Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm Not Racist

I absolutely hate getting my hair cut. If I weren't balding, I would just let it grow long and be free. Unfortunately for me, I'm getting a little thin on top. The longer my hair gets, the more bald I look. At least that's how my loving wife has worded it in the past. She likes my hair short. Not too short. Not short enough that I could just put a number 2 on the clippers and go to town, but short. About every 5-6 weeks I am overdue for a haircut. Yes, overdue. I am very much due for a haircut for about a five day period (usually 3-4 weeks after my previous haircut). But the haircut never happens during the period when it has become necessary. Thus, when I do get a haircut, it is always overdue.
I have reasons for my loathing of haircuts.
First, I hate paying for a haircut. I will always find the cheapest haircut I can. You will typically find me at one of three places: Great Clips, Fantastic Sams, or Super Cuts. There is no way I am actually going to make an appointment, go to a salon, and pay $30 for a haircut. Not worth it. As I mentioned above, I need haircuts often, and there is no way I'm shelling out $30 a month.
Second, I hate the itchy mess after a haircut. Really, is it that hard to keep the majority of the tiny hairs out of my shirt? What's the point of the apron? Is it there to trap the hairs just so the lady can funnel them right down the back of my shirt when she's done? Honestly.
Final reason (which is my own fault I guess): Without fail, I always have crazy Asians cutting my hair. Regardless of location, time of day, and number of good deeds done throughout the course of the week, I always get stuck with the weird Asian chick. Like I said, I am not racist. I love Asian food, and I think they know how to make cars. I actually find the half-breeds very attractive as well. But, I do not like it when they cut my hair. I know this could be avoided by finding a girl that I like at a salon, but then I would have to overcome my number one hatred for haircuts and I just don't know if I'm ready for that.
I have two stories to share. About 4 months ago, I went to the Fantastic Sam's by my house. It is close by, convenient, and almost never has a wait early in the morning. There were three girls working there and all of them were finishing up a haircut. Two of the girls were nice-looking girls who had taken some pride in themselves while getting ready for the day. But in the blue corner, weighing in at 67 lbs, was a tiny little Asian lady. Of course, she finished first and invited me back. I sat down, told her that I wanted a number one on the sides and to taper it up and blend it to a finger length on the top. Easy, right? I thought so. After all, that is the same haircut about 2 million other guys in the State of Utah have. She seemed to understand and started cutting away. It was going well, until she started asking me questions and tried to make small talk. I was giving my typical one-word answers trying to hint that I was just there for a haircut and really didn't care about the swap meet at the fair grounds. Then she told me that she needed to ask me a guy's opinion on something. I gave her the go-ahead and she went on to ask me if it would be weird to get her boyfriend a 4th of July present. They had only been dating a couple of weeks and she didn't want to come on too strong.... la la la.... What?!
Was she really asking me about getting a 4th of July present for some guy she has been seeing for two weeks? I told her that it was really up to her and I didn't think he would mind. She then muttered something about looking for some new sneakers she could probably find for him at the swap meet. She did some touching up on my hair and asked if it looked alright.
Somewhat surprised, I responded, "Uh, sure. The half that you have cut looks great."
"OMG, I was so worried about what to buy my boyfriend that I only cut half of your hair!"
Yes, I do believe this woman was a genius. She finished up and took me over to wash my hair. This is where I got weirded out. As she was washing my hair, she put sat me up, put one palm on my forehead, and started beating on the pack of my head with the heal of her other palm. I don't know if she was casting a spell on my or what, but it was odd and I didn't talk to her again. I still can't figure out what that was all about.

This morning while I was out getting the mail with Hurley, I noticed a coupon in our mailbox. $7.99 haircut at Great Clips. Great! I love haircut coupons, and I am about exactly 2 weeks overdue for a haircut. I'm supposed to be taking it easy since I'm still in recovery from my surgery, but I thought it would be nice to get out and get the haircut situation taken care of.
I walked into Great Clips and there was only one lady working. Yep, she was about 4' 6" tall and freshly imported from Japan. I sat down in the chair, gave her my typical instruction, and waited for her attempt to make small talk. It didn't take long. Before I knew it, she was asking me where I grew up and what I like to do. I told her that I don't have a lot of free time lately with work and school keeping me busy. This led to a conversation about me studying accounting and how I decided that is what I want to do. Then, out of nowhere, she said to me (very excited-like), "I need to tell you something. Last winter I was in Idaho with my husband and I walked into the bathroom at the ski resort and there was a woman who looked like a man. I couldn't tell if she was a man, so I thought maybe I was in the wrong bathroom. But then I realized it was just a really ugly woman. That was scary."
What the...? Where did that come from? OK, I get it. Accounting is kinda nerdy, and a lot of the girls in my classes aren't the most attractive. Is that where she pulled that story from? I just don't get it. Then she gave me what is probably the worst haircut of my life. At least it was only $7.99. I'm not racist.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Yesterday morning at 7:45am I checked in at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center to have my neck operated on. When I woke up in the morning I actually felt better than I had in quite a while, and I had slept through the night pretty well. I told Lori that I was feeling like I should call in and cancel my surgery. She quickly told me that I shouldn't let one decent day take precedence over months of pain and discomfort. I agreed and off we went to the hospital. I'm glad I listened to her. By the time we got to the hospital, I was in so much pain I could hardly stand it.

We got checked in right away and I was asked to put on a hospital gown. It was a pretty neat little gown that had some hookups for tubes that blew hot air onto my body to keep me warm. Only problem: I rarely get cold, so it just made me hot. After I got all dressed and ready to go, my mom and dad, Lori, and I sat in a tiny little room for what seemed like an eternity while I starved to death. I wasn't allowed to eat anything after 9:00 the night before. I started complaining about being hungry and my mom told me that I sounded like my brother, Mark the night before. I was unaware up until this point that my brother had suffered a pretty gruesome mountain biking accident and had spent Monday night in the ER at LDS hospital. He had a good fall and split his forearm open on a rock. He's tough and was back at work the next day, but you can see on his face that this didn't feel too good! He went for a ride on his lunch break, planning to eat when he got back to work, and ended up spending all night in the ER where they wouldn't let him eat because of the anesthetics they were using to ease his pain. Poor guy!

So anyway, I was hungry and miserable, but felt worse for Mark after seeing what he was going through. He came to visit me at the hospital and told me that they took a scrub brush to his wound in order to get all of the gravel, sticks, and leaves out of his arm. Wow! That just sounds miserable.

After what seemed like an eternity, my doctor came to my room, explained the surgery to my family, and introduced me to his nurse practitioner and the anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist doped me up and I don't remember another thing until after the surgery was over. I woke up in an immense amount of pain and was unable to talk because my throat hurt so badly. The guy that was there when I woke up kept asking me if I was in pain and I couldn't manage to tell him that YES, I felt like I was going to die! Finally I muttered out that I needed something and he quickly hooked me up with some fentanyl which dramatically reduced my pain level. Since then I have been on a steady dose of oxycodone and soma that has been keeping me quite pleasant :)

The first picture there at the top shows a close-up of my incision and the tube that was placed into my neck to help drain the fluids away from the operation area. Sorry if it grosses you out. The next one is me doped up on my hospital bed. Don't you just love the V-neck? When I was getting dressed, one of the nurses was going on and on about my chest hair. She was absolutely blown away by it. She said that she now knows that Sasquatch does exist. Shortly after that I lifted my leg while getting up to use the restroom and showed off my johnson to the entire hallway. I think my dad saw it too. Oops! I apologized to the nurse and told her that I was just trying to impress her. She quickly reminded me that she was already so impressed by my chest hair that I didn't need to do anything else to gain her respect.

The black and white picture is an x-ray of the plate and screws they installed into my spine. It is a profile shot with my chin pointing to the left (so you can have some perspective). The titanium plate is right on the front of my spine and holds the C6 and C7 vertebra together. In between the bones (and right behind the plate), you can see the piece of cadaver bone they replaced my disc with. Over the next 6-8 months the two vertebra above and below the cadaver bond will grow into the dead bone and fuse together. Pretty cool how it all works out. I'll have the plate and screws in for the rest of my life.

Thanks to everyone for all of the support, prayers, thoughts, and visits. It has been very, very appreciated. I am happy to say that I am more comfortable right now than I have been in months. I'm sure everyone's prayers played a huge role in the success of this surgery. Thanks again!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How To Share Your Testimony With a Baby

I had an interesting experience at open mic day today. I was attending church in Lehi for a baby blessing at my good friend's church. He was blessing his new baby, Easton, and another baby was blessed as well. Before church started I saw a guy shaking hands with some people and introducing himself as Michael McLean. I figured I had heard him wrong, or it was just coincidental that he shared a name with the LDS musician. After all, what would the somewhat-famous Michael McLean be doing at the Lehi First Ward? Throughout the meeting, I kept looking back at him wondering if, in fact, it was the Michael McLean who wrote the Forgotten Carols and other soft 80s LDS hits.

After the baby blessings, the meeting was opened up for the sharing of testimonies. A few people got up and said some things that were nice and uplifting. Then this Michael McLean guy started walking up to the mic. I noticed that he was carrying a hymnbook with him and figured this would be my answer whether it was him, or not.

He stood up to the microphone and began to explain that he had been invited to the meeting by the family of the other baby who was being blessed. He had been holding the baby before the meeting started and he said that he felt as though she was looking up at him wondering if he was going to testify of the Savior to her. He explained that he wanted that little baby girl and Easton to hear his testimony and that he was going to share it in a language that they could understand. At that point, he walked over to the piano and played a beautiful solo of I Need Thee Every Hour. It was a stunning piece of music and a very neat experience.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Good Knife Set?

So this is the guy that's going to slit my neck next week. Yep, literally. Dr. Robert Hood, MD. He'll be cutting open the front of my neck on Tuesday, October 13. When I think about it, I get a little nervous. I guess it's not too bad, but I've never even had the gas at the dentist before and now, all of the sudden, I'm going to be put under and have my neck cut open. Whooeee! He seems like a really cool guy. This picture doesn't do him any favors -- he's not as nerdy as he looks. Come to think of it, maybe it's good to have a nerdy doc. The nerds usually know their stuff, right? Either way, I think the surgery will be great and I might finally get rid of this pain in the neck. Pray for me, people. I may need it.