Life

Shooting on Location; or 4 days away from my toddler

 I woke up early the first morning, and got to walk on the moody gray beach. The solitude was so lovely. 

I woke up early the first morning, and got to walk on the moody gray beach. The solitude was so lovely. 

A few weeks ago my husband took the week off work to be home with our daughter. He'd told his co-workers he was being a solo parent for the week because his wife was shooting a movie on the beach. That made it sound so much more glamorous than it was, but technically it was true. Our childcare provider was on vacation that week, so he stayed home, and I was in Seaside, OR filming.

Last year I was in a senior project film up at Western Washington University in Bellingham called BAILEY. It was co-directed by Penelope Kipps and Tristan Olson. Earlier this year, Penelope emailed me to offer me a role in her first post-college film--KELP. This would be unpaid, but she would reimburse me for gas, and there was an Airbnb for out of town cast and crew members to share, so we didn't have to pay for a hotel. 

I've been focusing on on-camera work only for the last year or so and decided to accept this unpaid opportunity. Penelope (and Tristan) were enjoyable to work with and gave me good footage in a timely manner. For CCM (Copy, Credit, Meals) tier work, getting the copy of your work, which looks good, and arrives soon(ish) after filming is unfortunately rare. 

 We shot in a John L. Scott real estate office for the mayor's office scenes. 

We shot in a John L. Scott real estate office for the mayor's office scenes. 

This was the longest I'd ever been away from my daughter. We'd done a night apart before, but this was 4 nights away! I thought I would be aching with longing for her, but I was surprised to feel...free. 

Of course, I absolutely loved getting to FaceTime with her and wished I was there to hug and kiss her, but the rest of the day, while I was working, I was pretty focused on what I was doing, and it felt good. There's part of me that feels like I should have felt bad about being away. Why was I so okay with not seeing her? Is it because she's 2 and in full tantrum mode? Is it because she's developed a habit of smearing her poop on the floor of her bedroom? Is it because being away from loved ones once in a while is OKAY? 

 On the beach with two or my cast mates. Can you see how windy it is!?

On the beach with two or my cast mates. Can you see how windy it is!?

The filming went pretty quickly. On the first day, we shot three scenes in the morning, then I was free the rest of the day. I had gotten an audition for a TV show that shoots in WA, scheduled for Tuesday, but wouldn't be in town for the audition. While I was bummed not to be able to go in person, they did accept self-tapes, and Penelope offered to film it, and one of the cast members offered to be my reader! 

On Tuesday, we shot a beach scene, which I was NOT prepared for how cold it would be down there! It was June and pretty nice up in town. One of the extras offered me a thin sweater, which was lovely, but I still was pretty chilly. The wind was out of control too, so it's possible my hair will just be whipping in my face for that whole scene. 

 Spent a good deal of time in the drama/theatre section of Powells in Portland, OR. 

Spent a good deal of time in the drama/theatre section of Powells in Portland, OR. 

Wednesday I was off, so after my shots were done on Tuesday, I drove to Portland to stay with some family friends. It was nice to explore Portland by myself, and spend hours in Powells! Thursday we had one more scene (indoors this time!) and while it was a big group scene, it all went smoothly and I was able to hit the road. 

Getting home was a rush of excitement and warmth--getting to see my husband and daughter flooded me with joy. I'm so grateful to have a supportive family, who allow me to take opportunities like this, which I hope will benefit my career. Though, it may be a while before I'm away from them for that long--hopefully, I can book some local on-camera work soon!

Achievement Unlocked: A Week at Children's Hospital

 For a kid who doesn't get much screen time we watched a LOT of Moana. And Thomas. And Nemo and Dori. 

For a kid who doesn't get much screen time we watched a LOT of Moana. And Thomas. And Nemo and Dori. 

Generally, I write about career stuff--auditions, performances, etc. but this week my life was interrupted by taking care of my child. As I'm writing this, my daughter has been in the hospital for a week now for a burst appendix.* She's 22 months old.

Last Thursday, we had dinner and everything was pretty normal. Then as we were getting ready for bed she threw up; three times. Each time we thought she was done, so we changed her sheets; ooh-boy there was so much laundry. On Friday morning she threw up twice more (more laundry), and though we generally don't do a ton of screen time, we basically had a veg-out movie day. She wasn't eating much-- just a few crackers, but she was still drinking water and milk, so we saw that as a good sign. We gave her a bottle before bed, and she threw that up! In the middle of the night she got really upset for over an hour. She was crying a lot and whimpering. We noticed her stomach was hard, so we figured she must have cramps, or be constipated. When she pooped in the morning, we were pleased that that was resolved. Saturday was another movie day, and all was pretty calm. Then around 4pm she had another freak-out, similar to the one in the middle of the night. Again, we noticed her stomach was hard all over, and I was about to send my husband out to buy some prune juice or something.

 Mom-ing so hard here. Can you see in my eyes how much I want to be home?

Mom-ing so hard here. Can you see in my eyes how much I want to be home?

But there was just this nagging feeling that I should call the consulting nurse. So I did. She asked a ton of questions and seemed particularly concerned that our normally active child wasn't walking. We had thought--well, she has a stomach bug, of course she wants to sit, and be carried. The nurse asked us to set her down and see if she would walk, and when we put her on her feet she just cried. Between that and the hard stomach, this amazing nurse said we should go to Seattle Children's Emergency Department.

We put on some shoes and socks and grabbed her diaper bag. The whole time thinking that this was a bit overkill. She was so calm and it didn't seem like an EMERGENCY.

We got to the hospital and were in a room pretty quickly. The doctor wanted to see her stand, and she wouldn't put her right foot down when standing. He figured it could be a stomach issue or a hip infection. We were sent to get an ultrasound for both. The ultrasound tech did all the stomach parts, which Lo seemed really scared by. The tech said, "I'm going to go consult with the doctors, I'll be right back." when she returned she said, "Well, we don't need to do the hip scan. We have everything we need. The doctors will be the ones to tell you what all this means. It's possible surgical may come by--they're really good at assessing stomach issues."

Okay...so we went back down to our room and the resident came in and told us it was appendicitis. To which we were like--okay. He then said, "You guys are oddly calm about this!" Here's the deal; we are at Children's Hospital--if there is ANYTHING wrong, this is where you want to be. Also, in the grand scheme of medical issues, appendicitis is one of the lowest worries for me. Yes, I know there are risks with surgery and infection, but I knew we were in capable hands.

 One of her nurses gave Hannah an NG tube (in her nose), and IV in her hand...er...paw.  

One of her nurses gave Hannah an NG tube (in her nose), and IV in her hand...er...paw.  

They said if it hadn't burst, we'd be out in about 24 hours. If it had, we would be here for about 7 days, because they need to do IV antibiotics, and it's a more complicated recovery process healing from a burst appendix. The surgeon said that the younger the person is, the earlier it bursts, and he expected it had.

Here's where it gets sad: this meant we would not be getting to see the matinee of Hamilton we had been so looking forward to seeing the next day. That Sunday was going to be a very special day--My husband was getting a massage I had scheduled as a birthday present for him, then we were going to have a lunch date, then see Hamilton. Sigh...it'll come around again, right? Would I rather have been there than in a Hospital? Yes. Obviously. But when my kid is in the hospital I will clear my schedule to be with her. That is the easiest choice to make.

I am very lucky to have insurance, and jobs that are understanding of medical stuff. I also have a husband whose work is understanding of him taking time off for this. Not everyone is this lucky. An ER visit, plus surgery, and a week in the hospital could ruin someone else and that breaks my heart. 

*Update: Later that night we were able to go home. She's returning to her normal self!