Welcome to autumn. Today is what the season is supposed to look like in this part of the world, although it’ll be a while before most of the leaves turn. The temperature is around 70 degrees and the afternoon light has taken on a golden cast. I’m comfortably ensconced in the den downstairs, and Mrs. M is probably working out at the Mondoville Y. I’m wrestling with fictioneering, but realized I’ve been away from here for a while, so here we go.
I was eligible to donate blood again, so I made my trip to the bloodmobile yesterday afternoon. The bus was parked at a local auto dealership, and I was hoping it was “donate and get a free convertible” day, but no such luck. After doing the usual check-in thing, the staffer asked me if I’d be willing to make a double red cell donation. “We’ve just installed the aphresis machines on some of the buses, and we’ve got a really urgent need for the red cells,” she explained. Because I have an odd blood type (It’s B-negative, matching my disposition), I’m apparently in pretty high demand. I mentioned that I had donated platelets before, and she told me this would likely be quicker. “We just need to make sure your hemoglobin count is high enough.”
“Oh, it will be,” I said. “I eat so much red meat that I probably should clank when I walk.” Indeed, I was good to go, and within a couple of minutes, I was hooked up to the machine. The procedure went without incident; in fact, the phlebotomist said that my donation went as quickly as any she could remember. Which was fine by me — I’m still no fan of needles, and I likely never will be.
“We’ve been trying to get people to do the double red all day,” the phlebotomist told me, “but people either didn’t think they had the time or were just skittish about the whole thing.” A nice aspect of the process is that red cell donations can be put into service quickly — whole blood donations often must be separated into components (red cells, plasma, and platelets), but my donation was essentially pre-sorted.
As the process was winding up, the phlebotomist told me something else. Her little boy apparently requires fairly frequent infusions of red cells, and so she was always especially happy when donors agree to go through the process. “I’m just glad to be able to do it,” I said. Then I got my snack and a couple of gift cards (not enough for a convertible, alas, but still welcome) and got on with my day. The only downside for me was that I now have to wait 16 weeks, rather than the usual 8, before I’m eligible to give again.
As long-time readers will remember, I started giving blood a few years ago as a way to commemorate my dad’s birthday; he had donated a gallon or so before his first go-round with the big C put him on the ineligible list. Yesterday’s donation brought me to the three-gallon mark over the last four-and-a-third years. My only regret about the process is that it took me so long to suck up the courage to do it that first time, but as I said, I really don’t like needles. But I’m glad to be able to do some good.
I’ve read that dentists are reporting higher incidences of bruxism in the patients they’re seeing, and a number of them suspect it’s connected to the general level of stress these days. This has been an issue for me for years, and along with a crowded lower jaw, has been the source for quite a few of my dental issues in the past few years. (Orthodontia was one of the luxuries my family couldn’t afford when I was younger. It catches up.)
Right now, I think it’s manifesting in the form of some TMJ pain, so I’ve gone back to wearing a night guard when I go to bed. The thing always reminds me of the mouthpiece I had to wear when I played football as a kid, and occasionally causes me to dream that I have an enormous wad of chewing gum in my mouth, and I wake up trying unsuccessfully to pull the gum out, a chunk at a time.
The trick, I guess, is to find balance.
Up in Terpville, the Spawn and Main Squeeze continue to prosper, taking their courses and such online. Down here, Mrs. M has a group of kids in her classroom on Mondays and Thursdays, a different group on Tuesdays and Fridays, and does everything virtually on Wednesdays. Meanwhile, I have a strong suspicion that the house next door (where the Blocks stayed last fall) is now being used for quarantined college students. Yesterday, I received a preliminary schedule for my teaching duties in January and Spring term — unless there’s a dramatic change, I’ll likely be teaching those online. While I greatly prefer the classroom, as a middle-aged fat guy, I’m in an elevated risk group, so I plan to play it safe. Fortunately, my chair and the Dean are quite accommodating about all this, but I do miss my spot at the front of the room.
Meanwhile, I have a birthday approaching — I’ll hit the double nickels on Sunday, and since it’s one of those zero-or-five birthdays, I find myself taking a little bit of stock. For example, I just (as in within the last 90 seconds) realized that I’ll be the age William Goldman was when he published his final novel. When my dad was my age, I was already 32, and the Spawn had just turned one. And my birth was closer to the Taft administration than it is to the present day.
Ah, the things one notices. Dammit.
Well, it’s nearly dinnertime, so I’d better wrap things up, and why not with some music? I posted this on Facebook a few days ago, but I think I’ll put it here as well. I’ve mentioned my fondness for loud, fast, and dumb 70s hard rock, the genre that some folks call “Bonehead.” Well, Ted Nugent isn’t necessarily the patron saint of Bonehead rock, but at the very least, he’s Bonehead-adjacent. It seemed like nearly every teen cover band I ran across in the Cincinnati burbs did a version of Ted’s “Cat Scratch Fever,” and I could generally count on hearing “Stranglehold” on any given Friday late night on WEBN.
But my favorite Ted track was this one, from the not-really-slide guitar to the lyrics “the Indian and the buffalo existed hand in hand” (which had to be awkward, I think. Of course, I didn’t know buffalo had wings back then either.) and the “Oh mah Gawd” interjection before we finally get to the song’s title. Even now, all these years later, it makes me smile. And of course I’m going to use the live version, the same one I’d play at WTLX during my undergrad years. Get your bonehead on!
Hope to see you in the New Magic Land.