Monthly Archives: July 2013

Call Me Noah!

Call me Noah.  Yes, Noah of flood and ark fame.  I can’t escape the rain!  I went to England and the rain followed me there.  Rain almost every day.  Not unusual for England you say, but when I left, the rain went with me.  As a matter of fact, little baby Prince George was recently born in London.  On the hottest and driest day of the year.

At home it’s been raining.   Thirteen inches so far this month.  That seems like it’s about half a years worth for us.  A lot of rain.  I suppose that during the summer the farmers like to see the rain.  Big harvest ahead.  But with all of this rain I hear that crops are rotting in the ground.  Like the flowers in my garden.

I may have previously mentioned my fall.  Looking for a hole in the wall where the rain comes in, stops my mind from wandering.  Fell off the wall.  Broke my shoulder.  Every time it rains we have to vacuum water out of the basement.  Still looking for a fix.

My daughter is moving into a new apartment today.  We’ve driven three and a half hours to get there.  Through the rain.  Rain so heavy I could barely see the road in front of me at times. 

After a while it stops raining and the sun comes out.  Maybe the rain can’t find me here.  Or maybe the rain likes my young daughter and doesn’t want to make her move all her possessions into a new home during a rainstorm.  Or maybe it’s not really me.

Two days in a row with no rain.  Wow.  My daughter is moved in and happy.  I’m glad to know she is settled.  Time for me to go home.  After three and a half hours of driving I’m nearing the house.  The sky is getting dark.  I’m a mile from the house.  It’s raining.  I go into the house and damn if the basement isn’t full of water again.

Is it me?  That’s ridiculous.  It’s raining all over town.  And why would the rain soak everyone else if it’s just upset with me?  If it were angry with everyone in the human race, the world would flood.  Maybe it’s my town.  Like Lot’s Sodom and Gomorrah.  We are a liberal bastion in a sea of red.  No.

It’s the weather!  I have no control over that.  No say in how it works.  It doesn’t know me from Adam.  Climate.  I just happen to be here.  It just seems sometimes like it’s out to get me in particular.  That’s so funny because I live my life constantly reminding myself that it’s NOT all about me.  I’m a giver.  Just the weather.  Better find that hole now, I see a cloud coming.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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Lessons Learned, the Hard Way!

That big letter “S” on my chest doesn’t shine as brightly as it used to.  It once meant Superman, the man of steel.  You know, the guy in the funny blue and red suit with the cape and with Clark Kent as an alter ego.  As I get older, I’m more and more like Clark than Superman.  Funny dresser, glasses, kinda dorky.  Super big heart though.  And smarter than the average bear.  Even if my common sense is limited.

I recently had an accident.  Accidents by definition are unplanned.  Such was this.  And I have to admit that it was caused by a misguided notion that the S still shone as brightly as the Sun.  And a small lapse in common sense.  In my defense though, I have performed the associated superhuman feat numerous times I the past, without incident.

My body is pretty busted up, but it could have been a lot worse.  And I assure you, I am extremely thankful that I came away with a less disastrous outcome than was possible.  I coulda been killed.  Or worse, paralyzed for life.

I learned a couple of lessons from all of this.  I hope they don’t fade away with time.

Number one – recognize your weaknesses and put your strengths to work for you in accomplishing the job.  That S can just as easily stand for smarts as brute strength.  I’m no longer twenty years old.  The old grey horse ain’t what he used to be.  But the brainpower is there.  Use it!

Number two – Don’t complain about what you’ve got.  You either have to do something to make a change, or accept it and quit griping.  Realize that things could be much worse.  I have a bad back that, in spite of two surgeries, has never gotten better, and actually continues to deteriorate.  I complain about the injustice of it all on a regular basis.  Had my accident been just a tad different, I could have broken my back or snapped my spinal cord.  Might have broken my neck or turned my head into pudding.  Coulda been a lot worse.  Maybe the bad back isn’t so bad after all.  I can’t make it better, so learn to live with it.

Number three – Take a lesson from everything that happens.  You might not see any value at first, but if you keep looking there may be something.  I think that in a way my accident wasn’t all “accident.”  This may seem odd, but I think I got a push from a force that’s been trying to get me to get off the fence about something.  The message from above was, your back is toast.  You work hard to work around it, but you know there is something you can to.  Now, realize that it’s time to do it!  It was a push through the portal I’ve mentioned before.  And it’s working.

I learned a lot of other things too, like bones aren’t as hard as the ground and there is no gain from being stupid.  But what I’ve outlined above are bigger and better lessons.  In the future, I’m going to use my head, be appreciative, and learn from the past so I’ll be better in the future.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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The Fall

Fall, used as a verb, doesn’t usually have a good connotation.  Take the Fall of the Roman Empire.  Pretty big deal in history.  Maybe if you were a Roman slave you thought that was a pretty good event, but we don’t generally associate the beginning of the Dark Ages with a high point in human history. 

Falling usually brings to mind something like an uncontrolled event.  For the Romans it was a series of events they couldn’t stop.  It’s not like a jump, or a hop.  Those things are deliberate, mostly controlled.  A change in elevation or location.   A fall is a change in location and elevation, but without the control.

I remember moving my foot down, through the air, thinking that I had it lined up with it’s next location.  Thinking I had it made, I let go.  Damn, my foot was out of place and I missed the target.  The next landing point was twelve feet down.  And yes, it was uncontrolled. 

The last thing I saw was my feet, now above my head.  I was falling, headfirst, down toward the ground below.  That was the last thing I saw, but I sure did have a lot of thoughts.  I guess I knew I wasn’t going to die, or the rumor is not true, because my life didn’t flash before my eyes.  I kept thinking, how will I land, what’s going to hit, how much will it hurt?  What will the damage be, and, yes, will I die?  All that in a matter of maybe two seconds.

All my questions were soon answered.  I landed on the back of my shoulder.  As I hit, I told myself, OK, the head will be next, and sure enough, my head thumped into the ground.  I rolled over and was lying on the ground.  Not dead.  A good start.  But man, oh man, did it hurt!  I wasn’t sure what it was, but it HURT.  Didn’t take long to figure out it was my shoulder.  It hurt, I couldn’t breathe.  Couldn’t move.  I hollered for help, knowing no one inside the house could hear.

I must have somehow hit my phone along the way, and I heard it asking me if I wanted something.  It was in my right pocket.  My right arm wouldn’t, and couldn’t move.  My fingers were twitching, but the arm was useless.  I somehow got the phone out of the pocket with my left hand.  It was new and I wasn’t real familiar with its operation.  I kept yelling at it to call for help.  Silence.  Now I knew I was going to die a lonely death lying in my yard.

Finally I got a grip and called the house.  Hello?  Oh, hi, I fell down and I think I broke my shoulder.  WHATTTTT????  Panic.   I had to remain calm.  Get me up.  I can walk.  Let’s go to the emergency room.  It hurts.

Three hours later, after x-rays on head, shoulder, neck and elbow, and cat scans on all of the above, they told me that my scapula was broken.  Not cracked, broken in two.  Quick anatomy lesson – scapula is the shoulder blade.  A big bone that works a lot of body parts.  They told me that it’s the hardest bone in the body to break.  Usually associated with motorcycle crashes.  Never do anything small I say.

They gave me delauded to chill me out a little.  At one point I wanted to pound the ER nurse who kept moving my arm around.  I would never, but I felt like it.  They put on a neck brace and arm sling and let me lay around for a while for the drugs to kick in.  A second dose.  Even the strongest painkillers don’t really kill the pain.  You just don’t care about it as much.

Final tally of the damage?  Broken scapula.  Couple days off from work.  Arm splint six weeks, maybe more.  Seven thousand dollar emergency room bill.  As my daughter would say, life experience.  Not all experiences are good.  This is certainly one I will never forget!

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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The Hole

They don’t make ‘em like they used to. That’s what I hear all the time.  Lacking in the quality and durability of items from bygone days is what this typically refers to.  And, in many cases it’s true.  Pressed wood has replaced real wood.  Cheap plastic takes the place of metal.  Disposable replaces something that could last forever.

I’ve got a leak at my house.  Somehow water is coming into the basement.  I thought  it was the door.  Composite wood rather than a single piece of mighty oak or walnut.  Fixed the door and still  the leak.  Next thought was the brick and mortar.  What are they using for that stuff these days?  Not whatever they used to build the Maginot Line, parts of which still stand nearly 100 years after being abandoned.

Turns out it might be something simple like the downspout not being connected to the drain pipe.  One thin aluminum, the other cheap plastic.  Not like the old days when gutters were made of tin.  It would rust out after 20 years if you didn’t maintain it, but properly cared for, damn things last forever.

I keep finding roofing shingles blown around my yard after really strong windstorms.  Cheap shingles, and staples rather than nails to hold them down.  Of course they tear and fly off.  What do you expect?  Not like when they had real asphalt in them, and strong nails were used.  And paint.  The best quality paint always had lead in it.  Same with gasoline.  And pesticides with DDT.

DDT?  Yeah, it’s bad stuff and we can all stand a few spots on our apples to avoid it.  We didn’t know how lead is bad for the environment, and for our paint eating children and pets.  Who knew it caused cancer?   So change is good sometimes.    We make tradeoffs.

The paint isn’t as good, but its safer.  The plastic isn’t as strong maybe, but its lighter.  The space shuttle wouldn’t fly if it were made of iron.  Modern marvels.  Improvements.  We get used to them and they become the norm.  The internal combustion engine isn’t the greatest thing in the world, but it got the horse poop off the streets.

Back to the house.  You expect your house to be well built.  And for the rain to be kept out.  The hole wasn’t a hole at all.  It was missed preventive maintenance.  I guess the aluminum gutters are ok.  And the mortar still holds the bricks together.  Sometimes it’s just the human element.  And the nature of that beast is evolving too.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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