Friday, June 5, 2009

Cars and books and husbands

So yesterday, Artemisia saved me $400. Because she is awesome. I was going to pay a mechanic to fix our brake problem, but then she told me that her Honda had the same issue. Apparently it's a problem caused by altitude and cold temperatures, and Honda has issued a service bulletin about it. So, I brought the car into the local Honda dealer, they took a look and said yes, that was the problem, and then they told me they'd fix it for free even though the car isn't under warranty anymore. And then they changed the oil for free. So really, I guess you could say Artemisia saved me $420, because I was going to pay the mechanic for an oil change too.

They didn't actually fix the brake problem yesterday, though, so I have to bring it back this afternoon. And it will take three hours, apparently. And I have nobody to give me a ride so I'm going to be stuck at the dealer the whole time. So, I need a new book for my Kindle. Any suggestions? I'm reading Sarah's Key right now, and I like it, but it won't take me three hours to finish.

In other news, Torsten and I are thinking about buying bikes, but I am having a slight weight-related panic attack about that. I wrote about it over here, so please go over there and talk me out of my self-induced paranoia.

And, speaking of Torsten, he comes home tonight! No more nights sleeping in our giant bed without him! Is it bad that several days ago, I picked out an outfit that I know he likes to wear when I go pick him up at the airport? I was going to surprise him with it but I suck at not telling him things, so... yeah, I already told him. And every time something happens to me during the day, I email him to tell him about it, so then when he calls every night and asks how my day was, I have nothing left to tell him. Basically, I'm like a little kid who can't keep her mouth shut.

But lest anyone think that I am ALL sunshine and rainbows, I really need to vent for a second. It's been three weeks since my surgery and I know that isn't THAT much time, but I am so SICK of this stage. Not the food intake--that's going fine. It's the incision that's pissing me off. There are five incisions, but only one hurts, the one where the port is. It doesn't really hurt anymore, exactly. It's more a constant, annoying reminder that it's there. If I twist a certain way, or lie on my left side, or angle my hips wrong, or lean forward in jeans so that the waistband presses against my abdomen--there's a quick sharp pain, a reminder: yes, you had surgery, and no, you haven't fully recovered yet.

So I have to be careful, and I wear a lot of skirts and dresses, and when I go to the gym I'm going to have to be very aware of what my body is telling me and make sure not to do anything that causes pain. Although it's not like I have to be hyper-vigilant about it because the incision is right there in my face, yelling at me whenever I do anything it doesn't like.

It's just hard because I feel like I'm pretty much recovered from the surgery itself, and ready to move on to the next stage, and I'm so close to being there, and this incision is just laughing at me and holding me back. The feeling has become so constant that sometimes I wonder if it will ever go away or if I'll spend the rest of my life gingerly tiptoeing around an inch-long line left of my belly button. You know?

All I can say is, at least I don't have kids right now. I have no idea how women recover from c-sections while dealing with a newborn. Seriously. No idea.

Oh, and speaking of the gym, on the schedule for this weekend: trying out a new gym! It has a pool and it only costs $30/month, so I am seriously crossing my fingers that it doesn't turn out to be a total dump. And I'm going to drag Torsten along with me. It'll be such a nice change from our last apartment gym, which only had one elliptical trainer so we had to take turns.

What are you doing this weekend? And don't forget about those book suggestions! I need input!


  1. Have you read Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan?

  2. I have had other surgeries and sometimes it can take 5-6 weeks to not have that ouch reminder pain. I remember how that can be upsetting but it will be gone soon!
    I've heard the red tent is a good book.

    I am having a girls weekend with my friends from college.
    I haven't seen some of them for years and am excited. Have a great weekend!

  3. Suggest books to YOU? I put you on my GoodReads because *I* have no clue what to read anymore and need help!

    ...And since I haven't bothered to get on GR for MONTHS, I've been blindly trolling the library again. And have decided to start reading Agatha Christie--which for some strange reason I haven't ever gotten around to reading before. I'm enjoying her immensely.

    Weekend: baseball/softball games with the kiddies and (hopefully) playdates, too. Nothing exciting.

  4. I highly recommend Still Alice. It's awesome. I can't remember the author.

    Also? Not that this is the same, but I remember feeling completely awesome 4 days after having my baby only to go for a VERY short walk and feeling like sh*t for the next week or recovery can be a complete bitch. Hang in there.

  5. The Thirteenth Tale is a GREAT read if you haven't read that one yet. I also left a comment on your other post. =)

    I have absolutely no plans this weekend and I am loving it!

  6. I read the Choice by Nicolas Sparks recently. Not great literature by any means but def the sort of thing to read at a beach...or a car service station.

    We can't keep secrets either. Lost cause.

  7. not to discourage you at all with the incision thing, but i had a g-tube for six weeks after my surgery, after i finally got used to something hanging out of my body, they ripped it out in the doctors office and left me with a big gaping hole that bothered me forever...even today five years later it haunts me. it does get better though!

  8. I'm reading "Gravity's Rainbow" right now. It's pretty freaking awesome, and will definitely take you longer than three hours to read.

  9. Okay, I will need to know ALL ABOUT your gym search. I LOVE GYM STORIES.

  10. book: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

    you'll love it.

  11. Don't freak out about buying a bike!

    There used to be an awesome blog called, Fat Girl on a Bike but she no longer posts and has actually taken the blog down entirely. She would write about how, as an extremely overweight woman, she would compete in triathlons. She had an awesome road bike that was her trusty steed and I never once remember her talking about the bike not being, well, trusty.

    I'm also a big girl and have a great mountain bike from Trek and have never worried about whether or not the frame will suffer and while uphills are a bitch sometime, you work up some awesome muscles in your legs (and core! great core workout, riding those bikes!) and soon enough it's not too tough. And also? Those downhills after the uphills? FREAKING AMAZING. Then again, I am a major speed demon, but those skinny chicks have nothing on me when going down hill - even if they pedal. Soooo much fun!

    Anyhoodle, find a bike shop that's friendly - I'd hazard that most of them are - and if they're not friendly and you don't feel comfortable, find another one. I'm positive that there will be a bunch of different bike shops in and around Denver. The shop that I went to in my hometown had some of the nicest service guys - ever. They measured me everywhere and made sure all the angles on my bike were just right and they never made me feel self conscious about my weight or size, they were, well, just amazing.

    Good luck and most importantly, have fun!

  12. Read American Wife. It is a total page turner. I read the whole thing in under 2 days.

  13. Re: The port incision -

    It gets better. It is the one that takes the longest to heal, and I remember specifically giving up on wearing regular jeans with a waistband for a few weeks until it felt better. Remember, there is a foreign body in there, so all your tissue is sort of adjusting to the new thing.

    I remember painting our family room probably 8 or 10 weeks after surgery. While I didn't have actual pain in my port area, I did have some soreness there the next day, a slight pulled muscle kind of feeling. It will remind you it is there for a while. It has been 11 months for me now, and I never really feel it anymore, even when my kids are jumping on my stomach. The scar is still kind of itchy, that is the thing that bugs me the most.

    Good Luck!

  14. i've been meaning to get a bike for, oh, about three years now. especially because i live RIGHT NEXT TO the W&OD trail now. i could technically bike to work, if i wanted to! uh, also if i wanted to bike 18 miles each way to and from work.

    did you recommend water for elephants to me? if not, and if you haven't read it, i totally suggest picking it up (downloading it?)

  15. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly is my favorite book of all time. It's going to be a trio of books, and the second one came out last year - The Winter Rose. Also fabulous!

  16. Beach Music by Pat Conroy is the best book ever. If you haven't read it, you must. I DEMAND it! :)

  17. I just finished reading "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith. While it took me a little bit to get into it, and also I kept hearing Jonniker's eyes rolling in my head (yes, I could hear this, shut up) every time the verbal flourishes got to be a bit much, I found it pretty compelling and hard to put down.

    And I just started reading "Magic for Beginners" by Kelly Link and I LOVVVVE it. The first story is about a handbag--"Fairies live inside it. I know what that sounds like, but it's true." I mean, Kelly, you had me from "the handbag: it's huge and black and kind of hairy." I LOVVVVVE it.

    Also I second anonymous on American Wife. It will help you deal with the question, "What was she THINKING?"

  18. Right now I'm reading The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb, but I'm pretty sure that was YOUR suggestion so...

    However, I have had a c-section, so let me just say: that ouchy feeling goes away for the most part. I still have moments (and literally, it's just a moment) where I lay on my stomach "wrong" or when I'm crawling about with my now-16 month old and I get a sharp pain. Just enough to remind me. I think our bodies just remember much longer than we like.

    Oh, and a newborn + c-section? The answer is HUSBAND. Or family. I didn't have to do much at first, other than breastfeed. :)

  19. I have an Electra cruiser and I love it! It's not really an exercise bike, per se, but it does have 3 gears and is great for tooling around the 'hood. I pro-dealed it through a friend, but have had to get things for it at Campus Cycles near DU and they're super nice in there...

    I think I told you this, but I'm reading Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman and I can't put it down!

  20. For light reading I really enjoyed "Something Borrowed" and am waiting to start "Something Blue" by Emily Griffin.

    Can't wait to her about the gym. I miss the gym.

  21. I second the thirteenth tale. Awesome book :)

  22. Someday I just hope I'll get back to reading books.

    Surgery sucks. I don't know how I'm going to do the c-section + newborn + toddler either. Currently I have a lot of help, but it's going away after next week.

    The other thing about surgery, apart from the annoying incision? The tiredness. Both from the anesthesia and the healing. Say you'll decide to walk 3 miles or something on the first day that your incision isn't a total PITA, only you get about 1 mile into it and realize BIG MISTAKE. I hate that part too. It lasts way longer than it seems it should.

  23. I am so old school, because I don't think I'll ever get over the idea of reading a book electronically. Plus, I don't read nearly enough to make it economically justified. And I also have little input regarding what book to get. Though, I'm certain you probably have plenty of ideas by now. Hope the afternoon goes quickly and Torsten's flight arrives on time!

  24. I remember really enjoying "Not Wanted on the Voyage" by Timothy Findlay. Definitely an interesting read.
    Also enjoyed "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier...

  25. Yay! I am SO GLAD Honda didn't charge you for the repairs. Wahoo! Man, I feel like a super hero or something.

    I am sorry your incision is bugging you. It may take a while for your body to quit freaking out about the port. I think you are on the right track, listening to your body and honoring it's recovery schedule. Hang in there.

    Books. Hmm. I have had my nose buried in thesis books. Though, I would recommend "The Great Good Place" by Ray Oldendburg. It is one of the books I've read and re-read for my thesis. I love it. It isn't too jargony and isn't elitist in the slightest. Great read (if not a nerdy read).

    Someone mentioned the "Red Tent" and I LOVED that book. It will keep you occupied, thought the start is a bit difficult. The beginning definitely call out to the Book of Leviticus. Erg.

    Escaped,by Caroline something is not great literature, but a captivating story. She ran from the Colorado City FDLS commune with her eight kids. Crazy.

  26. I would recommend The Book of Negroes. Amazing, very compelling book.

    as for my weekend - it will be spent staring at my hand the entire time because I just got engaged last night!!! YAY!!!

  27. I'm really enjoying Bridge of Sighs right now. It's pulling me along, but it doesn't feel so heavy that I couldn't be interrupted to deal with car repair details. :)

    As for my weekend? Impromptu pub crawl tonight, dance class then zoo and picnic and maybe dancing tomorrow night, rest and recovery on Sunday.

  28. If you're interested in learning more about nutrition and general health, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes is life-changing. Seriously.

  29. Surgery sucks. I hope you recover quickly!

  30. Read Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell.

  31. That is awesome about the brakes! Not so awesome about the surgery problems. Sorry.

  32. About the bike - just go and try some out! Bike riding is so much fun, and make sure you sit on the seat for awhile. My bike hurts my a$$, and I blame the not-quite-padded-right seat.

  33. Ooh, books! Recent reads of mine that I recommend are Man Walks into a Room by Nicole Krauss, Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones and The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.

    The only surgery I've had was an appendectomy and that took me 4-5 weeks to recover from, I think. It sounds like nothing now, considering the surgeon's description of wrenching muscle walls apart! I hope you're not in pain for too much longer.

  34. While I'm sure a c-section is worse, recovering just from a 'regular' birth was darned annoying too. Just when I thought I was feeling better, I would move in the wrong way and some other pain would present itself. Hopefully this time around will be better.

    We took the LG to the fair in my hometown over the weekend. It was freezing and I wished we'd all worn mittens. We also made the very *startling* realization that the fair is way cooler when you're two or ten than when you're 30.