Friday, August 17, 2012

812 reasons this Halloween party is going to be the best EVER.

For those of you that don't know me, I like to throw some pretty kickass parties.  They range from the small and lavish to the huge and wild, and feature my incredibly eclectic group of friends ranging from 20's to 60's. But this... this will be the one party... TO RULE THEM ALL.  Last years' Halloween party rocked, but it wasn't as big as I had expected - based on previous party attendance I was planning for a TON of people.  I had a great turnout, but not the massive quantity of people I had anticipated.  I believe I have figured out the reasons for that and rectified them for 2012.

1. No cover charge this year.
 - Last year I had been throwing a party on a somewhat monthly basis.  It was becoming a line item in my budget.  And being 29 and single, that was getting to be a bit spendy.  This year, due to medical reasons and other obligations, I've only thrown 1 public party.  And that was the first week of January.  I'm ready to rock again.

2. No complicated party theme.
- Last year's theme was "7 Deadly Sins". It was great - the house was broken up into different themed "zones" based on the different sins - greed was the poker table, gluttony was the buffet, envy was a special room with top shelf booze and food that had a higher cover charge, etc.  It was fantastic in theory, but in practice it was overly complicated and a lot of people were put off by the cover charge.  So everyone ended up just gathering in the kitchen as usual.  This year the theme is Halloween Party.  Ya.  Everyone can just chill and have a good time without being forced to adhere to some crazy party rules.  If I wanted to have a bunch of stupid rules I'd just play King's Cup or something like that.

3. I moved the date up a week.
- Having a Halloween party on the Saturday before Halloween is awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that EVERYBODY ELSE does it too.  Even the bars.  Guests had to either choose me over something else or party hop.  So, this year, I'm moving everything up a week.  That way I won't conflict with everyone else's parties and festivities.

4. I'm keeping the things people loved.
- The Tarot card reader was a huge hit, and she will be back this year.  I'm also keeping the costume contest and adding on an extra category.  I love winning things, so I'd love to have more prize opportunities for this years' guests.  I'm even considering adding a game or two (something simple, you can't get a group of costumed drinking adults together and ask them all focus).  Maybe a simple scavenger hunt to get people to explore the house and see all the decorations and they win a fancy jello shot or some knick knack.

5. I started a poll of the guests to see what THEY want.
- Before blowing my whole budget on decorations or booze or whatever, I started polling the guests.  I actually found out that they were more concerned with snacks and hors d'oeuvres, followed by desserts, than fancy cocktails or bulk booze.  So, instead of my typical cheeses and dips and saucy meats; I'm putting some real time and effort into choosing some nifty spooky appetizers and such.

6. I hired a DJ.
- This way, I have ONE person that is in charge of music.  He's a pro.  He can read a crowd.  Guests aren't going to dick with his equipment.  He isn't going to blast the volume on a song and deafen an entire room because he wants to hear it two rooms over.  He can choose songs that will please the crowd and honor requests rather than everyone trying to decide what everyone else wants to hear.

7. Rearranging the furniture.  Again.
- Gonna move the basement office to the second guest room, the media center to the basement office, the dining table to the media area, and that leaves the main floor open.  This can serve two purposes - setup space for dj/band, or dance floor.  Or, I can just buy a pool table.  Either works for me.

8. Hopefully it won't be colder than a witches' titty outside this year.
- Exterior decorations and furniture weren't really used last year because it was freaking freezing outside.  I do have two fire pits that I'll be sure to fire up before the party, but hopefully the exterior temps won't keep everyone inside this year.

9. Inviting a much wider range of guests this year.
- I've noticed a few things about my parties - the socially awkward tend not to show up in the first place, and  pretty much everybody I know is pretty cool.  No one is easily offended and the faint of heart tend to leave early anyway.  I don't have to regulate/decide who is going to have fun and who won't - they can take care of that on their own.  All my friends are inclusive of strangers and I've never seen anyone at my parties sitting alone or looking lost/frightened/bored.  I'm accustomed to hearing things like "Hey, your dad is really cool" and seeing a 25 year old and a 55 year old having an excellent conversation.  I don't like the idea of anyone feeling uncomfortable worried that they're too old/too young/too conservative to have a good time.

10.  More decor.
- Since I already have plenty of decorations from last year, I have a bit more time this year to focus on crafting and actually doing some fantastic hand made stuff. I've already started clearing out my stuffed animals and collecting fantastic ideas.

11. Craft Wines
- I tried my hand at a few different wines last year that turned out extremely well.  Nothing like a bottle of homemade hard cider to capture the fading sunset and autumn air.

12. I already have a ton of RSVP's.
- This is one of those events where the more = the merrier.  Seeing this much interest generated already freaking rocks.  So hard. This party needs to go viral.  I want Bill "Fucking" Murray there.

13. I've already started decorating.
- enough said

812.  I am MOTIVATED.
- Due to some severe and unforeseen medical issues, the entire first half of this year sucked.  Now I'm healed up and ready to get back in the game.  I haven't had any parties since March/April and those were all small and private.  January was my last big hurrah and I got less than a week afterwards.  So, even with 2 months left to go, I am freaking READY to ROCK.  I'm pouring my heart and soul into crafting an event that everyone can enjoy.  I feel like I have a purpose again - to make Halloween awesome.  I feel like I'm planning Waynestock.  Good food, great beverages, fantastic music, and amazing company - I have all the components of a magnificent night.  All I need now are a few bottles of blood and a box of body parts and I'll be good to go.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

812 Reasons I haven't been posting.

So, as I'm sure you noticed, it's been 6 months since my last post.  I apologize for the delay, but it was unavoidable.

Cliffs' Notes:

1. The day after the last post my cousin died. He was only 22, just bought a house and graduated college, and was really blossoming into an exceptional guy.  That hit the family HARD.
2. Medicare Season.  It's like the crazy Christmas retail shopping season of health insurance.  It's also my specialty.
3. I got crazy sick and we were all pretty convinced I was going to die. 

The third warrants a bit more explanation - for 3 years I've been having terrible, extreme, intense back pain - the kind that makes you go from being afraid you're going to die to being afraid you WON'T.  My doctor told me it was muscle spasms and gave me muscle relaxers for them.  I spent about 6 months on the couch in 2009 and gained a bunch of weight and eventually they cleared up on their own.  Well, what we didn't know was that the muscle spasms were just a symptom, not a diagnosis.

Late last year I began an ambitious diet and exercise program.  By January I was down almost 50lbs and in the best shape I'd been in in years.  Then, the muscle spasms came back, this time with a vengeance.  It started the 2nd week of January and I saw my doctor right away - I wasn't going to go through the months of agony and weight gain I did before.  So, she once again gave me muscle relaxers and this time put me in physical therapy.

I was diligent about my meds and my therapy - got a medical hold on my gym membership so as not to exacerbate my condition but followed my course of treatment with all alacrity and fervor.  But, things continued to worsen and eventually I ended up in the ER. Now, those of you that know me know that the only times I've ever been in the ER were once for a worker's comp claim after a fall at work, and twice because of being hit by a car.  I don't seek medical treatment unless I'm convinced I'm dying.  The pain was akin to what I imagine it would feel like to being actively impaled with a pitchfork.

So, the ER did a set of X-rays and they were normal.  They loaded me up with meds by injection and sent me home with scripts for more muscle relaxers and additional pain medication - they also felt it was a muscle spasm. So, armed with new meds I was back to square 1.  But things kept getting worse.

Not only was the pain unbearable, but I started getting new symptoms - mostly itchiness but with other unpleasantries I won't subject you to. They did more X-rays, all negative.  I thought it was a reaction to my pain meds so I went off anything to help with the pain.  No improvement.  They put me on steroids. No improvement.  Then I started turning yellow.

They did an abdominal CT scan - negative.  We ruled out acetaminophen toxicity as I was never on a high enough dose to cause a reaction, and my gallbladder didn't hurt and with the X rays and CT scan all being clear that left us with the 2 remaining causes of "painless" jaundice - primary biliary cirrhosis and pancreatic cancer.   I couldn't sleep or even relax from the itching.  I was sitting up all night, I couldn't focus at work, my entire life consisted of the itch that couldn't be scratched.  I got a phone call from my doctor's office asking me to come in ASAP - my labs came back with my biliruben levels >25x the normal range.  The next day I was hospitalized directly from the doctor's office.

At that point they couldn't give me anything for the pain and itching, just fluids to try to flush the excess bilirubin out of my bloodstream.  I was on an all liquid diet because there were all sorts of tests being ordered, I couldn't even go home first to pick up a change of underwear because the doctors were desperate to try to get this diagnosed before the kidney and liver damage was permanent.  That was the longest night of my life.

The next day started with an MRI.  There, they finally saw it - my gallbladder was full of gallstones.  Ninja gallstones that had been hiding from every other test and scan and were causing muscle spasms instead of just hurting like they were supposed to.  They ordered an endoscopy to try to clear them out - there was one the size of a small marble blocking my bile duct.  The endoscopy was not only unsuccessful, but I woke up while still scoped, and ended up being forcibly held down by the hands and head face down in my own vomit while they finished.  That's when the surgery was ordered.

It was 8:30 on a Friday night when they finally took me in, they tried to remove my gallbladder laproscopically but the damage and inflammation were too severe so they had to remove it the old fashioned slice you open sort of way.  I woke up with my entire stomach covered in gauze with all these tubes hanging out from under the bandage filled with blood and black bile.  I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe, I kept getting hiccups - I felt like I'd been eviscerated.

They kept me in the hospital through the weekend but my recovery was far from over.  There were multiple setbacks in the healing, mostly pertaining to the external drains I was still wearing.  My poor liver was so backed up trying to filter everything out I felt hungover constantly.  It was about 3 weeks before I was able to get back to the office, and another 3 after that before I was healed.  I celebrated by jumping out of a plane: . 

So, I'm still recovering - it'll be months before my body is back to normal, I'm still numb and without muscle control on a good section of my gut and my hopes of a bikini body are all shot to hell, but I've taken off another 15lbs and am still well on the road to a happy, healthy lifestyle.

So, that's why I haven't been blogging.  Between family traumas, bodily traumas, and downright being busy; there hasn't been much time for putting my thoughts in order.  But, work is going great, I just started my first company, my love life is going exceedingly well, and I just turned 30 being well on the road toward health, wealth, and happiness.