A Peculiar guy named Geremy

CategoryDaily Life

How’s Your Foot?!

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By far, the most common question that I receive from those who are familiar with my lawnmower incident is: “how’s your foot doing?!” Therefore, I’ve decided to publicly answer the question for everyone else who might be wondering:

My foot is fine. In fact, it’s far better than fine!!

Since amputating 1/4 of my toe, my weight has slightly decreased by a few ounces without going on any extreme diets. My right shoe fits slightly better without that pesky, long middle toe in the way. I have one less toenail to clip, which has saved me approximately 20 seconds each time I clip my toenails. I can run slightly faster than before. Finally, I don’t have any residual pain as a result of the toe injury (including mental pain, now that I’ve fully paid off the $20,000 bill from the surgery).

If my right foot was a business on Yelp, I’d write the following review:

FIVE STARS!!!

I’m rarely wrong when it comes to things, but in this case I was. I expected to have a negative experience that would trigger painful flashbacks for the rest of my life, but I couldn’t be wronger. As a result of this experience, I feel like Iron Man. One minor lawnmower mishap birthed a host of benefits that I will enjoy forever. My cholesterol levels have decreased, I can now type 120 words per minute, and best of all, I can walk on water…only with my right foot…for a fraction of a second.  Thank you!!

The Slow Crawl to Hemrittis

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On Friday night, I was driving home when I pulled into a parking lot to get a bottle of water from my trunk. As I got out of the car, I heard a voice saying, “excuse me! I’m a new driver and I’m lost.”  When I looked up, I saw the face of an older lady sitting in a car and was visibly nervous.

I walked over to her car and said “where are you trying to go?”  She responded “hem-rittis.”  I asked “is that a city?”  She responded “hemrittis.”  I was confused, so I went to my car and googled “hemrittis.”  Thanks to Google’s ability to read minds, it said, “did you mean hepatitis?  hemroids?  emeritus?”  I followed the link to emeritus and it provided me an address for a senior citizens community a few miles away.  I explained the directions to her and she said “I’m scared to drive on the highway.”  I figured that her destination was only 15 minutes away, so I could have quickly guided her there before continuing home.  I told her “I’ll guide you there— just follow me,” and we set off to hem-rittis.

As soon as I pulled out of the parking lot, I realized that this wasn’t going to be the smooth journey that I envisioned.  I drove at a slower than normal speed on the highway—55 miles an hour— and she was zooming along at a whopping 12 miles an hour.  I’ll let that sink in for a second…. Geremy = 55 mph  her = 12 mph.  I slowed down to 2mph to allow her to catch up to me and then we both drove at a stead 20 mph pace down Route 80 on our way to hem-rittis.

About 45 minutes later, we arrived at Emeritus and I tried to ask her if this was the place that she was looking for.  She drove right past my without even looking at me.  I thought, “um, what just happened!?!?”  I got out of my car to run after her (she was driving around 5 mph so it wouldn’t have been tough), but then she suddenly stopped the car, walked towards me and gave me a huge hug.  She said “one day I hope to help you like how you helped me today!”  I wished her a pleasant goodnight and then I drove home feeling happy for two reasons:  1) I helped someone who was stranded in an unfamiliar place, and 2) I could finally drive at a normal speed again!

I drove home slightly faster than usually in order to compensate for my slow limp down the highway earlier.  While driving home and reflecting on the experience, I made a mental that I’ve got a friend at Emeritus…even though I don’t know her name, age, or any other information about her besides the fact that she pronounces Emeritus as hemrittis!  Hopefully that’s an adequate identifier for me to use when I visit her again to say hi a few months from now!

The Hamsteriffic Gift

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The Hamsterriffic Gift

Me: “That toy hamster looks so real!”
Them: “Geremy, it is real…and it’s yours! Surprise!!”

This is the conversation that took place on the Friday night when my kiddies surprised me with a pet hamster. I teach a group of wonderful teenagers every Friday night and sometimes they like to surprise me with gifts…like a real-life, four-legged, living-and-breathing, hyper hamster.

I was floored with their incredibly thoughtful gesture, and speechless at the same time that I was the new father of a hamster. But when I finally gathered the words to speak, I said the first thing that came to mind— “a hamster?? Thanks so much! I appreciate the gift, but I can’t take him home because the two guinea pigs would destroy him!” It’s true—those gpigs are ferocious…I raised them to be attack-pigs for protection.

Since the hamster couldn’t be returned to the pet store, he needed a new home. So we devised a two-pronged approach:

1. I’d call every available animal shelter and pet shop in the area to see if they’d accept a happy little hamster.
2. They’d post “free hamster with free delivery in 30 minutes” on all of their social networks. Then we’d sift through the list of willing candidates and deliver him to the first suitable owner.

After 45 minutes of monitoring all responses to the urgent request, we found a loving, willing family of four who took him and named him “Spike” because of his Spiky hair (a byproduct of him urinating all over himself). Then I reimbursed the kids the full cost of the hamster, plus $1 for their trouble.

This experience made me realize three things:

1. I should be ready for any kind of gift when it comes to my kiddies, including living, breathing things.
2. If someone is willing to give you a life, they really care!
3. Geremy + Hamster = No Bueno

Happy Peculiar Birthday Shades

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I once heard that silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone, so since 2010 I’ve made it my mission to loudly acknowledge those who wish me a Happy Birthday on August 3rd.

Facebook Greetings
Facebook Greetings

In 2010 I prepared handwritten “thank you’s,” uploaded each one to a Facebook album and tagged each respective person in their personal greeting message. In 2011 I personally acknowledged each person’s birthday greeting by thanking them on their Facebook wall. In 2012 I individually thanked each person via one of my Peculiar week episodes. Now, in 2013 I expect this 28th year of my life to surpass every previous year of my life, so I wanted to usher-in this year of my life by surpassing every prior birthday-thank-you effort with a special “thank you” gesture.

Peculiar Shades

This year, I ordered a collection of special two-tone Peculiar PPL shades in blue (my favorite color) and black/red (my favorite color scheme). Even though these shades are part of the Peculiar PPL product lineup, I wanted each person who said “Happy Birthday” to have one well in advance of its release to the general public. I also selected a special carrying pouch for each set of shades and included a thank you card and a matching Peculiar PPL wristband in each pouch.

Peculiar Shades

The difficult part was finding a way of delivering these fragile items to the 100+ people who I needed to thank. Since each set of shades needed a rigid structure to protect it while in transit, I ordered custom sized boxes to protect the shades without damaging them.

Peculiar Shades

Then after taking note of each person who delivered a birthday greeting via text, email, in-person, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I separated the list into two categories: hand delivery and ship via USPS. The task of collecting addresses to ship each item was quite time consuming and required me to use some strategic, unconventional means of gathering the data. For the people who I was completely unsure of their address, I sent them a message asking them for their information so that I can update my address book. Some people declined to provide the information, which is understandable for such a random request, but most sent it through without any questions.

Peculiar Shades

Then I spent every available moment from August 5th until August 21st printing labels, packaging the items, delivering them to the post office, then tracking each package to make sure that they were successfully delivered. I made sure not to publicly talk about this initiative so that each person receiving the shades would be surprised when it arrived in the mail. Now that 99% of the packages have been delivered (with 2 packages being delivered this week), I am happy to finally let the cat out of the bag!

Peculiar Shades

All-in-all, this entire effort cost in excess of $1,000 to execute, but it was worth every single penny! Here are some statistics for the people (like me) who have an appreciation for data:

  • Hand-Delivered Packages: 51
  • Shipped Packages: 70
  • Packages Shipped Internationally: 24
  • Furthest Package Destination: Warsaw, Poland

I know that it’s outside of the norm to give gifts to other people on your birthday, but that’s what makes me Peculiar and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Maybe next year I’ll figure out a way of mailing brand new cars to everyone!

Reason # 1955 why I’ll probably be an Apple Customer for Life

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It is no secret that I’m an Apple loyalist– in fact, I own the majority of current Apple products and i’ve used Apple as the inspiration for a shirt that I designed. My recent interaction with the Apple store presents a compelling reason for my attachment to the brand and it explains why I’ll likely be an Apple Customer for life.

As stated in a recent entry, my Macbook Pro died and Apple had to perform brain surgery on it. When I took delivery of my machine one week later, I realized a slightly annoying, unrelated issue with one of the built-in speakers. I returned to the genius bar for the second time and calmly explained the new issue to an employee who worked closely with the store manager. They both profusely apologized for the mishap and insisted that I choose any laptop case in stock as a token of their apology. I insisted that the free case was not necessary and I patiently sat at the table as they attempted to fix the damage to the computer.

Shortly after, the employee reappeared and explained that the computer would have to be sent out for repair, but since this was unacceptable by their standards, they insisted that they replace the computer with a brand new machine. I said “this computer is a year old, the warranty expires next week…are you sure?” He responded “yes…and we will upgrade you to the top-of-the-line Macbook Pro Retina model. Give me some time to transfer your existing data to the new machine and we’ll have you on your way!” I resisted the strong urge to jump over the counter and give this man a bear hug and instead I said, “this is unbelievable…thank you!”

Amazingly, this was the second time that this has happened to me and it solidifies my loyalty to a brand that ensures that the customer is always happy! More companies should be like Apple!

Spontaneous Diarrhea??

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Odd Side Effect

This is one of the medications that I’m taking and it has a possible side effect of “…[it] may cause diarrhea…Diarrhea may occur weeks to months after taking the drug.”

So they’re saying that sometime in the future I may spontaneously have bouts of diarrhea without warning??? How is this okay?!?! How do I prepare for this?? When do I stop preparing?

My Foot Fought with a Lawnmower and Lost

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On Saturday I took my trusty lawnmower out to cut the grass of my investment property and as I was finishing the job, it stubbornly refused to move forward. While I struggled to move the mower, my foot somehow slipped underneath it, which caused the mower blade and my right foot to engage in a painful, unpleasant rendezvous.

This would be a good time to say that this story is not for the faint of heart. If you get queasy at the thought of injuries, it would be best to leave this entry and read one of my other posts, like the 2012 in review post. For everyone else, we will now proceed to the rest of the story…

The lawnmower shredded the tip of my sneaker and everything inside of it—namely, my toes (link to disgusting photo of sneaker) and I was horrified at the result of the interaction. I quickly dragged the lawnmower inside and called my mom’s cell phone as I ran/limped to my car. My conversation with my mom was simple and straight to the point: “Hey ma, the lawnmower just cut off my toes and I’m going straight to the hospital. You can meet me there.” My mom, who was presumably quite scared at the information that I just shared, gave the phone to my dad. After I repeated the same phrase, he said, “we’ll be there soon, but you shouldn’t drive…call an ambulance!” I quickly estimated that an ambulance would take about 10 minutes to get to me and the hospital was about 10 minutes away, so I responded “my car is faster than the ambulance… I’m going to drive.”

Now, I’m pretty sure that Tesla didn’t intend for their voice control system to be used in such dire situations, but it was quite helpful when I said, “navigate to the nearest hospital” and directions immediately popped up on the screen. Twelve minutes later, I arrived at the hospital, ran through the emergency entrance (with extreme pain shooting down my foot), and approached the receptionist’s desk. I pointed to my badly frayed sneaker and exposed bones and said “I got into a really bad accident with a lawnmower and need medical attention as soon as possible, please.”

The lady behind the desk slowly said “ohhhkaaayyyyy, whaaaaat’sssss yoooourrrrr naaaaameeeeee?” I responded, “first name is Geremy… G as in green – E – R as in red – E – M as in Mary – Y.” She said “Ok, that’s J-H-R-A-L-I… last name?” I said “sorry, no, it’s Geremy with a G…G-E-R-E-M-Y.” She said “Ok, G-E-R-A-R-D… last name?” Usually, I wouldn’t mind this playful banter back and forth, but in this particular moment, I had a foot that I needed to save. My conversation with the secretary would’ve taken much longer if a nurse didn’t pass by the desk and say, “OH MY GOODNESSS, WE NEED TO FAST TRACK HIM NOW!!”

In the next 30 seconds, the nurse put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me to the emergency room with the speed of an F16 fighter jet. While we speedily traveled to through the ER, I explained the situation to her— “I was mowing my lawn and the lawnmower decided that it wanted to mow my foot instead.” She said, “please never mow your lawn again… I’ll pay for a landscaper for you!” Then she put me on a hospital bed, hooked me up to an IV and assembled the best medical crew that I’ve ever encountered in order to conduct the “SAVE GEREMY’S FOOT” mission.

The Operating Room

They contacted a podiatrist to come to the hospital while they simultaneously prepared the operating room, assembled a few nurses, and took X-rays of my feet. At the same time, my parents arrived at the hospital and saw my weird foot situation. I knew that it was really bad when my mom couldn’t stop staring at it and my dad couldn’t stare at it at all. While the staff made preparations to operate, I used the opportunity to shoot a barrage of questions at the doctor. My questions included, but were not limited to:

  • I’ve got a trip planned to California this week, can I still travel? (No)
  • Can you upgrade all of my toes to titanium toes? (No)
  • Is this the worst case that you’ve seen today? (Yes)
  • Are you upset that I’m bleeding all over your bed right now? (No)
  • Am I supposed to be screaming and crying right now? (Probably)
  • I’ve got to play the drums tomorrow.. do you think that you can patch me up in time to play it? (Are you serious?) Very serious. (No)

YES! This is the foot that you're looking for!

After the doctor answered about 50 of my rapid-fire questions, they wheeled me into the operating room and wrote “YES” on my foot to make sure that they operated on the right one. I mentioned, “I should probably use the bathroom before you start… I don’t want to urinate all over your table while I’m passed out.” They responded, “we’ll give you a bottle to use,” but before I could say “I’m not going to urinate in a bottle in front of 10 people,” I woke up in the recovery room and it was all done.

The next morning, the doctor said that although the injury was bad, I would’ve lost half of my foot if the blade impacted my foot 1 inch closer to the heel. In the end, they were able to save 4 of my toes and they had to severely shorten and modify one toe in order to avoid losing it altogether. With such a serious injury, I am quite thankful to God that I will still be able to walk after a few weeks of recovery and all I lost was my vacation, parts of my toes, and some blood.

Regardless of the condition of my toes, I will not let it ruin my stride. It’ll take more than two major foot injuries to slow down my progress. I’m motivated and I’m going places…even with my partially amputated toe! Through it all, I can sum up my experience with one word: Grateful. Grateful to be alive, grateful that it wasn’t much worse, and grateful that I’ve got a wonderful support system (including my brother, who texts me every few minutes to see what I need).

Need Anything??

The Breakup and The Upgrade

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When it came to haircuts, I was satisfied with my biweekly Saturday routine that I’ve faithfully adhered to since 2003. It was simple: drive for 33 minutes to the barbershop, wait a maximum of 10 minutes to get into the chair, get a haircut in 20 minutes, give a 50-70% tip*, and leave. But a few months ago, my [now ex] barber seemed to forget the routine that we’ve had for the last decade.

I drove for 33 minutes like I usually did and walked into the shop like I usually did, but this time I waited like I never did. After thirty minutes passed and I was still waiting, I thought that this might be a test of patience and I accepted the challenge! Then 90 minutes passed and I was still waiting in the same seat for my turn. Just as I decided to break my routine and return to the shop at a more convenient time, the barber told me, “don’t worry, you’re next!” Apparently I wasn’t next because two additional people got haircuts while I waited: a toddler who cried the entire time and a baldheaded man (true story…he had no hair at all, but yet he still got a “haircut”).

By now, it was two and a half hours after I’d arrived and my hair was approximately an inch and a half longer, due to all of the waiting. When I believed that I was the next person in the queue, a guy walked into the door and said “hey, can you give me cut really quickly” and he magically ended up in the chair next. That’s when I left and decided that it was time for a new barbershop.

While I walked to my car, I did a quick Yelp search for highly-rated barbershops within 15 minutes of my house and within 1 hour I’d identified a new shop, drove there, selected a new barber and finished my haircut. Not only is this barbershop much closer to my house, but the shop is nicer, the barber’s attention to detail is impeccable, my overall haircut cost is cheaper, and I’m significantly more satisfied with the outcome of my hair. It simply took one difficult experience to get me to realize that I’ve been settling for ordinary for 10 years when extraordinary was available to me in a much more convenient package!

Now I am happily acclimated to my new barbershop and I am grateful for the one difficult situation that pushed me out of my comfort zone and caused me to look for alternatives. If it had not been for the one aggravating experience, I would have never thought to seek improvements that were available to me the entire time!

*the amount of my tip was inversely proportionate to the amount of time I waited to get a haircut

Daily Highlights

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Happy 2013! I am one month into the year and everything has been going wonderfully! My outlook on my year has been great because I made the choice to place my focus on positive experiences that happen each day, rather than the negative ones that tend to have more of an impact. A new practice that I’ve adopted this year is to spend a few minutes each night reviewing each day. After reviewing the day, I place a note on my calendar containing all of the positive things that happened, which range from “got a free sandwich at Starbucks” to “placed an order for a new car.” This has been helpful because when I’m having difficult moments, I can flip through my calendar and and remind remind myself that every day of my year has been amazing and life is good!

Every day has at least one highlight and with the right perspective, anyone can identify it. This reminds me of a story about a cat and a dog that lived in the same house with very different outlooks on life

          Excerpts from the Dog’s Diary…

          8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
          9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
          9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
          10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
          12:00 PM – Lunch! My favorite thing!
          1:00 PM – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
          3:00 PM – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
          5:00 PM – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
          7:00 PM – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
          8:00 PM – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
          11:00 PM – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

          Excerpts from the Cat’s Diary…

          Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

          They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

          The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

          Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a ‘good little hunter’ I am. Ugh!

          There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage..

          Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow—but at the top of the stairs.

          I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released – and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

          The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now…

Thanks to my positive outlook (much like the dog’s), I’ve seen my attitude, outlook and demeanor change for the better, which has contributed to a better overall quality of life! I strongly encourage others to try the same practice and take note of the results!

A Peculiar guy named Geremy