Even vacations regress to the mean.

Hawkeye Aftermath
Originally uploaded by seangraham

You may remember

or myself talking up our vacation to Spain about a year and a half ago.  We’d often say we got so lucky and had the perfect vacation.  Well, it turns out that even vacations regress to the mean.

We left Monday morning for Damariscotta, Maine.  Corinna’s boss has a place up there which she’ll be retiring to in a few months.  Until then, though, she’s only there on the weekends, so she let us use for a few days during the week.  The place was gorgeous, and we really enjoyed exploring that area.  We had some great food, and it turns out that Maine is rather beautiful.  We’ll post some pictures from my iPhone and Coco’s camera, but please forgive me for cutting this part of the story short.  It turns out, it’s not where the real action is.

Wednesday morning we packed up the car, Hawkeye, and continued on to Bar Harbor, Maine.  Our plan was to explore Acadia National Park, which has always sounded dreamy.  The beautiful weather we had enjoyed for the first two days, though, had given out and we drove up Route 1 in light-to-moderate rain.  After about an hour of driving, we found ourselves in Rockland, Maine.  In fact, we found ourselves at about 130 Camden Street in Rockland, Maine.  It was at this point of the trip that another individual, driving a Silverado, in the oncoming lane found THEMSELVES crossing the turning lane and slamming into the front of Hawkeye at a non-trivial rate of speed.  Hawkeye was rotated 90 degress clockwise and tossed into the parking lot to our right, and came to a stop.  The black Silverado pickup rolled into the parking lot as well, continuing to roll for a few hundred feet before stopping.  

Once the car came to rest, and I got my bearings, I checked on Corinna, who seemed to be in pain but intact.  She was saying her chest and neck were hurting, but mostly her chest.  It sounded like she had the wind knocked out of her, but she said she thought she was OK.  I felt pretty banged up, my knees hit something, and my left elbow and thumb got banged up a bit, but while my injuries couldn’t be considered trivial, it all seemed to be bumps and bruises, nothing broken or life threatening.  I couldn’t quite get my door open, but I managed to force it open enough to sidle out of the car.  By the time I got around to Corinna’s side of the car to try to open her door I noticed she was passing (or perhaps passed) out.  Her eyes were rolled back into her head much like the time when I had my appendix out and she fainted while I was being prepped for surgery.  I yelled for her to wake up, and she did, but was a little out of it.  Afterwards she would tell me that she had a vivid dream while passed out, but I’ll let her tell that story.  At this time an off-duty EMT pulled up and offered her help, and a seemingly off-duty fireman also showed to do the same.  While the EMT cared for Corinna, making sure she didn’t move her neck or do anything crazy before the ambulance showed up, the fireman tried to pry the hood open enough to cut the battery cable, reducing the chance of the car blowing up (or something).  I was pretty much out of the loop on this one, not really able to help anywhere, so I took the above photo of the damaged car and made my way over to the other car to check on it’s driver.  It was a woman in her 30s who claimed to have pulled out of a driveway across the street, lost control of her truck while it fishtailed, and plowed into us accidentally.  I asked if she was OK, which she said she was, and she apologized while looking completely terrified.  Everyone seemed to be skeptical of her story, but whatever, I can’t imagine whatever it was she did was intentional, so there’s little point in getting caught up on the details.

The fireman couldn’t get to the battery cables with the tools he happened to have in the back of his personal car, but quickly the cops, firemen, and ambulance showed and with their equipment the cut the cable.  Everyone thought it’d be a good idea if Corinna took a ride to the hospital to get her chest x-rayed and get looked at by a doctor.  They got a collar on her and on a backboard (which seemed to take 3 hours, but obviously my perspective was skewed), and I grabbed a few of our belongings (her purse most importantly) and jumped in the front of the ambulance.  Pen Bay ER was only a few minutes away, and they took her in while I gave the front desk her information.  After I finished with that they brought me around to see her just before they took her for Xrays.  Everything checked out fine, and the doc thanked her for wearing her seat belt and told her to take it easy.  Her chest was pretty bruised from the seat belt and it would take a while to heal.  We both walked away from that crash thanks to our seat belts, so it’d hard to be mad about our bumps and bruises.  Her chest still hurts pretty badly, even a few days later, and she’s having trouble getting out of bed and has to avoid coughing, laughing, and sneezing, but she seems to be getting better every day.  I know I can, at times, be prone to hyperbole, but this was without a doubt the closest I’ve come to dying in my life.  A few things go differently, and it’d be my construct here typing this.

After Corinna was discharged it took awhile to get the rest of the day squared away.  We were about 2.5 hours away from Bar Harbor, but we were 3.5-4 hours away from home, so we decided to press on.  First, I needed to get ahold of the cop who reported to the scene, as he had my license and registration (as well as all the information about the other driver).  The ER staff were very helpful and gave him a call and Officer Daniels came right over.  He had already prepared a little form with all the details I needed regarding the other driver, and even had a badass little baseball card-style business card, which gave us a laugh when we needed one.  He took some other information from us and was really helpful and comforting.  After he left I spent a bit more time on the phone with the other drivers’ insurance and Enterprise rental who came over to pick us up in the rental.  We stopped by the tow yard to take some pictures and get all our crap out of Hawkeye in the mud and pouring rain, and we’ll probably never see him again.  He gave his life protecting ours, and while our final moments may have seemed a little unceremonious and ungrateful, I know he wouldn’t have wanted any pomp and circumstance;  He wasn’t a hero, he was just doing his job.  

While I was transferring stuff to the rental, the husband of the driver stopped by to see his car..  He seemed very cool, and reassured me that they had full insurance coverage and they had already told the insurance company that the accident was his wife’s fault.  We chatted briefly and shook hands, I don’t think anyone felt good about what happened earlier in the day so there’s no need to hold grudges.  With Hawkeye cleaned out we grabbed a quick meal and set out, slowly, for Bar Harbor.  We arrived around 6pm, approximately 4 hours after we had originally planned to arrive.  It boggles my mind that so much happened in those four hours.  Upon arriving, I opened my MacBook Air to discover that it took some injuries during the crash.  It was in my bookbag behind the drivers’ seat, and the trackpad button got smashed and the case has been bent.  You can see the tops of the case screws pushing through the handrest in the above photo of Officer Daniels’ baseball card!  Fortunately, I’m hopeful that their insurance will cover this as well.

We did our best to make the most of the remainder of our vacation, but between our injuries and the rainy weather, there was only so much we could do.  On Thursday, after sleeping in pretty late, the weather was decent for a spell and we got up to the top of Cadillac Mountain, but the cloud cover was below the summit, so the only good views were on the way up and down.   After that excursion we returned to the B&B and rested before dinner.  Friday the weather was pretty miserable, but we still managed to tour the loop road that goes around the park and stopped for a few very small hikes and vistas.  The miserable weather and the tides did combine to make Thunder Hole pretty exciting, though.  This morning we had breakfast at the B&B and hit the road pretty much right away, watching the bad weather melt away into a beautiful day as we travelled south.  

Perhaps I’ll come back with more details about the non-accident part of our trip in the future, but for the time being it is really all I can think about.  Not to sound melodramatic, but I’ve seen the replay of that black pickup coming directly for us over and over again, and it hasn’t lost any impact yet.

My journal, oh how I have neglected you!

I’ve been ultra-busy lately at both work and home, but looking back at the journal, I haven’t written anything other than movie reviews in over a month.  I’m even way behind on the movie reviews! Christ I wasn’t that busy, I’m just neglectful.  I’m sorry journal.

In the past month, I’ve been working on a fun project at work that has occupied quite a few cycles.  My plan is to finish it by the end of June, and I don’t think that is an ambitious goal.  The sin-laws visited over the Memorial Day weekend, and while it was part social visit, it was clearly also part indentured servitude.  coco_b has wanted to better utilize the awesome evening light that was hitting the street side of the house, but much of it was sequestered in the front bedroom (which is her little yoga/reading/working/office/chill space).  After some discussions, we decided to replace the lame slab door (in the distance in that photo) to that room with a set of french doors.  This way the room was still a defined, separate room, yet open or closed, we still get the beautiful evening light and both rooms seem bigger.  Corinna’s parents have done a ton of work on their home, and her stepfather does cabinetry and woodworking as a hobby.  Even better, they always seem willing to help us out on whatever crazy projects we dream up.  :)

So they drove all the way down (er, over?) from Michigan, arriving Thursday evening…  We figured that if they were coming to give us so much free labor and advice, the least I could do was make sure they were well fed while they were here.  The night they arrived I whipped up some cheese fondue from scratch and we had some fresh bread from one of the local bakeries.  Even if it isn’t hip anymore, Fondue is a great way to eat and socialize at the same time.  Over the weekend I also made my signature pasta+cauliflower+cheese+onion dish, as well as some mediocre skewers, swordfish provencal, and I don’t remember what else (if anything).  My vacation time isn’t as copious as Corinna’s, so I worked on Friday while they begun demolition at the house. The door was significantly wider and a bit taller than the existing door, and we also had to relocate a light switch.  While I somehow optimistically thought that this would be a one or two day project, it ended up taking the entire weekend (not including jointing and painting).  We still managed to have fun, watched a few movies, ate lots of food, and just hung out, but I still think it’d be nice if we didn’t enslave them next time they visited. :)  Corinna finished most of the finish work this past weekend, and the end result is awesome.

Last Friday, jeffm was in town, and he suggested we all go to Fenway to see the Sox.  While this SHOULD have been awesome, the lineup was a little shaken up with injuries, and they got completely destroyed by the Mariners.  It was still a fun time, I had never been to Fenway with such a large group (8 people) before..  Afterwards we hit up Precinct in Union Square, which was quite a bit of fun, although it was a little out of the way for roryk and I.  Jeff’s friend Christen went to the game with us and works there, so we got a serious hookup.  New people, old friends, and good drinks ALMOST make up for shitty baseball.  Almost.

Busy day!

I woke up this morning at 6:30am, but called BS on that right away and stayed in bed until 7:30am, when I gave up trying to fall back asleep and got up.  After puttering around for an hour or so I took a shower and ran out to Home Depot to finish the order for our french door.  coco_b placed the order earlier in the week, but she was unsure of the jamb size, so she put it on hold until we could measure it and get back to them.  While I was there I got a new shower head as well as a new motion sensor for the back stairwell.  I came home, made pancakes for breakfast, and then we took a solid nap.

When I woke up from our nap, I saw our downstairs neighbor Greg in the back yard preparing to rake the lawn.  We totally slacked off last fall and never bothered to clean up the yard before the first snow, so it was time to take care of it.  I joined him, and it only took us a few hours to polish the whole thing off.   At some point I also installed the new shower head and the motion sensor.  Not to mention cooking (ok, reheating) dinner.  I was pretty friggin’ productive, eh?

On an unrelated note, I received a letter in the mail from the Red Sox Ticket guy, thanking me profusely and containing a gift card to the Halfway Cafe, which is pretty awesome!

Pulling a Jared

I woke up at 3am on Monday morning with pretty severe pain on the right side of my stomach. After some failed attempts at “passing” I quickly came to suspect that while several of the other symptoms were missing (most notably nausea) that it was possible my Appendix needed to go. Some quick research online backed up these suspicions, so I woke up who took me to Mt. Auburn Hospital. A CT Scan provided the definitive proof; My appendix needed to go. I moved from the ER to my room some time around 8-9am, and I turned out not only to get a private room, but one with a beautiful view overlooking the Charles. Corinna took some pictures, I’ll post them when I can.

I moved up to the Surgery wing about 11:30am, and we were waiting around, filling out forms and waiting for the room to be prepped when Corinna excused herself. She took one step back, her eyes rolled back, and she passed out, clocking herself on a nearby desk. The whole place scurried to help her, and the ended up taking her to the ER for observation, ultimately releasing her, with solid lump on her head, before I got back to my room. They removed the appendix laparoscopically, so instead of a big incision they cut three tiny holes which don’t require stitches.

I spent the next 6 or 7 hours in the room recuperating before I decided to go home. The hospital staff said I could stay the night if I wanted, but even with the private room, the hospital isn’t exactly the best place for me to sleep. I was home by 10pm, less than 18 hours after all this had started. I’m home recovering now, I’m pretty sore but it’s not too bad. The staff said I can return to work as soon as I feel up to it, but it might be the rest of the week. Judging from how uncomfortable I am in a sitting position right now, it definitely won’t be for a few days.. Right now I’m just looking forward to taking a shower this evening.

I’ve been in the hospital twice in the nearly 5 years Corinna and I have been together. This doesn’t bode well for her. At least I’m not as goobed out as I was last time. I’m pretty self-sufficient today… I can go to the bathroom on my own and everything. :)

Christmas 2007 Report

Here’s a quick highlight reel from the past few weeks. I’m sure I left out some important details, so please forgive me for the quick buzz:

Dad drove up from NJ on the 20th, and after a quick meal at the Halfway, I took the wheel and drove us back to Hopatcong. It was snowing in Boston-land, but once we got a bit west it mostly ceased. We made good time and didn’t really encounter any big problems. Getting home we were greeted by Mom, Aimee, Aiden and the dogs. It was the first time meeting Aiden and he was just as cute as the avalanche of pictures have portrayed him. Aimee and Aiden had to fly back to Tennessee before Christmas, so we celebrated early. Saturday morning we drove down to Grammy and Grampy’s neighborhood for lunch with them, and then returned to Hopatcong to sit down around the tree and open gifts. Everyone seemed to enjoy the gifts which were exchanged, and I got all kinds of stuff. I got a bunch of cooking-related books and items, which was cool. I also got a few more seasons of South Park to further round out my collection. went above and beyond and got me a Donkey Cigarette Dispenser. While I don’t smoke, I love donkeys, so this alone would have been an awesome gift, but she then instructed me to operate the dispenser. A pencil shot out of the ass’ ass (haha) and it was wrapped in a piece of paper reading “Good for One Xbox 360”. I had been talking about getting one for awhile now, so this was a real nice surprise. While it was weird to me to celebrate Christmas a few days early (and at night, to boot!), I soon got over it and enjoyed spending time with kith and kin. We popped in Christmas Vacation and dug in for the night.

The rest of our time in NJ was great, I even had the opportunity to make attempts 3 and 4 at “Mission: Kolach”. 3 continued the improvements I had managed with attempt 2, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I think everyone else was more forgiving of it than me, but I intend to keep working on it until it’s perfect. But I was able to get the crust much less thick by kneading less. I’m going to knead even less next time and see what happens. Attempt 4 was somewhat of a disaster in my mind. I mis-measured the butter and added 8 tbsp. instead of the 6 I had been working with. I’m also going to get a second loaf pan so I can make a double-recipe. I took the original recipe, which made 4 loaves, and quartered it, but that left some of the measurements odd (1.5 egg yolks, for instance), so by making two loaves I can eliminate those weird measurements (which I ended up rounding up to avoid having to deal with it).

On Christmas Day, Dad took Corinna and I to the Newark Airport for our flight to Michigan. When we got to the airport we found out our flight was delayed by two hours. We went to the bar for a few drinks to kill some time, and while we were sitting there I saw David Zayas (a.k.a. Lt. Angel Batista from Dexter) approach the bar, I did a double take, but without mentioning anything to Corinna, when he stepped away from the bar and sat in the booth behind me, she saw and heard him and came to the same conclusion. We didn’t bother him, but we just silently geeked out in our booth.

We arrived at Coco’s parents’ house around 9:30pm, and much of the family was already there. We mostly just decompressed and hung out with everyone. The next day we observed Wigilia, and everyone was there. It was really cool, and it was fun watching all the kids open their gifts. The Wigilia meal was huge but delicious as always… I actually felt like I was going to explode. This probably wouldn’t have been considered very festive, so I managed to hold myself together.

We spent the rest of our time in Michigan visiting friends and family. We drove up closer to Detroit to visit Corinna’s Great Aunt and Uncle. Her great aunt has been ill lately, so it was important that we got up to see them. Afterwards we headed over to the Raz’s abode to visit , Andy, and Colin. We headed for dinner over to Game Works, which is kinda like Jillians’ used to be, an adult arcade with several bars. The food was only so-so, but it was great catching up with the Razzies, as the past few visits to Michigan we’ve had limited exposure. Their kid could easily be the “token cute kid” in a sitcom if he developed a catchphrase (although “I SIT DOWN I SIT DOWN” might be a good start). Also, I can’t remember the last time I was set loose in an Arcade, so I had a great time. Corinna and Amy kicked it DDR style a few times. Andy and I stuck mostly to vehicle games, although we did go for a few rounds in that Jurassic Park shooter. When we got back to Chelsea, we dug into the Pats game with Kim. The rest of our time in Michigan was pretty laid back and quiet (at least in comparison to having 19 people sleep in one house!) We had a wine and cheese movie night with Corinna’s parents and watched #99 and #100 on my video list for 2006.

The trip back to Boston was pretty uneventful, occuring mostly on time and after a short taxi ride to Watertown we were home. I turned right back around to go to the markets to get supplies for our New Years party, and afterwards crashed into the bed for a nap to recharge. Everyone came over around 9pm and seemed to have a great time. The party broke up around 2am, and while we had a ton of leftovers I was actually expecting worse. The next morning I went out first thing to redeem my Xbox voucher, and after some AV-setup wrangling (and a trip back out to Best Buy for a forgotten accessory) I was up and running. I basically played with it for the rest of the day… You can find me on Live as “dos burros”.

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree
Originally uploaded by seangraham

Corinna and I spent some time setting up our Christmas Tree tonight… It is so awesome! Our generic to unique ornament ratio is pretty bad right now, but I’m sure before too long we’ll have too many ornaments to actually put on the tree… :)

I just dumped a buttload of random phonecam pics into my Flickr Photostream. I had a bunch of them sitting on the phone dating back to before our trip to Spain and figured it was about time to get them handled…

Late Night

and I headed over to the Girards’ home last night for some hot game-night action.  We played Fluxx and DICKtionary (think Pictionary but actually fun) and just chilled out…  Corinna was getting pretty drowsy-eyed around 1am so we retreated back to the homestead..  When we got home, our downstairs neighbors Kate and Greg were throwing a party of their own, so we stopped by to say ‘hi’ and ended up hanging out with them until like 3am.  Needless to say I slept WAY in this morning. :)

Total Insanity

This weekend was totally out of control… 

and I left for the annual Halloween Party in Dryden, NY after work on Thursday…  We made pretty good time, and listened to Game 2 of the World Series on the radio during the trip..  It was the first time I had listened to baseball on the radio, and I was surprised as to how easy it was to follow the game.  I look forward to being able to listen to games on Sirius after the merger during future trips.  We went straight to the Bed and Breakfast across the street from the Hammond/Gunther (or, as I have dubbed them, The Hamsters) household.  We saw the last inning of the game, and Corinna went to bed.  I joined the party across the street and stayed up far too late.   The weekend is a blur…  I actually even had a costume this year, it only took me 5 years to actually dress up for the big Halloween party.  There was a pig roast.   There were abandoned buildings.  There was

who is beginning his slow reign of the human race.

Sunday, after the long drive back to Boston, we settled in to watch what became the final game of the 2007 World Series.  I don’t know if it was because of my lack of sleep, but it was a real nail biter for me…  I was so completely shredded after the game that I nearly passed out.

I finally have a Mac at work.  This is a wonderful thing, but it will be awhile before I can really adopt it as my new machine as I am really busy on some contract work (i.e. the kind with really firm deadlines we have to deliver on) for the next few weeks.


My life over the past two days has been consumed with Portal and watching baseball.  Portal is the bomb.  I walk to work now and think about how it would be awesome to shoot a portal there and there…  I even had portal dreams last night;  It has reached the Tetris level of puzzle greatness where it consumes most of my thoughts during the day.  I haven’t even played Half-Life: Episode Two yet.

The Sox game last night was awesome, Hopefully they’ll keep up the good work and win through game 7.  Our new couch is apparently being delivered tonight, which will hopefully increase guest comfort.


OK, so I’ve completely neglected my journal for a long time.  I’m going to try to fix this starting now.  Here are some updates…

All of our photos are posted now, and I tried to put reasonable descriptions of each one.  If you want the abridged version, [info]coco_b is working on a shorter slideshow.  Our trip was totally awesome..   We flew, with [info]adamfletcher, out to Pamplona, arriving on Friday.  After a long post-travel nap at the hotel, we woke up around 5pm to venture out into the town.  We ended up at a Pintxos (regional name for Tapas) bar and had some snacks and a few plates, but we eventually met up with [info]rioma, his bride to be, and some other friends…  That was a pretty early night, so after dinner and drinks we headed back to the hotel.  Saturday was the big wedding day, so after a late breakfast we took a nap to make sure we’d be able to survive the wedding festivities…   The wedding started at 6pm, and we were told it might keep going until 4 or 5am, so we figured the rest would do us well!  The wedding was beautiful, although I found church far more tolerable when you can’t understand anything the priest is saying.    The reception was completely out-of-hand, with a cocktail and appetizer hour, 7 courses of the main meal, and then, as advertised, dancing and drinking until 4-5pm.  I believe there is even some footage of me dancing like a schmuck while quite intoxicated, but I hope my friends will hold onto that footage until my presidential campaign or something…

Sunday was the beginning of our proper tourism, and we started to explore Pamplona…  This continued Monday, and between these two days most of our friends who had come out for the wedding went their separate ways.  While it was great seeing all these people, it was also nice break away on our own.  We saw all kinds of amazing places in Pamplona, but a common retreat for us was back to the Plaza del Castillo, drinking and chilling.  On Tuesday, we rented a car for the rest of our trip and drove up to San Sebastian for a day..  Then we proceeded to drive up into France overnight, and then down through the Pyrenees..  We eventually ended up back in Pamplona the day before our flight back to the states.  There are obviously lots of details I’ve glossed over, but I think pictures speak louder than words in this situation..  If I talked about every town we visited, it would mostly be “X town was so damn beautiful, I can’t really express it in words”…

Corinna has gone crazy painting our place, and now all but one room is painted.  I picked a pimp-ass color for my office, I’ll try and remember to take a picture of it soon.