Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Sandy earns her name: 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

Steffen and Melissa's wedding hit all the right notes and all 'round tear ducts were in full pump mode.  I decided to drive to NYC with Mom, Allie and Shawn to see them off and, apparently, drive them to the airport, as well as catch up with some curly-locked Shinerocks.  After some mighty delectable Maker's Mark whiskey hot chocolate, I crashed at Sol's place in Brooklyn and left in the morning so that I would be cutting it close, because where's the fun if there isn't a little risk and danger?  Except, as I was getting ready to leave, I forgot that I had to go all the way up town, not just cross the water into Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights.  So I scrambled my stuff together and started hobbling toward the station as fast as my cane abled body would move, downloading the NYC Subway app on my way, since iOS6 no longer has directions via public transport built in.  The express (Green line number 5) to Manhattan turned out to have some issues, though, and the PA comes on alerting all the passengers that it will be suspended for an indefinite amount of time forcing me to hoof it several blocks to the Red express line (number 3) to the upper west side.  I exit the station to see the Freedom Tower rising directly in front of me.  My backpack is kinda heavy and the cane supported hobbling is severely hampered by the added weight to my otherwise light frame.  I'm underground again and hear the train coming to a stop some distance away and so am racing down the stairs against a sea of exit-passengers.  One man is headed toward me (I'm on the right side holding onto the right railing) so he's coming up on his left.  I see he has no intention of getting out of my way and doesn't budge when I bark at him something to the effect "hey, dude, clearly I'm in some kind of rush here and I'm not exactly fit, so move".  I think I actually said "Excuse me!"  Damn New Yorkers, think they can just bully and hustle their way through a quasy-nimble cripple.

As I hit the landing the doors to the stopped train are still open.  I amble over as fast as I can but they shut just as I approach them.  Man, I've put in way too much effort to come this close only for the train to leave without me.  I press my hands against the windows of the door and ... pull it open, somewhat to my surprise and pleasure.  I jostle my way inside, ungainly, and hurriedly plop myself down in the first available seat, anxious to rest.   I find myself seated among three very attractive young, professional ladies, two across from me and one next to me.  They are completely non-plussed.  

As the train is moving along I'm thinking if there is anything I might want to just double check.  I look at the map--yep, red 3 line is express to Upper West Side.  Nothing I need to double check with other passengers.  All's good.  A couple stops later, the lovelies leave and I hear the station announcement "Fulton" or "Wall St." Wait.. am I even going in the right direction?  I ask the guy now to my left what direction this train is headed and he says downtown.  AWWWWWWWSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMM!

In a quasi-panic I rush out of the train and head up the stairs, trying to figure out where I need to go to get the uptown train.  I ask another guy at the top of the stairs and he directs me back down the stairs I just came up.  Oh, look, there are two tracks running parallel to each other.  One goes UP TOWN and the other DOWN.  Novel, isn't it?

I get off the train around 10:10am at Broadway and W 86th St, two long blocks to Vinny's apartment.  I text Allie if they can drive the car to me, as I'm feeling like a battered old man.  "We haven't gotten dressed yet so come up to the apartment."  Ever since Steffen aptly tagged the absurdity of air travel with the line "hurry up and wait" I can't help but smile.

On the way down to NYC, we stopped by Mike and Becky's in Beacon where we received a warm welcome as always.

Becky graciously treated us to lunch where I masterfully removed my entire entree from my plate to my mouth with chopsticks.  Definitely a first.  And, yes, it included a full bowl of rice.

Their addition is coming along famously:

Michael Zelehoski is an artist.  His latest tool is not a paintbrush or a stencil, or a even a chisel.  It's a giant, 2500 pound table saw.

"this is the mother of all table saws, pretty much."

It's an Alendorf F45, yo and Jesse Pinkman's got nothing on this bitch.

Later we climbed a tower but there was something not quite right about the chocolate brownies we had eaten earlier that Becky had made us and the tower started to become distorted: 

No, I'm just kidding.  This is one of Michael's art pieces.  Don't ask me how he produces with that giant, crude machine such carefully crafted pieces as this; that's just the genius that is Michael Zelehoski.

If you want to see more of his work, type his name into a google image search.

On the way back from NYC mom and I took the scenic root.  Peekskill is a cute little town with some seriously steep streets:

Some beautiful houses on the river:

The Hudson:

I leave you with a song:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Retiring the walker

Went to an orthopedist today and got more X-rays.  They said probable fracture in the rightest most bone in the middle of the right side of my right foot (I think where the "bunionette" is in the below image).

I got a prescription for an orthopedic boot which I was fitted with today.  It supports my foot marvelously!  It's really great.  So now I can hobble around without my foot getting fatigued so quickly.  I've spent the last two weeks lying on the couch, but now I will be using crutches to hobble around as the palms of my hands have healed and the orthopedic boot provides so much support.  Still, I'm looking at 2 to 3 months before I'm jumping up and down again.  So probably 6 or 7 weeks before I'll be riding a bike again.

It was nice to be out in the world again after being cooped up for so long.  I did a half-assed job shaving yesterday after finally taking a shower on a stool.  I didn't use a mirror because I shaved in the shower and so went out in the world today looking a little scruffy.

All in all, it was a great day and I'm happy to be beyond the stage of my foot being ultra-sensitive all the time.

UPDATE: The orthopedic boot is so effective I was able to drive my car around the block.  The fan on the car seized tho from sitting for two weeks.  Never let your car sit for a prolonged period of time without running it.  Especially if it's an older car.  The older the car, the shorter the time intervals between running it need to be.  Last year my boss' car's alternator seized after sitting for 6 weeks without being run.  The consequence of driving the car with a seized alternator was that the engine overheated leaving me stranded and having to call AAA.  So get someone to run your car every few days for 1/2 an hour if you are going away!

Back to the efficacy of the orthopedic boot.  I lost my balance hopping down a couple steps and fell backward (I'm still getting used to the crutches).  I was careful not to use my bad foot to prevent the fall, and so landed on my hip with the healing road burn (a trade off I was happy to make).  My foot didn't even feel a thing.  Got up and hobbled on my merry way.  

My cousin Amira needed to be picked up in town so I figured even though my foot is a bit weak I'd be extra careful and drive true blue.  I recognized that since it was dusk it would be even more dangerous to be driving, so I drove slow:

Thursday, August 09, 2012

New Olympic Sport: Somersaulting Over Deer on Bicycle.

     I got a late start to my bike ride.  Made the too often mistake of eating too much before the ride: this time a smoothie made with banana, a little milk, some yogurt and half an avocado.  The route was over catamount on route 23, left onto scenic Breezy Hill road and then up and over bash bish falls via route 344.  At the top of breezy hill I had to take a short break due to trying to digest the smoothie (mostly the yogurt). Had a leisurely approach to Bash Bish and a leisurely ascent until the steep part, where there is no option for taking it easy anymore.  I was feeling good enough to power through to the top of the first part and keep going, but then I decided to take another break, not really wanting to get sick on the ride.  The point is, I was going slower than I was planning to go, so by the time I got to the top of the hill, the wildlife was out (mostly birds and squirrels), it was getting dark, and I recognized that dusk is the most dangerous time to ride.

     Nevertheless when a car came up from behind me as I was approaching the field and last summit before it is all down hill I thought I'd "race" the car.  The car never passed me and I was going at a good pace down the hill when I see a deer chilling on the side of the road.  It didn't look very big so I wasn't too concerned about it.  I pointed it out so the driver behind me could see it.  I kept my eye on the deer the whole time and then it darted out into the road.  Not really sure what went through my mind at that point.  It certainly wasn't panic or even fear or anything like that.  More like, do I really have to slow down for this stupid deer?  Fugg it, (also, not sure slowing down is a good idea when you have a car behind you?) I kept at my pace of about 35mph.  Well, the next few seconds sort of played out like a movie.  Hope I miss the deer, oh.. looks like the deer might actually be on target for us to collide, ... nah cyclists don't hit deer for crying out loud, right? ... then again, this situation doesn't seem to be improving ... all the while it doesn't really feel like there is much I can do as it is all happening so fast.

    It wasn't until the last split second when I was right on the deer that the reality of what was about to happen became ineluctable: "wow, I'm really gonna hit this frickin' deer".  A millisecond in time became a moment of lucid time-stop: "well, this might hurt".  I don't remember too much of the flying through the air part.  As I landed I was thinking "well, here's hoping I don't break my back, neck or head".  Feeling my shoulders and leg scrape on the asphalt, I was expecting the landing to feel like slamming into a brick wall .. or crashing into pavement .., but it was more of a .. "are you kidding me? That's it?  Where's the moment where everything is still fine to the sudden transition to a world of hurt?"  No such transition took place.  As my palms instinctively went out in front of me to stop me from sliding down the blacktop my mind was looking for cues to just how bad this was going to be.  I lay there for a second, feeling mostly fine.  Got up, checked for any signs of major injury, didn't feel any, although my right foot felt a little weak and tender.  Expecting to find large regions of red, pulpy road rash on my body, I was again surprised to find only minor (relatively speaking), small scrapes and bruises.  I hobbled to my bike a short distance down from me and quickly assessed the damage (mangled front wheel seemed to be the extent of it). I picked up my bike and lightly limped to the SUV that was now stopped just a short way from me.  I hope I'll still be able to ride tomorrow.

A lady got out and seemed pretty nonplussed, casually asking "are you okay?" and me replying, "yeah, I'm fine, thanks."  She graciously offered me a ride home which wasn't far and put my bike in the back of the SUV.

This morning, reflecting on the minimal injury (pretty much utter lack of any aches and pains), except for my foot which is probably sprained, but not broken, I've decided I must have landed while my right foot was still attached to the pedal, and thus the bike underneath me took the brunt of the impact.  Not really sure, though.  I should have asked the nice lady who had front row tickets to the show how I landed.  The left foot came free without any twisting or injury.

I forgot to ask her to score my somersault over the deer.  Maybe I'm being generous, but I'd give myself an 8.  Minimal injury and mostly symmetrical road rash (particularly on my palms, elbows and shoulders) indicate good form and landing, but I lose points for not sticking the landing and continuing riding.

Overnight my foot began to hurt a fair amount, leading me to believe I probably won't be riding inside of a week, a month, three months.  Ah, well, coulda been worse.