Sunday, June 29, 2008
Anyone who knows my cousin Jan also knows she views the speed limit as merely a recommendation. They really don’t expect people to drive as slow as 70 mph on the interstates. Time for me to have some fun.
I grab my cell phone, yell at everyone in the house to be quiet and call Jan’s cell. I obviously use a very southern accent and disguise my voice as much as possible.
Joe: “Good afternoon maam, this here’s Sheriff Buford Beauregard of the State Patrol.”
Joe: “We’ve been monitoring you driving up I75 and would really like for you to slow down.”
Joe: "Yes maam, we been keeping an eye on you."
Jan: "Joe? Is that you?” (She didn’t really call me Joe, my family call me by my middle name.)
Joe: Uncontrollable laughter.
Jan: “I don’t believe you,,,,,,I had already started slowing down and was getting ready to pull off the road.”
Jan wouldn’t have known it was me except one little error. I thought she was on I75, she was actually traveling on I95, and they'd just crossed the South Carolina state line.
I still got her though. BUT WAIT!!! IT GETS BETTER.
Jan told me Laura was in the car behind her, gave me her cell phone and told me I needed to pull the joke on her. I needed no further encouragement. (Laura is Jan’s daughter and my favorite cousin to play jokes on.)
Joe: “Good afternoon maam, this here’s Sheriff Buford Beauregard of the South Carolina State Patrol.”
Joe: “We’ve been monitoring you driving on I95 and would really like for you to slow down some maam.”
Laura: “Ok. Yes sir.”
Joe: “That's good maam, this here’s just a courtesy call, now you drive safe.”
I could hear it in her voice. Total, absolute fear. This was great!!!!
So I wait a minute and call Laura back.
Laura: “JOOOEEEE I’M GONNA KILL YOU!!!!!!”
Joe: Uncontrollable, bent over laughing.
Laura: “I slowed down so much I can’t even see Mom any more. I was ready to pull over.
Joe: Still uncontrollable, bent over laughing.
Laura: “I called Mom and she told me it was you. You’re dead!!!!”
Joe: Still laughing. “Laura honey,,,,,your Mom was the one that gave me your cell phone number.”
As George Peppard said on The A Team. “I love it when a plan comes together.”
So,,,,,,how was your weekend?
Saturday, June 28, 2008
My own recovery is coming along nicely. The itching isn’t constant now, just every hour or so. I had a follow-up with the surgeon and he was very pleased. In 6 weeks I will have another procedure performed to make my nose pretty. It’s going to get BUFFED. That’s right, they’ll numb me up again, take sterile sandpaper (I’m not kidding) and buff my nose. I wonder if they did this to Joan Rivers. Here are some pics of the progress. No longer Frankenstein here.
And no post could be complete without my resident camera queen Gracie.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I realize it ignores the reality of the global market,,,,,but I still like it.
OPEC sells oil for $136.00 a barrel.
OPEC nations buy U.S. grain at $7.00 a bushel.
Solution: Sell U.S. grain to OPEC nations for $136.00 a bushel !!!
Can't buy it? Tough! Eat your oil! Ought to go well with a nice, thick, grilled filet of camel butt !!!
If only it were that easy.
Friday, June 20, 2008
This story is like many others I've heard over the past few years. A World War II veteran dies and while the family is going through their personal belongings, talking to friends or something a whole different side of the individual is revealed. A history no one knew of not even their closest family or friends. One of the more famous illustrations of this is John Bradley, a Navy Corpsman who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima. A moment captured on film in Joe Rosenthal's famous picture.
John Bradley's son was so taken by the stories he uncovered about his father that following his death he wrote the book Flags of Our Fathers, which was later turned into a movie by Clint Eastwood. Men like John Bradley weren't seeking glory or medals or accolades. They did their job for their own reasons. And when the war was over, they came home and went about their lives.
Such is the story of a man I know from my home town. His name was Reed Potter Sr and he was 83 yrs old. I didn't know him well, probably only met him in person a few times, but I never heard a bad thing about the man. Vic's family knew him quite well, attending church with Reed and his family and playing softball with his daughters for years.
Yesterday Reed died in a car accident near his home in Kentucky. I don't know the cause yet, but I did learn a little about his past, as did a lot of people from my home town.
Reed Potter was a member of the 82nd Airborne in World War II.
- He was part of the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
- He was part of Operation Market Garden (immortalized by the movie A Bridge Too Far)
- He was part of the historic defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge
- He was wounded twice, receiving two purple hearts.
- He was awarded five (5) Bronze Stars for his actions in combat.
When I heard this I was floored. How many soldiers earn 5 Bronze Stars? How many earn 5 Bronze Stars and live to tell the tale? My grandfather earned 1 in World War I, but 5? Wow!! Apparently his family knew nothing of his exploits until he was interviewed recently by a PBS affiliate in Kentucky. If not for that interview, none of us may have known the history and legacy of this man.
I don't have any of the details regarding Reed's awards or his actions during the war, but I will try to find out. I'm betting there's a story there we could all learn from and could serve as a lesson for younger generations.
Our thoughts are prayers are with his family tonight.
Fare Winds and Following Seas Reed Potter.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I started thinking at one point,,,,,around 3am this morning,,,,,,what if some of our favorite musical artists were experiencing what I am going thru when they wrote their songs. We could have:
You’ve Got another Itch Comin – Judeus Priest
Only Women Itch – Alice Cooper
How Deep is your Itch – The Bee Gees
Ooops I Scratched it Again – Britney Spears
My Itch will go On – Celene Dion
What a Girl Scratches – Christina Aguilera
Who’ll Stop the Itch – Creedence Clearwater Revival
All She Wants to do is Scratch – Don Henley
New Itch in Town – The Eagles
Benny and the Itch – Elton John
Here Comes the Itch Again – Eurythmics
You Make Me Feel Like Scratching – Leo Sayer
We Got the Itch – Go Go’s
Sweet Itch of Mine – Guns ‘n’ Roses
Scratch Your Booty – KC and the Sunshine Band
Scratch Like an Eygptian – The Bangles
Don’t Scratch so Close to Me – The Police
You’ve got the Itch – Prince and Sheena Easton
You Can’t Always Reach What you Scratch – Rolling Stones
She’s a Bad Itchy Mamma – Stevie Wonder
Itch me Baby, One more time – Britney Spears
And Vic and mine's personal favorite:
I’d Do Anything for Love, But I Wouldn’t Scratch That – Meatloaf
Oh,,,,,that just kills me.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Where's my AK47,,,,,,,,where's my whip,,,,,,,,,where's my teddy bear,,,,,,,,,Mommy?!?
All joking aside, today has been totally miserable. Allergies kicked in, sneezing, nose running, itching, constant, unending, unbearable, itching, itching, itching. It's made work extremely difficult and miserable. Did I say I was miserable yet?
But it's a good sign. A sign of healing. But I tell you,,,,,from looking at the pics below, I don't see any real healing on the outside. I took these tonight as I was cleaning the site and changing the dressing.
I'll post pics next week and we'll see if there is any improvement.
I did work out tonight for the first time since surgery. I didn't push it, just 31 minutes on the treadmill at a nice 3 mph pace. All was good until I started sweating. It was hot down in the basement,,,,,and the sweat started getting under the bandages,,,,,and,,,,,,the itching started,,,,,just a little a first,,,,,but it got worse and worse,,,,,,and,,,,,,,and I started visioning hatchets,,,,,and axes,,,,and machetes,,,,and,,,,and guns,,,,,oh yea,,,oh yea,,,,,,,
Whew,,,,that was close. Did I tell you my nose was itching a little?
Anyway, I've gained a few pounds since this whole cancer thing started. About 12 to be exact. Call it stress eating, not working out enough, lack of motivation. Pick your poison. But I'm back now and working to Curahee. My new, adjusted goal is 230 lbs for Curahee in Oct. And to finish the mountain in 2 hrs. I'm just trying to be realistic here.
I do appreciate all the emails I've received from everyone. It really does help, (not with the itching),,,,but with the stress of dealing with this type of issue. Thanks specifically to Paul and Steph,,,,who I've never met,,,,but who never fail to send me words of encouragement.
Ok,,,,enough mushy, gushy stuff. It was my Father-in-Laws Birthday Sunday and here are some pics of him, my girls and my niece Lindsay.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
OK,,,,, I feel a little better now. Up close I still look like Frankenstein
Vic's down again, so I cleaned my dressings myself this evening. So I'm covered in Hydrogen Peroxide, Polysporin, went through about 50 Qtips and 3 gauze pads. But by dingy,,,,,,the wound is now dressed.
Anyway,,,,looks like my new nose may be crooked. Could be the swelling and healing,,,,but I really think it's going to be crooked. I don't remember asking for Owen Wilson's nose. I wouldn't mind his money,,,,,,but not his nose.
Anyway,,,,start working out again tomorrow. I'm sure I've gained 15lbs over the last week. So I've got my work cut out for me.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Behold - the NDA of Joe's nose.
I guess this one is an Ear Damage Assessment. It's where they got the cartilage to rebuild my nose.
We showed up way early to the medical center. All because I wanted to make sure we beat traffic. It was a good thing cause I had to spend 20 minutes in the little boys room replaying a certain scene from Dumb and Dumber. Pretty sure it was the nervousness of having my face cut on, not knowing who I’d be when it was all over.
We were called back to the procedure room where the lovely nurse gave me two valium to chew up. Not a bad taste if you like eating bark or weed roots or something. She said by chewing them up it would get in my system faster. And they did. J
The doc came in, some chit chat, jokes, he met Vic, then it was time to start. The first part was the numbing of my nose. When I had the biopsy they also numbed my nose and it was quite painful. Afterwards I teared, sneezed and snotted for 5 minutes, it wasn’t pretty. But my nurse yesterday was awesome. One little stick and that was it.
They let the numbing take effect for about 10 minutes then it was time to start carving the turkey. Slice, slice, slice, a little blood, more slicing. No big deal really except it was taking place right in front of my eyes. The doc told me to keep my eyes closed, but I had to watch. Big roundish chunk they removed, right off the end of my nose. Then they cauterized the site to prevent bleeding while lab checked the first cut of meat. There’s nothing quite like hearing the sound of your flesh being burned, unless of course it’s the acidic smell of your flesh being burned. I tried to get Vic to take pics of this part, but she wasn’t getting any closer than she had to for that procedure.
Then it was out to the waiting area while the lab determined if they’d gotten all the cancer. The valium had kicked in real good by this point, so the iPod was cranked. I tried to read some of Tom Clancy’s – Hunt for Red October, but between the nerves, excitement, valium and smell of burnt flesh,,,,it wasn’t a real possibility.
They called me back in and the doc explained he’d gotten ALL the cancer on the first hack. This was great news!!! Although he took a lot of the end of my nose already, he would have had to take much more if there were still cancer there. Again, this was great news to me. I was able to relax a little now. So now it was time to rebuild my nose.
To rebuild my nose they had to take cartilage from my ear so out come the needles again to numb the ear. Once numbed, more slicing, cartilage removal, pulling and stretching of skin, more cutting, more skin removal and moving, slicing, stretching etc. This was by far the longest part of the procedure. And according to Vic through it all my mouth NEVER STOPPED. She said the valium had me just a humming, telling every Navy story I could think of.
Near the end I found out my doc was also a triathlete. His name is Mark Baucom if anyone knows him. We talked about my efforts this year to lose weight and Curahee. I told him I was still primarily walking, but had started running a little each night. Walk 5-8 minutes, then run 2-4. He said his sister was like me, started out walking, then would run the distance between 2 telephone poles, then walk a while and repeat. She kept at it and was now running races. He then tells me I can start walking again in 2 days, and will be able to start running and lifting weights in 1 week. MUCH better news than I was prepared for. So I’m pretty happy right now.
With everything done it was time to go home. I was worried the girls would be scared of my bandages and stuff when we got home, but they weren’t. Alyssa says I look like an elf. I didn’t realize til I got home how little bandages I actually had. And since they’re skin colored, they don’t stand out.
I worked a good portion of the afternoon. My teams had some integration testing and patch loadings taking place and I just couldn’t keep myself away from it. But eventually I did, cranked the iPod and layed down.
Well, that’s about it. It wasn’t best case scenario with regard to size of the removal, but it surely wasn’t worst case either. Doc says that when it heals I should look better than when I walked into his door. I gotta say,,,,the man is confident, and I like him. If there are two people in the world I don’t mind being a bit cocky and arrogant, it’s fighter pilots and plastic surgeons.
Vic took pics during the procedure. And here they are.
Here I am this morning. The color of these bandages really make me look almost normal. But I don't see where Alyssa gets the Elf comment.
One more thing, Haily lost another tooth. It was so loose I was able to pull it out with my fingers.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts, prayers and emails of support and encouragement.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
I took all the girls to the pool yesterday evening and today and they've had a blast. Hailey's learning to swim really well. Standing on her hands, doing flips underwater.
Alyssa is still wearing floaties, but I think she'll be done with those soon. She's starting to open her eyes underwater without a mask or goggles. I tell ya,,,,,Navy Seal material.
And Gracie is still our social butterfly. Tonight is a great example.
- She co-opts another Mom in the pool to swim around with her. I've never seen this woman before in my life.
- The Mom's name is Catherine, but Gracie insists on calling her Elizabeth,,,,and does.
- She finds a group of boys around 10-12 years old playing by the big water mushroom. The boys are laying down on the ground in the water, so Gracie proceeds to run around all of them and over them splashing water into their faces. She had never seen these boys before tonight. And they didn't seem to mind the extra water.
Lindsay is a great swimmer and after my superb lessons last night in throwing and catching a ball she did MUCH better playing catch tonight. (Last night - she caught 1 ball thrown her way, tonight 20 balls). Yep, this proves I can teach anyone. (I can't let her read this or I'll find myself glued to the bed.)
Here's Gracie under the mushroom, without the boys.
Hailey getting ready to do an underwater flip.
Lindsay pulling Gracie around the pool.
Alyssa just getting airborne during a jump into the pool.
The landing. Look at that form and distance.
Gracie picking up every toy around the pool.
Lindsay practicing throwing a ball.
Lindsay laughing at one of my jokes.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Hailey performed 3 numbers.
- a Tap number to “We Like to Party”, (The Six Flags Commercial song)
- a jazz number to “I Don’t Dance’, from High School Musical 2
- a Ballet number to “Enchanted Suite” from the movie Enchanted
As usual, she did a wonderful job and was beautiful. She wants to be a member of Steps Dance Company, but that’s a lot of hard work and a lot of expense. I told her she’d have to work out all summer long and get in real good shape to audition and make company.
So, I have another, albeit inspirational, goal for this summer.
One thing that I did discover yesterday in the recital was that the artist Fergie has a pretty good voice. I’d never heard the song Finally before. Some of the older Company dancers did a number to the song and it was beautiful. It’s stuck in mine and Vic’s head, so I had to download from iTunes.
Gran Gran and Pa Paw Kelly are coming in today. The kids are really excited, but what they don’t know is they’re bringing a big surprise. Can’t say now what it is, I’ll let the cat out tonight.
All for now. More later.
Oh and here are pics from the recital. Unfortunately we were sitting really far back and my digital camera only has a 3x optical zoom, so I had to use the digital zoom. Next camera will have a minimum 10x optical zoom.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
The first night we went to the beach and let the girls splash in the water till after midnight. It was the first time on a beach for Gracie and Alyssa was only 8 months old the last time she was on a beach. It was a little scary for them, but they adjusted well. Didn’t get to bed till after 1am. This late start didn’t prevent them from waking up at 7am ready to go.
We got up, got the mongrels dressed, had a huge breakfast and hit the pools.
Liberal amounts of sunscreen were applied. My rule to Vic when purchasing the sunscreen was to get 12 oz, per child, per day. And we used it. Me, I had so much sunscreen on my face I looked like a member of KISS.
The resort calls it Aqualand, a fenced in area with lots of kid friendly water stuff. The water is only 8 inches deep at the most and it has a lifeguard assigned. The girls spent 5 ½ hours there on Friday. They loved the place. Especially Gracie, who got in trouble with the lifeguard twice for going up the slide backwards.
Gracie also proved to be quite the social butterfly. She had to introduce herself to every child and parent there and insert herself into any game or activity they were engaged in. Whether they wanted her to or not. No one can say she’s shy, that’s for sure.
After a bite of lunch and a quick nap for Gracie we hit the big pool. Hailey’s doing very good with her swimming. Alyssa and Gracie used floaties. Alyssa also had a diving mask and spent an enormous amount of time face down in the water looking at the bottom. (I always said she was going to be the first female US Navy Seal.)
We spent about 3 hours at the main pool meeting people, playing and chasing the girls. Since I’m a big, loud cut up while playing with my girls I became somewhat of a magnet to totally strange children. They’d come from out of nowhere climbing on me, wanting me to sling them around, throw them, bounce them etc. I never turned a kid down, but I was a little uneasy not knowing where their parents were.
It became apparent a LOT of parents were off doing ‘other’ things and not paying attention to their children. This was painfully apparent at one point when I saw a 4-5 yr old boy floundering in the middle of the pool (5ft deep). He was going under for the second time when I finally got to him and pulled him out. He latched on to me like a leech, scared to death. I held on to him, told him it would be ok and took him to the side of the pool. As soon as I got him there he ran off like blur. No idea where his parents were or what he was doing in the middle of the pool. When our girls were in the pool Vic or I were right there with them, on the side or in the water.
They say a business has to ‘know’ their customers. Or an artist must ‘know’ their audience. Well, I would say a DJ needs to know who’s listening to their music.
On the whole pool deck area of the resort there were speakers mounted, including the main pool, kiddie pool, grill, bar etc. They played the musical selections of our 50’ish, tall, white, over-weight DJ. No one was immune to his choices be it noise or music. Regarding this, I have a few comments.
1. After a few hours on Friday morning I told Vic it felt like Christmas, cause the DJ kept playing a lot of rap where they kept making the Ho noise. It was Ho this and Ho that,,,and some times Ho’o Ho’o. I was expecting old Saint Nick to pop out of the pool at any second. Everyone seemed to accept this noise around them, but I made a personal note that on Saturday I was going to choose the pool chairs farthest away from the speakers.
2. While everyone seemed ambivalent to the rap being played it was quite the opposite whenever he put on Lynrd Skynrd or Molly Hatchet. The pool area would erupt with whoops and hollers, beer cans being raised in the air, hands over peoples hearts, voices singing, tattooed women dancing,,,,,,,. It was a sight and sound so moving, so touching it brought me to tears, ‘sniff’ ‘sniff’,,,,,,I’m all choked up just thinking about it. Where’s my Dale cap?
Anyway, I didn’t understand why the DJ kept playing rap since it was obvious the audience preferred southern rock or country to the rap noise and Ho sound. So, I’ve decided the DJ was under orders from the resort or perhaps the city itself to only play southern rock or country about 20% of the time. Otherwise the pool would turn into a NASCAR event with unending drinking, debauchery, fights and perhaps drownings, which might hurt business or tourism.
Friday night we were headed to a nice restaurant for dinner, when our children decided to change plans. While headed to the restaurant, we passed a 3-story pirate ship which housed several restaurants, pirates, shops and fun for kids. We went there instead. I have two comments about this place.
The good: There was a roaming magician who, for a nice tip, would entertain the kiddies with lame magic tricks. Well,,,,they were lame to me,,,,the girls LOVED them.
The bad: The fare at your neighborhood Denny’s was as good or better than the grub served by this place. Only 5 times cheaper. Never going there again.
We started this day on the beach. Playing in the water, looking for seashells and making sand castles. It was a lot of fun till it got too hot. After the beach we retired to the pool area for the rest of the day. Nothing exciting, just a repeat of Friday.
Vic and Alyssa went to the beach to gather shells while I slept in. Then it was pack up time and drive home. Uneventful drive really,,,,,except 1 minor thing. We fed the girls muffins for breakfast anticipating stopping at a Cracker Barrel or something on the way home. BIG MISTAKE. Between PCB and Columbus, there are plenty of Hardees’, Waffle Houses and McDonalds, but no descent restaurants. So, we got the girls some snacks and trucked on to Columbus. Then on home.
Well, that’s pretty much the story of our 2008 vacation. After I recover from my surgery, sometime this fall, we may do it again, but that’s a big question mark right now.
Posts I forgot to make:
Alyssa graduated from Pre-K last week. It was a nice little ceremony and we're very proud of her.
While getting ready for the vacation, Alyssa and Gracie had a minor conflict with Hailey. They resolved this conflict in the normal manner.
OK, that's all for now. Surgery is 1 week from today and needless to say, I’m not real excited about it. But it’s better than having my nose rot off. Gotta look at the positives.