My thoughts released; a mind set free
These pages contain my thoughts, from meandering ideas and persuasions to deep cerebrations and serious mentations.|
Why, for what purpose? To release my mind and set creativity free. Somewhere inside the constraints of my mind dwells a writer, a poet, an artist who paints with words. In here I release those constraints and set the artist free.
Perhaps, lost somewhere in the depths of thought, is a story or a poem, waiting to be written.
|We had planned a different Thanksgiving this year, instead of going over to my sister-in-law's like we usually do, we decided to do a mini-vacation. We decided to visit the port city of Duluth and tour Bentleyville (https://www.bentleyvilleusa.org/visitor-guide/). We booked a room overlooking Lake Superior within walking distance for Thursday night.
The plan; have our Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night, get a fairly early start on Thursday and drive to Duluth, check into our hotel, walk over to Bentleyville, then return and order pizza. That was the plan...
Things went afoul Wednesday! It was a beautiful day and the snow was melting, but by late afternoon, it was below freezing again. Unknown to me, the steps had been coated with ice, and I slipped on the top on, bounced down them, and landed hard on the concrete patio.
It took a couple of minutes to regain my senses and my breath. It took another minute to move various body parts to see if there were any that had broken. None seemed to be at the time, but when I rolled from my back to my stomach, I felt a wave of nausea wash over me.
I lay there another minute waiting for this to pass, then tried to get up. I could not, it was too icy... I managed to crawl over to the edge of the open porch and get hold of the decking, then with some difficulty, pull myself up onto my knees. I was up high enough now to rest my upper body on the deck floor and roll onto the porch. Luckily, I have a chair out there that I used to get up to my feet and drag my hurting body into the house.
Everyone came rushing to see how badly I was injured and my wife was asking if I needed to go to the emergency room. I had her assist me to my recliner, telling her I just needed to sit for a minute and determine how badly I had injured myself. She also said she would call and cancel our hotel reservations. The kids looked devastated but did not say anything except ask what they could do for me.
I did not have the heart to disappoint them and cancel our mini-vacation, besides it didn't seem like anything too serious. I informed them that the trip was still on, pending whether I could get out of bed the next morning or not. Humor always helps a situation and they jumped aboard with a bit of humor in return, "We'll get you out of bed in the morning, don't you worry about that!"
In truth, I could barely get myself into bed, did not sleep much at all, and was hurting much worse than I was going to let on to them. But with enough OTC pain meds, I managed to move pretty well and we headed out.
There was quite a bit of pain driving, there was a lot of pain getting in and out of the vehicle, and walking was painful as was standing or sitting. After we returned to the hotel, I walked around in the pool; the cool water felt good. Then I soaked in the hot tub which really helped ease the pain for a while. The hotel mattress was firm and comfortable and I slept through the night.
Oh, being Thanksgiving, we could not find anything open that delivered, but the hotel front desk checked around and found an Old Chicago just a few blocks away that was open until midnight, so after the pool and hot tub we drove over and enjoyed a very wonderful dinner.
The next day we checked out and headed over to Superior Wisconsin and did a bit of sightseeing. We toured a turn of the center mansion and visited the last whale-back ship, the USS Meteor, as well as some other historic sites. By late afternoon it was time for dinner at Perkins, then the long drive home.
I was still in a lot of pain and there was no way to hide it, but I refused to let it ruin our fun and we all enjoyed the outing. In fact, it has been requested that we do this every year as our new Thanksgiving tradition.
As for me, I haven't moved much from my chair today. Both arms are bruised up, my entire back is black and blue, and I may have a cracked humerus (bad name, there's nothing funny about cracking this thing), and it's very likely I have once again busted my tailbone.
|It's been a tough week for us; re-adjusting to a home without Hannah will take quite some time. But, everyone seems to be moving forward and dealing with the loss in healthy ways. That's something to be thankful for.
Yes, even with Hannah's passing unexpectantly last Friday, there is so much to be thankful for. The key, I guess, is in the attitude we choose to use as we look at the world and our lives. I lost one of my best friends six days ago, and sure to some she may just be a dog, but to me, she was a friendly and loyal companion, family member, and a huge part of my life for the last ten years. I could go into a deep depression, focusing on my grief, but instead, I try to focus on the positive aspects and the wonderful times we shared. I choose to be happy, even in grief!
I was with her in her time of need. When we stopped by the shelter ten years ago, a guy was taking a one-year-old dog out of the building. He wasn't being gentle with her; she pulled and resisted him all the way. When she saw me, she tried to come over, but he yanked hard on her leash, she yelped, and I got pissed.
The story, one day, will be written, but for now, let's keep it short I have to get ready to head out o a four-hour road trip.
He was taking her to be put down, she was anemic, full of parasites, and quite near to death on her own. I paid the fee to adopt her, well half price since it wasn't likely she would through the week.
We nursed her back to health instead and had ten years to share with her. That's something to give thanks for.
Her health failed quickly, but she did not seem to be in pain or suffering and she passed during the night in her sleep. That's something to be thankful for.
I was able to be with her through that last night, petting her and comforting her right up to her last breath. That's something to be thankful for.
Today, my family and I have a road trip planned instead of the traditional family get-together. We will go visit a Christmas village, stay overnight at a hotel, and return tomorrow, possibly setting a new Thanksgiving tradition.
Even as I write this post I think of so much more to be thankful for, not just today, but every day. We all have something we can be thankful for, we just have to look, and as for one day set aside to give thanks? Well, I'm thankful someone thought it was important enough to make it a holiday so we can have time together, but one day of thanks kind of comes up short.
Maybe we should rename the day to Pilgrim's Day or New Beginning Day and go back to being thankful every day...
|My last entry on Thursday was about my return and waiting for a diagnosis on Hannah, my canine companion. I was waiting to hear what the vet had to say after her visit on Friday morning.
She had been feeling well, as far as her actions and interactions, not showing any signs of discomfort. Her problem was, she would not eat very much; she showed interest in food, but would only eat a small portion at a time. She had also begun to drink more water than usual and her abdomen was getting larger. Except for the loss of appetite, she almost appeared to be pregnant, although that was very unlikely.
On Thursday, she refused to eat anything and seemed to have some motor function problems. She was a bit unsteady on her feet, and she needed help getting into the car; We knew she was in need of some professional help and called the vet. He wasn't taking new patients, but when we explained her condition he said he would give her a check-up on Friday at 8:30 in the morning.
As the day progressed, she continued to show more signs of weakness and instability and stopped drinking any water. However, she would eat snow when she went out and seemed to want to go out whenever she felt thirsty. She still did not seem to be in any discomfort and tried to perform her regular activities, but she was unsteady on her feet and by late afternoon could not get into or out of the car, she had difficulty balancing, and now needed help to go up or down the three steps going outside.
By evening she was having difficulties getting up and moving, her legs just seemed to not support her and she had to have help moving from one place to another or she would stumble and fall. I still held out hope that the vet would find a cure, but I also faced the fact that she was likely not going to be with us much longer. I talked to our two children and explained this to them, so they could spend as much time with her as possible.
By 10:00 that night, she was unable to stand or move, however, she still did not show any signs of pain or discomfort. In fact, she would try to stand and fluff up her bed: she did this by pawing at her blanket with her front feet, usually until she had a tangled mess. Now, however, she would tip over or her hind end would just collapse back down. She also continued to try and go anyplace I went, as she has always done.
I knew she was nearing her end and was doubtful she would make it to her scheduled appointment. Even more difficult to think about was if she started to show any signs of pain and the likelihood that her vet visit would be for having her put to sleep to end any suffering that seemed likely to come.
My wife made up a softer bed for her next to the couch and slept there beside her, offering comfort and security. Hannah did seem to be comfortable, secure, and at peace, as she would sleep. I sat up with her, watching her ready to go to her anytime she showed any signs of discomfort, fear, or restlessness. She could no longer get up, but she would still lift her head a bit and look over to see if I was still sitting beside her.
I would, at these times, get out of my chair and lie beside her, petting and comforting her. Still, no sign of pain, but when she did this, I could see the fear in her eyes. Since she could no longer go out to eat snow, I brought it in for her and let her keep her mouth and through moist. I found I had to scoop a bit in my hand and put it to her muzzle, she could no longer see the bowl.
But, she would relax to my touch and voice, fall back asleep, and seem very comfortable and peaceful for about a half hour or so and then we would repeat this through the night.
At a little after 3:00 in the morning, she again woke and was looking toward me, but she could not raise her head any longer. I again went to her and comforted her with both touch and soothing words. She closed her eyes, her breathing slowed, and she seemed to return to sleep. But as soon as I stopped caressing her neck she would open her eyes again. So, as I spoke softly to her so she would know I was still close by, I made room beside her and lie down and resumed rubbing her neck and shoulders as I talked with her.
She closed her eyes and seemed to drift off to sleep, but I did not stop comforting her. For the next hour, she slept and even snored a bit as I rubbed her shoulders and neck and talked with her. Shortly after 4:00 a.m., her breathing became short raspy breaths and she would convulse a bit. I found by increasing the pressure of my hand she would calm a bit, her breathing would slow again and she seemed peaceful. But, her breathing was still rasping in her lungs and her body was tenser.
We continued lying together, me talking softly by her ear and caressing her as her breaths became shorter and shallower. She would tense more, then relax as I increased pressure and massaged her more than caressed. At about 4:25, she had a convulsion and then went still, the tenseness in her muscles was gone and she was very still; her only movement was the slight rise and fall of her chest. I still massaged her neck and shoulders as those breaths became shallower and slower until at 4:35, she let out her last... my faithful friend was gone.
My heart was heavy with loss, but at the same time, I gave thanks that she was able to spend her last night at home, was not in pain or suffering, and I was able to be there with her. For ten years she has been faithfully at my side; I'm so thankful that for that one night, I could faithfully be there by hers.
|Here I am, back from a couple of months' separation. I looked through the newsfeed, posted a message there, then went through months of backed-up mail. I was surprised by all the wonderful emails I had missed over the summer as well as some terrific reviews.
I decided I should make a short entry here since it's been about half of forever since I wrote anything. I thought about writing about my summer, all the good and bad, happy and sad that has transpired, but hey, I want you to return and read more of my blog entries, so I decided it was better not to bore you with all of that.
I also thought about writing about Hannah, my dog, and friend since 2013. Her health is failing and she is deteriorating quickly. She sees the vet tomorrow morning, but as today has progressed, I have little faith that anything can be done for her; still, I cling to hope.
I will write about her, but not here, and not today. I will wait for the diagnosis tomorrow and see what choices are available.
|So --- it's been a couple of weeks, and yesterday I posted in my Keto blog, so I thought I should make an entry here today to keep things balanced. As I stated in my Keto blog, it's been kind of a crazy month and I haven't had a lot of time to spend in WdC, hence the delay in writing.
Speaking of "Hence," does it drive anyone else bonkers when people use the term? I don't know why, but I cringe whenever I hear someone say, "hence".
But, I digress from the subject. Wait, what is the subject? I don't think I've actually disclosed one, but instead have just been rambling. I guess the subject is this month. If it is this month; there may have been a huge conspiracy that removed April and stuck us with a second March.
Over at "Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" , there was a question about March and the sayings related. One of them, In like a Lion was popular. It means, if you have been existing under a rock, that if March comes in like a lion (nasty weather) it will go out like a lamb (mellow weather) and of course, the opposite is also true.
March, here anyway, came in like a lamb, very mellow. It also ended like a lion, but not a huge beast, more like a lion cub. At least that's how I thought at the end of March. Now I wonder, did that little rascal refuse to leave?
Another saying my mom liked, "April showers bring May flowers." Only, we didn't get any April showers so does that mean no May flowers? It did rain a few times, but it didn't last long. It may have started as rain, but it soon changed over to snow, and it snowed often. It would warm just enough to melt most of the snow and make a lot of mud and slop, giving false hopes of spring. Then it would turn colder and snow again. Not light fluffy snow, but heavy, wet snow, and a lot each time.
What does April snow bring? Mud, slop, and a lot of standing water since the frost hasn't even dispersed yet.
But today things changed. We are still melting off the last snow that started on Easter, then turned nice on Monday so that most of it melted, then snowed like a butt-hurt-baboon on Tuesday. I think we got over a foot of the wet, heavy, and sloppy crap!
Yesterday it melted a lot of it, turning most of our driveway into something much like quicksand and saturating the yard to the point of needing rubber boots to walk across the sodden sod. But instead of turning colder and snowing again, as it has all month, it started raining this morning.
It's supposed to rain off and on, all day, but by late afternoon or early evening, depending on where you stand and which direction you face which one you use, we are supposed to have thunderstorms. April showers have finally arrived.
Sure, it's going to make more mud and muck, but at least it will drive the frost out so the water can soak in.
Yes, it seems that April has finally arrived. I was convinced that when we changed the clocks and sprung forward we had disrupted the time/space continuum and displaced April while extending March. Wait, mayhaps we did!
|This isn't really a rant, but just a way to get something off my mind that's bothering me.
After we moved into this area, we didn't know anything about local businesses; where to get good deals, good work, and who to avoid. So, when it came time to have the oil changed in the car, we had no idea where a reputable garage was. We asked the landlord, who recommended two local garages that he uses.
We set up an appointment and took the car for an oil change and general servicing. When we picked it up, we found out that the front struts were getting bad and would need to be changed, everything else was fine. It wasn't anything pressing, so we decided to wait until fall when we had the snow tires put on. Everything seemed fine.
About a month later, I took my pickup in for an oil change and service, I also needed to have the transmission fluid and filter changed. Everything worked fine, but the color was off, and when the temperature dropped below zero, I had to let the truck warm up to operating temperature or it didn't shift quite right.
While the truck was in, they noticed that it also needed a brake job, so I had them do the brakes at the same time. When it was done, I brought it home, but it wasn't shifting right. I checked the transmission fluid and had to add two quarts to fill it up. I also noticed that the brake fluid was low, so I topped that off. Since it was just serviced, I began to wonder why any of the fluids were low, so I checked the antifreeze, and that also was low. I also had to put in a new air filter!
Now, I began wondering why they didn't fill any of the fluids. Also, the entire time I have owned the truck, it's never lost any fluids, so why was the antifreeze low?
Let's skip ahead a few months, to late fall, early winter. With snow on the ground, it was easy to see that the truck now has a small transmission leak, a small antifreeze leak, and instead of it shifting better, it has gotten worse after taking it in to be serviced.
We took the car in to have snow tires put on and the struts changed, assuming they were actually bad since it drove and handled fine. While changing the struts, they discovered that it also needed the front stabilizers changed. I went back and looked with them, and sure enough, they were both loose and needed to be replaced. Why had we not noticed this while driving it?
They were able to get the parts and do the job right away, but between labor and parts, it was over a grand. When they finished, they informed us that the rear shocks would soon need changing, but they could wait for spring when the snow tires came off. I now began to wonder if the shocks were bad or if every time they have the vehicle they'll find a new problem.
Anyway, we skip ahead another month. When driving the car, if we hit a big bump, something in the rear driverside would clunk. Also, when the temperature dropped below zero, the engine wouldn't turn over very well, the battery needed to be replaced. Since it was time for another oil change, we set up an appointment to have the oil changed, the battery replaced, and to have them find and fix the clunking.
They changed the oil, put in a new battery, and informed me that the clunking was the rear shocks. They didn't have time to change them right then, and I was told it wasn't anything to worry about. They would change them when we took the snow tires off.
By spring, the clunking had gotten a lot worse, and then one day while driving I noticed the rear end shift just a little as I was driving. I put it up on the jack and looked at the shocks. They seemed to be fine, relatively new, and they were tight, no clunking. I then looked at the rear stabilizers and saw that they were in need of replacing, just like in the front.
Did they even look to see what was wrong? This could have been a disaster since the two parts that were clunking also hold the entire rear axle to the frame. I also pondered why these problems all started after having the car in for an oil change. By now, of course, we know more people, and they all agree that the garage we used was not any good. It's always nice to have someone tell you, "Don't go there," after the fact.
I asked around and quite a few people recommended a different garage, so I took the car in to see what kind of price it would be to get the rear end fixed. He was honest and down-to-earth. He put the car up on the lift and checked with me, to see what was involved, and quoted me a price of $450.00 if there were no unseen problems.
I set up an appointment since he had to order the parts and they wouldn't arrive for at least a day, two at the latest. I then called the other place that I did not trust to work on a bicycle anymore and explained what was going on with the car. I also told them what I had found wrong, and asked what it would cost to have it fixed.
First, they would need to set up a time to look at it, which would cost $60.00, but they would subtract that off the final cost of the repairs. They also said that their records showed it needed new shocks as well. I didn't tell them another mechanic had told me the shocks were still in great shape. Anyway, the total cost for shocks, bushings, and labor would run at least $1200.00 the same as the front, if everything went well. Over twice the cost for parts and for labor.
I now understand the place is a rip-off, and I firmly believe they did something to cause the problems. I cannot prove it, but I'm convinced.
So back to the car. I took it in on Thursday and he worked on it through the day. Nothing went right! Of course, he showed me how the mounting bolts had broken from being rusted and what it took to get things apart. He also showed me how he would have to weld new nuts onto the frame since the old ones had broken off. But, what he didn't tell me was that it would now cost a lot more. In fact, he said that if he had the right hardware to reinstall, I wouldn't even have to pay for the new parts. The only downside was that he would need to keep the car for another day to finish the repairs. It was understandable since it was almost quitting time and the back axle was half removed.
Friday he called. He had fully removed the rear axle to use the press to put the new parts in. At that time, he found that both rear coil springs had busted loose because of the axle shifting. He had already ordered the parts, in hopes of getting them the same day, but it was too late, they will not be here until Monday. I agreed with him that it would be best to replace them right away. As he said, it's already pulled apart, so it won't cost me anything for labor, just the cost of the springs, which he said would be the same as his cost since he had missed this.
In fact, he hasn't said anything at all about it costing more than the original quote, which included a high side if he needed to replace shocks, springs, and the bushings. If everything went smoothly, $450.00, and if everything needed replacing $600.00.
It's a pain being down to one vehicle, but Monday the car will be done. He would neither confirm nor denied that something was done to cause the damage, but he did say that it wasn't normal for the front and rear stabilizers to go bad, they tend to only need replacing if damaged in an accident. In fact, in over twenty years of servicing vehicles, he has never had to change them. Confirmation enough for me.
Monday I'll find out how much more the cost will be, but from all the conversations with the mechanic, the only cost increase he has stated was the price of the springs. Oh, and he also informed me that the damage was severe enough that had we not stopped driving the car until we found out what was wrong, we could have easily lost the rear axle while driving.
|In our last episode, we looked at how things went from semi-serene to constant chaos; stay tuned to see how things are progressing...
It's been almost a week since my last entry, so I guess this page is an indication that things have mellowed a bit. But, they haven't mellowed much, trust you me!
Where we left off was track, vehicle problems, and a lot to do around the place. Track is still going, and will keep going until school is out, possibly a bit longer. Yes, I know, I'm the parent, I should know when it stops. But, two weeks in, and I still have not gotten a schedule.
In fact, our track star who now is doing either discus or shock-put instead of sprinting informed us that practice ended between five and five-thirty, depending on the weather. This was also confirmed by a handful of other students via their parents waiting to pick them up. The coach told me, when I asked, that it would be between four-thirty and five, depending on how quickly they changed after practice. He also informed me that once it was nicer out, they would practice outside until five.
So, I started waiting at four-thirty. They were practicing outside, the runners running around the school, uptown, and anywhere they wanted to run. I even found a small group behind the supermarket having a smoke break. The coach was working with a few of them in the gym and I politely asked him again, as it was almost five now, what time I should pick up our student.
He informed me that they were done between four-thirty and six, depending on the weather. No, I didn't say anything! I didn't have to, a half dozen other parents had come in and they went off on the guy. Now, practice is done at five, or so it was decided before a full-out brawl erupted in the gym. We will see.
It turned colder, so not a lot to do outside, but it has provided me time to go through the car we bought when our's broke. It's an older Buick my mother-in-law sold us and has been kept up well, or at least that's the story. I know she took good care of it, but her boyfriend drove it on occasion, and I think some other family members may have taken it out without her knowledge.
I assume this because of food, candy wrappers, cigarette ashes and butts, and food/beverage spills in the front and back seats of the car. Since mom-in-law doesn't smoke, or drive for that matter, and since the car has been parked in her garage since last November, I have to suspect someone else has driven it.
It's been good so far, great mileage, comfortable, rides nice, and once cleaned up, in very good shape. However, it developed a glitch two days ago. First, the Service Engine Light came on, I find nothing wrong, but I had just gone through a car wash, so maybe something got wet. This morning, the Low Coolant light came on, then after about one, maybe two minutes went back off.
I've checked all the fluids, they are good. Even so, I checked the coolant again after it had cooled down; it was full. I'm thinking something did, in fact, get wet, but it may also be a faulty connection someplace.
Hopefully, it works itself out, but then again, do these things ever work out? I know the last thing I need is another vehicle in need of repairs. I hope to get the HHR fixed this week, then we will have, I hope, two vehicles again. That makes room for me to take the pickup in and have the transmission checked and get an estimate of what that's going to cost.
With camping season coming up quickly, I need the truck to pull the camper and haul camping/kayaking stuff. But, I suspect it may be a bit before I have it fixed, and it's also possible it will cost more than I want to stick into it. So, we are also looking at purchasing a new vehicle. This week isn't good for looking, however, because my wife decided she would work some overtime.
Yea, the extra money will be nice, but with only one vehicle and her now having to be at work by five in the morning, it's almost impossible for me to get up and give her a ride and still be up at night to get the kids off to bed.
Let's remember, with the colder weather we have right now, I have not been able to get everything done outside that needs doing, but it's going to be warmer by tomorrow and through the next ten days, or so the Weather Bug tells me.
So, as you can see, things may have mellowed a bit, but it's just a little bit. I should update my Keto blog, but who's got the time?
|I haven't been around much since last week. Saturday, we had a birthday party for our niece in a small town hall. Since it was on my wife's side of the family, we have learned that if something starts at four, they are usually starting by three or three-thirty. So, we got a few things done around the house and set out for our hour drive to the party, arriving right at three.
Saturday proved to be the exception to the previously stated fact, and hardly anyone was there. In fact, so many guests were late, they didn't start until five, instead of four. Since we had plans for that day, we had originally planned on leaving by six. Still possible, but instead of them starting the Sweet-Sixteen party, all the adults spent about an hour socializing and visiting. Please note, they all live within a half-hour drive and visit quite frequently.
To make things worse for us, my brother-in-law decided he wanted to park his SUV on the grass away from everyone else. We all parked on the paved parking area, but he drove past it and parked in the grass. With the snow melting, the ground was soft and he buried the front end, up to the bumper, in mud. Being stuck, he needed someone to help push him out. No one had a tow strap, so I and another tried our best to push him back out. We gained a foot and almost had him clear of the muck, but needed him to pull forward a bit and gain some momentum going back while we pushed. He did come forward, but before we could start pushing, stuck it in reverse and floored it, driving the tires even deeper and splattering us with mud.
He got pissed and started bellowing and cussing, which we are all used to, but decided it was stuck too bad now, he would need to get a tow truck to pull him out. He stormed off and his wife came over and asked if we thought we could push it out. I said we could try, so she got in, started it, and asked if it would push out easier if she put it in four-wheel drive! Once she engaged the four-wheel drive, she backed right out without any assistance!
Pushing the heavy vehicle had my back aching. The fact that the guy didn't even try four-wheel drive had me in a not-so-good mood, and being splattered with mud didn't improve it any. but, I took a few minutes and then rejoined the party, now just getting going. It was for a sweet girl, so why spoil her day?
We finally made it out of there about seven and tried to get our plans adjusted. We had thought they would serve something to eat other than cake and junk food, but that was not the case. Since I'm doing Keto and my wife is also on a diet, we had nothing we could eat for sustenance. I did try a small piece of cake that another niece had made, but it was unedible. It was tough, dry, and tasted like plaster! The frosting was even more disgusting, I think it was just shortening and food coloring.
Since we had not eaten much all day, we decided to go out for Chinese, the highlight of the day. But, there were limited foods I could eat and stay in Keto, so I ended up going off my regiment. It was good, and I figured I could fast on Sunday and get back into Keto, no problem.
That was when it all began!
It was late Saturday when we finally got back home. My wife took the clothes from the dryer and was hanging them in our closet when the shelf broke loose and hit her pretty hard on the head. Luckily, she wasn't badly injured. Even so, it made for a very late night for us to get to bed. Sunday I was up early, I don't know why, but I woke at four-fifteen and could not get back to sleep. I worked on the closet mess for a while, and then was going to go to a local hardware store to get parts. But when I started driving, the rear of the car started thumping and would not trail straight.
I returned home and ended up jacking it up to see what was wrong. The rear stabilizer was shifting on the rubber grommets that hold it to the frame. I left it parked and jumped in the pickup to get the parts I needed. I pulled onto the highway and noticed it wasn't shifting right! Now, it's an older pickup, and it doesn't shift properly until it gets warmed up but it had now gotten worse. I checked the transmission fluid; full. Now it was looking like we needed a vehicle to use until we could get the car fixed. I was undecided if I would take the truck in or not.
My wife talked to her mom, to see if we could borrow her car for a few days. Her mom is getting up there in years and doesn't drive anymore, so it wouldn't put her out. She said she would let us use it, but when we went to pick it up, she wanted to sell it. Well, we had been thinking of getting another vehicle, something we could pull the camper with, and something newer than the pickup. Instead, we are now the happy owners of a 2001 Buick.
She bought it in 2003 and has always taken real good care of it. It's in good shape and the price was great. It also gave me time to look more at what it would take to fix our other ca. The repairs are a bit beyond my ability, so I talked to a couple of places and they both gave the same price. Five hundred bucks to change out two twenty-dollar parts. They are pressed in, and it's going to be an all-day job.
After getting prices, I picked up the parts I needed to fix the closet, but once I started on that yesterday, I discovered that there was no fixing it, it needed all new hardware, shelf, and brackets. So, I spent the day rebuilding the closet. I have one side, the busted side finished. But, since I could not find anything to match what was originally in there, I now have to do the other side.
I was going to work on it today, but instead spent some time with my pickup. After I decided I wanted to write this blog out and if nothing else, just get things off my mind.
|I wonder if it would do any good to protest? I could easily make up a sign and march back and forth here at home, we live by a highway, or go either direction into town and march up and down Main Street. Perhaps I should drive over to Grand Forks, North Dakota, and protest in front of the National Weather Service Office.
Somehow, maybe it's some kind of intuition or something similar, I don't think it will do much good. I'm sure a lot of people would stop and give support, mayhaps a few would join me, but regardless of the number of protestors we accumulate, I don't think it will stop the snow.
It's been a battle since late fall, one that I'm not sure I'm winning. I know I'm not losing - yet. I am, however, running out of room to shovel the frigid white crystals, and it's becoming difficult to heave the heavy stuff up onto the piles that are nearly as tall as me. But, it falls, it piles up, and I arm myself with the snow shovel, I scoop, push, throw and pile.
Up till the last few days, I thought I was winning, or at least holding my own. But the last few days have seen warmer temperatures, a bit above thawing, with lots of sunshine. Sure, it's nice, but it also is in battle with the snow, melting it off of the roof as well as down the sides of my piles.
In retaliation, the snow refuses to surrender to shovel and sun. Instead, it converts itself over to ice and freezes down upon the sidewalks. So now, instead of just the shovel, I find myself also needing an ice-chipper and salt.
Again, I thought I was staying a little ahead, but then the forecast changed. More snow tomorrow. More snow throughout the remainder of the week. Where can I throw it? Where can I push it? And, once I do get it shoveled, pushed, and piled, it's going to create even more ice.
I'd love to write more, to go on about how soon it will attack in a whole new direction, called mud, but I need to make a sign and try and stop this madness.
Should I go with NO SNOW! or my first idea SNOW MORE!
|Back in November, we ordered a quarter of beef from a locker in a town close by. Our neighbor and friend said they had good, fresh, and local meat, and that he ordered some there a couple of times a year; a quarter beef and a half a hog. Being such a nice guy, he even brought us a few pounds of ground beef to try. It was lean and so much better than the stuff we had been getting in the grocery stores.
Our order went in during hunting season, so they wouldn't process the beef until after they had finished processing local game; it was ready the first week of January. What made it nice is they average the weight for a quarter of a beef, but include cuts from the entire half and custom cut anything to one's preference.
Today, we went through the freezer since it's getting low, and sure enough, we have almost devoured that quarter already! We have about a dozen pounds of ground beef, a dozen steaks, three roasts, and three packages of stew meat.
So, today we ran over to this local town, stopped at the locker, and picked up some meat. Since we have beef, we purchased some of their handmade Polish sausages, German sausages, breakfast sausage, braunschweiger, beef bologna, some pork chops, and smoked pork hocks. In total, we purchased about twenty pounds of fresh, locally grown, and locally processed meat, all for $105.00
We also asked about ordering more beef, curious as to how long it would take to get it. "Two to three weeks." was the answer. We didn't order any yet, we need to get the freezer empty so we have room for it. This time, we will do an entire half, but even with the freezer empty, we won't have room for that much meat. Luckily, most of it will fit, and what doesn't, our neighbor said we could store in his freezer.
So, a few more weeks and we should be ready to order, and if the price remains the same, we're looking at about $4.25 a pound, after processing unless we get jerky and sausage, which has a bit higher processing fee per pound.
It's all good, except now I don't like the flavor, texture, and added water that comes with commercially processed meat in the supermarkets...
|Normally, Monday through Friday are my quiet days. Sure, I get things done around the place, but I also spend a bit of my time here; as much as I can get away with. Yea, I do spend some weekend time here as well, but it's usually inter-dependent on whatever else is going on. Even when there isn't much, I can't really just log in and chill out.
The reason is, if anyone's home, they tend to interrupt and interfere whenever I get involved in something. During the week, my wife and two children are at work and school. That means I have time to spend without anyone putting in demands and requests for my attention. Once in a while, the neighbor comes over to chat and have coffee, which is always nice and never too often.
But, once children are home, everything changes. Well, depending on what I attempt to do. If I try and read, write, or get involved with anything that requires my attention, it's like some kind of signal broadcasts outward and they tune into it. As soon as they tune in, they home in and invade my space, demanding some kind of attention be diverted towards them. The only exceptions are if I start to do some kind of work, then it has the opposite effect and they go further into hiding. It kind of makes me think of the song, Radar Love, only different motives.
I'm serious! I can sit for an unlimited amount of time and do things that just burn up time and they are off in their rooms, content and happy. But if I pick up a book, start writing something, or log into WdC, they will arrive in my close periphery and want something. What makes things worse, my wife also has a tendency to start talking to herself, making a lot of noise, or asking me questions if I'm engulfed in some task.
Being very introverted, I really need my alone time. I also have a difficult time tuning my brainwaves to just one channel. So, if I'm reading, writing, or trying to do something, I tend to focus heavily on the task. But, if there are interruptions, I feel like I'm getting pulled in numerous directions at the same time and soon can't get anything done.
Last week was going well, I had planned things out that I wanted to get done, and everything was flowing like warm honey off a piece of toast. I was chugging away on a project in the garage after spending the morning in here and was just getting into it when I heard voices. Then the door burst open and two children entered, who should have been at school for another three hours.
Yes, they shut down early because it was snowing!
And they called school off Friday because it was blowing the snow from Thursday.
Monday was Presidents Day, no school. Also, a major winter storm moved in and dumped over a foot of snow on us from Sunday to early Tuesday, with high winds, so no school on Tuesday.
I was up early and ready to send them off on Wednesday, but because of the wind and drifting, they had a late start and didn't get out of here until 9:30. I got them out the door and on the bus, then went to see if my neighbor needed a ride to get his vehicle out of the shop. We talked for a bit, then headed into town. I dropped him off at the shop, went and grabbed a few groceries, then it was time to pick up my wife from work.
Anyway, they are all off to work, to school, and I'm enjoying a quiet day; finally
|I was just reading some news headlines and one particular, and I mean it in the sense that it's almost ludicrous, caught my eye. I opened the article and read it, and after, it was even crazier than the headlines.
We have ex-military personnel living in the streets, families that cannot feed their children, and elderly people in nursing homes who do not get the care they deserve. What is being done to ease the problems in this country? Crack pipes!
"The Biden administration will provide grant funding to pay for the distribution of safe smoking kits as part of efforts to reduce harm from substance abuse over the next three years."
This is just a piece of the article, but it's enough to see that the priorities in this country have continuously slid into the crapper. So the idea is, to give out free crack pipes so addicts don't have to share and transmit disease between users. Sure it sounds good, but, if these addicts are so far down they are sharing paraphernalia, they are likely eating out of dumpsters and living in less than adequate shelters if any at all.
So, after sleeping in an alley, eating breakfast out of someone's trash, and not having the means to wash, they can go pick up a free crack pipe and at least have a safe smoke?
I don't know the real answers; if I did, I would be in politics. But, I do know enough to realize this is going to help about as much as giving out free contact lenses to blind people.
|We've had a brutally cold winter so far, lots of snow, and frankly, I'm getting tired of it. My mind is racing ahead to thoughts of longer days, more sunshine, and warmer temperatures. But, it's still early February and we still have the rest of this month and all of March where we can still get cold temperatures and lots of snow.
In despair, I look at the forecast hoping to see relief in the coming days and weeks. I know the days are already getting longer, and the people at the National Weather Service claim that it's supposed to warm up by tomorrow, with nice weather throughout the next week.
Unfortunately, this has been the forecast since late fall when the snow and cold arrived. A false hope dangled like a carrot to lead me through the frigid temperatures and the days of snow. But, by the time we even get close to the dangling forecast, they change it; more cold, more snow, and the carrot is now next week.
What's this got to do with furry mammals? Well, we just had our Groundhog Day, and that little critter also provides us with a forecast. I've read the chances of the groundhog being right range from thirty to forty percent probability of being correct. I, however, would guess it to be fifty percent; seriously, it's like tossing a coin, fifty-fifty.
So, this far into the despair of a harsh winter, whom shall I trust, the groundhog, or the National Weather Service? That little furry mammal predicts once a year and has a fifty percent chance of being right. The weather people provide daily predictions and seem to be wrong a lot more than they are correct. Sure they get it right once in a while, but that's just a matter of averages; pull the slot handle enough times, and you are bound to win once in a while.
I think I'll go with the groundhog, six more weeks of winter. At least it gives me some hope that I'll shovel my last scoop of snow for this winter and be out enjoying a warm sun in a month and a half. Besides, after dangling the weather carrot a week out in front since last fall, I'm finding it very hard to trust the people at the National Weather Service; they'll have to give some pretty accurate predictions for at least the next six weeks to move equal to the groundhog.
|Wow! I can't believe six days have passed without an entry. Where does the time slip off too? I suppose somewhere in this vast universe is an entire world called, "The Land of Good Intentions".
I really don't have much to write about here, since the last six days have been spent doing a lot of nothing. Well, not nothing, but nothing worth writing about.
I did get in to see the Chiropractor last week; actually six days ago. That's also the day I woke up with my sinuses all plugged up. I felt pretty good, I just had a stuffed-up nose that would not clear.
But, by Thursday, it was building up a lot of pressure in my sinuses, creating quite a lot of discomfort. No fever or anything, I felt fine except for being all stuffed up and having a lot of sinus pressure. By Friday, it had increased two-fold, both the stuffiness and the pressure; now it wasn't discomfort, it was a full sinus headache.
I, of course, sought relief from over-the-counter remedies. They helped some, the pain was down to just being uncomfortable and I was able to get some clearing of my sinuses, but not much. I even added in the old stand-by, Vicks Vapor Rub. I was so stuffed up, I couldn't actually smell the stuff, but I could feel it burning in my sinuses.
By Monday, I was starting to feel a little better. But, now that the pressure was subsiding, I had a burning sensation throughout my sinuses. I never had a fever or any other indications of being sick, except for being tired. I napped some, and with even the least exertion, I felt exhausted. Tuesday was quite a bit better, I wasn't as tired, had more energy, and could breathe again.
Today has been even better, I'm still a little stuffed up, but the burning is gone, the sinuses are draining, and I'm too tired at all. I have more energy; I even ventured out and did some shoveling. It was crazy windy yesterday and snow had drifted in on the sidewalks, not a lot, but enough to need clearing.
It's crazy, but one year ago, to the date, I had a terrible sinus infection. My wife had been exposed and came down with Covid, so I was her caregiver until she started feeling better. She didn't get really sick, more like a case of the seasonal flu, and within a week she was starting to feel better. This was good because just as she started to feel better, I started to get a serious sinus infection.
I had a pretty high fever and my sinuses discharged nasty-looking gunk along with clots of blood. Yes, I did contact the clinic, but as long as it wasn't serious enough to need hospitalization, they recommended that I stay home, since I likely had contacted Covid as well. Unlike most others, however, I had the worst symptoms in my nose with little cough and chest problems.
I ran a pretty high fever and remained sick for almost two weeks before the fever broke and things began to clear up. But, my sinuses never did recover completely. I spent the entire last year with a bit of a runny nose and some mild sinus congestion. Now, one year later and it flairs up again. Hopefully, this time, since I did not get as sick, it will clear up completely and I can finally be over my runny nose.
|The past few days have been pretty unproductive, despite my muse, Menissa's return. Why? My nose!
Not really just my nose, but it started there and spread quickly through my head. I'm talking about a tickle and some sneezing that soon became a running and irritated nose. Then it began to stuff up and build pressure in my sinuses. From the sinuses, it's moved into the ears a bit, mostly pressure to create a bit of vertigo.
First Harley had it, all stuffed up and congested, then she was done and El had it. It's one of those colds that only hangs on until it's passed to another, it seems. El was plugged up for about three days before she started to get over it; I was starting to catch it. Now, I should be about over it; I'm going on day three of this. Will I pass it to Rhonda? I hope not.
It's not a bad cold, nobody seems to get a fever with it, nor do they seem to have any other symptoms. El did have a touch of a sore throat, but only because of it being irritated by her sinuses draining. My only symptoms are stuffiness, sinus pressure, and being a bit tired.
I tend to not get enough sleep, probably part of the reason I caught this. But this week, I"ve been getting to bed early as well as taking a morning nap after everyone's gone off to work and school.
My muse is still hanging around. Menissa's eager to write a little something, but it's difficult to focus when my nose burns, I'm stuffed up, and I spend more time sleeping while everyone's gone. Maybe today, after my nap...
|I did set up another journal for my Keto journey, so I will continue to use this one for whatever else strikes my fancy. What a strange phrase, "strike one's fancy". First off, what is one's fancy? Secondly, why would you want anyone or anything to strike it?
But, that's not what I came in here to write about. There are many strange sayings and we could ponder them through the day. I think, by the time we discovered the origin and true meaning of one, there would be two more.
No, today I wanted to write a little welcome back entry for my muse. She has been missing for a few years now, and no matter where I looked, she was no place to be found. I thought, "She's left me for a younger writer."
But that was not the case. We are still intimately close, now that she's back. Seriously, can one get more intimate than sharing our innermost thoughts? She guides me into the mystical worlds of my mind sharing her thoughts and emotions as we travel these strange and often wonderful worlds.
It's funny, in a non-humorous sort of way. We are so close yet I do not know her name. I reckon we will have to take care of that problem forth-with!
Anyway, I was reading through the Newsfeed a few days back and saw a contest for writing one, the first, chapter. Now, without my muse, I would ponder the idea of writing to a prompt and possibly spend a few days trying to find something worthy of writing, only to come up blank and frustrated. That's how it works when my muse is gone.
But when I look at the prompt and pondered what I could write this time, her sweet, soothing voice began whispering in my mind's ear some ideas. I had to open my word processor as we discussed ideas, plots, and where this could go.
Of course, weekends are not a good time for me to write, so many interruptions and things going on, so I decided to wait until today to process these thoughts and ideas further. Even though she agreed, she continued to whisper her excitement and joy that we would once again be creating yet another story together...
Yes, when I settled down from my excitement of having her back by my side, I asked her why she had left; was it something I had done?
She smiled, in a musing sort of way, and said no, you did not do anything. I have missed you as greatly as you have missed me. She blushed, in my mind, and said, "This is pretty embarrassing, but I need to tell you." She paused for a moment, then continued, "I had some ideas for some poems I wanted to share with you, but I needed to go for a bit of a journey to see those places again. I didn't figure I would be gone for very long, maybe a day or two, then I would be home again and we could take my ideas and write some beautiful poetry."
I was going to ask her about those poem ideas, but she put her hand up, gently touching my lips, and hushed me. "I looked, I thought, and I was heading back to you. But, well this is where it gets embarrassing. I forgot where we lived. I remembered the place in South Dakota, but I never pay much attention to things like moving, work, or any of that reality crap. You know me, I live in fantasy and fiction and only deal with reality in poetry."
She looked about ready to cry and I longed to hold her close to me, to comfort her, to tell her everything would be okay. But before I could, she rushed forwards to me, crashing into me and squeezing me in her embrace. Then she looked up into my eyes, her gold irises with the beautiful blue borders were big, shining, and wet with the tears she was no longer holding back. "I couldn't remember where to go, so I went to the house in South Dakota and waited for you to return. Then, I remembered, we don't live there anymore. In desperation, I searched in every direction but I could not find my way home. I had just about given up any hopes of us being together again. I sat down in a field of snow and cried out with my mind for you, and then, I heard your mind crying out to me. I locked on to your thoughts, your please for me to return, and they carried me over the miles of snow and ice, and then... And then we were together again."
|I started the Keto diet on New Year's Day. Since I need to log calories and macro-nutrients, I also started using a fitness site to track my daily intakes. The site provides a blog for whatever I want to blog about, but since it's a diet/fitness site and I'm doing Keto for the first time, I decided it would be a great place to blog about my Keto adventure.
No, a few hours later, I have to figure out where I left off and what I was going to say... Weekends! I tell you, it's almost impossible to do anything that requires concentration and no interruptions. If it's not the kids, it's my wife!
So, as I was saying, I started a blog on the diet/fitness site to post my updates as well as to share with my friends and family who are also on that site. But, there is no way to share it with them unless they find it shortly after I post.
There are no links on my profile for them to follow, and even when I try to post the link in my feed, it won't allow any links. The only way anyone can access my post is to look for recent forum posts and try and find mine.
So, I decided it would be easier to blog about my journey here, in WdC, and let them know in my feed over there when I have updated it. Sure, they will have to save the link since they are not member's here, but that's easy enough to do after I send it to them. In fact, my wife often visits my port and has it saved in her browser.
So, my question was, "Do I blog about my Keto journey here, in my blog, or do I start a separate journal just for Keto and my fitness journey?"
With the interruptions this morning as soon as I settled in to write, and since I sometimes blog here to vent, the answer is clear, start a new journal just for that.
Thanks for the help...
|This is a continuation of the previous entry.
I called the clinic, again. I talked to the same person who told me again that I couldn't get the prescription refilled until I scheduled an appointment. I told her I had one for next Monday. She then told me that the psychologist would call in a refill after the meeting. I explained that my granddaughter was out and needed it filled right away. She let out a loud sigh and explained in a frustrated voice that she cannot prescribe medications, only the doctor can, and that I needed to see him to get the prescriptions refilled.
I asked how soon I could set up an appointment. She looked and replied she could get me in today. "What time?" I asked.
"He's open right now, would you like to set up an appointment?"
"Okay, would you prefer to meet with him through Zoom or over the phone?"
"Over the phone, please."
"One minute and I'll transfer you."
It was a couple of minutes, and he wanted to speak to my granddaughter. I explained she wasn't home, but I needed to get her medications refilled. I explained what had taken place and he checked his appointments. "So, you canceled the meeting next month and rescheduled it for Monday?"
"Yes, but I need to get her medications refilled right away, she's out." He said he would get them sent in right away and see us next week for our appointment. He apologized for the confusion and asked if there was anything else. I couldn't resist asking him if the front office was staffed by morons.
"Some days it seems like it. Let me know if you have any other problems getting the medications refilled."
I bid him good day and hung up. I didn't even have my phone set down when the clinic called and told me that I needed to call my pharmacy and have them contact them to get these prescriptions refilled. I didn't even try to explain anything.
I called the pharmacy, again. Explained that I had talked to the doctor and he was going to have the medications refilled. I explained that the receptionist had called me right after meeting with the doctor and informed me to have you (the pharmacist) call them to get the refills. I also explained that they were currently staffed by morons, so if there're any more problems, I apologize in advance.
I have not heard anything back, so I'm hopeful that the refills were finally approved.
|Yes, today's topic is morons. Sorry, this is kind of a rant, but I need to vent before I get back on the phone.
A short history of the situation may be needed. We adopted our granddaughters and are trying to provide a stable and healthy home for them. One is on medication for anxiety, ADD, and sleep problems. Everything seems to be working well so there is no current need to change or alter her medications, which are prescribed through a psychologist who she meets with through Zoom.
A few months ago she met with him, he asked how she was doing, if she needed anything changed, and a few other basic questions. Since everything was alright, he sent in her prescriptions and that was it. The whole meeting took about five minutes and she was done. The last thing he told us was that she should see him again in about three months unless anything changed.
The pharmacy filled the prescriptions, and when they ran out, we had them refilled. Now she needs them refiled again, but the psychologist only set up two months. The pharmacy called the clinic and was told no refills until she meets with the doctor. Today I called the clinic and explained that she was out of medication and needed a refill and that she has an appointment with the psychologist next month, as he requested.
I was told to have the pharmacy call them and they would refill our granddaughter's prescriptions. I did earlier this morning. About an hour ago, the pharmacy called me and informed me that the prescriptions cannot be refilled until I schedule an appointment. Since they don't have anything to do with any of it, I thanked them and told them I would try and get things straightened out.
I called the clinic again, talked to the same person, who said I needed to schedule an appointment. I told her I have one set up. I explained that I had them set it up after our grandaughter had met with the doctor and that she would see him next month, as he requested. She said she would talk to the doctor and get back to me. About twenty minutes ago, the clinic called back and had me cancel the appointment for next month and set one up for next week. I did.
I explained again that I needed refills on her prescriptions and was told that I should have seen on the bottles that there was only one refill and set up an appointment for the doctor before that ran out. I asked her if I was supposed to schedule by the refills or by the doctor's request. "Well, you should do what the doctor told you."
I explained it all again, told her I have an appointment for next Monday and asked if they could please refill the prescriptions. She asked if my granddaughter was out. "Yes."
"You need to call your pharmacy and have them call in the prescription so it can get filled right away." That was the reply.
I have recalled the pharmacy, tried to explain the madness, and asked them if they could try and call it in again. The lady said that she would do that right away. Right before I started this post, she called me back and said that the clinic will refill the prescriptions as soon as I set up an appointment. Again, I explained it and told her I would call the psychologist again and try and get it figured out.
|I updated my "handle" and found an interesting picture to adorn my port and go along with my new journey in Keto. If you're not familiar with the Keto diet, it's basically another low carb diet but it includes a higher fat intake. I know, how can you lose weight by eating more fat?
It's kind of a difficult thing to explain in a short blog post, but there is a lot of information available online. My reasoning was a bit simpler, I have been having some problems with eating carbs. Simple carbs seem to upset my stomach, leave me feeling tired and run down, interfere with sleeping all night, inflammation, aching joints, and worsen an old back injury. It took quite a bit of time and food logging to find the problem, but after a few weeks on the Keto diet plan, I know now for sure it was the carbs.
Of course, I could all but eliminate simple carbs and still eat healthier ones, but with six pounds down in just over two weeks, I have to say it's working. Also, I don't find myself hungry all the time, and I seldom have any cravings; what little craving I do experience is minimal and short-lived. I have tried off and on for years to take weight off, but instead, I have slowly gotten heavier.
Quite some years back, my wife and I wanted to lose some excess weight. At that time I was looking to remove about twenty-five pounds, I was getting there with increased exercise and cutting back on how much I ate, but it was taking a long time. So, we decided to do the diet thing and speed it up. Of course, sweets had to go, except on our cheat day and then only in moderation. The biggest thing we did was to cut back on our fat intake as all the sources told us we needed to do to lose weight.
Looking back, that's when we started to struggle with our weight loss and started having trouble sticking to our diets. The more we struggled, the leaner our cuts of meat, lower and no-fat foods replaced the ones we had been eating, and over the years our weight increased as our energy and feelings of well-being declined.
In short, why blame the butter for what the bread did! That's what we were doing and it did not work, so now we are trying Keto. So far, six pounds down, I'm sleeping better, feeling better, and I have a lot more energy. I'm curious to see how things progress, but I'm hopeful and will continue to post my progress as the weeks go by.