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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fairy Princess

Em had a party Saturday night, her first chance at wearing her Fairy Princess outfit. With lots of glitter. So we had a little photo shoot.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Tyler, gifting me with this, told me, 'It's a pig, but a good riding bike and a fun buildout.'

Hard to tell from just the frameset, but I don't think it's any heavier than my Diamondback frame. It is sturdy steel with eyelets for racks and so on. The only thing that can't come over from the original Foolkiller Express is the brakes. Tyler thinks he has them somewhere, and replacements for them would probably run around twenty bucks, but the brake mounts are in a different spot on this frame.

Once we get to bad riding weather (or maybe now with my compromised hands, though they are compromised from mechanic work, too) I can repack bearings and whatnot in the process of migrating to this frame. Not that I have the foggiest notion how to do most of that, but I need to learn. This frame also has the definite advantage of being colorful, even before I get busy making decals for it.

Friday Night Football

GEHS was the Metro Sports game of the week, against Blue Valley North, another undefeated team.

We made popcorn and me and Em had fun watching the game. Mo couldn't care less about football and devoted her time to blasting Green Day and some song about drinking beer in Mexico.

Blowing teams out by fiftyish points is boring and, worse, doesn't really teach kids anything. So here was our very solid team with a few very good players and one of those game-making gems (Bubba Starling) and they finally had their hands full for a half. I think Aquinas could have played them this hard but made too many mistakes early. BVN kept within a score to the half.

Second half wasn't as balanced, but credit to the visiting team: they even managed a pick off Bubba Starling, astonishing since I only remember him throwing the ball three or four times.

On a downer, I was sad to hear that in nearby Spring Hill senior Nathan Stiles died after a concussion injury (he'd apparently suffered one earlier this month but had been cleared to play. Which, coupled with other things I've been hearing about chronic, asymptomatic concussions maybe being more widespread and dangerous than previously understood, makes me wonder if this is really a sport to encourage teenagers to play.

If Bubba was my kid, I'd probably be encouraging him to focus on baseball, a sport I've never really learned to like.

Schools don't generally field boxing teams, bull riding or demolition derby, right?

Halloween Costume

This is Corinna's awesome Halloween costume. Me? Uncharacteristically, I haven't even figured out what to go as two days before.


I made a pitiful attempt at riding Thursday after work.

I'd gotten the smaller splint on my pinned finger, and I think maybe I'd have been fine to ride if it hadn't been for a customer's handshake.

I've been shaking hands splinted for weeks now, and right when the hands meet, I say, Gently, I'm playing hurt or some such.

This time, though, the woman in question clamped down automatically in one of those handshakes that's uncomfortable even on healthy hands and I cried uncle. One of those handshakes that has always made me internally ask, What are you trying to prove?

The pain and, I think, the swelling has been worse ever since, and when I attempted an after work ride, every bump in the road just lit the thing up. I made it about a quarter mile before turning around and going back to the car, a turnaround marked by the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Beautiful animals, ironic that such robust beasts are used to market an insipid beer.

As I watched the kids running around and the adults taking pictures (as I was), I pictured an ad agency executive asking, Yes, but how do we get the really young kids?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Splint Upgrade

I'm still supposed to keep my birdfinger immobile, but they took the stitches out and upgraded me to a splint that only immobilizes the finger. Next week they'll start working the joint for mobility (Which I can tell is going to hurt a lot, I can't wait).

I was surprised at how much swelling there still was, and actually I got a little queasy when the finger was unveiled.

The good news is I should be able to ride again. That and I have managed to keep good mobility in the busted ring finger on my left hand. Three or four more weeks, I'm told, and I'll probably be able to play guitar without pain.

Poetry Slam

I didn't really think I liked poetry until recently. Well, Ani DiFranco does a bit of poetry performance, but for whatever reasons, I never really thought of it as poetry.

Then I heard Corinna's CD and Sunni Patterson and some other stuff Corinna turned me on to. Turns out, what I don't like is reading poetry from a book. When it's performed with passion and rhythm, I love the shit.

I'd probably have ridden with the Mission Farms posse if my hands allowed it (being off the bike is a big, frothy mug of suck). But as it was, I found myself hanging out at the Blue Room while Corinna judged a teen poetry slam.

When I was in high school, a crush on a girl led me to participating in the school literary mag, to which I contributed some excrementally bad Ferlinghetti knockoffs and crude apings of e. e. cummings. Didn't get me anywhere with the girl, but it did preserve in print a portrait of the artist as a young poseur.

These kids are light years beyond my own adolescent verse. Even the ones who stumbled and had to refer to their notes were better poets than I ever was. The best weren't just good for kids, they were good by any measure. One poem made a great irony of blood diamonds as bling; at the other end of the spectrum was a white girl from the burbs whose poetry was hilariously honest and whose delivery stole the show.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Ride

Last year I missed the Trek Halloween ride because I was in Chicago. This year, I have this stupid splint that torques my pinned finger when I put pressure on my right palm.

I went by the liquoring hole the ride tends to end up at, though, and had a great time hanging out some of my oldest and favoritest riding buddies.

I still need to find a costume for this year unless I'm going to fall back on being a gimpy Johnny Cash.

I guess I should put my guitar on to pose for this.

It's killing me not being able to ride.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Long Way Back

I drove Corinna out to Milford Lake and told her to figure out how to get home on her bike. Actually, the riding back was her idea.

She was going to a retreat she didn't have time to ride to, but she did have time to ride back. A good piece of riding, that. I swear she puts more stuff on her bike for a trip like this than I've ever thrown in a car when I was going camping. A real contrast to my gram-counting cyclist friends.

I couldn't find the tripod I thought was in my trunk, but she had one in her panniers because you never know when you'll want to take a picture, right?

The closest thing I've ever done to touring is Bike MS, planned rest stops every ten miles and SAG support. But I'm keen to try it. Make the journey as enjoyable as the destination and all that.

It was dark when we got there (don't let the photos fool you, 15 second exposures at very high ISO settings plus a lot of Photoshop tweaking), and finding a legit camping spot was tricky. Then we found a row of equestrian camp sites. I guess if the ranger questioned it, she could point to her Trek and say, 'That's my mount.'

The other challenge I found to getting a good photo: a ten second delay is not enough time for me to get seated on the ground with my busted fingers. Why I'm sitting so awkwardly, I heard the beep and had to just freeze for fifteen seconds to keep from being a blurry ghost in the photo.

...And My City Was Gone

Okay, it wasn't a city. At 78th and State Avenue, once upon a time, I earned a whopping $4.50 an hour or so doing my best to avoid anything you could honestly call 'work' while blowing smoke at the 'No Smoking' sign.

I was a cashier at the Texaco on this corner, and the manager who hired me was a friend who later admitted, "You were a warm body, you showed up for your shift. Other than that, you were useless."

I'm surprised it's not still a gas station instead of a few more parking spaces for Price Chopper, it's a busy intersection and all.

The car wash where the hippies showered when the Grateful Dead played Sandstone that year is gone, too.


A client sent us a box of Halloween cookies the other day. Vanilla cookies, I think they used my Mom's recipe, true story.

It was even more delicious than it was cute.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


When I went under, I thought I'd awaken with pain, but no less mobility than when I got there.

Finding myself with one hand with a broken finger and one mostly useless lobster claw, I got a bit cranky with the staff. Really, it's the doc I was mad at: he does this all the time, so it probably seemed obvious to him I'd have my whole hand, more or less, immobilized.

I think it was incumbent on the good doctor to splain things a bit more in advance. But, to shut me up, he said I could come back today for a less restrictive dressing and brace instead of being utterly gimped until Monday.

While my dressings were being removed, so were the dressings of a table saw accident victim. His wife and daughters were with him, a baby and a girl I'd guess was four. When she caught a glimpse of what had happened to Daddy's finger she fainted in a heap. I didn't see the guy's hand, but just as I've been told how much worse my injuries could have been, he was told people who have the accident he had often lose more than one finger.

Just so you know, it's not comforting. The fact that it could always have been worse is no consolation. It's not like the table saw guy won a trip to Florida instead of his first choice, Hawaii.

The swelling of my hand seemed impressive to me, but at least it accounted for the pain. Before surgery, it only hurt when my hand got jostled. Now it hurts constantly. Last night, I risked an extra dose when two 500/7.5 Lortabs and 400 mg of ibuprofen didn't even make a dent. Four Lortabs, I found, stops short of anything you could label 'high,' but it did leave my lips numb as I drifted off to sleep. My hand still hurt, but at least sleep came.

I worried about Tylenol overdose, taking four, though the doc told me today that doesn't come up much before 15-20 tabs a day. I guess that's a relief, though nest time I need narcotic painkillers, I'm campaigning for the ibuprofen based version. If you need narcotic pain killers, you need an analgesic better (and safe in higher doses) than Tylenol.

Of course I've been taking both. This morning I took 800 mg of ibuprofen and then a couple Lortabs when I got to work. And it scarcely seemed to take the edge off.

Someone from Heartland called and asked how I was doing, and when I said fine except the pain exceeded the meds, she asked if I could just be off work. Which is the rub. It's not like other members of the art department can cover me, I am the art department. My boss can cover some stuff, but with the election work, we both need to be putting in overtime. It's not like the election if flexible, if we don't get the stuff done on time, it's of no value to the customer.

The less restrictive dressing at least lets me mouse with my right, though typing is still all hunt and peck with what's left of my south paw. And the wrappings are no longer so dense they prevent ice from working at all.

I'm hoping by Saturday I can get at least a short ride in, though I'm not sure I can shift with this brace on. Next week, I think I'll be back down to the finger only splint.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Six Digits

Surgery supposedly went according to plan. No trouble with the anesthesia, at least.

The doc didn't tell me I'd be splinted more than before. I figured the old splint would just go over my sewn up finger.


Eight digit typing was bad enough, now I'm down to six. Four, really, since I have my right hand elevated and ice on it. Though I can't tell much cold is getting through the mummification.

They told me to take the pain meds when the pain got to a 'one' level so it would kick in before the pain got too intense. I was at about 'three' when I got to the pharmacy. I still had Lortab from the ER script, but the doc wrote for 500/7.5 instead of the 500/5 I had.

Meaning it has half again the narcotic, which is the only reason to take Lortab. I'm not sure why they bother with the Tylenol, they should either use ibuprofen or just stick to dope.

From what I can tell so far, I'm going to be glad I've got the stuff. Though it'll probably scrub my diabolical plans for the evening. I really want to go to that poetry jam, too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pre-Op Nerves

I go under the knife tomorrow morning so they can crew part of my bird finger together. General anesthesia is kind of spooky to me.

I debated bullying them into gassing me stupid and using a local instead, but then I decided my anxiety level would be too high for that.

To top off the general nerves, two people showed me their fingers over the weekend, the scars from the same surgery and how they couldn't bend that digit.

Swell. I type for a living, ya know?

Bad time for me to be out of the office for a day, too. Absolutely covered up between the economy seeming to perk back up (more regular orders than had been the norm this year) and the election stuff. So I got up and in to the office at 5:30 this morning and didn't hang it up until 7:00 this evening. I could have stayed longer, there was still plenty to do, but I was definitely losing my effectiveness.

Hard to believe I once routinely gave up 13 or more hours a day to work for months on end. The money was great, but it left no time or energy for anything you could call a life.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Talent Show

After the whole Autism Walk, Jazz Museum, Riverfront walk with spectacular seizure, there was nap time for Mo but the day wasn't over. Em had her talent show, and afterward we went out for ice cream with Grandpa.

The majority of the talent show acts were, predictably, karaoke performances. I'm not generally a fan of the format, but most of the kids acquitted themselves well.

Among the truly impressive was an original poem of astonishing maturity and depth by Justice Davis, delivered with fantastic rhythm and a sense of momentum.

Another surprise was the break dancers near the end of the show. After so many American Idol moments, this was a big change of pace, and they were so funny. They did a remarkable job of capturing the essence of a form that reached its popular Zenith before their parents met each other.

As far as Em's participation, she was in one choral number, and while it was a fun piece and executed with flair, Em was hidden five kids back and I got crapola in the way of photographs to share with you. Well, I did better with her than I did with the break dancers. Combination of low light, distance, and speed that just flat overwhelmed my old PowerShot. They would have been tricky to capture with a high end dSLR. I could get them robotting, but when they started spinning around on the floor, it was blur, baby, blur.

After, at Sonic as we ate our blasts, Mo broke into the conversation with one of those rare nuggets of hers. The kid won't speak for a day straight except in oblique quotes from videos and the occasional yes or no to direct questioning.

Then, out of the blue, I hear, 'Daddy is a big goofball.' Clear as a bell.

Made my day. She's right, you know.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Long Walk Back

After the Jazz Museum, we went down to the River Market because Em wanted to see and cuss out the Satanic Grate.

They've definitely spruced it up since then.

It seemed a lot of trouble to find a parking spot to yell at an inanimate object, so after driving down Delaware I suggested we scope out the riverfront walkway. We walked down it a few years ago, when it ended at the pumping station by that funky bridge with the weights on it.

I do wonder, what's with the 30 and 40 being, to my way of thinking, reversed. 30 feet of water would not be a higher water mark than a 40, right? Or maybe this isn't an enormous rain gauge.

It goes a lot further now, further than we went on Saturday. Mo was whining a lot, asking to go home, but she'd been in a mood at the Jazz Museum, too, and I chalked it up to her jonesing for YouTube.

20/20 hindsight, she's been out of school for a week and out of schedule. She had one uninterrupted night's sleep in the past week, and I know what that adds up to.

So we get down to the far side of the Heart of America bridge and I'm telling Mo, Whining doesn't get you your way. The longer you whine, the further we're going before we turn around. So you might as well find your happy head.

Her witty response to this was to have a seizure. An intense one, the most involved I've seen her have. Usually her seizures are partials, a lot of drooling, chewing, turning to one side. This was a lot of spasms, gagging, trying to fold herself in half by the look of it. The scarier for being surrounded by concrete with no good place to sit or rest. I had to hold her propped up against me and kind of work an arm around to be between her head and the concrete wall so she couldn't hit that.

This was an even trickier operation with broken fingers, I must say. Her color was not good and I couldn't tell if she was breathing, so even though it was only maybe a minute, maybe 90 seconds in (time is hard to gauge in these situations if you can't see a clock), I gave her the Atavan to stop the seizure.

Atavan crushed up is the little nuclear bomb I have in a key fob, mainly to arrest seizures that go past five minutes, but when Mo's breathing seems that compromised I have no hesitation going, as an irritating former President would put it, 'nukular.'

As beautiful as the river walk was, and as much fun (even with Mo's whining) as we had getting down there, that was one long walk back to the car. I'm not sure the exact distance from the Town of Kansas bridge to the far side of HOA, maybe a mile. Me and Em just kind of propped Mo between us and she sleep-walked her post-ichtal self back.

Fortunately, because the walk is also cycling oriented there are no stairs you can't avoid by taking a ramp and there's an elevator at the access point.