Monday, January 23, 2012

Outside the Bell curve

All my life, it has been a good thing to fall outside the Bell curve. I was never an average student. I always wanted to earn the As on the far side of the curve, not the Cs of the top.

It never occurred to me that being out of the "norm" of the Bell curve could someday come back to bite me in the butt. However, as I'm far removed from any schooling and grading, I am now finding that being outside the Bell curve really just leads to massive inconvenience. It no longer pays to be "above-average."

Blow #1 against landing outside the Bell curve: SHOES.

Here's the deal: my dad is tall; my mom is short. As fate (and genetics) would have it, I am completely average. I measure in at exactly 5'6" tall. The average height for an American woman. The thing is, my feet didn't get this memo. My feet, in fact, just kept growing throughout my childhood. I stopped being able to play dress-up with my mom's shoes early in elementary school, and by middle school, my feet measured in at a ginormous size 10. Now, I'm not calling everyone else's size-10 feet huge, I'm just saying that for a person who is only 5'6", size-10 feet are not really in proportion.

When I got pregnant with Molly, I started to worry about the warnings of pregnancy making your feet grow. I couldn't stand the thought of my feet getting any bigger! I was sure I would even more resemble a duck. Or a water skier who had forgotten to remove her skis. So, you can imagine my relief when none of the doomsday predictions came true. I came through my pregnancy with Molly with my size-10 feet still intact. Thank god for small miracles, I thought.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

4 is the loneliest number

If you're a reader of my blog, you might've noticed that I like running. I like running races. I like running with Molly. I like running just for fun. But, I also really like running for medals. And, I have a problem with landing in 4th place. It seems to be a curse for me. It happens a lot. I've talked about this.

Well, Saturday morning, I spent two hours of my day glued to my phone screen watching the live updates from the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, Texas. NBC did play the video later in the day, but, I couldn't pull myself away from the live blogging on my Runner's World's web site. My heart was pounding and pulse was racing as I read all about Ryan Hall's intense pace from the get-go. He pushed the pace with 4:45 miles and ended up hitting the halfway point at 1:03:25. What?!? To put that into perspective for you, my PR (personal best) for a half marathon is 1:57:29. Only 54 minutes slower than Hall. And, he continued on for another 13.1 miles. Crazy speed. 

Anyway, Hall was racing in the lead for almost the whole race, with Meb Keflezighi, Abdi Abdirahman and Dathan Ritzenhein rounding out the lead pack. Slowly, Ritzenhein began to fade and it looked like it would easily be Hall, Keflezighi and Abdirahman as the top 3 finishers. (Only the top 3 finishers make it onto the Olympic Team). But, then, Abdirahman started to fall apart, and Ritzenhein pulled it together. Could it be? Could Ritzenhein come from behind and grab third? 

Ritzenhein who spent much of the last year recovering from injuries? Ritzenhein whose only two races in the last year have been 5Ks? Could this be the comeback story for the ages (or at least for some amazing newspaper copy)?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Oh, sweet Missy

Growing up, I wanted a dog. My best friend had a dog. I loved dogs. We all wanted a dog. And, by "we" I mean me and my brothers and sister. My mom said there was no way we were getting a dog when she had four kids, and my dad was constantly deployed overseas. It wasn't going to happen. As an adult, now, with two kids of my own, I can see her point. As a child, not so much.

So, because we couldn't get a dog, I got a parakeet. Then, when that one died, I got a second parakeet. This one named Robin. Yes, a parakeet named Robin. Don't ask me why. It came that way. Robin died under the cloud of suspicious circumstances. It involved chocolate chips and an unnamed suspect. FYI: birds shouldn't eat chocolate chips. I was done with birds after that. Turns out they just aren't that cute. Well, next came Fred the fish. Fred lived a really long time for a goldfish, but as cute as the movie Finding Nemo is, you just can't cuddle a fish. Along the way, I think my sister had a gerbil or hamster or something. And, I'm pretty sure my little brother tried to bring multiple creepy crawlies into the house under the guise of petdom. But, all this time, no dog.

Then, my dad got out of the active duty military, and we moved to Kansas. My parents finally said our family could get a dog. Cue: cheering children! We got Sweetie first. She was a rescue that I picked out. Unfortunately, as cute as she was, she was already ancient when we got her. She died within 6 months of us bringing her home. But, it was a good last 6 months.

Then, we brought home Missy. A sweet, adorable blonde Cocker Spaniel. I was 15 when we got Missy. She was another rescue from the animal shelter. There are really no better words to describe Missy than sweet. She just had a tender-hearted personality. And, for as much as my mom had been set against getting a dog, Missy became HER dog. She followed her around, pouted when she left and basically just craved her companionship. This isn't to say Missy wasn't loved by the rest of us. How could you not love her? Look at that face.

Well, after 16 years in our family, Missy had to be put to sleep today. It's hard for me to even write those words, because even though I was almost in college when we got her, she still was the only dog I have ever "had." And, it appears she will be the only dog I ever will "have," since Cory wants absolutely nothing to do with getting our own dog. So, even if I haven't lived in the same house with her for more than a decade, I still will miss her sweet, sweet heart and beautiful doggie self.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Where have all the house calls gone?

Let me start this post off by saying, I am truly grateful to have my dad around. Not only is he a great dad, but he also happens to be a doctor. When each girl was in her first year of life, I would take them up to his office to weigh and measure them on the off months of their regular doctor appointments. (The baby books have spots for each month's measurements, but you only go in for 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months. What were they thinking? They really should coordinate that better. Or, maybe it's just that not everyone is as compulsive as I am.)

Charlotte visiting Papa at work when she was 1 month old.
Molly checking Charlotte out with Papa's stethoscope.
Anyway, whenever something weird is going on, be it a rash, a cough, a fever, I just call my dad. We actually have a family doctor separate from my dad, but it is so convenient to have a direct line to a doctor. I don't have to go through the rigmarole of calling front offices or nurses, and then waiting for someone to be available to return the message. Just a quick call, "Hey dad, do you think I should worry about ... " And, we've never actually had to take either girl to an urgent care clinic or even to the doctor when they've been sick. Only for regular growth checkups. We even get him to come over to make house calls. So nice.

Well, recently a problem developed. My dad decided to leave the country. Those of you who know my dad, know this is not a new thing. He's constantly traveling to some far away place or another. But, this time, well, the girls decided to get sick. I mean, it is January, which in the world of preschool means massive, and total germ infestation. I really should've expected it. But, oh, I was so naively optimistic. Apparently, I put way too much trust in my tiny, pocket-sized antibacterial gel. (Be warned: Bath & Body Works will lead you astray with their good-smelling, cute-looking, adorably named bottles. It will not protect you from the pure evil that is KID GERMS.)