Archive for the 'Ankle break' Category

100 posts, six months

March 9, 2011

Earlier this week, I celebrated the six-month anniversary of this blog and my hundredth posting. In honor of both occasions, here are my picks for the top ten posts to date…

BEST OF THE BLOG SO FAR

1. January 24, 2011 – The night I met her
“I was watching her earlier, out of the corner of my eye. I could tell from a distance that this girl had a magnetic personality, a natural beauty and just something different. Something crazy. She tells me she’s at the casino by herself, like I am. I tell her we should take the escalator down to the ground floor and cruise the tables. I overheard a cocktail waitress say ‘American Idol’ star Chris Daughtry, who played a concert earlier tonight in the casino showroom, is playing blackjack on Table 7 and is way shorter and uglier than you’d think from TV. But we don’t go anywhere. We stay at the bar and talk and laugh, and my Budweiser draft disappears with a quickness.”

2. November 3, 2010 – Sarah’s birth day
“Someone announces that they see a head. The curtain is blocking all the action. I look into the reflecting glass of a medical cabinet on the wall to my left. There, I can see the flurry of movement by well-trained hands, then the silhouette of a tiny body being lifted from its mother’s womb. A quiet, quick second passes, then… we hear the baby cry. A stuttering, hesitant billy goat bleat that soon escalates into a full-blown, hyperventilating wail. ‘Baby’s crying?’ Tiffany asks me. Yes, I tell her happily, choking back tears. The baby’s crying. A voice on the other side of the curtain announces that it’s a girl. Another voice announces the time — 8:06 am. I squeeze my wife’s hand and brush her left cheek. I’m also in charge of making sure her drool gets collected in the maroon plastic kidney-shaped bedpan. Side effect of heavy anesthesia, the drool.”

3. September 16, 2010 – Ambien and physical therapy
“Since I compound-fractured my ankle, my wife has been an all-star. She has earned a great big Thank You gift. I just need to have her help me into the car, drive me to the Hallmark store or wherever, get out my walker for me, carry around whatever I decide to buy, figure out how we’re going to pay for it, help me back into the car and probably wrap the gift for me, too. I’m a horrible gift wrapper.”

4. January 31, 2011 – My quiet neighborhood
“The house next door to us on the opposite side is vacant. It’s tiny and dilapidated, and it looks like it hasn’t been lived in for at least a decade. Still, during the nice-weather months, whoever owns it shows up promptly every Saturday morning to cut the grass and edge the yard. He cuts it with a diagonal crisscross pattern and everything, and it always irks me that the abandoned crack house next door continually has a nicer lawn than mine. Although, I will add, it doesn’t irk me enough to do any extra work on my yard.”

5. October 6, 2010 – Tubby custard hobblicoition
“I learned something new today. The term ‘abasiophilia’ describes the fetish of having sexual desire for someone in a cast or on crutches. My wife is not an abasiophiliac, and I’m pretty glad she isn’t. If Tiffany did have a cast fetish, I’d probably always be suspicious that she was trying to push me down the stairs or run me over with the car to achieve her own perverse ends. Because nothing turns a lady on like having to do all the housework and pay all the bills yourself while your husband is immobile. That’s white-hot, ‘Funky Cold Medina’ stuff right there.”

6. October 8, 2010 – I get the boot
“My exiled recovery has left me kind of like eccentric, late-period Howard Hughes minus the money. I’ve peed in the jug and let my beard and fingernails grow wild and free. When my leg cast was removed, I was grateful for the talons I’d cultivated as I dug in with some full-on calf, ankle and foot scratching. Seen the ‘Seinfeld’ where Kramer ends up dating the coffee shop waitress because she has elongated nails and he has a previously unscratchable itch? Same thing. My fingernails and my newly exposed cast leg were a match made in heaven. Howard Hughes meets ‘Seinfeld’ meets Andrew the Uniplegic.”

7. September 20, 2010 – Nurse Ratched’s sledgehammer
“My mom is so devoted to my recovery from this broken ankle that she’s going to turn into Kathy Bates from Misery. I’ll be typing away on the laptop one sunny afternoon, and the door will open. She’ll say ominously, ‘You’ve been out of your room.’ I’ll say no, I don’t know what you’re talking about. She’ll say, ‘Andrew, my little ceramic penguin in the study always faces due south.’ Then, out will come the sledgehammer. It will be for my own good.”

8. December 31, 2010 – Twelve new Christmas memories
#3, Christmas Eve: “Some might have received my proclamation that my family would start our holiday shopping on Christmas Eve as a joke, but this is what in fact happens. The snow is still swirling from the sky as we spend well over an hour stuffing a WalMart cart with our entire haul of presents. We pick out a couple things that we want for ourselves under the guise of, ‘This is your Christmas present to me,’ and later we get a big box of bargain Christmas cards from Walgreens. I used to have a cheat sheet listing which relatives received which bargain cards (‘Grandpa = puppy in stocking, 2008,’ ‘Tiffany’s sister = winking snowman, 2009,’ etc.), but now I get to experience the rush of possibly giving the same relative the same card several years in a row. Will they call me out on it? They haven’t yet.

9. September 7, 2010 – Day One of daytime daddydom
“When we had our second baby, child care began to cost us $13,000 a year. We abruptly decided I was going to quit my daytime job and watch Sarah and Silas for free. Mind you, I’m not high-income. I just celebrated – well, ‘celebrated’ is not really the word for it, more like ‘wincefully acknowledged’ – the tenth anniversary of my intended-to-be-temporary foray into serving and bartending at mid-priced chain restaurants. I graduated college with honors at the age of 21. I was going to take a year off and write a book. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s not 1999 anymore, although the band Smash Mouth and I both sometimes wish it was.”

10. February 13, 2011 – Seen Jamaica?
“The Wal-Mart checker was, I’d guess, in her late 70s. She was about halfway into the process of scanning my 56 items when she looked to her right and realized there were eight people in line behind me, and none of them had more than six things to buy. ‘Where’s Jamaica?’ the elderly checker asked loudly. ‘I need Jamaica! Hey Susan, have you seen Jamaica?’ I figured Jamaica was the name of another checker who’d turned her light off and left her line unattended because it had been dead all night, but what if there was another explanation? What if this old lady’s visions of visiting or moving to Jamaica, the beautiful Caribbean island itself, were the only thing keeping her going through this barrage of graveyard checker shifts in the twilight of her life?”

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

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Linda the ho-bot

February 23, 2011

Andrew Hicks

In the interest of continuity (for those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile), I should mention it’s been almost six months since The Event, and I’m still not back to work. Oh, I’m working around the house — dishes, cooking, vacuuming, laundry and multitasking the double-baby situation — but none of that draws a paycheck or cash tips. I won’t get to exploit all this family work until I’m close to death and need one of these lucky kids to change my bedpan or something.

So it’s about time to go back to waiting on people (unless YOU — yes, YOU — want to pay me to write stuff), since the injured ankle is almost healed. My movement is still restricted, I still have pain at the end of the day, and I never should’ve walked in the snow earlier this month. Also, if you break your ankle in September, and in February, your 2 year old begs you to get on the trampoline and jump with her, don’t do it. You will look foolish, you will ache, and you will regret it. But I’m feeling good, I’m writing, and I’m still not drinking.

I do owe some people some money, though. Can’t lie about that. I get all kinds of robocalls I don’t answer every day. Most don’t leave a message. Some leave an automessage that is joined in progress once my voicemail starts recording. And then, there’s Linda. Linda is a collectorbot who calls and leaves the same 12-second voice message a half-dozen times a day. Crazy thing is, every time I get a Linda message, it originates from a different area code. You know that Ludacris song about having hoes in different area codes? Well, for one ho, Linda is in 124 area codes and counting. That’s impressive, Linda. But annoying.

My birthday’s this Sunday, and already I’ve gotten a card from my mom with a very generous check in it. This proves once again that the most thoughtful gift anyone can give is a lump sum of cash. Made my day. Not a word of this to Linda, anybody.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

This caption has yet to be written.

Examples of Dad’s geekiness

January 27, 2011

Andrew Hicks

 

  • Likes to refer to Sarah’s rainbow bib as “Roy G. Bib.”
  • When burping Silas, will frequently pat his back to drum beat of “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie while singing, “Let’s burp!”
  • Got a good laugh out of a little kid on “Barney” saying, “She’s like a brother to me.”
  • When Silas peed on Dad’s leg while flashing a huge grin, wrote a Facebook status about it on phone before cleaning up.
  • While half-awake, could have sworn Elmo was singing “Skeet skeet skeet skeet” on “Sesame Street.”
  • After breaking ankle on neighbor’s stairs last fall, wanted to purchase said stairs and comically reenact Stephen King‘s practice of buying and destroying the car that hit him in 1999, when he broke every bone in his body. Later found out King didn’t actually do this; he just bought the car and had it junked.
  • When Silas smiles, sometimes calls him “Smiley Silas” because it rhymes with the name of Billy Ray Cyrus‘s uber-famous teenage daughter.
  • Occasionally uses the prefix uber-.
  • Upon learning Sarah would automatically laugh when hearing the word “sassy,” Dad tracked down every Phil Hartman quote he could find from 1991 Sassy’s Sassiest Gentlemen” SNL sketch.
  • Now can draw Elmo’s head in seconds with five pen strokes.
  • Built most of this blog posting around months-old material written on a yellow legal pad. (Sorry, this actually belongs in the companion piece “Examples of Dad’s Laziness.”)

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

My 3 favorite ladies -- Tiffany, Sarah and my mom. Christmas 2008.

Family welfare

December 3, 2010

Andrew Hicks

At the time of The Event, I had health insurance for my entire nuclear family through my job as restaurant server, bartender and hourly manager. All I had to average was 25 hours a week, and they took a nice fat chunk out of each check. It was my first time being health-insured since just after my college graduation, and the Hicks clan quickly racked up a few high-ticket items. There were two live births, Sarah’s hospitalization for RSV* and the bizarre incision and drainage of an abscessed cyst in my right armpit. Which, if you like grossness, is a pretty interesting story for another time.

Then came the compound ankle fracture. Ambulance, emergency room, surgery, hospitalization and physical therapy with a lady who told me I’d be out of work “for at least a week, maybe even two.” I’m closing in on three months missing work, and the simple fact is, when you don’t work, you don’t automatically get your health insurance money withheld from your check. You also aren’t making the money you usually make at work. Money got scarce fast, we racked up a balance with the insurance company and got dropped halfway through last month.

Now, remember, I work an hourly job with a bunch of restaurant folks. Some of them are kids who live at home and may or may not roll out of bed by 2 pm; others are my age and have multiple kids. The whole way through, there were people telling me I could get free health insurance through the state if I qualified on an income-based level. I consider my lifestyle to be lower-middle class, and I figured if we did qualify for state medical cards, it would be just barely. And I also figured, I had earned the right to have health insurance as a benefit, so I might as well get it and pay for it. Responsible, right? Maybe even noble?

The nobility, real or imagined, fades a bit after you can’t work, and your existing bills – which you were not quite in full control of even before the accident – start backing up while brand-new accident-related bills start pouring in. Long story short, just before becoming uninsured, Tiffany and I applied for public aid. We got a notice almost immediately that the babies were covered, which brought peace of mind. Then, probably a week later, the rest of the results came back. Insurance for the whole family, free of charge. With all the media-bitching about Obamacare rules and regulations, this seems like some good old-fashioned welfare that FDR could cozy up to. Or wheel up to. Whichever.

Also, now there’s state-provided grocery money on a debit card each month. Gone, at least temporarily, are the days when I’d drop into the supermarket for a couple quick items, figure out by the crowds that it was the first of the month, get stuck in the checkout behind the family with the two full carts of stock-up goods, and then send out texts like, “Where’s the aisle for people who are buying items with cash they earned themselves?” to everyone I could think of while I was waiting to buy my white wine, bread and milk.

I’m still not yet earning money working, post-accident, but the money we’re saving now on health insurance, groceries and babysitting bills (you’re reading the words of a modern-day Mr. Mom) amounts to more than two grand per month. And you know, if you’d talked to me just before I popped out my ankle, I would have told you $250 a week for childcare for two children was a ripoff. Now that I’ve been home alone with Sarah and Silas for more than a month, it seems like an absolute bargain.

*I’d never heard of RSV, but it’s a pretty widespread respiratory virus among the very young. Sarah wasn’t even 2 months when she got it, most likely from a baby at the daycare she’d just started going to. It just seemed like she had a cold at first, but the virus took a quick progression on her infant body. One Sunday afternoon, when I left for work, Sarah was short of breath, and Tiffany and I made plans to take her to the urgent care first thing in the morning. Midway through my shift at work, I got a call from Tiffany, from the emergency room. Sarah had turned blue. Tiffany had called 911. Paramedics had come to the house and taken my 13-pound baby out on a stretcher**. Baby Sarah was in a room in the ICU for three days, hooked up to monitors and a baby IV. The first night, when the nurses wouldn’t let us feed her, was the hardest, but Sarah responded to treatment immediately and got better. Aside from a few chronic earaches in her early months, Sarah’s been a really healthy baby.

**Which, when you think about the heavy-lifting side of it, has to be a jackpot situation for paramedics. They don’t know whether they’re going to show up to hoist a 600-pound dude who just suffered a McRib-induced coronary blowout or a tiny, blue-faced infant. Morbid as it is, the sight of the blue baby has to at least be a physical relief as far as back pain goes. Kind of like when you’re helping a friend move, and the other guys always end up having to grab something heavy on the Next To Go list, while on your turn, the closest thing to grab is the box of pillows. Then again, my eyeballs probably zero in on the box of pillows and the box of paper towels and the box of toilet paper. I’m an out-of-work welfare recipient, after all.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby Sarah in the days she could be contained in a colorful bouncer.

Is this a parenting blog? Nah…

November 24, 2010

Andrew Hicks

This blog is about a parent, but I wouldn’t call it a parenting blog. The term “parenting blog” suggests a general editorial stance of authority or even just familiarity with the ins and outs of raising small children. There are parenting moments that baffle me or seem to require more effort than I give or know how to give.

As a dad, I know and do more with Silas (who just celebrated his 142nd day on planet Earth by pooping) than I did when Sarah was the same age. I’m primary caregiver to both kids now, but for most of Sarah’s first 2 years, I was working the days, evenings and weekends of the restaurant biz. For awhile, it was wake up, leave for work, be gone all day and then often arrive home after Sarah was in bed. We started Sarah in daycare, moved her to a babysitter, then – just a week before The Event – switched to having me watch her and Silas and work nights.

This blog has resulted in wisecracks about me posturing myself as Superdad, but in terms of fathering ability, I’d rank myself about average. I probably care more than most, I put in a lot of hours as daddy, and I give a lot of love to these babies and their wonderful mother, but I know there’s stuff I’m not doing. I know better parents than I are not allowing themselves to be so worn down by the routine of diapering, feeding, bathing, playing with, burping and chasing around that they lazy out when they finally do arrive at a free second. I don’t think a daily nap was granted by the Bill of Rights, but I often act as though it were.

I get tired more easily than I used to. At least a little of that has to do with me still recovering from a compound ankle fracture and surgery. I’m returning to normal but am not all the way back. I’ve recovered enough to tackle this assignment, but it’s obviously more difficult than it would have been minus broken bone.

All that said, I want to be able to use this blog to solicit advice from parents more seasoned than myself. The past week or so, Silas has been a lot fussier during everyday activity, he’s been staying awake longer and later, and he’s had discomfort I haven’t been been able to automatically soothe. He’s been crying more, and my usual tricks for making him happy and calm have seemed to work less and less. Consequently, my reserves of patience have dropped to lower levels than usual.

I have a little mantra when I start to get upset with Silas for crying and fussing. It comes from a Xeroxed, folded newsletter mailed to us by a local parenting organization. There was an article on teething, which – given Silas’s age and lack of signs of cold or flu – probably accounts for the pain he’s experiencing. Among the bulleted advice points on how to make teething easier for your kid was the generic admonition to give the little dude extra “tender loving care” during the teething process.

It was simple, obvious, even cliched, but those three words resonated with me. Tender loving care. When I’m frustrated, when I’m getting short with His Lil’ Screaminess, I softly say those words out loud, and then I put them into practice. Or try my best to. That’s what my baby boy deserves. I have immense love for him, and he’s experiencing pain that he is completely not at fault for. What better time for some TLC, you know? It’s the best thing I’ve found so far for getting my patience back.

What I’d like to know, and maybe this would be a good one to ask the parents from “19 Kids and Counting,” is if there’s a magic, catch-all parenting secret or karmic maturity trick on how to restore and stabilize patience to the adult brain before your emotions succumb to baby stress. Or are baby-stress reactions mostly motivated by selfishness and just something to suck up and deal with?

Probably, the latter is true, but I’d like to hear words of parenting wisdom and sanity-preserving techniques from those with more knowledge and experience than I on the topic at hand. Maybe I can finally get some comments around this blog. That’d be cool.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

May-December shoes

November 23, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I made the 100-plus-mile trek to my in-laws’ house a couple weeks back, so I could drop the kids off at Meemaw and Peepaw’s Daycare (can’t beat the rates) and follow up with the orthopedist who performed my ankle surgery in September. I got the customary X-rays — for some reason, I love looking at my ankle screws from three different angles — and was pronounced Almost Back To Normal. Which means, first and foremost, I won’t have to drive 100-plus miles to any further appointments.

Snoop Docky Doc* also told me I could go bootless as I see fit. It’s still kinda weird putting that left shoe on again, after being foot-shod in post-surgery wrap, a fiberglass cast and then the space boot. The left shoe sat out for quite awhile. It’s not often a shoe partnership gets split up like that, with Righty continuing to go into battle while Lefty stares at the inside of the closet for weeks on end. It’s like one shoe’s having a midlife crisis, and the other shoe’s counting the days to retirement. I’ve got a May-December shoe situation.

I coordinated the doctor appointment to match up with the weekly big-city standup open mic, and invited the Facebook world at large to come see me. Usually, those kind of invitations provoke a couple half-hearted “I’ll try to make it out” comments and about a half-dozen “I would totally be there, but…” apology responses. I’m guilty of this, too — I love to claim I’d go do something, that there’s nothing I’d love more, but I tragically, unfortunately can’t due to some preexisting, tenuous reason. Which, these days, two babies and a broken ankle is pretty much a catch-all**.

I had a few friends that I knew would come up to see me, but imagine my onset of sheepishness when I got to open mic and found out it was canceled because Doug “Superhigh Me” Benson was in town doing a special engagement. Now imagine that, in the next few minutes, friends kept showing up. Old, close friends I haven’t seen in awhile, making surprise appearances. Nine in all, with the show canceled. I had no choice but to head out to a couple restaurants and bars with the entire group for the next four hours.

I’ve entered the stage of my adult life, previously thought impossible, where I am capable of holding my own socially without feeling like I need to drink. I hadn’t fully tested this until the night everyone showed up for my canceled open mic, so out we went, and I held court while downing ice waters. (I’m one of those customers now. Sorry, entire service industry.) It was a good night and a great group, and there was a strange moment a couple hours in where my assembled group of friends sat on the entrance stairs to the restaurant and I performed the four minutes of standup I’d prepared***.

I mingled, I played some shuffleboard, and I discovered alcohol wasn’t the reason I’ve always sucked at shuffleboard. Most importantly, I had a really good time with a group of close friends, friends of friends, significant others of friends, and my omnipresent ice water. My childless courtship time with Tiffany occurred in a whirlwind, with me quickly going from single party guy to married dude in a different town, working a different job.

Out of necessity, and with no personal precedent to refer back to, I neglected some fun, healthy relationships with some great young people after I got married. Three-plus years later, my life seems so much more valuable, and so does time spent with Hall of Famers from my social golden years. Thanks for coming out, all’a y’all.

*I give all my medical care practitioners nicknames based on prominent hip-hop MCs throughout history, though I have no further examples to offer at the present time.

**Also, this kinda makes me an immature jerk, but I think it’s great to tell someone online that you’ll definitely be there for their four-minute performance in the community college adult piano recital, then later on pretend like you forgot they live two time zones away. I mean, what do they expect when they send out an inconsequential blanket invitation to everyone they’ve ever exchanged a friendly word with?

***This was my second indicator, the first one coming from my clued-in, opinionated wife, that I couldn’t sell the following joke onstage: “When someone asks me a date-related question, I always round up.  Q. How old is your youngest?  A. He’ll be six months in January.  Q. How long have you been married?  A. It’ll be ten years in 2017.  Q. How long have you been waiting for a good laugh on this joke?  A. It’ll be one day tomorrow.”

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby Silas chills in his buggy.

iCane

October 20, 2010

Andrew Hicks

Today we have what a hack television detective would excitedly refer to as “a break in the case.” Obviously, in the 38 days (yes, I am counting) since my ankle popped through my skin, I’ve been hesitant to use phrases with the word “break” in them. But this is a game-changer.

I can walk with a cane now. No more crutches! My mobility status has been upgraded from Invalid to Old-Ass Man. I’m only weeks away from being back where I started, as Sweaty, Outta-Breath Fat Guy You Don’t Want On Your Softball Team. I can’t wait to just be out of shape again.

What I will miss least about crutch transportation is not easily being able to carry anything from point A to point B. If it didn’t fit in my pocket or hang in a plastic bag, the only way to move, say, a dinner plate was to take one step at a time and switch the carried plate from one hand to the other with each step. It was a slow process and, I might add, hilarious for second and third parties to watch.

Sadly, the Neck Basket does not actually exist.

It’s too bad the Neck Basket is a hoax and not an actual infomercial-shilled product. It looks like the shower caddy I used in my college dorm days, only suspended from a neck chain. Just like the Medic Alert bracelet I mentioned yesterday, the Neck Basket is a product I would have considered utterly useless until Ankle Break 2010 made it utterly useful.

Plus, I could wear that thing out in public, attach a placard with a simple, hand-written, all-caps sob story underneath, and accept crumpled cash donations in it. Thing would pay for itself in no time.

The crutches are behind me — like the hospital stay, the leg cast and the walker — and I look forward to seeing what kind of odd search engine terms lead people to my blog now that the cane-walking era is upon us. WordPress, my blog host, has a complete list of the typed-in phrases that have led readers to this corner of cyberspace. These are the:

TOP TEN CRAZIEST ACTUAL SEARCH TERMS THIS BLOG MATCHES

10. fiberglass leg cast kid
9. diaper stories catalogued
8. beard growing blog itchy
7. tosh.0 one legged salsa dancer
6. body clock diary
5. amputee fantasy crutching
4. leg brace and crutch erotica
3. miley cyrus air ankle leg cast
2. tinky winky purple gay teletubbie
1. she put nine diapers on me stories

We’ve come a long way since the days of the public library card catalog. If I remember my Dewey Decimal System correctly, “She Put Nine Diapers On Me Stories” is 812.45 in the stacks. I did a research paper one time, long story…

Search engines should install the opposite of an adult sites blocker. If people who want porn sites are searching nasty terms and end up on my PG-rated blog, obviously that’s a waste of their time and it makes me look bad. I don’t want the “There goes the neighborhood!” effect to lower my blogosphere property value. So why can’t there be a content filter that eliminates straightforward comedy writing from matching pervy Google queries? I just want to go back to writing innocent posts about poop, pee, puke and rubbing bars of soap in my ass crack for a wholesome, God-fearing audience that’s into that sort of thing.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah and Silas, ready for travel.

Power Chair races

October 11, 2010

Andrew Hicks

Columbus Day, 2010, and I’m celebrating by taking the day off work. For those of you just joining my blog, that’s a joke. A very elementary-level joke. I broke my ankle a month ago, and I haven’t been able to work a day since.

But, while both babies are taking naps, and I’m able to sit outside and enjoy the quiet peace of an 80-degree October afternoon (it’s an Indian summer without the Indians — Columbus would be pleased), it’s a good time to reflect on the sum total of thousands of years of human ambition and folly. Yes, I’ve come a long way in my personal life, and I’m writing words I’m really proud of. Yes, I also can’t walk without crutches. There’s good with bad.

Oh, and the other night, I spilled about a half-ounce of baby formula into my computer keyboard. That was clumsy and dumb.  My space bar is no longer functional. ThisiswhatmysentenceslooklikebeforeIgobackandmanuallyinsertapastedspacebetweeneachword. I’d like to hide behind a claim that it’s deliberate, and I’m updating the printed word into its next grand innovation by reducing its bulk up to 20% and bringing each sentence in at a hyper-efficient one-word maximum. Truth is, words with no spaces between them givemeabigassfreakingheadache. Please stand by while I pop a handful of Tylenol with codeine.

There, that’s better. A whole lot better.

I’m entering my fourth set of weekdays spent away from my wife, Tiffany. The kids and I are still staying with her parents. The child-care situation is becoming a well-oiled machine. Saturday morning, for instance, I stayed up with baby Silas through the night, then my father-in-law took him around 6 am, then my mom came over to watch Sarah and Silas at 8, then my mom passed the kids off to Tiffany around 9:30. A couple more sets of hands, and there might be an actual village raising my children.

Sarah's horse moves especially slow on grass.

This neighborhood seems to be populated mostly with retirees, so I don’t feel overly self-conscious playing outside with Sarah in the common areas. I’m getting around on crutches and a space boot, Sarah’s pushing around this pink, four-wheel horse toy, and kind old Mr. Gunnaker is wheeling his walker out to the mailbox after the USPS mail truck putters by at 3 mph. We’re all taking it slow around here. The fastest thing moving is Mrs. Fishman’s Power Chair down her six-degree driveway decline.

Sarah is learning new words every day, and in the spirit of Columbus and America at large, her two most-used sayings are, “More?” and, “I want.” This girl is skin and bones right now, but she loves carbohydrates. Immobility has led to my couch homebase being laced with carby snack food bags and boxes. I usually try to hide it all when I hear her coming downstairs — I get about a 20-second soundbite headstart of an unseen Sarah saying, “See Daddy? See Daddy? I want! See Daddy?” before her actual arrival. But there’s always something peeking out. Crackers, chips, popcorn, the occasional loose Pop-Tart. When it comes to spotting junk food, my daughter’s vision exceeds 20/20. First comes “I want,” then comes, “More?” repeated ad nauseum.

Returning to normalcy is within sight. I’m close to getting freelance writing work. I’ve been putting slow but steadily increasing weight on the bad foot. I can take showers again, which is fantastic. And I’ve got a refrigerator, freezer and microwave setup in my little studio apartment area. I’ve acquired a modest, humble inventory of groceries. I have lunch meat, salad mix, bread (both kinds — slices AND heels!), cottage cheese, restaurant leftovers and pickles. I mean a ton of pickles. Every plate I make, breakfast included, gets a robust pickle garnish.

Sarah’s naptime is up, and I need to go wake up Silas. Every minute he sleeps when I’m awake is a minute he’ll be awake later when I have other plans.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah, surrounded by exciting things like leaves, fences and storm drain sewer caps.

I get the boot

October 8, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I went to the orthopedic doctor yesterday morning. The good news is, I don’t have to wear a leg cast anymore. I will no longer be the target of lusty leers from gorgeous women and creepy old men suffering from abasiophilia – a disease that, with your financial help, could be cured in our lifetime.

It was an epic moment. I was sitting on the exam table when the nurse wheeled in what looked like a ShopVac with a pizza cutter-sized buzzsaw blade at the end of its hose attachment. I flashed back to being nine and having my leg cast cut off with one of those pizza-cutter blades and getting my skin all chewed up. The cast removal this time made me feel more ticklish than in pain, almost jump-out-of-skin ticklish on the bottom of my foot.

Then the nurse wheeled the equipment out of the room and left me alone with my formerly encased leg. At the time, I thought I was about to be X-rayed and recasted. That’s what they’d told me during the last visit – that, as my fracture and incisions healed, the swelling would go down and they’d fit me for a smaller, sleeker cast. Aerodynamic, even, to counter all the wind velocity generated by my half-mile-per-hour top crutch speed.

Pizza-cutter buzz saw

The way I saw it, I had about a minute and a half to scratch every square inch of the skin that had been itching for the past 27 days. I was dainty about it at first. Rubbed my calf, just kind of brushed the top of my foot with my fingernails. And it felt so good. It felt amazing. This must be the kind of pleasure an abasiophiliac experiences when he or she fondles the cast of a consenting partner.

I have nice long fingernails right now, too. My exiled recovery has left me kind of like eccentric, late-period Howard Hughes minus the money. I’ve peed in the jug and let my beard and fingernails grow wild and free. I was grateful for the talons I’d cultivated as I dug in with some full-on leg and foot scratching. Anyone seen the “Seinfeld” where Kramer ends up dating the coffee shop waitress because she has elongated nails and he has a previously unscratchable itch? Same thing. My fingernails and my newly exposed cast leg were a match made in heaven. Howard Hughes meets “Seinfeld” meets Andrew the Uniplegic.

Das boot

Turned out there was no need to blow my leg-scratch wad. Now I can access my lower left extremities whenever I want. The cast has been replaced by a large, streamlined plastic boot with lots of Velcro straps and a Nike Air-style inflate/deflate pump. It’s bulkier than the cast, not as supportive, less comfortable and a lot hotter, but guess what? I can take a shower again. But I don’t want to come back to the personal hygiene fold with just an ordinary shower. Preparations are underway for the bathing event of the century. I will alert the media, you can rest assured. Any day now.

I didn’t have to pay for the boot, either. My father-in-law had one stored away from his own brief foray into one-legged euphoria last year. He’s got all kinds of stuff hidden around the house that can be produced on a moment’s notice. Yesterday, he remembered he had a two-way intercom system in his basement. Which is a much classier way for us to communicate than me just shouting, “Bring me a sandwich!” up the stairs. We tried setting up the intercom units for about half an hour and were unsuccessful. By the end of it, I had really worked up the appetite for a sandwich. And I let him know, by way of shouting.

Oh yeah, the bad news – I can’t go back to work for six more weeks. Definitely longer than I was counting on. If not for the providence of our families, this Thanksgiving would be sugar water and mayonnaise sandwiches for sure. I need to find someone who will pay me to write, or maybe I can crutch my way into an interview for a desk job and get myself hired by invoking the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. (There is a clause in there covering dumbasses who fall down stairs in the middle of the night, isn’t there?)

Meantime, I have no money coming in. Time to sell the old plasma. Not a plasma TV, my actual plasma. Any readers care to make an offer on a three-ounce vial of Andrew plasma? Act now, and I’ll toss in some platelets. I promise not to gouge you; I’ll be busy gouging myself for plasma and platelet cash.

Possibly my most hilarious Facebook friend, a lady named Jennifer Misiurewicz, wants me to mention her in this blog post. And I don’t mind, because I really didn’t feel like writing until I got my joke-word skills warmed up trading status comments with J.Miz. That banter led straight to this entry, so I’d like to reprint the comments, a reaction to my announcement that I’d be selling my plasma…

ANDREW HICKS: Found out I still can’t go back to work for 6 weeks. Time to sell the old plasma. Not my plasma TV, my actual plasma.

S____ F__ and R______ R_______ like this.

J.MIZ: or sperm. its liquid gold mr luck charms

ANDREW: R______ you would like the fact that I’m going to be homeless by this time next month.

R______: i don’t like it i like that you thought of the idea to sell your plasma

J.MIZ: he is inventive that one…..but most degenerates are

ANDREW: R______, let’s eliminate the middle-man. Do you want to make an offer on 6 ounces of my warm plasma? I’ll throw in some platelets.

J.MIZ: ill take gamma globulin for 400 alex

J.MIZ: mmmmmmm warm plasma…..can i get in on this bidding war??? im planning on a hep b winter

ANDREW: I was gonna be Gamma Globulin for Halloween, but now I just have to be disabled.

J.MIZ: NO!!!! the beauty is that gamma globulin cannot stand alone….its a “helper monkey” if u will

ANDREW: Ah, if only Weird Al would parody “White Christmas” and make the opening line, “I’m planning on a Hep B winter.” I would love that.

J.MIZ: why did my brain just start chanting: TWO LEGS ENTER ONE LEG LEAVES??????

J.MIZ: immmmmmmmmm planning on a hep b winter….just like the shots i used to know. where youre shot with virus and miley cyrus

J.MIZ: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…….AMY WINEHOUSE

R______ hahaha….

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah's intense juice face at the state fairgrounds

Tubby custard hobblicoition

October 6, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I learned something new today, from the DrGimpy corner of the Internet. The term “abasiophilia” describes the fetish of having sexual desire for someone in a cast or on crutches. My wife is not an abasiophiliac, and I’m pretty glad she isn’t. If Tiffany did have a cast fetish, I’d probably always be suspicious that she was trying to push me down the stairs or run me over with the car to achieve her own perverse ends. Because nothing turns a lady on like having to do all the housework and pay all the bills yourself while your husband is immobile. That’s white-hot, “Funky Cold Medina” stuff right there.

The DrGimpy contingent was unable to provide me with a term for wasting an entire paragraph of your readers’ time describing the practice of being physically aroused by orthopedic assistance devices. So I’ll make up a term: “hobblicoition.” That’s pronounced “hah-blih-coh-ish-un.” Next, I’ll make up a term for wasting a second paragraph of your readers’ time by making up a term to describe the subject matter of the first paragraph you wasted your readers’ time with. And so on. This blog’s going to write itself today.

Hurricane Sarah trashed the downstairs family room and headed off to bed a couple hours ago. 23-month-old Sarah’s favorite new toy is her baby brother’s giant canister of formula powder. She uses every square inch of the coffee table to roll and slide the canister, then she turns it upside down and drums on the metallic underside. I do my dadly best to be right next to her and make sure the plastic lid doesn’t get pried off. That kind of mass powder dispersing would be a catastrophic mess, almost as bad as that scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen sneezes into the L.A. hipster character’s voluminous cocaine stash. Baby formula is almost as expensive as coke, from what I understand.

I vaguely remember, during the pregnancy and Sarah’s first couple months, pledging I’d be a truly conscientious, revolutionary parent. My child would not eat McDonald’s. My child would not watch television. My child’s carbon footprint would not be any larger than her pinkie toe. That was an Andrew who was unaware of the reality of round-the-clock parenting. That Andrew had no idea that McDonald’s french fries make a hysterical toddler stop crying in the car. That Andrew also didn’t know the sheer amount of wet and poopy diapers he’d be tossing in the garbage over the next two years.

That guy especially didn’t know how much he’d come to rely on the TV. It’s really easy to brag to strangers that you’re not gonna let your kid be babysat by television, but it’s tougher to resist when you figure out babies really love television. This is a tough reality to resist at seven in the morning when baby is wide awake and you still have two very crucial hours of sleep to catch up on and “Sesame Street” is just starting on the channel your tax dollars fund. Well, not your tax dollars, necessarily, but the tax dollars of people who earn real money.

Sarah’s first TV love was “Teletubbies.” Pre-parental Andrew had always bought into the conventional wisdom of cynical twentysomething adults, that the Teletubs were for drool-mouthed nincompoops only. I was especially put off by the knowledge that the producers of the show would have the TTs do something inane like jump around for a minute, then have them yell, “Again! Again!” and just loop identical footage. At the time, I didn’t understand or consider the target audience for the Teletubbies – babies aged 91 to 445 days. The vast majority of whom do have drooly mouths.

The Hicks household invasion of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La La and Po reminded me of the media furor in 1999, when the late Rev. Jerry Falwell yanked Tinky Winky out of the closet. Watching the show now, yes, Tinky Winky is purple and dances impeccably and has an upside-down triangle instead of hair, but I believe Falwell’s remarks were narrow-minded and completely off-base. The truth is, all four Teletubbies are gay. They all carry around purses, they all try on dresses, and they all enjoy the taste of “tubby custard.” Whatever that is.

Jerry Falwell is in heaven. The Teletubbies live on at my house in sparkling VHS. Fal’s well that ends well.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

 

Baby Silas is not quite ready to be a Bumbo sitter, but this is an excellent dome view of his male pattern baldness.