Thursday, August 30, 2018

MMM Donuts and Slowing Time Down

It's been two weeks of treatments on my disc decompression.  I am optimistic, as I think I can feel some improvement.  I have some difficulty getting around right after each treatment, especially this last week, but after a couple hours and ice I feel better than I did before I went in.  I have around a dozen or so more treatments that will end October 4.  I want to be aggressive with this hoping to get the most benefit I can, but they are moving a little more cautiously, so I will trust their judgement more than mine lol.  

I stopped in to bring the Doc's office some donuts since they have been so very nice to me.  A couple dozen Krispy Kreme's.  It was hard to resist the free one they offered when I came in, but I did.  They gave me an extra half dozen free since I was taking them to the 'office' and it was in honor of an NBA basketball player here in San Antonio that just retired.  They were chocolate covered and filled with his jersey number on them.  Those went home with me for the wife.  Yes, I did have one, just one, later.  There are still 4 in the box calling my name, but I will persevere and resist the temptation.  That is the first donut I have had in almost 15 years.  

Not a lot going on here with us both undergoing treatments.  However we will have the boys and their families and my parents out on Labor Day for BBQ'd chicken wings and sausage and whatever else K thinks up to go with it.  We will have it early so Mom and Dad will feel like they can stay a little longer instead of hurrying off after an hour and a half.  We haven't been altogether as a family for quite some time.  I can't really even remember a time other than last October for Son#2 and his new bride's reception.  It's just been too long and life just gets in our way even more as they get busier and busier.  Soon the two oldest Grands will be getting too old to stay at the Grandparents.  I don't know when that is but our oldest will be 11 next year.  I don't remember doing that much past that age.  

Time creeps on much faster than I prefer and leaves me shaking my head sometimes.  Our Daughter-in-law 2.0 (the one that's pregnant) posted a photo on the book of faces of her 18th week of pregnancy.  Half way through.  We last saw her at less than 6 weeks.  It was hard to believe we hadn't seen them for that long.  I wish I could slow time down but it is what it is.  

Happy Trails

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Plan

This past week we met with the Chiropractor and went over the MRI.  It was worse than I thought considering how I feel most of the time.  We found out things I probably didn't want to know.  My neck has several bulging discs and spurs and several other issues that squeeze my spinal cord.  My lower back has a couple jacked up vertebrae and discs and other issues also.  Two of those vertebrae are not where they are supposed to be and have visibly deteriorated enough that my untrained eye could see it before he explained what was going on.  He also said he would normally send me to a surgeon before he did anything.  How many Chiropractors would say that?  He will try to help me out to avoid surgery in the future, but only surgery will actually fix my lower back.  Hopefully his plan is designed to decompress the discs that are being impacted enough to stave off the seemingly inevitable.  I asked him 'how long before I am in a wheelchair'?  He said that we would try to hold that off as long as possible.  Not the real answer I was looking for.

He laid out the plan for me, 20 treatments of decompressing the discs along with a couple other things they do to me while I am there.  Two hours time to get that all done, 3-4 times a week.  My next month will be spent trying to get this wore out back in shape enough to last a few more years.  

This is what I go through for my lower back.  This machine stretches you to decompress the discs ( I didn't get a photo of my neck stretch).

They warp you all up very tightly that you feel like things are getting squeezed that shouldn't be squeezed and then apply weighted pressure for about 20 minutes.  The weight increases 10 lbs every day.  I'm at 40 lbs after 3 treatments.  I want them to be aggressive since we are only doing 20 of these.  I want results so I want to push my limits.  The neck stretch on the 'rack' is much much lower.  I'm only at 8 lbs but I feel the soreness after.  Hey, maybe I will gain that 1 inch height I have lost over the years with all this stretching.  For the vertically challenged that's a big deal.

I also get to wear this lovely thing all day every day.  

I don't mind at all really, it just hampers me doing a few things easily.  Things I shouldn't be doing at this point lol.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have really serious pain most of the time.  Usually around the 2-5 point scale of 10 almost constantly.   If I could keep it at this lower level I could tolerate it a long time.  There are a few times it gets to the 9-10 level but does not last long.  That higher level is caused usually because I did something I know I should not have.  I just want to stay on top of this and keep the bad pain at bay a while longer.  I also could tell things were getting a little worse over the last few months.  

Once these 20 treatments are over, he says we should proceed with a maintenance plan of 3-4 times per year.  I can do that.  I am hopeful and looking forward to the results.  I just have to not be lazy and take care of myself the way I am instructed.  That means he will give me exercises to keep it in shape.  I hate exercising so that will be a struggle to keep up with since I am a big couch potato. 

Happy Trails

Friday, August 24, 2018


Memories seem to come to me at random times.  Something will spur an old memory like it did a day or so ago.  Then others will flood back.  Most all of my memories are good ones.  That doesn't mean there aren't any bad ones.  This particular time might be considered both.  But to me they are all good as it reminds me of my Grandparents, my Mother's parents.

There were a couple things I read recently that got these old memories going.  One on the book of faces and one on another blog I read.  Those posts were about thunder.  I was very fearful of thunder as a small child.  I was fearful of a lot of things, some I will relate at another time.  However, I now enjoy it.  Being very afraid of it as a child, others could see that I was afraid.  I didn't cry, but my hands were over my ears and I would jump when it was pretty loud.  Inside myself I was cowering, awaiting the next huge clap.  And of course the lightning played a big part of this reaction.  I can remember my Dad saying how he thought storms and thunder weren't as bad as they were when he was a kid.  Well, duh.  As a kid, everything seems bigger and louder than when we are adults.  I didn't get any sympathy from my parents. 

I believe my fear of things in general came somewhat naturally from the stories I have been told and the things I observed.  My Mom was a fearful person though not as much as my Grandmother and also my Great Grandmother from the stories I have heard.  One story sticks out about my Great Grandmother, who I never knew.  This was in the early days of aviation apparently or maybe they lived so far in the sticks planes just rarely if ever came by.  She was an adult when this happened.  The first plane she ever saw sent her into a big fright.  She heard it first and ran out to see what the noise was but ran back in and hid in the bathroom terrified of this thing in the sky.  There was other talk about her being so fearful she would not let her kids do a lot of kid things out of fear.  Much of that fear was 'inherited' by my Grandmother. my Mother, and then me, each in a lesser degree.  

One huge gigantic monstrous thunderstorm came along when we were visiting my Grandparents.  My Grandfather in an attempt to assuage my fears told me not to worry, it was just a potato wagon going over a wooden bridge.   I think in images a lot of the time with descriptive things and this was the perfect picture in my mind.  I could imagine how it looked and sounded every time thunder came and faded away, just as a wagon would as it hit the wooden bridge hard and fast and then fade away as it got farther away.  Of course I knew it wasn't a real wagon, but the images did actually help me deal with the fear better.  From then on, every time I heard thunder, and even now, I still picture that wagon hitting that wooden bridge at a gallop and fading away.  That is a very pleasant memory for me and reminds me of my Grandfather and how kind he was and what a great man also.  Then all the attached memories come in one by one.  He passed from cancer at an early age, 73 I think.  My Grandmother lived into her 90's.  I miss them.

Happy Trails

Monday, August 20, 2018


I know, I haven't been diligent about posting.  I could make excuses but I won't.  Truth be told, I didn't really even think about posting for a couple days or more.  I find less and less to write about these days, especially since I try not to write about the 'news'  I have in the past, but there are so many others that do a much better job than I, and some of you visit those folks anyway and I generally have the same or similar opinions as those.  So you don't really need or want me just being an echo of what you already know/read.  Consequently I find myself considering not continuing with the blog.  I will most likely start posting less and less.  Yes, I realize it will kill readership numbers even more.  But I will continue posting significant updates as they happen.  I have said this before, I know.  I just feel it is my duty to show respect to those that do come by occasionally to let them know what's up.  I know that the blogs I follow and then they go dormant, I wonder what happened.  I won't do that.

As far as my back/neck issues, I didn't have to pay a single dime for the MRI.  I am very thankful for that.  Hopefully the doc will be able to determine the best course of treatment and provide some relief.  I will find out Tuesday.  He said that he will most likely try out some sort of traction machine.  I'm game, it actually can't happen soon enough.  Early Monday morning was one of the worst times, being awakened with severe pain-all over.  I jacked around with the settings on my sleep number bed and I evidently paid the price.  I won't be doing that again.  After some tylenol and some ice I am much better.

There has been a lot more going on that I just can't put down on this blog for various reasons.  Some too personal and frankly I just forgot one I had planned.  Part of the reason for the forgetfulness was all the personal things that got in the way.

It's hot a dry here and the landscape is suffering pretty bad.  I skipped my water day since we had a small amount of rain.  That was a mistake.  As hot as it has been, that little rain was baked out pretty quickly and it is still 3 days before I can water.  And we are under heat advisories constantly.  Some of my parched grass has been lost.  Hopefully relief comes soon with cooler temps, if not rain, in a couple weeks.

My fur buddy, Buster, continues to decline.  He doesn't have a lot of strength in his legs and can fall easily on uneven ground or slipping and just having a leg give out.  But he carries on and seems pretty happy and he is aware of his limitations.  We keep a watch on his quality of life.  We try hard to make things easy on him, he deserves it.

Hopefully I can have some cheerful posts in the future.  I hate being a downer.

Happy Trails.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Seeking Relief

Tuesday I had an appointment with a new Chiropractor.  The issues I have had with my various aches and pains in my back/neck were starting to get a little more intense.  I decided I didn't want the pain to get out of hand and try to stay on top of it.  I hope to avoid surgery completely or at least hold it off a long time.  He says he can help but only surgery will fix it.  I have no real confidence in surgery as I have seen way too many surgeries on backs/necks be less than successful and even worse.  I know of very few that have had a completely satisfactory result of back surgery.  

He wants me to have an MRI in order to tell more about my issues.  I am a little balky about that.  I don't want another 500$ bill if I can avoid it at all.  The MRI place is supposed to call me with the amount that I will be responsible for.  I hope to pay nothing which I doubt is possible, but I told the doc, I won't pay for it.  We will see what happens in that regard.  It is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
I hope to make these visits to the Chiropractor a regular event to keep things in line better and avoid getting to the point they are now.  I just can't sleep well as the pain builds up over night without Motrin, and it only works for a while.  The best thing about this is that I know the Doc personally so I know I will get the straight skinny.

Have been dealing with some emotional family issues recently that was freaking K out a bit.  It had the potential to be very devastating to very close family and us.  As it turns out, things went well and there is a sense of relief.  I managed to keep my cool much better than I have been able in the past.  So that helped the situation.  I have a new perspective about this and will work with that.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Different Story

Monday morning we went over to a hospital near us to visit with a friend and her family while she was in surgery.  Her Step-Father was there also and I got to spend a little time with him that turned out to be the highlight of my day.  He was born in Germany before the start of WW 2.  He still has a pretty heavy accent.  I am not real sure how we got on the subject other than me asking him when did he come to the States.  1952 was when he came over and he was an adult then.  As it turns out he was 14 years old around the end of WW 2 as he referenced the Bastogne offensive.  What a treat to hear a perspective from that side of the war.  He is now 87 and his memory hasn't faded and is still as sharp as anyone I know.  The thing that struck me most was his attitude.  His telling of events he remembered had no animosity, was mostly matter of fact and even jovial at times.  I just listened, mostly without comment so as not to interrupt the flow.  

A little more into his reminiscences centered around his small hometown in the western part of Germany.  His mother listened to the BBC which was illegal.  They could only pick it up by him holding on to the connection on the back of the radio and he became the antenna.  From these news casts his mother determined that they needed to get out of there.  They were evacuated on trains into central Germany where they would be safer from the bombers that had hit his school at least once.  He was sent to a farm and worked there along with others.  One thing that stuck out was his recollection of being on a train and it was full of German soldiers.  He asked why and was told that things were going so well on the Eastern front they were all given furloughs.  It was a few days later when he heard about Bastogne and figured out then that was what was really going on, troops being transferred to support that last ditch offensive.  

He also described the retreat of the German army and all the cast off guns and ammo that littered his town.  They would use the cast off handgrenades to fish in the river.  One of the few things they had to eat then.  He got tickled telling the story about one of his friends firing a cast off bazooka and was standing too close to a wall.  The backblast sent him running down the street with his pants smoking.  They also would set bricks of 9MM ammo on fire and watch the fireworks.  Boys will be boys everywhere it seems.  

He spoke of the many air raids and how when in school they would head down to the second level of the basement and school would continue on while the bombs fell.  The hunger he endured near the end and after the end of the war was a major issue it seems.  The treatment by the various armies, American, French and British.  The French apparently still hated them enough to make things more difficult.  He said the treatment was 'ok' by the Americans and British as they passed through various zones, but not the French.  He ate a lot of K rations the Americans handed out.  Although as each American unit left his town they burned all the leftover food stores in a pit as per orders.  A few Americans also let them know ahead of time and let them scavenge some food before it was destroyed.  

There was more but I can't do justice to his story, it will just have to remain in my memory as I perceive it.  I wish I was a great story teller in order to set his story out better for others.  I found the entire impromptu session to be fascinating and will treasure this memory. 

Happy Trails 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Pistol Update and Leather

I had a Taurus 9MM semi auto pistol that was part of a recall lawsuit.  The were supposed to either fix it for you or refund most of the original cost.  I sent mine in back in January for a refund.  I liked the way the thing fit my hand but I couldn't hit anything with it.  Never had the type issues with any other handgun like that one.  At 3yds I couldn't hit the center circle.  It would hit at least 6-8" low, at 3yds.  No, the sights were not adjustable.  However, the 3 inch barrel was loose when you took the slide off or racked it back.  I mean really loose.  I don't know if that was the problem for my lack of accuracy, but I couldn't count on it and I wanted it for a carry gun.  So when this recall came about I took advantage.  All that to say, that the refund finally came.  Not enough to get a replacement firearm, so it will go to savings until something comes along I can't live without.

I am working on some small leather pieces for and 4 hour show that K has signed up for.  Nothing big but I am trying something new.  

I guess you could use it for a paperweight.  Yes, there is a real horse shoe in there.  It was a bit more difficult to get the fit right than I thought it would be.  I will make a couple more along with some key fobs and leather cuffs for kids.

A bit fixated on horses apparently.  I have others in mind like dogs/cats too.  I can only make some cheaper things for this type show since there may be a lot of kids shopping too.  I don't want to drain their entire piggy bank.

I got part of the garden weeded out and two new tomato plants are in the ground.  There is room for more but I want to save room for some onions.  I just have to remember to get off my butt and go find some in October.  

Happy Trails

Friday, August 10, 2018

Dental School for the Rib

So K is heading over to the dental school today to have some molds made of her mouth/teeth.  She will be getting a new crown made.  The previous one seems to have been made poorly and has caused problems with the tooth underneath.  It seems our previous dentist we had trusted so much made a poorly fitting one and now she is paying for it, literally.  A 3rd year dental student found this, well along with the faculty adviser.  It will be expensive but not near as much as going with someone else.  Glad we were able to get into this school.  It's the University of Texas Dental school and it is hard to get in.  We got lucky.

Our local power company is coming out today to install a new thermostat.  It is one of those smart thermostats.  Nest is the brand and I will be able to control it with my smartphone.  I am not real sure what all it does at this point.  Son#1 has one and told me a little.  After a while, he just switched it to manual since it was 'too smart' as he described it.  They are replacing one they had installed a couple years ago.  I had opted into a program that let them control my thermostat during peak periods.  It was supposed to save me money, that is why I did it.  You could still override it and I did on occasion when it get warm enough to be uncomfortable.  Many times we didn't notice the changes.  They are doing away with that program and they will no longer have that control (which I am glad of) and they are replacing it with this Nest at no cost.  Those things run around 250$.  I am curious to see how this will work out.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My Mind...

I now have this nice new lawn ornament in my backyard. 

You can also see the original septic tank hatch, in two pieces at the top of the photo.  All I have to do is try to keep from running over it with my lawn tractor.  This really is out of the way anyway, so it won't be something anyone will see when they are looking out the window or even when on the patio.  We could try to paint it to make it blend in or something else.  I was thinking, make it look like a mouth with giant monster teeth to scare the Grandkids and give them nightmares.  Yes, I'm bad.

The sun has made toast of half my tomato plants and I have removed them.  I am now down to three.  Two of those don't look real good either.  One looks great but it produced very little fruit.  I will plant some onions come October.  Most likely the 1015 variety.  The 1015 comes from the date you are supposed to plant them, October 15.  I am not sure what I am going to do about adding anymore tomato plants for fall.  I haven't been very successful with them in the past.  We shall ponder that one a little more.

We also found out that the 'on the way' Grandchild will be another Granddaughter.  They also did some sort of genetic testing to determine if there were any abnormalities possible.  Everything seems to be fine.  I didn't know they did things like this but it doesn't surprise me.  

I had more for this post, but the call about the new Grand came while I was composing this, and it has blown apart what little grey matter I had and now the other things have been lost.  

Happy Trails

Monday, August 6, 2018

Thank You

I seem to feeling somewhat better this week, thank you for your wishes and concern.  

We have been dealing with Verizon the last week.  It seems that the wife's phone is using our limited data much faster than we have ever experienced.  I believe the 'new refurbished' phone she got to replace her other refurbished phone that replaced her original smart phone when it malfunctioned is malfunctioning.  No one seems to be able to figure out how she is going through almost 2 G's of data in less than 2 weeks when we never went over before, even when we had just 500 MB.  I'm not technically as challenged as the wife having been around pc's and such for the last 20 years.  I can make things work on my own most every time.  This time, it's got me flummoxed.  

She does not use any apps other than text messages and they are almost all turned off.  Yet somehow the datahub shows most of the data used is web traffic and it is almost solely her phone.  She never even checks email much less surf the interwebs.  I do, everyday, but not a lot, and my datahub shows very little data use.  

So I sit here waiting for a 9:00 AM phone call from their tech support, at 9:35 AM.  They had me reset the data again and added another couple G data so we wouldn't run over with 3 weeks left in our cycle.  They also had me restart (reboot) her phone.  They will then look and see what data has been consumed over the past 2.5 days and see what is going on and if they have a solution.  We also kept track of her useage and she has made 5 texts conversations and 5 phone calls, just normal usage for her.  I have looked at her useage got that same time and there has been minimal data usage.  If my guess is right, the 'rebooting' may have taken care of the issue.  But I still have questions.  My bill is suddenly lower by 40$ for 2 months running (the time we have had data issues), and they added 2 additional gigs (for free for this issue only) but those G's would normally cost 50$.  A subtle way of getting us to upgrade our service plan?  They also said we could buy a new phone (at 900$ for one comparable LOL), another ploy?  Maybe I am being paranoid, but 2 local service reps couldn't figure it out and it has taken 2 tech support calls and still waiting on this third one.  

Maybe I will move her back to her old flip phone we still have. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Cha-ching $$

Today (Friday) I had a company come out and pump our septic tank.  We do this about every 5 years.  There have never been any surprises.  It isn't cheap by any means, running close to 400$ to pump a 1k gallons.  I did have a couple questions for them this time as we have experienced some sulphur smells around the system this past year that we have not ever had previously.  They checked it out and didn't see anything, and it wasn't that all unusual to get that smell.  There could be any number of factors involved and nearly impossible to tell exactly.  Then they opened the tank.  The concrete lid was decayed/corroded and broke apart on opening.  The lid sits right over a pipe (I don't really know what is't called) and that was where most of the decay of the lid was located.  He explained that is where the sulphur smell was coming from.  The sulfur (along with another big word) gas had deteriorated the lid and that was why we had been smelling the gas on occasion, depending on several factors i.e. weather, dry or wet etc.  But it wasn't anything real serious it was just unusual for a house without a water softener to have that much 'sulphur something' build up.  There was nothing wrong with the rest of the system thankfully.  

They made a couple of recommendations for lid replacement.  Since it is over 30 years old I would have to get a custom made lid or do it myself.  NOPE.  Or place a 'riser' that would stick up in the yard but I wouldn't ever have to uncover that lid again with that hard packed earth and miss the location while digging until I finally found it again.  I bet you can guess which route I took.  I also opted to have it done than try to figure out how to do it right on my own.  The septic truck driver offered to do it on his own outside the company he works for.  That cuts the price in half and will only cost around a hundred or so.  It should get done before the weekend is over.  

Glad this only happens every 5 years.  But this is what happens with home ownership and a house that is 30+ years old.  Don't get me wrong, it's worth it in the long run and I wouldn't change the choices we have made about the home we live in and built those many years ago even if it was a 'budget house' as our builder called it and made the wife mad.  Yeah.  

Happy Trails

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Ugh and an Observation

I have just not been feeling very well lately.  No, I'm not sick or anything like that thankfully.  It's just a combination of all my aches and pains that have teamed up to let me know they are still around.  I always have something hurting, but this time they are all doing their thing along with a somewhat new pain.  The new one has something to do with a couple teeth.  I noticed a strange sensation while chewing the other day.  A couple days later, chewing again and full on pain in an upper and lower tooth.  These teeth had been pretty sensitive in the past.  You know, the cold thing that hits your teeth and makes you cringe when you have your Iced Tea.  The last time I was at the Dental School for a cleaning I told them about that.  They said there might be a slight crack that can't be detected by the Xray.  Great.  I'm not scheduled to again until October.  They don't see patients during the summer apparently.  I hope to just tough that out.

Man this getting old crap isn't for wimps.  I hate to be the kind that complains.  I know it isn't fun to be around that type person that complains about all their aches and pains.  I don't want to be that guy.  The only reason I do it here is for my memory/chronicling.  No one wants to hear it anyway and it doesn't make it better.  So I won't list all the other things.

We have been out to the movies that last couple weeks.  That's about all we ever do in that regard, just a couple times a year.  I would never go, but the wife loves going so I feel like I should take her on occasion.  We try to make a 'date' out of it.  So we saw one she would like and then one I would like.  She loved both so I win twice.  

President Trump has been a pleasant surprise as far as how he is dealing with various issues.  I am still disappointed about the abortion funding for planned parenthood.  They say it is for women's health but anyone with gray matter should be able to determine a majority of that is for killing babies.
Those that oppose him are just flummoxed with everything he does.  Yes, I think he is crass and tactless and is by no means a 'nice' person.  However, I find it very entertaining to watch the left and the media try to find things to hang on him and tons of outrage caused by his actions.  Everything just rolls off like the proverbial water on a duck's back.  Nothing sticks.  Even things that have sunk others very quickly.  We are getting what we have all been wanting for a long time.  Someone that is not a politician and gives back to the left (and everyone else) exactly what they have been doing for decades.  It's a hoot.

Happy Trails