. She needs a job, and I think Woofables can help!

Big Dawg is full throddle, full time. The life of a busy 2nd grader never stops. His crashes at the end of the day are as famous as his launches in the mornings. He too is playing a lot of soccer these days and reading a ton of books. His social life has finally turned the corner. Next summer should be very interesting for him.

Work for me has picked up to a more steady pace. Recruitement for the Des Moines Exec. MBA class to begin in January is reaching a fevered pitch. Some anticipated institutional sponsorships have fallen through, so I'm working diligently to fill the gaps. With faith and some elbow grease... we'll get it done. Teaching continues to be a professional highlight - Business Communications and Protocol is a required core class for Iowa business students. I teach writing, speaking, business protocol and business leadership/ethics. It's probably too much for one class, but that's what the curriculum requirements are. It makes for a very busy class.
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Fall 2010

The fall colors are upon us. Lots going on in our little corner of the world. First, it's safe to say Chalupa is on the mend. She returns to school tomorrow just as she is getting stir crazy at home. Many, many, MANY thanks to every one for all of their warm wished and for stopping by. The hard work is over for the parents and your support has made it much easier. Now, the hard work is in front of Chalupa and we know she'll tackle it with gusto.

Onto our next adventure. On Friday, October 8... Sidetrack (majority) and I will become small business owners. We're purchasing a gourmet dog biscuit company, Woofables. The previous owners did a marvelous job setting things up, but relocation of spouses has forced them to sell. I am busy working to develop a new website and an online ordering mechanism. Sidetrack is getting a handle on the overall business and operations. It'll be steady has she goes for the next few weeks, but by early November, we hope to be poised for a busy holiday season.

Cross country running season is drawing to a close for West High (Peanut). It's been a building year for Peanut who has been battling a series of stress-related injuries. She's toughing it out and hopes to return full-strength next year.

Big Dawg is still playing soccer like a fiend and fully enjoys playing "up" with 9 year olds.

Sidetrack swims 2 - 3 times a week, and Buzz just wrapped up his running season with a solid finish in the Twin Cities Marathon (3:44). So now we regroup as fall sets in and the season takes on a new sense of normal.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One Step at a Time

Above - we see Chalupa during her final Physical Therapy session. She had to demonstrate that she could handle the steps, and she did. Now (below) ... she's HOME SWEET HOME!

Gonna Get Discharged

Just got word... Barring any unforeseen setbacks, Chalupa will be discharged later today. She still has a lot of recovery to get through, but at least it will be in the comfort of her own home. Here we see her getting ready to order breakfast. That's Liz, one of the many, attending nurses we had over the days, weekend and evenings.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One More Day of Progress

A bunch of Chalupa's friends had this T-Shirt made and they all wore them at school the day before she left for surgery. This (above) is the front.
This is the back (of the t-shirt)
And here is Chalupa with her "first meal" back. Mac and Cheese. It was not critically acclaimed, but a very welcome treat. They say she'll lose 4 - 6 lbs when she gets home. She, like the rest of this scrawny Taylor tribe, does not have 4 - 6 lbs to lose. Chocolate Sundays, mashed potatoes with whipping cream, and lobster thermidor may all make it onto her menu.
Today we had visits from Pastor Kyle and the BASIC Youth Group Leaders (above: Sara, Ross and Donald-call-me-Eric), from St. Andrews Presbyterian. She also had a visit from our State Representative Dave Jacoby. Marpy and Mama Arpy showed up in time to see Chalupa taking her evening stroll, and the night was capped off by a visit from her siblings and mom.

Doc says tonight might be her last night, depending on her pain and stairs. It will be good to get her home. So one more walk tonight and all sights set on another day of work tomorrow.

Day 4 on the Recovery Train

Chalupa started walking again yesterday and the one trip journey was tough and painful. Today (above) she managed to make three trips around the ward circle, and two of those were "unassisted". Her pain is dropping and she's weening off of morphine. The goal is to pass her solids, and once this happens... she can take solid food.

Pastor Kyle stopped by from St. Andrews. It was good to speak with him. The support she has had from this church is really quite amazing. Thank you to all of the St. Andrews family. Many of the cards (below) are from her youth group and confirmation group, and friends from all over the city. We may need a small moving truck to get all this stuff out of here.

Therapy this afternoon, MAY include stairs! Maybe. If not today, then definitely tomorrow. Very exciting stuff.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different

Homecoming was last night. Peanut and Beaner went. Peanut may never go again, and Beaner is all over it like fly on stink. Below we see her and Hannah. One of our Taylor Family Favs.
And here is the entourage before they left our house. From the left, Zach, Beaner, Alyssa, and Parker. It's all good. Afterwards they went to church with the rest of the youth group folks who attended. Peanut spent the night at a girlfriend's house.
Today, Peanut's team got smashed in soccer, but Big Dawg's team crushed their opponents. Chalupa's team also lost... probably 'cause she wasn't there ... but then again... maybe not.

Losses and Gains

Today Chalupa lost her bladder tube and she lost Bob the Button (morphine). She gained greater mobility and walked up and down the hall, and she gained non-water liquids (Sprite and Apple Juice). Day-by-day her muscles and nerves are adapting to their new positions, and her muscle memory is helping her regain her strength and mobility. Tomorrow... soft foods (pudding, apple sauce? etc...)
Here we see a posse of girls. I probably won't get all of their names right but I'll try. In no particular order... Emmy, Emily, KFC, Abby-Normal, Vanessa and Miriam (I don't know Vanessa and Miriam but they're there).
And here we see Marpy and Molly. Molly has graciously asked for a Taylor Family Nick Name, so I'm on a mission.

Tonight Laura stays at the hospital and I'll make sure the kids get off to school tomorrow morning before I come in and take the morning shift.

Moving Towards 72 Hours Post Op

Above we see Dr. Judd changing Chalupa's dressings. Here's what's on the agenda today. Chalupa will do some walking, and once she has mastered that, they will remove the tube from her bladder. Once that's gone, she'll be graduated to something more substantial than ice chips (jello or more?). But, unfortunately, she'll loose one more thing today... "Bob" the Button. This is the button she uses to have an instant delivery of morphine when pain comes a callin'

If all goes well, and progress continues, there is a chance for Chalupa to go home on Tuesday. We shall see. Today will be another big day. But when she goes home, she'll bring home this scar.
What you can't see in the lower right side of this picture is a little bit of tape that leads to another small scar on her hip. This is where Dr. Weinstein took a bone graft from her hip to place over the new rods in her back. During the next six months these tiny bone grafts will grow over the rods encasing them into her vertebrae. And there you have the origins for the name of this procedure, "spinal fusion".

Side Track arrives soon to relieve me this morning, so I can take Big Dawg to his soccer this afternoon in Cedar Rapids. J.A. Mandy will take Peanut to her soccer across town in IC. Well, onward and upward, big day ahead!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Work and Pleasure

Yep, that's the Chalupa, STANDING!!! WOW!! It's all part of her rehab plan. Once she got back into bed, she slept for a solid hour. A good chance for me to grab a bite to eat.
Then came a small parade of friends starting with Crazy Pete, his wife Judy and daughter Kari. No holdin' him back. One week from today, he and I will tromp through 26.2 miles in and around Minneapolis/St. Paul. But Chalupa is so tough, her bravery makes our little effort look weak.
Next came Abby Normal (The Bruiser). This is the one and same young lady who crushed Chalupa (unintentionally) on the basketball court. A darling young lady and friend of the family.
And her last visitor of the day was The Reason. This comical child showed up and put a smile on the face of a very tired young Chalup. It turns out The Reason's mom, did her Pediatric Residency here at Iowa, and knows my God Mother, J.A.Mandy, and many of the physicians who worked with my father. Small world, huh?

So Chalupa is in the chair again, and is demanding to be put back in bed after a 35 minute pull. She'll sleep well tonight.

The Wheel Chair

So first the ice chips, now the chair! Here we see Chalupa getting situated into the wheel chair. This is HUGE. It's a painful process to shift all that weight, stand, shift, then sit. Now we let the muscles relax and adjust for 30 minutes, then it's back into the bed for a while.
Later this afternoon, she'll return to the chair for 45 minutes, then again for 60 minutes. Each time it stretches muscles and builds strength. Once she sat up straight she had to cough up phlem. This too is very difficult because of the lack of re-developed strength and lung power. But this too, is all part of rehab for her. It is tough work, and she makes us all look whimpy.
We had a surprise visit from "sister" Molly. This was the first time Chalupa has smiled since surgery. I confess, it brought tears to my eyes to see he smile. Then she smiled again when Ike called in his soccer score. I told her that he was worthless talking on the phone, but he wanted to speak with her. She asked him 2 or 3 times when his next games were, and she just smiled, shook her head, because it was clear... she agreed with me, he was worthless on the phone, and not getting the answers she wanted.

Special thanks to Joe, Delma, Emmy (and family), Ms. Keech (teacher), Randy Housler and the crew from BASIC for the flowers and cards. Oh, and the Lipman's for the wonderful muffins from JAVA House.

Sponge Bath and ICE CHIPS! Horray!!

This picture gives you some idea of how Chalupa has been laying for the better part of the last two days when she was not propped on her side by pillows, or slightly tilted up. She's obviously getting her hair washed (despite my suggestion to just shave it off), and then a sponge bath. You can't tell from this picture, but just tilting her neck ever so slightly was very painful for her.

After the sponge bath, she was approved for ice chips. This is the first step on her way to maybe some food by tomorrow! ALLLLRIIIGHT!

48 Hours After Surgery

We'll it may not look like she's making progress, but she is. Every two or three hours the roll her into a different position which allows her nerves and muscles to adjust to their new (and correct) positions. But, as you can imagine, these are very incremental moves and come with a great deal of pain. The picture above was taken last night before I left to go home. You can see that the bed is at a reasonable angle compared to the picture below. That's what I mean by incremental... we're talking inches translating into miles of progress.

So today she will get into an almost complete sitting position three times. At least that's the goal. This will put some weight and pressure on the spine and all attached nerves and muscles, so the pain will not be fun. Chalupa also practices her breathing into a tube that measures and improves the strength of her lungs.

We also hope she can start chewing on ice. She's not had anything to eat since Wednesday night (before surgery). Her digestive system in not fully "on line" so they have to ease her into liquids and foods to prevent aspiration. Plus, (I would think) a bowel movement would be pass-out painful at this point. We hope today she can graduate from rinsing her mouth with water to actually consuming it! We'll see.
Still very groggy and dosing in and out of consciousness. Her voice is weak primarily because she still can't take huge breaths of air. The Intellectual Giant (IG) stopped by to say hello. He brought some great trashy reaching material (People, Enquirer etc...). She will be a much more engaging person by later Sunday afternoon.