Friday, November 27, 2009

2009 Thanksgiving Crisis Parade

Well there has definitely been a lot to blog about since Tuesday night! But little time to update more than Facebook and Twitter. Here's the play by play of the 2009 Thanksgiving Crisis Parade.

Hmm, what follows is a lot of whining, or at least it feels that way after writing it all down, so let me say at the outset: I have so much that I am thankful for this year!

We are thankful every single day to be the parents of Nicholas. The amazement still hasn't worn off, even after 3.5 years.

Tom and I have been so blessed to get the chance to have two more children.

I'm incredibly thankful for Tom, who not only loves me dearly, and has for 15 years of marriage as of this past September, but who can take care of just about anything! (Several examples below.)

I'm so thankful for my sisters and my mother, and that my mom has a wonderful new house this year.

I'm very thankful for my Dad, and you'll see why below.

And I'm thankful to be surrounded by wonderful extended family, in-laws and friends who are so willing to lend support at a moments notice. Thank you guys!


Let the 2009 Thanksgiving Crisis Parade commence!

First, Tuesday night, while we were taking our shower at about 8pm, I noticed when I got out that the bathroom floor was flooding. I couldn't figure out how so much water could have gotten out since I hadn't let Nicky hold the showerhead or anything. Tom said to see if it was coming from the toilet, so I flushed the toilet and then water started gushing out of the holes where the bolts for the toilet are. Crap!

Tom figured it was the wax ring and he just needed to put in a new one. He took the toilet off and the wax ring was obviously totally disintegrated. BUT so had the flange which is the top of the pipe that you bolt the toilet into. It was cast iron, probably original to the house (1959) and had rusted completely away in parts. Tom went to Lowe's to see if he could get a wax ring at least, and maybe some advice on the flange, but alas! Lowe's closed 10 minutes before he got there. I started calling plumbers, because Hello, pregnant with twins here! I need a freaking toilet! And we only have the one bathroom.

Well we couldn't find a plumber to come out that night. That was a really long night. But we had one scheduled to come out in the morning. I tell you, I got to work early Wednesday. And I told Tom I wasn't coming home till the plumber fixed the toilet. Keep in mind this was the day before Thanksgiving, and we had my Mom and my sister, Liz, coming over to stay for the holiday. Five people and one bathroom is hard enough. Throw a compromised toilet into the mix and that's not a great way to spend Thanksgiving.

So the plumber came, and replaced the flange and the wax ring. Back in business right? Tom and I spent all our money to pay the plumber. Good thing we'd already gotten the turkey and groceries. Crisis averted!


Wednesday evening I get a call from my sister Jessica. My Dad is at the hospital in Gainesville, GA (about an hour from his house) and apparently had a heart attack or something. They've done an EKG and now they're doing a cardiac catheter. She'll call back when they know more. No one really wanted her to tell me, because of my delicate condition, but I'm glad she did. At this point all I knew was he'd had chest pains while going somewhere with someone and then drove himself to the hospital. It sounded like he was in good hands, so I wasn't too worried actually. I posted an update on Facebook, and shortly had all sorts of prayers and well wishes heading my Dad's way.

Later that night Jessica called and said they were going to do a double bypass and valve replacement the next day. Again, everyone was really worried I'd spontaneously explode or something, but really, I'm a pretty calm person. I'd rather know what's going on. I wasn't too worried actually. I figure he's in the hospital, which is the best place to be if your heart is acting wonky, and it seems like so many people have had multi-bypass surgeries these days. Surely his chances are excellent and he's young, he'll be fine. Now I just planned to talk with Liz when she arrived so we could figure out how and when we'd drive up there. I figured we might leave Friday morning early, just the two of us maybe.

So crisis not really averted yet, but at least under control.


So now it's Thursday. Tom gets up at 8:30am to start getting the turkey ready for cooking. It's a huge one, over 26 pounds. We like to do them big :) Tom had taken the turkey out and put it in the fridge to defrost on Monday. Well guess what. It was still frozen. Almost solid. Gah! While Tom ran warm water into the cavity to try to get the neck and stuff out, I searched the Internet for ideas on what to do. I knew that lots of people have had this happen to them before...surely.

I ran into a page that detailed how to cook a frozen turkey, while it was frozen. Sounded like our only real option at this point, so Tom followed the directions and used his meat thermometer. He put the turkey in at 325 at 10am. He added butter and spices later after it had cooked a while. He added aromatics at some point too. He actually didn't even have to tent it. And it was done at 4:30pm. Only 6.5 hours of cooking. He'd estimated 7 hours for that size bird anyway, so that was perfect! I was worried we were going to end up with turkey jerky, but actually it was really great. Probably not quite as moist for the white meat as his usual bird, but not all dried out at all. Plus Tom always makes awesome gravy, so I don't think anyone cared a bit. Another crisis averted!


Thursday morning, while Tom was solving the Turkey Crisis, Nicky and I were getting the house all ready for company. I was going to attempt to put my mom and Liz in our room and have Tom and I stay in the guest room, so I was getting both rooms all spiffed up. I even put on a new dust ruffle in our room. Shh, don't tell anyone. I'm not supposed to lift things like queen mattresses in my condition you know.

Well about 30 minutes before we expected Liz and my Mom to arrive, I jumped in the shower with Nicky. And when we came out...Oh God, the floor is flooded again! I called Tom to come help. I got Nicky and I dressed and then we all sat around in a panicked stupor. Liz and my Mom arrived about 10 minutes later. To make a long story short, Tom was really worried it was the septic tank, but after plunging everything a lot the toilet seemed to be working ok. We figured it must have been a clog, and since Nicky was in the bathroom quite a bit, we suspected he'd flushed something he shouldn't have. We watched the toilet carefully, but it seemed ok. So we went ahead with our cooking and prep. Another crisis averted!


Liz and I talked again with Jessica. Seems his surgery is actually going to be early Friday morning, not on Thanksgiving. And no one, including my Dad, wants me to come. They're all worried about me traveling and being in a hospital while in my condition. I wanted to go, but at the same time, I wasn't mentally prepared to leave before Friday morning. Things had been coming hard and fast, and now we were also dealing with the current toilet crisis (it was in a state of not working at this time). I didn't feel ok leaving Tom, my Mom and Nicky alone in this situation on a holiday. Add that to everyone stressing about the babies and I, and Liz anxious to leave NOW, and I decided to go ahead and stay home. (Dad, don't make me regret this, you better make it through the surgery fine!) So Liz jumped back in the car after having a sandwich for lunch and unloading my Mom's bags from the car. She arrived at my house around noon and was gone by 2pm. She hit no traffic and was able to go straight to the hospital to see my Dad at about 8:30pm.

So crisis still ongoing, but now we have more people there with my Dad. Things are pretty good.

Thanksgiving Dinner was fabulous. It included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, spinach casserole, roasted carrots, carrot souffle, baked sweet potatoes, three kinds of cranberry sauce, and potato rolls with banana pudding and apple cranberry pie for dessert. And with Liz gone, that was all for 5 adults and Nicky. Nicky loves jellied canned cranberry sauce by the way. That's pretty much what he ate. Well, that and banana pudding. So lots of leftovers. (Which we've been eating for every meal since. Yum!)

Well after dinner, the toilet decided it wasn't going to work again. Super! Tom and his Dad went to SuperWalmart (which was open 24/7 even on Thanksgiving) and got a toilet auger and drain snake. They worked on it and seemed got it working again. So we're thinking it was just a major clog. Surely Nicky flushed something down there. Another crisis averted! (What is this, like 5?)


I was able to call my Dad Thanksgiving evening and talk to him. This is where I got the WHOLE story, which him going into v.fib, having CPR and the paddles done on him to bring him back, all in front of my stepmother, who was understandably really upset. He was so lucky to be sitting with a doctor, hooked up to the EKG, answering questions when this happened. It's a complex story, and one I'll address further in another post. But talking to my Dad actually made me feel a lot better. He was looking forward to just getting the surgery done and over with, although they said he was running a low-grade fever today, so if that didn't go away they would have to postpone the surgery.

Crisis feels nicely under control, and I'm feeling better after talking to Dad.


All night we were watching the toilet like a hawk every time we flushed it. But all was going fine. Liz called at 7:30 in the morning with an update on my Dad. He had been all prepped and ready for the surgery when the surgeon came in looking horrible. Apparently the surgeon had gotten food poisoning from Thanksgiving and was all shaky, red-eyed and feeling awful. It was up to my Dad if he wanted to wait or continue. Um, yeah, he decided to wait for a surgeon who wasn't shaky or in danger of throwing up or falling asleep during his double bypass/valve replacement/cardiac ablation surgery. I think that was a wise call.

I talked with Dad myself later that day and he said the surgery would be Saturday sometime in the morning. And actually the surgeon, a Dr. James Wolfe, has many more years of experience with valve replacement than the other guy and is considered a specialist in Georgia for valve work. So that sounds really good.

Crisis still under control, surgery put off, but now possibly have an even better doctor. Sounds great!


It's Friday, I get to take a lovely nap, we're eating Thankgiving Dinner parts 2-5, everything is great! And then bedtime. Tom, Nicky and I go to take a shower. I am nervous. I'm peeking out at the floor making sure everything is fine. Tom notices the drain has slowed... looks out and FLOODING AGAIN? WTF? Turn off the water, at least Nicky and Tom were clean, I have soap in my hair. I get Nicky out and turn him over to my Mom. Tom get's the snake out again and pulls hair out, but things still aren't working quite right. I get to rinse my hair quickly to get out.

Tom finds he just can't get down far enough with the snake he has. The clog is in the main line, and the best way to access it is via the toilet by taking the toilet off again. Super. But at least it's earlier this time. Lowe's is open. Tom goes to Lowe's, taking the cash we scrape up from Nicky's piggy bank, my wallet, and my Mom, to buy a wax ring and another drain snake thingy that can go around curves better.

Tom takes off the toilet and works for a few hours on the drain. Pulls out some stuff, but now he's thinking it really is the septic tank. As long as there is just a little bit of water, a single flush, washing hands, even our washing machine (because it's a front loader and doesn't use much water) then we're ok. But if you have a tub full of water, a lot of flushing or showering, then it backs up into either the shower or if the water is from the shower, under the toilet. Fabulous.

So he re-installs the toilet. I call the plumber back, they don't do septic pumping. They suggest Roto Rooter. I call them, nope. They don't do it either. Really? Cause I thought that was WHY people called them. Great. I do some more Googling and find a few options. Small companies I've never heard of. Super. Of course none of them are 24 hours, or anything. So we'll have to call them tomorrow. Saturday. Great. I hope they're open.

My plan is either for us to limp along till Friday when I get paid, or my Mom offered to put it on her credit card and then I can send her a check. Of course that'll only work if it's not a zillion dollars. About 300 is the max I can commit to right now and that's really screwing us anyway. And they'd have to be able to come this weekend too. My Mom will probably be heading home Sunday.

This crisis: it ain't over yet.


Well, I promised an update. Here it was. Epic length I think, even for me! But I think I covered everything. I'll do another post with more details on my Dad's story later. Now I have a paper due Friday and Tom and I both have a huge project Due Saturday. Then we'll be done with our classes this Fall. That will be a relief.

We also have an ultrasound and OB appointment this Thursday, and then the nuchal translucency ultrasound on the 7th, two ultrasounds! We can't wait to see the babies again. I haven't had much in the way of symptoms lately. Well, really I haven't had nausea. I've had exhaustion, sore boobs, heartburn and my stomach is showing some, so there is all that. But it's always nerve wracking during that time before you can actually feel the babies moving. We'll feel better for a while after the ultrasound if that shows everything is okay in there.

So keep those prayers for my Dad coming. He will be needing them for a while. And if you have a prayer to spare, please say one for our toilet septic tank plumbing. We can use all the divine help we can get there too.

UPDATE Saturday: We were able to get a company out today to pump out the septic tank. And that did it! We've all taken showers, Nicky's had a bath, and no flooding. It was $410 but it's all done. Thank goodness! As for my Dad, for some reason the backup doctor couldn't come up from Atlanta today, so his surgery has been put off AGAIN! But they said it will definitely be tomorrow, Sunday. (We've heard this before, so I think we'll just see.)