Archive for the ‘homeowner’s association’ Category

The foot right after surgery

The foot right after surgery

And no, I’m not referencing that annoying BareNaked Ladies song. It’s been one week since Wayne went under the knife.

Now, Wayne has been a problem child since January’s 5K. He had the blister that would not heal. The blister wasn’t even totally healed in time for surgery, but once the pressure was taken off, he’s all but closed up… five days later.

What Dr. Barbacci did was to open an L-shaped incision over the front toe knuckle. He took the ends off the joint, removed the cartilage and used two staples/plates to fuse the joint together. He also added a little twist, given my gait that will hopefully combat any blistering.

Much smaller

Much smaller

The sad thing is that I’m in a different Boot of Shame for at least four weeks, perhaps as much as 6 weeks. This is necessary so the bone can knit properly. The effect of titanium on airport metal detectors is unknown to me… a question for the next appointment. Speaking of which, that’s next Tuesday and they take the stitches out. I had the bandage changed on Tuesday… after a few days, it was all bunched up and, as Dr. Barbacci noted, “It looks like a loaf of bread.” The current bandage is much smaller and sleeker looking.

The worst part has been that I feel the staples in my bones. Maybe that’s just my head talking, but the nice thing is feeling something in my toes.

The one thing that was missing was that I felt I should call my mom and let her know that the procedure went well. See, that was pretty much a standard. She always wanted the doctor’s report. Somehow, she knows, though.

I was pretty much awake for the surgery. They gave me a “twilight” cocktail (and no, I didn’t have to watch those shitty movies starring Shovelface and Mouth Breather) so I had a vague sense of awareness. I do recall Dr. Barbacci coming into the operating room and saying, “Do we have that vasectomy kit ready?” I thought he switched specialties.

At any rate, one more thing to share. You can tell it’s summer when the nastygrams start arriving from Wanda, evil bitch queen of the HOA. This time, Wanda got her panties in a bunch about a tree along the road (that we didn’t even plant) having branches hanging within eight feet of the ground. Now, I was under the impression that those trees were their responsibility, since I remember an “arborist” waking me up to move my car because they had to trim branches. Regardless, I’m in no shape to trim trees at this juncture, however, our totally awesome neighbor trimmed it for me. Huge shout out to Kirk for general awesomeness. I still loathe Wanda, though. I’m pretty sure she’s paying kickbacks to the HOA president. Otherwise she’d be out.

At any rate, I’ll try and keep you all posted as to the progress with Wayne. I was going to take a picture, maybe I will on Tuesday before the stitches come out.

Song of the Day: Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack – Various Artists

Currently reading: The 6th Extinction – James Rollins

I know… Latin. I’m trying to be all highbrow and intellectual.

But in this case, Pax refers to the winter storm. Seriously, though, who the hell started naming every winter storm? Is it a marketing thing? Maybe like the Nolan Ryan Express? Somehow, I don’t see NOAA marketing a line of t-shirts celebrating shitty weather, but it IS the federal government, so maybe that’s the reason.

Anyway, I’ve had a few crappy days. Really started yesterday with my attempt to go to the Philadelphia Auto Show. I say “attempt” since I never got on the train. Seems that the train station at Lancaster has limited parking and several rich assholes decided they needed two spaces to contain their precious German luxury cars. In all fairness, maybe they aren’t assholes. Maybe they are just misunderstood.

Naaah, they’re probably just assholes.

I still kept my vacation day, which wound up causing me some issues. See, the company decided to get rooms at the local hotel. They did not, however, inform me, so I had to trek to the office today, in the ice and snow, all to do a job obviously much more vitally important than healthcare or government. Of course, my wonderful homeowner’s association didn’t get around to clearing the walks and driveways on my street, so I had to move the entire driveway full of heavy, wet snow. I guess that counts toward my cardio for the day. I might add that another email was sent out informing us that the snow removal contractor has suffered a “mechanical breakdown” and would not be able to remove snow today. My thought is that Wanda, evil bitch queen of the HOA, is probably pocketing what would be paid to the contractor. I have no evidence of this, just instinct, but she seems the type that would do this.

All the medals together for a shield. Pretty freakin cool.

All the medals together for a shield. Pretty freakin cool.

My week hasn’t been all terrible. I managed to register for the Nerd Herd Virtual Race Trilogy. This year’s themes are Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games. I’m not totally into the whole Hunger Games thing, but the medal looks pretty cool. If you are interested in getting active and helping a worthy cause, check this out.

The start and finish will be at the Troeg's Brewery

The start and finish will be at the Troeg’s Brewery

I registered to run in the inaugural Troeg’s Hop Dash 5K in Hershey in October. I also registered Supportive Partner Woman (lover of craft beers!). It’ll be our first time participating in an inaugural event, and many of our TAE/Nerd Herd people will be there as well. Should be a great time!

 

So, to all you readers trapped by Pax, I wish you safe travels. If you don’t have to go anywhere, stay home. If you do, drive safely and watch out for the idiots. Sadly, there are a lot of those and they seem to be drawn to driving in bad weather like a moth is to a flame.

I had a follow up with my podiatrist yesterday, before the snow got to be too bad. I went totally redneck, though, wrapping my left foot in a plastic sack before putting on the Boot of Shame. It worked, too… kept the foot mostly dry.

To make a long story short, Stubby has been released from care. I still need to keep an eye on him, but he’s really shown improvement. Wayne has also shown improvement, but nothing like what Stubby has achieved. Wayne’s wound measured 12mm yesterday, which was less than the 16mm it measured last week. I’m taking heart in this, hoping that I will be able to get back to training sooner, rather than later. The other good news from the appointment concerns footwear.

Dr. Miller said that I really needed to get fitted for better shoes. I restated my objection that the shoes are simply butt-ugly. He asked if I’d take a look at the selection before I dismissed it as out of hand. I agreed.

Brooks-Adrenaline-14_3In a bottom corner of the display rack, I found something I could more than live with… the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I’m more of a Beast guy, but if I can get a pair, fitted to my particular feet and have my insurance cover part of it, well, I’m OK with that. I just want to stop the blisters. If they can’t do it right, there’s also a selection of New Balance that I can work with. The point is that while I’m not very vain about what I wear, I was drawing the line at plain white grandpa sneakers with velcro closures. I’m 43, not 73.

I did manage to get my cardio in today… in the form of shoveling snow. For whatever reason, Wanda, evil bitch queen of our HOA, didn’t dispatch the crews throughout the development until late and they never got to our house until late morning. No worries… I just did the whole driveway, sidewalks and out into the street. Felt pretty good to get 90 minutes of cardio. The downside to the whole snow thing is that Supportive Partner Woman was stranded at the office. Fortunately, she was prepared and had food and a sleeping bag, but I’m sure she can’t wait to get home. I opted to not even go in yesterday, when it took me just under an hour to make it home from the foot doctor (it’s normally 10-15 minutes tops). It means that I had to forgo holiday pay for Monday, but my life is more important to me than a day’s pay.

I have my show fitting appointment as well as another followup with the podiatrist next week. I’ll keep you posted.

I also have have wonderful team news to report. A teammate of mine, Ed, was told by his doctors that he was not to run anymore. Undeterred, he got a handcycle on December 26 and was at Walt Disney World to complete the Dopey Challenge two weeks later. His is an inspiring story that I hope to share in more detail in the future, but he was able to let the team know that his regional VA has asked him to represent the regional VA team at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Philadelphia. If he finishes well there, he can earn a place on the national VA team. That is such an amazing opportunity for such an inspirational guy.

At any rate, going to call it a day for now. Hope you all manage to stay warm out there.

 

So, it was a helluva week last week.

I not only killed it at the gym, I managed to wound Stubby as well.

See, on Thursday, I was actually running on the treadmill. It felt pretty good… the left ankle was barking a little, but that was the extent of my pain.

When I got home from work that night, well, I found that Stubby had a pretty substantial blister that had developed where there was a corn.

Cue frowny face.

I had Supportive Partner Woman (tender of my feet!) give it a Betadyne bath, then slept with my foot hanging off the bed, allowing it to air out. The next day I called my podiatrist and scheduled an appointment for this morning. He was impressed at how well it is healing and told me I could get out of the Boot of Shame. So I have that going for me. The bad news is that I’ll need to spend a week in it in early August. The doc wants to straighten the two remaining hammertoes on my left foot. Not something that I’m really looking forward to, but what can you do? This will hopefully prevent any more corns from forming.

In the other news, it’s time for a rant.

Got another letter from Evil Bitch Queen Wanda of our homeowner’s association. This time saying that we need to put down a “mulch” barrier to prevent damage to the siding from the lawn crew trimming.

My first thought was, “Seriously, this is the first you mention it after the lawn crew has had SIX YEARS to jack up the siding?

My second thought was a lot less charitable.

I posted about this on FB and one of my friends had the winning comment regarding the “mulch barrier.” She said, “Four foot bunker made of bags of mulch. Check.”

Amen.

So far we’ve established that the foot is healing nicely, me running isn’t pretty,and, oh, yeah, Wanda is an evil bitch.

Not bad for a day’s work.

So, on to the fun part of today’s post… Another fine inspirational story.

When I was in elementary school I had a very good friend named Mark. We played together pretty often and we kept in touch well through elementary and middle schools. At that time we went to different schools, and as frequently happens, we lost touch. Fast forward 20 years and we reconnected via Facebook. I’ve been very open about the health issues I have faced, and he had faced some similar issues. It’s been a long road for both of us, but he’s done some running and it inspired me to get in better shape. It’s kind of funny that I can find inspiration from someone I haven’t seen in over twenty years but still think the world of.

Thank you, Mark, for your friendship, inspiration, and also your donation to the Avon Walk. Every little bit counts.

Speaking of which, if you want to contribute, visit my personal fundraising page at

http://info.avonfoundation.org/goto/BrianT.

Have a great day, everyone~

Greetings to all!

I’m proud to report that I’ve discovered another way to get a workout.

Yard work in the heat.

It makes you sweat, but you still manage to make the yard look better. It’s a win/win! Speaking of yard work, many of you might remember the tale of Wanda, the evil bitch queen of our HOA. Got a missive from her complaining about weeds around our air conditioning unit.

Weeds we had already pulled.

Sigh.

So, I started on Thursday with my latest Xfinity run-in. This time, the internet was down. I called Comcast and talked to a rep who seemed to be less interested in solving the Mystery of the Missing Internet and more interested in getting me to subscribe to HBO, Skinemax and whatever other overpriced crap they can foist on you.

No, if I wanted to upgrade my package, I’d have called that department, or spoken to somebody regarding TV. All I wanted was the Internet to work. That’s all, folks. Also, when scheduling a repair appointment, don’t hold that appointment hostage to whether or not I want to buy a service protection plan. That’s kind of bush league, guys.

I also managed to hit the driving range twice this weekend. Saturday was far more entertaining. There was a guy in a bad toupee (I know, there is no such thing as a good toupee, so calling it a bad toupee is redundant. It was seriously heinous, though. If there were war crimes trials for bad hairpieces, this bad boy would be guilty of crimes against humanity.) all by his lonesome in a stall about four spots behind me. After every shot, he’d say (loudly), “Now that’s a golf shot!”

To himself.

My first thought was, “Well, no shit, Captain Obvious…. You’re hitting a golf ball with a golf club. Of course it’s a golf shot!”

My second thought was, “I can’t make this stuff up.”

Now, I finally got around to finishing the mulching. So I’m a little behind. My advice is to not spread mulch before you go to the gym to get in a strength training day. It tends to make things a little sore all around.

On to the meat of the post, though. It was a good day in that I got my first donation for the 5K. So, a huge thanks to Janet for breaking the shutout. Your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated. Anyone wanting to join Janet in backing my 5K bid can do so by visiting my Avon fundraising page.

We’re getting to a point of the year where it’s easy to backslide. It’s so hot and oppressive that it’s easy to not get your work in and stay in the air conditioning. If you really want to stay in the AC, go to your local mall to walk. Many malls have information about how far one lap of their building is for the walkers and it helps break the humidity. You’re still that much farther ahead of the guy on the couch.

I’m going to do better with my writing this week. I’ve slipped a little of late and I’m not happy about it. Hope you have a great week and stay comfortable. If you must be outside, remember to hydrate. It’s important.

Song of the Day: If I Had No Loot – Tony! Toni! Toné!

Many of you can recall me going on last week about Comcast and my phone and internet issues. I had theorized that the problem was due to the new cable modem and I would’ve been wrong. In a surprise move, that happens a lot.

See, after posting what I didn’t think was a negative post regarding Comcast, I got a comment from someone purporting to be from Comcast. Since we get plagued with a lot of spam (most of it in Russian!), I figured I’d do some due diligence before allowing the comment. Sure enough, a quick Google search showed that this person was either a) who she said she was, or b) had a lot of time on her hands to set up some giant spam operation to hijack my 55 Twitter followers. To make a long story short, they set up an appointment to get a rep out to check things over and see if they could locate the problem.

The tech came in the house, wearing booties so as not to dirty the carpet. He unplugged the line from the modem and ran some tests, detecting some strange readings to the signal strength. We said he wanted to check stuff out where the line comes into the house. About 5 minutes later, he came back and said, “I found it.”

What he found was that the lawn service contracted by the homeowner’s association (or unidentified rodent, but I prefer to blame the lawn service because they suck and probably giving Wanda kickbacks) had been a little overzealous in the trimming of the yard. The exposed core could account for all the issues we’ve been having, from the lack of dial tone to the modem dropouts, to the TV picture pixellating. I think I might need to invest in armor plate to put around the cable junction box. Sigh.

So, the moral of the story is that Comcast (at least here in Central PA) is not always the customer service beast that you read about online. Everyone I dealt with during this situation was helpful and very concerned that we were taken care of. I don’t think it has anything to do with this little blog… yes, it’s been viewed 6,000+ times, but I don’t have some ginormous following. I’m just a guy with some scribblings that some people read.

In other news, SPW (she of the ouchy back) has been kind of laid up all of yesterday and part of today. It was to the point that she could barely stay upright long enough to eat Chipotle. That’s serious. Got her pretty well drugged up last night and she slept and managed to take a shower without screaming in pain, so that’s a plus. Please keep her in your thoughts.

Song of the Day: Centerfield – John Fogerty
Currently Reading: The Covenant of Genesis – Andy McDermott

So, The Management and I spent some time working on the house today. I painted the trim on the porch and the garage, she planted the rest of her flowers and veg. The place really looks good… the fresh paint makes things look pretty clean, and the new flowers certainly add a nice touch of color. I usually leave the flowers and planting to The Management, as I don’t have much of a green thumb. I have more of a black thumb. Seems like any plant I touch withers and dies. I can kill kudzu.

I have a confession to make, though. I did something that our Homeowner’s Association would not approve of. Please don’t tell, but I painted with a different shade of white than specified by the by-laws. I did this because a real white pops more than the crappy off-white they want me to use. I also realized when replacing the fence two summers ago that the prescribed white didn’t match the approved fence post caps and it looked like crap. So I took matters into my own hands. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Responsibility for enforcing the bylaws of the association falls to Wanda, the property manager. Near as I can tell, her job involves taking kickbacks from the lawn “service”, hassling people who shouldn’t be hassled, and not hassling those that should. Case in point. If you look to the left of the garage door, you’ll see a dwarf Alberta spruce. That’s a replacement for the shrub that was there when we moved in. See, the shrub was really nasty looking, but over the course of our first year, I spent hours reshaping and trimming the shrub to make it look presentable.

One fine day, after spending about an hour  on the shrub and really being happy with it, I walked up to the mailbox and found a letter from Wanda informing us that said shrub was in violation of the bylaw that requires on-property foliage to be under six feet. Our shrub was around seven feet. As I read this, I could feel pure and simple rage starting to boil in my veins. I looked around to other houses, seeing many with shrubs much taller than I. I lost it. The Management will tell you that she never saw me as angry as I was that day. I immediately went and lopped off around a foot and a half to the shrub, and apparently I was not the only one to receive a similar letter. As you drove up the street, you could see many flat-topped shrubs. I soon grew tired of how bad it looked and went to purchase the little spruce that you see now.

The Management and I cut down the old one (she let me get a reciprocating saw… SCORE!) and replaced it with the new shrub, measuring much shorter. Imagine my surprise when we received ANOTHER letter from Wanda telling us our shrub was exceeding the six foot height limit… showing here.

Taller than six feet? In what measuring system?

Soooo, I promptly fired off a letter to Wanda informing her that while I appreciated her dedication to enforcing the bylaws, perhaps a lesson in reading a tape measure might be in order. As expected, she was less than enthused and fired back with yet another pointless criticism about a crack in the sidewalk. Sigh. This was not the first criticism, nor will it be the last. There was the time when we moved in that we were told we needed to replace all the outdoor light fixtures because they were pitted and the brass finish was corroding. Never mind that the entire unit of townhouses across the street have nasty outside lights, including two that recently changed hands. We were told we needed to replace the deck, which I would’ve done anyway. We opted to replace it with a composite material and when we submitted the proposal to them, cited the other home in our development with a similar coloration and style, we were asked to provide more detail regarding color and style, because I guess looking out the window presented a challenge. When we opted to replaced the dry-rotting French door on the patio with a sliding door, they wanted pictures. The door was being custom-made for us, so I just took a picture of my neighbor’s sliding door and the apparently was enough. So when the time came to replace the screen door, I didn’t even submit plans. Makes me even more of a rebel, I know.

I should add that the previous owner could charitably be described as filthy. I have many other names for him, but he didn’t leave us a lot to work with. I consider it to be a small miracle that we’ve gotten the place in the shape that it is.

So, the point of the story is that when you have an evil, vindictive witch as a property manager, beware because she will become the bane of your existence. My only advice is to avoid all HOAs, if possible, The idea that you don’t have to mow your grass or shovel your snow* is nice, on the surface. When you realize what a piss poor job they do on the mowing (and they will mow your flowerbeds for free!) you start to wonder if it’s worth it. Granted, you still have to pay your association dues whether they cut your grass or not.

I do wonder, though, if Wanda would mind if we replaced the lilac in the front flowerbed with something more festive…

Moo!

*   They only shovel if it’s more than 3″… otherwise you’re on your own. And God forbid you need to get to work in the morning. You’ll be shoveling yourself out.