Sunday, December 29, 2013

Return of the Belly Rub

Last Monday night, Blondie and I celebrated our own Xmas by heading up to Esca, Mario Batali's seafood restaurant. It started off funny - a family was there (2 kids, parents) and the kids were rating their meals quite loudly: "Mom! Your bass was a 10 but my cod was only a 3!" They were so annoying and I couldn't focus on anything but them, which made me annoying to Blondie. But about 15 minutes after we were seated, they left and the rest of the night was a blast. We ate so much food that night - I started with ahi carpacio (I could've made my whole meal this), and then we split baked clams with bacon and apples, and a big bowl of seafood soup; and then we split some spaghetti with mint and lobster, and then ended with blackfish for Blondie and a whole baked fish for me (I can't remember which kind) and a bunch of veg.

Tuesday I worked from home along with Blondie but really I just ran a bunch of errands. I started out with a trip down the street to buy stuff for a meat and cheese platter, and then it was over to our vet's to get some prescription cat food for Tigga, and then a stop at the bank. Then I hit up Amish Market to get some prosciutto to finish the meat and cheese platter. Then I noticed I had missed a text from Blondie and he was in the area also getting a haircut, so I went and sat with him until he finished. Then we did some white elephant gift shopping before hitting up Duane Reade for wrapping paper. Then a trip to Blondie's bank and a stop at the liquor store, before heading home to crash hard. It was about 3 miles of walking carrying a ton of bags - my workout for the day.

We spent the rest of Tuesday being lazy before meeting up with our local group on Tuesday night at the bar. It was good getting to see everyone, and we cranked some Xmas tunes on their jukebox - then I got bored with Xmas tunes so segued that into some metal music before we went home around 9 pm. We had been making a beef stew that wasn't going to be ready until almost midnight that night so we stopped at 7-11 for snacks before settling in and watching a bunch of TV.

And then it was Wednesday - we had been going to meet a couple of our bar friends for a movie and McDonald's for breakfast to start our day, but Blondie had an upset stomach and I didn't want to leave him on Xmas. Instead we chilled out, unwrapped gifts from my mom and sister, and generally had a quiet morning in. Xmas afternoon and evening was spent at one of our bar friend's apartments. He has a penthouse apartment overlooking, well, everything. It was pretty freaking amazing. His wife did all the cooking, and we brought chicken wings and meat and cheese platter. It was a day filled with friends and food. We ended the night by our white elephant swap (I got a giant flask and Blondie got a Budweiser stein and scratch-offs) and then playing a ton of Cards Against Humanity.

Thursday was spent all day at the animal hospital. I took Tigga in at 8 am and told them I just was going to stay the day until he was done. I wasn't the only one who stayed also - 8 to 9 am at the animal hospital is drop-off time (pets getting chemo, surgery, procedures, etc), and some others stayed until their pet was finished. I was so nervous about Tigga - scared of what they would find, etc. The vet technician talked to me first - walked me through what they were going to do that day and the cost (hint: not cheap), and then the vet came out before they started work. She told me that Tigga had actually gained a tiny bit of weight (!!!) And then she came out around 1:15 pm to tell me they were done - that Tigga was being held for a few more hours until he was completely out of sedation but that he did great with no complications. At that point, I knew I couldn't wait a few more hours - I'd be bugging them every 15 minutes to give me my cat back. So I headed a few blocks down the street for some margaritas and queso. I made it about 1 hour, 15 minutes, and then headed back and asked for him. To their credit, they gave him to me right away - he came out in his carrier just growling at everyone. It was so freaking funny! We find out in 5-7 days about the results - if cancer, we start chemo. If the results are not definite, we just start steroids.

Thurs night was spent monitoring Tigga - they had said to only give him half his food for the day so we started with just a little bit of food, but he was frantic, knocking his dish around in the kitchen so eventually we just fed him. They also said he might not poop for 2-3 days (they were messing around in his GI tract for his endoscopy so they had given him medication to slow his GI tract down), but I shit you not (hehe) - the next morning he had already pooped 5 times. He also looks pretty punk - he's been getting his fur shaved off in random places for all the procedures. His chest, his belly, his right front leg, half the bottom of his right foot - he looks bad ass.

Friday came and Blondie had packed up to head to the land of cheese for a few days. While he was saying goodbye, Tigga came out and did his "move". The move entails standing on all 4 paws (i.e. his butt not on the ground) and then slowly starting to turn his head over so eventually the top of his head is at the floor, and then flipping his entire body so his belly shows so you have to give him belly rubs. It hit me that it was the first time in months we had seen the move! This has to mean Tigga is feeling better - sooooo relieved. Hopefully between the deworming medication (he didn't have worms, they were just trying to kill any parasites in his system), anti-biotics, and B12 shots, he's starting to feel normal again!

Friday and Saturday were spent doing nothing - it was amazing. I went and got food when Blondie left on Friday and then didn't leave the apartment again. It was everything I dreamed it could be. Today I'm meeting my female bar friends for girls day. We are going to do lunch and then hit up a wine bar. Which means I've got to get up and get showered very soon.

Hope everyone had a great holiday, and an early happy new years!


Monday, December 23, 2013

A Whole Lot Of Nada

Last week was... weird? I spent the entire week in NJ, but with the exception of Tuesday night, I got to spend every night in my own bed. My week started off with a trip to my site to do some manual work in preparation for user training that was happening Tues-Fri. I went with 2 coworkers whom I really enjoy - got to the site around 8:30 am and was done by 4 pm, with a 1.5 hour lunch tossed into the mix. I was home that night by 6 pm which rocked.

Tuesday started training - it's always terrifying and stressful for me during trainings as that's the first time users get to start work on our product. Typically users don't see it beforehand as higher ups make the "buy decision", so you really really really want things to go smoothly. And they did. I caught a 6:00 am train out to the site (ugh 5 am wake up call) and then was so relieved when everything worked as it should. I did drinks and dinner with a bunch of coworkers that night - I went with the team from the site I was at. We had the team still working at the NJ/PA border site drive in also, and just had a blast. I ended up crashing Tuesday night in the city where we were at because a massive snow storm was blowing through and I just didn't have the energy to get home. Yay last minute $300 hotel room that I didn't get approved ahead of time - I'm sure that's going to bite me in the ass.

Wednesday was a good/bad day. Training was still going well, but I had gotten the call from the vet about the results of Tigga's tests. No liver cancer (!!!!) and his heart murmur is not an issue (!!!!) BUT (and you knew this was coming), his liver is inflamed and he is not absorbing B12 properly which is why he's losing weight. The reason his liver is inflamed and he's not absorbing B12 is either bowel disease or GI lymphoma. They gave us 3 options for next steps - 1) invasive surgery where they cut out a piece of his intestine (it's the only way to definitively diagnose cancer / bowel disease); 2) endoscopy of his upper intestine (sometimes they can diagnose from that, sometimes they can't); 3) do nothing - change his diet, put him on steroids, hope for the best. If it's bowel disease, steroids will heal him. If it's lymphoma, steroids will mask his symptoms and make it look like he's getting better when he's not - and diagnosing lymphoma after steroid usage is almost impossible.

Thurs and Fri were more of the same - 5 am wake up calls, 6 am trains, and some training. I was feeling less stressed each day and by the end, I was mostly just ready to be done. Friday night we drug ourselves to our local bar to celebrate one of our bar friends birthdays. We had many drinks and then wandered up the street for a nice dinner and more drinks. After dinner, I was so tired I could barely see straight so it was back home to crash out.

Saturday I decided to not do anything and Blondie was in. I was lazing in sweatpants and watching TV Saturday afternoon when my phone beeped - it was one of my besties from the office whom I hadn't seen since before Thanksgiving (simply b/c I haven't been in the office - 4 weeks of traveling, wat wat). He was having a small party and invited me and Blondie over. We talked it over and decided to go - made the trek out to Brooklyn Saturday night and had a blast. My friend mixed us some super strong drinks, and his friends were pretty cool. One of his friends even lives in our hood, so maybe we'll run into him sometime.

Yesterday was also cool. We finally made the decision to take Tigga in for an endoscopy. We also ordered his prescription cat food online and started him on anti-biotics. He goes in Thurs for the procedure. I'm taking the day off from work and I'm going to sit in the hospital until it's done and I can bring him home. If they can't diagnose definitively after the endoscopy, we've made the decision to put him on steroids and have no more procedures done. After we made the decision and got the appt set up, we walked up and met all of our bar friends (6 of them) to see Anchorman 2. OMG - FUNNY. SO FUNNY.

After the movie, it was back to Pony Bar where my old boss met up with us for lunch and many beers. My old boss is amazing - she brought me a bottle of Ron Burgundy Scotch (no joke) and a ton of gummy bears from Dylan's Candy Bar. We spent all afternoon just catching up and chatting, and then it was back to our local for beers to end the evening.

Today I went into work for a few hours - mostly to get them to approve my expense reports. They owed me quite a bit of money so I finally got them to look at and approve - as soon as that happened, I was like "day over". I then went to lunch with my coworkers and then headed home. Tonight Blondie and I are hitting up Esca for a nice dinner for our own Xmas celebration.

Hope everyone has a great holidays, and please keep Tigga in your thoughts.

Scotchy Scotch Scotch

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sick Kitty

Last week went pretty well. It started with a trip out to the NJ/PA border. We went out on Sunday night in the middle of a snow storm. My group left from the office and it took us awhile to get out there due to the weather. We woke up Monday morning to find out our 3rd party site had been closed due to the weather. We talked to the team anyway, and they said we could still get into the building. So my group headed over anyway and did a lot of little tasks we had left, before leaving around 3 pm for a hibachi / beer lunch.

Tuesday was pretty much the same - the site closed again due to weather. This time though the snow was falling pretty heavily (whereas the day before, the roads had been crap but no snow). We ended up taking my group to breakfast and then driving to another NJ site we have - we worked all day long there, and ended up finding a major issue that we had to resolve this weekend - so it was good we made the trip.

Wednesday our site was open - we went in to launch a few small projects, and then the team started leaving. We had planned a fall off in support because we were supposed to get the bulk of our work done on Monday and Tuesday. We moved everything we had planned to Friday instead, and then I split the remainder of the people up on Friday to support the small launches (I got stuck with one on my own which we try to never do). Anyway, on Wednesday night, I rode back to Newark with the group and picked up a car. I ended up driving for the first time in about 8 years this past week. The person that was left with me for Thurs and Fri is a native NY'er and does not have a license. So yeah, it was me.

I hate driving. I was never good at it, and I had a tendency to road rage at everything. I had terror sweats all week when I realized I was going to have to drive. I'll spare you the surprise and tell you that both my colleague and I are still alive, and the car was left in 1 piece.

Thursday was an extremely quiet day - the highlight being an awesome Irish bar we found about 5 minutes from our hotel. Seriously - I had a lamb stew that rocked my world. The lowlight being we got Tigga's test results back. At first it sounded good - everything she could test for with blood, she had tested and all looked good (no thyroid problems, no kidney problems, no diabetes). Then she said that she was pretty sure this was GI lymphoma - he has an elevated liver enzyme, and it turns out that's an indicator of this.

And Friday was insane - in addition to all the small project launches we had, I was still dealing with the fallout from the other NJ site. I had to carve bits of time all day long in order to get on phone calls with the other NJ site to walk them through what we had seen. They ended up having to do a pretty big upgrade on Friday night to resolve the issue.

On our way back to Newark Airport to drop the car off on Friday, I got us turned around and ended up in downtown Newark. On a Friday night. In rush hour. OMG - such a horrible driver. And then we dumped the car and I've never been so happy in my life. I ended up training back to the city and getting home around 6 pm. Blondie and I took it easy on Friday night because I was exhausted.

Saturday was nice - we had yet another massive snowstorm hit the city. We took advantage of it and walked up in the snow to our grocery, and then made a huge egg and vegetable fry up for the morning. I lazed around all day, and talked myself into and out of going to a friend's party at his apartment (simply because the roads were so bad). I did end up going (Blondie had a friend in town so he couldn't join me) and ended up having a total blast. My friend is from my old job, and he got engaged recently so it was their engagement party. I saw a ton of my old coworkers, drank my ass off (they hired a bartender), and before I realized it, it was 2 am and I was heading home.

Today was spent at a specialty vet clinic. We took Tigga in for an ultrasound of his GI tract. They noted a thickening in his intestine and found some spots on his liver that they need to test. Also, he has a heart murmur. He goes in tomorrow all day and is getting an ultrasound of his heart to see how bad his murmur is, as well as they are pulling out some of the cells they spotted on his liver. If this is lymphoma, his time left is not much. This is breaking my heart. He comes home with us tomorrow night regardless - and we'll know either Tues or Wed what his diagnosis is.

Tomorrow for me will be spent in my NJ site all day - but while I'll be physically there, my heart will be with my buddy in NY. The work I have to do is completely manual - which is the best case for having to be at a 3rd party site while I'm worried about my cat. Keep him in your thoughts.


Sunday, December 08, 2013

See Last Week's Title

I'm coming off a very busy, very emotional week. Yay you - you get to read about it.

I met my coworkers last Sunday night at the office to leave for NJ/PA border from there. We met around 6:30 pm and were out to where we were staying around 8 pm. We immediately went for dinner and started planning out our work days so that we wouldn't be fumbling on Monday. And went to the site on Monday - to find out that we had more than fumbled already. Details are work specific so I won't go into them, but Monday was the start of a horrible week.

We recovered slightly on Tuesday - we went in, did a demo which went well, and then dug back into the work we were there for. We had a small project launch to support on Tuesday also, so I split the team up and took the more senior members with me for that, and left the junior members on the other stuff. That went extremely well which was nice - so we left the site on Tuesday on a high. We also sent back half the team on Tuesday as we finished the bulk of the work we were there to do.

While at dinner on Tuesday night, an email got sent out from someone who had been at the site on Monday - again, work details. But it threw us into a complete tailspin. We debated about what to do with the email (as it had been sent to a really small group) and ended up forwarding it on - and asking our bosses to jump in. I got back to the hotel that night, and when I called Blondie, as soon as I heard his voice, the water works started. So much stuff has happened that I don't talk about on the blog in regards to work, and it all kind of came together on Tuesday night, and once I started crying, I couldn't stop. Poor Blondie - that guy had to listen to me for an hour; but I'm glad he did because I felt loads better when I hung up the phone.

Wednesday was a lot better - work was back on track, and the 3rd party company decided to hold a meeting on Friday which meant we didn't have to be onsite on Friday. And Thursday we went in, hauled ass through the day, and got out at a reasonable time. Traffic back to NYC was fairly light, and I was home by 4:15 pm.

Friday was my first office day in about 2 weeks - it went super fast, so much stuff to do. I have this project I'm on now, and a new one gearing up, so it was a go-go-go day. I ended up talking with my VP for a long time on Friday - I felt like I should've felt better after the meeting about what had gone on that week, but I didn't.

Yesterday I was up at 2:45 am and couldn't get back to sleep until 6:15 am. Awesome. Old people get insomnia. I'm old. Therefore I have insomnia. When I did wake back up, I started doing some research on vets. Tigga has gotten pretty thin over the past few months, and I have put off taking him to the vet, but decided on Saturday to bite the bullet. I didn't ever get the "warm and fuzzies" from his old vet, so I also decided to find him a new one.

Why do I love NYC so much? IN HOME VET SERVICE! I found a vet who is a cat person (she did cat rescue in Miami and that's when she decided to go to veterinary school) who does house calls. I sent her an email yesterday and she responded last night offering to come by today - fast service, in home service. I'm kicking my ass for not calling her sooner. Anyhow, she came by this morning - she had a real good touch with Tigga, a real way of getting him to do what she needed him to do without stressing him out. She told us she suspsects he's either diabetic, has a kidney problem, or has cancer - he's lost about 4.5 lbs since his biggest which is a concern. She pretty much ruled out diabetes by pulling his urine - said it didn't look like the urine of a cat with diabetes (I guess that urine is extremely watery looking and Tigga has normal urine). But she's pulled the blood and everything else to test for the rest of the issues. This was one of the best vet experiences we've had, and even if it turns out to be something major with Tigga, I'm so glad we did this visit and I'm so glad we did it in our house.

I side tracked myself - back to Saturday, we spent most of the day laying in bed. I took 2 naps to make up for my early 2:45 am rise time. And then we ordered in wine and Thai food last night for dinner while watching The Campaign <- great movie, if you like Will Farrell, you will love this.

Today, oh today. Maybe a Pony Bar run this afternoon. We're waiting for our groceries now. And I've got to pack. Yep, that's right - leaving again today for the NJ/PA border. I'm onsite all week this week, and then I'm onsite all week next week at one of our other NJ sites (should be close enough to come home most nights though). I said goodbye to my boss on Friday until 2014 - I'm not in need of a break from work, but I'm in need of a break from travel.

All right party people - keep Tigga in your thoughts, and hope he's healthy; we're not ready to go through the loss of a pet again.


Sunday, December 01, 2013

And away we go... part 259039(?)

So I ended up spending 36 hours in McAllen. It was kind of random. I got to LaGuardia last weekend and realized that *every single flight* to DFW was cancelled except for mine. And I almost cried a little - if mine had cancelled, I would've just gone home and hung out with Blondie. It turns out that checking the weather report is a good idea, and if I had done that, I would've seen that TX was getting nailed with a massive storm - a massive storm that was headed straight towards NYC. Anyway, my coworker showed up then and told me that our flight to McAllen was already cancelled out of DFW but we decided to go ahead and fly down and see what we could come up with when we got to DFW.

Flight was nice - very turbulent, but on time and fast-ish. When we got to DFW, we went to the rebooking desk and they put us on a flight to San Antonio, and we figured we could drive from there (4 hours). We plopped down at a mexican restaurant in the airport and then got pinged by 2 other coworkers who were flying in from FL. They had been on our McAllen flight too and then switched to a Corpus Christi flight- I ran back down to rebooking desk and got me and my NY coworker on the last 2 seats to Corpus. A shit ton of margaritas then ensued at the mexican restaurant (since I knew I wouldn't have to drive) before we all met up and got on our flight together. It was a 2.5 hour drive after we landed in Corpus, putting us into McAllen at 2 am (11 hours of traveling).

Work was okay - what we had gone down for had not been cleared by the "higher ups" with all appropriate parties - so while some people knew we were coming, others didn't - and the bulk of our work was cancelled. We did spend Monday doing what we could - and I also got my flight on Tuesday moved extremely early so that I would miss the bulk of the storm hitting NYC. Monday night we hit up an awesome restaurant for food before moving onto a bar and playing Jenga and drinking beers until midnight. And Tuesday it was a 6 am flight to DFW before catching my flight home to NYC. I got to my apartment at 2:30 pm ish, and just collapsed from exhaustion.

*** The good news is I fell in love with McAllen. I lived in TX for 8 years and I thought I knew border towns - I had been to enough of them - and I typically don't like them. But McAllen, something about it. My coworkers all agreed too - and as a matter of fact, some of them beg for the McAllen site when it's time to do work down there they love it so much.

Tuesday night I was asleep by 7:30 pm and Wednesday I got to WFH. I did some wine shopping in the morning and then stopped at the pet store for new cat food to try and keep our cat eating something (Fussie Kittie cat food FTW!) My bar friend and I were going to meet up for lunch and beers at 2 pm ish, but she had to bail so instead I walked up and met some coworkers for beers and burritos. After that, we started bar hopping our way around the area - hitting up a bar in Times Square, followed by Pony Bar, followed by a bourbon bar down the street from Pony, followed by dinner at a new food court area by my apartment, followed by my local bar. Ugh. Many shots ensued at my local bar...

Which leads to Thurs being BLAH. I was dozing/nauseous until about 3 pm, and then finally got in the shower. We then headed over to my bar friends' apartment where we started drinking and eating again. We were joined by their roommates along with one of the other regulars from the bar. We had a great night - the food was amazing, the company was excellent, the Cards Against Humanity was hysterical, and the dog was farty (their bulldog was eating everything he could get his teeth on which led to some horrible gas).

Friday we took it easy - I went and bought more cat food (my cat won't eat straight tuna anymore but give him tuna and shrimps with gravy cat food and he eats it like he's never eaten a meal before in his life) and some stuff to make bran muffins for Blondie. I actually baked the bran muffins on Friday and then we snacked on them all day. And we ended our night by hitting up our local bar, doing yet more shots with everyone, before heading home to order pizza, eat junk food and watch TV.

Yesterday we celebrated by doing NOTHING. Literally. I watched The Conjuring (good movie) and napped. Blondie worked and then played video games. And today we're headed to lunch soon and then I have to pack because I'm off to NJ/PA border for the rest of the week. I'm meeting some coworkers at 6 pm and we're driving out to spend the week there. The good news is I don't have to fly. The bad news is I'm tired.

What I'm thankful for this year:
1) Blondie and Tigga - a shout out to my family. Love them both so much. My favorite part of any day is when Blondie and I curl up in bed together and then the cat forces his way somewhere in between - my heart smiles when this happens.
2) NYC!!!!!! Always and forever.
3) Broadway!!! Always and forever and forever.
4) My extended family - KY, WI, AK, IN, WA, PA - love you all! Glad I got to see so many of you this year!
5) Travel - thank god I like to travel, because I've spent most of my year on the road.
6) My friends - from my bar friends to my work friends to my friend friends - glad you all are in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!