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Lives of Doctor Wives: December 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009


Happy New Year to all of you!
Let's see what is going on with us in 2010! Anyone celebrating any accomplishments? Are any congratulations, or any huge sighs of relief in order??

Stay safe!! See you in 2010!!

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Monday, December 28, 2009


Hmmm, I keep forgetting to do these in the morning. At least it is still Monday, right? :o)

Any comments on last week's poll? Brad wasn't on call so we had him home all day. OH YEAH! But, we live no where near family, so it was just our little family. And it was wonderful. :o)


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Medical Related Christmas Gifts?

Merry *almost* Christmas everyone! I thought it would be fun to see if anyone got their spouse something medical related for Christmas. I found a couple of things that are under the tree for my husband:

1) Long sleeve shirts to wear under his scrubs. Ladies, whole other conversation but we should discuss whether you have to wash his scrubs or if he works at a hospital with laundry service because MAN am I washing a lot of scrubs...
Anyway, my husband likes the more silky athletic materials under his scrubs so I found some Under Armor ones I hope he likes...
2) A Clipboard. Haha! He has been saying for weeks he wanted to find a clipboard that is clear and you can put a sheet of paper inside the board part so he can have a reference sheet of common drugs/doses/etc. I found one online.
3) A scrub cap. Since my husband is doing anesthesia he wears scrub caps and generally surgeons/anesthesiologists have unique caps. I got him one from with our college logo on it (he has several others like it).
4. Pens, he uses a lot of black gel pens to sign orders and such.

I think that's it! Be sure to keep it a secret! Did you find anything medical related to give your spouse/SO?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Belated poll

Sorry, crazy day. I put up a new poll if you happen to have a chance to get on here this week. Any comments on last week's poll about shopping?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Inexpensive Gift Idea

If you're looking for an inexpensive gift idea for Christmas, check out my blog post on how to make decorative cookies. Your kids will have a good time, and you'll have something nice to give away.

NOTE: My steps suggest using icing paste to color them, but food coloring works fine (you just don't get the vivid colors).

Monday, December 14, 2009


The new poll is up! Any comments on last week's poll? I haven't cut my hair in 16 months and I need one bad!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Survivor Saturdays: Selling a Home Like a Pro

Have you lost sleep over trying to sell a home as you move to the next location for your spouse's career? I have some tips on how to beat the odds in this economy. These tricks worked for me, and hopefully they will work for you, too!

Make some home improvements. Only make improvements that significantly improve the appearance, or fix things that are wrong. For example, change out a broken appliance but don't bother putting in new cabinets. Paint the exterior door, but don't seal the cement patio. That kind of stuff. If your carpet is old, advertise that you are giving a carpet allowance as part of the sale. People love to be in control of what color and quality goes on the floor. Make it reasonable, though, like $2000-4000 dollars. Also, paint walls a neutral color. Fresh paint makes a house smell new and gives it a real pick-me-up.

Consider selling the home yourself before listing with an agent. Craigslist.org and ebay.com are great sites for advertising a home for sale, but you must include photos. Ebay has a special section for home ads that don't include an auction. It's around $200, but craigslist.org is free. If you're going to try to sell it yourself, put together professional flyers that tell all the stuff MLS lists. Also include room dimensions, date of the new items and replacements, and what's near you that is worth mentioning (exercise gyms, spas, shopping, restaurants, grocery stores, schools). Put in bold letters that you are only selling by owner until XXX XX (date) so buyers don't think they can contact you after they exhaust other options.

Design a simple webpage to refer to when you advertise your home. Short ads pointing to a website and phone are cheaper. Also, list your website with the big search engines like google, yahoo, and bing. This is usually free. If that seems too complicated, post an ad in one of the popular fsbo sites (like forsalebyowner.com or fsbo.com) and include a link to your own site. These sites pay to be on the top of search engine lists, so your home will be found quickly. Make sure all ads you create include city, state, and other buzz words people might google when shopping for your area.

Promote desirables. Some people (like myself) will only look at a non-smoker's home or a home that didn't have pets. I am very allergic to cats, and my son is very allergic to dogs. If you've had any tests or inspections done that gave good results, list them. Pest inspections, Radon tests, and other extras make the difference. Energy efficient or eco-friendly features also matter to some people. Houses with tall showers and vanities, or well-lit homes are also important.

Be different. Offer something unique with your home. When I sold my home (yes, by owner), I offered a new HHR for any buyer who paid full asking price. If you're selling a $367,000 house, that's the cost of a realtor fee. Wouldn't you pay a realtor 6% if they got asking price?! When I got my ad up and running and appearing on search engines, I created a press release about myself as if someone else was writing about my unique sales approach. I emailed a copy of the press release to all the local media outlets. It got me a local radio interview and free advertising. My ebay ad got over 4000 hits that day.

Offer a finder's fee for references that result in a home sale. Offer a 3% finder's fee to anyone who refers a buyer that closes a deal. You can negotiate your price based on whether or not a finder's fee in involved. Any realtor who represents a buyer will want their portion (which is 3%) and you will still save the remaining 3% you would have paid to YOUR realtor. If you choose to offer a finder's fee, tell your friends and any realtors to email or call you with the name and telephone number of the person they referred, in order to get the fee after the sale. Use this information to follow up. Keep a log, though, so you don't forget when a referral took place.

Have open houses every Saturday and Sunday you can. Advertise them in the paper, on craigslist.org and on your website. Put a sign in your yard and down the street during those days. During the open house, have coffee and small appetizers out with nice music playing and candles burning. show them what the house would look like when they entertained there. Have your guests sign in, and then don't follow them around unless they want you to. The guest list not only allows you to follow up, but it documents when someone went through the house so a realtor can't approach them later and claim a referral. I don't care what realtors say, I had my best hits during open houses. I had a lot of realtors attempt to sell me their services during open houses, but I handed them a flyer and told them a finder's fee was theirs to be had if they found a buyer. I showed them around the home so they could tell others. (note: few realtors will show a fsbo home.)

Negotiate before listing with a realtor. If you aren't successful in selling the home yourself (or you don't want to), negotiate the heck out of your realtor. You should never sign a contract more than 3 months long, and if your home is listed for more than $200, try to get them to take 4% on the first $200k, and 7% on anything above that. That will motivate them to get the best price for you. If they tell you they aren't negotiable in their fees, walk away. A good realtor will be flexible and knows they don't do any more work for a $500k home than a $150k home. Also, read all contracts thoroughly. Some questionable realtors try to slip in "dual agent" or "exclusivity agreement" or longer terms without you noticing. Once you find a good realtor, be clear that you expect a weekly report of how many showings took place and what their comments were. If they seem to be doing their job, you can renew their contract with you for another 1-3 months until you feel it's time to try someone new.

Don't show an empty house. If you have to move out, buy some cheap blowup mattresses and cover them with nice bedding you can temporarily do without. Borrow furniture from friends, or ask a local furniture store (not a chain) if they would be willing to furnish your home for display purposes in return for posting a sign or price tags advertising where the items can be purchased. It's good for you, and it's good for the retailer. If you're really desperate, buy some non-stinky thrift store sofas/chairs and pin some nice covers on them. If you're moving too far away to show the house, then it's time to look for a realtor. Your home will be listed as NEW in the MLS and more realtors will see it.

Don't rely on a realtor to protect you. I can't tell you how many times our realtors have failed to include agreed items in a contract, or put a charge on the correct side of the closing statement. In fact, our last sale resulted in a law suit because our realtor's title company calculated the wrong tax amount, even after we questioned it. Now we proved we had communicated, but it turned into a real mess. Insist on a title company that you heard good things about, or better yet, use an attorney to close. They cost about the same but you'll have someone looking out for you. When we sold our own home, we paid an attorney to draw up the contract. It was sweet and simple, and we took the contract to the buyer's bank and asked them to close for us. I couldn't believe it was so simple. They took care of paying off the old mortgage, transferred title, and everything. I followed up by calling the city later to be sure they had the new owners on file for tax purposes.

Selling a house can be stressful, but it's quite rewarding when you do it successfully, and for a price you can live with. Have fun with it and meet some people in the process.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Call for Healthy Recipes

I finally convinced my husband to eat healthier now that I convinced him there are good recipes out there. We're trying to eat whole grains (whole wheat pastas and breads), unbleached flour, unrefined sugar, and lots of veggies. I recently made a roasted red pepper pasta dish that he went crazy over (posted on my blog http://wingspouse.com/blog/2009/12/creamy-red-pepper-sauce-over-pasta/). How do I top this?

I need some recipe suggestions, ladies. Anyone have some killer (yet healthy) recipes that don't take forever to make? You can email them to me if they're too long to share here. (kathi at wingspouse dot com)

P.S. Next week's Survivor Saturdays post will talk about creative tools to sell your home.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Which Core?

I know this is our decision and that we have to choose what is best for us and our family, but I was wondering what factors your doctor (and you!) took into consideration when choosing core 1, 2, or 3. Our first choice is 1. Unfortunately that is the first choice for the majority of my husband's class. We need to be really careful about our second choice because it very possibly will come down to that. We have three kids and I'd love to have my husband around for the holidays; however, it seems like it might not be the best to leave it for the end.Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Merry Christmas, everybody!


I forgot to post one this morning! Oops! You can vote now!

Any comments on last weeks Thanksgiving poll?


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Survivor Saturdays: When the Doctor Has No Patience

At some point during medical school and residency, a low threshold of patience is common. Your spouse may become easily frustrated and even angry. Small things will become big things, and your spouse may turn into a different person. While this is common, it can be manageable. If you address some of the causes up front, you'll have a little more energy to deal with the unavoidable ones.

Sleep deprivation is one of the main reasons your handsome prince becomes a royal pain! Lack of sleep brings on irritability, depression, weight gain, and even hypertension. While you can't control how much sleep he gets, you can help him get the most out of his shut-eye at home. When he is in bed, keep interruptions to a minimum. Remove home phones from the bedroom and consider a white noise machine. You can even create white noise by going to this simplynoise website on a strategically placed laptop. Also, assure him you won't let him oversleep, even if it means setting two or three alarms for his peace of mind.

I mentioned hypertension as it relates to sleep, but hypertension is a serious issue and it's common in high-stress occupations. Hypertension can result in constant headaches, as well as a generally crappy feeling. Look for signs of hypertension. If your spouse has frequent headaches, irregular heartbeats, changes in vision, occasional dizziness, or flushed face, encourage them to check their blood pressure. I'm not giving professional medical advice here, I'm just telling you what I know from my own experience and conversations.

I've mentioned this before, but constant pager calls, stat orders, and repeated requests for on-the-spot decisions can drive a person mad. Since your spouse can't tell senior residents or nursing staff to take a hike, the frustration is likely to be redirected at you. Oftentimes, just telling your spouse what action you need from him, rather than asking him to make a decision, will go a long way. Men are problem-solvers, so those innocent conversations when you think out loud can lead your spouse into a mental meltdown trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist. If you're just feeling chatty, tell him you want a sounding board and no response is needed. That may sound crazy, but it gives him permission to stop "rescuing."

Okay, this leaves us with the more touchy topic - inappropriate behavior. Don't allow your partner to treat you poorly, simply because he works hard. We all work hard. You probably wake up as many times to care for children as he does on a call night (revisit paragraphs 2 & 3 above). The God complex is a recognized condition physicians suffer from when they eat up the attention and become too full of themselves (yes, that's a little joke). If his behavior is unacceptable, point it out when it happens and suggest an alternative. He'll probably respond in like kind, and you can both offer to try something different. Keep other physician jerks at a distance, too, since they tend to suck others in to justify their own poor behavior.

When all else fails, consider finding a counselor to get you both back on track. Most insurance policies cover such visits and you may find that even one visit makes a difference. Counselors don't fix problems, they just facilitate discussing them in a more constructive way. If you can't convince him to consider counseling, surround yourself with other couples who have healthy marriages. Good examples go a long way and you both may pick up some better habits.

Hope this helps some of you attend to your spouses' mood and give your marriage the critical care it needs. (Hope you found my puns humerus.)

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On the interview trail

I just thought I would see how things are going for fellow spouses of MSIVs. We are less than three months away from submitting rank lists, and three and a half months from MATCH DAY!

Things are going pretty well for us. We have been relatively lucky as neurosurgery is on somewhat of an earlier schedule since they were early match two years ago. This means we had most of our interview offers in November and have pretty much heard from most programs by now (and as far as those that we haven't heard from we may never hear from them.)
My husband seems to be enjoying the interviews and getting to know his future collegues. He seems to be running into a lot of the same people on the trail (I think this is because neurosurgery is a relatively small field). I have been able to go on a few interviews and have enjoyed them as well. The only negative is that things are really starting to add up - it is expensive! But I suppose no matter how much this adds up to it is still better than the price of not matching because we didn't take enough interviews.

When people said that fourth year would fly - they weren't kidding! I cannot believe it is December already - where has the time gone?

How are things going for everyone else?

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