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Firstly, I want to thank everyone for your kind thoughts and wishes. Seriously, that means a lot to me. I know y’all are my friends, from the heart. No, I am NOT crying! I got some grit in my eye, that’s all. Moving on.
This whole accident thing I had on Monday? It still sucks. Hard. Allow me to fill you in on the most recent version of the aftermath.
– My Jeep is a total loss. State Farm says the estimated damages exceed the value of the Jeep by nearly $3000, so they’re washing their hands of it, and it’s hard to blame them. But DWW and I LOVED that Jeep, and it’s hard to see it go down like this. I know, it’s just a material thing, but it’s been ours for 10 years. It’s like the child that never gets kicked out of daycare, but yet also carries me to work in its belly. OK, that was weird. I have to go clean it out sometime, remove all our possessions. I’ll post pics of the carnage. Heh. Carnage. Puntastic.
-Now, I mentioned that the Jeep is totaled. That means State Farm will give us some money for it so that we can go buy another ride. It’s paid for, so the money we get is just gravy, really. I’m not gonna tell you ALL my financial business, but suffice it to say that the money isn’t enough to run out and buy a Lexus, so we’re looking for affordable “pre-owned” cars. (I hate that term. They’re USED cars. There’s nothing wrong with that word. People used them; ergo, they are used.)
The problem is this: while we’ve registered the Jeep in the state of Texas, we never TITLED it here. It never occurred to us to do that, and it wasn’t required. Hell, I didn’t even KNOW. So when the insurance company told me that I need to give them the title in order to receive the dinero, I called the Texas Dept. of Transportation, who informed me that the Jeep is titled in SC. So I called the South Carolina Dept. of Motor Vehicles, who said I’d have to pay to have it sent to me – but wait! Turns out that they don’t have any record of the payoff! They show that we don’t owe money and that it’s ours, but there’s no explicit statement from the lending company that says “Yeah, it’s theirs, they paid the bitch off in 2003.” And upon calling THAT company, they informed us that they can’t find the actual records of the payoff. They show that it HAPPENED, but can’t locate the details of it. Score. In the meantime, I’m driving a rental that State Farm will stop paying for in one week, and based on how slow state agencies are, combined with the holidays, I probably won’t have a new car to drive until the year 2012.
– And to add injury to insult, I noticed that I had a headache that just wouldn’t go away, no matter what I took for it. When that turned into light sensitivity, I made a doctor’s appointment. I’m not one to mess around with my health – if something’s wrong, I’m ready to pay my copay, baby. His diagnosis? Concussion. Not a bad one, but still. So I’m on anti-inflammatories until Monday, after which if I’m not any better, I’ll have a nice, friendly CAT scan. Good times.
However, I’m not too blind to see how lucky I truly am. It could’ve been much worse, and I’m very thankful to walk away with just a concussion, or just to walk away, period. And even though we now have to troll the want ads looking for a quality “pre-owned” vehicle that won’t put us on Top Ramen and wish sandwiches (that’s where you WISH you had a sandwich to eat) for the next 60 months, at least the new-old ride will have air conditioning and an automatic transmission. Maybe even a CD player that doesn’t spit the CD back at you like a baby eating strained spinach. And if they determine that the accident liability wasn’t mine (and it wasn’t), I’ll get the money back for the deductible, plus my medical expenses. Hmm, maybe my neck hurts too. And my spleen. And my uvula. I better get that checked out.
So although I’m Mr. Doom and Gloom now, I’ll get over it.
Just as soon as I get my damn money. Believe that.
Happy birthday to me…
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday, Dark Damiaaaaaaaaaan…
Happy birthday to me!
(Incidentally, this is the song that greeted me via voicemail this morning from none other than Elle the Pirate. Scurvy knave.)
That’s right, it’s a national holiday – the date of my arrival unto this world. And even though I’ve sucked quite a bit lately at posting with regularity, I figured I’d at least offer something to chew on for today, this 37th year of my living. And since I’m clean out of material (that’s not true – I’ve got a post I’m writing about meeting and hanging with Jali last Saturday night, but I’m lazy and haven’t completed it), I’ll give you something out of the Way Back Machine to read and remember. Enjoy this nugget until I’ve gotten off my ass long enough to tell you about playing music again (no band, just me and my good friend Sarah) and 9YO getting kicked out of daycare…again. Yeah, it’s busy times in the Damian household. Trust.
Here’s one of my all-time favorite posts, from July of 2005. It involves a very good friend of mine who will now be able to fully appreciate the writing. She’s divorced now.
[Warning: This is a LONG post. I have no intention of splitting or shortening it, so either settle in or go read something else. Maybe get some work done. Either way, you’ve been warned.]
A friend of mine (we’ll call her Cage) got married a few weeks ago. Ordinarily, this type of event is a wonderful thing. Weddings are blessed events; they are times of joy and jubilation, and a celebration of the union of two souls. This was not one of those types of weddings.
You see, there were issues about this wedding, well before the actual event took place. The bride met the groom very shortly after her divorce was finalized from her previous marriage. This was the epitome of a rebound relationship, by normal standards, but Cage seemed pretty into him, and as her friend, I was supportive. At first. Things began proceeding faster than normal, and within two months they were discussing marriage. I protested; she had just gotten out of a really rocky marriage, and the last thing she needed was another marriage to a man she barely knew. But she was in love; no amount of advice would change her mind.
They began planning an elaborate wedding with an interesting, unusual theme: eastern Indian/medieval. To this day, I’m not sure how these two disparate ideas go together. It’s like chicken and ice cream, you know? This theme was not restricted to the decorations – the bride and groom were designing custom-made costumes to wear at the ceremony. My friend was wearing an Elizabethan gown, with all the accessories and trimmings. Her fiance was wearing an authentic medieval man-dress (I’m sure it has a real name, but “man-dress” is far funnier to say). But it didn’t end there: the guests were also required to be dressed in authentic period costumes. At this point, I laughed my ass off while saying “Ain’t no way in hell I’m wearing a costume to a wedding.” (I did go, and I did wear a borrowed costume from a man apparently the size of a small trash truck. I looked like Shrek’s second cousin. Shut up. )
By now I was thinking that this wedding was a result of a fevered dream or some really good weed, but nevertheless, it proceeded with all the strength and fury of a runaway subway. The grand event was to take place at the First Monday Canton Trade Days site in Canton, TX, about an hour’s drive from Dallas (where I am). The significance of this place, you ask? It’s also the location of this area’s SCA events. The SCA is the Society for Creative Anachronisms, an organization that is “dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe.” In other words, it’s a bunch of people who dress up in costumes and armor and pretend to be in the Middle Ages. Her fiance is a high-ranking member of this area’s SCA group, hence the location and dress code. And the SCA was scheduled to have an event that very day. Hoo, boy. Oh, and there was supposed to be an elephant on site. An elephant. Not a pretend-elephant, not an artist’s rendition of an elephant, but a live, breathing-and-shitting elephant. So here’s a quick summary, before I launch into the particulars of the wedding itself: Cage was marrying a guy she barely knew, and fresh off her divorce. The wedding was taking place an hour away at an SCA event where the participants and guests were expected to be in full costume. Oh yeah, and the elephant. Genius.
The Pre-Wedding Pomp
I was told by my friend to arrive at the site at 7:30pm on the day of the wedding. I was told this even though the wedding wasn’t really due to start until 8, because I’m chronically late. It’s a character trait. Or flaw. True to form, I showed up around 7:45, and immediately ran into a problem: the site was HUGE. The ceremony was supposed to take place in a tent – and there were dozens of tents. And forget just looking for people in crazy costumes, because there was an actual SCA event taking place that day, meaning that everyone there was in a crazy costume. I drove around and around, looking for anyone who even faintly resembled a person I knew, failing miserably. By now I was pissed; I had driven an hour away, to a wedding I protested, dressed in a borrowed, four-sizes-too-big medieval costume, and now I couldn’t find anyone even approaching normal to ask about this cockamamie thing! I didn’t even see the elephant, which I had planned to use as a visual marker for the location of the ceremony. After making a few passes around the place, I finally parked at the largest structure I could find, and started walking in a randomly-chosen direction. Well, the Atypical Wedding Gods must’ve taken pity on me, because within 3 minutes I spotted the groom, making his way toward me. We linked up, and he explained that the wedding had been relocated to the large structure where I had parked, due to excessive rain.
When we entered the building, he left me to go get ready, and I was left to my own devices. In the area where the wedding was to take place, there was…no one I knew. At the same time, directly in front of me, court was in session. As in royal court. Up on a stage sat the king and queen (I learned later that they were actually a baron and a baroness, a fact that mattered to me about as much as Whitney Houston’s shoe size), a princess, several other people in charge, and no elephant. The audience consisted completely of people in different period garb, carrying weapons and flasks and whatnot. One guy looked EXACTLY like Peter Pan, except for the 5 foot long bow and the quiver full of arrows on his back, and the fact that he was no younger than 45. The women were all dressed like wenches or courtesans or some other female-appropriate role from the Middle Ages. Even the children present were costumed up. I felt sad for them all, and then that passed, and I laughed. I wandered over to the wedding area, lacking anything better to do at the moment, and I spotted one of Cage’s children, who I did recognize. She was with a woman who looked sorta like Cage, and when she spotted me, she walked over and said “You must be Damian.” Seeing as I was Cage’s token black friend, I’m sure it wasn’t too terribly hard to figure me out. She was Cage’s sister, and she did NOT want to be there. Our exchange:
CageSis: “What do you think about all this?”
Me: “It’s not my cup of tea, but hey, whatever finds your lost remote. I’m still looking for the elephant.”
CageSis: “The what?”
CageSis: “Yeah, this is stupid. So, is Cage’s fiance an asshole, or what?”
Me: [stunned silence, looking for the angle]
Me: “Uh, why do you say that?”
I was looking for the angle because, although I had heard he was an asshole, he’d never been anything but nice to me, and I wasn’t about to throw him under the bus to someone I didn’t know. She goes on to tell me about all the assholish things he did since she arrived, which I won’t even bother detailing here. The guy is an asshole, something he’ll tell you himself. Eventually she wandered off, leaving me alone again. As I stood around, Cage’s cousin from out west approached me. I had met him before on a previous visit, and I was happy to see him again. Our exchange:
Me: “Fran! So good to see you again!
Fran: “Damian, glad you made it out! So, what do you think?”
Me: “I’m reserving judgment until I’ve seen all of it. This will be in my blog, no doubt.”
Fran: “Yeah, I’ve already got several pages written. Wow, Cage’s fiance is an asshole, isn’t he?”
Me: [not-so-stunned silence, wondering what the hell happened]
Me: “Uh, yeah, he’s an interesting guy. Why do you say that?”
Fran launched into a monologue about all the assholian things perpetrated by the fiance of the past few days leading up to the wedding. Again, not worthy of description. Fran found something more interesting to do, and thus left me to my own devices. About five minutes later, Cage’s best friend and maid of honor Retro came over, and brightened noticeably when she saw me. Our exchange:
Me: “Retro! You look great in your costume.”
Retro: “Ugh. Thanks, Damian. It’s so good to see you. Is this not a clusterfuck?”
Me: “If it’s not, it’s in Clusterfuck Academy, awaiting graduation. How’s Cage?”
Retro: “On the verge of a nervous breakdown. My God, is Fiance an asshole or what?”
Me: [completely un-stunned silence, trying not to laugh]
Me: “That seems to be the consensus. Why do you say that?”
Retro begins a tirade about all the assholery committed by our antagonist, El Fiance . Suffice it to say, he wasn’t a popular character. After she left, I decided to be proactive and meet the others there. Of note were Fiance’s mother and grandmother, both of whom were very Texas and very nice. By now it was 9pm, and the wedding still hadn’t begun. I didn’t really want to be there in the first place, I looked like Shrek, and I was looking an an hour’s drive home again. I decided that I was leaving no later than when they walked down the aisle, because there’s only so much tomfoolery one sane person can stand. Retro grabbed me and took to where Cage was, which was a sweet relief to all that had happened before. She looked lovely, and was serene, even through the craziness of the situation. I knew that would be the only chance I had to talk to her, so I explained that I wouldn’t be staying after the ceremony. She understood; she knew how I felt. There’s a fine line between “support” and “condone”, and I wanted to make sure I walked that line carefully. As I headed back over to the ceremony area, I happened to pass behind Fiance’s grandmother, the charming woman from before. And I’m not saying this to be mean; I’m not making this up, and I don’t think it was intentional, but as I passed behind her, the unthinkable happened: She farted. Loudly. Like a frat boy on beer night.
Well. That was the capper on a fine evening, or so I thought.
I won’t bore you with endless details about the ceremony – hell, I’ve already bored you enough as it is. I’ll give you some highlights.
- The “priest” was a long-haired, one-legged biker dressed in period garb.
- The guests were given small vials of bubble liquid to blow bubbles as the couple passed. No bubbles were blown.
- Slices of apple, a horn of mead, and pieces of bread were passed among the crowd to eat as a way to share in the ceremony. Mead is disgusting.
- The priest sliced off a chunk of his thumb while slicing the apple, and bled profusely.
- The king and queen (oops, baron and baroness) attended the wedding, bringing the total number of black people in the building from 1 to 3.
- Bride and groom both are vegetarians, meaning my meat-eating ass had no food to eat, except for rabbit feed.
- There was no elephant. I was duped.
As promised, no sooner had the happy couple walked down the aisle than I slipped out quietly into the night. I was tired, confused, and mad. I was promised an elephant. I did hear there was some bellydancing after I left, though. Among the dancers was the groom’s mother and grandmother. I think I left at just the right time.
We all found out that the couple had flown to Vegas and eloped about 2 months prior to the actual ceremony.
I am not an outdoorsman.
Oh, I’ve made a few feeble attempts to up my Manliness Quotient from time to time, such as joining the Boy Scouts. I’ll tell you this much – I wasn’t exactly Boy Scout material. I was fat, slow, and I abhorred the outside like a rapper hates broad daylight. I only got one badge, and it was for something like basket weaving or sleeping or Atari or something equally sedentary. The one excursion we went on was to go fishing at a man-made lake in our town. As I am prone to doing, I got there late, and the group had already left. Well, being 12 and fat and completely against exercise, I figured it would be a fantastic idea to walk around the lake to try to find the troop. Although it was man-made, that lake wasn’t a punk – it was HUGE, and there was no sidewalk or anything. I had to constantly be on the lookout for water moccasins, alligators, quicksand (seriously), and snapping turtles.
And I walked that bitch.
It took me 3 hours to get all the way around it, and of course, I never once saw my Boy Scout troop. I think they tricked me, just to get me to exercise. My fat ass managed to hobble to a liquor store that a friend of my mom’s owned, and I used her phone to call my mother – who wasn’t home. This was well before the advent of the cellular phone, folks – this was 1984. If somebody wasn’t home, and you didn’t know where they went, forget it. You’d never find them. You had a better chance of finding a long-lost wealthy cousin with a penchant for giving away funds than finding the actual person you were seeking. Did I mention that my mom’s friend’s name was…Piggy? PIGGY? I am not shitting you. To this DAY, she’s Piggy. And her daughter was called Li’l Momma. Yeah. I walked to PIGGY’S (which was right up the block from Piggly Wiggly) to use the phone, only to discover that THAT’S the moment my mom picked to go run errands or whatever. I be damned. So, after walking for 3 hours, with legs of lead and lungs of molten lava, I then had to walk all the way home from there, too. Another 4 miles. I certainly got my exercise that day – hell, that was a year’s worth of cardiovascular, for my fat ass – and I immediately quit the Boy Scouts. Bastards. Damn if I was gonna let them molest MY black ass. There’s no merit badge for anal rape. Well, not in my troop, at least.
Fast forward 13 years. My buddy Chef had been talking about going whitewater rafting for months. “Oh, Damian, you gotta try it. The adrenaline rush is like no other. It’s so relaxing. It’s you versus nature.” Fuck nature. I had no beef with her. He knew good and damn well I wasn’t about to go on that trip, but he didn’t let that deter him from his Satan-assigned task of recruiting me. There was no way I was going, so it was entertaining to me to hear him go on and on about it. For a while. Soon, though, the sounds of Wonderful Rafting began boring into my brain like that insect from “Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan”. I wanted it to stop. I wanted to hit him for bringing it up. I wanted…to go. Dammit, it DID sound like fun! He assured me there would be no swimming involved (being black and all, not liking to partake of the swimming), and no real danger – just a bunch of folks riding in a raft down a river. Hell, why not? Even I can simply float without mishap, right? So I finally broke down and said yes.
Not wanting to go alone (I didn’t count Chef, since he was the one dragging me into this), I convinced CabanaBoy to go with me. He had never been rafting either, so I figured we could be co-newbies on this adventure with nature. Now, the river we were to be rafting down was about a 4 hour drive away. Naturally, I was running late, and by the time CabanaBoy and I left for the place, we had only 3 hours to get there. We made the first leg, 145 miles from Greenville, SC to Atlanta, in about 90 minutes. We were rolling, man. We got to the rafting site with only minutes to spare. After greeting and gearing up, we got on a bus with the others and rode up a mountain to the launch site. The fun began.
Me and Cabanaboy.
In the woods of Tennessee and northern Georgia.
With a bunch of white people.
On the river where “Deliverance” was filmed. Did I mention that before? No? Well. Let THAT soak in.
As we rode up the mountain, I noticed this HUGE waterfall roaring to my right. I asked, half-jokingly, “We don’t have to go down THAT thing, do we?”
Chef: “What’re you talking about? Of course we do. We’re going above it, aren’t we?”
Me: “Don’t fuck with me, Chef. I’m serious. Do we go over that or not?”
Chef: “If you don’t believe me, believe gravity. We ARE going above it, and our shit IS back down the river. How do you think we’ll get there, hmm?”
Me (scared): “Hey, somebody, do we go over that? Be serious, ’cause I think I’m gonna get real black up in here if we do.”
Me: (to Chef): “I swear to every God in the sky, I’m kicking your ass for this. Don’t laugh. I’m not EVEN bullshitting. That’s your ass.”
So, after feeling my stomach constrict to the size of a walnut, and my balls leave my scrotum and take up residence somewhere near my adam’s apple, I resigned myself to the fact that we were going over that 20 foot drop, thinking surely no one has died doing this.
SOMEBODY BETTER SAY RIGHT, AND IT BETTER BE NOW!
The roaring got louder. It was coming from the river, and from inside my own head. I was gonna die.
To be continued…
Yeah, so….guess what!
I had an emergency appendectomy yesterday! Go me!
This sucks. I just coughed, and I swear I nearly punched a midget. That hurt…so bad. Anyway. Let’s review, shall we?
I was out at dinner with my coworkers, eating Mexican food and drinking margaritas and generally having a swell time. I left the place around 9 or so, feeling very full on my 30 minute drive home. Too full. I felt kinda bloated, almost like I had indigestion bad gas. I got home, and by then the pain decided to drop in bringing a nice bundt cake and grape soda. I laid down on the couch, wishing the pain away and shooing off my pesky kids, but nothing would stop it. I figured I could just wait it out, but I could actually FEEL the pain migrating around my abdomen, like glass moving through a garden hose. Holy hell, this sucked the big one. I went to sleep, hoping I’d be awakened by the sound and sensation of a nice, long fart. I’m just being real with you, people.
Very early. 1:30am. Sadly, no fart was forthcoming. Instead, the pain greeted me by saying “Dude, get up. Go to the hospital.” I said no. The pain said “NOW, BITCH!”. And I said OK. I drove myself up to the ER and cursed the doctors for having parking spaces right up front. Seriously, I had to park and walk about 75 yards to the ER door, hands clutching my stomach like I was smuggling diamonds from Sierra Leone. At least there’s not much of a line at 2am, ’cause they took me right into triage, where they got my information and told me to go wait to be called. Now, I realize that for the people who work in the hospital, it’s really no different than any other workplace, but when I’m doubled over in pain, lying on my side on a hard-ass lounge chair, I do NOT wanna hear loud cackling and laughter from the people NOT SERVICING me at that moment. They were laughing like they had just seen Barney Miller for the first time, the bastards. Finally they took me to a room and drew blood and misspelled my name and made me drink Barium (dis…gus…ting) so that I could get a CAT scan, where they thoughtfully informed me that I had acute appendicitis, which isn’t surprising, ’cause I’m a cute muhfucka. At 5am I was admitted, and got a really nice room.
Surgery was scheduled for around 3pm that day, so I had nothing to do but lay still and chill out while I waited. Did I mention that, for pain, they gave me morphine, demerol, and hydrocodone? Oh GOD, morphine is the SHIT! It really is. I was hallucinating, hearing things, and visiting places that don’t exist. I heart morphine. The switch to demerol with finnergan was disappointing, but that combo
got me high eased my pain and helped me make it to the surgery. Oh, and I got a bit more good news – I also had gall stones. Yay me. The surgeon (who, by the way, looked younger than me, meaning that either she’s a prodigy or that I’m just getting old) said she wasn’t gonna remove my stones or the gall bladder this time because 2 surgeries just complicates things, and honestly, I was fine with that. She brought me down about an hour early for the Big Cutting, where she told me that I’d be enjoying a laproscopic surgery, meaning instead of a giant gash in my belly, she’d be serving me with 3 smaller incisions where she’d insert the tools she needed for the job. I said whatever, ’cause it was ALL gonna suck. They wheeled me to the surgery floor, where a new set of people asked me the same, tired set of questions that I’d been asked about 12323452 times already that day. They pumped something lovely into my IV, and the next thing I knew I was back in the room, minus one very infected appendix, and swimming in the bliss of a lot of pain. I hate surgery.
Yeah, Thursday night sucked big time. The most continuous sleep I got was maybe 30 minutes, either due to me not finding even ONE comfortable position, or from the steady train of interruptions from nurses and lab techs throughout the night. I think I saw every number on the clock last night, including a couple of new ones between 4 and 5am. Or maybe that was the demerol. And because I was on IV fluids, I had to pee every hour or so, and as SOON as I put my pecker in the plastic urinal, it was like a light went off at the nurse’s station because invariably, someone would roll up in there while I was draining the main vein. I hope they liked the show. By 5, I gave up and had a male nurse help me to my feet so I could walk around. Let me tell you something, people…that hurt. A lot. But I knew I had to do it if I wanted to be discharged, so I sucked it up like a trooper and strolled the hallways at that ungodly hour. My belly? Huge. The surgeon pumped it full of air to give her room to work, and it’s STILL huge, even as I type this now. I made it back to my room and immediately got back into my sweaty bed. I smelled like rancid mountain goat. And I really didn’t care, ’cause all I wanted was to get my hurting ass in a semicomfortable position and pretend to sleep for a little while longer. I did get to see “Heroes” on NBC.com, though. Score.
After pretending to sleep, I got up (read: laid in bed because getting up sucked ass) and waited for the doctor to come tell me the deal. Aside from the pain, the demerol, the back sweat, the ability to FINALLY get some sleep (a whole hour!), and more walking, all I did Friday was wait to be released. Oh, I did eat, finally. A lovely buffet of broth, a melted popsicle, some red jello that was hard on the edges, and ice tea that needed more than just sugar. It needed therapy. I needed to be discharged. I was tired, smelly, hurting, and sick of being in that Room of Constant Interruption. The Younger Than Me surgeon finally showed up, gave me her blessing, and off I went.
And as I finally wrapped this up, I farted, long and hard. It was the best fart of my entire life.
By the way, Badger The Witness will still go on Sunday night, so listen to me bitch about my ordeal, and listen to Laurie talk shit about it, having birthed babies or whatever.