Thursday, March 26, 2009

turn, turn, turn

This aching back nonsense is getting old. Now I have to see a specialist of some kind to determine what is really going on. I know what’s going on---I’m getting old. The old bod is wearing down.

But despite my aches and pains I still have a new skill to practice. I just got my new wood lathe installed in its own special place in the workshop. Now I am ready to turn, turn, turn. After taking a six hour class on woodturning last month, I am ready to practice and learn on my own. I picked up a couple books on woodturning to study and reinforce what I learned in that class and now feel ready to go. Unfortunately I probably won’t get to try until next week since the weekend is already filled with other plans.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

still sore

It's been four days now since screwing up my back and I still want to scream vile obscenities every time I try to get up or sit down. The muscle relaxant drug prescribed may or may not be working (how would I know? how much worse would it be if I wasn't taking them?). I can't bend over at all. Simple movements that we take for granted are beyond my capabilities right now.
Thank goodness that there were many basketball games to watch over the weekend or I would have gone crazy, staring into space because I can't move or do anything.

One odd result so far from taking the muscle relaxant drug is that my PD tremors have subsided considerably. Mary noticed right away that my usual trembling hands were resting quietly instead of pounding away on the chair arm or shaking the newspaper while trying to read it. Are muscle relaxant drugs a suitable treatment for PD? Or do they simply mask the symptoms without treating the cause. That is a question I will have for my doctor the next time I see him.

One good thing is that my blood pressure has returned to near normal now that my two teams have been eliminated from the NCAA tournament. Wisconsin and Marquette both went down today so my blood pressure quickly followed. Now I can watch the remainder of the tournament without all the shouting and handwringing and threats of mayhem against the opponents and the questioning of their ancestry while throwing anything handy at the TV. I have to get back to normal before the tournament ends or you'll have to lock me in padded room, although the padding would be superfluous since i can't freakin move.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I never thought that putting on shoes could be so difficult and painful. But when you can't bend over you are limited to the length of your arms when dealing with your lower extremities. And though I've been accused of being a knuckle dragging neanderthal before, right now I would welcome the necessary arm length and a few skinned knuckles if it meant getting my shoes and socks on without my screaming disturbing the neighbors.

Why the back issue you ask. I wish I had an explanatioin that included bravery and gallantry, macho he-man savagery in the cause of rightiousness, or medal earning heroics. But the simple truth is that I was merely stepping out of the shower, one foot in the other out, when my back seized up and went into full blown spasm. After several minutes of loud cursing and pathetic whimpering, I realized that something was, indeed, dreadfully wrong. My first thought was to somehow drag my worthless carcass into the bedroom where I could call 911 and get someone to come here to put me out of my misery. But since I was still naked from my shower and didn'nt want to traumatize anyone at such a sight or embarrass myself beyond my crying helplessness, I managed to ever-so-slowly wriggle myself into some pants and a shirt. At least then I would maintain a modest amount of dignity as I lay dying on the floor.

Somehow I managed to get my shoes on through a series of minute incremental steps involving bending where my back would rather not bend. Why so insistant on getting my shoes on? I decided in my pain induced delirium to drive (yes drive) to keep my scheduled appointment with my physical therapist, reasoning that she would perform some magical voodoo and relieve my of this painful state. I was in no condition to drive, I know, but I reasoned that since it was only a trip of half a mile, I could make the attempt.

The result? I got there without mishap, Chris performed what voodoo she could to get me functional again and sent me home with instructions to call my doctor and get some muscle relaxant meds to help me recover. So here I sit, doped up and befuddled, half conscious and mysteriously happy in my drugged state. But the old back is still mighty sore and uncooperative. This is going to take a few more days before I will be able to move with any kind of normalcy. Once I can get my shoes on without shedding more tears, I will know I've reached that normal state.

Golf season is only a couple weeks away. Will I make it back in time?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

carpe diem

Funerals are not fun. Especially for someone who would be considered still young at age 51. You usually don’t expect to have to go to a funeral for such a man until another 20 or 25 years have passed. I figure anything beyond 75 is a bonus so dropping dead at age 51 seems cruelly wasteful. And yet that’s what happened. Here one day, gone the next.

The man in question was someone I only knew peripherally. He was the father of my son’s best friend. I talked to him only twice that I can recall, so I’m not feeling any great personal sadness at the loss. I feel sadness for my son’s friend’s grief at his loss, of course.

The only profound thing that comes from such an occurance as a sudden death is the realization that we have to seize each day we have and not waste a moment we are given. Every day is a gift that we get to unwrap and enjoy. Whining and complaining about the various things that happen is a waste of the gifted day. Not to sound too Pollyanna-ish, but looking on the bright side is a whole lot better than wasting even one minute of our allotted time among the living.

And, yes, I have my share of things to complain about and regret, but I figure I have far more good tings to outweigh the bad, so you’ll hear little complaining from me. I’m only 61 and I fully plan to reach 100, so I have along way to go before there will be any weeping at my funeral. There are still a lot of days to unwrap and enjoy. Carpe diem, indeed

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

getting caught up

I’ve been so busy the past few weeks in the workshop that I’ve barely noticed the accumulated snow disappearing more and more each day. I haven’t been out of the house much, other than a few routine errands, because at this time of year there is nothing to do outside besides coping with the occasional overnight dusting of snow. Nowhere to go and nothing much to do out there means I don’t feel guilty about spending most of the day in the workshop.

So it’s time to get caught up on the stuff coming out of the shop. I’ll post some pictures here, but if you want to see more you can click on “gallery” in the sidebar and get a comprehensive look at all my work.

This wall sculpture piece is called Holy Smoke. Read into it what you will.

This set of boxes is the result of an exercise in making wooden hinges for the box lids. It’s a bit more complicated than you might think. The finished pieces turned out well and the hinges work the way hinges are supposed to. Details and dimensions are with the “gallery” pictures.

While hoping for Spring to come, I couldn’t help thinking about all the dandelions and lawn weeds I will have to battle once the growing season begins anew. So I created this “voodoo” replication so that I can feel in control. We’ll see how well it works in another month or two.

And this last item is the result of my first attempt ever at wood turning on a lathe. I took a wood turning class last Saturday at one of the local woodworking stores as an introduction to the process. I wanted to see if I had any aptitude for lathe work and whether I might enjoy expanding my creative horizons with a new skill. As you can see with the bowl I made in the class, aptitude is not a problem. For a first attempt, it is more than satisfactory. And I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the process. I think I am hooked. Now alI have to do is buy all the necessary equipment so that I can further pursue this newfound skill. It may be awhile before I’m able to make the financial commitment, but I will do my best to help spur the economy along the way to recovery.

So that brings us up to date on the current workshop output. I do have three other things in the works right now and you will get to see those in due time. Right now, it’s time to get back to work.