Tuesday, December 11, 2007

dear reader, i'm afraid i've failed you. i have reasons- wife in surgery, leaky roof, end of semester, computer crash at office, weighty heap of research papers, sick pets, and finally, a dramatic fall from a ladder, getting down off the roof, when a wooden ladder backed up and sunk into the soft ground somehow, dropping me ten feet and landing me flat on my face on the walkway, requiring 12-15 stitches in my face, and some rest and letting the world go on by without me temporarily. as i sit here, my left eye, the good one, is still usually shut from the swelling; the stitches won't be too bad in the end but it will take days to get the swelling down and now i'm doing things to avoid thinking about grading, which will have to be finished before i really relax.

it took them a while to tell my wife that she doesn't have cancer, at least not that they know, but any other informatiion they could have, that might explain what has been bothering her, they haven't been forthcoming at all with. so, for a while, i was driving around a lot, getting out of work early, staying up late grading. as a cold rainy spell settled in (ice in st. louis, snow and ice further north) it got very grim and gray here, and the dripping in the back rooms got worse. i'd listen to an old afel bocoum cd in the car- he's a malian artist who is hard to listen to the first five or ten times, but then grows on you, and now that i don't drive as much, i miss him. a kind of chanting, haunting sound, with intense rhythms and a great voice- he was playing whenever i was just going from here to there, picking someone up. the day of the lights parade, a football game and a basketball game were also in town, and of course, one can't deny one's children the lights parade, so, we went down there, the boys and i, and got caught behind game traffic, and they wouldn't let us get anywhere near the actual parade. we had to walk all the way across campus, only to find that they'd moved the parade a little north, away from campus and away from our usual safe hostel, warm and with bathroom, the interfaith. when we finally got down onto the side of the street where the last of the floats were coming round the corner, it was cold, but there were lots of people, and no place for a man, boy and stroller to just stand. we walked a little ways further and finally stopped to watch- the clydesdale horses, a float of people dancing, a firetruck with a dalmation-person in it. and finally, the float with santa, who looked right at the boys and said hello, before i even noticed. i was still catching my breath, i think. but this was santa himself, what the kids come to see, and my little guys, i think, didn't give the usual squealing response, maybe they were even a little perplexed. santa moved along, and asked a student if the salukis had won, and, finding out that they had, said, go salukis! there weren't a lot of kids in the immediate area; in fact, we were at a beauty salon, where young women, who apparently worked there, were sharing some wine in the cold- but this was a spot where a stroller could sit and not severely obstruct traffic. what i had trouble with, at that moment, really, was the realization that, seeing santa meant it was over. that was it. time for the long walk back.

the afel bocoum cd is now a memory- not driving, i've been at home, taking long naps, trying to get my spirit up to finish the term, reading my e-mail with my right eye, the one i usually use for peripheral vision. the fall on saturday was terrible, a visit to the heart of emergency room procedures- but i think it will all be ok- i look like i've been in a bar fight, in fact, so i've been saying i got into a barfight with a roof, a ladder, and a walkway. some people came and rigged up the roof so the dripping would stop at least until good construction could start- maybe in the spring. we're back to a schedule- getting boys off to school, trying to get out of it ourselves, trying to get to where we can even think about the holidays and all the decoration, etc. most of all i'm grateful. i fell flat on my face, opened it wide, yet still have my thinking, my eyesight, my family- my experience seems to have brought out lots of other stories- other people i know who have fallen from ladders, are suffering in some way, or even dying- and, altogether, i was lucky, and still am. the little boys still love me, though they look at my eye funny, and ask about it, occasionally. my wife brings me medicine and protects me from the high-speed work culture that wants to finish and get out of there- which i'm actually getting sucked back into, because i, too, want to finish and get out of there. my students did well this term- i have good stuff to show, but, enough is enough. what i really need is a break. what sounds, here on the computer, like afel's african fiddle, or something like that- brings me a faraway melody, escapist it may be. i'll get back on my feet- get stuff done, get ready for the holiday. the grim weather report brings more rain. i am grateful that i've gotten as much support as i have- that friends and family have stepped in- that now, finally, i feel better enough at least to blog, and let folks know what's happening. didn't mean to keep you in the dark so long. i'll get on to more pleasant subjects, a.s.a.p.


Blogger Peggy said...

Holy Smokes Tom, take it easy!

I'm glad you didn't break anything important when you fell, like your neck! I'm also glad that your dear wife doesn't have cancer! GOSH that is kind of a big one to NOT have. Enjoy the babies and get some rest over the holidays!

Any photographs of this horrible injury? Is it going to leave a pirate-like scar?

11:42 PM  
Blogger tom said...


8:29 AM  
Blogger J-Funk said...


Criminy Christmas! That sounds like a terrible fall. I'm glad you came out of it with only some stitches, although that sounds like a lot of stitches. I hope you aren't in too much pain.

I'm also glad to hear Jen doesn't have cancer! Hopefully they can figure out what it is.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, dad. i'm so relieved that you're both okay, and I can't wait to come home to see you. take it easy, alright?, and remember I'm thinking about you.

3:06 AM  

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