The day the world changed

That morning I awoke as usual
Getting ready for work
Making my lunch
And getting a cup of coffee in the kitchen,
Turning the news on, to check the headlines.

And there in front of me was a live feed of one of the Twin Towers in New York City, smoke pouring from a gaping hole in the side of it.
The news camera was on a locked shot of the damaged Tower and the one next to it, as the reporter was speaking of what appeared to be an accident…

And then
As I watched the live feed
Another plane plowed into the second Tower.

This was no accident.

And from that moment,
Our world was different.

I stood in abject horror

Here
On the other side of the country
From what had to be, maybe, a thousand people in that big building –
– I had no idea how many.

All these people,
Unaware,
Just going to work
On another ordinary day
In their high rise office
And unknowing
That death was to fall upon them this day.

Scrambling down the stairways,
holding onto the handrail
holding onto hope;
Is there safety on the next floor down?
How many more floors before I’m safe and out of here?

And in desperation
some on the highest floors
began throwing themselves out the windows…
their lives ending in a sickening detonation
on the cold-hearted concrete below.

And yet police and firefighters
rushed the buildings
determined to save as many as possible;
And too many paid with their lives.

And a report came in –
The Pentagon was under a similar attack.

It could not be more plain:
We were now at war.

With whom, we would for damn sure soon find out.

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Thunderstorms arriving

Earlier this week, the weather had turned from just warm to HOT. We’d gone from the mid 80s to the high 90s. Interesting to note that we have not broken a hundred degrees yet this summer, and the season’s about to end.

The first night of hot weather was the way I like to see it, when I have to tolerate the heat: even though it was hot, we had a good breeze of 5 knots base, with gusts to 15 knots. The second night was harder, because the wind had died down to just calm; fortunately not dead-calm.

The sunset was pretty, and Dara was enjoying being master of her meadow:

And then we got thunderstorms early on Thursday morning: lightning flashing beyond the Ridge, and thunder eventually rolling over us. Dara does NOT care for such noise, and so goes to hide in her safe-place: the far side of our bed on the floor, hunched up against my nightstand.

Thursday night brought oppressive humidity, and dead-calm. I hate dead-calms, as they are so very uncomfortable. Even though it was only 76°, the humidity was nearly 70%. This was a jump of 50 percentage points from the previous night. And I found out that you don’t brush Dara on such an evening: I shook the hair out of her brush, and it just floated in the air like something out of a horror movie… eventually being attracted to me, no matter what I did.

Kind of reminded me of a joke I made up when we had Wheaton: “It’s spring, and how can you tell if someone owns a Golden Retriever? Easy. They’re the ones always going, ‘Pleahhh-pleahhh-pleahhh’, trying to get the hair out of their mouth…”

I tend to stay out of politics

… but there are those rare occasions where I just can’t resist. (Remember, you heard the following here first.)

Today I was reading something in the Google Cards, and they mentioned a Trump Presidential Library.

I understand that Marvel got the contract to do the library.

<short pause for contemplation>

DC Comics did not. Because it takes an act of Congress for DC to do anything…

A Tale of a New Dog Dish (a photo post)

This story begins a week or so ago, when I took my wife to the doctor’s.

Dara had a stainless food bowl, and an algae-proof water bowl. Because of their proximity to the back door, I’d had to push them together so the wheelchair could pass.

And I’d left them that way, not thinking any more about it.

But Dara is often an enthusiastic eater. So one afternoon the stainless bowl suddenly made a big CLANK as it hit against the water bowl, prompting much scrambling for safety from this very scary noise. She soon came back, but scrambled for safety again as her collar and tag made a similar sound when it contacted the bowl.

Now she was in a pathetic situation: wanting to eat, but skittish about it.

This of course couldn’t continue. I found a ceramic bowl that I’d stashed, but we soon found that it also made a noise. And with the noise came more scrambling for safety.

And… all of this made her nervous. She’d grab a mouthful of food, then take it a safe distance away to eat it.

As I’ve said before, she’s a rescue, and has had enough anxiety in her life. This had to stop.

So I remembered the WeatherTech bowls I got her for the trailer. They won’t make noise, and they’re made in the USA. And they’re reasonably priced (for being made in the USA), versus the competition.

One other very important thing: I just don’t trust stuff from China, as they don’t appear to care about food safety. The WeatherTech bowls are made from NSF materials, and are actually certified safe for humans.

We assembled them yesterday afternoon, and while the early results are mixed, I think they’ll work out fine… I can just hear her saying:

“Dad, what IS this new thing?? It has food and water in it; is it okay?”


 

“Well, I’d better give it a sniff to make sure it’s as ok as you say it is.”

“If you leave, I’ll eat. You know that’s how we do it.”

“Thank goodness he’s gone. Now I can eat in peace, even though this new thing (and any new thing) is a little scary. But look! It doesn’t scare me to death by clanking on my collar… And I can be as messy a drinker as I want, and it doesn’t go all over the floor. Maybe, just maybe I like this new thing.”

 

Motocross weekend

Last night, I stocked up on enough stuff so that we wouldn’t have to leave the house all weekend.

Those of you who know me, know that we live across the River Ravine from the Motocross track.

Our little unpaved lane intersects with a secondary feeder road for the track, and it is nearly impossible to leave on race weekends. For to the left at the intersection is a sharp rise, blocking all view, and to the right is a very sharp blind corner.

The noise is something else again. The sound from the track isn’t all that bad, but today the noise from the main road below is like living next to a freeway. … Although the flyover today was pretty great. Thank you, National Guard guys.

Meanwhile, the traffic on our little dirt lane has been almost nil. We all know that we can’t get out.

A note for you guys who think your “Toy-o-ter” pickup sounds great with open headers, it doesn’t. It sounds like every other rusted-out POS beater Toy-o-ter. Give it up, face reality. Doing that crap doesn’t get you any more power. Disagree with me? Fine. I hope you’re the only one who loses their hearing.

I’m not against the great sound of a classic muscle car, or the shriek of the V12 Ferrari that lives out here somewhere – it’s just these pretenders that I dislike.

I was outside and doing devotions when one particularly loud group came up from the floor of the Ravine, and Dara got scared and retreated…

She was headed to her safe place under the bushes.

I’m reminded of 29 years ago, when we’d moved the motorhome to this acreage, and I’d stepped out with a cup of coffee to enjoy the morning, and I thought, “Wow, sounds like someone kicked over a hornet’s nest”. Then I heard the muffled PA from the track, and realised what was going on.

But right now it’s getting closer to nine at night, and the noise is finally abating. Maybe.

Edit, Sunday morning: this has been REALLY unusual so far – NO aid cars rolling past, lights and siren. We’ve usually had more than a half dozen by now. Either the rules are different, or they’re using a helicopter. But I can’t see the reason for a $10,000 ambulance trip…

It’s been quiet on the blog but not quiet at home

This post is an update to the one last month; in attempting to update it, I found that I destroyed it. That post was composed late at night in the ER, and it’s not as good as it could have been. But…Uncle. I’m giving up trying to fix it. I managed to get it restored (as it is part of this great journey) but I’ll post a new entry and append the updates:

I have been busy. I’ll just start there. Last month, we had two trips to the ER with the paramedics within a week. On a Wednesday, my wife was to have a visit from the Visiting Nurse, but when he called to check in prior to the visit, she was sounding so bad that the fella called the paramedics.

That was the right call. Her back had been getting progressively worse, but her Orthopod is of the opinion of not prescribing pain meds. In these times of opioid crisis, this is understandable. But her function had been adversely affected, capability steadily decreasing.

And at that time, she literally couldn’t move, for the pain. Overnight in the ER brought a diagnosis of several compressed discs, and pain meds to try to get ahead of the pain.

But we weren’t ahead of it yet. She fell the next Tuesday. Because of the pain in her back. She was coming down the steps, when her back went into spasm, and her knees got so weak that she just crumpled.

It was the middle of the day; she was OK when I went to work. But it became my nightmare scenario: her at home, desperately needing help, and me, an hour away, at work… I drove down to the ER. And with nothing to do but worry, I had begun to compose this post there.

But it had been too painful then to complete or to do any further crafting on it; she was admitted to the hospital this time. She’s not a good candidate for any further back surgery because of her heart…

In this intervening time since that hospitalization, we have been working on ways to get her physically better and more able, using techniques learned from the stays in the physical rehab facility. We cannot afford a stay at such a facility; not at $200/day, and needing to be there for probably three weeks. We are outside the window for Medicare to pick it up: you have to have been ‘out’ for three months for them to pick up the bill for 100 days of stay.

But we are beginning to celebrate small improvements: she has been able to walk (with the walker) to the bathroom from the bed, and then walk from there to the top of the steps, where she can rest a couple minutes, then carefully make her way down. We’re working on getting her strength back to get into bed independently; this small accomplishment will go a long way toward making things better around the house. Although I must add a footnote that this morning she is not doing as well. It could be that the exercise is catching up with her, but she is not having a good day.

Meanwhile, I have quotes on a stair chair, just to help her make those two little steps… The $5000 price tag gives us pause.

And there have been a couple of bright spots; one was just a couple nights ago: I went outside in a very light drizzle to read and do devotions, when the drizzle began to pick up a little bit. The result was a profundity of calming, quiet, gentle white noise; it was a physical hand on the shoulder, sinking into your spirit and bringing a sense of deep peace. Yeah I got a little wet, and Dara was more than ready to go in, but it was worth it to just sit there, listen, and take in the minor miracle of a very light rain.

We go to our first visit to Palliative Care on Monday. This one has to be a joint visit; I’m taking some of the precious little leave I have left from work to do it. (A nurse gave us a good definition: ‘This is where we stop trying to fix you, and start seeing what we can do to meet you where you are in your life and to help you live your best life.’)

I humbly ask that if you happen to find yourself in front of our Creator, that perhaps you could mention us, if we come to mind.

May we get this figured out, this time. Lord, we cry out to you for the solution. This pain is stealing our lives. I know you don’t give us too heavy of a burden to bear, but do you have to get so awfully close…?

Two Trips to the ER within a week…

Last Wednesday, my wife was to have a visit from the Visiting Nurse, but when he called to check in prior to the visit, she was sounding so bad that the fella called the paramedics.

That was the right call. Her back had been getting progressively worse, but her Orthopod is of the opinion of not prescribing pain meds.

In these times of opioid crisis, this is understandable. But her function has been adversely affected, capability steadily decreasing.

And now she literally couldn’t move, for the pain. Overnight in the ER brought a diagnosis of several compressed discs, and pain meds to try to get ahead of the pain.

But we’re not ahead of it yet.

And she fell Tuesday.

Because of the pain in her back.

She was coming down the steps, when her back went into spasm, and her knees got so weak that she just crumpled.

It was my nightmare scenario: her at home, desperately needing help, and me, an hour away, at work…

I began composing this in the ER, and it became an admit to the hospital.

Two days later, we are fiddling with blood pressure meds versus pain meds as the pain meds lower blood pressure… Finding that she’s not a good candidate for any further back surgery because of her heart… Looking into a stair chair, just to make those two little steps…

May we get this figured out, this time. Lord, we cry out to you for the solution. This pain is stealing our lives. I know you don’t give us too heavy of a burden to bear, but do you have to get so awfully close…?