29 April 2010

Surgery update and other random stuff

John came through his surgery yesterday with flying colors. Dr. Rigsby said that the nerve was pretty constricted, so he thinks John will have some fairly immediate relief. Right now, John is walking around with a huge bandage on his arm. He can take it off Saturday. He'll go back on the 11th to have the stitches removed, and I would guess they'll schedule the next surgery then. I hope they can schedule it for the 21st. That is our senior honor's day, and since I have seniors 1st and 2nd blocks, I wouldn't need a sub. Once the program is over, seniors get to leave for their "official" skip day. I have juniors 4th block, but if they do as juniors have done forever, they'll either skip or check out, so I probably could get by with no sub for that class. Karen said she would watch them for me anyway so I wouldn't have to worry about a sub at all.

My seniors turn in their Dreaded Research Papers (the DRP) tomorrow. Based on what I saw today, I'm not expecting 100%. :( Some of them have worked their little fingers to the bone on this, but their are others who think a 500 point paper can be written over night. Not just written, but written well. If the papers don't meet the requirements (length, formatting, etc.) they students get them back to fix, but there is a 50 point deduction per day until they return it with corrections. That may sound harsh, but returning it and giving them to opportunity to make corrections is a WHOLE lot better than them losing many, many more points for not having it correct.

I love hearing the students who had English first semester telling these guys that they cannot wait around and waste their time. More than once, I've heard, "Y'all better listen to Mrs. Vest. She ain't kidding. This stuff is hard." Yes, they say "ain't" and I correct them. Then they remind me that "ain't" is in the dictionary. Just because it is in the dictionary doesn't make it correct. (But if I'm honest with you...I have to admit to using it myself. It's like I tell my kids...what I REALLY care about is that they know when NOT to use it or any other non-standard English because I don't want them to sound ignorant.)

This is going to be a LAKE WEEKEND!! And it will be one for relaxing! John can't do much with only one hand, so we plan on taking it easy. Since I'll have research papers due tomorrow, I probably will try to get started on them over the weekend. If I can get three or four, that will be good. I'm just glad this isn't one of those times I have to get them back to the kids by Monday.

I guess that's it. The washer just buzzed a few minutes ago, so I need to toss those clothes in the dryer. I'm gonna sit down and watch Fringe, and then it's nighty-night for this tired girl!

Have a GREAT Friday (WOO HOO!!) and an even BETTER weekend!!!

27 April 2010

Yea Jay and Libby!!

I am SO very excited! My niece Libby and her husband Jay just found out today that they are expecting a baby! (Good thing they aren't expecting a monkey, isn't it?? LOL)

Their picture is on my side bar. They've been married just under a year, but for the majority of that year, Jay was serving in Iraq as a member of the Reserves. He got home, safe and sound, on April 3rd (or was it the 2nd?? It was right before Easter.) They immediately began trying to get pregnant, and apparently, they did it right since he hasn't even been home a month. =) This was their plan, so I'm glad it worked the way they wanted it to.

Based on my expert opinion, Baby Morse should arrive early January, but Aunt Trina would be more than happy to share her birthday (Dec. 21) with this bundle of joy. I shared my birthday with my great-uncle, and I always thought it was so cool.

Congratulations Jay and Libby! I'm so excited for you!

25 April 2010

Surgery on Wednesday

John will have surgery on his left wrist Wednesday. We have to be in Montgomery at 7 AM, so it will be an EARLY day. Maybe we'll be home early, too, and he can relax. We're not expecting it to be anything difficult recovery wise. He's said he'll probably take off Thursday and then go back to work Friday. I told him today that this means I'll probably get to drive the Miata to work while he's recuperating. I mean, how can he shift gears when he's one handed? LOL

We went to Hartselle this weekend, but Aunt Kat was there, too, so we stayed at Connie's. I love Aunt Kat, and I love Billie, but...I do not love spending hours with them together. They are the classic example of oil and water. Billie fusses because Aunt Kat won't come live with her again, but five minutes after Aunt Kat gets there, she is ready for Kat to leave. Five minutes after she leaves, Billie is fussing because Kat won't stay with her. Whew...it's never ending.

Unless something changes, we're going to the lake this weekend. It will be the perfect place for John to relax and let his wrist begin to heal. We haven't been since the middle of March, and I am really having withdrawals. =) Because of the tremendous amount of rain yesterday, the lake it over full pool. I think this is about the 4th time it's been over full pool in the last year or so.

I guess that's it for now. I just wanted to update about John's surgery. I should have time to update after his surgery Wednesday. We don't know for sure, but we're expecting that his surgery on the right wrist will be in a couple of weeks.

I hope you have a GREAT Monday! Only five weeks left in school...I think I can make it!

17 April 2010

Crocs "R" Us

So...to catch up on the last week and a half. John and I went to Dr. Rigsby on Tuesday of last week with plans to schedule his neck surgery. As Dr. Rigsby and John were talking about the problems John has been having, nothing about John's hands going to sleep/feeling numb/tingling/etc. was coming up, so I mentioned it. Dr. Rigsby slid the stool back and said he thought that the problems John is having might not be caused by his neck.

Whhhhhaaaaattttt????? He thought that a lot of what is going on may be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, so he sent John to see a neurologist on Thursday. (All this time, I never knew that a neurosurgeon and the neurologist weren't the same. Silly me...) John saw Dr. Epperson on Thursday to have an EMG. Dr. Epperson told John that it appears he has "significant nerve damage" in both wrists.

So, now John goes BACK to Dr. Rigsby on Tuesday to schedule not one, but two (or maybe even three) surgeries. Dr. Rigsby said that he CAN do both at the same time, but he prefers not to. He said that if John wants to, he will do the worst of the two wrists and the disc fusion at the same time and then do the other wrist later.

Poor John...as we left the office Tuesday, he said, "They're going to cut my throat AND slit my wrists." I hate that he's looking at all this, but he needs relief. I just hope he hasn't let the damage get so bad that it's irreversible. If he has, it's simply because he is STUBBORN and wouldn't go to the doctor six months ago when he realized something was going on that wasn't normal.

After we left the doctor, we rode up to Prattville to go to the Bass Pro. We looked at the pontoons, but unless we win the lottery, we'll just keep looking. (To win the lottery, we'd have to buy tickets first.) If we could sell the fish & ski and find a used pontoon that wouldn't cost more than what we got, we'd probably do that, but that's not really anything we're seriously looking at right now. Too many other things going on...

We did end up buying three pair of Crocs. :) We each got a pair of Croc flip flops (my third pair, his second) and he got a cool pair of khaki-colored slip ons. When I got his first pair, I wasn't sure how he'd like them. He WORE. THEM. OUT. Guess I did a good job after all. LOL (And this makes about 18 pairs of flip flops for me. )

John went to finish the screened porch for Sam. (And Katy and Phillip.) Sam pushed out a section the day after John screened it, but Phillip fixed it. Just days later, he was getting on his slide and fell into it and pushed it out again. Katy said this morning that Sam loves going in and out of the big "hole." I guess by now his hole has been closed up. And Pop Pop was putting up lattice over the bottom part until Sam is a little older and understands he can't push on it.

I would have gone BUT tonight is prom and I want to go see all of my "babies" in their finery. I'm sure most of them will clean up nicely. They are doing prom at the new Harbor Lodge at Children's Harbor. This will be the first time prom hasn't been in the girls' gym in YEARS. I can't wait to see what Annette and the prom committee have done. I'm sure it will be gorgeous. I hope that the fact the it is about 20 minutes out of town doesn't keep kids from going. I'm actually hoping that maybe a change in location will make more of them go.

Even if it hadn't been prom, I would have stayed here to grade note cards. One more weekend of doing nothing but grading, and then the final papers are due on April 30th. Even though I'll have about 78 papers to grade, I won't have to do weekend grading marathons so I can return them the following Monday. As long as they are done by May 28th...

May 28th seems like it's FOREVER away, but these next few weeks will go by quickly. Then it will be a trip to the beach with my "sisters" and then a summer at the lake. :) Ahhh...I love summer!

Gotta get to work on note cards. I've wasted most of the day, but I should get a good stack out of the way before I have to get ready.

Hope your weekend has been GREAT, and I hope the rest of it will be GREAT as well!

10 April 2010

Why are men so stubborn?

This is my husband, with whom I am madly in love. And about 97% of the time, he is laughing just like the picture shows. The other 3% of the time, he is somewhat serious. Knowing when he's in a bad mood (which is rare) or when something is on his mind isn't hard. Lately, he hasn't been laughing nearly as much.

About five years ago (we tried to figure out just how long it had been, but we can't remember) he had gone on a golfing trip with a Fuji rep that he has known forever. This was a three day trip with about five rounds of golf. I think John ended up playing only three rounds.

When he got home, he was complaining of his neck hurting. I, being the caring and sensitive wife that I am, ignored him. I mean, he had just played 54 holes of golf. He had probably pulled a muscle, right?? I think I even told him that I'd dealt with a crick in my neck for two weeks and didn't complain nearly as much as he was. (And John is NOT a complainer. Should've been my first clue.) Anyway, this went on for several days. "Get it checked out. You DO work at a hospital, after all," I told him. Of course, he didn't. By the time the weekend rolled around, he was doing nothing but complaining.

I offered to take him to the ER so they could x-ray him, but nooooo. "They can't do anything for me," he said. I was thinking they could give him DRUGS to knock him out and put me, I mean him, out of his misery. I honestly thought to myself that I was about ready to knock him upside the head. Seriously. I even considered leaving the house just to get some relief from his complaining but I decided that would be kind of mean. This went on ALL day that Saturday and that Sunday. Now, remember I said that he rarely EVER complains, so for him to complain the way he was was really beginning to grind on my nerves, and I was still thinking it was just a pulled muscle.

The next week, he finally decided he needed to have it checked out. When he told me he had two bulging discs, I felt HORRIBLE. The poor man really WAS in pain, and I had felt NO SYMPATHY whatsoever. I felt like I was the worst wife EVER.

The neurologist he eventually saw suggested surgery, but John was adamant that he was not going to let anyone cut on him. So he was sent to physical therapy. He went to PT twice and stopped because they were hurting him worse than his neck. He also saw a pain management specialist who wanted to give him narcotics. He refused that, too. (And I'm glad about that. Not a fan of narcotics.)

He finally learned (???) to deal with the pain, but over the last six months or so, he had started having more problems. First, his hands and arms would go to sleep on him almost every night and when he was driving. "Oh, it's just the way I sleep" or "It's the way your steering wheel is angled" or "It's the pillow" or "It's from my diabetes." Always some excuse. Then it started happening more and more often, and he started dropping things.

After some begging, he finally agreed to have another MRI to check it out. He had that done on Tuesday. The doc read it on Wednesday and sent him to Jackson Imaging for another scan on Thursday. (The scanner there is newer and produces clearer images than the one at ECH.) Dr. Turner read that one on Friday and scheduled him an appointment with the neurologist for Tuesday. I've already scheduled a half day off so I can go with him and see exactly what Dr. Rigsby says for myself.

So...five or so years later, it looks like John will be cut on after all. He now has three bulging discs. Two of them have actually bulged into each other (or something like that) and they are the ones causing the majority of the problem because they are pressing on his spinal cord.

This is kind of scary to me. No, this is really scary to me. I know this is a surgery that is done quite frequently, and I know several people who have had similar surgeries done, Mom included, but still.

I'll post an update, probably Tuesday night. Until then, have a GREAT day!

09 April 2010

It's gonna be a beautiful weekend

And I'm going to have to spend it with the 80 bajillion bib cards and note cards that I have to grade. THIS is the only thing I haaatttteeee about teaching English.

I did things a little differently this semester than I have in the past. I bumped all of their due dates up a week so that we'd have more time on the front end of the process to drill and practice and drill and practice. I know, believe me I know, that drill and practice IS NO FUN, but I haven't figured out a better way of teaching a process. Think of it like a math class...the teacher introduces a new concept. How does he or she make sure that the students "get" the process? By drill and practice. And teaching research is teaching a process.

Anyway, instead of cramming the bib cards and note cards drill and practice into just a week, we've spent three weeks working on them. Of those 15 days, FIVE of them were spent in the library so that they could get their research done. There were also a couple of class days that I allowed them to go to the library and check out a book for the period so they could work in the room.

So, today, Brittany comes to me with her sob story. "Well, see, my brother was sick and I had to take care of him." At that point, I pulled out my "violin" and began "playing" her a sad song as I explained that I felt so pity for her because she has had five days of library time and three weeks outside of class to get this done. See, Brittany, sweet Brittany, has done as close to NOTHING on those five days of library time as a person could do. I would walk by her table and ask if she had any questions or if she needed any help. I would ask how everything was going. Always, no questions. No help needed. Everything is going just fine. But today, when she had five bib cards and twenty notes cards due, she didn't have them all done. She did turn in some, which is better than none though.

Now, don't think I'm horrible and that I don't care about my students. I DO, but come on! To have had almost 7.5 hours to work on them at school and then offer a sob story? IF she (and anyone else who didn't have them all) had used her time wisely, she could have done one bib card and four note cards a day, and she'd have had them. THIS is what frustrates me BEYOND BELIEF.

These are kids who in 35 days will be going out into the world to become our leaders. They are going to be making decisions that affect you and me when we're old. Honestly, I don't want Brittany making decisions for me.

Granted, Brittany is only one of 78 students, and the majority of the others have the majority of their cards. Several said they were one or two cards short. That won't kill them. Each note card is worth two points, so even if they miss those two or four points, they'll still have a good grade overall. And they didn't make excuses. They said they didn't get them done.

Now, Brittany's brother MAY have been sick and she MAY have had to take care of them. But that still doesn't excuse the fact that she wasted practically every last minute of library time. ARGH!

Oh well! I hope you have a GREAT weekend!

06 April 2010

Ah, springtime!

While summer gets the nod as my favorite season of the year, spring comes awfully close. I love seeing the trees as they begin to leaf out, and the sweet smell in the air just makes me happy. But...

Yes, there is a but. Pollen. As an allergy sufferer (severe at that), I hate spring because of the pollen. I'm not one of those "oh, my eyes are itching" allergy sufferers. Noooooo...I'm a sneeze-ninety-eight-times-in-a-row-go-through-six-boxes-of-tissue-in-one-day-snot-blowing-itchy-watery-eyes-my-head-feels-like-it's-going-to-explode-leavemealoneIfeellikeshit allergy sufferer. Not to brag, but I have had numerous people tell me that they have never seen anyone with allergies as bad as mine. That isn't to say that somebody, somewhere, isn't as bad or, heaven forbid, worse than I am. God bless 'em if they are!!! ***knocking on wood that I haven't had one of my major attacks so far, but the pollen headaches have started***

This year, the pollen has been horrible, and it's only just beginning. When we came in from church Sunday, my car was dirty. When I went out at 6:30 yesterday morning, it was solid yellow. (Well, maybe not solid...) Anyway, I had to stop to get gas and decided to wash my windows so I could at least see as I drove down the highway. (Might be a good thing. I doubt the insurance would accept the "I couldn't see for the pollen" excuse.) The front window wasn't so bad because I had already used the washer fluid in the car to clean it. The rear window, though, was horrible. I had to rinse the squeegee out a couple of times because the first "washing" didn't do anything except smear pollen all of the place. So yeah, I hate this part of spring. And they say it's only going to get worse. Oh joy. Time to go buy all of the Benadryl within 10 counties.

05 April 2010

Busy week

Let's see...in the last week, Jessi has gotten engaged and bought her wedding dress, and IT. IS. GORGEOUS! I've only seen a picture, but I know she will make the dress look a bajillion times better than the model did. (No, I am not biased ONE BIT. I have the most beautiful daughters God put on the face of the earth.) Libby got her man (Jay) home SAFE and SOUND from Iraq. Thank you, God, for keeping him safe and bringing him home to Lib and Landon. (I'm hoping this reunion will result in a new grand-something in the next 9 months. No pressure, guys.) And Katy was accepted to graduate school at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) I knew she would be because not only are my daughters the most beautiful, but they are the smartest as well. I know this will be difficult for Katy because she bleeds orange and blue, through and through, but UA has the library science program, and that is what she wants to get her master's degree in.
John and I spent Saturday at Phillip, Katy, and Sam's so Pop Pop could screen in their back patio. Sam hasn't really started calling up anything yet, but on Saturday, he did start saying Pop Pop. So Poppa John may end up being Pop or Pop Pop. And I think that is perfect. Even though I'd like to be Grana, whatever he calls me will be fine.
Katy just happened to catch this picture, and I think it is PRICELESS! The whole time, Sam was right there "helping" Pop Pop and Daddy (Phillip). John had just knelt to measure for a cut, and Sam imitated him. Fortunately, Katy had her camera handy. John simply adores Sam. Well, we all do.
So...hmmm...that pretty much sums up life here in the Vest world. John should be home soon, and he's grilling chops. Yum.
Have a GREAT Tuesday!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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