You Snooze, You Looze

It’s happened to you.  It’s happened to all of us.

It can’t be trusted, and yet we continually put our trust in it.

What is this strange power it has over us?

The Snooze Button. There’s one on every digital alarm clock and its sole purpose is to make you late for something.

Walk with me here for a moment… You have an appointment in the morning. Work. The dentist. A breakfast date with your spouse/child/dog. Whatevs. You set your alarm so you’ll get up to be there on time. Sleep. Peaceful, happy, dreamy, lovely sleep. ALARM! I’M UP I’M UP I’M UP. Maybe just a few more minutes. You hit… Snooze. BOOM. You’re screwed.  Has this happened to you?  Of course it has.  But don’t worry, Humble Dave is going to sort you out.

First off, snooze is rarely the same amount of time on an alarm clock. It can be anywhere from 5-15 minutes, and if you didn’t read the manual it’s just a guessing game.

In fact, “snooze” is one of the great variables of the universe. If snooze =n, then n=”the exact amount of time needed to make you late for an appointment.” Scientists have been studying this phenomena for decades and are no closer to understanding its mysteries. Wait.  Stop. You were going to look this up on the internet to verify my claims. Don’t do that. Look it up in your gut. You know it’s true.

Fine, you want science? Snoozing is more likely to ruin your night’s rest.

Probably who use the snooze are more likely to late.   I’m not going to source this because I made it up.  But, you just read it on the internet, so you know it’s true.  EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET CAN BE TRUSTED!

According to a Professor Matthew Walker, neuroscientist (wow that sounds super official!), snoozing inflicts “cardiovascular assault” on your body!

Okay, here’s a big one.  This article actually starts off by saying a snooze or two isn’t bad (idiots), but then goes on to say that snoozing can cause one of the most horrific side effects I’ve ever heard: YOU MISS YOUR MORNING POOP! Dear God, WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

Is that enough? Here’s the important bit. Are you paying attention? Set your alarm for the time you want to get up, then get up when it goes off. Move it across the room if you have to. Use an alarm like the Ruggie. Do whatever you have to do. Don’t let the snooze do to you what it’s done to so many others. Minutes, years, decades of lost time. Remember, you snooze, you looze.

As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.

Living The Dream,
Humble Dave

p.s. I know it’s spelled “lose.” But I’m in charge here, and I liked it better this way. #Dealwithit

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The Universe Is Not Out To Get You

This isn’t the sort of thing I’d normally write in my blog.  I usually like my writing to be fun and upbeat.  Like most people, I suppose, I like to show people “Happy Dave,” and not the other guy.  Why dump my problems on other people who undoubtedly have problems of their own to deal with (Grammarians, you can take your “with which they have to deal” and stuff it)?  But who knows, maybe I won’t even publish this blog and you’ll never read it anyway.  Here goes.

The Universe is out to get me.

I got laid off from my job March 31, 2017.  It didn’t come as a big surprise, although it happened faster than I expected.  I wasn’t TOTALLY upset, because I wasn’t really interested in what I was doing anymore.  It was one of those jobs that kept the machine moving by taking value from one space and adding it to another.  Ultimately, I wasn’t really adding value to the system, just moving it around.  I USED to be a true believer in the work, back when I started, but after 10+ years of doing it… well, deck chairs on the titanic.

My goal was to take three months to relax, recharge, and reassess, then move forward in a new direction.  I wanted not only a new career, but I wanted it in a new industry.  As if that wouldn’t be hard enough, my real challenge was I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.  It makes no difference that at the time I was 40.  I was still lost.  Regardless, my plan started off well enough, I suppose.  I relaxed.  I surfed the web looking at different companies, jobs, etc., just trying to learn what else was out there.  I spent a lot of time with our new dog whom we rescued March 1.  Although there was always that ever-present pressure to get a job, things were okay.  Well, okay enough, anyway.  The important thing was that I was excited to try something new, and motivated to execute this new plan.

Unfortunately, the Universe is out to get me.

July I got a neck injury that left me in INCREDIBLE pain.  Forget moving around, but not moving around was almost as painful.  I had to take an extensive cocktail of nerve-blockers, painkillers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, etc multiple times a day, and that was so I could sit on the couch.  Doctors visits, meds, x-rays, meds, MRI’s, meds, Physical Therapy, meds… you get the picture.  It SUCKED. I wrote a whole blog back in February about this bit which you can read here.  If you want to save time (you should read it though, it was a good one!), I’ll tell you that it ends with me feeling better and beginning to embark on beginning to embark on a real estate career.  I had some hope.

But the Universe is out to get me.

In mid February I re-injured my neck.  This sent me into a deeper depression, and I lost all my motivation to study for my real estate exam (If I’m being completely honest, which I might as well since I’m not convinced I’m actually going to publish this blog, my thoughts were turning dark.  I got scared, realized I needed help, and made an appointment for therapy.  Never had it before, but I figured, this is what it’s for).  After more doctors, meds, x-rays, and MRI’s discovered that my neck was worse, and in addition to bulging discs I had some bone spurs pressing on my spinal cord and narrowing my nerve canals.  I don’t think nerve canals are the technical term, but I like it.  They’re where the nerves leave the spinal cord and exit the vertebrae to go do their thing in your body.  And those canals were partially closed off.  Result: Incredible nerve pain. Hooray!  After seeing a couple of neurosurgeons we determined I needed Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery.  I wrote all about this here.  Surgery went great, and I wrote all about the hospital stay here.

So now I’m 2 weeks post-surgery.  Neck is healing well, although I have a heck of a scar, still some numbness and nerve pain, and an inability to life anything heavier than a jug of milk, I’m doing okay.  Saw the neurosurgeon yesterday and he confirmed my recovery is on track.

So here we sit, back on the couch. I’m not quite where I was April 2017.  Still no job.  Can’t walk my dog, due to the injury (heehee, dog doo).  Still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up, although I recently watched an awesome TED talk that might help with that.  I do have a potential career in the works in the meantime as soon as I get back into studying for and subsequently passing my real estate exam.  And perhaps most importantly, with all the extra time I’ve had to think, I realized something:

The Universe is NOT out to get me.

Despite being incredibly humble (and you know it’s true, because I have my own website that says so), I am incredibly ego-centric.  Everything that happens, happens to ME, personally.  Cut off in traffic, THAT ASSHOLE!  Drop the cap of my water bottle on the floor?  FUCK YOU, LIFE!  Get injured, WHY ME?  And you may or may not know this, but when you’re depressed the little problems get so much bigger.  The gardeners not mowing a small patch of grass in the yard becomes a problem so insurmountable that it frustrates you the point of tears.

It’s only very recently, after my first therapy appointment, that I’m starting to realize it’s nothing personal.  The Universe is truly NOT out to get me. Everyone has problems, and everyone can choose to let it go and move on.  It’s been hard for me to step outside myself and realize this.  And I’m far from accepting it emotionally.  But hopefully this will help me to move on.  Besides, things tend to balance out, so I’m probably due for something good soon, right?

Anyway, sorry for this wall of text.  I’ve been writing it for so long I don’t even know what in here anymore.  If you’re reading it, I didn’t go back and edit anything (although I did make some edits “on-the-fly”) so if it’s tripe just say so in the comments.  If anything I said resonates with you go ahead and comment on that as well.  Also, if you hated it just pretend you never read it and move on.  This will probably not be indicative of the stye of post you’ll see on my blog.  I apparently felt it was necessary at the time, and in here nobody can tell me what to do.  If I’m learning anything through this process it’s that, for me, writing is cathartic.  Also reading, but that’s also for another blog post.

As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

edit: so I wrote this yesterday (4/20/18) with really no intention of publishing it, but what the heck.

A Jug of Milk

I recently had ACDF surgery, which you can read more about here, and during my recovery I’m not supposed to lift anything heavier than a jug of milk.  For weeks.

Go to your fridge and pick up a full gallon of milk.  Heft it a few times.  It’s got some weight to it, but not too much.  Now look around your house and think about everything that might weigh the same or more.  This is incredibly irritating.

Laundry basket? Not if it’s full of clothes.

Garbage cans? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  No.

A baking sheet covered in bbq sauce slathered chicken wings? Oh, you sweet summer child.

The sliding glass door to the backyard that sticks a little?  I’m doing it, but I think I might be pushing my luck.  Side note: I bumped into the door while going through it yesterday and it gave me a not-entirely-gentle reminder that caution is still warranted.

The metal patio chair around my table in the backyard?  This is another one where I feel like I’m pushing my luck.  Doing it anyway.  So far so good?

Walk my dog?  That’s kind of how I got into this whole mess to begin with.  I’ll need to heal up first.

That package the UPS man left on your front step?  Ah.  This is where it starts to get tricky.  Is it too heavy?  Nearly impossible to tell without trying to lift it.  Which could be bad.  This is the intersection of natural curiosity and natural selection.  You see, I could just open it to determine what’s inside, and then make a more educated guess as to its weight.  But if I CAN’T carry it, now I have an open package on my doorstep.  I COULD just try to carry it inside, and force through the pain.  But, I have this terrible image of two screws ripping out of my vertebrae whilst I lay screaming on the ground.  Yeah, get THAT image out of your head.  I actually kicked a box yesterday to see if hat would help.  It did, but do I really want to go kicking all my stuff to estimate weight?  What if it’s fragile?  No, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

So… a jug of milk is my limit.  Something in the 5-10 lb range according to the brochure my surgeon gave me.  Fortunately, all is not lost.  I can lift Jello, and so I can survive.

As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

An Open Letter To The Sharp Memorial Hospital Team

Dear Sharp Memorial Crew,

First off, let me say Thank You to everyone with whom I came into contact at your facility.  You were all smiles.  You cared, and it showed.  I was a 41 year old surgery virgin, and you were all gentle and sweet.  And also HILARIOUS!  I love you all.  Thank you.

It’s funny, but I thought this was going to be easy to write, but I find I’m having trouble finding the right words.  I guess I’ll defer to my usual style, which is organized chaos.

sharpexperience I thought I understood “The Sharp Experience.”  I was wrong.  You all completely blew my expectations out of the water, and made what could have been the most stressful experience of my life into an absolute pleasure.  No joke.  I spent about 29 hours with you all between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon, and you exceeded ALL of my expectations.  Everyone I met was friendly, smiling, and willing to help.  All completely professional, of course, but still willing to crack a joke and laugh with me.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember everyone’s name that I met.  I wish I could.  They all deserve individual credit, so feel free to contact me and we’ll track them down.  I can tell you that everyone was great.  Literally EVERYONE.  I don’t know anyone’s last name, so you’ll have to figure that out.  Here are a few standouts:

Cara in the SPA was SUPER friendly.  What a delight.  She really helped make the waiting bearable.

phlebotomistBlood-taker girl with tattoos who was also in the SPA – Only saw her twice I think, but both times she was great.  Memorably so.  Made me smile both times.  If she needs any more of my blood she knows where to find me.  With how gentle she was both times, she could be taking it right now and I wouldn’t even know.

MJ – Wow.  What can I say about MJ.  She was my RN the first night in the hospital.  Incredibly patient with me.  Was there every time I needed her.  We walked around the floor.  She got me jello after jello.  Helped me with all my meds.  Took me off the IV as soon as it was feasible (FREEDOM!).  Adjusting the bed.  MJ is awesome.  Special thanks to her.  I was so out of it during much of my time with her that I can’t remember a lot of the details.  What I do remember is an overwhelming sense that I was completely safe and cared for during this time. (EDIT:  So I was originally done and going to publish this letter, but upon re-reading it I wanted to write more nice things about MJ.  I know she was a former traveler who just recently started at Sharp Memorial full-time.  Sharp, you scored BIG TIME with this one.  MJ, just keep doing what you’re doing.  You’re awesome.  HOORAY FOR MJ!)

Dawit, my man.  Thanks for the stroll around the floor.  And for collecting and measuring my pee.  It smelled terrible, but you were a champ.

feast-2JUANITA!  OH JUANITA! Let me tell you a story.  It starts with a hungry boy, post throat and spine surgery.  It ends with custom meals handcrafted with love to ensure I could actually eat it.  Chicken cut up into tiny pieces.  SHE LITERALLY CUT UP A PIECE OF FRIED CHICKEN INTO TINY LITTLE SLIVERS OF AWESOMENESS so that my recently intubated and slit open throat could eat them.  Was that all?  OF COURSE NOT!  She then gave me a bowl of warm chicken broth so I could dip these chicken pieces and get them soggy enough to swallow.

She is freaking incredible.  Extra applesauce.  Apple juice.  Scrambled eggs cut up into tiny bite sized pieces.  Lactose free milk.  Hot cocoa.  Juanita went so far out of her way to make sure I was happy that I don’t even have the words to describe how big of a difference she made.  Thank you, Juanita.  I ate food besides jello solely because of you. (EDIT:  I am STILL telling people about Juanita 5 days after I left the hospital.  Woot!)

Renea.  My dear Renea.  Who wandered the halls and storage areas hunting for ever more jello for me (and finding it!).  I was already starting to feel better when we met, but you ensured my spirits remained high and I’d be ready to check out as soon as possible.  I say “check out” instead of discharged because I felt more like I was in a fancy hotel instead of a hospital. Renea, who never ONCE corrected me when I called her Renee.  I still think your shoes are cool.

anesthesiaObviously I’d like to thanks my anesthesiologist Dr. Fowler (I think I spelled that correctly?) who did an awesome job and didn’t leave me in that half-life you see in the movies where you can’t move during surgery but you’re still totally awake and able to see and feel everything that’s going on.  That would have been awful.  Instead I drifted gently off to sleep and woke up with no problems.  I have no memory of the recovery room following surgery.  Keep kicking butt, Doc!

nmc-logo-printDr. Ostrup.  My neurosurgeon.  The man who ripped out pieces of my spine with his bare hands, power tools, and force of will, then replaced it with robot parts.  BEEP BOOP THANK YOU FELLOW HUMAN.  Seriously though, Thanks for everything.  You took the time to answer all of my questions using small, simple words I could understand.  Like “Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion” and “Coffee.”  Your calm demeanor and nonchalant attitude really helped me relax in the days leading up to the procedure.  I hope you carved your initials into one of my vertebrae.  You deserve it.

20180407_151311
Day after surgery – still in hospital

There were so many others who deserve mention and I’ll blame a naturally poor memory mixed with a variety of pain medications on my forgetfulness, but we should be able to identify them here:  My three “shower girls” who came in and changed my sheets and towels, set up the bathroom for a hot shower, gave me instructions on how to do it without re-injuring myself, and were all smiles and happiness.  You all were great and had me constantly laughing and smiling.  My Occupational Therapist (Nancy?) who made sure I knew how to dress myself without falling on my face, and who shared some personal stories of success that made me feel better about my own situation.  My Physical Therapist who walked with me around the floor and was stunned by my mobility.  HAH!  Jokes on you.  MJ and I were walking around the floor all night long.  I couldn’t sleep anyway, might as well check some boxes off the board!  The two Charge Nurses (night and day) who stopped to chat and ask how I was doing during my walks around the floor.  Thanks for your concern!  All the nurses at the desks who smiled when I walked by.  Every smile is a bit of happiness you can share.  Carlos, thanks for the smooth wheelchair ride to the door when I was dischargedIf I forgot anyone, I’m sorry.  Your contribution was significant, and you too are appreciated.  And I suppose a special Thank You to someone I’ve never met but who had an equally important role to play: The Jello Stocker.  Thank you.  You brought more happiness to me during this experience than I can possibly express in words.  Jello is life.  Jello is love.

And what can I say about The Hotel Del Sharp Memorial.  They did everything right. Comfortable single rooms.  Comfortable beds.  Incredible food.  Super friendly everybody.  Awesome views.  This was a luxury experience.

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I have to keep coming back to the staff here.  Sharp clearly has incredible hiring practices.  This one deserves another mention.  Whoever is in charge of hiring the people with whom I interacted should be invited to the pizza party you’re going to throw for everyone on my floor.  I’m not joking.  Pizza Party.  Or, you know, whatever kind of awesomely catered food and party these people want.  Do it.  They deserve it.  Also, big raises, their own ponies, some kind of monogrammed scrubs that say BEST TEAM EVER, probably a tiara of some kind, and a series of crisp high-fives.

OH!  You know what? I thought of one critique.  One tiny space for improvement.  In the private bathroom in my private room, with my private view of the sunrise, the toilet paper rolls were a little low.  A bit hard to reach.  There.  That’s it.  Could you raise them up about a foot?  That would be awesome.  Thanks!

But the most important thing, to me, while in the hospital for what was my very first surgery (nearly 42 years old!) was this:  I never once felt afraid.  Nervous before the surgery, sure!  But I always felt safe, and surrounded by confident, knowledgeable people who could handle anything my broken down body could throw at them.  Except my jokes, which were apparently too painful to take. 🙂

Thank you all.

Kind Regards,
Humble Dave

Dudes Can Cook Too, You Know.

For most of my life, the ladies did the cooking.  My mom is an AWESOME cook, and always made delicious meals despite my insistence on eating nothing besides bread and water.  AND WOE BETIDE THE FOOL WHO SLICED MY BAGEL FOR MY WRATH SHALL FALL UPON THEM.  Seriously, I was a pain in the… buns?  Does that bread joke work?  I’m going to leave it in.  But I digest…

We all know that guys can cook on a grill.  It’s manly and simple at a basic level:  Light fire.  Fire hot.  Raw food goes over hot fire.  Cooked food comes off hot fire.  Eat.  Happiness ensues.  Naturally grilling can be ridiculously complex, but I’d rather eat the complicated food than make it.

My brother-in-law is an awesome cook.  Kitchen, grill, smoker, wherever.  I’m fairly confident that if you give him a hot surface, a dead animal, and something that grew in the dirt he can make a incredible meal out of it.  No joke.  He once cooked some steak with an asphalt torch just to see if he could <Spoiler Alert: He could!>.  He’s the one who finally convinced me that it might be possible for me to cook food also.

So for the past few years I’ve been doing the cooking in our house.  Except on rare occasions, my wife simply doesn’t have the time to cook.  The rest of the time it’s mostly up to me, and I’ve been slowly transitioning from bbq grill, to broiler (which is basically an upside-down grill in the oven), to pots and pans meals.  For Chrismahanukwanzikah this past year they bought me an Instant Pot (IP).  Changed my world.  But more interestingly, it also opened my eyes!

You see (eye joke!  Woot!), the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker and can be incredibly intimidating to use, especially for a novice cook!  But he turned me on to an IP Facebook group where other users go to share tips, tricks, recipes, successes, and failures.  It’s been a huge help.

So about now you’re asking, “what the hell does this have to do with dudes cooking vs ladies cooking?”  CALM DOWN!  I’ll get there when I get there.  Now my train of thought derailed… … … okay I’m back.  Here we go.

It’s the comments on these IP Facebook group posts that got me going.  “My husband loves this,” and “I begged my husband to buy this for me,” or “My husband loves it when I use my IP for xyz.”  Blah blah blah.   It’s almost exclusively women talking about cooking for their men.

WHERE ARE THE IP DUDES?  Are they all lurking in the shadows, afraid of drawing attention to themselves?  We are wildly underrepresented in the amateur home-cooking online world.  I’ve made chicken casserole, teriyaki drumsticks, corned beef and cabbage, beef stew, chicken wings, baby back ribs, Beef w/ broccoli, orange chicken, and some other things I’m not even thinking of right now.

So I say, “MY DUDES!  RISE UP AND BE PROUD!  You cooked a thing people ate!  Be loud and shout I TOO CAN FEED PEOPLE!”

And for those of you who are just getting started, here are two tips to help smooth over the process:

  1. “What if my food isn’t good?”  Add bacon.  BOOM, it’s good.  You’re welcome.
  2. “Cooking is too stressful!” Two fingers of whiskey (neat) while you cook, along with some background music makes everything doable. Again, you’re welcome.


Cheers,

Humble Dave

 

CALM DOWN

A guy walks into his Psychiatrist’s office all worked up.  He’s pacing around the office and can’t sit still.  The doctor asks him what’s wrong…

Crazy Guy: “Doc!  I’m freaking out because I’m having these weird dreams.  They just keep repeating.  I can’t figure it out and it’s driving me crazy!”

Doc: “Calm down for a minute and tell me what you’re dreaming.  We’ll figure this out together.”

Crazy Guy: “OK.  Ok.  Whew.  Ok.  First I dream I’m a teepee; then I’m a wigwam; then I’m a teepee; then I’m a wigwam, and it goes on and on like that!  I’m freaking losing it!  You’ve gotta help me!”

Doc: “Ah, I’ve seen this before.  Don’t worry, I know exactly what your problem is.  You’re two tents!”

laughing

Enjoy, and you’re welcome!

-Humble Dave

To wash, or not to wash?

Ok, this is one that my wife and I have a mild disagreement over.  When is it okay to NOT wash your hands after using the bathroom?  I know, everyone’s quick answer is “Never,” but hear me out…

Before we start, I’d like to say that I’m NOT a germaphobe.  However being married to an RN has introduced me to levels of cleanliness I didn’t know existed.  This had the side effect of making me hyper-aware of germ-laden venues.  For example, it’s great that the kids making my sandwich at the sandwich shop wear plastic gloves to keep my sandwich clean.  Next time you get a sandwich, watch them.  They touch your sandwich, the cash register, and just about everything else with those gloves, then go back and make another sandwich.  Come on, what’s the point?  But I’m off topic (again), back to bathrooms…

Bathroom’s are filthy, disgusting places.  Even if they look clean and sparkling, they’re covered in things you don’t even want to know about.  Seriously.  If you flush the toilet with the lid up (or, like most public bathrooms that don’t have a lid), you’re literally spraying feces bacterias all over the place.  It’s gross.  If you touch ANYTHING in a public restroom (flush handle, SINK FAUCET HANDLE, door handle, paper towel release handle thingy) congratulations, you have someone else’s poop on you.

Now obviously 99% of the time you’re going to want to wash your hands after you use a restroom.  If you really care about it, you’re going to use the paper towel with which you dried your hands to turn off the faucet (remember, you and everyone else turned it on with your filthy germ covered hands) and use that same paper towel to open the door.  Otherwise you have literally negated all the benefits of washing your hands anyway.

But what if you could get in and out without touching ANYTHING.  This one’s more for guys.  Ladies, you definitely have it tougher than us, which is why your bathrooms are fancier, with nice wallpaper, flowers, incense burning, couches to rest while you wait, etc.  I’ve never been in one, but I assume they all look like this:

ladies bathroom.
The men’s room most often looks like this:

mens bathroom
Some bathroom’s (like in parks, airports, and sports arenas,) have no doors, just a short hallway to enter.  What if I can walk in, use the urinal, and walk out without coming into contact with anything in the bathroom.  We’ll assume, for the sake of argument, that I managed not to urinate on myself.  We’ll also assume that I showered, and all the parts of my body are clean.  So here’s the question:

Do I wash my hands, or do I walk right out?  If I touch the sink faucet I’m immediately worse off.  My opinion is that the more hygienic move is to leave without touching anything.

These are the thoughts and mysteries that rattle around in my head.  It’s a weird place.  Sound off in the comments if you agree, disagree, or have other ideas.

As always, you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave