Wednesday, November 28, 2007
When I began last week, I made just a few of them because I wanted to test out the adhesive. I didn't want to spend a lot of time making the things only to have all of the pockets come apart.
My mock-up never stuck together correctly. I figured it was because I put too much stress on the adhesive with the inserts. So I tried the "tent method" of putting together the pockets when I made a few last week. It involves cutting and folding a tiny piece of paper and using it as sort of a "hinge" that holds together both sides of the pocket. At first, I thought it was working.
Fast forward to a week later... I pull my two pocketfolds I made out of the box. And sure enough, they're coming apart at the pocket.
What a pain in the ass!
I'm using Super Tape, which I bought from Paper Source. I ordered like 6 or 7 rolls of it because it was recommended to me by another knottie who made her pocketfolds. I don't understand why it worked so well for her and it isn't working for me!
My paper is a different brand metallic than she used, so I started thinking tonight that maybe my paper is a little glossier than hers was, which is causing the adhesive tape not to stick like it should. So tonight, I took out a scrap piece and put it together like I hope to do my pocket. Except this time, I scored (scratched) the edges of the paper where I planned to place the adhesive tape. I thought maybe if I could "roughen up" the paper a little bit, it might help the adhesive to bond better.
We shall see. So far, so good, but we'll see how it holds up over the next few days. If this doesn't work, I don't know what the heck I'm going to do. It needs to be a really strong bond in order to withstand the stress the inserts put on the pocket when they are inside of it. In addition, it needs to hold up for several months--I want to have these things done with plenty of lead time, and be able to just store them in a box until we're ready to send them out.
I was not planning on this obstacle! The invitations are a big enough project; I don't need additional problems.
If this thing doesn't stay put, it's not the only thing that is going to come unglued.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
As usual, I was drinking in little Brendan as much as possible. I absolutely LOVE him (duh). He's already grown so much already, but he's still tiny and perfect. Michael was getting a big kick out of him, too. As long as I've known him (and before I did), Michael's always liked babies and kids, and he's always good with them--he likes to hold babies and play with kids and stuff. I'm always so grateful for that, because I know a lot of guys aren't into that. He shares my love of kids, so I know he'll be a great daddy some day.
Brendan was so snuggly all day... I actually rocked/jiggled him to sleep twice while we were there. And I was perfectly content to let him sleep in my arms as long as he pleased.
I mean, really... is there anything cuter than a snuggly baby?
Friday, November 23, 2007
My mom just moved into her new house (officially) less than a week ago (we moved her all day on Saturday and Sunday), and on Thursday, for Thanksgiving, she had 18 people over for the holiday dinner. She's insane, but it all worked out. The house looked great (with exception of her office and the basement, which were not essential!), and we all had a very happy Thanksgiving.
My mom making the gravy
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I'd be lying if I said I'm not starting to feel just a tinge of panic. It's probably irrational, but I just worry about all that is still left to be done. I know I can do it, but it seems like time is, all of a sudden, passing at an amazingly fast rate. I'm afraid I'll blink and all of a sudden it'll be June. Eeeek.
We're currently working on booking a bunch of things: limo, rehearsal dinner, and cake. We need to make an appointment at our reception venue to taste our menu selections. And I'm looking to get a start on making the invitations. That's probably a two-month project in itself, just because they're time consuming and I want to do them little by little so I don't drive myself crazy.
The corner in our dining room that houses our wedding stuff is starting to overflow. The shipment of paper (for invitations) we received last week really sent it over the edge. So now, I'm just trying to get stuff done just to get it out of the house and stored over at my mom's. *sigh* I wish I had an extra room to just throw wedding stuff in and call it "the wedding room." Haha. Seriously, though. It's such a pain in the ass to be working on a project and have it overtake the dining room/kitchen (which is one and the same) table. And it's inconvenient to have to put a project away, take it out again, put it away, etc. so as a result, the dining room table just looks like a constant mess. It's really starting to wear on me! But I don't know what else to do, we just don't have any other place for me to do it, and I don't have any other solution.
So... seven more months of our house looking like a disaster. It'll undoubtedly get worse before it gets better. I hope I can make it through.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Samantha, it'll be on its way to you after the holiday!
Monday, November 19, 2007
I generally go to the gym to hop on the elliptical machine on the weekends.
I take two aerobics classes during the week.
But moving? Moving 17 years of accumulated stuff from my mom's old house to her new house has thoroughly kicked my ass.
I am sore today. Really sore. Upper arms, forearms, back (from lifting improperly), legs (from lifting properly)... you name it, it hurts. Even my fingers are achy.
The saddest part is that we did all that, and we're not even done. My mom and her boyfriend, Dirk, started moving stuff last weekend, but it was just a few things here and there. The big move had not yet begun.
Michael and I got up early on Saturday morning and headed to Dirk's house. He decided to move a few extra big things (like couches) from his house to help my mom furnish the extra rooms she now has at the new house. So I dropped Michael off there to help Dirk and his friend move some of the stuff onto the UHaul, and I drove directly over to my mom's house to start packing stuff up. I basically packed up the entire contents of her kitchen cabinets and drawers. My grandma came to help by loading up my mom's clothes (that were stored in EVERY closet in the house--no joke). Once we realized that all of our cars/trucks were full, we headed over to the new house with the first load.
From there, I stayed at the new house unpacking stuff all day. I got the new kitchen completely unpacked and organized, including the pantry and refrigerator/freezer. My brother, Tyler, and his roommate, Tim, eventually showed up, so the guys moved several UHaul loads of big stuff throughout the day. At around 6:00 p.m., we surveyed the scene at the new house and decided we had made a big enough mess for the day, so we left Dirk and my mom with the assignment of cleaning it all up and getting it organized. :)
Yesterday, it was a repeat of the day before... we just didn't start as early. My mom's friend Donna met us at the old house with her huge conversion van. She removed all of the seats so it could hold as much stuff as possible. And we all got to work--moving beds, dressers, desks, etc. Not to mention about 20,000 boxes (which were most likely filled with junk) from my mom's basement. Just doing a switcheroo from one basement to the other.
It was exhausting. I'm glad to help my mom out, but going into work this morning doesn't sound all that bad. That says a lot, especially considering it's Monday.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I haven't completely finalized the wording and stuff on the inserts, but I can at least make the pocketfolds, and even the invitation itself.
The paper arrived packaged really nicely. It came in a big box, and all of the custom cut paper was wrapped in thick brown paper to protect it. I also requested that they send the scraps from the custom cuts--wow, they sent them, but I don't know if I'd call them "scraps"! They're huge! I will put the extra to good use, I'm sure. Here is a photo:
I ordered two packages of 250 sheets of Recycled White Classic Linen (8.5" x 11") cover weight for the invitation and the inserts. I'll have a lot of extra, but I figure I can also use it for programs, place cards, table numbers, etc. It won't go to waste.
I ordered 130 sheets of Astrobright Glisten (metallic) Lunar Blue cover weight paper for the pocketfolder itself. I had it custom cut to 16 1/8" x 7" so all I will have to do is score, fold, and make the pointed flap. I also ordered 130 sheets of Stardream Metallic Aquamarine cover weight paper for the invitation backing. I had it custom cut to 4.75" x 6.75".
It's daunting, actually... "no more excuses." *gulp*
I suppose I should get started.
Well... first, we have to move my mom into her new house this weekend. And then I have to do a few projects I owe other knotties (banners and aisle runners and such). And then...
But no more excuses.
Who am I kidding?
Monday, November 12, 2007
Her buttercream frosting? F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C.
Oh. my. gosh.
To die for. Seriously.
OK, so maybe I wouldn't die for it. But still. I can actually smell its deliciousness as I sit here remembering it. Yum.
Anyway, we walked into the meeting with a few photos of cakes we liked. Marie sat us down at her table and gave us each a small piece of cake (vanilla with buttercream frosting) that she had baked for us. We talked about the usual--number of guests, what types of cakes/frosting we like (NO fondant allowed!). We looked through the books of the cakes she has designed, and I showed her the pictures of the ones I found online. We came up with a preliminary design, and she gave us price quotes for square, and for round.
Here are two photos of our cake "inspiration." The first is from The Knot gallery, and the second is from knottie carrann:
Things we really liked about Marie:
1) She suggested having a smaller cake for display/cutting, and then making a regular round cake to keep in the back. It's exactly the same kind of cake, frosted, etc. but just isn't decorated. Guests don't know the difference/don't care, and it saves money.
I liked that. No trying to upsell us and convince us that we need to buy each and every guest a piece of cake that costs $2.75 a slice. She also said we probably don't need to plan to have a piece of cake for every guest--not everyone eats it, and there are always plenty of leftovers.
2) In line with tradition, I asked about freezing the top layer for our first anniversary. She balked at the idea; she said she doesn't want us eating one of her delicious cakes after it's been sitting in the freezer for a year. Mostly because, well, after that amount of time--it's not so delicious.
Instead, she said, she will make us a free "anniversary cake." All we have to do is call her up a week or two before our first anniversary, and she'll make us a small cake for us to enjoy together. Same exact cake--just better. Fresh.
3) Her prices. Even though it is $2.75 a slice, which still sounds like highway robbery--compared to others, she's very reasonable. She also makes Italian cookie trays, which, in Michael's family, are a MUST HAVE at weddings. So it'll be nice to be able to go through one person for everything.
4) Did I mention she sent us home with cake?? We had the small slices while we were at her house, and at the end of our meeting, she said, "oh, I'm going to send you home with the rest of that cake." It was a small little sample cake that she made--but it was glorious! :) We each had another slice when we got home from her house, and then we couldn't help but polish it off after dinner the next evening. Way too good to leave lying around the house for long.
We walked out of there pretty damn certain that we'll be going with Marie. But since she was our first cake testing/appointment, we figure--what the hell--we may as well go to a few more.
Free cake. Delicious cake. What's the harm?
Sunday, November 4, 2007
The best way I can describe the cloudiness I've been experiencing... for contact wearers, if you wear your contacts and fall asleep, and wake up, and they're all dried out and stuck to your eyes? Know how your vision is sorta cloudy? That's what it looks like. For non-contact wearers, I guess the best analogy I can come up with is that it looks like when you get out of the shower, and the bathroom is kinda steamy so it's "cloudy" in there.
My post-op appointment was at 8:15 a.m., so I got up and got ready to go the doctor (which basically consisted of changing my clothes into OTHER comfy clothes, pulling my hair up, brushing my teeth, and leaving the house). At my appointment, Dr. Hindman checked out my eyes with her little microscope thing, and then performed a basic eye test. I could already see 20/20 unassisted. Pretty damn amazing.
I was told I could stop using the steroid eye drops (which I was happy about since they stung, and I could taste them in the back of my throat whenever I used them... weird, I know). I did, however, have to start artificial tears and antibiotic eye drops. The antibiotic drops were to be used 4 times a day for five days, and the artificial tears were supposed to be used every hour or so. Whenever I'm watching TV or on the computer, I try to remember to use them every half hour because activities like this make your eyes stare and you don't blink as much as you should.
I spent Wednesday and Thursday home from work just getting used to my new vision. It would have been pretty painful and annoying to sit in front of a computer all day so I'm glad I took the two days off. By Wednesday night, I was feeling good enough to have Michael take a few pictures.
Here I am, showing off my wonderfully fashionable goggles:
Aren't they pretty?? Luckily, I only had to wear them full-time until my post-op appointment the morning after the surgery. I do, however, have to wear them to bed for 5-7 nights. It's really FUN to sleep in goggles, I tell you. I've been doing OK with it, which I'm grateful for. The worst part is that they ask you to tape them to your face using this REALLY sticky tape they give you. They don't want the goggles to move on your face during the night and bump your eye. The tape is much worse than ripping off a bandaid in the morning, and it irritates my skin, which is just great. But I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I've been following doctor's orders on it.
Here is a close-up of my right eye with the broken blood vessels:
It made a really nice look for Halloween. Even though we don't have any trick-or-treaters at our house. :( It's already starting to look a lot better, but it will likely be with me for another week or so. It's like a bruise, so it takes a while to go away.I've been using the eye drops pretty religiously, and my eyes feel pretty good. I'm still getting a bit of the cloudiness, but I'm told that's normal. My vision is also kind of unstable. It'll be really clear at times, and sort of blurry at others. Especially if I'm coming from the outdoors (which is always really clear) to indoors and there's a change in lighting. It'll get better with time. I have a one-week follow-up appointment with Dr. Hindman on Wednesday so I'll get to ask her a bunch more questions and she'll check me out again to make sure I'm moving along in the healing process.
I'm looking forward to the cloudiness going away, and for my vision to become fabulous all of the time. But things have gone amazingly well and I really have no complaints so far. I'm really glad I had the surgery, and as long as everything heals as it should... I'm going to be absolutely ecstatic with the whole experience.
I guess that's about all I can say at this point (do you think I've said enough?? haha). If anyone out there is interested in any other information, or you have questions, please let me know. I'd be more than willing to share any knowledge or experience I have had with it all.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
This was all quite the whirlwind experience, considering I had my consultation on October 17, and scheduled my surgery for less than two weeks later. On Wednesday, October 24, I received a call from Strong Vision asking me if I could come in and see Dr. MacRae before the surgery. They said he wanted to meet all of the patients that Dr. Hindman was going to be performing surgery on, to make sure they didn't have any other questions or concerns regarding the fellowship program. I went, and really, all it was was a final check from Dr. Hindman. My contacts were REALLY irritating me that day, so Dr. Hindman showed a bit of concern about that. She asked me to stop wearing my contacts over the weekend before my surgery, instead of the typical 24 hours, because she didn't want my eyes to be irritated before surgery. She double-checked my prescription by performing another mini eye exam, and then Dr. MacRae came in briefly to check out my eyes. He said they had reviewed my case and that I was a good candidate for the surgery. So back to work I went.
I'm not going to get REALLY graphic, since I didn't even really see what they were doing to me, but if you get queasy or squeamish at all hearing about things like this, you might not want to read the rest of this post (there is your warning!).
On the day of the surgery, I left work a few hours early. Michael had dropped me off at work in the morning so I didn't have to worry about leaving my car and having to go back to get it later. For obvious reasons, the doctors don't want you to drive yourself to and from your eye surgery. My boss offered to take me from work to Strong Vision. Michael wasn't able to get off work until 3:00 p.m., and since he works really close to the surgery center, it would have been out of his way to come and get me. So he met me over there when he got off work.
When I first got there, I had to finalize everything with my financing. Then I changed my clothes (comfy clothes are a MUST!) and was immediately taken back to get prepped for the surgery. The technician, Fran, came in and explained everything that was going to happen, sights and sounds in the surgery room, etc. She also began with the many, many, many eye drops I would have put in my eyes during my two-hour visit there. She began with numbing drops and I think an antibiotic drop, and wiped my eyes with iodine. Fran also put me in my lovely blue surgical cap. Michael showed up at this point, so they brought him back into the prep room to wait with me. A few minutes later, Drs. MacRae and Hindman came in to talk to me and check out my eyes. They also "marked" my eyeballs with a marker or pen (which was REALLY weird--but my eyes were numb). Then they asked the beautiful question, "did you want to take a valium?" Ummmm.... YES! Didn't even need to think about it. My stomach was already doing flips and I wasn't in the surgery room.
A few minutes later, they did move me into the surgery room, and the doctors spent a while plugging my info into the software for the laser, and calibrating the laser and so forth. At this point, I was kind of freaking out inside (just a little). My leg was shaking up and down uncontrollably. However, I found that soon, that stopped--must've been the valium kicking in. A technician sat with me and tried to distract and calm me by asking me questions about my wedding (she saw the ring). Michael wasn't allowed in the surgery room, but he was allowed to sit and look through the observation window, which he chose to do. I was surprised, because I thought the whole idea of watching the procedure might gross him out, but he wanted to watch.
Next thing I know, they had me up on the table. The taped little gauze pads to the sides of my face to catch the excess drops and saline they were going to be putting into my eyes. Then, they had me hold my eyes open as wide as I could while they taped my eyelashes away from my eyes. They said they had problems because my eyelashes are so long! It was painless, but felt weird. Then, they put these things in my eyes to keep my eyelids open. That was uncomfortable and weird, but also not terrible. My eyes kinda stopped trying to blink after a minute or two. Well, I should say they only did one eye at a time. So I didn't have BOTH eyes held open at the same time. While they're working on one eye, they cover the other with a patch so it's easier for you to focus.
Once my eyes were held open and they had put enough drops in my eyes to fill a small pond, they began the surgery. The worst part, by far, was the microkeratome, which is used to cut the thin corneal flap. It kind of suctions your eye, and it creates a LOT of pressure around your eye (like on your brow bone) so it was uncomfortable to say the least. Dr. Hindman didn't get the microkeratome positioned on my right eye correctly the first time, so she had to do it twice. As a result, I have broken blood vessels in my right eye (the white of my eye is red) that I don't have in my left. But whatever, she took the time to do it right so I'm not going to complain about some broken blood vessels.
When she cut the flap, although I could feel all that pressure, I couldn't feel anything on my actual eye. I was just concentrating on the blinking red light. My vision went dark as it cut the flap, but it came back in a few moments. Then, basically, all I was doing was looking at a light show. They kept using tons and tons of drops in my eyes, so I could tell when they were doing that, and then I could see little instruments appear in front of my eye every so often. But I was seeing bursts of green and red lights, and that was basically it. They told me when they were going to do the laser, and I could hear it, but couldn't really see or feel anything differently. I could SMELL though. That was kind of weird... it smells like burnt hair. Then they smooth the flap back into place very carefully. It was all relatively quick. Then they covered that eye, and went on to do the same thing on the left.
This is a graphic that shows basically how the LASIK surgery works:
For more details about the surgery, you can visit the Strong Vision website.
For whatever reason, the pressure/pain from the microkeratome was much more intense on my left eye. They just kept telling me to breathe, breathe, concentrate on the light, etc. and it was over in a few seconds, thankfully. Then the actual surgery for that eye wasn't bad at all, either. And it was over. I sat up, and immediately knew I couldn't really see anything. I had been expecting an immediate miracle, but they told me it was normal for everything to be really, really cloudy looking. My eyes were soooo uncomfortable, all I wanted to do was close them. They put me in front of the eye exam machine, and Drs. Hindman and MacRae took a look to make sure everything looked good. Then they took me out to a little recovery/sitting area, and a technician went over the eye drops with Michael and me. They were steroid drops to help with the swelling, and I was supposed to use them every hour while awake after my surgery. She also gave me my really stylish goggles and sent us on our way.Michael told me he watched the whole surgery (they put a close-up of your eye on closed-circuit television) and he thought it was really interesting and amazing. He led me out to the car and we went home... I kept my eyes closed the whole time. Once home, I went immediately and got into bed. They tell you to keep your eyes closed to rest them for the remainder of the day. I couldn't see much and it was uncomfortable to have my eyes open anyway, so it wasn't difficult to keep them closed. Michael went and picked up subs for us for dinner, so I got out of bed to sit at the dining room table long enough to do that, and then immediately went back. It was so funny, though. My eyes were REALLY sensitive to light, so I wouldn't let Michael turn any lights on while we ate. We ate with what LITTLE daylight there was left, so we were practically in the dark. I mostly ate with my eyes closed. It was interesting and unusual to say the least.
My eyes just felt as if I had something in them. Like my contact had an eyelash in it, or it wasn't in place correctly. I felt this more in my right eye than I did my left. Also, the steroid drops stung like a bitch after the first couple of hours. Probably because the numbing drops were wearing off. It stung more in my right eye than my left--I'm guessing it was because of my broken blood vessels in my right, but who knows. They had me take both acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) for pain. I had to take Tylenol, then two hours later take Advil, then two hours later take Tylenol again, and so on. As the night went on, when I DID open my eyes, I could tell they were getting better. I started to be able to see things at a distance (like the clock, or TV), but it was still just really, really cloudy.
At 11:00 p.m., I finally konked out for a good night's sleep.
Friday, November 2, 2007
First off, I should probably explain how this all came about. I wrote a post a few months back about how I wanted the surgery really badly, but couldn't afford it. I really wanted to have it done at Strong Vision, because I felt comfortable there, and the doctor is world-renowned and all that. But world-renowned = really expensive, so at first, I thought it was totally out of the question for me... at least for now. Then, I found out about a fellowship program that they run at Strong Vision. Turns out that they have a fellow there right now, through June 2008. She is already an eye surgeon at Strong Memorial Hospital, but is doing a fellowship in order to become a corneal specialist. So in reality, she's basically a student doctor, but not a STUDENT student. She performs cornea transplants, people! She knows what she's doing with eyes.
Anyway, once I found out there was a fellowship program, I was also told that the fees are drastically reduced if you allow the fellow to perform your surgery. That made me a little nervous at first, but the woman at Strong Vision told me that Dr. MacRae, the world-renowned guy who runs the place, is present at all of the fellow's surgeries, assists as needed, etc. Plus the fellow, Dr. Hindman, is a graduate of Harvard, and like I said... she has experience with complicated eye surgeries, just not refractive surgery. That made me feel better. And the fees? Well, with Dr. MacRae, the fees are $1,900 an eye for conventional LASIK, and $2,400 for custom LASIK. With Dr. Hindman, I was told they were $1,000 (I think?) for conventional LASIK, and $1,400 for custom. So basically half price. Very nice indeed. As it turned out, I ended up being one of Dr. Hindman's very first surgeries, so it was even cheaper. I ended up paying $1,000 per eye for the custom LASIK. It still sounds like a lot of money to some people, but I qualified for financing, so I will end up paying something like $56 a month for three years. Sucks to have yet another thing to pay for each month (gotta love school loans, car payments, and bills) but in all honesty? Now that I've had it done, I'm pretty sure I'd be willing to pay $56 a month for the rest of my LIFE to not have to fuss with contacts or glasses anymore. Soooo worth it. And I'm not even totally healed yet.
Once I found out about this whole fellowship business, I called and made an appointment to have a consultation with Dr. Hindman... my appointment was on October 17. I had to stop wearing my contacts for 7 days before the consultation, because apparently contacts (even the soft ones) can change the shape of your eyes. They want your eyes to be their complete natural shape when they measure and test you to determine whether you're a candidate for the surgery. So yeah, wearing my glasses for a week was NOT fun. The last time I bought glasses was 2001, so my prescription was slightly different back then. As a result of the old prescription, I couldn't see as well in my glasses as I normally could, which caused headaches. Especially the first few days. But I actually got pretty used to them, and the week passed relatively quickly. The "no-contacts-for-a-week" thing was probably one of the worst parts of the entire LASIK surgery experience. I think that says a lot.
The consultation was 2 hours, during which Dr. Hindman ran a battery of tests and measurements on my eyes. I basically just had to stare into a few different machines and not blink for several seconds. All I saw were different lights and shapes and such. These are the tests to determine whether or not a patient has any higher-order aberrations. I'm not too sure what that means, even after it was explained to me, but the higher-order aberrations have to do with how your eye sees a pinpoint of light. Your higher-order aberrations might make you see halos around lights at night, or glares, or maybe see a tail on a moving light. It's very interesting. If you have enough higher-order aberrations, or if your aberrations are severe enough, they recommend the custom LASIK for you, because not only can they fix your nearsightedness, but they also attempt to fix your higher-order aberrations... just improves your sight all around! Here is a chart that shows the different higher-order aberrations you can have:
The doctor also did a regular eye exam on me, and then ran the pressure test for glaucoma, and also measured the thickness of my corneas by touching a little sensor right to my eyes (which were numbed with numbing drops). And that was it! At the end, Dr. Hindman told me that due to my large pupil size (they're huge!) and the results of my tests for my higher-order aberrations, she suggested that I have the custom LASIK. And I wasn't going to argue.
The scariest part of the consultation, which I mentioned in a previous post, was the eight-page consent form I had to sign. It had all of these horrible things on it that could happen to you, but all of the severe ones are very rare and I ultimately felt comfortable with these doctors. I did, however, take 24 hours to think about what I wanted to do.
Obviously, I decided to go ahead and do it.
To be continued...