January 3rd, 2020. Australia is on fire, parts of California get unreasonable amounts of snow while other parts flood, the mid-west and east coast experience incredibly bad weather, like all winter long, and it snows in Greece. All of that’s going on while we here in our little corner of Oregon are wandering around in shorts and short sleeve shirts. Well, some folks are, not me. I’m not a shorts guy. Just saying our weather has been clear and spring-like all year. So far.
Add to that the fact that (according to Diane) I’m a typical man who can’t handle a simple cold. Yes, it’s not pretty. It’s that time of year when I’m reminded that snot is salty because it runs down my lip causing me to reflexively lick them before I realize what I’m doing. The solution, of course, is to stuff a kleenex up each nostril and leave them there until March.
I take a bunch of pills every day but not one of them is for ensuring my mucus levels remain stable. I’m in no danger of a doctor telling me that my mucus level is too low making it necessary to start taking shots for it on a daily basis. I wonder if there’s a shot for that. What could it be? A Snot Shot? Sounds reasonable.
My resolution this year was to exercise daily, something that’s just not normally in my wheelhouse. Exercise, to me, is getting up in the morning, stumbling to the kitchen to feed the animals, then stumbling to my recliner where I spend an unreasonable amount of time. Normally I get up from my chair when Diane exits the bedroom, ready to face her day.
To help with exercise, I’m thinking about getting an exercise bike that I can use on crappy days. On decent days I’ll just ride my real bike to the bottom of our hill then push it home, over and over. I plan to simplify that process by installing an electric motor kit on the bike so I can make it back up the hill. I figure I can install one of those on the exercise bike, too. Then I can sit in my chair while the bike runs. Sounds like a plan.
I started this two weeks ago so a lot has happened that I can’t recall. I should journal everyday so I’d have interesting things to share, huh? But, trying to remember stuff is good exercise, too. That means I’m honoring my resolution by not journalling.
Diane and Jennie are getting itchy to paint something again. It’s been a long time since we had a paint night so we’re working up to a plan to have one of our own. Should be fun. There will be photos to share when this happens, so be prepared.
It snowed two days ago. Just a couple of inches and it only lasted two days before it warmed up, rained, and it all went away. Guess that’s it for winter.
Now we can look forward to spring which is already making an appearnce.
Primroses, that we’ve ignored for a long time, are also blooming.
Maybe if we ignore all the growing things around the house they’ll do just fine, too. We’ll see.
I better end this before I forget about it for another two weeks. I’m sure many of you are wondering if I’m still ticking along, which I am. So is Diane. She ticks along better than me most days, but I can still out run her should the need arise.
So. Why did we go to Conway, you may ask yourself. Well, Diane did some searching and found out that the Horry County Museum is there and that Conway was one of the first settlements in South Carolina. Upon learning all of this, she made a decision that we should go see what it has. So, we did that.
After breakfast. We had eggs and fried spam which was pretty darn good.
The drive to Conway is not a tough one since it’s only about a 30 minute drive. It was a leisurely trip and we found the museum with no trouble.
The artifacts of the museum are displayed the renovated 1905 Burroughs School. It’s a magnificent brick building with lots of rooms full of amazing things relevant to the area.
Regarding the avocado … I think it cost $1.78, or about that much. Maybe it was $1.78 a pound which would make it cost about $8.00. It’s pretty heavy. And, it tasted pretty good, too.
Upon our return from Conway Diane prepared a scrumptious dinner of bake chicken and cauliflower. I whacked up a bunch of carrots, tomatoes, and that avocado, and made a salad far larger than either of us could eat.
I actually only used half the avocado. It might be known as good fat, but there’s a point where you can have too much of a good thing. I believe this is one of those times.
Now we’re going to rest up for tomorrow. We’re going golfing.
Over the years Diane and I have walked a little on our trips and vow to continue doing so when we return home. For many reasons that never seems to have happened. Mainly, I think, it’s because it’s easier to sit in our comfy recliners instead of walking. It could be, also, that it was raining a lot. Yeah, that could be it. We don’t walk in the rain.
Today, however, we walked almost 4 miles on Myrtle Beach this afternoon and didn’t cramp up even one time. Although we didn’t discuss continuing our walks at home, I think it’s understood that we really should. If it’s not raining when we get home, we will walk for sure.
The thing about walking on Myrtle Beach is that the beach slopes pretty sharply toward the water and the flat part is all soft sand which is very difficult to walk in. Plus, Diane’s fitbit doesn’t give her any credit for the extra effort involved with walking in soft sand. It doesn’t give extra credit for the wear and tear on knees and hips due to the slope one must traverse on the north and south trek.
One thing Diane learned, because of that slope, is that her right leg is shorter than her left. That revelation is based on the fact that walking north (left leg on the up slope) hurt more than walking south (short leg on the up slope).
I may have a similar affliction because walking north I was always wandering off to my right, toward the water. Now, in addition to the possibility that I have a short right leg, it could have been caused by my distraction with the water as it recedes away to my right. It’s very disorienting and causes me to lose my balance. On the trip south, however, my tendency was still to wander off to my right as I walked. I guess I’m just totally out of whack. I was happy that Diane found the trip back less stressful on her joints. So, all of our walks from now on, while we’re here, will be south bound only while on the beach. On the way back we can take one of many surface streets. Although they’re level, Diane thinks if she walked with her right foot on the sidewalk and her left on the street it might even things out for her. We’re going to give that a shot tomorrow. Don’t know why we didn’t think of the a lot sooner. I’ll let you know how that goes. If I remember.
After returning from our walk Diane warmed up some soup for a simple lunch, then we took another walk to our rental car, which is parked in a facility about 1 block away. There is no parking at the hotel for anyone. They do have a valet service but all vehicles are parked in the same building. The difference is valet is $10 a day and self parking is free. For me it’s a no-brainer to opt for free.
Anyway, we got the car and drove approximately 1 more block where Diane parked equidistant between a barber shop and a Dollar General store. The barber shop was for me because I agreed with Diane that I needed a haircut. She wanted me to get it cut before our trip but I refused. Today was the time, so I agreed. The Dollar General store was for Diane for two reasons; 1) she loves cheap stores and 2) we needed more bottled water. We apparently needed another bottle of wine, some chips, fruit, place mats, a cheese grater, and some spices, too.
Diane got all the stuff she wanted and I got a pretty stellar haircut from a guy named Enoch. Best haircut I’ve had in years.
Now, here are some photos that commemorate the day …
After a bit of resting we went to the activity center to paint a picture. This was Diane’s first try at painting with acrylics and she did awesome. Now she wants to do it some more.
Yes, we’ve embarked on another journey. Some of you may be thinking that, considering the sad time we had in Maui recently, we would have given this trip a little more consideration before committing. But, we’ve actually been trying to get some time at Myrtle Beach for the last five years or so but something always comes up that messes it up. Mostly the deterrents come in the form of hurricanes this time of year.
This time, we made it all the way. Here’s proof …
OK, yes it’s the baggage carousel at the Charleston airport, but that’s the airport we flew to and rented the car that got us to Myrtle Beach. Another reason we flew to Charleston was so we could reconnect with our luggage which got there 8 hours before us.
Here’s what happened – there are no non-stop Alaska flights from Portland to Charleston, but there is one from Seattle. So, all we had to do was get to Seattle early enough to make the connection so that we could arrive on the east coast at a decent time of the day. The reservations she got allowed us almost an hour to get to the connecting flight in Seattle that would arrive in Charleston at 4:30 pm their time. If you think about that for a minute, considering the 3-hour time difference, we would arrive at 1:30 pm St. Helens time. Then, figure in flight time from Seattle you can see we had to leave pretty early.
We got up at 3:30 am to catch the PDX to SEATAC leg that left at 6 am. The first snafu we encountered was when TSA kicked us out of the precheck line because out KTN wasn’t printed on our ticket. We knew that but had the letters from TSA as proof that we had KTNs. That’s Known Traveler Number in case you didn’t now. Not good enough for the ambitious little guy who insisted that it had to be on our boarding pass. The first time this happened, on the way to Maui, the TSA agent would have let us continue if we knew the KTN. Not this guy, however.
So, we returned to the ticket counter and fixed it with some manual interventional assistance of a cheerful Alaska Agent.
We breezed right through.
Got to Seattle in plenty of time to make our connection then ‘things’ kinda went south with regard to customer service and scheduling accumen of managers at the SEATAC International airport who parked our plane on the runway for 30 minutes because there wasn’t an open gate for us.
There we sat, with 12 other folks who needed to make the connection, watching the clock tick away, diminishing the probability of making the flight to Charleston.
We finally parked at N15 about 7:20 pm and our connecting flight was scheduled to depart at 7:45. Our pilot and crew assured us that everyone knew we were on the ground and the reason we were late and that they would hold the plane for us.
It was a huge lie. We got to the next gate, D21, in time, but management had already filled our 12 seats with standbys and sent the plane on it’s way, 20 minutes early. Kinda makes your day, ya know?
Then we were sent to the Alaska Customer Service desk near gate D2 that is manned by folks who are accustom to dealing with upset people and apparently don’t see the need to be friendly any longer. We 12 were demoted to 3rd class citizens (whatever that is) and the fact that we missed the flight due to decisions made by the airline.
The two agents behind the counter were working to re-book flights for misplaced people but their hearts weren’t in it and they weren’t very careful about information they doled out. For us, for instance, after they professed to have got us seats on an American Airline plane leaving shortly, gave us a confirmation number and sent us to gate D8 and told us to talk to one of the AA agents there to get us seat assignments. We made that trek and learned that the confirmation was invalid and that the flight we were supposedly put on was full. No seats available.
Back to D2 and customer service. At different agent made another attempt and actually got us seats on a plane leaving in a few hours for Dallas. From there we were booked on an AA flight to Charleston which was to arrive at 11:30 pm.
Interestingly, our bags were transferred from the Portland flight to the original non-stop connection with no problem, but they couldn’t delay 10 minutes to wait for the people who owned them. That’s why our luggage arrived in Charleston on time.
And, they didn’t have any trouble delaying the newly acquired flight, for some reason, which pushed our arrival time in Dallas a little later yet. That was OK because we had a 2-hour layover in Dallas.
Once in Dallas the flight to Charleston was delayed twice ensuring our arrival time wa pushed beyond midnight. Yippee!
By this time both Diane and I were to the point that we could see humor in all the things that had happened to us during this trip. It was like a comedy of errors so it was easier on both of us to accept the comedy of the situation instead of being bitter and upset.
Now, the good part of all this. On both of the flights we met passengers who went out of their way to accommodate both Diane and I by switching seats so we could sit together. You see, with all this switching going on, we were considered standby passengers with no real guarantee we’d get on an airplane. Because of that, we were placed in seats that were rows apart because, you see, all those other passengers made their flight on time.
Our fellow passengers made it all OK and we had a great time talking with them. Had we caught our original flight we would have missed that opportunity which would have been kinda sad.
When we got to Charleston we sent directly to the AA office in the baggage claim area to retrieve our on-time bags. The cheerful agent said, “oh, you were on that Alaska flight …” which kinda told the entire story.
After getting the bags we went looking for a cab because I was told the car rental agents closed up at 11:0-0 pm. But, we saw some lights on at the rental area and saw people turning in to that area. There was hope, after all. You see, we had a car reserved for the trip so we could get to the Air Force Inn at Joint Base Charleston for the night, then drive to Myrtle Beach in the morning.
When we turned the corner and saw lines of people at pretty much all the various rental agencies, and way off in a corner was Enterprise, with one agent working and a line of 2 people ahead of us. It was a miracle.
Long story short, we got a car and made it to Joint Base Charleston with no problem. It was only about 5 miles away, so we didn’t expect problems.
At the Air Force Inn we had a reservation and the agents were waiting for us. We got our room, spent the night, and took off for Myrtle Beach earlier this morning. We fudged our check out time beyond 11:00 am because it was so late when we checked in (1:30 am or so) and stopped at a really busy restaurant for lunch. It was the Long Point Grill in Mount Pleasant, SC for lunch. It was absolutely wonderful and the place was jumping. I had shrimp and linguine. Diane had a chicken BLT sandwich and a cup of tomato and artichoke soup. It as good, but getting it meant she could only eat half her sandwich. So, of course, I ate the other half.
The drive to Myrtle Beach was very relaxing and it was great sailing along without a care, our worries behind us. Life was good.
Now we’re here on the 9th floor, at 1200 S. Ocean Blvd with an ocean view.
How sweet it is.
Oh ya, the reason we’re here is to attend the 22nd annual reunion of the USS Cleveland Reunion Association. So, there will be more news later.
Just a short snippet to share an interesting (to me) interaction between my fashion-conscious bride and myself as she was preparing to drive herself to an unplanned doctor’s appointment.
Diane has been suffering from what we thought was a bad cold which originated on Maui at “The Wedding”. It started with a severe allergic reaction to a fancy drink with tiny flower petals sprinkled on top. That seemed to clear up and lasted about as long as the flight home then the cold struck with a vengeance.
Last Thursday morning Diane emerged from the bedroom about 9 am with the new that she had an 11:40 am doctor appointment which she made because she was deaf in her right ear when she woke up.
OK. Two things really got my attention right then … Deaf in her right ear, and Doctor appointment at 11:40 am.
Deaf is serious because I’m pretty sure she wasn’t that way when we retired for the evening. At least no complaint was issued. But, then, she doesn’t complain about aches, pains, and other maladies. Then to say she had an appointment with her doctor in just two hours was incredible. That NEVER happens because doctors are usually booked out for a couple of months. Turns out the appointment wasn’t with her PC, but with another doctor in the practice who had just had a cancellation. Had that not happened her next appointment was in November.
With two hours to go, one of which would be used up with travel to Portland, Diane took a shower leaving me alone to contemplate my future with a half-deaf spouse, something I had never considered a possibility. While she showered, I got a little spruced up myself because she wasn’t going alone. You see, getting to Portland requires that we transit through Scappoose when our favorite bagel shop lives and I KNEW she was going to stop there. That wasn’t the only reason I was going with her, but it was a good one.
When she emerged, dressed and ready to go in a nice pair of grey pants, a matching grey sweater, and a pretty blouse. Since she’s color blind she relies on my to reveal the color of her clothing when she isn’t sure and I almost always tell her the truth. Sometimes it’s fun to send her off on a mission somewhere in a blue ensemble with brown socks, but that hardly ever happens. Any more anyway.
This time she wanted to know if her blouse was black or blue or grey. It was black and grey and matched perfectly and I told her so. No way was I going to send her out of the house in something that didn’t match. She looked great, of course.
As I knew she would, she pulled into a parking spot at the Scappoose Bagel shop and I dutifully went in a ordered her favorite – cinnamon-raison, split, toasted, and schmeered with generic cream cheese. I only get plain bagels.
She donned her car-bib (yes, we have those) and once back on the highway I handed her half of her bagel. She munched her way through the first half, and half of the second half before handing it to me stating, “I’m tired of chewing.”
I still had a few bites left of my second half but decided I wasn’t going to let a Scappoose Bagel go to waste and finished it for her. She was concerned that I might catch whatever she had but, since she was driving, she couldn’t stop me. It was a bit chewy, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Thankfully, I had the remainder of my bagel to satisfy my taste buds.
We got to the doctor’s office in plenty of time and she was quickly summoned while I lounged in the waiting room. She wasn’t gone long and we were quickly on our way back home. During the walk to the car she revealed that her right ear drum was perforated, she had infection in both ears, and the inside of her nose and throat had the appearance of someone experiencing an allergic reaction. So, the Maui Allergy attack manifested into a hearing loss. Amazing. That’s speculation, of course, but the only common theme so we went with it.
The doc prescribed prednisone, antibiotics, and Sudafed to deal with her ailments. Sadly, they weren’t ready when we stopped by Rite Aid in St. Helens on the way home, but I gave it a while then went back for them.
All day yesterday she was in misery with ear pain and coughing/sneezing attacks but, despite a two hour afternoon nap, she went to bed at a reasonable time and slept through the night. This morning she awoke with no pain which was very good. Still deaf on the right side, but no pain.
Now she’s off to Fred Meyer to buy something for Gilligan who is 12 today. That’s another story to tell.
The thing about Diane’s malady is that she needs to heal enough to make another long airplane ride to South Carolina this coming Wednesday.
We have non-refundable tickets to Charleston and, by golly, she’s going.
In my last post I reported a dietary faux pas where Diane educated me, at length, about me believing two apple fritters and a maple bar constituted an adequate breakfast. I learned my lesson. Today I honored those newly discovered instructions had three cinnamon rolls and two blueberry muffins instead. Apparently that combination was OK because I encountered neither spousal opposition nor new dietary instructions. So, I’m good to go with that one whenever the opportunity pops up.
Could be, too, that my spouse wasn’t aware of these infractions until just now. If that’s the case I should be exempt from any misdemeanors that arise from this admission.
In my defense I must report that the items I ingested were supplied by our church ladies as a reward to the church men for allowing the ladies to move the recurring mens’ Thursday morning coffee hour from the Kozy Korner to the church. The ultimate goal of that change was to entice the men to participate in the ladies’ Thursday morning church cleanup efforts. I think it was pretty evident from the start that they scheduled their church cleanup at the same time as the mens’ coffee hour in an effort to shame us into helping them.
Having shared all that, I must admit that it really worked, at least for me. I felt bad about it because I know the jobs they were doing had to be done. So, of course, both of the the men helped, just like all good married men should do.
About school … we have three young girls living with us who are profoundly sad that summer is here and they won’t get to go to school for another 2.5 months. They actually cried because they can’t go to school any more until September. I, personally, have no memory of being sad about having to go on summer vacation from school. Ever. Nope, I was perfectly happy about doing no school work for a long time.
Our girls, however, demonstrated just how much they liked their teachers and learning in general. They are all good at it, too. Makes us, and their parents, very proud. Next week Diane and I are taking the girls for a week at Nehalem Bay.
That is going to be a lot of fun. There will be photographic evidence of the fun when we return home from the trip.
I’m sure all of you have been waiting to hear about the results of my Lumbar Spine MRI test. So, here’s what I got:
L3-4 discs are shorter than last time and there’s a small herniation on the posterior disc as well as more focal protrusion to right in the foramina. Still, there is no significant canal stenosis. In layman’s terms, if vertebrae were hinges, mine are rusty.
L4-5 – pretty much the same as above with the addition that I have facet arthrosis resulting in bilateral foraminal narrowing which in turn causes some contact of the exiting L4 nerve root on the left. Again, in layman’s terms, if L4-5 was a doorway and the exiting root was an extension cord supplying power from another room, my door won’t open or close without rubbing the cord. Consequently, the contact with my extension cord results in pain all the way down the line that ends in my left foot. The doc said the only way to alleviate the pain is to quit surfing. Since I’ve never surfed, that’s an easy fix. Fortunately, pain from my extension cord is not severe enough to prevent me from playing the piano or golfing. Due to the complex motion involved in both of those activities, I find it interesting that such movement does not result in making me a wheelbarrow basket case. Life is complex.
Actually, I haven’t had the post-MRI visit with my doctor yet so I really don’t know if the piano and golf are still approved activities. I’ll let you know after my appointment on Monday the 13th. If she tells me to cease and desist golfing, I will. Right after my currently scheduled golf date on the 15th. Once things like that are scheduled it’s impossible to get them off the calendar. Really. That’s true.
I have it on good authority the KC’s new fake elbow is working great. The downside, however, is that she can only lift 2 lbs with the affected arm. For most things, like eating or drinking, that’s not a problem, but for picking up grand kids, it pretty much is. In case you don’t know, KC got a new elbow a number of years ago and it worked pretty good right up to when it got horribly infected. Apparently her arm decided it shouldn’t be there and threw a fit. So, it was removed and replaced. The doctors tried to trick the arm by simply cleaning up the old elbow, painting it a different color, then sticking it back in so we’re not sure if the arm has figured it out, yet. Maybe by leaving the elbow out for two weeks, like they did, leaving KC’s arm to flop around a little, made the arm happy with anything other than nothing. We’ll see. If I got any of this wrong I trust KC will provide corrections in the way of comments.
Son Jeff is in the middle of moving his family and today broke his left thumb in three places while moving a box. Actually, it’s the bone that connects his thumb to his wrist. I think that’s the same bone I break pretty much every time I hit it with my hammer when I miss the nail I’m holding. It’s only about 3 inches from where the nail is so I’m pretty sure that’s true. Based on that I can attest to the high level of pain involved to have broken it into four pieces. I generally just break it in one place.
I’m guessing, of course, because, though I most definitely have smacked that bone multiple times, I’ve never had it x-rayed so I can’t definitively say it’s been broken. But, after the initial hit, every time, I admit that I perform the air-sucking dance associated with such injuries as if it’s broken. The pain eventually fades then it’s back to work. In my experience, any subsequent hit(s) to the same area on the same day aren’t nearly as bad. That could be because I’m either not swinging the hammer as hard, or the injured bone is in shock. I’m not sure which.
Sitting here talking about that thumb bone made me more aware of historical injuries to that area and it actually went numb for a bit. Funny thing.