Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Big Story

About two weeks ago I mentioned that there was something I was going to do that was pretty dramatic.  I actually even counted down the days until I did it.  I didn't want to mention what it was in case I chickened out at the last moment.

Today was the day of this big event.  Did I do it?  Yes, I did do it.  So what was this big thing I was going to do?  I got a tattoo today.  Not a small, tiny little tattoo that is easily hidden.  This tattoo covers my right arm from my shoulder to just and inch or two above my elbow.  It is a tattoo of a great snowy owl.  This is the type of owl that Harry Potter had as a pet.  I chose to get this tattoo as a way to memorialize Patty.  She was one of the biggest Harry Potter fans that you could imagine. She particularly liked Hedwig, Harry's pet great snowy owl.  I felt there was no better way to memorialize her on my body than a tattoo of Hedwig.

At the bottom of the tattoo two words are written - Three Forever.  There is a significance to these words of course.  My initial plan was to use the words that were on the last slide of the photo montage shown at Patty's memorial service - "Forever yours in eternity".  Then the phrase "Three Forever" came to me this morning when I was brushing my teeth.   What does Three Forever mean?  It has two meanings.  The first is the obvious meaning of the number of us in our little family.   That is - Patty, Zack and me.  The less obvious meaning is what the word three meant to Patty and me.  We used the word three to signify "I love you".  There are three words in "I love you" which is how we evolved "three" to signify that.  So if we were ever in a situation that we felt awkward blurting out "I love you" to each other we would just say "three" instead.  Or if we were in a place where it was difficult to talk, one of us would just put 3 finger on the other.  It was something that allowed us to show love at times it would have otherwise been difficult.  In Patty's final days of life when she was unconscious and on the ventilator, there were many times in which I would sit beside her and hold three of her fingers so hopefully she could feel that she was loved.  Three Forever just conveys that sense of who we were as a family and that I will love Patty forever.

This tattoo is for me to always remember Patty and the enormous impact that she had on my life.  Without Patty by my side I don't know that I would have amounted to much in this life and I feel I have her to thank for so many of the good things I have achieved in life.  Now I have a memory of her forever painted into my skin.

I am not going to take any pictures of the tattoo for a couple of days yet.  There is a lot of discoloration around it due to the stencil that the tattoo artist used to create the outline of the tattoo.  Additionally, my skin is pretty well inflamed from the beating it took from the tattoo needle (or whatever you call it).  I'll take some pictures in the middle of this coming week and post them here at that time.

The experience of getting the tattoo was interesting!  I went to Celebrity Tattoo's in Lakewood as they were the place that was recommended by my cleaning ladies as they both have a bunch of tattoos.  The place is very swanky inside, so I am guessing that they are making a fair amount of money.  I got there around 1:00PM but had to wait until 2:30PM for a tattoo artist to become available.  The guy who I was working with is named Puma.  Like most tattoo artists, he was pretty much covered with tattoos.  He was a really nice guy though and I think he did a pretty good job on the tattoo.

The level of pain I experienced during the process wasn't bad at all.  You hear people talking about tattoos hurting but it didn't bother me too much.  There were only a copy of times that I acutely felt pain and that was when Puma was reaching the back of my arm.  For whatever reason the back and inside of your arms are much more sensitive than the outside.  Who knew??  I think the worst thing was sitting there for 2 hours without my shirt on.  Puma's work station was directly in line with the main door of the shop and for the first 45 minutes or so, the door was propped open.  There was a good breeze blowing through that kind made me freeze.  Being cold was actually than the pain of the tattoo.

From start to finish it took about 2 hours to get the tattoo. I spent a good bit of the time talking to Puma but it seems like people are less likely to talk when getting tattoos than when they are getting their hair cut.  Part of the reason for this I think is because the tattoo machine makes a lot of noise.

I don't ever feel that I want to look like a walking art show, but I will actively consider getting another tattoo some time in the future.  This tattoo was strictly for me to memorialize Patty so at some point I might want to get a tattoo for myself.  Two will probably be the limit of what I will allow myself to get - just because I don't want to look out of control.

There isn't too much else for me to write about tonight.  I think the tattoo story kind of trumps just about anything else I could write.  Zack and I had some plans for this evening but we decided to stay home.  Zack was tired from spending the entire day with his cousin playing throughout the neighborhood and my back issue has been killing me since mid-afternoon.  So instead of going out we are staying home on this dreary, gray evening.  Given the severe weather that is happening throughout the country I do hope you all are safe and not having to face these monster thunderstorms.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

There was one thing I meant to write above and I forgot.  As the tattoo was being done one of the other tattoo artists walked by Puma's work area and said "Great Hooter there" meaning of course the owl as owls hoot.  This lead to a general discussion between everyone nearby that I have a great pick up line with the tattoo.  If I were in a bar and saw a woman I liked I could walk up to her and say "I show you my hooter if you show me yours".  hahahahahaha.  Like I am really every going to say that!  I don't think so, but it gave everyone around a good laugh.  Do people actually use stupid pick lines?  I never have and I would be so embarrassed to do so.  Just had to add that before I forgot about.


Anonymous said...


Rilly said...

I've decided I want a tattoo but can't seem to find the time. Because this is so out of character for me, I thought I wanted something shocking in a place my kids wouldn't see until I died, and at 77 that could be anytime, but I changed my mind and will probably go with a dainty bracelet and their 7 birthstones....or not. Depends on what I see when I get to the parlor.

I like your reason for getting one. If I did it for the same reason as you I'd have to have a boat.

Jerry Kromer said...

Anonymous - I wish I knew who you were, but that is OK you don't want to say.

I used to be a big opponent of tattoos. But I changed my mind for a couple of reasons.

1. When I was in the hospital after my last back surgery I watched a marathon presentation of LA Ink and it really got me thinking. And the way I thought about it was this. When Patty was alive I wore a wedding ring to show my commitment to her. Now that she is no longer with us, I don't wear the ring anymore but I wanted something that showed my love for her. So a tattoo became one way to show that.

2. I realized if you had a good tattoo artist it can enhance your physical appearance. In my case I think it makes me look stronger, tougher and more rugged. So I kind of like the look.

3. I saw a tattoo on a woman who I dated for a while. You could only see it if she wore really revealing clothes. I realized that besides adding to her beauty - which it did, it showed an intrinsic part of her character that you would never see or realize without that tattoo. It was an in-depth expression something that was critical to her being. I thought it transformed so much about her and showed her strength and what her character was built upon.

Anyway - as the saying goes... "different strokes for different folks". I totally understand and respect your opinion about tattoos. Thanks for expressing it! Everyone's opinions are respected here and I will publish them pretty much no matter what.


Jerry Kromer said...

Rilly - thanks for your comment. I think that is really wonderful you are considering a tattoo. Just because you are 77 doesn't mean a thing. You are young at heart - and that is what matters!

And though you said "until I died, and at 77 that could be anytime" I think you will be around for a good long time. I don't know you but your acceptance of change I am sure keeps you very young. Heck you can probably run circles around some "youngsters" with your ability to get out there and use technology. And your thinking of making a big changed by getting a tattoo. You Ms. Rilly are definitely young at heart and in mind!