Archive for the ‘Stubby the Wonder Toe’ Category

Let’s flash back, shall we?

When Supportive Partner Woman (lover of gelato!) and I were dating, I once promised I’d take her to Italy. I finally made good on that promise… We arrived in Rome on Thursday and will be touring our way up and across the boot.

So far, it’s been a lot of what I remember… beautiful art, awesome food, insane drivers…

It’s also a spot where Stubby and Wayne have decided to get ornery. It’s already cost me part of the Colosseum tour. I’m hoping they don’t cost me much more, because this place rocks.

There was some drama before we left. Somehow, my credit card number wound up in the hands of someone in Illinois. No offense to the fine Illini, but I’ve never been to Illinois, other than stopping at O’Hare to change planes. I’ve certainly never been to a Home Depot in Illinois. Anyway, the card company was suspicious, denied the charge, contacted me and said they would be issuing a new card and would send it overnight.

Sure enough, they shipped it, but they opted for Federal Express (who need to change their tagline to “The Postal Service for a New Millennium). That’s when the hijinks ensued.

According to the tracking data, the new card went from Chesapeake, Virginia to Norfolk, then to Memphis, TN. Then, for whatever reason, it went to Dubai. As in the United Arab Emirates. When I called FedEx about it, the customer rep said, “Uh, I’m not sure why it’s there.”

Wow. And Chris Christie wants to track illegal aliens like FedEx packages?

Anyway, they put it on a plane to Paris, then back to Memphis, then on to Harrisburg, then to Lancaster, where it finally arrived on Monday. It’s about 325 miles to drive from Chesapeake to Lancaster. My package travelled some 17,000 miles. Ahh, progress. All I wanted was the frequent flier miles, but alas, FedEx does not give them.

Anyway, Wednesday afternoon saw us arriving at the economy parking lot at Philadelphia International Airport. I opted for PHL, not because of its stellar reputation, but because it was cheaper. Plus, I didn’t relish the thought of driving to JFK. We finally found a parking spot (no mean feat) and were treated to the most horrendous, kidney-bruising ride you could ever ask for. We were in a bus, which probably hadn’t had a working suspension in years, careening through airport property, just hanging on for dear life.

We finally made it to the terminal, checked our bags with the fine folks from British Airways, and approached security. The line was insane. As we were queueing up, a young man (who looked so much like Pharrell I expected him to put on a bad hat and start singing “Happy”) pointed out that the wait for security at Terminal A East was about two minutes. We said, “Why not?” walked over and were through in no time.

We got to the gate, and started boarding our plane. I’m an aviation geek and this was my first ever flight on the Boeing 777. We had seats in the World Traveler Plus section, which was pretty darn nice. Food was tasty (a shock for airplane food), the seats had some space, and there was plenty of IFE to keep us going.

747-400s at Heathrow with 777 taking off in the background.

747-400s at Heathrow with 777 taking off in the background.

Landed in Heathrow (which is kind of like O’Hare, except it’s British and polite – also I couldn’t detect the usual O’Hare odor of hopelessness and desperation) and was treated to a view you never get in Philly. A row of 747s just waiting at Terminal 5-B. I know the A380 is larger, but the 747 is still the Queen of the Skies.

Cleared UK security (memo to SPW… only one bag of liquids allowed) and headed off to Rome. Couldn’t see much from the air due to the distance of Fiumicino from the city, and also the direction of travel. We cleared passport control and were met by an Adventures by Disney representative who escorted us to baggage claim and waited as we reclaimed our bags. The rep escorted us to a parking structure and left us in the capable hands of a Mario Andretti wannabe. After three near-death experiences, we made it to the hotel.

It’s a beautiful hotel… rooms are a tad smaller than I am used to, but it’s Europe.

We did a city tour yesterday… I maintain it’s not the walking that kills the feet, but the standing. We did a lot of that because there was a biblical rainstorm as we got to the Colosseum. The tour was supposed to include access to the underground levels as well as the third level. Due to the storm, the Italian authorities (rightfully) opted to close the areas off. We finally got to the main levels, took some pictures, then they were about to whisk us off to the Forum. By this time, the feet were starting to protest and I had an inkling as to what to expect, so I opted to head back to the hotel.

Colosseum

Colosseum

Big mistake… the folks who remained were able to run back to the Colosseum and get to tour the underground portion. Granted the run back would’ve probably killed me, but the chance to see that is rare.

rigatoniI’d also like to add that the food has been amazing so far. The first dish I had was a rigatoni in a light tomato sauce with very tasty bacon. Seriously smack your grandma good. The bad thing (or good thing) is that I’ll never want to eat Olive Garden again.

So, today we will be touring the Vatican. Maybe I should pray for less foot problems. Either way, it’s going to be awesome and I already have a foot doctor appointment for when we get back.

Ciao!

In the last story, I was telling the tale of my poor car, which had suffered damage at the hands of Spider-Man (or, as I like to call him, Brad). The tale continues…

So, I went to the body shop that Supportive Partner Woman and I used when Mario the Super Honda was accosted by the snowplow when SPW was working up in Teh Jerz. They hemmed and hawed and came up with a figure of $1,718 to get my ride back in presentable condition. (Note: Only $43.75 of that number was for parts.) The body shop guy seemed rueful as he said it was probably more than the value of my ride (which is 15 years old and kind of tired).

My poor car

My poor car

I contacted the claims representative, gave her the estimate and she said that I could have a field adjuster come out, look things over and we could go from there.

Monday morning, bright and early, the adjuster showed up. He took pictures, asked me what I wanted to do, and asked me to give him a few minutes. He came back with a figure near to what the body shop estimated, shook my hand, told me I’d be getting a check, and went on his way.

I got the check the very next day.

The. Very. Next. Day.

I can’t argue with the service I’ve gotten from Spidey’s insurance company. They’ve been prompt, courteous and professional. If I have need to change insurance companies in the future, I will certainly talk to Erie.

Now my debate goes on… do I take the car in to get fixed or do we use the cash toward some other things?

In other news, I’ve been to see the wound care specialist about my continuing issues with Wayne. They seem to think that the problem is caused by my toe tending to point downward, putting all sorts of pressure on the tip of the toe (where it blisters). The solution is to wear the Boot of Shame for awhile, then once it heals, have a procedure to fuse one of the toe joints, eliminating the tendency to curl under and hopefully stopping the blistering. I know I’d be happy to put the Boot of Shame out to pasture. Of course, before I dug the Boot out of the closet, I finished my Revenge of the 5th 5K (part of the Nerd Herd Virtual Race Trilogy). I did it on the elliptical in a time of 20:22, which makes me pretty happy. Hope I’ll be whole for the next leg! (See what I did there?)

I’ll keep y’all posted.

Hope you have a great day!

Song of the Day: Us and Them (Live) – Pink Floyd
Currently Reading: Natchez Burning – Greg Iles

I’m pleased to report that the six day period of hell has come to a close.

This started last Saturday when we buried my cousin Bill, who had passed away a few weeks beforehand. I had written about the sense of loss I felt at that time, but we finally got his ashes to their final resting place. We followed up with a family brunch at the Exeter Family Restaurant , which was underwhelming to say the least, then Supportive Partner Woman and I made tracks back to cow country. The following day, my mom came up so I could do her taxes. We then took her for her first ever visit to Wegman’s.

She was a bit overwhelmed.

She called when she got home to let us know she was safe, then a few minutes later, the phone rang again to let us know that Aunt Marie had passed away on Saturday night.

(thump)

The other shoe had dropped.

That funeral was this past Friday… bookending a six day stretch that was crappy, to say the least. This week was also filled with too many work obligations, not enough sleep, and not enough fresh air.

All it proves is that life is too damn short.

In the good news department, though, I did manage to construct a solidly-built ramp for my in-law’s home so my mother-in-law can get out to the family room. It was a chance to use power tools (which I’m always in favor of), and a chance to bitch about cheap Chinese-made wood screws. I might have something there… there’s NO reason an 18v cordless drill should be able to torque the head right off the screw. This happened twice. Not happy, but what can you do? I also opted to build a computer stand for the iMac, freeing up space underneath for the external hard drive and the Time Machine.

I also got some good exercise in. My group meeting took place with the exercise physiologist and he had us doing circuits. I was doing OK, but the mountain climbers really hurt on Saturday. The part that made me feel pretty good was the running in place… I was able to go 45 seconds without too much effort. This leads me to believe that I can do some intervals during the Troegtoberfest race and not be dead last. Woot!

I’ve also come to a conclusion that I’m going to go see a wound care specialist about Stubby and Wayne. These things are healing, but it seems the podiatrist doesn’t have a clue on how to make it more permanent (and faster). If I have to go back in the boot for awhile, so be it… if it really helps, I’m all for it.

So, I’m calling it a night. Hope that you all have a very happy Easter (Passover, etc.) and I’ll catch you in a few days.

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.

 

The morning, I completed my first ever 5K.

I know… it’s hard to believe.

Mr. “I only run if chased” actually did it and even ran a bit of it.

I’ve been wanting to do this and working toward it for so long that I didn’t think I could get too emotional afterward. Then I reached that point where I just overfilled with emotion and starting crying. Tears of pain, relief, and joy. What a combo.

See, in a surprise move, the dastardly tag team of Wayne and Stubby have been acting up.  I mean, why wouldn’t they? I’m in my supposed happy place and I would have no desire to not have to wrap my toes like an Egyptian mummy, right? So, as late as Tuesday night, I was thinking about bailing on the whole thing. Then it really struck me just how much it meant for me to do it. Then yesterday, we hit the expo. Things really started to click at that point. We met up with our friends from Colorado at the expo and braved the chaos. I never saw anything quite like that. Just a sea of people milling around the Wide World of Sports complex. It was pretty freakin cool. I also met some other folks from the team and to have strangers telling me how proud they were that I was doing this started pushing me toward the happy scale.

I didn’t want to let my teammates down.

Team All Ears and friends before the start of the 5K

Team All Ears and friends before the start of the 5K.
Photo courtesy of Tom Troost

So, at 5:30 this morning, Supportive Partner Woman (5K finisher!) and I were at the team photo.

See? Lots of people

See? Lots of people

Then the waiting begins, because, as it turns out, there are a LOT of people doing this race. We were, of course, in corral E, which was the last one. Thankfully, a lot of my teammates stayed with us and walked along. I wasn’t planning on running, you see, due to my issues with Wayne and Stubby.

As we plodded along, the rains came. Not a heavy rain, but one that was starting to dampen my spirits. My inner Debbie Downer started to gnaw at me and I fumed to myself, thinking, “Well isn’t THIS just ^@$## perfect?”

I kept a smile, but that voice kept yelling at me, “What were you THINKING, you dumbass?”

Still we plodded along.

Then something magical happened. We came across a single team member standing by the International Gateway and she was just screaming for me. That’s what started my inner bitch-slapping of my inner Debbie Downer. (Big thanks to Laura Ozo!)

I realized I only had another mile to go. My pace started to pick up… the heavy feeling in my legs started to dissipate… We came around Spaceship Earth and hit the three mile mark. I saw a group of teammates and I started to hear them cheering for me. Just then, that huge lump of self-doubt flew out of me. I looked at Mike and Brad and said, “I got this.”

Then I ran.

Lumbered, really, but is that really a bad thing?

Getting a medla and hug from Lori was a great ending to an amazing morning.

Getting a medal and hug from Lori was a great ending to an amazing morning.

I crossed that finish line in stride to be greeted by a dear friend who was volunteering with a big hug and my first-ever medal.

See, they may say that running events are a solo thing. Maybe they are, but in my case, my team made me able to run.

This was followed up with congrats and pictures and a tasty brunch. Supportive Partner Woman went off to the parks, I came back to the room to write and to rest the toes.

This little bit of time has allowed me to reflect on what has happened to me today. Oh, and also to start thinking of how I’ll handle a back to back 5K and 10K next year. Because runDisney has its hooks into me now. I want that feeling again.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few people who have really helped me. First off would be our team founder, Deb Wills, and our team captains, Mike Scopa and Michelle Scribner-MacLean. Also, my friends Melanie and Bryan for putting the bug in my ear and just generally being awesome. Brad Garfinkel for being a friend and pushing me to do better. Rich Gairing, for being a great mentor and just an all-around awesome human being. It also goes without saying that the rest of my team gets credit. They are all rock stars and it would take too long to list every one of them individually.

I also wanted to thank the Nerds for a great virtual series. These folks have been so supportive as well (and yes, there’s a lot of cross-pollination) .

A "We did it" selfie

A “We did it” selfie

The real rock, though, is Supportive Partner Woman. She thinks I deserve all this credit, but the fact is that it is due to her support and encouragement that I was there at all today. I was truly blessed to have her in my life.

So, the rest of the weekend will be taken up by cheering for my teammates as they finish the other races. I hope that I can give them the same lift that they gave me. There’s also the other event coming up… the big reveal of this year’s fundraising total. That becomes available on Saturday and I will be sure to keep you updated.

After that, well, there’s the brand new Mickey Milers team, an offshoot of the Mickey Miles podcast. This will help to fill the void of Team AllEars. I’m already signed up and I’m sure I’ll be begging for donations to help Give Kids the World before too long.

Until that time, keep on moving.

I figured I should warn y’all that this post will have a picture of a foot. So, if you’re foot-averse, be warned.

So, it’s Monday. That usually means the weekend is done and it’s time to get back to work. Sadly, it’s the beginning of November, and for the big cheeses at the soulless corporation I work for, this means a chance to compel us lowly worker bees to work overtime.

I have a love/hate relationship with overtime.

The paychecks are nice. VERY nice. But you wonder if the headaches are worth it. Being ordered around by people who like to THINK they are supervisors is always a drag, as is actually starting at paperwork for extra hours. The seem to think it’s life or death, but the fact of the matter is that what we do doesn’t really have a huge impact on the safety and well-being of the majority of people in the US.

Enough about that, though.

The Boo to Cancer 5K medal

The Boo to Cancer 5K medal

I signed up for and completed another virtual 5K this past week. A friend and teammate had put together the Boo to Cancer Virtual 5K to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I did things a little differently, opting to cover the distance on the elliptical, since it was my second day out of the boot and I didn’t know how the foot would behave with full-length toes for the first time in years. I managed to get the 3.1 miles done in 21:16, which was pretty cool for me.

Chickie's Rock anticline

Chickie’s Rock anticline

I also managed to get up to the Chickie’s Rock Overlook again last week. I was hoping for more of a foliage change, but I think I beat that by a few days. I did manage to get a slightly different view, as it was pretty deserted and a lot of the leaves had fallen. One of the highlights was looking at the exposed rock face. I’m not sure what the exact geological composition of the rock is, but it’s enough to make you contemplate just how insignificant humanity’s time on the Earth has been. Knowing that this anticline has been eroded through over millennia by flowing water, and that erosion will continue for millennia after we’re gone. Really puts things in perspective.

The freshly straightened toes (with Stubby to the left)

The freshly straightened toes (with Stubby to the left)

Speaking of the foot, I’m attaching a picture where the toes are not all bandaged up. The toes are nice and straight and it was really weird, actually feeling the texture of a sock with the bottom of my toes. They had been curled for so long, I didn’t really remember the sensation.

So, that’s pretty much what’s happening here in cow country. I would like to give a shoutout to my friend Brad who not only completed the NYC marathon on Sunday, but did it while enjoying himself AND followed up by getting interviewed on GMA. Way to go, Brad!

One other note. I’ve been talking about my Team AllEars fundraising. I’m pleased to announce that due to an unusually generous corporate match, my fundraising total has eclipsed $1,000. This is more than double my original goal. I have to give thanks to everyone who has contributed, and if you haven’t, there’s still time. Feel free to donate here… any amount $5.00 or greater is most appreciated.

I’d also like to take a moment to offer belated birthday wishes to the lovely and gracious Supportive Partner Woman. She had a birthday on Halloween and we’ve now entered the four months of the year when I can get away with busting on her for being older than me. I should also mention that the day prior to her birthday we celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary, which, I think, is the Styrofoam anniversary. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve made it this long and the good days far outnumber the bad days. Some days that’s all you can ask for. I will note that I love her more today than I did on our wedding day.

That’s really saying something.

Haven’t written anything in a few weeks. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been incredibly busy doing something worthwhile.

It’s not that.

I just haven’t really felt inspired.

Truth is, I haven’t really been feeling that much like myself.

So, I thought I’d start writing and see where it leads me.

The post-op toes. Stubby is on the left.

The post-op toes. Stubby is on the left.

I’m currently back in the Boot of Shame. I had a small procedure on Monday morning that straightened three toes on my right foot. It’s the same one I had on my left foot earlier in the year. It’s kind of a pain, but it’ll be for the better. The downside is that it’s really hard to walk while wearing the Boot of Shame, so no training for Brian this week. At least it’s not a long time in the boot. I should note that the reddish discoloration on my foot is a result of the prep Betadyne scrub. I can’t get it wet for a week, so it just needs to be discolored.

I know what’s causing most of my internal strife… it’s a job issue. I’m not going to go into any details here because there are coworkers who read this, but recent events have really torn me up and I know I need to get over it, but it’s so freakin hard to do. I guess after giving 13 years, countless hours of overtime, and training people, I feel a sense of betrayal. I guess it is what it is.

In the good news department, my Avon fundraising continues to go well. I actually upped my goal to $1,000.00. Currently I’m at $811.00, so I could really use some help to get there. The link to my page is located right here and any contribution, whether it be $5.00 or $50.00, is welcome. Now, many folks in the community have brought up the point that breast cancer hasn’t impacted them directly… they’ve been much more impacted by skin cancer or colon cancer, etc. To that end, they are right, but what if a breakthrough in breast cancer can be adapted to other forms of cancer? After all, scientists and researchers do talk and share information. What if that new chemotherapy for breast cancer works equally well on colon cancer? It’s all worthwhile… and for a great cause.

Thanks for reading… I hope to have some foliage pictures from the overlook as soon as I’m out of the Boot of Shame. Until that time, be well.