Monday, February 23, 2009


Going to work all week was pretty exhausting, particularly the commute, even though I tried to go at slightly off-peak times. For most of the week, once I got home I installed myself on the couch and didn't move much until I went upstairs to take a bath and go to bed. After work on Friday, I went and had dinner at Chuy's. I chatted a bit with the woman sitting next to me, largely focused on my leg. I went home, watched Friday Night Lights and Battlestar Galactica, then went to bed.
I took some tentative first steps on Saturday around the house. I haven't been back to my doctor yet to be officially cleared to do so, but I felt the leg was ready and I've been itching to get back on it. The walking worked out okay, as long as I used my leg like it was a peg leg and didn't put much pressure on the foot. I'm sticking with the crutches for now outside of the house and on the stairs. Around 1 I finally left the house to have lunch at Uncle Billy's. I sat out on their deck for a good while reading the paper and drinking beer. I left there about 3 and went and sat on a bench along the hike-and-bike trail and continued reading the paper, enjoying the beautiful sunny day. I then went to the Alamo Ritz for what was apparently the only preview screening of Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder anywhere. I liked it about the same as their previous "movie," except that the guy sitting next to me had kind of an annoying laugh. From there, I went to the Texican and had dinner with Jimmy, Rene and Dave. I wasn't particularly hungry, so I got a tortilla soup, but it was pretty enormous and I was completely stuffed afterward. I went home about 8 and crashed out on the couch.
I didn't leave the house at all on Sunday, except to get my newspaper from the driveway. I was feeling like doing something productive, but didn't manage to do anything. I did hit upon the idea of posting a picture of a collage I've had sitting in my office for a while now. The collage was made for my fifth grade teacher of all the students that year because she was retiring. The reason I have it is because she lived down the street from my parents, and her son gave it to them when she was moved to a nursing home. I posted the picture on Facebook and got quite a response, since so many of the people are friends. One friend is apparently friends with a few more people than I was, so he tagged them, and now they're my friends too. It sparked a pretty good discussion reminiscing about that class.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Crippled Again

I slept terribly on Thursday night. I was anxious and worried about oversleeping as ever. I woke up at least 4 times between when I finally got to sleep around 11 and when my alarm went off at 4:30. I got up, took a shower, grabbed my pre-loaded backpack, skipping breakfast of course, and drove to the hospital. The place was pretty empty at 5am, and I must have been the only one expected at that hour since the receptionist asked if I was Michael. I went over some paperwork, then was taken to pre-op, which was also empty except for the two nurses. After I was in the gown one of the nurses really liked my tattoo (on the surgical leg) and called over the other nurse to check it out. I refused lidocaine for the IV, and the nurse seemed somewhat impressed I didn't flinch when she stuck it in my hand. It was more uncomfortable than when I give blood, especially since she went probing around for a bit before she got it right. I laid there for a while, reading stuff on my phone and the newspaper. More people started coming in after 6, and it got harder to read with all the chatter. Shortly before surgery the anesthesiologist came in. The nurse from my doctor's office I had talked to initially about having the hardware removed said it would be done under local anesthetic, but she was clearly misinformed. So I was a bit confused when the anesthesiologist was talking about general anesthetic like when I had the first surgery. She checked with my doctor, who came in and basically said there's no way I would want to be awake, which was fine with me. Just before they wheeled me to the OR the anesthesiologist gave me something in my IV that I felt immediately. The last thing I remember was going from the gurney to the operating table, and then waking up in the recovery room about 8:20 with a giant bandage on my leg. I was a bit groggy, but that could be explained by the lack of sleep as much as anything else. I asked about getting my hardware, since I'd forgotten to ask beforehand, but they said it was long gone. A nurse helped my into a wheelchair and over to the bathroom, where I changed into my own clothes. When I was done I hopped back into the bed, which had been moved for whatever reason. I was there for almost two hours, reading, coordinating my ride home, and even making a follow-up appointment with my doctor. The nurse offered to get me a drink and was nice enough to get a Dr Pepper from a vending machine. I said I had some pain and she gave me some hydrocodone or something like it that looped me out a bit for most of the rest of the day. The location my bed was moved to was directly across from a special containment room. Earlier in pre-op I had heard one of the most dreaded acronyms in hospitals today- MRSA (drug-resistant staph)- as in someone was coming in with MRSA. While I was laying there in recovery, that person came in and was taken to the room across from me. One of the nurses going in and out expressed less than complete confidence about the anti-proliferation measures in place, which is really reassuring to someone with a major open wound. Around 10 my ride showed up, my doctor came by, and they released me. My doctor said he could see why I wanted the hardware out, because of where it was located and also he said some scar tissue had formed. My coworker's husband drove me home in my car, and we chatted until she picked him up. I spent most of the day watching TV or on my computer. About 7:30 Jimmy and Rene picked me up and we had dinner at Friday's, then dropped me off at home and I went to sleep.
I woke up a couple times in the night because my ankle was uncomfortable. It didn't really hurt, at least not in general, but the incisions with all their staples get pretty uncomfortable when pressure is applied. I didn't really feel sleepy when I woke up at 3, so I started reading, then moved to the computer and then down to the couch, but still wasn't really sleepy, so at 7 I took a bath, played on the computer some more, and finally took a nap on the couch from 9 to 10. About 11 I drove to get lunch at Home Slice. Working the clutch wasn't too bad. Not particularly pleasant, but doable. I got there before they opened at 11:30, so I sat down for a few minutes, then got a seat at the bar and gorged myself on pizza while reading the paper. I drove over to the Harley shop, where I picked up a new medium-weight jacket for 25% off and stuck around for their Valentine's fashion show using actual couples (several of them being friends of mine) as models. I was pretty well exhausted at the end (as well as being tired of explaining what happened to everyone I know) and drove home and vegetated for the rest of the day.
I slept better Saturday night. I still woke up a number of times, but I managed to sleep from 10 until 6. I dozed off a bit watching a DVD listening to the commentary around 10. Since it was nice sunny warm day I decided to go to Shady Grove for lunch. I knew it would be busy, but I wasn't entirely ready to wait an hour for an outside table. I just sat reading the paper while I waited, and by the time I was done with lunch I had read the A section from cover to cover. After lunch I went home and resumed recuperating on the couch.
Monday was pretty gray and cold, and I didn't even go as far as the end of my driveway all day. I watched the last few things left on my DVR and DVDs and played on the computer all day. Jimmy invited me over for dinner, but I wasn't dressed warmly enough to leave the house and I didn't feel like changing, so I just stayed home and had my usual for dinner.
The drive in to work this morning really sucked. I left the house at the usual time, but the traffic was heavier than usual since it was raining. Even shifting into neutral whenever possible, it was pretty unpleasant. As expected I got quite a few more "What happened?" questions from coworkers, at least from the ones I saw on my few journeys out of my office.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Office Space!

Both Thursday and Friday evenings I had dinner with Jimmy and stayed up too late drinking beer. Saturday morning I went back over to his house to help him load up their old washer and dryer and take them over to his daughter's house. I followed him on my Night Train, breathing in his diesel fumes. Her house is down a dicey gravel driveway with lots of golf ball sized rocks. We unloaded the washer and dryer and hooked them up. We did a few odd things around the house, which is in the middle of a complete remodel, and then had lunch in Elgin. I rode to Bastrop State Park and went for a hike, my original plan for the day before Jimmy asked me to give him a hand. Since it was almost 2 o'clock, I only did a ~4 mile hike instead of the 7-miler I would have done if I'd gotten there earlier. The only time I stopped was to take of my jacket, so it only took me about an hour and fifteen minutes. I made a loop and I passed two groups going the opposite direction twice each. It wasn't a difficult hike by any means, there wasn't much elevation change, the hardest part being walking in the soft sand of the trail. I rested and read the paper for a little bit before getting back on the bike and riding home, where I spent the rest of the day watching TV.
I was awakened to a beeping noise at 5am Sunday. I thought it was a smoke detector complaining about a dead battery, but once I got up it turned out to be the UPS on my computer dying. I played on the computer a bit, then shut it down, unplugged everything and went back to bed. I woke up again at 9, read some, got up and had breakfast and finished watching qualifying for the drag race. About 11 I left for a bicycle ride, taking my usual route up Manchaca and Lamar. I took a spin along the hike-and-bike trail, which was fortunately not quite as crowded as the last time I was there. I rode over to the Alamo to see Fanboys. I was worried about it since it had been bashed by most critics, but I really thought it was funny, as did the rest of the theater. I figured that if the movie was just okay, Kristen Bell in the Leia slave costume might make it worth it, but those shots of her were far too brief. I pretty much used the last of my energy riding down Sixth to REI and then down Lamar from there, and it was a struggle to make it all the way home.
After taking a shower and vegetating for a little while I drove downtown for the Office Space 10 Year Anniversary Reunion at the Paramount. I left the house at 7, but once I was downtown I wished I had left earlier. There was already a big crowd and several limousines in front of the theater. After I parked and got over there, I barely got a glimpse of the stars as they were making their way inside. They were taking their time, greeting the crowd, and I managed to get a closer look at some the big name stars in the lobby, most notably Stephen Root, Gary Cole and John C. McGinley. I took my seat, stage left under the balcony, and saw some of the actors who played other roles- Samir, Bob Porter, Lawrence- sitting front and center. I didn't see them until after the movie during the Q&A, but "Extreme Fajitas" Brian, Nina, and Michael Bolton were also there. It was fun to see the movie again, but half the dialog couldn't be heard over the laughter and cheers when the actors in attendance first appeared onscreen. I tried to resist, but there were a few lines I couldn't keep myself from saying along with (or right before) the actor onscreen. It was quite lively and clearly the room was full of fans, although I did overhear someone say beforehand that it would be the second time he'd seen it. There was supposed to be a short from Mike Judge's upcoming film, but technical difficulties prevented them from playing it before the feature, and I guess they didn't get it sorted out to show it afterward. Henri from the Alamo hosted the Q&A right after the movie. He started with some written questions, but almost immediately threw it out to the audience to shout out questions. Mike did most of the talking, with John and Stephen throwing in a little color. Some of the things I learned were that TPS originally comes from "Test Pattern Set" from Mike's days in engineering, and that the lines "Samir Naga-, Naga-, Not-Gonna-Work-Here-Any-More" and Lawrence pulling a bottle opener out of his pocket in Peter's apartment were ad-libs. They ended by going down the line with a question about what sorts of things seeing the movie again brought up.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Superb Owl

After work on Friday I exercised in the stairs, then went and got an overdue haircut. I went home, took a shower, and then decided to go out for dinner. I didn't feel like going far and also wanted something different, so I went somewhere I'd never been before, Waterloo. It was a lot noisier than I would have liked, and my food didn't come as I asked for it, plus it was just okay. So, it won't be going on my list of favorite places. I picked up some ice cream using a coupon I'd gotten for giving blood and went home. I made myself a concoction of Dr Pepper, spiced rum, and the ice cream for a fairly tasty alcoholic float and watched TV the rest of the night.
Saturday I left the house about 10 for a bicycle ride. I went up Lamar and did a little loop on the hike-and-bike trail then went to Uncle Billy's. There were more people walking on the trail than I can ever remember and it was impossible to really get momentum going, having to slow way down to avoid running anybody over. When I got to Uncle Billy's it was just past 11 and there was nobody in the place. I had a beer, then another with lunch. It was still almost empty when I left. I got back on the hike-and-bike trail, but headed in the much less crowded direction east to the interstate, then back west to Congress. I was actually pretty tired at that point so didn't go very quickly down Congress to Opal's, where I sat for a while drinking beer and reading the newspaper. Sufficiently rested, I rode the rest of the way home for a total of 26 1/2 miles. I vegetated in front of the TV for the rest of the afternoon and into the night.
On Sunday I drove down to San Antonio to pick up a painting for my parents. I stopped along the way at the outlet mall to get some new socks to replace some of my ratty old ones. I got the gallery at 11:30, where a couple my parents are friends with were taking down a retrospective of his 40 years of work. I was hoping to see the paintings, but half of them were already down and stacked up against the wall. He was an architect before he became a painter, and I think it shows in that his work has a lot of geometry to it. I really liked what I did get to see. Since it was just 3 70-plus year olds, I offered to help them. I stayed for two hours, including a lunch break, taking down and moving paintings. I left with the painting they wanted to give to my parents. I read the paper and watched TV for a little while, then went over to Jimmy's to watch the Superbowl. I was rooting for the Steelers, and was glad to see them win, but even better was that it was actually a good game and not the blowout people had been calling for. We bullshitted for a while afterward, as ever, and I went straight to bed once I got home.