Getting Rubbed the Right Way


I am not a masochist, but if I was, getting a massage would be one of my favorite things to do. The process can be painful. In fact, most times I’ve had massages, I felt less like I was being soothed and more like I was being assaulted.

At one point, I had thought massage was supposed to be a pleasant, relaxing, experience, kind of like a back rub with bells and whistles. This was a mistake. Massage therapy is more like psychotherapy, in that the therapist digs in to where it hurts and then proceeds to push and prod until whatever is causing the pain cries uncle and moves out. At least that’s what it feels like.

I pulled some muscles in my lower back lifting my wife out of her chair (she has a broken ankle), so I made an appointment with one of our local practitioners that my wife had gone to see a few weeks earlier. Thankfully, she had evening appointments so I was able to get in right away. I live in a small town in Iowa, so being able to go in at night is very nice.

Her studio was downstairs in a local office building. I almost turned around at that moment, since my back was already spasming at even a hint of movement. But I was desperate, so I made my way slowly down the steps. The first words out of her mouth were “You must be Larry!”, followed by “I could tell by the way you are walking that you are a hurtin’ unit.”

At that point, she told me to go into a small room with a table and get undressed and then left the room. However, I have had enough instances of being half or fully undressed in front of perfect strangers that it would not have made a difference if she had stayed. I’m not an exhibitionist by nature, but once you’ve had enough medical care of various sorts, dignity seems like a bit of a luxury.

Once I was situated, she proceeded to knead the life out of me. I felt like bread dough. You know when somebody does something that hurts, but it feels good because it hurts? It was like that. She found muscles that had been neglected for so long that they were blinking in the daylight and wondering where they were. Unfortunately this caused them to panic and go into spasms just to announce their presence. My therapist’s only comment was “You have two kinds of muscles in your back, tight and tighter”

My wife had scheduled an hour session when she made the appointment for me, so all I could do is lay there and wait for it to end, much like getting your teeth cleaned, only I didn’t have to keep my mouth open. My sinuses, however, had other ideas. Having a runny nose during or after a massage seems to be a common experience. Part of this is due to the fact that you are laying face down for an extended period of time. My theory is that all of the pain from getting massaged has to go somewhere, so it goes to your sinuses where it can exit the body. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

After she was done, I paid her and made my way slowly, painfully, back up the stairs and out to my car. That night, I lay in bed trying not to move, and taking comfort in the idea that she hadn’t actually tried to kill me.

But the next day, I felt a little better. And I’ve felt less pain each day following.

I better let you get to work. I need to make an appointment.

Safety Dog Fills Out an Injury Report

Water Dishes are a safety hazard.

We had a workplace safety incident last week, which is why I haven’t had a chance to post here.

Safety Dog apparently got a little sloppy near the water bowl and left a puddle on the way to the door to the executive washroom. Unfortunately, the director of personnel (my wife) didn’t see it and slipped and fell, breaking her ankle in two places in the process. This resulted in a loud call for disciplinary action. Safety Dog hid under the bed immediately following.

I am glad I was there to get an ambulance called. The EMTs got her in a transport chair and on her way to the hospital remarkably quickly. Safety Dog was safely crated by then, along with the other two members of our canine resources, as I don’t believe being licked on the face is legitimate medical treatment.

I did stop on the way to the hospital to get her an iced coffee, since I knew she would appreciate some TLC and iced coffee is her go to drink when she’s feeling stressed. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to enjoy it right away, since there was a question of whether she would need surgery, at least until they had a chance to X-ray her ankle.

The answer to that question was a definite YES, as she had broken both lower leg bones, although fairly cleanly. That was a benefit, as they weren’t required to set the fracture.

The name of the surgery is called “Open Reduction and Internal Stabilization”. Sounds fairly mundane when you say that. This means that the surgeon is going to put a slice in each side and then insert steel plates and a whole lot of screws, inserted every which way.

For some reason when I wrote that, I could hear Robert Plant singing “Whole Lotta Love” but with a slight change to the lyrics.

You need hardware
Right In your ankle there
Way deep down inside

Got a whole lotta screws
Whole lotta screws

They couldn’t get her into surgery for a day or two, so they put on approximately 10 pounds of cotton padding, some kind of splinting material and at least 5 Ace bandages connected end to end, so she was finally ready to come home. I was lucky in that our son got home from college just before we got there. He and I were able to get her into the house on the crutches she had just acquired, and she settled into my recliner, as it was the only chair high enough for her to get out of easily.

I don’t mind her sitting in my chair, but I have to admit I was a bit out of sorts for a bit as it’s the only chair that I can sit in, being a gravity enhanced type of person. I tried staring at her for several minutes to see if she would move, but it didn’t work at all. Staff were also confused, as they weren’t sure whose lap to sit in, since I wasn’t in the usual spot.

It’s been a bit of an adjustment, as I am now in the position of doing everything for her so we don’t have to go through the ordeal of getting her out of her chair and on to the crutches very much. She is not stable on the crutches yet, so I ended up buying her a walker so she could feel a little more stable on her occasional trips to the employee facilities.

It was during one of those trips that I pulled a muscle in my back, so we were both dealing with pain and limited mobility. Between my broken leg and her ankle, I’m thinking about changing the family name to Blankengimp.

We are slowly settling in to a new routine. Thankfully my workplace is enlightened about remote work, so I was able to work from home for the first week, though I am hoping to go back to the office as soon as my wife gets better at getting up and down and moving about the house.

I better let you get back to work. I’m being paged by the Director of Personnel again.

Workplace Safety

Safety Dog is Concerned

This is Safety Dog. Safety Dog watches the office to make sure that people don’t hurt themselves unnecessarily by not being careful. The worried look on his face is because Safety Dog has no concept of relative risk, much like your local news.

“Spiral notebooks ruin sweaters for local school children. What local experts say you can do!” Safety Dog is very worried.

But he’s not as worried about spiral notebooks as he is about doors. Doors should be kept open at all times, or at least a crack so Safety Dog can come in and do a snap inspection and make sure there aren’t any safety hazards around, like left over dog treats that somehow escaped his last inspection. Safety Dog is very thorough, but he does miss things occasionally.

Safety Dog also insists that all tape be kept carefully put away, especially after the Sticky Tail incident, which is why Safety Dog has PTSD. Tape is very dangerous, or at the very least, disconcerting.

Safety Dog also wants to remind you that putting things up on the kitchen table is unsafe. Having to jump to get at the slice of pizza you left there while you got something out of the fridge is very hazardous, and could lead to injuries. Safety Dog feels very strongly that all pizza should be left on the floor for safe and easy access.

If you’re wondering if Safety Dog could come to your workplace and do an inspection, well yes he could. Safety Dog will need food, lodging and a $500 per diem for his emotional support person. Safety Dog has extensive needs in that department, especially since the Sticky Tail incident and the Got Left at Home Alone for 5 Whole Minutes Event.

I better let you get back to work. Safety Dog needs to make an inspection of the neighborhood.

How to Stop An Argument

The Argument Killer

Want to prevent 100% of workplace conflict? I have a solution.

I discovered this quite by accident. A friend of ours who has a side hustle as a clown gave my wife and I a clown nose as a wedding gift. Now that may seem a bit odd, and no we don’t have any weird proclivities (at least none that I’m going to talk about). But it ended up being the best gift they could have given us.

You see, it’s impossible to argue wearing a clown nose, and even harder if you both are. You either bust out laughing because you feel ridiculous, or you laugh because, hey, your partner is wearing a clown nose. Hard to be angry with someone if you feel the urge to give them a boop. Bonus points if you get one that squeaks.

Now I realize clowns have a bad rap these days, what with them murdering children in the movies and so forth, but Pennywise is a very bad clown. He’s more like Bozo on a really bad bender.

So if you know you’re going to be going into a really contentious meeting, bring along a bag of clown noses. You’re either going to get everyone to calm down a bit, or you’re going to find yourself packing your desk, but you’ll at least have tried to bring a little bit of levity to your workplace.

If that doesn’t work, try balloon animals. Everybody likes balloon animals.

I better let you get back to work. I stopped at the party store and I have a LOT of balloons to blow up.

The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword

You’ve probably heard that expression before, but it’s not true. Most often because anytime you are looking for a pen, you can’t find one. This is usually because someone has made off with it. Not on purpose, but because pocketing a pen is the ultimate act of unconscious thievery. Since I started using fountain pens, I’m much more conscious of not taking other people’s pens. Part of this is because a few of my pens cost more than a night out with my wife, so I have a vested interest in keeping them in view.

You may have noticed that convenience stores and doctors’ offices have found creative ways to get you to not take their pens with you. One place I know of, tapes plastic flowers on the top of them, which makes it fairly hard to just slip the pen into your shirt or pocket. Of course you could always just get a set of these:

What you don’t see too often is the pen on the end of a bead chain like you used to see in banks and so on. I lost count of the times I tried to walk away with the pen and ended up getting pulled up short.

Pens around my house appear to be going through some sort of metamorphosis. I suspect that pens are just a larval form of hangars. They go into hibernation in your dryer, where they eat your socks and then multiply in your closet to the point that you have no room for actual clothes.

I better let you get back to work. I need to place an order on Amazon.