Picking up Where I Left off, or Maybe Not

August 10, 2015

Phew. Are we done? I think we’re done, sorta.

Almost two weeks ago, I talked about how things were a bit frenetic. Moving, visitors, and whatnot. Fun things, but a bit less downtime than I’m accustomed to. Then, last Thursday, I talked about my lack of chill and trying to allow some zen to enter (re-enter?) my life.

Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way.

Though the post went up on Thursday at noon, I wrote it a couple of days earlier on Tuesday morning and scheduled it publish automatically. My wife and I were already up in cabin country enjoying the lake life, and while I was having a good time, I was finding it hard to relax. I wrote that post as an attempt to give myself permission to check out for a few days.

Instead, on Tuesday afternoon we found ourselves quickly packing our things and making a beeline back to Minneapolis. The reason? My brother, who you may recall was in town to write some outdoor books, found himself on the business end of a mountain bike handlebar and laid up. For a couple of days, we assumed it was exactly the sort of thing that just needed rest to get him on the mend. We were very wrong!

I Did Not See That Coming

Sure did, Ron.

His injury did not improve the way you’d expect if it was a relatively minor muscle injury or bruising. After a doctor’s appointment Tuesday afternoon, he was sent to the emergency room and we raced back to the city.

I’m gonna cut to the chase a bit here. Joe ended up getting surgery to repair arterial damage just above his groin caused by the handlebar. He’s doing pretty well now, but he’s back in Cleveland and will be out of commission for a good six weeks or so. I recommend reading his post retelling this craptastic event for the whole story.

Stating the obvious, this sucked most of all for Joe, but he has his own web site and can talk about that there. This site is about me and how things suck for me. I just want you guys to know where my priorities are.

Everything Sucks

Now, Joe was in excellent hands at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, known particularly for its vascular department apparently, but these things are still scary because they just are.* The most nerve-wracking aspect of this was how quickly it felt like it unfolded. It may surprise you to learn that I am not a doctor, so to me it felt like it went from “my leg is sore” to “surgery, tomorrow” in the blink of an eye.

This also sucks because it meant Joe’s visit came to a sudden and early end as a result. If you’re not supposed to lift more than 10lbs for 6 weeks, it’s pretty tough to do a bunch of hikes, bike a few hundred miles, and tackle several paddle trips.

Heading home was obviously the right call, but it’s a huge bummer nonetheless. It was great having him around, but because we had been so busy moving it felt like I was coming home every night late and too spent to say more than a few words. I was looking forward to spending the next few weeks focusing on the book projects but having more time to just hang out, too.

Moving On

It’s a stretch to say anything particularly good has come out of this, but I am at least glad that we were able to be there while Joe was going through this indisputably shitty situation. We did our best to make things as easy as possible for Joe and his wife, and it’s good to feel useful when dealing with something over which you have basically zero control.

At this point, I want only for Joe to heal up so he can get back to doing his thing. This also means I need to get back to doing my thing as well, but I woke up this morning, ostensibly the first “normal” workday in our new home–no moving, no guests, etc–and spent a chunk of time trying to figure out how to go about my day. What is it that I actually do? And how do I do it?

Well, I do this, I guess. I write things. That’s a start.

Beyond that, a lot of my life feels like something of a blank slate. I don’t have work habits defined here in the new location. I don’t have a coffee shop that’s my go-to spot yet. My desk space is a work in progress.

This is a bit disorienting, but I’m hopeful it’s an opportunity as well. I’ve written several posts over the last couple of months where, in hindsight at least, it’s clear I’ve been in something of a rut. Trying to build new habits and routines is uncomfortable and even scary, but that shouldn’t be a hindrance if the old routines weren’t worth a damn.

Some of my habits, like sticking to twice weekly blog posts, were pretty good. But other habits…not so much. It’s time to use all the pandemonium of the last month and our new place as an opportunity to relearn how I operate. It’s time to ditch the comfort zone.


*Things like “Abbott Northwestern has an excellent vascular department” are what you learn very quickly when suddenly in need of it. This kind of information is simply not on most people’s radar until it has to be. Should it be? I dunno. Seems a bit odd to research that sort of thing ahead of time under the theoretical possibility you’d need it, right?

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