Perkyscent

supercrippleSo this is what I do now. For the past two days, I have wiled away the hours with my right foot hiked way up in the air, like an incoherent one-legged hooker, staring blankly at whatever happens to be in front of me. My good friend Misty Brawner brought over a stack of David Sedaris books, which I gaze at indifferently whilst doing my best Jack McMurphy post-lobotomy impression, and all courtesy of my new little helper, Perkyscent. Drool optional. The name Perkyscent is ironic because, up until 5 pm, it’s a rather accurate description of the aroma emanating from my undercarriage. Five bells this eve marks my first overtures toward hygeine since this whole kluge started this past Wednesday. I am too young to be this worn out by a simple bath. Perilous. But oh-so-necessary…

I broke my left ankle. Any more details, as far as you and I are concerned are unimportant. I was expecting to be told I had a severe sprain, snag some delicious Celebrex and squeal my tires out of town in a northerly direction. Shit didn’t go as planned. Instead, I was asked “How the hell did you walk in here?” and was wheeled out of Columbia Family Medical Group by a petite Korean. The next day, I was treated to one of my all-time favorite quotes from a medical professional: “Sir, your left ankle is a miracle.” An hour later, the same person would tear into my right ankle like he was gutting a catfish. Weird.

OR’s aren’t nearly as exotic as envisioned. Part of me hoped for a merry band of army surgeons gently sipping home-made gin martinis as Klinger modelled his newest feather boa. To my surprise, it was a rather sterile, impersonal experience. I guess if I’m forced to lay naked and defenseless, with my gens splayed out for any Tom, Dick or Harry to ridicule, anonymity is the preferred state. Other than the clear beach ball that pumped oxygen into my lungs for all of two seconds, I recall nothing. Perhaps 20 or so years down the road intensive therapy will reveal some form of kinky malfeasance. My first words uttered after leaving that room were “Did I bite someone’s finger off?” No lie!

The Perkyscent, which, in case you were wondering, I *am* taking per a doctor’s instruction, and not just recreationally, has had a tragic effect on my poopworks. Ordinarily, you could set your watch to it. I was warned that my little helper may cause a temporary work stoppage. But I had noooooo idea it would amount to full blown labor strike, the likes of which nary a trickle of output has snuck past the gatekeeper since my little helper and I began our beautiful romance way back at 2 pm, this past Wednesday. TMI? FU. The good news is that my once-great appetite is now best described as Lilliputian. Castor oil is helping. Thanks Witty.

Unless you can think of another way for me to offend you, that’s pretty much all I have for now. I love the visits. (Caitlin Hubbs, you are the BEST NEIGHBOR EVER!) So I encourage you to come over whenever you want. I’m usually wearing pants, but a little notice might help avoid any awkward discoveries. As always, I appreciate your friendship. And hope that you will keep my speedy recovery in your thoughts.

Craig

“Mus tek cYear a de root fa heal de tree.” Gullah proverb.

gullah2

Translation:  “You must take care of the roots, if you are going to heal the tree.”

Feels like a good time to share with you all a little bit about a book that I am reading right now.  I came back from our Christmas vacation in HHI/Savannah, GA with an intense interest in a very unique piece of Americana- The Gullah/Geechee culture.  The Gullah/Geechee are descendants of slaves living amongst the Sea Islands of the Carolina/Georgia Lowcountry.  They are and have always been a fiercly independent culture living self-sufficiently in fishing villages on islands that the rest of the nation deemed uninhabitable.  For me, the most extraordianry feature of their culture is their language.   Considered a fusion of Western African, Caribbean and American English dialects, it is considered the closest living version of the language that would have been used by African slaves during that period of our nation’s history.  It also bears a very close resemblence to what has been termed “ebonics” and many linguistics scholars argue that ebonics is not the result of intellectual laziness, but, rather, is a modernized varient of original Gullah.  I will let the men of letters argue this fact, because it’s not what really interests me about their language.  What I am most intrigued about is the fact that pure Gullah does not contain a passive voice. 

A defiant culture that’s overcome atrocities that I cannot comprehend, found a way to sufficiently provide for itself, and only knows how to communicate using an active voice.  Yeah, that’s pretty f*cking awesome. 

The Library of Congress has an awesome website featuring hundreds of Gullah recordings. I have included a link to some below:

 

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/voices/title.html

One step forward, five steps back.

technologyIn the world of toilet technology, automatic paper towel dispensers are a catastrophic step backwards. I understand the sagacity of wanting to conserve a precious resource like that yucky brown paper (BTW, if we wouldn’t wipe out butts with it, why in the hell are we using it to dry our hands?) but there are faaaaaaaaar more reasons to loathe this auto dispensing menace that there are to love it. In the interest of preserving freedom and democracy, I have assembled a short list below:

1. This is America, dammit. If you can get a delicious Junior Bacon with Cheese at Wendy’s for $.99, you should be able to spin off enough paper towel to encircle North Korea seven times.

2. Waving your hands underneath some imaginary pulp god, hoping desperately that he will grant you your one wish for dry hands technically makes you a “jack ass.”

3. “Pus_ Butt__”= timeless classic. Crafty artisans no longer able to scratch out the “h” or “on” will likely take to the streets in rioutous fashion.

4. The 3 square inches that the pulp god gives you would not pad the crutch of your garden variety leprachaun.

5. Hand-cranked dispensers require NO ELECTRICITY!

Ultimately, in the interests of saving the environment, I propose we cease hand-washing altogether– No paper waste, no water waste. No muss. No fuss. Just wipe your hands on the back of your pants. And if they get dirty, Mrs. Lycke does GREAT laundry. Seriously, just bring it by. She won’t mind.

Blessed –

“It’s days like this I realize how blessed we are”.  
 
Our home is filled with laughter and happiness this morning.  It’s Madeline’s 10th birthday!
 
Madeline is opening her birthday gifts, Craig and I are enjoying her giggle as she opens her gifts!  Stella is even trying to help with the gift opening!   The treats for her classroom is ready to go and the sun is shining!  What a great way to start the day.  Everyday should be like a birthday morning day.
 
With every birthday and milestone in Madeline’s life I have always said, “that was my favorite stage”.  I recall saying that at 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months.  Then again at ages 3, 5 and 6.  Notice I left out age 2?  That was a horrible year.  I called that our devil child stage.  Yes the TERRIBLE TWOs.  Madeline had it and had it badly.  Finally when she turned 3 my little angel came back.  Now at age 10 she is growing up to be a sensitive, smart, funny child with such a big heart.  I think this is so far my most favorite stage!

Craig and I wonder many times how we are so blessed with such a wonderful child!  I hope we are as great of parents to her as she is a daughter to us!  
 
Happy Birthday Madeline.  
Love you bunches!

Solitude

Few things motivate me to expand my mind quite like a stack of neglected magazines, the prospect of quiet time and a roll of extra-plush toilet paper. So yesterday morning, when Mrs. Lycke was shuttling “Baby Mozart” to her “Orchestra” class (God forbid I call it “band” ever again…) I found myself camped out in the smallest room of our home catching up the latest male fashion trends courtesy of this month’s “Esquire.” First, and foremost, I really should not mock Madeline’s orchestra class. Little does she know, but that violin presently represents what might be best referred to as the “Madeline Ann Lycke College Fund.” And if Plan A doesn’t pan out, we will be looking for a circus.  Or a generous benefactor willing to make an interesting trade.

Believe it or not, I am the recipient of no fewer than six magazines delivered to my home on a monthly basis.  That is a serious time commitment.  As a matter of habit, I always start at the back of the magazine and work backwards through it– the theory being that whatever the magazine’s editor construed as an after-thought I usually find more interesting.  The back pages of November’s “Esquire” feature an in-depth article and a colorful pictorial spread of actrerss Mila Kunis.  Ever since I was forced to watch “The Black Swan” my fascination with her could best be described as unhealthy.  She is hot.  According to the article’s author she is “The Hottest Woman Alive.”  I find fault with this, as this writer has obvious never met the Honorable Judge Marilyn Milian.  Or Suki Lycke. (Shadow mission.)  Anyway, the fact that she is hot is about to become very significant.  Did I mention she is hot?  About half way through the article I realized that, despite being jagged to the gills on strong, black coffee, my legs had fallen asleep.  Ordinarily, not a big deal.  ‘Cept this time the numbness, coupled with my intense interest in the material i was reading, precluded me from noting one important detail:  Stella, our fluffy, white Cockapoo had been heartily lapping at my toes for an undetermined amount of time. 

I know exactly what you are thinking: “Jeezus, Lycke.  That’s disgusting.”  And you would be absolutely accurate with that assessment.  But honesty and my maker compel me to tell you, that this was not my first reaction.  Instead, I said to myself: “Jeezus, where’s the fkn camera when you need one!”  And there’s a reason why.

I like to get pedicures.  I tell people it’s because I am a diabetic and it’s important for me to keep my feet healthy.  Which is true.  But the Diabetes doesn’t explain why I like to get them painted.  Brightly.  And bejewelled.  With flowers.  Sometimes I can be a bit of a fancy boy.  And my wife loves me just the way I am.  Back in early September I had them painted a rusty orange color to match the ferrous soils of Oklahoma, where I traveled to compete in some athletic events.  The month or so since, my bear claws have grown.  And the once vibrant orange hue has now eroded to an eerily yellowish color.  So as I folded over my Mila Kunis article to observe that fluffy white dog lapping away at my tootsies, you would have thought she was sucking on a pile of Brach’s Butterscotch candies.  The kind you see pictured at the top of this entry.  Hilarity!  And just in time for Halloween. BTW, in the interests of public safety, I’ll be getting another pedicure this weekend.  And I’m taking suggestions on what the next color should be.

Programming note:  I anticipate the legendary perm pic will be getting posted later today.

Gratitude

I have pepperoni nipples.  I’m also Type II Diabetic.  Oh, and I can’t get grass to grow in my front yard, either.  I wanted to get these unpleasantries out of the way right out of the gate, because everything else in my life, for now, is gravy.  Madeline’s mother and I dote on her, too much.  But one of things that makes us extra proud of her are her manners.  The many, many years and those countless requests for “Pleases” and “Thank Yous” are bearing beautiful fruit. (Mom, you were right!)  And her gratitude is gorgeous.  While I am somewhat saddened by how much she resembles an actual person nowadays, my spirit sores when I hear her interact with other adults.  She is the most polite person I know. 

Oftentimes I need to remind myself to enact upon myself that which I duly enforce unto my own– To always make my “Thanking” voice exponentially louder than my “Asking” one.  I have been doing a whole lotta askin’ lately.  And someone’s been doin’ a whole lotta givin’.  Now is the right time to dispense as much gratitude as my human spirit can muster. 

A quick story:  I met Suki Lee Kera my sophomore year at O’Fallon (IL)Township High School.  I was immediately drawn to her because she was such a breath of fresh air.  And so remarkably different from the others:  Styled to the nines, impeccably well-groomed (her hair always resembled spun silk) and a smile that could ignite ice.  Our personalities meshed well too:  I was funny.  And she enjoyed laughter.  Me- 15 years old.  She was 16.  And now, 24 years later, I am grateful to be blessed with having met my soulmate so early in my life.

Anything worth having in my life, I have because of Suki.  The patchwork quilt of my life is held together by the stitches she has sown into me.  That includes some pretty shitty patches.  Over the last several months I have had a litany of events transpire that has converted me into being a believer of the impossible.  The “House of Craig” has now been rebuilt– Walls reinforced, roof lifted.  But the house’s stable and dependable foundation always remained unchanged.  It was not broke.  So it did not need fixing.  But it certainly deserves acknowledgement for the support it provides.

Suki, this is my thank you to you.  I should express my gratitude everyday, but sometimes I forget what is obvious.  And as I listen to my favorite song, I am reminded that you are the poet in my heart.  And that my spirit soars because you have given it wings.  Thank you!

Love,

Craig

The Hope Gear

Closing my eyes and reflecting upon the last 28 days brings a smile. September 2012 has been the best month of my 39 years. And full validation of the “Pursuit of Perfection.” An amazing era of individual and team accomplishment, marred only by minor disappointment. I have much to be thankful for. And have many to thank. But just a few:

Suki- For making our house a home while I was gone. You’ve tolerated an absent husband and father so that he could find himself. I am found. It will take me several lifetimes to love you enough.

Rachael “Witty” Wittenberger- You are an amazing athlete. And you have the sort of gorgeous mind capable of turning physical agony into a spiritual, learning experience.

My Bike MS/Swimming/Trail Running Team- Misty Brawner, Colleen Parsons, James Trammell, Kimberly Boyer and Amy Livesay. I am blessed to have your friendship.

My Dad- I know that you are always looking out for your little boy.

That room filled with random strangers that never fails to make me think on my Friday afternoon.

The special people in my life are my Hope Gear. September’s lesson learned. The Hope Gear pushes me over hills, slices me through water, propels me forward. The hopes that others have for me provide the power needed to get me through what my body cannot. If you ever told me you were proud of me, you power my Hope Gear. If pressed, I could compile a complete list. And I remember EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU. Your kind gesture is why I am a finisher, and why September is my best month ever. While my bike and my body are often spent, my Hope Gear has never failed me. I ask a lot of you, and I thank you.

September closes with one more challenge– The Rockbridge Revenge 25K. Fifteen miles of glorious single track trail. My longest distance since my Louisville Marathon. Be ready Hope Gear. No doubt, I will need you again.