Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tagged (again) lol...

Connie Jane nailed me this time, and since it's one that I've already done, I am going to try to answer differently where I can (there are only so mahy in some categories, sorry...a rather boring person I guess).

4 jobs I've held:

Instead of the "resume" like last time, I thought I'd put some of the jobs I've held at GM over the years...

1. When I hired in I was assigned to the "prime booth" as a painter. I hand sprayed the top of the firewall, the inside and outside of the front and rear door window rails, around the opening for the "backlight" (rear glass) and the inside of the deck lid (trunk lid). I made the mistake as my fingers started to swell from pulling the trigger on the paint gun of counting how many times I pulled it per car, times 549 cars a night, 6 days a week, and promised myself I'd never do that again!

I tried wearing a respirator about a week in because I was coughing up paint, my nose was coated with it inside, food was losing it's taste, etc.. After about 3 hours the valve in the bottom of the mask was "sticking" because it was coated with the lacquer primer we were spraying. About that same time I sneezed, and thought my eardrums were going to burst; I gave up the mask!

I did my 90 day probation there, and was lucky enough to get "bumped" out by a girl trying to go to dayshift. I was never so happy to be bumped in my whole life! We shut down for Christmas and it was a 3 days before I quit coughing up paint and blowing it out of my nose, and a week before my taste buds started to wake up. The only good thing about it was I didn't have a cold the whole time I worked in there, probably because a virus couldn't live in all the lacquer that was in my lungs!

2. Wax dip operator. They made a machine to coat the inside of the fenders with molten wax to help keep them from rusting. The fenders were hanging on a "carrier" and rolled in to a stop station, and these two tanks of molten wax raised automatically to dip the bottom 10" of the fenders, then lowered. They planned it as an unattended operation, but when the tanks lowered discovered that they had to assign people to clean the wax off the paint on the outside of the fenders! It was a sitdown job, a rarity, and lasted about a year before they decided to have a single operator spray the inside of the fenders so there was no clean up.

3. Bondrite operator. They used a spray phosphate system to "etch" the metal before it was primed to help rustproof it and help it hold paint, along with cleaning it. There was one system for the car "body" and another for the "sheet metal" (hoods and fenders). Each had 7 different "vats" of solutions that had to be monitored, using chemical tests; some you had to shovel soap into, others you had to set pumps and change 55 gallon barrels. You also had to wear a respirator (most of the chemicals were carcinogens and toxins) and look inside to check the spray nozzles. I learned the job when I was the "trainer" for the group it was in (you had to know and be able to do each job in that group, there were 23 of them at one point), then as we transitioned to the "new" plant I'm in now and the operators moved, I took over the job for the last 6 months we were in the "old" (what started as the North American B-25 plant, bought from the government after WW2 by GM) plant.

4. Material stockman. Right now, I drive a forklift, I have 15 different parts, some in "racks", some in fiberglass boxes. 3 different kinds of "rear window" glass, 5 racks of "shelfboards" (the panel below your rear window), 3 racks of "cowl screens" (the grillwork under the back edge of your hood, right and left wiper arms, the rear wiper arm for the hatchback and the motor that drives it, a roof glass for the hatchback, a small carpet panel that goes in the trunk, and 5 boxes of "carpet retainers". My forklift has a radio monitor on it, and when an operator reaches a pre-determined number of parts left, they are supposed to push a button that pops a message on my screen to tell me what they need. Most of my parts are 20 to a rack,
some are 23, a few are 40, two are 112, and one is 108. Since the multiples are close to 20 as well, I get very little peace...

For each of these I have to go pick up the full box or rack, climb down and open it, drive to the job, remove the empty, set in the full, then return the empty to a location for a dock driver to pick it up so it can be shipped out. For the parts that are close to my area, it's about a 4 minute cycle; for the ones that are further away, it's about 8 minutes to change one. I haven't counted it on my current job, on my last one I counted 140 times a night up and down off the forklift just to handle parts, not including the times I got up and down for my own reasons...(and I said I wouldn't ever do that again, lol).

Now for the more boring stuff:

4 places I've lived (not much I can change here, very boring life)

1. Kansas City, Kansas 1955-1973

2. Imperial Beach, California 1973-1978
a. NAS Imperial Beach

b. USS Kittyhawk (WestPac cruise '73-74, the one after the riots)
(Hawaii; the Phillipines; "Yankee station" off the coast of Vietnam; Hong Kong; Singapore; Mombasa, Kenya; the Persian Gulf, first US carrier there; then home again via the Phillipines and Hawaii)

c. USS Ranger (EastPac shakedown cruise out of NAS Alameda)

3. Kansas City, KS 1978-present

Four TV shows I keep up with:

1. How I Met Your Mother
2. Courting Alex
3. Freddie
4. Gilmore Girls

Four shows I'd watch again:

1. China Beach
2. Northern Exposure
3. Casey Jones (Alan Hale & Dub Taylor, in repeats when I was very small)
4. Twelve O'Clock High (the early ones with Robert Lansing)

Four places I'd rather be: (this one I can't change much)

1. Yorkshire, England for 4 seasons (Bronte country)
2. Spending a summer slowly crossing Europe from England to the Amalfi coast in
3. Table Rock Lake, Missouri
4. Spending a week with each person on the list at the right!

My music list:

1. Joni Mitchell "Miles of Aisles" (live recording of 1974 concert)
2. Gerry Mulligan and Dave Brubeck, the Berlin concerts
3. Gerry Mulligan "The Paris Jazz Festival, 1954"
4. Louis Armstrong, "The Complete Hot Fives and Sevens"

Some are the same, some I changed where I could. Time to shower, eat and go to work again! Hope you are each having a wonderful day!


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Photo Sunday...

Just a quick post; busy weekend and family party tomorrow. Finally got to see King Kong today on the big screen before we did the shopping. Very glad I did, good movie! Had me to tears at more than one point and crawling backwards out of my seat at others, lol!

This is from almost two years ago, at work at break time. A friend brought his digicam in and I asked him to take this as I thought it might be the only way I'd ever have one of me mounted up. I weighed in the mid 260's at the time; that winter it crept to almost 290, and then I had my "incident". I was wearing 56 bibs then because they were the only thing that fit, and by winter was in 58's...

My sanity is hanging in the back corner of the cage, over my right shoulder...

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Recipe Saturday!

Quick and easy, I've used this marinade for grilling chicken, salmon, ribs, "country style pork", portabellas, skewers of button mushrooms and peppers, or just skewers of button mushrooms. I've also used it for broiling salmon in the oven. It seems like no matter what you use it on, it comes out great! I've used this at least 2-3 times a month for the last 2 years, sometimes several times a week...

Italian Marinade

1/4 cup lemon juice (or orange juice, though I've never tried it)
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 envelope of "Good Seasons" Italian Salad Dressing mix
3 Tbsp. of Vodka (optional, and again, have never tried it)

It's not a "soak" marinade, just brush it on or dip your chicken in it and hit the grill...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Flu 3, Me 3!!!!

The plumbing seems to be "cured" for time present, as do I. I made it to the "fitness center" (the gym at work) today for the first time since last Thursday, and when I hit the scale I was under 200 for the first time since the holidays. Not that I would recommend losing weight the way that 5 pounds went (or did I lose it from wrestling with the plumbing after...hmmmm?). "Thrashed" my legs for two hours, "felt the burn" but not like I have sometimes though I'm doing more excercises, more sets and more weight.

I keep reading things that say if you don't "hurl" on leg day you didn't do it right; being a person who never hurls except under the influence of way too much alcohol (long since given up for that reason and others), I only got a bit nauseous and wondered what I am doing wrong. After two hours, I left instead of trying to do treadmill time so I could shower and eat when I got home and not have to "rush" to get out the door to work on time.

I left the plant, crossed the front sidewalk, stepped off the curb and my right leg was so wobbly it almost gave out! Guess I did better than I thought!

TGIF (and I don't have to work tomorrow)!


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Flu 3, Me 0...

I've had what would have passed as a pretty good winter. Of the 4 or 5 colds that have passed through the family (kids, grandkids, wife) I've only had one, slightly, thanks to lots of Echinacea and using Zicam when I felt something start. Thanks to a flu shot I had missed rounds of several bugs as well.
Last week my wife started complaining of odd aches and pains, then her hands swelled visibly. By late in the week she had picked up a cold to go with her flu, and she saw the Dr. last Friday and got antibiotics. She used 3 sick days along with her two days off and is finally on the mend...
I worked Saturday, and when "the runs" began thought it was just a matter of having cut down how much I was eating, trying to get back under 200 again. By lunch at 9 that night I knew it wasn't that at all. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who can hurl a couple of times and get "it" out of their system, as for me things always go the other way and take 4 times as long to get through! Sunday was spent watching a bit of TV and running to the bathroom. Monday I chugged two bottles of Kaopectate and went to work because I knew they had been short on people all last week; thank goodness they had extras and sent me home. The "liquid cork" let go about 7 and in the next 12 hours I went through two "triple rolls" of Charmin. That's on top of the 2 that went on Sunday...all down a 54 year old sewer line...
Tuesday I felt better but wasn't sure it was over, so I called in sick. That night when we were running laundry, I heard the toilet gurgle (one of those uh-oh sounds in this house) and got busy with the plunger, flushing and plunging until finally things were working again. Then I filled the tub and the sinks, trying to force as much water down the line as I could to "push" whatever it was the rest of the way to the city sewer line. As the plugs were pulled, the toilet flushed and the washer cycled again, all was fine...for about a minute. Then there was a gurgle, a rising tide, and before I could run to the basement to shut off the washer, the tub was filling, the toilet overflowed, and as I ran through the basement doorway I was running through a waterfall as it all came through the floor.
Once the tide stopped rising and had receded a bit I went up on the roof, in the dark with a plumber's snake, and started snaking the sewer line through the roof vent. I worked the 50' of snake down, and at the end pushed something out of the way, just like last time, just past where the washer and sump tie into the line. Things flushed, water ran, the laundry ran, and after spending several hours scrubbing, mopping, and spraying and running the laundry (the towels we diked the upstairs floors with) all seemed fine. Having been through similar issues with the sewer line about every other year or so for the last 15, I truly was relieved I had won the battle again.
We showered, watched some TV, she went to bed, I came here for a while, then went to sleep. I didn't want to go the gym at work when I hadn't gone to work last night, so I slept in and leisurely watched TV and got ready for work.

Tonight I called home at lunch time and was told that the toilet started gurgling again, but she beat the rising tide to the basement, and this time it only rose a bit into the tub.
I was going to come home tonight and try working two "Drain Kings" into the sewer line and then using the sump pump to "force" whatever the problem is out to the street, but as I laid my plans while working I heard a voice saying "don't screw with the plumbing when the stores are closed". My Dad? My dad-in-law? My brother-in-law? My Grandfathers? Maybe just common sense kicking in after 50 years?

I'm not sure, but I'm heading to bed very shortly, and know what I'll be doing when I get up...and hoping it doesn't involve another "sewey-water" fall!


UPDATE: 2:30pm Thursday

I'm not going to declare victory; in hindsight, even if I've won this battle I know I'll be fighting it again in 18-24 months until I either get the f*** out of this house or replace the sewer line to the street. At this point, though, the washer has pumped out once without backing up, and the toilet flushes; the washer is filling a second time now. I have just enough time to clean up, pack my cooler and eat before work, so things are a bit brighter this afternoon than they were last night...
Replacing the line would be done already if I could do the work myself and pay a plumber to make the connection and inspect like every other county in Kansas. Mine says you have to pay a licensed plumber to do the work, and they don't like digging trenches!
Thank you all for the kind comments. I was hoping to give you all a chuckle with the thought of me playing in the "sewey water"...or at least a feeling of "glad it ain't me!".


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Dad at Table Rock, 1968

Early in the week I tried to write a piece about my Dad for what should have been his 79th birthday last Monday. I couldn't; someday perhaps...

My happiest memories of Dad involve the summer vacations we spent fishing. He was bass fishing before it became "hip". He and Mom honeymooned in Minnesota at Squaw Lake in 1951, the summer after they married. He bought a Sea King (Montgomery Ward, made by Evinrude) 5 horse motor for $75, they took it and rented a boat. From the early 50's every summer had a week spent at Bull Shoals. I was fishing off the dock with a cane pole before I can remember, while Dad fished alone or sometimes with a guide or the resort owner, sometimes the owner's wife would watch me and Mom would go along as well. The biggest bass I have ever seen Dad caught with my cane pole after he came in from a days fishing, right under the dock I was fishing on. She had been there all day, he had seen her before he left that morning, and if I had caught her she'd have probably had me...she was over 8 pounds! (I was 4 or 5 at the time.) He turned her loose as she was on a nest.

In '62 I got my first casting reel for a good grade card. That summer Dad rented a camper to go on his '62 Ford pickup and we went to Roaring River and tried trout fishing, then came back to a campground called Stormy Point on Table Rock, just outside the entrance for a new recreation park called Silver Dollar City. It was one block square, it was free, you parked in front of the 1881 hotel, and it cost a quarter to go through Marvel Cave. That fall or the next I was surprised to have it show up on "The Beverly Hillbillies" and know I'd been there!

In '64 he convinced Mom that I would be safe fishing with him in a boat if she let him trade his 12' "cartopper" Arkansas Traveler for a 14' and a trailer. He had already bought a bigger outboard, and bought one of the earliest "trolling" motors to go with the new boat.

In 1967 we started going to Table Rock every summer instead of Bull Shoals, Dad and I fishing early and late; during the day we would take my Mom and sister and go to Silver Dollar City, "Old Matt's Cabin", into Branson to ride the "Sammy Lane" excursion boat on Lake Taneycomo...Branson was just beginning to grow. Uncle Ike's Post Office (from the book "Shepard of the Hills") and his house were still open; his son (a character in Harold Bell Wright's novel) gave you the tour; my copy of the book is autographed by him. The only "show" there was the "Foggy River Boys" and I'm not sure they were there in the very beginning. Another treat was shopping at a discount store that had just opened there, it was Sam Walton's 3rd or 4th store...

Every summer we would spend one week of Dad's two weeks at Table Rock, then spend a part of the second week in Texas at his Mom's. We always made a day trip to Arlington to go to Six Flags "to give Grandma a day of peace" although the way Dad, Mom and Grandma got along I suspect it was more for Mom and Dad...lol!

After I left for the Navy, the vacations continued. Dad would fish alone or sometimes Mom would go with him if she was speaking to him that day; my sister took girlfriends along for the day trips. When my wife got out of the Navy and we moved back here, we started renting a double cabin and it was Dad and I fishing again. Back when my sister and I were in school, he always had to wait until school was out to go fishing; every one at the resort or the tackles shops would tell him "you just missed the spawn, the fishing was great". Year after year we heard this; now we could go and time things "for the peak"! We went for the last week of May in '80 if I remember right. We got there at noon on Sunday, the weather was wonderful, it was warm, the water was great and the fishing was good. As we figured out the patterns we thought Monday was going to be great, this was going to be the best trip ever!

We got up Monday morning and it was 34 degrees, and it stayed cold and drizzled for the next 4 days. We still went fishing, and at times had ice growing off the rod eyelets...and never caught a fish!

This picture isn't great; it was shot by me from the bow of the boat as we were heading out from the resort dock with the rangefinder Argus Dad gave me when he bought his first SLR. I was trying to get him and the dock, and not used to the rangefinder parralax. Dad was evidently swallowing some of his ever present coffee as I tripped the shutter...not a good pic but a lot of memories.

I still have the old '64 Lone Star 14 footer we were fishing in. When he moved on to plusher and bigger bass boats, I kept it and the two old outboards and fished them for a number of years. The last time he and I fished in it together was Father's Day of 1982, about 6 months before he started getting sick. We went to a power plant lake that was about an hour from home, not heavily fished at the time and we fished it every chance we got in between my work weekends and our photographing weddings. His knees and back didn't like the bench seats anymore, but I talked him into it for old times sake.

We went out in blue skies, worked our way down the lake plugging, and ended up way at the north end of the lake, 15 or 20 minutes from the ramp running the old Sea King 12 horse outboard he had bought in 1954. It started to cloud, and finally we heard thunder as we wrapped things up and started to head back down the creek to the main lake. It started to rain, then the skies opened and it poured. As we turned onto the main lake it was in whitecaps, running between 2 and 3 feet, and the boat was starting to fill with enough water that for the first time I ever remember I pulled the transom plug to let the water vacuum itself out as we made our way down the lake.

That power plant lake seems to "draw" lightning for some reason, and I tried very hard to stay in the middle of it as the lightning was "walking" down both sides of the lake. The swells were big enough I had to go past the ramp to the dam and find slack water in the "lee" of the dam to turn the boat towards the ramp rather than risk swamping the boat by turning her in the swells. With both of us completely soaked, as I backed off the throttle to swing towards the ramp, I grinned at him and yelled "Happy Father's Day!"

He just looked at me and shook his head.

Neither of us knew then there would only be one more Father's Day, and that it wouldn't be nearly as Happy!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Were we ever so young?

As I stock at work, I have a radio hanging in my forklift. This afternoon on NPR they mentioned a website called You Tube.com. The reviewer said he had spent countless hours there since he found it watching footage of his favorite bands, and that all you had to do was go there and type in the name you were interested in. You don't get to download and keep it, only watch, and there are no fees because it's all public domain; if anyone claims a copyright, the footage is immediately removed.

The reviewer said his favorite so far was T-Rex "Get It On" with a very young Elton John on keyboards (so young he still has his own hair was the rest of the comment).

Of course, I had to come home and try it; typing in Joni Mitchell

Then as I watched my eyes misted...my throat choked up...and I smiled! As I tried preview to make sure I had learned STB's lesson properly, it happened again, but this time a tear or two flowed as well. I don't know what it is about Joni, but she touches me every time...

The next one I tried is here if you are curious...

(Just what I needed, another place to spend time!)

The other cool thing I've found in the last few days was courtesy of Yahoo and a story about "The Fillmore". The website is called Wolfgang's Vault and if you click Vault Radio you get the session recordings, live from the Fillmore and Bill (given name Wolfgang) Graham's personal archive! Of course there are lots of things for sale as well...as I write this Chicago is playing live, from 1968...and as I close it just became Delaney and Bonnie from my birthday, December 29, 1970 with Eric Clapton!

It's like a dream!

Thank you STB for making this possible!




Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Why doesn't it surprise me...

As I was reading the news last night, I ran across a story on the BBC news page about them DNA testing what may be the remains of Joan of Arc. (Someday I'll figure out how to make a link that works, forgive me!)


The part that horrifies me is about 2/3 of the way through the page...

"Dr Charlier said Joan of Arc was burned three times on 30 May in 1431, following her trial in the Normandy town of Rouen. She died of smoke inhalation."

3 times...and didn't die from the burning, but from smoke inhalation...

Then I think of all the other burnings through history and am even more upset than I have been for years at them!


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you are here and reading this, then you are someone dear to me, and I wish you the Happiest of Valentine's Days. In the short time I've been here, I've found kindred spirits, beautiful souls, and some people I can't imagine not having in my life; I am blessed to know each of you! Each of you has shared a bit of yourself with me and in doing so made me a better person. I have tried to give you each a piece of my heart to do with as you wish. Life is too short to try to go through it without sharing love when you have a chance to, and so unashamedly I say I love you each...


Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Place I Love...

This is Vermont, where my wife of 30 years was born and raised. I've made many trips there, falling a bit more in love each time. Last time was 2 summers ago along with my first digital camera.

Above is Camel's Hump, one of the landmarks of the state. Another view below-

Brookfield, where her father was raised is famous for the bridge across Brookfield Pond; this was our first new car ever, with her driving across-

She was raised not far from Brookfield, and just down the road from Baker's Pond; the house is her cousins, and as the road goes out of frame on the right it goes over a ridge and down into "The Gulf", one of my favorite afternoon drives ever, and where I've asked her to spread my ashes when my time comes-

It almost doesn't matter where you go, there is a view!

That seems to be the limit Blogger will let me upload of photos; hopefully they will brighten a few mornings and warm a few other ones!

Happy Photo Sunday!


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Dreams and passions...

Years ago I had a series of affairs. They lasted for about 8 years; there are times I have a hard time not rekindling one of them even today, though the costs would be astronomic.

My first was a '71 Yamaha 650, and we lasted a couple of years, '73 to late '74. For a while I was solo, then came a '58 Triumph, a basket case that took about 5 months to assemble and sort, just in time to take my wife and I on our first date (and cause the 2nd when she had to borrow her cousin's van to come pick me up, broken down in Balboa Park, San Diego). Later, there was another '58 that was for her, and a '47 Speed Twin 500. When our boys were 1 and 2 I had a couple of close calls, and she asked me to give them up until the boys were grown, which made sense like most of the things she's ever asked of me. People here forget how to drive between rainstorms, let alone when they don't see something for months at a time!

This is my long winded way of introducing you to a movie I saw last weekend, a lovely little "art house" flick about "The World's Fastest Indian". We went to it Saturday evening, though it was a work day for her because I was afraid it might only be around a week, like so many I end up missing. Instead, I found out they had sold out two shows, and the line for ours started forming an hour before showtime! It wasn't quite a sellout, but close.

Anthony Hopkins is great, and so much of the story is true that the little bits of Hollywood thrown in don't detract from it. No, it's not "Good Night and Good Luck" or "Syriana". It's just a heartwarming story, told and acted well, about a man witha passion for speed and a dream he has to follow. Would that I had a tenth of his courage!

If you have ever had an affair with anything mechanical, or loved someone who did, I hope you get to see this!

I tried to put a trailer link in for this, but Blogger didn't like it; still a lot for this old dog to learn here, sorry! Instead, here is the IMDB page, and it has a trailer link if you are interested:


Trying for that trailer again at 3AM:


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Grandpa "Fritz", WW2

My Mom's Dad, born 1905. Named William Frederick after "Buffalo Bill". His last name was Miche, when I asked once, he said his family had come over from France to escape the Huguenot persecutions. He worked various jobs through the 20's and 30's, delivery routes, meat cutter, and then operating heavy equipment building the levee systems here in Kansas City under the WPA during the Depression. When WW2 broke out he tried to enlist in the Navy, but was told he was too old; he then went to the Seabees and with his experience they took him immediately. He spent the war building airstrips through the Marshalls, the Gilberts, New Guinea, and other Pacific Islands.

After the war he was hired by the Santa Fe Railroad as an engineer. I have a 16x20 of him taking the last steam locomotive out of the Kansas City railyards in the 50's. When I was 6 he took me down to the switchyards with him and let me ride engines, visit the different buildings and meet his friends. I also got to go to the "beanery" where all the engineers hung out for lunch...very fond memories!

Always a baseball fan, I remember him taking me to a Kansas City Athletics game; I didn't realize how big a deal it was at the time that they were playing the Yankees, or that Maris and Mantle were playing...I was only 7!

Grandpa was a Mason, and a Shriner, though he worked so much he wasn't "that" active as a Shriner. I remember him taking me to the Shrine circus here in the early 60's and being absolutely starstruck; Moe Howard and Larry Fine were there, I think with Joe Besser! Never did I think that I would actually see "The Three Stooges" in real life!

That was about the time "Urban Renewal" took their house, and they moved out of Argentine, into a new suburb further south. My parents bought a lot around the corner from their house, and we built and moved there in '65; the two houses were within sight of each other across a (then) vacant lot. My sister and I were around the corner a lot, and as I got a bit older I mowed and shoveled snow for them. They had a huge backyard that was where our annual 4th of July family get togethers began.

Grandpa always took all the hours he could get, putting his name on the "extra" board, working 18 and 20 hour days and having so many hours that he would get 3 days off in a row instead of 2. I remember him driving to Emporia to pick up freights and bring them into Kansas City, then take another back and drive home, making over 24 hours by the time he was done.

Christmas of 1970 rolled around and Grandpa decided to put in his retirement papers. Grandma wasn't working anymore then, and it was time to enjoy life. He planned on hunting some, and got a new 12 gauge Remington for Christmas that year. He put in his papers the first week of January, effective the 1st of February. The third week of January he had a stroke, a major one and he was paralyzed on his right side from then on. His arm never worked again, and it took several years before he could walk with a cane by himself. The inactivity combined with his Pall Mall "reds" gave him emphysema which he battled from the mid 70's on. They still took vacations, usually by train, and I drove them to California once to see his brother in Long Beach and then brought them down to San Diego where they stayed with us for a while, before taking the train home. In 1977 they gave up their house and moved to a retirement apartment.

He and Grandma stayed on their own (her story another time) and after she "left" in the summer of '79, we begged him to come live with us, but he said Grandma had made him promise not to burden the kids. We tried to convince him that meant Mom and her sister, not the Grandkids, and that he wouldn't be a burden, but he wasn't going back on his word, and put himself in a nursing home. His mind was still very active, and I bought him one of the early "pong" games because it was something he could do with his "good" hand, and he loved playing it with us, the rest of the family, or anyone else who happened by.

The nursing home was fairly close, but getting to see him more than once a week was hard with me working nights and weekends. The rest of the family, Mom, her sisters family, etc., all visited, but you could tell it wasn't the same. The emphysema had him on oxygen most of the time as his health slowly worsened, and in late 1980 he slipped away to join Grandma.

I still miss him...


Thursday, February 02, 2006

One year ago today...(a cautionary tale)

I slept late, as we were working these long long hours then as well, and I was exhausted all the time. I woke up, took a shower and as I stepped out of the tub felt a little "tick" or "thump" in my lower right back. I thought nothing of it, got ready and went to work, by lunch time I almost couldn't walk, took an "early out" and came home. In the middle of the night I woke up because I needed to pee, tried to sit up, and put myself in such terrible pain I almost went right there. I tried several more times to get up, various ways, and finally gave up and crawled to the bathroom. Once there, I got my hands up onto the tub, then worked them up onto the vanity, and then to the toilet tank and managed to "go".

The next day I went to my Dr., got muscle relaxers and pain killers; I had an old back injury that flared up on occasion and thought it was just that. I burnt 3 vacation days, went back to work the next Monday, and ended up the same way again.

After several weeks of tests, scans, etc., it was decided it wasn't a disc and I should see a physical medicine doctor. When I got in to see him (almost a month after this started) he said it was a stress fractured ligament, due to the old injury that had never healed right, and that my weight had set it off. I started therapy, and finally went back to work the end of April last year. The therapist started a learning process that continues both about nutrition and my body; I am forever grateful to him!

My weight at the time was 288; I'm only 5' 8"...
My waist was 58", so you can imagine...

Today, I'm at 198, my waist is 34". The last time I weighed this my waist was 42" or 44", but weight lifting has rearranged some things, and cardio is trimming off the excess.

It wasn't that I wasn't concerned about my weight, but it wasn't important enough to deal with; somehow crawling to the bathroom changed that!

Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks?