see it before it goes back into the vault

20170808_202838

Contrary to popular belief, I have a chin. There’s still no definitive proof that I have ears.

My left nostril didn’t work.

I went in Tuesday for the sharp, pointy things in my nose surgery. I had deviated my septum when I broke my face in 2009 to the point that I my right nostril was doing all the work.

Additionally, structures in my nose called turbinates were too large, which contributed to my loud snoring that wasn’t sleep apnea. My deviated septum made matters worse.

The result was that I tended to breathe forcefully, I would have this peculiar feeling of not quite having adequate air and I constantly thought I had a stuffy nose.

Don’t get me started on how awful it was when I actually had a stuffy nose.

It’s probably the pain pills talking, but I already feel like I’m taking in more air, and it feels amazing. I’m not supposed to see full results until about a month from now, but I should get quieter with each passing day.

I have my wife finally having enough of all the weird noises I make for the delightfully new experience. And painkillers.

There was a little snag during the surgery, and there were two snaps from inside my face that sounded like they would hurt like all hell. I’m not about feeling that.

I weirdly was in no pain after the 2009 accident, so I might be OK. I need to be by tomorrow afternoon because the surgery and my staycation didn’t line up (because I didn’t plan vacation with surgery in mind). I’m kinda hoping it will hurt still because I was looking forward to that trip I canceled and I won’t be able to drink until after staycay is over because I also was given antibiotics.

Also, as you can see in the photo, I had to shave my beard and mustache off for the procedure. I typically lop it all off yearly, so this is it. Additionally, my clippers died today, so I either need to see if I can fix them in a couple of three days or buy new ones. Or I’ll let it grow back even faster than I normally do when I have my shearing.

I miss my beard.

they grow up so fast

When Theresa was young, her best friend was her godmother’s daughter, Shonda. At one point, they made a pact: Shonda’s firstborn would be named Theresa, and Theresa’s would be named Shonda.

Shonda developed an incurable disease and died before I was born.

Theresa still kept her end of the bargain.

I got permission late Friday to leave work early to pick Shonda up from the airport. She was supposed to land at 6 p.m. in Norfolk, stay at my mom’s house long enough to get Virginia residency and then go to Virginia Commonwealth University or somewhere else.

A storm delayed and then canceled her flight. The airline offered all the Virginia-bound passengers the option to fly into Richmond and then get reimbursed for rental cars or whatever to get the rest of the way to their destinations.

I’d forgotten how much my niece looks like my sister.

I got her some food and then she crashed on my couch. Since she was coming from Hawaii, I told her she could sleep for as long as she liked and I’d drive her to Hampton on Sunday or Monday. Missy had training on Sunday, so I’d have to rush that morning or take her after.

Having Shonda here was weird. I saw her extensively until she was 2 years old. I called the ambulance the day she was born. I’ve fed her, changed her, bathed her, taken her to the park, held her whenever something made her feel uneasy.

Then I went to college.

Then she moved to Stafford and then Hawaii.

My brain couldn’t reconcile my little girl being 18.

I kept trying to say I was babysitting.

Saturday night, after we ordered pizza and watched and SNL rerun, I realized the beginning and the end of the 18-34 demographic was in my living room. She had been glued to her phone. I scoffed at us both being millennials. On social media.

The next day, we went to brunch and simultaneously whipped out our phones to send pictures of our food to the Internet.

In two years, every child Theresa had will be at least 18. My babies will be adults.

I feel so old.

I also hear a clock ticking, and I think it needs to STFU.

sharp, pointy things in my nose

I haven’t been able to breathe for quite some time.

Seriously.

I had surgery as a kid to stop snoring. It didn’t go quite as planned, and because I was a kid, it got less effective the older I got.

And then I also broke my face in 2009.

At some point, I stopped being able to sit with my mouth closed for an extended period of time without having a peculiar sense of breathing but also not being able to breathe.

I ignored it.

Over time it became normal.

I also shrugged off snoring again. I tended, at least until having a dog completely disrupted my sleeping habits, to sleep eight hours and feel refreshed in the morning. Additionally, I didn’t really co-sleep with anyone, so I wasn’t annoying anyone.

After four years, Renée had enough. I finally went to a doctor and got referred to two specialists and now we’re going to shove sharp, pointy things up my nose to reduce the size of the structures in my nose that are serve a function that does not include restricting the airways they’re supposed to be in.

I’ll be recovering for most of August, apparently.

There’s a good chance it will fix everything for good, but it might not. But I should at least be quieter by September. And less feeling like I’m not getting quite enough air.

This also means I had to cancel a vacation that would have coincided with seeing the solar eclipse in Nashville. I’m a little disappointed, but this needs to be done and I don’t want to know how changing elevation and a long car ride will affect things. My current plan is to get some stuff done around the apartment I haven’t done in the nine months we’ve been here and just kick back and enjoy Richmond.

 

If my face isn’t hurting.

woods edge road

Although I wish Chesterfield was one of the localities in Virginia that punctuated signs (e.g., my hometown has a Todds Lane because screw apostrophes), I like how Woods Edge Road sounds. It reminds me of the title of a thriller novel I wouldn’t read because reading about the deep, dark, most likely supernatural secret of on the outskirts of some New England town just isn’t my thing.

After 11 years, Woods Edge Road is about to have another significance: On any given day, it will be roughly as far south as I’ll go in Greater Richmond.

I get my car serviced off Woods Edge Road and I have friends and the family of friends off that exit. If not for that, the title of this probably would be Route 288 or Willis Road or even Chippenham Parkway.

Once my contacts run out in a few months, I’m finally switching optometrists. That means I’ll no longer have an excuse to go to Petersburg. I only recently went to Colonial Heights because Renée’s car needed servicing and we needed to kill time. I haven’t been to Hopewell since getting my current dining table. My last trip to Prince George County was because I decided to take Route 10 during a trip to Hampton Roads.

Other than taking Missy late last year to what the old timers still call Ferndale Park, I haven’t been to my beloved Dinwiddie since we were bored one Sunday and I showed Renée my beloved Dinwiddie.

I’ve all but said goodbye to the Tri-Cities and barely noticed.

It feels a little odd because the region has been a part of my life for so long. I didn’t think it would cease being a part of my life in the blink of an eye, especially since it is so close.

I’ll always carry a piece of it with me, though. In a way, it’s my alma mater, too.

I truly learned to be a journalist there. My first real apartment was there. The first time I fully realized I was a grown up was there.

But I’ve now outgrown it.

coming soon

You have no idea how much I love this song.

I have at least one giant post about my vacation on the horizon. I went to work two days after my trip, and now it’s my weekend again. Perhaps it will appear by Monday night.

Or I’ll just continue jamming out to hits of the ’70s and ’80s and you get it when you get it.

california (and nevada and arizona) dreamin’

Since I last left you, I saw a friend become a naturalized citizen and our vacation has fully come into view. Beyond that, I’ve just had a cycle of dog poop, cook, work, dog poop, sleep that I can’t wait to break for a few days.

I have a terrible case of senioritis. I hate that it comes with three solid days of extra duties at work.

All I can think about is driving to the Hoover Dam and a Grand Canyon overlook, spending an open-ended six or so hours in Los Angeles and seeing what else there is to do in Las Vegas beyond gamble.

And having a change of venue to write.

And celebrating my birthday and my anniversary.

And how this very well could be our last great trip before we leave the 18-34 demographic.

This will be my 18th epic trip since keeping track in 2004 and my first one to states I haven’t driven from Virginia. This is a big step for me. As I said last year, I have nothing against flying — I just love driving that much.

So, of course there will be driving. I’m mostly pumped about renting a car and going to Arizona and then heading to L.A. because I’ve heard so much about how I’d probably hate it because, in general, people allegedly are New York people or L.A. people and rarely both. I have absolutely no idea what we’re going to do there. I don’t have anything I want to see in that city except the Pacific and maybe the Watts Tower, and I’ll be utterly shocked if Renée doesn’t want to go to Rodeo Drive. I have vague plans to meet one of my fraternity brothers and get food. My goal is to arrive no later than 2 p.m. on whatever day we go there and leave no later than 9 p.m.

We played Miami (and our spontaneous trip to Key West) loose, and I enjoyed it that way. I hope to replicate that.

The only thing I’m not looking forward to is the heat. The current extended forecast has it being no cooler than 112 in Vegas the entire time, the mid 90s along the Colorado River and 90 in L.A.

we’re all pregnant with doug wilder’s baby

I hate that I came to Richmond at the end of an era.

A few hours ago, I went to a tribute to the 400-pound Queen of Richmond, Dirtwoman.

My first Hamaganza was in 2007. Before Pat Kane finished describing it to me, I was already sold on going. Who wouldn’t want to see a burlesque/drag/comedy/charity show involving not only the city officials but also someone who has been arrested for solicitation in an infamous event and also always makes at least one joke about being former Gov. and Mayor Doug Wilder’s lover?

It wasn’t my first experience with Weird Richmond. Through Bill and Craig, I went to shows at what is now Strange Matter. Over the years, I also drank at Empire, Roxy, Wonderland, Fallout, Third Street Diner, Bogart’s and Mojo’s. I’ve been to drag shows and brunches, the Sex Worker’s Art Show, Poe’s Pub, Baja, Fieldens. I’ve seen things on fire on Hell Block; I’ve purchased beer to gain admission to parties in the Fan District thrown by people I didn’t know; I’ve seen luchadores fight in a kitchen.

It’s why I fell in love with this city.

I loved that among the howling masses in sleeveless tees and bullet belts, there I was in a blazer and a Homburg, and it all seemed normal.

But now the streets are cleaner, Empire now is a fancy Mexican fusion restaurant, Hell Block isn’t really known as Hell Block, there aren’t trans prostitutes at Allen and Broad, Bogart’s moved and closed, lunches tend to start at $10 and often don’t come with entertainment.

In a way, I feel like a different sort of gentrification is happening and weirdos like me are a dying breed.

Let’s face it: my shtick is that I don’t look like the kind of person you’d think would know all the words to several Mars Volta and Death Cab for Cutie songs, love a dirty bar and feel at home with people at and beyond the limits of the mainstream.

I wonder what will happen once Dirtwoman guides her hoverounds into the great hereafter. There still will be a Weird Richmond, but it won’t be stinky, sticky PBR-soaked Richmond. But there still will be pockets of it. There still are people around.

I wonder if this is how people feel about New York nowadays.

I hate that I came to Richmond at the end of an era. But at least I got to experience the era.

lifestyler 2000

Momentarily confuses Rosanna with Joanna; gets Black Card revoked.

185.8

I should have weighed in last week. It was better.

I had a few days of eating poorly because I did something awesome.

I saw Prince’s first real band, The Revolution, on Thursday. It screwed up my sleep schedule and my eating and I don’t regret a single second of it.

When I saw that they were touring again to honor Prince, I literally dropped everything and took the day off. I’m not even using literally figuratively, as people are wont to do these days. It came across the AP wire while I was on celebrity news duty. I got up, told my technical supervisor (I don’t have a real boss. It’s kinda weird.) I was not working that day, walked back to my desk, asked my fraternity brother Butler if he was down with going with me and ordered tickets after he said yes.

And then my other brother Brandon said he was in, too.

It was awesome.

I was hoarse.

Then I went to karaoke and sang Super Freak and then Body and Soul by Anita Baker.

There is video. I don’t know where.  Body and Soul was one of songs I’ve always wanted to do at karaoke, but it’s rarely on karaoke lists. I really want to do a song by The National or Death Cab for Cutie. There was a Death Cab song, but it was Grapevine Fires. I like that song, but it doesn’t have a bass line at all, and it always bothered me. It’s the one song I definitely don’t like on Narrow Stairs. Once I have the video, I will share it. I think I paid for video.

But I digress.

But wait: I don’t digress. Rosanna and Grapevine Fires both share a drumming that hearkens to the Purdie Shuffle.

But, anyway, I also bought an exercise bike over the weekend. It was one Craig had in his living room for a while. He’s moving to Maryland, and I offered to take it off his hands. The model is the title of this entry.

I had planned for years to buy and exercise bike. I’m still not ready to get on a real bike again. I think I’ll wait a full 10 years.

But I’m working this into my at least 5-mile regimen. I plan on pedaling at least 30 minutes at least every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Today doesn’t count. I have stuff to do that I planned before buying the bike.

I used to be an endurance bike rider. I would do 20 miles like nothing. There was no time frame; it was just we’re going to Yorktown and back with a gallon jug of water in the backpack. I miss it. But I spent my entire childhood biking in a place without real hills. I wasn’t ready for Richmond. Although I say I might be in 2019, I don’t know if I am. My wreck in 2009 was my second real crash in probably more than 20 years of riding a bike at the time and the first time I had to go to a hospital about it.

(I seriously broke my arm in but played it off in like seventh grade. It healed correctly, thankfully, but I broke my frickin’ arm and pretended that I didn’t. For a while, I called it my “chicken wing” because I couldn’t hold it out straight unless the situation necessitated it. I seriously gambled my ability to have full use of my right arm over telling my parents that I attempted a stunt and failed.)

But I think throwing this in the mix will help break this plateau. Regardless of it being a plateau, I’ve tightened my belt and I look better in shirts. My doctor wants me to be no more than 170 and gave me until November.

Challenge accepted.

because i’m too tired to go to bed

There was  a long period when I didn’t go to the doctor. When I fell off my bicycle back in 2009 and my insurance company didn’t cover it partially because of a mistake on my part, I didn’t have insurance for the next 2½ years and then didn’t go to a doctor again until 2016 because I had fallen out of the habit.

Yesterday, other than being my mom’s first visit to Richmond since I moved into my new place (that I wish I didn’t have to move out of in April 2018, but my dog seriously needs a yard), was my third checkup since December. My new doctor wanted to get a baseline of my vitals because it had been so long. And because I was fat.

She commended me for my weight loss so far. Although I have been laden with various layers of winter clothing each time I was on the scale at her office, I’ve lost more weight by her measure, but I weigh more than what my scale says. She wants me to lose 10 more pounds — to which I said something along the lines of I will once I come there when it’s above 52 degrees.

She gave me six months.

If I’m in the lower 170s with clothes on by October, I only need to see her once a year.

She’s giving me six months to get within 10 pounds of my goal for June.

Doable.

I dug out the belts I had to abandon two years ago because I outgrew them. The last notch on my fat belt is equivalent to the first notch on my skinny belts.

Now I’m really considering actually exerting myself.

{If anyone wants to encourage me in exerting myself [as long as it doesn’t involve running (at the moment)], I’m available most mornings between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.}

I had been waiting a long time to use the hierarchy of parenthesis.

I survived the downtown expressway and all I got was this lousy post

 

Friday started out as a fantastic day.

I took Missy out and she not only did not bark as we exited the building, she barely reacted when we at the top of Taylor’s Hill Park and she saw a dog at the bottom.

And then I got home.

I needed to contact the IRS for my wife’s college financial aid. Also, I had to call Comcast (more on that in a sec).

I tried to use the IRS’ website to take care of business. The form said to use the last address from which I filed taxes. That was my place in Manchester. It was apparently
wrong. Then I tried my address in Charlottesville. Still wrong. Then I tried my current address.

Locked out.

Then I tried using the phone system and ran into the same problem the first two times. The third time, the automated system malfunctioned. I yelled, swore and threw my phone
across the room. Missy looked at me like I was insane.

I tried one last time. It worked with my current address, despite us not planning on sending our taxes off until this weekend.

Whatever.

Then it was time to call Comcast.

There was a really bad billing error. Really bad. I’ve been trying to get it resolved since I got my March bill in late February. At that time, I was told to call back in
March and everything should be OK. Then I was told to call back in April. Then I was told to call again in May.

No. No. You’re resolving this, and you’re resolving it right now.

Using my skills as a journalist, I found the number for corporate customer service. They took care of it. And gave me a $300 credit. Allegedly. The account page doesn’t reflect
what was promised yet, but it is Friday. And I’ve been assigned a case number and my one customer service rep. They have until Monday at noon.

Then it was time to go to work. Great. I accomplished nothing beyond going to the bank and replacing the shoes I wear to walk Missy in the morning. They looked so nice, I
wore them to work today, and they’re quickly becoming my favorite pair. I now see what people see in sneakers. I might stop wearing dress shoes all the time. Might.

It was either these or a pair of Adidas.

When I got to my normal parking spot, a sudden gust of wind tore my hat from my head. It floated through the Richmond sky and landed in the fast lane of the Downtown Expressway.

You could see it from Third Street.

Surprisingly, motorists traveling on state Route 195 in excess of 55 mph avoided it. With each passing car, my hat of at least eight years inched closer and closer to the left shoulder.

I did what any reasonable person would do: I went in to work.

Then I ducked back out, got on the highway, pulled over onto the shoulder and got my frickin’ hat.

It was worth the toll.

Some people say they would rather run in traffic than call the IRS and Comcast. Friday, I did all three.