Words On A Page

I know, I know, it’s been a while.  You’ve missed me.  “Where are Dave’s entertaining blogs,” you’ve asked?  “Why hasn’t he been amusing me like the trained monkey that he is?”

Haven’t been in the mood.  I have had (and am having) a tumultuous few months.  And not in a good way.  Wild changes in all aspects of my life whose repercussions have yet to be fully felt.  New career with no financial security, living arrangements in flux, HUGE life changes, continued pain and physical limitations following my neck surgery, and death of a very close family member are just what immediately come to mind.

But people keep telling me to write another blog, so here it is.  A bunch of words on a page.  Really, a screen.  Unless you print all my blogs out before you read them.  Do you do that?  That would be strange.  I periodically hear stories of people’s grandparents who find interesting articles on the internet, print them out and then mail them to their grandkids.  So it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility.

Anyway, words on a page.  Still not really feeling it.  Deedle-dee.  It’s hot outside.  It’s also hot inside.  I have a list of to-do’s and instead of doing the big things on it that stress me out I’ve been doing the little things that are easy.  Makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something even though really I’m not doing the things that are important.  Shoot, writing this wasn’t even on the list, that’s how far down my priorities this is right now.  But I happened to have the laptop on my lap, so this is what you get.  Words on a page.

I watched Ready Player One on the airplane yesterday.  It was mediocre.  Read the book instead.  I also watched Rampage.  It was better than I expected but… come on.  It’s a nearly 2 hour long movie based on a video game in the ’80’s where you played a giant monster and smashed buildings down.  Hollywood is really reaching these days.  What’s next, Centipede?  Pew Pew!

The gentleman sitting next to me on the plane was editing some restaurant menus.  The girl sitting next to him, whom he didn’t know prior to the trip, had a tattoo on her right wrist of a fork and spoon.  That was weird.

I’m playing a new game on my phone called “Hole.io”.  You control a small hole that gets bigger by eating parts of a city.  The bigger you get, the more you can eat.  Each game is 2 minutes long.  You can play against other people online, against others locally via bluetooth, or by yourself.  It’s a fun time-killer.  Check it out.

Oh, Jetblue has a new class of seats called, “Mint.”  They look neat.  No, I didn’t get to sit in them.

Anyways, I’m pretty much done with the words on this page.  I’m not editing or adding any pictures.  Serve over ice and enjoy.

-Humble Dave

Advertisements

The Sunshine Blogger Award

The Rules

The guidelines for this award are straightforward.

  • Thank the blogger(s) that nominated you in the post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you
  • Nominate 8-11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo on your post and/or in your blog

I was nominated for this award by Yes More Blogs.

Definitely check out his blog.  He is a CHARACTER and is constantly engaging other bloggers and commenters.  His content is solid and a pleasure to read.  He is also a MACHINE; and is consistently keeping his blog current and fresh.

So without further adieu, I believe I owe you all some answers:

  1. Short or long chapters?
    I like a variety.  It really bugs me when authors drag chapters on and on for no better reason than… what?  I have no idea.  It seems pointless.  Don’t be afraid to say what you want to say and move on.
  2. Favourite reading spot?
    I’m most often reading on the couch.  That being said, my FAVORITE reading spot is probably on the patio of some restaurant, munching on lunch while reading.  I like sitting in the sun, or at least having the sun around me.
  3. Best bookish moment?
    This is a tricky question.  I’m not sure if it’s my BEST bookish moment, but I always love when I’m reading a series and finish a book, then promptly realize the next book in the series is available and ready to read.  I hate it when I have to wait to continue a story (I’m looking at you, Patrick Rothfuss).
  4. Most books by one author?
    Gee whiz.  Honestly?  I’m not going to take the time to count.  I know I’ve read over 18 books by David Eddings.  More than 15 in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  I think there’s 15 books in Part 1 of Ryk Brown’s Frontiers Saga.  I really couldn’t guess how many Stephen King books I’ve read.  So… right now it looks like 18 is the top end, but I wouldn’t bet any money on that.
  5. Bookshop or online?
    I love the idea of a bookshop, and even volunteer in one(!), but the vast majority of books I buy are digital.  For me, convenience trumps everything except price.  If I can find a used copy of the book I want for a few bucks (or less!) than I’m in.
  6. Bookmarks or page fold?
    BOOKMARKS!  What the hell is wrong with you?
  7. Library or buy the book?
    I’ve always purchased books, but now that I can borrow from the library digitally I’m trying that out.  I’m not a patient individual, so waiting 4+ weeks to borrow is a challenge for me.
  8. Let people borrow or guard with your life?
    Physical copies: borrow away!  Unless it’s signed, then it’s a whole lot of nope.
  9. Favourite book of all time?
    I honestly have no idea.  I’ve read so many books, so many times, I couldn’t even begin to answer this question.
  10. Best book to movie adaptation?
    This question threw me for a loop.  At first, my initial response was… none?  But then I started doing some googling and remembered a lot of things Id forgotten.  Harry Potter was awesome.  The Fellowship of the Rings was also great.  Shawshank Redemption was freaking incredible (did you know it was based on a Stephen King novella?  The 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was great.  The Martian did a really good job!  There.  All those are the best.

Okay, so here are 10 questions for my upcoming nominees.  Since I’m in a ridiculous mood, my questions will reflect as such:

  1. Have you ever lied to someone on the internet because you were anonymous?
  2. Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?
  3. If you could eliminate one letter of the alphabet what would it be?
  4. Jello or pudding?  Follow up: Why is the answer Jello?
  5. Favorite word in the Queen’s English?
  6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever received in the mail?
  7. What’s your favorite “breakfast-for-dinner” meal?
  8. What is your nightmare vacation (ie. worst vacation ever)?
  9. If money wasn’t a factor, what would you do with all your time?
  10. Why do you believe The Way of Jello offers the one true path to enlightenment and peace?

The Nominees:

Spoons & Books

Nathi

Baffled Mum

Phantom Paper

Personal Growth Success Blog

WaelsWorld

Inkblots and Icebergs

Yes More Blogs (can I nominate someone who nominated me?)

Spinnette Spyder
AND
Arachnid Weaver

That’s it!  Serve over ice and enjoy.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

It’s My Birthday

Happy birthday to me. I’m 42 this year, and if you’re a fan of Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy you know the number 42 has special significance.

If you’re unfamiliar, the number 42, after extremely careful study, consideration, and calculation, was determined to be the answer to the Ultimate Question is Life, the Universe, and Everything. Unfortunately, the question still eludes us. The answer is decisively 42, though.

Perhaps I’ll learn it this year. I’ll keep my towel handy, just in case. Take it easy you hoopy froods!

Living The Dream,

Humble Dave

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

The Way of Jello

During a recent experience you can read about here I learned about the wonders of #Jello, a medicinal miracle, excellent not only for your body, but also your soul.  Although sometimes you must seek it out, it will occasionally appear when you need it most brought by a helpful stranger in colorful scrubs and comfortable shoes.  Accept this gift.  For Jello Is Love, Jello Is Life.

This recent experience got me to thinking, is there a deeper meaning to this miraculous substance?  Is it possible to put into words the lessons that were imparted to me, or must they be experienced to be truly understood?  And the answer, of course, is “Yes.”

And here it is.  I give you, “The Way of Jello“.

  1. One must be solid, but jiggly. Be viscous.  Immerse yourself in your environment, but don’t give up everything that makes you what you are.
  2. Let people see into, but not through you.  It’s important that you let people get to know you, but you don’t have to give away all your secrets.
  3. Explore a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors.  The world has so much to offer, don’t close yourself off simply because something appears different than what you’re used to.  Step outside of your comfort zone.
  4. Be delicious.  If someone gets close enough to put their mouth on you, make sure they enjoy the experience.
  5. Don’t be afraid to get a little mushy.  Sometimes getting a little emotional can be cathartic.
  6. It takes great change before we reach our full potential.  Like Jello, that strange powder which becomes an amazing treat full of life lessons and  awesomeness, if you’re feeling stuck don’t be afraid to make a dramatic change to shake things up.
  7. Subject yourself to a wide range of temperatures.  The proper application of both heat and cold is necessary to healing injuries to your body, as well as your soul.
  8. Step outside of your comfort zone. You must escape your little box to reach the next phase in your evolution.
  9. You make your strongest impact not on yourself, but on others.  Never underestimate how simply being yourself can affect those around you.  Like Jello, make it a positive experience for those with whom you come into contact.
  10. Always be prepared to perform at your best.  All times are your time to shine.

Remember: #JelloIsLove, #JelloIsLife

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

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

Tell People When They’re Awesome!

I know I say this all the time, but this one really WILL be a short post.  I think.  Sigh… we’ll see?  Here goes!

So often people only share a negative experience.  “The food was cold,” or “The service was terrible,” or “They didn’t have the size/color/etc I wanted.”  And I understand this.  You WANT people to know that you didn’t receive the level of service you expected, and often it was below the level the store promised.  It’s important to share these experiences so that, 1) Other people can use this info to manage their expectations, and 2) The store can use this feedback to improve their services.

But you know what?  Positive reviews and positive feedback can be MUCH more effective at accomplishing these same goals.  When you tell someone they’re awesome often enough they start to believe it.  Once that happens, they aren’t a regular person doing an awesome job, they’re an awesome person doing their regular job, which happens to be awesome.  They’ll be awesome at whatever they choose to do! That’s an amazing thing!  And each one of us can help everyone else achieve this state of awesomeness simply by sharing our positive experiences.

This is already longer than I wanted, so I’m going to wrap it up with a task for you.  And here it is:

Each day this week, starting from the moment you read this, I want to you tell someone they did an awesome job, and thank them for it.

I’m not talking about mumbling a “Thank you.”  Make eye contact with the bagger at the grocery store, “Thank you so much for putting the eggs on the top of the bag instead of the bottom.  I really appreciate it.” To the person you pulled behind at the gas station, “Thank you for pulling up enough for me to reach the pump!  I appreciate it.”  And smile.

Always remember to smile.  But that’s a topic for another post.  Go do it.  I think you’ll discover that you not only made their day, but improved yours as well.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

 

Just Another Pain In The Neck

Welp, it’s finally happening. I made it nearly 42 years before I reached this point, but I’m here. Surgery. Doctors are going to take me apart and put me back together again. Huh. I assume they’re going to put me back together again. How would I know? What if they open me up, take me apart, and are like, “Okay, who brought the replacement part? We’re ready for it.” And then they’ll all kinda look at each other, shrug, and just… wander off. It could happen! Look around you, people. This is a weird timeline we’re living in right now. Anything’s possible.

Granted, it more likely they’ll finish the surgery smoothly and that’ll be that, but I’m just saying… weird timeline.

Anyway, if you know me at all, you know I’ve been having a bit of neck pain over the the past 9 months. I say “a bit of neck pain” in the same way one might say the pacific ocean has a bit of water in it. It actually has a lot, in case… ummmm… that’s something you didn’t know for some reason. Which would be weird. I’m not judging. It would be a lot less weird than some of the other stuff I’ve been reading lately.

So back to my pain in the neck.. Surgery is the solution. Hopefully. Already tried medication, rest, physical therapy, and begging for it to go away. No luck. So, surgery! Specifically Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery. Basically what they do is open up my throat, shove all the junk in there off to the side (esophagus, trachea, arteries, etc), rip out one of the discs in my spine (specifically between C5 & C6), grind out some extra bone, screw in a metal spacer, put the rest of my throat back and stitch me up. Done and done.

I wonder if I can keep the disc they’re removing? My wife doesn’t think so. That seems unfair. It IS mine, after all. Really, it’s more mine than almost anything else. Literally a part of me. Had it my whole life. I’m kinda sad to see it go. We’ve had some good times, that disc and I. Ah well.

I also wonder if I should record it? Set up a camera in the corner? It might be interesting to see what the inside of my neck and spine look like, right? Probably gross, but still… a learning experience.

It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m not entirely positive any of this rambling makes sense. There’s a good chance it doesn’t. I was watching Flight of the Conchords while typing, so… distracted. However, if you’ve made it this far I guess it’s good enough.

To sum up: First surgery – slit throat and spine removal. Pretty standard really. Souvenir unlikely.

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

-Humble Dave