Sunday, February 22, 2015

Aug-Feb Updates

So I'm a little late in the year to be wishing everyone a happy new year.  I seem to post blog entries about as often as I journaled growing up.  Some things never change.

Jay is in his last few months of intern year of residency,

A little background on residency training.  Jay is in a surgical residency which is 5 years.  The first year is called your intern year.  Jay spends a month rotating on a variety of different services.  He has rotated through pediatrics, ICU, labor and delivery, ER, internal medicine and surgical services.  This month he is finishing up his ER rotation.  It has been fabulous.  He is assigned 18 8 hrs shifts, which will occasionally turn into 10 hr shifts.  Compared to the hours he spends on surgery rotations, this has been heavenly.  However, one week from today he will begin a 2 month long surgery rotation followed by a month of house officer night shifts.  this basically means he will be working a month of 12 hour long night shifts for a month straight admitting all patients for the hospital.  4 weeks of straight nights!  For his surgery shifts he wakes up at 4 am to be to the hospital between 4:30 and 5 am.  He finishes up between 5pm and 9pm depending on the case load and patient needs.  It's grueling and tiring but Jay doesn't complain as much as I would be.  We have been warned that 2nd and 3rd year will be the hardest so we have been enjoying the "lighter" rotation months during his intern year.

Since moving to Michigan, I have been blessed with two jobs that have been flexible enough to allow me to self schedule.  This has allowed me to take time off when Jay has time off, including extended time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I chose to work new Year day, but only because jay was working that day.  What other health care professional has that kind of flexibility?  As great as the self scheduling has been, neither job was really a great fit.  The first was an office that was run poorly and I question some of the ways the billing and coding was submitted.  The second was a non clinical job where I reviewed charts and abstracted data for research purposes for a bariatric surgeon.  I actually enjoyed this job more than I thought I would but I wasn't using my NP degree.  This past week I was offered a full time position as an NP with a radiation oncology office at the hospital and have accepted the position.  The timing of it could not have been better.  I will begin working full time as Jay begins the busiest time of his residency.  The office was initially looking to hire an RN, however they received my resume for a recruiter at the hospital who has had my resume since June of last year.  They adjusted the position and received approval from HR to make it an NP position and increase my current pay, plus provide full benefits such as PTO and 403B matching.  It'll be a leap to start full time work again, but I have been so impressed with the office that I am excited to jump in and start working.  It'll be a huge learning curve and I hope that I can learn it quickly and be able to provide great care to these wonderful cancer patients.

and what have we done in our "spare" time??  While living in Arizona, by the time the weekend rolled around I was exhausted mentally.  My job as a new nurse practitioner seriously increased my anxiety levels and I wanted nothing more than to sit on the weekends and not plan anything.  Thankfully, Jay always wanted to go do something.  Here in Michigan the tables have turned.  The first few weeks of residency Jay found himself exhausted on the weekends and wanted nothing planned or least nothing that required much travel.  After a few weeks we talked about how the most time he would ever have off in a row, other than taking an actual vacation, would be 2 days.  We knew that if we wanted to see anything out on the east coast, then we would need to take those 48 hrs and plan it well.  

We went camping with friends from church at Metamora State park.  It was a lovely place right next to a small lake where we rented canoes.  

 We've been to Canada 3 times!  Its' nice that we only live 30 mins from the border.  We first traveled to Toronto in August to see Amy and Billy Dalebout before they moved back to Washington DC.  Then in October we went to Point Pelee, the southern most tip of Canada.  It is known for bird and butterfly migrations.  We were a little late in the season but still enjoyed the beauty of it.  And most recently we went to Niagara falls on the Canada side to see the frozen falls.

We traveled to Indiana labor day weekend to meet up with some of my BYU nursing friends. 

Jay took a week off work in October and we went to Orlando, Florida.  We hung out with his sisters Emily and Becca and their families.  We hit the Disney spooktacular and Universal Studios (Harry Potter world was pretty awesome), visited the beach and pool and ate some seriously good food.  

In November we went to Indiana to see Jay's sisters over Thanksgiving weekend.  She lives in a lovely 100 year old mansion.  It reminded me of the family I worked for in high school's home.  

We drove to Wisconsin on Christmas Eve and spent a week with the Brennan and Springer family.  Wausau was frigid.  We did a lot of puzzles and I got crafty while I was there.  

This past week Jay had 4 days off in a row from his ER shifts.  He got 4 days off in a row at the expense of working every weekend the entire month of February.  The local school district had mid winter break and several of the family were heading to Sandusky Ohio to play at Kalahari, an enormous indoor water park.  We spent 2 days there and then drove on to Cleveland to visit Jay's friend from medical school who is in an ortho residency there.  

We've also had a few visitors venture out here.  Julie came at the beginning of October for business and I got to watch Evan while she was at work.  And Jay's parents and sister came up for a night.  

It's been a busy, but fun 8 months and will just get busier in the up coming months.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

30 years

I think that other than his 2 years mission, this may have been Jay's first birthday away from family and away from the Utah state holiday Pioneer Day.  
July 24. 
And how did we celebrate?  We worked.  Jay worked a 12 hour shift.  I worked 11 hours. Welcome to real life.  
 I did manage to make a birthday cake.  
It was the same cake and frosting recipe as our wedding cake and this time I finally nailed the frosting.  
 Dinner was nothing special (kimchi Pajun). 
We celebrated at Red Robin a few days later thanks to a free meal. 

But the birthday gifts made up for a lame dinner. 
Bohnanza, Sodastream, "To the stars on the wings of a Pig" and...

A gym for the basement.  

Here's to enjoying the next 30 years and hoping we accomplish as much in the coming 30 years as we did in the previous 30 years. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014


I've never been one to freak out over bugs.  I can handle a spider here or a cockroach there, though I really hated how often those cockroaches appeared in our bathroom in Tucson.  However, we had a spider infestation on our hands.  Our front entryway, and all of our neighbors entryways were covered in cobwebs.  I would clean them up and two days later cobwebs were everywhere.  We rarely use our front door, but one evening after dark I went out on the porch and there were hundreds of spiders that came out to play.  I started spraying them down with hairspray.  The internet said it would make it so they couldn't breathe and die.  False.  That did not work.  A neighbor walking by offered her cigarette lighter.  This frightened me a little, I mean our porch is made of wood and I had just emptied my hairspray bottle on these guys.  This merely burned there webs but did little to kill them.  We got a little help from Home Depot and used almost a gallon of bug killer to spray down the front entryway, the garage and the basement.  These pictures do not do justice to the magnitude of the situation.  

one of three wasps nests that we found on our exterior windows.  
good aim
even the bushes were covered.  the webs showed up better on the green than against the white fence. 

I Stand Corrected

We live 30 miles from Canada.  At the border they look at your passport and ask lots of questions.  Where are you going? Who are you visiting? How do you know them? How long are you staying?  Are you carrying anything across the border you shouldn't be, etc.

On our return trip from Toronto a few weeks back we answered that we were from/headed back to Detroit.  A question or two later I said- We just moved to Chesterfield from Arizona.  The guy in the booth turned, stared at us and replied-Chesterfield is not Detroit.  It's not? Oh.

I guess it like saying you live in Salt Lake City when really you live in Sandy Utah...maybe.  Don't mess with border patrol. Chesterfield is NOT north east Detroit.

Home Sweet Home

In April, Jay and I flew to Michigan to look for housing.  Knowing we would be in Michigan for a minimum of 5 years for surgical residency, we both felt good about buying and were set on finding a low maintenance place-minimal repairs, minimal yard work, someone else to shovel snow, you get the idea.  We settled on an end unit condo with a completely unfinished basement in Chesterfield.  Our offer was accepted April 21st and we miraculously closed May 23rd.  We picked up our keys at 8 am June 23 after driving from Arizona in a 2 day blur.

Here's the place.

I'm not in love with the exterior, but it is getting a new coat of paint next summer and I don't have to shovel snow or mow the lawn.  A quiet couple lives above us.  
View from the front door looking at the kitchen and front room. I'm not a decorator, if you can't tell.
 It was painful for me buy and put up  what decor has been added to this place.  
From the kitchen looking at the front door
I really like the kitchen (except the dish washer. It's not mounted to the counter. Urg).
The pantry is spacious.  I have no idea what to do with all those shelves. 
Master bed room.  The bed frame and bedroom furniture was a craiglist find.
The bathroom is small, but there's a huge closet to make up for it.  I'm actually ok with that.  
We found a nice place for Jay's chair.  
The newest member of the house arrived yesterday morning-our dryer finally showed up 6 weeks after purchasing it.  We love the mudroom.  That door goes directly to a 2 car garage and I'm standing in the doorway to the kitchen.  And yes that is a hose in the sink.  We're in the process of fixing that.  
The room that will probably never be picked up.  This room is off the front room-it's a study room, music room, and guest room...aka mess. I haven't really unpacked all those boxes because I'm not sure where I'm going to put it.  

Wow bright guest bathroom.  Not my first choice of colors, but I think I can live with it. 

Check out the size of this basement! Jay has set himself up with a home gym in the basement.
In the half of the basement not pictured we have shelves of storage and tools.  
We welcome any visitors.  We are 30 mins from the Canada border and about 4 hrs from Niagara Falls and 4 hrs from Chicago.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

An 8 Month Update

There have been a lot of changes last 8 months of our lives, plus a whole lot of adventure.  We have been trying to squeeze in every possible amount of fun before residency takes over our lives.  Fun was definitely had.  Here's a quick run down of life month by month:

Jay spent the month flying out to several interviews for residency.  He had his last interview December 30th and then the waiting game began.  

We spent Christmas in Tucson and had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner and program, which included a visit from Santa Claus, with Jay's brother's family. 
For our annual Christmas hike this year we hiked Wasson's Peak on the west side of Tucson. Can't hate 70 degree weather on Christmas day.

We drove up to Utah for the week of New Years.  I got my 3rd flat tire in 12 months while driving down the freeway in Utah.  Full blow out.  Dang Tucson potholes.  We replaced all the rims on the car since it was also the second time a rim was dented. 
We enjoyed cholocate dipping with the Robertsons on New Years Eve.

Best highlight-Yurt camping and cross country skiing at Lily Lake with our friends the Mechams, who were brave enough to bring their 4 daughters along, and the Burkholzs, Jay's old roommate from 2nd year in medical school. 

And since we live in Tucson and hiking season is in the winter we also hiked Picacho Peak and Sabino Canyon.  

The anticipated month finally arrived.  On February 10th, Jay had an email by 7:10 am announcing that he had matched into a surgical residency program at Mclaren Macomb in Detroit Michigan.  We feel truly blessed to have matched into such a great program and definitely recognized the hand of the Lord in how everything turned out.  Little did I know that the work of moving was about to start.  And that is a chore.  We had to figure out how to store all of our stuff for 3 months, move our belongings which included 2 cars and an expensive musical instrument across 2000 miles and find a place to move it to.  This was all very new to me.  
celebration dinner for residency at Elvira's in Tubac

Moving to Michigan means snow.  A whole lot of snow.  With this realization and also trying to figure out the safest way to move my harp across country, we decided to get a 4 wheel drive that would fit my harp. We found a great deal on a 2010 Toyota Highlander and sold Jay's Honda to my brother Geoff.  

Jay and I made one more trip to Haiti with our favorite team.  

As a late Christmas present, James and Emily made Jay and I a dinner in the wash with 3 very handsome waiters to serve us our food.  What a fun surprise and treat. 

When we moved to Arizona we made a bucket list of things we wanted to do while we living there.  We didn't get close to finishing that list, but we did make it to Sedona in March and loved having James and Emily and their 4 boys join us for the weekend.  It reminded me of the red rocks of southern Utah.  We loved hiking Devil's Bridge and swimming at Slide Rock.  It was a great memorable weekend.  
Cathedral Rock at sunrise

Our storage and shipping POD arrived March 29th.  We miraculously fit our entire apartment into a 7 ft x 7 ft x 8 ft POD. It was kind of like a really complicated version of tetris in there.  We were glad that we stuck to our mantra in Tucson-if we buy it we have to move it in 18 month-and therefore acquired very few extras.
Jay fit a bed, 2 couches, 2 dressers, a desk with chair, kitchen table and 4 chairs, a rocking chair and 2 shelves.

My last day of work was a short 4 hr shift on April 1.  (I needed to keep those benefits the month of April!) We were on the road by noon to Oregon via Utah.  We arrived at Jay's parents house around midnight.  We could have made better time except I was falling asleep and had to pull over around Filmore for a quick 30 min nap.  When I woke up it was snowing.  WHAT?!? I just left Arizona 10 hrs earlier and it was 90 degrees.  I didn't mentioned that Jay and I were driving 2 separate cars because we were delivering his Honda to my brother in Oregon. In Utah we met Julie's new baby, Evan and celebrated my brother John's birthday and had all the Utah Dougalls plus Heather's family there for a birthday celebration. We also hiked Y mountain and up Mill Creek and watched Grace play soccer.
Baby Evan

John's bday lunch gang exept john is out showing Jay is new car.

We then drove on to Oregon where Jay completed his last 4 week rotation with Dr Douville, a cardio thoracic surgeon.  It was one of Jay's favorite rotations and we are so glad we made this rotation happen. The Brennans hosted us for the 5-6 weeks we were in Oregon.  We enjoyed our late night Tillamook ice cream conversations, morning runs, day trip to the Oregon coast and Greg's passing out episode.  It's never a dull moment there.  

In April we also flew to Michigan,  met with a realtor and put an offer on a 2 bedroom condo in Chesterfield. 

 I tended Kathryn's kids for 5 days (she may not have me back after accidently putting cayenne pepper on her children's toast instead of cinnamon and sugar) while she was in Hawaii and Geoff's kids while he was at a conference.  We drove to Seattle to see Sheri post New Zealand and visit Jay's friend who was in the hospital after a serious biking accident where he suffered a severed spinal cord.  

We went to the oregon coast on Jay's first day off his rotation! 

The next day we had a flight scheduled to Cabo that got cancelled once we arrived at the airport.  We rescheduled for the next day and that flight had mechanical problems and was grounded! We got rebooked on a different airlines and made it to our final destination in time to enjoy 7 days relaxing in the sun. 

During all of this I was getting everything sent to the lenders and underwriters for our home mortgage. We signed official papers in Utah on May 22 and it was a done deal on May 23rd.  

Jay's graduation was May 28th.  His grandparents, parents and 3 of his siblings attended.  What a great accomplishment for him. One night a month or so before graduation he mentioned to me that this-4 years of intense school with no time to slow your pace, and show up to new rotations every month and figure out patients and doctors and computer systems-was the hardest thing he had ever done. I teared up for him at graduation thinking of all that he has accomplished and overcame in getting to that point.  
Midwestern graduation

And in the middle of all of that-we celebrated our 2 year anniversary.  We went to lunch at Zinburger with James and Becca and then had tuna steaks for dinner with James' family, Becca's family and the Thompson's from church. 

I have always dreamed of spending a month in europe and we made it happen post graduation.  We flew out the morning after graduation and spent 3 weeks traveling to Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice), France (Paris, and a 4 day tour of the countryside including Normandy and Mont St Michel) and Germany (Munich and Garmisch).  And let's not forget a little world cup soccer.  I'll write another post about europe.  

We flew home from Germany on Friday the 20th and drove across country arriving at our title company on June 23rd at 830 am to pick up the keys to our new condo.  Thankfully the power hadn't been turned off.  The gas company was able to come out that day to turn on our gas and the water company came to switch that over to our name.  Don't get me started on what a headache it was to get internet and a washer and dryer into our place but after 3 weeks it feels more like a home.  

Residency officially starts for everyone across the country on July 1.  Jay's first rotation is Internal Medicine. 

I accepted a job at a local Pediatric and urgent care clinic a few miles from our house.  It's flexible hours and close to home. How can you say no to that.

We actually got to celebrate the 4th of July together!  I ran a 1/2 marathon that morning while jay was at the hospital.  I came in 3rd for my age group and won a hat. Jay didn't have to work that evening and we BBQ-ed with friends and got to watch some amazing fireworks over one of the lakes in Michigan.