An adventure was had

We’re visiting family in northwest Indiana today, and my 14 year old daughter said she wanted to go for a ride – to go on an adventure. We were trying to find the shore of Lake Michigan, and ended up driving through downtown Gary, Indiana.

We got turned around on the highway after trying to follow a live gps map and got off at the nearest exit. As we started heading up the road, driving through the broken down edges of another population center, I looked down the road and said “Cool, big brick buildings. That’s a good sign.”

This was not a good sign.

We drove further north into block after block of utter devastation. Building after building, story after story with no windows, no facades, nothing metal or wood left attached… It was like a scene from some post-apocalyptic movie. I expected to be swarmed at any moment by a ravenous pack of zombies.

This wasn’t just some little abandoned strip mall on the edge of town, this was the heart of a major downtown area. Ten story tall buildings, utterly uninhabitable. Not a sign of life anywhere – no liquor stores, no storefront preachers, not a single soul shambling around.

My shit was well and truly freaked out.

We hooked a right turn as soon as I saw one on the map leading to a major highway and got out of there. As I’m driving, the daughter stops taking pictures and pulls up a browser on her phone. “Hmm… ‘Gary, Indiana, America’s ghost town…’ ‘Gary, Indiana, the most dangerous city in The country…'”

Like I said, an adventure.

And yes, we did eventually find Lake Michigan. We couldn’t find anywhere to park so we could dip our toes in the southern end of the lake (we already did that with the northern end at the Mackinac Bridge), but we did get a nice look at the water from someone’s hillside driveway. And we got back in one piece, establishing on the ride back that if I ever want to go in a getting-lost sort of adventure, I need to take my daughter. She had a blast.

What a difference a drive makes

So, after last week’s shenanigans with the golf cart, I’ve been walking around with a very sore chest and shoulder. I almost called the doctor about it on Thursday, actually deciding Wednesday night that I was going to call in the morning. As it usually happens, though, I felt much better in the morning after deciding to call, so I thought I’d give it until Monday.

Saturday morning, I woke up feeling better than Thursday, but no better than Friday. My day was improved, however, by my son Michael readily agreeing to log some more driving practice time, in exchange for a stop to the local 7-11.

After an hour(!) of driving, we pulled in to the 7-11, did our thing, and headed out to the car. I went to hop in the driver’s seat, and remembered – once again – that the kid scoots his seat up closer to the wheel when he drives. So I half-sat in it and hit the release lever to let it slide back.

As usual, I slid back with the seat. As NOT usual, it slid back further and faster than I expected, and stopped with a very shocking THUD. I howled in pain, then groaned in pain, then took a few gasping gulps of air in pain as I slowly sat down, doing a quick inventory to make sure my ribs were all still there. Michael asked if I was okay, and once I was able to speak again, I realized that yes, I was okay. In fact, my ribs felt better… almost like I’d rattled something back into place with the car seat.

After further study this evening, I have decided that what used to hurt a lot yesterday barely hurts at all now. What felt like a dislocated rib now feels like a pulled muscle. It’s not back to normal just yet, but… well, I think Harry’s dad said it best:

The last seven days of injuries (trigger warning: blood and injury stuff)

(I guess trigger warnings are a thing, so I’ll go with them…)

So, a week ago, the family and I were at a state park, celebrating a high school graduation. As part of the festivities, we rented a canoe. I had the wife and kids out for an hour on the lake with no problems, but had difficulties getting the canoe back out of the water and onto shore.

As I struggled to get the boat ashore, I found a spot of un-rounded aluminum sheeting under the seat, with a sharp enough edge to open up two of my fingertips. When I finally decided to unclench my fist and check the damage, blood started pouring from one of my fingertips like something from a horror movie or a hardcore wrestling match. I haven’t bled like that since I slammed a car door on my finger… or since I opened up my scalp hitting my head on the ceiling. (Both great stories to tell, btw!) There was actually blood dripping from my elbow where the multiple streams of blood collected.

As impressive as that was, it was also like a chum bucket for all the deer flies in the area. I started trying to shoo them away from the injured arm, but had to stop after I realized I was flicking blood everywhere :p The fingers injury is basically healed up as of today – no stitches needed (unlike the car door story), just bandages and time. So today I decided to try something different.

Today, we were celebrating our family’s August birthdays at my sister’s place. They have a golf cart for getting around the property, and I was tagging along with my 14 year old daughter while she drove it. At one point, I decided I would see if I could keep pace running alongside the cart, since it didn’t seem to go that fast.

My first mistake was trying to hold on to the cart as I ran, as it almost pulled me off my feet when she goosed the gas. I let go to keep my feet, and the cart pulled in front of me.

My second mistake was deciding that I could catch up and hop back on. My running might have improved a lot this year, and I’m definitely stronger physically, but there was no way I was getting back into the passenger seat while it was in motion.

My FINAL mistake was thinking I could hop onto the back of the cart.

I DID manage to catch up to the cart, I DID manage to get both hands onto it… but I did NOT manage to get my feet up onto the back of the cart.

Now, picture, if you will: a golf cart, tooling down a gravel road in the evening sunlight. A overweight 45 year old man, hanging from the back of said cart. The stirring strains of Indiana Jones’ theme music playing in his head as he kicks up a cloud of dust while being dragged behind said golf cart…

and then picture that music lasting about two seconds, until his hip catches a bump in the road and jars his hands loose.

There was a small but definite *pop* in my chest as my shoulder and left arm made contact with the ground. Despite knowing that the best thing to do in this situation is to roll to spread out the energy and impact, I just sort of skidded to a stop, and then flopped over at the end. I actually managed to tear a hole in the knee of my (favorite) jeans with that stunt. Other than that and some scrapes on my elbow and soreness in my knee, I seemed to be okay.

Of course, as I piled into the cart and we drove back, the adrenaline started wearing off, and I realized that I didn’t come out as well as I thought. My knee was scraped up pretty good, even through the jeans, and my chest was hurting more. This progressed to the point of “I might actually need to see a doctor” as we were getting ready to leave. An hour and a half of driving later, we arrived at home, and the pain had progressed to my shoulder. The chest itself felt a bit better, but whether that’s due to rest and (relative) immobility, or pain meds, it’s hard to say.

There’s still no swelling or other outward indicators of serious injury, so I’m just going to treat it as strained muscles for tomorrow and see how things turn out. And as I said on Twitter, I believe I can now safely say that I’m too old for that kind of shit.