A “Merry Christmas” Story

Merry Christmas to all my Braindungeon readers!

It’s been a pretty quiet (blog-wise anyway) several months for me. I’ve been pretty busy and when I haven’t been busy, I just haven’t been sure of what I want to say or how I want to say it. So, if you’re reading this post after my 7 months of silence, THANK YOU for stopping by!

I have a little story to share that warms my heart and I am hoping will warm yours. Before I get started I want you to know that while I am one of the subjects of the story, it’s not about me. It’s about the other person. I don’t really like talking about when I give to others because, to me, it cheapens the experience…but this particular experience just needed to be shared. So please don’t focus on me or my actions in this story…it’s really not about me.

So – rewind a few weeks…

It was early in the morning…it was cold (yes…even cold in Texas). The digital display on the dash of my company vehicle said that it was 34 degrees (Fahrenheit) out. That’s almost FREEZING by even technical standards! I was headed to San Antonio to work for the day, but needed to pick something up at my office before making the 2.5 hour drive. My office is downtown, so it’s not unusual to see (in the wee hours of the morning) a homeless person sleeping under the shelter of our front door (which is recessed such that there is probably a 20 by 40 area that’s under a roof. There are three walls of protection from the weather, but open such that you can see the street from the conference room. Despite the three walls, it’s STILL COLD.

So I drove up to the office and saw a man sleeping on some cardboard, wrapped up in several blankets on the sidewalk directly in front of our office door. I would have had to step ON him in order to get in the door. Under normal circumstances when I come across someone in front of our door like that, I will politely inform them that I need them to leave. Not this day…it was FREAKING COLD!!! I needed to get into the office, though, so I told him that I needed him to move. He said, “Yes, sir” and sat up and started unwrapping the blankets, getting his shoes on, and packing up his gear into a tattered backpack he had with him. As I walked by and unlocked the door, I said “It sure is cold this morning, isn’t it?”

I know…lame. But what else can you say to some poor homeless dude sleeping in front of your office when it’s 34 degrees out and you’re actually in a hurry to get in, get out, and get on the road for the next few hours?

So I walk in, I think about locking the door behind me, but then change my mind. It’s REALLY REALLY COLD outside, and if he feels the need to walk in and warm up for a minute while I get what I need…I just don’t have the heart to refuse him that. My heart was already breaking at the thought of someone having to sleep outside in this kind of weather.

As I finished loading the items into my car, he gets up and starts walking away. This guy can barely walk. I know pain…I experience it all day every day because of my back injury. This guy was worse off than me. He COULD have been faking it…but it seemed real enough to me.

So, I walk over to the door to lock up and he’s stops and says, “Excuse me, sir…do you think you could spare some change? Just a few quarters or something so maybe I can get some coffee?”

Did I mention just how cold it was outside? I think I saw a penguin walk by…shivering…

I am hesitant to give money to the homeless. If someone asks for something, I would much rather give them what they say they need…so if they’re asking for money to get something to eat…I would rather buy them something to eat. That way, they can get something that their body really needs (sustenance), and not go waste it on alcohol. So I said, “You know what…it’s pretty cold out here…let me take you down to (restaurant chain I work for) to get some breakfast?”

“Really?” he asked?

“Yeah…”

“Oh, wow! Thank you! (Restaurant chain I work for) is my favorite!!!”

I think he thought I was going to walk down there with him (it probably would have been a 15 minute walk for me by myself…with him it probably would have been 25-30. But that was never my intent anyway…haven’t I told you? IT WAS COLD!!! My car – THAT was warm…I said, “Climb in!” and unlocked the door for him.

Now let me tell you…I hadn’t really thought this next part through. It was a short drive, I was blasting the heater (especially to warm my guest) and…because of HOW COLD IT WAS…the windows were not going to be rolled down…

…but his aroma was a little south of heavenly…

…ok…a LOT south of heavently…

…ok…heavenly shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as this guy’s odor…

Not that he could help it…he’s living on the streets wearing the same clothes day in and day out, sleeping in who-knows-what when he’s moving from one place to the other…it wasn’t a pleasant smell, for sure. But I didn’t let that discourage me. He wouldn’t be in my car for long.

So, after he put his seat belt on, he offered me his hand and said, “I’m Marco!” (at least that’s what I thought he said). I accepted his handshake and said “I’m Dustin!”

He proceeded to tell me how he used to live in Houston, but that it was pretty rough in Houston. He was hit by a car. He showed me his leg.

People…he was not faking about hardly being able to walk…

His leg looked AWFUL. Looked like the muscle had been ripped right from it, then cauterized, then healed. It looked like he was a severe burn victim, but just on part of his leg. I was truly heartbroken at the sight. All I could say was “Marco, that’s awful!”

He then told me that it wasn’t the only time he was hit by a car. Said he was hit by a second car before he decided to leave Houston. So…he doesn’t have a bum leg…he has TWO. He didn’t show me his other leg, but I had no reason to doubt him at this point. I saw the way he was walking. This guy didn’t have a good leg to stand on.

During the short drive (where I noticed that the smell was either starting to fade, or I was starting to get at least partially used to it), he also told about how he was sleeping on the grass across the street from a nearby church and another homeless person came and just started kicking the crud out of him. Kicking him in the stomach, the head…he said he wasn’t sure why. The other guy was making wild accusations that he had heard that Marco was saying some bad things about him.

I didn’t think my heart could break any further for one guy. Hit by two cars…kicked awake while sleeping…sleeping on a piece of cardboard on a cold sidewalk in weather that was so frigid it would make an ice cube look like a warm ember of coal…This guy had it bad…and I had only talked to him for about 2 minutes at this point.

So we get to (restaurant chain I work for) and I get out of the car. As he’s getting out of the car, I say “Sir, I really don’t mean to offend…but I don’t think they’re going to want you in the dining room.”

Without even the slightest bit of offense in his voice (he sounded merry!) he said, “Oh, NO NO NO…I’ll just wait outside. It’s no big deal at all!”

So…I ask him what he wants to eat…I ask him if he prefers bacon or sausage on his sandwich…what size coffee. He told me that he just wanted the small coffee. I asked him if he was sure…cuz, in case he didn’t realize it…it was just a little bit freezing outside. Nope…he wanted the small. He wanted the warm drink, but could only handle so much caffeine.

So…I went in and bought him a meal…I ordered extra sausage on his sandwich cuz I don’t know how often he gets to eat. I take him his meal. He thanks me again…and again…and I tell him I hope he has a blessed day. He reciprocates the sentiment and I get in my car (which still smells like Marco) and head out to San Antonio.

Even if I didn’t have the odoriferous reminder of the man I met that morning in my car…I would have thought about him during the entire drive. I felt so very bad for him. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I wished I could go back, take him to my house, let him use my shower, wash his clothes…or burn them and get him some new, clean clothes and see what else I could do to better his situation.

By the way…the smell didn’t last the whole drive…

It lasted most of the day…

But that’s just the intro…

Don’t groan…it’s a long intro, but the part I really wanted to share is much shorter. But the intro was important to the story.

So fast-forward to Christmas Eve (yesterday)…I had thought about Marco a couple times in the couple of weeks that passed. I wondered where he was at…I wondered how he was holding up…I wondered if I would ever see him again. I mean…even if I wanted to…how do you drive around looking for a homeless guy who could be anywhere in a city? Especially when he told you he was going to try to move to the other side of the bridge (I left that part of the conversation out…but he wanted to move across to the other side of the harbor bridge. I can’t even imagine how he’d pull that off with TWO bum legs…)

So I was at work…at the office. I was less than happy because it had been a very long couple of weeks, and I was tired, and I was the only one at the office because our office was actually closed for Christmas Eve, but I just had too much that just needed to be done.

I was busy analyzing some numbers when I heard this loud pounding on the front door. It was incessant. I figured it was someone I worked with trying to knock long and loud enough to get my attention to let them in (I had the door locked). I didn’t know WHO would be trying to come in to work besides me…but thought maybe my boss had shown up or something and didn’t have his key in hand or something…who knows?

It was not someone I worked with.

It was a homeless man…in a wheelchair…with the biggest grin on his face you could even imagine.

It was Marco.

I was astonished. First of all, I couldn’t believe I had a second opportunity to see and talk to him since I hadn’t been able to get him out of my mind. Secondly…he was in a wheelchair. Not a very nice one…looked pretty worn…but a functional wheelchair. I unlocked the door and opened it. Before I could even say anything. He grabbed my hand and, with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on a homeless man, he said “MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!” He didn’t just shake my hand. He grabbed my hand like a servant might grab a king’s hand…brought it to head forehead like an act of praise or even worship.

“Marco, right?” I asked.

“No…MICHAEL” he grinned.

“Oops…I had it wrong! But you see how they sound the same…Michael…Marco…easy mistake right?”

“How about Margaret?” he smiled.

“No, Michael…that doesn’t sound quite the same!” and I laughed.

We had a short little reunion and he told me how he had not made it to the other side of the bridge yet, but that he was sleeping under it. Told me how he got hit by yet ANOTHER car. Showed me his foot…he couldn’t wear a shoe on it because it was so swollen. The swelling had gone down some, but he still couldn’t put his shoe on it. My heart broke for him again. He told me that he was blessed though, because he found this wheel chair and was still able to get around.

So, he had seen my car parked in front of the office and recognized it and came to say hi. After our short conversation, he said he didn’t want to keep my from my work, but wanted to wish me a merry Christmas. He did ask me if I could bless him with a couple of dollars. I felt comfortable enough to give him a little money at this point, so I gave him a 5 dollar bill. He thanked me for my generosity and grabbed my hand again. “HAVE A WONDERFUL, MERRY CHRISTMAS” he proclaimed. Then he said “No,” brought my hand to his forehead in that same way a loyal servant might with his king, “have a BLESSED Christmas!”

“Thank you, Michael…you have a blessed Christmas as well.”

And he rolled away, I locked the door, and I went back to work.

I don’t know if he realizes just how much that made my day. Yeah, ok…he got a few of bucks off of me, but so what? A homeless man in a wheelchair stopped by my office on Christmas Eve to wish me a merry Christmas because he recognized my car in front of my office. That really touched my heart in a way I can’t even really describe. I sat at my desk nearly in tears because of how touched I was. Here was a guy who has things so much worse than I have…and he had such joy on his face when he greeted me.

So – that’s my story. I hope it was able to bring some light into your day. I wish all of you out there a safe and merry Christmas.

“Religious” note follows:

Remember why we call this holiday Christmas. Take a moment and forget about all the decorations…the lights…the gifts…and remember the man who came for our salvation, paid the ultimate price, but before His sacrifice told us “Inasmuch as you did to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to Me.” If you ask me, there are few greater joys than sharing the love of Christ with others by doing what Christ would do. To me…that’s what this season is really about.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

What’s On My Mind

A lot actually.

There are people out there who might imply or blatantly state that I am not capable of rational thought…and they may be correct to a degree. But, I have had a lot on my mind lately.

I’m not sure it would be best to talk about it all in one post, as it could result in quite a long post. But I did want to talk about something in particular.

Recently, a friend posted a link on facebook about a man by the name of Eric De La Cruz. Eric was diagnosed at the age of 22 with dialated cardiomyopathy. At the time of the artical, he was in congestive heart failure and incapable of getting on a heart transplant list because no private insurance will cover him, and medicaid would not cover it – and of course he did not have the money to pay for it himself.

Through his sister’s reaching out to basically everyone, they have come a LONG way in the last week. You can read the updates on the website http://lifegiverproject.org. Some of the updates I read there had angered me beyond description. They got to a point where they had raised over $500,000 and it was STILL not enough to get him on a transplant list. I have no idea how much a heart transplant costs…but half a mil is a LOT.

As of the last update they are just over $870k. That’s a LOT of fundraising for one person in one week. He is now in a hospital where he could potentially get the heart and he is on a transplant list. Good news for him and his family (we hope and pray).

I have had a very hard time with this whole ordeal. Not just because of this one man’s story, but because of all the other stories out there like his. I made a comment to a friend the other day that “I hate money.” I understand that money is necessary in the world we live in these days (well, at least in the society that those of you reading this are a part of…I mean, let’s face it…might not have access to my blog if you’re in a place where you have absolutely no need for money). But I hate that MONEY is such a driving force. I hate that because of money people die. I hate that because of money people suffer. I hate that because of money, people that have a real need for help get ignored.

I know I’m only one person, and I know I can’t save everyone, but I’ve decided that it’s time for me to figure out what I can do to help. I haven’t solved that riddle completely just yet, but I have some ideas I’m working on.

Anyway, that’s what I felt like blogging about tonight. You may hear from more in the future on this subject on this blog, or I may mention some other blog I start for the sole purpose of fulfilling a desire to reach out and help someone. In the mean time, I hope to get back into my normal style of writing and hopefully entertaining my readers.

By the way…the three of you who have already subscribed to my blog since I moved, THANK YOU! If you know who the other 18 readers are that haven’t yet joined us over here…let them know I’ve moved! How sad that I have no idea who my readers are…lol.

It’s Movin’ Time!

I know the timing on this makes it seem like I’m jumping on the Rock Chick‘s bandwagon, but I promise this is something I’ve been thinking about doing for MONTHS. But…I’m moving my blog to my own domain!

It just so happens that the domain “braindungeon.com” was available! Sooooo, I made the purchase and got it all set up today! I haven’t moved it over yet, so if you happen to try to find it before I do, you may get an error message, but I promise it won’t be long before I get everything moved over.

I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately, but I have a feeling that’s about to change because of some things that have been on my mind. So, if you like my blog, and you wouldn’t mind, if you subscribe to my blog here, please visit my new site and subscribe there. Currently the actual URL of the blog is http://braindungeon.com/blog but you can also get there by going to http://braindungeon.com

I hope I see you there!

Energy Drinks

Dear Stacy’s friend who works at a convenience store and sent a whole case of energy drinks with her to our office as a promotional thing:

I want to thank you for your generosity in thinking about Stacy and the people she works with. Working in an office all day long can actually be quite draining and sitting in front of a computer all day can literally make people lose all will to actually even move their fingers to type…I think that’s why voice recognition software was created. Having liquid energy in 16oz cans sitting in our office fridge is hugely convenient.

Anyway, while I am appreciative of the gesture, I thought I would let you know what happened after consuming my first 6 cans during my lunch hour yesterday.

First of all, I was mildly amused by the moniker of “Earth Shattering Energy” on the can…at first. After the third can or so, I realized that this was no “amusing” matter. Truth be told I am a little concerned that my internal organs may not stop violently spasming. I probably should have stopped after the 5th can as the MRI at the ER last night revealed severe bruising of my brain. They asked if I had been in an accident of some kind because it was like my brain had bounced around in my skull violently for hours. I guess it’s a good thing they’re low-carb…imagine if I’d had all that sugar too!!!

Also, did you know that one serving of that energy drink has 100% recommended daily values of Niacin (B3), 190% of B6 and 180% of B12? Did you also know that there are 2 servings per can? I guess consuming 1200% of B3, 2280% of B6 and 2160% of B12 in under an hour throws your vitamin balance a little off. I couldn’t touch a computer for the rest of the day because my body actually absorbed all the A’s, C’s, D’s and E’s off every screen and keyboard I came in contact with. Imagine that! I had the energy and will to work, but COULDN’T!

I did some reading on the symptoms of overdosing on B vitamins, but there is one side effect that I suffered that I couldn’t seem to correlate and was wondering if you’d heard of it. After about 2 hours and 8 more cans of energy drink, the two separate hemispheres of my brain seemed to begin operating independantly of each other…and without regard to my willful operation of the finer motor functions of my own body, my right arm ripped my left arm clean off my body and started beating me in the face with it. I ran around the office screaming for help, but no one would come near me. And when I say “ran” I’m using the term loosely. My left leg ran, but my right leg stubbornly stood in one place so really I was just spinning around in circles. Have you ever beaten yourself in the face with your own dismembered arm while spinning in circles and screaming? Apparently others see that is “crazy.” The blows must have been pretty forceful too because, although the bruising and cracked bones in my face will heal quickly, I am still having trouble finding the middle and ring fingers of my left arm. I think it is important to note at this point that my right arm was the prosthetic one.

As I can generally be a little crazy at work, it took a while for anyone to realize just how serious a reaction I was having. I must have told them over and over I really needed help, but apparently it was coming out as “FADA BADA BADA BADA BLUH BLUH BLUH FFFF THBBBBBB”. While this isn’t completely unusual for me in the office, this time I hadn’t been on a tech support call for the last hour.

Lastly, I thought it interesting to note that until the final 4 cans yesterday I thought the term “jumping out of my skin” was just a euphimism. Did you know seeing a living human body with no skin can actually make people vomit? Although it probably didn’t help that my skeleton wasn’t much support for all the meat because it had vibrated to almost complete liquification.

Anyway – sorry to go on and on, but I just wanted to thank you again for thinking of us. Aside from the missing fingers, the doctors seem confident that I will be mostly back to normal after a heart transplant, brain surgery, and after they reapply my skin and re-attach my left arm. I look forward to trying the other flavors of that energy drink!

A Nifty Little Tool

I am sure that this is true for most, if not all, iPhone users – that is that I’m always on the lookout for apps that I can get some good use out of. Early on, one of the things I found myself frustrated with was the inability to post to this blog from the Blogger website in mobile safari. To my amazement, even the iPhone app for Google only opened up Safari which wouldn’t allow me to post a blog in blogger (unless I am just clueless as to how it works).

A few weeks ago I purchased iBlogger which would supposedly let me create posts for my Blogger account. Unfortunately, I just can’t get it to work. I got it to work on a WordPress blog, but every time I tried to get to this Blogger blog, iBlogger would just crash. I am confident that the developer can solve the problem, given some time. I only reported the issue last night.

I was going to just wait for a response, but I accidentally came across another app called SkyPetr Lite. I was searching to see what apps existed out there that provided access to Skype. While I found something earlier today that did just that, I was curious what else was out there.

Needless to say, I downloaded SkyPetr Lite (which is free). It’s meant for use with MySpace, YouTube, and of course Blogger. I haven’t checked out the first two yet, but this post has been successfully and entirely composed using SkyPetr Lite.

The only downside I have seen so far is that you are required to register an account with SkyPetr before you can sign in and access the other items. I am not sure I understand that logic other than a means of getting your email address.

Nonetheless, for now I am ok with it. At least I was able to compose this post on my phone!

The Wall Handle Explained!!!

I showed my last blog post to a co-worker and she used THE GOOGLE to find the mysterious handle…(why didn’t I┬áthink of that???)

Anywho – here it is, in all its glory!
So what is it? It’s a handle that you can put on walls or in showers without the need for drilling or screws! DUH!
If you so desire to check out their website since I did use the image off their website, it can be found here.
Now if only I could get the doggone context of the whole infomercial in order, I might win back some of my sanity!

More Silence – And Then Came the Infomercial

Here I am! I’ve been busy and busy and busy and well…something came up that I just HAVE to share.

For the past week, I have been visiting several of our restaurants before opening time and at closing time to perform some updates to the databases in their registers. This is a fairly arduous task and has been the cause of some sleep deprivation I’ve had this past week. Every day I have been up some time between 3AM and 4AM (for those of you who are particular about it, that’s Central Standard Time), so that I could be in the stores and have the full process completed before they opened their doors at 6. THEN, I would visit a store at 10 and perform the updates and get out of the stores around 12 or 1 (again, central standard time).

There was also work to be done during the day, and I did my best to catch some Z’s when I had some down-time, but 2 things kept that from happening: 1) I have a very hard time sleeping during the day and 2) People have a very hard time calling me without making my phone ring. So…even if I did happen to doze off, my phone would ring within a few minutes and wake me up. Even sleeping at night was tough this week because of all the thinking involved in getting this done right – it was hard to turn my brain off when it was actually time to sleep. So most days I was on less than 4 hours of sleep and even one day I was on 1.5 hours of sleep.

I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this except for maybe it sets the stage for the kind of mood I was in this particular morning.

You see, Friday night was the first night I was able to get more than 4 hours of sleep. I probably would have slept until 9 or 10 had my phone not rang at 7:20. I had also taken my pain medicine the night before so I was pretty groggy. But…all in all, I was in a decent mood because I was going to GO HOME (3 Hour drive from where I was).

So I go down for a continental breakfast and sit down with a bagel, some yogurt and a banana. I turn to the large, flat-screen tv mounted on the wall which has the sound turned down. I am watching what appears to be some kind of shopping network or something. I can’t really tell what’s going on since there’s no sound, but usually, one can deduce what’s going on in an infomercial, right? WRONG!

There are two people on the screen. One man and one woman. The man appears to be the informercial salesman and the woman appears to be the infomercial oooooooh-and-aaaaahhhh person. I see the man take something that looks like a large phone receiver and stick it to a wall. When I say it looked like a phone receiver, I mean it looked a lot like the photo to the left, except the color was white, there was no cord, and the round parts were much bigger. It looked like some make shift wall-handle. My first thought was, “Oh, yes – because I’ve always wanted a handle…ON MY WALL!!!!” Funny, yes, but I thought I’d continue watching to see what the purpose for this phone-receiver-looking wall-mountable handle might actually be.

No such luck. The man moved on to another bizarre task. He took 4 or 5 rectangular and brightly-colored sponges and put them on the table in front of the woman. He then takes a chef’s knife (as pictured to the right) and presses down on the stack of sponges. I think “Oh – the guy is going to cut sponges with a knife…but what’s with the handle on the wall?”

Patiently I wait for the answer to the wall-handle question and continue to push down on the stack of sponges and nothing happens. Well, the sponges compress but there is no cutting going on.

So the guy reaches over and starts sharpening the knife. I think to myself, “Ohhh….he’s going to sharpen the knife and THEN cut the sponges. He’s selling a knife sharpener! But what’s with the handle ON THE WALL????”

So he finishes sharpening the knife and presses the knife down on the sponges. This time quite a bit harder. I’m thinking “If pressing harder did the trick then how am I supposed to know if your sharpener worked, bright guy?”

But, once again, nothing. The woman is smiling and nodding and saying something, but I don’t know what. For all I know she could be saying, “If you keep trying to cut the sponges, maybe people won’t notice the large plastic handle on the wall right next to me!”

So the guy starts sharpening the knife again. If it’s an informercial for the knife sharpener, this is not going well.

So he takes his twice-sharpened chef’s knife and pressed down really hard on the sponges this time he starts sawing at the sponges…NOTHING! The woman picks up the top sponge and looks at a tiny cut in the top of it and looks like she’s impressed that he was actually able to cut a small slit into the sponge. I’m thinking “Yay, he sharpened it enough to cut a SPONGE; NOW I can use it to cut MEAT! NOW WHAT’S WITH THE HANDLE ON THE WALL?????”

As if to press my insanity over the wall handle to new levels and confuse everything that makes up my mental capacity, the guy then reaches over and picks up a generic can of cola and a square of carpet. “OHHHHH…”, I think to myself, “He’s selling SPONGES. He’s going to make a mess and clean it up!”

So the guy proceeds to dump the entire contents of the can of generic cola onto the square of carpet that is now sitting ont he counter right next to the sponges in front of the woman. “I called THAT!”

Nope!

He then reaches over and picks up a large chamois and starts mopping the cola up off the carpet. At this point I’m thinking “Ok, so the guy is nothing more than a raving lunatic who wants to cut sponges and when that doesn’t work he has to throw a tantrum by dumping his soda all over the counter and then feels guilt-ridden enough to mop up the mess…BUT WHAT THE HECK IS WITH THAT FREAKING HANDLE ON THE WALL?????????”

I am sorry to report that I have no idea what that was all about. I don’t know why the guy dumped out the soda and mopped it up. I don’t know why he tried THREE TIMES to cut a stack of colorful sponges. In fact, had the sound been on, I’d almost be willing to bet that he tried to cut the sponges the woman remarked “WOW! Those are some TOUGH SPONGES!!!” and then he would have replied, “Yeah…too bad they can’t clean for CRAP! So here’s a chamois!!!”

And…I.DON’T.KNOW.WHY.HE.PUT.A.HANDLE.ON.THE.WALL!!!!!

Please…PLEASE…one of my readers out there…PLEASE tell me that you’ve seen this infomercial and can fill me in on what it was all about! My mental wellness may very well depend on it!!!

Another Month Later…

Wow! Where has the time gone???

What a silly question. I didn’t intend to start my post by contradicting myself, but I got to thinking about that question as I was typing it and thought to myself, “Time doesn’t go ANYWHERE!”

I know – I’m a goof. But it’s true, you know. Time doesn’t go anywhere. Time “stands still” if you will. Time is one of those things that everyone has and you can’t save it or store it. You can just use it or waste it. Hopefully how you’re satisfied with how you’re using your time.

I really didn’t mean to go there. How drab!

Anyway – it’s been yet another month since my last post. What’s Dustin been doing? Where has Dustin been? What’s been on Dustin’s mind???

Lots.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time doing the new-store-opening thing. It can be pretty stressful to work on opening 2 restaurants at the same time. And all I have to worry about is the technical side of things! I did develop a new favorite saying during these last two openings, though. I can’t really remember what the circumstances were surrounding my comment, but the conversation was surrounding the completion of the equipment installations and whether the employees were ready for the store to open or how they were handling the opening or something. I made the comment “I only installed the equipment. I didn’t install the employees.” It elicited a laugh and all was well.

A few weeks ago, I jumped on the iPhone bandwagon as well. I have to admit, I was kind of a nay-sayer when the iPhone thing started happening. I saw the phone, I thought it was kinda cool, but really…what was the big freakin’ deal???

It’s a heck of a phone, that’s what!

Seriously – this thing is fantastic. I have only downloaded 2 paid apps, and everything else I have on my phone I downloaded free. I haven’t jailbroken my phone and I don’t know that I intend to because so far, I’m happy with what I can do with it.

So, I’ve been working, iPhoning and that’s pretty much it.

OH – except for one thing…I just want to whine a little bit about my xbox 360. It got the Red Ring of DEATH. That’s right – my xbox 360 died last week. Well – I’m not 100% sure WHEN it died. All I know is that after about a month of no use (because I’ve been out of town too much to watch movies or play games), we were going to watch a DVD on it last weekend and got the dreaded red ring. The one that lights up 3 of the 4 quadrants with red light and basically means “general hardware failure”. It’s not as big a deal as it could be because Microsoft declared about a year and a half ago that anyone experiencing this problem within 3 years of the original purchase date will have the problem fixed at no charge because apparently they screwed up when it came to putting these things together properly.

We boxed it up and sent it out yesterday. They told me it’ll be 2-3 weeks before I’ll see it again. It could be worse, but now we have to move a DVD player in from a different room to watch our DVDs – and it won’t be as good because our other DVD player doesn’t have composite video or HDMI so now I’m so spoiled that just watching it with a regular dvd player is going to disappoint me…lol

Anyway, I guess that’s all I have to say for now. I just thought I’d check in and let my fans (really, Dustin…fans?) know that I’m doing well and have just been really busy. Hopefully I’ll be around a bit more for a little while and you can hear more from me really soon!

Oh – and happy December 21st everybody!!! Today is the shortest day (daylight hours) of the year. The sun will start shining longer starting tomorrow! (Well, for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere anyway…)

A month of silence rewarded with laughter

Oh, how silent I’ve been!

The last y’all heard, I was whining about our truck. Well, the truck got fixed and worked fine for a while. Got stuck again yesterday, but it didn’t stay stuck this time, so I am not sure what to think.

But…I decided to see what’s been going on in Google Analytics since my last post. And I got a good hearty laugh. It was amusing to me when I saw that Obama scary frightening Halloween actually brought someone to my blog. But the gut busting laughter came with dancing monkey basketballs brain.

WHAT THE HECK??? Dancing monkey basketballs brain. That is so incredibly nutzoid that I can’t even imagine what would have possessed someone to type that into Google. What’s worse is that there are over 1.2 MILLION search results for that!!! And…of ALL THINGS…I am search result NUMBER TWO. That is just freaking awesome!!!

So what has the last month held for me? Well, mostly work and Chiropractic care. I have been visiting my Chiropractor (also my wife’s uncle…so since my back cracker is my wife’s uncle, I affectionately refer to him as Uncle Cracker) on a regular basis trying to get some relief from my ever-persistent, never ending sciatic nerve pain and back spasms. The good news is I have been feeling a little better. I have actually had some good days in the past month (by good days I mean days where I didn’t necessarily feel like I was in pain all day long). The bad news is that there may not be much more relief than that for me.

You see, another MRI was ordered for me. Turns out my back is getting worse. I guess I am not as closely related to Superman as I’d like to think. All the bending, heavy lifting, and other stupid crap that I think I can somehow do without making my back worse (despite the fact that it DOES put me in excruciating pain) is actually making my back worse (DUH!). So I have to start being a whole lot more careful. Dr Uncle Cracker said I need to avoid lifting things that are over 25 lbs (the computers I order from Dell for our new stores are 25.04 lbs in shipping!!!) I need to avoid doing the things that cause me pain.

It is tough to do that. It’s hard to avoid doing things that cause you pain when just about everything you do causes you pain. It’s also frustrating to know that you SHOULD be able to do certain things (like help carry some heavy stuff), but you can’t because it causes you pain. Right now I am having to do some travelling for work, and it’s difficult because the road trips are hard on my back and so are the hotel beds. But…gotta do what I gotta do. I’m going to try to find some good lumbar support for the car and a good mattress topper of some kind for the hotel beds.

So anywho…I just thought I’d post a quick note to let y’all know how I’m doing. I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately, and it’s been mostly because I’ve been so busy during work that when I get home, I just want to veg out. I haven’t had much motivation to blog lately. But, we’ll see if I can get back on track.

I’ll leave you with this…I found this to be particularly hilarious. I’m not even going to give it an intro other than that…just visit this site.

What The…

TRUCK!!!

Saturday started off semi-normally (except for the fact that I can’t seem to sleep past 5:30 after getting up at 3:00 all week long.) I am overall pretty well exhausted and just trying to let myself relax after a very grueling work-week. I just played around on my laptop for most of the morning knowing that I should be doing something productive but just too tired to care.

Crystal’s dad shows up to begin helping us work on getting the trim back in place (because we tore it all up when we put down the new laminate flooring). Pretty close to this juncture, Crystal reminds me that I need to take the dogs to the groomer. I don’t particularly care to pay someone to groom my dogs, but neither of us is up to doing it, so the appointment was made. I’m gathering my wits and preparing to head out and Crystal is gathering the dogs to prepare them to go out, and Crystal’s dad is hauling trim out the the back yard to begin cleaning it off and pulling the nails out. My friend calls me to let me know he’s just about ready to come paint the nursery for us…

All seemed to be going ok…

I get in the truck. I turn it on…are you ready for this? Our new (used) Mazda Tribute decided it didn’t want to leave the house yesterday. It started just fine, but when I put it in reverse, it would not move. One wheel…ONE WHEEL…would not turn. My first thought was “did I leave my laptop bag under the wheel?”

No wait…that’s what I thought LAST time…

THIS time, my first thought was “Oh no…not again!”

And, just for the record…it’s the SAME WHEEL.

I called the dealership and, long story short, they said they’d tow it in, give us a vehicle to drive until they figure out what’s going on with what they already supposedly fixed.

So…right now we have a brand new 2008 Ford Explorer with Sirius Satellite Radio and Microsoft Sync sitting right in our driveway. It’s temporary…and if it weren’t for the fact that the only reason it’s there is because our truck is in the emergency room, I might be happier about it.

But…it is what it is…

And I think we’re going to get a new license plate…

I’ll let y’all know all about that if/when we get the new plates in!


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