A Special Kind of A**hole, Part 2

Ok, I’m back. If you’ve been reading me the past couple of months, you’ve no doubt noticed that I tried to embrace a different part of my persona- the darker, rage and anger filled part. While I have, no doubt been filled with rage and anger during portions of my cancer experience, as a whole, it’s just not me. I thought that exploring that portion of my persona would provide a new and entertaining perspective to write from while allowing me to blow off some steam. Reality ended up being quite the opposite- I never got comfy writing with that voice, the topics veered into places that I didn’t want to go, and some people got the wrong impression about where I was coming from. In fact, it was brought to my attention that at least one member of my Board at the Design Studio thought that I was saving up to write a vitriolic, vengeful post about how I’ve been treated there. I was taken aback that anyone would think I would go that route- maybe they have something on their conscience, who knows. For the record, however, I’ve never planned on doing anything like that. In almost six years of writing, I’ve never used this space to go after anyone personally, I don’t plan on doing it now. That said, when my time at the Studio is over, will I write about my experiences there? Maybe, who knows, but only if there’s an entertaining story to tell. All of which is to say that I’m officially ending my experiment with trying to delve into my darker side and write from a perspective that I don’t really live. Moving swiftly on…

Haas Haus

To pick up where we left off after the Battle of Brum, we had a lovely dinner with both sets of Joneses and Monsieur Mills before heading off to bed. We woke up early the next morning for a flight to Austria via Amsterdam. We arrived early afternoon in enough time to stroll around the city center. Unbeknownst to me, our hotel, Do & Co., was located inside one of my favorite contemporary buildings- Hans Hollein’s Haas Haus. I’ve actually used that building in this blog as an example of something or other (probably the obvious geode metaphor). It was a nice treat- as was the hotel. (Design Hotels always do a nice job). After strolling for a bit, we stopped by a traditional Austrian pub for an early dinner. I went with sausages for a starter and Weinerschnitzel for my main- The boy had sausages to start, and sausages for his main (hard to argue). It was then back to the hotel to get all gussied up for the evening’s main event- Don Pasquale at the Vienna State Opera. 

The entire opera experience was just fantastic. The architecture was lovely, and while not as old as I expected, provided a great atmosphere from arrival to seat. The boy fawned over the busts of the greats within- Mozart, Hayden, Schubert, Strauss, and others. To top it off, yours truly came through with the private box in the Loge level- we did it in style. The show was great despite the fact that neither of us understood a word. Afterwards, we walked over to Hotel Sacher for a bit of a tea and their eponymous torte, which is as famous as the hotel. All in all, we felt pretty civilized for a couple of deplorables* from the South. 

The next day was our last in Vienna, it was an all-out scramble to see as much as we could in that short time. We spent part of the day in our shoevrolets, and the afternoon with the on-off bus tour. We managed to see an awful lot, but probably could’ve used another day or two to dig deeper. All in all I really enjoyed Vienna, I don’t know that I’ll ever make it back there, but it was definitely worth the trip this time. 

Progenitor of Modernism: the Secession Building

The following day we once again put our lives and our sanity in Delta’s hands- and once again, it was a hellish day of travel. I’ll spare the details of the AMS Delta employees who screwed us over, of an itinerary where every leg was delayed, and of the Detroit TSA personnel who uncaringly savaged a carefully wrapped gift for my wife because they didn’t understand what a cake was- but it was a laughably horrible experience. That day I vowed never to return to Europe and never to fly Delta. (I broke one of those vows today and will break the other next week.) But seriously, screw them all…just writing about it makes me furious…sorry.

Progenitor of Modernism: Austrian Postal Savings Bank

This was a trip of highs and lows for the boy and me. Fortunately, we’ve already forgotten (most of) the lows, and the highs are still fresh in our memories. I’ll try to be more consistent about writing in the coming months, and hopefully I’ll have something about more travel next week. So, until that adventure, Ciao! (how’s that for a hint?) 

Health update: It appears that while I was traipsing around Vienna, my hemoglobin had dropped to 6.7! No wonder I was so fatigued. From the day I got back and started with a blood infusion for the anemia, I have constantly been in ether the doctor’s office or in a hospital bed. I’ve had half a dozen scans in this short time. The highlights of my maladies include: an abscess that developed between my liver and chest wall that then grew up between my ribs (second worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life) that worked its way to the skin and eventually erupted in a spectacular explosion of foul-smelling pus and blood all over my surgeon’s waiting room; two abscessograms; and one procedure for a wholesale exchange of all of my liver drains. All of that said, during that time I managed to stay on top of work, cook Thanksgiving dinner, take the family to Disney WWOS for a soccer tournament, catch all of my son’s basketball games, watch the Iron Bowl and SEC Championship games, and help throw my other son a kick-ass birthday party. I guess you could say I’m doing all right.

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