Saturday, October 31, 2009

Four and a half hours of organized chaos

After much debate between us on Wednesday and Thursday evening, we decided that, at the very least, the three of us (me and the kids) would get the shot. Ryan was undecided on whether he would get it, and since he doesn't classify as high priority, he could decide later.

We also decided that we would wait a few days until the lineups dwindled.

But somehow, that whole plan got thrown out the window this morning. And I'm not really sure why. After we heard that there'd be a vaccine shortage next week, we drove over to the nearby clinic at 9:45 (15 minutes before it opened) to check it out. And joined the end of the line. And then 30 minutes went by and then 60 minutes and then 90 minutes. And suddenly, we'd commited so much time already, that the thought of leaving just to come back and do it again another day seemed foolish.

So we stayed out in the cold, in the never ending line. At one point, Ryan took Austin for a walk to Tim Horton's for coffee and Timbits. At another point, I packed the kids in the car and drove to the nearest McDonald's to feed them lunch.

At 2:15 -- 4 hours and 30 minutes after we arrived, it was our turn to get shot in the arm. The kids hated us for it and will probably never trust us again when we tell them we have to go somewhere and wait in line.

The lineup was organized chaos -- in the sense that although everyone in line was orderly and friendly -- the information being passed around was chaotic. Early on, a security guard said that health officials would be coming through the line and handing out cards with a timeslot to return. These cards never materialized, instead the line just inched forward.

And the more it inched forward, the more you felt as if you were getting somewhere and therefore didn't want to give up all that you'd already been standing for. So we kept standing there.

But it's done now. All four of us got the shot -- even though, technically, Ryan wasn't eligible to get it yet because he doesn't classify as high priority. But after standing in line for that long -- he opted not to be socially responsible and stand aside as the three of us got our shot for fear that when the time comes for the general population to get their shot he'd have to stand in line all over again.

But of course, 21 days from now we'll have to do it all over again so that the kids can get the second half of their shot. Hopefully by then, a better system will be in place.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To get the shot or not get the shot

I was halfway through this post this morning when I had to pause and get the kids. When I returned this afternoon, my friend over here had posted about the same thing. So read her views too, while you're at it.

The H1N1 vaccine is the big debate these days. Do we get the shot or not?

For weeks I've been sitting on the fence about whether the four of us should get it. And I'm not really sure why. Being in a high-risk category (asthma) for the regular, seasonal flu, I qualified for the free flu shot before it was available to all Ontarians for free. And I got. And I stayed healthy.

In fact, in the last 10 years, I've got the flu shot 7 times. The three years I didn't, I fell ill with influenza two of them. And let me tell you -- it was wicked. The word the flu is a catch-all for all winter illnesses, but when you actually have influenza, holy crap, you can tell the difference, and it knocks you on your ass for a week or more.

So, with that kind of record, why am I hesitant to get the H1N1 shot? Well, for starters the adjuvant version makes me a little nervous -- especially for the kids. But also, the fact that although the kids are considered high risk as well (under the age of 5), there is also very little data on its safety for kids -- especially the adjuvant version.

I asked my doctor earlier this week what she thought, and her response was that we should all get it and that it was safe and recommended for everyone. Although, she did add if we really felt strongly against having the kids vaccinated then Ryan and I should definitely get it so as to avoid bringing the germs home to them.

But when Ryan and I chatted about it, he was ambivalent about the whole issue. Not that he doesn't care, but instead, he goes by the theory that he's never had the flu shot and in all those years, he only caught the flu once (from me). So, if the practice ain't broke, don't fix it.

But why shouldn't we get it? The kids have been vaccinated against everything else -- even diseases that I wasn't vaccinated against (Chicken Pox) and we never questioned whether it was right or wrong to do so. In fact, to me, it was wrong not to get them vaccinated against all of those diseases.

Regardless of whether we all get the shot, regular handwashing and hand santizer use will be top of the list of things to do this winter. But let's face it -- my kids are, well, kids. Hands and toys just seem to belong in their mouth no matter how many times I tell them not to.

This post is really just me writing in circles. I don't have any more answers than when I started. I fairly sure that we should all get the H1N1 shot, but yet I'm hesitant to and can't quite put my finger on why. So here's the million dollar question, what do you think?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The 'Austin show'

It's pretty weird to see yourself and your house on TV. I actually had to watch the piece three times before I heard what the reporter was saying because the first two times I was too busy looking to see a) where in my house each shot was and b) how much of a freak I looked like.

I don't think I did too badly, or at least I should say, I didn't feel embarassed at watching myself. And the kids looked pretty damn cute on camera (but to be honest, I'm a little biased in that respect). And although I know that a big part of the story was on my clunky old furnace, I do wish that there had been a little less focus on my empty-beer-bottle filled furnace room. Or, at the very least, I wish I had thought to stash those boxes somewhere else beforehand.

Austin, as I expected was thrilled to see himself on TV. We caught it live, and he was so thrilled that when it was over, he asked to see "the Austin show again".

And thanks to the the fact that anything that appears on TV can be found on the Internet somewhere, and just because it's my blog and I can, below is the video -- for anyone who wanted to see it but missed it. And for me, because now I have a copy of it.

(If the video doesn't work, try this link:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My 15 minutes of fame

Ryan and I are not good at making decisions. Even easy ones. Part of it is laziness, part of it is just plain being too busy to get around to talk about, or do the research on, whatever it is we need to make a decision about.

So deciding on anything, whether it's when to go on vacation, whether to change phone companies or when to buy a new furnace, takes forever.

So it was a rather rare occurence when on Sunday, a friend of ours mentioned she was getting a home energy audit done this week so that when she gets her new windows, she can get the government rebate. With that tidbit of information, it was Monday when I looked up the information online as to how to get an audit; Monday night when I mentioned it to Ryan and Tuesday afternoon when I called to book an appointment.

Because, you see, we need a new furnace -- desperately. So desperately in fact, that the need is about 10 years overdue. So I figured, if we can get a substantial rebate on a new one, just by getting someone to audit our house, then why not.

So what does a boring old energy audit and a new furnace have to do with me getting my 15 mintues?

Easy. When I called up a company on Tuesday afternoon, they were able to offer me an appointment on Wednesday morning. Yes, this morning. With one hitch -- a CITY TV news crew wanted to follow the auditor around my house for a story on energy audits.

Oh yeah, and they'd want to interview me.

I hoed and I hummed about whether to do it or ask for another appointment. But in the end, I figured what the hell -- how bad could it be? And then my audit would be done and I would not be able to blame laziness or any other factor for not getting a new furnace before this one dies just as the outside temperature dips below 0C.

So, this morning, CITY came and did their thing. They followed the auditor around, they interviewed me, they filmed me reading to my kids and sitting with my kids and walking around my house being explained things by the auditor that didn't make any sense to me in the first place.

They were here for two hours. And because of them, the audit took three. The kids thought the whole thing was pretty cool at first -- well until the cameraman had to negotiate with Austin that in order for him to be on TV tomorrow, he had to turn the TV off today so that he could be filmed. That was an interesting conversation -- and one my three-year-old didn't quite get. To him, TV is something you watch, not something you film.

But I'm sure when he sees himself on the news Thursday evening, he'll be excited.

As for me, well I'm sure they'll make me look like an idiot. But whatever. As someone who has always been the interviewer, it was kind of fun to sit in the other chair for a change.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

10K in 1:15:31.6

I did it!

Racing day was this morning -- 10 km in and around the Toronto Zoo. It was cold, I was nervous and even though in training I never managed to actually run a full 10K, I figured I could do it in about 80 minutes.

I did in 75.

The first kilometre felt pretty good and just flew by. I was amongst the huge pack of runners still and in all honestly, I was still a) nervous and b) wondering why the hell I wanted to do this in the first place. I mean, did I mention it was only 1C at start time?
After that, it got a little easier and a little harder. The runners thinned out and I felt like I was tiring out already. So, I had to switch my mindset from 'why the hell am I doing this' to 'I can do this'. And the next thing I knew, I was rounding the 3K marker and feeling a lot better about the whole thing.

The next few kilometres were fairly easy, and fairly downhill, which is what made it easy. Because anyone who knows the zoo even a little bit knows it ain't flat.

It was at the halfway point that Ryan and the kids went into cheering squad mode. And it was well-timed, as I really needed it then.
At the 5K mark
And then, before I knew it, I was running up the big hill just after the halfway point and flying past the 6, 7 and 8 kilometre mark before forcing myself to take a short walking break for fear of burning out and not being able to finish standing up.

Suddenly, at the 9K, it became easy. A renewed sense of energy hit me and I actually sped up and started passing other runners. As I rounded the final corner towards the finish line, my cheering squad was waiting for me. And with the finish line in sight, Austin ran by my side (or more like several feet behind me) to cross the line with me.

I was near the back of the pack -- with only 152 runners behind me. But I don't care. I finished. And I finished in 1:15:31.6.
Me and Austin coming up at the finish line
It's been 10 months since I had the crazy notion to run a 10K race, and it was a day I won't soon forget. My legs are sore, my brain is tired and I'm already getting the crazy notion of running another one next May.

Monday, October 05, 2009

This afternoon's not-so-fun activity

I'm so not looking forward to this afternoon. Because for the first time in my life, I'm going to the dentist to have some cavities filled.

Yup. First time.

And my dentist figured it would be so much fun that she's going to do it again on Wednesday morning.

Last month, when I went for my regular twice-annual checkup and cleaning, my dentist found not one, not two but five freakin' cavities in my mouth. So, I've gone from having absolutely no cavities and perfect teeth for the last 30 some-0dd years to suddenly having five cavities at the same time.

How did this happen, you ask? Well, my dentist explained that it was likely a combination of a few factors. The first thing to note is they're very, very small cavities. So small in fact, that I do not know they're there, I do not feel any pain and they are only visible on an x-ray.

Which is how they were found. They may have even been found earlier -- or some of them anyway -- had it not been almost three years since I had dental X-rays (damn being pregnant and then extra-cautious because I was breast feeding, then pregnant, then extra cautious because I was breast feeding for the last three years).

And the vicious cycle of the last three years, is exactly how my dentist said I likely developed them after not having had any for the first 30 years of my life. She said she's seen it in many moms who once had perfect teeth. Their lives just get so busy and change so drastically, that taking care of themselves, and their teeth, is one of the farthest thing from their mind.

And let's face it, she's right. After having a baby and not sleeping for months on end, when you finally start getting your life back in order, the only thing on your mind is figuring out how to get your body from looking like it had a baby. The "oh yeah, I'm supposed to floss daily" routine doesn't necessarily leap to mind. Instead it's the "let's just try to remember to brush my teeth after I've finished snacking for the evening, because goodness knows this breast feeding business leaves me starving 24 hours a day".

So off to the dentist I go. And then again on Wednesday morning. I'm not looking forward to it, but I'm not scared of it either. I had a root canal once, years ago -- it can't be any worse than that. But is it sad that by knowing I have two dentist appoitments this week, I know that I get two outings out with the kids?