Monday, February 22, 2010

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of

For years I have played with the idea of heading to New York City and taking in the sites. Well some of the sites, because really there is much more to do and see in New York that anyone could easily do in a visit, or probably even living there for six months.

Since I have taken a look at my budget and realize that going to a warm tropical island is out of reach in 2010 the idea of a long weekend in NYC is something I think could probably fit into my budget. I am someone who tends to look at hotel rooms as only places I sleep and shower, so my standards are lower than most of my friends. For that reason, I thought why not try a hostel. There are many hostels with great ratings in Manhattan with a daily cost of around $30. Sure you have to sleep in a bunk bed, in a room of probably 9 other guys, but really if I’m in New York, all I need is a bed, a locker and a clean shower. Plus, I have always envied those people who took time after high school or during the university years to tour parts of the world and use hostels exclusively. They have made enduring friendships and seen sights they couldn’t have afforded otherwise because of monetary constraints related to hotels.

I haven’t mentioned this idea to any of my friends yet, because (a) I don’t know who of my friends would be willing to hostel in their early thirties and (b) when travelling with friends I will end up seeing the things in NYC they want to see, which might not match my must-sees. Probably not a smart idea, but I am half tempted to take the trip solo and plan to meet some friends at the hostel that I can explore the city with in the evenings and during the day do my own thing.

I have started bookmarking websites to help in my planning, but really am still at the point of being overwhelmed with figuring out what my priorities are in visiting NYC, and realistic timelines for commuting between the landmarks.  Then I have to really look at what flight and my must-sees will cost and see if the cost matches my budget.

If nothing else, it gives me something to get excited about and look forward to, during the grey days of winter. Hopefully my first visit to NYC will become reality this spring.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The complainers...

There is something I don't get about my generation... the complaining about their kids or the inability to handle life with children.  I know it's not everyone.  I certainly don't...  in fact, I sit in awe of how amazing my son is and want more around just like him.

But pretty much on a daily basis there is someone on my list of facebook friends who can't stand how cranky their kids are, or doesn't want to get up early to drive their child to hockey.  Or there is the sister of a friend who had to take her daughter to emergency for an injury... an injury serious enough to head to emergency, and probably get stitches, but not serious enough to find a friend who was home to take care of her other child and to take the time to run to a community completely not in the same direction as the hospital, because she AND her husband didn't want to have to worry about both of their children sitting with them in emergency.  And this woman is the same one who calls her Mom, who lives five hours away and says meet me halfway, I need a week without my daughter.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  What is wrong with parents?

What happened to wanting to spend time with your children?  When parents had an opportunity to stay home with their kids today on a snow day, why were their thoughts about how their kids were under their feet all day, and not let's get outside and make great memories sledding down hills?  The one other day we had enough snow here for the kids to enjoy, I was lucky enough to be off for the day and had my son.  In that day we packed in hours of being outside laughing, building snowmen (as you see in the pic just prior to this post) and sledding.  It's surely a day my son will remember and I think I had as much fun as he did.  And really, maybe that is why William is a well behaved child... because his parents spend time with him having fun, instead of him acting out to try and get our attention.

Children are a blessing.  William was our miracle who came a month early and it was five years ago today.  I remember vividly seeing him for the first time and hope I never slip into the complaining trap most of my peers have.  On the day he was born I promised to be the best father I could... and five years in I think I'm doing okay... but I'm a work in progress and will strive to be better for the rest of my life.

HAPPY 5th Birthday William!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Someone is almost 5!

When William turned four he refused to accept the change.  If he was asked how old he was, at any point in the last year he would say he was three, cause it was his favorite number.  Now that he's almost five and five means going to big boy school, he's all ready to embrace the change, and this year, I'm not!  He's three!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oh my aching back

This week began as any other.  My alarm began to sound at 8am and I jumped into the shower.  Followed by a quick breakfast and ironed my clothes.  Nothing really out of the ordinary with the exception of my Mom being in the house. 

And then, after brushing my teeth and grabbing another look in the mirror before heading for the front door, I felt a twinge in my back.  It wasn't caused by twisting or any sort of snap, just a twinge that felt wrong.  I didn't think much of it, because I'm not one to really have any back problems.

Then as the hour progressed my back became more sore and it effected my ability to walk.  I thought back to my weekend to see if maybe I had done anything to hurt myself.  Hmm... Friday I worked all day and went to the gym, on the way out to my car I do remember maybe a slight pinch in my back, but then I went onto dance the night away without incident.  Saturday was pretty unremarkable; I went to the mall and then spent the night vegging and watching junk reality tv until finally around 9pm I decided to catch a movie in the theatre.  And Sunday was pretty routine.  I got up, showered, cleaned the house and caught a yoga class while waiting for my Mom to come into the city.

I managed to make it through the work day Monday.  But that night I had to give in and admit the pain was not normal.  I spent the evening with Mom and William and a heating pad.  And everytime I would leave the room without the heating pad, William would grab it and hold it against my back as I walked.  Such a good helper. 

The next morning I took William to preschool and then headed to a medical clinic.  It was early so there weren't many people ahead of me.  I got in and the doctor got me to remove my shirt and could immediately tell that the right side of my back was spasmed.  He wrote perscriptions for an anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxant.  He said if it didn't help then I should go to my family doctor and get narcotics.  I got the perscriptions filled and headed home to rest.  And by rest I mean, throw chili in the slowcooker and then spend the afternoon with heat on my back.  Wednesday morning wasn't any better.  I had to take William to the IWK Children's Hospital for his TRIGR study appointment (TRIGR is a study where they are testing children who have the markers on their genes for Diabetes and are testing the effect of cows milk in the first six months of life, on whether they develop the disease).  I then foolishly went to work and tried to get into the routine but sadly the muscle relaxants made me more drowsy and I had to pack it up an hour into the day.

I figured that heat and rest wasn't taking care of the problem, so I booked a massage.  I went in and explained my problem and asked the massage therapist to work for the entire hour on my back.  Most of the time I was fighting to stay awake, but occasionally she would hit a sensitive area and I would wince in pain.  When it was over she told me to take my time getting up and she would meet me in the sitting area outside the room.  Trying to turn over was my first indicaiton that I was in trouble.  It took me probably five minutes to even get to a sitting position.  Then dressing myself was the next challenge.  It hurt so bad I thought of calling out for help and gave up on trying to bend close enough to my feet to get my socks on.  I finally managed and walked out to the therapist who explained what she felt and recommended I come back within the week.  And as I turned the corner I remembered the huge set of stairs I had to climb to get out of the place.  It was pain beyond anything I have ever know.  I struggled to lift my feet high enough to get up one stair.  I was in severe pain and it was much worse than when I went into the massage.

Somehow I got up the stairs, paid for my massage, got my coat and headed out to my car.  I barely got my legs both into my car and then I exploded into tears.  I was in more pain than I ever thought possible.  I was at the point where I was trying to lift my legs with my hands instead of muscles because it hurt too much... and of course I drive a standard.  After about ten minutes of a self-pep-talk I suffered through the pain enough to drive home, crawl up the stairs and laid flat on the floor for hours. 

Thankfully, it was a situation where it had to get worse before it got better.  By morning Thursday I was feeling substantially better, but figured another day at home was probably a smart choice, so I wouldn't ruin my weekend with William.  And thanks to the muscle relaxants I slept most of the day away, and luckily had a friend bring me sushi for supper. 

Althought I'm not back to 100%, I am a million miles away from when I was leaving my massage.  I wish it hadn't meant my skipping the gym this week, because when I am not active my eating also takes a turn for the worse, but the rest is worth it to heal.

I now have a new respect for those out there with chronic paralyzing back pain.  It's something you feel head to two and incapacitates you more than anything else.  I just wish I had an answer as to why it happened.  I really don't think it was the yoga, since I have been doing it for almost a year, and really didn't push myself any harder in the Sunday class.  Perhaps there is someone out there with a voodoo doll I don't know about.  Haha.