Missed my 8.5 year smoke-iversary last month. Same day as my parents 55th (!!) wedding anniversary. Since Mom never re-married after Dad passed 19 some years ago, it still counts. (For the record, I was born 9 months and 26 days after my parents were married. Coincidence? I think not!)
Anyhow. After finishing the master bath a year and a half ago, I still had to re-paint the upstairs hallway. Removing a door and patching the hole will make that a necessity it seems. After a bout of unemployment, job search, new job, newer (present) job, grand baby (still the cutest thing in the entire world) and arm surgery recovery, we were ready to go.
Then the cascade started. If I painted the hallway, I needed to do the stair case. But the stairs, newel post, balusters and banister were too dark. So we thought about re-doing the steps, except the oak of the steps wouldn’t match the Pergo floors. And we were planning on re-doing the basement this spring (it ain’t spring here yet – no matter what the clock & calendar say) and we needed flooring for down there. Somehow this morphed into pulling up the Pergo in the kitchen & living room and replacing it all with hardwood flooring. Of course the stairs and floor had to match so the search was on.
Here we are, barely a month from “it’s finally time to paint the hallway” and the Pergo is in the basement all neatly stacked, new handrails, newel post & balusters are on hand, new stair treads are on a truck being shipped in from Tennessee, and two guys are in my living room laying new flooring while I sit here at work wondering how they are doing.
But here’s the progress they made yesterday:
Today the living room gets done, then work progresses into the laundry room. Tonight’s task for me is getting the washer & dryer out of the way so the contractors can get the flooring in tomorrow. Time to call in the heavy artillery (Zach) to help with the washer & the behemoth laundry cabinet. Gonna be a joy.
Of course, the stair treads aren’t due to arrive till Thursday sometime (a week late!!!) and the contractors will be getting antsy to move on. We’ll see how that goes. I think we’ll be fine – contractor seems like a solid guy. It’ll work out.
In other news, I snuck out and got in some bowling in the afternoon. Good lord, I never realized the effort required from your forearm, back and legs. Bowling alone may have something to do with that too – the frequency of throwing is much higher and those 15 pound balls aren’t going to move themselves! It’s good to be able to be active again. Last check in with the surgeon tomorrow too. Just about 6 months from the surgery date and I will be officially done. Still have strengthening to do, but at least I can now go at more aggressive pace.
Holy smokes, this thing still here? Happily, life has me too busy to be able to spend much time whining in here. Busy is good, but holy shit, I need a break here soon.
Regarding the so called title of this post – heard a great quote last night. Can’t remember the source, but I will try to look them up. Paraphrasing the quote here:
“Fables aren’t meant to teach children that dragons exist – they already know that. Fables teach them that dragons can be beat.”
For some reason I can’t pin down just yet, that resonates with me.
I have 6 reports to write, 2 products to test, 3 clients impatiently waiting for their reports and 3 more that will be in the same boat next week. I need a week of 36 hour days just to catch up. But – busy is good.
You know it’s been cold when you look at the dashboard of your truck, see a double digit number for the outdoor temp and think “Finally warming up a bit!”
Also – for the first time in a couple of years, the waterfalls on the pond froze. This forces the water to fall further upstream and it doesn’t necessarily return to the pond. Doesn’t take long for the pond level to get so low that the pump isn’t pumping. Had to shut it down last night, and I really can’t do anything to fix it until we get a day or two of above freezing weather. That would be above freezing for water, not alcohol.
Had bowling round #2 last night too. Got
brave stupid and tried to start out with a 14 pound ball. Two frame in and I understood that it was just too heavy, so I switched to a 13 pounder for a bit. Ended up throwing a 172 that first game – same as I bowled last week. For the second game, I switched to the 14 pound ball. It was much better throwing that one after having warmed up a wee bit. Result? 181 with I think 2 open frames. Got brave stupid again and started to bowl a third game. No progress if you don’t push the limits, right? Had a very nice game. No opens but only 1 strike resulting in a 190. Averaged 181 for the night which is a little under last years average, but all things considered, I’ll take it.
Next week I think I’ll see how it goes starting with a 14 and be prepared to drop to a 13 to warm up. By the third game, I want to try a 15 pound ball but be prepared to drop back if the arm gets tweaky. Eventually, I’ll work up to using a 15 pound ball start to finish. Then I’ll switch to my own ball. With the extra torque of the fingertip grip, it’ll still be a grind till my arm strength gets back to where it was. At least it’s progressing.
Happy to add that my arm feels fine today, but my left hip flexor is feeling a little sore. Not used to the slide. That’s a bit of weight to support on one leg in a deep knee bend. SO out of shape!
This past Thursday I actually got my butt out bowling. Had to wait till the leagues wrapped up, but I got some shots in. Used a 12lb house ball that didn’t really fit too well, but it was the closest I could get. Once I figured out how to grip & throw the ball, things went pretty well. I purposely modified my approach to try and slow down some. That seemed to work through the first game, but old habits (and throwing techniques apparently) die hard.
Scores? 172, 174. Missed my average by 15 – 18 pins, but with a 12 lb ball? I’ll take it. Best part was my arm felt good that night and also felt fine the next morning. Next week? 2 games with a 13 lb ball. I’ll increment a pound a week up to 15 pounds using a conventional grip house ball. Once I’m at 15 lbs, I’ll work up to 3 or 4 games. THEN I’ll switch back to my finger-tip grip ball and see how that goes. The finger-tip grip allows you to put more torque on the ball, but it puts quite a load on your fore arm & bicep. I want to sneak up on this puppy – while also remodeling the basement – all sorts of exercise activities around!
Speaking of re-modeling – I have to go re-paint a ceiling and do some wall touch-ups. More exercise!
Oh – the last two spin classes have thoroughly kicked my ass. Felt SO good!
It’s been three months since we were in New Orleans last. I HAD to have some gumbo. My go to recipe calls for a 10 lb turkey to get things rolling. (boil, make stock, etc) Seems that 10 lb turkeys have gone the way of the 6 oz chicken breast – they happen when the bird is 4 months old, but they sell them at 8 months plus and they’ve outgrown USDA dietary guidelines.
All that to say I substituted a 7lb roaster chicken instead. Plus? It was already thawed sitting there in the grocery stores cooler. I usually use Andouille sausage too. Thought I had some. Got home to find I had 1 lb of fresh Chorizo and 1.5 lb smoked Chorizo. Worked for me. Both varieties of Chorizo were also made of chicken.
Busted out a relatively new bamboo spoon once I had the roux smoothed out with a whisk. Now I know how my favorite spoons get all black on the business end. That oil is HOT and it actually chars the spoon a bit! But I got my roux done to a nice chocolatey brown without burning myself (I have scars from hot roux splashes in the past – the price one pays for 20 – 25 minutes of stirring), and completed the gumbo without incident. Substituting chicken for the turkey and chorizo for andouille did nothing to dampen satisfaction with the end result. After all, there are how many gumbo cooks in Louisiana? Then, there are AT LEAST that many varieties of gumbo and I bet they’re all delicious. Now if I could just get one of them to send my some cryovac’d gator tail I could try another variety. Got a recipe for a smoked pork/black eyed pea gumbo I want to try too. Gotta buy some pork butts before prices go up for the summer.
Haven’t tried bowling with the new arm yet. Forgot my shoes last week and a window of opportunity never opened up this weekend. Maybe Thursday. I’ll toss my bowling gear in the truck tonight.
Oh – I need to get back to spin classes. I need to give up the late-ish nights and get back to morning exercising too. Last time I did that, once I reached my goal I backed off too much. Have to find that happy medium and the motivation to stay sub 200. I do not expect that motivation to be coming from the spousal unit either. She is just a bundle of contradictions and is her own worst enemy. Can’t get her to see that though.
Of course, last time I was super fit, I managed to fall victim to my own wanderlust too. Not a good thing at all. Oh! Sunday I was out shopping by myself, looking for vibration absorbers for the washer, when I ran into the twin of my old buddy Ms. CL. Same height, same hair, wore her jeans the same way so that her butt looked too small, posture very similar, boobs not quite the same, and her face was different, but geeze – they could be stunt doubles for each other. Got me to thinking about Ms. CL again, but she’s moved off to the next county east and is working in the eastern half of that county. Heard she interviewed for a position back closer to the city but no word on how that went. Probably just as well. (Unless she DID get that job at the college and was at Sears stocking up her apartment . . . . hmmmm – can’t go there, can’t go there, can’t go there, no matter how dissatisfied I think I may be)
I might just have to promise my innernetz girlfriends that before I start window shopping, I will be an eligible shopper. Because I clearly am not accountable to myself. (I make such good arguments to me!) We’ll see.
For the record – it was 69 here yesterday. Almost all our snow from Christmas time has melted. And? We were warmer than Southern California. In January. I don’t know if it’s global warming, but weather patterns are certainly whacked lately.
I am reading a Kindle book (free!!) that is trying to disprove the global warming theory. I’m not too far into it, but it looks like there has been some collusion amongst the weather studying community to make things look worse than they have been – at least up until 2008/2009 or so. We’ll see hat that turns out. It’s some pretty slow going though – lots of ‘facts’ being bandied about. For my money – I don’t care if there is global warming or not, there are some things we just need to stop, period.
Umm – end of lunch – I better get back to work.
Not that this is a resolution or anything, but I have got myself the new version of FitDay and am hopping back on the get my ass back to fit wagon. I’ve used the new job(s) and my arm injury as excuses to get lazy. I need to cut that shit out.
Cindy is also doing her own tracking program and is being more diligent about exercise. We’ll see how honest she is about logging what she consumes. Somehow I think she still believes the afternoon/evening toddies are calorie free.
It’ll be interesting when I get back down under the Clydesdale biking category (<200lb). I’m curious as to where she’ll be. I’m taking bets, if anyone dares. My own goal? <190 by Aug 15 (our 32nd anniversary) Considering Tour de Cure again this year, but it is difficult to train for a 100 miler as early as June in these parts. Can’t really comfortably ride outside till April, and spinning just isn’t the same. Makes me slightly jealous of all my southern compadres!
Oh!! I’m now comfortable up to 20 reps of 10 lb curls. I’m going to get myself a 12 lb dumbell and work to get to 20 reps of that. Then? I can start tossing a 12 lb bowling ball. Possibly overhand. But I’m thinking maybe the 12th or 13th of January to start working on the bowling again. Might even go hit the golf dome and hit a bucket of balls with some short irons. All good for the fitness regimen too!
Saw this on several trips around the innerwebz:
1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
Eggnog. Rum or bourbon optional.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrapped. Not fancy, but you have to have a little mystery.
3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white?
White lights, gold ornaments, couple red items tossed in.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Getting up early and just staring at the tree/gifts Christmas morning
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Not sure. Being the oldest meant that I had to play along for a few years extra
9. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve?
Nope. Do not open till Christmas!!
10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him?
Whatever I don’t eat first
11. Snow! Love it or dread it?
It’s upstate NY. No need to love it or hate it, it’s going to come anyhow.
12. Can you ice skate?
Yes. I skated TONS on a frozen pond as a kid. Prefer hockey skates to figures skates. Those damn toe picks can kill a guy,
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Estes rocket model of a Mars Lander.
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I rarely, if ever eat dessert. Do cookies count?
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Baking and decorating cookies with the kids
17. What tops your tree?
An angel that isn’t self lit, so I stick lights up her butt to give her a little inner glow.
18. What do you prefer… giving or receiving?
19. What is your favorite Christmas carol?
TSO – Mad Russians Christmas.
20. Candy canes… yuck or yum?
21. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
22. Favorite Christmas movie?
I generally avoid Christmas movies like the plague.
23. Do you have a nativity scene?
Two or three actually
24. What’s the most annoying thing about this time of year?
Besides stores putting Christmas stuff out before Halloween? The sheer commercialness that has crept into what should be a time of giving and reflecting.
Looks like we made national news this past week for all the wrong reasons. How about nut job that killed his sister, torched his house then started shooting at the firemen as they showed up Christmas Eve morning? Total of 7 houses burned, 2 firefighters killed, 2 others shot. They think they found what was left of this guys sister in his own burned out house. Thankfully he killed himself once police got there – saves the county the cost of a trial.
My outfit has an office in Newtown Ct – about a mile from the Sandy Hook school, so that hit close to home too. A guy I talk to frequently down there caught a huge break – his wife is a teacher at that school. That will rattle you right to your core.
‘Nuff bad stuff. New year coming, time to re-start. About time I got back on the sensible eating kick I was on a few years ago. I am NOT happy with my expanding waist land and it’s time to get fit again. Tour de Cure is in 6 months and I might be able to get into shape enough to crank out another 100 mile ride. Sure would be nice . . .
Had my 12 week follow up with the surgeon last week. His mouth said that I was free to do anything I did before the surgery – “return to full activity”. So I asked him about bowling. Apparently that isn’t covered under “anything” or “full activity”.
So no bowling until January at the earliest. I’ll also have to start out with the lightest ball I can get my hand into AND not be surprised if I can only throw a single game the first time out. I think he under estimates my desire to get back to bowling. I’ll grant him the 12 pound ball, but I think I can get through 2 games if not more. Arm might get tired, but it’ll hang in there. The doc also had a very poor idea of how a ball is thrown – thinking that there was a huge wrist twist in order in impart spin on the ball. That supination move scared him. In reality, there is no twist of the wrist – it’s all in keeping your hand behind or under the ball and bringing your hand straight up behind it. That twisty wrist stuff will got you hurt and not make your ball curve at all.
Went out and hunted Christmas trees over the weekend. Bagged a beauty. Got it all set up in the living room and prepared to trim when what did I find? Of the 8 strings of lights I have (6 of which normally get used), every stinking last one of them failed to light. Spent the afternoon futzing around with the lights. Eventually got 5 strings working fine, canabalized one for parts and have two others to fix – next year.
Tonight we get to finish the tree trimming.
Uh-oh. Just looked at my work schedule. A job I am supposed to start tomorrow is not happening in my lab. It’s happening in a university town about 100 miles away and is a two day on site design review of a clients potential new product. So much for going slow. Now I have three jobs to wrap up this afternoon (1 down, 2 to go), then I have to go home tonight and study up on the 3 new particular standards I am reviewing tomorrow & Wednesday. This is crazy.
Bad year to be me.
Lets count the ways!
1 Swimmers ear, Mexico, right side (thank god for OTC prescription level drugs in Mexico!)
2 Swimmers ear, NY, 3x right, left, right
3 Sore Elbow, right (tendonitis?)
4 Really sore elbow, right (still tendonitis?)
5 Swimmers ear, left
6 Torn biceps tendon (NOT tendonitis!)
7 Worst golf season ever (see 3, 4, & 6)
8 Surgery for #6
9 Swimmers ear, left
10 Middle ear infection, left
11 ineffective antibiotic, 10 days – 5 of them in NOLA (didn’t suck too bad)
12 New antibiotic, wiped out the buggers
13 Opportunistic fungal infection, left ear
14 Less than stellar reaction to fungal medication
15 There’s 25 days left this year – I’m still afraid.
On the other hand, good stuff happened too.
1 Got to vacation in Cancun
2 Came back from vacation to start a new, permanent, full time job with good pay.
3 Got a new primary physician in my neighborhood – not across town.
4 Quality time with the amazing little granddaughter (Monkey pants – because she NEVER stops moving)
5 Had a successful surgery to repair my tendon and really experienced very little pain throughout the entire process.
6 Got to enjoy a family reunion in Gloucester. (The bad? – we’re responsible for planning the 2103 reunion for the other half of the clan)
7 Enjoyed another trip to New Orleans, in spite of the simmering ear infection at the time.
8 Monkey pants turned a whole 1 year old and is just an amazing little thing to watch. She’s developing a vocabulary and is starting to explore developing an attitude too.
There had to be more that was good, I’m just not remembering it all. 4 & 8 ought to count triple too. Those wee ones are a trip! Oh yeah – we get to take her Christmas tree hunting this weekend. Snow or not (likely not, L)
Some pics I owe
Chicks dig scars, right?
Standing at the top of the stairs, looking down towards the entrance to my lab. I counted 19 courses of cinder block, plus probably another 8 that are hidden in the shot. How far is that?
Here’s the shot looking back up:
And a gratuitous shot of the cutest 1 year old on the planet eating her birthday cake:
Well, reports to write, part specs to scrutinize. Gonna be an exciting afternoon.
The only way I can snake a win out of last nights $580M Powerball drawing is by realizing I saved $4 by not buying a pair of tickets. That’s a far cry from the millions that will be split amongst the two winning tickets, but I can at least get to work in the morning and lament my lost opportunity. By the time I realized I was running out of time to even BUY tickets, I was 13 minutes late.
For fun, I drew up two sets of numbers. One based on family birthdays,, the other based loosely on units I served in in the Army (47th CSH, 423 Medical, 62 Med Group, etc) I hit on exactly 1 number – the 23 that came from my year with the 423 Med.
I’ve had the strangest year in terms of ear infections. 6 or so weeks ago, we got back from vacation and I headed straight to my doc. The antibiotic I was on did zippo for eradicating the infection I had. Got sent to an ENT for further diagnosis. She put me on a different antibiotic and also took a culture for good measure.
I returned to her in 10 days with the infection cleared up but I still had a feeling that my inner ear was full of goo. There was a slight pressure – like cotton balls – and the sensation that there was a tin can over my ear. She advised I maintain using ear drops for another 5 days. My infection was pretty bad and it’s possible the swelling hadn’t fully receded.
Five days passed – no real change. I gave it another week – things started to improve. After another week I wasn’t noticing about my left ear anymore – it finally cleared! Then a day or two before Thanksgiving, I could feel it start to crank up again. Called the ENT, got in the Wednesday before turkey day. Got to see the doc this time, not the PA. He looked at report on the culture done in October. They found Staphylococcus Aureus – pretty normal for an ear infection, and I was on the right antibiotic for that. They also found a single colony of Aspergillus Niger – black mold. Turns out that when the antibiotic laid waste to the Staph, it opened the door for the ear shrooms. The doc took a peek in my ear and said “yep – just what I thought, a fungal infection”.
Doc got a canula, splayed a towel and a kidney pan on my shoulder and got to work. He flushed my ear canal and vacuumed out a bunch of goo. He showed my the tip of his vacuum thingy at one point and it looked like he had a chunk of Brie dangling from the end. It’s surprising how much shit you can fit in that tiny little ear canal. Surprising and disgusting all at once.
So the doc continued with the hoovering until he was satisfied with the results. Then there was a peroxide flush, a bath in boric acid and a liberal application of a lotrimin solution (gynolotrimin for my ear?!?!?) The peroxide was noisy but painless. The boric acid was quiet but burned a bit. The lotrimin was quiet, cool and slightly soothing – a very nice change.
He gave me a prescription for more of the lovely lotrimin (not the gyno variety) and pronounced me fit to share a table at Thanksgiving dinner. He was certainly sympathetic to the plight I was in and really did all he could make things better.
I thanked him and made my way to the pharmacy. Got my drugs & headed home. Later that evening I gave myself a few drops of the lotrimin in my ear, laid down for a bit to let it soak in and all was right with the world.
Thursday, I finally got to putting in my first round of ear driops early afternoon. This was a different experience. At first the drops felt cool. Then things went a little sideways. It started to burn a bit, then it felt like it got to my inner ear (I have a small perforation in the eardrum on that side) and REALLY started burning. I got a bitter, metallic taste in my mouth, my left eye watered, the left side of my nose started seeping something and my ear hurt like hell. I flipped my head over to try and drain the lotrimin out, dabbed at it with a twisted up kleenex and finally, after about 10 minutes things settled down. I did NOT do my second dose for that day.
Friday, early afternoon, I tried the lotrimin again. Wouldn’t you know it reacted (or I reacted) just like Thursdays episode? That was enough of that shit. No more lotrimin for me. Seemed like the worst of the infection was gone and I wasn’t subjecting myself to any more of that nonsense. Plus, this time I actually read the little booklet that comes with your prescriptions. The burning is a noted side effect of the lotrimin and they advise that one stop using it and call your doc.
I called the doc, he was in surgery until Thursday (today). Since my ear wasn’t in acute pain and I really only seemed to be suffering from a “tin can over my ear” I took a Thursday appointment. Fungus is slow growing and therefore also somewhat difficult to kill so I clearly need to do something to treat the fungus. But I also want to get something done to restore the hearing in my left ear. I have NO high frequency response and the mid and low ranges are severely attenuated. That’s polite engineer speak for “I’m half fucking deaf in my left ear” and really? I have been since the beginning of October.
Personally, I’d like him to peel my ear back, hoover out the goop in my inner ear, then sew the ear back on. I’ve had this annoying sensation of a post nasal drip on my left side for weeks now and I can’t help but think it’s all related. Hope the doc & I can come to some sort of resolution this afternoon.
Oh – Dawn? Yes, I really do work about 20 feet underground. We’re in the basement of an industrial complex built in the 60′s & 70′s. Someplace I have a picture of the door into our lab that I took while standing at the entrance to our building. I’ll dig it up and show you. Talk about a great place for growing mushrooms!
Only two things.
A – I was looking at my Amex statement getting ready to pay the bill. I was bummed. A month ago I was in New Orleans soaking up all the jazz, zydeco and gumbo I could get. Never saw temps below 70. Now? I’m just waiting for the first real snow of the season around here.
B – The lab/office where I work is in the basement of a former Kodak Industrial complex. (That I worked at for many years as a Kodak employee). Since I’ve been here with the new gig, there has been much remodeling done upstairs, right over our heads. They’ve moved in the new tenants and are starting to really exercise the buildings utilities again. We’ve had to deal with all the noises associated with a big re-fit like this – sawing, hammering, skull dragging huge pieces of equipment across the floor. The last one was the steam pipes hammering – sounds like someone is slamming a big pipe with a sledge hammer every 15 seconds for days at a time. They got that one resolved a couple weeks ago after about 6 weeks of on again off again fixes.
The latest ‘anomaly’? The sewers are backing up. Six floor drains in our lab are seemingly running the wrong direction. It’s not your run of the mill roof drain storm run off either. The maintenance guy thought he had it fixed when my colleague ran into the bathroom and flushed the toilet a few times. It was obvious to Mr. Maintenance man that he didn’t have it fixed. Now we’re worried about it encroaching into our carpeted office space. The maintenance guy used a mop to get some of it – now that mop will have to be tossed. We really don’t want to use shop vacs on it – the sewer smell will stick with them forever.
We always joked that in the event of an atom bomb attack (oh shit – I hear the drains gurgling even in here!!!) we were perfectly safe, but we’d be screwed in the event of a flood. You know – working in a basement 20 feet below ground level. Little did we know that the flood would be coming from within!
I have to add – the “Money Saved” is probably closer to $36,000. When I quit back in 2004, a pack of butts cost about $4. Today that same pack is more like $10.
Finally got my ass back to spin class too. What with the new job and trying to get up to speed, then messing up my arm – it’s been too easy to manufacture excuses to not go. Not liking where my pants size is going, I am knuckling down and getting the legs moving again.
For the most part, I tend to stay seated. I don’t dare do any of the ‘jumps’ or ‘jogging’ or ‘squats’ because I can’t trust that I’ll keep my balance. All I need is one slip where I reach out with my right arm to catch myself and I could be screwed. Plus, some of the out of the saddle positions put a strain on your arms too. Last night I tried getting up to a squat like I was digging hard to get up a hill and I noticed that my right arm got really, really tired after only a minute or so. The fact that my lungs & legs were screaming was of no concern – they’ll get over it (maybe – my calves are still tight!). But that tired right arm was a sign that my butt needed to be in the saddle.
Now I just ought to talk to the instructors so they don’t think I’m a rebel or something and intentionally defying their instructions.
Work is challenging. I am SO behind. I need to start coming in evenings or maybe Sunday mornings – or at least carve out 4 – 8 hours a week at home where I can work. I need an office. Hmmm – basement re-model coming up, maybe I’ll slip something in there. If I can include a work area for the sewing machine, I can include a little office space. Might have to scale back the size of the long awaited pool table.
Speaking of behind at work, lunch is over, and so am I. See y’all later.
After enduring months of increasingly negative campaign ads, we all now have one job to do.
If you don’t vote, you lose the privilege to bitch about what ever is or isn’t happening in the politics that affect you.
Thank you. That is the end of this Public Service Announcement.
Just checking in to report that things up here in western NY are going along fine. We came through the wrath of Sandy pretty well. At my own place we had little more than a few downed branches and had some leaves stripped off the trees. Sadly, the two big maples out back have lost less than 50% of their leaves and many are still green. Come on already, tomorrow is November!
We did have some localized disasters in the form of trees on houses and downed power lines, but even that wasn’t so bad. New Jersey & NYC seemed to get the worst of it, and it looks like ski season might be open for a day or two in parts of West Virginia.
So – upstate NY is fine, what we got pales in comparison to what happened to our southeast.
Did PT on my arm this morning. Confessed to me PT gal that I was cheating and doing 20 oz exercises instead of 1 pound, mostly because I don’t have a 16oz hammer. Ever try to drive a nail with one of those? Takes FOREVER! She didn’t tell me to stop, and she also didn’t tell me to stop when I was doing curls with the 1lb barbell AND the 1lb rotation weight thingy at the same time. Well, when she finished entering notes into her computer she stopped me. Called me a cheater too. Maybe next week we’ll increase weight. At this pace, I don’t see me throwing a bowling ball by January. Probably just as well.
This is a bit of a first, at least that I can remember. Looks like good ol’ Hurricane Sandy (which gender is that? Is this a himicane instead?) is on it’s way. Way up here in the western area of New York we were getting drenched by some of the outer bands of Sandy in the morning. Through mid-day we appeared to be enjoying a bit of a respite from the rain. Now however, it looks like the main body of the beast is encroaching. Looks like a solid mass of rain from here (Rochester) all the way back yo south New Jersey. Next couple of days promise to be windy & wet.
Glad we had that big 80′ maple tree removed a few years ago. With wet ground and wind out of the north, that thing may have ended up on the house or garage, or both. Still have two big maples to fret over, but they’re not nearly as big and are a tougher, more durable variety.
The spousal unit is responsible for securing substitute teachers for her school whenever anyone calls in sick, dead or, in this case, stupid. Some anonymous teacher called in Sunday evening and said they weren’t coming in Monday because they “weren’t sure what this storm was going to do and she didn’t want to get stranded at the school”
I had to laugh.
A – The superintendent hadn’t closed school. The worst of the storm was at least 36 hours off and we weren’t going to see the hurricane part of it.
B – What about ALLLLL the other teachers that were going to show up & teach like they were supposed to?
C – What about the substitute you were expecting to be called in for you?
Hard to believe someone responsible for teaching our kids can’t come up with the simple kind of reasoning. And? What a wimp.
Think I mentioned before that I am done with my arm brace. I am starting to progress into strength training. I am supposed to be limited to 1 pound curls, rotations with a 1 lb weight, and wrist curls (kinda backward-ish), again with the big 1 pound weight. Most convenient thing I could find? A 20 oz. claw hammer. Including the handle & grip, I’m probably a half pound over my limit, but it’s the one thing I can use for all three exercises.
Plus my therapist fessed up and told me that folks who push the limits (and cheat a bit) tend to heal quicker. Thing is to only push the limits a little and not go dragging them behind you. No way in hell I want to be back on the table getting that tendon fixed again. I have done a pretty good job of cheating though.
I have another PT appointment Wednesday morning, right when Sandy’s center of circulation is predicted to be directly over our heads. Have to play that one by ear I guess. If they shut the county down tomorrow during the worst of it, might be no appointment to go to. I may just have to tape a roll of quarters to me hammer and keep inching my weight up. I have a bowling ball to toss around come January!
Maybe it’s me, but today my Harry Potter/Zorro slash seems angry.
Could be pissed about all the 1 pound curls and 1 pound rotations it had to do this morning. Such a work load! At least my PT therapist, Kim, adjusted the gripper squeezy things up a level. I could crush you with my grip, but I can’t (shouldn’t) lift 2 pounds. Weird space to be in.
Of course, now that I am free of the brace & sock, I get to stare at it all the time. Can’t imaging throwing a bowling ball with quite the same vigor ever again.
Oh – the Direct TV guy is supposed to be out this afternoon. Looks like the DVR thingy is in the process of shitting the bed. Hoping to talk him into just replacing the damn thing. Sucks when you have to go through the whole tuning process every time you want to turn it on. Sucks more when it just drops into reset (and tuning mode) right in the middle of NCIS too. I get to work from home a bit while I wait for them to figure it out.
Work beckons, I’m only 2 reports behind and completely turned around sniffing down old certificates. Time to go dig.
Saw my Orthopedic surgeon today. I am very excited to share that he granted my most immediate and fondest wish.
is no longer necessary. I can also use my elbows full range of motion, or at least as much of it as I have. Which is actually quite a bit. It’s the supination/pronation movements (rotating palm up to palm down) that are causing the most discomfort. I have exercises for that though.
Barring any setbacks, I should be turned loose for full load work by Christmas. So now Ms. Kim, my PT gal, can start me working on strengthening the ol’ puddle of jello I used to call a bicep. Even bowling will be considered. Now, the boys all ready got me a full time sub for the season. I am certainly not going to get in the way of that, but I will make myself available to sub (on my own team!) after I throw a dozen or so games in open bowling. I am afraid that I may have lost a little velocity. I’ve been unofficially timed at around 25 – 26 mph average speed, but losing 5 or 6 mph might actually be a benefit. We’ll see come January when I crank it up again.
New Orleans was fun, again. Got treated for an inner ear infection the day before we left. Turns out the meds I was on were totally ineffective and I got re-treated the day after we got home. Essentially spent 5 days in Nola with an undertreated ear infection. That part sucked, but Nola was, as always, a blast.
I got to eat turtle soup, duck & chaurice hash, gator gumbo – all of which I’d never had before. Happy to report that I’d eat any one of them again without hesitation. Also got a cookbook with dozens of recipes for gumbos and soups from many of the finer restaurants in the area. Have already done a corn-tomato chowder with shrimp (awesome with fresh ingredients). Have plans to do a pulled pork & black eyed pea gumbo soon. I’m doing up 3 pork butts for little Miss Avery’s first birthday party next month and I’m saving a pound or two of smoked pork for the gumbo. Yes. I am already drooling. If you’re nice I’ll save you some. If you’re nicer, I’ll send you the recipe – just ask.
Number 6 as in that’s how many ear infections I’ve had this year. Lets count them:
#1 – In Cancun in January, probably from snorkeling. Thank heavens for being able to get antibiotic ear drops over the counter there. Cleared up before the flight home. That was the right ear.
#2 – March-ish. Probably from slipping underwater in the hot tub. Used my Mexican ear drops again. Right ear, again.
#3 – April. Hot tub again. Went to see the doctor, got a script for American ear drops. Again, right ear.
#4 – September. Felt it start up the day of my arm surgery. Left ear this time. Ear drops again sufficed.
#5 – Last week. Right ear, just a quickie, ear drops wiped it out quick. Oddly enough it was a day or two after I got my left ear irrigated. It got plugged up with hair, ceruman and flaky shit left over from the previous weeks ear infection. I saw what the nurse washed out of my ear. Surprised there wasn’t a boot in there.
#6 – Now. Unlike the previous 5 that were “swimmers ear” this one morphed into full fledged “otitis media”. Doc looked inside my ear and started writing the prescription immediately. Left ear again. Maybe that previous infection never went away? We fly to New Orleans in the morning!! I have ethyl-methyl-deadly-shit antibiotics and a box of sudafeds. Going to do everything I can to dry up this ear before we fly. Right now it’s so plugged I can’t hear squat on that side. That really sucks when your going someplace known for the sheer volume & quality of music on hand.
Neat party trick – if I hold my nose tight and blow, I can send fluid up my left Eustacian tube and out my ear. I’ve drenched a couple kleenexes with this bit of fun.
In good news, my arm is moving along slightly ahead of schedule. The flexibility is coming back quicker than the PT gal expects. I’ve advanced to doing pronation/supination exercises with a soup ladle instead of empty handed, so we’re working in the rudimentary strength stuff. She also loaded me up with enough ortho sox to last through the trip.
Here’s immediately after stitches were pulled:
And here’s surgery + 22 (stitches out +12):
I get to take my splint off at my desk, and I’ve been taking it off to eat (SO much easier!). Still wear it at night because you just never know what kind of stupid stunts your arm is going to pull when you’re not paying attention. I am still under strict orders to not straighten it out fully. So? HAve to put up with a little nuisance when sleeping. Beats the hell out of going through the surgery again.
Maybe I’ll drop in with a quickie post from NOLA – tease you with the good music & better food.
I promise, no pictures of my new scars this time. But I gotta admit – I am amazed by the amount of scar tissue (or something) already built up under the skin adjacent to the incision. I have instructions to massage it 3 – 4 times a day and I get ultrasound treatments on it too. Still a surprise. It feels weird to touch it too. The contours are all wrong. There is clearly some work to be done.
About this hammer. The building in which I work was built in the 60’s. My outfit leases space in the basement where the original owner had their EMC test facilities. The building is heated with an industrial sized steam system. Can’t really guess the size of the building – 2 floors, each 500’ x 500’ maybe? Plus at least a partial basement. Back in the day, several thousand people worked in this building testing cameras, film processors, copiers, – much of the “apparatus” Kodak made. In downsizing, Kodak sold off this facility (this building is about the 3rd largest in a 14+ building complex with literally millions of square feet of space) and since, smaller outfits have been leasing bits & pieces of the space.
We have a new tenant above us. Some government contracting, sooper seekrit stuff. We lost our nice lobby. We lost our cushy parking spaces. We are about to lose our minds as well. Every three-ish seconds there is a loud BANG, almost like a gunshot would sound from a hundred or so feet away. With a lot more bass in it. Actually it sounds a lot like someone banging on iron drain pipes with a sledge hammer, and the pipes reverberate all over the building. Every 3 seconds. We’ve called the landlord, he sends a crew down THE NEXT DAY, they fiddle fart around with something and the BANGING stops. For a bit. They’ve “fixed” it twice once last week and once this week. The BANGING was back again this morning. It disappeared for a few minutes this morning, but returned with a vengence.
I have clients asking for test reports, but honestly? I’m having trouble concentrating on anything with that banging, pounding, thumping happening every 3 seconds. What the hell did they change last week to make this happen?
If I trusted myself better, I’d go home and work there. Alas, I know better. I’d end up doing some stupid stuff and not be any more productive than I am now.
IN completely unrelated news, my physical therapist was MUCH better about keeping her boob out of my hand yesterday. I was also absolutely focused on looking her in the eye when she was talking (or was even in my line of sight). For a woman in her 40′s she’s in great shape.
Day 2955, Surgery +10
If a picture is worth 1000 words, I’m about to drop 5 or 6k in your lap. Words, not $$. IT would take some fierce bartering to get $5K out of me right about now.
Anyhow. In the beginning. A severely damaged biceps tendon lurks beneath the surface: (Click to embiggen!)
About 30 minutes after getting home from surgery:
What the wrap looked like without Sponge Bob:
This one may be considered slightly graphic. I’m leaving you some room so you can decide to fast forward through this one:
My stylin’ new splint!! All decorated for our trip to New Orleans in 12 days.
I’m enjoying a slightly greater degree of freedom. The new splint can be removed for showers, and I can get the incision wet. Unfortunately, I can’t go hot tubbing yet as there is a corner on the cut that isn’t quite healed yet. Once it scabs over and that scab then clears away, I’m ready for a good soaking.
Also have to admit that the pain hasn’t been too bad. Some things hurt, like that reactive reach for something that’s falling. I’ve done that 2 or 3 times. Not fun at all. My current weight limit is a cup of coffee. Some days, it needs to be in a styrofoam cup, other days a ceramic mug is fine. It’s all about the angles.
Still have to eat lefty. Because of the splint I can’t bend my elbow enough to get even a long fork to my mouth. Consequently, I’m eating slower. This will have benefits, I’m sure. Other stuff hasn’t been as difficult as I feared either. Shaving is a challenge, but I’m getting better. Getting deodorant under my left arm is surprisingly challenging. Hadn’t anticipated that.
One other thing really surprised me. My surgery was scheduled for early afternoon. For this surgical center, that meant there were a dozen or so people (at least) that went through ahead of me. When I was done in recovery and it was time to get dressed, the nurse asked my what I brought for pants. Here’s what I remember of the discussion:
Nurse Chapel, “Time to get dressed. What did you bring for pants?”
Wonderful patient (that’s me!), ” I thought about this last week! I brought sweat pants.”
Nurse Chapel, “Really! You’re the first person who had hand or arm surgery today that didn’t bring button/zip pants!”
Quizzical patient (me again!), “Really? How did these people think they were getting dressed?”
Nurse Chapel, “It was a struggle, I’ll tell you! Now what did you bring for shoes?”
Wonderful patient, “Slippers”
I thought she was going to kiss me. What the hell are people thinking? You’re going in to get your arm fixed, you have to anticipate that you’re not going to have the use of your arm for a few days, how the hell are you going to fasten the button on a pair of jeans?
Seriously? I bought 3 pair of dressy scrub pants. That’s all I’ve worn since the surgery. Well, sweats around the house, but scrubs to work. Going to try jeans/khaki’s tonight, see if I can muster the oomph to button them. I REALLY need to get back on my better eating plan. Especially now that I really can’t exercise.
Last funny part. Well, to me anyhow. The gal that fit my splint asked me how I was with rules. I told her she better make her rules as conservative as possible, because I have a tendency to search for the limits. She also asked how I was on equipment. I laughed and told her heck, I ripped up my tendon GOLFING! I’m rough on everything, including me!
My splint is made of the thickest material they had on hand.
Ok, one more funny part. Again with the splint gal. The way things worked, I pretty much had my arm stretched across a table with her on the other side. As she was fittting and trimming my splint, she’s moving around, getting to the best spot for leverage, etc. I felt a quick brush of fabric early in the proceedings and looked up from what she was working on. That brush of fabric was her smock, right at the lower edge of her rib cage (I think). Had I lifted my hand, I’d probably been rewarded with a face slap. I can’t count the number of times I had to curl my wrist, just to avoid getting a handful of boob as she worked.
There was a Red Cross Blood donor gal that did the same thing to me once.
Oh, the things I’ve had to suffer!!:)
My surgery isn’t till 12;30 this afternoon, so I came in to work to knock off a few tests. Great distraction. For posterity’s sake, I have a couple pictures of my virgin antecubital fossa (inside the elbow bend). See those nice creases right at the bend? I’ll have a new one – the scar – about an inch towards my hand from my elbow. If the doctor humors me next week, I’ll get a shot of it before he pulls the stitches out. Just because I like that stuff.
Last look at the virgin arm:
See you on the other side!
Stealing Sunday. Stolen, of course because I’m in a hurry. And building up a ton of anxiety.
46. What are your LEGAL initials? BKR. Go ahead, guess
47. Who’s the first B in your contacts? My aunt Barb
48. When was the last time you laughed really hard? Yesterday. Avery was pulling some of her really funny little tricks. That girl might be a comedian.
49. Your number 1 top friend walks out of your life, do you go after them? Nah – if they’re really your #1 friend they’ll realize it and come back. If they don’t, maybe you were wrong about them.
50. Explain your last awkward moment? Hernia check followed by a prostate exam last week. Didn’t even get a free dinner.
51. Are you afraid of the dark? Inside, no. Outside, in the woods, deep darkness can be quite unsettling.
52. Do you have good vision? 20/40 uncorrected, with a +1.5 for reading I think.
53. Have you ever tripped someone? I have 3 brothers. I’m sure someone tripped someone, sometime.
54. Have you ever slapped someone? I have 3 brothers . . .
55. Are you Irish? 2/5 English, 2/5 German and a fifth of Scotch. I guess that means no irish.
56. Do you use chap stick? Not often enough
57. Do you have any scars? Good Lord do I have scars. Hockey puck sized scar on my right shin from my little bout of cellulitis. My fingers & hands have over a dozen dings & dents from various little incidents. I have a scar on ly left forearm from a football cleat, a scar on my chin from taking on a ’65 Pontiac Bonneville bumper head first, one inside my left ear caused by the stem of my glasses perforating my exterior ear parts because a softball smashed my in the side of the head, a few scars are from chicken pox scabs too. I’m a little rough on my body. Scars happen.
Oh!! I’ll have a new one soon as a result of Thursdays surgery. Oh boy!
58. Is there someone you will never forgive? Nah. A grudge is like a hot potato, it only burns the person who holds it.
59. Are you dating the person you last held hands with? Dating? No.
60. Name the last person to text you? Jill
61. Would you marry someone 8 years older than you? At my age? Would they still be alive?
62. Can you go in public looking like you do? I do all the time. I don’t have to look at me.
63. Have you ever kissed someone whose name started with a A? Anne.
64. What side of the bed do you sleep on? Lately I’m on the left. Leaves Cindy closer to the bathroom. Left on my own, I just try to use the whole damn thing.
65. What’s the first thing you’ll do on your wedding day? My NEXT wedding day? Probably get out of bed & pee.
66. Do you fall for people easily? No – I’m a suspicious s.o.b.
67. Has anyone put their arms around you in the past 5 days? Why yes. I got a hug last night.
68. Do you miss the way things used to be? Miss them like I want to go back to it? I just want to go back to before I tore my biceps tendon.
Surgery in T-3 days. I have ordered some drawstring waisted cargo pants, thinking I can manage a simple tying at the waist versus a button closure and a belt. I really hope I’m right. Have plans to get some Velcro closure sneakers and a pair of loafers tonight too.
Practiced driving with my right hand tucked into my belt. I can actually manage driving fine. Shaved this morning left handed. Not a great shave, but when you can’t use your other hand to help pull your skin a little tighter, it isn’t going to be great. An electric razor is not an option. I have tried several different designs over the years and they never do as well as a razor. So lefty it is.
I can button a shirt left hand only, but tucking it in is impossible. Also don’t know that a splint/cast/what ever I get will fit through the sleeves of my button down shirts. So I’m planning on a lot of polo shirts. Big neck openings, short sleeve, and if I have to adjust my older ones to accommodate a splint/cast/whatever, no biggie.
There is only ONE thing that I need to practice, and I think I’ll only get a few more chances before it’s too late. It’s a delicate subject that I’ve approached with Cindy. She, understandably wants nothing to do with it. I did NOT have time to install a bidet this weekend, so I HAVE to learn this function left handed. I never, ever anticipated this need until last week and now? It’s a necessity. Think I’ll stop at the gas station and get some of those diesel mitts to use as a back up plan.
Wednesday I get my call from the surgical center with my time slot. Hope I get an early one. I’d like to have as little time free as possible the day of. Funny – I’m not worried about the surgery itself, it’s the recovery that is causing my anxiety.
Saw the surgeon this morning. He described the bicep tendon damage as a complete tear. I guess that explains the 3 – 4 mm separation in the MRI images (which I’ve yet to see. Gotta talk to the ortho guy about that – I love seeing xrays & stuff – especially my own)
Bottom line – surgery Thursday 9/13, a recovery day 9/14, plus a whole weekend to shake the anesthetic out of my head. Hopefully back to work 9/17, then stitches out 9/24 and into a soft cast.
Soft cast for up to 6 weeks post op, with simple PT starting as soon as the stitches are out. Total rehab time back to full use: 3 months. And yes, I’ll get pictures when & where I can.
I asked about anesthesia too. The surgeon said they’d use a local with sedatives so I wouldn’t be 100% out, just deep into “don’t give a shit” mode. After watching a couple of different highlight films of the procedure, I think it’s gonna hurt like a mofo for a few days after. Trimmed tendons, stretching muscle, drilling holes in the ulna & nailing (pinning) the tendon into place. Tell me that ain’t gonna hurt a bit?
The REAL downside? This is all happening in my right arm. I’m right handed. I’ve started a small list of things that will be a tad more difficult to do with my right arm in a cast/sling:
Tucking in a shirt
Zippers on pants (ever notice how the flap is on the left?)
Shifting my car (it’s an automatic, but still . . .) (officially, I think I am advised to not drive while in a sling, but I’m not walking to work)
Showering & bathing
Certain ‘other’ bathroom functions
Eating – I won’t be able to cut anything for a while and even soup I’ll need to eat left handed. I am gonna need a BIG bib.
Typing & using a mouse.
Has anyone been one handed before? One handed with the non-dominant hand the only good one? What am I missing?
We have a trip planned to New Orleans 10/6 – 10/11. Doc said the cast/sling would be no issue for TSA. Maybe I’ll have to find one with a Saints logo. Maybe I can get some voodoo done to speed up the healing!
My only other surgery – the debridement of my right shin after a nasty bout of cellulitis was on 9/16. Something bad about the teens of September. Hmmm – my mother-in-laws birthday was 9/19. Coincidence? I think not!