Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Busy Last Few Months

It has been a busy last few months.  And interesting.

Sharon and I took the month of May off for holidays.  It was the first time in a long time that we took the time to go places. 

It started out with and 26 hour almost non-stop drive to Thatcher, Arizona to visit with Dian, David and the boys.  We went down to participate in Ruston's baby blessing.  We left Lethbridge at 18:00 on Thursday, April 25th.  We were both just about bagged when we gassed up in Dillon, MT about 02:00.  Just as I finished filling the Jeep up the town police and county sheriff stopped into the gas bar.  After explaining where we were headed, I asked them if there was some place we could crash for a couple of hours.  I was told that I could park in the Safeway parking lot and that they would make sure we weren't bothered.  After a quick nap we carried on and arrived in Thatcher about 20:00 Friday, April 26th.  We stayed the weekend and did our Grandparently duty.  Monday morning Dina put on a flight to Wichita, Kansas where Chrissy picked us up to drive us to their place just out side of Elgin, OK. 

While we were there we helped them pack up their household into a semi trailer for their move to Georgia.  We got the last of it in Saturday afternoon.  On Wednesday Jacob, his father Fred, and I went boar hunting.  They gave me a replica Springfield trapdoor single shot cavalry rifle to shoot.  It was a 45-70 caliber.  We didn't get a boar but we did bag 2 elm and an oak.  They told me it had a kick and to make sure I had it pulled in tight.  I thought I had a firm grip but the recoil was something else.  The next day my arm from shoulder to elbow was blue. 

On Thursday we went to El Reno, OK to visit the world famous Sid's Burgers and Fort Reno.  The food was good, the atmosphere incredible, and servers were great.  When we finally arrived at the fort after getting lost with Jacobs GPS, we checked in at the site office.  When we walked in the door, I noticed hanging on the wall behind the counter an original of the rifle I used the day before.

We then participated in Daniel's baptism on Saturday..  Sunday after church we hit.the road for Georgia via Memphis, TN.  Chrissy and Sharon wanted to show Jacob and me some to the sights that the Hovan girls had visited a couple of years earlier on their girls' adventure.  We arrived Sunday night and on Monday headed for Graceland and Beale Street.  As we were finishing Graceland Rainey did a face plant on the sidewalk and did a number on his forehead.  While Chrissy was with him at the hospital we managed to get a lunch in.  We dropped Mikey and Sharon off at the ER and headed to Beale.  We met up with them a little later.  Jacob, Eliza, and I did a tour of the Gibson Guitar factory.  It was fascinating.  The only computer controlled machinery used were 2 routers.  One that did the final trim to size on the top and back and one to cut the fret groves.  every thing else is hand done. 

Tuesday we headed out to Georgia.  About an hour into the trip into Mississippi, we passed a sign that said "Tupelo next exit".  You can't go to Graceland and drive by Tupelo - the birth place of Elvis.  We took the side trip and spent an hour at the museum.  He was born in a house that was smaller than out living room.  That night we arrived at High Meadows Drive just outside Grovetown, GA.  Got into the house they were renting and did a quick inspection c/w pictures.  Set up the air mattresses and tried to get the kids to bed. 

Between unloading the trailer after it arrived Wednesday, we got acquainted with the area.  It reminded me a lot like Germany with little communities every few miles along the road.  The country was mostly wooded and there were a lot of "gated" communities.  The house was not far from anything.  Lowes, Walmart, and several other big box stores were all around the area with in minutes of a drive.  There was a cineplex a few minutes away.  (Jacob and I went to the Ironman movie and the Star Trek movie.)  The ward they were attending was in Harlem, few minutes away.  Jacob realized that he was there several years ago when he first enlisted and was at Fort Gordon for training. 

Their old ward/stake in Oklahoma was having a father/son camp out the weekend after we left.  We found out the the stake in Georgia was having theirs the week after we arrived.  So we made it a Grandfather/father/son camp out.  The stake had a huge campsite called Camp Helaman.  We had a blast.  Arrived Friday night and had a camp fire cookout.  The kids played games until after dark.  Saturday morning was a pancake breakfast.  Home by noon Saturday.

We explored Augusta several time over the 3 weeks we spent with the Roeckers.  One trip to The River Walk ( a park the runs down the south side of the river in the middle of Augusta) the kids asked about the levy and why there were notches in it.  Rather than answer them I asked if they thought is was easier to build a dyke of sand bags every time the river flooded or fill the gaps in the levy?  They gave the answer to their question.  When we walked through one of the access point we noticed that the levels of the various floods of the past were marked on the wall.  When we were through and looking a the flood plain on the other side I was amazed to see million dollar homes along the shore.  I guess if you have enough money the water flows around you.  Another trip we went to the August museum.  Along with the history of the area (and golf of course) there was the James Brown exhibit.  The man was almost as large a philanthropist as Elvis and a lot for the area.

When our time there was ended, on Monday, May 20th, Chrissy and the kids drove Sharon and me to Atlanta for the flight back to Arizona.  We were going to go to the Coca Cola museum at Cokes's corporate HQ.  When we found it was going to cost us $175 for 3 adults and 4 children we changed our plans and spent the afternoon at the Martin Luther King Jr memorial.  For free.  It was very educational and we all learned a lot.  In one room his Top of the Mountain speech was played.  I had a feeling that he knew his time on earth was not much longer.  He was assassinated very shortly after.  You could not leave the exhibits and area without a feeling of awe and respect.

When we checked into the hotel later that afternoon, the Moore/Oklahoma City tornado was all over the TV.  That was the area we were in just a few weeks earlier.  It brought this disaster home in a big way.  That even discussing the event, Chrissy mentioned that in the Elgin area they had not had a major twister in decades.  All three of the schools had safe rooms and the high school renovations were upgrading its safe room to be able to accommodate the entire student body.  Moore had major storms in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2009, and this one.  The town's schools were hit in them all and they still don't have safe rooms.  Go figure.

The next morning we took the shuttle to the airport and used the curbside check in.  Our luggage was checked in and we were through security and waiting at the gate in 20 minutes.  Next we travel, if our airline offers this service, I am going to take advantage of it.  No 2 hour ahead of time line ups for me.  Our flight was to Dallas and then on to Phoenix.  We arrived in Dallas a little ahead of schedule to find out our connecting flight was delayed about an hour because of a severe storm in the area and it was having to fly around it.  We boarded about 90 minutes late.  After we taxied out to the run way, the storm decided it was going to give us a visit and had us sitting in the take off cue for over an hour.  The wind was blowing so bad the plane was actually shaking.  Sharon could 30 planes waiting at one point.  Once things got moving again the pilot came on the intercom and told us he didn't know what had happened but we had moved up from 22nd in line to 5th.

From being on time to arriving in Phoenix almost 4 hours late put us leaving the airport in the middle of go home rush hour traffic.  Dian and the boys were waiting for us.  After repacking the Jeep to fit the luggage into what space was left, we headed for southern Utah to visit with David's family.  We got about 3/4 of the way there and were detoured because of a road wash out.  This added another hour to our time.  So instead of arriving around 23:00 we got in about 06:00.  We did a quick crash and run.  We stopped in Springville/Provo  for breakfast and drop Dian off to visit a sister-in-law.  Sharon and I did some shopping for travel snacks and supplies.  Then on to Logan for a little shopping, an late lunch and a quick visit with Chrissy's in-laws.  As we left the restaurant Sharon couldn't find her meds.  She realized she had left them at the restaurant in Provo.  We phoned and they had them.  2 1/2 hours there and 2 1/2 back put us getting into Great Falls where we were going to spend the night very late.  We were all bagged and decided to stop in Idaho Falls instead.  We called and cancelled the reservation in Montana and made one in Idaho.  The people at the Fairfield Inn were fantastic.  They made the stay an absolute pleasure. 

We got off to an early start and spent an enjoyable afternoon and early evening with another of Dian's sister-in-laws.  The rest of the trip was uneventful and we arrived home in the evening ready for bed. 

Dian and the boys spent most of June with us.  Dian attended her BFF's wedding and just hung out until we returned her to Great Falls for her flight home.

The rest of the summer was uneventful.  Sharon got her patio garden planted just in time to get hailed out.  We were lucky.  We only lost a pepper plant and a cucumber plant.  The flowers along the front walk got hammered but did survive.  We have had cukes and zucchini already.  Tomatoes and peppers are growing and ripening.

August was an "interesting" month.  The first weekend I was violently ill but seemed to recover quickly.  Wednesday, August 7th, at about 10:00 the staff sergeant sent me to the hospital.  I spent the next 5 hours on a gravol and morphine drip with a suspected gall bladder attack.  They did an ultra sound and xrays but could find not stones.  They sent me home and said to come back if things acted up again.  Thursday I got in to see my doctor and he ordered a gall bladder function test for Monday, August 19.  Friday night was uncomfortable but not as bad.  Saturday night I ended back in ER.  Again they got things settled with the same instructions. Monday night/ Tuesday morning I was back in the ER.  They booked me in and took me back almost immediately.  The ER doctor told me he was passing me off to the on call surgeon.  In the morning they did the function test.  The surgeon told me that the gall bladder usually operates at a 50% to 60% efficiency.  Mine was working a whopping 6%.  It and I were about to part ways.  I was admitted with surgery booked for Thursday afternoon.  Thursday afternoon, he informed me it was now going to be about 6pm.  At 6 he came in to say some time before 9pm.  At 10:30 they wheeled me to the OR.  I was back in the room Friday morning about 1:30.  Outside of the after surgery pain.  I don't remember much until later in the morning.  I was told as soon as I was "peeing, farting, and pooping" I could go home.  When Kimmie and the girls came up, Oryn wanted to know if she could say a prayer for PaPa.  It was basically "Heavenly Father, please help PaPa pee, fart, and poop. Amen".  I worked because late Friday night or early Saturday morning I was doing a 3.  I was sent home about 11:00. 

The pain of the gas bubbles in my should joint and stomach was almost unbearable.  By Monday it was almost gone and I was back at work on Thursday.

When I was first diagnosed I was told no greasy foods.  This included bacon.  I cried as I had just cured 25 pounds.  After the surgery I was told I could return to a full diet but to take it slow and if something bothered me to be careful.  So far no real problems.  Only trouble I am having is the no lifting, pushing, shoving , pulling, or shoveling anything over 10 pounds for the next 6 weeks. 

The next adventure is scheduled for early October.  Chrissy and Jacob are going back to Germany and are going to be in Utah for a week before they leave.  We are trying to get all the girls together for a bit of a reunion.

Until then.

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