A Lesson in Spatial Awareness

In case you’ve been looking for me, I apologize for not keeping things up to date. I’ve been in a coma.

It happened a couple of days ago when I was working in the basement on a cabinet that Diane requested I build to put above the refrigerator. There was one there before, the there was a tiny refrigerator under it so it fit nice. The refrigerator Diane wanted was much taller so the cabinet had to go. It’s been gone for 9 years and she wants it replaced. With something. With anything, actually.

So, we bought a door at the Restore Store that had glass in it and was just 3 inches shy of being wide enough and was spot on for the height. My task was to build a box on which to mount the door so it could be nailed to the wall.

While working up to this project things were getting shoved around in the shop and the new door fell over, breaking the glass. Thankfully, the Restore Store actually had two of the doors so I rushed right over and forked over another $2.75 for the second one.

Having both doors created an interesting situation because of the shape – one side was curved but the other one was square. Not curved on the outside, but curved on the inside in front of the glass. Diane asked if I could make both ends the same so I investigated the joinery and decided I actually could.

First thing I did was cut the straight section out of one door and the curved section out of the other one. I knew I could do it because the wood was not joined like normal cabinet doors, but with dowels. The goal was to make both ends square. It turned out to be a very simple process. I rejoined the severed pieces using a biscuit because they are move forgiving than dowels so I was able to line the pieces up just exactly right. If I remember, I’ll take a photo and show you.

After the door was glued up and started looking for 1/4″ plywood for the box I was going to make and discovered that it’s one items I didn’t have much of. While in the process of searching all the locations where I store wood, I found something that seemed like it would do the trick As luck would have it I had to bend over to extract it from the wood pieces that were trapping it against the wall where it was leaning. When I finally got it out I turned to my left and didn’t wake up until this morning.

I don’t recall what time of day it happened, but Diane said she got worried about me when I didn’t respond to her announcement that dinner was ready. Food gets my attention and I normally respond right away. She said she decided I was too busy to be bothered with food and went ahead and ate her portion while it was warm. I don’t blame her and probably would have done the same thing.

After eating, she said she went downstairs to see what I was up to and found me laying on the floor, blocking her path to her Girl Room. She noticed the dent in my head right away and dialed 911 for help. While waiting for the EMTs to arrive she said she moved me around a bit and discovered a small pool of blood under my head but, since head wounds typically bleed profusely, the small amount she found mad her think the injury probably wasn’t as bad as she first thought.

The EMTs confirmed her suspicion and she said they just shook me until I woke up. They said that was the best thing to do in a situation like this because giving any kind of stimulant could mask other injuries. A stimulant might also create a situation where the bleeding wound may increase in volume which was a bad thing.

I opened my eyes eventually, so it apparently works. Finally, she saw my eyes were open and quit shaking, loaded me up, and transported me to Portland for further review. I don’t remember any of this, of course. The doctors told me about it the next morning after taking some pictures of my head, looking into my eyes with those incredibly bright tactical flashlights, and conferring clandestinely in corners. Since they couldn’t find anything wrong mechanically, and I was responding to all their questions in a seemingly rational manner, they were on the verge of turning me loose. Then the hospital administrator rushed in and told the attending doctor that he was behind on his admission quota and admitting me for one more night would put him just over the line, salvaging the bonus he was counting on his new Mercedes.

So, they put me in a medically induced coma and told Diane that she should go home and come back the next day.

This morning they pulled out the IV, gave me back my blood-stained clothes and said I was free to go. Not knowing what else to do, I went to the waiting room, and there was my Bride. She gathered me into her arms and pampered me briefly as she asked me what it was I’d done. Not knowing, I couldn’t answer so she thought I couldn’t talk and started yelling for the doctor to explain why I was in the waiting room. Finding my voice, I explained that they said I was fine and could go home. So, home we went.

When we got home the first thing I did was eat the dinner that was still sitting in the microwave, keeping warm. After not eating for about 35 hours, I was hungry. Putting you in a coma does not stop you from getting hungry. It’s a myth.

Then I went downstairs to see if I could figure out what happened. Turns out the cabinet I removed from above that little refrigerator is the one I hung on my shop wall and is currently used to stow my routers. When I turned after the wood discovery, the side of my head ran smack into the sharpest corner on that cabinet, puncturing my head about 1/4″ deep, and causing considerable bleeding from the new hole about two inches above my left ear.

It’s 10:30 pm now and, except for a brief nap this afternoon, I’ve been awake for a long time. I’m tired, and I’m going to bed. First, I’ll admit that I embellished the events surrounding my injury just a bit but what you just read has to be far more entertaining than hearing that, because I wasn’t spatially aware of my surroundings, I whacked my head on a cabinet and it bled a little bit. Right?

Diane gave me ice and a sandwich and everything was good. There were no EMTs.

My Brain

I guess it’s time to come clean with the results of the CT Scan of my head. That was administered at 0945 on Friday the 13th. It took us an hour to drive to the hospital and took about 2 minutes for the tech to do the test. That meant we had lots of time to do ‘stuff’ in Portland. First up was breakfast at Elmer’s Pancake House. From there I don’t remember what we did. Shopped, I think.

Apparently that short CT scan worked because my doctor left a message on our home phone at 1110 requesting that I call so she could talk with me about what the scan revealed. Since we were roaming around Portland I didn’t listen to the message until we got home, after the doc’s office was closed. Then I had to wait until Monday because I didn’t want to talk with the office’s answering service over the weekend.

I have to say that I was a little concerned hearing from the doctor so soon after completing the test, and that allowed my little brain to go through all kinds of gyrations and permutations about the possible results. Seeing all that going on im my infected head put me into overdrive which just made it worse.

So, I had Diane take me to town and drop me off at the Pastime Tavern and told her I’d have the bartender call her if I didn’t think I could walk home. She was happy that I didn’t just take the truck, like I’ve done many times in the past. I quit doing that when they moved the jail from the old court-house to the Sheriff’s Office on Old Portland Road. The old location was better because it wasn’t such a far walk for her to come bail me out. So, she dropped me off and I’m sure she was hoping I’d just forget our home phone number. But, I fooled her because a long time ago I had the number tattooed just above my left knee so I can read it when I’m sitting in the bathroom.

The evening of Friday the 13th, however, didn’t result in an arrest. Nope. I just sat around talking with people, drinking beer, playing pool, and pushing away all the touchy-feely women who seemed to think they could make it all better. Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t put up with that kind of undisciplined behavior and I told them so. The fellows to whom I was kabitzing thought for sure that CT Scan was going to turn up something really terrible because at least 4 of the hand on ladies were easily 2BB’s. That’s code for 2 Beer Beauty. It means that after only 2 beers she’s a keeper. Normally it takes 7 or 8. So I’m told.

Anyway, after talking with the guys for a while I just decided to walk home and save Diane another trip. I’m that kind of guy, always looking for ways to make things easier for my one and only Love. Yes sir. I’m that guy.

On the way home I stopped by Diane’s Mom’s (Jean’s) house to use the bathroom but it was late and she wasn’t up. Fortunately, her property borders Milton Creek and it’s dark back there so I decided to take advantage. I didn’t have a choice, really, because Mom’s house is about halfway between the Pastime and Home.

The creek was rolling along nicely, and lots higher than normal with all the melting snow and rain, so I was very careful when I approached the water and made my way to a flat cemented area. I went there because I figured the rocks along there would be slippery and I’d no doubt wind up falling into the water.

Falling in wouldn’t really be a problem because the creek really isn’t very deep. It was, however, flowing very fast so dealing with the current would have been a challenge I didn’t want to face. That, and I really didn’t want to get wet.

As I was relieving myself the lights went on in the house directly across from where I was exposing myself. Before I could put myself back together I saw this bright flash that caused me to lose my place in space. The result, of course, was that I fell in the water and was swept away on a fairly long winding journey to the Columbia River.

I did everything I could to stop my forward motion but nothing I grabbed would hold me. I just managed to rip things from the banks as I swirled and swiveled downstream. Giving up isn’t normally my nature, but I decided to just relax and enjoy the ride even though it was dark and I couldn’t see much. That really didn’t matter, though, because most of my relaxing was staying afloat so I could continue breathing. I’m a fairly good swimmer so it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. At this point, I have to admit, that it really scared me when I fell and I’m sure I wet my pants. By the time I made that realization, it was a moot point because I was wet all over.

After rushing downstream for 15-20 minutes, it kind of got to be routine so I was pretty sure I would make it to the Columbia, and calmer water in pretty good shape. I got so relaxed with all the bumping and such, that I pulled my iPhone 7 out of my hip pocket. I was surprised that it was still there, to be honest, and I was very happy to discover that it really is water proof. I turned it on and checked my email as I glided under Highway 30. Then I opened bejeweled which really relaxes me more. Currently I’m on level 221 and I have 6,055,170 points. That’s an absolute truthism.

Finally, just as I finished another level, the current took a brief turn for the worse as it intersected with the Columbia, and I made an abrupt left turn towards Astoria, 62 miles away. I closed up my phone and returned it to my hip pocket and planned my escape from the river at the St. Helens Marina down by the Old Court House, where the jail used to be.

Staying afloat on my back, to conserve energy, I made paddling motions that would aim me for the docks. Knowing that the current could easily suck me under the pilings, I remained very alert as I approached the first dock, but got sucked under it anyway. Luckily, that put me into calmer water, but I still banged my head on one of the boats that always seem to be parked there. By the time I came to my senses I’d been sucked under all the docks, and 11 of the 13 houseboats that populate the marina. At the 12th houseboat I became entangled in a net that halted my progress downstream.

Getting out of the water in that flimsy net was a real chore and I know I was making a horrible racket. My thought was that perhaps someone would hear me and come to my aid. They eventually did, but only after I made it all the way onto the deck of the houseboat.

The owner finally came out to see what was going on, saw me, and went right back inside to get his gun while I just lay there trying to catch my breath. I was pretty tuckered out so I wasn’t too concerned about the gun.

Standing there, pointing his pistol at me, the owner looked around and discovered the net that had saved my life. His eyes went wide and he yelled at me, “You ruint mah net!” which, in fact, I had so I didn’t argue. I figured the manner of his speech and his excited manner didn’t have room for me to try to explain just exactly why I was laying there on his deck. Next he got his phone and called the police to report me as trespasser which is a terrible crime in St. Helens. At one point, while talking to them, he covered the the microphone portion of his phone, leaned toward me and said, “What’s yer name?” I promptly said, “My name is Doug O’Peal, but you can call me Jerrie.”

“How the hell do you get ‘Jerrie’ out of Doug O’Peal?” he bellowed in a questioning manner.

“It’s my mother’s maiden name,” I replied, calmly.

“Your mother’s maiden name was ‘Jerrie’?” he asked, with his eyebrows raised.


“What’s her first name?”


“Diane Jerrie?”


The conversation, such as it was, deteriorated from there until, finally, the police arrived to find us verbally engaged with the guy still holding his thumb over the phone’s microphone. I guess he forget he was on the phone with the police. They weren’t happy about it, either, because they came in full tacitical assault mode, not knowing what to expect. Lots of flashlights and yelling people. Soon the contents of all 13 boathouses were standing on the walkway connecting all the houses to the shore and it quickly devolved into a party.

Five of the guys got out their guitars, a little blond highschool girl dragged out a complete set of drums, and one of the wives just happened to have a huge bass fiddle. The hoedown was on.

While that was going on I told my story to the police and it was evident they didn’t believe much of it because, I had to admit, it was a bit far fetched. So, just to make it easy on themselves, they cuffed me and hauled me away for trespassing, and for ruining this guys illegal gill net. After depositing me at the jail I have no doubt they returned to the marina to participate in the party.

Jail was no fun at all. I never is no matter how many times you wind up there. It always sucks. The only really good things about it were I got to take off all my wet clothes, I discovered that I didn’t have any contraband stuffed in my butt, and I got a nice set of clean orange overalls and a pair of socks.

I’m just gonna skip to the chase right here and get to the really bad part of the evening. That’s when I had to call Diane and ask her to please come bail me out again. She wasn’t really surprised but I was surprised when she agreed without any negotiating at all.

After all the paperwork was done, I was released into Diane’s custody. They let her keep the handcuffs and she made me wear them the rest of the night, chained to my table saw in the basement. It was not a good night.

I made it through to Monday, chained to that saw, and she finally let me loose to use the bathroom and to call my doctor about that CT Scan. Instead of talking with the doctor, they made me an appointment for Wednesday the 18th at 0725 in the morning. So I waited. Patiently.

On Wednesday, at 0725 in the morning, I was at the office and talking with the doctor. She’s really great, and I like her, so of course she’s moving to another state to practice medicine and I have to find another primary care. But, that’s not important here. She told me that they didn’t find anything catastrophic on the scan, but they did find some (insert really complicated Doctor Words here) that are common in people my age. She converted the doctor words into something I could understand. Apparently I got many small areas of dead blood vessels in my brain, none of which indicate that I’ve had a stroke, or that I’m failing due to alzheimer’s disease. I just have little shrivled up veins that aren’t a concern.

Really? Dead blood vessels in my head and I shouldn’t worry? Well, OK. I won’t worry. What’s the point? It is what it is and the only downside, apparently, is that the areas damaged in my brain are important to those who don’t wish to be injured. That’s just a guess, of course. I definitely have the injury problem but I think it’s in my genes, not because of some little dead blood vessels.

So, there you have it. My brain is fried.

I’m sure no one is surprised.


OH – PS – none of the foregoing is true except for the doctor’s analysis.

Our Friend, Jim Holmstrom

It’s a sad time. Jim’s gone. When he departed our mortal plane two days ago the world lost another really good guy.

During my time at PGE I had the great privilege of working with Jim for most of my 21 years there. He started as a contractor and quickly segued that into a full-time job as a very valuable asset in the IT department. We worked closely together while he was a contractor but, in my head, I never really considered him to be anything but a fellow employee. I admit, however, that I always took advantage of opportunities to remind him that he was “only a contractor.” When he was hired on full-time I reminded him about those humble beginnings from time to time. It was always in fun, and he understood that. I never considered us equals, ever, because he was way more capable as an IT tech than me. He knew I felt that way which made it OK to dig him about being a contractor and I think he enjoyed pretending to let me think I was in charge of some things once in a while. I really wasn’t.

Jim’s first love, after Val, was working with the Boy Scouts. I think he held the world record for volunteer hours spent on their behalf. I’m talking many hundreds of hours a year. I have no doubt they also feel a void in their lives.

Many of the old TAL group are still working (thanks for keeping that Social Security coming in) but they have all moved on to different jobs. Still, I don’t think any of us had a firmer bond than with the TAL group. In the past we maintained contact with casual gathers, mainly during Christmas time. I think Jim’s departure points out a need for us to gather more often, perhaps for no reason at all.

So. When’s lunch? Debi, Nancy, Cliff, Becky, Terrie? Love all you guys.

PS – is Thursday Starbucks still observed?

Tile Tracker

For Christmas I bought us these Tile Tracker gizmos because we (me, mainly) are always looking for our phones or car keys. The Tile seemed like a good option to try defeating this recurrent search routine.

Whats really neat about them is that using the phone you can find the Tile that’s on your key chain. Conversely, you can use the Tile on your key chain to find your phone.

Sounds like a great idea, right? Sadly, there are no instructions on how to find either the phone or the keys if you can’t find either one. Logic says just use the house phone to dial-up the cell phone, like we used to do. But, when you have the Tile, that’s not allowed. It’s against the rules.

Now I must wait until one or the other reappears before I can be a fully functional human again.

Did I Turn Left, Right, or go Straight?

I’ve figured out what’s going on that makes me appear to be off-balance and cause me to walk into walls.

It has to do with our multi-dimensional universe. What’s happening is this – when I turn a corner I partially step into another dimension where my leg, on the side I turn towards, is a bit shorter than I’m used to. For instance, if I turn left, my left leg moves into the other dimension as I turn the corner, then when I move to take a step forward, the shorter leg causes me to move to the left instead of straight. Once I realize what’s happening, I return to normal. Well, kinda normal. The same thing happens when I turn to the right, with my right leg.

The reason my leg seems shorter is, I suspect, because by not transferring completely into the other dimension, which is normally transparent to the traveler, my body is a little out of sync with what I perceive to be the natural order of things. It’s been proven, somewhere, that when a body completely transcends the boundaries into another dimension they are replaced in the vacated dimension by a duplicate that chose a different path.

It’s only logical that dimensions are accessed when we come to a point where we must make a decision. In the one that to you is reality, you turn one way, your duplicate does not. Look at it as if you split into two people at the point of decision and you actually go both directions. You do this over and over throughout a normal day and never realize it. Until you get old and apparently lose the ability to completely transfer your entire body in the direction you chose.

I only know when this happens to me when I go to look for something right where I know I left it, but it isn’t there. It’s not there because I’m in another dimension. There are two ways to return to the proper dimension where the missing item dwells. One is to dwell on the misplaced item to the point that you become fanatical about your inability to find it. Eventually the nature of dimensions gets tired of your whining and returns you to the proper place in space. The other way is to just ignore the loss of the item because you know it will be returned at some point in time.

Oddly, no matter which choice you make, whine about it, or forget about it, it takes the same amount of time for the universe to right itself. I’ve timed it so I know this is true.

OK. I know. Sounds crazy, right? But, I am unable to prove me wrong.

Now I’m going to intentionally transition into a different dimension by going to bed and commence to dream about that other reality where one of the other me people traded all that ENRON stock I had for Microsoft and Apple stock before it all disappeared. I’m doing really well in that place.


Chaos and My Brother

OK, folks. I just gotta tell ya that winter is getting old around here. We wound up with about 12 inches of snow a few days ago after multiple sub-freezing days, and it’s still here. This morning it was 12 degrees out there at 6 when my bladder alerted me to an urgent need. The dogs, of course, were rarin’ to go plow through the snow in search of critters that may have passed through the field during the night. The cat, however, doesn’t have any interest in going out to play in the snow. I don’t think she’s been outside for three days now. We think she’s kinda hibernating because she sleeps all day and all night and hardly eats, except for the residue from our yogurt cups. So, she’s ingesting only what she can use to ensure there’s no need to poop. Wish I could do that. Sleep all day, I mean.

Bottom line, this isn’t  very Oregon-like weather for our neck of the woods. Ya, I know … we don’t live in the woods, we live on the outskirts of town. I should have said that, “our neck of the outskirts of town,” I guess, but it just doesn’t have the same ring.

Twelve degrees! Maybe I should talk about something else.

Since most of my time has been spent inside I decided to tackle some inside projects that have been hanging around for a while. OK, for years. Considering my predilection for leaving tools in exactly the last spot I used them, it’s hard to find stuff sometimes. Well, like all the time, actually. I go in my shop and look around thinking that, “One day I’m going to straighten this all up.” Well, making a committment to work on finishing some projects makes it a necessity now.

The first thing I did was sit down and make a plan, listing all of the things that needed to happen to, say, saw a board in half. The ‘board’ in question is actually one of six I need to cut to finish the oak trim around the three windows we had Anderson install a couple of years ago. This is the lumber I have left to do them, but I need two 1×5 12′ boards for the big window. Ignore everything except the nicely stacked boards on the folding table up front.img_1553

Before looking for the boards, I had make room on the floor so I’d have a place to put all the stuff I’ve piled on the saw since the last time I used it for building Diane’s pantry drawers. That table saw will hold a lot of stuff.

The stuff on the floor included two or three Avon box lids full of all sorts of screws and bolts that I’ve not been able to part with over the years. I sat on the floor and went through them all, pulling out only the ones with phillips heads, or the shiny ones that need a flat blade driver. The rest I dumped into an empty Avon lid. The ones I kept went into a much smaller bucket. The assumption is that I’ll eventually find that bucket during the final stages of this cleanup.


Then I removed everything from the work bench I started modifying in 2008. I removed the top boards, which weren’t fastened down, to eliminate that tempting horizontal surface. My original plan with that section of work bench was to make it as tall as the table saw, which it is, so I could use it as a outfeed extension of the saw. That would make sense if the bench wasn’t against the wall so now I’ve decided to lower it more and make it 29 inches high so I can sit at it and do stuff. That means I need to take it apart so I can trim off the excess. I’m talking about that thing in the back with the green paint on it. It used to be a ping-pong board.


To trim off the excess means I need to unload the saw. To unload the saw I need more floor space, or another table, on which to stack it. Or, I can just add it to the other side of the work bench and no one will ever know.

Before I can use the saw I will need to remove all the excess stuff to Diane’s room so she can go through it to see if there’s anything of interest to her. She can’t do that right now because she’s busy going through old magazines so we can take them to recycle. She’s been doing that for about a week. There were lots of magazines but she’s done an excellent job and now there are just a few. I went through some of my magazines, too, and did purged most of them.

My ultimate goal for the work benches, both sides, is to build sliding draws, shallow ones, that will hold stuff I’ll actually use. That’s where most of the stuff in boxes on the floor is going to go.

Do you see this vicious circle I’ve created for myself? It’s just terrible, but I’ve made it work. I just want it to work better now that I’m more infirm and prone to dancing sideways once in a while. Extra stuff on the floor doesn’t help that at all. If I used my cane like my doctor ordered I would be better off, but that would leave me only one hand to stack stuff. Here’s some more chaos that I must deal with.

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Then, when all that has gone away, I must find time to do something with these old windows I salvaged from the old house we moved out of in 2007. Yeah, they’ve been in the basement that long.


Yesterday Diane and I braved Highway 30 and drove to Portland to honor my appointment for a CT scan at Good Sam Hospital. It took us about an hour to get there, normal, and it wasn’t a terrible trip. Lots of ice on the road making it pretty lumpy. From the time we parked in front of the hospital until we were back in the truck was a total of about 20 minutes. The scan took about 2 minutes. The rest of the time was spent walking to the imaging desk, and checking in. The scan was ordered to see if there was anything in my head. I’ve had them before and, at that time, there wasn’t anything there. That should confirm what a lot of you may think about some of the things I do and say. Nothing there.

From Good Sam we headed to Hillsboro for breakfast at Elmer’s, then, thinking ahead, we went to Costco for toilet paper which we knew we’d need as soon as we got back home. The toilet paper and ‘other’ stuff only cost $400! It snowed at Costco, too.


The trip home was tricky because Cornelius Pass is closed so road crews can remove all the trees that succumbed to the extra weight of snow and ice. That meant we had to take Highway 26, bad on a good day, all the way into town to hook up with I-405 then Highway 30. I was driving or I would have taken photos.

We stopped and visited Diane’s Mom, Jean, before going home to make sure she wasn’t out of food and that she was weathering the storm OK. She was, and she’s in good spirits. A tough Lady for sure.

By the time we got home the dogs had been alone for almost 8 hours, and the cat was sitting on the front porch. The cat was not a happy camper. We didn’t know she was out when we left. Maybe she’ll start checking in and out like the dogs do. They never get left outside.

When we got home Diane insisted that ‘we’ give Panzee a bath because she smells terrible. So we (I) took her to my shower because it’s got a low threshold so I didn’t have to pick her up, and it’s a confined space that she can’t escape from. It was touch and go for a while until she discovered that the warm water felt pretty good and rubbing the soap into her incredibly thick fur was pretty much like great massage. Then she relaxed and allowed me to rid her of much of the odor she carries arround with her. The only way to make it all go away is to shave her bald, but Diane won’t let me do that until spring.

Then I cut her toenails and made one of them bleed so much that I’m sure she now hates me. Once I feed her it will all be OK. I had to follow her around the house for about an hour wiping up bloody spots until it finally stopped. I felt pretty bad about it and will most definitely be more careful the next time. Please don’t turn me in to the ASPCA.

Now some good news about a bad thing regarding a topic about which very few of you are aware. My older brother, Jack, was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. How long ago, I do not know. I just knew something was different but it wasn’t something I was going to grill him about. That would have been counter productive, so when we talked I did my best to avoid negative issues. We talked and argued like we’ve always done.

After the initial diagnosis it’s my understanding that it was presumed that the cancer was in his bones and lymph nodes. With this news he and Wynette made their way south on a scheduled trip to Arizona to visit with their Grandson and their new Great Granddaughter Kelly. It’s my belief that nothing could have delayed that visit.

For some reason he recently had to get different health insurance. In order to get tests he needed he had to have diagnosis from an in plan doctor. So he started over with the preliminaries. Finally, last week, he had a bone density scan and a CT scan. The end result, after all that insurance company hassle, he was told his cancer is confined to his prostrate. Not in his bones. Not in his lymph nodes. We are all incredibly happy about those findings.

Yes, there are still mountains to climb on Jack’s journey, but with these recent findings his mountains just aren’t quite as steep, or tall. They’re manageable and he’s tough as nails. His family and friends will continue to pray for his health and understanding about what is going on in his life, and we plan on witnessing a miracle when it all just goes away.

Please join us in that effort.


More Busy-ness and a little snow

I failed my doctor’s balance test a few days ago which resulted in three referrals to seek a cause. Apparently old age isn’t one of them, yet. The big one is a CT scan of my cranium to see if there’s anything in there worth worrying about, then a visit to an ENT guy to thoroughly check my ears, and finally one to my favorite neurologist to see if he can consult the CT scan for a solution.

Regarding the balance test … my doctor had me walk corner to corner in the small exam room and I had to turn around when she told me to. I did that just fine but the first step I took went a little side ways every time. See, I’ve known that was a problem for a long time but I overcame the problem by walking slow, turning around slow, and waiting for my head to catch up to my body on all turns before taking that first step. Works great. Yesterday when all the snow started piling up Diane wanted to know how deep it was outside the big garage door. So, I bent over with the ruler, did the measure, then almost went headfirst into six inches of snow. Totally lost it. What a rush. The snow, incidentally, is up to 10 inches now. Here’s some scenery for your next Christmas card …

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Cancelled my thumb surgery that was scheduled for Monday morning. That saved me a few weeks of physical therapy. I decided it didn’t hurt nearly as much as my shoulders and they are still functional. As long as it remains opposable, it’s good. I’ll just grit my teeth a little.

Cancelled installation of a new crown and saved $928. This was to fix the tooth that ejected its inlay not long ago. Doc Grimm glued it back in but said there was a little decay under it so would need to be fixed sooner than later. I decided to go with “later” and figure it will last another 10-15 years which should be good enough.

Water pipe connection failed on the supply line to our in ground sprinklers. Sadly, it’s between the meter and the house so it was pretty much running full-bore all night. Nifty. Can’t wait to see the next water bill. The part that failed was a plastic 90 degree PEX connector. I replaced it with a brass version so that won’t happen again. I had to hazard the snowy streets of St. Helens to visit ACE for the necessary part. Once home it took about 30 seconds to fix it. I Love PEX.

It took me a long time to get my photos uploaded so what should have been a simple exercise in making photos available for download turned into an all day event. But I did it. During all that time it snowed off and on bringing out total to around 12″. Most we’ve seen around here for many, many years. What fun.

Now I must stop.

I’m a Busy Guy – Update

It’s been a few days since visiting with you because I’m just a busy guy. Busy watching TV, busy napping, busy counting my carbs, busy researching things I have absolutely no use for, busy napping, and busy making sure Diane doesn’t get mad at me. I probably work hardest on that last one.

You may think that’s because I’m afraid of her, or that she’s just plain mean, but that’s not the case at all. She’s my best friend and confidant, and I just want to make sure she’s a happy camper all the time. Sometimes I do stupid things that go against my best intentions, but I never do hurtful things on purpose. So, as age progresses, so does my need to concentrate more diligently on doing the right things, all the time.

One of the difficulties I encounter every day, in that regard, is curbing my tongue when opportunities strike to point out a perceived flaw, or mishap not of my making. Mostly I’ve done that to deflect attention from myself because I have more flaws, and more mishaps than anyone I know. So, I’m really trying to add a little pause in my thought process to help avoid spontaneous, thoughtless output. It’s working better all the time.

Now, let’s talk about other stuff, like my right shoulder. And my left thumb.

The shoulder is pretty much trash, now. I believe I mentioned previously that my bicep tendon completely disassociated itself from my rotator cuff a few days ago which, really wasn’t a big deal because there was no pain involved. Then, when I forgot about it I moved in a way that created a situation very similar to when I first injured the shoulder in 1971, or 1992. I’m really not sure about that. Anyway, the main problem is it hurts to comb my hair.

Yes, I still have hair that needs combing. Diane’s solution, which is a really good one, is to either get a haircut. The problem is that I really like to comb my hair because I fear it won’t be long before it won’t be necessary any longer and I’ll have to wear a hat all the time so I don’t freeze right out the top of my head. It could happen. Even with just short hair. As for combing, I suppose I could use my left hand, but that just doesn’t feel right. You know? I’m right-handed and have to wield my comb, when I can find it, with my right hand. So, with my current situation, I find it necessary, as I did in the past, to raise my right hand to the proper level with my left hand to accomplish the task. It works. So there really is no need to complain about it, right? Well, since the shoulder only hurts when I use it, I forget until I reach for something that requires that bicep tendon. It’s becoming a minor irritant and I’ll be just fine. Just you wait and see.

The thumb is going to receive the attention of Dr. Kim, a reconstructive surgeon, Monday morning. He’s got me scheduled to check in to Good Sam at 0830 and will remove the appendix of the bone world from my left thumb. That’s another item that only hurts when I use it. The right one hurts when I use it, too, but he wouldn’t do both of them at the same time. It had something to do with feeding myself, and washing, which I didn’t understand because I’m married. Right? Why should I have to do those things myself when help is needed? Well, I must bend to his wishes because he’s the guy with the knife.

Regarding pain with I use the thumbs; it’s when I find the need to squeeze something to pick it up, like a book, or a plate, or a glass, stuff like that. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Now I must go prepare myself for a visit with my favorite Nephrologist, Dr. Smiley. Yes, that’s his real name. I’d like to introduce him to my dentist, Dr. Grimm, one day but that’s not likely to happen.

See you next time.

PS – my nephrologist said I’m good for another year.

My stupid iPhone made me do it

Please forgive me for using a tragic 2014 “accident” in Dallas, on Christmas Eve, as the basis for my first 2017 post. But this caught my eye and it won’t get out of my head.

A little 5-year-old girl was killed by a driver who was distracted while using Facetime on his iPhone. Now, two years later, the parents of the little girl they lost is suing Apple for not configuring the iPhone to disable Facetime while traveling at highway speeds. The police confirmed that Facetime was still active on the driver’s iPhone when they found it.

It boggles my mind that Apple could potentially be held liable because the offending driver was simply stupid. Many states have outlawed cell phone use while driving but Texas isn’t one of them. So, the offending driver was legally using his phone and apparently wasn’t cited for it, but he was charged with manslaughter because he caused the death of the little girl.

I’m stunned that this is a lawsuit that will apparently be going to trial.

Thanks for ‘listening’.