Tuesday, June 15, 2010


So yesterday and today there have been tornado warnings/watches/whatevers. Yesterday I was at my parent's house enjoying dinner with my ma and pa when the sirens went off. We huddled down in the basement while I worried about my poor puppies at home alone.
They were fine.

There was so much rain falling so fast, that the water didn't know where to go. Here it is almost all the way up the first step outside!

The rainwater collected on the left side of my parent's house goes to a dry pump, and is then pumped out of this little pipe in the back yard. As you can see, there was so much water that the pressure was creating a small geyser. The quality is horrible because I had to take the photo with no flash, meaning the shutter speed was ridiculously slow and I can't hold still. Trust me, the water was shooting really high.

I have even decided to add a video for your viewing pleasure:

It shows the pond that collects in front of my parent's garage doors, pans around the front yard to the small puddles in the grass, the "waterfall" poring down their driveway adding water to the "pond." It is a good thing their garage doors have a good seal or the entire garage would have been flooded. Instead, little rivulets ran down to the drain in the garage.
Then after the storm was the most vibrant rainbow I have ever seen:

Yes, I know dogs do not need clothes.

But they look so darn cute and I need something to hold me over so I don't steal a child like in Raising Arizona. If you haven't seen it, go rent it. While in Auburn I found this adorable boutique and purchased some outfits for my future children that my current children can fit into. Mu ha ha ha ha.
They are dressed as a princess and a pirate. 
Don't worry. They were in the outfits long enough to take pictures and then they were removed. I am aware that they are already wearing fur coats.

Please don't stop reading because of this boring post...

We went to another museum. To make the pictures more interesting Sparky and I stood in some of them. It didn't really help. {sigh}
Every year in Auburn there is the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Festival. It draws in many people who own these old luxury cars from the turn of the century. What draws larger crows, however, is the huge Kruse car auction. Well, apparently Mr. Kruse lost his auctioning license. It is a really long story. If you care, ask Sparky, he loves to tell the story.
So the Kruses have lost their family fortune, his electricity has been turned off, he owes people lots and lots of money, there might not be an auction this year, etc. Well, Dean Kruse also owns a local WWII museum. If he is broke, he may have to close the museum soon or it might get foreclosed. So before it is potentially shut down, Sparky and I thought we should go. 

What is odd about the museum is that it is filled with primarily German WWII stuff, not American. Apparently there was a museum in Germany right in the way of a new highway. They were going to close the museum and send the stuff to the junk yard. Dean Kruse swept in and saved the day by buying the entire museum. He has added some American WWII things to the collection, but there is still a TON of German stuff.

But since I am an AMERICAN, I primarily took pictures of the American stuff.
But first, here I am with a prototype for a vehicle invented by Hitler. I like to think of it as the predecessor to todays' SUV.

Moving onto the American side of the war:
This is a large tractor used in the war, apparently the vehicle choices were scarce. Can you imagine fighting Al-Qaeda in a tractor? No thanks.
Some boats. They were scale models. Obviously. But for the life of me, I cannot figure out what they did with scale models of boats in the war. Perhaps fought with remote controls? That would be cool to watch.
I have no idea where this uniform is from because I was not alive during WWII, nor do I study military apparel in my spare time. I looked up information about this helmet so I could share my knowledge with you.
A Tropical pith helmet worn by 12th Bersaglieri.
The tropical helmet was common for Italian and German troops in North Africa.  Note cock feathers and sand goggles.
The Bersaglieri wore the cock feathers on their steel helmet.
(info from: http://www.custermen.com/ItalyWW2/ArmyOrg/ItalianOrg.htm)
I cannot imagine a MAN wearing this feminine helmet! No wonder they lost. Sissies.

Oh, and this photo is just because I love side cars. I want one. Apparently Sparky does not think a side hatch would look very good on the side of his Ducati. Whatever. 

And because a man who owns an auction company is bound to come across some cool cars, there is a section of the museum for his favorite finds.

Look how tiny this little carriage is! I have no idea who could have fit in it. A normal sized carriage is on the right for comparison.

This picture is for Animal, since his middle name is Fonzarelli. It is The Fonz's motorcycle.
And to make Sparky happy, here is the van from the A-Team. I have never seen it, but if this was their cool car, the show couldn't have been that good. Sparky even named his childhood guinea pigs B.A. and Murdock.

This is a car. I think I want one. Only if it comes in a hard-top.
The famous... bat-mobile.

And because no car event would be complete without a Bel Air he had one of those, too:


Between looking for light fixtures, going to the farm house, and doing my homework for my master's degree... there wasn't too much time left for relaxing.
My in-laws don't have the internet. It is crazy. And, even crazier, none of their neighbors had a wireless signal that I could steal. :o(
I drove to the nearest Starbucks hoping to enjoy some free wi-fi. Um... apparently it isn't free. What the... They charged me $4 to use the internet for two hours. Then I couldn't remember my screen name for the online program because it is saved on my desktop at home. Ugh.
I ended up walking to the public library nearly every day I was there to work on this huge group project I had to complete and submit.
*Side vent- why on earth would an online program assign GROUP projects? We are scattered across Indiana and the Mid-West (which should really be called the Mid-East, but that is a different rant). Very annoying.

On my many walks to and from the library I learned that I love being able to walk to everything in town. Auburn is kinda like Maybury, without the police. You can walk to the bank, the library, to restaurants, the laundry mat, shopping, etc. The only thing that requires a car is the grocery store or Starbucks. Pretty cool.
Then, just to make it better, they added these cool statues just for our visit!
When we were in Sarasota there was this wonderful statue of the sailor kissing the nurse after WWII.

Auburn had a similar one from a different picture.

Pretty good copy in 3-D, huh? I didn't even know that I was getting the statue at the right angle either! I was just standing on the corner like an idiot in the rain taking a picture.
There is only one huge one, but there are 13 life-sized statues around town. Not all of them were there yet when we left. There was a man reading a book, a lady walking a dog, two kids with a rabbit (see below) and a woman painting a picture (see below).

The detail is amazing! I could even see the stitches on the man's trench coat. Too bad his face is bronze. It makes him look like an alien.

Over the River and Through the Cornfields, to Grandmother's House we Go!

We left for Auburn pretty much straight from the vet. I came home, packed up our stuff, packed up the car, and we headed out.
Several uneventful hours later, we arrived. Traveling with two puppies who don't understand how to pee outside requires a lot of crap. We set up a little area for Animal and Amelia in the in-law's living room. They have a wonderful 100-year-old Victorian-style house. The formal sitting room has pocket french doors to block the room off from the rest of the house when you are entertaining fine company... or 100 years later when the family comes back home with some puppies to wrangle.
We pulled the two doors half way out and created a make-shift gate out of an old wooden "creeper." For those of you who don't live with an automotive junkie like myself... a creeper is that little thing with wheels that you can lay on and scoot underneath a car on without getting all dirty from the ground.

They are getting so big!!!
Sparky and I sleep on two couches while visiting his parents. I really don't mind all that much because the couches are comfortable, and I have to remind myself that it isn't normal. Sparky's dad has a little hoarding problem. I can't decide if it is really hoarding, or collecting... the jury is out. He has quite a "collection" filling up the wonderful guest room and comfortable bed that we could have slept in. For some reason, he refuses to move the collection or clean up the room. It is rather annoying, but I have never had a room there as a guest (other than the living room) so I don't really know any different.
Sparky's mom waited up for us to get there and we all went to bed late. Unfortunately, due to a long car ride spent sleeping, and the excitement of a new place, the puppies kept Sparky up all night with their explorations.
Here they are trying to catch up on some sleep in the morning.

Mark's mom and I spent the entire first day buying new overhead lights for another house they own. It caught on fire while they were vacationing in Florida during the winter. Now the place is being overhauled due to the extreme fire and smoke damage.
The place looks great. They got an all new kitchen, knocked out a wall, rebuilt both sets of stairs and I can see a lot of potential. I am trying to convince them to move to the farm house when it is done because it has an entire upstairs Sparky and I could have as a guest room when visiting!!!

First Trip to the Vet

Animal and Amelia were supposed to go to the veterinarian a week after I got them. So naturally, a month later I finally took them there.
We got the same wonderful vet that put Gaby to sleep. She is great! I am not going to tell you her name just in case you want to steal her away. Animal and Amelia had quite an interesting time.
I carried them both in, inside of the kennel the shelter gave us when we got them. Since they didn't know what to expect they weren't too bad.
She first did their regular check up stuff. Apparently Amelia has sloppy knees and may require knee surgery. Um... I don't know about that. Can't she just get some little puppy-sized knee braces or something? I just don't feel like shelling out lots of money for knee surgery for my DOG. Sparky's knee surgery was just paid off. Maybe they can give us a group discount.
Then she moved onto Animal. Just about as soon as she put the stethoscope to his little chest she says, "He has a heart murmur." OoooKay. What does that mean? He can't play sports? I had only really heard of heart murmurs when doing our annual physicals for sports in high school.
Does he need heart surgery? Perhaps a little pace maker? Should I get a small AED?
She told me that on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the worst, his is about a 2. That is good. But I still need to take him to an animal cardiologist. I didn't even know they existed. I am sure that will be cheap.
They will do whatever they do (EKG or whatever) to look at the chambers of his heart and determine what to do next. She thinks it will basically just mean that when he becomes an adult he will have to take heart medicine for the rest of his life to prevent cardiac disease. My poor little baby boy. No wonder he is so delicate. His heart is broken. Literally.
I can't help but include a picture showing the true terror on their little faces while they waited on the cold medical table (look at Amelia's eyes!):

AUGH!!!!! Indians!!!

Don't worry, they are just minor league baseball players, not the kind that collect scalps.
I believe the beginning of Sparky and my activity extravaganza began when the principal of one of our local high schools, and friend of Sparky, called about two extra tickets he had for a baseball game.
Hmm.... difficult decision. Go to a baseball game in Indy and get out of the house for a while...or stay in town and stay at home while Sparky goes to the local speedway to watch the colorful people drive in circles on the dirt track. Guess which one I picked.
So, we went to Sparky's friend's house and he drove us all up to Indy along with one of his assistant principals. Apparently the principal got these tickets for free as a "thank you" from the Red Cross for allowing them to do a blood drive at his school. I think since the tickets were for a school activity he wanted to take school people with him... hence the assistant principal, sparky (who works at the high school), and me (who at least works in a school in the district). We had excellent seats right behind home plate.
Here is the guy who took us. He is kinda hiding behind his asst. principal:

And to prove that Sparky and I really were there and I didn't just get some random photos from the internet:

We went to the Spaghetti Factory for dinner before the game. It was delicious. Then after the game the Indianapolis Indians had fireworks! I wasn't expecting anything too extravagant, I was pleasantly surprised. They were pretty good. They don't hold a candle to Disney's fireworks, but really--what can? I was even able to try out the cool "fireworks" setting on my camera!

Pretty good way to kick off the summer!


I have taken a little blogging hiatus. Not intentionally. Sparky and I weren't doing anything very interesting, then suddenly BAM!!! We had thing after thing to do followed by going out of town for a week. In order to save everyone from having to read a large chunk of text all at once (this is summer after all) I will be making several posts today for each particular event.

That said... I will also provide you with a little update on my fertility treatment. My cycle started on Friday, so cycle day three was on Sunday. This was the day I took my first clomid pill. Other than having a shorter period, I haven't really noticed any side effects. On Friday I will begin taking the Estradiol pill. I have an appointment to get an ultrasound of my ovaries on Thursday the 24th to see how the hormones have been working for me. Hopefully, I will have some nice little follicles ready to be released from my ovaries. I am a little concerned that we have not checked the "male factor" in all of this. When I go for my appointment I am going to ask about that. I don't even know who would test that or where to send Sparky to get it done. I have a feeling that we both have issues. I am sure that he will love that I am sharing this with the world, but he has low testosterone (at least we think he does, he has the symptoms from the commercial on TV).
The laundry buzzer just went off, time to fold some laundry before the next 75 posts today!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

1st Infertility Appointment

Today was my first visit to my gynecologist's office to officially discuss infertility. I handed over my three months of charts and told him exactly what was wrong. Fortunately, I did my homework. I probably would have been completely lost, or the appointment would have lasted 2 hours if I didn't already know what I know. I told him how long my luteal phase is and how I found out. He told me that I might be having a surge of LH but there is no way of knowing if I was really ovulating. Apparently a common problem for people with endometriosis is not fully developing eggs. The ovary begins the development but instead of measuring 20mm (good egg) they are only about 14-16mm (poor egg). It is a lot harder to fertilize a tiny 14mm egg than a big ol' 20mm egg. He gave me a couple of options. Due to my high blood sugar one option is to put me on metformin. This would help regulate my blood sugar levels which apparently have an adverse affect on my ovaries. I took this drug (in the form of Glucophage) at the beginning of my college days. I honestly do not remember any affect on my endometriosis, but then again, I wasn't trying to get pregnant then. The second option is to try and work with my progesterone. That is more along the lines of what I was thinking of when I made the appointment. I know the issue is a short luteal phase, so let's correct the luteal phase problem. As I have mentioned before, every period I have makes my endometriosis worse, so I would like to stop messing around. His idea is to put me on 50mg of Clomid for days 3-7 of my cycle, followed by Estradiol twice daily for days 8-12 of my cycle. Around day 14 he wants me to come into his office for an ultrasound to see if my ovaries are producing eggs and how big they are. Then we will determine when to "trigger" ovulation and I will be given progesterone. From what I know about people who have IVF this routine sounds similar, although I am sure they are not the same at all since I am taking pills not getting shots. The third option, which he would like to leave off the table for now, is to do another laparoscopy to "treat" the endometriosis and while there he would drill into my ovaries. That sounds horrible. I don't like my parts being drilled into. He said the purpose of that would be to change the chemical makeup of my ovaries. I asked if it would be like a "restart" button. He said yes. I decided to go with option 2. We will try this combination of medicines for 3-6 months. After 6 months the odds of success really drop off. Also, these medicines may cause my endometriosis to progress faster. I am very nervous about that. I don't really like pain, but I can manage. I am really afraid that my endometriosis will get really bad and I won't be able to get pregnant from it. He didn't seem too concerned about that, only the pain. If it means a baby, I can deal with the pain. When I begin my next cycle I need to call my doctor's office to set up my ultrasound appt. and begin my medicine regimen.
Oh yeah, and the Clomid increases my chances of having twins by 10%. That really doesn't sound like a huge percent...but twins might be a lot of fun. I mean we got two puppies so Sparky and I could each hold one! (I may regret typing that later!)

The History of My Uterus

Here is the background of my uterus: AF came into my life when I was 12 years old. Having my period has always been a very painful experience. I didn't know that my cramps were any worse than other people because I didn't have anything to compare my pain with. When my mom noticed me laying in the fetal position in my room every month, she figured out that I was in extreme pain. I mean, can't walk kind of pain. I was put on the pill in an attempt to control the pain and heaviness of my period. Life went on. When I was a freshman in high school I was taken to the hospital due to pain in my lower abdomen. They thought I had appendicitis. That was soon ruled out and we determined that I had an ovarian cyst rupture. Then when I was a freshman in college I gained about 30 lbs. in a month. I went to the doctor to find out what was happening to me. We discovered that I am insulin resistant. Also known as high blood sugar, metabolic syndrome, syndrome X... so I am dealing with that. I have had a couple of other times where I have felt the same pain that I had when I was taken to the hospital with the ruptured ovarian cysts, so I am pretty sure I have had at least three of those. My period continued to be heavy and painful, in addition to my abdominal pain and a new sensation of my organs "floating" or "sloshing around" in my abdomen. Not a fun feeling. My doctor decided to do a laparoscopy to see what was going on. Endometriosis. My doctor told me, at the age of 19, that on a scale from 1-5 my endometriosis was at a level 4. It is fairly uncommon to diagnose teenagers with endometriosis, so to be diagnosed as a four already was not too comforting. My doctor cauterized what he could and we began trying to treat the endo. We might have begun with something else, but I clearly remember the Lupron shots. The idea was to put me into a false menopause to prevent the endometriosis from getting any worse. It was horrible. The hot flashes and night sweats were not fun. I remember being in the middle of class in winter, peeling off my sweatshirt, and practically laying in the snow in an effort to cool off. After the Lupron, I began taking Seasonale, the birth control pill where you only get your period every three months. I was told to skip the placebo pills so I wouldn't have a period at all. Every period that I have makes the endometriosis worse. That brings us up to this year. I got married. I want children. I stopped my pills before I got married so that hopefully all of the hormones would be out of my system for the honeymoon. After three months of trying, I started charting. I got an ovulation monitor. I started recording my basil body temp. And it is a good thing I did. I found out that my luteal phase, the time between the egg being released from the ovary and the shedding of the lining of the uterus, is only 7 days. It needs to be a minimum of 10 days, preferably 14 to give the egg time to travel to the uterus and burrow into the lining and begin secreting hormones to the ovaries that tell them not to shed the lining. The luteal phase length does not change from month to month. The time before ovulation may change, but luteal phase does not. I knew after one month of charting what the problem was. I made my appointment and charted my next two months while I waited for my appointment. That brings us to today.

School's out for summmer!

Every year, when school gets out, I sing this song to myself. I just can't help it.
My mom and I finished packing up my classroom last night. Again.
My first year teaching I just had to stuff everything inside the closets. My second year teaching I had to pack everything into boxes, which were then moved into the hallway for the summer. This year I had to pack everything into boxes again. They are going to stay in the middle of my old classroom until we know where I will be teaching next year. I have a feeling I will be back at University again so all of the packing will have been for nothing. Again.
My mom and I are getting pretty quick at packing my room. We did the whole classroom in about 5 hours. It would have taken much less time if we had enough boxes and didn't have to go dumpster diving out back...
C'est la vie.
I have my doctor's appointment today. I will take my charts and explain what I have figured out so far and we will see what happens. I will update later with what I find out.