It’s Just an Old Jeep…

It’s OK for me to say that, but I better see a smile if you say it.

An Old Man's Toy

An Old Man’s Toy

I have always had a love affair with the automobile. I have owned a bunch of them; I think if I really tried I could list them all but I don’t think I will try. A few of them have earned a special place in my heart.
There was my first, a clunker ’46 Ford. My all time favorite ’57 Olds convertible; and there was the ’61 Olds convertible. I still kind of have a soft spot for the ragtops. A ’70 Dodge pickup that loved to stay above 85 from OKC to wherever in Kansa that next Rodeo happened to be. A couple of Sharyl’s are in there. An ’86 Honda and her last one the ’03 Expedition; I didn’t get to drive them much but they were both kind of special. The convertibles and the pickup are deserving of their own blog but that probably won’t happen.
I have only spent about 2 months with this Jeep but the silly little thing is finding a spot. It will never replace the old ’57 but I can see it bedding down with those other guys.
How did this guy crack that door? It isn’t fast; I had never been one to hold up traffic, in this thing I can be a roadblock. To say it rides rough is an understatement; I am considering one of those kidney belt things. It is so noisy I use the mute feature on these fancy hearing aids anytime I get above 25 mph. It doesn’t have air conditioning; the heater works if you jiggle the switch just right. It does have a cloth top; maybe that’s it.
Honestly, I think I know it’s special attraction. Twenty-three months ago today I started the transition from “we to me”; I have shared much of that journey with you. The physical transition was sudden and the adjustments were pretty well defined. The emotional transition remains a work in progress.
The little green Jeep introduced me to a third part of the “we to me” move. For lack of a better term I’ll simply call it the mental phase. As I made personal decisions and those relating to the household, especially the major ones I always subconsciously considered Sharyl’s opinion. About a month after I bought the Jeep (I need to think of a name I’m tired of “the Jeep”) it occurred to me that I hadn’t even considered her thoughts, and I still haven’t. I also realized I had slowly learned to relax again; that wasn’t an option during Sharyl’s illness and I guess “uptight” became a habit; sometimes it takes a while to break a habit. The old Dave may be resurfacing; that may not be a good thing.
No, the Jeep (gotta think of a name) didn’t contribute to any of that. Running around in the rough riding little rascal, looking through plastic windows at dirty, shaky rearview mirrors did help me to realize it was happening.
Speaking of those rearview mirrors, the right one says “OBJECTS IN THIS MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR”. All right hand mirrors have those words. I think consumer/safety advocate Ralph Nader led that charge probably in the sixties, about the time smoking dope in public and hugging trees became popular. Maybe it was the plastic window or the shaking, for some reason after all these years those words became thought provoking.
Objects are closer than they appear, just as the words say, in the jeep mirror. I think just the opposite is true when we look in the rearview mirrors of life. Objects (memories) in those mirrors are not as close as they appear. Another major difference the objects in that jeep mirror are only there for a matter of seconds or maybe minutes. Those in the mirrors of life, the good ones and the bad ones, are there forever even if they aren’t as close as they appear.
What does all this mean? I think it very simply means the transition continues. I also think it is more fun to run down the road with a relaxed and maybe a little bit crazy Dave.
To Sharyl: I still love you with all my heart and I miss you every day.
This one was extremely difficult to find the right words. I hope you understand what I tried to say.
I am sure I won’t do this again until after Christmas. From my house to yours: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
I may just name the jeep Teddy for Teddy Roosevelt; he was known as a roughrider.
Good Night and God Bless.

It’s Test Time…

It is early December; two of my grandkids have joined millions of college students across the country.  They have retreated to their favorite quiet place and are preparing for finals.  It happens each December and there is a repeat performance in the spring.

I wish them all well but I am going to play favorites and really pull for those two that call me PawPaw.

Not because it is December, and I haven’t retreated to a quiet place to prepare, but I have been faced with some tests the past few days.  The ones I have seen have nothing to do with Zoology, Accounting or English Comp.  I’m sure they aren’t finals just those routine little pop quizzes used to measure progress.

One of them wasn’t a pop quiz; it was more of an endurance test.  I decided to listen to the experts and ride the winter storm out at home and only get out if it was absolutely necessary.  I was home alone for a little more than forty-eight hours.  I made a few phone calls, but I tried to not be a nuisance.  Late Saturday afternoon I checked my pantry and discovered that I was extremely low on Paprika, Brown Sugar, Coconut and Chipotles Peppers.  You just can’t run out of that stuff so I braved the elements and went to the grocery store.  I was impressed with the Jeep’s behavior on the ice, not so much with the heater.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning one of my Facebook friends who happens to be my baby girl posted the following status:

I miss my mom today…. Oh sure I miss her everyday, but today it is because I need new socks. I have probably never bought socks for myself. Mom was VERY particular about her socks. She would buy them, wear them once and give them to me or Lori. So today I need socks… Love you mom.

My baby girl’s big sis had offered this comment:

Very particular is kind of an under statement, miss her too. Xoxo

Lori’s comment is on the money.  Sharyl was picky to the ridiculous point about her socks and other clothing items.  The sock thing was a long-standing family joke and seriously I don’t think either of the girls ever bought socks they knew their mom would buy some that didn’t feel just exactly right.

I laughed, I shed a few tears then I laughed some more.  I still love the girls’ mom and miss her but I think I passed the little test.  There is progress. is the site that hosts this blog.  This morning they sent me a Happy 5th Anniversary greeting.  Five years ago today, Lori set up a little thing called “mom LIFE cancer”.  I sometimes include that original entry with a post in early December; I don’t want to do that tonight.

It isn’t as if I hadn’t already thought about it but that little “happy anniversary” note kind of turned on the light and stood me in front of a mirror and forced a look back at that five-year run.  Unlike the previous tests; surprisingly there were no tears; just a few moments of quiet reflection.  I think that qualifies as progress.  I will give myself a passing grade.

The following paragraph is from my post in the ourmom blog on Valentines Day ’12:

I decided to forget the things that were bothering me at least for a couple hours and go to the OU men’s basketball game.  It is the first men’s game I have been to in a long time.  They always have a halftime show, ranging from two fifth grade teams scrimmaging to some nationally known halftime shows.  Sharyl’s all-time favorite was “The Quick Change Lady”.  What do you think they had tonight?   You guessed it “The Quick Change Lady”.  I can’t get a break.

I went to the OU women’s basketball game this afternoon.  I got to take another little test.  I’ll give you three guesses what they had for halftime entertainment.  That’s right “The Quick Change Lady”.  Did I think about Sharyl?  You know I did, but I stayed in my seat and enjoyed the performance today.  That is significant progress.  I think I passed.

Conner went with me to that Valentines Day game.  We had a good time except for my issues with the halftime show.  I love you Con and I miss you.  Maybe one day I’ll be ready for some progress testing.  Today is not that day

I probably didn’t “ace” any of those tests but the passing grade will do for now.

Some of you have made the entire five-year run with us.  Thanks to all of you for all you do.  Keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.


Wintertime Blues…

I’m not sure where this one is going, but I need to write or go to bed and it isn’t close to my bedtime.

I have always been pretty comfortable with a socket and ratchet or screwdriver in my hand, with or without a Chilton or Haynes manual for guidance.  If the situation allowed, power tools made it a little more enjoyable.  I know about motor oil, antifreeze, gear ratios, valve clearances and spark plug gaps.  I grew up with that stuff.

About five years ago I suddenly accepted the role of “chief cook and bottle washer” at the Patten house.  I am still not comfortable with measuring cups and spoons or knives and spatulas even with a Betty Crocker cookbook for guidance.  I don’t know about dice, chop, fold, blend, sauté or simmer but I’m learning.

If you look at the inside of my house and the inside of my garage you wouldn’t believe the first two paragraphs.  The inside of the house is far from spotless but it is usually presentable, the garage is almost always a cluttered mess.

The weather forecast and the new toy (Jeep) provided the incentive; I supplied the labor and I am happy to say I now have two out of three safely tucked away out of the elements.

garage (Small)


I am not confident it will stay this way but maybe I’ve changed.

I am learning to cook kind of like I learned to mechanic, trial and error.  I use some recipes but I don’t always understand them and I am allergic to some of the ingredients so I freelance a lot.  Sometimes that works sometimes not so good but living alone no one needs to know about the failures.

Last winter I found a recipe on Face book, imagine that, for an easy to make soup.  I liked it so I named it Face book soup and tucked the recipe away in my favorite recipe folder on the trusty computer.

The allergy thing I have is called Angioedema; it is a swelling normally of the tongue, lips or face. My first experience was about fifteen years ago; it was scary and probably even life threatening until through trial error and the Internet I figured out the triggers.

I am allergic to aspirin and some other medicines, foods high in salicylates, some food colors and a few other things.  I have kind of learned which ones to totally avoid and which ones to use in moderation, however the list continues to grow.  Through early recognition and a handful of Benadryl I now consider it a nuisance instead of the problem it once was.

Face book soup sounded good for a cold winter evening so I made some yesterday and enjoyed a couple bowls for dinner.  Sometime between midnight and daylight I kind of woke up and noticed one of the early indicators.  I opted to turn over and go back to sleep instead of getting up and taking the aforementioned Benadryl.  I never look good first thing in the morning or later in the day for that matter but I normally look better than this:

swell (Small)


By about nine I could drink some coffee and about ten I had room for the toothbrush and by noon it was almost back to normal.

I think I will change the name of that stuff to Face swell soup and take it out of the favorite recipe folder.

One kitchen thing, the coffee pot, has always been my responsibility.  Sharyl didn’t drink coffee; therefore she couldn’t or at least led me to believe she couldn’t make good coffee.  I now use one of those Keurig deals.  It makes great coffee but it had gotten so slow I didn’t get that first cup until almost noon; that’s an exaggeration, but it was real slow.

It was time for the dreaded vinegar bath.  I always thought vinegar was vinegar but there on the shelf beside the ordinary vinegar was this super stuff.  Cleaning Vinegar, for floors, sinks, toilets and coffee pots.



It performed as advertised; I think the thing brews faster than it did the day I got it.  There is a down side.  The instructions were to run two cycles of water to eliminate the vinegar taste and smell.  Five cycles of water and four cups of coffee later I can still taste the vinegar and I can smell it twenty feet away.

Can I be serious before I say good night?  I know; it’s my blog.

For a few weeks a couple questions have been on my mind:

Is it Okay if I feel Okay?

Is it Okay if I feel a little guilty because I feel Okay?

I think the correct answer to both questions is yes.

I am OK tonight so let’s pray for some sunshine and warm temperatures.

Good Night and God Bless.