"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Friends are Hilarious, My Coworkers Not So Much

Returning to work this week is certainly a disappointment but even more so are the low caliber nicknames that have been shopped around for me.  Really poor effort on their part.
Over the past three weeks I have been the butt of some well crafted puns, jabs, and wise cracks.  The level of comedic talent among my friends is astonishing especially since many of them don’t seem very bright.  They know who they are, well they probably don’t.  Anyway I was surprised by the quality of their efforts.  




Some of my favorites according to Kate:

Princess: Thumbelina

Cartoon character: Thumper

Fairy tale character: Tom Thumb

Song: "Thumbwhere Out There"

Commercial: Mounds/Almond Joy (Thumbtimes you feel like a nut...)

Food: Thumbkin pie




Casey was quick to point out that my favorite Happy Days character was Fonzi.
Any guesses as to what my favorite social media site is?
If you said Thumblr you’d be correct.




That is just a small portion of the comedy gold I’m talking about.  So when I got back to work I was kind of expecting a new round of thumb related comedy.  There was some muttering about the people who abducted me cutting my thumb off and mailing it to my family.  A good premise but it wasn’t taken very far and ended up falling flat.  I had to give it one and a half thumbs down.
Then it was decided I needed a nickname.  Why not?  They were all uninspiring, and the one that got the most traction was, wait for it...Mitre Saw!  
How bad is that?
They were quick to point out that the person being named has to hate the nickname, and the more he hates it the more it will stick.  I don’t hate it.  It is pretty egregious but I don’t hate it.  Mostly it makes me sad that they couldn’t come with anything better.  Sad for them.  


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Meeting the Mississippi Challenge Crew

Re-posted from 100+Project

Sam, Matt, and Harry had been gradually making their way down the Mississippi, and I had hopes of paddling with them for a day.  They seemed up for it and I was excited because since I got the stand up paddle board my kayak has led a lonely existence.  Once the accident happened I knew paddling would be out of the question, but maybe if it healed enough by the time they arrived I could manage a short stretch.  There was hope after all.
Unbeknownst to me during this time they really quickened the pace because they had to reach St Louis by July 11th because they had secured a free room at the Embassy Suites downtown and had a full day of media scheduled for the 12th.  Their arrival caught me totally by surprise and because of previous commitments I feared I wouldn’t even get to swing around and say hello.  Messaging back and forth on facebook I learned that they planned to leave Saturday morning, so the best I could do is wish them luck on their journey.  I was kind of bummed especially since I missed Rod Wellington when he came through the area.  There was little I could do though because I was already booked up.
Saturday afternoon I was checking the hits on the website and saw that someone on the Embassy Suites network had visited.  Thanks for the hits guys.  So they hadn’t left after all.  I went to their facebook page and didn’t see anything new and then by chance checked my messages.  There was no indication that I had a message but I clicked it any way and there was a message from Matt asking if I had some floor space where they could crash.  It may sound really strange but having people over really causes me a lot of stress, and not in the usual way when you have to apologize for the speck of dust on the otherwise spotless floor (not a description of my floors).  Real stress that keeps me agitated and on edge.
If I couldn’t have them over I would do the next best thing, put them up for the night in a hotel.  I knew they were keeping their kayaks at Harbor Point marina (home of the egregiously wrong display of the American flag) so I got them a room in Alton nearby.  In hindsight I would have gotten them a room closer to home in case they needed anything.  They managed fine without me though.
I picked them up downtown we were both easy to spot, they in their Mississippi Challenge shirts and me in the bright yellow Adventure Truck.  I apologized for two of them having to squeeze in the back of the cab.  It has one seat that folds down from the side but I don’t think it was ever intended for real use.  They managed just fine and were very thankful for the help.  After checking in at the hotel we went out for dinner at a nearby Mexican place.  Harry forgot his ID so was not able to drink a beer with us.  He ordered a mountain dew but got a pepsi and just went with it, maybe after living on the river anything beats water.  Dinner was great and Harry insisted on paying as a thank you for me getting the hotel.  Afterwards I felt like I should have taken care of it.  I can be social awkward so sometimes in situations like this I only realize what I should have done too late.
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Sam is happy not to be in the back.
Sunday morning I met them at the hotel, and after the laundry was dry-ish they compressed themselves into the back of the truck and away we went.  They made their preparations to get back on the water after a couple of days on dry land.  Packing away food, and stowing gear in its proper location.  They were sorry it wasn’t more exciting but I was just glad to be able to help.  I think adventures like this are important, especially in this country, where many people have lost the adventure spirit, due to being stuck on the travelator, mindlessly moving them forward through life without a stop to see the possibilities all around.
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Loading up.
After they launched I went to the Alton Lock and Dam in hopes of getting some pictures as they locked through but was told I wouldn’t be able to get close enough to actually see them in the lock because of the current security level.  I stayed for a while anyway watching the river from the levee trail.  I tried hard to see them but if you’ve ever looked across a body of water you know that without a good reference like a boat or buoy your perspective can get all out of whack.  I never saw them.
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Leaving the Marina
While I was waiting to catch a glimpse of them I saw a guy on a fully loaded touring bike down on the road.  I snapped a couple of pictures because I had my camera already in hand and then didn’t think too much more about it.  After giving up on the up river side of the lock I went to the see if I might spot them on the down river side.  When I got there I saw the guy on the bike, and as he rolled past I asked how far he was going.  He said, “To Maine”, without blinking an eye.  His name was Kevin and he also told me that he started in Oregon.  To him it sounded like a good excuse to take four months of work.  He was riding a Surly Disc Trucker too (same bike that I own).  He said the bike hasn’t really given him any problems which is great to hear.  I have yet to really put my bike to a long test so it was good to see one out in the wild and thriving.  I said goodbye to Kevin and he was on his way.  Like I said before I think adventures like this are important, and it made smile thinking that at the moment I had lost one sight of one adventure I stumbled across another.  Life is funny like that sometimes.
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Kevin, on his way to Maine
So Sam, Matt, and Harry made it through the Chain of Rocks and Port of St Louis and are currently spending a couple of days in Cape Girardeau.  Meeting these guys was a real treat as they were both gracious and generous.  I wish them the best of luck on the remainder of their journey down the Mighty Miss!

They are making this journey to raise money for Help for Heroes, a charity that helps get wounded British soldiers back on their feet again.  Truly a worthy cause.

Thumb Bit, I'll Miss You


Re-posted from 100+Project
Today I said my final good-bye to Thumb Bit.  It was a small private service attended by friends and family members.  Even though I have come to terms with the loss, I will always feel like a part of me is missing.

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Instead of flowers I ask that a donation be made to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation St Louis Chapter.  To make things easier on you just click the donation link in the header.
Thank You!  If Thumb Bit were still with us it would give you a big “thumb’s up”.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lazy On My Own Terms

Because I foolishly cut off the tip of my thumb with a mitre saw I'll be spending some time away from work.  In most cases time away from work is a blessing.  I didn't grow up wanting to become a slightly below average air conditioning mechanic, so when given time apart from the grind I rejoice.  This doesn't mean that my days off are always jam packed to the gills with one adventure after another each one more exciting than the last.  More often than I would like to admit they are spent napping on the couch whilst burning through a season of some random show on Netflix.  Even though I consider that time a total waste on another level it is satisfying just to take a day and do nothing.  I fully realize that I take far too many of these "Do Nothing" and should probably get out and do something, but as Mike Horn says, "Sometimes it's easier to lay down and die than to keep going".

Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but the analogy is sound.

Now that I am bound to inactivity until I do a little more healing all I want to do is...SOMETHING!  Being lazy on my own terms, while not necessarily good for me in the long run is a somewhat enjoyable pursuit.  A break from all the demands of the world.  All the while though it is a choice.  I know that at any moment I can jump up and go for a nice long ride or a run or any number of other possibilities.  By "any moment" I mean after I finish this episode.  I can't leave before I find out if Enterprise get those new plasma converters.

Now that I am forced to chill out and be sedentary the knowledge that at any given moment the best I can do is mosey on into the kitchen for a snack or a glass of water, is leaving me a little empty inside.  I want to go do something!

Being lazy on my own terms is way more satisfying than being lazy as a result of my circumstances.  I think I will mix things up today and plant my ass on the love seat rather than the couch.  That sounds like quite the adventure now doesn't it?

Adventure vs Adversity


Thursday I had an ambitious day of multisport planned.  I wanted to get some video of me on every non-motorized vehicle I own in order to make a really cool edit for promotional use.  I got a late start, but was still eager to get some footage.  Below is a video I made from the footage at Highland Skatepark which sadly ended up being the last footage of the day.



I had a really great time.  I may be fat and have almost no fast twitch muscle fibers but being on the board has a way of shutting everything out, and allowing me to flow.  I may not skate on anything close to a regular basis anymore but I'm still a skater.
On the way home from Highland I decided to try out some land paddling.  First though I needed to build a paddle, a decision I would soon regret.  Paddles cost between $100 and $200 so making one seemed like a great idea.  All I needed was a long dowel and two rubber ends, simple.

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I guess I was in a hurry because of the late start and when I was cutting the dowel I managed to cut the tip off of my left thumb instead.  Stupid, stupid, stupid!
So off to the emergency room we went.  Because of the way I sliced it there was not much they could do, and they said to change the dressing twice a day or more.  Luckily I got to see the hand surgeon yesterday and he gave me some great news.  The best course of action that will allow me to retain the most function is to continue with dressing changes.  It will take a while to heal but as long as there are no complications I won't need surgery.  So in the grand scheme of things I am pretty lucky.

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It's too early to tell how this will affect the hike in Sept.  Hopefully I will not have to use my vacation time while I am healing, and can save it for hiking instead.  If the hike gets cancelled then this year will be a wash as far as big events go.  I have some other ideas for fundraisers in development though so maybe I'll manage to raise a little money.  So far '13 as not been my lucky number.

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Many people have asked to see pictures of this gruesome injury, but I won't be taking any until the healing process is well under way.  Believe me you are better off, some things once seen cannot be unseen.