Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Memories of Jack LaLanne

Yesterday, Jack LaLanne died at 96 years of age.  He was known as a fitness guru and someone who promoted fitness before it was fashionable to workout or be in shape or be conscious of one's health at all.  I had the honor of meeting and working with him briefly back in 1999.  During the Lottery's Lucky for Life TV ad shoot, I was the associate producer and got to spend a little time with Jack and his wonderful wife, Elaine. They were the sweetest couple ever and Jack had so much energy for a man of 85. The production team and the LaLannes all went out to Wild Ginger here in Seattle the night before the shoot.  During dinner he went around to all the tables, shaking hands with patrons and telling people to eat more fish. Jack made quite an impression and was a hoot.  He was a great sport during the shoot with all the wackiness and the grueling start-stop nature of the shoot.  He even caught a flying fish (which I wish I had a picture of).  Jack was such a vivacious and authentic person who wanted to see everyone be the best they could be.  I'm so grateful to have met him.

Also in the shoot was an yet unknown Joel McHale.  He was perfect as a smarmy game show host.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Unexpected Febrile Seizure

I realized last Wednesday that there is a fragile membrane between life as we know it and abject chaos.  When something occurs that causes you to define life before and after that particular event, it's not so much about things being different so much as things being unexpected.  I thought we had received one of these moments the other night.  Luckily, I was wrong.

Wednesday night, Sidney and I visited Ken at work and ate dinner at the cafeteria with him.  I should have known something was up when Sidney did not eat much of anything.  That girl (like her mother) is always up for some food.  She seemed a little tired which was understandable given that she had gone to co-op preschool in the morning and that is always very stimulating.  After dinner we walked to Ken's office to pick up some things before leaving.  Sidney was walking around and touching all the colorful chairs in the common area and followed us into the office.  

Suddenly she fell down on the carpeted floor.  Not a big fall by toddler standards but Ken and I, who had been chatting and walking, stopped and turned to attend to her.  We expected her to a) start crying and b) sit up or stand up.  She did neither.  She just stared with a dazed look in her eyes and her arm stuck up in the air as it was when she fell. She wasn't making efforts to change her position or do something normal.  She just lay there staring at us and her breathing became choppy.  Time started to float as I grappled with my logical and freak-out parts of my brain.  'What is happening?' I kept thinking.  Along with: Is she paralyzed?  Did she just get the wind knocked out of her?  Did she break something?  More time passes and uncertainty makes the scene even more surreal.  Ken had her in his arms by now and though her eyes were open she was distant.  She was hot to the touch which I hadn't really noticed before and she was shivering/shaking.  Ken tried to talk to her and coax her into reacting to him by making her laugh or asking questions.  He's getting no response to these efforts and her breathing is ragged.  

By then I fumbled around on the desks, looking for a phone because evidently they don't all have them at Google and if they do, they are buried among the other hardware and stuff on their desks.  As expletives pour out of my mouth, I managed to find one but got nothing when I dialed '911'.  (I think I forgot to dial 9 for an outside line.)  So using my cellphone, I reached 911 and they dispatched the firetruck which is the fastest responder to any type of emergency.  This always seems silly when you don't have a fire since there are no less than 4 guys who will arrive in firefighting gear and a big truck.  But they met us at the front door of the building.  By then Sidney was starting to come around but she clearly had a fever, her body was covered in red splotchy rashes and she was still shaking.  I suspected she had had a febrile seizure but I considered that it also could be an allergic reaction to something.  The only reason I knew what a febrile seizure was is because my friend Karen told me about her son having one a few years ago.  It had necessitated an ambulance ride to Children's Hospital ER. So I was ready for that possibility but the firefighters examined Sidney briefly (one of them also recognized me from when they visited us at the house a month ago.)  They said she was stable enough for us to transport ourselves so we hastily strapped her into the car and motored over to Children's Hospital.  

She arrived with a 104 degree fever and was promptly given Tylenol.  This helped.  We were seen by a triage nurse, lab tech, nurse and doctor.  They were all great.  We were treated very well and checked up on routinely.  They confirmed the febrile seizure and eliminated urinary tract infection as the cause of the fever spike.  (To this day, we still don't know why she had that fever.)  They send us home and by then her temperature dropped to 99 degrees.  That night she slept in her pack n'play in our room.  I checked her every few hours to see if she was breathing and if she was a comfortable temperature.  The next day her temps were around 101 but her demeanor was completely normal.  By Friday the temperatures were completely normal and you couldn't tell anything weird had happened.  Amazing.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fiddlers on the Roof

UPDATE: Pics of the finished roof added below.

The old roof had two layers of shingles plus old sheathing that had to be removed before the new one could be put on.  The guys labored under glorious, sunny, blue skies on the first day to tear off the old roof.  It was perfect, like we'd ordered it.    But where it first sounded like the house would collapse with the delivery of the materials, the tear-off and sheathing/shingle application sounded like we were under attack from an army of angry hammers.  The guys worked feverishly past nightfall on both nights they were here because rain was coming.  It was amazing: insta-roof in 2 days.  But I'm so glad that's over.  :)

(These are pics of the first day.) 

All done!

That's what a cricket looks like.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Raise the Roof

We're almost 3 weeks into the New Year and we are getting more and more moved in by the day.  The garage was organized over the weekend, we're ordering a new energy-efficient, textured fiberglass "oh-it-looks-just-like-wood (no-it-doesn't)" front door and we're starting to think about rugs, accents and window dressings.  But you know what I could really go for right now during this rainy, cold January?  A new roof.  

Luckily the roofer dudes who live and work in this area know what they're in for--unlike, say, us.  You know, because we like noise, old shingles & nails littering the yard and rolling the dice on inclement weather.  In all honesty, we knew when we bought the house that the roof was old.  There have been no leaks or issues thus far but we've been told its a ticking time bomb and with the torrential rain, snow and crazy a$$ wind ripping up through here--just since we've moved in--we decided to fast track it.  

There is A LOT to know about roofing when you're bidding out.  I had no idea there are so many aspects to the job and the number of products too.  What's worse is that the bids are all organized differently and to make sense of them you have to go through them very carefully.  It was reassuring to get referrals from friends who were happy with the companies they worked with and cross reference with Angie's List.  But it just so happens that Ken's middle brother is a former roofer and his guidance was fantastic.  We went through 2 bids with him and he told us what was important and what was not.  
  • Reputation of a company and their being around well after the roof is done is very important so a cheap roof may not be all it's cracked up to be if it's not backed by an able and trust-worthy company.  
  • For our situation, sheathing was a big deal because of the age of our house and current roof.  One of the companies didn't think it was necessary to replace it even though most shingle warranties void out if they don't have new or fairly new sheathing underneath.  That struck me as odd that they were willing to extend their own labor warranty but would likely void the product warranty (red flag).  
  • Also for added protection against water intrusion an ice/watershield felt underlayment and cricketing (which builds up an angled slope behind the chimney so that water/snow does not build up behind it) were must-haves for our wet weather.  
  • Thumbs-up on ridge vents, lead pipe flashing and plywood for sheathing (no OSB).  
  • In terms of shingle brand, Ken's brother liked GAF and not so much Certainteed.  But we are going with a local product called Pabco which will do the job just fine.  
  • Warranties are a big thing to look at not just the shingle warranty which can be 20, 30, 50 years but also the warranty of the labor.  
  • There is also the added bonus of warranty transferability in case you move soon after the roof install and need to pass it to the next owner.  That's a good thing to ask about.

So today was the delivery of the materials which I thought they would just drop off in the driveway.  Silly me. No, they arrive with a crane and put the materials, you know, on the roof.  But that is not as easy as it sounds because in our case you have to get a clear shot to the roof without hitting trees or power lines and then all of the stuff needs to be secured down.   Did I mention how frakking loud it was when they put that stuff up there and the terror it inspired as I thought the house would collapse under the weight of it?  Oh and it was during nap time so that was exciting too.  I was hoping simultaneously that the house would not collapse and Sidney would sleep through all of it.

Tear-off begins bright and early tomorrow.  More updates as they happen.

Special Delivery

Whatever you do, don't drop that right now ok?

Right before the loud thump sound.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Years Eve Wedding Celebration

Probably one of the coolest New Year's Eves in recent memory was the last one where we were invited to a wedding celebration at the Skansonia on Lake Union.  Ken's co-worker Marcos and his now-wife Jessica celebrated their nuptials (which had actually happened a month earlier at a courthouse in Bothell).  They went to Tahiti for 2 weeks in December and the whole thing culminated on NYE with a raging party.  It featured a naughty piƱata, excellent food & cupcakes, lots of booze and a front row (but cooooold) view of the Space Needle fireworks.   Oh and the official photog captured our NYE kiss in a picture.  Awesome!

Photo by Keri Pinzon