Archive for the ‘Wayne’ 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!

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’ve noticed something over the four years I’ve been doing this blog… whenever I let the blogging lapse, the weight creeps back on. Curious cause and effect, but it bears looking into.

I had a visit with Dr. McPhee today. He challenged me to avoid all processed carbs for a month and see what happens. I was expressing my discontent at the fact I’m pretty much sedentary due to the foot issues and he says he has patients that have found success with this approach. It’ll be  a challenge, since I do like my pasta and crunchy snacks. He managed to ease the blow by saying I could have some corn and potatoes. Not tons, but it’s a start.

I immediately enlisted Supportive Partner Woman (fellow lover of carby goodness!) who agreed to go in, just not right away, because we have a LOT of that stuff in the house and it seems a shame to throw it away. I can respect that… food is expensive, after all. I did start today and made a very yummy lunch… cedar plank roasted Copper River salmon with an ear of fresh, quasi-local sweet corn and some steamed broccoli. I was amazed at just how much protein is in the salmon… MyFitnessPal calculated 26.2 grams in a portion slightly less than 4 oz. That’s some serious protein.

I added something to the kitchen arsenal this week, as well. I finally got a food grinder attachment for the KitchenAid mixer. This thing is AWESOME! I took a nice sirloin, ran it through the grinder and made some caramelized sweet onion burgers for the grill. The meat was probably a little too lean for the purpose, as the burgers were a little dry, but the taste was spot-on. I’m looking forward to grinding my own turkey, since the stuff you get at the store is kind of nasty. I think it will make for excellent turkey meatloaf and turkey burgers, not to mention it can be cheaper to buy the whole piece and grind it yourself. Woot!

Other than that, there’s not too much going on. I find myself getting sad when I drive by the trailheads because on some of these lovely days we’ve been having, it would be nice to go out and take a walk/run/wog. Alas, thanks to Wayne being obstinate, no dice.

This pretty much sums up my feelings on soccer

This pretty much sums up my feelings on soccer.

In other news, many folks around the world are watching the World Cup. I realize I’ll take some heat for saying this, but I just don’t get it. I mean I respect the athleticism and skill, and I respect the fact that a lot of people love the game, but, on the whole, I’d rather watch hockey or baseball. I know, you people are saying, “You like baseball and you’re bored by soccer?” My usual response is to say that there aren’t many other sports where you can fail 70% of the time and be considered one of the greats.

At any rate, that’s going to do it for this post. Expect to see more in the coming weeks as I rededicate myself. I’ll also let you know how things go with the no processed carbs challenge.

Now where can I find some meat?

So, it’s nine days following the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes. Supportive Partner Woman and I were in attendance, along with 14 of our closest friends and family members, to see if California Chrome could add the second leg of the Triple Crown to his resume.

It would be so easy to jump to race #12 (the main event) and not talk about the entire weekend. Luckily for you, I don’t take the easy route. We make an entire weekend of it.

So, Friday, SPW and I loaded up Mario the Super Honda and headed to South Jersey for the annual pre-Preakness feasting at my sister-in-law’s home. The SIL made a perfectly delicious beef tenderloin roast and there was much mirth and merriment. Various folks stopped by to join in the festivities, but eventually we all hit the rack for some much-needed shuteye. See, it’s a looooong day.

We shoved off about 7:30 AM, headed for Pimlico. For those of you not familiar with Baltimore, Pimlico is not located in what you would call an attractive section of the city. Poverty abounds and the storefronts that are not vacant are occupied by check cashing joints, chicken & trout stands, and the occasional bail bonds establishments.  Preakness is the one time of year it’s pretty safe to go there, as it seems that the entirety of the Baltimore Police Department is deployed in and around the track. It’s also probably the best time to commit a crime on the other end of town (not that I am advocating illegality). Just sayin’.

That being said, it’s an amazing sight to see that decrepit old track filled to the rafters.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was that SPW came home with a pair of high end tickets that belonged to her boss who was not going to the race. These seats were choice… pretty much overlooking the finish line and away from the cigar smokers behind our regular seats  (I don’t have an issue with cigar smoking, but there were quite possibly the nastiest smelling cigars I’ve encountered. No lie… they smelled like burning dogshit). We still opted to spend most of the day on the rail, but we went upstairs for the main event.

California Chrome leads Ride On Curlin' down the stretch

California Chrome leads Ride On Curlin’ down the stretch

Not the best video, but not too bad in the grand scheme of things. I did manage to capture a pretty good still frame of the leaders down the stretch.

All in all, it was a fun day. Very tiring.

The feasting aspect went better this year, though, as my gut isn’t nearly as sensitive as it was last year. I also didn’t overdo it, so there was no issues of malabsorption. The arts and crafts were successful as well. It’s kind of funny when you have a group of 40-60 year olds smuggling booze into a venue like a bunch of teenagers at a Hoobastank concert. Speaking of concerts, though, the infield entertainment for 2014 included Nas and Lorde. In my humble opinion, the quality of infield concerts has generally declined since the first year they were done (ZZ Top), although this year’s crop was better than Pitbull. At the current rate, I expect next year’s acts to include Nickelback.

In other news, my foot is healing at a somewhat steady pace. It’s certainly looking better than it was, but it’s still not fast enough for me. I think I need to talk to the doc and see if there’s something they can do to splint the toe so it doesn’t continue to put pressure on the wound. I’m thinking duct tape or a big hose clamp. I somehow doubt that will meet medical approval.

At any rate, that’s all I have for right now. We have the dreaded yard sale coming up on Saturday, so hopefully I’ll have good stories to tell.

See you on the other side.

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

So, after working until 2AM, I staggered home and pretty much collapsed into bed. Supportive Partner Woman (Sleeper of extraordinary soundness!) didn’t even stir and I was sleeping the sleep of the dead (or the truly exhausted).

SPW’s alarm went off and I staggered downstairs to pack her a lunch and make my own breakfast. I was folding some laundry when I heard an insistent knocking at the door. I opened it, fully expecting to find some overzealous proselytizing religious fanatics.

Instead, I found Brad.*

Brad is my neighbor. I didn’t know his name, but I did know him from his kids selling subs for scouting. Brad was wearing a somewhat sheepish grin. I lowered the screen and the exchange went something like this:

Brad; Howdy, neighbor!

Me: Um, hi?

Brad:  Is that your green car?

Me: Yes.

Brad; I was taking my daughter to school and got freaked out by a spider on the windshield, and, well, I kind of sideswiped your car.

Me:

Brad: I’m really sorry. We can exchange information.

Me:

Brad: It’s still drivable.

Me:

Brad: Looks like the mirror, primarily

Me: Ummmm, you hit my car?

This does not bode well for my day. It could be worse… the car is drivable and a little superglue will set the mirror enough to keep it from flapping in the breeze. Plus, Brad’s insurance company already called. They will even provide a rental while mine’s in the shop. The damage is to the driver’s door, left front fender and the mirror.

I was a little pissed, but I’ve calmed down. After all, while he didn’t stop immediately (he took his daughter to school), he stopped on his way back and took responsibility. I can appreciate that.

I only hope this isn’t an omen.

In other news, I finally bit the bullet and booked an appointment to see the wound care specialists regarding Wayne. My podiatrist and I are both hopeful they have some magic up their sleeves so we can get Wayne healed up and maybe get a good blister prevention plan in place. I’ve been doing some research and I’ve found a few products that look like they might be promising. This whole blister saga has me second guessing my 10K plans for January. If a 5K tore it up this much, what will a 10K do to me? It’s a question for my medical team. Although, as my co-captain Michelle has told me, “You tell them what you want to do and let them figure out how to make it work.”

Sounds like good advice.

* Name changed to protect the innocent and arachnophobic

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.