Thursday, April 28, 2011
April is National OT Month and this year marks the 12th year I've celebrated it. Because an OT's primary role is to help folks become more independent in their daily living activities, I thought it would be fun to celebrate independence in feeding. Strawberry cake and sparkling water helped commemorate the month as we all lifted a fork to the profession.
Monday, April 18, 2011
The description really isn’t too far off as Augusta was under a tornado threat early Tuesday morning of Masters week. The 70 mph winds swirling outside the window two feet away from my head sent me seeking shelter in the innermost part of my home. The power went out as I cradled my phone in my hallway, watching the weather radar map on the 2.5 inch screen while doubled over in the tornado position from elementary school. The wind got louder and I began to wonder if I’d be the one on the 6:00 evening news giving a description of the freight train. I heard a loud crunch. In a moment of curiosity (stupidity), I left the hallway and peered out the window.
It’s a disturbing thing to look outside and have a bird’s eye view of the TOP of the tree that once stood tall in your backyard. I always loved that particular tree because in all its bushiness it gave my backyard good privacy. Having its uttermost portion thrust a few feet away from my bedroom window wasn’t exactly the kind of privacy I had ever hoped for. Interestingly enough, even a potential tornado can’t hold back that horrible moment of homeowner helplessness. I eventually came to my senses. The threat of having your roof sucked off your home has a way of offering a more relevant perspective. I returned to the hallway, realizing a side-lying tree was the least of my worries.
Homeowner helplessness is always cured by neighborly niceness and when it comes to that…I’m well-covered. Thankfully, my roof didn’t blow off. So, I was only in need of a chainsaw and another pair of hands. By the next afternoon, I had doubled that. Doug from down the street, Cliff from across the street and yours truly had the tree cut and on the street in no time. I was reminded that tree cutting (and the dragging that follows) can be deceptive. With great haste you take care of the upper branches. Those are a piece of cake…so light and manageable.
Closer to the trunk is where things get tough. The mass of the branches increases ten-fold and the dragging from back corner of yard to street becomes a “World’s Strongest Man” event. When it comes to this sort of work, I’m always reminded of how operating the chainsaw might actually be the easiest part of this whole gig...which is why I coveted the position of the chainsaw operator the entire time and enjoyed my moment when I had it. With three trunk portions remaining, Cliff gets the golf cart and its accompanying trailer. (Brilliant.) Brownies are a pitiful payment, but that was the payoff for Doug and Cliff. Very grateful for their help.
Not only did a tree in my yard fall, but one lining the National’s Magnolia Lane did, as well. It was day two of practice rounds when the 61 trees became 60 as a 160 year-old magnolia bit the dust. I’m certain that Jack Nicklaus noticed as he drove down that very lane. He took that drive not long after he was welcomed to Augusta on Tuesday afternoon by yours truly (along with a roomful of coworkers and patients). “Jack Nicklaus was late and no one faulted him,” The Chronicle reported the next morning. “The 71-year-old Nicklaus arrived a few minutes tardy Tuesday afternoon to his scheduled presser at Augusta National Golf Club after spending some time at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta.”
“A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country
is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards.”
So thankful for a guy like Jack Nicklaus who'll take the time out of his busy VIP Green Jacket schedule to give a few Veterans a square deal, and then some.
The rest of Masters Week was hectic. Augusta schools were on spring break. Masters badges were floating all around. Needless to say, it’s a popular week to take vacation. While lots of folks were off, I was on, playing understudy for 4 different roles including that of my boss. It always takes tremendous effort to make it through Masters week at work. Champion coworkers were awarded champion cupcakes on Friday. The back nine of the work week never tasted so good...
Busy Masters work week was followed by a busy Masters weekend with 2 dogs, 3 kids and 6 adults in my house during lunch on Saturday. Claire, Ann, and Will had been at home with Mom and Dad all week. (As the picture indicates, it was a week of firsts and tons of fun.) So, Jason and Jen met here for the kid swap. Jason took one look at me and asked, “What in the world happened to you? You look awful.” And I did. Cutting down a pollen-laden tree. Meeting a Masters champion. Juggling jobs. I was exhausted. And sick.
I spent the following week recovering and attempting to catch up at work. Through several key interactions with coworkers and patients I was reminded of why I love what I do and why those weeks of insanity are so worth it in the end. Pablo Picasso said it best: “Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time.” At work last Friday, I experienced that kind of happiness, watching a guy volitionally move his fingers for the first time in months.
And then I found the same degree of happiness that evening in my spare time with The Harlem Quartet, a string quartet formed by musicians in their early 20’s. Very sophisticated they were, with the guys in suits, the lone girl in black silk pants and an elegant strapless top. Yet by the third piece, their cover was blown when the foot tapping of the violist exposed the white Nike Swoosh on his black socks. Potentially stuffy concert turned into a relaxed little gig as basketball socks showed up on stage. Love it! Not too long ago these guys were playing in the White House. While I may not agree with all of his politics, I will say that I truly dig this President’s taste in music.
One reviewer remarked, “You haven’t lived until you have heard The Harlem Quartet play Billy Strayhorn’s Take the A-Train.” And so at program’s end, all in the audience mustered quite a petition for an encore. Our request was granted. Could there be a more fitting tune for a group from Harlem? As Picasso described, the entire experience was “much happiness” and as the music critic claims, I suppose that I now have lived...all the while preferring this kind of train over the 70 mph kind that swirls above your head.
"You must take the A train, to go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem...."