Tropical Storm Amalah
A Post That Is Not About My Elbow

Total Eclipse of the Elbow

Hellooooooooo. It's been a week. A magical week, full of much learning about elbows and why you should not break them.

Also, there was an eclipse, that, I dunno, I was personally pretty underwhelmed by. I watched an orange circle slowly get covered by a black circle and the world was not plunged into dramatic darkness. It maybe got a little extra shadow-y for a minute? Maybe not even that? Did I miss something? Am I dead inside? Should I go back and edit out at least three commas from that first sentence? 

(Answer to all those questions is yes, probably.)

Anyway, I hope everybody's eyeballs are fine (with maybe one exception). Now back to my elbow, which is NOT fine, but could be worse, because damn, elbows are complicated. 


Amy's Elbow, Inside & Out

A follow-up with a orthopedist confirmed that yes, I fractured the nubby pointy bit of my elbow, also known as the olecranon. Which sounds vaguely science fiction-y. The good (?) news is that the break non-displaced: the nubby pointy bit is cracked but still intact, and the crack is lined up nicely to heal without surgery. Although my very cheerful doctor very cheerfully informed me that it could become displaced if I move my tricep the wrong way, also if I move my wrist wrong I could damage nerves, also try not to fall again for at least eight to 12 weeks. (OH GOD THAT'S A BIG ASK.) 

"But even if you do," he (SO CHEERFULLY) said, "we have a doctor who specializes in that exact surgery for that exact kind of break."

Yay for America (at least the Baltimore-ish bit), the land where you can find a doctor who specializes in just the nubby pointy bit of your elbow. (Also quadruple yay for health insurance, because lord almighty, I am racking up the billz over here.)

Typing remains...challenging. Which is a problem when your job is basically 99% typing. I tried using a transcription app,with somewhat laughable results, as I never realized how often I change my mind mid-word and most of my "writing" is done in an endless loop of delete-retype-delete-retype as my brain edits itself faster than my fingers. My latest splint at least lets me use my mouse a little easier (the first one covered my palm, up to my fingers) but I still keep accidentally mashing over random keys and making typing errors because my right hand is at a slightly different angle than I'm used to, PLUS, you know, it fucking hurts. That, too. 

Then on Sunday I got stung by a wasp. :-(  

So I am not having the best month. Jason wasn't either, as he 1) lost his wallet after leaving in on the trunk of his car during a particularly rushed and stressful camp drop-off involving permission slips and food orders, and 2) has been required to help me with literally everything while I bumble around helplessly. 

But then! His wallet was returned by a nice person who found it on the street and brought it to our house! But his driver's license fell out and a second nice person found THAT and returned it too! Because people aren't all garbage! 

And now I'm allowed to take my splint off to shower so he no longer needs to shampoo my hair for me. Or shave my left armpit! I am a big girl who can do it all by myself. 

(He still occasionally gives me an assist with the blowdryer. And hooking my bra and sometimes putting on pants. And he watched a YouTube video on French braids and tried to do that as well, before giving up and declaring it to be too far out of his skill set. I still award major points for the attempt.)

The kids, dogs and cats are all fine. The kids are at a Lego camp this week, because sure, let's pay money to have them play with Lego somewhere that's not my house. Poppy ate a purse and half of a screen door, Beau has eaten literally every giant bone/chew/industrial-strength-large-breed toy we've purchased for Poppy, and the cats are still on a diet and still mad as fuck about it. 

Also I have decided I would like a lizard. I went to the store to look at lizards and now the kids want a guinea pig too. And a chicken after meeting our friends' chickens.

 IMG_20170820_115714 (1)
IMG_20170820_115714 (1)

(Well, Noah and Ezra do, anyway. Ike just wants cats. More cats! All the cats!)


(Current cats be like, plz no god stahp. But lets talk moar fud?) 



I know my area has an exotic pet rescue that regularly has both lizards and guinea pigs. Might be worth checking to see if there's one in your area as well.

Julia Hart

I love my bearded dragon, but prepare yourself to deal with the crickets and other small insects it needs to eat- they can get pricey, smelly, and complicated!

Elan Morgan

Ouch! Heal fast.

Melissa Parent

Don't do lizards.

They are glorious, beautiful creatures who, once brought home in their super-expensive special tank with equally expensive special lids and special food and special lights and special heaters on a special schedule with special noise requirements and special light requirements and special set up for the in-the-tank stuff, and oh by the way memorize it, because you have to move it all to clean it out once a week, worse than a cat box, and oh yeah LIVE CRICKETS by the million IN YOUR HOUSE, and maybe you need to do all this twice WITH ONE GOOD ARM (hope that feels better soon, by the way) because Why is he just sitting there? It's been, like, 3 days, is he dead? Maybe he's lonely - so buy it all again because the new lizard is also a male even though they SWORE it was a girl, and they hate each other. And now they sit up on their super-expensive special branches and rocks in their separate tanks and never move, except sometimes they bounce their heads up and down at each other in what I am told is a fearsome display of lizardly male prowess but which looks, to the untrained eye, like they are bobbleheads. Really smelly, fussy, stinky bobbleheads.

Yeah, don't do lizards.

Chickens are nice, though! Their poop stinks but they eat all the bugs in the yard :)


Get a Bearded Dragon! Best lizard pet for busy families. So easy. Friendly. DO IT. We feed ours meal worms, I drew the line at crickets in our house. He also eats a lot of spinach.


I have two veiled chameleons named Pascal and Madame Curie and we love them!! And they hold lego weapons!! Startup is sort of expensive, and the crickets kind of blow. But the lizards themselves are amazing. We're getting a bearded dragon next.

Sheri Bheri

Hope you heal quickly!

Guinea pigs are just shit-machines! (Sorry to the GP lovers, but they were dumb as stumps). Having had guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and rats, i would recommend the rats HANDS DOWN. They're like mini-dogs, they actually like you and can be cuddly / playful. I would recommend getting them (did I mention you need to have more than one?) from a rescue. That way you know they've been socialized and will get along with your kids.

Amy A

Top boy photo identification, please! Ezra? Neighbor? Random boy who kind of looks like Ezra? Why does this not look like Ezra?!!
I agree with the anti-lizard vote. Boring and expensive. IMO, guinea pigs are boring, too. Cats are cuter and much more interesting. Get another cat 😛

Erica Hettwer

Rats are the best!!! My kids and I are working on Daddy to get him thinking that too.
We do have chickens, 10 of them, and they are sooooo awesome! I yell at them, and they come running! They are my ladies and are much better trained than my kids or my husband. But chickens will eat all the bugs, they make food, and they are just plain fun to watch.

Julie in Colorado

Hi Amy, I'm sorry your elbow is so injured, but I'm glad you're getting such good medical care!

I have to say the reason the eclipse was underwhelming to you is because you only witnessed a partial eclipse at your location. Partial eclipses are always boring relative to a total eclipse. My family and I drove up to Wyoming to be in the path of totality and even though it was a painfully long drive home in stop and go traffic for nine hours, it was totally worth every bit of it! I get goosebumps now just talking about it or thinking about it, it was the most beautiful natural phenomenon I have ever witnessed in my entire life! During totality it is safe to take off your eclipse glasses and observe the eclipsed sun with your naked eyes. The world got dark, the streetlights in the surrounding hills went on, the birds all took wing, all around us in a 360° circle the far away clouds were lit up like a gorgeous sunset, and the corona of the sun spiking out from the moon as glorious silvery petals was absolutely breathtaking! We were able to spot the planet Mercury near the sun and a beautiful bright Venus just off to the side! It was magnificent beyond words! I will never forget that sight as long as I live! If you ever get a chance to take your family to see a TOTAL solar eclipse, I promise you you won't regret it!


Wasps are assholes. IMHO.

Melissa Parent - after having three Bearded Dragons, your comment made me laugh so hard! If you happen to get one who wasn't hand-raised or was mistreated you also get the tail-whipping ninja skillz that come with them hating people. I had so many tiny cuts...

Spinach is not good for beardies in the long run. They can eat it occasionally, but calcium binds to spinach, and stops them from absorbing it properly, and you can end up with a rickety lizard.

My experienced vote is for box turtles. I have had them for 25 years, they at least move and interact, and they eat scraps of veggies and fruit from the kitchen with occassional mealworms...because, yeah, crickets smell.


Yes to what Julie in Colorado said re: eclipse- I was also in Wyoming in the complete totality part, and it was every bit as breathtaking and magical and awe-inspiring as described! I can't WAIT to do it again in 2024! I read that the difference between 99% and 100% totality was "like night and day" and I believe it. So, so, so worth it.


I had a pet rat when was in elementary school. She was a university lab rat my mother received from her professor at the end of the semester (Mom saved her from an unhappy ending). She was a lot of fun. Very clean and would come when her name was called. She would ride on my shoulder and loved chocolate and sunflower seeds. Chickens are fun too and will eat just about anything. Mine come running when they are called. Fresh eggs are not comparable to store bought eggs. We have about 30 chickens along with ducks, guineas, muscovies, sheep, cattle, horses, 2 dogs, and a cat.


Please don't remove the commas. Commas save lives! "I ate Grandma." "I ate, Grandma."

Also, you're missing one in this sentence, and I have the twitchies! "The kids, dogs and cats are all fine."


We have beardies; I like them. Relatively low maintenance, all things considered. However, the crickets DO escape and sing all.night.long under the desk, in the bathtub, behind the bed..... Really give it a lot of thought before you commit.

V. glad that we will have totality in my back yard for the next one!


Was that Tribble-looking thing supposed to be a chicken?!? I really don't know chickens, it would seem.

While at the pet store a couple days ago, the lady behind me in line had a bearded dragon that was just... clinging to her shirt. She was wearing a tank top, and he (?) was just hanging on, all chill and kind of cuddly-looking. No clue what they are like to keep day to day, but that scene was ADORABLE.


Heal fast and heal well. Careful with the pet creep!

Katie H.

The Trump thing SLAYS me! And I love that the boys want chickens. They are so sweet (both the chickens and the boys). Hang in there with the elbow. I broke my wrist a few years ago and it was HELL for 3 months!

Lauren A

Had a Jackson's chameleon that mostly lived on our ficus tree in our living room- that was before we had cats though...But lord crickets blow SOOO HAAARD. Lizards are the hardest reptile to keep healthy. What about a corn snake? Loved a small snake when I was a kid- my garter snake was a great pet. And corn snakes are beautifully colored...

Watch the dogs with the box turtles if you go that route... they're chew toy sized. It... didn't end well for my cousin's box turtle and her boxer.

Heather Laura Clarke

Missed your posts while you were away in Elbow-Breaking Vacation Land. Hope everything heals up quickly because not being able to type is SO HARD.


Major props to Jason for the French braid attempt. And I second the yay for health insurance. We have been squeezing ours hard this summmer. Hope your elbow heals quickly and nicely.


Beardies are low-maintenance and don't mind being handled, but they (or any other reptile) require special equipment to properly care for them. You'll need a suitable cage, heat lamps, UVA/B lamps to make sure they're getting the proper light to stay healthy, and quite a bit of other kit. They're super neat and I love mine, but they do require a separate skillset than dogs or cats do, so take that into account when considering them as pets.

Add me as another vote to the column for rats instead of guinea pigs. Rats are genuinely friendly and can even be taught to do tricks. They're like itty-bitty puppies with weird tails.


I want a lizard too! Crested Geckos are good if you want a small one. However, if you want a nice medium sized lizard that could pass as a baby dragon look for a euromastyx. They get to be about 15 inches and eat only vegetables so you don't have to deal with crickets. We already have chickens. They are amazing, weed eating, tiny dinosaurs.


On a completely unrelated topic, I was hoping that you will post again about school lunches. I know that a few years ago you were doing bento box lunches for all three kids. Is that still what you guys do? If so, how have your lunch containers held up, and what kinds are you using these days?


Another vote for: totality is AMAZING! Luckily, we live in the path or we never would've seen it. If you get the chance, I recommend it! I can get that just watching the partial would be a big "WTF's the big deal?"


Personally a fan of our leopard gecko. Does not have sticky feet, robust enough for kid holding and ours has been very hard to kill. Clean her tank every two months, keep her in crickets and water and she's good.
I deeply regret the guinea pigs though. Adorable fuzzy potatoes that they are, they are SO DUMB and make SO MUCH POOP. We have to clean the cage every 5-6 days. Too much work for something that seems to have a death wish every time we take it out of its pen.

Ms. Blake


I know this comment will peeve some urban chicken owners which is not my intention. I just think both sides of the argument should be considered prior to making a decision.

I live in a large U.S. city where you are legally allowed to have 3 hens (no roosters allowed--not that it stops people from getting a rooster or getting more than 3 hens) and 2 goats within city limits and I have experience living around and pet-sitting these critters.

Things to keep in mind:

(A) Chicken feed attracts rats--big rats. We were on chicken and duck-sitting duty last weekend for some friends and encountered a rat that would put the pizza rat of internet fame to shame. It was gigantic and had started to chew a substantial hole through the floor of the coop. Whether you keep the chickens in their coop all day (not fair to them, to be honest) or let them "free range" in your yard during the day, the rats (raccoons, possums, coyotes, etc.) will be attracted by the feed and water These rats may also invade your neighbors' yards. I love our neighbors but since they acquired chickens, we've had to deal with a ton of rat holes in our backyard as have our friends with the ducks and chickens.

(B) Chicken poop. It's a good fertilizer but it smells awful and if you let the chickens free range, your yard becomes a field of poop that is not easy to navigate. No more sandals.

(C) Think about when you go on holiday. It's one thing to get a friend/family member/neighbor to watch the dogs and cats but adding chickens to the mix may be more than the average person wants to deal with, especially if they aren't staying at your house. It can take some major wrangling (think of any comedy scene featuring Yakety Sax) to get chickens into the coop if they don't feel inclined to do so. You may not make your dinner reservations is all I'm saying.

(D) Think about how many eggs you use during the week. Does it warrant having chickens or can you visit the nearest farmer's market every week or so? At some point, the hens will stop laying eggs, at which time, you will need to decide whether or not you keep them or have them butchered (food chain lesson but potential mega kid trauma).

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but these have been my experiences with chickens. My husband and I have also watched a friend's guinea pig and we basically had the same experience as the other posters (lost of poop, expensive cage filler, not always the most engaging).

Let the boys visit your friends' chickens from time-to-time and encourage them to enjoy the pets they have instead of adding to the menagerie. Trust me, what's left of your sanity will thank-you.

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