Sunday, January 28, 2018

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

"Now what the heck are you talking about Dick Tracy?"

"I'm not a Dick and don't call me Tracy!"

Imagine if you will, a happy couple enjoying the fruits of their labors, when out of nowhere an opportunity presents itself. One that is fulfilling and the gratitudes are a plenty. Or so we thought when we worked at "THE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL". As I affectionately call it, "The Strawberry Festival of Horrors".

If you are not familiar with what we did there you can read all about here. Strawberry Festival Parking Review

After reading that, it makes you wonder why we would go back, and going back is what we are doing. This time it will be different. We are not going as simple parking attendants. We are going back as tram operators.

The people that we met last year who own the Trams called and asked if we wanted a job. So we said "Yes" and now we have a purpose. Yay! Last year they did give me a road test on one and they are fairly easy to drive. I will be the driver and Lisa will be the very pleasant tour guide. So if you are in Plant City Florida in March, stop on by the Strawberry Festival. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Growing Old Gracefully?

I may receive a lot of heat for this one because we are not that old. Our friends Jim and Barb are sooooo much older than us but they are young at heart and we are desperately trying to keep up with them. The touchy subject I want to address is this.

We are getting older. The reason that I know this is that when we get together with friends and family topics of conversations start including subjects like medications, procedures we have had and also where is a place that serves cheap soft serve ice cream. When I look at myself, I think of me as I was back in my early thirties. I still feel like that is the age I am but now my body is telling me something else. It started as whispers in my head. "Be careful buddie, that looks slippery" or "you probably shouldn't eat that buddy, what about your cholesterol?"

Case in point and this happened when I was only 45. I was in the Air National Guard. Since 9/11 military training has changed. We were in the Air Force and now they wanted to give us Army training. The exercise for the day was to jump out of a 2 1/2 ton truck and establish a perimeter around it. Now the bed of a 2 1/2 ton truck is about 5 feet off of the ground. So the truck stops and the tailgate gets dropped and the young guys leap out of the truck. Me and another older airman look at that and we say to ourselves, "This ain't happening." We get to the edge of the truck, turn around and slowly climb down the tailgate using the foot holds. Once on the ground we become Rambos and take up our positions around the truck. I guess that is why soldiers are young guys because us old guys can't physically do that anymore. I could have jumped out and I would have if we were under fire. But I would have been the first casualty, not from a gunshot but from a broken hip or something. I don't even dare jump out of the back of my pick-up.
5 foot drop out of the back of these things.

It's not a bad thing to get old. It's the circle of life. Hakuna Matata. The bad part is that it sneaks up on you when you are not looking. My bad knees for instance. (There I go, talking about procedures.) That was my body telling me "Hey buddy, I think maybe you should go scooter shopping." To which I say "I would but my wife won't let me. She thinks that I should walk everywhere."

Lisa went to the dermatologist the other day because she is covered in moles (Oh no, another procedure). In fact if you connect them dot-to-dot like (FYI. She doesn't like that, especially with permanent marker)  you get a picture of a dancing bear on her back. She got one mole removed and I was surprised at how much they removed when I finally saw the incision. Her mother was putting a new bandage on it and all of a sudden from the bathroom she is yelling for me. I say "What?" Bev then tells me Lisa has passed out and Bev is trying to hold her up. I just had knee surgery so I am trying to hobble into the bathroom to help. I get there and grab her and help her into the living room and get her in a chair. Apparently Lisa looked at the incision and that was all it took. I never knew she got that queasy over that kind of stuff after all these years. But it did not stop me from laughing once she was okay.
4 stitches to get that one out.

AARP has been trying to recruit me for a couple of years now. I am not at their age limit thank the Maker. We even look at RV communities when we are looking for a wintering place. So many are "55" and over and we smile and and tell ourselves "Not yet".

That's all for this wacky episode of "Dorks on Parade". My inner voice is telling me, "Hey buddy, lets go find some ice cream".

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.