Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vacay: In Sum

So my last post sounded super Debbie Downer, and seriously? Vacation? Not working? Free food and bevs? Perfect weather? Yea, no room for complaining. In all honesty, I was disappointed not to work because I really do love personal training, I love big shiny gyms and I like people. I was kind of looking forward to working with a new batch of 'em. But all in all, everything turned out okay despite having to accept not working (seriously?). I mean, I did have to "show up" for work each day at 8 am but after 20 minutes of blundering through Spanish with terrible acoustics my first day I asked Hector if I could just work out as long as no one needed training. He agreed that would be fine, and this is how it came to be that I took a vacation where I was paid to show up at 8 am and workout for an hour every day.

I know, guys. Pity me.

After we'd work out, we'd go to breakfast where I fell in love with the omelet station and the pineapple bar and I'd stuff myself silly on these two items. Afterward we'd go back to the room and slather up with SPF 30 before setting up camp at the pool. Oh, the pool. I stayed poolside from about 10-2, with at least 3 more SPF-ings, voraciously reading. I quickly learned there was a "leave a book, take a book" and went through at least one whole fiction novel each day. Matt earned himself resort wide recognition playing beach volleyball and/or life-sized chess games. (Pics to come.) We'd take a break around lunch, and then call it quits again around 4. We'd head back to the room for a nap or to watch the only English channel, CNN (for me, nap > CNN) and then shower before heading down to the bar. On one day, I'm pretty sure we laid down for a nap around 2 and didn't stir again til 6. We slept. A lot.

I know.

Matt had stayed late night at one bar watching an NBA game and befriended a bartender - a local with a penchant for tossing Grey Goose bottles high into the air and catching them moments before they crashed into the ground ` and so we quickly became regulars at this entertaining lobby bar. We'd have a drink or two, wander off to dinner, and then meander our way back to our still-warm bar seats. Here we'd chat with Teo - our bartender - learning much about his life, the traditions of the island (what mamajuana is, and is not) or meeting other hotel guests, sharing our TV and pistachios with them. Around half-time, we'd head up to our room with a "roadie", where Matt would finish up the basketball game and I'd quickly be studying the back of my eyelids. 9 hours of sleep became a regular habit for me.

I know.

Tough life, huh? I tell you what, you hardly appreciate it while you have it. Before you know it you are walking back through the customs terminal at Charlotte International, looking at your cell phone light up with missed voice mails and emails and wondering why it isn't possible to store up all that extra sleep and sun like a debit account for later withdrawals. Our vacation turned out to be exactly what we ordered: relaxing, detached, unscheduled and drawn out. The perfect fulcrum point to a hectic end of medical school and a sure-to-be-hectic beginning of internship. We're both now wondering if the florescent lights in our workplace will give off UVA/UVB to help keep us in the carefree, happy place of this last week. Somehow I think I know the answer to this, but I'll wear SPF 15 this week just to be sure. At least something will smell like coconuts this week, because my beverages certainly will not.

Pics to come.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not My 9-5

I have been surprised at the language barrier here and how many of the staff - from concierge to gym staff - speak little to no ingles. I also have been surprised at the relative ease at which my Spanish has, thankfully, found its way back to me, after being tucked away in my subconscious for nearly six years. So, as mentioned, I'm here to personal train, right? Right. (And, y'know, test all the daquiri flavors.) I had visions of a shiny resort gym, a sign-up board with appointments, giving my trainees my best Jillian-esque workout, maybe even doing some on-the-floor weight loss coaching, converting their vacay into a mini Canyon Ranch in their one hour with me. Lovely, right? (I'm good at this vision work stuff.)

Reality? Not so much. Why I was way off:
1) It took me 2 days to merely figure out who scheduled people to be working in the gym. In these 2 days Matt and I learned that it also takes an act of congress to get towels or make a dinner reservation. Laid back? Um, you bet. When I finally found "my boss," I'm not even sure he really knew I was supposed to be here. Then he asked if I could teach "aerobics in la piscina." Luckily "no" needs no translation.
2) The gym looks exactly like my high school gym which was geared towards wrestlers and lineackers. The only thing "shiny" about it is the perma-stains of sweat on the weight benches.
3) The gym is run by Hector who speaks no english, thinks Matt plays for the Braves (did I mess something up in translation?), works from 7a to 7p for a wage that makes US minimum wage look like a make it rain kinda salary, and told me he's is mucho bored. So, no sign up boards.
4) I saw 2-4 guests use the gym. Most of the occupants are employees of the resort, and clearly not interested in a training session. I guess this is how Hector survives - companionship.

I felt somewhat awkward and useless today in my first "working" day. I spent 20 minutes talking to Hector, but the acoustics in the gym were so bad that every 3rd or 4th response was lost - add to that I was trying to salvage my rusty Spanish skills and it ended up being my brain getting the biggest workout of all. Don't get me wrong: I ain't complaining! I'm in a tropical paradise, working 1 hour a day, and the pina colada machine never turns off. I'll figure out a way to live with all this let-down.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Proper Choosing of Language

The best part of floundering in a new language is the absolute thought, care and devotion dedicated to the choosing each world. Each "please" and "thank you" is a bridge between two worlds and the look of comprehension in the recipients eyes when the right tense is combined with the right verb is like the giving of no other gift.

Tonight we met Danny and Angela, siblings from Boston, who slip easily from Spanish to English with a mere flicker of thought. At one point, I asked Angela the best way to say "I would like" when ordering - knowing one could say "Quiero," "Pido", "Me gustaria" and so many other choices. (Imagine: in English... I'd like, Can I have, Bring me, Yea I want the... Gimmeah....). Her answer, "Deseo", was not one I had considered and my joy at using just the right word in the future is just so tangibly unique to any other experience.

What a strange and separate world it is to know just a sliver of a language. Enough to "act as if", but when the waterfall of worlds tumble out in response I back away, hands up, pleading "Mas Despacio!" And then as if the water was not cold enough the first time, I plunge back in.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Estamos Aqui!

We have arrived in Punta Cana! We are just sitting in the main lobby of our hotel now, awaiting our room to be ready. Ya'll, it is HOT. Like, North Carolina in August minus the option of air conditioning plus the stupidity of wearing jeans because I was traveling on a plane and plane are always cold HOT.

The deal is that I'm contracted as the personal trainer here at this lovely resort for up to 3 hours a day, in exchange for us getting to stay here - room, food, drinks - for the mere cost of one night's stay, 2 plane tickets, deportation tax, and the taxi ride from hell. Not a bad deal, if you can arrive here without losing your lunch in the taxi. I swear, the ride here made a Manhattan taxi ride look like a Sunday drive with Nanta and Pa. There are no lines on the road, stop signs apparently are optional, motorcycles are merely temporarily distractions to swerve around, oncoming traffic is No Big Deal when passing, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me that speed limit is in kilometers? After awhile, I just shut my eyes and prayed that if we crashed, the ER doc sitting next to me would still be conscious because I'd rather take my chances on him saving my life with something out of our toiletry kit than go to the Punta Cana hospital - if there is one.

But we made it, and we're here waiting and the resort looks gorgeous. The resort is kind of u-shaped facing the beach, and there's two pools. One is the quiet pool, probably more family-friendly, and the other currently has Jock Jams pumping and the swim-up bar is jam packed. The resort is more international than I thought it would be - I just sort of assumed (estupida americana) that all the staff people would habla ingles. Not so much. Fortunately, my Spanish is reliably coming back to me.

Now, if we could just get in our rooms (and a/c) and get into bathing suits... it's vacay time!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Doctor's Wife

It's amazing that 4 years of medical school have come to an end. From my perspective, they flew by. However, I did not take even one night of overnight call, study one day for boards, take one lecture on the Krebs cycle, go on one residency interview or tolerate one pimp session from an attending.

What I will say though is that being a medical school wife was easier than I thought it was going to be. To be honest, I imagined the worst. I imagined a husband who would never be home, would be stressed all the time. I underestimated my own independence, my own patience, the wonderful friends (wives) who would be always be around.

As I write this, my husband is CLEANING THE IRON. (The iron, that is dirty because I melted something on it.) Meanwhile, I write blogs. Not exactly how I imagined being a med school wife would be. I never dreamed we'd go on a road trip nearly every other month. Or that Matt would get to spend as much time on the golf course as he would in the wards 4th year. I never thought I'd come home to find my garage organized and shelves hung. I figured free time would be minimal, patience would be short, and I would have to do everything around the house. That as the "doctor's wife", I would always come second to my husband's career.

This statement is nothing short of laughable.

Don't get me wrong. There have been challenges. Boards studying sucked. Watching my (then boyfriend) stare into a computer screen for 34 days straight? Quizzing him on pharmacology drugs so frequently that even I started to dream about them? Worrying about what his scores might be, how that might affect residency and where would we end up leaving? Sucked. But, it passed. (He passed.)

OB-GYN rotation. Surgery. Medicine. Early mornings wake ups. Visiting him in the call room that looked the worst Quality Inn you've ever visited. Driving 1700 miles in one week to do 4 residency interviews. Sucked. But, it passed. He passed. We passed.

When I look back on medical school, I know I won't remember the dog-eared copies of the STEP-1 book. I couldn't tell you the names of any of the attendings who pimped him or what that one rotation was where he had to write the absurdly long SOAP notes. I will remember that during med school we made some wonderful friends. That we created vacations resourcefully - visiting friends, bartering personal training for resorts (see: next week's vacay), staying in vacant apartments of family members. That we had potluck dinners where one couple brought the margaritas and one couple brought the salad and another couple brought the hamburgers. That we remembered to thank each other for going out of the way to help when one was busy or just simply needed a break. (Thank you for ironing the curtains while I blog.) That we got married and bought a house. That we had fun, more days than I can count. That we made it.

Contrary to the Worst Case Scenario I might have imagined medical school wifery to be, it turns out that when we look back on medical school we may remember them as nothing short of a wonderful way to start a life together. If anyone is surprised by this, it is most of all me. I wonder what I was so scared of?

Happy Graduation to you, and happy completion of a chapter to us.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Graduation Recap

A Graduation Recap for all of you who weren't there. You, I guarantee, were much warmer than I.

Joe Biden was the commencement speaker. There was much to-do about the increase in security and we hustled over to campus about an hour & a half before the ceremony was to start, imagining TSA-like security. The line was indeed about 2 football lengths long. However, when we got to the front we realized the slow down was due to the fact that 2 kind ladies were holding open boxes of Krispy Kremes at the entrance.

The purse check at most Wake Forest games were more rigorous than the security. Hold open purse, walk by as they wave wands, hope they did not see my flaskoculars.... and go.

Oh and the weather? Was freezing. I have been to 4 WFU graduations in the last 5 years. All had temperatures in the 90s. Today the bookstore sold out of jackets, sweatshirts, socks, blankets, anything with bundle-like properties was gone. So you can imagine. I had bought a cardigan at Target the day before that was on clearance and kind of was a cross between a cardigan and a pashima. It quickly became known as the "dressy snuggie" (or, the druggie) and despite the questionable fashionable-ness of it, I was SO thankful for it. (Example of the dressy snuggie.) I sat indian style with my stocking-feet underneath my body swaddled in my dressie snuggie, breathing on to my body for warmth. New Yoga Pose: Mother Hen?

They are smiling, but they can't feel their toes.

Devoted wife, warm blanket.

The fact that I just devoted an entire paragraph to cold and what I wore should pretty much sum up how I felt about Joe speaking at the ceremony. And also: could not hear.

After the ceremony, at which my Dad declared there was "no such thing as cold weather, just poor dressing" a mere three times (but also gave me his suit coat. Pity WIN!), we relocated to the recital hall for the medical school diplomas. En route, we found the Krispy Kreme krew had overestimated the donut needs of the crowd and was passing out boxes by the dozen.

Jason: "I'll just take one."
KK lady: "No, take the box."

By the dozen.

Well. Twist our arms.

The indoor ceremony was nice, climate controlled and all. They also seemed quite aware of the idea that we had all our major AWWWW THEY DUN GONE BECAME DOCTAS moment yesterday and this ceremony was short 'n' sweet. No whooping in between names, no long speeches and congratulations, no political agendas in the speech.

Speech, speech, diploma, clapping, standing up...more clapping....they are DOCTORS now! Doctors!

And with that, commencement comes to an end.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Today was my husband's hooding ceremony for his medical doctorate. Although the graduation for all WFU candidates is Monday, this is a smaller ceremony that focuses on just the medical class and I think really just sets aside time for the family of the now DOCTORS to celebrate what they have accomplished.

I'm not a parent, but I imagine one of the first things you do when you find out you're pregnant is start imagining what your child will grow up to be. I wonder what it felt like for all the parents there to sit there and gaze upon their very grown babies and think back to all that they hoped for them. I imagine that that is a kind of happy/proud where words would just fall short.

Ever since I have known Matt (we met as sophomores in college), we have referred to this pursuit as "the doctor's path". Sometimes in jest, sometimes in conflict, but always on mutual understanding of the priority that was given to "the doctor's path." Becoming a doctor has been his single greatest focus for more than a decade. A decade! At 13, he hurt his knee playing football. A trip to the orthopedic later and Matt just knew he wanted to be a doctor. An essay he wrote shortly after this event in 7th grade describes not only how he is going to be a doctor, but he's going to attend Wake Forest Medical School.

I know, right? At 13, I wanted to be an architect. And an author. And a teacher. And, oooh, a psychologist! In other words, I had no idea.

Talk about a single track mind.

The doctor's path has been many things: stressful. challenging. confusing. surprising. bonding. fulfilling. None of these words fully encapsulate the journey I have watched my husband persue single-mindedly for the 8 years I have known him, and the one I joined him on when I became Mrs. To see him stand up there and take the Physician's Oath and know that years and years and years of commitment, focus, determination and sacrifices have culminated in a one single ceremony-filled weekend that marks the transition from student to physician? Amazing & inspiring.

If I write any more, I just may lose it. Congratulations, Dr. I am so proud of you.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I remember a conversation I had with an acquaintance at Wake as we both approached graduation. We had both just turned 22 and were talking about what we thought post-college life would be like. I recall her saying "I always imagined by the time I graduated college, I would be married and shopping for mini-vans." (Please keep in mind that I did attend college in the South, where the phrase "MRS degree" is sometimes used without the slightest hint of sarcasm.)

I never really have had expectations about at what age I would get married or have babies or achieve certain things, and it didn't even cross my mind that there was some unspoken agreement among the female species that there were certain "times" to have accomplished such things. I guess that's why the transition from my young 20s to my late 20s has been kind of anticlimactic. I emotionally steeled myself at 25, expecting to have some kind of "quarter life crisis" as I had heard so often about, but I blew out my candles in 2007 with nary a hint of sadness as I strolled on in to the latter half of this decade. I expected again at 27, to have some kind of "OMG, ALMOST THIRTY" moment... as if that is some kind of cut-off for something? But no, nothing. My birthday came and went on Saturday, and while I was blessed enough to be surrounded by family visiting for Matt's graduation, and some of the best LOLcards with warm'n'fuzzy and kind messages, and an amazing red velvet cake... I slipped into 27 quietly, almost as if I was already meant to be here.

I have enjoyed my 20s. I remember 20 for a life in Spain. I remember 21 for my first knock you on your ass relationship. 22 for my colitis diagnosis and graduation from college. 23 for making a home in Baltimore on my own. 24 for rekindling a relationship that turned into a marriage. 25 for that marriage. 26 for launching a business. I am ready for you 27. Bring me something good.

Wish made.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Do you sense a note of panic?

I am starting to lose track of what day/date it is, and I am moving through each moment nearly totally dictated by the reminders that pop up on my phone that tell me where to be and when. Wed after teaching four (four!) classes, I came home, scurried around, threw 3 more bags into my already full car, loaded up the TomTom and headed up to Matt's grandparent's house in Boone to spend the night before a talk I was giving up there. As I pulled into their driveway at 8:00 pm and gazed on the normally serene looking isolated house, the thought crossed my mind "This is pretty much the perfect setting for a horror movie."

#1 thought that should not cross your mind when staying alone in a mountain house? That one.

I spent the rest of the somewhat sleepless night trying NOT to think that.

The talk went great on this morning, the ladies who signed up for the workshop were incredibly receptive and warm and provided funny commentary throughout, which I LOVE, and I felt charged with energy after the hour+ talk was over. I still can't get over the fact that I do public speaking/workshop/motivational talks as part of my "for a living" category when 3 years ago the idea itself would have made me throw up all over myself.

Today was THAT day on my Outlook calendar I had been one part dreading, one part eagerly anticipating in kind of "Can I really pull this off?" way.

6:00 - Wake up in mt house, get dressed, locate Starbucks for oatmeal/skinny latte.
Starbucks locate = FAIL. (There isn't one in Boone?)
8:00 - Arrive at Broyhill, McLatte and Egg McMuffin in hand. Eat in car. Yoga breaths pre-talk.
9:00 - On Stage. Talk, Talk, Talk
10:30 - Back in car. FOG EVERYWHERE. Driving was hell. Scheduled 3 calls for my drive back. Didn't make one due to fog. 1 successful call, the other woman was on the golf course when I called. SHE SCHEDULED THIS CALL. Still trying to figure that one out.
12:30 - Arrived back in WS, detour to Barnes & Nobles. Coaching client is reading a Jillian Michael book inside out and asking all sorts of questions relating to insulin-growth factor, and organic chickens, and holy crap, what? Needed to be on same page. Bought book. Realized coaching appointment is in 30 minutes, no food since Egg MM at 8:30. Does not a happy coach make. Called Riverburch, ordered Chevre Salad.
12:46 - Pick up salad. Meeting client across the street in 14 minutes. Eat salad by means of grabbing fist fulls of spinach while driving. Apparently provides shock value/entertainment for neighboring car at stopped light. WHAT? You have never seen a woman eat arugula out of the palm of her own hand while driving??? So normal.
1:00 - Coaching appointment. Want to clone the clients I have right now as they are delightful times infinity.
2:00 - Appointment finished, shoot back over to WFU. Party for our most recent group of "graduates." Schmooze, schmooze, schmooze until my coworker says "And now, Meghan is going to take the folks who have been doing our exercise program and tell them all about the weight loss program!" I AM???? I am. Had forgotten this is part and parcel of the 'grad parties.' Wing it off the top of my head. What's that? Sweating? Just a little. Thank goodness for public speaking warm up this morning, as WFU study participants can be a demanding and tough crowd. They appear enthused and happy and scribble notes as if there might be a final exam later.
(Final Exam = what the scale says later. No biggie.)
4:00 - Finish party. Supposed to order BBQ for Saturdays party. BOTH cell phones have died. Yes that's right, I have two and neither were functioning. Murphy's Law, meet Meghan. Somehow manage to find BBQ place by combination of highway signs, instincts and crowded parking lot. Walk in and order something IN PERSON? Unheard of, face to face interactions these days, but mission accomplished.
4:45 - Parents flight is thankfully delayed, because original plan was to go straight from WFU. Car is currently full of: overnight bag, gym bag, computer bag, bag full of food logs & weight loss logs, "talk" bag (full of bidnis cards, books I refer to and giveaways), external hard drive, a bag full of vidalia onions from a participant, and 3 pairs of shoes. Mom and Dad, please hold your suitcase on your lap? Go home to empty car, turn around back to airport to pick up parents.
7:30 - Parents are ooh-ing and ahh-ing over new home, steaks are sizzling on the grill, little sister has arrived from Charlotte with Trader Joe's hummus, wine glasses are full.

All is well in the world. Thursday May 14th is quickly becoming nothing more than a blog entry. For better, for worse.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bed, Made.

Can I devote an entire post to talk about my new bed??? I suppose I can - it is my blog and all. Content decisions belong entirely to moi.

Because I only got to see the bed once in it's stages of completion, moving day was the grand reveal for me. So, it's all kind of wrapped up in this OMG NEW NEW experience. It is the most gorgeous piece of furniture I have ever laid on, and that's saying something since I live in the furniture capital of the US. It's made of all walnut - even the slats under the bed. (I shimmied under there and checked. Yup, no skimping.) I think the headboard must weigh close to 200 pounds.

Gorgeous? Yea I thought so.
(Click to enlarge for better ooh-ing and ahh-ing.)

Considering this baby was sketched out on a napkin in Charleston, I will just go ahead and brag: my husband is one talented guy. He spent nearly every weekend in February & March, and about a week in April, going home and working on the bed. He'd go into the workshop around 8 in the morning, take a quick break for lunch, and work again until sunset. I saw some pictures along the way, but it's so hard to imagine how it will all come together. It is more beautiful than I could have pieced together in my mind - and thank goodness he can piece things together in his mind, since that's just what he did.

On Friday, the Time Warner guy was in our bedroom hooking up the cable and he was looking for a hard surface to put his paper down to sign it. He started reaching for the foot board and I swear I saw his life flash before him, before Matt could grab the pen out of his hand and stop him. Aaaaand on that note, I stopped wearing my rings to bed. Any potential for scratching this baby might be grounds for permanent banishment to the proverbial doghouse!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We is moved!

It's official! We are homeowners! Yipee!! Mortgage Payment!

The move went pretty much as perfectly as one could hope for - which was a nice counterbalance to the day of fun I had waiting on the Time Warner installation and dealing with the customer service reps the completely apathetic worker who pretended to sympathize with me. I already devoted about 230 tweets to this subject so I'll move on. Maybe.

Friday our team of movers showed up - BJ & Minez - and we went to dinner and then sat around and s
tared at each other. Boy, life without a TV, huh? The boys, including Z and my father-in-law, were pretty frickin amazing as far as a moving crew goes. Hubby had the truck in the driveway by 9, it was loaded by 10:30, at the new house and empty by 12:30. Cap it off with a visit by the ice cream truck chiming it's merry little bells down the street (PUSH POP!!! what what), and it was pretty much the most efficient and wonderful moving experience ever. Also, no TVs were dropped this time.

The moving crew, big fans of the now EMPTY truck.

Ice Cream Truck? Seriously? Best neighborhood ever.

What it took to move us: 26 foot truck, 2 CRV (full of clothing, pillows, camera, banana bread, etc, all things I did not trust to go into said truck), an Accord with all paintings, pics, mirrors in backseat, and a pick-up truck with our elliptical and lawn mower.

PS, there's just TWO of us. Yea.

And the pathetic thing is, I didn't feel like we own a lot of stuff until this move. I'm the queen of
ebaying, and I'm constantly paring down my closets and warding off the accumulation of excess clutter. Yet, it took no less than 4 vehicles to transport just the two of us across town. What gives?

On a related note, see my ebay store! New and exciting stuff being posted by the minute! Eh?

After we moved in and chowed down on push pops, the boys went back to the old house to do some cleaning. Minez will forever hold a special place in my heart for cleaning the laundry
room floor where the washer & dyer were located. While they were gone, my in-laws went to town unpacking the kitchen while I finished the rest of the boxes in the downstairs. By 7 pm, we had burgers on the grill, friends showing up with wine & guacamole, and the downstairs kind of looked like humans could live there. Nothing like having guests over on the first day to send you into an unpacking flurry.

You have to prioritize the order you unpack things.
Sheets & towels can wait.

I think I was on an adrenaline high, because I even made the most obscenely organized kitchen-overflow closet. If Williams-Sonoma had a 8x3 foot store, it would look exactly like my closet.
I can't wait for Jamie, queen bee organization, to see it. (Yes, J, your approval on my closet space means a lot to me.) Last night, we sat on our back deck listening to the nothing-ness of living out in the country. I
have come a long way, baby! From the shock trauma center in Baltimore, to the sounds of the cityscape in DC, to the rush of I-40 in our old house to.... CRICKETS. I can hear crickets. Awesome. We just keep looking around the place going "this is ours? Seriously? We get to keep it??"

My little slice of heaven, with some really fugly patio furniture, unfortch.

The only downside is that I find myself not wanting to be at work because there's about a zillion home projects I want to tackle while I still have the motivation of novetly. Including our bonus room.

Overheard on moving day: "Where does this go?" "Um, I don't know, put it in the bonus room."

Yea, that room. Sigh.

Come visit.