A Twist Of Fate
September, 2010 Entries
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(09/26/10 - 10:27 PM)
It's been a rough week, so you're getting another long entry.

Went back to work this week, and after two trying days, I managed to settle into a tolerable groove. My employees all treated me like a kid who just had his tonsils out (in a good way) and their concern for me was really touching. I never expected it, but shame on me for not having done.

Wanda ended up winning the lawn-mowing battle, and did it on Friday night after I realized that the matter was no longer up for discussion with her. I felt awful, but her willingness to take up the slack was really nice.

Played with the new laptop some this week. Spent the first night tweaking it twelve ways from Sunday, and empowering it with all the freeware I will probably ever need, which took some time.

Reconnected with a few new old friends on FaceBook this week, and it still amazes me how many people had a piece of your life that you remember fondly that you can now re-discover and learn more about in a matter of minutes.

Finished the Miracles series on DVD, and wasn't surprised it didn't get picked up for a second season. It never felt like it hit any cohesive stride, and thereby made it an easy cast-off.

Also finished the When They Cry anime series. Glad that one is over. It - of all that we have seen - felt so hard to follow as to be nearly unwatchable. The timelines were all segmented and each cluster of episodes showed a different one, making it REALLY hard to follow.

Upon review, it appears that this was intentional, as the original Manga and subsequent Game that the show was based on was a sort of whodunit choose-your-own adventure. So, it appears as though the story arcs were all meant as possible scenarios, rather than one cohesive show. Now I learn this. I could have saved myself a ton of speculation, had I known this earlier.

Live and learn.

My back and leg are still sore as all get-out, and my doctor has refused to re-medicate me, but he's also refused to get back to me on what in the hell I'm supposed to do to remain functional.

I called his office twice, and neither time got a straight answer from his nurse. It's a little disappointing, but I can take the hint: He thinks I'm fine, and I should just tough it out.

Whatever: We'll see.

I'm also announcing the return of the mp3 playlist option on my main page this week. I've finally gotten around to setting up WinAmp for Windows 7, so we'll see how it goes. I still haven't been able to get it to ignore the duplicate entries, and I'm not picking them out just yet because... well... I'm lazy.

(09/19/10 - 9:36 PM)
Been gone for a while, so here goes a long entry.

Last Tuesday, my back was sore. It happens every now and then, so I didn't worry too much about it. By Friday, it was feeling a little better, so I did a few things around the house.

Saturday morning, it was the worst it's ever been, and for the first time in my life, my feet went right out from under me while attempting to motate up some stairs.

After some contemplation of the pain, and the realization that the doctors probably had better stuff to combat this than I did, I elected to go to the immediate care clinic.

The doctor looked me over, and said it was just a muscle spasm - no big deal. He prescribed some meds, and I was on my way.

I called back in the evening, citing the fact that it was getting worse, and that the meds were helping no one but big Pharma in receiving a few more dollars.

His solution? Double up on them.

So, I did.

The next day I called again, and let him know that it still wasn't working, and that I had taken over twenty minutes to get out of bed from my nap last night, followed by falling on my face that morning, and taking over 20 minutes to finally get back up.

At this juncture, he referred me to my general practitioner. My GP had his nurse call back, and scheduled me - sight unseen - for physical therapy.

I figured they're doctors, and this is what they do, and I hate when people second guess me, so I rolled with it.

I went to the PT, and he couldn't find a problem. What he did find (even after I warned him time and again) was that getting a 280 pound guy off of his back would take more than ten minutes, loud and prolonged shrieking, and one f-bomb that slipped out.

He told me that my pain was so severe, and so localized that he could do nothing for me, and referred me to my GP again. Who - oh, by the way - was off for the day, so I could see him tomorrow. Super!

I phoned my Dad, and he graciously agreed to take me, as at this point I was in no shape to do anything, and he's big enough to move me if need arose.

My GP took a look at me, and decided that the original doctor had prescribed the wrong meds for the wrong problem. I was subsequently given a shot in the butt (which I had no idea they still did), a new cadre of pills and was sent on my merry way.

Within the first four hours, I realized that something had definately changed for the better.

I ended up missing an entire week of work (one more vacation blown!), but did end up working for more than a full work day at home doing quoting and order preparation and notation.

My staff all pulled together, and pulled a decent week out without me, which made me very happy. I knew they had it in them.

So, I couldn't really blog this past week as the office chair I have to sit in at home was not one of the three I could comfortably navigate with my condition being what it was. Plus, I'm still terrible on a laptop. Even now as I write this, I need to get up soon, as the old back is tightening up nicely.

I actually look forward to returning to work tomorrow, and can't wait to do something other than sitting in one position, getting up only to pee, all day.

Although, Wanda's laptop in combination with our dual-band, high-speed router and my massive media library made for some great on-demand entertainment. Mostly, I just started an episode of something and then fell asleep for hours on end due to the meds.

I did decide on a whim to order my own laptop, however, after witnessing the wireless power and versatility of the one I purchased for Wanda a few months back. I even sprung for the high-end Wi-Fi card because it was just awesome what that thing did.

So, I hope this is all behind me now, but I know full well that it isn't. I was also amazed at all the great advice from my friends, and I can't thank them enough for their support and kindness. Especially Beaker and Coreen - you two rock. Not that everyone else didn't. Big smooches to the rest of you as well.

(09/14/10 - 8:24 PM)
Oh, Mr. Phillips Screwdriver, you continue to amaze!

This promises to be the best story yet - hands down. Ready?

My employer and his wife have, in recent years, begun preparing for their retirement by purchasing property in the Phelps area of Wisconsin. They began with a house and cabin, followed by another pair of cabins, and recently acquired some more cabins. What they do is purchase run down properties on prime land and then, with the assistance of their highly-skilled families, fix them up so as to be modern and nearly unrecognizable from the shells of their former selves.

It takes a TON of sweat equity, but it's becoming more worthwhile as the years progress.

This past weekend, my employer had privately invited two of our employees up to go fishing, as it's something they all enjoy and have in common. It's not that he didn't mind if anyone else came, but these guys have been with us a long time, and they have something of a fishing bond. If that doesn't explain it, then just ignore it and move on with the story.

So, it's a lovely morning. The gang is up and about, with the exception of one of my fellow employees. Suddenly, a car pulls in the drive. My employer's family (who are also staying in the large facility) comment, and ask if anyone is expected.

My employer recognizes the vehicle, but can't quite wrap his head around what he's seeing. Within moments, Mr. & Mrs. Phillips Screwdriver eject from the vehicle, and make their way over to say their hello's to the now dumb-struck group.

Then he asks, "So, have you got a place for us to stay?"

And believe me - he's not asking for a rental.

My employer - ever the Christian accomodator says sure, there's always room for one more.

My other co-worker now awakens to my employer grinning at him. When he asks what's up, my employer casually mentions that he will be sharing his living quarters with two other friends for the evening, and my co-worker says no problem - there's plenty of room. Then he sees outside who is being spoken about.

As the day progresses, my employer casually asks how long these new arrivals will be staying. It turns out, about five days.

They meander into their new quarters with two five-gallon buckets. My co-worker, curious as anyone would be, asks what's in them.

One, he is told, holds some odds and ends. The other, holds some walleye that they had caught somewhere. He inquires about the walleye, and learns that they are 4" below legal size, but Mr. P.S. just shrugs it off and laughs.

This is kind of a big deal to anyone who understands fishing etiquette, not to mention a violation of state and local laws.

Plus there is a clear and present posting forbidding fish in the cabins for various - and obvious - reasons.

So, the evening wears on, and in the morning, Mr. P.S. and wife disappear in their car.

After two days, they still have not returned, and now my employer has another problem. They had said they would be staying five days, but he has to leave, and to do so he has to lock up the cabins. He has no notion if they're returning or not, so he makes the decision to lock them up anyway.

I just can't believe what kinds of crazy can transpire when this man is involved. I truly can't.

(09/04/10 - 9:36 PM)
Had an amazingly productive day with my wife. She cleaned this morning, while I worked on the media library. Then we went outside in the sunny, brisk morning and got our own deck stained. It looks brand new (again) and just goes to show that if you build something right, and then proceed to take care of it, it truly can last.

We got cleaned up, and made our way to her brother's new home in Pecatonica. It's a major work in progress, but it has a great deal of potential. If only he can muster the energy to continue tackling such a monumental task. If anyone is up to the challenge, I know it's him. I just know that I couldn't handle it, especially with three children around, all doing what children do, and working on the car and the lawnmower in his 'spare' time.

On the way home we stopped and picked up a few essentials at the store, and then headed to DiGiovanni's for dinner. Dinner there, as always, was phenomenal. Our waitress, not so much.

Came home and watched a classic John Candy film, "The Great Outdoors". While certainly not his best work (nor John Hughes', for that matter) it was still funny, and neither of us had seen it in ages.

All in all, a great and productive day.

(09/03/10 - 6:24 PM)
Slow day at work today, but we did land a few nice orders.

Received my limited-edition copy of Terry Pratchett's latest, "I Shall Wear Midnight" that I had to pre-order from Amazon.UK, and a book that doesn't even release here in The States until September 28th. Woot!

Ironically, I didn't even know there was to be a special edition, until I 'liked' Terry on FaceBook, where the news was one of the first postings I saw. Which, in the end, was a pretty sweet deal.

(09/02/10 - 8:02 PM)
Mr. Jim Thompson's review of my book was indeed published in this month's edition of The Lawyer. I can't thank him enough for the spontaneous volunteering of such kindness.

Read The Review Here!

(09/01/10 - 6:24 PM)
These gems comes via FaceBook from my friends Nick and Melisa, respectively. And - fair warning - the first one is not G-rated:

"Stripper told me 'Sorry I'm not squeezing my tits in your face much. I just had a kid and don't want to squirt you in the eye with milk.' in the middle of my lap dance"

"I leave you this Friday with a Shawnism for today: 'Mom, do you want to hear my impression of Yoda?'

'Sure Shawn, I would love to hear your impression of Yoda.'

'A poop I must take bwaaaahahahah'

And off to the bathroom he went.

Thanks you two: Those were priceless. I have some classy, classy friends.

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