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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Like a duck to water, Steve to his cane

In which the Bossman updates us on the status of his new bionic hip.

By Steve Siciliano

I was sitting at my desk working on a liquor order when the phone rang.

“Do you have a 20-gallon Blichmann in stock?”

I told the caller I thought we did but would have to check to make sure. “Would you mind holding?” I asked him.

“Not at all.”

Sarah and Greg were working that day but Sarah, I knew, was helping a homebrewer in the west wing and when I bellowed out for Greg there was no answer. After mumbling an expletive under my breath, unfairly directed at the missing-in-action Greg, I grabbed my four-pronged metal walking cane, hoisted myself to my feet and began hobbling towards the warehouse.

Halfway there I realized that the sensible thing would have been to take the caller’s phone number; I should have told him that I would get back to him, perhaps even explaining that at that particular moment rapidly walking the two hundred or so steps to the warehouse seemed as difficult a task as walking the stairs to the top of the Grand Plaza. It had been two weeks since my hip surgery.

Thankfully Greg emerged at that moment from the back room carrying a clipboard.

“Drop what you’re doing,” I said. “Check to see if we have a 20 gallon boiling pot. There’s someone waiting on the phone.”

“Okay, boss.”

“And apologize to him that it took so long.”

“No problem.”

Despite the occasional burst of frustration brought on by decreased mobility, my recuperation from hip replacement surgery has, for the most part, been going well. The employees are doing a great job, and I’m starting to believe that Barb might be right to insist that we take an extended vacation--this crew is obviously capable of running the store in my absence. [Editor's note: Just go already!] Barb has been a combination of Florence Nightingale and Nurse Ratchet throughout my convalescence. She has been a fine caretaker, but she won't hesitate to issue a strong reprimand when she feels that her patient is not following protocol.

There have been a few bumps on the road to recovery. A hematoma developed beneath my incision which necessitated a trip to emergency. There was a false alarm of a staph infection and strained ligaments in a foot because I foolishly rushed the transition to the four-pronged cane from a walker.

Because I don’t like the looks of that four-pronged cane—too sterile in my opinion—Barb and I went to Walgreen’s one day to procure another. I found a nice wooden one for fourteen bucks, not as functional but certainly more stylish. On the way to the checkout I passed a young clerk stocking shelves, waved the cane at him, grumbled “out of my way, boy,” then smiled and explained that I was practicing being a curmudgeon. “Looks like you got it down pat,” he said. I use the four-pronger when I’m at the store and the wooden one—my “stepping out” cane as I call it—when we go out to dinner or to Founders.

Hopefully in a couple of weeks I won’t be using either.

A delivery man bears the brunt of Steve's frustration

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