Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oh my, almost forgot the results

Back in January, Sallie and I did a painful diet that consisted of cutting all carbs and much sodium out of our diet for a while. And while I didn't follow it in the most strictest way, I did get results.

On 1/6/2013
Weight: 201.6 lbs
Blood Pressure: 135 / 77

I was feeling pretty rough then. Remember... though I had a heart attack

So we worked out, ate right, and generally felt better.

Well, as of 2/22
Weight: 192.6 lbs
Blood Pressure: 122/80

That brings my total weight loss from Christmas 2011 until now somewhere around 30 lbs. I definitely feel a lot better and can get around without getting winded as easily.

I'm about to go to Columbia for vacation for a few days, so there's a good chance I'll gain a few pounds, but I'm confident I can get right back on the horse. I want to be around 188 when I get surgery in April.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Going to get cut again

So I went in to see the surgeon for my quarterly checkup. We joked that when this is all said and done, we will feel weird not seeing each other. I might throw quarterly knee BBQs so the surgeon, nurse, Sallie, and I can hang out.

As predicted, I'll need another surgery to right my knee. Basically the outside of my knee has healed 100%, but all the inside ligaments are still damaged which is why I still can't run and sometimes get tired walking.

My ACL is completely wrecked. It looks like a shriveled little worm on the sidewalk in summer. So the doc is ordering a donor ACL.

My PCL is hanging on by a thread. He said that it might not be a big deal. People live with torn PCLs all the time, but if he can fix it easily, he'll do it. He's going to go ahead and order a donor PCL as well. He described these donors pieces as frozen meat. Basically it sounds like if he doesn't need to use it on me, he can put it back in the freezer.

So I'll be getting this done around late April or early May. Basically, Sal and I need to sit down and decide when we have a few weeks open.

Sounds like this time I will be on crutches immediately and walking within 6 weeks. And the doctor says, within 5-6 months, I'll be able to jog again for the first time in 2 years. It's going to feel weird.

So I'll need lots of entertainment for a few weeks while I sit on the couch in a painkiller induced haze. I'll accept this entertainment in any form anyone wants to provide.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Crashy Bean

Everyone knows Crash as that cat we immediately warn not to touch, get near, or look at. She is a vicious creature that will take your face off.

She wasn't always that way.

When we first had Crash, she wasn't really allowed in either of our college residences. So Sallie and I spent a lot of time hiding her in back packs, sneaking her into rooms.

She spent most days at my place, just hanging out in my room. I would come home for my 90 minute lunch break and feed her, play with her, and sometimes just sit there and play guitar while she laid next to me.

She was a very happy kitten.

Every now and then, when I find a few minutes to actually play guitar, I get to see that little kitten come out. Without fail, a few minutes into playing, I'll feel something rub against my leg and when I look down, I see this purring ball of fuzz at my feet.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Medical Woes

Whether you agree with Obamacare or not, something needs to be done about our medical industry. Sallie and I are quickly becoming vets at dealing with insurance companies, hospitals, doctors offices, and physical therapy, but we still have things happen that take us by surprise.

For instance, Sallie had surgery on December 14th. (It appears to have fixed all issues BTW)

We were given the estimate that we would need to pay $500 (all these numbers are fake, but proportional to the real numbers) total for services rendered.

The bill from the hospital arrived in the mail on January 5th, and it was for $250.

We were surprised and cautiously optimistic. I called the hospital and asked them multiple times, "Are you sure this is the only charge? There's nothing pending." They told me that it was the only charge they saw, everything came back from the insurance company, congrats, you owe half of what you thought.

We checked the insurance companies website and they too only showed that charge.

Sallie and I were ecstatic  but still cautious.

A month goes by, we don't see anything else. The money we had budgeted for Sal's surgery went to other bills.

Then BAM! February 1st, we get a bill from the surgeon's office for another $250.
BAM! February 4th, we get a bill from the Ultrasound people for another $50.
BAM! February 10th, we get a bill from the Anesthesiologist's office for another $150.

So, we got a bill for staying in the hospital and having a meal for 8 hours.

We got a separate bill for the actual surgeon, who performed the operation in that hospital.

We then got a bill from the people that did the test to find the scar tissue.

And then, we finally got a bill, almost two months later, for the anesthesia used to knock Sallie out for the operation we had in the hospital we had already paid for.

On top of that, I still have two pending bills for urgent care. They can't tell me if my visit was just the $25 co-pay, or if it's going to be the $250 full pay if insurance doesn't cover it.

These are things I'm fairly sure my British readers don't have to deal with. And don't get me wrong, I know your medical system isn't perfect either, but in America we deal with advertisements for pills during every commercial break, bills from every person that touches your body, and insurance companies that obviously want to make as much money as possible, which sometimes comes at the expense of you the patient.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It was a GREATTTTTT Night

So yesterday felt like every other Wednesday. It was dragging hard, I was watching the clock, ready to be off work.

Finally 5:00 hits and Sallie and I immediately have to leave to go get our taxes done.

We went to a new guy who was recommended to us by one of Sallie's co-workers. They are in a similar situation to us, lot of side jobs, owed money the last few years, etc. They said this guy could take care of us.

They were right. This guy was great, I recommend everyone to him. Go to Mark Indelicato if you're looking for a tax guy. He has beer in the fridge, Three Stooges paraphernalia hanging on every wall, and a pinball machine in his office.

He went through our stack of documents in about 40 minutes and got us the largest return we've had since we've been married. He was a deduction machine.

So, that put us in a great mood.

We then drove to Bobby's Place out in Fenton to watch the Blues game with some of our favorite folk.

I was nervous. We had our minor league goalie starting in his first NHL game, at Joe Louis arena (Detroit), on a 5 game losing streak and the Blues have a knack for playing terribly whenever we get a nationally televised game. It turned into one of the more exciting games the Blues have played in the last few weeks.

Alex Steen scored the game winning goal in overtime. Anyone that has gone to a Blues game with me in the past two years knows that Steen is my boy, and to advertise that, I wore my Steen shirt last night.

A few minutes after the game ended, I get this pat on my back. It's an older gentleman and he shakes my hand and says, "Congrats, your boy got the game winner tonight." I said thanks and the man started walking away. He got about five steps away from me and my brain clicked, "I think Bobby Plager just shook my hand."

I look him up on Google, just to be sure, and those eye brows are unmistakable. I immediately marched down to the bar, shook his hand, told him it was an honor. I got my shirt signed (He carries a sharpie on his key chain) and got this picture with him.

We came home, drank a home brew, and then went to bed. What a night!

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I love St. Louis and I love America. I want people to have a great experience when they come to my city or country.

Last night at the hockey game, Sallie and I met a Finnish air force pilot named Miku. He and three of his buddies were in town to do some simulation testing at Boeing and they all decided to see a NHL hockey game. Luckily for them, the Anaheim Ducks who have the largest Finnish roster in NHL, were playing in St. Louis.

We met Miku because he kept apologizing every time Anaheim scored saying, "I'm sorry, but this is very good for me. I hope that the game goes to a shootout."

Miku is a season pass holder for his Finnish league hockey team, (Sorry Miku, forgot the name of your city) and said their arena was larger, it maybe held another 8,000 people, but that we were louder. (USA USA!)

Sallie and I were chatting him up in between plays, telling him some things he should see while in St. Louis and he told us about his 8 year old son, who plays goalie for his hockey team. Miku incredibly excited to be at the game and wanted his son to be there with him. Instead he was going to buy his son a t-shirt of one of our young players. I suggested Oshie, Backes, and Pietrangelo, but Miku sounded like he wanted a Halak shirt

Then, sitting on the other side of us, is this little 7 year old badass. He's always rocking an Oshie jersey.  He's got a half season pass and is at every game with either his mom or dad. Anytime the Blues score, we give him a high-five and chat him up.

I guess what I'm saying is its important to be great ambassadors to the things you love. My hope is that Miku goes back to Finland and tells everyone how much love there is for hockey in St. Louis and how the people there were nice. And that little boy that sits next to us will remember being included in the celebration with the adults around him.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Coolest Toys Ever

The moment I bought a house, my mom (after graciously helping me move) showed up at my house with a trunk filled of my childhood memories and toys. She smiled as she drove off.

I now had a home owner's right of passage. I had to find a dark shelf in the basement to throw these boxes onto, and forget the stuff exists until I move again and start the cycle over.

Well this was the norm for two years. There was a room in my basement I almost never entered where these boxes sat. After two years, I said no more.

I would not move around boxes filled with certificates that said I knew subtraction in 2nd grade. I would not haul around two giant boxes filled with Legos for the rest of my life, only to have my nephews and nieces have to clean out my attic after I die wondering, "Why the hell did Uncle Dan have Ghostbusters toys?"

So I started going through all my boxes. Nostolgia got the best of me.

Maybe I did like to remember my iron man streak of perfect attendance from 1st-3rd grade. So I scanned all the awards I won and saved them to my external hard drive and then dumped all the physical copies.

My old room mate and I got out the two giant bins of Legos and sat cross legged on my living room rug, building fortresses and pirate ships. And then he moved out... and the Legos sat there collecting dust again.

So, one brave December morning, I sold my Legos on Craigslist to pay for everyone's Christmas gifts. That's right folks, your Christmas gifts were bought with the blood of my childhood memories.

And finally, the two giant boxes of Star Wars collectibles I've been carrying around since 1998. (I put every playset back in its box and then those into larger boxes when we moved from North County to St. Charles and never pulled them out again.)

I started going through the boxes and realized that I has some really f-ing cool Star Wars toys. (Thanks mom and dad) A huge Hoth Micro-machine playset with Snowspeeder and AT-AT. There's the 16 or so action figures I had, including most the bounty hunters, and of course, the hundreds of collectible card game cards.

Here's just a quick picture I took of some of the play sets. (And yes, those are two giant boxes of comic books the play sets are resting on top of.)

How freakin' awesome are those? I really had to hold back actually playing with them. I'm almost 30, and I wanted to play with Micro Machines.

And, I'm probably going to sell some of these next year when the next Star Wars comes out. (Profits should hopefully rise when interest does.) I'm not sure how much of it, but some of it. I started looking up some of the play-sets on eBay and realized, unless I left it in the original packaging, never played with them, those boxes are worthless.

So, sorry everyone that has helped me move, there were two giant boxes that were incredibly un-necessary.

But anyway, point of the story is... well, I'm not really sure. I just wanted to talk about toys. I guess, takes toys out to play with and ditch the boxes they were once in because those boxes don't mean crap on the re-sale market.