Friday, June 27, 2008

Nite Blahs

Well, the girl is off on her big 10 day trip to North Carolina for a national conference on national affairs, followed up by a visit to Gettysburg and then NYC. Travel is all on a large coach that drives straight through with alternating drivers. She got herself all packed and organized IN TIME and without any parental prodding or assistance. Good for her.

Now it will just be us guys (sorry Sophie) batching it for a while.

Usually I prefer to have tales of our various family affairs to bore you with, but sometimes these pesky medical issues get in the way. This is one of those times.

I have been taken off of the experimental cancer drug due to low blood counts and hoped that yesterday's blood draw would show enough improvement to start up again. I continue to head in the right direction, but the counts are just barely too low to restart. So, I will have another sample drawn Monday or Tuesday and the results faxed down to the Mayo.

I am getting increasingly anxious about this because I am experiencing nightly bouts of night sweats and as of yesterday, low-grade fevers. This makes for a long and uncomfortable night.

I have also weened myself off of the sleep aides that I have been taking for the past two years. I was uncertain whether there were any long-term issues and decided to see if I could do without. I can, but it is a rocky path at the moment.

So, the past few nights have been marathon sessions of damp, twisted sheets, fever induced hallucinatory dreams, and frequent trips to the bathroom to empty an aging bladder. What a deal. I seem to be falling apart all at once, which from a design standpoint is not all bad. I struggle however in the acceptance of the process no matter how elegant it appears from a lofty, disengaged perspective.

Anyway, if I seem cranky to you, it's just due to lack of sleep, bad selections in Netflix movies (although I watched "Lars and the Reel Girl" last night and it was very touching), and sheer terror that I might have to finally face my mortality at last.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Sometimes you just think that you would be smarter by now. All of these years of mistakes and learning from those mistakes should add up to something, don't you think. I think so, but then, I don't seem to be a good example of that.

Tonight, I had both of my children sitting down for a family dinner for the first time in weeks. The evening was beautiful. We ate out on the screen porch and the neighbor did not decide to mow his lawn with the world's loudest riding mower. The burgers were good and the beans unusual. Pretty much perfect.

Until my daughter and I started in on one of our sarcastic banters, which started fine but before I knew it had swerved over into a mess of quicksand and emotional razor wire. This resulted in my daughter stomping out of the house and my son informing me that she was going to come back and kill me in my sleep. What a comforting thought.

Then, later, I decided to watch a netflix movie I had rented based upon its academy award nominating acting not really sure of the subject matter. The movie, "Away From Her" was a beautifully shot and acted story of what Alzheimer's can do to a relationship. A real pick-me-up. Sometime in the middle of that, my son came up and insisted that this was the right time to get him a cell phone. That didn't go very well either.

So now, here I sit, having pissed off both of my children and feeling emotionally drained by a film that would make Rachael Ray slit her wrists on camera it was so sad.

On the positive side of things though, I managed to mow the lawn without severing any vital utility. The house did not burn down even though I forgot to turn off the grill when the burgers were done. And the phone company guys came and buried the phone line without tearing up the septic system (or at least they didn't tell me if they did). Plus it was a gorgeous day with humming birds sipping at both feeders.

So I guess you have to take a balanced approach to these things. I already hugged my son and told him that I was happy he was home and I will do the same to my daughter if she comes home before I lose consciousness.

On the health front, I am still off of the study drug. My neutrophil counts are still too low to start up again. I will have another blood draw done later this week to see if they have improved further.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Serious Stuff

OK, a little bit of serious talk after all the zaniness of the past few weeks. This is, after all, a document of what our life as a family is like with a cancer in our midst. I sometimes hesitate to talk much about it, preferring to relate the more light hearted aspects of our days and usually I have ample material to work with.

But this is also a chronicle of our journey, and with that in mind I need to bring you up to date with some of the physical things that affect how I feel.

Most of you know that I have Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I was diagnosed fourteen years ago as of last Sunday. Fourteen years ago, I had a child who was four and another who was one. I did not know how much time I had to be with them and their mother who was my rock. I often wondered if they would remember me at all.

Those were hard times for my wife and I. So much was unknown. So much fear of what we could not see. Looking back now, things took a much stranger turn than we could have ever envisioned.

Now, I am the sole parent and provider for these two children who are eighteen and fifteen respectively. This fact makes my future stand out even more so, or so it seems to me.

As many of you know that I have NHL, you will also know that over the past fourteen years I have tried and exhausted the benefits of all but the most horrific treatments for my particular disease. It was with that in mind that I visited the Mayo Clinic last winter and was accepted into a phase II study for a drug called RAD001. I have been taking that drug every day up until last Thursday when I made my monthly visit to the Mayo for a routine checkup.

The results of my blood workup on that day showed that the vital measurements of my blood were now too low to continue the study. I will have another blood draw done this Thursday to see if they have come up after a week without the drug. If they have, I will continue the study at half dose until my counts come up further.

This in itself is not all that worrying. Other signs are more ominous. I am experiencing night sweats again. This is a classic symptom of NHL. It is symptomatic for a lot of other things too, but for me, they have always been a sign that the lymphoma is once again on the move. This alone is not a confirmation of that however, so I try to put my fears back in the box until we do another CT scan. It's a tough genie to try to stuff back into the bottle however and dealing with fears such as this goes right to the core of living with cancer. You must do everything you can to resist the relentless pull of the disease, to not give up, to keep searching for the positive, to celebrate the living.

I am not always successful, but I try.

I can't remember if I have written much about this next bit of physical decrepitude (I seem to be falling apart all at once), but I have been suffering from a pinched nerve in my neck that has been giving me symptoms that mostly affect my left arm and hand. This is a re-occurrence of a problem that first reared its head back in 2000. At that time I had an MRI of the neck and an electrical analysis of the nerves and muscles of my left arm and hand (the Saigon Torture Test).
The results showed a pinched nerve in my neck that services the left arm and hand, but no damage to either nerves or muscles. Physical therapy was proscribed and that successfully treated the condition until last fall.

At that time, I started getting the same symptoms as before, tingling and numbness of the arm and hand. We tried PT again, but it did not relieve the symptoms. Over time they got worse until I was having pain and weakness in my left hand - specifically the middle finger and thumb. This is not an insignificant problem because I am left-handed. This is made a little weirder by the condition of "trigger-finger" that is affecting my thumb.

I finally went to the doctor about it. We had discussed the problem before, but had to revisit it in light of the new, more severe symptoms. I was scheduled for another MRI and STT (or EMR in polite medical terms). I have now had both, and while I have not seen the official write up of the EMR, the doctor who was doing the torture said that it looked like carpal tunnel to him rather than a problem caused by the pinched nerve in the neck. This was good news because the surgical option for carpal tunnel is a whole lot easier than the one for a nerve problem in the neck.

So, the next thing I have to do with the hand issue is meet with a hand surgeon specialist and get his or her take on my situation. It could be that there will be two of us trying to recover from surgery this summer in this house. Oh joy.

So there you have it. A brief medical update. I'll let you know if the situation changes and you can ride alone in the co-pilot's seat.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Post Party, Umm, Depression?

Well actually, it doesn't feel depressing, but it certainly has taken a big hit out of my motivational git up and go. This is one of those days where I may lay down a time or two.

First, let me say that the party seemed to be a big hit in all the areas where it counts. The weather went between sunny, cloudy, a few drops, and back to sunny. It was neither too warm nor too cold. Everybody seemed happy with the food, drink and companionship. The kids were able to entertain themselves with a frisby and a bocce ball set while the adults bowed in adulation to the queen of the day.

There was a lot of running around between the hours of 8 AM and when the party started at 4 PM. It would not have come off as it did without the help of many people. There was the family (well, Dad) who dropped off about 20 tables and 60 chairs. There were the pre-party deliveries of pasta salads and container after container of bars and brownies. There was the person who helped me print off (AND laminate) the "No Parking This Side" signs (read, she did it all). There were the people who took it upon themselves to change the bags in the garbage and recycling bins. There were the offers to run off to the store for forgotten or exhausted supplies. Too many thankyou's to mention, but I do have a couple of special ones to say.

First to my sister, L, who arrived early, stayed late, and helped keep the show running inside the house. Second, to my neighbor and the queen's scoutmaster, S, who co-ran the kitchen and made an emergency run to the butcher's when the impossibly tall mountain of meat we started with threatened to run out (amazingly enough, shortly after the arrival of a pro-football player and his family).

I mostly wandered about in a daze, not quite sure if it was all really happening. I had hundreds of short conversations with so many old friends, always breaking away to welcome a new arrival or to bid adieu to a departing one. When not responding to an emergency that is.

We had a few.

While mowing the lawn early in the day, I managed to run over the temporary phone line that had been put in last winter. Amazing what a power mower can do to a rather stout set of wires. Well that meant a call to Qwest where I expected to be lost in phone-system-voice-mail-hell, but I actually got to talk to a real human who could speak a version of English that sounded just like mine, and she said that they would get someone right out there and fix it - no problem. WTF? Had I entered the twilight zone?

Meanwhile, I went out and McGyver'd a solution with a couple of electrical connectors so that we at least had service.

Then there came the running around phase where either my daughter or I was out picking up things. This went on right down to the wire. There was a bit of panic when it was discovered that one of the caterers did not receive the order placed on line, causing my daughter to have palpitations, but some quick thinking on her part and a bit of mapquest sent my sister off in search of the replacement food items.

Meanwhile, I had arrived home with the beer, wine, and ice which was immediately put into service turning my garden cart into a very large cooler on wheels.

Then the guests started to arrive and everything began to blur. About two hours later, I was still trying to find the beer I had set down two hours before, when one of the kitchen wenches popped their head into the garage and made frantic motions for me to come thither.

"We have a minor emergency," she said. I immediately thought that one of my relatives decided to settle a family feud while standing in close proximity with the knife drawer. Or that someone had fallen backwards over one of the stair railings as they attempted to take a closer look at one of the queen's many posted pictures. Or, the gas line had ruptured and we would have to immediately have to abandon the house (wheeling the beer in front of us, of course).

"What is it?" I whispered in a conspiratorial tone. "We're almost out of meat," was the response. "What will we do?"

Pictures of the Donner Party started reeling through my head. "Quick," I said. "I'll make a run to the butcher's" and get more. But more of what, I asked myself.

As I pondered this in the way that a slightly befuddled and addled old person might do, I was wandering vaguely in the direction of the front door, which was going against the traffic flow, and as any salmon will tell you, that's not the way to get to your destination. In fact, I kept getting distracted from my meat problem by new arrivals who needed greetings and small snippets of conversation before I was able to turn once again in my intended direction and take another step or two.

It was in this fashion that I eventually reached my daughter, who was holding down her position as the primary greeter with all of the fortitude of Davey Crocket at the Alamo. And just when I thought I had broken clear of the throng and I had the front door in my sights, my daughter said, "Dad, why is the septic alarm going off?"

What? She rolled her eyes in her particular fashion and said, "Can't you hear that?" And then I could. It was that dreaded sound that meant that at any moment we might have a new color combination for our downstairs carpet. What a good thing to be happening when we had several hundred pissing and pooping guests wandering about. That little incident completely knocked the missing meat emergency out of my head as I made a bee-line for the door and headed off through the hedge, across the bocce ball pitch (taking my life in my hands as the teens playing did so as if they were playing baseball and using the good old overhand technique) and then down the hill to where the "native flora" grew in jungle like profusion and the mosquitoes were larger than B57's.

Some of you may recall an episode last winter where I had taken the same path when our pump out pipe froze. Same place, different time. Off came the cover. Sure enough, the surface of the fluid below was high enough to float the alarm switch, and by the sound of the flowage coming in, at lease 100 of the guests had somehow squeezed themselves into the bathrooms and were pissing a volume equivalent to Niagara Falls. I think maybe a couple of homeless people had probably infiltrated as well and were doing their laundry amidst the festivities.

OK, "think" I thought, as I scrambled back up the hill pursued by a squadron of killer mosquitoes. What to do? Well, get a multi-meter and go back down to see if the electrical connection to the pump has juice. Better check the breaker boxes at the same time, and oh, better grab a beer.

These were the thoughts that were running around my head as I approached the house and suddenly there was a face in front of mine that rang a bell - something about meat, I thought.

"So, do you want me to go?" she asked. Go? No, don't go. I need you in the kitchen, I thought. What came out of my mouth was closer to "Gaaghhh"

"No," she said. "Do you want me to go and get some more meat?" Oh, ummm, yeah, sure. "Good idea" I said as I tossed her the car keys and pelted down the stairs into the basement in search of my multi-meter, my daughter screaming after me to "Shut off the fucking alarm."

In one room in the bowels of the house, I found my meter and checked the breakers. All looked good. Fuck I thought. That would have been too simple. Then to the utility room where the septic alarm is housed. I wrote in an earlier post about this shrill instrument of torture that must have been designed by an alien race of insectoid lineage devoid of ears. I quickly grabbed the screwdriver kept on the shelf for just such emergencies and immediately flung one of the critical screws off in some direction when I received a small but surprisingly effective jolt of electricity as my fingers strayed off of the wooden handle of the screwdriver and onto the metal blade at which time I discovered that standing bare-foot on damp cement makes a good connection to the earth.

Using a bit more care, I was able to finally disable the alarm and decided that now was a perfect time for that beer I mentioned earlier. And so I found myself eventually, back in the garage where this all started and attempting to reach the ice tub holding the beerskies while being accosted on all sides by those wishing to know what emergency had pulled me away from their company just a short time before, and why was I carrying a multi-meter?

After trying to make up a fresh and different story for every questioner, I finally reached the beer vault and snatched an icy cold one to fortify myself as I once again left the warm, convivial enclave of the garage with all of its gaily decorated tables for another run through the bocce gauntlet and a descent into the valley of the blood sucking demons.

It was there that I CAREFULLY unplugged the pump and stuck the multi-meter probes into what might be a high voltage socket as I knelt in wet jungle growth on damp ground in the now falling rain as a mosquito the size of Babe the Blue Ox stuck its hairy pipe into my ear. I was a little distracted to say the least, but not so much that I couldn't read the meter which said we had juice.

OK, we have power. The pump is plugged in, but not pumping. Pump is toast, ran my reasoning as I beat a hasty retreat from the swarming hoards of flying vermin. Now what? As I pondered this last part, I was just walking into the garage where scores of neighbors and friends asked what I had found out and could they help. And then when I explained the problem they all offered the services of the person standing next to them, apparently finding the honor of being lowered headfirst into a large tank full of sewage too great a one for them personally to take on.

It was time to call in the pros. And after approximately and hour of small conversations about why was I carrying a multi-meter and what were those large welts around my face, I eventually found myself in the relative quiet of my downstairs office, glancing frequently at the carpet to see if it were changing to a darker shade, and searching the internet for the phone number of my prevous savior - Tom of Tom's Sewage Service.

A quick dial hailed a human on the other end of the line who listened as I explained the problem. "Sounds like your pump is pooped," he exclaimed upon hearing my story. "I have a full load at the moment, but if you can hang on for about forty minutes, I'll dump my load and come down and pump you out. We can't get to the pump itself until early next week. That's a deal I said as I hung up and went in search of another beer.

I found the object of my desire after the now familiar routine of making forward progress at somewhat slower pace than your average glacier. And just as I got the cap off, a bobbing face caught my attention over by the garage door. There was the international distress signal used in the waving of arms and beckoning of hands. What now I asked.

"We're out of toilet paper," she hissed. I immediatly thought that perhaps I could use this as a delaying maneuver, an attempt at impeding the ever present flow of fluid falling into my quickly filling tanks, but then I abandoned such thoughts and went for my secret stash of TP, dispensing a few rolls in a begrudging fashion.

At some point later, we were greeted by the sound of a throaty diesel engine and the hum of many large tires. Yea, the honey wagon had arrived.

This event sent a jolt of energy through the crowd and we all rushed out to witness the ensuing spectacle. Several shots were taken of assorted revelers posed before this megalith of a vehicle. Somewhere about this time, the last beer was snagged out of the icy slush in the tub and the crowd immediately started to thin.

The hardcore supporters of the Queen stayed of for some time, but for the bulk of the guests, the honey wagon crowned a day of superb food and entertainment, and they decided to go out on top.

As for me, I thought it went well, despite the surprises. The Queen was happy. The food was good. My "el diablo" batch of pulled pork was the first thing to go. The libations lasted long enough, but not too long and the remainder of the evening slowly wound down. Now we will spend the next couple of days slowly returning our house to a house instead of a shrine while we go over to other people's houses and see what they have for entertainment.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


It's been almost a week since my last post, please forgive me. Is that how it goes? I'm not catholic so all I know is what I have seen in movies.

It's been a wild week. There have been graduations, grad parties, parent meetings, a trip up north where I left the boy and made a huge haul at poker, only to return home and face the fact that my daughter's graduation party is tomorrow and I had a boat load of things yet to do. And as luck would have it, I had an appointment at the Mayo today, which is where I am writing this from.

So, everything that I needed to do, I needed to do yesterday and just when I setttled in for a well deserved rest, a neighbor called asking if she could drop off a bunch of stuff for Friday's festivities. Well that led to a gin and tonic on the porch and a long visit and more gin and tonic's which led to a mini-marathon of Wire episodes that needed to be watched which led to a late night indeed and a somewhat subdued patient here at the Mayo.

They just drew blood and I am curious as to what the results will show as I was supposed to abstain from alcohol for the previous 24 hours. Oh well, I was never very good at following rules.

What I do know is that I am planning on a major collapse after tomorrow when my responsibility as the parent of a graduate is officially over. Phew, it's a lot of work. I'll let you all know how it goes and I will throw up some pictures on Flickr when I have recovered a bit.

Anyway, I wanted to drop a quick line while I was between appointments here. Ciao fer now.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Shit, I've never been tagged before. Now what do I do? And I haven't been ignoring this. I have spent most of the time trying to remember what I was doing ten years ago. As someone who frequently cannot remember yesterday, this proved to be a bit of a challenge. I've never done a meme before either. Where does that name come from anyway? What does it mean?

And without further ado, I commence:

1. What was I doing ten years ago?

I had to go back and do historical research on this one. I discovered that I was married with two children, a dog, a boat, and a mortgage. I lived in a quiet little neighborhood on a lake in the land of ten thousand lakes. To celebrate our heritage, we all set off in a van (rented) to drive around the "Big Lake," a journey that took us many days where we saw the giant tin goose of Wawa, the amethyst mines of Ontario, picked the locks at the Souix, and discovered that it is much harder to climb up a 300 foot sand dune than it is to fall down it in the first place.

It was a happy time and we were whole as a family.

2. What are five things on my list to do today?

1. Complete this.
2. Continue working on the food list for my daughter's graduation party next week.
3. Decide on what to load in the car for Monday's trip up north (moving one box at a time).
4. Mow the lawn if the grass dries out enough and it doesn't rain again.
5. Call the IRS and find out how to use my refund to pay some of my estimated quarterly taxes for 08.

3. Snacks I enjoy?

Fie on you for mentioning snacks. Aside from the huge bag of crinkle cut dill & sour cream kettle chips tormenting me at the moment, I don't do snacks (unless beer is a snack).

4. Things I Would Do If I Were A Billionaire?

Hmmm, what am I doing now? Probably not much different except that I would form a foundation with most of it. The foundation would support reading programs in elementary schools, reproductive education and choice world wide, contribute to the nature conservancy, and take glider lessons.

5. Three of my bad habits?

I procrastinate. I don't exercise as much as I should. I spend too much time looking at the 365 Project over on Flickr.

6. Five places I have lived?

Duluth, Houghton, Aspen, the Twin Cities, Banff.

7. Five jobs I've had?

You mean like in a day? I have been fired from more jobs that most people will have in two lifetimes. This question needs to be qualified like as in "jobs that sound neat, but weren't" (private investigator), or "jobs found while hitch-hiking" (carpenter), or "jobs where you sometimes passed out but no one caught you" (late-nite radio DJ), or "jobs where you had to advise clients on which street drugs were most reliable (drop-in center director), or "jobs you thought were going to kill you" (railroad gandy-dancer), or "jobs you knew would kill you" (merchant marine on the great lakes), or "jobs where you were the highest worker" (lift operator on the continental divide in Canada), or "jobs where you got paid for doing the same things that got you fired from other jobs" (industrial engineer). Listing five jobs might account for a month's time or maybe a summer if I was lucky. Except for the last one that is. I did that for 15 years.

Other's on the resume include TV cameraman, TV talent, model, actor, ski bum, singer/songwriter, social worker, artist, IT department head, busboy, soda-jerk, longshoreman, computer consultant, and porn store desk clerk.

8. How did you name your blog?

I started the Lightening Strikes Twice blog after my wife was diagnosed with a particularly cruel and nasty form of cancer in 02. I thought that having one parent in a family with cancer should satisfy whatever deities are driving this overloaded bus, but I was wrong. Lightening did strike twice.

There. Now you know a little more about me, but memes are like little parlor games that merely serve as introductions or distractions to more serious forms of communication.

I was pleased and touched that Crystal would think of me. I follow her stories closely, but comment only once and a while. I am not sure who to pass this momentous task on to. I have a pretty small list of blogs that I read on a regular basis. I will mention them here. If they choose to participate it will be their decision, but that does not take away their importance to me.

I will take them in the reverse alphabetical order that they appear on my bookmark list. First is Os who I came across about two years ago when one of the bloggers I read kept referring to Half Nekkid Thursdays. Os maintains a site that is a clearing house for all kinds of folks who decide for whatever their reasons, to doff some, or all of their clothes and hang themselves up for the world to see. That personal desire to somehow do something outrageous, or sexy, or artistic really tickles me and Os is the fulcrum of the whole deal.

Next is Tess, the Urban Gypsy. She leads a multi-leveled life that is so ordinary and mundane in some ways and so dark, mysterious, and other worldly in others. Her dark life is full of doms and subs, bondage and beating, and the playing with of toys of every description. She pulls me in and treats me to a world that I know nothing of.

The Radish King takes me to other places too, but in a very different way. This multi-talented woman seems to shift between the worlds that we know and can place on a map and other places that exist in dimensions far beyond what I call home. She does this with her writing, her poetry, her music, her art, and her hallucinations. I never know what I will find when I go to visit her.

Lime, of House of Lime, is grounded in the here and now of family, food, traditions, and the trials and tribulations of just getting through the day. She has a wonderful quality of common sense and is able to share a piece of her world with us through her writings. One day it might be an essay kicked off by something that popped out of one of her children's mouths. Another day might bring us a recipe for a dish from a far distant land. Another day might deal with the very real trials of maintaining a marriage, a family, a life in these times we are in. Plus, I know she does memes.

And lastly there is Kristie of Fresh on Friday's. Now limited to one post a week, Kristie dispenses wisdom and goddess hood from her home in the southwest. A musician, a lover, a writer of uncommon wisdom, she has a keen eye that sees the world in a very clear light. Another multi-talented blogger who has been known to pick up power tools with little training and attempt prodigiously difficult tasks simply because she wants to know how it is done. A talent found in too few of us these days.

So, there you are.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I had forgotten what it was like. I had one about eight years ago, but it was once again time for an MRI of my neck.

I have a pinched nerve in my neck - have had for some time. Eight years ago it was diagnosed but was successfully treated with physical therapy. About eight months ago (hey, what's with all the eights?), I started getting symptoms again. I would get a "dead, tingly" left arm when I slept. It usually went away upon getting up, but there were times when it did not.

Now, the tingly's have been replaced by pain in my middle finger and thumb, combined with restricted movement and weakness. Time to try to figure out what's going on. Hence the MRI.

The best way to describe what I experienced tonight was having my head put in a vice, a snug collar put down over my neck, earplugs put in my ears, and then being stuffed into a narrow pipe for thirty minutes while sadistic midgets danced around assaulting the pipe with jack-hammers. It did wonders for the headache I had. But this was the easy part.

Next I get to go to the "green beret torture chamber" where a grounding anklet will be put around my leg and then various voltages passed through my body via those cute little beaded bracelets you see in some grainy black and white photos of torture in the jungle, or mountains of the middle east. Take your pick.

Having done this once before, I can't believe I have signed up for it again. When the tech throws the switch, your arm starts thrashing around with all of the muscles spasming in an orgasm of pain. It's been said that there is a thin line between agony and ecstasy, but I can tell you now, there is nothing remotely ecstatic about this. And that's the easy part.

After confessing to every sin available, they take off the beaded bracelet and pick up a tray of needles which they insert into specific muscles in your arm and attach the electrode to the end of the needle that is not embedded in your flesh. Then Igor cranks it up. It's a good thing you are strapped down because otherwise you would rise out of the chair by the helicopter effect of your spastic arm until the electrode pulled loose and then you would murder the tech.

In the little brochure they hand out explaining this procedure, this is where they tell you that you might experience "mild discomfort." That little bit of lit must have been penned by one of the PR slugs that got fired from writing of the wonders of Abu Ghraib as a tourist destination.

I can't wait.

OK, enough complaining. It's worth it if we can figure out what's going on and (outside chance) come up with a solution.

Besides that, I made Batch 1 of pulled pork for my daughter's grad party today. It was very good but a bit on the spicy side. We will have to put a warning label on it or face lawsuits like the McDonald's crotch burn episode. I think I will have to make at least two more batches and I'll tone it down a bit on 2 and 3.

It's late now and I have to get up early to get my one remaining student up and out the door to school. The girl has totally checked out and got so bored today that she volunteered for thistle pulling duty. Better get her set up with a shrink appointment.

More later.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Where'd That Week Go?

I'm shocked. Absolutely shocked. There hasn't been a post put up in over a week. What's wrong with this? Snap to it.

OK, OK. I give in. I feel like Dorothy in the tornado. Things are spinning around and happening too fast.

Sometime this last week, by daughter had her last day of high-school classes. I haven't seen much of her since.

I rented a big truck, loaded it up with stuff I should have gotten rid of twenty years ago and spent an enormous sum to drive it all 150 miles north and put it in rented storage lockers. Then I spent two days moving stuff out of my Mom's old place - stuff they should have gotten rid of twenty years ago and either moving to one of my siblings houses, putting it in rented storage lockers, or bringing it 150 south again when I came home (no, I did not keep it. I foisted it off on a nephew and his wife to keep twenty years longer than they should and to move it unnecessarily over and over). Like passing the baton in a stupid human relay race.

Every morning I would wake up and feel like that truck had driven over me instead of me driving it. Actually, driving that truck could explain some of my pain. I thought my car had a firm suspension. That truck would shake me in places I didn't even know I had - like jowls.

Over all, it was a successful start to a marathon move that will occur in bits and pieces all summer long. Every time I go north now, I will fill the station wagon up with boxes and drop them off at my homes-away-from-home, the storage lockers, as I watch the transformation of the house up there into the vision that now is just ink on paper and mind dreams.

I saw, for example, what an excavator can do to a patch of woods in about twenty minutes. Boy, would I like to play with that. Wooeee.

The next step is to take receipt of the new roof trusses and tear off the old roof to begin the transformation. Oh, there is also the foundation and slab that needs to be poured for the addition. I have posted pictures of the excavator over on my picassa web album site here.

Meanwhile back at our other life, school is ending and the season of graduation parties has begun. For the next month, no kid will eat at home (or their home anyway) unless it is their turn to have their party. Parents too get to roam around, seeing how everyone else is handling their party. You can tell the pros. The ones on their third or fourth go around. Me? I have one in two weeks and the panic is starting to settle in. I am definitely in the minor leagues here. I was at one yesterday where they carved the name of the graduate in the front lawn through creative mowing. Shit, the best I will be able to do is arrange some weeds in the side forty.

Then there are the ones that are catered with uniformed servers and stuff. I am planning on making the food myself, thereby guaranteeing a faster turnover of guests and no hanger's-on at the end.

Then the dilemma of whether to offer alcohol in some form for the adults. Personally, I don't see how I'm going to make it without. Perhaps a locked room somewhere, like a key club, where only the special few gain entrance. I don't know. Send me your stories and advice.

And in closing, remember the deer story of last week? The critter above showed up the next day, thereby perhaps explaining the odd aggressive behavior of the doe.