Monday, April 30, 2012

How Do You Say 'Healthy' in Canadian?

Every now and then, I get excited about getting in shape. Well...let me rephrase that. Every now and then I get disgusted about being out of shape. This, in turn, gives me (a little) motivation, to want to do something to fix it. Trial and error have proven to me that the following methods do not work.
  • Taking smaller bites to reduce the number of calories consumed.
  • Pre-planning your meals does not mean get larger portions to avoid having seconds
  • Eating every 2 hours to reduce the amount eaten - yeah, right!
  • Formulating an exercise plan - apparently, finishing the plan does not count as exercise
  • The same for reading a diet book - it doesn't burn many calories
I recognize the value in exercise and eating right. I have nothing against these things. It is just not part of my routine and I have never had success in changing this. The only time I remember getting into really good shape was when I was in Tae Kwon Do with my son.

The instructor talked me into taking the lessons with him. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I went to a childrens' martial arts class with Christian. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he accompanied me to the adult class. It was something we did together and kept each other motivated. Plus, it was fun and I got to see the results of what I learned each week. The purpose of this was not to get into shape, but it is what happened.

A few years ago, I took some of my tax return money and bought a gym membership. I pre-paid for the entire year. I think I went four times. That breaks down to $75 per visit. Not really worth it.

I have decided that what I need is a person to go to the gym with me. Someone that I have a standing appointment with that I have to keep. Whether that is every morning or just 3 times a week, that would be enough to make me go. Plus, having that person there screaming, "COME ON, YOU PANSY! GIVE ME 10 MORE!" might be the extra incentive needed to not stop when I start to get tired.

Click picture for more info
Ken Degner at ken-inatractor was just writing about the goal he has of losing 10 pounds before the end of June to fit into his suit for a graduation ceremony. He has jumped in on the Pish Posh Get Fit! Challenge.

I stated the challenge I have when it comes to motivation without a workout buddy and he offered to be that person. This is a bit different than what I had in mind since he lives in Alberta, Canada, but told him that this could work.

Even if he is not right beside me telling me that I need to push harder or swinging by the house to pick me up to go to the gym, just having someone to keep me accountable gives me extra boost to get it done. In fact, it has already started. Knowing that I have someone to answer to started the process of finding a gym today.

So, here's the deal. I will post what is happening on here as well. Not for every post, but I will keep my readers updated. Encouraging words or even insults about me being fat should both push me to work harder. I now weigh 223. Ten pounds off, as Ken suggested, would bring me to 213. I know this because I am studying to be a math teacher, so trust me. However, I am going to try for those extra 3 pounds as well. I believe that is very realistic. That give me a full 2 months to lose 13 pounds. That was more math. I haven't yet done the conversions from Canadian pounds to American pounds, so my numbers may be a little off.

Cheer me on or call me mean names. In fact, whoever comes up with the most creative or brutally cruel name to call me, I will send the doughnut I chose not to eat that day because you hurt my feelings. Let the games begin.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Awards Fairy Detox

I got a surprise this morning after answering my front door. When I saw who was on the other side, I immediately slammed it shut again.  The last time I saw this guy, he was dragged off my property by the police. I haven't heard from him since. It was the Awards Fairy.

Since it was a nice day, I had my windows open and he just walked to one of those windows and pleaded with me to put down my phone and listen. He said that after he spent the night in jail, he was sent to rehab. He claimed he was clean now and had to return to my house to make amends as part of his recovery program.

Wanting to be supportive, but still not entirely trusting this fairy who had run up my cell phone bill, ate my pizza lunch, urinated on my couch and holed up in my home for several days, I stepped outside. Before stepping out, I grabbed the restraining order I had against him to remind him why he couldn't stay after he made his peace with me.

He did apologize for his past behavior. He then said before he went any further, he had something for me. He pulled an envelope out of his back pocket and handed it to me.

The front of the envelope said it was from Rusty at Swinging Like a Rusty Gate and it was dated March 15. I pointed out that this was from 6 weeks ago. Why am I just getting it now? He reminded me that he had been in jail and rehab for the last couple of months because I kept having him arrested. I had to agree that he had a point.

I opened the envelope to see what Rusty had sent me. It was the Kreative Blogger award.

Thank you, Rusty for this award. I am sorry it took so long for me to respond, but I guess it couldn't be helped since the fairy had it the entire time.

The award rules are pretty simple. Award recipients are to list 10 random things about themselves and then pass it on to other deserving bloggers. The number of bloggers to pass it on to is not listed.

10 random facts about me:
  1. When my son Christian was 6 years old and had lost his third pair of shoes in one week, I grounded him from shoes for a month. He had to go everywhere barefoot (church, grocery store, etc.) Restaurants won't allow people without shoes to come in, so he had to eat outside while we finished our meal inside. He never lost another pair of shoes.
  2. We had a baby deer for a pet named Bird. He was named after the first word spoken by the deer in Bambi. Our dogs didn't like to play with him, because he would butt them in the head.
  3. I am close to hotting the "100 blog posts" mark. I have something special planned for number 100.
  4. I WANNA ROCK!!!
  5. In junior high, I founded a Twisted Sister fan club.
  6. I do not own a bed.
  7. I can't throw away bubble wrap until I know that every bubble has been popped.
  8. The most money I have ever made in my life was as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman.
  9. When I was still a white belt in Tae Kwon Do, I defeated a guy who was a brown belt in judo and black belt in karate during a sparring match. I enjoyed my victory from the couch for the next week since he injured me badly enough I couldn't walk. I still won.
  10. I still own over 300 cassette tapes. Mostly music from the 80's (when I was in high school). I haven't owned a cassette player for several years, but can't bring myself to get rid of them.
  11. When my daughter was being potty trained, she started potty training her Barbies. When they made a mess, she would punish them by throwing them in the freezer. We still don't know why.
Bloggers I want to pass this on to:
  • Super Earthling - I only discovered this blog about a month ago and spent the next few weeks digging through her archives to read it all. You never know which of the author's multiple personalities (each with her own name) will be writing that day, but it is always worth it.
  • PishPosh
    Click picture to learn more.
    Pish-Posh - I have been reading Pish for a long time and have been a fan since the first time I found her. She writes on a variety of topics from very serious and touching to the bizarre (ex. drunk zombies trying to ride bikes). She recently started the Pish Posh Get Fit! Challenge and several people have linked up with her to try to improve their lives.
  • The Incoherent Ramblings of a Moose - Lily writes about various topics, but my favorites are when she talks about her heathen son that she refers to as Spawn. If Lily's predictions are correct, one day Spawn will rule the world and it will not be pleasant.
After taking care of the requirements of the award, I thanked the fairy and wished him well. I even shook his hand and told him that I was glad he got the help he needed. As he turned to leave, a truck pulled up and the driver said, "Let's go." The truck bed was loaded down with a TV, some furniture and assorted other things. The fairy jumped in and they sped off.

I returned to my house and immediately noticed that my living room was empty and the back door was open. He had gotten me again while he kept me busy in the front yard. I didn't even think to get the license plate number.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Want to Donate My Arm to Science

In past posts, I have told stories of some of the crazy things I have done (jumped out of moving cars, set myself on fire, crawled underneath moving trains, etc) and bragged about how I have never broken a bone. It is true that none of my bones have been broken, but that does not mean that I haven't done damage to my body. I was reminded of this yesterday morning.

After dropping Kirsten off at school, I noticed a small, but sharp pain in my right shoulder as I closed my vehicle door. While the pain was not much, I recognized what it was immediately. I have had it before and it usually gets much worse before it gets better.

I have written about this pain and what it does to me in two posts which can be read here.

That Which Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Realize How Old You Are
My Experiment With Steroids

This recurring problem has been diagnosed as bursitis, which in general is inflammation of the tissues in the joint. Once I first feel this coming on, the intensity grows slowly. My shoulder gets more and more distressed, restricting my movement a little each day. After about 5 or 6 days, it culminates in a horrible night, when I am unable to sleep because it hurts tremendously to even attempt to roll over. This time, it must have been in a rush.

Despite having only first felt the beginnings of this pain yesterday morning, the intensity grew quickly over the course of the day and I seriously considered if it would be worth chopping my arm off once I had been in bed for a couple of hours. Laying down allows more blood to go to the area and it begins to throb, shooting pain down my entire arm and into my back. The slightest movement multiplies the intensity.

I pushed through the night deciding to go to the emergency room in the morning. I had learned from previous experiences, that there is no point in going to my doctor, since it would take a week to get in and by then I would be dead...or wishing I was. Same thing.

Since I had taken Adam to the hospital on several occasions (here, here, here and here), I thought he might jump at the chance to  get to do the same for me. When I called him, he came over immediately. He was happy to return the favor and said so several times.

There was also a second reason I had called him. I still had full use of my other arm. I was perfectly capable of driving myself. After all, I had just driven my daughter to school. The previous times I had been to the E.R. for this problem, they asked me if I had driven myself. When I responded that I had, they responded, "Then we won't give you this shot."

The shot they were referring to was the good stuff. The ultra-super-feel-good-floating-in-the-clouds-meeting-Jesus shot. Since the pain in my shoulder is so sharp and intense, a regular painkiller does not begin to touch it, but they promised me this stuff would. I would explain that I only lived 2 blocks from the hospital. They could give it to me as I was walking out the door and I would go straight home. They declined saying that they didn't want to be the reason that I had to meet Jesus that day and never be allowed to leave. You know, because I died in an accident. The joke makes sense in my head.

Since I was in terrible pain and they had not given me the shot on previous visits because I was driving, I wanted Adam to take me so I could get it and then go back home and sleep. Because of the events of yesterday's post, Adam was going to see another doctor today. Knowing they might do a procedure on his feet or the abscesses, he had taken several strong painkillers. Thus, my attempt at staying safe behind the wheel of a car was diminished as soon as I hopped in with him. Nevertheless, he drove me in his self-induced haze.

Since I was not yet in the horrible pain as last time I was there, I was in a much better mood. And having had no sleep due to my shoulder, I had trouble following a logical line of thought.
Admitting Nurse: Are you allergic to anything?
Me: Just keep cats out of this room.
Nurse: We don't allow cats in the hospital.
Me: That's good. It would probably violate some health codes.
Nurse: Anything else.
Me: Local laws, maybe. I don't know.

Nurse: Do you have a living will?
Me: No. I am going to live forever.
Nurse: No, you won't.
Me: Yes, I will.
Nurse: No, you will not. Everyone dies.
Me: I never have. Adam, have you?
Adam: Never. Not once!
Me: Ma'am, I have been pushed off a railroad bridge, fallen out of moving cars and even took an axe in the head. I have never even broken a bone. I will live forever.
Nurse: No, you will die.
Me: Your bedside manner sucks.
The on-call doctor informed me that he has never given the steroid shot into the bursa sac of the shoulder before and was not comfortable attempting it on me. I readily agreed. He did set me up with some anti-inflammatory drugs and some painkillers to help me sleep through the night. This means it will take longer to heal and get my range of motion back, but I will be on the mend instead of it intensifying any further.
Discharge nurse: Do you know your name?
Me: Why wouldn't I know my name?
Nurse: What's your name?
Me: What's your name?
Nurse: My name is Karen.
Me: Correct.
Nurse: Tell me your name.
Me: Don't you have it on the paper your holding?
Nurse: Yes, but I need to verify it.
Me: Didn't I give you my driver's license earlier?
Nurse: Yes, you did.
Me: Did you lose it?
Nurse: No. I have it right here.
Me: Well, I am sure it is correct.
Nurse: What's your name?
Me: The same as my license.
They eventually escorted us out and despite Adam's Facebook post giving people the impression that I was dying, I am fine. I am still in a lot of pain since it takes a while for the anti-inflammatory meds to start taking effect, but I should see some improvement by tomorrow morning. I was referred to an orthopedic doctor to see if we can prevent this from happening again.

Followup from yesterday's post: Adam saw a surgeon today who scheduled him an appointment for tomorrow. He will be in surgery to get the abscesses drained and the staples removed from his foot that were missed during his last surgery four years ago. After recovery, he should be in a lot less pain.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Tired of Hospitals - OR - (screaming) Oh, Kelly Clarkson

It is time for another installment of our continuing series involving trips to the emergency room with Adam Elliott. I don't plan when these posts are going to happen any more than I can plan when Lindsey Lohan is going to appear in court next. It just happens.

For my regular followers, you already know that Adam has been in the E.R. several times in the last few months. I have written about each one of these visits and they have been some of my most popular posts. So, recognizing what people like to read about (regardless of how disturbing it may be), I decided to share this one as well. Here are the first three if you need to catch up:
I have used an alias for Adam in the last couple of posts in order to save him from the embarrassment caused by the first time I wrote about him. However, somehow people saw past my subtleties and fake names and figured out who I was talking about anyway. So, I will just use his real name. That should prevent any further confusion.

In my first emergency room post, the reason for being there was an abscess that had burst in the middle of the night, causing lots of blood and a huge understandable freak out from Adam. Since this had already happened to him once, he recognized the signs and knew that he was having the same problem again. This time, however, there were four and they were all in the groin area again.

Since we had to DJ for a dance on Saturday night, he decided to get them fixed to prevent them from bursting while working the dance. That would have been a problem. So, we went to the hospital on Friday night.

Please keep in mind that Adam was in a lot of pain and was not in the mood to speak with medical personnel. 

After parking the car and locating the room they placed him in, I witness him impatiently trying to justify to a nurse why he is back again. Explaining again why he doesn't have a regular doctor and describing again why he had his foot amputated. It gets old telling the same stories again and again.

After laying spread eagle on the bed to show the doctor where the problem was, he was advised to go home and take a hot bath. The doctor then chastised us for waiting so long to come in. Adam tried to get him to understand that after having parts of both feet cut off and spending over two weeks in a coma, he has a severe aversion to coming to the hospital at all. The doctor then explained that at midnight on a Friday, the surgeons required to fix this problem are not available and would not come in for so minor a problem.

Adam raised his groin up in the air and exposing the area, yelled, "You mean this is a minor problem! I can hardly move!"

The doctor looked again and hurriedly exclaimed, "Oh, I didn't see that one! We will take care of that right now." He then rushed out of the room.

I was relieved to hear that they were going to take care of this and started to say so, but noticed that Adam was not doing very well.

Now, if you ever want to have someone with you to keep a serious situation light-hearted and maintain a sense of humor to keep you distracted, I am your man. Regardless of the intensity of the moment, the jokes just keep coming. Once, after replacing a friend's calf muscle (true story) and having seen his shin bone from his knee to the ankle, we kept laughing as we struggled to stop the bleeding. We joked as we carried him to the car and kept doing it as we rushed to the hospital. He was even laughing and making jokes. I've been told humor is my defense mechanism. I can't help it.

However, I could quickly tell that Adam was not responding to attempts at humor and definitely was not going to be laughing even if I handed him comedy gold. I attempted to switch to good friend/comforter mode. I am not nearly as good at this.

His body was starting to shake at the thought of what was about to happen. He had experienced horrible pain when the area was even touched and they were about to cut into it. I tried to calm him and help him see how this was going to be worth it and he understood that, but was very scared. After all of his surgeries, he really doesn't like being cut on anymore.

I am not going to go into details as I have in the past, but I will say that I saw the inside of parts of Adam's body that I never even wanted to see the outside of. I stayed in the room for the whole thing as extra weight to sit on him a friend to help keep him calm while they did what they had to do. I learned that Adam has a lung capacity that I did not know was possible. I have heard him scream in pain before, but he launched into a scream that lasted at least a full minute without taking another breath.

They took care of the worst part of it, but now he has to get scheduled for a full surgery to complete it this week. He will be knocked out for his one. We are also going to try to talk them into removing the staples that are still in his foot from his last surgery.

I had decided to not write about this one, but Adam insisted. When Adam goes to the ER, my stats explode. I try to make it funny while I tell the story, but usually there are a few things that happen that make it funnier. This visit was not funny. I hated seeing my friend in that much pain and not being able to do anything about it. Hopefully, our future hospital visits will have more comedic value and not be as serious.

Technically, I guess I should be hoping not to have future hospital visits.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Days of Summer

We are quickly approaching my favorite time of year. In three weeks, I will have completed my last class for the year and summer will be here. I have explained in a previous post how much I despise cold weather. The summer months can sometimes get hotter than I would prefer, but I will take the hot days over cold ones anytime.

The signs of warmer weather are everywhere. Some of the signs, I could do without. When I step outside, I hear the neighbor kids yell for me.


My response is always the same. I yell, "NO!"  For some reason they start giggling.

Then I check my mail and go back inside or hop in my car and drive off. I don't like small children and I have told them that on many occasions, but they keep insisting on talking to me.

A few times, I have come home to find that they are having a picnic in my front yard. Seriously, six kids on a blanket right in front of my door.

ME: "Why don't you guys do this in your own yard?"

UGLIEST KID: "Because you have the best tree on the street to sit under."

I have saved half the money I need to have the tree cut down.

The eyes are the best part.
Once, they knocked on my door and asked for food for their picnic. I gave them a can of sardines. Unfortunately, they ate them and came back asking for more. Nothing I try with these children seems to work. They keep coming back. They knock on my door at least twice a day.

Despite the annoyances of the kids on my street, I still love this time of year. The sun is out. My schedule is less hectic. There are more opportunities for travel. People have barbecues and fish fries. I love it.

Terry, an old friend I recently reconnected with, has invited me to go camping with his family this summer. He suggested the two of us spend time teaching his youngest son some survival skills. I laughed and told him that my best survival skill is pre-planning to make sure I am always within walking distance of a microwave to cook my dinner.

As much as I love the summertime and going outside to enjoy it, I have never been a fan of camping. When I was a kid, our family vacations usually involved loading up the truck to go sleep in a tent at a campground 20 miles from our house. It wasn't all misery. We did have some good times, but I would have much rather been in a hotel or traveling somewhere new.

Good times
The only times I ever chose to go camping was for a few years right after high school. The group of guys I hung out with would drive our vehicles to this spot a quarter mile back in the woods near a pond and have a campfire. Since this was actually just a way to get drunk away from the eyes of our parents, it really wasn't about the camping. We never even took tents. A few cases of beer, some lawn chairs and wood for the fire was all we needed. We slept in the truck beds or the lawn chairs, if we slept at all.

About a year ago, one of the guys suggested getting the old group back together to go out to the pond for a camping trip like old times. Twenty years ago, I would have jumped at the opportunity, but it doesn't sound like much fun today. I suggested we all just meet at Applebees.

Part of what those trips so much fun was that we were doing something we weren't supposed to be doing. Plus, the crazy things that happened while we were out there. One of our favorite activities was to pool our money to convince John to do something he didn't want to do. Once, for eight dollars, he waded across the pond. It was only about waist deep, but it was cold enough that it had a thin layer of ice on the surface. On another occasion for eleven dollars, he climbed to the top of a tree and shimmied out onto a branch until it broke, dropping him into the pond. He would do anything for a little money.

It didn't always involve money. His brother convinced him to climb a tree by telling him he didn't believe he could do it. This was a thin tree with a diameter less than a foot across at the base, but it was over 30 feet tall. John shot up the tree with very little effort. While he was bragging from the top about his climbing abilities, we chopped it down.

I really don't think those sort of things would happen if we went out there now. We would have to take out a loan to offer enough money to convince John to put his body in harm's way these days. We notice the mosquitoes and ticks much more now and one of the guys became a cop. It would be his duty to stop us from the really good stuff.

I doubt I will be doing much camping this summer, but there will be plenty of other things to do. I have a couple of trips planned. I am getting together with some college friends. I will be working a couple of weeks at a youth summer camp (high school, not little kids). There will also be the unexpected activities that pop up. Freedom from classes is just a few weeks away. I love this time of year.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Turtle Whisperer

Sunday afternoon we had a fish fry at my parents' house. We had a great time telling jokes, eating and laughing together. My parents just got back from being in Florida for the last six months, so it was great to get the whole family together again.

My daughter named him Lynus.
After the meal, we were hanging around outside and my mother walked up with a box turtle she had just found near the pond. I immediately decided to bring it home to give to our 4 year old neighbor. I don't know if she likes turtles, but did know that it might upset her mother. She gets upset with me over little things like teaching her daughter to pet bees or eat dirt. I don't know why I enjoy it so much, but I do.

When we got home, the neighbors weren't home, so I left the turtle outside and went in to do some homework. I went out every now and then to check on him and he was always within a few feet of where I had left him.

After a few hours, I forgot about Lynus and quit checking on him. In fact, I never thought about him again until I was taking Kirsten to school the next morning. A few hundred feet from our house, we passed him on the road.

I could have gotten a better picture,
but decided that a close up was unnecessary.

I don't know how long it took him to get that far or know where he was trying to go, but I don't feel too bad because I had warned him about the road the day before. I should have known better since every turtle I have ever known has been resistant to any sort of instruction. I think it's the way they are raised. Hundreds of years of them retelling the story of  The Tortoise and the Hare to their children gives them a false sense of accomplishment.

Don't call Turtle Protective Services on me, because I did my part. Plus, even if they do come, it takes them forever to get here.

The demise of Lynus reminded me that it was time to feed our surviving pet, Dr. Finklerstein. He only eats once every two to three weeks, so it slips my mind sometimes. I ran to the pet store to buy his food. I gave him the food and something happened. It looked at me.

Isn't he cute? We named him Norman.
Don't name your food.

This had never happened before.

Dr. Finklerstein (my daughter named him) is a ball python and he eats mice. In the past, knowing that I am purchasing something that is just going to be eaten, I have never given it much thought. I get home, I toss the food in the cage and I walk away. However, Norman had a personality.

Say something. ANYTHING!
So, I took him out of the cage and decided to see if he might be one of those super smart mice that could turn me into a master chef or help me become a better teacher or teach me a life lesson or something Maybe he was waiting for someone to take him seriously as an individual instead of just seeing him as a lowly mouse.

I tried talking to him, but he didn't answer. He didn't even squeak. He just stared at me.  Then I realized that I was being presumptuous in assuming that he would speak English. So, I spoke to him in Spanish. Still no response.

My daughter, insinuating how stupid I can be, snidely asked if I had ever seen Ratatouille

 "Mice," she said, "speak French, not Spanish. DUH!"

Insinuating how stupid she can be, I responded, "Those were rats, not mice. DUH!"

Since my daughter has had a year of high school French, she tried to communicate with Norman. We still don't know if Norman speaks French or not since all Kirsten knows is how to count to twelve or ask for the nearest bathroom. Where do our education tax dollars go?

Not wanting to give up, I tried one more tactic to give him the opportunity to communicate with us.

He just kept hitting the asterisk over and over.
He is either an imbecile or is cursing at me.

Dr F had been
waiting patiently.
Frustrated, I sought out one more opinion. Dr. Finklerstein had been watching this play out and hissing at our feeble efforts. He was beginning to grow impatient.

I asked him what he thought and got no response.

"Do you think Norman is special?"

The Doctor (snake) stuck his tongue out at me.

"Should we give him another test?"

The Doctor stuck his tongue out at me.

He even turned his back on me.
I was beginning to get the impression that Dr. Finklerstein was in a bad mood, so I put him back in his cage.

I told him we could not move forward until they worked this out between the two of them. I put Norman in the cage and left so they could have their privacy to discuss this without any biased influence from me.

I checked back in on them an hour later only to discover that Norman was no longer there. I guess they never came to an agreement and he just stormed off.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I am a Person and Other Complaints

This post is an attempt (but don't take it too seriously) to paint a less pathetic more accurate picture of my friend Adam Elliot. I have mentioned him in several blog posts and a few times the post was even centered around him. In fact, some of my most popular and funny posts have been about him going to the emergency room.
  1. Abscessed Adventured With Adam   Ranked #1
  2. Hop Along Sunday   Ranked #5
  3. Dad, Do You Ever Get That No-So-Fresh Feeling?   Ranked #3
Adam has a unique handicap originally caused by a rare blood disorder which makes him susceptible to various ailments and injuries caused by his restricted mobility. You can read his story on his blog here. Since he has had portions of each foot amputated, it causes severe pain if he is too active. However, since he can get around (slowly...oh, so slowly) for short distances, it is possible for someone to not even be aware of his limitations.

Almost every time I have included him in a post, it has centered around some of these issues.  However, our relationship is not based on his handicap, as evidenced by some of our conversations.
While trying to decide where to eat:
Adam: Do you know what I haven't done in a long time?
Me: (long pause) Uh.....hurdles?
Despite the jokes, which he is more than proficient at dishing out as well, we have a lot of fun together. For a while after his hospitalization and surgeries, Adam couldn't do a lot for himself and required a lot of assistance. He lived with his brother for a while, who took care of him and made sure he had what he needed. After several months, I became that person. He even lived with us for a short time. He has come a long way since then.

I first met Adam when he was in junior high school. I was a counselor at a summer camp and he left an impression even at that young age. Just as is true today, if Adam was in the room, everyone knew it. He has never had much talent at blending in or staying in the background. Just like the present, his mouth got him into a lot of trouble.

After that summer, I ran into him occasionally. Years later, he would drop in at the church I was working at to visit with the senior minister who had been his youth minister growing up. We would go out to lunch occasionally. Then, Adam disappeared. Since he hadn't been a regular part of my life, I didn't think anything of it.

The next time I saw him, he was in the wheelchair and I got to hear the story of what he had been through for the last 6 months. For some reason, we hit it off after that and became the friends we are now. He doesn't even get mad when I challenge him to a game of Dance Dance Revolution.

Adam now has a DJ service which is getting more and more business all the time. He does weddings, local taverns, class reunions, school dances and whatever else someone may need. It is a full music and laser light show. I accompany him on some of these show and assist with setting up and tearing down. Once the show starts, you would never know he is missing part of his body. He is even pretty popular with the ladies, a fact that he displays no humility about.

Adam is offering a special DJ discount to followers of this blog. He and I will do your show for free. You will only be responsible for our expenses to get there and back. Adam is especially hopeful that fellow blogger Bozo will accept this offer and the fact that she is in India has nothing to do it.

Don't think you can't get slapped
just because you're in a wheelchair.
Although, the handicapped act only carries him so far. He doesn't have a free pass. It is possible to cross the line even when you don't have feet. He doesn't take it personally. He knows that it was not his inability to participate in a marathon that got him slapped. It was his mouth.

Although, we do have to think of a new phrase for him, since "Sticking his foot in his mouth" doesn't really apply here.

Despite the regular beatings he gets from various women, he does have a social life. He goes out with his friends, goes to the movies, attends community events, is active in his church and travels occasionally. He and I have caused trouble in this town on several occasions and will continue to do so.

Shout out to Whitney Whaley
at Paul Mitchell.
I just had to take a break from this post because he just called me to go experience what he called "something wonderful." He took me to the Paul Mitchell cosmetology school to get their scalp massage. Despite having school work to do, I agreed and spent 30 minutes in a chair getting my scalp rubbed, while they put in all sorts of lotions and conditioners. Not the sort of thing I would ever think to go get done, but it was fantastic. I feel great and my hair looks magnificent. I feel so pretty.

With the writing of this post, hopefully my regular readers now know that the friend that I refer to is not a whiny home bound reject. In fact, he just got a date with one of the girls that was fixing his hair. He does actually have a brain and a life and goes to more places than just the hospital and bathroom.

Hopefully, now his persistent phone calls about my blog's depiction of him will come to an end.

I feel so very pretty.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Got Tagged - Get to Know Me Today

A few days ago, I was contacted by Brandi Boddie of Penning Praises.  Brandi passed a quiz on to me to help my readers get to know me better. As usual, any time a woman asks me questions that do not involve how her jeans look, I am more than happy to answer.

1. Book or movie and why?

That depends on whether I have a TV.

 2. Real book or e-book?

I have never actually read an e-book. I have seen Kindles and other devices. They look like they could be handy, but I don't see where to put the bookmark.

3. Funniest thing you've done in the last 5 years?

Last May, when Harold Camping unsuccessfully predicted the Second Coming of Christ, I filled 38 blow-up dolls with helium and released them in the mall parking lot on the evening of the supposed Rapture.

I thought it was very funny. Local law enforcement did not agree.

4. Do you put yourself into the books you read/write or the movies you watch?

I don't really put myself in them. I put myself above them. I picture myself as the all-powerful puppeteer working the strings of the characters. They do whatever I want them to do. HA HA HA. "Dance, little people, dance!"

When Winona Ryder blew up Christian Slater at the end of Heathers, that was me.

When John Travolta plunged the adrenaline syringe into the heart of Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, that was me.

When Keanu Reeves dodged the bullets of the agents in The Matrix, that was me as well. For the record, that was not easy. I had to do four takes before I got it just right.

The only exception is any movie that casts Freddy Rodriguez. I don't control Freddy Rodriguez. In those movies, I am Freddy Rodriguez.

5. How would your best friend describe you?

By explaining positive attributes about me. He may give a few negative ones. No ones perfect.

6. Favorite kind of car and why?

 7. Would your choice of party be a catered meal or barbecue out back?

Can't you have barbecue catered and brought out back? I would imagine they they would take it to the place they were instructed to. Then you could have a barbecue with a few friends over and still not have to cook. Why does everything have to be one way or the other?

8. What's your favorite season and why?

Deer season. I don't hunt, but always end up with some of the meat somehow. One guy makes jerky every year. Love it.

9. What specific lesson have you learned - Spiritual, educational, occupational?

Spiritually - The phrase "Cleanliness is next to godliness" is not in the Bible.

Educational - Most college professors will not accept a paper that has "THE INTERNET" written in large letters across the Works Cited page.

Occupational - When told you are being chosen for a drug test, don't get excited and ask which ones you get to test.

10. Besides writing, what's your favorite thing to do when you get some extra time?

Make a sandwich.

Or if I am in one of those moods where I don't want anyone to talk to me, I stand on a street corner with a clipboard.

11. What's one place you can be found at least one time every week?

Sitting in my kitchen watching my neighbor's annoying habit of washing eggs off the side of his house and car.

These eleven questions are supposed to be passed on to 11 more people so they can play if they wish. I choose these 11 people. And you should check out each one of their blogs.

These blogs are in order from shortest title to longest. Thus creating a nice stair step pattern. You're welcome.

Misty's Laws
In Shane's Brain
A Bozo's Abbozzo
The Train's Whistle
Ach du Lieber, Jayne
Doesn't Speak Klingon
Good Youngman Brown
When a Lion Sleeps, Let It Sleep
Rob's Altruistically Self-Serving Blog
The Incoherent Ramblings of a Moose

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dad, do you ever get that Not-So-Fresh feeling?

Important information before reading: This will be my third post involving escorting my handi-capable friend Adam to the emergency room. Because of the incredibly high number of readers of the first post, he was highly embarrassed by the sensitive content. (He was bleeding from his groin area, but don't mention it. He is still kind of sensitive about it.)

In the second post, I used the alias of Steve so no one would know I was talking about him. However, since that is the same name I used when calling Red to find out how to send her flowers, it caused some unforeseen confusion. My apologies to the Secret Squirrels. Therefore, this time Adam will be referred to as Sven and not Steve. I can't think of any scenario where I would be using that name for anything else. So this is the story of Sven and his visit to the emergency room last night.

Yesterday, I was writing about my writer's block. I had nothing to write about. However, I knew that problem was about to be solved as soon as Sven called me to say he needed to go to the emergency room. Every trip to the hospital with him not only gives me something to write about, but the traffic to my site skyrockets. Not wanting to miss this opportunity Wanting to help my friend, I flew to his house as quick as I could to get this adventure underway.

I burst into his house and asked, "What happened?"

SVEN: Do you want to see it?
ME: See what?
SVEN: The problem I am having?
ME: Tell me what it is first.
SVEN: I think I have a yeast infection.
ME: (chortling) Uh...
SVEN: It's not funny.

Sven appeared to be missing the humor in the situation. As I was trying to stifle my laughter (unsuccessfully), I asked, "Are you positive that's what it is?"

Sven explained to me the symptoms he had. He had looked them up on the internet and the site he found said that this happens sometimes in males when they have high blood sugar. Sven has been battling his blood sugar for a few months, so this made sense. Based on what he told me, I had to agree.

          ME: I'm sorry. I didn't know men could get yeast infections.

SVEN: So, do you want to see it now?
SVEN: How about if I take a picture of it and show you that?
ME: Why do you keep wanting me to look?
SVEN: It doesn't have to be weird!
ME: It is weird. Keep your pants up and let's go.
We get to the hospital and battle the construction at the entrance just like the last two times. Sven gets out and hobbles* into the entrance. I park the car and head inside the hospital.
*For my new readers: Sven is an amputee. He is missing one foot and three toes on the other foot. This is why he hobbles.
The nurse had no shoes!
As soon as I walked in they pointed me toward his room. We have been there enough times, they know us by now. They have even gotten in the habit of trying to get us out of there as quickly as possible. Not everyone seems to appreciate our humor...well, my humor and Sven's lack of social restraint. A nurse was already in there gathering the required information. It was taking a while to get her to understand what the actual problem was since Sven was uncomfortable using any words referring to genitalia to a woman.

While waiting for her to finish with Sven, I hear the following conversation outside the room:

DOCTOR: Do you have any more questions?
PATIENT: Yes. Why are gas prices so high?
DOCTOR: Why would I know the answer to that?
PATIENT: I don't know. You look Middle Eastern. I thought you might have some insight.
DOCTOR: Leave. Now!

The doctor comes in and asks Sven to explain the problem. Sven tells him his symptoms and explains the high blood sugar. The doctor confirms that it sounds like a yeast infection, but like any good doctor, he wants to see the affected area.

During the examination of the area and lots of wincing from Sven, the doctor says, "You are circumsized, right?"  Sven replies, "You're not helping my confidence, Doc."  The doctor then decides that the diagnosis is a male yeast infection.  He tells Sven that he will be prescribing a medicine to be taken orally for three days and two topical creams.

He explains that the first cream is to be used for three days and then thrown away to start using the second cream. He then repeated, "Only use the first cream for three days. The tube will not be empty, but DO NOT use any more of it. It has a steroid in it, so you will want to switch to the other cream."

I remarked,  "Of course, because the last thing any guy wants is to bulk up in that area."

I don't think the doctor got the joke...or maybe he was still worked up about the gas prices question from earlier, but he didn't even crack a smile.

After giving me an uncomfortably long dirty look, he continued explaining how to treat the area. He said, "Wash the area twice a day and then put the cream on. Don't touch the area at any other time. Wash it, put on cream and don't touch. Only touch when washing and putting on cream. Keep your hands off it the rest of the time. Don't touch it. Don't touch it." Then he walked out.

SVEN: Is he telling me not to play with myself?
ME: That's what it sounded like to me.
SVEN: But this is Monday. There's nothing good on TV tonight.
ME: Do you want to get better or not?
SVEN: I guess I could watch Dancing With the Stars. 
ME: Good idea.
SVEN:  And there is no way I gonna stop with the steroid after only three days.
ME: Calm down, Tyrone

If you really want to see
what Sven's yeast infection looks like,
click the picture.

My Blogging Brain is Blocked

Biggest month so far.
Last month I set a personal blogging goal for myself. About a week into the month of March, I noticed that I had posted every other day. I decided then to try to continue posting at that pace for the rest of the month. I did it. I had 15 posts last month, which is more than I have ever done in the past. I also received over 4,000 visits to my page last month, which is more than a thousand over my next highest month. I considered last month to be a successful blogging month. I don't really know what the criteria for a successful month is, but I was proud of last month's work.

I am beginning to wonder if I messed up last month. Did I spew out too much too fast? Did I empty out my head faster than it can be refilled? For the last three days, I have been sitting in front of my computer trying to write another post, but there appears to be nothing there. I can't even seem to get started, which is usually the sticking point. Generally, if I can get started then it flows easier.

I even have a few ideas of what I want to write about, but it just isn't coming. I have taken a few notes on topics that I am sure will see the light of day sometime in the next few days or weeks, but for now, they just refuse to develop into anything more than ideas. Eight months ago, I asked my readers for suggestions of things to write about. I have only done 4 of the 11 suggestions I was given. I need to re-visit that list.

I considered heading to my buddy Adam's house and knocking him down the stairs or something. Every time I write about our trips to the ER (here and here), my blog explodes with traffic. He might be embarrassed by the things I choose to share about him, but it is always good for my stats.

Maybe it is time for me to share another chapter in the saga between myself and Red. These posts are always tough, because I never know what to share. I will share that I gave her my phone number. For those of you that have been following long enough (read here), you know what a big step that is for me. I am not a big fan of talking on the phone. So, we now email, text and talk on the phone. Since it is now less than a month until we will get to meet face to face, I am sure there will be things to share in the near future.

Many of my favorite bloggers have been participating in the A-Z Challenge. I decided to opt out of this thinking that I would not be able to keep up the pace, but have come to regret that decision. This would have given me something to write about every day for the rest of the month. Here are some of the great ones doing this challenge that you should check out: Lily at The Incoherent Ramblings of a Moose, Bozo at A Bozo's Abbozzo, and Jayne at Ach du Lieber, Jayne. Today's letter is 'H.'

Jayne pulls words from her Actionary to present to her readers. One of today's words is displayed in the following picture:
I pledge to get out of my writing funk as soon as possible and get back to writing. I love writing this blog and hate not posting for more than a few days. 

Adam just called me and said he may need to go to the hospital later. That will give me something to write about for tomorrow. YAY!!!

Correction: I did not mean to appear happy. I hope he is okay.

Disclaimer: Okay or not, there will be something to write about for tomorrow. YAY!!!

2nd Disclaimer: I really do hope he is alright.

Addendum: Although, I am hopeful that the visit will be blog worthy.

Admission of Guilt: I think I might be a terrible person.

I will close with the cartoon my daughter drew for her school newspaper on Valentine's Day. It has nothing to do with my post, but I have jumped all over the place. This is as good a place as any to include it.

February edition of the Vernois News

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Last Day in Indy: Part 3

You may want to read my last two posts to get up to speed on the events of the last couple of days.

Day 1: Dealers and Winos and Pimps - Oh, My!

Day 2: Dealers and Winos and Pimps Must Sleep In

My last post was written on the morning of the third and last day we were in Indianapolis. The plan was to get our van back that morning, see as much of the city as possible (now that we were mobile) and head back home. However, it did not work out that way.

I called at 9 a.m. to get an estimate of when they thought the vehicle would be done so I could get a cab and head in that direction. He said they were close to having it finished and they provided a free pick up service, so there was no need for a cab. HOORAY!!!

Since they were close to being done and we did not know how far from the car shop we were, we decided not to venture from the hotel. They could call at any time and we had no idea how long it would take them to get there.

The hotel requires checkout at 11 a.m., so we moved to the lobby. Kirsten surfed the web while I read a book. It was hard to relax knowing that every passing minute is another minute that we are NOT out enjoying the city.

The mechanic finally called at 12:30, but said it would take a moment for the driver to get to us, because he had just left for a 30 minute lunch. As soon as he got back, he would be on his way.

After 3 hours of leading me to believe the driver was going to show up at any moment, the driver calls to get the address and tells me it will take 30 minutes to get to us from the shop. He shows up 45 minutes later at 4:15. I learn from him that he was delivering a part out of state and was not on a 30 minute lunch. Had I known that, I would have hopped in a cab and had my vehicle back by 1 p.m. However, due their messing around and trying to cover for each other, we sat in a hotel lobby for 4 hours longer than necessary and missed half a day of exploring the city. We drove away in our van a few minutes before 5 o' clock and $600 poorer.

Finally back with our vehicle, we decided to visit the Indianapolis Children's Museum because one day a month they are open until 8 and it is free during that time. Plus, the other things we wanted to see were closed at this point. This seemed like a good plan at the time, but there were things we had not considered.

This children's museum is ranked as the best in the country by three different children's magazines and it offered free admission for only four hours once a month. This means that it is the most popular place in the state during that time and is the last place you want to be if you actually want to see anything. About 5 blocks from the museum, traffic stopped. In the next 30 minutes, we moved less than a half block. Everyone was trying to get to the museum. At the rate we were moving, we would never make it to the museum parking before it closed. Luckily, a person pulled away from the curb right beside us, so I nabbed that spot and we walked the remaining distance.

The last children's museum I had visited was more of a hands-on science center and it had been several years since I had taken my children. This place, while impressive, was designed for children. By children, I mean 5 to 8 year olds. My daughter is 16. We gave it a go anyway.

They had an Egyptian market for the kids to dress in Egyptian clothes and play like they were working in various jobs, There was a mirrored maze play area, lots of interactive activities and places for parents to sit while their children ran wild. I was most impressed by the LEGO exhibits.

However, what I hadn't considered was the thing I should have been most concerned about. There were children everywhere. Thousands of them. Because of the museum being free at that moment, the entire tri-state area showed up with their kids...and their grandkids...and the neighbor's kids. 

They were screaming and pushing and fighting and crying. It was awful. Parents were yelling for their kids to come back despite not having any idea in which direction they had run off to. Those parents that like to walk their kids on a leash spent their time trying to untangle from other safety minded parents. It was a complete madhouse. It was wall to wall screaming banshees.

Kirsten and I decided that even without the wailing midgets, this was not what we had in mind and decided to leave. Nothing on this trip had gone according to plan and it was time to give up. We vowed to return to Indianapolis on another day. Next time we would plan better.

PishPoshFor this post I am participating in the Get Fit! Challenge presented by Pish Posh. She is challenging her readers and other bloggers to write about an area in their lives to could stand improvement. Please visit her site.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dealers and Winos and Pimps Must Sleep In

Before reading this post, you need to read Dealers and Winos and Pimp - Oh My! to get up to speed. This is a part two from that post. Quick reminder: Kirsten and I got to Indianapolis for a funeral. Our van broke down as soon as we arrived in town. The 5 mile walk back to our hotel took us through a very questionable part of town. Once again, click here if you did not read my last post.

When we woke up yesterday morning, I decided we would stay at the hotel another night. That meant we did not have to check out and we could leave our stuff in the room. Being 6:30 in the morning, we made the trek back to the funeral home on foot. We knew it was not a good neighborhood, but we had survived the day before and theorized that most crack heads do not get up before noon. We expected the streets to be empty and we were correct.

We met the tow truck driver and soon our van was gone. Soon after people began to arrive for the visitation. I have been to literally hundreds of funerals, but this was one of the most difficult services I have ever sat through. The service was for the 19 year old son of some college friends. He was loved by many and there was a very large crowd.

Despite the mood and reason that we were there, it was great to get to see old friends. Other people from those college days showed up as well. Most of us hadn't seen each other in over 10 years. The day alternated between tears and laughter. It was a great reminder of how close we all used to be and how much I miss them. We parted promising that we will not wait another 10 years to get together.

We did hear from the mechanic that the problem with my van was the fuel pump. $603.22 This trip that wasn't supposed to cost me more then a few hundred dollars just jumped to almost $1,000.

This morning we are getting packed up and hoping that the van will be done in the morning as they said. Otherwise, we will be hauling all our stuff around the city until it is finished. We are hoping to only have to hop in a cab and go straight to the mechanic and be done with it. That will leave us a few hours to explore the city. I imagine we can take in more with a car than we did on foot for the last few days.

I know this post sounds a bit depressing, but the last few days have been great. It has a tragedy at its center, but we have had a few adventures, got to see old friends and have found a new area to visit when we have free days. Life should be back to normal next week.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dealers and Winos and Pimps - Oh, My!

This week my daughter is on Spring Break and we try to go somewhere every year. A few years ago, Christian and I went to Cleveland to visit the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. Great trip. Two years ago, Kirsten and I ventured to New York to see the Tim Burton exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. I could write a dozen different posts about the times we had on that trip.

This year, we planned to go to Nashville, Tennessee. We were only going to stay for a few days since we are taking a trip to Portland this summer for a wedding. Nashville would be a short inexpensive trip, but still something to do on her Spring Break. However, our plans got changed.

One of our friends died a few days ago, so we changed our Spring Break plans to go to Indianapolis for the funeral. We packed up last night and left this morning to get here in time to see a little of the city before going back to the hotel room.

Once we got checked in, we decided we should locate the funeral home for the next day. According to Google Maps, it was less than 15 minutes from the hotel (4.7 miles). We hopped in the van ready to find the funeral home and then start checking out the city. It's almost a straight shot from the hotel, but it may not have been the safest route.

A few days ago, when  I contacted a friend from the area about hotels, he stated not to get a hotel in the area of the cemetery. He said it was not a part of town we would want to spend the night in. This is why our hotel was so far away; he was concerned about the neighborhood. As we drove further in, I quickly understood his concerns.

The buildings were falling down and I counted half a dozen drug deals as we drove through with our windows up. We kept the windows up for safety reasons and because the area smelled like a mixture of disability checks and gunpowder.

We found the cemetery without any difficulty and went in to confirm where the services would be since the place was so big. After getting the information we needed, we hopped in the van to head to a nearby museum. After backing out of my space the van died and would not start again.

It was just after 5 o'clock, so I had trouble finding any place that was open to help. I finally located a service that would tow my vehicle for free if they got the business. However, they could not send anyone until morning. The funeral home agreed that I could leave the van there for the night.

Being the beautiful day that it was, we decided to walk back. It was less than five miles, I sill had the Google Maps printout that we could follow backwards and being a country boy, I just can't bring myself to spring for a cab. We started walking. About ten minutes into our journey, I remembered what we had driven through to get here.

Someone destroyed this church
As soon as I realized we were in the same area that we had rolled the windows up in earlier, we were approached by the first of many people that needed money for a variety of reasons. His was for food at Dairy Queen (not joking). Another wanted to buy cigarettes, one lady was insistent that she needed change for a dollar, and another guy wanted money to help find his dog. I still don't understand that one, but he really didn't understand it either, so I didn't feel too bad.

They even killed SPIDERMAN!!
We had planned to eat after leaving the cemetery and were getting very hungry, but Kirsten was unwilling to enter any of the eating establishments we passed. I can't say I blamed her. We kept our heads down and smiled when we did make eye contact with someone. Kirsten, convinced she was going to die very soon, sang These Are a Few of My Favorite Things to distract from the situation she was in.

We stepped over the broken bottles and needles, sidestepped the winos, ran from stray dogs and dodged the beggars, all while avoiding traffic. On three separate occasions someone called for us to come to them. Twice into an alley and once from their front door. We got very good at playing deaf and looking straight ahead.

After about an hour of walking, we began to see signs that we were coming out on the other side. The condition of the roads began to improve, there were more houses with intact windows and the sound of screaming was getting further away.

I was overtaken by local wildlife once.
It took us about 90 minutes to get back to the hotel and we began to go over our agenda for the next day. Tomorrow morning, we have to check out of this hotel and get back to our vehicle. Despite the night's experience, we will be walking back through the area we just came from. However, this time we will be carrying our stuff. Just like the Dread Pirate Wesley and Princess Buttercup in the Fire Swamp, we now know the secrets of the area and can survive there for many years if needed.

We have to get back to the van before they tow it at 8:30 to put our  stuff into it. We must then stay for the funeral and then somehow find our way to wherever it is being worked on. Hopefully, it will be fixed tomorrow, so we will have a vehicle again.

Getting back to the hotel was the easiest part of this. I expect the worst parts to come tomorrow. Getting back to the vehicle. Getting to the garage (which is on the other side of town). Getting around while it is being worked on. I really don't know what to expect. Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story.