My friend Bob in Des Moines goes under the knife soon for an entirely self-inflicted, and typically painful, ailment known as de Quervain’s Syndrome (aka washerwoman’s syndrome or mother’s wrist). Basically, it’s a repetitive motion injury. It was first identified in 1895 by a guy named Fritz, and Mr. de Quervain had no idea his observations would apply to more than scrubbing floors and lifting babies.
Seems Bob has texted way, way, way more than a wrist can handle. Look up the textbook definition of repetitive motion injury and you’ll see Bob’s name. Bob is a tech guy’s techie. He knows his way around an iPhone better than anyone alive. That includes the developers. Just as the rest of us are trying to figure out how to direct dial, Bob pushes the boundaries of tech-knowledge. In Coeur d’Alene he drove us nuts with continual and usually unsolicited demonstrations of “apps” that ranged from a circular rotating compass to guide our way if we got lost to a hand-held seismograph that recorded his heart beat or jolts when the SUV hit bumps in the road. We rode Bob hard (the derision was good natured) about his addiction to technology. Bob’s loss is the hand surgeon’s gain.
Let it be said that unless I begin to sit awkwardly at my laptop keyboard, I should manage to avoid de Quervain’s Syndrome or a similar overuse ailment. I suppose correct posture and proper ergonomic design of a keyboard are a saving graces to letters. Bob will recover soon enough to rejoin the ranks of texters, although I hope he’ll subscribe to whatever “app” will make it easier on his thumbs.
Here’s today’s letter to my mother. A seven minute exercise from start to finish. Things are improving for her medication-wise. I hope this letter adds a minute or two of brightness to her day.
September 24, 2010
Mom: Officially it’s supposed to be fall right now but the weather guy says today will be another day in the 90s. Your first frost can’t be far behind and we still worry about sun screen and tee shirts. There are now drought conditions in some parts of the Carolinas. I have a little drought situation in my own neck of the woods; the plants in my window boxes are goners since they had stopped flowering and I stopped watering them. I’ll replant something in their place.
Was on the porch the other day when I noticed that my parsley plant was awfully scrawny and didn’t have many leaves. On closer inspection, it was filled with a yellow and black banded caterpillar of some sort. They had munched the plant to nearly nothing. So I picked them off and squished them. But in an idle moment I wondered what they were so I looked up North Carolina caterpillars on the Internet. It seems these were destined to turn into Swallowtail butterflies, and here I’d just assassinated about 20 of them. If I’d known that I would’ve let them live. Incredibly, the background on the worms said they preferred plants in the parsley family. Well, they found mine to their liking.
Was in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho last weekend with some friends from Des Moines. These were guys I’ve known a long time, and it reminded me how I’ve not been able to see old friends for quite some time. So it was good in that regard. We played golf and had a great time eating and laughing (drinking wine a little bit, too). We played a course where they had an island green you had to take a boat to reach. The kicker was if you hit the green on your first shot you got a certificate. I plunked my ball in the water the first day but got a certificate on the second day. It wasn’t a gimmee in that it played about 165 yards both days. Nice course, and it was in the mountains which I have missed. Flew over some familiar mountains in Wyoming. That was fun to see.
Ellen goes to Des Moines this weekend for some event. Reid told me last night he wants a new computer but this time he’s going to build one. How the heck do you build a computer? He’s already got a jazzy laptop but he says that’s not powerful enough for all the stuff he wants to do. Don’t ask me what he wants to do but he needs a mega-computer to do it. Good for him. He had a good review at his ad agency job this week. That made his week.
Not much going on in these parts. Probably take the bike out for a spin this weekend. Likely will head to South Carolina for the day Saturday. The forecast is for rain on Sunday which is sorely needed around here. Of course, the big news is I leave for Grand Island in a couple of weeks and will see you very soon. Just make sure the ice cream shops are still open, and I’m sure we’ll find a good joint for a burger and a beer.