Car Fever, Ever Had It?????????????

Car fever, ever had it?  I think we all have at some time in our life. We all react a little different; some simply go buy a car at the first sign of the illness; others put off treatment thinking it will simply go away, or any number of excuses, among them I can’t afford it, I really don’t need another car and the list goes on.  I am in the latter group, I think the smart ones just go ahead and get it over as soon as the fever hits.

I have always had a bit of a love affair with the automobile; it isn’t blog material but I think one day I may try to list all of them I have owned and I’m serious when I say try because I’m not sure I can do it.  I will then try to rank them from favorite to least favorite or first to worst.  I already know the first on the list and there are several candidates for worst.

New cars have never been a big deal with me in fact most of the ones I have owned have been used, some of them very used.  The two or three if you count the RV that presently reside at my house are all of the used or as the dealers prefer, pre-owned variety.

Yes, I am feeling just a touch of the fever, but I don’t need another vehicle.  When Sharyl got sick we had two SUVs and one pickup, most people today use the term truck but I’m an old guy and to me trucks are trucks and pickups are the things most of us use like a car most of the time, maybe occasionally hauling a lawnmower or washer or dryer if we are careful and don’t scratch the bed.  Sharyl’s SUV was top-of-line and although it was about five years old it was very well cared for.  Mine were okay but cream puff isn’t a term used to describe them, I am still very picky about the mechanical condition, but lets just say they may not always be real shiny and a little “open” clutter is okay.

I’m not sure when I will finish this.  I am at the lake and in a writing mood but I’m doing it on a laptop and I just don’t get along with these laptop keyboards.  Gotta remember to put a regular keyboard on my “lake list”.

We sold hers (car, not keyboard) the first summer she was sick; it was seldom driven.  She didn’t feel like driving and I was afraid I would drop a gum wrapper in the floor. She was in favor of selling it, but she had second thoughts after it was gone.  We planned to buy her a new one when she got well.  More than once I was tempted to try to buy it back.  It was kind of like giving a pet away; I kept reminding her that we had found it a good home.  It still resides at the same home and receives excellent care, thanks Brandi.

I did some more trading and by late 2010 we were down to one vehicle, I still have it.  It is something most rednecks would be proud to drive a kind of tall 4X4 pickup.  It served us well because we really weren’t out and about much and I could justify the macho looking rig, because with her illness I had to be able to get her to medical treatment regardless of weather conditions.

Last summer as her mobility started to deteriorate it became increasingly difficult for her to get in the pickup without help, it did nothing for her self esteem for me to help her get in.  I fully understood.  I went car shopping, online of course.  Macho or sporty looking weren’t part of the criteria; we needed something she could get in and out of without my help.  It needed to be roomy enough for her to be comfortable after she got in and I didn’t tell her but I needed it to be easy for me to load and unload her wheelchair.  I narrowed the list to three or four possibles and on a good day we went car shopping.  We bought the third one we looked at and she drove it home and was proud to have her own car again. It is a Chrysler Pacifica a crossover SUV, a fancy name for what we once called a station wagon.

A few days after we got it she made her last solo run, she had to go to the lab for blood work the day before we saw the Dr. each month.  She was having a pretty good day and made the trip alone.  I was a nervous wreck until she got home.  It was an excellent morale booster for her.  We got to run around a little bit in it and she could get in and out unassisted for a while.  Later it was easy for me to load and unload the wheel chair.

A couple months after we got it we made the tough decision to discontinue cancer treatment and start hospice.  They brought her home from the hospital in an ambulance.  I never said anything but it bothered me that maybe the last time she came home it was in that ambulance. A month or so later she had a pretty good day ; we pushed our luck and went to Seminole for lunch with her co-workers.  The last time she came home she wasn’t driving but she was sitting up in the front seat of her car. And yes that probably is a tearstain you see.

It is a perfectly good car, I still do most of my around town stuff in it.  I have driven it for seven months without Sharyl, I have tried to convince myself that it will be okay, it isn’t like living in the same house, we had happy times there; we bought this for one reason to accommodate her illness.  Sometimes when I look at the passenger seat I see her coming home that last trip. Yes I have a little case of car fever, I even stopped and kicked the tires on a possible replacement the other day; it was a Sunday so I didn’t have to listen to a pushy salesman.  I know what I am going to do; I just don’t know when.

On a lighter note; I have continued cleaning out the nooks and crannies; I bypassed the kitchen and moved to the utility room.  I found all kinds of things; I had forgotten she had her own little toolbox for hanging pictures etc. she said it was so she wouldn’t bother my stuff.  I really think it was so she wouldn’t get her hands dirty from handling my tools.  Most of the stuff I just put with my tools in the garage.  I will need to find a new home for the things pictured.  Macho has dropped way down my list of what is important in life, but (pardon the English) I ain’t usin those tools with the flowers, and that iron, I believe it is called, leaves funny looking burn shapes on my clothes especially my white shirts.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

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Temptation, Observations and Habits………….

I have had a lot of habits over years; not all of them bad.  I still have some of both kinds.  I’m only going to talk about one of them, and I honestly don’t know if it is good or bad but I definitely have a computer habit.  I have three of the things in the house; one desktop and two notebooks. If I count the I pad and I phone that would be five.  Most days I use all of them.

A lot of what I do involves the Internet, but I have a computer habit not just an Internet habit.  My relationship with the things started about 20 years ago, but I think the amount of time I spent with them the last four years turned that positive relationship into a habit.

When Sharyl was sick and we were confined to the house I spent many hours looking at this monitor. I scanned every picture we had, so the girls would have them. I quit counting at three thousand, and yes I found a couple hundred more in the “concealed clutter” I talked about recently.  I write a lot, I probably wouldn’t write at all if I had to use the #2 pencil and a note pad.  Most of what I write I share with you as blog entries.

The other two words in the title are directly related to the computer habit.

When Sharyl got sick I became the primary shopper in our household, prior to her illness she did the shopping for groceries and household goods and supplies; I was the “gopher” I would go for the surprises and things she forgot. As the primary I do a lot of that shopping at Wal Mart and it took a while for what I observed to register. I thought the old ladies were just rude and they probably blocked the aisles and bumped everyone with their shopping carts.  I finally figured out it is gender bias and the severity of it varies by department.  It is kind of bad in groceries, cleaning supplies and toiletries; men really shouldn’t be there but times are changing.  The few times I have had to shop for cookware or linens it has been just a little scary, I hope I never need fabric or sewing notions.  The flip side, in automotive or sporting goods the old ladies get out of my way, they know they shouldn’t be there. To avoid the hazards, and to keep from upsetting the little ladies, I buy a lot more things on the Internet.

This week I went to Hobby Lobby to look for a print of a lighthouse to use with one Sharyl had at the lake.  Not only did the sheer volume of stuff overwhelm me; I also experienced the gender bias thing again.  I came home sat down at my computer and found exactly what I wanted in about fifteen minutes. I continue to feed my computer habit.

In the last blog I talked about the loss of my Aunt Ruth and how families drift apart. Some good came from that post.  My cousin (Aunt Ruth’s daughter) surprised me with a comment on the blog; she has read it for quiet awhile. We have gotten reacquainted via email this week.  I have enjoyed the communication and I think she has.

She has done a tremendous amount of genealogical research.  I have always thought that would be interesting, but I never thought I had the patience and self-discipline to do it.  I made the mistake of asking her for the maiden name of a great grandmother.  I spent the next two hours on the Internet learning a little about genealogy, and another couple hours today, very interesting.  I am going to try to resist the temptation to get a little more involved in the genealogy thing.  I don’t need to spend more time at the computer.

I haven’t said this in a while. Please consider a donation to the cancer research organization of your choice.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

When Sleep Won’t Come…

I still have too many of those nights when I just can’t sleep; last night was one of those.  Some people read when they can’t sleep; I probably should read but I usually write.  A lot of those go to the recycle bin because they belong there; these two may be in that category but I’m going to post them anyway.

Suddenly I’m Part Of The Old Generation

 A few days ago I was talking to one of my sisters; just a weekly how’s it going conversation.  A few minutes into the talk she asked if I knew Aunt Ruth had passed away; I didn’t know.  Aunt Ruth was my dad’s baby sister.  I think it dawned on both of us at about the same time; we had become the old generation.  We no longer had a living aunt, uncle or parent.

Uncle Allen and Aunt Ruth lived in Oklahoma when I was a kid; they had kids about my age and we spent some time together.  Uncle Allen always wore overalls; I think he wore his new ones and a white shirt for special occasions. He liked to fish and he liked baseball, and was just a nice guy.  He passed away in ’81.  Aunt Ruth was a fun person to be around, she was funny, she laughed a lot, and she made those around her comfortable; she just seemed to enjoy life.  She made the best dinner rolls I have ever eaten.  In ’59 better job opportunities took them to the lumber industry in Oregon.  I saw Aunt Ruth and one of her kids at a family reunion about 30 years ago; I saw another of her kids at a reunion about ten years ago.

After I got off the phone I took a long look at how I had let life interfere with keeping in touch with my extended family.  I think that may be a little bit typical of my generation especially if our parents were from large families.  I think my “don’t look back” approach to life was more of a factor.

Dad had five sisters and two brothers; mom had three brothers and a sister. A combination of the great depression and the dust bowl sent about half of them to various locations on the west coast; one uncle followed the oil patch to south Texas. Communication was pretty much limited to letter writing; most of us didn’t have a telephone, so if you only see someone every ten years or so, about the only thing you have in common is grandparents.  I don’t have an excuse for not keeping in touch with those who remained here in Oklahoma; I think life just kind of got in the way.

Sharyl and I talked about going to the Pacific Northwest; a visit with Aunt Ruth was always a part of those conversations. That trip is another of the things we talked about but never took the time to do.  Don’t wait.

Our family is a little smaller, communication has improved significantly, so maybe just maybe when my time comes, my nieces and nephews won’t find out as an “Oh by the way did you hear about Uncle Dave” in a routine phone conversation with one of their siblings.

Rest In Peace Aunt Ruth.

 

Another Silly Little Thing

 I know it is another of those silly little things, but it is my blog and I want to share it with you.  I also know it is your choice to read it or not.

Since late June or early July every time I enter the produce department at the grocery store, I focus on the watermelons and get a little emotional, the lump in the throat thing. Wal Mart even has them sitting in the entrance; I see them there if I’m going after paint or a quart of oil or toothpaste.

Sharyl loved a good watermelon, not the kind that rode a truck from the Rio Grande Valley or even further south.  She loved the ones that ripened on the vine and tasted like watermelon, the ones grown north of the Red River.  I should include myself, because I also like the things. After she was sick she always made sure my shopping list included watermelon, and cantaloupe “if they smelled like cantaloupe”.

About ten or fifteen years ago I started having a reasonably serious allergic reaction to something.  I probably should change reasonably to very in the previous sentence, because it was serious and kind of scary.  After a trip to the Allergy Clinic, a lot of Internet research and trial and error, I found I was allergic to aspirin, foods that contain salicylates and a few other things.

I control it by avoiding aspirin and eating those things that contain salicylates in extreme moderation.  Watermelon is one of those foods. Watermelon isn’t something intended to be eaten in moderation.  I am okay with a half-cup of grapes, or one small plum, but not with a half-cup of watermelon. I wish broccoli were high in salicylates so I would have a reason to eat it in moderation or better yet not at all.

We continued to buy watermelon and I did the best I could to eat less than I really wanted, and avoided other things to offset the watermelon, I walk the tightrope so to speak, and keep Benadryl and an EpiPen handy just in case.  I have taken a boatload of Benadryl over the years; so far I have avoided using the EpiPen.

I don’t think it is because of the allergies but for some reason I haven’t wanted any watermelon this summer, not even in moderation.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

 

Clutter………….

I continue to discover household chores Sharyl did that are now my responsibility.  The most recent is clutter control. She believed everything had a place and everything should be in it’s place or at least out of site.  She was diplomatic in the way she did it; she would say, “What do you want me to do with this” screwdriver, computer, book, or whatever I had left in the floor or on the dining table or bed or countless other inappropriate places.   Interpreted she was really saying, “If you ever want to see this again you better get it out of here now”. Knowing that, my response was always “I’ll take care of it”.   If you picked up a newspaper at our house you could be reasonably sure it was today’s; I picked up five this morning (none of them today’s) and they are still on the kitchen cabinet but they are in one pile.

I have always been a clutterer, (I know clutterer isn’t a word but just for this blog I am going to pretend it is).  My desk at work was considered disgraceful by most of my co-workers; the workbench in the garage, ok, the whole garage has always been a pit.  About ten years ago Sharyl gave up and let me clutter my computer desk; I think she learned to completely ignore it.  I took a pic of my desk today, nothing was staged this is the normal look, the way I like it.

Over the past six months the amount of visible clutter throughout the house had steadily increased, it had gotten to the point I had to move “that” to make room to sit “this” down; obviously it was time to add clutter control to my household chores.

Another thing it was time to do was go through some things that were tucked away in closets and drawers and other assorted cubbyholes.  Some of those things were very personal, others not so much. Immediately after Sharyl’s death the girls took the lead and we did the big stuff; it was difficult but a wise decision. I don’t know what I would do without my girls.  The task that remained was not a team thing; I needed to do it. I think the right time is different for each person, 6 days, 6 months, or 6 years or maybe for some not at all, but for me it was time.

I quickly realized there are two types of clutter, “open clutter” and “concealed clutter”.  Sharyl was a clutterer, however her clutter was concealed.  Inside every drawer, on each closet or vanity shelf, I found; there is no other word for it “clutter”. Mingled with the clutter in each of those places were a lot of memories, some of them very precious and some of the more recent ones not so precious.  I had a little bit of the concealed stuff; we both had a tendency to keep cards, especially birthday or anniversary cards from each other.  It is kind of eerie how similar our taste in cards had become.  I even found some of my old open clutter that I didn’t take care of; it was still clutter it had just been concealed for years.

Here is a pic of one of the good memories.  Sorry for the repeat if you saw it on Face book.

Am I through?  No and I probably will never be but I have made a lot of progress, It would have gone a lot quicker had it not been necessary to sit down in the middle of the floor and shed a few tears from time to time.  I think/hope I am about through with the emotional stuff, I just need to change my ways and finish getting rid of my open clutter.

This initial run didn’t include the kitchen.  I kind of learned to use that the way she had it, I thought my time there was temporary.  It didn’t turn out that way; I have some thoughts for doing it a little different, but that is a whole nuther project and if I am still blogging (don’t know if that is a word) it probably will warrant it’s own post.  I do know we have at least 15 or 20 cookbooks that are occupying space I could use for other things.  I don’t use cookbooks, I just Google until I find a recipe simple enough for me to understand.  I still don’t really know the difference between chopped, diced and minced; I think chopped is bigger chunks. I will keep the cookbooks, after all I know at least one of them was a wedding gift.  I will just move them to a more suitable location.  I guess you could say they will become clutter either open or concealed depending on the new location.

God Bless and keep me in your prayers.

Dave

Summertime Blues :( :(

My first car was a 1946 Ford; Fords from that era had a tendency to “vapor lock” during the hot summer months.  I will do you a favor and spare you the technical description of vapor lock, but when it happened you were stranded until the fuel system cooled a little.  I sometimes carried a jug of ice water to pour on the fuel pump to temporarily remedy the problem, in fact most old ladies; my mom among them carried the ice water and knew where to apply it. Strategically placed clothes pins or a grapefruit were other home remedies.

All that to say I think I have suffered a little vapor lock the past few days; I would have had trouble even writing my name.  If it is okay I will include my somber mood with the multitude of things we blame on the hot dry weather.

About two weeks ago I made a statement something about taking a big step and crossing a threshold.  I think the statement was a little premature, probably wishful thinking based on a couple good days at critical time. I don’t think big steps are a part of this process; enough “baby steps” will get you there.

I’ll continue to blame the weather a little, but things have been kind of slow in my life, not a lot of things interesting enough to share.

I had dinner with some old and dear friends last week, and yes they are old, they also have been friends a long time.  The baked beans were average at best everything else was very good.  Those deals are more about the friends and fellowship than about the food anyway.  If they don’t get too upset that I said they were old maybe we can do it again soon.

Today I visited with some other old friends I hadn’t seen in a few years.  It is still difficult for me seeing people for the first time since the loss of Sharyl and Conner.  It is getting easier but I don’t know when or if it will ever be easy.

The last time I did one of these I was at the lake.  I intended to put the boat in the water, it didn’t work out.  Because of the hot dry weather the lake level is a few feet below normal; making it more difficult to launch a boat; especially by myself at the not really intended to be a boat ramp that I use.  If I would have had that gal with me that I used to run with I think we could have gotten it done, you see the lady could back a trailer.

She always backed the trailer in when we unloaded and when we loaded.  The little ramp we use was originally a country road before the lake was built and is not very wide, the parking lot is about what you would expect for that kind of ramp.

We came in one day and there were 3 or 4 rednecks (I think two of them answered to Bubba) in the parking lot; I let her out and I noticed the expression on their faces as she walked up to get the pickup and trailer, they were looking forward to watching this woman try to get the trailer in the water. I have included a sketch because I don’t think I can explain the maneuver she had to do to get to the water.  She had to do a 180-degree turn in reverse to get to the ramp.  She calmly got in and backed it in the water without ever pulling forward to get straightened out.  I am pretty good with a trailer and I don’t think I could do it one time out of ten and it would have taken her at least ten tries to repeat the maneuver.  The expressions on their faces as we pulled up the ramp were priceless.

Please don’t read anything into this next statement.  If and that is a very big if I ever seek female companionship to spend time with at the lake; one requirement will be; she has to know how or be willing to learn to back a trailer.

Probably by the time I get this posted it will be tomorrow and that is a very special day for me; it is my favorite grand daughter’s birthday.  She sometimes reads what I have to say here; so just in case Happy 18th Ry, I love you!

Maybe next week a little rain and cooler weather; it is amazing what that does for these summertime blues.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave