A Three Cliché Dream

My subconscious and its dream offerings gave me a laugh this morning. As I emptied the dishwasher, I thought about them, and realized three things emerged from the dreams.

  1. I’m carrying baggage from my broken arm.
  2. I’m starting anew again.
  3. I need to clean out the cobwebs.

Clichés, am I right? Here’s how it unfolded.

In the beginning… I was preparing to travel. I had a large gray garment bag, which was a problem because there was a small car, being shared with others. I can fold my bag, I thought. But I couldn’t, because…my arm.

Yes, dream logic. It made sense in the dream. Perhaps I’ve lost grasp of some details that made the logic fit. In the dream, though, I thought, yes, I can fold the bag if I can protect my arm. From somewhere (the air?) I found a coil of clear, semi-rigid plastic. I could wrap that around my arm and protect it.

It took a few tries with the coil, but it was finally done. I folded my bag and put it into the back of the hatchback, off we went. Stops ensued. More people joined us. Some left us. I didn’t know any of them. We were just travelers going a common way.

My bag again became an issue. An older woman was trying to fit luggage into the car. My bag dominated. Everything else couldn’t. I told her, “No, just fold it in half.” She wouldn’t. I again went through finding the clear plastic coil, putting it over my arm, covering my arm to my elbow over my shirt, and then folding the bag in half.

I was now at work. I was the new man, not certain of where to sit or my role. But they were expecting me. I was warmly greeted. A boss (a white male) came by to show me where to sit but then was vague on what I was to do. It was something about writing on a computer. We seemed to be a sort of publishing organization.

I went off, doing dream things. When I came back, my stuff was moved. Minor annoyed (and worried, because maybe this was a sign that hiring me was a mistake), I found my stuff, then sought the boss, looking for an assignment. “Just type,” he told me. “Just write.”

About what? I asked back, but he waved me away and went off to do other things. I wandered, asking others what they’re working on but everyone was busy typing. I returned to my desk.

Everything was moved again. That worried me anew. An assistant came by. “Oh, you’re over here, now. We put you over here with like people.”

Following her, I grumbled, “Really? I’ve been moved three times? I haven’t even be here that long.” She laughed. “But three times is a charm, isn’t it?” Then she showed me my new space. It was much larger, cleaner, and…well, newer, than the other places. Not that they’d been bad, but this was a huge improvement.

Pleased, I sat down. My co-workers greeted me, which is where that segment ended.

I was next at another work office. As part of our routine, we were to play at mock fencing. That’s about the only way I can summarize it. I understood it in the dream — it was a long-standing tradition — but outside of the dream context, it makes little sense. I was searching for the right weapon to use in a duel. Pointed sticks were available, but I thought that would hurt others. I tried fashioning a foil out of tin, but it was flimsy and failed. Someone suggested I use a pencil. I wouldn’t, as I worried about lead breaking off under someone’s skin.

The boss (a white woman) needed to leave for an appointment. She had clients with her. I wanted to duel her. She was willing but we couldn’t find suitable weapons, and the clients were there. I began helping her with the clients, just retrieving stuff as she called it out. During this process, I came across areas thick with spider webs and cobwebs. As clients were there, I surreptitiously cleaned them up. Looking more sharply, I realized that such webs were all over the place. I decided, as soon as the clients leave, I was going around and cleaning them all away.

The end.

Saturday Strings

Haven’t mentioned a few things (skunk, arm, Fitbit) in a while. Being egocentric, I thought I would today.

  1. Oh, the skunk. She (my wife is certain it’s a female) has gained the upper hand on we puny humans. She thumps the board aside (I keep it there so I know she’s coming and going) and does her business.
  2. Last night, however, came turmoil under the house. Thump, thump, at first, rousing me from my television viewing. My wife had retired to bed. The cats were slumbering in preparation for their three A.M. rounds. I was watching “The Expanse” (the UN has just declared war on Mars and the Roci is heading to Io). The thump was singular and distant at first, causing me a “WTF, did-I-really-hear-something” pause. The show was stopped and I listened, counting cats (two were with me) when I did. Yep, the thumps repeated, more numerous and louder. Pushing the cat off my lap (he was listening, too), I leaped up, checked on the third cat (Papi, sleeping in the living room), and traced the sound. Finding its general area, I began thumping around in retaliation.
  3. The thumping underfoot increased in volume and frequency. My wife called, “Are you hearing this, too?” Uh, yeah. The sounds from beneath gravitated toward the front. Grabbing the flashlight, I turned on the front lights and headed outside.
  4. I arrived just in time to see the skunk exit the crawl space and bolt down the sidewalk, down the driveway, and across the street. Its perfume filled the air.
  5. Returning inside, I learned, we’ve been gassed. I reported my findings to my wife. The smell was mostly gone this morning, probably aided when the furnace kicked on and circulated the air. (The garage, though…you can spoon it out like Jello in there.) (Skunk Jello; that’s a thought.) As to what happened…it’s another of nature’s mysteries. I put the board back up this morning.
  6. My broken arm’s recovery continues. Rotation, flexibility, strength, and dexterity improves by day. I can now use ten pound weights to restore my arm and shoulder strength. I try twelves, but my wrist barks with sharp pains, so I cease. It’ll come. Persistence and perseverance. Raising my arm over my head (to put on a shirt, for example) taxes my shoulder. Yeah, working on it.
  7. Can’t do any pushups or chair-dips with my arm/wrist, though. Well, I can do modified pushups, where I’m on my knees. I can plank, and that’s up to three minutes a night.
  8. Meanwhile, Fitbit has congratulated me on hitting my distance goals every day for seventy-eight continuous days. My daily average is twelve miles a day. Although that pleases me, it comes with caveats. I only seriously walk outside three or four days a week, heading up the hills around my house, typically for one to three miles. Most of my daily stuff is derived from running around the house or jogging in place. I have several routes in the house, doing figure eights around the dining and living rooms. I’d like to walk outside more, but darkness comes early, and it’s wet and chilly, and I’m essentially a cream puff. I’ve considered walking in the morning or early afternoon, but that interferes with writing and housework. Priorities, don’t you know.

That’s all that’s fit to print. The cats (Boo, Tucker, and Papi) are all healthy and doing well. Tucker has said no to going outside, which is fine by me. Boo likes to go out in the morning and evening to do his business, but those turns are getting shorter quick. He resorted to the litter box last night. (Um, yea?) Papi, though, is a youngblood, and must roam the night. As its cold, his outside visits are getting shorter, but then, he’s bored, and wants to go out (or have me stay up and play with him, which ain’t gonna happen). Can’t wait till he matures enough to stay inside more.

Hope your life is going well. Take care.

Cheers

Closure

First, a commercial interlude. I’ve been watching Hulu late at night, streaming Fargo. Interesting commercials come on, then. One of them is about Peyronie’s Disease. In the commercial, men are holding up carrots, bananas, and cucumbers. The fruit and vegetables look straight, but the men then turn them to reveal sharp curves. A voiceover says something like, “Does your erection have an unusual curve or bump that it didn’t use to have? Your erections shouldn’t hurt.”

It’s eye-opening.

I never thought about what my erection looked like. Naturally, this commercial made me wonder. Also, my erections never hurt. It’s scary, though. Nothing is safe.

The things I learn from commercials. Maybe I should watch less television. (Sure, that’s the answer.) I pulled out my computer (did you think I was going to put another noun there?) and googled PD to confirm it existed.

It does.

Okay, on to the main event.

I’m a Do-It-Yourselfer.

I’m not a very good one.

Whether it’s writing a computer program or a novel, fixing a car or a wall, painting a house or building a computer — which are things I’ve done — I usually achieve decent results, but it’s a messy process.

I have a few reasons that I think is behind all this.

  1. I’m self taught, but I’m not a very good teacher.
  2. I’m an impatient person.
  3. Whenever I asked for help as a child, Mom told me, “Figure it out.” Like most moms, she thought I was smarter and more capable than I really am. I started believing her.

I was painting our kitchen when I broke my arm in July. Painting the kitchen can be violent, can’t it? What transpired is that our kitchen window is five feet wide and four feet tall. The window looks over the front proch.

A blind was installed for privacy, light, and all that. The blind is one of those that can be pulled up by a cord on one end, or let down by a different cord on the other end. I think the official name is something screwy, like two-way blinds. I don’t know. Look it up.

The thing is, when I re-installed the blinds with my wife’s help after painting the kitchen, one end didn’t get correctly placed in the bracket. Whenever you pulled the cord to raise and lower the blind on that end, the blind bent down. That irritated me. Thus, “I will fix!” I decided.

Climbing onto the counter, I removed the blind and discovered that the brackets weren’t properly aligned. Easy fix, yah? Off I went for the appropriate screw driver to loosen and adjust the brackets. Except, I couldn’t turn the damn screws. They…WOULD…NOT…TURN. But I’d reinstalled the brackets. If I screwed them in, I should be strong enough to screw them out.

Damn it. With rising irritation, I turned to jump down off the counter to get a better tool. When I did, I caught my foot on the counter, setting into motion the awkward crash that broke the bones in my arm and twisted my hand up against my arm, sandwiching it between arm and body.

After that it was pain, hospital, splint, recovering, therapy…

Here we are, three months later. That damn blind was still down. It was driving me crazy.

My wife and I had talked about asking someone to put it up or hiring someone. Neither had happened. She was out yesterday, socially responsibly visiting friends (masks-distance-outside on a private deck). I walked into the kitchen and saw that big window and the brackets where the blind should be installed.

Time to fix it, I decided.

First, a pep talk.

One, I had to be careful. If I fell and hurt myself, I should just face up to it and end my life, because my wife would probably end it for me.

Two, I had to be careful, because I didn’t want to get hurt. I was nervous, which didn’t help, because…what if I fell? I’d never live it down. (I imagined going to the Emergency Room. “You again?” they would exclaim. “What did you do THIS time?” It’s weird that I imagined that. I’ve only been there once in the fifteen years that we’ve lived here.)

So, I told myself, BE CAREFUL. Take your time. Stay in the moment. FOCUS, fool.

I did. The brackets were adjusted and the blind reinstalled. It took about fifteen minutes.

I showed it to my wife when she returned home.

“How did you do that?” she asked.

“Just put on my splint, got the tools, climbed up there and did it.”

“Did you use a chair to get up and down?”

“Of course. I’m a professional.”

“Were you nervous?”

I smiled. “What do you think?”

It was very satisfying to fix the blind. I believe they call it closure.

Tuesday Tangents

  1. Happy first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere, and the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere. I’m making assumptions that the world agrees that the autumnal/vernal equinoxes are today. It’s a big assumption.
  2. After checking my facts, it seems the world is celebrating the first day of autumn but the equinox doesn’t happen until the 23rd, according to some sources. Also, not all countries, regions, and religions celebrate this day as the autumnal/vernal equinox.
  3. Hard to celebrate the change of seasons when so many are displaced by storms, wars, and wildfires, and we’re enduring global pandemic. The human side of the world seems like it’s in bad shape. Doesn’t look like it’ll be getting better soon.
  4. I’m a guy who rarely looks for home runs (but, as Steve Winwood sang, “While you see a chance, you take it”). I usually operate as a small steps person, constantly striving for improvements, and always looking for ways to measure them. Some measurements are more difficult to do than others because the increments are so damn small and backsliding is easy, especially if it involves comfort levels and habits.
  5. Fitbit makes measuring some things pretty easy. I hit 30,000 steps Sunday, which pleased me. My 28 day average is 11.18 miles, but much of this is in place, in which I run around the inside of the house. Couldn’t go out because of the smoke. I haven’t been below ten miles since August 24th, when I dipped to eight.
  6. Not much in streaming grabs me. Currently watching “No Activity”, which is a little uneven. Looking forward to Enola on Netflix, but it’s a movie, so it’ll just divert and entertain for one night. Had been watching “Beforeigners” in Dutch, which was very entertaining. It’s science fiction and police show in one. I recommend it. Love the premise and the characters. Before that, I watched “Mr Inbetween”, which featured another set of intriguing characters, and “Vera”, and re-watched old favorites, “QI”, “Would I Lie to You”, “Episodes” and “Travelers”. Tried “Perry Mason” but was not thrilled by this re-interpretation of that character and time.
  7. Just beginning to read “Red Rising”. My wife devoured it and recommended it to me. It’s a library borrow.
  8. Saw the doc yesterday for the arm, probably for the last time. I haven’t been going to therapy, as it was proposed. I referred to Doctor Internet and her assistant, Nurse Youtube. My arm is making progress. I exercise and massage my fingers, hand, wrist, and arm regularly. Improvement is measured by what I can pick up (like the water pitcher, and pouring water out of it), being able to type (better and better) again, doing buttons, and you know, regular stuff. I look forward to when I can clip my nails properly. That’s the true test of improvement. Right now, it’s still beyond my strength and coordination.
  9. The healing process fascinates me. I can feel changes take place. One of the more interesting ones was the nerves in my fingers. Everything felt rough to them for several days until they again acclimated (not sure that’s the right word) and the nerves were mended and sensitized to being used again.
  10. Our local fires are out, but several remain burning in the county, in other parts of the state, and California. I check them each day for containment, size, and developments. It’s depressing.
  11. We had a great weekend of air quality. That lifted our spirits. Yesterday morning started well, at forty eight. But, the sun began developing a reddish tint on the ground. The mountains faded from sight behind a curtain of smoke and haze. We progress to moderate by noon to unhealthy and one sixty in the afternoon. Today, we began at fifty-six, moderate.
  12. We’ve been searching online for new places to live. The eastern U.S. is calling. Yeah, the annual adventures in droughts, water restrictions, wildfires and smoke is wearing thin. We’re considering places in Ohio and western PA. A friend suggested Asheville, NC. We’d looked at it before and rejected it. Perhaps we’ll reconsider it, but on the whole, we’re dismayed by many of the political decisions made in the southern United States and their general philosophy.
  13. Writing is writing. I can defend that tautology by saying, it’s a challenge, slower than I like, but always engaging and ultimately rewarding. Now, got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Monday Muddlings

  1. It’s day six since the Almeda Fire started. We last left the house on errands (other than stepping out to look at the sky and yard) last Thursday.
  2. One cat was sitting on the floor. Another one came around the corner, encountering the first. Both released a startled, “Meow!” We thought that was so funny. I think maybe we’ve been locked up in the house too long.
  3. Looking back to March. COVID-19 struck. Stay in the house, we’re warned. Then, wear a mask. Businesses shut down. Eventually, we made progress about what should and shouldn’t be done. Businesses opened and set up to accommodate new guidelines to help flatten the curve. Summer arrives. We’re warned to curtail outdoor activities due to extreme temperatures. Wildfires spread up and down along the west coast. We’re warned to stay inside because of unhealthy air. The Almeda Fire starts in our town and rips north and west, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses within twelve hours. We’re warned to stay inside because of hazardous air.
  4. Meanwhile, we monitor hurricanes and cyclones, melting ice caps, rain and flooding in other places.
  5. It’s been a tense and stressful six months.
  6. With all that’s happened in the world, and the things we’ve survived, we’re still among the more fortunate.
  7. Took the trash out last night. The smoke’s smell seemed less offensive and irritating. Am I developing a tolerance to the stench, or is it finally starting to leave our valley? Naturally I check purpleair.com. Eureka! One monitor reports we’re down to two hundred in one part of town and below four hundred. If we can lop off two hundred more, the air will be just ‘unhealthy’.
  8. My broken arm and hand’s swelling has finally significantly decreased. I can make a fist with little pain and tightness. Hurrah for progress!
  9. Writing isn’t going well. I’m an info junkie, hunting a fix, and vetting what I learn. I keep letting myself off the hook. Where the hell is my discipline? Going to go get some coffee, and you know…try to write like crazy, at least one more time.

The September Arm Update

I broke my left arm on July 7, 2020. Both the ulna and radius (distal ends) were broken by the wrist. The ulna had mild displacement but the radius was all the way across my arm, with the tip threatening to break out of my skin on the outside of the ulna. Looking back, my hand and fingers had also been crushed under my weight as I fell. I couldn’t bend or straighten my fingers or thumb for the first several days. Now I’m working to get it all back.

I wore a splint for six weeks. Film showed healing and no movement so I was given a removable splint. I wore it for most of the first two days. Swelling was heavy, as was inflammation. I try to avoid drugs but ended up using Ibuprofen, per my ortho’s recommendation.

I haven’t seen him since my first two appointments. I’ve been turned over to a young PA. I’m not concerned; I think it’s better that my condition is good enough that I don’t need the top person’s attention, thanks. But his wife, our friend, says I should insist on seeing her husband. Her approach makes me smile.

Progress is evident, with victory celebrated by little things. I can now type with both hands. My left hand is again effective for scratching an itchy spot on my right side. I can hold a glass or mug full of water or coffee and drink from it using my left hand, and I can open the microwave, oven, and refrigerator doors with it. House door handles remain a challenge. I can’t rotate my wrist enough.

I’m seeing progress with rotation, with less pain and stiffness everyday. Bending the wrist forward and back is a problem. I’m working on it.

I began working out with two pound weights a few day ago. My elbow and shoulder movement and strength are improving by the day. Last night, I used five pound weights. Eight curls, although not to full extension or contraction, were achieved. Eight pound weights were tried, with some success but a great deal of tremors, pain, and discomfort.

It’s all coming together, though. I consider myself fortunate. I had good medical care and insurance, and could pay for whatever I needed, and my genes seem pretty good in this regard. Many in this world aren’t as lucky.

Thanks for reading. Cheers

Broken Memories

Having this broken arm stirred memories and prompted realizations.

  1. My broken wrist, broken neck, and this broken arm, my only three breaks, involved the summer months. I wore the halo from June through August (yeah, in the Okinawa humidity — we lived off base and didn’t have A/C) and had the wrist pins and cast July and August (central Germany).
  2. Worst thing about the halo was that I dislodged it. I’d talked everyone into letting me return to work. Yes, I was clever, charming, and quick back then, a deadly combo. Barely at work for an hour, I sat down in a chair, leaned back, and flipped over. The halo held my head immobile with four screws. I’d managed to knock my head out of them. Blood everywhere. This was about eleven at night, the mid shift. Commander, paramedics, ambulance all arrive. My CC and the paramedics enter an argument; my CC wants to ride with me. They wouldn’t let him.
  3. After that night, wife, friends, boss, doc. were all of the opinion that I should just stay home.
  4. When my halo was removed, my head felt weirdly light. (Guess I was light headed…) My wife and friends said my head would start bobbing during the first few days. They worked hard not to laugh. I never noticed it.
  5. My CC then, Col. Mike Kerr, was one of my favorite commanders, but I was fortunate to have several good ones. He’d had twenty-four staples in his skull. This all happened in the Vietnam era. He was a forward ground controller, but had additional duties on base. There’d been a mortar attack. His job was to go out, find unexploded ordinance, mark it, and call it in. The enemy knew this routine, so they put snipers in trees just outside the base. One was shooting at Kerr, so Kerr hunted him down. Hand to hand combat ensued. Kerr received his injuries.
  6. My splint is off. My arm has shrunk. Dry skin and wrinkles abound. I’m wearing a removable wrist brace. Elbow movement is very good but hand, wrist, and fingers need work. The healing continues.

I believe I posted most of this stuff before.

Hope you’re all surviving and thriving, wherever you are. Wear your damn mask, please.

Monday Mix

  1. Poor air quality today. Only a fool doesn’t pause to think, “But we’re not on fire. We’re not evacuating.” Even agnostic me thinks, “Come on, whatever power there is – God, Jehovah, Allah, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Universe. Help California.”
  2. The list of places, people, and animals requiring help continues to grow. Just a few short months ago, we held our breath as Australia burned. Now 77 fires in fifteen states are burning. California has lost 1,000,000 acres. Read of the sad situation on CNN.
  3. Need to indulge in a somber moment of reflection after reading that.
  4. Boy, there are so many good reads out. Masked and walking downtown (after picking up library books), we arrived at an Ashland book store, Bloomsbury, and ogled the window display and the plethora of offerings. It’s a sigh moment. I want to read more but I also want to write more. Doing more of either encourages more of both. It’s a vicious and delicious damn cycle.
  5. Being downtown on Saturday did nothing to assuage our rona worries. Town was very busy. Signs requiring masks while downtown were frequent and prominent. There wasn’t any enforcement, so groups of the great unmasked were regularly encountered. Not a surprise, given that 57% of Republicans think the current level of death from COVID-19 in the U.S. — almost 180,000 people in five months — is acceptable.
  6. Still not much better as a one-handed typist. Type a sentence, and then go back and fix all the typos. Going to the doc for a follow up. Fingers crossed (on right hand; that remains impossible on the left). He told me last time that could probably fit a removable splint today. Like I say, fingers crossed.
  7. Time to leave for the doc, so later, gator.

So, the Arm

Returned to the doc today but I’m in the same splint. Sayeth the doc, “You were so close to requiring surgery. If your injury moved, you were just that close. It’s healing well, and the film looks good, but we don’t want to risk anything moving if we can avoid that risk.”

So, okay. Go back in two weeks. I feel it healing and improving daily. I know I’m doing well because I’m antsy to get on with rehab.

Onward.

Thursday’s Tiny Tidbits

Is it redundant to say tiny tidbits? Are not tidbits tiny by definition?

There’s a bit of whinging in this week’s short stuff, because I, an American white male, am a champion first-world complainer, often suffering first world blues much like “The Princess and the Pea”. I play the princess (call me Princess M, please) and the pea is anything from entertainment offerings, food prices, and net speeds to ‘things I can’t do well with my broken arm’.

I think I’ll start there.

  1. Typing. Buttons. Holding things with my left hand. Showering. Washing my hair. Putting on deodorant. Opening cat food tins. Opening ziplock type bags. Tearing toilet paper. These have all been challenges with my left arm in a splint and sling. Went back and read the ER report from that night. I’d overlooked the damages noted to my elbow, wrist, and fingers. I thought it was just the broken radius and broken and displaced ulna, but there was more. That more explains the struggles. All getting better, though. Give it time, right? It’ll be a month tomorrow.
  2. One-handed typing slows my novel writing. I depend on muscle memory and typing proficiency to expedite learning the tale and telling the story. Using one hand requires more thought, which disrupts the writing flow. Progress is tedious. I shoot for a thousand words a day (yeah word count as a metric, carrot, and stick) but I’m usually lucky to achieve five hundred.
  3. Other things: one, food prices. They’re rising fast now. Experts are making dire predictions about shortages, food insecurity, and distribution chain issues next year. Like, brace yourself.
  4. Example of food prices rising. Went on a groc shop today. Twelve items. One bag, mostly fresh produce: $42. Passed on a pint of mission figs for $12.99, and a half pint of blackberries for $4.99.
  5. The stock market isn’t moored in reality. It certainly isn’t ‘the economy’. One, most stocks are international businesses, reflecting global activity. Two, the wealthiest individuals own most of the stock. As an example, I own stocks, and also have some in IRAs and a 401k. Because of that, I’m worth a chunk more on paper.
  6. Running short of entertainment offerings. Basically have been rationing season two of “The Umbrella Academy” while working through “The Last Dance” and other documentaries and filling up on Brit faves “Would I Lie to You” and “QI” (with that rand Scandi Sandi and Alan Davis), and “The Kominsky Method“. Have just discovered the “Russo Bros. Pizza Film School“, which I’ll start watching tonight. Last week brought an unexpected “Red Dwarf” treat in a new episode.
  7. “Red Dwarf” remains unabashedly silly and illogical after all these years. Love it.
  8. Excitement on the streaming front. “Hitmen” with Sue and Mel on Peacock is coming. (If you asked, “Sue and Mel?”, it’s probably not your cuppa.) New Frost and Pegg series on Amazon Prime, “Truth Seekers”, is coming…someday. The second year of “The Boys” is finally arriving Sept. 4, so I’ll start watching season one again.
  9. Saying the long good-bye to a friend. Brain tumor. He’s trying to hang on to vote for Biden and have one final Thanksgiving with his family. Eighty-eight and an accomplished physicist, he’ll be the one to tell you he’s had a good life, but he had a lot more to do. He’s the third friend lost to brain cancer/tumor in the last few years.

Tell me about your world – books, streaming, writing in progress. What’re you watching? Eat anything interesting lately? “Red Dwarf”: for or against?

Got my coffee. Time to do me best to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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