Archive for August, 2012

De-Construction and Delays

Well I am now Sitting in my kitchen in week number twelve of our glorious escapade to Vancouver Island, and may I just add in that very first statement by no means did I misuse a capital letter in sitting. That happens to be a very important detail, and also something I will never again take for granted: That’s right, the ability to sit. It also holds the key to why this post is approximately three weeks overdue and honestly I must apologize for not being more committed during the last several weeks, but in all honesty I’ve been spending a lot of time sleeping, relaxing, or taking trips out of my own head as apposed to going to work, exercising, or enjoying my wonderful; new surroundings. So hopefully I have a proficient enough memory to update you on all the gritty details as to why this has taken so long, and thankfully due to my condition I did not miss much in those two weeks because frankly, not a lot happened. However with the recent recovery a lot more has happened in the past week and I will update it as well this coming Sunday when the week officially comes to a close.

So to make a long story much shorter then it could be, and knowing that there is indeed an even longer version then the long one. I am going to attempt to recount the important events over the past two weeks pertaining to a back injury I sustained at work on the 4th of August, a Saturday. The next morning I was feeling a little bit of a strain in my lower back but I was also dealing with a pulled left shoulder so at the time I thought nothing of it. To make things worse after a few days the pain in my shoulder went away while my back pain was still progressing, but due to the healing of my muscle that had just taken place I figured I had simply pulled another muscle in my back and that a few more days of work followed by two days of rest would fix me right up. I was wrong…. Those two days of relaxation did nothing and each morning as I woke up I felt a progressively worse sensation in my lower back. Still under the assumption that I had pulled a muscle I decided to take those two days off easy and try to rest, and although the pain did not really get worse it did not deteriorate or get any better. But my days off were then over and I had to be back at work, so for the second week while having an injured back, I returned to work executing lifts of those kayaks and paddleboards unaware that each passing day was in fact injuring me more greatly and that the strain I had my spine under was soon going to give. You can tell instinctively when you wake up that your body is either functioning correctly or not. Especially being human, we have the ability to vocally describe our situation and whether or not something is wrong. And when you are on a double dose of Ibuprofen and can get no relief from the pain you are in, something is definitely wrong.

I hit the wall on the fifteenth of August, a Wednesday. I woke up in such pain that I could not bend in the shower, and had to physically roll out of bed then crouch to get off the floor. Still, I am half of my father so I insisted that I was fine and got ready for work. However my inability to climb the two steps outside my front door to the road was enough for Charmaine to order me back inside and tell me I wasn’t going to work. At that point I was in too much pain to argue. So after calling my boss and letting him know I wasn’t going to make it to work I settled instead for a quick breakfast and a trip down the road to our local doctor. I must say that one amazing feature of Victoria is their walk-in clinics. I literally walked up to the glass, registered with the nurse and was taken straight into an examination room. No wait, at all. Empty at twelve O’clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday, fantastic. After a quick examination and an even quicker urine test. That’s right a working laboratory with no wait either, we “confirmed” that I had a massive muscle strain in my lower back and not a kidney issue. So with a prescription in hand it was off to the drug store for some mid level muscle relaxants. Needless to say that after two days of use, including the day I received the pain killers I was no longer screwing around. My back was messed up and the pain was now increasing exponentially. The relaxants, doing absolutely nothing and my mobility was seriously decreasing. So, on my final day off I decided to go see a chiropractor. It turns out… that I had two lumbar spinal disks misplaced, both on an angle leaning from my lower right side to my upper left shoulder. This caused the muscle groups in my lower back, which are quite major might I add, to reshape and stretch into this position which was causing me discomfort, and the more time I took waiting to have my spine corrected, the more adjusted the muscles were becoming which also meant that the recovery time it would take to return to its proper position was getting equally longer. So back on Ibuprofen and off the muscle relaxants I returned home, back freshly cracked and spine back where it should have been. I’ll admit I was feeling better. The next day I repeated the back alignment and again I felt better, I was getting back to normal and was thinking I was in the clear. All in time for Raffi to visit us two, as that day was only one afternoon away. Then came the day of paralysis.

I must also add as a small side note that prior to the first visit to the chiropractor on the seventeenth of August I visited Uvic on the sixteenth to register for my course and get assistance from a course advisor. You have no Idea the satisfaction I experienced when telling my advisor that I would have less of an issue registering then she anticipated because I was already a second year student, but to be honest, I was cutting the deadline rather close and I think next year now that I know what I’m doing I will be a little more prepared. However in under thirty minutes she had my entire year sorted out and had me fully equipped to take on the challenges of a big university. So I must say, Hats off to a Ms. or perhaps Mrs. Beth Christopher for helping both myself and Charmaine establish a fantastic timetable at both Camosun and Uvic. You truly are an amazing advisor and we could not have done it without you.

The 21st was the worst day in many ways, perhaps because I spent a lot of time waiting in a hospital waiting room behind people who had absolutely nothing wrong with them, or maybe because I was unable to be the host I wanted to be when Raffi arrived. But I think if I had to sum it p to one thing I would be completely selfish and admit it was the excruciating pain that surged through my entire body, with every step, flex, or movement, and I must again thank someone, My good buddy Joe, who I have only known for three months who helped drive me to the hospital. Because I know now I would not have made it there without him. After two hours waiting on my feet, and I mean this because I could not sit down at all, literally because If I did there was no guarantee that I would be able to get up again, but finally I made it into emergency and the doctor advised me to take some codeine based pain killers. Now those who know me well enough know I am allergic to the stuff, however he recommended a synthetic so no worries he knew what he was doing. It really was all he could do for me other then recommend I go and speak with my chiropractor again. He then offered to dose me up before I headed home and for some strange reason I declined. About two hours later I wish I hadn’t and I still don’t know why I did. Probably something to do with Charmaine’s theory that he wanted to see how baked I would be and that when I denied the doctor looked mighty disappointed. Regardless. The trip home after was a short bus ride followed by a three hundred metre at most walk through hell. Ever step was making my scream, and literally by the tie I was home I had cycled clean through a sailors curse book and was making up a few choice words of my own.

By that point in the day it was only noon and I was going nowhere from that point on. I just barely managed to use the bathroom and then set myself on my back on the couch with my Xbox and Charmaine left to fill my prescription and go find my chiropractor. She was gone what I consider and agonizing hour and when she got back the message was crystal clear. Off the couch and onto the floor with my back as straight as possible. It is a lucky thing we have a yoga mat, and due to the couches, way too many pillows. But with that combination of items, along with a hot pack and and Ice pack, I began to feel some relief. Some was not quite enough though, and that’s where the pain killers stepped in. I doubt that they really relieve pain in any way, but I will say this. You leave your own body for the duration of the drug, or at least, your conscious self becomes unattached, because for the next four hours I was a brain dead, stoned, and apparently hilarious ragdoll, with no recollection of pain. And while all that was taking place, Raffi arrived.

The good news is that from that point on it has been nothing but recovery for me. Ever day I feel stronger and every morning less pain remains. It is the thirtieth of August today and I began writing this yesterday, so the events of today will remain confidential until Sunday, but I can say I am on the threshold of one hundred percent once again. It took exactly two weeks from the time I was properly diagnosed and set on the path to recovery to final feel like I did before, and two weeks for the injury to take its full hold on me, but now I have it beat. One whole month of pain and mystery, now solved and dealt with, and might I say thank god it is over.

I would like to also add that Jason did visit us as well as Raffi but that visit ended this week so again the rest will be on Sunday. However I will say in terms of having fun with Raffi, things went pretty well even in my crippled state. We spent a good day playing video games while I recovered from the worst of my paralysis, and then the next morning on discovering that I was feeling much better we went, and against my Doctors’ wishes (our little secret) Longboarding for several hours. The first time on a board since April and it was absolutely amazing. In the space of that one afternoon I managed to stretch my back out properly and I believe it did nothing but help the healing process. On another note, in that same afternoon with almost zero effort, Charmaine and I convinced Raffi to move here to Vic and we are very excited for his arrival next spring.

The only thing to really focus on now is school in all its upcoming excitement. I was off work for several weeks but managed to claim compensation at least until I find less stressful work on my back, and the next goal on my list is to purchase my longboard, Which might I add was discovered in a shop only two blocks from my house. To the skate shop known as One Six. I am coming soon for my Demon Seed.

Anyways, as always…

Thanks for the time and make sure you get out there and get your daily rush. Keep the blood flowing and the heart going.


Moonlight Misadventures

It is an unfortunate circumstance this 10th week in Victoria which has me writing so late, but as it happened this Sunday I had quite a full day that began at 3:30am. Therefore if I seem to be a bit inconsistent forgive me. I am extremely tired and the red bull I consumed nearly three hours ago has started to lose to affect. Therefore I apologize but I will probably only stick to the very key events this week and keep the content level low, for my own benefit as well as yours, because I know you do not want to listen to some unfiltered exhaustion fuelled garbage, and believe me if I allowed myself, I’m sure I could find plenty to go on about.

So, as I said I was awake at 3:30 this Sunday morning and I believe that it probably deserves some explanation as to why in the blazes I would push myself to be awake at that time, but trust me the reason is good, although the level of sanity it involves may not be. Recently, and by that I mean about a month and a half ago I took part in a triathlon as a certified lifeguard and an employee of West Coast Outdoor, we ran the water support for the Subaru Elk Lake triathlon. This means I was awake bright and early in order to ride around on our own Hobie kayaks and prevent swimmers from drowning or falling into any trouble. Although that event went fairly well despite beastly weather and screaming winds and whitecaps I was hesitant to volunteer for the Sooke triathlon based upon the distance at which I would have to travel, combined with the usual start time for most swim times during these events. I was informed I would have to be in Sooke by six am this morning, and so if you take the time to do the math, that is the equivalent to, one hour of driving before six am, so we are sitting at five am, followed by an hour first thing in the morning to prep for the triathlon, get ready to leave the house, and get ready for work at the same time as I was to be going there directly after the triathlon. This puts my start time first thing in the morning at four am, however, me being the event master had a hard time falling into a deep sleep and so around three thirty I was shaken awake by a small undetectable circumstance in my house. At this point I figured I might as well stay up and wait for my alarm, so that when that bell finally went off I could pounce on it like a tiger. It turns out I began to doze and so the alarm got the better of me in all its super loud obnoxious glory, bastard! Still, a commitment is a commitment and so I slowly hauled myself out of bed and headed out to Sooke for the day. The triathlon itself was quite uneventful and went off without a hitch, therefore I enjoyed the equivalent of a six am paddle around young lake for no true purpose, followed by a nine hour work day, (high five) which hit its high point around noon when a crazy family, all hopped up like rabbits turned what was a peaceful day into something out of a disaster movie. So there is my explanation of the three thirty start this morning, and the continued reason as to why I am as tired as I am, but I shall push forward with all my reserve strength till I collapse either in my bed or on my keyboard! HA!

The job hunt continues as it did before, but is now coupled with the impending start of the fall semester at Uvic. With myself finally registered I am in a scramble to get into my light course load before everything fills up, and I must say, being a second year student really has its advantages in that area as the pack has been thinned somewhat. Both the job and school process have been made a little simpler as well with the addition of Char and I’s new printer to our delightful little tech family. We found this little beast at London Drugs for a price most thieves would consider highway robbery and unsurprising of HP the setup was dead simple to add its powers to our network of devices. Question: does everything have Wifi now? I’m waiting for the box of Cheerio’s that you can command pour itself… Yum.

Speaking of Yum, Charmaine and I decided to do one thing together once a week that I think is not only a great display of compromise and passion, but also of our ability to combine our ideas and talents. Recently I posed the idea of one night a week where we cook together, the catch being we both go shopping together that day and pick one ingredient at random in the supermarket that is unusual in our diet. This week we choose to turn coconut into something delicious, and after adding some prime rib steak we were all set for an island style barbeque. I decided to take a spin-off of the usual garlic infused steak my father has become famous for and instead infused these bad boys with coconut slices, topped off by an all original secret homemade Islander BBQ sauce. I will hint that the addition of ghost chilli and coconut water was a definite must, and taking the fruit of the nut itself and grilling it right on the surface unwrapped and smothered in sauce using the natural cup shape of the slices. After topping the steaks with these grilled coconut slices we added a fresh coconuts and fresh raspberry garden salad. Dinner was incredible and has since solidified the idea of mystery night in our household. I personally cannot wait for the next secret ingredient. Some say there is such a thing as too much barbeque, and to those people say, pound sand. I`ve been grilling four to five nights a week since the acquisition of my B-cue and loving every moment of it.

In other news I recently attended an evening with friends at the peacocks billiard hall, also known as the Games room in the Strathcona hotel in downtown Vic. There really is nothing like sitting around a table for a few hours with three friends and shooting a few rounds of team pool, and as an added bonus we took Thaddeus with us and found an opportunity to promote him to a few individuals just one table across from our own. This little adventure ended after Joe and I lost our second game in a row off of a scratch on the eight ball and returned us to a large parking complex on Yates street, where we discovered we had no way of escape. Both or vehicles were gated inside the structure which would only take coinage, (although it advertised credit cards).  After contemplating smashing through the gate Courtlin and I decided on a more subtle approach and instead approached the night guard to the complex, who informed us of the small minute screw up mentioned above ^^. He was kind enough to understand our situation and let us out of the structure for free which was a very kind thing to do at twelve thirty at night and to which he received many thanks from the four of us.

Continuing with the games news, I’d like to mention the purchase I made to expand my Xbox game collection of Forza Motorsport for a cool twenty deer…. I mean bucks (the male kind made of paper). Anyways I am part way through this beyond epic driving simulator and must say that the increased difficulty is providing a nice challenge and is definitely worth picking up if you are contemplating good driving games. Keep in  mind though this is a simulator, not a sandbox racer so throttle and brake control is vital, and although driver assists can be set up to help you play the game by essentially driving the vehicle for you, that isn’t any fun, so I recommend taking the time if you decide on this purchase and learning the movements, weight, and reaction speed of the vehicle you ultimately choose to drive.

As I said I was going to keep this week rather short, and thankfully I am more then a little alleviated from that task by enjoying a rather uneventful weekend so far. I managed my goal of not falling asleep on my keyboard so I must give myself props, and perhaps a small air high five to the red bull that I am sure is sustaining my consciousness. I now plan to go crash face first into pillow heaven, so I am sorry if I left anyone craving more of my usual small details, but for now I am good and done. Perhaps I’ll add another unscheduled post some point mid week for week eleven just to compensate my lack of bread and butter this time. But for now I am out cold…. so….

Thanks for the time and make sure you get out there and get your daily rush. Keep the blood flowing and the heart going.

Getting out of the oven!

Whew, I’m sure for anyone living on the island or the lower mainland I do not need to explain this caption at all. During the past four days the entire West Coast has been hit by an extreme heat wave which has turned all the local residents to slow moving jelly-based individuals, the visiting tourists into louder, more obnoxious and always demanding travellers, and those of us trying to acclimatise from the hot Okanagan heat into our usual selves as apposed to typical Islanders. Now it may seem like something as small as weather cannot do much in regards to changing an entire population, but in all seriousness, this has been no regular set of weather patterns. Much like the Thunder Storms we experienced several weeks ago the average temperature per day in Victoria has been in the mid to high thirties region, and Sooke, the small ocean side city in which I work in the low to mid thirties. It really has become a fun game watching the locals slowly succumb to the heat, while I am finally believing we have hit the summer months, however this has also messed up my process of adaption to the island’s more moderate climate, so although I currently love the sunshine and the heat, I feel that further on in the year I will experience some depressing moments with the wet and humid atmosphere. That being said, it seems everywhere I go I take a strange climate shift with me in my back pocket, so who knows, I may even get my cold crisp white Christmas after all. But that is ages away and tonight I have to focus on week number nine of the great Victorian expedition.

Finally after much talk and excitement about the visitation of my Parents the time has come and past. They stayed over both Monday and Tuesday night and we had a wonderful time for those two days catching up and enjoying each others greatly missed company. I will say it was probably hardest for my mother who I can tell misses my loud and obnoxious self, although why I could not tell you, although were I to speculate I would expect the reason would relate to some for of a never boring afternoon in my presence. Regardless of the obvious emotional distress and Charmaine being a bit under the weather during the visit, which might I mention did not deter her from making an absolutely delicious and garden fresh spaghetti sauce complete with French garlic bread, and my feeble and by the box Ceaser salad, to which level I shall never stoop again, we made the best of the time we had showing my parents where I worked and the beautiful drive I enjoy every weekend to Sooke. The area in which we live with its endless amenities including parks, services, and liquor stores (always a bonus in University, but with four of them within a five minute walk, some might wonder if we didn’t plan this??). The second afternoon was even better as we took a quick tour of Uvic together after a long morning coffee then took  a trip to Hillside mall to show my Mother the amazing Telus store Char and I found. Unfortunately Wade, our usual Telus guy was not there, but his Co-worker TJ who has also come to know us well was there to help my mother reset her email on her Iphone. Afterwards my parents wanted to shop a little and so as a family we ended up in Zellers where we eventually came across the BBQs. Now anyone who has been around me in the evening over the past half dozen weeks knows I was physically aching for a BBQ, and as luck would have in all of them were on sale at Zellers, due to the closeout thanks to Target. My parents knew it was something we would need and so they decided to buy Charmaine and I a BBQ and a full propane tank as our house warming gift. Well, you never have to tell a man twice to set up a BBQ so as soon as my Dad and I had that bad boy home we began a rapid, and precise, professional assembly of the grill. In total it took us just under one hour and two beer to assemble the BBQ and I immediately wanted to throw some meat on it. However we had dinner plans in town and so I had to leave my newest cooking tool alone, and unused. Although it may seem sinful the dinner we had together as a family was delicious and instead of being busy cooking we had time to talk about future plans and current ideas and desires on both sides of the table. Dinner took a rough three hours and afterwards we decided to head home and off to bed, as my parents had to catch a ferry the next morning and I had to be off to work on the 11am bus. Although it was only a short two days, I really appreciated the time I had with my parents who I had not seen in two months and now am even more excited about having Charmaine’s parents over and proving infinitely that we are alright and fully independent now.

I am delighted to say however that the use of the new Barbeque was close at hand. The day after my parents left Char and I decided to have a BBQ with our friends in the form of a small party. At the time we had no idea how small the party would get, but regardless of the number of participants there was definitely a large level of consumption, which in turn led to a large amount of regret. The party started at seven, and right from the get go I was on fire as a total grill master. Four huge Smokies, along with six big burgers, and the ever present Veggie dogs for our resident animal right friends. But with two designated sides to the barbeque we were successfully able to avoid the theological debate. Unfortunately my good friend Court had to leave early due to work the next morning and with him went his girlfriend and another of our group who needed a ride home, and so it was left to Charmaine, Joe, our landlord Andrew, and myself. Of course Joe and I being the champs we are, did not let that little detail stop us, and together we each finished a case of beer and then some, including B52 coffee shots and massive mugs of the great golden brew. The party ended sometime around two am and both Drew and Joe left together via cab, while Charmaine and I went to bed, where I in a matter of moments passed out cold. Needless to say both Joseph and I were hurting the next day and I am somewhat displeased to note that nothing got done that day after the party, other then sitting around in pyjama pants and tank tops. High fives were exchanged at one point much later in the week. The strange thing to that party is that we discovered and finally accepted the loss of a huge bag of cheese fill Bolivian Sausages. To this day we still have no idea where or when they might have disappeared but we do hope that if they are hidden somewhere, it is somewhere refrigerated.

Being the party animals that Char and I are, we decided this week that one party simply was not enough, and so we were determined to have yet another get together. Fortunately for us it also happened to be our friend Claudia’s birthday this week and so we were alleviated of organizing, cleaning and generally dealing with another group of people in our house. She wasn’t as lucky, but that’s what happens when you turn twenty in Victoria. After the events of the previous party it was plain to myself that drinking was not on my agenda, however upon arriving the party vibe took over and I found myself driving Court’s car (dead sober might I add) back to my house to retrieve the contents of our bar fridge. Upon returning to the party Charmaine and I engaged in drinking games, shots, and general dumb foolery with our friends as the party seamlessly and unknowingly began to grow around us, from a modest ten people, to a full blow thirty, half of whom I have never met, and the other half whom I still don’t know. Strangely enough, as if to counteract the events of the barbeque night, against our will Charmaine and I’s bodies would not succumb to the affects of drink and atmosphere and so instead we distracted ourselves with meeting new people and displaying our talents for cheerleading, and free running. For the next portion to make sense I must state that the occupants of Claudia’s crash pad are a large group of hard-core metal heads, and so you must imagine the entire time an ear shattering symphony of screaming and guitar screeches. This continued into the night until it reached its peak at one thirty in the morning when a delightful and I believe completely within their own rights (as I too was also become irritated) neighbour called the Saanich police department and filed a formal noise complaint. It was not long after that the five O was knocking at our door and informing us that the party was going to be shut down if the reckless and noisy behaviour of the rest of the party (current friend group exempt) continued. Well I must add that being the sun of a police officer has given me a good sense of when things begin pushing the boundaries of the law and so I started to pack my things and finish my current beer. It was only a few minutes later that the police decided to end the shenanigans and closed down the party for the night. Again, dead sober I collected my Charmaine, and we left the party, thanking the officers for their leniency and enjoyed a delightful walk home hand in hand. Seeing that I had to work the next morning it was quite fitting and timely that we arrived home when we did, and after a quick hot dog BBQ to satisfy our midnight hunger we drifted off to sleep.

I must say that while my parents were visiting I was able to reset my sleep clock a little, back to earlier nights and earlier mornings, and although my week was filled with late night activities in the form of a BBQ and a party I still have enjoyed the second portion of that mantra in earlier rise mornings. Before during the July portion of living in Vic I would often sleep late till around ten or even eleven in the morning and find that I had wasted almost all the free time in my day, especially if I had to work as well. Now with my earlier mornings I am getting to enjoy some of that again, and currently I am using it to relax and wake up properly without a rush, prep my lunches for the day and even cook larger more complete and of course delicious breakfasts. I’m going to continue this trend I think, and perhaps even encourage Charmaine to join me with an earlier seven thirty rise time, but I think I will also incorporate those early nights as well when I can, because I do so love to sleep and am finding my bed very comfortable in the morning, so therefore if I want to wake up early but have more in bed time, it can only mean earlier nights.

Finally I have a tech tip to give. This is primarily for those people who run devices on Android networks or are in the market for new equipment and find apple products expensive and Microsoft too complex. Android runs on all Samsung products and is partnered with Google, and your personal Gmail account which allows for the system to back up every bit of data on your device if it were to break or be stolen, this is extremely cool but not the main focus of my point. Android is also equipped with a program called drop box, which is essential a secure local storage center for your files, photos and videos which does not occupy space on your phone, allowing you to store more then your devices actual capacity online. Even though it is connected to the net, this is only to have a free space to place the data, therefore it can only be accessed by you and those you allow, essential turning your Gmail account into another hard drive, and as a bonus Drop box works on all computer operating systems already so you can share any files using a common file type and adapter to move items wirelessly between devices, and If you have a home network with other people in your home, drop box allows for certain public folders to be contributed to and access via the internet from any location by a certified device. I think this is what is referred to as Icloud, except I found it much simpler and there is not need to actually individually log onto and certify device with pin codes or passwords.

Finally I have a small Thaddeus update this week as I always try to. It has been decided and is in the design process to produce Drinking Shark T-shirts for our promotional party scene. Each shirt will sell for ten dollars with a portion of the proceeds going to the purchase of more product and the remainder going straight to the Charity we choose for Thaddeus to represent. It will be an ocean wildlife charity, we are both just busy busy busy and have not gotten around to contacting one yet.

Well that’s all from Vic this week. Number nine has come and gone and I can’t wait to find out what is going to happen next.

Thanks for the time and make sure you get out there and get your daily rush. Keep the blood flowing and the heart going.