Showing posts with label daily life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label daily life. Show all posts

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Make way for 5k race day the Illinois way

Last winter I got back on the (relatively) hardcore running horse after a difficult several months of agonizing paint and stiffness directly resulting from a surprisingly horrific tumble I took in February of 2010. The full details of that fall, by the way, are in another story I am long overdue in posting here, but one thing at a time. The fall wrenched my neck at a grisly angle, completely destroying what little poor spinal alignment I had left. At the time, I was more focused on the head injury, and it wasn't until months later that I realized just how badly it had thrown the rest of my body out of whack. Late in the summer, I tried to start running, taking baby steps by starting with the treadmill. It was impossible to make much progress, however, as I would run barely a mile before my legs began to throb, and one of my hips clicked and popped like a music box with the tines broken off. I would walk as much as I could, but after about 20 minutes, I had to give in to the excruciating pain. After a decade of considering myself a runner, this was a frustrating feeling of defeat.

In September, I had picked up a couple of smaller projects leftover from the house remodel, including replacing the closet doors in the master bedroom. Instead of buying cheap, shitty doors at Home Depot, I was inspired by a website selling custom closet doors to build my own. More accurately, the fact that the website was charging about $1,500 per set of doors was an inspiration for me to say, "Fuck that, I can totally build those myself!" Defiantly, I bought the necessary tools and assembled the first set for about $160 in materials. Near the end, however, the constant kneeling, crouching, and bending over to work on the door frames took their toll on my already weakened back, and I completely threw it out while picking up a bolt of canvas. Seriously. My back was completely seized, and I was barely able to walk for a couple of days, forcing me to call in sick to work. Even when I was back on my feet, it took me nearly a week before I could move without pain or near misses in seizing it up anew. I was 34 and felt like I was 64.

When October rolled around, I took a long-planned trip to Chicago to visit Jen and Rich. Unfortunately a weekend of fun and relaxation turned into a slightly less fun weekend when on Saturday morning, I threw my back out even worse than before. My mistake this time? Bending over slightly to adjust the water temperature for the shower. There I was, as naked as a congressman's cock on Twitter, frozen in place by horrid pain. There were a few moments when I thought I was going to have to call poor Rich in to help me out. What he could have done, I don't know. Cry at the sight my hairy bent-over man ass and throw a blanket over me? "Best of luck, Jeremy. My only regret is that I only have this very loosely knit afghan and not a thick wool blanket or blackout curtain. You'll be ok if I turn the light off, won't you? No sense wasting electricity. Oh, and I'll close the door, too. The dogs have your scent, and it looks like you had a difficult time wiping. See you when I get home." Thankfully, it didn't come to that, and I was able to hobble around after a warm bath (incidentally, I now know that a warm bath or heating pad is NOT recommended in that situation - ice that shit down!)

On Sunday, I awoke around 6:30 am and attempted to get out of bed to use the bathroom across the hall. I was staying in the bedroom of Rich's son, who was out of town that weekend. Not helping my back situation was the fact that this bed had a rather poor mattress (which they have since replaced out of mercy for all involved, not the least of whom, Rich's son), and was on a frame that comes up to my ribcage. So I rolled over to get out of bed and threw my back out yet again. This time was a killer. I couldn't so much as roll over without my back completely seizing up or trembling in a manner that threatened to. I was stuck but good. Without exaggeration, I spent the next 45 minutes desperately, yet slowly and gingerly finding a way to maneuver myself out of that bed. Finally I had my feet hanging over the edge and had to bite the bullet and throw myself to the floor. Of course, my back seized up all over again, and it took me another 15 minutes to straighten up enough to hobble to the door. After using the bathroom, I spent the next hour pacing their living room, sitting, standing, stretching (if you could even call it that), and otherwise trying to work out the kinks so I could walk. An acquaintance of Rich who worked for Google had invited us to a tailgating party and the Bears vs Seahawks game at Soldier Field, and I was god damned if I was going to miss out on an opportunity like that (admittedly I was more excited about the prospect of seeing what kind of crazy-ass shindig Google threw than the game, and their giant RV full of booze did not disappoint). In the end, I was able to hobble my way through the rest of the day, but it was crystal clear to me that professional medical intervention was necessary.

For months, seeing me hobble around in various states of discomfort, my coworker Jameson had relentlessly tried to convince me to see his chiropractor. It wasn't that I didn't think it would help, I simply kept procrastinating in calling her. No more. The day after I returned from Chicago, I called and made an appointment. Dr. Nicole, as she goes by, was working temporarily out of a basement in a residential neighborhood in Burnsville. $40 a visit, cash, no insurance. Considering my damned office co-pay is $45, that was fine by me. Now the basement part might sound a little shady, but she came highly recommended, and it was clear from the start that she knew what she was doing. I limped pathetically to the first appointment with my right foot jutting away from my body at a right angle, my lower back sending quivering threats to seize up at any moment, and a neck that I could barely turn more than a few degrees. I filled out some paperwork, including a medical history and questionnaire about my symptoms, and she threw down a back cracky that straightened my leg and had me walking confidently, albeit still slowly and somewhat painfully, back to my car. Over the ensuing weeks and months, the adjustments continued, and I was soon running several miles at a time on the treadmill with no pain.

In February, Dr. Nicole and a partner opened up a practice in Eden Prairie, and I didn't blink an eye in making the trek over there to continue my appointments. Of particular interest, her new office also had a physical therapy area, and I was given a full range of exercises to build my core strength to help maintain my adjustments and reduce the chance of injuring my back again. This is where the real work started. No longer was I going in for a passive back cracky, I was in for a grueling addition to my normal workout routine that included dreadful lunges and crunches. But I continue with them because they clearly are doing the job.

In the spring, once it wasn't snowing in May anymore (what the fuck was that?!?), I started running outside, increasing my distance and pace, and decided to sign up with Jen for a 5k race in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. I had already been running 4 to 5 miles in a stretch, so I knew I could do it (5k is 3.1 miles), but to me the challenge was getting myself ready to run a set distance on a set course at a date and time set in stone. I had to be prepared, in shape, and rested ahead of time. Sure, it's no marathon, but I had never done anything like this before, so it was a bit of a daunting, but exciting prospect. So, this last Sunday, I awoke at 5:45 am in Chicago, rode in the car with Jen and Rich to Highland Park, and Jen and I ran the shit out of that race. We managed to average a 10:12 mile. Yes, it wasn't so many years ago that I could run 10 miles simply because I felt like it, but especially after a huge setback like my fall, I'm still proud as hell, and I don't feel like I pushed myself to the brink to do it. Next stop? 10k!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

U-turn fail

This poor guy found out the hard way that big rigs and muddy shoulders do not get along very well. We spotted this disaster on a frontage road along I-35 in Lakeville near the County Road 70 exit and decided to take a detour to document his shame -- I mean, the scene.



Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday encapsulated

Ladies and gentlemen, your tax dollars at work. This is a paraphrased email exchange with federal government contractor. Name-calling added solely to illustrate his consistently snide, prickish tone.

Me: [a week ago] I’m getting error XYZ [a completely undocumented error message]. Is it because of reason ABC? Can I get access to the test website so I can set things up to avoid this error?

Assclown: [this morning] You’re getting that error because of reason ABC. If you would read the documentation, you’d know that you need to log into the test website to set things up. Self-educate, fool!

Me: That’s exactly why I requested access to the test website. Can I get access to it?

Assclown: How do you expect to keep up with business rule changes if you don’t log into the test website, you baboon-titted pillock? Your userid is: [completely invalid, non-existent userid]

Me: *headdesk*

Friday, May 08, 2009

Afterglide charm school: how to lose friends and throw down the cluck

Inspired by Bunny's recent incorporation of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People into his life in an effort to be more charming, I have decided to do the exact opposite. I shall be a complete and unrepentant ass -- moreso. I will interrupt people in the denouement of their stories with skeptical questions. I will come to work in the morning, ask my coworkers how they are doing, and before they can finish their first sentence, wave my hands in front of my face and growl a disgusted status update of "Feign interest!" and walk away. Ang's attempts to initiate intimacy will be met with me immediately beating off and announcing, "No thanks, I'm done." And instead of a Mother's Day gift, my mom will open her local paper this weekend to find a planted fake obituary for me. So I hope you'll join me on this odyssey. I may not die alone, but dammit, folks'll wish I would.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Meanwhile at Buffalo Wild Wings

Coworker asking server about the minimum number of wings in an order: What denomination do those come in again?

Me: Catholic.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tiny miracles

Burger King girl: Would you like to donate a dollar to Children's Miracle Network?

Me: No. In fact, can I take a dollar away from them?

Burger King girl: [aghast silence]

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

One (almost) down

After discovering via my spare bedroom that there was hardwood flooring beneath my upstairs carpet, it was a very short road to having one room in my house nearly completed. I won't bore you with further details here (read my Flickr photo descriptions if you really want to). My one regret is that I was in such a state of excitement over the floor discovery, that I didn't take any before photos.

I have access to tons of photos of that room from my birthday party last year, but let's just say that none of them are suitable for sharing with the public. This is the one exception, courtesy Alie. In this shot Ranty models the giant tea doilies that had probably been hanging on those windows for 30 years. They go beautifully with the cheap plastic Wal-mart shade with the broken roller. And click on the photo for a nice few of the pastel textured paint job.



That's much better. Although I welcome Ranty to return to model the new wood blinds.





Monday, February 02, 2009

Adding character

The floor needs to be vacuumed, but this is my spare bedroom after a couple coats of new paint on the walls, some nice bright white paint on the door and window trim, and new base molding. I still need molding and paint in the closet, but that's about it. I'll take better photos when I get my camera (I left it at Ang's place).

In the meantime, compare the wall paint color to its previous technicolor, textured nightmare incarnation

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A home seller's jackpot

This is what I discovered lurking under my carpet earlier tonight. This cell photo doesn't do it justice, but I was too lazy to pull out the camera. I can't believe I've been walking centimeters from beautiful hardwood flooring for the entire 8 and a half years I've lived in this house. I checked, and it's in every room, except the kitchen and bathroom.

For now, I've only pulled out the carpet in the guest bedroom. I also yanked the staples here and there that held down the carpet padding, and pulled out the carpet tack strips and nails holding them down around the perimeter. I might put a little tinted wood putty into the nail holes, but other than that, it looks amazing. I'll leave the carpet alone in the other rooms until I finish the major heavy duty projects and painting in order to protect the floors. But god damn, son. If that isn't a major selling point, I don't know what is.

What prompted me to pull up the carpet, you ask? Uh, well... erm... I bought laminate flooring to install upstairs. The thought had crossed my mind, but I didn't even bother to check because who knew they'd put this kind of stuff in a suburban rambler built in 1968? I should have found three more progressively shaggier layers of carpet and a dead hippie under there, but I found this instead. Unfortunately, I can't return the laminate because I acquired it from a rather, shall we say, shady source. But it's not a loss at all. I also need to replace all of the flooring in my basement, so I can install the laminate down there with some moisture guard underneath. Yeah, so I'm thinking you should probably suck it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daddy long beard

Daddy long beard.I mentioned my fabulously shaggy beard a few days ago. Here it is in all of its winter glory. I plan on keeping it growing until March. At that time I will continue my tradition of shaving it off day
by day, each day sporting a new wacky facial hair style. I am thinking mustache wax will be involved this year.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Touch of gray

Let's face it. I'm not getting any younger. I'll be 33 in May. Not long after Ang and I started dating, she pointed out that I had a few gray hairs in my sideburns. I had no clue, but upon closer inspection, sure enough. Oh well. I viewed it as a bit of a badge of honor. Besides, it wasn't terribly noticeable unless you were up in my snaps. Then this winter, I grew out the beard again (I think it's the longest I've ever let it get at this point -- I'll post pics before I shave it off), and noticed a few gray strays amidst my reddish glory. I tossed it aside with the same awkward combination of nonchalance and pride. Then one morning a couple of weeks ago, I was shirtlessly brushing my teeth before hopping in the shower, when a single chest hair caught the light from the fixture over the mirror. No, it couldn't be! A god damned gray chest hair??? Indeed it was. I plucked it from my bumper with my fingers, and stared at the long, curly, colorless hair with disbelief. A little gray on the head? That's cool. A little in the beard? Manly shit right there. Gray chest hair? Hell to the fuck no. That's old man shit. I'm too young for gray chest hair. I promptly drove to Walgreens and bought out their entire stock of Just For Men: Chest Hair Edition and am keeping an eye out for additional rebels in the war for melanin. And I've also started a 24 hour pube hair watch. I've installed a wireless web cam in my underwear and have written color recognition software to send me a text message, email, and Facebook friend request the moment I get a gray pube. It's one thing to walk into a nest of gray pubes, but when they're your own, it's all the more disconcerting.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This morning's phone call at work: who's not your daddy?

[phone rings]

Me: Widget Corp, this is Jeremy.

Unidentified Happy Toddler: [long pause] Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-eeeeeee! Who are you?

Me: [trying not to laugh, thinking this is a coworker's kid who dialed the wrong extension] Hi, I'm Jeremy. Who are you looking for?

UHT: Who are you?

Me: I'm Jeremy. Are you trying to talk to someone?

UHT: Who is this?

Me: I'm Jeremy. Who do you want to talk to?

UHT: [muffled, facing away from phone] Mommy, that's not daddy. [rustling sounds]

Mommy: Hello? Who am I speaking to?

Me: This is Jeremy at Widget Corp. Who are you trying to reach?

Mommy: [sounding embarrassed] Oh, I am so sorry. We must have dialed the wrong number.

Me: [still trying not to laugh] Not a problem. Bye.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This is my PIN. My PIN, let me show you it.

Since I am apparently one of the quickly shrinking number of people in my circle of friends and coworkers who usually carry cash on a daily basis, it's not unusual for me to make a weekly stop at an ATM. I've seen it all: the old man who pushed so many buttons to withdraw a single thin Jackson that I swear he thought he was at a pay phone making a collect call to the Czech Republic. The endless stream of soccer moms in minivans who decide after waiting in a line of several cars at the drive-through ATM, that pulling up to the machine is the time to start digging in your purse for your card. Or the cow-wanna-boys in rusty, bumperless pickups perched on wheels from a Massey Ferguson combine who zip in at the same drive-through, get their cash with clockwork precision, then realize now is the perfect time to organize their chewing tobacco.

To me, ATM etiquette is pretty simple -- get your shit wired before you walk or drive up to the machine. Have your card out or at least readily available so people behind you don't have to wait any longer than necessary. If you're making a deposit, go off to the side somewhere, sign your checks, fill out the deposit envelope, and only then may you get in line (unless it's long enough you an do all of that without holding up those behind you). And when you are finished with your transaction, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY! Do you need to sort your bills before putting them in your purse or wallet? Do you need to write it down on your transaction log? Step aside, or drive forward, and let the next person in line have their turn.

And I tweeted about this the other day, and it's completely unrelated to etiquette, but people, stop calling it an "ATM machine." ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine. You are essentially saying that you're visiting the Automated Teller Machine machine. Unless you are talking about an "Ass To Mouth" machine, in which case I would appreciate it if you would gargle some Listerine and lye afterward.

Now the lady ahead of me in line at the Wells Fargo ATM in the SuperAmerica on 7th and Wall St in St Paul yesterday afternoon may not have thought she was at an Ass To Mouth machine, but that is the only segueway I could come up with. When I walked into the store, she was already parked in front of the machine, staring blankly at the screen without any indication she intended to make her move anytime soon. I was in a hurry, as I was supposed to meet up with Ang and a craigslist seller to buy a barely used bed, and we had to pay in cash. But I figuring this might only hold me up an extra minute or two, and there was no sense in snipping at this 40-ish, disheveled woman, particularly since her halting movements and swaying stance led me to surmise that she may have a disability of some sort.

Finally after another minute or two of staring she hesitantly shoved a card into the reader. It was at this point, that I noticed she was clutching a blue scrap of paper in her left hand. She studied the paper, and it was at this point that I was staring at her PIN. I had given her plenty of polite ATM space, but I quickly turned my head and looked toward a display of candy. She wasn't making the slightest bit of effort to keep the number private, holding it out practically at arms length and shoulder height, but I instinctively didn't want to appear suspiciously interested in her financial transactions. She ever so slowly entered the PIN, hesitating for several moments before pressing each on-screen button. I was still trying not to stare, but after hearing the staggered, seemingly endless stream of beeps as menu item after menu item was selected, curiosity overwhelmed me, and I returned to watching what she was doing. Finally she managed to get to the Withdraw Cash screen, selected an account, and the machine spit out her card and a few twenties. Oh, thank sweet Christ! I was preparing to swoop in once she stepped aside when she pulled out yet another card and struggled to get it into the reader. Huh? Her thumb moved down on her scrap of blue paper, and I now saw at least half a dozen PINs written on it. Sure enough, she consulted the scrap, slowly and aimlessly beep-boop-beeped her way through the menus until she randomly made her way to the Withdraw Cash screen, and grabbed another small stack of twenties. She repeated this process for each and every number on her list, completely oblivious to the growing line of highly aggravated people waiting to use the machine, several of whom had taken to muttering invectives under their breaths. At first, I thought it might be a simple case of someone who couldn't remember her PIN, but on the third card, I started to seriously wonder if any of these cards were hers. My suspicions grew higher on the last card, when she clearly didn't know how much money was available in the account, and persistently rolled her way through smaller and smaller multiples of twenty in her attempts. When the machine refused to give her so much as a single twenty dollar bill, she finally gave up, got her(?) card back, and wandered away to another part of the store.

Now that I finally had my chance more than 10 minutes after I'd walked into the store, I pounced on the machine, did my thing, and was in my car 30 seconds later. As I drove away, I wondered what, if anything I should have done under those suspicious circumstances, but then realized that if this lady was indeed stealing money from accounts that didn't belong to her, that she did so in full view of the video camera mounted inside of the ATM, as well as the store security cameras. If she was up to no good, her ass was as good as caught. Plus having more than one ATM card and not being able to remember the PINs for any of them, doesn't automatically make one a criminal. But it sure pisses off all of the people in line behind you.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Incursion on the Neutral Zone

In a different area of our building than Stall Two, there is a bathroom tucked in a corner near a copy machine. It's lovely to think that someone copying an invoice for a client is getting an earful of jittering ass chatter, but this is restroom is lower on my desirable poop locales than Stall Two because it gets higher traffic from the largest department in our company. However, I often ponder whether I need to rethink my priority list, as the less-used Stall Two is typically full of someone's meaty butt chum, while the copier shitter is relatively clean. It's more likely to smell of recently evacuated summer squash, but clean nonetheless. Until today. I ventured into the copy crapper shortly after lunch to find the rim behind the seat littered with ass peanuts. Not just any ass peanuts, looonnnnng ass peanuts. Tightly rolled, brownish ass peanuts five times the width of the toilet paper. How is that possible? It was like Harry Potter had spilled a box of shitty magic wands back there. I tried picking one up to cast a spell of sanitation on the toilet, but it ended up backfiring and cast a spell of hepatitis on me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sometimes you sacrifice the wrong things

Since most of my cash dollar monies have been pumped into my house, one sacrifice has been my clothing budget. I have holes in pretty much every pair of underwear and non-dress socks I own, my sneakers have holes in them, and I've been wearing the same jeans every day for months as the other pairs simply became too ragged and fell out of the rotation. As a result, there is a now a big hole in the seam in the crotch of my jeans. I know this happened just today, because I saw that my jeans were fine when I pooped this morning. Thankfully this is not a visibly dire emergency, but it means I'll be making a quick trouser stop after work. And also buying pants. Hey-ohhhhh!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Redefined job description

Poor Jameson. Not long ago, a hapless woman within the company emailed him, informing him that the toilet in the women's restroom was running non-stop, and would he be a lambykins and go elbow deep in the tank to see what the problem was? First, I'm not sure when IT became the toilet repair squad. Second, it's the women's shitter. C'mon, lady! That one topped the time someone attempted to submit an actual work order in our system asking that we salt the icy sidewalk outside before a manager practically smacked her upside the head with her keyboard.

Today someone plugged Stall Two but good, so I assigned Jameson the following work order:

Assigned To: Jameson
Assigned By: Jeremy
Description: Stall Two Backup
Category: Power & Industry
Priority:000-ZOMG

Details: Stall Two plugged. Need a strapping lad with a strong arm and a firm grip to go fishing for the culprit and his partner.

By the way, "ZOMG" is an actual priority in our work order system.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

May I have an advance on your forgiveness?

Yes, I may. Very kind of you to let me forcefully take it from you. I assure you I will misuse it in ways that would make an unpowdered business park whore glisten like a dewy cow teat. What are you forgiving me for? Being busy with work and home renovations to the point that I have little time to blog or slap my dick against the neighbor's car hood. These are little pleasures I miss.

October is going to prove to be the most challenging month so far in terms of the amount of shit I have to accomplish. In other words, AAAAUUUGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! So bear with me. I'll have stories to tell.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Report of suspicious behavior

I just got back from a quality dump in Stall Two (why I continue to throw my health and safety to chance in there, I have no idea). Upon finishing my dump and washing my hands, I naturally thought to myself, "You know, a Snickers bar would be really good right about now." I fished out my wallet to check if I had enough dollar bills for a candy bar and a beverage. As I flipped through my slender wad of cash, I heard the sound of a toilet running and returned to Stall Two to poke my head in for an investigation. At that moment, one of the VPs walked in holding a Zip-Loc bag full of assorted candy in various states of partial consumption. He, with his bag of candy, and I, with my fluttering fan of cash, agreed that something sketchy was going down and that as far as we knew, neither of us had ever been in there.

Monday, September 08, 2008