Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Can Someone Help Me Put On My Socks?

...because I sure as hell can't reach all the way down there.


Welcome to 931 Judah, a.k.a. "Intensive Care". In this corner we have a hurt child, crying like a school girl, moaning in pain, asking for help to do the simplest of tasks. And in the other there's Liam, arm in a cast from bicep to hand, laughing and running around as if nothing was wrong. I swear, the kid had a few drops of Tylenol on day 2 and he was fine. Me...I'm popping Vicodin and Motrin like they're Pez candies.

I'm broken, again. Out for the season. Back is jacked. I don't need a doctor to tell me I've herniated my L4/L5 disc again. I didn't even DO anything, I just woke up the day after some mild on-the bike jumps and....oh god, not again...

I'm an idiot. Last year was great, 4 months of Pilates leading up to CX and I felt like a lithe 30-yr-old. This year, a couple of lame-ass core exercises on the ball per week and 8 weeks of decent training, and for some reason I expected to feel the same. Hell, I gotta stop acting like a kid.

But damn, I was pumped. Here was the announcement I wanted to make this week:
"Santa Cruz Bicycles/Art By Opsal Cyclocross Team for 2007-2008

Riders Rich "Dark God" Maile and yours truly will be out kicking bootie on the new Santa Cruz Stigmata on CX course near you
Rich: "these bikes are punk rock, man, PUNK ROCK!"
Me: "ya...we'll be having strawberries for brunch every Sunday"
Sponsors: Santa Cruz Bicycles/Art By Opsal/Shimano/Giro/Crank Brothers/Paul Components/True Temper
But it's ok, because Rich is a one-man wrecking crew, he doesn't need me anyhow. But sweet Jesus, Ferrentino at SCB really went out on a limb for us lining up some great sponsors. Seriously, I had to pinch myself every 8 hours to make sure I wasn't dreaming I was a 26-yr-old spring chicken w/ a phat contract.

Big thanks to Mike F - that was the hardest "no thanks" I ever had to cough up.

And now...on the sidelines. Actually there's plenty to do - I was seriously in the dog-house for even contemplating another season with 2 kids under 5 and Frances working hard as a full-time mom and trying to record the 2nd CD.

I'm in a bit of pain, and I can't sit upright very long. I can't walk very far. Most of my work is done on the laptop laying on my stomach and then rolling over to my back for a few minutes. Getting up is annoyingly difficult. Sneezing is the most unbearable agony and something I dread more than anything else. Experience tells me I'll feel this way for about 2 weeks, then very slowly start to improve.

...but seriously, the hardest thing I have to do every day is put on my goddamn socks.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Parental Nightmare

I work in the basement room below Liam's bedroom. Clackity-clack on the keyboard and then from above:

(screaming child)

Nothing could have prepared me for walking into that room, seeing Liam's hand dangling from a 45-degree break in his forearm. This beautiful little cautious, loving, sensitive creature that we somehow miraculously broken...and screaming bloody murder. I started to flip out but somehow pulled it together just enough to dial 911.

That IKEA loft bed...

...I worry about it all the time when Liam's friends are visiting and they're up and down the ladder. "One of his friends are gonna fall off that thing", I keep thinking. But not Liam, he's too careful. He's afraid of the monkey bars if his feet are 8" off the ground... going on Craigslist this weekend.

That's not an elbow.

Liam is a bawling deer in the headlights. Nurses and doctors try to ask him questions and try all those little tricks that work on every kid but ours - especially now, scared of all the attention and clearly traumatized at the sight of his hideously misshapen forearm, he stares into space in all directions and answers nobody, clings tighter to Fran's shoulders, then resumes crying. I want to whisk him away from this madness.

Some 2 1/2 hours later on our 2nd of 4 trips to radiology and he's still broken and wearing the makeshift cardboard splint the SF Fire Dept EMT's put on him...banished from the X-Ray room where Liam is whimpering in Fran's arms, I finally lost it. All alone in the nook of an empty hallway I'm sobbing like a baby - I can't bear to see Liam go thru this - I'm supposed to protect him from this sort of shit. Some girl comes down the hallway, our eyes meet for a second - we're both crying and neither of us are ashamed. She turns the corner and I calm down. She's probably having a worse day, she looks like she's losing a loved one somewhere around that corner.

The hospital at night - nobody's there for a check-up, everyone is having a bad day - and all these saints choose to work there - god bless them.

At some point during the evening, Liam says:
"I'm sorry...I'm sorry I'm in such a bad mood."
Then the god-awful "reduction" - what they call the re-setting the bones which amounted to filling Liam full of some drug that made his eyes go all crazy and glazed and clearly out of it, and then pulling and manipulating the bones with a hideous cracking sound louder than a bag of chips - feeling a faint coming on I rush out of the room and stand outside the door with my fingers in my ears. Meanwhile Fran is in there holding Liam, she says she barely noticed anything because she was only looking at Liam's face, getting him through it all. No bones about it, she's the rock on which this family stands.

But Liam will be fine. Back at home late last night he started meowing as his alter-ego - a kitten named Mimo. I have no idea where Mimo came from, but he always comes out warm and cuddly and full of love. In the middle of this long sleepless night, Mimo came out to let us know that everything will be fine...and I fought back a different kind of tears.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Rowan, August 6th, 2007.

Rowan had to wait 365 days to experience chocolate.

Worth the wait, I'd say.

(Note the efficient use of both hands)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Wheels are off

Daddy couldn't be prouder...