Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Beer and a Bump

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Poinsettia, 2015/2016

I start with a point of etiquette, I know, this from the guy who in his last post blogged about his butt.  But putting that behind (oops) us, here’s my question, when is the appropriate time to chuck that Christmas poinsettia?  Is it January 1?  How about one month post Christmas?   Ground Hog day?  Two months?  The photo above is our poinsettia after having it in the house for about 3 months.  Look how happy it is.  I think we bought it at Walmart (they always have nice ones) for about 12 bucks, so we have certainly gotten our money’s worth out of it.  Honestly, to throw out a perfectly healthy plant, I’d kind of feel like a murderer, really.  So I need some help here.  Who’s willing to go out on a limb and recommend an execution date for this happy, healthy, vibrant plant?  Anyone out there have the guts to do that?

Speaking of that last post.  After reading it, my mom provided some enlightening information.  She said that when she was an adolescent she was told that an abscess was God’s way of letting sins out of the body.  My goodness, those Lutherans!  I’m telling you, if that’s truly the case I’m due for an unholy rash of those things.  And I’m going to have to take another look at the paper work they gave me after my last appointment.  I thought for sure it said “return for excision,” but now I don’t know, maybe it said “return for exorcism.”

You know those “push notifications” you get on your mobile devices?  I agreed to receive them from a number of places, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, a few others.  I did not sign-up to receive them from The Princess.  Here’s how it works.  I’m in the living room and she’s back in her bedroom listening to radio or TV.  Every now and then she’ll pop her head out the door and say something like, “Chris Christy dropped-out of the race,” or “Republican debate, oh my god, ‘You’re a liar, no you’re a liar, no you are!'”  I actually do appreciate it though.  I don’t listen to anything, so her listening to all that garbage and giving me her brief “Princess Notifications” is perfect.

The Princess, what an endless source of fun. Today she was sitting at the table eating lunch when she looked across the room and said, “Where’s the vacuum cleaner, oh there it is, good.”
“I see, so today’s chore was to find the vacuum cleaner?”
“Well, yeah…tomorrow I’ll vacuum.”

Can you tell, this is one of those posts where I got nuttin, just little dribs and drabs that have accumulated over the last few weeks.  The Pony’s been out under a big blue tarp at Gene’s because the stall next to him was being used as a staging area for all of his daughter and son-in law’s earthly possessions until the movers came to move everything to their new house.  The movers took it all away last week, but no Pony news just yet.

I’ve seen a lot of animals while out on the “morning 40,” many of which I’ve mentioned in this blog.  After over 25 years of riding though, there isn’t much I haven’t seen.(1)  Remember the lucky (ha!) three owls in a tree?  So, it was a big deal to me last week when running along the road out near Saxapahaw I saw a medium-sized black pig.  When he saw me, he jumped, so I think he was as surprised as I was.  As I rode off it ocurred to me that what I’d just seen was a “road hog.”

I didn’t mention it, but back at the beginning of February we flew up to NYC on a brief Princess Art Trip.  Two visits to the Museum of Modern Art and one to the Whitney, some fabulous dinners, shopping and, of course a chance to catch up with our son, Andy, and the “grand cats,” Buddy and Junior.

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Synchronized Napping

That’s the two of them doing what they do best.  When I saw this photo, immediately that goofy Olympic sport, synchronized swimming, came to mind.

When we got home, it was back to reality.  The phone answering machine was flashing, four messages, all from doctors and dentists offices.  Many items in the fridge past their ex-dates, worst one, a Real Lemon juice container, over TWO YEARS past its date.  Can’t blame that one on the trip.  And of course the daily grind:  When will the inspiration for the next blog post hit me (apparently not yet)?  How will I finagle another infusion for the Guinea Pig-O-Meter (stay tuned, news coming soon on that)?  Will I be able to retain my Gold Card status with Starbucks in their new rewards program (oh, yeah)?  Will I win the next Mega-Ball Lottery drawing (I’m getting closer, matched one number last week)?  And then there are those worrisome new injections of the osteoporosis drug.

I started right out injecting myself once a night.  Something I hadn’t banked on though, was how it would go, given my jittery hands (I’ve got essential tremor).  During the first week alone, once I jabbed the needle in twice, on another occasion I picked up an inch long scratch and once I somehow managed to poke the needle into my finger.  I’ve stopped worrying though; through trial and error I’ve discovered that if I give myself the shot after cocktail hour the shaking is much reduced and I can smoothly jab it right in.  Over at the Sidetrack Tap they call that “a beer and a bump.”

On that note, I’m outa here.  Have fun with your extra day tomorrow and thanks for reading.

(1)  An off the cuff listing of critters seen while biking (in no particular order):  wild turkey, chicken, hawks (various), bald eagle, osprey, king fisher, bobcat, turkey vulture, black vulture, fox, horses (including miniature), black bear, grizzly bear (Canadian Rockies), long horn sheep (Glacier National Park), owl, cows of many varieties including some shaggy, long-horned ones, deer, goat, rabbit, opossum, skunk (including that albino one) squirrel, chipmunk, copper head snake, black snake, garter snake, rat, ground hog, ostrich and buffalo (back in Indiana), way too many dogs and cats, turtles, frogs and one road hog.




The Blogger and the Pea

A sub-title might be, Little Things Can Be Big Problems.  For a month I fussed over what I call a “saddle sore” which would not go away and made my cycling a little more painful with each, successive ride.  It felt as if a pea-sized pebble was inside my shorts, right where my butt hit the saddle.(1)

My periodontist is also a cyclist, and I mentioned my recent trouble to him when I was in to see him this week.  He was about to cut my gum open (again) and dig back into that area where I’d had that “root amputation” done a while back.  It came up when I said, “Man, this is nothing compared to what I went through yesterday.”  Naturally he took the bait and asked what I was talking about.  So while he and Johanna, the assistant, were waiting for my local anesthetic to kick in I told them.

I said that about a week before, having endured as many uncomfortable rides as I could stand, I decided to make an appointment at the dermatologist’s office for an appointment.  At this point being somewhat desperate I said I’d take whatever doctor was first available.  So naturally, the first available appointment was with a female dermatologist and the appointment was a week out.  So for a week I had to think about the embarrassment of showing a woman my well, how to put this.  It actually took me a few minutes to come up with a suitable answer when asked to complete a form in the office and describe the area affected.  Eventually I came up with “groin,” but in actuality just kind of think of where a real skinny bike seat might hit my seat.

Once back in the exam room I first had to answer a bunch of uncomfortable questions for an assistant, of course female.  Then she pulled out a gown and said to put it on while she went for the doctor.  I actually only stripped to my underwear and put the gown over my lap and was sitting like that when the doctor entered.  I must say that she handled the initial interview as professionally as possible, but eventually came the part where I had to take the rest off.  As I stood to do this she said, “Oh wait, I have to get someone else in here.”  So great, in comes yet another female assistant to observe my strip and the whole rest of this sorry affair.  I said, “Jeez, could you possibly get any more women in here to observe this?”  This did elicit a small chuckle from the doctor and in the telling, big laughs from the periodontist and his assistant.

There was a lot of manipulating me into a position where I’m sure I couldn’t possibly have anything left to hide.  Included was an attempt by the assistant to get a pillow under my head, during which process she hit me in the face with it.  Amid her apology I yelled “pillow fight,” which got more chuckles and did lighten the mood a bit.  Steps that followed included a shot of local anesthetic, cutting and squeezing and finally the unfortunate assessment that she was not having any success at, let’s just say, reducing the size of the pea.  In the end (ooh, there’s an unintended pun), what I’m left with is a ten-day course of a pretty nasty antibiotic and this not so good prognosis:  In about three weeks, if the pea has not reduced in size (not much optimism shown for this by the way) to call her back, and she’d arrange for a surgeon to cut the damn thing out.

“And people think what I do for a living is disgusting,” said the periodontist.

“Yeah, at least no one’s coming in here and dropping trow,” I said, at which point Johanna actually blushed and said, “That’s not in my job description.”  And the two of them, now feeling much better about their jobs, proceeded to tear up my gums.

You know, I was going to go on and write some more, but I think this is enough embarrassment for one post.  Thanks for reading, and hey, Happy Valentine’s Day!

(1.)  For fairly obvious reasons, no photos will be included with this post.



Voice Prompt No. 9

Just a reminder.  I need y’all to send in your Pony photos, so that they can be featured in an upcoming post.  Don’t be bashful.

My own Pony is out under tarps in Gene’s Garage right now awaiting warmer weather…hmmm, I didn’t think about it, but the next few days are going to be in the 60’s.  I may need to get out there.  If nothing else, the old boy is a bit muddy from the riding we did around the holidays, so a little clean-up might be in order.  Don’t block him in, Gene.

As often happens, several days go by between when I start one of these posts and when it’s finished.  So, I can report that it wasn’t in the 60’s on Monday, it was in the 70’s and the Pony did get washed.  Here’s the proof.  Also note the new side panel is now in place.

Photo Credit to Gene.


This week I started reading a book titled The Art of Memoir, so if you notice any change in my writing in the months ahead, you can blame it on a different author, Mary Karr.  Already I think I’m going to have a problem; she says in memoir writing that one really shouldn’t lie.  Well poop, what fun is that.  If I can’t remake history to suit me I’m not so sure I’m interested.  Anyway, watch out for anything strange (I mean more strange than usual) working its way into the blog.

I don’t write as much about donuts as I used to, reason being, I don’t get any.  You’ll recall, there just are no good donuts available nearby anymore.  Don’t feel sorry for me though, I’m still eating loads of bakery goods.  I like to drive over to the Guglehupf Bakery in Durham, and buy their stuff now.  But they make fancier things like stollen, Danish, cream puffs and schnecken.  What’s a schnecke you ask?  The German word schnecke means snail, which is what an almond croissant looks like if instead of letting it bake on a sheet it’s baked while stuffed in the cup of a muffin pan.  Mmmm, those babies are goo-oo-ood.

But the reason I bring up donuts is really only to get to the subject of the “donut hole,” not the edible kind, but the Medicare prescription drug insurance plan kind.  The donut hole is the $1540 coverage gap one reaches after $3310 in drug costs have been paid.  After the coverage gap, you’re “home free,” as your costs drop to “zilch.”  Now you’re thinking, certainly bike-riding, health-conscious, schnecke-eating (oops) Bruce would not be needing any drug so expensive as to land him in the dh (does not mean designated hitter).  To that thought I would say, ha, what you don’t know!

For a number of reasons, too boring to mention here, I am about to start taking a drug for osteoporosis that costs $2350 per month!  Once again you’re thinking, but he doesn’t have to pay that amount does he?  Just a co-pay, right?  And this time you’d be right.  I only have to pay a 33% co-pay, which translates as $780.  You know how when you buy a new car, right away you start noticing other cars of your type on the road?  Well, right away when I saw $780 I started thinking of other things that cost much.  Like the new gas range we bought last year, $799.  Or last night on QVC, they were selling Dell Laptop computers.  A nice, big, 17-inch Dell laptop, with the Microsoft 10 operating system, you guessed it $779!  Or how about my estimated annual cost for this drug coming in at around $4100.  Jeez, that’s almost exactly what the entire Pony restoration has cost.

I tell you what!  My insurer and I are going to swallow that donut hole so fast we won’t even get to taste it.  I’ll be spit-out the other side into the “cat coverage” as fast as John Cusack was through that worm hole in Being John Malkovich.  I could tell as I was talking to the lady at CVS Caremark, the drug supplier of my insurer, that she didn’t really want to tell me what my cost of the drug would be, but sheepishly she finally did.  I could just envision her removing her head-set and waiting for me to blow my stack, but as I’d been forewarned about the cost, I didn’t lose my cool.  I just read-off the numbers from my new credit card (yes, second new card in 12 mos., this time a supposed data breach).  I didn’t actually laugh on the phone, but when the lady asked me if I’d like some alcohol wipes, “free,” to go with the prescription, by golly I thought, woo-hooo there’s the silver lining.  FREE ALCOHOL WIPES, YIPPEE!

Another upside, the regimen calls for only taking this drug for one year.  By then I guess you’re supposed to have gained all the benefit from it that you can.  I’m sanguine about this whole business.  When I called the non-profit that helps cover co-pays, the voice prompts went approximately like this.  Press 1 if you have “this kind of cancer,” press 2 if you have “that kind of cancer,” press 3 if you have HIV/AIDS, and it went on like this until I’m pretty sure the ninth choice was osteoporosis.  So, you bet, I’m incredibly thankful that I could push voice prompt 9.  Then too, when I spoke with a very helpful lady and found out that I make too much money (but believe me, not way too much) to get any help, I was not overly “bummed,” but then, the next time someone offers me a donut hole, watch out.

Happy Ground Hog Day everyone, and thanks for reading.