Saturday, July 14, 2012

Celebrate the Small Stuff

A friend recently posted on Facebook that nursery graduations and anything before a high school graduation was unnecessary. This person has children, and several others on Facebook who I assume have children felt similar about the subject – that it was not necessary.

I used to think the same thing.  Enter children.  Even when my son was younger and I would see the older class holding graduation, I wondered.

Just a few weeks ago, my son had his first graduation as he moves on to “big school”.   The program was really cute.  It wasn’t an overly emotional affair, but a very nice end of year program.  

They recited poems and sang songs in their little blue gowns.  Of course we, the parents, loved every minute of it.  When I was finally able to get into the pictures I took that day, I could feel how happy and proud the children were. 

With my son’s graduation looming, I responded to my friend’s Facebook comment.  If anything, I am sure a nursery graduation will remind me that my son is growing up too fast.  And it did exactly that.  

As I watched him as he sat there next to his first crush at the “ceremony”, I realized the last five years have flown by.  And as much as I do not want them to, the other years may go even faster.  For that reason I think celebrating these milestones are important.  I always try to pause and not forget that. 

It will not come again; they will not be that age again.  Don’t take that for granted.

Fast forward a few weeks later.  We had to endure our somewhat regular, very tearful and painful blood test to check Erin’s hemoglobin a1c.  This is the protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen.  It is a very important indicator of how well diabetes is managed.  Too high a result means correction or improvement is needed.  It is a serious indicator because over time this is what causes damage to the body.

As I was working Thursday morning, I got the call from the nurse with the results.  Much to my surprise, the a1c result is very good for a Type 1 diabetic.  So good in fact, that I could have immediately closed my computer and left as I felt I accomplished the most important thing I would do that day.  Nothing could really top that in the next 24 hours. 

A good lab result is often no big deal for most and doesn’t deserve a gold medal, but this is still no minor accomplishment.  It is the result of a lot of hard work and effort over time.  This validated all of that effort. 

Fast forward two days later.  It always seems that we pick up some kind of virus in the doctor’s office.  Children that have diabetes that is the result of an immune system issue typically get sick easier, and are slower to recover than the average kid.  This doesn’t slow us down too often, but when it hits, it hits hard. 

While we are used to it and know what to do, it does not make it any easier. That amazing hemoglobin a1c result is now a moment in the past.  We only want to get through this night then start working within a new time bracket to see the next a1c result just as good if not better. 

So as I sit here at some odd hour after midnight, waiting for my alarm to indicate the next blood sugar check on this sick day, I think I have concluded – graduation or glucose – we should also celebrate the small things.  Celebrate the small things as much as possible.

We are all always trying to accomplish big things.  I am all for celebrating those, but we should also celebrate that life is made up of the little things too.  Sometimes, it’s the little things that really are big.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cold in the Atmosphere

A few days ago it was my 12th wedding anniversary.  Ironically, we bought each other watches.  They say some couples start looking the same after a while, but I guess we stepped it up a notch and think in the same way sometimes.  No, they are not matching watches.

Wore out from the usual work stuff, we wanted a quiet celebration so decided to have a drink at the Burj Khalifa restaurant, At.mosphere.  Yes, that is not a typing error, there is a period after the At.  While I am sometimes good at word play, I am not sure why the dot is there.

At.mosphere holds the world record for the highest restaurant above ground level.  While this is pretty straight forward, the website says it is on the 122nd floor.  I was certain that the elevator button was 123 - another thing that perplexes me.

We considered going there for dinner with a small group of friends shortly after it opened a year or two ago.  After insisting that we had to dine in a private room (with no view) and have a set menu that they would select for our party of six, we quickly cancelled our reservation.   Going for an anniversary drink this year seemed safe. 

The entrance is through a car park.  Once you are in the lobby, it is very elegant.  There is a receptionist that asks you to have a seat until the hostess can greet you.  The hostess confirms your reservation and then opens an entrance gate to escort you to the elevator.

It seems that there is only one elevator.  The strangest part was that another couple arrived while we were waiting in the lobby.  They were not addressed until we were in the elevator.  This made me uncomfortable.  I have no issues sharing an elevator with people who are obviously going to the same place.  I assume they are trying to create a service experience of exclusivity, but this felt insulting.

While very dark inside, it has a great view of Dubai, obviously.  We had our celebratory drink and would have enjoyed it except for one thing.  It was freezing inside.  I am not exaggerating when I say the temperature was likely close to 15C, or 60F – and the place was empty.  Dubai is known to use too much air conditioning, but this was of epic proportions.  The staff may be from countries that have acclimatized them, but this is a waste of energy.

There is something fundamentally wrong when someone brings you a shawl in a restaurant that is in a controlled climate.   On the way out, the hostess on the ground floor asked how our visit was.  We were honest and requested that she give our feedback about the temperature to someone.  She had a look of horror on her face as she asked, “Did no one give you a shawl?” 

I have never been more thankful to be out in the 38 C (100 F) summer heat of Dubai so that I could thaw and feel my nose again.  If I had not worn shoes to match the occasion, I would have been more than happy to walk home.

I like Dubai and enjoy living here.  I love that every morning I look out my bedroom window and see the reflection of the sun on the Burj Khalifa.  However, that sun does not seem to penetrate the structure.  If you come visit, by all means go to At.mosphere if you like.  The view is great.  Just make sure you bring a winter coat.