Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Problem with Modern Day Vacations

As a society we've gone soft. Since the greatest generation (WWII Vets), we've had the silent generation, baby boomers (Me), Gen X, MTV Generation, and the Gen Y kids. We've had less ambition with each generation, less guts and more luxuries than our forebears combined.

Soft is the wrong word. We've turned into sissies.

1. Kids play sports that can't declare a winner since score isn't kept. I just vomited.

2. Everyone on the team gets trophies for being the best whatever....except no one give out the best player award - that would insult the other players.

3.Public schools teach to the lowest learning level making bright kids sit in a pool of boredom day in and day out.

4. The plethora of video games and TV channels have turned our kids into jello. In my day, we played in the street, got sweaty, sunburned and scuffed up. Our baseball games didn't have an on/off button. Only when the streetlights came on did we even think about going inside.

5. Parents are excepted to coddle their children from birth. Spanking children today? Frowned upon. Talk to them. Nurture them. Sissyfy them. Me? I didn't get spanked - if I behaved badly I was struck by my dad's leather belt. That usually got my attention. And when he was little it was the branch off of a small green tree. Ouch.

All of this has led to the Problem with the Modern Vacation.

Keith on Vacation - Always Working

The entitlement earned and fostered during our youth continues into adulthood. People today believe they deserve their 2,3,4 or 5 weeks of vacation to be in joyful and silent bliss.

In a world of split-second communication and instant demands, some people prefer to go undercover for days and it DRIVES.ME.CRAZY.

They want zero contact with the office and all the stressful things going on there. The responsbilities of life are left at their door the second they depart on holiday as vacations are called across the pond and in the land of our forefathers. Holiday. I like it. Catchy.

If people had one vacation a year like in the old days, I'd agree with the, "I'm outta here for one week, leave me alone," statement. Nowadays people are always on vacation - personal days, sick days, vacation days, holidays....they add up to a mindboggling number of times people are away from their work responsibilities. Mindboggling. My dad's generation, the greatest generation wouldn't understand today's worker.

That we have such luxuries as laptop computers, blackberry devices, iphones and so forth that ALLOW folks to stay in touch with their work responsibilities should correct this problem. Theoretically, the new technology should enable the traveler-employee-photographer-explorer to stay linked to their office responsibilies, participate in problem solving matters when needed WHILE roaming the earth.

It doesn't work like that. I don't work like that.

And this is what is stressing me out about the modern day vacation.

People: Be responsible.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Golf Warrior's Surgery

Surgery is PAINFUL

I totally underestimated the:

a) pain
b) fuzzyheadedness
c) pain
d) inability to move the arm operated on
e) pain
f) soreness

Since I'm impatient, I was, I HAD to be, the first patient (pun intended) of the day for Dr. Strangelove and his sidekick Nick the Greek.

6am comes early.

The last thing I remember before the procedure commencing was laying face-up on the operating table and making wisecracks about Michael Jackson's choice of sleeping medicine when I began to feel the anesthesia creeping into the veins in my right forearm. Just like the man said, it burned.

I woke up in the middle of a circus. Things were all fuzzy - my eyeballs were glazed over and I couldn't make things out quite right...other patients were being wheeled into the recovery room and there were Philipino nurses everywhere. This posed a problem since they all looked alike and I couldn't remember who I gave my soda and ice order to. Very frustrating since I didn't have my voice back yet to bark at people because my throat was sore from the intubating tube that was placed there during surgery.

Then it hit me. My left arm felt like 200 pounds of concrete had been poured into it.

Reality had just come into focus.

At this point, let's face it, with all the meds in my body I didn't feel any pain however I was definitely stoned and was thoroughly enjoying the recovery room chaos going on all around me.

As mightily as she tried, my lovely bride hit every bump on the ride home. I know this since I bit my lip over each one. My lip is now nearly as sore as my shoulder.

Stumbling home in my sling wearing shorts, Hawaiian shirt, sneakers, and faggy white leggings that are used to help prevent blood clots, I was quite the sight.

Come to think of it, I look like a white basketball player in the hood.

The day of the operation remains pretty much a blur - a combination of getting up early, not getting enough sleep, being doped up, cut on, poked around in, having my bones be shaved, scraped and drilled into was enough for one day. Thankfully there is Ambien which helped me sleep the night away in painfree slumber.

The next day was very rough but that's always the case with any injury. By evening, my appetite returned and I began to feel better. I was off the pain meds by day 3.

This day was excellent because I took off all the bandages, threw away my sling, tossed the leggings in the trash 7 days too soon, and took a nice long shower. I laughed at how lame I must have looked trying to wash under my left arm. The folly of my predicament just made me laugh out my eyes teared up from the soreness.

Doc told me today to keep the arm moving. He presented me with full color photos of the before and after shots of the surgery just so I knew he really did something in there. My golf game is on hold until October although I can practice my putting and chipping anytime I would like. This will actually be good for my game. Everyone needs a better short game. Just ask Tom Watson.

To my surprise I had not 3 incisions in the shoulder but 4. The labrum tear was slightly worse than he thought and he needed another hole to insert an arthroscope to properly anchor the labrum back to the bone with sutures that looked to me like multi-colored rope and some metal doohickeys that he popped in there.

He was all jacked up pointing out this and that on the photos but it was all Greek to me. The muscles all looked like chicken breasts, and the torn labrum part looked like when I'd tear the turkey meat off the bone at Thanksgiving.

If the turkey were still alive, he'd need this type of surgery too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Torn Labrum and Impingement

T-minus 7 hours until Dr. Strangelove makes three small incisions into my left shoulder and proceeds to clean up one of my bad wings.

My shoulder has been bothering me for a long time. It's messed up my golf game or did my golf game mess up my shoulder?

Hmmmmmmmm.....interesting philosphical argument there.

When I make rotations with my arm, I can hear stuff grinding and tumbling around in there. Sort of like pulling the legs off the Thanksgiving Day turkey. Occasionally I'll hear a pop, but mostly it's just the tumbling and grinding sound. Doing this sort of manuever is very achey.

While playing golf, the only time it really hurts is when I swing the club - which is actually bad since that's what you need to do in order to play golf. Taking the club back begins to hurt right away - I pretty much just close my eyes and gut it out from there.

Over the past few months it usually takes 3 or 4 days for the soreness from playing to wind down. That's why I've only played twice in the past 6 weeks. It's also why I decided to have the surgery. And because of the fact that I was disabled on the 4th of July and couldn't even lift everyday stuff. How lame did I look to the group of ironworkers at Costco who watched me watch my wife lift 50 pound bags of water softner salt into the back of the Lexus? Pathetic. But funny.

The official diagnosis shows two things that need repair: I have a torn labrum and also something called impingement syndrome.

The labrum is the cartilage part of the socket where the humerus attaches to the shoulder. The bone up there is only 1/3 the right size, so the labrum makes up the other 2/3rd's and allows the bone to fit all nice and snug in there. Fixing this involves anywhere from 1 to 7 tacks - how they fit the hammer up there is anyone's guess.

Impingement syndrome is where a tendon is pinched by other tendons or bones due to inflamation. In my case, my inflamation exists because a bone spur is shredding the tendon due to back and forth movements (golf swing, life) of my arm/shoulder. The doc corrects this by shaving the bone down so the tendon(s) can slide back and forth again without getting caught up on the spur. Sutures will fix the tear.The bone heals itself - ouch.

Afterward, the scopes come out and the holes get sewn up. Piece of cake.

Will advise as to the level of pain tomorrow.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

British Open 2009 - Turnberry Rocked

I just cleaned up the vomit on my keyboard.

Ugggh.....Golf's major winners so far this year:

Angel Cabrera
Lucas Glover
Stewart Cink

Not quite the Three Stooges, but close.

Tiger please come back. Phil we miss you. Big John, please stay sober and make us cheer for you.

I'm afraid that golf without Tiger is like a day without bacon. Sure, you'll live, but you want what you want.

Steward Cink won the British Open in a 4 hole playoff over the legendary Tom Watson. Cink is a nice guy and all - actually, he's a super nice guy. His wife looks normal too. This is unusual. Most of the PGA Tour guys go to the Blonde and Big Boob Store to get their wives. It's the grown up Barbie - you know the type; size 4, big blond hair, designer clothes, mandatory boob job, high heels on and off the golf course, and to own one, you have to provide them a rather large diamond and a black Amex card. Ownership has it's privileges.

The story of the week was how 59 year old Tom Watson was in the lead of the British Open after 71 holes and all he needed a par on the last hole to win tournament. At 59 he would be, by far, the oldest winner of a golf major by at least a decade. A win would have given him 6 British Opens tying Harry Vardon for most all time. A win would have got him to 9 majors in all - only 5 behind Tiger.

Most puzzling of all said some was that a win, would have been bad for golf. Naysayers believed that a 59 year old winning a major would somehow bring golf down.

These folks don't get that golf is supposed to be a lifelong sport. That's what makes it great. I coudln't tell you the last time I played football or baseball. It's hard to round up teams, practice and then play. Tennis and golf are sports that can be played for as long as you live.

Watson muffed the last hole - made bogey and was forced into a playoff with Mr. Cink. Never mind that for the entire 4 hole playoff, Watson's brain was on the 18th green still trying to figure out how he could have missed that putt. Cink won the playoff easily and marched up the last fairway like he had just planted a flag at the North Pole. I hollered at the TV,

"Dude, the fans aren't clapping for you. They are clapping for the 59 year old."


Since it was Cink's first victory at a major, his lack of decorum could be excused - that is until he did it again during the awards ceremony. His bad self held the trophy up like he just invented fire.

Next golf tournament that counts: PGA Championship Hazeltine National Golf Club. Chaska, Minnesota.

Finally, that 3 relative unknowns have won the majors contested so far this year merely affirms my point: Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all time.

Tiger's great. No doubt about that. He is without question the best of the current bunch and a strong #2 alltime but until he catches Jack's 18 major victories (he's at 14), Nicklaus is #1.

Need more reasons to vote for Jack? Who exactly is Wood's competition? Mickelson? Who else has won more than 2 majors? There are a lot of one major wonders out there on tour today folks. Where is the competition?

Nicklaus fought off Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Tom Weiskopf, Julius Boros, Lee "The Merry Mex" Trevino, the great Tony Lema, Seve, Fuzzy and in his later years, he held his own with Nick Price, Greg Norman and Ernie Els.

Tiger's real competition is Tiger.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Need for a Moat Around My House

Let's access the past 12 hours shall we?


The deaf cat began howling
This makes the dogs bark - loudly
Then the cat fight started between the deaf cat and the retarded cat
This makes the dogs bark even more LOUDLY
I scamper around the house in my skivvies attempting to locate the fight
They are in the basement going at it
Under the Christmas Tree (I know, I know - we're getting around to it)

I finally got back to sleep at 4:30am

Arising at 7:45am to more barking since....
The the pool guy showed up - which produced louder barking
Then the grandfather clock starts clanging
The doorbell rings as one of our nephews comes by to drop something off
My mom calls to tell me something about Michael Jackson's funeral (ugggh)
The dry cleaning needs to go out front
My cell phone starts ringing
The house phone is now ringing
Someone is standing behind me and that drives me crazy
Janae's cell phone then began ringing
The furniture needed to be moved for the tile cleaners
And the window washers who are coming today
As we cleaned up after the party
To make things nice again
But all of this commotion is making me consider building

A moat around my house

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July Party at da House

The Trent Leavitt Family with the Happiest Kid on the Planet

Happy Birthday America - 233 years young

I can only remember 3 previous 4th of July's: In 1970 I was 9 years old we had a block party on our street in Sunnyvale, California. Do they even have those anymore?

At that time, the United States was still deeply involved in the Vietnam war and patriotism was running very high. The Blue Angels from Moffat Field would often fly overhead and did so on the 4th - they buzzed the houses and I could easily make out the tail insignias as I looked skyward. I'm sure lawyers put a stop to that many years ago. Back then, the street was blocked off with barricades, we had a parade, there was a huge BBQ, and plenty of adult beverages for the grownups - after all the '70's were just getting started.

My next memory of this date is from 1976 when the United States celebrated 200 years of from Great Britain. My aunt Mary and uncle Jon visited from western Pennsylvania - they asked if we owned the pool house too. At that time our golden retriever was named Sundance but uncle Jon, God bless him, kept calling him Sundane - too many pabst blue ribbons or too much time in the coal mine? Jon and his family were and still remain, the hardest working people I have ever met in my life. Jon and his boys would work in the coal mine and while on paid vacation, they would drive tour buses. I don't think they ever took a real vacation.

Memory #3 is from 2 years ago. At that time Alec was in Peru. This year, alas, Jake is in Ecuador, and Alec is in Yellowstone with his wife and her family. Not to worry though, my wife has PLENTY of family to fill up the yard and empty the soft ice cream machine - twice.

All other 4th's just seem to fade in and out. I was reminded tonight of the time Wade nearly burned his house down one year and Carolyn cursed him like a sailor. She's got spunk.

My job the past few days has been to put stuff together. Chairs, tables, mist machine and so forth. Thankfully most of this stuff didn't have too many parts and I didn't have any spare ones leftover once I thought I was done. This is a good thing since the last thing I put together had more parts that the space shuttle and I had PLENTY of nuts and bolts and doohickeys left over. And I swear I tried to follow the directions....Finally I just had to scratch my head and throw the parts out before my wife could see them and make the universal wife comment,

"Don't you need to use ALL of those?" sweat poured off my face in the 108 degree heat.

Those parts are at the bottom of some landfill 40 miles from my house.

Anyway, another 4th is in the books - I counted 35 people but I'm sure I missed a few folks. We had a great time.

The legal fireworks were ho-hum but the little ones liked them. I had some illegal fireworks purchased at the Indian reservation a while back. I knew they were good since upon firing them off on the beach 2 years ago they managed to summon the Oceanside, California police department and the marines at Camp Pendelton thought the west coast was under attack. I don't think we caused any alarm tonight since Chase and Beeb's only lit 2, but their superiority was easily evident. I'm going back on the reservation to get the good stuff.

And we had no need to worry about fire safety since firefighter (don't you think this sounds much more menacing than just fireman?) Kip was here with his family. We were in good hands although I hope the Rose's paint job rubs out. I mentioned to everyone that their verbal acknowledgment of the damage and injury waiver was just as tight as a written one. See photo below.... Big Air Chase off the superstructure.

The cat wasn't too thrilled with all the people