Steppin’ Out Holidazed Style…

Steve of 50legs.org and The BROAD on two legs

Steve of 50legs.org and The BROAD on two legs

I spent the week following Thanksgiving preparing my client work and personal stuff so things were handled as much in advance as possible. By Wednesday, the weekend was just too far away – I was so excited to be moving on to the possibility of walking!!

In conversations with Steve Chamberland, founder of 50legs.org it was settled that I would drive to Florida on Friday and enjoy the day Saturday at a local biker holiday parade before beginning the process of “getting a little leg” started on Sunday at Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates (POA).

Thursday 12/05/13 – Another nomad biker that I met online via folks from ULRB, was passing through Georgia. Don Wood was also on his way to Florida but with a far different agenda than I. He would be stopping over and spending the night with us before we both made our ways south in the morning. Poor Don dodged rain drops all day and he didn’t miss a one… He got in after dinner time, said his greetings and popped open a beer. Seems like him and Dad were really enjoying some car rebuilding shows and talking motors and such. I sat there relaxing sipping a cold beer and making a mental list of questions for my coming excursion. Ma and I conversed with Don and watched more TV after Dad went to bed, but both being travelers, we set off to sleep around 10pm or so.

Don Wood and The BROAD

Don Wood and The BROAD

Friday 12/06/13 – I had everything packed pretty much the night before except for a few things. Given that I was going from 50* in Georgia to upper 80* in Florida and then into the single digits in Illinois, I had to pack accordingly. Don helped me put the last few things into the car and he chatted with me while I did my face and hair before leaving. For folks like us that have a common passion, for the love of the ride, we seem to be able to flip a conversation you to me and to you and back again… this is how you learn about people, this is how you make new friends. 

Don and I pulled out of Dad’s together and go figure, I must’ve had my brain cells on hold because I should’ve headed west like Don but habit sent me east. It took me a mile or two before I realized and flipped around. I thought, “How the hell did ya make it out there girl?” and I just laughed at myself. I eventually passed Don’s bike at a gas station down the road. And so, a new Leg of the Journey begins…

I was very excited to not only be getting a leg and learning how to use it, but even more so about the entirety of my trip. From start to finish, I will be on the road so to speak for just over 3 weeks; only this time, I have plenty of storage space 🙂 😦

Eating my Sandwich that Ma made - on the way to FL

Eating my Sandwich that Ma made – on the way to FL

Flag at BP

Flag at BP

I jammed my music, read signs, people watched in cars around me, and enjoyed the sun on my face through the window as I headed south. I was back on the road and though it is no where near the same experience as when I started out, it is again a piece of freedom, the chance to meet new people, and the opportunities I cannot create while sitting in a house. I was excited about being back in the biker community based on some of the possible outings I heard about from Steve and also my new friend Jeff Hall. There was also the excitement of possibly seeing people in Florida I had not seen since my early journey months.

I arrived at Steve’s house around 5:30 pm. It was warm and humid with sun still shining though lowering in the sky with each moment. Steve and his dear friend Steph were in the drive-way; we briefly exchanged a hug and she was off. The evening was spent settling into my room, sharing stories with Steve, some delivery pizza, and detective TV.

Holidays are sooo Sweet

Holidays are sooo Sweet

Saturday 12/07/13 – Oh My Gosh… What a Great Day!! So I was just told this was a Christmas Parade by the Moose and Vet Lodges (I think I got that right). Anyway, the motorcycles would follow behind Santa’s ‘sleigh’. Now, Steve said he was going to take me on his bike and I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to work out. We went out for breakfast and took care of technical phone issues Steve had and then met Jeff back at Steve’s. And that was that, I jumped on the back and held my crutches with my right arm with them propped on Steve’s leg. We were off…

When we arrived at the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge it was already hot. We pulled in right behind a bike that was painted in great elaborate Spider-Man (TM) motif. Of course I just had to take pictures of it and naturally it belongs to Steve’s friend Bobby. And then I go around the open passenger door of a pick-up to see a man that never heard the saying, “just say no to crack.” He was bent over into the floor looking for something and I couldn’t help but think that Spider-Man was having a wardrobe (and other) malfunctions. Bobby emerged, we shook hands and everybody around just sort of started chatting among themselves. We weren’t really there all that long, everybody went inside had a drink and used the washroom then if was off to the parade location.

Spiderman (TM) Licensed Bike

Spiderman (TM) Licensed Bike

Spidey Cleaner

Spidey Cleaner

A Fallen Hero...

A Fallen Hero…Spiderman does what ever a spider can…

I was just tickled to be in the midst of motorcycles again. The people are unique yet no different than anybody else; all walks of life with one common passion. Arriving no different than a hundred other parades and events I’ve attended – the bikes were directed in one way and the cars in another. Yay us… we get to be by Santa!! Just shortly after we parked my son called and so I had to hobble away and chat with him. It wasn’t much longer that we were off again. Apparently we were rather early and it was hot as heck so we were going to go sit somewhere cool and return. After a lost cell phone fiasco (Jeff), we made it around the block a few times, got a beverage, and chatted with the Vets doing colors in the parade. These dudes were a hoot. With that, we were all back to the parade via a detour in which Steve and I found Jeff’s phone – TaDa – Merry Christmas! I was able to chat with a few folks around the parade this time and was delighted to see that the weather may be better here, but the brotherhood is still the same.

Holiday Parada - Florida Style

Holiday Parada – Florida Style

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The parade took flight and just the first 3 blocks was brutal on these custom bikes, which were not designed to roll first; heck most bikes don’t like that too much – that’s not what they were made for, but we make them do it. Steve opted to pull out and Jeff followed. We learned later in the evening that Bobby’s Spidey bike overheated and they had to baby it back to life and get it home.

As for us… we were cruising down one of the main drags in the area and I was personally just delighted to be moving and airing out. I’m not sure, we might have gone a mile or so when the boys chatted about where to go. A couple I had been to and others I had not heard of, but then they hit on one mutually that was like an old lady calling BINGO… “Mahuffers” in unison.

Jeff n I - Where to Next?

Jeff n I – Where to Next?

This place was cool in a multi-area, torn up, eclectic beach biker bar – I don’t even know if those words all belong together. It was wild and I will for sure go back there. You just can’t take in all the paraphernalia that is about the place. Getting from the back patio to the restroom inside the place on crutches with one leg… that was fun.

Mulhuffer's w Steve n Jeff

Mulhuffer’s w Steve n Jeff

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Just another day on motorcycles

Just another day on motorcycles

We stopped at several places during the day and evening including Porpoise Pub, Crabby Bill’s, and Cuso’s to name a few. I even had my first post crash dance with a dude named Mike Meyers that followed us from one place to the next. I have to tell you these two boys certainly did make my weekend worth coming up early. I got a little color on skin, wind in my hair, tom-foolery out, and smiles that breathed life back into my soul.

Sunday 12/08/13 – Steve went off to church and I took my time waking up and sitting outside. My appointment at POA wasn’t until 6pm and the time was just going to drag now. Steve text me to see if I wanted to leave early to get toys for the kids for a bike run he was missing because of the POA appointment. We went to Wal-Mart and he bought a boat load of toys which we promptly delivered to the take off site. With that we set off to Orlando for the first casting in the leg process. We were not able to get in early so we tooled around town and found a Sports Authority where Steve bought me my first pair of sneakers I’ve had in years. We ate Chinese food and I watched this man pay for dinner for a family of 4. Never judge a book by its cover, isn’t that the saying?

This particular casting was taken of my partial leg with basically nothing on it. This would be used to create the liner which is the first thing you put on in the process of wearing a leg. That’s then covered by a sock which varies in thickness to help you manage swelling and shrinking. This process didn’t take very long and we learned that Monday would be a down day. I had to return on Tuesday and would be fairly full days through Thursday. Roger, my new prosthesis, and Steve cut-up and within moments POA was a wonderfully warm place for me.

POA - WooHoo - I'm Ready!

POA – WooHoo – I’m Ready!

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Roger working his magic (marker)...

Roger working his magic (marker)…

Monday 12/09/13 – I went to TJ Maxx to find a few pair of shorts as I figured it would be easier than jeans. One pair of shorts; not as productive as I would have liked. This day I spent working a lot and then preparing to go to dinner with friends in Clearwater. We went to Palm Pavilion where I met up with Karen and Bob the last time I was through there. Jeff and Rod also joined us. My goodness the conversations and the laughs were just great. Karen and I did a little spoof of our late picture at Palm Pavilion just special for FB since my photo with Spidey got reported for pornography / nudity (which it was neither and FB left it up)… argh but that was and continues to be a problem. Not just pictures but just lame people. Anyway, I digress… After pictures and dinner, I bid good bye to my boys and went up to see Karen and Bob’s condo. What a beautiful view!!! She for sure made the right call in leaving Illinois.

Dinner with Friends - Priceless

Dinner with Friends – Priceless

You can take the kids out of IL but you can't take the IL out of the kids.

You can take the kids out of IL but you can’t take the IL out of the kids.

Karen's Balcony - Ha Ha!

Karen’s Balcony – Ha Ha!

Tuesday 12/10/13 – So when we got to POA I tried on the liner and it wouldn’t exactly come off well. Roger did some tweaking and poured a new one. From there they cast my leg with the liner on. Now they would build the socket which affixes to the leg/foot apparatus. We could now go to lunch. Oh wait, maybe not… Roger was working diligently on my leg and wanted me to sit tight. Sherry and Chris are from Detroit and both left leg amputees also but they are above the knee; anyway they were going for lunch and agreed to bring me something back. That was ever so helpful because I get crabby with no food. By the time that Steve returned the leg had just come out. Roger was having me sit with the liner and sock on to help reduce the swelling as I had been sitting around all morning and afternoon at this point. We got the leg on and Roger gave me some tips. Now I still had to use the bars or crutches because I cannot put my full body weight onto the femur that is growing. And then, I stood up…

The liner first...

The liner first…

Then the leg...

Then the leg…

Then the Stand...

Then the Stand…

Standing up was ok, I stand all the time – just on one leg.

Using the bars and taking a few steps was – WEIRD!

I already knew that I wasn’t just going to get up and walk, but that is so what I wanted to do. I got most of the way to the end of the bars with Roger right in front of me coaching me along. He was so serious when he looked at my eyes watering up and he asked if I was ok, all I could do was hug him. I was more than ok, I was on my way up. I did not experience any pain really, but the waiting around and emotional high sort of took a toll on me.

I posted the first video of me taking steps on the bars once we got in the truck to leave for the day. It’s about 1:20 ride to Steve’s house, so we maybe had been on the road for 20-30 minutes when I saw I missed a call from my Dad (rock and roll blaring – go figure). I called him back and got fussed out like crazy for walking. I can’t put all that weight on that leg. On and on until I slowed him down and told him the pressure was on the bars, like crutches and I had to send him the video by email right away. Ya see, my little sister Christy called Dad to tell him I was walking but he didn’t see it or get it so – KABOOM!! Dad on the rampage! Ain’t that cute?

Sunrise in Florida

Sunrise in Florida

Wednesday 12/11/13 – Another early morning off to Orlando. Usually in the morning people play catch up and the staff gets the stuff they need for each of their clients. My main man Roger was running busy this morning so I was again able to meet a few more people that raved their love for POA and how they have had bad legs, liners, sockets, and service – only to end up at POA and regretting they didn’t know about them sooner. I am blessed in that regard to be able to go to the best right off the bat and that’s just all thanks to 50legs.org and Steve.

Going to learn to walk...

Going to learn to walk…

I finally got my leg, I say finally… it might have been half an hour but dern it, I wanted to walk. This day was spent with some tweaking to the leg, practicing on the bars and the crutches, and a lot of resting. I would do maybe 15 minutes of walking and I was ready to sit down. I was using muscles I hadn’t used in many months, despite some exercising I was no longer in shape. Several times walking and adjusting then Roger and Stan, the owner and founder of POA , were fairly sure they were pretty darn close to what I needed. But… they thought that I over did it this day and were not letting me take the leg with me. ARGH!!

I was excited and all sorts of thoughts ran through my little brain. Just a couple more months and I’ll be walking well which means I’ll be trying to ride again. I have to start figuring out how to get back on the road. There are so many new things to consider this time around. I left before with nearly $4,000 to my name and made money along the way. Now I have a lot more to consider. So these thoughts were intermixed with loud rock and roll, Steve and I singing out of key, and the warm Florida sun coming through the window. It was bike night at Quaker Steak and Spiderman Bobby wanted to meet up. We would go home and change and he’d meet us at the house.

Adding Ink...

Adding Ink…

Adding Ink...

Adding Ink…

Well, a simple bike night turned into much more; as it often does for me. We first ended up at a local pub just off the beach where Bobby knows a guy… But seriously, Bobby knows this guy that just moved his tattoo shop to the strip. Great location, Good price, Why Not? So we had a beverage and then went upstairs to see the new shop which was setup for tattoos and was under development with exterior paint and jewelry case. We sat and talked to the owner and another artist renting a chair. As such they learned about my story, I turned them on to Nailmaille Jewelry, and showed off pictures of my son’s designs. All that being said, Bobby was having something added to an existing tattoo so I decided to do the same. Mr. Bill was supposed to finish my sprocket when I got to Sturgis but since that didn’t work out, here I am in Florida.

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So the chain was added to the sprocket and I asked him to break off a few links and put my crash date above them. I was extremely pleased with the work from Poppy George.

Adding Ink...

Adding Ink…

All the while I had to listen to Bobby crying like a baby girl from the chair next to me…

Some Webbed Hero...

Some Webbed Hero…

Some Webbed Hero...

Some Webbed Hero…

Steve was getting anxious as he was not in the inking circle this night. He was ready to roll to Quaker Steak when I got down stairs. And I was for one getting hungry. Immediately upon pulling up it was almost like being home. Although I have to say they had a lot more vendors than our’s in Indiana. Hence, I was introduced to a lady with a pole in her booth… game on, The BROAD is back.

Just another bike night

Just another bike night

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Just another bike night

Just another bike night

Steve and Bobby went for food as I talked to the vendors and meandered a bit. I caught up to them at the bar and they were among friends already. I was handed a beer and Steve said he would go get me a plate of food. I had a couple of folks approach me that had seen my story on Steve’s FB page; I always think that’s neat meeting the people that are out there rooting me on. We stayed, we took pictures, we talked, we laughed, we left. It was another great night in the community.

Thursday 12/12/13 – We didn’t have to show up quite as early this day. I was able to get some work done in the morning before we left. Steve said that Sean “X-PAC” Waltman, pro-wrestler, was going with us to POA for the day. Oh the ride was a joy with these two silly boys in the truck.

Sean "X-PAC" Waltman and The BROAD

Sean “X-PAC” Waltman and The BROAD

Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game - I can't help it I'm a lucky BROAD!

Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game – I can’t help it I’m a lucky BROAD!

X-PAC visited with folks at POA while Roger had me do more walking exercises, they tweaked, and then they watched closely and video taped. They analyzed and tweaked. I walked. This all happened rather fast so it seemed but a few hours passed quickly. It was also the day that Sherry and Chris would be done and returning to Detroit. I had met several other clients during the week and learned of some fascinating people with amazing tales of survival.

Detroit Sherry

Detroit Sherry

Detroit Chris

Detroit Chris

The man that gives great leg... Roger Underwood of POA, Orlando

The man that gives great leg… Roger Underwood of POA, Orlando

When we were done, the boys, me, and my new leg set off to find some dinner. Sean was ever such a gentleman with the doors and such. He and I both headed to the washroom before sitting down and some ladies saw Sean and asked for pictures. He was very obliging and polite. I have to say again, never judge a book by its cover. He was such a delight to hang out with that I was sad to see him go when we took him home.

Friday 12/13/13 – I still had other folks to see and was attempting to get to Chicago by Tuesday early. HA!! I set out to go say good-bye to Bobby at his bike shop. Just moments before I was leaving Steve pulled up and he too was going to Bobby’s for a little love on the bike. Bobby was tickled to see me walk on the new leg. We all yapped for a while then Steve and I were off to meet John, one of the partners in 50legs.org – the guys had some business of their own and John and I were going to discuss my new role as their virtual marketing assistant. I may not be able to pay for a leg in green backs, but I can pay it forward and I can do what I do well for a great organization. I certainly encourage folks to spread the word about 50legs.org and when you are considering your new charity of choice for 2014 (and beyond), give them serious consideration because this is a great need that most folks don’t think about.

Thinks Steve: That girl just wants to ride...

Thinks Steve: That girl just wants to ride…

Thinks Me: Gosh I Just Want to Ride...

Thinks Me: Gosh I Just Want to Ride…

From Hogan’s Beach House, after a great lunch, I took off to visit my buddy Rod and his roomie Kim. I went over this massive bridge that plays visual tricks on the mind – yuck! I had a break at the base of the bridge and took some photos and talked on the phone to my good friend Kenny Szot.

Holy Hannah...

Holy Hannah…

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What a Bridge

What a Bridge

Once I arrived at Rod’s the night was relaxing with beers and pizza. Rod and I sat outside for a long time while I rearranged accessories on my scooter and he pretended to rig it with a motorcycle seat. Kim was babysitting so I only got to see her for a while. I was only staying one night as I had other rounds to make.

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Just Farting Around w Rod-man

Just Farting Around w Rod-man

Saturday 12/14/13 – I woke up to Rod and Kim in the kitchen and she said she was going to cook before I left. I do so love to eat. I showered and then sat in the kitchen to do my face and talk to the crew including Kim’s daughter and grandson, the neighbor and even Rod’s mom stopped to say good bye.

Ya know, I just have to interject here – freakin’ Rod is something else. He’s got a chick for a roommate, a chick biker coming to visit him, the chick he likes, the roommates hot chick daughter, and the neighbor chick that comes over to microwave her coffee wearing only a man’s dress shirt. Rod just sits back and soaks it all in. All boys should take lessons from Rod: be kind, be helpful, expect nothing, and it all just flocks to you… Back to our regularly scheduled musings!

After a hearty breakfast and big hugs I was off to see Vic and Vicky, the dancing trike couple I met at Angel City in the spring and then hung out with again in Panama City Beach. I love these people. Again, a last-minute one-night stay so we relaxed and caught up for a few hours before we headed to a house party to watch the Christmas boat parade. We were intending to go to Iron Horse Saloon’s Anniversary party in Daytona but the rain storms were slowing us down. As it turned out, we saw only one decorated boat but I met several great folks and even met the father of the owner of the tattoo shop in Michigan where I had my belly button pierced. Go figure those odds.

Checking ourselves out in the magazines

Checking ourselves out in the magazines

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When we returned home, I sat outside on the phone for a short while and then spent over an hour talking to Vicky’s two teens, Maddux and Michala, at the kitchen table. Very smart and fascinating young people. I really enjoyed my time with them. It was late and Vic and Vicky were already snoozing on the couches. I headed off to bed.

Sunday 12/15/13 – I woke very early as I had a 3 hour drive to make it to church in Webster, Florida. I packed the car while Vicky made me one of her custom bling shirts. Michala was kind enough to help me load my car and soon again, it was time to bid ado; but visits like this though short mean a great deal after all that has happened this year.

I was not 10 miles down the interstate when I saw a car in the opposing traffic veer hard left and then over correct sending the car speeding fast off into the trees on the right side of the road. In an instant, I checked my mirrors and nobody was behind me, as I slowed thinking I had to pull off and go help, I suddenly realized in a fast blink that I have only one leg, trying to hobble over two metal barriers and cross three lanes of interstate traffic into the woods to help was probably not the safest idea for myself and let alone the traffic still coming that would be clueless as to a one-legged lady on crutches in the middle of the interstate. I dialed 911 and regained my speed. I felt horrible. Like actually sick to my stomach that I didn’t stop. I called Vicky after 911 and told her about the crash; that’s when she told me about three tornadoes that touched down within blocks of her house the night prior (which I slept right through). I guess that explains all the trees down and messes all over the place.

I made it to church with a bit of time to spare. Ms. Stacy greeted me and then Ms. Doris. We went inside church and there I received hugs from Pastor Don and a few of the other members that had written to me. I was very pleased to be back in the place where I spent Easter Sunday, among new family. During the service Pastor Don called for folks to proclaim that which they have witnessed. After a few stories, I raised my hand and Pastor Don was extremely excited to have me join him up front. He made a brief reminding introduction of who I was and what happened. From there I proceeded to address the congregation briefly about my experience and accepting my death, only to be given another chance. I spoke about my true understanding of forgiveness as I have never realized it to be until now.

After I sat down, I noticed a young boy around 7 or 8 years old that was crying in the front right section of church. He walked out followed by whom I assumed was his mother. I thought nothing more of it at the time. A crabby kid, so it goes. As the service progressed, the boy and lady returned. There was a point when Pastor Don was talking about something which escapes me now and the crying little boy came across church to approach me, hug me, squeeze me, and held on for minutes. He said next to nothing, only hugged me hard. I cried and I squeezed back something fierce. This little boy just gave me another few ounces of hope for this world. I learned after services that the boy was crying because he misunderstood what I said to the congregation. He thought that when I said I died and lost my leg, I must have meant I was going to die and lose my other leg – or something like this – that’s the jist; he was confused and when he learned that I was not going to die and I was not going to lose my other leg, he was just so very happy for me.

After church I followed Ms. Doris to Beef O’Brady where I was able to have a laughter filled lunch with the Webster retirees famous for stealing my laundry money … and my heart! As a recap for those that are joining later in the story: Frenchy is the father of Barb, the wife of my sponsor Ken at Rider’s Claw. Frenchy is married to Ms. Janice and she’s a hot mess. The other retirees either live there or go north in summer. I spent a few different short occasions in Webster during my journey. We used to play cards most nights and thus… stealing my laundry money… Frenchy says this day after teasing me about being slower than him now and Doris told him to be nice… “I don’t have to be nice to her, I adopted her.” And my eyes leak…

All the folks from Sunshine Village and First Baptist Church of Webster have really made that a place I could visit too often. Oh wait, I did; and look forward to it again. My Rider’s Claw family has been a tremendous blessing in my life. I love y’all.

Just a few kids from the Sunshine Village Crew

Just a few kids from the Sunshine Village Crew

After lunch I had Ms. Doris and Ms. Janice stand guard by my car door so I could take my leg off in preparation for a long drive ahead. It’s kind of a pain to get the leg off when you are wearing pants, particularly unforgiving blue jeans. That’s when I saw blood inside the liner. This upset me terribly. I knew that sores could be expected but already?? The problem is, you get a sore, then you are supposed to leave the leg off until it heals. That means possibly days and that was a buzz kill. I had not been over-doing anything but I guess it was just what it was. I cleaned up everything, put a dry gauze and Ace bandage on, pulled up my pants and passed out hugs.

I was basically going right past my Dad’s enroute to Illinois and with the late lunch and 7 hours to Dad’s, I figured better to rest in my own bed and not a hotel. I saw Ms. Pat briefly before going to soak in an epsom salt bath and going to bed. I still had a long way to go and I was still feeling sort of like I was on vacation (not a journey per se, but vacation – you know, when you know you MUST return at some point).

Monday 12/16/13 – I saw my Dad in the morning and he was able to see me practice walking for only a couple minutes. I didn’t want to push it with the sore which looked fine so far. I was back on the road and headed to freezing cold Illinois. I took things easy, stopped every so often to stretch and I brought my ankle weights along to do some leg lifts along the way. I can tell you that I still do not have the hang of crutches. I have seen some folks do crazy amazing feats on crutches and I am worthless on the dern things. The worst is when you have a door under control and part of your weight is leaning into the door when somebody comes up behind you and “helps” by pushing the door… oh gosh, how often have I come close to going down, argh! Folks don’t know because they haven’t done it.

It was a decent day of travel and I got just south of Louisville when I stopped for the night and got some work done.

Tuesday 12/17/13 – I rose early and did some work at the hotel room while I had Wi-Fi. I grabbed a bite to eat and a fresh tank of gas, then it was off I go further north, further into the cold. Brrr….

and there's the white stuff

and there’s the white stuff

I made it to Lynn and Nick’s in the early evening. It was very cold and snow had recently dusted the ground though it was not snowing when I arrived. Lynn helped with the essentials that I needed and then we took shelter in the warm house. We sat around and played ‘catch up’ for a while and when he was done with work, my son stopped by to say hello. It was a work night for the boys and a long day for me, so good nights and bedtime came early. I have been trying to maintain a routine sleep schedule based on something I read as for almost a month it has worked great – basically be sure to go to bed and wake up every day at the same time. It you screw up one don’t compensate on the other. So if you stay up until 1am, you still get up at 7am; sleeping longer doesn’t help, it throws off the internal clock and actually takes longer to catch up. So anyway, to bed early…

Wednesday 12/18/13 – Friday 12/20/13 – I spent the next couple of days getting some work done on my website and for my clients. I took care of some personal errands and visited with a couple friends. On Thursday I picked up my best friend from the hospital after surgery and spent the night at her house to help if needed. On Friday I was working along while sitting on the couch and Meg in her recliner, when I suddenly realized the day. I was supposed to visit my other best friend Larry for his auto shop’s Christmas party. I hurriedly dressed and cleaned up behind myself, packed up my stuff and took off. My friend Larry is the guy I called when I layed in the ditch that fateful day. He is a dear cherished friend and unfortunately when I arrived, it was to find that Larry was very super duper sick. I was almost afraid of us all being around him, but nobody seemed to care and Larry is just a guy you want to help when you can, though it’s usually him doing the helping. Greg ran out and got him Benadryl because his face was swollen; we thought allergy to something, but men don’t like doctors right? He did take the Benadryl and he left soon after I did and later he said his face was a little better.

Saturday 12/21/13 – I wanted to try and see some of my friends while I was in town but it’s never possible to see them all in the time I have and given the last 3 visit have been somewhat short notice or questionable scheduling at best and for short periods of time. I try to make my rounds but I always miss people. That’s a good problem to have though isn’t it now?

Saturday evening started out at CC’s Grove a local biker hang-out with a great back yard, stage, dance floor, fire pit, and BBQ. Love this place. Quite a few people showed up including Bill Farsolas from Pensacola, FL… I teased him, “We live 5 hours from each other and we have to share beer in Chicago?” I saw a lot of my usual running mates and even met a couple of new folks. I always love meeting new folks and seeing how they found ULRB and or my journey. I think it’s awesome to meet folks that you seem to know, but then get to really meet. After some time and shenanigans at CC’s Grove it was time for me to make my way to Gnarly J’s in Downers Grove to see one of my favorite and original ULRB members, Mr. Cheyenne Briones. It was Dave’s birthday that night and I would be able to meet Cheyenne’s girlfriend as well. She’s not new anymore, but new since I left in February. I didn’t really think this would happen but when I saw Cheyenne and he hugged me, I just started crying. It was so amazing to be able to see him again. He was always one of the boys that was always very respectful to me, very much a friend, and put to shame that saying that boys and girls can’t be friends.

2013-12-17 16.42.28 2013-12-18 13.36.28 2013-12-18 11.53.29 2013-12-19 11.56.11 2013-12-19 13.33.22 2013-12-20 21.39.31 2013-12-21 19.11.56 2013-12-21 19.12.10 2013-12-21 19.12.53 2013-12-21 19.13.08 2013-12-21 19.13.26 2013-12-21 19.29.33 2013-12-21 19.52.55 2013-12-21 21.18.44 2013-12-21 22.45.04 2013-12-21 23.05.07 2013-12-22 18.23.43 2013-12-22 18.23.58 2013-12-22 18.24.22 2013-12-22 18.24.32 2013-12-22 18.27.382013-12-25 12.19.15

I only stayed about one and half hours perhaps as it was getting late and my leg was starting to bother me. Although I wasn’t really walking far or long, nor was I standing, it was still on and that is pressure on the leg. When I returned to Lynn’s and took off my leg, there was a new spot on the leg that was warm and red. It did not feel good.

Sunday 12/22/13 – Even though I was out later than usual, I still woke early and I actually felt good. I usually do a little work peacefully in the room before going out to greet folks for the day. This morning when I woke up my leg was throbbing in that new sore area and it was swollen. I will be brief and as ungross as possible – the area drained A LOT. I cleaned it and put a dry gauze on it with an Ace bandage. I was yet again in buzz kill mode on walking. This was a much larger sore and deeper sore than the little surface wound from days prior. I will not dwell on this much further but want to be clear in saying that this sore on my leg was of extreme concern to me due to the prior staph infection and the condition of my leg internally. I have to be very cautious with sores to begin with, so let’s add to it a purposeful agitator like a heavy fake leg. So this over the next few days weighed heavily on my mind and I had to be responsible to clean and change the wound during the day to keep it draining naturally and not build up. So with that, the next few days continued in the frozen tundra of Illinois.

I visited my son at his new dwelling, now living with his buddy Tony where they have a rehab from hell in progress. It was a nice quiet visit where Granny got to play with the puppy and I do believe that Dixie Mae missed Granny. Nathan was able to open his gifts from me and PawPaw and MawMaw from Georgia. I ate soup from the local Mexican place when I worked in that neighborhood. And then my son escorted me to my car, by my side, ready to catch me on the ice, and he hugged me good-bye. I see him trying to be grown and struggling all the same. I had much the same experience growing up only very different scenarios and so I cannot always help him. I can only be there for him and remind him how to correct past mistakes and how to gain momentum for the future. Every single time I leave that boy I have a small pain for a small while.

Monday 12/23/13 – I got some work done, talked to a new client, and setup a date to see Ken and Barb from Rider’s Claw on the next day. I had setup a date with my grand daughter’s mom for a Christmas visit in the early evening. My son would join us when he was off work. I got to spend the first couple hours with Kylee Rae (or Ms. Rae her Momma calls her – I love that). I let her open up her dolly and the clothes that go to her. I told her she had to wait for Daddy before she opened the rest. She was content for a very long time changing the doll’s clothes over and over again intermixed with setting up the other gift boxes like stairs and climbing up and down them. We played all over the floor and later her older cousin Ayden came to be dropped off so his Mommy and Grandpa could go shopping. Us girls had eaten dinner earlier and now just played a little while longer before my son showed up. Kylee had been waiting for him because of what I told her (more than once). So within just a few minutes of him arriving she wanted to open the rest of her presents and started handing them to Nathan. Nathan was able to put her off a little while as he ate some dinner and then she would have no more. We opened the rest of the gifts and she was in glory along with Ayden whom also got a gift from Uncle Nathan. Now… for the fun of being parents… I played with stuff with Kylee and Ayden while Nathan and Tina fought a battle of wits against a baby doll crib/change table. Bahahahaha!

Christmas w Granny's Favorite Girl in the World

Christmas w Granny’s Favorite Girl in the World

Kylee's New Dolly

Kylee’s New Dolly

Tina played with the Dolly just as much as Kylee did.

Tina played with the Dolly just as much as Kylee did.

Daddy's Girl

Daddy’s Girl

The cradle / changing table that challenged us all

The cradle / changing table that challenged us all

Even Harley girls get snotty noses

Even Harley girls get snotty noses

Come On Granny... Let's Ride!

Come On Granny… Let’s Ride!

She's such a beautiful joy in Granny's life. I miss her always!

She’s such a beautiful joy in Granny’s life. I miss her always!

Granny, Daddy, and LOVE

Granny, Daddy, and LOVE

Nick came in that evening and said that my car was leaking. I acknowledged that it had a slight leak and that Larry was going to fix it only he was sick right now I hated to impose. Considering that by this time in the evening we were now partaking of the Christmas beverages that I bought for Lynn and Nick (and me) to be displayed when in use in their new leather Harley Davidson bottle holder. WootWoot! Couldn’t give an empty bottle holder could I now? So needless to say, his entire message was lost on my dumb ears that evening.

Tuesday (Christmas Eve) – I did a thing or two and then left in the AM to go see Ken at Rider’s Claw. As I pulled out, I saw the leak Nick spoke of and it looked like a good bit more than what I had previously. When I got to Ken’s we were going to check the oil and see what’s up. I was looking for a local place to go since Larry was so sick. I visited Ken and Barb for a while, we exchanged stories and checked out new shirts then Ken’s son Mike came inside and said my car was leaking oil. Holy crap, when we got out there it was really leaking. We are supposing that the gasket shrank when it sat for a while in the extreme negative temperatures of Illinois which it’s never experienced before. Ken made some calls and all the local places were closed or wouldn’t take the project because of the holiday, understandably. Mike put two quarts of his own oil in it for me and I was off to limp home. I put another quart and bought two more. Nick is a wrench and was going to see if he could help on the next morning, Christmas.

I spent the rest of the evening working, organizing photos in preparation to write this blog, and basically dilly-dallying around while Lynn and Nick were at their son’s for Christmas.

Christmas morning Nick did in fact take a look at the car and thankfully it was a wee tad warmer than the frozen tundra of the past few days. I sat on my scooter while Nick looked and investigated. To get to the head gasket would take more time, effort, and equipment than could be accomplished at Nick’s driveway in the freezing cold. He was able to seal it as an emergency fix and he checked it later in the day. It was holding thus far.

2013-12-25 10.31.50

My son came to Lynn and Nick’s for Christmas and two of her son’s arrived as did her brother, niece, and her parents. We had a wonderful dinner that filled the bellies to the max. After much food, presents, and conversation during smoke breaks and kitchen cleaning, the spirits were flowing and folks were laughing. A few folks left and those of us that stayed enjoyed a few more beverages, dog tricks and shenanigans, and then we bid farewell to Nathan as he had to be on call for work that night. Eventually another Christmas came to a close. It seems like every holiday regardless large or small is a big deal for me, I guess because I can’t believe I might have missed it, yet it would have been different anyway right? Hmmm…

2013-12-25 18.48.25 2013-12-25 18.37.32 2013-12-25 18.37.29 2013-12-22 18.29.43 2013-12-25 18.48.41 2013-12-25 18.48.47 2013-12-25 18.49.26 2013-12-25 19.54.26 2013-12-25 20.11.53

Thursday 12/26/13 – Nick checked the car again and decided it was for sure holding oil. He helped me pack the car and soon I was off again. Though the leg seemed to be cleaning itself out and did not seem infected I was still nervous and would rather be near Dr. Ogburn if I needed him. Plus, my car now needs immediate attention by Dad and I, so no time to goof around. I stopped briefly to say good-bye to my son while he was at work.

My beautiful Son

My beautiful Son

I stopped often but for short periods. I made it back to Dad’s by 2:30 AM. It was far longer than it should have been but far shorter than the last few two-day trips. Once I was about 4 hours from home, I couldn’t justify a hotel so I pressed forward.

Friday 12/27/13 – Sunday 12/29/13 – I woke early as I have been more or less and it’s helping. I started the painful process of unloading my car a little at a time and putting stuff away. On the road for a little over three weeks can make for a mess. I relaxed and prepared my to-do for the coming week. Saturday I did a little work and basically relaxed. Sunday I went out to use a Kohl’s gift card I received and get a few groceries.

Monday 12/30/13 – Hard at work yet again. And of course, updating this blog so I can send you the story for the New Year. I go tomorrow to see Dr. Ogburn and he will x-ray my leg to see how the femur is doing. It would be so nice to hear him say I could put 100% of my weight on the leg, but I may still be dreaming for now. In essence, the critical thing will be to make sure it’s growing well and no damage has been done with any of the activities thus far. The sore is still on the mend and I think it is not irritated, so I’m not super concerned about that anymore. So tomorrow will be just another stepping stone in the process to getting back on the road.

Tuesday 12/31/13 – New Year’s Eve – WooHoo!! Welcome to a new year with new opportunities! Today I went to see Dr. Ogburn and got better news than I expected. He has indicated that I can start to bare 80-100% of my weight on the leg over the next 2-4 weeks… so that pretty much means, ‘start moving your butt girl’!! I was for sure overjoyed. On the way home from the doctor I stopped at BP for gas and noticed across the lot a medical supply store. I went inside thinking I would get something to make the crutches more comfortable. But as I drove over there, I thought some more… I don’t want crutches, I want to walk so that means I need support but need to use my lower body, not upper. A very nice older dude helped me out and I first tried the canes with the 4 feet; they worked but seemed cumbersome. Then I tried two regular canes and that worked, then I just needed to find ones that felt comfortable in my hands. Viola! Let’s start walking.

These new crutches are favorite color and makes me think of bike paint.

These new canes are favorite color and makes me think of bike paint.

I made off to my car and headed the rest of the way home. As I was approaching the cemetery where my grand mother is buried I noticed all the cows by the corner of the fence in the opposing field from the church and cemetery. How bizarre!! They were staring at me ominously like the ones the day I crashed. After a brief chat with Memaw, I drove across the lot and pulled right up to them. They didn’t flinch, just stared and chewed slowly. Not that I like to take pictures or anything, but I thought it so fitting that today I get the go ahead to start really walking and these damn cows are still staring at me. Are they telling me, I have a long way to go yet? I’m workin’ on it dudes…

No Bull Dude... He said I can walk!

No Bull Dude… He said I can walk!

2013-12-31 11.54.54

Given all this, my brain just spins on all the things I need to do and want to do and how to make them all come together at BROAD speed.

I wish you all a Kick Ass New Year!!

Don’t take life for granted, live it to the fullest; don’t waste it because we are not promised tomorrow. Peace, Hugs, and Pipes that Rumble (TM)!!

50Legs.org

50Legs.org

POA

POA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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12 Responses to Steppin’ Out Holidazed Style…

  1. Roy Farrow says:

    Way to go Doll. It is so great seeing up and around. I reall enjoyed all of the pictures especially the one with your Granddaughter. I have a 2 year old grandson now. Aren’t they fun!! I got him a battery operated tractor this year, complete with Harley stickers of course, and a Harley jacket to wear so he can ride it when it’s cold. Hang in there Beautiful you are an inspiration to us all!!!

    • The BROAD says:

      Thank you so much Roy. Yep, the grand babies are fun. If is have known how much fun, I would’ve had them first. Hehehe. Thanks for your support. On the way to Florida for a new foot. Woohoo.

  2. Tricia says:

    Congratulations Girl!! I’m so happy for you and you seem so happy yourself now. I have to admit some of your blogs had me a little worried about you, but I prayed for you to find peace in all of this mess! I have all confidence that you will be riding again and can’t wait to see that video!! Happy New Year, Ursula, from a fellow HD biker in NC, Tricia.

    • The BROAD says:

      Thanks Tricia. It’s been the hardest thing I have ever endured and continues to be and will forever present challenges. I am accepting more and more each day. I appreciate your support and encouragement. Peace to you and Happy New year.

  3. Susan Gercone says:

    Ursula, I saw the picture of the bridge in Florida before I left on my trip. We had to drive from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale, and unknowingly cross that bridge. It was about 3 am and I saw it from afar. Geez…it scared me. Not being able to fully see it I crossed it. Coming back from Lauderdale I had to do it in the day. After being surrounded by water for 7 days it still scared me to cross that bridge with so much water around. I thought of you when I saw it.
    I am glad to hear you are walking. Take care. Love, Sue

  4. franck blair says:

    looking great with your new leg are you getting around better now it coming with your walking franck p.s. my son come home from the hospit. today it going to a awsome day

  5. harleykarol says:

    What a great story ~ the happiness and joy leap off the page! I am so excited to read about how you are finding fun again and moving forward, prepared to live life fully once again!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR

    • The BROAD says:

      Thanks Karol. It’s a long road but if ya gotta take a detour ya might as well stop and smell the wild flowers along the way. I’m on the way to walking normal and then riding. I have a lot to figure out first. Happy new year sweetie.

  6. Bonny Varela-Cosentino says:

    Happy New Year, Ursula. May it be as wonderful as you are!

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