Monthly Archives: November 2012

What Doesn’t Kill Ya…

For the past couple of weeks, my back has been twinging. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, it’s always at a number five, something I’ve got used to over the years. This morning, up a bit early to get a few things done around the house in anticipation of nearly 20 people stopping by, in brushing my teeth bent slightly over the sink. Pain level at maybe a 6.

I cough.

Sonofafuckingbitch, as someone sticks a hot knife in the spot where my spine meets my pelvis. The toothbrush rattles around the sink bowl as my hands clutch the vanity and I try hard to not drop to the floor. I can’t feel my legs, the pain has sky rocketed well beyond the 10 mark. Happy fucking Thanksgiving to me…

I know in a couple of minutes I’ll get some feeling back below my hips and be able to put my weight back on my legs, albeit tentatively.

The first time this happened I was 21, 35 years ago. I had bent over to pick up a pair of pants and the next thing I knew, my head was meeting a concrete floor. Doctors visits, x-rays, inconclusive. That was the beginning of the constant 5 on the pain scale.

When I was 31, picking up another pair of pants found me head first in a laundry basket. I somehow hobbled down some stairs, sat down in a chair and blacked out from the pain. For the next 30 days my legs were useless to me and the pain was at a constant 10. At some point three people carried me out to a minivan and laid me in the back of it for a trip to a doctor. Lifting legs, twisting and turning, ow, son of a bitch don’t ever fucking do that again… inconclusive. Take some Advil, it will go away.

On the 30th day, I’d had enough. Over the next 30 days I had to teach myself to walk all over again. After another 30 days I was able to finally walk without a cane. For the next seven years the pain level was always somewhere between 5 and 10. I refused to let it stop me from doing anything I wanted to do and at times, I paid for it.

At 38 I went and saw a chiropractor. There had to be something I could do. A series of x-rays and I get a phone call…

“Did you fall on your back when you were about eight years old?”

Yes I did, it was intentional. I remember knocking the wind out of myself and then going back to play.

“Well, you broke your back and it never healed correctly.”

What……?

At least now I knew what the problem was. To fix it, according to the chiropractor, they would have to go in through the front, put all my intestines on the table next to me, saw off the broken vertebra and… Stop, stop, stop. That’s never going to happen.

“Then I’ll do what I can do to take the pressure off and you should be fine.”

For the most part, that’s worked out pretty well. Minor setbacks now and then, but generally things go back to normal relatively quickly. I could live with that.

“You do realize that someday an incident might paralyze you.”

Hopefully when I’m too old to care anymore.

This morning, I got some feeling back in my legs. I looked at the pain wracked face in the mirror. I tried to stand up straight and from my waist up, I looked like the tower in Pisa. Sonofafuckingbitch, it was going to look like this for a good two weeks and hurt like hell.

I forced myself straight and felt something shift in my pelvis. Suddenly the pain disappeared and I was standing perfectly straight. This had never happened before. I had already resigned myself to a few weeks of pain and leaning. It was gone, only, I had no clue what I did to fix it. I wish I could write down what I did so I could remember it for next time, there will be a next time.

And that is what will kill me some day.

I refuse to let my back limit anything I like to do. In this case, fishing. I like to explore and get to those isolated spots where no one goes. Hiking deep into the woods, along overgrown small creeks. I follow the paths that critters make,

forgetting that at times the critters only range from one to four feet tall. I wind up on hands and knees crawling through the woods,

getting extremely familiar with what grows on the forest floor.

The creeks are so overgrown, with trees arching low over the surface, that even then I have to get my nose within inches of the flowing water to continue down stream.

One of these will some day destroy my back. I’ll wind up face down in the dirt incapable of moving. Or worse, face down in the creek, knocked out by the boulder my head happens to meet.

For this reason I always carry a cell phone with me. My wife always knows where I am. As she says… Great, I’ll know where you’re car is, now you’ll be within a two mile radius of it somewhere…

The price you pay for being stupid.

And no, what doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you stronger. In my case, it seems to make me dumber. A couple of weeks after recuperating from one of these incidences and I’d be out there again. On hands and knees, sliding down steep embankments, hitting creek bottoms with a thud, tripping and falling over unseen objects that reach up and grab you by the legs and throw you to the ground.

What doesn’t kill ya is just another story to tell on how stupid you can be just so you can go do a bit of fishing, or maybe some hunting.

And if it does kill ya some day, that will be one hell of a story.

Strolling and Fishing

I guess it could be considered a hike since it’s over a half mile of walking through this. And this is the easy part.

For now, I have it all to myself. That will change in a few years, but till then I plan on taking advantage of my good fortune. This place is pretty well off the beaten path, not much around it either, so there’s a chance even years from now no one will come here. Few like to hike in, an absolute must here. I know other places like this, but they don’t have ponds.

Four ponds to be exact. Three of them I found out, with some pretty healthy fish.

I couldn’t figure out why the fish were reflecting bright orange. Every picture of a fish I took had that orange. I’d turn them away from the sun, more orange. The sun wasn’t doing that. It wasn’t till I looked at the close up of the bass, the reflection off it’s eye that I remembered I was wearing a bright orange hunting vest, given to me by this guy as I was heading out to the ponds, just in case.

This day was a perfect sunset day. Surprisingly not much color, but no wind, wisps of clouds and bright blue. A flock of about 30 doves hung out around the pond all afternoon. Restless, as they roosted for no more than 10 seconds, then would explode out of the tree and circle the pond. Again and again, but never when I snapped off a shot.

End of the day was quickly approaching, I was heading out. Not sure what it would be like hiking out of here in the dark, didn’t care to find out. One pond, never fished, because there is virtually no shore access and what could be seen of the pond seemed small, shallow and weed choked. I was able to bush whack my way in at two spots. The weeds are all gone, the pond is much bigger than I thought and much deeper. After two others, the last fish of the day.

Just one more fish, but the next cast saw the lure snapped off on a submerged log.

It was time to go. It was getting a bit dark.

That last pond was haunting me all the way back to the car. Still is. Next year, all grown over again, how the hell was I going to do this? Small canoe? Too long of a hike. Float tube? The idea seems sound, but the logic of floating around in a little tube disturbs me. Cut more paths in? No, I like the impenetrable shore…

Think, think, think.

A Walk in the Neighborhood

Living on the edge of town, on the edge of civilization by Chicago standards, I usually hop in the car and drive for 10 or so minutes to the west to find something remote to walk around in. Today I decided to stroll around the neighborhood, down to the river, over to the wooded ravine that’s steps from my house. Haven’t really done that in awhile, at least the exploratory part of it. Couldn’t think of a good reason to hop in the car.

Two minutes down a hill to the Fox River and I’m still about 30 feet above the river. The next town downstream is about eight miles away and you can’t see it from the river anyway. Just a lot of this:

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The mouth of the ravine is barely noticeable if you were canoeing down the river. Not much water flowing through it on a normal day. I have seen it flooded with the sound of rushing water at a deafening level, but even in this year of drought it never dried up completely. A small gravel bar lets you get a bit of a river vantage.

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I’m not sure this could even be called a creek. It winds through a small flood plain, very small.

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I guess at some point this warning made sense, but you have to see this area to appreciate how useless this warning has become.

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It seems that every small river town has railroad tracks that follow the river. Crossing the tracks and following this small creek upstream, the creek bed suddenly changes. I’ve fished numerous creeks that feed into the Fox and have wandered up quite a few ravines. This is the only one I can recall that has these stair steps of limestone.

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As you wander further up, the bed of the ravine is a limestone slab with river boulders lying around. Some of the boulders are an impressive size. I’m assuming they’re remnants of the last ice age, I see them out in the river all the time, but at this point I’m a good 40 feet above the river.

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I decided to take the short walk into downtown, if it can be considered that. The river, a few stores and a kayak chute that was put in not long ago as a compromise to tearing out the town dam completely. Not much else to it. It is a nice place to hang out, but I hardly ever do.

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I never go fishing here. Downstream where I just was, nobody goes. I know miles upon miles of river I can wade where I never see another person. Suits me fine. Then I don’t have to feel compelled to confront stupid people. I guess “No Fishing in the Bypass Channel” doesn’t refer to them.

Better to avoid the discussion altogether. They tend to go nowhere and the stupid never learn.

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The walk home from there is kind of pleasant. Up a few hills, yes, even in Illinois. From river level to the ridge where I live has to be a good 60 feet. Zig zagging home is a good half mile. Get’s a good burn going in calves and thighs. Reminds me of why I should do it more often. Down at the end of a dead end street, up against the wall of trees that start the ravine and I’m home.

Not a bad neighborhood for a stroll now and then.

Gone Huntin’

“What are you doing?”

Well, I was thinking that over the last 10 years I’ve got out duck and goose hunting one time. I used to like hunting for ducks and geese. Setting up the decoys, sitting in a blind all day. I’d get to watch a sunrise and a sunset while sitting on the edge of a river. Very peaceful, very relaxing.

“Noooo, what are you doing with that stick and a loaf of bread?”

Oh, that.

“You’re going to make me regret this conversation, aren’t you.”

You know how I always joke about going after all these resident waterfowl, the ones that hang around here pretty much all year, with a nine iron and a loaf of bread? I thought I’d give it a try. They’re so used to people throwing food at them, they’ll walk right up to you. Nice easy whack upside the head and you got a meal.

I did have to give up on the nine iron idea though cause I don’t have one. I tried to take my dad’s, he can’t golf anymore, but I made the mistake of telling him what I was thinking of doing with it. Besides, if I go out there walking around with a nine iron some guy will think that’s an invitation to strike up a conversation about golf. Ever have a conversation about golf? It’s worse than a conversation about baseball, hockey, football and basketball COMBINED! After a few minutes I’d be begging the guy for a couple of tee’s so I can shove them into my eardrums. It’s brutal.

“I can think of worse things… all I asked was…”

I actually learned this from watching kids. Remember I worked with the Chicago Park District’s Kid Fishin’ program years ago. Kids would bring their lunch along, kids never finish their lunch. So they would start ripping it to shreds and feeding it to the fish. Before you knew it there were ducks and geese streaming in out of nowhere to join in on the feast. They’d eat everything that hit the water or ground. They’d walk right up to your feet. That’s when I first got the idea that I should just pop one.

“That’s baiting, even I know you can’t bait birds.”

Ahhh, most hunting requires baiting. Yeah, they make this stupid law that you can’t go throwing food on the ground or in the water, but it’s all baiting. Think about it, you throw all those decoys out there in a place that you think might be inviting to waterfowl. Then you sit back and start talking to them. You have no clue what you’re saying to them. Hey man, over here, we got food. Or, hey, take a break, nice spot here. Or, hey baby, you wanna get yourself some? You have no clue what your saying to these birds, it’s all baiting.

Squirrel calls, same thing, you’re baiting them with promises of something. Rotating wings on dove decoys, those stupid flapping flag like things waterfowl hunters wave around. Take a look at hunting in cornfields for waterfowl. You set up in a corn field after it’s been harvested and there’s corn everywhere. Brings in the birds by the hundreds. Oh sure, you can argue you didn’t put the corn there, but somebody did. It’s baiting.

Then, how about those idiots that go out deer hunting? There’s actually a product out there called #69 (like deer even know what that is) Doe-in-Rut Buck Lure. The graphic on the front, the one that’s supposed to entice you to buy this product, is an image of a big buck with his nose up the ass of a doe.

Really?

“Can I go now…”

That’s the ultimate in baiting. I know guys that would gladly give up food for sex. All I know is that if you’re dumb enough to put this stuff on then go out wandering around in the woods, I wouldn’t spend too much time bent over doing anything. You get what you deserve at that point.

“You really aren’t going to go do this, are you?”

There’s a score to be paid, remember. All I wanted to do was go out fishing and the geese picked the one spot I had to walk past that didn’t involve swimming in the creek. They honked and hissed, I tried to settle them down. Talked nice to them. Tried to hush them a bit, I’m heading on my way… and what do they do? They try to kill me.

Fun With Wildlife

It’s payback time.

But first, a decision needs to be made… white or wheat?

My Favorite Spammer

My spam filter does a very good job of weeding out the nonsense.

Every day I go into my dashboard and have to delete between 50 and 100 spam comments.

That many comments will go on for a few pages and I usually just hit the Empty Spam button and be done with it. For shits and grins, I’ll scroll through the first page now and then to see if there are any new languages I need to learn. I think Sanskrit looks kind of interesting.

There is one spammer I’ve grown to like. Prada seems to have found some old Brits with nothing better to do than compose comments and spread them around the internet.

I think we could all learn a lesson from Prada on how to compose our comments. It would elevate blogs to a whole new level.

This one today from Prada Online Store:

I wanted to write down a brief note in order to express gratitude to you for all of the remarkable recommendations you are giving out on this website. My rather long internet investigation has now been honored with high-quality tips to share with my family and friends. I would claim that we readers are unequivocally blessed to exist in a fantastic community with very many special professionals with good secrets. I feel truly happy to have used your web page and look forward to some more pleasurable moments reading here. Thanks once again for everything.

It’s hard to tell if it’s the same person or if Prada Outlet taps into the bank of old Brits to work with:

I want to show thanks to the writer for bailing me out of this particular predicament. As a result of looking throughout the search engines and obtaining things that were not beneficial, I figured my entire life was well over. Existing minus the solutions to the problems you have sorted out by means of your main article content is a crucial case, and ones which may have in a negative way damaged my career if I had not noticed your web site. Your personal competence and kindness in handling every item was invaluable. I am not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t discovered such a post like this. I am able to now relish my future. Thanks so much for this specialized and amazing help. I won’t think twice to refer your website to anybody who needs and wants counseling on this matter.

It brings tears to my eyes to know I’ve made such a positive impression on others.

And, of course, what’s a post on spam without some spam…

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