Saturday, November 24, 2012

This Tummy Tuck Surgery

is not for wimps. I'm just sayin'. I'm glad I'm taking another week off work to drive down to Oregon (ignore that part) and veg on Kim's couch. It's Saturday, and the thought of going to work on Monday makes me want to cry. Ouch!!

It's not that I'm in so much pain - I'm really not. I'm very uncomfortable. My belly is swollen. There's a lot of bruising from my mid-section to my upper thighs. You may think wearing a crotchless compression garment for six weeks is sexy: I assure you it is not.

This morning my belly swelling is lopsided, which probably just means I slept funny. But of course you have to run through all the frightening possibilities. Thankfully, since it doesn't hurt or look especially awful, it only took me a moment to dismiss my fears.

So, I'm not yet two weeks out and already I feel very much like it was worth it. That's gonna be one tiny belly when this is all said and done! But it's not something to enter into lightly either! Wow, my belly is rock hard, and not in a muscular way. So very many incisions, too. :)

I'm allowed to get out of the brace every day for a shower and even long enough to wash and dry the garment. Yesterday I did exactly that, but I was pretty pokey about getting back into it, I'll admit. Well, after a few hours, my body was SCREAMING for the comfort and confinement of the compression garment. Even though as I was putting that sucker on - no small act of patience in itself - my body was also whining about not wanting to wear it.

Luckily (?) I've endured similar before. In late 2004 I had a spinal fusion and had to wear a soft back brace similar to this for months (without the fun of the crotchless bodysuit aspect, luckily).

I give up the suit on either Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, depending on my interpretation of six weeks. :) Either way, it will be a very happy day!

Oh, speaking of Christmas: oops. I was so excited about the timing of the Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving holidays to minimize my time off work. So excited about the minimal impact on my cycling since I'd be laid up during the bad weather.

I forgot what a hole this would shoot in the Christmas season. Normally this weekend I'd get the tree and decorations up. (I bought a fake tree after the divorce, which I will tolerate one more year - I miss the real trees!)

Hauling in decorations will be tough. Shopping will be a grind. Generally, I just want to lay in bed right now. (I miss my bike terribly, though!)

This all sounds whiney-hiney, it's not. :) This is just the first weekend the kids have been home and I'm beat. It's been my first opportunity to realize how tough the surgery is and how much longer of a recovery I have ahead! It will continue to get easier, though, and honestly, I will just scale back the Christmas festivities to match my ability level (and especially my older two are getting really super helpful in so many regards!)

In other happy news, my 13yo daughter had me plot out a mile-long route from our house on the odometer. This morning she was up and at 'em early and walked it once and ran it once. Proud of my baby.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 9 Post-Op

Oh, maybe someday I'll regret posting these pics but I say if you were going to vote for me for public office you'd do it whether it not you'd seem my BEAUTIFUL FRANKEN-BELLY! Today is the best day, for sure. The swelling continues to go down. And look, those are gonna be ABS! My own abs!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Finally! A Few Minutes Alone at the Computer

Seriously, though, seem to have become the world's worst typist, so I'm not sure the full sized keyboard will present any new advantage to me.

I had my 6-day post-op check up today and my surgeon says I'm perfectly perfect. No longer do I need to walk in a hunched-over 'L-shape' to protect my stitches, and it's a good gawd-damned thing, too, as I completely suck at it. This morning, in fact, I actually threw a tantrum at my father over it.

I needed help. Jeez, I'm really terribly at asking for help, but I needed it. I wanted someone to help make my bed, throw a load of laundry in and bring the clean stuff up for me to fold. Now, my parents would do anything for me, but for some reason, they opted to come over and watch SpongeBob while I got ready. So I was already pretty pissed. :) Then I come downstairs and my dad hollers, "Bend you back!" and I very nearly lost my shit on him.


Well, I don't need to do that anymore anyway. I can stand straight as an arrow, thank you very much. And no, no one helped me make my friggin' bed.

The hard part is behind me though. Sleep in whatever position I'm comfortable, take drugs if/when I need them, drive myself wherever as long as I'm not stoned. I'll go back in for a re-check on Monday, sans parents, and see about returning to work Tuesday.

Oh gosh, I wish I could sit more comfortably and write, but I do think the drugs have my brain scrambled because it is just a million typos and it's driving me nuts. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Back soon!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh yeah, I can't post from the blogger site

Instead, I have to email in my posts, which means no formatting and no spell-check. So you know how bored I must be if I'm trying anyway, right?

Donkey balls? Diminishing. I might actually have a normal va-jay-jay someday. Not that ill need it. I was supposed to play with Lance Armstrong Sunday and didn't hear from him. "Umm, Lance," I said, "where did you go?" You were supposed to come over after hiking. Yes, but I got tickets to the Seahawks game, he said. Yes , but it would have taken you two seconds to text me that. Yes, he's sorry - he's not really the boyfriend type - he's all about him. Umm, have I noticed this?? No Lance, you are not the boyfriend type. You are the fun to play with sometimes type. Plus, your body is quite remarkable. We are done, sir, even your biker body is not worth the headache (plus you are smoking freely now and it stinks). Plus your body is very beautiful but your tattoos are really stupid abs I think you are a bit scrawny for my tastes, as long as I'm putting in an order.

The Clint Eastwood squinty eyed motorcyclist has checked in with me a couple times this week, but nice as he is, that man is just flat. Ugh.

My MTB friend has kept me highly entertained and seems to project actual concern for my welfare, as does my sugar daddy. This is the aisle I need to shop from, I tell you. (Not the gay aisle.)

My new cycling friend has called and emailed three times this week. Is my picker that broken?? I didn't answer either call today, but I have been hallucinating and such and probably good not to involve strangers. You don't know how long I waited for my daughter to bring me a Popsicle before I remembered she wasn't home, hahaha. And I told my invisible X to cuddle me until I remembered how STOOPID of an idea that was, and I told him so. Again, not here. Probably time to kill the drugs tomorrow. It just hurts. Have you seen franken-belly? Argh!! I would love to stare at it constantly but I am trying to honor the spirit of wearing the suit 24/7 and I can't tell you how much I hate to put it on. Tomorrow ill bet ill get to skip the poise pads on the scars as in I'm not draining, and that will make me much less whiny. Neosporin plus silicone strips plus poise pads plus snaps and zippers has me feeling like the hot spinster who's cats are waiting for her to fall so they can eat her eyeballs.

Other than that, all is well!! Feeling much better today!! Dr appt at 1:30, mom and dad are taking me. There will be SBUX, if I have to hold them at gunpoint to get it. I come from non-SBUX people. :)

Sent from my iPhone

Howdy from La-La Land

Well, I do wish this were one of those blog that would be simply life-alerting to read as you live through my tummy tuck blow-by-blow with me, gleaning all sorts of usual information. Sadly, I have opted for lots of painkillers and sleep instead, so you get what you get.  I am thinking of you, though, and will have coherent and cogent thoughts to share one day again, it is just not today. :)

I am feeling pretty darn good. Lots of drugs, though, and I'm taking them liberally. I am also taking showers! And eating people food!

I rented a recliner on the advice of many tummy tuck blogs, and this was a good thing. I could have easily done without, but I am also enjoying it, so I'm glad to have it.

SRSLY the typos are making me insane. I thought they'd be better on the computer than my phone but they are not so I give up. Back to bed with me! :)

Will update more later. All is well.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Skin puddling

You may recall me posting a pic awhile back of my skin puddling when I laid down. There is no more skin puddling :). Right now it feels like skin stretched taut over a bowling bawl. And I have to get back in this thigh-length compression suit right after I wash and dry, but I am allowed the daily luxury of washing and drying it and showering. Today I walked around the block and again up to the gas station, so I'm getting out there. I'm also staying heavily drugged, as I am out to impress no one with my toughness at this point in my life. :)

He is the shakiest photographer

And I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed a slather myself in neosporin. :)

So not ready for street clothes yet

I made poor Blake take a couple pics of me in street clothes today. I am still so swollen, I have no business in anything but my compression garment and nightie. In fact, I woke up so swollen in the suit I had to yank it off. Sigh. It's a long recovery. :)

Nonetheless here I am in a shirt I would never wear because of my muffin top, and my favorite jeans which were waaaay too tight. Surgery weight was 139, yesterday was 146.6 and today 143.3 so I am still battling a lot of swelling.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Whee! Still on the mend

No pictures for you today, but they look look like yesterday's anyway. A little swollen, a lot carved up. I got to take a shower this morning, which was way cool. Still have one drain, which ill yank tomorrow. I'm still poppin drugs and am not in much pain.

Today's "what they'll never tell you" story is about my va-jayjay. Lots of lipo there, remember? Well, they don't tell you you swell up like horse's balls Dow there. It's horrific. If I should you a pic, it would be unrecognizable as a part of human anatomy. Doesn't hurt, just. Really. Ufcks. With. Your. Head. Something about the gravity and blood settling and what not, believe me it is the stuff of nightmares. :)

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pain Pump

When I booked the surgery, I was given an option of a $500 pain pump that bathed your ravaged muscles in lidocaine or some other numbing med for three days after surgery.

Optional, but recommended. Yeah, I think I woke up at 4a when it emptied out today. By my 11 am appt I was like, so couldn't we just refill it? By 6:30 tonight I am drugged and missing my pain pump. :(

If you are ever in a position to choose, get the pain pump! I have a feeling this would be a very different week without it, haha.

Sent from my iPhone

It's hard to blog from my phone

I'm a little cross-eyed from the meds, for one thing! So I'm making lots of typos. I had another recheck appt with the doctor: he says I'm doing awesomely. He and the nurses are always grinning at my ear from ear, so that must be a good sign!

Stomach looks AWESOME! Very flat, very tight. I have been tasked with pooping today :). This corset is tight, gets tighter over the course of the day and he said ill be sorry if I don't poop.

I can shower tomorrow, and if my one remaining drain is dry, I can yank the remaining tube (oh and I will too!!)

Sent from my iPhone

Post-op pic day three

Post-op pic day three

Post-op pic day three

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Now That's a Skinny Belly

Don't know how to forewarn you that it's a gnarly picture, haha, but here's my first view of my new belly. LOVE IT!!!

Right now it's all big swollen up, but look at that beauty! The scars...well, they'll fade. :) I'm over the moon excited about the results!

Post-Op Day Two Recovery

Things are going quite well here! I am keeping myself pretty darned stoned and will continue to do so. I got the optional "pain pump," which administers a constant flow of a numbing drug directly to my ab muscles. I'll bet that's what's keeping me sane, because that is supposed to be what hurts the most, and it's not chief among my post-op complaints!

I feel primarily the incision across my hips, and I gotta say the two drains and the pain pump hanging off me are making me crazy. I have such weird claustrophobia issues anyway.

Ummm, how much am I going to hate wearing this crotchless body suit for the next six weeks? A LOT!

I grouse all these things because as far as surgery results go, I can see nothing so far. :) I'm all bulked up in layers and haven't gotten so much as a peek at anything! I am sooooooo excited! I have my first re-check at 4:45 this afternoon and I'm hoping to see me, or some pics, or something. The surgeon said the surgery went awesome and I will be thrilled with the results.

I know they took off 2.5 or 3.5 pounds of skin (I was awfully fuzzy when we talked) and 350 cc of lipo'd fat. He said, as expected, there just wasn't anything but skin there. Awesome. :)

My mom stayed with me last night and both my parents are here right now: mon cooking up a bunch of chicken tenders for me to munch this week and dad is re-wiring outlets and hanging pictures. :) I am sleeping, waking, and sleeping.

The surgery itself went well. I was, frankly, nervous about the surgery and doing it in an office park instead of a hospital (very common, however). Although I spent Sunday weepy and nervous, by Monday my mood was excited and I was chanting "I get a brand new belly!" under my breath, haha. I adored my surgeon, whom I think I told you did his residency with my weight loss surgeon. They are both awesome guys. The anesthesiologist was very funny, the nurses were great. I remember a calming drug in my IV then waking up after surgery and my doctor being in the room saying if I came out of the anesthesthia smiling, it must have gone pretty well. :) My brain likes anesthesthia: I have always come out of it laughing! I have the funniest freaking dreams!

Well, I'll update after my appointment and post pictures if there's anything to see. I do have to say this compression garment is TIGHT though and I envision getting it on and off over all these incisions will probably s-u-c-k!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, November 12, 2012

Home from Surgery!

I'm really too tired and drugged up to post but I wanted to let you know I am home from surgery and it went fantastic. Doctor and staff were very excited about results and I can wait to see!! He said I will love it, very trim now.

Recovery is going to suck, I can tell. But totally bearable and worth it. Thank you for thinking of me. :)

A real update to follow when I'm not so stoned and tired. :)

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Test 3

Third test of blogging via email.

Ohhhhhhhhh....the Nerves!

I am so excited and nervous. I skipped my ride today, I decided it would wipe me out way too much to finish the many chores I needed to get done around here in preparation for the surgery.

Right now I swear to God I'm on my way to Wal-Mart to buy a couple house dresses that zip or button up the front. I had planned on just wearing nightgowns, but I read on a couple old tummy tuck blogs that things that zip or button are much more comfy with the drains, etc. Yuck on both counts: Wal-Mart and house dresses. (Wal-Mart makes me claustrophobic: everything is spaced much too closely together for me. Before I lost weight, I had wondered if being small would make me less claustrophobic. Not really.)

I had a fantastic ride yesterday afternoon: 42 miles in the sunshine and bitter cold. It was a blast! I really wanted to go today, but made a big girl decision last night to skip it.

Well, I am truly excited for the big day, but I have to say I am super nervous. I suspect this is due to the financial end of things more than anything else. I have had a ton of surgeries in my life and am never terribly bothered by them, but this one has me in fits. I guess I just have a lot of hopes and expectations riding on the results, too.

Regardless, I am heading to Wal-Mart and maybe the aquarium store. My aquarium has been taken over with algae bloom and I cannot get the upper hand on it. Poor fish. I practically drained it this morning and refilled: you know this is not great for the fish. I dreamed of just flushing those suckers and taking down the tank. There are only three left, but they are darn hardy fish who keep hanging in there. Even with 80% new water, it is bright green and you can't even see the darn fish. GRRR!!!

Finally, I am planning a ridiculous "why not, I'm bored" run to Sea-Tac by the airport. One of the women riders I follow on Strava puts in large chunks of miles in giant squiggly lines on the GPS tracker. It's a very, very small area and I am dying to see what it is. :) Nervous, much? Killing time, much?

I'd appreciate your good thoughts tomorrow morning bright and early. I'll post as soon as I can but I'm sure I'll be posting from my phone so it won't be much. :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pre-Op Jitters and Nerve-Related Utter Silliness

I'm all confirmed for my surgery on Monday morning. Check in time is 7:45 AM Pacific Daylight Standard Daylight Standard Whatever Time. My original check-in time was 1:45 PM, but I called and threw a holy isht fit about it and they re-arranged to make me first appointment of the day. (Better to get the crazy lady out of the clinic as soon as possible, I suppose!) Nah, the reason I whined was because this is an outpatient surgery and I'll be heading straight home with my mother, who is a non-driver. The 1:45 start time would put me on I-405 right in the middle of stinking Monday night's commute. Ugh. Me in pain and strung out on pain meds, my mother a basket case driver. No thank you. I had been begging all along for the first appointment of the day, so I was a little vexed when not only was I not first, but was instead last.

I spoke to the doctor, though, and he was very cool. They moved me to the first appointment. Mom's happy, I'm happy, everybody's happy.

I am soooooooooo nervous. I'm having a recliner delivered by Rent A Center tomorrow. Ew. But it's supposed to be brand new. Sabrina said when she was a realtor, she used them to stage homes all the time, with great success. Everything I've read online about tummy tuck recovery says that you are much more comfortable in a recliner after the surgery. I was going to borrow my parents' but it was turning into a logistical headache, so I like that these guys deliver, set up and come back for it in a month.

Speaking of Sabrina, I had her take some before/after pictures for me today to prep you for the big day:

I am a crazy woman at work trying to get it all caught up before I go. And I have sooo much stuff to do at home this weekend to prepare, not the least of which is bracing myself for my mother to come stay with me overnight the night of the surgery. Thank God for valium and pain pills. I am such a crotchety patient, I really just crave being alone in a cave.

I decided not to go on a mountain bike ride tomorrow. I was excited about it, but then I got to thinking how inexperienced I am, and what if I skid on a muddy trail and gore myself with a tree branch? And then I can't have surgery because they are worried about a staph infection? Or something. Better skip that one. I'll do a road bike ride instead. The surgeon told me it's actually good for me to go out and exhaust my body this weekend before surgery.

They also said my labs came back with low protein. I have been tasked with chugging protein shakes and other protein this weekend before the surgery. Plus I'm supposed to stay super-hydrated. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SBUX is Still My Boyfriend and Other Important Stuff

I (Heart) SBUX

I know you have been hanging on the edge of your seat, wondering how I've been braving my breakup with SBUX that was due to take place on 10/16, when they changed some of their refill policies. As you may recall, I drink tons of Earl Grey tea with cold soy, all day at work. I buy one in the morning and my very most favoritest SBUX location in the world gives free refills all day. I was told it was switching to a one-for-one refill policy, which would roughly triple my tea addiction cost. Plus, they charge for soy now.

A lot of worry for nothing. :) Still getting free refills all day, and you don't get charged for soy if it's less than four ounces, and mine is really just a splash. So we are still BFFs, and the boxes of soy milk and Earl Grey I brought in to work to...gasp...make myself still sit at my desk, unopened. I am terribly spoiled, I know. But don't you fret, SBUX still makes gobs of money off me and all my buddies here in the building.

I am NERVOUS about the upcoming surgery on Monday! But excited. But nervous. I think I'll just do a brain dump list here rather than try to write organized paragraphs (which is never much of a concern of mine).

Jailbird and Why-Don't-I-Just-Plan-Ahead-A-Little-Organization-Would-Be-A-Good-Thing
Someone called me four times collect from jail last night while I was on my group bike ride. WHO? I received four short voice mails from an automated system telling me to "press one to accept the call from this inmate," but said inmate's name was cut off on the recording. I queried the VINE system (a tidbit of knowledge from my police volunteer program) but none of the people I tried were in jail. Hey, that's kind of a fun party game! Question: Someone is calling you from jail, but you don't know who it is. Who do you think of first? For me, it was my X (not that I think he'd be in jail, but I wanted to make sure someone had the kids), then my sister (ohhhh, for no particular reason, haha). Then I ran that guy's name that actually did go to jail...then Lance Armstrong (having no particular reason to think he'd be in jail, unless cycling and smoking is now a crime, not just a stupidity). Nope, all clear. Color me stumped.

At the time, I didn't know the calls were coming from a jail, but I did know they were coming while I was racing one of my new bike buddies up a very steep hill and getting my ass kicked, so the phone was ANNOYING THE SNOT OUT OF ME. But I needed to leave it on, so the Strava app could record the trip and shower me with medals. Very gold-star oriented. Super shallow. :) Don't care. I would have turned the ringer off but a) I was racing and b) those bicycling jackets are pretty slick with their pocket in the back and all, but I had become the joke of the evening because every time I got in that pocket I was dumping my emergency cash on the ground. Um, the group actually had to stop once for that, on our way out of the P&R, because I had forgotten to turn on Strava. And the big diesel truck also had to stop while I picked up my cash from all over the middle of the lane. And then I had to ride up the first steep hill out of the P&R with my phone in my mouth because I couldn't get it back into my pocket AND pedal with my feet clipped in AND not fall over AND not drop my money again. And the "sweep" (e.g. person riding in back to make sure that dumbasses who drop money and can't find their own coat pocket don't get left behind) who was my new bikey friend that carpools me and brings me fenders was having a fun time teasing me about the phone in my mouth. What is it with men? Let's just say it all sounded dirty and I was busy making sure I didn't choke on my phone or fall over.

It was not my most organized evening. But it was very fun. There were some real slowpokes in our group, though. At the P&R, we split into two groups from the outset, the fast people I rode with last week and a slower group. I stayed with the slower group because I am still getting used to these pedals and I didn't know how much I'd be falling, haha. Also, I hadn't eaten yesterday (oops) and I had remembered this on the bus home and chugged a protein shake, but I didn't think passing out on the ride would be so good. And I had forgotten a water bottle (DOH!) and had to grab one that I found in the trunk of my car with old Crystal Light in it and I really didn't want to drink it if I didn't have to. PLUS I had to pee super badly starting on the bus ride on the way home and I had to pee super badly every minute of the 20 mile ride. It was a very, very disorganized ride. I left the office too late and did not prepare well for it, clearly. When will I learn?

Afterward, four of us went out for dinner and drinks. Very fun. I was in an interesting man position, in that two of them were fawning over me (seriously, at one point I had a man playing with each earring that I was wearing - Sabrina's fancy leather Danglez, I can't wait to tell her). And I'm not particularly interested in either of them, and I was telling my MTB friend yesterday, my bikey friend had better not ask me out because I am having the TIME OF MY LIFE and no one better screw it up. MTB friend says that there aren't enough women cyclists to go around, and men cyclists who both want a woman and want to ride their bikes all the time are looking.

The new guy was nice enough and I had chatted with him on the ride a fair amount (since we were riding at a snail's pace, it seemed - I really need to be in that fast group. I am not super fast but I am faster than that and I am ridiculously competitive for someone with no skills. This is an ongoing theme in my life, hahaha. So "leisurely social" rides are really not my thing. I want to feel like I'm dying. At one point last night I actually told the group leader to shut up and pedal, hahahaha). Anyway, new guy was nice enough and get this, he is a doctor and an engineer (wow. Some biotech something or 'nother) but when we got to the restaurant it was four of us: me, bikey friend, Dr. Engineer and his friend, e.g. the woman who made us ride so freaking slow all night long. Anyway, they are friends and they are talking about a Halloween party they went to together and the long and the short of it is I get to see the pictures of him in his Halloween costume...which was him dressed in drag, complete with feather boa and fishnet stockings.

This is never, ever, ever a way for a man to impress me. Lower on the scale than mustaches. :)

A Tale of Two Almas
I'm new to the interconnected bloggy world of real life people you know blogging about the same sorts of topics. Sure, I've been blogging awhile, and yes, I have lots of WLS bloggy friends. But now I'm meeting all these real life running bloggers! Exciting! Fun! A little confusing. So, some time ago, I met up with my longtime IRL friend Kim for ten nano-seconds while she was in town visiting her imaginary friend Alma. I ran down on my lunch break, said a very quick hello and parted ways. Kim talks lots about Alma because she is a super cool chick, so I already feel like I know her. Know her well enough, in fact, that at some point I see her on facebook and befriend her. Find out things like Alma is a Latina musician who plays some pretty big Seattle bars. She loves sushi. I love sushi, too!

Then it gets confusing because awhile back, I know that Kim and Alma are back east running half marathons. I even text Kim one night, "how is Alma checking in at a Seattle sushi restaurant?" There was context to this as Facebook Alma posted a picture of a sushi dish that had raw eggs on it and I told Kim in a hundred years I couldn't imagine her (Kim) eating it. Kim was understandably confused. Me, not making the perhaps most intuitive conclusion that we were talking about two different Almas, decides that facebook is "glitchy." Sigh. Sometimes even I don't understand me.

Later, Kim tags me on facebook in a post with the real Alma. I'm still not getting it. I say to her, "in my whole life I have never met an Alma and you know TWO??" Kim patiently says no, there is only one Alma. I realize that I've befriended a total stranger.

(Coming back to add: Ummm, I'm no dope. But I should mention that Facebook Alma doesn't have a picture of herself on her profile. And somewhere there was an overlap of these two groups, because there was a REASON I befriended this particular Facebook Alma. I am thinking there may be overlap with the Women Runners of King County Group or something. I promise I didn't just go trolling facebook for Almas, haha.)

However, now the two Almas are hopelessly jumbled in my mind, so at the Snohomish River Run last month, it was right on the tip of my tongue to ask Alma how her concert had gone the night before, and how cool that she does these shows! I believe it was only a discussion of Wonder Woman socks that diverted my attention from Alma's musical pursuits.

Oy. I've got to unfriend the sushi-eating musician, because she has me utterly confused. But she lives such a fun life. :) I'll get it. Kim tells me this morning that the Real Alma and I are very much alike and that for non-gay people, she is surprised at how passionate we both are for gay marriage rights in Washington. Oh, Kim, you small-town Oregon Republican, you. Bless your heart. :) Here in Seattle, especially working for Seattle, well, I've got more gay friends than I can shake at stick at.

Two more calls from the jail this morning! The first one - I cannot even understand the inmate's name. I decline. Oh, also, it's a FREE call, not a collect call. The second call - I accept. I ask, "Who is this??"


Um, I have no idea who you are.

Is Amber there?

You have the wrong number.

Is this xxx-xxx-xxxx? (he didn't say x's)

Yes. But I've had this number for years. You've got the wrong number.

Poor guy. In jail and Amber gave him a fake number. I wonder why?

He was very polite, though.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tipping Cows (and Cyclists). And Maybe I Need a Team.

Fun group ride today! This was the biggest group I've ridden with - we started with eighteen people, I think. A few people turned back along the way. There was one woman, very nice, who you just knew was not going to be able to keep up with the group. She had only had this particular bike a couple days, she was used to riding a big "cruiser" or "comfort" type bike (like my old bike, below). The new bike, sort of a hybrid road/comfort bike, made her nervous. She was wearing a HUGE backpack. It didn't bode well for her, I thought. She ended up turning back later in the ride, she was super upbeat about it, but we had all gotten to a park and waited for about fifteen minutes for her and the guy who was "sweeping" her, so I was glad she turned back. We were only twenty miles or so into what would be a 48+ mile ride, and you both didn't want to wait for her and didn't want her to feel badly about being waited for (which, if you may recall were my exact fears about starting group rides!).  I totally empathized with her, but she was sweet.

My original bike: the comfort bike. Do not try lifting: very heavy.
Today's ride was a blast and it brought me into a couple areas I have been eager to try: riding in Seattle (we went to Ivar's on Lake Union) and most especially, riding the south end of Lake Washington. Now I can expand my own "home" ride to include the south end of the lake, rather than just riding back and forth across the bridge because I don't know where else to go. My confidence is increasing: I'll be branching out more and more on my rides now that I know I'm a total biking badass and I can conquer the big hills and such. But these pieces of real estate I've picked up on the group rides: those are important for confidence building! If I weren't feeling so lazy, I'd give you a pictorial of the routes.

Here's how I first started riding on my own. It's an 18-mile out and back.

Here's my Wednesday night typical ride now. See how I added in circling the island? This is about 22 miles.

And here's today's route. See how we went both across the bridge, as I started out; then around the island, then around the south end of the lake? This experience gives me versatility in where I can ride by myself (because I am a self-acknowledged chicken). This was 48+ miles (it was the first time this group ride had been done, we went a few miles off course, haha.)

SO FUN!! Oh my goodness, do I ever love cycling. You know, it's a wonder why you ever stop these things. When I was a kid, I was so in love with my ten-speed, and I was zipping around our block like it was a velodrome. :) That is exactly how it makes me feel now, although I keep my hands on the handlebars, haha.

I think I need a team, though. Or, if I don't need one now, I will next spring. I really like riding a lot, and I want to ride fast and consistently. I want to get really good at group riding. These group rides, they'll let any schmo, like me, into them. You've got your slower-downers, like the girl who turned back today. You've got your weavers, like the guy on his first group ride who DID NOT want me in front of him but couldn't pedal a straight line to save his life.

And...the callouts. I am not experienced enough with cycling to know if the teams do this, but I suspect they do it much less. "HOLE!" "CAR BACK!" "RUNNER RIGHT!" "CAR RIGHT!" "CAR UP!" "LEAVES!" "GRATE!" "CRACKS!" "SLOWING!" "STOPPING!" "ROLLING!" "GLASS!" "BIKER UP!" "CAR PASSING!"

So noisy. Now, granted, I got 50 miles of it today with a big group. Up and down the line, everyone yelling. And granted, this was the second "mentorship" ride for a woman who wants to be a group leader, so shit was being done per the rules. And granted, there were a LOT of group leaders on this ride, so this is just what they're used to doing, perhaps (although my other group rides have not been like this).

Shhhhhhhhhhhh. It's supposed to be a peaceful sport.

I think if I had a team, I could learn to ride face, ride well, and be a good group rider with other skilled riders. And I think we could prioritize when we yell. For instance, on a 12-foot wide bike path, I do not care if another biker is heading toward me unless he is wielding a machete. At red lights, I expect to first SLOW and then STOP, followed intuitively by ROLLING at the green light.

But I had a stinking blast! :)

Also, this was the first time I rode with clipless pedals, e.g. my feet locked to the pedals. I was scared! But I did great, and it really does make the hills easier, as everyone had told me. It is a little claustrophobic. I'll get used to it. And I wouldn't really say that I fell, exactly, but cow-toppled. Twice, both at the top of very steep short hills. Both times, the (inexperienced) rider in front of me balked at the top. Nice buddy, I'm glad YOU made it up the monster hill but I am still behind you on said hill and you should get the FREAK OUT OF MY WAY. (topple)

A very slow-motion, low-impact fall.
Here is the group, they were wonderful:

And here's me with my new clipless pedals:

You've come a long way, baby.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Group Rides are Fun and Really Hurt

I went on another group ride with Cascade Bike Club last night after work. I'm actually planning to ride with them every Wednesday night, but of course, with my tummy tuck surgery date coming up, that only means I plan to ride with them *next* Wednesday night.

So fun, though. There were eight of us, and the ride leader had mucked with the course a bit and added in an extra five miles or so. The other sneaky thing she did was add in some really tough hills. Short hills, but very steep. The exact sort of thing that I avoid on my own, haha. They were a grind, and my post-half legs were none too pleased about it. But I was having a blast!

The group was faster than last week's. Last week a couple people had come along who couldn't keep up, so we stopped a lot and our pace was slower. This week, it was the fast group plus a few of us "moderate" riders. We agreed to ride at their fast pace until it became too much. Game on, baby!

Perfect workout. I was exhausted, but kept up no problem. It was exactly the kind of workout I've been wanting from these rides: feeling like I'm pushing myself hard but not holding anyone back. I got pretty worn out from those steep, short hills, but recovered quickly. I panted like a porn star the whole ride. :)

And when I got home, I was soaking wet and freezing my butt off. I hit the shower and took possibly the longest, hottest shower I've taken in years. The ride was only 23 miles, but it was the most challenging ride I've done.

I'm on the books for group rides on each of the next two Saturdays and Sundays, then it's surgery day. The ride on my day before surgery will be my longest to date: 58 miles. My surgeon said to get out there and exercise myself stupid before the surgery, since I'll be cooped up for awhile. I am doing my best to follow doctor's orders, haha.

Tonight, I am going on a group hike with that group I hooked up with a couple weeks ago. I am taking a step up from my tennis shoes that I wore last time and am wearing my motorcycle boots, haha. There are many things on my outdoor sports wish list, and I guess boots are on that list. But the biking list is about 100 items and they are the priority.