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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Didn't See This One Coming

Semper Gumby, our motto (Always Flexible).  It has been put to the test once again.

My 97 year old father has had some serious health issues that have changed his lifestyle, the last one was when he fell and broke his hip while visiting us last summer.  The hip is doing very well, but it came with a variety of new challenges, he needs a walker and wheelchair to get around and no longer can dress or bath himself, let alone drive a car or cook meals.  He's also having some mental decline with memory issues.  He can no longer live by himself.  The "joys" of getting older.

We had worked out a  good plan to take care of him with my brother and SIL, rotating Dad back and forth every couple of months between their home in NJ and our home in South Carolina.  Unfortunately that didn't work out, because my brother still works, so a lot of the care issues fell on my SIL.  After a couple of weeks they realized they could not handle Dad's care.

The solution?  Dad is back here with us in SC permanently.  It is a new challenge taking care of him, nothing we can't handle with both of us retired, but it requires one of us (usually me) to be with him at all times.  I handle the dressing and bathing and Marti ensures we provide Dad with his favorite meals and oversees all his meds and health care needs.

Basically, it has locked us down and we can't go anywhere and do things like we used to unless we bring Dad along with us.  Every time we do take him out to eat or shop it tires him out so mostly we stay home.  So the Journey sits in a nearby storage lot unused.  I do go there and check on it, run the generator and engine every couple of weeks and take it for a short spin.  I can't let it be neglected.  We do miss our travels in it and are not able to make any travel plans in it for the foreseeable future.

So it's a lot of sitting with Dad watching Hallmark movies along with a steady diet of Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy at night.  It's hard seeing Dad decline after being an amazing brilliant man, but Marti and I are happy to be able to love and care for him in these twilight years. Family first.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.   

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Just a Quick Update

This has been an unusual summer, for sure.  Sometimes you don't see the curveball coming your way, but when it hits, you have to deal with it.

After we returned from our cruise, I had looked forward to giving some love to the Journey and even going away for a weekend or two.  I have a maintenance project list to keep it in good shape.

All that changed in an instant.

My 96 year old Dad came down from NJ for a week long visit mid July.  Normally he has been living with my brother and SIL in NJ.  They had a planned vacation in Europe, so we welcomed my Dad to stay with us.

After the first two days with us, Dad got up and bent over to make his bed.  He lost his balance, fell and broke his hip.  On the way to the floor, somehow, he also sliced his ear open on a bedside table.  I ran into his room and found him on the floor in agony, with blood all over.  Amazing how an ear can bleed.

The usual then took place.  An ambulance ride to the ER, then a stitching up of his ear.  X-rays, CT scan and then surgery the next day for a partial hip replacement.

So I've been pretty much by his side 24/7 ever since.  Sleeping in the hospital next to him for a week, then in the rehab hospital for two more weeks.  After release from the rehab hospital, it was outpatient rehab three times a week.  We've completed that and he is getting around pretty well with his walker and occasional wheelchair use.

Since he has limits on how he can and can't bend, I have to help him dress, undress and shower.  If he should move in the wrong way, he could dislocate the hip and we'd have to start hospital and rehab all over again.  Nope, don't want to do that!

We've kept him active, taking him out at least somewhere every day, sometimes just to the store, but we've been to a couple of high school football games, band concerts, church, dinners and so on.  I've even taken him with me to the USO where I volunteer and also to the gun range to shoot a few holes in a paper target (he did amazingly well, the last time he fired a gun was in WWII).  He's been enjoying watching the Hallmark Channel on TV most nights, too.

Looks like next weekend, we'll be able to take him home to NJ, just in time to see the leaves turning.  He's looking forward to going back to my brother's.  We've decided since he can no longer live on his own, we'll rotate hin back and forth from NJ to here in SC every couple of months, giving him a change of pace and a break for us caretakers.  It's a lot of work, but you have to take care of your family.

One thing, though, we don't let him make the bed anymore!  :cD

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Pirates of the Caribbean

Well, we certainly cruised in much more luxury than the pirates of old did.  We sailed from Port Canaveral, Florida on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas.

Funny, back in 2007 when I was on an assignment in Finland, I visited a shipyard where the Oasis was being built.  I thought at that time it would be great to cruise on it someday.  Little did I know then that I really would.

We sailed with Marti's sister Gail and our daughter Heather and two grandsons Andrew and Own.

We booked two side by side balcony cabins and enjoyed the views both in island ports and at sea.

The  Oasis is the second largest cruise ship in the world.  It has all kinds of amazing things on it, like a tree lined park,

and a grand concourse.

There is even a beautiful classic automobile on the concourse.  No you can't drive it, but if you could there is plenty of room on the ship to do so.  Any guesses on what this car is?

The ship has some amazing activities on board, like a rock climbing wall.  The boys had a ball scaling the cliffs.

A zip line over the park.  No way was I going to do this, I left it to Andrew and Owen.

The Flow Rider on the stern of the ship is where brave passengers could try their hand at surfing.

We visited the Bahamas where the boys got a chance to try out their driving skills.

At a port call at St. Thomas we took a tour of the island on an open air bus.

The views around the island were amazing.

Another port call was to St. Martin/Sant Maateen, an island that is half Dutch and half French.  We booked a private tour and were saddened to see all the damage still unrepaired from last year's hurricanes that hit the island.  Wrecked buildings,

devastated marinas with scores of wrecked boats.

Even Captain Jack Sparrow was not spared, looks like he will be shopping for a new ship.

Fortunately, the island is starting to bounce back, with tourism helping to fuel the repairs.  Shops were open with loads of goodies and souvenirs

And local wildlife were doing their part to put dollars in the pockets of the islanders.

It was a great cruise, all seven days of it and the boys are still talking about how much they loved it.  Sounds like a good reason to book another cruise next year if you ask me.  😎

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Out Of Circulation

For a while, that is.  Spent the last week in NJ taking care of my 96 year old dad while my brother and SIL were away, he is living with them for the foreseeable future.

To extend my absence further, Marti and I are leaving for a cruise in the Caribbean next week with daughter Heather and grandsons Andrew and Owen.  Should be a lot of fun, the height of summer and hurricane season to boot! 

Hope Royal Caribbean knows what they are doing!   😅

PS:  No title yet but we're getting closer.  In the modern era of electronic titles, you'd think it would be a snap to produce one.  Nope, but I now have a letter authorizing South Carolina to title the Journey.  We'll have to wait until we return from the cruise and see what happens.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I'm Sick Of Looking At Santa, Too!

Life goes on, we have not been able to go anywhere in the Journey since we parked it in the storage lot last July.  Lots of things got in the way, like my back surgery (I'm doing fine) and a battle over the Journey's title between South Dakota and South Carolina DMVs.  Seems the title is electronically maintained in SD and it will take about 5-6 weeks for it to be transferred to SC.  It's already been over eight weeks and I'm ready to do battle again tomorrow. 

I have periodically run the Journey's generator and diesel engine to keep the batteries charged and the engines lubed, but it is better to run it on the road.  Since the SD registration expired back in February I can't drive it until I get SC plates on it.  If I hadn't already paid the annual SC vehicle tax of $1800, which the SC DMV requires before they will talk to you, I'd have just renewed in SD for a fraction of that.  DMVs are never fun to deal with, no matter what state.

So I'm keeping busy volunteering at the USO and our church (rode herd on a bunch of middle schoolers today at an after school homework helping session, and boy am I worn out!).  We have taken two car trips to NJ (750 miles one way, boy do we miss the Journey...and its bathroom) to visit my dad who is having some health challenges and our son Corey's family.

There are a few new faces in the family, daughter Heather got a new puppy, a rescue.  Colby is his name and he is the sweetest little guy.

Corey got a new dog last year, a rescue from Georgia.  He was supposed to be a mix of Bloodhound and Lab, after DNA testing, he is a mix of American Bloodhound and other breed(s) undetermined.  He is the size of a small horse, but the most gentle dog you'd ever want to meet.  Here is Colt.

Another new addition is Jackson.  He is grandchild number NINE!  We need a spreadsheet to keep track of all the birthdays now!  We can finally say he is the Caboose.

Marti is already spoiling him.

Jackson has two big sisters, Anabelle and Lizzie.  Anabelle is showing her artwork at a school art show.  Yep, that's a cast on her arm, she broke her elbow playing on the monkey bars at school.  She's a tomboy.

Sister Lizzie is our little lady, always wants to wear dresses. 

While we we visiting, Corey and DIL Amanda ran a 5K race with the girls at our old home area of Sandy Hook, NJ.  Jackson was so bundled up he had a hard time cheering them on.

After the first lap, the girls had enough and joined us as spectators.  Corey was happy.  In fairness to Anabelle, it's hard to run with a cast from your fingers to your shoulder.

Lizzie stuck it out with her mom and made it on her own two feet.

 Later, after the race, we walked around Sandy Hook, where we lived for 11 years while I was stationed there in the Coast Guard.  Sandy Hook is a 7 mile long peninsula pointing at the mouth of New York Harbor.  There are many old gun emplacements all around the Hook from days when the Army had many cannons guarding New York.  The decommissioned base, called Fort Hancock, is now a part of the National Park Service's Gateway Recreation Area.

Lots of memories from our walk, our three kids still consider it home after growing up there.  The girls enjoyed hearing stories from Corey about how he, his brother Ryan and their friends played on all the crumbling gun emplacement structures that time has worn down.  I'm glad I didn't know that at the time and even more glad they survived without a pile of concrete falling on their heads.

Before we left, we wanted to get some family pictures.  Amanda and her kids.

Corey, Marti and the kids.  No matter how hard you try, someone is always unhappy at too many pictures being taken!

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

    Insert picture of South Carolina License Plate when I finally get one!!!!