You guys, I am so sorry. Not only is this post a day late, it's a day late for last week. That's not like me. I'm usually spot-on, at Afrah every Thursday, hammering this sucker out over baba ganouj and pita bread with a lemonade and an occasional cup of gelato. November's brought a host of interesting goings-on, from a stupid back injury to a--common cold. Weird to call anything common that's so darn rare, at least for me. I don't get colds. Oh, I get a sinus infection that warps into double pneumonia, or viral bronchitis that lands me in bed for a week, but a cold? Pshaw. Never happens. Except that, at the moment, I have a cold.
Last Thursday, Joan and I had tickets to a play called MacHomer. Think Macbeth as done by the Simpsons. Macbeth happens to be my favorite play. To see it done as a one-man show by a guy who can convincingly imitate about 20 Simpsons characters is, well, special. We saw it before, several years ago, but the sound quality at the theater was so bad that we missed three-quarters of the jokes. So when we saw it was coming back around--and playing at the Winspear, which is an opera house and which Does Not Have Bad Sound--we got all excited. Thursday night, however, we made the mistake of meeting at home for dinner before the show. Halfway through dinner, we started looking at each other, and finally I said, "This isn't going to happen, is it?" and Joan said, "You mind if we lose the ticket money?" I said, "Of course I mind, but not enough to pile into the car and go down there." Joan said, "I want to have gone, but I don't want to go." Which was pretty much how I felt. So we ended up watching something on the History Channel, and I fell asleep on the couch. I do that. This is how you know you're an old married couple; you start deteriorating at the same speed.
My stupid back is a lot better, no thanks to the Chiropractor We Send All Our Clients To. Actually, there was nothing wrong with the chiropractor; it was her staff that was the problem. The first time I went down there, I was in her office for 2 1/2 hours. Of that time, about 15 minutes amounted to actual treatment. The rest amounted to being shown into this room and that room and long periods of being left unattended for reasons that were never satisfactorily explained. That was my first visit. My second visit only took an hour and a half, but in that time, my treatment plan changed from three to four visits over two weeks to twenty-one visits over three to four months. One of the minions tried to take me back for an X-ray that the doctor had already told me I didn't need, and when I tried to make her life easier by saying, "Look, I'll just refuse it, okay?" she said, "You can't do that."
(Um, I assure you that I can.)
But the topper was when a different minion took me into a treatment room for this electric-stim therapy that's kind of like a TENS unit on acid, I guess. My stupid back injury was kind of below my waist and just above my butt, so to get at it they kind of had to take my pants partway off. This woman hooked me up to this electro-zapper thingy, with my pants partway off, and left me there, again for the requisite 45 minutes. With two big Mexican (male) laborers in the same room. No, I am not kidding. I finally peeled the electrodes off and wriggled myself off the table (not without several muscle spasms) so that I could for Godsake get dressed. I mean, the Mexican laborers were polite and all that, and didn't stare, but for crying out loud, people. That was a little ridiculous. I don't wanna send my clients there anymore. (Chiropractic Doctors Clinic on Belt Line. You're welcome.)
So thus endeth my third bad experience with chiropractic. There will not be a fourth. It's been about a month since I got hurt and I'm mostly back to normal, with a little residual stiffness. My massage therapist, the endlessly talented Kellum, has been filling in for the auspices of modern medicine. I think that did just as well as chiropractic would have done. Probably better, since Kellum doesn't leave me lying places with my pants off. Bless his heart.
Okay, so I couldn't swim for about three weeks. Swimming made my back worse (probably the cold water; I'd just tense right up) but walking made it better, so I did a lot of walking. Result: Legs and lower back got stronger, but lost lots of muscle tone in my arms and shoulders. I'm back in the pool now and I get sore, people. It's a little embarrassing to crawl out of the pool after an hour and be barely able to lift my frick'n swim bag. I start lifting weights again on Sunday. Seriously, this needs to be fixed.
We spent Thanksgiving with good friends Tammy and Tracy and some other friends at their place in Oak Cliff. Everybody brought something so it was a pretty eclectic mix of food. Joan made Texas caviar, which is kind of a bean salad thingy with onions and Italian dressing, and cranberry sauce. (Not together.) The sweet potatoes were first rate, the stuffing was great, there were two kinds of bread pudding (I had a sliver of each, mainly as an excuse to put spray whipped cream on them--I love spray whipped cream) and, oh yeah, a turkey. I gave a slice of breast meat some courtesy nibbles. I have never been fond of turkey. I know this makes me a Philistine, but I'll survive somehow. We spent the evening telling silly animal stories (since most of their friends are zookeepers!) and being harassed by their three cats and a visiting dog. It was a great way to spend a holiday.
So now we're in the middle of the North Texas Mensa Regional Gathering, where we hang with the smart people and learn cool stuff about computer vision and Civil War diaries and play card games until three in the morning and other strange things. The programming is great, but the hotel--People, this hotel needed to be torn down two years ago. It's like the Dallas Shining. The towels are frayed, the air conditioner covers are cracked, there are mirrors missing in the washrooms and they've been replaced with boards, there are ceiling stains--it's pathetic, really. The whole place speaks of serious neglect, bad management and we-didn't-bother-to-do-a-site-inspection-before-we-signed-the-contract. I'd be embarrassed to book anyone there. I'm almost embarrassed to walk in there. (Night Hotel Dallas at 635 just past Josey Lane. You're welcome.)
And my NaNo novel? Oh, let's not talk about that. Suffice to say it kind of crashed and burned on me 16,000 words in. But that's actually okay, because I got an idea to do something else, and it's going to be fun. (As Lawrence of Arabia) The trick is not to mind that it hurts.
So, anyway, that's where things stand. I'm about to crawl into bed, soon to leap back up and go flying out to the Dallas Shining for Day 3 of the RG. We'll see how long I last before the murdered twin girls pop out of the hallway walls and say they want me to stay and play with them forever and ever and ever. Cheers, all.