Friday, March 26, 2010

Candyland - The Play

[The cast of Candyland - Dude near center, in tie and striped shirt.]

The Dude’s school produced their annual 3rd/4th grade play – Candyland. As they do every year, the kids developed the story idea, and with teacher (and some parent) assistance, created the entire script, sets, costumes, and music. I know what you’re thinking – hmm, how good could it be? It was great!

The basic plot: Families on a cruise, grown-ups at party/dance, and kids left to fend for themselves start playing the Candyland board game. Suddenly - kaboom - the ship hits something. An iceberg? No, an island - and not just any island - it's Candyland Island! Hilarity ensues.

The characters of the board game have come alive - Queen Frostine, Granny Nutter, and many more. Candyland has suffered some political turmoil; King Candy has been overthrown and kidnapped by the evil Lord Licorice. Can the kids help find King Candy and return him to his thrown? Will everyone make it safely back to the ship? You'll have to see the play (but you can't because it was a one day performance.)

Unlike last year’s kid-designed play – which rambled a bit – Candyland was a tight, riveting performance. It lasted almost exactly one hour but the plot was fast-paced and it kept my attention – I couldn’t believe it went by so fast. The fastest one hour of elementary theater ever presented.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Duke is our own little science experiment. Many of you know that we have struggled to control Duke’s seizures since he entered our life in the fall of 2008. First it was Phenobarbital. We upped the pills over a period of many months until we arrived at an acceptable level – 3 in the morning and 3 at night seemed to keep seizures down to about one a month. Then the seizures came more frequently so we added potassium bromide. We knew that potassium bromide could have some undesirable side effects – mainly loss of control of the back legs. Potassium bromide takes a while to have its desired impact, so we waited and watched.

Well, last week we saw the full impact of potassium bromide on Duke. He was stumbling around like a drunk – much more than just loss of control of the back-legs. In fact, I think we just about killed him given the fact that he was only peeing about 3 times a day mid-week – I suspect his kidneys were shutting down.

Of course, we cut back on the meds – and to make a long story short – the seizures came back with a vengeance. On Friday he had two before I left for work (the first at 5:00 – the second at 8:30). Saturday was even crazier with three seizures: 4:00 a.m., 6:30 a.m., and 10:30 a.m. – if I recall correctly – Saturday was a bit of a sleep-deprived haze.

Now it’s time to “up” the meds – concentrating first on the Phenobarbital (back to 3 in the morning, and 3 in the evening), and now only half the dosage of potassium bromide.

He is still a little wobbly – trouble up and down stairs – but no seizures since Saturday and all his bodily functions seemed to have returned to normal – even his “old man” kidneys – asking to be let out ALL THE TIME! Oh well – beats the alternative.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Duke woke me at 4:00 a.m. with another seizure. (He had two yesterday.) Duke has decided that I should not return to bed. That gave me time to send two snarky emails to Shana vacationing in Indiana – and a third email apologizing for being such a jerk.

Hard to feel sorry for yourself for too long when you see news like this,

Man shot with Taser after running nude on I-35 median

Forest Lake police used a Taser to subdue a delusional nude man in the median of Interstate 35 Thursday evening after he allegedly jumped on passing cars and claimed he was God and the devil.

So things could be worse.

I’ve decided to make the best of it – by doing laundry, and tidying up a bit. It looks like it will be a nice day – sunny later if the stars now are any indication.

Oh look, Duke has fallen asleep beside me on the kitchen floor. How cute!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tending to the Infirm – Boy and Dog

Last night was easy for me, but not so easy for the Dude. Easy for me because the he went to bed early, tough on the Dude because he had such a rough night that he felt the need to go to bed early.

It’s been a glorious few days. At least that’s what I hear, as I spend hours in meetings every day – several of these regular meetings are actually held in the basement of World Headquarters. The basement – while it’s 60 degrees and sunny in March – in Minnesota. What did I do wrong?

Anyway – it’s been so nice that the Dude has spent many hours outside enjoying the glorious fresh air and sunshine. He’s played outside every night after school and after dinner this week. Even I’ve played outside – catch on Wednesday – which was actually kind of nice for loosening up my back – and 2-square Thursday evening.

Last night he was a little upset from an injury at the tennis court. (He loves to roller blade around the local tennis court – less grit than the streets.) He negotiated a turn a “little off” and ran into a metal pole. His knee was pretty banged up – two nice scrapes, swelling, and the beginnings of a bruise. His head – well, lucky he was wearing his helmet. He just got bonked on the side of the jaw – he suspects the helmet took the full force of the head crash.

He held it together pretty good – but I figured it hurt when he came home early – on his own. Finally, when he was lying in bed he said, “I just have to cry.” And he did. That helped release the tension, and he conked out soon thereafter.

Duke – well the saga continues. We continue to tinker with the seizure meds, having lowered the Phenobarbital – after lowering the Potassium Bromide last week. That is helping (somewhat) the lack of control of his limbs and bringing back (some) of his old energy. Reducing anti-seizure meds comes at a price – and I was awoken this morning at 5:00 am to Duke having a seizure.

He seems pretty good now, growling at me from the floor, “Come on, we are awake, where’s the chow?”

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Odds and Ends

Too bad I took this picture this morning. It would have made a great birthday post last Friday on my 48th birthday. It's an old abandoned reserved parking spot behind the Fairview Community Center.

We've been home "alone" since Monday and the Dude and I are quite proud of ourselves. We haven't made too many mistakes. We did leave Patches - the big cat - in the garage all day yesterday (8:40 to 6:00) Oops! She made a bee-line for the litter box when I discovered her and let her in. I'd never seen her move that fast.

I'll close with something I stumbled upon this afternoon whilst decompressing from 4 hours of straight meetings.

It's for you old Emergency fans (and you know who you are) - here's Bobby Troup (the one I always thought of as the "old" doctor - Dr. Joe Early) in action singing his signature tune, Route 66. It wasn't until YEARS later that I discovered that he was a well-known jazz man before Emergency. AND - of course - he was married to Julie London, singer and later actress (Nurse Dixie McCall on Emergency).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Hobbled Wife - the Early Years

Shana posted a "new" profile picture on Facebook this weekend. It's a family favorite from her wild youth.

If someone told you that this young woman with spiked hair (I believe it had purple highlights) and multiple (ear) piercings would grow up to be a suburban Girl Scout Troop Leader - would you have believed them?

Census - So Easy a Child Could Do It

Day one of the boys-only week at the Hobbled Household. Here are some highlights from my email to Shana last night:

The Dude played at the neighbor's for a while, then came home, filled out our census form (under my supervision), read for 30 minutes (required "homework"), and voluntarily went upstairs to get ready for bed.

Duke had a nice walk around the Community Center and conked out on the floor. Everything seems to be working – though he’s still unstable.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Curtain Call

Whew – La bohéme closed today. M’s cast performed the Sunday matinee to a sold-out show. It was a gas – the cast really seemed to be enjoying themselves. How would I know that? When you’ve seen as many shows as we have, you can easily compare and contrast.

By the time it was all said and done, Shana had seen 5 performances of La bohéme. Philistine that I am, I only saw 2 full performances and ½ of the student dress rehearsal.

I'm a bit sad that La boheme is over - as I suspect M and Shana are. That said, I am looking forward to the coming week. It will be a bit lonesome with Shana and M off at the Dells and Indiana, but the Dude and I will have fun – assuming Duke cooperates. We are reducing one of his anti-seizure meds as it seems to be causing him to stumble around like a drunk. He’s especially dingy in the AM, falling down stairs and having trouble getting up if he falls. We hope the adjustment in meds helps. (Oh – and the diarrhea came back so he is back on the bland diet again! We made our own this time – boiled chicken and rice – mmm!)

While the alone-time with the Dude should be fun, next week’s work fills me with trepidation for reasons I can’t fully understand. As I’m sitting down to enjoy the opera this afternoon, I pull out my BlackBerry to turn it off, I see several work-related emails. Day of rest – hah! I read a few and by the time I’m done I wanted to stand-up, drop my BlackBerry on the floor and grind it under my heel. That would probably have gotten my booted from the Ordway – but it would have felt so good. Now I’ve got a queasy stomach as I “look forward" to Monday.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Could It Be?

In the midst of the rain and yuck that has defined the last few days, Duke and I came upon this certain sign of spring on our morning walk. This (tulip?) was sprouting outside the Fairview Community Center. I suspect that little patch of earth gets warm as the it faces generally south-east and on sunny days the building radiates heat into the ground. Hope it lasts!

We've made it safely to Thursday and the weekend is in sight. M performed last night and will take stage on Friday and Sunday as well. Then it's done. Whew!

Duke does his best to drive Shana and I crazy. He's started to wake up in the middle of the night to "go out". Last night he awoke at 3:30 (I took him out), 4:00 (Shana drew short straw), then 5:00 (me again). The fun never ends.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

What? It's Still Tuesday!

Whoa! A feeling of dread just passed over me when I realized it’s only Tuesday. Friday pizza night seems a long ways off!

Last weekend’s La bohéme is going well.

Here’s M and the Dude in the driveway before Sunday’s performance.

On the bright side, I've got something to look forward to. The Dude and I are flying out to DC for a whirlwind trip at the end of the month. Looking forward to spending time with the in-laws, seeing Mount Vernon (I’ve been to DC 4 times and have yet to see Mt. V), the Spy Museum (Dude’s request) and so much more. The DC trip takes place over the Dude’s spring break which is of course a completely different week than M’s. For M’s break, she and Shana are traveling to Wisconsin Dells to join other families from her school – then driving on to Indiana to see Shana’s sister and family. They’ve done the Dells Spring Break before – and the Dude and I always left behind. This is the first year we are heading out on our own adventure.

Here’s an unrelated but somewhat funny photo of me taken yesterday - three whole hours after physical therapy. We did a lot of back work – it hurt so good. I was face down on one of those padded tables with a hole for your face. I knew he was bearing down pretty hard on my back muscles – and my face has the lines to prove it!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sunshine, Middle Tier, Opera Buggy, and More

[Sunrise over Fairview Fields, with contrail.]

The sun did its best to wake me this morning, after only 5 hours of sleep last night. Last night’s Planning Commission meeting ran until almost 10:30 p.m. I hadn’t eaten any real dinner, so I was up until almost midnight, eating and unwinding. It’s kind of amazing, but I’m really not tired. The Commission is very interesting and engages my mind on a level that “stand-up” meetings and heated discussions about meta-data elements in the middle-tier in my 9 to 5 world do not.

By the way, every time someone says “middle-tier” I think of Hobbits. I hate Hobbits.

Here’s M sporting her new back-stage pass to the Ordway. Shana had a pass yesterday – but alas it was only temporary pass. She had to return it when she left. Shana was “Opera parent” for yesterday’s La boheme rehearsal – making sure the kids were all picked up by responsible adults at the end of rehearsal. One of the highlights of Shana driving the girls (M and two friends) to opera is the “Opera Buggy” as the girls call it. The Opera Buggy is actually my in-laws Honda Element (with sunroof!) which we are driving whilst the in-laws are in Florida. Alas they return today – no more Opera Buggy!

Unrelated – but is there nothing coffee won’t do? Now it may help cut chance or irregular heartbeat. Hat tip: News Cut, - which is my new first stop in the blogosphere, now that Lileks is on vacation or something.

Here’s more unrelated stuff – this from another favorite blog, Free Range Kids,

Do your kids a favor. Let them get bored. Painfully bored.

Emily Geizer quoted in Free Range Kids.