The road less travelled

The road less travelled

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Second Time Knee Surgery Exposed

This is just the follow up to my last blog.

We had to wait 3 days before we could see what my knee looked like underneath the wrap. So with Nurse Lisa's help, she started to unravel the wrap. Coil by coil, she slowly unraveled the wrap. On and on it went until finally it came off. Only to reveal a large mound of padding. It wasn't soaked in blood which was a good sign. In fact it was very dry. Off that came and then the magical moment happened. bare skin!

Just two tiny incisions is all it took for this surgery. Nothing to exciting. The scars aren't even going to be that impressive. No awesome war story to go along with them.

Modern medicine is amazing at times.

So a couple more days of icing and then physical therapy starts. I am able to walk and climb stairs pretty good. I am also weening myself off of the pain meds. Things are going well and I want to thank everyone for the well wishes

Stay warm where ever you may be.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Second Time Knee Surgery

"It's time for our walk" my better half says to me.

"No its not" I say, "Wouldn't a better name be Death March?"

Then I get the "LOOK" and I am up and ready to go with a smile plastered all over my face. And so another day starts in our household. Until recently that is.

Second Time Knee Surgery. The first time happened 9 years ago before we started this more active lifestyle. I was getting into my pick-up. I stepped up with my left leg, my right leg twisted but my knee didn't and POP it went and down on the ground I went. "Help I've fallen and I can't get up!" 3 days I laid in the driveway only to be rescued by Lisa when she noticed I didn't bring home a paycheck.

The second time was a little less dramatic. We were walking in Florida last winter. A dull pain started in my left knee. Week after week of death marches slowly made the pain get worse and worse. Finally in September when I had my yearly physical that I told my doctor about it. She referred me to an orthopedic doctor who took x-rays and finally an MRI and confirmed what I had thought all along. Exercise is bad for you. My argument has always been that your joints were only meant to move so many times in your lifetime. So you speed up wearing them out by exercising more and that is how I wrecked my knee. I have always had my eye on one of these bad boys.
The orthopedic doctor then referred me to a knee surgeon right before Christmas and then scheduled surgery for Jan. 12th. That is one of the other reasons that brought us up to the frozen tundra of Minnesota and also keeping us here for so long. The surgeon doesn't want me to travel because of the risk of blood clots.

The surgery went along fine. The hospital called the day before the surgery to give us a final time to arrive. I got bumped up from 12:30 to 10:00 which was fine with me since you have to fast before hand. Lisa drove me to Fargo and we got checked in. They then led me to a pre-op room where I was told to strip (gladly) and put on a super sexy hospital gown. The nurse then shaved my knee, and then proceeded to put an anti-embolism sock on my right foot. Those are very tight socks that help prevent blood clots. As she was doing this awkward maneuver to get them on, my foot was getting to second base. This day is starting out pretty good!

So once that was done and our cigarettes finished another nurse came in for more prep work. She asked a lot of questions like "Do you feel safe at home?" What if I say "no". Will they whisk me out of there, enter me in the witness protection program or something? She then installed the IV into my hand. Once prepped, they called Lisa in to wait with me for a little bit. I confessed to her where I hid all my valuables. The Swiss bank accounts and the slush fund hidden in a bank in the Bahamas. 
Me in the Pre-op room.

They then moved us to a holding area for the surgery. I initialled my knee and then the surgeon came in and initialled the same knee so we knew what knee was to be done. No confusion here. Now it was going to happen soon.
Final holding area.

This was the look if I didn't make it.
The time came and Lisa had a very tearful goodbye. She said that her life wouldn't be the same because no one could make her feel like a woman as I could. But if the worse was to happen there was a cute doctor down the hall that she saw.

They whisked me into the operating room and before I could regale them with my biking escapade in Lanesboro I was out cold. I woke up sometime later by a nurse in the post-op room nudging me. She gave me some ice which happened to be the best ice in the world and sat me up to see if I would stay awake. I did, so she moved me to a recliner and pushed me into another recovery room. There I was given toast, which was the best toast in the world.  I was able to keep that down and then Lisa and Kendra joined me for our post-op meeting.

Everything went swimmingly and we were given a lot of directions. My knee felt good. It was wrapped up pretty tight. No pain but the pain killers were working. They even gave me a roady for the trip home. Lisa got my pain meds and then the car for the trip back to Fergus. No crutches this time. I was able to put weight on it right away. My last knee surgery, I had crutches for 3 days.
My knee wrapped up.
They sent me home with what I assume are pictures of the inside of my knee. At least I hope that is what they are. To me it looks like they may have given me a vagina. 
Inside my knee I hope.
So I have to keep my knee elevated and iced until Monday. Then we can strip off the wrap and change the bandages. So I will have to add what that looks like later, so check back on Monday.

Me, hard at work. Photo courtesy of Lisa.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Blog Challenge Accepted

We were camping in Minnesota's bluff country. That is in the southern part of Minnesota and it provides a nice change from the flat farmland of the Red River Valley where we live. We like that area because of the tubing on the Root River and also the bike path that was put in. Like many states, they have taken an old abandoned railway line and removed the tracks, then paved the path to make a very flat and biker friendly route that covers 42 miles. We were camping near the trailhead and it was early, so I told Lisa that I was going to hop on the trail and bike a little bit after dinner.

With dinner eaten and the kids entertained, I got my bike and headed off to the trailhead. It was a beautiful evening. Not too hot or too cold. My legs relaxed and I was soon going at a steady pace. The miles seemed to slip past at a fairly rapid rate. Sandwiched in between the bluffs are small farms. I passed one such farm and the farmer was near the trail and waved and said "Hello". So I stopped and returned the gesture.

He said to me, "There's a full moon tonight. Stick to the trail".

Before I could say anything, he started his tractor and went back to work in his field. Well I didn't think much more of it other than that was a little off. So I jumped back on my bike and hit my stride rapidly. A little farther down the trail, a couple was walking along with their dog. I slowed down a little to get by and as I passed they said, "There's a full moon tonight, stick to the trail".

I thought that the locals really had some weird fascination about full moons. Oh well. The sun was getting low on the horizon and I was about 10 miles out. Thinking that if I went a few more miles I would be getting home in the dark. I didn't mind because the trail was flat and I had a light on my bike so I really wasn't that worried. So after another 5 miles I decided that I should turn around and head back to the campground. As I stopped, another biker caught up to me.

He then said to me, "There's a full moon tonight, so stick to the trail."

To which I said, "What is this all about? You are the third person to tell me about the full moon and that I should stick to the trail. What the heck?"

"You haven't heard of the legends around here?" He said.

"No" was all I could say, starting to get a little flustered.

"You know this bike trail you are riding on is an old railway line right? Well at the turn of the century when they put this line in, This was all Indian country. Now the natives didn't want to give up this land because it was sacred to them. Many spirits lived here they said. Now the railway company didn't care, they just wanted their trains to go through at any cost. So to get the Indians out of there they hired bounty hunters. These hunters where very good at what they do and before long the Indians were gone. The trains came in and now the trains are gone. Leaving nothing but this amazing bike trail. But on full moons and only on full moons, a fog rolls over the area and the locals say that if you are quiet, you can hear horses in the fog.  Mysterious things happen on those nights. People have disappeared without a trace. So that is why you have been told, or should I say, warned to stay on the trail. If you are on the trail you are safe. Step off the trail, you are on sacred land."

"Ha, ha" I said. "Nice little story you people made up to scare the tourists. Thanks for your time. Now it is dark and I have to get back."

"Stick to the trail!" he said.

With that I was off and returning home 15 miles away. A mile down the path it started to cool off and damn, wouldn't you know it, a fog was starting to form. Not thick at first, but as each mile passed it became thicker and thicker. I thought to myself that these people really like to trick the tourists. Half way home and no worries. I stopped for a second because my shoelace came undone. I dismounted my bike and knelt down to tie my laces.

"Who's there?" I said. I looked around and could hardly see 20 feet into the fog. I strained my neck to try and hear what I thought I heard before. The silence was overwhelming. Not even a bird. Wait.....What is that? It's faint, very faint but it sounds like, horses? It can't be. But I am not waiting around to find out.

I jumped on my bike and started to peddle a little faster. Not because I may be getting scared, but because I needed the exercise, right? Before I could answer myself I found myself skidding to a stop because I failed to tie my shoe and my laces were tangled up in the sprocket. I struggled to get off of the bike and doing so one foot ended up off of the path. The gravel crunching under foot. I bent down to tie my shoe and as I did I heard a WHOOOOOSH and a THUD above my head. I looked up and there was an arrow, an honest to God arrow stuck into the tree next to my head. I cut my shoe lace, jumped on my bike and peddled as fast as I could to get home and off of the trail.

To this day I don't know how fast I was going but I know I have never gone faster. I made it home and you wouldn't believe what I found.

Everyone was dead. Women, children, cats and dogs. Arrows in all of them and do you know why? Because they were all off of the trail.

I made this story up on a camping trip down in Lanesboro Minnesota to entertain the kids and my nephews one summer. I never repeated it but it has always been in the back of my mind. The embellishments may have gotten bigger but it is basically the same story.

Now you may be wondering why I have regaled you with this whimsical yarn of tomfoolery.

The title of this blog was "Blog Challenge  Accepted" and what I meant by that is this. I have been reading other blogs similar to this about other people's fulltime RV experiences.  There are all types of blogs. Some people write short snippets daily. Some write longer blogs over several days worth of activities. Some people wait weeks before they write about their adventures. Then there is the occasional bloggers that will write 3,000 to 4,000 words every other day. That is the challenge I have challenged myself with.

Can I write 3,000 to 4,000 words in a blog every other day and keep it entertaining and informative? I am betting that I can't. Because as of this point, I have only written 1225 words. I had Lisa read my story and halfway through it she was saying, "Do I have to?" Although she did like the ending. It caught her by surprise because it was totally different from what I had told the kids.

3,000 to 4,000 words is a lot. You would have to have something important to say. Hell, the Gettysburg address was only 272 words and it has a more powerful and important meaning than this. The Declaration of Independence is 1458 words. Both of which will live on in history forever. Our little blogs will fall by the wayside.

So as I sit here trying to think about  what I could write to entertain and inform that would be 3,000 to 4,000 words, what comes to mind?

The End.

1354 words. I just couldn't do it.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Into The Frozen Wastelands We Go.

It is nearly Christmas time again. So you know what that means to us? It means, leave the sunny warm weather behind like dumbass's, travel 1700 miles north like dumbass's, to where it is below zero every day and freeze your dumb ass's off. And that is exactly what we did.

We left Florida last Sunday. To make things a little more interesting, I got sick on Saturday so Lisa ended up driving the most on Sunday. I did get us through Atlanta though.
That was miserable. We stopped halfway in Elizabethtown KY. We had a "It's a small world" episode when we checked in to our hotel for the night. I booked a room on Trivago so when we walked in to the lobby there was a guy working there who we had worked with in Yellowstone 2 years ago. Tyler was his name. He was the one who bought my scooter and then I had to re-possess it.

We got an early start on Monday and drove straight through to our super secret undisclosed Christmas location. The weather was nice so we just went for it. I quarantined myself to the basement for Tuesday and Wednesday because I didn't want to get Lisa's mother or grandfather(who is 100) sick. Thursday I was feeling better and we went to Wallyworld to do some last minute shopping. Now the vehicle we drove north in was Big Red. Big Red is a spoiled Florida car that knows nothing about the harsh cold winters of Minnesota. So when we got out of Wallyworld it committed suicide. We called our Good Sam Roadside Assistance and they had us towed to the dealer.
Big Red had a heart transplant and was back on the road again in a matter of hours. It still is not happy up north. Like all cars up here it will change colors on you. It is a very deep red color. Now it is grey from road salt and once the weather gets below zero, the car washes close. Lisa's dad would be rolling over in his grave if he saw the way his car looked now. Sorry LaRay.
When we were in Florida we would laugh at the weather people on TV talking about arctic cold fronts on the way and wind chill advisories for Florida. It was funny. This is the weather here in Minnesota for the next few days. I will do highs/lows for each day. Today, Saturday, is the warm day. 18 for a high and 7 for the low.Then it gets chilly, Sun. 10/-14, Mon. -7/-16, Tues. -4/-15, Weds. 2/-5, Thurs. 11/-3, Fri. 2/-22, Sat. -6/-20. That is actual air temps without the wind chill factor added into them. Did you notice a lot of negative signs. Friday and Saturday nights are pretty cold. As my father would say, "It's so cold it would freeze the balls off a brass monkey". I am guessing that that is cold.

So again when people ask us would we like to live here again, it is pretty easy to say "NO!"

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


No, we are not sinking in the middle of the ocean. I thought that since things were a little settled in our lives at the moment I would share my recipe for "Sh*t on a Shingle" or S.O.S. for short. This meal has been made by the military for ages and to prove that I know what I am talking about I will share some of my background.

To start with I enlisted in the Air Force in 1982 during the Cold War. We watched Berlin "Tear Down These Walls".
A North Dakota F-4 intercepting a Russian Bomber over Canada.
During the 90's, President Clinton declared a war on drugs. So our unit was deployed to Panama the country, not Panama the city to track down drug boats in the ocean.
A pair of F-16's.
After that war was over and America's drug problem ended (NOT) 9/11 happened. President Bush declared a war on terror, so our unit was tasked to fly combat air patrols over American soil.
North Dakotas fighters where the first in the air on 9/11. F-16 over the Pentagon.
So I know a thing or two about making S.O.S. Keep in mind that there are many variations of this but I am going to concentrate on mine and I will include some of those variations. It really is a recipe that you can make your own and there is not really a wrong way to make it.

I like mine on the spicy side. So I start with a hot spicy pork sausage. This sausage you can only get in the south. Up north I will use Jimmy Dean Hot.

If you want it less spicy you can use a normal sausage or even turkey sausage. I brown that up adding black pepper (love black pepper) chopped onions and a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic.

If I have to use turkey sausage I will add chilli powder and Tabasco sauce. Once it is browned I will add Tabasco anyways because it is really good when you can sweat when you eat.

Once the meat is browned,

turn down the heat a little bit and then add a couple of cups of milk.
Covering the entire pan.

Now my secret ingredient is using Krusteaz pancake mix. Just start adding it slowly so that it doesn't lump up.
Keep stirring until it thickens. You turn down the heat so that you don't end up with a big meat filled pancake. If it starts to get to thick, add more milk.

Now it is ready to serve. I serve it up on toast with a scrambled egg on top of that toast.
Lisa likes her egg over easy.
But you can do them almost anyway you want. Then scoop a healthy portion on top of the egg and toast and enjoy!

The critics agree that if this doesn't warm you up on a cold winters morn, you may want to check your pulse.

Next week I will show you how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Stay warm where ever you are.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Our New Hometown?

DeBary Florida.

We pronounce it like this; "Duuuuuh Berry". It sits in Volusia County in the east central part of the state. North of Orlando and about 30 minutes from Daytona Beach and the Atlantic ocean. This city has only been incorporated since 1993. Not sure what that means down here because up north you are either a town or you are not. Not sure of why LaRay picked this area, but is a nice area. The only thing that we don't like so much is all of the random violence, and I do mean random. There are a lot of sirens all around. I told Lisa not to worry about those unless you hear a helicopter overhead. That's when you know that it is close.

We are familiar with this area since we have made many trips down here to visit LaRay. He was always a good tour guide, always showing us around and the many things to do and see here. Plus the "Mouse House" is only an hour away.

We have been in our new house for over a month now. I say "Our new house" because it is new to us but it is actually Lisa's and her sister Heidi's (I am just the freeloader). This house actually belonged to Lisa's father who passed away in September and now we have moved in to take care of his wishes as the Florida legal system grinds along painfully slow. With homeownership comes lots of upkeep. So every day we pick one or two chores a day to get done. We have been doing so much cleaning out and throwing away of stuff. Our garbage men I think hate us. One thing nice about this city is that there is no limit on what and how much you can throw away. So we are really taking advantage of that.

We have always told him how much we like his house. It has a nice floor plan and the back pool area is awesome.
Kitchen with a breakfast nook off to the side.

Living room looking into Lisa's office and a dining area to the left.

Screened in pool area with the "Roach Motel" on the left.

Street view. Yes, we have our own palm trees.
"Big Red" in the cleaned out garage.

Side of the house with our broken fence.
Another view of the pool area which I love.

Pool area. Heidi really went to town on the plants that went crazy.
We still have two more large projects to get done. The roof and the fence. Someday.

On a personal note. We have been going thru Lisa's fathers's belongings that he had in his closets, garage and in the attic. Going through old photos and papers and realizing that he was someone who didn't share a lot with his family. It is like finding out that we really didn't know him at all. We found all of his pictures from when he was in Vietnam. We knew he was there but have never seen his pictures of it. He loved to golf with his buddies. Roman and I have golfed with him many times when we visited. I found certificates of him getting "Holes-in-one" from different courses. I can just imagine the celebration after getting those. He also loved going to the Daytona 500 races. It looks like he would go with his buddies every year for about 10 years in a row. And I don't mean going and sitting in the cheap seats. VIP passes in the infield. What an experience that would have been.
Pipka Santas. Apparently he loved those also because we found about 25 in his attic. The photos stuffed in boxes of his family and of him growing up along with high school yearbooks. We are just learning more about him now which we would have loved to talk about it when he was still alive.

That's it for now. We would like to wish everyone a "Happy Thanksgiving"!

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Joys of Home Ownership*

*Today's guest editor is being played by Beverly.

We arrived in Florida to check out Lisa's father's house and it faired pretty well after the hurricane. Lisa's sister met us there and stayed a week with us to help us go through the house and to start cleaning after it being vacant for 4 months. Some things were hard to do, like going through his clothes. In fact it was so hard to do, that we left it to do some time in the future.

We attacked other areas that needed cleaning out. Such as the garage and the shed (which we call the  roach motel). Every time I moved something in the shed, a roach would scurry to other hidden places. It really freaked me out. I guess they are really not roaches. They are called Palmetto bugs.
Palmetto bug.

They are about 1 1/2 inches big. Don't get them confused with the American cockroach.

American Cockroach.
Can you see a difference? We can't. As my wise old father would say" You can put make-up on a pig, but it's still a pig". Not quite sure I know the whole meaning but I think that you can call a roach a Palmetto Bug but it is still a roach. All I know for sure is that Raid works on both.

So I got the shed cleaned out completely and sprayed everything with bug killer. I know it is working because every time I open the shed doors there are dead "Palmetto bugs", aka roaches.

It has been a couple of weeks now and things on the legal front are moving painfully slow, but they are moving. Things on the inside of the house are progressing along also. Lisa has been changing the decor a little. We are finding many things that can be donated or just thrown out. He had so many products that where past their expiration date. Not just by a month or two. I mean we are talking about years past the expiration date. We filled a whole garbage can just with that stuff. We have donated what we can to a Hospice thrift store so even after death he is still doing good.

When we got to his house we knew that there were 3 major projects that needed to get done. 1) We needed to remove a tree that partly fell done during the last hurricane. 2) Replace many sections of fence that blew down during the hurricane. 3) Re-shingle the roof that was damaged during the hurricane. Can you sense a theme here?

So we talked to his insurance agent and we find out that he does have hurricane insurance. Whew! What a relief. That was some great news. Wait for it........Wait........Wait...... BUT.......Florida hurricane insurance doesn't cover 1) Trees that fall down unless they hit the structure. Really?! 2)Fences that blow down. Double really?! Apparently insurance companies would go broke if they replaced every fence that blew down every time the wind blew. 3) During a hurricane your deductible doubles. So now we have to determine if the damage is above the doubled deductible, and then is it even worth putting a claim in. Well bend us over and slap our ass's.

So with little help from the insurance company we will take on these projects ourselves. The first one being the tree. We need to get that removed so that we then can start replacing the fence. I am up in Minnesota as I write this so Lisa is taking care of the homestead. The tree came down and she sent me pictures. Yay! It was good to get that down because it was starting to rot and we thought that maybe it would come down during the next hurricane onto our house or the neighbors.


What am I doing in wintery Minnesota and not in warm, sunny Florida? Good question. I had my doctors appointment in September and I have been having terrible knee pain. So I went to a knee specialist and he thought I might have a torn Meniscus in my knee which the x-rays kind of saw that. Then Lisa's father passed away and we headed to Florida before anything else could be done. The pain got worse and nothing was really going on in Florida so Lisa scheduled an MRI for me in Fargo. So I jumped on a plane and headed north. Having an MRI is truly amazing. The pictures that thing takes are incredible. My knee doctor looked at the MRI and confirmed that I do have a torn Meniscus with some bone damage and of all things, Arthritis. Hopefully they can schedule surgery in December when we get back north for Christmas.

So I have been living in Lisa's mom's basement, (every mans dream I know). Turning it into an old school man cave. I mean who needs modern technology when you can bring history back to life. I set up an entertainment area with an old TV And VCR I found in the basement. For the young readers a VCR stands for "Video Cassette Recorder". Movies used to come on what they called "Video Cassettes".
A 27 inch TV and VCR. That was a giant in its day.
That wooden measuring device is called a "Yard Stick".
Thrift stores and pawn shops have a ton of tapes. How ever the shelf life of VCR tapes is only about 20 years. So you are lucky if you get a good one and the selection is nothing modern.

If I want to listen to some music, I found a stereo Hi-Fi system with and 8 track tape player and a phonograph. Life is good in the basement. Why would I ever want to leave? Maybe someday I will get a Nintendo 64 or something.

The stereo works very well and it has decent sound quality. I had the phonograph working for a little bit before it froze up. I googled how to fix it and am in the process of doing that. 
8 Track tape.

LP record. See how much that cost back in the day.
They stopped making 8 tracks in 1982 so our selection here at Beverly's is limited to polkas and waltzes. LP records died out in the mid nineties and are making a comeback. LP stands for "Long Play" for the younger readers and the records were made of "vinyl". That's totally the "Bees Knees".

Until the next installment of the un-travelling travelers. I head back to Florida in a couple of days.