November 3, 2014

4th Annual Beer Olympics: Goat Island

Last year, the 3rd Annual Birthday Backyard Beer Olympics were excellent.  I know because it ended like this:

Every year the expectations keep increasing and Mrs. Owen has yet to disappoint.  Beer Olympics has gradually increased in size each year and this year we finally outgrew the birthday girl's backyard.  So the 4th Annual Birthday Backyard Beer Olympics were moved to Goat Island.

Goat Island is a small 4-mile island that is only 200 yards off the Isle of Palms in Charleston, South Carolina.  This island is 1) inhabited by goats and 2) only accessible by boat.  In other words, it is awesome.

goats relaxing and observing the Beer Olympics action

Olympians boarding the ferry headed to Goat Island

Last year, the Olympians came adorned in costumes.  This year, the unique and original t-shirts were the highlight of the Olympics.  Everyone was just so gosh-darn funny.
Celebrating your first wedding anniversary at Beer Olympics:  winning
P.S.  not surprised
It takes both to be a Beer Olympian
South Carolina + Goat + Beer = 4th Annual Beer Olympics
So get off your seat and jump around 
...or soup ...or unlimited breadsticks 
No sunrise is complete without tequila
I boarded that train five years ago and am now in first class
Evan Jason Segal was in attendance... without Sarah Marshall
No Olympics are complete without Team America
T-shirt runner up:  John Smith and his Saturday and Sunday wives

T-shirt winner:  Jay-Z and Beyonce
Me: last year's 3rd Annual Beer Olympics blog had over 6000 views

When I got off the ferry, I felt like I had just walked onto the TV set for the show Survivor held somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.  It honestly had a magical feeling.  I kept waiting for Survivor's host, Jeff Probst, to pop out from behind a tree.

Everyone showed up on Goat Island with their game faces on.  However, the weather was not cooperating and Beer Olympics were under an hour delay due to lightening and monsoon rains.  The 50 or so Olympians were snuggled into two groups under two different tents to avoid becoming completely drenched.  One tent had all the food.  The other tent had all the beer.  When you have all the beer and an one hour delay... there's only one thing that makes sense:  a power hour.  Once the power hour started, it was decided early that the Beer Olympic champions would not come from the Power Hour tent... we were even thinking some of those under the Power Hour tent might not even make kick-off.

The Power Hour stopwatch
The Power Hour tent aka the fun tent (with the one minute siren = DRINK)

The Food Tent aka the boring tent

Once the rain and lightening took a lunch break, the first plan of action was drawing partners for the day.  Partners were drawn at random and many took this as a serious act of business.  Those who cared about winning prayed they would be paired with Lonnie (the 77 inch tall baseball player who had more athleticism than 80% of the drunk girls there combined).  And those who didn't care about winning prayed they they would be paired with someone who also didn't care so they could just drink and not stress about how to throw a frisbee.

I was paired with Dexter who was a friend of a friend.  And who was from the Bahamas.  And who didn't understand the concept of any of our American drinking games.  BUT, Mr. Dexter was a basketball player who once roomed with Tyler Hansbrough at a basketball camp and it was a match made in sweet Beer Olympic heaven. 

There were thirteen events this year... and here's a rundown on how to be a Beer Olympian:

The same game we've been playing since field day in kindergarten.

stretching was a very important stratedgy
as was wearing deodorant 
and using Summer's Eve

The Milton Bradley plastic board game came to life for Beer Olympics... of course with shots of beer.

This game will not be renewed for the 2015 games due to time constraints.  Apparently, no one remembered how to play checkers because we are no longer six years old.  Olympians set up the game with checkers on different grids and the judges never noticed the error.  This game was just too hard and too long for 30 year old beer drinkers. 

My second to least favorite game.  Why?  Because I hate frisbees.  If you actually want to know about this game, then please see last year's blog for more details.  I don't want to relive the horror.

This game will also not be renewed for the 2015 games.  As soon as the Olympians set foot on the Jenga stage, the drinking stopped and the seriousness started.  That is not appropriate behavior for Beer Olympics.  A Jenga game that lasts for more than thirty minutes is a huge buzz kill.

Wear a helmet, chug your beer, place your head on a bat, spin around 5 times, and attempt to run twenty yards down and back.  By far, the funniest (and most dangerous) game of the day.

Wrong way, Marcus!

If I have to explain this game to you, then you don't qualify to be an Olympian.

This was by far my favorite game.  If this video doesn't make you want to attach a tennis ball to your hat and walk around all day knocking over things, then we can't be friends.  And the self-entertainment factor is huge.

My least favorite game.  Go read last year's blog for more details on how to throw a damn frisbee.

First team to suck all the beer out of their ice tray wins.
a little trash talking before the final round

What Beer Pong winners look like :)

A tailgating favorite.  To learn more about this game, go read last year's blog.  I think you get it by now... READ LAST YEAR'S BLOG.

Due to the unpredicted longevity of several games, weather delays, and the time constraints of our rented backyard, we didn't get to finish the entire round robin of events.  Despite not having time for an elimination round, we still had winners... because someone had to take home these adorable trophies.  So the winners this year were determined by their win-loss record in the games played. 

All the winners were booed.  But that's expected because:

4th Annual Birthday Beer Olympics

Keep practicing y'all.  See ya next year!

October 31, 2014

That one time I passed out at work...

Getting robbed while working would suck.  However, it happens far too often in pharmacies due to the prescription drug abuse epidemic in our country.  I have no idea what I would do if I had to face that situation.  I can tell you that I would give them whatever they wanted.  In the words of TI:  You can have whatever you liiiiike.  I would even throw in some bonus meds and sign them up for a pharmacy savings card.  Whatever they wanted.  Being robbed would have to be the worst thing to happen at work.

But I can promise you that fainting at work has to be in the conversation for the second worst.

I've always hated needles.  I remember being ten years old and the clerk at the military ID card office needed to know my blood type to put on my military ID card.  My mom didn't know my blood type (and this might be the only time ever that my mom didn't know something), so they sent me to the local military clinic to get my blood drawn.  Two young medics had to hold me down on a stretcher to get to my arm.  I had a total freak-out moment.  It was a very traumatic event.  (My blood type was O-negative... no need to redraw blood for that ever again.)

The above situation became a common occurrence in my life.  But don't think for a second that that fear has gone away.  One time, I near passed out when they had to insert an IV to administer contrast dye for an MRI.  After the procedure was over and my blood pressure returned to normal, the nurse walked me out to the waiting room as I was sipping Coke out of a straw.  The nurse told my mom, "Your daughter did good."  Kind of how your babysitter would give a report to your parents when they got home.  Only I was 34 years old and this just happened last year.

Ironically, I learned to give vaccination injections during pharmacy school.  But we didn't practice on oranges like I thought we would... we practiced on each other.  I sure as heck was not participating in that game.  Everyone had to give three shots and take three shots.  I gave my three shots no problem.  But then I looked at my partner and said, "Don't you dare come near with me with that needle."  A student nearby volunteered to take one of the three shots.  I bribed another student with lunch.  And then I approached the TA with teary eyes and begged him to take the third shot.  I was 23 years old and in my sixth year of pursuing a professional degree, but I wasn't above acting like I was ten.  The fear of needles is a real struggle.

Thankfully, I have never had an issue administering vaccines.  Sticking others with a needle doesn't affect me at all.  And it always annoys me when people overreact and get so dramatic right before I give the vaccination.  I always think, "Thank god I never acted like that."

I made it ten years of being a vaccination giver before I had an "incident."

It was a dreary weekday night and all through the store, not a patient was stirring and I was even bored.  A middle-aged gentleman came to the counter and asked for a flu shot and I proceeded to administer the injection the same way I had for the past 10 years.  As soon as I removed the needle, a nice thick stream of blood immediately flowed down his arm... and I hurriedly applied significant pressure with a cotton ball for a few seconds.  No biggie... blood happens.  But when I removed the cotton ball, there was a gross quarter-sized bruise that had already developed.  So I applied more pressure.  When I removed the cotton ball again, the bruise had turned into a knot.  Right before my eyes I watched the knot change to a pretty puke green color with a little black and purple in the mix.

This is about the time when I started to think, "This isn't good... not good at all."  Over the next minute, I couldn't take my eyes off what was growing out of this man's arm:  a green alien the size of a baseball.  I swear for a split second I thought I was Dan Aykroyd in Ghostbusters... I waited for green slime to explode all over my face.  I've been doing this for 10 years and nothing close to this has ever happened.  I didn't know what to do.

As I talked to the patient and asked him medical history questions, I noticed that I started to get very hot and dizzy.  I immediately knew what was happening.  This wasn't my first rodeo.  All I could think at this moment was, "Don't pass out in front of the patient."  I told the patient that I needed to check on something in the pharmacy as to not alert him that I wasn't feeling well.  I quickly ran back inside the pharmacy and my tech at the drive-thru stopped me to ask a question.  All I could hear him say was...

I just walked away from him.  I hastily took off my white pharmacist jacket and threw it.  I picked up the phone to call a another pharmacist because even though I was very light-headed, all I could think about was that the guy's arm was going to fall off any second.  I didn't make it past the automated prompts when everything went white.  I somehow had enough sense to walk behind the shelves so customers couldn't see me.  I laid on the floor and moaned for my tech to get the store manager.  Things get a little fuzzy here, and I was shaking, completely soaked in sweat, and very dizzy.  So very attractive.

One of my techs grabbed some glucose gel and squirted a tube of the gel in my mouth.  Cold rags were placed on my forehead.  I just laid there on the pharmacy floor.  As one manager was taking care of me, another manager was talking to the patient with the alien in his arm.  Shockingly, the patient was very calm and nonchalant about the whole ordeal.  Meanwhile, I was laid out on the floor.  Apparently green aliens scare me.

I believe I accidentally hit a small capillary in the deltoid muscle, which is very rare, but can cause that type of inflammation and reaction.  I've given over 500 injections since then and have had no problems.  But I can honestly say that I will never be prepared for my next arm alien.  And if one happens to you, don't call me.  I won't be much help.

PS.  I followed up with the patient the following day and his swelling had subsided and he had a small bruise at the injection site.  Crisis adverted.

October 17, 2014

Pharmacist (noun) [fahr-muh-sist]

“How long is this going to take?”  I cringe every time I hear that question.  Not that the question per se bothers me, but I always have to brace myself because I’m never sure of the response I will get.  It doesn’t matter if I say 20 minutes or 2 hours, I will always receive one of two reactions.  Most people give a reasonable, “Sounds good.  I’m going to run some errands and I’ll be back later this afternoon.”  However, this is not always the case.  Sometimes the response can be a cheerful and pleasant, “ARE YOU SERIOUS?  THIS IS RIDICULOUS.  I’LL BE BACK IN TEN MINUTES AND IT BETTER BE READY”

Of course, there are exceptions for emergencies, hospice patients, sick children, and Viagra.  These patients need their meds ASAP and I do everything I can to get them in and out as quickly and safely as possible.

Here are some situations to consider why it takes so long to fill your prescription:

**pharmacist (noun):  a person who is professionally qualified to decipher doctors’ handwriting; a professional who must contact prescribers numerous times per day to get prescription clarification due to illegible handwriting

**pharmacist (noun):  a person who is professionally qualified to lose their mind as they sit on hold with the help desk waiting for directions on how to fix the jammed printer

**pharmacist (noun):  a person who is professionally qualified to administer vaccinations; this qualified professional may pass out after administering the vaccination if the patient develops a large, green, baseball sized knot at the injection site (note:  having a passed-out pharmacist will increase the time it takes to fill your prescription)  (additional note:  passing out at work is not fun; true story)

**pharmacist (noun):  a person who is professionally qualified to sniff out the BS that patients throw in order to get their controlled substances refilled early

**pharmacist (noun):  a person who is professionally qualified to spend at least 10% of their day answering non-pharmacy related questions  (i.e. what is the phone number to the dentist across the street from you?  when does the home depot next to you open?)

**pharmacist (noun):  a person who is professionally qualified to save lives daily by double checking dosages, directions, and indications

Next time you are concerned about your prescriptions taking too long to fill... ask yourself... do you want it fast or right?  

September 28, 2014

My sister got Hitched

When I was in Charleston, South Carolina, in mid January to run a half marathon and visit friends, I received a call from my favorite sibling, Allison.  I could tell she was overjoyed about something, so I put her on speaker phone with my friends to hear her surprise, “I’m going to be Mrs. Wheeler!!”  Everyone on my end cheered… even those who didn’t know my sister cheered because how do you not cheer for love?  Allison and Evan had dated for almost six years and Evan knew there was mounting pressure for him to propose:  either shit or get off the pot.  So he shitted (or is it shat?) (and yes, I just analogized getting married to pooping).

Step one:  the engagement party.  We had a champagne bar complete with a champagne fountain, because every celebration needs champagne.  We had cotton candy to dye the champagne pink, because pink makes everything better.   I had “save the date” koozies made, because I’m from Kentucky where koozies are made for everything.  I even had a mini polaroid camera to take pictures of the guests for the guest book, because everyone loves taking face pics with no do-overs.  

Next event:  the bridal shower.  Pinterest became my worst enemy during the bridal shower planning.  My nights leading up to the shower went like this:  "I need to look on Pinterest to find easy finger food ideas"... one click on this site; one click on that site...  and two hours later I found myself buying new outdoor furniture from Pottery Barn and watching youtube videos for Beer Olympics ideas… having completely aborted the original mission of finger foods.  

I did manage to find the Pinterest project from hell:
Projected project time: 3 hours.
Actual project time: 3 weeks.
Each rose was individually crafted from streamers.
never want to see streamers again.

The matron of honor, Brooke, co-hosted the shower and Brooke turned my house into a page out of a Martha Stewart magazine.  It was quite fabulous if I do say so myself.

But the best story from the shower was the conversation my mother and I had at a liquor store when I was buying rum for the bridal shower punch.
Me:  How many liters is 6 cups?
Mom:  (doing math in her head)  About 1.4 liters or so
Me:  Ok, so we are going to need two of these (as I proceeded to grab 2 fifths of rum)
Me:  But I’m following a punch recipe
Mom:  I don’t care what the recipe says, this is a BRIDAL SHOWER!
Me:  But this is a recipe I got straight from Martha Stewart’s website, and she recommends it for bridal showers
Mom:  Yeah, and Martha went to prison.
*How do you argue with that?  However, I still used both fifths. 
*I wanted to name the punch “Martha’s Prison Punch,” but that idea was vetoed because this was a BRIDAL SHOWER!

Final pre-wedding event:  the bachelorette party.  Allison chose to throw down in Chicago and 22 girls showed up.  Yes, boys, I said 22 girls.  I can’t tell any stories because that’s against the rules.  But I can show some innocent pictures and share a video starring the most entertaining limo driver in Chicago.
Bridal Brunch at City Winery
Bachelorette Dinner at Tavernita
The struggle is real

Allison spent hours upon days upon weeks upon months planning her fairytale wedding.  She wanted a fall wedding, so task #1 was looking at the University of Kentucky football schedule to make sure she picked a bye week.  She knew football tailgating for some guests might take precedence over her wedding (that may or may not have included me).  The date was set for September 20, 2014.  The location was set for downtown Indianapolis:  the Vermont Street Basin situated along the Indy Canal would be the home for the ceremony and the reception would be held at The Roof Ballroom.

Indianapolis Canal

It was finally the day before the big day.  The six bridesmaids spent the day before the wedding with the bride doing all things girls do before a wedding:  manicures, pedicures, mimosas, and a bridal lunch.  The groomsmen spent the day doing what guys do before a wedding:  golf.  

The rehearsal that night was a typical rehearsal of trying to iron out all the intricacies of the ceremony with people repeatedly saying, “Quit talking and listen.”  I think I even threw in a couple of “Sssshhhhhhhh!” to keep everyone focused… I was hungry.  The rehearsal dinner was at Harry and Izzy’s downtown and about 50 friends and family joined Allison and Evan to celebrate their wedding eve.  (As I type this blog, I am realizing how much celebration and activity goes into an upcoming wedding and it’s making me want to get married.  But not for the husband part; I want it for all the parties in my honor.  And I get to register for fine china and tons of unnecessary things just because.  So how do I sign up for this marriage thing?)

September 20th arrived.  At 9am, the hair stylists and makeup artists arrived at the hotel to get the bridesmaids' hair and makeup did, which was a three hour process.  I’m going to bet that at 9am, Evan and all the groomsmen were still snoring in bed.  The afternoon was spent lounging in Allie’s suite, lunch was catered, the photographers showed up, I was trying to perfect our adult gummy bears, and we helped Allie get tied and buttoned into her wedding dress.  I also performed a little alteration on my full body Spanx to make it easier for me to use the bathroom the rest of the night.

My favorite moment of the afternoon was when my dad showed up and saw Allison for the first time in her dress and veil… he was very emotional and it was adorably sweet.  I just hope he’s not fist pumping if I ever get married.

The weather the day of Allie’s wedding was almost too perfect:  ideal temperatures, no wind, low humidity (which pleased the females), and beautiful blue skies.  So what do people do when there is fabulous weather?… go outside.  And where do people go outside when in Indianapolis?… apparently the entire city explores the canal area.  There were people in kayaks and pedal boats; there were gondolas complete with the traditionally dressed gondolier; people were cruising around on tandem bikes and Surreys; and some were just strolling along on a leisurely walk.  People were everywhere and unfortunately it is human nature to stop and watch when there is a wedding.  I’ve been guilty of this before, too.  But for some reason this was different… “Why are all these freaks just standing around and staring?”

As an attempt for some privacy during the ceremony, the ceremony assistants (i.e. Allie’s friends) would clear the area and politely ask the gawkers to get the hell away.  No less than three minutes later, a whole new mob would surround the wedding site and someone would have to clear the area again.  Evan and the groomsmen were about to walk over the bridge for their grand entrance and we didn’t want thirty tourists on the bridge acting as paparazzi.  After several rounds of attempting to secure the area, we succumbed to losing the battle.  People were going to watch and we couldn’t do anything about it.  I also need to mention that there were randoms who videoed the wedding… what in the world are you going to do with that video?  It is going to be your weekly Friday night entertainment?

But then IT happened.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a few Segways headed in our direction right as Evan started to cross the bridge.  All the bridesmaids looked at each other in complete fear:  Allie is going to die if she sees this.  We frantically told the helmet-wearing-Segwayers to speed through the area:  “Go!  Go fast!  The groom is coming!”  I initially thought there were only a few Segways, but their line was never ending.  I lost count after the twentieth person Segwayed through… I could only laugh at this point.  Not every bride and groom can say there was a Segway tour that delayed the start of their wedding.  Allie and Evan now have that honor.

Despite the large amount of uninvited guests, it was a perfect wedding.  At the end, the cheers of celebration from the randoms on the  bridge were priceless… I saw Arsenio Hall's signature move and some jumping jacks… but once again, how do you not cheer for love?

It was finally party time.  The reception was unforgettable with over 200 guests, a sit down dinner, and open bar.  I have a feeling my parents forgot they have another daughter... my wedding may have to be held in my backyard with ten of my closest friends, followed by a buffet dinner at the Golden Coral and cash bar at the Elizabethtown American Legion.  Oh, and my dad wants bag pipes instead of a string quartet (true story).  

Now it was time for the big surprise of the night.  I'm not sure how or why I came up with this idea, but I wanted to surprise Allie and Evan with a flash mob.  I spent hours watching youtube videos of flash mobs, trying to find the perfect song and easiest dance/hand moves that even the most uncoordinated could still follow.  And then it hit me.  Allison and I have watched the movie Hitch starring Will Smith a thousand times together (I’m actually watching it now for old times sake).  The ending has always been our favorite when the wedding guests do an awesome soul train line to Heavy D’s 90’s hit of “Now that we found love.”  I specifically remember Allie saying once upon a time, “I want that at my wedding.”  She wanted a soul train and I wanted a flash mob.  So why not do both?

Once I figured out the logistics with the DJ, I spent one Sunday evening dancing around my living room like a lunatic while filming myself.  I don’t always dance around my living room, but when I do, I accidentally leave all my curtains open for my neighbors to watch.  And I don’t always dance around my living room, but when I do, I try to look as ridiculous as possible.  I uploaded my professionally made video to youtube and sent the link to all of my contacts on the guest list.  I just hoped and prayed that enough people would participate so that we wouldn't look like a small cluster with flailing body parts.  To my surprise, more people than I imagined practiced the cheesy dance and came ready with their best soul train moves.  Most importantly, it was a true surprise for Allie and Evan and they loved it.  And that makes me happy.  (Side note:  if anyone has any pictures/videos of this, can you please send them my way?  I have no proof this actually happened.)

The reception carried on as expected.  I continued the two year long process of teaching my cousin how to Dougie.  The Cupid Shuffle got everyone on the dance floor, despite Allie banning this song for the night.  My date Brandon and I did our best Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey imitation.  And I had too many Yogi Bears, which was the bourbon specialty drink of the night.  After the reception, the party soldiered on at a bar with Allie still in her wedding dress, because that's what every classy fun bride does.  The bouncer had to be paid off to let Allie in the bar since she wasn't carrying any identification (who keeps an ID in their wedding dress?).  And White Castle was personally delivered straight to the bar courtesy of Evan’s friends.  And that is how you end a perfect day.  Now that we found love what are we going to do with it?