Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

This is being written as I relax in my easy chair. We're watching Kansas City put it on the Broncos. I sincerely hope your Christmas Day has been as full as ours. We slept in till 9:00AM, dinked around the house getting ready, had a little breakfast and made it out to our middle daughters house by noon.

Once there I spent my time hugging my kids and grand kids, telling them stories and listening to theirs. Then my daughters fed us with a great Christmas dinner. At some point presents were exchanged, though I don't recall when. I know we came home with different stuff than we took. The kids gave us gift cards to Red Lobster, which works great for us. We just have to get me in good enough shape to eat out.

My wish for you dear reader, is that you have been blessed as we have this Christmas.


Friday, February 12, 2016



It seems I have become a cranky old man.  Or..... maybe I'm not handling all the stuff going on in my life very well. I went off on one of the new owners of our company's representatives a couple of weeks ago about parking in the disabled parking spots at my work.

We have  only two disabled spots and at least once a week there is some company truck or some jerk with no sticker parking in them. I end up having words with the drivers of these cars and it has gotten me into trouble.

I was called into a meeting with my new manager and told in no uncertain terms if it happened again I would be gone. 

I apologized to some of the people involved in the incident, but I still get "the look" from the guy on whom I vented.

Today, when we stopped for gas, some kid had his music blasting and I said something to him about that. The situation deteriorated from there and he left with his engine and music blasting as he cussed me out. I might have said a few profane things as well. I attempted to explain to him he was being a jerk, but he didn't see it that way. Oh well.

Vicki however was not pleased. She is convinced I will be shot or beat up if I continue to be so grumpy. She may be right. I have promised to do better and  try to chill out.

Only time will tell. I have no patience with bullshit lately and these days it seems to be more and more prevalent. Perhaps I am just getting old and things set me off more easily.

Regardless of the reason, I am committed to being more gentle in my dealings with others. I pray each night that I will avoid confrontations.

In the meantime, I have a month before I to back to my oncologist. I do have to see a specialist next week about an issue coming from side effects of chemo or more correctly a biologic that was given to me during my last round of chemo.

Vicki goes in for surgery the end of the month and we remain hopeful that will go well.

I was delighted tonight to grill some bratwurst and spend time in the backyard with a whiskey and a cigar. Life is pretty good even with its trials and tribulations.

Here's hoping your life is going well.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

3rd and 2

I had the first 3 radiation treatments this last week on the second cancer mass in my lungs. Next week I get two more and I should be done. At least done with radiation anyway. There may be more maintenance drugs needed for a while. I'll have to wait and see how that goes. 

On another bright note, we got our car back on Friday. We've been in a rental car for 2 weeks. A big piece of truck tire took out the front end of my car on the Freeway and it's taken that long to replace the front bumper cover, the tie rod, the radiator and the air conditioning condenser. It also tore up some cover plates under the car as well.

It was a sort of freak event. The car in front of me attempted to miss the thing and hit it with just one tire. The damned thing flipped up into the air and came at me like it was alive. There I was looking at the chunk of truck tire bearing down on me and nowhere to  go. It hit dead in the middle of the bumper and split the lower bumper in half, then slammed into anything it could as it went under the car. 

We're really happy to have our baby back. We spend a lot of time in it together commuting to work and traveling. It has all the creature comforts we like and rides like a dream. The 300 is the last of a breed of big, rear wheel drive, American sedans. It makes me feel good every time I get behind wheel. 

OK, enough about our ride.

Vicki got the word this week that she'll be going in for surgery on one of her kidneys later this month. We're trying to schedule all our medical crap before our birthdays in April. We're hopeful this coming surgery will stop her weight loss and make her feel better. Her doctor says it has a good chance of success. 

I stood on the patio this afternoon watching a couple of steaks cook on the grill while enjoying a whiskey and a cigar. I realized that as tough as things have been, Vicki and I are doing OK. She has a girls outing to the Renaissance festival coming up in a couple of weeks.It's a great day for her to spend with daughters, granddaughters, sisters and nieces.

We've got plans for dinner out next weekend for Valentines day. Our kids gave us gift cards for Christmas and this is the first chance we have to use them.

And of course there's the Super Bowl tomorrow. 

Have a great weekend.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Only Constant; Change

We went out to what used to be our favorite Indian Casino Destination this weekend. The place is called Apache Gold and sits on the San Carlos Indian Reservation about six miles outside of Globe. We have been going to this Casino for a few years. Vicki liked the bands and the dancing that they provided in their lounge as well as slot machines that took their time taking our money and sometimes even gave some back.

We hadn't been out there for 18 months so we knew there would be some changes. The problem was the changes were not for the better in our view. The management decided to remodel and remove the lounge with the weekend bands. Now they have a large sports bar area with a big screen projection TV and several flat screens as well. Where once the dance floor lay filled with moving couples there is now an area with pool tables, stools and tables and even a dart board. 

The local community now uses it as a local sports bar. They have bands once a month or so; we were told they even move the pool tables out and leave a little room for dancing. We stopped in to sit and eat munchies. It was not a good experience. Too much noise, too many drunks and way too loud for humans. 

So... things change. The old style slot machines have all but disappeared, replaced by video screens and animations and lots of colored lights. Instead of ding, ding, dings, you may hear a lion roar, or an old song, or any number of sounds. I find it humorous that these machines tend to make a lot of sound and fury for a win that may amount to a couple of dollars at most. As one machine went to extraordinary measures to assure us we had won a great big bonus (of $3.80) I commented to Vicki that I still felt like a winner because they used more than $3.80 worth of electricity to announce and stage our grand winnings. And these new machines don't waste any time taking your money either.

The 18 months that had passed since our last visit did bring a lot of change to the casino and to the drive up there as well. The towns of Superior, Claypool and Miami are doing road construction making some of the route a little bumpy and tight. Still, we have always enjoyed the scenery going up into the hills and I like the the turns and convolutions of the highway through the rocky terrain. So we still managed to have a good time overall.

We're back home now. Vicki is snoozing on the recliner next to me and I'm watching a movie and blogging. Change may be the only thing constant, but we still find a way to get back home together and that's something that's been a constant in lives for over 30 years.

Hope you and yours had as nice a weekend as we did.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

1st Week of spot Radiation

The actual name of the treatment is Steriotactic radiation, but I didn't want to put that in the title and have it confused with stereo components. The treatments this week were Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They give you a day off between them. The treatments are also pretty short, no longer than 30 minutes usually and very focused.

There are only two small masses in my lungs being treated and there will be 5 treatments per mass. It still remains a somewhat surreal experience though the machine and the noise it makes when radiating me is different from the first one.

I am not in chemo now so any side effects I am feeling are probably due to my body's reaction to the high level of radiation, intensely focused as it may be. I have been a little dizzy and tired this weekend along with some nausea. Otherwise OK.

We had our granddaughter Bailey with us this weekend which is always a great pleasure. We watched music videos, movies and ate Pizza. 

A very nice weekend indeed. 

Hope yours was as good.


Friday, January 8, 2016

A week of Mishaps

It started Tuesday when I cleaned my cubicle. After having severe sneezing attacks for the  previous few days, I decided to clean out the dust bunnies behind my two monitors and the small computer tower. I was doing OK till I accidentally knocked over the computer tower while cleaning up the dust bunnies.

The computer worked fine for a while, but then crashed later that afternoon. Our IT guy looked it over and diagnosed the problem as a scratch on the hard drive from the tower being knocked over. The only solution was to replace the hard drive (all my desktop stuff was lost) and that took all of Tuesday and half of Wednesday. 

The worst was yet to come. Going to pickup Vicki at work on Wednesday afternoon my car was attacked by a piece of a large truck tire that split my front bumper, knocked out the passenger side foglight and broke some plastic cover plates under the front end and engine compartment.

I was able to get the car to a Geico appraiser on Thursday, though he had to look at the car in the rain. His first attempt at documenting the damage failed because his camera refused to work in the rain. I suggested we pull under a covered parking space and he did his thing. The result being an appraisal to replace the front bumper, the grill, some wiring and some other stuff on the front end. The total for the repairs was over $1500 and that's before the front bumper is removed to see if other damaged is found.

Since I already had an appointment to have some warranty work done on the car at the dealership I decided to let them do the repairs as well. 

So... I got the car in to the shop this morning and am awaiting a call from the body shop about the repairs. I am hoping to get a different grill with this repair. The stock grill is a little boring and they make a variety of aftermarket grills that are less money than the stock one. We'll see.

I'll be driving an arrest me red Dodge Challenger for the next few days. I am hopeful I can avoid being ticketed on the interstate till we get our car back. I like to run pretty fast on the I-10 in the mornings on the way to work.

Wish me luck,


Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome 2016

So, the ball has dropped, Gwen Stefani just sang and now it's officially 2016 Arizona time. We didn't go out for New Year's Eve, but I did get a chance to watch Alabama win a place in the championship game on  Jan 11th. It almost looked like Michigan State would make a game of it in the first half, but that didn't pan out for them.

I look forward to seeing how the Crimson Tide does against Clemson. I will be rooting for them as always. Once an Alabama boy always an Alabama boy.

I had a chance to talk with an old friend this evening as well. I haven't seen or heard from him in some time and it was great to hear he is still kicking. We commiserated on the state of businesses post the financial collapse of the previous years. We both agree that company owners and corporations have made themselves profitable again, but at the expense of their employees.

It seems that benefits and salaries have diminished while profits have increased. Both of us are making less money today than we did in the 90s and early 2000s. We both have a lot experience in our industry and have made our employers a bunch of money. Unfortunately little to none of that has come back to us.

We agreed that if we were younger we'd start our own company and show these dillweeds that run things now how it's done. Alas we are both old and in my case less than a couple of years from retirement. We're resigned to hanging in and watching the comedy of errors that our 30 and 40 something managers make of a business that we once knew as highly profitable and fun. Somehow this new generation of bottom liners, bean counters, e-mail senders, i pad and smart phone users have managed to take what was once a good thing and screw it up. 

They have managed to take the personal contact and relationships out of our business and replace it with e-mails and website downloads. What a bunch of crap.

If I sound like a dinosaur then so be it. I know how much fun we had and money we once made doing our jobs just a few years ago. Now the big brains have attempted to commoditize our talents and experience in the name of  efficiency and process.

It all seems quite soulless and pathetic to me.

On a happier note, I am extremely hopeful that 2016 will bring good health and prosperity to my family. We've paid our dues in that last few years. It's time to start enjoying the fruits of our labor, even if they pale in comparison to what could have been. That's history and I am a believer in living in the moment and making the best of whatever comes my way.

So.... The ball has dropped and the not so fat lady has sung. Let's have great 2016.