Monday, May 20, 2013


Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind/And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

(**Disclaimer** We're just friends, remember? Just friends. All rights to my vivid, hallucinatory, unrequited over-romanticism are reserved for my own heart. Who are you to judge me?)

My shoe felt too tightly tied whilst "working" out on the patio this afternoon. (Multicolored Skechers sneakers today, with denim shorts and my Mister Rogers t-shirt. My closet's kind of a shoe clusterfuck right now, so I couldn't find my sandals, which are probably off to the summer-side.) Never mind it being difficult to find AAA-narrow sneakers, I look like a total dork with any pair of tie-up shoes because the bows have to be ginormous as I cinch the laces tightly. If there's anything left chronically anorexic on my body, it's my stupid feet (and my infant-sized wrists).

So I untied my shoes and took them off, and in a very un-Annieish manner, was sitting on the patio in bare feet. (Yes, wow, I need a pedicure.) Traditionally, I really dislike being barefoot. Don't get me wrong. Crunchy granola au natural is fine, but I'm kind of nitpicky. It's a foot thing. I don't like my feet, your feet, her feet, his feet, their feet, so on and so on. The only feet I don't mind are my son's, mostly because he used to lie in my lap and I'd kiss his toes. (When my Pastor brought up the idea that the whole contemporary band should have a foot-washing ceremony, a'la Jesus and his posse, I cowered and cringed in gagging fright. Thankfully, it hasn't happened yet.)

Naturally, taking my shoes off leads me directly back to thinking (doesn't everything?) about the night I had Guy Friend...over for dinner (the laboriously, lovingly handmade "Self-Harm" meat sauce he now tells me he DOESN'T EVEN LIKE because there's TOO MUCH MEAT in it!)  I found this out recently on the phone while he was describing a marinara he was planning to make for dinner at home, because it seems Lady GuyGuy has totally indentured him. She probably lets the couscous all stick to the bottom of the pot instead of fluffing it properly after the moisture is absorbed. She eats ham. Maybe he finds cooking relaxing and creative. Who knows. (Has it not occurred to him that it'd be mighty generous, thoughtful and wonderful of him to, like, send her away for a long weekend at a spa for all the fixins and pampering with her best friend so he could, like, cook for ME and chill out? I didn't say anything about anything else. Yes, I realize it'd be more pious and appropriate to invite Luke and I over for a dinner "all together," but she barely tolerated me (read: she hates my mere existence) & I'd have to be drunk, stoned and sedated, and Luke can't really drive us home, legally, but please, yes, he knows how to drive.)

And here I've been sharing my MEATY sauce with them all this time! (Yes, I always said it was for "both of them.")  And it caused a big fight with my ex-boyfriend once, because he said if I was giving Guy sauce, THE sauce, I must be falling in love with him! Your point, Aesop? And Guy doesn't LIKE it? I imagine Lady GuyGuy having tossed the leftover container(s) of it in the garbage when they've cleaned out their freezer(s), saying, "What the heck IS this, anyway?" Or after having smacked Guy over the head with the Ziploc frozen container, the lid flying off in their showdown, grazing his neck and nicking him in the jugular, a gushing, bloody mess had to be mopped up.) 

But I think I digress. Ok, yeah, I digressed. 

Having loosened him with wine that night, I asked him what he loved the most about me while we were eating. (He refrained from saying, "Well, it sure as HELL isn't your MEATY sauce!") He put his fork down, had a panic attack for a second, and said there were "so many things" he could choose from (Well, yes! Good retort, Guy!), but ultimately said my honesty was the zinger. In hindsight, nowadays, I think that's the thing he hates the most about me too. I put things "out there," and he chronically avoids them, like walking around dodging landmines or Canadian goose poop in the park so he doesn't end up peg-legged like Macca's bitchy second, gold-digging ex-wife. Avoiding things does not equal being clueless and/or in denial. 

AVOIDING: "Oh God, oh God, oh God! This is more than I can process and I'm all weird and my head is spinning, so I stuffed my ears with cotton and poured a scotch, but yes, ok, fine, I know exactly what's going on & I can't articulate much less juggle it, geez, so I'm just going to shush. But holy crap! Danger! Shoot me up with Haldol!"

CLUELESS DENIAL: "She what? She does? No, she doesn't. She can't. She means? Are you sure? Why'd she? Must she? She couldn't have. She's obviously disturbed or needs stronger glasses. I highly doubt it. Pfft. You're fucking crazy. But look at the guys she hangs out with! Shoot HER up with Haldol!"

So for what...the last 2-3 years, I've been vainly attempting to get him to tell me what *all* of those other things might be. Or obtain more concrete affirmation that he kind of loves me (of course he does, he's nuts about me).  He said something (hi, fuzz) in the car the last time we were out about having read some, but not all of what BMF's BFF had so lovingly commented to me in a previous blog, and something about what was unsaid being sometimes more important than what was actually said. He gets me too wracked in a haze of illogical, giggly, but no less frustrating quasi-arousal to follow up with comebacks for things like, well, clarification, questioning or expounding on his vague statements. I should know better. I'm a psychologist!

Come to think of it, Guy's a lot like his car. When it goes in reverse, it makes those beeping noises to alert the driver (and others) that he's backing up and could hit something. It's like they ping in his head whenever he's about to spew a phrase that could be misconstrued as reciprocation of my relentless lust. (**See disclaimer above.**)

(No. No. No. iTunes. Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" queued into Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand's "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" wrapping around Olivia Newton-John's "Make a Move on Me?" Is this the Totally Shitty Sobbing Irony Mix? For the record, I would make love out of everything ever and could give a crap about receiving flowers IF anyone EVER made a move on me.)

Anyway, after continuing to pour him wine, and eat dinner, and me forgetting to offer coffee afterwards, and not having anything for dessert, because yes, I'm totally awkward and was nervous, we sat on one of my couches together (ok, they're technically love seats, but whatever, Jesus...) and God's honest truth, it was a couple of years ago--I can't remember what we talked about or whether or not we barely snuggled--I know we didn't kiss--THAT I would've remembered (and it'd have been such good timing! He probably played with my fingers, he likes my rings or something--I don't know...I think he likes hands), but he sat with his legs extended out, having, I think, taken off his tie and loosened his dress shirt collar in the car before he came in, and then untied his shoes. He didn't take them off....he just untied and loosened them. He got comfortable, cozy, and probably drowsy from working all day and having like 3/4 of a bottle of wine. 

(Fuckin' iTunes. Every time I write...this narrative musically flows....Wow, now I really didn't need to hear the old Al Stewart song, "Year of the Cat;" specifically, the line, "You know sometime you're bound to leave her, but for now you're gonna stay.")

I don't know what Lady GuyGuy knew of that evening, or frankly of any other evening we've socialized, nor do I frankly give a shit...what he told her, but I guess now that I think about it, my parting container of sauce could've ended up somewhere splattered on the tollway, thrust out the car window on 294 North, for tires to skid and trample over what I guess was just too much ground sirloin. (And you all know, I'm *mostly* vegetarian! This sauce is more meat than I usually eat in a month, and I only make a batch 2 or 3 times a year.)

(Great, my iTunes soundtracks on with U2's "Stay (Far Away, So Close)," from a film entitled the parentheses. It's the subtitled French version of what in the USA became the Meg Ryan/Nicholas Cage film, "City of Angels," about Cage as an angel who trades invisibility, miracles and heavenly power to become mortal because he fell in love with Ryan's character, who's a surgeon. Spoiler Synopsis: She gets run over by a truck and dies and he's really, really sad.) 

When Guy and I celebrated our early-May birthdays a couple of weeks ago, with an unanticipated (Spontaneity!) random trip to a card/party outlet store (for Mother's Day cards, which was a week away...) and "Hey! Look! There's a Panera! Are you hungry?" lunch, we exchanged gifts in the car. (Because he's too jumbled to just come out and say, "Annie, would you like to have lunch with me on my birthday? I'd like that!" without any external goofy excuses compelling him to go out with me. "Annie! My library books are overdue. Busy? Want to return them with me? Oh, look! Let's turn right. Wow! A raw vegan al fresco bistro!")

Having been out to wine country in California recently, he'd either visited or passed a vineyard called "Anarchy," and I'm sure, veering off the road, he whipped in and bought me a boss, hot, girly-fitted anarchy t-shirt and a (decorative for the alcoholic) anarchy wine glass, both of which I loved. 

See, here's me on May 5th. Just so I could torture my teenager with cyber embarrassment, I did my best stereotypical young chick duckface bathroom self-portrait so I could show Guy the shirt. For anyone unfamiliar, yes, this is what I look like at present. (Keep this in mind...we'll come back to it later.)

Also, the anarchy glass, awesome:

I gave him a book on how to be a nicer doctor, and a decorative candle with a brain preserved in clear jelly in a glass jar. His gifts for me totally made up for the experience of trying to help him pick out a Mother's Day card for Lady GuyGuy, which I suggested he blow off, since she's (a) not his mother and (b) we couldn't find anything truly befitting, like: 

"It was SUPER GREAT procreating with you! As Mother's Day coincides with my birthday and this psycho punker's you think is out to steal your fella's birthday, thanks for totally buzz killing her 40th birthday party last year and congratulations on liberally snacking a bowl of Meow Mix because she kind of out-hotted you and you weren't expecting her to look like THE ANTITHESIS of PREPPY IN COMBAT BOOTS. Love forever and ever! Faithfully Yours Eternally, Blah blah blah, Yes, I love you, Aw Damn, Guy." 

Pretty cool candle, no?

On May 9th, my actual 41st birthday, MEG (New abbreviation/pseudonym for my Massively Exquisite Girlfriend) and I went out for tater tots and merriment at our local neighborhood sort-of-swanky-ish restaurant/bar. We invited Guy, who declined because Thursdays are his nightmare work day. MEG and I were sequestered to a corner booth. We asked for a table for 2, or 3, or 4. Big enough for 2 massive tot orders. Guy said based on my wardrobe choice (my shoes, actually, remember, he likes shoes) picked out, a picture of which I sent Guy, that "If some businessmen don't hit on the two of you at the bar, then something is wrong." 

OOF! Right?

Hi. Something must've been horribly wrong, since we sat there and just imbibedly laughed for like 4 hours, pigging out on tots & flying solo in our corner while rowdy hooligans watched the Blackhawks game and 2 extremely quiet Asian men (travelers, methinks) sat and ate without looking at or talking to one another. I howled in uproarious laughter, near tears, at the sight of MEG's gift to me, which is directly related to Guy in a way we've only previously joked for some time now.

That was the 2nd or 3rd time Guy's suggested I and/or MEG & I hook up with a businessman. I've told him over and over again that businessmen don't float my boat. Fuck, if I wanted to seduce and land a guy with a zillion bucks, I'd line up more rock stars. I don't know what about that doesn't sink into Guy, because he suggested on the phone AGAIN yesterday that MEG and I should start hanging out at even swankier restaurants, steakhouses like Gibson's or Morton's, in order to land businessmen. MEG and I were scratching our heads. 

Needless to say, I'm sure MEG was turning heads left, right and center, 'cause she's MEG, but I don't envision any of the white collared executives OR icky hipsters waged the idea of winking at me across the bar. Surprise? I was unsettled by Guy's suggestion enough to text MEG back and forth about this businessmen thing, and concluded that Guy's train of thought is rooted in the fact that HE doesn't feel worthy of ME. (Defies logic. It was MEG's idea.) Guy said few years back that he thought he was ugly himself and if I tell him he's cute one more time, he'll tell me to shut up. He has this delusion that I could have my pick of the litter, when historically, that's totally untrue. Conversely, I think the same is true of Guy...that women swarm around him. (Especially in scrubs, like OH MY HOLY GOD.)  I texted Guy that while I was sure MEG could swing it with the corporate boys, totally, I said, "But, like, do you KNOW what I look like? My anti-style? My schtick? What's hot? Shaking my head, I told him, "I don't need a Ph.D. to conclude that it's your own insecurity and you scratch your own head as to why you're so attractive. Jesus Christ." 

Now that you've seen what I look like at present, do you think I remotely look like a businessman's preferred hook up? Exactly. That said, you wouldn't think Guy and I would mesh together AT ALL either. Guy's totally not my type. I'm totally not Guy's type. No more callers, we have a winner. We're VERY, VERY different.  My style is to have no style at all, which is original. I get a kick out of looking totally ridiculous, and unmatched and disheveled, and I don't have my shit together the way MEG does. Guy's preferred wear is decidedly business-like during the work day (Babe, those seasonal theme ties? NO! NO! NO! PLEASE. Don't be one of those men in 20 years wearing a "World's Greatest Grandpa" sweatshirt.) and Typical White Upper Crust Suburban Dad on the weekend. Unless we're going out together, when he kindly abides by my "Please, no khaki pants." He HAS jeans that look really good and *some* shirts without a little man riding a horse on the chest. Rock it out, brother. Smokin!

 I'm sure Guy would prefer I wear:

Kind of negates Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are," no?  To dress this way might pique and fulfill *some* men's fantasies, but it's not something I could ever (or would want to) pull off (er, have eventually pulled off of me). In other words, appearing like this would be a counterfeit Annie. Not only would I look silly, feel objectified and fall flat on my face, I'd feel stripped of my unique personality and quirkiness, which is manifested to some degree in what I do (or don't) wear. Those heels? Christ, why don't I just walk around wearing ice skates? 

I've been reading these short blurbs on  Believe me, if you have something pressing or important to do in your life, don't visit this site, because it's completely like crack cocaine, and 100% of your energy will be expended reading things that make you pine, think, cry, eat ice cream and swoon. Yes, they have an extensive collection on love and sex. 

The Thought Catalog entry that moved my senses the most was called "I Want To Snuggle With You," by Karyn Spencer, from 2011. It really does encapsulate what I'm not clever enough to write or tell Any Guy myself. PS, as you read on, I'm just saying that Guy's nose is decidedly crooked, which is part of his charm. Yes, this is totally unrealistic. That's why the woman wrote it.

"I want to snuggle with you. I’d like to lie on you and put my head on your shoulder and breathe in the same rhythm that you’re breathing. I want to use one of my hands to rub your head, down to your neck, then to your arm, and then hold your hand. I’d like to rest my other hand on your hipbone, which is my favorite part of your body because it’s a straight and bony hip, nothing like my curvy, soft one.

*Annie Note: Guy has the best hands of anyone, ever, even any musician I know. They're surgeon hands. I do like his hipbone, though he's kinda wiry.

I’d like to stay there long enough so that our awkwardness goes away. I’d like to feel you give into the moment. Don’t ask yourself if this is too intimate. Don’t worry about sending me signals that you like me too much. Don’t think about what will happen with us tomorrow. Stop wondering if your team is winning and how much longer it will be until I get off of you so you can turn the game on.

*Annie Note: He wouldn't worry about sports. He'd worry about PURGATORY.

Make a joke after a few moments of peace, one of those jokes that isn’t funny because of its sharp wit, but funny because it’s a comment on our current state, designed to make both of us ease further into the bubble of each other that we’re currently floating in. You could say something about how I’m as pale as the sheets, or how your pet is staring at us from the corner, or how the lady upstairs is walking like an elephant. And we’ll laugh together. Not the laugh that we shared in the bar with our friends. Not the laugh that comes when you watch an episode of Flight Of The Concords. Not the laugh that you force when your boss says something mean. This will be the laugh that you saved just for me, the one that’s vulnerable and soft and sweet, because that’s how you’re feeling towards me right now.

*Annie Note: Nix the pets. Nix the elephants. What's "Flight of the Concords?" Most of our jokes are only funny to us in the first place, because we're sardonically snide and mocking.

 You won’t think about what I said last week that made you angry. You won’t feel guilty for that thing you did that I would be upset about if I knew. You won’t plan what you’re having for dinner tonight. You will soak the right now of this up. Our moment.

*Annie Note: Guilt is a useless emotion. Carpe diem! You know you want to! 

I’d like you to play with my hair. Don’t pat my head with a flat hand, put your fingers under my hair, on my scalp, and then run them through my hair like it’s a waterfall. Wrap both of your arms around me and give me a long, tight squeeze, the kind where in the last second, I need to inhale but I can’t. Then I’d like you to close your eyes, so I can prop myself over your face and study your features freely without you looking back at me. I want to kiss your jaw line, fondle your earlobes, sweep my cheek against yours. I want to stroke the slope of your nose and your eyelids and admire your eyelashes.

*Annie Note: Ok, I like all of this, but his hair is softer than mine. And his eyelashes are longer. My hair's more like a porcupine than a waterfall. "Wow, Annie, you weren't kidding about the gray!"

I’d like you to run your thumb over my lips. Cup my face with both of your hands. And I want you to kiss me. This will be a kiss that liquefies from light to deep and then back to light. A seemingly endless kiss that doesn’t lead to anything else. It doesn’t need to. We’ll share it simply to feel the warmth that it brings on its own. Then I want you to roll me over. Lie on top of me and hold our arms over our heads so that I can feel all of your weight, strong and heavy and masculine.

*Annie Note: I am ALL OVER that.

I want you to start at the beginning and do it again."

Except I'd want him to scratch my back too. I might even consider breaking my Ick Factor Foot Rule and give him a foot massage. Now THAT, my friends, is a DAMN. FINE. FANTASY. (**See disclaimer above.)

*Endnote: Ok, I'm about ready to slit my wrists now. Well, lookie here! Luke unearthed the treasure of the Andrea & Craig engraved wedding cake cutter at his dad's last weekend! 

Not only is marriage as a concept totally ill-advised; unless you're gay, in which case, you'll totally live happily together forever, getting everything for your fucking wedding engraved, printed or etched with your names is a double-jinx guaranteed to land you in front of a judge dissolving your bond (which, surprisingly, takes roughly 1/4 of the duration of your wedding ceremony). We had 80 guests at our small marriage fete, but I ordered 1,000 Andrea & Craig lavender cocktail napkins. We were BOTH still using them 3 years after we separated after 11 years of marriage. 

Please. If you insist on personalizing every goddamn item, let someone good at ratios and math help you with ordering. Thank you. In retrospect, I should've put an Andrea & Craig engraved flask on our bridal registry.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Mutha Day's Quick Tale

God said, "Annie, I have SO MUCH AWESOME with which to bless you, challenge you, overwhelm you, fiercely protect you, make you laugh, make you proud, cuss, moan, pester, intellectually stimulate, frustrate and unconditionally love you & believe in your unstoppable natural fortitude and strength (which you'll pass on), that I can only pack it all into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by virtue of ONE gift."

Me: "Um.....God? Have you thought this through? I kind of have a habit of yuckin' stuff up and most of the time, I feel undeserving."

God: "You won't this time. Even when--especially when--people might try to convince or accuse you of yuckin' stuff up, your heart will be filled with the fruits of and knowledge of having done right by Me and by this gift."

Me: "If You say so...."

[Fast forward 13 years]

Me: "God, thank you. Luke's every bit of what You promised & 1,000 times more."

God: ;)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"This has been the longest day of my life."

The first measurably warmed-up day in Chicago was a couple of weeks ago, when wintry conditions stepped aside in favor of temperatures in the 60's. It was brightly sunny and bit breezy, but nothing overwhelming or uncomfortable in terms of the wind. It struck me odd that anyone would complain amid the mildness. I texted my older and only brother, Steve, that afternoon. He is one of few people I know who can innately notice the silver lining of any given cloud, though his own life has not been without requisite challenge, defeat or turmoil. I said of the lamenting, "I figure if all you can feel is the wind, you're cheating yourself out of all of the sunshine." He wholeheartedly agreed.

I told Steve at the time that I was reminded of a scene in Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon," during which Lee is giving a kung fu lesson to a young male student. Lee grows irritated at the student's lack of concentration and focus. Paraphrasing for my brother, Lee told the student that he needed to "feel" the energy of his emotional center and likened it all to pointing an index finger at the moon at night. The late martial artist iterated that if all an individual could focus on was looking at the finger as it pointed, he'd miss "all that heavenly glory."

The drive and commitment to "heavenly glory" has actually been my brother's sometimes rocky but no less dedicated life mission for several years, just as he's been energized and blessed being a father. His commitment to living for the Lord and for goodness, yes, has alienated a small fraction of those who, for individual reasons, grow annoyed with pontificating Christianity. (He told me to "shitcan the Hinduism," when he felt my Christian faith was wavering and I was tasting too many alternate religious doctrines. Fair enough, but I, like Steve, am an over-curious seeker.) But it's always been in times when we need God the most, Steve's right there with heartfelt prayers and uplifting.

I was out running errands last Wednesday afternoon, before I picked Luke up from school. I happened to text Steve about more people complaining about more things (so I was complaining about people complaining about complaining). We hadn't caught up in a week or so, & he asked how I was doing & we exchanged for a while about what was mutually happening on our ends of the world. He had several major expenses coming up soon, one of which included new tires for his sports motorcycle, and a new washing machine, etc. That was around 2:30pm. 

Luke, and I were on our own (my mom was out for the day/evening) after school and for dinner. First, we had to stop at the grocery store/pharmacy since it'd heated up outside considerably (70's!) and my tachycardia was aggravated; hence, a stop for overdue beta blockers & some sundries. Finding a beautifully decorated and inviting patio table, we sat in Aisle 18 for a refreshing margarita:

More silliness and fun ensued once we got home and, yes, instead of picking something up at the store I could, dare I say, actually cook, we decided to order-in. To me, the concept of Grub Hub is kind of douchey. Yes, there are veritably hundreds of local restaurant choices at your Chicagoland fingertips, but as I said on Wednesday, Grub Hub itself was Douche Point #1. Douche Point #2 was ordering in for delivery. Douche Point #3 was choosing a restaurant 2 blocks away from our house, rounding out Douche Point #4 for not having the energy to walk there.

We got a little snippy in the online ordering process....

Then Luke came up with a brilliant idea:

Which resulted in us receiving our dinner order in this bag:

And we laughed and laughed. It was honestly more fun than Luke & I have had together in ages. Luke and I were just....joyous. We certainly couldn't complain.

A call came in later in the evening, from my nephew, Jake. My brother had been involved in a motorcycle crash in Kane County, IL. He rides what some people call a "crotch rocket," a Honda sport bike. Wore a thick helmet and leather jacket. Had stopped at Ollie's in De Kalb for ice cream with his biker friends before going on a cruise. He remembers nothing from after being at Ollie's to being in an ICU in Rockford.

Though the overwhelming majority poo pooed the idea of the fright of Steve riding a motorcycle, he's nothing if not an adrenaline junkie. "Where does he get this daredevil spirit from?," my mom asked. I told her that both Steve and I have the genetic predisposition to do *something* to the extreme; in Steve's case, the more dangerous, the more he gets a jolt. It always has been. For me, it's booze, pills and a severe mood disorder. It's hard to fault how the Good Lord wired the two of us. In any event, Steve was so filled with adrenaline and in such shock that he tried to get up from the accident, scrapes from his helmet paint along the edges of the guard rail his bike his flew into, after he was dragged several feet. We have no idea off to where his glasses flew. Turning a corner going approximately 60 mph, he lost control of the sway of the bike, hit the guard rail I guess, trashed the bike and was dragged against the rail, landing on his right side, as I understand it. 

He'd been taken to Kishwaukee Hospital in De Kalb, and at the time, was being x-rayed for just a broken elbow. De Kalb knowing his injuries were very severe, transported him by helicopter to OSF St. Anthony's in Rockford, about an hour away and an hour and half from where we live. Anthony's has a major trauma center and it was found he had a broken elbow, broken right forearm, and shattered pelvis on the right, the hip bone so out of joint, it was almost protruding into the bladder. He was in critical condition but was stabilized. He has a herniated disc in his neck, which is stable. He had a brain bleed. One of my friends, a doctor, said, "He's got to be tough, if he's a Miklasz." And he is. He'll be 45 on the first day of summer, and is literally 100% muscle, though appears to be a scrawny little guy. (Special thanks to everyone who keeps asking me how much OLDER I am than Steve....) 

My mom and I arrived early Thursday afternoon, and Steve was in really bad shape. A nasal-gastric tube was down his throat emptying his stomach. He was on a morphine drip. Hooked up to a nasal canule of oxygen, the cervical collar was obstructing him from breathing comfortably. Surgery had been done the midnight before to put 2 long rods in the broken arm to stabilize it. The pelvis was being held in place by a rope and 3, 5 lb weights. His throat hurt to talk and while he was quite lucid when he was awake, he'd drift back to sleep every few minutes. The surreal feeling of having SO much fun with Luke the night before to feeding my brother ice chips one-by-one on a spoon the next afternoon was maddeningly shocking. The brain bleed eased very quickly, which was a good sign. 

Steve had the Steve Austin "Bionic Man" large action figure when we were kids. You could open him up & see all of his complicated, mechanical, faux computerized parts. "We can rebuild him. We have the technology." That, friends, is exactly it. My brother's limbs may be shattered, but he'll no doubt become The Bionic Man in due time. He loved this action figure he had as a boy, which I coveted highly. I immediately thought to buy a vintage Bionic Man doll on eBay, which I should have for him by Sunday: 

When the upper extremity ortho doctor visited Thursday, he had Steve go through a series of dexterity and mobility tests on the affected hand, on all of which he did a good job, despite massive swelling. His left (good) hand has some numbing in it, which we understand is from the herniated neck disc. He told the doctor, "I'm a drummer. I have to be able to drum." The doctor said we were at step one of 80 and the idea is to get him functional again. He whispered to me on Thursday, "This has been the longest day of my life." 

Steve lifts 100 lb boxes at his job, but it's unlikely he'll be able to do that anymore. The plan was to tentatively operate on the arm this Monday, and the pelvis yesterday, both of which were complete, successful but require an immense amount of kid glove caretaking and an eagle eye watch. My mom and I left Thursday night, as I had to begin my summer semester at school, and Jake had to return to NIU in De Kalb for his finals. My mom left Sunday to spend the surgical days with him and will be coming home later tonight. 

When he's awake and lucid, he's VERY TYPICAL Steve. He's ornery. He's got a roommate in his present room, who's driving him nuts. He told the nurses, "I'm VERY particular," which is also tried-and-true Steve. Keeping in mind the only surgery he's ever had was a tonsillectomy as a little boy, he's not used to that feeling of being ripped open from stem to stern every time you move. (I'm a surgery pro myself.) On the good leg, the left, those who know my brother know he's a chronic tapper, like lots of drummers, myself included. Not hooked up to anything, even mostly asleep, he was tapping his left foot up and down. 

Steve was moved out of the ICU and into the ortho floor on Saturday. Pain control and comfort are the foremost concerns. 

He's stable but in wretched pain, especially when turned on his good side, but is necessary to prevent bed sores (he has a large, sutured gash on his right leg) and is on IV antibiotics. He began running a low grade fever last night, which we've heard is common post-operatively, which has gone away.

The worst of the work of reconstruction is completed, yet the worst part--the rehabilitation--is just beginning. It's likely he'll be in Rockford for about 3 weeks, with rehab in De Kalb or Rockford for several months. 

The immediate outpouring of love and prayers of comfort from every end of the earth has been overwhelming and so powerful for our family. Between sharing information with his work friends, his church friends, his friend-friends and our extended family, thank God for social media; otherwise, my mom and I would be on the phone 24/7. I've connected with some wonderful people at NIU where Steve works (and has the odd nickname of "Bossman," ha!) and met some of his church friends. It's truly amazing to see the depth and reach of one person's life across the board. I've tried keeping Facebook updates public, so that others can just cut/paste what I'm updating, which is exhausting enough. I know if he could, he'd wrap me in his arms like he did when we were little. 

Frankly, I don't like those who are commenting to me that Steve was being "stupid" on his bike. Even Steve said Thursday that he thought the whole thing was "stupid." He wore a helmet and a heavy leather jacket. He happened to hit a bum turn that almost caused him his life, but it was an ACCIDENT. To assign blame or hypothesize on Steve's IQ or riding expertise is a waste of time.  Accidents are just that--it happened & we can't change that. We can only go forward and be supportive during his recovery & rehab. It's been a distracting, demanding, headachy several days & I'm STILL not caught up on my Spring papers, with summer starting. I had to take incompletes for my classes & have a couple extended weeks to finish WHILE I'm doing my summer course work. As George Harrison sang, "It's All Too Much." Some people are unwittingly ignorant or stupid themselves to say something as insensitive as that to a struggling immediate family member. 

Sunday, he tolerated clear liquids (There's always room for Jello!) but was nothing-by-mouth after midnight, since Surgery was Monday and Tuesday. He's back on clear liquids now.  Both of his reconstructions were a success and his musculature is allowing him to do VERY well. 


 There's even talk that he may be moved from the hospital to a rehab facility as early as this Friday. My mom came home early this evening and we'll head to Rockford for Mother's Day and to celebrate..what's....

Tomorrow's my 41st birthday. The best gift I could ever receive is continued healing and prayers for my brother. 

My band's playing Saturday night...I put in a special request for one of my brother's favorite songs, "Mighty to Save," which he played with my band at our church picnic in 2011. In fact, divinely, the whole set list Pastor Dave picked out for May are songs Steve either loves or has performed in the past with my band. I told my band mates I'm going to drum forcefully and loudly, and I don't give a damn how loud I am. I'm rocking it out. 

Thanks to EVERYONE for the outpouring of love and support. My whole family is pretty worn out, but we're coping, and just glad Steve's alive and he WILL mend. He WILL drum again. I hope the longest day of his life will remain a faint memory in the future and he can press forward with whatever he chooses to accomplish.

God bless.