I’m back. Here’s what I’ve been up to, kids.
Friday – August 10.
At the office, I wrapped up everything I needed to do before my week-long vacation. It’s a shame that it’s almost a chore to take a vacation in a white-collar environment, as you’ll be arriving back to a mountain of paperwork, deadlines and phone messages. That all being said, I prepared for it as much as possible, and I think I succeeded as much as I could have. My desk was clean, my phone was unplugged, and all outgoing messages stated that I was dead.
Before punching out, I made a few copies of the rough draft of the CDP Book. I had 5 people set on reviewing it the following week, including myself. It was my idea that the rough draft editing would take place during my vacation, while I worked on other stuff and synced it all up afterwards. Of course, if everything always worked out the way I had planned it to, I’d be a Super Bowl-champion quarterback for the Washington Redskins that cried nickels.
I went home and immediately hit the gym. My 5k run was on Saturday morning, and I had to see how my legs were going to hold up. I had been on the injured reserve for over 3 weeks with a pulled hamstring and what appeared to be shin splints. I wasn’t about to back out of the race, though, so I hit the treadmill and almost instantly re-aggravated all injuries. As I limped back to my house, I started mentally preparing myself for one letdown of a vacation.
Saturday – August 11.
The alarm clock woke me up at 6am, which was the earliest I’ve gotten up on a Saturday in at least 5 years. I was limping around like crazy, but I refused to back out of the race. After a handful of vitamins and ibuprofen, the Missus gobbed IcyHot onto my legs and wrapped the pulled hamstring with an Ace bandage. I looked handicapped, but I was dead-set on crossing the finish line.
There were about 100 people lined up at the race, which was 3.1 miles of ‘all-terrain’ course. This simply meant that the race would be contested on dewy marshland and amongst dangerous sinkholes. Never let it be said that Sun Prairie wasn’t a modern city. Nevertheless, I stretched forever, lined up at the starting line with Benjamin, and when the gun went off, started on what was to be the most inspirational journey of my adult life.
I think I jogged for about a quarter-mile when things started to get bad. Very bad. I soon realized that it was not a manly and macho thing to run while injured, as it could pretty much destroy your life if it got bad enough. I would sprint until my legs went numb, then slow down to a walk. My legs hurt far more when I was walking, so I would start sprinting again until I went numb, and again back to a walk. Each time I did this, my legs got worse and worse, as the pinched ligaments in my ankles ground the bones against each other.
“How far am I?” I asked an assistant on a hairpin turn.
“About three quarters of a mile,” he shot back.
I was in hell. My legs have never betrayed me before, and now they were shutting down. Giving up. Leaving me for dead in the marsh, with the mosquitoes and morbidly obese women passing me up. On a day when my cardio, my heart, my breathing, my lungs and my brain were in peak physical condition, my legs decided that they needed a trip to the hospital.
I was going to quit after the first mile. I wasn’t dumb or prideful enough to seriously injure myself for the sake of finishing a goddamn fun run. What idiot would do something so ridiculous? Walk away and life to fight another day, right?
I finished 50th and it took me 37 minutes. I spent the rest of the day on the couch with an ice pack, and when I went to bed, they felt surprisingly well. Maybe I dodged a bullet.
Sunday – August 12.
My muscles were still a little sore, but not sore enough to avoid the Missus’ family reunion back up north. The cruel joke about family reunions is that you fraternize with nobody new, instead opting to sit with the same folks you showed up with. We spoke to two people and left an hour later.
Afterwards, my father-in-law and I installed an iPod-2-Car system in The Wild Stallion 4.0. I could now listen to my iPod in the car with CD quality sound, and I didn’t have to worry about a power surge blowing it all to hell. Speaking of which, Apple had been looking at my destroyed iPod for 3 days now, with no signs of what they planned on doing with it. At least I was prepared for its arrival.
Monday – August 13.
My first ‘official’ vacation day was a productive one. Taking the ‘working vacation’ title seriously, I awoke at 6am, ate a good breakfast and got down to work. I edited 100 pages of the rough draft, uploaded over 60 CDs to iTunes and spent less than an hour on the interweb. In all reality, I was more productive than I normally am at work. My legs seemed to be getting better, and I ignored them for the time being.
When the Missus arrived home in the afternoon, I was a proud guy. I had made major progress on the book, the house was spotless and I seemed to be making a full recovery from the 5k. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe this would turn out okay after all.
I open my inbox and saw an e-mail from Apple. They were sending me my iPod back because they claimed that they ‘could not duplicate the symptoms I had described,’ and the machine was in ‘factory working order.’
The damn thing couldn’t even turn on! What does Apple think, that I just get off on mailing working products to their office for no reason? That I spent $65 on a warranty plan because I wanted to trick them into looking at a mint-condition piece of electronic equipment? Already, I was preparing for them to send me back an untouched iPod, still blown out and still broken.
Tuesday – August 14.
I worked hard on Monday, because I wouldn’t be able to work on my book for the next day and a half. Today, me and Benjamin were heading out to Maplewood, Minnesota for the Reel Big Fish/Less Than Jake concert. We were spending the night in a hotel just stumbling distance from the club, and we were on the road at 11:30am.
Luckily for us, the I-35 bridge collapse didn’t affect our trip, and we checked into the hotel at around 4pm. It was just us guys for this trip, as our wives have far better taste in music than we do (well, not Sherry, but the Missus for sure). The girl who checked us in started talking to us about the Democratic debates she was watching on CNN for some reason, specifically mentioning the gay marriage debate for a good 2 minutes. I was wondering why she would bring up such a touchy subject to a couple of strangers, but as we walked down the hallway to our room, I thought I had figured it out.
“Hey Ben…do you think she thought we were gay?“
“If we were really gay, wouldn’t we have just gotten one bed?“
“Yeah, I suppose. I really don’t want to talk about this.“
“Fair enough. So….hot tub?“
The hotel was fair enough, but the Myth Nightclub was top-notch. This was normally one of those places that would never let us in on a normal night of the week, but since we were ticket-holders, they pulled back the velvet rope and sat us in the VIP Lounge. Sort of.
Against All Authority, Streetlight Manifesto and Reel Big Fish were amazing as always, but Less Than Jake stole the show. Their theme for the tour was ‘The Price Is Right,’ so their stage design and props reflected that. They had audience members come up and play ‘Less Than Jake Plinko’ to determine what songs they were going to play in their set (on the bottom of the Plinko board, there were pictures of all of their albums. whichever album the chip landed on, they played half of that album). After that, they had an audience member ‘spin the big wheel’ to determine the set for the second half of the show. Chris was a tremendous MC, and the crowd was going nuts for the entire show. I haven’t seen them in 6 years, and this may have been my favorite time around.
Me and Ben are at an age where we can still attend and enjoy punk shows, but only now we get to sit in the back and drink while all of the kids go nuts on the floor. It’s a good trade-off; my leg was starting to act up, anyways.
When the show was done, we headed back to the hotel and hit the bar. Apart from the sad, young bartender and 4 of the loudest drunks I’ve ever seen, we were the only two around for the night. We quietly drank our drinks in the corner and made our way to bed at around 12:30am. Our attempts to order a pizza failed, and my dinner was a Pop-Tart from the vending machine.
Wednesday – August 14.
The drive back home was boring an uneventful, as I90 from Minnesota to Wisconsin offers absolutely nothing but truck stops and way stations. We made great time, though, and I was back at Headquarters by 3pm. I made a point to pay all of the bills and clean the house before the Missus arrived. I had really missed that girl; I think we’ve spent a total of 5 nights apart in the last 8 years, so I’m not used to it at all. If anything, it made me realize just how much I need the Missus around.
I looked at the rough draft a little bit, but was happy to know that the other 4 folks were editing like crazy. The two of us spent the night in front of the TV, and went to bed early.
Thursday – August 15.
My leg muscles had healed, the swelling was gone, and a new pain started to emerge from my right ankle. This was a centralized pain, and whatever it was was clearly pinching a nerve. The numbness and tingling ran all the way up the back of my leg, and I couldn’t put hardly any weight on it at all. Luckily for me, this was still my vacation, and I was spending it in my office with my book and a tall glass of Pomegranate juice. I know how to live!
At around 11am, the doorbell rang. It was a DHL deliveryman with my iPod. I shook my head as I signed for it, knowing full-well that it would be less than an hour before I was sending it back out again. I tore the box open, clawed through the bubble-wrap, yanked my busted iPod out and hooked it up to my iMac to find….
It worked now. Seriously. It was the same iPod and everything. Apparently, I must be an idiot. I limped back to my book and settled in, beginning to doubt my basic sense of logic.
Friday – August 17.
I took it easy today, as I had finished editing the book at around noon. Besides, my leg was a mess and I had to mentally prepare myself for the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival Opening Day Parade. The Missus loves a good parade; I would prefer a tumor on my cerebrum.
Nonetheless, the weather was beautiful, the parade was tolerable and the Greek dinner we had was pretty great. Afterwards, me and the Missus (along with Ben and Sherry) did some shopping for our Nephew’s upcoming 1st birthday on Saturday. I was in a surly mood, mainly because I hurt like hell, and also because the Missus made the executive decision to purchase a pet Hedgehog for the house. She’s picking it up this Saturday, and I was not consulted. I was furious and not the least bit willing to pretend I wasn’t. Who does something like that?
Saturday – August 18.
Evan’s birthday party was great. He got a ton of clothes, toys, books, DVDs and attention. He was also the best-behaved child in the room. Sad, considering that there were 11-year-olds about. The cake was tasty and and the salsa was to my liking.
When we got back home for the night, me and the Missus (along with Ben and Sherry) drank the night away and tried to ignore the pummeling rain outside of Headquarters. Sure, there was a flood warning for the entire night, but when was the last time Sun Prairie flooded? Surely, this was not going to effect us one bit. At 1am, I stumbled into bed; the cracking of thunder sending me off to sleep.
Sunday – August 19.
My basement had no less than a half-inch of water in it when I woke up. After running around like crazy to do damage control and survey the scene, it was determined that I had lost a few posters, an old video camera and a mattress. Yeah, it sucked, but it could have been worse. We moved the litter box into the Rumpus Room for the time being, and are looking forward to 7 straight days of rain to raise the water level by another inch or two. I can’t wait.
With all of my rough draft feedback in my possession, I’m able to start the final draft edit this week. After I catch back up at the office, that is. Besides the situation in the basement, everything went about as well as I could have hoped for this last week. It wasn’t all good, it wasn’t all bad; it was my mediocre life in a nutshell.
Oh, and my right leg? A Hairline Fracture. I had broken my ankle during the race, and had been walking on it for the past week. I’m making an appointment with my physician today, and we’ll see what happens. If I’ve been able to walk on it for 7 days, I can go another week if need be.
So, what have we learned this past week? What have you learned? Sound off in the comments section, welcome me back and get caught up.