Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shackleton's Journal--Day 27

Honestly, things are so hard while one-legged and on crutches that it feels like a frigging expedition around here. "Today, the team rested, for tomorrow we attempt the Changing of the Sheets on the Bed."

I mean, when you have only one leg and both your hands are needed for the crutches, how do you get the sheets off a bed, ferry them to the washing machine without tripping on them, and then get them back onto the bed? Much hopping, and I wound those sheets around me like a Bedouin in a sandstorm. Literally, I had them around my neck and looping over my shoulders and I even carried the pillowcases in the hollows made by the swathing.

"Day 25--despite the cold temperatures and my continued disability, it was clear we had to attempt to change the sheets, as the sled dogs were beginning to complain of the odor.  After we assembled the materials, we made a cautious foray to the laundering area. No casualties were sustained. Once the sheets were returned to the camp, we had a secondary expedition to the showers, so as to retain the fresh laundry smell."

A shower is kind of tricky too, what with getting over the lip of the tub without standing on the injured leg. Once in, there is no rail, and balancing on one foot while washing is harder than yoga. Then the whole tub is slippery, so getting out again involves a hand towel to sit on while drying off and strapping the boot back on.

It's hard, but a cast would only be worse, because you can take the boot off.

"Our next expedition will be tomorrow--a long crutch hike to the mail box! We may need to bring suppllies."

The Saga of the Broken Ankle

It is very important to me that this is a story of me being a Good Person and Helpful Motorist, because then I don't feel like such a dork for breaking my ankle.

Back around December 13th, we had quite a snowfall, and the sheer amount of the damn stuff coupled with some crappy weather meant that streets were not cleared in anything like the manner in which we have become accustomed. So that four days later (FOUR DAYS!) traffic was still hopelessly slow due to icy conditions. At about 5:30, I was stuck at an intersection behind two cars that couldn't make it through due to the ice. The traffic lights kept cycling, and they weren't moving because whatever motion they had got stopped by the lights turning red.

The guy in the stuck car next to mine hopped out to push the car in front of me, and he couldn't do it alone. So, subject as I am to peer pressure, I got out of my car and went to help. We got that car moved safely through the intersection, and I walked back to my car.

Whereupon I stepped on an icy patch, my ankle gave way and I ended up on my butt in the dark and the cold, surrounded by skidding traffic. I hopped up with immediate big pain in my right ankle and right wrist, but dammit, I had to get my kid to a doctor's appointment, so I carefully avoided getting my car stuck at the spot I just pushed somebody out of, and I drove myself to that appointment, and then drove myself home.

I didn't take off my boots until I made it all the way to my own couch, because it HURT! I iced it and elevated it and had to miss my last class of the semester. And much of it got better, but part of it didn't. Turns out that, yes, it was broken, which I found out a full 7 days after the accident.

(I am prepared to deliver a rant about the bad medical care I got when I went to the doctor, but I'll save that for later.)

I finally saw an orthopedist who put me in a boot, stuck me on crutches, and said "that's a weight bearing bone you broke. Stay off it and come back in two weeks."

Which in some ways is a relief, because before I got the crutches, I was crawling around on my hands and knees--at least this way I was upright and could even go out in public! Sort of--crutches are not something one can be agile and graceful with right away. Furthermore, you don't really think about how much you rely on having both your feet and your hands available to do stuff. Because make no mistake--when you are on crutches, you don't have hands. And so you can't carry stuff around--like laundry. You can't push a grocery cart--but that doesn't matter because with a broken right ankle, you aren't driving anyway.

So that's the background for why I am housebound mostly, and why things are so hard to actually accomplish. The good news is that my ankle seems to be healing, there's only a slight misalignment in the healing, which couldn't be improved by surgery so I've dodged that. I go back in 10 days, and gods willing I'll be allowed to put some weight on in, and maybe even drive.

The Big Lebowski, A Review

Honestly, this?

This is the huge pop cultural touchstone of the last decade and a half?


I mean, it's a clever inversion of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, and I totally made that call on my own recognizance. Chaos explodes all around The Dude, and he just keeps chugging along. He does get entirely freaked out, he gets panicky, he gets overwhelmed, but he keeps going. Even with a marmot in his bathtub.

Sure, it's clever, it's got some odd dream sequences and stuff, and Julianne Moore is a sport, but why this one? I can't tell you.

The plot is straight out of a number of Hitchcock films and parodies. The Dude, Jeff Lebowski, gets attacked in his home by a couple of thugs who are looking for some money and pee on his rug as a message. The Dude is bummed, because "that rug really tied the room together." He decides to call on the other Jeff Lebowski--the Big Lebowski--a crippled millionaire with a trophy wife and an unctious personal assistant played by Philip Seymour Hoffman (who is brilliant). Since the thugs were looking for payment owed by this Lebowski's trophy wife, the Dude figures he should replace the rug.

I get it--it's a karmic debt that balances the universe.

But there are wheels within wheels, and soon the Big Lebowski's trophy wife has been kidnapped, and he decides to hire the Dude to carry the ransom, in case he can identify the criminals as the ones who attacked him earlier. But Dude's bowling pal Walter (John Goodman) wants to keep the ransom themselves and prepares a dummy package full of his own (dirty) underwear.

People start coming after the Dude, looking for the money. He gets beaten up, drugged, seduced, beaten up again, and a marmot gets dropped into his bath. He drinks a lot of White Russians--which he calls "Caucasians" and he wanders around in pajama pants and jelly sandals. In the end, there was never any money because even the Big Lebowski was working a con. Dude ends up back at the bowling alley, and Sam Elliot delivers a folksy closing monolog which is the biggest tonal misstep of the whole movie. Should have been cut.

But--it was fine. The Cohens made an odd little movie with a lot of name stars and a generally obnoxious attitude toward women. The plot is convoluted and there's a lot of damage inflicted on a couple of cars. Overall, I didn't hate it, but it's no Raising Arizona. Not even an Oh Brother Where Art Thou which I liked much better.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Back to Blogging

Back in school, yadda yadda, no time to blog, too busy writing papers.

TL;DR--we're back!

Taa daa!