Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why My Nephew's Name is Cesar Twisty McSpinnington

The following is the true story of the arrival of my nephew as witnessed by my mother, Vickie. The images accompanying the story were all taken during the event, and the texts are both real and unadulterated. As the kids say, this is some crazy shit, yo. - Evo

[caption id="attachment_1663" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Labor with a chance of tornadoes. This won't be fun."]Screen capture of text message[/caption]

The morning of May 24th, 2011 had barely dawned and already the weathermen were calling for super-cell thunderstorms that could spawn monster tornadoes and hail the size of hen’s eggs by evening rush hour. I left my elderly parents to rouse themselves and made the trek across the city, arriving at Norman Regional Hospital to help my son-in-law Devin coach my second-born, Kala, through labor and delivery of her first-born. And after the events of this fateful day had come to a close, quite possibly her last!

Ever mindful of the tragedy in Joplin three days earlier, we were briefed within moments of arrival on emergency procedures should similar conditions happen here. Spoiler alert: they did. But it was abundantly apparent that these so-called "plans" were dreamed up by no born-and-bred Okie:
When a tornado watch is issued, all doors must closed and the curtains be drawn.

What the...?  In this state, tornado warning sirens are a signal for you to either a) rush outside and try to spot the funnel cloud, or in the event of rain or hail, b) rush to the nearest window(s) and attempt the same. Drawn curtains do not facilitate this activity. And what sort of protection would drawn curtains provide, anyhow? I've seen the damage a tornado/hail/wind storm can actually do. Drawing the curtains on 8-foot high windows is akin to the proverbial flea f*cking an elephant! Pardon my French.

[caption id="attachment_1664" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Surely it won't come here, right? Wrong."]screen captuer of text message[/caption]

Just after noon, my husband arrived at the hospital with my parents. Because birth is a spectator sport. Not long after, Mother Nature began her furious spectacle state-wide, and we began checking on old hometowns and current hometowns as residents buttoned-up to wait out the growing fury. Glued to the television we were, fascinated by another of Mike Morgan’s severe weather ties. In the waiting room, strangers became chatty, sharing where each other lived, where family was, and prognosticating which areas might get the worst damage. If misery loves company, the potential of mile-wide swaths of devastation loves a cocktail party. Well, a dry cocktail party at least.

By 5:30PM, Kala continued to labor. But baby boy Phillips was playing his own game of hide-and-go-seek in Mom’s womb. Hey, my grandson is not stupid. He could hear those warnings, those conversations, those predictions of doom; why should he come out now? Instead he turned face up, laughing in the face of danger. For the uninitiated, "face up" means "back labor", something no woman should go through. So we joined forces with the nurse in an attempt to flip my daughter onto her tummy; no simple feat. Our efforts, however, were ultimately successful, resulting in the baby assuming the desired position.

[caption id="attachment_1667" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Yes, that says "baby in the basement"."]screen capture of text message[/caption]

But with that good news came the announcement from the tube: Tornado warnings for Norman, OK. One tornado was already on the ground in Chickasha, and the super-cell that spawned it was on a track for a direct collision-course with the hospital. Grazing blow or bulls-eye? Too soon to tell. But too close for comfort. Nurses rushed in, unhooked Kala from all her monitors and equipment, told us to grab our things, and rushed us out into the hall. But wait! Other nurses in the hall, those with no faith in the newfangled television, informed us that the hospital PA was the arbiter of our fate. So we return to the room with the more skittish nurses, who re-hooked Kala to her monitors and equipment. For about three minutes. Because that's when the omniscient PA system caught up to the weathermen and began blaring the EVACUATE TO THE BASEMENT orders. Surprise!

My parents had left for the cafeteria minutes earlier. I put them out of my mind, as the cafeteria was conveniently located in the basement. So I ambled along with the queue of moms soon-to-be and moms recently made, some with newborns in their arms and all with adoring, worried families in tow. Point of interest. You can fit exactly 7 people in an elevator along side a maternity bed. Who knew?

[caption id="attachment_1666" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Now where did I leave those great-grandparents?"]screen capture of text message[/caption]

Now that my laboring daughter and I were safely in the basement, I began the questing for the Greats in a sea of confusion. I was transported back to childhood bomb drills as I stepped gingerly over people sitting and lying in the bowels of the hospital, threading my way from hall to hall. I finally located the cafeteria, but the Greats were nowhere to be seen. After sticking my head in every room off every hall, a last-ditch effort to reach them on their cell phone was miraculously successful. Mom said she wasn't sure where they were, but that they were in the basement tucked safely way under a stairwell. Good enough for now. They've lived through worse.

I headed back to locate my own progeny and found the nurses and staff making a labor/delivery room out of the large supply/storage area. You might want to read that sentence again. My husband was there, hovering over Kala like an avenging angel. This would be his second grandson (his first from his other daughter), though this one was coming under slightly more strained conditions. His demeanor was quite understandable, especially for an ex-cop. I proudly proclaimed to my daughter that, should the need arise, we family members (five of us), the two nurses and her ob/gyn would form a human wall to provide a modicum of privacy as she delivered in the midst of the crowded supply closet. Oh, look. Another sentence you might want to read again.

[caption id="attachment_1668" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Making friends through adversity"][/caption]

Down here in the nether regions of a concrete building and with cell towers above suffering the wrath of a tempest, the voice-portion of mobile phones were spotty at best. Texts were still coming through and Kala’s ob/gyn adopted a casual demeanor, sitting at the end of her bed with a newly acquired iPhone, chatting up my daughter about the vagaries of their common communication devices. Damned odd. But it reminded me that phones today are much more than just phones, so I took advantage of the lull in the action and started taking pictures and videos. This was a blatant violation of hospital policy. "No photos until after the baby is born" sayeth the sign in the labor room. But we weren't in the labor room. And let's be realistic; this is the stuff of which legends are. Soon others took note of my disregard of propriety, and now we are all forever recorded in each other’s lives and the lives of those babies Born in the Storm.

And through it all, my ultra-type-A, overachieving, the-world-will-bend-to-my-will daughter Kala was the proverbial calm in the storm. Too bad we can't say the same for my impending grandson. Frustrated no doubt by all the commotion, he turned right back around and remained steadfast. Here: good. There: bad. And who could blame him? I later learned from my mother, a resident of this state for some 80 years who has been through more than one tornado, that she had never felt such pressure on her ears, huddling under the stairwell as the tornado passed just south of us. This one, it seems, was a doozy. And a close doozy, at that.

[caption id="attachment_1670" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Now that we won't all die..."]screen capture of text image[/caption]

Finally the all clear was given and we were shuffled back to the 2nd floor. My grandson, it seems, would not be born in a storage closet. Which is just a step up from manger, I'm told. Out the window we saw skies clearing and no damage/debris in our immediate view. All praise the magic storm-deflecting curtains, indeed. And though Kala had quite the supportive crowd during the ordeal and was forced to go with the flow, I fear said ordeal imprinted the family-passed stubborn streak more strongly to my delayed grandson than it exists for the rest of us. Suddenly finding prehensile toes with which to grab kidney, duodenum and/or spleen, baby boy made it clear he was not coming out into this type of insanity.

[caption id="attachment_1669" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Hail, Cesar. There is irony in that."]screen capture of text image[/caption]

At 10:43 PM, medical science won over determination and an uncooperative cervix, and my grandson was yanked out by c-section. His response to this rather abrupt and unceremonious arrival was immediate. He pissed on the doctor. Twice!  At nine pounds eight ounces and sporting skis for feet, I am pretty sure he would have asked for a cheeseburger had he known the language. And for rapid expatriation to a locale with a more stable climate.

[caption id="attachment_1672" align="alignleft" width="224" caption="The effort pays off at the end."]freshly arrived baby[/caption]

Welcome to the world, Landon. May the rest of your days live up to the excitement that heralded your arrival.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bad Ass Brews Cruise and Me

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Let's ride! by Evo Terra"][/caption]

Yesterday kicked off American Craft Beer Week. I celebrated by taking part in the Ameri"CAN" Bad Ass Brews Cruise. Along with a hundred or so other more-beer-than-bike fans, I rode about 20km on a four pub route.


But don't let my full regalia of biking gear fool you, this event placed much more emphasis on brew and cruise than bike. Our leisurely pace resulted in some 3 hours of total transit time. It also left enough time for a quick side jaunt to do some tequila shots with my new girlfriend Meg and her lovely friends.

Despite all my friends chickening out on the event, I had a great time. I met a bunch of new friends and uncovered a new side of the Phoenix beer scene I never knew existed. They do these periodically, so I'm looking forward to the next. And after reading this, maybe you'll join me next time?

And don't forget: The first Ameri”CAN” Canned Craft Beer Festival is next weekend. You'll want to get tickets now. :)


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Today, now with more bacon

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="131" caption="Image by shawnzam via Flickr"]Bacon[/caption]

I just cooked an entire pound of bacon in the oven. I took me the better part of an hour as I didn't want to mess up multiple baking sheets.

No, I don't have visitors in town. No, I'm not cooking for a party later on. No, this isn't prep-work for something else yet to be created.

When Sheila asked me why I was doing this, I replied much in the way that Venkman replied when Stantz was inquiring to the source of funds for the ecto-containment system he had been developing with Spengler.

But now I have a pound of BRE1 at my disposal. Bitches.


1 - Bacon, Ready-to-Eat

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Warrior Dash AZ 2011 wrap-up

Shootin' at the walls of heartache, bang, bang, I am the warrior
Well I am the warrior, and heart to heart you'll win..if you survive
the warrior....the warrior - Patti Smith

Waaaaariors, come out to plaaaay - Luther

Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket, but do my legs hurt.

3.4 miles of completely untrained for hell. That's what I did yesterday. Running? No sweat. For someone who actually prepared. Obstacles? Twelve that I managed despite never having so much as attempted a 2-inch vertical leap. But I finished, motherfuckers. Dressed as a Roman soldier, chasing Jesus. Like there was any other option?

The Warrior Dash is one of those things that at first sounds stupid, then kind of awesome, and winds up an incongruous mix of the two. I was in the 10:30am heat with a pile of other morons, some better prepared than others (like me.) 3.4 miles, 12 obstacles that bore only passing resemblance to the promised challenges, and the desire to do but one thing: finish.

I did.

Some running. Some walking. Some wondering what the hell motivated me to do something this stupid, but mostly thinking about all the things I'll do differently next year. Here they are:

  • First day, first heat - I pity the fools who ran the course after us. And I weep openly for those to attempt it tomorrow. A few hundred people at a time every 30 minutes puts some serious wear on the track. I'm betting some parts are nearly non-navigable tomorrow. Next year, I'm going first.
  • Portable shower - Now I like getting hosed down by an irrigation truck as much as the next guy, but it's not what I'd call efficient. I sluiced off at least 5 more pounds of mud when I got home.
  • Destruction-proof camera - The finish line is pretty epic, but the opportunities to capture sheer stupidity on film mid-race are legion. Unsure I'll trust the baggies some folks used to carry their mobile devices.
  • Naproxen - Because if I hurt this much 7 hours later this year...
  • Caravan - This is a tailgaters dream. And while they don't allow you to bring in outside beer to the event pavilion, plenty of us were drinking in the parking log and no one gave us the evil eye. And since the free beer they gave us was FCW1 swill, I could have used a few more.
  • More people - While we made it a family affair, this is an event that is conducive to hoards of your fellow malcontents.

Yes, I'll have fond memories of my first Warrior Dash. And more aches and pains that a man my age should have to deal with. Ever.


1 - Fucking close to water