Parenting with one arm tied behind my back.

Well not really behind my back, it’s in a sling, but I’m still stuck with just one arm for the next couple weeks. The only reason I’m able to write this now because I used my iPhone and uploaded it from there to my blog.

In the days ahead there will be a lot of challenges. Everything from getting the boys dressed and fed in the morning to changing Josh’s messy diapers is going to be tough.

Zack snapped this shot of me trying to corral his little brother with just one arm.

Zack snapped this shot of me trying to corral his little brother with just one arm.

So what exactly happened to me? I had a repetitive stress injury, “medial epicondylitis” which is a fancy term for “Golfer’s elbow” and my ulna nerve (your “funny bone”) had become displaced. After living with the pain for the better part of a year and a half I finally underwent the corrective surgery to remove scar tissue and return my nerve to its proper track.

The weeks leading up to the surgery have been a blur. Knowing that I would be unable to do manual labor afterwards, I rushed to get all my “honey-do” jobs done. Not the least if which was building new furniture for the boys.

No more beating myself up doing tasks around the house. For the first time ever I’m going to have to pay someone to mow our lawn because I won’t be able to push the mower. The rest of my jobs around here are just going to have to wait.

Final assembly of the boys' beds. Thanks to my "helpers" I got it done in time.

Final assembly of the boys’ beds. Thanks to my “helpers” I got it done just in time.

These first few days after surgery while I’m still drugged out of my gourd I’ll have help with me all day. But Starting next week I’ll be on my own for part of the time. That’s what scares me.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed the boys will continue to take it easy on me. So far they’ve been pretty accommodating not to climb on me or wrestle like we normally do. Zack has being a great help bringing me pillows to prop up my arm and fetching me glasses of water. Even little Josh has been patient with me, pointing out “Daddy’s boo-boo” and not touching my arm.

Another of Zack's photos. This is how my kids see me now.

Another of Zack’s photos. This is how my kids see me now.

Just a few days into April and it’s already proving to be a crazy month. With all that’s happened in these few short days, its hard to imagine it’ll only get crazier. We’ve already survived building bedroom furniture, surgery, the boys sharing a room, and Dad being home all the time.  In the days ahead we’ll be preparing for the baby’s arrival, starting physical therapy, setting up the nursery, welcoming visiting family, Andrew’s birth, and more, and all this with one arm tied behind my back (er… in a sling).

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Three more days to torture myself

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately, but it’s been for a good reason. With a new baby arriving soon I have a ton of stuff to do and not much time to get it all done. Being on the computer has taken a back seat until I get all my “honey-do” jobs done. The deadline used to be AJ’s due date (May 9th), but now I’m having arm surgery (April 2nd) so I’m starting to panic. After the surgery my left arm will be immobilized in a splint for two weeks and once it’s off I still can’t do much for several weeks.

There’s a lot to do, and not just the usual getting ready for baby things. To make room for Andrew’s nursery, Zack and Josh will need to share a room and that means new furniture. I don’t have the time, the tools, the materials, or the skills, but I’m just insane enough to try and make it all myself. I don’t know if I’m just stubborn or a special kind of stupid, but I’m determined to make this work.

Josh "helps" me measure and cut the side rails on his big brother's bed.

Josh “helps” me measure and cut the side rails on his big brother’s bed.

Zack will get a loft bed with stairs and Josh will have a brand new “big boy bed”. Both of them will be extra-long twins and as indestructible as possible. I’ve been working on the beds every weekend and any spare minute I have. My bum arm and lack of carpentry skills has bogged things down a bit.

Zack's bed frame disassembled waiting to be sanded and stained.

Built entirely out of 2x6s and 2x4s, Zack’s bed frame disassembled waiting to be sanded and stained.

One of my father’s favorite expressions was “Measure twice, cut once”. For me it’s been more a case of “Measure three or four times, cut once, cut once more, swear at it a bit, make a trip back to Lowes, and then do it all over again.”

I turned my back for a moment and found this artful arrangement of building materials had somehow appeared. Hmmm... I think it may be my "helpers" again.

I turned my back for a moment and found this artful arrangement of building materials had somehow appeared. Hmmm…  either we have a poltergeist or it may be my “helpers” again.

The boy’s enthusiasm is encouraging, but their “help” leaves a lot to be desired. Tools and materials have a bad habit of wandering off. I even I caught Josh “playing Daddy” the other day:

“”Where’s my wrench? It was right here!”

“Now I can’t find the hammer!”

This has been a massive learning experience. While my bed construction is a tad on the crude side, it has so far proven as indestructible as I’d hoped. After I finished the frames I bolted them together and let the boys torture test Josh’s bed for a bit. It helped show me a few areas that I needed to improve and I made modifications based on that.

Let the torture test begin! It's not everyday Dad sets up a twin bed in the living room. The boys take advantage and bounce as much as possible.

Let the testing begin! It’s not everyday Dad sets up a twin bed in the living room. The boys take advantage and bounce as much as possible.

I’m getting closer to the finish line on the great furniture debacle of 2014. The beds have been made and then disassembled ready for sanding and stain, and I’ve nearly completed the staircase (with dresser drawers under each step) so it will get sanded and stained tomorrow as well.

Testing for fit. These are the stairs that Zack will use to get into his loft bed.

Testing for fit. These are the stairs that Zack will use to get into his loft bed.

Once the beds are finished and assembled I’ll post an in depth blog detailing their design and construction. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll make it. I have three more days to push through the pain in my arm and do as much as I can with two crazed little boys under foot.

Well, enough computer for me… now where’d that sander go? Ugh…

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