Family, Fatherhood, Life

Dem Bones, or Das Boot


Ann and I decided early on in our parenthood journey that we would be supportive of Anthony with everything he did. Whatever he wanted to try, we would let him have at least one stab at it and be behind him all the way.

And so we did: tae kwon do, t-ball, violin, trumpet, and even the drums which I use more than him even though I suck. He gave all of these a chance but never really went anywhere with any of them but does indeed spent a lot of time at my drawing table producing abstracts that I can’t even being to comprehend. He’s got an artist’s mind for sure. I have no idea where he got it.

We’ve even so gone far as to not brand him with any one religion and only act as a moral compass along the way. If he decides later in his life that one has the answers for him then that’s great. Adults can’t make sense of that stuff most of the time so why confuse a child?

There was, however, one exception to all of this: playing football, and this goes back to long before we were parents. The sport seems to lend itself to inflicting serious injury onto the other players and for kids, I think it’s over the top and way too much for them. They have enough trouble trying to understand and execute plays and I couldn’t stand to see him or any other kid get flat-blasted on the field and not get up.

Then there’s the whole sports parents thing. I guarantee I would have been in my fair share arguments. Football was definitely out.

We never played it as kids but did toss the old pigskin around during those long, warm summer evenings while listening to the AM transistor radio. None of us would he harmed by that. But as for some of the other things we did as kids, well, that’s up for debate.

I’m not willing to divulge any of the stupid, stupid things we did as kids but let me tell you that it was by some miracle that none of us ever got seriously hurt or maimed. The most painful injury I had as a kid was a sprained pinky finger that I got while catching a kickball at school during a play at home plate. I never hurt myself playing any sports with the guys on the block.

And despite all of that, I’ve made it to the ripe ol’ age of 48 without breaking a single bone, even after my scooter accident. I’m a tough old bird.

So what does my childhood devil-may-care attitude and Knievel-esque propensity for adventure have to do with my son?

First, I haven’t told him half of the things I did when I was his age or younger. He doesn’t need any inspiration for stupid things to do and post on YouTube. In fact, it’s safe to say that me and my friends were the original version of Jackass but without cameras rolling. We were that bad.

Second, he recently started expressing an interest in football. We watched the Super Bowl and for not being a football fan, Ann was amazed at just how much I knew about the game. (The rules are pretty basic; I just get bored sitting for hours on end seeing guys yelling into headsets and watching six-second plays unfold.)

He told me that they were playing flag football at school recently and that he really enjoyed playing. That’s fine because hey, rip the flag off the dude and the play stops. No contact, no injuries.

Then one day after playing at school, he came limping up to me and told me he hurt himself playing football – tackle football, something they weren’t supposed to be doing. So we RICEd it – rest, ice, compression and elevation – for a few days in the hopes it would get better.

A week later and it was still the same so we had to take him to the doctor. The diagnosis was a sprained ankle but they took x-rays anyhow to be sure. They gave us the same RICE recommendation, scheduled a follow-up visit and prescribed some crutches.

Later that day, Ann gets a call: they found something on the x-ray.

Yep. His ankle was fractured. And $300 later, the kid is now sporting a huge boot that he has to wear all the time except to bed for the next 4-6 weeks, a time that includes our vacation in Las Vegas.

The good thing is that he doesn’t have a cast and he can move along pretty well, even better than I expected.

Hopefully this experience was a wake-up call for him.

Then again, if he’s anything like I was as a kid, it probably wasn’t.

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Health, Life

Blogging 365, Day 4: I’ve Got My Nerve


Preston, a Facebook friend and fellow blogger, has been sticking to his workout regimen and should be congratulated. He’s doing great and is getting into excellent shape.

But just last week, he posted that he was a bit perturbed about injuring his back when in his mind, he’s doing everything he can to keep it in shape to avoid injury.

Someone jokingly mentioned age. I agreed. Then someone else mentioned age, all in jest.

But the reality is that back injuries can stem from something as simple as sneezing. That’s just how it goes sometimes and I mentioned this in the comments as a way to make him feel less…old. I’m not sure if it worked.

Flash-forward to New Year’s Day when we were taking down our Christmas decorations. I had already been up and down the ladder several times and taken down the external lights and moved a ton of stuff around in the garage to accommodate the boxes or ornaments and decorations. Felt pretty good all things considered.

I then moved into the living room and began to take apart the Christmas tree which, as you can guess by that qualifier, is a fake one. Ann had already stripped it of its ornaments and being it’s a pre-lit tree, all I had to do was take apart in three easy steps.

The first part was simple. Bang, zoom. Done. Then I pulled off the second part and again, no issues.

Then, after taking apart the second piece, I had to disconnect a string of lights connected from that piece to the next which was sitting pretty low in the tree. I bent down to reach for it and…

…pain. Pain in my back like I’d never had in my life. And much like my friend Preston, I do what I can to stay busy and in shape to have a body that is strong and resilient to serious injury. But sometimes, even while doing what seems to be the most innocent task, your body will just not cooperate.

And that’s exactly what happened to me. I didn’t twist weird (to my knowledge), didn’t overexert anything. But whatever I did was bad enough to make me scream bloody murder and drop what I was doing.

I naturally stopped the cleaning up to take a break and then did what everyone else does when they screw themselves up: online research. And from all indications, it seems that I’ve aggravated my sciatic nerve because the pain went from my lower left back and all the way down my leg. In fact, I pretty much felt like this guy here for a few days.

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I don’t know if you’ve every had the same thing but if you haven’t, it hurts like a mother from another planet, people. I was limping like Fred Sanford for a bit and wasn’t until yesterday that the hitch in my giddy-up finally subsided.

As of now, I’m feeling pretty good and have very little pain left. If I feel so inclined to do so, I may go out for an early morning run just to stretch the old muscles out and get back into the groove or at the very least, a nice walk. Nothing more than 5k for sure.

I tend to think I have a pretty solid body – definitely not a bodybuilder but still rugged – and can do all kinds of stretching and other physical activities. I usually ride 20 miles every Sunday and run on Saturday, plus random workouts during the week to make sure it stays solid.

But sometimes, no matter how hard you work at it, you just can’t avoid injury.

So don’t feel so bad, Preston. Getting old[er] definitely sucks.