White Elephant Gift

12.7.2007 | 10:16 am

I couldn’t sleep at all last night. Susan and I had an appointment with the oncologist today, where we’d learn what Susan’s next steps, treatment-wise, are. Would she have to start chemo right away? Or does she get to take a break? It all hinged on the pathology report from the bone sample from Susan’s operation last week.

The thing is, based on the pathology report — which I had BotchedExperiment help me interpret — I just couldn’t see how the pathology report had any useful information at all. So I called the doctor’s receptionist this morning and told her to make sure the doctor looked at the report before Susan and I went to all the work of getting her in and out of a car; we didn’t want to make the trip if there was no point.

The receptionist said she’d call back if we didn’t need to come over.

I didn’t hear back, so we drove over. The receptionist looked surprised and told me to check my voice mail.

Sure enough, sometime between when I called the doctor’s office and when we got to the the doctor’s office, the receptionist had left a message saying we didn’t need to bother coming over today.

So we’ll find out what the next steps are in a few weeks — maybe sometime shortly after Christmas.

Meanwhile, Susan seems to be doing well. She’s getting around on her crutches and giving herself twice-daily shots in the stomach. As is her wont, she wants to do everything herself. She’s a tough woman.

Non-Cycling Related
Today is my company Christmas party. Yes, already. Every year, as part of the party, we do a white elephant gift exchange. This year, I wrapped the present myself:


See, duct tape is good for everything.

If you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll tell you what’s in the box. Promise? OK.

  • 50 Chinese finger traps
  • 25 Silly Putty Eggs
  • 250 super balls, assorted sizes and colors
  • 50 miniature yo-yos
  • 25 whoopee cushions
  • 50 assorted plastic animals that, when squeezed, bug their eyes out
  • 1 tube of vegemite

See what I mean about being an awesome gift-giver?


  1. Comment by db | 12.7.2007 | 10:45 am

    That is the Babar of f—ing White Elephant gifts. Nice work.

    Susan just rocks.

  2. Comment by chtrich | 12.7.2007 | 10:47 am

    Totally awesome white elephant gift!!!
    I would keep it and hope no one took it from me.

  3. Comment by cyclingphun.blogspot.com | 12.7.2007 | 10:55 am

    WOO HOO SUSAN! Prayers and blessings to ya!
    Wow, vegemite huh? Second time this week I’ve talked about that. Interesting. First time was related to Men At Work. Anyway, thats some pretty awful stuff man. Where’d you even FIND vegemite, dare I ask?
    That is a GREAT white elephant gift, man! Have a good party!

  4. Comment by Mike | 12.7.2007 | 11:01 am

    Mmm, vegemite. It comes in tubes?

  5. Comment by TIMK | 12.7.2007 | 11:28 am

    That container looks like something that should only be opened by bomb proof robots.

  6. Comment by Wheels | 12.7.2007 | 11:39 am

    That gift could cause kids to wet their pants with excitement. Kids slave away at skiball and video games for hours upon hours for that kind of pay off! The bows gingerly taped on top are a nice touch. Was it a hit?

  7. Comment by scrooge | 12.7.2007 | 11:46 am

    White Elephant gifts are supposed to suck. That gift does not. I want it. Can I come to your party?

  8. Comment by Lowrydr | 12.7.2007 | 11:46 am

    Someone is going to get a really fun White Elephant and I love the way you held the bows down with Duct tape too. They also should be a great hit with their kids if they have any. And just enough hint of holiday paper to boot.

    A few fellow cyclist here will bring doo-dads for giving to some of the rides that I do each year. Holloween was a keychain coffin with glow in the dark skeletons sort of like the barrel of monkeys game.

    Hope the results are favorable for Susan and sorry to hear there was a gap in communication with the Dr. office. That extra traveling gets to be a real pain. I drove for my Mother-in-Law when she was battling cancer and had a 100 mile commute round trip to the Dr.
    Your always in our thoughts.

  9. Comment by mark | 12.7.2007 | 12:06 pm

    Be sure and bring a utility knife with you to work. My prediction: that gift will be the last one chosen simply because nobody wants to have everyone else sit and watch while they try to make it through all that duct tape. In other words, awesome wrapping job.

    BTW, since it seems to be of relatively little value monetarily, I am applying my education for the public good at a new business-oriented blog. Check it out at hugecompany.blogspot.com.

  10. Comment by bikemike | 12.7.2007 | 12:10 pm

    250 superballs, are you kidding me? i would kill for that kind of gift.(i’m easily amused) whoever gets this gift must take all of them to the tallest building and drop them all off at one time. crap, i’m jealous.

    good job Susan, keep those doctors straight and show them how it’s done.

    p.s. don’t even get me started on silly putty, just know that it bounces too.

  11. Comment by Marrock | 12.7.2007 | 12:16 pm

    You use the silly putty to stick the superballs to your head… Viola, instant helmet!

    Keep rockin’, Susan.

  12. Comment by Brandy | 12.7.2007 | 12:34 pm

    Ah someone who agrees with my dad…Duct tape is great for everything. My dad once fixed a hole in his bathroom sink with duct tape, held tight for over a year. Or the time one of the bulls on our ranch ramed in to his truck breaking the side mirror, his fix…that is right…duct tape. (you might be a redneck…)
    I think I will follow your lead, and wrap his gift this year totally in duct tape.
    Viva el duct tape !!!

    Great Job Susan

  13. Comment by DNAtsol | 12.7.2007 | 12:47 pm

    The Delta 7 could use a little duct tape to cover those gaps up and then be given as a white elephant gift :)

  14. Comment by Marrock | 12.7.2007 | 1:32 pm

    Duct tape is like the Force; it has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.


    The only tools you really need are WD-40 and duct tape, if it doesn’t move and should, use the WD-40, if it shouldn’t move and does, use the duct tape.

  15. Comment by KeepYerBag | 12.7.2007 | 1:52 pm

    Love the duct tape over the bows, Fatty.

    Twenty five whoopie cushions at an office party? Is that not the very definition of fun?

  16. Comment by Al Maviva | 12.7.2007 | 2:12 pm

    Hey, here’s an idea. Melt down the superballs, then form them into the shape of knee and elbow pads, cycling gloves and helmet. Voila! Crashproof cycling gear. You hit the ground, and bounce up. Possibly uncontrollably.

    Seriously though, if you have cyclists in your office, you should have just packaged up some of Susan’s EPO as the White Elephant gift. Automatic performance enhancement, versus rulebreaking. Winning your class at Leadville, versus possible lifetime ban. Being the most admired figure of all the local group rides, versus being a pariah for the rest of your life.

    Yep, Moral Dilemma. The ultimate White Elephant. Did I say moral dilemma? Shoot. I meant to write Total Moral Corruption.

    Of course if I was really cruel I’d say to put sugar tablets into old EPO bottles and then watch the frustration mount…

    Hey, I wonder why I never get invited to the office Christmas party.

  17. Comment by Nathan | 12.7.2007 | 2:13 pm

    Thanks, I was curious what I should bring as gift #2 for my work’s gift exchange.

    Last year I brought two gifts (one on behalf of my better half). Gift #1 was a nose hair trimmer. I put it in a gift bag that I had picked up from a diamond ring store.

    Gift #2 was a picture frame. The kicker was printing pictures of bikerfox to place as sample pictures in said frame. http://www.bikerfox.com and check out gallery.

  18. Comment by Pammap | 12.7.2007 | 2:17 pm

    Crazy wrapping job. I couldnt’ figure out what the bulges were until other commenters explained it for me. I know, I’m a stupid-head sometimes.
    Anyway, I think it is an awesome WE gift.

    One year I received as a WE gift a box of “used” Q-tips. They had dipped each Q-tip in mustard and it created that desired -YUK- affect. I actually thought for a minute that they were used. It was very funny.

    Sorry to hear about the trip for nothing. Glad to know that Susan is improving. Looking forward to good news from the doc. You remain in our thoughts and prayers.

    Happy Office Party! BTW: what exactly is vegemite?

  19. Comment by Stomper | 12.7.2007 | 4:35 pm


    your worldlyness never ceases to amaze me but to find out you are a devotee to vegemite only heightens my esteem for you.

    For those wanting to know the history of Australia’s favourite elixir try this link…


    Karl aka Stomper

  20. Comment by cyclingphun.blogspot.com | 12.7.2007 | 6:20 pm

    Im only posting this here on account it is more current. Im not sure if you had a chance to see it, but the Glenn Beck Show on CNN had Huntsman on today talking about his life, how he became what he was, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Just thought it might be of interest since Susan was there. Hope you’re doing well Susan!!

  21. Comment by cyclingphun.blogspot.com | 12.7.2007 | 6:20 pm

    PS: It reruns at midnight est, Im not sure when it reruns else where.

  22. Comment by joliver3 | 12.7.2007 | 6:34 pm

    Marrock, are you my father-in-law? I thought he was the originator of the duct tape / WD-40 philosophy of life. Although the more I think about it, the more I think it was probably Red Green, or George Carlin, or somebody. Before we met, my wife once had a tire on her car that was leaking air, so having learned at the feet of the master (her dad), she tried wrapping duct tape around the valve stem. Didn’t work…..

    Glad to hear that Susan is up and moving about. Too bad about the extra car trip to the doc. Hang in there!

  23. Comment by Logan | 12.7.2007 | 6:56 pm

    The fact that db referenced babar makes me giddy.
    Nevermind white elephant, that gift smokes anything I’m getting for xmas, I’m sure of it.
    Susan – keep fighting the good fight.

    Regarding crutches and duct-tape: When I was on crutches my roommate duct-taped beer-cozies to each crutch and they were amazingly useful for things like keys, snacks and… well, beer.

  24. Comment by Marrock | 12.7.2007 | 8:14 pm

    joliver3: I doubt I’m anyone’s father-in-law, I don’t have any kids I know of.

    I picked that line up somewhere in the dim recesses of history and it stuck with me (no pun intended) ever since… that and I have it in a text file with half a ton of other quotes I like.

  25. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 12.8.2007 | 1:20 am

    Mike – Vegemite comes in all shapes and sizes from sachets to tubes to jars to tubs of over a pound. It’s a life defining skill to learn the correct amount to dispense on a slice of toast.

    Pammap – Stomper has steered you right, or you could go directly to an Australia source – Vegemite is …

  26. Comment by Mike Roadie | 12.8.2007 | 5:41 am

    That was dumb!!! NOW what are you going to give Susan????

  27. Comment by Bonzai Buckaroo | 12.8.2007 | 8:32 am

    I literally laughed so hard and loud at your gift wrapping prowess that my wife just shook her head in amusement and said, “Another brain fart honey?”

  28. Comment by Adam | 12.8.2007 | 3:02 pm

    I’m contemplating even the IDEA of a pound tub of Vegemite. I can’t imagine putting it into anything more dense least it implode into a sort of black hole that would suck the good flavor out of everything that passed it!

    Even a tube of Vegemite seems almost like a terror weapon to me. Personally I think he snuck a tube of something they had at the cancer center and stuck a Vegemite label on it. At least that way someone might actually LIKE it!

    As for the superballs . . . I’m reminded of that great Sony video of a few years ago where they released a couple hundred thousand plastic balls. I think you can watch it here:

  29. Comment by Adam | 12.8.2007 | 3:07 pm

    Oops – I see that I can’t post a link, probably a good idea, so go to youtube and ask for Sony Bravia balls San Francisco and be sure to watch the long version of the ad that runs like 2:30. I’m honestly not a shill for Sony. Enjoy the poor sad bike visible attached to a lightpole at the start of the film. Fatty: your kids will love it. Somewhere is a version of this ad that isn’t compressed up the ying-yang and it’s REALLY worth watching.

  30. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 12.8.2007 | 4:34 pm

    Relax Adam, you just haven’t been trained properly in the art of Vegemite consumption. If it’s administered incorrectly Vegemite can seem to be useful only for repairing holes in the road or masking the smell of a rotting goat carcass. If it’s used correctly it’s almost as close to nirvana as Keira Knightly belly dancing at your birthday party.

  31. Comment by Born4Lycra | 12.9.2007 | 1:50 pm

    I’m with you Adam and we might just be alone in the universe together. Putting vegemite on toast is a waste of toast but tell that to the millions who love it. I reckon the bloke that invented vegemite is the same bloke that invented ties. Bit of scrap material lying around I’ll tie it round my neck for a laugh and instantly annoy just about every bloke on the planet. Similarly I’ve got all this offal and crap left over from a failed toilet cleaning enterprise what shall I do with it. Dash of salt and another dash of salt only bigger then one more for luck, well there you go it looks like poo and just might sell. I’ll call it vegemite it might be vegetable it might not. Hope my wife and daughter don’t read this they love it.

  32. Comment by aussie kev | 12.9.2007 | 2:31 pm

    breakfast at our house wouldnt happen without vegimite ( and nutella !!)

  33. Comment by cyclingphun.blogspot.com | 12.9.2007 | 4:54 pm

    NUTELLA! Ooooo, I love me some Nutella.
    OK, so after cracking on Vegimite, I have to ask; am I the only one here who is into Tripe?! Love my tripe, Gramma always made it in a tomato based sort of broth… mmmmm.
    *for those who don’t know, tripe is the first or second stomach of a cow. Little chewy, not horribly flavorful outside of what you put it in, but good.

  34. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 12.10.2007 | 2:38 am

    phun – “tripe… a little chewy” like as in sliding along the velodrome at 40mph is a little ouchy. Tripe is the organic equivalent of a tyre casing. As for Nutella, I think it’s a little too sweet and chocolatey but my kids often have a little bit of bread under their inch thick slice of Nutella.

  35. Comment by Pammap | 12.10.2007 | 4:51 am

    Another reason to read fatcyclist.com: a short lesson in food from around the world – vegemite, nutella, tripe. Thanks, guys. Very interesting for a kid from small town Missouri. :) Well, actually, I’m a 50 y.o. grandmother and live near St. Louis which is not super small but you get the idea. Fun stuff.

  36. Comment by Uphill Battle | 12.10.2007 | 6:44 am

    Well, Fatty, did the recepient of your white elephant simply love your gift? And what did you get in return?

  37. Comment by AMG in Texas | 12.10.2007 | 9:30 am

    Marrock –
    You left out the 3rd most popular tool in the old toolbox… closehanger wire. Yep, commonly known as baling wire around Texas. Cant live without it… muffler scraping the ground… Duct tape… nope… will burn in 10 minutes… W/D 40… nope, will dry on contact… the solution… bailing wire (closehanger)!!!
    Ever lock yourself out of a car??? What do you use??? Duct tape, W/D 40??? Nope… closehanger (baling wire). You can bend it into the most usefull shapes to get at the door lock mechanism.

    A forth item in the ole toolbox is barbed wire. Just dont use that to repair your bike seat….

    To our aussie friends… is Vegamite like our SPAM??? Sounds like the proverbial love it or hate it type of food (?).

    Al Maviva – I think the real reason you dont get invited to the xmas parties is the perpetual gift you always give… ball bearings in a sock with the cute note “Use this on your boss at work”. ;-)

  38. Comment by Clydesteve | 12.10.2007 | 11:54 am

    I don’t know that i would compare Vegamite to SPAM. When I went through Austrailia in the service, the Aussies compared their Vegamite to our yellow processed French’s mustard. And I have to agree. Vegamite is pretty gross to the uninitiated taste buds, and so, aparently, is our bitter bright yellow condiment. Who knew?

    I prefer a nice brown mustard to either.

  39. Comment by leroy | 12.10.2007 | 4:17 pm

    Wow, that is an awesome gift!

    But I gotta disagree on the duct tape, however.

    If only someone had told my folks that the usefulness of duct tape in child rearing was grossly overrated, I could have saved a bundle on therapy and bought that Delta 7 you wrote about.

    Best wishes to Susan.


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