Monday, July 23, 2012

If It Ain't Broken...

It's not broken. I really wanted the doctor to email me the x-rays since they're all digital now, but I didn't end up asking. My hand has been hurting a lot more and it turns out to be just a deep bone bruise. There is a lump on my hand and it should take another couple of weeks to heal, but no, it's not broken.

This was one of those times where it's not that I wanted it to be broken, but I didn't want it to not be broken either. I'm going to get a big fat "I told you so" from my husband for making a mountain out of a mo hill - again. Only he's probably not going to say it to me, being too polite and kind for that, but he'll be thinking it.

In the meantime, I've gotten a splint on it to keep me from banging it again (and again) to help it heal. And I'm to elevate it. And ice it. And I've already taken the splint off because I can't type with it. I'll put it on for heavy lifting and stuff. I am right-handed with a right-hand injury and that provides all sorts of challenges to look forward to.

In any case, I probably did today what I should have done when the injury occurred, as most people would, to take care of it from the start. So much for being brave. Who am I kidding, anyway? I'm not brave. On the plus-side, I didn't spend $75 on an emergency co-pay.

Now, what else is there to write about? Spiders?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lazy Sunday

I made an appointment with my doctor for tomorrow. I think my hand my be broken. Remember when I mentioned that I banged my hand really hard and I was trying not to let on how much pain I was in? I have merely bumped that same spot several times and there is as much pain as when it happened. And my hand has a funny bump now. And it hurts more constantly. I realize it's been a while since my initial injury, I'm just concerned that it's not going to heal because I have re-injured it several times already. The pain becomes constant sometimes, too.

My husband always lets a smile cross his face when I mention it - which is not entirely infrequent, either. He is amused by my steady flow of injuries and self-diagnosis. Not that my injuries give him joy, it's just that there are so many of them. Fortunately, my bruises have all faded and that just means I need to go sailing again!

I have the unique luxury of being alone in my house with no one around and no time schedule to check. My kids are having an adventure with my parents and my husband is sailing. I have my barking dog to annoy me, but for some reason my LONG list of projects has completely slipped my mind and I feel like I don't know what to do with my time. This explains why I haven't done anything with it and it's ticking away as I write this.

I think if I get out of the house even just briefly, the call to nap will fade. Or I can do the crazy trick of drinking coffee then napping to get motivated. Or, I could do nothing and not let myself feel guilty for it. The house always needs cleaning. There are always things to be done. There are always projects on my wish list. Doing any of those things does not mean they are done; it only means they are done for now.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Learning to Breathe

Meet the new dentist. Same as the old dentist. I went to visit my favorite dentist again after discovering after my last experience that he had not, in fact, retired. Lucky for me. I got in to see him to fill my last (it's not the last!) filling on the upper left side.

Right away, I told him how I was traumatized by the last guy, and I never even wrote about the horrid experience I has last time, either. Dr. R asked me if I wanted nitrous and I said yes. The helper (what the heck is that job title?) started to question it (I don't remember why) and he said to her, "She said she wanted it." That's what I'm talking about! Give the girl what she wants!

Breathing in my nose and out my mouth was a distracting meditation and given my hearing problems, I didn't pay much attention to much else.

In through my nose.

I couldn't figure out where my mouth was a couple of times and inhaled deeply, only to discover that I had all this air in me that I didn't know what to do with.

Out through my mouth.

Dr. R asked me if I drank a lot of carbonated soda and was telling me about the dangers of that and Altoids and how when he found them in his wife's car he took them and hid them. I asked why.

Dr R: They're just like eating powdered sugar.
Me: I don't eat Altoids, but I eat powdered sugar all the time.

I think I nearly gave him a heart attack. I was joking, of course, except for the powdered Hostess Donettes that I eat whenever I can get my grubby little hands on them. Or at least before my youngest daughter told me I couldn't have them anymore because they'll make me fat. She's made it her mission in life to protect me from the little powered Donettes.

Anytime Dr. R said anything, I opened my mouth wider. I don't know what he said most of the time, but I figured it was to get me to open wider, so I did.

In through my nose.

Dr. R and his helper could have been welding the doors on a new car for all I knew what was happening in my mouth. And again, where was this place where the exhale goes? Holding my breath until I figure out how to exhale because I've forgotten again.

Out through my mouth.

And then it was done. Dr. R asked me how I was doing and I told him great since he didn't make me cry. Seriously. The last dentist made me cry. I was nearly hysterical in his chair with the looming sensation of drowning on my own spit. Why would he put a drooler like me in a chair with my head below my chest? Dr. R knows what he's doing. That's why I like him so much.

In the chair, inhaling and exhaling, I thought that if I had three wishes from a genie or something, I would wish that my dentist was at least 30-years younger. That way, he wouldn't retire any time soon and I'd have a good dentist for a long time ahead. Better than that, though, I'd wish that I had flossed my teeth daily like I'm doing now, but that I'd have been doing it all along to avoid the ravages of decay.

Dr. R assures me that when I'm in my 80s that my sensitivity will decline. Something to look forward to. That, and the numbness to go away. The water I'm drinking keeps spilling on me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Getting Sprayed

In my Army days, we pulled a lot of pranks. Our platoon would sit in a computer bay and go nearly insane at the sound of the dits and dahs of Morse Code for hours upon hours during whatever shift we were on in our windowless rooms. Those conditions were prime for playing tricks on each other. So we did.

Some of the pranks stood out for their uniqueness, such as wrapping a sleeping soldier up in Christmas lights and plugging them in without his waking up. That one is my personal favorite. But some stood out for their predictability. It was certain that someone - even if they didn't think they would - would get engrossed in their job while someone would crawl up behind them and tape paper spurs onto the back of their boots. When they finally got up to walk around, the whole bay would start singing, "Jingle Jangle Jingle," in unison, how could anyone not feel the joy?

Tags, or taping a note on someone's back (like "kick me"), were so ubiquitous that I - and I'm sure many others - developed a habit of swiping their back whenever they left a room or stood near others. Getting pranked enough made you develop defenses, and even if no one was immune to the joke, you could keep yourself out of trouble for a while.

An essential part of getting pranked and pulling pranks is the ability to laugh at yourself. If you take yourself too seriously, the pranksters will just keep trying to make you cry. You become an easy and ready target. It helps to develop a thick skin.

So, if I'm so used to getting pranked, why has my family been able to get me with the old rubber band around the sink sprayer so many times? I don't even think I'm the target, but if someone puts a rubber band on, I WILL get sprayed. Tonight I got sprayed and decided to leave it on for the next person. And guess what! I forgot and got sprayed again! What the hell?

It's funny, no doubt about it, but I hadn't planned on changing my shirt twice tonight and I can't even guarantee that I won't do it again. I use that sink all the time!

Which totally reminds me about pranking myself a couple years ago on Halloween. I filled up a pair of pants and a shirt that belonged to my husband, put shoes at the bottom and something red at the neck to look like a severed head. The whole thing was standing next to the front door to scare people. I put it there. I knew it was there and I scared myself over and over again because I saw a "man" out of the corner of my eye every time I left the house.

When the heck will I learn?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Easy Wednesday Night Race

My latest sailing adventure was on an Etchells for the Wednesday night beer can races this week. It was an easy little race in relatively light air out to Southampton Shoal and back. My oldest daughter drove the last time we did this, but I was at the helm this time.

I really like driving the Etchells. I get the feel for the wind and with a few exceptions where I'm over-powered, I'm comfortable with this position. Ever since my near-collission, which I still haven't written about, I have been doubting my abilities, and had to ask which way to turn the tiller during a tack or jibe. I shouldn't have to do that but I am afraid of making a mistake. It's like I need to confirm my knowledge as I'm thinking it.

Bow of the Etchells as snapped by my daughter.

My husband and I had our two girls onboard with us. My oldest was sitting in the bowman's position and we kept having to tell her to hold onto something. She was too complacent with the light wind for my comfort. My youngest was sitting in the cuddy the whole time. It was convenient to have her hold the beverage my husband and I shared during tack maneuvers, but I really wanted her to come out to watch the waves and enjoy the sail. For her, though, it was just something to get through. (And so you don't need to ask, the entire family wears life jackets when we go out.)

The best part was that it was a nice easy sail with the whole family. It wasn't blowing too hard and I don't think I got a single bruise from the adventure. I needed that more than I care to admit, since my body is still riddled with bruises, including a new one from a fall on my mountain bike. (I merely tipped over the wrong way and didn't get my foot out of the cleat in time. No big deal.) Another best part of the trip was that we saw a cool spotted seal while we were sailing back into the harbor. I LOVE seeing seals! And I just read that they are actually dog mermaids. Now I love them even more.

The worst part of the race was putting the boat away. Since it is dry-docked, that means hauling it out of the water, cleaning it off, putting the trailer away and putting the cover on it. The cover part feels like it takes an hour. The other worst part was that my daughter was sitting underneath and not enjoying it. What I would do to have her enjoy sailing more than she does!

And even though we were late at the start, we still beat three boats in. The Etchells is great like that.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

4th Man on the 4th of July

Yesterday's 4th of July holiday was like a weekend rolled into a single 24-hour period. My husband and I went sailing on the bay with another couple on their Etchells. Then we ate barbecue, went swimming and went on a big hike to see fireworks. Some of that hike home included me carrying a 50lb+ child on my back.

Today I'm exhausted!

The races yesterday were PHRF "perf" races, where different classes of boats race against each other. They have some sort of handicapping system that I don't even understand, but that allows some sort of fair race scoring. 

We sailed with another married couple and while I usually work the bow, I ended up being the fourth man on a three-man-boat. Talk about being in the way! All I had to do was move from side to side on the boat, but the way the Etchells heels over, it's very hard to climb from side to side without anything to hold onto and nothing to brace your feet on. I got slammed around the boat quite a bit and slid along the bottom more times than I could count. 

We figured the winds were blowing at about 30 knots for part of the day, but I heard today they were clocked at 33 knots. The Etchells is fast and low and the harder it blows, the wetter you get, especially up at the front of the boat. The other woman who was working the bow took the most water of all of us, but I was next in line. The driver was probably relatively dry. Some of the spray was so heavy that a person could have been standing with a bucket of water throwing it at us at times. I got it in my eyes, my ears and down my foul-weather gear soaking me inside as well as outside.

When the first race was over, I could just as well have been done for the day. I was already tired and sore and that's just from moving from side to side in the boat. I don't ever want to be the person who makes us quit a race so I just kept going and kept my mouth shut. In fact, I didn't complain at all the whole time, even when I slammed my hand so hard that I discovered it was swollen after we were done. I thought I might have broken it by the intensity of the pain when it happened. Right now, though, you can't really tell I did anything. 

That's not the case with the rest of my body. This morning the bruises from yesterday had settled in. I have several more on my right bicep to go with my Laser sailing bruises and the back sides of both legs are covered. I have a couple more large and noteworthy bruises on the side of my upper right thigh and my tailbone. It hurts to sit. Besides bruises, I'm just achy and sore. Who would have thought that sailing would be so physical. I mean, I know it its, but I forget that it is, too. 

The second race was a strange course, and had us going up and back and around and we set the spinnaker three times, including the downwind finish. We were flying the spinnaker at the end and the wind was blowing so hard that I don't recall ever going that fast in a sailboat before! We were a rocket ship with a huge wake out the back! It was very fun. 

As it turns out, we won the spinnaker class of the race, beating out all of our competitors. That was very cool. It's different, though, than sailing side by side from your competitors and seeing the finish one after another. When we crossed the line, no one was around us and a boat with a different rating than us - larger, etc - finished ahead of us. All in all, if you're going to get beaten up and run through the ringer, winning is a bonus.

My kids are sailing today and I can't wait for them to be finished. When we put their boats away, I'm not going to think about sailing for a while. And I'm going to recover.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Adventures with Steve

I've been living and breathing sailing lately and I have the deep tan and Raggedy Ann nose to prove it. Mostly, I'm living and breathing Optimists with and for my daughters. Next in line comes the Etchells, for which I wrote last post - and never finished the story, but I'm not going to do that here. The last boat on the brain is the Laser. 

I have my own Laser named Steve. Recently my husband found a great deal to get a second Laser on Craig's List, at which we jumped. Yesterday we took Steve and the new Laser, named Scooby Doo, out on the Bay. 

Carol and Steve

Getting everyone on the water, including the girls into their Optis for race practice, was a monumental effort. Scooby Doo hadn't been sailed in a very long time and getting it rigged up took time. The two of us sailed out of the harbor in a very light breeze. We sailed past a few random giant jelly fish that looked like mushrooms the size of basketballs. The wind was shifty at first, but the farther you went out, the breeze picked up. 

Emboldened by my husband's presence, I went further than I had ever gone. I was doing pretty well finding the feel of the boat, the wind and getting my maneuvers down. 

And then I flipped.

I've never capsized before. They make the kids do it in sailing school, but for me it was always something I knew would happen to me eventually while out on the water. When it happened, I knew that matter-of-factly I had to push down on the centerboard and the boat would pop up. I would climb back on and away I'd go. Except that is not what happened. Not even close.

First of all, I pulled down on the centerboard and the boat didn't budge. I pulled down on the centerboard again and again and again and nothing would make the boat come back upright. A guy sailed up next to me in a keel boat and offered me help. He didn't know what he could do to help and I didn't know what to do to take help. It had also just happened so I was confident I'd be fine and sent him on his way. I looked out to see that my husband had sailed off pretty far past me, but was probably making his way in my direction. He was either really, really far away or he didn't know that I was down. 

I tried over and over to right the boat and nothing was working. I finally tried pushing the hull of the boat under the centerboard while pulling down and after a few tries, I got the boat flat again. With the feeling of relief mixed with "now what?" I tried to pull myself into the boat. That proved challenging and the boat was turned around and tipping a bit again. I thought that if I turned the sail into the wind, I could be sure that it was going to stay flat while I climbed in. 

Turning the boat, I managed to capsize it again. Fortunately, I now had the pushing-while-pulling trick up my sleeve and it only took me a few tries to right the boat again. My husband still wasn't there and I was getting tired. 

Trying to climb back into my boat, I kept getting my life jacket caught on the edge of the boat and I couldn't get myself out very far. When my husband finally arrived, he asked me if I wanted him to tow me to shore. He tied our boats together and set off in the wind. I started dragging behind the boat like I was Superman flying off to save the world. 

I called my husband to bring his boat near mine instead so I could use it to climb up. I thought that if I could throw my foot onto his boat, I could leverage myself up. It worked, but in the process, my husband's boat turned away from the wind wrong and he capsized. He was able to right his boat easily without even getting wet. (Show off!)

Once on board Steve, I tried to calm my nerves but realized that I was shaking. I had been in the water a long time and don't know if the shaking was due to cold or fear. It didn't matter at that point. During the acrobatic maneuvers, we managed to drift pretty far and we were nearing the land. We weren't at risk of crashing onto rocks, but we were close enough that our wind was affected by the land. I couldn't make the boat move the way I wanted it to. And close enough to have a hearty audience for the whole show.

My husband was yelling instructions to me to get the boat back in order, as all the lines had loosened up during the capsize. The loosened lines made my boat very touchy to the wind and I needed to flatten out the sail to under-power it for my ability and situation. The main sheet, the rope that controls the sail got wrapped around the corner of the transom, the back of the boat, and I needed to un-hook that to regain full control.

The next thing I know it, I've got the boat going again and there is a high-speed ferry crossing my path. I wasn't so close as to hit it, but close enough to be freaked out by it. And then freaked out by the wake it caused. I bobbed around a bit and kept heading into the wind to stop myself from going anywhere. Another lower speed ferry soon followed, nearly duplicating all the fear that I hadn't quite recovered from.

I finally got going and limped into the cove. I sent my husband off to sail on his own, knowing I could get it into the dock at that point and wanting him to have some fun before coming in. I slowly made my way in and tied up. After getting on dry clothes, I went to the bar for a beer. 

Today my knee is tweaked, I'm bruised under my arms and I have a massive shoulder pain, though, that could be from hefting Scooby Doo onto and off of the car top twice. But all of my muscles are screaming today and my ego has its own bruise, as well. 

I'm not saying that is the last time I will sail the Laser, but I don't have immediate plans to do it again soon, either. And in the meantime, I'm going to see if there is a technique to pull myself out of the water should I need next time. If there is a next time.