Monday, December 15, 2008

Just what I expected

I just finished my meeting and everything went just as I expected. I still have a job. It involves support only; no new development. I will also be supporting some other applications that I have not worked with before so I will at least be exposed to some different applications. I hoping that things won't be as bad as I fear.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm mad as hell, but I'm going to take it for a while longer

My meeting has been scheduled for 9am on Monday. That's when I will find out my status. But early indications are that I will be keeping my job. This does not make me happy because it also looks like I will be stuck doing support with no opportunity for advancement for the foreseeable future. A couple of months ago I said that I would rather be fired than have that happen. All I can hope for is that the situation something other than what I expect.

Yes, I should be happy that I have a job, but I'm not. In fact I would guess anyone who been told "You're luck to have a job" hasn't felt lucky. Even if they were telling it to themselves.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Beer, Uncertainty, and Doubt

On Monday I will know my fate. Tomorrow I will get an e-mail telling me what time my meeting will be. The IT offices will be closed on Monday. Each person will only be going in for their meeting. During that meeting I will be told whether I will have a job or not. If I keep my job I assume that I will be told who my new manager is and something about the new organizational structure. I I lose my job I will be given more information about the severance package.

At this point I'm just glad to have a date when the uncertainty will be over. I know that I'll be fine either way.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spoiler Alert

This post contains fact that you may not want to know. And once you know something it is impossible to un-know it.

On Sunday Rachel figured out that there is no Santa Claus. While wrapping presents she saw some pre-printed gift tags that said "To: From: Santa". I said that we should leave them out on Christmas Eve so Santa could use them. She later asked Helen if we were Santa. She admitted that we were and Rachel started crying. We knew that this was probably the last year she would believe. Already some of her classmates don't believe. I told her not to tell A.J.

It's interesting to hear other people's reaction to this. Some people thinks that she's too young to figure it out (she's 8) and others think that she was already too old to believe in Santa. I've noticed that some kid's TV shows try to foster a belief in Santa but I wonder if they have the opposite effect. There are shows where Santa is real and the main character (a kid) believes in him but nobody else does. I wonder if this starts the seeds of doubt in some kids. At least it introduces the idea that some people don't believe in Santa.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things are tough all over

I have worked at Anheuser-Busch for over ten years. Last month AB was bought by InBev. The name of the new company is Anheuser-Busch InBev, but this was definitely an acquisition -- not a merger. Everyone here has been concerned about job cuts. We have know that they are coming ever since the buyout was first proposed about 6 months ago. On Monday the plans were made public for this first time. 1400 salaried employees will be let go. About 1000 of those from the St. Louis area.

The numbers have been published but the names haven't. I have no idea whether or not I will be laid off or not. I expect to find out sometime next week. Obviously, if I am let go, this is not a great time to be looking for a job. On the bright side, between vacation and severance I would still have a paycheck until the end of April.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A new car for Helen

A few weeks ago Helen took the minivan in for an emissions inspection. It did not pass and needed some parts replaced. Each time a part was replaced we found out that it needed another one. After spending around $700 on it, they decided that it needed a new computer. That would cost at least $700 (assuming that they could find a used computer).

At that point I decided that we should just replace it. Although I really don't want to have a car payment right now, I also don't want to pour a lot of money into a seven year old minivan. We had driven a Toyota Yaris while on vacation in San Antonia and were very impressed by it. I did some research on it and it looked like it would be better to get a Corolla instead. After having to deal with a car that was only intermittently available for several weeks, Helen was willing to get anything.

I usually do more research and planning before buying a car. I said to Helen that we should get a new car on Wednesday night and had the new car less than 24 hours later. I think that I got a decent deal on the car but sometimes it's hard to tell.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good Samaritans

On Wednesday, after picking the kids up from school, Helen had a flat tire. She pulled into a grocery store parking lot and called me to come help her. On her mini-van the spare tire is under the car and very difficult to get out. Fortunately a cyclist named Neal stopped to help her. He helped get the spare out and changed the tire. Helen noticed that Neal had an Obama button and an Obama hat.

The spare hadn't been used, or even looked at, during the entire time we've had the car. Not surprisingly the spare was almost flat. Another lucky break happened when a man in a pickup stopped to help. The driver, Mike, had an electric pump which he used to inflate the spare. Coincidentally Mike was a cyclist and an Obama supporter too. He had a bike in the back of his pickup and an Obama bumper sticker.

By the time I got there, the tire had been changed and inflated and the good Samaritans had ridden off into the sunset like the Lone Ranger.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Goodbye gall bladder

Helen saw the specialist yesterday and he scheduled her for surgery today. Fortunately, gall bladder removal is an out-patient procedure so she is already back home. Rachel was a little concerned about the surgery and gave Helen some tips about what to expect. Rachel wanted to share her experience from getting her tonsils taken out this summer. Both the kids are happy now that Helen is done with the surgery and is safe at home.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Six Flags

On Sunday, we went to Six Flags for the AB family day. We had a great time. We got there just before it opened at 10. One of A.J.'s classmates was having a birthday party so Helen and A.J. left for that and came back later. Rachel and I stayed for the whole day. She rode on a real roller coaster for the first time: the new Evel Knievel ride. It's been a long time since I've been on a real roller coaster so I was a little bit nervous. The ride was a lot of fun and Rachel really enjoyed it. She did not feel the need to ride any other roller coasters. We later met up with Helen and A.J. and stay at the park until it closed at 6.

After being at the park all day, we were all very tired. Helen seem more tired than the rest of us. She wasn't feeling any better the next day and her stomach was hurting. The pain got worse and she ended up going to the emergency room at midnight. The doctor there told her that she had gall bladder problems and was considering removing it that night. After doing an ultrasound, he decided that it did not need to be done immediately and told her to see her doctor today.

Of course her doctor just referred her to a specialist that she will see tomorrow. We are expecting that she will need her gall bladder removed since she has a family history of this problem.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I am legend

This past weekend was the MS-150. Thank you to everyone who donated.

I was a little worried about doing the century route (100 miles) on both days. I hadn't done any long rides to get ready. The longest ride I have done all year has been one of the Maplewood Bicycle Tuesday night rides and that was only twenty miles. Even if you count my commute that was less than forty miles for the day.

Since Helen wasn't going with me, I needed to rent a car. Car rental companies always seem to "forget" to enter the right code and try to charge you more than the reservation price. This has happened to me more than once and with more than one car rental company. They did fix the problem when I reminded them about it.

I picked up the car Friday morning and loaded it up with everything that I would need. Since I was driving, I decided to take the big (4-person) tent rather than the small tent that I used last year. After work, I drove to Columbia. It's only a two hour drive, so I was able to get there and get my tent set up before dark. After that, I had something to eat and turned in fairly early.

Saturday morning was a little chilly and the grass was very wet from dew. I ate breakfast, got my bike out of the car, and changed clothes in time for the 7:00 start. It had warmed up enough by this point that I didn't need a jacket. I didn't want to wear a jacket for 30 minutes and then carry it for the rest of the day.

The day continued to be damp and overcast. It probably didn't get much over 70 degrees. The cool weather is actually great for cycling. This year the first day had the flat route and the second day had the hilly one. There are still some hills on the flat route, though.

Some of the other riders remembered my ride from last year. That was when I rode to and from Columbia and ended up riding 520 miles in four days. Most of the people though it was pretty crazy. It was neat to be able to impress people like that. Of course I'm nowhere close to be able to do that this year.

I finished Saturday's ride feeling good, but tired. I hung out in the Mich Ultra tent until we took our group picture. After showering and eating dinner I fell asleep in my tent for about half an hour. I was too tired too do much more than lay in my tent and read. It rained for short period a few times that evening. It actually kind of nice to lay in a tent and listen to rain that you don't have to go out in. I was toying with the possibility of not riding at all on Sunday.

I was feel better on Sunday morning. I knew that I would be able to ride at least 75 miles. The century route did not split from the 75 mile route until about the 50 mile mark. This meant that I would be able to ride the first 50 miles and then decide whether I wanted to do 25 more or 50 more. I eventually decided that I had to at least try the 100 miles. If I did the 75 and still felt good I would be kicking myself for not doing the century.

There are good and bad things about large rides like the MS-150. Having so many cyclist on the road sometimes means that you get stuck behind a large clump of people. Of course having that many people means that there are always people to talk to. It also helps to keep my motivation up if there are people watching, or if there are people ahead of me that I can try to catch up to.

The century route has fewer people on it. There was one point where I went 20 minutes without seeing any other riders. This gets a little lonely but at least there were plenty of signs to reassure me that I wasn't lost.

I ended up riding the last twenty miles or so with a rider named John who is a student at Mizzou. He was doing the century route both days as well and these were his first and second centuries. He was a strong rider and wasn't having any troubles. He was a little concerned about the last six miles because everyone talks about the hills. I told him not to worry. A lot of people end up getting off there bikes and walking up the last hill but I knew that he wouldn't have any problems. The best thing about the last hill is that it is the last hill. After you get to the top you are practically done.

After I finished, I ate, showered and packed up the tent. After a couple hours of driving I was home in time to tuck the kids into bed. I was tired, but I was also proud that I was able to do what I set out to do. I may not be in as good of shape as I was last year but I still have the mental toughness. And the mental aspects of long distance riding are as important as the physical ones.

Hand surgery update

I had my hand surgery as scheduled and every thing went fine. I was allowed to take the bandages off and start riding again on Labor Day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The flats just keep on coming

On Saturday, I started to fix the flats that I got on Thursday. The front tube had three holes in it so I didn't bother patching it. I did patch the back tube and reinstalled it. Then I went to Maplewood bicycle to buy some replacement tubes. They also gave my some zip ties and help me mount the frame pump to my bike. I had been meaning to do this for a while.

One the way back, I hit a rock and the front tire had a blowout. This was annoying, but at least I had plenty of spare tubes with me. I replaced the tube and as I was pumping it up it blew out again. The blowout was in the same location too. At this point I need something was wrong. I checked to see if there was a spoke poke through the wheel that was causing the problem but didn't find anything. I decide to walk the bike back to Maplewood Bicycle and have them check it out.

As I was telling the story the Greg. He was looking at the problem wheel. He almost immediately noticed a cut in the side of the tire. This is what was causing the blowouts. I'm guessing that this happened at the same time that I got the flats on Thursday. He sold me a new tire, installed it, and I was on my way.

I had no problems with my commute on Monday. On my way home, I did talk to someone else that was bike commuting for the first time. He asked if I had any tips. I told him to watch out for left turning cars. I also should have suggested that he get rid of the headphones. I never listen to music while riding because I want to be able to hear what's going on around me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Helen to the rescue

I was watching the weather this afternoon at work. The forecast had called for scattered thundershowers and I was hoping to dodge them. I had avoided the rain in the morning and I was hoping my luck would hold. When I left work it looked like the worst of it had passed.

I made it about half way home when I suddenly had a flat. I pulled off the road and saw that the front tire was entirely flat. I called Helen to let her know that I would be a little late. While I was changing the tire it starting raining. Not too bad but it was more than a drizzle. After I removed the piece of glass from the front tire and replaced the tube I was ready to go, or so I thought. Just as I was about to get started, I noticed that the back tire was flat too. And then it started raining hard.

I was only carrying one spare tube. I do carry a patch kit so I could have tried to patch one of the punctured tubes, but this would have been difficult to do in the wet. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and called Helen to come pick me up. I will probably have Helen drive me to work tomorrow. I don't want to mess with patching the tube tonight.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Surgery

I saw my hand doctor today and he wants to remove the pins and the plate that he put in my right hand. I was expecting the pins to be removed but he had told me that the plate would be staying in. He thinks that the plate may be irritating the tendons in my hand and causing some of the problems that I have been having. This is why he changed his mind. The surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday. I guess that I won't be giving blood tomorrow.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Best Trip Ever

We went to San Antonio at the end of July. According to Rachel, it was the best trip ever. Here are some of the things that we did:

  • Rode on a airplane
  • Rachel picked out the rental car

At the lake house
  • Went swimming in the lake
  • Found shells
  • Met some cousins that she never met before (Beca, Mathew, Sarah, and Jacob)
  • Saw lots of animals: deer, lizards, ducks, geese, hawks, minnows, fish, a black slug, a bat
  • Rode a Jetski
  • Went tubing
  • Got ice cream from the ice cream truck
  • Raised and lowered the flag
  • Played Uncle Jim's pinball machine
  • Went fishing (but didn't catch anything)
  • Caught minnows in the minnow trap
  • Rachel caught a baby gecko
  • Went on a cave tour

At the San Antonio Children's Museum
  • Rachel and A.J. pulled themselves up in a kid powered elevator
  • Made puppets
  • Made bubbles
  • Played at the water table
  • Played in the store
  • Rode a stationary bike
  • Milked an artificial cow
  • Flew an airplane

At SeaWorld
  • Saw a sea lion show
  • Saw a water skiing show and got splashed
  • Saw the Shamu show
  • Rode on a scary ride
  • Rode on the lazy river
  • Played in the wave pool

Here are some pictures
lake house pictures

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tonsil complications

Helen and the kids were out on Thursday night when Rachel's throat started bleeding. This was one of the complications that we had been warned about. Helen called me and I called the doctor. After coordinating everything, Helen dropped AJ off with me and she took Rachel in to the ER. They did minor surgery to cauterize the location that was bleeding. Rachel is doing fine now and did not seem to be too bothered by the surgery.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MS 150 2008

A while back I decided that I was going to ride in the MS 150 again this year. I just got around to registering recently. This means that I don't have much time for fundraising. If anyone would like to support me they can go to my fundraising page.

I'll probably do the century route both days again this year. I won't be doing anything crazy like I did last year.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tonsils out

Rachel had her tonsils out on Monday and been pretty miserable this week. The doctor warned us that the third day may be the worst so I hope this means that she will start improving today.

We had a thunderstorm on Tuesday night that knocked down a mimosa tree. It's a tree that I had wanted to get rid of since it was right next to the garage and was starting to crush the gutter on that side. The tree fell into the yard or our neighbor who lives behind our garage.

I bought a chainsaw after work on Wednesday and cut the tree into sections small enough to throw over the fence and back into our yard. I will cut the tree into more manageable pieces later. I bought an electric chainsaw because I don't plan on using it very often and I didn't want to mess around with a gas powered tool. It's also better for the environment. I switched to an electric lawn mower a few years ago and I've been happy with that.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rachel's tonsils

Rachel will be getting her tonsil out in a couple of weeks. She is a little nervous about it. Fortunately it will be an outpatient procedure so she won't have to spend the next at the hospital.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

InBev offer

As you may or may not know, InBev has officially made an offer for Anheuser-Busch. My personal prediction is that the board will reluctantly accept the offer to keep the shareholders happy. Even if they reject it, InBev could attempt a hostile takeover.

What does this mean to me? Well, InBev will be looking to cut costs and the apparently currently outsource their IT. This means that means there is a very distinct possibility that I will lose my job after the takeover (if it happens).

I'm not going to passively wait to see what is going to happen. I've already started looking for another job. By starting early I hope to be able to be more selective about what I take rather than being desperate later. Of course, maybe I won't need to find another job. Nothing is certain right now.

Tuesday Night Ride

I went on my first group ride since the accident: the Maplewood Bicycle Tuesday night ride. I wasn't the first one up the hill on Southwest Ave. and I wasn't able to hang with the fast riders. But I wasn't with the slowest riders either. I also had a great time. I finished with a 16.1 mph average speed which isn't too bad for a city ride.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I bought the bike

On Saturday I rode to The Alpine Shop and took the Salsa Caseroll for a test ride. I liked how it felt so I bought it. I had them put the pedals and rack from my old bike on it. I rode it to work on Monday. I may go on the Maplewood Tuesday night ride tonight but I'm not sure that I can keep up.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Still bike shopping

I've been trying to decide what my next bike should be. I have figured out that a custom built titanium frame is out of my price range. I explained what I was looking for in an email to Mary Kay at Maplewood Bicycle:

As you know I've been trying to decide what kind of bike to buy to replace the Pilot that was destroyed in the accident. I've been try to decide what the perfect bike for me is. I think that I've come to conclusion that there is no one bike that meets all my needs, but maybe a combination of two bikes can do it. I think that I need a "sturdy" bike and a go-fast bike.

The sturdy bike would have a rack, fenders, and low gearing. It would be used for commuting, bad weather brevets, and rides that require lots of stuff (like the crazy ms 150 ride I did last year). When I bought the Pilot last year I thought that the hybrid could fill this role. Unfortunately, after riding a road bike, the hybrid wasn't fun to ride anymore. I was think a touring bike like the Trek 520 for this role.

The go-fast bike wouldn't need any of these features. I wouldn't worry about clearance for fenders or where to mount a rack. I would use it for Tuesday and Saturday rides, centuries, and fair weather brevets. In a pinch I could wear a backpack and use it for commuting. This would be a "normal" road bike.

Since then Mary Kay and Tim Ray have been giving me various options. A few days ago Tim called me and he said he had a few options for bikes. The one he thought was best was a Salsa Casseroll. The only problem is that Maplewood doesn't carry Salsa bikes. Tim referred me to another bike shop that does.

I really appreciate Tim referring me to a competitor just to help me get the right bike. Either that, or I'm so annoying that he wanted to get rid of me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Fun with the kids

Helen took a mini vacation to visit a friend in Florida. I took some time off work to take care of the kids while she was gone. We had fun but it is a lot of work to take care of two kids for 5 days straight without a break.

We signed up for a season pass at the Maplewood pool and went swimming. We grilled bratwurst and corn and s'mores. We had a lemonade stand. We played Super Paper Mario on the Wii. We watched movies and ate popcorn. I do feel a little guilty about the amount of junk food that we ate.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Rachel for President?

I was discussing the presidential election with my eight year old daughter a few days ago. She ask me if there had ever been a girl president. I told her no, but that one of the candidates was a woman. She said, "That means maybe I could be president someday. I have a lot of good ideas." I agree with her. She does have a lot of good ideas.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hand Update

I am late posting about the results of my appointment with the hand doctor. Everything is going fine. He said that there was some swelling in my thumb joint so he gave my a cortisone injection. This didn't really seem to help much but at least I am confident that the pain will eventually get better on its own.

This past Saturday was Rachel's birthday. She had a pool party at the Richmond Heights Community Center. She has a large class so she had about 15 kids at the party. I think that everyone had a good time.

The day after the party, the whole family was feeling run down. I think that we are all coming down with or getting over a cold. I was feeling tired, but my leg was feeling good. Since I was too tired to do much, I could almost forget that I had a problem.

Monday, May 5, 2008

No more physical therapy

I had my hip doctor appointment on Thursday. My doctor is pleased with how I'm doing. I'm pretty much unrestricted in my activities except that he doesn't want me doing any long distance running. He is concerned about the stress of running causing arthritis in the hip. He is fine with me cycling because it is no impact.

I asked about the knee problems that I've been having. After examining the knee, he said that I have an injury to the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). This is not something that will require surgery. He also explained how he thought the injury to my hip and knee occurred. I thought that during the accident I twisted to my side and "hip checked" the car. He said that I probably hit the car straight on with my knee causing the PCL injury. The impact drove my femur backwards into the acetabulum causing the fracture.

The good news is that I don't have to go back for any more appointments or physical therapy unless I have problems. I am definitely not symptom free, but I feel like I'm making progress.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I had some trouble with getting motivated to ride to and from work yesterday. In the morning, I read this message from Commuter Dude. He talked about his reasons for skipping the 300K that he had planned on doing. One of the reasons was the cold weather on the day of the ride. After reading that post and looking at the temperature (36°) I didn't feel like getting on the bike. I rode to work anyway, and I felt fine once I started riding.

In the afternoon, Helen called to say the she would be nearby and could pick me up if I liked. I turned down the offer, but later I started to think about it. I had been having a mentally exhausting day at work so my motivation was low again. Later, when I had just started to get changed for the ride home, I decided to take Helen up on her offer. I called her and she said that she would pick me up in about 15 minutes.

Once I called her, I started second guessing myself. The weather had warmed up nicely and I was afraid that I would regret my decision. I decide to go outside and see if the nice weather would get me motivated to ride. After a few minutes outside, I called Helen and told her that I would be riding home after all. Once I was one the bike I felt fine, and I think that the ride home did a lot to improve my attitude. One of the reasons that I was pushing myself to ride yesterday is that I would not be riding today or tomorrow because of a physical therapy appointment and an appointment with my hip doctor.

During my physical therapy this morning, my knee and hip were feeling really good. They usually feel better after they've been warmed up with some activity. I jogged a few steps and my therapist encouraged to see what I could do. I ended up running several laps around the exercise area. That was really encouraging. I'm not entirely pain free while running, but it is a definite improvement.

I am working on a list of questions to ask my hip doctor tomorrow. I will be seeing a new doctor. The previous doctor that I had been seeing (who was not the doctor that did my surgery) left the practice. I was going to ask if I was going to be able to run soon but I guess that question has been answered. I will ask him about my knee. It got banged up some in the accident and still doesn't have full range of motion. It seems to have made some improvements recently, but I want to make the doctor aware of the problem.

I have also made another appointment to see my hand doctor. I don't feel like I have made any improvements in a while and I want to make sure that everything is healing properly. I figure it's better to be safe than sorry. I don't see him until May 13th.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back in the saddle again

I decided to ride to work today. I was slow, but I didn't have any problems. I had hoped to avoid the rain but I got drenched in a sudden downpour about 2 miles from work. The weather was great in the afternoon, and I wasn't feeling any ill effects from the morning ride, so I rode home. Again I had no problems. I stopped by Maplewood Bicycle on the way home to say hi. I'll probably looking at bikes again before too long.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Cane Mutiny

On Thursday I decided to go through my day without using my cane. I took it with me to work but I didn't use it. Things went well. On Friday, I rode my bike to physical therapy. It's only a little over a mile each way. My therapist was fine with me not using the cane as long as I am careful not to limp. If I am not paying attention, I sometimes list a bit to the left when walking. I didn't even take my cane with me to work. I don't think I'll be using it anymore unless I take a long walk.

I needed to go to the hardware store today to get some parts for the kitchen sink. I went to the True Value hardware store on Manchester because they are always very helpful. It's one of the advantages of going to a small store rather than a big box store. The kids went with me because they like the big gumball machine that they have there. We also went to the bike store so I could pick up my new helmet. My old helmet wasn't damaged in the accident but it wearing out. After that we stopped at Jack in the Box for lunch.

I almost felt guilty about driving for such a short errand. It was about 2.5 miles total. But the weather was cold and rainy and I had the kids with me so it would not have been practical to walk.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A good day

The weather was was wonderful again yesterday. In the morning my daughter Rachel and I decided to walk to Steak N Shake for breakfast. It's a about a mile and a quarter each way. Rachel, who is 7, is an excellent walker and I knew she would walk it with any trouble. I was a little worried about myself. Rachel told me that there were benches along the way where I could stop and rest. Fortunately I did not end up needing them.

A little later, Rachel, A.J., and I made chocolate chip cookies. After that, I watched the Cardinals win and then I took a nap.

Helen went to the grocery store and picked up bratwurst and corn for dinner. We grilled for the first time this year and the kids ran around in the back yard. It doesn't get much better than this.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

It's hard to get back on the bike

I rode my bike for the first time since the accident. It was hard to get back on the bike. I mean that literally. It was easy to ride but it was hard to lift my leg over the bike to get on. I ended up leaning the bike way over on its side and stepping over with my right (good) leg.

I rode a couple of times up and down the driveway to make sure I wouldn't have any trouble stopping. When I stop I put my left (injured) leg down so I wanted to make sure that this wouldn't be a problem. It wasn't an issue at all.

I rode up and down our street and talked to a few of the neighbors who were outside. Then I went to Maplewood Bicycle. The nominal reason for my trip was to look at helmets but mostly I wanted to show off my new walking and riding abilities. While I was there, I noticed that it was easier to walk without lurching. I think that the ride warmed up my muscles and joints and made walking easier.

The whole distance that I rode was about 2.75 miles. It felt great. I was slow but not horribly so. I was a little winded at the end but that was from hurrying along Manchester Rd. For the most part I took it slow and easy. I felt like I could have ridden farther but I wanted to ease into things.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Citizen Cane

I went to physical therapy before work this morning. My therapist was surprised to see me without the crutches, but she she noticed that I would lurch to the left when I walked. She had me use a cane and that helped me walk properly. She didn't want me to strain my back or develop any bad habit as I started walking again.

I also rode a stationary bike for ten minutes during my session. It felt good. It was easier than walking. Once I got to work, I got to show off my new abilities. I am using one crutch as a cane until I can get a cane this weekend. I feel really good right now because it seems like I'm making a lot of progress.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

These boots were made for walking

I went to the doctor today and he took away all of my weight bearing restrictions. This means that I'm allowed to walk! My left leg is weak so I'm walking with a limp, but I think I'm doing pretty good. Especially if you consider that I haven't walked since January.

I'm also allowed to bend more than 90 degrees at the waist so I'll be able to tie my shoes. I even have permission to ride a stationary bike and, if that works out, a real bike. I don't have a stationary bike but I'll give it a try at my physical therapy appointment tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Back at work

I have been back at work since March 14. I was talking to my brother on the phone today and I realized that I hadn't posted that yet. Work is going fine. My office is handicap accessible. Now that I am using my crutches it is easier to get around.

I have an appointment with my hip doctor tomorrow. I'm starting to think that I won't get permission to put my full weight on my leg. One of the possibilities is that I will allowed to put 50% of my weight on it. This would allow me to stand in one place but it wouldn't let me walk. That would be very disappointing.

I didn't fall for any April Fool's pranks yesterday, but there was an actual news story which I thought was a hoax: Wal-Mart backs off the Shanks. Does that count as being fooled?

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I'm still using crutches. I hope to be free of them after my next doctor's appointment on Thursday. I have aluminum crutches, which are lighter and easier to adjust than the old wooden ones. On disadvantage, though, is that they are a lot louder than wooden crutches. With each step, the handles click and rattle. If I were a ninja, I'd never be able to work with them. Ninjas probably use bamboo crutches that also shoot poison darts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Physical Therapy

I've started going to outpatient physical therapy twice a week now. I've got a new set of exercises to do. Some of the exercises are probably because I'm able to do more and some are because the therapist likes them. I rolled onto my stomach for the first time since the accident. This may not seem like much, but it was exciting to me.
I asked my therapist about doing the MS-150 in September. I got a long pause that I didn't like. When I pressed her, she said that it wasn't out of the question, but she didn't know enough about my condition to give a prediction. I still hope to do it, but I'm not going to sign up yet.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Making Progress

On Tuesday I went back to my hand doctor. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had been frustrated by the lack of visible progress in my hand's range of motion. My doctor, on the other hand, was happy with how I was doing. I don't have to wear the splint anymore. I can also use my right hand for the walker and crutches now so I removed the arm rest from each of them. I won't have to go back unless I am not making enough progress on my range of motion. I still have a list of exercise to do at home. Using the walker without the armrest is making my wrist tired but I'll get used to it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Not what I had hoped

I saw my hip doctor today. He gave me permission to go back to work but not much else. The only change in my hip precautions is that I can now put 30 pounds of pressure on my left leg. This really doesn't allow me to do anything new. I will see him again at the beginning of April and I should get more freedom then.

If you haven't heard enough about acetabulum fractures yet, I have a couple of links. This one is a series of pages that give a lot of information about acetabular fractures, surgery, and potential complications. I also found an illustration of the type of surgery that I had.

The more I learn , the more I realize that I have to temper my expectations. I had been told that it would take three months for my hip to heal. Well, the bones may be healed after three months, but it is going to take time after that to regain my strength. One thing I read said that I could expect up to 80% of my strength and movement back after 6 months, and up to 100% after 1 year. I just have to remind myself that the phrase "up to" is not a guarantee.

I am not going to be riding my bicycle for a while yet, but Helen is picking up the slack. She rode close to 4 miles on Grant's Trail today. Maybe we'll be able to do some rides together once I'm back in the saddle.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Helen got a bike

My wife got a bicycle today. She had been planning to get a bike someday. Since we had been in the bike shop a few time recently, she found one she liked. Helen hasn't ridden a bike since she was a kid but you don't forget how. She is still getting used to shifting and using the brakes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I want to be well

I'm ready to be better now. I feel like my recovery has hit a plateau.

My hand made a lot of progress right after they took it out of the big splint. I think that this made me fell like it would be totally healed soon. Since then, progress has slowed down. I'll ask more questions about what to expect when I talk to my hand doctor next week.

I'm hoping that the hip doctor will let me put weight on my left leg after my appointment this week. I know it's possible that I'll have to wait for the next appointment. Even if I can put weight on it, I will still have some restrictions. At the very least, I expect that he will give me a release to go back to work.

I'm trying not be depressing here (or depressed). It's just disappointing to discover that I don't have mutant healing powers like Wolverine.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I didn't set any specific cycling goals for this year. This is good because I would not have been able to meet them after the accident anyway. I did meet all of the goals that I set for last year: 6000 miles, the super randonneur series, and riding a century each calendar month.

Riding a century every month was harder than I thought it would be. Most of the centuries were solo because there are very few organized centuries around here (none for October through March) . For me, the hardest part about riding a solo century is getting on the bike. Once I've started, it's not very hard to finish. But in a lot of months, I kept putting it off until almost the last weekend because of laziness or other commitments. This meant that sometimes I was riding in less than ideal conditions.

Of course, my cycling goals for last year were things that were under my control. My goals right now are dependent on things that I can't control. I can't go back to work or put weight on my leg until I get my doctor's permission. The settlement with the other driver depends on the insurance company and lawyers.

I am very pleased with my lawyer so far. I am hopeful that we will be able to prove that the other driver is 100% at fault. She has talked to the witness and has looked at the sequence of lights. Everything that she has found out so far looks good. It also matches exactly with what I have been saying. After what I have been reading, I am not surprised that the Coca Cola driver lied about the accident. Telling the truth would be tantamount to admitting fault and he may have been worried about losing his job if he did that. That doesn't mean I am condoning the fact that he lied, just that I understand why he did it. What I don't understand is why he didn't give me his insurance information while he was in the hospital, and why he told his insurance company that he didn't know who I was. If this case were to go to trial (unlikely) maybe that could be used against him.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

RSS Feed

I added a link for an RSS Feed to the sidebar. If you don't know what an RSS Feed is, don't worry about it.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Let slip the dogs of war

I went to Maplewood Bicycle yesterday to deliver Girl Scout cookies and let them know I was doing okay. I took in the front wheel to show them how strong it was (or how weak the fork was). As you can see below, the carbon fiber fork just snapped off. Stewart had sold me that wheel as something that would stand up the the commuting and rando riding that I do. I guess he was right.

Stewart recommended a lawyer if I needed one. I had talked to Brown and Crouppen but I didn't have a good feeling from them. The seemed like they were pressuring me to sign before even understanding my case. I called the lawyer and he referred me to his wife since he practices in Illinois. I met with her today and was impressed by how she described how she would handle my case. She let me know what the good points and the bad points are about my case. I signed with her and she is starting to work on the case. She let me know that this is a slow process and that I won't see any signs of activity for a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

You win some, you lose some

I received my issue of American Randonneur in the mail yesterday. Included with it were the 2007 results. It was nice to see my name in the list of 2007 Super Randonneurs. Randonneurs USA definition of this is:

A special medal awarded to those randonneurs who successfully complete a challenging series of brevets (200, 300, 400, and 600-kilometers) in a year. A hard-earned honor unto itself and worthy of being any randonneur's goal for the cycling season, the Super Randonneur series of brevets is usually needed to enter a 1200-kilometer event.

Helen mentioned that I would not be earning that award this year. I told her, "Of course not, one of the brevets is on Rachel's birthday." Actually, I'm just hoping to be cleared to ride a bike by April 12 (the date of the first brevet). I don't plan on doing any century-plus rides for a while after that.

I guess I'll have to buy a new bike eventually. I've still got the hybrid, but I've gotten used to riding a road bike. I'm sure that Mary Kay at Maplewood Bicycle will be willing to sell me another one. Should I get another Trek Pilot? Before I bought the Pilot, I was considering a touring bike like the Trek 520. Things like my 4 day, 520 mile MS-150 ride seem like they would be better for the 520. I certainly have plenty of time to think about it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Suspended with pay

My hip doctor called back. He wants to see me again before clearing me for work. Darn those doctors and their ethics! The earliest I could move my appointment was March 13. This means an additional 2 weeks off of paid time off. The odd thing is that I am annoyed by this.

More good news

Last week I had an appointment with my hand doctor. They took out my stitches and put my hand in a much smaller, removable splint. I can now actually use my right hand. Okay, it's not 100% yet. They gave me a list of exercises to do so that I can get my full range of motion back.

Then today, I saw my spine doctor. He said that I didn't need to see him again and that I didn't need to wear the brace anymore. That was great news. The brace really didn't limit my activities very much, but it was a pain to put on and take off, and it was uncomfortable in certain situations.

I called my hip doctor to see if I can get clearance to go back to work next week. I left a message and I am waiting on a call back. Work wants me to have a note before I come back.

Speaking of work, I am so glad to work where I do right now. Not only do I have good health insurance which is paying the undoubtedly enormous medical bills, but I have enough sick time that I don't have to worry about rushing back. If it was medically necessary, I could take a few months more off and still not miss a paycheck.

My stint in rehab

As soon as I got to rehab, I was determined to escape. And not just because St. Mary's didn't have cable TV. I wanted to do everything I could to prove that I would be able to take of myself. I would have to do this in order to be able to go home.

When I first got there, I couldn't get out of bed on my own. I had to have someone lift my left leg and lower off the bed. After a few days I was able to do this by myself. I had physical therapy and occupational therapy each day, a total of three hours worth.

They had me practice using a walker. The walker has a platform to rest my right forearm since I am not allowed to put any weight on my right hand. Using the walker was easy because my right leg is more than strong enough to lift my body on its on.

I also learned how to use a sock aid to put on socks without bending over. They also gave me a reacher (to grab things with), and a long handled bath sponge. I learned to use crutches for going up and down stairs.

I celebrated my birthday while I was in rehab. Helen and the kids brought me cup cakes. Helen also brought me a book. This was good because I was starting to feel well enough to get bored.

By the next week I was able to get out of bed in the morning, give myself a sponge bath, and get dressed without any help. Many of the nurses commented that I was a very easy patient. I told them that I was going to be nice for a week, but if that didn't work I was going to be mean so that they would be anxious to get rid of me. Fortunately for them, I got to leave after 8 days--on Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The days after

Eventually, I got a list of my injuries:
I did not get all the details at once because all they wanted to talk about was the hip. Hip surgery was scheduled for that Friday (Feb 1).

I have been calling the hip fracture a "broken hip" but this is not technically correct. A broken hip usually refers to breaking the ball at the top of the femur. I broke the cup that the ball fits into. Apparently this was a poor choice because what I did takes longer to heal.

During my stay in the hospital, I was confined to bed. My right hand was wrapped up from the middle of my arm and only the ends of my fingers and thumbs were sticking out. I was fitted for a brace that would protect my back once I was able to get out of bed.

I was very surprised that I kept a good attitude throughout my hospitalization. Heck, I was in pretty good spirits in the ambulance and the emergency room. I guess I kept thinking that things could be worse. Warning: If someone is in a bad mood, telling them that things could be worse is unlikely to cheer them up.

The hip surgery went well. It seemed to take forever for the anesthesia to wear off. I did not like the confused feeling that I had during that time. I was in a lot of pain the night after the surgery, but I was able to quit using morphine the day after that. I found out that I would have to go to rehab to learn how to do activities of daily living with the restrictions that I had.

Eventually I got to talk to my hand doctor, Dr. Boyer. Hand surgery was scheduled for Wednesday the 6th. I had the surgery and was transferred to rehab at St. Mary's the same day.

Not so happy anniversary

On January 29th I was headed home from work around six o'clock. It was my anniversary and Helen had made a special meal. At the intersection of Big Bend and Shrewsbury, a car headed in the opposite direction made a left turn directly in front of me. I yelled when I saw what he was about to do, but it was a cold night and his windows were closed so he couldn't hear me.

My bike struck the right side of his car, around the front wheel. My left side must have then hit the car. I was wearing a helmet but I don't think my head hit anything. I was lying on the ground and I heard the other driver get out of his car and walk around the car. "Shit," I heard him say. Maybe I was just in a bad mood, but it sounded to me like he was more concerned about the inconvenience to him than the injuries to me.

"Call an ambulance, call an ambulance!" was my response. He or someone else said than an ambulance was on the way. I knew that I was hurt and I suspected that my left leg was broken because it hurt a lot and I could not straighten it. I just lay on the cold pavement on my right side with my head resting on my arm.

The police arrived very soon after that. I heard the officer talk to a witness and the other driver. The other driver claimed that he had a green arrow, a fact that I disputed. At some point a woman asked if I wanted her coat. I said, "No, because then you would be cold." I did not actually see any of these people because I wasn't facing them and I wasn't about to try and move.

After a few more minutes, an ambulance arrived. The paramedics strapped me on a back board and loaded me onto a stretcher. I asked if they could please bring my yellow bags (my panniers with their rain covers), and the did. The police officer asked if he could call anyone for me and I asked him to call Helen.

The paramedics asked what hospital I wanted to go to and I said St Mary's. That is the closest hospital to my house. That ER was on diversion so they started checking around to find one that was accepting people. I ended up going to Barnes-Jewish. In the ambulance, the paramedic asked me if I wanted morphine for the pain. I told him no. I thought about it for a second and then said, "Yes. Who am I trying to impress?" He gave me some morphine but I don't know that it helped much.

Once we got to Barnes-Jewish, they unloaded me from the ambulance. We seemed to spend a long time (probably only a few minutes) in what looked like a parking garage. I eventually ended up in an ER "cubical" (I don't know what the proper name is). People asked me the usual questions and they did their usual medical stuff. They gave me more morphine and took some X-rays.

One of the nurses said that they were going to try to get my clothes off without cutting them. I told them to feel free to cut the tights because I thought it would be too painful to get them off. She said that they would try, but if it hurt too much, they would cut them. Actually the tights turned out to be pretty easy to remove and they didn't have to cut any of my clothes.

I was able to call Helen at some point, I'm not sure of the timeline. I expected her to be freaked out but she was actually very calm. She couldn't come to the hospital because she was at home with the kids. I told her that even if she came she would just be sitting in a waiting room.

Eventually a doctor told me that I had a dislocated hip. At first I thought that this was good news. Then he explained that for hips, dislocated pretty much means dislocated and broken. The gave me some other drug and I fell asleep while they put my hip back in place. Eventually I got to my hospital room about 3:00 am.

2007 MS-150 Recap

I was originally planning to make 4 longer posts--one for each day of my trip. I kept putting it off because writing it all up was going to be so much work. As Voltaire said "The perfect is the enemy of the good." So I am posting a short message to clear the deck for my next posts.

Day 1
I weighed my bike before I left. The bike plus all the gear I was taking (tent, sleeping bag, clothes, etc.) was 55 pounds. I was surprised by the number of pre-dawn joggers that I saw on the Katy trail. I got rained on a couple of times during the day. In the afternoon I met a couple of riders from the Monsanto MS-150 team. We ended up riding the last few hours together. The last few miles had the big hills that I remembered from the 2nd day of the MS-150 last year. I was hoping to get done around 5:00 but got to the campsite about 7:30.

Stats: 162.8 miles, 15:30 clock time.

Day 2
This was the first day of the MS-150 which was the same route as the second day last year. This was the hillier of the two routes. While I was riding, I told someone else on the Michelob Ultra team what I was doing. He later announced it in front of the entire team when we did our group picture. This made me feel like I had to finish.
Since there were so many hills, I rode by myself most of the time. I climb hills differently than most of the people that I ride with so it is hard to stay with a group. I like to get a running start at the hill and get to the top before I have a chance to get tired.

Stats: 105.92 miles, 8:07 clock time

Day 3
This was flatter than the previous day. The middle section was especially flat and boring. I fell in with a really good group of guys. I was actually glad to get to some of the hills later in the ride. The group broke up before we got to the end.
After I finished, I packed up my gear and started riding home. I made it to North Jefferson and got a shuttle to a hotel.

Stats (MS-150): 98.82 miles, 7:45 clock time
Stats (trip home): 36.50 miles, 3:07 clock time

Day 4
This day was tough. I knew that I had about 120 miles to go. I was also tired and sore. After averaging less than 10 mph in the morning, I started to think about places that Helen could pick me up. When there were 75 miles left I told myself, "75 miles? You can do that! Even if it takes all night."
It was an effort to keep my speed above 12 mph. Then, when I got to Dutzow, my speed started to increase, I was maintaining around 16 mph for long stretched. The only reason I can think of for this is psychological. I had ridden from Dutzow to home before so I knew I could do it.
I had been told that long distance riding was mostly mental. Now I believed it.
I made it home and accomplished my goal.

Stats: 125.57 miles, 12:10 clock time