How do you communicate?

Old Town Sign Post taken from Sharon Drummond's Flickr photostream

My wife and I have a problem whenever we go out to eat, and it is something that I don’t think we will ever be able to rectify.  She is someone who, upon the conclusion of her meal, likes to sit there and chat and digest.  I, on the other hand, need to immediately move.  I despise sitting still in a restaurant after eating.  I start readjusting my seat. My leg starts bouncing up and down.  I fail to pay attention to the conversation at hand.  I just need to move.  I need to get out of there.  There’s no real reason to it, I just hate staying still right after eating.  This is why Golden Harvest is perfectly suited to my dining needs.  Once you’re done, they are going to kick you out.

Not all restaurants are like Golden Harvest though.  Some places will be content with filling your coffee cup over and over and over again.  I hate this.  Mostly because my wife will drink her coffee and engage in, what I can only assume is, the most meaningful and wonderful conversation of her life.  I don’t know.  I stopped paying attention, and I cannot fathom why anyone would want to stay put after eating unless it was so utterly engrossing.  This inability to control my ADHD after eating has indirectly led me to discovering the art scene in Old Town though.

Not following me?  Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

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It’s All About Perspective

Worse things have happened.”

If this quote sounds familiar to you, then you’ve probably been around me in the past couple of months.  If not, then let me give you some back-story.  Two months ago, I suffered a knee injury, tearing ligaments in my right knee.  It’s been an uncomfortable two months, wherein I was desperate to get out of the house and interact with other people, but also been extremely uncomfortable whenever I did so.  Car rides were miserable. Especially because I’m a better driver than everyone else and haven’t been able to drive for two months.

Yet whenever people asked me how I was doing, I’d answer with “Worse things have happened.”  I knew that my injury was going to be a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.  I knew that people have suffered far worse injuries than I have, or suffered far greater loses than loss of mobility in one leg.  I also knew that people didn’t want to hear me say “I’m f***ing miserable. I’m tired of sleeping on the couch.  I hate not being able to carry my own dishes to and from the kitchen. I hate that going to the bathroom is an exhausting ordeal.”  Yet, those were all real thoughts that went through my head.

I also hated the fact that my friend Thomas, who felt responsible for the injury, felt so torn up about the event that caused the ligament tears.  (A bit of advice for all of you: Don’t wrestle people who know Judo if you do not know Judo.)  He tried to pay for my emergency room visit. We refused, and not just because I’m lucky enough to have a wife who is a nurse which offers us excellent insurance benefits.  He insisted on other ways to “make it up” to me.  However, he did nothing wrong, and I refused.  He did state that he was going to buy me a “s**t load of beer” at a recent beard and moustache competition we were both in attendance at.  I relented, because I knew he was going to keep offering things, and I happen to really, really like beer.

Throughout this whole ordeal though, I’ve been humbled by the generosity of my friends, as well as strangers.  I’ve been offered the most comfortable chairs in the house.  Doors have magically opened for me everywhere I’ve gone.  People who may have normally avoided gentlemen with giant beards have offered their empathy and shared stories of similar injuries.  My friends Ian and Kate purchased two fanny packs for me to cart around my various snacks, drinks, and a bottle of Tylenol 3.  It is the most hilarious, yet practical, gifts I’ve ever received.  And my wife, Kate (different from my friend Kate mentioned above, but also my friend…my best friend in fact) has done the best she can hiding her disgust with my insistence on doing things for myself that I had no business doing for myself while on crutches.

But now, I’m off crutches, and have graduated to a cane.  And not just any cane, but one built by Jack L. Smith, Jr., SSG (Staff Sergeant) – U.S. Army,  a man I’ve never met.  On April 26, 1989, Jack was killed during a training exercise for the Persian Gulf War.  While I never had the chance to meet Jack, he has had a profound impact on my life, more so than most.

You see, Jack is my wife’s dad.  He helped raise her, helped shaped her world view, and is largely responsible for who she has become today.  And who she is today is someone who is not only beautiful, but fiercely intelligent, hilarious, kindhearted, generous, incredibly stubborn, and my best friend.  She is my favorite.

Using Jack’s cane offers me a connection to him.  And as he is, in a large part, responsible for who I am today, it makes me smile to know that even though I’ll never get a chance to meet him, that he is helping hold me up today.  And I never would have been able to connect to Jack in this way if I hadn’t injured my knee.

You see, it’s all about perspective.  When life gives you a lemon, make Cran-Apple Juice.


Dangerous Contagions

There are many contagions in the world that people are afraid of catching.  People spend hundreds of dollars buying supplies in order to avoid catching the Ebola virus, SARS, or the Bird Flu.  They may have even been the only people smart enough to convert all of their cash into gold and fill their bathtubs with water in order to avoid the catastrophe that was Y2K when all of the world’s computers became sentient and attacked the human race.  If you don’t remember that happening, you are either under 10 years old or the computers have wiped your memory.  I only hope that I can warn you that you live in the Matrix before they get to me.

Most of these contagions are overblown media extravaganzas.  The level of threat that the average person faces is infinitesimally small.  Not that they shouldn’t be taken seriously, but you and I should not avoid eating chicken (unless you are a vegetarian/vegan) because we are worried about getting influenza of the bird variety.  You can safely ignore 99% of all contagions in the news.

However…there is a contagion that is spreading throughout Lansing.  It is one that is affecting a large portion of the population, and is flying under the radar.  You can find some newspaper reports about it, but by and large the situation is rapidly spreading out of control.  I don’t want to spread alarm, but I think that the Lansing area is soon going to be completely swallowed by it.  It’s going to be worse than the impending Zombie apocalypse.  Our only chance is to embrace the contagion, and hope for the best.

What has me so worried, you ask?  What is it that you have to prepare your family for?

Are you sitting down?  You should be, because what I’m about to tell you is disconcerting, to say the least.

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I Love my Library

A few weeks back, I walked to the Hope Borbas branch of the Capital Area District Library, only to find that it was closed because a car had crashed into it.  It is difficult to fully explain how much this upset me.  As a near daily journey for me, the library has become an important part of my life.  I, admittedly, am unemployed and find it difficult to fill my day as easily as when I was working.   I find myself getting bored much easier, and I seem to have fewer chores to complete.  The big difference of course being that everything I used as distractions or for pleasure when I was working, are now the only thing that fill my day.  And there are only so many video games to be played and rooms to be cleaned.  And I don’t like the way my wife looks at me when I am talking to the cats as if they are people.

So I find myself reading a lot more. Continue reading


Trick or Treat on the Square

This kid has an awesome dragon costume. I love dragons.

Fall in Michigan is my favorite time of the year.  Leaves change color, filling your eyes with a cornucopia of color.  Apples are literally ripe for the picking.  Seasonal beers get darker and heavier.   The Michigan State Spartans roll off to an impressive 8-0 record.  And best of all, we get to celebrate that greatest holiday in the history of holidays.  Halloween.

Halloween and I have a love affair going back as long as I can remember.  What’s not to like about dressing up as something ridiculous, going door to door, and getting free candy?  Granted, I am now at the age that when I go door to door asking people for candy, I get a face full of door or I quickly hear sirens in the background.  While anyone that knows me, knows that I go all out when making my Halloween costumes (I refuse to buy ready-made costumes as I dress as double-entendres year round anyways), my favorite part of Halloween is seeing what everyone else dresses up as.  While adult costumes are great, little kids in costumes is the cream of the crop.  And never before have I been witness to so many kids in costumes than when I volunteered at Trick or Treat on the Square.
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