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Category Archives: Humor

Letters to Cari, #3 August 25, 2014….

Your only 9 years old and you have done many things to make me very happy and very proud.  As you read these letters you will find they aren’t really in a natural progression, more so as they come to mind.  But I will try to identify as best I can when they happened.  Smiling and trust me, many of our shared moments come to mind open. 

This particular incident occurred at the Christmas Pageant during your 3rd grade year.  Your mom and dad told us you had a part in the pageant but didn’t go into specific detail. 

As normal we (your grandma and I) are quite early, but that did get us good parking. And because of it we got to participate in many of the Christmas activities going on.  In particular you sat and visited with me as I sipped the hot chocolate you had gotten me.  We chatted about numerous things none of which changed the world but I just enjoyed that moment.  By the way you were dressed to the “nines” and looked as cute as you could be (as the below picture attests).

 

3rd Grade Christmas Show
3rd Grade Christmas Show

  

At long last we were advised it was time to move into the cafeteria because the show was about to begin.  Much to your Grandma’s and my great astonishment as we walked into the cafeteria we found we had stepped into a full house.  There must have been 300 or 400 people crammed to the space, everyone was jockeying for the best possible place to take pictures of their beloved children.  Your grandma and I were trying as well, but we ended up be shoved into the corner far away from where you were performing.  The program was simple enough that allowed full participation from your choir.  

Of course I don’t remember the entire program, I do remember the trash can drums, and thinking that was pretty cool.  Then your group came up on stage.  If memory serves you were in the 2nd row, about 5 or 6 right to left across the stage, and I know your mom or dad will be able to tell me exactly where you stood.  Your group performed a couple of songs and I remember watching you from the back 40 of the cafeteria and thinking she is really into it tonight.  

After either the 2nd or third song there as a shift in the performers on the stage. You came down from your perch and took a position center stage before the microphone and waited as appropriate.  When the music again started you began reading your part from the script you before you on the music stand.  I was astonished by how clearly you read your part, the clarity of your voice, how you announced each word correctly, and with the changes in inflection of your voice as you read.  It was amazing to see such a young lady with so much poise. 

I remember thinking when I was your age I could barely say my own name without sounding even more childish than I was.  I also remember how surprised I was with your ease in front of all those cameras, the flash of pictures being taken, and how all the movement around you did phase you at all.  It was like watching a miniature anchorperson going thru the news. This picture shows you looking at the paper on the music stand, but as you “performed” you would look up from your page and make eye contact, a feat I didn’t feel comfortable doing until I was well into my 20’s.  Yet it appeared so normal for you. 

You are extremely photogenic, and it showed in how presented yourself before that large crowd.  Smiling I can almost see an actress in the making, the smiling a leading lady, or the anchor of the evening news. 

Cari, I had seen you perform a few times before this event, and while your were a good and active participate, you seemed to hold back a little. This time you were all in and  your performance was outstanding.  It was so much fun to watch, and even more fun to brag about you later.  Take care, Love, Grandpa 

Folks, as always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to send them to me.  Take care, Bill  

 
 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 08.08.14

I missed posting last week, because I was busy and was putting it off, and didn’t really have anything of substance to address. Hell I don’t know why that stopped me, there are lots of weeks I don’t have anything of substance to report but I do anyway.  Today’s music selections start with Toby Keith’s “Blue Bedroom,” and yes you will get a running commentary of the music during this report.  My last reported dated 7.25.14 spoke of the upcoming invasion of my wife’s good friends.  Well they have come and gone, and a wonderful time was had by all.  It wasn’t as difficult as it could have been, and I wouldn’t have missed their visit for any reason.

It has been a particularly trying 2 weeks since my last report breathing.  The heat, the humidity, has caused a constant issue with SOB.  As for breathing the only time I really have felt comfortable at all is just sitting on my ass, but I refuse to do that.  I have managed to keep up with (my self-imposed) chores, and I have stopped and taken breaks when I needed them, which really has been often.  There has only been a very slight increase in coughing the last couple days.  But that cough has been for the most part very unproductive.  The IPod random selector has been in strange mode today, I started off country, and have had 3 selections from Lewis Black (my favorite comedian) intermixed with Jimi Hendrix, Journey, CSN and Aretha Franklin.  These shifts in music really change the pace of my head LOL. Yet at the end of the day when I am brushing my teeth I will have a massive coughing spasm, which is extremely productive.  It’s almost like a pre precursor to an exacerbation, and while I am not down playing the significance of the words, I am not ready to race around shouting the warning.  But I am keeping a very sharp watch.   The only other ongoing medical issue is that I have had a super low grade headache for what seems like weeks.  It is more an annoyance than anything.  It doesn’t worsen in the bright sunlight, and being in the dark makes no difference and playing my music loud has no impact.  It’s just there.  Yes I have advised Hospice and my team of doctors, no one seems overly concerned because by my own admission other than a tiny bit of annoyance it’s not a problem.

I had only one medical appointment this week which was with Doc Head. Without going into a single detail, we talked, and it was good.  Oh what the heck, we talked about my Blog. Last week I was stood up by Hospice.  The nurse that comes to my home weekly and checks me had advised me that she wouldn’t be coming last Thursday, BUT I would be visited by Hospice.  Well that didn’t happen.  So after a stern talking to this morning I was advised that in the future, if I haven’t been contacted by Hospice in a timely fashion regarding an upcoming “scheduled” visit to call them and put them on the spot.  I am quite capable of doing that, and in the future I will abide to this unless circumstances beyond my control prevail. 

I will also admit I am relying on the Morphine for the relief it gives for my SOB.  I have yet to use the maximum of 6 doses on any given day, but will admit that there are times I look forward to that next dose. 

Considering everything available to me, I am going to rank myself as 2.5 for the week.  Of course this rating doesn’t include the normal aches and pains of everyday life. Sidebar; we have been listening to Billie Holiday, Moody Blues, Montgomery Gentry, Nickelback, Cream, Eric Clapton (playing blues), Ray Charles and Muddy Waters during this session. As for my mental attitude I am a 9 this week.  I woke up each day so far, and have found more reasons to smile than frown.  It is difficult to be better than that.

So to wrap up week ending 08.08.14, we are ranking the week an overall 2.5, with a 9 on the attitude scale.  So we can move on to the vitals for the week ending 08.08.14

  • INR = 2.6 taken 07.28.14 – no change in meds

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 95 taken 8.07.14 — but during the last 2 weeks I have found myself to be as low as 79 pct a few times.  A few deep breaths and some afrin seem to clear things up and my O2 level jumps back into the 90’s

  • Peak Flow = 210 taken 8.07.14

  • BP = 110/64 taken 8.07.14

  • Heart rate = 95 taken 8.07.14

  • Temp = 98.5 taken 08.07.14

  • Weight = 263 taken 08.07.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 08.08.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I will be giving my 2nd official report on the Hospice “experience.”

On June 1, 2014 I posted my 1st official report on being under the care of Hospice.  At the time I advised that it wouldn’t be a regular weekly report but one that I would share from time to time. Going into my 6th month under the care of Hospice I thought I should provide a view from the front row.  Since my involvement with Hospice there has been only 2 weeks where someone from Hospice did not visit my home.  One was planned, the other I fell thru the cracks.  I am sure if I were displaying serious signs of illness I wouldn’t dropped thru the crack.   Folks shit happens and sometimes the best laid plans don’t work.  I was busy last Thursday and them not visiting allowed me to get other things done.    That is my biggest gripe.  Not bad for a 6 month period.  Now on to the nuts and bolts of this report.  Each week I can expect to be contacted by Hospice at least twice.  One is a call that comes in around 930am each Thursday.  This call is a medicine check.  I am called by a cheerful volunteer that gathers the needed info and passes it on.  The reason for the Thursday morning call is that allows Hospice time to fill the medicine, and deliver it to my home by 5pm on Friday.  They make 2 attempts to deliver each Friday then they will call you until they contact you, and then make the delivery.  I know this because I am so anal and I will call for a prescription refill before it is needed. I will make the refill request even if I have plenty to get thru the weekend.  So getting the delivery is not an issue as long as I have it by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. While it may not be an issue to me, it sure is to them.  If I say I need meds it becomes their mission to get me the medicines before COB (close of business) on Friday.  They are always supper polite, and I have never been asked if I can wait until Monday.  There is only one place I get better service that’s my Publix Pharmacy, but Publix makes me pay, and they don’t deliver so it becomes a push.  The 2nd call is my nurse scheduling my weekly visit.  This visit consists of my nurse taking my vitals, and “chatting” with me, I am sure part of the chat is to check the status of my head.  Clearly (at least to me) they are checking for signs of depression, or negative drug reactions, making sure I haven’t fallen, that my mobility isn’t an issue, and probably several more little things I haven’t quite figured out.

Each month I am also called and visited by a counselor, again to check me out.  Offering to have volunteers come in to do chores around the house, to do some grocery shopping for me, or just to sit and visit.  So far I have passed on these offers.  As I have stated before I can still manage my chores they take far longer, but I still get them done.  I go to the grocery store 3 or 4 times a week to pick up odd and ends, and to flirt.  I also use the aisles as my exercise area, pushing the shopping cart up and down up and down up and down. I can only walk by the ladies hygiene area so many times before management watches LOL LOL. JUST KIDDING!!!.  But those trips to Publix are therapeutic.  My best buddy Art comes over at least twice a week to BS and play cribbage.  While I appreciate the offered services, until I absolutely need them I will manage on my own and with the support of my wife, family and friends.  Sidebar; it has been an extremely interesting day of music, with some comedy thrown in.  I am especially tuned to the head banging music of Marlyn Manson followed immediately by Reba McIntire, that may account for why some of my post seems disjointed.

I have yet to use all the offered services that are available to me from Hospice, but as time passes and my condition changes I am sure I will have my opportunities.    So far I have only spoke to those things I have 1st hand knowledge of, if you have a question please feel free to ask.  I will find out and let you know how it would be handled by these folks if or when I need that service.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring them to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 

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I Won 87,000,000 Today on Slotomania ….

This my friends is just a stupid, fun, non-sensible post.  It speaks of a couple of hours I wasted in today, 2 hours I will never get back, 2 hours that other than make me smile had no purpose.  It’s also costing me another 2 hours to write about it, so I can share it with you.  If you’re not about wasting any time today, smiling you can past this post right on by.

As many of you know I have 5 nebulized treatments per day, sometimes that could be as high as 7 depending on how rough a day I am having breathing.  I really hate wasting my time nebulizing, so while time-consuming, nebulizing is important but just sitting with the mask on while the nebulizer does its’ thing can boring.  So while I medicate, I generally read and respond to emails, chat with friends if they are online, or play stupid Facebook games.  Over the years I have consumed a lot of time playing those stupid games.

Just to show you my level of involvement over the years I have been on Facebook I have been involved with Farmvile, FarmTown, ESPNVille, Hidden Items, Texas Hold Them, Candy Crush (Level 92), 3D Slots, Vegas Slots, that save the Pet game to name a few and concurrently I would be playing Hearts, Spades, or Double Deck Pinochle on Yahoo.  But the games I am currently loyal too are; Words with Friends and Slotomania.  If you are a person with little vocabulary skills you should consider challenging me, you will generally win.  But today’s post is about how I did today playing Slotomania.  Of course I will branch out and talk about other things but the jest of the post is that I won 87,000,000 points today playing Slotomania.  I played two different slot machines; King of Gold, minimum pull 10 points, don’t have a clue what the maximum pull is I have yet to do it.  Though when things go well I will bet, as much as, 100K per pull.  Let me be 100 percent clear on this, I do not have single penny invested in the game, I have never bought extra chips, or additional pulls, I play with what the game gives me. Today I when I started my point total was a little over 500K, I started with King of Gold at 25,000 per pull.  I got real lucky and ran my original 500K up to 4M.  By the time I had run my winning up to 4M I was betting 50K per pull.  It was one of those days.  Once I got a little over 4M I changed games to Nashville Nights (it’s one of the “High Roller” games available) minimum bet 100,000 per pull.  It was my intent to play 100K pulls until I lost back down to my starting point of which was 500K.  Being honest at 100K per pull if you’re not lucky you can lose 3.5 Million quickly, I know I have done it often.  But today wasn’t my normal day.  Today was a lucky day. 

I was hitting the button with great authority today, watching the wheels spin and spin, watching winner after winner fall into place, winning millions and millions on a single pull.  I was the Zen Master of the Slotomania Game today. At one point I was up to 23 million point only to lose all by 3 million, then again to immediately  push it back up to 17 million.  Only again to lose down to 1 million.  My goal was to at worse play until I reached the 500,000 that I started the day with.  But every time I got close to that magic number I went on yet another winning streak, pushing my winning back into the millions and millions.  Finally I just got bored with winning, so I stopped when I played back down to 15,500,000 my starting place plus 15 million, not bad for 2 hours work.  All told over 87 million points passed thru my fingers today. It indeed was a good day.

Now that I have talked about how stupidly I gambled today, let me take a moment and talk about being a responsible gambler.  The reason I could throw away so much is because it wasn’t real, it had no value, not a single bit of good came from it other than me smiling when I stopped.  Gambling is very serious, when I was a kid I was taught one rule about gambling, never lost more than you can afford, and I can say with complete honesty I have never lost more than I could afford. PERIOD. NEVER. NOT ONCE.  I have X amount in my wallet to  gamble and that was it, I have never visited an ATM at any casino.  Folk’s gambling is very serious.  You can lose everything, and then more, and then you can lose anything.  It can and does eat you up and spit you out.  It is as addictive as any drug.  The thrill of winning, of hearing all the noise, seeing the lights flash when you strike it big can get under your skin real quick.  But you MUST ALWAYS REMEMBER, that if the players (the collective us) wins on anything that remotely resembles a regular basis, there would not be an open casino in the world.  The Casino’s only exist because people lose their hard-earned money there.  It wonderful to win 87,000,000 points in a day, but remember I pissed all but 15,500,000 away, the house wins even at Facebook.

Folks, as always if you have any questions concerns or issues with my post please feel free to talk to me about it.  Take care, Bill

 
20 Comments

Posted by on August 5, 2014 in Humor, Observations, Ramblings

 

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A Sisters’ Kinda Weekend….

My wife Steph had company this past weekend.  3 of her best friends in the world for the last 36 years came to Tampa for the weekend.  This wasn’t the 1st visit nor will it be the last visit.  Over the years Steph has gone north to visit with these friends time and again.

I have known these ladies only slightly less than Steph, but I don’t know them as well as Steph and I could never hope to. Steph could not have gone out and picked 3 finer people to be her best friends.  While they all have their little horns, their hearts are made of pure gold, and the friendship and love they share for each other is deeper than the Grand Canyon.

The Sisters   

As you look you see Bonnie on the far left, Jean, Linda, and of course Steph.  Bonnie is the reserved shy one, Jean is the court Jester and instigator of mucho trouble, Linda is the Matriarch, and Steph (as I choose my words wisely) is the somewhat quiet calming influence and organizer.  But for all I know Steph could be hell on wheels when she travels north to be with her friends.

I know I was privileged to be around them.  My duties were limited to cooking breakfast and being the sober driver.  Both jobs I took quite seriously, and had a lot of interaction with the ladies in that limited capacity LOL.  Each day I excused myself to go take a nap, but I am sure being the fly on the wall would have been fun.  But this isn’t about me, it’s about them.  The friendship they have built over the years and the effort they have gone thru to make sure they didn’t grow apart.  

They met through their membership in BPW (Business and Professional Woman) almost 36 years ago. After they left BPW they continue their friendship via a monthly (or so) breakfast club, I think at one time the breakfast club was up to six, but the core was these four lovely ladies.  I went a few times, Allison has gone several times, and I am sure there have been others that cycle thru the breakfast club. They met at a variety of local restaurants in the Northern Virginia area.

After Steph and I moved to Florida, she began getting calls from the Club on random Saturday mornings. Smiling over the years many a Saturday morning Steph would get a call from a hysterically insane giggling Jean just to say hi to Steph.  I only heard Steph’s side of these conversations, but I know she spoke to everyone in attendance, and I know from time to time she was laughing so hard she almost pee’d her pants.  Being on the sidelines and watching this, is and has been hilarious.

The way they share warmth and bond, you would never know that they see each other only occasionally.  To an outsider they appear to be quite normal (which they aren’t), and most would think that the four of them together is a common event, it isn’t.  It would be hard to fathom that most of Steph’s communications with them comes via Facebook or AOL, except for Bonnie who is about 2 steps behind the technology curve.  They are so natural together.  They can and do finish each other’s sentences, they laugh at the same parts of movies, and I am sure they share their deepest secrets to each other, knowing that secret will be safe forever.

This was a weekend for relaxing and that is exactly what the ladies did.  Breakfast was served around 9 or so. I cooked, and I know I busted some diet plans.  Smiling, and they really enjoyed breakfast.  After breakfast it was into the pool.  The insanity was contagious.  As they floated in the pool wine was served or bourbon was served on vodka was consumed.  The ladies enjoyed themselves.  Light snacks were all afternoon long, it was help yourself to whatever you could find that you wanted.  The evenings were spent out to dinner and home for a movie or TV show or a DVD.  More wine was consumed, as well as, vodka and bourbon.  LMAO this paragraph would imply that the 4 ladies drank, and to be honest they did LOL. But they knew they were in a safe haven, and nobody got stupid, nobody got drunk. They consumed just enough to keep them all giggling.  Which is far better than most of the “all guy” golf trips I have been on.

To be honest I toned them out, it was their weekend, I intentionally tried not to listen to conversations I thought to be private. I was the bump on the log.  I rarely could add anything of substance to their conversations, because it was about them, their memories, their stories, and their friendship.  But bless their hearts they did try to engage me, and I am honored that they trusted me enough that there were not totally reserved around me.

On Tuesday morning Steph and I took them back to the airport.  With a great deal of hugs, kisses and promises that I know will be kept they headed home.  They took with them great memories of the weekend, and left many a smile on Steph and my face.  Steph is blessed to have 3 such friends, friends that will look after her, her entire life, friends who she will watch out and care for, for their lives.

Folks as always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask, but be aware this is one time I can’t promise to answer them all.  Take care, Bill

 
23 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Humor, Ramblings

 

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Another Sports Story…. A Treasure Box Story

Somewhere in the fine print I have talked briefly about my enjoyment of bowling.  As many of you know, my 1st sports love is golf, at my best I was only poorly good at it, but I loved it.  Bowling I was pretty good, never great, but I didn’t embarrass myself at a bowling alley.

My earliest memories of bowling were as a kid, Dad taking the family on bowling adventures.  I have no idea what I may have bowled, the only a few clear memories is that I did so in sock feet, and Dad only took us a few times. 

I started bowling in earnest when I joined the Navy, it was one of 5 main events to do while in port and not working, in no particular order these five activities were; golf, bowling, drinking, cards and go-cart racing.  The changing of money always took place no matter the activity.  During my Navy years I won more often than not, playing card, go-cart racing and bowling.  I could hold my own at golf, and we were all pros at drinking. 

But this is about bowling.  I don’t care what anyone says about bowling it is a sport.  And as much as I loved golf, I never really practiced, but I practiced at bowling, and I practiced hard.  I was never in more than 1 league at a time, and unless involved in a tournament I only bowled 3 games a week in competition. But for years I would bowl an additional 30 games a week in practice. I worked to make myself better, and I changed equipment when I felt it would help my game and at one point even had a coach.

I was involved in league bowling for 23 consecutive years.  I was involved in youth bowling for 5 years, 3 of those my daughter bowled, and then I coached youth bowling for 2 years.   I also bowled in summer leagues for 4 years.  One was a men’s commercial league which was the most cut throat league I ever bowled in.  Minimum average allowed 170; I barely slipped in with my 171 average at the time.  But it was also the only time I won a major individual award.  During that league I bowled my career best 279, with handicap it equaled a 307 which was single game high handicap score for the season, for which I was awarded the High Handicap Game Award, and it was also tied for 3rd best scratch score for the season. 

Over the course of my 23 year run of bowling I was fortunate to meet, become friends with, and bowl for and against a guy named Robert.  We met on a Tuesday night mixed league not far from we lived in Alexandria, VA. I am not going to say that Robert and I became friends immediately, but we had enough mutual interest that friendship happened. As bowlers we were competitive having approximately the same average, as guys we shared a sense of humor and a sense of right and wrong.  As we aged we shared info about our ailments, Robert was on the kidney transplant list, but never made it to the top.   My issues with my knees became changed to COPD.

Robert loved bowling, and talked and talked about putting together a team to participate in the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Tournament. He asked me if I would want to take part, and off handedly said sure, he had talked about this team for a couple of years and I didn’t see it happening.  Smiling, in October of 1997 Robert approached me and said remember you said you would be willing to participate if I put together a team for the National Tournament, I said sure I remember.  And off we were.  At the time of my beginning to bowl this tournament, my league average was a solid 182. Which meant on any given week you could expect me to throw one game in the 215 – 220 range or one in the 160 – 180 range, I was considered above average.  February 1998 was the first of ten years of bowling in the National Tournament. Picture 1 shows the original team; we had to pick up a 5th at the tournament. Picture 2 shows the last team, Robert had lost his battle with kidney disease, and that’s his shirt draped over the bowling ball. Over those 10 years we bowled in the following: Reno NV – 1998, Syracuse NY – 1999, Albuquerque, NM – 2000, Reno NV – 2001, Billing MT – 2002, Knoxville TN – 2003, Reno NV – 2004, Baton Rouge LA – 2005, Corpus Christi, TX – 2006, Reno NV – 2007. 

 

Bowling Team 1998

Bowling Team 2006

I need to point out what a generous man Robert was, both in spirit, love, and financial.  I bowled in the tournament for 10 years, Robert would not allow me or any of the other members to pay their bowling fees, he could claim it’s his party, and he was paying.  After the 1st year Robert bought the teams uniform shirts (so we could get the annual team spirit award), again he would foot the bill, smiling, he even made special considerations for my Pillsbury Doughboy body, and made sure that no matter what color or style they came in the size I needed to be comfortable.  Year each he would gather the team at the hotel restaurant for a team meal, this included spouses and children that came, which at times numbered up to 12 or 15 folks, and he paid for dinner, drinks, appetizers, deserts, the works as his gift to those that participated with him.  I am also sure that more than once he picked up the cost for accommodations and travel for some team members over the years.  His only request of us was that we allow him to do scheduling around his need for dialysis, and his need for time to recuperate from that ordeal.  To a one we immediately concurred.  Now I know I am making Robert out to be a “saint,” well let me just say this.  From time to time I have been accused of cussing like a sailor, smiling; Robert from time to time could even make me blush.  And lord did he kick the equipment LOL LOL, which is a big no no.  He had been warned about that more than once.  As his skills waned because of his illness, he took it out on the equipment but right or wrong I understood. But folks I still looked at him as a saintly kinda guy.  He had such a wonderful heart, and he fought his illness in such a courageous manner, I suspect part of him is guiding me.

LOL I have stories about each of the events ranging from G rated all the way thru, well you get the picture.  Maybe someday there will be a part two to this post where I speak to them.

Quickly the tournament consisted of each bowler bowling 9 games over a 24 to 36 hour period.  The games were grouped 3 and 6 or 6 and 3. The three games made of the team event.  The 6 games made up the Single and Double events.  Single and doubles were always bowled together, and the team event was always team. So you would never go to the stadium and see some bowlers bowling singles and doubles, and others bowling the team event. 

The USBC stadium is a traveling circus that will/would take up residence in the host city for almost 9 months. They brought the bowling lanes, score board, inspection equipment, inspectors, equipment mechanics, and other personal with them from city to city, and the rest of the needed personal came from the local area.  The Stadium itself was made up of 100 lanes split in the middle with a 12 foot wide carpeted pathway where the bowlers marched in and to their assigned lanes.  Many of you have been to a bowling alley so you know your score is monitored and kept track of on a small TV screen placed 10 feet in front of you.  At the stadium, the scoreboard it like a jumbotron. It stands about 30 feet tall, and your name appears in 2 foot high characters, in bright yellow. And your score is displayed directly below your name, and because of the size and brightness of the scoreboard it can be seen in different time zones. If you’re in the space shuttle, at the right time you could probably see the scoreboard.  This was the single most intimidating sight I have seen period.   

Now some Tournament Bowling facts and facts about my experience; 

o   When the stadium was not repeat not in use you could not practice bowl there.

o   When the tournament started for the team even you were only allowed to throw 2 practice balls (one on each lane).

o   The very 1st three balls I bowled at my 1st tournament were all gutter balls.

o   The 1st game I bowled in tournament bowling was a 97, almost 90 pins under my average.

o   If you added the score for my 1st 2 games of tournament play you beat my 182 average by seven pins.

o   It wasn’t until my 3rd tournament which would have been in Albuquerque did I manage to break 200.

o   During practice before the Syracuse Tournament was the time I bowled 14 consecutive strikes.

o   If memory serves at all, only one year did I actually bowl over my average for the entire 9 games.

o   Because of rain storms in Corpus Christi the lanes were temporarily damaged due to water on the lanes.  Our Single/Doubles matches were bowled at 2:45am (completed at 4:15am) these games had been schedule for 10pm.  We were back at the Stadium at 10am to bowl the team event.  I did not do well that year.  Me and one of the guys spend a good portion of the time waiting for the single/double events at an adult beverage establishment, not only were we exhausted we were half in the bag.   

o   Over the 10 year run of tournament I actually cashed twice, once in a single event and once in the doubles event.  I have framed copies of both checks, and trust me neither covered even a 1/10 of the costs.  But at least cashed.

o   On average 12,000 to 16,000 bowlers take part in the tournament annually.

o   A team consists of 5 people, and when you bowl an event you are marched into the stadium. One time in Reno there were 500 bowlers marched in at the same time. That was cool.

o   My career best game was 279.

o   My career best series (a series is 3 games) is 665.

o   My career worse score for a single tournament game was 97.

Folks that’s about as much bowling information that you will ever want, I suspect when the time comes Cari won’t even make it thru the entire post LOL.  As always if you have any questions, concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill.

 

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A Golfing adventure…. A Treasure Box Tale…

For anyone who has read a word about me, you know golf is one of my lifetime favorite activities.  I have spoken about it in countless posts, I have shared stories about my favorite 4some, and I have talked about the DIVES I have stayed in just to play.  I have admitted to sucking at golf, and being lucky at golf.  I have brag about this, that, and the other about golf, and have claimed that I have never not enjoyed a round of golf.  But one of the best memories of golf came from the time I played with Allison, the 1st time she ever played golf on a real course using real everything.  Today I will share that story.

But before I go any further I need to tell Cari, no matter why her mom says, her mom is one of the most competitive people I have ever encountered in my life.  She plays Yahtzee with the same go for the neck, killer attitude you do, she play’s Monopoly like she is a slum lord, and her days playing field hockey and Lacrosse, well, to say “she took no prisoners” is a vast understatement.   But and this is a very big butt, she was a true sports person, she always played clean and with respect.  Sure she would try to decapitate her opponent, but she did so with a smile, and at the end of the game she was the 1st to shake hands and congratulate her opponent. Win or Lose, but like me she has always enjoyed winning more.

For as anal as I am you would think that I would have written down the date this event took place, I do know where it took place, I know the week it took place, I just don’t know the year it took place.  The location was Phoenix, Arizona. The time frame; it was the week between Christmas and New Year; we were in Phoenix because Steph had to either attend a conference or make a presentation at a Conference.  I believe we flew out to Phoenix on the 26th of Dec and returned either the 1st or 2nd of January.  I know that Steph was only involved in her work related event for 2 or 3 days at the most.  Because the trip was filled with day trips to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, and we had a ton of fun and I am extremely happy that the car had unlimited mileage.  Gosh here I go again 4 hundred words of setup.

All smiles the Round is just beginning

All smiles the Round is just beginning

 

This round of golf was only 1 of 2 times we played golf together, and it was the 1st time.  I want to believe that it was a Tuesday because the golf course was not crowded, which would allow Allison to spray the ball all over the place, and there wouldn’t be anyone behind us bitching about our slow play. 

We were joined on the 1st tee by a single; I explained that it was Allison’s 1st round of golf on something other than a putt putt course, and that I expected the round to be relatively slow.  He introduced himself and said he would rather play a slow round with folks than a quick round by himself.  Having played as a single before, I knew the feeling.  It turns out the guy was slightly better than me, and quite cordial.  If offered advice when asked, and didn’t step on my toes at all during the round. He kept an eye on the ball flight and had an eye almost as good as mine.  Because of this Allison only lost 2 or 3 balls the entire round.  Of course this doesn’t count the balls in the water, we could all see the splash then, and for a beginner this was a MAJOR victory.  And the more she played that day the better she got.  She was upbeat, the picture shows us at the 1st tee, she maintained that smile the entire round.  And like a true golfer she cussed (as well as someone not used to cussing at that age could) a bit when she screwed up, I was so proud of her. She truly nailed a few shots, enough so I thought if she ever gets even half way serious about this game, she will kick my butt.  It was clear she was having a good time, and we chatted the entire time about a variety of things not all golf related.  

The Pièce de résistance came on the 18th and final hole of the round.  Allison was giddy and getting tired, she had found out that 5 hours in the Arizona sun (even if it is a dry heat) will wear your ass out. Still smiling, still joking, still having a good time, she knew this was the final hole for the round. She didn’t many any wild proclamations, she wasn’t bragging, she was looking forward to that cold soda that was only 400 yards away.  Allison tee’d up the ball for her final drive of the day.  Driving hadn’t been her strong suit, (hell, get in a car with her and you can see it still isn’t her strong suit).  But she cracked her best drive of the day, smack down the middle of the fairway, and long.  Lord the girl was an athlete, and now she was smug because she out drove me.  My second shot was fair, short of the green, but close enough that I was happy.  Allison’s 2nd shot was as ugly a shot as you can imagine, rolling maybe 30 yards dead left, her ball came to rest near the trunk of a small bush like vegetation, but she had room to take a stance, and she again hit the crap out of the ball, her third shot hitting short of the green but with plenty of top spin the ball rolled up and to the very back edge of the green at least 45 or so feet from the flag.  I dumped my 3rd shot, and my 4th was about 10 feet from the flag.  I walked over to Allison gave her a kiss for getting on the green, and helped her line up her totally impossible putt. This was a 45 + foot putt, downhill all the way with at least 3 major breaks before reaching the cup. We discussed it for about 15 seconds or so, and she lined it up. My only real advice was DON’T HIT IT TO HARD! Allison struck the ball like a pro, I knew immediately that the ball had the right pace, and it was amazing to watch.  You could have put any PGA player in that position, and he would have had a 1 in a 1000 chance of making that putt.  OK OK maybe 1 in a 500 chance.  But this was Allison’s 1st round of golf; she barely knew which end of the putter to hit the ball with.  She hit the 1st break point perfectly, and was cruising towards the 2nd break point still on track and still at perfect speed, her ball made the next break, and was destined for the hole, it just had to maintain its speed, and damn if it didn’t, that ball dropped dead in the center of the cup.  Allison who had been walking kinda behind the ball, immediately dropped her putter, and when into wawa wawa wawa chicken dance, giggling, laughing, prancing all over the place.  The guy who had been playing with us all day just turned to me and said “I can see who the golfer is in your family,” In a laughing tone, walked over and shook Allison’s hand and congratulated her, then sunk his 15 birdie putt.  I on the other had 2 putted for a double bogey.  Yes we knew who the golfer was in the Hamilton family. 

Below is the scorecard from that round of golf, it’s one of a dozen or so scorecards I cherish, but none more.  I am 64 years old and during the course of my life I have played over 1200 rounds of golf, of all of those rounds this was by far and away my favorite.  Allison’s par has the box around it, and I don’t remember for even a second why certain holes have x’s below them.

Scorecared

 

As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to share or ask them.  Take care, Bill

 

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More about me than you would ever want to know….. A Grandpa Tale

Dear Readers, if this is the very 1st time you have ever read one of my posts, I am truly sorry to subject you to the following, I would suggest you look into the archives to find something interesting, this will just bore you to tears.  If you are someone who has followed me for a bit, you know I write a lot of stories for my granddaughter, to create memories of me for when my end of retirement comes.

For those of us old enough to remember AOL 1.0, that’s when I began my online experience.  It has been a wonderful experience to be sure, and over the years I have met and become cyber and real time buddies to a ton of folks. One of the ways folks learned about each other over the years where to send out questionnaires.  These questionnaires provided the answers to many commonly asked questions.  To be sure the online community has changed significantly since I was 1st online.  Sadly many of the changes have not been for the good.  But before I get way off topic, hardly a month would go by without a friend or chat room buddy or joke buddy wouldn’t be sending a questionnaire.  I think I was one of the rare ones, because every time I got the questionnaire, I completed it and sent it on. At one point I was only sending it back to the person who sent it, and my closer buddies (if the questions were significantly different).  What I have decided to do is take one of those questionnaires (from the wayback machine) and answer it again for my granddaughter only this time I will each question two ways, or maybe three. What the answer is now, what it would have been 10 yrs, and what it would be 20 years ago.  As you read you will find that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  The questions had definitive answers that the years don’t change.  So I am sorry now if that disappoints you. 

Already I have changed the ground rules I am using 2 different questionnaires and will be applying the answer as appropriate.  This 1st questionnaire is from the late 90’s early 00’s.  Just so the record is straight, this is being done on Wednesday July 2, 2014.

This is for your entire Life!    X=Yes  O=No

(X)       Gone on a blind date – several times but all prior to 1973 — Makes me feel old from the very beginning

(X)       Skipped school – yes, but not since 1980 (in 1980 I skipped college classes).  Yes I am dating myself lost count of the classes I skipped a long time ago.

(O)      Watched someone die – and I am thankful I haven’t.  

(X)       Been to Canada – the 1st time was in the mid 1990’s          

(X)       Been to Mexico – the 1st time while in Radioman “A” school 1969, have been to several Mexican ports of call since 2006, visits on Cruise Ships ports of call.         

(X)       Been to Florida – Move to Florida 2002 – had been here dozens of times prior to moving here.            

(X)       Been on a plane – My very 1st flight was when I left Louisville to go to bootcamp in April 1969            

(X)       Been lost – more times than I will admit                      

(X)       Been on the opposite side of the country – many times both during the service and as a civilian both working and visiting          

(X)       Gone to Washington DC – lived and worked in the DC area for almost 30 yrs                         

(X)       Swam in the ocean – yes and have been sunburnt on both coasts

(X)       Cried yourself to sleep – I believe we all have or will have at some point  

(X)       Played cops and robbers and I played cowboys and Indians

(X)       Recently colored with crayons – when I originally answered these questions the answer was no but having Cari in my life I can change this to a Yes

(X)       Sang Karaoke – at Joe’s in San Antonio, TX 1998 – it wasn’t a pretty sight   

(X)       Paid for a meal with coins only? – Christmas 1976 for Steph onboard the USS Independence – one of the best meals we ever shared

(X)       Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? – and said many things I wish I could take back

(X)       Made prank phone calls – I was making crank calls before there were spam calls     

(X)       Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose – it wasn’t a pretty sight  

(X)       Caught a snowflake on your tongue – but this was before I moved to Florida   

(O)      Danced in the rain – maybe this is something I need to do while I still have a chance.        

(X)       Written a letter to Santa Claus – yes and I will and have encouraged any child that may have thought I was him to do so 

(X)       Been kissed under the mistletoe – yes but would have enjoyed more opportunities

(X)       Watched the sunrise with someone [and the sunset too.] – Yes  

(X)       Blown bubbles – Yes Cari and I have done so out on the Lanai

(X)       gone ice-skating – yes it was in the early 70’s and my butt is still sore  

(X)       Been skinny dipping outdoors – I have a swimming pool in a private backyard, and while I may look like I am a whale, I look like a whale enjoying himself

Here is the second set of questions, clearly the going back 10 the 20 years isn’t working out, but as appropriate I will share that information.  Now on to a game of 20 or more questions;

 

1. Any nickname? – yes “Ham” has been my nickname for over 45 years, but I have also been called “Red” at various times until I was 40, and before I even got out of elementary school (3rd grade) I was called Camelskin  

2. Mother’s Name? – Ila   

3. Favorite Beverage?

non-alcohol – Ice tea unsweetened no lemon, Coke, lemonade (pink) and the most important of all Water – Coke and lemonade thru my high school years, Coffee during my Navy career – Water didn’t become truly important until I started coming to Florida on a regular basis, now it is my 1st drink of choice

alcoholic – Knob Creek Bourbon on the rocks – Greygoose on the rocks – a good Bloody Mary (do not use greygoose), and Corina for my beer.  Being honest my choice in alcohol have changed as I have aged, my normal go to Bourbon is Jim Beam and has been for 25 years. I didn’t discover good Vodka until later in life, so whenever I had a bloody Mary it was always with well vodka. 

LMAO as I am typing this, I am trying like the devil to figure why Cari would ever want or need to know some of this stuff. 

4. Body Piercing – None except for those made during surgery

5. Tattoo – No, but I have scars, and those have much better stories than tattoos.  Cari to my knowledge your mom has 2, by the time you read this she may have 3 or 4 for all I know, ask her, and please don’t get any, well maybe one.  

6. How much do you love your job?—before I retired I was quite fortunate, I almost loved my job.  I had a 39 year career working for the Federal Govt, I was extremely fortunate to have worked on some very interesting projects, that were of significant importance, and I may have already spoke of those in a different post.  But my last four years of my career was my favorite because I worked directly with my customers, that part, well love is too strong a word, but I really enjoyed my job.  I am now retired and I enjoy this as much as I enjoyed working.

7. Birthplace – Baltimore Maryland

8. Favorite vacation spot – Australia, we visited there for 2 weeks in November 2001, next favorite Hawaii in 1999, next favorite Disney Cruise 2013, before all of these and when I was Cari’s age we always vacationed at the Grandparents place.

9. Ever been to Africa? – Yes during the Navy years, most likely it was 1970.

10. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? Yes, I bet it would be difficult to find someone who hasn’t especially when you add the LARGE glass of milk

11. Ever been on TV? – yes evening news December 21, 1999 in London England about terrorism and the Y2K fears, CBS interviewed us as we departed a double decker bus. I stood in the background looking like a dork while Stephanie talked.

12. Ever steal traffic signs? No, and Cari I suggest you don’t either that is extremely dangerous.

13. Have you ever been in a car accident? YES – Christmas night 1967, partiers ran a red light and struck the car I was driving. Then 6 months later I was a passenger in a vehicle where the driver lost control and we struck a telephone pole.  I was in the back seat, and the 3 friends in the front were all seriously injured.

14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? – I have driven both, owned both enjoyed them both, 1st car was 61 Buick La Salle, 2nd 60 Chevy Corvair Spyder, 3rd was a 1960 Chevy Impala Convertible (my 2nd favorite car) and I still remember the 16 other cars I have owned during my lifetime.

15. Favorite Number – 55 that was my jersey number when I played JV Football

16. Favorite Holiday – Thanksgiving, always has been and I have written more than 1 post about the meal.

17. Favorite day of the week? Sunday

18. How do you relax – read or play video games, I used to golf and bowl but health issues has taken that off the table, now my favorite hobby my passion has become this blog. Cari hobbies are extremely important.  As a person you must be rounded and grounded.  All work and no play will not allow you to be rounded and grounded.

19. How do you see yourself in 10 year? hopefully alive, and doing things that give me some level of pleasures. Answered in 2007, hopefully it’s still a good answer. We will see.

20. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV – UofL Basketball or Football, have been a U of L fan forever and 2 days.  Now they will have an opportunity to kick some UVA butt on a regular basis. (For daughter Allison and son-in-law Stu)

21. How do I vent anger – internal explosion – Cari this isn’t the best way to do this. You will find plenty of reasons to be angry over the years, and you will find that explosions is not the right response.  Be careful in the one you choose.

22. What am I most afraid of – Not being able to take care of myself.

23. What is my favorite flower – Roses, Mom grew them, and I find the so very appealing to the eye.  Always have been.  Though Steph had a wonderful garden in Virginia that didn’t include roses. 

Okay folks that is more than enough information about me.  Remember this is for Cari, I may come back to it and refine it or update as I feel necessary.  Though I doubt if I ever publish it again.

As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. My answers will be as honest as I can be. Take care, Bill

 

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I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P2.. A  Treasure Box Story

The Chief told the girls they could make one call to their parents and explain what was going on.  My friends girlfriend immediately got on the phone and call her mom, the GF explained the problem in great and accurate detail.  Bill had been stopped for speeding, and allowed the cop to search the trunk.  The cop found the fireworks and moonshine and haul us all off to the Mayberry jail.  The Police Chief was threatening Bill with possession of illegal alcohol, possession of explosives with the intent of transporting them across state lines, and both Bill and my BF, the Mann Act for bringing her and my GF into Tennessee for “unknown” reasons.  My friend’s GF must have spoken for 20 mins and then listened to her Mom for another 15, before hanging up.  My friend’s GF convinced my GF to pass on making a call, so my GF didn’t.  My friend and I were not offered the opportunity to make a call, but knowing who my Friend’s GF was, we didn’t push.  I am going to use Marge to refer to my friend’s GF from this point forward because her and her family plays a major role from this point. 

I had been best friends with my Friend for a couple years; Marge was the only girl I have ever known him to date.  They were married as she began her Junior year of High School, let me be perfectly clear, she was not repeat was not pregnant at the time of their marriage, nor did she lose a child prior to marriage, they were in love as much as I have ever seen two people, except for maybe my brother John and his 1st wife.  Marge’s family was not rich, but they had influence and pull, and they had a ton of that. 

Marge’s mom was a lovely woman, and one of the warmest people I have known.  She fully embraced me into their family because of my best friend.  Marge’s older brothers protected me because I was the runt.  And after my GF and I broke up (Marge never really liked her) Marge would set me up with her friends and cousins. But is a chapter left untold. Anyway back to her Mom.  Mrs. Marge was big in the Democratic Party in northern KY and southern IN.  When I say big I mean really really big, she knew people, and those people owed her, some owed her a lot, some not so much, but a bunch of folks in high and higher positions knew her and would quickly bend over backwards to do her a favor.  Mr. Marge was a very important field engineer for one of the Nation’s major gas and oil companies he was responsible for the Northeast, but had influence deeply into the south as well. 

To this day I don’t know all the details of what transpired.  But within 2 ½ hours there was a lawyer there at the Mayberry Jail, to pick up both my GF and my friend’s GF. The girls were released and were never charged with anything.  The Chief also apologized for detaining them. Upon leaving the jail they were taken to Nashville and then flown back to Louisville in a private plane (owned by Major gas and oil company), my GF was delivered to her home by private car before curfew. 

My friend and I while not being allowed to leave the jail were treated very well and fed very well.  The Chief did inform us that the details for our release were being worked out, and to make ourselves comfortable because it could take a day or so.  With the next day being Sunday, my friend and I didn’t expect much to happen.  My car had been moved to protected storage, and we relaxed pretty all day Sunday.  The same lawyer that got the girls out Saturday afternoon came and visited with us mid-afternoon Sunday.  He explained that we wouldn’t be charged and would be released early on Monday.  He had to visit with the local judge face to face before the necessary paperwork was signed.

At 9am on Monday, the attorney came gathered us up and walked us to my car.  The Chief was trailing along behind and seemed in a good mood.  As we got into the car, the Chief ambled over and told me to be careful and to make sure I didn’t do any more speeding in the State of Tennessee.  The attorney just shook his head, and advised us that we might be well served to stay out of TN for a bit.  That was advice we took to heart, and it was years before I ventured into TN again. No more than 20 minutes after leaving the jail we were back in the State of KY.  The tank was still reading full, it was a bright and sunny day, the top was down and we drove back to Louisville without incident.  

Upon arrival back home we checked the trunk and found much to our surprise the fireworks and moonshine were still in the trunk.  We got rid of the stuff as fast as possible and laid low.  We never volunteered to do that again.  Besides only a few months later I was in the Navy, and not long after that my friend and Marge were married.  I haven’t talked to either in a few years now, but the last time I did talk to them they were still happily married. 

Now a little back story.  Our release was engineered by Mrs. Marge.  I always knew she was a player in the Democratic Party, I just never realized the level of her game.  Clearly it was at a level beyond anything I have encountered since.  Remember the only reason I was stopped was because I was speeding, and it wasn’t by as much as I would normally be speeding.  Apparently the cop that stopped us had no probably cause to search the trunk.  Anyway Mrs. Marge tentacles reached all over the three state area.  She knew someone, who knew someone, who could get to Mayberry and straighten and clean up whatever mess there was.   While she was doing that, Mr. Marge was arranging transportation for the girls.  I’m not sure if the trip to Nashville and return was company supported or not, and that’s not my problem.  It happened and the girls got to ride in an airplane home. 

The girls only had to spend 3 hours in a jail cell with an unlocked door and complete access to the restroom.  My friend and I biggest issue was we had to wear the same cloths all weekend, but this was 1968, and it wasn’t the 1st time I had spent an entire weekend in the same cloths.  The Mayberry jail was small, only a couple cells and we were the only occupants Saturday and Sunday nights. And we got to keep our purchases.  I thanked Mrs. Marge a bunch, and I loved her like a mom.  Also to her credit, she had to help out my friend and me a couple more times before I was off to the Navy.  I will say it is nice to have friends in high places even when you don’t know they are. 

So ends my tale of getting to spend two evening in a TN jail as a visitor, (I was never charged or arrested for anything), so I must have been a visitor.  I hope you enjoyed the story.  If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to ask, and thank my wife for suggesting I tell this story.  Take care, Bill

PS – This was not the only time I have driven Fireworks across a State line for a friend.  A few years ago, just before I moved to Florida permanently a good friend asked me to stop someplace along my way back to his house in Northern VA and purchase $500 in fireworks.  He had a specific list, brand names, gauge, and estimated cost.  When the guy I was travelling with suggested we call it a night, we stopped at the 1st SC exit, that sold fireworks, checked into a decent place, had dinner, and then bought 500 dollars’ worth of fireworks.  We carefully laid them on top of our golf clubs, and pulled the cover over the back.  When back to the hotel had a couple drinks called it a night and completed the trip without incident the next day.  So I can buy and transport fireworks without getting in trouble, so there LOL LOL.  Take care, Bill

 

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I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P1.. A  Treasure Box Story

Friday (June 20th) after my wife and I returned our granddaughter to her parents we decided we needed adult beverages and Italian for dinner.  We were no more than a mile from our home and passed two extremely large firework tents. Which reminded Steph of a story I shared with her a million years ago, she turned to me and asked “Have you shared that firework story on your blog?”  Nope I said, she then said you should.  

So here it is. I have been arrested one time (so far) during my life, but I have spent 4 nights in jail over the years (3 completely different occasions), with the last time close to 40 years ago.  Before my arrest for DUI in 1968, I was honored to spend 2 nights as a (controlled) visitor in a tiny little town in Northern Tennessee just a few short miles from the Kentucky State line. The final time was while I was in the Navy; the MP’s got me for disorderly conduct.  I wasn’t arrested or charged, just allowed to cool my jets for a bit, and released. But the story Steph wanted me to share dealt with the 2 nights I was a visitor in Tennessee. 

Back when this event occurred Kentucky was not repeat was not very liberal regarding the sale of fireworks, as a matter of fact; most things beyond your sparklers were not allowed to be sold in KY.  But Tennessee was much more liberal at the time, you could just about anything that exploded in Tennessee, and you could buy in large quantities.  

In early June 1968 a friend and I thought we would take up a collection (or orders) and drive down to TN to buy fireworks for friends and neighbors (covering our costs and making a bit of a profit).  It was a great idea and was well accepted by both our friends and many of the Dads (our collection pot runnith over). 

My friend and I decided which Saturday we were going to make the run down to TN, and even invited our girlfriends for the adventure.  Though at the time we didn’t realize just how much of an adventure it was going to be.  We collected the funds from those that wanted to participate, and made our final arrangements.  That Friday night before we were to depart, the father of a friend called and asked if we were going to go thru XXXXX on the way to our destination, a quick look at the map confirmed that we would indeed be going thru XXXXX.  He asked if I minded if we made a side stop and pick up a package for him.  He would donate 25 bucks towards expenses if we just picked up this package and deliver it to him unopened.  I spoke to my partner, told him about the “package” and we exchanged knowing smiles we agreed to pick it up. 

The next morning we gathered our girlfriends (his girlfriend was 14, mine was 15) put the roof down on my car, and started our trip from Kentucky into Tennessee.  The trip south was totally uneventful, I don’t have a clue as to how long it took to get there, or where we stopped, I just remember the trip being totally uneventful. 

When picked up the package that we had been instructed to, placed it the trunk of my car, and threw a blanket over it.  

Then we proceeded to one of the several Firework sales locations we had passed, and had a blast buying all manner of fireworks, we had specific names and specific quantities and approximate costs.  It was like going to the fireworks grocery store.  A little of this a bunch of that, some of those, a 2 boxes of this, and just kept loading the cart. It was a “Don’t forget the milk,” kinda deal.  My friend and I knew we were going to be hero’s, and we knew we were going to make some good change, and nobody was going to take a beating.  We gathered up our purchases, carried them out to the car, opened the trunk and threw them neatly under the blanket with that package we picked up. 

On the way out of town we stopped at some diner, had lunch, and filled the car with gas before heading north.  Back then gas was still less that 20 cents yes 20 cents a gallon. We were good to go, and we were headed north back to Kentucky. 

Of course I was not following the posted speed limit, heck I never have, always heavy on the right foot. When lo and behold there in my rearview mirror was a police car with his lights a flashing.  Being honest we had just passed a sign say 4 miles to the Kentucky State Line, and for a tiny moment I considered making a run for the line.  But that thought when away almost as quickly as it had arrived.  Besides it was only going to be a speeding ticket. Lord knows it wouldn’t be the 1st time I got a speeding ticket.  So I pulled over.  My friend pulled the registration from the glove box, and I dug my driver’s license out of my wallet.  The police officer ambled his way up side the car, and asked if I had any idea why he stopped me, I looked him dead in the eyes and said most likely cause I was going faster than the posted speed limit.  He smiled and said yelp that would be one of the reasons. He looked at my friend and our girlfriends and asked for ID, my friend dug his driver’s license out and handed it over, but neither of the girls (again ages 14 and 15) had license’s, and freely admitted their age.  The cop just shook his head and politely asked if he could search the car.  We had about 200 dollars in fireworks in the trunk which we bought just down the road, and we were still in TN, besides this was back in the day when you didn’t argue with cops, so I said sure, got out of the car (we all did), and he commenced to looking throughout the passenger compartment, finding nothing of interest he asked me to open the trunk.  I had a feeling that the shit was about to hit the fan, I just had no clue how much shit it was going to be.   The 1st thing he saw was all the fireworks, scattered all over the trunk. Looking at me, he said where exactly was I planning on using these and when (it was still a couple weeks before the 4th of July).  So honesty played out and I said we intended to take them home and use them on the 4th.  He asked if I realized it was illegal to transport fireworks across state line, and I tried the ole innocent me thing, going on no sir I didn’t know that.  I knew he wasn’t buying it and I figured I was about to lose $200 worth of fireworks. But then he pushed the blanket off the box that we had picked up.  He asked if I knew what was in the box, and because we had not opened it I could honestly say that “No Sir, I have no idea what is in the box.” To which he replied, “Let’s open it and see.”  As much as I would like to say how surprised my friend and I were when the cop opened the box and found four gallons of TN moonshine, we both kinda figured out that was what we were picking up.  And that folks is when the SHIT really hit the FAN. 

We were directed to get back in car and follow him to the local sheriff office, which we did, he directed me to put the top, lock up the car, and give him the keys.  The 4 of us were herded into a cell and the door closed (but not locked).  He was holding my friend and my driver’s licenses, and the keys to my car which was just outside the police office, (the place reminded me of police office in Mayberry) so he had all the info on us, but the girls (both minors from KY in TN), was causing him all manner of concern. 

End of part 1

Smiling yes this is too long to be a single post. As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill

 

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A week at the Hurl Rock Motel …… A Grandpa Tale

In a recent post I wrote of the best 4 some of golf buddies, and I threatened to write 2,000 words (actually turned out to be 2056) about our 1st golf outing in a group of 4.  It was unanimously decided (without my vote counting) that I would be the one to put together the golf outing.  I wasn’t overly concerned I had plenty of organizational skills, Terry, Jim and Don were all retired, and to make it work we only had to work around my work schedule. 

L to R Me, Terry, Don and Jim

L to R Me, Terry, Don and Jim

Early on it was decided that we would go to Myrtle Beach SC.  The golf Mecca of the United States, a place where you could play golf 100 consecutive days before you had to repeat a golf course.  Of course 26 years ago you only had your choice of about 60 different golf courses.  But for as many golf courses you had a far greater choice in accommodations, of golf packages, with more options than buying a car.  My sum experience to putting together a golf vacation had come the year before when approached I wrote a check.  Yes a ton of experience.

Deciding on Myrtle Beach was the easiest part of the decision process.  We had all been there at one time or another, we all knew there were great accommodations available, and we all knew that the restaurants were varied and very good.  We also knew that we didn’t want to go during the late spring early summer months because that would be too hot.  The guys all being retired left it up to me to narrow the date because I was the only one working.  I did as much internet searching as was available back then and found that the early to mid part of February was pretty good weather wise, day time temperatures in the low to mid 60’s night time around high 40s.   After a few days of discussion it was decided that we would go for the 1st week of February, arriving on Monday departing the following Saturday.  The easiest part of the mission completed.  We recognized it might be chilly but figured that was much better than hot. 

The next major hurdle was accommodations.  I didn’t realize the sheer amount of choices that were going to be presented to me.  We were interested in a “package” deal which included golf.  I don’t remember what the threshold for my financial involvement, but I knew I was on a limited budget.  My budget was such that it ruled out places like the Marriott’s, the Hyatt’s, and the Sheraton’s.  The guys also understood the significant difference between staying at the Marriott with a package, and a midrange hotel/motel.  I contacted a ten different motel/hotel’s (the Hurl Rock being one of them) offering golf packages and received brochures from all of them I had copies made of them, and created a spreadsheet outlining the package cost, the extra’s, the potential add-ons, closeness to the center of Myrtle Beach and other attractions, and blab blab blab.  I mailed the entire package to Terry, Don and Jim.  Asked them to review and give me their top 4 choices. Not having had any experience, and dealing with guys that are you to staff understanding their needs and preferences getting a decision was difficult at best.  But finally they all provided their input, and the only place that was common to all of their choices was the Hurl Rock Motel.   By default the Hurl Rock became the destination of choice.  I will say it right now, if you were to ask any of three; Terry, Jim or Don; Jim and Don would swear the Hurl Rock was purely my choice.  Terry would kinda stand with them, but would own up that one of his choices had been the Hurl Rock.   It took from May to Thanksgiving to make and finalize the arrangements for our 1st golf outing.  We were staying at the Hurl Rock arriving on a Sunday afternoon, playing golf Monday thru Friday, and departing Saturday. 

Don and Jim road down together, while Terry and I rode together.  The Sunday trip from Washington DC to Myrtle Beach SC was driven in a down pour.  Was expected to take 8 or 9 hours took Terry and I almost 11.  When we arrived at the Motel we saw Don and Jim leaning against the 3rd floor railing waving in greeting.  Terry and I quickly checked in and headed up to the 3rd floor, our room was right next to the room shared by Don and Jim.  Let me be the 1st to say the place had all the making of Dive, I would go so far as to say the Hurl Rock appeared to be a place that might have had an hourly rate as well. I know that if my wife had been with me she would not have gotten out of the car, she would have refused to even consider staying there, and we would have been driving the strip looking for nicer accommodations.  If you do an internet search you can find the Hurl Rock Motel at, http://hurlrockmyrtlebeach.com/.  If you will notice there is not a single picture that shows you a view of the Motel from the street.  Clearly the place has been renovated more than once since our week there, and in my mind it still looks like a dive.  Anyway back to the story.  Don and Jim had arrived an hour or so ahead of Terry and I, they had a chance to scope out the room, and the surroundings.  Don was so unhappy with the place that he had already started the search for nicer accommodations, but the golf package wouldn’t transfer and the places that had space were extremely costly.  Don was also pissed that he got scammed almost immediately after checking in.  Apparently some young man came to him with a sad story about needing an alternator for his car and that his family was sleeping in until the next day, and detail after detail, well Don gave the guy $100. Getting a promise that the guy would be there in the am after the auto place opened to return the 100.  Needless to say Don never saw the guy or his 100 bucks again.  Don’s was teased pretty much without mercy by the rest of us the entire trip and Don took it with quite well. I am getting way off track; let’s get back to the Hurl Rock.

The rooms at the Hurl Rock were approximately 11 by 25 foot.  The back half was the “2nd bedroom,” with a bath separating the 2 sleeping areas.  The main area (which included the bed) has the kitchenette in it with a couch, table and 4 unmatched chairs.  The AC/heater unit was beneath the double window in the front of the unit.  The 2nd sleeping area had no window at all, but it had its own AC/Heater unit craved into the outside wall.  The interior walls were a cheap plywood stain a color I didn’t recognize then and wouldn’t today.  The beds had that sag in the middle depicting the thousands of bodies that laid there before.  The linen was tread bare at best, all in a miss matched white.  I am just saying that some of the old stuff was older than some of the other old stuff, which was real friggin old.   The AC/heater units had the most unique cycles and were as loud and annoying as possible.  Just as you thought you had the pattern down and was falling asleep the pattern would change again.  The attributes of the Hurt Rock as I have described them were the better qualities.  We didn’t cook a single meal in the rooms for fear of what an open flame might do.  We used the refrigs to keep the soda and booze in, and that was the extent of our uses of the facilities.  The Motel had no working soda or ice machines, but we were quite lucky there was a convenience store just on the other side of the parking lot, and their soda’s and other junk food were reasonable priced. The freezer did work in the frig so a 5 lb bag of ice when a long way.  The joint was clearly a Mom and Pop place, and their were at the end of their rope, it was clear neither liked their lot in life, and customer service was clearly not in their vocabulary, requests during the week generally fell on deaf ears.  One of the biggest selling points to the Hurl Rock is that it offered free breakfast.  This turned out to be the high point, and it truly was.  We were given a chit each morning for breakfast at one of the local non chain restaurants, and this was great, we ordered off the menu, and I had a feast each morning.  That was the only redeeming value that any of us found with the Motel.

Don continued to look for other accommodations for 3 more days, even to the point of offering to cover most of the cost himself just to get us out of the Hurl Rock.  But we finally just beat him down to the point he knew it didn’t makes sense to move. 

As I stated in the beginning the drive to Myrtle Beach was in a down pour, Monday morning it really appeared that the day was going to be washed out.  But according to the rules, we could and would not get a refund unless the course was closed, and we and to be at the course ready to play at our tee time, or we would be in forfeit.  Monday our tee time was 11am.  The 4 of us gathered for breakfast at 8am, it was raining and very ugly, we assumed that golf would be cancelled and that we would get a refund, that’s when we read the fine print had breakfast and ventured out to the golf course.  It was so ugly, but as we turned into the drive way of the golf course, the sun peeked between a couple of clouds, the rain stopped and by the time we were called to the 1st tee, the skies were blue, barely a breeze, and it was a wonderful day.  By the 5th hole we were playing in short sleeve golf shirts, having peeled off more than 1 layer, and wishing we had worn shorts.  It did not rain a drop the rest of the week.  But the weather got progressively worse each day.  Monday the temp got to mid 70’s, Tuesday maybe 60, and the breeze picked up.  Wednesday wow what a change the temp got no higher than 50 and the breeze turned into a strong wind.  We had seen the forecast the night before, and when out and did a little shopping.  This is a USF sweatshirt I have on, it was cheap and it fit, is the only reason I bought it.  Thursday the daytime temp did not reach 45, and the wind was howling at times, but we tough it out and played.  The forecast for Thursday night was to be the coldest in history for that day, with the possibility of snow.  Folks, only Terry and I were brave enough to play.  The overnight temp dropped to 17 degrees, and it did snow in Myrtle Beach, it was only a dusting, but the fact remains it snowed, and like dumb asses Terry and I tried to play. It was only 28 degrees when Terry and I teed off.  I lasted 12 holes and Terry lasted 17.  I was sitting in the club house working on my third hot chocolate when Terry dragged his ass in.  It was decided at that moment that there would be no more February golf in Myrtle Beach, and there wasn’t.

Every year after the Hurl Rock I was teased about the accommodations.  And I got no mercy at all, but the reality was the Hurl Rock sucked and I deserved it, but really for 10 years LOL give me a break.

For those of you that made it to the bitter end thank you, this turned out much longer than I thought, and I could have made you suffer more.  But enough is enough.  As always if you have any questions concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care and be safe.  Bill

 

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Best 4 Some I’ve Played Golf With…. A Grandpa Tale

I have been extremely fortunate over the years, and I have had the opportunity to indulge myself.  One of my favorite indulgences was the annual golf trip.   I went on such a trip for 11 years, and visited nice places, a not so nice place, and played golf on some of the nicest golf courses in central Florida.

It all started by chance I guess.  I knew one of the managers that lived in Texas, and that he played golf, we had talked from time to time about our love of golf.  One day out of the blue he called me and asked if I wanted to join a group of guys going to Florence SC to play golf for a week.  After getting the cost and getting permission from my wife I called Ken back and said I would love to join the group.  Ken asked me if I knew of any other golfers that might be willing, I said let me make some calls and I would get back to him.  Shortly after the call, I spoke to Terry and Don.  Both agreed without hesitation, and I became the coordinator for the DC contingent of golfers.  Including Terry, Don, and I the group was 28. That was my 1st golf trip.  I loved the golf; the accommodations were okay, the group way to damn big.

L to R Doug, Me, Terry, Don

L to R Doug, Me, Terry, Don

Terry, Don and I all liked the concept behind the golf trip, only to a much smaller scale.  It was decided we would do it again the following year, but only 4 of us.  Don was sure he could talk Jim into joining the Group.

The following year the four of us headed to Myrtle Beach in late February.  We  stayed at a place called the Hurl Rock Motel, by far the single biggest dive I have ever stayed in, and could write a two thousand words just on this one golf trip.

Jim was an active participant for the first 2 years, and would join the group from time to time in the future years.  But Terry, Don and I would remain the core of our group for the duration.  After Jim’s departure, Doug joined the group, and also became part of the core. For the next 2 years it was just the four of us. Our group would grow from 4 to as many as 9.  But it was generally 7 or 8. 

I realize that once again I have taken a million words to set up my story.  Today’s story really is about Terry, Don and Doug, and why I feel these three guys made it the best 4 some I ever played golf with. 

Doug is the best golfer I have played with consistently over the years.  I have never beaten Doug no matter many strokes he has given me; we may have tied a few times which to me meant I won.  But even at my best I couldn’t beat him.  Sure I won a hole or 6 over the years. But Doug is just good golfer and even better person.  Doug was the baby of the group, no matter who joined Doug was always the youngest.  But Doug is a people person, a great listener, a good conversationalist, and a caring person.  During the trips he would be the 1st to volunteer to be the step and fetch person.  He was generally the last to bed and the last to get up.  Doug also helped me during the planning stage to pick the golf courses we would play that trip, and we pre map them so we didn’t have to scramble trying to get directions each day.  Doug could also hold his own in the verbal jousting that always when on during one of these trips.  Giving as well as he got.  I believe, I have known Doug for over 17 years I have never seen him mad, nor have I ever seen him have even single drink.  His drink of choice was Pink Lemonade, and he was just as addicted to Krispy Kreme donuts as the rest of us, and he would be willing to drive 40 miles out of his way to pick up a couple of dozen for the group. He was also in charge of the nightly movie or double feature, however it played out. 

Terry or “Mr. Magoo” as he is affectionately referred is the elder statesman of the group.  I don’t believe if we actively searched we could find anyone older to play with (that fit it) LOL.  He is referred to as Mr. Magoo; because I am sure the cartoon character was fashioned after his likeness.  A Terry and I became friends in 1985, but met in 83, while on a business trip to NYC.  He was the Telecom Dir. in charge of an area that stretched from Maryland all the way to Maine (the entire NE). I was the program manager out of DC, and we met to review how his Zone was managing my program. It was during the course of these meetings that our friendship was born.  And we have been extremely close friends since then.  We speak at least once a month and talk for 30 or 40 minutes.  Anyway, back to the 4 some.  Terry was/is the oldest member, can’t see for shit, has no sense of direction, and thinks he hits the ball further than he does, which makes him pretty much a normal golfer.  Terry was by far the worse golfer in the group expect when Jim played.  On the tee Terry would dead hook to the right, and begin searching the left side of the fairway.  Doug or I usually rode the cart with him because we had the eyes of the group, so we could normally drive Terry right to his ball.  In time it got to the point where Terry would just get in the cart and just let us take him to his shot.  But his single biggest contributions to the outings were his stories.  He has some of the best life stories imaginable, and even though I have heard almost all of them, I would gladly sit through yet another telling.  Do keep the ears of most women and child out of range when he starts because his language has the ability to embarrass even a Sailor.  More often than not he is clearly the villain or perpetrator in his stories, which explains why he got to go to so many different private and public schools as a youth. Terry was also a Marine, and worked for the federal Govt for at least 35 years. Terry btw was one of two gentlemen that called the hospital when I was gravely ill demanding an update on my condition.  Claiming he was my brother in Philadelphia and as part of the family it was his right.  The nurse started in on the HIPA rules and Terry apparently told the Nurse to F…. HIPA tell him what he wanted to know, HOW!!! Apparently the nurse folded, and gave out very detailed information on my condition, and Terry advised her he would be calling back.  At some point Steph added him to the HIPA paperwork.  I speak at length of Terry in my dream sequence posts.  Terry is one of my dearest friends (way beyond a best friend) in the world. 

Finally I will talk about Don.  Don was one of the highest ranking Govt Officials for local telecommunications before he retired.  He wasn’t considered an expert in local telecom, he WAS the expert.  One of the single smartest men I have known.  He was my mentor and dearest friend.  As a golfer he was middle of the road. He could power it off the tee, but not always with the accuracy needed.  On any given day we could play pretty even. For as loud as Terry was Don was quiet.  Terry and Don were best friends and had pretty much worked together in one way or another, their entire adult lives.  As a fledgling manager Don taught me 2 important lessons 1; it is always better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and 2; a crisis on your part doesn’t make it a problem on my part.  Don was a constant source for education, guidance and leadership, and I tried to emulate him throughout my career. In the office he had a style grace that I had not seen before or since.  Don passed on about 5 years ago as a result of complications from his COPD he was 74 at the time of his passing.

This wasn’t so much about golf or golfing, it was how I enjoyed these friends and what they meant to me.  Doug is still Doug, and we talk about once or twice a year.  Terry and I are dearest of friends and we talk about once a month.  Terry is 83 or 84, and doesn’t act a day over 15 usually.  He recently successfully had lung surgery to remove some cancer.  He is cancer free, and currently does not require any further treatments, just checkup every 6 months.  While Don isn’t around to talk to, I do chat with his wife every 5 or 6 months.  She was the love of his life, it just took forever for them to finally meet, but their time together was fantastic, and I don’t remember Don being happier prior to his marriage to Nancy. 

Someday I may actually write the story about the Hurl Rock Motel, and that golf adventure purely as a golf story.  I will continue to dig pictures out, and write the appropriate story. 

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to ask.  I will address each.  Please take care and have a great day.  Bill

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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Our First Halloween…. A Treasure Box Story

Halloween has been a special holiday for kids and adults alike.  In both cases it is celebrated in costume and over indulgence. This is a Halloween story about kids, in particular my daughter Allison’s first where she was going to be the one going to the door, ringing the bell, and saying “Trick or Treat.”  She knew those words were the key, and she truly understood the concept of tons of candy. This was also the first year that Allison understood the concept of a costume, and voiced a significant rant in what she wanted to be. Smiling, she chose to be a cowboy, not a cowgirl, but a cowboy.    In the past she had always gone as a princess, or lady bug, (actually that sums up her past Halloween experiences) and the reality was Allison didn’t really have a say. Steph and I had chosen what she was going to be, and Allison didn’t argue, smiling, she really didn’t understand the concept.  Her prior experience with Halloween was to put on something funny (and most likely she didn’t realize it was funny)  and take a walk collecting stuff her parents ate. Also it was just a walk around the block with Mom or Dad or both, at every open door hold out her bag, maybe mumble something, and an adult would put candy in the bag.  A kid’s concept of heaven I am sure.  I think preschool was a real boost to her Halloween educational process.

For the kids the Halloween costume is something they either painstakingly pick out and create or have their parents do all the work, by either going to the store buying the costume and making the necessary adjustments or by creating something from the tons of cloths and stuff around the house.  Allison is pictured here in her cowboy costume, barely able to contain herself, and about 45 minutes after we got her dressed and the makeup refined to something that Allison could/would tolerate.

Revised Makeup LOL

Revised Makeup LOL 

 Smiling, the effort we put ourselves thru for our lovely children. 

This is round two for the makeup.  Being honest this is 30 years ago Allison was probably 4 or 5. Not the sweet looking cowpoke she looks like in the picture. And you can’t even see the gunbelt she had on.  We couldn’t get a shot of her in the original pre-toned down cowboy make-up, because Allison wasn’t having it. During the first application of makeup, Steph had her more made up as a rough and tumble kinda cowboy, the beard was fuller and not a goatee, the mustache deeper, the eyebrows more arched and much darker. And I think there may have been a scar or two.  I know Steph put a ton of effort into this costume, and even more time and energy putting that makeup on Allison.  

When I carried her to the bathroom, and Steph and I 1st showed Allison her appearance, she totally freaked out, she when totally bonkers, screaming, crying, trying to get out of my hands, looking in the mirror moaning, wanting to know WHO’S THAT, screaming that’s not me. Allison was having nothing to do with the Cowboy she saw in the mirror and she was PISSED because her DAD was smiling and so proud and lovingly at the cowboy.  It was truly like a small thermo nuclear device had gone off in the bathroom.  It took 20 minutes to remove the original makeup and get her calm enough to try again.  If you look closely at the picture, you can kinda tell she is still not comfortable.  But the power of persuasion is amazing.  We told Allison no makeup, no trick or treating.  That was the final hurdle we needed to get over and it worked.  It also helped significantly when everyone we encountered told Allison she looked like a great Cowboy.

I will be going thru the photo albums, and picking out single pictures to share a “Treasure Box” story.  Some will be purely for Cari’s entertainment; others will be for my entertainment.  But no matter when you see them I hope you’re entertained.

As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to ask.  Take care Bill

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 5.30.14…

          Subtitle – 1st Official “Ham” Report on my Hospice Care

Good morning folks, I will say without a doubt this report may not reach you until some Sunday June 1.  Shortly I am heading out the door to see “A million ways to Die in the West.”  Then off to do some chores, and finally I will be back here to semi-devote myself to completing this.  So excuses out-of-the-way, let me get the ball rolling and state that it has been a 2.75 week and solid at that.  No new bug-a-boos have come my way, and I do feel physically better than last week.  I have had no doctor appointments this week, but I was visited by Hospice on Thursday (which is a regularly scheduled event).  I will get must more into that in the word of the week phase of my report.

I know it is boring but my general health remains approximately the same from week to week. The coughing is about the same, tiredness seems normal this week, SOB seems to be a little worse than last week, and my energy level seems to be less because of the higher respirations and SOB. But sometimes a new wrinkle appears.  Over the past several weeks I have been having episodes where I wake in the middle of the night, instantly alert, heart racing, and gasping for a breath of air. C-pap machine is functioning correctly, mask securely in place, and no apparent reason for the sudden awake fullness.   Yet it happens. It began several weeks ago, for the 1st time, and it wasn’t a big deal, I woke and gathered myself, then laid back down as was asleep in minutes.  The event did not occur again for a week or so, it was a touch more dramatic the second time, but in my mind still not enough to raise the alarm. Over the past 2 weeks it has happened several times, the events snap me from a dead rest to full alertness in moments, my heart racing, and it takes several moments for my breathing to normalize (for me). But my adrenaline is amped up and can take 20 mins or more before I feel I can lay down and comfortable get back to sleep.  Being honest while freaky, I was not ready to report it to Doc Lungs or Doc Infectious, but my wife dropped a dime on me and spoke to the hospice folks about it.  Apparently I wasn’t as quiet as I thought I was, and woke my wife. Bless her heart for doing so; I know I would have let it go further without saying anything to anyone.  This issue is now in the hands of Hospice and I have been given add additional medication to take prior to going to sleep.  Used this for the 1st time last night, and I didn’t wake with the jump-start last night. 

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 05.29.14

  • INR = 2.3 taken 05.19.14 – next test 2 or 3 weeks – nothing new here

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 97 taken on 05.30.14 @ this moment, on 5/29 during Hospice visit it was 90

  • Peak Flow = 222 taken 05.29.14

  • BP = 100/61 taken 05.29.14

  • Heart rate = 112 taken 05.19.14, but taken this moment 101

  • Temp = 98.7 taken 05.29.14

  • Weight = 270 taken 05.29.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 05.30.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  This week I will be making my 1st “Ham’s” official Hospice Report.  In which I will bring you up to date on everything that has happened since I came under the care of Hospice.  Please as you read this understand this is an open report, I will try to make it as full as possible, but I am an old fart and I forget things, or sometimes I don’t think something is important enough to add to the mix.  If I gloss over something, or if you don’t see something you may be looking for please please ask me.  This can only help you, if you are getting the answers you need.  

A brief history, on March 3, 2014, I was advised by Doc Infectious that I should consider Hospice as a medical solution.  His explanation was simple; he no longer had the drugs in his arsenal to completely beat any infection I might encounter.  He went on to explain that he would continue to mix and match and do the best he could but that he had no additional weapons by which to fight the diseases associated with COPD that claim me.  He had consulted with Doc Lungs and they were in semi-agreement.  But Doc Lungs wanted to see me before I went into hospice.  My wife and I saw Doc Lungs on 3/4/14 and when asked specifically if Doc Lungs had any available drugs that would fight my infections he said no, but that if I should choose Hospice he didn’t want me to give up.  I assured him I wouldn’t and I haven’t and I won’t give up.  On 3/5/14 I called the LifePath Hospice, they came to my home hours later, filled in the necessary paper work, did a mini medical review, and started to make plans for me to meet each of the members of the Sapphire Team, which I was now a member. My case was reviewed that day, and I was accepted for Hospice care on 3/6/14.

I have a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Fed health insurance, with defined costs, exact co-pays, exact percentages for medicines depending on the tier, and on and on. One of my very 1st questions to the Hospice folks was “how much is this going to cost me.” I was extremely anxious because a brief call to BCBS said they (Hospice) were entitled to a $125 co-pay each time they walked thru the door of my home.  To say I was shocked and amazed is the understatement, and suddenly my fear was that I couldn’t afford to die under Hospice care.  The Hospice folks spent hours trying to convince me that this was not the case, and that Hospice would never come after my family for monies due.  Again and again I asked them to put that on an official document.  I refused to accept the “full” hospice treatment until I was sure what my financial involvement was going to be. This issue was totally resolved when my 1st EOB (explanation of benefits) from BCBS indicated I had a zero balance with Hospice. Even though they had been to my house numerous times over the 1st 30 days, I owed them no money at all.  (If anyone is curious as to why, I will explain as it was explained to me under a separate post) I can talk more about my specific finances regarding Hospice if anyone wants or needs that information.  I can only talk about my situation, in my location, and my results.  Clearly there is a ton of wiggle room in any financial solution.  Once this hurdle was cleared I was ready to fully embrace the Hospice experience. 

Now on to the particulars, I have been under hospice care since 3/5/14.  I am visited at least once a week by a member of my Hospice Team (the team is made up of an Internal Medicine Dr, a RN Care Coordinator, a LPN, a Clinical Mgr, a respiratory specialist, a Social Services Spec, the Chaplain, Hospice Aide, and assorted volunteers), The Doctor, the RN and LPN, respiratory specialist, and Social Svc Spec, are constants, as well as the Chaplin, the Aide and volunteers change. I get to learn about them as they learn about me. Either the RN or LPN collect my vitals each week, Hospice will fill any and all prescriptions relating to my respiratory issues, with the exception of the Spiriva at no cost to me.  One of the Hospice volunteer’s calls at approximately 9:30am each Thursday to see if my medicines are good thru the weekend, if I answer negatively, that prescription is filled and delivered to my home by COB (close of business) Friday. If necessary they will make 2 or 3 trips to my home in a day to affect delivery.  When blood work is required they will come to my house to do the blood draw.  They are also becoming my home oxygen concentrator provider, and will provide whatever other medical equipment needs I have right here in my home, and will do so as the need arises.

When Hospice comes, they will spend anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes with me.  They never hurry, they are always concerned (and it clearly shows), they ask prying questions to make sure I am not holding back, but do so in a gentle way.  I almost feel guilty if I try to hurry them out the door.

It should be noted that you can be kicked out of Hospice.  You are evaluated every 6 months to ensure that you still qualify for Hospice care.  If you improve, you’re out, if you’re not moving towards end of retirement at a rapid enough pace your out.  Folk’s flunking out of Hospice is not a bad thing. And they will welcome you back with open arms when your circumstances change.  I have only been under their care for 2 ½ months and they have been wonderful to me.  I am sure as end of retirement nears, my needs will change as well, and I will report those as long as I can.  But if I have anything to do with it, I maybe kick out of Hospice, smiling at least once. 

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 

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How I Feel for the Week of 05.16.14

For the week ending 05.16.14, I decided to cheat and start this report on Thursday morning as I sit and have my monthly IVIG treatment. It is a quiet place, and I am causing a ruckus by having the audacity to actually question the billing methods.  LOL my vitals are checked repeatedly throughout the process, and my 1st blood pressure reading of the morning was 112/62 after the initial conversation with the billing folks my blood pressure was 124/74, 30 mins later bp is now 132/82. I told them to go ahead and call 911 because by the time I get the billing issues resolved to my liking I will most likely have a stroke. I am not the least bit surprised but the upswing and I suspect before the end of the billing conversation it will be in the 140/90 range.  But it will drop quickly back to normal 5 minutes after the process is complete. Sidebar; The 1st comment I received pointed out that I didn’t give a score for how I felt for the week.  I am rating the week overall a 2.75.  It was a good week, not great, but the fact that I was so dang busy all week kept the score from climbing.  BTW thanks Brenda for pointing this lapse out.  Yes LOL I failed an expectation. But Thanks for pointing it out.  Take care, Bill

Health wise very little has changed, the coughing is about the same, tiredness normal, SOB seems to be progressively worse than last week, and my energy level seems to be less than what I would consider normal. Also, my inspirations are still running at a rate over 20 breathes a minute. There seems to be no repercussions from the removal of the tooth, and no residual pain.  I will admit that I am falling apart LOL LOL I will also admit that when I do these weekly reports they are more a general health update and not strictly related to my COPD.  I guess the simple thing is the fact that folks with COPD or other terminal diseases have “normal” health issues to deal with during their progression thru the disease.

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 05.16.14

  • INR = 1.8 taken 05/12/14 – dosage changed – retest on 05.19.14

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 92 taken on 05.15.14

  • Peak Flow = 212 taken 05.15.14

  • BP = 112/62 taken 05.15.14

  • Heart rate = 108 taken 05.15.14

  • Temp = 98.2 taken 05.15.14

  • Weight = 267.2. taken 05.15.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 05.16.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  This week for the 2nd week in a row, we are going to talk about Expectations.  I had a tremendous amount of positive feedback on the topic of expectations, both here and on DS, for which I’m greatly appreciative. Last week I spend a good bit of time talking about the expectations we impose upon ourselves and the very real need to give ourselves a break.  Today I would like to talk about those expectations that others have and place on us.   As normal we will start with the web dictionary definition of the word:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/expectation

ex·pec·ta·tion  — noun  1. the act or the state of expecting: to wait in expectation. 2. the act or state of looking forward or anticipating. 3. an expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation. 4. something expected; a thing looked forward to. 5. Often, expectations. a prospect of future good or profit: to have great expectations.

Last week I found this to be one of the better definitions I have used for a word or phrase, this remains true for this week, and it’s still a great definition.

When I wrote about expectations last week I briefly spoke to the expectations that others hold us to.  I earnestly and flippantly said “F…..K them.”  I have had a week to think about that remark and I really wish it were even remotely that simple.  I am equally sure when you read that last week you had to have said “Bill, you got to be kidding, it’s never that simple.”  In truth (in my opinion) F them is the furthest point from that position.

The expectations others have is us, come from many places: a. the expectation may be a value that the imposer establishes without any regard to the individual, b. the expectation may be the result of a previously demonstrated skill or talent, c. the expectation may come as a result of a learned or taught behavior. d, the expectation may come from a performed habit, e. the  expectation may come from a negotiated agreement or f. the expectation may come as a result of or a combination of these.  More troubling is the fact that the expectation could come from or be imposed upon you from someone you don’t even know.  A good example of this could be a high school athletic that demonstrates superb skills that is being watched and stalked by recruiters and coaches at higher levels of the sport based purely on their expectations for his potential. That athletic could say F it, and be done. But rarely does that happen, what generally happens is that the athletic learns of the expectations and works to meet and exceed those expectations, those expectations becoming the focal point of their lives.  I am sure you have seen many other examples of this type of expectation and I am not going to dwell on it for this post.

This post is about the expectations others place on the sick and terminally ill.  It’s about how those of us in this position deal with the expectations of others.  Everyone has someone who expects something. This is just a simple fact of life.  But the expectation and the direction from which is comes can have a dreadful impact.  The direction can come from a spouse, a child, some other loved one, a neighbor, a caregiver, the boss, a co-worker, and the list is really endless.  Thankfully most of us only have expectations from a couple of directions.  I believe the closer the caregiver is to the individual who may be ill, the less the expectations drop during the course of the illness, until it is slap in the face apparent.  Then the expectations drop dramatically.  Clearly this isn’t always the case, but the ones closest to the person who is sick, sees each gradual step of decline, and these steps blend together, making noticing the change that much more difficult, and because the change isn’t noticed, the expectation is not reduced.  If you don’t notice the change it is extremely hard to adjust one’s expectations.  This isn’t the care givers fault; I believe it’s just nature.  But it doesn’t change the fact that the care giver while seeing the deterioration of abilities does not adjust their expectations.

Sometimes the care giver does in fact notice the inability of the ill, to perform has they had, and actually addresses it with the person receiving care.  It is incumbent on the person needing care, to speak up, to acknowledge that they need help and be honest and forthright about it.  Folks, I have to stop here and WAVE my hands, because this is clearly a case of “do as I say, and not as I do.”  I am terrible, and I am sure I have put my wife into a bind because of it.  I do still try to man up and meet every expectation no matter the source.  Thankfully I know some very forgiving folks.  There are a bunch of qualified folks that can help both the care giver and the care getter they include; Counselor’s, Clergy, social workers, and Hospice to name a few.  Seek these folks out, find some neutral ground to have the conversation and work on the problem. Soft smile, believe me in my case it will/would/has taken more than one conversation, and it is an ongoing conversation. During the conversation be honest.  I will repeat that be honest.  Having said that, I know, I KNOW, that being honest is not nearly as easy as typing it on this page, but you must make the effort to communicate, these conversations are a must, and they build a foundation by which you and your care giver can keep the lines of communications open.  I know from feedback I have gotten over the last year that some spouses are in some level of denial.  I know this is particularly hard on the care getter, they have made their situation known, they have tried to have the conversations, maybe they have even drawn in outside resources, but the dynamics necessary to get the message through to build that foundation are just not working.  Please don’t give up, that is the last thing either of you need.  Am I saying be a pain in the ass to get the message through, yes I guess I am.  Being gravely ill, or worst terminally ill, is stress enough all by itself.  But outside sources laying unattainable expectations on you does you no good at all. Earlier I said talk to someone, a counselor, your clergy, and your doctor, enlist their help.  Clearly if the caregiver is an employee of some organization get rid of them and have that organization provide someone who understands, and makes the necessary accommodations.  If the caregiver is a spouse or other loved one that will be more difficult.  And I am not smart enough to have a solution, and even if I were, that doesn’t mean my offered solutions would work for you.  I am saying don’t close the door, keep communicating.  If your spouse or other loved one isn’t willing to seek counselling with you, then GO BY YOURSELF, the counselor can and will help you find ways to cope.

Finally a very important aspect which I have not addressed is that the “caregiver” needs help too.  I am a care getter; I know what a PIA I can be.  I know how pig-headed I am. I know I am forever telling my wife I can handle it.  Folks, sometimes I am so full of CRAP.  Having said that, the care giver is under such stress, I would say that the vast majority of care givers are spouses or loved one.  Folks they need time off, the job of care giver has got to be one of the most difficult in the world especially if that care giver is also working full-time to provide the essentials.  A full-time career and a full-time role as a care giver has got to be daunting, it has to wear them down and out.  It has to make them short-tempered from time to time, they do need time off, quiet time, peace, and a real opportunity to relax and regroup.  So it is our job as care getter to accept this and promote this, and help our care giver to the fullest extent possible without over doing.  That’s a key here you can’t over do.  Your care giver needs your understanding, your blessing, and your insistence that they can take a break and grab some me time.  Please keep this in mind.

This has gone on way to long. I thought when I started Thursday that I would have wrapped this up and posted by sometime Friday afternoon.  But life got in the way.  I hope this opens the door for communications, and allows for the dynamics between care giver and care getter to form its own bond.  Also I am sure this won’t be the last time we talk of these roles and responsibilities.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 

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A Lifetime in Reynoldsville PA, a lifetime ago… A Grandpa Tale

When I have written posts in the past I will sometimes say “There’s a story in there someplace.”   On July 27, 2012 I posted a post titled “The Places I have lived.” Quite the original title, but I think back upon that post and remember that there were additional posts to be written. This will be one of them.  The entire text of the time I lived in Reynoldsville is offered here, and as you can see there isn’t much to go on.  But I am going to make an effort to expound on that simple paragraph.  Hopefully you and my granddaughter Cari will enjoy reading it.  Because it’s for Cari that I write lots of these stories. 

“Next stop Reynoldsville PA.  Reynoldsville is a coal mining town just north and east of Pittsburgh, we lived there 1 winter. The house was coal heated, and Stephen King could have written about it in many of his more scary novels.  I do have fond memories of sled riding during that winter, and a school trip we made to Washington DC to visit the national museum’s that was cool. Began the 4th grade here.” 

If we were sitting around bull shitting, and I began to speak of the time I lived in Reynoldsville, PA, my memory would span a year.  But the reality is that the family moved to 937 Grant Street, Reynoldsville PA in September 1959 and departed for Norwalk, Conn. in February 1960.  The address is of no importance other to mention it was 2 downhill blocks away from Main Street. It was a 6 month period that was a lifetime to a 10-year-old. 

Here is some current information regarding Reynoldsville it has a population of 2,730 folks of which almost 52 pct are women.  So it must be good for guys looking for a date.  The median resident age is slightly over 37, I would be one of the curve busters there LOL. The town of Reynoldsville is located approximately 75 or so miles (depending on the map) northeast of Pittsburgh.  The prime industries have been coal mining, lumber, and tanning.  The borough of Reynoldsville had originally been an Indian village, with the last of Indians moving on in 1824.  In the 1830’s the Reynolds moved to the area.  The name of Reynoldsville was confirmed by the Post Office Department in 1850.

I guess this has been plenty of setup to speak of 2 events that live on and on in my mind.  Again I was 10 years old when I lived there.  My granddaughter just celebrated her 9th birthday.  Because these events remain so familiar to me, I wonder what events are shaping Cari memories.  I wonder what memories Cari will have 55 years from how to share with her grandchildren.  I wonder if she will still have this blog to share with those grandchildren when she speaks of her grandfather.   Soft smile, I really hope she does speak of me.

Anyway moving on.  The first event was a school sponsored field trip to Washington DC to visit the museums.  I have no idea how much money my folks had to shell out for this trip but it was a one day event.  It started at the butt crack of dawn, and was over close to midnight that day.  At the time I could not be accused of having patience, so I am sure I must have driven someone crazy asking “are we there yet?”  Sidebar; I have had the headphones pounding in my ears since I started and the IPod is set to random.  Just so you “Kid Rock” is now screaming in my ears, but I have heard Creed, Toby Keith, Cream, Sting, CSN, Aretha Franklin, DH Hughley, Eric Clapton, Johnny Lang, Travis Tritt, SRV, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Moody Blues, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Melissa Etheridge, and of course Nickelback to just name a few. The things I clearly remember seeing are the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Institutes’ Castle, The Capital Building and the Whitehouse.  I remember that the bulk of time was spent at the Castle.  I do remember standing at the very foot of Lincoln and being not much taller than his shoe, I also remember playing on the steps to the Capital Building. And I suspect if I were playing on the steps at some point a chaperon told me to stop. I know we did not go into either the Capital Building or the Whitehouse. Those are the sum total of my memories of that field trip.  One of the reasons it must stand out, is because it was by far the most significant field trip I ever went on throughout my schooling.  I was fortunate enough to end up working in Washington DC some 20 years after this field trip, and lived in the area for the next 30 years.  During the course of those years, I visited every building on the Mall more than twice, except the Holocaust Museum which I only visited once. That single visit could be a post by itself; it was the most moving 3 hours I can remember.

The second memorable event to take place while I lived in Reynoldsville was sled riding on a public street.

I have no idea how it came about, so what I am about to say is pure conjecture on my part.  But this conjecture is based on the fact that the cross streets were closed (Willow and Main) and blocked, no cars were part on 10th Street (the hill), and transportation was provided back to the top of the hill.  It only happened one time during the period we lived there, but again, I suspect it might have been part of some annual event because it was just too organized. The run started at the Top of 10th Street, and ran for 2 blocks, where the road leveled at Main.  Something had been done to the snow at Main because you just quickly slowed to a stop.  You and your sled were loaded up and taken back up the hill, for another run.  I know dad and I did one run together, and I believe he allowed me to do a couple more by myself, and I am sure he did more than that by himself; he was only 35 at the time.  Hot chocolate and coffee were served, and I am sure something stronger would have been available.  I know we moved on shortly after this event.  LOL I don’t want you to think we were nomads, at this time my Dad was a store manager for McCory’s 5 & 10.  He would be sent to a store that was in “trouble” and stay long enough to get it back on its feet, and then management would move him on to the next store.   I would also hazard to guess that this could never happen in this day and age because of insurance, community groups, safety, and expenses.  The new order at work. LOL

Folks that sums up an expanded version of the time I lived in Reynoldsville PA.  Cari, I hope you enjoyed the story.

As usual folks, if you have any questions, thoughts, concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill    

 
19 Comments

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 05/09/14

For the week ending 05.09.14 this report will undoubtable be late, but it will be coming from my home and under the influence of my music.  Sidebar, it is one of those days, and I started the music with Vince Gill’s “Go Rest High on the Mountain.” Smiling I am in a Country Music kinda mood, so we have moved on to Big & Rich’s “Why does everyone want to kick my ass”.  We are out of the hotel, and have been since Wednesday evening, and Lord to I appreciate being home, in my own bed, my own shower, and my frig!! It is so refreshing to be home.  The wife is tickled to death with the new floor, and we all know happy wife = happy home.  The oral surgery went well (on Tuesday), and the offending tooth pulled, and have only a slight bit of post extraction pain, so little in fact I have only taken one pain pill in the last 24 hours.  If I live to be a 100 I might end up with dentures. LOL LOL. The only other appointment I had this week was with Doc Head, it is nice to have someone who you can completely bare your soul and inner thoughts without fear of repercussions.  Oh it appears that Hospice day will be on Thursdays.  They will come once a week to check me out, they take all vitals, make sure all my prescriptions are up to date and that I have enough to get thru the weekend at a minimum, ask several questions regarding my general health, and then out the door.  Hospice will take care of all my medical needs that I need that relate directly to my COPD.  They won’t supply medicines that may deal with other medical conditions.  Sidebar, we just listened to Toby Keith’s “I’ll never smoke weed with Willy again.” Smiling, fun song. All things considered, tooth pulled, living in a hotel, managing the contractor replacing the floor, and putting up with the Florida heat and humidity I am going to give the week a very solid 2.75.  The other reason the week gets a 2.75 is because very little else has changed, the coughing is about normal, tiredness about the same, and the respiration’s are staying above 20 + breathes a minute, which makes the heart work harder.

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 05.09.14

  • INR = 2.1 taken 04/08/14 – next INR reading scheduled for 05.12.14

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 95 taken on 05.08.14 – I would say spot checking my O2 level this week has found on average about 91/92 range.

  • Peak Flow = 215 taken 05.08.14

  • BP = 122/64 taken 05.08.14

  • Heart rate = 122 taken 05.08.14

  • Temp = 98.7 taken 05.08.14

  • Weight = 268 taken 05.09.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 05.09.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  This week we are going to talk about Expectations.  We all have expectations that we impose upon ourselves and those others have in us, today I would like to talk about those expectations.  As normal we will start with the web dictionary definition of the word:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/expectation

ex·pec·ta·tion  — noun  1. the act or the state of expecting: to wait in expectation. 2. the act or state of looking forward or anticipating. 3. an expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation. 4. something expected; a thing looked forward to. 5. Often, expectations. a prospect of future good or profit: to have great expectations

Of all of the definitions I have drawn from the Internet to use for this part of my post, this definition is one of the clearest to date.  It is safe to say that each of us with a life threatening disease face two prime points of expectations. One; those expectations that come from within ourselves, those we think and feel when we look in the mirror or set about doing a task, or two; those expectations that others have for us.  This second group of expectations is a whole big can of worms in and of itself and I will talk to that next week.  But the simplest way to address those expectations is to say FUCK THEM, but I will get into that further next week.

As kids when we do something successfully, we anticipate being able to do that again and again and again.  Once that accomplishment registers in our head it stays there forever.  We from that day forward, always have the expectation that we will always have that same level of success whenever we attempt that activity. Experience and effort, coupled with a level of success establishes expectations in our head. Sidebar: we have been listening to Travis Tritt, Trace Akins {(This ain’t no) thinkin thing}, Dixie Chicks, Lucinda Williams (Change the Locks), Garth Brooks (Friends in Low Places), and Gretchen Wilson, to name a few. The problem is that sometimes I listen and sing instead of typing. We experience in so many things, from school work, to sports, cooking, yard work, building things, carrying or lifting different levels of weight, and on and on.  Through our accomplishments and experience we find that doing things will take this level of effort and this amount of time.  That activity could be doing the laundry, cooking dinner, doing the dishes, cutting the grass, folding cloths, walking down the street, yard work, and all other manner of daily household chore or projects.  Again success breeds expectations. 

Soft smile, the aging process is a marathon not a sprint.  As we age, we gracefully and gradually come to conclusion that the process does impact our expectations, but because acceptance happens steadily over an extended period we softly slip into a lower level of self-expectations. This in my opinion is nature’s way, the way it is supposed to be.  We turn around and look the majority of our counterparts and we see the same process is taking place in them as that we see in the mirror, and because of this we collectively are okay and accepting of the process.

But when you are terminally ill this process seems to be in overdrive.  Tasks that we would have done without breaking into a sweat 2 or 3 years ago (longer or shorter depending on you), we now have to take break after break after break to accomplish. Some tasks we don’t even bother with because we may not have the breath or stamina to complete. Some of us (especially me) are embarrassed easy when we (I) don’t have the ware for all to complete a task. Sidebar: for all my great Canadian friends, I have switched gears and now have Nickelback blasting in my head LMAO, because I try to keep my posts at the PG-13 level I can’t even tell you the names of most of my favorite Nickelback songs LOLBut I am here to tell you we need to get over it, and we have to acknowledge the fact that we do need to lower our personal expectations.  We need to come to grips with the fact that our diseases have robbed us of the capabilities we once had.  To acknowledge this doesn’t mean we send out the invitations to the pity party.  It means that if we had the expectation to complete a task in 15 minutes and it now takes 30 minutes, then damn it, it takes 30 minutes. But by completing the task we have met the expectation, and this my friends is a moral and physical victory. I started this post last night around 11pm.  It is now Saturday, but since I started today I have, made the bed, emptied the dish washer, when out to breakfast, and stopped at the grocery store. Not even mentioning a bunch of little crap kinda things. I will admit that I am a bit tired, but I met my expectations.  Years ago I would not have budgeted as much time, and I sure would not have inserted as many breaks into the completion of these tasks that I have.   

Changing your personal expectations is nothing to be ashamed of it’s no reason to hold your head down. It is terrible unfair of you to hold yourself to self-imposed expectations that will disappoint yourself when you don’t complete them. BTW everyplace you see a “you” I am talking about me, if it applies to you, apply it.  COPD has robbed me of many things, and it will end up shortening my life by many years.  But I will not let self-imposed expectations which I fail to meet drag me into a deep dark hole.  I would suggest you don’t let it drag you into a hole either.

Next week I will talk about the expectations other TRY to impose upon us.  I suspect it will be just as emotional as this. 

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 

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How I am Feeling for the week ending 05.02.14….

For the week ending 05.02.14 this report will be coming from a more quiet place and time. The wife and I are now in a Hotel while the new flooring is installed in our home. But in packing some things were forgotten, including my IPod, so I am without music, and you are deprived a music list (I don’t know how I am going to be able to write). It has been hectic as hell this past week. The Brothers have gone back to Louisville, and my wife is back from her bucket list trip. The house is in full disarray, and I have this friggin tooth ache. Gee always something to look forward too. 

Health wise very little has changed, the coughing is about normal, tiredness about the same, I am breathing more times a minute than I should (I am taking more than 20 breathes a minute and the level of exertion is immaterial) , finally the issue will the tooth will be resolved this coming Tuesday. I did see the dentist after getting my brothers off for their flight Monday morning. After taking x-ray’s Doc Tooth decided it could be either an infection in the gums or the need for a root canal. We decided to give the antibiotics a chance to work, but after 4 full days of meds it was clear that the “potential infection” was more than “potential infection.” So I called and made the appointment with the extraction artist, for Tuesday morning 9am sharp. So I will be living on pain pills until Tuesday. And like any other time it is always wise to get ahead of the pain and stay there. For most of the week I have been using half doses of pain medication, and last night I realized I was being stupid and started taking the full dose, and have been since. Hell I should have just scheduled the extraction before I left the dentist office last Monday. But I am old and I am still making mistakes, but someday I will learn. Based on all I know about how I feel and the circumstances, I am going to give myself a 2.75 for the week.

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 05.02.14

  • INR = 2.1 taken 04/08/14 – next INR reading scheduled for 05.12.14

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 90 taken on 05.01.14 — several times this past week random checks have found my O2 level in the mid to low 80’s. The more activity the lower the reading.

  • Peak Flow = 225 taken 05.01.14

  • BP = 142/72 taken 05.01.14

  • Heart rate = 112 taken 05.01.14

  • Temp = 98.6 taken 05.01.14

  • Weight = 272. taken 04.30.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 05.02.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  Just a couple of weeks ago I spoke of this word, I believe it deserves more time than I originally gave it, so back by popular demand (this is internal popular demand) is the word Hospice. The definition hasn’t changed a word in the 2 weeks since I originally posted my remarks. So I just did a copy and paste on the Hospice so that information. The source still comes to us via:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hospice

hos·pice , noun – 1. House of shelter or rest for pilgrims, strangers, etc., especially one kept by a religious order. 2. Medicine/Medical a. health – care facility for the terminally ill that emphasizes pain control and emotional support for the patient and family, typically refraining from taking extraordinary measures to prolong life. b. a similar program of care and support for the terminally ill at home.

For those that have been following along on these “How I Feel … “ reports know, one of my chief concerns has been and is hospitalization. No matter what they do, as a sufferer of COPD once you go into the hospital or have an exacerbation of the COPD you never get the ground you lost back. Each trip to the hospital, each exacerbation is one more step down the ladder. But the problem with the ladder is that the distance between rungs is never the same. Sometimes you might lost .5 percent of lung function the next trip or exacerbation you may lost 2 or 3 percent of lung function. Also another major concern is the medicines available to treat the illness that took you to the hospital in the 1st place. As you are aware the more often you use a drug, the more your body and the disease being treated builds a tolerance to that medication and they are not as effective. Over my last few exacerbation and hospitalizations I have grown more and more aware of this lack of effectiveness. In early February, Doc Infectious told me he was running out of drugs to treat my COPD. In early March this was again confirmed by Doc Infectious, and Doc Lungs to his dismay supported Doc Infectious suspicions. But both are confident that under the best circumstances, they can mix and match a witch’s brew that will get me thru it. But it was suggested by Doc Infectious that I should consider going under Hospice care. Doc Lungs called me, and asked that I come in and see him before making or committing to this plan. The following day Steph and I visited with Doc Lungs, he much to his dismay agree with Doc Lungs, but he wanted me to understand this was not throwing in the White Flag. Further conversation confirmed he had no alternative drug therapy. There wasn’t a magic pill or mist to nebulize to make things better. Doc Lungs agreed with Doc Infectious assessment, that I have “a year or so.” Of course the key will be staying out of the hospital, and avoiding an exacerbation to the fullest extent possible. 

I know this is a long way to get to the point. I am now under the care of the local Hospice. I have been under their care since the early part of March. Over the next several months I will be talking at length about my Hospice experience. So far it has been extremely positive. I have been overwhelmed with the caring, concern, and compassion the Hospice folks I have encountered have displayed. Hospice is not a place someone just goes to, to give up and just die, it is so so much more than that. It is extremely supportive, and the benefits I have seen so far are outstanding for the patient and the patient’s family, friends, and others. Over the next few weeks and months I will provide a detailed report on the treatment program, the process, the ins and outs, and I will answer any specific question that is asked of me. I will be as forthright as possible. I do not find the prospect to be something to be feared, but something that will allow and give strength to the patient. 

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible.. Please take care, Bill

 

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The Brothers not so Grim…. A Grandpa Tale

This past weekend and while my wife was away having the time of her life, and checking off another bucket list trip, I spent entertaining and being entertained by my three brothers.  I should use the names of the seven dwarfs to protect the not so innocent.  But I have spoken of them by name in the past and I will continue to do so.  But if I were to use the 7 Dwarfs names, I would claim and take full credit for being the one referred to as “Grumpy”.  It is a self-promoted nickname I gave myself shortly after moving to Florida.  See link for https://dealingwithcopd.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/old-and-grumpy/

Pictured below from left to right as you look at the picture are Jim, Grumpy, Ed and John.  Each of us has many redeeming qualities and each of us has many not so redeeming qualities.  And I could go on for words and words and words about each of them, but as they would all say “Payback is a B…. “

DSC01204

I will say that at one time I was the heaviest, but from appearances that may not be the case anymore.  But I am the one with all my original hair, and the best looking of the lot.  Ed did try to pretty himself up at the last moment running into the house to grab a Golf shirt.  

Immediately upon arrival at the house, as Ed was sipping his 1st beer, he tried to establish a “Judgment” free zone on the Lanai.  As place of peace, without the normal razor-sharp blades we normally use to cut each other to ribbons.  But even with a “Judgment” free zone, the barbs flew back and forth all weekend long.  It didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing, we were slinging barbs.  To see the smiles and grins throughout would have been a lot of fun to the fly on the wall.

But it wasn’t all about kidding each other, or sticking the knife in gently. We shared a lot of stories, reminiscing about incidents, each with a different perspective depending on the time and place in the family history.  We shared stories grandpa’s farm and about close encounters of the worst kind with Dad. We spoke of or marriages, our kids, the good and bad times.  I suspect they realize this will be one of the last visits we have together.  So we talked about more pleasant things.

The menu was quite simple.  One night we had pizza, wings, and garlic knots, another night we had bbq’d pork chops, another hamburgers and hot dogs, and steaks.  Surprisingly salads were also served during some to the meals.  And I will admit that the boys did graze right thru most things editable.  And we shared more than one drink over the weekend.  Nobody got drunk, no one got fired up, but we did talk loud, hell when we were kids we were considered the loud family.  It seems it is something we haven’t been able to shake as we have grown older.  Of the four of us I am the oldest; Ed is the youngest, with 13 years separating us.  If you think back (or at least for me) I had absolutely nothing in common with my youngest brother when I was 20 or 30, we started to become close as I reached 40, and have grown closer as more years pass.  Families are that way mostly I think, of course there are dysfunctional families, and I am sure that from time to time we were indeed dysfunctional.  But for the most part we have been able to maintain a good relationships and friendships, as we have grown.

No earth breaking disclosures were made, and while we spoke only for the fewest of moments of world events we couldn’t find a solution or come to an agreement as to a solution, sometimes we couldn’t even agree what the problem was. But we were taking to talk, to share, to be together. We managed a lot of reflection. John and Jim would sit in the corner of the lanai after dark smoking cigars, LOL that kept me in the house and out of the conversation, but what little I did catch seemed to be the quiet friendly conversation brothers can have.  One afternoon they wanted to go to the casino, I was more than happy to take them, and pick them up, but I didn’t venture into the casino.  There wasn’t much in the way of bragging, so I suspect there wasn’t much in the way of winning either.  In reflection I guess I could have taken them on a field trip to Dunedin or Clearwater Beach, but they were satisfied with the pool, and not having to venture far for a drink or the bathroom.  I can say with total honesty I am so so glad they came, I am glad we got to spend the time together we, and that we had to opportunity to share moments and time together.

Smiling here are the names of the 7 Dwarfs, let’s play a game, if you choose to comment on this post, tell me which name fits which brother best.  Remember “Grumpy” is taken: Bashful, Doc, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Happy.

As always if you have any questions, comments, concerns or issues please feel free to ask.  I will respond. Please take care and have a great day. Bill

 
18 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Pictures, Ramblings

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 04/25/14 ….

Folks,

I had 3 brothers fly in  yesterday morning early (815am) who are visiting me until Monday (being dropped off at the airport around 8am or so).  I have not had a moment to collect a thought little less put it in a basket and deliver it to you.  Please bare with me until Sunday.  I suspect I may have 8 or 12 minutes to myself between now and then.  (Just Kidding) Thank you, Bill

 
 

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It’s a matter of Sense …. A Grandpa Tale

Most of us have or should have the 5 basic senses, some of may not be so fortunate.  They are sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.  For the most part these senses are all self-explanatory and don’t really need to go into them.  But to further the explanation I am calling on Wikipedia (in part) for a slightly fuller definition.   

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_senses 

A broadly acceptable definition of a sense would be “A system that consists of a group of sensory cell types that responds to a specific physical phenomenon, and that corresponds to a particular group of regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted.” There is no firm agreement as to the number of senses because of differing definitions of what constitutes a sense. Sidebar;  the music today is being brought to you via my IPOD being featured today include, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilot, Gemini Syndrome, Van Halen, and Puddle of Mudd, I almost forgot yes, Nickelback is pounding away too!!!!

Smiling, I am done with definitions (at least for this post), I want to talk about that 6th sense, or the 7th sense, or and 23rd sense. It’s the one each of us have, that is not recognized as one of the common senses (nor is it common sense).  Some of us know when to hit on 17 at the blackjack table and are successful more times than not (especially if they are playing 5 decks), others wouldn’t know if they had a guide-book. Some will hear a phone ring and answer it knowing who is calling.  Some of can sense when a friend is sick or needs us from thousands and thousands of miles away.  Others of us know when not to get on an airplane.  Some of know when it is really the right time to give that beggar something more than a dirty look.  Moms are extremely good at knowing when their child needs a tiny bit more attention, and even more importantly when their child truly needs to be left alone.  Some of us dads can figure it out with our daughters, but have more issues trying to figure it out with a son.  These extra senses don’t stay with us a lifetime, sometimes they are only one time events, but that event stays with you the rest of your life,  you remember your little miracle, you remember that special time and it gives you a good feeling, it does warm your soul. Sometimes these extra senses, come with maturity, and are honed as we age.  Yet other times they happen for no definable reason, at no particular age. Case in point: the young man who found the 20 dollar bill in the Cracker Barrel parking lot and felt it was the right thing to do by passing it on with that now world-famous note to the soldier, who has in turn passed it forward. 

I think that another word we need to consider is premonition. It is exactly like a sense only different. But just like that oddball sense you from time to time I am sure you have had a premonition.  You know that feeling you get just before a storm hits, or a view just outside of your vision that something bad is going to happen. Notice the 2 examples I gave for premonitions were negative, but being honest I don’t remember having a good premonition.  If I thought I was going to fail that math test, it was a pretty foregone conclusion I was going to fail that test. But what about your premonitions, have the outcome always been bad?  

 I suspect you’ll are awaiting my announcement as to what my special skill or talent may be, or if I have some superpower I haven’t shared with you.  Oh and I do have one, but I am not going to share it with you (at least not yet). 

Yet be it a premonition or an extra sense.  I do believe we all have one or more.  Some stay with us for a lifetime, others only for an incident.  I also think a person can talk themselves into having an extra sense, and by the same token talk ourselves out of a special ability.  In my opening sentence I stated that most of us have or should have the basic 5 senses, and that others might not be as fortunate.  Let me be very clear, I truly believe that the folks that do not have those 5 basic senses, utilize the senses they have to a much finer degree than we do, they hear better or see better or smell better or have extremely good taste.  But these folks also have special senses and utilize them much more so than us burdened with the basic five. They are not handicapped, they are empowered. 

This post while playful is also somewhat serious.  Please take a moment to think about yourself, and if you’re willing please share with us your special ability. 

As always if you have any questions or concerns or if you have a comment please feel free to ask or post it.  Take care, Bill.

 
27 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings, Uncategorized

 

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How I Feel for the Week ending 04/18/14……

For the week ending 04.18.14, while I am starting it a little later than normal I will have plenty of time and few interruptions because I am a bachelor for the next 2 weeks and I am in complete control of my schedule.  So any delays are purely my fault and I take complete and total credit for them. The jukebox is fired up and today will be featuring a lot of loud shaking the windows music focusing on whatever catches my fancy and is driving.  Sidebar; So be warned a lot of Nickelback will be played today, with a good mix of SRV, Hendrix, Seether, Theory of a Deadman and Puddle of Mudd to name a few. I don’t believe I will be playing any ballads today. Also I won’t be complaining about Pollen this week, it will be hanging around for a at least a couple more weeks so no sense continuing to beat that horse, but I will say I do notice the difference between moderate levels and high levels of pollen.  So if you discount the impact of the pollen, I have had a good week. Yes SOB is still a very real and pressing issue and one that pretty much rules the roost.  But I feel better this week than I did last week.  I am going to break my trend of going in .25 increments and say that this week I feel 2.9 all things consider and evaluated fairly.  I have not changed my scale it has just been a good week. 

The week I have had 2 doctor appointments; one with Doc Infectious, and the other my monthly IVIG treatment.  The appointment with Doc Infectious was very positive.  He has created a standing (protocol) order that if I come into the office at any time complaining of the symptoms associated with having a COPD exacerbation, that a predefined series of blood tests would be taken.  In addition, I would immediately be proscribed X drugs to be delivered to home.  My Mediport would be accessed before I left the office so I could administer the necessary IV drugs.  This avoids the emergency room and allows me to stay home for treatment.  I find this to be a BIG plus.

Let get the vitals out of the way for the week ending 04.18.14

  • INR = 2.1 taken 04/08/14 – next INR reading scheduled for 05.12.14

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 93 taken on 04.18.14 — avg daily is 92 for week

  • Peak Flow = 230 taken 04.18.14 – avg for week 220.

  • BP = 116/64 04.14.14 and 132/76 taken 04.17.14 – I will be damn if I know why there is such a big swing

  • Heart rate = 106 taken 04.17.14

  • Temp = 98.7 taken 04.16.14

  • Weight = 271.2 taken 04.14.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 4.18.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  This week I have chosen Hospice. The definition used in today’s post comes to us via http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hospice

hos·pice , noun – 1. House of shelter or rest for pilgrims, strangers, etc., especially one kept by a religious order. 2. Medicine/Medical a. health – care facility for the terminally ill that emphasizes pain control and emotional support for the patient and family, typically refraining from taking extraordinary measures to prolong life. b. a similar program of care and support for the terminally ill at home.

Origin:  1810–20;  < French  < Latin hospitium hospitium

Saying Hospice to a group of folks that could be, who are, or know someone who is terminally ill is kinda like dropping the “F” bomb in a completely inappropriate place.  But there I said it. I have had very little personal experience with Hospice or Hospice care.  If you had asked me a few years ago about it, what little I knew wasn’t positive, and could fit inside thimble.  My father passed away as they were moving him to a hospice bed, my Mom passed away after spending no more than a week under hospice care, and my friend Mike passed away after 5 days at the hospice house.  Of the folks I have known, Mike was under hospice care for the longest period of time, it may have been as much as his last 5 weeks.  Mom, Dad and Mike were all deathly ill at the time of their involvement with Hospice.  And because of this I have always felt that Hospice is only short-term, weeks not months, and surely not years of care.  Being honest that was my extent of knowledge of hospice. 

But Hospice care is much more involved that my naïve thoughts.  They provide a wealth of services not only to the patient but to the family as well.  And it needs to be understood from the very 1st their job isn’t to expedite your passing, but to make your passing as comfortable as possible for you and your loved ones and friends.  I have done a tiny bit of research and have found that Hospice has cared for folks as long as 3 years prior to their passing.  Hospice provides 24/7/365 medical coverage for the patient.   You are not denied life-sustaining medications, you are visited weekly by an RN or LPN, and your medical equipment needs are met.  Hospice has trained professional social workers, trained volunteers, Chaplains, and a host of other services tuned directly to the need to the patient.  In addition there is an extensive support network set up to aid your spouse, children or family, as well as, friends.  

Other important information to have regarding Hospice is that you can opt out any anytime, and opt back it, if the need occurs. Also you are evaluated on a regular basis (every 3 months by an RN, and every 6 months by a doctor) to see if you still meet the criteria for Hospice care.  In other words Hospice will OPT you out of the program if your health warrants; you’re not declining but maintaining an even level, or if your health improves.  Look at it this way, if you going to be kicked out of something, being under Hospice Care would be high on my list. 

Some of us may cringe when we hear the term hospice used about us.  My point is that in reality at the time we may need them the most, is when they will be there for your or me.  That we should do our own research, and become familiar with the program and how it will aid us (and our families) in our transition.  

As always thank you for indulging me as I have rambled on.  I hope you have a great weekend.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask, if you want to comment those are appreciated as well.  Take care, Bill

 

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 It’s a Matter of Music…. A Grandpa Tale

Good morning folks, I hope your Wednesday is starting off great, mine has.  Per my normal daily habit I was up and about at 6ish this morning. I was nebulizing this nebulizing that, and taking the rest of my morning medications.  As usual during this morning ritual, I was scanning my email accounts and Facebook. As I was scanning Facebook, throwing out some likes, I stumbled upon a post by a dear friend (Huntmode). She shared the following YouTube video.

http://www.thisblewmymind.com/street-musician-tipped-girl-happened-next-blew-whole-city-away/?fb_action_ids=10201782776426970&fb_action_types=og.recommends

Of course it was one of those staged flash mob video’s which I truly enjoy, because they just make me so damn happy.  So I am nebulizing and blasting this flash mob video, it comes to an end I am smiling, already it’s a great day, and I begin to explore.  Originally my intent was to find some more orchestra (flash mob) video’s and just sit and immerse myself in some classical music. So I jumped on YouTube, and immediately encountered the 2 Piano Guys, which if you haven’t discovered them I would strongly suggest you give time a listen. I just wasn’t in the mood for the Piano Guys this morning, but…… if you have spent any time on YouTube, on the right side of the page is a column of what could be related or similar video’s kinda if you like this you may like that…   Well I was going down the column and there were a bunch of 2 Cello video’s available, I had never heard of 2Cellos, but I recognized the title of one song from the get go, “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, and for those that know me, know that AC/DC is one of my favorite bands (maybe you didn’t know cause I do have hundreds of favorite bands), so of course I had to give it a view, and from that view grew this post.

I have attached (besides the inspirational video from Huntmode Facebook post) 5 additional videos from 2Cellos.  Two are from AC/DC, one from Guns & Roses, one from Michael Jackson, and finally one from Jimi Hendrix.  I know as sure as I am sitting in a black chair, in my office, that some of you can’t stand any of the bands I just listed, some of you love all of them, some of you are too young to appreciate Jimi Hendrix, and some of you are a mixture of all of the above, or for that matter none of the above. I know I now have a new appreciation for Guns and Roses LOL.  But if I could beg your indulgence, please do me this one favor and watch the “Thunderstuck” video. Angus Young (lead guitar for AC/DC) must be beside himself.

If you have any level of vivid imagination you can see the roots of rock: hardrock, grudgerock, acidrock, puckrock, in this video and besides it’s just fun, considering the setting, the music and most importantly the audience.  If this is the direction that elevator music is taking, I may ride elevators the rest of my life.

Thunderstuck – AC/DC – as covered by 2Cellos  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT3SBzmDxGk

Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze – as covered by 2Cellos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae23y2D8VSI

Welcome to the Jungle – Guns and Roses – as covered by 2Cellos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V7EugoweM4

Highway to Hell – AC/DC – as covered by 2Cellos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfGggAGITwg

Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson – as covered by 2Cellos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx0xCI1jaUM

Sometimes as adults when we listen to the music our children enjoy we scratch our heads and know exactly why the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Other times we are filled with joy, the fact is, it’s their music.  If for every Foo Fighters, we discover a group like the Piano Guys or 2Cellos, we are all gaining and we are all part of the every growing metamorphosis of music.  I know when I was a kid, my dad had a conniption fit whenever he heard us play the Beatles, or the Rolling Stones, or SteppenWolf (Dad destroyed my copy of their album when he heard the song Pusher Man).  I know I looked at my daughter in sheer wonderment when I found out she enjoyed rap, and even gangster rap, music I detested then and even now, though I will admit I have become a fan of Kid Rock.

Quickly jumping down from my soapbox. The point is I am offering you six videos for your enjoyment, if you don’t like any of them that is your business your choice, and I completely appreciate it.  I get it, I am just saying discovering 2Cellos has made my day, and has satisfied an itch.

As always if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask them and as always your comments are greatly appreciated.  Thanks Bill

 

 

 

 
29 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Music, Observations, Ramblings

 

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How I Feel for the Week ending 04/04/14……

For the week ending 04.04.14 I am actually starting this post in a timely manner, that’s not to say that it will be finished in a timely manner.  The memory of Louisville’s lost to Kentucky has not completely faded and I am not watching anymore of the NCAA tournament in fear that Kentucky may actually win if I watch. I am just saying that my 2 favorite college basketball teams are Univ of Louisville and any team beating the univ of kentucky.  Sidebar, we are starting today with Eric Clapton, from his blue’z times.  SOB continues to be the overriding health issue, also this week I felt I was in the beginning stages of another exacerbation and I was greatly concerned (and still am to somewhat lessor degree).  I did see the nurse yesterday, my lungs are clear, and the drippy nose, the nagging non-productive cough and the scratchy eyes are the result of the damn pollen.  But as anyone with COPD or for that matter any respiratory ailment will attest, these symptoms always cause great concern. My general health is okay, no aches or pains and I survived the dentist last week without even getting a lecture. As stated the most significant issue of the week has been the pollens, and the concern that caused me. Given all the relevant information I am going to rate the week a strong 2.5, or to please some of my readers a very very weak 2.75, you choose.  It’s really only slightly down from last week, but laughing it has been a difficult couple weeks.  All things considered when I woke this morning, I knew I was going to have a GREAT DAY!

Last week I spoke briefly of attempting to add mental health into the evaluation for the weekly rating and I am still pondering that. Sidebar, this talk of mental health has had me reach for Sarah McLachlan, go figure (but she has such a beautiful voice).   As most of you have long figured out I am the eternal optimist, and that alone has helped me so much over my lifetime, but even more so in recent years since I have fought this battle with COPD.  If my weekly rating were solely based on mental health (attitude) they would be around 4.5 on a regular basis, because to my knowledge there is only 1 perfect individual. 

Let get the vitals out of the way for the week ending 04.04.14

    • INR = 2.0 taken 03/24/14 – next INR reading scheduled for 04.08.14
    • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 96 taken on 04.04.14  
    • Peak Flow = 220 taken 04.04.14
    • BP = 127/86 taken 04.03.14
    • Heart rate = 108 taken 04.04.14
    • Temp = 97.9 taken 04.04.14
    • Weight = 271.5 taken 04.03.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 4.04.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  This week I have chosen Attitude. The definition used in today’s post comes to us via http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/attitude

ATTITUDE — noun —1. manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, especially of the mind: a negative attitude; group attitudes.  2.position or posture of the body appropriate to or expressive of an action, emotion, etc.: a threatening attitude; a relaxed attitude.

As much as I would love to share my attitude with everyone facing the challenges this and other terminal diseases brings to you, I can’t but I can and will be your biggest cheerleader, I can and will be the one patting you on the back telling you what a great job you’re doing and to keep it up. Sidebar, moving swiftly away from Sarah we are now enjoying some SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan) “Crossfire.”   I will be there to pick you up when you fall.  I also believe that attitudes can be changed. But like any other bad habit, changing your attitude takes work.  Smiling I have an abundance good attitude and if I could I would give you some of mine, but (smiling) you really need to want it.

As you know attitude comes from within. But no matter what your, going in attitude is, I think it is something you can improve.  When I played golf I sucked, oh I wasn’t terrible (well maybe a bit terrible), but it didn’t matter to me if I shot 83 (my career best), or 120+, I always found one shot that was good enough to bring a smile to my lips and reason to come back again.  A dear friend on the DS group used to post every day the one thing she found that gave her a reason to be thankful.  By her admission it helped her greatly. I always admired those posts.   Finding that little thing, or that point to be happy are small steps, but they build and build, and as they do so, so does your good attitude.  Clearly this is an over simplification, but it is a start.  But conversely if you have a bad attitude, no matter what you do that attitude shows thru, it shows in your conversation, it shows in your walk, it shows in your illness.  Sidebar, we have moved on to Toby Keith’s “How do you like me now?” We are finishing up our time with Toby with “Weed with Willie.”  And have moved on to Aretha Franklin, Brooks and Dunn, Matchbox 20, and Creed. Maybe I have spent so much talking attitude because mine has been down slightly these last 2 weeks but I see it on the rebound, just talking about it in this manner is a boost. Sidebar, I have my music on the “Random” selection I just went from Lewis Black to AC/DC to Five Finger Death Punch, tell me that won’t perk you up.  Of course you do need to like this stuff!  Okay okay, back to the point, Attitude will carry you.  And you don’t even have to be sick.  A smile and polite word will always get you more than a displayed crappy attitude.  If your attitude needs correction, take it in small steps.  Cause folks notice, 1st curb the old, heck it might even do you good to admit you know you have a shitty attitude and you are working to change it, so a little patience during the process will help. And yes during the change you will display some of that old attitude, smile acknowledge it, and keeping working on it.   If you have a good attitude great!! Smiling we need to work on that as well.  I just think the process is easier, if you’re starting with a good foundation.

Okay folks, most of you are saying he is just typing to be typing.  I will bring this t o an end with the Eagles blasting away.  I hope you have a great weekend.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask, if you want to comment those are appreciated as well.  Take care, Bill

 

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Moving the Household Step 3… A Grandpa Tale

Please refer to Moving the Household Step 1 for volumes (the 1st 2 paragraphs) of background information, posted on March 27, 2014.  Step 2 was also published on March 27th.

For those who have not been following along my wife and I moved our household from Northern Virginia to Florida in 2002.  To me it seemed like it would be a simple task. You contract with a moving carrier, they come on a defined day and pack your belonging (Step 1), then on the next defined date they come and load all your belonging into a truck and move it to the new address (Step 2), and finally at the new address they would unload the truck, setting up furniture, and putting clearly marked boxes in the appropriately marked rooms in the new home (Step 3).  The process as written here would appear quite straight forward and relatively simple, “NO NO NA NA’ to quote John Pinette.  Enjoy parts 1 and 2 to see what I mean.

We finished part 2 with me sharing coffee and donuts with the truck driver and his crew, who were, his cousin and nephew (Darrell and his other brother Darrell). Sidebar, we just finished listening to Five Finger Death Punch’s “Bad Company.”  That seems so appropriate. So without further delay let’s wrap this up.

Step 3: on scheduled move in date, the truck would arrive and unpacking and set up would begin and finish.  After coffee we discuss the plan for unloading the truck, we walked the house (each room clearly marked with big RED signs).  The furniture was to be brought in 1st and set up, followed by the boxes. I had an inventory of the boxes and would check them off as they were brought into the house. My job was to be the traffic cop, I would direct traffic, I would say this piece of furniture goes in this room or that room until all the furniture was off the truck and set up as I defined, and (of course I was working from orders from my boss).   Because the movement and placement of furniture was quite specific it was really hard to screw this up, but I will give Darrell and Darrell credit they tried their very best and were quite successful in many instances.  But after butting heads a few times the furniture was placed where the boss wanted it placed.  Sidebar we now have Gemini Syndromes “Stardust” playing. 

Now the difficult task was to start, each box had a number that corresponded to the packing list.  The list had a box number, and the room from which it came from the house in Virginia.  For instance the fancy plates and stuff were packed in boxes marked dining room.  The everyday plates were in a box marked kitchen. Loose stuff that was drawers of end tables in the living room were marked “Living Room” and on and on.

In my role as traffic cop, I stood at the front door, and as a box or 6 came thru the door I would mark it off the master list and direct it to the proper room.  I would look at the list if the box came out of the master bedroom I would mark the box 1 to correspond to the sign on the door of the master bedroom, bedroom 2 would go to room 2, and on and on.  This process seemed to work real well or so I thought.  Sidebar, we are now listening to 3 Doors Down. When they took their first smoke break, and I used that time to do a walk about the house to see how things were going, and I would find a box 3 in room 2 or a box 1 in the family room, and when smoke break was over I had them move those boxes to the proper room.  But with the sheer quantity of boxes and the furniture in the rooms, the rooms were becoming impassable. So I made a command decision that the overflow go into the garage. That first smoke break was the last time they took a smoke break together, from that point on at least 2 of them were bringing things into the house.  If I needed a break they just stacked stuff in the garage.  The problem was I was 1 guy with a list dealing with 3 guys trying to empty a truck as fast as possible. In all my years in management I had never really dealt with gentlemen with these skill sets and inability or desire to follow direction.  But then I was dealing with Darrell and Darrell.

As the unpacking continued I recognized a serious problem in the process. The problem was; that the boxes were marked by one person by which room they were packed. But they were packed into the truck by 3 guys according to weight and size without regard to what room they came from.  They come off the truck last box on, was the 1st off the truck. So rarely did 2 boxes come pass me going to the same room. Sidebar we have been listening to a selection of songs from the Byrds, CSN&Y, Buffalo Springfield and Charlie Daniels.  This kept me jumping all over the inventory list.  When the final box was off the truck, my checking of the inventory found there to be about a 20 box difference from what I checked off, and what was to be delivered.  So we had to painstakingly find those 20 boxes, after 45 minutes of searching I was satisfied that we had accounted for all of our belonging.  What a major P I T A!!!!

The driver and Darrell and Darrell started unloading the truck at approximately 7:15am they were pulling out of my driveway a little after noon. I was never happier to see someone leave my home as I was that day when they left.

This concludes Step 3. In the future I may actually write about unpacking over 100 boxes and the process for getting rid of all that cardboard and packing paper, not to mention what I discovered opening each box, it was like Christmas LOL LOL.  As always if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask. If you have any comments I would enjoy hearing them.   Please take care, Bill

This is my 250th post since starting my Blog in June 2012,  and it gives me great pleasure to remind you that my Daughter’s Blog “Burning Candles” debuts tomorrow April 1, 2014. It can be found at the link below.  Thank you for giving it a look. Take care – Bill

 http://burningcandlesblog.wordpress.com/

 
22 Comments

Posted by on March 31, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Observations, Ramblings

 

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Moving the Household Step 2… A Grandpa Tale

Please refer to Moving the Household Step 1 for volumes (the 1st 2 paragraphs) of background information, posted on March 27, 2014.

 It needs to be understood at this point my wife had already departed Alexandria VA for Tampa because her new job required her to be in town and available for in processing for new teachers.  In addition new teachers were required to participate in at least 8 or 10 days of pre-school year instruction.  I had been left to attend to the closing of the sale of our home, the managing of the move from this end, and the final cleaning of the house before we turned over the keys at closing. 

Step 2:  The moving truck and crew would show up at the allotted time and begin loading. The truck and crew consisting of the driver who was an older guy not skinny but not fit, with cigarette stains on his fingers and bright yellow teeth, and his crew, who were, his cousin and nephew (Darrell and his other brother Darrell), both big burly ex-football lineman kinda guys who were quite capable of lifting and carrying a small 3 bedroom house belonging and all, had driven an empty truck 600 miles to pick up this load and take it to Florida.  They showed up two days before the scheduled pack date, which was not scheduled for 2 more days (in essence 4 days early), calling me at the office demanding I allow them into my home to start loading the truck.  I explained to them that the packers hadn’t even got there yet so they would have to wait.  

Apparently the truck driver called the parent company to complain that the customer wasn’t ready.  The parent company then explained to the driver he was there over 2 days early and would have to park his ass somewhere while the packers got the house ready.  The only reason I know any of this is because the truck driver explained to me in quite graphic terms that he and his crew had been parked at a local motel for 2 days waiting to load the furniture and boxes into the truck. 

The driver must have been in direct contact with Josey because not 15 minutes after Josey and her crew departed he and his crew showed up.  The driver demanded that he be able to start loading the truck, to which I said, “Why are you in such a hurry, you can’t deliver the load at the Florida address until July 18, and it was only the 10th of July.” He responded “Well shit! I will have this stuff in Florida in two days.” To which I replied, “The contract I signed mandated that delivery would take place 5 days after scheduled pickup, you’re trying to pick the load up two days early, take it up with your company”. Grumbling he got back on his cell phone with the company office and again was told to cool his jets.  I allowed him to start packing the truck on July 11th, and he completed the packing that afternoon. I told him I would see him on the morning of July 18th in Florida.  He said okay, and they took off.  

I will admit that they seemed to know how to pack a truck, and they didn’t destroy any of our stuff.  After they were done clearing the house of all the boxes and furniture, I cleaned the house from top to bottom.  Having been in the Navy I had a lot of experience cleaning, that house was spotless when I was done.  Next on my agenda was closing the sale of the house.  Then I went to closing and completed that task. I then took off for Florida on the 14th of July.  I arrived early on the 16th of July, and that evening while having dinner with my wife my cell phone rings, it’s the driver from the moving company, he said he was parked in front of the house and needed access so he could unload the truck.  I told him that it wasn’t going to happen, that we hadn’t even closed on the house yet, and we didn’t have keys.  I also reminded him that he wasn’t even supposed to be here until the am of the 18th.  This redneck truck driver finally lost his patience with me, started cussing and telling me how time is money and how he and his crew were losing money on this deal, and on and on and on.  I told to take it up with his company, and that I would see him am on the 18th, and hung up and turned off my phone.  At 5pm on the evening of July 17th, again the driver called and asked if they could come and start, the driver’s tone was different and I said sorry but no, not until the 18th.  He asked what time could they start, I told them I would be there no later than 7 am, they were parked in front of my new home at 630 am when I arrived with 4 cups of coffee and a dozen donuts.  After the coffee and donuts, the 3 man crew began the unloading process.  So ends Step 2 of Moving a Household.  

As always if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask. If you have any comments I would enjoy hearing them.  Step 3 (the final step) will be short and sweet compared to steps 1 and 2.   Please take care, Bill

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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