Another trip to the ER

So at this point, since the start of 2016, the majority of our family has needed to be seen at an emergency room.. The only ones who have not made this ‘right of passage’ so far are Elise and myself. I hope I didn’t just jinx it by saying so, especially since we’re not even half-way through the year!

The latest Pellegrini to make their way to the Swedish Mill Creek emergency room was Enzo, who had to go there at 2:30 am on Thursday night / Friday morning. The poor little guy was a bit out of sorts all day with a fever and cough, but he went to bed easily at his normal time, so everything seemed fine.

Jessica was at work that night doing a really cool auction fundraiser for the Seattle Seahawks. She actually had head coach Pete Carroll and team president Peter McLaughlin at her table, so that shows you how much confidence the management at El Gaucho Bellevue has in her. Apparently it was a ‘Celebrity Server’ type of event where Seahawks players were pairing up with Gaucho servers for the night and serving all the patrons of the event. She actually had two players assisting her, but I have to admit I’m not familiar with either of them (one was a rookie and the other was going into his 2nd year). Regardless, she got to chat with Russell Wilson, who was mostly busy playing songs and singing on the piano all night, but made a few stops to visit the Pete’s at their table. The team’s GM John Schneider has a child who is autistic, so the event was held to raise money for autism research. She said people were raising $30,000 donation paddles during the auction like it was nothing. One guest ended up spending over $100k! Although I love the new career I’ve carved out for myself over the past 5 years, I have to admit that these are the types of nights that I miss from my restaurant career. I’m just glad Jessica was there to experience it.

Anyway, she got home from work around 1:00 am and could hear via the baby monitor that Enzo wasn’t doing very well. She went to check on him and saw that he had a high fever, as well as significant trouble breathing. She gave him some medicine to break his fever but it wasn’t working, plus his breathing troubles were getting progressively worse. She deliberated for a bit but ultimately his doctor’s office didn’t open until 7:00 am and she knew there was no way she was going to sleep knowing he was struggling to breathe. So at 2:30 am she woke me up and said “Michael don’t freak out but Mom and I are taking Enzo to the emergency room.” Obviously this got my attention immediately so I woke up as she explained what was going on.

Since the girls were sound asleep there was nothing for me to do besides lay there in bed. I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was worried about Enzo, so I just layed there and waited for them to return. They got back at 4:00 am and said he was doing better. They did a chest x-ray on him and it came back negative. All they really knew was that he had a virus, but there was nothing they could do besides break his fever and give him a breathing treatment. They also gave him a prescription for an albuterol inhaler, which requires a baby mask in his case.

After all this commotion in the middle of the night I decided to work from home on Friday. I try not to abuse that privilege but it certainly comes in handy from time to time. Enzo has been getting better each day since then, and today he went in to see his regular doctor, so I’m anxious to hear how that went.

If you read Jessica’s most recent post then you know all about the trouble she experienced on our anniversary. That was so crazy. I kept telling her on that Saturday evening that something was wrong and she needed to go get checked out, but of course she didn’t want to go. By the time 10:00pm came around I basically forced her to go to the emergency room. The only other times I’ve seen her in that type of pain was during childbirth. It was scary so I’m glad she finally gave in and went to get checked out. I also owe a huge thank you to my cousin Kristy for helping us out that day. She was 90 minutes away and still arrived at our house at 5:00am so I could get to the hospital to be with Jessica. If it wasn’t for Kristy I wouldn’t have been able to be with Jessica for her surgery. The timing was crazy because all of our friends in the neighborhood were on vacation for Spring Break, so Kristy really saved the day.

I ended up getting an unexpected week at home with everyone and I must say it was a really nice surprise. Although I’ve always had respect for all the hard work Jessica puts into caring for the kids, I can’t help but respect it even more now that I’ve walked a mile in her shoes. Selfishly there are times when I wish she could go be a software engineer at Microsoft for a week and let me take care of the kids, but unfortunately that’s never going to happen. Regardless the kids and I had a blast. We got really lucky with the weather that week, so basically everyday I would take them out to the park while Mom stayed home to rest. She recovered quickly and before I knew it my week was over and it was back to the grind. One positive thing we’ll take from this experience is the value of the ‘stay-cation.’ I think I’m going to start taking a week off every Spring Break to spend with Jessica and the kids. There are so many fun attractions in the Seattle area to visit, so hopefully we can make a tradition out of this.

I have to apologize for not writing a post recently. I just looked back and saw that it’s been over a month since my last post. I think that may be the longest stretch I’ve ever gone without writing since starting this blog nearly 5 years ago. During that time writing posts has become the 2nd most cathartic thing I do (behind playing music of course) so going on this long of a dry spell kinda sucks.

In my last post I basically put it all out there in terms of my take on the current political campaign season, so after that I figured I should probably put my money where my mouth is. On the day before Easter, while Jessica and the girls were out at an Easter Egg Hunt, Enzo and I went to the Washington State Democratic Caucuses to show support for Bernie Sanders. I have never caucused before and honestly didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I can easily say that it was a very positive experience. Not surprisingly Enzo was a big hit, but it was a nice opportunity to meet some of my neighbors and have a good political discussion. I hadn’t planned on speaking up to the group, and certainly didn’t have anything prepared, but after a woman spoke up about why she is supporting Hillary Clinton the mediator for our group asked if anyone would like to speak up on behalf of Bernie. Instinctively my hand raised and suddenly I found myself in front of our group, holding Enzo, explaining why I support Senator Sanders. I won’t go into all of that again because it’s not important; I’ve already made all the points I need to in my last post. The important part is that we were there showing our support, listening to what others had to say and not being afraid to make our own points and share our own perspectives. I’ll definitely be doing this again in the future.

Regarding the length of time since my last post, all I can say is it’s been quite a month. I don’t want to say I didn’t have the time because I don’t care for that excuse, but I’ve added a couple things to my schedule that have been taking up the majority of the little free time I already had.
For most people having a full-time corporate job at Microsoft, plus a wife and 3 young kids is more than enough to keep them busy, but I’m an odd duck who likes to pile it on, so I’ve decided to add a second (part-time) job to my life, as well as join a band. Yep, for real.

First my new job: for the past few months I’ve been working on a new website for Card Player Cruises, which is the company my Mom has worked for over the past 9 or 10 years. The pace has really escalated over the past month though, as we prepare for the launch of our new website. Don’t bother going to look for it right now because we haven’t launched it yet. I’m still working 7 days a week to get the new site ready to go live. I can’t wait to launch it and will definitely share the link once it’s ready. I’m very proud of it and consider it the best solo project I’ve ever done. Plus it’s nice to be in such regular contact with my Mom. Once it goes live the number of hours I’m working for them will decrease, but I’ve already got plenty of ideas for future improvements and new features.

Now regarding the band, I’m really excited to be playing music with people again. It’s been far too long since I’ve jammed with people on a regular basis and I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy it. It all started off innocently enough: Jessica’s Uncle Butch and Aunt Carol have a niece named Shayla who is married to a really nice guy named Greg. He’s about my age and recently took up playing guitar. We talked about it a few times at family get-togethers so I invited him over to jam sometime. He started coming over to play guitar and we pretty much hit it off. Although he was brand new to it I could tell he had potential, so at a certain point I asked him if he would ever consider playing bass. If so we could hook up with my nephew Kallan, who is a good drummer, and form a blues rock trio. Greg jumped at the opportunity, went out and bought a nice bass guitar and amp, and the 3 of us quickly started jamming.

Kallan is currently playing guitar in another band with his Dad (who is a drummer) but he’s been telling me for a while that he wants to play drums in a blues band. Right now we’re just working on cover songs but hopefully soon we’ll start writing some original material as well. We’ve currently got 5 songs in our repertoire: Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix), Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream), Texas Flood (Stevie Ray Vaughan), La Grange (ZZ Top), and Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix). If we can add about 5 more songs we’ll be ready to start playing gigs.

Our ultimate goal is to be able to play local shows for our friends and family to attend. I joked with the guys that the pinnacle for me would be for us to play shows and earn enough money from our performance to pay for babysitters so Jessica and Shayla could leave the kids at home and come watch us play. We don’t have a name yet, but it’s Kallan on drums, Greg on bass, and myself on guitar and vocals. I get plenty of practice playing guitar at home every day but practicing singing isn’t quite so easy, and trust me – I need it. The only way to practice singing is to really belt it out, which isn’t something you can do at home with kids, so I’m limited to the car and band practice. Doesn’t matter though, we’re all just there to have fun and enjoy the moment. No one’s trying to become rich and famous here, but it’s still a lot of fun. Not to sound too much like Phil Jackson, but the journey is the reward, so I’m glad to be able to share this experience with them. Hopefully sometime around the end of this year we’ll be ready to start playing shows. I would assume we’d mostly play at bars and small clubs, plus maybe the occasional outdoor event. A car show would be cool…

Tomorrow Grandpa Tom arrives to spend a week with us. Grandma has been here about 10 days and has been super helpful with the kids as usual. Thursday is Jessica’s birthday so I think we’re all going out to dinner that night, then Friday night Jess and I will go to dinner alone while the kids hang out with G&G. Friday will also be an exciting day for us because we’re getting all new carpet upstairs at our house. That means that in the past 9 months we will have replaced the flooring on literally 95% of the house. It’s going to look really nice, and of course we picked the environmentally friendly carpet with corn-based fibers.

Since I probably won’t be writing another post in 3 days I just want to wish my amazing wife Jessica a very happy birthday. Thank you for being so supportive and always putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own. The excitement never seems to end around here but I’m thankful to get to share it with you!

All’s well that ends well

That pretty much sums up our 6th anniversary. It wasn’t a pretty one but I’ll never forget it. We had a little fun in it’s wake and everything is fine now. It all started the afternoon before on Saturday, April 2nd.

We had a busy morning getting stuff done around the house and I stepped out at 2:00 to run a few errands by myself. I decided to pick up something from burger master on the way home, a burger for myself and shakes to share with everyone at home. Things were normal for the rest of the afternoon except I had a nagging stomach ache. I complained to Michael that it was probably the over indulgent lunch I had, only it didn’t go away and it wasn’t really a stomach ache. The best I could do to describe it was place my hand over my belly button and thats where the pain was. A constant ache, not a sharp one but more than just an annoying pain. I had a slight chill and had lost my appetite but had no other symptoms so I just thought that it was likely something that I could sleep off. Michael had a lot of work to get done so I assured him that I was fine and was going to put the kids down and relax in bed with my book. I did just that, but I couldn’t relax. At all. I could not find a position in which to get comfortable. After flouncing all around the bed with multiple pillows for 45 minutes I decided to try walking around the house. Still no better so I decided that it was probably best to go into the ER to see what was the matter.

The kids were nestled all snug in their beds so what were we to do? Under normal circumstances we would have called up any 3 or 4 of our neighbors to see if someone could come and hang out at the house while Michael and I went in to get checked out. The only problem was this weekend is spring break for all of the school kids around us and everyone was out of town. Everyone. Decision time, what do we do?. He wanted to wake everyone up and make a family ordeal out of taking Mommy to the ER. I did not want to drag everyone into the urgent care at 10 pm so we could all check out what I was sure was nothing serious. I did not want the kids all out of sorts and grumpy in the ER with the doctors poking at me. I really had no choice but to go alone. Michael felt horrible, I could easily tell he did not want to send me off alone, but there was no other choice. I was in no shape to drive so we called a taxi and I off I went to the ER.

I was checked in and within minutes was taken back to, the same room they saw Ava in only weeks before. I described the pain to the nurse, put on my hospital robe and was hooked up to all sorts of things right away. The whole thing was a bit of a whirl wind at first and then the waiting would soon start. A lot of waiting. I had a pelvic exam, and a CT scan right away and didn’t see the doc again for about 4 hours. When he finally came in to see me he got straight to the point, “It looks like your appendix is pretty swollen and we will need to remove it in the morning. We’re sending you off to Swedish Edmonds.”

I’ll admit that I am a bit of a novice when it comes to having organs removed and I was having narcotics fed to me via IV so I was not thinking clearly when I replied “Ok, that’s kind of what I figured it was. I need to coordinate things with my husband. When should I tell him to come and get me?” He started laughing immediately and actually took a minute to sit down next to me, “No one is picking you up except for an ambulance.”

Duh, I didn’t even think of that. It made me chuckle and the nurse as well and it lighten up the mood of my night for a while. The next hour at the the urgent care and the ride to the hospital were uneventful. It was my first ride in an ambulance and I was taken by two women both around my age for a 3am spin on the freeway. They told jokes and made me laugh the whole time, it felt like a normal drive with friends. They got me settled into my room and were truly the last people that made me feel good until I saw the doctor the next morning.

Thank goodness for cousin Kristy. She came to our rescue and arrived at our house at 5:00am so that Michael could be with me in the hospital. He did his best to make me feel good when he arrived around 5:45 in the morning. Just seeing him made me cry. It had been a truly exhausting night. I had not slept at all at this point, I was in constant pain and being poked at every 2 hours but not really being taken care of. Add to that the emotional pain of being alone in the hospital on my anniversary. I could tell I scared him and he felt helpless. After some serious coddling on Michael’s part, we both did our best to get comfortable and try to rest.

All I knew at this point is that I was to be seeing the doctor first thing in the morning with surgery soon to follow. Fast forward three more hours and I still hadn’t seen the doctor and we had only managed to sleep about 45 minutes. I hit a wall. A huge mental wall, I had a little breakdown. It’s never happened to me before. I went a little crazy. Michael is always calm and rational so he was good at trying to sooth me but for about 20 minutes (maybe more) I was a rambling, raving lunatic. All I wanted was to see the doctor and know that things were going to start moving forward. By this point I was more than happy to be having my appendix out, I wanted it out immediately. As soon as I spoke with the doctor I was much better. Things progressed from there with no incident and before I knew it I was waking up in the post op room.

I spent just a short time there before being wheeled up to my room. I ordered room service, called Michael and anxiously awaited the arrival of him and the kids. I was so excited to see the kids. I knew that they were probably having a hard time understanding why I wasn’t there when they woke up and I wanted to reassure them that I was doing ok. Plus I needed some hugs and kisses, badly.

I could hear them as soon as they stepped off the elevator. Both of the girls were excited and chatting back and forth about finding mommy. They came bursting into my room and it was as if they were visiting me at a friends house. Aside from them being extra cautious when sitting on the hospital bed they were completely normal. They weren’t bothered by being in the hospital or seeing me laid up in bed. They were curious about what I had been doing and how I was feeling. We had a great visit but had to keep it short because it was hard to keep everyone contained in such a small hospital room. Enzo wanted to grab at all the cords connected to the bed or the IV in my arm. The girls were getting a little hyper after being there for a bit so I say good bye and sent them on their way. The girls did not want to leave without me and I felt terrible having to send Michael off alone with them when I knew it was going to be an emotional day and night for them. I was pretty bummed after they left too, so I ate dinner and did my best to go to sleep. The night was restless but I felt so much better than the night before so my spirits were up and I knew I’d be home before long. As soon as I was released by my doctor I called Michael to share the news and he and the gang came to pick me up.

It was the official start of our first family spring break. It wasn’t exactly how we would plan things if given the opportunity but we were going to make the best of it. I wasn’t going to be able to take care of the kids on my own for the week so Michael was forced to take a week off. He was an awesome stay at home Dad for the week. He took care of everything that I normally do and more. I was no help at all for the first few days and then only a little help, we were lucky enough to have a group of friends and family help out with dinners for the week so at least there was something that we didn’t have to think about for a few nights. It was extremely helpful and very much appreciated.

The kids didn’t know what to think about all of the extra time with Dad and were loving every minute. They went out on several little adventures throughout the week. One rainy day was spent at home playing play doh and a dancing game on the xbox. We all took a short trip to the mall one afternoon when it wasn’t nice enough to be out side. I desperately needed to get a little change of scenery from our bedroom and a little bit of walking. When the sun came out Michael took the kids to a few different parks. Once I was feeling up to it we all went down to the waterfront in Edmonds for fish and chips and a little time on the beach. The kids and Michael headed back to the beach the next day for a play date with one of our stay-at-home Dad friends and I treated myself to a mani/ pedi. By the time the weekend came around we were actually sad about it. I was feeling almost back to normal and we were having such a good time with all of this unexpected family time that no one actually wanted to weekend to come, we didn’t want the week to end. Michael and I decided to make a tradition of this when possible. Apart from the organ removal, we want to do it all over again next year. We’re planning another family staycation for spring break 2017.

The only good thing about the weekend coming was that we were finally going to get an opportunity to celebrate our anniversary. We had tickets to a swing dance on the Victoria V, an old, stationary ship in Lake Union. Before the dance we headed out to dinner at a sushi restaurant in Pike Place Market. Our good friend is the manager and we’ve been wanting to check it out since it opened a few months ago. The highlight of the restaurant is it’s owner, Shiro. He is a legend in the Seattle sushi scene and his previous restaurant is well know all throughout Japan. We both had the Chef’s dinner and it was extremely enjoyable. We had a similar dinner at Shiro’s old restaurant on our 4th anniversary so this felt nostalgic in a way. After dinner we stopped in to say “hi” to another old friend that bartends in the market. He and Michael have not seen each other in a few years so it was a great stop to make. We had a few cocktails and shared an amazing homemade ice cream sandwich. after drinks we cruised around the city for a bit before heading to the boat. We knew that we wouldn’t actually be doing any dancing but figured it would still be worth it to go. We have never gone to an event like this before and bought tickets weeks ago on a whim when we were searching for something new to do in the city. It’s a shame that we weren’t able to dance because we would have liked to brush up on our moves together and even try to learn some new ones. We would have needed it too because the event was filled with mostly people that knew how to swing dance well. This was not an amateur event. In fact, we were nearly the only ones not dressed in period specific clothing. Even though we didn’t step out onto the dance floor we still had a good time enjoying the live jazz band and watching the other people dance. It was a really windy night out but it was still warm enough to sit out on the front of the boat and watch the lake. It was another symbolic place for us since we were sitting in the same lake that we got married in. We hung out on the boat for a bit and before long we were ready to go home. We didn’t even make it to midnight but it was a great evening.

That Monday morning was rough. It was my first time in over a week alone with the kids and they were not happy that Daddy had to return to work. I still couldn’t lift Elise, so consoling her was more difficult. Ava even went so far as to ask me to be sick some more so that Daddy could stay home. It was all to be expected. I knew that it was going to be a tough start to the week and I was ready for it. We spent most all of Monday in our pjs and had a movie marathon in the morning and a dinosaur and mermaid playathon in the afternoon. It ended much better than it started but we were all very happy to see Michael after work. Each day got easier and easier and by the end of the week I was feeling back to normal and even adventurous. Grandma was coming to visit on Friday so we decided to coordinate the airport pick up with a visit to the Spring Fair. I have never been to a state fair and I wasn’t sure what the heck to expect but I knew it would have to be a pretty miserable fair to not impress my kids. They will get enthusiastic about almost anything.

The fair did not let us down. It was a beautiful, clear, warm day. We arrived just as the doors were opening so aside from waiting in line to get in we had to do very little waiting. There were tons of things to do and see and of course ride on. It’s no surprise that Ava enjoyed the rides most of all but Elise had a ton of fun as well. The worst part about it was that we had to cut it short in order to pick up Grandma from the airport. I think the girls could have gone all day but after two and a half hours both Enzo and I were tired. I am so glad to have had a great reason to make the kids leave as well because it took some coaxing to get them to agree to it. No one can resist Grandma though, so we packed up and headed out towards the airport. They were all passed out before I hit the freeway and it was a nice quite ride almost all the way home.

Since grandma got here we’ve been to the Tulip Festival and to the beach. It was nearly 80 degrees here today and we are going to pretend that it’s summer for as long as we can. I am feeling completely back to normal and go to the doctor on Wednesday to make sure he agrees. It was a miserable anniversary night with many, many great days afterward. All’s well that ends well.

Playing our new dancing game on Xbox Kinect

Hanging out at the park

Our little monkey

Weese loves picking flowers

Hoodie in the sun

Fun on the slide

Can you see me?

Enjoying a nice day at the park

At the Tulip Festival with the girls

I’m on a boat! Happy 6th anniversary.

Alone in the ER